posted on 16-Sep-2001 2:27:54 PM by dancepixie
Complicated Circumstances

Authors: Nikki (dancepixie) and Michelle (pegleg)

Disclaimer: We are poor college students who wish they owned Roswell, but unfortunately don’t. We merely obsess over the show and read and write fanfic about it since that is all we can do with no money in our little pockets!

Rating: PG-13 to R depending on how things go…we’re not really sure.

Category: AU, cause we love AU! Mostly Michael and Maria cause they are my fave couple, and Max and Liz cause they are Michelle’s fave couple. But also Alex and Isabel and Kyle and Tess. A little bit of all the CC’s.

Summary: We got the idea for this story while watching Pride and Prejudice, the long A&E version. I love that movie! Anyways, we talked about modernizing it, and then the idea sort of ran away with us. So this story is very loosely based on the movie and book, but also different. Maria and Liz are roommates in college and Alex lives in their apartment building. Michael and Max are also roommates living in a giant mansion all to themselves. Isabel is Michael’s younger sister and she comes to stay with him for a little while. Kyle and Tess will be in this story, and Tess is good, so no worries.

Authors Note: Okay, so the way we are writing this, we are taking turns writing each part and we aren’t letting each other know what we’re writing until they read it when it is posted on the board. So sometimes it might take a little longer to get the next part out, but that’s also because we are juggling this story and college classes, so just bear with us, but it should be a fun ride!


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 1

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Liz! The toilet’s clogged again!” Maria yelled from the bathroom. This had happened many times before; it wasn’t much of a surprise to either of the girls.

“Well then call Alex!” Liz replied automatically.

“But I called him last time!” she whined. “It’s your turn to call him!”

“Fine.” Liz picked up the phone and hit speed dial one. After talking to Alex for a few minutes, she hung up the phone and turned to her friend. “All right, he’s coming over in a few minutes. He was in the middle of writing a computer program, so for disturbing him I promised that he could come into the café and bug us at work and mooch off of us.”

“Its not like he doesn’t do that anyways,” Maria laughed. Alex was their best friend here at school. He lived down stairs in their apartment building and had been the first nice person they met when they arrived. He helped them move in when they were complete strangers, and since then, the three of them were inseparable. Alex had a great sense of humor and this knack for knowing when the girls needed him. He always had a shoulder to cry on or just an ear to listen. He was the ideal big brother in their eyes.

“The plumbing man arriveth!” they heard shouted from the door, causing them to erupt in fits of giggles. Neither got up to answer the door because two seconds later, in stepped their knight with his shining plunger. “So, I hear you damsels are in quite a distress! Now tell me, what have you fair ladies broken this time?” he queried in a fake English accent with a sly smile. He couldn’t help but tease them. They were always calling him when anything went wrong. He didn’t mind though, he was happy to help his friends.

“Will you can it already and fix the darn thing…I’m dying here!” Maria pleaded as she kinda bounced from foot to foot, letting him know how much she really really needed him to fix the toilet!

“Then I am off to slay the mighty toilet dragon!” Pointing his plunger down the hall towards the bathroom, he was off in a dash. Liz laughed even more after looking up at Maria’s face only to be silenced a moment later by the glare she got.

“What did I do?” Liz asked innocently.

Maria just grumbled and plopped down on the couch to wait for Alex to finish. It wasn’t even two minutes before Alex came out triumphantly and was nearly knocked down in the hall as Maria sped past him in her mad dash.

“What’s her problem?” he asked Liz as he sat beside her at the table.

“Oh, she was just in a hurry to use the bathroom, and she felt you were taking way too long,” she informed him.

“What?! It didn’t even take me two minutes! I mean with all the practice the two of you guys give me, I’d say I’m becoming quite good at it. You know, if the whole computer programming thing falls through, I’ll always have my abilities in plumbing to fall back on!” he joked.

When Maria returned to the sofa they all talked for a while and made plans for that evening. Both of the girls had to work from noon till eight that evening, but they made plans to go out and maybe see a movie or something together. In all truth, none of them cared about what they really did, they just enjoyed spending time with one another.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael! Did you drink the last of the cherry pepsi?” Max yelled from the massive kitchen.

“Yeah, so?” Michael spoke as he walked through the doorway onto the tiled floor.

“Well did you think about letting Rosie know so that she could get some when she did the weekly shopping? No! Because otherwise there would be some!” Max fumed. He really wanted his cherry pepsi. It was an addiction, but a good one. He didn’t really care if he was acting like a kid…he just wanted his cherry pepsi!

“Chill Maxwell. It’s just soda! Besides, you could go up to the store yourself, or run up to the café when you go to campus. It’s really not that hard to find soda in this town.” Michael casually walked past his friend to the extra large refrigerator and grabbed a Dr Pepper before turning and walking out of the room, leaving Max all by himself to realize how ridiculous he was being.



[ edited 72time(s), last at 19-Feb-2003 3:05:23 AM ]
posted on 16-Sep-2001 2:34:15 PM by CRAZY 4 MAX
Great start you two!!!!! Cannot wait
to read more soon?????????????????

Veronica
posted on 16-Sep-2001 2:57:21 PM by FehrBehr
That was a great start, can't wait for more.
-Jen


Definition destroys, there's nothing definite in this world ~Bob Dylan~
posted on 16-Sep-2001 11:36:21 PM by Pegleg
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 2

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Liz,” Maria called to her friend across the café. “Number 10’s up.” Liz was taking care of the tables while Maria was working the register. They both worked in a little café located on campus. Well actually, it was more of a convenient store that served food and coffee. It served as both a café and store in one, which made it a popular place with most of the students on campus.

They were particularly busy at the moment and since one of the other waitresses had called in sick, Liz and Maria were left to run the café by themselves. It was a madhouse, and this is what Alex found himself walking into as he came to visit his two favorite people at work.

“Whoa! You ladies look like you could use some help.”

“Oh Alex, would you?” Liz asked in exasperation. “I would love you forever.”

“You already love me, but I’ll do it anyway,” Alex said as he walked up behind the counter to take care of the next order.

“Thanks so much Alex, I owe you big time.”

“What are best friends for?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Twenty minutes later, the three friends were sprawled out in a heap on a couch, the café now completely empty.

“Explain to me how the hell this place is crammed with everybody and their mom one minute and no one the next.”

“Well, Maria,” Alex started. “That is part of the joy of serving the campus crowd, everyone comes in between classes.”

“But I thought that classes didn’t start till tomorrow,” Liz rationalized. “Plus, it’s seven o’clock.”

“Ok, you got me there. Then why such the rush, oh wise one?”

“I don’t know.” Liz said with a shrug, not really caring one way or the other.

Just then the door opened and a customer entered the café, sitting down at one of the small tables.

Maria looked over at Liz, a sickeningly sweet smile on her face.

“Don’t worry Maria. I got it,” Liz said, getting up and shaking her head at her best friend’s antics.

“Thanks babe. I love ya.”

“Uh huh. Just remember that next time.”

Liz grabbed her order pad out of her apron and made her way over to the table where the only customer in the restaurant was sitting.

“Hi, my name is Liz. I’ll be your server today. What can I get you?” It wasn’t until then that Liz lifted her head and her breath caught in her throat, for the first time getting a good look at the stranger sitting in front of her.

Max couldn’t speak. He was in awe of the beauty in front of him. She was beyond words. Why had he never seen her before? Sure he wasn’t a regular customer, but he had been in here a few times. Ok, maybe it was only once or twice. He had come here to get some Cherry Pepsi to feed his addiction and thought that he might as well have some coffee while he was here, since Michael had decided to finish that off as well. He really didn’t know what he was going to do with him…

It was a while before Max realized that he had been staring. ‘God, she must think that I’m a total pervert, checking her out like that.’

“I’ll just have a regular mocha cappuccino.”

“What…oh right,” Liz said, a blush spreading across her face. ‘I can’t believe that I was just staring at him. Can I be any more obvious?’ “Will there be anything else?”

“No that’s all, thank you.”

“I’ll be right back with your drink.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz returned several minutes later with Max’s cappuccino. “Can I get you anything else?”

“No, that’s it. Thank you.”

“Alright, just let me know when you’re ready to pay and I’ll ring you up,” Liz said as she began to turn and head back to her friends.

“No!” Max shouted a little too anxiously. “I mean…if you’re not busy, I’d love some company. But I completely understand if you don’t want to. Your under no obligation to…” Max got out in a hurry, but she silenced his ramblings by sitting down in the seat across from him.

“So,” she began, “Are you a student here…um…I’m sorry I didn’t get you name?”

“Oh, it’s Max. And yeah, this will be my second year here. How ‘bout you?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex and Maria watched the exchange between their friend and this mystery man with interest. Liz wasn’t one to get involved. In fact, she rarely dated, saying that she didn’t want anything to interfere with her studies. It took everything just to get her to go out with them during the week. Seeing Liz so openly attracted to someone was not something that they saw every day.

“Well, this is new.” Maria stated.

“Yeah…” Alex started as they both continued to watch the two with peaked interest.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So…” Max started with obvious discomfort. They had talked for almost half an hour now, and he was already late in meeting Michael, but he just didn’t want to let this angel out of his sight. “I was wondering…if you’d maybe want to go out tonight…with me?” Max asked, not realizing he was holding his breath.

“Oh,” Liz said, obvious disappointment in her voice. “I’d love to…really I would…but I kind of already have plans tonight.”

Max let out a sigh, expelling the breath he had been holding. ‘Of course she already has plans. Anyone that beautiful must have a boyfriend.’ He continued on in a defeated tone. “Oh…alright…maybe some other time.”

“Yeah. I’d love that,” Liz said as she led him to the register so he could pay for his coffee. “Anything else I can get for you?”

“Oh yeah,” Max said almost forgetting his soda. He ran to the back and grabbed a two-liter bottle of Cherry Pepsi, placing it on the counter. “This too.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

After Max had left, Liz made her way over to the couch where her friends were still sitting and flopped down, expelling a heavy sigh.

“Alright Chica, what was that all about?”

“What was what all about Maria?”

“That thing over there with Mr. tall, dark and handsome.”

“Maria, I’m not really in the mood right now,” Liz said bringing a hand to her head.

“Oh, come on Liz. We’re curious,” Alex pleaded. “Besides, you owe me one.”

“Alright, his name is Max and he’s really nice. He seems really great and we had a really interesting conversation. And then he asked me out for tonight.”

“And what did you say?” Maria prodded.

“I said no. I mean we already made plans.”

“Chica, please don’t tell me that you said no because of us. Do you realize you just said ‘really’ three times while describing him? You could have gone. We would have understood. Heck, we would have encouraged it.”

“Well, it’s a little late now, and besides I don’t have time to be dating anyway.”

“Chica, you need to get out more.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael! I already said I was sorry. What else do you want me to say?”

“Maxwell, you were 45 minutes late meeting me. You’re never late! I was worried about you man. I thought that you were like lying dead in an alley somewhere or something.”

“Hey, calm down. I’m here…I’m fine. Let’s just forget about it, ok,” Max said, slightly irritated. This day wasn’t exactly going quite how he’d like.

“Alright man. Chill,” Michael replied as they entered the school bookstore to buy their textbooks.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Seventy dollars for a freaking psych book. What do they think I am? Made of money?”

Liz just laughed at Maria’s antics. The University of San Diego was not exactly known for being cheap. As a matter of fact if it wasn’t for their scholarships, loans, and the long hours working at the café on campus, there would be no way that either of them would be able to attend the renowned private university.

The two had decided that after their shift they were going to go and get their textbooks, while Alex drove around outside to keep from having to park the car. Parking was horrendous on campus.

“This isn’t a laughing matter. I can’t afford books like this. This school is going to be the death of me. Anyway, I’m going go look for my lit books. I wonder how much they’re gonna cost?”

Liz just continued laughing as she looked for her physiology textbook.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

As Maria breezed around the bookstore, looking for the Lit section she was almost knocked over by some tall guy with spiky hair.

“Hey watch it,” she called to him over her shoulder.

“Watch it yourself Blondie,” the guy threw over his shoulder as he passed.

“Jerk,” Maria muttered under her breath.

“Bitch,” Michael muttered to himself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Finally spotting the book she was looking for, she reached to grab it while another hand seemed to do the same. They both pulled away quickly.

“Sorry,” they both muttered at the same time before looking up into each other’s faces.

“Max!” Liz said in surprise.

“Hi Liz.”

“Long time no see.”

“Yeah, so you’re taking physiology 150 too, huh.” He grinned, at least he’d still get to see her.

“Yeah.”

An awkward silence came over the two of them, until Liz decided to break it.

“Hey Max, it seems that my plans for tonight have changed. So, if you’re still interested…”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Maria, guess what?” Liz said coming over to her friend.

“Oh my god, Liz! You will not believe the jerk that just…”

“Max is here!” Liz said excitedly.

“What?”

“Max is here. You know, the guy from the café. Anyway, so we’re gonna go out tonight, but I want you to meet him.”

With that, Liz dragged her friend over to two guys standing in line to buy their textbooks. Maria noticed the first guy as the one from the café. Once they got closer, she recognized that the other guy, or more recognized his hair, as the jerk that’d just bumped into her.

“You!” Michael and Maria scowled in unison, Max and Liz looking on in confusion.



Author's Note: Hope you guys like the part. I know I'm being evil to all you candies, but I thought that the writing of a true Candygirl would better suit the coming argument. Hehehe. Also, I don't know anything about USD and I've never been there, so if either of us ever say anything about the university that untrue...sorry...cause we're making it up. I think that's all...Feedback please. The more feedback, the sooner we'll be able to write another part. And it's a treat to be getting two parts in one day, don't expect it to happen all the time.

~Michelle




Edited by - Pegleg on 09/18/2001 00:04:30
posted on 17-Sep-2001 5:55:05 AM by SpencerHopeful
I'm liking this so far. I can't wait for more M&M..And Max's addiction is hilarious!

Spencer

CandyPixieSpaceCowStargazingChickCorn-fedLadyLollyDonorGirl


“That’s bull**** and you know it. What we have couldn’t be broken if we move a thousand miles apart. All the summers, all the destinies, all the alien messages in the world don’t have the ability to remove the thought of you from my heart.” -Michael

Once Upon A Time by Doc Paul



posted on 17-Sep-2001 7:41:12 AM by CRAZY 4 MAX
you got love the way michael and maria
act towards each...cannot wait to see
how max and liz's date going to be?????
please write more soon????
*blue*

Veronica
posted on 17-Sep-2001 8:06:48 AM by tabasco sauce
wow! I'm really liking this fic! The m/m scenes are classic! lol! and it's always nice to see that certain spark between our dream couple!

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 17-Sep-2001 8:30:55 AM by etoile1
Wow! This is great! And if it was inspired by Roswell and P&P the long A&E version!!! well enough said I'm going to absolutely love this! And I already am! Please please post more soon!

I can't help that I love a fictional character...

*defiant dreamer*

**passionate polarist**
posted on 17-Sep-2001 10:21:30 PM by dancepixie
Hey everyone, here is part three, I hope you enjoy and thank you for all the feedback! We just love it! It took me a while to write...I hope you enjoy it. Let me just say that I had sooo much fun writing the M&M angsty stuff, it is just so much fun after you get the idea in your head. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and enjoy. By the way Michelle, tag, you're it!*wink*
~Nikki~


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 3

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You know you could have at least said you were sorry back there! You know, this little thing called common courtesy! Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners!” Maria went off as she watched the spikey haired one roll his eyes.

“What?! I didn’t see you watching where you were going or apologizing!”

“Me!?! You ran into me mister!” Maria’s face was red with anger. “And what is with that hair? Did you stick your finger in an electrical socket when you woke up this morning? I bet that’s something else you’re mother never taught you!” ‘Why am I getting this worked up over something so trivial,’ she thought to herself.

“I happen to like my hair like this thank you very much Blondie, and hey at least I don’t look like a little farm girl in braids!” Michael smirked knowingly as she threw him even more death glares, if that was at all possible.

“Can you believe this jerk!?!” Maria turned around to where Liz was, definitely needing the support of her best friend, only to find her gone. “Liz?” her voice lowered from the yelling tone it had previously been, to a mere shouting. “Lizzie?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex growled in frustration. Why was parking so bad this late in the evening? It had been nearly fifteen minutes and he had yet to find a parking spot, so he was just driving around in circles like a vulture hovering over its prey, waiting for the right moment.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw someone walking towards the parking lot with keys in hand.

“Finally!” he breathed. He just wanted to be able to park the car and go in to help the girls with the books. He had already gotten his the day before while on campus for a computer seminar. As the car slowly backed out and pulled away, Alex swung into the spot with a smile of triumph. “Finally!” he reiterated once more as he got out and began walking towards the bookstore.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“That was too funny! I’ve never seen Maria get that worked up before. I mean, yeah, she gets hysterical sometimes, but never like that!” Liz couldn’t help the giggles that escaped her as she and Max walked out of the bookstore together. After Maria and Michael had started arguing, the two of them decided they didn’t really want to stand there and listen to their friends bickering all night, so they escaped up the stairs and out of the store before anyone even noticed they were missing.

The night air was still fairly warm in San Diego, and that was part of why Liz loved it there so much. She could wear tank tops all the time and never really get cold, except maybe the middle of winter when it got down in the sixties and below.

“Liz?” Alex asked as he approached a couple walking away from the bookstore as he approached it.

“Oh, hey Alex.” Liz smile at her friend, happy that he could meet Max. “Alex this is Max. Max, this is one of my best friends, Alex. Max and I were just going to go out and get something to eat, but Maria is still inside, and you might need to calm her down a little.” Liz giggled again at the thought of what her friend was probably going through.

“Huh?” Alex asked confused.

“Trust me, just have a bottle of cedar oil ready!” with one last wave to her friend, she and Max walked away towards the parking lot where Alex had come from. Alex just stood there for a moment trying to process what happened, but found that he couldn’t. With a shake of his shoulders he continued onwards toward the bookstore and whatever was awaiting him there.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“This is your car?” Liz asked unbelievably. The shock was clearly written on her face.

“Yeah, do you like it?” Max asked with a smile that melted her knees.

“Li…like it? Yeah!” she breathed heavily. She couldn’t believe she was going to get to ride in this car, it was incredible, and it looked brand new. She didn’t think she’d ever be able to afford a car like this. Heck, it probably cost as much as her education!

“So where would you like to go to dinner?” he asked her as they both buckled up.

“I don’t know…umm, wherever you like is fine with me.”

“Alright then, it’ll be a surprise,” he threw the silver Jaguar into gear and sped out of the parking lot.

He couldn’t believe that he was all of a sudden going out on a date with the girl from the café. It wasn’t that he never dated, because he did, but he never just picked girls up at a café and took them out the same night. The girls he dated were usually the daughters of family friends and he would take them out to please his parents. Once in a while he liked the girl, but not often. They were usually too full of themselves and their parents money to interest him. But now he had found a sweet college girl who he actually felt something for. He already knew that he liked her. And he hoped that the way she changed her mind about going out with him meant that she liked him too.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“It’s all your fault they left, you know!” Maria turned to the spikey haired one with an accusing glint in her eyes.

“My fault? Why is this my fault? Look Blondie, you were the one who started with all the yelling and shrieking, or whatever it was you were doing.” Michael stood back and went to cross his arms protectively across his chest but couldn’t because of the heavy books he was holding. He had forgotten about them in the noise and bickering that had come after he got in line to pay for his books.

“Shrieking?!” Maria hurumphed and dropped the books she had been holding. That was it, this boy was going down!

“Maria?” Alex came in down the stairs to find his blond haired friend looking very upset and arguing with some spikey haired stranger. He noticed the attacking look that was taking over her face and realized he really needed to do something or else this could get ugly. “Maria, calm down! It’s okay, just take this,” he said handing her the small bottle of cedar oil that he had ready in his hand. He wrapped an arm around her effectively holding her back from being able to do anything to hurt anyone. “Come on Maria, lets just pay for your books and go watch that movie that we were planning to see.” He led her away quietly as she sniffed her oil and tried to take calming breaths.

“Thank you Alex. But you know I could have taken him!” Maria said fifteen minutes later when they were leaving the bookstore.

“I know you could’ve…” Alex reassured her, knowing that she needed it.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, where are you from originally?” Max asked Liz as he watched her looking around the place. It was a really nice place; nice without being too fancy, and he liked it that way.

Liz was startled by his voice, causing her to blush. She had been looking around this place, and it was beautiful. She could never afford a place like this. And his car…he had to have lots of money…what would he think when he found out how poor she was? But she couldn’t lie to him. ‘I think I could really like him, and I can’t lie to him…but what will happen when he finds out the truth?’

“I’m from the country…um…I grew up in a small town, Gering, Nebraska.” Liz ducked her head a little in embarrassment and tucked her dark hair behind her ear. ‘Great, now he’s going to think I’m some country bumpkin or something…maybe I never should have listened to Maria…I should have just gone to the movie with her and Alex, that would be safe.’

“Wow, I’m sure it’s a lot different here in the city from what you are used to.”

“Yeah, at first it was a really big shock last year. But now that I’ve been here for a year, it’s really feeling like home now. I don’t know if I want to go back to Nebraska after I finish school or not. I’m starting to think that I’d rather stay here.” ‘What am I doing? I’m babbling like this to a complete stranger, well okay maybe he’s not a complete stranger, but I still never knew him before today. He probably doesn’t even want to know all this…its just so easy to talk to him though,’ she thought to herself dreamily.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. San Diego isn’t as different from where I’m from as it must be for you, but it’s still different. I’m from Los Angeles, which is an even bigger city. But I like the fact that San Diego is big, yet not so big, and it’s very comfortable, you know? It’s not a mad rush city like LA is.”

“LA? So do you visit home a lot since you are so close?”

“Actually, I’m not really that close to my family. My father is a big time lawyer and wasn’t home very often, he was always working on some big case or another. My mom always had her charity events and her fashion shows to keep her busy. I was pretty much raised by my nanny Rosie. I haven’t been home since the beginning of the summer. I went up to see my mothers showing and stayed for a couple of days.” ‘Why is this girl just so easy to talk to?’ Max thought to himself as he told her most of his life story.

“I’ve always been really close to my family. My parents were the greatest, and my little sister and I always got along. We had the same group of friends and always hung out together. It was great because whenever I needed to talk to someone, she was always there. We had always shared a room and we’d talk long into the morning just about anything. She and Maria were my best friends. Maria came with me when I came out to school out here, and Tess wants to come when she graduates. She doesn’t know if she can pull it off, but she’s trying. It’s been so long since I was back there. It was Christmas I think. I miss them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back for Christmas this year or not, but I hope so…” ‘Oh god, I’m doing it again! I’m babbling like an idiot. But he’s so great, I just want to tell him everything.’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




Edited by - dancepixie on 09/18/2001 22:36:48
posted on 17-Sep-2001 10:55:47 PM by skyserpant
Spill you guts Liz! Tell him everything! Where else are you going to find a man like that? M/L are so great in this story! I like it a lot I love it!

Tina***

Queen of Sheeba!!!
posted on 18-Sep-2001 12:23:32 AM by etoile1
Awesome third part! The M/M scenes were priceless. And M/L were so sweet...am so loving this. please update soon!

I can't help that I love a fictional character...

*defiant dreamer*

**passionate polarist**
posted on 18-Sep-2001 10:06:58 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
I like this, itis interesting!! Please continue soon!


posted on 18-Sep-2001 10:57:47 PM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Ok, so here's the next part. It might be a couple days before you get another one, as Nikki and I are going out of town tomorrow. I spent alot of time on this part so I hope you like it. And hey, this part got extra inspiration as I was watching P&P while I was writing. As always...feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks for all the feedback you guys have given so far. We love it...keep it coming. And as a last note...poke...gotcha Nikki...you're it!*tongue*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 4

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max and Liz walked out of the restaurant hand in hand, laughing the whole way. They were having such a great time; neither of them wanted the night to end. They stood around laughing and joking while the valet brought around Max’s car.

“I really had a great time tonight Max. I’m really glad that I came.”

“Yeah, well it’s not over yet. There’s one last place I want to show you. Come on,” Max said as he opened the car door to let Liz in.

Liz just smiled and thanked him quietly as he walked over to the driver’s side of the car.

“Where are we going?” Liz asked after Max had gotten in.

“It’s a surprise,” Max responded, gunning the motor as he speed off.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“And god, Alex. He was so arrogant…and rude…and…and…just an all around JERK!” Maria and Alex were on their way home from the movie. Maria had been going on and on about her run in with “the spikey haired one,” as he came to be called, since they had left the bookstore two and a half hours ago.

“You know Maria, you’ve been going on about him for at least two hours now.”

“I know, but he was just such an asshole. I mean really the least he could have done was say that he was sorry, but no…”

“Ya know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you liked him.”

“WHAT?! What the hell would give you an idea like that? I mean yeah, he’s kind of attractive, in that rebellious kind of way, but he’s just so rude…”

“Well, you know the way you keep going on and on about him. One might get the idea…”

“NO! Don’t even think it mister! There is nothing in this mind but hatred for that boy.”

“Whatever you say Maria. Whatever you say.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Max, this is so beautiful.”

Max and Liz were now lying out on a blanket on the beach near where they’d had dinner. They were both lying on their backs starring up at the stars, listening to the sound of the waves crashing in the distance.

“I used to come to the beach to think all the time back home. It’s always been something that could calm me down. Console me somehow. I kinda just carried on the tradition when I got down here. Plus, it’s the only place in a town like this where you can look up and actually see the stars. I guess, I just wanted to share this with you.”

“Well, I’m glad that you did. I can’t thank you enough. It’s just so clear out here. I guess I forgot how much was really up there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so beautiful.”

“Oh, I have.” Max had now moved to prop his head up on his elbow as he gazed down at her. Liz felt the blush creep over her face. Could he possibly be talking about her? Could he possibly think that she was just as beautiful as the stars in the sky? No, not plain old Liz Parker.

Before Liz had time to question further, Max’s lips had descended to hers. It happened so fast that at first she hadn’t opportunity to respond. Once she got her bearings, however, she returned his kiss, allowing it to deepen. The kiss started out soft and sweet but then grew more intense and passionate. Liz felt Max’s tongue teasing her lips, asking for entrance, and she granted it eagerly. Max took this opportunity to explore her mouth, getting to know it intimately. Soon, their lungs began to burn from lack of oxygen and they were forced to break apart, chests heaving.

“Wow!” Liz voiced once she was able to talk.

“Yeah, wow.”

“I should probably get going,” Liz said regretfully. “I have class at eight tomorrow morning.”

“Yeah, ok,” was all Max could say. Kissing her one last time, he got to his feet, holding his hand out to pull her up. Liz accepted it gratefully, helping him fold up the blanket before they both headed towards his car.

Max opened the door for Liz then asked, “So, where can I take you to? Where do you live?”

Liz felt the panic course through her body. “Oh…um, just take me back to the campus.”

“Nonsense…let me take you home.”

“NO! I mean…you see…my car! Yeah, my car is at the campus still, so I need to pick it up and bring it home.”

“Oh, alright then.” Sighing in relief Liz went to sit down in the passenger’s seat. Max was just standing there, staring at her with a strange grin on his face; he still hadn’t closed the door.

“What Max?” Liz asked self-consciously.

“Ya wanna drive it?” Max asked motioning towards the car.

“What? Are you kidding me? Your gonna let me drive your jag?”

“Sure, why not? So, you wanna?” he asked again, a smirk on his face.

“Hell ya!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz squealed as she came speeding into the school lot at 1am. They had driven around the campus several times extra just so Liz could drive the car a little longer. When they finally came to a stop Liz turned to Max.

“Thanks Max. And not just for letting me drive your car, although that was definitely fun. I had a really great time tonight Max. Thank you.”

“I had a great time too,” Max said as he leaned over, cupping her face with his hand. They shared another passionate kiss, and then when they broke apart, Liz grabbed his hand. She rifled around in her purse for a while, while Max looked on in confusion. Finally she came out with a pen, and then proceeded to write her phone number down on his hand. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” she voiced once she had finished.

He smiled and kissed her again before getting out of the car. “So where is your car. I’ll help you carry your books.”

“No, you don’t need to do that.”

“But I want to.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll get it.”

“You sure?”

“Positive.”

“Alright. I guess I can’t argue with that. You independent women now days. Can’t accept a man’s help,” Max teased.

“Well, you know me. I need to feel like I have some control in the situation. At least I’m not the one with the inferiority complex.”

“Excuse me?”

“The car. It’s a classic case. You have the jag; it’s speed and the prestige that comes from its price tag. It builds your self-esteem.” With that they both burst out laughing. “I’m sorry,” Liz amended. “I was only kidding. I think that I’ve been reading Maria’s psych books too much.”

“It’s ok. I really got it to get girls,” Max whispered in her ear as if it was a secret.

His hot breath on her neck brought a shiver over Liz’s body. “Mmmm…it’s working,” Liz said as she brought her lips to his one last time. He brought his hands up to her hips and pulled her towards him. After a few minutes, Liz finally pulled away, grabbing her books from the back before things could get out of hand once again.

“Call me,” she yelled over her shoulder as she hurried out of the parking lot. She waved one last time as Max pulled out of the parking lot, and then, once she was sure that he had left, made her way over to the bus stop.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Michael,” Max said as he walked in seeing his friend sitting on the couch watching tv.

“Hey Max. I'm guessing by the look on your face that your date went well.”

“God Michael…she’s amazing. I don’t think I’ve met anyone like her in my life. She’s just so vibrant and animated and…god, she’s so beautiful. She’s just…perfect,” he said, finding the only word that came close to describing her.

“Whoa man, you just met the girl!”

“I know. I know it’s irrational and hasty, but I can’t help it. She’s everything that I’ve always looked for in a woman and more.”

“Well then, I’m happy for you man. But you could have waited to sweep her off her feet until after her harpy of a friend had left.”

“Sorry man, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. You guys were so hilarious fighting like that, we just couldn’t bear to break it up.”

“I can’t believe you. You guys left and stuck me with listening to the ramblings of that…that…psycho woman just so you could have your little “perfect” night.”

“Well, it’s over. Just forget about it. Unless you can’t...”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Hey man, I saw the way you were first looking at her. She’s exactly your type too. Fiery, with quite an attitude.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about Maxwell.”

“I’m sure you don’t.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Liz!” Maria squealed as she saw her enter the apartment. “How was it?”

“Oh my god Maria. It was incredible. He was incredible. And hey, he let me drive his jag.”

“Oh my god Chica! I am so happy for you! Wait, did you say jag? He has a jag? I wanna see,” Maria rambled as she ran towards that window.

Liz’s face quickly fell. “No Maria, he’s not there. I took the bus home.”

“What, he didn’t even offer to drive you home! The nerve! Well, I oughta…”

With that Liz burst into tears.

Maria was at her side in at instant. “Hey babe. What’s wrong? Did I say something?”

“No Maria. It’s just…oh god…He was just so perfect. And it was just so incredible and amazing…I just didn’t want the magic to end. I didn’t want to ruin it. I didn’t want him to see where I lived.” And a fresh wave of tears overcame Liz’s body.

“Oh Lizzie…Look at me!” She placed her hand on Liz’s chin, bringing Liz’s face up so as to look her in the eyes. “Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are Lizzie. Never be ashamed of where you live or how hard you have to work to make it. Never ever be ashamed of that. If he is really as great as you say he is, then it won’t matter that you have not a cent to your name and that you live in the cheap part of town. If he’s as great as you say he is, he won’t care. And if he does care, then he doesn’t deserve you.”

“Thanks ‘Ria. You’re right,” Liz said as she began to wipe the tears from her eyes.

“Of course I’m right. Now spill. You have to tell me everything that happened tonight. And I want details girl. Wait…hold on. I need to go get the ice cream.”

Liz giggled. “But Maria, we have class in the morning, and it’s already quarter to two.”

“Ah, that’s alright. Nothing ever happens on the first day anyway.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




Edited by - Pegleg on 09/19/2001 23:02:03

Edited by - Pegleg on 09/19/2001 23:19:55
posted on 18-Sep-2001 11:08:57 PM by etoile1
right nothing happens on the first day...unless you've got a dreary prof. who likes to talk for four hours...sorry just needed to vent...I actually thought that line was hilarious.

Anyway I love this! love love love it!!!

so Liz and Max are Jane and Bingley while Michael and Maria are Elizabeth and Darcy? This is a really great story please update soon!


I can't help that I love a fictional character...

*defiant dreamer*

**passionate polarist**
posted on 19-Sep-2001 3:27:38 AM by CRAZY 4 MAX
seriously cannot wait for more!!!!!
*blue*

Veronica
posted on 19-Sep-2001 7:06:15 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Great Part!! Can't wait till you have more!!


posted on 20-Sep-2001 1:31:49 PM by DreamStarCandyTrimmer
Great part! Can't wait to read more! *smile*

~ Andi ~
Lamp Trimmer! Candygirl! Stargazer!
Top Notch Tolerance Dreamer! ~ "Tolerate us, we'll
tolerate you. But Mess with us and we'll blow you up!"


Edited by - DreamStarCandyTrimmer on 09/21/2001 13:33:58
posted on 20-Sep-2001 3:26:40 PM by tabasco sauce
wow! I'm fianlly all caught up! I loved it! keep up the good work! post more pronto!

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 20-Sep-2001 4:39:18 PM by tyranese
I am loving this! I hope liz gets over the fact she lives in the cheaper part of town and tells him the truth! love this!

more soon!!!

- ms roswell -
posted on 22-Sep-2001 5:59:30 PM by dancepixie
I'm sorry this took soo long, but as Michelle said before, we were out of town in LA visiting friends and stuff. Well, I had lots of fun seeing people I hadn't seen in a while and I got back last night and just was tired and not in the mood to write, but I woke up this morning with all sorts of ideas. So, without further ado, I hope you like part 5! and Michele, TAG you're it!!!
~Nikki~


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 5

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Yeah sure, nothing ever happens on the first day! When I get my hands on…”

“Lizzie!” a male voice called out breaking her from her mumbled train of thought. His voice softened when he caught up to her and saw the look on her face. “Hey what’s wrong? I thought you were excited about the first day back to classes?”

‘You gotta love Alex, he is such a sweetheart, but I am so not in the mood for this at the moment!’

“I’m fine Alex, really, I’m just in a hurry to get to work. I have to work from noon till four and then I have class again at five, and it’s already been a long day.” Liz sighed; she was exhausted. She had pulled all nighters before, and she was beginning to believe that it was easier than just getting only a few hours of sleep like she had last night.

“Come on Lizzie, something’s wrong. Now spill or I’ll have to go get Ria,” he threatened, knowing that Ria could get anything out of Liz.

“No…It’s just that, well I got home last night and Maria and I sat up talking for a while, cause you know her, she had to know every little detail about my date with Max,” she began, feeling like she really needed to get this out.

“Hey yeah, how did that go?” Alex spoke up.

“Can we not talk about that right now?”

“Sure, so what happened after that?” he prodded her on.

“Well I really wanted to get to sleep because I had class at eight this morning, but she bullied me with the whole ‘nothing ever happens on the first day of school anyways’ routine. So she kept me up for hours, asking me millions of questions. I think I might have gotten two hours of sleep, but I doubt I even got that much. Anyways, I forgot to set my alarm last night so it didn’t go off this morning, so I slept through my first bio seminar and the professor was really kind and said that if I’d come to her office tonight after my last class we could talk about what I missed and everything…” tears were starting to slip down her cheeks and her eyes were getting blurry, causing her to stop walking and lean into Alex’s comforting shoulder.

“But then everything is okay Lizzie. It doesn’t sound like the professor was mad or anything, so what is the problem?”

“It’s just…just…” Liz stopped for a minute. What was the problem? She had been all angry at Maria, but really there was no reason for her to be. She hadn’t gotten into any trouble… “I don’t know.” Alex stopped Liz and held her at arms length so he could look into her damp eyes. But at least she had stopped crying.

“Lizzie, everything is fine. Just relax a little, okay, sweetie?” Liz nodded her head dumbly and Alex rubbed his hand in comforting circles on her back as he hugged her close one last time. “Now, are you going to be okay at work, because I have a comp sci class to get to in five minutes?”

“I’ll be fine Alex, thank you!” Liz gave a small smile and watched her friend walk away as she headed once more toward the café. What was wrong with her? Why had she been so upset with Maria for no reason? Sleep. That was it…she needed sleep, but not right now. For now she would have to settle for working and earning some much needed money. Her little sister’s birthday was coming up and she wanted to surprise her with something nice.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The incessant ring of the telephone woke Michael up out of a sound sleep. Sure it was eleven in the morning on the first day of classes, but he didn’t have any classes Monday mornings, so he got to sleep in. At least he did until someone decided to call and wake him up. He reached across his bed to grab the cordless phone from the stand and brought it to him.

“Yeah?” he asked as he sat up and looked at the clock.

“Michael?” a timid feminine voice spoke hoarsely.

“Izzie? Is that you? What’s wrong?” Michael was immediately wide-awake and in protective big brother mode. Something was wrong with Izzie, he could just tell from her voice.

“I…I…Andrew…” her strangled sobs crept through Michael’s blood like ice. How could anyone hurt his little sister? She was too sweet.

“It’s okay Izzie, just calm down and tell me all about it.” Michael sat back down on his bed and raked a hand through his hair in frustration.

“I…can I come up and stay with you for a while…I mean, mom and dad think it’s a great idea and since I decided to take a year off…Please Mikey, can I come and stay with you for a while?” Her voice was so quiet and so sad that Michael couldn’t believe it was the same sister he had seen laughing and smiling in her graduation robes not three months ago.

“Of course you can come Izzie. I’d love to have you staying with me. I’ll be busy with classes once in a while, but I always have time for you, don’t you ever forget that. You can always come to me with anything.”

“Thank you, Mikey!” Isabel sniffed, trying to hold back more tears. She felt like a little girl who ran crying to her older brother. But that was what she had always done. He had always been her rock. He was always there for her through everything, even when their parents weren’t. And now was one of those times when she needed her big brother’s warm arms to protect her from the world.

“Don’t worry about it. How are you going to get down here?” he asked. If he had to go up and get her, just to make sure she was safe, he would.

“Umm…aunt Keri has a meeting in San Diego sometime at the end of the week. I know she’ll bring me with her because she hates driving alone. And besides,” she added with a small smile, “I’m her favorite niece!” This made Michael laugh, and he had hope that his sister would be okay.

“Okay, I’ll see you then. When you find out exactly when you’ll be here let me know so I can be waiting for you.”

“Thank you so much Mikey. I love you. You’re the best big brother!” Isabel said into the phone.

“I love you too, Izzie.” Michael hung up the phone with a sigh. Great, something was wrong with his sister, and he wouldn’t be able to get it out of her until they were face to face. Isabel had never been one to talk much on the phone. She always had to talk with people in person. He supposed that was a good quality, but it was going to drive him crazy until he could see her and assure himself that she was okay and nothing had happened to her. Cause if something had happened to her, there would be hell to pay.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Lizzie, I’m sorry!” Maria pleaded with her friend as they worked side by side at the counter as a rush of students entered and exited the place in the ten-minute mad-rush between classes. “That’s two fifty,” Maria told the small Asian girl in front of the counter as she took her money and gave her change. “Thank you come again. Next.” Then she turned back to Liz waiting for a reply.

“Thank you please come again.” Liz gave the customer his change and then turned to her best friend briefly. “I told you Maria, it’s no big deal. I just over reacted this morning because I didn’t have enough sleep. Alex calmed me down though after he heard me complain for five minutes. Three seventy five, please.” She turned quickly to her customer as she took the money and gave change. “Thank you, come again. Besides, now I have to go talk to my professor and she seemed really nice, so maybe I will be able to talk to her about her research, and possibly getting a job helping in her lab. That would be incredible. And I owe all that to you for making me late.” The two friends laughed together as the crowd in the café died away and they were able to relax and have a normal conversation without the interruptions every other second.

“Wow, you’re welcome Liz! I guess I did do such a great thing last night by making you spill your guts instead of sleeping. Sleep is overrated anyways!” They laughed again before both of them fell onto the couch in a sort of daze. They were exhausted. Sleep was in no way overrated! Not by a long shot.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I’m sorry, Max, she hasn’t gotten back from class yet,” Maria spoke into the phone.

“Oh, well do you know when she’ll be back?”

“Well her class was over at six, and then she had to meet with the professor of her bio seminar. She was all excited about that earlier. Its already seven thirty, so she should be home soon. She must have really gotten along with her professor or something. Do you want me to tell her you called?” Maria had a big smile on her face. She was happy that her Lizzie had found a cute sweet guy who actually called her the day after their date! It had to be a miracle or something. There are some good guys left in the world, what do you know!

“Umm…yeah, just tell her I called and that I’ll call her back later, okay?” Max said into the phone.

“Sure Max, no-” Maria was cut off in mid sentence as a key turned in their lock and Liz came walking in. “Actually, Max are you still there?” Liz froze in her step in the doorway. Did Maria just say Max?

“Yeah I’m here.”

“Well you’re in luck. Liz just walked through the front door! Here she is,” Maria got Liz’s attention from the door and pointed to the phone, and then at Liz. Liz’s eyes got even wider. Oh my goodness, Max was on the phone! What was she going to do?

“Thanks Maria,” Max said into the phone just as she was about to hand it to Liz.

“Max?” a soft voice spoke hesitantly into the phone.

“Hey Liz, yeah, it’s me.” Max didn’t know what else to say, his thoughts had left him for the moment as he heard her voice.

“Umm…so what’s up?” Liz asked hesitantly not really knowing why he had called her, but excited that he had all the same. Maria got up from her spot on the couch and went into her room, leaving Liz alone for her conversation.

“Oh, I, uh, just wanted to see how your first day of classes went,” Max relaxed back on his bed with the phone cradled against his face as he pictured Liz in his mind.

Liz, in her own apartment had made her way over to the couch and was now leaning back with her feet up on the other end. They settled in comfortably for a long conversation. They weren’t sure why, but it was just so easy to talk to one another. And they had no qualms in telling each other just about anything. ‘This is a great ending to a not so wholly bad day,’ Liz thought to herself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*





posted on 22-Sep-2001 6:34:27 PM by tabasco sauce
yay! a new part! ::does a happy dance:: I can't wait to see what happens next.

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 26-Sep-2001 11:39:32 PM by Pegleg
Authors NOte: Wahoo, finally got on the board to post this part. I posted it the other day on the old board, so you might have already read it, but if not, here it is. It's gonna take longer to write from now on, cause Nikki and I started classes this week and what with taking 19 units and all I don't have as much time for writing as I'd like to. So anyway, hope you like. Please leave feedback and left me know. Nikki...you're turn.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 6

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“What’d he say?! What’d he say?!” Maria came bounding out of her bedroom as soon as she heard the beep of their cordless phone.

“Gee Maria! Don’t you think you could let me breath first? What were you doing, listening at the door?”

“Well yeah, but that’s beside the point. Now, what did he say?”

“He just wanted to know how my first day of classes went.”

“And…”

“And apparently he’s in that bio seminar that I missed this morning and he was liked worried about me when I wasn’t there, ya know, since he didn’t get to drop me off last night. But then he said he’d calmed down after talking to you, so he knew I got home…”

“Honey, you’re babbling.”

“I am not.”

“Are too. Anyway, and…”

“And…I’m going over to his place after work tomorrow so he can catch me up on what I missed during that seminar.”

“Wait, I thought that’s what your meeting with your professor was about today.”

“It was, but he doesn’t know that.”

“Oh girl, you are so bad! You’re falling for him, aren’t you?”

“I don’t know Ria. But I like him. A lot.”

“Ah babe, that’s great. And I have a feeling he feels the same way about you.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria ran into her class just as the professor was beginning her lecture. ‘Great. Made it just in time.’ It wasn’t until she had settled down in a seat on the aisle and gotten out her notebook to begin taking notes that she noticed who was sitting next to her.

The spikey haired one was sitting next to her, gaping at her for no apparent reason. Of all the places to run into him. Of all the classes in this freakin’ university, he had to be in hers. Of all the seats that she just happened to sit in, she had to pick the one right next to him. And why was he staring at her like that?’

Michael couldn’t help but stare at the girl sitting next to him. She was all flushed and her hair was tousled from hurrying to her class. He couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she looked. ‘Wait. What the hell are you thinking? Beautiful? This is the girl who blew up at you yesterday over nothing! Something that was her fault even! It was kinda cute how she got so animated when she was angry though. Ahhhh! What am I thinking?’

His thoughts were interrupted by Maria’s whispering voice. “It’s you!”

“Wow! You’re quick blondie.”

“Of all people, I’m stuck sitting next to you.”

“Hey, nobody’s keeping you here. You can move if you want to.”

“I can’t do that, it’s rude. Oh, but I guess that you wouldn’t know anything about that type of thing, would you?”

“Nope.”

“Well, at least you can admit that you have no social skills.”

“Hey blondie, you think you could keep it down? I’m trying to pay attention to the lecture.”

“Me keep it down! What about you? You started it!”

“What?! You know what, forget it. Just shut-up, ok?”

“Fine!”

“Fine.”

“Fine!”

Later, as they were both leaving the class after not saying anything more to each other throughout the whole lecture, Michael came up and whispered something into Maria’s ear after she began walking up the aisle. “You always have to have the last word, don’t you blondie?”

“I don’t always…” but when she turned around he was already gone.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“…and he had the nerve to be in my class!”

Liz laughed at Maria as she moved around the cafe attempting to give people their orders. “With all do respect Ria, I’m sure that he didn’t know that you were taking it. It’s not like he took the class just to spite you.”

“You don’t know that!”

“Ria…”

“I mean what kinda guy takes an upper division class in women’s studies?”

“Hey Maria, where were you in women’s studies today? I didn’t see you.”

“Oh Alex, don’t even get her started.”

“Sorry Alex, I came in really late and had to take the first available seat. And then you’ll never guess who was sitting next to me…”

As Maria went off into her rant all over again, Liz looked up as the heard the bell indicating that someone had just come in. “Well, speak of the devil…” Liz muttered under her breath, quite enough so Maria couldn’t hear.

Liz briskly walked to the door to meet Max and his spikey haired friend.

“Hey Max, what are you doing here?”

“Well, your shift is over in an hour and a half, and you’re coming over afterwards, I figured that I’d just come over and hang out. Ya know have a cup of coffee, socialize a little bit…ok, maybe I just wanted to see you,” Max finally admitted.

“Well, that’s all you had to say,” Liz said as she put her arms up around his neck, bringing his face down to hers for a hello kiss.

It wasn’t until they heard someone clearing their throat that they broke apart. Michael stood their looking at Max with an expectant look.

“Oh yeah. I don’t think that you guys ever got the chance to be introduced. Liz, this is my best friend Michael. Michael, this is Liz, my girlfriend.” His tone of the last word was raised slightly, as if he were asking permission to call her that.

Liz just nodded her head and shook Michael’s hand. She couldn’t be happier that Max seemed to feel the same way about her as she seemed to feel about him. Obviously she wasn’t the only one who saw this as turning into a long-term relationship. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Ditto.”

Sometime during the exchange, Maria noticed that Liz had disappeared, and when she turned to look for her she was shocked at what she saw.

There was Liz, standing with Max and that…that…guy. The one that seemed to inhabit every one of her living nightmares.

“What are you doing, stalking me now?” Maria asked in exasperation, coming up to the group.

“Oh god, not you again!”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“You know what, I was just leaving. See ya Maxwell.”

“No Michael, stay. Maria will behave, won’t you Maria?” Liz gave Maria a pointed glare.

“Yeah whatever, you got their table,” and Maria quickly turned around and headed back behind the counter.

