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One More Time: Part 4

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Sent to the Roswell Slash Archive March 31, 2003


        Liz tossed and turned on her side of the bed. She just couldn't sleep. She hoped that she wasn't keeping Tess awake.

        "Give it up. I know why I can't sleep... so..." Tess muttered. She sat up and turned to Liz. "What is your problem?"

        "Nothing." Liz lied and tried once again to get comfortable. "Nothing."

        "Uh-huh."

        "So why can't you sleep?" She tried to take the attention away from her. It was 3:00 in the morning and she was wide-awake.

        "Well... Max kissed me." Tess drawled out, waiting to see how her friend would react.

        "He did..." Liz took a slow deep breath. Not what she was expecting. "When?"

        "While you were in the bathroom." Tess admitted. "He just kissed me. We were talking and he just did it. I didn't make him do it or anything. We were talking and then..."

        "Tess, you're babbling." Liz whispered. It stung, but no. It was not going to get to her. This is what's supposed to be happening. 'Then why did he try to get back together with you while she was in the bathroom.'

        "I mean, it was barely anything. Just lips pressed together for a split second."

        "Tess, it's ok. Really. It doesn't upset me if that's what you're thinking." She lied and hugged her blanket around her body. "Do you think he's going to finally come around? I mean, he was looking at you tonight."

        "I don't know. I don't even know if I want him to. Kyle's nice." Tess lied. Kyle was becoming more and more like a brother. Her eyes focused in the dark room, finding the curves that revealed where Liz laid next to her.

        "Yeah, Kyle's a great guy." Liz nodded. Silence filled the room. Tess was silently cursing herself. 'Good one, if you're not after one of her ex-boyfriends, you're after the other.'

        "Liz?"

        "What?" Liz cleared her head of thoughts of Max.

        "Have you ever... never mind." Tess rolled over to face the wall and forget that she had just been checking out her friend... for like the 5th time that night.

        "Tess? What?"

        "Nothing. Just forget it."

        Liz started to get worried, so she pressed on. "Tess. What is it? Just ask me."

        Tess shifted back onto her back and stared at the ceiling. "Do you ever look at girls?"

        "Look?"

        "Like, notice their bodies?" She took a deep breath and waited for the answer.

        "Well, yeah. Like Tiff McGuy, she's got great legs. I'd die for legs like hers. And Olive Mason, she can just walk around without a bra and still not look bad." Liz knew she was rambling. "And everyone knows that Isabel has like the perfect body."

        "But..." Tess stopped herself. It was stupid. Just stupid. She knew she wasn't gay. Guys did it for her. Max, Kyle, even Michael... if he'd clean himself up that is.

        "You mean, have I ever checked out a girl?" Liz asked carefully. She had but she had never admitted it. She thought she was the only one who noticed what Max must see in Tess when he looks at her, thinking no one else was noticing. Or even realized why Michael started up with Maria... but everyone knew why Alex was (physically) attracted to Isabel. "Well... yeah."

        "Really... I thought maybe... I was..."

        "Different?" Surprisingly, she was a little relieved that she wasn't the only one. "I guess it's normal... to appreciate... the human body, whichever sex. I don't think it makes you... Mind you... I look at everything from a scientific point of view."

        "Right." Tess nodded stiffly. "Night."

--

        Max stumbled into the kitchen and blindly made his way to the refrigerator. He had no clue what time it was or how late it was or where everyone else was. He just wanted a glass of Tabasco orange juice to wake up.

        "Where were you last night, Max?" Diane Evans asked her son.

        "What?" Max turned around, surprised to find anyone was home.

        "Where were you last night?" She sipped her water and waited for his answer.

        "I was hanging out with Liz and Tess." He answered slowly, finally retrieving the bottle of orange juice and a glass from the cupboard.

        "Until 2?" She raised an eyebrow. Diane had always felt she could trust her son to make good decisions but last night was a first.

        Max sipped at his juice and sat at the table with his mother. "I dropped them off at 12. Then I went driving."

        "City curfew is at 11, Max." She sighed, feeling that he was lying to her. "You've never slept in your entire life and you've never come in here un-showered. What were you doing last night?"

