Max gazed down at the sleeping beauty beside him with a tender smile. Supporting his head on his hand as he lay on his side in his bed in the guest room, his fingers reached out to gently caress her bare skin of her shoulder, currently peeking out from beneath the covers. Her long, dark tresses were splayed out onto the pillow, framing her head like a halo and his stomach did a flip as his gaze roamed her flawless features, from her gently fluttering eyelids, down her perfectly formed nose, to those soft, pink, oh-so-inviting lips.
He didn't know what he was going to do when he had to leave the Parker's tomorrow and head to London to prepare for his new film. The last week had been the best of his life. He and Liz had spent every moment together they could, from relaxing in front of the TV in the living room, to meeting her friends, Serena, Kyle and Alex, in the pub for a few drinks, to taking trips out to some of the local attractions. Together they had visited the grounds of the castle located just down the road, spent some time shopping (and getting caught in the sales crowds) at the large shopping mall a few miles out of town and taking in the historic sites and buildings of Bristol… the Clifton Suspension Bridge overlooking the Avon Gorge, the university's impressive Will's Memorial Tower, the SS Great Britain and, for his benefit, the Bristol Old Vic, Britain's oldest working theatre.
And then last night, New Years Eve, Nancy and Jeff had thrown a party for all their friends and while he and Liz had stayed for a while, by ten-thirty they'd pretty much done all the mingling they could, so Liz suggested they go get some fresh air. They'd walked around the dark streets of her neighbourhood hand-in-hand, talking softly, laughing and watching the various firework displays that lit up the sky. It was during one of these displays that Max had turned to Liz, drinking in her beautiful face, illuminated by the bright colours and leaned down to place a gentle, tender kiss on her lips.
She had smiled up at him brightly when he'd pulled away, slipping her hands around his neck and urging him down for another kiss. It had quickly become heated and passionate and when they'd parted, Max reached for her hand and led her back to the house. When they arrived, they brushed past the other partygoers, acknowledging them with a simple nod and smile, before heading right upstairs to his guest room, where they celebrated the New Year in each other's arms.
Max grinned as he remembered their celebrations just a few hours ago. The sex had been absolutely mind-blowing; first he'd spent long minutes running his hands over Liz's body, slowly removing her clothing piece by piece, kissing and caressing every inch of bare skin he revealed; and then he'd buried his face between her legs, licking and nipping at her sensitive skin, driving her crazy with want and need as he brought her to orgasm again and again.
Then, just a few minutes before midnight, he'd finally given into her desperate pleas and entered her slowly, allowing them both to revel in the delicious friction his movements caused. Liz clung to him, her fingers digging into his shoulders, legs wrapped around his hips, as he thrust into her over and over again, each stroke bringing them closer and closer to the edge until, as the countdown ended and shouts of 'Happy New Year' rang out from downstairs, together they cried out in release. Afterwards, as the party downstairs began to slow down and the guest started to leave, he and Liz had fallen asleep in each other's arms, exhausted and sated.
"Hey," whispered Liz sleepily, as she shifted beneath the covers.
Max smiled, letting his fingers drift across her warm skin as she turned fully onto her side, her eyes fluttering open.
"Morning," he murmured in reply, brushing her hair away from her face with his fingertips, before leaning forward, pressing a gentle kiss to her lips. "Sleep well."
"Hmm," she smiled, snuggling up closer to him. "Very well. You?"
"Like a log," he nodded.
A small smirk appeared on her lips, the soft gaze in her sleepy eyes melting his heart.
"Real or chocolate?" she teased, running her index finger down the middle of his chest, before leaning in to murmur in his ear, "'cause I could definitely eat some chocolate log right now."
"Yeah?" he raised an eyebrow suggestively.
"Yeah," she confirmed with a mischievous nod, supporting herself on her elbows so she could kiss him properly.
