posted on 28-Jul-2002 12:03:37 AM by alli balli
Title: Gossip
Author: Alli aka Lavender
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, unless I make them up.
Rating: PG-13, could end up being R-ish later
Couples: both CC and UC, but mostly CC, probably.
Summary: Sometimes gossip isn't as much fun as you think.
Author's Note: This is kinda based on the book "Gossip Girl" by... okay, I forget the author. Lol. But the plot is not quite the same, don't worry. This takes place in a universe where basically everyone is very rich, very spoiled, etc etc. And please don't be bothered by how nasty some of the characters are going to be. This is supposed to be a light-hearted fic. If they're evil, they're evil. ;)

Part 1

"Liz! What the hell! Are you trying to rip all my hair out?"

Liz Parker dropped her hands to her sides in frustration. "You know what, Tess? Forget it. You can crimp your own goddamn hair."

"I think I will," Tess Harding snapped in return, snatching the crimper out of Liz's hands. "Lord knows you're completely incapable of doing your own hair, why should I trust you with mine," she muttered, placing a section of thick blonde hair into the crimper.

"Would you two give it a rest for, like, two seconds?" Isabel Evans murmured from her perch on the bed. She blew on her fingernails gently, dipping the tiny brush back into the bottle of polish. "You're so immature."

"Shut up," Liz retorted, now having moved on to perfecting her lipliner in the full-length mirror residing on her wall. "Where is that brother of yours?"

Isabel shrugged, wincing as a drop of Sheer Burgundy was smudged onto her index finger. "I don't know. I'm not his keeper."

"Maybe he's helping Katie Wilson 'study' again," Tess suggested airily. Liz shot her a death glare.

"I'm sure he's just stuck in traffic or something," Liz said, a note of finality in her voice.

"Actually, his car's in the shop," Isabel replied, not lifting her eyes from her fingernails. "I think he's walking over. It's not like it's far or anything."

Tess smothered a snort while Liz fought to keep her cool. "Okay, well, Max is always late anyway," she finished lamely.

"Yup...of course he is..." Tess murmured under her breath. She was too focused on her hair to see Liz give her the finger.

A soft knock came at the door. "Girls?"

"Yes, Mother?" Liz called.

Nancy Parker stuck her head inside the door. "Are you almost ready? We're leaving in fifteen minutes."

"Almost," Liz replied, glancing at her two friends. "We're waiting on Max."

Nancy gave her daughter a small, fake smile. "Yes, well, if he's not here in fifteen minutes, then it's too bad for him."

"Oh, I'd be glad to wait around for him if he's not here in time," Tess supplied helpfully from her seat at the vanity. Her bright blue eyes and cheery smile did wonders with adults.

Liz smiled at her through gritted teeth. "How wonderful of you, Tess. But I'm sure that won't be necessary. Right, Mother?"

Nancy waved her hand at Tess dismissively. "I won't hear any of it, Tess. Max can just get a cab himself if he's not here in time." She nodded at Liz once before shutting the door again.

"'I'd be glad to wait around for him,'" Liz mimicked in a high voice. Isabel snorted, capping her bottle of nail polish.

"I really don't know what you two see in my brother," she sighed, rolling onto her back.

"I'm not the one he's cheated on twice before," Tess said innocently, admiring her newly crimped hair.

Liz crossed her arms angrily. "He did not cheat!" she exclaimed. "That was just rumors, alright? What does it take to get that through your thick little blonde head?"

"Uh huh, rumors. You know, it's kind of funny to call it 'rumors' when there were fifty or so witnesses." Tess unplugged the crimper and set it gently onto the vanity table. She turned around on the velvet futon and blinked at Liz. "So, how's the weather in Denial Land?"

Liz let out a small shriek. "Out! Get out of my room!" She thrust a finger towards the door.

Tess held up her hands defensively. "Okay, okay, I'm going." She casually sashayed out the door, and Liz slammed it behind her.

Isabel had viewed the encounter with a slightly amused, slightly annoyed expression. "She only does that to piss you off, you know," she said matter-of-factly.

"I know," Liz grumbled. "That doesn't make it any less annoying."

"Well, you may as well get over it," Isabel said, rising from the bed. "It's causing you stress. And as we all know, stress causes acne and premature wrinkles."

Just then, Tess poked her head back into the room. "Maxie's here."

Liz opened her mouth for some sort of retort, but first saw Isabel's warning glare, and shut it. She nodded mutely and followed her out into the hallway.

"Hey," Max said softly, greeting his girlfriend with a kiss. "Sorry I'm a little late."

"Oh, you should be," Tess said perkily. "Liz was all in a tizzy about it."

Max gave her a funny look. "Um, right. So, are we headed to this party or what?" he asked, entwining his fingers with Liz's.

"Yes, we are," Nancy Parker appeared once again, her heels clicking on the marble floor. "Glad you made it on time, Max. Now come on, I don't have all day." She ushered the four teens out into the corridor and onto the elevator.

*****

Liz entered the grand foyer of the DeLuca home, her hand still tightly encased in Max's larger, coarser one. There was something she'd been dying to tell him all day. But, in typical Max fashion, he'd spent his entire afternoon hanging out with his friends, barely making it home in time to dress for the party and then high-tail it over to Liz's. She sighed internally. It would just have to wait until after dinner.

It was something he'd been waiting to hear for a long, long time, she knew.

Spotting an unfamiliar face mingling with the crowd, Liz rested her chin on Max's shoulder, close to his ear. "Who's that?" she whispered, pointing discreetly at the handsome, brunette boy chatting with Ed Harding.

Max squinted his eyes. "I don't know. Why?"

Liz shrugged. "Well, nothing, it's just, usually these parties are our families only." The Parkers, the Evans, the DeLucas, and the Hardings had all been old family friends for centuries. They were stuck with each other, whether they liked it or not. Fortunately, they usually did.

"Maybe he's related to Valentine, or whatever his name is."

"Maybe," Liz murmured, leaning into her boyfriend's side. God, it felt so good just being near him. She looked up into his deep brown eyes. "Want to get a drink?"

"Sure." Who was she kidding, Max Evans was always up for a drink.

Meanwhile, Isabel and Tess hung out by the front door, also scoping out the new guy.

"He's cute," Isabel admitted disinterestedly.

"No, not cute. Fuckable is more like it," Tess corrected her, and Isabel just knew she was already undressing the poor thing with her eyes.

He didn't stand a chance.

"Yeah, whatever."

"You're just all hung up over that little geek Whitman," Tess said casually, picking at a nail.

"What?!" Isabel turned towards her, her perfectly-styled hair whipping around her face. Tess hid a small smile. There was only one way to get Isabel Evans riled up, and she had it down pat.

"You know what," she replied impishly.

"First of all, he comes from a very upstanding family," Isabel said, her cheeks tinting a slight pink. Isabel Evans never, ever blushed; a very faint rouge tint was all you could ever get out of her. "His father is the new Bill Gates." Tess wrinkled her nose. Ew. Bill Gates? So two years ago. "And I am not 'hung up' over him," she continued, already calming herself down. "He's like a pathetic little love slave, for god's sake," she finished, leaning back against the wall.

"Okay, okay," Tess said softly. "I was just kidding. God." She knew there was definitely something up with those two; she just needed conclusive evidence. Maybe she could borrow her father's digital camera. Or, better yet, have him buy her her own.

Isabel crossed her arms over her chest, still a bit peeved by Tess' accusations. No way was there anything between her and that loser. She just fulfilled his pathetic little fantasies in return for love and adoration. That's all.

Uh-huh. Right.

"When is the goddamn dinner going to be served?" Isabel muttered darkly. Tess shrugged, her eyes once again trained on the newcomer, who had moved on from her father and was now chatting up Diane Evans.

"I don't know," she said honestly. "But I hope soon." She couldn't wait to get her hands on that new boy.

*****

A light tinkling sound was heard throughout the room. Amy DeLuca looked up in surprise. "Oh!" She clapped her hands twice, gathering the attention of her guests. "Please, one moment before we dine. I know that all of you are here for an engagement party," she announced, exchanging a smile with her fiance, who tipped his head towards her fondly. "But I'm afraid we have something else to announce, too." Her eyes moved towards the hallway, and she made a small gesture towards herself with her hand. She turned back to her audience, a grin plastered on her face. "My daughter, Maria, is back from Europe."

Liz's eyes opened wide as she felt Max's grip on her hand loosen. Holy shit. Maria was back?

tbc...

like it? hate it? *happy* please let me know!


[ edited 14time(s), last at 6-Nov-2002 8:09:49 PM ]
posted on 30-Jul-2002 12:51:43 PM by alli balli
thanks for the fb, guys! *happy*

Part 2

Liz felt dizzy. Maria? Maria DeLuca? In Roswell again?

No. Fucking. Way.

She was so overcome with shock that she almost missed Max slipping away from her. She grasped out at his sleeve. "Max!"

He turned back to her, blinking as if he was being brought out of a trance. "Liz?"

Liz sidled up to him, firmly weaving her arm through his. "Where were you going?" she said quietly, looking up at him demurely through her lashes.

Max coughed into his hand, gesturing quickly towards the center of the small crowd. "Um, you know. 'Welcome back?'"

Her lips pursed. "I think she has enough of a crowd already," she said tersely, unwilling to say the name quite yet. Maybe she'd heard Amy wrong. "Let's give her a little time and then we'll go say hi. Okay?"

Max's gaze was trained longingly on the back of a head of shiny blonde hair. "Okay," he said finally, turning back to his girlfriend. His forehead creased in a frown. "Liz, you're her best friend. You don't want to say hi?"

Liz's mouth fell open hesitantly. No, not at all, actually. "I just have so much to catch up on with her, you know?" she said instead. "And I think our reunion will just be much nicer if there's less people around."

Isabel and Tess chose that moment to pass by. Max reached out, grabbing his sister's forearm. "Is, did you see? Maria's back?"

"Of course I saw," she snapped. "Her mother fucking announced it to the entire room. Now let me go, I'm hungry." Tess gave the couple a somewhat apologetic look as she was dragged away by the girl they secretly liked to refer to as "Vanilla Ice."

"You've been in a pissy mood ever since I mentioned Alex Whitman," Tess observed. Isabel whipped her head towards her.

"No I haven't."

"Yes you have," Tess persisted, sitting down on one of the many mahogany dining chairs surrounding the large table. "Now, unless you're upset over Maria -- which I doubt you are -"

"I couldn't care less about Maria DeLuca," Isabel said, placing her napkin delicately on her lap.

"Which I doubt you are," Tess continued, a bit put off by being interrupted, "I'd say it's something over Geek Boy himself."

Isabel rolled her eyes. "For Christ's sakes, Tess, would you just forget it? Alex Whitman is a tiny blip on the radar of my life. He is not why I'm in a bad mood."

"If you say so," Tess chirped, smiling as the other guests began to fill in seats around the table. She and Isabel made polite small talk with the other diners, but Tess soon grew bored of it. Her eyes drifted down towards the other end of the table...and sure enough, there he was.

"Isabel," she hissed, nudging the other girl under the table. Isabel looked at her in annoyance.

"What?"

"He's sitting right by Amy," she said quietly. Mystery Boy was only two seats down from their hostess, sandwiched between a man she didn't know -- must be the fiance, she thought -- and Philip Evans.

"Whoop dee doo," Isabel muttered sarcastically, turning her attention back to Jeff and Nancy Parker, with whom she'd been having an admittedly boring discussion on rising and falling stocks.

No one was surprised when Amy DeLuca again called for their attention, this time tapping lightly on her wine glass with a tiny fork. The woman did love the spotlight, after all. She didn't come from a long line of Broadway stars for nothing.

