*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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Post by bunniefuu » 04/05/02 12:00

Wow! Another great piece! It did clearify alot of things between father & son. Interesting how this seems to play true in so many father & son's relationships. I so wasn't expecting the whole date with Liz thing! I can't wait to see what she says and how they interact with one another! I can feel things starting to "heat" up already. I just feel so bad for Liz still.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 04/05/02 20:33

thx for the fb.

Had not actually intended for the father-son "bonding" moment to take dominance in this part, but some suggestions by a poster on another board mentioned abt the father-son underlying tensions... and one thing just led to another and it gave me the perfect opening for the date. That was totally unexpected to me too. Was definitely intending for them to go on some sort of date... just had not figured how the setup would have been.

Just no writer's block then and it came out perfectly. I couldn't have figured on a better "bomb" to drop. hehehe...

Anyway, good news. I've already got most of the content for the next part, just need to write it all out into a coherent passage... can't do much for now... seriously zoned out... but promise to post it up as soon as I get it done.

Thanks again.

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Post by destinyros2005 » 04/06/02 06:36

I'm glad to hear that your close to posting part 6. I can't wait to read it!

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Post by bunniefuu » 04/07/02 11:25

Great part.. More soon Please.

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Post by bunniefuu » 04/07/02 15:17

Yeah! New part soon! See, I was shocked when you said that about the last part w/ father & son.. all this time I was thinking you were just going off the storyline of the "book".. so I haven't read the actual book yet- seeing as I didn't want to ruin it for myself But I guess your just using the "general theme" of it and not the exact details of it all.. silly Rabbit

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Post by Dark Ilk » 04/07/02 23:57



Am intending to work on part 6 as I go back home on the train tonight, but before I leave campus, figured I'd comment abt how I'm adapting the story from the book.

Original thought: Use most of the events from the book, but putting the relevant characters in their context (and my own words of course or I'd expect a legal letter from Nicholas Sparks )

The story so far: Other than the prologue and the play, it's pretty much been a different path that the fic's taken. I tend to be pretty verbose lush: lush: and can't help but want to delve more into the why's of what the character (mostly Max's) does.

And of course, the *evil* sense of humour; all me. Nicholas Sparks probably wouldn't be so childish to write some of the stuff the way I've written them. So hopefully, I haven't bored the original readers too much, nor spoiled the book for those intending to read it.

It's a really beautiful book (although too short IMHO!) and I just turn into a total bucket of mush each time I read it. And the last line was totally fantastic for me. It was - to me - a fantastic twist in the tale that so totally caught me off-guard.

Okies... enuff from me. gtg or I'll never be back in time for dinner.

Again, for all the fab fb, THANKS bunnie, Adema and everyone else too!

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Post by bunniefuu » 04/11/02 04:56

Quote:
Am intending to work on part 6 as I go back home on the train tonight, but before I leave campus, figured I'd comment abt how I'm adapting the story from the book.
I think that is so cool, you living on the other side of the world and all. I so wish I could visit. Okay, well I'm opening a thread over on the off-topic for people to share pictures of all over the world. When you get some spare time Dark, I would love it if you would post one or two "sight-seeing" pictures, or hell even a pic from the train I'm really curious to see some photos of all the different places I've never been.
Quote:
and my own words of course or I'd expect a legal letter from Nicholas Sparks

Quote:
I haven't bored the original readers too much, nor spoiled the book for those intending to read it.
Not in the very least. I'm dying to read the next part.

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Post by Dark Ilk » 04/21/02 15:39

Okies... think I did something wrong in posting... will re-try again.

Now then... now for the new stuff...

firstly, sorry for the delay as I was down sick for the past week and also rushing multiple assignments - that I even had to extensions for cos of my being ill - so now that I'm on the way to recovery, things will hopefully look up.

Alright, without further ado, Part 6.

PS: Part 7's actually ready to go... but I'd like to get some fb on Part 6 to see how you like the direction I'm taking it so far.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 6

Knock, knock.

“Come on in. I'm decent for the public view,” I jokingly shout, my head buried in the closet, searching for a particular piece of clothing that just refuses to be found.

The door opens and shuts quietly, letting in someone who doesn't say anything for a moment. Just as the fleeting thought pops into my head that I might have made a mistake, admitting one of my “adoring” public – I am so public enemy number one right now remember? – to ‘do away' with me, she speaks.

“Max.”

Oh @#%$. I can feel myself die a silent death. See, I do have a sixth sense about things.

My head pokes out from around the closet door at hearing her voice. My heart almost stops at seeing her. She is so the last person I need to see right now considering our last altercation.

“Yeah?” I ask, my voice a carefully neutral tone. My eyes following her with a little wariness as she moves into the room hesitantly.

“We need to talk,” she says, sitting down on the edge of my bed. The tension in her frame is totally transparent. It's as though she expects me to chase her out of my room.

As if I would ever be that mean to consider that.

“Why are you here?” I throw a distracted gaze around my room, deliberately avoiding her gaze. Sighing slightly, I briefly wonder if a tornado just tore through here, leaving a wake of clothes strewn all over the place. Where is that damned shirt of mine?!

“Look, I know things have… been a little strange between us… a-and I think we… need to talk,” she says, her eyes meeting mine with a strange determination I have never noticed before. Have they always been…

“Max,” her voice fills with slight exasperation as she sees my attention wandering, “I know things have been a little… strained between us since…”

A wry grin forms on my face against my better instinct, and I see her shoot me a sharp look intended to get me to focus on how seriously she views this discussion we're having. Well, sort of. Because she's doing most of the talking so far, and I still have no idea what she wants… and still no idea where that darn confounded shirt is!

“Max…”

“Look, I know…” I start out.

“NO! No, you don't!” She practically leaps off the bed, cutting me off before I can continue further.

I am dumbstruck by her sudden outburst. I had not been anticipating an exaltation from her in light of recent events, but I hadn't been expecting the complete opposite either.

“About the dinner… I-I think you need to know…” she suddenly sighs deeply and slumps back down on the bed, holding her tongue as I wait with baited breath to see what this is really about.

Her next words are so soft; I have to strain to hear them.

“I don't think it's such a good idea… the arrangement for the dinner… you know, to…”

What? Now I feel totally blindsided. Where did that come from?

“Look, I know it may not be the arrangement you'd expected,” I say as I settle down gently on the bed beside her. “Heck, I'm not exactly thrilled about it myself, but I made a promise, and I'm a man of my word.”

And yes, I'm so not prepared to face my Dad's wrath. “I'm not going to leave someone in a lurch when…”

“It's just… someone's gonna get hurt and I don't wanna…”

I cut her off before she can continue.

“Why would you say that? All I'm doing is accompanying Liz Parker to the dinner. It's not like it's an actual date.”

Nudging her shoulder slightly, I try to lighten the mood, “Come on, as if you didn't know that pigs would fly over the moon before your little bro would ever WANT to date someone like her.”

“What's THAT supposed to mean?” Izzy's voice suddenly turns defensive.

Oops. A relapse of the foot-in-mouth syndrome. Izzy's a Liz-advocator by the way. They've worked together before on several charity events. You know, being that Liz is involved in pretty much everything good, and my sis constantly involved in the holiday charity events. Having worked together on a regular basis for the past few years, they have formed a pretty stable friendship. And I know the way Izzy gets when she hears people talking bad about her friends: she takes it upon herself to defend their honor.

In Liz's case, it's even more extreme since she's the Minister's daughter, making her a target for sometimes unusually cruel jibes. They're all pretty harmless, just that she gets the flake more often than others I guess.

And NO. I'm not one of the pranksters. Well, not the really mean ones. Come on, can you blame me? It's just gossip that I hear from someone else or that I hear others talking about. Michael, the jocks and I just sometimes joke about the latest ‘updates' we hear. It's not like I'm the one spreading the rumors.

Anyway, I can see that Izzy's about to go on the warpath, so I try to sidestep the potential landmine.

