*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!
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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 » 04/06/03 03:34

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Ilk, this was amazing as usual! Thank you for the wonderful new part. I totally understand about real life getting in the way! But after the way you ended that, you have to post a new part ASAP! I want to know what Max saw!

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

Post by chrystalkay » 05/04/03 18:05

OKAY! I am so glad you started writing this again!


I only just found it thanks to the 'recent posts' on your personal eazyboard page.

Now I as much as others know how busy can keep you away, but I am hoping that you can continue with this your wayward child. I love it and 5 months between posting is a hard hard thing to bear!

So lets hear it for updates!


Chrystalkay

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

Post by destinyros2005 » 05/05/03 02:40

Welcome to FD, chrystalkay!

And I agree! Updates are a good thing!

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

Post by bunniefuu » 07/20/03 07:30

Holy Crap! Dark?! You can't just leave it like this. OMG.
Get back here and tell us what he saw! PLEASE?


Oh and I also just wanted to say that I really loved the flashback part. Somehow it reminded me of SHA instead of AWTR, but I loved it neverless!

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

Post by Dark Ilk » 11/29/03 23:19

Sorry for the extended delay. No excuses.. but let's cut to the chase... and to the next part...

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 17a

“Everyone in line now! Curtain call!”

The cry echoes around the darkened area just behind the stage where we are hugging and almost crying.

“Bravo! Bravo!”

“Encore!”

Just beyond the curtain, in the audience below us, we can hear the loud applause flooding the small theatre where we have just premiered our performance of The Christmas Angel.

If the thunderous applause is anything to go by, I'd say we would be deserving of mountains of accolades for the tears and laughter the audience shed along with us. To say that the first-night show had been a success was a mild understatement at best.

They absolutely loved us!

And Liz… She just never ceases to amaze me.

What a sight she made when she came onstage. You'd have thought an angel had truly descended from Heaven up above.

Now longer was she the dowdy bun-haired, bespectacled girl that the students loved to heckle. In fact, I dare even state that those nay sayers in the audience had to swallow any unkind words they'd ever said about her the moment she appeared on stage.

No wonder we hadn't been allowed to see her in full costume during the rehearsals. Ms. Garber must have realized the impact she would have made on Tom… er, the audience.

In character for the role of Tom Thornton, I had been facing away from stage left where she had entered the play for the first time. Anxiously, I was searching for the music box my daughter desperately wanted for her Christmas present, looking in the windows of the cardboard-constructed toy store to fulfill the wishes of my own little darling angel. So wrapped up I was in my quest that I had not noticed the mysterious figure approaching from behind.

And so my first sign should have been the deadening of the slight murmurs, the deafening silence that suddenly befell the crowd as she made her way onto the stage. Or the frenzied admonishments of the audience when one of their numbers dared to sneeze and interrupt the ethereal setting playing out before their eyes.

And so there she had been; the revelation that stood before me as I turned around.

Long hair set loose. Curled in long waves down her back. Contact lenses in place of her usual spectacles. Glitter abound her otherworldly figure, like the long-forgotten angel I had thought hovered over me ages ago in the forest. The translucent blue-green wispy gown that hung on her figure, swishing softly against her as soft footfalls took her ever closer to my rooted, spellbound form.

Barring the momentary lapse of memory as I beheld her, that I had even been able to carry on without missing my lines had been a minor miracle in and of itself. So enraptured I was with every word she uttered, every move she made. By the time the curtain fell for the last act, there were no words to describe how I felt.

And even now as I stand beside her with her fingers engulfed in my palm, awaiting the curtain to lift again that we might once again absorb the audience's rapturous adoration, I know that she has astounded me yet again.

She is an absolute vision to behold, a wonder to the senses. And not just how she looks, but EVERYTHING about her.

The animation and laughter lighting up her eyes.

The transformation of spirit, like a newly formed butterfly unfurling its wings for the first time.

The blossoming of a flower in all its glory after the harsh of winter.

She never fails to surprise me. But then again… can I really be amazed with each day that passes when she reveals a new aspect to herself?

