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One More Time: Part 3

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Sent to the Roswell Slash Archive March 31, 2003


        Max was having major problems keeping his eyes on the road. Tess was in the passenger seat at the moment, turned around so she could talk to Liz. Liz was in the back changing. His eyes kept creeping to the rearview mirror.

        He would catch flashes of skin as she wriggled out of her jeans and blouse to change into the tiny skirt and backless blouse she had brought. At one point he was hit in the back of the head and the scrap of satin that landed on his shoulder had him frozen. He cleared this throat once, twice and no one noticed. He had to do something... so he held it up and looked it over. "Hey, I remember this one. Didn't you wear it that night we went to that movie with the bad reviews?"

        "Max!" Liz reached forward and ripped it from his hand.

        "Then watch where you're throwing things." He tossed back.

        "Okay, my turn." Tess announced. "How are we going to switch?"

        "If I come over here. You can slide back here and I can climb up front." Liz pressed herself up against the back of Max's seat, gripping his shoulder for balance. Her hair fell over and brushed against his ear. The distraction caused him to swerve as she was trying to climb into the front seat.

        Liz fell against Max, bracing her hands where she could. When the world had righted itself, her head was pressed to his shoulder. Max glanced at her for a second. "You ok?"

        "Yeah." Her heart, she realized was beating very rapidly. "Learn how to drive?"

        Max tried desperately to ignore the fact that her breasts pressed against his arm and her hand was clenching his thigh. "Whatever."

        "Something wrong?" Liz noticed his tense expression.

        "No..." He bit the inside of his cheek. "But if you don't move your hand... Kenny's getting a little happy, Liz."

        She glanced at where her hand was and realized how close she was to him. "Oh." Liz quickly finished her trip to the passenger seat. "Sorry."

        There was complete silence for a couple of minutes. Max kept shifting in his seat, trying to alleviate the condition that Liz had caused. Liz snuck a glance or two at Max, biting her lip to keep a small grin from giving away the small amount of pleasure she was having at his situation. Tess tried her best to put her shirt on but cursed the choice at its difficulty.

        Carefully, she held her blouse closed and leaned forward. "Liz, can you help me out here?"

        "Um, sure." Liz helped Tess close the laces enough so she wasn't exposing herself.

        Max glanced back so he could change lanes and wished he hadn't. "Shit," he muttered, snapping his head around to the road. It wasn't that he hadn't ever seen a pair of breasts before, or even Tess's breasts, but to see them in reality was too much.

        "Did you say something, Max?" Liz didn't stop pulling the laces closed or look at him or else she would have figured it out pretty quickly.

        "No." His voice cracked but he quickly cleared his throat. His eyes met Tess's in the rearview mirror. "I didn't say anything."

        It was then Liz chose to look at Max. She watched how he kept looking in the rearview mirror and shifting uncomfortably in his seat while still attempting to drive. Tess's chest beneath her hands was heaving. Dejectedly, Liz tied the laces and sat back in her seat. Sure, for months she had fooled herself into believing that the three of them could just be friends... but a part of her still hoped and longed for Max. It was obvious he was becoming very attracted to Tess.

--

        The trio stood in line outside the club for what seemed like forever. Max shoved his hands into his pockets and focused his gaze on his shoes. The amount of skin showing on both girls was just... too much. But he wasn't going to say anything; he was their friend and nothing else. He was just there to protect them. 'Yeah right, Max.' Suddenly, Liz looked through her purse. They were almost to the front of the line; how could she have forgotten? "Oh no..."

        "What?" Tess asked her friend.

        "I forgot to bring my money." Liz groaned and sighed.

        "I got it." Max shrugged. "Don't worry about it. I'll get you in... just don't go expecting drinks or anything."

        Liz swatted his arm and stepped up front when the line narrowed to single file. The three finally made it to the bouncer, IDs checked, cover charge paid but the bouncer stopped Max from entering.

        "Club's full." The beefy guy shook his head.

        "Come on." Liz smiled sweetly. "He's with us."

        "Sorry."

        "Maybe... you'll let our other friend in then." Tess closed her eyes for a second then licked her lips. The bouncer looked back to where Max had been standing to find a beautiful woman wearing very little.

        "Go on ahead." The bouncer looked Max over like he was the next meal.

