*This fic is rated PG. The Movies is an extra story I just had in my head, and I couldn’t help but write it. If there are any mistakes, whether grammar, spelling, or otherwise, please let me know. See disclaimer on main page.
* * * *
Liz stepped out of her third period class and went straight to her locker to grab her lunch. She had just finished giving an oral report in her compulsory English literature class and was looking forward to her lunch hour with Maria. Stuffing her knapsack into her locker, she didn’t notice a tall, masculine form walk up behind her until he cleared his throat to get her attention. Liz turned around to see Roswell High’s graduating class valedictorian, a particularly good-looking guy with short blond hair and a dimple on his right cheek. He smiled down at her broadly. She returned the grin warily.
"Hi, Dennis," she greeted him, wondering in her head why he had approached her when the two of them hadn’t spoken, ever.
"Hey Liz," Dennis replied, still wearing his toothy smile, "You’re looking especially beautiful today."
Liz smiled and looked down, somewhat shyly.
"Um, thanks," she said, then looked up at him with a slightly puzzled expression, "Any particular reason why you’re sucking up to me?"
Dennis chuckled and leaned up against the locker next to Liz’s.
"I was just wondering if you’d like to go out with me tonight," he told her boldly, "Maybe catch a movie, maybe take a walk and check out the sunset. What do you say?"
Liz hesitated, a little caught off-guard at Dennis’s sudden approach. After a moment of confusion, Liz finally shook her head and replied.
"Uh, I’m sorry, Dennis," she told him apologetically, "but, um, I have to work tonight."
"So we can do it some other night," he persisted.
Liz smiled and shook her head.
"I can’t, Dennis," she told him.
"Oh," he said, nodding his head, "There’s already someone else."
"No, it’s not that…" she told him.
"So it’s me?" he asked.
She looked up at him.
"I’m just not dating right now," she told him.
Dennis nodded and backed away good-naturedly.
"OK," he said, "No problem. I’ll catcha later."
Liz smiled and nodded.
Dennis turned and walked away. Liz watched him go, feeling a little guilty over rejecting him so quickly. But she had no desire to go out with him, even though he was one of the cutest guys in the senior class. Unfortunately the person she did want to go out with had no intention of going out with her.
After Liz watched Dennis disappear, she began to turn back to her locker when another set of eyes caught hers. Max Evans stood on the opposite side of the hallway, watching her with those soulful eyes that always captured her heart. He looked down shortly after she caught him staring at her and walked away. She watched him go, wanting to run and catch up to him but holding herself back.
With a long, tired sigh, Liz turned and grabbed her lunch, then headed outside to find Maria. They had a lot to discuss.
* * * *
Max tossed his books on his desk and threw himself onto his bed as soon as he got home from school. He stared up at the ceiling with a frown on his face. He knew exactly why Dennis Cooper had been talking to Liz after school that day, and he also knew what had come of the conversation. And he wasn’t happy. Not because Liz had turned him down – he was relieved about that. It was because he wished more than anything that he could ask Liz out on a date. Not only that, but a part of Max believed that Liz had refused to go out with Dennis because of him. And though part of that made him giddy, another part made him angry with himself. Because of him Liz wasn’t dating, she wasn’t enjoying herself. And he knew he didn’t help matters by spending so much time with her, talking to her, staring at her, and touching her every chance he got. It wasn’t fair to Liz.
A knock on the door broke Max out of his thoughts. He was about to reply, when the door opened unasked and Isabel stepped impatiently into the room.
"I need to borrow your brown jacket," she told him.
Max pushed himself up onto his elbows and looked up at his sister.
"What for?" he asked. Normally he would have just given it to her, but he wasn’t in a very good mood at that moment.
Isabel rolled her eyes.
"Because mine is ripped," she explained to him, crossing her arms, "And I need it to go out tonight."
"So wear one of your other jackets," Max told her, "Who cares if it matches exactly?"
Isabel began to lose her patience.
