"Are you sure?"

"Yeah," I lied. "I'm sure."

"Alright," he said. "So, how do we -"

"I don't know," I interrupted. I hated this awkwardness.

We were on my bed. Trying to 'communicate'. Michael had his eyes closed. I smiled at him. He was so cute.

Intimidating, but cute.

His right eye opened to check on me and then he was glaring. "Liz..."

"Sorry," I mumbled, dropping my head, trying to hide my grin. "Sorrysorrysorry."

He rolled his eyes. "Just concentrate, alright?" He rolled his neck left, then right, cracking his neck. He laid his hands on his knees. We were both sitting indian style on my quilt. He exhaled heavily. "We should be able to do this."

Concentrate. Relax. Which was I supposed to do?

I sighed and closed my eyes. Try to relax...

And then it happened.



If my I had mental eardrums, they'd be shot.

{Yes, Michael, I can hear you. You don't have to yell.}

No response. Maybe I hurt his feelings.

{Can you see anything?} That was better. Softer.

{Not yet -}

How do you open your eyes when they're not your eyes?

{Michael, open your eyes.}

He opened his eyes and raised his head to look at me, sitting across from him on the bed.


I assumed Michael saw things the same way I did.

I was wrong.

His vision was very...intense. And sharp. I could see details I'd never noticed before. Incredibly vibrant. Like I was seeing things from a wider spectrum than I ever had before. And the colors he saw... they were amazing.

Lush. Deep. Unbelievably bright.

{His vision must be 20/10,} I thought.

{I heard that,} he said. Or thought. Way too confusing.

{So it's working.}


Is this what he saw all the time?

He dropped his head, looked at the quilt. I could see the thin threads and fine fibers of the needlework. Everything seemed so - bright, and sharp, and beautiful. I'd never, ever seen colors like that. His eyes closed.

I could hear someone's footsteps walking down the street, outside. A block away. I heard a faint meow, and knew it was even further away.

He could hear everything.

Then I heard - I mean I felt - something else.

His heartbeat.

I'll never forget that. Feeling his heart pounding, the rise and fall of his chest, the way the world looked through his eyes. He raised his head from the quilt, focused on me.

{You alright?}

I didn't know how to respond to that. Alright?

Everything looked beautiful.

Including me.


{Yeah, I'm - I'm fine.}

{Maybe I should try you.}

{Right...How do we -}

I felt something like a - a mental shove, I guess, and then I was out. It was a shock. I gasped a little and opened my eyes. His eyes were still closed, and he swallowed deep before looking at me.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said, my hand on my collarbone. That was weird. "I'm okay."

"You kept breathing the whole time you were out."


He gestured at me. "Your body," he said. "You were still breathing, while we were communicating."

That was what he called it. Communicating. Maria would have laughed.

No, she wouldn't.

I hadn't thought of it as leaving my body. "I don't think it's really like that," I said. "You still knew where you were when you were out on the rooftop, right?"

"When you were in the shower?"

I'd been trying to not think about that. "Um, yes," I said.

He thought for a minute. "I don't remember," he said. "I was kinda caught up in the moment."

"I bet," I muttered. Some scientist I was. I hadn't even considered the possibility that I might forget to breathe.

"Okay," he said. "Ready?"


"Yeah," he said, raising his eyebrows. "Now."

"Maybe we should wait -"

"Nonono," he said, palms up. "No. You said we had to find out. So we're finding out."

Black and white. Now or never. End of discussion.

So much for communication.

"Okay," I whispered. I shifted my weight and adjusted my legs. I breathed out to help me relax, and then I closed my eyes.

It only took a few seconds.



No response. {Liz?}

{I'm fine, Michael - are you alright?}

{Never better. Open your eyes.}

She did, and I tried not to flinch.

I was surprised the colors were duller. Duller than when I saw them with my own eyes, I mean. But that wasn't the overwhelming part.

Liz loved everything in her room.

I don't know how to explain that I knew that. I just did. Her dresser looked different. So did her quilt.

No, they're not different, Guerin. You're just seeing them differently. I looked down at the quilt and knew her Grandmother had quilted it for Liz when she was born.

How could I know that?

She lifted her eyes from the quilt and looked at me. My eyes were closed. I could see the rise and fall of my chest.

This was really weird.



{Have Max or Isabel ever talked about being able to do this?}

{No, not that I know of.}

That made her happy.

Definitely weird, I thought. I looked more closely at the quilt, wishing I could touch it.

She moved her hand over to it. {Thanks.}


She had beautiful hands.

{I heard that.} She was smiling.

