Zan pulled his hand through his hair as he paced through the training room. So many thoughts were rushing through his head about what had just happened on Liz’s balcony, and he was trying to make sense of them.
What he’d heard Max and Liz discussing had really confused him. Max and Liz used to be together, but they weren’t any more and it seemed to be because of Tess.
It was clear that Max still wanted Liz, but Liz kept denying him and telling him he had to be with Tess. She had sounded almost panicked that Tess would leave town if Max wasn’t with her.
He just didn’t understand. Why would Liz care if Tess left? Why would she be pushing Max to be with another woman?
He’d never really paid attention to Tess. Of the Roswell hybrids she was the least important to him, but maybe he’d discounted her too soon. She seemed to have power over both Max and Liz. Maybe she was threatening them.
Tomorrow he would definitely ask Liz what was going on.
He felt a jolt in his gut. Liz.
The kiss they’d shared had been so sweet that it would have been worth Max punching him in the face.
Zan sighed. It seemed that Liz was still in love with Max, but there was no doubt in his mind that she was interested in him too. He’d felt the struggle inside her, and she’d finally given in to her desire and kissed him. It was burned into his mind.
He’d never forget the way her lips had felt against his, the weight of her hands as they rested on his chest, or the way her body had pressed into him.
But he’d told Max the truth. He’d had no idea that Max loved Liz, and he would never come between them. Not only did he need their help, but he wanted their friendship, and it just wasn’t honorable.
Plus, he knew exactly how Max felt. They both loved Liz, and she wasn’t with either of them. And if Max shared one tenth of the connection with Liz that he did, Max was in a lot of pain.
Zan imagined it was a lot worse for Max. After all Max had been in a relationship with Liz. Max had known the happiness of being with her, of having her love, and it had all been taken away.
With a wave of his hand, Zan turned a folding chair into a padded armchair and threw himself into it.
The connection, he thought. How could he possibly have a connection with her?
It didn’t make any sense.
He’d never met her, never connected with her, but he’d felt it the first time he’d seen her, and even stranger, Liz had felt it too.
It was impossible, but that was why he was still convinced they were meant to be together.
He had never expected to find someone he would love instantly, much less someone he could share a connection with.
It was also why he had to be careful around Liz. After their kiss, he wanted her more than ever, and now he had to fight every instinct he had not to give into temptation.
After Max left her balcony, Liz cried quietly for a while, finally giving into the overwhelming feelings surging through her. She felt broken inside, guilty, empty, hopeless.
There was no solution. She could see that now. Max would never be with Tess, but he couldn’t be with her either. She couldn’t allow anything to develop between them again and risk Tess leaving.
Somewhere inside, she realized she’d held onto some hope that someday she and Max could be together again, but now she had to let it go. She had to accept that she’d never be with him and never be happy.
She also had to deal with her feelings for Zan.
Since he’d come to town she’d denied that she had feelings for him, insisting it was just leftover feelings for Max. But she couldn’t lie to herself any more.
When Zan had come to her balcony and confessed his feelings, he’d stirred something inside her that she had only ever felt with Max.
She would have said it impossible that she could have anything close to what she felt for Max with anyone else, but it was happening.
In a way it made sense, she guessed. It was like Maria said. Max and Zan were made from the same man, they both had a lot of similarities. In hindsight, she should have predicted it.
Raising her hand to her lips, she couldn’t believe they still tingled from when Zan had kissed her.
He’d definitely taken her by surprise with his confession of his feelings and the kiss. Otherwise she would have never let him.
Liz groaned. She couldn’t believe she’d kissed him back.
She felt so guilty because not only had she responded to him, but she’d liked it. And then Max had seen them.
Her stomach turned at the thought that she’d caused Max more pain. Poor Max had never done anything but love her, and all it had gotten him was heartache. He deserved so much better. He deserved love and happiness, and so did Zan, but neither of them would ever find it with her.
Kyle glanced at Ava beside him in the car where she was still talking about the movie they had just seen. He smiled. They had only been out three times but he’d never been happier, never felt more connected to anyone.
It amazed him how many things they had in common, like their taste in movies. They were just driving home from the theater where they’d seen a horror movie, and it had been Ava’s choice. He couldn’t remember the last time he hadn’t had to practically drag a girl to a scary movie.
