Secrets and Lies

I moved quickly around the apartment, hiding sketchpads and charcoal drawings of Liz that I'd left out the night before. Max kissed Tess. In front of Liz. I knew he was coming here.

I slammed a drawer shut and grabbed a bowl out of the cupboard. I should be happy. He was kissing Tess, not Liz, why was I so angry about it?

Because she was worried about him. He was kissing somebody else and she was worried about him -

I poured cereal and milk in the bowl at the same time, setting the gallon jug down with too much force. The milk sloshed out the top and onto the counter. I moved to the chair and sat down, spooning the food into my mouth quickly, trying to relax.

Act like nothing's wrong. Nothing's wrong. Nothing's -

He stormed into the room, soaking wet, water running off him in rivulets.

Play it cool, Guerin -

"What are you doing here?" I asked.

"I'm in trouble, Michael," He breathed, pacing past me and then back again. "I don't know what's happening to me."

Bait the hook. "I'm not in the mood right now, Maxwell -"

"I kissed Tess," He said quickly.

I looked at him carefully. "You what?"

"It was like - like something was controlling me," He said lamely.

"What's wrong with you?"

"I'm telling you, that it isn't me -"

"First you talk to Valenti behind my back, and now you're kissing Tess behind Liz's," I said, my teeth clenching around the flesh in my mouth. "Nice, Maxwell."

"Michael, you've got to listen to me, please," He was getting frantic. "You're the only one I can talk to about this -"

Maybe that apology in the crashdown wasn't enough for me. He had Liz and he wanted someone else -

I knew she was fearless. But somewhere, deep down, that had to hurt.

"- I'm telling you, there's something else going on!"

"Why come to me, huh?" I asked, turning on him. "Why not go talk to your new buddy Valenti about it, alright?"

"Would you leave it alone, already? He gave us back the orb. Maybe he isn't just out to get us -"

I shook my head and almost laughed. Valenti. On our side.

"Right. Sure," I said.

"I didn't tell him anything," Max insisted. "Can't you understand that?"

"No, the thing I can't understand is that I used to admire you, Maxwell," I snapped.

His eyes flickered. The truth hurt. Good.

"You were solid," I said, twisting the edge. "Someone I could trust. Even more than I could trust myself. And Liz trusted you, Maxwell."

He was shaking his head. Wasn't even going to step up to it. It's someone else. Something else. But it's not me.

Liz was worried about him. We were both protecting him. Why?

"I don't know who you are anymore, Maxwell," I said, standing up and moving to the kitchen. "Get the hell out of my house."

He grabbed me from the back, his hands whipping me around to face him. "No, Michael -"

"Take your hands off of me," I snarled. Not again. No way was he gonna hit me again. My hands lit up.

"Listen to me!" He yelled, pushing me backwards. I shoved at him and he gripped me tighter, shoving me back, my back slamming into the fridge, knocking the air out of my lungs. My instincts were screaming and my palms were blistering.

"Michael, listen to me -"

He was gonna let go. Now-

"Michael," He said, looking up. His hands relaxed. He looked -


I saw it when I turned around. A small black object. The fire in my hands cooled.

"What the hell," I whispered.

A camera.

Someone was spying on us.


She was pacing on the rooftop when I came over the ledge.

"I was worried," She whispered, coming closer to me. "Is everything -"

I shook my head and put my fingers to my lips, pulling her into the shadows of the rooftop and glancing around. She fell silent and followed me back against the wall.

"We found a camera in my house," I hissed. "Someone's been watching me."

Her jaw dropped and her eyes widened. "But - Michael, how long?"

"I don't know," I whispered, still looking around. "Days, maybe weeks. Maybe Topolsky planted it, but -"

"- But it could have been someone else," She finished. Her voice was a murmur.

I nodded. "Yeah. It could have been Valenti."

She looked up at me, her eyes wide. "Michael - the hunter-"

I nodded. Or the hunter. She was staring at the floor.