And to think I never knew… TBC

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

Post by Dark Ilk » 11/29/03 23:23

Part 17b

Flashback

My mind drifting back to the memories revisited at the sight of that long forgotten photo, I smile contemplatively as I return the weathered picture to its original location and turn to take a closer look around her room.

I wonder…… Woah!

My breath hitches. My throat constricts. And my jaw drops as a most amazing sight meets my eyes.

My mouth hangs agape for long moments as I stare at… it for what seems like ages.

I cannot believe that this is what I am seeing.

Colors are no longer muted by the darkness, but highlighted in all their magnificence in the clarity of daylight. From the amber hues just beginning to spread across the morning sky, to the rich sparkle in the green-blue shallow waters. From the multitudes of shades in the evergreen canopy, to the shifting gray shadows behind stone and gravel. Even the shoreline details have been meticulously captured, conveying a sense of utter tranquility.

It's as if I was transported to that fateful evening like it was just yesterday. Only… it isn't. For this almost-completed sketch-cum-painting of the quarry lake is nothing like the one I've ever visited… night or day. Even in its unfinished state, the serenity of the view just takes my breath away.

I hadn't pondered much over it when I first saw her doodling in drama class, but on hindsight, I suppose I should have expected no less of the little girl who drew such fantastically imaginative pictures in Ms. Davies' fourth-grade art class.

Only this is no world that was created in her imagination. This is someplace real… someplace I love… someplace I treasure enough to share with her…

And leave it to her to transform a beautiful memory into one that is unbelievably exquisite, one that is currently beyond my capacity to describe, to find the right words to do it justice. For she has not only dispelled any notions of flawed imagery, but shown what true perfection can be.

Coming to stand directly in front of the easel frame upon which the lightly fluttering paper is resting, I tentatively reach out to lightly trace a finger over the brush strokes, then hesitate at the thought of accidentally marring the quiet splendor before me.

Somehow, Liz has managed to capture the very essence of what I've always loved about the place, making it somehow achingly familiar, yet hauntingly exotic. The colors brighten the landscape that I had previously shown her, blending into one another to create a myriad effect. Smiling wistfully as my hands long to trail along the path of my eyes, I watch the greens chasing after the blues, following the golds of the brightening horizon. My brows furrowing a little as I note the gradually darkening edges of the painting, I lean in closer when a slight rustling from outside the window causes a distraction from the masterpiece I am admiring.

My head snapping to the French windows that are slightly ajar, my eyes narrow as the sound persists. Making my way over to the window perch, I am about to lean out to investigate when the appearance of a hand reaching upwards to grab onto the wooded frame causes me to fall backwards… and into a very undignified position of having my butt on the floor.

“Ah-oomph!” my yelp gets cut short as my posterior is introduced to the hard wood floor of Liz's bedroom.

Yes, on top of losing my dignity upon falling, ladies and gentlemen, I have also lost my ability to behave in a MANLY fashion when said pride is foregone.

As I lean onto my side to rub tenderly at my bruised flesh, I look up to see a bemused and slightly befuddled-looking Liz staring back at me from just inside the windowsill she is currently straddling, one foot on the window perch for balance.

“What ARE you doing on the floor Max?” The confusion rings clear even as she moves wholly into the room, “And what WAS that awful screech?” she adds, scrunching her face in a grimace. And yes, I am not mistaken, she is trying to fight back laughter.

I am so glad I can be a source of amusement for her… not.

Deciding that my self-respect as well as my body could use a little reprieve from the battering it just took, I slowly lean back and rest my weight on both elbows. Releasing a deep breath as I let the remaining singes of pain ride out, I watch as she brushes leaves and twigs off herself.

Cocking an eyebrow in her direction, I try to shift the focus away from me. “Talk about ME on the floor? Talk about YOU,” I state with decidedly strong emphasis on the last word.

“What about?” she asks with a touch of arrogance as she crosses her arms in front of her and looks down at me from her elevated position.

