Flowers and Musk

I was getting worried about Maria.

Bellybutton piercings, aqua bras, lying about dates with college men... I don't know. I think she was starting to unravel.

Michael said she was fine. He'd given her the napkin holder, whatever that meant, and told her flat out that he couldn't get involved.

"I told her I couldn't get indebted or entangled," he said, late at night, in the darkness of my room. "I told her I have to be a stone wall."

"Because if you're not -"

"Then I might tell her," Michael said.

About us.

Despite Michael's indifferent approach to this secret life we were living, I think it was bothering him, too. That made me feel a little better, that I wasn't the only one grappling with the twists and turns of a moral slalom.

I can't get entangled.

How was I supposed to take that?

We were building a house of cards, and we had to make sure it didn't come crashing down around us.


Michael, Max and Isabel were talking at one of the Crashdown tables. I was mixing up tables and forgetting orders. Having Michael at work was really distracting.

Plus, Maria was on this anti-czechoslovakian tear.

"- if you don't stay away from them, Liz, I'm gonna be picking up the pieces of your heart for the rest of your life."

I hope not.

"- I am staying away from him, Maria," I said. "Max and I haven't even talked to each other for days."

It was nice to be able to tell the truth about something.



"Then why has he been staring at you since he came in?"

I turned around. Max was staring at me.

So was Michael.

He was looking right at me. I couldn't help smiling.

"Am I gonna have to do an intervention with you? Liz, make him think that you are over him, that your life is so exciting - lie if you have to."

That would be easy to remember.

They came up to pay their bill. "Hey," Max said.

"Hey," I smiled. I tried not to look at Michael. Max said something. I tried to catch the last bit of it.

"- haven't seen you in a couple of days."

"I -" Michael stared at me. Focus, Liz - "- uh, it's been kind of busy.

"She means she's been kind of busy," Maria interrupted. "Actually, we've both been kind of busy. Getting ready for the big weekend and all."


Max looked confused. "You have a big weekend?"

"Dates," she said. "We have dates. With men."

"Men?" Michael said.

"These college guys that we met during winter break and, um, they're taking us out for dinner," Maria said. "An expensive dinner."

Oh, Maria...

"Great," Max said. "Well, have a good time." They walked out.

"Maria," I said as soon as they left, "- look, I know that you're just trying to, you know, be helpful and everything but -"

"Liz, trust me. It's for your own good. Ok?"

For my own good.

What if I told her the truth?

I sighed. It was no good. She'd hate me. She had every reason to.

I would.

"Yeah," I said. I watched him walk away from the cafe. He didn't look back.

Of course he didn't. He's with Max.

Maria was swearing Alex was going to be her next project. Poor Alex. He had it really bad.

And you don't?

I sighed and picked up my order pad.


I didn't think much about the sighting. People are always seeing things around Roswell, and I don't really consider Milton an objective source.

Then I saw Max and Isabel, waiting for their names to be called for the fathers' camping weekend.

Isabel? Camping?


Then it hit me. They were there because the sighting was real. They were going to look for something.

"Oh, god," I said. "Oh my god."

Michael hadn't told me.

Could they not have told him?

No. I remembered seeing Max go into the eraser room, and then Michael followed him. That had to be about the sighting. Michael knew.

Michael didn't want me to know. Why?

Maybe they were going to leave. No one had ever made contact with them before. Maybe this was what they'd been waiting for. A way home.

And Michael would go.

I had to do something.


We were in Frazier Woods, at the campground. My mind was racing. If they went off looking for something, maybe I could follow them. I checked my flashlight and put my hiking boots by my sleeping bag.

I was in the middle of brushing my teeth when Max showed up.

"Always be prepared," Max said.

Even if a guy is your ex, you still don't want him to see you spitting out toothpaste.

"Contrary to what some people might think," I said, turning away, "Gambling is not a dental hygiene alternative."

"Liz, wait -"

I turned around.

"Is this the way that things are gonna be between us, from now on?"

"You were the one that wanted it this way, Max."

