(Sunday, October 5)
Liz had barely slept. After she’d left Zan’s place she’d driven around for a while but it hadn’t made things any better. She had too much stuff rushing around in her head.
Pacing around her balcony, she tried to alleviate some of her excess energy.
She couldn’t believe she’d kissed Zan again. And she hadn’t just kissed him, she wanted him. The sensation had practically been overwhelming. She wanted Zan the same way she wanted Max.
Something was definitely wrong with her. She couldn’t seem to control herself and she didn’t know what she was going to do. She was supposed to see Zan later for her training session and she was scared to go.
But that was only part of what was bothering her.
Max was demanding answers and he’d said he was coming to get them today. He might show up at any moment and she still didn’t know what to tell him.
She’d been thinking about it for hours and she kept coming to the same conclusion. But was it right?
Future Max had said Max must never know and she’d been holding on to that. But had he really thought it through. Had he considered that his younger self wouldn’t give her up no matter what?
She was sure he had. So what did he intend to accomplish with his plan? Their feelings for each other hadn’t changed, Max hadn’t turned to Tess. All that had really happened was that she and Max had been apart longer.
But maybe, somehow that was Future Max’s plan had been all along. Maybe something had changed because she and Max hadn’t slept together months ago. But there was no way of knowing for sure.
Suddenly a familiar sensation rushed through her and she knew without looking that Max was coming. She turned toward the ladder and waited for him.
“Hey Max,” she greeted softly.
He smiled when he saw her. “Hey Liz.”
She crossed to him and took his hands leading him to the lawn chair. “Can we sit down and talk?”
Max nodded, looking a bit confused, and Liz wondered if he’d been expecting another argument.
“Max,” she started as they sat, “I’ve been thinking all night and I’ve come to a decision. I just hope I’m doing the right thing.”
“Okay,” he said, nodding encouragingly.
Her hands fidgeted in her lap and tears pricked her eyes.
Max could tell something inside her had changed. She was still scared, but she’d decided to share her burden with him. He reached out taking her hand and squeezed gently. “It’ll be okay, Liz,” he assured her.
She met his eyes. “I hope so.”
Taking a deep breath she told him the whole story. Starting with the night Future Max arrived, she told him everything his other self had said and everything they had done to fulfill his plan.
When she was finished Max was shaking his head. “I’d say I don’t believe it, but with who we are and all the crazy stuff that’s happened…’ he trailed off, meeting her eyes. “I’m really sorry, Liz that he did this to you, to us.”
Tears spilled from her eyes. “They all died, Max. He came back to try and save us all.”
They were both silent for a moment.
Liz wiped at her cheeks. “Did I do the right thing telling you? I couldn’t think of what else to do. You kept asking questions and I didn’t know what to tell you. I didn’t want to lie to you anymore, but what if I’ve condemned the world again?”
“No,” Max said softly, reaching up to cup her cheek. “I’m glad you told me, and it explains everything. I knew you’d never throw away our love without a good reason.”
“Max,” she stared, looking for a way to explain, but he shook his head.
“I understand, Liz,” he said. “You were in an impossible position.”
He squeezed her hand. “So why did you decide to tell me now?”
“I wanted to talk to you about that too,” she said. Point by point she went through everything she had been considering, about what Future Max’s intentions had been, and what exactly had happened because of his visit.
Max nodded when she was finished. “You’re right,” he said, smiling sadly. “I can’t be with Tess,” he said, “not even to save the world. I love you. I only want to be with you, and he would have known that.”
He held her eyes. “He would have known I’d never give up. So the only thing that was accomplished was that we were apart longer.”
“And maybe,” Liz said, “that made the difference between Tess leaving and staying.”
“I still think we should talk to her,” Max said, “tell her our concerns and let her know that she is still an important part of the team.”
“I don’t know, Max,” Liz started.
Max rubbed her arm soothingly. “We’ll talk about it, decide what to say to her.”
Liz nodded, agreeing even though she was worried. She had told Max so he could help her make the decision, and she trusted his instincts.
“But Max we still can’t be together,” she said, “you’ve got to see that now.”
“No,” Max said, reaching up to touch her cheek, “I have more hope now than I’ve had for months. We might have to wait a while, but we will be together. I’m sure of it.”
