posted on 21-Apr-2002 3:45:07 AM
In Waking

Author: dancepixie (Nikki)
Category: M&M mostly, but all other CC’s too.
Disclaimer: Wish I owned them…but I don’t. All I have is an empty box that was once full of muddy behrs! (Mmm! Chocolate covered gummy behrs! And they were called muddy behrs, how could I resist?)
Summary: This is an AU Michael & Maria fic. They are all 25 years old, and M&M have a 6 year old daughter named Kacie. What would happen if Maria woke up one morning and couldn’t remember anything from between when she was 15 and 25? How would Michael deal with that? How will their daughter deal without her mother? Oh yes, and for the purposes of my story, alcohol doesn’t do anything special to the alien four. If you want to know more…well read on!
Authors Notes: Well I just kinda got this great idea for this story out of nowhere the one night, so I hope you like it. I had this half written for a long time but I had to step away from it for a while, but I got some great ideas, thank you Michelle! And here you go! Enjoy! Oh! And feedback is always a great thing!


~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 1

* * *

She took a deep breath, gasping for air as she sat straight up in bed. Something had woken her from her dream. What had just happened? Looking around she didn’t recognize anything. Where was she? This wasn’t her room…nothing looked familiar. Where could she be?

“Maria? Hun…you okay?” Michael groggily asked from the bed beside her. She had woken him up when she moved.

“Oh my god!” Maria screamed out as she pulled the sheet closer to her body for protection. What was going on? Who was this strange person she was in bed with? Why couldn’t she remember anything? Maria freaked out. She scooted herself as far away from him as possible, pulling her feet up and tucking them beneath her. She had the sheets clutched tightly to her body, afraid for her life. What was going on? “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!” she repeated the phrase over and over again.

“Maria? What’s wrong?” Michael reached a hand out to her but she pulled back in fear and swatted his hand away. Michael was stunned. He had no idea what was wrong with her, but something had definitely happened. “Honey, it’s just me. Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong?”

“Who…who are you?” Maria asked incredulously, her voice barely above a whisper when she finally found it. Her eyes made her look like a scared rabbit, unable to move. Frozen in fear.

“It’s me Maria, Michael.” Her gaze never wandered from him as he spoke. Who was Michael? She didn’t know any Michael.

“Where…where am I?” Her voice was still very shaky. Michael noticed she still hadn’t moved.

“Your in our room. This is our house Maria, don’t you remember?” Michael began to feel the fear in the room. He could feel Maria’s fear, and his own. Why couldn’t Maria remember him? What happened to her? Would she be alright?

“No. No. No. No…” Maria shook her head violently, not believing anything this strange man told her. She lived at home with her mother…this was crazy.

“What happened honey? What do you remember?” Michael took a deep breath and tried to calm down. He couldn’t freak out right now; Maria needed him.

“Where’s my mom? Where’s Lizzie or Alex? Where am I?” The tears were falling before she finished. She was lost and alone. She didn’t know what was happening, but it had to be a nightmare, right? This couldn’t be real, could it?

Michael got out of bed and slipped on a pair of sweat pants that were sitting beside the bed. He knew something was wrong and he needed the other’s help for this.

“It’s gonna be okay Maria. How about I go call Liz for you, okay? Would you like to see Liz?” Michael hoped this would work, otherwise he had no idea what he was going to do.

“L…L…Lizzie?” She looked up with a little less fear showing through her eyes.

“Yes, I’m going to go call Lizzie, you just stay right there, okay?” Maria barely nodded her head in response before Michael was out the door.

Michael rested his head in his hands as he prayed that Maria was alright. Then he picked up the phone and dialed the number he knew by heart.

* * *

TBC...

Okay, that was just a short part to see what people think of this story. So if you like it let me know and I'll post more real soon!

~Nikki~
*angel*

[ edited 17time(s), last at 5-Aug-2002 1:03:18 PM ]
posted on 21-Apr-2002 8:16:17 PM
Here's the next part like I promised. I hope you guys like it. And Jess...frequenting the board more often? I see you've found this story too! Okay, now its time for you all to read, and for me to get back to studying organic chemistry, but leave me some feedback to cheer me up, k? Thanks and enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 2

* * *

“Max, what do you think happened?” Liz was sitting beside him in the car as he drove to Michael and Maria’s house. They lived 5 minutes from their place. Liz was worried, all she heard from Max was that Michael called saying Maria was going crazy. Something along the lines of her not being able to remember anything. It was too weird.

“I don’t know Liz. Michael sounded really scared. He said that she was afraid of him, cowering in a corner of their bed, asking for you. I don’t know what happened, but I hope we can fix it.” Max placed his hand over hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze, hoping to give her some of his strength.

* * *

“Thank god you guys are here!” Michael breathed as he stood at the door waiting for Max and Liz to hurry inside. “She’s in our room, in a huddle on the bed. She doesn’t want me near her. Liz…I don’t know what’s wrong with her, but she was asking for you.” Michael looked like he was ready to fall apart. Liz gave him a reassuring hug then walked to the back of the house.

“Maria?” She called as she reached the doorway. She saw her friend and instantly wanted to cry. She looked so small and frightened. What happened to her? “Are you okay, hun?” She approached her slowly and carefully, kneeling down on the floor beside the bed.

“Lizzie?” Maria asked looking up from the sheet that she still clutched tightly.

“Yeah, it’s me hun. Wanna tell me what’s wrong?” Liz brushed a few strands of blond hair off of Maria’s face as she looked up at her.

“I…I…I just woke up all of a sudden, and I was here, in this strange room, with…with…some strange guy beside me. Who is he Lizzie? Where am I?” The tears were back in Maria’s eyes once more.

“You don’t know Michael? This is your home hun. You decorated it all yourself. Don’t you recognize it?” Liz was scared now. Maria didn’t remember anything? But she knew her, so she couldn’t have forgotten everything.

“My home?” Maria questioned slowly.

“Yeah, yours and Michael’s. You’ve lived here for almost seven years now. You and Michael and Kacie.”

“Kacie?” Maria looked into Liz’s face unsure of what to expect.

“Kacie, your daughter.” Liz felt her own tears start to form. Could Maria really not even remember her own daughter? Poor thing. She must be so scared. Liz sat up on the edge of the bed and reached over to pull Maria into her arms. “It’s okay hun. It’ll be okay. I’m here, you’re safe.”

The two girls sat together holding onto one another in silence as they each cried their silent tears. Their world had just been put through a blender.

* * *

Out in the living room Max was trying to calm Michael down. He seemed really freaked out by the whole situation. Max was sure they should give the two girls some time to talk, so he was trying to keep Michael from worrying.

“Michael, don’t worry. Liz is in there talking to her right now. We’ll get this all straightened out.” Max told him.

“You don’t get it, Max. You didn’t see her, hear her, this morning. She was afraid of me. She looked at me like some stranger. Max, what am I going to do?” Michael was sitting on the couch resting his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands.

“Daddy?” A small voice asked from the hallway. Michael looked up into the brilliant green eyes of his little girl.

“Oh, sweetie!” Michael got up and practically ran over to his daughter, scooping her up in his arms and kissing her face. He buried his head in his daughter’s loving arms and relaxed. He hadn’t even thought about Kacie. God, how was this going to affect her?

“Morning Daddy!” Her happy voice cooed.

“Morning Princess.” He smiled at her as he headed back towards the couch where Max was sitting.

“Hi uncle Max. What are you doing here? Is auntie Lizzie here too?” She asked as she smiled at her uncle. Max just smiled back and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Yeah, she’s around here.” Max answered not knowing whether or not he should mention she was with Maria. Cause if he mentioned Maria, then Kacie might want to see her, and that was probably not the best thing at the moment.

“Why are you up so early Princess?” Michael asked the little girl in his arms. She was the image of her mother, from her brilliant eyes to the blond ringlets of her hair.

“I heard someone talking and I couldn’t sleep. I thought I heard mommy. Where’s mommy?” Her innocent face looked up at Michael expectantly.

“Sweetie, mommy’s not feeling well this morning.” Michael was having a hard time finding what to say. He didn’t want to scare his daughter, but he didn’t want to lie to her either.

“Can I see her?” She asked.

“Aunt Lizzie is in there with her right now helping her. Why don’t you go get dressed and then I’ll take you out to breakfast before you have school? What do you say?” Max looked at Michael for his approval, and Michael silently thanked his best friend with a smile and a nod of his head.

“You mean it uncle Max? Oh boy! Thank you!” She scrambled off Michael’s lap and ran down the hall to her room to change.

“Thanks Max. I don’t know what to tell her. We don’t even know what is going on right now. Can you drop her off at school afterwards?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of her and get her to school. You just worry about Maria right now, she needs you.”

“Yeah, but so does Kacie.”

“I got her covered, until this afternoon when you pick her up; just focus on Maria.” Max walked down the hall to Kacie’s room and when she was ready the two of them headed out to breakfast.

“Bye daddy!” She whispered in his ear as she gave him a good-bye hug and kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you too Princess. Have fun with uncle Max, and don’t let him spoil you too much!” Michael called after the retreating pair.

* * *

“Here Maria, why don’t you take a shower and get dressed, okay?” Liz led Maria into the bathroom. “Will you be okay? I’ll be out here waiting when you’re done, I promise.”

“Okay. Don’t leave me Liz, okay? You promise you’ll be here when I get out?”

“I promise!” Liz felt her heart ache at the thought of Maria being so lost in her own home. It was so wrong. They were supposed to live happily ever after. They had been through hell, and now this!

“Michael?” Liz had walked down the hall into the living room after waiting for Maria to get in the shower. She found him sitting on the couch in a defeated position with his head resting in his hands. He looked distraught. At the sound of her voice he looked up, a spark of hope apparent in his brown eyes.

“Liz? Is she okay? What’s wrong with her? Where is she?” Michael couldn’t help himself. He was so worried; the questions just came pouring out.

“Michael, I don’t know what happened. She says she just woke up and well, its like she hasn’t lived the last ten years. She…she doesn’t remember you.” It was hard for Liz to say that last part. She was sure that she heard his heart break with her words. “Or Kacie,” she added softly.

Michael’s face fell and the tears he was trying to keep back finally came out. His Maria, his angel, didn’t know him anymore. She didn’t remember anything about them together. She didn’t even know their beautiful daughter, the light of their lives. He cried out all his pain while Liz held him.

“What can we do?” He asked softly when his tears subsided.

“I don’t know. I was thinking, maybe Isabel could help. She’s a therapist, she might be able to help Maria.” She looked at Michael and saw new hope mirrored in his eyes.

“You think that will work?” he asked.

“Honestly, I don’t know. But I think it’s all we can do right now,” she answered simply. “Look, I gotta get back in there. If I’m not there when she gets out of the shower she might panic again.” Liz squeezed Michael’s hand and got up. She knew she had to say something, but she didn’t want to hurt him.

“You…you might want to just…stay away from her right now. She’s scared Michael. She’s a lost little girl. She doesn’t know you anymore. It might be best.” Liz walked back down the hall feeling terrible about what she had just told Michael, but she did it for her best friend. Maria was frightened of Michael after waking up in bed with him. She kept telling that to herself as she walked back towards where Maria would be expecting her.

Michael just sat and cried, alone, in the living room. Maria, his Maria, didn’t even know him. She was afraid of him. Why couldn’t they just live happily ever after?

* * *

After Maria was dressed and out of the shower Liz asked her if she could take her to meet a friend of hers who might be able to help her. Maria wasn’t sure, but when Liz promised she’d stay with her the whole time, Maria agreed. She still was hesitant of Michael; she was scared. She sat in the back of the car while Liz sat up front in the passenger seat as Michael drove to Isabel’s office.

Maria watched out the window of the strange town. This wasn’t Roswell. The car drove down unfamiliar streets, passing all sorts of large buildings and small houses. Where was she? What happened to her? She was so confused and only wanted answers that no one seemed to be able to give her.

“Maria? Are you okay? We’re here.” Liz’s voice broke her reverie as she held open Maria’s door. “Come on hun, my friend Isabel is waiting for us inside. I promise she’s really nice.”

Maria looked around. It was a nice neighborhood. The funny thing was, it didn’t look like an office; it looked like a house. It seemed large too, two stories. Maria took a deep breath. She could do this. This person was going to help her, right? Sure. Everything would be okay because Lizzie said so, and she trusted Lizzie.

Liz looped her arm through Maria’s and the two started walking forward. Michael hesitated a moment, and then followed them. Maria looked back at him, unsure of having him following her, but Liz’s slight tug at her arm assured her that it was okay. That man, Michael, wouldn’t hurt her.

“Oh my god! Maria?” Alex’s voice spoke up as he saw Liz walk in the front door with her. He rushed over and enveloped her in a hug. Isabel had told him what was going on so he decided to take a day off of work so he could be here if she needed him.

“Alex?” A slight smile spread across her face and she welcomingly wrapped her arms around him. Her other best friend.

“Are you okay?” He looked her in the eye, knowing she couldn’t lie to him.

“Not really.” She quietly mumbled and bit down on her lower lip not really knowing what else to say. But she knew she wasn’t okay, at least that was what everyone was telling her.

* * *

Alex, Liz and Michael all sat in the kitchen around the table. They were waiting. Maria and Isabel were inside Isabel’s office in the back of the house. The waiting was driving Michael crazy. He just wanted to make Maria better; to make all of her problems go away. It was his job to protect her, and now, he couldn’t. She didn’t want to be near him, so what could he do? He didn’t want to force her, but what could he do? What about Kacie? She wouldn’t understand all this. She would only see that her mother wasn’t around. Maybe she would think her mother left her. Michael didn’t want that. He was torn, he had no idea what was happening. Someone must have pushed puree on the blender that was his life.

“How long are they going to be in there?” Michael asked aloud to no one in particular. He was looking at his watch. It was 1:30. He would have to leave soon to go and pick up Kacie. He didn’t want to leave Maria, but there was no way he was going to abandon his daughter like that.

“Who knows? It really depends on what they are talking about and how they are progressing. Isabel cancelled her appointments for the day after you called Michael, she wanted to be available for Maria for as long as she needs her.” Alex spoke up over his cup of coffee that was getting colder by the moment. Unthinking, Michael reached over and waved his hand over Alex’s cup of coffee and it was warm again. “Thanks,” Alex said with a short laugh. Michael still had the touch.

“I have to go pick up Kacie from school. God! Why does this have to be so hard?” Michael pounded a fist against the table. “What should I do? Should I bring Kacie back here with me? I mean, if Maria doesn’t remember her, how is that gonna affect Kacie? I don’t want her getting hurt. She needs her mother.” Michael whispered the last part to himself.

Liz reached out her hand to grasp his. “Don’t worry Michael. We’ll take care of her. Go take care of your little girl right now; she needs you. We’ll be here when you get back.”

“Thanks Liz. I guess we’ll just come back here then. God I don’t know what I’m going to tell Kacie, but I’ll figure it out, I’ll have to.” With that Michael got up and walked to the door. “If she asks I’ll be back soon. Not that I really expect her too...” With that last thought, he was out the door and in his car.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 23-Apr-2002 8:00:54 PM
Finally, three midterms down...now I have about two weeks to breathe before the next round of midterms starts...so that means I have plenty of time to post! That's always a good thing. Thanks for the feedback guys, you're all great. Well I hope you like this next part. I just have to say that its so much fun writing little kids! Anyways, enjoy!

~Nikki~

*angel*


* * *

Part 3

* * *

“Daddy! Daddy!” The happy little six-year-old squealed as she ran from the classroom and jumped into her father’s arms, giving him a big kiss.

“Hey Princess! How’s my girl?” Michael couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face at the sight of his sweet child.

“I’m great daddy! We had so much fun today! Look! I painted this!” She proudly held out a watercolor picture on white construction paper. It was fairly good, she obviously got her father’s artistic abilities. “See, that’s you, and there’s mommy, and that’s me in the middle!” She pointed to each of them in turn. Michael couldn’t help the sadness that came over him. Maria. He knew he had to tell Kacie something, he just still had no idea what.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” With that, Michael carried his daughter to the car.

“Where are we going daddy? This isn’t the way home.” She replied as she looked out the window at the passing scenery.

“No, we’re going over to uncle Alex and aunt Isabel’s place for a little while,” he answered, looking over at his daughter.

“Okay! Do I get to play with Smokey?” Her eyes lit up. She loved animals, especially aunt Isabel and uncle Alex’s large black lab.

“Of course you can sweetie.” Michael wasn’t sure how to broach the topic of Maria, but he knew he needed to soon, before they got to Alex’s.

“Daddy? Where’s mommy? Is she feeling any better?” Too late, his daughter beat him to it.

“Well sweetie, that’s why we’re going over to aunt Isabel’s. Mommy’s still not feeling well, she’s talking with aunt Izzie.” Michael tried to explain but it was hard. They pulled up in front of the house but Michael made no move to get out. He turned to face his daughter before continuing. “Mommy woke up this morning and can’t remember.”

“Can’t remember what daddy?” Her innocent voice sounded so much like Maria’s.

“Well sweetie, you know mommy loves you very much, and she loves me very much too. But, well, mommy doesn’t remember us. Something happened to mommy, and she doesn’t remember anything from the last ten years.” Michael got out of the car and opened the back door to pull his daughter into his arms. He saw the fresh start of tears in her eyes. “It’s okay sweetie, aunt Izzie’s gonna help mommy. Just know that she still loves you no matter what.” Michael buried his head in his daughter’s golden locks as he held her tight in his arms, her legs wrapped around his waist.

“But I thought she couldn’t remember?” she questioned.

“She might not remember, but she will always love you.” Michael kissed her forehead, then the tip of her nose. “And so will I!” Together, Michael carried her up the driveway and into his friend’s house.

“I love you daddy,” she whispered sweetly in his ear.

* * *

“Maria, I need you to work with me here, okay?” Isabel asked from the plush chair she was sitting in. The room was comfortable; it didn’t look like an office at all. There was a sofa and three easy chairs for sitting in, a bookcase across one wall of the room, and a desk and two chairs in the corner. The window even had a great view of the flower garden in the grassy backyard, where a certain black lab was laying in the sun.

“Okay. They said I could trust you, and I trust them. So, what’s wrong with me?” Maria was sitting in a chair near the window, looking out into the sunshine. It was a beautiful day, why did she feel so horrible and lost on the inside?

“Maria, I’ve known you for the last 9 years. We’ve gotten to be good friends, I promise we will help you, you just have to let me in, let all of us in. You said you woke up in bed this morning and everything was different, different how?”

“There was someone next to me. Him.” Maria said plainly.

“Why was that different?” Isabel prodded her for more.

“I don’t even know him. It wasn’t my room. Nothing was familiar. I was scared.” Maria lived that morning over again in her mind. She felt her own fear and nervousness all over again.

“Okay. So tell me, what is the last thing you remember happening before you woke up this morning?” Isabel watched Maria as a puzzled expression over took her face.