"No, I didn't. I wanted us -" he looked for the right words. "To, you know, slow down, not screech to a halt."

Too late, Max.

Maybe they were going to find something. And then what?

Three to beam up?

If Michael wasn't going to tell me what was going on, I was going to find out on my own.

"You know," I said. "I've been - I have been waiting for you to be the one to bring it up, but you don't. You're here because of the sighting, Max."

"Please, no one else can know."

I was getting tired of hearing that.

"Max, I know you think that we shouldn't be together," I paused. "And, you know - maybe you're right."

He looked at me.

"But you made me a part of this, Max."

I understood why Michael wanted to protect him so much.

All I could think about is what could be in those woods, and that I wanted to protect Michael.


They didn't like it when I found them in the middle of the night.

"Go back right now," Max said.

"Max, this matters to me, too." I couldn't even begin to explain how much. "Don't leave me out of this."

I thought about Michael. Leaving. About locking my window, and no one opening it. Ever.

"Max," I whispered. "Please."

He gave in.

Then Maria showed up. Isabel nearly had a stroke.


"Liz, you're going with them?"

"Make up your mind, Maria," I said. "I've made up mine."

"You can't let go of him, can you?"

I thought about the way he kissed me. His hands in my hair, on my neck, touching my lips.

It was an easy choice.

"I don't want to," I said, and ran into the dark.

I didn't leave them until the search dogs were almost on us.


We'd just gotten back from the woods. My dad had spent the drive back talking about the importance of open communication, and Maria kept muttering something about $62.50 being slave wages. Max and Isabel had been there, and even though we didn't have a chance to talk, I felt better seeing them. At least they weren't beamed up into space somewhere.

That meant Michael was probably still here, too.

I just wanted a shower.

We dropped Maria off and I ran upstairs. I'm fully convinced that no one can fully appreciate a shower until you've spent a weekend in the woods. I threw my bags on the bed and headed for my bathroom.

I stared in the mirror. I was an unbelievable mess. I picked a leaf out of my hair and turned the bathtub faucet on full, as hot as I could stand it. I couldn't wait to be clean again.

I took my clothes off and ran my hand under the water. Just right. I pulled the lever for the shower and waited. A minute later, the room was filling up with steam.

I stepped under the hot, clean water and felt the tension melt from my body.


I looked through her window. No Liz.


Her dad's car was there. Maria had been home hours ago. Where was she?

I leaned against the wall to wait and thought about Nasedo. He was coming back. He'd left the signal for us.

My only family.

I looked back into her room. Still nothing. I was turning back to look at the stars when I heard it.


Washing her hands?... No, it was too much water for that -

She was taking a shower.

Oh, my.

The thought of Liz Parker taking a shower.

It was kind of - overwhelming. My heart beat faster.

I didn't know if my energy source could take it.

I thought about her soft skin. Warm water. Soap.

Lots of soap.

Shampoo. Bubble bath. Those sneaky, hard-to-reach places...

I closed my eyes.

The water was almost too hot, flowing over her body. She was rinsing conditioner out of her long, dark hair, facing away from the shower, lightly rolling her head left, then right, letting the water run down her neck, her shoulders, her back.

She leaned over and reached for something near the wall. A bottle of that liquid soap stuff. What did they call it?

Body wash.

She turned the bottle upside-down and pearly liquid pooled in the palm of her left hand. She put the bottle back and rubbed her hands together slowly.

She tilted her head back, letting the hot water run over her face. Her hands came up onto her shoulders, smoothing the substance into her skin. It smelled like flowers and musk.

I don't know how much more of this I can take, I thought.

She froze. Looked left, then right, then stared at the wall. Her eyes were wide.

What was -


I opened my eyes. I was on the rooftop. What the -


She was standing by the window. Wrapped in one of those fluffy, white bathrobes. Water was pouring off her in rivulets.

"Uh - hey," I said.

"Don't 'hey' me," she hissed. "What was that?"

"What was -"

"I heard you, Michael," she said. "In. My. Head."

