|posted on 27-Oct-2001 9:14:11 PM|
|This is a repost of a story I started back on the old board before I got swept up in all things technical with this new one. If people are still interested, I'll continue it.|
Title: Who’s a Rockstar?
Author: Wenhaver (wenhaver⊕yahoo.com)
Category: A/U M/L, Mi/Ma
Rating: PG-13 for occasional language. I’ll keep you informed.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Please don’t sue.
Summary: Maria hits it big, and Liz joins her on the road. Wackiness ensues. A low-angst fic for Dreamers and Candies.
Feedback: Yes, please.
“Liiiiizzzzzzzzz…… you have to help me!” a voice cried over a cell phone with a bad connection.
“Maria? Is that you?” Liz Parker plugged her other ear in order to try to hear through the bad connection.
“Liz, look. It happened. All those nights in that sleazy little club, eww, but it paid off.”
“Maria, what are you talking about? Where are you?”
“L.A. – I’m in L.A., Liz. And I’ve been offered a record deal. Like, from a big label. A real deal. You have to help me. Please!”
“Oh my God! Maria! That’s so cool! I’m so happy for you! What label? What are the terms?”
“See, that’s the thing. It’s with Majestic Records. And they’re a real label, not some hole in the wall place. But I have no idea what I’m doing with this contract thing. You have to come out here. Now. Tonight. You have to help me!”
“Maria, don’t you think you should get a lawyer for that? I mean, I don’t know anything about contract or the music business.”
“But Liz, I don’t know anyone out here. And you’ve got such a level head on your shoulders… please. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!”
“Well, I’ll see what I can do. I’ll call my boss, and try to get a flight but-“
“Well, uh. See, I already got you a flight. I e-mailed the info to you… and it’s an eticket, so you just need an ID when you get there. It leaves in 2 hours.”
“Maria! OK. I’ll see you in a few hours then.” Liz hung up the phone and looked up her boss’s phone number.
Setting down the phone again after talking to her boss, she turned to her closet and began to pack. This is what best friends were for, right?
So Maria finally did it. I’m not surprised, really. And I’m thrilled for her. But why does she need me out there for this? And where did she get the money to buy me a last-minute plane ticket? And what the hell am I going to wear in L.A.?
“LIZ!” a ball of blonde energy screeched as she launched herself at her best friend.
Liz braced herself for the impact, grabbing Maria into a huge bear hug.
Maria grabbed Liz’s duffle bag and hauled her off to baggage claim, talking a mile a minute. Liz was hardly able to get a word in edge-wise, and just smiled, nodded, and made the appropriate non-committal responses. Maria wouldn’t slow down enough to start making sense for at least 10 minutes.
Grabbing her suitcase and garment bag, Liz followed Maria out of the airport. She waited as Maria snagged a near-by cab and gave the driver directions to a posh-sounding hotel. The bags were placed in the truck, and the two girls got into the cab.
A low hiss escaped Liz’s lips as she took in her surroundings. Majestic Records was sparing no expense when it came to wooing their newest starlet. The hotel they had put Maria up in was nothing short of lavish. They were sharing a suite, complete with living room, fireplace, separate bedrooms, a kitchenette, and a monster whirlpool tub. Liz was beginning to think that coming out to L.A. was a really good idea.
After unpacking, Liz went to find Maria soaking in the tub. Grabbing her suit, Liz joined her.
“So. What’s the deal? What do we have to do to get you signed, sealed, and on your way to fame and fortune?”
“Well, they have this contract. And they want me to sign. And I almost did. But I want to do this right. I don’t want to be one of those people on “Behind the Music” that was all like “My record company screwed me, and now I don’t have any money”, you know?”
“Ok. So, have you talked to a lawyer? Do you have a manager? When do you have to let them know by?”
“No, no, and soon. I think. Oh, Liz, I just can’t handle this! I’m so afraid that I’m going to do something impulsive and mess up my dream.”
“You? Impulsive? Never!”
Maria threw and handful of water at Liz, with a pained look on her face. Liz only laughed harder.
“Liz, I’m serious.”
“Ok. I know. I’ll do a little research, and see what I can figure out. First, I think, we need to find you a manager.”
Early the next morning, Maria stumbled out to the living room to find Liz, coffee cup in hand, surfing the web on her laptop. Next to her on the table was a notepad with several name and numbers, many already crossed out.
“Hrm… huh? Wha?”
“Ok. So. I think I have it narrowed down to a few managers we should talk to. I’ve been up all morning researching some of these people on the Web.. you know, to see if there’s any lawsuits, how their other clients are doing, that sort of thing.