"A toast," she declared, beaming down at the blushing man to her left. "To my wonderful fiance, Jim Valenti, and his son, Kyle Valenti." She then gestured fondly towards the blonde girl to her right. "And, of course, Maria." The others all raised their own wine glasses as was expected, followed up by a small swig of their drink. Tess, however, simply rested her glass against her bottom lip, winking at who she now knew was Kyle Valenti, soon-to-be step-son of the flamboyant Amy DeLuca.

And soon-to-be boy toy of the irresistible Tess Harding.

*****

"So, Maria," Kyle said through a mouthful of veal, which he was enjoying with a great vigor. "You were in school in Europe?"

Maria fought back a giggle. Kyle was so cute, in that eager-little-boy way. He was totally out of his element here. "You know Kyle, you shouldn't speak with food in your mouth," she scolded, the smile on her face letting him know that she was just kidding.

Kyle swallowed with a grin. "Sorry 'bout that."

She laughed it off. "No big deal, little brother." This was the first time Maria had ever met Kyle -- and his father, for that matter -- but she liked them. There were definitely worse guys her mother could have chosen to marry.

Kyle rolled his eyes. "No, but really. How was it?"

"In Europe?" He nodded. "Sometimes it was absolutely terrible," she sighed, picking at her angel hair pasta. "But other times..." A wicked grin appeared on her face. "It was fabulous."

"Why'd you decide to come home now, anyway?" Jim piped up innocently from across the table. Jim was a nice guy, Maria had decided. Not her father -- but then again, no one could be her father. "Not that it's in any way a bad thing," he amended quickly. "Just plain old curiosity."

It was probably a good thing that he wasn't like her father. Her dad wasn't exactly a stand-up guy.

Maria exchanged a tentative glance with her mother, whose single raised eyebrow told her that she'd definitely have to lie, at least for now. "I was just a little homesick," she said, shrugging it off. "And I decided that getting to know my new family was more important to me than...traipsing around Europe, when I can get just as good of an education here as I can over there." She finished off her mini-speech with a brilliant smile.

Jim nodded, also smiling. "Well, that's very sweet of you, Maria."

"Kyle," Amy piped up, eager to change the subject. "What do you like to do for fun?"

Kyle thought for a moment. "Well, I'm a big football fan."

"What position do you play?" Maria asked.

"Usually quarterback, but I can do pretty much anything," he boasted.

Amy looked impressed. "Well, that's wonderful, Kyle." She took a sip of wine. "Maria here is a champion show jumper on horseback."

"Mother," Maria said, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. "We don't need to hear the life story of Maria DeLuca, alright?"

*****

"We sure don't," Liz muttered under her breath from a few seats down.

"What was that?" Max turned to look at her in curiosity.

"Nothing," she sighed, picking at her plate disinterestedly.

"I can't believe you're not eating anything," Max told her, shaking his head. "This is really good."

"I'm not hungry," she said quietly. Boy, this night was really not going as she had planned it. She'd figured that she'd hang around at the party as long as she had to, and then return to her own place. With Max in tow, of course.

But no. Of course not. Tonight had to be the night that the gorgeous, stunning, brilliant, all-around perfect Maria DeLuca returned to Roswell and snatched up the attention of everybody in the room.

Liz rested her hand gently on his arm. "Max, can we talk after dinner?"

"Sure." He looked at her. "Is something wrong?"

"No," she assured him, running her fingers up and down his skin. "I just want to have a private talk, that's all."

"Okay," Max agreed, having been assured that everything was fine. A thought occurred to him. "What about Maria?"

Liz tensed. "What about Maria?" she said, feigning innocence.

"I thought you wanted to reunite with her, or whatever."

"Yes, well, you're more important to me at the moment, okay?" she breathed into his ear. Maria this, Maria that. It was enough to make her sick.

"Okay," Max said reluctantly. He smiled down at her, but not before taking a quick glance down the table.

*****

Maria put her hands in her lap and leaned forward, her eyes searching the table. A warm flush heated her cheeks as she happily noted that her two best friends were seated side by side, quietly talking to one another. They were such a cute couple. She couldn't wait until they all graduated. They would get married, and she would be the Maid of Honor, cheering them on from the sidelines.

Finally she caught Max's eye. A grin spread across her lips, and she quickly wiggled her fingers in a wave. He responded with a small smile before turning his attention back to Liz. Maria sighed, her smile slowly fading, and looked back down at her plate. Would this dinner just end already?

tbc...

things get more fun in the next part. :D

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Jul-2002 12:52:29 PM ]
posted on 30-Jul-2002 10:22:32 PM by alli balli
I feel stupid, but I just wanted to give it a little bump and see if anyone else finds it. *looks around*
posted on 1-Aug-2002 11:11:32 PM by alli balli
thanks for all the fb & bumps! *happy*

This part is a little shorter than the others [at least I think it is...] but personally, I like it. ;)

Part 3


"Hi." Kyle looked up in surprise. He'd been wrapped up studying a bottle of wine; this place was amazing. He'd never seen this much booze in his life -- and he was entitled to whatever he liked. He would definitely get used to living here.

"Hi," he replied, taking in the girl that stood before him. Wow. They didn't make 'em like this back home. She was about 5 foot 3, blonde, blue eyes, and had a nice pair of breasts, which just happened to be his favorite part of the female anatomy. Her hair was a little funky-looking, all frizzed out, but she was still hot. He automatically held out his hand for a shake. "I'm Kyle."

The girl took his hand delicately, running her fingertips down the back of his hand as she withdrew. "I'm Tess. Tess Harding. I couldn't help but notice you," she said. "The only boy we've got here is Max," she said with a small sigh. She leaned in conspiratorially. "And don't tell anyone I told you this, but we're all pretty sure he's gay."

Kyle wasn't sure how to respond to that. "I thought I saw him hanging out with that brown-haired chick."

"Yes, well, he has to keep up appearances, you know?" She shrugged. "Poor Liz," she murmured to herself. "Doesn't suspect a thing." Her face immediately brightened again. "So! What do you think of Amy and Maria?"

Kyle hesitated. "Well, I just met Maria tonight, but...they're nice."

She nodded, processing his response. "Mmm. Yes. So are you starting at Puhlman on Monday?"

Kyle nodded, rocking back on his heels. "Yep."

"Senior?"

"Nah," Kyle said, somewhat sadly. "Junior. I missed the cut-off by, like, a month."

Her red lips formed a small pout. "That's terrible. I'm sure you're...mature enough for the next grade up." She leaned forward across the bar, giving him a glimpse down her red silk top.

Kyle swallowed. "Um, yeah. Yeah, I am."

"Hmm." Tess studied him for a moment, a small smile on her lips. "So. You want a grand tour of the penthouse?"

"Uh, sure." Kyle set down the bottle of wine, which he'd still been fiddling with. He looked around, unsure of what she meant. "Um, should I go find Amy or something..."

"Oh no. I know my way around. Maria and I were friends as kids, you know," she said, as if that obviously gave her the right to guide people around their home. She grabbed his hand as he stepped beside her. "This way, please.

*****

"Pathetic," Isabel muttered to herself, turning her line of vision away from where Tess had begun her seduction of Kyle Valenti. He'd be all over her by the end of the night.

That was what she liked about Alex Whitman. He had goo-goo eyes for her, and no one else.

"Hi, Isabel," a cheerful voice spoke from beside her. Isabel looked to her left and saw none other than the girl of the hour, Maria DeLuca. She allowed a small smile to cross her lips.

"Hello, Maria. How was Europe?"

"Oh, you know. A little of this, a little of that," she said, still smiling. "How are you? You look great," she added, touching her arm gently.

"I'm fine," she said coolly, her eyes scanning the rest of the room.

"That's good." Maria followed Isabel's gaze for a moment before turning back to her. "Do you know where Max and Liz are?"

She shook her head slowly. "No," she said disinterestedly. "They're probably off fucking or something." Hey, it could happen. If Liz would stop being such a prude.

Maria laughed. "Okay, thanks anyway. I'll see ya," she said, giving Isabel a small wave good-bye.

*****

Maria might have been a little surprised had she known that Max and Liz were currently in her mother's bedroom.

"What is it, Liz?" Max murmured, smoothing a piece of chocolate brown hair behind her ear. She sat across from him on the deep blue comforter, her legs tucked beneath her and her hands in her lap.

"Okay." Liz took a deep breath. I could just sit here all day and look at him, she thought. He was gorgeous. "You know the...thing we've been talking about for the past few months?"

"Yeah," he said softly, meanwhile racking his brain for whatever topic it was Liz believed they'd been particularly verbal about. How much she liked those earrings from Tiffany's? The latest episodes of Friends? Actually, Max didn't really remember talking with Liz at all. They just kind of stared at each other and held hands and kissed.

"Well." Liz took his hand in hers, rubbing her thumb in circles over his skin. She tilted her head down so that she could look up at him. "I decided I'm ready." Her hand suddenly moved towards his crotch.

Oh. So that's what they'd been talking about.

Max swallowed hard, and removed her hand as casually as he could without hurting her feelings. "Um. Liz. Are you sure?"

She nodded, leaning forward to tease his lips lightly with her own. "I'm sure," she whispered, moving in for a full-on kiss. Max kissed her back for a little while before pulling away. He braced his hands on her shoulders.

"We can't do it here, you know."

"Oh! I know!" she said quickly, sitting up straight. "I didn't mean here. I meant...you know. Later. Soon. Tomorrow?" she suggested, her eyes lighting up.

Max thought fast. "Uh, I was kinda meeting the guys for -"

"Oh!" Max and Liz snapped their heads towards the doorway, where Tess Harding and Kyle Valenti now stood. Tess' hand was clapped over her mouth in fake embarassment. Kyle's face was turning tomato red.

"Uh, sorry about that," he muttered, turning away. Tess let out a long breath, resting her hands on her knees for a moment.

"Oh my god!" she cried. "I am so sorry! Ugh, god, I can't believe I just walked in on you like that!" She shook her head, placing her hands on her hips. "Wow, am I a ditz or what?" She grabbed Kyle by the arm. "Come on, Kyle!" she spoke loudly. "We wouldn't want to interrupt any more!"

Liz and Max could do nothing but stare at the empty doorway for a long moment. Finally they turned back to each other. Liz tilted her head.

"You were saying?"

*****

"You just have to play along," Tess whispered into Kyle's ear, dragging him further down the hallway.

"Uh, what?" Kyle was left totally bewildered by that last event. Maybe he should just give in and do whatever Tess told him to, no questions asked.

"You know. Max likes to sneak off with Liz every now and then. It helps reinforce the illusion of his masculinity." Tess winked as if to say, The poor, silly thing.

"Well, they weren't really doing anything," Kyle pointed out.

"Yes, but just trust me on this one, okay?" Tess chirped.

Kyle shook his head quickly. This was too much for him. "Okay."

tbc...

posted on 5-Aug-2002 8:38:31 PM by alli balli
thanks for the lovely fb!! *happy*

Part 4

Maria sighed, her head lolling back against the sofa cushions. This was all her mother's fault. If she hadn't made such a big deal over Maria's return, hadn't made her hide out in her bedroom until Amy could introduce her, then maybe she wouldn't feel so alienated among her own friends and family.

Why hadn't Liz come to say hi yet? A wave of guilt washed over her as she realized that Liz was probably angry with her. Maria hadn't exactly been the best about keeping in touch. She'd sent her friend e-mails often enough, but there really just wasn't enough time to elaborate on anything that she'd been doing. A simple "Hi, how are you, I'm great, miss you!" had had to suffice.