“I’m sorry Michael. She’s not usually that mean. For some reason, you really get to her.”

“Yeah, well the feelings mutual,” Michael muttered as Liz led them over to a table.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

After about half an hour Michael had left saying that he had a class to go to, leaving Max to himself. Max spent most of his time watching Liz as she puttered around the café, making sure that all the customers were taken care of. Whenever Liz had a free moment she would spend it with Max, the two sharing loving looks and quick kisses before Liz would have to once again face the masses.

“Look at them Alex. They just look so right together. Do you ever get that feeling around them…”

“Like you’re interrupting something. Like they have some special connection that you’re just intruding on.”

“Exactly. It’s like they’re meant for each other. Like they’re…”

“Soul mates.”

“Alex if you don’t stop finishing my sentences I’m gonna have to beat your ass.”

“Whatever Deluca. You couldn’t if you tried.”

“Like hell I can’t,” and with that Maria grabbed Alex’s arm and twisted it behind his back…hard.

“Alright. Alright. I give.”

“Yea!! I win.”

“Yeah whatever.”

“Hey Alex, you think that we’ll ever find that?”

“I know you will Deluca. I know you will.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Max.”

“Hey…Alex is it?”

“Yup. So I just wanted to come over and have a little chat with ya. I’ve noticed that you’ve had your eye on our Lizzie there.”

“Well, what can I say? She’s amazing.”

“Yeah, that she is. Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

“I just love being with her. When I’m around her, nothing else seems to matter.”

“Good. Great. I just wanted to make sure that you know the ground rules.”

“Ground Rules?”

“Yeah. You see, I’ve known Liz for quite a while now. And she’s come to be like a sister to me. So her pain is my pain. I’m just saying, don’t hurt her. Don’t break her heart. Cause if you do, I just might have to break something of yours.”

Just by looking at Alex, Max could tell that he meant business. Alex wasn’t the largest guy, but Max was sure that when it came to Liz, he could certainly do some damage.

“I don’t plan on it.”

“Good, just make sure that you keep it that way.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 27-Sep-2001 5:23:30 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
This fic is great please continue.


posted on 28-Sep-2001 10:16:41 PM by dancepixie
Thank you to the wonderful people who are reading this story and take the time to leave us some feedback, we really appreciate it! Feedback is a wonderful thing...hint hint!!! I'm sorry that it took me so long to come out with this part, but I just finished my first week back to classes and then after I started writing I got majorly stuck in a scene and it took me a couple days to get past the block. But finally, here it is! So Michelle, you can stop complaining now about how long it's taking me...cause now you're IT!!!
~Nikki~


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 7

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Well, what do you think?” Max asked as he pulled his jag up the long circular driveway leading to his home.

“I…I…wow!” Liz’s eyes were as wide as they could possibly get. “You live here?!” She asked incredulously. Sure she had realized he had money from the car he drove, but this went way beyond that.

“So you like it?” Max asked hopefully.

“It’s beautiful, Max,” she finally answered as she turned to face him. He was now standing holding her door open for her. She hadn’t even noticed that he had gotten out of the car. She was in shock.

‘Oh my god! He lives here?! He must be incredibly rich! What is he doing with me? As soon as he finds out who I am he won’t be interested anymore, I know it. His kind are all alike…just like James last year… I promised myself I’d never let that happen to me again. This can’t be happening to me! So what do I do now? I really like him, but…my life sucks! But Max isn’t James. Maybe he’s different…what am I saying? I don’t even know him that well.’ ‘Oh but you do,’ another voice in her head told her, and she couldn’t deny it. ‘But I can’t compete with his money. It’ll always be his money over me. His family won’t like me. His friends won’t like me. They’ll all look down on me the minute they know who I am. I don’t want to go through that again.’ ‘But isn’t love worth it?’

Max watched Liz’s face for a moment trying to figure out what she was thinking, but eventually gave up and started leading her to the front door. He held the door open for her and she numbly walked through, staring at all the incredible things around her. You wouldn’t know two college guys lived here from the looks of things, it was too clean.

“Mmm! What smells so good?” Liz asked as she took a deep breath and smelled the lovely inviting aroma coming from the kitchen. Max standing beside her took a deep breath as well before a smile broke out across his face.

“Rosie’s making her famous enchilada’s and Mexican rice. It’s to die for!”

“Rosie?” Liz didn’t think anyone else lived here but Michael and Max. Who was this Rosie person.

“Yeah, she’s kind of our housekeeper. She’s been with my family since I was little. She used to be my nanny.”

“Oh yeah, I think you told me about her before,” Liz smiled as she remembered their first date and how they had just talked forever with no restrictions.

“Yeah, well she makes the best enchilada’s I have ever tasted. She says it’s a secret family recipe, but she won’t tell anyone what it is,” he laughed a little at the memory. It was obvious to Liz just how much Rosie meant to him.

“Max sweetie, is that you?” came a voice from the kitchen.

“Yeah, its me Rosie. I want you to meet someone,” Max called back as he started to lead Liz toward where the voice had come from. “Come on, I want you to meet her.”

‘Oh my goodness. Is this like meeting the family? Cause he had told me that she’s more his family than his parents…oh my goodness! Gees, now I’m sounding like Maria with the whole oh my goodness thing! Look what this boy is doing to me!’

“Rosie, this is Liz. Liz this is Rosie.” Liz hadn’t realized they reached the kitchen, but here they were, and she was being greeted by a sweet looking, short woman with an apron around her waist that was covered in flour and cooking ingredients.

“It’s nice to meet you Liz. You’re all that I’ve heard Max talk about since he met you,” Rosie gave Liz a big smile and a little wink before laughing at the look on Max’s face.

“Rosie!”

“Oh sweetie, get over it. Now you two go do your studying or whatever, while I finish cooking. It’ll be ready in an hour or so. And Max, I’m shopping tomorrow cause Michael told me that Isabel would be staying for a while and there is some things I have to get for her. Do you need anything?”

“No that’s okay, Rosie, I’m fine.”

“Well have fun studying you two,” with a smile she shooed them out of the kitchen so that she was free to work her magic.

Max and Liz walked out into the large den and Liz was once again taken aback by the grandeur of everything. She didn’t move to sit or touch anything until Max led her to the sofa and sat down beside her. Shaking herself out of her little trance she shyly smiled up at Max.

“So who’s Isabel?” Liz asked quietly.

“Huh? Oh, um, she’s Michael’s sister. She’s coming down at the end of the week to stay with us for a while.”

“Oh,” Liz wasn’t sure why, but she felt kind of jealous of this girl who got to stay in the same mansion as Max. Besides, if she was Michael’s sister, she was rich. Their families probably wanted her to come stay with the boys so that she and Max would get close. Their families were probably planning for them to get married or something… What was she thinking, this was crazy.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael sighed. Finally, he never thought that class would end. He had just come out of his Greek mythology class, and boy could that professor go on and on. Sure, the topic was interesting, he had been fascinated by mythology for a while, but the professor! He acted like he was drunk the way he slurred his speech and the way he was drinking from his water glass made everyone wonder if it really was water or not. But finally, the crazy man had let them go. It was only the first day of class and he wasn’t sure what the rest of the semester would bring in that class, but he wouldn’t have to think about that class again until Thursday, so it was already leaving his mind.

Stopping into the small café/corner store Michael walked to the back aisle and grabbed a small bottle of Cherry Pepsi. Max had brought home some but then refused to let Michael have any, so he had to get his own. He brought it up to the counter and set it down before looking up to see the girl at the register. ‘Oh god! Could this day get any worse? Why is she still here anyways? Ahhh!’

“Will that be all?” Maria asked without looking up from the counter.

“Do you like work all the time or something?” Michael couldn’t help but asking.

“What?” Maria asked as she finally looked up to see who was asking her strange questions. “Oh, its you. For you’re information, when I’m not in class, yes I am working. Unfortunately, simply going to classes doesn’t pay the bills, in fact it only makes more! So yeah, I work all day, you got a problem with that?” God, did this guy really know how to get on every last one of her nerves!

“Gees, someone’s bitchy today,” Michael rolled his eyes talking to himself but knew that she heard.

“Bitchy?! Bitchy?! Oh that is it mister spikey one! I have had it up to hear with you! What makes you mister high and mighty, huh? Who put you on top of the world to judge and complain about everyone else, huh? I don’t know where you get off bullying and pestering me and running into me without even apologizing, but I’ve had enough!” Maria’s face was red with fury. Today had not been the best day in the world, and this guy with crazy spikey hair had pushed her last button, not mention most of the reset earlier in the day. She had had it with him. She gingerly lifted herself to kneel on the counter then grabbed his Cherry Pepsi from in front of her , unscrewed the lid, and with a big smile on her face poured every last drop of it on top of his head. “And you know, earlier you were right, I do have to have the last word! Have a good day now!” With that Maria walked into the back and took off her apron. Finally her shift was over, and hey, it wasn’t so bad after all.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Thank you for dinner Max, that was delicious!”

“Yeah, no one cooks quite like Rosie.”

“I miss my mom’s cooking, it’s been so long since I’ve had one of her home-cooked meals.” Liz thought of home and hoped that she’d have money to go home for Christmas. She missed her sister, her parents, and of course her dogs. “So I guess I should probably go now. I have a lot of O-Chem reading to do tonight, and I promised my sister I’d call her sometime tonight.”

“Sure, I’ll go get my keys.”

“That’s okay, Max. I mean, I can just take the bus. I mean it’s kinda far for you to have to take me down to the school and then come back up here. I’ll be fine.” ‘Please don’t insist on driving me home…you can’t see my place…please!’ Liz pleaded in her head.

“Really Liz, its not a problem.” Max came out with his keys and was already leading her out to his car.

“Well, okay, but I’m just going to the café. Maria’s getting off soon and she needed me to do something for her,” Liz thought fast. Well, it wasn’t a total lie; Maria was working. Hey this way they could ride the bus home together at least, and Max wouldn’t have to know the truth.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Are you sure you don’t want me to wait and give you a ride home?” Max asked twenty minutes later as Liz opened the door of the jag.

“No, I’m fine. Maria and I’ll go home together, we’ll be fine. But thank you Max, for everything. I had a lot of fun today.” Liz gave Max a quick kiss before stepping out of the car and shutting the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow in class.” With that she walked towards the café where Maria was working.

As Liz walked into the café she didn’t see Maria, but there was a mess of spilled soda or something in front of one of the registers. Liz ignored it though as she went straight to the back thinking that maybe Maria was grabbing her stuff.

“Hey chica!” Maria smiled cheerily at her friend. “How’d your thing with Max go?”

“It was good,” Liz smiled shyly. Yes, she would tell Maria all about it, but not while all these other people were around. “Are you ready to go? I thought we could go home together.”

“Sure, I just got off. Come on, we can catch the next bus if we hurry.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz walked through the front door as the phone rang. “I’ll get it!”

“Hello?”

“Lizzie?” a bubbly voice on the other line answered.

“Tess? I was just going to call you, I just got home.”

“Well I couldn’t wait any longer. Things are great here. My senior year is going well, but I have the best news! I’m going to graduate early! I have so many units and stuff, that after this semester, I’m done! Plus, I just finished applying to USD and UCSD and SDSU. I really want to go to USD with you though! I hope I get in!”

“That’s great Tess, I’m happy for you!”

“Hey Lizzie, are you going to tell her about your date tonight with Maxie boy!” Maria yelled loud enough so that she knew Tess would be able to hear what she said.

“Maria!” Liz yelled back as her friend laughed at her.

“You had a date with some guy? Oh! I wanna know all about him!”

“Fine, but Maria I’m going to get you back for this,” Liz yelled as Maria shut her bedroom door. “Well, I met him the other day at the café on campus while I was working. He was really nice and we talked for a while and then he asked me out. We had a lot of fun and today wasn’t really a date. We just went to his place and talked about one of our classes that we have together.”

“Oh, I’m so happy for you Lizzie. He sounds like a nice guy, and you deserve a nice guy after that last jerk you dated.”

“Does everyone know about James?”

“Well, Maria told me one time when I called and you weren’t home. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Liz said, then raised her voice, “My roommate just has a big mouth!”

“Well, I gotta go Lizzie, I have to help mom set the table. But I’ll talk to you soon, and I’ll let you know when I get any answers from any college’s!” Tess said happily.

“Okay, bye Tessie, and give mom and dad kisses for me. Oh, and tell Smokey and Cookie that I miss them and give them a bone for me!” Liz said referring to her favorite labs. Smokey was a great big black lab while Cookie was a smaller yellow lab.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh Lizzie, it was so great! His face! I just had to do it, it was perfect!” Maria gushed as she told her of her encounter with Michael. “I mean, could you believe that guy’s nerve? He called me bitchy!”

“Maria, you do know that sometimes you can be that way, don’t you?”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean he has the right to say that to my face!” Liz just shook her head at her best friend. Maria was definitely a character, that was for sure. “But it was so great I poured it over his head and then I told him that he was right I did have always have to have the last word, then I walked out, it was so great!” The girls shared a look and laughed as they lay around the living room. Liz was sitting sideways in an old reclining chair while Maria lay across the couch.

“So that was the mess I saw all over the floor when I walked in to find you,” Liz laughed again just imagining what Max’s friend must have looked like when Maria got done with him.

“Mmmmm…” Maria was stretching her hand out with her fingers splayed and the palm of her hand pointing straight at the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream the Liz had just taken a spoonful of. “Mmmmm…”

“Maria, are you okay?” Liz asked as she looked at her roommate.

“What? I just want the ice cream, but I don’t want to get up. It should just come to me, you know? I mean wouldn’t be great if you just had to hold out your hand and wish for the ice cream and it would come to you?”

Liz couldn’t hold her laughter in any longer, she busted out into hysterics at the completely serious look on Maria’s face as she explained her actions. Yes, Liz loved Maria to death, but she could definitely be a bit of a cook at times.

“Maria, you do know how crazy that sounded, right?”

“Yeah, but that’s why its fun!” Maria laughed back.

“Okay, just checking.” Liz got up and brought the ice cream with her over to the couch and made Maria scoot over so she could sit by her and they could share.

“So, you still haven’t told me about your date with Max.”

“It wasn’t a date Maria!”

“Oh, really? Was I mistaken then when I heard Max call you his girlfriend then? Cause I thought I heard him distinctly say-”

“Okay, alright, I give! Yes, I guess you could say he’s my boyfriend. But oh my god! Maria, his house is gorgeous! First of all, he and Michael live in La Jolla, right practically on the beach! And it’s a mansion, I mean the place is huge!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




Edited by - dancepixie on 09/29/2001 23:25:18
posted on 28-Sep-2001 10:32:11 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please go on.


posted on 28-Sep-2001 11:06:19 PM by roswellluver
I hope Liz feels like sharing her circumstances with Max soon, and Michael had better watch out for Maria! Thanks for writing!


posted on 28-Sep-2001 11:17:42 PM by tabasco sauce
wow! thank you so much for the update! I hope Liz tells Max the truth soon! Maybe Maria will talk some sense into her!

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 28-Sep-2001 11:44:26 PM by rollergal20
Being a huge Pride and Prejudice fan - I just LOVE this story.

I have the movie on DVD and have seen it like a zillion times. It's one of my all time favorite movies. You have good taste in movies if I may say so *smile*

please post more soon ~ *wink*

USA USA USA

posted on 28-Sep-2001 11:44:42 PM by rollergal20
Being a huge Pride and Prejudice fan - I just LOVE this story.

I have the movie on DVD and have seen it like a zillion times. It's one of my all time favorite movies. You have good taste in movies if I may say so *smile*

please post more soon ~ *wink*

USA USA USA

posted on 28-Sep-2001 11:44:57 PM by rollergal20
Being a huge Pride and Prejudice fan - I just LOVE this story.

I have the movie on DVD and have seen it like a zillion times. It's one of my all time favorite movies. You have good taste in movies if I may say so *smile*

please post more soon ~ *wink*

USA USA USA

posted on 29-Sep-2001 9:56:37 PM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Alrighty, here's part 8. Even though I'm a dreamer, I had so much fun writing the candy scenes in this part. I just couldn't help myself. Anyway, hope you like. Nikki, I think that we need to speed it up a little. It's still their first week and at this rate, we're never gonna get to all the great stuff we have planned for later on. I know, I'm such I tease. Anyway, feedback is always great. It makes me want to write all the faster...*hint hint* Tell me what you think and now you can bug Nikki for the next part.

~Michelle


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Part 8

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria,” Liz said in a soft voice to her friend as she slept. “Come on Maria get up. You have like half and hour till class starts.”

“Leave me alone. Let me sleep,” Maria said swatting at Liz.

“Fine, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Liz said as she continued to get ready for the school day.

Fifteen minutes later

“Maria…get up! You have class soon and Alex will be here to drive us any minute now.”

“No, I don’t wanna,” Maria said waving her hand, trying to get Liz to go away. “Hey, don’t poke me!”

“I’m not poking you. I’m poking the smilie face in the eye.” Maria’s bedspread was indeed covered with huge smilie faces of all different sizes and colors on a blue background.

“Alright, alright. I’m up already,” Maria said sitting up and staring at an all too awake Liz. “Whoever invented eight am classes should be drug out into the street and shot.”

Liz just laughed at her friend as they heard the doorbell ring.

“Shit!” Maria shouted. “Tell him to just give me two seconds to brush my teeth and comb my hair. I’ll have to come back in between classes.”

Liz just nodded at her friend, not trusting herself to speak without laughing. Didn’t Maria ever learn, she did this all last year whenever she had early classes.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex and Maria rushed to there class as time was running short. ‘Why did they have to have so much trouble finding a parking spot? Why the hell are there so many people here at 8 am.’ Maria thought. She hadn’t had much time that morning, so she was still in her sweats and tank top she slept in with a sweatshirt tied haphazardly around her waist and her hair brought up sloppily on top of her head.

They finally made it into the class with about a minute to spare, taking the first empty seats they could find. This was a discussion section, a small class of about 20 students, so of course the TA noticed their quick entrance.

Maria heaved a sigh of relief and went into her backpack to fish around for her notebook and pen just as the TA began to start talking.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Shit!” Michael swore as he hurried to his class. ‘Damn construction! Why don’t they ever warn you about those things.’ Looking down at his watch again, he realized he was already late as he entered the building and started running up the stairs to the third floor. ‘I hate eight am classes.’

Michael entered the classroom to see the TA had stopped talking to turn and look at him. “Well, nice of you to join us.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Michael muttered as he moved to sit in the only available seat, next to some blond hunched over a backpack.

Upon hearing the voice of the late arrival, Maria swore to herself. ‘Crap! Please don’t let him sit here. Please don’t let him sit here. Please don’t let him sit here.’

As she felt the chair pull out next to her, she swore again to herself. ‘Fuck! Could this day get any better?’

As Michael moved to sit down the blond girl sat up and turned to glare at him. ‘Of all the classes, of all the days, she has to be in my freakin’ class,’ he thought. He then realized her attire, the barely there tank top she was wearing clinging to her curves all too nicely. Michael couldn’t help the images that entered his brain. ‘Wait! What the hell are you thinking? She annoys the crap out of you. You hate her!’

‘Of all the classes, of all the days, he has to be in my freakin’ class,’ Maria thought to herself. ‘And of course I look like crap, since I literally just rolled out of bed. Wait, why the hell do I care? I hate him!”

Their thoughts were interrupted as the TA once again began going through her expectations of the class. “Alright, as I was saying. I expect people to be on time, if I have to be here at eight am, so do you,” she said looking pointedly at Michael.

“I’m passing around a paper about the project requirement for this class. It serves as your midterm, so make sure you take it seriously. I know it seems kind of early, but we won’t have all that much class time to talk about the project later in the semester. It’s a group project, so I will now be splitting you up into pairs, and I think there will be one group of three. Umm…that will be you three,” she said pointing to Alex, Maria, and Michael. Maria and Michael both let out a silent groan. “After I finish pairing everyone else, I’ll talk with you three about the amendments to your assignment since you have an extra person.”

After their TA, Sarah, went around and assigned the rest of the class to partners, she told the three that they simply were expected to do a little extra work and that their project would be graded more harshly then the others. “I now want you all to take this time to get to know your partners and start discussing what you will be doing for this project. And no, that does not mean that you can leave early.”

“Well this bites!” Maria was the first to vocalize her thoughts on their situation. “I’m stuck doing a project with you two, no offence Alex. You know I love ya. But you!” she said turning to Michael. “You, seem to take every chance you get to bug the crap out of me.”

“Me! Hey, this ain’t no picnic for me either. You’re the one who takes every opportunity to make my life a living hell! By the way, nice clothes. What’d you do, just roll out of bed and come to class,” he said with a smirk.

“For your information, yes. After working all day and studying all night, I’m a little tired. So, I try to get as much sleep as humanly possible. You have a problem with that.”

“Alright you guys, that’s enough,” Alex said before Michael had a chance to open his mouth. “Whether you guys like it or not, we’re working on this project together. Now you guys don’t have to be friends or anything, you don’t even have to like each other, but you need to at least be civil. If not for the sake of my mental health alone.”

“Fine,” Michael mumbled.

“Fine!” Maria said in return.

Alex just rubbed his temples in exasperation. This was going to be a long semester.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz walked up to the entrance to her seminar class, only to find Max standing outside the front door. She made her way up to him and he brought her closer for a passionate kiss. “Hey gorgeous,” he muttered once they had broken apart.

“Hey yourself,” Liz said in return. “Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but what was that for?”

“I just missed you, that’s all.”

“Ah, well I missed you too,” Liz said as they grabbed hands and entered the classroom.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex, Michael, and Maria were meeting as they’d agreed in class today, since Michael and Maria refused to talk to each other most of the period, so that they could try and come up with a topic for their project.

As Michael entered the café he immediately saw Alex and made his way over to the table that he was occupying. “Alright, I’m here. So where’s the harpy?”

“Maria…please call her Maria. You guys said you were going to be nice.”

“Whatever.”

“Well, she went home to shower and change. She should be here any minute.”

They both turned when they heard the door and saw Maria walking into the café. She was dressed in a simple white sundress with tiny blue flowers on it. Nothing fancy, but Michael found his eyes glued to her form, unable to turn away. She seemed in a much better mood then she had been that morning, much more relaxed then before. There was aura about her, like she was giving off these vibes that had Michael hypnotized.

Alex wasn’t oblivious to the looks that Michael was giving Maria. Sure, he knew Maria was attractive, although definitely not his type. Actually, he could never think of her as anything but a friend. Deciding to spare Michael the embarrassment that Maria might notice, he decided to alert him to the obviousness of his gawking. “Hey Michael, you can close your mouth now.”

Michael quickly looked to Alex, glaring at him. “What the hell are you talking about Whitman?”

“Come on, Michael. It’s not like it’s not obvious that you’re staring at her. I just thought that you might want to stop before she notices. You wouldn’t want another soda dumped over your head, now would you?”

Michael was stunned to silence, not realizing that he had been staring for that long. Michael turned away from Alex, feigning annoyance, when in fact he was embarrassed beyond belief. ‘What the hell is wrong with me today anyway?’ Michael thought. ‘Since when do I find her so agonizingly sexy? Yeah, she was always attractive, but suddenly I can’t seem to keep my mind out of the fucking gutter where she’s concerned.’

“Alright guys,” Maria said as she reached the table, “what are we going to do this project on?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max walked into the café to see Liz behind the counter with her back towards him as she made a drink for one of the customers. Max slipped behind the counter and slipped his arms around Liz’s waist. “Hey gorgeous. I missed you,” Max said as he hugged her tightly to him, placing a quick kiss on her neck.

Liz laughed, sighing into his embrace. “Max, you just saw me…” looking up at the clock, “like two hours ago.”

“I know, but I can’t stand not being around you…being able to kiss you…hold you in my arms.”

“My, aren’t you romantic?”

“Why yes, I suppose I am.”

Liz laughed again and turned to face him. “Well, now we have all the time in the world.” With that she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought him down for a passionate kiss.

When they finally broke apart, Max groaned. “Oh, I wish. But I have class in fifteen minutes. I have to go. I really just came by to ask if you wanted to go to dinner tonight, it’s Rosie’s night off, but I guess I got kinda distracted.”

“I guess so. And yes, I’d love to go to dinner with you tonight. I wouldn’t want to leave my poor baby to have to eat all by himself, or heaven forbid, cook.”

“Ha ha. Very funny.”

“I thought so. Well, you better get going. Besides, I have to get back to work, anyway.”

“Alright babe, see you later then.”

“Bye Max.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max took Liz to another expensive looking restaurant. It was kinda hard to get used to, since most of her life her family had been struggling for money. They talked about everything, with the same ease they’d always had. They discussed their classes and the weird professors they had. They laughed and had a great time.

As they left the restaurant, the valet went to get Max’s car, not even having to ask for a ticket. “Max, you need to stop bringing me to such expensive restaurants. You’re gonna spoil me.”

“Ahh. I’m only giving you what you deserve. And you deserve the best.”

“Hmmm. You are quite the charmer Mr. Evans,” Liz said turning in his arms so she was now facing him.

“Well, I try.”

Liz laughed again. “Well, someone seems sure of himself.”

“Well, I’m standing here with the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth, why shouldn’t I feel on top of the world.”

“Hmmm. There’s that charm again. What are we going to do about that?” Liz asked quizzically.

“Well, I think that a reward is in order.”

“Oh, you do? Well, I guess I can manage that.”

They kissed fervently, with urgency and hunger, until they were interrupted by a nervous looking valet with Max’s keys.

“Thank you,” Max said handing the man a hefty tip.

“Thank you, Monsieur Evans.”

Max led Liz over to the passenger’s side of the vehicle, but pinned her against the car before opening the door. When the kiss ended, Max laid his forehead against Liz’s, both of them trying to catch their breath.

“Sorry, I just had to finish what we started.”

“Hey, you’re getting no complaints here.”

Max laughed and opened the car door for Liz to get in. She entered and Max quickly moved around to the other side of the car. “Alright, so…where too?”

‘Well, Liz thought. I can’t avoid this forever. You’ve kinda run out of excuses. It was fun while it lasted.’ She sighed. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I got a lot of reading to do. So, I should probably get home.”

“Of course, but there’s just one problem. I don’t know where that is.”

Liz just laughed. “I’ll direct you on the way, just go.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Well, here we are,” Liz said with a sigh.

“Camino Apartments. Hmmm…sounds cozy.”

“Well, it’s not exactly the Ritz,” Liz mumbled under her breath.

“Pardon?” Max asked not hearing her.

“Oh, nothing.”

“Liz, what wrong?” Max asked sensing the sadness in her voice.

“Go ahead. Tell me what you really think.”

“I don’t know what you talking about Liz. You’re confusing me?”

“About where I live Max,” Liz responded in exasperation.

“What about it? It seems nice.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, what was I supposed to…” but before Max could finish his sentence, Liz had launched herself at him and he know held the sobbing girl in his arms.

“Liz baby, what’s wrong.”

“Nothing…nothing. I guess I’m just paranoid. I thought that you’d never want to see me again.”

“What? Liz why?”

“Cause your rich, and you have so much money and you could do so much better then some poor little nobody like me.”

“Liz, is that why you kept refusing my offers to take you home?”

Liz nodded against his chest, the tears still flowing from her eyes.

“Liz, look at me. Look at me!” When she didn’t, he brought his hand under her chin and lifted her eyes to his own. “You mean the world to me and nothing, I repeat nothing, is going to change that. I don’t care where you live or how much money your family has. I care about you. Your all that matters to me.”

“You’re amazing, you know that? What did I ever do to deserve you?”

“No Liz, I can’t for the life of me imagine why I deserve you.”

And with that Liz was attacking Max’s lips with her own. They stayed like that for a while, just enjoying one another’s presence. Kissing and hugging, loving the feel of being in each other’s arms. Liz finally moved to get out of the car and Max walked her up to the door of her apartment. With one last kiss, Liz entered the apartment and leaned back against the door with a perpetual smile on her face.

“Maria,” Liz called. “You wanna see the jag?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




Edited by - pegleg on 09/30/2001 22:04:34

Edited by - pegleg on 09/30/2001 22:24:10

Edited by - pegleg on 10/01/2001 17:39:36
posted on 29-Sep-2001 10:19:56 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
That was excellent please post more soon.


posted on 29-Sep-2001 10:34:20 PM by tabasco sauce
great part! Max is such a sweetie. He took Liz's news so well! ::sighs:: keep up the good work! post more pronto!

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 29-Sep-2001 11:49:13 PM by roswellluver
I'm glad Liz finally felt comfortable enough to let Max see where she lives! Thanks for writing!


posted on 30-Sep-2001 5:55:34 PM by dancepixie
Well this part pretty much wrote itself, I love it when that happens! Thank you to all you people who have been so kind to leave us feedback, we are loving it! Oh, I just had to tell you guys how much fun Michelle and I are having writing this story. You see, we are roommates at college and a lot of the funny little quirks that the characters have, are things we actually do, so its really fun to play around with and see what we can incorporate. Hope you all enjoy this story. And Michelle, here, a birthday present a day early! Now you're IT!!! ~Nikki~

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Part 9

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Isabel!” Michael called as he walked up to the car that just pulled up the long driveway.

“Michael!” She ran out of the car and jumped into her brother’s waiting arms. The two hugged each other happily and it was obvious to anyone who saw that they had a very close, loving relationship.

“Aunt Keri, it’s good to see you,” Michael stepped away from his sister and gave his aunt a hug. She was by far his favorite aunt. She always was there for them when he or Izzie needed anything, and she was the young, only ten years older than Michael, so it was easy to relate to her.

“You too Michael. I have to go, I have a meeting, but you take care of Izzie, alright?” She looked at her two favorite niece and nephew, and sighed, they had grown up so fast. “Maybe we can do something together this weekend, I’ll be here till Monday morning probably, I’m staying at the Hilton, so if you need anything, just let me know.”

“We will, and thanks again Aunt Keri! You’re the best!” With one last hug, Keri got in her car and was on her way, leaving the siblings to themselves.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Over there is the library, and this, is the bookstore, and there’s some food places here, but none of it is really that great. It’s nothing at all compared to Rosie’s food!” Michael laughed as he showed Isabel around the school campus. He had class in a little bit and he really didn’t want to leave his sister alone, but he knew he would have to.

“Oh! I can’t wait to have some of Rosie’s cooking! It’s been ages!” Isabel laughed. She knew all too well that no one made food quite like Rosie, but she only got it when she visited her brother and Max, which hadn’t been too often in the past.

“So Izzie, do you feel like talking now?” Michael walked over to a bench in a small courtyard and motioned for his sister to sit beside him. He was all seriousness now. There was a reason for Isabel’s urgent phone call and this long visit. He wanted to help, to make it all better, like any good big brother wood, but in order to do that, she had to open up to him.

“Michael, do we have to do this now?”

“No, but I want to help Izzie. You used to tell me everything. Please don’t stop now.” The sincerity in his voice brought a tear to Isabel’s eyes.

“I’m sorry Mikey…it’s just…it’s really…hard for me!”

“Shh!” He brought her tear-streaked face to rest on his shoulder as he hugged her close and whispered soothingly in her ear. “It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me now, just know that when you are ready to talk, I’ll be right here with ears ready to listen, alright?”

Isabel pulled away from him a little so she could wipe the tears from her eyes. “Thank you. What did I ever do to deserve a big brother like you?”

“You just got lucky I guess.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria, go to class! I’ve got the café covered. You’ll be gone for an hour, I think I can handle the place! It’s not like Sara has never called in sick before, we had to deal with this all the time last year too, now relax and just go!” Liz laughed at her friend. Maria was so considerate but sometimes the girl just would not listen to reason!

“Fine, I’m going, but I’ll run back as soon as my class is over, I promise!” With that she was out the door leaving Liz standing there shaking her head in amusement.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Are you sure it’s okay if I just leave you Izzie? I mean, I don’t want to leave you alone for a couple hours not knowing where you are or anything.”

“Relax Michael. I’ll be fine. When you’re classes are over you can call me on my cell to find out where I am. I’ll be fine. Maybe I’ll go to that little coffee-shop café that you pointed out to me earlier. I’ll be fine, really, I promise!” She loved her brother, but sometimes he just wouldn’t listen to reason!

“Fine,” Michael huffed indignantly, knowing he was beat.

“Hey Michael,” a voice called from behind Isabel. Isabel looked behind her to see a tall guy with dark brown hair and pretty blue eyes.

“Oh hey Alex,” Michael called back, but then he got an idea. “Hey, Alex, do you have any classes right now?”

“No, I was just headed over to the café to say hi to Lizzie, and hang around for a little while. Why, did you need something?” Alex asked. He wasn’t too sure what Michael would want from him. Sure, they weren’t enemies like him and Maria, but they weren’t really great friends either.

“Alex, this is my sister Isabel, she’s staying with me and Max for a while and I have to get to class, so I was wondering if maybe you could keep an eye on her for me? Just for like two hours?”

“Michael! I am not a little girl anymore! My god! You can’t control me like this. Maybe your friend here doesn’t want to spend his day playing babysitter to someone who doesn’t need one. I told you I would be fine on my own, now go to class already!” Isabel huffed. Sometimes her brother just went too far. Did he actually believe that she needed someone to babysit her? Well, actually, she wouldn’t really mind if she got handed over to this guy, what was his name, Alex? He seemed nice, and he was definitely cute.

“It’s alright. I don’t mind showing you around a little, I mean, if it’s what you want.” Alex finally looked at the blond and she was beautiful. ‘Wow, she’s amazing, and so full of spirit. She kinda reminds me of Maria, the way she can get to Michael. But he actually seems sorry for hurting her. They must be close.’

“Thank you Alex, I really gotta get to class now. I’ll find you in two hours Izzie,” Michael called as he finally hurried off in the other direction.

Isabel let out a little scream. “Ahh! The nerve of him! Just because he’s my big brother he thinks he has the right to control my life.” Isabel shook her head and then recovered herself, realizing that the boy with the pretty blue eyes was still standing beside her. “I’m sorry, umm…Alex?” she questioned trying to make sure she had the name right.

“Yeah, I’m Alex Whitman, it’s nice to meet you…”

“Isabel Guerin. I’m sorry about my brother, he can be a pain sometimes.”

“Yeah, but it shows he cares about you,” Alex told her sincerely. “Would you like to join me, I was just on my way to the café.”

“Sure, I’d love to.” The two started walking side by side, both content in each other’s presence. “It’s just he makes me so mad sometimes, thinking that he can tell me what to do and what not to do. I mean, I’m a big girl now, I can make decisions for myself.”

“You know, you should meet my friend Maria, I think you two would get along great!” Alex laughed, imagining what trouble the two of them would cause Michael.

“What makes you say that?” she was curious.

“Well, it’s just she has this great knack for getting on Michael’s nerves. No matter what she does, it’s so funny, and you were just doing the same thing.”

Isabel laughed, maybe she would have to get to know this Maria girl, it could be fun.

“Hey Lizzie,” Alex said as he ushered Isabel inside the café and they walked over to a table and sat down.

“Hey Alex, what can I get ya?” Liz asked as she came over to her friend and the blond. She raised an inquiring eyebrow to Alex, silently asking who the mysterious girl was.

“Liz, this is Michael’s sister Isabel. Isabel, this is one of my best friend’s Liz.”

“Oh, Isabel, it’s great to meet you. Max was telling me that you were coming to visit you’re brother. So how do you like it here so far?” Liz asked as she sat down in an empty seat at the table. There was no one in the café besides them at the moment so she could take a break.

“It’s okay. I just got here this morning, so I have only been around the campus a little. But I really like it here in San Diego. It’s like being in a big city without all the LA stuff. It’s a nice change.” Isabel smiled. She liked these people. They seemed very genuine, and she liked that.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Liz…sorry…took me…so…long…” Maria huffed as she came through the doors a little over an hour later only to be met by laughter.

“Oh, hey Maria. I told you you didn’t have to hurry. I’m fine, besides, Alex was here to help when it got a little busy.”

Maria hurumphed herself down into a chair at the table where Alex, Liz and Isabel were all sitting.

“Hi, I’m Isabel Guerin,” a tall skinny blond girl that Maria hadn’t noticed before was saying hello to her.

“Oh, um…hi. I’m Maria.” Maria wasn’t too sure who the girl was but she seemed nice enough and she was sitting with her friends, so she might as well be nice to her.

“Oh, sorry Ria,” Alex spoke up. “Isabel this is my friend Maria. Maria, this is Isabel, Michael’s sister.” Alex carefully watched his friend’s face and counted, ‘one…two…th-’ Sure enough, right on schedule Maria’s eyes got really wide, comprehension. Oh, this was too much fun. There were definitely some strong feelings there.

“So, Isabel, how long are you staying in San Diego?” Liz asked to try and distract from Maria’s crazy reaction.

“I’m not really sure. A while though. I’ve even been thinking about applying to a couple schools down here, so we’ll see.”

“Do you know a lot of people here?”

“Just Mikey and Max. They are great and all, but living with them is gonna be like having two big brothers instead of one. The last time they came home to visit they wouldn’t let me near my date until they had given him this long lecture on the proper way to treat a lady. Let’s just say, I never heard from that guy again!” Maria burst out laughing at this. It was just too funny. Mr. Bad Ass Michael Guerin, the softy? It was just too good.

Half an hour later they the three girls and Alex were all lounging around the still empty café, talking and enjoying each other’s company.

“You guys should all come over this weekend or something. We can hang out by the pool or something, and Rosie makes the best food!” Isabel laughed. What? It was the truth.

“Oh my goodness, you are so right Isabel! I had her enchilada’s, they are to die for!” Liz giggled too.

“Sounds like fun,” Alex smiled. He wasn’t sure what it was about this girl, but there was something there, something beautiful hidden beneath her also amazing body.

“Will Pepsi-Boy be there?” Maria asked with a sly devilish I-got-something-up-my-sleeve grin on her face.

“Who?” Isabel asked not sure what to make of Maria’s question.

“She means…your…brother,” Liz was laughing so hard she almost couldn’t get the words out. She could just picture what Michael must have looked like covered in pepsi.

“Okay, you’re going to have to tell me that story later,” Isabel laughed along. “Yeah, he’ll probably be there. I don’t know what he normal does on weekends or anything, but he won’t mind if I have people over, I mean the place is huge.”

Maria got up from the table and sighed. “Sorry guys, I gotta go see my psych TA about something, but I’ll see you guys later. It was nice meeting you Isabel, and when you see Pepsi-Boy, tell him the Harpy says hello!” Maria made sure to enunciate the word harpy with distaste. Then Maria left without noticing the confused look on Isabel’s face. ‘I definitely missed something,’ Isabel thought to herself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael, can we talk now?” Isabel’s soft voice came out of the den that evening as Michael was walking past.

“Sure Izzie, I always have time for you.”

“Well, thank you again for letting me stay here, and-”

“You don’t have to thank me, you’re my sister,” Michael interrupted.

“Thanks Michael, but could you not interrupt and just let me talk?” She waited for him to nod before continuing. “Well, you remember Andrew, right? Well, we had been going out for a while, and he said he loved me…” tears were escaping her eyes as she recalled the events of last Sunday. “He took me out to dinner because it was our one year anniversary of our first date. I thought it was the sweetest thing. He ordered wine, and I told him I shouldn’t be drinking because I was underage, and he just said that it was a special night. But I drank too much, he just kept refilling my glass, and I didn’t realize how much I had really had. He took me back…to his…his condo…and…and I don’t remember anything…it’s all black until I woke up the next morning in his bed…I was so confused…he wasn’t in bed, but he came in just after I woke up, and he told me it was over…he said we were too different…he said he found someone else!” Isabel threw herself into her brothers strong embrace and cried on his shoulder until she got all her tears out. “He…used…me! I just feel so dirty. Like its all my fault, but I know its not, but I just feel like I could’ve or should’ve done something…but I didn’t…”

“Isabel, listen to me. That was not your fault. He was a jerk, and he doesn’t deserve you. He never did if he treated you like that.” Michael held onto his sister as tight as he could to reassure her that she was alright; that she would make it. “I want you to know that you can always come to me Izzie. I will always be here to listen to you,” he whispered to her. “That guy is a jerk. No one should ever treat you like that. When I get my hands on him!”

“Michael no! I just want to forget about it, and I don’t want you running off and getting yourself in trouble because of my mistakes!”

“Okay, but if he ever tries to come near you again, you let me know, alright?”

A bright smile started to form on Isabel’s tear streaked face. “Thank you Mikey, you’re the best big brother a girl could ask for!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The phone rang…once…twice…three times… Finally Liz got up and answered it.

“Oh my god Lizzie!!!” the voice on the other end of the line squealed. “You’re not going to believe this-”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 30-Sep-2001 6:20:54 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please post more.


posted on 30-Sep-2001 10:32:16 PM by rollergal20
I LOVE THIS FIC!

Is Andrew = Wickam ?

please post more soon ~ *smile*

USA USA USA

posted on 1-Oct-2001 12:19:15 AM by roswellluver
I can just imagine "Harpy" explaining to Isabel who "Pepsi Boy" got his nickname! Thanks for writing!


posted on 1-Oct-2001 1:30:57 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Wow! We're just punching out the parts lately huh? You guys should feel lucky. Acutally, once I got the idea for this part it kinda ran away with me, and wrote itself. I was actually originally planning to write something else entirely, and even started writing it, but then I got this idea, and it just seemed so much better. So, without any furthur ado...here is part 10. Wahoo...we're in double digits. hehehe...just kidding. So here it is, hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. And where is all this candy stuff coming from? Maybe it's repressed or something...

~Michelle



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 10

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh my god Lizzie!!!” Maria yelled from the other end of the line. “You’re not going to believe this…the bus broke down. They’re not sending anymore tonight. I’m stranded here at school without a way home. And I already called Alex and there was no answer. Where that boy could be, I don’t know. But Lizzie…I’m stuck here and I don’t know what to do.” Maria was in hysterics at that point, but Liz couldn’t blame her.

“Maria. Maria, calm down, ok. I have an idea. I’ll just call Max, I’m sure that he wouldn’t mind coming to pick you up, ok. Just give me five minutes and then call me back, k?”

“Alright,” Maria said with a sniffle.

“Alright, talk to ya soon.”

Liz hung up the phone and quickly dialed Max’s number, which she now knew by heart.

“Hello,” a female voice said into the phone.

“Hi. Isabel?”

“Yes, and who is this.”

“Oh it’s Liz. Hey, is Max there, I really need to talk to him.”

“No, I think that he was running out to get something. What’s wrong?”

“Shit. It’s just that Maria is stranded at school with no ride home and we don’t know where Alex is. We were hoping that Max would be willing to go pick her up.”

“Oh, is that all. Well, Michael will do it.”

“He will. Are you sure?”

“Yeah, no problem. Tell Maria he’ll be there in 20 minutes.”

“Alright, thanks Isabel. You’re great. And thank Michael for me too.”

“No prob.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel hung up the phone and hurried into the living room where her brother was sitting on the couch watching tv. She quickly snapped off the television, standing directly in his line of sight.

“Hey, I was watching that.”

“I’m sure you were. But you need to go do someone a favor.”

“Yeah, and what’s that.”

“You need to go get Maria from campus and give her a ride home.”

“What? No way! Hell no! Why the hell would I want to do that?”

“Cause she’s stuck there without a ride home, and it’s late, and it’s dark, and it’s the nice thing to do. Would you want your little sister walking home in the dark all alone? I think not. She’s my friend and I want you to do this for me. Please!!!” Isabel gave him her big puppy-dog eyes, the ones she knew he could never resist.

“Alright fine. I’ll do it. But I’ll have you know that I am 100% against it. I’m only doing this because of you. By the way, since when are you two friends?”

“Alex introduced me to her this afternoon and I thought she was great.”

“Yeah, you would,” Michael muttered under his breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing. I’m leaving now,” Michael called over his shoulder to as he made his way out to the car. Isabel was just standing there with a smile on her face.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria smiled and gave a sigh of relief as she saw a car finally pull up to the bus stop. She hated to admit it, but she was starting to get a little frightened. She hadn’t seen anyone around for a while now, and it was starting to seem a little eerie. It wasn’t until she had gotten up, moving towards the car, that the passenger’s window was rolled down and Maria realized that it was Michael in the driver’s seat.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same question blondie. Just hurry up and get in the car.”

“I thought Max was coming to pick me up.”

“He wasn’t home. Just get in.”

“No. I’m not getting into a car with you. What do you think I am? Crazy or something?”

“That thought has crossed my mind. Come on, just get in the car so I can go home.”

“No. I’ll walk.”

By this time Michael had gotten half way out of the car and was arguing with Maria over the hood.

“Like hell you will. I came all the way down here to get you. I’m not letting you walk home now.”

“Ya and how you gonna stop me?”

“Fine! Whatever! Do whatever the hell you want!”

“Fine,” and with that she turned and started walking off in the other direction.

“Maria,” Michael was now fully out of the car starting to walk slowly after her. “Come on.”

But Maria just kept walking. She walked quickly, trying to put as much distance between her and Michael as possible. In her hurry, she didn’t realize how much darker it was getting as she moved towards the deserted interior of the campus. Suddenly, a figure dressed all in black jumped out at her from the bushes, grabbing at her purse. Maria let out a scream as she struggled with the perpetrator.

Michael, not all too far behind, heard her scream and was immediately alerted. He broke out into a dead run, moving quickly towards the struggling figures. “Hey,” he yelled, trying to get the thief’s attention.

Upon hearing the voice of a man coming towards them, the figure ran off, attempting to avoid any confrontation. Soon after, Michael was at the side of a sobbing Maria, wrapping her up in his arms. She was crying hysterically and he did everything he could to comfort her.

“Shhh. Calm down now. It’s alright. He’s gone. He can’t hurt you now. Shhhh. It’s alright.” All the while, Michael rubbed her back, offering soothing words as the sobs that racked her body slowly began to cease. Once she had sufficiently calmed down, Michael led her back over to his car and put her in the passengers seat. He then quickly went around to the driver’s side and started the engine.

The rest of the drive was made in almost complete silence, except for the occasional direction from Maria. Once they got there, Michael stopped outside the apartment building and cut the engine.

“Thank you,” Maria said once they had stopped.

“Ahh. It was no problem.”

“No. What you did back there…everything... Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“You know what, you aren’t so bad after all.”

“Why thank you blondie. I never would have expected it from you.”

“Well consider this a one time thing. You know this doesn’t change anything, don’t you? I still hate you, ya know?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“Well, I guess I better go.”

“Are you gonna be ok?”

“Yeah, me and Liz…we’re right up there,” Maria said pointing to a window on the third story.

“Alright, I’ll see you around.”

“Bye Michael. And thanks again,” Maria said as she turned around and made her way towards the apartment building.

Michael waited until she got inside before he turned the engine back on and made his way back onto the streets. For some reason, he just couldn’t seem to get the smile off his face.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Lizzie! Oh my god, Lizzie! You will not believe what just happened!”

“Yes Maria. I’m sorry. I know I didn’t tell you that Michael was coming to pick you up instead of Max, but I was afraid that you’d say no if I told you and…”

“No Lizzie. It’s not about that. Although, I am quite mad about that too, by the way. But this has nothing to do with that. The worst thing just happened, well I guess it could have been worse, but…”

“Maria you’re babbling.”

“Right. Anyway…” and so Maria went on to tell Liz the whole story about how she was almost mugged, and how Michael rescued her, and how he comforted her and everything.

“Oh my god Maria! I’m so glad you’re alright.” The two embraced in a hug, each glad that the other was still there with them. “How do you feel now?”

“I’m ok. Michael was really nice about it. He calmed me down a lot. And he was really sweet.”

“Uh huh. And how did that feel?”

“What?”

