Liz stood under the spray of the shower, letting the hot water sluice over her body. The morning sunlight angled in through the small window and she closed her eyes against it.
The dreams had come last night, just like they did every night. Zan’s gift hadn’t helped to keep them away, but it had eased the ache in her body for a while.
The vibrator had actually worked better than she thought. It had quickly given her three intense orgasms, but it wasn’t a replacement for an actual man between her thighs. She missed the contact of warm skin, the feel of hands and lips on her, the sensation of a warm cock filling her.
Turning off the water, she dried herself with a quick motion of her hand as she went into her room. The vibrator was lying on her bedside table where she’d left it last night, after using a burst of power to clean it.
It looked kind of pathetic in the light of day, but she’d been surprised how effective it was. Not that she would ever tell Zan that.
She had no doubt that she would get very well aquatinted with it though, at least until Zan gave up his insane idea of trying to control her.
Picking it up, she opened her underwear drawer and wrapped it in a pair of panties before hiding it in the back. The last thing she wanted was for Zan to find it. Smug bastard.
After getting dressed and eating breakfast, she was surprised that she felt a little lost about what to do. She needed to work, but she’d been expecting Zan to show up.
Instantly she was angry at herself. She didn’t need Zan or anyone in her life. She was better off alone.
Working quickly, she put her small apartment in order, making sure to get rid of the gift box and packaging for the vibrator. Then she forced herself to sit down at the computer and start on her ever-growing list of requests for papers.
She had worked through lunch and just sent an email with a paper she’d finished, when a knock sounded at the door.
It didn’t take a psychic to figure out who it was. No one ever came to her door.
For a second she considered not answering. Maybe he would just go away.
But his voice came through the door. “I know you’re there,” he said.
Liz rolled her eyes at her own oversight. Of course he knew. He could feel her. She still wasn’t used to this alien stuff.
For another second she considered telling him to take a hike, but realized he would just let himself in. She did have to give him a little credit, she guessed. At least this time he knocked.
Getting up, she crossed to the door, surprised that she was kind of looking forward to seeing him. It had been nice to talk to someone.
But she was also disgusted with herself because she felt a rush of excitement. It was just because he was the only person she’d really talked to in a while, but she didn’t want it to be because of him.
Swinging the door wide, she greeted him. “What do you want?”
He smiled. “Good morning to you too, princess,” he said, coming into her apartment.
He glanced around and Liz thought he must be looking for the gift box the vibrator had been in, and felt herself blush. It was stupid but she didn’t want him to know she’d used it.
She thought he would ask about it when he turned to face her.
“Good,” he said, “you’re already dressed.”
Her eyes narrowed with suspicion as she glanced down at her clothes. “Why do you care that I’m dressed?”
“Because I’m taking you out,” he announced.
She shook her head. “I’m not going anywhere with you, and besides I already have plans.”
His eyebrow arched, and she knew he could tell she was lying. But it didn’t stop him. He barreled over her just like he usually did.
“Get a jacket,” he ordered with a jut of his chin toward her bedroom. “It’s windy today.”
She was tired of him trying to run her life and stood staring at him, their eyes locked.
Knowing she couldn’t win against him made her even more stubborn and determined. She raised her chin, knowing she would end up doing what he said, but she didn’t have to make it easy for him.
“Where are we going?” she ground out.
“It’s a surprise,” he said with a smirk.
Her eyes hardened and he continued, “But I promise you’ll like it.”
She still didn’t move, her gaze never leaving him as a thousand thoughts rushed through her mind. Why was he doing this? For the reasons he’d said, or was there something else?
As they stood looking at each other, Zan’s mouth quirked up at one corner. “We can stand here all day, princess, and you can fight me all you want, but we’re going. The sooner we leave, the sooner we’ll be back. So why don’t you get that jacket,” he urged, “unless you want me to throw you over my shoulder and carry you out of here.”
She hated that he could be so calm and patient when she was seething with anger. And she hated that he was right.
“Bastard,” she snarled, turning on one foot she stomped away, but winced as his chuckle followed her down the hall.
Stuffing a few things into a small purse, she shrugged it onto her shoulder as she grabbed a jacket.
She also hated that she was curious about where he was taking her, and even a little excited. It was stupid, but she rarely left the house other that to buy a few necessities, and found that she was kind of looking forward to today’s adventure.
