|posted on 10-Feb-2003 11:22:46 PM|
|Reunion on New Year’s Day|
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything related to Roswell. Those rights belong to the original writers and creators of the show/story.
Author’s Note/Summary: I don’t want to tell you all about the story because this is only gonna be a one parter. It was inspired by an older song called “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg. I went on the premise that Maria’s career in music did go great in NY and Liz never went to boarding school. Let me know what you think about this short future fic.
I looked the shelves over where it should be but they were empty. Why had I decided to stop here for a couple of days, especially this time of year? I should know that Georgians don’t know anything about how to handle snow. I’ll agree with them on the ice issue. No one can drive on ice, but it’s just a lot of snow. Granted it was more snow than Atlanta and its suburbs had seen in a long time, maybe in all of its history, but it was still just snow.
The funny thing about winter in Georgia is that when there is any kind of weather report that says there might be “a wintry mix” of precipitation, everyone runs out to the grocery and convenience stores and buys them out of items like milk and bread. What are these people thinking? Are they planning on living on mush for the months that they’re trapped inside their homes? I’ve been through Atlanta countless times in the past few years and have never seen them get more than an inch of snow at a time. Their usual winter weather is cold and mostly rainy.
That is, I hadn’t until this trip. The day that I arrived, it started snowing and it had been snowing off and on for those past three days. There was snow on the ground all the way past the Florida state line. At last count, there was already 5 inches downtown. Unfortunately, I wasn’t downtown; I was staying in a hotel just off of I-75 around a mall somewhere north of the capital city. They had almost another inch on top of what was reported at Hartsfield.
All I wanted was some stuff for a sandwich, but unfortunately, this store was completely out of bread. I sighed. I guess I could just go to the mall and walk the food court for free samples. Not much was open due to the snow and the fact that it was New Year’s Day, but maybe I could get a burger someplace. I turned to go back out the front door when I heard something that made me stop dead in my tracks.
“What do you mean you’re out of milk? This is the third store I’ve been to and every one of them is out of milk. This is getting ridiculous,” a female voice demanded.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but the truck didn’t come in that we were expecting due to the snow,” the man apologized profusely.
“Are you sure you don’t have any kind of milk? I’ll even go with skim at this point,” the voice wheedled. “I’m willing to pay you extra for it. I’m just tired of trying to eat my chocolate brownies without a great big glass of milk to go with it.”
I knew that voice; it had haunted my imagination for years. As I turned, sure enough there was the blonde I had pictured, batting her eyes at the poor grocery clerk. She had lost some weight, which she really couldn’t afford to do, but she was still beautiful. I had seen her a million times in my dreams in the past 11 years, in my dreams and in the media. My whole body felt like it was frozen where it was. Then my body and mind remembered they were connected and I moved up behind her.
Swallowing hard and clearing my throat a couple of times, I finally worked up the courage to say something. “Hello, Maria,” I said softly.
The woman before me whipped around, her eyes wide. Not many people would know her by that name; she went by Majandra now. I could tell that she didn’t recognize me, and I wasn’t surprised. I hadn’t shaved in two days and I was wearing a hat to ward off the cold. Then I saw it; the recognition hit her full force and her eyes widened even more.
“Michael!” she practically whispered. It was a long way from the reaction I was expecting. There were no shouts or accusations or denials, just a simple word of recognition and a genuine smile. Then she was reaching out toward me and I opened my arms to receive the hug she was about to give me.
Before we met in that hug, however, she forgot about her purse being in her hand and she dropped it, spilling the contents and sending them in all directions. We laughed from nervousness and happiness at seeing each other again, and both of us bent down, scrambling to get every item that had found its way out of her purse.
“I’m sorry; I was just so surprised to see you…” Maria started babbling, stuffing lipsticks, tampons, and other items back into her bag.
“I know,” I nodded, handing things to her.
When we had gotten everything back in her purse, she hugged me tight. “It’s so good to see you, Michael,” she whispered.
I hugged her back, closing my eyes tightly. “Really?” I asked.
