Title: A Romance to Remember
Author: Lisa
Disclaimer: I own nothing and owe lots. The characters of Roswell belong to the WB and not me. Poor me! L Neither does Jane Eyre and its characters.
Summary: Based a bit on the book Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books. Liz Parker is hired to take care of a large mansion for the brooding and mysterious owner, Max Evans. Takes place in some deserted, moory place. I guess England will do. Takes place in the 1800's.
Category : Definitely Max and Liz!!! J AU
Feedback: Yes please! I would really appreciate it!
Distribution: If you like it enough to take, sure! I would appreciate a link though.

Part 1
Liz Parker looked out the window of her carriage as it carried her away from London and closer to Thornfield Hall. In the previous month, Liz had seen an advertisement in the London Gazette, asking for someone to take the position as head housekeeper of Thornfield Hall. Liz had never heard of Thornfield Hall, but upon further inquiry, she discovered that it was far away from London and civilization in general. That was all she had to know. She immediately sent her resume. When she received a letter back saying she was accepted, she was mildly surprised. However, she brushed away any questions from her mind, rationalizing that perhaps very few people had applied because of the distance.

It was a dusk outside as the sun was setting. Liz watched as the sky turned a deep pink and the fiery ball of the sun slowly descend into the earth. Already, the other end of the sky was an indigo purple with stars shining down. "Thornfield Hall is coming right up, ma'am. We should be arriving within half an hour," the driver called back. Liz started out of her deep reverie and answered, "Thank you."

Liz caught sight of the shadow of the large mansion - almost castle - before her. It was cold outside, winter was coming. Liz shivered. The darkness seemed to surround her, as did a sense of sadness. She mentally shook her head and instructed herself, "Stop this. The past is behind you now. You are going to make a new start. Isn't that why you're here, in this God-forsaken place? Forget the past!"

Before she knew it, Liz had arrived to the hall. It seemed that throughout the place, light could not fill it. She saw a few candles in the windows but it was overshadowed by the darkness. Once again, she shivered. An elderly lady greeted her at the great entrance as the driver brought Liz's bags. "You must be Miss Elizabeth Parker. I'm Mrs. Fairfax. Come in, come in!"

Taking one last look at the carriage about to leave, Liz took a deep breath and stepped in the door. She had done it. She was finally leaving the past.

Once inside, a fire was crackling and the place was warm. Mrs. Fairfax led Liz into a parlor where it was cozy with another fire. Liz was seated and given some tea while Mrs. Fairfax bustled about, trying to make Liz feel comfortable. Finally, Liz asked, "Would you mind just sitting and talking with me?"

Mrs. Fairfax immediately smiled and situated herself across from Liz. "It's so nice to have someone to talk to. It's horrid to be here without some decent company. But, dear me, rattling off again. How was your trip, dear?"

"It was long, especially with the overnight stay at an inn, but otherwise, it was a good trip."

"Yes, Thornfield Hall is a long way off. The nearest town is nearly three miles away. But Mr. Evans likes it this way. 'No one to meddle around,' he says," Mrs. Fairfax replied.

"Mr. Evans?" Liz asked, confused.

"Yes, Mr. Evans. The owner of Thornfield Hall, you know." Seeing Liz's perplexed look, however, Mrs. Fairfax saw that Liz did not know. "Oh my goodness. You mean to tell me, dear, that you came all this way without even knowing who the owner of Thornfield Hall was?"

"Well, I assumed that since you were the one who answered my letter, that you were the owner."

"Me? Oh no! Mr. Maxwell Evans is the lord of the manor, so to speak. He is quite young. Not much older than you, though you do look rather young for your age, dear. I don't know how the master will take to that," Mrs. Fairfax continued, half to herself.

"What is Mr. Evans like?" Liz was somehow very intrigued by this 'Mr. Evans' even though this was the first time she had ever even heard his name. But just the sound of his name sent shivers up her spine.

Before Mrs. Fairfax could continue, the great outer doors slammed and a deep voice came ringing through the house, "Where is everyone?" Mrs. Fairfax hurriedly stood and said to Liz, "There's your chance to find out for yourself, dear. That's the master!"

Liz stood and followed Mrs. Fairfax into the entrance room where she saw her first glimpse of the man known as Max Evans. Mrs. Fairfax went over and took the coat he handed her. He didn't see Liz - at first. When he looked around, his eyes landed on her, and Liz held her breath.