“I…I don’t know. I mean…I remember things, me and Lizzie, and Alex hanging out in Roswell, at the Crashdown. I remember working at the Crashdown. I don’t know the last thing that I remember…I just remember things.” Maria’s voice started to rise in panic. Should she remember the last thing? Why couldn’t she? This couldn’t be good.

“Calm down Maria. Just breath. It’s okay; you’re safe. It’s going to be alright.” Isabel was having a hard time keeping Maria calm. They had been sitting in here for hours now. It took her a while to get Maria to listen to her and trust her. But it was worth it. She noticed the distracted look on Maria’s face and followed her gaze out the window.

“Is that your daughter?” Maria watched the little girl playing with the dog in the backyard. She looked so happy and carefree.

“No, but she’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Isabel asked feeling sorry for her friend.

“Yeah, but if she’s not yours, than who’s daughter is she?” Maria asked curiously.

“That’s Kacie Elizabeth Guerin, your daughter.” Isabel waited and let that sink in. She wasn’t sure how Maria would react. Liz said that she had mentioned Kacie to her, but nothing much had come out of that.

Maria was shocked. At first she couldn’t move, but when she could, she stood up and walked up till she could touch the window. Her hand against the glass she watched as the little girl, her daughter ran around, laughing, playing with the dog. Could that really be her daughter? Could she really have a daughter? A single tear inched its way slowly down her face and she didn’t move, she was frozen in her spot.

* * *

“Daddy! Come play with me and Smokey!” The small voice called from outside and Michael couldn’t say no to his daughter right now, and who wouldn’t love a black lab, especially Smokey, he was just so friendly. He would give her anything at that moment to make sure that she felt loved and wanted. Maria’s memory loss, or whatever it was, was affecting everyone, especially their daughter.

“Coming Kacie,” Michael called out to his daughter before excusing himself from the others. He was actually kinda glad to get out of the house. It was nerve-wracking just sitting inside with the others, not knowing what to say.

* * *

Maria watched out the window as he walked into the yard and swept the little girl into his arms so lovingly. The girl smiled happily and Maria could faintly hear her laughing. She must love him very much, she thought.

“Aren’t they cute together?” Isabel was beside her now, watching from the window. “Michael is a great father. He loves that little girl more than life itself.”

Maria felt the tears in her eyes, but she didn’t know why. Why was she crying? She didn’t know that man, or that little girl. They said it was her husband and daughter, but she couldn’t remember any of that. So why was she crying now?

* * *

“Mommy!” Kacie yelled as she caught sight of her mother standing in the window. Michael looked at Kacie then up at the window. Sure enough, there was Maria and Isabel standing beside her. “Mommy!” Kacie cried again, waving to the window.

Michael picked her up in his arms and whispered something in her ear. She calmed down right away. He had a feeling that Kacie wouldn’t understand when he told her about Maria not remembering anything, not even them, not even her own daughter.

“But…mommy…” Kacie whimpered over Michael’s shoulder looking towards the window one last time before Michael carried her inside.

* * *

“God! Why does this have to be so damn hard?” Maria felt like screaming. She heard the little girl calling out to her. Calling her mommy. She didn’t feel like a mommy. She didn’t know what to do. She felt bad. All that the little girl wanted was her mother to love her, and she couldn’t. She couldn’t be anyone’s mother, could she? Everything was just so damn screwed up!

“It’s okay Maria. We’ll get through this. All of us. It just takes time.” Isabel rested her hand on Maria’s shoulder in a comforting gesture. Letting her know that she would be there for her.

“Yeah time. Time. It’s kinda funny. You lose ten years, and all of a sudden time becomes the most important, most confusing, most ambiguous thing in the world. Time.” Isabel didn’t know how to react to what Maria had just said, so she stayed quiet for a while.

“Why don’t you go home, relax and get some sleep. We can talk again tomorrow. Maybe being around things that are familiar will start to trigger your memories.” Isabel hoped something would work, and soon. Poor Maria. Her family was getting torn apart, and no one knew why exactly.

“Home? With…with…” Maria couldn’t bring herself to finish her sentence.

“With Michael,” Isabel finished for her.

“How can I go home with him? I…I don’t know him…I don’t know anyone in this strange town.”

“You know Liz, and Alex, and now you know me.” Isabel didn’t like where this was going.

“I don’t want to go home with him.” Her voice was small and meek as she spoke.

“What about Kacie?”

“I know she’s supposed to be mine, but I don’t know her. This is really difficult, but even if I am, I can’t be a mother to that child if I don’t know who I am myself!” Maria felt like she was going to cry again. “God! Why do I keep crying?”

“Maria, it’s okay. It’s perfectly all right to cry. You’re going through a highly emotional experience here, it’s okay to cry. Let your feelings out.” Isabel reached over to hug Maria and the girl let her. Maria’s moods were changing faster than she could blink and that worried Isabel, though she didn’t mention it.

“Thank you.” Maria whispered through her tears.

* * *

Isabel lightly shut her office door behind her. Maria was still inside, but Isabel wanted to talk to the others. Somehow they would get through this, but right now she wasn’t really sure how.

“Guys, she’ll be out in a minute, but I thought I better tell you something. She’s different, she’s definitely changed.” Isabel took a deep breath before going on, and the others watched her intently. “She doesn’t want to go home with you Michael. She doesn’t know you, and she’s scared. She wants something familiar, and I think it’s probably best for now if she is around something, or someone, she’s comfortable with. Liz, can she stay at your place tonight?” Isabel hated doing this to Michael, she could feel his pain, but it was what Maria wanted, what she needed.

“Of course, if that’s what she wants,” Liz spoke without hesitation. Max had his arms wrapped around her waist and gave her a squeeze in agreement. Maria was his friend too, and even though she didn’t remember him, he remembered everything she had ever done to help him. This was the least he could do.

“Daddy? Does this mean mommy isn’t gonna sing with me, or tuck me in, or read me a bed time story?” Kacie whimpered a little at the thought of not having her mother around for the first time in her life.

“It’s okay sweetie. I’ll tuck you in and we can read any story you like. But I’m sorry, I’m not too good at the whole singing thing.” Michael was trying to do the best job he could, but it was hard. He needed Maria too, and now he had to play mother and father to their little girl. It just wasn’t fair.

Tears were sliding down her little angelic face as she hugged her father’s leg and whispered, “Thank you daddy. I love you.”

* * *

Kacie watched as her mom got in the car with uncle Max and aunt Liz. A tear ran down her face as she thought about her mother not tucking her in and singing to her. She had never been without her mother before.

“Daddy?” Her hushed voice quavered. “Can I give mommy a hug?” She looked up into her father’s face and he couldn’t refuse.

“Sure sweetie, but be gentle. She’s not used to this.” Michael couldn’t tell her no. It broke his heart to see her this way. She needed Maria; they both did. He watched as Kacie slowly walked forward and stopped next to the car. For a minute it appeared like she wasn’t sure what to do next, but then she reached out and wrapped her skinny little arms around her mother. Maria sat there stunned for a moment before lightly lifting her arms to surround the little girl, she couldn’t help it, from somewhere within her she felt something for this little girl. She didn’t want to hurt her.

“Night mommy. I love you!” Kacie’s voice was full of emotion and Maria could see the tears in her eyes when she pulled away slightly.

“Goodnight.” Maria couldn’t say anything more. She felt bad for the little girl. The tears were back in her eyes again. She remembered how happy the girl had been playing in the backyard, and now there was such a change in her. And it was all her fault. Kacie was upset because of what happened to Maria. She only wanted her mother, but Maria didn’t know how to be a mother. How could she be a mother to a child she couldn’t even remember? How could she be wife to a husband she didn’t remember? Why did life have to be so painful?

* * *

A shadow was cast across the room in the dark. She stood quietly in the doorway watching her dad lay in bed. She couldn’t sleep. In her arms she was clutching her stuffed bunny, Floppy, that her mom had given her last Easter. She walked over to the side of the bed and looked down at her daddy. She saw him move, she didn’t think he was asleep.

“Can I sleep with you daddy?” She asked in a whisper.

“Of course Princess. Get on up here.” Michael patted the bed beside him and held the blankets open so she could crawl in. “You okay? Did you have a bad dream?” Michael wrapped his daughter up in his arms. It felt good, at least if he couldn’t hold Maria herself, he had a miniature version.

“I miss mommy,” she mumbled as the sleep overtook her.

“I know sweetie. Me too.” Michael ran his hands through her blond curls as she drifted off to sleep. The perfect image of Maria.

* * *

“Daddy, I need my pretty bows!” Kacie yelled out from her bedroom. Michael looked up from breakfast that he was cooking on the stove. French toast, Kacie’s favorite.

“Breakfast is just about ready. Why don’t you come and eat while I try to find your bows for your hair?” Michael didn’t know how Maria did this every morning.

“Yummy! I love French toast!” The smile that lit up Kacie’s face made all his work worth it. When he looked down at his daughter he realized how grown up she was getting.

“You go sit at the table and I’ll bring you your food, then I’ll find your bows, and we’ll fix your hair, and then off to school we’ll go, sound good?” Michael followed her into the dining room carrying her plate.

Kacie enjoyed her breakfast. Daddy hadn’t cooked her a great breakfast like that on a school day since the first day of school! She liked it.

Michael came out of the hallway holding two purple hair bows in his hand. “Would these be what you were looking for, Princess?” Her face lit up when she saw them.

“You found them daddy!” She jumped up hugging her father and nearly spilling her glass of orange juice all over the table.

“Whoa! Calm down.” Michael reached out and grabbed the glass just in time before it could topple over. “You sit back down and I’ll do your hair while you finish your breakfast.”

Michael stood behind her chair and brushed her curls like he used to do to her mother’s. He took the purple hair bows and put her hair up in two perfect little pig tails, along with the help of some magic alien powers, of course.

“Okay, lets go! Grab your stuff! Let’s go or we’ll be late!”

* * *

TBC...
posted on 26-Apr-2002 1:00:44 AM
**grumble grumble...stupid computer...grumble grumble**

Okay, let me try this again...Thanks guys for all the feedback. I love hearing what you think. I know this is kinda sad, but I promise you'll like the ending! It'll all end happy. Sorry that I didn't get a part up yesterday, I was just so excited about getting the highest A in my o.chem class on the last midterm that it completely slipped my mind! *big* Anyways...enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 4

* * *

It had been two days since Maria woke up without any memory of the last ten years. Michael was finding it hard to live without her. Kacie missed her mother and every night she only fell asleep if she was being held tightly in Michael’s arms. It was rough on everyone. Today Michael was going to take Kacie over to Max and Liz’s place to see Maria, and they were all going to have dinner together. Michael just hoped Maria would start remembering soon. It was hard to be a single parent with a daughter like Kacie. She had so much energy that she made him feel old sometimes.

Michael was just happy that so far she showed no signs of having powers. That would make this situation even harder. Maria couldn’t remember Michael, Max, or Isabel, let alone the fact that they were aliens with special powers. Kacie was the first child of any of them, and so far she had yet to show any signs of her father’s heritage. He had to keep Kacie from saying anything to Maria about it though. They had always wanted to be truthful with their daughter, and had told her everything about Michael’s past, about his abilities. But she couldn’t tell Maria about that…nothing alien…Maria wouldn’t understand right now. It would only scare her more.

Michael took a deep breath and walked towards the school. It was Friday afternoon, all the kids would be rushing past him in a few minutes ready to play all weekend, he felt bad for his own daughter who hadn’t been very happy since this fiasco began, she cried a lot, Michael knew for he held her every night and felt her tears. She slept on her mother’s side of the bed wrapped up in his arms like Maria should have been.

Michael shook his head as he heard the bell ring and the shouts and laughter of the children as they were freed from the classrooms.

“Daddy!” Kacie came running into her dad’s waiting arms.

“Ready to go to uncle Max’s?” Michael asked as he carried his daughter towards the car.

“Yeah! I get to see mommy today, right daddy? You said I could see mommy today. I miss her.”

“Yeah sweetie,” Michael sighed. “You get to see mommy today.”

* * *

“Lizzie?” Maria called to her friend from the living room.

“What’s up Ria?” Liz came in and sat down beside her on the couch.

“Can you tell me something about Michael? I mean…how…when…um…I don’t know what I’m saying.” Maria buried her head in her hands in frustration. She was getting so aggravated with her inability to recollect the last years of her life. “I mean…how can I…ahhh!” Maria screamed into the empty room. She was just going to give up when she remembered why she was sitting out here in the living room. They were coming over soon. “Tell me about Kacie. Something, anything.”

A small smile crept up on Liz’s face. Maybe Maria was starting to remember or feel something like her old self. “Well, she’s six years old, she’s in first grade at the local elementary school. She looks just like you, she has your eyes and hair. She’s impetuous and artistic like Michael. She has your singing voice. She’s going to be a great talent someday, she has a bright future ahead of her. She’s the best of you both, anything is possible for her. She’s very loving, just like you, she gives her heart freely. I think she’s really missed you Maria. Michael keeps telling me how sad she’s been. How she cries at night and won’t sleep alone, she sleeps on your bed with Michael. She misses you, she needs her mommy back.” Liz took a deep breath and looked up at Maria. She was crying. “Oh god! I’m so sorry Ria…I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that…It’s just-” she was interrupted by Maria speaking.

“No Lizzie. Don’t be sorry. It’s not your fault I’m like this. I…I don’t know. It’s really hard. I know I’m hurting everyone. I’ve seen the way Max looks at me, wishing I could remember him. And Isabel, she’s doing her best to help me remember because we were such good friends, but I can’t remember! I’m hurting everyone. Especially those who care about me the most. Why Lizzie? Why did this have to happen to me? Why now?” A faucet was turned on behind her eyes and she couldn’t stop herself from crying. She had to get it all out.

“Shh! It’s going to be all right Maria. Do you hear me? You’re going to be okay. We’ll get through this, all of us. Right now, you just focus on yourself.” Liz stroked her hair softly as she held her best friend in her arms.

“But I can’t. I mean…that…that little girl…god! She looked so sad last time I saw her. She just ran up to me and gave me a hug like she didn’t want to ever let go. I wanted to cry. How can I do this to her? She…she needs her mother…she needs…me. Why is this so difficult?!” Maria’s anger was rising. Not anger at anyone, but anger at her situation.

“We’ll get through this together, hun. All of us. We’ll find a way.” Liz prayed that they would find something out soon. This didn’t seem natural, but what happened?

“Thanks Lizzie.”

* * *

“Now Princess,” Michael wasn’t sure how to say this, but he knew he had to before they went inside. “Mommy’s not herself right now. You have to be gentle with her, okay? Don’t expect too much from her, all right?” It hurt him so much to say these things. How could Kacie understand this?

“Daddy? Is momma gonna be okay? She’s gonna come back, isn’t she?” Fear shone in her emerald eyes.

“Oh sweetie! Just remember that mommy will always love you, deep down, no matter what. She’s just sick right now. It’ll be okay. But that’s why she’s staying with uncle Max and aunt Liz right now. But, I’m sure if you ask her nicely she’ll play a game with you, or maybe even sing to you while we’re here if you’re a good girl.” Michael held his daughter in his arms not wanting to let go. She was all he had right now and he didn’t want to give her up too. She let go of him and slid down to the ground.

“I’ll be good, daddy. I promise.” She smiled up at Michael before he took her hand in his and they walked up to the front door.

* * *

“They’re here.” Max’s comment shook the girls from their reverie. Liz gave Maria a short smile before squeezing her hand and then walking to the door. This was it.

“Auntie Lizzie!” Kacie squealed as she jumped into Liz’s open arms. Maria watched on in silence, feeling jealousy deep down, though she couldn’t understand why. Kacie gave Liz a giant hug and kiss, as she wrapped her legs around Liz’s waist.

Kacie wasn’t sure what to say to her mother, so she practically attached herself to aunt Liz. That way at least she could hold onto someone. Liz walked back into the living room holding the child in her arms. Kacie wouldn’t let her go. She sat on the couch beside Maria in the seat she had just vacated.

Maria was unsure of what to do next. Was she supposed to take Kacie in her arms and never let go? Was she supposed to say hi? What was she supposed to do? She was scared.

“Hi mommy.” Kacie’s small voice seemed timid as she ventured to speak into the silence. She raised her big, bright eyes to meet her mother’s gaze. Maria’s heart melted as a smile slowly spread across her face.

Seeing her mother smile, Kacie found the courage to let go of Liz and cross the short distance between her and her mother. Tentatively she put her arms around her mother’s neck and gave her a brief kiss on the cheek. She promised daddy she wouldn’t scare mommy, and she would keep that promise!

* * *

Michael sat at the table talking with Liz and Max. They were telling him everything that had happened during the last few days in Maria’s life. Nothing much. She would sit around the house and talk to Liz about the old times, go to her appointments with Isabel and grow more frustrated over everything that was told to her that she couldn’t remember, and she’d sit in the garden and ponder where her life was going while staring off into space.

He couldn’t picture his Maria being so lost. Why couldn’t he just fix everything and make it all better? That was another thing…even if he tried, if it didn’t work he’d have to explain to her how he had powers and whatever, and then she’d probably flip out and retreat from him even more than she presently had. God he hated this!

He heard laughter from the other room and glanced over his shoulder even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to see anything. At least Kacie was getting some time with her mother. She had been feeling the loss just as much as Michael had. She was a growing girl who needed a woman’s presence in her life, needed her mother.

Taking a deep breath Michael turned back to Liz and Max.

“Is she remembering anything?” Liz just shook her head no. “Well, does Isabel know why this happened?” Max looked at Liz before venturing an answer.

“Michael, look, I told you last night on the phone, we don’t know anything. This could just be a freak occurrence. Isabel doesn’t see anything at all ‘alien’ in what has happened. There haven’t been any changes. You know I’d come to you right away if there were. I’d never make you wait to find out about something this important. I promise I’ll tell you as soon as anything happens. I swear.” Max felt bad for Michael, but his friend was bordering on the neurotic. He called every night, and several times during the day to check up on Maria and ask his ten thousand questions, which they still had no answers to.

“I’m sorry Max. God!” Michael hung his head in his hands as his emotions took over. Liz reached over a hand to rub his shoulder in support. “It’s just that I don’t know how much longer Kacie and I can last on our own. Maria is the world to us. Kacie can hardly sleep at nights, she has to sleep in bed with me, and I just lay awake most of the night. She’s always asking when mommy’s coming home, and I don’t know what to tell her. And God do I miss her! I never would have imagined ten years ago that some girl would be so important to me. But she’s not just some girl. She’s my Maria, and I don’t know what I’ll do if she doesn’t come back. I love her so much it hurts!”

Liz felt the tears stinging her eyes at Michael’s heart felt plea. If Maria only knew how much she was missed…

* * *

“…and we played clue, cause its like my favoritest game, and mommy won! Did you know that it’s her favorite game too? She told me so! Oh! And you were right daddy, I asked her really nicely and she sang for me. Her voice is so pretty…I hope I can sing like that some day…” Kacie sat in the car beside her father rattling off in her excitement over spending an entire evening with her mother.

