(Friday, November 17th)
Liz awoke slowly with a feeling of total contentment filling her. She was warm and safe and loved, and it only took a moment to figure out why. Max and Zan were holding her between them.
Last night they’d made incredible, amazing, passionate love, and afterward Liz got to sleep all night with the two men she loved.
She let herself savor the sensation of being with them the entire night and waking up with them for the first time. Their warm bodies surrounded her and they were holding her possessively. Zan was pressed into her back with his arm around her waist and Max’s legs were tangled with hers as their heads rested together. She could feel their breathing and heartbeats and it made her feel so close to them.
Laying her hand on Max’s neck, she traced the corded muscles down to his collarbone. It was still so new being able to touch him and Zan like she wanted, and she hoped the feeling never went away.
He stirred a little, nuzzling her head and his hand grasped for hers. “Liz,” he murmured.
She smiled. Even in his sleep he thought about her.
It was amazing to her that just a couple of weeks ago she’d been so sad and hopeless and now she had a relationship with two incredible men, and was happier than she’d ever been.
Zan’s arm tightened around her and he kissed her neck. “Good morning,” he rumbled.
Liz rolled onto her back and turned to kiss him. Reaching down, she stroked his erection though his boxers, and gasped in surprise as Max cupped her breast. Turning to him she saw his sleepy, sexy grin and matching erection.
“It will be the best morning ever,” she said with a smile.
As Isabel got ready for school, a soft smile lit her face. She and Alex had stayed up talking for a long time and she’d told him of her insecurities and fears and why she’d kept him at arms length for so long.
Amazingly he understood, but he asked that she talk to him in the future and not keep things to herself.
She still felt the warmth inside that came from knowing that Alex completely accepted her. She really was ready to be with him.
Her smiled dimmed as she thought about what had happened the rest of the night. She hadn’t gotten much sleep, and it wasn’t because she was with Alex, or even because she was thinking about him.
After Alex had left to go to his own room to sleep, Isabel tried repeatedly to contact Lonnie, but unfortunately she’d had no better luck than she had earlier.
Lonnie’s rage was subsiding, but all her thoughts seemed to be focused on revenge and going home, but she was so exhausted that she was barely making sense.
Isabel couldn’t even get a coherent thread of a plan from her double’s mind and finally determined that she was waiting for Nicholas to tell her what to do next. Frustrated, Isabel tried to dig deeper to see if she could get anything about where Lonnie and Rath were staying, so they might get to them before Nicholas arrived, but it seemed to be hopeless.
The few times that Lonnie thought about Rath at all, Isabel only got flashes of concern mixed with annoyance.
Finally Lonnie had fallen into a restless sleep, but Isabel was worried about visiting her in her dreams. What if Lonnie could tell she were there?
But she cautiously ventured inside, and got sucked into a bizarre sex dream that featured Lonnie and Rath in some sort of dungeon, some shackles, a whip, a branding iron, and a few things Isabel didn’t even want to know what they were.
She left immediately, not wanting to see anything in the dream, but she’d checked back a few more times in the night, hoping to gain any information. Unfortunately all she really got was a bad night’s sleep.
It was still early and she decided to try one more time before they left for school. Laying back on her bed, she closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind, but it was hard with all the pressure she felt.
They really needed the information. Their lives might depend on it.
She tried to push all of that aside and took a deep breath, letting her mind seek out her double. Almost instantly she was inside again.
Lonnie was deeply asleep and her mind was drifting from idea to idea. At first, Isabel was having trouble getting anything coherent, but then Lonnie’s thoughts went to Rath.
Isabel once again got the impression that he was badly injured and Lonnie had done her best to heal him, but it wasn’t enough. Lonnie looked down at him where he lay still in bed. The floor was crumbling concrete and she could see a large open space just past a door that had been ripped off its hinges. Suddenly she had the knowledge that Lonnie and Rath were in an abandoned warehouse outside of town.
It was the most she’d ever gotten about their location, but it still wasn’t enough. There were tons of empty warehouses around, and she had no idea which direction.
For long moments she tried to get anything more, but it just wasn’t happening. Lonnie’s thoughts were so random and nonsensical, and Isabel was only able to get fleeting glimpses of emotions.
She wasn’t surprised, because dreams were often like that, but she felt like she should be able to do more. If she’d practiced her powers more, or was able to focus better . . , but it was useless.
Finally she gave up.
She’d have to try again later.
Gathering her things, she headed to the door of her room, and opened it just as Alex was raising a hand to knock. Smiling, she threw herself into a surprised Alex’s arms.
He recovered after only a second and hugged her tightly. “Good morning, beautiful,” he said sleepily.
