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In the Eye Of
Reply to Shayla or Trixie or visit Trixie's websitePosted to the RoswellSlash mailing list July 11, 2001
Title: In the Eye Of
Authors: Shayla (email@example.com) and Trixie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: You know the drill. Jason, Melinda own all. We merely play;)
Rating: PG 13
Timeline: Sometime after "Departure"
Distribution: Trixie's site, RAC, Guilty Pleasures, Beyond Dreams- all others please e-mail Trixie and ask
Author's Notes: This is a collaboration: Shayla wrote the Max POV and Trixie the Isabel and Liz
Summary: Who really loves Liz for who she is?
I once asked Isabel, when we were very very small, what love was. Why Mommy and Daddy cared, why I would never leave her, why we felt something physically amiss until Michael found his way back to us? She just shrugged, her eyes too old and annoyed. "Love is love."
I think maybe I get it now. When I kiss Liz, I can taste it on her tongue. Her hair is silky, her lips are little petals. When she gets off work, she smells like grease and sweat, and I love to bury my nose in her neck and inhale the diner from her skin. It smells like all the people who have touched her that day, all the babies and harried mothers, and busy workmen and giddy teenagers. I like to count them off, to parade the tides of humanity she's felt through my mind, seeing the blur of indistinguishable faces and forms. I can hear them, taste them, smell their passing on her skin.
She comes out of the kitchen now, all desert-tanned skin and shiny black hair. She has one of those waitress smiles, professional but warm. She's pretty, in a New Mexico, small-town sort of way that makes me warm and tense.
As she pauses in her work to exchange a few smiling remarks with Maria, I study the curve of her body beneath her uniform. Young, nubile, firm, Liz. I could find her anywhere, this face, that fall of dark hair, that sweet smile, I could find them anywhere, in any one of millions of little restaurants, smiling as she brings a lonely old man his coffee. She asked me once, way back when things were still white, if I would love her if she was different? I asked what she meant by different. She just looked at me for a long moment and shrugged. "Me, but not me." Was all she said. I laughed indulgently and held her, and explained that I would love her if she was a four-hundred pound mud wrestler. I would love her if she was tall and blonde and statuesque, or just as she is, pretty and little.
I blink, and find her again, now hunched over as she cleans the remains of a spilled dinner from the grimy floor. She is easy, efficient, graceful. When we make love, it won't be like the stars. It will be like dust, the dry rasp of grime I always smell in this place. With Tess, I tasted the moon and beyond, I lay in a cocoon of bliss for long minutes. With Liz, I'll taste the dust, roll in the grit of this world, cover myself in its essence, in less than a moment, a breath of this Earth air. But the stars are up there, and the dust and the sand are down here.
She straightens up now, and her hands go automatically to her lower back, kneading and easing the tension of a long day. I bet her kids will be smart. I bet they'll be pretty and competent and make their way in the world like their mother, silently, well, and without remark.
"Love is love."
So maybe the taste of the dust, the grit of the rocks, the salt of the Earth in her body won't last forever. Maybe it will sour, loose the spicy tastelessness I crave. But for now, its enough, she's enough. For now, I can forget the moon and the stars and block their light with puffs of desert sand and ephemeral joy.
Max once asked me- when we were small- what love was. I replied, bored and irritated by his young eyes- "Love is love."
I was wrong. It's more complicated- and even more simple than that. Love breathes- it roars- it whispers- it's her. Love exists in her and I see it every time she moves.
She walks from the kitchen, using the slight curve of her hip to prop open the door as she grabs a tray with tiny fingers. Her rope of hair hangs down her back and I watch her smile. She's got a way about her- Liz- that I never really knew I was aware of. I used to pretend she didn't exist- that she wasn't a part of this world, of Roswell. Until Max covered the blossom of blood pouring from her belly and made me know her.
I thank him for that- silently- every day. But I curse him to. He saved her and in that moment- decided he owned her. It was as if that silver handprint made her his. Once a few days after he healed the gun shot wound- I was in the library and I saw her reaching for a book. The dusky hollow of her stomach was bared to me for one quick moment and my breath hitched as I gazed at the tanned skin, the faint edgings of silver. She didn't even notice me staring- I would have just given her a haughty glance anyway- shown my sheer disregard for her.
She's talking to Maria now, and I see the glint of her teeth as she laughs quietly and my belly clenches. Over and over I have tried to pinpoint what it is about her that makes her beautiful. Most would describe her as "pretty". But she's so much more than that- to me anyway. It's an old saying- isn't it- "the more you love someone, the more beautiful they become". And it's true. When we first knew each other, all I saw was someone taking my brother away, someone taking *my* place in his heart. Now, I gaze at her shiny hair and her laughing mouth and I see her- truly see her- and she's beautiful.
As she bends to clean up a mess from a careless customer, I trace the curve of her figure with my eyes and ache to help her- to slide my hands over her strained muscles and soothe her scars. If only I could be against her, if only I could lean close and rub my cheek against hers, murmur that I can't wait to be alone with her- that I love her and that I want to be the reason she smiles when she wakes each morning. She stands and arches her back, rubbing an absent hand down the lower curve. I bite my lip and think of kissing her, of making her feel as beautiful as she deserves toand then I look to my right and see Max, his eyes catching her in their web.
Max once asked me what love was. I answered "love is love"- and didn't know what I was talking about.
Love is what I feel now. Love is watching Liz and wanting to make her laugh. Wanting to take her away from this crowded café and show her the stars and the moon- show her she's not as ordinary as people think. That she's not just a waitress, someone who should be cleaning up after others. That she's so much more.
She's beautiful- she's got a way about her that I was never aware of- but am now. She's Liz, and in herin her, I think I could find everything I have ever needed, here- or anywhere else.
My back hurts and so do my eyes. I blink and they blur a little. I've been so tired ever since Alex died, and life became blacker- Mom says I never sleep anymore, and I tell her I would if it was possible. But every time I close my eyes, they glow with images of my dead friend in twisted metal, and it's better to just stay away. Safer.
Glancing around, my gaze locks with Max's, and I feel the hot possession in those dark orbs. He wants me to feel it to, and I smile weakly- remembering a long time ago- God, it feels so long- when he said, "I'm coming for you Liz" and his hand gripped my arm, pinching the skin. Back then I felt heady, dizzy with his desire and love- glad that he hadn't given up even though I had. Now I feel sick and my belly rumbles with malignant anger. He doesn't belong here... not with me, not in this room, not on this earth. He is like a peevish child... clinging, clinging, while I feel as if I'm a shooting star not long for this world. Our eyes meet again, and I for once, I see the stars, unobscured by the rolling desert sands.
Turning, I catch my breath as my stare crashes with Isabel's and I see what shines there. Funny, that I realize it now- in the oddest of places- as I stand here, twisting a dirty dish towel between my fingertips. I see her- truly see her- and I think she loves me.
And I think- that- that might just be everything.
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