BOOK 10 MAJESTY'S MORASS
(WHAT HAPPENS NOW, MAX?)

 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

PART 7

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Friday, September 21st, 2001)

(The Evans House)

 

When Isabel told the gang she had a date to the dance, Max and Michael had started with the third degree, and now almost a week later they cornered her in the kitchen, still at it.

 

“We don’t know anything about this guy, Isabel,” Michael said.

 

“It’s not like I am asking you if I can tell him our secret,” Isabel said sarcastically.  “I am just bringing him to a school dance.”

 

“We haven’t even met him,” Max pointed out. “You’ve been hanging out with him this whole time and haven’t said a word about him.” 

 

“I don’t have to tell you everything about my life,” Isabel hissed.  “And there was nothing to tell.  We hadn’t even been out on a date until last weekend.”  She rolled her eyes, “And with the way you two are acting, I’m glad you haven’t met.  I would hate for him to see what jerks you are.”

 

Max sighed, “I’m just saying that we have to be careful.”

 

“I am being careful,” Isabel asserted.  “I just wanted to have a normal date.  Since Alex…” she trailed off as a lump formed in her throat and swallowed hard, struggling to continue.  “I’ve been alone for months, I just want to have a friend.”  She let out a sigh, “Max you have Liz, and Michael you have Maria.  Don’t you think it’s hard for me to watch that?  Hale is a nice guy.  I just thought we all could hang out, you know, go to dinner and the dance.  Why does it always have to be such a battle?”

 

Max pulled Isabel into a hug, “I’m sorry Iz.”

 

“Yeah,” Michael echoed, “I’m sorry too.”

 

Max released her.  “We just worry about you, that’s all.”

 

Isabel wiped her wet cheeks, “So can we all just go to this stupid dance and get along?”

 

Max nodded, “Yeah, we’d love to meet your friend.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Roswell City Council Chambers)

 

Jim sat before the City Council, not sure what to expect.  The last time he had been there had not been a pleasant experience but he had understood the reasons why they had to fire him. 

 

Jim waited as the meeting continued with discussions of road repairs and zoning regulations but finally the chairman of the City Council addressed him.  "Mr. Valenti, due to the lack of evidence of any wrong-doing on your part from the internal investigation, and the affidavits from Laurie Dupree, Agent Susanne Duff of the FBI, and the legal actions of Philip Evans on your behalf, added to the inexperience and the sometimes questionable actions of acting Sheriff Hansen, we, the members of the City Council, would like to offer you the position of Sheriff.” 

 

Jim couldn't have been more surprised if they had said they were running him out of town.  It took a minute for the information to sink-in but when it did a smile spread across his face and he got to his feet, "Members of the Council, Mr. Chairman, I accept your offer."

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Saturday, September 22nd, 2001)

 

Max knocked on the Parker’s front door and it was opened almost immediately by Liz’s Dad.

 

“Hey Max,” Jeff said.  “Come on in.  Liz is almost ready.”

 

Max smiled, “I guess I’m a little early.”  He followed Jeff into the living room where Nancy was sitting, “Hi, Mrs. Parker.”

 

“Hello, Max,” she said softly.

 

Max could see wariness in her eyes and his thoughts automatically went back to last year when he and Liz had found the orb and stayed out all night together.  He didn’t think Liz’s Mom had ever forgiven him for that.

 

Jeff motioned to the sofa, “Have a seat.”

 

Max sat down and wondered what to say, but Jeff saved him the trouble.

 

“Max, I know you and Liz are both eighteen, but she has a curfew of midnight and we expect you to honor that.”

 

Max nodded.  “Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Parker.  Liz and I have both matured a lot in the last year and we both respect that you need to set rules.”  He looked from Jeff to Nancy, “I promise I’ll have Liz back on time.”

 

Some of the wariness seemed to soften in Nancy’s eyes and she smiled.  “Thank you, Max.  We appreciate that.”

 

At that moment Liz entered the room and Max immediately stood and was practically rendered speechless.  Liz was wearing an emerald-green strapless dress that hugged her body until it reached her waist, where it flared out gently ending just below her knees.  Her hair was caught up in a simple twist and she wore dangling silver and emerald earrings.  

 

Liz smiled at him and took the moment to study Max in his suit.  The soft, dark fabric was expertly cut to his muscular frame and the dusky blue shirt he wore, brought out the warm, amber of his eyes. 

 

Finally Max regained his voice, “Liz, you look wonderful.”

 

She blushed slightly but held his gaze, “So do you.”

Her father clearing his throat brought them both back to reality and drew their attention to him. 

 

Jeff motioned to them, “Go and stand over there and we’ll get a picture.”

 

Liz rolled her eyes but Max eagerly took her hand, while her father snapped what seemed like an endless series of pictures.

 

“Okay Dad, that’s enough,” Liz finally laughed.

 

Jeff shrugged and Nancy walked them to the door.  “Have a good time.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(The DeLuca House)

 

Jim knocked and waited impatiently for the door to open.  He had looked forward to this all day and he was eager to deliver his news.

 

Amy opened the door.  “Jim, what a surprise.”

 

“Hey Amy,” Jim greeted.  “I just wondered if you were free to come out tonight and celebrate.”

 

Amy leaned against the door, smiling.  “What are we celebrating?”

 

Jim looked around and leaned in closer to her, “It won’t be official until Monday, but you are looking at the new Sheriff of Roswell, New Mexico.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Isabel and Hale met the others at the restaurant and Isabel was glad to see that Hale wasn’t the only new face.  Kyle had brought a date too, a girl that Isabel knew from school, a pretty brunette named Cindy. 

 

“Everyone, this is Hale,” Isabel said, starting the introductions and went around the table, pointing out each of her friends, ending with Max.  “This is my brother, Max.”

 

Hale stood and reached across the table, offering a hand.  “Nice to finally meet you Max.  Isabel has told me a lot about you.”

 

“Oh,” Max said, surprised, and slightly uncomfortable.  “Um, it’s nice to meet you too.”

