Title: Love, Your Secret Admirer
Disclaimer: The characters of "Roswell" belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, WB, and UPN. They are not mine and no infringement is intended.
Summary: Max Evans and Liz Parker have known each other for years, attending the same elementary school, junior high and high school, but they have never really been friends. Max is now popular and Liz is not so much, but they have always noticed each other in some way or another. What happens when, one year, they each decide to send a Valentine's card to the other?
Author's Note: This fic was written for Valentine's Day 2006 (I had only been writing for a few months back then, so I apologise for the fairly short parts… and possibly not-so-great writing :P).
February 3rd 1998 – West Roswell Junior High
The side door leading in to the eighth-grade locker area opened and in she walked, accompanied by one of her friends. They took a seat on one of the benches further along the corridor, chatting happily as they did; only briefly glancing at the group of boys kicking a ball around over by another row of lockers.
Her friend must have said something amusing, because suddenly, Liz threw her head back with laughter, shoving her friend lightly on the shoulder as she did so. Across the room, Max's eyes snapped up at the sound and he stopped what he was doing, a small smile creeping onto his face as he watched her eyes light up with happiness.
"Hey, Evans! We'd like that ball back sometime today!" his friend, Kyle shouted to him a few seconds later. Realising where he was and what he was supposed to be doing, namely mucking around with his friends and a soccer ball, Max averted his eyes and quickly sent the ball back to Kyle, allowing his friends to continue playing. He remained with them, passing the ball whenever it reached him, but his mind was no longer on their game.
He couldn't stop his gaze from returning to her every so often. He wondered what it was about her that intrigued him so much. Sure, he'd known her for years; they had attended the same kindergarten and elementary school, spending seven years in the same class, but they'd never really been friends. Two years ago, when they'd left their elementary school, only a handful of students from their class had attended West Roswell Junior High, Max and Liz included, the rest opting to go to one of the other schools in the area.
Since then, it had just so happened that Max hadn't shared a single class with Liz. He'd fallen in with a popular crowd from his homeroom and while Liz wasn't exactly unpopular – he'd seen her walking the corridors surrounded by several friends – their circles just didn't mix. Max and his friends were gaining a reputation for being the most sought-after boys in school, and shy, quiet Liz Parker didn't exactly fit with the kind of girls he usually hung out with. In fact, he was actually kind of already seeing someone at the moment – a pretty, but slightly self-centred seventh-grader named Sacha, although it wasn't what you would call serious. Actually, it was more for appearances than anything else. At the beginning of sixth grade, he'd been quite eager to get to know the girls at their new school. He'd had a date every week, and often a girlfriend, although none lasted more than a few weeks – after all, he was only thirteen at the time. But since then, he'd gotten kind of bored with the dating thing and the past few months he hadn't really felt like putting much effort into it. So when Sacha asked him out a couple of weeks ago and his friends reminded him that he hadn't been on a date in a while, he'd felt he had to accept, if only to maintain his growing reputation.
Despite being a hardworking, academic girl and barely even a blip on the radar where Max's friends were concerned, he couldn't deny that Liz was cute. She was a tiny girl – one of the smallest in his class at elementary, with a slight figure and straight, shiny dark hair. Her eyes were a deep brown, almost the colour of dark chocolate, and were accented by her smooth, olive complexion. Although he knew that he shouldn't even consider approaching her, especially given his social status and his friends' views on dating outside the 'popular circle', he couldn't help but wonder what it might be like to get to know her properly.
His thoughts were disrupted by the shrill sound of the warning bell and he groaned. Reluctantly, although not for the same reasons as his friends, who wanted to continue with their game, he picked up his bag and began making his way towards homeroom. On the way out, he glanced back towards Liz, who was now surrounded by several of her own friends. A faint smile touched his face as he watched her converse with them excitedly for a moment, before he quickly turned to leave.