        Max shivered uncomfortably but hurried into the club after the girls. Tess started laughing once inside. "I can't believe that worked."

        "What did you do?" Max shuddered again.

        "I made him think you were a gorgeous woman. I'd be careful if I were you. He might come in and ask for your number." Tess giggled and pushed Liz further into the club.

        "I think I'll just sit over there." Max pulled away, seeing they were headed for the dance floor. "I can see from there."

        "Uh-huh." Liz shook her head and winked as she turned to follow Tess.

        Max stood frozen. Had she just winked at him? No, she was just messing with him. She was just messing with him, she wasn't interested. They were just friends... and she was just pretty. 'God, I have got it so bad.' He made his way to an empty table to watch over the both of them.

        Tess swayed to the music trying to forget what Max's gaze had done to her in the car... or was it Liz's hands moving between her breasts that had done it? 'Don't confuse yourself, Tess. It was the way Max was watching you. He's finally coming around...' Knowing full well she had stopped trying to draw him to her, she dismissed all such thoughts.

        Liz started dancing with some guy she bumped into. He was alright looking but nothing to swoon about. Her thoughts kept going back to the Jeep. She knew that Max had been trying to watch her change. She knew he had gotten slightly excited when she accidentally grabbed his leg. If he was still attracted to her... why was he watching Tess too? 'Liz, cut it out. You left him, you told him you had to be just friends. He can do what he wants. It's the way it's supposed to be.'

        Max didn't know how much more of this he could take. The love of his life was out there on that dance floor, grinding and moving with some guy she didn't even know. He knew he couldn't just go over there for no reason and if he did, he'd have to dance. At this point, he wouldn't have minded dancing. Then he noticed how Liz kept pushing the guy's hands away from her butt and legs. Only once did she look at Max for assistance. It was all the notice he needed.

        Shooting up out of his chair, he weeded his way through the dance floor. He spun Liz out of the groping guy's arms and into his own. They began dancing very closely. Max looked over Liz's head and dared the guy to even make a move of protest as he pressed her body possessively against his own. Liz never looked back even as the guy stormed off. "Thanks, Max."

        "No problem. It's what I'm here for." He loosened his grip on her writhing body but she never stepped away. Reveling in her soft curves and skin in his arms, Max let himself relax. They danced for another song, never losing the intimacy of their bodies. Max knew he shouldn't when he did it but he had to.

        Liz tilted her head back and met his lips in a soft kiss. They deepened it, forgetting their situation and public position. When Liz realized that she was enjoying the kiss, she also remembered that they were just supposed to be friends. Why had he kissed her if he was attracted to Tess?

        They pulled apart and stopped dancing. Liz spoke first. "Where's Tess?"

        Searching the floor, they found her trying to ward off two guys. Max didn't think, he just rushed forward and placed himself between Tess and her aggressors. "Problem?"

        "Who are you?"

        "I'm her boyfriend. Who are you?" Max glared at them menacingly.

        "We're leaving now." The guy weighed his options and his opponent and chose the less painful of the two.

        "That's what I thought." Max blew out a breath when they were gone. Then he turned to his female companions. "You feel like risking being mauled again... or do you want to leave?"

        "Don't want to go home but I think I've had my fill of this place." Liz wouldn't meet Max's eyes.

        "Yeah." Tess nodded. "Actually... I've just had my fill of the Neanderthals here." She hoped Max would pick up on that. She couldn't believe that he had told those guys he was her boyfriend. "I still kinda want to dance."

        "You two, go ahead. I'll go find a table." Liz started to edge away. Max caught her wrist and pulled her back. "Max, let go."

        "I can't risk leaving either of you alone. Tess wants to dance. You want to leave. You two have to decide and then we'll figure out what to do from there." Max crossed his arms and waited for them to decide.

        "If we go, we'll have to do something normal and change..." Tess complained.

        "If we stay. How are you going to dance? Max won't leave either of us alone." Liz countered.

        "Dance. Come on. It's not impossible to do. I've danced with you before." Tess pointed out. Max quirked an eyebrow up at Liz. She immediately swatted him.

        "Why are all guys such pigs?" Liz scoffed.

        "I didn't say anything." Max defended himself.