 

Liz could feel Max’s discomfort and diverted Hale’s attention with a question.  “Hale, have you decided what your major is going to be?”

 

Hale focused his attention on Liz, “I am interested in a lot of different areas, history, science, the law.  I just haven’t narrowed it down yet,” he finished with a shrug.  “How about you, Liz?  Isabel said you’re something of a science prodigy.”

 

Liz shook her head, “I’m nothing that spectacular, but I do enjoy science, especially chemistry and biology.”

 

“And you plan to go into that as a major?” Hale asked.

 

Their conversation faded into the background as Isabel looked at Michael and Max who were both staring at Hale.  She lightly kicked Max under the table, drawing his attention and gave him a pleading look.

 

Max hadn’t realized he was staring and flashed an embarrassed smile.  He turned to Michael, caught his attention with a well-placed kick under the table and motioned to Hale.

 

Michael shrugged and at the next break in the conversation between Liz and Hale, Michael blurted the first thing that came to his mind, “So Hale, are you a football fan?”

 

“I’ve just recently gotten interested in it,” Hale said.  “The strategy, the planning of offence and defense, is almost like two generals maneuvering their troops in a war.”

 

Michael nodded, “And the head bashing is cool too.”

 

Hale nodded with a smile, “Yeah, it is.”  He turned to Max, “Do you have a favorite team?”

 

“I’m not really into sports,” Max said with a shrug.

 

“Oh,” Hale said, “what are you into?”

 

Max’s eyes automatically went to Liz before refocusing of Hale, “I’m more into school.”

 

Hale smiled, Max’s tell-tale glance not lost on him.  “Well school is very important.”

 

Max nodded, “The most important thing in the world.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

The rest of the dinner went smoothly, everyone talked and laughed and had a good time.  After the initial round of questions, everything settled down and Max turned most of his attention to Liz.

 

Michael and Hale continued to talk and Isabel felt herself relax.  She had been so worried about how Max and Michael would accept Hale, but now she could see her worrying had all been for nothing.  Everyone was getting along great.

 

On the way out of the restaurant, Isabel put her arms around Michael and Max and whispered into their ears, “Thanks.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(West Roswell High School)

(Homecoming Dance)

 

Max and Liz sat at the table with their friends, but one by one, the other couples rose and joined the dance.

Both Max and Liz were somewhat cautious about the evening because of bad memories of the last dance they attended together. Max was eager to make new memories but he didn’t want to move too fast. He wanted Liz to feel completely at ease.

“The decorating committee did a good job on the gym,” he started casually.

“Yeah,” Liz agreed, looking around, “it’s really, um, festive.”

“And the punch is really good, too,” Max continued.

“Yeah,” Liz said, feeling Max’s level of discomfort. He was really nervous and she knew it was because of what had happened at the prom last year. But Liz wasn’t afraid of a repeat performance and she suddenly realized she didn’t want to live her life worrying about what might happen.

Liz wouldn’t let Tess win. She wouldn’t let the other girl drive herself and Max apart. They loved one another and they should be together.

Holding out her hand to Max, Liz smiled, “Do you want to dance?”

Max smiled and took her hand, “I’d love to.”

They rose and walked to the dance floor, fitting easily into each others’ arms.

 

 

 

And it's been awhile

Since I could hold my head up high

And it's been awhile

Since I first saw you

And it's been awhile

Since I could stand on my own two feet again

And it's been awhile

Since I could call you

 

And everything I can't remember

As messed up as it all may seem

The consequences that I've rendered

I've stretched myself beyond my means

 

 

 

Max was so happy to be with Liz.  It had seemed like old times between them as they had talked and laughed over dinner, but when they arrived at the dance a terrible nervousness started to consume him.  And now as he and Liz moved to the music, Max listened to the words of the song and felt like the whole thing was a sham. 

 

He had done so much to hurt Liz.  Not just his actions of the past year, which had been bad enough, but the older version of himself who had come back in time just to steal Liz’s happiness. 

 

 

 

And it's been awhile

Since I can say that I wasn't addicted

And it's been awhile

Since I can say I love myself as well

And it's been awhile

Since I've gone and messed things up just like I always do

And it's been awhile

But all that stuff seems to disappear when I'm with you

 

And everything I can't remember

As messed up as it all may seem

The consequences that I've rendered

I've gone and messed things up again

 

 

 

Even though he and Liz had been together in their last life, Max knew he didn’t deserve her in this one.  He had been so anxious to start their life together, but Liz had been cautious, and she was right.  He had done things she could never forgive.

 

 

 

Why must I feel this way?

Just make this go away

Just one more peaceful day!

 

And it's been awhile

Since I could look at myself straight

And it's been awhile

Since I said I'm sorry

And it's been awhile

Since I've seen the way the candle lights your face

And it's been awhile

But I can still remember just the way you taste

 

 

 

Max had asked Liz to the dance hoping to show her things were different now, hoping to rekindle the tender light that had burned within them.  He loved Liz with every fiber of his being, but it wasn’t enough and he had to accept that they would never be anything more than friends. 

 

 

 

And everything I can't remember

As messed up as it all may seem to be I know it's me

I cannot blame this on my father

He did the best he could for me

 

And it's been awhile

Since I could hold my head up high

And it's been awhile

Since I said I'm sorry

 

 

 

An overwhelming feeling of loss surged through Max and tears ran from his eyes.  He felt Liz stiffen in his arms and with a horrifying sense of de-ja-vu they both stopped dancing.

 

Liz pulled back and gently wiped the tears from his face.  “What’s wrong, Max?”

 

Max looked into her beautiful face and saw the concern so clearly written there.  “I…” he started, but choked on the words, unable to utter them.

 

Liz could feel Max’s crushing sorrow and took him by the hand, “Come on.” 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Song Playing: Crazy for You by Madonna

 

Hale took Isabel in his arms as a slow song started and they swayed to the lazy beat.  Leaning close, Hale spoke softly in her ear, “I’m really glad you invited me, Isabel.  I was starting to wonder if you were hiding me from your friends.”