Maria just started at Liz with bleary eyes. Laughing, Liz got up and poured Maria a cup of coffee. After a few sips, she seemed to wake up enough to pay attention to what Liz was saying.
“Ok, so I called and made appointments. We have to be down town in an hour and a half, so you had been start moving, ‘ria. “
“Uhm, ok.” Maria slammed the rest of her coffee, and hurried back to her room. Half way there, she paused.
“Liz, thanks. For coming out. For helping me… for, well… “
“Yeah, I know. You’re welcome. Now hurry up! We don’t want to keep Mr. Guerin waiting.”
“Yes, Ma’am!” She gave a saucy salute, and ducked around the corner just in time to avoid being hit by the pillow Liz had thrown at her back.
Michael Guerin was not having a good day. His alarm hadn’t gone off on time. In fact, it hadn’t gone off at all. And there was a very good reason for that, in fact. His alarm hadn’t gone off because his girlfriend – wait, ex-girlfriend – had taken it with her last night. Of course, she had taken most of the stuff in the apartment as well. Including the coffee maker. Reason Number Two why Michael Guerin was having a bad day – no coffee.
“Dammit!” he swore for about the hundredth time on his way into his office. Traffic was backed up for as far as the eye could see. He grabbed his cell phone and dialed.
“Hello, Four Square Talents. How may I direct your call?” a pleasant, if slightly bored voice intoned.
“Emily, this is Michael. I’m running late. You’ll have to cancel my 10:30. “
“Sir, they’re already here. Shall I reschedule?”
“Dammit! Uhm, ok, let me talk to them.”
“Certainly. Just a moment, please.”
“Hello? This is Maria Deluca. We had an appointment…”
“Yes, I know. I’m stuck on the interstate. Can we reschedule? Maybe sometime later tonight?”
“Well, I don’t know… if this is the way you always treat your clients…”
“Ms. Deluca, let me assure you that this is not a normal day for me. What do you say? Dinner? At 7?”
“Ah, well, actually, I have a gig tonight. Maybe you want to meet me there?”
“Uhm. Sure. That would be great. Give the place and time to Emily, and I’ll see you there tonight.”
“Until tonight, then, Mr. Guerin.” A throaty laugh was cut off abruptly by a dial tone as she hung up.
“What the hell,” thought Michael. “It’s not like I had anything better to do tonight anyway.” And he needed another client. He was sure after last night, his ex would be seeking other management. It was the “oh, and you’re fired, asshole” comment right before she slammed the door that had given him that impression.
Michael made a mental note to never date another performer, ever again.
Ok. So, I couldn’t help the “Josie and the Pussycats” reference in this part. The DVD came out this week, and it’s just too cute. No more, I promise.
Maria paced the 5 by 5 room laughingly referred to as her “dressing room” with agitation. She was nervous. And she was pissed. She was pissed at Michael Guerin for standing her up that morning. She was nervous because she was playing in front of her potential manager for the first time. And she was pissed because she was nervous. And she was pissed that she had to be nervous, because she and Liz had both agreed that Four Square Talents was their first choice in management.
Seated on a stool slightly out of harm’s way, Liz attempted to calm Maria down. Maria, however, was having none of it.
“Oh, I just bet he’s the biggest jerk in the world. Some middle-aged, overweight balding guy whose stomach hangs down over his belt. And he’s going to take one look at me, laugh, and walk away. I couldn’t handle the humiliation!” The pacing continued.
“Ok. Maria. You have an offer from a major record label. You’ve performed in this club before. The regulars know you and love you. This Guerin guy is going to love you. He HAS to. And if he doesn’t, then he doesn’t deserve to represent you. You’ve already proven yourself. “
“God, I hope you’re right.” Maria stopped pacing, but kept her fists clenched.
“You’re going to be fine. Who’s a rockstar? Come on, who’s a rockstar?” Liz teased Maria with a childhood joke.
“I am,” came the automatic response.
“Good. Now get your butt out there, and kill them!” Liz gave Maria a quick hug, then shoved her out the door. She watched as Maria straightened her shoulders and marched out to the stage, head high and never looking back.
Go Maria! Ok, I think I’m going to go scope out the club and see if I can find this guy. I want to judge his reaction just in case. And if he doesn’t like what he hears, I’ll have to kick his ass. This is what best friends are for, right?
Michael sat at a table off to the edge of the stage. Close enough to get a good view but in the shadows enough to not be noticed. He already had the exits to the place mentally mapped.
His day had not gotten any better. When the tabloids found out that She had dumped him, the calls and harassment didn’t stop. He finally managed to lose the last of the reporters on the way to this… club.
At least no one will find me here. Man, this joint is a dive. Why the hell would I want to represent someone whose best gig is this dump? I’ll stay and listen, cause I had to drive so far to get here. But I had better get ready to beat it when my client turns out to be a wrinkled-up has-been.