Pulling her hair back into a ponytail, she left her room to rejoin Zan in the living room. She noted that his eyes raked over her and his mouth raised in a smile as he nodded slightly, obviously satisfied that he had won.
Together they went out the door and down the stairs, and she looked around for his car, but didn’t see it. With a questioning look, she turned to him and he cupped her elbow, leading her to a car parked at the curb.
This was obviously a classic car too, she thought from the sixties, and she was pretty sure it was a Mustang. It was a candy-apple red convertible with matching red seats.
For a moment she wondered how many cars he could afford to own, but then smiled at her own shortsightedness. He used his powers. He could buy junk cars for pennies and make them look like new. He could own a parking lot full of classic cars for less than she made in one month.
He opened the door for her, and she got in, noting that the top was down, and wondered if that’s why he’d insisted on a jacket.
She looked briefly at the interior of the car, but faced the window, determined to ignore him. He could force her on these outings, but he couldn’t force her to be a good companion.
They drove in silence, and Liz kept herself turned away from him, watching the surroundings as they flew past. Soon they were out of the area she was familiar with, and she wasn’t even sure which direction they were going.
The day was warm and the breeze felt nice against her skin, and she let her eyes drift shut as a feeling of peace settled over her. She hadn’t felt like that for so long, since long before she’d left Roswell, since . . . But she didn’t want to question it. She just wanted to savor it while it lasted.
As they drove, the sun warmed her skin and she felt moisture in the air. Zan pulled off the main road onto a smaller road that started to wind between ever-larger trees as they went up a gradual hill.
The scent of water filled her nose as the trees suddenly opened and Liz gasped as the ocean was revealed below them. It was her first time seeing it, even though she’d been in L.A. for more than six months.
Zan stopped the car at the top of the overlook and she took in the sight. She couldn’t believe how huge it was, water as far as she could see. Intellectually she knew the ocean covered most of the Earth, but seeing it was completely different.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Yeah,” he answered softly.
She looked at him, to find him watching her, and she felt a little self-conscious. “I’ve never seen it before.”
He nodded. “I had a feeling.”
It annoyed her a little that he seemed to know her so well, but she smiled anyway. “Can we go down to the water?”
“Sure,” he said, returning her smile. “There’s a path just over there.”
Getting out of the car, Liz really looked at Zan for the first time that day. He was wearing a faded maroon t-shirt, dark blue jeans and his customary work boots. Not exactly beach attire, but he didn’t seem to be complaining.
They carefully worked their way down the steep winding dirt path that had obviously been scarred into the hillside by many visitors over the years. And while it wasn’t paved, metal handrails had been installed in some places.
When they reached the beach, Liz immediately kicked off her shoes, rolled up her pants, and headed for the water. She stopped when she was ankle deep, loving the feeling of her feet sinking into the wet sand. The water was colder than she expected, as the rhythm of the tide made it brush against her skin, but it was incredible.
Standing there for long minutes, she watched the rolling waves come into shore.
Seabirds flew overhead, and she slowly moved to some nearby rocks to sit. But as she reached them, she gasped with surprise. There were pockets in the rocks that were filled with water and plants. Bending down she could see tiny crabs foraging among the leaves and a small starfish that clung to the rocks. It was a mini ecosystem and she sat down, watching fascinated.
She wasn’t sure how long she watched, but suddenly became aware that the sun was sinking toward the horizon. They must have been there for two or three hours, and she looked around for Zan, wondering if he was annoyed. But he was simply sitting on the sand, and he turned to meet her gaze, a soft smile raising one corner of his mouth.
Going to him, she apologized as she got close. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how long-“
He cut her off with a smile. “Don’t worry about it, princess. That’s what I brought you here for.”
She sank down into the sand near him and he held her gaze. “Did you have a good time?” With a jut of his chin, he motioned to the rocks where she’d spent all her time. “You seemed pretty interested in what was going on over there.”
Nodding, she explained. “There are tide pools in the rocks and each one is like a little world. There were crabs and jellyfish. . .” she trailed off blushing, and got to her feet. “But you don’t want to hear about that. You probably want to go.”
He got up too. “Sure I want to hear. Tell me all about the crabs.”
She laughed, shaking her head and went to get her shoes, quickly putting them on as he came to stand beside her.
“Here’s something for you to remember your first time at the ocean,” he said. Reaching out his hand, he opened his palm, holding it out to her.