        "Mom. City curfew only applies to those 16 and younger..." Max stopped and took a breath. "I took Tess and Liz bowling, then we played pool until they kicked us out. I took them for a Big Gulp, then I took them to Liz's." He looked her in the eye when he stopping lying to her. "I drove out to the old highway and just sat there for like an hour, then I came home."

        "The old highway?" She narrowed her eyes.

        "You know... where you and Dad found us. I just needed to think... to clear my head. I didn't mean to make you worry. Really, I didn't." Max kept their eye contact.

        "So you've been 'hanging out' with Liz again?" She smirked at her son.

        "Mom..." He groaned and pulled himself up from the table. "We're just friends."

        "In my experience, you can never be just friends with anyone you've dated." She teased her son.

        "Try telling her that." He muttered, not realizing his mother had heard him.

        "So you still like her?"

        "Mom..."

--

        Maria joined the other girls at the table Monday at lunch. She caught their glares and sat up. "May I know the reason for the hostility?"

        "Friday night." Tess stirred her yogurt vigorously.

        "What about Friday night?" Maria shrugged.

        "We were supposed to hang out, Maria." Isabel stabbed her fruit salad with disinterest. "I missed out but I had a legitimate excuse. I was grounded. What was yours?"

        "We could have used you." Liz muttered.

        "What happened?" Maria was the only one that caught Liz's mumblings.

        "Max escorted us to a club." Liz gave her a tight smile. "Granted we did have fun but I left with a headache and Tess with confusion. He's... a guy."

        "What did he do?" Maria unpacked her lunch.

        "He kissed me... which, in general, I didn't mind but..." Tess started, not sure where to begin on how much she was actually bothered by him kissing her.

        "He also kissed Liz." Isabel threw in, causing three people to choke on their lunches.

        "He did?!" Maria and Tess nearly yelled.

        "Um... Isabel... who told you that?" Liz wiped at her mouth with her napkin, nudging her foot against Isabel's leg with a threat to kick.

        "Maybe I just misunderstood Max. Sorry." Isabel tossed Liz a confused look.

        "He didn't kiss me." Liz shook her head and lied. Then she felt him standing behind her.

        "Hey guys..." Max's voice carried over their heads. "What's up?"

        "Nothing." They all chorused with fake smiles. Max took a seat next to Isabel and unpacked his lunch.

        "So Maria. You and Michael have fun, Friday night?" He asked while pouring Tabasco sauce on his lunch.

        "Did you?" She countered and eyed Liz and Tess.

        "Max almost became Lolito." Liz snickered and locked eyes with Tess. "How old do you think that woman was?"

        "Oh god..." He groaned.

        "What happened?" Maria sat up, very interested.

        "This woman... like 30 years old or something... she was all drunk." Tess stopped and turned to Max. "She tried to get him to dance so Liz and I rescued him..."

        "But before she walked off, she grabbed his butt." Liz giggled.

        "Like the two of you didn't have problems with guys grabbing you." Max glared at them.

        "Whose idea was it to go to a club?" Maria wrinkled up her nose. Max and Liz turned to Tess.

        "What? Okay, my idea but you two agreed to it." Tess defended herself. "Besides, Max, you know you liked dancing with both of us at the same time..."

        "I swear..." He muttered under his breath, remembering all too well how his body was being tortured that night. Max cleared his throat. "Never again."

        "Uh-huh." Isabel narrowed her eyes at her brother. "You and I are going to have a talk later."

--

        "Spill." Isabel pulled up beside Liz in the halls. "Max told me that you guys kissed. Tess just said that he kissed her and you're lying he kissed you. What happened?"

        "I don't know." Liz sighed and pulled Isabel into an empty room. "We were dancing. He had just rescued me from the octopus man and before I knew it... we were practically making out on the dance floor. Tess doesn't know and I don't want her to."

        "Why not?" Isabel leaned on a desk.

        "I was going to tell her but then she told me that he kissed her... while I was in the bathroom. When she was in the bathroom, after me mind you, he told me that he loved me." Liz groaned. This was too hard. "I don't know what to do."