It was just what she needed.
After making love with Zan and then Max, Liz did think it was the best morning ever. The only thing that spoiled it was that they had to go to school.
Reluctantly she started to get up. “I want to just stay in bed all day,” she said with a soft smile.
Zan cupped her head, kissing her. “Baby, you are so damn sexy that sounds like the best idea in the world.”
Max agreed. “After this is over we will,” he said, kissing her cheek. “We’ll make love to you again and again until you beg us to stop.”
She giggled, wrapping an arm around him and kissed him. “What if I never want to stop?”
Zan stroked her back as he nuzzled her cheek. “Then it’s a good thing there are two of us who are totally devoted to satisfying you,” he teased. “Liz Parker, our sex goddess.”
They’d been so overwhelmed and tired after their lovemaking the night before that they’d just fallen asleep in each others’ arms. But they all had questions in their minds.
“So,” Liz started, “what exactly happened last night?”
“No idea,” Zan said
“It felt like the power took over,” Max said.
“Yeah,” Liz agreed. “Like it wanted the three of us together at the same time.”
“Yeah,” Zan said. “I felt it too, like the three of us had to be connected as closely as possible.”
Liz nodded, thinking aloud. “And that power surge that went through us was like the first time, but it more powerful and seemed to fill the whole room.”
“Or the whole house,” Max supplied with a shrug. “Maybe it is how our powers increase.”
“Could be,” Zan nodded. “Since we know practically nothing about ourselves, we just have to make this up as we go. It’s not like we have anyone to ask, except for Nicholas, and that doesn’t seem like such a good idea.”
“We should test it out and see if we are more powerful,” Liz said.
Max stroked Liz’s cheek, kissing her. “Having amazing sex to gain power,” he said with a grin, “I am not complaining.”
They laughed and she kissed them both again as they finally got out of bed. Liz started to look around for her clothes so she could be decent for the trip down the hall past the others to the shower.
Bending down to grasp her panties, she suddenly stopped and stood up to look at Max and Zan. “Ummm, do you guys think Michael and Isabel felt the power surge we made when…, she trailed off blushing.
Max shook his head. “No, I’m sure they didn’t, or they would have burst in last night.”
She blushed even deeper. “I think you’re right, and I am so glad they didn’t.”
Zan hugged her. “It’s okay,” he assured her. “I fixed the door to give us some privacy, just in case, and nobody was getting through there without a blowtorch.”
“The thing is,” Max said grinning, “Michael would have just come through the wall.”
The all laughed again.
(West Roswell High School)
Tess waited in a doorway in a strategic position to see Max’s locker. She knew he’d have to go there before he headed for class, and she was determined to talk to him. But it was getting late.
The halls of West Roswell High School were filling with students as the minutes ticked down to their first class of the day. She kept having to bob and duck around the bodies to keep Max’s locker in sight.
She still couldn’t believe that Max wanted them to come to school today. Lonnie might attack at any moment and the Skins were due to come to town. They should be preparing for the coming fight, not studying Algebra and French.
Sure, Zan, Ava and Valenti were watching the school from nearby buildings so they would hopefully have warning if something did happen, but still.
Of course when Max called last night to tell them about Lonnie’s attack, he hadn’t asked to talk to her. He’d told the whole story to the Sheriff, who then related it to them.
Tess wanted to go to Max to help him, but obviously he didn’t want her to come or he would have asked her. She needed to change that. She needed him to see that she was valuable to him, and they were running out of time.
Finally she spotted his dark head and athletic body through the other students. Tess wondered if it was just her imagination that made him stand out from everyone so intensely. He was so handsome and regal, and he just seemed to vibrate with power and authority.
No wonder she was in love with him. They would make the perfect couple.
He and Michael were hurrying, talking intently until Michael turned and headed down a different hall.
Max went to his locker and by the time he had it open, Tess was by his side.
He was surprised to see her. “Hey Tess,” he greeted, even though he was cringing inside. He’d spent a beautiful night with Liz and Zan, and it only seemed like minutes ago that they’d started the day entwined, making love. It had been his dream for so long, waking up with Liz, and it had finally come true. He was on a major high and the last thing he wanted was to deal with Tess.
“I really need to talk to you,” she started urgently.
Glancing at the clock, Max saw that the bell for class was only minutes away and he considered putting her off, but he knew she was determined. “Okay,” he agreed, motioning to the unused classroom a few doors down.
Tess went inside ahead of him and waited until he closed the door and turned to face her.
She’d considered confronting him with what she knew about him, Zan and Liz, but changed her mind. She wanted to keep the talk positive if she could, and she could always use that knowledge later if she had to.