After shifting uncomfortably in his seat, he noticed his feet were sticking to the floor. “Wonderful,” he muttered.
Just then the lights dimmed, and his potential client took the stage. After the first note, he couldn’t move. After about the 5th, he couldn’t breathe. By the end of the first number, he felt like he had been hit by a train. On the stage was not only an incredibly beautiful, sexy woman. There was a beautiful, sexy woman with an amazing voice. All thoughts of wrinkled-up has-beens flew from his mind. He had his new client.
“Remember, Michael – NO MORE PERFORMERS,” a little voice whispered in his mind. “Dammit! Riiiiight. No more performers…..”
Liz looked around the crowded club, looking for a man who looked like an agent. Which was hard, because she had absolutely no idea what a typical agent looked like. She tried to erase Maria’s description of what he probably looked like from her mind, but kept coming back to the image.
She finally sat down to enjoy the show. A tall guy with spiky blond hair sitting a few tabled over watched Maria, enthralled. Score another one for Maria Deluca’s Broken Hearts Club, she smiled to herself.
A few minutes before the set was about to end, Liz headed back stage. Maria swept off stage to thunderous applause and a few catcalls. She bounced around in a circle as Liz handed her a bottle of water.
“I did it! I nailed it! Did you see him? What did he think?” Maria was back into turbo, and this time Liz couldn’t wait for her to slow down.
“I don’t think I saw him. But there was a hot guy starring at you like you were dessert the whole time you were up there. “ Liz teased.
“Oooh. I may just have to introduce myself.” Maria smirked. Liz gave her a stern look. “Later. After business. You know me, Business Before Pleasure Deluca!” she managed with a straight face.
Liz looked around for something to throw at her, but came up empty-handed. She hurried to catch up with Maria as she went searching for Mr. Guerin. She almost bumped into her back as Maria came to a sudden stop. The really hot guy that had been staring at Maria all night was not only standing there, he was introducing himself as Michael Guerin. Liz’s jaw joined Maria’s on the floor.
The two girls sat looking at Michael from across a huge polished desk. They sat on comfortable couches, munching on fresh fruit. Liz was reading still another contract, this one with Four Square Talents. The legal jargon began to make her head hurt, and she sighed as she set the stack of papers on the desk.
“I think we need a lawyer. Mr. Guerin, we are very interested in being represented by your company. However, I’m really uncomfortable with signing anything until a professional looks it over.” Liz sighed, and tried to give her most professional smile.
“Of course, Ms. Parker. I don’t blame you. I have a few numbers of reputable entertainment lawyers that I would be happy to give you. Feel free to ask around about any of them.” Michael pushed a sheet of paper with some names and numbers scrawled across it at Liz.
Meanwhile, Maria was doing her best to check out her new management without seeming obvious.
Dear Lord, that man is gorgeous. All rugged and mysterious. And he has really good hands. Really good hands….
Liz interrupted Maria’s daydreams before she could fully imagine what she would like those hands to do to her.
“Maria, I need to make some calls. How about we grab some lunch and then head back to the hotel?”
“Ah, I was hoping to be able to take Ms. Deluca to lunch. To get to.. know her better. And you, of course, Ms. Parker,” Michael interjected.
Maria had a hard time containing her excitement. She really couldn’t seem to take her eyes off him. She turned to Liz, pleading.
“Uhm, why don’t you two go on ahead. I’ll take a cab back to the hotel and just get some room service.” Feeling like the third wheel was not Liz’s idea of a fun way to spend the afternoon. She could feel the heat coming off the steamy glances those two were exchanging. She knew that she was going to have to sit down and remind Maria of the dangers of mixing business with pleasure.
Michael arranged a cab for Liz, and offered Maria his arm as they left the office together.
Danger, boy, danger! No! No more performers. Especially clients! that little voice reminded him. It’s not like I asked her out on a date. This is business. Strictly business.
Liz shut down her laptop after doing yet more research. All the names Michael had given her had great reputations. They all seemed impartial, and she couldn’t find one complaint lodged against any of them. She decided to start her way at the top of the list and call her way down, trying to get an appointment either that afternoon or early the next morning.
After a few rings, a crisp voice answered, “Evans, Evans, and Whitman. How may I direct your call?” Liz was able to get an appointment that afternoon, as one of the partners had a cancellation. She jotted down the address and decided to go freshen up.
After waiting for Maria to come back from lunch, Liz walked into the Evans, Evans and Whitman offices exactly on time. She was a bit irritated at Maria for almost making them late, but couldn’t bring herself to get really angry. The dreamy look in Maria’s eyes was something she hadn’t seen in a long, long time.