 

“Of course not,” Isabel instantly denied.  “It’s just that Michael is sort of an honorary brother, and he and Max are really overprotective.

 

“And you were afraid they wouldn’t approve,” Hale said, nodding with understanding.

 

“It’s not you,” Isabel assured him.  “They just don’t approve of anyone.  But they really like you, I could tell.”

 

“I like them and your other friends too,” Hale said with a nod.  He leaned in closer, his eyes never leaving hers, and lowered his voice seductively, “Do you think they would approve if I wanted to kiss you?”

 

Isabel blushed but kept eye contact, “I think you should ask me directly about that.”

 

Hale glanced down at her lips and then back to her eyes, moving even closer.  His voice was just a whisper, “And what do you say, Isabel.”

 

Instead of answering, Isabel closed the distance between them, touching her lips to his.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Liz led Max out of the crowded gymnasium, down a quiet, dark hall and into an empty classroom before stopping and turning to him again.  “What’s wrong?”

 

Max’s tears fell freely and he shook his head, unable to speak.

 

Liz pulled him down onto a chair and sank into the one next to him.  She took his face in her hands as her own tears started to fall.  “It’s okay, Max.”

 

Max took her hand in his and gently pressed a kiss to her knuckles.  “Liz, I…” he looked up into her face and saw the tears on her cheeks.  His voice cracked with pain, “I’m so sorry, Liz.  I don’t deserve you.  I…”

 

Liz pressed her free hand to his lips.  “Hush, Max.  It’s okay.”

 

Max shook his head and took her other hand in his, “No, it’s not.  It’ll never…”

 

“Shhhh, Max.” Liz soothed, but Max was holding both her hands and Liz stopped his words the only way she had left to her, with a kiss.  She pressed her lips to his and instantly felt his surprise.  He didn’t move as she placed one soft kiss after another on his lips, and although Liz had never attempted it before, she focused her powers on opening a connection between them. 

 

After a few moments, the sudden rush of images told her she had been successful and she whispered through the connection as she pushed her feelings for him into it.  I love you, Max.

 

Max could feel all of Liz’s emotions through the connection and unbelievably, in spite of everything that had happened between them, she loved him more than anything. 

 

Again Liz felt Max’s surprise and heard his whispered voice through the connection, almost a sigh, Liz.

 

He took her face in his hands and finally kissed her back.

 

And as they got lost in each other’s kisses, the muffled music of the next song floated down the hall.

 

 

 
I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door
 
Aye-yie, yie-yie
Feels like fire
I'm so in love with you
 
Dreams are like angels
They keep bad at bay, bad at bay
Love is the light
Scaring darkness away, yeah
 
I'm so in love with you
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
 
The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul

 

Flame on burn desire
Love, with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
 
I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door
 
When the chips are down I'll be around
With my undying, death-defying
Love for you
 
Envy will hurt itself
Let yourself be beautiful
Sparkling love, flowers
And pearls and pretty girls
Love is like an energy
Rushin' rushin' inside of me
 
The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
 
Flame on burn desire
Love, with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal 
 
This time we go sublime
Lovers entwine, divine, divine
Love is danger, love is pleasure
Love is pure, the only treasure
 
I'm so in love with you
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
 
The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
The power of love
A force from above
A sky-scraping dove
 
Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
 
I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Michael shuffled around the dance floor with Maria held tightly in his arms and he had never felt more alone.  He’d tried to put it out of his mind but the thought kept resurfacing that he was losing Maria to Brody.

 

In Michael’s eyes, Brody didn’t have much going for him, but he knew women judged differently.  And Michael tried to image how Maria might see him.  Brody was a dork but he had that scruffy, lost puppy look girls went for.  Michael also had to admit that Brody was intelligent, and rich of course, but he must also be somewhat brave or crazy to tell the world of his alien encounter.

 

Michael sighed, maybe there was enough in Brody to attract Maria.  He should have seen it sooner but he had discounted Brody as a threat because of the dork factor.  He had been so sure of Maria’s love that he hadn’t taken Brody’s crush on her seriously, but now he saw he’d made a big mistake. 

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 
 

Max placed soft kisses all over Liz’s face, savoring the feel of each one. It had been so long since he had touched her like that and he never wanted it to end.

 

Liz answered him through the connection, I never want it to end either, Max.  I’ve missed this so much.

 

Cradling Liz’s head, Max returned his lips to hers, devouring them greedily.  I love you so much Liz, Max said.  He reveled in her feelings for him that he could sense through their connection, and he slid his tongue across her lips and Liz opened eagerly to let him in.

 

Their tongues met and Liz sighed with contentment.  She brought her hands up to touch Max’s face, I’ll never stop loving you, Max.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Cindy had been sending him not-so-subtle signals all night and when Kyle suggested they go to the janitor’s closet, she eagerly agreed.

Kyle took her hand and they headed into the dark hallway. A sudden flash of walking the same route with Tess the night of the Prom, burst into his mind and he shoved it away violently. He wouldn’t let Tess ruin any more of his life.

Once out of sight of the gym, Cindy launched herself at Kyle, pressing her lips to his, and pushing him into the wall.

Kyle almost laughed with satisfaction. It had been a long time since he had been with a girl and it was reassuring to know he still had it. He took control of the kiss, turning Cindy against the wall and closing the distance between them. He kissed his way down her chin to her neck, as he felt her hands beneath his jacket unbuttoning his shirt.

He broke the kiss, “Let’s get to the janitor’s closet.”

Hand-in-hand they ran down the hall and stopped outside the closet door. Cindy reached for the knob, but Kyle held the door shut with one hand, while he pressed her back against it, taking her lips once more.

Another flash of the Prom pushed its way into his mind before he could stop it. He had brought Tess to the janitor’s closet that night because he wanted to tell her she was like a sister to him, but suddenly another memory competed with it.

Kyle broke the kiss and shook his head to clear the memory.

“What’s wrong?” Cindy whispered.