Deciding that it was a poor position from which to make a confident argument – heck, ANY argument – I move gingerly to stand up. A little more composed, I assume a similar stance and look her straight in the eye.

“What did you think you were doing?” I manage to mask the knot that has formed in my throat as I realize that she is still slightly breathless.

“What?” comes the childlike reply.

“Don't try to be funny Liz. You know what I'm talking about,” I try to invoke as much command into my voice.

“Max, don't beat around the bush. Just say what you have on your mind,” she says as she spins away from direct eye contact.

This is ironic, coming from the girl who probably DID just climb a bush or tree to get to where she is now.

“How did you manage to climb up here?” My voice is a little harsh, and I barely refrain from blathering on like a mother hen to find out how she just managed to scale the wall of a two-storey building.

A brief pause in movement as she faces away from me. “I would have thought that was obvious enough, even for you Peanut Boy,” she manages with an exaggerated roll of her eyes as she plants herself on the bed cover.

I do not miss the slight hitch as she inhales deeply to catch an obviously much-needed breath.

“Yeah, and it's not one I'm sure your father would appreciate hearing from me.”

“Now, Max. Let's not be too hasty in your choice of words. I'd hardly think you would want my Dad to know what happened.”

“What ha-” I begin incredulously as I see the smug look on her face. Knowing that Minister Parker's impression of me can only go downhill from this incident, I have a sinking feeling I'm about to be emotionally blackmailed. Snapping my gaping mouth shut, I narrow my eyes murderously at her as I wonder what game she's trying to play here. “I was just worried about you Liz,” I manage to grind out through gritted teeth.

Jack-knifing from her horizontal position on the bed, her voice is filled with mock surprise as she addresses me.

“REA-lly?” As a hand flutters to her chest like a damsel just rescued from a dragon's grasp, she carries on in a melodramatic fashion. “My, my, my. My knight in shining armour. And to think I might not have had to do what I had to, had not some scoundrel been more gentlemanly like you, kind sir.”

With a click of my tongue, I slide into character and follow her lead. “Well, milady. Methinks said scoundrel may not have done the deed had his hand not been forced by a certain mischievous waif. Afterall, young ‘uns these days have been taught to respect one another. A lesson, I am afraid, the young lass had yet to learn.”

“Is THAT so?” she queries, gently arching an eyebrow as she watches me, the barest of giggles just about to break forth.

“It is indeed so, milady. I am afraid…” A forcedly miserable-sounding groan interjected here by yours truly as I take to pacing the room, “ … not only has this young one sought to cause mischief for her fellow peers, but it would seem… that she is also hiding something of import.” The final statement is delivered as I come to a rest in front of her now upright, seated form on the bed.

Seeing a brief flash of worry cross her features, I cannot help but make her squirm a little more.

Fighting back the urge to laugh at the dawning look of horror on her face, I say speculatively, “You know of which I refer?”

“And that might be?” she asks evasively.

“You know. Something that you've been hiding for a pretty long time,” Maintaining a masked expression, I've leaned in closer to her, resting either hands on her sides so that our faces are mere inches apart. “Something you've been hiding from me… from Izzy… and pretty much everyone else around here.”

“Yeah?” she states, unwilling to bend albeit the growing apprehension I see in her eyes.

“Yes.”

“So what's the big deal?” she asks matter-of-factly, turning away and refusing to look me in the eye.

“What's the big deal? Liz, do you KNOW just what a big DEAL this is?” I drop any pretenses and sit on her bed as she not only looks away, but moves to her dresser to physically put some distance between us.

Shrugging her shoulders carelessly, she does not argue her point, just to fidget with the knick-knacks on the table.

“Were you afraid… that I'd laugh?” I ask a little tentatively when she does not seem keen to pursue the matter, or even conversation with me, for that matter.

“What?” She whirls around to face me. As a shadow falls over her chocolate depths, a niggling doubt begins to form in my head. “Is that how you reacted if… when you knew?” Her tone has taken on a dangerously panicked level, even as she advances upon me in a defensive stance.

