(Saturday, November 18th)
Zan awoke slowly, wrapped around Liz, her soft body pressed the length of him, and he was filled with a feeling of complete contentment.
He couldn’t imagine anything more perfect than making love with Liz, sleeping with her in his arms and then waking up with her. It was exactly what he wanted from the moment he saw her. He never wanted for it to end, but he was sure reality would intrude into their perfect world all too soon.
The Skins were coming, and Lonnie and Rath were out there somewhere wanting them dead, and no matter what Zan had to keep Liz safe.
He still couldn’t believe he failed her before. Lonnie had been so close to killing them and he’d been so deeply asleep that he didn’t even know she was there. He hadn’t even known Lonnie could make suggestions to someone while they were asleep, and wondered if she’d done it to him before when they lived together, tested it on him.
An icicle of fear shot down his spine as he thought about it.
And he’d been clueless about how much Lonnie and Rath hated him. He’d known she and Rath wanted to go home, but he never considered what they might be capable of to get there. He would never think they would hurt him. They were family, but obviously that didn’t matter to them. He just wondered when it all went so wrong.
Maybe somehow in the cloning process Lonnie and Rath got the majority of the bad traits and Michael and Isabel got the majority of the good ones.
Michael and Isabel didn’t always agree with Max, but they were so close and were always there for each other.
Zan had sort of a strange feeling as his stomach dipped. It felt like when he’d gone on a roller coaster one time, and the world dropped out from below him. For a moment his eyes went blurry and he had a sense of unreality, like he wasn’t him.
The knowledge came to him in an instant, that in their other life the original Vilondra and Rath would have never betrayed him. They’d been loyal to the end.
And then it was gone. He was himself again.
He knew he’d had a flash of his past, his first one ever, and he wasn’t sure what to think about it. He hadn’t seen anyone or anything, he just knew he was someone and somewhere else, and he knew how that other Zan had felt about his sister and his second in command.
It was exciting but frightening at the same time and he thought about what Max had said last night, how he was afraid he wouldn’t love Liz if he remembered his past. Zan didn’t think it was possible for either of them to stop loving Liz, no matter what they remembered, but it didn’t stop him from beginning to wonder what might change.
Would he still be himself?
Looking down at Liz next to him in bed, his let his eyes travel over her. He couldn’t believe how beautiful she was and he was amazed how much she loved him. He was so lucky. With a gentle touch, he caressed her hair, and she moved slightly, making a small noise.
He was determined that he wouldn’t let himself change. He would make sure he was still the same man Liz fell in love with.
Turning toward him, she opened her eyes, smiling sleepily when she saw him.
“Good morning baby,” he whispered.
Isabel stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom, her eyes closed as she stood under the hot spray of the shower. She felt exhausted after staying awake for hours last night unsuccessfully trying to discover Lonnie and Rath’s location.
It seemed like the only way they would find them was if she did it, and she was feeling the full weight of the responsibility. It was up to her to make sure everyone was safe.
Resting her head against the wall, she sighed. Of course there was a line. If she was so exhausted that she couldn’t fight when the time came, she would be useless to them. She just didn’t know what to do.
Max would tell her to rest, but Michael would tell her to keep going, and if she didn’t find them soon, it could be too late.
She didn’t look forward to breakfast when she had to tell the group that she had failed again.
Max swung his legs over the edge of the bed, sitting up and stretching, and a smile spread across his face as he saw Liz across the room. He loved waking up with her.
As he watched her moving around the room, gathering her clothes and getting dressed, he though he’d never felt better. She was so incredible, so beautiful, and she was all his.
Everything he’d wanted had come true. He was with the woman he loved and she loved him in return. He felt like he belonged, he was accepted for exactly who he was, and he was completely content.
Max never thought he’d find anyone who could love him so completely, or find someone he could love. He had wanted it all his life, dreamed about it, yearned for it, but he always believed that he was going to be alone. He was so lucky to have found Liz.
Suddenly Max felt a little dizzy and his vision blurred. He had a flash of being in his room, but it was not on Earth, and he was not Max. He was laying on his bed, starring at the wall, deep in thought. Even though he was the prince, one of the most recognized people on the planet and often surrounded by beautiful women, he was always so lonely. He felt like no one knew him, no one understood him. He was so afraid that he would never find anyone to love, anyone who would really love him.
He thought he would be alone his entire life.
Max came back to himself with a jolt, and shivers of reaction rushed through him. Liz felt his strange emotions through their connection and turned to him with a questioning look on her face. Looking at her, he felt a rush of relief.
