October 23rd, 2000,
1: The annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event.
2: The celebration of an anniversary
Anniversaries should be happy times, celebrations of pieces of our lives, but all they would ever hold for me would be pale glimpses of what could have been.
September 19th, 1999 - the day Max saved my life
December 10th, 1999 - the day of our first kiss
December 12th, 1999 - the day of our first date
December 13th, 1999 - the day Max took a step back
February 12th, 2000 - the day Max told me I was his dream girl
February 20th, 2000 - the day we got back together
May 15th, 2000 - the day we first said 'I love you'
May 16th, 2000 - the day I walked away from Max
And now I had another date to add to the list, and it was the last anniversary I would ever share with Max.
October 23rd, 2000 - the day all of my dreams died
No matter how much Max and I fought against it, we knew we were never meant to be. The few happy months I had with him were only stolen moments, and now it's over. I'll never be with him again.
Max will go to Tess, where he belonged all along.
They will be together, following their destiny.
From now on Max's anniversaries will include Tess. They will mark off the anniversaries of their of life together, just as I had once hoped to do.
The date of their first date
The date of their first kiss
The date when he realizes he's in love with her
The date he proposes to her
The date of their marriage
The date he learns she is pregnant with his first child
The birthdates of their children
The date they leave Earth to finally claim their place as King and Queen
The few anniversaries Max and I shared would just be regular days to him. The dates would be forgotten, and he if he thought of the events occasionally, they would only be bittersweet memories of his childhood crush.
I would remember every one of our anniversaries for the rest of my life. I would regret and mourn, holding on to the good and the bad as the only parts of Max I would ever have.
But for me October 23rd will always mark the anniversary of the worst day of my life. It was the day the brave Max from the future died to save us all. He dissolved into nothingness like he never existed, and I'm the only one who would ever know what he sacrificed himself for us.
It is also the day I shattered Max Evans' heart and brought his world crashing down around him. The day I killed all of his dreams, and mine. The day I killed his love for me, and sent him to Tess.
October 23rd is the day I changed the course of history and gave up everything I wanted most. The day I gave up my soul mate, the only man I'll ever love.
Liz put down her pen as her tears splashed onto the page of her diary.
It was long after midnight. She'd been up half the night, unable to sleep after the horrible events. She thought writing down everything that had happened would take away just a small portion of her overwhelming pain, but all it did was remind her of everything she'd lost.
Max didn't belong to her any more. He never had, but now she knew there was no future for them together.
The tears came faster and finally she gave into them. Laying her diary aside, she covered her face with her hands and sobbed for the loss of her love and all the happiness they would have shared.
She didn't know how long she cried, it seemed like forever. The tears kept coming and she couldn't seem to stop them, sobbing her heartache. But suddenly she was wrapped in warm, loving arms.
In her grief she hadn't even heard him come in.
"I know you didn't sleep with Kyle," he said softly. "It took me a while to figure it out, but it was just another setup to push me away."
She didn't answer, she was too exhausted.
He stroked her hair. "I'll never stop loving you, Liz, and I won't be with Tess. I don't have any feelings for her. I could never have a relationship with her, and she understands that now."
Laying his head on top of hers, he continued.
"After I left here last night I just walked around and finally ended up in the park. Tess found me there and we talked. It was the first time we had ever really talked honestly, and saw each other and ourselves."
"Tess has been holding on to this fairy tale of her prince taking her away to a magical life. But now she knows that's not real. She saw how much I was hurting and she realized for the first time how much I love you. And she told me about how you had come to her, and how much it was killing you to give me up."
"And I realized I've been blaming Tess for everything in my life that I didn't like. Somehow I thought if I avoided her I wouldn't have to face my alien side. But I can't change who I am and I have to accept that."
"Tess asked me if I wanted her to leave, and for the first time I saw how lonely she was. But she is part of us, and excluding her is hurting her and hurting us."
"I told her that no matter what she was part of us, and a member of our family. She understands that now and she said she wouldn't stand in our way."
Liz pulled away slightly and looked up, her teary eyes full of hope and pain. "But it doesn't mean we can be together," she choked out.
