*New Pt 17a-c* A Walk To Remember M/L AU *1-16*

The best couples in t.v. land are all here in original fiction about Max, Liz, Michael, Maria and the rest of the Roswell gang!
Dark Ilk
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*New Pt 17a-c* A Walk To Remember M/L AU *1-16*

Post by Dark Ilk » 03/04/02 09:51

A Walk To Remember

Summary: M/L AU – Max's perspective. This is a Roswell version of the book “A Walk To Remember”. I just totally fell in love with the story when I read it. It was so beautiful and I just utterly saw Max and Liz in the roles. Just a quick summary: Liz is the daughter of a small town's minister. A “geek” with a heart of gold, she is ostracized by most of her peers, including Max. Do leave me feedback so that I know if you want me to continue writing it.

Disclaimer: Max, Liz and the Roswell characters are property of UPN and Fox. The story is based on the book of the same title, by Nicholas Sparks.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Prologue

Do you believe in miracles?

I sometimes wonder about that myself. This was a question that was always on the back of my mind, but one I never seriously pondered until I hit seventeen. When I was seventeen, my life changed forever.

I know you're snickering when you hear me say this. What could he have possibly have gone through as a seventeen-year-old that could change his life? That's what you're probably thinking. I guess if I hadn't lived it, I'd probably be right there beside you snickering at me. But then again, I did live it, so I'll have to graciously disagree.

Despite the fact that I'm now at the ripe old age of fifty-seven; despite the passage of forty years, the people still living here who knew me that year accept my lack of explanation without question. Why could they do that, you might ask. Well, I suppose it wouldn't be too far off to say that it was something all of us lived through. I was, however, the one closest to it.

Everything that happened then seems so long ago, and at the same time, it seems like it only happened yesterday. It's strangely joyous and painful to think of those times. There are moments when I think that if I could just take them out, that everything would hurt a little less, and I can make the sadness go away. But if I do that, the happiness goes too. So I just let them wash over me, all of it. Let them guide me where they may. And this happens more often than I let on.

It is February 12, 2002 and the sky is overcast when I leave the house. The biting wind ensured that I was trussed up in at least two jackets. That winter was surprisingly more nippy than usual, but then again, this wasn't the first winter I'd encountered that so chilled me to the bone. The weather of forty years ago was more biting, more so in fact. But more on that later on.

I close my eyes and I can almost hear the sounds of the dried leaves then on the driveway whisk by in a hurry, carried on the rising current of air. The memory of Betsy and Mike – the neighbour's kids from across the road – as they race by on their bikes, trying to beating each other to the house brings a wistful smile to my lips, as do their innocent, childish laughter. Swallowing a lump that has suddenly developed in my throat at the memories of two other young innocent lives that year, I feel the years begin to move backwards, like the hands of a clock rotating in the wrong direction.

As if through someone else's eyes, I feel myself grow younger. Lessons I've learnt with age dim, and I welcome the return of my innocence. I open my eyes and I know exactly who I am.

My name is Maxwell Philip Evans, and I am seventeen years old.

This is my story. First, you will smile, and then you will cry – don't say you haven't been warned.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 1

1958 – Beaufort, North Carolina

“Okay, who's the wiseass who claimed that drama class was an utter blowoff?”

Okay, I know that isn't supposed to be the way a Congressman's son speaks to people, but then again, I'm not talking to just anyone. I'm talking to Michael Guerin, captain of the basketball team… he's 6”1' and cuts an intimidating figure when he rips across the court for a layup. Definitely not someone you'd expect to call a ‘wiseass' and expect to be allowed to live, but then again, he's supposed to be my best friend.

This is the thing you've got to know about Michael. He's my best friend since sixth grade, so that's like… forever. Really, I mean it. He really is my best bud. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't stick it to me any opportunity he gets. It's like he loves to see me squirm, but then again, the guy does score a few good points (no pun intended) with me.
       
We'd hang together and heckle old Hegbert – that's Hegbert Parker, a minister who so old you can almost see right through the guy's skin; downright creepy if you ask me. I tell you, those were the best times of our lives, ticking the old man off. You should listen to his sermons. If it wasn't the people who did wrong to the environment, it was the ones who shot the “poor defenceless” creatures in the ocean, or those who flouted any of the Lord's Ten Commandments. It really gets his moral fiber raised to personally take it upon his shoulders to persecute “all of Earth's sinners”, as he so gleefully reminds us all.

I mean, I don't mean disrespect and I do indeed believe these to be serious issues, but somehow, sitting in the pew listening to Old Man Hegbert go through his sermon, swinging his arms wildly to emphasize his point just puts us in stitches. And of course, his favorite: the fornicators. If they were two steps away from the very pits of hell, he'd claim oh so righteously that there was no other sin that could squeeze between the two.

There, Michael and I would be clapping our hands over our mouths, desperately trying to stifles our guffaws, and Hegbert (we would never dare call him that to his face) would always be able to pick us out of the entire church-going crowd to shoot us an ugly glare to try to silence us. Try, being the operative word here.

Now, I would have probably left him well and alone if not for Michael. Being the boys that we were, Michael would convince me that we had to “bug the bugger” even further and we'd hide behind trees whenever we see him coming, and shout “Hegbert is a fornicator!”, then giggle like idiots like we'd outwitted the smartest being on the earth.
       
You should see his reaction. One moment he's walking briskly along the path, his shoes clicking smartly on the gravel, the next, utter silence as he stops dead in his tracks, his head swinging from side to side like some medieval predator seeking its prey. His face would change to a shade of red that reminds me of a freshly boiled lobster – I can just imagine him looking up at me with his beady lobster eyes and saying “Bite me”. His eyes become almost bloodshot as he glares fiercely around at the surrounding trees, his eyes almost popping out of his head as he fails to catch sight of any hapless victim.

He never catches actual sight of us, but somehow, he always zeroes in on the general location of where we are. He'd be turning from side to side too, then he'd stop, those beady eyes coming right at us, right through the trees.

“I know who you are, Max Evans,” he'd say, “and the Lord knows too.” He'd let that sink in for a moment before resuming his brisk pace. And there Michael and I would crouch in the foliage, stifling a fresh attack of giggles.

But I digress from the matter at hand.

I'm upset. With Michael. For convincing me to sign up for drama class.

Okay, so it seemed like a good idea when he'd reasoned with me at the time, especially when compared to Chemistry class. I mean, which would you choose: a class with no papers, no tests, no tables where I'd have to memorize neutrons, protons and balance equations and formulae, no experiments that can literally blow up in my face… or one with all of the above? A no-brainer I tell you. Until now, that is.

“What's up Maxwell?” Michael drawls lazily, using my full name that he knows totally riles me further when I'm pissed. He's sprawled on his back on the grass lawn outside school with his girl Maria DeLuca resting her head on his stomach as he twirls strands of her hair between his fingers.

“How did you convince me that drama was a good idea?”

“What's the problem dude?” This is, of course, as he yawns loudly, stretching languorously before settling back again, looking for all the world like a satisfied tabby that's had its share of canaries for the day.