Max groaned into her mouth as he slid his arms around her and shifted onto his back, so her upper body lay across his. He shivered at the feel of her pert breasts crushed against his chest, the soft skin of her stomach pressing against the hard muscle of his. As the kiss intensified, Liz rose up onto her knees, placing her hands either side of his head as she moved to straddle his waist.
"God," muttered Max when he felt her wet heat come into contact with the skin of his lower stomach, her butt pressing back against his rapidly growing hardness.
His hands slid across her back, then round to cup her breasts, gently kneading them with his fingers and Liz let out a breathy sigh at the contact. She broke the kiss, lifting her head and giving him an impish grin, before lowering her lips to his neck, sucking and licking his skin, sending shivers down his spine.
"Liz…" he groaned, his hands leaving her breasts and planting themselves firmly on her waist.
She giggled against his skin, moving her head further down so she could press light kisses along his collarbone and over his chest. She took first one nipple, then the other into her mouth, causing Max to tighten his grip on her, his fingers digging into her soft skin, before kissing a trail down to his stomach. She shifted her whole body lower, briefly teasing his arousal as she moved, before eventually settling on his thighs, effectively trapping him between their bodies. Max gasped as she swirled her tongue around his bellybutton, his hands sliding up her sides to cup her head.
"Fuck!" he cried out when her mouth finally reached the place he was aching for her to touch.
Her tongue flicked out to taste him and he burying his fingers in her hair at the sensation it caused.
He saw her grin at his reaction, before enclosing her mouth over him fully. His eyes closed and his head fell back against the pillows as she worked her magic on him until he was left teetering on the edge.
"God… I'm gonna…"
But just as quickly as she'd started, Liz pulled her mouth away and began crawling back up his body. Max opened his eyes in protest, but she just gave him a smug grin, got up on her hands and knees and reached over the edge of the bed for one of the small, square packets lying on the table there.
"Be patient," she scolded, sitting up on his stomach so she could open the packet. Moving downwards again, she rolled the condom over him and then slid up to kiss his lips before positioning herself and lowering her body down onto him.
"Oh…" she sighed, placing her hands on his chest as she began to move above him.
He reached for her, splaying his hands across her bottom, as he guided her movements. This was heaven. She felt so good… making love to Liz was like coming home; this was where he belonged – right here in her arms. He didn't know what he was going to do when he had to leave here tomorrow and head to work again. Sure, Liz would be travelling back to London again in a few days, but movie making involved long hours and different locations… who knew how often he'd get to see her after today?
Which was why he had to make the most of this time together, he decided, as he urged her on, rocking his hips in time with her movements. His breathing was laboured, as was hers, and he knew he was close. With one hand, he reached down between their bodies, gently caressing her clit with his fingers, stimulating the sensitive nerves he found there. Sure enough, she bucked against him, crying out in pleasure as she reached orgasm. Exhausted, she collapsed against his chest and Max used the opportunity to roll them over, trapping her beneath him as he plunged in and out of her body, gaining speed as he too approached his release. Burying his face against her neck, he came with a muffled cry, his hips still rocking gently with hers as he relaxed above her.
They lay together in silence for a few moments, until Liz let out a soft giggle against his shoulder.
"Oh, God. What if my parents just heard us?"
Liz bit her lip as she stood just outside the living room, peering in through the open glass door. Her dad and Max were sitting on the sofa, engaged in a heated debate over American football teams. Although, it wasn't a well-known or particularly popular sport in Britain, her dad had become a fan back when he and Mum lived in Roswell and had tried to keep up with his favourite team as best he could over the years.
Watching the two men laughing and talking together tugged at her heart; Max got on so well with her parents, he'd just seemed to fit right in as soon as he arrived, something that from past experience she knew didn't happen too often with new men in her life. Not to mention the fact that her parents seemed to accept their relationship right away, few questions asked, when they confessed to it over Christmas dinner, which made both her and Max slightly suspicious. In fact, her mum barely batted an eyelid at the news, which was unusual for her since she generally approached Liz's boyfriends with caution at first, in case they were untrustworthy.