“Nothing,” Kyle assured her.  He opened the door and motioned her inside, “I just don’t want to give the whole school a show.”

He followed her inside and closed the door behind them. Taking her in his arms again, he devoured her lips, trying to push the memories of Tess away. But the flashes kept coming.

The night of the Prom, he had wanted to tell Tess something, but her voice in his head had told him over and over again what to think, and finally it had won. And in this very room, he had told her exactly what she wanted to hear from him.

Suddenly another memory pushed forward and Kyle saw himself asking Tess to the Prom. Everything seemed normal until she accepted, then he felt her mind in his, changing his love for her into a brotherly affection.

His true feelings came rushing back to him, untarnished by the months of separation and betrayal. He had loved Tess, truly loved her. But Tess hadn’t wanted that kind of relationship with him, so with an unfeeling use of power, she had mind warped his love away.

Suddenly Kyle felt sick and dirty and he broke away from Cindy. “Sorry. I’m not feeling so good.”

Cindy was instantly concerned, “Oh, are you coming down with something?”

Kyle shook his head, “It’s something I never really got over.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Max and Liz walked to her door hand-in-hand, and when they stopped Max enfolded Liz in his arms.

Liz smiled, “It was a wonderful night. One of the best of my life.”

“It’s just the beginning Liz and I promise it will only get better.” Max leaned forward and kissed Liz softly, lingeringly, and opened the connection between them eager to regain the closeness they had shared earlier.

A rush of images told Max the connection had formed and then he felt the warm, welcoming tendrils of Liz’s love swirling around him. Max had never experienced anything as wonderful as being with Liz like this and he basked in her feelings for him.

Finally, reluctantly he ended the kiss but pressed his forehead to hers. “My future self was right. Even with the connection we have now, I never would have left you.”

“I know,” Liz said breathily. “It’s so amazing to feel what you’re feeling.”

Max kissed her again quickly. “I hate to leave you.”

Liz nodded, “Me too.”

“Can I see you tomorrow?” Max asked anxiously. “A picnic maybe.”

“Yeah Max, I’d love that.”

Max pressed his lips to hers for a final time. “Goodnight, Liz.”

“Goodnight, Max,” she said with a smile.

And as Max looked into her eyes, he thought he saw a mischievous twinkle.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Liz went into her house practically glowing from Max’s kisses, her smile lighting up her whole face. She didn’t even try to hide it when she went into the kitchen and found her mother sitting at the table.

“Hi Mom,” she said, kissing her mother on the cheek.

Nancy glanced at the clock, noting that it wasn’t quite midnight. “You’re home early.”

“Am I?” Liz asked wistfully, as she poured herself a glass of milk.

“Did you have a good time at the dance?” Nancy asked, trying to seem casual.

Liz took a seat at the table.  “It was wonderful.”

Nancy nodded, “So I take it you and Max are working through your problems.”

“Yeah,” Liz sighed. “It’s been great, our friendship is stronger than ever.”

“Well I just want to make sure you weren’t rushing into anything you aren’t ready for.”

Liz nodded, knowing what her mother was referring to. “Mom believe me, we’re not rushing anything. We’ve decided to take our time with everything, to make sure both of us are completely ready.”

Nancy nodded.

Liz noted the relieved look on her mother’s face with a touch of annoyance. “Goodnight, Mom.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Isabel stopped her car and turned off the ignition. Hale had taken her home less than an hour ago, but she had been unable to sleep.

The night had been wonderful, almost like a fairytale. Max and Michael had gotten along with Hale at dinner. At the dance she and Hale had been inseparable, dancing the whole night and when they arrived back at her house, he had kissed her again.

The kiss was everything she had ever imagined a kiss should be, tender yet passionate, comfortable yet exciting. The flashes she received from Hale showed that she was on his mind just as much as he was on hers, and Isabel felt herself falling in love. But even though the evening was everything she had expected and more, she was still restless and even a little scared.

She felt guilty for considering being with someone not even a year after Alex’s death and that was why she had come out. Isabel had spoken with Alex so many times since his death, but tonight when she had needed him, he wasn’t there. She knew he wasn’t ever really there, he was just a part of her memory but their conversations had always comforted her, and when her mind refused to conjure him she had gotten worried.

Crossing the damp ground, Isabel stopped in front of Alex’s grave and sank to her knees before the headstone. She used her powers to carefully clear the area of debris and polish the surface of the granite headstone and then replaced her hands into her lap.

“I don’t know why I’m here exactly. I guess I just thought I would feel better coming here. I know you’ve never really visited me, but when you didn’t come tonight…” she trailed off. “I guess I’m really starting to get over you, just like you said, and that scares me Alex.”

“I met a guy at school and he’s really great. We’ve been spending a lot of time together, studying and just hanging out. He’s someone I can really talk to. Tonight we went to the Homecoming dance and we kissed for the first time.”

A lump started to form in her throat and tears threatened but she pushed to continue. “I think I’m falling in love with him Alex, and I feel like I’m betraying you.” She put her hands to her face and let the sobs come as her tears burst forth.

“Don’t cry, Isabel,” a familiar voice called out.

Isabel lowered her hands and jumped to her feet immediately when she saw Alex. She ran to him and threw her arms around him, “I was so scared I’d lost you.”

Alex hugged her, comforting her until her tears stopped, and then he stepped back. “Isabel, you did lose me, and these visits aren’t helping you. You need to let me go.”

More tears spilled down her cheeks, “I can’t, Alex. It’s just too soon.”

Alex nodded, “Just don’t let this other great guy get away because you are holding on to me. I wouldn’t want you to be alone.  You know that.”

Isabel smiled, “I know.”

Alex wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Now why don’t you tell me all about this new guy?”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

From the shadows, a figure watched Isabel sit on the ground, talking softly to herself.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(The Evans House)

 

“Goodnight, Mom, Dad,” Max called out as he entered his room.  He shed his jacket, throwing it carelessly across a chair and started tugging at the knot on his tie, when he felt a presence in the room.  He looked around trying to pinpoint exactly what was going on, when the feeling suddenly intensified.  It was familiar, a presence he had felt many times before.