The receptionist showed them to Mr. Evans’ office, and told them that he would be with them shortly. Liz settled down for a wait, because she knew what “shortly” usually meant. To her surprise, the door opened in a few short moments and a tall, dark haired man entered the room.
Wow… Liz began to think about choosing law as a new career if this was the sort of man she could look forward to working with.
Max Evans took a look around the room and sucked in his breath when he saw the small, dark haired girl sitting on one of his chairs. She was… we’ll, he couldn’t even think of words to describe her. Beautiful didn’t begin to cover it.
Wow… I am a lucky man today… Max attempted to pull himself together enough to introduce himself.
“Max Evans,” he held his hand out to Maria first, knowing that one touch from Liz and he would be in big trouble.
“Maria Deluca,” she said, shaking his hand. “And this charming lady is my friend Liz Parker.”
As Max took Liz’s hand to shake it, Maria watched with amusement. The stunned looks on both their faces were just too much. It was one thing to hear of love at first sight, but another thing completely to witness it.
After the longest, yet somehow shortest meeting of Max Evans’ career, he had both a new client and a very bemused look on his face. He was still smiling at the very thought of Liz Parker when his sister entered his office. Isabel Evans flopped down on the leather couch in the corner of the office and sighed. Then she realized that her brother had not even noticed that she had come in.
“Ahem… Earth to Max… “ Isabel attempted to capture her brother’s attention. Seeing that he still wasn’t noticing her, she decided to play with him a little. “So you know that case, the censorship one? Well, we lost, and it set a whole new prescient, and they rescinded the First Amendment and everything. Oh, and I decided to divorce Alex and join the circus.”
At that, Max finally focused on Isabel. “Huh? Oh, hi Is… What were you saying?”
“More like, what were you thinking about, Max? I’ve been here for like 5 minutes, and you looked like you were in la-la land.”
“Oh. We, uhm, have a new client. Maria Deluca. She’s a singer. Majestic wants to sign her, and Four Square wants to manager her. It looks like she’s going to be big with all those names behind her.”
“So is that why you had that smile on your face? That Maria must be a real charmer!”
“Maria? Oh, she’s great. But her friend Liz…” the dreamy smile was back on Max’s face.
“Liz, huh? Oh, little brother, you have it baaaad,” Isabel giggled at her normally serious brother. He hadn’t been this smitten since, well, ever.
“Now, Maria, you know that you can’t really start dating your manager. That’s just bad for business. There must be thousands of eligible men in L.A. – go find one of them.” Liz tried to keep her expression stern as she attempted to lecture her best friend.
“But Liz, he’s so… I mean, just. Yum. And his hands… did you see his hands?” Maria was obviously not willing to listen to anything practical when that really good hands daydream was just around the corner.
Liz was serious. “You can’t date him. What if you break up? What if you get into a fight? Think of how this could effect your career! You said you didn’t want to do anything impulsive that might screw this up. Making out with your manager is a one-way ticket to “Behind the Music”. And you know that’s not what you want.”
After finally listening to what Liz was saying, Maria realized that she was right. There was no way she could see Michael Guerin on a personal level. Even if he did have the most intriguing eyes… Stop it, Deluca! Get a grip! You can handle this. You’ve been friends with gorgeous men before. This is nothing new. And it’s for the best. Damn! Where’s my cedar oil?!
If she couldn’t have any fun, she sure wasn’t going to let Liz have any either. “What at one Mr. Max Evans, huh, Lizzy? He sure put a spring in your step. Isn’t that a little…. Unprofessional?”
“Maria! He did not! And… and it’s not the same thing. I’m not the superstar-to-be here. And he’s your lawyer, not mine…” Liz realized her excuses sounded lame, even to her own ears. Maria gave Liz the patented “drop the crap” look, and she was forced to cave. “Ok! Ok! No Michael. No Max. Satisfied?”
“No. But I’ll suffer if you have to, too.” Maria grinned.
Liz just sighed. “Fine. Who needs a man right now, anyway?”
I do… both of them thought to themselves.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Oct-2001 1:24:15 AM ]
|posted on 27-Oct-2001 9:15:41 PM|
Three days later, and Liz was back at LAX with Maria, waiting to catch a plane home. Maria was now a signed artist of Majestic Records, and her new management was working hard to get her some positive press.
“Are you sure you have to go? You just got here!” Maria asked, tears in her eyes.
“I have to. I have to get back to the lab. I’m just lucky my boss has been bugging me to take a vacation, or I would have never gotten this much time off with no notice. You’ll be fine Maria. You’re in good hands…”
Mmmm… Michael’s hands…. Oh, wait….