But still. Maria was growing antsy. She didn't know how much longer she could sit here without spontaneously combusting and ruining her mother's expensive Persian rug until she saw Liz and Max.

Maria jumped slightly when she felt a weight added to the cushion beside her. "Hey there, Maria," Jim said, patting her fondly on the shoulder. She gave him her best smile. This guy was going to be her new step-father, after all. "Mind if I join you?"

"No, not at all."

"Kyle seems to have disappeared on me, and your mother's chatting with all her lady friends," he explained. Lady friends, thought Maria. Hee.

"You know Mother. Talk talk talk," she said jokingly.

"Boy do I," he laughed, leaning back. "But from all accounts I hear you're the same way."

Maria rolled her eyes good-naturedly. "No. Okay, maybe sometimes," she admitted.

Jim nodded. "So, where are your friends?"

"Got me," she sighed, and Jim laughed again. "They've all disappeared on me."

"I'm sure they'll turn up." They sat in companionable silence for a moment, and then Jim turned to her, speaking in a serious tone. "Do you think I should be marrying your mother?"

Maria's eyes widened for a moment. She hadn't been expecting that question. "Um. Well, she seems to really like you," she said tentatively. She'd missed the course on how to comfort middle-aged father-figures.

"I know. But...I just feel so out-of-place here, you know? I grew up in a tiny hick town -- for that matter, so did Kyle. I would hate to be an embarassment to your mother." He leaned back again, looking at her out of the side of his eyes, and winked. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be laying an old man's problems on you."

"No, no, that's alright," she said reassuringly. She shrugged. "It's not like I really have anything better to do."

*****

"...and this is the second guest room," Tess said, waving her arm out in front of her. "Come on in." Kyle followed her slowly into the room. He fidgeted slightly as she flopped back onto the queen-sized bed.

"Nice." He really, really wanted to get out of here. "Are you sure we're supposed to be doing this?"

"Here, come test out the mattress," Tess said, dodging his question. "It's fabulous. Mmmm." She lay back on the bed, cracking one eye open. Good. Kyle hadn't missed the skin that was exposed when her shirt rode up. "Mmmmmmm," she repeated, trying to make it sound as sensual as possible.

"Oh, um, Tess, that was my dad calling for me. Bye!" Kyle made the quickest bedroom exit in world history. Tess sat up in shock.

Did he just run out on her?

*****

Max and Liz entered the main hallway again, her body tightly pressed up against his side. The time was set. Come next Saturday, Liz Parker would no longer be a virgin.

It gave her goosebumps just thinking about it.

She'd wanted it to happen sooner, but circumstances had prevented it from being so. It turned out that Max and his friends had a nighttime basketball tournament set up for the entire following week. But an added bonus was that her parents would be away on a trip to San Marcos when they finally made love.

Liz walked back into the room, her head held high. Suddenly she felt very mature. She almost wanted someone to come up to her and ask what was on her mind, just so she could give them a slow, suggestive smile and tell them that it was solely between she and her boyfriend.

Her boyfriend, with whom she would connect on the deepest, most profound level in only seven days.

Her self-satisfied smile disappeared from her face when Maria DeLuca appeared in front of her. She suddenly felt the urge to hurl.

Max's warm hand was torn away from her grasp as he wrapped Maria in a hug. "Oh my god!" she heard her squeal. "I missed you so much, Max!"

He pressed his face into her shoulder, seemingly unaware that his girlfriend was standing uncomfortably no more than two feet away. "I missed you too," he mumbled.

Maria pulled back, placing her hands on his upper arms. "Let me get a good look at you. Oh! You're so handsome, you've grown up," she teased, punching him lightly on the arm.

Max smiled down at her. "So have you."

Maria shrugged. "Hey, what can I tell ya? Man, Liz is one lucky girl." Her eyes immediately flocked to Liz, who was standing almost directly behind Max. "Liz!" she screeched, fully prepared for her friend to launch herself into her arms.

But Liz simply stepped out from behind her boyfriend, a slight twitch making her lips curve up into what some highly cynical people would call a smile. "Hi. Maria."

Maria slowly dropped her arms back down to her sides, her smile fading. Liz wasn't even looking at her; she was fidgety, staring into space at a spot on the wall.

Maria took a deep breath and stepped up to her old friend anyway, wrapping her arms around her. "I missed you," she said quietly, and felt Liz's arms loosely return the gesture. She pulled back slowly. "You look really, really beautiful, Liz."

And just like that, the cheery, bouncy Maria DeLuca had returned. "You two must make everyone so jealous!" she laughed. "The two most gorgeous people at our school, together?"

Liz attempted a smile, hooking her elbow around Max's once again. She hadn't liked the look of that hug. Yes, somewhere in her mind where her brain was functioning rationally, she knew that Maria and Max were nothing but good friends. They had always been good friends, and nothing more. But the other part, the petty part, seemed to be in control of her actions tonight. "That's us," she murmured.

Maria stood in front of them, hands clasped, and suddenly she felt incredibly awkward. It was an unusual sensation. Maria DeLuca wasn't the type to land herself in awkward situations -- well, excluding tonight. She scratched at her nose quickly, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. "Well, um." This was so odd. Max was staring straight at her, whereas Liz wouldn't even make eye contact. Frowning, she stared back at Max. "Max, could you maybe leave me and Liz alone for a few moments? We have girl stuff to catch up on," she said, and grabbed Liz by the elbow, dragging her into a corner near one of her mother's overgrown African potted plants.

"What's going on, Liz?" she demanded quietly. Liz was still looking down at her shoes. Maria glanced at them briefly. They weren't that great.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she responded monotonously.

"Liz, look at me." Maria lifted her chin up with her hand. "Look. I know I wasn't exactly a great friend while I was away. I'm sorry, I really am. But you're just...I don't even know. Why won't you even look at me? Best friend here, remember?"

Liz sighed and rolled her eyes. She leaned against the wall, staring out across the room. "Life here has...changed since you left," she said, sounding distant. She glanced at Maria quickly. "Max and me, we've become really close. Really close," she repeated, stressing the last word.

"I'm not arguing with that," Maria said. "What, do you think I'm interested in Max or something?"

"It doesn't matter; Max wouldn't be interested in you anyway." Seeing Maria's stricken look, Liz almost felt bad for her attitude.

Almost.

Maria straightened her back, making full use of the two inches she had over Liz. "Good. I wouldn't expect him to."

"Okay."

Maria stared at her for a moment; and then, without warning, burst into laughter. Liz narrowed her eyes. "What?"

Maria wiped a stray piece of hair out of her eyes. "You're a really good actress, Liz, you know that, right? You should really try out for the school play or something, it would be so cool!"

Liz's mouth fell slightly open. "I have to go," she muttered quickly, walking away.

"Liz?" Maria darted after her, attempting to catch her attention, but she was detained by Ed Harding. His wife had left him five years ago, and now, much to Tess's embarassment, he was quite fond of the young girls in his social circle. She watched sadly as Liz left through the front doors, not once looking back.

*****

Tess plopped herself onto the sofa next to Isabel, her arms crossed and her face knit in a frown. It was very un-Tess-like.

Isabel raised her eyebrow. "So? How was he?"

Tess' eyes narrowed. "We didn't do it."

Isabel looked slightly surprised. "Why? You get caught?"

"No."

Isabel rolled her eyes. "Okay, then what happened?"

Tess tucked her legs beneath her and turned to Isabel. "He rejected me! Can you believe that? He rejected me!"

Isabel had to admit, she was impressed. Not many teenage boys could say they'd been targeted by Tess Harding and lived to tell the tale sex-free. Maybe he was gay.

"Maybe he's gay."

"No, I don't think so," she said, and the expression on her face very closely resembled that of Reese Witherspoon in that movie Isabel had hated, Election. Isabel repressed a shudder. "I saw him looking at my chest more than once. He's just -- well, he's a freak is what he is."

"You're just losing your touch," Isabel taunted.

"Excuse me?" Tess drew back, laying a hand over her chest. "Tess Harding does not 'lose her touch.' That boy is just a freak specimen." She leaned back. "You know, kind of like Alex Whitman."

Isabel groaned. Would she give it a rest? "Leave 'Geek Boy' out of it," she said, yawning. She checked her gold watch. "God, could we just leave this shithole already?"

"Don't be rude, Isabel," Tess muttered, knowing exactly how hypocritical the words sounded coming from her mouth.

"Maybe I could go find Kyle," she murmured, barely thinking about what she'd said.

Tess' jaw dropped. "And betray poor, sweet little Alex like that?"

"Tess, for the last time, he's not my boyfriend. He's an admirer," Isabel corrected her through gritted teeth. Most of the time she could handle Tess, but tonight she was really wearing on her last nerve.

"Whatever. And trust me, Kyle is not interested," Tess sighed. "He's like, asexual or something."

*****

"I'm telling you, Maria, this girl was all over me!" Kyle hissed, glancing around to make sure no one was listening in on their conversation. "And I mean, yeah, she's hot and everything, but it was just...creepy!"

"Uh-huh," Maria said dully, swirling her drink with a miniature umbrella she'd found in a cabinet beneath the bar. She needed something bright to cheer her up. And a drink, of course. Getting drunk off her ass would definitely help.

"You know, you've had three glasses of that in the last ten minutes, and who knows how many at dinner," Kyle said, snatching her glass from her hand. "No more. You're gonna make yourself sick."

Maria rolled her eyes. "You're not my brother yet, Kyle, remember?"

He shrugged. "Just looking out for ya."

"Yeah well," she sighed, pushing herself up off of the counter. "I can take care of myself," she mumbled, nearly falling over when she tried to take a step. Kyle quickly put his arm around her shoulders, steadying her.

"Whoa, watch out," he cautioned. "Look, I'm gonna take you to your room, okay?" He racked his brain, trying to remember where Tess had shown him Maria's room. Unfortunately, it had been kind of difficult to keep his mind focused on the "tour." "Uh, you're gonna have to help me out a little, Maria."

"That way," she said, pointing limply in the direction of her bedroom. "Third room on the right." Her brain was still fully functional; it was her body that felt like sh-it.

"Right. Okay." And so Kyle finished off his first night with his future step-sister dragging her limp, drunken body to her bedroom.

tbc...

posted on 8-Aug-2002 4:19:13 PM by alli balli
thank you for reading so far! *happy*

Part 5


"Hey." Hallie Smith twisted around in her seat, eagerly facing Liz. "Is it true? Maria's back?"

Liz let out a sigh and dropped her pencil, which she'd been tapping against her desk in boredom. "Yes."

All day it was all she'd heard. 'Maria's back? How is she? Did you see her?'

It was a good thing Liz wasn't a particularly aggressive individual; otherwise she might have had to kill a few of her classmates. Blood stains were hellish to remove from clothing.

"How come she's not here?" Hallie pressed.

"How should I know?" Liz snapped. Hallie seemed unaffected.

"Weren't you guys, like, best friends?"

"Yes, we were," Liz said testily.

"I heard she got so drunk last night she couldn't find her way home," Hallie confided, giggling at the thought. "She probably spent the night in an alley or something."

"She was already at home," Liz muttered, paging through her notebook. Luckily for Liz -- and Hallie, who ran the risk of having Liz go psycho on her ass -- their English teacher, Mrs. Hughes, began class. She leaned back in her seat, her mind spiraling off into its own world.

Life was just so unfair. When Maria had left for boarding school at the end of tenth grade, Liz was initially miserable. Her very best friend was poof! gone. There was nobody else who could really understand her, nobody else who would listen to her problems.