{Okay -} This was plenty of time. Now we knew it worked. {- get me out.}

{How do I do that?}

{Just, you know, sort of - shove me.}

{Shove you?}

{Yeah. Like you did when you were in the shower.}

Uh-oh. Wrong thing to say.

{You mean -}

For a millisecond, I was surprised that a woman could get that mad.

{- like this?}

My body flew off the bed and onto the floor, hitting it floor with a dull thunk. I gasped mouthfuls of air and reached up to my head. "Ow," I muttered.

"Michael -" she leaned over the edge of the bed, looking worried, then fought back a giggle. Oh, very funny. "- you okay?"

I glared up at her. "Next time," I said, "try for a nudge." I rubbed the back of my head.

"Alright," she said, jumping off the bed. "Let's discuss boundaries."


"If you want to get in my head, Michael, ask first."

"But what if -"

"Non-negotiable," she said, folding her arms.

So much for understanding women.

"Fine," I muttered, getting to my feet. I wondered if she'd get me some ice for my head. "I'll ask."

"Good," she said, clapping her hands together. "I'm gonna go do a facial."

"A what?"

"Facial, Michael," she said, heading to the restroom. "A mud pack. For your face. You know, it cleans out your pores."


"What?" she asked, turning around. "What's wrong with that?"

"You mean that - mud stuff women put on their faces?"

"Well - yeah," she said. "I only do it every couple weeks."

"I'm outta here," I muttered, heading toward the window. She moved to block me.

"Oh, come on," she laughed, moving closer to me. Her voice was teasing.

"Liz, really," I raised my hands. "I'm not ready for this."

"Oh, I can accept you're an alien, but you can't accept a mudpack?"

My face scrunched up. "What color is it?"


Liz with one of those cracked, blue faces. I'd seen Isabel in one of them a few months back when I needed a place to crash one night. I'd almost screamed and woke up everybody in the house. Then Max almost woke up his dad, he was laughing so hard. He teased us for weeks.

"Well -" I pretended to think. "Yeah, okay." She smiled and reached for me.

I faked left and ran right, through the window.

"See you tomorrow night," I said. Hah. Caught her off guard.

Not completely, thought. She smacked me before I got all the way through.

"You better," she called after me.

I could tell by the sound of her voice that she was smiling.


So we were 'communicating'. That was what we called it.

Once I calmed down, I had lots of questions. Could we communicate whenever we wanted? Was it affected by proximity? Could we refuse to communicate if we didn't want to?

Most importantly, could anyone else "hear" us?

Three yes, one no. If Michael and I tried to communicate when I was at home and he was in his trailer, the signal was really faint. If he was sitting next to me, it was nearly effortless.

If we wanted to shut the other person out, we could block them - much like I had when I'd realized Michael was 'imagining' me in the shower - but it took energy and concentration.

We argued for a long time about what would be the best way to determine if people could hear us. Finally I suggested trying it on customers at the Crashdown. You know, {You Want To Leave a Big Tip}, stuff like that. Michael finally agreed, but made me promise to try it only when he was around.

"Just in case something weird happens," he said.

Unfortunately for my college fund, it didn't work. So much for that.

But we weren't positive Max and Isabel wouldn't be able to hear us, so Michael insisted we not practice anywhere near them. Too much of a risk, he said.

"How would we explain that? Maybe this was just a latent power. Then it could surface in them any minute," he said. "I don't want them to find out what we're thinking."

I had to agree with that.

Because I was thinking about Michael all the time.

It was strange, being able to talk with someone like that. I didn't even know he was - with me, I guess, when I was in the shower, until he said something. It was sort of unnerving.

But after the first couple times, it didn't feel that way at all. Seeing things from Michael's point of view helped me to understand him better.

Michael never questioned that I could communicate with him, although I kept asking him if he had any explanation. I mean, I was human. Humans don't see each other's thoughts, or what the other person is doing. The divorce rate would probably skyrocket if that was the case.

"Who cares, Liz?" he said, shrugging his shoulders and waving his hands. "Maybe Max changed you or something when he healed you. Maybe this is just a new power of mine manifesting itself. Who knows?"

And of course we couldn't tell the others. How would we explain that?

So we kept it quiet.


"Michael -" Max dragged me into one of the rooms at the convention. "- I've got to talk to you about something - personal."

He's coming to me for advice? I shrugged. "Nothing's too personal."

"How'd you do it with Maria?"


"Too personal."

"No, I mean..."

I knew he was going to say it.

And I couldn't stop it.

" did you stop? I can't stop thinking about Liz..."

I knew it. He wanted her back. He wanted Liz.

My Liz.

Of course he wants her, Guerin.