“Oh, come on Maria. I see the way that you look at him. And the look in your eyes when you talk about him. That is not hate that I see there. How did it feel to have Michael comforting you? Holding you in his arms?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t like him… Ok, so maybe he’s a little attractive, but that’s it. I mean, the boy annoys the crap out of me.”

“Uh huh. You still haven’t answered my question.”

“It felt nice, ok! Are you happy now! I liked it! Does that make you feel better?”

“Gee Maria, calm down. I was just teasing.”

“I’m sorry babe. It’s just been kind of a stressful night. I didn’t mean to blow up at you like that. I think I need to go take a nice long bath. Can we talk about this…whatever it is…later?”

“Yeah, sure babe. No problem.”

“Great. I’ll be out in a while. You know where to find me.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hello.”

“Hey beautiful.”

“Hey sexy.”

“Hmmm…so I’m sexy now?”

“Oh, you always have been.”

Max’s deep laugh could be heard over the phone.

“So, I heard about Maria. Is she ok?”

“Yeah, she’s a little shaken up, but she’ll be alright. By the way, tell Michael I owe him one.”

“Ok.”

“So, where were you tonight?”

“Oh, I was running some random errands, just ordinary stuff.”

“Ok…”

“So, I heard that Isabel invited you guys over tomorrow. Are you gonna come? Please, please, please, please. Besides I have a surprise for you.”

“Well, how can I resist a temptation like that? And what more could you have to surprise me with anyway?”

“You’ll see. So, you think that Maria and Alex will be coming too?”

“I’m not sure. I know Alex will probably come. Maria will be harder to win over, but I think that I can handle it. So how did Michael react to the news anyway?”

“Oh, I think he took it pretty well.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Half an hour earlier

“You what?!?”

“I invited Liz, Maria and Alex over to hang out tomorrow.”

“Well, that’s great of you. Didn’t you think that it might be nice if you’d asked me first. This is my house you know?”

“No, this is your AND Max’s house. I think that he should have some say in it too. Max!” she called up stairs.

“Yeah,” he called as he came down the steps.

“Do you mind if I invite some people over to hang out tomorrow?”

“No, not at all. You don’t even have to ask.”

“See…” Isabel taunted looking at Michael.

“Thanks a lot bro. You’re a great help.”

“What did I do?”

“He’s just mad because of who I invited.”

“And…”

“I invited Liz, Maria, and Alex.”

“Yeah…what’s the problem with that?” Max asked turning back to Michael.

“What’s the problem with that?!? Max, we hardly know them. Well, you may know Liz, but what about the others?”

“Michael, from what I know of them, they seem nice. There’s no harm in Isabel trying to get to know them better.”

“Fine!” Michael said storming into the other room.

Isabel was about to follow when Max stopped her. “Let me.”

Isabel just nodded and Max followed Michael into the gym.

Michael had gone into their private exercise gym and was currently punching a bag with all his might.

“You want to tell me what this is really about?” Max asked as he moved behind the bag to steady it for Michael.

“Nothing Maxwell. I just think it’s a little weird to be inviting strangers into our house.”

“They’re not strangers. Didn’t you tell me that you were having Alex show Iz around today? Obviously you didn’t think he was a stranger then.”

Michael was just silent, not knowing how to respond to Max’s statement. It was true. He just began punching the bag harder.

“You know what I think this is about?”

“Shoot.”

“Maria.”

Once again Michael didn’t say anything. He knew Max was right. He didn’t want the others coming cause he knew she’d be there too. Finally, Michael broke the silence.

“I don’t know Maxwell. Mostly, she annoys the crap out of me and gets on my last nerve and I just want to scream and yell and walk away and never look back. But the sometimes, not very often, but sometimes, I just can’t get her out of my head.”

“Like tonight,” Max supplied.

“Yeah, like tonight.”

“You’ve got it bad,” Max said with a chuckle.

“No I don’t. What are you talking about? I just find her the slightest bit attractive, that’s all. That is when she’s not insulting me every chance she gets.”

“Uh huh. That’s what I thought.”

Michael hit the bag one last time…hard, making Max stumble over onto the floor. They looked at each other for a moment and then both burst out laughing.




Edited by - pegleg on 10/02/2001 01:58:39
posted on 1-Oct-2001 2:36:05 AM by abbs007
That was another great part I really love this story please post more soon


posted on 1-Oct-2001 9:50:42 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please continue.

Max And Liz 4 ever!!!
posted on 1-Oct-2001 11:48:53 AM by etoile1
I can't believe I missed so many parts...it's just with the bookmarks down I forget which stories I am waiting for updates on! lol...but this is really great I love it! Please post more...

ps. Happy Birthday Michelle

Eva

I can't help that I love a fictional character...

*defiant dreamer*

**passionate polarist**
posted on 1-Oct-2001 11:52:50 AM by rollergal20
This story is great !

Can Micheal and Maria be anymore obviouse, they totally like each other.

please post more soon ~ *wink*

USA USA USA

posted on 1-Oct-2001 2:53:48 PM by roswellluver
It's good to see things moving forward on the Michael and Maria front, thank goodness Michael stopped the mugger from harming Maria! Thanks for writing!


posted on 1-Oct-2001 7:39:53 PM by tabasco sauce
another wonderful part! this fic is so cute!

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 1-Oct-2001 9:48:16 PM by Pegleg
Hey you guys. Thank you all for the lovely feedback. I'm glad that you guys are liking the story. To answer a question that came up earlier...

rollergal20: Is Andrew = Wickam?
Um....sure. Why not? To tell you the truth we were even thinking about that when we wrote him, but he does kind of fit the role doesn't he. As we said before, this is very loosely based on P&P. It was going to be a lot more like it, but our minds kinda ran away with us when we ewre coming up with the storyline...but the main themes are still there along with the four core characters (Elizabeth, Jane, Bingly and Darcy...I'm sure you've all figured out who is who by now....or maybe not?)

Anyway...I also wanted to say thank you to Eva for the Happy Birthday. THANK YOU!!!! For those of you who care, I am now 19 today. Yeah, I know. I'm a youngin'.

Don't know when the new part's gonna be up. It's Nikki's turn, but I think that she has it most of the way planned out. Alright, I need to go. I'm going out to dinner to celebrate.

~Michelle


posted on 3-Oct-2001 12:35:55 AM by dancepixie
Well I'm not feeling too great today, but that's good for you because that means instead of doing homework like reading for physics and bio and o.chem, I was writing this story! I must say it was definitely the more appealing choice. Hope you enjoy this part. And thanks for all the feedback, we just love it!
~Nikki~


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 11

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria! Would you just pick something?! My goodness, Alex’ll be up here in a few minutes. We have to go, would you just pick one?”

“But it’s important, I need the right one. I can’t just have the wrong one now can I?”

“Just pick one now or I’ll do it for you!”

“Fine…just give me your opinion, the one piece or the two piece? Cause I was thinking the one piece makes me look kinda fat, and I’d get a better tan in the two piece, but then again I have really bad tan lines from the one piece, so if I wear the two piece it might look really bad…”

“Maria!” Liz grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her till she stopped babbling. “Just wear the two piece. It’s a better color on you, besides, now you can fix your bad tan by laying out in the sun.”

“Really? You think so?”

“Why do you care so much anyway?” When Maria gave no response Liz continued with her thought. “Could it be because of a certain spikey haired knight in a shiny new car?”

“I can’t believe you just said that!”

As if on cue there was a knock on the door as Liz pushed Maria into the bathroom. “Now put it on and lets go already!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel was laying on a lounge chair by the pool relaxing when Max came out of the house with Liz on his arm looking extremely cozy, and Maria and Alex behind them looking amazed at everything they saw.

“Hey guys! Glad you could make it!” she called as she sat up and adjusted her sunglasses so they were resting on top of her head.

Liz had her arms wrapped around Max’s waist from where she sat at his side as the friends sat around and talked for a little bit. Isabel couldn’t help but notice how close they were, or how Max’s face seemed to light up with Liz in his arms. ‘He seems so happy, like nothing in the world could bother him as long as he had her in his arms. He’s so lucky, and so is she. I hope I can find that someday…’

Isabel turned to Maria who had taken up residence on the lounge chair beside hers. “So, Maria, you’ve gotta tell me the whole Pepsi-Boy story cause Michael gets angry if I bring it up and every time I ask Max, he starts laughing so much he can’t even talk. So what’s the story?” She had been waiting to hear this since Maria mentioned it yesterday.

“Well, if you must know, far be it from me to keep you in the dark,” Maria laughed as she went on to tell her new friend about her wonderful adventure into the joys of dumping soda on someone’s head! “You should have seen his face! It was priceless!” Maria went on. ‘Hey, wait a minute…isn’t someone missing from this party,’ she thought to herself. “Hey Izzie, speaking of Pepsi-Boy, where is he?”

“Who knows. Sulking, hiding, being anti-social…typical behaviors of my brother. You get used to it after a while.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael watched everyone around the pool from an upstairs window. Why he was up here and not down there, he wasn’t really sure. But it had something to do with his talk with Max last night…yes…the talk. The one where he had voiced his feelings. It didn’t happen often… But why was he feeling that way? ‘No! Gotta be strong. It just wouldn’t work. We’re too different…yeah! That’s it. We argue all the time, we constantly fight. She probably can’t stand to be around me,’ he thought, only to be answered by a voice in his head. “But then why do you want to be around her so much?’

Michael sighed and shook his head as he turned and headed down stairs where he joined the others by the pool. He didn’t know what force it was that made him do it, but he did.

The afternoon was fun for everyone. Max and Liz splashed each other in the pool and then ganged up on Maria and Isabel who had been laying in the sun. Soon everyone was in the pool.

Later as they got tired of the water the group separated. Max was teaching Liz how to play poker with Alex and Isabel was watching and often jumped in to help Liz when she saw she was going to do something stupid. That left Maria laying on a lounge by the pool and Michael watching her from the chair beside her.

Isabel looked up from Liz’s hand of cards to see Michael and Maria talking. ‘I don’t know what it is about those two, but there is definitely something there.’

Soon enough though the voice of Maria could be heard yelling. “What?! I was just trying to say thank you for last night! But fine! You don’t want a thank you? Then I take it back! You know, after last night I thought there might be more to you than some spikey haired jerk with a nice car, but I guess I was wrong!” Maria got up and grabbed her towel wrapping it around her body as she marched away over to the others and absorbed herself in their card game.

Michael was stunned. He couldn’t move from his spot. What did he say to set her off like that? God, he had such a big mouth!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Getting ready for another date with Max?” Maria asked as she lay on her bed watching her friend running around the room getting ready.

“Yeah,” she smiled happily as she thought of Max.

“My goodness Lizzie! Just what, three weeks ago all you had was school, homework, and me and Alex to keep you busy, and now you’re out with Max almost every night. I mean you’ve even gone out on school nights, so not a Lizzie thing to do.” Maria laughed at the reaction her comment got. But hey, she only spoke the truth. “Seriously though chica, I’m happy for you. I don’t think you could have found a more perfect guy if you tried. I only hope that I’ll find a great guy like that for myself someday…”

“Oh Maria, don’t be silly of course you will!” Liz reached over and gave her best friend the biggest hug she could. She felt bad for not always being around for her lately, but she couldn’t hide her happiness at having found her prince charming.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“This reminds me of our first date,” Liz whispered up to Max as she leaned back and snuggled herself into his chest. They were sitting on a blanket on the beach. The sun had already set and the small waves were quietly lapping at the sand.

“Mmhmm,” Max nodded his head, nuzzling his face in her soft neck and getting a sigh out of her.

“I can’t believe that was three weeks ago. I mean it seems like it was a day ago, but I feel like I’ve known you forever Max.” She turned herself around so she was straddling his lap and looking him in the eyes. He saw her innocent sincerity, just as she saw his mirrored back at her. He had those eyes that she could just get lost in, and she did. Before she realized what was happening his lips were on hers and she was in heaven. Every kiss with Max was incredible, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring…

“Mmm…I love your kisses…” Liz whispered in his ear when they came up to breathe. Minutes just past by as they held on to each other, reveling in the happiness of being in each others presence.

“Max?” Liz asked softly.

“Yeah?”

“My sister is coming to visit next weekend and I wanted to make sure you’d be around so that you could meet her. She’s checking out the local colleges that she applied to, you know, USD, UCSD, SDSU… I really hope she doesn’t choose SDSU…”

“Of course I’ll be around to meet your sister. I’ll even go with you guys to check out the schools, that way you won’t have to take the bus.”

Oh, thank you Max! You’re the best boyfriend.” Liz’s smile lit up her face as her lips came crashing down to meet his in a thank you. ‘What did I ever do to deserve this?” they both thought at the same moment their lips touched.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey.” Pause. “Hello?” Pause. “Blondie to Space-Boy! Come in Space-Boy!” Maria’s voice spoke, trying not to yell in the library. Finally she had gotten his attention. It was about time.

“Sorry,” was all the mumbled response she got.

“So where’s Alex?” Maria asked as she sat down in the seat across from Michael.

“I don’t know. I’ve just been sitting here for over an hour reading these books trying to get some ideas. I mean we decided on researching the Women’s Lib movement, but there is so much information, so many areas, I think we might have to make it more specific.”

Maria’s jaw dropped. Was this the same spikey haired one who knew just what to say to make her mad? The same guy who just bumped right into her without caring to apologize? The same one who just loved to taunt her in any way he could? ‘No, this is the boy who saved you two weeks ago,’ dammit, there went that voice again.

“You’ve been researching this for over an hour? Without us? When you didn’t have to?”

“Don’t look so surprised blondie. I may not look like mister straight A student to you, but I am. I do care about my classes and my grades believe it or not.”

“I’m sorry,” Maria apologized meaning every word. This boy just amazed her more and more with every encounter. “I didn’t mean to say that I thought you were a slacker or anything, but… Okay, so why are you taking a women’s studies course anyways?”

“I needed the requirement. Besides, it’s interesting.”

No matter what she did, she could not figure this boy out. One minute she would think she knew it all, but then he’d go and pull something like this and surprise her back to square one. What was it about him that intrigued her so?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, what was it?” Liz asked impatiently.

“I don’t know…he just shocked the hell out of me, that’s all. I mean, first he rescues me from that creep, and now he’s…I don’t know…he’s just…more…human,” Maria finally finished for lack of a better word.

“Just be careful, okay Maria?” The sad smile on Liz’s face told Maria that she had seen this coming.

“Careful of what Lizzie? I see that look in your eye, what is it?”

“Well, I’ve seen you guys together and I don’t want you to get hurt, that’s all.”

“Woah! Slow down chica! Let’s get one thing straight here! I mean…I’ll admit, he is hot, but don’t worry Lizzie, nothin’s happening there. Besides, I’m Teflon Babe, remember?” Maria stood up and effectively placed her hands on her hips in the stance of some super hero, causing giggles to fill the room.

“I know you are.” Liz waited until she could stop laughing before continuing. “I’m just looking out for my best friend. If I don’t warn you, who will?” Liz got up from her spot on the couch and wrapped her arms around her best friend to show her just how much she cared.

“Oh, and Maria? Can you please try to keep the apartment looking semi-decent this week cause you know Tess is coming Friday morning and I don’t want to have to do a bunch of cleaning on Thursday night after work and I don’t want her seeing this place looking like a disaster either.”

“I’m not that bad!”

“Maria?”

“Okay! No problem chica! Besides, how much of a mess could I make between now and Friday?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*





posted on 3-Oct-2001 2:54:07 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great fic please post more soon.


Max And Liz 4 ever!!!
posted on 3-Oct-2001 4:05:34 AM by A Rose Is True Blue
Well I can't wait til Tess comes into the picture! Is Kyle Maria's brother in this? Or step brother? Post more really really soon!!


ALEX: Hey, are you, uh, walking this way?

ISABEL: Actually, I'm walking this way.

ALEX: This way works for me. How's it going?

posted on 3-Oct-2001 9:49:53 AM by rollergal20
Great! Nuff said...

please post more soon ~ *smile*

USA USA USA

posted on 3-Oct-2001 10:22:39 AM by Transparent Clear
I just found this story, and I really like it. it is so cute. *happy* I'm a dreamer, too, but your M/M is really great! They never fail to make me laugh.

Jenan


posted on 3-Oct-2001 10:31:14 AM by Alien614
This is a great fic.


posted on 3-Oct-2001 10:41:48 AM by etoile1
great new part Nikki...I hope you're feeling better.

you're welcome Michelle, I hope you had fun celebrating...and now get in here and post the next part!

I can't help that I love a fictional character...

*defiant dreamer*

**passionate polarist**
posted on 3-Oct-2001 11:48:10 AM by SciFiNut111
Just stumbled across this story and spent the last 2 hours getting up to date. Its really good. Enjoy how you're handling all of the characters.

Looking forward to more. Post soon.







Edited by - SciFiNut111 on 10/07/2001 10:03:42
posted on 3-Oct-2001 11:53:51 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
OMB!! I was so behind in this story! I finally got all caught up!!You both are doing an excellent job!I can't wait to read the next part!!!


posted on 3-Oct-2001 12:19:02 PM by Becca1974
I just found this story, And its really good..Please post more Soon!!


posted on 3-Oct-2001 5:05:28 PM by tabasco sauce
a new part! this fic is so adorbale! I'm not usually into m/m, but this fic as made me a candygirl! keep up the good work! post more pronto!

No rock stands a chance against Michael Guerin (Max: Skin and Bones)
posted on 12-Oct-2001 12:31:38 AM by Pegleg
Alrighty, I posted this on the old board but I'm sure that not everybody got to read it. I was sick for a while, so it took me longer to get this part out. I hope that ya'll like it. Nikki is I'm sure going to post the next part right after me, since she's done with that one too...which means that it's my turn again. Oh well. Happy reading.

~Michelle*tongue*

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Pat 12

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria!”

“I know, I know…I’m cleaning it up.”

“Maria, you promised you weren’t going to make a mess.”

“I promised no such thing.”

“No, you only implied that you were going to keep the apartment clean and kept complaining as I asked you over the week to pick up…now look! Maria, Tess is gonna be here in like 2 hours.”

“I know, which is why I’m sending you off to class so that I can clean up.”

“Alright, but right after class I’m going to the bus station to pick up Tess and then we’re coming back here…so it better be at least semi-decent when I get back, or else.”

“Relax chica, I’ll take care of everything. Now get on to class and get out of my way.”

And with that Maria had shoved Liz out the door and shutting it, turned around to face the disaster that was currently their living room. Maria ran across the room to the phone, dialing a familiar number. At the person on the other end of the line picked up, Maria felt the relief spread through her, “Alex!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Tess!” Liz yelled as she saw her sister get off the bus.

“Liz!” Tess called after spotting her in the crowd of people, waiting to greet those coming off at the station.

The two ran towards each other and met in a hug, both glad to finally be seeing each other again. “God, I missed you so much!” Tess exclaimed as tears came to her eyes upon finally seeing her sister after 10 long months without her.

“I missed you too. Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve been home. How are mom and dad?”

“They’re good. They miss you. And so do Smokey and Cookie.”

“Oh, my puppies. Sometimes I forget how much I miss home, but then I talk to you and it brings it all back again.” By this time both girls had tears in their eyes. “So, on to happier thoughts. What do you think of California so far? Sunny San Diego?”

“It’s great. So different from back home in Nebraska.”

“True, so how was the bus ride.”

“Ok. Cramped, but ok.”

“Glad to hear it, cause guess what? We get to take another one!”

“Wahoo,” Tess said with mock enthusiasm, although she couldn’t keep the smile off her face. She was finally seeing her sister again and that’s all that really mattered.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alright Tess, I’m warning you now,” Liz said as they reached the front door of the apartment, “Maria is not the tidiest roommate, so I apologize now for the…mess?” Liz now had a confused look on her face as she opened the door to the apartment finding it completely spotless. ‘How in the hell did she get all this done in two hours?’ Liz thought to herself. Just then Maria came bustling out of the kitchen with a plate of cookies.

“Hey guys, glad you’re home. Want a cookie?” Maria asked as she placed the plate on the table. She then went up to Tess and enveloped her in a hug, “Hey babe, glad you could come visit. It’s been a long time.”

“Too long,” Tess agreed.

“So what do you think of our palace?”

“It’s not that bad…I think it’s quaint.”

“Yeah, you say that now, but wait until you’ve lived in it for a year…then see what you think.”

Maria then turned to Liz, who was still in the same position she had been when she opened the door, mouth open with a confused look on her face. “Hey chica, is something wrong?” Maria asked a knowing smirk on her face.

“How did you…”

“Lets just say that I now owe Alex my first born.” All three of the girls laughed at her comment as they made there way over to the couch to eat the cookies Maria had brought out for them.

“So Maria, what’s with the cookies?” Liz asked. “You don’t bake.”

“Ok, so I cheated. I found them in the cupboard and heated them up in the microwave so they’d be nice and warm.” Again the three girls laughed, happy that they could once again be together like this, like they had been in their youth.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex!” Maria called as he entered the café. Tess turned around to see a tall lanky guy walking towards them. Tess was keeping Maria company at the café while Liz was in class and then Liz was going to show her around campus and point out all the benefits of coming to USD as opposed to the other schools she was applying too. ‘It’s not like she has to try too hard,’ Tess thought, ‘I already plan on coming to USD as long as I get in and get the money.’

“Alex, I’d like to introduce you to Liz’s sister, Tess. Tess, this is our other best friend, Alex.”

“Hi,” Alex said putting out his hand for Tess to shake.

Tess took it gladly, “Hey. It’s nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”

“Really? Good things I hope.”

“Yeah, for the most part. Well, there was this one time Maria said…”

“Tess!” Maria looked surprised. When had she ever said anything bad about Alex?

“I’m just kidding Maria. She loves you to pieces Alex, honestly.”

“Awww. Maria, I’m touched. I didn’t know you cared.”

“Ok, ok. Let’s stop it with the mushiness already, k?”

The three spent their time talking and reminiscing about anything and everything, with Maria leaving from time to time to deal with customers. Alex and Tess were soon talking as if they were old friends. Maria just knew they would hit it off. When the café was finally empty again, after a throng of people had just come through, Maria came back to sit with Alex and Tess.

“So Maria, tell me about Liz’s mystery man. I mean, every time I ask her about him she just blushes and changes the subject.”

“Let me tell you something, babe. Liz has got it so bad for him. I mean, she comes home from hers dates and she’s all giddy. It’s so cute…like those high school crushes.”

“I heard that Maria,” Liz said as she came up behind them. She had entered the café and heard everything that Maria had said. “And I’ll have you know that I am not some high school girl with a crush. And I do not get all giddy…”

“Ummm…yes you do.”

“What was that Alex?”

“I said that yes you do. Look Liz, you know I’m your friend and all, but that guy just puts you in a mood. You can’t seem to keep the smile off your face when he’s around.”

“Thanks for the support Alex.”

“Anytime,” Alex said with a smirk.

“Look sis, if you really want to know about him, I’ll tell ya. He’s smart, sweet, funny, just all around a great guy.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m sure he is,” Tess said sounding bored. “But what’s he look like? What do you guys do? Do you have the same affect on him that he obviously does on you? Come on, I want the juicy details here.”

“Umm…I need to get to work,” Liz said as a blush came over her face. She quickly turned, and headed to the back to start her nonexistent shift.

“Nuh uh, chica. You’re not getting out of this that easily. Are you forgetting that you’re not working today on account of your lil sis here?”

“Oh yeah,” Liz replied meekly. “Alright Tess, I promise that I’ll tell you everything…but tonight. We’ll make a girls night out of it. Ya know, rent sappy movies, ice cream, junk food, all that stuff. Just me, you and Maria.”

“Well gee, now I feel left out.”

“Oh, I’m sorry Alex. Did you want to come too?” Liz teased.

“Na, that’s alright. I already have plans.”

“You do not!” Maria exclaimed. “With who?”

“Isabel Guerin if you must know.”

“Oh really, you and Isabel huh?”

“No Maria, it’s not what you’re thinking. We’re just going to see a movie as friends. That’s all.”

“Yeah, uh huh. Right Alex. And the way you look at her screams, ‘I wanna be friends.’”

“Ha ha, laugh all you want Deluca. I’ve seen the way that you look at Michael from time to time, and that is anything but friendly.”

“Exactly, I hate the man.”

“Uh huh, right,” Alex said as he rolled his eyes.

“Alright you two. That’s enough,” Liz interceded. “Let me just go get something to drink and we’re off. K, Tess?”

“Sure.”

Just as Liz had made her way behind the counter to get a drink from the soda fountain, Maria looked up to see a certain dark haired mystery man walk through the door.

“Hey Tess, doesn’t look like you’ll have to wait till tonight after all,” she says, motioning to the door behind Tess. “That’s Max who just walked in the door.”

Max scanned the café quickly and spotted Maria crouching over a table with a couple other people, one he recognized as Alex. He gave Maria a quick wave and she just smiled and jerked her head motioning towards the counter. Max’s eyes followed her movements, finally landing on Liz. Upon seeing his girlfriend, a huge grin took over his face and he made his way over to her.

Tess noticed the way the Max’s face lit up upon seeing her sister, and it brought a smile to her own face. Yeah, she obviously has the same affect on him. She then watched as Max made his way over to Liz, sneaking up behind her, only to tickle her sides from behind. Liz jumped in surprise, then turned around her face too lighting up when she realized it was Max. She hit him playfully for startling her, but she couldn’t seem to keep from smiling. He whispered something to her before he took her in his arms and they shared a passionate kiss. There was something about the way that they looked around each other, you just got this feeling that they belonged together.

“He’s cute,” Tess couldn’t help commenting. “Definitely my sister’s type.”

Maria just giggled as Liz and Max walked up to the group. “Max, I’d like you to meet my sister Tess. Tess, this is my boyfriend, Max.”

“It’s nice meeting you,” Max said putting his hand out to Tess.

“Likewise,” Tess said with a smile. She couldn’t help it. Her sister just looked so happy. Alex was right, Liz had a permanent smile plastered on her face and Tess was sure that it wasn’t going away anytime soon.

They all sat and talked for a while as Tess watched Max and Liz with interest. She didn’t miss the closeness between the two of them, and the way that they would stare at each other when they thought no one was looking. How long had they been going out again? A month or so? Something like that. It was amazing. It looked like they had known each other forever.

“Alright,” Liz finally said. “Tess and I are gonna get going. I need to show her around campus before it gets dark.” Everyone laughed.

“And I need to get to class,” Max said with a groan.

“Ah, poor baby. It was your idea to take classes this late on a Friday afternoon, was it not?”

“Yes, but that was before I knew I’d have a girlfriend to better monopolize my time.”

“Oh…you mean that you weren’t expecting me?”

“Does anyone ever expect to meet the girl of his dreams?”

“Awww…that’s so sweet.” And with that they kissed, and after a few moments with no sign of letting up, Maria felt it was necessary to interrupt.

“Hello? We’re still here ya know.”

Max and Liz broke apart at the sound of Maria’s voice, both blushing at their obvious lapse.

“Alright,” Liz said. “We’re really going now. Come on Tess. And you need to get to class before you’re late,” she said looking pointedly at Max.

“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Max gave Liz a quick kiss and then walked swiftly out the door to make it to his class on time. Liz and Tess said quick goodbyes to everyone else and then left the café as well.

The rest of the afternoon, Liz and Tess walked around the campus seeing all that there was to see. Liz told her sister everything good and bad about the campus. All the little tricks and shortcuts you needed to know, where to eat and where not to, the best hang outs, where to go to meet people, pretty much everything that Tess would ever need to know about USD.

When they were done, they went to dinner at one of Liz’s favorite on campus restaurants. Nothing fancy, but that didn’t matter to Tess. She was seeing her sister for the first time in a long, long time, and that was all that mattered to her. When they finished, they quickly went back to the café to grab some ice cream and Maria and then they headed back home to start their girls night.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Wow. That movie was…interesting. What was it called again?” Tess asked.

“The Secret Life of Girls. Maria bought it on a kick, ya know from the pre-viewed section at blockbuster.”

“What? I like it. I think it’s cute,” Maria defended. “Besides, it was only like two bucks.”

“True. It’s kinda funny. It’s like a tradition. The minute we walk into the store, we head straight for the pre-viewed movies. How else do you expect college students to get such an extensive video collection?”

“Ok, so I’m ready for the ice cream. How bout you guys?” Tess asked with a devilish glint in her eyes. She knew exactly what came hand in hand with ice cream…girl talk.

“Girl, I thought you’d never ask.” And Maria was up and into the kitchen getting spoons and bringing out the various pints of Ben and Jerry’s that they had brought from the café.

“Alright, gossip time. Ok, my life is boring, so how bout we start with you Lizzie?” Maria started. She knew exactly where Tess wanted to go with this conversation.

“What are you two ganging up on me now?” Liz asked, taken aback. “Maria, your life is not boring.”

“Let’s see. School and work all day, study all night, spend the weekend hanging out with my lovely friends. Yeah, that just about does it. Nothing of interest there. Your turn.”

“Alright, fine. But this isn’t the end. We’ll be coming back to you. I have some questions about a certain pepsi-boy.”

“Who’s pepsi-boy?” Tess asked confused.

“We’ll get to that later,” Maria responded quickly, almost a little too quickly. Liz would have to ask her about that later.

“Alright,” Liz finally conceded. “What do you guys want to know?”

“Everything. Come on Lizzie. You will barely talk about the guy over the phone. I just want to know about him.”

“Alright. Umm…he’s really a great guy. He’s sweet and kind. He’s fun to be around…”

“He’s loaded…” Maria interrupted nonchalantly.

“Loaded?” Tess asked confused.

“He’s rich,” Maria clarified plainly.

“Oh my gosh, Liz. You didn’t tell me the guy is rich.”

“Well, I guess it’s not the first thing that I think about.”

“Not the first thing you think about? Liz he lives in a mansion and drives around in a jag! How can you not think about that?”

“Cause. I don’t care about the money ok. Max is a sweet guy and I like him just for being him.”

“Ahh sis, that’s so sweet. But I bet the car doesn’t hurt does it?”

“Not at all,” Liz giggled and soon they were all laughing.

“Alright, now Lizzie, what kinda stuff do you guys do?”

“You mean besides getting all hot and heavy in his jag?” Maria said with a smirk.

“Maria!!” Liz gasped, a shocked expression on her face.

“Ahh, even better question. How far have you guys gone?” Tess asked, she too grining evilly. She loved being able to make her sis squirm.

“Yeah Liz. How close have you guys gotten?” Maria asked, the implications apparent in her tone.

“Oh, I am so not discussing my sex life with my little sister.”

“Woah Liz, sex life? Way too much information,” Tess cringed.

“No, I…I mean we…ahhh…we haven’t done that! We just kiss. That’s all I swear.”

“Just kiss?” Maria asked. “Right, that’s what you guys are doing parked in front of the building for forty-five minutes before you come up.”

“I…we…ok. So we make out. Maybe a little touchy feely…but that’s it.”

Tess and Maria both burst out laughing. “You know. You’re so cute when you’re embarrassed. You know the last time you used the phrase ‘touchy feely’ was like in junior high,” Maria said still laughing.

“You guys. It’s not funny.”

“Yes it is,” Tess said still laughing.

Liz suddenly started laughing realizing just how she had reacted to the situation. “I feel like a little kid or something. I can’t believe I got so… nervous and flustered. I’m feel like such a dork.”

“Ahh Lizzie, it’s ok. We still love you.” Maria comforted, trying to keep the giggles from erupting.

“I can’t help it. That’s just the way he makes me feel. Like I’m sixteen all over again. When I’m with him it’s just magical. I forget about everything else. I forget how I work my ass off all the time just to keep myself in school, and I feel like I don’t need to worry about that. That it’s all going to be ok, as long as I’m in his arms. This feeling…it’s just indescribable.”

“You really like him, don’t you?” Tess asked frankly.

“I think I’m falling in love,” Liz stated decisively. A squeal was heard out of both the other girls before they jumped at Liz, enveloping her in a group hug.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max arrived at Liz’s apartment at about ten Saturday morning. He was supposed to be taking Liz and Tess to go check out the local campuses. Maria answered as he knocked on the door.

“Hey Max. She’s still in the bedroom. You can go in there if you want,” Maria said as she made her way back into the kitchen where Tess was.

“Thanks. Hi Tess.”

Tess waved as she continued to stuff a bagel into her mouth. “Do you think we should have warned him?” Tess asked.

“Nah,” they both said in unison, just before they broke out into a fit of giggles.

Max entered the bedroom only to find Liz huddled up in a little ball in the middle of the bed, her knees drawn up to her chest. Max moved over to her quickly.

“Hey honey. What’s wrong?”

“Leave me alone,” Liz muttered.

“Babe, what is it? Can I help?” Max asked laying a hand on her side.

Liz swatted at his hand. “Don’t touch me. Leave me alone.”

Max jumped back, confused by her actions. Had he done something wrong? Said something? Max quickly made his way out of the room, determined to find out what was going on. As he exited the room, he ran smack dab into Alex, who had apparently just come in.

“Woah. Where’s the emergency?” Alex said, steadying himself and Max.

“It’s Liz. She’s all curled up on her bed and every time that I try to talk to her she just tells me to leave.”

Understanding spread over Alex’s face and he just pushed himself past Max and made his way into the bedroom. Max just stood watching in the doorframe as Alex made his way up to Liz, slowly sitting down on the bed beside her. Alex slowly began rubbing circles on Liz’s lower back and whispered soothing words to her.

“Hey sweetie. How you doing?” Alex asked as he continued to rub her back.

“It hurts,” she muttered into the covers, still curled up in a little ball.

“I’m sorry. Come on,” he said coaxing Liz out of her crouching position. He convinced her to spread her legs out underneath her, leaning her back to rest on his chest. Liz just laid there, her eyes closed, as Alex began to rub small circles over her lower abdomen. After a few minutes of this, he silently asked. “Did you take anything for it?”

“No,” she murmured. “Didn’t want to get up.”

“Well, why don’t I got get some.”

“No! Don’t stop. Make someone else go get it.”

“You know what, I have a better idea.” Alex looked up to see Max still standing in the doorway, looking helpless. “How bout Max takes my place, while I go get the medicine.”

Liz just nodded her head, still not opening her eyes. Max was broken out of his trance when he’d heard his name. When Alex moved his head gesturing for him to come over, Max complied. Alex shifted, attempting to hand Liz off to Max.

“I’ll explain everything later,” he said in a soft voice as he and Max switched places. “Just rub her lower abdomen, just a little bit of pressure.” And with that, Alex had left the room in a hurry.

Max just did as he was told, hoping the he was offering Liz at least some comfort. Liz just moaned, still not opening her eyes and Max laid a comforting kiss on her temple. It was then that Liz opened her eyes and fully registered who it was behind her.

“Mmmmm, hey hunny,” Liz said before closing her eyes again.

“Hey babe. You feeling better.”

“A little,” Liz nodded just before Alex came back in. He handed Liz two white pills and a glass of water. Liz downed the pills quickly and returned to her previous position with her head against Max’s chest.

“Liz sweetie,” Alex began. “Why don’t you go take a shower, you’ll feel better when you are done.”

“Ok.” Liz nodded and then got up and moved towards the bathroom.

Alex got up and moved towards the living room, Max close behind him.

“What…” Max began, only to be cut off by Alex.

“Cramps,” Alex stated as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

“Oh.” Max furrowed his brow for a moment, looking confused, then all of the sudden realization dawned on his face. “Oh!”

“Yeah, she gets them kinda bad sometimes. She’ll be back to her old self in half an hour.”

“Ahh, that would explain the hitting then.”

Alex laughed. “Your lucky. Maria throws things.”

“I heard that!” Maria said from the kitchen. “And I only did that once.”

They all laughed at that. “So Alex, where did you learn that?” Max asked.

“You know, growing up with three sisters, you learn a few tricks.”

Max just laughed, and the three talked until half an hour later when, as Alex predicted, Liz emerged from the bedroom, bright-eyed and back to normal.

“Good morning everyone. Morning honey,” she said coming up to Max giving him a kiss.

“Mmmmm…good morning to you. I take it your feeling better. Wow, what was in those pills you gave her Alex?”

Liz just slapped him playfully on the arm. At the wounded look on his face, she just laughed. “I’m sorry Max. I didn’t mean it. And I’m sorry for this morning too. I was just a little…cranky this morning.”

“Yeah, that’s an understatement,” Maria laughed.

“Like you’re any better. At least I don’t throw things.”

“Once! I did that once! Am I ever going to live that down?”

“Nope,” everyone said in unison, and then they all burst out laughing once again.

“Alright, you guys ready to go,” Max asked looking to Liz and then Tess.

“Sure, just let me quick grab something to eat.”

“Sure…oh yeah. I forgot. Isabel wanted me to ask you guys to come over for a barbeque tonight, Maria and Alex too. She thought it would be fun.”

“Oh, that would be great. I’m sure we’d love to come. What do you say guys?” Liz asked.

The other three just nodded their heads in agreement. “Great.” Max said. “Well, shall we?”

Max, Liz and Tess waved their goodbyes and left for their campus tours.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

posted on 12-Oct-2001 12:33:28 AM by dancepixie
First off, let me just say how incredibly much I love the new board! All sorts of cool things to play around with! Yeah, now I have another reason to put off that studying, hehehe!!!! I just wanted to say thank you soo much to the people who spent all their time and energy making this happen. It’s great, and I bow down to you…

Hey all, this story is just ingrained in my head, so instead of doing my homework and studying, I find myself sitting at my computer typing new parts! Oh well, it's fun, and its a great break. I hope you like this, it's finally starting to get to the really good stuff that Michelle and I have planned most of the story around, so we hope you enjoy.
~Nikki~

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 13

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Wow! I didn’t realize UCSD was so huge! I mean how do people manage to get to a class in ten minutes if it’s on the other side of campus? Even if I was riding a bike I don’t think I could do it!” Tess joked as they looked around. They had just taken the official tour and were now just wandering around a little. ‘I must admit though, this place has a great view,’ Tess stood staring at the ocean at the bottom of the hill where she was standing. ‘This is definitely different from back home, but I like it.’

“You do realize you don’t even have a bike though, right?” Liz laughed.

“Oh yeah, I forgot.”

“Forgetful, and going to college huh?” Max joked.

“Hey Maria got in didn’t she?”

“Tess!” Liz exclaimed not able to believe that her little sister had just said that.

“You know I’m only joking Lizzie. It’s just so easy when you’re friends with Maria Deluca!” she added with a big grin.

“How about I take you two beautiful ladies to lunch before heading over to my place later?” Max asked as he held out an arm for each girl.

“Sounds great!” Tess bounced with every step as they headed to Max’s mustang. Tess absolutely loved Max’s car. It was a dark shiny blue mustang convertible with black leather interior and two thin silver pinstripes on the sides. It was a gorgeous hunk of metal in her opinion.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Okay, Tess, you’ve got to help me! I know Liz’s birthday is coming up, but I’m not sure what to get her,” Max pleaded honestly after Liz had excused herself to use the restroom at the restaurant.

“I don’t know, what kind of gift were you going for?”

“That’s the thing, I don’t know,” he rested his head in his hands in defeat. He had been racking his brain all week to find a gift for Liz but nothing was working, and her birthday was only a week away. “What does she like? What does she not like?”

“Well, Lizzie’s not a fancy girl, you know…I mean she loves to dress up and stuff on occasion, but she loves to just be herself…She doesn’t really go for jewelry…She likes things that are heartfelt…things with meaning…She loves her friends whole-heartedly…She’s an animal person…I know she really misses Cookie and Smokey, our puppies, they were her babies…she doesn’t care about the present, it’s the thought that counts.” She paused to let what she was telling him sink in. “Can I give you some advice Max?” she asked curiously. When he nodded his head she continued, “Liz won’t care what you get her. As long as it’s from you and it comes from the heart, she’ll love it.”

“Thanks Tess,” Max smiled just as Liz was returning to the table.

“Did you miss me?” she asked as she squeezed into the booth beside Max.

“Always.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You are soo bad girl!” Maria laughed.

“I know, but you gotta admit, its true. I mean he is really hot. If he would just stand there and not talk, then it’d be great! But as soon as he opens that mouth of his…well, you know…” Tess trailed off.

“Don’t I know it girl! I told you about the first time I met him and Max. It wasn’t my fault, it was all his. And to think I thought he was cute at first.”

“Well but he is, he just needs to learn when to shut up and not say anything. I swear his mother must have never told him that if he didn’t have anything nice to say he shouldn’t say anything at all!”

“I was so just thinking that same thing!” Both girls erupted into fits of giggles after Maria’s outburst.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Fifteen minutes earlier…

“Tess this is Isabel, she’s Michael’s sister,” Max introduced. “Izzie, this is Liz’s sister Tess.”

“Hey, its nice to meet you. Maria and Liz have been talking nonstop about you coming to visit for the last week!” Isabel giggled.

“Well its nice to finally meet you too.”

“Hey Michael!” Isabel called towards the stairs. Soon a very disgruntled Michael was standing at the top of the stairs. “Come on, be sociable, everyone’s here,” she urged. Then turning back to Tess, “This is my big brother Michael.”

‘Wow, this guy is built! And those eyes! Those gorgeous brown, brown eyes. And the spikes, well its not my first choice, but its kinda cute, in a little kid kinda way…’ Tess was jarred out of her thoughts by Isabel’s introduction.

“Hey,” she said cheerily.

“Whatever,” Michael grumbled as he walked past her and out into the backyard following Max.

‘Okay, maybe he’s not Mr. Adorable after all. He seems more like Mr. No Personality now.’

“Sorry about that, he’s got a problem with social skills, but don’t tell him I said that,” Isabel whispered conspiratorially.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The giggles died down as Liz came towards them.

“Hey guys. Do either one of you have any Midol or anything at all?” Liz asked with this look that the girls could just tell she was really starting to hurt.

“I’m sorry Lizzie, I usually have something in my purse, but I didn’t bring it with me, I left it at home.”

“Sorry, I don’t have anything either,” Tess said sadly. “Why don’t you ask Isabel, she probably has something you could take.”

“Okay, thanks anyways guys.” Liz walked off towards where Isabel was talking with Alex and Michael.

“Umm…Isabel?” Liz asked quietly while tapping the blond on the shoulder.

“Yeah Liz?”

“Can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure, sorry guys,” Isabel said as she and Liz walked a little away from the guys, towards the house. “What’s the matter?”

“Well, I was wondering if you had any Midol or something?” Liz asked feeling a slight blush creep up on her face. Why was she getting embarrassed by this? It was natural, and she did this with Maria all the time…sometimes she didn’t even understand herself.

“Oh, sure. I have like a medicine cabinet full of stuff. It could be its own drugstore!” Isabel laughed.

“Yeah, Maria and I have one in our bathroom full of any kind of medicine you could ever possibly need, but I forgot to bring anything with me, and these cramps are killing me.”

“I’m sorry. I have bad month’s sometimes too and I just want to curl up in bed and die!”

“Yeah, mine have always been really bad. I have a prescription at home for some really strong stuff because nothing would help. Now other stuff helps a little, its gotten better over time. So at least when I don’t have my pills with me, other stuff works.”

“That must really suck, I’m sorry,” Isabel sympathized.

“You learn to live with it. Oh, thank you so much!” Liz said when Isabel handed her a box. “You are a godsend!”

“You’re welcome. Come on, lets go join the others. I need to keep an eye on my brother, he’s been weird all day,” she shook her head and rolled her eyes at her brothers behavior.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Isabel must have had something for her. Lizzie looks a little better now,” Maria commented as she watched her best friend come out of the house. Maria and Tess continued to watch her as she made her way back.

Liz walked over to Max and sat back down on the lounge chair she had occupied before.

“You okay?” he asked carefully.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine in a little bit. I just forgot to bring my pills and Ria and Tess didn’t have anything on them. Luckily Isabel had some Midol I could take.” Liz leaned back in the chair and sighed.

“Hey, why don’t you come and sit here, I’ll give you a back massage.” He motioned for her to come sit in front of him on his lounge chair. Helping her to get comfortable Max gently started with her shoulders and neck, relaxing her muscles and then moved down her back.

“Mmmm…thank you sweetie, you’re the best, you know that? I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you, but I’m glad I found you,” she mumbled. Max was starting to put her to sleep, but it felt so good, she wasn’t about to start complaining now.

“Anytime you need a back rub, you know where to find me,” he whispered in her ear as he gently kissed her neck.

“Mmmm….”

“Just look at those two, they are so adorable!” Maria gushed as she watched her best friend from a distance.

“I know, I want a guy like that. Someone who’s sweet and adorable and will do anything for me…the money isn’t so bad either!” she added as an after thought.

“And look at Alex,” Maria motioned to the other side of them near the barbeque where Alex and Isabel were talking with Michael who was flipping the burgers.

“He and Isabel seem like good friends. They look cute together.”

“I know. They both have the innocent look down pat. I think she’s just what Alex needs.”

“I don’t know Alex that well, and I’ve only just met Isabel today, but I think they suit each other really well.”

“Yeah…now if only I could find someone…”

“Maria you will, don’t worry. Mr. Right will find his way to you and you will be so happy. But enjoy yourself now too, don’t just wait for him, have fun too.”

“I know. And hey, we still have to find you a Mr. Perfect as well. We can go out guy hunting when you come out here for school. Gosh, I can’t believe little Tess is going to be starting college! This is so weird, but we’ll have lots of fun!” Maria gushed.

“Thanks Ria. I can’t wait either. I’ve missed you and Lizzie. You guys were my very best friends. I can’t wait till January, it can’t come soon enough! I can’t believe I’ll be graduating from high school in a few months. It’s all happening so fast!”

“Hey don’t worry about it chica! You’re gonna have loads of fun here with us, so just get your butt back here ASAP!” The two girls laughed.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I wish you didn’t have to leave so soon Tessie!” Maria cried in the café on Monday morning. Tess was leaving to go back home to Nebraska. “Well I have to run to get to class, but have a safe trip, be careful, and say hello to everyone back there for me. And kiss my mom for me, okay?”

“Sure Ria, I promise. And hey, I’ll see you at Christmas right? You are coming home, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there,” with that Maria gave her almost sister a hug and ran out the doors as the campus clock tower sounded the hour.

“That was interesting…” Max trailed off.

“Yeah, that’s Maria, you gotta love her!” Tess smiled, she did love Maria.

“Well it was nice to meet you this weekend Tess. I hope you do decide to come out here, Liz would be ecstatic. You two seem really close. I know she misses you.”

“Yeah, I miss her too,” Tess’s voice was almost wistful. “Take good care of her for me Max.” Tess reached up and hugged him, pulling him close to whisper in his ear. “She really likes you Max, please don’t hurt her, I don’t think she could take it.”

“I would never hurt her,” Max spoke from the heart. Tess just smiled at him. “I should go, I have an appointment with my chemistry professor.”

“Bye Max, it was nice meeting the guy my sister is head over heels for.” Tess gave him a wink as he walked out the door smiling. So Liz was head over heels for him, huh? ‘Like you didn’t already know that?’ a voice in his head whispered.

Tess turned around to find Liz helping a customer while Isabel sat a table alone.

“Hey,” Tess said as she sat down.

Isabel smiled at her, she really liked this girl. She had never really had any close friends before, but now since being in San Diego she had met four new wonderful people, people she wouldn’t mind getting to know a little better.

“So, what have you decided as far as colleges go?” Isabel asked, after all, that was the purpose of Tess’s visit.

“Well I always have been wanting to go to USD, you know with Lizzie and Ria. I applied to the others because if I can’t get the scholarships or grants to come here, I can probably get them from the other schools. But this is my top choice.” She smiled and looked around her. Yes, she could definitely learn to love this place. It could definitely be home. “What about you? Are you planning on going to college or what?”