“Come on, I'm just kidding. Don't get me wrong. It's just… look at me,” I stress by pointing at myself, “You know the type of person I am, and you've worked often enough with the Parker girl to know that our personalities are about as alike as night and day. There's no way I can hurt her during the couple of hours where we'll be surrounded by the entire townsfolk, okay?”

A pregnant pause. “It was JUST an innocent remark, Iz,” I add when I see the lingering doubt on her face. “Now seriously, what is it you want to talk to me about the dinner? I'm likely to be late and you're not exactly the person I want to see right now,” as I turn away and continue on my quest for the missing shirt.

“Gee, thanks for being polite Max,” my sister throw a barb of her own as she makes herself comfortable on my bed. She watches me for a few moments while I continue to look for suitable attire for the dinner – yes, it is THE night of THE event and I am going to be LATE unless I can find that freaking outfit.

“I really do mean it you know,” she says a little reservedly as she gets off the bed and tries to extend an olive branch by helping me search.

“Mean what?”

“About you and Liz attending the dinner together.”

“And whose fault would that be?” I ask with a raised eyebrow.

Turning on me with a disbelieving tone, Izzy glares at me, her hands on her hips. “Are you suggesting that this is all MY fault?!” she asks indignantly.

“Well, Little Miss Daddy-and-Mummy's-perfect-do-gooder, I just call it the way I see it.”

“How dare you make me the…” Izzy suddenly brakes in the midst of her rant and shuts her mouth with a snap, sucking in a deep breath as she appears to try to calm herself down before speaking again. “Look. I came here to try to broker a peace treaty, NOT to start another World War with you, okay?” she says and shifting a pile of my clothes off the chair, she sits down.

I refuse to comment and continue to ruffle through the growing mess in my room.

A soft murmur, then I hear an unmistakable “I'm sorry.”

Do my ears deceive me? I can't help but spin around to cast a questioning look at Iz.

“You're kidding right?” I quirk an eyebrow and look at her suspiciously for a few seconds. “What are you really here for Iz?” Tilting my head to ponder her slumped figure, I rapidly think back on the events of the past week to try and pinpoint the event that may have prompted this apology. I'm coming up with nothing so far… other than her spilling the beans about my involvement with the play.

“Ah,” I release a slight laugh as understanding downs on me. “Dad.”

The one word is enough to cause a further slump in her figure, and her cheeks to stain a deep red. If I hadn't been in this current situation, I'd actually laugh out loud. Isabel's not one to easily admit her mistake, and this was a Kodak moment if ever there was one.

“Well, why did you do it then?” I queried.

It's her turn to roll her eyes at me as she practically spits out the reason, “Isn't it obvious my *dear*, *beloved* brother? Or did I give you more credit than you deserve?”

Okay, I guess I asked for that. The whole school knew about the debacle with the play, and coupled with Izzy's innate protectiveness over Liz, I should have realized that my sister would have wanted to get back at me on Liz's behalf. God knows – and I do mean this literally – that Liz herself wouldn't confront me about it. But that's a separate matter.

How do I know that for a fact? I promise I'll get to it, but right now, please remember that I DO have an irate older sister to contend with?

“Look, I really don't see what the big deal is… and why everyone is making such a big fuss over what I did,” I sigh in frustration and run a hand through my hair.

“No big deal?! Over what you did? Max!” Izzy's getting hysterical now. “ As if you don't know the significance of the play. Not only have you pulled out of the most important event of the Christmas festivities, you also did it over a lame ass reason of an injury that I SO know to be untrue!”

Not stopping to give me a chance to cut in, she continues on a roll. “And of the lowest, most despicable things you could have done… how could you joke about not acting opposite Liz because she was such a plain Jane?”

Hang on a sec. Rumors? WHAT rumors?!

“And say that if she was to be the angel, that they'd probably have to get her in plastic surgery before she'd be believable in the part?!”

“Wait a min-”

“I'm not done yet, buster!” She intones as she holds up a finger, effectively silencing me. She starts jabbing at my chest with said finger, her pokes underlining each word she emphasizes. “WORSE yet! Some GUYS were even joking about YOU! Saying how SHE'D probably SCARE away the audience because they'd be so REPULSED by how the ‘angel' will be so GROSSLY misrepresented!”

By now, Izzy's face is crimson red, no longer from embarrassment, but from deep-seated anger. Anger that is currently directed at me. And might I add, very unjustly so.

“I DIDN'T do that!” I protest vehemently. “Come on Iz. You know me,” as I try to convey my innocence through the expression in my eyes.

“Yes, I do,” she agrees to my momentary surprise. “And THAT's why I wouldn't put it pass you. I wouldn't put it pass you and Michael and the bunch of dumb jocks you call your buddies when you get together. All that male testosterone that's just itching to see who can make a bigger fool of Liz Parker!” She crosses her arms and glares at me, the heat of her gaze ready to burn a hole through me if she had her way.

I heave a deep sigh, trying to figure out a way to convince Iz that I'm as much a victim in this strange twist of circumstance as Liz is.

Starting to pace around my room, I am clearly aware of a pair of eyes intently trained on the back of my head, possibly shooting death rays if possible. “Iz, I swear I didn't say those things. I know a lot of people were disgruntled over my actions… and… Well, I… just… someone started the rumors, but it wasn't ME,” I know I sound desperate, but I'm out of ways to convince her of my lack of guilt.

Stopping to stand in front of Iz, I try to read the expression in her eyes. “I SWEAR Iz. I-I swear on my life!” I look pleadingly at my sibling, seeing doubt beginning to flicker in her eyes as she listens to my fervent pleas for her understanding.

“Well…” she pauses to consider the possibility as she chews on the corner of her lower right lip, arms still crossed in front of her. “Whatever the case, the damage is already done. Whether you said it or not, it's already all over school, and th-that's why…” a note of apology creeping into her voice, “… I kinda did what I did to get back at you. I know Liz would have just ignored the rumors…” I cringe inwardly as guilt washes over me momentarily, “… but I just couldn't stand the thought of her being maligned… and by YOU of all people!”

“Iz…”

“Yes, yes, I know,” she sighs, “You proclaim your innocence, but…” a heavy, confused sigh from her here as she starts to flail her arms dramatically to emphasize her point, “… I was hearing all this talk, and you didn't say anything to me when you came home; what else would you have expected me to think?”

“Well, you didn't ask,” I claim innocently, only to earn a smack upside on the back of my head.

Oow.

Rubbing my head tenderly to ease the residing soreness, I watch her expression. “And besides, like I don't know how ‘protective' you are over Liz. Like I would have thought that I could say such nonsense and NOT have expected you to bite my head off,” a slight quirk pulls at the corner of my mouth as I roll my eyes dramatically to underline my point.

“Well, I didn't…” she tries to hide the laughter in her voice, “… not really anyway.”

There is a moment of silence, but we then both start to laugh, the tension in the air broken. As much as I sometimes feel resentment towards my sister for the way our parents – okay, Dad at least – treat us differently, I really do love her and she can be a real pillar of support in my times of need.

“Max, you're still not listening to me,” Izzy almost whines as she resumes her comfortable position on my bed, her attempt to help me with my search forgotten.

“About?” I query in puzzlement. Oh yes, Liz and me. At the dinner. Together.

“It's just a bargain I struck with Dad to get him off my back after your little stunt. It's nothing more, my dear sis,” I try to reassure her.

“Look. I just don't think it's a good idea considering everything that's happened.” My breath catches momentarily at her last words as I wonder if she somehow learnt about the incident in the gym.

“ You're pissed off that Dad practically gave you no choice in the matter, she's probably seething over the rumors rampant all over school. The way I see it, you'll probably tick her off with some dumb remark…”

Hey, I resent that I'm not given the benefit of the doubt here.

“… And that'll only make things worse for all involved.”

At my questioning gaze, she elaborates, “You know Minister Parker's opinion of you is only going to get tested further. And can you imagine the fracas you'll cause for Dad if anything gets out of hand? I might as well prepare a gravestone for whatever's left of your reputation after that.”

As I ponder her words briefly, I wonder if it really WAS a bad idea to go through with this in the first place.

