Liz Parker is easy to love. I just didn't see it at first. I thought she was too quiet, too intense, too caring. Just too much. I didn't like being around her, I couldn't understand why everyone raved about her. "Liz? Liz Parker? Oh, she's so sweet! Oh, she's so kind!" Oh, please. I didn't think anyone could be so inherently wonderful.
But Liz is really all of those things that people say about her. She is sweet. She is kind. She is beautiful. And she loves me. I still can't believe it.
I fell in love with her slowly. Max fell for her fast--one day he was just Max, and before I knew it, he was MaxandLiz. One word, no pauses. I hated her for that. She was taking Max away from me, away from us. But I swallowed my distrust and when he decided to break it off with her, I tried to keep my rejoicing a secret. I was trying to be polite. At the time, I thought that was pretty nice of me. Now, looking back, I can't believe I used to worry about Max and Liz. Why did I think they would last? Don't I know Max better than that? Isn't he always falling into something and then spending the rest of forever trying to find a way to control it? That's Max in a nutshell. I'm the opposite, forever trying to avoid falling. But nothing could stop me falling for Liz. Nothing. When I think about it now, I wonder why I didn't see that it was inevitable all along.
You know those movies they sometimes show on nature shows--an animal's life in thirty seconds, a day in the space between commercial breaks? My love for her bloomed in the reverse, like watching a movie in slow motion. A little here, a little there; lots of pauses in between.
This is how I fell for her:
I saw the way she would tense when I told her to mind her own business. I saw the way she wouldn't give up, the way she would let me know that she cared what I thought.
I saw the way she kept insisting that I talk to her, the way she wouldn't let me close myself off, no matter how scared I got.
I saw that she had all the time in the world for me. I saw that she was interested in me as a person. Do you know how rare that is?
I saw the way she tilts her head when I ask her a question. I saw the way her hands move when she talks. I saw her. Not as Liz Parker, Roswell's beloved daughter; I just saw her as Liz.
And before I knew it, there were no more pauses, and I loved her.
I don't even mind coming to the Crashdown anymore. I used to think it was just a restaurant, and not a very good one at that. But now I look forward to coming to the cafe because I know I will get to see her.
She tells me sometimes that she worries I will tire of her. If I could, I would tattoo her into my memory, etch her features into my soul, score her essence inside me so deeply that I would never be apart from her. No, I will never tire of her.
She is at work now. I watch as she gestures to a customer, her hands shaping the air. I love her hands. They float when she talks, they create shapes in the air, they articulate her thoughts. Her hands are soft and small. I've memorized the lines on her palms, the shape of her fingernails. I look at her hands when they are touching me-I marvel at the joy they make me feel. I rejoice in the way I realize that Liz Parker is touching me, that Liz Parker wants me.
I can't pinpoint the exact moment I knew I cared for her. I've tried to think of it. Was it when we were both inside Crashdown one night and she asked me if I wanted to help her close up? Was it when I saw her in the hall at school and she gave me a shy smile? Was it when we had to do a report together and she was actually interested in what I thought? Was it the time she looked at me and said my name with wonder, like she'd never seen me before?
She says she doesn't understand how I can love her. She doesn't see how special she is. She looks in the mirror and sees Kyle's former girlfriend and the girl Max chose to leave. She doesn't see what I do. She doesn't see herself.
I see love when I look at her. I see the way she looks at the world, with an unblinking belief that it is a good place. I see the way she believes in me, the way she trusts me-with no reservations, without hesitation.
I see her hair, her eyes, her mouth. I love her mouth. I want to get lost in it. I remember the first time I kissed her; the pause right before our lips met, the way her tongue tangled with mine, the way she said "oh" when we separated.