“What’s going on?” Max started.
“I thought of a way that we might be able to find Lonnie,” she said excitedly.
Max was surprised. “How?”
“Well, Zan has her cell phone number, so maybe Alex could figure our how to trace her phone,” she suggested.
Max nodded. “I don’t know if it’s possible or if he can do it, but that’s a good idea. I’ll ask him.”
Tess beamed. She loved it when Max complimented her, and she loved helping him.
“I know we haven’t always agreed about how things should be,” she said, “but I want you to know no matter what, I will support you.”
Max was surprised. “Ummm, thank you, Tess.”
She took a couple of steps closer. “It can’t be easy for you, having to make all the decisions. You can count on me to do anything you need me to do.”
He nodded slowly. “What does that mean? What needs to be done?”
“I just mean I’ll do anything you ask,” she purred. “If you need a friend, or need to talk about anything, if you just want to take a break from everything and hang out, or try and learn about our planet, or whatever.”
She took another step closer. “I know you feel uncomfortable with things you have to do sometimes, and I can help you with that. I’ll always be there for you, Max, whatever you need you can ask me.” She gave a little bow of her head. “You’re my King, and I just want to serve you any way I can.”
He fidgeted a little, uncomfortable with the whole situation. “Thank you.”
“So,” she said, putting her hand on his arm, “is there anything you need me to do right now?”
Taking an automatic step back so he’d be out of her reach, he shook his head. “No, thanks,” he said, trying to repress the shiver of revulsion racing down his spine.
“In our other life, you were always so great with our people,” she continued. “You made sure everyone was treated fairly. You were a great King and a great husband.”
“Ummm,” he said nervously, and then looked at her. “You remember that?”
“Of course,” she said, smiling and moving a step closer. “The people love you, Max. You are their King and they’re waiting for you to come home and rescue them from Khivar.”
He was shocked. It was the first time he’d really thought of their planet as a real place with real people.
A strange feeling rushed through him that was almost impossible for him to explain. He had a sense of other, of wrongness. His stomach dipped and his felt a bit dizzy. And then it was gone.
“And you’ll remember too,” Tess purred. “It will just take time.”
“Right,” he agreed, even though his stomach felt like it had just fallen several feet. The thought of leaving Liz and going back to his planet had scared him for years, even before he’d really known her. But now it seemed impossible.
He was the leader of the planet, even though he had never met any of them and didn’t remember anything, and he had a duty to the people. Didn’t he?
“Max,” Tess purred again, putting her hand on his arm when he didn’t speak for a moment.
His eyes slid to her face and she smiled.
“Max,” she said more softly, “everything will be better when you remember.”
Suddenly he wondered if she’d done something to him. Is that why he’d felt so strange a moment before? He was sickened and horrified and turned so that her hand slid off his arm. “Um, yeah,” he stammered. He had to get away from her. “I have to go to class. I’ll talk to you later.”
Max hurried out of the room as Tess watched with a smile. She knew she’d gotten through to him, maybe for the first time, and she hadn’t even used her powers. It was all going to work out after all.
Zan paced back and forth on the roof of the building across from the school, his eyes darting up and down the streets below. He still felt guilty for falling asleep and letting Liz down, and he was going to make damn sure it didn’t happen again.
It made him feel sick just thinking about what could have happened, what Lonnie could have done to Liz while he was sleeping just feet away.
Zan suddenly felt disconnected from his body, like he was floating out of himself. He felt so strange, but somehow familiar, and the feeling of helplessness got even stronger. It seemed like no matter what he did people got hurt and died. No matter what he did, it wasn’t enough.
Shaking his head, he stood up straighter and pushed the fear and doubt away. No. He wouldn’t let it overwhelm him. He wouldn’t fail again.
Liz was everything to him and Max. Neither of them would survive if something happened to her.
Zan knew exactly what Max had been feeling when he saved Liz’s life after she’d been shot. Max hadn’t thought of himself at all, only saving the girl he loved, and Zan would have done the same thing.
They would both give up their lives for her, and he would keep her safe no matter what.
He scanned the surrounding area again making sure it was clear, and met Ava’s eyes across the rooftop. She smiled and he felt his heart lighten a little.
He’d taken her aside at the first opportunity this morning and told her about his relationship with Max and Liz. She deserved to know and he wanted to tell her himself since she wasn’t with them last night when they revealed it.
Understandably she was surprised. It was such an unusual situation who wouldn’t be surprised, but she’d just listened while he explained.
“That’s incredible,” she said when he was finished. “It explains why you said it was complicated.”