“I don't deny the possibility of what you're saying Iz. But…” I consider my next words carefully. I really don't want a further display of Izzy's wrath with a mention of the gym incident, “… I don't think Liz would be too thrilled either if I pulled out on her this late. In your own words, I've already upset her with the play situation. It would really be the ultimate coup if I were to do this to her.”

Sighing deeply as she moves off my bed, she moves to the pile of clothes near my chair, riffles around a bit and hands me the shirt I was looking for. My only reaction is a dropped jaw that she found it that easily, and almost miss her next words.

Heading towards the door, she says, “Max, just… behave, okay? I know you're a great guy when you're on your best behavior. But more often than not, you just… rub people the wrong way. Liz is a really great girl no matter what you guys think of her and DO try to make it an enjoyable evening… for BOTH of you?”

Just as I thought she was out the door, her head pops back in. “And despite her cool demeanor Max, I really don't think you want to ‘rub' Liz ‘the wrong way'. She might just surprise you,” she adds cryptically with a wink.

“Sure Iz. Whatever you say.” With a roll of my eyes, I look away and dismiss her with a wave of my hand.

Like anything Liz Parker can possibly do will change my impression of her.

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

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Post by destinyros2005 » 04/23/02 14:43

Ooooo...and the plot thickens! Can't wait for more!

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Post by destinyrebel » 05/02/02 11:36

Ok, just started reading this and I must say, it's really great! Please hurry with more!

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Post by Dark Ilk » 05/02/02 23:44

Okies... thx you guys for all your kind patience... been a little caught up with work and hadn't the opp to post up the new parts - yes, yes, you heard right; so you know what u hv to do to get the second part coming soon huh? hehehe... I know, I know, *evil little silly alien* huh?

okies... w/o much ado... Here's Part 7

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 7

Ding-dong.

So here I am – thankfully on time for once – standing on the porch of the Parkers' home, waiting for Liz to answer the door… and my nerves are stretched to the max.

Dressed in the navy-blue, button down, short-sleeved shirt made out of some satin-like material that Izzy had found from the dredges of my room, and a pair of plain black slacks, I actually felt my hand trembling as I'd rang the doorbell. I'm holding a bouquet of flowers for Liz behind my back… kind of like a peace offering… you know, for the gym incident. Okay, so I know this is a less than adequate move, but Michael always says that girls love flowers. Wait a minute, but Liz isn't like most girls. What if…

Okay. Quite rambling. Great, I'm talking to myself now. You see, I've seen Liz over the past week in school and drama class, but we haven't actually spoken… much that is.

And then the door opens to reveal… Minister Hegbert Parker.

He's already attired in a polo tee and a pair of casual slacks, ready to go. Apparently, he seems to be headed out in advance for the dinner, leaving me to escort Liz by myself. As I take a step back from the door, Minister Parker steps out onto the porch.

My stomach does nervous flip-flops at this new development, and I'm not sure if it's out of pure terror that I'm probably gonna shoot myself in the foot with some comment I might further offend Liz with, or that I'll have to face her alone. And after what's happened so far, I'm not sure it's very safe… for me. Or even because… of something… else.

“Max,” he bows his head slightly, acknowledging me.

“Good evening, Sir.” I just manage to maintain eye contact, forcing myself not to shy away from his piercing gaze.

You know what, up till now, I've NEVER had to face him one-on-one. It's either been at church sermons when there's the whole congregation, or Michael at least. I guess there's always a first time for everything huh? Not that I would have guessed it at the time, but it was only the start of one of many ‘first's of the night.

“So I see you turned up… to pick up Liz,” he smoothly adds to cover his sarcasm that he had expected me to pull a disappearing act. Turning back into the house, he calls out, “Liz, Max is here.”

I hear a slightly muted ‘thump' coming from the upper storey of the house, but have no opportunity to ponder its significance as Minister Parker takes a step closer to me.

“You remember our conversations, Max?”

I swallow nervously as I recall his booming, commanding voice during all the church sermons and most especially, as it had rung out then all those years ago.

“I know who you are, Max Evans… and the Lord knows too.”

Hardly what I'd call ‘conversations', but getting even deeper into the Minister's bad books is not on my agenda right now. It seems like I'll never grow out of that particular chill that runs down my spine every time I think of it.

Retreating a step as if in an act to back off, the older man then proceeds to brush off his shirt lightly as though nothing just happened. “Well, I have to go ahead to meet with the rest of the council members, so I'll have to TRUST you to escort Liz to the dinner,” he says with an acute gaze from which I can't seem to pull myself away.

Surreal as I find the situation, I've got enough wits gathered about me to realize that he's probably worried about the virtue of his darling daughter, what with my ‘rep' and all. If I'd been a little less overawed in facing him one-on-one, I'd probably have taken him a load off his mind. Wait, what am I saying?

Spare old Hegbert and give him peace of mind? I retract my last statement. I think he could do with a little stewing.

“Alright then,” he closes the door behind him, not bothering to invite me into the house to wait for Liz. I guess this means I'm going to have to park myself on the porch then.

Walking down the steps, he half-turns to me while maintaining his pace. “See you Max… and remember, He is watching.” He directs his gaze skywards as he says this, and I cannot refrain a chortled laugh escaping my lips. Thankfully, I'm saved from any reprimands by covering it up with a slight cough.

As he heads off down the lane, I lean against the railing to wait for Liz to get ready. I hope she's not one of those girls who takes forever getting “presentable”. Trust me, living with Izzy has taught me the necessity for patience.

My thoughts start to drift after five minutes when Liz is still a no-show. Remember how I mentioned I knew she wouldn't confront me directly about the gym incident?

~*~ Flashback ~*~

About one week before
Along the high school hallway lockers

I'm pulling my books from my locker just as I receive a hard smack on the back and nearly fall headfirst into my locker. Greatly annoyed, I turn only to see Michael, Kyle and Alex –two of my other jock buddies – all wearing gigantic smirks on their faces.

I guess my friendship with Michael's on the way to being back the way it was if he's more interested in deriving joy at my expense than psycho-analyzing what happened between us in the gym. Whatever the reason, I'm glad our camaraderie is on its way back to normal.

On second thoughts… maybe not so good when I see the guys throw one another winks and get the distinct feeling they're up to some mischief.

“Maxie boy!” Kyle calls out gleefully as he mock punches me in the left arm.

“Max… ma man…” Alex continues.

Michael stands silently by not saying a word, trying – and failing miserably I might add – to hide the laugh that threatens to break forth from his lips.

“Hey guys. What's up? Aren't you going to be late for class?” I state carefully, continuing to take my books out from my locker while keeping an eye on the threesome surrounding me.

There are aren't too many people around the hallway considering it's nearly time for first period, and I'm in fact hoping not to be late myself. Had overslept – yes, yes, I see your eyes roll up in disbelief that I seem unable to heed morning calls, but it REALLY wasn't my fault this time – Dad had been confirming the details with Minister Parker about THE arrangement.

It apparently took longer than expected because I had had to wait outside his study-cum-office while he spoke to the reverend. I'd been in there with him when he made the call, but at some point during their conversation, Dad started speaking in hushed tones and then suggested none too subtly that I wait outside while he “tied up the details”. Izzy had passed me once in the hall, but had given me the cold shoulder. By the time he came out of the study, it was past eleven.

Anyway, here I am… again, rushing for class… again, and the last thing I need is these three clowns making me late.

“Buddy,” Michael finally opens his mouth as he slings an arm around my shoulders, his voice full of mirth. “How can you be worried about class when you've got bigger concerns?”

My eyebrows furrow in confusion as I wonder what he's referring to.

His tone drops lower as though to share a deep, dark secret. He leans closer to my ear to whisper merrily in my ear, still loud enough for Kyle and Alex to hear his every word. “Don't worry buddy. Your secret's safe with us… at least for today. We feel for you bud… but we have no idea how you're gonna keep the entire school from finding out that you're escorting Liz Parker to the dinner.”

As Kyle and Alex double over with laughter, I can only stare at them, mouth agape. How did they know…

Then it hit me.

