Liz had managed to collect herself somewhat by the time Max arrived at the Crashdown. He had dressed in a black button-down and gray slacks, and brought with him a single white rose, her favorite. She wore a white sundress with flowers that looked fabulous against the deep tan she had gained during the afternoon. She smiled at Max, hoping against hope that tonight they might find a way to move forward. She was discovering that forgiveness wasn’t easy business.
They went to the Chinese restaurant on the corner. Their conversation filled with the daily inanities of their lives. Max told Liz about the UFO Center, the crazy tourists, the freaky new exhibits and Brody’s latest findings. Liz laughed and countered Max’s stories with tales of the Crashdown, where she saw tourists every bit as crazy as Max.
The meal was thoroughly enjoyable. Laughter hadn’t been part of their dynamic in so long, Liz didn’t think they had felt so easy in each other’s company since before Tess Harding had come to Roswell. With big grins on their faces they headed out to walk in the moonlight beneath a sky filled with stars.
“So how was your afternoon with Michael?” Max asked.
“Fine. We had a picnic by the lake.”
“So he’s no longer at your throat? He’s behaving?”
“Yeah. Michael and I understand each other.”
“Liz since we got back together, I’ve been feeling this distance between us, and I’ve been thinking that all this time you spend with Michael—“
“Don’t you dare make this about Michael and me. We’re friends, that’s all. I trust him. More than I trust you.” Liz interrupted angrily.
“God Max, you go sleep with Tess, get her pregnant, and expect me to forgive you that easily?”
“But I—“ Max tried to get a word in edgewise unsuccessfully.
“It’s not that easy Max. With Michael I don’t have to think of all these things, it’s about having fun. With us it rarely is. Here I was, thinking finally we spend time with each other that doesn’t involve our world falling apart and yet it does. I was too happy.” she continued.
“Liz, it doesn’t have to be that way. About Tess, I know that—“
“I don’t want to hear it. Max, you have to figure out what the hell you’re going to do, what to spend the rest of your life chasing after.”
“I know I need to sort things out, but the one thing I’m sure of is how I feel about you. I love you Liz Parker. I can’t live without you.” Max smiled down on Liz as he made his heartfelt declaration. Tears threatened to overwhelm her in a rush of emotion.
“Oh Max…I need more time. I just can’t see you and forget. I—“ in a desperate attempt to change Liz’s mind he caught her words in a passionate kiss. Letting her go when he felt her raking sobs shake her small frame.
“Goodbye Max. Give me some time. Some space. We’ll talk then.” Liz looked up at him, heartbroken. She had thought she was ready to go back, but she wasn’t.
“Where’re you headed?” Max asked worriedly as Liz turned as if to walk.
“I need to walk around for a bit. I’ll be fine.” she replied.
Max nodded as he watched Liz walk away from him. He couldn’t help feeling he was making a mistake much like he had the first time she had walked away from him. But this time around he knew for sure that if they were going to survive this thing, they needed to spend time apart.
Tears ran down her cheeks, clouding her vision, so that she didn’t know which way she was heading. She walked for a while, realizing for the first time that she had let go, the burden of her relationship with Max wasn’t weighing her down.
Without noticing she found herself outside Michael’s door. She wanted to speak to him. She needed to speak to him. Never mind what had happened between them earlier, he was the only one who would understand.
She raised her hand to knock against the door when it was suddenly swung open by Isabel.
“Liz? Weren’t you out with Max?” asked a startled Isabel.
“Yeah. But it…it didn’t wok out. Is Michael here?”
“Yeah. Go ahead, I was just leaving. I’ll talk to you later.”
Liz waved off Isabel, and quietly entered the apartment.
“Did you forget something?” Michael’s disembodied voice came from the shadows.
Liz didn’t answer; she only looked in his direction with tear-filled eyes. At the silence Michael stepped into the light, and was stunned to notice that it was not Isabel standing before him but Liz. He took in her countenance, her small curves in the fitted sundress, the dark tan set off by the white of her clothes, the beauty in her smile, and the tears in her eyes, and held out his arms to her. Without hesitating, Liz ran to him and allowed herself to be enfolded in his embrace.
Michael settled them on the couch, holding Liz in his arms tightly, as she cried on his shoulder.
Liz calmed down after a while, raising her tearstained face to Michael’s, she gave him a shaky smile.
“Liz, what happened? Did Max—“ asked Michael.
“No, no. Nothing like that. I’ve just been avoiding everything that happened this past year. And I realized I needed space. I need time before Max and I can go back to being what we were to each other before. Michael, what happened to you hand?” Liz asked as she saw the white bandages that swathed Michael’s left hand.
“Nothing. I cut myself.” Michael replied tersely.
“But couldn’t Isabel—“
“I didn’t want her to.” Michael grew restless under the line of questioning and rising from the couch he proceeded to pace back and forth across the small room like a caged animal.
“Michael.” Liz said quietly.
“What?” he replied fiercely.
“About what happened this afternoon, I…well I just wanted to say that it’s forgotten. You’ve been such a wonderful friend to me since…well since Alex died and the whole thing with Tess. I know you’re with Maria and I—“
“Liz, are you apologizing? What the hell for, it was my fault it happened!” Michael raged as he turned to Liz angrily.
“No…and I don’t want you to blame yourself either. I know that the cut on your hand has something to do with it. It happened. And I don’t regret it Michael.” She replied soothingly.
“You don’t?” Michael responded surprised.
“No. I—do you?”
“No. I thought—“
“That I would?”
“Michael the only reason I would be sorry that it happened was if Maria were to find out about it. She will never hear it from me. Nor will she hear it from you. So there’s no reason to be sorry. Your friendship is more important to me than anything. Michael, if I couldn’t turn to you…I don’t know what I would do.”
Liz voice broke as she confessed her feelings to Michael. There was so much more she was holding back inside. So much she knew he wasn’t ready to hear. In some ways she felt almost as if she were betraying Maria. Her relationship with Michael being so different, it was more precious, special. She wouldn’t be able to let Michael go.
“You’ll always have me Liz, you’ll always have me.” With those words Michael sat back down on the couch and took Liz back into his arms. They cuddled together until dropping off to sleep.