(Monday - August 27th, 2001)
Max looked at his watch again. It was quarter after eight and still Isabel wasn’t there. He turned to Liz. “Didn’t Isabel tell you she was coming today?”
Liz nodded. “Yeah. She said she was going to run a couple of errands and meet us here.” Liz shrugged. “I’m sure she’s just late.”
“Yeah,” Max said, but his tone didn’t sound convincing even to himself. He turned to Michael and Kyle, “I guess we should just get started.”
Kyle picked up a rock and hurled it as far as he could and then turned angrily back to Max and Michael. “What the fuck are we doing?” he yelled. “Just waiting for them to pick us off one at a time?”
Liz stepped toward him, “Kyle…”
Suddenly the air around them shimmered and wavered like heat rising off hot sand, and a hundred Skin soldiers were revealed, surrounding them with arms raised.
Nicholas stood in front of Max with a smile. “Yes Max, what the fuck are you doing? Practicing your powers? Do you really think that’s going to save you?”
Max quickly looked around them and paled at the number of soldiers. How could they take on so many? Automatically he reached for Liz’s hand.
Nicholas laughed. “The boy-King. You never even had a chance. So why don’t you and Michael surrender to us now? Or are you waiting for all of your friends, for your wife to die?”
Max was instantly furious. Was Nicholas right, were they doomed no matter what? Had he saved Liz’s life and brought her into his world only to have her killed by their enemies? They had sacrificed so much, lost so much. This couldn’t be how it was supposed to end.
He felt his power building up within him along with his anger. They had to at least try to fight, even if they didn’t succeed. Max didn’t believe for one minute that the Skins would spare Kyle and Liz.
No matter what they did, no matter how much they just wanted to live normal lives, the Skins were always there pulling them back into the alien mess. And it would never stop. Khivar, Nicholas, would never stop trying to kill them.
Max felt Liz’s thoughts pouring into him along with her power. She wanted the Skins dead for killing Maria. And her anger and power mixed with his and Max felt his mind open even more. Suddenly he knew what he needed to do. Instead of trying to control his anger, he needed to embrace it and let it give him all its power.
He closed his eyes and thought of all the terrible things that had happened in their lives; his time in the White Room, the horror of seeing Liz in bed with Kyle, the pain of Alex’s, Maria’s and his parents’ death, Tess’ betrayal, his son’s torture. Max let his mind fill with the images, using each memory to stoke his fury and build his power.
And Liz was in his mind too, aware of what he was doing, and she was urging him on. He could feel her anger and lust for revenge mixing with his own, building it to an even greater height.
Do it Max, she urged. Kill them all.
Max’s power built to an impossible point and suddenly it was as if he had a new understanding of the world around him. He could feel the life force of each of his friends and the Skin soldiers surrounding them.
And even through his concentration, Max could hear Nicholas speaking.
“So what will it be, Max?” Nicholas asked. “I don’t have all day. Either surrender now or I will simply kill you all.”
Max heard Michael’s voice behind him. “Max?”
Nicholas spoke again. “So be it.” He called out to his troops, “Kill them!”
With a roar of rage, Max opened his eyes, focusing on Nicholas.
Nicholas gasped in surprise when Max’s gaze met his. Max’s eyes didn’t just glow with power, they seemed to burn with a bright blue flame. Nicholas knew instantly that he had underestimated Max terribly, and he was going to pay the price.
For Max it was as if everything went into slow motion. In his mind he could sense every one of the Skins, even the one’s he couldn’t physically see. He watched the Skins’ energy building inside them and knew when their power left their hands and traveled toward him.
Max didn’t even raise his hand, he simply sent a burst of power out around him, easily avoiding his friends. His power met the energy from the Skin soldiers’ attacks, dissipating it effortlessly. And Max continued to thrust his power out at the soldiers, like the blade of a sword, slashing through all of them with a single stroke and filling the air with shower of skin. Max held Nicholas’ eyes the whole time and felt a surge of satisfaction when he saw Nicholas’ genuine shock and fear as his husk was breached ending his life.
Only the four friends remained and they stood in silence for a moment. Max still held Liz hand and he turned to her, their eyes glowing with power.
Kyle was the first to speak. “Holy crap! What the hell just happened?!”
“Max happened,” Michael said with awe in his tone.
Max and Liz were still looking at each other and Kyle took a step toward them, calling out to get their attention. “Max? Liz?”
They turned as one to look at Kyle and he gasped when he saw their eyes.
Michael came forward, examining them curiously. “This is because of the power?”
“Maybe you should try pushing power into me,” Michael suggested. “If we all could get that kind of power...”
Michael’s words faded into the background as Max suddenly felt a familiar sensation in his mind. He had felt it many times before and had thought it was his son trying to contact him, but now he saw it for what it really was. It had been Tess’ power all along, not his son, and all of the illusions were suddenly stripped from his mind.