My eyes widening, I seek to alleviate her alarm. “What?! No way. I mean, of course not! I was just wondering… cos you were sullen and all.” After a moment's reprieve, I ask with no small amount of trepidation, “Why would you think that I'd react that way to seeing your sketches?”

I watch as her face goes even more ashen, and my own panic levels begin to rise as I wonder if I'd pushed the joke a little too far. Slowly rising off the bed, I keep my eyes trained on her even as I approach.

Only, my footsteps come to an abrupt halt as she releases a sudden burst of laughter. As she tumbles in mirth on her bedspread, she releases her pent-up hilarity for what seems like infinitely long moments.

Finally catching her breath, she looks up to see me still towering over the bed, a confusedly lost expression evident on my face.

“Got cha, didn't I?” she declares, orbs alight with laughter as she wipes the tears from the corners of her eyes.

“You were just PRETENDING to be upset?” A slow grin making its way onto my face, I cannot stay angry despite the emotional roller coaster she sent me on. Notwithstanding the relief I feel that she wasn't truly as upset as I thought she'd been, I still cannot shake the feeling that she'd truly been upset-

“Max, come on. As if I'd any other secrets to hide.”

Hhmm. Well…

A roll of her eyes as she sees the serious expression on my face, she moves over to where the sketch stands.

“Look. No one except my Dad knows that I sketch. Well, you do, but that doesn't count.” At the quirk of my eyebrow, she sends a quick smile to soften the unintended blow of her words. “It's no big deal really. Not like I still cause riots with my paintings right?” Her infectious smile is hard to fight… and she knows it.

Chuckling lightly as I move to stand beside her, I cannot keep the wonder out of my voice as I ask my next question.

“But why don't you consider putting them on public display? They really do look wonderful, you know.” Sneaking a sideways glance at her before training my full attention on the sketch, I add softly, “Things that sing of… potential need to be continually nurtured and brought into the light to flourish.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see her turn to regard me for a moment before she refocuses on the sight before her too.

Her words are soft, but I can hear a tinge of sadness in them. “Well… not everything that starts out with potential can live up to expectations Max.”

End flashback


And even as we stand here behind the curtain, her haunting words still ring in my ears. Right now, I see no signs that she cannot live up to her potential. Whether as a stage actress or a painter, Liz Parker doesn't seem like one who knows how to take ‘no' for an answer even when the world tells her so.

The multiple sides of Liz's personality have created an individual that I could not have, for the life of me, been able to guess from all those years ago. While her potential as an artist has undoubtedly blossomed, there is just a hint of melancholy that was missing in the then innocent eight-year-old I so fondly recall.

As the curtains rise once more to allow us to accept the adulations of the audience, I cannot help the swell of personal pride for helping the event come to pass. Looking at the happy faces surrounding me, I turn to congratulate Liz only to realize that she is no longer by my side.

Looking back and forth in a bid to catch sight of her, I see her wandering just offstage where I see a pride-filled Minister Parker waiting in the wings. Amid the roar of the crowd around me, I cannot pry my eyes away from the scene playing out before me.

No words are needed as I watch the pair regard each other. The Minister was obviously touched by Liz's performance. Afterall, it's practically the story of their lives.

Even with the distance separating us, I can see that the old man is practically on the verge of tears. Tenderly, he smoothes a tendril of hair away from her cheek as Liz regards him quietly with tears in her eyes, a shaky smile playing on her lips. As she opens her mouth to say something, he lifts a heavily-calloused hand to silence her words with a finger to her lips. I can see her lower lip quivering slightly as they ponder each other for a moment. And when they move in unison to hug each other, I cannot help but feel like an interloper intruding on a private moment. Still, I cannot bring myself to tear my eyes away from the heartfelt and unabashed demonstration of utter love these two are showing.

As I feel a slight tightening in my chest, I rub wearily at my eyes in an attempt to discreetly wipe at the tears that have crested in the corners of my eyes. Finally turning to face the still-cheering audience, I cannot help but feel happy; for me… and for Liz because she's finally done it.