Isabel. She must have overheard my conversation with Dad somehow and ran to Michael with this juicy piece of fodder. Should be no surprise she would have told him. He's not just my best bud, but also pretty tight with Iz.

“Come on guys,” I moan, “Gimme a break. It's not like I volunteered to do so.”

“Whatever you say, Evans,” Alex is still holding his middle as he manages to squeeze out the words in between his laughter.

“And here we thought you didn't like her when you pulled out of the play. There something you holding out on us Max?” Kyle adds, a twinkle of amusement clearly evident in his eyes.

“The two matters have nothing to do with each other!” I sigh, ruffling my hair in defeated resignation.

“Max,” Michael still has his arm loosely slung around my shoulders, although they have slipped, what with him trying to maintain a straight face at my predicament. “I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time with Liz at the dinner… so long as you don't mind the Minister's eyes burning a hole through you every opportunity he gets,” before he too breaks into hysterics.

“Great way to boost my morale, Michael,” I sneer at him with thinly-veiled disgust.

At the trio's renewed burst of laughter, I decide I cannot handle any more of this and slam the door to my locker, storming away from the group who are still cracking up over what I am expecting is likely to turn into the latest gossip to make its way around school.

Rounding the corner in a hurry, I only succeed in colliding into a smaller frame, knocking over books and papers in a flurry.

“Sorry, It was really clums-” the words catch in my throat as I see whom it is I have accidentally sent sprawling to the ground.

Quietly gathering our belongings, we both stand awkwardly and a moment of silence hangs in the air before we simultaneously start to speak.

“Liz-”

“Max-”

Laughing nervously at the obvious tension, we remain that way for a moment, neither one speaking.

Stealing a glance at her, I can see that she's a little breathless, like she's in a hurry to get somewhere. Clutching her books to her chest, she uses one hand to brush wayward strands of hair that have escaped from her conventional bun. Not completely successful, she puffs a quick breath of air to get a few stubborn strands that dangle persistently in her face. Suppressing this sudden and unexpected urge to tuck them behind her ear for her, I watch as she pushes her glasses a little higher up her nose. Unconsciously, I feel as though an invisible wall of defence has just been thrown up between us.

Dressed in her usual garb of long brown skirt and a loose-fitting top, I note that she seems none the worse after the gym fiasco. If I hadn't known better, I'd have imagined that she knew nothing about it at all.

That is until I look into her eyes to see a resolute expression residing there. It spells loudly and only too clearly that she knows what happened in the gym… And that she knows that I know that she knows.

Okay, was that just very confusing? Well, you kinda get the picture of what I'm saying right?

I take the first move to break the ice.

“You first. Afterall…” and failing to come up with anything else that might – in Izzy's words – ‘rub her the wrong way', I say, “… ladies first.” I can see her eyebrows rise as I make the statement, and immediately begin to regret the words.

“And when have you ever been so polite as to consider me a lady?” she asks, the surprise and sarcasm both clearly apparent in her tone.

“Um… ”

At my sudden loss for words, she seemingly decides to cut me some slack. As to why she didn't go in for the kill, I guess that's just Elizabeth Parker for you. Ever the saint who would never sink to the depths of someone like me who ‘lines right up with the fornicators'. The again, who am I to judge her right?

“So, about the dinner coming up this weekend. I heard from my father that you've asked his permission in escorting me.” Looking me straight in the eye, she utters the single word I've dreaded to hear. “Why?”

I inwardly wince. Man, I said the lady was kind, but that didn't mean she wouldn't come straight to the point when she wanted to know something.

“I figured it would be a pity if your father was there and you weren't and seein-” I start.

“So this is a ‘pity' thing,” she interrupts, the merest flicker of bitterness underlining her words, stressing heavily on the word ‘pity'.

“No, no!”

She jumps back a little at the vehement protest in my voice… And probably because I'd taken a sudden step forward, reaching a hand out towards her.

Noting her discomfort, I quickly stuff the traitorous hand into my pocket and look down to the ground. Softly, without looking up, I try to find the words to convey my sincerity. “Look Liz, it's not like that.”

“Okay, then what is it?”

“Look, I'm sorry about…” I try to think of a way to apologize for it, but I'm not too enthusiastic to remind her of the gym episode.

Watching my downcast expression, her next words catch me completely by surprise, causing me to look up with saucer-wide eyes filled with amazement.

“You know what amazes me about fire, Max? The beauty in its flare; its magnificence when it shines brightly. Yet, sometimes, in lighting a fire, we don't know who may get burnt. But the idea is to learn to know WHEN to light the fire. And once the fire's lit, to make sure we know HOW to control the flame… to not let it get out of hand. For all its beauty, it still can cause pain. Slight burns heal with time, but repeated burns cause long-term scarring that are irreversible.” She'd turned and taken a few steps away as she'd made her little speech, but now turned to meet me squarely in the eye. “Don't you agree Max?”

When she sees no answer forthcoming, she comes closer, passing a hand back and forth in front of my seemingly entranced face. “You still with me Max?” she asks tentatively, an unspoken question lingering in the air as I take in her words.

I don't really hear her as my mind races to register the possibilities: Does this mean she's no longer mad about the gym incident? Can she REALLY look beyond that unfortunate event? Is it possible-

“MAX!” She snaps in an almost desperate bid to get my attention. Do I detect a flicker of anxiety when she thought I'd spazzed on her?

“Huh? Oh, uh. Sorry. My mind drifted. What were we- oh yes,” as I throw a worried glance at the hallway clock signaling my impending lateness to class, “The dinner. Look, if you're unhappy with the arrangement, I can alwa-”

“No.”

“N-no?” I throw her a confused look. “No to what? ‘No' to escorting you to dinner? Or ‘no' that you're okay with the arrangement? But I thought-”

“I didn't mean to imply that I was upset with you accompanying me to the dinner,” as a note of slight hesitation enters her voice, “… just that… it was… surprising… and unexpected.” A minor pause before she continues with stronger conviction in her tone, “Especially after what happened.”

An uncomfortable silence permeates the hallways and I'd never felt a greater desire to bolt from any single situation. No, not because of her insinuation at the episode I'm trying so desperately to avoid. More like the IMPLICATIONS of what it might mean if she can actually find it in her to forgive me for what I'd said.

I hold my breath for a moment, then suddenly realize that she's waiting for a response from me. Well, I'd be a fool to not grab at an olive branch when it's extended.

“Well, if that's the case,” I say with as much cheerfulness I can muster, deliberately avoiding her ending remarks, “ I guess I'll be by Saturday evening around 6 to escort you then.”

“O. Kay,” she answers a little apprehensively, her head tilting slightly to one side as she ponders the sudden change in demeanor in the boy standing before her.

The first period bell sounds just then, sharply reminding us that we still have classes. Curt goodbyes exchanged, we simultaneously turn away sharply to head off in opposite directions.

~*~ End Flashback ~*~


Since that little exchange, I've noticed little things. Things that unnerve me, yet are strangely comforting at times. I don't know, you tell me if I've lost my mind.

Liz and I have some classes together, and I sometimes catch her watching me when she thinks I'm not looking. When our eyes meet, she'd look away as if embarrassed at being caught red-handed. Yet other times, she would hold my gaze, as though sizing me up, wondering what exactly to make of me.

At times, it seems as though there's this almost sad look in her eyes. Most of the times now, however, her expression is simply unreadable.

As I continue to wonder about Liz's behavior in the past week, the new development in the form of the rumors that Izzy has just enlightened me on, their possible impact on Liz and her reactions to me, and what other events the night will bring forth, I irrationally come to the conclusion that I'm irritated.

It's true. I honestly am irritated that I just cannot fathom the mystery lurking behind those chocolate depths of her eyes. Yes, HER, Liz Parker.

And I am so deeply engrossed in my thoughts that when the door opens again, I do not hear it.

A few seconds pass before I hear the gradual approach of steps onto the porch towards me. Spinning around, my eyes come into contact with an expected, yet totally astonishing, sight.

Time seems to stand still for the briefest of moments.