She's Liz.

"...everytime I see her, she just starts going into slow motion."

My fingernails cut into my palms. I folded my arms to hide it.

He wanted her back. Just like I told her he did.

I didn't know whether to help him or hit him.

Lie close to the truth...

"Maxwell," I said, "- you've gotta be strong. You can't let yourself be led around by your - energy source."

He nodded.

"It wasn't easy for me, either -" I trailed off, thinking about her. In the shower.

Close to the truth, Guerin.

"- you gotta throw yourself into something else. Anything else. Something just to get your mind off her."

Good luck with that.

He looked thoughtful. "Throw myself into something."

I nodded, completing the lie.

I knew it wouldn't work from personal experience. I'd gone through twelve sketchpads. That only made it worse.

Nothing helped.

I almost felt sorry for him.


I pushed my way through the convention. Maybe Is was right - maybe it was psychologically damaging.

No. It was just the thought of Max with Liz.

What's your problem, Guerin?

Isn't this what you said you wanted?

I shoved my hands in my pockets and bit down on my lip. I could feel the anger boiling up.

Come on, Guerin, don't be stupid -

I looked over and saw some kind of boxing ring with a sign. "Alien Takedown".

"What's that, some kind of wrestling match?"

"Yeah," someone said. I turned around. It was Maria. "Do you have a problem with that?"

She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Well, I had to take it out on somebody.

"Yeah, you know what, I do," I said. "I'm here trying to figure out the meaning of my existence, and I'm tired of having to wade through the kooks like you and the freak shows like this in order to do it."

"Nothing personal, but this freak show keeps my kooky daughter and myself off the streets."

Older chick. Cute.

"Mom, Michael. Michael, mom."

"Nice to meet you," she lied. And left.

"Great first impression," Maria muttered.

Was she never going to get it?

"Why would I want to make an impression?"

She looked hurt. Good. I had plenty to spread around.

I immediately felt worse.


I'd just found Max again when I saw Liz coming towards him. Think fast, Guerin.

It was the only thing I could think of.

I ducked over to the information booth. "Mud," I said.


"When you're with her, think about mud," I hissed. "It helped me."

"Michael, I don't need some trick," he said. "I can handle this."

Fine, Evans, I thought, shaking my head. Fail on your own. I backed away from the booth.

"Hi," she said. "Um, I just wanted to talk to you about the luncheon that we're catering."

"Oh, yeah, if it's work-related..."


"...sure. It's just...I'm kind of busy."

I rolled my eyes. Oh, great fake, Maxwell. She kept talking and Max's eyes glazed over.

Man. Is that what I looked like when she talked to me?


I faded back into the crowd. No point in somebody seeing me spy on Max and Liz. I wasn't in the mood to answer questions.

I had more of those than I could handle.

I didn't go to her house that night.


"Another refill?"

"Thanks." She looked tired. Jen, of Larry and Jen. The couple who'd seen the shooting.

I'd warned Max at the convention yesterday. Why wasn't he doing anything?

What do you want him to do, Liz?

"You know this is going to be your eighth cup," I said. "Do you want to switch to decaf?"

"Why, do I look wired to you? Strung out?"

"Nonono, you don't...not at all," I said. "- it's just that your eyes are a little bit red."

"Great. Now he's going to know I've been crying. He hates it when I cry."

I took a wild stab. "Larry?"

"I guess I'd better go," she said, standing up.

He hates it when I cry.

I knew how she felt.

"Wait," I said, reaching into my pocket and pulling out a tissue. "Here. Here. Put this on your eyes," I said, handing it to her. She stopped and took it from me. "He'll never know."


"Maxwell, you gotta show me the real guys," I muttered. Close to two days wasted. "I'm sick and tired of talking to all these frauds. I mean, you're on the inside. Where are the real guys?"

"There are no real guys," he said. "It's a freak show."

There had to be somebody. I looked around.

"Who's that?"

Max hesitated. I knew it. He was holding out on me.


"Come on, Max, don't -" I saw someone else. I knew that face -

I flashed back to the crashdown. The day Liz was shot. He was there.

"He's been hanging around," Max said. "I'm sure he's just here for the convention."

Did I have to do everything myself?

"I'm gonna go keep an eye on him." I said.


"- we stopped in here for breakfast that day," Jen said. "And we've been on the road ever since."

"No marriage license?"

"You know how guys get hooked on things? So obsessed with something, they forget about you?"

Michael hadn't come to my house last night. obsessed they forget about you...

"Yeah," I murmured.

She kept talking. I thought about Michael. Was he back at the convention? Probably, looking for some clue from the crash. From more than 50 years ago.