Part 2
Liz realized that she was holding her breath and slowly released it. Max held onto her eyes for a second before abruptly turning to Mrs. Fairfax. "Who is this woman?"

"It's Miss Elizabeth Parker, the new housekeeper. You hired her a month ago, sir."

"Ah, yes. She's to replace you once you are gone. Well," without any word or glance at Liz, Max left the room and went up the staircase.

Mrs. Fairfax then turned her attention back to Liz and said with a warm smile, "You must be tired, Miss Parker. Come, I'll show you to your room. Sam, would you mind bringing Miss Parker's belongings?" Mrs. Fairfax then took two lighted candles and Liz then obediently followed her up the staircase that seemed to go on forever. "This certainly is a big manor, Mrs. Fairfax," she commented. "What did Mr. Evans mean when he said 'When you are gone?'"

"Well, you do know that you were hired to be head housekeeper, dear." When Liz nodded, she continued. "That was my old position, but as you can see, I'm not as young as I used to be. You yourself said that this is a big manor. I can no longer keep up with it now. Mr. Evans has given me quite a nice little sum as a retirement pension, as they say. I am going to go and live with my son in a small town just outside of London. I will be leaving in two weeks. Until then, I will be helping you settle in, teaching you the 'ropes' to this large house."

Liz was silent for a moment. Mrs. Fairfax paused a moment as they walked down a large hallway, "I know it's a bit much to handle at the moment, dear, but it is not as overwhelming as it sounds. Mr. Evans keeps much to himself and is usually satisfied as long as his room and study are tidy. It may be a bit lonely at first but it is quite safe here. There are also some other cooks and maids here during the daytime and early night so that you are not completely alone. Usually though, they live in the servants' house just outside during the night time."

"So, it will just be myself and Mr. Evans in the house during the night?"

"Yes, dear. I know it may not sound very proper, with you two especially so very close in age, but Mr. Evans is very much respected so there will be no gossip. You needn't worry. Here we are." Mrs. Fairfax then presented Liz to a room that was furnished simply. "I gave you one of the smaller rooms, I hope you don't mind. I feel that with the large rooms, it is just so easy to feel lost in one of those."

"No, I love my room. Thank you for the consideration. I prefer a smaller room anyway."

Sam, the general servant, then deposited Liz's bags just inside the door. He gave her and Mrs. Fairfax a quick nod of the head before departing. Mrs. Fairfax said to Liz, "My room is just down the other end of the hallway if you need me. Mr. Evans's room is the one just three doors away. You seem to be quiet, but I feel I should warn you that he does not like to be disturbed in any way. I'll leave you now, dear." She then handed Liz a candle.

Liz gave Mrs. Fairfax a small smile and stepped in her room. She immediately lighted the other candles that were in the room, trying to disperse some of the gloom. She sat down on the edge of the bed and tried to think. It had now been four long months since her life had changed.

Liz Parker was the only daughter of prominent businessman, Jeffrey Parker. Jeffrey Parker and his wife, Nancy, enjoyed the social life that came with Jeffrey's success. Liz as their daughter had been raised by a nurse for as long as she could remember. In her mind, her parents were always dressed up, ready to head off to another party that would last for days. Every once in a while, she would have dinner with them during the holidays, but other than that, she had no other contact with them.

Therefore, it came as a surprise when one evening, they requested to have dinner with her. She was excited, it had been her twentieth birthday last week, and perhaps they were having a birthday dinner now to make up for last week.

When she arrived in the dining room, it was not only her parents there. There were two other men there, one of them her age. He looked handsome but there was also a cold glint in his eyes that she didn't like. Liz was confused as to why these two men were there, but she told herself that perhaps they were friends of her parents.

She sat down at the table. "Hello, Mother, Father. How are you doing?"

Her father looked at her and said, "Elizabeth. I would like you to meet my friend Mr. Valenti and his son Kyle. You'll be seeing a lot of each other from now on."

Part 3
Liz jolted out of her deep meditation. She had been so focused on remembering the past that she had almost fallen asleep. She looked her still packed bags and sighed. It was going to take a while before she would be able to go to bed.

The sun was still not up yet when Liz awoke. She was used to getting up early and felt refreshed even though she had gone to bed late last night. She dressed simply, ready for a day of work. She had never worked before when living with her parents, but things were different now. She didn't need to remind herself of this. In the past few months, she had learned how to work.