“Well I was taking a year off. Some things happened, and I needed a break. Originally I just came down here to get away, but now I’m thinking of going to school here next year. I’m not too sure what I want to do yet, but it has potential.”

“That’s great. So I’ll definitely get to see you then when I come back in January! I can’t wait,” her eyes lit up with anticipation.

“Well, have a great trip home.”

“Oh yeah, I’m so excited, I get to spend hours on the bus with a bunch of strangers, yippee,” Tess rolled her eyes and Isabel just laughed.

“You know what I mean!”

“Yeah, and thanks.”

“Hey Tess, is Alex coming yet?” Liz called from the counter.

“Just a sec, let me look out front. Umm…yeah, there he is,” she pointed to the side and a minute later in walked a tired looking Alex.

“Sorry it took me so long girls. Parking was horrible, I had to park on the other side of campus. Who knew so many people had classes at ten in the morning?”

“Don’t worry about it Alex. Let me go grab my purse out of the back and we can go,” Liz told her sister and friend.

“Hey Izzie,” Alex said as he saw the blond getting ready to leave through the door.

“Oh, hey Alex. Call me tonight okay, we can talk.” With that she was out the door.

“What was that about Alex? Are you two…” Tess asked with a sly grin.

“Huh? No, we’re just friends.” Alex shrugged it off as nothing. ‘Good thinking Alex!’ he told himself, mentally patting his own back.

“Okay, lets go.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The bus station was almost deserted. There were only three or four other people waiting for Tess’s bus.

Alex gave Tess a hug goodbye.

“Thanks for the ride Alex. You take care of my sisters for me, okay?”

“No problem. And you take care of yourself too. If you ever need anything and can’t get a hold of Lizzie or Ria, you can always call me, alright?” Alex offered.

“Sure, thanks.” Tess smiled at Alex one last time as he stepped back to allow the two sisters some time alone.

Liz had tears in her eyes as she hugged her sister one more time.

“I’m gonna miss you! It was great having you here, even if it was just for a short time. I can’t wait till you come out here for real!”

Tess smiled at her sister’s words, and her own tears came soon. “I’m gonna miss you too Lizzie! But hey, you’ll be back for Christmas, and then I should be coming back out here for good. It’s just a little longer.”

“I know. Give Cookie and Smokey kisses for me, okay? And tell mom and dad that I love them.”

“I will Lizzie. I love you.”

“I love you too!” The tears were now coming faster as Liz hugged her sister close one last time.

“All aboard bus 333, now boarding,” the intercom buzzed throughout the room.

“That’s me,” Tess smiled sadly. “Bye.”

“Bye.”

Liz walked over to stand by Alex and was folded into his arms as she watched her sister slowly get on the bus and sit down in a window seat. Tess waved for a minute and Liz waved back. She never realized how much she really did miss her sister until she had to say goodbye again. ‘I can’t wait until she comes out here! Then everything will be perfect!’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael, darling!” Samantha Guerin’s voice was rich and aristocratic as it called across the entry to her son. Michael was in shock. What were his parents doing here? They never came to visit him without at least giving him a notice.

“Mom, dad, what are you doing here?”

“We just thought that we’d come and spend the weekend with our only children. Is there something wrong with that?” Samantha asked.

“Mom!” Isabel smiled from half way down the stairs. She loved her parents and was glad they came to visit her, even though she had been having a lot of fun with her new friends in the four weeks she’d been in San Diego, she still missed her parents.

“Isabel, darling! How have you been?”

“I’m much better now mother. Michael and Max have introduced me to some of their friends and I’m having a great time. I was actually wondering if I could stay for a while longer.”

“I don’t see why not dear. As long as my little girl is enjoying herself, that is all that matters.” The light in Isabel’s eyes told Patrick that his daughter was indeed happy.

“Why don’t we go sit down in the living room where we can talk?” Michael lead the way, still a bit confused as to why his parents showed up out of the blue. Not that he didn’t love his parents, because he did. This was just not typical of them. They always had a reason for everything and now he was afraid of what that might be.

“You know who I talked to the other day Isabel?” Samantha asked her daughter.

“No, who?”

“Andrew Sorenson. He and his parents were at the benefit last week. He asked where you had disappeared to. I think he misses you darling.”

Isabel cringed at the name and Michael who was sitting beside her wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders, silently letting her know that he was there for her.

“You didn’t…umm…tell him where I was, did you?”

“Oh, we didn’t really get much of a chance to talk but I’ll see his father on Monday, I can give him a message for Andrew if you’d like,” Patrick spoke up.

“No daddy! That’s okay…I mean, I’m just enjoying my time away from everything right now. I like things just the way they are.”

“All right, what ever you want honey,” Patrick smiled.

“So Michael, Izzie says that you’ve introduced her to some of your new friends here. Who are these new friends of yours? Do we know their families?”

‘I highly doubt that…’ Michael trailed off in his head.

“No, they’re just some people from school that I have to work on a project with and stuff.”

“Michael, how many times do I have to tell you, don’t say ‘stuff!’ Say something else, but not stuff,” Samantha shook her head. Honestly, you’d think the boy hadn’t gone to some of the countries most prestigious schools while growing up.

“Sorry mother.”

“Well Michael, your mother does have something to tell you though. Sam?”

“Oh yes! Michael, you remember the Harding’s right? Do you remember their daughter Courtney? I’m sure you do. You escorted her to the charity ball a couple Christmas’s ago. Anyway, she’s in town this weekend with her parents. Your father and I are going out tonight with the Harding’s and we told them you’d take Courtney out and show her around town a little. Being the gentleman that you are, I know you two will have a great time.”

Michael’s jaw dropped. Not that little brat. God, she was so annoying. Courtney Harding was a short, blond haired clutz with no conversation skills. She always wanted to talk about herself. Michael didn’t consider that conversation at all. Plus she had this high pitched voice that drove him insane. That night his mother spoke of, the charity ball, he had been ready to do anything to end the torture before she spilled punch on herself and he had to take her home early. Oh yeah, he was so sad about that…it had been the highlight of his night.

“Mother, I don’t need you setting me up on dates!”

“Nonsense honey. It’s a mother’s job. Besides, I had to make sure my son was spending his time with the right kind of company.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael?” Isabel knocked quietly at her brother’s door.

“Yeah Izzie?” He looked up to see Isabel in a medium length pink semi-casual dress that fit her perfectly. “Hey, where are you going?”

“Actually that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Umm…Alex is going to be picking me up to help him baby-sit for Professor Kanes. She and her husband are going out for the night and they have a four-year-old little girl and a two-year-old boy. Alex told me about it and I offered to help him. Little kids can be a handful sometimes, and you know how much I love children…”

“Wait a minute, you are going to go baby-sit some little kids in that? Might I suggest jeans since you might be running after them all night?” Michael almost laughed at the picture in his head.

“Well…okay. I suppose I should go change. But I just went shopping and I bought this dress, isn’t it nice? And I wanted to wear it, but I guess it’ll have to wait if you put it like that.”

Michael just laughed.

“So anyways, could you just tell mom and dad that I’m out? Just don’t mention anything about, well you know.”

Michael looked confused at first and then understood. “Sure Izzie.” She didn’t want their parents to know she was with a guy. Cause a guy always led to questions and no one wants to suffer from their parents twenty million questions over a guy. It could be torture, especially with Samantha Guerin. She was the expert at getting information out of her children.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael?”

“Hello Courtney.”

“Wow, it’s been a long time. You look great.”

“Thank you, so do you. Shall we?” Michael asked as he offered her his arm. Sure he didn’t want to be here, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be socially polite. He knew what this meant to his mother, so he was civil.

“Actually Michael, um, you see, my parents kind of set this up, and if it’s okay with you, I kind of had plans to meet this friend of mine. She goes to USD and well, we’ve been talking over the computer for a while and since I was in town this weekend we planned to get together. She’s a psych major just like me, that was how we first started talking. But you are welcome to join us though. I mean, we can just be friends, right?” Courtney looked up at Michael. Why was he smiling?

“Oh thank goodness! I was so upset when my mother told me that she had made plans for me tonight. Don’t worry about it. Come on, I’ll give you a ride. Where are we going anyways?” Michael was shocked, Courtney had changed a lot in two years. Maybe now they could be friends.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Lizzie, do you want to come with me to get pizza? You can bring Max along if you want to. But I have to leave in five. I’m meeting the girl from USC that I’ve been talking to on the computers in the psych lab. Anyways you’re welcome to come.”

“Thanks Ria. Let me go ask Max, he just pulled up out front.”

“Cool, just hurry up, I don’t want to be super late.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




posted on 12-Oct-2001 7:13:50 AM by Choc79
Great turn. It´s gonna be a funny evening...*big* Can´t wait for more.
Choc
posted on 13-Oct-2001 10:12:48 PM by Pegleg
hold on...thread being wierd...trying to figure out what's going on

[ edited 4 time(s), last at 13-Oct-2001 10:27:08 PM ]
posted on 13-Oct-2001 10:35:34 PM by Pegleg
Still not working right.

[ edited 6 time(s), last at 14-Oct-2001 1:42:40 AM ]
posted on 13-Oct-2001 10:55:44 PM by tabasco sauce
great part! this fic is so adorable!
posted on 13-Oct-2001 11:21:15 PM by roswellluver
I love how Michael and Maria are always running into each other! Thanks for writing!
posted on 14-Oct-2001 1:45:46 AM by Pegleg
Alright guys, the thread is being wierd and not letting me paste into the program to post my story. So here is what we're doing right now. Here is a link to where I posted my story on the old board. I hope you like this part. I worked my ass off trying to get this written only to spend hours trying to get the stupid thing to post. So, here goes.

http://pub77.ezboard.com/froswellfanaticsfanfictionfrm26.showMessage?topicID=534.topic

~Michelle

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 14-Oct-2001 1:49:36 AM ]
posted on 14-Oct-2001 7:02:51 PM by rollergal20
Went to the other board... loved Part 14 !

poor Michael... why can't he get together with Maria??

post more soon ~ *happy*
posted on 15-Oct-2001 2:35:13 PM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Alright, I was finally able to get this up on this board. So, without furthur ado, here is part 14. I worked really hard on this part and I really like it, and I was so mad to get on and discover the whole firewall problem...but alas, due to the hard work of so many...I am finally able to bring you part 14. Please, let me know what you think.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 14

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So you guys are both psych majors?”

“Yeah, that’s how we met. See, there’s this kind of board online where you can post topics for discussion and questions and stuff like that on psychology.”

“That’s cool.”

“Yeah, it’s really awesome cause you get to meet a lot of people who are really interested and really care about the subject. So one day I’d posted something and this girl from USD responded. We kinda became friends from there, since we both are so fascinated with human psychology. She’s really awesome and she has so much to say.

“It’s funny, she talks about how she can always read people, ya know. Figure them out after spending just a little time with them, but lately she’s been complaining about this one guy that just baffles her. She just can’t seem to figure him out. It’s kinda funny listening to her rant on and on about it all the time. If you ask me, I think that she kinda likes the guy. But who am I to say, I’ve never met her.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, if you two have never met before, how are you going to recognize each other?” Max asked as he, Liz and Maria were heading over to the Filippi’s to meet Maria’s friend.

“Oh, well when I found out that she would be coming to SD we planned a meeting place and time so that we could talk and stuff and we exchanged photos so we could hopefully recognize each other. I just hope that she gets there ok. She doesn’t really know her way around.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael and Courtney were sitting at a booth talking while they waited for her friend. There conversation stopped when Courtney’s eyes drifted to the door, just as her friend walked in. “Maria!” she exclaimed as she jumped up to meet the girl.

“Courtney,” Maria responded happy to finally be meeting the person she had been talking to for over a month online.

Michael’s eyes followed Courtney’s retreating form to find her locked in an embrace with none other than Maria Deluca. “Shit,” Michael cursed silently to himself, wondering if someone out there really hated him. From Courtney’s description he’s found himself becoming interested in her perspective friend, only to find out that it was Maria. Not that he didn’t find Maria attractive, he always had. But getting involved with Maria Deluca was just not an option, not as far as he was concerned.

Michael’s eyes quickly drifted to the rest of the group, seeing that Max and Liz were also there. Michael shot a glare at Max, while Max just looked back apologetically, shrugging to convey that he hadn’t known.

Maria and Courtney finally broke apart, still giddy from there meeting. “I brought someone with me,” Courtney started. “I hope you don’t mind.”

It was then that Maria let her eyes drift to the booth Courtney had come from for the first time. Her eyes got wide in recognition and through clenched teeth she said, “Oh no. I don’t mind at all.”

The four made their way over to the booth and Courtney sat back down next to Michael, scooting over to make room for Maria, while Max and Liz sat across from them. “Maria, this is…”

“Michael,” Maria cut her off. “Yeah, I know,” she finished with a little more venom then she meant.

“Oh, so you guys know each other?” Courtney questioned.

“Unfortunately,” Michael answered, sounding a little more serious then he had meant to. Fortunately, Courtney didn’t notice.

“Wow, it’s nice to see you too, Michael. By the way, Courtney this is my best friend Liz and her boyfriend Max.”

“Yeah, I know Max. How are you? It’s been a long time?”

“Never been better,” Max responded as he placed his arm around Liz’s shoulders. “You?”

“I’m good. It’s nice to meet you Liz,” Courtney said while offering her hand.

“You too,” Liz responded, shaking Courtney’s hand lightly.

“So,” Maria started. “How do you guys know each other?” she asked gesturing between Courtney, Michael, and Max. She must admit that she was more then a little curious.

“Our parents have known each other for a long time. They kinda set this up,” Courtney responded gesturing towards Michael.

“Oh…you mean you two are…Courtney, you could have told me. I would have understood. I don’t want to interrupt your date…”

“No,” Courtney interrupted. “As I said, this was our parents idea. Michael and I are just friends.”

“Oh,” was Maria’s only response, trying not to show the relief that come over her at that statement. ‘Wait why am I relieved? I shouldn’t feel relieved. I shouldn’t care one way or the other.’

Michael stared off into space getting lost in his own thoughts as Maria and Courtney continued talking and Max and Liz began to get lost in their own whispered conversation. Why was he here again? Oh yeah. He’d have to thank his mom later. He watched how animated Maria would get when she talked and how that same look was reflected on Courtney’s face. Well, at least they seemed to be getting along well.

He just couldn’t seem to get away from her, Maria that is. She was everywhere he turned. She was constantly working at the café, where he’d go to pick up random things, and coffee from time to time. She was Max’s girlfriend’s best friend and she was quickly becoming a close friend to his own sister. Now, he couldn’t even go on a ‘date’ without seeing her. No matter how much he tried to stay away from her, it just didn’t seem to work out. It seemed like the harder he tried, the more often he saw her. ‘Maybe I should just stop trying,’ he thought silently. But he quickly pushed that thought away as Maria’s voice filtered through his daze.

“Hey you guys, we’re still here ya know. Remember…in a very public restaurant. God, why don’t you guys just go get a room and stop trying to fuck each other at the table.” Apparently, sometime during Michael’s interior monologue Liz had moved so that she was straddling Max’s lap and they were kissing passionately, somewhat forgetting about where they were.

“Maria!” Liz seethed at her outburst. “Keep your voice down. Now everyone is staring.”

“What do you expect Liz, your were giving them quite a show.”

“Oh come on, we’re not that bad.”

“I beg to differ,” and their harsh words seemed to dissipate suddenly as all three girls burst out laughing.

“Did I miss something?” Michael asked.

Max shrugged, the same look of confusion on his face, “Women.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael’s parents came back over to the house the next day to visit a little more with their children before leaving. They talked with Michael about school and everything and asked Isabel how much longer she would be staying. They were about to leave when Samantha asked, “Oh honey, how did your date with Courtney go.”

“Good, she’s a great girl. I think that we’ll become good friends,” Michael said emphasizing the word friends.

“Alright, alright honey. I can take a hint.”

As they headed out the door they walked passed Max and Liz as they were coming in. “Hi Mr. and Mrs. Guerin,” Max said as he walked past them.

“Max, how are you? We haven’t seen you all weekend. And who is this lovely lady?” Patrick asks with a smirk, very characteristic of Michael.

“This is Liz, my girlfriend,” Max said a little hesitantly. He knew how Michael’s parents could be, especially Samantha, and he didn’t want them to say anything that might hurt Liz.

“Well, I’m Samantha Guerin and this is my husband Patrick. It’s nice to meet you Liz…uh Liz…”

“Parker,” Liz responded with a smile.

“Hmm…Parker,” Samantha thought. “Nope, it doesn’t ring any bells.”

“Mom!” Michael said a little exasperated. “Didn’t you guys want to beat the traffic?” he said a little quickly, trying to think of a reason to get his parents out of there.

“Yes of course dear. Well, we must be going. Nice seeing you again Max. You too Miss Parker.” And with that Michael had successfully ushered his parents out the door and was leading them towards their car.

“Michael honey, have you had a talk with Max about his new girlfriend?”

“No mom, Max’s affairs are his own business. Not mine. I don’t get in the middle of them.”

“Well, don’t you think you should warn him or something? I mean it’s one thing to have a little fun, but quite another to get involved in a long term relationship with someone like her.”

“Mom! What’s wrong with Liz?”

“Nothing personal dear, as I said. I’m sure she’s good for some fun, but I’d like to think that I’ve instilled some values in you, dear son of mine. Someone of our caliber shouldn’t get involved with people of her…status.”

“Max doesn’t care about money mom.”

“You know who she reminds me of Patrick? What was her name? Oh right, Cassie. That’s it. You remember Cassie, don’t you Michael?”

A pained look took over Michael’s features, but it was quickly replaced with a cold icy glare. “Goodbye mother,” Michael replied with a sternness in his voice that was not to be questioned.

“Goodbye dear,” she said with a kiss to his cheek. “Remember what I said. Just think about it,” Samantha said as she climbed in the car.

‘I’m sorry,’ Patrick mouthed, getting the slightest recognition from Michael, before he too climbed into the car as his parents left to return to LA.

Once they were out of sight Michael stormed into the house running up the stairs and into his room, slamming the door on his way.

“What was that all about?” Liz asked after seeing Michael’s hastily retreating figure.

“Michael’s parents kinda get to him sometimes,” Max responded, the worry evident in his voice. He knew, however, that no matter how hard he tried, Michael wouldn’t let him in. Michael rarely let anybody in, not even Max. He hadn’t for a little over a year now.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Cassie. That was a name that Michael hadn’t heard in a while. She had been his girlfriend for his last two years of high school. She was the love of his life, or so he thought. He’d really thought what they had was forever. He’d do anything for her. Give anything for her.

Truth was Maria reminded Michael of Cassie. A lot. That was part of the problem. Her voice. Her speech. Her mannerisms. Her attitude. Everything, even her looks in the slightest bit reminded him of Cassie. It was almost too close for comfort.

Michael’s parents had warned him about Cassie when they first started dating. They’d said that she wasn’t right for him. She wasn’t exactly what you would call financially endowed. She wasn’t good enough. He deserved so much more. Basically, in his mother’s eyes, she didn’t have enough money. Pure and simple. She’d pleaded with him not to continue the relationship, to get out of it while he had the chance and before he did something really stupid. But he wouldn’t listen. He was his own person and wasn’t about to let his parents dictate what he did or who he saw. He ignored everything they had to say on the subject.

Michael and Cassie had gone out for a year and a half before they lost their virginity together. It was the most magical night of Michael’s life. He could still remember every little detail. They way her hair looked flayed over his pillow. The way her chest heaved as she tried desperately to return oxygen to her starved lungs. The way her body writhed on the bed underneath his. And afterwards, as he watched her sleep, he remembered thinking that he was the luckiest man on earth to have found such an angel.

When she found out she was pregnant, he risked everything for her. He swore to stay by her side and help her through everything. He risked his parent’s reaction and their disownment of him. He’d spent the next month staying with Max. He promised that they’d get through it all together, that he’d find a way. He even said they could get married if she wanted to, even if they were a little young. He gave up everything, for her.

When she lost the child, he held her while she cried. Told her that everything would be alright. That they could make it through this, they could make it through anything. His parents eventually allowed him to come back home, with the baby business forgotten, he was allowed back into the family.

Two weeks before graduation, Cassie broke up with him. She said she just didn’t love him the way he loved her and she thought that it was about time they stopped disillusioning themselves. She saw them going in different directions and thought it was better to end things now, then to end on hard terms later down the road.

Michael was heartbroken. He’d loved her more than anything in the world. What made it worse was that after the breakup, she ran right into another man’s arms. It was his parents who pointed out the fact the Cole’s family had more money then his.

Michael just wasn’t quite the same after that. Cassie had hurt him more than anyone ever knew. He hadn’t dated much after that, certainly nothing serious. He always ended it before he could get in too deep. The majority of his dates consisted of set-ups with the daughters of his parent’s rich friends. Those dates barely ever made it past the first.

He’d lost his faith in love. Pure and simple. Love only lead to heartache. And that was what he was most afraid of with Maria. The kind of feelings that he got when he was around her he hadn’t felt in a long time. And Michael hated to admit it, but he was afraid. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of allowing himself to open up again.

So he closed himself off from everybody and everything. No one could breakdown his stonewall. No matter how hard they tried.

At least that’s what he thought.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Oct-2001 2:37:43 PM ]
posted on 15-Oct-2001 6:55:24 PM by rollergal20
Love this story! *big*

Michael & Maria really need to get together, they are so cute.

What is Max going to give Liz for her birthday, maybe a trip home to see her family??

please post more soon ~ *happy*
posted on 16-Oct-2001 3:23:36 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
This is a great part!!I feel so bad for Micheal,hopefully Maria will heal him!!*big*
posted on 19-Oct-2001 10:32:17 PM by rollergal20
BUMP!, BUMP!, BUMP! *big*
posted on 19-Oct-2001 11:25:02 PM by Pegleg
Hey...is that supposed to be a hint or something. Hehehehe. Alright, just to let you guys know, Nikki has been working really hard with the next part and it shouldn't be too long before it's out. We are done with our midterms for the time being...so we should be able to work on the story a little more frequently now. So anyway, I expect the next part to definately be out before the weekend is over.

~Michelle

posted on 20-Oct-2001 3:32:45 PM by dancepixie
Ahhhh!!! All I have to say is that today has started out really badly...first we had a fire drill in my dorm/apartment complex at 8 am this morning...who was the idiot who came up with that idea? then after I got back to my bedroom I was reading in bed when this big spider is all of a sudden running across my comforter towards me...let me just say that I really don't like spiders! a little bit later I decided to finally take my shower and the water is burning hot, and when I turn on the cold water higher, nothing happens...stupid plumbing! so after all that chaos I went into the living room with my laptop and started working on the last part of part 15 so that I can post it for y'all today since I made you wait so long...well I finally figured out how to make this one part sound right, and my computer flipped out on me...the battery had suddenly gone from 92% power to 0%power...and even though I tried to save what I typed...I lost it...all of what I had just written...AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*sad*

okay so now that I'm done ranting...I apologize to everyone for making you wait a week for this short part which hopefully should be up later today as long as I don't happen upon anymore catastrophies...but real life can be a pain in the ass sometimes... so I'm sorry for the further delay, but look for it later on today!

~Nikki~
*angel*
posted on 21-Oct-2001 1:55:14 AM by dancepixie
Hey everyone, sorry again that this took so long...but then the board has been fussy with me and chooses to only let me on every once in a while when it feels like it... But I'm here now and I've finally finished this part...yippee! Plus round one of my midterms is over...happy day! I know this is short and kinda sucks, but the next part is Michelle's and I know kinda what she has planned, so it'll be long...plenty long to make up for this short little tid bit...anyways, on with the show...
~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 15

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Surprise Liz,” Max’s husky voice whispered in her ear as he stood against her back and gently took off the blindfold blocking her vision.

“Happy birthday, girlfriend!” Maria ran over and enveloped her best friend in a giant bear hug, forcing her to move away from Max. “Happy 20th Lizzie! Wow, you’re so old now!” she giggled.

“Thanks Maria!” Liz laughed, she knew Maria didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but she had to call her on it.

“Oh, you know what I mean!”

“Happy birthday Liz,” Isabel and Courtney said at the same time and the four girls started giggling again. Max, Michael and Alex just stood by watching the girls with questioning glances.

“What is it with them? You get the four of them together and they just giggle incessantly for no reason at all!” Michael grumbled.

“Well I’ve known Lizzie and Ria for a while now and I think its just one of those mysterious things that goes along with being a girl. They do it a lot. After a while it won’t even bother you anymore,” Alex answered wisely.

It was Sunday and they were all at Max and Michael’s place to celebrate Liz’s twentieth birthday. Isabel and Rosie had decorated the place and Rosie made her famous enchilada’s and some other food for everyone to enjoy.

“Come on, what are we all standing around here for, let’s party!” Maria called as Isabel went over to the stereo to turn some music on.

The smile on Liz’s face got even wider as she looked around her. To think that two months ago her birthday plans had been dinner with Maria and Alex at the local pizza place, this was just beyond comparison. Max walked towards her back, his arms immediately making themselves at home around her stomach pulling her close. “Mmm, so you like it?” he whispered in her ear from behind. She turned herself in his arms and stood on her tip-toes to place a peck on his lips.

“Thank you!” she smiled shyly before she leaned her head closer once more, this time getting lost in his kisses. God, she didn’t even need a birthday present, just him, and his wonderful kisses and she would be set for life.

“Hey, lovebirds, you gonna join the party?” Alex called breaking Liz from her foggy haven. Liz looked around to find that she and Max were in the far corner of the room wrapped in each other’s arms as their friends gazed on from the middle of the room.

“Hey, its my party, I can make out if I want to!” she pouted.

“Oh my god girl! I can’t believe you just said that, I mean, it’s such a me thing to say!” Maria burst into giggles and soon everyone in the room had joined in. Max and Liz drifted into the room more towards their friends, but never losing contact with one another.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Michael, are you okay?” Maria asked as she came up beside him. She didn’t know why, but she just felt bad for the guy. He looked so lonely standing by himself while everyone was else was having fun around him.

“Huh?” Michael jumped a little at the touch of her small hand on his shoulder. “Oh, hey,” he responded automatically.

“Are you okay?” she persisted.

“Yeah, I’m fine, why?” his defenses went up around him. The wall that he had built up in the last year was immediately in place.

“Sorry, I was just asking, you don’t have to bite my head off! You just looked kinda sad, I though maybe you needed to talk to someone or something.”

“I said I’m fine. And if I needed to talk to someone why would I talk to you?”

“Gee, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning I see. I’m sorry I tried to do something nice. Sorry I was just trying to be a friend.” With that Maria walked off, wondering why she even tried, and leaving Michael staring behind her.

‘What just happened here? How could I just let her get to me like that?’ he battered himself for allowing it to happen.

Michael sat on the nearby couch and rested his head in his hands. What was happening to him lately? He was too confused to think straight. It was like his mind was in a blender and someone had hit the puree button. Probably Maria with his luck…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“They are just so cute together,” Courtney whispered to Maria.

“I know, aren’t they? I’ve never seen my girl that happy. But I swear if he ever hurts her…” Maria got all defensive trailing off, preferring to leave it to everyone’s imagination all of the horrible things that she would do to Max should the unimaginable occur.

“I don’t think he would though. I’ve known him since we were kids. He was never this…this…I don’t know…she just brings out something special in him.”

“I know, I think they bring it out in each other.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael stood listening to everything around him.

‘Oh yeah, like what is she gonna do if something happens between them. She couldn’t hurt him.’ He listened intently to Maria talking with Courtney as he kept an eye on Max. What was going on with Max though? He had never seen his friend get so involved with a girl, ever. It just didn’t happen.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex?!” Liz blushed as she opened the present Alex had given her and burst into giggles. She would never have thought in a million years that Alex would give her a present like that!

“What is it?” Isabel asked intrigued by Liz’s reaction.

“Nothing!” Liz stuffed her hand back down in the bag so that no one could see what she was holding. “What’s next?”

“No you don’t chica!” Maria tried to keep the laughter in. She knew what was in that bag and she had helped Alex pick it out…okay so she had picked it out while Alex waited in the car…but it had been all his idea.

“Okay, now I’m really curious, what is it?” Courtney asked.

“No, its nothing-”

Liz stopped mid sentence as Maria reached around Liz and picked up the bag. With a laugh she reached inside and pulled out the present…

“Why…ninja turtles…” Isabel couldn’t finish her thought she was laughing too hard.

“Alex, should I be worried here?” Max looked over at him and Maria who were curled up from laughing so hard, and this only served as more fuel.

“Ma…Max…no worries…its just a joke…maybe Lizzie’ll fill you in sometime!” Max raised a curious eyebrow at his girlfriend who just turned to bury her head in his chest from embarrassment.

Five minutes later, the laughter had all died down but Max was still running his hands through Liz’s hair as her head laid still buried in his chest. Cautiously she pulled away to look up into his eyes. He leaned down and gently kissed her forehead for reassurance. Taking a deep breath Liz sat up and looked at all friends, old and new, who were all watching her.

“I’m sorry Lizzie, but I couldn’t help myself. I mean I’ve never seen someone get underwear for their birthday, so I was curious how someone would react…and the whole…I’m sorry, I just had to do it!” Liz pouted at him as she tried to control the blush she knew was covering her face. “You’re not mad at me are you?”

Liz sighed and shook her head. “You know I could never be mad at you Alex…just, never do anything like that to me again! Okay?” Alex jumped up and gave her a hug, happy that she wasn’t upset.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Okay, so there was this time when Maria and I were little, we were…umm…five years old I think. Anyways, it was my birthday and all my little friends were there. I was opening my presents and mom said that I had one more present that had come in the mail from my aunt Annie. So she brought out this really big box and I was all excited just imagining what could be inside. When I opened it, it was full of underwear…at least twenty or thirty…I was so embarrassed. Anyways by the end of the party we were all wearing them on our heads…we thought we were so cool. I had ninja turtles and Maria had spiderman…we thought they were the greatest thing in the world. God, we were so weird!” Liz shook her head and rolled her eyes at the embarrassing childhood memories. But they were good memories.

Max laughed lightly as he watched his girlfriend sitting on the chair across from him. Night was falling and the two of them escaped outside to sit by the pool and talk. Max had yet to give her his present. At the moment it was in a bag hiding behind the chair where he was sitting.

“That’s so cute,” Max smiled at her.

“It’s not cute Max, it’s embarrassing. I don’t know what we were thinking!” Liz tried to hide her face in her hands only to have Max stop her. Max reached out and took her hands in one of his and with his other hand he pulled her chin up so he could look in her eyes.

“Would you like your present now?” Max decided to change the subject. Without waiting for an answer he sat beside her on her lounge chair and placed the silver bag in her lap.

Liz gave him a big smile as she reached inside. She felt something soft and fuzzy, and when she pulled it out all she could do was gasp. “Oh, Max…this…thank you!” She could feel the tears in the corners of her eyes as she held it against her chest protectively.

“I wasn’t really sure what to get you, but when I saw that I just thought you might like it,” he replied happy to know he had been right.

“It’s perfect!” She held up the soft plush dog and kissed its nose. Carefully setting it back in its bag she turned around and wrapped herself in Max’s embrace, relishing his kisses.

“Did you have a good time tonight?” Max asked as he pulled away just enough to look in her eyes. They were dancing and sparkling in the light of the moon.

“This has been the best birthday ever. Thank you.” Pulling him closer she kissed him, melting against his body as his tongue sought out hers. ‘I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m grateful,’ Liz thought to herself as she was held tightly in Max’s embrace.




posted on 21-Oct-2001 8:17:07 AM by SciFiNut111
THat was a great part.

Max and Liz are great together. Maria is starting to get to Michael? Gee, that's a surprise. I guess the way his parents are about who he dates, he'd wouldn't want to be with Maria.


posted on 21-Oct-2001 9:47:45 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please post more.
posted on 21-Oct-2001 10:58:55 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
That was a GREAT PART!!Post more soon!*angel*
posted on 21-Oct-2001 11:06:03 AM by rollergal20
A great part yet again!

Michael and Maria are just so cute, are they ever going to get together?

Max and Liz are so sweet, I hope it ends up happy for them!

post more soon ~ *big*
posted on 21-Oct-2001 11:15:29 AM by Alien614
Nice part. I have to admit I thought max would have a piece of jewelry attached to that fluffy animal.*tongue*
posted on 21-Oct-2001 6:23:32 PM by roswellluver
Loved Alex's Ninja turtle present to Liz! Thanks for writing!
posted on 21-Oct-2001 6:50:33 PM by tjmorena
Another great part! I loved the underwear gift from Alex, that was so funny. Max is so adorable in this story and I love the way he treats Liz.

I'm also glad Maria is starting to get to Michael. Poor Michael, I feel so sorry for him and I know Maria is just what he needs. I can't wait til they get together. They are aren't they? I sure hope so *big*.
posted on 22-Oct-2001 12:33:29 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hey everyone. Look, I'm faster than Nikki at writing my parts...hehehehe. J/k Nikki, you know I love ya. Anyway, I've had this part in my head for a while and it was just jumping to get out. It just couldn't stand being stuck in there any longer. I worked really hard on this part...it's my masterpiece...Hehehe...and I'm really happy with it. Anyway, hope you like. Please keep the feedback coming. Happy reading.

~Michelle

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 16

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You’re standing in my sun,” Liz said with a grin as she opened her eyes to see a half naked Max standing in front of her. He was still slightly dripping, having just gotten out of the pool. Liz, however, had chosen to spend her time lying out on the lounge chair working on her tan, instead of swimming.

“Oh pardon me, but I just can’t help myself. I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from the beauty I see before me.”

“Hmmm…maybe you’ll have to work on that,” Liz said with a giggle as Max crawled onto the lounge to capture her lips with his.

Liz playfully smacked him once they broke apart. “Now look, you got me all wet.”

Max’s eyes darkened a little at her statement as he captured her lips again. “Mmmm…It’s good to know that I can do that to you.”

“Max!” Liz said at the smirk on his face. “You know what I meant,” she giggled. “Although…” she let herself trail off as Max started to kiss her once again. They finally broke apart once again, chests heaving, as Max’s maneuvered them so that he was now laying on the lounge with Liz lying against his chest. He continued to stroke her hair as their breathing slowly came back to normal. They just stayed there, in silence, looking into each other’s eyes.

“God I love you,” Max said suddenly still looking down at her. He didn’t know where it came from. Sure, he’d had the feeling for a while that he was falling in love with this angel, but for some reason he suddenly just had to tell her. Like he couldn’t hold it in any longer.

“Oh Max, I love you too,” Liz admitted. She’d wanted to tell him for a while, but was afraid that she’d scare him away. To tell the truth, it scared her. She’d never felt this way about a man, never had feelings that ran this deep. Never felt that her whole world would collapse without him by her side.

Liz moved up to Max’s mouth and kissed him again…hard. She couldn’t imagine what she could have done to deserve such a wonderful man in her life, but she wasn’t going to complain.

They were interrupted by someone clearing their throat, looking somewhat annoyed. How long had Michael been there?

“Hey Michael, what’s up?” Max asked, not relinquishing his grip on Liz.

“Um…I’m just going out to take Isabel shopping. She’s complaining that she didn’t bring enough clothes, which I can’t understand considering she brought three suitcases, but you know Isabel. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that we were leaving and that Rosie went to the store to get the weekly groceries.”

“Alright Michael, see you later. Have fun!”

“Yeah, right,” Michael said with a smirk as he turned back into the house. The smirk quickly disappeared though, once he was back inside. He’d been standing there long enough, he’d heard everything…saw how close they seemed to be getting…a little too close. Michael couldn’t help but think that this wasn’t good. He’d have to talk to Maxwell later.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Once Michael had left, Max turned back to the beauty in his arms. “Michael’s taking Isabel shopping,” Max stated the obvious. “You know what that means…”

“Hmmm…that we have the whole house to ourselves,” Liz finished for him as she climbed up to capture his lips once again. She didn’t know what it was about his kisses, but they were intoxicating. She just couldn’t seem to get enough.

Max flipped them over so that he was now on top, as he moved down her body, nipping and sucking a trail down the side of her neck. Liz couldn’t do anything but revel in the sensations running through her. Her body was on fire. Every place that his lips touched seemed to scorch her skin.

Max continued his trail down her body until he reached the valley between her breasts. He just couldn’t stop touching her, kissing her. She was everything that he’d ever wanted and more. What did he ever do to deserve her?

Liz let out a gasp as she felt Max’s hot mouth close over her nipple, gently sucking on her breast through the thin material of her bikini top. She moaned as sensation after sensation hit her, while he brought up a hand to gently kneed and message her other breast. It wasn’t until she felt his other hand playing with the elastic of her bikini bottoms that an alarm when off in her head.

“Stop…Max,” she said in between breaths, bringing his head up to meet hers. “We have…to stop.” Max kissed her one last time, and then with a large sigh, rolled to the side, trying to catch his breath and regain his control.

“I’m sorry,” Liz began. “I’m just not ready to…”

“No…no,” Max said, still breathing heavily. “It’s ok. You’re right. I think I just kinda got a little caught up in the moment. I’m sorry.” He smoothed her hair down on top of her head and kissed her once lightly on the forehead. They spent the rest of that afternoon just like that. Laying in each other’s arms, whispering words of love, sharing quick kisses, until they watched the sun sink slowly down in the west.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria, where do you take a girl when you’re just friends but you want to alert her to the possibility of something more, but you don’t want to scare her…?” Alex went on while Maria stared intently at her computer screen.

“Arg! Now you made me lose my concentration,” Maria interrupted in exasperation. “So Alex, now that you have my undivided attention, what are you rambling about?”

“It’s Isabel. I wanted to take her out Friday, but I don’t know where.”

“Ahhh…Alex, that’s so cute. You really like her don’t you?”

“Yeah ok…so maybe I do. But you know, I want to be her friend first. She just had a really bad breakup and I don’t want her to feel like I’m pushing her or anything. But I want to let her know my feelings, you know, that the possibility is there.”

“Ok, here’s a thought. How ‘bout you just tell her?”

“I can’t do that.”

“And why not?”

“I don’t know. I just can’t. Anyway…where should I take her?”

“Well, why don’t you just take her out to eat, somewhere nice, but not over the top. Then just do something that you know she’ll love. Something that tells her you care about her, about her feelings, about the things that she likes.”

“Hmmm…ok. I’ll think about that. Thanks ‘Ria.”

“No problem,” Maria says and waits patiently for Alex to leave, but he just sits there looking at her. “Uh Alex, this psych paper is due tomorrow…you think you could give me some privacy to get it done?”

“Oh yeah, right. See ya later.”

Maria laughed lightly to herself, “Bye Alex.” Isabel sure was lucky. Alex was a great guy and he deserved only the best. ‘She better deserve him,’ she thought to herself as she tried to focus her attention back on her paper.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“What the hell do you mean you don’t approve of my relationship with Liz?!?” Max yelled.

“Listen Max, I saw you guys together the other day. I heard what you said to her. You’re getting to close man.”

“So what Michael? I love her. Does that mean anything to you? Oh I guess it wouldn’t, you’ve never known what it feels like to be in love.”

“Don’t go there Max! Don’t you dare go there!” Michael said with a hint of warning in his voice.

Max regretted what he said immediately at the look of pain that flashed over Michael’s face. A little more calmly now, “Look Michael, I’m sorry. That was way out of line. I just…she means the world to me. How in the hell do you think your objections would change any of that?”

“Max, you guys are just too different. I mean, you just come from such different backgrounds.”

“Michael, have you been talking to your mom again?”

Ignoring Max’s question, “There’s this huge gap…”

“I don’t care about the money Michael.”

“I know that!” he almost yelled. “But how do you know she doesn’t?”

“How could you even say that? She’s such a nice, sweet, kind person. She would never be so shallow. Look Michael, I love her…more then anything. She means everything to me, and nothing you say is going to make me let her go.”

“She’s after your money man!”

“No, she’s not!”

‘Well, it’s now or never,’ Michael thought to himself. “I heard it Maxwell. I heard her talking to Maria at the party last weekend. She’s only dating you because of this,” he said motioning to the possessions around them.

“It’s not true. I won’t believe it. You’re lying! She didn’t even know…”

“Think about it Maxwell. Didn’t you tell me that she turned you down at first? That later that night she just happened to change her mind, all of the sudden? How do you know that this isn’t what she found out to change her mind? It’s not like it’s a campus secret Max, she could have found out any number of ways.”

Max was taken aback as the reality of this situation took over him. God, how could he have been so blind? How could she have been after his money all this time? How could she have told him she loved him…so whole-heartedly? How could he have been such a fool?

“No…no,” Max mumbled again and again to himself. “It can’t be true.” Max was now sitting on the end of the bed, his head resting in his hands as the tears silently streamed down his face.

Michael just watched as his friend fell apart. ‘It was for the best,’ he thought to himself. ‘Then why do I feel like crap?’

“Look Max, I’m sorry. This is why I didn’t want to tell you. I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Too late Michael. It’s too late.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Maria.”

“Hey Isabel. What are you doing here?”

“UH…just trying to get out of the house. The tension there was killing me. Max and Michael don’t seem to be talking to each other at the moment.”

“Really, why?”

“I don’t know. Apparently they had this big fight, and now Max won’t talk to Michael. So Michael, being his usual stubborn self, is just reciprocating by not talking to Max. And I don’t even know what happened! Each time I try to talk to one of them about it, they just tense up and change the subject.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. It must not be so much fun living in that house right now.”

“Not at all. I’ll tell you, that house may be big, but not big enough. I just needed to come take a load off. So, how are you doing?”

“I’m ok. I finally finished that huge psych paper that I had, so I have like this big load taken off me.”

“That’s great. Hey, how bout we go out tonight to celebrate.”

“That sounds great!”

“Hey, you think that Alex might want to come with?” Isabel asks with a slight twinkle in her eye.

The look was not at all missed by Maria. She just laughed and motioned towards the door of the café, "Why don’t you ask him yourself?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Mmmm…Max, that dinner was so good. I don’t think that I’ll ever get tired of Rosie’s cooking.”

“Yeah, it is good isn’t it?” Max said with a small smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“Max, is something wrong? You’ve been kind of distant all night. Is this about Michael? Maria said something about you two not talking.”

Max gave a heavy sigh and then lifting his eyes to look at Liz. She was so beautiful and he loved her so much. How was he going to do this? “Look Liz, I think we need to talk.”

“Okay,” she said a little uncertainly as he lead her up to his room. She sat softly on the edge of his bed while Max began pacing the length of the room.

“Max, what is it?” Liz asked, concern in her voice.

Max heaved another sigh, and just let it out. “I don’t think that we should see each other anymore.”

“What? Why?” she must admit that that had taken her by surprise, not at all what she was expecting. “I don’t understand. I thought everything was fine. Is…is there someone else?”

“No, no. There’s no one else. I just don’t think that we’re right for each other.”

“But, I thought you said you loved me?” She was just so confused. She couldn’t believe this was happening. She couldn’t help the tears that silently, slowly, began to trickle down her face.

“We’re just too different. We’re from two different worlds.”

Suddenly realization dawned on Liz and sadness was replaced with hatred and anger. “Oh, I get it now…this is about the money isn’t it. This is about how I don’t have a penny to my name. Is that it? I thought you said that you didn’t care about that Max. I thought you said that money didn’t matter to you.”

“It doesn’t…” but she wouldn’t let him continue.

“No Max. I don’t want to hear your lies anymore. Why did you let it go on this long, huh? Why the big change? Is it because I wouldn’t sleep with you? I wouldn’t fuck you so you found no reason to keep me around anymore.”

“No Liz, you know I’m not like that.”

“I thought I did Max. I thought I knew you. I thought you were different. I thought you were special. But now I see you’re just like everybody else! You’re just like him!” she said, her voice full of venom.

“Look Liz, I’m sorry. It’s just…”

“Oh, I don’t need your apologies Max. You were just doing what you do best. Charming and taking advantage of young innocent women…I’m sure you do it all the time.”

“I…”

“Save it Max. Save it for the next naïve little girl. I’m out of here.” She turned to make her way towards the door, but on a last note she turned around, keeping back the tears that she hadn’t let herself cry. She would not cry in front of him, she would not cry in front of this bastard. “Just so you know, I wasn’t lying. I really did love you.” And with that she turned around and walked out the door, slamming it shut behind her.

Max just stared at the door for a moment before sinking down onto his bed and letting the tears finally fall.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria and Alex were sitting in the living room of the girls’ apartment, having just gotten home from ‘celebrating’ with Isabel. They’d really just gone for pizza and ice cream, but it was just what Maria needed. A little time with her friends to help her wind down.

“So Alex, out of curiosity. Did you figure out where you were going to take Isabel on Friday?”

“Yeah…” but before Alex could continue, Liz came bursting through the front door and ran to the bedroom, slamming the door shut behind her. Alex and Maria glanced at each other with confused looks and then both jumped up quickly to run to the bedroom to see what was wrong with Liz.

They opened the door to find Liz huddled up on her bed in a little ball, holding the stuffed dog the Max had given her for her birthday to her chest, crying hysterically. Maria was at her side in a second, as was Alex.

“Liz honey, what’s wrong?” Maria grabbed the sobbing girl, wrapping her in her arms.

“Yeah Lizzie. Tell us what’s the matter sweetie,” Alex’s comforting voice said as he gently smoothed the hair around her face so he could see her eyes.

Liz finally calmed down enough to talk, but as soon as she said Max’s name the sobs came again and all she could do was grab onto Maria tighter and bury her head in her chest.

Alex’s eyes burned with anger. How could someone do that to her? How could anyone ever hurt his sweet, innocent, little Lizzie? Alex’s eyes sought out Maria’s, silently asking her permission. Maria just nodded her head, saying she would be fine, and Alex ran quickly out of the apartment, making his way to his car.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex!” Isabel said surprised upon opening the door after hearing the bell ring several times in the last minute.

“Where’s Max?” Alex asked monotonously.

Isabel was confused by the look of hatred that she saw in his eyes. “Why?”

Alex ignored Isabel’s question, moving past her and running up the stairs before he realized he didn’t know which room was Max’s.

“Which one?” he called down to Isabel, who was now standing at the bottom of the stairs looking at him oddly.

“Down the hall, last door on your right. Alex, what’s wrong?”

Alex again ignored her question; running quickly down the hall to the room Isabel had said was Max’s. He stormed through the door without even knocking. He found Max sitting on his bed, his face in his hands.

“What the fuck did you do to her?”

Max hadn’t even registered that someone had entered his room until he heard Alex’s voice. Max looked up, taking a while to register who was standing in front of him. “What?” he asked.

“I said, what the fuck did you do to her?” the intense anger he was feeling extremely obvious. Alex was so angry, he didn’t notice the tears that were streaking Max’s own face. “Why the hell is Liz curled up on her bed at home, crying her eyes out?”

“She’s crying?” Max asked innocently.

“Of course she’s crying. Now I want to know what the hell you did to hurt one of the
dearest people to my heart.”

“I never meant to hurt her.”

“Like hell you didn’t. What did you do to her?”

“We broke up, alright. That’s all.”

“Like hell that’s all. What did you say to her?”

“Actually, she was the one doing most of the talking. I just told her we came from two different worlds and that it would be better if we didn’t see each other anymore.”

“You fucking bastard. You broke up with her cause she’s poor. God, how can anyone be so shallow? You’ve know for so long, why now?”

“Things changed, ok?”

