posted on 16-Aug-2002 2:09:49 AM
Holding The Dream..CC..prologue.R
-------------------------------------------


Title: Holding the Dream

Author: jadestonedreams
Rating: R-?

Category: CC…mainly M&M
Disclaimer: Sorry, no. I don't own them, cause if I did, Maria would never have left Michael. No way, no how!




Holding The Dream

Prologue:

The young slim woman stood looking at her reflection in the full-length mirror of her hotel bedroom. A lot about her had changed over the last few years. Gone were the long curls she used to wear, they were now replaced with a much straighter style that had also been darkened to brown.

"Momma?" came a soft voice from behind her.

"Yes, baby?" she replied as she walked over to the hotel bed, where a small little blonde girl sat coloring in a book smiling up at her.

“When are we leaving to go see gwamma ?"

Sitting down on the bed, the young woman smiled at her daughter, "Soon, Livie. Mommy hasn't been home to see grandma in a long time."

"Will she like me?"

Smiling down at her daughter, she smiled, "Of course, sweetie. She's gonna love you," she laughed, pulling her daughter into a big hug, "now I want you to go get ready for bed while I run your bath. We have a big day tomorrow."

"’kay!

At the sound of the phone ringing, the young woman shifted in her bad as she tried to reach the phone, "Hello!"

"Natalie! Hey!" came a young man's voice on the other end, " how's everything going?"

Sighing in relief, She leaned back against the bed, " Hey Paul" she said smiling brightly, “and did I ever tell you that you’ve got the perfect timing? How'd ya know I needed a friend to talk to?"

"’Cause I know you, love. I still wish you had allowed Jamie and I to come with you. You should have a friend with you," he said.

Smiling, she got up off the bed and headed for the bathroom." I know and thanks for offering, but I told you, this is something I need to do on my own. I can't believe it’s been five years since I left Roswell and now I'm finally home."

"Yeah. I know, Nat. I just wanted to let you know that it's going to be all right, you'll see.”

"Thanks babe," she said as she turned off Livie's bathwater.

"Call me if you need us okay? I mean it," Paul said.

"Thanks. I will," she said softly before hanging up.

"I'm ready momma!" squealed Livie as she ran into the bathroom carrying an armload of toys.

She couldn’t help but laugh as she helped to the tub. “Home,” she thought, “I'm finally home”

****************************************************************************


[ edited 5 time(s), last at 18-Feb-2003 2:55:00 AM ]
posted on 16-Aug-2002 2:11:58 AM
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CHAPTER 1

Amy Deluca sat on the couch in her home smiling as she flipped through yet another bridal magazine.

"It's good to see you smiling," said Nancy Parker as she handed her a cup of tea.

Throwing the magazine down on the coffee table, Amy curled up in the couch. " I know. It feels good to smile again," she said.

Sipping her cup of coffee, Nancy smiled as she looked over her friend. After the tragic loss of Amy’s daughter who had died in a car-wreck a few years a go, Nancy and Amy had become inseparable friends. Amy had needed the support of a friend in her moments of despair and Nancy would always be more than willing to be there for Amy. After all, Maria had always been like a sister to Liz.

"Can you believe it?" asked Amy as she got up from the couch. “In a few days I'm going to be getting married. After Maria left, I never imagined I would ever get to be happy again."

"I know how hard that was for you," replied Nancy. " How is Jim doing anyway? "

"Oh, fine. He and Kyle are at the police station working on some case; and you know how those two can get when they are working on a case. At least they promised they wouldn’t be late for the family dinner tonight."

"Oh my gosh!" cried Nancy as she looked up at the clock on the wall, "Is that the time? I told Jeff I'd meet him in fifteen minutes!"

"Well, then you'd better get going!" laughed Amy hugging her friend.

"I'll see you later," waved Nancy as she walked out the door.

Amy smiled as she walked over the mantel and picked up the small framed photo, "Oh sweetie, How I wish you were here. I'd give anything to have you here with me for my wedding," she said as she ran her hands delicately over the portrait.

***********************

"Hey Liz," smiled Max sitting down in the booth at the Crashdown.

"Hey Max," said Liz smiling at him as she slid into the seat across from him.

"I thought you had to work today?" Liz asked before leaning across the table to brush her lips across his.

"I am," replied Max before deepening the kiss, "but I decided I needed a break."

"Work hard?" asked Liz. " Listen, I was thinking we could all go out to dinner tonight. You know, the gang hasn't gotten together for fun in a while."

"I 'd love to," replied Max. "How about we try that new Italian restaurant?"

"Great!"

"Liz!" called Nancy as she walked into the Crashdown. "Hello Max,” she smiled.

"Hello Mrs. Parker," Max smiled.

"It's nice to see you again, Max. What has it been…?" asked Nancy looking at her watch " Four whole hours? Hmmm… a record for you I think!"

"Mom!" cried Liz shaking her head.

"Just kidding. You two have fun," smiled Nancy walking away

Looking back over her shoulder Nancy smiled at the scene before her… Max Evans. Nancy had to admit she'd grown a soft spot for the boy over the past few years; he'd been there for Liz. And for that, Max Evans would always be welcome in her home.

*******************************

"Momma, I'm hungry!" cried Livie from the back seat.

"I know baby," she said smiling at her daughter as the pulled up into the parking lot of the Crashdown. Biting her lower lip, she looked out the window at the restaurant.

"Come on," she said putting on her favorite sunglasses. "How about we get a nice juicy cheeseburger for lunch?"

“Yaay!" the little blonde squealed from the back seat.

"Come on squirt," she said laughing as she opened and loosened the strap on the child’s seat and took her daughter hand.



Walking inside Natalie smiled at the alien interior. 'Well I guess things haven't changed' she thought.

"Come on Momma," said Livie as she wrapped her small little hands around Maria’s and started pulling her arm.

Slipping into the booth, Natalie picked up the menu off the table.

"Hello," came a bubbling voice next to her. " I'm Jackie, welcome to the Crashdown."

Looking up, she smiled at teenager in the silver and blue uniform and smiled at the silver antennas that bobbed above the girl’s head.

"Umm… yeah, I’ll have a chicken salad and my daughter will have a cheeseburger and fries. And bring us a bottle of Tabasco sauce will ya?"

The young girl smiled as she wrote her order in her notepad. “Sure thing, I’ll be right back with your order."

"Are we gonna go see gwandma today?" asked Livie.

"Yes we are, sweetie" said Natalie leaning back in the booth.

Looking around the diner she smiled ' It's good to know that some things never change' she thought.

******************

"Dad, asked if I would help out this week since Lisa is sick" said Liz. " I’ll get off around six. I'll meet you guys here tonight."

"Alright" Max said, taking a bit of his hamburger.

The sound of laughter caught their attention. Looking up, both Max and Liz smiled at the little girl that sat giggling as she ate some French fries. Liz narrowed her eyes as she watched the child. Something seemed very familiar about her.

Liz couldn't see the face of the woman that sat across from the girl. All Liz could see was long dark hair as she raked her fingers through the length of it.

Getting up out of the booth, Liz headed for the young girl.

"Liz!" Jeff called, stopping her.

Turning around, Liz didn't see the woman stiffen in her seat as she sat listening to Jeff tell Liz that her mother needed her help upstairs.

"Okay dad," Liz said before heading upstairs.

Natalie watched as Liz went through the kitchen doors. Releasing a breath she didn't know she had been holding, she leaned back in her seat. “Oh that was close,” she thought. The last thing she needed right now was to run into Liz and have to answer a bunch of questions… at least not before she spoke to her mother.

"Come on," she said sliding out of the booth. "I think it's time we went to see grandma."

Getting up, Natalie took another look around the diner before settling on a figure seating in a booth.

"Max," she whispered before turning and walking out the door.

****************************************************

Amy smiled at her reflection in the Mirror. Her hair had grown quite a bit and she wore it up in a French twist with small tendrils hanging down the side. Her dress was a soft pale blue shade.



"Hmm," she murmured as she heard the doorbell ring. "I would've sworn I told Jim I'd meet him and Kyle at the restaurant."

"Oh well,” she shrugged. Picking up her purse off the bed, Amy headed downstairs..

"Cooooming... I'm cooming" she called as she went down the steps humming.

Checking her reflection in the mirror one last time, Amy went to answer the door.

"Jim I told you...I .was going to mee..." Amy said opening the door before gasping at the person in front of her, "Oh my God" she whispered staring wide-eyed ahead.

"Hello Mom" Maria whispered softly, smiling at her mother.

"Maria! Baby!" cried Amy before slumping to the ground as the blackness over took her.


posted on 31-Aug-2002 3:04:36 PM
thanks for the feedback .. hope you like this next part..

Amy watched how the blades of the ceiling fan above her came slowly into focus as she opened her eyes slowly. “Hmmm,” she muttered as she pressed her fingers to her temples, the soft dull pounding in her head starting to fade. "What happened? " She wondered as she rubbed her temple trying to dissipate the slight headache she was feeling.

"Oh my god, Maria," Amy whispered, sitting up quickly and looking around the room. A huge wave of disappointment washed over her at the sight of the empty room.

Sitting back down on the couch, Amy sighed. "It was just your imagination Deluca," she muttered to herself. Leaning back in the couch, Amy looked up at the blades of the ceiling fan, ' I think I'll paint the blades white' she thought as she watched them whirl around in front of her. Shaking her head as she got up, Amy looked at the clock on the wall and cursed slightly under her breath, "I'm Late!"

Amy picked up her purse from the sofa and headed out the door. Reaching for the doorknob, Amy suddenly felt a cold shiver travel down her spine at the sound of giggles from behind her. The sound seemed to wash over her like a cold splash of water. Turning around slowly, she saw no signs of anyone in the room with her. Throwing her purse back on the sofa, Amy made her way towards the kitchen.

Pushing the swinging door open slowly, she peered inside and stopped.

“I'm hallucinating. Yeah, that's it. I'm hallucinating," Amy thought as she stared at the little blonde girl that was seated before her at the kitchen table…the image of Maria; her long golden hair hanging down her back as she took another peanut butter cracker and stuffed it into her mouth.

Taking a step inside, Amy stood still, afraid to move least the vision disappeared.

"Not too many, okay sweetie?" Maria said as she stood by the sink looking out the window at the sky.

Looking over quickly, Amy noticed for the first time the young woman that was in the room. Her back was to her as she stood looking out the window; her dark hair pulled back as it hung down the middle of her back. It's dark color brought out more by the pale blue color of the sundress she wore. Amy noted the tattoo of two green M&M's encircled in a heart on her arm as she sipped on a cup in her hand.”

Looking closer, Amy noted the soft green shade of the mug and the flowery yellow daisies painted on them.

Amy stepped further into the kitchen letting the door swing shut behind her. Amy stepped closer to the young lady.

"Hello?" she said softly.

Looking up quickly, the little girl jumped off her chair and ran towards Amy, "Grandma!" she squealed, waving two little hands covered in peanut butter.

Startled, Amy stepped back as the girl ran towards her knocking over a glass of milk off the table and spilling it on the floor. Amy almost felt her heart stop as she felt two small arms wrap themselves around her waist. Looking down Amy found herself looking into a pair of a sparkling rich brown set of eyes smiling up at her. Looking down at the child in front of her, Amy was mesmerized. Her soft blonde hair hung straight down the back of her small frame as her soft pinkish face smiled up at her. She was the exact young version of Maria…well, except for her eyes; although sparkling and full of laughter; they were a deep rich brown.

"Hello Mom," Maria said softly.

Amy felt her heartbeat suddenly quicken in her chest. Tearing her eyes away from the child, Amy slowly looked up.

"Oh my god," Amy gasped as she locked eyes with the young woman in front of her. She was slightly older. Her hair was longer as it hung behind her.

"I must be hallucinating again. You can't be real," Amy said, closing her eyes and shaking her head, "you can't be real!"

Opening her eyes again, Amy simply stared ahead at Maria as she stood in front of her pressing her hand over her mouth nervously as a choking sob tried to escape her. "Momma, say something… please," Maria said taking a step closer to Amy.

Reaching out with shaking hands, Amy touched Maria's cheeks and gasped as she felt the wetness on her cheeks as soft tears spilled slowly over her fingertips.

"Your real," she gasped. "I’m not dreaming!"

"No. No, you’re not. I'm real Momma and I've come home."

Maria suddenly felt herself being yanked forwards as she was pulled into Amy’s arms as they wrapped around her tightly. Maria, unable to stop her tears, wrapped her arms around her mother's waist as both women held each other tight afraid to let go.

Only the muffled sound from between them seemed to catch their attention. Breaking apart from Amy, Maria looked down at Livie

"Oh, I'm sorry baby," Maria said softly bending down to smile at the little girl. Looking up, Maria smiled as Amy bent down and placed her hands around Livie’s waist.