He nodded. “It seems complicated from the outside, but to us it is really simple. It is all about love and belonging.”
She’d hugged him. “I’m just glad it worked out. You all deserve to be happy.”
Max practically ran to class after his encounter with Tess. He’d never felt so uncomfortable in his life. The closest he’d come had been when Tess had forced him to kiss her in the rain outside the Crashdown.
It was so hard to explain how he’d felt then, like he wasn’t in his own skin, like he wasn’t him. He’d just felt that again and it scared him.
Was that what it was going to be like if he remembered his other life? He didn’t want any part of it.
“What’s wrong Max?” both Liz and Zan said in his head at the same time.
He tried to dismiss his feelings. He wanted to talk about it with them, but now wasn’t the time. “Nothing’s wrong,” he said, already feeling much better now that he could feel Liz and Zan through the connection. “Tess cornered me again and she just…”
“Totally creeped you out?” Zan suggested.
“Yeah,” Max agreed with a shiver, as he dodged through the other students in the hall, “but we have bigger things to worry about.”
“Nobody is getting by us,” Zan assured them. “I guarantee it.”
Max nodded. “I know Zan, you’ll keep us safe. I’m just worried about everyone.”
Liz sent him her love. “I wish we were in the same home room, so I could give you a hug,” she said.
Max smiled. “Me too,” he said, “That would definitely make me feel better.”
“Hey,” Zan complained, “if you are giving out hugs, I don’t want to miss out.”
Liz smiled and imagined hugging both of them, and sensed a rush of surprise from them when they felt her arms around them. “I miss you both already,” she said.
“That feels nice,” Max said. “Just what I needed, and I miss you too.”
“It’s just to hold you over until after class,” she said. “Then we can grab a few minutes in the Eraser Room for the real thing.”
“Hey,” Zan complained again.
“Sorry,” Liz said with a giggle, “but I’ll make it up to you later.”
The day passed uneventfully, and when the gang returned to Zan’s house after school, everyone was restless. It was impossible feeling so useless when you were waiting for an attack.
Tess had come with them, saying that she’d go to the Valenti house later. Max tried to ignore her, but it seemed like she was always next to him.
They were all gathered in the practice room and Isabel told them about what she’d learned about Lonnie and Rath that morning.
“So they’re just sitting in a warehouse,” Michael said. “Why didn’t you tell us this morning?” he asked Isabel angrily. “We wasted all day in school.”
He turned to the group, pointing out the door. “I say we go and start searching warehouses.”
“Wait,” Max said, “we can’t just go running off looking. We don’t even know where to start.”
Michael shook his head angrily. “We pick a street and go,” he snapped. “What are we waiting for?”
“There have got to be hundreds of warehouses,” Max pointed out. “We need more information so we can narrow it down.”
“They don’t know we’re getting close,” Zan pointed out. “If we go stumbling around searching for them, they’ll see us and we’ll lose whatever surprise we have.”
“We don’t have any surprise,” Michael scoffed. “They know we’re here! We need to take them out before Nicholas arrives with reinforcements, if he hasn’t already.”
Maria wrapped her arm around his. “Calm down,” she said softly. “We’re all scared, but it won’t help running around not knowing where we’re going.”
Scowling, Michael made a huffing sound as his eyes shifted to Isabel. “You have to try again,” he said softly. “You need to see an address, a street, another building, something.”
She nodded, knowing what he meant. “I’ve been trying,” she said, “every chance I get. Half my teachers thought I was sleeping in class. Lonnie isn’t thinking about where they are every minute.”
“You have to try harder,” he demanded.
“Michael,” Max said, his tone harsh.
Alex stepped forward, defending Isabel. “She’s trying.”
Michael looked from Max to Alex and then at Isabel. “Sorry,” he said dismissively.
“I’ll try again,” she said taking Alex’s hand. “Will you come with me?”
He squeezed her hand. “Of course. I’ll stay with you the whole time.”
They left to go upstairs, and the others shifted around uncomfortably for a few moments before Zan suggested they make an attempt at practicing.
Liz, Tess and Maria went to one end of the room, while Zan, Max and Michael went to the other.
Michael and Zan set up an obstacle course for Max, and he went into it trying to concentrate on the practice instead of the other million things on his mind.
They’d piled up boxes to give themselves places to hide so Max didn’t know where they would attack from. Taking a few steps forward, he threw out his hand, raising his shield to stop a basketball that suddenly was flying toward his head.
Almost immediately a cup was coming at him from the opposite direction and he swung around to deflect it. He stayed ready, looking around for more, but everything was quiet.