I love her body. Her arms, so slender and pale; the line of her shoulders. The dip of her collarbone. Her back, the gentle curve of her spine, the hollow between her shoulder blades. Sometimes, when we're together, all I want to do is look at her. Memorize her body; the angles, the planes, the gentle curves. I want to know the feel of her under my eyes, under my hands. I want it burned into my brain so it's all I see when I close my eyes. I want to crawl inside her. I want to swim in her arteries and veins. I want to rest in her heart, feel her all around me.
She brushes her hair back with an impatient hand. She is forever pulling it back, constraining it. I hated it-the way she wore her hair-before I loved her. I wanted to scream at her-'let it breathe, let it free!' But now, watching her, seeing strands of hair escaping around her face, I think about how I am lucky enough to be the one who takes the clip out of her hair. I'm the one who's lucky enough to see it swing free, to watch it rest on her shoulders. I'm the one who sees it spread out around her, a dark cloud that smells like a million indescribable things, all of them better than good, better than I can say. I get to tangle my hands in her hair when I touch her. I'm the lucky one.
Her eyes catch mine. I used to avoid her gaze or meet it with exasperation. The calmness of her look used to aggravate me. I envied her serenity, the way she always looked at you as if she trusted you implicitly. But then I began to notice that other things lived in that serene gaze. Compassion. Concern. Desire.
Now I'm lost to her eyes. I watch the play of expression in them often. I want to be in her view, I look for the path of her gaze. I think of how her eyes receive images, of how those images become clear and focused. The miracle of sight, the miracle of her sight, of being in her sight. I want to be in it always.
She comes over and asks me if I want another soda. I tell her yes. My gaze is starved, I drink in the sight of her. My hand touches hers, her fingers curve around mine briefly. "I've got to work for a while longer" she tells me mournfully. "I can meet you later." Her voice has dropped in volume. Hearing that, the low tone meant for me alone-it rushes into my ears. I want to bottle the pleasure it brings me.
I smile at her, and she winks at me.
I think I love that most of all. There is depth to Liz Parker. She is not just a serious girl with a beautiful soul. She has a joyful side. She teases me. Do you know how many people do that?
She brings me a soda. I drink it and look around the Crashdown. I see others gazing at her. A man's longing stare as she explains the daily specials. A woman's heated glance when she refills a coffee cup without being asked.
I don't mind the gazes. They just know what I do. They see that she shines. Who wouldn't want to be near perfection? Who wouldn't want to be given a chance to be worthy of it?
She moves back towards the kitchen. The lights in the cafe highlight the skin on the back of her neck. The gentle shape of it beckons to me. I want to memorize her skin. I want it to be the memory book of my soul.
As the last customers leave, I watch her circle the restaurant, watch her start to put everything away. Her feet flex as she makes slow circles with one foot, then the other. The grace of her movements makes my breath catch. She looks over at me with a slow smile and in my mind's eye I watch her bare feet move across the floor as she rises naked from my bed.
Memories of her, of the two of us-they make me dizzy with pleasure. She knows this, she sees this, and her gaze softens, sharing mine.
It's a madness in me. That's what I think sometimes. The heady scent of her skin, the soft weight of her breasts. The way she says my name, the feel of her naked body pressed against mine.
But if it's madness, it's the best kind of madness. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. I return her smile and leave the restaurant.
She'll be with me soon. It's a song in my blood. She's a promise I know I will keep. She is a secret hidden in my heart. She is joy.
I wait for her on the roof. She smiles when she sees me. I feel her arms around me, taste her mouth with my own.
"I missed you" she says. "I'm glad you came by the café tonight." The honey of her voice falls over me. I could listen to her forever, wrapped in the shelter of her arms. I say her name, hearing my love for her in my voice. "Liz."
I touch her face, memorizing her eyes, the curve of her cheek. The softness of her skin. My fingers move to her throat, feeling her voice.
"Isabel," she sighs. When she says my name, it's everything I've ever wanted.
Loving Liz Parker is easy. Who doesn't love her? Who couldn't love her?
But I'm the lucky one. She loves me back.