Looking down, Liz saw a spiral shell about an inch long. It was bulbous on one end and came to a tight point on the other, cream and tan colors swirling though the entire length. “Oh,” she said, reaching out to take it from him, “it’s perfect. Thank you.”
Her stomach growled loudly and he frowned. “You forgot to each lunch, didn’t you?”
“I was working,” she said defensively.
“Well,” he drawled, “let’s go get you something to eat.”
She nodded, glad he wasn’t going to make a big thing about it.
At the base of the hill, it looked a lot bigger as Liz glanced up to where the car was parked. But there was only one way to get there and she gripped the handrail and started climbing.
The sun was rapidly nearing the horizon, and it was becoming dimmer by the moment.
Scrambling back up the path, they were almost at the top when Liz’s shoes sank into the loose soil and she suddenly slipped, falling backward. Grabbing for the handrail, she gasped as she missed, panicking with the feeling of falling. For a moment it looked as if everything went into slow motion. She could see the height of the hillside and the beach a long way below, and started to scream, but was instantly caught in strong arms.
“It’s okay, princess,” Zan soothed. “I’ve got you.”
Her heart thudded in her chest at the close call, and she gulped air. “Thanks,” she gasped, starting to shake.
“Hey,” he said softly, “it’s okay.” He started rubbing her arms and she felt his power seeping into her skin, warming her. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
She nodded, feeling foolish, and tried to lighten the mood. “Except I’m starving to death.”
He laughed. “Well I know this little diner just up the road that makes the best crab sandwich you’ve ever had, if you don’t mind eating a few of your friends back there.”
She couldn’t help but laugh.
He helped her the rest of the way up the hill and they got into the car just as the sun was setting. The sky glowed with reds and oranges as the last rays of light disappeared and Liz rested her head against the seat as Zan drove back the way they came.
There were few lights on the road and Liz looked out her window watching the glow from the city blink through the trees. The air was turning cooler, but she thought it felt nice. The sensation of peace still settled over her and she felt like she could breathe a little easier.
Of course it was all an illusion. One nice day at the beach wouldn’t change anything in her life, but it had distracted her for a while. And it was all due to Zan, she admitted grudgingly.
Maybe he had been right about her getting out of the house, just this one time. But she would never tell him that of course. She glanced at him across the seat, and quickly looked away.
Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. She was even starting to kind of like him.
Of course that still didn’t give him the right to run her life, she reminded herself.
“Here we are,” Zan said, breaking into her thoughts, as he pulled into a parking lot.
Liz looked up and her breath caught in her throat.
The building didn’t really look like the Crashdown, but something about it reminded her of it immediately. Maybe it was the position of the windows, the arrangement of the seating outside, or the retro 60s Jetson’s atompunk styling but something instantly made her think of the Crashdown, and her heart thudded in her chest as she was instantly taken back to that horrible night in Roswell.
“Tess is pregnant,” Max had said.
With those simple words their lives had changed forever and the dream she had of being with her soulmate was killed.
There is nowhere left to hide
There is nothing to be done
As Max had driven her home, she couldn’t stop her mind working.
He had betrayed her.
Yes, she had followed Future Max’s instructions and done everything she could to turn Max from her, to make him stop loving her, but somehow she always thought it would work out between them. She’d had faith that Max’s feelings for her were stronger, that he would understand, that he would wait. Somehow . . .
As darkness craves the mind
We come undone without our pride
No time on earth to come
40 miles from the sun
But she’d been naďve, even stupid. Of course Max would turn to Tess. It was exactly what she’d set into motion. She’d manipulated him to do it. She had done this to them.
In our coats beneath the layers
Wash my skin of all the hate
Everything just kind of grates
40 miles from the sun
It seemed like no time had passed as he’d finally stopped the jeep in front of the Crashdown. They sat in silence for a moment before Max turned to her. “Liz, I have to tell you something else.”
Warily she faced him, afraid of what more he could have to say. She was already devastated and his tone left her in no doubt that it was about to get worse.
Her first thought was that he was going to tell her that he and Tess were getting married, and how impossible it would be for her to live in town with them, watching them and their child. Because, of course, he would do the right thing and stay with the mother of his child. There was no question in her mind. That was just who Max was.
I need to lose to make it right
I'll confront the stars tonight
I will babble I will bite
You will never know how much you shine
40 miles from the sun
With wide eyes, she stared at him, unable to ask what more there could possibly be. She didn’t want to know how much more her life would be ruined, and the silence extended heartbeat by excruciating heartbeat.