Going forward again he waited for the next attack. Then in rapid succession several items flew at him at once. He knocked two aside with his shield and dodged the third, spinning out of the way. Then the room seemed to erupt in activity. Zan and Michael threw things at him from various angles and he barely had time to breathe as his body simply reacted.
He pushed the flying objects away from him instinctively, his powers almost seeming to have a mind of their own. He caught or dodged everything that came at him, until suddenly a chair was hurling toward him. Without time to get his hands in the right position, he dove behind a wall of boxes at the end of the course, and the chair just clipped his foot.
“Wow,” Tess purred, suddenly next to him, “that was amazing! You’re getting so powerful, Max!”
“Thanks,” he said, catching his breath, “but that last one got me.” He motioned to his foot.
“Just a little,” she said dismissively, reaching out to help him up.
He wanted to refuse her hand, but didn’t want to be petty and allowed her to help him. But when he put his weight on the foot that got hit, he winced.
Tess noticed immediately. “Oh, you got hurt.” Dropping to her knees, she put her hands on his ankle. Looking up at him, she smiled seductively as she rubbed his leg. “Is this where it hurts?” she asked in a low voice.
Max practically choked. Was she really trying to seduce him again? Obviously she knew the image she made kneeling in front of him. She must think it would appeal to him, what she was offering, but it just made him feel cold.
His stomach churned and his head started to feel strange, like he was suddenly being turned sideways. His vision went blurry for a second and a feeling of emptiness filled him. Things seemed to push at his mind, like he was trying to remember something, but it just wouldn’t come.
He came back to himself, seeing Tess still kneeling before him and stumbled back. “It’s fine, really,” he said, wanting nothing more than to get away from her.
Michael and Zan came out from behind the boxes to congratulate Max.
“Hey,” Zan said, patting him on the back, “great job.”
“Yeah,” Michael agreed, “even if that last one clipped you.”
He glanced at Tess. “What are you doing? I thought you were practicing over there.”
She stood up. “I was just congratulating Max,” she said stiffly, annoyed that they’d interrupted.
“Right,” he said dismissively. “Do that later. This is practice time.”
Tess rolled her eyes. Michael was always Michael. She rubbed Max’s arm. “You really did do a great job.”
“Thanks,” he said, and released a breath as she finally left.
Michael waited until she was a few steps away. “What is with that chick?” he said with a shake of the head. “She won’t take no for an answer.”
He motioned to her with a jerk of his head. “I’ll go keep her busy for a while.”
As Michael left, Zan turned to Max to see his gaze following Tess across the room. He could feel that Max was troubled, but wasn’t sure what was wrong.
Before Zan could ask, Max spoke. “Do you ever wonder…,” he started softly, his eyes still focused on Tess. “Do you think about if he loved her?”
Zan didn’t need to ask what Max was talking about. He knew Max was referring to the original Zan, the man they were both made from. Did the original Zan love his Ava?
“I can’t even imagine it,” Max continued. “It would just feel so,” he paused, searching for a word, “wrong.”
Zan nodded. He could feel Max’s fear and knew exactly what he was worried about. “I’ve thought about it too,” Zan said, “and I think you’re right. If he loved her at all, I think we’d remember, some part of us would remember and still love her.”
Max seemed to release a deep breath as he turned to look at Zan for the first time. His whole life he’d loved Liz, but for the first time, he’d wondered if he would remember loving Ava if his memory of his other life returned. It made his whole body feel cold.
Tess was smiling as she returned to her practice with the other girls. She’d gotten some alone time with Max and she’d made it perfectly clear that she was his for the taking.
It was true when she’d tried to seduce him when she first came to town that he wasn’t interested, but maybe it was too soon for him. She knew now that he was doing more than kissing Liz, and she’d just shown him he had an alternative when he was tired of sharing the brunette.
She knew she’d affected him, kneeling before him, her mouth suggestively near him. She’d seen the way his eyes widened and his breathing sped up. It was only a matter of time before he came to her, she just wished she could do something to speed it up.
If only he wasn’t still so infatuated with Liz.
Then she suddenly remembered something. The night she had discovered that Max and Zan were sharing Liz, she had been on her way to talk to Zan about fighting for Liz. She had completely forgotten about it, probably because that was the night she found out that Kyle and Ava were sleeping together.
But Max wasn’t the only one sharing Liz. What if Zan was getting tired of the arrangement too? It wouldn’t hurt to talk to Zan about Liz. She just had to choose her words carefully.
If she could get Zan fighting to have Liz, Max would realize sooner that he had other options.
She would talk to Zan as soon as she could.
Maybe she should find a way to stay the night, she thought with a smile. If she played her cards right, she might not be alone in bed.