 

Max smiled and called out softly, “Liz.”

 

A smiling Liz materialized before him and slowly solidified.  “Hi Max.”

 

Max reached out to touch her arm.  “Not that I’m complaining, but what are you doing here?”

 

Max had been helping her with her astral projection practice, but now that they had finally gotten back together completely, Liz was curious.  She reached up to touch his face.  “I just wanted to run a few more experiments.”

 

Max encircled her with his arms, smiling mischievously.  “What kind of experiments?”

 

“Well,” Liz said as she slid her arms around his neck, “it might be important to know if kissing you this way feels the same.”

 

Max nodded and lowered his head, stopping inches away.  “Yeah, I can see how that could be useful information.”  He quickly closed the distance between them and claimed her lips in a searing kiss.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Sunday, September 23rd, 2001)

(Crashdown Cafe)

 

Michael hit the bell with his spatula as he slid the plates of food onto the counter.  “Onion rings, chicken fingers and fries.”

 

“Coming?” Maria asked him, as she grabbed the plates.  She took them to the two tables that were pushed together, allowing the whole gang to gather around.  Maria slid the plates into the middle of the tables and sinking down into a chair next to Liz, she turned to Hale, “The fries are the best in town.”

 

Hale reached for a handful.  “So do you guys always get together on Sundays?”

 

“When there isn’t a game on,” Kyle said with a laugh.

 

Isabel rolled her eyes and directed her comments to Hale, “The sad part is, Kyle isn’t joking.”

 

“It’s great you’re all so close,” Hale said.

 

Michael took the chair next to Maria, draping one arm across her shoulders and reached for an onion ring.  “Yeah, we’re the six musketeers.”

 

Hale smiled, “So you keep the world safe for freedom and the American way?”

 

Michael shrugged, “Well, not this week.  Huh Maxwell?”

 

Max was so engrossed in Liz that he didn’t respond, and Michael called out louder, “Max!”

 

“What?” Max asked, focusing on Michael, confusion clearly written on his face.

 

Michael shrugged, “Never mind.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Max turned his attention back to Liz, their heads close together, Liz’s hand clasped in his.  He hadn’t wanted to leave her since they had kissed at the dance last night and Liz felt the same way.  That was why she had projected to his room afterward.

 

They had continued kissing last night, but it was about more than that for both of them.  They had reveled in the closeness of being together, physically and spiritually.  Both of them knew, without question, they were meant to be together, and now that they were both wholeheartedly working in that direction it brought them even closer. 

 

Words were completely unnecessary between them.  Clasped hands, long soulful looks, a cheek cupped in a hand, was their language, both of them perfectly content to simply be together.

 

Last night, when they had kissed at the dance, the connection between them had strengthened and they could feel echoes of one another’s emotions even when they weren’t in physical contact.  Liz had hypothesized it was because they had finally dropped all of their defenses when they decided to be together.

 

And Max agreed.  He had felt a shift in himself and Liz, a yearning, and not just for physical contact but for mental and spiritual contact.  It was as if their souls craved the completion they only found in one another, as if the connection itself was drawing them together.

 

Since last night, neither of them had to exert any effort to open the connection between them, simple physical contact initiated it.  Emotions and thoughts passed freely from one to the other, enriching and solidifying the union of their minds and souls. 

 

The feelings they were experiencing left them both in awe, but they also knew it was the way it should be.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Hale leaned into Isabel and motioned to Max and Liz.  “Are they always like that?”

 

Isabel glanced quickly at them and then back at Hale.  “They’ve had a tough time and just recently got back together.” 

 

“It’s like they’re in their own little world together,” Hale said.

 

She shrugged, “It used to bother me, but now I think it’s kind of sweet.”

 

“They don’t even talk to one another but you can tell that they’re perfectly in tune,” Hale observed.  “I’ve never known any couple like that.  I thought it didn’t really exist.  It’s the kind of thing you read in fairy tales.”

 

“They’re definitely meant for each other,” Isabel agreed softly.  “Soul mates.”

 

Hale reached for her hand.  “I didn’t know you were such a romantic.”

 

“A few months ago, I would have said you were right.  I thought love was just a cruel cosmic joke.”

 

“So what changed your mind?” Hale asked softly.

 

Isabel focused on her brother and Liz.  “They did.  I can’t deny what’s between them.  No one who has seen them together could.”

 

“And now that’s what you’re looking for,” Hale said.

 

Isabel suddenly became nervous.  Hale had hit too close to the truth, almost like he had read her mind and she tried to extract her hand from his.

 

But Hale held her firmly.  “Isabel I really like you and I think you like me.  I don’t want to spoil our friendship by moving ahead too fast.”

 

Isabel instantly relaxed and nodded her agreement.

 

Hale relaxed his grasp on her hand but she didn’t pull away and he smiled.  He leaned in closer, whispering, “I’m looking for that kind of closeness too and I think we could have something really special between us.  But there’s no hurry.  We have all of the time in the world.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Michael waited until after closing, making sure he and Liz were the last two in the restaurant before approaching her.  He scratched nervously at his eyebrow, “Um, Liz, can I talk to you?”

 

Liz turned to him with a smile, “Sure Michael, what about?”

 

“Well you know, I haven’t always been the best student,” he started haltingly, “and now they say I have to pass certain classes this year to graduate.  But I’m having some trouble, you know in school, in math.  And I was wondering…” he trailed off.

 

Liz nodded encouragingly and waited for him to continue.

 

Michael looked away.  “I, um, feel kind of funny talking to you about this, with everything.”

 

Liz’s brow knit together, “Why?”

 

Michael studied her face and saw the genuine confusion.  Liz really didn’t know what he was talking about, and he attempted to explain.  “In the past, I didn’t always treat you very well.  I was rude and even dismissed you as someone who didn’t matter in my life.  Since then I learned that wasn’t true, we all help and need each other and I feel guilty about how I acted.” 