Can he get any more irritating?

“There are only two guys, count that,” I tick off on my fingers, “One, two guys in Miss Garber's drama class. You know what that means?” My voice is increasingly rising in annoyance as he still doesn't seem to realize the gravity of my situation.

“Pray tell, Maxwell.”

Did I mention that I hate when Michael calls me by that name?

“The problem, Mikey G” calling him by the pet name I know only Maria uses on him when she's just about to unleash her absolute fury on him, “is that when it comes to all the backstage work and props, guess who will have to cover that? Yeah, that's right. Me. Me… and Dennis, if you can actually count him as help.”

By the way, this other guy happens to be Dennis Lewy, an utter klutz who should be banned from any area that has movable parts. It is that bad, trust me. Not only is he allergic to any, and I do mean any, dirt or dust particle, he will probably land me in the hospital for serious and grievous hurt… again.

How is this so? I see a short history lesson is in order.

Last year, I was helping Michael out as a favor to shift equipment out of the basketball store when Dennis happened to be passing through the gym on his way home. Michael was off on the track for practice and I had been struggling to hold on to a precariously balanced trolley of weights and basketballs. Yeah, yeah, I can just see you chortling on your laughter, but I kid you not!

Anyway, Dennis had managed to, in his ‘kind' attempt to help me, unbalance the entire trolley, bringing the full brunt of the weights on my toes and the balls to hit me in… let's just say, in areas that would have troubled my father to know that the male lineage in the Evans' political legacy could have progressed no further than my generation.

Thankfully, by some minor miracle, no major injury was sustained and my Dad did not have to be troubled with that thought.

Anyway, the point of the matter: I was effectively done in for drama class!

“Max, I have a question.” This is Maria speaking as she raises her head slightly off Michael's stomach, squinching her eyes as she looks up at me against the sunlight.

I @#%$ an eyebrow, head tilting to one side as I look down at her, awaiting her question.

“How many people are there in drama class?”

Now, you have to know that Beaufort High School wasn't large, but it was split pretty much fifty-fifty between the guys and the girls, and Maria's questions just suddenly reminded me that drama class was awfully skewed.

Come to think of it, it was at least ninety percent female.

Suddenly, my scowl begins to lift as the possibilities present themselves. Hey, what can I say? I am a seventeen-year-old boy. Girls, girls, girls… I am suddenly feeling like I'm the king of the world.

Seeing my gaze take on a faraway look, Michael smirks a knowing grin at Maria and blows her a thank-you kiss as I settle down on the grass beside them, a small smile playing upon my lips.

Mulling through this recently acquired perspective, I come to the conclusion that every cloud has its silver lining. Hmm, this may just be an interesting class afterall.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 2       
       
“Glad you could join us Mr. Evans. So sorry we had to inconvenience your sleeping schedule for this.”

Alright, so I might have been a little hasty in saying the class would be an interesting. But can I just say “huh?”

What's with the underlying sarcasm? It's only the third day of drama class, and trust me when I say that the day isn't starting out the way I was expecting it to. I was a little tardy, but managed to sneak into the back of the class when Miss Garber – you remember her – was busy writing something on the board. I thought she hadn't realized I was late, but apparently I was wrong.

Hey, give a guy a break. I'd just been through a load of crap yesterday, damn near got my arm broken by a lug called Sean Hunter, overslept today and woke up still feeling the soreness in my arm. What happened, you ask. Erm… I don't really think now is a good time to get into it, not when Miss Garber's currently looking at me with a supremely annoyed expression on her face.

Look, just because I'm a Congressman's son doesn't mean that I'm a saint. But by the same token, I'm no devil either. Granted, my dad wasn't around all that much when I was growing up – what with his political obligations and all – but I still had a loving mother and sister, both of whom I was close to and who affected their social graces upon me. Admittedly, the lack of a consistent, positive male influence early on still had its impact.

Somewhat a rebel from a young age – abetted of course by a certain Michael Guerin – we'd sneak out late and soap up car windows or eat boiled peanuts in the graveyard behind the church. Remember that this is in the fifties where parents frown upon such “unbecoming behavior”.

“Mark my words, that Evans boy won't come to any good end. You don't take after him you hear?” the grown-ups would whisper to their kids when they think I don't hear them passing me by on the streets.

Me. A bad boy. Because of soapy windows and boiled peanuts. Can you just see my eyeballs rolling up in exasperation? Go figure the logic of it all.

Well, doesn't seem like Miss Garber holds an opinion too far off from these adults I've just told you about.

“Sorry. I, erm… I-I was…”

Great, now I'm not only an arrogant no-gooder, I'm also a stutter.

Fortunately – or unfortunately depending on your point of view of later events – her attention was diverted from me just then. Turns out I wasn't the latest to get to class.

The hurried pitter-patter of shoes as they stopped just outside the class was followed by a gentle rap on the door before opening to admit… oh my God! Say it isn't so!

“I'm so sorry for being late, Miss Garber. I-I was detained by D… I was delayed and could come no earlier.” Her voice was slightly breathless, one hand clutching a well-worn Bible to her chest as the other struggled to smoothen her long brown skirt and like-colored cardigan. Her hair was pulled back in a tight bun, and she pushed nervously at a pair of black spectacles perched precariously on her bridge. There was a pinkish tint to her cheeks brought about probably by rushing from her previous destination. I could be mistaken, but I thought her eyes shone brightly for an instant when she turned to shut the door and our eyes collided.

Nah, my eyes must have been mistaken because in the very next instant, she looked away with an indifferent air to focus on Miss Garber standing in front of the class.

Allow me the honor of introductions. Ladies and gentlemen, standing just inside the doorway of the class was Liz Parker, the only daughter of old Hegbert. Yes, you got that right. Daughter of the one and only Minister Hegbert Parker; he who has deemed me a sinner right alongside those unforgivable fornicators. If Liz is in this class, then that can only mean one thing: she's gonna be my angel!

Wait a minute. That didn't come out right. Let me clarify.

Every year at Christmas, the seniors of Beaufort High School put on The Christmas Angel .

It's a local play, basically about a man who's lost his wife, and in the process, his religious faith as well when she died in childbirth. Tom Thornton – that's the character's name – has been raising his little girl all by himself. He hasn't been a fantastic father, and what the little girl wants for Christmas is a special music box with an angel engraved on top, a picture of which she'd cut from an old catalog. In an attempt to fulfill his daughter's wish, the guy searches high and low for the gift, but he just cannot locate it.

Come Christmas Eve and he's still carrying on his search. Just when he's fretting about never finding the music box and disappointing his child, he comes across a strange woman who promises to help him find the gift for daughter… in return for a few acts of kindness. These include helping this homeless person, and stopping by an orphanage to see the kids, then to visit a lonely, old lady who just wants some company on Christmas Eve.
       
The strange woman then asks Tom what he wants for Christmas. When he replies that he wants his wife back, she brings him to the city fountain, telling him that he will find what he's looking for when he looks into the water. This he does, only to break down into tears when he sees the reflection of his little girl. By the time he gathers his wits, the woman has disappeared and he tries in vain to look for her.