After an hour they gave up trying to practice because they were all having a hard time concentrating. Isabel and Alex came out of her room, but had nothing new to report.
Everyone was restless, wandering around until Zan suggested they have some food, and even though it was still early they gathered in the kitchen, all helping to put together the meal.
Liz looked at her friends as they dodged each other, reaching around for what they needed. It was frightening not knowing what was going to happen, but she was glad they had each other. She just wanted to curl up with Max and Zan and feel their arms around her, but they couldn’t while Tess was there.
She felt Max in her mind a second before he spoke silently to her.
“I wish I could take you in my arms right here in front of Tess and kiss you senseless,” he growled. “I’m tired of hiding my feelings for you.”
Zan’s voice joined them. “We just need to encourage Tess to go home, and then we don’t have to hide.”
“How do we do that?” Liz asked.
“I’m not sure,” Max said. “I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I definitely want her to go.”
“We’ll think of something,” Zan said.
Isabel and Alex took a seat at the table and Michael left an empty chair between them and himself when he sat down. He nodded to Maria where she was finishing up at the sink and she smiled.
Turning off the water, Maria turned to go to Michael, but stopped when she saw Tess. The blonde was sitting at the table, starring at Max across the room like he was a piece of chocolate cake covered in Tabasco. Maria rolled her eyes. Didn’t Tess ever take a hint?
Max looked their way and Tess smiled at him. “I saved you a seat,” she said coyly.
Maria sighed, but went forward and took the seat next to Tess. “Oh thanks,” she said.
A surprised Tess turned to her, and Maria continued. “What a great idea for me to sit next to you. It’s probably time we got to know each other better. If the Sheriff and my Mom get married, we’ll be like sisters.”
“Right,” Tess said unenthusiastically.
While they were talking, Zan took the seat on the other side of Tess so Max wouldn’t have to sit next to her.
Michael gave Maria a confused look, but she gently shook her head, and he went back to eating.
“Thanks,” Max said to Zan through the connection as he sat next to Michael, leaving the seat next to Maria for Liz. “I don’t think I could handle her groping me under the table.”
Max felt Liz’s arms around him even though she was across the table. “You’re so cute,” she teased, “how could she resist? I know if I was sitting next to you, I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off you.”
He groaned as desire filled him. “We’ve got to get rid of her,” he sighed. “I really need to touch you.”
Liz felt his desire and her own that was barely in check came boiling to the surface. “I want that too,” she said. “I want to feel both of you.”
“We always want you,” Zan growled.
Michael spoke up between bites, drawing their attention. “Isabel, tell us again exactly what you saw about Lonnie this time.”
“I told you,” Isabel said, putting down her fork, “nothing useful. There was graffiti on one of the walls, and Rath isn’t doing well, but it’s nothing new.”
“But the graffiti,” Michael said interestedly, “what was it? Would you recognize it again?”
Isabel shook her head, “I don’t know, it was just graffiti, illegible letters made with clashing colors of spray paint. It all looks alike.”
“Its not all alike,” Michael argued. “It…”
Liz jumped in her seat, gasping as she felt Max’s finger stroke across her clit.
How she knew it was Max she couldn’t have said, but she knew.
Her gaze flew to where he was still sitting across the table and his eyes sparkled wickedly. Obviously he couldn’t have reached her from there so the touch must have been through their connection.
“Liz?” Michael’s voice got through to her, and she realized he was talking to her.
“Huh?” she asked, turning to him.
“I asked if you have something to say?”
“Ummm, no,” she said, not even knowing what they were talking about. Looking around, she noticed everyone was watching at her. Quickly she grabbed for her drink and took a large swallow. “Hiccups,” she lied.
Max and Zan were both chuckling in her head as the others went back to their conversation. “Hiccups?” Zan asked with amusement.
“What was I supposed to tell them?” she asked them silently, blushing. “And what are you doing?”
“Touching you,” Max said with a grin.
“So you’ll have to be quiet,” Zan said.
“You can’t,” Liz said, her eyes darting around. “Not in front of everyone. They’ll know what we’re doing.”
Suddenly she felt Zan’s hot mouth close over her breast, his tongue stroking her nipple. She sucked in a breath as the electricity shot through her body.
“No one will know a thing,” he assured her.
“I’ve wanted to try this for a while,” Max admitted as his hand skimmed over Liz’s stomach with a light touch, “since we found out we could touch through the connection.”
Liz giggled. “Leave it to you guys to reduce our amazing ability to sex.”
She felt Zan’s humor in her head. “Like you haven’t wondered about it too,” he teased.
“Well, maybe,” she admitted.