Max cupped her cheek, smiling. "Of course it does."
"No," she said, shaking her head. "You have responsibilities. You have to save your people, your planet."
He held her eyes, speaking softly. "And who says we can't be together and do those things?"
"But you need Tess," Liz argued. "Without her you won't be strong enough. You need her to be with you and fight with you."
"She will be with us," Max assured her. "She just won't be with me."
Liz started to shake her head, but he gently stroked her cheek with his thumb. "It will be okay. She understands now." He smiled. "I think she was even relieved. She and Kyle have been getting close."
"Max," Liz said, trying to explain, "you don't know everything…"
He pressed his finger to her lips. "Whatever it is we'll face it together and figure it out. No more lying and no more pushing me away. I won't let you. We'll make it all come out right, and we'll do it together."
Liz felt a strength and a certainty in him that had never been there before, and it was turning her intentions and her knees to jelly.
"Max," she started again.
He shook his head, cupping her cheek and cutting off her words. "We belong together," he said softly. "I love you, and I know you love me, and I want to spend my life with you."
Leaning in he slid his hand into her hair, holding her as he captured her lips. He meant to kiss her gently but it was passionate and hungry as he put all of his love into the kiss.
She responded instantly, unable to help herself. The spark that was always between them flared to life, overwhelming her, and she wrapped her arms around him.
He kissed her hard, devouring her lips, wanting to make up for the lost time. It had been so long since they were together.
Liz felt exactly like she had when they were looking for the orb. Her whole body seemed to crave Max and she didn't want to stop him.
His hand tangled in her hair, leaning her back as his lips moved down to her neck. He kissed and sucked her sensitive skin, driving her wild. She grasped at him, her only solid anchor to the world, and let the sensations overtake her.
"Oh Max," she gasped.
He growled, suddenly picking her up and took her to the bed, laying her on the surface and joining her without breaking the kiss.
Sucking hard on her neck, he slipped his hand under the hem of her shirt, caressing her soft skin. Things were quickly getting out of control.
Max wanted to be with her completely and make her his, but it was too soon. They had so much they needed to work out between them.
Gradually he slowed down, his lips returning to hers. Their kisses became more gentle and tender, their lips lingering.
Max kissed her cheeks, her chin, eyes and forehead, before he reluctantly stopped.
"This is all I want," he said, "to be with you. Without you I just feel empty. You make my life worth living."
"I feel the same way," she whispered, touching his face.
They stayed together the rest of the night, lying on her bed, kissing, touching and talking softly. Max listened to Liz's tale about his future self, but it didn't alter his intentions at all. If anything it made him more determined to do whatever it took to keep them together.
Max convinced her their love was worth fighting for, and they made promises and plans for their future.
As sunlight filtered in through the window, he stroked Liz's cheek. "I don't want to leave you, but I have to get home before my parents wake up."
Leaning in, he kissed her. "I'll be back to take you to school."
He started to get up, but Liz pulled him back, kissing him lingeringly. "Don't take too long."
Max smiled, feeling better than he had in months. "I'll be back as fast as I can. We're together now. Nothing will keep me away from you."
Liz got up with him, following him to the window. He turned, taking her into his arms, pressing his lips to her forehead. "I love you, Liz."
She stroked his arms. "I love you too."
He climbed out the window, but leaned back through, kissing her one last time.
Smiling, she watched him as he crossed her balcony and disappeared over the edge, out of her sight.
It was amazing to her that she could have been so sad and hopeless last night, and so optimistic now. She thought she'd never truly be happy again, but everything had changed.
Max was right. They could face anything and be stronger together. Their love was their strength.
They wouldn't make the same mistakes Future Max had made. They would spend the rest of their lives together making a new world and new memories
She moved toward the bathroom to take a shower, but stopped when she saw her diary still lying open on her desk.
Sitting down she took up her pen and turned to a fresh page.
October 24, 2000.
Now I have a new anniversary to add to my list.
Today is the day the Max Evans fought back.
Today is the anniversary of the first day of the rest of our lives together, the day all of my dreams start to come true.