“Hey Liz.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

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Post by destinyros2005 » 05/04/02 15:17

Oh...I bet he just falls in love with her! I can't wait to see how they react to each other and what happens at the party!

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Post by bunniefuu » 05/04/02 17:06

I'm behind. Sorry I would have let feedback sooner but I haven't had the chance too. More soon please!

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Post by bunniefuu » 05/05/02 18:26

Dark~ OMG! That was the best! I am dying to hear about the party! Please hurry! And I am so sorry I missed the f/b on the last part, I've been so busy lately, but am trying to catch back up on the fics.

Oh and I do hope it says what she is wearing (although I know it will ) I'm so darn curious!

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Post by Dark Ilk » 05/06/02 22:51

lol... thanks for the fb gals... I hvn't been doing tt much writing recently in light some some stupid injuries I got and the amt of work that's being crammed into a bottleneck. Just wait till June... and then I'm gonna just kick back and do some gd RnR writing. But lucky for u gals... Part 8's been ready for a while... so ready or not... here it comes!

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 8

“Er, Liz?” I move towards her step by gradual step, my earlier irritation completely forgotten as I recall an all-too-familiar episode when the roles were reversed. While I'd spazzed on her in our earlier encounter, she now seemed entranced by something she saw. Looking tentatively around me, it suddenly hits me that she'd been staring at… me… from the back.

Still somehow managing to keep the flowers hidden behind my back, I press my lips together to suppress the smile that hovers around the edges of my lips as insinuations make themselves loudly heard in my head.

“Earth to Spacegirl ([grin][tongue] you all get the joke here right?),” I can't keep the slight teasing tone out of my voice as I lightly snap my fingers in front of her unseeing eyes.

With a start, Liz comes to and stares at me blankly for a moment, as if trying to register who I am. “Huh… Oh…”

Quirking an eyebrow, I await any further response, noting with some mirth that her cheeks have turned a deep shade of red. Pretending to busy herself with a last-minute check of her appearance, she avoids meeting my grinning countenance.

Well, well, well, who would have thought. I guess Liz Parker is just like any other hot-blooded, teenage girl after all.

Hhm, okay. I might have to temper that statement a little as I take in her attire. Now, any other teenage girl would have taken the opportunity to dress it up, especially since the entire town is likely to be there. Not too over the top, mind you. This is the 50's that we're talking about afterall. But still, they would have loved the chance to put on their best attire to enjoy any festive occasion they could, and hopefully be the centre of attention wherever possible.

But apparently, this same logic does not apply to one Liz Parker.

Okay, three guesses as to how she's dressed.

Mentally checking myself to maintain a neutral expression, I watch as she fidgets slightly to adjust her long brown skirt – yes, THAT very same long, brown skirt I've seen her wear like FOR-E-VER – and yet another one of her long-sleeved, loose-fitting tops, although the light pink tone she's chosen in favor of her usual dark colors does look a little more casual than usual.

Does the girl have nothing else in her wardrobe? Or is she so nice to the extent that she even gives away her nicer clothes to the needy?! That girl has close to NO sense of fashion! Not that I'm professing to be a know-it-all of Beaufort's fashion trends, but being around Izzy has taught me a thing or two about the attire girls usually tong themselves in.

I was expecting that she'd dress differently than her usual school apparel, and THIS, I really was NOT expecting. To her credit, at least her hair's not in that usual tight bun. It is, however, still tied back from her face into a long ponytail that sways from side to side as she checks her appearance, still refusing to look up.

She's also wearing her glasses; even her footwear's the one she wears to school! Man! I so know that I'm in for the ribbing the moment we step out in public view later on.

While the moments pass, Liz finally decides that she is ready, and unwillingly looks up at me. Seeing the wry smile playing around my lips, her initial hesitance slips away, to be quickly replaced by a haughty expression that tries to hide what I've just figured out: that the Old Minister's darling Lizzie Parker can show an interest in cute, male bods!

Look, I'm not trying to be arrogant here, but I do admit to taking pride in maintaining my fitness, as can be vouched for by all my lady companions who have shown their *er hm* appreciation. Not to say that Liz Parker is interested in me specifically, but that she's not the indifferent little innocent everyone makes her out to be.

Having figured out that she's not really all that unlike the rest of us “bundles of teenage hormones”, I can't help but want to see if I can get a rise out of her… but formalities first.

“Here, these are for you,” I say as I bring my right hand from behind my back, passing her the bouquet of white daisies surrounded by forget-me-nots and lots of fern.

The look of surprise is evident in her eyes, but at the same time, she has a slight look of suspicion on her face. One would think she's expecting me to pull out a can of paint with my other hand to splash in her face.

“Why, thank you Max. How did you know-”

“You don't remember? Back in fourth grade when Ms. Davies told our art class to draw a house with a garden, you drew a tree house surrounded completely with these purple flowers and white daisies. She tried to explain that that wasn't what she had wanted us to draw, but you kept insisting that the reverend said that ‘whatever you could dream of, it'd come true so long as you believed',” I smile faintly as the long-ago memory surfaces.

“You remember that?” she asks while looking down to smell the bouquet, masking her facial expression from my view. No doubt about it though, I can still tell from the timbre of her voice that she's surprised that I remembered.

“Sure. Why would I forget? The entire class was so hyped up by what you'd said they all started drawing whatever they wanted,” I'd started to laugh in earnest now, remembering that I myself had started drawing a castle surrounded by clouds and white picket fences and like-colored roses, and a girl- Woah. Wait a minute. No need to get into details about me right now.

To my surprise, a tentative smile appears on her face too. In fact, she seems almost on the verge of breaking into laughter as well.

I wonder what that sounds like.

A stunned silence makes itself known before I faintly hear alarm bells beginning to go off in my head. One moment I was trying to goad her into showing any semblance of a temper, and the next…

Clearing my throat, I suddenly turn away, moving towards the edge of the porch before turning back to her.

“You'd better get those into water. And we'd better make a move if we don't wanna be late,” I say abruptly.

Stealing a backward glance, I see a shadow pass over her expression, the sparkle that was there just a moment ago dampened to hide any emotions I might have stirred at reminding her of childhood memories.

“Yeah, I-I… Give me a minute while I get them into a vase,” she says as she turns to go back into the house. Hesitating before the door, she half-turns to ask softly, “Do you want to come in to wait while…”

“No, it's okay. I'm fine out here. Wouldn't want to have your father worrying about what I've done with you,” I turn back to face her with a light joke, but I can see that the smile she returns doesn't quite reach her eyes.

When she closes the door, I mentally kick myself in the rear. I have GOT to get my head on straight. What the heck's the matter with me?!

After a few moments during which I regain my composure, Liz returns. This time, however, I can feel the frost that's literally chilling the air.

She marches right up to me with a determined look in her eyes, and I unconsciously take a precarious step back along the edge of the porch as she comes right up to me. It looks like the kitten has retreated, only to be replaced by… a tigress?

Looking deep into my eyes for a moment, she says with a no-nonsense mood. “Look Max. I don't know what you're trying to do here, but I'm warning you: do NOT try anything where you cannot face up to the consequences. You want to BE like a man, you better LEARN to behave like one. I, for one, am no plain Jane that you think you can treat as just another pushover.” Crossing her arms in front of her akin to a warrior prepared to ward off a potential enemy, she continues, “I'm may not be aware of what you're up to right now Max Evans, but trust me when I say that I've got my eye on you.”

While I'd winced at her stress on the words that implicitly acknowledged her awareness of the rumors, what totally creeped me out was the way she'd just echoed the exact, earlier sentiments of her father.

Looks like Izzy really meant well when she'd warned me about this evening.

I think my jaw must have dropped in wonderment, because she suddenly seems to realize that she's never behaved anything but meekly to me… or maybe even to anyone I would think! Her fidgety stance belied her nervousness, but from the look in her eyes, I can see that she really does mean every word that she'd said.

Seeking a truce, I raise my hands in a gesture of surrender, lightly shaking my head as my eyebrows rise with a slight twinkle in my laughing eyes.

“Liz, I promise. I was not trying to be funny here. No ulterior motives here whatsoever.”

“Then why?”