"Wh -"

"In. The. SHOWER!"

"But I -"

"What -" she paused. "What the hell were you doing, Michael?"

"I don't know," I said quickly. She was furious. "Liz, I swear, I don't know. I thought I was -"

"Get off my rooftop."

"Liz -"

"Damnit, Michael, get out of here!" She hissed. She grabbed for something. I think she was actually going to throw something at me.

"Liz, wait -" I said, backing up. "I didn't mean to!"

"Oh, sure," she said. "Right."

"No, really -"

"What else can you do, Michael?" She said. At least her hands were on her hips. I tried to remember if she had any sharp objects in her room. "Can you spy on me all the time?"

"Liz!" I tried to keep my voice down. "I've never spied on you. I didn't even think about it."

She looked at me. Suspicious.

"It never even occurred to me," I said. "I mean, yeah, I knew you were taking a shower, but I wasn't trying to - spy on you," I finished lamely. "I thought I was just, you know, imagining it."

"Imagining it," she said. Her eyes narrowed. "If you're not telling me the truth -"

"Truth," I said quickly. "Absolute truth. I wouldn't lie to you."

"Wouldn't lie to me," she said quietly.

"Right," I said, relaxing a bit.

"You," she paused, licked her lips. Was she getting mad again? "You wouldn't. Lie to me. Right, Michael?"

"Right," I said again.

"What about the sighting, Michael?"

I froze.

"You knew there was something. You knew it was real, and you didn't tell me."

I sighed and rubbed my eyes. "They told you."

"It's common sense, Michael. Isabel camping? Please," she pulled her robe tighter. "I knew they were looking for something."

"We found it," I said.

She paused. "You did?"

"Yeah," I said. "That's why I was coming here tonight. To tell you."

"Oh," she said. "What did you find?"

"A sign, burned into the ground," I sighed. "It lit up when the three of us put our hands over it."

"And that's it?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "Well - yeah," I said. "I suppose, if you think someone leaving a sign for the three of us can be filed under 'that's it'."

"No," she said quickly. "I mean - you're staying?"

Then I got it.

She was scared we were all going to be gone. "Yeah," I said softly. "We're not leaving."

Yet, Guerin.

I always said that. We're not leaving yet.

I didn't want to say it now.

"Oh," she said. Was she smiling?

I came back over to the window. She moved back so I could climb through.

She smelled like flowers.

Flowers and musk.

"Liz - I really didn't know. About the shower."

She nodded. "I - Thanks," she said softly. "It was weird."

Well, that was one word for it.

"How did you -"

I shrugged. "I don't know, I just -" This was embarrassing. "- I thought about you. And then, you know, it was like I was -"

"- there with me," she whispered.

"Yeah," I said.

Her skin was still wet under the bathrobe. I could see the beads of water on her neck. Her hair was nearly black, slick against her body.

"Could you, you know - see me?"

"Oh yeah," I said. Her head snapped up. "I mean, no. No, no, no, too steamy." I cleared my throat. "Couldn't see a thing."

She shook her head and sat down on the bed.

"It was weird," I said. "It was like I could see what you saw and see you at the same time."

She put her head in her hands and muttered something about her mother.

"Liz, how did you know I was -" I started over. "How did you know it was me?"

"You said something about not being able to take it," she said. She looked up at me. "I know your voice, Michael."

"Ah," I said, looking away. "Well. That would do it." I felt completely humiliated.

"It's - okay, Michael."

"Right," I said.

"No," she stood up, put her hand on my shoulder. "I mean it. It was - scary, I mean - I've never heard someone's voice like that before." She dropped her hand. "Plus, you know, I was in the shower -"

I nodded and looked down.

"But I wasn't scared that it was you."

I looked at her. She was serious.

Her eyes looked at my lips, then back at my eyes. She had beautiful eyes. And lips.

Maybe I'd sketch her soon. When she was asleep.

I leaned in to kiss her. Her arms went around my neck, drawing me in to her. My arm went around her waist and pulled her closer to me.

Her skin was still warm from the shower.


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