        "How do you mean?"

        "I value Tess's friendship a lot. I'm afraid that if I let Max back in... it'll all just fall apart." She looked at Isabel a moment before continuing. "I've seen the way he looks at her. I've seen how he... reacts to her. If they get together... I want to be happy for them but... he won't let go. I'm just... at a loss for knowing the right thing to do now."

        "I'm going to talk to Max and see what's going on." Isabel stood. "Just leave it to me."

--

        Max turned in his chair at his desk and stared at his sister. She had walked in, sat on his bed and stared at the back of his head for 10 minutes. She hadn't said a word, just sat there, looking at him. "What?"

        "I thought you were a sensitive guy." She snarled at him. "The kind of guy I would only be too happy to find for myself... if you weren't my brother."

        "Iz..." Max tilted his head, not sure what she was talking about.

        "You kissed two girls in the same night." She threw a pillow at him. "Tess told Liz but Liz hasn't told Tess. I want to know what the hell is going on with you."

        "I told you that I kissed Liz. I don't know what's going on with her. She keeps insisting that we have to be friends but the... sexual tension is just too much sometimes for us to be just friends." Max sighed. "Tess... I just... made things right."

        "By kissing her." Isabel narrowed her eyes at him. "You kissed Tess to make things right and then professed your undying love to Liz."

        "Do you remember your first kiss?" Max asked her seriously. "I remember mine. It was soft and full of expectation."

        Isabel quirked an eyebrow up at her brother. "Are you sure you're my brother and not like... my sister?"

        "I'm being serious."

        "Okay, yeah. I remember my first kiss. It was nice and kissing has gotten a lot better since." Isabel tried desperately to wipe the smirk from her face.

        "Right but what if one of these 'better' kisses had been your first?" He saw he was getting through to her. "Now imagine that you made the guy kiss you against his will. Now this forced-groping-tonsil-hockey-kiss was the first and possibly only kiss you've ever had."

        "Yuck." She scrunched up her face.

        "I changed that for Tess. I kissed her of my own free will and it wasn't nearly as good as the one I gave Liz but... you know what I mean?" Max stared down at his hands.

        "I guess I do... but Max... What's going on in that head of yours?" Isabel pressed, hoping to find out why her normally repressed brother was making out with one girl on the dance floor of a club and then kissing a girl he used to hate in a dark alley. "Tess or Liz. I'm pretty sure you can only have one. They're both pretty confused... especially Liz."

        "I love Liz. I know that. She knows that, you know that. Tess probably even knows that." He paused to find the right words. "What I feel for Liz goes beyond words and I know that I want her... if only she'll come to me."

        "Ok..."

        "Tess... I don't know. I know I don't love her anywhere near the way I love Liz. She's a good friend... at least, she has been these past few months. I do recognize that Tess is very pretty and maybe it's human hormones or an alien pull... but I am attracted to her." Max waited for Isabel to yell at him for being a horny teenage boy but she was silent.

        "Like how I know I love Michael... but I'm never really sure if that's platonic..." She finally whispered. "As I rule I don't check him out but I know that other girls find him very attractive... and so I seek out other guys like Grant to get my mind off of our destiny."

        "Something like that." He nodded.

        "I'm just going to say to be careful. Don't lead either of them on. Liz is about to crack and Tess is just... I don't know." Isabel took a breath. "She's changed since we met her. I'm not her best friend anymore... Liz is. They have private jokes that I just... don't even have a clue about..." She looked her brother in the eye. "What I'm saying is this: Liz and Tess are great friends. Even closer than Liz and Maria used to be... although no one will admit it. You can't screw that up. I think they both need this."

        "Ok."

        "Max, listen to me. You can't mess with that bond. Guys always screw up the equation. I'm fairly certain that Tess would choose Liz over you but I'm not sure about Liz... she is just so jumbled up right now." Isabel found the clarity in Max's eyes. "She just wants to do right by you and right now... that's staying away from you in a romantic capacity. Don't push her."

        "I won't push her. I promise." Max nodded sincerely. All this made too much sense... it couldn't be that simple and somehow... it was.

Continue to part 5

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