All of them laughed, but Liz nearly gasped out loud again as Zan sucked hard on her breast and Max stroked her clit again.
To Liz it felt exactly like they were really touching her and her body responded the same way. She felt hot, like she was melting inside and she moisture started to gather between her thighs.
Instinctively she parted her legs, giving Max more room as she met his eyes across the table. It was crazy, but she wanted him so much. He had such an intense look of heat and desire that she felt a blush spread across her cheeks.
Max smiled, knowing how much she wanted his touch, wanted him, but Michael’s raised voice reminded him they weren’t alone. He glanced at the others to see that they were still involved in their conversation and not paying attention to him or Liz. He looked down, so he wouldn’t give them away as he and Zan continued pleasuring Liz.
Tess looked at Max, noticing he was staring at his plate, pushing his food around, but she had a feeling that his concentration was all on Liz. Glancing across the table, she wasn’t surprised to see Liz look down from Max as a blush spread across her face. Obviously they were flirting across the table.
She rolled her eyes, looking away. This is exactly why she didn’t want to be there with them.
Liz felt Zan kiss his way down her stomach and his mouth touched her core just as Max closed his mouth over her clit.
Max’s tongue slid over her sensitive nub and Zan’s darted against her lower lips, tasting, teasing. It was a position that could never happen in reality because they’d be occupying basically the same space.
Zan’s tongue dipped deeper, parting her and stroking shallowly inside as Max continued his assault on her bundle of nerves. He sucked and licked and rolled his tongue around her clit as Zan’s tongue thrust into her. At the same time she felt their hands all over her, stroking her skin, brushing her nipples. The pleasure was exquisite and her eyes slid shut as she tried not to moan.
Liz breathed deeply as she practically shook with desire. There was no way they could finish in front of everyone. She couldn’t control herself that much.
“You have to stop,” she said shakily through the connection, meeting their eyes. “I can’t,” she gasped, “I won’t be able to keep it in.”
They stopped, but Liz could still feel their hands and mouths on her. Max kissed her clit one final time and Zan took a last lick before they withdrew from her.
Liz’s whole body throbbed. She’d been so close but she had to stop them before she had a screaming orgasm in front of all of them.
“Sure beats phone sex,” Zan said in her head.
“But we’ve got to get rid of Tess,” Max said, “so we can continue with the real thing.”
“Wait,” he said, “I have an idea.”
He looked at the blonde across the table. “Tess,” he said, “I just wanted to thank you for agreeing to stay with the Valentis to protect them. It really makes me feel better knowing they’re safe, and I’m sure they feel better knowing you’re there.”
She gave him a huge smile. “Of course, Max,” she said. “I’m glad to help.”
Michael picked up on it immediately, just like Max was hoping. “So maybe you’d better get over there to make sure nothing happens to them,” he said gruffly.
Isabel hit him. “Could you be any more rude?” she demanded.
Tess looked from Michael to Max, hoping he would invite her to stay, but he didn’t. Crap, she thought, she hadn’t even had a chance to talk to Zan. “Well,” Tess said disappointedly, getting up from the table, “I guess I should get home, if there’s nothing else I can do to help here.”
“I think we’re good,” Michael said dismissively, as he got up to take his plate to the sink.
Isabel got up too. “I’ll walk you out,” she said.
Tess really didn’t have a choice then and they left the room.
After a moment Michael sighed. “I thought she’d never leave.”
Finally after cleaning up the kitchen, they paired off, attempting to comfort each other, Michael in an armchair with Maria sitting on his lap, Isabel and Alex cuddling on the sofa.
The couples tried not to look but couldn’t help seeing that Max, Liz and Zan were in a corner of the room, the two guys on either side of Liz, bodies pressed together. They weren’t speaking, but obviously communicating silently as they gently touched each other.
They seemed agitated, restless, and after a little while, they left the room together.
Waiting until they were out of earshot Michael spoke up. “So what do you guys really think about the three of them being together?”
“I think it’s great,” Maria said. “It’s obvious the three of them are so much in love.”
Michael grunted. “You can’t possibly think a relationship between three people is going to work out.”
“Why not?” Maria argued. “Unlike some people, they care about each other and are sensitive to…”
Isabel broke in before they really got going. “I’m just afraid that Max will get hurt. He’s loved Liz for so long and now he’s,” she broke off shifting uncomfortably, “now he’s sharing her with his double. It seems like it would be creepy.”
“But we don’t know how they feel,” Alex pointed out. “They said it feels natural the three of them together. Maybe it’s right for them. At least no one is left out.”
“Yeah,” Maria said. “It would have killed Max if Liz fell for Zan and was with him.” She shook her head, “But Liz would never do that to Max. She would never leave him for Zan because she would know it would kill him, so the three of them together is the perfect solution.”