And it wasn’t just their taste in films that attracted him to her.
Ava was beautiful, sexy, and she was fun to be with. Kyle couldn’t believe his luck that she was into him. He just hoped he didn’t do anything to screw it up.
He still couldn’t believe that Zan wasn’t into her. What wasn’t to like? But like Max, Zan wasn’t interested in his former wife, and Kyle wasn’t going to question his luck.
Within a few minutes they arrived at her place. Kyle pulled his car into the lot and shut off the motor, turning to Ava.
“And I just loved when the guy jumped out and cut off the monster’s head,” she said enthusiastically.
Kyle couldn’t take his eyes off her. She was animated as she talked and her face shone with happiness. He thought she’d never looked so beautiful. His heart pounded. He wanted her so much, but he didn’t want to go too fast. Sure he’d been out with girls that would give it up on the first date, but he wanted so much more than that from Ava.
“Me too,” he agreed, and then rushed on nervously. “The special effects were great.”
Ava giggled. “Yeah, all the blood and guts, and the monsters looked so real. You could see the scales and bumps on the skin…”
Suddenly Kyle couldn’t wait any longer and he reached out, taking her face in his hands, and kissed her.
He could tell she was surprised, but she kissed him back, and when her hands twined into his hair, all of his nervousness left him. She wanted him too.
Ava smiled as she kissed Kyle. She’d been hoping he’d make a move when they got to her place, or she was going to do it herself.
It’s not like she knew anything about dating. She’d never dated anyone, even Zan. From the time they were little they knew they were supposed to be together, so they had never really been on a date.
But she thought three dates was more than enough before a first kiss. She suspected Kyle was trying to take things between them slowly, and she appreciated that he was interested in more than a physical relationship. But she wanted him.
She had certainly never expected to have those feelings for anyone except Zan. And she would have said it was impossible to feel so strongly for anyone so soon after Zan had told her he didn’t want to be with her, but she did.
And the strangest part was that the feelings she had for Kyle were already stronger than anything she had felt for Zan. She’d thought she was in love with him for years, but now she could see that it just wasn’t true. Maybe she’d thought she was supposed to love Zan, so she’d just convinced herself that she was in love.
But Zan hadn’t listened to the destiny propaganda. He’d followed his own heart and found love, and now she was doing the same thing.
The thoughts flicked through her head in a second, and then she turned her entire attention to the kiss with Kyle.
He was a good kisser, practiced, she thought, but he was gentle. A soft moan escaped her, and she flicked her tongue across his lips, inviting him in. He groaned, sounding strained, and suddenly his control seemed to break. His kisses turned hungry, and his arms wound around her, pulling her to him.
Suddenly he released her, sitting back. “I’m sorry,” he panted. “I shouldn’t have gotten so carried away. It’s too soon.”
Ava smiled. “I’m not sorry,” she said, just as breathlessly. “I’ve been waiting for you to do it.”
“You have?” he asked incredulously.
She nodded, and cocked her head to one side, playfully. “You’re cute when you don’t know what to say.”
Leaning in she quickly kissed him again. “I like you Kyle,” she said softly, “I like you a lot.”
He nodded. “I like you too, and I think we could have something, so I don’t want to go too fast.”
Ava shook her head. “Who says going slow is any guarantee of a good relationship?” she purred. “I think we should get to know each other much better.”
He would have never thought that he would stall when a woman offered him more. “But…”
She laughed again. “I’m not saying I’ll sleep with you on our next date, but I definitely think we should be alone.”
He nodded again, his mind on overload. Ava wanted to sleep with him. “Um, sure,” he said, trying to get his brain to work. “Right, somewhere alone.”
“Maybe I can get Zan to leave,” Ava mused. “I’ll tell him I’m bringing you over.”
“No!” Kyle burst out, and then lowered his voice immediately. “No,” he said quickly, trying to picture Zan’s reaction to her request. “My Dad is working the night shift on Tuesday, so we’ll have my house all to ourselves.”
Ava smiled approvingly. “It’s a date then.”
“Yeah,” he agreed a little breathlessly. He couldn’t believe how fast things were happening, but he liked it.