She pulled away and brushed a few tears from her eyes. “Really,” she assured me, smiling and squeezing my hand. She looked over at her cart at the groceries. “Um, listen, I need to pay for these few groceries and then maybe we can go get a drink or something. What do you say?”
“Sounds good, except for the drink part,” I told her with a grin.
She let her head drop and she smiled. “Right, I forgot. Ok, well…” she started again, thinking about our options. “How about we just get a couple of Snapples and sit in my car and talk?” she suggested.
“Sounds good to me,” I answered. I pushed the cart towards the check-out.
The clerk that had gone to the back to check on the milk came back with a gallon in his hand. “Ok, I found this last gallon but the expiration date is today. Do you still want it?” he asked.
Maria kept glancing at me as she answered him. “You know what? Keep it. I don’t feel like brownies anymore.”
We didn’t know what to say to each other as the cashier rang up her grocery items. I think it was the place and the amount of time that had passed since we had seen each other. We just kept looking at each other and smiling nervously. Finally, she paid for her things, and I helped her carry them out.
“Which one are you?” I asked, nodding toward the handful of cars in the parking lot.
“That one,” she said, pointing out a red Jag. She took out her keys and pushed a button on the electronic keypad.
“Nice,” I said impressed. “Is it new?”
“Yeah, I picked it up a couple of days ago from the dealer who had it waiting for me,” she answered.
If I had been a cartoon, I would have had a giant question mark for a head. What did it feel like to have a dealer wait on you like that? I helped her load the groceries into the trunk, pulled out a couple of Snapples and handed one of them to her. We both climbed into the car and she cranked it up, turning the heat on full blast.
“Brrr! This is Georgia; it’s not supposed to be this cold or have this much snow!” Maria complained. “That’s why I bought a house here!”
“You bought a house here?” I asked surprised.
“Well, sort of. It’s actually a little north and east of here; the mailing address is actually Roswell,” she said. Then she laughed. “Kind of ironic isn’t it?”
“I thought you lived in LA or New York,” I said.
“Well, I have a house in LA too. In between recording and touring, I like to come here. It’s pretty and I love all the pine trees. I especially like the falls here; all the leaves turn gorgeous colors and there are so many festivities in the fall in the mountains. What about you? Where did you end up? Still in Roswell?” she explained.
“Sort of. I’ve been traveling the last couple of years. Right now I’m staying at one of those weekly suites hotels. I still go back to Roswell for holidays, except for this past Christmas. I couldn’t get there in time so I just kept heading east. Everyone said they were disappointed, but they understood,” I told her. I didn’t tell her that Christmas was the hardest time of year to be in Roswell. It reminded me too much of her and that hurt like hell. “You look good, Maria. You’re still as beautiful as you ever were, even if you have gotten too skinny.”
“Yeah, well try telling that to my manager. ‘You can never be too thin, Majandra,’” she mocked. “But thanks; that means a lot.”
“I saw you at the Grammies last year. You deserved to win that award; you were great,” I told her honestly.
She smiled broadly at me. “I’m so glad you think so, Michael. It’s so strange to hear anyone call me Maria anymore. Even Greg calls me Majandra and he knows what my real name is,” she confessed.
“Who’s Greg?” I asked suspiciously. I had a bad feeling about this Greg guy, like I wouldn’t like the answer to my question. My fears were confirmed with her next words.
“My husband and my producer,” she answered shortly, taking a long gulp of her Snapple. I could tell that she was wishing that it was something stronger.
“Is he that bad?” I asked, feeling my fingers itching to hit this guy already.
“He’s ok. He loves me and takes good care of me and my career,” she said slowly, looking off somewhere only she could see. “But I don’t love him,” she confessed, looking back at me and giving me a sad smile.
I swallowed hard and found that I couldn’t keep my eyes locked with hers. “Then why did you marry him?” I asked, looking into my bottle.
“Because I liked him and he asked me. I may not love him, but I do like him and I realized that I could live with him,” she told me. Then she grinned at me. “More importantly, he said he could live with me.”
I chuckled at that and raised my bottle to her. “You’re right about that being important.”