Then, slowly but surely, things had started to change. With Maria gone, Liz was suddenly the reigning queen of the eleventh grade. Now Liz was Miss It. Liz was the one who the girls loved to hate and the boys hated to love. She was the prettiest, richest, smartest -- well, she'd always been the smartest -- most fashionable, most popular. Add in Max Evans, the most desired guy in the school, period, to the equasion, and you have an unstoppable force.

So where did Maria get off thinking she could just pop back up whenever she liked and take over again?

"Miss Parker?" Liz shot straight up in her seat. Oops. Pay attention next time, missy.

"Yes?"

"Sit up straight, please."

Liz, already having done so, scanned her eyes around the room, daring anyone to crack a joke or snicker. They didn't.

"Okay, partners for the assignment," Mrs. Hughes announced. "Randolph and Hearst. Philips and -"

Suddenly, the classroom door shot open, and in staggered the one and only Maria DeLuca.

"Sorry I'm late," she gasped out. She'd woken up late that morning, with a killer headache to top it off. Her impromptu plan to get drunk last night had definitely not worked out as well as she'd hoped.

Mrs. Hughes fixated her with a steely glare. "How nice of you to join us, Ms. DeLuca. Please, take a seat. You're receiving your partners for a class assignment. Here." She handed her a thin packet of white paper, and Maria slid into an empty desk, somehow maintaining her aura of cool. "Philips and Jonston. Ortecho and Ferdinando..." The teacher rattled off a few more names. "And since we have an uneven number of -- now, wait," she paused, grabbing a pen off of her desk. "Nevermind. Cooley and McDonnell, Guerin and DeLuca."

Guerin. Guerin? Maria didn't think she knew anyone named Guerin. She turned in her seat, studying the faces of her classmates. No, Guerin didn't ring a bell with any of these people. Seeing Liz, she smiled and gave her a small wave. Liz didn't seem to notice.

After a torturous forty minutes, during all of which Maria could feel eyes boring into the back of her head, the bell finally excused them for second period. Maria stopped by Mrs. Hughes desk on her way out.

"Ah, yes, Miss DeLuca," Mrs. Hughes said, eyeing her. "How was school in Europe?"

"Fine, thanks." She smiled, flashing her shiny white teeth. "Who -"

"We're in the middle of a novel right now, I'll have to get you a copy soon."

Maria nodded. "Okay. Thank you. Um, who's Guerin?"

"Guerin?" she repeated, peering at her over her glasses.

"Yes, my partner for the assignment? I'm not sure who he -- or she -- is."

Mrs. Hughes ran her finger down the list of students in her gradebook. "Michael Guerin. You don't know him?"

Maria tilted her head to the side for a moment, thinking. A face finally dawned on her. "Oh! Tall, bad hair?"

Mrs. Hughes hid a small smile. "You're on the right track."

"Okay, I think I know who he is," Maria said, nodding.

"He doesn't often attend class," Mrs. Hughes said in a dry tone.

Maria laughed. "Yes. Well, thank you!" She hurried out of the classroom, determined not to be late for her next class.

*****

"Hi Isabel."

Isabel knew who was on the other side of her locker door without even having to look. "Hello."

Alex Whitman poked his head out onto the other side of it. "You look nice today."

"Thank you." Pulling a lip gloss out of her purse, she applied a little more in the tiny mirror in her locker.

"Did you read the rest of the book for English? Man, ninety pages of that. She's such a bitch."

"Cliff's Notes," Isabel said, slamming her locker shut. She usually kept her responses to him three words or less. It kept him from getting any ideas.

"Ready to go to class?"

"Wait." She handed him two of her books, lightening her load. "Okay." They left for class as usual, Alex a step or two behind his object of affection.

"My band's playing at this club next weekend," he said casually, keeping his eyes straight ahead. "It should be pretty cool. You could come, or whatever, maybe, if you wanted." Just call him Rico Suave.

"I don't know," Isabel said, careful to keep her voice neutral. It was pretty pathetic already, the way he'd follow her around and carry her things for her. There was no need to kick him while he was down. And it wasn't like she had anything else planned yet. "Maybe."

Alex fought vainly to keep a grin from spreading across his face. "Okay. Cool." His mind was in such a euphoria that he kept walking when Isabel stopped, hardly noticing.

"Alex."

"Yeah?"

"This is our next class."

"Right."

*****

Tess wrinkled her nose as she entered the cafeteria. Usually she preferred to sit outside during lunch, but she was a girl on a mission today. The smell in here was reminding her exactly why she usually ate outside.

Scanning the large room, she sighed in quiet frustration. Kyle Valenti was nowhere to be found. After spending nearly all of Sunday afternoon in internal debate, she had finally decided that the only way to go with Kyle was to make him come to her. It was different, it was new, but it was what she had to do. Kyle himself was different and new, and in a twisted way, his rejection had made her want him even more.

Passing a table full of her fellow (though lesser) seniors, Tess heard a few snatches of their conversation.

"...Luca?"

"...drugs!"

"...party..."

There was some giggling. Tess raised one eyebrow, and quickly changed her course, setting her tray down at the table. Who was she to pass up a good opportunity for gossip? All five girls' heads snapped up in perfect sync. Courtney Banks, their "leader", so to speak, looked Tess up and down. "Yes?"

Tess gave her a sweet smile. Damn. She really hated Courtney. Actually, everyone hated Courtney. But her father, Jonathan Banks, owned The Rouge, Roswell's most exclusive night club. If you got too far on Courtney's bad side, you'd be turned away at the door. "You girls talking about Maria DeLuca?"

Pam Troy nodded her head. "Why?"

Tess shrugged. "I just figured you might want the real story, not a bunch of shit you got from the rumor mill."

"How would you know?" Courtney snapped.

"I was there when Maria DeLuca came home," Tess said with authority.

Vicki Delaney perked up immediately. "Is it true? Her mom actually threw a party for her, and then she got totally blown off anyway?"

"She was really stoned, too, right?" Emily Ingers added. Tess shook her head and sighed.

"No, no, no. It was much worse than that."

So much for Operation: Kyle Valenti. This was way more fun.

*****

Miranda Donnelly let her head fall back against the rough bark of the large tree trunk behind her back. She blinked a few times, liking the way the sunlight filtered down through the leaves above her head. She fumbled for her camera, which was lying somewhere to her side.

Miranda was your run-of-the-mill outcast. She was artsy, cynical, and didn't give a flying fuck about fashion. Whereas most of the teenagers at Puhlman Preparatory School (made co-ed 1973) would be clubbing on a Saturday night, she'd more likely be sitting at home watching the Sundance channel and honing her photography skills. She could have killed her parents for giving her the name "Miranda." It was so...girly. She preferred to be called "M".

"Looks like we have a visitor," she said disdainfully, narrowing her eyes at the vision before her. Michael Guerin looked up from the book he was reading.

"What?" He'd almost forgotten Miranda was even there.

"Look." She pointed towards the blonde, and Michael squinted. Wait a second. Was that...?

"Hi." Yeah, it sure was. What was Maria DeLuca doing back in Roswell? And what was she doing smiling at him? "You're Michael Guerin, right?"

"What are you doing here?" Miranda spat, glaring up at her. Maria looked at her, bewildered, and then looked back at Michael.

"Ah, Michael here is in my English class, and we've been assigned to do this 'Getting To Know You' thing together, and so since he wasn't in class, I figured I'd come and find him during lunch." She shrugged.

"Don't you and your little friends have a Versace catalog to be giggling over or something?" Miranda said, her voice still quite nasty.

"M, cool it," Michael told her in a warning tone.

"Um, one, Versace doesn't have a catalog," Maria corrected her. "And two, this is a little more important to me at the moment, since I've already missed two months of school." She turned her head towards Michael. "So?"

"Uh..." This was really weird. He didn't know that Maria DeLuca even knew who he was. Had they ever spoken two words to one another? "What is it?" Michael asked, easing himself into a standing position. Maria thrust her white packet at him, and he took it, glancing once more at her before looking down and reading the paper. After a few moments he shook his head. "Nope, sorry."

Maria looked confused. "Sorry, what? You can't work on it today? That's okay, it's due on Friday, so we could -"

"No," he said, sitting back down. "I'm not going to do it."

Maria's French-manicured hands flew to her hips. "What do you mean, you're not going to do it?"

"I mean, I'm not going to do it," he said, enunciating each word for her benefit. Dumb blondes. Who needs 'em?

"I'm sorry, Michael, but that is not an option," she retorted. "You're doing the project."

"Uh, actually, I'm not," he said, giving her a quick smirk before hiding his head behind his book once more. He looked up in shock when the book was grabbed from his hands, and he watched as Maria tossed it aside without a care. "Hey!"

"You listen to me," she said, kneeling on the grass in front of him. She leaned in closer, placing her palms on his shoulders and effectively pressing him back into the tree. "You are going to do the project, and you're going to do it with me. I am not going to ruin my English grade because you're an asshole. So am I going to have to force you into it, or are you going to do it willingly?"

Wow. This chick was kinda scary.

Michael swallowed. "Okay. Fine," he said defensively. "I'll do your goddamn project with you."

Maria beamed, and suddenly the charming, pleasant girl was back. "Good. I'll see you tomorrow in class, and we can make plans then." She gave a quick wave to Miranda, who'd been watching the entire encounter in complete silence, and left.

"Michael." Michael didn't respond, still staring stupidly at Maria's retreating back. "Michael." Still nothing. "Michael!" Miranda shoved him, knocking him over. He sat up and glared at her, rubbing his arm.

"Ow! What the hell?"

"You can stop staring at Miss Barbie Doll now," Miranda muttered sullenly.

"Okay," he agreed, but Miranda noticed with just a hint of jealousy that he still hadn't taken his eyes off of her.

tbc...


posted on 13-Aug-2002 6:03:33 PM by alli balli
thanks for fb and reading it! *happy*

Part 6

"Hey, girls," Maria said cheerfully, sitting gently on the grass in front of her old friends -- Liz Parker, Isabel Evans, Samantha O'Reilly, and Lisa Verarro. They all looked at her.

"Hi," said Isabel, before turning her attention back to Cosmo.

"Hi," Liz said dully. Maybe it wasn't her lucky day after all. She glanced at her watch. "Oh, look at that. I have an appointment with my counselor in like, five minutes. Sorry. Bye." That said, she stood up, hurrying away from the small grassy patch.

Lisa and Samantha exchanged a hurried glance. "French make-up test," Lisa simpered. Samantha nodded apologetically, and they were gone.

Maria watched it all in bewilderment. What had she done that had made all her friends, particularly Liz, so distant? Deciding to keep her mind on more positive things, she turned back to Isabel. "Where's Max?"

"He had to go talk to his biology teacher about an exam or something," Isabel murmured, flipping the page. Maria nodded slowly.

"Oh. And Tess?"

"No clue."

"Okay." Maria wanted to scream. Who were these people and what had they done with her friends? Okay, so Isabel was pretty much exactly the same. Tess, too. And Samantha and Lisa had never exactly been Maria's favorite people in the universe to begin with. But Max and Liz were being totally weird. "So how come you guys are all eating here instead of going to Risotto's or something?"

Isabel shrugged. "Didn't feel like it."

"Oh. Okay."

A thought occurred to her. What if Liz had somehow found out about...no, Liz wouldn't care about that. Max and Liz hadn't even really been dating back then. And it wasn't a really big deal, anyway.

Nevertheless, she'd have to ask Max about it.

*****

"Oh, Max," she sighed, breathing heavily against his cheek as he explored the smooth skin of her neck. His eyes were closed, but he could see it as if he were a third person in the room. Her shiny, long blonde hair; her vibrant green eyes sparkling and yet darkly mysterious all at once; her full pink lips murmuring his name.