“I’m going to miss you soooooo much. You have to come back out here soon!”
“I will. I promise. As soon as this project is done. We’re so close, that it should be any time now. And then I’ll take a real vacation.” Liz hugged her friend. “Then again, you’ll be so famous, you’ll have forgotten all about me.”
“Never! I could never forget you! And I can never thank you enough for coming out here. I was freaking out. I love you!”
“I love you too, ‘Ria! Call me soon, ok?”
“I will. Bye!”
“Bye!” Liz shouldered her duffle bag and head down the terminal.
Maria returned to her hotel room after Liz’s plane had taken off. She flopped down on her couch and took a look around her suite. It seemed really empty without now that Liz had gone. She had forgotten how much she loved spending time with her best friend, and missed her even more now that she has seen her for a few days.
A small grin spread over Maria’s face as she came up with a plan. A plan to get Liz back out for good. Satisfied, she decided to check her messages. Hitting the switch on the machine, she grabbed a notepad and a pen.
Hi Maria, this is your mother. Call me!
Hey Maria, come down to the studio tomorrow so we can start going over some of the tracks with the band. Be there at 9, ok?
Hello, this message is for Liz. Liz, Max Evans here. Look, I know Maria is probably very busy, so I was wondering if you wanted to go over some of the contract details with me over dinner. You can reach me at my office. Or my cell number is 317-555-3974. So I guess I’ll talk to you later.
“Awww…. Poor Max. I’ll have to let him know that Liz is already gone. At least she could remove herself from temptation… I’m was stuck talking to mine, if not seeing him, almost every day.” She picked up the phone and dialed, prepared to let him down easy.
Max Evans was having a very bad day. It had started out as a very good day. After a lot of prodding from Isabel and Alex, he had finally given Liz Parker a call. Four hours had passed since he left a message, and still no word. Then he got the call from Maria.
“She went home? Oh. Where’s home? Boston? Oh. Well. Thanks for letting me know. Oh, yeah. No, the contract stuff isn’t that important. Why don’t we set up a meeting for later this week?”
So Max Evans went from a chipper, happy lawyer to a very upset, cranky lawyer in less than 2 minutes. Why does she have to live in Boston? Anywhere in L.A., I could handle. Hell, anywhere in California, I could handle. But Boston… Maybe I should call Michael. A night out with him should lighten me up… And she didn’t even say goodbye! Idiot, why would she?! I’m her friend’s lawyer, nothing more…
Max has his receptionist clear his calendar for the rest of the day as he headed over to Four Square’s offices.
This part goes out to Rilawik. Hang in there. And, you know I can kick his ass. Just say the word. That’s what best friends are for….
Back at work in Boston, her boss greeted Liz enthusiastically. Paul Anderson adored Liz, and knew that she was a real asset to his team. The drug research they were doing was really important, and Liz had helped further that research a lot.
Chris Hyde, however, was not so glad to see Liz come back to work. He liked to think of himself as the resident genius of the department, and didn’t like the way she always seemed to show him up. Women. Not good for anything. Without that stupid Affirmative Action crap, I wouldn’t have to put up with people fawning over Her all the time. I would finally get the recognition I deserve. This was a well-worn litany of Chris’. He glared at Liz as she walked into the lab.
Liz was well aware of Chris’ feelings, so she went out of her way to polite to him. She didn’t need him legitimately pissed at her for anything, even though it seemed that he always was anyway. Always be polite. Always be professional. Don’t let him get to you… Liz repeated her daily mantra as she turned to face Chris.
“Good morning, Chris. How are you today?” Liz asked, being careful with her tone as to not sound too interested or not interested enough. That was the key to dealing with Chris.
“Fine Liz. How was your vacation? Must be nice to just take off for a week whenever you want. What do you have to do for that extra vacation time, huh?” Chris sneered at her.
“I worked, just like you Chris. But wait, you’ve taken all your vacation already, while I’ve never even taken a sick day before this,” Liz shot back, not in the mood to take his jabs today.
Chris made sure to be looking over Liz’s shoulder at every opportunity for the rest of the week.
“No! No, no, no. Liz, that’s not right! Here, let me show you.” Chris grabbed a slide away from Liz.
“Chris, don’t you have your own work to do?”
“Oh, I’m almost done. I just thought I’d help you for a while, because you’re so far there’s no way you are going to catch up to me in time.”
Liz just sighed and went back to work. That Friday, Mr. Anderson called Liz into his office. After asking her a few questions about her productivity during the week, he let her go, and called Chris into his office. Chris stormed out a few moments later, fuming.
“Liz, I’m going to need you to come in this weekend. I’m really sorry, but Chris just didn’t get his stuff done, and we need to get this report out to the grant funding board by next week.”