Tess had mind warped him to think they had slept together, but they never had, and there was certainly no child. The images and emotions from his son had been created by her simply to torture him.
Fury rushed through Max again thinking of everything Tess had done. She had betrayed them in every way possible and killed poor, innocent Alex. She’d nearly driven him insane with the horrific visions of his son’s pain. But even worse, she had nearly rendered him and Liz permanently apart with her mind warps and meddling.
A murderous hate and rage raced through Max as he turned and looked up at the cliff wall. Tess was up there, he could feel it. She was using her powers to conceal herself from them. He realized she had been cloaking the Skin soldiers before they appeared, and she might have escaped if she hadn’t resorted to using her powers again.
With a gesture of his hand Max gripped Tess with his powers and pulled her screaming, struggling form off the cliff and down into the quarry with them. He threw her hard against a nearby rock formation and held her there.
“Tess!” Michael and Kyle hissed in unison.
Max rushed to her and gripped her chin in his hand, slamming her head against the rock. “You bitch!” he spat. Fury and power flowed through him and his eyes burned blue.
Tess was terrified. She had thought she was a safe distance away, watching from above with Khivar and Isabel. They had seen the troops below them get wiped out and Tess had automatically started a mind warp to hide herself from Max. But now it was obvious to her that her power had only drawn Max’s attention.
She had never witnessed the amount of power that Max had just demonstrated, killing all of the Skin soldiers with a single blow and plucking her off the cliff. The power still rushed through Max and his eyes pulsed with hatred directed at her. And suddenly Tess realized Khivar and Isabel were her only salvation. “Help me!” she screamed.
Max laughed. “No one is going to save you.”
Tess knew Max was probably right. Khivar didn’t care if she lived or died. If she was going to get away she had to do it herself, and she had to use anything she could to stop him. She thought of Isabel colluding with Khivar and felt a ray of hope that she would get away alive. “Max, wait. I have to tell you…”
“Shut up!” Max cut her off with a snarl. “Why would I believe anything you say?”
Shaking with fear, Tess’ hope started to evaporate. After everything she had done, Max would never believe her about Isabel or anything else. Tess could tell Max the sky was blue and he would call her a liar. She had to figure out another way to escape, and automatically started a mind warp, focusing most of her power on Max.
“Don’t even bother,” Max growled, using his power to push hers back into her. “Your mind warps don’t work on me any more.
Tess cried out in pain as her own power ripped through her mind.
“That damn power of yours,” Max roared as he slammed her head against the rock. “You used it to lie and trick us, to betray us, to steal the Granolith,” he ground out, getting angrier with every word. Max slammed her head back harder, cutting her scalp and splashing blood across the rock.
Tess’ head was pounding with pain. “Max,” she gasped.
“You used your power to kill Alex, and you helped to kill Maria.” Max slammed her head into the rocky surface again and there was an audible crack.
Tess cried out in agony, “Max stop!” Tears ran down her face. “What about our son?”
“Our son!” Max roared. “You made me think we had slept together, made me think you were pregnant and my son was dying, and you tortured me for months sending me visions of my son in pain!” He punctuated each point by shoving her head against the rock, harder and harder, and several more cracks sounded. Blood gushed from Tess’ wounds and poured down the rock’s surface, and her head sagged in Max’s hand because she lacked the strength to raise it.
Tess’ eyes wildly looked to her former friends for help. Michael’s stony gaze and hard-set jaw didn’t give her any hope and she looked to Liz. But Liz’s eyes burned with the same power and hatred that Tess could see in Max, and she looked to her final chance of salvation, Kyle. She had betrayed him the worst, forcing him to help with Alex’s body, throwing away the possibility of what could have been between them, throwing away his love.
Tess met Kyle’s gaze, not even daring to hope. But she saw pity in his eyes and desperately held his gaze, silently begging for help.
Suddenly Kyle surged forward, “Max wait.”
With a thought Max threw his shield up, preventing Kyle from reaching them. He wasn’t going to let Kyle or anyone else stop him. Max knew he was crushing Tess skull, beating her to death, but he didn’t care. All he could think of was bashing the power out her mind so she could never hurt them again.
Max leaned down forcing Tess to look at him. “You were my wife, my family. You should have used your power to help us and keep us safe. But instead you used it to tear my life apart. You used it to keep me away from Liz. You almost made me lose the one person who is most important to me, and for that if nothing else, I am going to kill you.”
Max could see the terror in Tess’ face and his eyes burned brighter with satisfaction. He leaned in closer. “Think I’m still just a boy?” he taunted and his voice lowered to a growl. “Or can you see the King now?”
Again Max slammed her head against the rock, using his power to increase the impact of the blow, smashing Tess’ head and sending shards of skull into her brain, killing her instantly.
Max released his grip and let her body fall to the ground.
With a negligent motion of his hand, he turned her body to ash, and swirled the particles up into the air, where they were caught by a breeze and blown away. With another motion of his hand he cleaned Tess’ blood from the rock, but stopped when he realized that some of her blood had splashed onto his hand.