She smiled in spite of herself, and he leaned in kissing her forehead.
“I’m glad I told you,” she said, feeling almost faint with relief. “I hated lying to you.”
“I’m glad you told me too,” he said, holding her eyes. “And,” he said, “I think we should tell Zan everything.”
Liz was surprised. “Really? I thought after last week…” she trailed off, knowing Max would understand she was talking about when he’d found Zan kissing her.
“Yeah,” Max said. “I know it’s weird, but I trust him and I think he needs to know. He might be able to help us.”
“What about the others, Michael, Isabel, Tess and Ava?” Liz asked.
Max shook his head. “I think the fewer people we tell the better. For now we’ll keep it to ourselves.”
Lonnie sat at the kitchen table picking at a waffle as she considered what she’d learned last night. Once again she’d been with Nicholas and he’d finally opened up to her.
Actually she suspected that Nicholas had been playing her, artfully keeping the information from her and then giving her just enough to make her even more curious and cooperative.
He’d told her that Khivar not only wanted Zan dead, but he also wanted an Antarian artifact that had been sent to Earth with them. The Granolith.
Nicholas had asked her if she knew what it was, and when she said she didn’t, he’d briefly described it to her. She’d told him truthfully that she’d never heard of it and had never seen anything like it.
He’d simply nodded as if he hadn’t expected her to know about it.
Lonnie had left him soon after and her mind had been on overdrive since then.
First she was positive that Nicholas had lied about the Granolith’s importance. He’d claimed it was simply a religious artifact, like the Antarian Holy Grail. But the interest he’d shown in it made Lonnie think it was much more, possibly a weapon.
She also had to wonder who did have it. If it was sent to Earth with them, where was it now? And why wasn’t it in their possession? Their protector had never even mentioned it to them.
Lonnie knew the shapeshifter had kept things from them, but now she really wondered what else they had never been told.
Zan had hardly slept either. He’d been up most the night worrying about Liz.
He still couldn’t believe that he’d taken advantage of her when she’d come to him looking for help. Sure she’d wanted him too, but he knew she was upset and vulnerable and he hadn’t been able to control himself.
He didn’t think she’d ever trust him again, and she’d probably never forgive him either.
At any moment he expected Max to show up and beat the crap out of him, and he wouldn’t blame him. If anyone had done that to his woman, he’d take great pleasure in making them bleed.
The knock at the door downstairs didn’t surprise him. In fact he smiled.
Jogging down the stairs, all he could think of was he was surprised that Max didn’t break the door down to get to him.
Seeing the Jeep outside the window confirmed his suspicion and he threw open the door ready to take a beating.
But he stopped in amazement when he saw Max with Liz. He certainly hadn’t expected Max to bring her and he noted in passing their clasped hands.
Zan looked from one to the other expecting to see anger, betrayal. Liz looked a little guilty and scared but Max just seemed serious and concerned. Instantly Zan was sure Liz hadn’t told Max what happened between them, but he was sure something big was going on.
“So,” he said cautiously, “what’s up?”
Max spoke. “There’s something we need to tell you,” he said. Glancing momentarily around he met Zan’s eyes. “Are you here alone?”
Zan nodded. “Yeah, Ava’s out.”
“Good,” Max said. “We should keep this just between us for now.”
Stepping aside, Zan let them in. “Okay,” he agreed, now getting worried himself.
“Liz has been keeping a secret about something that happened a few weeks ago,” Max said, “but today she told me the truth, and I think you need to hear it too.”
Zan was really confused now, but he looked at Liz.
She shifted nervously and he could see the discomfort in her. With a swipe of his hand he turned a table into three chairs and offered one to Liz. She took it gratefully.
“I didn’t tell Max,” she started, “because he told me not to. I promised him. I thought all of our lives depended on it.”
Zan’s brow creased. “You promised who, Liz?”
Liz looked at him. “Max,” she said.
Zan shook his head, confused.
“I’ll start at the beginning,” Liz said, “so it will make sense.”
Taking a deep breath, she told the whole story for the second time. Zan listened intently, sitting forward, anxious to hear.
