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Butterfly Dreams, Chapter 11

Reply to Alerion

Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list March 4, 2002

Disclaimer: See Chapter 1



        Max' hand found its way onto my knee. We'd timed ourselves to be last to reach the parking lot. Max' face was set into sharp, hard planes. All I could think about was how much this guy had gone through.

        Max asked: 'Mind if I turn the radio on?'

        'Go ahead. What's the song?'

        'I think its called Here with me. Its been the theme music for some TV series for a while.'

        'The words aren't bad.'

        Max went back to his silence. I must have switched to autopilot because I have no idea how I got us to school. All I could think about was holding Max until that look of his warmed up into a smile. The parking lot. Kyle Valenti driving up with Fucking Max Evans in his car. I was sweating when we pulled up.

        'Well...' he took a deep breath.

        'Uh. Max?'

        'What, Kyle?'

        'No eraser room today, okay? Only if you start losing it.'

        'Afraid we'll get busted? I thought you were the in-your-face gay rights guy?'

        'I'm also the academic weakling round here. If we start making out at school I'll spend all day thinking about you.'

        'I thought you liked thinking about me.'

        I hate it when Max looks tragic. Its got to be deliberate some times.

        'I like the idea of graduating high school some time before 2010. There's this guy I want to go to college with.'

        'Anyone I know?'

        'You're the boy genius. You work it out.'

        'Can you make the meeting at the lake?'

        'I've got practice after school. Do you want the car?'

        'But...'

        'It not you. I do have training and I don't want another fight with Michael or Liz.'

        'I've already told Michael you're coming.'

        'That won't stop a fight. Maybe next time. Maybe you can work things out with Liz.'

        'I'll miss you all day, Kyle.'

        'Makes two of us, starboy.'

        'Thanks for the car. I guess I see you at lunchtime then.'

        'Max, we have to do this.'

        'What?'

        'Uh, go inside. We're here to go to school.'

        Max was never this vague when I still thought of him as Fucking Max Evans. He looked around, reached for me, and said: 'No-one can see us right now.' He looked hopeful.

        'Whoa, starboy, this academic weakling needs to hit school looking reasonably together.'

        The corridor was crowded. I didn't register faces I knew. I bumped into someone, muttered 'Sorry', started to go on.

        Malamoot clapped me on the shoulder. 'Kyle, dude, you look like shit. What happened to you on Saturday night?'

        'Saturday night?'

        'Yeah, the party, remember? It was hot.'

        'Just stuff, Malamoot. Gotta go.'

        I was turning a corner when I overhead Maria whispering. She was talking to Isabel. 'Why are you so totally sure they'll hit the eraser room before first period ends.'

        Isabel said: 'I bet they don't last until lunchtime.'

        'But how we will know, Iz? They're in each other's heads so much its not like they have to pass notes or anything.'

        'We'll just have to watch them.'

        'Couldn't you like try dreamwalking?'

        'Not when I'm awake. Anyway its a blank wall. I ran into a keep out sign last night and that was it. Kyle really can do strange stuff.'

        'Hey Maria, Isabel.'

        They jumped. Maria recovered first. 'Uh, Kyle. How's it going?' They knew I'd overheard. No-one was about to say anything.

        'Have you...' Isabel began.

        'Yeah, I found Max around midnight in some park. He's fine.'

        'Where'd he sleep? Our parents are going spare.'

        'With me, where'd you think, Isabel? Your parents rang my dad about 6 this morning.'

        She snapped: 'Way too much information, Kyle' and walked off.

        'Later, then' I said to her back.

        Maria tried to look disapproving but her face broke into a grin anyway. 'Kyle, you've stolen her little brother. Try not to rub her face in it.'

        'I promise.'

        'She'll get used to it in time.'

        'Will Michael?'

        'Michael's harder.'

        'And Liz?'

        'Don't ask.'

        I thanked Buddha Max and I did not have a class together until last period. I'd forgotten about Liz. On Mondays, Liz and I both have drama for first period.

        She was waiting for me outside the class, glaring at me as though we'd never been friends. I smiled at her when I got there. She glared back.

        'I don't want a fight with you, Kyle.'

        I pulled her aside and said softly: 'Liz, you might not like me, but you owe me a reason why you wanted Max to think we'd slept together.'

        'Why? You didn't want a reason at the time.'

        'Liz, you know its tearing him apart.'

        Her lips compressed. 'Well, he has you to fix that for him now.' I spent that class leaning on a clenched fist and staring at a book without reading anything. Time crawled. I wanted to finish what I had to say to Liz. She bolted for the door when the teacher let us go, but I caught up with her.

        'Liz, this is insane.'

        Her head and her voice dropped. 'I won't tell you, Kyle. Ever.'

        'Why not?'

        'I just can't.'

        'That's not good enough. You really think this will just go away if you keep it secret?' I turned to go.

        She grabbed my shoulder. 'Kyle, wait, please.' She was biting her lip. 'Can you trust me? Can you do that much for me?'