Liz then stepped out into the hallway. Since it was so early, she didn't expect anyone else to be up. To her great surprise, Max was up also. In fact, he was heading right past her. She gave a small smile and said, "Good morning, Mr. Evans." He in turn, glanced at her and replied coolly, "Good morning, Miss Parker. Up rather early, aren't we?"

He kept on walking and Liz wasn't sure what to do. So she just hurried and tried to catch up with him. "Yes, well, I always get up this early."

"How nice." With that, Max stepped into one of the doors and closed it. Liz just stared at the shut door and felt extremely put off with his action. "Hmm. Rude much?" she muttered to herself. Just then, Max stuck his head out the door and asked, "Did you say something, Miss Parker?"

For a second, Liz was completely taken aback at being caught. She thought quickly, "No, no, sir. I was just…umm… commenting to myself how lovely that painting over there is." With that she just pointed her finger at the first frame she saw and prayed that there was a picture inside.

Max followed her finger and said, "Yes, that's one of my favorites also. Nice to know you have some good taste." With that, he popped his head back in. Liz quickly hurried away downstairs. As soon as she reached the base of the stairs, she leaned against the banister and sighed with relief.
She wasn't sure if Max had heard what she had really said but, if he did, she wasn't going to bring up the subject again. Then what Max had said replayed in her head, 'some good taste.' Did that imply that she didn't have good taste in another area? How would he know anyway? He had met her less just the other day and he was already making judgements? Well! Then Liz realized that she was getting all riled up, again. 'Calm down, Liz. This is not the time or place to lose your temper. You don't have that luxury anymore.'

Just then Mrs. Fairfax called from the top of the stairs, "Miss Parker! Up already?"

Liz turned and answered, "Yes. You are an early riser also, I take it."

"Yes. Why don't I show you to the parlor where I usually take my breakfast. Leah, one of the maids, will bring it in to us." With that, she led Liz away.

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Max's POV
When Max first saw Liz, he was sure that there was something different about her. She looked young, and it didn't even occur to him that she was the new housekeeper he had hired. Something in the manner in which she stood intrigued him. She had an elegance to her stance, but also seemed vulnerable standing alone. When his eyes met hers, Max stopped breathing for a second. Finally breaking off the stare, he had turned to Mrs. Fairfax to inquire who this strange woman standing in his entrance was. When he heard Mrs. Fairfax answer that this was the new housekeeper, relief flooded through him. So, this meant that this Elizabeth Parker was going to be staying. He remembered making some remark, then leaving the room. He didn't dare take another glance at her, he feared that she would see something inside him - the emotions he was feeling.

That night, he had faint rustling coming from her room. He assumed that she was unpacking. This thought gave him great satisfaction because he knew that this meant she would be staying for a while. Max didn't know what he was feeling exactly, just that he had to learn more about her.

Max knew that he had the reputation of being cold-hearted. He didn't mind this, he knew that this was somewhat true. He was cold-hearted because he hadn't found the right one yet. He wasn't in a hurry, he had had plenty of experiences with women, all of these experiences leaving him disenchanted the idea of ever-lasting love. He was young, only twenty-five, but he felt much older. When his parents had died when he was eighteen, he found himself with a large inheritance and fortune. He was one of the most sought after men in the country. He had been young and ignorant of the world at that time, and he had foolishly given his heart away to a woman who had used it to get to his money. When he realized the truth, he had been destroyed inside. The only thing he was grateful for was the fact that he learned the truth before he had married her.

In the last few years, he wandered throughout England and the Continent looking for someone to fill his heart. With each passing year, he had grown more and more bitter. Finally, he returned to Thornfield Hall. He was tired of looking for her. He questioned whether she even existed. But now, he wondered if she had come to him.


Part 4
*Still Max's POV*
The next morning, as Max woke up, his thoughts instantly turned to Liz. He had to come up with a plan with how to act around her. No doubt she would eventually learn of the others' opinions of him. He couldn't very well suddenly act as if he was the nicest man in the world, he knew he wasn't. He knew that he could, and often was, rude and abrupt. So, how would he act around Liz?