"Well, hello there! And who are you?" Amy asked, wiping away a tear away from her cheek.

"My names Olivia but mommy calls me Livie. You can call me Livie if you want too," said Live smiling as she patted Amy's cheeks, "Your very pretty."

Biting her lip, Amy brushed the soft blonde strands out of Livie's face, "Thank you," Amy said softy.

Looking questioningly at Maria, Amy smiled, "I think we have a lot to talk about, don't you?" Amy asked softly.

"Yes. Yes, we do," replied Maria as she stood up, " but it looks as if we've interrupted your evening. We don't want to keep you."

"Oh my gosh!" Amy exclaimed as she got up and looked at her watch, "I told Jim I'd meet him and Kyle at the restaurant 20 minutes ago! I'd better call him and tell him I'm not gonna be able to make it. Boy, are they gonna flip when I tell them about you!”

Picking up the phone Amy began dialing, "Your friends are going to be..."

Amy jumped as Maria suddenly grabbed the receiver out of her hand.

"Hello" came the sheriff’s voice on the other end.

Shaking her head, Maria looked at her mother pleadingly, "you can't tell anyone that I'm her…not yet."

"Why?" Amy whispered as she looked at Maria questioningly.

"I...I'll explain later. Just go and meet the sheriff," Maria replied softly as she handed the phone back to Amy.

"Hey sweetie..." Amy said taking the phone back, "Yeah, sorry about that. I just got distracted… yeah, an old friend stopped by for a visit… It was such a surprise. I haven't seen her in years... I guess time just got away from me... no… no, I'll still be there; I'm getting ready to leave right now…okay baby I'll be there soon."

Hanging the phone up the phone, Amy smiled warmly at Maria as she watched her clean the crackers off of Livie’s tiny hands.

Walking over to the sink, Amy wet a rag to help. "Do you want to talk about it?"Amy asked after a few moments of silence had filled the room.

"Sweetie, why don't you go and get your present for grandma, out of your backpack?" said Maria, smiling at Livie as she took her down off the counter.

"Kay, Momma!" said Livie as she ran into the living room.

Turning back to Amy, Maria sighed as she threw the wet rag into the sink before turning on the water, "I don't know exactly were to start, "Maria replies.

"How about the beginning?" Amy replies as she placed a comforting hand on Maria's back.

"I will," said Maria as she rung out the towel, "But not right now. You need to go and keep your dinner with Kyle and his dad."

"Honey, don't you think that your friends...”

"No Mom!" Maria interrupted her. "I will tell them...It's just that… well, right now I want it to just be us. I want you to get to know Livie. "

"I want that too, Sweetie," replied Amy. "It's just that I know how much it would mean to everyone; and some more than others."

Turning away quickly, Maria folded the towel and hung it on the rack. "So what's with this dinner with the sheriff and Kyle about?" Maria asked, attempting to change the subject.

"Changing the subject won't make it go away, you know,” replied Amy.

"I know," said Maria, “But I do want to know about you and the sheriff."

The brightest smile that Maria had ever seen crossed over Amy's face. "Mom what is it?" asked Maria suddenly.

"Look, grandma!" Livie shouted as she ran back into the kitchen holding a small cardboard box.

Maria watched as Amy unwrapped the small package and laugh with delight as she took out the small ceramic box with a rose handle top from inside.

"I love it, Sweetie," said Amy as she hugged Livie to her.

"Mommy and I picked it out together," said Livie. " You can put your rings in it," Livie said, pointing to Amy's hand.

Looking down, Maria gasped." What is that?" she squealed grabbing Amy's hand. Standing up, Amy smiled brightly at Maria. “Well it's part of the reason I'm going out to dinner with Jim, Kyle, and Tess. It's not just a regular dinner sweetie.”

"Oh my gosh. You’re… you’re engaged?!?" asked Maria, shaking her head. This was just unbelievable. Her mom and the sheriff!

"Yes," said Amy standing up. "We're getting married.”

When Maria simply stared ahead at her, Amy took a step forward, " Maria, sweetie…" said Amy concerned

"You’re getting married," said Maria gasping for air as she pulled out the kitchen chair to sit down.

"Put your head between your legs," said Amy getting Maria glass of water.

"I'll be alright," said Maria taking the glass from Amy. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It was just such a shock."

"I know. I guess today has been full of shocks for both of us," Amy replied with a smile.

Looking over at Amy, Maria couldn't help it as she burst out laughing. "Oh Mom! I'm so happy for you," Maria said while reaching out and wrapping her arms around Amy.

"Thanks, Sweetie."

***********************

Stepping out of the shower, and wrapping the small blue towel around his waist, Michael went to answer the phone.

"Hello," Michael answered, wiping the steam off the bathroom mirror.

"Hey Michael," came Liz's voice on the other end of the line.

"Hey Liz,” Michael replies, taking out a canister of shaving cream and razor from the cabinet.

Michael didn't think he would have made it through those first few years after loosing Maria if it hadn't been for Liz; she had been there for him to talk to after Maria had left to go spend time with her father.

"I just wanted to let you know that Max and I are going to be running a little late this evening. Do you think you could pick up a bottle of that wine for dinner? You know the one I'm talking about?"

"Sure, no problem. But I thought we were all going to go out to dinner tonight," Michael replied.

"Yeah, we were; but it turns out Kyle and Tess won't be able to make it. They’re having dinner with the sheriff and Amy; some sort of family thing. According to Kyle, they’re supposed to meet there for dinner tonight. Probably already there now. So I decided to make something for us to eat here. I didn’t want to intrude on their time; besides, Kyle and Tess are going to join us for the movie later."

Michael hung up the phone and turned back to the mirror to begin shaving.

He threw the towel he had wrapped around his waist and walked back into his bedroom. Nudity was something Michael had never really had a problem with. Maria had once told him he had a beautiful body and she loved seeing him, or rather certain parts of him. He smiled and thought back to the time they had lied in each other’s arms and told each other what they loved about the other one's body. It had been exhilarating as Maria had slowly worked her way down Michael’s chest and kissed her way down his body, leaving Michael’s skin on fire wherever she touched him.

"Dammit!" Michael cursed under his breath as he threw the pair of black jeans and dark blue shirt onto the bed. Michael groaned in frustration. It seemed to be happening more and more lately. Thoughts of Maria were affecting him more and more, especially last night. Michael had woken up in the middle of the night in a deep heated sweat, fully aroused. It had been like that before with Maria… just thinking about her; the sensation had faded over the last few years but had never really gone away; last night was the first in a long time, until now.

Turning on the cold water in the shower, Michael jumped back in.

******************************




posted on 15-Sep-2002 2:57:57 AM


Sorry the next part is taking so long.. I am finishing up another story.. and I've just sent off the next part to he beta read.. so I should have it back soon to post for you guys,,

thanks for all the wonderful feedback you guys,*tongue**big*
posted on 26-Sep-2002 1:34:19 AM
chapter 3

“Relax, Dad” Kyle said leaning back in the chair across the table from his dad.

"Amy should have been here by now" Jim said, looking across at Kyle and Tess.

“Come on, Mr. Valenti. You know how Amy is,” Tess replied, “I’m sure she’ll be here soon. Besides, didn’t you say she called?”

“Yeah, you’re right. Amy is known for running on her own time.”



"Hello all" a bright-smiled Amy said as she arrived at the table.

"Well it's about time," Valenti said as he got up to greet her. “I was starting to..”

Amy shushed him as she brought her slender arms across his waist and pressed her lips on the Sheriff’s, giving him a passionate kiss. She took a step and gave him a bright smile," Sorry I'm so late."

"Well I must say, if this is the reaction, I get when your late then you should be late more often."

Amy laughed and sat down at the table, across from Kyle and Tess.

“So Dad said that you had an old friend stop by?” Kyle asked.

“Yes, I hadn’t seen her in years. I’m really hoping that she’ll stay awhile,” Amy replied her smile reaching her eyes now.

Jim reached out and took Amy’s hand in his “well, then you should have brought her along. I would have loved to met her."

“Thanks sweetie,” Amy squeezing his hand tightly.

"So how long have you known your friend,” Tess asked as she took a sip of her soda.

"Well…umm…let’s just say that I’ve known her for a very long time. I’m starving! Have you all ordered yet?”

"No, we wanted to wait till you got here,” Jim replied.

"Well, I'm here now and I'm starving so let’s order.”

"Great! I'm starving too," Tess replied “The lemon chicken looks good."

"Mmm hmm. I think I'll have the chicken Caesar salad to start with,” Amy said.

"So you never told us where the two of you are going on your honeymoon," Tess said, leaning closer to Amy.

"I would love to," Amy replied, throwing the menu down on the table, "But, unfortunately, I don't know."

"What?"

"Yeah, Dad wants to surprise her,” Kyle smiled.

"Do you know where they're going?" Tess asked Kyle.

"Sure do. And, nope, I'm not gonna tell you,” Kyle laughed.

"See what I have to put up with?" Amy said. ‘So tell me how are things going at work, Kyle?"

"O.K., I guess" Kyle replied “Michael and I are still working on that drug case I told you about the other day."

"I still can’t believe that there would actually be drugs in Roswell," Amy sadly said.

"I know. Last week I had to arrest three kids over at the high school for dealing” Jim replied.

"By the way, Kyle, I was meaning to ask, was Michael at work today?" Amy asked, smiling at the waitress who had just arrived with their orders.

"Oh yeah, he was there today. We're supposed to have a meeting tomorrow with Dickerson on that case we were just talking about, why?"

"Oh, no reason" Amy said as she took a bite of her salad. “I was just wondering. He hasn't been coming around the house as much as he used to," said Amy " Has he been seeing anyone lately?”

"Well, actually Michael said he was thinking of asking out that new girl in the lab department.”

"What?" Amy gasped and chocked as she took a bite of her chicken.

"Here," Jim said, handing Amy her glass of wine. She took a gulp of wine and then proceeded to taking a gulp of air, “Sorry about that. I guess it went down the wrong way."

"You all right?" asked a concerned Jim.

"Yeah yeah, I'm fine," Amy applied reassuringly as she reached her hand to grab a French fry from Jim’s plate. Her chicken had somehow lost its taste.

“This isn't good at all,” Amy thought as she chewed on her bottom lip, "not good at all”

****************************

The ringing of the phone caught Michael's attention as he headed for the front door.

The clicking of the answering machine as it picked up stopped Michael from rushing back to answer it.

"You’ve obviously reached me. You know what to do so do it.”

"Hey Michael" came officer Pinski's voice over the machine "I need the report on the Bowder case. Jenkins said you were the last to have it; now it's gone"

"Dammit" Michael muttered swinging around from the door.

"Hey David" Michael said, picking up the phone "What do you mean you can't find the report? I left it right on Jackson’s desk."

"Well I'm telling you they're not here now” David replied

"Let me talk to Valenti" Michael demanded

"Not here. The two of them are having dinner with the chief's fiancée remember?"

"Yeah that's right, I forgot" Michael replied rubbing his eyes.

"By the way, Dickson wants you and Valenti to report in tomorrow; apparently there's some news on the Waterson case."

“Great.. just great!” Michael thought as he banged his fist on the table, causing the bowl from that morning’s Fruity Pebbles cereal to fall over. “Dammit!” Not only were they not able to find the reports and look forward to spending time with the next morning dickless Dickerson, but now he had spilled his favorite cereal all over the carpet.

"Well that's just great," Michael replied sarcastically. "Look, I'm running late. You call me the minute you find that report."

"No problem" replied Pinski before hanging up.

********************

Maria stood looking out the bedroom window of her old bedroom and watched the traffic of the street below. It amazed her at how much Roswell had changed since she'd last been here.

"Momma" called Livie from the doorway.

Turning away from the window, Maria smiled at her daughter "What is it, baby?" she asked.

"Where did Grandma go?" Livie asked, jumping up on the bed.

"Grandma is having dinner with some of her friends. But she’ll be back later. In the meantime, we need to go back to the hotel. So go get your jacket and then we can go. It's almost your bedtime.”

"But I'm not sleepy"Livie replied, suddenly jumping up and down on the bed.

Maria smiled and reached out and halted her daughters jumping form “I know, Sweetie. But we have to go."

"Aww. How come we can't stay here?" Livie pouted

Maria sighed and hugged her daughter to her tightly "We're gonna go back there tonight and then tomorrow grandma's going to come by and see us; okay, Sweetie?"

“All right, Mama." replied Livie softly.

"Now scoot" Maria said picking Livie up from the bed and putting her on the floor. “Go get your jacket."

"Kay" Livie shouted, running out the room.

Maria turned around and glanced at her room on last time before closing the door.

“Come on, Sweetie” Maria called as she bounded down the stairs "we need to get going."