Disbelievingly, he makes his way home, pondering the events of this past night. When he checks in on his daughter, it suddenly dawns on him that she's all he has left of his wife. He is assailed by a fresh bout of tears when he realizes he hasn't been a very good father to her. The next morning, magically, the music box is under the tree and the angel, lo and behold, looks exactly like the woman he'd seen the night before.

It's a pretty decent original play really, even heartwarming if I do say so. And every year since it started to play, it's been to sell-out crowds and the audience – especially the females – cry buckets of tears.

And this is where you have to suspend your disbelief for a moment: old Hegbert wrote it. Yes, yes, the one who swears to roast all evildoers by their entrails in the underbelly caverns of Hell. It's not all that surprising really if you've lived in Beaufort all your life. You see, the play: it's based on real life. In fact, it's based on the very lives of the Parkers.
       
I've pretty much known Liz Parker all my life, and I've heard the tales carried through the gossipmongers of the town on how her mum miscarried several times before dying giving birth to her, making old Hegbert a widower who had to raise a daughter on his own. Hence, the story behind the play.

The old geezer wanted young people to perform the play – seniors in high school specifically. I guess he figures it would be a good experience before we headed off to college and encountered his much-detested fornicators. He very much wanted to instill in us the fear of the Lord; redeem our souls as a preemptive measure if that were possible. Ultimately, he figured that so long as you knew to place your trust in God, you'd be alright in the end. It was a lesson I would eventually learn, but it wasn't Hegbert who caused me to have the revelation.

Anyway, now that you know the background of the play, I can clarify my earlier statement. You know. The one about Liz being my… an… angel. Okay, so it's embarrassing when I say it like that.

See, I'm slated to play Tom. I can't figure if Miss Garber really likes me or really hates me. This morning's incident aside, she actually ‘volunteered' me for the all-important role of Tom Thornton during our second class yesterday. She probably figured I was a better alternative than Dennis “I'll-crush-all-your-toes-if-you-give-me-the-chance” Lewy, but then again, she didn't really have much choice since only seniors were allowed the roles and those not already in the class were otherwise occupied by track, or band or basketball practice, activities that were still trophy contenders for the current school year. In other words, there really was no other alternative.

And now that Liz is in drama class, there's little doubt that she's going to be the angel. I mean, her old man only wrote the most beloved play that runs every Christmas. Seriously, the writing was already on the wall even before Liz became a senior.

For all the animosity her old man displayed to the “sinners of the world”, she never complained about him ever being harsh on her and I'm sure Hegbert would be proud to have Liz up there on stage playing the beautiful, ethereal angel.

Which made the event all the more special… at least as far as Miss Garber is concerned.

Which brings up our… okay, my concern. Liz is a nice girl, really. It's just…

“No worries Liz.” Miss Garber's face just lights up like a Christmas tree as she says this.

Wait a minute. Wasn't she ready to spew on me for being late just now?

“Class, introducing a newcomer to our class. I'm sure most of you already know Liz Parker, daughter of Minister Parker and organizer of the orphanage donation drive these past few years, among her other generous deeds. This is her first class with us, so do make her feel welcome…”

Drumroll, if you please…

“… and I've spoken to the Principal beforehand and we've agreed that she will be playing the title role in this year's rendition of The Christmas Angel. Which was why I didn't assign that role yesterday as…”

Crap. My worst fears have been confirmed. I lose track of whatever else Miss Garber's saying as my mind starts to whirl with the implications of what this means for me. Sifting through my options, I make a quick decision.

I know Miss Garber's none too partial to me, and if her display this morning was anything to judge by, I doubt if what I'm about to do next will render me further in her good graces.

~*~*~*~*~*~
TBC?
~*~*~*~*~*~

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*New Pt 17a-c* A Walk To Remember M/L AU *1-16*

Post by bunniefuu » 03/04/02 13:48

This is good. I absolutely loved the book. Post more soon please.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 03/04/02 22:55

Here's the next part 3; a little on the short side... but basically needed to tie up the scene to continue with the action.

Now... on with the story...

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 3

“Yes Max?” Miss Garber's voice held a slight tinge of disdain as she caught sight of me getting tentatively to my feet.

Suddenly, the eyes of all 25 students in class were riveted to the back of the class, as if of a common mind, they knew that something of paramount proportion was about to occur. All 25 pairs, that is, with the exception of one Liz Parker who was still staring intently at the front of the class where Miss Garber was standing.

I knew Miss Garber was waiting for my response, but I just couldn't bring myself to say the words. Gripping onto the table to make sure my legs didn't give out from nervousness, I could feel my voice catch in my throat. If I didn't know better, I would have laughed it off as an attempt to silence me and keep me from my intended path. Stubbornly, I cleared my throat noisily to regain my voice – and probably my courage too – which only seemed to serve the purpose of irking Miss Garber even further.

“Mr. Evans?” her voice taking on just the slightest hint of impatience at my prolonged silence.

“Well, Miss Garber… about what we'd discussed in class yesterday…”

“Yes? I would think that you should be so glad that you have such a fine comrade such as Liz as your costar…”

“Yeah, about that,” I interrupt and cut in before I lose my nerve, “I think I can't be Tom anymore. You see, something kinda came up and I-I'm afraid I can't take on the role.” I rush out in one breath before she can cut me off again.

…
…

And I can so see that everyone is overjoyed about my announcement.

For a moment, it's so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Then the murmurs start up: little pockets here and there, increasingly until it eventually envelops the class, the students looking to one another in puzzlement about how things came to such a pass.

And all this time, the three who had any control over the situation stayed silent, facing one another as though it were a Mexican standoff, sort of… well, you know what I mean. Miss Garber appeared to have been shocked into silence by my announcement; so much so that her face was utterly void of any expression. While I could interpret this as good news that she might possibly not be angry with me, I know better than to hope for this minor miracle.

My co-star who had just been left stranded on the high and dry with a possibly invisible leading man had no change in her expression. She could have made a fuss and insisted that I stick it out come hell or high water, but she held her tongue.

Absolutely. No. Change.

Her back was still facing me and I couldn't see the expression on her face upon hearing my news, but her back (I could be mistaken) seemed to have stiffened, going more ramrod straight when she heard what I had to say.

“Why the sudden withdrawal Mr. Evans?” Miss Garber's voice has a clipped tone to it.

Okay, she just weirds me out when she keeps addressing me as “Mr. Evans”. I'm like… however many years her junior! I keep wanting to turn around, expecting to see my father everytime she calls me that.

“I'm really sorry Miss Garber. I wouldn't do this if I could figure out a way to solve this, but I uh… kind of… had an incident last night and I sprained my arm. I-It's kind of stiff right now and knowing the physicality of Tom's character, I don't think I'll b-be able to effectively recreate the character. Not convincingly… and… and I so don't want to mess this up for the rest...”