Crossing to him, Liz touched his face. “What’s wrong?” she whispered, concerned. “Are you still upset?”
He leaned into her hand, cupping it with his own and closing his eyes. “Nothing is wrong now,” he said with a sigh. Wrapping his arms around her, he hugged her tightly to him. “I’m just so glad I have you in my life.”
She hugged him back and kissed his neck. “I’m glad too.”
As everyone at Zan and Ava’s house was finishing breakfast, the Sheriff, Tess, Ava and Kyle came up stairs.
“Hey, Sheriff,” Michael greeted. He motioned to the stove. “We just finished, but I could whip you up some eggs if you want.”
Jim shook his head. “We already ate,” he said. “I wanted to come and see how the search was going.”
Max stepped forward. “Isabel is trying to locate them with her powers but it isn’t easy.”
“Are you any closer,” Jim asked her.
She shook her head. “Not really. I just get vague images of the warehouse that Max told you about.”
Jim nodded. “I’ve been trying to keep my deputies away from the warehouse areas. I don’t want them stumbling into something alien.”
Jim continued. “I tried tracing their cell phones, like Tess suggested, but no luck.”
His mouth tightened at the corners. “I know you are doing all you can but we need to figure out where they are before someone gets hurt or killed.”
“That’s what I’ve been saying,” Michael agreed, looking at Max. “We have to do something.”
“I’m open for suggestions,” Max said, and then held up his hand as Michael opened his mouth. “Reasonable suggestions.”
“Sheriff,” Max said, looking at the older man, “do you have any idea of what we should do?”
Jim shook his head. “I’ve considered everything we’d do to find humans, but discounted them all as too dangerous. It’s not like I can put out an APB for two murderous aliens. I think it is going to be up to you to find them, or they will find you again.”
Michael jumped up from the table, “We could set a trap, lure them into it.”
“How?” Isabel asked. “Call them and tell them to come meet us? They won’t think anything is suspicious about that,” she said sarcastically.
Tess smiled and came forward. “I’ve been trying to find them too,” she said, concentrating on Max. If she could show that she was helping he would appreciate her even more.
“What can you do?” Michael scoffed.
She raised her chin. “I’ve been trying to mindwarp them, plant suggestions in their minds to reveal themselves.”
Michael rolled his eyes. “Cause that will work,” he said sarcastically. “You have to be close to use your powers on someone. Any luck?” he asked.
“Not yet,” Tess admitted. “But at least I’m trying.”
“Yeah,” Michael said, “thanks for all the help.”
“Michael,” Max growled.
Tess’ heart soared. Max was defending her! She beamed at him. “I’ll keep trying.”
“This is so frustrating,” Maria said. “I can’t stand not knowing what they are doing or when they will attack again.”
Michael put his arm around her. “I’ll keep you safe.”
Jim spoke up. “I need to go into work for a while, but I’ll keep you informed if anything turns up.”
Max nodded. “I’ll walk out with you,” he said.
With Valenti’s departure, the group in the kitchen started to break up, going different directions.
Tess watched as Michael and Maria went down the hall toward their room, Isabel kissed Alex and then went downstairs with Liz, Isabel, Ava and Kyle to practice. Alex went down the hall in the opposite direction and Tess was left alone with Zan, who was putting the last of the dishes away.
She lingered just inside the room, waiting to make sure they wouldn’t be interrupted. When everyone disappeared into other parts of the house, she turned to Zan.
“So,” she started, “you’re in love with Liz.”
Zan turned to face her, leaning against the counter. “And what’s it to you?”
She shrugged, “I’ve seen the way you look at her,” she said, “and I’ve seen the way she looks at you.”
“And?” Zan prompted.
“Well,” she continued as she started to walk around the room, “I think you two make a great couple. The problem is that Max is still infatuated with her, and you know that Liz would never be with you if it would hurt Max.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“I want Max,” she said, laying her cards on the table, “so it’s to both our advantage for their relationship to end.”
Zan cocked his head and one corner of his mouth lifted in a knowing smile. “What are you proposing?”
“I am doing everything I can to get Max’s attention and be his friend, but you have to start working on Liz. Turn on your charm. Seduce her.”
Zan nodded. “I don’t want to hurt Max either.”
“No, neither do I,” she assured him. “It’s the last thing I want. If we are careful we can both get what we want without anyone getting hurt. Max and Liz will see that they just had a childhood crush and that we are waiting to make a life with them.”
She met his eyes. “So are you in?”