“I’m glad you had fun sweetie,” Michael tried to be happy for his daughter, but it hurt so much. It was nice to see Kacie smiling with excitement, he only wished he could be that happy. Once again Maria had stayed away from him. She had this way of avoiding him without really seeming to be doing it. It hurt, though he tried not to show it. He wanted to be happy that Kacie got to spend time with her mother, but he wished he could spend time with her too. But he wasn’t about to force her. He didn’t want to push himself on her. He wouldn’t do that, ever.

“Is momma gonna come home soon?” The silence was broken only to be answered with another silence from Michael. Kacie looked at her father curiously. “Daddy?”

“I don’t know Princess, I really don’t know.” From the faint street lights Kacie could just make out the tears in her father’s eyes when he looked over at her.

* * *

“Michael?” Isabel spoke into the phone urgently. “Michael? I know you’re there, now pick up the damn phone!”

“What is it Isabel?” Michael was half asleep as he spoke, and irritable. It had been a whole week without Maria and he was becoming distraught. Kacie was the only thing holding him together.

“Michael, you have to think for me. I know it’s late, but I need to know…when is the ritual?” She spoke as clearly as she could, hoping he would immediately understand what she was talking about.

“What?” Michael was confused. It was 3 am, he was just starting to get to sleep when the phone rang, and now Iz was asking him strange questions.

“Think Michael! THE RITUAL! When is it?!” Her voice was getting louder and louder.

“Umm…what are…Oh my god!” Realization hit him like a freight train. When was it? He wasn’t sure actually. “I…I’d have to go check her calendar. She was always good about writing down the dates so we wouldn’t forget anything.”

“Go do it NOW!”

Michael carefully crawled out of bed, careful not to disturb his sleeping daughter. She could sleep through almost any noise, but lately, since Maria’s absence, if she was left alone, she would feel it and wake up. He didn’t want to disturb her right now. She needed rest.

“Okay…let me look.” He was out in the den and flipping through her desk calendar. She had everything written in it. She knew she would forget things if they weren’t written down, so she always wrote everything down right there. It was one of the many things he loved about her.

“Well?”

“Oh my god!”

“Oh my god, what? What is it? When is it Michael?!” Isabel was getting exasperated, Michael wasn’t saying anything useful to her and she was worried. If the date was soon, they could be in trouble, and she had a feeling that they were in trouble.

“Its…its…in a month.” He raked a shaky hand through his unruly hair in an attempt to calm his nerves.

“Oh god! I was afraid of that.”

“Well what do we do now Iz? You gotta tell me what to do! I mean…we have to do something! What if she isn’t herself? Will it still work, or…NO! We have to make it work! We have to find a way Iz!” Michael was babbling incoherently and pacing the short length of the desk.

“MICHAEL!” Iz yelled into the phone, effectively bringing him back to his senses. “First off, you have to calm down. We don’t know that this isn’t a good thing. It could help her to remember-”

“But we’ve tried connecting and it didn’t help, yeah she was asleep, but that shouldn’t matter. How could this help her? Cause I can’t see how this can help her. All I see is how this can hurt her…kill her…”

“Michael-”

“No Iz! I will not let anything happen to her! We have to find a way… It’s too hard alone. I can’t do this without her. She’s my life.” His voice grew softer until he was barely whispering the last words.

He hung up the phone without another word. What was he going to do? He had to get her to remember him, to trust him, to know him, to love him. He had to find his Maria. She was in their somewhere…he just knew she was. He only had to find her. And he only had four weeks to do it in.

* * *

‘What is wrong with me? Why did this have to happen? I don’t know what to do anymore! This is just so confusing…why me?’ Maria looked up at the stars. It was late and she was laying on her back in Max and Liz’s backyard, just watching the moon and stars shining in the sky above her. They weren’t nearly as bright here as they were in Roswell. Too many city lights.

‘Why would I move to the big city? Why would I leave my mom? She’s my only family…okay, so now I guess I have a husband and a beautiful daughter, but I can’t remember any of that!

‘WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!?!

‘Kacie is so beautiful…and she looks so much like I did when I was her age… Michael…I don’t know what it is…I don’t see how me and him would work…he seems so…I don’t know…different. Yeah, he seems like a really sweet and caring father, that time I saw him playing with Kacie and the dog in Isabel’s backyard…

‘Why does my life have to be so difficult? Why can’t I just curl up and sleep through all this. Maybe its all just some horrible nightmare…and I’ll wake up soon and everything will be back to normal…whatever normal for me would be. God! I hate all this not knowing stuff. I hate not knowing what is going on…not knowing who I am…not knowing my own daughter! I know she has to be my daughter…why can’t I remember her?’ Maria curled up on her side in the grass and cried into her hands, releasing all the pain and pressure she had been feeling since the whole fiasco began.

‘I want to remember, really I do. I must have loved Michael to have married him, to have his kid. I mean Lizzie said we were married for a while before we had her…so it wasn’t anything like my mom marrying my dad. I would never do that…I wouldn’t want my child to go through what I went through, loosing a parent hurts so much.

‘Oh god! That must be what Kacie’s feeling like right now! Like she’s lost me…I mean I’m not there all the time…I…I… How can I do this to my own child? Oh god!’

* * *

“Are you sure that you’re ready for that Maria?” Isabel was smiling. She couldn’t believe Maria had made that decision on her own. She had planned on asking her about it in this session, but since Maria brought it up first it was even better.

“Yeah…I mean…being around things that should be familiar to me should only help to trigger memories, right? And I think it would be good for Kacie too. I mean, every time she comes over here, she can’t get enough of my attention. I feel…I feel like I’m abandoning her in some way like my father abandoned me. I don’t want her to feel the hurt I felt all those lonely years.”

Isabel felt her heart melt. Maria was still the caring, sweet, loveable, opinionated person that they all knew and loved, it was just buried down under something that was suppressing the most important parts of her life. She was strong though, she would conquer it, and maybe, just maybe she would let her friends help her.

“I think that’s great Maria. Just know that we are all here if you need anything. I know Kacie will be ecstatic. She is so full of energy, just like you. Don’t let her wear you out too much on your first day back though.”

“I’m not sick Isabel, I just can’t remember…there IS a difference. I’ll be fine! It’s my decision, and I’ve made it.”

“Okay. I’m happy for you. I know Michael has missed you too. He’ll be so happy when I tell him that you are going to be moving back in. He’s been different, changed, since this happened. He’s so sad and quiet all the time it seems.” Isabel had a feeling Michael might not believe her at first when she were to tell him that it was Maria’s idea to move back home, but it was the truth, Isabel had no part in it. “Do you want me to call him and tell him he can come and pick you up?”

“I…I guess…thanks.” Maria hadn’t thought about it much. She decided that she would go live back at ‘home,’ wherever that was, and that was it. What would happen now? Would Michael even want her to? She had actually been afraid to spend time with him, and she wasn’t sure why, it was her husband, shouldn’t she want to be with him? ‘Not if I can’t remember him,’ she reminded herself.

* * *

“I got a surprise for you Princess!” Michael picked Kacie up from school and swung her around in his arms. He was so anxious about telling her the great news.

“What is it daddy?” Kacie was laughing. Her dad hadn’t been in this good of a mood in a long time…since before mommy went away.

“What would you say if I told you mommy was gonna come back home?” He watched closely as her eyes lit up with joy.

* * *

“Maria’s in the backyard playing with Smokey. Max dropped all of her stuff off earlier on his way to some meeting, its in the living room,” Isabel looked from Michael, with his nervousness, to Kacie with the biggest smile plastered across her tiny face. Maria had definitely made the right decision. “Kacie, why don’t you go outside and see mommy?”

“Okay aunt Izzie!” With a quick hug to her aunt, the blond whirlwind was gone and on her way to the back.

“Wow, someone sure is happy.” Isabel wasn’t sure what to say to Michael now that they were face to face, it had been hard enough to find words over the phone. “How about you Michael? Are you okay with this? Cause I mean…if you changed your mind or-” Isabel was cut off mid sentence.

“NO! No, I didn’t change my mind. I’ve been waiting for this day, I just…I don’t know…I don’t know what she expects of me, I guess. I mean…I know she’s still the same Maria, my Maria, but I keep thinking she’s someone else. It’s like starting all over, and we both know I wasn’t too good in the beginning.”

“Yeah, but Michael? YOU have changed too! You’ve come so far. Just remember that Maria loves you. Never forget that, and you’ll get through this. Maybe you weren’t the best boyfriend in the beginning, but you were the best husband to Maria that she could have asked for. You have always been the best father to Kacie, it is so obvious how much you love her, and Maria has seen that. I think she’s just afraid. Of what, I’m not sure right now. Afraid of herself, of what her memories might hold, of what would happen if this was all taken away from her again. There are numerable reasons she should be afraid. But she also sees the pain in Kacie, and in you too I think, of what this situation of hers is causing, and she wants to help. She wants Kacie to be happy, to have her mother. I think she is really afraid of not living up to yours and Kacie’s standards. She is constantly fighting a battle with this image of who she is supposed to be. Don’t make it any harder on her, okay? Just be there for her, and everything will be all right.” Isabel gave Michael a hug and squeezed his shoulders one last time before carrying Maria’s few things out to the car.

* * *

Michael stood in the window watching Maria and Kacie playing with Smokey. They were angels, his angels, or at least they were; one of them still was, but the other, he wasn’t sure anymore.

* * *

“Want me to read you a bed time story Princess?” Michael asked as he carried Kacie to her own bed. He always read her a bedtime story, and tucked her in, and a little bit later she would show up in his bed.

“No daddy, I want mommy to sing to me, like she used to.” That innocent little comment broke Michael’s heart.

“Well sweetie, she may not feel up to-” but Michael didn’t get to finish the thought.

“It’s okay Michael, I’d love to sing her to sleep.” Maria smiled as she came up behind them and walked into Kacie’s lavender room.

“Oh, okay.” Michael lovingly placed his daughter in her bed and pulled her blankets up around her, just the way she liked it. He gave her a kiss before walking to the doorway. Standing there for a moment he turned around. “Goodnight sweetie, sleep tight.”

Michael left the two girls alone in the room and walked out into the living room. He was going to sleep on the couch. He wanted Maria to have the bed. There was no way he was going to let her sleep on the couch for who knew how long. That would be ungentlemanly, and he was a gentleman. Maria deserved the best, the royal treatment, and he would always do his best to give it to her.

He grabbed a couple blankets and a pillow out of the hall closet and sat down on the couch. As he lay down he could hear the melodic sound of Maria singing. God how he missed her. Her voice, her touch, her presence…the list went on and on.

A tear marked its path down his cheek. She was up there right now, singing to their daughter. Kacie wanted her mother back, now she had her, and she didn’t seem to need her father anymore. ‘No daddy.’ Those two words broke his heart. Would she never need him again? Maria didn’t seem to need him anymore, would Kacie be the same way now that she at least had her mother? Michael couldn’t handle the thought; it was too disturbing. He loved them both more than life. He would do anything for them, but he could never live without them. Maria seemed to be happy with Kacie, and Kacie was ecstatic to have her mother back, but now neither one of them seemed to need him…

No! He had to stop thinking like that. No! Everything was going to be okay…it had to be. Besides, he couldn’t forget about Isabel’s late night phone call to him. They still hadn’t figured out what to do about that. Michael only knew one thing…he couldn’t stand by and watch anything bad happening to the ones he loved, he wouldn’t.

* * *

“I missed you so much mommy!” Kacie snuggled deeper into her mother’s arms. Maria was a little unsure of what to do at first, but wrapping her arms around the little one and holding her close just felt right. “Are you all better now?”

“What do you mean?” Maria asked.

“Daddy said you were sick and that was why you had to stay with auntie Lizzie and uncle Max. But since you’re back now are you all better?” Her innocence astonished Maria. She missed her own childhood innocence, it’s amazing how you never know exactly when you lost it, one day it’s just gone.

“I’m not all better yet, but we’re working on it. Don’t worry though. It’ll be okay. Now sleep tight little one.” Maria leaned down and gave the girl an affectionate kiss on the cheek before walking to the door and flipping the light switch off. She left the door half way open in case she was afraid of the dark, she wasn’t sure. They told her Kacie was her own daughter, yet she didn’t know if she was afraid of the dark. Heck, she didn’t even know when Kacie’s birthday was!

* * *

TBC...

posted on 27-Apr-2002 12:19:17 AM
Okay, I know you all have questions about this 'ritual' and I promise that all will be revealed in time. It is alien related, of course, but what exactly it is...be patient.*big*

~Nikki~
*angel*



* * *

Part 5

* * *

Maria sat on the edge of the bed with her feet dangling off. The clock beside the bed read 2:17 am. She couldn’t sleep. Try as she might, it just wouldn’t come. Something about this house, this room, these walls, the bed…it just pulled at the strings of her memories. She knew somewhere in that head of hers were some memories of the last ten years…but she couldn’t help but wonder if there was some reason why her mind was blocking out her memories. Maybe something horrible had happened…no, that couldn’t be it.

2:19

Why couldn’t she sleep? She was tired. She could feel the bags beginning to form under her eyes. So why was she awake? Maybe a cup of hot chocolate would help. It had always been what her mother would make for her. And she made it with milk on the stove…that was the only way to make hot chocolate. She decided she might as well try it, but she would have to be careful not to wake up Michael.

* * *

Michael couldn’t sleep. Just knowing that Maria was upstairs was too much. His brain was in overdrive thinking about her. He looked down at the blond in his arms. Kacie, she managed to find her way downstairs and into his arms. She said she couldn’t sleep and he was more than willing to hold her. If neither one of them could sleep, they might as well lay awake together. Then Michael got an idea.

“Hey Princess, how about I make us some hot chocolate, and then we try to get some sleep? After all, there’s lots to do tomorrow, so you need your rest.”

“Really?”

“Yeah really,” Michael chuckled, she was just like her mother.

“With milk and everything?”

“Yes, with milk and everything…just the way-” Michael was going to say ‘just the way mommy makes it,’ but he couldn’t. “Up we go!” He stood up and held her cradled in his arms and carried her with a flourish into the kitchen and sat her down on the counter. Her laughter was music to his ears. She was still his little girl.

Michael got everything out on the counter. Milk, cocoa mix, sauce pan. It was easy enough. Kacie even helped by measuring everything out for him.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah Princess?”

“Why is mommy different?”

“What do you mean sweetie?”

“It’s not the same as it was. She doesn’t feel the same.” Michael looked at his daughter in shock. Could she feel it too? Maria did feel different, like a part of her was missing inside of him, did Kacie feel it just like him?

“It’ll be okay sweetie, I promise. We’ll figure it all out. Don’t worry.” Michael kissed her on the tip of her nose and ran his hands through her golden curls, just like her mothers.

“I miss her daddy.”

* * *

2:25 The hall clock read as she walked down the stairs towards the kitchen. She noticed the light was on. Was Michael awake? Why would anyone be up this early? Was something wrong?

She stepped closer and she could hear two voices talking.

* * *

“I know baby. You just gotta give mommy time. She’s still the same person, she just has to remember.” Michael told Kacie, sweetly brushing some strands of hair off her face. It seemed like he’d said the same things over and over again…

“But why did mommy forget? Did I do something bad?” Michael had returned to stirring the milk on the stove, but his hand stopped and he pulled his daughter close.

“No sweetie. Don’t you ever think that! Mommy loves you very much; more than anything in the world. She would never hurt you! Mommy is just sick, and we have to take care of her until she gets well.” He kissed his daughter on the cheek and gave her a big hug before going back to the milk. He didn’t want it to scald, but he was reluctant to let go of Kacie.

“I love you daddy!” Kacie jumped off the counter and wrapped her little arms around Michael. “Can I add the chocolate now?” She perked back up.

“Of course you can, after all, that’s your official job. Well that and taste tester!” Michael was rewarded with a giggle and an impish smile of delight.

* * *

Maria was frozen in her tracks when she heard the conversation. She didn’t know what to make of it. Michael seemed like such a sweet guy, she just wasn’t sure of anything right now. She hated not knowing. She felt like she was lost in a giant cave with no light. Should she go in the kitchen, or just go back upstairs? She wasn’t sure. She knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep right now, so taking in a deep breath, she entered.

* * *

Michael placed three cups on the counter out of habit. He picked up the pot from the stove and poured some of the hot liquid into a small pink mug that had little bears along the sides. Kacie never used any other mug, if it was dirty, someone always had to wash it. After he poured some into his own mug he carried them over to the table and sat across from his daughter.

“Now don’t burn your tongue sweetie, it might be too hot still,” Michael warned.

“Thank you daddy.” Kacie yawned as she reached up for her cup. Michael just smiled. She was getting tired all ready. Maybe now she would be able to sleep. He hoped so. He just stared at the steam rising from his own mug, lost in thought, remembering the last time that they had made hot chocolate, all three of them together…

“Do you want some too mommy?” Kacie’s voice startled Michael out of his thoughts. Maria was there?

“Its okay, I can get my own.” Maria stopped and smiled at Kacie. “I like your mug, very cute. I had one like that when I was little.” Kacie’s smile brightened. Grandma Amy had given her that mug. It was Maria’s.

“Grammie Amy gave it ta me, this one was yours, silly mommy.” Kacie yawned again before taking a sip of her cocoa. It was good. Daddy always made good cocoa. Almost as good as mommy.

Maria wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Her mother had saved that cup? She thought she had lost it when she was ten…five…no, fifteen years ago. Wow.

“Here, you can have mine, I’ll get some more.” Michael finally came to his senses and got up, offering Maria his chair and the cup of cocoa that was sitting on the table.

“Are you sure?” Maria hesitated a little.

“Of course. I can get some more, you just sit down and enjoy the cocoa.” Michael chanced a smile at her before walking over to the counter and grabbing the third cup. He poured the last of the cocoa into it before taking a different seat at the table. “Couldn’t sleep?” Michael asked her quietly, not sure if she wanted to talk. They hadn’t really said much to each other since she came home.

“No. I haven’t been sleeping much at all lately.” Maria kept her eyes down on the tablecloth, afraid to look up.

An awkward silence ensued. Neither was really sure what to say. Kacie was oblivious to her parents. She sat there happily sipping her cocoa as her eyelids drifted lower and lower. Soon she had her head on her arms on top of the table fast asleep.

“She’s very beautiful.” Maria regarded Kacie’s sleeping form with a sense of awe. Did she really have a part in making that little girl? She had always wanted a daughter, but she thought it would be in her future, distant future.

Well, wasn’t this ten years later? You’re not fifteen anymore, Maria, you’re twenty-five, welcome to your future.

“Just like her mom.” Maria almost missed his whispered comment, but she heard it. He thought she was beautiful. “She is so much like you. She has your voice. She loves to sing and dance.” Michael let his mind wander into the realm of his angel and his princess, his two girls.