When she finished, Zan spoke up. “Exactly when did this happen?” he asked.
Liz didn’t even hesitate. She’d never forget the date Future Max had come and stolen all of her dreams of happiness. “It was just over a month ago, the night he first came,” she said. “October tenth.”
“Shit,” Zan hissed. He jumped up, rubbing his hands over his face, pacing back and forth. “I can’t believe this. He must have had it planned all along.”
Max and Liz both looked at him.
“You know something about this?” Max asked.
“No,” Zan said. “This is the first time I’ve heard anything about it, but something happened to me on October ninth.”
He nodded to Liz. “I told Liz a little about it. It’s how I knew Lonnie and Rath were going to betray and kill us. An informer came to me and told me the whole thing.”
Liz gasped. “You said you trusted him like yourself.”
Zan nodded, confirming her guess. “Yeah it was Max from the future. He was the one who told me about the summit, told me that you existed, and he gave me the plan to come to Roswell and lure Lonnie and Rath here.”
Both Liz and Max got to their feet too. Max looked shocked, but Zan continued. “I didn’t even know anything about the four of you before he told me, and I had no idea that Lonnie and Rath meant to kill me.”
Zan focused on Max. “The other Max also told me not to tell anyone that I’d seen him.”
“So,” Max said, “my future self breaks up Liz and me and just the day before sends you to Roswell. He must have wanted you here for a reason.”
Zan looked longingly at Liz. The first thing his mind jumped to was that Future Max wanted him to get together with Liz. But he didn’t say it out loud.
And he wondered if Liz wasn’t thinking the same thing because she suddenly looked away from his knowing gaze.
Liz cleared her throat drawing both their attention. “Well,” she started, quickly glancing at Zan, “what would you have done if you didn’t know to distrust Lonnie and Rath? I mean what would you have done about the invitation to the summit?”
Zan rubbed the stubble on his chin, thinking seriously. “Just coming out of the blue like that, it would have scared the shit out of me,” he said. “We have very little information about our past, no one ever contacted us before, and suddenly we get an invitation to a peace summit. I think I’d have said it was a trap.”
“So you wouldn’t have gone?” Liz asked.
“No,” Zan agreed. “I would have thought they were trying to lure us out.”
“And you would have told Lonnie and Rath no,” Liz mused, “and maybe they would have tried to persuade you to go…”
Her head jerked up and she looked from Zan to Max. “Or maybe they would have just come here to get a different king.”
Both Zan and Max nodded.
“It makes sense,” Liz continued. “That’s why Future Max sent you here, because he knew Lonnie and Rath would come here anyway.”
“And that’s why the plan will work,” Max said.
Zan spoke up. “What about Tess? Is she so spoiled and self involved that she’s not going to help us?”
Liz shook her head. “No, it’s Tess that helps us win.”
“According to Future Max’s predictions,” Max said. “Even he didn’t know for sure.”
“I’ve been talking to her,” Zan said. “Nothing heavy,” he assured Liz, “just getting to know her kind of stuff, and I’m not sure about her at all. She seems to care much more about what she wants than she cares about anyone else, otherwise she wouldn’t be trying to force Max to be with her when he loves you.”
“No,” Max said, “she’s not that bad. She’s really lightened up since she came here, stopped forcing visions on us and stopped talking about our destiny all the time. I think it was mainly Nasedo who was telling her to be so aggressive. She’ll be okay.”
“Okay,” Zan said with a crisp nod, “we should definitely keep this to ourselves for now anyway. We don’t want it getting around that your Granolith is a time machine.”
“Yes,” Max nodded. “That’s what we think too. And it doesn’t really change the plan since it was his idea anyway.”
“And,” Max added, taking Liz’s hand and squeezing it lightly, “I’ll try to be nicer to Tess.”
Zan could actually feel the love between them, and now that he knew the real reason why Liz had been pushing him away, he felt like scum for kissing her.
Then a thought suddenly solidified in Zan’s mind. “That’s why you never asked me to connect with you and find out what power you have, isn’t it?” he said to Liz. “Because you were afraid I might see the stuff about Future Max.”
“I wondered why,” he continued without waiting for her answer. “I thought maybe you didn’t trust me.”
