Zan slung himself across the sofa and switched on the TV but he really didn’t see the program. His mind was too full of his time with Liz.
She’d tried to pretend like she wasn’t curious, but he’d seen her looking at him. And he’d been able to watch her as much as he wanted.
Her hair had been pulled back in a ponytail that bounced around her shoulders as she walked and exposed her delicate, kissable neck. He’d seen the way her lips parted nervously when she was searching for something to say, and how soft color had spread across her cheeks when she was embarrassed. He now knew that she had a sprinkling of freckles across her nose, and her eyes were even a darker brown than he’d thought.
Even though she’d been wearing that silly uniform, she’d somehow made it look incredibly sexy. It showed off her slim figure, pert breasts and fantastic legs. The skirt was so short that he was tempted to reach out and touch the soft skin of her thigh when she’d been standing next to him taking his order. And he couldn’t help noticing that it was only fastened together with a few snaps, making him think that one good jerk of his hands would leave it in a pool around her feet.
Shit he wanted her. He’d had the overwhelming urge to take her in his arms, push the silvery antenna off her head and kiss her senseless.
He’d been searching for reasons to spend time with her, and unexpectedly the perfect one had just fallen into his lap. He’d had no idea how she had gotten involved with the aliens, but the fact that she was developing powers made getting to know her much easier.
She would need to be trained in controlling her powers and he’d jumped at the chance to do it. He’d even bullied her into coming with him tomorrow.
A smile crossed his lips as he thought of her again.
She’d been surprised to see him, and nervous, but she’d trusted him and had opened up to him willingly.
He’d stayed over an hour, talking to her, and she had sat with him the whole time, even past when her shift ended. She had asked him about his life in New York, and how the training session that morning had gone.
Wanting to know everything, he asked her all about her life and school.
And he’d even had the chance to touch her hand.
He was almost positive that she didn’t realize he’d done it, but he could still feel the silky texture of her skin against his fingers. And it made him impatient for more.
He knew he had to take things slowly, but he couldn’t wait for their time together tomorrow.
And while Zan was thinking about Liz, she was thinking about him, but the direction of her thoughts were completely different.
She sat in her room, near the window and looked out into the night as she slowly pulled a brush through her hair.
The meeting with Zan had been so unexpected but it left a lasting impression. She couldn’t believe she was developing powers. It’s true she’d felt different in the last year, but she’d simply figured it was normal teenage stuff, mostly. Now she was reexamining every moment since Max had healed her.
Nothing had happened for a while, and maybe it had taken time for her new powers to develop. And then there had been that whole time she couldn’t kiss Max without getting a vision. But it had stopped when they found the orb and she assumed it had somehow made her get the visions.
That had been months ago and nothing had really happened since, if you didn’t count the flash she got when Max had touched her. But Liz was pretty sure he’d somehow done that on purpose.
Not that she doubted Zan. He’d been so sure and he’d convinced her with a few words so she’d believed him completely.
It was strange how quickly she’d trusted him. Well, she said to herself, maybe it wasn’t really that strange. She knew he was only there to help, and he was so like Max she’d found herself almost instantly attracted to him.
Of course it wasn’t real. Zan looked like Max, he was kind and funny and very direct, but he really wasn’t her type. She was attracted to nice guys like Max; guys who were clean-cut and intelligent, and had a direction in life.
Zan had told her he dropped out of school and gotten a GED, and he really had no plans for the future, like college or a job. He sometimes fixed motorcycles or cars for a little money, but he’d never had a real job.
And he had tattoos. She’d never known anyone with a tattoos and facial piercings. Although she had to admit that they did look good on him. A bad boy through and through.
She shook her head. No, she wasn’t really attracted to Zan. It was just because he was like Max.
Suddenly she saw movement at the edge of the balcony and watched as someone emerged from the top of the ladder. She slid up the window, calling out. “Max, what are you doing here?”
He crouched down next to her. “I came to tell you that I’ve filled in Valenti and Kyle, and I wanted to talk to you about the training this afternoon,” he said softly. “Can I come in?”
She stepped back, motioning him inside. She had wanted to tell him what Zan had said, and she’d been thinking about calling him for hours, but for some reason she’d hesitated.
But she was so excited, and now was the perfect time. “Max,” she blurted out before he was inside, “there’s something I need to tell you too.”
He straightened up, looking at her, seeing her excitement, and his heart stopped. Was she finally going to tell him her secret? “What’s that?” he asked softly.
“Zan,” Liz started, motioning nervously with her hands, “he came here this afternoon for lunch,” she turned and started pacing, “and we got talking and I told him how you healed me.” She was looking around as she moved, her eyes unable to focus on anything. “And he said I was different now.”
Suddenly she stopped, looking directly at Max. “He said because you brought me back, I would get powers.”
Max looked stunned. “What?”
Liz nodded. “That’s what Zan said. He’s worried that I won’t be able to control them when they do come, and he wants me to work with him and Ava.”
Max raked a hand through his hair feeling so many things: surprise, confusion, excitement, regret, guilt. “Liz, I had no idea. I’m sorry, I…” he trailed off as he looked at her realizing what he was saying. He would have never let her die even if he had known there would be consequences.
“Don’t say that, Max,” she soothed. “You saved my life. I can deal with some side effects,” she said using Zan’s words.”
Max studied her face. “You’re not freaked out?”