Okay, I know that sounded lame, but the part does involve quite a bit of physical activity when Tom helps the angel with the homeless person and especially with the scenes involving the orphanage. And my arm still aches from yesterday. I told you earlier, remember?

For a moment, Miss Garber seems to be torn between emotions. Concern over my “injury”, shock that I'd dropped this bombshell, anxiety over what she's going to do next… But they seem to cancel one another out until it appears that she's more crushed than any other emotion that might require me relocating to another state. I guess I should be relieved she doesn't look like she's about to hang me for almost destroying her hopes of a special rendition of The Christmas Angel. Seriously though, only God only knows why she's so intent on making this year the year she has the perfect adaptation.

And Liz. She has not moved from her spot. At all. I mean, other than the one time she snapped her head back to look at me when I said something about “not messing [the play] up for the rest”. It was like she was trying to gauge if there was another meaning to my words. She'd turned away to face the front again after coming to a conclusion about whatever she thought she saw in my eyes.

And her expression? After that ‘outburst': nothing. It may have been set in stone as far as I can guess because all I'm getting is a view of her back. But in the next moment, like a wood nymph brought to life, she quickly moved to a seat near the middle of the class, her face tightly controlled like an unreadable mask.

Which is really weird, because Liz is one of the most expressive people I know. No matter if she's happy or sad, those around her would be able to tell and… no, that is not a stab of guilt I'm feeling. *sigh* But I can't help this feeling that I have somehow managed to hurt her with my actions.

Look, I'm just glad I got myself out of that situation, okay? I never wanted to play the protagonist in the first place remember? And it's not that I have anything personal against Liz. I told you, she's perfectly nice… in a plain, harmless kind of way… Then, there's the whole “Hegbert-would-probably-find-this-as-another-reason-to-castrate-me-if-he-knew-we-were-working-in-such-close-proximity” issue, and of course, Michael who would give me no end of grief should he find out that Liz and I are working together. Well, I could go on with the list, but just suffice to say that it's a good thing that my involvement with the play's has been amended. Give me a role as backstage crew or props… I'll be perfectly fine… Well, not really, but I'll survive better than if I was to play Tom Thornton.

“Well…” Miss Garber's voice waivers slightly, and I almost detect an undertone of dread. Then with a deep breath and mile-wide smile that just screams ‘I just thought of the perfect solution', she continues smoothly “I guess that means that Tom will be played by Dennis.”

~*~*~*~*~*~
TBC
~*~*~*~*~*~

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/05/02 14:58

First off I am so sorry I forgot to welcome you to the board. It totally slipped my mind yesterday. So a great big "Welcome to the Board" to you. Now on with the feedback. I love this fic. I can totally picture Max and Liz as the characters based from the book's characters of Landon and Jamie.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 03/06/02 07:41

No problem Diana. Glad you're enjoying the fic so far. Am working on Part 4 and hope to be able to get it out before the weekend.

Other than the prologue though, the sequencing and events are pretty modified, even in areas where similar ones occur, so hopefully that will provide something fresh for those who have read the book or seen the movie.

Haven't seen the movie myself, but absolutely loved the book. Anyway, thanks for your kind words... now, back to work on Part 4...

:

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/06/02 07:50

Okay, I just got on a little while ago after a long busy week and more of one to come, LOL. I promise to read this as soon as I put someone down for a nap later today I even bought this book over two weeks ago and still have not read it I am more excited to read this than the book now But I had to jump down below and say hello s I just have to say how great it is that the first posts are fics (talk about a hard thing to do).. if I had my pick you guys would be the posters of the month So on to the welcoming committee Welcome to the board Dark Ilk!





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Post by destinyros2005 » 03/06/02 15:52

Welcome to the board, Dark! I haven't read this book yet, but I am looking forward to reading your fic. Maybe I'll have to go out and get the book than! Can't wait to read more!
C.

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/06/02 15:54

Dark Ilk - I read the book and I went to see the movie. I thought the movie was pretty good but I still like the book better. Anyway I'll be looking out for your post of part 4.

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/10/02 15:17

WOW! I love this! I can see a similar storyline with this & M&L in Roswell..(her being the good, innocent one and all, and him a little wilder) I haven't read the book yet, although now I am tempted to go pick it up later tonight just to see what happens next Please, hurry up with the next part.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 03/11/02 06:03

Thanks to Adema, bunniefuu and dr2005 for all your kind words... loved the book, loved the music I found on the soundtrack at my local stores... now just wondering when I should watch the movie cos it's not on our local shores yet.

I absolutely love the music by switchfoot and have been going on a frenzy downloading their stuff off the Internet. And now, for the most important words you'll want to know...

Part 4's ready to go. So hope you'll enjoy the next part... and keep heart, it's always darkest before dawn.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 4

Striding purposefully as she turned the corner to head towards the gymnasium, her footsteps began to slow as she neared her destination. Braking suddenly in mid-stride, it abruptly struck her that this was going to be one major embarrassment and so not worth the reaction she was expecting to get.

Pondering her possible alternatives, she came to the conclusion that she really had no choice if she wanted things to turn out right. Plucking up her courage, she started her determined march ahead again. So deep in thought was she that it didn't dawn on her that she had missed the first entrance to the gym.

When she stopped again for the second time – this time outside the back entrance to the gym – it was not due to her own hesitation, but from voices she could hear coming from within, just beyond the gym doors that were slightly ajar. Quietly, so as not to disturb the occupants, she slipped through the doors and ducked under the bleachers and watched the two guys on the basketball court.

~*~*~*~*~*~

On the basketball court…

Max's POV

I've been sitting on the sidelines, watching Michael dribble the ball, pulling off perfect lay-ups for the past hour. The routine should have gotten old to me by the first twenty minutes, but the incessant, rhythmic bouncing of the rubber ball was strangely comforting today.

I'd usually be down on the courts with him for a friendly one-on-one, but I can't do that today. Not with the excuse I've given Miss Garber in class. We're indoors, but better to be safe than sorry, in case some hapless soul should wander in to see the “injured” Max Evans having a go at the hoops. This is a highly remote possibility when the basketball team is practising, but it's already after practice and Michael and I are just hanging out in the gym while he gets in his own extra two hours of training.

Hey, don't ask me where the guy gets all the energy. I'm just his best friend, not a worm in his body. But seriously, there is a reason why he's captain of the basketball team. Michael's the type of guy who, when he sets his mind to it, will get his objective.

Okay, so I'm rambling a little… *sigh* I just feel kind funny after drama class and had to hightail it out of the class. I figured what better place to escape the questions and curious looks than the gym. Afterall, no one knows about my hideaway sanctuary… other than Michael of course.

“Maxie boy! Come on and get off that lazy butt of yours! You shy to get crushed by me again?” Michael's playful tone causes me to roll my eyes in an attempt to deflect his shot at stamping his superiority over me. He's the captain of the basketball team, but I can hold my own against him any time, anywhere… and he knows it too.

“Sure Michael… say that often enough and you'll begin to believe it,” I say with a raised eyebrow as I remain seated, looking up at him.

