A/N: No, this is not a new chapter. I know I said I was pretty much done with Roswell, but I'm seriously considering writing a sequel to Not Just Another Girl. It still remains my favorite out of all the fics I've written. And with two years of writing experience under my belt, I finally feel I can do a sequel justice. That said, I split the last chapter into two, and made several changes. Btw, language is a little explicit in this chapter. Beware.
Disclaimer: Don't Own.
Chapter: 21 Collide pt/2
By the time Liz and Max pulled up outside his apartment building both of them were emotionally spent. The retelling of their individual encounters with her father had not been pretty. They had reached the same conclusion though—Liz's father had set Max up. What if anything they could do about it was another story.
"What do we tell the others?" This was Liz's chief concern as she killed the cars engine.
"That the show must go on," Max said blithely. "Anyway, this is my problem not the groups."
"Max don't." Liz reached over to squeeze his hand. She'd never seen him like this before. Cynicism was more her forte. "Don't make light of this. And please, please don't shut me out. This is our problem. And believe me when I say my father is not going to get away with this." The last was said fiercely.
"Miss Firecracker huh?" Max granted her a small smile. He loved when Liz got feisty.
"Damn straight! And we're going to keep some major ass at the Showcase tonight too."
"You do realize that the Showcase really isn't a competition. It's more like a well…a showcase for Agents and Record Executes to spot potential talent."
"Your point being?"
"None, none at all," Max said amusedly. To be on the safe side he leaned forward and gave Liz a sweet lingering kiss.
When the kiss finally ended, Liz breathlessly asked, "Does this mean everything is alright between us?"
"It means we're headed in the right direction," Max breathed before kissing Liz again. Their lips clung as they breathed each other in. "But we still need to talk some more," Max said huskily as they came up for air. "It can wait to after the Showcase. I really need to get some sleep right now."
"Want some company?" Liz asked shyly.
"Not company Liz, you. Just you."
Liz arrived at Evolution a little before eight. She was strung tight as a bow and as nervous as a virgin on her wedding night. In fact, she hadn't even been this nervous when she lost her virginity. She paced restlessly back and forth in the tiny dressing room. What in the hell had she been thinking? She couldn't do this. She couldn't go out there and sing in front of all those people.
"I can't do this," she said out loud.
"You need to chill out chica," Maria said entering the room.
"I can't do this Maria." Liz nearly vibrated with anxiety.
"Sure you can. And that outfit is going to knock 'em dead. I couldn't have chosen better myself."
"Thanks Maria." Liz took several deep breaths and some of her nervousness dissipated. "I do look great. Don't I?" Liz joked as she turned from side to side looking at herself in the full length mirror. She was wearing a low-cut red halter top with a pair of black low-rise Seven Jeans with rainbow designs on the back pockets and a pair of red strapped Jimmy Choo's. Her hair hung on her shoulders in spiral curls and her makeup was flawless.
"That's more like it," Maria cheered Liz on with a huge smile. "A little vanity never hurt anyone. Besides, someone in the band should look presentable. The guys are all wearing old jeans and tee-shirts. Well, except for Alex." Maria rolled expressive eyes. "I think he's sporting a plaid button down."
The two girls giggled for what seemed like an eternity before Liz thought to ask, "Did Max here alright?" She had gone back to her own apartment at around six to get dressed. Max promised to meet her at the club.
"Since the police still have his car in custody he borrowed Michael's motorcycle. You can imagine how well that went over. Spaceboy is not impressed with my Jetta." Maria smirked.
Liz laughed. "I bet."
"Enough with the pep rally. I have to serve drinks and you have to perform. Break a leg girlfriend. Better yet break two." Maria gave Liz a quick hug before exiting the room.
More than two hours passed and Liz had watched more than half a dozen groups perform. Some were even good. Due to the overwhelming number of groups that responded to the Showcase, more than expected, the number of songs a group could perform was limited to one. That said, it was the consensus that the group would perform one of their own songs instead of covering another band.
Liz who stood back stage peeping through the second set of curtains and was momentarily startled when a kiss landed on the nape of her neck. This was quickly followed by a pair of strong arms wrapping around her waist from behind.
"You ready?" Max muttered sexily against her throat.
"Depends on what's being offered," Liz responded provocatively by grinding her ass into Max's pelvis.
"The best performance of your life," he whispered into her ear.
"In that case…"
"Would you two break it up? The last thing I need is a bout of nausea right before our performance," Michael said gruffly. He found the couples constant PDA embarrassing.
"Yeah, cause performance anxiety can be a real bitch," Alex quipped from behind him.
Max and Liz had been so caught up in each other they never heard their band mates arrive. Nor had they heard the applause as the last band finished performing. The band was exiting the stage as the main set of curtains swung closed.
"Umm…" Max began as he faced a smiling Alex and smirking Michael.
Michael held up his hand. "Not one word Maxwell. We're on in two."