For a moment he looked at it strangely, as if it weren’t real. He supposed he should feel shame or guilt for beating his former wife to death, but all he felt was relief that it was finally over. And without another thought he used his left hand to simply erase her blood from his hand, as if she had never existed.
No one spoke as Max turned back to them, and automatically his eyes sought Liz’s. He was somewhat apprehensive about her reaction, but when their eyes met and held, he knew instantly that he needn’t have worried.
Liz had never really wanted anyone dead before, but she had witnessed all of the memories and realizations that had rushed through Max’s mind. And because of the things Tess had done to them, to Max, and for the part she played in Alex and Maria’s death, Liz thought Tess deserved to die. It was justice.
The only thing she regretted was that Max had been the one forced to kill her.
Without breaking eye contact Liz walked to Max and deliberately reached for the hand he had used to kill Tess. She grasped it tightly in her own hands and raised it her chest, placing it over her heart.
They were both still floating on Max’s power rushing between them and Liz’s glowing gold eyes burned into Max’s flaming blue eyes. Feelings passed through their bond so quickly that neither of them knew where they originated; anger, satisfaction, triumph, lust.
Michael approached them. “Do you think Nicholas is really dead this time?”
Max nodded. “He’s dead. I could feel his life force in my mind. I could feel them all, and they’re all dead.”
“A new power?” Michael asked softly.
“Yes,” Max said with a nod. “I just suddenly knew how to do it.”
“Maybe that was all the Skins on Earth,” Kyle suggested. “And now that Nicholas is dead, maybe we’re safe.”
Max shook his head. “Even if it was all of the Skins on Earth, Khivar has the Granolith and he could simply send more. We’ll never be safe as long as he’s still alive.”
Khivar and Isabel had watched dumbfounded from above the quarry as Max annihilated Nicholas and their troops, and then killed Tess. And with the handful of remaining Skins, they returned to Khivar’s house.
Isabel was still horrified. “I had no idea Max had that much power.”
“I underestimated Max badly,” Khivar said. “He is rapidly regaining his former stature and there were few who could stand against him. Liz must be very powerful to have helped bring this out of him in such a short time.”
“And the way he killed Tess,” Isabel gasped, shaking with fear.
Khivar took her into his arms, gently stroking her hair. “Max must have figured out that Tess mind warped him about the child. It’s not safe for you here anymore,” he said. “I want you to return to Antar with me.”
“And just leave Max here?” Isabel asked incredulously.
Khivar shook his head. “No, on Earth or on Antar, he would always threaten us and the republic. There would always be people who saw Max as the rightful King and continue to defy us.” He sighed. “And Max’s supporters might find a way to bring him back to Antar one day. It’s too dangerous to leave Max alive. And when he regains his full powers and memory he will be an even greater danger to us.”
Khivar reached up to touch her face. “It’s Max or us, my love.”
Isabel nodded. “It’s just like our last life.” She sighed. “So you’ll send more troops to Earth to get Max.”
“I can send more soldiers to Earth,” Khivar said, “but after what we saw today, I don’t know that it would do any good.”
“What about those black chevron-shaped things. They block powers don’t they? We could use that on Max.”
Khivar nodded. “The amplifiers. We developed them to use against Max because he was so hard to defeat on Antar. And I made a mistake not using them. I thought we would be able to take Max before he got so powerful. He has gained so much power so fast, he took me by surprise today.” He shook his head. “We could use the amplifiers but they would block our powers too. And with only the few soldiers we have left it would put us at a greater disadvantage. Max knows how to break the seals on the husks. Basically we would be sending the soldiers on a suicide mission.”
Isabel shook her head with a nagging sense of familiarity. “This is wrong.”
“What do you mean?” Khivar asked.
“I don’t know,” Isabel said considering, and then suddenly she remembered. “Liz.”
“Liz…” Khivar prompted.
“With everything that has happened, I totally forgot,” Isabel said. “Months ago Liz told us that Max came back from the future to see her.”
“What?” Khivar asked incredulously.
“I know,” Isabel said, “it sounds crazy. But she said Max came to warn her that you had taken over the Earth in his time. He wanted Liz to help him stop you.”
Khivar shook his head. “And how did they do that?”
“Max told Liz that his younger self needed to be with Tess, and she would help us defeat you,” Isabel explained.
Khivar’s brow creased. “But Tess betrayed him and joined with us.”
Isabel nodded. “Max was wrong. But the point is that we do win in the end.”
“By taking over the entire Earth?” Khivar asked. He shook his head. “There has to be a better way. After seeing what Max can do…” he trailed off. “No, we need to get Max to Antar where our troops aren’t so easy to kill. I think that’s the best way to defeat him.”
Isabel sighed, “So how do we get Max to go back to Antar?”