“Sure. I understand, Mr. Anderson.” Liz sighed. So much for her weekend.
The next week didn’t get much better, nor the week after that. They ended up asking for an extension on the report deadline, and had to work 60 hour weeks to get it done in time. It looked like Chris Hyde had not only done nothing for the week that Liz had been gone, but for weeks before that as well.
After a month of long hours and snide comments from Chris, Liz was at her wit’s end. She was pleasantly surprised to get a call from Maria late the Friday night.
“Maria! How are you? Are you recording yet?”
“We’re starting next week. Liz, I have something to ask of you. Feel free to say no, but at least hear me out.”
“Uhm, ok. What is it?
“I want you to come out here and work for me. Be my personal assistant, my partner, whatever. But I need you here. And you’re miserable there.”
“That’s not true. I’m not miserable…”
“Come off it, Liz. You hate it here. That… guy is making your life hell. And you’ve always wanted to travel. This is a chance in a lifetime. And you get to hang out with meeee…” Maria turned on the patented Cute Voice.
Liz thought about all the hell that she had been through, not only in the past month, but the past two years. She knew that Chris would never quit. She would be on the receiving end of his jibes for the rest of her tenure there. And she had always wanted to travel… and then there was Max. But he wasn’t a consideration, right? She promised Maria that she wouldn’t do anything about him…
“But Liz, you have to come…”
“Maria, I said I would come.”
“You will! Yay!”
One week later, Liz had settled her accounts, sub-leased her apartment, and was on a plane back to L.A., back to Maria, and, as much as she didn’t want to admit it, back to Max Evans. This time to stay.
“Look Maxwell,” Michael bought another round of drinks, “she’s just a girl. She’s a girl that you hardly know. A girl that lives all the way across the country.”
“I know. But I just can’t help feeling that she was… special somehow.” These weekly drinking sessions with Michael were becoming a ritual. Every Friday, at the same time, at the same bar, with the same topic of conversation: Liz Parker.
“There are other women. You just need to open your eyes and look around. There are hundreds of women in this town – this town Maxwell - that would kill to go out with you.
“Yeah. Whatever. And hey, what about you? Have you got any prospects on the horizon?”
Michael just shrugged. “Women are a pain. I mean, they’re sometimes nice to have around, but for the most part they’re not worth the hassle.”
“Cynical much?” Max laughed as he finished his beer. He knew Michael better. That last girl had really done a number on him, even if he wouldn’t admit it. And Max could understand Michael’s reluctance to get into another serious relationship anytime soon.
That night, he had the dream again. The same dream he had been having for the better part of a month.
A petite figure is twirling in sand, far off in the distance, her long hair cascading around her shoulders. A white dress brushes her ankles. She stops spinning and looks straight ahead at me. A smile lights up her entire face. Soon the scent of vanilla and roses fills the air around me, as deep brown eyes stare lovingly into mine, and delicate fingers run through my hair. The thin shoulder strap of her dress drops off her shoulder, revealing creamy white skin. I reach out to touch her….
Max groaned as his alarm went off. It never failed! It was like his subconscious had a problem with his dream-self touching his dream Liz. That was it! He was going to fly to Boston to talk to her, maybe have dinner. He wasn’t going to be able to get her out of his head until he did. After coming to this decision, he realized that he didn’t have her phone number or address.
Maria! He’d call Maria. Only… what was he going to use as an excuse to call her, asking for Liz’s personal information? Whatever. He’d always been good at thinking on his feet. He’d wing it. As he was reaching for the phone, Max noticed the time. 6 am was probably not the best time to be calling Maria. He also realized that with the time difference between California and Boston, Liz had probably already left for work.
Dressing quickly, Max headed out the door with a spring in his step and a gleam in his eye. He couldn’t wait to talk to Liz again.
Maria had rented a small house by the ocean. Liz moved her belongings into the spare bedroom, and made a note to buy some wall hangings to liven up her new room. Now that she was actually there, she was beginning to have second thoughts. What was she going to do? How was she going to get paid? She hadn’t really stopped to think about any of this when she had agreed to come. Looking at the ocean, Liz sighed. She was never this impulsive, and she had no idea how to handle the fall-out from her rash decision.
The phone began to ring in the living room of the rented house. But Liz was halfway down the beach, and too far away to hear it.
“Four Square Talents, how may I direct your call? Oh, hello Ms. Deluca. Of course. I’ll put you right through. Please hold a moment.” The receptionist put Maria right through to Michael.
“Maria! What can I do for you?”
“Well, I was wondering about those clubs you were talking about. You know, the ones for a few local shows. I was hoping we could go check them out.” Maria was determined to keep her word to Liz. But finding business reasons that weren’t really business reasons to see Michael wasn’t easy.