She turned the heat down as it was getting warm and the windows were fogged up to the point of not being able to see outside. “So what about you, Michael?” she asked, her eyes darting to mine several times but not holding. “Did you ever get married?”
“Yeah, I did. I married a woman named Rita that Max saved when she was in a car wreck. It didn’t stick, though. We got a divorce last year,” I told her. I wanted to say that it didn’t stick because she had ruined marriage for me. I snorted. “I guess she just couldn’t live with me,” I said, using her words.
Rita’s family was from Mexico, and she was almost the opposite of Maria. She was a little plump but cute, dark haired with startling green eyes that she got from her American grandmother. She was taller than Maria and she had absolutely no sense of humor. As I signed the divorce papers, she had told me that I had purposely married the opposite of Maria so she could never stack up. Maybe I did; I don’t know.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said. Then she cleared her throat and tried to ask her next question lightly, but I knew how hard it was for her to ask. “So how is everyone in Roswell? How are Isabel, Max, Kyle?” She had pointedly left out Liz.
“Everyone’s doing ok. Isabel and Jesse are still together; no children yet, but they’re trying. Liz and Max are married, of course, with two kids and another one on the way. Kyle is getting married this spring. Jim got married this past summer and is so happy it’s sickening everyone around him,” I told her. Then I brought my hand to her face and forced her to look at me. “They all miss you, Maria. Liz cries every time she hears you singing on the radio, and she named her daughter after you.”
“Really?” Maria whispered, tears filling her eyes.
“Really,” I whispered back. “You should give them a call sometime. They would love to hear from you.”
She took a deep, shaky breath and looked away from my face, nodding. “Yeah, maybe I’ll just have to do that,” she said. We both knew that she wouldn’t. I could see that, even though she had gotten what she had always wanted in way of her career, she was unhappy. Maria was stubborn and she would see the career and her marriage through, even if it destroyed her.
We both sighed and looked at our Snapple bottles, which were now empty. It had come to that awkward part that comes at the reuniting of people that had been apart for years. We had nothing else to really say to each other. We had grown apart.
“Well, I guess I’d better go,” I said heavily. I didn’t want to leave but there really wasn’t anything left to say. I started to put my toque back on my head and pulled out my gloves.
Maria grabbed my arm to keep me from leaving. “Wait!” she cried. Then she was embarrassed and her face reddened. “I mean, can I give you a lift someplace?” she asked.
I shook my head and smiled at her. “No thanks; I’ve got my bike with me,” I told her.
She looked at me in shock. “Where do you put all your luggage?” she asked.
I laughed at that. “What luggage, Maria? It’s just me. I carry everything I need in a backpack. It helps to have powers to keep everything like new too.”
“Oh,” she said. Then she smiled nervously at me.
I leaned in close to her and our lips met in a sweet kiss. She tasted just as I remembered. As I pulled back, I ran my hand through her hair and down her cheek. “It was good to see you again, Maria,” I told her softly.
A couple of stray tears trailed down her cheeks. “Yeah, you too, Michael. Maybe we’ll meet up again sometime,” she said. We both knew the odds of that happening weren’t good.
I got out of the car and pulled my gloves on. I leaned inside and gave her one last smile. “Goodbye, Maria, happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year,” she whispered.
I closed the door and stepped away from the car. She pulled out of the space and headed for the highway. I watched her drive away and stood there long after she was out of sight. Making my way over to my bike, I felt like I had back in Roswell all those years ago. For a moment, I was Michael Guerrin, 17 year old high school goof off. My heart ached in the same way as it did all those years ago when Maria and I were still together.
Seeing Maria again had stirred up several emotions. I had been happy to see her again, and it had proven to me that I still loved her. I was also glad to find out what had happened to her, but at the same time, I would never stop wondering what might have been had she stayed with me 11 years ago. As I climbed onto my bike and pulled on my helmet, the snow that had been falling turned into rain, fitting for my mood. I pulled out of the parking lot and found myself whistling Auld Lang Syne.
(*Well? What do you guys think?*)
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Feb-2003 9:21:02 AM ]