Khivar shook his head. “It would be easy if he thought his son was real and on Antar…” he trailed off and suddenly looked tired. “I have an idea but it would mean putting you in danger.” He shook his head. “We’ll come up with something else.”
“No,” Isabel said. “It’s a good idea isn’t it? Tell me Khivar.”
“It would be perfect,” Khivar said, “and it ensures that Max would return to Antar.”
“Tell me Khivar,” Isabel said. “It’s my decision to make.”
Khivar sighed. “If you were to tell your brother that I was contacting you in your dreams, trying to persuade you to come to me on Antar, even provided you with transportation and the Granolith, Max is arrogant enough to see it as the perfect opportunity to stop me.”
Isabel nodded. “You’re right, Max would jump at the chance. I’ll do it.”
“No,” Khivar said, pulling her into his arms. “It’s too dangerous. If Max discovers that you have betrayed him…”
Isabel put her finger to his lips, cutting him off. “I’ll be fine, and you can’t talk me out of it,” she said stubbornly.
“Okay,” Khivar agreed reluctantly. “But we’ll make sure the plan is flawless first.”
Isabel kissed him. “I know you’ll do everything you can to keep me safe.”
“But this plan will mean that I will have to leave you here and return to Antar,” Khivar said kissing her neck. “I don’t want to be apart from you for even one day.”
Isabel gasped as he bit her neck. “The sooner we do this, the sooner we’ll be together, forever.”
Khivar nodded and kissed her thoroughly, but drew back after a moment. “How exactly did Max come back in time?” Khivar asked.
Isabel shook her head. “Liz didn’t say.”
Max closed the cover of his cell phone and stuffed it back into his pocket with a sour expression. “Isabel’s fine,” he announced. “She decided to go shopping.”
“That’s a relief,” Michael said.
Max nodded, changing the subject. “Liz why don’t you work with Kyle, and I’ll work with Michael.”
Liz could feel the anger still running through Max and met his eyes, as she took his hand in hers.
Max’s eyes softened briefly when he saw the concern in Liz’s expression. He gave her a barely perceptible nod letting her know he was okay. Let’s talk about it later, he said in her mind as he touched her cheek.
Liz nodded and squeezed his hand before she released it and turned to Kyle.
Kyle looked around nervously as he and Liz sat on the rocks. “Are you sure it’s safe here? I mean the Skins found us, what if there are others waiting to kill us?”
“It’s probably safe for today,” Liz said. “I think you were probably right, the Skins used the main force of their troops against us today. It will take Khivar a while to get more soldiers to Earth, maybe he will even have to grow more husks.”
Kyle nodded not totally convinced.
Liz could sense his nervousness. “Kyle, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” she said softly.
Kyle glanced at Max and Michael seated a few feet away. Max was already pushing a steady stream of power into Michael and Kyle swore he could see a soft orange glow emitting from Michael’s exposed skin.
He nodded and turned back to Liz. “Okay, I am a little freaked out,” he admitted. “It’s just all so...” he trailed off.
“Alien?” Liz prompted.
“Yeah,” Kyle said. “I don’t know if I’m ready to be an alien.”
Liz shook her head. “Kyle, even if you are changed it doesn’t mean that you aren’t you anymore. I’m not that different, am I?”
“I didn’t think so,” Kyle said. “But then I saw your eyes glowing.”
“I understand that you’re worried,” Liz said. “If I didn’t have Max to help me through this I probably would be too.”
“I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” Kyle said. “If I’m an alien, does that mean I can’t live a normal life here? Do I have to start bowing to Max because he is technically my King now? And if he ever goes back to Antar, do I follow him to help liberate his people, my people?”
“I don’t know,” Liz said. “I guess you’ll have to make those decisions when or if the time comes.” She shook her head. “Max saved us both, and I know that changed my destiny. But you can’t let anyone choose for you, Kyle. Max certainly wouldn’t want you to live your life trying to repay him.”
Kyle nodded and reached for her hands. “I guess we may as well try,” he said with a shrug. “We don’t even know if I’m getting powers and maybe I’m obsessing over nothing. Maybe I will always be just a normal, boring human.”
Liz clasped his hands with a smile. “Well you’ve never been normal before,” she teased.
Kyle smiled. “I think I’m a bad influence on you.”
Max opened his eyes and released Michael’s hands. He had pushed a lot of power into Michael and felt Michael’s own power awakening in response. A dark orange glow emitted from Michael’s skin, almost like a weird sunburn, and when Michael’s eyes met his, Max was unsurprised to see the same orange glow.
“How do you feel?” Max asked.
Michael nodded. “It was a rush, all of that power, but it felt familiar.”
“Some of it is your power,” Max said. “Couldn’t you feel it?”
Michael thought for a moment. “Maybe,” he said with a shrug.
“I didn’t feel a significant change like I have with Liz,” Max said, “but this was only the first time. We can try it again.”
“Why not right now?” Michael asked. “Overload me and see what happens.”
