Where My Heart Belongs: Part Three
Disclaimer: Same as before. Also, some of the lines below are from the episode "End of the World" and therefore aren't mine.
Summary: AU What if at the end of Destiny, Liz didn't go to Florida and stay with her aunt for the summer? Instead, she ran away to California, cutting off all ties with everyone, her parents, Maria, Alex…everyone. However, three years later, Max reenters her life, determined to find and bring Liz back.
Stumbling blindly through the terminal, I quickly found my seat, buckled up, and buried my face in my hands. Although I vaguely felt the presence of another person occupying the seat next to mine, I wrapped my arms around my waist, as I continued rocking back and forth, lost in a sea of bitterness, anger, suffering, and pain. Desperately I retreated into the back of my mind, seeking solitude from the sharp twinge of pain scarring my heart. Why Max? Why did you have to come back into my life? Why couldn't you just let me go? You have a destiny…with Tess. Let me go…please…
"Let me go," I whispered softly, swiping my sleeve across my face, wiping away traces of unwanted tears.
Numbly I sat there, gazing unseeingly up towards the front where the flight attendants were demonstrating the safety precautions in case the plane crashed. Swiftly my hand came and pressed against my mouth, squelching the sobs threatening the break free. Squeezing my eyes shut, Max's eyes unexpected flashed before mine, the haunting expression of pain bleeding in his gaze as I told him we couldn't be together anymore plagued my memory. Didn't he understand? He had a destiny…with Tess. What was I supposed to do?
We didn't belong together anymore.
Over the loud speaker, the pilot announced our departure and I soon felt the plane turning and driving down the runway, quickly gaining speed. Soon, the angle of the plane tilted upwards and I felt myself pressed against the back of my seat, an uncomfortable pressure in my ears. Popping them, I shifted in my chair and looked out the window, pressing my fingers against the glass and gazing longingly at the fading lights as the plane climbing higher and higher, farther and farther away from Max.
"I love you, Max."
"Then why did you run away?" a strangled voice asked from behind me.
"Max!" I gasped, spinning around to find him sitting in the seat beside mine. "W-what are you doing here?"
"I told you last night that I came here with the purpose of getting you back…and I'm not going back until I do."
My eyes fluttered shut as Tess's face flashed unbidden across my mind. Slowly, desperately, pleadingly, I shook my head. "No, Max, we can't do this." His burrow furrowed as he stared down at me. I turned my gaze towards the ground, intensely studying something beside my feet. I wouldn't be able to say this if I looked him in the eye. "Max, w-we have to stop this. You belong with Tess."
I cut him off, shoving his hand away as he tried to touch my face. "What about your planet, Max?" I demanded hotly, careful to keep my voice low as tears shone in my eyes.
If only I hadn't fallen in love with him. If only I hadn't gotten involved. If only he hadn't saved my life that day at the Crash Down. Regret gnawed at my heart at my foolishness.
"Are you willing to sacrifice the lives of your people just to be with me?" His throat constricted as he stared at me, his disconsolate gaze wavering with uncertainty.
I turned away and felt my heart breaking, but I had to do this. It was the only way. "I'm sorry, Max, but you and I…" I took a deep breath and prayed for strength before I dropped my final bombshell, "it's just not meant to be. You don't belong here." He stiffed as if I had slapped him. "Your planet needs you more than I do, Max. G-go back to, Tess…you need to be with her…not me."
A lump once again rose in my throat. I squeezed my eyes shut, unsuccessfully struggling to keep my voice from breaking. I glanced back at him, watching the devastation, caused by my words, transform his features. Quickly I looked away. "Max," I squeezed my eyes shut, pressing my lips together. Was it this hard for Romero and Juliet when they gave up everything just so they could be together? "We're not Romero and Juliet."
"Liz?" His gaze clouded with confusion. "What do they have to do with this?" he asked, spreading his hands out.
"Look," I spoke softly, as if talking to myself, "I think the reason why people think that it's such a romantic play is they don't know what it's like to be put in that position...but when your life and-and other people's lives are-are put at risk, there isn't anything romantic about it. Max, you can't stop what's happening to you. I mean, your life will always be dangerous, but my life, it doesn't have to be." Pausing briefly, I glanced up and found him staring at me, specks of worry mixed with fear, pain, anguish, and despair shinning in his eyes. His throat constricted as he swallowed hard. I turned away. "My life is only in danger if I am with you." He inhaled sharply, my words hitting home. "I-I want to be in love with boys...normal boys. I-I want to see my 21st birthday. I-I want to have a wedding day. I-I-I want to have children...and I want my children to be safe. You know, Max, if...if you truly love me, you'll let me go." Gently I reached over, lightly touching his hand, begging him to understand. "I may love you, but I...I don't want to die for you—"
My words were instantly silenced as Max roughly seized my wrist, whipped me around, grabbed my other arm, and crushed my body against his. Before I protest, his lips crashed against mine. I gave a startled squeal and pushed against his chest. His grip tightened. Instinctively, my body began responding to his caresses. Feeling an overpowering urge to hold onto something, I wrapped my arms around his waist, emitting of groan of pleasure from the back of his throat.
