you can catch up with the earlier parts at the links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. and choose your own adventures for parts 10a and 10b after the jump.
Liz knew Kyle was holding his breath. She knew it because she was holding her breath too. Admitting this truth would change everything. She still had her back to him as took a deep breath and said, "Yes, I do love him. But Kyle, I don't love him the way I love you."
He pulled her into his arms then and turned her face until her eyes met his. "Tell me." He commanded softly. "Tell me how you love me, Liz."
Liz couldn't help the tremulous, luminous smile she gave Kyle. Without breaking his gaze she said, "I have loved you from afar since we first met, all I've ever wanted was for you to notice me. Because when a girl has your attention Kyle, she really has it, in so many small and meaningful ways. Even when I thought you were friend-zoning me, you still made me feel special by just looking at me. Your way of looking at people, at the world so positively—God, I love that about you. You make me see the good in things. Even when I thought that anything happening between us was hopeless, being with you gave me a sense of hope about the future."
"Then let's live on that hope, Liz." He kissed her gently. "I know Michael will be pissed. I know he'll be hurt. But you can't control who you love. I tried so hard to deny my feelings for you because I didn't want to get in the way. But maybe by denying how I really felt, I made things worse. He'll probably never forgive me. But Liz, I know that even if I lose his friendship, I'll be okay. Losing you, that's something I'm not sure I'd survive. Not now that I've had you."
Liz tangled her arms in Kyle's hair and kissed him. There was nothing gentle about this kiss. It was hungry and passionate and full of emotion. She loved Kyle. And he loved her. And as wonderful as this felt, it hurt knowing that Michael would be hurt by this. But this hunger she felt for Kyle was all-consuming. And soon enough the only thoughts she could coherently think of were about the feel of Kyle's skin rubbing against hers. How their legs tangled together as their bodies came together. How the taste of his skin, salty and tangy, made her want to lick him more. How being with him made her feel whole and beautiful and loved.
Outside of the bedroom Michael lugged the last of his boxes down to his car. Liz had made her choice, she'd gotten what she wanted. He knew it was unfair of him to feel so angry and hurt. He knew that sometimes life didn't work out the way you dreamed. He wished he could be the bigger person and let his feelings go, but he wasn't that kind of guy. If Kyle and Liz wanted to play house and be happy, he'd need to be far away from it. He'd called Max up and begged him for a place to stay. Maybe he's set him up with one of his bimbos too. Nothing would fill the hole in his heart. But meaningless sex and booze would maybe take the edge off.
poor michael, things didn't end so well for him in that version. maybe things take a turn in this alternate set of events.
“Yeah, I love him.” Liz sighed. She felt terrible confessing this to Kyle while she was still naked in his bed. But he surprised her.
Nodding he said, “Okay. That’s what matters then.”
“I don’t know if I can make this right.”
“Trust me. He’s always loved you, he’ll understand.”
Liz looked into Kyle’s baby blue eyes and smiled, “I don’t want to lose you.”
Kyle smiled sweetly back. “You can’t. Go find him. You’ll see, it’ll be all right.”
Liz nodded and shyly gathered one of the sheets around her body. She had no idea where her clothing had ended up over the course of the previous night and she gracefully exited Kyle’s bedroom, only to run smack into Michael who was walking into the apartment at the exact same time.
“So you got what you wanted then,” he said harshly.
“No I…Michael, what are you talking about?”
“You and Kyle. I saw you last night. God, on the kitchen counter. Did I mean nothing to you?”
“Michael, are you drunk?”
“That’s not the issue. The issue is the fact that you trampled all over my heart and tore it into little pieces. “
“Michael, what you think you understand you don’t. Besides you’ve treated me like crap for the past week, I thought you hated me or something.”
“How could I hate you,” Michael cradled Liz’s head between his hands, his entire demeanor changing, as he softly traced the line of her jaw with his fingers.
She raised her hands to entwine with his, and he pulled her gently to his room.
“I want to show you something.”
Michael knelt and pulled something from beneath his bed. It was one of his sketchpads. Completely sober now, he handed it to Liz.
“What is this?” she asked.
“Open it. You’ll see.”
Liz flipped through the book, not saying a word until she had seen each and every drawing. She was in awe. She’d never noticed how closely Michael observed her. There was such feeling in every line, he captured her beautifully. He made her look more beautiful than she actually was.
“Michael, you did this?”
“Yeah. Ever since I’ve met you…it’s like you got caught beneath my skin. This is only one sketchpad, I have so many. You’ve been haunting my dreams for years now. When I came up with the stupid plan, I lied to you. It wasn’t Isabel I wanted, it was you. When we slept together and you took a step back I was crushed. Seeing you tonight with Kyle—I guess I should have known I’d never have a shot with you.”
“Michael, I’m so, so sorry. I'm sorry that you thought that I was pulling away, that you saw Kyle and me. I never wanted to hurt you. I wish you’d have told me what you felt sooner." Liz took a breath, trying not to trip over her words as she explained how she felt. "That night we slept together, was one of the most amazing nights of my life. I wasn’t pulling away that morning because I was still thinking of Kyle, you see I thought that you were still in love with Isabel, and I knew I couldn’t handle being with you just to help you get her.”
“So it was just a misunderstanding?”
“I mean, I did sleep with Kyle, and I know this is crazy and makes no sense, but it helped me realize that you are the one I want to be with. So I'm hoping—I'm begging you—to look past what happened here. I know I have no right to ask this of you, but I want a chance to do things right with you.”
"Okay?" Liz shook her head. Could it really be that easy?
Michael smiled tenderly and pulled her in for a kiss. "God knows I’ve been head over heels in love with you forever, Liz Parker.”