“I was a little at first, but not now,” she said, shaking her head. A small smile lit her face. “Zan talked me through it, and I’ve had some time to think, and now it’s kind of exciting,” she admitted. “Maybe I’ll be able to help you.”
“I don’t know, Liz,” Max said apprehensively. “You’ve just found out you might have powers, and we don’t even know what they are, and you can’t control them.” He held her eyes. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”
She nodded, sitting on her bed. “I know, Max. And I’ll be careful.”
He sat next to her. He’d come because he hadn’t seen her all day and he couldn’t stay away, and now that he was so close, he wanted more.
He thought about all the things she’d said, and hadn’t said. Somewhere in the back of his mind there was a kernel of an idea that was forming but he couldn’t seem to grasp it, and then it was gone again. He pushed all the thoughts aside and concentrated on being with Liz.
“So,” he said softly. “Did Zan tell you what your special power is?”
Liz looked confused. “No, how could he do that?”
“Well,” Max explained, “I can heal, and I have a shield, and Zan can tell what someone’s powers will be.”
“Really,” she asked incredulously. “He didn’t mention it.”
“So when are you going to start training with them?” Max asked.
“Tomorrow,” she said. “Zan’s going to pick me up after my shift.”
Max felt a twinge of jealously at her mention of Zan’s name again, but pushed it aside. He just wished he had more of a reason to spend time with her.
“Well,” he said casually, “when you get back do you want to do the Physics homework together? I haven’t even started,” he told her hopefully.
She smiled. “Sure Max. Do you want to meet in the Crashdown at around five?”
Max had hoped for a less public setting but he nodded. “That sounds great.”
Smiling, Max reminded himself he was alone with her now, and all traces of her shyness seemed to have left her. She was smiling, laughing and talking animatedly just like nothing had ever happened to mar their friendship.
Her good mood was contagious and Max smiled back. “Tell me what else Zan said.”
Liz shook her head. “Later,” she promised. “I want to hear what happened at your training.”
Rath was waiting for Lonnie when she came in. She had a pizza and a six-pack of Coke and she set them on the table in front of him.
“So what did Nicholas say?” Rath said grabbing a Coke. “What do they want?”
Lonnie sat beside him, opening the pizza box. “He didn’t say anything yet,” she told him. “It’s not like he’s just going to blurt out his evil plan. He’s a lot smarter than that and it will take time to get him to open up.”
Rath snorted. “That means you’ll have to spend more time with him. Are you going to sleep with the little freak too?” he said with a laugh.
Lonnie shook her head. “If he gets what he wants he’ll lose interest. I’ve got to make him think he’ll get it eventually while he opens up to me.”
She popped open a Coke and took a drink. “And he may look like a freak now, but don’t underestimate him. You don’t remember, but Nicholas is one of the greatest generals Antar has ever known.”
“So how come you suddenly remember so much,” he asked around a mouthful of pizza, “and none of the rest of us do?”
Lonnie shrugged. “I don’t know,” she lied. “Maybe it has something to do with my power.”
The phone rang just as Liz was drifting off to sleep, and she struggled into a sitting position to answer it. “Hello?”
“Didn’t wake you up, did I?” Maria asked, and continued without waiting for an answer. “I just got home from Spaceboy’s.”
Liz rubbed her eyes as she lay back against the bed. “How did it go?”
Maria sighed. “Oh fine, if you call watching a hockey game a date.” She yawned, “How was work?”
Liz felt the rush of excitement again. She’d been dying to tell Maria about her burgeoning powers. “Well Zan came in…”
Maria cut her off. “What? Zan came to see you at work?”
“No,” Liz started, “he didn’t come to see me. He just came to eat.”
Maria giggled. “Are you sure he didn’t come to see you?” she said knowledgeably. “I saw the way he was looking at you at the UFO Center last night.”
Liz laughed. “What are you talking about, Maria. That is completely in your imagination. He’s with Ava. He just came by…”
Maria cut her off again. “And he is sooooo gorgeous, like Max but not so annoyingly perfect.”
“Maria,” Liz objected, but the other girl talked over her.
“I mean, dang Liz, Zan is a total bad boy from every girl’s fantasy. If I wasn’t with Michael, I’d go for him myself. Don’t try to tell me you aren’t attracted to him. And since you and Max aren’t together you are free to hook up with anyone you want.”
Liz shook her head. “Maria, there’s not going to be any hooking up. And Zan isn’t…”
“Liiiiiz,” Maria continued, “the tattoos, the hair, the leather. You’ve been alone long enough. It’s time to get back in the game.”
“Maria,” Liz said, rolling her eyes. “Even if I was interested, which I’m not, there is no way Zan is interested in me.”
“Oh come on,” Maria drawled, “being attracted to you is practically in his DNA.”
“What?” Liz asked, confused.
“Okay,” Maria explained, “Zan and Max were made from the same guy, so they are bound to have some things in common. And what is more basic than the type of person you are attracted to? Max is head over heels in love with you, he has been in love with you since he first saw you, and it makes sense that Zan would be too.”
Liz was dumbfounded, shaking her head, even though Maria couldn’t see.
Maria continued. “I saw the way Zan was looking at you. And don’t say I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve been watching Max look at you that same way for years. And,” she added, “Zan definitely wants you if he took the trouble to track you down.”
“Maria,” Liz objected, “you know you’re delusional, right?”
“So what did he say?” Maria asked with a laugh.
Liz smiled. “Well, that’s a long story.”
Never Underestimate Destiny|
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