"Because, Max," she told him, "I care. I have a date tonight and I am not going to show up less than perfect. Now will you give me the jacket or not?"
Max stared at her for a moment, then let his head fall back onto his pillow.
"I don’t care," he mumbled.
Isabel went over to his closet and grabbed the jacket. As she was on her way out, she paused at the door and turned to him.
"You know, Max," she told him, "Most guys go out and have fun Friday night."
"I’m not most guys," he replied.
Isabel looked at him for a moment, then shook her head and left.
* * * *
Once he knew Isabel had left for her date, Max crawled off the bed and out into the kitchen. He reached into the fridge and grabbed a can of soda, then gulped it down all at once. His mother came in just as he was finishing.
"Hi, Max," she greeted him.
"Mom," he replied.
His mother looked at him speculatively then faced him, her expression both curious and serious.
"Max," she said, "I know this isn’t my business. And I’m not trying to bug you or anything. But you’re a sixteen-year-old boy, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you go out on Friday night. Now I know there must be some girl out there who would just love to go out with my handsome son."
Max rolled his eyes. His mom smiled softly and put a hand on his arm.
"Is something the matter, Max?" she asked him.
He shook his head.
"Everything’s fine, Mom," he assured her.
She nodded, not quite convinced.
"I’m just worried, that’s all," she said, "It doesn’t quite seem natural. Aren’t you interested in girls?"
Max groaned inwardly. He did not need to have this conversation, especially not with his mother. He backed away a step.
"Of course I am," he told her, "but…I just don’t want to do that right now. That’s all."
His mother looked at him for another moment, then shrugged.
"OK," she said, "I’m not trying to push you into dating or anything. If you want to wait until you’re older, I think that’s just fine. Besides, I think your sister does enough dating for the both of you."
Max forced a smile onto his face, and watched as his mother left the room. Then he tossed his can into the garbage and went back to his room to spend another evening torturing himself over thoughts of Liz – thoughts that could never become a reality because of what he was.
* * * *
Maria watched as Liz looked up toward the entrance to the restaurant, where a young teenage couple had just entered. She saw as Liz’s face went from optimistic to disappointed. And she knew why. With a shake of her head, Maria finished taking some customers’ orders, then went over to the counter where Liz was pouring some refills.
"Who’re you waiting for?" she asked, "As if I didn’t know."
Liz didn’t even look up when she replied.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
Maria rolled her eyes.
"You know exactly what I’m talking about," she accused, "You’ve been waiting for Max to walk through those doors all night."
Liz made a humorless laugh.
"I think you’re dreaming, Maria," Liz told her.
She took the drinks and left to serve them, neatly avoiding any more conversation. Maria watched her go, then shook her head once again. She was just about to get back to work, when the restaurant doors opened again and another figure entered. This time it was Michael, alone. Maria didn’t even look for Liz’s reaction. She waited until Michael took a seat in one of the booths, then went over to him.
"Dining alone tonight?" she asked.
Michael looked up at her, no humor on his face.
"Just some fries and a coke," he told her.
Maria shrugged and jotted down his order on her pad.
"Not one for conversation, are you?" she noted.
Michael didn’t reply. Maria waited a moment, then turned and went to give the order to the kitchen guys. She glanced back at Michael a few times, but he was too busy not looking back at her. Debating within herself, Maria managed to take care of two more orders before Michael’s was up. She delivered it to him, and watched as he dumped Tabasco sauce all over it. After a moment he stopped and looked up at her.
"Was there something you wanted?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, sitting down across from him quickly, "I need to talk to you about Max. I’d talk to Isabel, but she’s always busy."
"What about him?" he asked.
Maria took a deep breath.
"It’s what he’s doing to Liz," she said.
Michael looked up at her quickly.
"What about him and Liz?" he asked.
"Nothing," Maria said quickly, "It’s just that he keeps, I don’t know, going out of his way to be around her, like he’s flirting with her or something. And it’s really having an affect on Liz. I just don’t like to see her getting hurt, is all, and Max isn’t making things any better, if you know what I mean."
