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Two Down, Two to Go, Part Ten
Reply to Watcher TaraPosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list June 9, 2001
"So, chica, you wanna go do something tonight?"
Liz could barely bring herself to look Maria in the eyes as she answered, "Actually, I was thinking I'd stay in, you know just take a long bath and write in my journal. Have some quiet time."
Maria rounded the corner of the counter at the CrashDown to ask her friend worriedly, "Are you ok? I mean did something happen?"
"What? No, Maria, nothing happened," Liz said maybe a little too quickly. "What makes you ask that?"
"The combination of you taking a bath and writing in your journal usually means there's something going on. Did something happen with Max yesterday?"
'I wish,' Liz thought morosely. "No. I didn't hardly even see him. It's not him."
"Then what is it?"
"It's nothing, Maria. I just don't feel like doing anything."
"Well, I'm going out, and I guess I have four hours to convince you to come with me." It was said in a tone Liz had heard a hundred times before. Liz was on a sinking ship and she knew it. Still, there might be time to catch a lifeboat...
"Maria," Liz said warningly.
"Liz," she mimicked. "Come on. You know you want to go. We'll go to that club out by the mall. We'll wear something sexy and have all the guys drooling over us." Seeing her friend about to decline, Maria played her trump. "Come on, Liz. I need you with me. This will be a part of our 'project.' Just think of it. I'll need your help managing all those guys."
Liz sighed, knowing that she was defeated, lifeboat or no. So much for staying in and trying to come to terms with what had happened last night, she thought. Maria came first, especially now with all the guilt Liz had heaped on her shoulders.
"Ok, I'll go..." Maria squealed and hugged her. Seeing a way to salvage the night and turn it into something special for Maria, Liz admitted, "I have a present for you, too. You can wear it tonight if you want."
"A present?" Maria asked, puzzled. "What present?"
"Let's just say that tonight we *will* both be wearing our underwear."
Understanding dawned across Maria's face. "Oh my god, you didn't."
Liz said nothing, but grinned at her best friend. The smile faltered as she wondered how much longer Maria would be speaking to her once she found out what had happened with Michael last night. Somehow she didn't think Michael's 'Just a kiss' argument was going to do her any good. A customer was approaching the cash register, and Liz hurried over to wait on him trying unsuccessfully to push the unexplained event to the back of her mind.
* * * * * * * *
The door to the CrashDown opened and Isabel and Tess entered the bustling restaurant. They quickly moved to seat themselves at the counter because someone was sitting in their usual booth. In fact, people were sitting in all of the booths. Isabel couldn't remember the last time she'd seen the place so crowded. Wait, yes she could, it was the night she'd offered to help Maria out just before Liz's grandma had died.
The two aliens watched their human friends bustle around waiting on customers left and right. It was a minute or two before Maria swung to the other side of the counter looking at them for the first time. "Oh, hey, guys. I didn't realize it was you sitting here. What can I get for you?" With it being so busy, Maria didn't waste any time or energy being embarrassed in Isabel's company. Besides, she was coming to terms with what had happened between them. She was feeling more confident about herself, thanks to Liz and her sexual schemes this past week, than she had in a long time. She knew it was just a matter of time before she got up the nerve to approach Isabel again.
Isabel was so happy to see Maria looking at her without the customary shadows under her eyes that she couldn't even exchange pleasantries. Her earlier argument with Michael was still ringing in her ears.
"What do you mean you didn't tell her anything? You must have told her *something*..."
"Like what? We didn't know at the time why the initiation had failed. It was weeks before we realized what went wrong. By then, she was barely even speaking to me. What was I supposed to say?" he defended himself. The pod squad plus Alex and Kyle had gathered in Michael's apartment for the emergency meeting to discuss the events of the previous evening.
"God, Michael! You just let her think that somehow it was her fault?"
Isabel had drawn an accurate picture of Maria's state of mind from both Tess's retelling of Liz's outburst from last night and Michael's description of the flash he'd gotten from Liz. Isabel thought that Maria had had the right idea: she wasn't currently speaking to Michael now either. It pained her to think of what Maria had suffered because of her.
Looking back at the one night she'd spent with Maria DeLuca, Isabel still shivered in pleasure. The small blond girl had been incredible, loving and thorough in her willingness to please her. Isabel got tears in her eyes when she realized that to Maria, that amazing night was a source of shame and humiliation. She was determined to right the wrong they done to her as soon as possible. The sooner the better.
Accordingly, she asked, "So Maria, what are your plans tonight?"
"I just talked Liz into going clubbing with me."
"Really? Where're you going?"
"No kidding? Tess and I were planning on going there tonight, too. Weren't we?"
They'd had no such plans, but Tess easily backed her up, "Uh huh. In fact, that's kinda why we're here. To see if you and maybe Liz wanted to come out with us. Kind of a 'girls night'."
Isabel quickly added, "But if you've already got plans, then maybe we'll just see you there." She didn't want to scare Maria away, or cause her to change their plans. The idea of getting to dance with Liz and Maria on a crowded dance floor held a sudden appeal. The four girls hadn't danced together since that night in this very room right after Liz had returned from Florida, before Nasedo had died.
Maria looked at them, puzzled. Tess wasn't usually a big joiner, and with the awkward state things between her and Isabel had been in, the invitation seemed a little out of the blue. The sincerity in their faces calmed her somewhat and she found herself agreeing, "Yeah, ok. I guess we'll see you there."
"If you'd like, Tess and I will get a table by the dance floor big enough for the four of us."
"Sure." Maria agreed, hoping Liz wouldn't be too mad about having to be stuck with Tess for the evening. "We'll probably get there about eight."
Isabel curved her lips up into her most beautiful smile as she stood. "Great. Tell Liz we're looking forward to seeing her there."