However, with Max, it was like she couldn't get enough of the two of them together, which made Liz wonder what exactly was going on with her. Later that evening, when Max was on the phone to his family, wishing them a Merry Christmas, she had interrogated Nancy about her reaction at lunch and her mum had grudgingly admitted to her that she and Diane had deliberately set them up with the hope that their children would finally find the happiness they deserved.
She had been angry at first, accusing Nancy of meddling in her life, but when Max entered the living room and took a seat beside Liz, sliding his arm around her shoulders, she conceded that perhaps the set up hadn't been such a bad idea after all. The only problem was that Nancy and Diane didn't seem to have thought the whole thing through. Max lived in California and she was in London. With the exception of the time he would be spending in England working on his new film, they would hardly get to see each other at all. Not to mention the fact that he was leaving tomorrow to meet with the director of his new film and get settled in his new accommodations. Who knew if they'd even have time to see each other when he was nearby?
This past week with Max had been incredible; she couldn't seem to get enough of his company… not to mention his skills in the bedroom. He made her feel things she'd never felt before, things she'd only ever read about in romance novels; and now she'd finally found her perfect match, she was reluctant to let him go. She smiled as she recalled the conversation she'd had with Serena just after Christmas, when her best friend had cornered her in the pub about her surprise houseguest…
"Here you go, Max" announced Liz, as she placed a pint of Blackthorn cider on the table and then slid into the seat beside him in the booth.
"Thanks, Liz," he smiled gratefully, holding her gaze for a moment.
She smiled back taking a sip of her rum and coke, placing it down on the table quickly when Serena suddenly stood up from her seat opposite, "Liz, I need the loo… you coming?"
Liz could only glance at the others helplessly, as Serena grabbed her arm and practically dragged her towards the ladies room.
"You have some explaining do to, missy," she stated, after they turned into the corridor where the bathrooms were located. "What is going on here? Max Evans staying with you? And you making sappy eyes at him back there?"
"Ser –" began Liz slowly.
Serena narrowed her eyes.
"Liz, is there something going on between you and him?" she wondered suspiciously.
"I –" she started, unsure of what to tell her friend. This was all so new; she'd only known Max a couple of days, yet they'd ended up in bed together just twenty-four hours after their first meeting. They hadn't discussed the state of their relationship in much detail so far and she wasn't sure if she should be broadcasting it just yet. She fixed her gaze on the wall behind her.
"There is, isn't there?" smirked Serena, clapping her hands together gleefully. "Come on, you lucky cow, give me all the details."
"Ser, I don't know if…" she trailed off, pausing for a moment. She exhaled, "Okay, look, yes, there is something between Max and I, but that's all I'm going to say. I don't want to betray his privacy, especially if there's a chance the tabloids will get hold of the story."
"Okay, fine," sighed Serena with a roll of her eyes. She looked putout for a minute, but then her eyes widened in disbelief.
"Wow, this whole thing is just so… unbelievable! I mean, God, first it turns out your mum actually knows Max Evans, then she invites him to stay with you guys for Christmas and then you're lucky enough to get to know him up close and personal… It's like something out of a movie!"
Liz felt a little indignant at first, but then the implications of Serena's words sunk in and she broke out into a grin, grabbing her hand in excitement, "Yeah, it is, isn't it?"
Serena peered around the corner to glance quickly at Max, who was laughing with Kyle and Alex at their table.
"God, if you hadn't got there first, I would so have gone for him myself," she murmured, shaking her head.
"You would?" Liz raised an eyebrow. "What about Kyle?"
"Kyle?" Serena's head whipped round to face her, a startled look on her face. "What about him?"
Liz just smirked, "You're telling me there's nothing between you two? I saw you together at the ice rink the other day… you definitely looked like you were having fun."