        "But you were thinking it." She shrugged and turned to Tess. "You're right though, we can dance. Let's go."

        "Um..." Max started to protest but they pulled him back onto the dance floor. "What are we doing?"

        "Dancing." They told him. Max did his best to keep up with both girls but he really did hate to dance and got tired very quickly. Only once did he try to get away. Some liquored up woman had then thrown her arms around him, grinding very suggestively into his body. Liz and Tess had to come to his rescue. The woman left him alone but not before grabbing his butt.

        The girls then did their best to keep him sandwiched between their dancing bodies. He swore they were trying to drive him insane. The way Liz pressed her body against his back, wrapping an arm around him, her finger curled inside his belt loop. It wasn't too hard to keep in sync with her. Tess kept one arm curled around his arm, dancing to and away from him, turning and moving, giving him glimpses of flesh all the while.

        Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. He pulled Liz's hand away from his waist and then took Tess's hand and pulled both girls to the exit.

        "Max, come on. We were having fun." Liz complained but had no choice but to follow him.

        "Max..." Tess whined. Once outside, he turned to them.

        "When did I get to be one of the girlfriends?" He asked.

        "Please." Tess scoffed and took off the find the Jeep. Liz followed her, calling over her shoulder.

        "Don't worry, Max. You aren't one of the girls... Not as long as you keep staring at Betty and Veronica and Kenny keeps getting happy about it, anyway." Liz bit her lip at his shocked expression, fighting back laughter. Tess's jaw dropped open. It just dawned on her what the joke was.

        "You had better run, Parker!" Max yelled.

        "Omigod! Run!" Liz pulled Tess as they raced for the Jeep. It was comical for two young women to race down the street in heels, fleeing a young man who had already been flustered beyond belief. Fortunately, he gave up and took his time reaching the Jeep, where they had been trying to catch their breath and fend off cold night in their wisps of cloth that passed for clothes. "You did that on purpose."

        "What if I did?" Max turned his nose up. "The two of you are dependant on me to get home."

        Rolling their eyes, they climbed into the Jeep.

--

        "We've been driving around for an hour." Max complained. "We did a drive-thru. Big Gulps. Snicker and Tabasco. Vanilla ice cream. What's left?"

        "It's still early." Tess whined. She was resting her head on Liz's and playing with Liz's long locks.

        "I don't want to go home yet. Dad likes to bond now. I think he just wants to make sure I'm not pierced and I'm clean." Liz groaned and sipped at her drink. She was too comfortable where she was leaning on Max's arm to even think about moving.

        "Pit stop." Max announced and pulled into a Diamond Shamrock. Liz sat up and let him have his arm back. They watched as he went inside for the key and went around the back.

        "What's with Max tonight?" Tess pondered aloud. "He's been acting kinda strange.

        "He's horny." Liz shrugged, remembering the kiss in the club.

        "You say that like you know." Tess smirked at Liz's blush.

        "I do know. He hasn't taken his eyes off your chest all night." She confided. "He's coming around, Tess."

        "Like it matters." She turned to face Liz, their faces were barely inches apart. "Liz, I really don't care about that anymore. Max is a great guy but this is too much fun to push anymore."

        "He is a great guy." Liz nodded, then tilted her head. "Would it be so bad if he were coming to like you more... that way?"

        "I didn't say that. It might be nice but I'm not going to worry about it." Blue eyes met brown.

        "Thank you for saying that."

        "Liz, I don't think I could begin to understand the strength it took you to give him up for me." Tess whispered, leaning in just a little more.

        "And I don't know what's going on in your head, Tess, but I know it was hard for you to take this step back so it wouldn't be awkward." Liz took in the pure blue that seemed to glow out of Tess's face.

        "I'm not good with people, Liz. Everything I know, I read in a book. I like being your friend and a guy seems to be the key to screwing up a friendship. I don't want that to happen to us." Tess hesitantly pressed a kiss to Liz's cheek. "Thank you."

        Just then the driver's side door opened and Max poked in his head. "Anyone else gotta go while I got the key?"

        "Yeah." Liz took the key.

        "Me too." Tess nodded.

        "It's a single." He warned.

        "Girlfriend. We're close but not that close." Tess scrunched up her face at Liz, who stuck out her tongue in response. Max started to climb in. "What do you think you're doing?"