He walks over and throws me a meaningful glare. Deciding that there's something on my face that he doesn't like, his lips thin into a straight line as his eyes narrow at me. In the next instant, he unceremoniously parks himself beside me, firmly setting the ball down on the hardwood floor between his feet.

“Okay, so what's up?” That's Michael's for you. Blunt and to the point… and the reason why he's my best friend. Should have known that he would figure something was out of sorts when I didn't automatically take up the chance to make him eat his words.

“Well?” he queried when no answer seemed forthcoming.

“It's the drama class.”

“What about? I thought Maria pointed out the merits of a hotbed for a stud muffin like yourself,” he replied tongue-in-cheek, a smirk beginning to graze his lips.

Ha ha. “I'm serious, Michael,” I say, dropping my head into my hands as my elbows rest on my knees. Muffling a slight groan, I wonder how I should explain my situation to Michael.

He must have realized I was really troubled from my demeanor. After a moment of silence, the words he spoke so surprised me that I could only stare blankly at him.

“So you really screwed old Hegbert over huh?”

“What?!” I exclaimed in disbelief, my head snapping up at his remark.

“Look, Max. I heard about what happened in drama class. Yes, you're not my only friend in that class; yes, I know about the ‘injured shoulder' excuse…”

Hey, it was NOT an excuse…

“… No, I didn't think it necessary to let you know 'cos I knew you were gonna tell me yourself,” he shot a pointed look at me at this, “… and yes, you heard me right when I said what I said about our good old Minister Parker.”

Wow! Talk about being blindsided. I must have been some special kind of idiot to not figure that the news would spread like wildfire, especially when it was common knowledge that Miss Garber was planning an extra special performance this year.

*Sigh* Can this get any more complicated?!

“Look, Michael. You know me better than that. Of the two of us, you're the one always waiting for any opportunity to light a fire under the old man.” I roll my eyes to emphasize my next point, “As if you'd actually believe I did this to spite Hegbert.”

Michael grins widely at me, gets off the bleacher and sinks a perfect three-pointer. “I do, don't I?” he turns to me laughingly, but turns solemn again almost immediately. “But seriously Max. What the heck were you thinking? And don't give me the excuse of Sean hurting you to cause you to pull out of the play. He may be strong, but you and I both know that he's not that strong.”

“How would you know what went down between Sean and me?”

“You mean this had nothing to do with Peggy?” he asked, legs akimbo and arms crossed in front of him, daring me to argue differently.

Okay, did I mention that I have a girlfriend? Or more like ex-girlfriend actually. Remember when I was late getting to drama and my general “friendly” demeanor then? Courtesy of one Peggy Marianne Sue and her scumbag lout of a new boyfriend, Sean DeLuca.

She'd apparently been dipping her fingers in more than one pot, and when I found out, I'd made her decide on one. Guess who came out the losing end?

For all the aches I woke up with in my shoulder the next day, you should see Sean. He's a walking mass of bruises. The fact that he goes to an out-of-state high school made it that bit easier for me to excuse myself from Miss Garber's play without anyone being none the wiser.

Anyone, that is, except for Michael Guerin. Michael's tight with some of the guys on the basketball team in Sean's high school despite their fierce rivalry on the court, and they hang out in the company of said jerk. Oh… and he also happens to be Maria's cousin – I feel bad for the girl really. It should have been little surprise that Michael knows of the situation really.

Grimacing slightly at his ability to see through me, I avoid his knowing gaze momentarily. “Look, Michael. This has nothing to do with Peggy, alright? … and this fact goes no further than these four walls, you hear me?” I loom up to him, practically wagging a finger in his face.

“I KNOW this has nothing to do with Sean, or Peggy for that matter. What I want to know, is why you pulled out of the play the way you did,” Michael retorts in a carefully neutral tone, not backing down despite my threatening stance.

Got to give it to the guy. He really didn't know when to give up… especially when it came to his best friend. Releasing a sudden sigh of annoyance, I sit back down heavily on the bleacher.

Michael sighs deeply too as he takes a seat alongside me. “I know you Max. It can't be because of the old man. And the bull you fed everyone else about Sean… well, we know better, don't we?” Patting me on the back, he continues, “So why don't you just tell good, old Michael why you basically sabotaged yourself off the role. And don't even try to feed me the line about you never wanting the role in the first place. We're the same Max. We make sure we give off the best in the roles we play. We make sure we know what we're dealing with even if we didn't ask for it. Then we give it our best shot. And I just know you wouldn't have pulled out of the play unless you had a good reason.”

I know his words ring true. But he doesn't get it… he just doesn't get that it's not simply that I never wanted the role... I-I'm not in control here… and I stubbornly hold my peace.

“You're not helping me help you dude,” Michael sighs in exasperation. After another moment of silence, he speaks again.

“It's about Liz, isn't it?”

For a second time, I can only stare in amazement at Michael. Okay, I know I said that I wasn't a worm in his body, but I'm seriously wondering if he wasn't one in mine.

It's only been a moment and as I try to recover from the shock of how accurately he's hit the nail on the head to reply, a noise in the vicinity of the bleachers near the back door of the gym draws our attention.

“What was that?” I get to my feet in a hurry, turning to face Michael. “Damn Michael. I thought you said that no one else was around after practice. The last thing I need is the jocks hearing what you said and…”

“Relax man. It's nothing. It's probably just the creaky door to the team locker rooms. The wind sometimes causes the noise, so I can assure you it's not anyone hanging around to eavesdrop… and don't try to think that you're distracting me from the real purpose of this talk.”

“Fine,” I grouchily concede. Running a hand through my hair, I massage my neck muscles that feel incredibly knotted and tense. Turning away from him, I walk towards the centre of the court and pick up the ball he had previously abandoned. Dribbling it absentmindedly a couple of times, I try to find the words to explain my thoughts to Michael. He seemed to realize that I really was trying to figure out how to account for my actions and wisely kept silent until I turned to face him.

“The thing is… I don't really know why I did what I did.”

The confused expression on Michael's face causes me to rush on to clarify my words.

“Look, I'm not lying. Y-You weren't off the mark when you said that it had something to do with Liz, it's just… it's just I can't tell you what it is. Not when I don't even know it myself. All I know is that it's really making me uncomfortable, so…”

“Okay, I get that,” Michael drawls before I hear a tinge of impatience coloring his speech, “I get that you're uncomfortable around Liz, but it can't be that bad that you have to pull out of the play to leave Dennis to play the lead. I mean, good grief, Dennis? Did you suffer a concussion I didn't know about and forget what he did to you last year? Don't you think he'll massacre the production the way he nearly did you?!”

Okay, so I wasn't expecting such a violent reaction form Michael. I know I was a little melodramatic in telling Michael what happened with Dennis, but still… Did he have to make it sound that bad?

A wry grin plants itself on my face despite the gravity of the situation. “Come on Michael. It's just the annual Christmas play. It's not like someone's gonna die if I don't play the lead, or... or it's not like it's the school championship game you're playing…” I try to reason with him.