Immediately images of the special times he and I had spent together all those years ago flashed before my eyes.
Max healing me after the shootout at the Crash Down.
Connecting with Max and learning he had loved me ever since the third grade.
Riding in the car with him while I Shall Believe played on the radio.
Kissing him for the first time after the winter heat wave.
Dancing with him.
Playing pool and dancing with him on our first date.
The love and desire blazing in his eyes the night we almost made love in the desert.
The good-bye kiss we shared three months ago.
As his lips slid across the hollow of my neck, leaving open-mouth kisses over my skin, a strangled purr erupted from my throat as I ran my fingers through his hair. Gasping, I threw my head back and felt the pressure of his lips against the base of my throat. As his lips returned to mine, he caught my lower lip between his teeth, bit down, and lovingly tugged on it. I squeezed my eyes shut, breathing heavily.
Without breaking the kiss, Max slid his tongue across my bottom lip, pleading for entry. I relaxed my jaw, trembling as he entered. A passion, which I had believed to be dead, broke out between us as his tongue massaged the back of mine. I inhaled sharply, digging my nails into his back. Immediately, the images began flashing through my mind so fast, I couldn't register all of them anymore.
As Max slowed the kiss down to a caress, he brushed the hair off my face. I opened my eyes and stared up at him, breathing heavily. I noticed he was a little out of breath too as he lifted his hand to my face. I felt a slight tremor ripple through my body as he tenderly traced my lower lips with his fingertip.
"I felt that...and I know you did, too," he whispered huskily, staring at me through slightly dilated eyes. "and I know you think that-that I need to let you go...for the sake of Michael, and Isabel, and my race...so you ran away so I could be with Tess. But she can't be you. Tess can never be you."
"Tell me you don't love me."
"What?" Silently my lips moved, but no sound came out as I stared at him.
"Tell me you don't love me…and I'll leave you alone."
My eyes widened as he stared down at me, his emotions carefully masked. He had just handed me his heart on a silver platter. How did he know I wouldn't throw it in a blender? My eyes clouded as I saw a small amount of trust lingering in his eyes. Even after everything I had put him through, running away, he was still willing to trust me. Glancing over my shoulder, my gaze lingered on the star consolation forming a triangle and I knew I had to break off the relationship.
Max didn't deserve me.
He deserved someone better.
My glazed eyes met his and I forced my mouth open to say I didn't love him, but instead I heard myself whisper,
"I-I love you."
A serene smile blossomed across his face as he held me against his chest, playing with several strands of my hair. Tiredly, I leaned my head against his shoulder. As I listened to the beating of his heart, he pressed his lips against my temple. I shifted closer, bathing in the warmth radiating off him. One of his hands slipped down and captured mine, squeezing it briefly. Sighing, I closed my eyes at the soft, feathery sensation of his thumb caressing my skin, finally accepting what I should have three years ago.
"I spent three years of agony without you," As his strained voice broke the silence surrounding us, I felt the tickling sensation of tears threatening to spill. "I'm not going through that again," he told me firmly. "I don't want to lose you."
He cut my words off by pressing a finger to my lips and shook his head. "I told you, I'm not letting you go. I never cared about Tess. You're all I ever wanted. Although I want to help save my planet, I can't do it without you at my side."
I closed my eyes; his words, like sunshine, broke through the icy walls I had erected around my heart. A serene smile crossed my lips as he lightly kissed the top of my head. It didn't matter how hard I fought or argued, Max wanted me in his life.
Not Tess, me.
He wasn't going to let me walk away from him again.
Not that I wanted too.
"That wasn't what I was going to say," I chuckled softly. Feeling his perplexed gaze, I lifted my eyes towards his as my hand cupped the side of his face, tilting it towards mine. Tenderly I stroked his cheek. He caught my hand, leaned his cheek into my palm, and lightly placed a soft kiss against my inner wrist. "I love you, Maxwell Evans."
Tightly, he clasped my hand. His gaze flickered with uncertainty as he stared down at me, as if needing the assurance that I meant what I said. I smiled, allowing the love I felt for him to be seen. Grasping my hand, he brought my fingers up to his lips while lifting his other hand to my face. I leaned forward, anticipating the feel of his lips against mine. Encouraged, he closed the distance between us, brushing his lips against mine.
"I love you too, Liz Parker," he whispered as he brought his lips close to my ear, his breath tickling my skin. "Now and forever you're my destiny."
Wrapping my arms around his neck, I nuzzled his nose. "And you're where my heart belongs."
Author's Note: Well, that's it. It's finally finished. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed, giving me the encouragement that I needed to finish. I can't tell you how much all your reviews meant to me. Hope you enjoyed Where My Heart Belongs as much as I did writing it. Please read and review!