'Take one step at a time, Max. You don't want to scare her off, but see what kind of person she is first.' With that temporary plan, Max prepared to start his day. As he was walking off to breakfast, Liz stepped into the hallway. 'Dear Lord, I can't figure out what to say this early in the morning! I knew I should have made up that plan instead of procrastinating!'

She smiled slightly and Max could feel his legs start weakening. 'What's wrong with you, man?!' He vaguely heard her greet him and he desperately tried to think of something to say. He heard his own voice, calm and even answer back, "Good morning, Miss Parker." Then he added something about being up early and continued walking. 'Wait! You have to stop walking away if you want to talk to her!' he commanded himself. But his legs seemed to have a mind of its own. To his surprise, Liz followed after him and answered, "Yes, well, I always get up this early."

Because Max really could not think of anything else to say, he just replied back, "That's nice," and ducked into the nearest door. He shut it and immediately collapsed against it. It was impossible that this woman was causing so many emotions in him! Because he had his head against the door, he was able to hear Liz mutter something about him being rude. A grin crossing his face, he instantly came up with an idea. With a serious face, he opened the door and stuck his head out. The look on her face when he asked her if she said anything was priceless.

Inwardly, he chuckled when he saw her come up with the excuse about the painting. He knew it was weak and so did she. However, he really didn't want to her to feel uncomfortable any longer and left it. As soon as he closed the door again, he knew that he would be seeing a lot of Liz. He now knew that she could be feisty, hidden underneath the calm exterior. He had a feeling there was a lot more to her, and he wanted to know everything.

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*Liz's POV*
As Liz sat down with Mrs. Fairfax over breakfast, the memory of what had just occurred kept popping back up. She was so embarrassed, yet angry over Max's whole attitude. "So, Miss Parker, …" Mrs. Fairfax began.

"Oh, please, call me Liz. I'd prefer that over 'Miss Parker' or 'Elizabeth'," Liz interrupted.

"So, Liz dear, are you always such an early riser?"

"Yes," Liz began. She hesitated before continuing, "as Mr. Evans is too. Can I ask you something, Mrs. Fairfax? Is Mr. Evans always so…rude?"

"Rude? Well, I suppose his manner is not the most polite, but I don't think he's rude. Of course, it could just be myself because I have know n him for so long," Mrs. Fairfax continued. She began to talk about random things, leaving Liz basically lost in her own thoughts.

After breakfast, Liz was given the basic tour of the house. It was large, to say the least. She began to worry that she would get lost, and that would just be wonderful! She could just imagine it, herself wandering down endless corriders just calling out, "Hello? Can anyone help me?" Max, she knew, would certainly love that. 'Max again?!' she asked herself furiously. 'You should be paying attention so you won't get lost!' But it was no use, she was thinking about him.

'Well, I might as well just go with the flow.' He was certainly handsome. There was no denying that fact. Dark hair, soulful eyes, strong jaw. What was that phrase her friend once said? Oh, yeah, 'Tall, dark, and handsome.' That was definitely Max. He annoyed her. There was no other way to put it. The way he acted as if he was too important to pay attention to her, his whole superior attitude. It just reminded her of her parents all too much. She frowned inwardly and tried to focus back on Mrs. Fairfax again.

As it turned out, Liz would not have all too much work to do. A little dusting and general cleaning, but other than that, all the other maids would do. She would just be in charge of keeping track of them. She met all of them, and they seemed to be quite nice. None of them seemed to mind that she was younger than most of them. When Mrs. Fairfax later showed her the drawing room, she was taken aback. It was a beautiful room, light and airy. The view into the country moors was breathtaking. She turned and asked, "Does Mr. Evans ever use this room?"

"Not to my knowledge. Do you draw?"

"Yes. Do you think Mr. Evans would mind if I drew in here once in a while?"

"Oh, I don't think so. Why don't you draw now? I know it's your first day and it must be difficult to settle in," with that suggestion, Mrs. Fairfax left the room. Liz hurried to her room and gathered her portfolio and art supplies. She loved drawing, painting, etc. It had helped her escape from her lonelier days when she was younger. Once in the drawing room, she was oblivious to the outside. She didn't even hear the footsteps behind her.

Part 5
"Miss Parker. What are you doing in here?" Max asked Liz, startling her. She dropped her pencil and it rolled on the ground and landed at Max's feet. He stooped to pick it up.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Evans! I was … I was just drawing. Mrs. Fairfax told me that it was all right, or else I never would have…" Liz stammered as Max handed back her charcoal pencil. She was upset because she didn't want Max to think that she wasn't working. It was just that it was so long since she had a chance to draw.