"Don't forget your jacket, Baby" Maria called out.

"I wont!” Livie shouted.

Maria began to hum to herself and began stacking up the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, smiling at the Duffy Duck glass on the top counter.

"Look, Mommy!" exclaimed Livie as she came running into the room “Look what I found!"

"What is it, Sweetie?"

Livie smiled at Maria as she held a large overly stuffed green alien doll to her small chest, " I found it upstairs! Can I bring it home with me?"

Maria reached out and slipped the little Alien from her daughter's arms. Scooting down onto the floor and leaning against the counter, Maria smiled .

*Flash*

Come on Michael; let's go try the ring toss!" Maria exclaimed, dragging Michael by the arm.

Michael frowned. "Aww, come on Maria" Michael snorted, “You and I both know those things are rigged. There's no way you can win. Besides, I told Kyle we'd meet him and Tess over at the pool hall.”

Maria sighed and rolled her eyes “what is it with you and Kyle? The two of you are always together lately. I though you couldn't stand each other.”

Michael shrugged and took another bite of his candied apple "I don't know. "

"Just wondering if I should be jealous." Maria laughed, delighting herself with the look that Michael threw her "Hey, you never know!"

Reaching out, Maria grabbed the apple out of Michael’s hand and took a bite.

"Hey!” Michael exclaimed, grabbing the apple back “Get you own."

Maria pouted "But yours tastes so much better!" She exclaimed as she pulled Michael’s mouth down to hers, slipping her tongue along the corners of his, tasting the caramael before slipping her tongue inside.

Michael groaned and reached out to pull Maria closer to him, pressing her harder to the length of his body. Maria felt Michael’s body tense up as she lowered her hands down the front of his chest and then lower and lower. He sucked in a sharp breath as Maria stroked the length of him. “Mariaaaaa” he groaned as he pressed his forehead against Maria’s.

Maria took a step back and took a larger bite of his caramel apple and began to slowly suck off the caramel coating of the small piece. Before he could reply, she gave him an innocent smile and stepped closer to him. She let her gaze travel slowly down the length of Michael’s body, loving the way his dark jeans hugged him in certain areas. She licked her lips as her gaze traveled along the unmistakable length of Michael, stopping at the unmistakable bulge in front of him. She licked her lips again and looked straight into Michael’s eyes.

She then swinged around and started walking toward the ring booth. "One please,"she said softly, handing the man behind the booth her money.

Maria looked over her shoulder and smiled at Michael once again before turning back to the attendant as he handed Maria three large rings.

Looking across at the bottle, Maria concentrated for a moment before tossing the three large rings. Smiling as each one found its destination around the neck of each bottle. The clinking of the rings hitting the glasses was drowned out by the claps of the bystanders around her.

"Yes!” She exclaimed and proceeded on jumping up and down. She made a little dance of victory and danced around Michael. She then pointed to the large stuffed green alien doll that hung from the corner.

"I thought, you might like this; he looks like you” Maria told Michael as she handed him the little green alien.

"Oh yeah?" Michael replied, smiling down at her.

"Yeah,” she replied softly, bringing Michael’s lips down to hers.

*End Flash*

"Momma?" Livie asked softly tapping Maria’s shoulder.

The sound of Livie calling her brought Maria back to where she was.

"So, can I momma?" Livie asked taking the doll away from Maria.

Maria sighed and then smiled, “Alright, you can take it with you but you have to promise to take very good care of him, alright?"

"I will momma," exclaimed Olivia as she held the doll tightly to her chest "Does, he belong to Grandma?" asked Livie as Maria started to stand up

"Actually no, Baby. Your little friend here belongs to me. Well, actually he belongs to a friend of mine, a very special friend. We sort of shared it and I left him here for my friend to take care of."

"I'll take care of him now, alwight Momma?”

Picking Livie up, she smiled as they headed out the door, “I know you will, Sweetie.”

*****************************

"Guerin" Michael answered his cell phone in the car.

"Michael" came Max's voice over the phone line.

"Hay Max, What’s up?" Michael replied as he shifted in his seat.

"I was hoping you could do us a favor. Liz went out earlier and forgot to pick up wine for dinner. So would you mind…”

"Sure, no problem" Michael replied, “Anything else?"

"Nope, nothing that I can think of. Just you and a bottle of wine," Max replied "Oh wait! Where are you now?"

Michael looked up and read the street signs as he drove by, “I'm about a two blocks from Crescent's garage, why?"

I just remembered Amy left Liz a box of dessert cookies for Liz to have for tonight. Do you think you could swing by there and pick them up?"

Michael bit his bottom lip and looked out the car.

"Sure, no problem. I'll just have to swing by Amy's and pick them up. It’ll only take me a few minutes," Michael replied. "

He clicked his cell phone off and tossed it to the back seat. He tapped his fingers impatiently against the steering wheel until finally the red light turned to green and headed towards Amy’s house.

*******************************************

Liz smiled as she came out from the kitchen and saw Max hanging up the phone.

"Who was that?" she asked, opening the refrigerator and taking out a cartoon and cream sauce.

"Oh, that was Michael. I asked him if he could pick up a bottle of wine for dinner tonight" Max replied as he came up behind Liz and wrapped his arms around her waist, nibbling at the back of her neck

"Max!" Liz gasped as she giggled, "Our friends are going to be here any minute!"

Max sighed and let go of Liz “I know."

"Have you talked with Isabel today?" Liz asked as she poured the cream into the sauce .

Max shook his head as he took out the dinner plates out of the cabinet. "No, Sean told me he saw her at that new club last night partying really hard."

"Oh" Liz said, turning away from the pot and wiping her hands on a towel. "I didn't know you'd talked to Sean lately'”

"Yeah, He and Kyle were at the grill house having lunch earlier while I was there meeting with a client. Apparently my dear sister got into a fight with some guys down at the club and the police were called. Sean was there with his date."

"Isabel was drunk?" asked a startled Liz "I can't believe it!"

"Neither could I" Max replied, crunching on a sliced up carrot "but apparently she was. I knew Jessie's death last year had hit her hard. I guess I just never knew how hard. Luckily, Sean was able to convince the owner not to press charges against her."

Taking the plates from Max, Liz began setting the table, "Well I'm glad your sister is alright. I don't like it that she was drinking though. I know how it affects you guys."

Following behind her into the dining room, Max smiled slightly and shook his head, “It's been a long time since that happened, Liz" Max said, "It doesn't have the same effects on us as before. We've grown immune to its affects on us."

"Yeah, I remember none to well" muttered Liz. "I'm just surprised that your taking the news of your sister drunk at a club and getting into a fight so lightheartedly."

Reaching across the table and taking the candle from Liz, Max placed it in the center of the table, "the last thing I am doing" he said " is taking this lightheartedly. I do care, but I can't live Isabel's life for her."

"I'm sorry" Liz replied, coming around the table and wrapping her arms around Max's waist. "I just want our friends to be happy, that's all. I wish there was something we could do for her."

Me too" replied Max. "Oh, before I forget, I asked Michael to wing by Amy's to pick up those packages for tonight."

"Great" replied Liz, stepping back from Max " One less thing for me to do"

The ringing of the doorbell interrupted their conversation, “that's probably Isabel" Max smiled “I'd better go and answer the door."

Liz smiled and watched as Max headed for the living room. Turning around, she began to finish setting the table.

***************************************************

Slamming the door closed behind them, Maria threw her coat back onto the couch and paced the room.

"Great! I can't believe our car wouldn't start" Maria muttered.

"That means we get to stay here, right? " Livie squealed delightedly as she hopped up onto the sofa and began playing with the little dolly in her hand, "I'd like that!"

Sighing, Maria smiled down at her daughter “Yes, I guess it does mean we'll be spending the night here. But anyways, it’s almost your bedtime. So come on, let's go get ready for bed."

"Aww, momma! Do I have too?" Livie whined.

"Yes, young lady you do," Maria replied, standing up and holding out her hand for Olivia. "Let's go take your bath and I'll read you all the stories you want tonight."

"Yay!” Livie smiled as she raced up the stairs “But I don't have anything to sleep in" Livie remembered and stopped as she got to the top of the stairs.

"Don't worry, we'll find something" Maria replied, “now scoot."

*******************

Michael pulled up at the driveway and stopped to stare at the small house in front of him. Even after so many years, it never seemed to change. Breathing in deeply, Michael let the cool night air wash over him. Maria would have loved the night he thought. He remembered Maria saying that lying out with him under all those trees made her feel free. .

Michael couldn’t help but smile. It was amazing how this had become like a second home to him even after Maria's death. Amy had taken the news extremely hard. She had left Roswell for a cruise that Maria had convinced her to go on. Since she was going to be spending time with her father, why not the cruise she wanted to go on? A week’s cruise had turned into three months of traveling to different places. Michael didn’t envy the Sheriff when he had to make the phone call. .

Michael got out of the car and looked around. As he looked up, he caught sight of Maria’s old bedroom window. The urge to climb up there was overwhelming. "Not a good idea tonight" he muttered to himself. He pulled out a set of keys from his pocket that Amy had given him a few years back and opened the front door. He stepped inside and switched on the small side table lamp. He looked around and smiled slightly at the bundle of bridal magazines strewn all over the floor and table. He walked into the kitchen and spotted the large silver tin can. He went over to the counter and read the large white tape on the top.

“Liz Parker.”

"This must be it," he thought picking up the container from the counter. He turned off the kitchen light and headed back into the living room. Picking up his keys off the table, Michael went to turn off the lamp.

‘Crash!'

“Dammit!" Michael muttered as he turned around quickly at the sound of the crash coming from upstairs. He threw the container down at the couch and reached for his gun.

"Great!" he muttered. He had come over to pick up some cookies and now he had interrupted a robbery.

***************

Closing the door to her room, Maria smiled at Olivia's sleeping form. She had fallen asleep after only two stories of Peter Cotton Tail. She hummed to herself as she went over to the small bathroom to take a shower.

She went into Amy’s bedroom and began looking through the dresser for something to sleep in. She pulled out a large oversize white cotton t-shirt with Scooby Doo in front and smiled. She had always wondered what had happened to it.

She turned off the light and headed toward the bathroom door. “Ouch!” Maria sqealed as she bumped into the side table knocking over the small vase sending it crashing to the floor along with the small wooden jewelry box and it's contents next to it.

"Great!" Maria sighed, looking down at the broken pieces of glass, “home for one day and already breaking things."

She bent down and began picking up the small pieces of glass.

***************************

Heading up the stairs slowly, Michael listened at the silence around him. He reached the top of the stairs and looked out the hall.

He reached the door to Maria’s room and slowly began turning the knob.

Stopping at the sound clicking sound coming from down the hall, Michael stepped back and turned toward Amy’s door. He pushed the door open and was met by the darkness of the room covering everything.

"Hold it!" Michael exclaimed to the figure bent down onto the floor as it picked up a pearl necklace.

"Get up slowly, hands were I can see them," shouted Michael.

As he walked towards the figure, Michael noted that whoever it was seemed rather small. Probably some drugged out kid looking for something the sell. Keeping an eye ahead, Michael noted the small tattoo on the arm. The sweet scent of perfume flowed through the air towards Michael, stopping him in his tracks. Maria's perfume. Taking another step Michael noted the long dark hair that covered the woman's face from his view in the dark..

Stepping up behind the woman, Michael reached out to take her by the wrist. He was surprised when the woman suddenly reeled on her heels, jumping back and pushing into him causing Michael to stumble backwards and with the woman landing on top of him. Scrambling off of him, the woman scrambled to her feet, grumbling as Michael suddenly kicked her legs out from under her, sending her tumbling back to the ground.

"Dammit " hold still!" Michael growled as he caught hold of the woman's wrist again.

Reaching out around her, Maria grabbed the wooden jewelry box in her hand and swung it hard in the air. She stopped suddenly when the pieces shattered in her hands and the man’s figure suddenly slumped to the floor. She pushed away and turned to look down at the figure on the floor next to her. Taking a deep breath, Maria pushed herself up against the dresser trying to calm herself down.

She glanced back and noted for the first time the gun lying at the floor near her. Picking it up, Maria felt sick to her stomach. God, she hated guns. The grumbling caused Maria to look over quickly to where the man was suddenly turning over slowly.

"Oh my god!" whispered Maria hoarsely as she caught sight of Michael’s face for the first time, “Michael!"

Feeling for a pulse Maria sighed from relief when she found it. Reaching out to touch his face, Maria stroked her fingers along the smooth side of his cheeks. She tried to hold back the tears that were now running freely down her face as she stared down at him.