“It just really means a lot to me… you know… one of the things on my ‘to-do' list: giving him a reason to be proud of me without… without embarrassment.” ... TBC

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

Post by Dark Ilk » 11/29/03 23:27

Sorry... double post.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 11/29/03 23:30

From Part 17b

As I feel a slight tightening in my chest, I rub wearily at my eyes in an attempt to discreetly wipe at the tears that have crested in the corners of my eyes. Finally turning to face the still-cheering audience, I cannot help but feel happy; for me… and for Liz because she's finally done it.

“It just really means a lot to me… you know… one of the things on my ‘to-do' list: giving him a reason to be proud of me without… without embarrassment.”

Part 17c

Bowing once again to rapturous applause, I still recall the first time I heard those words…

Flashback

The sound of crunching gravel has given way on the smoother surface of the paved road. It's been about twenty minutes since we left the quarry lake on the walk back to Liz's home. The awkward silence that prevailed when we first left the lake had eased to a lighter atmosphere as we took to talking about how the evening had passed. From Sean's little stunt and my escapade, the conversation has taken a turn to… other matters.

“So which item are you at now?”

“Hhmmm… I know we've gotten pally, Max. But somehow, I don't think you need to know that.”

“What? You mean it's on a need-to-know basis? Come on, Liz. Spill.”

“Nah-uh,” she says with a resolute shake of her head. “You know Mr. Evans? You're quite a nosey parker for a guy. I thought it was only girls who would be such nags.”

“Hey. You're one to talk. You're the antithesis in that department. Just thought I'd help even out the score in that.” Seeing her refusal to budge on the issue, I inject a more cajoling tone into my words, “Come on, Liz. What's the harm in telling me?”

The topic? Liz mentioned that she tends to live her life by a ‘to-do' list. A list that she's prioritized all the things she wants to achieve in her lifetime. So far, I'd suggested that she'd want to join the Peace Corps and save the world from pollution, probably help tutor less-capable students to become Albert Einsteins – or at least to follow in her mold if that wasn't possible – and be an overall good little Samaritan.

Of course, not that she'll admit to these.

Every suggestion that I've brought up has been met by a smile and wave of her hand as she dismisses them. However, as much as I tease her, I have to admit that I am awed by her perseverance. Yet, as admirable as I find it, I can't help but feel a little overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of her ‘list'.

Does she seriously intend to follow through on everything on her list? She may not have revealed much to me, but I have the distinct feeling that it's not a short one. And being Liz Parker, I'm sure she wouldn't make plans she didn't intend to see to fruition.

Seeing that she does not intend to reveal anything more about her list, I decide that a change of topic is in order. With the understanding we seem to have reached after our earlier pow-wow session, it no longer seems so daunting to talk to her. And it is with this newfound confidence that I dare to broach the next topic.

“Liz, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah?”

“Why the obsession over the play?”

I can't help but feel like I've taken the wind out of her sail, seeing from the way her jaw has dropped in apparent astonishment.

“Is that how it seems to you?”

“Well, not so much from what you said. Just the way you seem,” then seeing her watch me thoughtfully, “… not that it's a bad thing or anything. Just… I was curious.”

“I see.” She remarks in a non-committal tone.

Our steps carry on without conversation for a few seconds as she falls deep in thought. I'm not sure if she's trying to figure how to reply, or deciding whether to just ignore me altogether. Deciding not to push my luck further, I just plod along quietly beside her.

“I've only my Dad to depend on, and he's got only me. So I guess we've pretty much counted on each other my whole life,” she starts tentatively.

In view of our earlier conversation of her attendance at the dinner, I have a vague idea how this is related to my question, but figure that she's building up to it so I do not interrupt. I nod lightly, throwing her an encouraging smile as I meet her eyes in indication that I'd heard her words.

“You know that my Dad wrote the play and even though he's never pressured me to be actively involved in it, I know that it's always been his dream to see me in the play that he penned as a part of our personal history. I've never had any really big plans for my life…” I receive a grin and light smack on my arm when I dare to raise questioning eyebrows at her acclamation, “… and it really means a lot to me… you know… one of the things on my ‘to-do' list: giving him a reason to be proud of me without… without embarrassment.”