Why didn't he come to see me?

"- just want to settle down. I really want a normal guy," Jen finished.

Normal. Holding hands. Going on dates. I sighed.

"I can understand that."

"You got one, too, huh? A unique boyfriend?"

"Unique? Yeah, that's a good word for M-"

I almost said his name. Michael.

Well, Maria was at the convention. Jen was a tourist. What if I told her -

No one can know, Liz.

"- for Max."

Now I was the one who wanted to cry.


I paced through the convention hall, furious with Max. That guy from the crashdown, the guy who'd seen everything, had told everyone in the building what had happened.

Sure, nobody believed him - developing a sudden case of the itches helped - but that wasn't the point.

Get real, Guerin. You're mad about Liz.

Well, that was part of it.

He'd just stood there, while that guy had spilled everything about that day at the crashdown, Max saving Liz's life, even pointing him out to the crowd, for god's sake, and he just stood there like a deer in the headlights. Maybe I did have to do everything.

So I did what I always did. Protected him. Again.

And you're going to give him Liz. On a silver platter. Aren't you, Guerin?

I wanted to hit him.

If I did that, I'd have to explain. And I've never been good at explaining.

I thought about her - the way she pulled me closer to her, the way her hair felt in my hands, the way she moaned into my mouth when I kissed her.

Then I thought about her with Max. White-hot rage ran through me. I barely controlled the urge to rip down the displays in front of me.

Something had to give.

I clenched my hands and shoved them in my pockets. Control, Guerin.

I didn't think control was going to work much longer.

Then I heard her. Maria's Mom. She was talking on a cell.

"- Ernie, you have nothing to be afraid of. I realize you suffered a broken rib last year - fine, 2, I - Look, Ernie, if you don't do this, I'm broke. Hello? Hello? Oh -"

She started crying. I looked over at the ring. "Alien Takedown".

Two broken ribs.

I thought about Max and Liz.

Getting beaten to a pulp sounded great.


Well, that was interesting, I thought, lying on the mat. It was the right hook that killed me. I started to get up and immediately changed my mind.

At least I wouldn't be hitting Max anytime soon. I couldn't move.

Someone was squealing. The mask came off.

Maria and her mom were staring at me. Maria looked stunned.

"I'm just resting," I muttered. Her mom shrieked something and ran off.


I finally sat up. Maria was staring at me. She smiled and put her hands on my face.

She was going to kiss me.

I tried not to think about Liz.

If she has to be with Max -

I didn't try to stop her.

Maybe it would work.

She pulled me in, soft lips against mine -

It didn't work.

In fact, I felt worse.

You knew it wouldn't work, Guerin.

Yeah. I did. All I could think about was long, dark hair and those lips...

What had I done to us?

Maria pulled away from me. I looked at her eyes. They were pretty.

Just the wrong color.

Liz belongs with Max, Guerin.

No. She doesn't.

Let her go, Guerin.

I didn't know what I thought anymore.

"Mud," I mumbled.


"Mud," I said, my muscles finally starting to work. I tried to get up. "I'm thinking about mud."


Max was leaving. With that guy. The one he wouldn't tell me anything about. What the hell -

Then I saw him. The guy who'd told everybody about Max saving Liz.

"What's that guy doing with Max?"

"I don't know."

I grabbed him and threw him against a wall. It felt good.

So much for getting my aggression out.

"Tell me what he's doing with Max!"

He was scared and talking fast. "- he came up to me after the panel discussion. He asked me questions about Max. What he did the day of the shooting." The day of the shooting - He was going to kill Max.

I dropped the guy like a freeweight and ran after the jeep.

It's too far. They've got the jeep. You'll never catch them.

I didn't stop until I found them.


"Get outta here. The both of you. You were never here."

Max didn't move. Valenti had just shot the guy.


The guy was dead, and Max wasn't moving.

"Max - come on, let's go," I said, pulling him to the jeep. "The guy was crazy, Max, all right? He didn't know what he was talking about."

"I don't think he was crazy, Michael. I think the one we've been looking for has killed people - a lot of people."

I took the keys. "Get in," I said.

"I'm fine, Michael -"

"Get. In."

I put the key in the ignition and drove back toward Roswell. He didn't say anything for a while.

"Max, you okay?"

"What? - Yeah," he mumbled. "I'm fine."

Fine. I shook my head.

"Maybe I'll call Liz tomorrow," he said.

My hands froze on the wheel.

"To talk about this," he finished.

I bit my lip. Tell him.

Tell him -

"Right," I said. "Good idea."

I felt sick.

What are you gonna do, Guerin?


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