He reached out touching her cheek. “You’re certainly different than any other girl I’ve dated.”
“That’s okay, right?” she teased.
“Oh yeah,” he said seriously, and kissed her again.
The kiss lasted longer than the first and by the time they pulled apart, they were both breathing heavily.
Ava gathered her things. “See you Tuesday,” she said.
Kyle watched her get out the car and go inside. Normally he would have walked her to the door, but his very obvious erection made him stay put.
He still couldn’t believe that she wanted more so quickly. But like Tess, Ava seemed to have a much more casual attitude about sex than any human women he knew. Putting the car in reverse, he started making plans; romantic movie, flowers, delivery Chinese, maybe candles, check the condom supply. He wanted the evening to be perfect, and he was going to be prepared for anything.
Ava closed the door smiling and practically hopped up the stairs. She knew she was moving fast, but she really didn’t believe in wasting time. She wanted Kyle, and she knew he wanted her, so what was the point in waiting?
She stopped in the doorway of the small living room, where Zan was lounging on the sofa, watching TV.
“You’re back early,” he said, looking up at her. His eyes traveled over her face, taking in her smile. “You look happy. So you like this guy? Is he treating you right?”
Ava’s smile widened. It was funny to see Zan in protective mode. “Yeah, I do like him, and he’s okay, Zan.”
He nodded. “I just have to make sure,” he said seriously. “You deserve a good man who will treat you right.”
“And what would you do if he wasn’t?” she teased.
“I’d kick his human ass,” Zan said, with a raised eyebrow, “the old-fashioned way.”
Ava’s voice lowered almost to a whisper. “And what if I’m in love?”
Zan sat up straight. “Are you?”
She nodded almost imperceptivity. “I think so,” she said softly.
“Ava, that’s great,” he said, getting up and crossing to her. He hugged her tightly. “I’m so happy for you.”
“Looks like coming to Roswell was good for both of us,” she said, hugging him back. “We both found love.”
Zan didn’t want to talk about his disappointment with Liz, and simply nodded. “You’re absolutely right.”
Rath pressed buttons furiously as he guided the ninja on the screen, jumping, slicing with his sword. Holding the controller out before him, he leaned and twisted it as if the added body-English would translate to the character he was playing.
Hearing a noise he glanced up briefly to see Lonnie coming down the tunnel toward him, and then turned his attention back to his game.
“Yo,” he called out in a greeting, still pressing buttons. “How’s the scrub?”
Lonnie slung herself onto the sofa next to him. “Still annoying, still keeping his mouth shut about what he is really doing.”
Rath leaned the other direction as his character continued the attack. “He didn’t give it up when he saw your spectacular body?”
Lonnie rolled her eyes. “I’m not sleeping with him.”
“Why the hell not?” Rath demanded, his eyes still glued to the screen.
“Well,” Lonnie explained, “if I give him the goods, then I have nothing to tempt him with.”
Rath tossed the controller aside, focusing on Lonnie. “He hasn’t given you anything?”
“No,” Lonnie said, “like I already told you. He hasn’t said shit.” She shrugged. “But it hasn’t been that long, maybe he isn’t sure if he can trust me yet.”
Rath nodded. “Maybe, but we’re not just going to sit on our asses while this conference happens around us. We’re going to make sure that we get what we want.”
He snorted, “And we’ve gotta do it before Zan comes back. We can’t risk sneaking around meeting Nicholas with him here.” He met Lonnie’s eyes, “When is that brother of yours coming back?”
Lonnie shrugged. “How should I know? He didn’t say exactly, just before the conference.”
“Great,” Rath bellowed, “the scrub could be back any time!”
“I don’t think so,” Lonnie soothed.
“We should call him,” Rath suggested. “Find out when he’s coming back.”
“No,” Lonnie said. “He might get suspicious if we call.” She reached out touching his leg. “He’s only been gone a little over a week. Just chill for now.”
She leaned across to kiss him. “Zan’s never really been anywhere, and he and Ava can spend a lot of time alone there. I bet he doesn’t come back until he has to.”
(Sunday, October 29)
Zan waited nervously for Liz to arrive for practice. He wasn’t even sure she’d show up.