He opened them and was instantly torn away from his fantasy. It was Liz, in all her brown-haired-brown-eyed glory.

Not that there was anything wrong with that. Liz was pretty hot. She just wasn't...

Maria.

Max was pathetic. Anything that could have ever happened between them would have happened when they were sophomores. He couldn't just wine and dine Liz for an entire year and then drop her when the girl he really wanted came back. Sure, it was probably what his friends would have done. But he was Max Evans, the good guy. The polite, proper one. The one that every parent wanted their daughter to date.

At least, the one that every parent thought they wanted their daughter to date.

Max's thoughts were interrupted when Liz grabbed his face, kissing him again, harder. It felt pretty good. And there was really nothing wrong with "pretty good" in the grand scheme of things, right? Right. Lots of people got along in their lives with jobs that they kind of enjoyed in homes that they sort of liked with people who made them feel pretty good. Max could definitely be one of them.

He slid his hand up her thigh and under her skirt, letting himself get caught up in the feeling of pretty good.

*****

Kyle shrugged his backpack onto one shoulder, squinting his eyes as he scanned the crowd for Maria. School had just let out, and she'd promised him a ride home that morning. Unfortunately, it was another blonde that spotted him first.

"Hi, Kyle," Tess said with a bright smile, appearing from behind him. She snaked an arm through his, matching his pace. "How are you?"

"I'm...okay," he said nervously. He knew he was being ridiculous, she was just a girl...but who knew what she might pull? He had to admit, he was kind of attracted to her, even though it scared him. He'd never dated a psychopath before.

"That's good," she said, leading him out towards the parking lot. "How do you like Puhlman?"

"Uh, it's nice," he replied. "Where are we going?" Puhlman Prep actually was a pretty nice school. Nicer than his old one, at least. And a hell of a lot bigger. There had been plenty of cute girls flirting with him all day, though he tended to shy away when they offered to give him a "tour of the school." He'd even been invited to play football with some of the guys on Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm glad you like it," she said, unhooking her arm from his as she reached into her tiny leather purse for her keys. A black convertible several feet in front of them clicked as it unlocked. "I'm giving you a ride."

"Oh, that's okay," Kyle said quickly. "Maria said she'd drive me."

"Really? That's funny, 'cause there goes Maria's car." Kyle followed her pointed finger towards the road, where a silver BMW shot out of the school parking lot like it was being chased by the cops. Hmm. Maybe Kyle didn't want a ride with Maria, after all. "Come on, get in."

Kyle sighed, but complied and sat down in the passenger seat. "Thanks."

"No problem. It's the least I can do. So where do you want to go?"

Kyle frowned. "Uh, home."

"Are you sure?" Tess looked at him in disbelief. "You don't want to like, go get some coffee or something?"

Kyle shrugged. "Yeah. Just take me home, please."

Tess gave a sigh of disappointment. "Alright then." She pulled out of the space, in a much safer manner than Maria had, Kyle noted.

"So, Kyle," Tess said loudly above the sound of the radio. "I wanted to apologize to you."

"What?" Couldn't she turn that damn thing down? He hated Weezer.

"I wanted to apologize to you!"

Kyle scanned the control pannel, finally shutting off the radio. "What was that again?"

"I wanted to apologize to you," she enunciated.

"Oh. Why?"

"You know." She looked at him sideways. "For the way I acted at the party."

"Oh." Kyle felt his cheeks redden slightly. "That's okay."

"No, it's not," she said matter-of-factly. "I was out of line. I should have realized that you're not interested."

Kyle found himself nodding along with her, even though he didn't exactly feel that way. He was kind of interested...just not with her throwing herself all over him, and throngs of people a few rooms away.

"It's not that I'm not inte -"

"I thought about it some," Tess continued, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he'd begun to speak. "And I decided that I kind of felt the same way. No offense or anything," she added, glancing at him. "It's just, I don't think you're my type."

"I -- uh -- yeah," Kyle said lamely. Now wait just one gosh-darned second. After that entire scene Saturday night, she had the audacity to tell him that she wasn't interested anymore? Well, no use in telling her what he thought now, unless he wanted to be extremely embarassed. Kyle coughed. "So, uh, what is your type?"

Tess shrugged. "I don't know. A little older, I suppose," she said. Okay, now he was definitely a little pissed. He'd missed the cut-off by a month, dammit, she knew that.

But all he did was nod and say, "Oh. I see." Kyle stared out of his side of the car for the rest of the short trip home.

"Well, here we are," Tess announced, smoothly pulling up along the curb. "See you tomorrow, maybe."

"Uh, yeah," Kyle replied, stepping onto the pavement. "Thanks." He watched as she drove away, a tiny, determined knot forming in his forehead.

If Tess Harding thought she could just write Kyle Valenti off like that, she was very, very wrong.

*****

Maria fumbled at the side of her seat, trying to find the lever. Finally grasping it, she lowered her seat until it was parallel to the ground, laying back. Taking deep breaths, she closed her eyes, willing calmness to overtake her.

The day hadn't improved at all after lunch. The only person she shared any classes with was Liz, who seemed intent on ignoring her whenever possible. Thank god it was just Art they had together. That Michael Guerin guy was in the class, too, and she'd tried to talk to him about their project, but his little girlfriend had nearly bit her head off in the process.

Obviously Maria had done something very, very wrong in the past year without her knowing.

Sighing, she rolled over onto her side, tracing the edge of the seat with her finger. All she wanted to do was go home and relax in a nice hot bath, but the Valentis were living with them now, and Kyle probably hated her too after she'd forgotten to drive him home. Oh, well. He was a good-looking guy, there were definitely some girls who'd offer him a ride.

Propping herself up on one elbow, Maria reached for the assignment packet Mrs. Hughes had given her that morning. She flipped to the second page, where what seemed to be and endless list of questions was typed out. She read the list with growing discomfort. A lot of these questions were pretty personal. She didn't even know the answers to some of them anymore. Like number seven, for example.

"Who is your best friend?"

tbc...

posted on 13-Aug-2002 7:33:43 PM by alli balli
bumping a little so someone will see it. it got screwed up when I updated...
posted on 21-Aug-2002 2:14:12 PM by alli balli
thanks for reading! *happy*

Part 7

"Hey," Miranda said, dropping beside Michael under their tree. Technically it wasn't theirs, but they'd been sitting there nearly every day for lunch since sophomore year, so she figured they'd earned it.

"Hey." Michael was wrapped up in his book again -- Odysseus. Miranda had never understood his fascination with it. She'd even tried reading it once, and found it horribly boring and confusing. He'd read it at least ten times, by her estimation. But that was just part of what made Michael Michael, part of what made him so attractive and mysterious.

Not that she'd ever admit it. Uh uh. No way.

"You want to grab some pizza after school or something?" she suggested lightly. Michael shook his head.

"Got plans."

Miranda scoffed. "You. Plans. Since when do you ever have plans?"

"Since today." Ah, Michael. Such a man of few words.

"Who do you have plans with?" she pressed, frowning slightly. As far as she knew, she was Michael's only friend. To be honest, she kind of liked it that way.

"Mryadlua," he mumbled, burrowing his head further into his book. Sometimes Michael wished he could just jump inside the pages and hide from the real world. It would probably be a lot more pleasant.

"What? I couldn't hear you," Miranda said testily. She was pretty sure she'd understood what he said, but she couldn't believe it. Wouldn't believe it.

"Maria DeLuca," he barked, making her jump. Okay, she'd heard him right.

" What?"

Michael sighed in aggravation. " Mari -"

She clapped her hand over his mouth. "Yeah, I heard that," she said. "What I can't grasp is why? How?"

Michael rolled his eyes, pulling her hand away from his mouth. "Remember yesterday, when she came over here? We're doing a project together and we have to work on it."

"Well, can't you work on it at school?" Miranda demanded. Michael sighed.

"No. Mrs. Hughes isn't giving us class time to do it, and Maria's study halls are taken up doing other work. She did get here two months late, you know."

"I can't believe this," Miranda said, crossing her arms stubbornly. "I refuse to believe it."

"Why not? You should be glad. You're always bugging me to do my work. Now I am."

"Yeah, but not with her!" she exclaimed. "She's the kind of person we've spent our whole lives trying to avoid!" Didn't he see how this went against every single unspoken rule they'd ever made over the past three years?

All Michael could do was scowl at her. "Yeah, well, it's not like we're getting married or anything, so calm down, alright?"

Miranda lifted her nose haughtily. "I just think you're going to regret it." Maria DeLuca was very obviously a vapid, shallow, unintelligent, self-centered bitch. The rest of the school thought she was hot stuff; that was enough to reinforce Miranda's opinion.

"Whatever," Michael muttered, turning his attention back to Odysseus. Miranda got weird sometimes, and he'd just learned to kind of go with the flow.

*****

"Hey Isabel."

"Hi." Isabel didn't bother to slow down. Alex was fully capable of trotting after her, and he did.

"Would you like a ride home?"

Isabel bit her lip, and looked around for her brother. Unfortunately, they were sharing her car while his was in the shop. Spotting him, she noted with disgust that Liz was glued to his side. Ugh. She did not need to be exposed to any of their little lovey-dovey moments. "Okay."

Alex felt his heart jump. Yes! He was finally getting her into his car. Progress! "Okay, it's over here." She followed him towards a more remote area of the school parking lot, and patiently stood by an old blue Ford pickup, one of only two cars in the lot. Yuck. Who would drive one of those things around here? Then Isabel heard Alex cough loudly. "Um, Isabel. Over here." She turned around to see Alex standing next to a red Viper, holding the passenger door open.

Ohhh.

Isabel's cheeks tinted pink. "My mistake," she said lightly, sliding into the car. Wow. She never would have expected him to drive one of these. Then again, his dad is a billionaire, she reminded herself. Apparently one with good taste.

Pulling out onto the main road, it dawned on Alex that he had no idea where she lived. "So where do you live?" he asked, looking over at her. She had pulled the little mirror down from the top of the car and was checking her lipstick. Alex wished he could tell her that she always looked beautiful, regardless of whether or not her lipstick was fading.

"Actually, I was thinking you could take me to the Indigo Café," Isabel said quietly, now brushing away some smudged mascara.

"Right. Okay." Alex swallowed. He hoped he wouldn't have to witness her and some guy meeting up. "Are you meeting someone there?"

"No," she replied, flipping the mirror back up. She shook her head almost imperceptibly. "You could stay. If you want," she said coolly.

Alex fought vainly to mask the surprise on his face at her invitation. To most it wouldn't seem like a particularly good one, but that was how Isabel-invitations generally came off. To Alex, it was like a gift sent from heaven.

"Uh, okay," he said carefully. Unfortunately, his brain took that moment to remind itself of band practice that afternoon. "Shit," he muttered under his breath. Isabel looked over at him.

"What?"

"Uh, I've actually got band practice this afternoon..." he said slowly. "But the guys could wait a little while." Yeah, they'd probably be pissed at him. But it was totally worth it.

"I wouldn't want to keep you from your practice," Isabel said. She didn't know what had gotten in to her today. She was way over her three-word limit.

"No, no, it's okay," he assured her. "They won't mind." Well, not too much, anyway.

Isabel shrugged lightly. "If you say so."

*****

"Okay. Let's get this done with," Maria muttered, pulling a pen out of her backpack. She looked up upon hearing the bell ring at the entrance of the café, signaling a new arrival. "Oh, hey. It's Isabel and...some guy," she said, waving at Isabel, who nodded in her direction before ducking into a booth with her tall, lanky companion.

Michael glanced at them briefly. "Oh. Yay."

Maria frowned. "Who is that, anyway?"