Liz took a deep breath as she pulled open the door and entered the locker area with her friend, Maria. She knew that he was most likely there already, mucking around with his friends and she was a little self-conscious about being in the same part of the building as him so early in the morning. Her dad always insisted on dropping her at school early, so that he could get to work. Unfortunately, it meant that hardly anyone else was there when she arrived; only Maria, since she took a bus and it got in even earlier than her and a few fellow eighth-grade boys, namely Max Evans and his friends.
She walked through the door and sure enough, there he was. Trying desperately to keep her cool around the popular crowd and not attract anyone's attention, she made her way over to a bench, as far away from them as possible, and she and Maria took a seat. She tried to concentrate on having a conversation with her friend, rather than think about the fact that Max Evans was standing just a few feet from her. Luckily, Maria had picked today to tell her a hilarious story regarding her mom and a bowl of overcooked lasagne (Maria's mom was the practically the worst cook in the world) and she found herself spending the whole time laughing and barely even thinking about Max.
If she was totally honest, she really didn't know what it was about Max that had fascinated her recently. She'd known him practically her whole life, and although he was funny – the joker of the class, you might say – and well liked in elementary school, she'd never really fancied him. Until now, that is. Maybe it was because he was considered cute and popular now. Unfortunately for her, 'cute and popular' also meant 'mysterious and unattainable' and she was smart enough to know that she no longer had a chance in hell of getting to know him better. Although, thinking about it, she wasn't sure she even had a chance in the first place. After all, although they knew each other in elementary, they were by no means friends. Sure, he had given her a ride on their first day of junior high, but that was only because her mom was unable to take her and had asked Mrs. Evans if she wouldn't mind taking her since they lived close by. That's right, Max Evans lived only a few minutes away from her, but still they didn't see each other outside of school. Actually, come to think of it, they barely saw each other in school either.
The warning bell rang and Liz looked up to find the rest of her friends entering the locker area, chatting happily. They reached her and Maria, and immediately began chatting about their weekend. When Liz finally plucked up the courage to glance in the direction of the guys, she found that they had already gone, the abandoned football in the corner being the only evidence that they had been there at all.
Realising that she had to get to homeroom, she grabbed her backpack and followed her friends along the corridor. Just before they reached the room, Liz found herself sucking in another deep breath, although not for the same reason as before. She might have been somewhat intrigued by Max Evans lately, but he wasn't the complete centre of her attention; more like a passing thought every now and then (or rather, every morning). No, there was also someone else she was currently attracted to. Namely, Scott Wilkinson, her first major crush, and she really meant major. They shared the same homeroom and several classes, and he and his friends were casual acquaintances of her group of friends. Now you might think that since they did speak on occasion, Liz might have plucked up the courage to approach him by now, but the problem was, she was just too shy. Every time she saw him, her palms got sweaty; her heart began beating crazily in her chest and her breath caught in her throat. It was even worse when she actually managed to get within a few metres of him. Hence the months of staring at him from afar.
However, this year was going to be different, she decided, as she entered the classroom and took a seat, her eyes finding him at the back of the room, where he was playing cards with two of his friends. Valentine's Day was only a week and a half away, and this year she was actually going to be bold and send a card, something she'd never done before.
Max was bored. He really wasn't into doing schoolwork today and all day long, girls had been coming up to him and dropping hints about Valentine's Day. At first, he'd tried reminding them that he was already seeing someone, but they didn't seem to want to hear it and eventually he gave up, just nodding wearily when they approached him. Come to think of it, since Sacha technically was his girlfriend, he supposed he ought to think about getting her something for Valentine's Day. So, instead of getting started on the math problem they'd been set, he spent last period racking his brains for something to get her. Only problem was, everything he came up with seemed more like something someone like Liz Parker would like and nothing that would appeal to his incredibly fashion-conscious, picky girlfriend.
And that's when he knew; this year was going to be different. This year, he was going to do something he'd never even considered before. He was going to send Liz Parker a Valentine's Card. Anonymously, of course. He couldn't risk her finding out that it was he who'd sent it, especially as he was sure she'd seen him with Sacha at school recently.
Nonetheless, he smiled excitedly; suddenly, he couldn't wait for Valentine's Day.