“Uhm, sure. Let me check my schedule… I’m not free until 6 tonight, I’m afraid.” Michael really was disappointed. Maria was not only beautiful and talented, but a lot of fun too.
“Well, how about we make it a business dinner? We’ll grab something to eat and hit the town. To ah, check out those clubs.” This was perfect! A little dinner, a little dancing, and a whole lotta Michael!
“Sure. That works for me. Would you like me to pick you up, or would you prefer to meet me somewhere?”
“Pick me up at 6:30. And, Michael, don’t be late….” She couldn’t help ribbing him about standing her up for their first meeting.
“Ha, ha. I assure you, Ms. Deluca. I will be there on time. And you had better be ready to go.” Michael hung up the phone.
Maria could hardly contain her excitement. Breathe. Just breathe. What am I going to wear?! Oohhh… Wait. This is business. This has to be just business. I cannot screw up my career by making this less than professional. I can do this…. I can be strong.
Max was seething in frustration after his forth attempt to contact Maria had gone unanswered. Where the hell was that girl? One more try, and he was calling over to Michael’s office to see if he knew where she was…
After the 5th ring, a breathless voice answered the phone.
“Hello, Maria? It’s Max. Max Evans.”
“Max? Er, no. This is Liz. I’m afraid that Maria isn’t home right now. Can I take a message?”
“Liz? What are you doing here? I mean, I thought you went back to Boston?” Nothing could have prepared Max for the shock of talking to Liz herself.
“Oh, well, I moved out here to be close to Maria. I guess I’m going to be her personal assistant or something.
“Really? You don’t sound very sure of your position out here.”
Liz laughed. “That’s because I’m not. It was just time for a change, you know. And I get to travel. The work I was doing was worthwhile, but… stressful.”
“I can understand that.”
An uncomfortable silence filled the air until Liz spoke up. “So, what did you need with Maria? Can I take a message, or schedule and appointment or anything?”
“Uhm. No. I was just mainly uhm… checking in, making sure everything was going well for her.” Max was at a loss. He didn’t want to tell her that he had called to get her phone number. And asking her out seemed very inappropriate just then.
“Oh, well that’s very nice of you. I’ll tell her you called.”
“Thanks. And if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call,” Max found it easier to fall back on professionalism in times of emotional crisis.
“Alright. Goodbye, Mr. Evans.” She had picked up the serious tone in his voice, and decided her best bet was to mirror it.
“Have a good day, Ms. Parker.” Max hung up the phone and leaned back in his oversized leather chair. That had not exactly gone as planned. Now he was back at square one.
A slow smile spread across his face as he realized that she was back in town. Not just back in town, but had moved to town. She was here to stay. He had to plan his next move very carefully. He had big plans for Ms. Liz Parker.
Liz sat down on the nearest chair still in a daze. She had not expected to hear Max Evans’ voice on the other end of the line when she had picked up the phone. Even though it seemed that he was never far from her thoughts, she had been true to her promise with Maria. Nothing personal. But she couldn’t help the way the memory of his eyes raised gooseflesh up her entire body.
She was going to have to plan very carefully. She couldn’t afford to mess up Maria’s life by letting Max Evans into her heart.
Next part: Michael and Maria go out on a date - er business dinner. And. Max and Liz finally see each other again. Edited to fix some bad grammar.
Liz watched as the dark blue 1967 Shelby Cobra GT500 that must be Michael’s started down the long drive which ended with Maria's rented beach house. It was exactly 6:25 - 5 minutes early. She was impressed that Mr. Guerin had been able to find the place so easily and that he was on time for once. Unlike Maria, who was still in the bathroom doing some finish touches.
Liz yelled to Maria "Get your butt out here, he’s here! This is just a business dinner, right? So why are you so nervous?"
Maria made an excuse as she came out of the bathroom, still hooking an earring through her ear.
Liz teased her a bit but then got serious with the “Maria you have come soo
far, be careful, you don't want to lose your dream ‘cause you did something rash.
Blah, blah, blah… “ speech.
Maria just grinned as she grabbed her purse and headed out the door.
Meanwhile as Michael approached the cozy house by the ocean...
Ha! I'm early and I'll bet she's not even ready yet! Michael thought with malicious glee, since he had left extra early just to be sure. It had been a good move on his part too, as he had still managed to get lost three times.
Maybe I should get that OnStar system installed…
As he got out of his pride and joy car, and walked up the sidewalk to ring the bell, the door opened and Maria stepped out to greet him. Luckily for Michael, he stood in the shadow of the building and could see but not be seen. His mouth had dropped wide open at the sight of her. From the low-cut bodice of the short red dress to the matching red heels that showed off her legs to perfection, Maria was nothing short of breathtaking.