"I know what I mean," he said, "What do you want me to do?"
Maria sat back and shrugged.
"Well, you and Max are friends," she said, "I just thought maybe you could talk to him."
Michael swallowed a handful of fries and shook his head at her.
"Max doesn’t even listen to me," Michael told her, "Especially when it comes to Liz."
"But if he knew how it was affecting her," Maria urged.
"Why don’t you talk to him?" Michael asked.
"Well, I barely know him," she said.
"You’d probably have better luck than me," Michael told her.
Maria was about to reply, when a figure walked right up to the booth. Maria smiled innocently up at Liz.
"Hi, Michael," Liz said.
"Liz," he replied.
Liz turned to Maria.
"You do realize you have customers waiting for their orders," she said.
Maria looked from her to Michael and back.
"Uh, yeah," she said, getting up, "I was just getting to that."
She hesitated a moment, gave Michael a meaningful look, then shot Liz a small smile and hurried off. Liz watched her go, then turned to Michael.
"What was that all about?" she asked him.
"Nothing important," he told her, "Maria was just babbling again."
"Ah." Liz nodded, "OK."
She turned and went back to work, giving Maria a look as she passed by. Maria returned eye contact, trying not to appear too guilty.
* * * *
Max decided to finish his homework for the weekend, in an effort to keep his thoughts off the girl who owned his heart. As he was starting a biology assignment, he automatically thought of Liz and how it would be nice to have her help. But he instantly admonished himself and pushed that thought aside. Making a study date with Liz was most definitely not a good idea. Especially if it meant the two of them being alone in her bedroom, or his.
Fortunately a noise outside took Max’s thoughts away from Liz. He stood and went to his window, pushing the curtain aside to look out. Isabel stood on their front walk with her date, a guy Max recognized from school but whose name he couldn’t remember. The two of them stood, facing each other and laughing over some lame joke he probably told. Max watched as they held hands and stood close together. But then as soon as they started kissing, Max turned away from the window and just stood there, staring off into space. And despite his best efforts, all he could think of was how wonderful it would feel to be able to kiss Liz.
* * * *
Max swept the broom over the shiny floor in the dimly lit UFO Center he worked at. Though he had been sweeping for the past half-hour, the dirt and dust he was moving was still not forming itself into a neat little pile as usual. He stared down at the floor without seeing it, lost in his own thoughts.
Max looked up to see his boss standing next to him, nodding down to the dirt scattered over the floor.
"Sorry," Max apologized, "I’ll clean it up."
The currator folded his hands and regarded Max intently.
"Girl trouble?" he asked.
Max looked at him quickly.
The older man chuckled knowingly.
"Hey, I was once your age," he said, "I know what it’s like with girls. One minute you think you got one figured out, and the next minute you don’t know what’s what. Let me tell you, I had my share of ups and downs."
He took a step closer.
"So who is it?" he asked, "That restaurant girl who keeps coming to see you?"
Max gave him a half-grin and shrugged.
"Kind of," he said.
His boss nodded knowingly.
"Well, just hang in there," he said, "She’ll come around sooner or later."
Max watched as he walked away, then sighed, and began rounding up the dirt on the floor once again. He was just about finished gathering it all up into a neat little pile when someone else approached him. He looked up to see Maria walking toward him slowly.
"Maria," he said, "What are you doing here?"
"Um, I came to talk to you," she said, "If that’s OK. I mean, I don’t want to get you into trouble or anything."
He shook his head.
"No, it’s OK," he assured her, "What’s up?"
"OK," she said, "OK, um, actually, I need to ask you a favor."
"What kind of favor?"
Maria hesitated once again before continuing.
"I need you to stop what you’re doing to Liz," she blurted out.
He looked up at her quickly.