“That sucks, Evans. That really does.” Michael sounds disgusted as he comes to stand in front of me, a dark scowl marring his features. “Why are you doing this? Really

“Look! I told you why!” My own voice beginning to rise in irritation, “Why can't you just accept it and let it go? I'm just looking for some support from my best friend. Is that too much to ask for? I mean, everyone I've seen after class has more or less expressed their displeasure with me. Was it too much to hope that my best bud would be able to see my side of the story?!”

“That's utter crap Maxwell and you know it,” Michael glares at me angrily. “You know what? You may not realize it, but I know why you did what you did.”

At the questionable rise of my eyebrows that he might have already seen the light at the end of the tunnel that I found myself stuck in, he continued his diatribe.

“Much as we joke about how Liz helps out with the Red Cross and the kids at the orphanage, acting like a total goody-two-shoes and laugh about the way she dresses, you've never had to deal with her in a one-to-one situation. You don't know how to control the situation and you're running like a ‘fraidy cat.”

Shaking his head, the guy continues as he's on a roll. “It's just so you, you know that. You take charge of the situations you can control; but those that you can't, you walk away. Who am I kidding? You fairly run away like a bat out of hell…” he mockingly throws me a sideways glance, “… like what you're doing now.”

“That is NOT tr-”

“Not what?” Michael interrupts. “Not true?” He throws the word bitingly at me. “What about your father?”

“Don't go there, Michael. You know you don't wanna go there. I'm warning you…” my own voice taking on a dangerous timber, an angry flush reddening my face as we stand toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, neither willing to back down.

“Why? ‘cos you've faced up to your old man? Just like how you're tackling this issue you have with Liz? Right Max. I see that you so have everything under your control. It's-”

Michael never got to finish his sentence because in the next instant, he was sprawled on the ground, a hand rubbing his jaw where my right-hook landed.

The look in his wide eyes as he stared back at me…

…
…
…

You know what? You would think that I should be getting used to these prolonged silences after some time… but right now, all I can do is stare down at my clenched fist in horror as the reality of what I just did sank in.

“M-Michael…” I stammer even as Michael gets to his feet shakily and looks at me in disbelief.

“Michael, wait!” I cannot keep the note of utter fear and desperation out of my voice as he looks at me for another second, backing away gradually as he does so. Throwing me a look of utter hurt and disgust, he turns on his back and bolts out the front door.

“Michael! I'm sorry…” my voice winds down into a whimper. He can't leave… not like that… not when I haven't had the chance to say I'm sorry…

What just happened?!

One moment we were goofing around, and the next, I'd lost my best friend, been reminded of why I'm so cheesed off with my father, dredged up more issues concerning Liz that I really didn't feel like dealing with… and did I mention that I just lost my best friend?

Suddenly, I feel like the weight of the world is rested squarely on my seventeen-year-old shoulders, and the next move I make could possibly bring about its very demise.

Sighing deeply, I feel my heart sinking to the very soles of my feet. Hanging my head, I try to fight back the wall of self-pitying tears that are threatening to rise. Man, things just can't get any worse.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Wiping at the tears that were hovering on her eyelids, Liz swallowed a shaky breath. So that's what happened in drama... Sniffling slightly, she brushed an arm across her tear-filled eyes as she studied the back of Max Evans for another moment before she made her way quietly out of the gym through the back.

Once outside, she could not stop a small sob escaping her lips. There was no way that Max would change his mind after what she'd overheard. Lips trembling as she fought the dam that was threatening to burst, her tears were rapidly tracing a course down her already red cheeks as she turned and ran for the girls' bathroom.

So intent was she on making her getaway that she never caught sight of Michael – who had been standing by the front gym door in an attempt to cool his temper over Max's outburst – pulling back behind the corner as she rushed past.

~*~*~*~*~*~
TBC?
~*~*~*~*~*~

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Post by destinyros2005 » 03/11/02 15:07

Wonderful chapter, Dark! I feel horrible for Liz, but I can't wait to see what happens. I love that Max actually nailed Michael! Please post soon...can't wait to read more!
C.

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/11/02 19:25

Yay a new part.

Dark Ilk - Another great part. Thanks for writing and posting it. About the movie it's pretty good I liked it. Although it's a tear jerker like the book. Even though they changed and added some things to movie. I still thought it was good.

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/13/02 11:34

Thanks for the new part! Loved it! Hurry up part 5 LOL I have a question though (if I may) does it get into further detail about Max's dad?

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Post by Dark Ilk » 03/14/02 02:31

bunniefuu... of course questions and feedback welcome...

wrt Max's father and the intricacies in which father and son find themselves will DEFINITELY be explored... just a matter of time.

The good news: I've started a little on Part 5 and will be introducing yet another familiar Roswellian character this time.

The bad news: when I'll be able to complete it. Am in the process of backing up some data on my HDD - so as to leave more space when the last frew eps come around - so do behr with me.

Okay: A little spoiler: No Max-Liz interaction yet - though I promise that it'll be coming up soon - but Max will have to come to a decision soon as he comes to a realization...

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/18/02 05:27

Quote:
wrt Max's father and the intricacies in which father and son find themselves will DEFINITELY be explored... just a matter of time.
I can't wait.. I am interested to see what it entails
Quote:
The good news: I've started a little on Part 5 and will be introducing yet another familiar Roswellian character this time.
Yeah!
Quote:
Okay: A little spoiler: No Max-Liz interaction yet - though I promise that it'll be coming up soon - but Max will have to come to a decision soon as he comes to a realization...

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Post by bunniefuu » 03/25/02 09:59

Next part, Next part, Next part... Pleeeeaaaasssseeee... LOL. It seems like it's been forever. *smiles*.

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Post by destinyros2005 » 03/25/02 10:33

Bunni...I think it has been forever! It feels like it anyway! Patiently waiting for a new part here Dark! :D
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Post by bunniefuu » 03/25/02 13:08

destinyros2005~ No, you see, I saw Dark on and got all excited in the face I almost turned blue, thinking she was going to post the next part. So I was cheering her on. Guess it didn't work. Bwahahhaa.. Yes, someone was bored.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 04/02/02 07:46

lol... so sorry for the false hope bunnie. Saw your last post and hope it wasn't too much of a dampener.

The good news is that the new part's ready to be posted. And guess what? It addresses the question you asked before. Coincidence really, but hope it meets your expectations.

To dr2005 and Adema, thanks too for your support.

Alright, without further ado... here's Part 5.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 5

Evans' Residence, Dining Room

I just have this incredible knack of putting my foot in my mouth you know that?

I thought drama would have been an interesting class, and you know just how ‘interesting' THAT turned out. And remember when I thought that things could get no worse with Michael blowing up at me in the gym?

Well, guess what? They did.

The good news first: Michael's talking to me again. Not back to our “best friends” mode, but I know we'll mend. I guess there's always a first for everything, and even though I didn't know it at the time, my major – but thankfully momentary – fallout with my best friend had only been a premonition of many first's to come. But that's not the issue here.

What IS though: my bad news… That being Liz overheard our conversation in the gym.