Sighing, Michael twisted around in his seat to get a better look. "Alex Whitman. That's kind of weird," he added, mostly to himself.

Maria was shaking her head. "I don't know him. Huh."

"I think he was new last year," Michael supplied, leaning back in his seat. "Okay, ask away."

"Number one," Maria read, twirling her pen in her fingers. "Full name?"

"Michael Branson Guerin. Family name," he added, though he didn't know why he felt like he needed to explain himself to this girl.

Michael was probably the only guy in school who hadn't at some point fantasized about getting it on with Maria DeLuca. She was hot, he'd give her that. But a girl had to have some substance, some intelligent spark in there. It didn't take a genius to see that Maria, with all her petty, nasty friends and expensive parties, didn't have much going on brain-wise. Getting good grades didn't mean shit. In fact, the only girl he knew that did have any common sense was Miranda. But Miranda was, well, definitely not his type.

"Two. Who do you live with?"

Michael tensed at that. "My uncle." Thankfully she didn't ask him to elaborate.

"Three. Favorite ice-cream flavor? These are really random," she murmured to herself.

"Pistachio." He watched her nose crinkle up as she wrote. Not a pistachio fan, obviously.

And the questions went on as usual, at least until number fifteen.

"Fifteen. Have you ever been in love?"

"No." That one was easy.

Maria looked up at him. "What about your girlfriend?"

Michael looked confused. "Girlfriend?"

"Yeah," Maria nodded. "You know, crazy girl who looks like she wants to rip my throat out every time I speak to you?"

Michael stared at her for a few moments, and then laughed. "Wait, you mean Miranda?"

Maria shrugged. "Sure, Miranda. Although Satan sounds like a more fitting name."

Michael shook his head firmly. "Miranda is not my girlfriend," he assured her. "What made you think that?"

"She's just very posessive of you, I guess," Maria said. "Why is that so funny?"

"Miranda is just about the last person who'd ever be romantically linked to me," Michael replied. "She's so...I don't know, weird? Annoying. I mean, she's my friend and all, but I'd never..."

A knowing little grin was spreading across Maria's face. "I think you do like her," she announced. "You just won't admit it to yourself."

Michael looked horrified. "What? No way."

"Yes way," Maria said, her private grin still adorning her face. Michael found himself liking the way her eyes suddenly came to life when she smiled. It was pretty cute.

Wait, Michael thought. Did I just think that?

"Next question," he barked out. Way to change the topic.

Maria rolled her eyes knowingly, and continued down the list.

*****

"Have you seen Maria DeLuca lately?" Dan Ashburn said, passing the ball to Max. Max had finally coerced his friends into a late-night basketball game, so at least that way he wouldn't totally be lying to Liz. "She looks hot, man. How many guys d'you think she did in France or whatever?"

"Shit, she probably lost count," Ben Long cracked, laughing at his own words. Max felt himself growing uncomfortable. Maria wasn't that type of girl. He knew she wasn't. She wouldn't just go off to Europe and sleep around.

"C'mon, she wouldn't do that, she's too picky for that," Max protested, holding the ball. Phil Kingsley shrugged.

"Hey, you'd know man. She slept with you, right?"

Max froze. How did they...? "It's none of your business."

"Ooh," Dan said mockingly. "So you're not the type to kiss and tell?"

"I'm not talking about this with you guys," he muttered. "You're all too fucking high, anyway." Max dropped the basketball and headed over to the bleachers.

"Who, me?" Dan said loudly, and they all cracked up again. Max grabbed his bag and waved his arm quickly in a good-bye.

"I didn't sleep with Maria DeLuca!" he called over his shoulder, sounding a lot more casual about it than he felt. Sighing, Max began the walk back home.

Anxiety about Saturday night was already starting to settle in. It wasn't that he was nervous, it was...well, he didn't know what it was. He was going to have sex with his girlfriend. His virgin girlfriend. Any other guy would be chomping at the bit. In a way, he supposed he was.

Oh well. He was a teenage boy. It didn't take a whole lot to get him horny, no matter who he was with.

tbc...

ooh. the deceit and treachery goes on. ;) tell me what you think!

posted on 26-Aug-2002 9:07:39 PM by alli balli
tons of thanks for the fb! *happy* I'm glad this is getting some sort of attention here, since its not some lovey-dovey M/L fic, lol.

Part 8

Max shuffled into his bedroom, dropping his sports bag by the door. He flopped back onto his bed and was about to flip on the tv when he noticed the light blinking on his answering machine. He pressed it, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling.

"Hey Max." It was Maria. She sounded lonely, and Max felt his pulse grow faster. "It's me, Maria. I was just calling to see if maybe you wanted to hang out or something. No biggie. Um..." She trailed off, hesitant, and Max imagined her biting her lower lip, maybe pushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "Well, yeah, I just wanted to say hi. I haven't really gotten a chance to talk to you yet. See ya." Click. She was gone.

Max groaned, rubbing his hands over his face. Times like this called for food. Lots of it. He dragged himself off of the bed and into the hallway, accidentally bumping into his sister.

"Sorry," he mumbled. Isabel made a little noise of disgust.

"Watch where you're going next time."

Max opened his mouth, ready to retaliate -- and closed it again. "Okay."

Isabel raised an eyebrow suspiciously. "What's wrong, baby brother? Girl troubles?"

You don't know the half of it.

"No," Max said, scowling. Isabel clucked sympathetically -- well, as sympathetic as Isabel Evans could get.

"Yes. It's not Maria DeLuca, is it?"

Max frowned. "Why would it be Maria?"

Isabel looked at him as if he were an idiot. "Come on, Max. Your girlfriend used to be her best friend."

"...And?"

"Oh, I think you know what I'm talking about." Max stopped and watched in befuddlement as Isabel continued to saunter down the hall.

Fucking unbelievable. Even his sister knew?

*****

Maria entered the library quietly, slipping her hall pass into the little time-stamper. She had study hall, and hopefully the library would be more peaceful than her homeroom, where it had felt like every pair of eyes was trained on her.

Walking past a stack of books, a table nearly hidden from view at the end of the room caught her eye. A lean body with dark hair was hunched over a textbook, apparently taking notes. She took a step closer and realized that it was the same boy she'd seen Isabel with yesterday. Alan...Alex. Alex something. Alex Something, who'd moved to Roswell after she'd gone. Alex Something, who, she hoped, had no idea who she was.

Score one for Maria.

"Hi," she whispered, setting her books down on the table next to his. "Can I sit here?"

Alex looked up in surprise. He hadn't realized that anyone else at Puhlman even knew that the library existed. "Sure," he said at normal volume, shifting his papers to the side so that she had more room. "It's okay, you can talk normally. We're the only ones here."

Maria frowned. "Isn't there a librarian?"

"She's outside having a smoke," Alex said off-handedly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Maria laughed softly, and he grinned. "Gotta love private schools. By the way, I'm Alex Whitman."

Maria smiled and shook his hand. "I'm -"

"Maria DeLuca. I know who you are. Everyone knows who you are."

Maria tensed slightly. "Oh. I see my reputation precedes me."

Alex winked at her. "Don't worry. I don't believe a word I've heard." Maria let herself relax, a relieved smile apparent on her face.

"So you're friends with Isabel?" she asked, opening her history text but paying it no attention. Alex scrunched up his face.

"Eh, well, that's debatable," he said. "She's the one who calls the shots on that."

"What do you mean?"

Alex shrugged. "She lets me carry her books and stuff. And yesterday I drove her home. But we don't, like, hang out or anything."

"She lets you carry her books?" Maria repeated. "How is that a good thing?"

Alex sighed. "I don't know. It's not."

"No, it definitely isn't," Maria said, raising her eyebrows. "You know, like, Isabel really isn't that great of a catch anyway."

"She is when you're desperately in love with her and have been for the past fourteen months, two days and seven hours," he moaned, dropping his head on the table.

Maria laughed. "Okay, that's bordering on creepy," she said. Alex grinned.

"Well, I kinda made the days and hours thing up." He lifted his head off of the table. He shrugged. "I just like being nice to her, that's all." He leaned his head in closer to Maria's. "I want to know the real Isabel Evans. I know she's locked in there somewhere. I just need to find the key."

Maria smiled. "Well, I think that's sweet. Just don't let her take advantage of you, okay?"

Alex laughed ruefully. "Too late."

Maria placed a hand on his arm. "No, I'm serious. Why should you sit around waiting for her? There are plenty of girls who I'm sure would love to go out with you sometime. Make her jealous," she said deviously.

Alex shook his head. "If by plenty of girls you mean none, then you're absolutely right."

"Come on," Maria protested. "You're cute. You're nice. You're smart. And if you go to Puhlman, I'm assuming you're rich. What's not to like?"

Alex lifted his arms and waved them around the room. "Maria, take a look around. Until this very moment, I was the single solitary student in this entire school that knew this place existed. I'm a geek." He laughed. "I accept it. I embrace it."

Maria shook her head firmly. "You're only a geek if you think you're one."

"Which I do," he added quickly.

"No, no, no," she sighed. "You want to know why I think you don't have girls falling at your feet?"

Alex pretended to consider it. "Hmm...could it be...I'm a geek?"

"Nope." She poked a finger into his chest. "They're scared of Isabel."

Alex stared at her for a moment, and then burst into laughter. "Isabel? What do they have to be scared of? Her bright red nails of death? Her pepperspray?"

"You said it yourself, Alex. You're hers. Isabel knows it, and obviously likes it or she would have cut you loose ages ago. Can you imagine how she'd react if another girl popped up on the scene and took you away?" Maria was nodding her head enthusiastically. "She'd flip out. Ah ah ah." She stalled his protests with her finger. "If you weren't hanging around Isabel all the time you'd have dates lined up until graduation, I guarantee it."

Alex rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

"Alex. Following around a girl like a puppy dog is not attractive. Take it from me, I'd know." Maria tilted her head to the side, her eyes wandering to the clock on the far wall. "Shit. I gotta run. But keep it in mind, okay?" She flashed him a brilliant smile as she grabbed her books and disappeared from the little corner, waving to him.

Alex leaned back in his seat, chewing on the end of his pen thoughtfully. Maybe Maria was right. Maybe he should give Isabel a little taste of her own medicine.

*****

"Max! Max, wait up!" Max stopped in his tracks and turned around in time to see a whirlwind of blonde hair running towards him. Maria halted just short of crashing into him, her face slightly flushed from the jog. "I haven't seen you all week. Where have you been?" she said breathlessly.

Max smiled lazily, already finding himself lost in those deep green eyes. "Around. How are you?" He bent over and gave her a quick hug.

"I'm good, I'm good," Maria said, her eyes dancing around the hallway as she leaned in closer to whisper. "Um, can I talk to you about something? Like, in private."

Max nodded. "Uh, sure, yeah." He looked around at the available spaces, his eyes landing on the infamous Eraser Room door. He swallowed. "In here." He placed his hand on her forearm, leading her into the room, careful that none of the wrong people saw them enter together.

Miranda Donnelly stood quietly by her locker, watching them.

Maria gently lowered herself to the floor, gesturing for Max to join her. She began hesitantly. "Have you noticed anything strange about Liz lately?"

Um, hello. Who hasn't?

Max frowned. "What do you mean?"

"I feel like she hates me or something," Maria confessed sadly, looking down at her hands. "Ever since I got back she either ignores me or just makes these really catty remarks. Do you think she knows about the summer?" Maria blurted out, her big green eyes blinking furiously.

Max took in a sharp breath. Well, everyone else does. "I never told her," he said honestly. "The summer" didn't quite describe what Maria was referring to. It wasn't like they had fucked each other for three months straight.