He nodded. “Definitely.”
Nicholas paced in the small room restlessly, his impatience making him angry. He had nothing to do except wait for Khivar’s orders.
He would love to be hunting down the two Zans and making them suffer, but Khivar had made it clear that he had something in mind for the boy kings.
It was true that Khivar hadn’t shared his whole plan with him, and he didn’t dare to ask, he just did what he was told.
It didn’t stop him from speculating though.
Nicholas still couldn’t believe that Khivar hadn’t erupted when he discovered that the carefully constructed summit trap had fallen apart. Instead he had seemed intrigued and thoughtful, and then he’d told him to wait.
So Nicholas was waiting, pacing, and keeping his troops on hold, for now.
Zan waited until after Tess left for the day and the others were occupied to approach Max.
“Hey,” he said softly, “let’s go somewhere we can talk.”
Max nodded. “I’ve wanted to talk to you too.” He glanced at where Liz was sitting with Maria and Michael, feeling uncomfortable that he wasn’t including her in the conversation.
“I know,” Zan said, following Max’s gaze to the woman they loved, “I don’t like keeping things from her either, but I think we need to work this out first.”
The two of them went down the hall and into an unoccupied room that was still furnished as an office.
Zan started. “You’ve had them too,” he said, not even making it a question. “You’ve been getting flashes of our other life.”
Max was incredulous. “You’ve gotten them too.”
“Yeah,” Zan said. “Isn’t that what you wanted to talk about?”
“Yeah,” Max said. “I just,” he shook his head. “I thought maybe it was something Tess had done to me.” He felt a bit of relief. “She was talking about memories and then I started having them, and …”
Zan finished his sentence. “You thought she was planting them.”
“Yeah,” Max said. “But if you’re having them too…” he trailed off and met Zan’s eyes. “Unless she is giving you memories too.”
“Well,” Zan started, “Were your memories about her, the original Ava?”
Max shook his head. “No, not at all.”
Zan nodded, “Then I think we can safely say Tess didn’t plant them. If she did, I’m sure they would be all about her.”
“You’re right,” Max agreed.
“I thought it might have been that night when we were both with Liz at the same time that might have triggered it,” Zan suggested.
Max knew the night he meant. “The night we all lost time and we made the explosion of light.”
“It would make sense that there could be consequences from it,” Zan said. “A boost of power or whatever happened that started the memories.”
Max looked away, afraid to even ask his next question. “So you think they are real?”
“I do,” Zan said.
Max nodded, feeling ashamed. “I do too, but I didn’t want to believe it at first. I’m still scared that if I remember our other life I might change so much that I won’t love Liz, or she won’t love me.
“We have to decide not to change,” Zan said confidently. “We are going to stay the same for Liz.”
“What if we remember loving Ava?” Max practically whispered.
“I’ve wondered that too,” Zan admitted. “but I don’t think it is possible that the original Zan did love her. I think if he did we would still love her.”
Max wasn’t convinced. “What if it’s something we can’t control?”
“We can’t think like that,” Zan said. “We have to stay strong for each other and for Liz.”
Max nodded, taking a deep breath. “What have you remembered?” Max asked apprehensively.
Zan shook his head, “Just thoughts, feelings, really. I remembered how the other Zan felt about his Rath and Vilondra, that they would never betray him.”
Max nodded. “I remembered him feeling alone, and thinking that no one would every really know or love him.”
“So not exactly Earth-shattering stuff,” Zan joked.
“No,” Max agreed. “Not helpful at all, and maybe even dangerous.”
Zan nodded. “Did you kind of zone out for a few moments when you had the memory?”
“Yeah,” Max said, “and what if that happened when Lonnie and Rath attacked us?” He shook his head. “It could have gotten someone killed.”
“I know,” Zan said. “I’m worried about it too, but I don’t know what we can do. We don’t even know if it’s better to try and remember so maybe it doesn’t catch us by surprise, or if we should try and repress the memories and maybe they’ll go away.”
“I think we should repress them,” Max said. “It just seems too dangerous to remember, and I don’t know if I really even want to know what happened. I just want to be left alone to live my life.”
“I know exactly how you feel,” Zan said. He took a breath. “We need to tell Liz too.”
“I don’t want to scare her,” Max said, “but I don’t like keeping things from her.”
“We have something else to tell her too,” Zan said.
Max looked at him questioningly.
Zan smiled grimly. “I have to fill you both in on Tess’ plan to win you while I seduce Liz for myself.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
Back to Main||