catch up with parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23. read on for part 24.
The day had seemed to last forever. It had been one of those days where everything in the world was right, and happiness was complete, all was utter perfection. A day that will be remembered always. Michael and Liz were exhausted by the time they got back to Liz’s apartment.
After fulfilling their shared fantasy by the lake, Michael and Liz had set about recreating a few other fantasies. They had made love all afternoon. Their bodies had taken in a golden glow from being out in the sun all day.
They lay on Liz’s bed, spooning. Michael could smell the scent of Liz’s shampoo in her hair. He was pretty sure his hair smelled the same way though, considering the way they had shared the shower. Michael couldn’t believe how happy he felt. He’d never believed he could feel this close to another person, and he’d thought he’d been close to Maria. But with Liz everything was different. It was more than he ever dreamed it could be.
Liz snuggled closer to Michael. She felt safe being held in his arms. She knew that there was no heartache awaiting her there. With Michael everything was out in the open. She had never believed that Michael could give so much of himself to her, but he did. And his faith in their love strengthened hers. He would never hurt her the way Max had. It would destroy Michael if he ever felt like he had hurt her. It would destroy her if she ever hurt him.
“Baby, this feels good.” Liz smiled at Michael’s words in her ear. He had taken to calling her Baby. She’d taken to calling him Love. It was funny how natural it felt to refer to each other that way. She’d never called Max anything but Max. It was funny how real everything between Michael and her really was.
“Yes it does.”
“Listen, I’m going to go get something downstairs, I meant to show you this before. Okay?”
“Sure. Hurry back, love.” Liz kissed Michael deeply as he left the bed. She threw on her robe and was heading over to the bathroom when she heard a tapping on the window. Surprised she walked overto find Max standing on her balcony.
She opened the window, “Max? What are you doing here?”
“Liz did you see the news today?” Max said without preamble.
“Listen. There are these caves over by Mission Hill. They recently discovered some ‘primitive’ etchings there. But it’s recently, like two days ago. The etching look a lot like the ones in the cave over by the reservation.”
“What are you saying? Do you think that—“
“They might be a message for us. Yes. You kept Alex’s notes right?”
“Look I think he might have left us a Rosetta stone, if we can use it, we might break the code and be able to read the message. Do you think you can come with me?”
“Sure. Give me twenty minutes to get dressed and all. I’ll meet you at the UFO center. I’m assuming you’re picking up a few things from there.”
“Yeah. Thanks Liz. I knew I could count on you.”
“No problem Max.” Liz smiled as she closed the window, thinking that there would be a huge problem indeed. Michael wasn’t going to be happy about this. But she felt like she couldn’t let Max do this alone. Besides she was just as curious as Max was to see if they could decode the etchings into a message from Antar.
“Why was he here?” asked Michael from behind her.
“He needs me to go with him to Mission Hill.” Liz said the words quietly.
“And you said yes.”
“Michael I couldn’t say no. Besides I want to know…he thinks there might be a message from your planet etched onto one of the caves there.” She was pleading with him, begging him to understand with her eyes. She hoped that his own curiosity about Antar would allow him to be more open to the idea.
“And it might just be a wild goose chase Liz. Why do you have to go?”
“It might not be, and I want to be there. He needs me.” The moment the words left her mouth she knew that they had been the wrong thing to say. She knew Michael needed her just as badly. He needed her reassurance more than he would admit to. And as much as she wanted to be able to give it to him, her hands were tied.
In this situation of her own making, she was caught between the man who had come to represent her past and the man who represented her present and her future. She couldn’t lose either one of them more than she already had. She could only pray that Michael would understand. And forgive.
“And what about me? Don’t I count?”
“Michael. Of course you count. I love you. But Max is my friend. And I’ve been with you all day. He needs me now. For a little while. But the person I’m coming back to is you. I love you.” She willed him to believe in her love.
“Fine. Go.” Michael conceded rather ungraciously.
“You’ll be here when I get back. Right?” Liz knew she would need to make this all up to him.
“Yeah. Sure.” Michael grimaced. He watched Liz get dressed quietly and leave through her bedroom window. Only then did he notice the notebook he held in his hands.
He threw it across the room and left through the same window Liz did. He needed to get away for a while.
The notepad had fallen open, to reveal a sketch of Liz laughing. The lines drawn by charcoal and filled in with colored pencil. It was beautiful, and lying forlornly on the floor, it looked as shattered as both the artist and subject felt.