The sounds of a police siren coming closer jerked Maria back to reality “Dammit!" she muttered getting as she got up quickly. She looked down one last time a Michael’s form before running out the bedroom door.




posted on 3-Nov-2002 1:12:17 PM
Hey everyone sorry it took so long to get this part out. I've been kinda busy with a lot of other things lately and finishing up one of my other fictions..I just want to thank you guys for the wonderful FB you've given me..So please keep sending it
thanks
jade

P.S.: CandyGirl , thanks for doing such a great job Beta'ing the fic for me.*happy*


HOLDING THE DREAM by Jadestonedreams



Chapter4



"Any Idea who the victim is?" Detective Somers asked as he leaned over the body in front of him. ‘Damn,’ he thought as he looked at the young woman's body, her throat slit from end to end as she lay in a pool of her own blood



"No; not a clue. This club apparently she attracts all types" replied Officer Donaldson. "Very popular bartender. The owner said she used to let a friend stay up here for awhile."



Looking around the room as he stood up, Jack Somers shook his head. Ten years he'd been working homicide and every year seemed worse. Looking down at the victim, he had a bad feeling that this case would similar to the rest of them. "Do we know where this friend is?"



"No; not yet. The club's owner is down the hall, in her office…an Ava Bernstein? Apparently the friend split sometime yesterday."



"Didn't happen to say where she was going, did she?"



"No; but the bartender said it looked like she left in quite a rush. She came downstairs and told her boss she was leaving for a while. A few minutes later, she was gone with her kid."



"See what you can find out. I'm gonna head down to talk to the owner."



"Good luck on that. I don't think you’re gonna get anything out of that one," replied Donaldson before turning to walk away, "the only thing we got out of her was her friend’s name."



"What is it?" he asked



"Ummm...Nadine," replied Donaldson as he looked down at the pad in his hand. "Nadine is all she said."



****************



"Just Great!" Jim muttered looking down at the number on his beeper, "we just had to get interrupted by the station!"



Amy looked at Jim and sighed. "I guess you have to answer it. No; you should answer it. They wouldn't call you unless it was important, right?"



"Yeah," he sighed. He flipped open his cell phone and began dialing.



"Dammit Jackson! What's so important that you had to interrupt me at dinner?" Valenti growled into the phone causing the young officer at the station to jump in her seat and drop the contents of her coffee all over his desk.



"Uh…I…umm…I’m very sorry Sir," came a soft and young woman's voice on the other end of the line. "You see…we got kind of got a call about a disturbance over at the Deluca household... being that she's your fiancée and all, I thought you'd like to be informed."



"Dammit," he banged his fist on the table earning a few stares from the young couple sitting at the other table. He tries to smile at them and bit his lower lip "Thank you, Jackson. Amy's here with me. I'll be sure to tell her. We’ll head over there right now." He sighed and looked at Amy trying to figure out the best way to tell her.



"What’s wrong?" Amy exclaimed as she took note of Valenti’s worried expression. "Why’d they call you?"



If there was one thing that he had learned in the five years of dating Amy that would be never try to keep a secret from her. "Neighbors called the police about a possible break in over at you house." Valenti stood up and took Amy’s hand. "Come on. We'd better go and check it out."



"Oh my god! My baby!" Amy gasped as she ran out the door. A very confused Jim dug into his wallet, retrieved a fifty-dollar bill and dropped it on the table. He then took the purse Amy had left behind and ran after her.



********************



"Well... what do we have, officers?" Jim asked as he and Amy walked through the front door a few minutes later.



Looking around frantically, Amy brought herself to a halt when she saw Michael coming out of the kitchen.



"Looks like Guerin, over here, interrupted a robbery. Got himself hit in the head pretty hard."



"She got lucky, that's all," Michael frowned. He held a small bag of ice over his head and plopped himself on the couch.



"A she did this to you?" Jim asked, raising an eyebrow.



Michael shrugged. "She caught me off guard," he explained.



Amy wrapped her slim arms around her waist and looked around the room. Where could Maria possibly be?



"Amy?"



"What!?" she jumped. Looking at Valenti’s startled face, she tried to compose herself a little "uh...yes, dear?"



"Are you alright?" Jim asked, walking towards her.



"I'm fine," she replied, brushing past him. "I'll be right back," she called as she ascended the stairs.



Michael and Valenti shared a worried looked as they watched Amy run up the stairs and out of their sight.



Valenti sighed and looked at Michael. "What the hell happened? What were you doing here in the first place?"



"Maxwell asked me to pick up a package here…some kind of dessert for dinner tonight. I was just about to leave when I heard a noise coming from upstairs. Found a woman in Amy’s room going through her jewelry."



"Did you see who it was?" Jim asked, looking across at Michael.



"Nah. It was dark. Lights were out," Michael replied. "But there was something," he murmured, "…something so familiar."






*****************



Amy stopped once she got at the top of the stairs and gave the officer a smile.



"Sorry about all this, Ms. Deluca. Don’t worry though, doesn't look like anything was taken. "



Amy smiled at the officer in gratitude and brushed past him, "Thank you. I'll be sure and check to see if anything was taken. If you will excuse me…" Amy replied softly.



"Of course," the officer replied before descending down the stairs.



Amy bit her lower lip after she watched the officer leave and frantically started her quest for Maria.



"Maria?" Amy whispered looking up and down the hall.



She barged into Maria’s bedroom and switched on the lights. She sighed as she looked into an empty bedroom. The ringing sound of her cell phone startled her as she made her way out of Maria’s bedroom.



"Hello?" Amy answered as she looked around at the broken pieces of her old jewelry box, which were laying all over the floor.



"Momma?" She heard the soft voice at the other end.



"Maria!" Amy gasped. "Baby, where are you? What the hell happened over here? Are you alright? Is Livie with you? Oh god, speak to me! "



"Mom…Mom! Calm down! I'm fine. I’m sorry for making you panic…I just got a little worried. "



Amy sighed and leaned against the bed. "What happened? You said you were gonna stay here for awhile and then go back to the Hotel."



There was a long moment of silence from the other end. Maria closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. "Are you alright?" she asked softly. "Where are you?"



"In the tower," Maria whispered.



"The tower?" Amy asked a bit bewildered. "What the heck are you doing up in a…" she suddenly stood up and smiled as realization hit her. "I’ll be right up, baby." She clicked the phone off and Amy went out into the hall. Looking down the corridor, Amy smiled as she opened the small closet door a few feet away. Switching on the small light switch on the wall, she looked up at the small stairwell before her. She silently closed the door and bounded up the stairs. She reached the top and smiled as she held on to the small railing.



She took a deep breath as the sight of Maria greeted her. She smiled and walked towards her. "It seems like forever since we were last up here." Amy wrapped her arms around Maria's shoulders, "you were the princess and this was your castle."



"I remember," Maria smiled. "I loved coming up here and laying in your old party dresses you had. We'd sit at the table and have our little dinner parties."



Looking around the room, Maria sighed, "I never brought Liz up here. I wanted this to be just mine. Whenever I felt bad or was scared, I came up here because this room always made me feel happy."



"You want to tell me what happened?" Amy asked as she tucked back a lock of Maria’s golden hair.



"After you left for dinner we stayed here for awhile. It was starting to get late so I told Livie we'd go back to the hotel for tonight and that you'd come by there tomorrow. Unfortunately my stupid car refused to start."



"So you decided to spend the night here?"



"Yeah, well I really had no choice," Maria replied. "I gave Livie a quick bath and she was out after two stories. I picked out an old gown to sleep in and was headed for the bathroom when I accidentally knocked over that old vase you had and your jewelry box. I guess Michael came in, and well … I guess he thought I was a thief."



"I know" Amy laughed. "You hit him pretty hard. He's downstairs nursing a pretty bad headache."



Maria blushed. "Yeah, well I'm really sorry about that. He just scared me. I didn't know it was him until after I'd hit him. Then I heard the others coming so I grabbed Livie and ran up here."



She got up and started pacing around, "What the heck was he doing here anyway?"



"I left some cookies over here for Liz. I forgot someone was supposed to come over and pick them up. I'm sorry, baby. Michael has a key to the house. He comes and goes a lot."



Maria giggled, "Is this the same Michael you used to chase around with a newspaper?"



"Just you wait till you walk into Livie's bedroom and find a boy there," Amy replied. Her smile then grew serious and she continued, "the truth is, baby, that after I thought you were killed, Michael and I got very close. He used to come over here a lot and feed each other on memories."



Maria bit her bottom lip and suddenly started to grow very interested in her hands. "He…umm…Michael talked to you about me?" Somehow it felt nice to know that both, her mother and Michael, had each other to rely on after she had left.



"All the time," Amy replied. "Especially…"



"Especially what?" Maria asked when Amy suddenly grew quiet.



Tilting her head to the side, Amy smiled. " After, I finally found out the truth about Michael."



Narrowing her eyes, Maria stared at her mother. "The truth…?" she whispered. " What truth is that?"



Amy sighed and shook her head. "We both know what truth I'm talking about," she replied, locking eyes with her daughter. Amy reached out her hand as she smiled.



Amy took a deep breath and sighed. So many things had changed in her absence. She could still remember all the years of having to lie to her mother. It was one of the things that Maria hated about knowing about the aliens.



"I... I can't believe this! How in the world did you find out?"



"A few weeks after your accident, I found Michael asleep upstairs in your bed. As you can imagine I wasn't thrilled. But I knew that he was hurting. Apparently he'd sneak into your room and sleep. I think it helped him feel closer to you. We started talking a lot then. One night, a couple of months later, I was asleep in bed. I guess I was so used to Michael coming over at anytime. I never bothered to get up when I heard the noise. I knew he'd just gotten off work and he had told me he'd might come over. So I just figured it was him and went back to sleep. "







Amy wrapped her hand around Maria as she felt her stiffen and grow quiet. "I guess they where here to rob the house. I remember everything was thrown everywhere. Next thing I knew I was being pulled out of bed. I don't like to think about what might have happened if Michael hadn't showed up when he did." Amy struggled to control her tears and bit hard on her lower lip as she remembered the events.


"All I remember is that after the gun went off, I felt everything go dark…I remember realizing I'd been shot," Amy sighed, "next thing I knew, the guy was gone and Michael was kneeling over me. He...he healed me"

"Michael?" asked a bewildered Maria "But Michael can't heal. He doesn't have that power. Max does."

"Yeah," said Amy smiling slightly. " I think it surprised him too. They tell me their powers are developing more and more."

Maria stared at her mother "I am so sorry," Maria said softly. "That shouldn't have happened. "

"Baby, you have nothing to be sorry about. It wasn't your fault; you had nothing to do with it."

Maria took a deep breath and sighed "Mom…I…"

"I don't want to talk about that night anymore," Amy interrupted her. "Right now, I'm just happy my baby is home," said Amy happily as she wrapped her arms around Maria once again.

Maria closed her eyes and stayed there for a few moments. It was then that she felt something that she never believed she would ever feel again…peace.

Rocking Maria in her Arms, they didn’t notice as Livie descended down the stairs.



***********************************************



"I want those reports on my desk ASAP," Valenti said as he and officer Williams emerged from the kitchen.



"Yes sir," replied the young man before turning to leave.



"She's been up there a long time," Tess said softly. She looked up the stairs, "Maybe one of us should go and check on her."



"Look, It doesn't look like the family dinner is going to be happening tonight. Why don't you guys head on out. Besides, Liz is probably pissed that you’re not there by now, Michael."



"Oh shit!" Michael groaned, looking down at his watch. "I didn't think about calling."



"I'm sure Liz will understand," Tess said as she zipped up her jacket.



The ringing of the phone caught Valenti’s attention and he headed for the kitchen. He turned back and faced them before he replied, "I want to talk to the two of you before you leave though," he called and went toward the kitchen.



"Well… I guess I'm going to be heading on home. I'll see the two of you later. And don't forget, Kyle, you promised to help me down at the center this weekend. I'm holding you to it," Tess said.



Kyle tried to act offended and frowned, "Oh dear, Tessie, I'm hurt! Of course I'll be."



She folded her arms in front of her and shook her head at his offended look.



"Hey look, why don't the two of you come over to Max and Liz’s with me. You know Liz wouldn't mind it," Michael said.



"Sounds good to me," Kyle replied.



"Tess?"



"That sounds great."



Tess smiled as she looked toward the stairs.



"Hello, sweetie," she said softly.



Both Kyle and Michael looked towards Tess as she grew quiet.



"What is it?" asked Kyle.



Nodding her head towards the stairs, Tess continued smiling.



Shifting in his seat, Michael followed her gaze towards the stairs. He noticed a small girl peering from the railings at them.



"May I ask who you are?" asked Tess as she walked toward the little girl with piercing green emerald eyes, her long golden hair hung down the child's small frame as she clenched a little green dolly. She was dressed in pink pj’s and wore little pink socks.