The group barely finished setting up on stage when Lou began to announce them.
"And now ladies and gentlemen our last performance of the evening," he said in a grandiose manner. "My own discovery and house band, Breakout."
Liz was shocked at the size of the audience when the curtains parted. The place was full to over flowing. Might even be violating maximum capacity rules. The applause slowly died down and Max gave Alex and Michael their cue to begin instrumentals. Smiling at Liz reassuringly Max began to sing.
(Max singing alone)
I know a place where we can run and hide
We'll all meet some place to get way
With time and questions and answers to find
There's a place in my heart that I can't erase
When we were young livin wild and free
We stood on the edge and lived in our dreams
(Max /Liz singing together)
Livin at the heart of the fire
Dancing in the cool of the night
Meet me at the heart of the fire
No one knows the way only you and I
(Liz sings while swaying back and forth staring into Max's eyes)
Where are we now and where have we been
Do you remember the way we used to be?
(Max sings while rocking his hips to the beat)
Well, I've to hell and back again
Was it better for you in your fantasies?
When we were young livin wild and free
We stood on the edge and lived in our dreams
(Max/Liz singing together intensely)
Livin at the heart of the fire
Dancin in the cool of the night
Meet me at the heart of the fire
No one knows the way only you and I….
The applause was through the roof as Max and Liz's voices faded on the last note. Maria ran up on stage hugging Liz enthusiastically. "Oh my god chica, you guys were awesome."
"Really?" Liz asked modestly while scanning the audience.
"Yeah, you really were," Isabel agreed. "Sorry I misjudged you."
"Thanks," Liz smiled briefly.
"Yo guys," Lou gushed excited as they all congregated near the stage. "I have some people that would like to meet you."
"You guys go ahead," Liz advised the rest of the band. "I need to get out of these heels." The excuse sounded lame even to her. So she pretended not to notice Max's questioning look.
"I'll wait here for you," he said.
"No you go ahead. I'll be just a few minutes," Liz waved him off.
Max gave her an odd look followed by a quick peck on the lips before following the rest of the gang.
"I'll be right back," Liz addressed this to Isabel and Maria. They too looked at her oddly but she didn't notice. Making her way through the thinning crowd, Liz exited through the hallway and ran up the back stairs. Once inside the dressing room she sank down in a chair and tried not to hyperventilate. Color her crazy but she could have sworn she saw her father amongst the crowd when she was leaving the stage.
Twenty minutes later she'd half convinced herself that it was her imagination. That it wasn't her father she'd seen. But if it was—then it was time to face the music. Only a little sooner than she'd expected. With her game face firmly in place, Liz changed into low-heeled shoe boots and walked out of the dressing room.
She reached the bottom of the steps just as someone stepped from the shadows.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the Belle of the Ball," Tess said bitterly. "Prince Charming not here to protect you this time though."
Great! Just Great. The last thing Liz needed was a run-in with an obviously tweaked-out Tess. Her feverish looking eyes glowed menacing.
"Look Tess," Liz began patiently, "we don't know each other well enough to have a beef. So whatever your issues are, they're not with me. Better yet, why don't you go somewhere and sober up." And see maybe she should have left that last part out, Liz thought as she watched Tess's over-bright baby blues narrow. It was definitely time for this conversation to be over.
"Don't you dare walk away from me you little bitch!" Tess shouted as Liz pushed by her. "I'm not done with you yet," She said following Liz down the hallway.
Liz picked up her pace completely ignoring her. It wasn't that she was scared of Tess, but this was not going to happen. Not tonight. Liz made it all the way to the double doors leading back to the club's main floor when Tess swung her around by the arm.
God she's strong. Or maybe it's the drug, Lizthought just before the shocking impact of Tess's hand blazed a trail of heat across her cheek.
Ok, drugs or no drugs, she was going to seriously kick Tess's ass. Unable to check the impulse, Liz raised her hand and slapped her across the face. Hard. The crack of palm meeting flesh was shockingly loud.
This seemed to suspend Tess for a few seconds. And then with a war cry that would have done an Indian proud she launched herself at Liz. The force of the momentum sent them crashing through the double doors and onto the club's floor. Somewhere in the background Liz could hear muffled shouts and exclamations but she was too busy fighting for her life.
Rolling on the floor in a tangle of limbs, Tess and Liz slapped punched and pulled each others hair without mercy. Liz was unaware of the hands trying to pry them apart and backhanded Max accidentally.
"Shit!" He shouted seeing stars. "Michael would you fucking grab Tess already," he said in a pained voice as finally subdued Liz.
"Now what in the hell is going on?" Max asked angrily once Michael got hold of Tess.
"Ask that crazy bitch," Liz gestured to a wild eyed Tess, "she's the one who attacked me. Unprovoked I might add."
"You had it coming." Tess smiled viciously. "Did you really think you could walk away unscathed after stealing both my man and my place in the band?"