Suddenly she was being shaken, “Liz,” Max called out.
Tears pooled in her eyes as her gaze met amber eyes.
He shook her again. “Liz, can you hear me?”
“Max?” she breathed.
“Fuck!” he snarled, making her recoil. Max never used that kind of language, and it was enough to bring her back to herself and realize she wasn’t with Max. She wasn’t in the Jeep outside the Crashdown. It wasn’t that night, but the consequences of it would never change.
And that is why she was with Zan in California.
“Liz,” Zan tried again, cupping her cheek and making her look at him, “tell me what’s happening. What do you remember?”
She shook her head as shivers of reaction ripped through her body, “I can’t do this,” she said desperately. She couldn’t stand to look at him, Max’s double, and she closed her eyes and turned away so she couldn’t see him.
Zan took her in his arms, holding her tight, using his powers to warm her. “You need to calm down,” he said gently. “You’re strong. You’ll be okay.”
Liz held herself stiff, barely registering what was happening as the scene kept replaying in her memory. “I’ll never be okay,” she breathed. “Just take me home.”
Her shivers intensified and Zan grabbed his jacket from the back, turning it into a thick blanket as he put it over her, tucking it around her tightly. He used his powers to warm it and put the roof up as he started the car.
As they drove, Liz rocked slightly, trying to think of anything else. She silently recited times tables as fast as she could, she quoted a Shakespeare soliloquy she’d had to learn for school, she tried to remember the peaceful feeling she’d gotten at the beach, but none of it was working.
Images and bits of conversation kept creeping their way into her thoughts. Things she couldn’t bear to think about.
Finally she realized that Zan stopped the car and turned it off, and she looked up, unsure about where they were at first, but then she saw the three angels. They were in the parking lot of the cemetery near her house.
Wrenching the door open, she threw the blanket aside and rushed toward them but as she rounded the front of the car, Zan’s arms enfolded her. She struggled against him, but he was too strong.
“Let me go,” she begged, “I need to run.”
“Calm down,” he soothed. “Try walking instead of running.”
She shook her head frantically. “It won’t work,” she said instantly.
“Just try it,” he urged.
She didn’t want to waste time arguing with him, she had to move. When she nodded, he released her.
Walking quickly, she headed into the cemetery, keeping her eyes on the angels. Again, she tried to think of anything but what had happened in Roswell. She concentrated on the steps she was taking, her breathing, but it wasn’t working.
She wanted to run, but she knew Zan would stop her.
Her life had been so simple, so ordered before he’d shown up ruining everything. She’d mostly been able to keep the memories out of her head, but now they seemed to be there all the time.
She reached the base of the monument the angels stood on, but didn’t touch it as she’d done so many times before. Instead, she turned, walking quickly along the row, reading the headstones.
Anthony L. Calloway
June 9th, 1934
September 11th, 1989
August 29th, 1924
June 25th, 1967
Born December 5th, 1933
Died February 20th 1998
She started to push the unwanted thoughts from her head by concentrating on the names and dates.
Jennifer H. Stephen U.
1916 -1996 1912 - 1983
Zan’s voice broke into the small amount of calm she achieved. “Tell me what happened.”
Ignoring him, she continued down the row.
1957 – 1990
“Liz,” Zan said louder, stepping in front on her, “what happened back there?”
She shook her head and turned to go back the other way, trying to pretend he wasn’t there.
“You have to talk about this,” he said, his voice even closer.
He was following her.
She kept shaking her head as she continued to read.
May 24th, 1903
July 27th, 1975
“It’s eating you up inside,” he said, his calm voice enraging her. “Tell me what happened.”
Whipping around she unleashed all her anger at him. “Never!” she snarled. “I’ll never tell you!”
Putting all of her anger into her hands, she struck out at him with her powers, connecting with his chest and pushing as hard as she could. She felt a surge of satisfaction when she saw that she actually made him move back a step.
Turning, she took off running as fast as she could toward her apartment.
She listened intently for Zan following her, but she didn’t hear anything. But instead of calming her, it made her even more desperate to get away, and she pushed herself even more.
Clearing the cemetery, she dove into the trees. She heard her own feet hitting the ground in a steady rhythm but nothing behind her and she started to think she’d escaped him.