"Where you asleep upstairs?" Michael asked.



Livie's attention shifted from Tess over to where Michael was now standing. The mesmerizing smile that came over her face seemed to reach from ear to ear stopping Michael in his tracks as he approached the stairs. Unknowingly, Michael found himself smiling back.



Livie giggled at Michael and squeezed the dolly to her tighter before turning and running back down the hallway.



"Wait!" Tess called running up the stairs with Michael and Kyle behind her.



"Where the heck did she go?" Kyle exclaimed looking around at the empty hall.



Opening the door to Maria's room, Michael switched the lights on revealing a crumpled bed, "Looks like someone's been sleeping in here."



Tess headed out the door and slowly made her way to Amy's bedroom door. Tess opened the door," Amy?" she called out when she didn't see anyone. "That's odd," she murmured.



"Well how about in here?" asked Tess pointing towards a small closet door, "What's this?"

"That's just a linen closet," replied Michael, opening the door and reveling a small closet full of sheets and towels.

"Well she's got to be here somewhere," Tess exclaimed.

"How about here?" Tess asked, looking over at the other door across from them. "Is this another closet?" she asked, reaching out to open it.



"Yeah, I guess" Michael shrugged. "I've never really looked in there."

Tess reached out and opened the white wooden door.

"Well, now this is interesting," Tess said, peering inside and looking up at the brightly lit staircase "Must lead up to the attic."

Taking step further inside, Michael peered up the steps. The thick layer of dust covering the small wooden railing that travel along the wall shoed small hand prints on it. The tingling feeling started slowly in Michael's fingertips as he went up the stairs.

Reaching the top, Michael stopped in his tracks and looked around. The well-lit room was noting like he had been expecting; instead, what seemed to be a nice small bedroom stood around him taking another step, Michael looked around and stopped in his tracks at the sight before him.



posted on 10-Nov-2002 9:27:03 PM
Amy sat on the edge of the large wooden bed humming a soft lullaby as she rocked Livie in her arms. " I think someone's getting sleepy, " Amy remarked as Livie let out a big yawn.

Livie’s small eyes wandered around the small cubicle and landed on Michael. She smiled at him, blushed, and hid her blushing face with Grandma Amy’s shirt.

"Amy?" Michael asked. "What are you doing up here?"

"Michael!!!” Amy shrieked. “Tess! Kyle! Wha…I,,,umm…What are you guy doing up here?!?" Amy asked as she looked over at Kyle and Tess. “I…uhh…I thought you were all downstairs with Jim"

"We were,” Tess replied. “But we saw your little friend there and followed her up."

"Oh…I see," Amy muttered as she nervously bit on her lower lip. She leaned her head back on the headboard and closed her eyes as she held on to Livie tightly. A moment later she opened her eyes and focused her attention on Michael.

Michael found himself staring back at the child on Amy's lap in amazement and curiosity. Her hair was a soft golden blond that hung straight down her small back. He looked into her sparkling dark eyes that were glimmering at him and he felt as though he were drowning in the. Her eyes. They were so familiar. He knew these eyes.

“Hi there, sweetie,” Tess smiled as she kneeled before Amy and Livie. “What’s your name?” she asked.

“Olivia!” Livie stated proudly as she smiled at both Tess and Michael. She then started to blush again and once again hid her small face with Amy’s shirt. Amy delicately ran her fingers through Livie’s golden hair. Livie smiled and looked up at Amy. She stroked her grandma’s cheek and giggled. She focused her attention back at Michael and gave him a bright smile. “I know who you are! Mommy told me about you!”

“What?" Michael asked in disbelief. He looked at Amy with questioning and Live just giggled. “Amy what's going on here? Who is this?"

"She's my daughter.”

Michael stiffened at the sound of the voice. No, it couldn’t be. The voice was soft and low; just like he remembered it. The same tingling feeling traveled down his spine. That only happened when…no, it couldn’t be. He turned around and tried to remain calm at the image before him. The deep rich green emeralds eyes. Just like he had remembered them. Okay, Michael; it’s been a long night.. He reminded himself to wear a helmet next time he came to Amy’s house if he didn’t want to leave with a concussion. He must have obviously started to hallucinate things

"Hello Michael," Maria said softly with all the confidence she could muster.

The silence in the room seemed almost deafening to Maria. She liked noise. She needed noise. Noise was made her mind occupied. No room for though; just pure action. Action, that was what she needed.

"Maria! Oh my god!!" Tess exclaimed as she ran toward Maria and squeezed her tight. “Oh my god! You’re real! You…but…you’re...your alive!" Tess exclaimed and hugged her even tighter.

"Umm...well…yes…I guess. I’m alive,” she smiled, her eyes never leaving Michael’s. "It's good to see you again." She temporary shifted her gaze from Michael to Kyle. She had missed them all so much. What would she give to be able to turn back time and recuperate all the moments lost? But it was too late now. Her eyes landed back to Michael’s. How she wanted to hold him, hug him, kiss him and to…Maria, don’t go there…not yet at least.

"I think I'm going to go put Livie back in bed", Amy stated trying to break the silence. She stood up and brought Livie to Maria. “Say ‘night night’ to momma, Sweetie.”

Maria reached out and took hold of her daughter, wrapping her around her waist and giving her a kiss on the cheek. “I love you, Baby,” she whispered. “Grandma’s gonna tuck you in and read you a quick story, okay?”

"Yes momma," Livie replied tightening her hold around Maria's neck.

Maria smiled and kissed Livie's cheek before handing her back to Amy.

"We'll talk later, okay?" Amy stroked Maria’s cheek softly. “There are so many things we need to share.”

"There’s time, Mom. Don’t worry.” Maria smiled, “Later.”

Maria looked up and found herself staring straight into Michael's eyes as he stared back at her; both of them consumed in the moment.

Looking back and forth from Maria to Michael, Amy smiled slightly before nudging a still stunned Tess, who in return slightly fell into Kyle.

Tess blushed slightly as she stood right back up. She looked over at Amy and then back to Michael and Maria. She shook her head and pulled Kyle’s arm down the stairs.

**********************

Michael still couldn’t rip his gaze off of Maria. She had changed but there was no mistaking it. This was Maria. His Maria. Standing before him. Alive. Breathing. And if it was even possible, more beautiful than he remembered. He clenched his hands to the side as he watched Maria walk around the room and bending to pick up a small dolly from the floor. He closed his eyes slightly as the tingling sensation started again.

Maria turned back to Michael and attempted to smile. She sat down on the edge of the bed and played with her hands as though they had suddenly become the most interesting thing. Five years, and she still felt it…that tingle in her fingertips, almost like an itch, that always happened whenever he was around. She had once asked him about it… but he'd simply laughed it off, telling her it was probably nothing. Her gazed focused on the length of his body. The last five years had been physically good to him. How was it possible for a man to get sexier? She bit her lip. His hair had grown longer and it now hung down to the collar of his dark blue button-down shirt. Looking away, Maria clenched her hands in her lap. “Deluca…Grip. Michael… Inevitable,” she told herself. Taking a deep breath Maria tried to smile, she was going to try to make this as pleasant as possible. She tried with all her might to compose herself but the look on Michael's face as she looked back at him was almost her undoing.

"It's been a long time," she said softly as she finally broke the silence between them.

"A long time?!?" Michael angrily retorted through clenched teeth. "Yeah, I would say so. Five years is a hell of a long time, Maria."

"I know it is…and I'm sorry," she whispered.

"Sorry?!?" Michael exclaimed. “Five damn years of hell and all you have to say is sorry? Do you have any idea what we have went through the last five years?"

Maria closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she fought control of her emotions.

"They told us you were dead. There was no way you could have survived," Michael said, stopping suddenly and turning back to Maria. " Do you have any idea what that did to us? What that did to me?"

“ I know my death caused a lot of pain for all you…especially for you and my mom. And you just don’t know how sorry I am…but I did what I had to do," she stated, her eyes never leaving Michael’s “It wasn't meant to hurt any of you.”

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Michael angrily demanded, reaching out to grab her arm as she passed him. She turned her around to face her and stared down into her eyes. “Do you have any possible idea of what I went through?” he shook her “Being told you were dead?"

"Michael…I...?”

"You What? You’re sorry?!?" Michael demanded, looking down at her in his arms. "Where the hell have you been, Maria?”

Maria stumbled slightly and held out her hands to steady her balance. She looked up and found herself staring into a set of dark honey-colored eyes that were merely a few inches from her own. Letting her gaze wander lower, Maria licked her lips as she caught sight of Michael's soft lips.

Closing her eyes shut tight, Maria felt herself growing angry as she stood there. She shook her head and looked up at Michael, she was tired. Tired of everyone and everything. She’d spent the last five years in hell and all she wanted now was a little time for herself and for her daughter. She needed time for Livie to get to know her family. She needed her to have the father that Maria never had. She needed Michael, she needed a home, but she did not need this. Maria did not deserve this.

I’m waiting for a response, Maria. Why did you leave? Why did you leave us here? Did someone try to hurt you? Oh God! Did one of our enemies…”

Maria sighed and pulled her fingers through her hair, "Not everything’s about you," she said bitterly “My leaving had nothing to do with any of you. It was my decision."

Maria turned away from him and walked across the room, looking out the window at the streetlight below.

"Then why?" Michael demanded, coming to stand behind her and making it impossible for her to turn around.

Wrapping her arms around her waist, Maria looked down at the street below. "Does it matter?"

"Yes it matters,” Michael replied, spinning her around to face him. "If something happened to you...Why couldn't you come to us? You know we...I would have taken care of you. I would have protected you. I never would have let any harm come to you, Maria."

"Maybe I didn't want you to take care of me," Maria said angrily, pushing at Michael’s chest. “Maybe I just wanted an out…and I saw this as my only chance."

"Don't give me that shit, Maria!" Michael shouted, letting go of her and walking across the room, "Dammit, Maria! I want the truth. I deserve the truth."

Maria shook her head as she pressed her fingers to her temples, "I'm sorry…but I just can't…”

S sudden loud banging from a car backfiring down the street below caused Maria to jump and fall down to the floor as she cuddled herself into a ball. She held her head tightly and shivers ran down her body.

"Maria!" Michael shouted as he rushed over her, “Maria!”

"Livie! Where’s Livie?!?" Maria shrieked as she rocked on the floor. She shut her eyes tight as she took deep breaths until Michael’s voice started to seep through.

"Maria it was just a car backfiring outside,” Michael whispered as he rubbed her back. “My god, Maria. You’re so pale and you freezing!" He said, wrapping his arm around her waist to help her up. "Come here and sit on the bed.”

"I'm fine…I just need some air," Maria protested, stepping out of Michael's hold. "Just…need…air," she stammered as she felt a rush of blood traveling to her arms where Michael was holding her. What the hell was happening to her?

"You’re not fine. You’re shaking!"

"It's nothing…I'm just...it's just been a long day. Do you…umm… want to go and get a cup of coffee or something? I really don't want to talk about this here."

Michael nodded and smiled slightly. Something was definitely wrong and he was going to find out what it was one way or another "If you haven't eaten yet there's a small diner not far from here. We could go there"

Maria smiled slightly and nodded. “I'd like that. I'll be downstairs in a minute; I just want to go check on Livie," she replied. “It won't be long."

Michael watched as Maria went down the stairs and out of sight before him. Turning around, Michael picked up the little green alien dolly that Maria had dropped. She was home; his Maria was home…but she wasn't the same.

Michael flipped his cell phone open and began dialing, "Travis. this is Guerin. I need you to do me a favor."

"Oh no!" shrieked a voice on the other end. “As I recall, the last time I did you a favor I ended up

getting chewed out by my superiors for consorting with prostitutes on the job!"

"Hey that wasn't my fault. Besides, this is nothing like that. I just need some information about an accident.”

Travis grumbled and through his pad at the counter and began writing down the information Michael gave him. "Why the interest in an accident from five years ago?"

"Part of an investigation. Just get it to me as soon as possible,” Michael replied before turning off his cell phone.

*****************

"What's going on up there?" Amy asked as she paced around the room. “Alright, that’s it. I’m going up there.”

"Relax," Jim said, taking hold of her hand. "They're fine. They are adults now; they can take care of theirselves, " Valenti replied as he wrapped his arms around Amy’s waist.

Amy leaned back, resting her head on Valenti’s shoulder and sighed, "I know. I know," she said, shaking her head. "It's just…I Don't want her to leave again."

Valenti pulled Amy closer and looked over at Kyle and Tess, “None of us want that. I'm sure that the two of them are just fine. They have a lot to talk about.”

"Dad's right" Kyle agreed as he got up from the couch, “They're fine. I just still can't believe she's actually here."

"I know,” Amy replied.