        When I turned back to face Liz, her eyes were loaded with anguish. All that did was remind me how Max looks most of the time. I shook my head and pushed past her to the corridor. One class into the day and it already felt like a week.

        All morning I trudged through one class after another. I heard somewhere that watching the clock just makes time go slower. The theory is right. Lunchtime. At least people were used to me being with the group so I could get near Max without anybody asking questions I couldn't answer.

        I found Isabel ahead of me in the cafeteria line-up. I asked her: 'How's your bet with Maria going?'

        'You tell me.'

        'Ask your brother.'

        The last vegetarian meal was gone. I followed Isabel out into the quad. The others were sitting outside on the grass. No Liz. Max was lying on one elbow, watching me. Max moved over. Isabel looked at me. I let her take the spot beside him. I got a half-smile in reward.

        Michael looked at my empty hands. 'You're not eating, Kyle?'

        'They ran out of vegetarian food again.'

        Max handed me a carton of yoghurt.

        Isabel murmured: 'You two are so sweet together.'

        'Isabel...' Max sighed.

        'I was being nice, little brother.' She rolled her eyes.

        Maria snapped: 'Let it go, all of you. You're being crazy. This is a new thing. It will fully take time time for us to get used to it.'

        I could really get to like Maria.

        Isabel said: 'Maybe you're right.' She didn't roll her eyes this time.

        Michael was on his back with his eyes closed against the sun. He rolled over and looked my way. 'So, Kyle, do we see you this afternoon?'

        'I've got practice.'

        'From what Max said I thought you wanted to be there.'

        'The way Liz is looking at me you'd be better off without me at your meeting.'

        Michael glanced round. People were heading back inside. 'Well, it's that time again...'

        Max stayed while the others got up. 'Kyle...'

        'Max?'

        'Today is taking forever to go by.'

        'I know, Max. Maria was right. We have to get used to it.' We stood up together and walked inside. I tried not to count the hours left until we'd be on our own again. More time watching the clock.

        Max found me halfway into English. He reached for my hand, then remembered where we were, and shook his head. We grinned at each other.

        'How's it going, Kyle?'

        'Okay. I guess you know Isabel and Maria were laying bets this morning on how long it'd take us to hit the chalk room.'

        'They'll lose.' A smile hinted on his lips. 'I need something from my locker. See you in class.'

        'Sure...'

        He was gone again. I went inside thinking fuck he stands out in a crowd. When Max came in, I kept my head down. I can't remember anything about that period, well nothing I am supposed to remember. Max, 3 desks in front of me. I worked on not looking at his neck, not thinking about the way his hair feels in my fingers, how he tastes when we kiss. I didn't succeed.

        'Hey Valenti, what's happened to you?' Malamoot hissed at me.

        'Nothing, man, why?'

        'Look at yourself.'

        I didn't need to, I knew I was hard.

        'Kyle, are you discussing Washington?' Just the time I needed a teacher paying attention to me.

        'Uh, yes, no.'

        'Perhaps you should share your insights with the rest of the class.'

        Hell. I was wearing loose pants but things were really obvious. I started to stand up, wondering just how uncool being Max' boyfriend was going to make me.

        A sharp sound like the whine of a bullet. A computer exploded. I ducked without thinking. Someone was screaming. Shattered glass ricocheted from a wall. That stink you get when electric wires burn choked the room. 'Max?' I demanded in my head. All I got from him was surprise. He was half out of his desk with his hand in that fist he uses for his forcefield. He knew as much about the explosion as I did. Somebody was bleeding. I couldn't see if any of the glass had cut Max. He shook his head. I looked round.

        'Anyone hurt?' the teacher shouted. 'Everyone stay calm.' An alarm rang somewhere in the distance.

        Michael's arm was on his desk but his hand was bent up sharply at the wrist. His palm was aimed at the dead computer. He gave me a smile that did not reach his eyes.

        I grabbed Michael's shoulder outside. 'Thanks for the rescue back there.'

        'I did it for Max.'

        'Whatever, Michael.'

        'How's Max getting out to the lake?'

        'I gave him my car.'

        Malamoot was nearby. He must have heard.

        Michael said: 'I'll go get a ride with him.'

        Malamoot was headed for the gym. So was I. No way to avoid this conversation.

        'What's with you, Valenti? You look like shit. You never lend the Mustang to anyone.

        'Times change.' I shrugged.

        'You lent the Mustang to Evans?'

        'He's living with me now. I mean at our house'

        'Living with you? You're back on the couch?'

        Sweet Buddha, I wanted to say it. But I couldn't. Max had to agree first. Somehow I dug out a fake grin and put it on my face. 'Well, you know how my dad is with waifs and strays.'

        'Valenti, I know what's going on.'

        'You do?' My best fake grin was dying fast.

        'Sure, man, who is she?' First time since leaving Max in the parking lot that I'd laughed all day.

Continue to Part Twelve

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