Maria could feel herself blushing at Michael’s comments.

“So why were you two down here so late?”

“She couldn’t sleep so she came to sleep with me like she’s been doing all week. She still couldn’t get to sleep, so we decided we’d have some hot chocolate. It usually makes her sleepy, and I guess it worked.” Michael glanced at his daughter again before speaking. “I should probably go put her back in bed.” Quietly getting up he gently lifted Kacie into his arms without waking her and carried her out of the kitchen.

Maria watched them leaving, still pondering Michael’s comment. “Kacie hasn’t been sleeping well all week? It’s because of me…” she pondered aloud.

* * *

“Night Princess.” Michael kissed Kacie’s forehead as he tucked the covers in around her sleeping form. At least he could be sure that she would get some sleep now. He still wasn’t too sure if he would. But that didn’t matter, he could go without much sleep for a long time, he had learned that lesson when Kacie was born…

~~~

The baby was crying…again. Maria looked over at the clock beside the bed. It was only 3:07 in the morning. She had gotten maybe an hour of sleep…maybe. She was so tired she could barely lift her head from her pillow. She wasn’t sure how anyone could handle twins, she only had one baby, and she was exhausted.

Michael sat up in bed when he heard Kacie’s crying. Glancing at Maria he could see how completely worn out she was. Her body looked drained of all energy.

“Don’t worry honey, I’ll go take care of her. You just go back to sleep.” With a quick peck on her cheek, he was out of the room and down the hall.

Maria smiled to herself. Michael was so great. He did everything he possibly could to make things easier on her. She had to admit, she couldn’t do this without him. It was so much work having a little one, but she wouldn’t trade it for anything in the universe.

Michael picked Kacie up in his arms and tried to calm her down. She didn’t need to be changed. He rocked her for a little while but she was still fussing.

“Are you hungry? Huh Princess? Is that why you’re fussing so much?” Michael played with her little hand, it could barely grasp one of his fingers; she was so tiny. “How about I make a deal with you, okay? I’ll bring you to mommy, and then when you’re done you have to let mommy get a couple hours of sleep, okay? Cause you are wearing us out, sweetie, yes you are. We got a deal?” Baby Kacie just giggled in his arms, waving her hands around some more. “I’ll take that as a yes!”

Maria was sitting up with pillows behind her back propped up against the headboard when Michael came back in carrying their daughter. She thought it was feeding time, and she was right.

“She’s hungry mommy.” Michael kneeled on the bed beside his wife and gently rested the baby in her arms. “I made her promise to let you sleep for a couple hours after this.”

“Thank you hun. Come here sweetie! Mommy make it all better.”

~~~

Sighing at the memory, Michael kissed his daughters forehead one last time.

“Sweet dreams, Princess.”

* * *

Maria hadn’t moved. She was still sitting at the table with a death grip on her mug when Michael returned. He just watched her from the doorway for a moment. God she was beautiful. He wanted to reach out and wrap her up in his arms and never let go. But he couldn’t. No. He had to wait for her to remember. He didn’t want to push her. No. He was going to let her set the pace of their relationship.

He sensed her freight. It was all over her, screaming out to him. She was scared to death at the moment, but her Teflon exterior didn’t want to let that show. But nothing could hide it from him. He always knew when something was bothering her. But now he wasn’t so sure if he should pressure her into talking about it or not. He did not want to push her away.

“Hey.”

“Oh!” Maria jumped a little in her chair at the sound of his voice. “I…I didn’t realized you were back.” Maria’s voice was trembling slightly in her muddled thoughts. “Um…is she in bed now?”

“Yeah, she didn’t even wake up. She should sleep through the night now.” Michael came and sat back down at the table across from her.

He wanted to ask her if something was bothering her. He wanted to let her know that she could talk to him, that he was a great listener. He was about to voice this when she started to stand up.

“I…I should…um…probably try to get some sleep too, now.” She walked into the kitchen and was going to wash the mugs when Michael stopped her.

“Don’t worry about those. I’ll take care of them. You go get some rest.” He stood behind her back and she could feel his eyes on her. Why did this feel so strange, yet so right at the same time?

“Are you sure? Cause-” but she didn’t get to finish that thought. Michael raised his finger to her lips, silencing her in a second. God, it felt so good, so right when he touched her.

Wait! Where did that thought come from?

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. It’s my night to do the dishes anyway.”

Maria bit down on her lower lip. God! All these feelings, all these events, things she should know. Dammit! Why couldn’t she just remember? It would make everything so much easier. Why couldn’t life be easy?

“Okay…if you’re sure…” Maria started walking to the door and Michael just nodded his head, letting her know that he meant it. “Okay. Well, goodnight.” It was awkward. She didn’t know what he expected of her, or even what she expected of herself, so she quickly turned and fled up the stairs. Would she ever find peace?

* * *

“What are we going to do Is?” Michael held his head in his hands as he sat on the couch in Alex and Isabel’s living room. Maria and Kacie were outside playing with the dog since Maria’s appointment was over. Now Michael needed answers, desperately.

“I honestly don’t know Michael. I mean…something like this…it’s just so new to us. We don’t even understand what all is involved in it. Yes, there is a chance she could be hurt if she doesn’t know the truth before hand. It could be too much for her to handle. The thing is…we just don’t know. It’s all a big guessing game.”

“What if I…what if I told her? You know, what if I told her the truth? What would happen then?”

“I…She’s very uncertain right now Michael. Yes, she wants to remember, but by telling her about us, it might just be too much. If she remembers on her own that is one thing, but well, just telling her…” Isabel didn’t know how to finish her thought, so she just let it hang. She wanted Maria back just as much as everyone else, but she had to think about the repercussions.

“Look Michael, I know you want Maria to be the same old Maria again, but she may never be that exact person ever again. No matter what, going through this situation is going to have some effect on her. It could be good, but it could be bad. We just have to be here for her and show her our love. We shouldn’t be doing anything rash at the moment. Don’t go scaring her or anything like that. If she asks questions, then answer them, but don’t just tell her everything. It is better for her if she remembers it on her own.” She walked over to Michael and sat right beside him on the couch, putting an arm around his shoulders and taking his hand in her other one. Looking into his face she spoke her last words of wisdom. “Just be yourself and let her fall in love with you all over again Michael.” Giving his hand one last squeeze she walked out of the room, leaving him alone to contemplate her speech.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 28-Apr-2002 4:27:25 AM
I hope you guys like this part, I think its a lot happier than the last few have been...or well, than this story has been at all really...but, yeah. Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 6

* * *

Maria walked into the kitchen to see Michael busily moving about. He was so engrossed in what he was working on that he didn’t even notice her as she stood gazing at him with curiosity. She had never known a guy who was so comfortable in the kitchen. Was he always like this?

“Do you need any help?” She finally got up the nerve to speak into the silence, startling him out of his little world.

“Oh! Hey, I didn’t notice you there. Um…no, that’s okay actually.” Kacie chose that moment to come racing into the kitchen and wrap her arms around Michael’s legs. He bent down and pulled her into a quick hug and kissed her cheek, causing her to giggle happily. “Hey Princess! Actually, I’m just making dinner for my two favorite girls, so why don’t you two go and play or something and I’ll call you when it’s ready?” That smile, that killer smile of his melted her knees. And the way he cared for his daughter…their daughter…could he be any more perfect? She doubted it.

“Are you sure, Michael? Cause I could-” but she never got to finish, Kacie started pulling her out the door.

“Come on mommy, you can give me another piano lesson. I’m getting better! Or we could color! Uncle Alex got me a new coloring book when we were over there. Oh! Or we could play dress up! We could make ourselves all pretty for daddy tonight…” As Kacie pulled Maria out of the kitchen, Michael couldn’t help but laugh. She was definitely Maria’s daughter. She had the same bubbly, happy, chatterbox, babbling tendencies. He loved it. He loved them.

Shaking off the haze, Michael turned back to the dinner he was making. Chicken fettuccini alfredo with garlic bread and ceasar salad. Maria’s favorite.

Half an hour later Michael glanced around the kitchen. The chicken was sautéing, the noodles were boiling, the garlic bread was ready to go in the oven, the sauce was almost simmering, and the salad only needed the dressing and a dash of fresh grated parmesan cheese. He was pretty much done.

He hoped he did everything right. He wanted it to be perfect. He made sure to get all of the fat and skin off the chicken before cutting it up; he knew how Maria hated that stuff on it. He made sure to put extra garlic salt on the garlic bread, and to only use real butter, no margarine for her.

The table was set and as a finishing touch he lit the candles on the table and turned the lights down lower. Perfect. He hoped she would like it. With everything just about ready he went in search of his wife and daughter.

* * *

“Mommy, you should wear this one! You always look beautiful in this one!” Kacie had decided that she wanted to play dress up with mommy, so that was what they were doing. Maria didn’t know what it was about this child, but she just felt drawn to her. It had been weird at first, having some kid calling her mommy, but the more she would admit it to herself, it felt right, and she was even enjoying it, a lot.

“Oh I should, huh?” Maria had to smile. She was lying across the bed in what was now her room, but had to have been the one she shared with Michael, while Kacie was digging through the many clothes in the closet. She had chosen a slinky, form fitting, long black dress with spaghetti straps, and silver sparkles all throughout the fabric. It was stunning. She could only imagine what she would look like in that dress. Kacie also pulled out a pair of black strappy heels with small rhinestones decorating some of the straps.

“Yeah! And you should wear these shoes with it!” Where did this kid get her fashion advice? She was good! How old was she? Six years old and already has a great fashion sense…definitely my child! Wow, where did that thought come from? Maria shook off the weirdness and focused back on the small girl in front of her.

“Okay, well now that you’ve picked out my clothes, how about I go pick out something for you?” Maria got up and headed for the door with Kacie hot on her heels. It was a mad dash to the room at the end of the hall, but Maria got there first and began searching the closet.

“But I already know what I wanna wear,” Kacie protested.

“Hey, you got to pick out my clothes, don’t I get to pick out yours?” Maria gave the child a pouting puppy-dog face. It used to work on Alex and Liz all the time; no one could resist her puppy eyes. When Kacie started to smile, Maria pounced on her and started tickling her sides mercilessly.

“Okay…okay!” Kacie squeeled. “I give!”

* * *

Michael heard laughter coming from Kacie’s room, and saw the sweetest sight from where he stood in the doorway. Maria had her arms wrapped around Kacie’s sides and the two were laying spread out on the floor breathing heavily and still giggling some.

“Hey you two. Dinner’s just about ready, why don’t you wash up.” Michael smiled to himself as he turned to leave the room. They were getting along so well. Kacie really did have her mother back now. So when would he get his wife back?

* * *

When Maria suggested they just go down to dinner without changing Kacie refused. So after quickly changing into the outfit Kacie picked out and pulling some of her hair half up, she headed down to the kitchen to see if Michael might need any last minute help. She didn’t want him to feel like he had to take care of her. She hated feeling useless, like she was doing nothing.

Michael caught his breath the second she stepped through the door. She was an angel. His beautiful angel.

“Wow! You look amazing,” Michael managed to get out after regaining his voice. After so many years of being together, she still could render him speechless.

“Kacie wanted to play dress up, so she picked out what she thought I should wear for dinner,” Maria blushed. She suddenly felt really dressed up.

“Well, she does have your fashion sense, cause mine is almost non-existent,” Michael chuckled. Maria had managed to expand his wardrobe beyond the color black, but without her, he was beyond hope.

“Umm…is there anything I can do?” This woke Michael out of his Maria-induced stupor. He looked around. The food was ready, he only hoped she would like it.

“Why don’t you pick out a wine to have with dinner?” he asked.

She was silent for a moment. Wine? What did she know about wine? Sure, she had some of her mom’s champagne once in a while at home when her mom would let her, but that was usually just a sip or two. Maybe she did know something about wine before, but not right now. How was she supposed to pick out a wine? They had wine? Where would it be anyways?

Michael saw the look of panic rise on her face. Oops. He forgot, ten years gone. She probably didn’t know much about wine before she was fifteen. He could hit himself for reminding her how much she didn’t know.

“Actually, how about you go get Kacie, and I’ll go get the wine.” Michael tried to smile at her as a sort of apology. When she nodded her head and turned around to go up stairs, he felt like kicking himself. Tonight was supposed to be perfect, why did he have to remind her about the fact that she couldn’t remember?

He found a bottle of white wine and grabbed two wine glasses before walking out to the table. Everything was set. The food had just finished and he was pouring two glasses of wine when his two favorite girls came down the stairs together. He was blown away by the picture they made: Maria in her long shimmery gown, and Kacie, a miniature version of her mother, in a dark maroon velvet and satin dress, with her hair up slightly, just like her mother. They were the perfect pair, and they took his breath away.

“You two look absolutely wonderful tonight.” Michael walked over and took his daughter into his arms, and then held out his other arm to Maria and led them into the dining room. After placing Kacie down in her chair, he held out a chair for Maria before seating himself. It would be the perfect night.

“Doesn’t my dress look pretty daddy? Mommy picked it out for me. And doesn’t mommy look pretty? I picked out the dress, and the shoes. Didn’t I do a good job daddy?” Kacie was so happy to have her family back in one piece the way it was supposed to be. Michael couldn’t help but smile at his little girl. She was so cute when she was excited. Her face would just light up with her youthful energy.

“Michael, this is wonderful! It’s my favorite!” Maria had tasted the delicious food before her and was in heaven. How did he know just the right way to make it?

“I know it is,” Michael said it quietly, under his breath, but she still heard him. “I know everything about you.”

Maria was stunned. He did know so much it seemed. So much that she herself didn’t even know all of it. Like the wine. Did she like wine? Probably since they kept it in the house and he asked her to pick it out. What kind did she like? What did a good wine taste like? Overcoming her silent moment she bit her bottom lip then reached for her wine glass. Time for the moment of truth. Raising the glass to her lips she took a small sip.

Michael just watched her in wonder. She heard him. He didn’t mean for her to, but maybe it was better that she had. His gaze never strayed from her as she raised the wine glass to her lips and tasted. From what he could tell, she was enjoying it. Michael watched as she took a few big swallows. Maybe he should stop her. If she drank it like that, who knew what could happen. She had an okay tolerance, but she hadn’t really tested it since college. All she ever had was one, maybe two glasses of wine now. But at the rate she was going…

Luckily she put the glass down and took another bite of her food. Okay…he could handle this.

* * *

Michael put Kacie to bed early that night. She was worn out from her escapades with Maria and had started dozing off near the end of dinner. When he came back downstairs, he found that Maria had just about finished the bottle of wine. He had gotten one glass, which he hadn’t even finished, Maria had. This was not good. In college, she had tested her limits with alcohol a couple times, and Michael had always been there to make sure she was okay. College parties weren’t always the best places to get drunk out of your mind. While she could handle quite a few beers, she couldn’t take too much hard liquor, and a whole bottle of wine, especially when she had no recollection of drinking, probably wasn’t the best idea in the world. Why had he gotten out the wine anyways? Oh yeah, he wanted the night to be perfect. So much for that idea.

“Mmm…this is really good. You should get some more of this.” Maria held up the empty bottle in her hand after taking the last sip of it. Oh yeah, she was drunk.

“Come here honey. Why don’t we get you up to bed?” Michael didn’t want Maria to get hurt. He didn’t want anything to happen to her, especially anything she might hold against him. Why did he have to get her drunk when she was starting to maybe feel comfortable around him?

“No! I don’t wanna go to sleep! I want to dance!” Maria threw her arms out and spun around, only to get dizzy and fall back into Michael’s waiting arms giggling. “Oh! This is fun!”

Michael held on to her, not letting go. This was going to be a long night.

“Come on hun, you had a little too much of that wine I think.” She paid no attention to him, she just swayed to the song in her head while leaning into his embrace. Michael began to move with her, swaying to the non-existent music. Maria smiled up into his face happily. For Michael, it was like old times, dancing with his Maria, even if she was a little drunk.

“You have really pretty eyes,” she told him. She just stared deeper into his eyes with that hazy expression of hers. “They have this gold shine…it’s like looking into two coins.” She giggled a little. “They’re like those chocolate coin candies! Yummy chocolate covered with gold!” Michael had to smile. She sure was cute when she got drunk. And her laugh, it was beautiful, carefree.

They danced a little bit longer until Michael felt her grasp his shoulders tighter and lean even more against him.

“You okay, hun?” He was concerned. She raised a hand to her head and blinked a few times.

“The room…it just started spinning…wow!” Michael had heard enough. He reached down and scooped her up into his arms like a baby and began carrying her upstairs. “Michael, what are you doing?”

“I’m going to put you to bed. You are dizzy and obviously drunk. I promise you’ll feel better in the morning,” to himself he added, if you don’t have a hangover.

“I can at least walk up the stairs myself! Put me down!” Maria started hitting him on the shoulders playfully.

“Fine!” Michael set her on her feet part way up the stairs knowing full well she wouldn’t make it to the top. When she started to stumble and fall, he caught her and lifted her up once again. “I told you. Now let me put you to bed.”

Maria stopped complaining and just held on to him. Her head was really spinning too much to care anymore. Maybe she shouldn’t have had so much of the wine. But it was so good!

Michael reached their bedroom and set her down on the edge of the bed. He knelt at her feet and took off her heels for her. The last time Maria had let herself get this drunk was in college after she thought she failed her criminal law final. She had wanted to forget everything, but Michael took care of her then too. And she even got an A on the final. How she thought she could fail at anything was beyond him.

After getting her sandals off Michael hesitated for a moment. Should he take the dress off of her? She would probably be upset later if the dress got messed up, it was one of her favorites. Grabbing one of her silky nightgowns out of her drawer Michael stepped back over to the bed and gently lifted the half asleep Maria to sit up. He began unzipping her dress and she stirred in his arms.

Maria smiled up at him, enjoying the feel of being held in his arms. Lifting her heavy arms she wrapped them around his neck and brought him closer to her. This caught Michael off guard. He was like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. He didn’t know what to do now. He did not want to take advantage of her. Yes he missed her, but this wasn’t his Maria, she didn’t even know him, even if he knew her.

“Look hun, why don’t you get dressed in your nightgown and go to bed?” Michael put the clothes in her hands and headed for the door once he extricated himself from her grasp. Maria sat there looking up at him confused. But Michael just walked out of the room and headed back downstairs. It was going to be another long night.

He put on some coffee when he reached the kitchen, regular, black, lots of caffeine to keep him in working order.

* * *

Michael watched her sleep. One of the things he missed most was lying next to her, holding her against him at night, just watching her sleep. She was his life, and without her, he was lost.

At least she seemed to be sleeping off her drunken haze peacefully. His coffee cup was empty. Time for a refill. In the time that Michael was down in the kitchen, Maria woke up. Her head was spinning, and before she knew it she was falling out of the bed scrambling into the bathroom. She was sick. God she hated being sick. She reached the toilet just in time, but her hair got in the way. It was a mess.