"No, it's okay. I don't mind if you use this room. I was walking by and I saw the door open. So, you are an artist?" Max asked, truly interested. "May I see your portfolio?"

Liz was a little reluctant to hand it over to him. She had never shown anyone it before, much less to a practical stranger. However, she found that she could not refuse. She silently handed it to him.

Max took it and settled down in a chair. He took his time studying each piece, as if by scrutinizing the art, he would learn more about the artist. He found that in each painting and drawing, there was sadness incorporated into it. When it was a landscape, the scenery would be beautiful, but the sky would be ready to storm. When it had figures, there was always one mournful face.

Max's brow furrowed when he finished. What was it that made her so sad? He carefully put everything back into the portfolio and handed it back to Liz. "Would you mind bringing this with you tonight, Elizabeth?"

"Tonight?" Liz asked, confused.

"Yes, I want you to come to my study tonight at 7:00."

"Yes, sir." With the confirmation that she would see him later that night, Max turned to leave. He stopped for a minute when he heard Liz call after him, "And, please, call me Liz." He turned back to her and gave a small smile. "Liz," and he walked out the door.

Liz gathered her supplies up. She looked at the clock hanging in the corner of the room and realized she had been drawing for an hour and a half. As she took her portfolio, she wondered about Max. He had seemed to be engrossed in studying her pictures. It was like he was looking for something. She then shook her head. 'You're just being silly again, Liz.' Still, why did he want to see her later that night?

Liz later went to Mrs. Fairfax and began to start taking care of the house. Even though her job was fairly light compared to the others, she still had a lot more to do. Liz had to make sure that dinner was being prepared, that the rooms were aired and cleaned, and this and that. Thank goodness Mrs. Fairfax was there to help her out, or else she knew she was going to lose her mind with all that had to be done. "You'll get used to it, dear." Mrs. Fairfax had told her. Liz didn't think so.

Later that night, Max was waiting in his study. It was almost seven. He started pacing when he stopped himself. 'You can't let Liz see you pacing like this! One look and she'll know your nervous about something. No, you have to try and stay calm! Think you can handle that, Max? And what is with this? Why am I talking to myself all of a sudden? Aah!'
Max then smiled to himself when he realized he called her 'Liz.' He was secretly very pleased when she granted him permission to use that name. He liked the sound of it, it fit her. He heard footsteps coming and he looked around. Where could he go and look natural? 'What do I keep telling you about planning!' he scolded himself as he threw himself into the armchair in front of the fire.

Just as he pulled his legs up onto the ottoman, someone knocked on the door. "Come in," he said, thankful his voice didn't squeak.

Liz walked in the door with her portfolio under her arm. It was dark, with only a few candles lighted around but by the fireplace, the fire was giving off a brighter glow. She saw him sitting there casually, as if he had all the time in the world. Slowly, he raised his head and looked over at her. "Well, are you going to just stand there or are you going to come over here?"

Liz dutifully walked over and stood by his side, uncertain. "I see you brought your portfolio again," Max began.

"Yes. You asked me to, didn't you?"

"Ah, yes. Well, seeing how you brought it, I might as well take a look at it again," Max said, taking it right out of her hands.

Liz tried not to make a face when he did that. 'He's like a three-year old. He justs grabs what he wants!' she thought to herself. However, something must have flickered across her face because he asked, "What?"

"What?" Liz asked back in return.

"You just made a face."

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did. I saw it. Why did you make a face?" Max said, amused. He was getting under her skin and he knew it.

"I really have no clue what you are referring to, sir. Besides, I thought you were going to look at my pictures again," Liz said, desperately trying to change the subject. He was too observant. It seemed as if nothing she did got by him.

Max gave her another grin, one that told her he knew exactly what she was up to. She flushed slightly but refused to drop the gaze, daring him to first. He did. "Why don't you make yourself comfortable, Liz, and take a seat."

Liz looked around and began to sit in a chair that was to the back of Max. Without even having to look up, he said to her, "Not that far back. Pull it up. I don't want to have to twist and look back every time I want to speak to you."

Liz then took the chair and pulled it even with Max's. She sat down and waited for him to speak again.