AUTHOR: Goddess Isa
SUMMARY: Conversation between Liz and Maria....bonding I wish we'd seen
SPOILER: Cry Your Name
DISTRIBUTION: Sandee, of course - My site - http://planetinconsistency.homestead.com - Crystal and Butterfly if they want it - A Soul's Redemption - Anyone else - sure, just email me & lmk where it's going - I like seeing my name in print =)
FEEDBACK: Please, I'd hate to have to Slay for it. =P
DISCLAIMER: All the characters herein belong to Jason Katims. I hate that, I really, really do.
"Liz?" Maria knocked on her best friend's bedroom door before entering. "You in here? Your mom said she thought you were out."
"I'm out here," she said quietly.
Maria climbed onto the balcony and found Liz sitting with a photo in her lap. There were more lying on the table beside her. Maria took one look at the photo Liz held and started to cry. "Where did you get that?"
"Kyle. He left them at the Crashdown the night we...I keep looking at them. I keep studying them as though t here's gonna be something there."
"What kind of something?" Maria paged through the photos.
"Come on, Maria," Liz glanced at her, then went back to the photo. "You know what of."
"I talked to Kyle. He's worried about you. He said Tess isn't speaking to him at all."
"Then he should consider himself lucky."
Maria sat down and shivered. "I'm still numb."
"Join the club. We gotta convince the others to help us out with this. You know we can't do it alone."
"I know, and I called Michael."
"And?" Liz pressed.
"And he's busy playing his 'Max is the Leader' card."
"Max is on an ego trip," Liz corrected. "And Tess isn't helping."
"She never does. Michael also said he won't go against Max, even if he did side with us, which he wouldn't commit to. That tells me that he's with us on this one."
Liz shrugged. "It doesn't matter."
"Tell me something," Maria set the photos down. "How exactly did I get a boyfriend with no balls?"
Liz laughed. Then she frowned again, remembering. "I forgot myself for a minute. That was weird."
"It's okay to laugh, Liz," Maria said. "You're gonna have to start again someday."
"It doesn't feel okay though," Liz closed her eyes. "Nothing does."
"I hate this," Maria began pacing. "It's like we're powerless."
"Maybe not," Liz said, opening her eyes and sitting straight up.
Maria knew that look. "What are you thinking?" she asked suspiciously.
"There's only one way to get to Max," Liz grabbed her phone. "Isabel."
It took four rings for Isabel to finally pick up. When she did, her voice was emotionless. "Hello."
"Don't hang up," Liz said quickly. "Just hear me out."
Isabel's silence was her way of agreeing to listen.
Liz took a quick deep breath and began. "You know Alex wouldn't kill himself. Isabel, you *know* that. I saw your face when I told you about Valenti and his men. I know you understand.
"And I also know you know there are evil aliens out to get you guys."
Isabel sniffled. "I can't..." she felt like she couldn't breathe. "I can't do this."
"Just listen to me. If these aliens want you back, they will do anything to get you there. You said that yourself when you found out about Volandra.
"And if these aliens knew that you were close to Alex, that you guys were in love--"
"Who says we're in love?" Isabel interrupted.
"I saw your ace at prom, Isabel. It was crystal clear." Liz couldn't help smiling at the memory. That was probably the highlight of her prom night. The low...
She wasn't going to think about that. "Isabel, we can do this. We can solve Alex's murder."
"What good will it do?" Isabel asked bitterly. "Are you gonna bring him back to me? Can you magically erase the past few days like they never happened? No. Nothing can bring him back. Nothing. Maybe..."
"Maybe what?" Liz pressed.
"Maybe we should let him go," she whispered.
"I can't fight it," she was still whispering. "I close my eyes, and he's there. I open them, and nothing. It has to stop."
"Isabel, why don't you come over here and--"
"And what?" Isabel snapped. "And we'll have a happy little slumber party?"
"I thought we could talk," Liz said. "Maybe help each other out."
"I'm tired of talking," Isabel yawned. "I just wanna sleep. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
Before Liz could say anything, Isabel had hung up. Liz swore and turned her phone off. "She's in denial."
"There has to be another clue," Maria picked up the pictures again. "Something."
"Do you think Max loves her?" Liz asked suddenly.
"Isabel? Of course he--"
"Not her! Tess! I wonder if he loves Tess."
"I thought we weren't gonna talk about that," Maria almost smirked.
"Yeah, well when I said that, I still thought Alex would at least see his twentieth birthday."
"Liz, what are you talking about?"
Liz only needed to say two words. "Future Max."
"Oh. Just out of curiosity, did Michael and I--"
"Sorry." she shrugged.
"Is all this my fault?" Liz asked. "Did I do this? I broke it off with Max. I changed the future. Maybe all of this is my fault."
"You can't blame yourself," Maria said reasonably.
"I can. Because I *am* responsible," Liz climbed back into her bedroom and lay down on the bed. "I'm responsible for this."
"Liz, you are not--"
"I am," Liz cut her off firmly. She rolled over so that she was facing the wall and not her best friend. "I did this, and nothing you say can change that."
Maria wanted to say something to make her best friend feel better, but she knew Liz was right. There was nothing she could say.
So she sat with her, and hugged her, and cried with her. That was all they could do to survive.