Michael heard her from downstairs and dropped his coffee cup in his hurry to get up to her. He found her in a heap on the bathroom floor. Chunks of what he assumed had been her dinner in her scraggly hair. A sad sweet smile crossed his face. She looked so lost and helpless. He turned on the faucet in the large bathtub and got it nice and warm. He turned back to Maria who wasn’t really cognizant and undressed her before lifting her up and placing her in the warm water.

He sat along the edge of the tub rubbing her light creamy skin with a sponge. At least she was looking a little better now. Michael washed out her silky golden hair, and all signs of her being sick were now gone. She was really out of it still though. Michael was kinda worried. She had her eyes open, but she didn’t seem to be all there.

“Maria, honey? Can you stand up?” Michael’s voice was gentle and soothing. He got no response, and in fact her eyes had drifted closed. Great. This was definitely going to be difficult. Why couldn’t anything ever be easy for him?

Michael grabbed a large towel and picking Maria up in his arms, he carefully wrapped it around her. It was a chore, but with that done he carried her back out into the bedroom. Laying her on the bed, Michael dried her off and then pulled the covers up around her. Running his fingers through her hair it magically dried in seconds.

Michael sat back against the headboard for a moment and took a deep breath. Definitely a long night. In her sleep she reached out and grasped Michael’s hand in hers with a small smile on her lips. Michael was startled, but then he too smiled as he relaxed more against the pillows behind his back. Maybe everything would be okay.

~~~

~Maria’s Dream~

It was late and raining outside, yet she couldn’t sleep. Something just felt weird. She was brushing out her wet hair in front of her mirror when she thought she saw something outside her window. Looking out she could just make out Michael’s face. She quickly walked over to the window to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating. Nope, there he stood, right in front of her window, dripping with the rain. She wasn’t sure how she felt about him being there.
“What are you doing out there?” She looked at him, but because of the dark she couldn’t really see much. “No, you can't come in. No. I know why you're here. All right, I know what your plan is. I know what you want, but it's not gonna work this time, mister, ok? No matter what you say. My answer is no. No, no, no, no, no!!!”
He still didn’t move. What did he want? Maria huffed and walked right up to the window, directly face to face with Michael. That was when she saw the pain written all over his face. He didn’t move, he just stood there like a statue, like a scared little boy with nowhere to turn. Quickly she opened the window and helped him inside before shutting it again. It was freezing out there, and pouring harder. He was soaked.
“God, you could get pneumonia. Here, take your shirt off.” She helped him take off his shirt, and he stood there like a lost little boy, in his wife-beater. She slowly grabbed a towel, and began rubbing the water out of his hair. “Hold on. You're shivering.” She walked him over and gently lay him down on her bed. A lonely tear streaked slowly down his face. As gently as she could she reached up and brushed it away from his cheeks.
“Come here. Shh, it's ok.” Maria grabbed a blanket from the end of her bed and brought it up to him, he was still cold. She wasn’t sure what had happened to him, but right now he needed her. He, Mr. Stonewall, needed her. Not Max. Not Isabel. Her. “You don't have to tell me, it's ok.” From behind him she wrapped her arms protectively around him, holding him close and not wanting to let go. She let him cry as her arms refused to let up their tight hold on him. She wouldn’t leave him alone when he needed her so much. She loved him. She would do anything for him. Even if all that meant was holding him while he cried, she would be there. Forever.
~~~

Maria rolled over in her sleep almost on top of Michael. He groaned at the close proximity of her nude body. It had taken all of his control to not take advantage of her earlier in the bathroom; this wasn’t making it any easier on him. He looked over at the clock and was surprised to see that it was now 5:30 in the morning. He must’ve fallen asleep at some point while watching her.

Carefully crawling out from under her without disturbing her, Michael went into the bathroom and shut the door. Yep, it was still a mess. He set about cleaning it all up and was just about finished when he heard the sounds of Maria starting to wake up in the other room. She was groaning and rolling over in bed. Oh she was definitely going to regret drinking a whole bottle of wine. Definitely. Hangovers equal no fun!

When he stepped into the room, Maria was looking around from her vantage point on the bed with the sheet clutched tightly at her chest.

“What…Oh!” She tried to sit up and promptly fell back onto the pillows. Michael couldn’t help the smile that he quickly had to suppress, oh yeah, definite hangover. “Oh! Pain!” She raised a shaky hand to her head and held it over her eyes. “Bright!”

When he gained control of himself again, Michael walked over to the windows and shut the blinds, darkening the room so Maria would be comfortable opening her eyes.

“You can look now, I shut the blinds. Is that better?” He tried not to laugh as he walked over to the bed.

“Mmmmhmmm,” was all she could get out. “God, why does my head feel like I was hit by a truck?” Michael sat beside her and brushed some stray hairs from her face tenderly.

“I think that you enjoyed the wine a little too much last night. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have let you drink that much. It’s all my fault.” Michael continued stroking her face with his hand, and she just lay there letting him.

“Wine? What…Oh! But don’t blame yourself. You shouldn’t have to look after me like this. Besides, you probably couldn’t have stopped me. I tend to become mean when I don’t get things my way.” Fond memories. “Or at least I used to,” she mumbled to herself, but not quiet enough.

“You still can be pretty picky about getting things your way. When you were-” he cut himself off remembering Isabel’s warning to let things happen naturally.

“When I was what?”

“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.” Michael began to push himself up from the bed when Maria sat up and grabbed his wrist with her hand, letting go of the sheet as it fell to her waist. She quickly brought it back up to her chest and then raised her eyes back up to meet his slowly.

“Please?” her voice squeaked out.

“When you were pregnant with Kacie, you had me running everywhere for you. Random cravings in the middle of the night. Pickles and chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top at 2:30 in the morning. We had no pickles in the refrigerator and no pudding, so I had to go up to the store. Then I had to make the pudding. Finally at least an hour later you got your snack. But you had to have it. So I had to get it.” Michael remembered the memory very fondly. He had loved doing things for her. He didn’t tell her that at the time, but he did afterward. “I would always do anything for you.”

Maria wasn’t sure what to say in response to his little story. Wow. He really loved her, didn’t he? It made her feel warm and happy, but at the same time scared out of her mind that someone loved her so much. Michael realized her discomfort and tried to lighten it a little.

“How about I go get you a cup of coffee? It might help with the headache,” he suggested.

“Do I…do I even like coffee?” Maria couldn’t imagine ever liking the stuff. Even the smell tended to bother her.

“Well, it’s an acquired taste. How about cocoa or tea instead?” he suggested. Maria didn’t really like coffee much, but during college it had served as a great anti-hangover for her. Other than that she didn’t trust the stuff. Michael figured he might as well not bother with that bit. No need to bring up more things she couldn’t remember.

“Tea sounds great,” Maria told him, but quickly added, “oh and don’t forget the-”

“Honey and lemon, I know.” Michael smiled from the doorway and left her alone to fix her tea.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 29-Apr-2002 8:03:35 PM
Thanks guys for the feedback...I know you're wondering about what the heck the 'ritual' is...and I'm sorry...but you still have to wonder for a little longer. This part is just a lot of sweet...I dunno...stuff. Enjoy.

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 7

* * *

Maria was so confused. He knew so much about her. How she liked her tea. What she was like when she was pregnant. Heck he knew everything for the last ten years that she had forgotten.

He knew her.

She knew nothing about him, nothing she could remember at least. But he knew her. He knew her. Maybe she should trust him. Talk to him. Maybe he would listen, answer her questions. He was probably one of the few people who could answer her questions. Maybe she should just ask him. She felt like she could trust him. It was just this feeling she had. She could feel the overwhelming love he had for Kacie, and her too. The question was, how did that make her feel? She didn’t know. She felt safe and protected when he was around. But she also felt…something else. She couldn’t name it. She was too confused.

Then there was that dream; that freaky dream. Michael had been there. It was her old room at home. She had to have been like sixteen at the time. It felt so real. Should she ask Michael about it? Would he think she was crazy, or would he take her seriously? Did it really happen? Was she getting her memories back?

Too many questions were filling up her head and making it pound even more. Maria rolled over onto her side and groaned. Then she realized she still wasn’t wearing anything. What happened last night? Why did Michael come out of the bathroom this morning? Why didn’t she have any clothes on? She groaned again but decided she had better get up and at least put on something. Sweats and a tank top would do.

Maria tried to get out of bed but her head was spinning again. Dizzy. Not good. She decided to just lie back down on the bed instead and pulled the blankets back around her. When Michael came back in with her tea she was waiting in a sort of upright position against a stack of pillows covered with the blankets.

“Here you go, this should make you feel better.” Michael handed her the hot tea and she smiled appreciatively back at him while taking a sip. It was good. Perfect. Just the way she loved it.

“Thanks.” Maria looked at the mug she held, not quite sure how to ask the questions she was dying to have answers to. “So…umm…what did happen last night? I mean…why am I…” She didn’t know what else to say, besides he would know what she meant.

“Well, I brought you up to bed but you were being stubborn and said you could walk yourself. You promptly almost fell down the stairs, but I was there to catch you and carry you up to bed. I got you dressed in your nightgown and put to bed. You were fine until early this morning. I was downstairs making myself some coffee and I heard a noise up here. When I came in you were in the bathroom getting sick. I helped you get cleaned up and then put you back in bed. You’ve been lying there ever since. That’s it.” He tried not to make it into that big of a deal. To him it wasn’t. He would always do anything for her, no matter what. He didn’t want her thanks. All he needed was her love. But he wouldn’t lie about what happened either. They had a rule, always tell each other the truth about everything. No trying to spare each other’s feelings, cause that is what always got them into trouble when they were younger.

“Thank you.” Maria finally found her voice. He had done so much for her. How could she begin to thank him? She didn’t have a clue.

“Don’t worry about it.” Michael patted her hand and stood up off the bed beside her. Gently kissing her cheek he walked back toward the door. “I should go make Kacie some breakfast. Would you like anything?” He turned back around only to see her wince at the sound of food. “How about some toast? With butter, maybe some strawberry jam?”

Maria smiled at the sound of that. It did sound kinda good…and her stomach felt like she hadn’t eaten in a while.

“Sure.”

* * *

Kacie sat on the kitchen counter swinging her small legs that hung off the edge. Daddy was making her French toast. It was her favorite. French toast with powdered sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and Tabasco sauce on top! Daddy made the best breakfast.

Michael smiled up at his daughter who was excitedly talking about how her class was going to be going to the zoo. She was so excited. The shrill ringing of the phone interrupted her though. Michael looked over at the phone beside Kacie and then at his messy hands.

“Can you get that, Princess?”

“Course Daddy!” She smiled as she picked up the phone. She liked talking to people on the phone, but mommy and daddy didn’t usually let her answer the phone unless they were busy. “Hello?” she asked in her sweetest voice possible.

“Kacie, sweet pea, is that you?”

“Grammy! Hi grammy! Course its me!” Kacie’s legs started swinging faster and faster. She loved her grandma very much, they were really close, but it had been a while since she had last seen her.

“How are you? It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to see you. I bet you’ve grown.” Kacie giggled.

“Uncle Alex said I was growing like a weed, but daddy said no, like a flower,” she giggled at the memory. “Guess what grammy!” Without waiting for a response she continued. “I get to go to the zoo with my class. I want to see the pandas and the koalas and the ephalumps! The ephalumps are my favorite!” She chattered on and on.

“I think you mean elephants dear,” Amy laughed on her end of the phone.

“Yeah, that too.” They talked for a little while longer as Michael finished Kacie’s breakfast. When he was done he held the plate in front of her and whispered to her.

“Why don’t you say goodbye and let me talk to grandma while you go eat your breakfast, okay Princess?” Michael kissed her cheek when she nodded.

“Bye grammy, daddy just finished making me French toast, so I gotta go eat, but daddy wants to talk to you.”

“Okay, you have a good day sweetie. Love you!”

“Love you to grammy!” Michael lifted her down off the counter and grabbed the phone from her, watching as she scooted over to the table and started to eat.

“Hi Amy,” Michael was still laughing from what he overheard his daughter saying.

“She is just the sweetest thing Michael.”

“Yeah, I know. I thank my stars everyday for sending her into our lives.” Michael wistfully glanced at his daughter one last time before walking out of the kitchen to go sit in the living room. He knew he had to tell Amy about Maria, it was her daughter after all. He had forgotten about it until now. He couldn’t put it off any longer though. He had to do it, but what would he say?

“Jim and I were thinking of coming for a visit. Kyle and Tess are here right now and we thought maybe we’d come back with them for a little while. I’d love to see my little sweet pea again. They just grow so fast.”

“Don’t I know it!” Michael laughed. At one time it might have seemed odd to have this conversation with Maria’s mother, but now, it was perfect. He couldn’t ask for more. Well maybe…like not having to do what he was about to do. “Maybe it would be good if you and Jim came to visit. Umm…I’m not really sure how to say this, so I guess I’ll just come out and say it. Maria isn’t herself right now. I mean she is…but…” Michael stopped himself and took a deep breath before beginning again. “She is okay, don’t worry about that. But something happened to her a little while ago. She…umm…well she has amnesia or something…” Michael didn’t get to finish whatever he was going to say because Amy interrupted him.

“What! My baby! I’m coming right away!” Michael could hear Amy getting hysterical.

“Amy, calm down. Everything is alright, really. She remembers some things. The only things she can’t remember is the last 10 years.” Michael waited for more yelling or something, but Amy was quiet on the other end. “Amy, are you there?” The one thing Michael didn’t expect was silence. The Deluca women, Michael had learned very early, were not known for their silences.

“Yeah. What happened to my baby, Michael?” Amy sounded lost, hollow.

“I’m sorry. We…we don’t know. Isabel is working with her trying to get her to remember. But she just woke up one morning and the last ten years were gone. She doesn’t remember anything…about me…us...” Michael felt on the verge of tears. God, it hurt so much. He was trying to be strong for Kacie, for Maria, for everyone. He had to keep the family together. He had to be strong, he couldn’t cry.

“I’m so sorry Michael. That…but that would mean… Ten years…then she doesn’t remember you? Or Kacie?” Amy was crying now, Michael could hear it through the phone. Maybe Maria really did need her mom here right now. Maybe they all did.

“I think it would be a good thing for everyone if you and Jim did come visit for a little while. Maria remembers you. It’ll make things easier on her I’m sure. I mean, she was staying with Liz and Max for the first few days, but it was hurting Kacie, and even though she doesn’t remember Kacie and I, she felt bad for her and so she is here now. I let her have our room. Kacie seems to be okay. I’m not too sure she understands everything that is really going on, but we’re surviving. But I think she’d like it if you were here.”

“We’ll be there in a few days, a week tops, Michael. Don’t worry. We’ll figure things out.”

“Bye Amy. Send Jim our love. Love you.”

“Love you too honey.”

Michael hung up the phone and sighed. Resting his head in his hands he sat in silence for a few minutes to collect his thoughts. It was done. Amy knew now, and she’d be coming to help Maria, help him, help them.

* * *

Michael was walking up the stairs with Maria’s toast and a fresh cup of tea, with lemon and honey of course. Kacie’s ride had picked her up a few minutes before to take her to school, so now it was just him and Maria. When he walked into the room Maria was still in bed, but she had gotten dressed, or at least put on sweats and a tank top. She looked cute all curled up and she was so deep in thought that she didn’t hear Michael at first until he spoke up.

“Hey. I thought you might like some more tea along with your toast.” His voice was melodic, soft and gentle, so as not to hurt her head. Maria looked up at him with a strange expression; he couldn’t quite place it.

“Umm…thanks.” She was distracted. All she could think about was the strange dream of hers. It felt so real. But there was only one way to find out…and that was to ask. “Uh, Michael? Can I ask you something?”

“Anything. Always.” Michael sat down on the edge of the bed, a place he had been occupying a lot lately it seemed. He would listen to her forever if she wanted him to.

“Well, last night I…I had this dream. It was really…weird. It was like, I don’t know, it just seemed so real. But I don’t know if it is or not…” Maria hated the not knowing. It was her past dammit! Why couldn’t she just remember it?

“Just tell me. It’s okay. Maybe I can help clarify something.” Michael picked up her hand and held it within his, gently stroking her palm with his thumb as reassurance.

“Okay. Well, I had to have been like sixteen years old. I was in my room back in Roswell and it was late and I was getting ready for bed. It…it was raining outside. And I was brushing my hair in the mirror when I looked up and I saw someone at the window. You. You were younger, and your hair…it was spikey, kinda, except for the rain. You just stood there, and I yelled at you, but you just stood there, so lost, so alone. So I let you in and you were freezing. You looked really bad. I dried you off and made you lay down in my bed and…and I just held you. All night long. I wouldn’t let go. You…you needed me.” Maria seemed in another world as she recounted her dream for Michael, while he was shocked that she had dreamed about their past.

“That…that happened,” it was all he could say. He knew she needed more than that. How? Why? What happened after that? But how could he tell her?

“You mean…I…I remembered something real?” Maria’s eyes were wide with hope.

“Yeah.” A small smile spread across his face. Maybe she could remember. Maybe things would all be back to normal soon. He could hope. Really soon.

“Could you tell me about it? I mean, why did you show up at my bedroom window?”

“Well, we were in a sort of on again off again relationship I guess. We used to get into some great yelling matches. I always loved to set you off because you were so passionate when you set your mind to arguing with me. You could match me in a game of wits, and I’ll admit you won most rounds. But, we were off again at the time.” Michael was trying to answer her questions without telling her everything, but it was hard. “I’m an orphan I guess. I was in an orphanage and then bounced around a lot of foster homes before I ended up with Hank when I was 16. He only wanted me for the monthly check, which he promptly went out and spent on beer.

“It wasn’t the best living arrangement. He…he hit me, he was drunk and he went into a rage, and I was at the receiving end of it. I couldn’t go to Max and Isabel with their perfect little families. I had no other friends. No one to go to. No one but you.” A lonely tear rolled down Michael’s eye. The memory could still be painful.

“You took me in. You let me sleep in your bed and you held me; no questions asked. You were the one who was there when I needed someone, anyone, to just be there for me. It was you. And it has always been you.” Michael reached out a hand and stroked Maria’s cheek. She had been quiet the entire time he told his story, and he could see the tears building in her eyes.

“Don’t cry Maria. It was a long time ago. But thank you. I can never thank you enough for being there for me back then. It meant the world to me.” He brought her hand, still clutched in one of his own, to his lips and gently kissed it.

* * *

Maria sat alone in the dark bedroom, deep in thought. Her headache had finally gone away and she felt much better, though she wasn’t too sure if she’d be drinking again anytime soon. Michael had left her alone after their conversation this morning. He had to go to work. He gave her his phone number and Liz’s and Isabel’s and everyone’s just incase. He really didn’t want to leave her alone. But she had insisted she would be fine. She just needed some time to lay down and relax. And that was what she had been doing all day. It was now three in the afternoon. Michael would be working until at least five, and he said that Kacie’s ride should be dropping her off around three thirty, later than usual because of a field trip. She still had some time to herself. Time to think. Time to breathe.