Ah. Finally. A breakthrough.

Wait. Without embarrassment?

A frown marring my forehead, I turn a quizzical expression in her direction. “What? What do you mean ‘proud of you without embarrassment'? Liz, your Dad is proud of you without a doubt!”

And I cannot believe I'm professing to know the Minister better than his daughter.

A sigh from her as she quietly absorbs my outburst. “I just want it to be… perfect, you know? You've said it yourself Max. How all the other kids think I'm such a nerd to do the things I do.”

I wince at the words she utters because I know it's absolutely true. Even I'm guilty of having made a few snide remarks before.

She continues without sparing me a second glance. “I just want to do something for him to take pride in, that the rest can accept as normal. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for me… for him. It's not like-” and she clamps her mouth to prevent from spewing further.

Looking at her with some degree of disbelief, I cannot believe that this girl would think that her father did not take pride in her.

“Look Liz,” I say, tugging gently on her elbow to turn and face me, “I'm sure that you've made Minister Parker very happy with all that you've done for the community, for those who needed help. And even more so, for all the things I'm sure you'll do in the future.”

Seeing the conflicted emotions still stirring in her endless brown depths, I carry on. “Now if I were the Minister's child, it'll probably be a whole different kettle of fish altogether. Can you see it? He'd probably pack me off to military academy the day-”

And I hit pay dirt when I hear her sudden spontaneity-filled laughter.

Yes, even though I should feel insulted by the ease with which that image evokes laughter, I am glad to see the worry slide off her.

Joining in her merriment, I cannot refrain from reassuring her further, “It'll be just fine Liz. Don't worry. I'm sure the play will be perfect.”

“Really Max? You're so sure?” she asks with a lingering doubt.

And it is in that moment that I wish I could take away the uncertainty I see shining in her eyes, make everything alright for her.

But can I?

Dare I?

End flashback


Still smiling with blissful thoughts of how well things have turned out for both of us, I make my way backstage to find Mum and Iz ready to offer their congratulations on a job well done. Surprisingly, even Dad had to grudgingly admit that he had not thought that I'd “pull it off” so well. Determined not to let anything spoil my good mood, I accepted his best wishes in good grace.

And a good thing too. For that was not the only surprise he had for me.

You have to understand, we're not a very demonstrative family. Unlike what you think, the sight of Liz and her Dad hugging as a way of showing comfort and affection was not a common one you'd find in the Evans' household. So to be suddenly gripped in a viselike bear hug from Dad was shocking to say the least.

As I stood frozen as a statue, I could feel my eyes involuntarily moisten again as I heard the words whispered in my ear.

“You've come a long way son.”

As he pulls away to hold me at arm's length, I can only gape at the man I call my father like a goldfish out of water. It briefly flashed through my brain was that I must be in a dream. But reality encroached in the form of my darling sister as she beamed at me and insisted on details of how I'd prepared for my role.

Seeing my parents move aside to speak to the Minister, who had by now left Liz to her many well-wishers, I turn a somewhat dazed expression to my still highly excited older sibling.

“You guys were fantastic! I mean, you all were, but Max! You and Liz were just… wow!” And if I thought her mood could not brighten any further, she proved me wrong by planting a resounding kiss to my cheek as she hugged me tightly.

“Who would have thought,” she bestows another brilliant smile my way, “My baby bro brought the house down… and not in the disastrous way I'd expected.” The last is added with a laugh as I throw her a mockingly hurt look.

“Thanks Iz, I think.”

“Oh cheer up, Max. You know I was only kidding.” She digs a playful elbow into my rib.

Her enthusiasm is infectious and I cannot keep the grin from forming on my face too. “Yeah. I do. And really, thanks,” I say with heartfelt sincerity as I see that she too senses that some monumental balance has shifted tonight.

Hugging me tightly once more before letting go, I see that her expression has changed from gleeful cheer to one of some mischief.