 

“Michael, all of that is in the past,” Liz assured him.  “All of us have done things we regret.  None of us are perfect, certainly not me.” 

 

Michael looked away nervously, “Well, it’s just now that I know everything you did for us and who you really are.  I mean you’re the Queen of my planet.”  He shrugged, “I don’t know, I just want to tell you I’m sorry and I feel like I should be making up for the past and calling you ma’am or something.”

 

“But you don’t treat Max or Isabel different since you found out who they are,” Liz pointed out.   And to tell you the truth, the ma’am thing would make me really nervous.”

 

“Yeah, me too,” Michael said with a smile.  “It wasn’t different with Max and Isabel because I grew up with them almost as brother and sister.”

 

“Yeah,” Liz nodded.

 

“It wasn’t like that with you.  But you and I have been hanging out a lot at work and with your parents and I kind of started thinking of you more like a sister.” 

 

“I’ve felt like that too,” Liz said with a smile.  “And I think we would both be much more comfortable with that kind of relationship.  So if you wanted, we could just forget the past and go forward with more of a sibling thing.”

 

“Brother and sister,” Michael said with a smile. “I like it.”

 

“Okay brother,” Liz said, as she cuffed him on the shoulder, “so what did you want to talk to me about?”

 

“I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind helping me with my math sometimes, sis.”

 

Liz nodded.  She was more honored than she could say that Michael had come to her for help.  “Yeah, I think that would be great.”

 

“Good,” Michael said nodding, and then suddenly sobered.  “Um, Liz can I ask you something else?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“Is Maria seeing anyone else?”

 

Liz shook her head.  “No way.  Maria loves you.  Why would you even think that?”

 

“She does spend a lot of time with Brody.”

 

“Michael, she takes him dinner when she works,” Liz said with a laugh.  “You make it most of the time.”

 

Michael shook his head, “I’ve seen her over at the museum when she wasn’t working, and I know Brody has a crush on her.”

 

“No, Michael, you’re making something out of nothing.  Yes,” Liz admitted, “Maria and Brody are friends, and maybe you didn’t realize that, but she is not dating him.”  Liz could see that Michael wasn’t convinced, “Michael, why don’t you talk to Maria about this?”

 

“Yeah,” Michael nodded, “maybe I will.  And Liz, I know Maria is your best friend but would you do me a favor and not tell her I talked to you?”

 

Liz nodded, “It will be our secret.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Monday, September 24th, 2001)

(West Roswell High School)

 

Max approached Liz at her locker, sliding his hands around her waist from behind.  He leaned in and whispered, “Good morning, beautiful.”

 

Liz turned in his arms, stood on tiptoes and met his lips briefly. “Mmmm, Good morning.”

 

“Can I walk you to class?” he asked.

 

Liz smiled and slipped her hand into his.  “Well since we’re in the same class, it is on your way.”

 

Max sighed contentedly and reached up to touch her hair with his free hand.  “I love you so much Liz and I’m so happy we’re together.”

 

Liz reached up to touch his face, “I love you too, Max, even more than I thought possible.  I never wanted anything more than to be with you.”

 

Max leaned in for another quick kiss but lingered when Liz’s lips met his.  He quickly lost himself in the kiss as the connection between then opened and Liz’s feelings swirled around him. 

 

Without realizing it, they wrapped their arms around one another and deepened the kiss.  Max devoured Liz’s lips and eagerly opened her mouth to him, inviting him inside with a quick flick of her tounge.  It was as if they couldn’t get enough of each other, and they both quickly became lost in the electric sensations rushing through them.

 

After a moment the sounds of cheers around them, brought them back to reality.  And Max and Liz looked around, embarrassed to have been caught making out in the hall.

 

Max put his arm around Liz and they started down the hall. “Sorry about that, Liz.  I just…”

 

“Got caught up in the kiss?” Liz nodded.  “Don’t apologize, I did too.”

 

“It’s all so new,” Max said.  “Like we’re just starting.”

 

Liz took his hand and squeezed, “We are just starting.  We’re starting over again.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

Michael jogged down the hall to catch up with Ryan.  “Hey Ryan how’s it going?” he called out.

 

“Fine,” Ryan greeted, “and you?”

 

“Good.  Good.”  Michael said, slipping an arm around Ryan’s shoulder and diverting them into a quiet corner.  “I need to talk to you.”

 

“Sure,” Ryan said.  “What about?”

 

“You work at the UFO museum and I need you to tell me everything you know about Maria’s visits to Brody.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Monday, September 28th, 2001)

(The Valenti House)

 

With a frustrated sigh, Liz opened her eyes and looked at the others sitting around her.  Max, Isabel and Michael were all deeply in concentration, attempting to recover their memories. 

 

Liz knew that Max and Michael had experienced some success but she and Isabel had not made any progress.  Max was worried that Isabel was subconsciously blocking the memories because of what she had discovered about her past life, but in time he thought she would get past it. 

 

Max continued to assure Liz that her powers were too new and she just needed to give it more time, but with each passing day Liz was growing more worried.  Her powers were getting stronger and she was able to control them more easily but she hadn’t recovered even a glimpse of their other life, and she was starting to wonder if she even had the memories of their past. 

 

Everyone assumed because she was the reincarnation of Ava that she would have Ava’s memories, but maybe the memories hadn’t survived when her soul had traveled across the galaxies.

 

Max had shown her the few memories he had recovered, but nothing in them seemed familiar.  Liz could also tell that Max was holding something back and she didn’t have to ask what it was.  Max was afraid he would show her his memories of Tess.

 

But Liz wanted to remember her parents, her home, her friends, all of the past.  They needed to know what had gone wrong, how they had lost the war, the strengths and weaknesses of their enemy.  But most of all, she wanted to be able to remember Max and the love they had shared.

 

But the memories couldn’t be forced and Liz rolled her shoulders to release her tension, willing herself to relax and try again.  As she let out another deep breath, Liz was suddenly aware of a deep feeling of sorrow and turned toward the source. 