“No, it’s not okay. You hurt one of my best friends, the closest thing I have to a sister out here. She means the world to me, and I hate seeing her in pain. She loved you man. I don’t know whether she told you that or not, but she did. I could see it in the way her eyes lit up every time that she saw you or talked about you. You know that she didn’t even want you to find out where she lived cause she was afraid that you’d do this. She thought you were different though. I thought you were different. And she put her heart on the line again for the first time since James screwed with her. We all thought you were better then him. It’s seems like we were wrong. I hope your happy Max, you fooled us all.”

“Wait…who’s James?”

“Why should I tell you?”

“Look, indulge me. This is your chance to show me what an asshole I’ve really been.”

Alex just sighed and noticed the expression on Max’s face. He looked almost desperate. “Last year Liz dated a guy named James. He wasn’t quite as rich as you, but he was pretty well off. They dated for a while, two months I think. He’d told her he loved her and everything. She actually thought she was in love with the guy, although I don’t think she really was. Anyway, he took her to his parents’ house one day for dinner. They smiled and politely talked with her but she couldn’t help but feel that they were looking down on her. Later that night, she was coming back from the bathroom when she overheard James talking with his father in the study. He was asking James why he was seeing someone of obviously such ‘low caliber’…I think that’s how he put it. James then goes on to tell his father that she was simply a fling, that he’d dump her as soon as she finally fucked him.

“Needless to say, Liz dumped him on the spot, but she wasn’t the same after that. She didn’t date. Sure, Maria tried setting her up with people, but no one ever made it past the first date. She wouldn’t open her heart to anyone, learning the hard way what happened when you trusted people too quickly. That was a year ago, and since then you are the first person she ever allowed herself to give her heart to again. And she loved you Max. She never looked at James with a fraction of the love that she showed when you looked at you.

“You just broke her heart Max. You just ripped it out and tore it to fuckin’ pieces. So I hope you’re happy. I hope it was worth the effort. I hope you got what you wanted. Actually, if it was the same thing that that jerk wanted, I sure as hell hope you didn’t. Just know this Max. He couldn’t have hurt her half as bad as I know you just did. Congratulations on being a fucking asshole!”

With that Alex got up to make his way towards the door, but he was stopped by Max’s voice.

“I didn’t know,” Max said so softly Alex barely heard him.

Alex slowly turned back around to face Max. “I’m sure that you didn’t Max, but that doesn’t make any difference.”

“I never meant to hurt her. There’re just a lot of things that you don’t know.”

“It doesn’t matter. You hurt her more then you’ll ever know. I’ll never forgive you for that, and I hope that she doesn’t either. Our friendship is over by the way. I could never associate myself with the likes of you. I hope it was all worth it Max, cause you just lost the most amazing girl you will ever meet. But you sure as hell proved that you don’t deserve her.” With that Alex turned back to the door, he opened it up and was about to leave when he decided he needed to say one last thing.

Without even bothering to turn around, Alex seethed the following. “Don’t ever come near her again. Don’t come around the café. If you have a class with her, sit somewhere else. Stay as far away from her as you possibly can. Don’t touch her. Don’t talk to her. Don’t get anywhere near her unless you absolutely have to. And if I hear that you have done anything to upset her, anything at all, I will fuck you up so much your own mother won’t recognize you.” Alex then left, shutting the door behind him before Max could say anything else.

Max couldn’t help the tears that once again flowed down his face, as he finally lay back on his bed and cried, asking himself for the millionth time that night if he’d done the right thing.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Do you hate me yet?*tongue* Please let me know what you think... Now you can bug Nikki for the next part.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 22-Oct-2001 2:09:03 AM ]
posted on 22-Oct-2001 12:38:40 AM by Pegleg
Opppps. Sorry....double post.

~Michelle

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Oct-2001 12:41:18 AM ]
posted on 22-Oct-2001 1:02:15 AM by roswellluver
Max, you idiot, how could you listen to Michael!!!! Thanks for writing!
posted on 22-Oct-2001 1:33:28 AM by tjmorena
OMG...how could you! You start of with a yummy frisky Max and then it goes downhill from there. (Honestly though it was a great part and I know you'll make it better huh?) I really love Michael but he is such an idiot sometimes. I can't believe Max believed Michael so quickly without giving Liz a chance. Man if he loved her like he said he did, he should have talked to her to make sure...argh! Stupid, stupid Michael!

I'm glad that Liz has Alex though and he came through for her. He is such a great friend to her and coming to her rescue like that was such an Alex thing to do. I just love him!
posted on 22-Oct-2001 3:07:52 AM by mara is a dreamer
AAARRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NONONONONO!!!!
Mickael if I see you I'll kill you,I swear!!
Mike is such an ass!!!And Max is stupid to even think he's right.
PLEASE COME FIX THIS SOON!!!
posted on 22-Oct-2001 6:14:50 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
WTF!!! WTF!!! Why? Can anybody tell me why it's always Max and Liz? Why is Max always cast as the bad guy? I hope Maria finds out what Michael did. I hope they all do and beat the shit out of Michael the stupid SOB. I want this fixed and my couple smooching again. I want the beautiful moments again but I knew it was coming when Maria said he better not hurt her ever and Michael the dick was there. It was written om the wall the evil presence was coming. FIX THIS MESS PLEASE!!!! Up until that part this part was excellent. I want Michael dealt with harshly. No, I no longer feel bad that he was hurt. I want him hurt physically now.
posted on 22-Oct-2001 6:39:58 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Yes I have more to say because this chapter upset me so. The only reason I don't get upset with Max a lot in this because,yeah he's inlove with Liz and he's taking the word of Michael but only because that's his bestfriend and lifelong friend. He would expect Michael to disapprove but never to lie and purposely hurt him. Never to be malicious and destroy his relationship on purpose. Michael knows his insecurities and what buttons to push and he's a prick for doing it. Which is why he deserves to be beat up by all of them then have hurricane Deluca set free on him. My monday is ruined so far.
posted on 22-Oct-2001 8:28:54 AM by SciFiNut111
That was a really great part. If you consider it your masterpiece you were right. You got all of the emotions going in this one.

Can't see where Maria's comments to Courtney can be taken as a sign that Liz is after Max's money. It looks more like Michael is just being a vicious jerk and trying to kill something he thinks he can never have.

Max and Liz are starting to love each other, Michael thinks his parents would never let him love someone who isn't rich. Michael is scared of losing his parents money so he obeys them. Now he's trying to destroy Max's happiness so that they'll be in the same boat together.

Hope Max realizes that Michael was not trying to help him, but was doing it for his own reasons.

Okay Isabelle. Jump in and fix this. I see a big scene between Alex and Isabelle coming up when Alex tells Isabelle that they can't date, and why.

Hope you make Max totally miserable and work very hard at trying to get Liz back. She's not going to let him back in easily especially with Alex and Maria advising her not to. And this is the second rich guy that has basically stomped on her heart.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Oct-2001 12:25:14 AM ]
posted on 22-Oct-2001 10:01:56 AM by rollergal20
WOW!

That was a great part, you've gota add alittle angst to keep the story interesting.

Now they can work on getting back together, plus maybe Michael and Maria can have the spot light for a while.

No I don't hate you ~ post more soon *big*
posted on 22-Oct-2001 11:27:09 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Oh my GOSH!!! How could Micheal turn into his mother like that?!?God I feel so sorry for them!!!Please post the next part soon!!*sad*You just can't leave them like tis for long!!*sad**angel*
posted on 22-Oct-2001 4:28:21 PM by Clari
First hand me a tissue, then slap Michael. How could he do that to them, just because he had a bad experience once doesn't mean that every woman is the same. I mean who is he? *sad*
And you were right, this is a GREAT part. Please post the next part soon. I can't wait to see what happened when Max finds out that Michael made up the whole story.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Oct-2001 4:29:39 PM ]
posted on 22-Oct-2001 8:22:43 PM by tabasco sauce
our poor dream couple! I hope get back together soon! that was so suspenseful! I loved it! keep up the good work!

-andy
posted on 22-Oct-2001 11:39:58 PM by jessiebehr
I lurve this fic, itz so sad about max and liz, please get them back together soon also I love the m&m scenes, they crack me up
-jess
post more soon!
*angel*
posted on 23-Oct-2001 12:15:29 AM by SpencerHopeful
I'm in the minority. I'm not as mad at Michael as the others are. He's coming from a very bad place. Not that it excuses him, because it doesn't! BUT, Max is a grown man. He wasn't as sure of her as we thought, or he'd have given her the benifit of the doubt. He would've risked his heart against anything that Michael said. Just like Michael did that chick that burned him, against what his parents were saying.. So sad. Poor Liz. I love Alex!!

I don't know this story, so I have no clue what's gonna happen to Michael. I just hope everyone is fine in the end..
posted on 24-Oct-2001 7:41:17 PM by dancepixie
Hey guys...part 17 is here! I had a lot of fun writing this part...it took a lot of focusing, but I think that I'm happy with it now. We're just getting to some of the really fun stuff, so I hope you enjoy it!*wink*

~Nikki~
*angel*

Without further ado, Part 17...


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 17

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Lizzie?” Maria spoke softly. “Do you want to tell me about it?” Maria just sat beside her friends curled up form and rubbed her hand soothingly across her back.

“Just leave me alone Maria,” Liz managed to get out as she hid her head in her blankets. She honestly didn’t feel like talking, she just needed to be left alone, and she didn’t want to have to fight with Maria either. “Please!”

The hesitancy that Maria had had a moment ago to not leave her best friend alone quickly vanished. Maybe she just needed a little alone time to sort things out. She didn’t want to leave her friend alone, that’s not what friends do. But if they got into an argument, that would only make things worse.

“Fine Lizzie, I’ll leave you alone. But when you decide that you are ready to talk, just let me know, alright? I’ll be out in the living room all night.” With a last look Maria grabbed her backpack and books and hesitantly shut the door behind her. ‘I hope I’m doing the right thing leaving her alone like this. I mean…that’s what friends do right? I mean I know I’m supposed to be supportive and listen to her problems, but she’s not letting me in. I’ve never seen her like this before. Not even after James, that slimeball! What the fuck did Max do to her?!’ Maria looked back at the door and then headed down the hallway to settle herself in the living room. ‘Any time you’re ready to talk Lizzie, I’m here…just please don’t make me wait too long!’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It had been three hours and Liz was still curled up in a ball on her bed tangled in her blanket with her stuffed dog clutched tightly to her chest. Stray tears would fall from her eyes every once in a while following the well-laid path of the ones that came before. The sobs had stopped long before, but the tears were still present, but she was fast asleep. Crying had worn her out. At least in sleep she could get away somewhat from everything that had happened.

Liz woke up to the darkness of her bedroom. Looking around for the clock she could saw that it was eleven thirty.

‘Wow, I must have fallen a sleep for a while…’ Liz took a deep breath but couldn’t help the trembling that escaped her as she let it out. Her eyes were aching, her chest was heavy…she felt like she had been through hell…well, she kind of had been, the hell that was being in love with a guy…a guy who had seemed so…so…perfect.

‘What am I going to do now?’ Liz held up the slightly soggy black lab stuffed animal that she had been clutching, but it only brought more tears forward. He had given it to her…but then why was she holding it so tight? He had just torn her heart to pieces and she was hugging the one thing he had ever really given her.

‘After everything…all he saw me as was a poor girl who would be an easy fuck? I thought he was different… To think I told him that I loved him!’

‘But you did!’ a small voice in her head reminded her, causing a few more tears.

‘I loved him…I still do… Why? Why do I still feel like I love him after he just…’ pulling her knees to her chest Liz wrapped her arms around her legs and rocked back and forth in a protective ball trying to keep away more tears.

Taking a deep breath Liz tried to calm herself and found that she could pull it off. Once the tears stopped Liz stood up and grabbed her blanket in one hand, the dog still safely in the other and reached an unsteady arm to open the door.

Hesitatingly she walked down the hall towards the light of the living room. She needed to talk to Maria. If anyone could comfort her, make her feel better, know exactly what to say, it was her life long best friend.

“Ria?” Was that her voice? It sounded so tiny and scratchy, almost non-existent.

“Lizzie?” Maria’s head sprang up from her psych book and she jumped to her feet, hurrying to Liz’s side, engulfing her in a great big bear hug. “Sweetie, are you alright?” without letting go of her, Maria made her way to the couch and sat Liz down beside her.

Liz was quiet; she wasn’t really sure what she could say to that. Was she alright? Not really, truth be told.

“Do you want to talk about it, sweetie?” Maria reached over and closed her psych book, pushing it to the side of the table as she got comfortable on the couch beside Liz.

“I’m sorry…I interrupted your studying…I’ll just-” but before Liz could get away Maria was holding her down, not letting her flee.

“No you don’t Liz! You are staying right here. Classes, grades, studying…none of that matters sweetie. Not now, when my best friend is hurting. That’s all trivial. You are what’s important. Come on now, talk to me, like we used to when we were kids…we always tell each other everything. I hate seeing you hurting like this!” Maria looked Liz straight in the eye and would not budge until she got the hint.

Liz sighed and lay down on the couch with her blanket protectively around her shoulders and the dog cradled against her chest, laying her head in Maria’s lap. Maria gave a sad smile as she brushed her hand lightly through Liz’s dark locks in a soothing manner. They just sat like that in silence for half an hour, neither girl making a sound to disturb one another, just staring off into the dim room.

Maria just waited. She wasn’t going to start this conversation now. No, now it was up to Liz. She needed to get this out, but it couldn’t be forced, she had to do it on her own. And Maria would wait as long as it took. So what if she was tired and had class and work in the morning? Her friend needed her now, so she would be there for her.

“I was at Max’s for dinner…” Liz relayed the whole story to Maria, without moving, in a hushed whisper, almost as if she was afraid to disturb the silence of the room. There were no sobs now; no, now there were only a few stray tears that fell silently down her cheeks at key moments.

“Oh chica! I’m so sorry, I had no idea, well I mean I got the idea after you came in and…I’m sorry, you know what I mean!” Now Maria had tears in her own eyes for the pain that her friend had gone through. Liz sat up as more tears streamed down her cheeks and hugged Maria tightly as they cried on each other’s shoulders.

“And…I told him that I really did mean it when I had said that I loved him, then I walked out the door and didn’t look back.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria stood behind the counter in the café waiting for the usual rush of students that happened between classes. She was all alone for the moment because Natalie had to go to her class early and Liz, who was working for the next few hours, had just gotten out of class.

Truth be told, Maria was worried about Liz. They had stayed up well into the morning talking and crying together until they finally fell asleep on the couch curled up under blankets. Liz had even missed her early class this morning because they had no alarm, yet she didn’t care. Elizabeth Parker, perfect student, didn’t care that she had missed an entire class, and it was her bio seminar too. Well, actually, when she thought about it like that, it kind of explained it. Max was in Liz’s bio seminar. Of course she wouldn’t mind missing it, that wasn’t too crazy, but still, Liz never missed a class.

The jingle of the bell on the door caused Maria to look up. It was Liz. She walked slowly with her head down and no expression what so ever on her face. It was like she wasn’t even there. A shell of a person. How could anyone do this to her dear sweet Lizzie? When she got her hands on Max Evans…

“Hey Lizzie.” When Maria got no response from her friend, she decided against asking how she was…that would only aggravate her more. “So, anyways Natalie was telling me about this party Friday night…it’s gonna be a blast she says…” Maria hinted. She wanted to get Liz out of their apartment for a night, have some fun, and forget about her troubles for a short while. It would do her good, much more good than spending the night locked up in her bedroom crying.

“Maria-” Liz went to turn her friend down shaking her head no but was stopped.

“No Lizzie, we need to get out. You need to get out! Come on, it’ll be a girls night! We’ll have lots of fun, I promise. And I won’t even leave your side the entire night if you don’t want me to…please please please please please???” No one on earth could resist Maria’s puppy dog eyes…no one.

“Fine,” Liz conceded as she tied her apron around her waist and walked behind the counter to help a customer.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, where are you taking me tomorrow night?” Isabel smiled at Alex, hoping to get something out of him. She was amazed by how comfortable he made her feel when they were together. He was quickly becoming one of her best friends…and maybe, well maybe something more.

“Sorry, if I told ya,” Alex looked around conspiratorially and then leaning his head closer whispered, “I’d have ta kill ya!”

“Alex!” she laughed. Alex loved the sound of her laughter. When he first met her, she seemed sad. Later he found out why when she trusted him enough to tell him why she came to San Diego in the first place. But now, now she was this amazing person whose laughter warmed his heart. “No, serious, I wanna know!”

“I told you I would surprise you, and that’s what I plan on doing.”

“Hey guys, what can I getcha?” Maria asked as she sat in the empty chair. God she was tired. Last night had been exhausting, and work and classes was going to kill her yet. But she would be strong for Lizzie. How many times had Liz helped her through things? Well now it was her turn to be of service.

“Hey Maria, is Liz okay? She looks like she’s getting sick or something.”

“Oh, yeah, well…we were up late last night, because of Max…and you know…” Maria lowered her voice to be sure that no one could hear, especially Liz, as she spoke Max’s name in particular.

Isabel felt horrible about that…she wished there was something that she could do.

“Oh yeah…I feel so bad about that…I don’t know what’s gotten into Max lately. He just mopes around the house and he hasn’t said a word to me since yesterday afternoon, before all this started. Michael hasn’t really said anything to me either, and god knows they’re not talking to each other. That house is so big, well now it’s grown even bigger. But I don’t think it could get big enough for the two of them to be happy now. I mean, they run into each other in the hall or something and I always know cause I hear two doors slam on opposite sides of the house moments later. They are acting like children!” Isabel commented. Whatever it was, it had to be something big…really big, that much she was sure of. And what did it have to do with Liz and Max? Hmm…she’d have to think about that one.

Maria and Alex watched as Isabel got up from her chair and walked over to Liz who was leaning against the front counter. Isabel had to touch her shoulder to get her attention. They watched as Isabel leaned in and whispered something to Liz before pulling her into a friendly hug. Maria was shocked when she saw a small smile appear on Liz’s face as she nodded her head in response to something Isabel had told her. ‘Wow, she actually smiled…somewhat. God, I hope she gets through this…’

Isabel came back to the table quickly but didn’t sit down.

“Sorry guys, I gotta go. I have an appointment with the admissions office right now. Wish me luck!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was Friday afternoon and Maria had gotten both her and Liz off of work early so that they could get ready for that party. There was no way Maria was going to let Liz get off with some lousy excuse to miss this. No, this was something that she needed; they both needed a break from classes and real life for one night. Now they would have fun!

“Come on Lizzie, we’re gonna have fun tonight, cheer up!”

“I don’t know Ria, maybe I should just stay home…I mean you’ll have more fun if I don’t go and-”

“No you don’t! You are NOT getting out of this chica!”

“But after everything that happened…”

“That is exactly why we need this!”

“But…”

“No but’s!” Maria sighed and walked over to Liz wrapping her in a hug. “Look chica, I’m not trying to be mean here, but you aren’t doing yourself any good by sitting here and moping and pinning…you need to get out…” she hesitated a moment before finally adding in a much softer voice, “…move on.”

Maria knew she might have overstepped it with that last comment, but it was the truth, no matter how much it hurt to hear it, it needed to be said. The sobs that escaped Liz’s body told her she hit the nail on the head, but she just held on to her friend tighter, never letting go.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Mail-call!” Alex called out as he let himself into the girls’ apartment.

“Oh! Thanks!” Maria came running up to him like a little kid flocking to the ice cream man. She grabbed all the two letters and one medium envelope from him and shut the door, leaving a stunned Alex in the hall.

“You’re welcome!” he called, rolling his eyes as he headed back to his apartment to get ready for his date…or semi date…or whatever!

“Yeah! Tess finally sent it! I’ve been waiting for this forever…” Maria squealed as she took the letter and bounced further into the apartment, noticing a blinking light on the answering machine…she hadn’t noticed that when she got home…oh well. Pushing the button she paused to listen to the message…oh god, it was her mother.

“Maria honey? I got the most wonderful news! But I don’t want to leave it in a message so call me as soon as you get home, okay? You won’t believe this! Call me! Don’t forget!” Yes, that was her mother…she sounded like a giddy teenager. She had been young when she had Maria, and now Maria noticed more and more how different her mother could be from her friends’ parents.

Maria sighed and picked up the portable phone before heading to their bedroom. Hey Lizzie. You got something from Courtney in the mail. Here you go. Ugh…I gotta call my mom now, she left me this freaky message on the machine…if you hear me scream, you know something happened…” Maria walked out of the room with her head thrown back taking deep breaths preparing for the inevitable. It wasn’t like she didn’t like talking to her mother…not at all…because she did! But sometimes, her mother could be really, well, exhausting. Dialing the number swiftly she held the phone to her ear taking deep calming breaths. She could do this…it was just a phone call…just her mother…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

‘A letter from Courtney? I just met her, what is she sending me?’ Liz wondered. Shrugging it off she opened the larger envelope and pulled out what was inside. There were a few papers with a note on top. Then Liz remembered what this had to be.

~~~~~

“I’m sorry Liz, I don’t have a gift for you,” Courtney apologized.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m sure you weren’t planning on being here. I mean, we didn’t even know each other a few days ago!” Liz laughed as she put all of her friend’s gifts back in their boxes.

“I know, but I still feel bad about it.” Courtney thought for a moment and then remembered something. “You know what? I think I have something at home that you would like.” A smile spread across her face as she thought of it. “I’ll just send it down when I go back home. And don’t worry, it’s not a problem!”

“That’s so nice of you. Thank you…but you really don’t have to!”

~~~~~

Dear Liz,
Well I didn’t have a present for you at your party, but I did promise that I had something for you…well here it is. I hope you like it. I know we just met and all but I had a lot of fun with you guys while I was down there. Hopefully we can all do it again sometime. Well I hope that your birthday was all you wanted to be. Twenty is a big step. It seems strange to not be a teenager anymore, lots of things change, or so people say, but I haven’t seen any yet, I don’t know about you. Well, good luck with Max and I hope the two of you are happy. You two looked so cute together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happier than when he was with you. Take care of him.
Always,
Courtney


A tear dripped down Liz’s chin onto the letter as she read. With a shaky hand she lifted the letter to look at what Courtney sent her. It was Max.

“Oh my god!” Liz cried as the sobs hit her full force.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You what?! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!” Maria was pacing back and forth in front of the couch with the phone held up to her ear. “How is it that you never even told me about this? I mean…I never heard anything…and then all of a sudden this…this…well, THIS!!! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!”

“Maria, honey, calm down,” came Amy’s soft voice through the phone.

“Calm down mother?! You just spring this on me and you want me to calm down?! I don’t think so!” Maria took a few deep breaths to try and gain some control. “Mom, I can’t talk to you right now, I’ll call you later!” with that Maria hung up the phone and threw herself onto the couch, burying her head in the pillow.

“Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria walked into her bedroom to find Liz in tears again. ‘And this day just gets worse and worse!’ She found the letter from Courtney along with a couple pictures beside the bed. They were cute pictures: one was of Max, Michael and Courtney all in caps and gowns, and the other was just Max, probably his senior picture. Sighing Maria knelt on the floor beside Liz and gently rubbed her back.

“Sweetie, if you really don’t want to do this party tonight, you don’t have to. I don’t want to push you if you’re not ready. But I’m going. After what my mom just told me, I really, really need a drink. Maybe more than one!”

Liz sat up brushing the stray tears away so that she could get a good look at Maria. What happened to her? This wasn’t her cheery friend. And what was she talking about? Maria always made fun of the people who got drunk at parties, she wasn’t planning on…or was she? And what happened with her mom?

“Ria, what’s wrong? What did your mother do this time?” ‘Maybe I’m not the only one with problems,’ Liz realized.

“Look Lizzie, it doesn’t matter, alright?” Maria really didn’t want to deal with this now.

“No! Maria you’ve been helping me and now it’s my turn to help you, now tell me what your mom said.”

“She’s…she’s getting married…” Maria mumbled, but then her voice rose with the fury in her eyes. “Can you believe it? I mean, I didn’t even know about this guy. She never told me anything about him, and now…now she’s marrying him!”

“I’m sorry Ria.” Liz pulled her into a hug, she knew that this was a sore spot for Maria. She had never had a father in her life and never liked the idea of her mother dating because usually all the guys she dated were losers. The only father figure she had was Liz’s, which was safe because it meant that her mother was still all hers. Now she would have to share.

“Don’t worry about it. But I’m going to this party, so are you coming or not?” Maria asked as she brushed past Liz to look at her clothes hanging in the closet. Liz hesitated a moment not too sure about what she was about to do.

“Sure Ria, lets go,” Liz answered finally. There was no way she’d leave Maria alone right now. Who knows what kind of trouble that girl would get into without her there!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel bounded down the stairs as fast as she could in her cute white, high-heeled, strappy sandals.

“Alex!” she smiled brightly as she opened the door.

“Wow, Isabel. You look beautiful,” he told her, enjoying the blush that crept across her face.

“Thanks.” She had finally found the perfect chance to wear that pink dress she had bought a while ago and never worn. With her hair half pulled back and slightly curled at the ends she was sure that she looked good; not too dressy, yet not too casual. The perfect look for a sort-of date…at least that’s what she thought this was. “So, where are you taking me?” He had been very adamant about not telling her until now.

“You’ll see, come on!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria walked in the door of the large house where the party was already in full swing with Liz at her side. They were both looking rather hot in her opinion, after all she had picked out their clothes, saying they needed the right attitude. She was especially happy with her rather short, low cut dress. Now this was a party. You know, there isn’t anything quite like a college party.

A guy passed by with a bunch of beers and handed one to each of the girls with a smile. Maria gladly took hers though Liz was rather hesitant about it.

“Come on Lizzie! It’s time to let go! Time for us to have some fun! Isn’t that what college is supposed to be all about anyways?” Maria shouted to be heard over the crowd. Taking another long swig of her beer she pulled Liz a little further inside.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Come on Max, it’ll be fun. It’ll help us both to relax a little. I thought we agreed to just have some fun this weekend?” Michael was glad that Max was talking to him again. It had been hell living in the same house and not speaking. But now everything was okay again, mostly anyway. They had talked at least…

~~~~~

“Michael look, I’m sorry I got so mad at you about all this. I know it wasn’t your fault or anything. You were just being a friend, my best friend. It just hurt.”

“It’s okay man…” Michael didn’t know what else to say, because he was really starting to feel bad about it. It was, after all, his fault.

~~~~~

“Fine Michael,” Max nodded his head and followed him into the party. But when he looked up, he never expected to see that. “Oh no…”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria and Liz were leaning against a wall talking about some guy that Maria had just spotted and was calling cute when they heard someone come in the nearby door. Maria’s eyes lit up and the words ‘fresh meat’ were floating around in her head as she smiled. The smile fell away as her eyes landed on the last person she really wanted to be anywhere near right now.

“Oh no!” she tried to turn and block Liz’s view but it didn’t really work too well.

“What Maria?”

“Nothing Liz, come on, lets go dance.”

“No, serious Maria, what’s wrong?” Liz asked as she finally got a glance over her friend’s shoulder. Maria could see the horror in her eyes before she quickly masked it. Looking down at the drink in her hand that she had been holding, Liz shook her head before lifting it to her lips. She coughed a little but took another large sip before turning back to her Maria. “Come on, let’s go have some fun! Isn’t that what college is supposed to be all about anyways?” she reiterated what Maria had told her not fifteen minutes earlier.

With new energy Liz pulled Maria into the mob, stopping only for a moment when a guy offered them some jell-o shooters. Liz had never had them before, but then again she hadn’t had beer before tonight either…it was a night for firsts.

Liz giggled after her first one causing Maria to giggle as well.

“I think these…” she indicated the jell-o she was about to eat, “are my new best friend!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




posted on 24-Oct-2001 9:11:44 PM by tabasco sauce
my oh my! you spoiled us with some great ficage. I hope max saves liz from the evil jello shooters! lol! keep up the good work! post more pronto!
posted on 24-Oct-2001 10:01:30 PM by Transparent Clear
2 words every heartbroken college girl should become blissfully aware of: jello shooters. wow... it's been a long time.

great chapter.. *happy*
posted on 24-Oct-2001 10:02:17 PM by SciFiNut111
I hope Max finds out that Michael was just being a total jerk and not the friend he thinks he is.

Why did Max so readily accept all the crap that Michael fed him?? He obviously didn't have much faith in Liz.

It would be interesting to see Max save Liz and then have Liz just walk away. Leave him to his misery.

Will Isabelle make any attempt to find out WHY Max dumped Liz? I would think that she would after seeing Max so happy with Liz and now to see him so miserable without her. And then she can work out some real good payback for Michael.

As protective as Alex is of Liz and Maria, I'm surprised that his relationship with Isabelle hasn't been affected.

Looking forward to the next installment.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2001 1:01:54 AM ]
posted on 24-Oct-2001 10:46:29 PM by Pegleg
Hey guys,
I just wanted to comment on the whole Isabel thing. Nikki and I talked long and hard on what would happen to the relationship between Alex and Isabel because of what happened. We decided that Alex is just a great guy and would realize that what happened between Max and Liz really has nothing to do with Isabel (remember in this story the Max and Isabel are not related, Michael and Isabel are siblings). And Isabel really doesn't even know the whole reason behind the breakup...yet. So yeah, we decided that we were going to move ahead with those characters. Anyways, I hope that clears some things up. Just trying to let you people in to what we were thinking.

~Michelle
posted on 24-Oct-2001 11:12:36 PM by roswellluver
Poor Liz, when will Max realize that he was an idiot for listening to Michael? Thanks for writing!
posted on 25-Oct-2001 11:19:26 AM by Clari
I like the fact that Alex knows that Isabel is different. But Max after everything Alex told him, he still thinks Liz was after his money. IDIOT.
I know the dangers of the jello shooter.*tongue* I hope she tells him off or hooks up with someone in front of him because she's buzzed.
Post again soon. PLEASE*bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 25-Oct-2001 11:33:51 AM by Caligirl
I still can't believe that Michael told him that and I can't believe that Max listened. I can see where Michael is coming from though. He wants to try and protect Max from getting his heart broken later. He probably thinks that it will be easier for him the sooner it is done.He doesn't want anyone to have to go through what he did. I can't wait to see where you guy go with this story. Post more really soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted on 25-Oct-2001 12:50:34 PM by shorty828
I just started reading this story and I love it, cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 25-Oct-2001 2:46:45 PM by mara is a dreamer
Max you idiot!!
Go rescue Liz from the jello-shooters!!And then beg for her forgiveness and cover her of gifts!!
Vraiment quel nul ce mec!*wink*
Post soon!*bounce**big*
posted on 26-Oct-2001 12:13:22 AM by ClaudluvsRoswell
Oh this is a good part now you should probably have Liz meet a nice guy and dance with him and flirt. Let's give Max a lot of jelousy, then he will realize what an ass he is. I just love this story.*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 26-Oct-2001 1:22:00 AM by SpencerHopeful
Caligirl, I think you're my new best friend. LOL I'm totally right there with you on the whole Michael thing...

I love that Alex and Isabel are still going strong. Their relationship shouldn't suffer because of the Max and Liz thing. Alex is a great guy. He wouldn't judge you on what your friends do..Makes sense to me...*big*
posted on 26-Oct-2001 5:21:00 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
I want M/L to talk. I want Michael to be found out.
posted on 26-Oct-2001 5:42:14 AM by tyranese
I can't believe Michael did that! I understand he has major problems because that chick screwed him over, but not every girl is like that! expecially not LIZ!!! she is decnet and wonderful how could he have not mentioned THE GLOW! the magic!! that airy feeling that they are soulmates like you keep mentioning?! Oh they are so meant to be its not funny! help him understand that and please please please let Max and Liz bump into each other or get locked in a...... bedroom/ basement??? together so they HAVE to talk.. no matter what.

This this thanks for writing it.. post more soon please!
posted on 26-Oct-2001 7:32:10 AM by LegalAlien
I can't believe Michael did that and can still live with seeing both Max and Liz being in emotional pain!
I hope his lies are found out soon and he get his a** kicked heavily!!!

Can't wait for the next part... please post it soon

Joe
posted on 26-Oct-2001 11:55:18 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Great Part!!Now I just hope the Boys are Man enuogh to save the girls if they need it!!Post morewhen you can!!
posted on 26-Oct-2001 1:22:14 PM by angelbehr
Okay, so I just finished reading this fic and I am loving it! Michael desperately needs someone to smack him upside the head for doing what he has done to Max and Liz!!! Max also needs to get a brain! I mean, can't he think for himself? Isabelle is really going to have her work cut out for her once she finds out what her dipsh*t brother has done. I have faith that she can fix it though.

Now that you have me hooked, I'll be anxiously awaiting the next post! *bounce**bounce*

~angelbehr~
posted on 27-Oct-2001 3:40:55 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hey guys. Love the feedback. It's so nice to get everyone's differing opinions on the story. We were fascinated with all the different reactions that we got from the story. It's great. It's also interesting to see everybodies different predictions for how things are gonna turn out.

So yeah, you guys all know that I'm a die hard dreamer and all...so it's really funny cause I'm like getting depressed from my own fic...very wierd. Cause it's even the parts that I write too. You know you're pathetic when...

Anyway, I hope you guys like this part. It's not my favorite...at all...but I hope it's ok. Please write and tell me what you think. Happy reading...


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 18

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh no…I’m outta here. I’m sorry man, I can’t do this.” Max said as he turned back towards the door and was beginning to make his way outside.

“Max…Max. Hey wait!”

“Michael…she’s in there. I can’t deal with this right now. Look, I’m going home.”

“Max, come on. We both need this; you know we do. Ok, so she’s in there. You knew that it was going to happen sooner or later. You were bound to run into her eventually.”

“Michael…I can’t. It’s too soon. It still hurts too much.”

“Max…you need to let go. You need to learn to move on. This is your chance. This is your chance to get out there…let loose…find someone new…or just have fun. So Liz is here, big deal. Are you going to let that stop you?”

Max heaved a heavy sigh, looking back towards the house they had just come out of. “You’re right. Let’s go.”

“Alright!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max was miserable. Yeah, he had tried to have fun, he really had. He’d even mingled a little bit trying to meet new people. He talked to a few girls, they were attractive enough, but there was nothing there. No personality, no fire. They were mindless drunk bimbos who he was sure wanted nothing more then to get in his pants.

Who was he trying to kid anyway; this wasn’t his thing. Max Evans didn’t go to parties trying to pick up girls. Hell, Max Evans didn’t even party. How had he gotten Michael to talk him into this? Right. He’s supposed to be having fun. Letting loose. ‘Yeah Michael, I’m sure having some fun now.’

So there Max was, standing against the wall in what he assumed was the living room, with an open beer in hand, one in which he had only taking 2 sips out of over the last hour he’d been there, watching an undoubtedly drunk Liz as she flirted with almost every guy in the room. ‘Yeah, this day’s just getting better and better.’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz was having fun for the first time in days. She never knew how much fun alcohol was. She was certainly going to have to experiment with it more often now. Who knew that one little drink would make you so much more relaxed? Or two? Or three?

“Hey, you wanna dance?” some guy she didn’t know asked.

“Sure, I’d love to. What’s your name?” she asked as the guy lead her into the mass of people.

“I’m Sean. And you are?”

“Liz.”

“Well Liz, what is a gorgeous girl like you doing here?”

“Hmmm…trying to get over Max,” she stated nonchalantly.

“Well, what do you say I help you with that,” Sean said bringing her body flush with his.

“Ok,” Liz said as she giggled when he brought her in close to his body.

“I don’t know who this Max guy is, but I can’t for the life of me think of why he would want to let go of a girl like you.”

“Awww Sean…that’s so sweet.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max watched as Liz danced very close with some guy he didn’t know. He watched the creep as he grabbed a shot glass off some guy walking by, giving it to Liz who gladly took the drink. ‘Didn’t the jerk know that she’d already had way too much.’

The more Max thought about it, the more he didn’t like the guy. Max was a guy, he knew how the male mind worked, what most guys thought about all the time, and he knew exactly what that guy was planning by giving her that drink.

Max watched them move together almost as if they were one person, virtually no space between them. ‘Hey, what is his hand doing there?’ Max felt the jealously bubble up inside him, but he quickly tried to push it back down. ‘You don’t have the right to get jealous. She’s not yours anymore, remember? You’re the one who gave her up.’

Max was snapped out of his reverie when he heard Liz’s giggling, much closer to him then he’d expected. He turned to see Liz and that guy, whatever the hell his name was, headed for the staircase just to his right. Max quickly made his way over to the couple and caught them halfway up the stairs. He grabbed onto the guys wrist, right above where his hand was grasped with Liz’s and stopped him dead in his tracks.

“What the fuck?” Sean said turning around to see some guy had grabbed onto his arm.

“Let go,” Max seethed.

“Get the fuck away from me man. This doesn’t concern you.”

“If this concerns her, it concerns me. Now let go!”

“No. Who the hell are you?”

“I’m her boyfriend.”

“Ahh…Mark is it? Well, it ain’t my fault you let this gorgeous piece of ass slip through your fingers, but she’s mine now.”

With that Max caught Sean with a hard right hook, sending him to the floor. “It’s Max, and if you ever come near her again, you’ll be answering to me. Got it?” But Max didn’t wait for an answer before leading Liz away.

Once they were a safe distance away, Max stopped, turning around to check on Liz. “Are you ok?” he asked.

Liz just nodded her head obediently, biting her lip as she looked at him.

“Liz, how much have you had to drink tonight?”

“Ummm…I lost track after 3,” Liz said while holding up four fingers. She soon became increasingly fascinated with her own hands, looking at them like they were the most interesting things in the whole world.

“Where’s Maria?”

“I don’t know, she went to the bathroom a while ago and never came back,” Liz answered, still marveling at her fingers.

“Liz,” Max said in exasperation, trying to regain her attention. “Do you know what that guy was planning on doing with you?”

“Uh huh,” she said nodding, like it was the most natural thing.

“And you are ok with that?” Max questioned skeptically.

“I don’t know,” Liz replied before someone bumped her from behind and she was thrown forward. Max quickly caught her before she could do herself any bodily harm. He quickly brought her up to look at him, looking quizzically at her giggling face.

“What?” he asked.

“I just noticed something.”

“What?”

“Junior.”

“Junior?” Max raised an eyebrow looking at Liz curiously.

“Uh huh,” Liz nodded before grinding her hips into his own. Max couldn’t help the moan that escaped his lips at Liz’s actions. ‘What had gotten into her?’

“Take me home, Max,” Liz whispered in his ear, a sultry smile on her face.

“Yeah…yeah, I uh…think that’d be a good idea.”

Max quickly lead Liz out to his car. ‘Boy am I glad that Michael and I decided to bring separate cars,’ Max thought as they both got into the car and headed towards Liz’s apartment.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alright Liz, where’s the key?”

“In my pocket.”

“Great, then give it to me.”

“No.”

“Alright, then why don’t you go ahead and open the door?”

“No.”

“Okay Liz,” Max started rubbing his temples in exhaustion. “How do you suppose we get in if you won’t give me the key?”

“Come and get it,” Liz replied as a broad smile spread across her face.

Max just sighed, ‘This girl is gonna be the death of me.’ He slowly walked over to Liz, who had not moved from her spot leaning against the wall, seeing as she wasn’t having the easiest time standing up straight. Grabbing onto her pocket and pulling the leather material as far away from her body as possible, which wasn’t very far, Max quickly reached into her pocket, retrieving the key.

Trying not to get caught up in the feel of being so close to her skin, Max made a quick job of opening the door to let them inside. He quickly ushered Liz inside, helping as needed, before turning around to shut and lock the door. “Alright, now why don’t we get you to bed so…” but Max didn’t get to finish his sentence, as Liz’s lips were quickly on his.

Max tried not to respond, but it was hopeless as he felt the tingling sensation of her warm lips against his and her tongue moving against his own as she thrust it into his mouth. He was quickly lost in the feel of her, but it was the taste of alcohol on her breath that brought Max crashing back to reality.

“Liz stop. Liz, we can’t do this.”

“But I thought this is what you wanted?” Liz asked, a sad look on her face.

“No…yes…I mean…Yes, I’d always wanted this with you, but…this is definitely not the time. I know if you were sober right now, you wouldn’t want this. You wouldn’t even want me here. You kinda hate me right now.”

“That’s ridiculous Max, I could never hate you. I love you.”

“I wish I could believe that were true. Come on, lets get you in bed.”

Liz just nodded mutely as they made there way into the bedroom. Max found something for her to wear to bed and motioned her towards the bathroom. When she came back out she sat down on the bed, resting her head on Max’s shoulder. He tried to get her to lie down in bed, but she stayed locked in place.

“Max, I think I’m gonna be sick,” she answered at his questioning gaze. Max quickly helped her to the bathroom, making it just in time to fling her head over the toilet and proceed to heave all the contents of her stomach. Max held her hair and soothingly rubbed her back. As the heaves subsided, Max left, returning with a damp washcloth, gently dabbing at her forehead. He got her to rinse out her mouth with water and then helped her back to her bed. He stayed with her, softly running his fingers through her hair and over her back, till her breathing evened out and he was sure that she was asleep.

With his head hung low, Max slowly moved out of Liz’s room. For a brief moment he wondered why he had done all this. Why, after everything that had happened between them, did he still feel the need to protect her? But then, just as simply as the question came, so did the answer. He loved her. He still did. After everything, he couldn’t help but still love her. Too bad that just wasn’t enough.

Grabbing a throw off the back, Max slipped out of his shoes and jacket and lay down on the couch. He couldn’t leave her alone right now. He’d just sleep here tonight. Or at least until Maria came home and he knew someone was here to take care of her. So Max lay down and stared at the ceiling, trying to get his muddled brain to settle into sleep.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2001 4:07:26 AM ]
posted on 27-Oct-2001 4:59:48 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Put them back together as they belong. You know this is wrong. Beat the crap out of Michael.
posted on 27-Oct-2001 7:44:45 AM by SciFiNut111
Max definitely is an ass to believe what Michael told him. All of the evidence he sees says Liz loves him. How can he think Michael is right?

I'm surprised that a drunk Liz didn''t try to come on to Max, telling him that she knows the reason he broke up with her is that she wouldn't have sex with him. That would really knock Max's socks off. Liz willing to give up her virgintiy to get back together with him.

Can't wait until Maria gets home. I wonder if she was more under control at the party. Does she run into the jerk Michael and ask him why Max dumped Liz? That would be interesting.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2001 9:13:03 AM ]
posted on 27-Oct-2001 8:59:25 AM by ClaudluvsRoswell
This is a good part, but I bet Maria ended up with Michael that why both of them are lost.*bounce*
posted on 27-Oct-2001 11:53:36 AM by rollergal20
Oh I love this part!, Max is such a sweetheart. I just hope Michael comes to Maria's rescue. They've got to get together, and soon!

post more soon ~ *happy*
posted on 27-Oct-2001 11:54:58 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
I can't wait till Maria or Alex come home and finds Max sleeping on the couch!!*big*
You know it is wrong for them to be apart, so PLEASE put them back together soon!!*angel*
posted on 27-Oct-2001 1:27:29 PM by roswellluver
Thank goodness Max realizes he loves Liz, but he should be able to see that she loves him also! Thanks for writing!
posted on 27-Oct-2001 5:02:30 PM by tabasco sauce
whoo hoo! max saved liz from the evil jello-shooters! ::andy does a happy dance:: keep up the good work! post more pronto!
posted on 27-Oct-2001 5:55:43 PM by Alien614
AWW, max and liz love each other so much.
posted on 27-Oct-2001 7:20:15 PM by shorty828
way to go max, I am so glad he came to her rescue, isnt sean the name of the guy that broke her heart in the first place, cant wait to see what happens next, cant wait for more.

Lisa
posted on 27-Oct-2001 8:27:25 PM by tyranese
oh max you sweety!!! *happy*

I loved that, thank god Max stopped that from happening, I hope LIz isn't mad at him when she wakes up, she sould be thanking god for him! I hope nothings wrong with Maria and Michael! oh! oh! they both missing... maybe together??? *big*

ANyway I loved it.. post more sooN!
posted on 27-Oct-2001 9:45:44 PM by rosgirl125
WOw I really love this story. I think that Max is an idoit for listening to Michael instead of following his heart, but I understand where Micheal is coming from. Now WHERE DID MARIA GO. Come back girls come back and post!!! Because I love this story!!!
Caitlin
posted on 27-Oct-2001 10:54:03 PM by Jane26
I just finished reading all of the parts that have been posted so far and I now love this story! I can't wait to read the next part!! Post more quickly!

*happy*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2001 10:55:38 PM ]
posted on 28-Oct-2001 1:07:40 AM by jessiebehr
love this story!!, please get liz & max together (again)*angel*
posted on 28-Oct-2001 10:20:52 PM by Rostrin
Ok,so he redeemed himself a little by taking care of liz, but he's still a jackass for listening to Michael.
I want them back together,but I want Max to suffer little more, only Liz will also suffer and I don't want that.....fix this now*wink*
posted on 29-Oct-2001 9:55:56 AM by angelbehr
Ack!!! How can Max be so stubbornand stupid!!! Can't he see that Liz is totally in love with him? oooooo, Michael is such a jerk! If only Maria knew what he did, she would definitely make him pay! Okay girls, so I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for your next post. Please come back soon, I am getting depressed!
*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
~angelbehr~
posted on 31-Oct-2001 12:40:33 AM by dancepixie
Hey guys, I'm sorry that this took me so long. I was just stuck on one part...I'm still not completely happy with this, but I figured if I didn't post this soon Michelle would kill me, and since she knows where I live, I thought it was a good idea!*big* I'm watching the show right now, well actually it's a commercial break, otherwise I obviously wouldn't be on here...but enough of my babbling, on with the story! Enjoy!!!

Oh yeah, I was in such a hurry to get this up earlier that I forgot to tell you guys, and Michelle just reminded me...this part has been a joke between the two of us for a while...we've lovingly dubbed it 'the big bang'*big* So, without further ado, I give you...THE BIG BANG!!!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 19

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Walls vibrating from the loud music, hundreds of people crammed into small spaces, and most importantly alcohol everywhere you look. Oh yeah, Maria was definitely enjoying this! It was kinda funny actually, no matter how much she drank, her cup never seemed to get any emptier…she stared at it in fascination for a while before shrugging it off and taking another drink. Whenever her drink got anywhere near empty, some guy would come and hand her a new one…but she never seemed to really notice. She was happy just drinking away.

Wait a minute, wasn’t Liz just there a minute ago? Where had Liz gone? She couldn’t really remember…oh well! She took another sip of her beer and she was happy . Was that guy looking at her? Why was he looking at her? Yuck! He was ugly, and gees, he had to be at least 30! Shaking it off Maria turned and squeezed her way through the crowd into another room. This was better. Taking another drink Maria looked around her. Oh yeah, definitely better, plenty of fresh meat!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When had he lost track of Max? Michael wasn’t sure. ‘Great, I just hope he isn’t mad at me or something…’ Michael thought. But actually this was all for Max’s own good. This way he could get out and have some fun, hopefully meet some other girls to take his mind off Liz. But Michael didn’t want to think about that anymore. Nope, he was planning on having some fun tonight.

As he walked into a room crowded with people dancing to the music he noticed one blond head standing out from all the others. As he watched her, an unfamiliar smile crept up on his face. She looked beautiful. She was amazing. She was…wait! What the hell was he thinking?! That was Maria! The harpy! Oh god!

Michael walked out of the room and into another, equally as crowded, and full of pretty girls looking for some guy to dance with. And they all seemed to love him…oh this was definitely going to be a fun night, he thought to himself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria was having a great time. The men all seemed to love her and she loved the attention. The spotlight was exactly where she wanted to be…it was a great distraction…well the alcohol helped too…

The guy she was currently dancing with was tall with hair that had obviously been bleached a few too many times. But he was cute and a great dancer and that was all that mattered. The next thing she knew another guy was at her side, this one with greasy black hair who looked like he was on the football team. He tried to pull her away from the blond surfer, but he wouldn’t have it. Mr. surfer grabbed her other arm and pulled her back towards him. But Mr. Football player wouldn’t have that. Soon they were playing tug of war with her arms and she was laughing, until it really started to hurt.