“Well,” Max said reluctantly, “I am pretty sure I have only been overloaded with power twice. Once was when I spent the night with Tess, and the other was when Liz and I were making love.”
Michael nodded understanding. “The hour-long orgasm with Tess was because she was using so much power on you.”
Max shook his head. “I realized it was all a mind warp when I killed the Skins. The power somehow let me remember the truth. I never had sex with Tess.”
“But Tess’ mind warp of the sex was so good that you actually…” Michael trailed off with a lifted eyebrow.
Max shook his head. “Tess made me think we had reached, um, culmination,” he said, “and she was using so much power to make me see what she wanted that it overloaded me and gave me that floating feeling.”
“So you think the floating feeling was because of the power overload and not the mind warp sex,” Michael said.
Max nodded. “That’s my theory, but I haven’t had a chance to test it. Not to mention the one time when Liz and I tried it, we lost like two hours.”
Michael was instantly alert. “What do you mean you lost two hours?”
“Two hours passed,” Max explained, “but to us it just seemed like a few minutes. We were so caught up in the power and the feelings that we didn’t notice. I think the sex, our orgasm, somehow enhanced the power rush. It was lucky we were safe. I don’t know if we could have defended ourselves, and we have been careful not to do it since. Liz called it getting drunk on the power and after what I found out today, I think she was more right than she knew. I think…”
“We should go home,” Michael suggested suddenly, cutting him off, “and you overload me with power and we see what happens. If it’s like you think and it unlocks our powers, it could be the break we’ve been looking for.”
Max nodded. “I was thinking the same thing.”
Michael laid down on his bed and Max sat next to him. “I need to form a connection,” Max said. “To see when I’ve pushed enough power into you.”
Michael nodded. “Do it.”
Max put his hand on Michael’s shoulder and was easily entered his mind. He could sense Michael’s grief from losing Maria, but he could also feel his determination to protect what was left of his family and friends. Not wanting to intrude, Max pushed Michael’s feelings aside and built his power, pushing it into Michael.
The power accumulated in Michael quickly, causing his skin to shine brighter and brighter. Through the connection, Max could tell that Michael was reaching the limit when suddenly Max felt something in Michael change.
Michael turned wide, glowing eyes to Max, he had felt the change too, and just as suddenly he closed his eyes and was lost in the sensations of power overload.
Max stopped the connection and shook Michael’s arm, to see how hard it was to bring him out of it. “Michael.” He got no response and shook Michael harder, speaking up. “Michael.”
Michael jerked, responding to the sound of his name, but his eyes stayed closed. “Huh?”
“Wake up, Michael,” Max said, shaking him harder.
Michael sat up, blinking his eyes sleepily focusing on Max. “I felt the change Max. I felt it.”
Max nodded. “I did too.”
“And that power overload is incredible. How long was I out?”
“Just a few minutes,” Max said softly. “Sorry I had to pull you out of it, but I wanted to see how hard it was to do.”
“And?” Michael prompted.
“It was like waking you from a deep sleep,” Max said relieved.
Michael nodded. “That’s good,” he said sleepily. “It means we’re not as vulnerable as we thought.” He started to get up.
“Where are you going?” Max asked.
“I want to try out my powers and see if they feel any different, you know, see if I can figure out what changed.”
Max shook his head. “I think you should rest.”
“I feel great,” Michael said. “Like I had a full night’s sleep.”
Max nodded. “Okay, but don’t overdo it.”
They left the room and Max went into the kitchen to find Liz.
He sat next to her at the table and she took his hand. “So it worked with Michael and you were able to wake him pretty easily.”
Max nodded, knowing she had seen it all through their connection. “Maybe we’ll finally be able to defend ourselves.” He squeezed her hand. “How did it go with Kyle?”
Liz shook her head. “I didn’t feel any power in him.”
“Well,” Max said, “maybe he won’t get powers. It was different when I healed him.”
Liz looked at him curiously. “How was it different?”
Max touched her face and his eyes met hers. “You were so close to death, I could feel your life pouring out of you, and I was so scared that you would slip away before I could save you. It was so hard to form the connection to heal you, and I literally pulled you back from the brink of death.” Tears started in his eyes. “I put my heart and soul in to saving you because I’ve loved you for so long that I didn’t want to live in a world without you.
Liz eyes filled with tears and she turned to kiss his palm caressing her face. “And with Kyle?” she prompted softly.
“His wound would have killed him, but he wasn’t as close to death.”
Liz nodded. “So you think that made a difference.”
Max shrugged. “Maybe. Or maybe subconsciously I wanted to change you, even though I didn’t know I could. It was just instinct.”
Liz smiled. “I’m glad you did, for whatever reason.”
Max smiled. “I’m glad too.” He looked down at their clasped hands, his smile fading. “Liz, do you want to talk about it? About what I did to Tess?”
Liz reached out to touch his face, making him look at her. “No Max, not unless you do.