"Wow. Big words from a dumb blonde," Liz taunted and watched Tess try to break away from Michael.
"That's enough Liz." Max gave her a slight shake. "And to be fare Tess, we were over before Liz ever arrived on the scene. And no one stole your place in the band. You quit."
"FUCK YOU! MR. SMOOTH." Tess spat breaking away from Michael. When she made no move towards Liz or Max he let her be. "That's your specialty right? Always say the right thing. Never antagonize anyone. Keep your Ex's as close friends. Well fuck that. I was never your friend. I almost laughed myself sick the other night when the police carted you away."
"And just what do you know about that," Isabel asked her tone artic.
Realizing she'd said to much Tess try to back peddle, "I mean I heard—"
"Skank bitch." This from Maria.
Max and Liz were frozen in disbelief as Isabel moved to tower of Tess.
"Was it you who set my brother up?" Isabel shouted this question at the other blonde. Her fists were clenched tightly at her waist and Alex began slowly easing forward in case he had to stop her.
Tess paused before saying, "So what if I did. He had it coming." And before Isabel could make a motion to stop her or hit her, Tess turned on her heels and fled the club.
For a few seconds it was so quiet you could have heard a penny drop. Then Lou said, "Too bad everyone else has gone home. They missed the real show." The joke fell flat and no one laughed.
However, the commanding voice that followed his got everyone's attention.
"Let's go Elizabeth," Jeff Parker said having witnessed the whole fiasco.
I knew it. I just knew it! Liz turned around slowly to face her father.
"What are you doing here dad?" She applauded herself for keeping her voice apprehension free.
"I came here to talk some sense into you. And not a moment too soon by the look of things." Jeff frowned disapprovingly at Max.
"Would you just stop it Dad?" Liz sighed tiredly before continuing. "I freely admit to being wrong about…well, what I accused you of. But this is still my life. And how I choose to live it is none of your business."
"With this common punk?" Jeff gestured towards Max. "And his band of merry men?" His disdainful look encompassed the rest. "You are so far above these people. If you want a singing career that's fine. I can make it happen. Just come home…Liz," he extended his hand out to her. His eyes shinning with…love?
For about a second Liz was torn with indecision. She wanted so badly to believe that her father really loved her. She took a tiny step towards him.
Max misconstruing her motives spun on his heels and headed for the exit door. If she wanted to run back to her pampered little world who was he to stand in the way?
"Max wait. You don't understand," Liz called out to him. He kept going however.
Spinning back around to face her father Liz caught the look of triumph in his eyes. She should have known better. He was incapable of changing. "You'll say anything to get your way. Won't you?" Liz stared at her father with accusing eyes.
Jeff shrugged unapologetically. "That's the way the world works."
"Not my world," she said softly. Turning away from her father, Liz ran towards the exit to catch up with Max.
She found him in the club's parking lot. He was in the process of pulling off on Michael's motor cycle.
"Going my way?" Her eyes pleaded unknowingly.
"Get on." Max patted the seat behind him. Liz did just that and drove away.
Twenty minutes later they sat around Liz's apartment sipping coffee and listening to the radio. She spoke first, but by the time their conversation ended they'd covered all of their relationship woes from A to Z, and learned some surprising facts about each other.
For instance, Liz learned that Max had feelings of inadequacy stemming from his childhood. That his player image was just that an image, a façade. That he was really insecure when it came to their relationship. Not just about her money, but why someone as special her wanted to be with someone like him. That his father was a recovering drunk, recently diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.
While Max discovered that Liz had a hidden need to vindicate her father. To find some good in that sly old bastard. Not just for her sake, but for her mother who had been unfortunate enough to marry him. He found out that Liz was use to her father's name opening doors for her and how her so called friends had abused this privilege over the years. More importantly, he found out that Liz was afraid of turning into her mother. Someone who was perfection on the outside while her entire world crumbled on the inside.
They sat up talking deep into the night before falling exhaustedly into Liz's bed at around 4am, to tired to do anything but sleep.
-18 hours later. The following morning-
Max and Liz had just finished making love and now lay in a tangle of contented sweaty limbs. All was right in their world. For the moment at least.
"Do you believe in destiny?" Liz raised her head from Max's shoulder to ask.
"Where'd that question come from?" He asked in bemusement.
"I was just thinking. What if I never applied for a job at Evolution? We would have never met. I probably would have moved backed to my father's, married someone of his choosing, and ended up living a life of quiet desperation."
Max stared at her skeptically. "Who are you kidding Liz? That was never gonna be your destiny. You're way to strong minded."
"Then tell me Max Evans," Liz widened her eyes, "what's my destiny?"
Max's eyes turned serious. "I only know the part I'm hoping for."
Moved beyond words, Liz leaned down to offer Max her lips and they shared a passionate kiss. Their road together might never be easy, but it would never be boring.
A/N2: If anyone is even remotely interested in a sequel please let me know.