Okay…wow. What Michael told her…wow! Somewhere deep down, she could feel the truth in every word he spoke.

~ He thanked me! I…I meant the world to him. This is so confusing. What do you do when you all of a sudden wake up in bed at the age of twenty-five with a strange man beside you who you don’t recognize? And then come to find out you are married to him and have a daughter. On top of that you can’t remember anything from the past ten years. What do you do then? God I’m so lost! I feel so…alone…so afraid. But at the same time I feel so loved, trusted and cherished. How can I feel all these things at once?

Kacie. That little girl is so adorable. She is so sweet and loving. She’s had such a happy childhood. I’m glad. No disappointments, no broken promises, no parents abandoning her…well, until now. I hate this. I feel like I’m abandoned her. Like all of a sudden I took away her mother. Cause I’m not her mother. I’m not that person, not anymore. I wish I were, I truly do. I wish none of this ever happened to me, but it has. I can’t change that. The scary thing is, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be Kacie’s mom again.

I want to remember. God! Why can’t I just remember? This is so frustrating!

I want to remember. I want to be loved. I want a daughter who loves me and who I love more than life itself. I want a husband who trusts me so completely. I want to be Michael’s world. I want to be his wife, Kacie’s mother. I want myself back. God this is so hard.

What do I do now? Do I talk to Michael? Do I keep this to myself? Do I talk to Isabel? I don’t know anymore. I’m so confused, about everything. Why can’t the world just stop spinning!?! Maybe I’ll decide later. After all, I’ve got plenty of time, right? ~

* * *

Kacie came bouncing into the house right on time at three thirty. She couldn’t stop babbling about the animals with a huge grin spread across her face. Maria couldn’t help the smile that in turn spread across her own face. This child had spirit, fire, a love for life. So much like Maria when she was little. Wow, was it really so long ago? It didn’t seem like it really. But there was a reason for that. One she didn’t care to think about at the moment. It was still a touchy subject. Maybe it would always be.

As soon as she came in and found Maria on the couch in the living room, Kacie dropped her backpack near the door and ran over to her. She sat herself down on Maria’s lap and got herself comfortable before launching into her tale about how much fun she had seeing the ephalumps at the zoo. It was rather amusing.

Michael arrived home to find his two girls laughing together and Kacie chattering away while helping Maria make spaghetti. It was rather amusing. Kacie had red sauce splattered all over her shirt and the stove. But it was cute; too cute for him to be angry or upset.

“So, I take it you had fun today?” Michael asked from his vantage point leaning against the kitchen doorway.

“Daddy!” Kacie ran to her father and was about to jump into his arms but he held up his hand.

“I don’t think so little one, not until you go and change out of those clothes!” He laughed harder when she pouted, but he wouldn’t give in. She finally gave up and stalked upstairs to her room to quickly change.

“So how was work?” Maria asked while stirring the pasta to keep it from clumping.

Michael felt like nothing had happened. Here she was standing in the kitchen, making dinner and asking him about his day, just like she used to. Was she remembering anything else?

“It was good. The kids were great today. They were so curious about all the art in the museum. I think there are some aspiring artists in that group.”

“Umm…so, you work with children?” Maria felt bad asking the question. She felt like she should know the answer. But she wanted to learn more about him, about them.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I should have realized. I’m sorry. Uh, yeah. I work at the art museum and I started an art outreach program to the local schools. The kids seem to like it. A group of high school kids came in today, and there were a few that really seemed to be inspired.” Michael had a large smile spread across his face. He loved sharing his passion for art with others, and it showed when he spoke about it. His face came alive. Maria noticed this. It was very endearing.

“That’s great. I’m sure the kids loved it.” Maria wasn’t sure if she should ask, but she couldn’t resist it. “So, are you an artist? I mean, do you paint?”

“Yeah. I prefer drawing, but I paint a little.”

“Could I see something you’ve done?”

“Of course. Actually, you might have seen some of them already. The landscape in the living room, the one with the gazebo and rose bushes, I did that one for you for our anniversary last year. And there is a charcoal sketch of Kacie in a frame hanging beside her bed that I did for her. It was from her fifth birthday party. She looked so cute, I couldn’t resist drawing her.”

Maria was shocked. She didn’t know what to say. She could feel all the love he had for their daughter. The passion he had for his art. And his feelings for her. Was that love that she saw in his eyes?

“Daddy!” Kacie came racing through the door at that moment and jumped into Michael’s arms, catching him slightly off balance and they fell to the floor. Michael protected Kacie with his arms as they hit the ground. “I’m sorry daddy!” Kacie kinda giggled as she sat on top of his stomach on the kitchen floor. It was a funny sight. Maria couldn’t hold back the laughter either and soon she was holding onto the counter to keep from ending up on the floor as well.

“Oh, you two think its funny huh?” A menacing glint glistened in his eyes as he got a brilliant idea for payback. He grabbed Kacie’s sides and started tickling her mercilessly. She was laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe, but Michael finally let up. Maria just kept laughing as she watched them. They made such a happy little family. She knew that this kind of devotion, this kind of happiness in front of her, that was love.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 30-Apr-2002 8:36:58 PM
Okay this is a kinda short part, but I think its really cute at least. Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 8

* * *

“It’s just really hard, you know? I feel helpless, hopeless, lost…the list goes on and on. I don’t know what I want. Well, I know I want to remember, but will I ever remember everything? It seems like a lost cause. I’m a lost cause.” Maria was sitting in Isabel’s office in a large comfy chair.

“Why do you feel this way? Where is this coming from? I mean, you know we are all here for you, right? We will do everything that we can to help you. Just tell us what you need.”

“I need to remember!” Maria yelled in frustration. She stalked over to the window and rested her hands on the sill and closing her eyes to gain control of herself. “I need everyone to stop asking me how I’m doing. I need everyone to stop treating me like I’m different. I need people to treat me like me.” Tears were in her eyes as she walked back to the chair and sat down like she was defeated, like she had nothing left in her.

Isabel placed a warm comforting hand on Maria’s shoulder and gently gave it a squeeze.

“I’m sorry Ria. I guess, we were all so busy worrying about how to get you better that we didn’t think about you. I’m sorry.” Isabel pulled her friend into a hug. “I haven’t been a very good friend, have I? I’m sorry.”

“No, and stop saying you’re sorry. That’s almost as bad. You guys have been great, but it’s not what I need. I just need you to be there, hold my hand, and love me the way that I am now. I guess…I guess I just want, I need, friends again. I mean, I might not remember you, but I know we were friends, and I know there had to be a good reason why we were friends for so long, we were close. So, just be there for me, I guess is all I’m trying to say.”

Both girls were in tears and hugging each other not wanting to let go.

Isabel wiped some tears away and laughed slightly. What a pair they made, crying and hugging. True friends.

“Why don’t we have a girls night out? Me, you, and Liz. The guys can take care of Kacie for the night. Whatever. It could be fun, just like the old times.”

“Sounds great.” Maria smiled. Maybe this was what she needed. To feel included with just the girls. Not because she had to be, but because they were friends. That was exactly what she needed and wanted. “When do we leave?” Isabel laughed at her excitement.

“Well, Liz doesn’t get off work until three I think, so how about I take you back to your place, you can pack an overnight bag, and we’ll kick Alex out for the night!” Isabel laughed at the look on Maria’s face. “Don’t worry, we’ve done it before, the guys don’t care. They’ll probably all crash at your place, and Kacie will have their undivided attention. She’ll get spoiled and she’ll love it. She has those guys wrapped around her royal little finger!” They laughed some more. It felt good to laugh, to feel, to be happy, again.

* * *

Movies, pizza, ice cream, makeovers, music, nails, gab-fest, that was their girls night. Oh, and don’t forget the Tabasco sauce! After Liz got off work she got ready and then picked up Maria on her way to Isabel’s. They planned to have lots of fun. Just the girls.

It was now eleven o’clock at night. All three of them were spread out in Isabel’s spacious living room with avacado face masks on, curlers in their hair, hands held delicately in front of them so as not to mess up their almost dry nails, and watching 10 Things I Hate About You, their favorite chick flick from high school.

“Thank you guys so much for doing this. I think I really needed it.” Maria smiled at her friends. She was having a great time. She might not remember who Isabel was before, but what she did know was that she had been here the past weeks and had been doing everything in her power to help her. She really was a great friend. And Lizzie, well Lizzie was Lizzie. Always her best friend, one that she always knew she could count on. But now having more than one, was wonderful. So this was what she missed in her ten years that seemed to have disappeared.

“Maria, stop it. You don’t have to thank us!”

“Yeah, Liz is right, Ria. We used to do this all the time. But it has been awhile, not since…gee, before Tess and Kyle went on vacation. Just the four of us girls one last time before they left!”

“Tess?” Maria wasn’t sure who that person was, but Isabel mentioned Kyle too. Kyle. She and Liz had gone to school with Kyle. He was okay, he could be sweet sometimes, more of a brotherly affection than anything else though, just like Alex. But this Tess person seemed to be someone they were all close to, Kyle maybe even more so.

“Tess came to town around the same time as Izzie, Max, and Michael during our junior year. We all were the inseparable eight. She and Kyle went on vacation a month ago. Visiting Roswell and stuff. They should actually be back sometime soon.”

“Oh.” Maria wasn’t sure what else to say. It was just something that reminded her more and more of what she had missed. No! She wasn’t going to dwell on this tonight! She was going to have fun and try to forget about everything. That was what this girls night was supposed to be all about, after all!

* * *

“Okay. So, where did I meet you Isabel?” The girls were all lounging around drinking strawberry daiquiris and talking about the past.

“Well, the summer before junior year my family moved to Roswell and I got a job at the Crash with you and Lizzie. You guys showed me around and became my friends. The best friends I could ask for. I so wasn’t looking forward to the new school thing. I’ve never been the greatest at making friends, it had always been just me, and Max, but you guys took me in and made me feel at home. You guys became my extended family. You two introduced me to the great fun of a girls night, and for that I will be forever grateful!” All three of them rolled over in fits of giggles at that.

“Taking in the new girls, yup that’s me. When Lizzie was new, back in fifth grade, I took her under my wing, and look at us now. Still friends.”

* * *

“No! You guys aren’t playing right. I’m the Princess, you guys have to do as I command!” the childish voice chirped happily. She sighed in frustration as the guys seemed to not be listening to her. “No daddy, you have to do it like this.” Kacie picked up a cushion and showed him how she wanted her castle built.

“I think we got more than we could bargain for on this deal,” Alex spoke up as he handed more blankets and pillows over to Max.

“I know what you mean!” They laughed.

“But we can’t very well let the princess go without her castle, now can we?” With that Max continued piling up the pillows and hanging the blankets the way Kacie was ordering. She would have her castle if it killed them.

* * *

“But that’s not fair! Those were my peanut butter M&M’s!” Michael whined as Alex took the candy. It was an hour later and the guys and Kacie were all sitting around a table playing cards.

“Daddy, you know the rules. You lost so Unkie Alex gets your candy!”

“But peanut butter is my favorite!” he pouted.

“Get over it man!” Max laughed.

“Okay, my turn now…” Alex contemplated as they started a new game. “Kacie, do you have any 3’s?”

Kacie giggled, no one ever beat her at this game. “Nope, sorry Unkie Alex! Go fish!”

Alex shook his head in dismay. How was it that this little child was beating the three of them? He just didn’t get it.

* * *

“So what…I mean…how did Michael and I start? I mean, was it love at first sight? Were we friends?” Maria’s innocent question elicited laughter from her friends, completely confusing her. “What?”

“Sorry, Ria. It’s just that, well…I don’t know…” Liz wasn’t sure how to categorize the whole Michael/Maria relationship in the beginning.

“Let’s just say you weren’t friends. But I suppose it coulda been love at first sight.”

“You suppose?”

“Well you guys had the whole love/hate thing going on. I mean, you just loved to make each other mad. You would especially go out of your way to piss him off. There was one time when the three of us were working in the Crashdown. It was a really busy Saturday afternoon. Michael and Max and Kyle were sitting in their usual booth just hanging out, I guess. Well they were having fun laughing at how short our skirts were, cause there was an accident with the washing machine and some of them got shrunk a little and we hadn’t gotten our new ones yet. Well you overheard Michael saying something so you grabbed this guy’s shake as you passed his table and marched straight at Michael. He was too busy laughing with the guys to notice you until he felt the cold chocolaty stuff running down his neck. It was classic!” All three were in fits of laughter as Isabel finished telling one of her favorite memories of her time in Roswell with her friends.

“So how did we finally…I mean…”

“Maybe you should ask him some of this Ria,” Liz interrupted. She loved reminiscing, but if Maria were to ask Michael, maybe it would mean more, trigger something, or at least get the two of them to spend some more time together.

“I guess. It’s just weird talking to him, being around him. I just get these feelings. I mean, I don’t know him, but its like I do know him somewhere deep down…but its scary.”

“Tell him how you feel, honey, that’s all you can do. Maybe talking with him will make things better, easier. Maybe it’ll even help you to start to remember things, after all, he was there for all that stuff.”

“I guess you’re right…”

* * *

It was noon the next day when Isabel’s car pulled up outside Michael and Maria’s house, bringing the three women to see what destruction had befallen as a result of the three men and the little princess.

When they walked in the door they stood in silent awe at the adorable scene before them. The three guys were sprawled out on the floor with blankets, and Kacie was in the middle, on a pile of pillows and cushions, just like a princess.

Silently the women headed to the kitchen where they’d be far enough away to most likely not wake up the sleeping beauties.

“Aww, did you ever see anything so cute?” Isabel cooed.

“Kacie must’ve worn them out,” Maria laughed.

“Mommy!” the small voice came at Maria and she looked down to see Kacie running at her and grabbing a tight hold of her legs in a fierce hug. “I missed you!”

“Shh!” Liz whispered. “We don’t want to wake your daddy and the guys up. I think you really tired them out last night.”

Kacie giggled. “We had fun! First they built me a castle, then we played cards, and I won, cause I always win! And then they read me stories and it was sooo much fun!” No one could miss the giant smile lighting up her childish little face; the innocence of youth.

“Why don’t we make some breakfast? Are you hungry little one?”

“Yeah! Can we have ice cream and chocolate cake?” The three women looked at her funny.

“Sweetie, did the guys feed you cake and ice cream last night?” Isabel asked suspiciously.

“Mmmhmmm!” she smiled broadly. “And we had pizza too! Extra cheese and Canadian bacon, my favorite!”

Maria rolled her eyes…it would be an interesting day.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 2-May-2002 11:24:28 PM
Sorry for no update yesterday, I was writing Complicated Circumstances like a mad lady, but hey, there's a new part of that today! Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 9

* * *

Saturday afternoon there was a phone call from Kacie’s friend Ali’s mother, asking if Kacie could spend the night. Kacie was so excited when Michael asked her if she wanted to go, that there was no way he could possibly say no to his little princess. So by three in the afternoon Michael and Kacie were in the car, and Maria was sitting alone in the living room.

Maria was having a hard time figuring out what to do during all the time she just spent in the house, so she had taken to exploring. She was in the den sitting in the desk chair. Michael said that this was her desk. She noticed the calendar and flipped it back to the beginning to see everything that was marked on it. March 14th, Kacie’s birthday. May 18th, Michael’s birthday. There were hearts drawn all around the date with a little note to call Liz to babysit. August 9th, Maria’s birthday.

Wait! May 18th? That was…that was the morning this whole mess started, wasn’t it? Oh god!

“Maria?”

Maria jumped in her chair with a gasp when she heard Michael’s voice. When had he gotten back? She hadn’t heard him.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m…I’m fine. I’m sorry you didn’t get to celebrate your birthday,” she looked up at his face but quickly looked away again, lower lip trembling.

“It doesn’t matter. I don’t care about that. It’s just a birthday. It’s not what’s important, you are.” The last part was whispered so softly Maria wasn’t sure if she heard right, but deep down she knew that he meant it.

“But still… I’m sorry. I mean, if this whole mess had never happened than you would’ve had a great birthday, Kacie would have her mother, you’d have your wife, and I wouldn’t have ruined everything!” Tears were dripping from the corners of her eyes, causing Michael’s heart to melt.

“Hey, shh! It’s alright.” He lifted her up from her chair and pulled her close, holding her in his arms. “Listen, this isn’t your fault. From what I can tell, Kacie still has her mother. You may not remember everything in here,” Michael touched his finger to her temple never taking his eyes off of hers. “But your heart remembers. You are great with Kacie, just like you always were.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I would never lie to you, I hope you realize that.” The sincerity in his words gave her the shivers. “Are you cold?” Michael asked immediately. Maria shook her head; it was all she could manage. She was still in Michael’s arms, and the feel of his chest against her was comforting. She could feel all of his muscles beneath his shirt; he was strong and very comforting.

Michael didn’t know quite what else to say, so he just stood there, holding his wife as close as possible.

“Michael?”

“Yeah?”

“Why don’t we celebrate your birthday today?”

“Really?” Michael asked, unsure of where this was going.

“Yeah. I can make a cake, or well I can at least try…” He just laughed at that. Maria hadn’t been much of a cook when they had first gotten to know each other, so his bet was that right now she wouldn’t be much of one either.

“Well why don’t I help you? After all, I taught you how to cook years ago, I wouldn’t mind doing it again.”

“Really?”

“I’d do anything for you.”

* * *

“So how…I mean…how did we meet?” Maria asked. “I was talking with the girls yesterday but they were just saying that I should ask you things like that. And I’d really like to know.”

Maria was sitting up on the kitchen counter while the cake was in the oven. Michael was getting the ingredients together for the frosting, his head stuck in the cupboards.

“You really want to hear about that?” Michael stopped what he was doing and faced his wife; she looked so much like a little child at the moment…kind of like she had that day he found her on the highway…

~ ~ ~

For five in the afternoon it was still really hot in the desert around Roswell, and Maria was stuck. Her piece of crap car had broken down again. She wasn’t sure what it was this time, but there was some white smoke coming from the hood, so she figured it was time to pull over. Now what was she supposed to do? She didn’t know anything about cars, and her cell phone was at home charging at the moment cause it had been dead that morning. Damn it!

Michael was out riding his motorcycle in the desert all day. He just had to get away from Hank, and that’s all there was to it. He was on 285 heading north, back toward Roswell when he saw the red car in the distance. It wasn’t moving, and there seemed to be steam coming from it. He slowed down as he got closer, then he saw her. She was petite with blond hair to her shoulders blowing lightly in the wind, and a perfect body in his opinion. Those short shorts and halter top proved that. Making the decision Michael pulled over beside the little red jetta.

“Ahh! You piece of crap!” Maria yelled as she kicked the tire again in frustration.

“Umm…I don’t think that’ll solve your problem, you know.” Michael pulled off his helmet and left it on his bike as he walked over to the girl to offer his help.