 

Her eyes lit on Kyle, who was sitting apart from them as he meditated, and she knew the emotions were coming from him.   Silently she rose and crossed to him, gently touching his shoulder to gain his attention, and when he opened his eyes, Liz held out her hand to him.

 

Kyle was surprised by Liz’s presence but he placed his hand in hers as he stood, and allowed her to lead him into his house.

 

Liz closed the door behind them, so they wouldn’t disturb the others, and turned back to Kyle.  “So do you want to tell me what’s wrong?”

 

Kyle smiled, “How did you know?”

 

“I could feel your sadness,” Liz admitted.

 

Kyle nodded unsurprised.  “Another new power you’re developing?”

 

“Maybe.  It’s only ever happened before with Max.”

 

Kyle accepted the information with a nod but remained silent.

 

Liz took a seat at the table, waiting for him to start.

 

Kyle crossed to the cupboard and took out two glasses and filled them with water.  He set one before Liz and took a long drink from the other.  When it was empty, he pulled out the chair next to Liz and sat down with a weary sigh.  He couldn’t stand to look at her yet, so he studied the glass as he started.  “The night of the Homecoming dance, something happened and it’s been tearing me up inside.”

 

Liz could feel the turmoil within him and put a comforting hand on his arm.  “What happened, Kyle?”

 

He kept his eyes on the glass.  “Cindy and I went to the janitor’s closet and it brought up these memories of the Prom last year.  See, I thought I was in love with Tess, but the night of the Prom I realized I thought of her more like a sister, and I told her in the janitor’s closet.”

 

Liz smiled, “Strange place to tell someone you just want to be friends.”

 

Kyle nodded, “More strange than you could imagine.  When Cindy and I were there the other night, it triggered not only that memory, but a flash of another memory with Tess.  When I asked Tess to the Prom I was convinced I loved her and I thought the dance would be the perfect setting to tell her my true feelings.”

 

“But then you figured out what you really felt,” Liz said.

 

Kyle shook his head, “That’s just it, I didn’t figure out anything.  The other memory I had was of Tess mind warping me into thinking of her as a sister.”

 

“What?” Liz asked, shocked.

 

“Don’t you see?  I really loved her and Tess knew it but she didn’t want me getting in her way with Max.”

 

Liz was suddenly outraged with Tess.  How dare she treat Kyle so badly?  He had been Tess’ friend and supporter.  He had loved her and she had thrown it away.  Then Liz felt the anger quickly drain away, replaced by a terrible sorrow as she considered what the knowledge had done to Kyle. 

 

Kyle continued, “I just wonder why it took so long for me to remember.  Some of the mind warps wore off so quickly, but others were definitely made to last.”

 

“I think what you just said was right,” Liz speculated.  “Tess was doing a lot of mind warping and maybe she was overusing her powers, so she put more effort into the mind warps she considered more important.”

 

Kyle nodded, “She must have considered keeping me away from her very important.”

 

Liz pulled him into an embrace.  “I’m really sorry, Kyle.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Tuesday, September 29th, 2001)
(Crashdown Cafe)

 

From the kitchen Michael watched Maria moving around the dining room, and he became more and more anxious with each passing minute.  For weeks he had felt Maria growing more distant, and since he’d found out about her relationship with Brody he’d slowly been going crazy.  And tonight the pressure finally built beyond his control.  He burst into the dining room and grabbed her by the arm.  “Do you want to tell me what is going on with you and Brody?”

 

Maria was dumbfounded, “What?”

 

“You know,” Michael continued, oblivious of the customers curiously observing them, “the crazy guy, believes in aliens, runs the UFO museum.”

 

Maria looked around, noticing the interest of the others around them.  “Liz will you cover for me?” she called out.

 

Liz nodded.

 

Maria took Michael by the arm and led him into the back room.  “Michael are you deranged, asking me about that here, with all of these people?”

 

Michael glanced into the dining room, noticing the customers for the first time and scratched at his eyebrow.  “Okay, so I could have been a little more subtle, but this is driving me crazy, Maria.  I have to know, if I’m losing you to that guy.”

 

Maria’s brow creased, “What are you talking about?”

 

“I know you spend a lot of time at the UFO museum when you aren’t working, and I know it’s not so you can watch the video about the alien artifacts.”

 

Maria nodded, “So if I’m spending time with Brody then obviously we’re involved.”

“I don’t know,” Michael admitted, “that’s what is driving me crazy.  You’ve been distant lately, different, and we’re not getting together as much as we used to.”

 

“That’s it isn’t it,” Maria said, realization dawning.  “You aren’t getting the nookie so you think I’m giving it away somewhere else.”

“Are you?” Michael asked.

 

Maria hit him in the chest.  “How could you even ask me that?”

 

“I don’t know,” Michael said, shaking his head, “I can’t think straight.  I’m so crazy in love with you and so afraid of losing you, I don’t know what I’m doing?”

 

Maria looked at him closely.  “You really are, aren’t you?”  She sighed, “Michael, I am not having an affair with Brody.  He’s just a friend.”

 

Michael let out a relieved breath and sank into the wall.  “So what is going on with you?”

 

Maria shook her head.  “You won’t understand.”

 

Michael shrugged, “Maybe, but why don’t you try me.”

 

“It’s about my mother,” Maria started.

 

Michael’s brow creased in confusion.  “Your mother.  Is something wrong with her?”

 

“I don’t know,” Maria admitted.  “But she’s remembering what happened at the UFO museum with Brody.”

 

“She doesn’t think it’s real though?” Michael asked concerned.

 

“No,” Maria said, “because I’ve been convincing her it’s just a dream.”  She shook her head and looked up at him, “I’m really sick of lying to her, Michael.  And now I’m not just lying, I’m messing with her mind, just like Tess.”

 

Michael shook his head, “It’s nothing like what Tess did.”

 

“Isn’t it?” Maria asked, tears starting to form in her eyes.  “I’m making her think something happened when it didn’t.  The memories are giving her these headaches and she’s starting to wonder if she has an aneurysm or going crazy.”

