Melinda Metz

The Wild One

Roswell High-002

[version history]

*** 1 ***

'Gimme a U!'

'Yeeewwwwww!' Michael Guerin bellowed in a high-pitched shriek.

'Gimme an F!'

'Eeffff,' Alex Manes breathed in a husky voice, imitating Marilyn Monroe.

'Gimme an O!'

'Ooohhhhh!' they cried at the same time.

'Gimme a break,' Max Evans muttered. But a smile lit up his face as he watched his friends, who were standing on the bench of the bleachers, imitating the cheerleaders.

A perfect, beautiful, sexy smile.

Stop staring at him, Liz Ortecho ordered herself, dragging her gaze away from Max. Some guys might be happy to have Liz drooling over them-half the guys at Ulysses F. Olsen High, according to Liz's best friend, Maria DeLuca. But Max was not one of those guys. Max wanted to be friends. Just friends. Was there a more horrible, painful, heart-squishing phrase than just friends? Liz didn't think so.

Look at Michael. Look at Alex, Liz thought. They were both worth looking at in spite of their ridiculous behavior. Michael had jet black hair, muscles in all the right places, and a killer smile. Alex had a lean, sinewy body, deep red hair, and these bright green eyes.

Not as bright as Max's. The thought just popped into Liz's head. Her eyes wandered over to Max again. Nope, Alex's eyes were nice, very nice. But Max's eyes were breathtaking. Really light blue, with almost a touch of silver.

Sometimes Liz found it hard to believe Sheriff Valenti could look at Max and not know he was an alien. Max's eyes gave his secret away. They were unearthly. Strange and beautiful.

Lucky for all of them, Valenti never studied Max as closely as Liz did. The sheriff was a member of an organization called Project Clean Slate, and his mission was to track down all aliens living on Earth-which basically meant that he was searching all over for Max, his sister, Isabel, and Michael. They were the only survivors of the famous spaceship crash that happened in Roswell years ago.

Sheriff Valenti was the reason Max wanted to be just friends. As long as Valenti was looking for aliens, Max was in danger. And so was anyone who got too close to him.

It would be so much easier-okay, it would still be hard, but it would be a little easier-if Max didn't like her. That, maybe, she could learn to accept. But Max loved Liz. She knew he did. She could see it in his eyes when he looked at her. And that's why he refused to let her get too close. He insisted it was safer for her this way.

Like she cared about being safe. Like she cared about anything but being with Max.

Liz took one last look at him, at the breath-stealing wonder of him, and forced herself to turn away. She tried to focus on the conversation going on around her.

'I'm making a list of the most superior cheese food products in Roswell. Number one is Crater Taters-I mean, potato sticks covered by bright orange cheese? Sheer genius. But then, Cosmic Crunch is pretty amazing, too,' Alex said. He gently placed one of the cheese puffs on his tongue and chewed slowly. His eyes drifted shut and a rapturous smile spread across his face.

Maria caught Liz's eye and shook her head. They both teased Alex for how intense he got when he was making up one of the lists he put on his web site. But they both thought the lists were pretty funny, too.

'That's what I like about you, Alex,' Liz told him. 'You're not afraid to ask the big philosophical questions. Why does evil exist in the world? Has science disproved the existence of the soul? And the really big one-what variety of cheese puff is truly superior?'

'Hey, what about me?' Michael demanded. 'I'm a philosopher, too.' He shoved a double handful of the Crater Taters into his mouth and washed them down with mouthwash.

Which had to be one of the most repulsive combinations Liz could imagine. But I'm not an alien, she reminded herself. Michael definitely didn't have human taste buds. If he did, he'd be hurling all over the bleachers right now.

'You're lucky you're cute, or you'd end up in the repulsive hall of fame in a heartbeat,' Maria exclaimed as Michael shoveled another load of cheese food into his mouth.

'You really think I'm cute?' Michael asked. He batted his eyelashes at Maria, then he opened his mouth wide, showing the orange gunk coating his tongue.

'I'd definitely ask you out,' Alex commented, holding the bag out to Maria.

Maria wrinkled her nose. 'I don't eat neon orange food. It just isn't right.'

Michael grinned at Alex, who grinned at Maria. And then they pounced on her. Maria tried to squirm away, but Michael grabbed one of her arms and Alex grabbed the other. They both tried to stuff junk food into her mouth. Maria managed to squeal while keeping her teeth tightly locked together, which Liz found pretty impressive.

'Help us out here,' Alex called to Max.

Max reached over and tickled the stretch of bare stomach that had become exposed when Maria's sweater rode up. She started to giggle, and Alex and Michael took the opportunity to cram her mouth full.

'We should pay attention,' Liz said. It came out a little sharper than she meant it to. 'The game's about to start.'

They had a few more minutes before kickoff. But Liz wanted Max's hands off Maria-right now. She knew she had nothing to be jealous of. Max and Maria were just buddies. But it still hurt to see Max touching her best friend when he never even touched Liz anymore.

They had only kissed three times before Max announced his just friends law. But Liz could still remember exactly how it felt when his lips touched hers. She couldn't stand the thought of going through the rest of her life without another kiss from Max. Without feeling his fingers in her hair or his body-

Stop torturing yourself, she thought. She focused on the football field.

The cheerleaders lined up in front of the bleachers. Max's sister, Isabel, grabbed a bullhorn. 'Give it up for the UFO High Aliens! Rick Monies, Doug Highsinger, Tim Watanabe-' Each guy trotted onto the field when Isabel shouted his name. 'John Andrews, Richard Jamison, Nikolas Branson-'

'Is that new guy Nikolas in any of your classes?' Liz asked Maria.

'Spanish. He's kind of quiet,' Maria answered.

'He's pretty hot,' Liz said loudly. She wanted to make sure Max heard her. Maybe if he thought she was interested in another guy, he would-

Oh, man, I am so pathetic, Liz realized. Next she would probably start reading Susie Scotto's 'Out of This World Love' advice column in the UFO Observer.

'Pretty hot?' Maria repeated. 'He should come with a warning label!'

Liz took another look at Nikolas. He had dark brown hair that fell to his shoulders and light brown eyes. His high cheekbones and his nose, which had obviously been broken a few times, gave his face a severe look. At least until you noticed his lips, which were full and sensual.

Yeah, he was hot. But Liz observed this in sort of a scientific, anthropological way. Categorizing his cuteness like she was in biology lab or something.

Maria would totally get on my case if she knew what was going through my head right now, Liz thought. Maria always said that being all scientific about things sucked the magic out of the world. But that's just how Liz's mind

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