“Why what?” I ask innocently, my mind simultaneously working to see if I can wrangle a confession out of her that she was no more immune to “earthly teenage pleasures” than most of Beaufort's adolescent population.

“Why the sudden niceness to bring me daisies and remind me of what happened in fourth grade.” It was not a question, but a statement. “And then the sudden turnaround to pull the ‘cool guy' attitude on me,” she persevered, determined not to back down.

And in the process, giving me the perfect ammunition.

“Well…” I drawled, “I had planned it as a gesture of goodwill, but…” I left the sentence hanging in an attempt to reel her in further.

“But what, Max? Chickening out?” She asks, daunting me, a glint of mischievousness evident in her eyes.

Suddenly, it's turned into a battle of wills, to see who will rise to the bait first. Liz thinks she's got the upper hand owing to my guilt over the gym and play incidents, and of course, not to mention the rumors that have recently been brought to my attention. Ah, but she forgot that I hold the trump card.

“Well, it turned out that my gesture appeared to have elicited a response I had not been anticipating,” I said.

“What?” She quirked an eyebrow, “You thought I'd throw the flowers back in your face? Afterall, I would be justified you know,” her stance not relaxing one bit.

Touche. But I've got to concede: Parker – 1; Evans – 0… for now.

“Not. Exactly.” A knowing smile can no longer be kept off my face.

Now it's her turn to squirm, as she suddenly seems to notice the speculative expression on my face for the first time. She suddenly takes a step back towards the main door as though she realizes that she's beginning to lose ground.

Advancing upon her like a predator homing in on the prey, I play the psychological upper hand.

“I had, in all honesty, expected a less than friendly reception. But *gasp* guess what, it would appear that I was mistaken,” mock surprise coloring my words as they left my mouth.

If I had not already seen her blush earlier, there would NOT have been a more apt opportunity to see her turn the color of a flaming lobster as she gets my underlying hint that I'd caught her red-handed.

Score: Parker – 1; Evans – 1.

Pressing my advantage, I take another step closer, causing her to back up even further.

“It would seem, Miss Parker, that erm… how should I say this… my compensation to you has been more than adequate… and I don't just mean the flowers.” Winking at her, I flash her a mega-watt smile and back off, tucking my hands into my pockets and leaning on the porch railing as I await her comeback.

And there is none.

Checkmate. 2-1, And Evans wins the game!

As she stands rooted to the spot trying to find the words to deny what she knows only to be the truth, I can feel the grin on my face growing wider.

Seeing that she is truly caught for words, I decide that one good turn deserves another. Afterall, she could have made it difficult for me during our hallway locker conversation and she didn't. The least I can do for her now is to return the favor. Besides, I really don't want to be late for the dinner and give Dad – and not to mention the reverend – further cause for heartburn.

Pushing myself off the railing, I take a few steps towards her still prone figure. “Come now Liz Parker. Where's the stoic voice of reason that I heard just a few moments back? What, you can't handle that I can ‘BE the man'?” My voice deepens towards the end in a mock boorish tone that actually elicits a smile from her.

“No…” she rebuts, clearly trying to keep the laughter out of her voice when she realizes that a truce has been called, “… just that… I never figured you for one who… never mind,” she says, changing her mind at the last minute and brushing past me to move to the steps leading down to the walkway.

“Wait a minute. Hey, no fair,” I protest, turning to face her now retreating figure. “At least I didn't leave you hanging.”

And that's when I am once again stunned into silence as she releases a delightful peal of laughter. Wow, Iz wasn't joking when she said that Liz could – and has indeed – surprised me.

“Well then,” she says, “I guess that's what they meant by payback's a bitch.”

Taking the moment to absorb the fact that this short interlude has revealed a spectrum of passion and emotions the likes of which I have not seen her display often in school, Liz Parker is really turning out to be an intriguing entity. I watch as she moves away from the house, only to gradually come to the realization that I've been standing at the exact same spot for the past few seconds.

“Hey Evans. Thought you didn't want to be late. Tick tock, tick tock,” her fingers mimicking the swinging hands of a pendulum as she mocks my earlier excuse for the attitude change. Well, at least she isn't holding that against me.

Seeing a curious look cross her face when I still do not move from the spot, she approaches the house again. Confusion, and a little concern if I'm not mistaken, is evident on her face as she reaches me.

“Max, what's wrong?”

I extend an arm to her, letting a tentative smile graze my lips. &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp

“Milady, the chariot awaits.”

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

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Post by destinyros2005 » 05/07/02 05:56

Hmmm...and it just keeps getting better! Love that Liz got busted checking Max out! And it was really sweet that he remember her favorite flowers from fourth grade! Can't wait for more!

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Post by Hannah245 » 06/13/02 15:24

I love this fic to. I didn't read the book but I did see the movie Staring Shane West and Mandy Moore, and I just totally fell in love with it.

It was a very heartwarming and sad story. I cried both times I saw the movie. Truly a movie of sweet, pure innocent true love

I want to read the book and I to thought of Max and Liz as the charicters of Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan.

I can't wait till theirs more.

~Hannah

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Eternal Believer B/A 4ever!

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Post by destinyros2005 » 06/13/02 17:28

I finally saw the movie. I cried so hard I honestly thought my eyes would fall out! The movie was fabulous...so now I must read the book! Books are always better than the movies. Can't wait for a new part!

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Post by Dark Ilk » 06/13/02 21:12

Ookies... my apologies for not updating this... it's been a crazy period, but the good news is that I've got the parts up to 13 all written. So you know what you've gotta do to get more rite? *silly alien evilly* muah hahahaha... lol...

okies... 'nuff delay... here's the next part to tide you over till I can post the next one... in the midst of watching World Cup matches... lol... soccer fever has struck! hehehe...

~*~*~*~*~*~

Part 9

Lightly whistling a long-forgotten tune that was recently brought to mind, I stroll along the pathway back home, my hands tucked in my pockets, my mind swimming with thoughts of the events of the night just passed.

It would seem that our little Lizzie Parker is one bag of surprises, and boy was I party to some of them tonight. Come to think of it, I'm still in a state of semi-disbelief that they actually happened.

You be the judge of it.

~*~ Flashback ~*~

”Huh? What do you mean ‘chariot'? Max, we're going to the town's dinner, not Queen Victoria's coronation,” Liz's voice is filled with slightly amused confusion.

“Lighten up Liz. I don't mean it in the literal sense.” Seeing the lingering suspicions still swirling around in her eyes, I elaborate. “I borrowed my Dad's Jag?”, pointing to the vehicle parked on the road a little behind the front of her house.

“Oh.” A faint blush colors her cheeks yet again and I wonder why she doesn't appear this way often in school. Who knows, with the right makeup and clothes, she might just-

Okay. A little off-track there.

“Max,” she says in an uncertain voice, as if wary that I will be upset with what she's about to say.

“Yeah?” I say absentmindedly as I start down the porch stairs towards the Jag.

“Erm, would you mind if we DIDN'T take the car?” It is only when I spin around that I realize that she hasn't moved from the perch I used to occupy. Seeing the raised eyebrows, she hurries to explain herself.

“I'm not trying to act bitchy to get back you or anything like that, it's just that-”

Holding up a hand to stop her flow of words, I suddenly realized I'd miscalculated. “Wait. Don't tell me. Let me guess. The fumes from the car contribute to the pollution of the environment. And you cannot bring yourself to be any part of such an act that might-”

Holding up both HER hands to effectively stop my flow of words, she rolls her eyes while trying to hide a quirk in her lips.

“Do you really think I'm THAT goody-two-shoes? It's not always about saving the world, you know?” she emphasizes as she approaches me.

I feel my eyebrows shoot for the skies while the widening gap that is my mouth seems ready to invite bugs of any size to fly through. Even then, I try to chortle the laugh that seeks to break forth. Do my ears deceive me?

“Hey,” she says with mock indignation, reading the expression on my face all too accurately as she stops in front of me by the side of the road, “I resent that. I do know how to relax and have some fun you know.”