Liz tried to remain calm on the outside, nodding serenely. “Of course I trust you,” she said softly, “I just didn’t want you to find out about him.”
Inside her emotions were churning faster than she could name them. She knew Max would expect her to connect with Zan to discover her power. He would think it was strange if she didn’t.
Zan was right about Future Max, but she had another reason now that she didn’t want to connect with him. She was afraid he would see in her mind that she was attracted to him, but more than that, she wanted him, loved him.
Max was speaking but she only caught the end of his sentence. “…to know what Liz’s power is,” he said excitedly.
Suddenly Zan realized his mistake. He hadn’t meant to push Liz to connect with him, he’d simply been stating his realization out loud. And now he had put Liz in a position where she had to connect with him or they had to explain to Max about the kiss last night.
He could see the panic in Liz’s eyes. “Well,” he said, making up an excuse, trying to get her off the hook, “we don’t have to do it right now. She might not have enough control of the power inside her for me to be able to tell.”
“We’ll never know unless you try,” Max said, being practical. Turning to Liz, he smiled. “I know you’d like to find out what powers you’ll have. The curiosity must be killing you.”
Liz nodded, because she couldn’t do anything else. “Oh yeah,” she said stiffly. She really did want to know about her powers, but the last thing she wanted to do was connect with Zan.
She had no idea how to block things from people when they connected, but she had to try. Inside her mind, she imagined taking all the feelings she had for Zan and locking them securely inside a large bank vault and sealing it shut. She just hoped it was enough.
Zan looked at her and he was sorry he’d even brought up the subject, but there was nothing he could do now. He had to connect with her.
And even though he was reluctant, he was excited too. The thought of getting to have even the smallest glimpse into Liz’s mind and soul was something he craved almost as much as the joining of their bodies.
Even with Max right there he had the urge to take her head in both his hands and make the connection as their lips crashed together and he kissed her senseless.
Taking a deep breath, he tried to calm himself, and simply reached for her hand. Liz put her hand in his and he could feel her shaking slightly.
The connection slid into place more quickly and easily than any other he had made, and he took it as even more proof that he and Liz belonged together. A rush of images and feelings deluged him from Liz’s life and he momentarily let himself get lost in the sensation of being one with her.
He felt the softness of her as if their bodies were tangled together, making love. He was surrounded by her, drunk on her intoxicating scent, and soothed by the sweetness of her soul.
The knowledge of her power came to him without him looking for it and even though he felt like he was losing a part of himself, he reluctantly withdrew from her.
Opening his eyes he held her gaze, gently stroking his thumb over her hand as he spoke. “You have the power of connections,” he said. “You can join with anyone more easily than the rest of us, you will be able to reach out over distances to join minds, and you will get images and feelings just from touching objects and people.”
“Wow,” Max said excitedly. “That explains all the flashes you were getting about the orb.”
Zan continued. “You will also have a shield, similar to Max’s. It can’t be a coincidence,” he said, “somehow it must be because Max healed you.”
Liz nodded dumbly and gently pulled her hand out of Zan’s, even though she was sure it was too late. Zan had a soft, dreamy expression on his face, and Liz was sure he’d seen her feelings for him. She flamed red and took a few faltering steps toward Max.
Max could feel her confusion and worry but he it took it for surprise about actually hearing that she was getting certain powers. He put his arm around her, rubbing her shoulders. “It will be okay,” he assured her. “Now you can concentrate on building up those powers and controlling them.”
They talked for a few more minutes about the possibilities of her powers but Zan was hardly paying attention. He kept trying to catch Liz’s eye to apologize silently for kissing her, for putting her in a position where they had to connect, but she wouldn’t even look at him.
Finally Zan couldn’t stand it any longer. “I’m sorry,” he burst out.
Liz’s head jerked up and Max looked at him confused.
Zan knew now that he should have just told Max in the first place, but he wanted to spare Liz’s feelings, and by keeping his mouth shut he’d just made things worse. He spoke softly, holding Liz’s gaze. “I’m so sorry, Liz,” he said.
He turned his gaze to Max. “I can’t stop thinking about her, man. I’m so in love with her that I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. She came over last night, upset and needing a friend and I kissed her.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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