"Liz, I'm - I'm sorry," I said. She looked up at me.

"For what?" She whispered, her hand coming up to my face, her touch gentle on my skin, tracing my jawline. I felt a soft tingle where her fingers lingered on my skin and knew her hands were lighting up.

"Liz, whoever placed that camera there, they might, uh-" I swallowed hard. "They might know about us, Liz."

She looked up at me. "Because of that night," She said slowly. "In your apartment."

My breath caught just thinking about it. "Yeah," I breathed. "I'm sorry, Liz, I -"

Her shoulders shook and I tried to pull her in to comfort her. It took me a second to realize it.

She was laughing.

"What -" I stepped back, looking at her closer. "What are you laughing about?"

"I'm sorry," She said, her hand covering her mouth. "Michael, if it was there before that night, then they have no proof. Because of the pulse."

The EMP.

Memories flooded back, the scent and warmth of her skin, the taste of her, how it felt as if she was perfect, something forbidden, delicious and exotic, and -

I tried to focus.

"Okay," I said, nodding. "True, they wouldn't have any record. Unless there was an immediate feed, I guess."

"Alex would know," She volunteered. "He loves technological stuff. He could look at it."

I pursed my lips, letting my hands run over her shoulders and pulling her closer to me. "Good. Then we'll talk to him tomorrow."

She was still smiling. I could feel the swell of her smile against my chest, her lips turning to kiss the fabric of my shirt...

And then the smile faded and she was silent.

I didn't want to bring him up first.

We stood there in the dark for a few seconds, holding tight to each other, don't say it, I thought, don't say it, just -

"How was Max?"

I sighed, trying not to relax my arms, to let her go. I guess she had to ask sooner or later.

I'd been hoping for later.

"He was - bad," I said, shaking my head. "He's got problems."

"Did he say why he kissed her?"

"No," I said shortly. "He had lots of excuses, though."

"Like what?"

"Oh, 'I didn't mean to', 'I couldn't control it'..." I shook my head, releasing her briefly to wave my hands. "You know, stupid excuses. Next thing you know he's going to be spilling everything to Valenti and expecting all of us to trust him."

She was quiet for a minute. "Michael... maybe he's telling the truth."

I shook my head. "Liz - why do you always believe the best about him?"

She looked up at me. "Why do you always believe the worst about him?"

I stared at her eyes, warm and beautiful, dark like chocolate, like coffee, the little flecks of gold -

"I didn't," I said. "Until tonight."

She looked at me thoughtfully, her teeth pulling the soft flesh of her lip. "Until he kissed Tess," She said.

"Liz, come on," I said, throwing my hands in the air. "What, 'oh, you're the only one for me', and 'I could never be with anyone else' and then five seconds later he's kissing some chick?"

"Michael, that's my point," She stressed. "It's not like him. Maybe he's telling us the truth about not being able to control it -"

"Why are you making excuses for him?"

"Michael!" She said, her eyes flashing. "Come on, Michael. Stop being jealous."

"Jealous?" My arms dropped. "What - you think I'm -"

"Jealous," She said. "Look, I don't like it either, but we said we were -"

"You think I'm -" I shook my head, my hands on my hips. "Jealous of - of what? Of him jerking you around you like this, telling you one thing and then doing the total opposite? Of him lying to you?"

She looked up at me. "So you don't believe him," She said slowly.

"Believe him? No. Liz, he may be going through something, but how could she be doing anything to him? That's ridiculous. The guy's losing it, Liz, and I don't like the way he's -"

She moved quickly, her arms wrapping around my neck, rising up to cover my mouth with hers, her lips soft like silk on mine, her lips parting slightly like an exotic gift, warmth melting against me and the soft, delicious curves of her body pressing up against me. My hands left the air and settled on her hair, tangling up and drowning in the softness of it, the cool sliding sensation of my hands slipping through it and I caught the scent of her, flowers and musk and -

She pulled back and smiled lazily at me. "Whoa," I said. "What was -"

"That," She whispered, her lips hovering over mine, "Was for being protective."