Valenti looked up and let go of Amy’s hand when he saw Michael came bounding down the stairs

"Where's Maria? Is she alright?" Amy asked.

"She's fine" Michael replied, picking up his jacket and throwing it on. "She's upstairs saying ‘good night’ to Livie. Look, I don't think I'm gonna make it over to Max and Liz's tonight for dinner," Michael said, looking over at Kyle and Tess “Could the two of you go and tell them I'll talk to em tomorrow?"

"Sure,” Kyle replied.

"Yeah, that would be fine. I’m actually very hungry since we didn't get a chance to finish dinner,” replied Tess.

Michael turned his head to see Maria descending the stairs. "Maria wanted to get out of here and get some air so we're gonna get out of here for a while so we can talk."

“I guess I'll see you later tonight then," Amy looked at Maria.

Maria nodded and smiled at the Sheriff.

"Hey, sweetie, it's good to see you again" he said, wrapping his arms around her waist and practically lifting her up.

"It's good to see you too," she smiled as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

Tess headed towards the door and picked up her purse. "I guess we'd better get going then. You know how Isabel is when people are late. She's probably throwing a fit as we speak. We'll see you two later," she smiled as she looked over at Maria one last time.

"I'd like that," Maria replied. "We'd better get going too,” she said, giving Tess, Kyle, and Amy a kiss on their cheek. “We'll talk later."

Amy nodded and watched as the four of them walked out the door. “Everything will be alright?" she asked Jim after a moment.

"Come here," he said pulling Amy onto his lap as he stroked her back. Looking towards the door, Jim sighed as the same question filtered through his mind.

************************************************

Michael watched as Maria played with her small spoon, stirring her coffee as if fascinated by the clinking sound that the spoon made while it tapped against the sides of the small porcelain cup. That's how they had been sitting for practically the last ten minutes. Michael finally slid his hands across the table and slipped his fingers through Maria’s long slender fingers, linking their hands together.

Maria looked up and smiled," I'm sorry; guess, you have a lot of questions."

"Like where have you been?" Michael stated. “Or what have you been doing? Why did you freak out when that car backfired? And most importantly, why have you stayed away from us for the last five years since you obviously weren't in that car? Oh! And explain about the little girl with you."

Maria leaned her head back and sighed. "Where do I begin?" she asked softly.

"How about the beginning? That's always a good place to start."

Maria pushed herself up and took a deep breath. “When I first arrived in New York, I was amazed at how big it was; the noise, the people, everything was simply amazing."

Michael watched the array of emotion that washed across Maria’s face as she told him about her first impressions of New York. "I take it you liked it there. And your father?" Michael asked after a moment.

Looking out the window, Maria stopped talking for a moment, "The time I did get to spend with him was very nice. I wish it could have been more. We were just getting to know each other. Has anyone heard from my father?”

“No, he disappeared not long after your supposed accident. In fact, he never even came for the funeral. Although I'm not sure if that was bad thing or not considering Amy."

Maria couldn't help smiling at that, "Yes, my mother is a force to be reckoned."

Tearing her eyes away from Michael, Maria looked around at the patrons in the diner. She'd spent countless hours in places like this. Her eyes caught sight of two police officers entering the dinner. Maria quickly looked down at the table and hung her hair over to the side as she took another sip of her coffee.

"Is something wrong, Maria?" Michael asked, looking over at the police officers as they sat down at the counter. He quickly recognized them as two guys he worked with before.

"What? Oh…uhh…no, everything’s fine," she said leaning back in her seat.

Michael looked at her curiously but nodded his head and took another sip of his coffee, "so you gonna tell me what's going on? Or do I have to guess?"

Maria sighed and closed her eyes. "Her name was Nadine,” she whispered.

"Nadine?"

"She bartended at a local club. In fact, that's how we meet. I went there with a couple of friends from work for a night out on the town. We just wanted to relax."

"I take it you and Nadine were close," Michael stated as he tried to hide the jealousy in his voice at the images and thoughts of Maria dancing intimately with perfect strangers letting them touch her. He shook his head clear and waiting for Maria to answer.

"When my father got called away for an unexpected business trip, Nadine was having her apartment painted. I asked her if she wanted to come and stay with me for a while. I thought it would be fun and, besides, it was only supposed to be for a week."

"What happened?"

Maria tightened her hand around her cup and looked over at him "What happened? What happened is that they made a mistake. They tried to kill me… but killed Nadine instead,” Maria replied shaking her head bitterly. She could already feel the tears stinging her eyes.

The horror that crossed his face was unmistakable to anyone. "What?!?" Michael exclaimed. “What the hell do you mean…?

"Isn't it pretty much self explanatory?" Maria replied as she shook her head. “The bastards got the wrong girl. Instead of me being dead, it’s my friend who lost her life, Michael.”

"Maria..." Michael said, reaching out to hold her hand.

Pulling her hand away, Maria shook her head. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to dump this on you right now. It's just been really hard these last five years.”

"It didn't have to be,” Michael whispered. “Why didn't you come home, Maria? Why didn't you just come home to me?”

"I just couldn't,” Maria sighed. “I'm sorry...do you mind if we skip dinner? I'm really not very hungry after all."

Glancing over at the two officers eating, Maria drummed her fingers along the table before looking back over at Michael. How was she going to tell him?

"Come on," Maria suddenly exclaimed as she stood up “Let's get out of here."

"Where are we going?" Michael asked, picking up his coat and throwing a couple dollars down onto the table.

"Your place," Maria stated, pulling on her jacket. "We need to talk about your daughter."

"WHAT?!?"

*********************************

To be continued…







posted on 14-Jan-2003 1:23:00 AM

here's the next part

Holding The Dream
jadestonedreams
Chapter 6

Ava Stood looking out the window of her small office at the scenery before
her and the ever present buzzing of the nightlife around her. It had been
one of the reasons she had started this club, turning it into one of the
hottest hangouts in New York, for all types. Everything had been going
great. She had plenty of friends and work to fill her life with joy and
love. She had plenty of relationships to pass the night through some way or
another. For awhile, everything seemed to be going along perfectly...until
two years ago when she saw a face she never believed she would ever see
again …not since she left all those years ago. "Roswell, New Mexico," she
murmured.

"Knock knock," called Detective Somers from the doorway, interrupting her
thoughts.

Glancing over her shoulder, Ava narrowed her eyes for a moment at the man
standing in her doorway. The gentleman appeared to be in his late thirties
or early forties, brown hair tinted with a little gray at the sides that
added a distinguished look.

"And you are...?" prompted Ava folding her arms in front of her as she
turned around to face the detective.

Detective Somers took a step forward and stopped short at the sight of the
young woman before him. She seemed to be rather on the short side and her
blonde curls hung down her back as purple highlights and occasional braids
splayed through her. Somers noted that she looked like she just stepped out
of one of those punk rock videos. But her eyes...her eyes said that this was
no rock head; her eyes held the greenest color he'd ever seen, they seemed
almost unnatural

The detective shook his head clear as he realized the young woman was
staring at him. Her eyebrows rose as a slight smirk ran across her face.

"Hello…uh…I’m Detective Somers...I…I have a few questions I'd like to ask
you."

"I've already talked to an officer. I really don't have any thing new to
tell you," she replied. She turned her back on him and headed toward the
window. She looked out and frowned, the last thing she felt like doing right
now was talking to some stupid detective.

"There's a woman lying in a pool of her own blood down the hall from you. I
think you could find a little time."

"Don't you think I know that!" shouted Ava trough clenched teeth as she spun
around to glare at the detective, "And I'm sorry for whoever that poor woman
is... but there's nothing I can say that's going to help you."

"That maybe true ma’am. But of if indulge me anything, even if it seems
insignificant, it might help us capture the son of a bitch who did this."

Ava sighed. She walked from around her desk and poured herself a large cup
of strong coffee and returned back to her desk, not offering the detective a
cup.

"Fine, if you think it'll help," she gave in. She pulled out her chair and
asked, "What is it you would like to know?"

**********************

Maria shivered slightly as she wrapped her arms around her waist. The cold
night air sent her long, dark hair flying about in the wind. She couldn't
believe that she had just told Michael about Livie. She couldn’t believe she
had just walked out of the dinner and into the cold night air. She heard
footsteps approaching behind her and closed her eyes. Feeling the chilled
air against her cheeks, she took a deep breath before turning around to see
Michael standing behind her.

"Do you care to explain to me what you meant back there?" Michael growled as
he stiffly took a step towards her and clenched his hands at his sides.

Maria sighed and looked straight into Michael's eyes. "What's there to
explain? I said we need to discuss our daughter. You know, little short girl
I was with a few hours ago..."

"Damn it, Maria! I know whom you're talking about. I'm not stupid."

"I never said you were!" Maria angrily replied.

Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Michael shook his head. "Shit! How the
hell could you not tell me I had a daughter, Maria? Why the fuck did you
keep this from me?"

Maria stared at Michael for a moment and bit her lower lip. She wondered if
telling him the truth was the best course of action or if it would be worse.
Protecting her daughter was what mattered the most to Maria, it even
mattered more than Michael.

"I didn't know I was pregnant when I left, Michael. Hell, I didn't even know
the last time we talked. I didn't find out until after everyone thought I
was dead. But by then..."

"By then what...?" Michael demanded, taking another step forwards, grabbing
her by the arms, and shaking her slightly as he glared down into her face.

"Damn it, Maria! Tell me!" he shouted, shaking her slightly.

"...But by then it was too late," Maria shouted, pushing at his chest and
taking a step back. "You know this hasn't been easy for me."

"IT HASN'T BEEN EASY FOR YOU?" Michael shouted, stepping back and pacing in
front of her. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? You could have told
me! You should have told me. You had no fucking right to keep my daughter
from me!" Michael shouted, causing a few passersby to toss the two of them a
few odd looks.

"I had every right!" Maria hissed. "You may not understand this but I did
what was right. Maybe it wasn't the best decision but it was mine and damn
it I'm not gonna apologize!"

"Then at least tell me why." Michael demanded, "You owe me that much."

Stepping back, Maria stared across at Michael. 'It would be so easy' she
thought. It would be too easy to simply tell him everything...the truth, the
pain, the betrayal. Tell him what her life had been like these last few
years. She was safe now, wasn't she? This was why she'd finally come home.
The threat was gone. So why did she feel like..."

'Damn.' Why did that tingling feeling in her fingertips have to show up at
the most inopportune moments? No, this was the last thing she needed to be
thinking about right now. What she needed was to clear her foggy head.

"I can't." Mary finally whispered. "I'm sorry but not right now."

Michael shook his head as he clenched his fists at his sides. He'd never
felt the need to hit something so much in his life. Not since his
sister/granddaughter’s funeral a few years ago. The snide remarks between
him and her so-called uncle had finally cultivated in a brawl at the local
bar.

God he'd been angry back then, too angry. It had taken, both, Max and
Kyle to keep him from literally beating that SOB to death.

"Dammit, to hell!" Michael shouted, hitting his fist through the nearest car
window and sending shards of glass all over the seat, which in return set on
the alarm.

"Oh my god, Michael!" Maria shouted as she rushed over to him. "Here, let me
see..."

"I'm fine," Michael grumbled, pulling his hand away and staring down at the
newly formed blood on his hand.

"Shit," he muttered as the pain hit him.

"Is there a problem here?" Boomed the loud voice from behind Michael.

Maria's eyes widened in alarm as she looked past Michael and at the young
officer that stood there. She stepped back and Michael quickly let go of her
before he turned around and glared at the young man.

"Detective Guerin," stammered the young man. "Sorry, sir. I didn't recognize
you. Is everything alright?" he asked, glancing over at Maria.

"Officer Jakes, everything's just fine," Michael angrily snapped at the
young officer. "My friend and I were just having a disagreement, that's
all," Michael replied and glanced over at Maria.

"I can see that," the young officer snorted. "But in case you didn't notice,
that was my patrol car window you just smashed."

Looking back over his shoulder, Michael took in the cop car's busted window
and he frowned. "Yeah, sorry about that," he muttered..

"You should go and get that hand looked at, detective," replied Jakes as he
looked down at his hands.

Michael shook his head and glanced over at Maria. "It's fine," he replied
and turned his back to the officer.

"But, sir, that's a nasty..."

"I said I was fine!" Michael growled.

Maria glared at Michael and took a step forward. She extended her hand and
gave a bright smile to the officer, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Officer
Jakes. Don't let Michael scare you. He's only a bastard to those he loves."

"Is that so?" the officer smiled, feeling a little flustered at Maria's
smile and more than a little nervous at Detective Guerin’s look of
hostility. Oh boy, what the hell had he interrupted?

"Maria, I think it's time for us to be going now. Don’t you think?" Michael
growled, narrowing his eyes at the young officer.