"You have to stop leading her on, Max," Maria told him, "I mean, one minute you’re saying you have to stay apart, and the next thing you know you go out of your way to spend time with her, giving her those looks and all. It’s even confusing me."
Max looked down and nodded. He still didn’t reply.
"You just need to make up your mind," Maria told him, "Soon. Don’t make Liz suffer."
Max looked up at her slowly and nodded mutely. Maria nodded back, then backed away to leave. Max watched her go, then stared down at his pile of dirt. His grip on the broom handle tightened, his jaw clenched, and finally he just kicked the pile of dirt in anger. The loose dirt scattered over the floor. Some landed at his boss’s feet as he walked in.
The man looked down at the dirt, then up at Max with an expression of pity.
"Boy, you’re really in trouble," he said with a sympathetic shake of his head, then walked away.
Max looked down and closed his eyes tightly. He didn’t need to be reminded.
* * * *
He tried to keep his eyes from roaming in her direction during their first class together - Geometry - but to no avail. It was almost as if the action were involuntary, unconscious. And the more he tried to stop, the worse it got. As soon as the bell rang signaling the end of class, Max let out an audible and exasperated sigh. Behind him, he heard Michael chuckle.
They got up and left the class. Max watched as Liz walked out ahead of him, no doubt on her way to her next class. Instantly Max knew what he had to do. And he knew the longer he waited, the harder it would become. So he steeled himself as he ran to catch up with her.
"Liz!" he called her name to get her attention.
Instantly Liz turned at his familiar voice and shot him a welcoming smile, one he couldn’t help but return.
"Hi, Max," she greeted him.
The two of them walked in pace with one another, an action that was becoming very familiar. Max opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly found himself very unwilling to say what he knew he had to say. Liz looked up at him expectantly. At the last moment, Max chickened out.
"So, uh," he said, searching for something to say, "did you finish your biology assignment?"
"Yeah," she replied, "I finished it a few days ago. How about you?"
Max winced. Liz grinned up at him.
"Would you like some help?" she offered.
Instantly Max heard warning bells ringing inside his head.
"No," he told her quickly, "I mean, thanks, but I think I should finish it on my own."
Liz nodded and looked away. Max groaned inwardly and also looked away. They walked on for a moment in silence. Finally Liz looked back at him, her expression curious.
"Was there something else, Max?" she asked, "Because I get the feeling that you didn’t come just to talk to me about biology."
Max hesitated. Here he had another opportunity to tell Liz what he needed to tell her. But yet again, he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
"Uh, nothing important," he told her, "I just wanted to know if I could borrow your notes from last class. I, uh, didn’t really do a good job on mine."
Liz smiled up at him.
"Sure," she told him, "If you stop by the Crashdown tonight, I’ll have them copied for you."
"That would be great," he said.
"Good," she said, retaining eye contact with him.
They reached Liz’s class and stopped by the door. Max looked down nervously, then back up at her.
"I guess you better get to class," he said, "See you later."
"Bye, Max," she replied.
He watched as she disappeared into the classroom, then turned to go to his own. He took only a few steps when he noticed Michael standing in front of him, a smug grin on his face. He started shaking his head in admonishment as soon as Max saw him. Max took on a guilty expression.
"Nice job, Max," he told him, "Very effective."
"It’s not that easy, Michael," Max told him in a tortured voice.
"Life’s not easy," Michael told him wisely, "Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do."
Michael shrugged, then walked away.
"Easy for you to say," Max mumbled under his breath.
* * * *
As he puttered about his room that night, Max deliberated what he was going to say to Liz when he went to get her notes that night. He could just come out and tell her that his behavior toward her had been a mistake, and they had to be "just friends". But that might seem a little harsh. He had to word it just right, so he wouldn’t hurt her or insult her. He went over the conversation in his head for a full hour, but he still couldn’t figure out what he was going to say.
Max heard his parents coming home just after 5PM. He knew he would be expected to show himself for dinner soon, but he wasn’t really feeling hungry. In fact, thoughts about terminating his fantasy with Liz and facing the fact she would never be more than a friend made him a little ill.