Max shook his head. “I know what I did to her was horrible, and I should feel guilty or sick or something.” He looked into her eyes. “But I don’t. I’m just glad it’s over.”
Liz nodded. “I’m sorry that you had to be the one to kill her, but Tess deserved to die and I would have done it myself if you hadn’t. She was an evil person and we both know that she would have continued to come after us. You had no choice but to kill her, she never would have stopped otherwise.
She squeezed his hand. “I’m just so sorry for everything she put you through; the guilt, the pain, making you think you had a son.”
Max raised her hand to his lips. “At least now we know the truth, that I don’t have a son and I never slept with Tess.”
Tears started in Liz’s eyes. “I glad, for your sake. I know you’ve been feeling guilty about it.” She stroked his cheek. “But you know I loved you with all my heart even when we thought you had.”
Max’s eyes filled with tears and they rolled down his cheeks as he enfolded her into his embrace. “I know Liz and I’m so lucky to have found you.”
Jim came into the house and found Kyle sitting on the sofa staring at the TV that wasn’t turned on. Immediately he could see that something was wrong. “Kyle?” he asked. “Has something happened?”
Kyle nodded and answered without meeting his father’s eyes. “Tess is dead. Max killed her.”
Jim nodded. “How do you feel about that?”
Kyle shook his head. “I’ve been trying to figure that out since it happened.” He looked up. “She betrayed us, she killed Alex, and tried to help kill the rest of us. I should hate her, and I do. But there’s a part of me,,,” he trailed off.
“You loved her,” Jim said.
Kyle shrugged. “That never mattered to her.
Isabel went into her room and closed the door behind her, and immediately called Khivar.
“Isabel?’ he asked concerned. “What’s wrong? Why are you calling so soon after you just left? Max doesn’t suspect, does he?”
She spoke in almost a whisper. “No, Max doesn’t suspect. But when I got home he told me that he had pushed power into Michael and changed him somehow. And now he wants to try it on me.”
“No!” Khivar exclaimed. “You can’t let Max connect with you. He might see something about us, or sense that I’ve already been helping you with your powers.”
“I know,” Isabel said. “I put him off for now, but he’ll keep insisting. We have to hurry with our plan.”
(Tuesday - August 28th, 2001)
Max held Liz’s hand as they climbed the path to the pod chamber. He stopped them at the door and turned to her with a smile. “Close your eyes.”
“What?” Liz asked.
Max’s smile widened and he leaned into her. “I have a surprise for you.”
“Okay,” Liz agreed closing her eyes.
Max opened the door and led Liz inside, stopping her in the middle of the room. He passed his hand over them both, using his powers to change their clothing. “Okay, you can look now.”
Liz opened her eyes to see the room illuminated by dozens of candles, casting a golden glow over everything. The room now resembled the one in her dream that Max had seen. The bed had been altered so it had four posters, and gauzy fabric was draped across them forming a canopy and trailing down onto the floor. And Max had added a few touches of his own. There were flowers in dozens of vases and a small table to one side laid for dinner.
She looked to see that Max was now dressed in a simple white shirt open at the throat, and black trousers. And she was in a pale dusky-rose colored, flowing dress that appeared to be made of the same gauzy material as the canopy. The dress left her arms, shoulders, and much of her back bare. It crossed over her breasts in front, and was cinched in at the waist, falling just below her knees.
Liz turned to Max with a gasp of surprise. “It’s all so beautiful Max. But what is this all about?”
Max took a step closer and looked into her eyes. “Our lives have been so crazy lately, I thought we needed to get away from it all for one night.” He cupped her face gently. “I wanted to tell you how much you mean to me, how much I love you and how happy I am that we’re together. Healing you and bringing you into my life was the best decision I ever made. You give me so much, you keep me sane, you give my your love and support no matter what. And it doesn’t matter how crazy things get, because with you at my side I know I can do anything. I know without question that you would do anything for me, and I would do anything for you.”
Tears pooled in Liz’s eyes as he continued. “And I also thought we should celebrate. You are the only woman I will ever love, the only woman I have ever wanted to be with. Now we know that our first time was the first for both of us, as it should have been. And I want to give myself to you with our hearts open and free from guilt, and filled with nothing but love for each other.”
The tears spilled down Liz’s cheeks as she nodded. “That would be perfect.”
Max clasped her hand in his and pressed it to his heart. “Will you dance with me?”
Liz nodded and he used a flick of his hand to start the CD player as he took her into his arms. They swayed together to the soft strains of the music, their eyes never losing contact.