Michael paused for a few moments to collect himself, and closed the distance between them in a few steps.
"Hello, Maria. You look great. Ready to go?"
Maria placed her arm in the crook of his elbow as she dragged her gaze away from his face.
"Sure. Let's get out of here,” she replied, shooting a parting glance to be sure Liz hadn’t noticed how she had been staring at Michael.
She was stunned. She knew he was handsome. But she had no idea how good he would look out of a business suit. The charcoal gray knit shirt and black pants looked to be both expensive and tailor-made for him. His arm was warm beneath her hand and she could smell his spicy aftershave.
Lord help me, this is going to be a very long night they both thought together.
Feedback please! Should I keep going, or stick to my day job?
|posted on 28-Oct-2001 1:23:41 AM|
|Well, here's a little more...|
Liz stepped back from the window, shaking her head. She had not only noticed Maria’s star-struck look at Michael, but the smoldering gaze Maria had received from Michael in turn. Liz knew it would only be a matter of time before they gave in. She was worried that it would end badly, and would not only hurt Maria’s career but break her heart as well.
“Ah, well. I’ll have to keep an eye on her. But Maria is a big girl, and if she won’t listen to the advice that she apparently pays me to give, I guess that’s her decision.”
After returning to her room and looking around, Liz couldn’t help but be dismayed at the blandness of the room. I really need to do something with this room. It’s going to drive me insane to be surrounded by all this white for much longer. She grabbed her bag and decided to explore the town, find a bookstore and grab some interior design books to help inspire her.
She grabbed the keys to Maria’s slightly beat-up Jetta, and was out the door.
Max Evens left work late, as usual. He still hadn’t figured out quite how to break the ice with Liz. He knew that he had to take it slow. The last thing he wanted to do was scare her off. She was the most amazing person he had met in a long time, and he needed to make her a permanent part of his life.
Walking past Barnes and Nobles on the way to the parking garage, he realized that he still needed to pick up that book that Alex has wanted for his birthday. Alex Whitman was not only a partner in his law firm; he was also Max’s brother-in-law. Max decided to stop in and pick up the gift as he needed it next week and didn’t want to risk forgetting about it again.
“Liz? Liz Parker?”
Liz tuned at the sound of her name. It was completely unexpected, as she knew a grand total of three people in L.A.
“Mr. Evens! What a surprise!”
“Please, call me Max.”
Liz couldn’t have been more surprised. The last person she had expected to see that night was Max Evens. He had loosened his tie and unbuttoned his top button. The rolled back cuffs of his sleeves revleaed strong forearms. And great hands. Great. I’m starting to think like Maria!
“Sure. Max.” Liz started to blush as she blurted out “What are you doing here?”
Max watched the flush rising in Liz’s face. Her hair looked windswept, like she had spent the day on the beach. He wanted to run his fingers through it and smooth it out. Looking down, he noticed the home decorating book she was holding.
“Oh, just picking up a gift for my brother-in-law. Doing a little decorating?”
“Uhm.. oh, yes. Well, getting some ideas anyway. I need to do something with all those white walls in my apartment.”
“I know a great interior designer. Let me give you his number” Max was desperate to prolong the conversation.
“Oh. Well, thanks, but I think this is something I want to do for myself. I have the free time, and it’s such a sense of accomplishment to do this sort of thing yourself, don’t you think?”
“I think I’m going to start with painting. I hope our landlord doesn’t mind,”
“Well, you can always paint over it again when you move.”
“You’re right. Well, I suppose I should let you get back to your shopping. I wouldn’t want to keep you.”
“Uh. Yeah. Wait. If you wanted to get some paint, I can take you to the hardware store. I know this town can be a zoo sometimes. And you can bounce color ideas off me…” Max realized he sounded a little desperate and stupid, but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to spend as much time with Liz as possible. Starting now.
“Oh, I don’t want to impose. I mean, if you’re busy or something.” As much as she would love to spend some time with Max, she knew that it was dangerous. And besides, it was Friday night. A man like him had to have a date.
“Not at all. If you’ll just wait for me to get this book, we can go”. Max was overjoyed. Granted, he didn’t know the first thing about paint or painting a room. But he’s become an expert in the car if it meant helping Liz.
“Sure. Whenever you’re ready.”
Oh boy. It’s just the paint store, Liz. Get a grip in yourself. This can’t go any further. You promised Maria… Liz told herself firmly as she watched Max walk up to the counter to make his purchase. But Maria is probably breaking her promise to you right now a little voice in her head whispered back.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Oct-2001 1:27:39 AM ]