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Max walked into the Crashdown and took a booth in the back. I could feel my eyes following him, despite all my lectures to myself to stop. I knew he was still in shock after finding out about Tessís betrayal. We hadnít spoken since that fateful day out in the desert a week ago, but I could tell.
When I walked into the Crashdown that day I couldnít take my eyes off Liz. She was always so beautiful, but I had ruined any chance I had with her by sleeping with that bitch Tess. Looking back at it, I canít see why I did, maybe I thought I was getting back at Liz for KyleÖ.. I wish I could explain myself to her, but I canít even explain myself to me, why should she even listen to me?
I can feel him watching me, but I darenít look up, I donít want to face the hate and disillusionment Iíve seen in his eyes since I faked that thing with Kyle to get Max to stop loving me. I still regret it, a little. I know Future Max was probably right to make me do it, the world needed saving, but why did it have to hurt so badly? Thereís a part of me wishes that I could be that Liz that married Max in Vegas.
I sit there all day, just watching her, and thinking. I have to try and tell her what I feel, I have to try. If she doesnít want to know then at least Iíll know all hope has gone, and I can try to rebuild my life alone. I have to try.
Heís still there when my shift ends that evening. Iím wiping down tables and cleaning up when he walks over to me.
"Liz" I can hear that he is nervous as he says my name. Iím nervous too, I donít know where this conversation could go, but I turn round to face him anyway, wiping my suddenly damp palms on my uniform.
"Yes, Max?" I try to keep my voice steady.
"Can I talk to you? Please?"
"Sure" I turn and walk over to the door, locking it and turning the sign to ĎClosedí, "Fire Away."
Iím really nervous as I walk over to her. She turns to face me when I say her name, but I can tell sheís not sure she wants to talk to me. She agrees to listen though, and my mouth goes dry, and I canít think of what to say, how to start.
"Well, you see, the thing is, Liz, I want to, what I mean to say is, well, I want to explain myself, my actions, and well.." She stops me.
"Just spit it out, Max"
He starts to ramble, and I can tell heís even less comfortable with this than me. I tell him to get to the point.
"The thing is, Iíve been thinking, trying to figure out a reason for what I did, and the only thing I can come up with is that I wanted to hurt you, the way youíd hurt me. Tess was just available. It just hurt so much to know that you slept with Kyle instead of me. That I waited and you didnít, thatÖ"
"But I did," I had said it without thinking. He stopped and looked at me.
"But I sawÖ. Did you or did you not sleep with Kyle?"
"I didnít" I admitted quietly.
"See so youÖ wait a minute, you didnít?"
"Then why did you make it look like you did?"
This was the moment I had dreaded. It was time, for the truth.
I looked at her in shock. She hadnít slept with Kyle? Then what did what I had seen mean? "There is a reason, and I think itís time I told you the truth, the whole truth" she whispered.
My legs were shaking so badly I thought they might just give out on me. I sit down at the nearest table, and wait as Max slides in opposite me. Suddenly Iím not so sure that this is a good idea, but Iíve started, so I have to go on, I canít just leave him hanging. I start slowly. "I had to do what I did, to save the world"
Iím confused. How could pretending to sleep with Kyle save the world. "Huh?"
"Well, you see, this is kinda hard to explain to you, but you, I mean future you, well, you used the Granolith to come back and warn me about what was to come"
"I still donít get how faking sex with Kyle ties in with this."
"Wait, you will, see, in that future, you and I were together, had gotten together after you serenaded me that night, and it made Tess leave. You coudnít defeat the skins without her, and everyone else was dead. Future you believed the only way to change that reality was to make you fall out of love with me, to make Tess stay."
"But Tess is evil"
"Even so, she didnít want you to be killed here before she could conceive, she saved your life, and the four of you together are stronger than each of you apart. Us being together drove her away, and destroyed the world in the process. I couldnít let that happen."
I canít believe Iím crying, but I canít help it. Reliving the experience is just too painful.
"Liz," he says softly, "please donít cry. I canít stand to see it. I canít bear seeing you in pain." He reaches out to wipe the tears from my face and I can see he is close to tears himself. "Please."
My heart breaks to see her cry. I hate to see her so upset, especially when I canít do anything to make it better. I can feel my own eyes filling up, but try not to break down in tears. I wish I could go back in time and do things diffÖ no wait, thatís how this all started. I know now that it wasnít her fault, how could I ever have thought that it was? She is everything that is good in the world. Even through everything that has happened, I still love her. But sheíd never believe that if I said it. Not now.
I wish there could have been another way for this all to turn out. I wish that saving the world hadnít meant breaking our hearts. Hearts must werenít meant to be broken. I still love him so much, but how can I tell him that now? Heíd never believe meÖÖ
The tears continue to trickle down my face as he looks into my eyes.
I look into her eyes searchingly, looking desperately for a small sign that she might still love me, just a little. I notice a stray strand of her hair, tuck it behind her ear. Iíve missed being this close. Missed it so much.
A warm feeling pervades me as he tucks my hair behind my ear, his hand lingering slightly in my hair. Although Iíve missed this closeness, its too soon. I begin to feel a little nervous, and my eyes drop from his.
She breaks eye contact with me, obviously a little nervous. Maybe its just too soon for this kind of closeness. Maybe we will have to start over, get to know each other again. Its just so frustrating. I pull my hand from her hair, and stand, awkwardly.
"I should really go" I turn to leave.
Although Iím a bit scared of getting close to him again, I realise I donít want him to leave. As he walks towards the door, I stare lingeringly after him. Max. My one true love. He reaches the door, and looks around. He catches me staring, turns around. He starts to walk back towards me, and without totally realising what I am doing, I meet him halfway. "MaxÖ" I whisper.
He replies, "Liz, IÖ" His words are cut off as his lips meet mine. I kiss him back, and realise that I was more scared of never having this again, than I was of it happening now. I never want to be without him, and I hope he feels the same. Whatever happens, I know weíll find our way back to each other, we have to.
I walk slowly towards the door, not really wanting to leave. As I reach the door, I look around, wanting one last look at her before I go. She is staring after me dejectedly. Before I know what I am doing, I turn and walk back to her. She walks towards me and we meet. "MaxÖ" she whispers. I have so many things I wish I was confident enough to say, but all I manage is "Liz, IÖ" before the urge to kiss her overtakes me. As our lips meet, I know that this is how we are meant to be. We are made for each other, no one can change that.
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