Ten minutes after his parents arrived, there was a knock at the door. Max stood up from his desk chair and opened it to reveal his father.
"Hey, dad," Max said.
"Hi, Max," his father greeted him, "Can we talk for a minute?"
Max nodded and backed away to let his father in. He closed the door behind him as his father took a seat at the chair Max had been in moments before. Max went over and sat on the bed, facing him.
"So what’s up?" he asked.
His father looked at him closely.
"Your mother and I have been getting this feeling that something’s wrong," Mr. Evans told him, "Something to do with girls. I thought maybe it was time for a father-son talk."
Max looked away from him, a little embarrassed, and nodded reluctantly. His father folded his hands on his lap as he continued.
"I’ve been hearing rumors," his dad said, "that you’re interested in Liz Parker."
Max looked up at him. His father nodded.
"I also know that nothing’s ever come of it," he said, "You spend a lot of time with her. Your sister told me you’re good friends."
His father waited for a moment. Max just stared down at the floor.
"I know you told your mother you wanted to wait until you’re older to start a relationship," he said, "But for some reason I have a feeling you didn’t mean it."
Again Max made no response. His father looked down at him, his face filled with concern.
"I want to try to help, Max," he said, "I was a teenager once too. I know how hard it is to approach girls. You’re afraid she won’t say yes, that she’ll reject you—"
Max shook his head before his father could continue.
"It’s not that," he said, looking up at his father, "It’s…complicated."
"Complicated?" his dad asked, "How so? Is she dating someone else?"
Max shook his head. "No."
His father waited a moment for Max to continue, then sighed when he was met with silence.
"Max," he said, "I know you probably don’t want your old man’s advice. But I’m here to listen. I want to listen. Your mother and I want you to be happy. We want to know when you have a problem, so we can help you, and support you."
He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
"You don’t have to tell me what’s troubling you, Max," he told him quietly, "But you need to tell someone."
His father stood up to leave. Max waited until he was halfway to the door before he spoke.
"Wait!" he called.
His father stopped and turned. Max hesitated a moment before continuing.
"I’m…I’m just afraid," he said.
His father walked back to the bed and sat down next to him.
"Afraid about what?" he asked.
Max looked at his father.
"Afraid it won’t last," he admitted, "Afraid someone or something will come along one day and break us up. Afraid to get really close, and then be ripped apart."
His father looked at him speculatively, then put an arm around him.
"I understand what you mean, Max," he told him, "When I first started dating your mom, I was afraid of those same things. I thought maybe she might get tired of me, or someone better might come along to sweep her off her feet. That happened to me once before, back when I was in high school. It hurt like hell. When I first met your mom, I was scared it would happen again."
"But you asked her out anyway," Max said.
His dad nodded.
"After deliberating over it for six weeks," he said, "I realized I would only be hurting myself if I didn’t. I had to take a chance, even if it meant another letdown. I couldn’t let my fears and insecurities rule my life. And I came to the conclusion that, even if it didn’t work out, a little bit of something good is better than a lot of nothing."
Max looked up at him. His father smiled and squeezed his shoulder.
"You never know until you try, Max," he told him, "Just look how it worked out between me and your mother. I imagine almost every day what would have happened if I had chickened out, and I thank God I made the right choice. I’m sure you will too."
He gave Max another pat on the back, then got up to leave. Max watched him go, a small smile touching the edge of his lips. Contrary to what he had predicted, his conversation with his dad had helped him a lot. He was on the edge of deciding to go for it with Liz, when two images popped into his head. One was of Isabel, and the other of Michael. Both were shaking their heads at him. He couldn’t let them down. But his dad was right, he’d never know until he tried. And if he didn’t try, he’d regret it forever.
Max stood at the beckons of his mother, feeling both relief and frustration. He still wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do when he saw Liz that night.
* * * *
On toPart Two
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