Isabel sighed. “All we can really do is hope it works out, and be prepared to pick up pieces of three broken hearts if it doesn’t.”
Michael grunted again, frowning. “Can you imagine what they do together?”
Isabel shook her head. “I don’t want to think about it,” she said definitely.
“But the three of them,” Michael pressed.
Isabel held up a hand, cutting him off. “Please. I don’t want to think about what they do, and I don’t want to think about what you two do either, so don’t put any images in my head.”
Michael opened his mouth to say more, but closed it when he considered Isabel and Alex doing what he and Maria had done. With a shiver he quickly pushed the thoughts aside. He was curious about how Max, Liz and Zan worked out their positions and who did what. Did they take turns or …, but Isabel was right, maybe he really didn’t want to know.
Only when Max, Liz and Zan were safely inside Zan’s room, did they feel free to be completely together. They sat together on the bed, arms wrapped around each other, caressing.
“Do you want to talk about what’s wrong,” Liz asked Max, stroking his face. “You’ve been anxious and worried all day.”
Max smiled. “I thought I was hiding it better,” he admitted, “but I wanted to talk to you both about it when we were alone. It’s what Tess said, that there are people waiting on our planet for us to rescue them. I guess I never thought about it before. I kind of blocked it out because I didn’t want to think about it. It’s like some story you hear, or a history lesson, you can’t do anything. But now…” he trailed off.
“Now it’s become real,” Zan said.
“Yeah,” Max said. “Now I feel responsible for this whole planet that I’ve never seen and know practically nothing about and I’m scared.”
Liz laid her head on his shoulder so her forehead touched his cheek and put her legs across his so she was sitting in his lap, knowing he needed her closer. “What are you scared of?” she asked softly.
He stroked her hair. “I’m scared I’ll let them down, that people are dying and I can’t help.” He sighed, kissing her forehead. “But that’s only part of it. Tess said something about getting my memories back. I’m scared if that happens I won’t be me anymore.”
Zan spoke softly. “You’re scared you won’t love Liz anymore.”
“No!” Max said immediately, a shiver of horror going through him, and he tightened his arms around Liz. He couldn’t even imagine a life when he didn’t have her, but that’s what scared him the most. “Yes,” he whispered.
Liz pulled back enough to look into his eyes, and put a hand to his chest. “Max, whether you are Max Evans or you are King Zan or a combination of the two, I know you are the same man,” she assured him. “You are good and kind and caring, and none of that is going to change, no matter what you remember about your other life.”
“But Zan,” he said, his eyes sliding to the other man, “he’s different than I am.”
Liz smiled. “He’s not all that different,” she said with a smile. “And you both fell in love with me, remember?”
Max felt a rush of relief. Maybe she was right. “You mean loving you is in my genes? Our genes?” he said with a soft smile.
Zan nodded. “I think it is,” he said solemnly. “There’s no way I could have seen Liz and not loved her. She’s all we both want, the one we’ve been waiting for.”
Max had felt the same way his whole life. Loving Liz was part of who he was. There was no choice. It was like breathing or his heart beating, it just was. And it was what he was terrified of losing.
“What if we have to go back someday?” he asked, looking from Zan to Liz. “What happens then?”
Zan spoke up. “When the time comes we’ll make those decisions together,” he said, putting a hand on Max’s shoulder. “You aren’t in this alone.”
Max met Zan’s eyes. “I don’t know if I could do this alone.”
Zan nodded. “Me either, but we don’t have to. We have each other.”
They both looked at Liz, who smiled. “I love you both so much that I would go anywhere in the universe to be with you.”
A surge of love and belonging started in Max and Zan and passed through their connection until it filled all three of them, and then the hunger that was always there started to rise.
Liz smiled. “I haven’t been able to keep my mind off of you guys all day,” she said, looking from Max to Zan. “And after you teased me in the kitchen…” she trailed off.
“What are you thinking?” Max asked.
Liz tugged at his shirt, smiling. “I’ve been imagining the three of us with a lot fewer clothes.”
He smiled wickedly, stroking her hair. “That’s something we can easily fix.”
Max helped her take his shirt off, and she stroked over his chest, leaning in to kiss him before turning to Zan.
He pulled his shirt over his head, letting it fall to the floor. Putting her hand to his stomach, she followed the thin line of hair from his bellybutton to the top of his jeans.
“And then,” she said, grasping him by the waistband and pulling him even closer, “we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Zan smiled. “Do your worst, baby,” he said with a wink. “I didn’t soundproof the room for nothing.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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