Michael was the bearer of this unfortunate piece of news. Moments after fleeing from the gym, he returned with an almost abashed expression as he informed me that he saw someone hurry away from the gym in tears. No prizes for guessing who.

This really sucks big time. I mean, it's one thing to have these uncertainties running through my head. But to finally face up to them, and to have Michael proclaim it within earshot of one particular Liz Parker… well, that really takes the cake, don't you think?

I can't help but heave a deep sigh of frustration as I shovel another bite of dinner into my mouth.

“Max? What's wrong, honey?”

Oops, did I just sigh out loud? Man, I just KNOW that things can only GET worse. Oh God, PLEASE help me get through this unscathed.

“Erm…” I focus intently on the peas on my plate, pushing them randomly around, trying my best to avoid making eye contact with the concerned party whose motherly gaze was trained intently on me at the moment. “It's noth-”

“It's this play Max was supposed to be in, Mum,” a smart-alecky, know-it-all voice chips in before I can think up a believable excuse.

“Wha-” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, pardon the ‘deafening' crash you hear as my jaw is introduced figuratively to the ground. No, in case you haven't already guessed, I had NOT intended for my parents to find out that I was a useful and active member of the scholastic scene this way.

Actually, I hadn't intended for them to find out. Period.

“Max is in a play?” The fork filled with mashed potatoes freezes midway to my father's mouth as he takes in the news with raised eyebrows, his meal instantly forgotten.

Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence Dad. You would think that for a Congressman holding office for the last five years, Philip Evans would have perfected the art of subtlety.

“Why dar-ling, that's just won-derful,” That's my Mum, Diane, and I can hear the octave raise several levels in her voice. Oh God, here it comes. This is SO not happening.

“That's absolutely mar-vellous and SUCH a cause for celebration! Why, you looked like it was the end of the world dear,” she continues to gush, “Why, imagine what…”

The rest of her words are lost as I turn an evil glare to the tattletale who's sitting innocently across the table from me. Everyone, meet my older-by-two-minutes fraternal twin, Isabel Victoria Evans. Yes, it seems to be my fate that not only do I have a best friend who loves to heckle me, I've had another being put on this Earth even just as I was born to carry out the same duty. I guess I should be grateful they aren't an item, otherwise…

Ew! I suppress a momentary shudder as the image of Michael and Isabel filters through my already harried brain. I shut my eyes and banish the thought to the deepest recesses of my peace-deprived brain.

Focusing back on Isabel's seeming angelic face, I can't help but wish that she would choke on the morsel of lamb chop she's so daintily put into her mouth. Narrowing my eyes, I could have sworn that if looks could kill, she'd have been chopped into as many pieces as said lamb chop, beyond recognition to the power of infinity. But no, there she sits, the laughter evident in her eyes as she silently mocks the predicament I now find myself in.

“… no need to feel nervous and bothered about it. I know it's your first time going through the motions,” Mum's words start to filter through the angry red fog in my brain as I turn away from Izzy. Wait, what?! How did she know about L… My breath catches in my throat… until it suddenly sinks in that she's talking about… the play. Whew! I can breathe again.

Okay, do NOT roll your eyes at me.

NO, I was not thinking about someone… I mean some-THING else... I mean…

Oh, shut up.

“I'm sure you'll be a natural at it,” my mum continues, not seemingly aware of my apparent discomfort or silence since Isabel broke the news. “That's what you've been brooding over right?” My mum finally takes a break in her spiel, turning her face towards me, eyes shining with – oh no – tears of unshed pride and joy, and a megawatt smile that would probably light up the entire town.

Oh God, how do I break the truth to them? I open my mouth, but my mind draws a blank yet again.

“Don't get too excited, Mum. I did say the play Max WAS supposed to be in,” the proverbial thorn in my side intones in a bored, deadpan voice as Mum and Dad turn to hear her words. For a second time, I throw Isabel a withering glance that I hope will shut her up.

“What?!” This exclamation is from both parental units as they set questioning gazes upon me.

Lamely, I can only utter in bits and pieces of coherent speech. “I uh… just realized that the role wasn't my thing, so… so rather than make a mess of it, I… decided to… leave it in the hands of… someone… more… capable...”

Okay, so that was an outright lie. You and I both know that Dennis should be the last person on Earth who should be playing Tom Thornton, but Mom and Dad don't know that. And well, I've always believed in the axiom that what you don't know can't hurt you, right?

“He pulled out ‘cos he's got to act opposite Minister Parker's daughter. You remember Liz, don't you? I've worked with her on several projects around the holidays and she does a lot of other charity work too,” the she-devil says nonchalantly, delicately clearing the lamb chop gravy off her plate with a breadroll.

I turn furious, disbelieving eyes onto my twin, and am absolutely flummoxed by her unprovoked attempt to sabotage me. What IS her problem?!

“Max, is this true?” The serious tone in my father's gravelly voice causes me to turn a quick – and slightly worried – glance in his direction before getting enthralled in the makeup and physiology of the peas that have gotten mushed up with the potatoes on my plate.

“Max?” Dad's tone has gone even lower and that is NOT a good sign.

“Oh what do you care anyway?! This is yet another opportunity for you to tell me what a major disappointment I am again! Nothing's I do's ever good enough for you!” I suddenly burst out, simultaneously pushing my plate away, and myself from the table. As the chair screeched across the smooth wood-paneled floor, even my normally unflappable sister seemed to lose her cool for a second, cringing at the sound akin to fingernails being scratched across a chalkboard.

“Max!” Mum's mouth has dropped open in a shocked expression as everyone at the table stares up at me.

“Maxwell,” Dad's voice is calm as he resumes eating without sparing me another glance, but there is a hint of suppressed anger underlying the seemingly serene voice. “Sit down.” He says in the same manner after a moment of silence when no one moves.

Gritting my teeth, I refuse to budge and hold my ground, awaiting his reaction at my defiance. As the moment drags out, I actually begin to feel my jaw ache from gnashing my teeth so tightly together. Eyes flickering briefly over to Mum and Izzy, I can see that they too are holding their breaths, awaiting the outcome beyond the apparent calm before the storm.

When Dad continues to ignore me, I begin to feel like an idiot standing in the midst of the room. I finally succumb and stonily reclaim my seat, but refuse to touch my plate. I know I'm sulking like a spoilt brat, but it's always only times like these that he actually pays any attention to me. Any other time, I'm the invisible man.

*snicker* Can you tell that I have a ‘healthy' relationship with my father?

Michael wasn't off the mark when he accused me of running away from dealing with this. But I'm not given much time to ponder this aspect of our father-son bond as his next actions cut into my thoughts.

Wiping his lips with the napkin as he finishes his meal, he turns and asks that the ladies excuse themselves from the room. I can almost hear her audible sigh of relief as Izzy hurries out without a second backward glance. Mum lingers momentarily and I can see her eyes beseeching my father not be too harsh on me.

I almost want to beg her to take me along with her.