 

Michael sighed and pulled her into an embrace, “I’m sorry, Maria.  I’m really sorry.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Friday, October 5th, 2001)
(The Valenti House)

 

Jim walked into the house and tossed his hat to Kyle on the couch.  “You ready to go?”

 

Kyle’s brow creased, “Go where?”

 

Jim smiled, “I got my first paycheck today and I thought we would go and see about a car for you.”

 

Kyle jumped up, “What are we waiting for?”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 
 
(Saturday, October 13th, 2001)
(The DeLuca House)

 

“Hey, Mrs. DeLuca,” Michael greeted, as Amy opened the door to him.  “Is Maria ready?”

 

“She’ll be a few more minutes, Michael,” Amy said.  “Why don’t you have a seat on the sofa?  I was just getting myself a soda, can I get you one?”

 

“Sure,” Michael said as he sank down onto the sofa.

 

Amy returned with the sodas and passed one to him.  “So how have you been?  School okay?”

 

“Yeah,” Michael said enthusiastically.  “I wasn’t always the best student but I’ve really had to take a good look at my priorities.  I don’t want to be working as a cook at the Crashdown the rest of my life.”

 

Amy nodded, “That’s a very grown up, responsible attitude.  I’m glad to hear you say it, but I have to admit I’m kind of surprised.  I always had you pegged as the irresponsible type.”

 

“In the past that was true,” Michael admitted.  “It’s like I was waiting for my life to start and I didn’t think it mattered what I did until then, but Maria made me realize that life is what you do every day.  There is no beginning or end, it’s just life.”

 

“Maria made you realize that?” Amy asked.

 

“Yeah,” Michael nodded.  He motioned to Amy, “So I hear you’ve been having some bad headaches.”

 

“Yeah, they come and go.”  Amy pressed a hand to her head, unconsciously.  “Michael, have you ever had the feeling that…” she trailed off, shaking her head.

 

“What is it?” he prompted.

 

“It sounds crazy,” Amy said. 

 

Michael smiled, “Even more crazy than me being a responsible member of society.”

 

Amy smiled and nodded, “Okay.  Have you ever had the feeling that you’re missing things?  Like there’s a whole other reality out there no one knows about.  But sometimes if you really look, you can just catch a glimpse.”

 

“What makes you think that?” Michael asked.

 

Amy shrugged, “Maybe it’s the dreams I’ve been having lately.  They are so real its like I have two different memories of the same night.  But that’s impossible right?”

 

Michael stayed silent and Amy continued, “Maybe it’s my line of work, or just growing up in this town and hearing the stories all of my life, but lately I’ve been starting to think there’s something else out there.”

 

“And how does that make you feel?” Michael asked softly.

 

“I don’t really know,” Amy said.  “Curious about what I’m missing, I guess.”

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

(Wednesday, October 17th, 2001)

 

Liz rubbed at her eyes as Max drove them toward the quarry for their practice session.  She hadn’t gotten very much sleep in the last few nights because she’d been having disturbing dreams again. 

 

Like the last time, she didn’t remember anything from the dreams, but the sick feeling in her stomach told her it hadn’t been good.  She hadn’t told Max yet but she knew she had to.

 

The Jeep rounded a bend in the road and Max reduced the speed because of a slow truck in front of them.  The truck was loaded with large concrete pipes and Max turned on the windshield wipers as its tires kicked up a mist from the wet road.

 

The sunlight reflected off the water droplets, momentarily blinding Liz, and she was overwhelmed by a feeling of nausea and a sudden flash of memory.  In her mind, she saw the truck take the next turn and skid on the wet road, causing it to jack-knife.  The cables holding the concrete pipes broke, and they rolled off the truck, bouncing off the road surface and toward the Jeep.

 

Liz gasped as she came out of the vision and grabbed Max’s arm, “Stop, Max!  Stop now!”

 

Max stomped on the break, and with a controlled skid brought the Jeep to a stop on the side of the road.  Instantly he turned to Liz, “What’s wrong?”

“I saw that truck in my dream,” she started, but their attention was diverted by the sound of grating metal.

 

Max and Liz watched in horror as further down the road, the truck jack-knifed as Liz had seen in her dream, and the concrete pipes crashed down onto the road where the Jeep would have been.

 

When the truck skidded to a stop, the driver of the truck jumped out of the cab and ran around to the back but was obviously relieved to see that no one was hurt.

 

Max turned back to Liz, “You saw that in your dream.”

 

Liz nodded.

 

Max looked at her with something close to awe in his eyes.  “You predicted the future and saved our lives.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

The gang and Sean were still talking about Liz’s vision hours later at the Crashdown.

 

“So you saw the exact same thing in your dream?” Sean asked.  “The truck, the pipes, the accident?”

 

Liz nodded, with a shiver.  “I didn’t remember any of it until just before it happened, though.”

 

“Did you feel sick again?” Kyle asked.

 

“Yeah,” Liz recalled.  “It was really bad right before I had the vision.”

 

“And now you feel fine?” Max asked.

 

Liz smiled, “A little shaky but fine.”

 

Michael took a chair next to Liz.  “If you can develop this power, just think of the advantage it would give us.  We would know when things were going to happen, how to prevent things.  This could be just the edge we’ve been looking for.”

 

“Calm down,” Max said.  “You can’t put that kind of pressure on Liz.  I won’t allow it.”

 

Michael shook his head, “I didn’t mean to…’

 

Liz cut him off, “It’s okay, Michael.  I know what you meant but I don’t even know if I can control it.  So far it’s been totally random and I was lucky to remember when I did.”

 

“But you’ll tell us whenever you do get a bad feeling, right?” Kyle asked.

 

Liz nodded, “I promise I’ll tell you.”

 

Sean spoke up, “So did you have this power in your other life?”

Liz shook her head.  “We don’t know.”

 

“All I’m saying,” Sean explained, “is if you did have this power, you probably weren’t able to control it then either.  Because if you could, none of you would have died.”

 

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

 

TBC
 


BOOK 10 - MAJESTY'S MORASS
Part 8
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