“Guys!” her head was spinning from all the drinks she’d had, but she was desperately trying to take control. “Guys!” she yelled, but her slurred voice could barely be heard over the music.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael was dancing with some sorority girl. She had finally shut up. All she had wanted to do was tell him about every single person in her house and all of their business in her little valley girl voice. This was why he stayed away from frats and sororities as a general rule…one that he would have to remember in the future.

Hearing a loud ruckus Michael looked up to see what was going on. Anything to distract him from the blond bimbo he was dancing with. Not that he wasn’t having fun…because he was if she would just shut up.

That was when the pushing started. The crowd was being pushed every which way. Looking up, Michael saw the reason. Two guys were playing tug of war with some poor girl. Wait, that wasn’t just some poor girl…shit! Michael pushed through the crowd until he reached the two idiots.

“Hey!” His voice echoed through the room over the music. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” The two guys stopped yanking on Maria’s arms for a minute and looked at him, angry for the interruption. It was obvious to Michael that Maria wasn’t the only one who had had way too much to drink tonight.

“This has nothing to do with you man!” the surfer snarled before pulling Maria fully into his arms.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Michael’s voice was smooth and cold, cutting right to the bone. He reached for Maria’s hand, and as gently as he could extracted her from the jerks that were clawing at her. He could already see the red marks on her wrists forming from where they were grabbing her. Michael brought her flush against his chest and leaning down kissed her with all the emotions he had built up inside him. When he pulled back he stared into her dazed eyes for a moment before looking coldly upon the two neanderthals beside him.

“Don’t you ever mess with her again. Is that clear?” Michael glared at the two men until they nodded their assent. Then he turned and led Maria out of the room, having to help her walk since she couldn’t do it on her own.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria was still dazed from his kiss as he led her out of the room and out of the house. Her head was swimming from that kiss…god could that boy kiss! ‘And he’s cute too,’ she giggled.

When they were outside on the porch Michael stopped and looked at her carefully. What had come over him, he wasn’t too sure. He just felt this need to protect her from those jerks that would have pulled her apart if they could’ve.

“Are you okay?” he asked, leaning down to look at her face. He held her hands in his and gently massaged the red marks on her wrists, not wanting to hurt her more, but trying to soothe the pain.

“Of course I’m okay!” Maria smiled as her head bobbed up and down. “You saved me, my hero!” she sighed and leaned against his chest, unable to stay standing on her own two feet.

The alcohol was definitely affecting her. Michael decided it was past time to take her home. Maybe she could sleep it off.

“Come on, let’s get you home.” Michael started to lead her to his car but she couldn’t stand. “Come on,” he said as he wrapped one arm around her waist and the other behind her knees, cradling her against his chest.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael’s car had just pulled up outside the apartment building when he turned to Maria. She looked beautiful in the faint light from the streetlamp overhead. The orange light seemed to glitter off her golden hair, giving her a halo. She still had that dazed, happy smile on her face.

“Maria?” Michael called to try and break her out of her daze. He was rewarded with her 1000-watt smile, but he didn’t expect what happened next. Maria unsnapped her seatbelt in a flash and settled herself in Michael’s lap, straddling his legs. She gave him her sweet smile as she reached up and started unbuttoning his shirt, leaving a trail of slow languid kisses down his chest as she revealed each bit of skin. Breathing in his rich scent she could feel her head starting to spin.

Michael was in heaven…this…this angel was practically attacking him in his car. He knew he should stop, but it just felt so good…so perfect.

“Maria, what are you doing to me?”

“Mmm…if you have to ask I must not be doing it right!” Maria giggled as she set back to exploring his well-defined chest with an even greater fervor.

“Maria…uhhh…we’re here. Why don’t you go get some sleep?” It took a lot of strength on Michael’s part, but he knew that was the right thing to do, right?

“Mmm…but I want to sleep with you,” to emphasize her point she poked him in the chest with her finger. “And you wouldn’t fit in my bed…” she rambled, giggling and shaking her head in her drunken stupor. She looked into his eyes, her face inches from his, feeling his breath on her lips. “Take me home Mikey!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria’s laughter echoed through the large entryway as she ran ahead of Michael into the house. Michael didn’t understand where she got all the energy from considering earlier she wasn’t even able to walk to the car, but hey, all the better for him, right?

“Mmm, have I ever told you how much I love your house?” she walked forward in a stagger as her head was focused on the high vaulted ceilings and the stairs leading to the second story. Michael saw her teetering on the verge of falling over and raced to her side to catch her.

Maria’s laughter filled the hall once more as she found herself happily cradled against Michael’s chest. Rubbing her hands up and down his chest she continued her exploration that she had begun in the car. His shirt was already unbuttoned allowing her to watch his muscles tense and stretch as he carried her up the stairs. Pushing the sleeves down his arms she reveled in the feel of his naked flesh. This had to be heaven.

Her hands on his skin drove Michael wild…his thoughts were broken…choppy. He couldn’t think of a single reason to stop the inevitable. This woman was a goddess, and she was giving herself to him. With his shoulder he opened the door to his bedroom and slammed it behind them, not once slowing down on the journey to his bed.

The minute he set her down on her feet beside the bed, she attacked him. Clothes went flying, scattered about the room. Hungry mouths seared paths across smooth naked flesh in a frenzy. The room was quickly filled with their cries and moans of pleasure.

A while later the room was silent. Michael looked down at the angel in his arms. God, she was incredible. Why hadn’t he noticed before? Wait, what was he thinking? Pushing all the bad thoughts out of his brain Michael focus on the moment, and he was happy with this little pixie lying at his side. Happy for the first time in over a year…but he had to wonder how long it would last. When would the real world come crashing down on him, because it always seemed to find him, not giving him any peace… But for now he pulled her even closer against his chest and kissed her temple before drifting off to join her in sleep.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Oct-2001 2:20:02 AM ]
posted on 31-Oct-2001 1:33:27 AM by jessiebehr
wow!!, that was definantly a great part, I really didn't see that coming.
-jess*angel*
posted on 31-Oct-2001 3:08:30 AM by Choc79
That was an amazing turn. I didn´t expect them to get so close that soon. Loved it. I hope that Maria won´t flip in the morning. Hurry back with more!
Choc*bounce*
posted on 31-Oct-2001 4:02:18 AM by tjmorena
In case I haven't mentioned it yet, I really love your story! *big* Thank you for an update on Michael and Maria. I liked the part but I'm left to wonder what will happen between them two once the "alcoholic stupor" wears off the morning after? Oh well, I'll sit here and patiently wait for an update to see what happens. Post more soon please! *happy*
posted on 31-Oct-2001 7:55:36 AM by SciFiNut111
I was wondering what happened to Maria. Glad to see that she had a protector.

With Michael's attitude when does she get dumped? Surprised that he took advantage of her drunkeness.

Where's the justice? Michael destroys Max and Liz's relationship and he gets happy time out of it?





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Nov-2001 9:04:41 PM ]
posted on 31-Oct-2001 8:54:56 AM by tabasco sauce
Stonewall Guerin to the rescue! That was a really good part! keep up the good work! post more pronto!

-andy
posted on 31-Oct-2001 9:11:46 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
This was a great part!!I am glad that Micheal was there to save Maria!!Now I can't wait to see the morning after!!*tongue**wink*
Post more whan you can!!*bounce*
posted on 31-Oct-2001 9:47:54 AM by angelbehr
Hmmmm...I don't know quite what to think about those two. I mean, I am glad that Michael rescued Maria from those two guys, but I really didn't think that he would take advantage of her in that drunken state. Maria is really going to flip out when she wakes up! I really don't think she would have slept with him if she hadn't been drunk. Also, what gives Michael the right to be with Maria if he is so dead set against Max being with Liz? The next part should be real interesting, I can't wait!!! *bounce*

~angelbehr~
posted on 31-Oct-2001 10:47:35 AM by Alien614
Thanks for the post. I love this fic.
posted on 31-Oct-2001 11:54:47 AM by shorty828
yah I love this fic, I just started reading it not to long ago, cant wait for more
posted on 31-Oct-2001 12:52:49 PM by rollergal20
This was a great part!, I hope that she doen't regret it the next morning!

post more soon ~ *happy*
posted on 5-Nov-2001 1:59:39 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hey guys. Sorry that it took me so long to get this part out. It's been a busy week and I've been trying to catch up on stuff before midterms. Do they ever end? Plus, a friend of ours was staying over this weekend, so I didn't get much time to write. So anyway...here it is. I hope you like. I'm not sure I'm happy with all of it, but that's how it goes. Anyway, without any further ado...here's part 20. Don't forget to tell me what you think.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 20

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh Alex, this place is perfect. And how did you know I loved seafood?”

“I have my ways. I’m glad that you like it. This is considered one of the best seafood restaurants in San Diego.”

“God, and the view of the water…it’s just beautiful. Thank you Alex. This is amazing.”

“Anything for you,” Alex said sincerely and Isabel couldn’t help the blush that came over her face.

“So Isabel, I meant to ask…how did your meeting with the admissions people go?”

“Oh, it was great. I talked to this really nice lady who said she’d read over my application and that she was really impressed. She said that she couldn’t tell me for sure now, cause that just wouldn’t be fair, but that she pretty much thought that I was a shoe-in.”

“That’s great!”

“Yeah. I’m so excited. I really hope that I get in. I mean, before I came to visit I really didn’t know where I wanted to go, that was why I was taking the year off. But now that I’m here, I’ve just fallen in love with the place, and I want to start as soon as possible. That’s why I applied for spring semester. I just can’t wait till next year. Plus I’ll get to be close to Michael and Max…”

Isabel trailed off at the change in Alex’s face at the mention of Max’s name. She had forgotten that Max was a sore subject for Alex at the moment. What the hell had gotten into that boys head lately was beyond her. She couldn’t imagine how Max could just give up on Liz so easily; they had seemed so happy together. Come to think of it, she didn’t think that she had ever seen him so happy. She didn’t know all the details about it, but she knew that it had to have ended badly.

Sometimes Isabel thought that she was the only one out of the loop; everyone else seemed to know what had happened, had already chosen sides, but no one would let her in on what was going on. So, she stopped pushing the issue, hoping someone would tell her eventually.

“Yeah, your brother’s seems to be a great guy,” Alex said, purposefully ignoring her comment about Max.

Deciding that a change of subject was in order, Isabel decided to move onto happier topics. “So Alex, how did you, Maria and Liz become so close?”

Alex’s eyes brightened up at the mention of his friends’ names. “That’s a funny story actually. You see, when we were freshman, we all lived on the same floor in our dorm building. I was the unlucky one who got to live with our fucked up RA, who picked on everyone who was a freshman half the time and was dead drunk the other. Anyway, so Liz and Maria lived down the hall from me, they were roommates of course since they had known each other before.

“Well anyway, one time, about a month into the first semester, I get this knock on my door. When I open the door, who do I see but two girls, in towels no less, dripping wet, asking for my idiot roommate. They’d apparently locked themselves out of there room and where hoping that Dereck would let them in without too much hassle. He of course was passed out at the time, so I stole his keys and the rest is history.

“We became really close friends after that. We were all far from home for the first time and we helped to fill the gaps we’d left behind. I have three younger sisters back home, so I kinda adopted Maria and Liz to fill that gap. It just feels natural to me, having people to look after, and I was kinda lost without that. And I became the big, protective brother that neither of them ever had.”

“That’s so sweet,” Isabel responded. “And I must say, I think you’re doing a great job.”

“Yeah, not as great as I should be,” Alex muttered under his breath, hoping that Isabel hadn’t heard him. Fortunately for her, she did.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex, that was wonderful. Thank you.”

“Hey, the night’s not over yet. Come on,” Alex said grabbing onto her arm and pulling Isabel down along the shoreline.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

Alex led them down the water until they came face to face with a large boat, strung with lights. Isabel looked up at him confused.

“It’s a cruise of the harbor. I’ve heard that it’s beautiful at night, when the city is all lit up,” Alex responded, a little unsure of himself.

Isabel couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face. “It’s perfect.”

Visually relieved, Alex held out his arm. “Shall we?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Once the boat had set sail, the couple danced one song then moved up to the deck to watch the sunset. They walked up to the railing at the edge of the ship, looking over towards the horizon. Feeling a little bold, Isabel grabbed onto Alex’s arms and wrapped them around herself leaning against his chest.

Alex was a little surprised by Isabel’s actions, but he couldn’t say that he was complaining. He just relaxed, tightening his arms around her, enjoying the moment and the beauty that he held in his arms.

Isabel loved the security and safeness that she felt in Alex’s embrace. It was like nothing she’d ever felt before. She felt that no matter what happened, everything would be alright as long as she was in his arms.

They watched as the sun slowly sank beneath the sea.

“So, you ready for another dance?” Alex asked when they could no longer see the golden rays.

“Definitely.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

An hour later found Isabel and Alex back out on the deck of the ship, looking out over the lights of downtown San Diego.

“It’s really beautiful,” Isabel commented.

“Yeah,” Alex said with a sigh, although he wasn’t really looking at the city. He just couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from the beauty beside him.

Seeing Alex out of the corner of her eye, Isabel sighed in frustration. “Alex, are you ever going to kiss me?” she asked, turning to him sharply.

Alex was a little shocked by her comment, but recovered quickly. He quickly wrapped her up in his arms, bringing their bodies together.

“Well, you see. I didn’t want to rush you,” Alex said, bringing his face closer to hers.

“I think I can handle it,” Isabel responded, a smile on her lips, as she finally closed the distance between them.

The kiss was slow and sweet, allowing the gentleness appropriate of the situation, yet holding the promise of so much more. They broke apart, and just stayed there, in each others’ embrace, watching the twinkling lights of the city pass by.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

They sat out on the pier, looking over the water. The starlight tour had ended quite a while ago, but neither wanted the night to end. They just sat there and talked about anything and everything, sharing a quick kiss every now and then. Now they were sitting in a comfortable silence, Isabel leaning her head against Alex’s chest. Finally, Isabel found the courage to bring up something that had been bothering her all night.

“Alex, what did you mean back in the restaurant. When you said you hadn’t been as good a protector as you should have?” Isabel noticed how he stiffened at her words. Plunging forward, she turned to look at his face and moved on. “Is this about Max and Liz? There’s nothing that you could have done to stop that. I mean, who was to know that they were going to break up? I don’t think that anyone saw it coming? You can’t protect her from stuff like that.”

“There’s a little more to it then that,” Alex said with a sigh, really not wanting to talk about this, but knowing that it was inevitable. He knew that Isabel probably didn’t know about everything that happened between Max and Liz, and even himself and Max for that matter, to cause such bad blood between them. He knew that he owed her some sort of explanation.

“What Alex? God, I wish somebody would just tell me what was going on? I’m so sick of seeing everybody mad at each other, and me stuck in the middle.”

“Look Isabel, I didn’t mean to put you in the middle of this. I didn’t want that to happen. There’s just some things between me and Max right now that can’t be forgiven.”

“Like what? And it’s not just you. I just hate not being able to have all my friends and family together in one room again. I miss that.”

“I know.”

“So tell me Alex, tell me what the problem is. Tell me why you hate my brother’s best friend.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz woke up to a pounding headache. Groaning, she turned over to look at her clock. 7:30am. Holding her hand to her head, Liz headed to the bathroom in search of aspirin. She finally found some and after downing it with some water she made her way to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.

Once the coffee was made and poured, Liz walked over with the steaming cup to look out the window, trying to remember what she had done the night before to warrant such a headache. Turning around she gasped out loud and nearly dropped her coffee mug upon seeing the figure lying on the couch, and that’s when it all came crashing back to her.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max’s eyes slowly fluttered open. At first he was a little disoriented by his surroundings, but remembered where he was when his eyes settled on an angel, namely Liz Parker.

She was huddled up on an armchair, knees up to her chest, staring out the window next to her with a far off look on her face. ‘Damnit!’ Max swore silently to himself. She obviously knew that he was there. He had planned on being gone this morning before she woke up. It would make this a lot easier if he had.

“Why do you care?” she suddenly asked, startling him. He was not aware that she had noticed he’d woken up. But what startled him even more was the deadly monotone of her voice, seemingly void of emotion.

“What?”

“Why do you care? About me? Why do you care at all about what happens to me?”

“Liz…”

“I mean, I just don’t get it,” Liz continued, not allowing him to answer. “I mean, you completely blow me off, finally deciding that I just wasn’t worth it, and then you go out of your way to protect my virtue? I just don’t get it Max. Why do you care?”

“Liz, just because we broke up, doesn’t mean I don’t still care about you; that I never did.”

“Goodbye Max,” Liz said before he could get in another word. Max just nodded his consent, silently slipping his shoes back on and grabbing his jacket. He had made it to the door, opening it, and was about to step outside, when he heard her small voice once again.

“Thank you,” Liz said quietly.

Max just smiled a little, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Always,” was his simple reply, before he turned and made his way out of the apartment. It wasn’t until the door was shut and his steps were heard moving down the hallway, that she finally let the tears come.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When she had first seen Max lying on that couch all of her memories and thoughts of everything that had happened last night came flooding back to her. How when she had seen Max at the party, the drinks just started flowing. How she had openly flirted with every guy she could, in part to try and get her mind off things, in part because she knew Max was watching. How she’d danced with that Sean guy, finally feeling desired and wanted again. How Max had come to her rescue when she was about to make the biggest mistake of her life. How she had unashamedly thrown herself at Max the night before, and what a gentleman he had been, not taking the one thing she could have sworn he had wanted all along.

A million emotions played across her mind; sadness, despair, anger, betrayal, embarrassment, confusion… Everything leading back to one question: Why?

Why did he even bother to look after her as he did? Did he somehow feel guilty for breaking her heart and driving her to this point? Was he jealous that someone else was going to get what he himself had wanted so badly? Did he change his mind and suddenly realize he loved her just as much as she loved him?

‘Yeah right, Liz! Stop kidding yourself!’

But then, why didn’t he take advantage of the golden opportunity that was put before him? He was obviously ready and willing, and she wasn’t going to be putting up much of a fight. Why did he stop it then? Was she suddenly not good enough for him? Did he no longer find her as desirable? Was he disgusted by the way she had been throwing herself at him, practically begging him to take her?

Now that he was gone she was even more confused. How could he possibly still care about her after everything that he’d done? If he still cared about her, how could he have broken her heart? So utterly? So completely?

And how come after everything, she just loved him even more?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Nov-2001 2:39:30 AM ]
posted on 5-Nov-2001 2:08:27 AM by shorty828
wow great part, I loved how alex and isabels date went. How sweet. and then to this m/l delima, does it ever end. I am so glad she remembered what went on the night before, hopefully they will come to an understanding soon. its all michaels fault. cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 5-Nov-2001 2:38:30 AM by roswellluver
I sure hope Max comes to his senses soon, I'm glad that Liz realized Max was watching out for her! Isabel and Alex are really making great progress! Thanks for writing!
posted on 5-Nov-2001 5:09:30 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
great part please continue.
posted on 5-Nov-2001 7:27:50 AM by angelbaby6977
WOW, I just read the whole story and it's wonderful! Can't wait 'til you post more!
posted on 5-Nov-2001 7:33:45 AM by SciFiNut111
Great part.

I was waiting for Alex to discuss with Isabelle what happened between Liz and Max!!

I'm glad that Liz remembered the night before. Of course it confuses the hell out of her.

What is Maria going to do to Michael when they wake up?

Looking forward to the next part.





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Nov-2001 8:19:37 PM ]
posted on 5-Nov-2001 9:27:16 AM by angelbehr
Isabelle and Alex are so wonderful together! Alex is such a hopeless romantic and that is what Isabelle deserves.I am also glad that Alex finally told her what is going on btw Max and Liz.
Poor Liz! I can only imagine how confusing and painful that whole situation must be for her. Here's to hoping that Isabelle can help resolve this situation.
Please come back soon and post again! *bounce*

~angelbehr~
posted on 5-Nov-2001 9:40:37 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
I'm Happy that Alex and Isabel's date went so well!!And I'm glad that Alex opened up to her about everything!!Now if only Liz and Max would sit down and talk everything would be great!! OR would it? We still haven't heard from Maria and Micheal!!*big*
Great Part!!Can't wait for more!!*bounce*
posted on 5-Nov-2001 8:26:52 PM by jessiebehr
love this story!!!!!
-jess*angel*
posted on 5-Nov-2001 8:37:38 PM by Alien614
Please post more soon. I love this fic.*big*
posted on 5-Nov-2001 9:47:24 PM by tabasco sauce
wow! that part was amazing! Alex was the classic gentleman! and the m/l scene was so heartwarming...::sighs:: keep up the good work! post more pronto!!!

-andy
posted on 8-Nov-2001 5:31:12 PM by jessiebehr
I don't mean to sound bossy, but get your buts back here and update !!!! thanx, luv ya!!
-jess*angel*
posted on 9-Nov-2001 2:51:14 PM by rollergal20
Bump ! Bump ! Bump !

we all love this fic, please continue! *big*
posted on 9-Nov-2001 6:22:13 PM by dancepixie
Hey everyone!

Michelle and I just wanted to say thank you to jessibehr and rollergal20 for the bumps!*big* It's so great to know that people are enjoying our story enough to bump it and tell us when we take too long. Just so you know I'm working on part 21 right now. I got back from my o.chem midterm and now I'm working away before I have to start studying for my bio and physics midterms which are on tuesday... But I promise to try and get it out tonight! And it should happen as long as the elephants (guys) who live in the apartment above us don't start banging on our ceiling again...

Okay, anyways...I just have to add one last little thing... Well incase any of you didn't know this, Michelle and I are roommates, and we just got our 5th Roswell poster in the mail today, and the 6th one is in the process of being shipped!!!*bounce**big**bounce* Yup, we're sad and pathetic...but we love our Roswell decorated room!!! Everywhere we look it's Roswell!*tongue*

I promise I'll be back later!

~Nikki~
*angel*


posted on 9-Nov-2001 7:46:38 PM by jessiebehr
good to know you appreciate the fans, & good luck on your midterms!
-jess*angel*
posted on 9-Nov-2001 7:50:24 PM by jessiebehr
quote:
jessiebehr originally wrote:
good to know you appreciate the fans, & good luck on your midterms!
-jess*angel*

although eating honey is a very good thing to do, there is a moment just before you begin to eat it which is better than you are.
posted on 9-Nov-2001 7:58:36 PM by SciFiNut111
Chemistry, Physics and Biology? And you still make time for this story?

Thank you very much.


posted on 9-Nov-2001 9:00:41 PM by rollergal20
good luck with all things school related, I know what it's like as the semester is coming to a close...

I think I speak for alot of people when I say we appreciate all the time you two put into this fic...

Can't wait till the next part ~ *big*
posted on 10-Nov-2001 1:03:10 AM by dancepixie
Yeah! The board is working again! Cause it was up when I finished writing this part and then when I came back to post it after editing it, it was down...but yeah, its working again!!! Hope you all enjoy since we've kept you waiting for so long...and thanks for the well wishes everyone! we love the feedback, keep it coming! Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 21

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Wow. I never would have believed it. I mean…Max has been so mopey lately. I don’t understand how he could’ve…” Isabel trailed off as her mind started turning. Alex had just finished telling her about what happened between Liz and Max, and why exactly he was so pissed off at Max. But now, in her mind, some things were starting to come together…something was still missing from the puzzle, but she would figure it out soon enough.

“I know. We all thought they were the perfect couple, you know? One minute everything is great and she’s happy having the time of her life at her birthday party…and then before we all realized it, she was crying her heart out because he hurt her more than anything ever has. I thought last year was bad, but Max meant so much more to her, and then he just went and threw it all away. I should have been able to protect her…” Alex hung his head as he thought about Liz’s pain, and how he had failed at keeping her from getting hurt again. He had made it his job to keep her and Maria safe, and he failed Liz…

“Alex, don’t say that. There was nothing you could’ve done, I mean, you couldn’t have known what was going to happen. You can’t blame yourself. It was Max. Not you. Not Liz. Just remember that, okay?”

“Thanks Izzie. I’m sorry to ruin tonight by telling you all this.”

“No Alex. Tonight was perfect. I don’t know how you managed it all, but thank you. It has definitely been the best night that I’ve had in a while, despite everything. Thank you.” Isabel leaned over, intending to place a gentle kiss on his lips, but it quickly became something more.

An hour later Alex pulled up in front of the quiet house.

“Goodnight Alex. Thank you for tonight.” Isabel smiled that brilliant smile of hers.

“It was my pleasure!” Alex grinned lifting his eyebrows in a suggestive manner causing Isabel to laugh. He walked her to her front door and gave her a simple, sweet goodnight kiss before watching her go inside. ‘This must be heaven…’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

‘What the hell?’ Maria woke with a start to find herself in a very unfamiliar room. ‘Huh?’ And what was that weight on her? Looking around she saw him…Michael Guerin. ‘Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!’ What had she done?

Closing her eyes for a moment Maria took a deep calming breath, gaining her courage. When she opened them again she gently lifted the edge of the sheet from her naked flesh. ‘Damn!’ She was afraid of that. ‘Oh my god!’ Maria panicked. She had to get out of there, now! She couldn’t stay in that bed a moment longer…

Carefully she extracted her body from under his arms, and her legs which had been thrown over his. ‘God, what happened last night?’ She tried her best as she searched for her clothes to remember, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t remember anything… ‘Oh my god!’ As soon as she was dressed she walked to the door and gently opened it so she wouldn’t wake him up. One last glance at the bed, and a peacefully sleeping Michael, and she was out the door, the tears falling gently down her face as the soft clink of the door echoed in the hall.

Maria practically ran down the hall, down the stairs and out of the house through her tears. God, how could she have been so stupid? What in the world had she been thinking?

She didn’t even notice the two people in the den as she fled the house, but they sure recognized her.

When she reached the edge of the driveway she collapsed into tears.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael heard the door click shut before he rolled over onto his back with a heavy sigh. She was gone. She had been so afraid that she just ran, and he just lay there and let her. God! What was wrong with him? He had lain awake for almost an hour watching her. She was beautiful in her sleep; so pure and innocent…she had been innocent…he had taken that, taken it and then let her run out… God he was an idiot! But what could he do about it now?

Michael laid back and closed his eyes, remembering the previous night. It had been magic. He had realized that she was drunk when they were sitting in his car in front of her building, but he couldn’t help himself, she was so amazingly enticing and when a beautiful pixie like her was throwing herself at him, he couldn’t help but give in to everything he was feeling for her.

The drive to his place was mostly a blur; all he had been thinking about was getting them there as fast as possible… From the moment that he carried her through his bedroom door, things changed between them. She attacked him and he was helpless to stop her…why would he refuse her anyway?

It had been amazing…she was amazing. He could still smell her scent in his sheets. Like a tropical breeze… Michael pulled her pillow closer and breathed in her scent deeply, returning to his memories of the night.

~~~~~

Too many clothes…Maria was desperate to feel his flesh…the clothes had to go. Michael couldn’t believe the things she was doing to him, what she was making him feel. He hadn’t been this close to anyone in a long time…not since Cassie.

Maria didn’t give him a moment to dwell on that though. She was like a wild animal, hungry to devour her next meal. Taking the hint Michael stepped back long enough to remove her little dress so that he too could feel her skin against his own. God, she was perfect. She looked all tiny and petite next to him, with her perfectly creamy skin and then there was that smell, well aside from the strong smell of alcohol, it was something tropical.

His head was spinning as he laid her out on the bed and followed her down. Her kisses were addicting and he couldn’t get enough of her taste…he couldn’t get close enough, couldn’t touch her enough. He just wanted to stake his claim to this pixie right then.

He didn’t care what happened after that, all that mattered was her, there beneath him, in their own perfect little world. He wanted her so bad, he just couldn’t wait, and when he heard her encouragement, nothing could stop him.

“Please Michael, I need you!” she breathed wantonly against his lips. Moving over her he rested his weight on his arms at her sides.

“Are you sure?”

“Now Michael!” she purred at him as she licked his lower lip, suckling and nipping at it in anticipation. Michael couldn’t wait any longer and entered her. It was heaven, like coming home, and he never wanted to leave.

He felt her innocence breaking as he went but it didn’t register at the time…that was something that he’d realize later. All he could feel at the moment were the wonderful things this pixie was doing to him. Pure bliss. Her golden locks surrounding her head on the pillow, her husky voice as she purred and screamed his name into the dark room, the feel of her hands all over him, the taste of her mouth, her flesh, the feeling of losing all control and never wanting to find it again…

~~~~~

It wasn’t until he had woken up in the morning and was watching her sleeping so peacefully with that gentle smile on her lush lips that he realized he had taken her innocence. She had been drunk and he had taken advantage of her…he wondered if she would hate him for that, and well, now he had his answer. She didn’t even want to see him, let alone speak to him.

Apparently only one night of happiness was all Michael could get. Maybe he didn’t even deserve that. After what he had gone through with Cassie, he had promised himself he would never hurt someone else like she had hurt him, but hadn’t he done that already? He had hurt Max and Liz, that was for sure…and maybe that was for nothing, just a stupid mistake on his part. He couldn’t understand what got into him sometimes. He honestly thought that he had been protecting Max, but now he wasn’t so sure.

And now Maria. He had hurt her. He had taken something from her that he would never be able to give back, and she had left him…maybe he deserved it all. He deserved Maria leaving him. He deserved Max not talking to him…but they were talking again, at least they had been last night. Then again, would they still be friends when Max found out? Michael made up his mind. He deserved to know the truth. He was going to tell Max…well, maybe…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria walked along the beach in silence. She was glad that it was October because that plus the cloudy overcast weather meant there was hardly anyone at the beach. And she didn’t feel like talking to anyone, or seeing anyone, or anything. She needed time to think, alone. La Jolla Shores really is a beautiful place, and the water can be so calm at times. All she could hear as she walked along the edge of the water carrying her sandals by the straps was the waves coming in to shore and every once in a while the sounds of sea gulls flying nearby.

The tears had stopped coming half an hour before, but she was still walking around the shore, trying to relax herself. She wasn’t sure what all had happened, truth was she couldn’t remember a thing except begging Lizzie to come to the party…oh, then she had gotten that message from her mother…Oh god, her mother! She was getting married…

Maria wasn’t sure how to feel about that one. She had always been an only child, just her and her mother, and she like it that way. She hadn’t even known that her mom was seeing anyone that seriously. ‘But if he makes her happy, I should be happy for her,” she thought. ‘Besides, I don’t even live at home anymore. She’s probably so lonely without me; maybe she really does need someone. And if he’s good to her, then I’m happy.’ Maria smiled at the thought. Sure, she had never been too keen on her mother seeing anyone before, but that was when she was a kid and she didn’t want a father, she had been disappointed too many times. Jeff Parker was the only ‘father’ figure she wanted or needed in her life. But now, well she’d have to meet this guy, and then hopefully she could be happy for Amy.

She remembered telling Liz she didn’t have to go to the party after finding her crying…then she remembered arriving at the party with Liz, and that was pretty much it. She could vaguely remember Max and Michael walking in before following after Lizzie as she found the joys of jello-shooters.

‘Liz! Oh my god! What happened to Liz? She’ll never forgive me for leaving her at the party…oh no!’ Maria started to panic. This was just what she needed right now…more problems.

Try as she might she couldn’t remember anything else. God why had she drunk so much? To drown her miseries…but god, she had been so stupid! Maria shook her head in frustration. At least she didn’t have a hangover. No, she just couldn’t remember a damn thing.

Then there was Michael. She woke up beside him this morning and freaked. What had happened last night? Sure she had been thinking he was awfully cute and sometimes he had done some really sweet things, plus she had to admit the boy had a great body…she had even thought about what it might be like to go out with him…but she had never thought it would actually come true. So what exactly went on last night?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel grabbed the keys to the mustang from the kitchen and told Max that she’d be back later. She had seen Maria leaving the house an hour ago while talking to Max in the den. Max stopped her, telling her to let her go when she was about to go after her friend. But now she was going to look for her. She wasn’t too sure where Maria might have gone, but she knew where she would go, so she thought she’d try it.

Isabel parked the car by the beach and walked toward the sand. A gentle breeze was blowing but she paid no attention. She was too caught up in her thoughts. Maria had been leaving her house at nine in the morning. What had she been doing? Better yet, why had they heard her coming out of Michael’s room, and why did she seem so upset? Isabel had so many questions, but most of all, she was concerned. Maria had become a dear friend to her in the short time they had known each other, and she just wanted to make sure that her friend was alright.

Isabel walked along the beach for fifteen minutes and was about to give up when she saw the tiny figure shuddering in the distance. She looked like she was crying…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria was brought out of her thoughts by a light hand touching her shoulder. She jumped and turned around, gasping to catch her breath.

“Oh, Isabel! What are you doing here?” she asked still startled. She realized she must look a mess. She tried to run a hand through her hair, but it was so tangled it didn’t quite work.

“I was just walking. Are you okay Maria?” Isabel was concerned for her friend. She could see the tear streaks down her face, and her eyes were all red and puffy from crying.

“Umm…kinda. Do…do you have a car here?” Maria’s voice trembled.

“Yeah, I stole the mustang. Do you need a ride home or something honey?”

Maria couldn’t speak, she could feel the tears coming again as Isabel stood before her looking so genuinely concerned. Isabel wrapped her arms around Maria in a gentle hug as she nodded her head yes.

“Okay, come on honey, let’s get you home. Then instead of going to lunch like Liz and I talked about, we’ll lay around and eat ice cream and relax, how does that sound?” Isabel was rewarded with a sad smile and a small nod.

Isabel wasn’t sure what all had happened to make Maria act like this, but it had definitely been something big. She couldn’t understand what would make someone as strong and willful as Maria breakdown like this, but she promised herself to be there for her friend. That was what friends were for right?

Had Michael maybe done something to Maria? Isabel swore to herself that her brother would regret it if he had. She wasn’t sure what had gotten into Michael or Max lately, they were both acting strange…Men! But now Maria was the important thing…she had to focus on helping Maria and Liz right now, the boys would pay later.

Maria took one last look at the ocean and followed Isabel to the car, a single tear rolling down her cheek.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 10-Nov-2001 1:18:35 AM by roswellluver
I wish Max and Michael would wake up and get a clue about the ladies that love them! Thanks for writing!
posted on 10-Nov-2001 1:54:35 AM by shorty828
Thanks so much for this part, Michael I cant believe him, first Max and Liz and now his own relationship, cant wait to see how its all fixed.

Lisa
posted on 10-Nov-2001 8:52:54 AM by angelbaby6977
Thanks for another great part!
posted on 10-Nov-2001 9:02:46 AM by SciFiNut111
Michael is really a slimy bas***d. Can't believe he would take advantage of Maria like that. That's really terrible. I'll be interested to see Isabelle's reaction when all of her brothers little games come to light. The whole gang should get together and buy him a one way ticket out of town.

Looking forward to Isabelle's reaction to all this. You're giving us an Isabelle like they should in the show. Not selfish, but caring for her friends.

Post more soon. After you're done studying of course
posted on 10-Nov-2001 9:29:08 AM by Snowdove30
A really great part. Thanks for posting while your so busy studying. Can't wait to see what happens next.
posted on 10-Nov-2001 9:58:54 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
That's right the wrath of Isabel's revenge will be sweet!!! *wink*Another great but sad part!!Please post more when you can!!*angel*
posted on 10-Nov-2001 1:44:55 PM by rollergal20
This part was so great!

When are Michael and Maria going to admit there feelings?

Does anyone else think this board and fan fic in general is addicting?

post more soon ~ *happy*
posted on 10-Nov-2001 9:14:01 PM by LegalAlien
Great part!!!

It's just unbelievable how cruel and emotionless Michael is acting! He really needs some major a⊕⊕ kicking soon.

Please post more soon, cause this fic is really addicting.

Joe
posted on 10-Nov-2001 10:22:12 PM by Pegleg
Author's Note:

Hey guys. Wanted to let you know that I'm working on the next part right now....hehehe...even though I really should be studying for my midterms on Tuesday (I hate physics), but your feedback inspired me. What can I do?

We're sorry to hear that you all hate Michael so much. That's not what we originally intended. Yeah, he's been a real jerk and all, but trust me. He'll get his due. Hopefully this next part will help ya'll to better understand what he's been feeling and what's been going on in his mind.

Anyway, next part up sometime soon...hopefully either tonight or tomorrow. After that, I can't promise when Nikki's next part will be up as we both have midterms next week and she's also been working on another story that's really good that I've been trying to get her to post. Maybe you can help convince her of that.*big* Anyway, hope you all like the next part and I'll try and get it out as soon as possible. Love the feedback, and thanks for reading.

~Michelle

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 10-Nov-2001 10:26:22 PM ]
posted on 10-Nov-2001 10:28:30 PM by shorty828
cant wait
Lisa
posted on 11-Nov-2001 6:01:51 AM by Pegleg
Alrighty...here's part 22. Whew...that was longer then I originally intended it. Maybe now I will be able to focus on my studying...hehehe. Anyway, I hope that you guys like this part and I hope that it brings some things to light. Be sure to tell me what you think.

~Michelle

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 22

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max walked into the house, his head hanging heavily from his shoulders. He couldn’t seem to rid the tensions from his body. ‘Maybe it was from spending the entire night on the couch,’ although Max doubted that that was even half of it.

No, this had to do with Liz Parker. No matter what he did, he couldn't seem to get her out of his mind, to stay away from her. No matter how hard he tried, there always seemed to be something that brought her crashing back into his thoughts.

Max walked into the kitchen, getting a glass of orange juice, before heading towards the den, his means of escape. He could always come here and immerse himself in one of his books and forget about all of his troubles. Even if it was only for a little while.

He could sure use an escape right now.

Max had just settled down in one of the huge, comfy armchairs and was about to begin reading when Isabel walked into the room.

“Hey Max.”

“Hi Iz. It’s kinda early.”

“Yeah, I was up.”

“Oh, how did your date with Alex go last night?”

“Good. Good. Yeah, he’s great. We talked and I learned some interesting facts. Yeah, Alex is a great guy. He’ll never break my heart,” she bit out almost contemptibly.

Max winced slightly at the accusatory tone in her voice. Max’s face turned up from his book to look at Isabel’s face. “What is this really about Isabel?”

“I think you know damn well what this is about Max. How could you do something like that to Liz? I mean, god Max, I never thought you were that shallow. I thought you were better then that.”

“Look Isabel. Liz and I broke up. It happened, it hurt, it’s over, ok? This has nothing to do with you. This is my own business and I suggest you stay out of it.”

“You’re wrong Max. This isn’t just your business…it’s Liz’s too. And Liz’s business directly affects her friends, something that I have gladly become to call myself. This isn’t just about you, you selfish jerk. Your actions do affect others you know.”


“Yes Isabel…I just…”

“Max, how could you be so cruel,” her voice softer this time. Trying to understand. “I mean, money never meant anything to you before, what’s changed? You two seemed so happy together. Max, I’ve never seen you that happy before. I just don’t understand how you could throw that all away.”

“Isabel…can we not talk about this? I really don’t want to talk about this right now.”

Isabel noticed the look of pain that flashed across Max’s face. There was definitely something else there. Something just didn’t make sense…and she was gonna find out why. But she’d drop it for now, she’d find it out eventually.

After a moment of silence, “So where were you last night. I mean, I was up, so I saw you come in this morning.”

Max gave a heavy sigh. Well, so much for dropping the subject. “At Liz’s,” Max responded, rubbing his shoulders at the tenseness that was quickly returning tenfold, not that it ever went away.

“What?” Isabel asked, thinking that she must have heard him wrong.

“I was at Liz’s. Look, before you jump down my throat, I found her at a party, she was drunk, some guy was trying to take advantage of her, so I stopped him and took her home, fell asleep on the couch, I left after she woke up and that’s it.”

“How could you do that to her?”

“What!?! Do what to her? Save her from making the biggest mistake of her life?”

“No,” Isabel said calmly, collectively. “Still be there when she woke up.”

Max just looked at her, not knowing how to answer. He hadn’t wanted to leave her alone that night, but would it have been better if he had?

“Max, she is probably so confused right now. When you break up with her so coldheartedly…and then help her…and then you’re right there to make her face that the next morning. Max, I…” her voice trailed off as they heard that patter of light feet running down the hall and turned just in time to see blond curls flying past the door. They sat in silence for a while until they heard the familiar closing of the heavy front door.

“Was that Maria?” Isabel questioned turning to Max.

“I think so.”

“And did she just come out of Michael’s room?”

Max was silent, but the look on his face said it all. Isabel quickly got up and was about to run after her friend, when Max laid a hand on her shoulder. “Let her go, Iz. She needs some time alone right now.”

Knowing that Max was right, Isabel silently conceded, wanting nothing more then to run after her friend.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex walked down that hall of the apartment building a spring in his step and a smile on his face. Could things get any better? His night with Isabel had been fantastic. A dream, almost too good to be true. He couldn’t wait to tell Maria and Liz all about it. Yeah, yeah. So he was completely and totally whipped. But hey, when your best friends were two girls, you got used to all the gossip and gab sessions and eventually you actually came to enjoy them.

Alex knocked on the door quickly, before coming in when he found it was unlocked. “Lizzie…Maria. I have so much to tell you guys. Last night was just…” Alex trailed off when he saw Liz huddled up in the armchair in the living room, knees to her chest, just starring off into space as tears silently ran down her face.

“Oh Lizzie,” he sighed, immediately forgetting his news and running up to her side. “Lizzie…Lizzie sweetie what’s wrong,” Alex said as his long arms enveloped her in a hug. It wasn’t until then that Liz finally let the sobs, that had been threatening ever since Max left, overtake her body.

“Shhhh….ssshhhh. Lizzie…it’s ok. Hush now…everything’s gonna be alright. Just tell me what’s wrong so I can do whatever I can to fix it.”

As the tears finally began to cease Liz looked up at Alex and finally spoke. “I’m sorry Alex…I’m just…I’m just so confused. Last night…” and she went on to tell him the whole story. Everything that had happened at the party, Max bringing her home, she blushed as she told Alex about her actions towards Max and what she had almost done in her drunken stupor, and then they turned sad as she explained the events of that morning.

“I just don’t get it Alex. How can he still care about me? I was beginning to wonder if he ever did at all. I mean, after everything that happened and everything that I said to him, you think he’d be trying to stay as far away from me as possible. I thought he hated me,” she said, as she once again broke down in tears. Alex just held her as she cried, wondering what exactly had been going through Max Evans mind over the past week.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

As soon as Isabel left, going after Maria no doubt, Max stormed up to Michael’s room, expecting to find him still in bed. To Max’s surprise, however, Michael was up, fresh from the shower as suggested by his wet hair, starring at his blank computer screen.

“Morning Max,” Michael said not looking up from his computer.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Max bit out.

Michael just heaved a heavy sigh, finally turning around to face his friend. He had been expecting this, he knew it was coming. He knew that Max would eventually find out what’d happened and would come in demanding an explanation. Michael turned around, looking Max straight in the face, and waited for the oncoming attack.

“What is wrong with you Michael? You know, you’re a walking, talking contradiction. You know that right?”

Michael just stared back at Max…his face unmoving.

“I mean, I have to break up with Liz, giving up the only happiness that I have ever known, losing the person that has meant more to me then anyone else ever has. I have to give up the love of my life and you can just sleep with whoever the hell you want.”

Michael just stared.

“You can fuck Maria and it doesn’t matter? I can’t date Liz, but you can fuck Maria and it’s all ok?”

Michael stared.

“Damnit Michael, say something!”

“What do you want me to say Max,” Michael says quietly, calmly. “That I was an idiot? Fine. I’m an idiot. That I ruined your life? Fine, I’m a fucking asshole and I ruined my best friend’s life. That I hurt everyone I come in contact with? Fine, I fucking ruin anyone or anything that ever comes near me. You happy Max? Are you? Or is there something more I can say to make you feel better?” Michael said everything calmly, never raising his voice. Max could almost hear the sadness and regret in his words.

“Michael…that’s not what I meant…I didn’t…look…”

“Just leave Max. You’ve said everything that needed to be said,” Michael said before turning back to the blank computer screen.

Max just took one last look at his life-long friend before turning toward the door and exiting the room.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael hadn’t planned on saying all that, it just kind of came out. He didn’t want things to go this way, although nothing seemed to be going his way anymore.

He again tried to concentrate on the screen in front of him. He had been trying to write in this, his computerized journal, ever since he had gotten out of the shower this morning, but he couldn’t seem to write anything. He just continued to stare at the blank computer screen as his thoughts ran away with him.

This is where Michael kept all his thoughts. Where he put everything out on paper, so to speak. He just let his mind run away with him, working out things that he didn’t even realize were bothering him until his fingers began to fly across the keys. He would just type and type until he was exhausted, until the things playing on his mind were finally resolved, then he locked it away, finally having everything off his mind so he could function again. He never really read it, but for some reason kept it all.

Michael was once again starring at the blank screen. For some reason, the words just wouldn’t come. He didn’t understand. He had a thousand thoughts, running rampant through his head, but for some reason they were getting lost on the way to his hands and he couldn’t get them down.

Michael finally turned back to look over what he had been writing over the last couple weeks.

September 2, 2001
Classes start tomorrow. I still keep thinking, where did summer go, ya know? Max seems to have met ‘the one.’ Or at least that’s what it seems like. He keeps going off about how great she is and everything. It’s kinda funny. I don’t think Max has ever been this hung up over a girl, especially one he just met.
I met someone today. She’s annoying and loud and rude, but she has this spark in her that’s oddly enticing. I can’t seem to stop thinking about her, and god knows I’ve tried. No matter what I do though, I can’t seem to get the image of her out of my brain. I mean she’s gorgeous, incredibly sexy, but it’s something more then that. There’s just something about her that keeps drawing me to her. The light in her eyes and the fire of her spirit just caused me to keep egging her on while we were arguing. I don’t know what it is about this girl, but she’s doing something to me.

September 5, 2001
Maria and I are working on a project together now. We’re stuck in the same 8am class. God she’s sexy. This morning she was wearing practically nothing, and it was all I could do to keep myself from having to leave the room, either that or maul her at the first opportunity. I don’t understand it. She’s like the most self-centered, rude person I know and yet I feel this incredible pull towards her. Is she purposefully trying to get under my skin? But why am I dwelling on that? Isabel is coming later this week…

September 7, 2001
Tonight was weird. That’s the only word I can come up with to describe it. After picking Maria up from campus, where she was stranded, and then with the whole mugger thing, or whatever the hell he was, we were civil to each other for the first time since we met. I held her and comforted her while she cried. I was almost grateful for the whole thing, just because it gave me the opportunity to hold her in his arms. Almost. It just felt so right. And she seemed so small and so afraid. And at that moment there was nothing that I wanted more than to protect her.

September 8, 2001
Isabel invited everyone over for a pool party today. I wasn’t even going to go at first, but then I saw her. She was a vision in her green bikini that just seemed to mold to her voluptuous figure and bring out the magnificent color of her eyes. I thought that everything would be weird between us since last night, but we seemed to return to our old habit of playful bickering. I’ve come to enjoy it actually. It’s like a normal in my life. And it gives an excuse to be near this beauty that has so seemed to invade my thoughts over the past week.


Scrolling down through the entries, Michael kept coming across the same the over and over Maria…Maria…Maria. She seemed to have consumed his thoughts over that last couple months without him even really realizing it. Soon, he came to the entries from the past week.