At the further raising of my eyebrows, she blushes slightly even as she says, “Well… when I'm not… at the orphanage… or the community home… or…” she admits with a little sigh, “… okay, I admit it. I do seem pretty busy saving the world.”

“Glad to see you've got your priorities set right,” I say with a wry grin, no hint of sarcasm evident in my voice.

Apparently, she realizes that we've drawn a truce, and flashes a bright smile at me… and I'm floored. Wow.

Clearing my throat in an attempt to clear the sudden fuzziness in my head, I realize that Liz has been saying something.

“… such a nice evening that I thought it would be nice… you know, to just walk over to the dinner. Not too warm, not too chilly. Just nice. What do you think Max?”

What do I think? What was the question?

Nice? Definitely.

Wait. What's nice?

Oh. The weather. Walking instead of taking the Jag.

“Oh, okay. I guess, if that's what you want,” I say. Unable to keep from teasing her just a little more, I add “… though you're sure you wouldn't want to be the one to have good done unto you? I'd think you've accumulated more than enough good points with the Man upstairs to last a lifetime,” pointing a finger upwards into the evening sky, flush with pastel shades of purple, pink and blue with the coming dusk.

The smile on her face tightens for a moment, and I get the distinct feeling that I've said something to upset her. Whispering under her breath, I faintly catch the word “long” before she turns to me.

Seeing the quizzical expression on my face, she asks, “What?”

Not wanting to change the buoyant mood, I cannot help but ask about her seemingly fleeting sadness. Keeping a lid on the teasing tone that threatens to rear its head, I ask a little uncertainly, “You were saying… something about… ‘long'?”

Her glittering eyes betray no hint of her momentary flash of weakness from earlier as she answers me without missing a beat, “Just wondering how ‘long' I can take your brand of humor. At this rate, it'll take us forever to get to the dinner. Wouldn't want our fathers to worry that we've massacred each other in the attempt to get to dinner now, do we?”

Smooth cover, but I can tell something's bothering her. Letting the matter slide for now, I flash a grin and a wink, bowing slightly. Extending a hand, palm outwards, I point the way down the path.

“Shall we then, milady?”

Holding her head up high like one of those courtiers you hear about in medieval fairy tales, she replies in an almost stately manner, “We shall.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

“Max! You're here!”

I almost choke and fall off my seat as a resounding whack lands on my back courtesy of one Michael Guerin.

Turning around hesitantly, I try to psyche myself up for what I am sure will be a trying night.

Liz and I made our appearance at the dinner about fifteen minutes ago, and already I've heard the buzz going around the rumor-mill. Thankfully, Liz seemed oblivious to the underlying hum, and seemed more intent on the homely and cozy decorations adorning the place. Excitedly, she's quietly pointed out to me the colorful posters adorning the walls of the hall, some of which are causes that she's working with. She seems to have forgotten the animosity between us, seemingly intent to enjoy this evening as though she'd never been to one… or maybe more as if she'll never be to another one like it. Whatever the case, her passion for life and animation during our walk over to dinner seemed to have rubbed off a little on me as well as I take in our surroundings with a different perspective.

After making a round about the hall, we'd found a table not too far from the entrance to settle at. Most of the crowd was nearer to the front, but Liz didn't seem to want to be too near the front where she knew she'd be the center of attention, being the daughter of the VIP and all. Not to sound like a jerk, but I wasn't too enthusiastic about publicizing my appearance with Liz either, so I didn't make too much of a fuss.

Of course, leave it to Michael to find me without any trouble.

Coming face to face to Michael and Maria, the former with a knowing smirk on his face, I shoot him a look that spoke volumes of the direction of conversation I did NOT want him to pursue. I'd thank the Lord if he'd just give me this one evening of sanity.

“Lizzie! So nice to see you at one of these. Michael and I were just having drinks and wondering who Max was going to bring to fend off his horde of admirers,” Maria teases in a sing-song voice, in what I interpret as an attempt at light-hearted conversation to make Liz feel more comfortable even as a light tint of pink flushes her cheeks.

Okay, I see the reclusive lady's back in control.

A slight quiver in her voice, she says, “Well, I-uh, don't think that's exactly how things are. Max is just-”

“-Just going to get us both a glass of punch. Michael, care to come with me to get one for Maria too?” I intervene before she continues further.

Standing up abruptly from the table, I literally drag Michael by the crook of his arm, the latter stumbling a little, across to the other end of the hall where the refreshments are. I feel bad just leaving Liz with Maria seeing that they're not that familiar with each other, but better her with Maria than Michael.

Turning to face Michael once we were out of the ladies' view, I frown as I see the playful look on Michael's face.

“Michael, don't start tonight alright? Take it as a favor to my Dad… to YOUR Dad! I mean… you wouldn't want them to get mad at either one of us in front of the townsfolk…” Yes, I admit it. I'm not too moral to stoop to emotional blackmail to get Michael to back off from whatever he's planning. And he's up to something. I just know it.

“Maxie…” he slurs slightly as he drapes an arm over my shoulder, “Like I would EVER dream of doing A-NY-THING to my best bud,” before he bursts into a sudden bout of laughter that he covers up by clapping a hand to his mouth.

My eyebrows furrowing at the sight before me, it occurs to me that the light I see in Michael's eyes isn't so much of mischievousness in planning my “downfall”…

Oh. My. God. The guy's plastered! And in front of the entire townsfolk no less!

Looking frantically around me to see if anything is amiss, I spy Sean DeLuca out of the corner of my eye… spiking the punch bowl with alcohol!

Oh shit!

Other than the obvious reason that Michael is now officially drunk, I had forgotten that Sean would have been present at the event as well. Which means Peggy probably would be there too. The fact that Sean's just looked up to see me catch him red-handed … and making his way none too subtly straight towards me has my heart-rate suddenly accelerating.

Spinning away, I head back towards to the table at a semi-frantic pace, supporting Michael with one arm around his waist, my other hand clamping his arm firmly around my shoulder to keep him from just completely slipping to the ground in a puddle. My pace is currently not helped by Michael who's making funny faces at me as he looks up at me in befuddled bemusement.

“What? Missing Lizzie Liz Parker already? Maxie… never knew you had the hots for her…” he semi-frowns at me, pushing his lower lip out in a mock semi-pout, “… and to think that I'm your best friend.”

“Shut up Michael!” Clenching my teeth, I admonish him under my breath as we approach the table… only to find that Liz and Maria are no longer there!

Oh man! Come on! And to think I'd thought that my troubles tonight would be facing Liz. First things first, I've got to find her.

Turning about again with the intention to scan the crowd, I come face to face with a glowering Sean DeLuca.

Oops.

“H-Hey Sean.”

“Max.” The reply is curt, an undertone of hostility lining the word.

Getting a firmer grip on Michael to prevent him from further sliding down my side, I realize that no one's actually paying us much attention as we're near the back of the room. With a sinking feeling churning in my gut, I suddenly wish we'd taken a table nearer the front. The idle thought occurs to me that maybe the crowd could have been able to pull Sean off me before he completely reduced me to a film of red to mesh with the like-colored carpet of the room. Oh, didn't I tell you that the hall was carpeted? In red no less. Not that it's gonna make much difference in a little while.

“Any interesting you saw tonight Max?” Sean asks, clapping me hard on the back twice, reminding me of my earlier encounter with Michael. Only this time, I figure it's gonna have a much less desirable result.

“I-I was just getting drinks.”

“I don't think you'd like it… not when it's had ‘added ingredients',” he emphasizes the last two words.

I know he's baiting me.

“W-what ‘added ingredients'? I didn't see anyone adding anything…” I wimp out, not wishing to have another reminder of the last altercation I had with Sean. You DO remember what happened prior to that particular drama class session when Liz first joined the class right?

“Righttt. Then I guess then that all's well and good,” and I breathe a silent sigh of relief as he starts to back away from me. “Come on then, I guess the drinks will do you good to loosen you up. You and your date. Where is she anyway? Any hottie I know?” he smirks at his painful reminder of what he's stolen from me.

Clamping down on the urge to knock the crap out of him, I address him curtly, “I'm fine Sean. And so is she. We had some before coming, so we're good.”