After the fiasco on her balcony yesterday, he’d understand if she didn’t want to train with him anymore. But Liz hadn’t said anything about canceling, and he was pretty sure she wouldn’t just leave him hanging.
He ached to see her, but at the same time it made him sad since they weren’t together like he wanted.
The sound of a car pulling into the lot made his heart race, but he didn’t rush to the window like he wanted to. Instead he pretended to be busy straightening up some items on a table.
He forced himself not to look up until he heard the door opening, but when he did, his breath was nearly knocked from him. Liz was so beautiful, and the softness of her lips, the feeling of her body pressed against his, came rushing back to him.
She stopped just inside the door, and they stood staring at each other.
Liz met Zan’s eyes, her breathing fast. She’d lectured herself over and over that she couldn’t let him see her reaction to him, and she thought she had herself under control. But seeing him again brought a rush of feelings that she had been trying to repress.
She could still hear his words from yesterday, and a shiver ripped through her as she relived the moment Zan took her head in his hands and kissed her.
Suddenly they both seemed to come back to the present, and moved toward each other, speaking at the same time.
“I’m sorry,” they said in unison, and then both smiled.
“I’m really sorry,” Zan said, recovering first. “I shouldn’t have kissed you.”
Liz shook her head. “You didn’t know. It wasn’t your fault. I should have told you about Max.”
She took a breath. “I’m the one that’s sorry, Zan.” She blushed furiously. “When Max attacked you, I should have said something. I should have told him…” she trailed off, looking down in embarrassment.
“No,” Zan said softly, coming closer to her. “You love him.”
Liz felt tears gathering in her eyes. She nodded. “I’m sorry,” she said again.
“Don’t apologize,” he said gruffly. “I’d give anything for you to love me.”
Liz’s head jerked up, meeting his eyes. “Zan,” she said with a choked voice.
He shook his head. “You don’t have to say anything,” he said softly. “I know it’s impossible. Even though you’re not with Max, I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt him, or ruin the chance of a friendship with him.”
Liz nodded. “It’s an impossible situation all the way around,” she breathed. “I do love Max and he loves me, but we can’t be together. He has a duty to his people, your people, and I can’t stand in the way of that.”
“Who says you would be in the way?” Zan asked.
Liz smiled sadly. “Max is meant to be with Tess. She’s his wife. She’s part of his unit. Without her they wouldn’t be strong enough.”
“So,” Zan said softly, “you think if Tess isn’t with Max, that she will refuse to be part of the unit?”
“Yeah,” Liz sighed. “I know she will.”
Zan’s brow creased. “Should we be worried about her? About her loyalty?”
“No,” Liz hurried to assure him. “No, Tess is completely loyal, I just have to stay away from Max.”
“That doesn’t seems fair,” Zan said. “Tess keeping you two apart.”
“She’s not,” Liz explained, “but I know she’ll feel like she doesn’t have a purpose, and she’ll leave.”
Zan met her eyes. “She told you she’ll leave?”
“Well, no,” Liz admitted. “I, um, I just know she will.”
He took a step closer, seeming to be searching for something in her eyes. “How do you know?”
“Ummm,” Liz hummed, stalling. Her heart was pounding as her mind raced. She’d said too much already, and there was no way she could explain the truth about Future Max to him. So she lied. She gave a small shrug. “I just know.”
Zan nodded. “Maybe it’s something to do with your powers,” he suggested, still looking skeptical.
“Yeah,” Liz said quickly, “maybe.” She was afraid Zan would continue asking questions, just like Max.
“Well,” she said, moving farther into the room, quickly changing the subject, “should we get started?”
She could still feel Zan’s eyes on her, and nervously reached out to a tennis ball on the table. Suddenly all the nervous energy rushing through her seemed to focus, running down her arm and out into the ball. It shook for an instant and exploded.
Liz screamed, jumping back and automatically covered her face with her hands.
Zan was at her side in less than a heartbeat and with a glance he assessed the situation, looking at the table first and then Liz. He took her hands away from her face, searching for injuries. When he didn’t see any, he grasped her upper arms, rubbing them gently. “It’s okay,” he soothed. “You’re okay.”
“What happed?” Liz gasped, stunned. She looked rapidly from the pieces of the ball to Zan’s face.
Zan smiled. “You just got powers, baby.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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