"Oh," I muttered. She leaned in and kissed me again and she tasted sweet, I thought in a calm delirium, like vanilla and -

"And that," She said, "Is for wanting me all to yourself."

"I - what?"

"Michael," She whispered, her breath warm against my lips, "It's okay. I understand."

Understand what? "I don't -"

"That you want me all to yourself," She whispered. "That you don't like sharing me with Max."

I looked at her, blinking twice.

That wasn't it. That couldn't be it.

"You think this is about Max," I said slowly. "That I hate sharing you. With Max."

Her eyebrows went up and she shrugged. "Yeah," She said simply. "Pretty much. I'm not crazy about it either, you know."

"You're not."

"No," She said, leaning in again. "I mean - I think we're doing the right thing, for the most part - it does make Maria happy to be with you, and until tonight, I thought that my being with Max helped him." She smiled a little. "And yeah, it's erotic, and I never thought I'd have that sensation of, you know, you and Max at the same time -"

"Do we really have to talk about this," I muttered.

"- but sometimes when I feel the both of you, it - it reminds you that you're not the only one touching me," She finished softly.

I stared at her. She knew everything. Sometimes I thought she knew stuff about me before I knew it.

How did she do that?

"Sometimes I - I really hate that, Michael," She whispered, looking up at me. "That you're not the only one touching me."

He still shouldn't have gone to Valenti, I thought. There was a camera in my room, we were being watched, someone was on to us -

But she was right. Everything she was talking about was part of it. All the resentment I was feeling toward him -

"I'm not great with this -" I waved my hands. "- emotion stuff. Not with Max. I mean, you - us, I mean, I - " I looked down at her. "I get that. It makes sense, I understand it, but him and me, we're just..."

"Michael - you and me, the whole alien thing - this is about as complicated as it could get," She whispered. "Most couples just have to worry about communication, honesty, stuff like that. It's not surprising your feelings are intense and, you know - complex. "

She was right. But still. I shook my head. "I should have better control over it," I muttered.

"I'm sure he's thinking the same thing," She whispered, her hand slipping over my cheek and brushing my hair to the side.

"It's not like him," She said slowly. "It doesn't make sense..."

I rolled my eyes. "Alright - when are you supposed to see him?"

She looked up at me. "Tomorrow morning," She said slowly. "Why?"

I shrugged. "Well, if he tells you about it, then he's telling you the truth. That's a 'Max' thing to do, isn't it?"

She bit her lip. "I - maybe. I don't know."

I snorted. "Please. If he tells you, fine, I'm wrong and we'll deal with it from there. But if he doesn't tell you, then he's lying and just making excuses."

She rolled her eyes. "Michael, we are sneaking around behind his back. It's not like we have room to talk -"

"Yeah, well, whatever," I said sharply.

She looked at me closely, opened her mouth to say something and changed her mind.

I tried to move on to the next problem. Tess had military at her house. There was a camera in my kitchen. Max was talking to Valenti. I slammed my head back against the wall in frustration and felt her flinch slightly.

I didn't know which problem to tackle first.

"Michael," She said, her hands fingering the fabric of my shirt, "Maybe we shouldn't be thinking about this right now."

"I don't know how to not think about it," I said, rolling my eyes and bringing my hands up to my face. Damnit, Guerin -

I felt the soft, warm wetness first, her mouth on my neck, her tongue slow and soft and languid on my skin, teasing the reaction from me, the low whisper of a moan that slipped out on her breath, her mouth melting against my skin. I clutched her tight to me, my palms warming quickly, turning her head so I could kiss her softly but she was pulling me tighter to her body, arching against me, and I -

She broke the kiss and looked up at me, her eyes smoldering, her breathing shallow.