Serena glanced at the table, and Kyle, once more. "I don't know," she shrugged. "I mean we've always just been friends, you know? And now I'm feeling all these things for him, but I don't know if it's the same for him."
"Why don't you ask him?" suggested Liz.
Serena shifted uncomfortably, "I don't know if I can. What if he doesn't feel the same way?"
"Well, you'll never know if you don't try..."
"Hey, Lizzie, care to join us?"
Liz was brought back to the present by the sound of her dad's voice. He and Max had noticed her standing in the doorway.
"Sure," she smiled, entering the room and taking a seat between Max and Jeff. Max smiled and touched her arm, before letting his fingers rest on her upper thigh so they were hidden beneath her elbow and their position was not obvious to her father.
Either side of her, Max and Jeff continued their conversation, allowing Liz to just sit back and relax in Max's presence. She felt more content and happy than she had in a long time. However, there was also that small niggling thought that she'd been pushing to the back of her mind for the last few days: even if she and Max did get to spend some time together while he was making his movie, he would only be here a couple of months. What would happen when he inevitably had to return home to L.A. and continue with his life?
"Well, I guess this is it, then," murmured Liz sadly, staring at Max's dark jacket as she tried not to cry.
She had offered to drive Max to the train station to save him getting a taxi, and also so she could say goodbye to him without her parents watching. They were standing in a small alcove, just outside the entrance, away from prying eyes.
"Yeah," nodded Max. "For now, at least."
Liz sniffed, then shook her head, "This is crazy; I know I've only known you a week, but I'm gonna miss you so much."
"Hey, it's okay," he murmured comfortingly, wrapping his arms around her. "You'll be back in London next week, and I'm still gonna be here in England for a while."
"I know," admitted Liz, resting her head on his chest and sliding her arms around his waist. "But I have to go to work, and you're not gonna have much time off from filming… and I don't know when I'll be able to see you."
"We'll find a way, I promise," he told her, kissing the top of her head softly. "I've only just found you… I'm not gonna let you slip away from me that easily."
His words brought the tears to her eyes and she pulled back so she could look up at him. She wanted to say something, but no words would come. Max's jaw clenched briefly as his intense gaze bore down into hers. He unwrapped one arm from around her and lifted his hand to her face, running his fingers along her forehead, down over her cheek, then lightly tracing her lips, before cupping her jaw and tilting her head up.
His lips met hers in a brief light brush and then Max pulled away, smiling down at her before lowering his head once more, capturing her mouth in an insistent kiss. Liz had no idea how long they stood together like that, kissing and caressing, making the most of every moment they had left, but when they finally parted, she found herself totally breathless, her head spinning.
"I'm sorry, I've really gotta go now," murmured Max regrettably, gazing down at her sadly. "But I'll see you soon, okay?"
"Okay?" Liz forced a nod.
"And you can call me anytime you want, you know that, right?" he added. "You have my cell phone number?"
"Yeah," she nodded. "And you have mine?"
"It's right here," he smiled, patting the jacket pocket next to his heart.
Liz nodded again, "Well, I guess this is goodbye."
"Yeah…" Max let his arms slide from her body so he could pick up his bags.
Just before he turned to head inside the station, he leaned in close, taking her chin in his hand and pressing one last warm kiss to her lips,
"Goodbye, Liz," he whispered. "And thank you for the best Christmas of my life."
She smiled, biting her lip to stop it from trembling as he began to walk away, "Goodbye, Max."
Just before he disappeared up the stairs towards the platforms he turned, giving her that heart melting half-smile she loved so much. She gulped, swallowing her tears as she gave him a small wave and one last smile.
As she left the station and got in the car to drive home, she made a promise to herself that she wouldn't dwell on his absence, but instead look forward to when she could see him again. After all, she'd just experienced the most wonderful Christmas and New Year with him… she couldn't be sad about that, especially when she realised that because of Max Evans, she'd never be able to look at a chocolate Yule Log in the same way again.