Summary: Can the lovers overcome all the challenges thrown at them and have a happy ending?
Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue.
Liz awoke very late the next morning with a sickening feeling in her gut. ‘Future Max’ had disappeared last night, so she must have changed the future. Max must have fallen out of love with her. The thought tormented her as it passed through her mind. Max no longer loved her. Max probably hated her. Never again would she feel the soft touch of Max’s lips upon her own. He would never again climb up her fire escape late at night just to see her face. And never again would she hear him utter her favourite words, ‘I love you.’
She was glad it was Saturday, and she wasn’t on the rota for the Crashdown. She had made no commitments to anyone or anything, and she planned to spend the day on her own, in bed, grieving over what she had deliberately thrown away the night before. Tears started to trickle down her cheeks as she recalled the grief stricken face outside her window. A few more joined them as she wondered despondently if she would ever have the opportunity to explain, if the timing would ever be right, if Max would ever even speak to her again. A sob caught in her throat as she contemplated the very real possibility that Max Evans, the love of her life, her soul-mate, would never again even deign to give her the time of day. Just as her tears were threatening to become a flood, she heard a tap against her window. Looking up, and wiping tears away from her eyes with her pyjama sleeve, she was surprised to see Tess’s face at her window. Nonetheless, she climbed out of bed and went to open the window.
“What are you here for?” she sniffled.
“I think we should have a talk.” Tess replied.
“Max. You. Me.”
“I guess you better come in.”
Liz stepped aside to let Tess clamber in the window. Taking a paper tissue from a box on her dresser, she wiped her cheeks and sat on the edge of her bed, leaving Tess to take her desk chair.
“Liz,” Tess started. “I know what happened last night. What really happened. What I don’t know is why.”
“Wait. How do you know?”
“I bumped into Max last night in the park. He was…upset…and we talked. He told me what he saw here last night. He wasn’t in any state to give me details, and I figured he didn’t really know what was going on anyway. So I talked to Kyle early this morning.”
“I kinda confronted him about it. Went at him pretty hard with what I’d gathered from Max. I hadn’t really realised until then how important his answers were to me. Not just to Max.”
“What are you trying to say?” asked Liz, a bit confused. Tess took a deep breath and looked Liz right in the eye.
“I guess I’m trying to tell you that, somewhere along the line, although my mind didn’t recognise it at the time, my heart stopped waiting for Max to turn around and love me. It went right on and found someone else. And then last night, well, last night when Max told me what he’d seen, it hurt. And not because Max was hurting. But because my heart felt betrayed.”
“You mean you have feelings for Kyle?” Liz was astonished.
“Yes. I guess that’s why I challenged him about it this morning. Eventually, he confessed that it had all been a set up. Something about you wanting Max to fall out of love with you.”
“He also told me he didn’t know why. He said you wouldn’t tell him. I need to know this now. Is it anything to do with me?”
“Well, in a roundabout way, yes. If I tell you the complete truth, can you promise me it won’t go any further? At least for the moment.”
“Yes. I just need to know.”
“The night before last, Max came to see me. But it wasn’t Max from this time. It was a Max from the future. At first I didn’t believe it, but then he knew things that only a Max from the future would. He told me about his time. All of our friends were dead. The skins had attacked and everyone was gone except us.”
“And he was sure it could be prevented. He was sure that they could have beaten them had you not been compelled to leave town. Because Max ignored you to the point where you couldn’t take it anymore and you left. The four of you are stronger together, he said. They needed you to win. And he figured that the only way to make Max pay more attention to you, maybe fall in love with you, we had to get him to…to…fall out of love…” A few tears started to leak out of the corners of Liz’s eyes. “…with me.”
“So you concocted your plan.”
“I tried lots of other things first. I didn’t, I don’t want to hurt him. But nothing worked.”
“So you set the thing up with Kyle.”
“Yes. I knew Max was coming over to see me. Future Max had told me. So yes, I set the thing up with Kyle so that he would see us in bed together, leap to conclusions, and…and…you know.”
“Fall out of love with you.”
Tess looked rueful. “If only I’d been able to recognise what was in my heart sooner, then maybe you and Max could have been spared all this pain.”
“You mean the Kyle thing.”
“Yes. If I’d realised how I felt about him even a week ago, then you wouldn’t have had to put yourself through so much. Put Max though so much.”
“So your feelings for Kyle are pretty serious then?”
“Have you said anything to him about this?”
Tess blushed. “Yes.” She smiled slightly shyly. “I told him this morning when I was asking him about last night. He wanted to know exactly why it was so important to me and I kind of blurted it out. Accidentally.”
“Oh…what did he say?”
“Not a lot, really. He just looked at me for ages. I think he was trying to figure out if I was joking. And then he…well, he just kissed me.”
Liz started. “Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“What are you gonna do about it?”
“After that, we sat down together and talked. We’re gonna give it a try. You know, together.”
“What happened to the whole ‘destiny’ thing?”
“That was something I thought a lot about in bed last night. And I came to an important conclusion. A conclusion I think Max, Michael and Isabel reached a long time ago. I’m not who I used to be. I’m not Ava, at least not 100% Ava. She’s a part of me, maybe like my alien half, but she’s not all of who I am anymore. I’ve been given a second chance at life, and I don’t need to spend it trying to recreate my first life. One couple that are clearly not meant to be is Tess and Max. Zan and Ava may have been very happy together, but we’re not those people anymore.”
“That’s a lot to come to terms with in one night.”
“I didn’t really sleep much. My brain was whirring all night, trying to make sense of everything I’m feeling. Trying to sort out where I really belong on Earth. And it’s not in Max Evans’ arms. I think we could be great friends, but we’re just not meant for each other.”
“And you think maybe you and Kyle are?”
“I don’t know. I guess we just need to wait and see how it turns out.”
“What about his dad?” The thought very suddenly popped into Liz’s head.
“We’re gonna have to tell him at some point, I suppose. Probably better to be sooner rather than later. At this moment, it’s all just so complicated, and I have no idea what we’re gonna do about that.”
“You’ll figure it out. Eventually.”
“Hopefully. The same goes for you too.”
“Huh? I don’t think I’m following you.”
“You and Max. I’ve been going over all the times I've seen you together, and maybe I’ve been blinded by my devotion to the whole destiny thing, but I never realised before how perfect you are for each other. You need to go see him. Explain. Try and sort things out between you two.”
“I don’t know that we can.”
“You have to try. Even if it doesn’t work out with Kyle, I’m not going anywhere, so you can rest easy on that front. I’m telling you Liz, he loves you.”
“He hates me. He’s bound to after what I subjected him to last night.”
“He doesn’t want to though. He doesn’t want to believe what he saw. You need to go to him. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t at least give it a shot.”
“I guess…but he’ll never listen to me.”
“Make him. Liz, a love like the one you have with Max comes along once in a lifetime. You can’t just let it go.
With that, Tess suddenly stood up and climbed out the window, leaving Liz alone to ponder just how she should go about winning Max’s love…all over again.