Leaving the small patch of woods, her gaze focused on the lights of her apartment, just visible in the distance, and she blocked out everything else around her as she single-mindedly thought of her goal.
She ran and ran, watching the lights grow steadily closer, and finally she was almost there. She was so focused on them that she almost didn’t see Zan’s car parked at the curb.
Slowing her pace, she realized what an idiot she was. Of course he didn’t have to run after her. It was a big park. He’d just driven and gotten there before her. He wouldn’t even have to break the speed limit to be waiting.
She didn’t look at him, walking around the car and across the street, but he fell into step next to her, holding out the purse and jacket she’d left on the seat. Trying to ignore him, she took it from him and went up the stairs and let herself into her apartment.
Going inside, she didn’t even try to stop him from entering, and instead stayed turned away from him putting her things on the table. “Go away,” she said softly. “Leave me alone. Can’t you see it hurts me to look at you?”
A shiver rushed through her and she realized he’d stopped blocking himself from her. She could feel him now and he was practically next to her.
“You’re in pain because you’ve kept this all bottled up inside,” he whispered, his breath brushing her ear.
“Stop asking me,” she demanded. She’d been so upset just a few a minutes before but now annoyance started to fill her. Zan was right. He brought out her anger. She moved farther away from him. “Can’t you just leave me alone?” she snarled over her shoulder.
“You need to talk about it,” he said, his voice louder. “You’ll never get over it-“
Whirling around she faced him. “Get over it?” she asked incredulously, her voice getting louder as his words made her even more angry. “You have no idea what I’ve lost, what we could have had.”
He held her gaze, “Tell me then.”
Her eyes narrowed on him as her temper rose. “Why do you keep asking?” she raged. “What the hell do you really want?”
His expression that was usually so controlled broke for just a moment, and she thought she saw heat in his gaze.
Rapidly, his eyes raked over her, lingering on her breasts for a split second before taking in her legs that were still exposed by her rolled up jeans, and then returning to her face. When his eyes met hers again, his face was composed.
It happened so quickly she almost wondered if she imagined it.
Liz had never even considered him like that and it was the first sign she’d seen that he was interested in her, but suddenly she saw him completely differently. He wasn’t just an annoying alien king or a copy of Max, he was a man, and like all men he had urges, and she knew how to deal with sex. Instantly her whole persona changed and she went from angry to seductive.
Going toward him, she put a sway in her hips, and pressed her hands to his chest, “Oh,” she purred, “I understand now,” she said, using her weight to aggressively push him back against the wall. “You want to have what was his, don’t you?”
She held his gaze, smiling. Her hands caressed his chest before moving lower, skimming his stomach. “You want to fuck a real princess.”
Leaning in closer to him, she let her hand go even lower, brushing over his hard length through his jeans. He groaned and she saw desire flash in his eyes. “That’s what you want, isn’t it?” she said softly.
Grasping her by the waist, he suddenly lifted her and turned them, so her back was against the wall. He pressed his body into her so she could feel his erection, and lowered his head, but stopped when their lips were inches apart. “I don’t want what was his,” he growled. “I want you.”
He cupped her cheek, his rough hand caressing down her neck, making her head instinctively arch back, bringing their lips even closer together.
“And it will happen,” he promised, “but not tonight, and not like this.”
Liz was stunned, and she was sure it showed on her face.
He smiled, moving back from her. “When I take you it will be on my terms, princess. I won’t let you treat me like one of your one-night-only throwaway fucks. I’ll take you when you want me and only me, and when you’re desperate to have me.”
With a wink, he moved to the door, pausing as he opened it. “Sweet dreams, princess.”
And then he was gone.
For several long minutes, Liz couldn’t move.
Her whole body throbbed from the encounter.
It was surprising and not. She’d focused on sex and pleasure for so long that her body just automatically reacted. But usually it only reacted to guys she was attracted to. It was a bit disconcerting to realize she was attracted to Zan. But she didn’t really want to think about that, so she pushed it to the back of her mind.
She’d been right about him wanting her, but she couldn’t believe he’d turned her down. She’d thought she could fuck him and forget him just like all the others and he’d leave her alone. But she should have known it wouldn’t be that easy.
She also knew what he wanted would never happen. One promise she’d made to herself is that she would never again get involved with anyone. It was just too painful. So if Zan thought he could snap his fingers and she’d fall all over him, he had another thing coming.
He’d wait a hell of a long time if he thought she’d come to him.