Maria nodded. "Okay. That's really all I wanted to know. And that wouldn't really be it anyway, right? I mean, she'd know that it didn't mean anything at all, we're just friends." She smiled at him, trying to lighten the somber mood, all the while his heart breaking into little pieces. "So, been sailing recently?"

*****

"Hey, Hannah," Kyle hissed, reaching out and tapping the tall redhead on her arm. "Can I ask you a favor?"

Hannah turned and smiled at him. "Sure, Kyle. What is it?"

Kyle glanced quickly behind him down the hall. Shit. He better make this quick. "Look, I'm gonna ask you out right now, and you gotta make a big deal over it, okay? Like, be loud. Please?" He gave her his best puppy eyes, and despite her slightly confused smile, she nodded.

"Oh. Um, sure." She stood there, facing him, waiting for him to make his move.

Kyle jumped slightly. "Oh! Right. Um, so Hannah," he began loudly. "Would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight?" He held his breath, not daring to move his eyeballs from her face. He didn't want a certain blonde to know that this was a set-up.

A fake, cheesy grin spread across Hannah's pretty features, and she clutched a hand to her chest dramatically. "Oh, Kyle!" she exclaimed, drawing heads from both ends of the hallway. "Of course I'd love to go out with you!" Kyle tried not to cringe. Maybe he'd been a little hasty in going with Hannah Hamill as his choice actress just because she was related to the Star Wars dude. "What time?"

Kyle finally dared to allow himself to scan his eyes quickly around the hallway. His heart sank in disappointment when it became clear that not only was Tess Harding not watching the encounter with a shocked and disappointed look of longing and desire, but she was in the middle of chatting up some other guy. He looked back up at Hannah sadly, sighing.

"Seven?"

tbc...

posted on 6-Sep-2002 11:36:43 PM by alli balli
thanks for the fb! *happy*

elena - nope, not a Max/Maria fic, although there might be some instances of those 2 together. But I have to say that it's also not a particularly dreamer-happy fic. I'm not an M/L fan in any sense of the word...but who knows, things could turn out very well for them, or very badly. You'll just have to wait and see.

The only couple I really do ship are M/M, but its fun writing the other ones for this fic. ;)

Part 9

"So, Ms. DeLuca," Mr. Wernberger peered at Maria through his thick aviator glasses. "What extracurricular activities are you involved in?"

Maria squirmed slightly in her chair. She was in the middle of a meeting with her guidance counselor, discussing the impending college application time.

"Hmm?" he pressed, holding his red pen in the air. Larry Wernberger was really a revolting man. All the girls knew to watch out for him. If you didn't cross your legs, he'd take a peek up your uniform while he "dropped" his pencil. Right.

"Actually, I haven't had the chance to join in on anything yet," Maria said smoothly, re-crossing her legs. Translation: I'm a non-participating bum who will probably end up in community college.

Mr. Wernberger's eyebrows raised slightly as he made a mark on his paper. "I see. Then we'd better get you involved in something, hadn't we?"

Maria nodded firmly. "Oh, yes."

"Tell me, what are you interested in? What are you interested in becoming? Do you have any idea where you'd like to go next fall?"

Behind Maria's cool facade was a head full of sheer panic. Why hadn't she thought about this type of crap before? Well, no, it wasn't crap -- it was her future.

"I like to sing," she offered weakly. Seeing that she had nothing else to add, he nodded, leaning forward to mark his paper again. Maria could just imagine what he was writing: Loser.

"Well, that's a start, I suppose," he said somewhat disdainfully. "You could try a school of the arts." He capped his pen with a loud click. "Though you don't have much chance of getting in without a single extracurricular. Let's look over your options, shall we?" He pulled a folder out from a stack on his desk. "Let's see. The select choral group has already had its auditions, although I suppose if you're very good Ms. Linton may let you in." Maria nodded, trying to look enthusiastic. "I see you're doing well in European History. How would you feel about tutoring?"

Maria bit her lip. Tutoring? God, she probably didn't have the patience for that. But the way things were going, it didn't look like she had much choice. "Sure, I'd love that," she said pleasantly. "I always like to help out my fellow peers when I can."

"Okay. Good. Great. I'll have all the information sent to your homeroom tomorrow," Mr. Wernberger said, offering her a small smile. Maria planted both feet back on the floor, ready to leave. "Oh, look at that. I've dropped my pen."

Maria stood up quickly and backed away from the desk. "Um, thanks Mr. Wernberger!" she said, already halfway out the door.

*****

Isabel stood patiently by her desk, her books already stacked and ready for Alex to grab them. Imagine her surprise when Alex walked right past them and out the door.

Isabel's eyes widened. "Alex!"

He stopped just short of the hallway, turning around and leaning in the doorway. "Oh, hey Isabel."

Isabel looked at him somewhat expectantly. Alex just looked right back. He fidgeted slightly. "Um, did you want to say something? 'Cause I gotta go, I'm meeting someone," he explained.

Isabel didn't know what to say. She flicked a piece of hair behind her shoulder, attempting to maintain her cool. "No, nothing," she said casually. "I was just saying hello."

Alex smiled warmly. "Oh, okay. Thanks. I'll see ya." With a small wave he turned and walked out the door.

Gathering her books off of the desktop, Isabel frowned, wondering exactly what had just happened.

*****

"Hey, Kyle," Tess said casually, sidling up next to him at his locker. "Having a good day?"

Kyle's heart pounded. Maybe she had noticed after all! "Yeah, 'sok," he replied noncommittally.

"Oh, well, I just wanted to congratulate you on your date," she said cheerfully. "Hannah's a sweet girl. I think you'll like her."

Kyle coughed. "Um, yeah. Me too."

She patted him on the shoulder soundly. "Have fun tonight, okay?" She flashed him a smile before bouncing off down the hallway.

Kyle gave her a meek goodbye and turned back to his locker miserably. He tries to make her jealous, and she ends up happy for him? How could it possibly get any more fucked up?

Oh, Kyle. If only you knew.

Tess giggled to herself under her breath. This was just too easy. Why hadn't she thought of this before? She enjoyed a good chase, obviously men did too. Kyle was mistaken if he thought he could entice her by dating other girls, though. As if Hannah Hamill was a threat to Tess Harding. Maybe in another universe.

*****

"Mr. Guerin." Mr. Wernberger leaned forward across his desk, a frown etched in his forehead. Michael sighed internally. He'd heard this little speech a million times, and it never helped anything, so why did they bother?

"Yes."

"Mr. Guerin," he repeated, clearing his throat. "You have a C-average in all your classes at best, and no extracurriculars. How do you expect to get into a good college?"

Michael shrugged. "I don't."

This seemed to startle the guidance counselor. "What do you mean, you don't?"

"I do not expect to get into a good college. I know I'm gonna end up at some shitty little school."

Mr. Wernberger stared at him, apparently deciding to let the language he'd used slip. "And you don't care about this fact?"

Michael shrugged again. "I guess not."

Mr. Wernberger shuffled a few papers around on his desk. "Well, don't you care about the fact that your parents paid for you to have an excellent education, and you're wasting their hard-earned money?"

"I don't have parents," he said shortly. Mr. Wernberger seemed to pale.

"Oh, yes. That's right. I apologize." He looked down at a paper quickly. "You live with your uncle. That's right." It took all of Michael's self-control not to smirk at the man's reddening face. To be honest, he really didn't care when somebody made an off-handed remark about his parents; but it was kind of fun to watch them embarass themselves over it. Michael leaned back slightly in his chair.

"So, 's this meeting over?"

Mr. Wernberger looked at him sternly. "Not so fast. I'm assuming you at least would like to graduate this year, correct?" Michael nodded. "Good. So far you do have the grades to pass -- barely. And you're failing European History. If you don't get that credit, you don't graduate. Capiche?"

Michael nodded disinterestedly. "Capiche." Who said that anymore?

"I'm going to fix you up with a student tutor. How does that sound?"

"Fine," Michael sighed. A tutor? Great, some geek with too much time on his hands. Oh well, he'd just blow it off anyway. "Can I leave now?"

Frowning, Mr. Wernberger nodded begrudgingly. "Yeah, you can go. Get out of here." Michael smiled to himself softly as he exited the stuffy office.

tbc...
posted on 12-Oct-2002 5:39:07 PM by alli balli
tons of thanks to roswellluver, elena, clueless, lizparkerevans, cinder, dreamforever, & searchingthestars!

elena - thank you so much for bumping this so many times!

I'm sorry that I haven't updated this, everyone. :( Also sorry that this is only the first part of a whole part (aka its shortish.) I promise to have the rest back in less than a month. [lol]

Oh, also wanted to do a random plug for my new fic archive. [url=http://golden.star-gazers.net]Golden Shoes. go. read. :D I have quite a few other fics that I definitely doubt any of the people on this board have read, cause I generally only post at other boards.

Part 10A

"Hi, Kyle." Kyle looked up from his locker to the redhead standing beside him.

"Oh. Hey." He attempted a grin.

Hannah stood there for a moment, biting her lip. "Um, so you know the whole thing yesterday..."

"Oh, yeah," he said quickly. "Sorry about that."

She pursed her lips slightly. "Well, actually, I was wondering if maybe you'd still like to go out for dinner tonight."

Kyle paused his movements of loading books into his backpack for a moment. Tess Harding was pretty much off-the-menu. And Hannah wasn't too bad herself. She probably didn't have quasi-rapist tendencies. This could work.

Kyle looked back at a fidgety Hannah and smiled. "Sure, I'd love to."

Her face lit up immediately. "Great! So, I know you're new in town and all, I guess you don't really know any good places to go yet?"

Kyle shrugged, closing his locker. "I can ask around. I mean, I'm treating you, not the other way around." He shrugged his backpack over his shoulder. "See you at seven?"

Hannah grinned, flashing brilliant white teeth his way. "Sure."

*****

Isabel dropped her head gently against the back of the plush girl's room sofa. She had a terrible headache, and of course if any of the staff found her downing Advils she'd be suspended for "drug" possession. At least she wasn't stuck in a nasty public high school. She'd heard about those schools. Sometimes the bathroom stalls didn't even have toilet paper.

Major ew.

Her teeth grinded in frustration as the door creaked open and a trio of short brunettes entered the bathroom, giggling amongst themselves. Couldn't a girl have a moment of peace in the fucking bathroom? And did they all have to be short and brunette and annoying like her brother's ubiquitous girlfriend?

Hardly taking notice of Isabel in her disgruntled state on the couch, the girls moved down to the opposite end of the rather spacious ladies room. "Did you see that new guy?" one of them whispered excitedly, adjusting her Wonderbra beneath her red cowl-necked top. Isabel rolled her eyes. Kyle Valenti wasn't anything special, at least not by her standards. He was definitely weird. What kind of teenage male wouldn't want to get laid by Tess Harding?

One of the others nodded vigorously. "Omigod. So. Cute. And did you know he's in a band?"

"That is so hot," the third murmured wistfully. Isabel's brow furrowed slightly. Kyle? Band? That was news.

"What's his name again?"

"Um...Alex? Alex Whitman. Yeah. I think."

It was all Isabel could do to prevent her jaw from hitting the tiled ground.

Girls? In a tizzy over Alex Whitman? The same slave-like dork who carried her books for her every day?

Although come to think of it, he hadn't been at her locker waiting for her this morning. She hadn't even seen him until she'd arrived late to class.

Oh, who cares. Alex Whitman was obsessed over she, Isabel Evans, and certainly nothing was going to change that.

"Alex Whitman isn't a new guy," Isabel announced matter-of-factly from her perch on the sofa. The three girls turned to look at her in surprise, exchanging glances with one another.