“What? What the hell do you know?”

“I know that you can’t get home at the moment. I know that you kicking the poor car isn’t going to fix your problem. And I’m thinking that you have no clue what to do now, right?” Michael smirked.

“How dare you! You don’t know me you jerk!”

“Fine! Do you want my help here or not?”

“Ahh!” Maria cried in frustration.

“You know what? Forget I offered!” Michael yelled as he started back toward his bike.

“Wait!” her voice was tired and pleading. Maybe she didn’t like this guy, but he could possibly help her, even if he was rude. “I’m sorry. Can you help me?”

“Sure,” he smirked. “Why don’t you pop your hood?”

“Excuse me?”

“The car…”

“Oh, right…Let me just…” Maria shook her head at her self for thinking terrible things.

“Gees,” Michael commented as the steam began to disappear. “I think you just overheated your car, that’s all.” Michael told her. “Do you have any water?”

“I have a water bottle in the back seat,” she offered.

“That works. And do you have a towel or something?”

“Well, I…yeah…I guess there’s the one…”

“Anything works.”

Maria went into her car and gave him the towel and water and watched as he went to work. He unscrewed a cap with the towel and even more steam poured forth. After a few more minutes he added the water and said it should be fine.

“Just be careful and don’t drive too fast.”

“Umm…thanks,” Maria smiled tentatively. Maybe this boy wasn’t so bad after all. Was he from Roswell? She couldn’t really remember seeing him around before, but who knows?

Michael handed her back the empty water bottle and the towel that now had a giant grease spot across the center. Maria’s eyes grew wide when she saw it. That was her sleeping beauty towel; the one that her dad had given her when she was five, right before…

“You! You ruined it!” Maria screamed. That was her favorite, or at least it had been.

“I’m sorry, but I kinda needed it to fix your damn car!” he tossed her the towel and started walking back to his bike. This girl just made him so mad!

“Yeah, well you might as well keep it, it’s as greasy as you are!” Maria huffed, throwing the wadded up towel as hard as she could at him before turning to get in her car, and leaving him behind. He picked it up off the ground and held it for a moment before putting it on his bike and grabbing his helmet. He followed her at a distance into town to make sure she got there okay.

~ ~ ~

“A week later I came into the Crashdown while you were working and I sat in your section. It made you so mad I thought you would’ve spit in my food or something. Though you told me later you didn’t, I was never too sure,” Michael laughed, eyes closed in remembrance. “When I left I placed your tip on the table, on top of your towel. I cleaned it and it was good as new. You had the biggest smile lighting up your face when you came out and found it sitting there. I had walked off down the street, but I was watching you through the window until you found it.”

Maria didn’t know what to say to Michael’s story. Hearing about her life seemed so surreal. But she could easily picture herself acting and speaking like he described; that was just…her.

Michael was silent for a while as he finished frosting the cake. It had taken a while to tell the whole story, but she had sat quietly, just listening to his every word.

“So when did we finally get together for real?” Maria spoke after a long silence.

“Well, that memory that you had? After I came to you that night we finally became an official couple. The others thought we were crazy because we still argued a lot, but they finally understood that that was just us. That was part of what made us so special. We did fight, but it never lasted too long.”

“Hmm…”

“It’s done!” Michael announced as he stepped away from the cake. It was a marble cake with chocolate frosting, Michael’s favorite.

“Is this your favorite?” Maria asked, cause she knew it wasn’t hers. She liked chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, but this was good too.

“Mmmhmm. Do you want to lick the icing spoon?” he asked with a grin. His Maria would never give up the chance for some chocolate, and to prove his point, she snatched it out of his hand.

“Thanks,” she smiled with a mouth full of chocolaty goodness.

* * *

Michael and Maria were sitting in the living room watching a movie later that evening. She had let Michael choose since it was for his birthday that they were doing this. He had chosen Braveheart. He had informed her that him and Max had done many body counts and not gotten the same number twice, so it was up for debate still. She only laughed at him.

Michael was happy to see her laughing, it was like she was returning, his Maria. They were sitting next to each other on the couch, and Maria was slowly getting closer to him, not that he minded.

By the end of the movie, her head was leaning on his shoulder and her feet were curled up beneath her, with her eyes closed. Michael looked down at her and remembered all the times that they’d done this in the past, just shared a quiet night together watching a movie.

When Maria had been pregnant with Kacie she’d get grumpy and wouldn’t want to do anything or go anywhere cause she thought she was too fat. No matter how much he told her she wasn’t fat, that she was beautiful, she still persisted. So he always gave in. He’d rub her back, or her feet while they watched a movie, and she’d either be in tears by the end, or sleeping in his arms curled up at his side.

Michael just sat there after turning the TV off with the remote. Time was starting to run out. If Maria didn’t get her memories back soon, he’d have to come up with some way to make everything all right. But two things were for sure, the ritual couldn’t be put off, and he wouldn’t lose her.

He couldn’t decide whether or not to bring her upstairs or not. He was debating it in his head when her eyes flickered open. The warm, pale green of her eyes made him long for her embrace.

“Mmm…Michael?” her voice was heavy with sleep.

“Yeah?” he ran his fingers through her hair like he always did, gently rubbing her scalp and brushing out her hair.

“Why does this seem so familiar?” Michael could hear the pain in her voice. She wanted to remember as much as everyone else wanted her too, and she was under so much pressure. She was on the verge of tears, he could tell.

“We used to do this a lot, just relax and watch a movie. You would curl up by my side…”

“I hate this!” Maria cried in frustration.

“Hey, its alright. Don’t cry. Maybe you’re just pushing yourself too hard. I’m sorry if I’ve been putting pressure on you lately.”

“No, you haven’t. I’m sorry. You’ve been so sweet. I just…get so…frustrated that I can’t remember. I mean, things seem so familiar sometimes, and I just can’t remember!”

“Here, why don’t you lay down here and I’ll give you a massage, help get all the worries out.” The whisper of his breath across her neck gave her the chills. She was thinking about saying no, but her body wouldn’t let her, and soon she was laying down across the couch on her stomach waiting for his touch.

Michael’s hands were like magic. He knew all the right spots on her back and shoulders and just how much pressure to apply. When he was done with her back and shoulders he moved down her arms, gently rubbing in soothing circles, then he moved to her feet and her legs. She was in heaven. He went back to rubbing her back and down her sides. When his hand brushed the side of her breast, Maria let out a small gasp.

~ ~ ~

She could see herself lying on her bed…well hers and Michaels bed, completely naked. And Michael over her with a bottle of massage oil in his hands, which he poured on her and gently worked it into her skin, lovingly peppering kisses over her as he went.

~ ~ ~

Maria sat bolt upright as the memory faded, gasping for air.

“What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?” Michael was confused and concerned.

“No…I…I think I remembered something…”

“Do you want to talk about it?” he didn’t mean to push her but she had seemed so startled after being so calm the moment before.

“No…I…I’m fine. I’m sorry. Maybe I should just…go…” Maria was heading towards the stairs before she even finished saying she was going to bed. She couldn’t deal with all the emotions going through her and the memories at the moment.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 3-May-2002 11:25:26 PM
Hey guys, just thought I'd post another quick part...now I'm off to go see Spiderman!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 10

* * *

Michael’s first instinct upon waking up was that it was Kacie, but as he headed upstairs he remembered she wasn’t home tonight. Hurrying even faster Michael reached their room and opened the door quietly but quickly. He wasn’t sure if she was awake or not, but he didn’t want to scare her incase.

She wasn’t awake, she was dreaming and whispering and whimpering in her sleep. Michael could see the expressions crossing her face and wondered what she could be dreaming about.

Michael took a deep breath and sat at the foot of the bed, just watching her. If he wanted he could make a connection and see exactly what she was dreaming about, but if she noticed, he would definitely have to explain it to her, and he wasn’t too sure she was ready for anything that big yet. A memory of their relationship was one thing, but of aliens of another planet being real, that was something else all together.

“Ahh!” Maria screamed, panting as she shot straight up in bed, clutching the sheet in tight fists. She saw Michael sitting there and screamed again. “Ahh! You’re…you’re…oh my god!” She scooted up on the bed as far from him as she could, the fear evident in everything she did. In that moment Michael knew exactly what she had dreamed.

“Maria, its alright. You’re okay, baby,” he spoke softly.

“Get away from me!” she cried.

“Ria, baby, it’s me. Nothing’s changed. I’m still the same person I’ve been for the last nine years, the same person you married, Kacie’s father, and your husband. Please baby. Just listen to me, alright?”

“Why…why didn’t you tell me?” she looked hurt.

“I didn’t want to scare you any more than you already were.”

“So you let me dream about it and freak out?”

“I’m sorry. Do you want to tell me about your dream? Maybe I can explain some things and help you to understand.” She looked scared and unsure at first, but the pleading look in Michael’s eyes was enough to make her give him a chance.

“I…was at work, at the Crashdown…and you were working at the grill in the kitchen. I was out front and just heading to give you an order. There was a loud popping noise so I hurried through the door and saw you…putting out a fire just by…waving your hand over it. How is that possible? And then you told me you were an alien and I…fainted. That was when I woke up.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before, but I honestly didn’t think you needed anything else to think about. I knew you’d remember soon but I didn’t want to add it to your list of worries.”

“So our daughter is…”

“Yes. She’s half alien. But so far she hasn’t done anything to show that she’s inherited any of my powers.”

“What can you…what are your powers?”

“Can I see that cup?” Michael asked pointing to the glass of water on the bed table. Maria warily handed it to him, not sure what he would do with it. “Watch.” Michael waved his hand over it, causing the water to freeze.

Maria’s eyes got wide at what she was seeing. She was speechless. Michael waved his hand again and the ice went back to being just water.

“I can also move things with my mind. And we can talk to each other in our heads.”

“What do you mean, we?”

“Me and you. Ever since we’ve been together, it just sort of happened. You used to love to pop into my head at random times; you said it made you feel like you could always be close to me,” Michael smiled at the memory.

“Really? How come I haven’t…I don’t know, felt anything?”

“It’s not something that you know is there. It’s something that just is. It’s hard to describe. I know I’m not saying it right.”

“What else can you do?”

“Well I can connect with people.” Seeing the confused look on her face he continued. This was almost like the first time he had done this with her; only right now she was so much calmer. “It’s like forming a connection kind of like the one you and I share all the time. I can see images from the person’s mind, and they can see that from me if I let it happen. It’s like being one person almost.”

“Wow…are there any others? Aliens, besides you, I mean?”

“Yeah. Max and Isabel and Tess are aliens too. I know you haven’t met Tess again yet, but you will. We’ve all been friends for so long. We just felt comfortable around you and your circle of friends that it became just the eight of us. You were the only humans that knew about us because we couldn’t trust many people. But your mother knows now and so does the sheriff. He helped us a lot over the years and when he married your mom, we decided it was time to tell her the truth.”

“What?!” Maria’s jaw just about hit the floor and Michael could have kicked himself. Damn it, why did he have to go and say that?

“I’m sorry. I keep saying things I shouldn’t.”

“No, Michael. It’s okay. I want to know. My mom and Jim Valenti?”

“Yeah. Our senior year of high school they were always together and you and Kyle would joke and trade stories about going home and finding them kissing or something. Neither of your homes was safe territory. Any way, a while later, after we were married and found out you were pregnant with Kacie we figured we had better tell your mother the truth about me, because we weren’t sure what would happen with Kacie’s birth, but we knew you couldn’t go to the hospital to have her. Well Jim surprised us by telling us that he and your mother were engaged and he helped us in telling her. They really are great for each other.”

Maria was sitting and listening to everything Michael was telling her in a slight daze. Her mother and Jim Valenti? Wow. So she and Kyle were step-siblings now? How odd was that?

“Maria? You alright honey?” Michael was concerned when she didn’t respond.

“Oh…yeah, I’m fine. Its just…wow! So why can’t you give me back my memories, if you have these powers?”

“Well, Izzie didn’t think it was a good idea. We don’t know what it would do to you. And I would never want to hurt you, I just couldn’t. So we just have to wait and see what happens. Is this triggering anything?” Michael had hope that now that she knew about the alien side of things it would trigger more memories within her.

“I don’t know. I mean, now that your telling me all this, there’s things in my head that are kinda fuzzy. Like memories that aren’t quite visible, but now I know what they are…does that make any sense? Oh well.”

“That’s great. Your mom called the other day. She and Jim are thinking about coming to visit when Tess and Kyle come back from vacation, they’ll just come with them.”

“I miss my mom.”

“I know sweetheart. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all of this.” Michael had gotten closer and closer to her on the bed during their talk, and now he was sitting right in front of her, running his hand down her cheek softly.

Michael lost himself in the moment on his bed with his wife. It seemed like ages since they’d been together, since he’d kissed her and just held her close, wrapped up in each other’s arms.

She leaned into him and he pulled her closer, wrapping her in his arms.

Maria didn’t know what was going on, but something just told her not to deny this. Looking into his eyes all she could feel was love for him though she didn’t know where it came from. But she couldn’t deny it any longer, and leaned forward to place a kiss on his lips.

Michael was surprised to say the least. He hadn’t expected her to do anything like that, but then again Maria had this habit of constantly surprising him. It was sweet and short, and when she pulled away Michael could see the blush tinting her cheeks. This was new, a bashful Maria?

“I’m sorry. I just…”

“Hey! Don’t be sorry for kissing me sweetheart. Never be sorry for that,” Michael stroked her hair, urging her to lay her head on his shoulder. She succumbed and he pulled her closer against him, making himself comfortable against the headboard with her cradled in his arms.

* * *

Maria woke up the next morning to find herself still cuddled up in Michael’s arms, and it felt perfect. He smiled down at her when he noticed her eyes were open.

“Morning beautiful.”

“Mmm…” Maria stretched her legs out a little. “Good morning.”

“Did you sleep well?” he asked. The concern in his voice still surprised her, but she wasn’t sure why. He’d been so incredibly nice and considerate since this started, why wouldn’t he continue?

“The best I have in a while.”

“I’m glad. You needed it after everything you learned last night.”

“Mmm…”

After a few minutes of enjoying being in each other’s arms again Michael promised to make some breakfast while she took a shower. When she emerged from the bathroom she found Michael just about finished in the kitchen. Whatever it was she wasn’t sure, but it smelled absolutely wonderful. On further inspection she found it to be pancakes and scrambled eggs. And, oh that sounded so good right about now!

“This smells great. Thank you.”

“No problem. I’ve always loved to cook. It’s one thing I’m really good at, well, besides art.”

“So modest,” she joked causing them both to laugh.

Michael couldn’t get over how normal this playful banter seemed. Was his Maria back? Was this her way of telling him she was herself again? He wasn’t sure.

“So, did you remember anything else last night?” Michael asked while they ate.

“Well, kind of. I got these flashes in dreams of the things you had told me about. Almost like I was seeing snapshots of the events rather than a recording…it was strange. So what are you doing today?” she asked.

“Well, I have to pick Kacie up at one. I thought maybe we’d just spend the evening together as a family. Kacie got that new Disneyland Monopoly and has been dying to play it.”

“That sounds like fun,” Maria smiled. A family night sounded perfect to her. She wanted to get closer to this family of hers because the closer she seemed to get, the more familiar everything became.

When they were done eating Maria did the dishes while Michael went to his little studio to do some drawing. Ever since that morning when he’d woken up with Maria in his arms and a smile on his face he had been dying to get in there and draw her out on paper. It would make a nice black and white, he figured, that was if he could get the shading right.

While Michael was in the back studio, Maria wandered through the den some more. Her desk was filled with papers and stuff. What did she do, anyway? That was one question she had yet to ask. Looking over things she began to notice a theme. And the books on the shelf seemed to support that. She was a lawyer. Hmm…that was interesting.

So had Michael taken care of her work? He must have called someone and told them something. After all, no one had been calling them, at least not that she knew of. And he just seemed like the kind of guy who would take care of it all himself, just to make sure that she would be okay.

Her desk calendar was flipped back to this month, with a date circled in red. What did that say beneath it? She looked closer. Cabin with Michael. Bonding. That was all it said. Curious. What was this bonding? Hadn’t they bonded plenty, they’d been married for seven years, that was plenty of time to get to know one another. Or was it something else? Something alien possibly?

* * *

TBC...

posted on 6-May-2002 2:49:49 PM
Oops, thanks rollergal, I didn't realize that I forgot to change the title. Thanks!

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 7-May-2002 2:33:40 AM
I'll have a new part out tomorrow, I promise, but it's getting to late to start proofing it now and I'm tired cause the stupid boys upstairs were being obnoxious again and playing their music way too loud and gave me a headache...anyways, I'm off to sleep, but I promise to be back with a new part in 12 hours or so.

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 7-May-2002 5:17:50 PM
Okay, my computer is being all freaky on me right now, so I hope this posts on the first try. It would've been up an hour ago but the dumb computer wouldn't log on to the net. Grr! Anyways, enough of my babbling and onto the part!

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 11

* * *

“Good morning Isabel,” Maria called as she walked through the front door Monday morning. Michael had dropped her off on his way to work after they had both dropped Kacie off at school.

“Hey Maria. You seem to be feeling better this morning,” Isabel commented as she embraced her friend lightly.

“Much, actually.”

“Good. Do you want anything before we go up to the office? Coffee, tea, water?”

“A glass of water would be great, actually.” They walked towards the back of the house, stopping off at the kitchen before heading up to Isabel’s office. Once they got there Maria settled herself on one end of the couch while Isabel took the large chair closest to her.

“So what happened over the weekend? I’m sure it was something big that put that smile on your face.”

“Yeah, it was pretty big. I took yours and Liz’s advice and I talked to Michael. It wasn’t that bad really. Umm…I started to remember things after he answered some of my questions. Now I see these pictures in my head, but they’re fuzzy, kind of distorted.”

“But that’s a good thing. It’s a great improvement,” Isabel encouraged. “Soon they’ll get clearer I’m sure.”

“I know. I know about you guys…that you are aliens. It took me by surprise, but that was what really hit me and triggered something inside of me, I think.”

“Something traumatic like that can definitely have a big effect on memory, that’s not unusual.”

“I’m not so worried about getting my memories back anymore. This is kind of like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, you know? I’m just kind of curious as to why it happened to begin with. Do you have any ideas about that?” Maria was hopeful. She had been thinking about that last night and hadn’t been able to come up with anything that made any sort of sense.

“Well, my only guess was that something happened, possibly alien related, that had this effect on you. Since you still can’t remember everything clearly leading up to the morning when you woke up, it’s hard to pinpoint any cause. Why don’t you tell me what you can remember…anything at all that happened before that morning,” Isabel suggested.

“Okay…”

* * *

Isabel dropped Maria off at her house after they had lunch and talked for a while because she still had patients to see, and even if she did want to spend the time with her friend, she really couldn’t afford to.

Maria walked into the house in a daze. After talking with Izzie she knew a lot more about the aliens and what life was like knowing, protecting, and loving them. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that her life would be this…crazy?