Tess got up and followed Isabel out the door. She felt a small pang that Liz hadn't noticed her the whole time she was there. Tess knew that if Max had walked in, Liz would have known instantly, and dropped whatever she was doing to rush to greet him. It saddened her on some level that Liz was able to completely block her out.
She would have been surprised to discover that the truth was just the opposite. Liz had been very aware of the small alien as soon as she'd entered the CrashDown. She still wasn't sure where she stood with what had happened last night and decided avoidance of the issue was the way to go right now. She'd kissed Tess. Ok, it had been on a dare, but nothing would diminish the fact that Liz had *enjoyed* the kiss. So much so that when Michael intervened, Liz had needed an outlet for her burgeoning desire and had eagerly allowed it to flow into him. And to make matters worse, she'd *really* enjoyed kissing Michael.
What was wrong with her? She loved Max. Wholly, unconditionally. Despite everything that was keeping them apart at present, nothing could diminish the fact that he was the other half of her soul and she wanted him above all others. But apparently not to the exclusion of all others. Therein lay the point of all of her confusion today.
With Tess and Kyle going so strong right now, all of the reasons for why she'd been staying away from Max suddenly seemed less insurmountable. Perhaps it was time to stop pining at for him from afar, tell him what she really wanted and let nature take its course. She wanted him with every fiber of her being, and she couldn't fight it forever. Perhaps, if she could look to Max for the love that was missing in her life, these disturbing feelings for Michael and Tess which were surfacing would disappear as if they never were.
She knew she would need to think about it more before making a final decision, and it probably wouldn't be tonight. Tonight was about Maria, and helping her get over whatever Michael had done to her. She'd worry about the rest tomorrow, just like Scarlett O'Hara, she thought with a grin.
Thinking about Maria caused her to smile. Liz couldn't wait to see the look on her face when her friend saw what she'd bought her from Victoria's Secret.
* * * * * * *
Staring at herself in the mirror, Liz wondered where the modest young woman she'd always perceived herself to be had gone. Having unwittingly joined Maria on her quest of sexual awakening, Liz discovered a whole new side of herself she'd never known existed. The sexy, alluring side.
That side was on display for all the world to see right now.
On Wednesday after school, Liz had made an impulsive stop at the Victoria's Secret in the mall to find something sexy for Maria, and had wound up buying something for herself, too. Hers was a black, lacy garter belt complete with sheer silk stockings, matching thong and demi bra. How was it possible that she was dressed, yet still felt completely nude. She'd put off pulling on her skirt and blouse until the last minute, wanting to enjoy the heady sensation for as long as possible, but for some reason, she'd reached into her closet and pulled out her nicest pair of black heels. Wearing just her shoes and underwear was the most decadent thing she'd ever experienced. It also brought to mind the vignette of the lady executive who'd managed to keep her shoes on through everything that guy had done to her. Liz had to admit she was turned on just from remembering it and wondered if anything half as sexy would ever happen between her and Max.
She piled her hair on the top of her head in a deceptively casual twist. The flattering style looked like one innocent touch would bring it all down around her shoulders, but Liz knew it would actually hold up all night. As she was putting the finishing touches on her make up, the phone in her bedroom rang. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, no dad at the door, no Max at the window, she hurried across the room to answer it.
"Hey girlfriend. You coming over or what?" Maria was getting impatient for their night to begin.
"Yeah. I'm almost dressed. I'll be there in a few minutes." As she spoke, she turned to stare transfixed at the vanity mirror. From this distance, the view was practically full length, and Liz was once again astonished at herself. Who am I? she wondered. The demi bra set off the curves of her breasts to perfection, barely covering her nipples. The garter belt and stockings framed the apex of her thighs and the thong was practically invisible; it was so tiny.
"What are you wearing?" Maria asked through the phone.
Absently, Liz answered, "Nothing." Catching herself, she amended it to, "Uh, I mean I was just looking through my closet. You know, trying to decide."
"Well, hurry up then."
Liz could hear the eagerness in her friend's voice and smiled. "See ya in a few."
"Ok. See ya."
Going to her closet, she pulled out a black leather skirt, which would reach mid-thigh, thus covering the tops of her stockings and a short red scoop necked blouse that would leave her midriff bare. It was perfect. Liz dressed in short order, spritzed herself with her favorite perfume and headed out the door, the small bag containing Maria's gift clutched in her hand.
* * * * *
"Liz, are you sure you can't see anything?" Maria asked worriedly.
Without looking at her, Liz assured, "No, Maria, you look great."
Maria tugged worriedly at her shirt, whispering, "It's just that I feel so... undressed."
"That was kinda the point," Liz assured her as they pushed their way through the crowd toward the dance floor.
"Yeah, well, I don't want to *look* undressed," she stressed.
"Maria, you look fine. Come on, let's find a place to put our stuff down."
"Oh, I almost forgot. Isabel and Tess said they'd be coming here tonight, too. They said they'd try to find a table near the dance floor." Looking around, Maria spotted the two blonde aliens. "There they are," she exclaimed. Grabbing Liz's hand, she pulled her friend over.
'They were WHAT?' Liz thought frantically as she was yanked across the room. "Maria!" she hissed. "You didn't tell me they'd be here." But then it was too late to object and there they were.
"Hey guys," the fair human greeted them.
Isabel turned from the floor with a welcoming grin. "Hey!" Casting her eyes over Maria's luscious form, she said, "You look great!" in a sultry tone which caused Maria to blush profusely.
Beside them, Liz and Tess looked each other over, unsure what to say to one another. They each settled for "Hi," and let it go at that.
Looking around the table, none of them knew what the night would bring, but before the sun rose again in the morning, the score was going to be three down, one to go.
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