"Um, I've never seen him before," the one in red said slowly. The other two nodded in agreement.

"Um, that's because you never paid attention before," Isabel replied mockingly. God. Who did these girls think they were?

The trio looked at one another again. "Um, okay," one of them said dismissively, and they left quickly.

Isabel slumped back in her seat again, grabbing her purse roughly. ⊕#%$ authority. She needed a freaking Motrin.

*****

Liz flipped the pages in her notebook quickly as she heard Samantha and Lisa's voices approaching. That was definitely not something they needed to see.

"Hey Liz," Lisa chirped, sliding in at the picnic table across from her. "Did you see Maria today? She's wearing her hair in French-braided pigtails." She rolled her eyes. "I mean, hello, aren't we past that by now?"

"Um, yeah, gross," Liz murmured distractedly. Lisa and Samantha exchanged a look. Samantha leaned across the table and raised her eyebrows, achieving a pseudo-serious-yet-mental-patient-ish look.

"Earth to Liz. Since when are you not up for serious Maria-trashing?"

Since I have more important things to think about, Liz nearly snapped. Such as planning her big night. Lisa and Samantha wouldn't understand. They had yet to feel the encompassing light and warmth that was Love. "Um, I'm not feeling too well. Do you think maybe you guys could just leave me alone for a little while? Gather my thoughts and stuff?" she said apologetically, adding a small, pathetic cough for effect. Their faces immediately became sympathetic.

"Of course! I don't know what we were thinking. See ya." Liz kept up a slightly miserable expression until they had disappeared from her line of sight, and then whipped out her notebook once again.

Location? Check. Time? Still to-be-determined, though it wasn't really important. Outfit? Check. Mood music? Check. Brazilian wax? Check. And ouch. Candles?...She knew she'd been forgetting something.

Liz checked her watch. She only had three more classes left, so afterwards she could hop on over to Frieda's Naturals and pick up some of their aromatherapy candles. She made a mental note to look up the most stimulating scents during her history work period.

Suddenly spotting Max across the lawn, she shoved her things into her purse and chased after his retreating form in a manner as ladylike as possible. "Max," she gasped breathily, finally reaching his side. He stopped in surprise at the touch of her hand on his arm.

"Oh. Hey." He bent down and kissed her cheek quickly. "You look like you just ran a marathon. What's going on?"

Liz tensed slightly. 'You look like you ran a marathon'? What kind of greeting was that for the girl you planned to make love to in just over 48 hours? She shoved the thought aside quickly and smiled at him. "Oh, I was just excited to see you."

"Oh." Max was squinting off into the horizon distractedly. "Look, can I catch you later? I'm kind of supposed to meet the guys..." he trailed off.

Liz pursed her lips for a moment. Eventually they were going to have to have a talk about this whole friends thing. "The guys" took up an awful lot of Max's time. "Of course," she said calmly. "Have fun." She slinked her arms around his neck, pulling him down for one last kiss. Mmm. If nothing else, his kisses were worth it.

She stood quietly as she watched him jog off in the opposite direction towards the soccer field. Sighing softly, she turned to head inside the building.

*****

Maria was pissed.

Here she was, going out of her way to help some poor student with an inability to grasp the simple concepts of European history, and the jackass was ten minutes late.

So what if she was getting some personal gain? It was their grade that hung in the balance, not hers.

Cradling her head in her arms on the wooden tabletop, she allowed her thoughts to drift back to the day so far. She knew she'd been right in her advice to Alex. Girls had been whispering about him all day in the hallways. And she'd definitely seen a distinctly grumpy-looking Isabel Evans appear from the bathroom right after fifth period. Things seemed to be going pretty well for Alex so far.

Too bad she couldn't say the same for herself.

Maria had been surprised to find that she'd scored a 69 on her last calc test. She'd thought she'd known everything from the chapter. Of course, she'd also thought that Liz Parker, her best friend in the world, would be pleased to see her when she got back from boarding school. Bad grades, no friends...what was looking up for Maria DeLuca these days?

Well, maybe when she graduated she could get a syndicated column like "Dear Abby" or something. Her advice had worked well for Alex, at least.

The library door creaked open loudly, and Maria slowly picked her head off of the table. Blegh. Just Michael Guerin.

Wait...Michael Guerin?

tbc...

posted on 5-Nov-2002 9:11:05 PM by alli balli
quote:
JBehrsGurl originally wrote:
p.s. How ironic is it that this is on the Dreamer board? lol


[lol] I know I was thinking the same thing. Obviously they organized these things at random...not that I'm complaining. I figure more people check the Dreamer board than the CC one anyway. Hear that, mods? it's dreamerific! :D

anyway, just wanted to say the rest of part 10 will be out soon! I'm sorry it's taken so long. I tend to do this (be all good & updating at first and then slowly...taper...off.) But actually I was just working on it last night and then checked it and it was getting bumped suddenly. Yay. so yes, you won't have to wait much longer for the next part. it should be up by the end of the week.
posted on 6-Nov-2002 8:03:14 PM by alli balli
thanks to elena, stardustdreamer, roswellluver, searchingthestars, & b4eachstarrynight! *big*

elena - aw thanks for nominating it! thats so cool. hehe.

I'm sorry this took so long. *sad* I really need to get my fic writing together, lol. This is kind of short...after all, its only the 2nd half of part 10. its also mostly M/M. I couldnt help myself, heh.

finally, a plug for my fic "Other Blondes" which can be found at my site here: http://star-gazers.net/golden It's nominated for Best UC fic at Roswell Desert Skies ( http://roswelldesertskies.com ) so, if you have read it and like it, it would be just lovely if you voted for it. *big*

Part 10B

Michael shuffled down the hallway slowly, listlessly kicking a yellow Skittle he'd found on the floor. M had asked him to go for pizza after school, but Maria DeLuca's comment from the other day had popped into his head and he'd fumbled for an excuse not to. Michael didn't want to think about the possibility of Miranda being...interested in him. It was just...weird. He didn't know what to think of it. He wasn't real big on emotions, and he didn't want to deal with the possibility of becoming interested in her himself.

The only plausible excuse he'd been able to come up with was the tutoring session. Thus, he was stuck heading towards the library, a few minutes late for his first tutoring session.

Oh well. They could wait. It wasn't like the geek was getting paid by the hour or anything.

Giving the Skittle one last swift kick, Michael stopped and turned to face the large wooden library doors. He sighed. He couldn't even recall the last time he'd been in there. He reached out his hand and grasped the handle, wincing slightly at the loud creaking noise that followed. God. Like he needed to announce his arrival.

Michael frowned as he descended the small staircase leading down into the main area of the library. There was nobody in here. No, wait...shit. Maria DeLuca, again. What was she doing here? "What are you doing here?" he blurted out.

Maria's mouth had fallen slightly open, and she immediately snapped it shut. "Don't tell me you're here for tutoring," she said, scrunching up her nose. Michael scowled.

"Deal with it." Yanking out a chair angrily, he collapsed across the table from her. "So. Tutor."

Maria eyed him warily. "You're late." Michael shrugged dismissively. "Don't you have a book or something?" Apparently not. "Figures. What are you doing in class?"

Michael scratched his eyebrow. "Uh...Hitler? Communists?"

Maria rolled her eyes. "Oh boy."

"Shut up."

"I'm the tutor here, I'm the one doing the talking. You shut up."

"Whatever. This is stupid, I'm leaving." Michael was halfway out of his seat when Maria lunged desperately across the table, grabbing onto his sleeve.

"No!" she exclaimed, stretching her neck so that she could see him from her stomach-down position on the table. They locked eyes for a split second, and then Maria began to laugh hysterically.

*****

Tess puckered her lips and blew herself a kiss in the mirror with a loud smack. She looked good today. Her skin was clear and healthy-looking, her eyes were vibrant and awake, and her hair bounced with every movement of her head. A certain new boy in town wouldn't be able to resist her when she happened to show up at his apartment for a "meeting" with his stepsister.

Mr. Harding's voice rang from outside in the hallway. "Tess, Isabel is here for you!"

"Send her in!" Tess called back, pinching her cheeks. Okay, so it was only three-thirty, and she was paying a call to the DeLuca-Valenti household at seven. She could still take some time to prepare, right?

Isabel entered the bathroom quickly, shutting the door behind her. "Your dad was staring at my boobs," she grumbled.

"Yeah, well, what else is news," Tess said dismissively. "So what's going on?"

Isabel slumped against the sink, crossing her arms. She tossed her long blond hair, taking care to maintain her composure despite the fact that she looked and felt miserable. "Nothing. Today was just shit."

"That sucks," Tess mumbled, piling her hair on top of her head for a moment and then letting it fall loose once more around her shoulders. "Up or down?"

"Down," Isabel replied automatically. "Where are you going?"

"The DeLuca-Valenti family home," Tess enunciated, smacking her lips together.

Isabel raised one eyebrow, her interest slightly perked. "Oh really. Why?"

Tess shrugged innocently. "Maria has to help me with my math homework."

"Uh huh. Tell The Asexual One I say hi," Isabel said skeptically. "I heard he had a date tonight, anyway."

Tess looked at Isabel in the mirror disbelievingly. "Oh, please. With who?"

"I dunno...Hannah something?" Isabel shrugged, looking through Tess' nail polish drawer. Isabel had a definite nail polish fetish.

"Hannah Hamill?" Tess said. "Oh, that's no big deal. He was just asking her out to make me jealous," she finished, smiling to herself.

Isabel laughed. "Jealous? Please."

"I know," Tess said, grinning. "He'd better come up with something better than that by tonight, or I just might be over there for a math session after all."

*****

Michael stared down at the girl on the table in front of him, somewhat disturbed. Okay, if sending her into hysterics was the result of his tardiness, he'd make sure not to be late again. "Uh, okay," he said to no one in particular, pulling his sleeve away from her grasp.

Maria's laughter quickly subsided as she rolled onto her back, catching her breath. "Sorry," she panted. "It's just...I looked so stupid." A random giggle escaped her lips again.

"Uh, no, that's fine," Michael assured her uneasily. Weren't there background checks for people at a school like this? Weren't the schizophrenic ones supposed to take medication or something? "I guess you um, don't...really...want to tutor anymore. Bye."

"No no no!" Maria said quickly. "I'm sorry. I'm not like that all the time, really. Please stay. I need this," she said earnestly, looking up at him with big green eyes. She was kneeling on the table now. Michael felt his mouth twitch, but quickly repressed anything that may have resembled a smile. "I'm under a lot of stress right now and I sort of exploded for a second to get it out. I promise. I won't hurt you," she said, smiling hopefully at him.

"Alright," Michael finally agreed, stiffly moving back to his seat. Maria beamed at him from her perch on the desk, and leaned forward, throwing her arms around his neck in a hug. Michael tentatively patted her on the back, but his eyes were immediately drawn to the library doors, where Miranda stood, tear-streaked and frantic.

"Miranda?" he said, confused. Maria let go of him, turning her head towards the entrance.

Miranda took a small step forward. "Um, my Dad is in the hospital," she said shakily. "I just got a call from my sister and I don't have a ride so I was wondering if maybe you could take me," she finished in a hoarse whisper. She pressed her lips together tightly, her eyes watering again as she spoke the words aloud.

Michael shot up out of his seat. "Of course." He rushed up the steps to his friend, laying a comforting arm around her shoulders, though somewhat awkwardly. He glanced back down to the table for a moment. "Um, Maria, I'm sorry..."

"No, that's okay," she said quickly. "Go, go, go. Miranda, I hope your dad is okay," she said sincerely. Michael nodded at her gratefully, and Maria sat back on her heels as she watched the pair leave.

tbc...

like it? *happy*