The officer immediately stepped back after realizing he still held on
tightly to Maria’s hand, "It uh...it was a pleasure meeting you Ms…"

"Maria... Maria DeLuca."

"Any relationship to Amy DeLuca?" smiled Officer Jakes, remembering the
woman from a couple of weeks ago rampaging about some animal product testing
going on over in gods knows where. Valenti had not been a happy camper that
day and snapped at everybody all day, literally making life shitty for
everyone there.

"Amy is my mother. I'm here visiting her and old friends," Maria glanced,
looking directly at Michael.

"Maria, I think we'd better get..."

"Sorry, that's me," Maria muttered when a ring interrupted Michael’s
thoughts. She stepped back from the officer and reached into her pocket to
retrieve a small cell phone.

"Well, I'd better get going. It was nice to meeting you, Ms. DeLuca," called
Officer Jakes. "You know, they're gonna want to know what happened to the
window," the officer told Michael.

Looking over at the shattered glass, Michael shrugged. "Don't worry about
it."

The officer took a deep breath and shook his head before turning back to
Maria, who had just found her phone. "It's been a pleasure to meet you. I'll
see you to later."

Maria nodded slightly and smiled as she clicked open her phone. She turned
away from the men and took a few steps away from them for privacy.

"Hey!" she said, trying to sound cheerful, "I'm sorry I didn't get a chance
to…"

"Maria, Babe, it's me."

Maria closed her eyes and let out a breath she didn't even realize she'd
been holding, "Oh hey...I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to see you before…"

Listening to the voice on the other end, Maria stopped cold. She felt her
face go pale as all her blood supply suddenly rushed from her.

"What? Yes..." she whispered softly. She felt her insides turn cold as she
listened quietly.

"Let me call you back...I can't talk right now, " Maria insisted, quickly
glancing over her shoulder at Michael before turning away.

"Yes...later," she stammered before hanging up.

"Mind telling me what the hell that was all about?" Michael demanded, coming
up behind her and spinning her around. "Hey what's wrong?" he demanded as
soon as he saw the paleness of Maria's skin and the dullness in her eyes.
"God, your ice Cold" muttered Michael, placing both his hands on the sides
of Maria’s face.

"I...uh...I don't feel too well" Maria stammered as she took a step back
from Michael and running over to a nearby trash container to lose what
little she had eaten that day.

"Come on," he said. He softly rubbed Maria’s back as she emptied the rest of
her stomach and stumbled back from the containers. "Let's get you home,"
Michael muttered, slipping his arm around her waist and helping her to the
car. He buckled her seatbelt before slipping into the car and pulling out of
the parking lot.

**********************************

"Here we are," Michael said, clicking on the lights of his apartment and
standing aside to let Maria in. "Doesn't look like much but it's home."

Maria took a small step inside and looked around, "It's nice."

"It's a dump," Michael replied, throwing his jacket and keys down onto the
counter. "But then I'm rarely here as it is, so..."

Maria smiled slightly at Michael, "Umm...I'd like to wash up, please."

Michael looked across at her and nodded, "It's down the hall, to your
right."

"Thanks," she stammered and turned away from his gaze to head to the
bathroom.

Michael winced at the bandaged hand and sighed. It would have been so easy
to simply heal his hands completely. But Maria had pointed out that officer
Jakes had already witnessed his little indiscretion. It was probably best
not to heal it completely, but to leave a few scratches here and there.

Michael watched as she closed the door behind her and shook his head. He
paces around and pulled his fingers through his hair. "What the hell was
going on? " he thought as he went to the fridge and pulled out a beer. He'd
woken up this morning, went to work without a care in the world. And now
…now here he was hours later, back home… with Maria. Maria, a part of him he
thought long dead was now only a few feet away in another room and shit they
had a daughter.

Swallowing down another gulp, Michael's thoughts wandered back to earlier
and to the small girl Amy had been holding. Truth be told, the moment Maria
had started talking Michael hadn't paid much attention to anyone else in the
room. What did Maria call her? Livie? Olivia. Fuck, how could she not say
anything?

Michael glanced down the hall upon hearing the shower turning on. "Hey…you
alright in there?" Michael called, getting up from the sofa and heading down
the hall.

"Maria?" Michael called as he knocked gently on the door. "I asked if you
are alright."

Hearing no answer, Michael pushed open the door slowly to peer inside.

"Shit!" Michael slammed the door open further to reveal Maria sitting on
floor in the corner of the bathtub rocking back and forth. She hugged
herself tightly and stared across the room, oblivious to Michael. Her face
grew paler and paler as the steam from the water built up around her.

Michael immediately reached over, turned the water off, and quickly wrapped
a towel around Maria.

"Maria, Baby!" Michael called, trying to get her to focus on him. "Come on,
Look at me!"

"She's dead." Maria stammered to no one in particular. "And I feel so numb."

Reaching into the cabinet for a blanket, Michael looked down at Maria in
confusion, "Who's dead, Maria?" Thinking back to the phone call earlier,
some one Maria knew, some one she was closed to …dead

"Tired," she whispered.

"Come on," Michael whispered, pulling Maria up and guiding her to the
bedroom. He settled her on top the covers and pulled out an oversized
sweatshirt, "Here, you can put these."

One quick look, and Michael knew Maria was out.

Michael pulled her wet clothes off suddenly reached a stop as his fingers
grazed her skin. He looked down her back and traced his fingertips across
what he first had believed to be a tattoo…but the skin was raised to form a
scar.

"My god," he muttered at the small symbol, which had somehow been literally
carved into her lower back. He gently slipped the shirt over Maria's head
before nesting her under the covers. He ran his fingers gently through her
hair for a moment as he rubbed her back and Michael to pick up the phone.

"Hey," Michael said, glad that Valenti had picked up the phone instead of
Amy. The last thing he and Maria needed right now was an overwrought mother.

"Oh yeah. She’s fine. Look, I don't want to worry Amy, but Maria got a
little sick. Now she's asleep. I don't want to wake her...yeah… first
thing."

"You just make sure you take care of her," Valenti stated over the receiver
before hanging up.

"I will," Michael replied and hung up the phone. He stripped his clothes
off, pulled on a pair of sweatpants and slid into bed. He wrapped his arms
around Maria’s shivering waist and she moved in closer to him.

"'Heaven help me tonight, " he groaned leaning over to turn off the light
switch and falling asleep cuddled by her side.

********************************************




posted on 18-Feb-2003 2:52:54 AM
Holding the Dream
Chapter 7<6>
By jadestonedreams
Disclaimer: Yeah, Right If I owned them would I really be doing this right now! Nope, I only borrow for entertainment purposes"
Chapter 7

Slamming his Phone down in disgust, Jacob O'neil began pacing around his hotel room. It had been over four hours since he was supposed to hear from his partner in New York and it wasn't like Dixie to be this late in calling him.

"Where the hell is she?" he muttered looking around the silent room as if expecting to give him his answers. He hated being here in Roswell, New Mexico. The town sure had its share of nutcases who believed in the UFO alien crap. 'Town full of losers' he though as he glanced out the window. He didn’t know what was worse: the town, itself, or being stuck in the middle of all of the losers looking for some stupid missing woman that he couldn't give a rat's ass about.

Jacob picked up his silver briefcase, headed back over to the bed, and stared down at the picture of the young girl in his hand. He had always thought her to be beautiful… long golden hair, bright shining face, and green emerald eyes.

"Missing for almost five years," he read the file again in his hand as he got up and started pacing the room. "Nadine Spencer. Worked as a bartender in a local New York Club until she went Missing a little over 4 years ago. Completely vanished. No forwarding address. It's as if she walked out of her home and poof was gone. Two days after her supposed disappearance her apartment had been mysteriously cleaned out, not a trace of her left there. Report had shown she'd spent the last few weeks staying with a friend...A Maria Deluca. Deceased, killed in a car wreck a few days before.

"One's killed in a freak accident and the other vanishes shortly after," muttered Jacob. There just had to be a connection. Could the two incidents be related?

"Geez!!" he grumbled as the ringing of the phone startled him.

“Dammit," he shouted, knocking over the files on the floor as he reached for his phone.

"Hello?" O'neil growled into the receiver.

"Bite my head off, why don't cha!" laughed Agent Thompson over the phone.

"Yeah, sorry about that,” Jacob replied as he ran his fingers through his hair and shook his head. "I'm a little frustrated over here. I don't think this lead of Dixie's is panning out. Besides, she’s over four hours late in contacting me. You haven't heard from her, have you?”

"No, but it's not like agent Davidson to not check in when she's supposed to," came the reply.

"You don't think something's happened to her...”

"Let’s not jump to conclusions just yet, Jacob. Dixie might have just been delayed or engaged elsewhere. I'm sure she's fine."

"Yeah... I'm sure you’re right," Jacob replied as he felt the hairs on the back of his neck begin to rise. “If there isn’t anything else, I really need to…”

"Actually, I was wondering how things where going on this investigation of yours. Found any leads yet to Dixie's missing person?”

"No,” Jacob replied. “Honestly, I'm not sure why Dixie even asked me to check out the town. Apparently, Nadine Spencer had no connections to this place at all, no friends or family here. I'd be surprised if she'd ever even stepped foot in the state of New Mexico, much less even spend time here. I'm telling you, there's nothing here.”

"Well, there must've been some reason. "

There it was again. That feeling. He was missing something…something important.

"I can't tell you anymore than what you already know," Jacob replied. He picked up the photo and looked at it again, “Dixie had a lead on something but she wasn't clear on what. "

"Well, you be sure to let me know if you hear from her; I have some reports she needs to have completed by this weekend."

"Sure, no problem" replied Jacob before hanging up.

Throwing on his jacket and picking up his cell phone, he headed for the door. 'Might as well get something to eat' he thought as he walked out the door. ‘And if I don't hear from Dixie by morning, I'm on the first flight to New York.’

*********************************

Maria felt hot… at least that how she felt on the inside, like she was burning up. The cloudiness in her head seemed to dissipate slightly as she tried to move but damn something was blocking her, something warm. Livie must've gotten into bed with her.

Opening her eyes slowly and blinking several times as she tried to focus, Maria found herself staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling. She shifted a little, trying to look around. Maria stopped suddenly at the sound of soft breathing coming beside her. She turned her head and caught site of the figure lying next to her, Michael.

"Oh my!” she muttered, quickly looking back up at the ceiling before scooting herself up, careful not to wake Michael. Pulling her fingers through her long hair, Maria closed her eyes in frustration. God she was hot. Why the heck did Michael have his thermostat set on 90 degrees? She threw the covers to the floor and tried to be careful not to wake Michael as she got out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Maria splashed some cold water on her face and stared at her reflection in the mirror as she tried to clear her head. Waking up in a strange place was one thing, but waking up next to Michael...well, that was something else all together. She splashed some more water to her face and stopped suddenly when memories of the previous night came back. The telephone call…

"Oh God," she groaned. She took a step back as memories from last night started to further flood her mind. "She’s dead, Natty. I came home after work and found her. Police say it looked like a robbery gone bad."

Maria felt like her guts had been punched out last night when Paul had called her. 'I only just talked to one of them yesterday,' she though as the tears that should have fallen refused to come. Instead, anger took over her, 'It's not fair! '

"Maria."

Startled, Maria twirled around to find Michael standing in the doorway watching her. "You want to talk about it?" he asked after a moment.

Maria blinked several times and stared at him in silence before shaking her head and pushing her way past him.

"Look, Maria, I know something's bothering you. That phone call upset you. You kept muttering about someone being dead and…”

Maria suddenly stopped in the doorway and turned to look at him sadly. She wrapped her hands around her waist before pulling her fingers through her hair in frustration.

"Jamie...Jamie Anderson," she said after a moment, "She and her brother were friends of mine. Police found her dead last night in her apartment."

"Oh god, I'm sorry Maria!" Michael exclaimed, taking a step forward and wrapping Maria in his arms as he stoked her back. He felt her suddenly stiffen at the contact between them. "It's okay, baby," he whispered as he felt her start to relax against him and lay her head on his shoulders.

"I…I just…I just talked to Paul yesterday," she whispered. "He was planning a huge birthday surprise for Jamie next month. He's got to be devastated. Jamie was the only family he had that kept contact with him."
Not really knowing what to say, Michael simply held Maria close to him.

Maria pulled back after a moment and smiled. “Thanks," she said, stepping back from him.

Michael nodded his head and smiled. "Listen if you want breakfast I can fix us something real quick.”

"Just coffee, if you have it.”

"You didn't eat much earlier. I think you should at least…”

"Look Michael," she interrupted him, “I appreciate it but right now I don't think I could handle food. Coffee will be fine; I'll get something a little later. I'm more of a brunch person anyway. I tend to just have juice or coffee in the morning while Livie has her breakfast."