“So I guess it didn't matter much either way that Liz got the script back from you huh?”

“Come on,” I protest, “as if I would be so mean as to NOT return it to her.” She throws me a look that just about screams ‘You would' and I throw her a playfully warning look. “Hey, no fair.”

“Okay, just teasing,” she says with another electrifying laugh. “God Max. You have SO got to learn to lighten up,” she states melodramatically, flailing her arms to emphasize her point.

As I throw her a disbelieving glare and laugh, she flounces off in Liz's direction. As I watch the two girls talk animatedly, Iz's words make me come to a realization.

One that fills me with sudden curiosity.

While I have inadvertently discovered several sides to Liz's multi-faceted nature, I never did find out why she was so adamant that day that I return her the script.

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

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

Post by Dark Ilk » 12/24/03 02:05

Just a little X'mas present for the faithfully patient... oh and fb pls...

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 18

“Hi Max.”

“Hi Liz.”

The greeting is a little forced, both of us standing in the school hallway, having just emerged from our other common class – AP Chemistry.

You would have thought that after the success of the play, Liz would have been more conscious of her newfound status. Imagine my surprise when she stepped into class in her usual garb of long-sleeved top and brown skirt. Her eyes – clearly shining with radiance during the performance when she'd opted to go without her glasses out of necessity – were once again hidden behind the rims of her ebony frames.

The silence that temporarily fell over the class upon her understated entrance was astonishing to say the least; I guess like me, everyone else had been expecting her Cinderella-like transformation to last beyond the magic hour. Even Mr. Seligman, our heavy-set Chemistry teacher, infamous for his physical – and ‘acoustic' – presence was tongue-tied to see the reappearance of the little cinder girl rather than the resplendent angelic picture she had painted during the performance.

If she had been perturbed by the atmosphere, her face gave nothing away. Confident strides took her to her seat two chairs to my right. Her gaze was unwavering, meeting those who looked in her direction with a small, shy smile. I noted, however, that most ducked their heads as she passed them by, suddenly developing a strong interest in academia, burying their noses in their books, or turning to talk to a nearby neighbour. As our eyes met across the class though, her smile widened, laughter lighting up her eyes, and I could not help but return the look in kind.

As selfish as this may sound, it actually heartened me to see that whatever else reception the rest of the school may have bestowed upon her non-transformation, she seemed genuinely comfortable with me.

And what might that spell for me? I guess I'm about to find out now that class is over and we've exchanged our first words since the performance over the weekend.

Scratching nervously behind my ear, I watch as she reshuffles the books in her arms to get a better grip. Just as I am about to offer my assistance, the rumble of feet from behind Liz draws my attention.

Michael, Alex, Kyle and the other basketball jocks were moving down the stretch, shoving one another playfully. Nicholas Kranson, a seven-footer giant was jostling with James Manders at the back as they good-naturedly fought for possession for the ball. As I watched, James gained possession of the little rubber sphere, throwing it high towards Kyle who was at the front of the troop approaching us. With his back facing us as he attempted to catch the falling ball, he was bound towards an imminent head-on collision with Liz.

What happened next seemed to pass in a blur as I tried to get Liz out of harm's way… yet everything also seemed to simultaneously slow down as I pulled Liz to safety.

With no space to back away as the lockers were directly behind me, I could only try to provide a barricade between Liz and Kyle's rapidly advancing form. The looks of shock and surprise passing over Liz's face seemed to blank out all else. Nothing mattered at that moment: my books and file falling as I made a wild grab for Liz by her arms; her own pile clattering to the ground as she lost her hold, my fingers gripping almost painfully into her forearms; my body swerving precariously to provide a barrier between her and Kyle.

Then silence.

Then pandemonium broke loose.

By the time the noise gradually increased to a dull roar in my ears, it was with immense slowness that I peered half-heartedly through heavy eyelids to see two temperamentally divergent faces above my horizontally sprawled form.

Raising a fist to my forehead to press on my eyes, I try to push back the throbbing pain railroading through my head. Deciding against sitting up for the moment, I take a few deep breaths even as I tune out the light again.