October 13, 2001
Cassie. That’s a name that I haven’t heard in a long time. I hate my mother some times…for bringing these thoughts to my mind…for bringing back these painful memories. It’s scary though, because as I think about Cassie, my mind keeps drifting back to Maria. Was did that mean? Sure, Maria reminds me a lot of Cassie, her voice, her mannerisms, her body…better not go there Michael. Truthfully though, these thoughts are scarring the hell out of me. Sure Maria was amazing, gorgeous, had a great sense of humor, a sparkling personality…she is everything I have ever wanted…but do I dare even think about getting involved in such a free spirit again. Look what happened the first time. No, I can’t go through that again. I won’t. I have to forget about her, about any feelings I’ve ever had for her. She’s just Liz’s friend. That’s all she’ll ever be to me.


It’s amazing how much he was able to ignore his feelings once he got them out. It’s like as soon as they were out of his head, he was able to pretend they never existed. At least a part of him was able to.

October 16, 2001
I either just saved my best friend from terrible heartache or ruined his life. I wish I knew which it was. I feel like such a jackass. Like the lowest of the low. But at the same time I can’t help but think I was saving him from going through all the pain and heartache that I had. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. And though it may be hard on him now…it would be ten times harder later on down the road.


Then finally, yesterday, before they went to the party…

October 19, 2001
I finally got Max to agree to go out tonight. I think he needs this. He needs to let go, unwind a little…stop thinking about Liz. I wondered for about the fiftieth time tonight whether or not I had done the right thing. I keep hoping that sometime I will come up with a certifiable yes, but that hasn’t happened yet. We’ve been avoiding anywhere that Liz could be all week. I haven’t seen Maria since the break-up. But that doesn’t matter…I shouldn’t care…right? Then how come it’s bothering me so much…


Michael looked over his last entry carefully and then thought about the events of the last eighteen hours. With I final sigh he moved to the bottom of the document and began to write.

October 20, 2001
I’m in love with Maria Deluca…and I’ve just fucked up everything.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria and Isabel made their way into the apartment, seeing Liz as she jumped up from the couch.

“Maria,” she gasped as she enveloped her friend in a strong embrace. “God I was so worried about you. When I realized that you didn’t come home last night I was afraid that something had happened to you. That you’d been hurt or worse…”

“Shhh. Lizzie. It’s ok. I’m Teflon babe, remember? Nothing happens to me that I can’t handle.” Maria closed her eyes, trying to steady herself after the look Isabel had just given her. She was ok. Really. Everything was just fine.

“Lizzie honey…what’s the matter. You’ve been crying and I know that’s not all because of me.”

“It’s nothing. Just, well…Max brought me home last night and…” and Liz went on to give her two friends the whole story in complete, embarrassing detail. When she was finished she sighed, “And now I don’t know what to think.”

“Don’t chica. You don’t need to think about that jerk anymore. Just pretend he never existed. Forget about him.”

“But that’s the problem Maria. I still love him…despite it all.”

“Oh chica, come here.” The girls once again embraced in a hug.

“What about you Maria? What happened to you last night? And don’t lie, I know you’ve been crying too.”

“It’s nothing Lizzie. I’ll be alright.”

“Maria,” Isabel spoke up for the first time since they got there. Before she had just stayed in the background, letting the two friends heal each other. But she knew that Maria was not going to let this out without prompting. And she wasn’t about to let this go unsaid.

At the look on Isabel’s face, Maria knew she was trapped. There was no way that she was going to get out of this one. She took a deep breath, trying to keep the tremble out of her voice as she started, “I slept with Michael last night.”

“What? But how…”

“Apparently my guy didn’t say no,” Maria laughed. “Seriously though, I don’t really know. I don’t really remember anything. God, I was so drunk.”

“But Maria, if you don’t remember anything, how do you know you slept with Michael?” Liz asked.

“Ok, so I’m like 99% sure. I mean considering I woke up in his room, in his bed, with him, and both of us were naked. Yeah, I’d say the chances are pretty good.”

“Maria…” Liz started, but Maria didn’t let her finish.

“It’s not a big deal though. I mean, so I lost my virginity and I don’t remember a damn thing. It’s not a big deal, right?” Maria said just before Liz and Isabel could engulf her in a hug as the tears once again came spilling down her face.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael groaned deep in his is throat when he opened the door to reveal Alex Whitman. “Hey Alex,” Michael said with fake pleasantry. He had heard about the conversation between Max and Alex after the break-up with Liz, and was none too excited about having one himself.

“Hey, is Max here?” Alex questioned.

Michael let out a visual sigh of relief. “Hey, sure man. He’s in the kitchen.”

“Thanks,” Alex said as he entered the house and made his way to the kitchen. Michael quickly disappeared back to his room.

“Max?” Alex said peaking around the corner into the large kitchen.

“Huh…oh Alex,” Max said, unsure what to think of the unexpected visitor. “You want to sit down,” Max gestured to the kitchen table.

“Yeah sure.”

They both sat down on opposite ends of the table. After a short silence, Alex finally got to the point of his visit.

“Look Max. Liz told me about what happened last night…”

“Alex I…”

“No Max, let me finish. Listen, I just wanted to say thank you. I wasn’t there to look after her last night and you made sure that she made it home all right. And then you had the opportunity to take advantage of her situation, but you didn’t. And I respect you for that. It doesn’t mean that we’re friends, on any account, and I still want you to stay away from her, but I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions the other day. You’re obviously not a complete asshole anyway,” Alex chuckled. “I just can’t figure out why the hell you broke her heart.”

They sat in silence again, before Max broke it. “You know you didn’t have to. Thank me that is.”

“Yes, I did. Cause I’m supposed to be around to protect her, and I wasn’t. I’m glad that someone was willing to step in and take my place. I mean, they didn’t even tell me that they were going to this party. Well, I guess that’s probably cause I wouldn’t have let them go without me if they had,” Alex chuckled again, seemingly lost in his own imagination.

“So anyway,” Alex continued, “I’m off.” Alex got up and made his way for the door. “Oh, by the way. You’ve haven’t happened to have seen Maria, have you? Liz said that she didn’t come home last night, and I’m just worried about her and I have no idea where to start looking.”

“Um…yeah…actually. Isabel went to go find her after she uh…left here…at about nine this morning.”

Alex just stood there with a confused look on his face while he went over Max’s words. Then suddenly realization dawned on him. His eyes widened, and he muttered, “Oh crap,” under his breath. He quickly turned and made his way towards the door, not even bothering to say goodbye to Max. “Shit,” he said again, berating himself once again for not being there for one of his girls.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Nov-2001 3:16:00 PM ]
posted on 11-Nov-2001 10:20:17 AM by Rostrin
Wow, what an intense chapter *big*
Michael keep a journal is so different and interesting,got to see a whole neww side to him. It also make me kinda forgive him for being such jerk before,kinda*wink*
Conversations between Max and Michael and then Max
and Alex were powerful and sweet in a way.
Enjoying this too much*wink*
Good luck with your school work*big*
Post soon
posted on 11-Nov-2001 11:00:06 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
I think Isabel and Alex just need to lock everybody else in a room somewhere and let them talk out their problems!! This is such a great part!! *bounce*Please post more when you can!!*angel*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Nov-2001 11:01:13 AM ]
posted on 11-Nov-2001 12:17:29 PM by SciFiNut111
Nope, didn't work. Still hate Michael. As Max's best friend you would think that he would see what everybody else did; that Max has never been happier, that he really loves Liz. But that wasn't enough for Michael, he had to make up some bogus accusation against Liz to kill the relationship. More like a "If I'm miserable, I want all of my friends miserable with me."

Not a good person or friend.

I hope you have a punishment worthy of the crime for what he did to Maria. Can't wait to see what Isabelle has to say to him after she finds out about what he did to Maria and that he's the cause of Max and Liz's pain.

But then again, I still have to wonder about Max. He took what Michael said without any doubts. None whatsoever. Michael tells him the tale and Max goes right out and breaks up with Liz. True Love??? I don't think so.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 12-Nov-2001 11:00:11 PM ]
posted on 11-Nov-2001 3:02:23 PM by Rapunzel
OMG! This is one of the best fan fictions I have ever read!!!!!!!! Seriously, it's really good. I am a huge fan of Michael and Maria.......I really want to see them get together for good soon.......(hint hint)*angel*
posted on 11-Nov-2001 3:32:05 PM by shorty828
ok well im still pissed at michael, and I really want max to forget about what michael said, so he can just go and be with the one he loves. Poor alex. All these problems with Liz and Maria are running him raged. But what a great guy. Cant wait for more.

Lisa
posted on 11-Nov-2001 3:40:06 PM by brigittabehr
MORE!!!! need M/L back 2gether!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted on 11-Nov-2001 4:11:54 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
The last two parts were excellent. let me see if I have this right everyone is miserable and friends are in pain and Michael is behind it all. May he suffer deeply.
posted on 11-Nov-2001 6:30:23 PM by roswellluver
I wish Max and Michael would both wise up and go after the women they love and grovel for forgiveness! Thanks for writing!
posted on 11-Nov-2001 7:08:35 PM by angelbehr
Okay, so maybe Michael isn't the biggest asshole in the world...but it still doesn't excuse what he has done. Isabelle and Alex are the best friends that Maria and Liz could have! *happy* They definitely deserve to be together.
Please, please, please let Max come to his senses and go back to Liz (with some major grovelling, of course *wink*)!!!
Good luck on the rest of your midterms, girls!

~angelbehr~
posted on 11-Nov-2001 7:49:43 PM by Alien614
Great part. Max and liz need to talk and michael.... well he needs to apologize to everybody!
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:10:21 PM by y3n1ov3lygur1
*~*~it's a really great story*~*~ I never get bored of reading...hehehe
night people have fun
*big* *angel*



posted on 29-Nov-2001 8:07:31 PM by dancepixie
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 23

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel arrived home with a million things on her mind. She had spent the afternoon with Liz and Maria, they had ordered pizza and eaten ice cream; they laughed and cried, but most importantly, they talked. More so than ever, Isabel felt like she finally had some really great friends in her life, friends that she would be there for, and wouldn’t stand by and watch, as they got hurt.

Speaking of getting hurt, she had a brother she needed to go talk to. Collecting her thoughts, Isabel walked in the house and headed straight for Michael’s room. The door was shut and the room was silent, but she had a feeling he was in there, so she knocked.

“Come in,” his voice sounded dull.

“Michael?” The room was dark and Isabel couldn’t see a thing. When her eyes adjusted she shut the door behind her and walked over to the bed where Michael was laying down.

“Hangover?” she asked softly, not wanting to make his head hurt anymore. All the response she got was a slight grunt from him, which she took to mean yes. He was laid out on his back with one arm covering his face.

“I’m sorry to bother you then…I just…” Isabel wasn’t sure how to say what she wanted. “We’ve always been close and we’ve always told each other everything. I just want you to know that you can still come to me with anything. I promise I’ll listen and try to understand. Just don’t keep it all inside, alright?” She had come up the stairs with the intention of yelling at her brother and asking him how he could have done that to Maria, but she just couldn’t. Seeing him curled up on his bed like that, she just couldn’t bring it upon herself to lecture him. But, hopefully he would take her up on her offer and talk to her later, because she still needed some questions answered that only he could know.

Gently rubbing his arm with her hand, she gave it a gentle squeeze and stood back up from the side of his bed, and headed to the door. “I’ll be out in the spa later if you want to find me.” Then she left.

Walking down the hall Isabel thought about everything that had happened in the last few days. What had gotten into everyone, especially Max and Michael? She had planned on having a good long talk, and getting in a good amount of yelling at her brother. But after finding him like that, she just couldn’t, it reminded her of when they were little kids and he would be upset. It seemed like he’d been beating himself up over something. She would get to the bottom of everything, but she’d give it a little more time.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex, I’m okay, really.”

“Don’t pull that Teflon-babe crap, Maria. It doesn’t work with me, remember?”

“Honestly Alex, I’m fine. I made a mistake and I just have to deal with it. I can’t take it back now, so why dwell on it. I know that I screwed up; I just want to get past it. I mean, I’m fine, honestly. Lizzie, Izzie and I…hehehe! That sounds so funny! Anyways, we just hung out all day and relaxed and had some fun. That was exactly what I needed, and now, I’m moving on.” She looked at Alex sincerely, hopping she was being convincing enough. She was the one studying psychology after all; she found that it helped a lot in trying to deal with her friends sometimes.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes I’m fine. And don’t go blaming yourself for what happened to Liz and me. There was nothing you could have done. I didn’t tell you what we were doing on purpose, no matter how bad it turned out, the both of us really needed last night as an escape.”

“Wait, why did you need an escape?”

“Oh, well…umm…I got a call from my mom that upset me a little before we left for the party.”

“Is that why you drank so much?”

“Alex-”

“Fine Maria, I won’t ask.” Alex backed down from the sound in her voice. There was something going on that he didn’t know about and he didn’t like it, but he would respect her wishes.

“I’ll tell you and Lizzie both all about what happened with my mother after I call and talk to her, alright?”

“Okay.” Alex finally let go of his concern and managed a smile. At least he had her promise; that was better than nothing.

“We’ll talk tomorrow, I promise. You can come over with lunch or something and we’ll have a girl talk, just the three of us. Deal?”

“Sure.”

“And thanks Alex.” Alex didn’t know what to say to Maria anymore, so he simply smiled and closed the apartment door behind him.

Maria sighed as she lay back on the couch and took a deep breath. Oh yeah, it had been one hell of a fucking day…and she knew what she should really do, she should really call her mother…

The phone interrupted her thoughts, however. Picking it up an instant smile came across her face.

“Tessie!” she squeal in happiness. It always made her feel better to hear from her friend.

“Hey Ria, is Lizzie there?”

“Yeah sure, just a minute. So how have you been?” Maria asked as she got up and walked towards the bedroom.

“I’ve been great actually. I just got it in the mail today, I’m in!”

“Serious?”

“Serious! I’m so excited, I can’t wait!”

“I’m so happy for you chica! It’ll be so much fun having you here, just like old times, only in a big city! Here, let me give you to Lizzie, congratulations though!” Maria held the phone away from her and tapped Liz on the shoulder. She had been concentrating so hard on reading her biology book that she hadn’t heard Maria come in. “It’s your sister.”

Maria flopped down on her bed as Liz picked up the phone, a smile starting to appear on her face for the first time in a long time.

“Tess?”

“Hey Lizzie! Guess what? I’m in!” Maria could hear Tess’s squealing from her side of the room and couldn’t help but laughing.

“That’s so great! It’ll be the three of us again. What did they give you?”

“Oh, I only got a full ride! Can you believe it?”

“I didn’t expect anything less from my little sister.” The smile on Liz’s face just seemed to grow bigger and bigger, she was so proud. “So how are mom and dad taking the news?”

“You mean that they are going to lose their only other little girl to the big city? Um, well, I guess they are okay. I mean they’re happy I got in and all, but they already lost you and now I’m coming to join you, and that leaves them all alone.”

“Yeah, I know. But I can’t wait to come back at Christmas. Can you believe I actually miss the snow?” Liz could hear her sister chuckling at her through the phone line. “It’s not funny, it’s true, just wait, you’ll see soon enough when we come back for next semester and there is no snow, and not much rain and a lot of sunshine in January!”

“I can’t wait! So how is everything there? How’s Max?” Tess asked with a hint of something in her voice. She knew Max was good for her sister; they just seemed to fit so well together when she had visited.

What Tess didn’t expect to happen was the stuttering and tears that she could hear in Liz’s voice.

“Lizzie, what’s wrong?”

“M…m…Max…umm…” but that was all Maria needed to hear before she was up off her bed and wrapping her arms around her best friend to comfort her and take the phone from her hand.

“Shh, Lizzie, it’s okay, hun,” Maria soothed.

“Maria?” Tess asked scared into the phone.

“Just a minute Tess, okay? Lizzie, are you gonna be okay if I go out into the living room for a little bit?” Maria didn’t want to leave her friend, but she couldn’t have this conversation with Tess while consoling Liz.

“Yeah,” she sniffled in response.

“Okay hun, I’ll be out there.”

Shutting the bedroom door behind her Maria took a deep breath and lifted the phone back up to her ear and headed into the kitchen.

“Sorry about that Tess.”

“That’s okay, what happened Ria?”

“Well, you asked about Max, right?”

“Yeah, I asked her how he was and she just, I don’t know…”

“Umm, well Max broke Liz’s heart. They were getting really close and we all thought that they were the perfect couple and then just after Lizzie’s birthday, he broke up with her. She hasn’t been the same since, I’ll tell you that. I’ve never seen her this bad Tess, and it scares me. Half the time she is in such a daze, its like she’s not even there. Then the rest of the time, its like she’s blocking it out, like it never happened. She’s not dealing with it, she’s ignoring it.”

“I’m so sorry I brought it up. I had no idea…we haven’t talked in almost two weeks.”

“Don’t worry about it, she’ll be alright. Alex and I will try our best to help her through this.”

“Thanks Ria…I wish I could be there, but I have to finish school. I graduate soon! Not much longer and I can’t wait to be out of here.”

“That’s great Tess. Umm…so, have you seen my mother lately?” Maria was curious, and maybe, just maybe, Tess would be able to help her out with this one.

“Yeah I have. You know, I’ve never seen Amy happier than she has been this past month. She’s just practically glowing, and smiling all the time.”

“So, I guess it’s because of him?”

“Jim? Yeah, he’s a really nice guy. Amy and him have come over quite a few times. Oh, and he has a son your age. His name is Kyle and he goes to the local JC right now. He’s a real sweetheart! And oh my god, he has the absolute cutest smile you’ve ever seen!” Maria sat there and listened as Tess gushed about some guy who might some day soon be her brother in law.

“I think someone has a crush!”

“Huh?”

“Oh come on, you were just going on and on about how cute Kyle is and his smile, I mean, you’ve got it bad.” Maria laughed. Maybe this would all turn out for the best. Maybe Jim really did love her mother, and if it made her mother happy, then that was all that mattered, right?

“Okay, so maybe I think he’s cute,” Tess replied quietly.

“Cute? Girl you were just…don’t even give me that maybe…Tessie’s got a crush! Tessie’s got a crush!” Maria chimed.

“Fine!” Both girls just laughed at all of their silliness.

“I’m sorry Tess, but I should probably go. I kinda hung up on mom yesterday cause I was angry and I really need to talk to her now.”

“Sure Ria, no problem. I’ll talk to you guys later. Umm…want to have Liz call me sometime? I’d really like to talk to her now that I do know.”

“Sure chica, no problem. Oh, and congratulations on the full ride deal. I’ll talk to ya later hun. Love ya!”

“Love ya! Bye.”

Maria hung up the phone and just stared at it. It wasn’t getting any easier to make this phone call…

She decided to check on Liz first, and found that she was fast asleep on her bed. Maria gently covered her with a blanket and moved her biology book off the bed. She wrote Liz a note to call Tess and set it in the middle of her desk where she was sure to find it before gently closing the door behind her and heading back to the living room.

After fifteen more minutes of staring at the phone, she picked it up and dialed the all too familiar number.

“Hello?”

“Uh…hi.” Maria was confused. She had dialed the right number, right?

“Can I help you?”

“Who are you?”

“Who am I? You called here, who are you?”

“Look mister, that’s my house, now who the heck are you?”

“Oh! I’m sorry. You must be Maria, right?”

“Yeah, and you would be…?”

“Kyle Valenti.”

“Oh.”

“Umm, I’m sorry. Did you want to talk to your mom?”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks.”

“No problem. Just let me go get her.”

That was so weird, was all Maria could think as she waited for her mother to come on the phone. So that was Kyle, Tess’s crush, the son of the man her mother was apparently in love with. He seemed kinda nice, though it was an awkward conversation.

“Maria dear?” It was her mother, thank goodness.

“Hi mom.”

“I’m so glad you called. I was so worried after I talked to you yesterday.”

“I’m fine mom. I just, well I’m sorry for the way I acted on the phone. I guess I’ve just always had you to myself, and I didn’t like the idea of having to share you with someone.”

“Oh, honey, I wouldn’t love you any less than I already do.”

“I know that mom. But I realized that now I’ve left you alone since I’m out here at school and I realized that you deserve to be happy too. So if you’ve found someone who makes you happy, than I’m happy for you.”

“Oh, Maria!” Maria could hear her mother crying on the other end of the phone. “You sound so grown up. Aren’t I supposed to be the adult here?”

“You have been all my life mom. You’ve always been the adult, and I’ve always been the little girl who wanted her mother all to herself. But now I’m all grown up and on my own, and it’s all because you were such a great mother to me.”

“Oh, I miss you so much honey!”

“I miss you too mom. I can’t wait until I can come home for Christmas and meet this Jim and Kyle.”

“Oh, so what did you think of Kyle?” Amy giggled a little.

“I guess he seems nice.”

“Oh he’s a real sweetie. I called Jim earlier and said something about my car not running right and he sent Kyle over this afternoon to fix it. Kyle’s great with cars. I invited him in for a piece of pie after he finished and that’s why he picked up the phone, cause I had gone into my garden. Sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry about it mom. It was interesting, that’s all.” Maria couldn’t help laughing about it a little herself. It was so great to actually talk to her mother again. They had been so close, it had been a shock when she first came out to school, but she had gotten used to it. But her mother had always been someone she could talk to.

“Oh, I almost forgot. You don’t have to wait until Christmas to meet Jim and Kyle. Jim thought that it would be fun to come out there to San Diego for Thanksgiving, that is if you don’t already have plans.”

“No, that…that would be great!” Maria was surprised, but happy. Maybe this man really was worthy of her mom. “Wow, I can’t wait!”

“Me either honey, me either. I know you’ll just love Jim once you meet him.”

“I can’t wait,” she reiterated.

“It was good talking to you honey, I miss you.”

“I miss you too mom, love you.”

“Love you too.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I’m sorry Izzie. I know I’ve been acting like an ass lately and I’m sorry.”

“What’s wrong with you lately, Michael? You haven’t been acting like yourself.”

“I know. I’ve just…had a lot on my mind. I’m sorry.”

“It’s not me that you need to be apologizing to.” Isabel looked at her brother and could see that deep down he really was feeling sorry about something, maybe everything, that had been happening lately. Getting out of the spa she wrapped a towel around herself and sat on a chair beside her brother, waiting for him to continue.

“I saw Maria at the party last night, and I just couldn’t help but watch her. She was stunning. When those two guys started hurting her and playing tug of war with her, I just had to stop it. I got her away from them and took her outside to make sure that she was alright. She was really, really drunk so I thought I should take her home; I didn’t want anyone else trying to hurt her. We were in the car in front of her apartment and it just sort of happened. She was so enticing and the light coming down from the streetlight overhead only seemed to make her glow even more. She practically attacked me and I couldn’t stop her; I didn’t want to. So we came back here…” Michael closed his eyes, resting his head in his hands as he waited for his sister to attack him for being so stupid.

“I’m sure she’d be happy that you cared enough to take her away from the party, but why did you let that happen afterward?” Isabel was trying to understand the inner workings of her brother’s mind. Was he trying to say in some way that he really did care for Maria? Then why did he just let her leave in the morning?

“I don’t know. I just…”

“Why did you let her leave this morning Michael? I mean, if you cared at all, you wouldn’t have let her leave thinking her first time was a big mistake.”

Michael didn’t want to lie to his sister, but what could he say?

“I guess I was afraid.”

“Afraid?”

“Yeah. She thought I was asleep, so I just let her leave. She thought it was all a big mistake so I let her go.”

“Michael, you have to tell her.”

“Isabel, no. I’m not going to ruin her life too. I’m not going to tell her, and neither are you. Promise me Isabel.”

“But Michael-”

“No buts, Izzie! Please!” She couldn’t resist the pleading look in her brother’s eyes.

“Fine. I won’t tell her. But just think about it Michael. And think about this too, why do you think that it would ruin her life to have you in it? It hasn’t ruined my life, it’s only made it better.” With that, Isabel left her brother alone in the backyard to think over everything she had said. She really hated not being able to tell Maria anything. But Michael was her brother, and she would respect his wishes…but she didn’t have to like it.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I’m sorry I was being mean to you yesterday Alex. You were just trying to help. I was just kinda upset over some things.”

“Does this have to do with Michael?” Liz asked from her spot on the living room floor.

“No, actually. It’s about my mom.”

“What happened Ria?” Alex asked, hoping he would finally get the truth out of her.

“She’s getting married. She sprung it on me Friday afternoon. I had no idea she was even dating this guy, let alone getting serious about him. She had never mentioned him to me before. But I talked to Tess last night and she was telling me how she hasn’t seen my mother that happy in a long time. It just made me realize that my mom is alone without me, and maybe she does deserve to find a nice guy. When I called mom last night afterwards I couldn’t help but notice how much happier she sounded. I could practically hear her smiling through the phone.”

“Well I’m happy for Amy, she does deserve it,” Liz spoke up. She had known Amy all her life, she was like a second mother to her, one that she could tell anything because Amy was so much younger than her own mom.

“Yeah, I know. When I first called some guy answered the phone. Apparently this Jim that my mom is engaged to has a son our age and he was fixing mom’s car, and just happened to answer the phone when I called. It was weird, but he seems like a nice person. Oh, and Tess certainly seems to like him.” Maria giggled as she remembered her friend on the phone; she was acting like a school-girl in love.

“Oh, so Tess gives her approval, huh?” Alex laughed.

“Yeah. My mom also told me that Jim thought it would be fun to come out here for Thanksgiving. He’s going to bring my mom and Kyle down so that we can meet. I thought that it was really sweet of him to offer to bring mom down to see me though. I’m getting the feeling that he is a really nice guy.”

“That’s great.”

“Yeah, I’ll have to talk to her some time and congratulate her. It’ll be good to see her.” Liz smiled.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria sat on the beach watching the surfers in the distance. It was peaceful and serene here at this time of day. She had come to think. She had to get out of the apartment and away from Liz and Alex. Sure they meant well, but after they talked about her mother, they kept trying to pry into what had happened with Michael, that was just something she wasn’t ready to go into, her feelings.

She had come to the shores because it had been oddly peaceful the morning before.

She didn’t know what to do when Liz had asked what she felt about everything that happened, so she got around it. She pushed it all to the back of her mind and tried not to focus on any of it…but she couldn’t do that forever. She knew that if she did, she’d have a breakdown. It just wasn’t healthy for her mental well being, that much she knew from her psychology classes.

Michael. The one man who just knew how to push all her buttons and make her mad. The one who seemed to enjoy making her mad. The one who held her in his arms after rescuing her from some mugger. The one who shocked the hell out of her with the little things he would do or say. The one who puzzled her more than any other man she met.

She slept with him. She had always had little girl visions of her first time being some great romantic thing with some man she was so in love with. It would be magical. It would be special. Those were things that she had always told herself and dreamt of.

But now, she couldn’t even remember losing her virginity. Well, not all dreams come true. Well at least it was something she had wanted at the time; it wasn’t like she had been raped or anything. Yeah, that would definitely be worse.

‘But what do I do now? I really wish I knew what happened that night. God, how could I let myself get that drunk? Well, never again. I refuse to go to some party for the purpose of getting drunk out of my mind again. Note to self, for future reference, only get drunk with friends that I trust!

‘So what do I do now? Why do I even care so much? Do I care?’

‘Hell yes I care!’

‘Wait a minute, where did that come from?’ Maria took a deep breath and looked up to see the sun beginning to set over the ocean. The colors were so amazing; beautiful pinks and purples swirling with the ever darkening blue sky. Then her mind began to race with questions.

What if he didn’t remember? Or what if he was mad about it? What if he just wanted to forget it ever happened? What if he hated her now because of what they had done? Could she live with that?

‘No!’ her mind screamed. What was going on with her? Why was she acting this way, thinking these things, feeling so…so lost? Did she really feel something for Michael?

That would explain a lot of things actually.

How she always subconsciously looked for him whenever she was on campus or in the class they shared. How she bickered right back, always trying to get a rise out of him. How she had secretly been excited to realize that Courtney was a friend of Michael’s and so she got to spend some more time with him.

‘Who am I trying to kid? I’ve liked Michael from the beginning, I was just too caught up in finding things to argue about to notice. So…great. I like him. And hey, we’ve already had sex. What’s left now?’

Maria got up from her spot and with one last glance at the ocean, headed toward the bus stop to go home.

‘God, I can’t face him right now, I really can’t. I wouldn’t know what to say…

‘Oh shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! I totally forgot, our midterm is due Wednesday. Damnit, I’m not ready to see him, let alone talk to him…fuck!’ Maria racked her brain for some way out, something that would make this all better. Then it came to her, ‘Alex!’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Please Alex? I really can’t handle this right now.” She gave him the puppy dog face, pouting her lips and the pleading eyes, knowing it would make him cave.

“Don’t worry about it Maria. But you do know that you can’t avoid him forever, right? Cause it’s only a matter of time before you’ll have to talk.”

“I know. I’m just not ready for that Alex, not yet.” Alex could see the hurt in his friend’s eyes. She was like a lost little girl, and she was turning to him for help, of course he wouldn’t refuse. He just hoped that she would get over this and be able to move on. He wished the same thing for Lizzie too. His girls, his two best friends, all he was supposed to do was protect them, be there for them, but he had been falling down on the job, cause now they were both hurting.

“It’s okay Ria. Is this all of your stuff?” He took the folder she was holding in her hand and flipped through it.

“Wow, you got a lot of information here.”

“Yeah, I found a lot of interesting stuff on the net and in the women’s center.”

“It’s great. Well, I guess I better go, since I’m supposed to meet Michael in the library in five minutes.”

“Thanks Alex, you’re the greatest!”

“I know, I know! Just remember you owe me now.”

“I know, but you never get in trouble so I never have to rescue you. See you’re just our great protector and we love you!”

“Good to know. I’ll see you later. Get some rest, okay? You look like you haven’t been sleeping really well.”

“Yes daddy!” Maria joked after his retreating form in the hallway.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael sat at the table impatiently tapping his fingers. This was it…they would finally come face to face… What would she think? What would she say? What would she do? Michael wasn’t sure of anything.

Then he looked up and his heart fell. Alex was walking through the door alone. Maria wasn’t there…she wasn’t coming. He could just tell from the look on Alex’s face, Maria wasn’t coming. Not that he could blame her.

‘I knew it. She hates me. She thinks it was all some crazy mistake and doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. Why do I deserve any happiness anyway, right? Why would she want anything to do with me? I fucked everything up. What the hell is wrong with me?’ Michael rested his head in his hands as he collected his thoughts. He had to put this, put her, out of his mind so that he and Alex could finish this project and just get out of here.

‘I’ve always been screwed over before…too many disappointments…pain…fine! If she thought it was a mistake, than far be it from me to force myself on her. I was raised better than that. Whatever she wants, I’ll respect that. And now, well she obviously doesn’t seem to want me.’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




posted on 29-Nov-2001 8:19:05 PM by Pegleg
Authors Note: Well, this was on the old board, but yeah. Here it is again for those of you who didn't get to read it. Hope you like.

~Michelle


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 24

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hello”

“Hey Amy, it’s Liz.”

“Oh hi Liz dear, how are you sweetie?”

“I’m okay. I wanted to call and say congratulations! I can’t believe you’re getting married.”

“I know dear. I can’t believe it either, it was just me and Maria for so long. But Jim is a wonderful man and I love him so much. I couldn’t be happier,” Amy gushed into the phone.

Liz could tell by the tone in Amy’s voice that she was truly happy. She wasn’t sure that she had ever heard this kind of joy in the woman’s voice. You could just tell over the phone that she was positively glowing.

“I’m so happy for you. I can’t wait till you guys come up at Thanksgiving so I can meet him.” Amy was like a second mother to Liz, she always had been. Maybe it was her youth or just how open and caring a person she was, but Liz always felt that she could tell her anything.

Liz loved her mother, really she did. There was just something about Amy that made her so much easier to talk to. There were some things that she just didn’t feel that she could talk to her mother about, and that’s where Amy came in handy. Sometimes, Liz even found herself jealous of the close relationship that Maria had with her mother, but she was quick to brush it away. Amy was a wonderful and caring person and she certainly had enough love to go around.

“Yes, it will be so great to see you and Maria again. It has been far too long. So anyway dear, enough about me, what have you been up to lately? I haven’t talked to you in ages.”

“Nothing much,” Liz lied, knowing that it would get her nowhere. Amy could always see right through her. She knew when there was something bothering Liz, and Liz knew that she could tell now.

“Come on dear. You know I can tell that you’re lying to me. What’s wrong?” Amy persisted.

Liz took a deep breath and then plunged ahead. She knew there was no way she was going to get out of it now. Amy wouldn’t give up until she knew everything.

“I…I broke up with my boyfriend last week.”

“Max?” Amy asked.

“Yeah…how did you..?”

“Tess told me about him dear,” Amy said, cutting her off. “I’m so sorry dear. I’m know it must hurt. How did it happen?”

“Well…” Liz started, a slight sniffle in her voice. “He broke it off with me. We said some pretty hurtful things to each other, well…more like I said some pretty hurtful things to him. It’s just…he broke my heart Amy.” By this time Liz had tears silently streaming down her cheeks as she was trying to keep the full-blown sobs inside.

“Oh dear…I don’t know what to say honey. Just that it will get better with time and that if he hasn’t figured out by now what an amazing woman you are, then he doesn’t deserve you,” Amy said with complete sincerity.

“Thanks Amy…that oddly makes me feel a little better. It’s just…after everything…I still love him.”

“No one expects that love to just die out dear…eventually you will get over him and be able to move on with your life. But until then…one day at a time.”

“Thanks Amy. I love you.”

“I love you too dear. Now you take care of yourself and my Maria, alright?”

“I will. Bye Amy.”

“Bye dear.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So you don’t remember anything?”

“Not a thing Alex. I’m telling you. The last thing I remember was me and Liz dancing, both of us having had way too much to drink, and then the next thing I know, I wake up in bed with Michael.” Maria had finally decided that it was time to talk to Alex about what happened. She knew he was gonna go ballistic, but there was no way around it. She was gonna have to tell him sooner or later, and she supposed that sooner was always better then later.

“Oh Maria sweetie…I’m so sorry,” Alex said enveloping her in a tight hug.

“It’s alright Alex. It’s not your fault. What happened, happened…and there’s nothing anyone could have done to stop it.”

“I just wish there was some way that I could make this all better. Make it all go away.”

“Well Alex, as much as I wish that were possible. It’s not. I made the decision, however stupid of me. I didn’t tell you we were going to this party on purpose, cause I knew you would try to stop me.”

“Yeah…don’t think that I’m not still mad about that by the way.”

“Whatever. Let’s just be grateful that at least one of us came out of this still intact.”

“Yeah…but Maria, that doesn’t change what happened to you. That’s something that can’t be taken back.”

“I know…” Maria trailed off feeling the tears start to come to her eyes yet again. Alex quickly wrapped the sobbing girl in his arms and just let her cry. Maria hadn’t let herself cry like this since the day it all happened. But finally, sitting in the closest thing she had to a brother’s arms, she finally let the tears fall that she had been holding back for days now.

Alex just held her, silently rocking her back and forth as he tried to soothe her sobs. He rubbed one hand down her back while the other smoothed her hair. When she was finally calming down Alex asked the question that had been bothering him ever since they’d begun talking.

“Have you talked to him yet?”

“N….no,” was her strangled reply.

“When are you gonna talk to him, huh? You can’t run from him forever. You know you’ll have to face him sooner or later. And if nothing else, he can probably fill in the gaps a little bit for you. I know that you want to know about what really happened.”

“I know. I just can’t.”

“I know sweetie, whenever you’re ready,” Alex said while he continued to soothe her with loving words and gentle ministrations.

His two girls had been through so much in the last couple days. What was he ever gonna do to fix it? How could he heal this?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tess hurried down the hall when she heard the knock at the door.

“Hello Tess dear,” Amy said as the petite blond opened the door to her.

“Hey Amy. How have you been?”

“I’m good, are Jeff and Nancy home? How’s school?”

“Yeah, come on in. School’s going ok. Just trying to get everything done. I can’t believe I graduate in less then two months.”

“Well, that’s our little Tessie. Smarter than even her sister.”

Tess couldn’t help but blush at Amy’s comment as she led Amy into the kitchen where her parents were cooking dinner.

“Amy, it’s so great to see you,” Nancy said coming up and enveloping her long time friend in a hug. “To what do we owe the honor of this visit?”

“Well actually I had a proposition to make.”

“Oh really?” Nancy asked with a questioning glance, not sure where this was leading.

“You see, I just talked to Lizzie on the phone this afternoon, and she seemed a little…well, depressed.”

“What? Why? We haven’t heard anything about this. Tess, you’ve talked to you sister. What happened? Is she ok?”

“Yeah mom. She’s fine. She just went through a really bad break up, that’s all. She’s just not feeling the best, nothing to worry about,” Tess answered, not really wanting to go into real details about all that’d happened between Max and Liz. She had gotten a little bit from Maria yesterday, and then the rest from Liz when she had called back later that day. There were some pretty messy details that Tess really didn’t want to talk about with her parents. No reason to give them a heart attack.

“Yes, she’ll be alright,” Amy replied, reinforcing Tess’ prior statement. “I just thought that she could do with a little cheering up. So, I talked with Jim and he agrees that we think it would be a great idea to bring Tess along with us for thanksgiving…as a surprise. You know how close the girls are. That is of course, as long as Tess wants to go?” Amy asked questioningly towards Tess.

“Do I?” Tess exclaimed in shock. “Of course I do. Oh please please please please…mom, dad. Let me go see Lizzie. I miss her so much.”

“Well, alright,” her father said after getting a nod of encouragement from his wife.

“Oh, thank you thank you thank you!” Tess said hugging each of her parents and Amy in turn.

“That is as long as Amy is sure that it is no trouble,” Nancy said, looking to her friend.

“No, no. Absolutely no trouble at all.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz couldn’t for the life of her concentrate on class in today’s seminar. All she could think about was how close Max was, even though they were sitting on opposite sides of the classroom from each other. They had been avoiding each other all week, or maybe she was just avoiding him…she didn’t know. All she knew was that they hadn’t talked since he had left that morning. Truthfully, she didn’t know what she’d say to him if they did.

As the professor ended the discussion and dismissed them all to leave, Liz packed up her stuff in a rush, as she was due to work at the café in ten minutes. Realizing that she hadn’t gotten a thing out of today’s class, she heaved a heavy sigh as she moved towards the door in the back of the room, not watching where she was going. It wasn’t until she had walked right into a hard body that she noticed how little she was paying attention.

Looking up, Liz saw none other than Max looking down on her with concern, his hand laying on her shoulder as it had come up to steady her after their collision.

“I’m sorry,” Liz muttered.

“No Liz, it’s ok. It was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

“No Max, there’s no need to apologize. It was my fault.”

“Are you alright?” Max asked, deciding to drop the fight of blame.

“Yeah I’m fine,” Liz said, still not looking him in the eyes.

“You sure?” Max asked one last time.

Liz thought about it for a moment. Was she really alright? It was then that she realized that she really would be just fine. That no matter what happened, she would get over it eventually. That it was only a matter or time.

“You know what Max. I am fine. I really am ok,” Liz said, looking him in the eye, with more conviction and confidence in her voice then she’d felt for a long time.

Max caught the deeper meaning in her words and knew what she really meant by all this. She was over him, utterly and completely. Isn’t that what he wanted though? Isn’t that what he had been hoping for? Suddenly he wasn’t so sure anymore.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel was trying to read the new book that she had just gotten, but couldn’t for the life of her concentrate on anything. She just had so many random thoughts going through her head, overwhelming her brain, most of them concerning Max and Michael.

She just didn’t get what was going on with those two lately. They had both been acting particularly out of character over the last week and a half, and now the two seemed to be not talking to each other once again. She just didn’t know what had gotten into them.

“Let’s get my facts straight. What do I know?” Isabel voiced out load, pacing around her room.

“Number 1. Max broke up with Liz, apparently over money, or her lack of it, from what Alex says, which is extremely out of character for Max. He’s never cared about money before. He was even the one who took Michael in when he was at odds with our parents over it and the whole Cassie issue. Secondly, Max and Liz were so totally in love. You could see it. Why would Max let some little thing like money get in the way of that?

“Number 2. Michael slept with Maria, yet is making no attempts to do anything about the situation. I’m pretty sure that although she definitely was, Michael wasn’t drunk at the time. Which brings up a number of questions. Why would Michael take advantage of Maria like that? My brother isn’t the type of person to do things like that. He didn’t take sex lightly. As far as I know, Maria had been the first since Cassie, someone I know hurt my brother to no end. So, if this means that Michael really cares about Maria, which I’m pretty sure he does, why did he let her go so easily and why hasn’t he done anything to try and fix the situation?

“I know that my brother has feelings for Maria. It was just so obvious. So why let her go without a fight?

“Number 3. Max and Michael had a fight and weren’t talking right before Max and Liz broke up and for a few days afterward. Now, again they aren’t talking, apparently since Michael slept with Maria. Which is weird, cause Max and Michael rarely fought. They were so close most of the time, you’d believe they were family and not just best friends, which I guess in a way they are. Max and Michael have always been like brothers.

“So, I’ve known Max and Michael all my life. I know they’re such good friends and never fight, yet they’re fighting. I know Max loves Liz, I’ve never seen him this happy, yet he broke her heart. I know Michael cares for Maria and he never saw what they had as just some passing fling, yet he’s not doing anything to try and fix the relationship between them.

“Which leaves me with these questions: Why did Max really break up with Liz? Why does Michael think that he’s not good enough for Maria? And what the hell are they fighting about?

“Arg!!!” Isabel let out in a growl. “Why do I feel like there’s something here that I’m missing?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex, promise me that you will never leave my side,” Maria says with a slight panic in her eyes.

“Maria, I promise. I won’t leave you.”

Alex and Maria were currently walking up the front steps of the house that Max shared with Michael Guerin. They were coming to work on the last minute touches to their midterm project and to practice their oral presentation that was due tomorrow. This would be the first time that Maria would have seen Michael since she woke up that morning in his bed, and she was terrified.

What was she gonna do? What was she gonna say? Did he remember anything, or was he of as much of a loss as she was? So many questions and just not enough guts to get the answers.

They slowly walked up to the front door of the house, ringing the doorbell with expectancy.

They heard heavy footsteps before the door swung open revealing Michael with a stunned look on his face.

“Come…come in,” he finally got out.

Michael hadn’t been sure whether Maria would really come or not. He wasn’t quite sure what they’d do if she hadn’t, how can you work on an oral presentation without everyone there, yet he hadn’t really expected her to come none the less.

That however, was not what had left Michael in complete shock when he opened the door. On the contrary, Michael was left winded by Maria’s beauty, in only a simple jeans and t-shirt. Her hair was brought up simply in a loose bun at the back of her head, as stray strands drifted out framing her lovely face. Her eyes were red and just slightly puffy, from what looked like lack of sleep, yet none of that mattered in Michael’s eyes. She was still the most beautiful angel he had ever seen.

Maria just stared into Michael’s eyes wordlessly as he stared right back. Suddenly all her nervousness and fear dissipated and all that she was left with was this burning desire…this burning need to know the truth…to know what really happened.

“Alex, could you leave us alone for a moment.”

Surprised by Maria’s request, Alex turned to look at her, but upon seeing the look in her eyes, he knew she was certain.

“Yeah, I’m just gonna go find Isabel.” Alex nodded, as he turned to leave. It looked like those two were finally going to have the talk that they so desperately needed.

Michael still hadn’t said anything, not knowing how to begin. Before he could get anything out though, he was interrupted by Maria’s deep inhalation as she started to speak…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

posted on 29-Nov-2001 8:21:01 PM by dancepixie
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 25

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Silence.

An awkward silence surrounded the den as Maria and Michael stood staring at each other, neither one sure what to say. Maria knew what she wanted to say; she just couldn’t get it to come out.

Michael on the other hand wasn’t sure what was happening. Maria was here. Did she want to talk to him? Then why had she been avoiding him? Was she mad? Did she think it was all some mistake?

“ So, guess what! You know what’s really funny? Getting really really drunk and then losing your virginity and not even remembering it!” There, she had said it…wow, that wasn’t so hard. Now what was he going to say though?

‘Did she really just say that? Oh my god!’

“You…you don’t remember?”

“No.” This time Maria wasn’t joking, her face was completely serious as she answered him.

“You really don’t remember?” He had to ask again, just to make sure he heard her right. She shook her head without looking up at him. “Oh.” Michael had to sit down after that. He sat on the edge of one of the couches and stared off into space trying to figure out what to do now. Why was she telling him this? Did she want to make him feel bad? Or did she just want to know what happened? Did she really care? Was it possible?

“Michael, what happened Friday night?”

“You really want to know?” Michael looked up at her, trying to make sure she wasn’t joking around about this just trying to make a fool of him. But it was clear from the pleading look in her eyes that she meant every word she said. Was there hope for him then?

“What can you remember?” Maria sat beside Michael on the couch and took a deep breath before speaking. This wasn’t so bad. Why had she been so afraid about this before?

“Well I remember walking into the party with Liz, and we were talking in the hall when we saw you and Max walked in. Liz freaked out and dragged me into the party and we started drinking even more…and I remember dancing with some guys, and drinking some more…god, I’ve never been so drunk in my life.” Maria’s head was resting in her hands, propped up on her knees. As she gently shook her head, strands of her blond curls fell, gently hiding her face from Michael.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Just, tell me what happened. Please.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Isabel?” Alex asked as he knocked gently on her door.

“Alex?” Isabel had a smile on her face as she hurried to open her bedroom door. She didn’t know Alex had been coming over. “What are you doing here?”

“Maria and I had to come and work out the details of our project with Michael. It’s funny, Maria made me promise not to leave her side while we were here and then when Michael answered the door she asked me to give them some time alone. I mean, I know they have issues to work out, I was just telling her that earlier. But, I don’t know, I guess I’m just being a protective big brother. I don’t want him to hurt her more.”

“Well if it’s any consolation, I don’t think he will.” Isabel gave Alex a small hug before pulling him into her room.

“So how have you been? I haven’t seen you since the weekend.”

“I’m great, especially now that you’re here!” Isabel took that moment to lean over and kiss Alex like she had wanted to the moment she had heard his voice through her door.

“Mmm…what a greeting!” Alex joked, making Isabel laugh. “I could get used to that.” Isabel kissed him again.

“Maybe you should come by more often,” she teased.

“You know, I think I just might!”

“Alex!” she punched his arm playfully and laughed at the face he gave her in response.

“What?! You said-” but he was cut off as Isabel kissed him. Yes, he would definitely have to come over more often!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So you saved me from those two guys?”

“I had to. I wasn’t going to sit and watch them try to pull you apart. I guess I just didn’t realize how drunk you really were, even though I should have. I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault Michael. I was the one who drank too much. Besides, you were drinking too.” Michael chose not to respond to that comment at all. “Then you drove me home?”

“Well we pulled up to your apartment building, and I don’t know what happened…it just sort of, happened.” Michael wasn’t sure what to say. He didn’t want to lie to her, but he didn’t want her to think it was all her fault that they slept together, because he played a major role in it…

“It just, happened?”

“Yeah, one second we were sitting there, and the next we were kissing and we ended up here, in my room.” How much exactly was he supposed to tell her? This was really weird…he could honestly say he’d never had a conversation quite like this before.

“I guess I can figure out what happened after that…” Maria tried to laugh it off but the smile didn’t reach her eyes and the laugh was forced.

“Is that all you wanted to know?” Michael wasn’t sure what this pixie wanted from him. Right now he was more confused than ever as to what would happen next.