His eyes narrowing into slits, he freezes in mid-stride, only to come closer to me again. Pausing as if to consider something, he suddenly releases an unexpected laugh as a grin breaks out on his face.

“Hey! That's right! You came with the little Christmas Angel herself didn't you? And to think she looks like such an innocent.” Inching closer, he deadpans “So tell me, does the preacher's daughter fuck as piously as the way her father sermons his congregation? I bet she must be screaming for *God's deliverance* when she comes… just as religiously as her father chides the fornicators huh? I mean, she must be a real act in the sack to actually have you bring her out into the open?”

And all I see is a blinding red tide of rage. Releasing my grip on Michael to let him slide onto the nearest chair, I'm about to take a swing at the bastard when something steps in the way.

It takes a moment for me to take hold of my senses to realize that someone… someone being Liz… is the one standing between a would-be-bloodied pulp and me… or maybe between two bloodied pulps if our last encounter was any indication.

“Sean, just the person I needed to see,” Liz interjects brightly as if she didn't hear what he'd just said. Even then, I can feel her use her slight frame to cleverly hold me at bay from advancing towards Sean any further. I pray to God that she didn't hear his remarks. No one, *especially* a seemingly goody-two-shoes deserves such comments.

“Look,” she continues, ignoring my presence behind her completely as she faces Sean, “I need a little help. Your cousin, Maria, well… she seems to have taken ill in the ladies and I was trying to help her. But I think it would be best if maybe you could help me with her? She seems a little…” her voice lowers here, “… drunk…” before returning to her normal speaking level, “… and I don't think any of the adults around here would look too kindly upon that.”

Remember, we are talking about the fifties here and getting sloshed was NOT deemed acceptable, especially when said parties were in full view of the town's people.

I see Sean standing there dumbfounded, regarding this little slip of a girl. One moment he'd been insinuating unmentionables about her sexuality, not even knowing whether she'd overheard his comments, and the next, she was treating him like he was the God Almighty – and yes, I see the irony of the phrase – seeking his help to provide assistance to his own cousin whom she had been helping. He seemed torn between thanking the girl who'd extended a helping hand, and wallowing in shame for the comments he'd made just moments ago about her.

A moment of silence hung in the air before he asks tersely, “where is she?” He's looked away from both Liz and myself.

“I managed to help her clean up somewhat in the ladies, but she's waiting just outside the hall. I told her I'd see about getting her a ride home,” Liz answers smoothly, still ignoring me.

A beat passes. “Thanks Liz,” then he hurries towards the entrance without so much as a backward glance.

As Liz and I watch him go, I exhale loudly, not realizing till then that I'd been holding my breath during the fracas. Silently, we both take our seats, each on either side of Michael who, amazingly, has been unconscious during this little escapade.

Watching her tuck stray strands of hair behind her ear, I cannot help but have newfound respect for this girl… no… lady. She's really quite a person not to reckon with. Put bluntly, even I was reluctant to face up to Sean. Yet there she was, basically David facing a towering Goliath in the form of a Sean DeLuca lughead.

“So…” I go.

“So…” She repeats with a little smile as she looks up to meet my eyes.

Taking a deep breath, I look away and scan the room. Spotting Kyle and Alex, I turn back to her. “Hang on here for a moment okay? Michael's out like a light and I need to make sure he has a ride back without his father being none the wiser.”

Nodding her head, she trains a watchful eye on Michael. Pausing a moment to see her sitting there so serenely when just a moment ago she'd practically been Wonderwoman, I give myself a mental shake to move towards the two guys.

Making the arrangements was not a problem since Kyle had driven to the dinner, and after helping them getting Michael to the car, I turned to go back into the hall to talk to Liz.

Taking the seat next to her, I feel my body relax fully for the first time this evening. First, it had been an emotional roller-coaster ride in ‘dealing' with Liz, then worrying about how our appearance together at the dinner would seem to everyone else, then the Michael and Sean debacles… Come to think about it, it's been one strange evening, and to think that the night still wasn't over.

I come to the realization that this is really isn't a nice enough setting to enjoy the evening that's had its fair share of ups and downs. And if I had my way, it'd end on a note of more memorable and pleasant ones than those best left forgotten. In fact…

Standing up suddenly, I hold out a hand to her as she looks up at me in amazement.

“Let's get out of here.”

~*~ End Flashback ~*~


I am drawn out of my thoughts with the realization that I've reached the steps of my own home. Just staring up at the house for a moment, I cannot help but feel that an irrevocable shift has just taken place.

I've never known Liz Parker before this. I mean, really known her. I thought I did, but obviously, I'm forced to take back my words in light of tonight's developments. As to what it is, I haven't been able to figure out what it is quite just yet.

Breathing a contented sigh, I make my way into the house and into my room, walking in a daze the whole way as I go over the events in my head.

What does it all mean? Does it even mean anything at all?

Lying down on my bed still fully dressed, I absentmindedly kick off my shoes as I stare up at the ceiling.

Startled out of my thoughts by the slight rapping on my door, I lift my head off the bed just in time to see the door open to admit one very excitable, older sister.

“You have absolutely NO sense of privacy do you?” I ask in a slightly disgruntled manner.

“So… I hear there was some excitement at the dinner?” Isabel ignores my question altogether, faking an air of indifference as she sits on the foot of my bed near my feet.

Snorting slightly at her non-too subtle attempt to find out more information, I roll my eyes and turn on my side, effectively cutting her out of my line of sight. I stifle a grin as I hear Izzy “harrumph” loudly and move into my vision, hands bunched up in fists, resting on her hips.

“Maxwell Philip Evans. Did you hear what I just said?” she maintains her air of Miss High-And-Mighty even as I keep up my shroud of silence.

“Oh, come on, Max…” she suddenly changes tactics, seeing that I refuse to bend to her hardball method. Maintaining a poker face, I watch as her expression changes swiftly from ice princess to that akin to a curious five-year-old who cannot wait to find out what she got in the beautifully wrapped box for her Christmas gift. As she bounces up and down lightly on my bed, I cannot help the slow smile that makes it way to my lips.

“It went… without any casualties,” I say evasively.

With an exaggerated roll of her eyes, Izzy utters in an almost bored tone, “Obviously… I mean, you only took two and a half hours to walk her home. Come on, I missed the whole incident and you so HAVE to let me in on the details,” her eyes twinkling with amusement as she watches for any change in my expression.

Hhmm, she is one sharp lady, Isabel Evans. Yes indeed, siree. Had not thought that she'd noted the time I left the dinner with Liz immediately after the incident until the time I'd made it back home.

Propping myself up on one elbow as I survey the obvious interest just ready to burst forth from Izzy, I lean forward a little as if to share a conspiratorial revelation. Seeing my action, she eagerly moves closer as well to hear what I have to say.

“Well…” I begin.

“Yeah?” she counters, her eyes growing even wider and saucer-like at the impending fount of knowledge she is expecting.

“… I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you,” I merrily tell her, releasing a long-held laugh and leaning back on my pillows as I see her jaw drop wide and her eyebrows rise, almost disappearing into her hairline if it were possible.

“Why you little…” she says.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Come now, my dear sis. Expletives are not your area of expertise. Why don't you just leave that to the specialists? I wouldn't want Mum and Dad shocked by such words coming out of their darling daughter's mouth.”

Narrowing her eyes murderously at me, she visually shoots daggers as she pouts at my refusal to tell her what happened tonight. Cupping my hands behind my head, my eyes close and I hear her move off the bed with enough of a jerk to cause the mattress to bounce slightly. The smile still playing on my lips, I hear the rustle of her dress as she practically stomps from my room, banging my bedroom door in the process.

Naw, she'll just have to wait just like everyone else who was at the party to figure out what really happened…

Just like me.

To tell you the truth, at this point in time, I myself really don't know what to expect next.

~*~*~*~*~*~
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 » 06/15/02 04:41

Yhoo-whoo! I'm so excited about the new part. What happened on the walk home? Two and a half hours, huh? Alot can happen in that much time!

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