“Max… Max, are you okay?” Peering through one half-open eye, I see Liz using her hands to fan my face in an attempt to provide some ventilation. Behind her, the scowling countenance of one best friend slowly swam into focus.

“What the hell were you thinking standing there, Evans?” Michael glowers darkly at me as he looms closer over me.

“Michael, I think you need to help me get him to the nurse's station,” Liz moves to stand between us two in a stance reminiscent of the night of the dinner we attended together when she faced off with Sean. Her tone firmly established that whatever issue he had with me would take a backseat to my current condition.

When he made no move to extend a helping hand, it was up to Alex and Kyle – who had been trying to hold back the rest of the curious student body – to help me to my feet.

“Buddy, you okay?” Kyle pats me lightly on the shoulder.

“Max, my man. You still seeing Saturn, Jupiter and Mars?” Alex jokes even as he helps gather our fallen belongings. Liz remains by my side, supporting me with her slight build on my right even as I try to lean my weight against the lockers.

“Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine,” I answer distractedly as I regard Michael with a curious gaze. I know that we haven't been hanging out all that often in the weeks leading up to the play, what with rehearsals and all, but where this resentment-filled tone stems from has me stumped.

As the two of us remain in a willful battle to see who will avert our gaze first, it is Alex who breaks the stalemate when he physically deposits himself between us, handing me my belongings and brushing me down like a mother sending off her firstborn on the first day of school.

“Max, you have GOT to take better care dude,” Alex chuckles, “I can't always be picking up after you, you know? I have to pass on that job to your significant other sometime soon,” he interjects cheekily, casting a sly glance in Liz's direction. Thankfully, she seems more intent on Michael – who is pointedly ignoring her… while casting baleful glances my way.

Rewarding his jibe with a sharp poke in the side, Alex releases a yelp and jumps slightly off to the side in time for me to see Michael's attention re-routed; he throws Liz a sharp look her way before taking off solo in the direction of the gym.

Narrowing my eyes at his open display of hostility, my heart turns a little sour to see the light in Liz's eyes dim a shade. I value my brotherhood ties with Michael, and if you'd asked me three weeks ago if there was anything I would prioritize over that, it would have been a resounding ‘NO'.

Now, however, I find myself in a quandary. Rediscovering Liz and my ties to her, I cannot easily disqualify what she means to me… what she could potentially mean to me.

Resolutely, I turn to Liz. I don't want to leave her in this upset manner, but I am determined to nip the situation in the bud... one I suspect could fester quickly out of control. And I need to do that NOW.

“You okay Liz?” You didn't get hurt or anything?” My hands linger near hers, silently berating myself for the angry, red lines I see already forming on her arms from my earlier attempts to shield her.

She smiles indulgingly at me. “Shouldn't I be asking YOU that?”

Grinning sheepishly as I tug at my ear again, I help her gather her remaining items that are still on the ground. “I didn't want to see you hurt, that's all.”

Seeing her eyebrows rise in response, I hold my breath, expecting a retort of some sort as I realize a little belatedly the irony of the statement.

A pause. Then…

“Thank you,” comes her sincere reply.

A brilliant smile steals over my face. Almost blindingly. The biggest comfort of course, was to see her face take on a mirror image of mine.

But of course, reality made its presence felt as I registered the onlookers we had around us. Clearing my throat, I address Liz.

“Liz, listen. I'd really like to talk more, but I really need to go see Michael,” my tone is apologetic as I try to impress upon her the urgency behind my impending departure, yet not wanting her to think that I was being dismissive.

“Oh,” as I detect a faint note of disappointment, “it's okay. I understand Max.”

Seeing me still lingering uncertainly, she puts her free hand on her hip in a mock commanding stance. “Go.” Her firm tone is belied by the smile on her face and the sparkle in her eyes.

Throwing her a final backward glance, I hurry towards the gym.

~*~*~*~*~*~
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 » 01/01/04 13:12

Dark! You posted! I will have to read it ASAP! I'll leave feedback as soon as I do!

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