"I have a couple of ideas," She murmured.


"It's not Valenti, Michael."

I shook my head. "He's sucking you in, Max. You don't even know it. He's watching us...always has been." I gestured at the camera. "Now he's just using toys."

"This would wipe out the budget for the Roswell PD for the entire year."

"Well, then maybe it's Tess and her father," I said, leaning over the table. "If they're FBI, they'd have access. We should check them out some more."

"I already have," Isabel stressed. "Her house was empty because they were waiting for the movers. They were staying at a hotel."

She'd said it half a dozen times and I still didn't believe her. Why was she falling for this?

"I saw the moving van. I saw the boxes. And her dad was normal...totally normal...a little dorky, but normal."

"What about the Army van outside her house?" I demanded. "And those guys in the suits -"

"He's a consultant for the military," She said, speaking as if I was stupid. "Michael, that's his job."

"So there's absolutely nothing suspicious?" Max asked.

"No," She said, shaking her head. "Well -"

I knew it.

"- there was this one thing. I picked up this box of photos to try and help out. She grabbed it from me. She got really weird."

Liz came in and walked to the back, her hand slipping forward to cover us from view.

Max said her name and then stood up when she didn't answer. He headed for the back.

I pursed my lips and shook my head. He hadn't told her.

He deserved everything he was gonna get.


I'd seen him five times today. He never said a word to me. Nothing about Tess. Nothing about kissing her. I was beginning to think Michael was right.

"Liz, it's -" He fumbled for words. "- it's not what you think."

I shook my head. "Max, how could you kiss her?"

"I don't know," He stammered. "I don't know what's happening -"

I don't know?

I tried to stay calm. Find out what I could. "All those thing you said to me, Max? Were any of them true?"

If he said no, I was marching out to the dining room and tackling Michael in front of everybody. I swear I was.

"Liz, you've - you've got to believe me," He said. "It wasn't me. She was there. She was waiting for me -"

"Ohhh," I said, my hands on my hips. "So it's her fault -"

"Liz, something is going on with her. I'm telling you, something is not right about her -"

"Not right about her, Max? What are you talking about?"

"Liz, you have to have faith in me. In us, until I figure out what's going on. I'm telling you, when I kissed her, I saw things, I had a flash -"

My heart lurched.

"You had a flash when you kissed her?" I whispered.

He stopped immediately, his eyes locking onto mine. He didn't answer. I couldn't believe it. Michael and I were bending over backwards not to hurt him, and he -

He could have a flash with anyone.

I felt the tears welling up fast in my eyes. "I guess I'm not so special after all, huh?"

"Liz -"

I turned and ran for the stairs, taking them two at a time.

{Liz, are you alright -}

{I'm fine, Michael.} I slammed the door to my bedroom.

He was silent for a second. I looked around for something to throw and then decided that was stupid. Useless.Damnit -

{You're crying.}

Why were we trying so hard?

I took a deep breath.

{He had a flash with her, Michael -} I tried to control the tears. I was so angry. {He had a flash with Tess.}

He didn't say anything for a second. I bit down on my lip.

{Liz - do you want me to come up?}

My breath caught. I did. I wanted him there with me.

But then we'd have to explain, and I - I didn't think I could explain and keep my composure.

{It would probably be better if you didn't, Michael.} My hands rubbed fiercely against my eyes. {I just feel stupid that you and I have been sneaking around and it doesn't even matter -}

{I'm coming up.} He stood up in the booth. Isabel looked at him strangely.

{No, Michael. It's okay. I'll be alright.}

{'re sure.}

{Yes. I'm sure.}

He sat back down reluctantly. {Okay. Call me if you need anything. Anything. Alright?}

I felt the connection soften and extend, pulsing softly. He was trying to make me feel better. The connection separated and faded into air.

I took a deep breath, my hands brushing the wetness from my face. I was fine. Everything was fine.

I put my hands over my face when the tears flooded back again.


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