I just want to tell you all the things you are
And all the things you mean to me
When I find myself in need and there's no place to go
When I feel the loneliness inside my heart
You're the answer to my prayers
And you're with me everywhere
You're my angel
You're all I need tonight
Give me shelter from the rain
You breathe life in me again
You're my angel
You're all I need to know
Life is just a moment
We're blowing in the wind
We're trying to find a friend
And only time can tell us
If win or if we lose
And who will stand beside us
When there's darkness all around me
You're the light I see
When I need someone to ease my troubled mind
You're the answer to my prayers
And you're with me everywhere
You're my angel
You're all I need tonight
Give me shelter from the rain
You breathe life in me again
You're my angel
You're all I need to know
You're all I need tonight
All I need tonight
All I need tonight
You're my angel
Max led her to the table where he removed the covers from the plates and used his powers to reheat the food.
Liz smiled. “Not that I’m complaining, but when did you find the time to do this? You were hardly out of my sight the whole day.”
Max smiled. “I asked Michael to keep you distracted this afternoon, helping him with his powers.”
Liz nodded, “But that was only for a few minutes, wasn’t it?”
“It was about an hour,” Max said, “but I had to work fast. I used my powers to make everything, except the flowers and the CD player. And don’t worry, neither I nor Michael had anything to do with the food. I got take-out.”
Liz smiled. Everything was so wonderful and the food smelled delicious. Max sat down beside her, and they both started to eat. But Liz didn’t even taste the food because her entire attention was focused on him. He was so handsome, his crisp white shirt setting off his sun-darkened skin, and she kept sneaking looks at him as she pretended to concentrate on her dinner.
Song Playing: Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer
Max was slowly going insane. He had though it had taken all of his willpower to simply dance with Liz, but at least then he was holding her in his arms. Sitting beside her without any physical contact was infinitely harder. The dress he had created for her was perfect, showing off the beautiful, creamy skin of her shoulders. It caused Max to imagine her completely naked, with her arms and legs wrapped around him as he thrust into her. His body tightened with desire, but he wanted to take things slowly and tried to settle for letting his gaze surreptitiously roam over her exposed skin.
But Max could feel Liz’s eyes on him, and he could feel her desire through their connection, and his intentions left him. He put down his fork and scooted his chair close to hers so that their legs touched under the table. Their eyes met and held and he reached out to caress the soft skin of Liz’s shoulder and arm.
Liz shivered under his touch, her appetite for food completely gone.
Max leaned in closer, burying his head in the curve of her neck, and inhaled the fresh scent of her hair. He wrapped his arm around her and with a feather’s touch of his thumb traced her spine as he placed soft, warm kisses on her neck.
With a gasp Liz let her head fall back, exposing her neck to him even more and Max accepted her invitation. He cupped her head in his hand as he gently kissed and licked her delicate skin of her throat. So slowly he kissed a line down her neck and across her collarbone, stopping to dip his tongue in the hollow. He continued across her shoulder, using his hand to push the strap of her dress down her arm.
Max grazed his teeth across her shoulder and kissed down her arm, raising her hand to meet his lips. He placed a kiss on her palm, meeting her eyes again.
Liz saw the desire burning in Max’s eyes but she could also see his restraint. He was going slow for both their sakes. He continued to hold her eyes as he slipped the strap of her dress off her arm, letting it fall to her side, exposing her naked breast. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Liz realized that Max had gotten rid of her bra when he had changed her clothes. But the thought was quickly pushed aside as Max’s hand once again skimmed up her arm.
As his gentle touch approached her shoulder and wandered across her collarbone, Liz waited breathlessly for him to touch her breast, and her nipple hardened anticipating the contact. But Max’s hand continued across the base of her throat to her other shoulder and pushed the remaining strap of her dress down and off her arm.
Max raised Liz’s other hand to his lips and grazed her palm with his teeth, still holding her gaze, and Liz saw his eyes darken with desire. Slowly he leaned into her and Liz though he was finally going to kiss her, but he dipped his head and placed a kiss at the base of her throat. He used his tongue and the gentle pressure of his teeth to graze a line down her chest and between her breasts. His hair tickled the sides of her breasts and Liz shivered with desire, her nipples hardening painfully and aching for his touch. She arched back and slid her fingers into his hair, encouraging him to touch her, but suddenly his arms were around her and he lifted her out of the chair.
Max held Liz to his chest and walked to the bed, placing her on it so that she was turned away from him. He leaned into her back and deeply inhaled the scent of her hair and skin. Wrapping one powerful arm around her, he placed it so it rested between her breasts and splayed his hand across the base of her throat. And with the other hand he brushed her hair aside to give himself access to her neck and back.
He leaned into her again, nuzzling the soft skin of her back from one shoulder blade to the other. Then he continued with the same technique he had used on her chest, alternating between soft kisses, licks and the gentle pressure of his teeth to follow along her spine. So slowly he went all the way down and then back up again, making Liz’s body shiver with need.
He drew his hand down between her breasts, careful not to touch them, and slid it around to her back. And with both hands he smoothed over her back and shoulders. His touch moved farther down until he reached her waist, and then he slid his hands up her sides. Slowly he smoothed his hands up until he was near her breasts, and using a feather’s touch, he barely grazed the sides of them. Liz arched back against him and he slid his hands around her brushing across her stomach.