When they finally exit, he turns his gaze sharply on me and I feel like a six-year-old all over again, caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“Do you care to explain that little outburst? You know very well why I'm constantly disappointed in your behavior. Just look at Izzy,” he says nodding his head in the direction of my sister's recent exit and I can't help but feel a further surge of resentment for her. Will the comparisons NEVER end?

As though suddenly realizing how his words might have sounded to me, he exhaled noisily and paused before continuing. “Isabel's trying to make a difference. And you. What do you do? REALLY, Max. I want to know. What DO you do? WHY do you do what you do?”

There is no accusation in his voice. There's just a profound sadness and… sincerity in wanting to understand?

Feeling slightly chastised, I bow my head. “Look,” I say without raising my eyes to meet his, “I'm sorry for raising my voice, okay?” A momentary pause as I collect my thoughts. “I… I'm just going through a little… phase right now.”

When I do not offer any further elaboration, he watches me meaningfully. After a heartbeat, I start to fidget under his intense scrutiny.

“Come on Dad. It's just a play. One that the High School puts up EVERY year. Why all the fuss over the fact that I pulled out? It's not like there's no one else to take on the role,” I cross my fingers behind my back as I say this, “I won't pull another stunt like that again.”

“What Izzy said; is it true?”

“Is what true?” I ask, confused by his sudden change in subject. Izzy spoke too much as far as I was concerned and I would dearly love to return the favor one of these days, truth be told.

“About Liz. About you pulling out of the play because Minister's Parker's daughter is in the play as well.”

A deep sigh is emitted before I find myself repeating the same words I've been telling everyone.

“Dad, it's not the reason, okay? It's nothing – I stress this again, NOTHING – to do with Liz.” Of course, my eyes are currently trained on the intricate wood-grain patterns of the dining room floor.

I continue after a heartbeat when he watches me while considering my words, a slightly dubious expression on his face. “Come on, we've known the Parkers all our life. While I don't interact much with the Minister's daughter, I sure don't dislike her to the extent that I'm gonna avoid her like that. As if I need another excuse to get old Hegbert-”

“That's Minister Parker to you, young man,” Dad interjects with a raised eyebrow at my insolence.

“As I was saying,” this is accompanied with an exaggerated roll of my eyes, “I don't need Minister Parker (heavy emphasis on his name here) getting his underpants all tied up even further and condemning me to the level of his ‘beloved' fornicators. We already know how much he ‘adores' me.”

Dad can't quite suppress the grin at the memories of the sermons that we've all heard for years and my infamous altercations with the minister. Looking into each other's eyes, we can't help but burst into a fit of laughter.

For the briefest of moments, it feels good to be just like any father and son sharing a joke. But as is always the case with us, the moment is transient and passes too soon. Only too soon before silence descends upon the room again.

His next question is not unexpected. “Then why Max?”

I don't try to misunderstand his query. You have to know. It's never been easy for me to communicate with my father. If it wasn't the fact that Dad was often away on political campaigns and rallies or other work-related matters, it was the constant comparisons with my older sister who was an activist like Liz; or it was that I was such a bummer who never sought a more prominent role like my father during his younger years.

It should come as no surprise that during his teenage years, Philip Evans had been the president of both the debate team as well as the student body. And to top it off, he was among the high-flying academics of his cohort.

Is it any surprise that I should feel the pressure to follow in his footsteps? Or that in an ironic twist of fate, I should want to distance myself from the man that Philip Evans is or was? Or that I behave the way I do?

Well, there's definitely no way that we're headed for a major breakthrough in our relationship tonight, so I give the only excuse I can think of. And I'm not lying either… not really.

“It's Pam,” I sigh with a little more sorrow than is necessary. See, I could make a convincing thespian yet. “We just broke up and things didn't really end on a good note.”

“I get that you're not feeling too good on the personal front, but it still doesn't validate your withdrawal from the play,” Dad tries to be objective without coming across all parental.

Hitting upon an idea, I continue, “Look. At the very most, I'll help out with Izzy's next charity project or whatever to make it up okay?”

My suggestion is met by silence. Then, a moment of inspiration strikes my father.

“I have a better idea.”

Oh oh. Why do I have a bad feeling about this?

“There's a dinner organized by the city council coming up in a week's time and Minister Parker's been invited to be our guest-of-honour,” Dad starts.

“And this has to do with me, how?” I ask, a perturbed expression on my face.

Resting his elbows on the edge of the table, Dad clasps his hands together to support his chin as he stares straight ahead. “Well, Liz has also been invited to the dinner too of course, but I hear from the Minister that she does not intend on attending because of… now what were the words he used… ‘the lack of a suitable companion', I believe.”

I can see Dad watching me out of the corner of his eye, and catch myself before my expression can give me away. Still, my heart literally stopped and froze when I realized what he was asking of me.

Maintaining a poker face, I keep up a façade of mulling over his suggestion.

“But that means it's a black tie occasion and those in attendant will be the fuddy-duddies. I'll probably be bored to tears. I hardly think I'd be ‘suitable company' then,” I protest with a pained look, pointedly avoiding the crux of the matter.

“I've good news for you then. Michael's gonna be there, accompanied by Maria of course. You forget: his Dad is a prominent member on the Council too.” Having caught onto the ‘slight' misgivings in my voice, he continues. “And it's not a black-tie sit-down dinner Max. It's just a semi-formal event for the council members to be more in touch with the townsfolk. It's not just the ‘fuddy-duddies' as you so mistakenly point out, but the old and the young, the housewives and the working fathers of the townsfolk who will be there. In fact, anyone and everyone will likely be there. I'm sure you'll find some of your friends there to keep from getting bored.”

Yeah Dad. I SO believe that.

Man… there's no way I can worm my way out of this one. I've already ticked him off with the whole play fiasco. And having made my promise to “make it up”, I guess I'm really caught between a rock and a hard place.

You wanna know the irony? Liz is probably going to hate the idea just as much as I do. Considering recent events, I won't be surprised if she just kicks my a$$ to kingdom come the moment she sees me. And I'm supposed to be her ‘suitable companion' to the dinner? What a joke!

Well, not like I can tell Dad that, especially since I've just vehemently stated that there's no animosity between us. And I can only imagine the jibes from Michael when he hears about this. Well, I guess he deserves to have some fun at my expense to make up for our little dispute.

Seeing no other way out, I inhale deeply and plaster a wry smile on my face. “If you say so, Dad. But don't say I didn't warn you if things don't turn out the way you expect them to.”

“So that's it then!” Philip proclaims gleefully. “You'll be Liz's escort to the dinner!”

Oh boy.

~*~*~*~*~*~
TBC?
~*~*~*~*~*~

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destinyros2005
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*New Pt 17a-c* A Walk To Remember M/L AU *1-16*

Post by destinyros2005 » 04/02/02 13:23

I just love this fic! I've been waiting ever so patiently for this part and I was thrilled to see it today! As I said before, I don't know the story, so it is really exciting to see how this is unfolding. Max has to be Liz's compainion? I can't wait to see how she's going to react to that bit of information!

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