Michael nodded, “Alright then, coffee it is."

Maria watched as he left the room and sighed before heading back into the bedroom.

"Umm...Michael, where are my cloths?" Maria asked as she walked into the kitchen.

"Oh, they got wet last night. Don't you remember? I hung them up to dry."

“Oh!"

"There's some biscuits in that container over there to go with your coffee if you like," he said, placing a large painted yellow coffee mug in front of her.

Maria raised an eyebrow and smiled at the mug, "Doesn't strike me as you taste," she said.

"Oh…well, one of the kids over at the center gave it to me last year as a thank you for umm getting her cat out of a rather sticky situation."

"Michael Guerin, rescuing felines in distress,” Maria laughed, “Who would've thought!"

Maria slipped into one of the chairs, took a sip of the dark roast, and sighed. Coffee, coffee, coffee…dark nectar of the gods.

Michael sat silently and watched as Maria drank her coffee, lost in thought.

"Tell me about her," he said after a moment.

Setting the mug down on the table, Maria smiled. "She's a lot like you," she replied after a moment. "Very stubborn even before she was born."

"Sounds more like her mother to me," Michael replied. “Is she…?”

"Yes," Maria whispered, “She knows she’s different and she also knows about you, Isabel, and Max. I’ve never lied to her.”

"You told her!" Michael exclaimed, almost spitting out his coffee. "But why Maria she's only…”

"Michael, when your baby changes her baby milk into chocolate milk just by touching it and she’s only a few month old, you have little choice but to try to tell them why they do these things.”

Michael gasped, staring wide eyed across from her, "She what?!?”

Maria shrugged and smiled, "what can I say? Livie loves her chocolate. She's been doing little things here and there ever since she was born."

"So, she knows that I'm her father and about us being…”

"She knows you’re like her…that you can do different thing that a lot of others can't do and that you’re not from around here. But that's as far as I've told her, I figured the whole not-from-this-world thing can wait until she’s older and can be able to understand more. She knows not to use her gifts in front of others.”

Michael looked down at his coffee and smiled, “I'd like to meet her."

Maria nodded and sipped her cup, “If you want, I could bring her over later today or you could come by the house. I have to go and pick up our stuff at the hotel."

"Maria, why didn't you come home?" Michael suddenly asked.

"I just couldn't," Maria replied as she got up from the table and began to pace around the room. “Can we just let the past go, Michael? What difference does it make why I didn't come back home? I'm here now."

"How can you stand there and say it doesn't matter?" Michael rasped, turning around in his seat to look at her. "You said they tried to kill you and got you friend instead. But that's all you've said! What's going on, Maria? Why would someone want you dead?"

"Doesn't matter now...”

“Dammit, Maria!" Michael growled in frustration." I have a right to know!"

"No. No, you don't! " Maria replied, looking at him sternly. “I am sorry for letting you all believe that I was dead and I am sorry for not letting you know about Olivia but everything I did was for the best. Now I'm here and I'd like for you to get to know your daughter. Please don't fight me on something that is none of your business. Now, if you'd excuse me, I'm going to get dressed and go home."

Watching as she made her way back to the bedroom, Michael slammed him fist down onto the table and winced at the sharp pain that traveled though his fingers.

***********************
Later that morning…

Liz parker pulled up into the parking lot of the Roswell College campus and turned off her engine. She had two classes to teach this morning and she was already running late after staying up half the night with Max talking. Liz shook her head in frustration as she glanced at her watch and realized she had less than 15 minutes to get to her class.

Liz slammed her car door closed and rushed halfway across the quadrangle when she heard the sound of her name called. She stopped to look behind her and sighed at the sight of Professor burgeons coming from the Mathematics building.

"Hello, Professor," Liz stiffly said, looking at the man in front of her. Definitely not one of her favorite people on staff here. They’d butted head from the moment they meet.

"Oh come now, Elizabeth. Why so formal? We are friends and colleagues after all," the professor stated and smiled as her, his silver hair shining brightly in the morning sunlight.

Liz snorted and shook her head. "I'd hardly call us friends, Howard, and right now I'm running late for my class so if you'll excuse me…" Liz replied, turning away to continue her walk.

"I just wanted to remind you about the committee meeting tonight for the fundraiser.”

Liz stopped suddenly and looked back at him. "What committee meeting? I thought it wasn't until next week."

"Oh, didn't you hear they had to reschedule it for tonight? It was sent by e-mail since last week. I'm sure you must've received it. I do hope you are prepared…"

Liz clutched her briefcase in her hand and nodded her head as she attempted to smile at the man. “Oh don't worry, I will be."

"Bastard," she muttered as she walked off and made her way up to the science building, nearly colliding into a redheaded woman who was coming out of the building, dropping her bundle onto the floor.

"Oh, I’m so sorry!" Liz apologized and bent down to help the woman pick up a yellow sheet of paper that was in danger of being blown away.

"Umm… excuse me, aren't you Professor Parker?" she asked, turning to Liz as she bent to pick another paper.

"Yes," Liz replied.

"I'm Sophie. Sophie Peterson. I'm assisting Professor Atkins in her research on ancient cultures.”

"Oh yes, Katherine told me she was getting a new assistant a few weeks ago. Sorry Sophie, I don't mean to be rude but I'm running late for my class."

"Oh sorry!" replied Sophie, "I didn't mean to keep you."

"Don't worry about it. Umm… why don't you and Katherine join Marcie and I for lunch today?"

"Great!" Sophie beamed, “I'll tell Professor Atkins."

"See you later then," Liz called, heading off to the stairwell.

"Later," called Sophie, her smile slowly fading as she turned and walked out the two glass doors, stopping momentarily to watch the students as they passed her.

"Today a good day," she whispered before going down the steps two at a time humming the soft melody of witchy woman.

****************************

Isabel smiled as she walked into the Crashdown and waved at Nancy Parker making her way to the nearest empty booth.

"Isabel! I didn’t expect to see you this early today," Ms. Parker stated brightly.

"Normally, you wouldn't have but I have a meeting later this morning and I though I'd drop by and see if you have some of those wonderful apple cinnamon muffins you make."

"Coming right up," Nancy laughed "…and how about a nice glass of juice to go with that?"

"Great," Isabel nodded as Nancy turned to walk away.

"So, I guess you've heard the good news," Isabel stated as Ms. Parker poured a fresh cup of juice into Isabel’s glass.

Nancy shook her head and continued pouring. "No, we got home late last night. Did something happen?"

"You could say that. Maria's home."

Ms. Parker stared wide-eyed at Isabel before plopping down into the seat in front of her. “Oh my!" exclaimed Nancy after a moment, "Oh Liz! Liz must ecstatic!"

"You could say that again," Isabel laughed, leaning forward in her seat "Kyle and Tess came by last night at dinner and told us. Apparently, she showed up at her mom's sometime yesterday with her daughter."

"She has a daughter?" Nancy asked, “I can't believe it!”

The ringing of the bells, indicating a new customer entering, caused Nancy and Isabel to look up in time to see a smiling Amy bounce into the café followed by both of the Valenti men, Kyle holding the hand of a very talkative little girl.

"…And then mommy got me these pink jammies with bunnies on them but I wanted the green ones with the yellow rubbie duckies..."

"Well of course you would!" Kyle replied, helping Livie scrabble up into her seat "…rubber duckies are so much cooler the bunnies."

"Why Kyle!” Isabel exclaimed with Nancy following her to his table, “You have rubber duckie pajamas! Was that now or when you were a kid?"

"Ha…ha…" Kyle groaned, shaking his head at Isabel before turning to Livie. "This is your aunt Isabel. Very sarcastic but you learn to love her anyway."

Giggling Livie gave Isabel a beaming smile which she couldn't help returning. 'Maria's daughter all right' she thought.

Isabel bent down and smiled at Livie, "Hello, Livie. I have to say that I am very very pleased to meet you!"

Livie scooted closer and quickly wrapped her tiny arms around Isabel’s neck and squeezed.

Slightly stunned, Isabel paused before quickly returning the embrace. Isabel pulled back and couldn't help smiling into the bright blue eyes before her before looking up at Amy who had her arms wrapped around Nancy’s waist, both women oblivious to their surroundings as they talked.

"Isabel, why don't you join us for breakfast?" Jim asked as he sat down.

Amy looked over and smiled, “Come on have a seat."

Isabel shook her head and stood up, "I'd love to but I have a meeting this morning. I just dropped in to pick up a couple of muffins to go but I just had to meet this wonderful young lady, right here."

"Are you sure?" Amy asked.

Isabel nodded and turned back to Livie, “And you…you tell your Momma that your Aunt Isabel says for her to see me ASAP!" Isabel exclaimed and quickly gave Livie a peck on the cheek. 'Definitely Maria’s’ she thought as she picked up her muffins and juice before turning to leave.

"Hey, order me the bacon egg platter, would ya?" Kyle asked, picking up his jacket. "I need to go ask Isabel something."

"Hey Izzy, wait up."

Isabel turned, sipped her juice, and made her way over to the car with Kyle.

"What is it, Kyle? I really am running late now."

"I haven't seen you much lately. Tess said you missed lunch with her twice last week."

"Yeah, I know and I'm really sorry about that," replied Isabel, “I've just been really busy trying to tie up this case and all."

"It's not just that," Kyle stated and shook his head, “you barely said a few words last night at Liz's and then you left so quickly...you didn't even stay for dessert."

Isabel smiled as she turned to Kyle and threw her purse onto the passenger seat, "Look, Kyle, I'm sorry if I worried you guys but I've just been busy lately, a little preoccupied. This case is just taking up so much of my time."

Kyle shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “If you say so Isabel."

Isabel stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Kyle’s wait and smiled, It's good that you’re my friend, Kyle. I don't know what I'd do with out you."

Kyle blushed slightly and returned the hug.

The sound of coughing coming from behind them caused them both to step apart and look up.

"Alex," Isabel smiling over at him.

"Hello, Isabel" Alex replied, smiling at the two of them. "Sorry I missed you last night."

Isabel furrowed her eyebrows together and looked at Alex then at Kyle.
"What are you talking about Alex?" Isabel asked, her eyes locking with his as they stared at each other.

"Alex came by after you left last night, Isabel. He was with us for coffee and dessert."

"Oh…" she replied, "Well, I'm sorry I missed you then. I haven't seen much of you lately."

Alex shrugged and simply smiled; "I had to meet with some of the staff last night at the club, that's why I wasn't in time for dinner. Liz told me you had just left."

Isabel licked her bottom dry lip before slightly smiling. "Well, look, I'm gonna go and join my dad and Amy for breakfast. I'll see you two later then," Kyle stated as he started to turn and head back to the diner.
Tearing her eyes away from Alex, Isabel smiled at her receding friend, "I'll call you later."

Kyle nodded and headed back to the diner but not before glancing back at his two friends and shaking his head sadly. It was amazing to him how some things in life were just so obvious to some and not to others. 'Those two really need a swift kick,' he though as he slipped inside

********************
Rocking back and forth on the heels of his feet, Alex simply watched Isabel. As always, she managed to take his breath away without even trying. Her long golden hair, now cut short darkened to a golden brownish copper color and styled into large curls to bring out her face more. Breathtaking was the only way to describe Isabel Ramirez.

Alex had always tried to be a kind person, never saying a bad thing about anyone. He'd been really hurt when he received word of Isabel's marriage to Jessie Ramirez, a new lawyer in her dad's firm. What had hurt the most was that it wasn't even Isabel who had told him; Kyle had called him while he had been staying in New York for a few weeks and told him the news.

"Funny. It seems like we're always missing each other," chuckled Isabel. "I'm really sorry I missed you last night."

"Yeah, well, I've been kinda busy with the club and all," Alex replied, pushing his hands into the pockets of his khaki pants. "Michael tells me you've been helping him out on a few cases…"

"Yeah. It's really fascinating work, sometimes. In fact, I'm headed over to the office right now," Isabel replied before looking at her watch “…and dammit, I'm actually late!"

"Oh…well, then I won’t keep you," Alex replied, stepping back to head back the way he came.

"I thought you were heading to the diner to eat," Isabel called back at him.

Alex turned around and brushed his fingers through his now longer hair, “Nah; I'm not as hungry as I thought I was...I'll see you later Izzy,” he said as he walked away.

Slipping into the front seat of her car, Isabel clutched the steering wheel tightly until the knuckles on her hands seemed to drain off color and turn white. Isabel took a deep breath and looked at her reflection in the mirror.

"You are such an idiot!" she said aloud, "there is no way he could ever love you again."

Sighing, Isabel turned on the ignition and headed out into the street.
******************

Coming out of the bookstore, Sophie Peterson watched Isabel as she drove away and took a large bite from her crème-filled donut before pulling out her cell phone and dialing.