He lifted her in his arms again, turning her to face him and put her on her feet. And skimming his hands down her sides, he pushed her dress down and off her body as he knelt before her. He had removed her underwear when he changed her clothes, and it had driven him nearly wild knowing that she was so near him with only the thin material of her dress separating her naked body from him.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pressed his face into her abdomen. Inhaling deeply, he could smell the intoxicating scent of her arousal, and his already hard shaft tightened painfully. As he placed soft kisses on her stomach, he smoothed his hand across her back, over her derriere and down her legs. He released her long enough to pull his own shirt over his head and toss it aside before taking her in his arms again.
Liz watched Max take off his shirt, her eyes automatically skimming the flexing muscles in his chiseled arms and chest. And as he reached for her, she smoothed her hands up his arms and across his shoulders.
Max kissed her stomach again and continued upward, kissing a trail up her body as he slowly rose to his feet. His hands preceded his mouth, and as he reached her breasts he gently grazed the underside and moved around the sides. Then he kissed the underside of her right breast before finally taking it into his mouth.
Liz cried out in pleasure and arched into him as he lashed at her hard nub with his tongue, and he took her other breast into his hand, kneading the soft flesh. With a final kiss on her breast he wrapped his arms around her and continued kissing a line up her to her chin, brushing his naked chest against her body as he rose.
Electric sensations shot through Liz’s sensitized breasts as Max’s solid pecs grazed against them, and she was glad for the support his arms around her provided. She grasped at his shoulders and he pulled her tightly against him and finally lowered his head to capture her lips. Liz sighed as their lips met and wrapped her arms around his neck as she opened her mouth to him.
Max stroked Liz’s tongue with his own, as his hands smoothed down her back. Then he took the soft globes of her bottom in his hands picking her up again, and put her on the bed. Without breaking the kiss he pressed a knee between her legs opening her to him, as he laid her back against the bed.
Liz brushed her hands down his chest and abs, and reached for the fastening on his trousers, her need for him becoming desperate because of the extended foreplay.
When Liz got his trousers undone Max broke the kiss and stood back to push them to the ground and kick off his shoes. Then he joined her on the bed, settling between her thighs, bringing their lower bodies in contact. He kissed her again, slowly rocking back and forth, rubbing his hard cock against her slick folds.
The sensation was exquisite but it wasn’t enough, and Liz grabbed Max’s back and arched up into him, straining to lead him into her aching center. Changing the angle of her hips caused him to brush through her lower lips and against her clit, and Liz gasped, breaking the kiss.
Max pulled back enough to look into her face as he led his shaft to the opening of her feminine core. He wanted to see every emotion, every sensation that crossed her features as he entered her, and so slowly he pushed himself inside. Inch by excruciating inch he felt her soft, wet walls envelope him as he watched the pleasure in her face, and he shook with the effort not to explode.
Finally he was buried to the hilt and he saw the contentment in Liz’s eyes. But he could also see her hunger for him still burning brightly, and with a smile he slowly pulled out of her tight passage.
Liz gasped as he inched back into her, the delicious friction of his long shaft inside her driving her wild. Over and over he slowly moved in and out of her, building her excitement with every leisurely stroke. The sensations were so pleasurable, but Liz felt she would go insane if she didn’t have relief soon. She held his gaze silently begging him to increase his pace, her eyes desperate with need.
Max continued his slow pace but he raised her hips, knowing that every inch of his cock would brush against the sensitive spot inside her. He pushed back into her and saw her eyes brighten with the increased pleasure. Again and again he slowly stroked into her, and watched her face eagerly as he brought her ever closer to release. She moaned and writhed beneath him, grasping at his back and scouring his skin with her short fingernails.
Watching Liz’s pleasure reflected in her face as he felt it through their connection increased his own pleasure, and even with the slow pace, they were both on the edge. A sheen of sweat covered his body and his breath came in gasps with the effort to maintain his pace and not come. But with a few more deep strokes Max felt the first pulses of Liz’s orgasm as her walls fluttered around him. He reached between them and rubbed her clit, greedily watching the expressions of wonder and contentment that crossed her face as she climaxed beneath him.
Liz’s tight passage pulsed rhythmically, squeezing his cock as he felt the rush of her pleasure through their bond, and Max exploded with a groan of pure satisfaction. He collapsed onto her as their orgasms washed through them, struggling to catch his breath.
Making love with Liz was the most perfect thing he could imagine and the fact that they were each others’ only lovers made it even more special. And as their breathing returned to normal Max raised up on one elbow. He brushed the strands of damp hair off Liz’s forehead as he looked into her eyes. “I love you so much Liz.”
She touched his face gently. “And I love you Max.
He pressed a lingering kiss to her lips. “Every time we make love is better than the last and I know without a doubt that we were meant to be together.”
Soaring With Angels |
Part 11 - Part 13
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