        "Getting in. It's cold out here." He shook his head. "I'm waiting here."

        "No, you're not. It's a single, so even if we go out together, someone's going to be outside alone. We can't even see the door from here." Liz argued. "You're coming with us."

--

        Tess leaned against the wall and watched her shoes. She could feel Max staring her up and down. "What?"

        "Nothing." Max shook his head and looked away. "You just... you look very nice tonight."

        "Thank you." She managed a smile. "You look... like you."

        "Thanks, I guess." He shrugged.

        "It's a good thing, Max. I mean... or else that woman would have kept her hands to herself tonight." They both laughed. They fell silent for a moment.

        "Can I ask a question?" Max whispered and waited for her assent before continuing. "Have you dated a lot of guys? I mean, Isabel has but me and Michael..."

        "No. I've hung out with them but nothing's ever happened romantically. That night in the rain... that was my first kiss." Tess bit her lip and turned away.

        Max felt bad. That was such a bad kiss. No, it was a good kiss but not the kind anyone should have for their first kiss. Not with the gasping and tongues ramming down throats and hands groping. On impulse, Max stepped forward and pressed a sweet kiss on her lips. When he pulled back, he looked her in the eye. "That was your first kiss."

        Tess felt her eyes fill with a tear or two. How could anyone be that sweet? And to someone who had tried to manipulate and force them into something they didn't want. "Thank you, Max."

--

        Liz waited for Max to speak. Finally he did, and he didn't disappoint. "About that kiss..."

        "Forget it. It never happened." Liz hugged herself, wishing she had brought a jacket.

        "I felt something." He pressed.

        "So did I but I'd like to keep Kenny out of this." She cracked.

        "Why are you being like this?" Max crossed his arms. "You never used to be this crude?"

        "You think this is crude?" She raised an eyebrow at him.

        "You know what I mean." Sighing, he leaned against the wall. "Kenny jokes, talking openly about Betty and Veronica. Why does it have to be like this?"

        "I really don't know what you're talking about, Max." Liz glanced at the bathroom door, wishing Tess would hurry up. "I'm just having fun."

        "Liz... I'm not going to forget that kiss. I'm not going to forget how you responded. You didn't push me away."

        "It wasn't supposed to happen, Max. I just don't go around kissing my friends."

        "My point exactly. You wouldn't kiss Alex but you kissed me." Max stood up and approached her.

        "What about Tess? You kissed me but you've been staring at her all night." Liz felt the sting of tears but they shouldn't be there. She wasn't supposed to feel this way when Max followed his destiny. She was supposed to be glad and be happy for him and Tess. Tess was her friend. She wasn't supposed to go after her friend's love interest.

        "Is that what this is about?" He lifted a hand to her arm like he had back in September. Liz was filled with images of the two of them in their most intimate moments. "I'm in love with you, Liz. I always have been. I can wait and be your friend but I will wait... for you."

        "No Max. Your mother..." Liz trailed off, hating to remember that day in the pod chamber.

        "Told us something that was true 50 years ago. Facts change. We make our own destinies." His words sounded so familiar. True, he had told her those five words in that old van after his escape from the FBI... there was something else about them.

        "I had a dream that you told me that. 'We make our own destiny.'" Liz whispered, lifting her eyes to his. He had a slight smile on his face as if to say, 'see.' "That was right after you made me do something that would kill you."

        Max studied the sadness in Liz's eyes. He had seen it the night that she had agreed to be friends. "That dream... it really stuck with you, didn't it?"

        "It felt so real and you know I'm not superstitious. Be my friend, Max. At least until we can all say without a single doubt what is right and wrong?" Liz pleaded with him.

        "Okay. Okay." Max nodded and stepped away. They were both grateful when Tess chose that moment to emerge from the bathroom.

        "I think I'm ready to crash." Liz faked a yawn. "Oh, um, no pun intended."

        "Yeah. Ok." Max nodded stiffly.

        "I'm staying with Liz tonight. One trip for you." Tess whispered.

        "Let's go then." Liz took off ahead of them to the Jeep. Tess followed after handing Max the key to return to the clerk. Max waited until they were both far enough away before slamming his fist into the wall.

Continue to part 4

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