Maybe crazy wasn’t the right word, but she couldn’t think of anything better. Maybe complicated…

After grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge she headed out to the patio. It was beautiful outside in the sun, and the patio had a nice shady spot with some chairs so she could enjoy the fresh air while she did some thinking.

Maria sat back and drifted in and out of a light sleep. She wasn’t really sure why she was tired, she had gotten plenty of sleep.

Hearing the phone ringing inside the house Maria jumped to her feet to go answer it before the machine picked it up. The second she was on her feet the dizziness hit her and she could feel nothing as her world went black. Her body crumpled to the floor right in front of the chair she had just vacated.

* * *

Michael held the phone in his sweaty hand hoping for it to be picked up. By the fourth ring the answering machine clicked on.

“Maria, if you’re there pick up the phone. It’s me, Michael.” Why wasn’t she answering the phone? “I guess maybe you’re still at Isabel’s. Well, I have to stay a little late at the museum today so I called Ali’s mother and she said that she’d give Kacie a ride home, no problem. I just wanted to let you know to look out for her. I’ll call you later, love you.”

Michael sighed as he hung up the phone. He had really wanted to hear her voice. But if he got to work he could get all the paperwork done and hopefully get home sooner than he thought.

* * *

Kacie waved goodbye to Mrs. Jensen and Ali as she walked up the front steps. She tried the door first before getting out her key and it was unlocked. ‘Mommy must be home!’ she thought happily. She couldn’t wait to show her mommy the A she had gotten on her math test.

“Mommy! I’m home!” she called as she skipped through the front door with a smile. Looking around she didn’t see her, so she checked the kitchen. Kacie was slightly confused when her mom didn’t answer her. Going upstairs she put her backpack in her room on the floor and then checked all the upstairs rooms before going back downstairs.

“Mommy? Where are you?” Kacie was starting to get worried. Why wasn’t her mommy answering?

Kacie was about to check the rest of the rooms downstairs when the phone rang. She walked over and picked it up and answered it just like her mommy and daddy had told her.

“Hello?”

“Kacie?” Michael’s voice echoed over the phone. “Hey Princess, how was school?”

“Hi daddy! It was fun. At recess Ali and Tracy and I played on the monkey bars, and we didn’t even fall off once!”

“That’s great Princess. Is mommy home?”

“I dunno daddy. I just got home and the door was unlocked, but I haven’t been able to find mommy…” Michael could clearly hear the worry in his daughter’s voice.

“Kacie, baby, are you on the cordless phone?”

“Yeah.”

“I want you to go look for mommy, okay? Stay on the phone with me, but just keep looking for her alright?” Michael tried to stay calm but he couldn’t. Something was wrong with Maria, he just knew it. She should have been home when he called earlier. Why didn’t he check with Isabel to see for sure? Damn it. Something could have happened…

Michael took a few deep breaths to calm down. Getting nervous while on the phone with Kacie was not a good idea. He didn’t want to scare her any more than she already was.

“Okay daddy. I looked upstairs already, but she wasn’t there. And she wasn’t in the kitchen when I got home, either.” Kacie checked the back rooms and still didn’t find any sign of her mom. “I guess maybe she went out back. She might not have heard me calling her if she was out there.”

Michael wasn’t sure if Kacie was talking to him or herself, but he listened intently to every word she said. He was worried. At the moment he was quickly putting things away and gathering up his stuff so that when he got off the phone he could run out the door if he had to.

“That’s good Kacie. Just let me know if you find her.”

“Ahhh!” his daughter’s scream pierced a hole through Michael’s heart. What was wrong? Oh god! He hoped it wasn’t anything bad.

“Mommy!” Kacie cried. “Mommy, wake up!” Kacie shook her mother’s body gently, but she didn’t move. The way she was laying didn’t look very comfortable either. “Daddy, mommy’s asleep and she won’t wake up!” Kacie cried into the phone, tears pouring down her cheeks.

“What’s wrong with mommy, Princess? Where are you? Can you tell me what happened?”

“I…I’m on the patio. Mommy’s on the ground…she looks like she fell down. And she won’t wake up! I’m scared daddy!”

“It’s alright Princess. Just breathe, okay? I want you to stay with mommy, alright? Can you do that for me?”

“Yes daddy,” Kacie mumbled.

“Good. I’m going to get off the phone with you and call Uncle Max, alright? I need you to hang up the phone and then call Auntie Izzie. Can you do that? Can you call Auntie Izzie for me?”

“I…yeah. I can call Auntie Izzie. What…what do I say?”

“Tell her that there’s an emergency and she needs to come over right away. Alright Princess?”

“Okay daddy. I’ll tell her.”

“Good girl. I know you can do it baby. Don’t worry, I’m going to come home now and if I don’t get there first, Auntie Izzie and Uncle Max will come over, okay? I love you.

“I love you too daddy!”

* * *

Michael was a mess when he finally reached his house. He could see Isabel’s car, Max’s car and just as he pulled up Liz was getting out of her car. He was distraught and ran right into the house without saying anything to her.

They had Maria on the couch in the living room by the time Michael walked through the door.

“Daddy!” Kacie cried as she through herself into her dad’s arms. Michael almost fell over from her launching herself at him, but he held her tight, letting her feel his love and support.

“It’s alright. It’ll be okay Princess. I’m here now,” Michael stroked her hair as he picked her up in his arms and cuddled her close. God he had been so worried. Looking down at his wife, Michael could see that she was fine, well physically she looked fine at least. There were no bumps or scrapes, and thankfully, no blood.

“Do you know what happened?” he asked Isabel who was at Maria’s side holding her hand.

“No. She looked like she maybe just collapsed or something. The way she was laying it was like she just fell, but not like she was hit or anything.”

“It could just be all the stress she’s under right now. It might have just caused her to pass out,” Max gave his opinion, he was a doctor after all.

When Liz walked in she could see the look on Michael’s face as he regarded her best friend. He was scared. She was scared for her friend as well, but there wasn’t anything she could do right now for her.

“Hey Kacie, why don’t we go get everyone something to drink, alright?” she asked softly as she reached out and held the little girls hand while she was still in her fathers arms. Michael set her down mouthing a ‘thank you’ to her.

“Okay.”

Once Kacie and Liz were gone Michael sat beside his wife.

“Why does this always have to happen to us?” he mumbled into his hands.

“Michael, its not your fault, or anyone else’s. Things happen, and we’ll get through this together,” Isabel gave his shoulder a supportive squeeze.

“Thank you guys for coming over so fast. The museum is just so far away, and Kacie sounded so scared on the phone, I didn’t want her to be alone.”

“Don’t worry about it Michael. We’re family, remember? We all stick together when anything happens.”

* * *

“Auntie Lizzie?” Kacie’s voice was barely above a whisper.

“Yes sweetie?”

“Is my mommy gonna be alright?” Kacie was looking down at her hands that were clutched together in nervousness. So many things were happening with her mother lately, no wonder the child was so frightened.

“She’ll be fine honey. Your daddy will make sure she’s okay. She just needed some rest I think, and that was her body’s way of telling her,” Liz tried to explain in simple terms.

“Thank you Auntie Lizzie!” Kacie gave Liz a big hug, and Liz just held her for as long as she wished to be held. She loved this little girl so much, so much that she wished for one of her own. So far Michael and Maria, and Kyle and Tess were the only ones to have children. Tess and Kyle’s son Tommy was 4 years old, two years younger than Kacie.

Liz wanted a child. She and Max had talked about it, but they both had quickly realized that while they were settling into things, it wasn’t a good idea. Max had finally finished medical school and his residency, but during that period of their life he had no free time and was always tired. A baby just wouldn’t have been possible. But now, they were settled and happy, and something just seemed to be missing. Maybe it was time to have a talk with Max about all this.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 24-May-2002 3:47:51 AM
Okay...I'm sorry!

Nikki hold up hands in surrender while hanging her head in shame

I know I've kinda been ignoring this fic but I've been busy with school and planning out the next several parts of CC. Lousy excuses but I'll try my hardest to get a new part out in the morning cause it's late now and I have class at 9.

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 26-May-2002 8:13:05 PM
I'm sorry...but I finally got my ass in gear! Here's the next part. Only I think one more and an epilogue...we'll see. I hope you enjoy, and I'll try to get my butt moving to get the next part out relatively soon. Feedback helps!*big*

~Nikki~
*angel*


* * *

Part 12

* * *

A day later and Maria was still sleeping; she was out cold. Michael had moved her to their bedroom and changed her out of jeans and into a nightgown so she would be more comfortable.

Kacie was scared and had spent the night curled up beside her mother on the bed, just holding her hand. Michael didn’t have the heart to put her in her own bed.

As far as they could tell, nothing was physically wrong with her, so they just had to wait and see what would come of it.

When Kacie woke up in the morning she didn’t want to go to school, but Michael finally convinced her she needed to. She would get to see her friends and it would take her mind off of everything for a while. Ali’s mother was kind enough to pick her up and offer her a ride home for that afternoon as well. Michael was grateful. He honestly didn’t want to leave his wife’s side, and had called into work sick to do just that.

* * *

“Where’s my baby girl?” Amy called as she walked through the front door of Michael and Maria’s home. She and Jim had just flown in and she refused to go anywhere, even the hotel, until she had seen her daughter.

Michael jumped to his feet from where he was sitting in his art room and ran down the hall to greet his mother-in-law.

“Amy,” Michael gave her a hug, and then Jim too.

“Where’s my baby?” Amy asked again. Michael sighed and ran his fingers through his brown locks. It was a nervous habit of his that he had never lost from childhood.

“She’s still out of it. She hasn’t woken up yet and it’s almost been a week. If you want to see her she’s upstairs in our bed.” Without a second’s hesitation Amy was at the base of the stairs and climbing. Jim however decided to stay with Michael, thinking the boy needed someone to talk to.

“So how are you doing?” Jim asked as they both sat on the couch.

“Trying to keep everything together and not brake down in front of Kacie…” Michael scrubbed at his face with his hands. “God! Why did this all have to happen?” he asked.

“I’m sure things will become normal again soon. Just give it all some time.”

“That’s just it, Jim. There isn’t that much time. Our anniversary is in a week…we have the bonding ritual. If she’s not awake by then…I don’t know what we’ll do!” he cried.

“We’ll figure something out, son, don’t worry about it.”

* * *

“Oh, Maria!” Amy cried at her daughter’s side. “Honey, mommy’s here to take care of you. But you need to get better because you have a little girl of your own who needs her mommy too.” Amy held Maria’s hand clutched tightly within her own, trying to let her know that it was time to wake up now.

Amy sat like that for half an hour, but Maria showed no signs of waking. Sadly, she kissed her daughter’s forehead and went down to check on the boys.

“How is she?” Jim asked Amy before Michael could.

“The same I suppose…god, she just looks so helpless.”

The front door closing brought all of their attention to the young version of Maria that had just bounced her way into the house.

“Grandma! Grandpa!” she exclaimed as she ran into her grandmother’s arms.

“Kacie, sweetie! It’s so good to see you little one,” Amy hugged her so tightly Kacie could barely breath, but she didn’t mind because she had really missed her grandma.

“Come here Princess,” Jim whispered to the little girl like he had some secret. When Amy was done with her, Kacie gave her grandpa Jim a big hug, and he whispered in her ear. “Why don’t you go find your grandma’s bag in the car. I think I put something in there just for you.” That put a big smile on her pixie-like face, and as soon as Jim’s arms were no longer holding her she was out the door.

“Oh Jim, did you tell her about-”

“I didn’t say what it was Amy, I just told her she might find something interesting in your bag is all!” The three adults laughed as they watched out the door.

When Kacie came running back inside with a giant grin on her face and the stuffed teddy bear in her arms Michael couldn’t help but be thankful for their friends and family. He didn’t think he would’ve made it through this without them, and there was still quite a journey left untraveled it seemed.

* * *

With three days left until their anniversary, Maria still hadn’t woken up. Everyone was afraid and on edge, Michael especially. Amy and Jim were doing their best to keep little Kacie entertained and not thinking about her mother’s problems.

So while Amy and Jim took Kacie and Tommy to the movies, the whole pod-squad was sitting in the Guerin living room, minus Maria of course, who was upstairs unconscious.

“I’m sorry we weren’t here when all of this happened,” Tess apologized as she hugged her brother close. Michael felt like he’d been put the through the wash cycle, but he found the strength to hug his sister back. He had been so happy when he realized he had a sister…now he was thankful for all of the family that he had around him to lean on at times like this.

“It’s alright, really. There wasn’t anything any of us could do.”

“But still…we’re family.”

“I know, and thank you!”

They sat for a while and talked about nothing really. Around five Liz and Tess went to get some take-out food for everyone, and Michael decided to go upstairs and spend some time with his wife.

* * *

“Maria? I don’t know if you can hear me or not, but I love you sweetheart. Please wake up for us. Kacie misses you, and I do to. We need you…I love you,” Michael cried. He was on the bed beside her small form, holding her in his arms. It just felt so right to hold her.

Her hand was wrapped in his and when her fingers wiggled a little, he jumped.

“Maria?” he called to her, hoping that maybe it wasn’t his imagination, maybe she was waking up.

He waited but she didn’t move for a while, but then he felt it again. He saw it this time, she moved her fingers, grasping his tighter in her own. A giant smile broke out across his face at the realization that his love was finally waking up.

He watched as her eyelids gently flittered open, and her green eyes looked right into his brown.

“Michael,” she smiled lovingly up at her husband and wrapped her arms around him so that she could get closer to his warmth.

“God Maria! We were so scared. Are you feeling okay, baby?” The love she heard in his voice made Maria’s heart soar.

“Mmm…much better now.” Leaning over Maria placed a quick kiss on his lips before returning her head to rest against his strong chest.

Michael was confused by her actions. She hadn’t tried to kiss him at all the last few weeks since she’d lost her memory…had she somehow…?

“Maria, what do you remember?”

“Everything,” was her simple answer as she refused to be pulled away from him. But Michael wanted, no, needed to see her face, her eyes, to see what she was saying to him.

“What do you mean, everything?” he cautiously asked her.

“I mean, I love you so much Michael,” Maria smiled into his face, kissing him again. “I remember what happened, I remember my life, our life, and I know why this all happened.”

Michael couldn’t get over the fact that she was awake, let alone smiling and kissing him.

“Wh…why?”

“Can I see your hand?” Maria asked, holding out her hand waiting for him to place his on it.

“Okay,” he still wasn’t too sure what was going on, but he did as she asked, he felt drawn to do as she said.

Maria took his hand and placed it on her stomach under hers. The connection came quickly as did the smile that lit up his face.

* * *

“I’m gonna go see mommy!” Kacie called as they returned from the movie and she ran through the house. No one bothered her; they knew she needed her mommy, even if her mommy wasn’t awake.

“Mommy!” Kacie smiled when she saw her parents holding each other with big smiles on their faces.

“Kacie, baby!” Maria cried. It had been weeks since she had really held her daughter and let her know how much she loved her.

“Mommy, you’re okay now?” she asked.

“I’m great sweetie. Everything can go back to normal now, I promise. Well, sorta,” she added as an after thought.

“Really?”

“Yeah, really.” Maria thought for a moment, and then looked at Michael. He could read her mind and picked up his daughter and sat her on the bed with them.

“Princess, you know how you always wanted a little brother or sister of your own?” Michael asked her, getting a sharp nod and a bright smile from Kacie.

“Yeah. Does this mean I get one?” She was so excited at the thought.

“Yes sweetie. I’m gonna have a baby boy. You’re going to have a little brother. What do you think about that?”

“Yeah! I get to be a big sister! This is so cool! Can I go tell grandma and grandpa and everybody?” she eagerly asked.

“Sure, go ahead baby,” she smiled. Maria looked at Michael again, “My mom’s here?”

“Yeah, they got here a few days ago. She’s been really worried about you.” He ran his hands through her hair and kissed her temple now that they were alone, though not for long. He expected everyone to come trampling up the stairs the minute Kacie told them.

“Thank you, Michael.”

“For what?”

“For everything. You were so sweet and kind while I had amnesia…you were perfect. I just want to say thank you.”

“Well you’re welcome. But, do you know why all of this happened? I mean, why? It’s all just confusing.”

“Yeah. I do. But I think I better just explain it to everyone at once, it’ll be easier that way.”

“Okay, I can wait then.” Michael gave her a real kiss this time, enjoying being with his wife. But they were again interrupted by the voices coming down the hallway. Soon enough eight adults came through the door, led by little Kacie saying, “I told you so!”

Michael and Maria just laughed as their family came through the door and Kacie climbed on the bed beside her mom.

“Tell ’em, mommy!” Kacie nudged her mother’s side. “They don’t believe me!”

After a long round of hugging and crying and welcoming, the large group settled down, happy that one of their friends was back, safe and sound, to her old self. Everyone was waiting for an explanation of what they had heard from Kacie, and what they were now seeing.

Maria took a deep breath, looking at all of her friends and family.

“Kacie was right, I’m pregnant,” Maria smiled, patting her daughter on the shoulder. “Kacie’s gonna have a little brother to look out for soon. That’s why everything that has happened, happened.” Maria paused expecting to hear many objections from her friends, but was instead only met with puzzled expressions.

“But…how?” Isabel finally spoke up.

“Well, the baby, being the first born son, is Michael’s heir. It’s kind of confusing but here goes. He accessed my memories to learn about everything in the family history…I guess that’s the best way to describe it. But since I’m not alien, my mind and body couldn’t handle it. That was why I lost my memories from all the time I had known Michael. The baby didn’t know what he’d done, until last week he realized something was wrong with me. That basically was why I collapsed. He was fixing everything, cause he had what he needed.” Maria shook her head to clear it. Maybe this wasn’t coming out right.

“I know this all sounds strange, it’s just hard to describe. But the minute I woke up in Michael’s arms, I knew everything. The baby connected with me, so I knew he was there, and I knew everything that happened…it was amazing.” Maria ran her hands over her still flat stomach knowing that soon she wouldn’t be so small, but the rewards would be so much greater. Their family would be getting even bigger, and she was thrilled.

“Congratulations sweetie!” Amy cried as she pulled her daughter into a hug. She was going to be a grandma, again!

“Thank you, mom,” Maria grinned.

* * *

TBC...

posted on 2-Jun-2002 5:58:28 PM
Sorry to those few of you who are still reading this story, but my computer is broken. I'm sharing my roommates computer but all we have time to write is Complicated Circumstances and I don't have time to write my own story. Sorry. It'll be a week before my dad gets up here to try and fix it and plus I have finals and am packing to move back home for the summer... So a week to a week and a half before the next update, sorry!

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 5-Aug-2002 1:02:03 PM
I'm sorry, I know I did kind of forget about this story for a while, but I was thinking about coming back to it last night, so hopefully I'll be finishing it soon, I'm sorry!!!

~Nikki~
*angel*