“Just one more thing, Michael. Why?”

“I don’t know…” Should he tell her? But the moment passed, and he stayed silent.

“Oh.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes, neither one sure what to say or do now.

“Michael, do you think that maybe now we can, I don’t know, maybe be friends?” she looked up into his eyes searching for an answer. “Cause, I mean, we never really were friends, you know?” Maria was trying hard to keep from babbling, because this was definitely one awkward situation.

“Yeah, we never really were I guess. Sure pixie, that sounds like a good idea.”

Maria was momentarily stunned. Pixie? Not some mean, cruel mocking nickname… Pixie? That was actually kinda cute.

“Great.” She finally smiled, a real smile, and it felt good. “I suppose I should go get Alex so we can get to work on this presentation.” Maria stood up to head toward the stairs, but Alex’s presence in the hall stopped her.

“Hey Ria, you guys done?” Alex asked as he came closer from the dark hall.

“Yeah, I was just going to get you.”

“Well then let’s get this thing finished.”

They had been working for half an hour when Maria got up to go to the bathroom.

“You boys keep working, I’ll be right back. And play nice, Alex!” Maria warned. She had seen Alex sneaking glares at Michael the whole time they had been working. She knew Alex was upset over what had happened Friday night, but she had already told him that she could take care of it herself; she was a big girl now. She had warned him that she wanted him to stay out of it. He had said that he would, however now she wasn’t so sure he was planning on staying true to his word; he could get a little too over protective at times.

Maria left the room and Alex made sure she was gone before he turned his glare back to Michael. He had been out in the hall listening in to the end of Maria and Michael’s conversation earlier. For the life of him he couldn’t figure out why Maria wanted to start a new friendship with this guy. Was she looking for heartache? Well he wasn’t about to sit by and watch her get hurt…nope, not him.

“Don’t you dare hurt her!” he warned with an icy undertone to his normally cheerful voice.

Michael was stunned…what was he supposed to say?

“We’re just friends. Isn’t she allowed to have friends?”

“Oh, so I guess you always sleep with girls before being their friend?”

“Look Alex, I’m sorry. But this isn’t any of your business. It’s between Maria and me, and if you don’t mind, I’d like it to stay that way.”

“Well Maria is like my sister. If you hurt her, you have to deal with me.”

The two boys just sat there glaring at each other until Maria came walking back into the room. As soon as they noticed her coming they got right back to work.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, you’re okay with this now?” Liz asked unsure of what her friend was trying to tell her.

“Yeah, why not?”

“I don’t know Ria. You just wouldn’t talk about it hardly unless we pushed you, and now you’re telling me that you and Michael are friends?”

“Well I know it’s kinda weird…I mean we’re doing this whole thing backwards…first we sleep together and then we become friends…but I really want this Lizzie. I don’t know what it is. It’s just that we were never friends. We never tried to have a friendship. It was just arguing back and forth. I probably wouldn’t have known his name if he hadn’t been Max’s friend and Isabel’s brother.” Maria silently hit herself for mentioning Max’s name. But surprisingly, Liz didn’t flinch, didn’t even take notice of it. ‘Wow, maybe she is starting to heal.’

“Well, I hope it works out for you however you want it to.” Liz gave Maria a quick hug. It’s not that she didn’t want her friend to be happy, but she didn’t want to see what happened to her, happen to Maria.

“We’re just friends Lizzie, that’s all.”

“Are you saying you don’t want it to be anything else?”

“Come on chica, I’m Teflon babe, remember? I can handle this.”

Liz just nodded her head without saying anything. If Maria wanted to believe that, she wasn’t going to stop her. Truthfully when Maria had her mind set to something nothing could stop her. But Liz did know what was behind Maria’s tough exterior; Teflon babe was just a normal girl, afraid of being hurt by those she loved. And in typical Teflon babe fashion, Maria chose to change the subject.

“So how are you doing Lizzie?”

“I’m getting better, actually.” Liz gave a small smile as she remembered the realization she had come to when she had bumped into Max after class.

“That’s great chica.”

“Yeah. I mean, I’m not over him. I still love him, but it’s getting better. I talked to your mom before and she told me that things like this take time and it will get better. Then when I bumped into Max after that seminar we have, he asked me if I was okay, and I thought about what Amy told me and I realized, yes, I really am okay.”

Maria watched her friend with great respect for everything she stood for and had endured. Liz was definitely a strong woman, she just had to realize that for herself. And now, Maria was sure that she had.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Yes mom, I know it’s been a while,” Isabel spoke softly into the phone.

“Were you and Michael planning to come home for thanksgiving, dear?”

“Yes mom, don’t worry, we’ll be there.”

“Okay, good. So is your brother taking care of you?”

“We’re fine mom.”

“And how is Max doing?”

“Max…he’s okay I guess. He just broke up with his girlfriend, so he’s been kind of depressed lately, but I think he’s getting better.”

“Oh, so Michael finally talked to him about that girl? I knew she wasn’t right for Max, he has so much potential.”

“What did you just say mom?!” Isabel could not believe what she had heard her mother say. Then again, with her mother, it was almost typical. The wheels in her head starting turning and the pieces of the puzzle she had been agonizing over were all of a sudden fitting together perfectly. How could she have not seen it before! “Umm…mom, I’m going to have to call you back later. I need to go take care of something.”

Without waiting for a response from her mother Isabel hung up the phone and ran up the stairs to her brother’s room. She didn’t bother knocking, she just opened the door, slamming it behind her as she stomped in, glaring at Michael as he sat on his bed looking confused.

“What the hell did you think you were doing? What gave you the right to play god? It’s not your life! How could you do that to them? I mean, he’s supposed to be your best friend. What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people you hurt?” Her face was red with fury as she stood pacing in front of Michael waiting for him to respond but getting nothing. “Well? Aren’t you going to say something? Anything?”

“Izzie? Calm down a minute. What are you talking about?” The last thing Michael had expected was for his sister to come trampling into his room and start verbally assaulting him.

“Calm down, Michael? You want me to calm down?” Isabel paused and took a deep breath, trying to regain control. Maybe she had gone a little overboard. “Fine. You want to know what I’m talking about? Well why don’t you tell me.”

“I…”

“I thought you knew better than that Michael. I thought you of all people knew how special it was to find that kind of magic with someone. Maybe I was wrong. I thought you were smarter than that.” Isabel shook her head in dismay. Michael had always been there for her when they were growing up. He had always been the perfect big brother who almost never did anything wrong in the eyes of his little sister. Well now he had officially screwed that all to hell. She would never look at him the same again.

“Would you just tell me what it is, Isabel?” Michael was starting to get angry. What the hell was she going on and on about? Did she know about… No, that was impossible. How could she have found that out?

“Max. Liz. Sound familiar Michael?” Isabel waited for some reaction from her brother, but he remained stoic, staring at the plain white walls. “I just had an interesting conversation with our mother. Do you know what she told me when I mentioned something about Max breaking up with his girlfriend? She said that it was about time you talked to him about that. Michael? How could you? How the fuck could you ruin your best friends life? His happiness?”

“This has nothing to do with you Isabel.”

“The hell it doesn’t. Max and Liz are my friends! It has everything to do with me!”

“Fine, what do you want me to say then? Huh? I’ve already had this conversation with Max. You want me to say that I screwed up? Yeah, I admit I screwed up big time. You want me to say that everything is all my fault. Fine. I screwed up everyone’s lives. I ruined everything. Is that enough? Or do you want me to say I’m sorry? I am sorry. Sorrier than you’ll ever know, but I can’t exactly take any of this back, now can I?”

“You told Max?”

“Told Max what?”

“About Liz…oh my god, what did you tell Max to make him break up with her?” Isabel’s eyes widened as she began to get ideas of what exactly happened. “Oh my god, you didn’t… Michael, how could you be so stupid? Not every girl is Cassie! Haven’t you realized that yet? Just because you had a bad relationship doesn’t mean that every relationship you or any one else has will turn out that way.”

“It’s not that easy Isabel.”

“Sure it is Michael. Couldn’t you see how happy Max and Liz were together? How they were perfect for each other?”

“Yeah, well I had that once too and look how that turned out.”

“Liz is not Cassie!”

“How the hell would you know?” Michael was yelling now. He never yelled at his sister.

“Michael, take a minute and think about it. She never even once said anything about money. She never asked him for anything, not once. She tried to keep him from spending money on her. She’s not that kind of a person.” Isabel looked at her brother but he stayed quiet with his arms crossed against his chest.

“How could you listen to our mother? I mean, god Michael! Haven’t you learned that she isn’t always right? Our mother is stuck in her little world and won’t see reality. I mean, look at who she set me up with. The guy that she claimed was so perfect for her daughter because he was the right type of guy…yeah, Andrew was a fucking asshole is what he was. But mom still thinks he’s god’s little angel. What would make you listen to her? Why would you hurt your best friend?” Try as she might she could not get any response from Michael.

“Well was it worth it Michael? How do you feel now that you’ve ruined his life? And what about Maria? Now that you’ve slept with her are you planning on dropping her out in the cold? Huh? Cause she sure as hell doesn’t need any of your crap! If you hurt her I swear to god Michael…!”

“That’s enough Isabel!” Michael couldn’t take it anymore. “What are you going to do, run and tell Max how I really screwed up this time? Fine. He’s probably figured it out already. Not like he was talking to me anyways.”

“No, I won’t tell him…you will.”

“Iz-”

“No Michael. This is something he needs to hear from you and no one else. I do not approve at all of what you did. It was so wrong Michael, but it’s your mess, you fix it.”

Michael didn’t know what to say to that. If he did tell Max there was a big possibility that he would lose his friend…could he do that?

“What about Maria?” Isabel softened her tone a little.

“It’s none of your business.”

“She’s my friend, it is my business.”

“Isabel-”

“Michael-”

“We’re friends, that’s it.”

“Don’t-”

“Look Isabel, I’ve had enough. Can you just finish yelling at me and leave me alone now?”

Isabel didn’t know what to say anymore. Michael had such a hard head sometimes that nothing could get through to him. She had never had a fight like this with her brother. He used to listen to her, but he wasn’t even trying to see her point now. She might as well just give up; this was getting them nowhere; she could only hope that he would eventually do the right thing.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 29-Nov-2001 8:21:46 PM by shorty828
thanks for reposting this cant wait for some more

Lisa
posted on 29-Nov-2001 10:05:23 PM by angelbehr
*happy* Go Isabel!!! *happy*

She just needs to drag his *ss to Max's room and make him tell the truth! Max deserves to know the truth!!!

I am sooo glad to see another part of this story! Come back soon!

~angela~
posted on 30-Nov-2001 1:03:49 AM by y3n1ov3lygur1
*~*~I can't wait for the next part,
why don't Michael just tell max that he lied!!! he's a *astard, sometimes I feel sorry for him, but I'm not anymore..he ruined max's and liz's life!!!!*~*
please update it asap *big* can't wait *angel*
posted on 30-Nov-2001 4:49:38 PM by y3n1ov3lygur1
I can't wait for the next part, it's getting soo interesting, please update it soon
bye have a nice Friday people
posted on 30-Nov-2001 5:04:24 PM by Rapunzel
YAY!!!! I am so happy to be reading this fic again...when the boards were down I was having some major withdrawal problems, lol! Love the new parts....keep writing!
posted on 2-Dec-2001 4:39:55 AM by Black Rain
Keep writing please!
I'm so in love with your story.

posted on 2-Dec-2001 5:29:12 AM by angelbaby6977
Please post more soon!
posted on 3-Dec-2001 2:15:32 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hey guys...I'm sorry this took me so long to get out but I've been kinda busy lately. I had a midterm last week (yeah, I know it's late), and I was gone visiting people this weekend, and I have finals coming up...so yeah. Anyway, I hope you like the part and I definately hope that it was well worth the wait. Make sure you let me know. Um...finals are coming up soon, so it will be hard to get the parts out...but I can promise lots more writing over the holidays. Anyway, without any furthur ado....part 26...

~Michelle


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 26

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex!” Liz chimed as she saw her friend walk through the door of the café.

“In the flesh. And how are my two favorite girls this morning?” Alex asked.

“Well Alex, I’m not so sure we’re you’re favorite girls anymore,” Maria quipped a twinkle in her eye. “I mean, you do seem to be spending quite a lot of time with that girlfriend of yours lately. I’m starting to think that maybe you’ve forgotten about us,” she finished with a dramatic sigh.

“Now now, you both know that no matter what goes on between Isabel and me…you two will always be my girls.” Despite the grin on his lips, Maria and Liz could see the total and complete seriousness in his eyes. He would always be there for them, friends forever, no matter what.

“Ahhhh. Alex…that’s so sweet,” Liz said, pinching his cheek teasingly. Then, seeing the figure over his shoulder, “But I think that you better go before Izzie gets jealous.”

Hearing Liz’s comment, Isabel couldn’t help but giggle, “Got that right,” she responded. Alex spun around, noticing for the first time that Isabel was there. “That boy is all mine,” she continued with a smirk on her face as she made her way over to a still stunned Alex. “What’s wrong honey, aren’t you happy to see me?”

Alex, finally breaking out of his stupor, brought his arms around his girlfriend and brought his lips to hers in a sweet, passionate kiss. Sometimes he still couldn’t believe he could be so lucky. Just the sight of her made him weak in the knees, every time.

“What are you doing here? I though that you were going home for thanksgiving?”

“Well, I was. But my parents called today to tell me that they’re gonna be in London for another week. So, it looks like I’ll be going home with Michael next week after all. Not that I’m complaining. It just so happens that it gives me more time to make out with my absolutely fabulous boyfriend before facing the doldrums of the social elite yet again.”

“Hmmm…I don’t think that your boyfriend will mind all too much.”

“Mmmm…I hope not,” Isabel said before once again capturing Alex’s lips with her own. When they finally broke apart they noticed that they were still standing at the counter, while Maria and Liz giggled at the sappy exchange between the two.

“Umm…we’re just gonnna go sit down,” Alex said as he led Isabel over to one of the couches. It was then that Liz and Maria broke out into full on laughter at the couple’s obvious discomfort.

“Can I get you anything?” Maria finally yelled across the café, earning the attention of almost all the other customers in the café.

“No, we’re fine,” Alex returned.

Maria snickered at his response. “I’m sure you are,” she muttered under her breath.

“Maria,” Liz taunted, hearing her friends comment.

“What?” Maria asked. “I mean look at them.”

“Yeah, I know. They’re so cute.”

“It’s amazing how close they’ve become in the last few weeks. They’re so great together.”

“Uh huh. But we always knew that Alex was a great guy, we were just waiting for the special girl to come around and open up her eyes to see that.”

“Yeah babe,” Maria let out a dramatic sigh. “Our Alex is growing up,” she finished with a mock sniffle. And again the two girls broke into a fit of giggles.

Maria and Liz were just beginning to get back to work when there were alerted by the sound of the bell, looking up to see Max and Michael as they came in and took a seat at one of the tables.

Wordlessly Maria went over to the table to get their order. “Hey spaceboy…Max, what can I get you guys?” she asked, looking to each of them in turn.

“I’ll have a French vanilla cappuccino,” Max responded.

“I’d like a mocha latte,” Michael continued, “and for you to come see the new action movie with me on Friday?” he asks, a pleading look in his eyes.

“Ick…Micheal…can’t you get one of your guy friends to go see that with you or something? I mean, Max…I’m sure he wants to see it so much more than I do.”

“Naw…he doesn’t like that kind of movie.”

“And what makes you think that I do?” she asks in exasperation.

“Come on Maria…please…” he pleaded.

“Alright…fine. Just stop it with the puppy dog eyes already.”

“Alright!” Michael exclaims triumphantly.

“Alright, I’m gonna go get your drinks. Now don’t say I never gave ya nothing,” she tossed over her shoulder as she returned to the counter to get their drinks.

“How do you do that?” Max asked with a look of astonishment.

“Do what?” Michael asked, the confusion evident on his face.

“That?” he says gesturing towards Maria. “I mean how do you just go back to being friends like that. I mean, how do you just forget about everything that happened.”

“Well, we never actually dated,” Michael points out, knowing that Max was comparing this to his own relationship with Liz. “I don’t know. It was kinda awkward at first, but over time we just started getting more and more comfortable around each other until we became the friends we are now. I guess it’s just cause it was something that we both wanted, so we both tried hard to make it work.”

“God, I envy you sometimes.”

Michael laughed out loud at that comment. “Envy me! Why?”

“Just this whole relationship with Maria. I wish so much that Liz and I could go back and be friends. I missed the way we used to be able to talk to each other…I mean really talk. It’s just something that I don’t think we’ll ever have again. I’d be generous if I called us casual acquaintances now. There may be a wave, a smile or a quick hello in passing, but that’s about it.”

‘If you only knew Maxwell…if you only knew,’ Michael thought to himself. Max didn’t understand everything. Yeah, it was great to have Maria as a friend; it was more than he could ever wish for. But, at the same time, Max didn’t understand what torture it was. To be in the presence of the person you love, to talk to them, be around them, all the time knowing what it would be like to be with them utterly and completely…and yet knowing that this one that you want is the one thing that you can’t have. No, there was nothing to envy there.

When Michael finally come out of his reverie he noticed Max staring off into space, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. Following Max’s gaze he noticed that he was focused on one Liz Parker as she was talking with some customers on the other side of the café.

“You really miss her don’t you,” it was more of a statement then a question.

“More then you’ll ever know,” Max stated, then continued after a long pause, his eyes still not moving from Liz’s form. “The other day I came in here to get something from the store, I don’t even remember what anymore. Anyway, I came in and saw her with Maria and Isabel and she was just amazing. The way her face lit up when she laughed and how animated her features got when she spoke…

“All the sudden I found myself falling in love with her all over again, just watching her interacting with others, and how caring she was. And then it just kinda hit me. I didn’t care. I didn’t care what she was after…whether she be after money or anything…I didn’t care. I would give her anything if it would make her happy. God I love her so much, and I screwed everything up. Now it’s too late,” he finished, the grief evident in his voice.

Michael was stunned. He hadn’t realized the depth of his friends feelings, or that instead of getting over this girl, he was only falling in deeper. Michael felt the bile rising in his throat, once again feeling the loathing and self-hatred wash over him. He had truly ruined his best friends life…his happiness. How could he have been such a selfish bastard?

“Look Max…there’s something I need to te…” but he was cut off as Maria returned with their drinks.

“There you go, one mocha latte and one French vanilla cappuccino. Can I get you guys anything else?”

“No Maria, we’re fine,” Max responded politely.

“Alright, well I’ll see ya’ll later,” she said, ruffling Michael’s spiked hair in the process. Did she not know the effect that one little gesture had on him? Suddenly Michael let out the breath that he hadn’t known he had been holding.

After taking a sip of his cappuccino, Max looked back to Michael, “So, what were you saying?”

“Oh nothing. I was just going to tell you that I forgot something I have to go do…um…” He really needed to get out of there…NOW! “I’ve got to go,” he said getting up.

“But what about your drink?” Max asked, confused about his friends hasty retreat.

“Oh…I’ll just get Maria to put it in another cup for me. Sorry,” he yells over his shoulder as he makes his way to the counter.

“Hey Pixie…look I need to run. Can you put this in a cup for me?”

“Yeah sure, no problem. Is everything alright?” she asked with concern.

‘NO,’ he thought. “Yeah fine just fine. See you later,” he said throwing a five at her and not waiting around for the change.”

“Strange,” she muttered to herself, as she opened up the cash register to pay for his coffee, sticking the change in her own apron.

“How do you do it?” Liz asked as Maria came back over to her.

“Do what sweetie?” Maria asked, perplexed by her question.

“Just become friends like that, like nothing ever happened?”

“Trust me babe, we both know that something happened.”

“It’s just, I miss Max,” at Maria’s raised eyebrow she continued. “That’s not what I mean…I mean I do…miss him that way too. But it’s like, I miss the way that I used to feel like I could tell him anything you know. I mean, yeah I still love him…but I know that that’s not gonna go anywhere. I’m over that. I just miss how close we used to be, ya know. And then I see you and Michael…”

“So what’s stopping you Liz? Who’s holding the relationship back? Someone has to make the first move.”

“It’s not that simple Maria.”

“Why not?”

“It’s just complicated. It’s just so awkward between us.”

“And you think it wasn’t awkward between me and Michael at first? But you have to start somewhere…and slowly the awkwardness starts to dissipate. You just have to give it time.”

“I don’t know Maria…”

“If you ask me…I think you’re afraid.”

“Afraid? Afraid of what?”

“That you’re going to start feeling for him all over again.”

“No Maria. I told you. What we had is over. I’ve accepted that.”

“Yeah, your mind has sweetie. But has your heart?”

Maria was met with silence. Liz just didn’t know quite what to say.

“Look,” Maria began again after some time, “Why don’t you go talk to him? I mean, he’s sitting there all by himself looking lonely. Go see if he needs anything,” Maria said as she left to check on her other customers.

Liz stood there contemplating what Maria had just said. Did she dare think that they could be friends after everything that had happened between them? Could they possibly ever have a close relationship like they once had? But what was that but a relationship half based on lies. Or was it?

‘God, I’m so confused,” Liz thought to herself. ‘But I suppose I could at least try.’

Before she lost her nerve Liz quickly walked over to the table Max was seated at. As if feeling her presence beside him, Max looked up at her before she could speak and their eyes locked. She stood there for a while, entranced by his eyes. It wasn’t until she felt the intense burning in her lungs that she realized she’d been holding her breath. ‘Ok, breathe,’ she coached herself.

“Hey Max,” she finally began.

“Liz…Hi.”

Silence.

“So, is there anything I can get you?”

“No, no. I’m fine.”

Silence.

“Alright then, well I have to get back to work. See you Max,” she said before quickly turning around and heading back to the counter. What did she think she was doing? She couldn’t do this. It was way too soon. They just needed time. Yeah, time. Then maybe they could start a friendship. But deep down Liz wondered if that time would ever come.

Liz snapped back to reality at the sound of Maria’s voice. “Hey, you ok babe? You were spacing out there for awhile?”

“Oh yeah…yeah, I’m fine. I’m just gonna go make sure Alex and Isabel don’t want anything.” And she was gone before Maria could protest.

“Hey guys, how are you doing? Do you need anything?”

“Nope Lizzie, I’m good,” Alex replied.

“Isabel?”

“No thanks Liz. How are you doing by the way?”

“I’m good. Yeah, ready for this little thanksgiving break. I really need the time to catch up.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. You work way too hard,” Isabel whispered to Liz, causing a laugh to escape, beginning to brighten her previously dejected mood.

“Yeah, but that’s how you make a living,” Liz retorted. “Look, I need to get back to my other costumers, but let me know if you guys need anything ok.”

“Sure Liz. We will,” Alex answered as she moved off to make her rounds of the café.

“So Isabel, have you talked to your mom yet?”

“Talked to her about what?” Isabel asked nonchalantly, knowing exactly what Alex was talking about.

“You know what I’m talking about Isabel. You need to tell your mother about Andrew. Nothing good is going to come out of this if you don’t.”

“I know. I know. I just don’t know how she’s gonna react. She was like in love with Andrew. She believed he was like the perfect man for me. I’m sure in her mind we should be already married with 2.5 kids by now,” she laughed, but the look on Alex’s face remained one of concern.

“Isabel, that’s exactly why you need to talk to her.”

“Alex. You don’t understand. It’s just not that easy. My mom still thinks that Andrew is the perfect gentleman, that he wouldn’t harm a fly. He’s perfect at standing up in society, looking the part. My mom would probably think that I was lying if I told her the truth.”

“You don’t know that Isabel. Why don’t you give it a chance?”

“Alex, you don’t know my mother. Look…can we just drop this. I promise I’ll talk to my mom soon. Ok?”

“Ok,” Alex answered uncertainly, but finally relaxed as Isabel brought herself into his arms, leaning against his chest for comfort. She looked up at him lovingly, then quickly brought her lips up to meet his in a sweet kiss.

“Thank you for worrying about me,” she said softly. “But I can handle this. Just give me a little time.”

“Alright,” he said, but then as an afterthought, “But I think you may need to reassure me again that you’re ok.”

Catching the suggestion in his tone, Isabel just laughed as she turned around to kiss him again, harder this time and with much more passion. Sighing, she thought, ‘How did I ever live without him?’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So yeah, Tess. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. And make sure to give mom and dad a hug and kiss for me.”

“Don’t worry Liz. I will. Do you think that I ever forget?”

“No, but I still have to say it, just to make sure. I mean, who knows. You do have that whole none existent short-term memory thing…”

“Ha ha ha. Very funny. Anyway, I’ll talk to ya soon. Bye sis. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.”

“You too. I miss you. Tell mom and dad I miss them k.”

“I will.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to ya soon. Bye Tessie.”

“Bye Lizzie.”

As she hung up the phone, Tess couldn’t help but smile. ‘If she only knew,’ she thought. ‘Lizzie’s gonna get to see me a lot sooner then she thinks.’ And Tess just couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to come.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael slowly made his way to the door of Max’s room. “Well, this is it,” he said softly to himself. Taking a deep breath, Michael knocked on the door and waited for Max’s acknowledgement. When he heard the familiar “Come in,” he slowly opened the door to find Max simply laying on his bed, while Counting Crows played softly in the background.

“Hey Max,” Michael said, a little strained.

“Hey Michael,” Max said slowly sitting up from his laying position. “What’s up?” he asked, noticing the hesitant look on his friend’s face.

“Look Max. There’s something I need to tell you…that I’ve been meaning to tell you for some time now. And…you’re not gonna like it…actually, you’re probably gonna hate me for it, but I can’t stand it any longer.”

“Michael, what is it?” he asked, concern now evident in his voice.

“Max, just promise me one thing. Promise me you won’t walk out until I’m finish. I need to get this all out, alright?”

“Um….ok Michael. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

‘Alright, well here goes nothing.’ Michael took a deep breath and then started. “I lied about Liz being after your money,” he got out quickly.

“What?!?” Max asked, a mix of anger and confusion.

“Max, just let me finish. Try not to interrupt. Let me explain.” At the slight unsure nod of Max’s head, Michael continued. “Alright, Liz was never after your money. At least, not that I know of. I never overheard any conversation between her and Maria about it. It was just something that I made up to get you two to break up.”

The intense anger was evident on Max’s face. He looked like he was gonna explode. Yet he kept it inside, not saying anything, allowing Michael to finish.

“I did it cause I was worried about you. I didn’t want you to get hurt the way I was, and I was afraid that was where it was going. I know what it feels like to go down that road and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, let alone my best friend.

“So I did what I thought was best. I told you the only thing that I could think of that would make you break it off. I said the one thing that I knew could really get to you. And you did it, you broke it off and I thought that my work was complete…a success.

“God, I was so wrong Max…and I’m so so sorry. Please believe me when I say I didn’t know that you loved her this much. I didn’t know how much she really meant to you. Ya know…I don’t think that I ever really tried to see it.

“Anyway, that’s no excuse. I realize now what I did was wrong. That not everyone is Cassie and that it was your decision to make, and not mine and that I shouldn’t have interfered in any way. God, Max I made the biggest mistake and I can’t tell you enough how sorry I am about this. I can’t even begin to imagine how much pain and heartache I caused you…and Liz.

“I’m so sorry about everything, Max. I know I screwed up your life, and ruined everything for you. I see that now…too bad it’s too late. I know I can’t take back what I did…but I will do anything you ask of me…anything I can do to fix it, to make it right. I don’t expect you to forgive me…heck, I don’t really expect you to even like me after this. God, you must hate me. I just couldn’t lie to you anymore. I’m sorry.”

Max just sat there, silent for a while. The anger and fury was evident on Max’s face, but what Michael noticed more, was the look of hurt and betrayal there. Michael didn’t know what to think. This would be so much easier if Max was just mad at him. If he screamed and yelled and told him to get out of his room. That’s what Michael was prepared for. He wasn’t prepared for the devastated and dejected being that he held before him.

Finally Max broke the silence. “I…I don’t know what to say. I just…I…God, I need to get out of here. I just can’t see you right now. I…I need some air.” And with that, Max grabbed his coat and his car keys gruffly into his hands and walked past Michael out the door.

Michael just starred into the empty room, thinking he’d finally done it. He’d finally lost his friend.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Dec-2001 4:21:37 PM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2001 2:43:34 AM by shorty828
woah michael told him, Now max go get liz back, I cant believe he would he trust michael in the first place, but michael was his best friend. Will liz believe max if he tells her. I cant wait for more I loved this part and this story,.

Lisa
posted on 3-Dec-2001 3:03:43 AM by angelbaby6977
I'm glad Michael finally told Max. Great part!
Please post more soon!
posted on 3-Dec-2001 4:37:37 PM by Rapunzel
Michael was a real idiot for what he did to Liz and Max's relationship, but I must say....I am proud of him for admitting what he did. I just hope Max can forgive him someday...... Keep up the good work, ladies, love the story!

~*Kari*~*bounce*
posted on 3-Dec-2001 4:42:53 PM by angelbehr
So Michael finally spilled his guts, huh? Well, I know whatever Max decides to dish out to him is what he deserves. Let's only hope that it is not too late to patch things up between Max and Liz.

~angela~
posted on 3-Dec-2001 5:38:25 PM by Clari
Well, I'm glad that Michael finally told Max the truth. But now how is max going to explain to Liz that he broke up with her because he thought that she was after his money? That isn't going to go over any better than the breaking up because she didn't have money. I think Michael should go out and find Liz and tell her what he did and why he did it. And just maybe that he really pushed the Best Friend thing on Max so that he would believe him.
Regardless of how you go with this, Please post the next part soon.*bounce*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Dec-2001 5:38:46 PM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2001 6:34:38 PM by Becca1974
Please let the next part be Max & Liz getting back together..Please!!
posted on 3-Dec-2001 6:36:27 PM by rollergal20
This part was so wonderful,

I just love M&M, we could all really use some right about now. I'm glad that Michael told Max what he has done, I hope Maria forgives him once she finds out.

Alex and Izzy are so cute, I hope her mother doesn't ruin there relationship.

post more soon ~ *happy*

Ps. Just wanted to let you know that Pride and Predjudice is now out on a Collectors Edition DVD, which had behind the scenes and a bunch of other bonus material. It's different than the other version on DVD. I haven't seen it yet, but it's on my x-mass list.
posted on 3-Dec-2001 6:46:42 PM by tabasco sauce
wow! mikey g finally fessed up. I hope our dream couple reunites soon! tee hee! keep up the good work! post more pronto!

-andy
posted on 3-Dec-2001 9:11:26 PM by Rostrin
So Michael told Max the truth......Its going to be awhile before their friendship is restored and Max can trust Michael again*sad*.
Its also going to be hard for Max to explain to Liz what happened and for her to forgive him for being a jacka_s
This is really interesting*wink*
waiting on the edge of my chair for more*bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 3-Dec-2001 9:33:50 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
I hope Max gives him a black eye. More please.
posted on 3-Dec-2001 10:02:45 PM by LegalAlien
I'm so glad that Max finally knows the truth!

I just hope he can find a way to let Liz know that he never stopped loving her and that he can make it up to her*big*! I however think that a great deal of groveling has to be involved!

And concerning Michael: I know physical violence doesn't help things, but it might let Max feel better!

Can't wait to read more...

Joe
posted on 3-Dec-2001 10:03:08 PM by SciFiNut111
Hmm, big questions. How can Max ever trust Michael enough to be friends with him again. It was a lie, a very important lie. I surprised Max didn't throw him out of the house. Even if Michael did it "For Max's own good" that is no excuse.

Second, How can Liz ever trust Max again? He told her he loved her. She told him that she loved him, it wasn't an instant thing, they were friends, then fell in love. And Max would just instantly believe the worst about her? He didn't even give her a chance to defend herself?

I hope she makes him work very hard at getting back together.

How is Maria going to view Michael now? Not only did he take advantage of her drunken state, but now she will find out that he willfully destroyed her best friends happiness. That he was willing to lie about her to destroy her relationship with Max.

This guy is pond scum and doesn't deserve friends if he's willing to treat them like that..

Please don't have Max instantly forgive Michael with a "You are my oldest and dearest friend and I know you did what you did to save me from myself, you thought you were doing right and it hurt, but I can't lose you as a friend." type speech.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Dec-2001 10:12:06 PM ]
posted on 4-Dec-2001 12:31:08 AM by roswellluver
Thank goodness Michael finally told Max the truth! Thanks for writing!
posted on 4-Dec-2001 1:19:36 AM by Transparent Clear
I think I might be delurking here (at this story), to post this, but... *happy* I"m so glad that Michael finally told Max. He needs to know.
But I'm wondering what's going to happen if Max goes to Liz and tells her this. I mean, from her point of view, shouldn't he have trusted her enough to know that was ridiculous?
I can't wait to see where you're going with this.
And good luck on your finals! I'm working on my final project in my most important class, and I'm really really thinking that I hate school. *happy* (I have like 11 hours total left to go to this semester, and it's killing me to think of them.) Here's a good study tip: STUDY. And when that's done, come back and write more!

Jenan

**edited b/c I can't spell... **

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Dec-2001 1:20:17 AM ]
posted on 4-Dec-2001 2:09:52 AM by y3n1ov3lygur1
*~*~I'm so glad that finally Michael told Max the truth*~*~ this is getting soo interesting..heheh *big* I want liz to make him work really hard to make it up for her, I wouldn't want her to forgive him that easily..
*~*~please update soon*~*~
night people *angel*
posted on 4-Dec-2001 11:13:11 AM by rosgirl125
Yeah a new part but come on girls I am going through withdrawl of this story and its causing me health problems*happy**happy* lol okay I wont go that far but come on girls post soon
Caitlin*bounce*
posted on 4-Dec-2001 1:46:50 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
I glad that Micheal told Max the truth!! Now I can't wait to see the repercusions!!Post more when you both can!!
posted on 4-Dec-2001 6:04:53 PM by Jaxie
Fwew. I just finished reading this entire story in its enitirety in one giant sitting, and may I just say how worth it each and every moment was? *big* I'm so relieved that Max finally knows the truth, and now maybe his senses will finally be back and he'll run back to liz and plead with her to take him back....and then yah know..all the mushiness that follows from there *wink*
posted on 4-Dec-2001 8:07:50 PM by y3n1ov3lygur1
gosh I'm soo inlove with your story ... please post more if you have time
posted on 6-Dec-2001 11:50:40 PM by TrueLoveConquersAll
Michelle, your story is great and I can't wait for more. Michael is still an asshole whether he told Max the truth or not. I mean he messed up his best friend's life with a lie because of his mother and his own personal experience. Max is just plain stupid and if I was Liz he would have to do a lot of grovelling before I would even accept his friendship again. Liz told Max that she loved him and he was supposed to love her and he just believed a lie about her so easily. But, knowing Liz she loves Max with her heart and soul so she will probably forgive him after a while. Michael still needs to pay for his betrayal and I know Maria is the one who is going to let that happen once she finds out. Please come back asap with Part 27 and keep up the great work!!!!*happy*
posted on 8-Dec-2001 1:44:41 PM by dancepixie
Hey everyone, sorry it has taken me so long...but my first half of finals are over and my last two aren't for almost a week, so I'm planning on finishing it this weekend. Unfortunately our ethernet is being really dumb...aparently no one in the building is able to get online, so I'm using dial up right now, I just can't stay on for long. Okay so more soon I promise, I'm up to like 8 pages already*big*

Oh yeah! The CD came! Hehehe! Those of you who haven't heard Majandra's songs, the CD is awesome! We just keep listening to it over and over! It's great.

Oh and we were wondering if anyone has the first two seasons on tape and would be interested in sending us copies...we'll send money or tapes or whatever! If you wouldn't mind then send me or Michelle a bmail and we can figure something out! Thanks sooo much guys. I promise I'll go finish the next part soon.

~Nikki~
*angel*


posted on 8-Dec-2001 5:38:26 PM by dancepixie
Okay, so I promised and here it is! What can I say, I had inspiration at lunch while talking with Michelle about some stuff for this story…so I had to finish up this part and make it better so that I could post it. Hope you guys like it.

Michelle will have the next part out sometime soon. She does have a final Tuesday, but maybe if you guys leave lots of great feedback you can convince her to write it this weekend!*big* Cause she doesnt listen to me too much anymore, but hopefully you guys can convince her!*tongue*

Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 27

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max looked around and realized where he had ended up. He had gotten in his car over an hour ago, just needing to get out of the house. He couldn’t be around Michael, he needed fresh air, he needed to think, to breathe.

So he had just been driving around, not really sure of where he had been going. Just driving. He had too many things running through his mind to focus on any one of them in particular.

But now he was here. Without even thinking he had driven here, of all places. Looking up at the small apartment building Max sighed. He watched the third floor window for a few moments.

‘What am I doing? She’s over me. She doesn’t want this relationship anymore. God, I can’t even blame her. I was an idiot! Damn Michael!’ Max cursed to himself.

But he couldn’t stop the little voice in his head that taunted him, ‘Well why did you listen to him?’

That was a good question, why had he listened to Michael? Shouldn’t he have trusted Liz? He had ruined it. His one chance with the most perfect girl in the world, and he had screwed it all up.

Shaking his head Max threw the car in gear and drove away. Liz wasn’t his anymore; he had given that up when he trusted Michael.

Michael…god, what was he going to do about that? He had trusted him. He had always trusted Michael. He was his best friend for heaven’s sake. How could he have done that?

Max didn’t want to be mad at Michael. Sure Michael was wrong to lie to him like that, but it had been Max’s own choice to do what he did. And now he had to deal with the repercussions of his choices.

He wanted to forgive Michael, he honestly did. At least he had come forward and admitted the truth. But part of him couldn’t let his friend get away scott-free. Michael had to realize he couldn’t play with people like that.

How could Max ever trust him again? In the back of his mind he would always wonder whether or not Michael was telling him the truth or not with everything he said. That isn’t what a friendship is supposed to be about. How could they get past this?

It would take a long time before he’d be able to put his trust in Michael again. He wasn’t mad, not really; he was hurt. It would take a while to heal that, to mend the broken friendship and maybe start over. They had been friends forever so he didn’t doubt that it would ever happen. He was sure that eventually they would be friends again. But he couldn’t say as to when that would happen.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Admit it, you liked it.”

“I wouldn’t go that far!”

“Oh come on.”

“What?”

“You were yelling at the screen when you wanted something to happen.”

“So…”

“Just admit that you liked it.”

“Okay, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

“I knew it!” Michael smiled in triumph causing Maria to roll her eyes.

Okay, so she had honestly had a great time at the movie. It really wasn’t so bad, and if she could willingly admit it to herself, she did like the movie, but more importantly that Michael was with her.

“So I liked the movie…big deal!” she laughed.

The past month had been an interesting one. Not only had she seen her best friend through a tough time, she had been through a rough spell too. First losing her virginity and not remembering it after a night of drunken partying, and then going back to start a rocky friendship with the guy who had taken her virginity. And now, the closer the two of them got, the more she realized how much she really liked him, how much she really wished they could maybe have something more.

Sure sometimes Michael would come off as a hard ass who didn’t care about anyone really, but the truth was he really did care about his friends and family, very much. Just seeing him and Isabel together was enough to see how much he loved his sister and would do anything for her. And Max…well she wasn’t going to even go there…those two were just…weird…it was like one of those on again off again relationship except they were best friends…and it was just confusing.

Maria wasn’t really sure what Michael would say if she said anything about taking their relationship beyond the ‘friends’ level. In the beginning ‘just friends’ had been hard enough, and that was all either of them could even hope for…but was there hope for anything more?

“Let’s go get some ice cream…I think Cold Stone’s is still open,” Michael wrapped an arm around Maria’s waist as they walked towards his car.

“Oh! Sweet cream with cookie dough and amaretto?” she asked with a smile that shone in her eyes.

“But of course! Only the best for you!” Michael chuckled at her joy.

Maria wasn’t sure what to make out of his actions. ‘Only the best for her…’ Did he mean something by that? Did he really like her? For the time being she pushed all the confusing thoughts from her head and just relaxed into the evening and the feel of being held by Michael. It felt so…right.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Thanks Michael. It was fun,” Maria said as she and Michael walked into the apartment building. Michael always walked her up to the door whenever they came back from doing something. It was weird, because they were just friends. He said his parents always told him to be polite, but she could remember a time when he hadn’t walked her up to her door…did that mean something?

“I knew you’d like it!”

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t rub it in or I might not go see another movie like that with you again!” she laughed as she watched his face falter a little.

“So your mom is coming in this week?”

“Yeah. I can’t wait. She’ll be here all week. We’re going to go after Thanksgiving shopping together and everything. I can’t wait.”

“Well have fun pixie.”

“Thanks. So you’re going home with Isabel for the holiday?”

“Yeah. Who knows what our parents have planned…but I suppose it’s a break from all my upcoming finals.”

“I know. I’m stressing out already. But I’m not even going to think about them while my mom is here. I can’t wait till Monday! I didn’t realize how much I really missed her until now. Well, goodnight Michael.”

“Goodnight pixie.” Michael couldn’t resist. He leaned down and gave Maria a kiss on the cheek before turning and leaving her at her door. Where had that come from, he wasn’t sure. He just felt that he had to do it since he might not get to see her for awhile. They both had plans for the holiday and then with finals they would be busy studying…sure they were ‘just friends’ but he couldn’t help it.

Maria was stunned. He had just kissed her…oh god!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria woke up the Saturday morning with a slight headache and not feeling too well. ‘Great, this is just what I need…I do not want to be sick while mom is here! And finals are coming up too…I definitely don’t want to be sick for those either. No, I’m not getting sick,’ she told herself as she regarded her pale, flushed face in the bathroom mirror.

Go figure…she had been sick last year around this time too. Next year, she promised herself, she would make sure she didn’t get sick…not really quite sure how she’d manage it, but she’d try.

She walked out into the living room to find Liz with her nose in her biology book.

“Morning Lizzie.”

“Oh, hey Ria,” Liz yawned in response. “So how was the movie last night?”

“It was a lot of fun, actually,” Maria smiled. She had to tell her friend all about how great it had been with Michael and how he took her for ice cream afterward. “It was just…so…nice. I had so much fun. And when he walked me up, he kissed me. Not like a kiss kiss, but just a little peck on the cheek. But it was so sweet! God Liz, I think I’m…starting to like him. I mean, like him like him.” Maria threw herself onto the couch beside her friend looking for some advice.

“Have you told him that?”

“No. I don’t know what he’ll say. I mean, it’s weird, you know? I mean, first we fight, then we sleep together. Now we’ve slowly built up this great friendship, and I think I want something more, but what if I’m wrong and I just end up ruining that friendship?”

“There are always risks in everything you do. We always have to make choices, everyday, it’s a part of growing up.”

“I know. But is it worth it?” Maria wrapped her arms around her knees, holding them close to her chest as she tried to keep warm, it was strangely cold in the apartment.

“Yes. And no. I mean, Max and I weren’t really friends first, but he was my friend as well as my boyfriend. It was so great…but now that it’s gone I do miss that friendship.” Liz reached out and rubbed Maria’s shoulder gently. “Well, what ever you do Ria, make sure it’s what you really want first, okay?”

“Thanks Lizzie.” The two girls hugged each other close like they had all their lives. Maria was thankful to have her best friend there with her whenever she needed her.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Okay, I can do this…I can do this. I just have to go in there, and get it. That’s it…simple as that,” she took deep calming breaths before walking through the door mumbling under her breath the whole while that she could do this.

Five minutes later she emerged from that same door triumphant. She had done what she had come to, and she could go home…unfortunately, that was only half the battle, or maybe…maybe it was just beginning.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sunday morning Maria was thankful to have the apartment to herself. Liz had gone with Alex to study at the library for a little while. She wasn’t sure how she had gotten so lucky, but she wasn’t about to give it up. She had a good two hours before Liz and Alex could possibly come back. That was plenty of time.

Reaching into her underwear drawer Maria stuck her hand to the very back and pulled out the small plastic bag she had gotten from the store yesterday. This was it…the moment of truth.

Two minutes later she was sitting on her bed waiting. Occasionally tapping her fingers on her leg in impatience.

Oh god! How could this be happening to her? What would she do? God…she really didn’t need this right now…things had just been getting back to normal in her life, well at least as normal as they could get.

What did she want? She wasn’t really sure. Was she ready for this? Not many people her age are…but was she? ‘Stop this!’ she criticized herself. She didn’t even know anything yet, so she shouldn’t be thinking about it…but what if…

Ding!

Breathe…she could handle this. All she had to do was go in there and look at it. Then she’d know. Oh god! Pulling herself up from her bed she numbly walked into the bathroom and straight to the counter.

Two more steps…

What would she do if it was true? Should she be happy? Was she ready for all that this would mean? Was she willing to take on all of that responsibility? Would she be able to just walk away from this?

No. She knew that if it was what she thought it might be, there was no way she could do that…she could never walk away. It just wasn’t in her.

No matter how hard it would be, she would see this thru…if it was true that is.

One more step…

Then there was Michael…and her mother… Her mother really didn’t need to be worrying about her right now, after all, she had a wedding of her own to think about. Lizzie, Tess, Alex, Isabel, this would affect every one of them in some way.

But maybe it was nothing…maybe she was getting all worked up over nothing…she could hope. There was only one way to find out.

There, she was there. She just had to look down.

Deep breath. She looked down and as her eyes fell on the object before her the tears that had been waiting for this moment finally came through and spilled down her cheeks.

Now what?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel knocked on the door of the apartment for the third time and still got no answer. She wasn’t sure why no one was there. Liz had said that someone should be there. She tried the doorknob and to her surprise it opened at her touch.

“Maria, Liz, you home?” she spoke into the apartment. She didn’t see anyone in the living room, so shutting the door behind herself, she headed toward the bedroom.

“Maria? What’s the matter? What’s wrong?” Isabel was worried. Maria was curled up on top of her bed with a blanket wrapped around herself crying.

Maria seemed startled at the touch of a hand on her arm and recoiled, not knowing who it was.

“Izzie?” her voice croaked out. God, how long had she been in that same position just crying? She was surprised she even had any tears left to cry.

“I’m right here Maria. Do you want to talk about it?”

“About what?”

“How about what’s got you crying?”

“I…I…oh god! What am I going to do?”

“Maybe I can help,” Isabel offered.

“I wish you could. God this is such a mess!” Isabel didn’t say anything, she just sat there, continuing to rub Maria’s back soothingly which seemed to be effectively calming her down. She just waited for Maria to continue. “What am I going to do Izzie? My mom will be here soon and I know she’ll understand, but how will I tell her? And everyone…I’ve screwed up everyone’s lives. I mean, it’s all going to change…”

“Slow down. What happened?”

“I…I’m…I’m pregnant. God…that was harder than I thought it would be.”

“How do you feel about it?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I’m happy I guess. But this changes everything. I mean, I’ve ruined everyone’s lives with this…I’ve really screwed up this time.”

“So what are you saying? Are you going to-”

“No!” Maria cut her off before she could even suggest it. “Of course not. I could never…you know. I’m keeping it. I mean, I want to, I really do, but…I don’t know! I’m so confused! I don’t know what to think anymore!” The tears were back but now Maria had a friendly, understanding shoulder to lean on, and it made all the difference.

Isabel wasn’t sure what to think. She was going to be an aunt…wow! Michael…oh god, Michael! Maria had to tell him! But she wouldn’t push her right now. Maybe Maria was already planning out how to tell him. It wasn’t really her business to be getting into, so she would leave it to them for now. This definitely would change things though.

‘There is no going back now.’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Monday morning the café was crazy.

“Maria, can you take this to table 5 please?” Liz called as she placed three mugs on a small tray.

“Sure, no problem chica,” Maria responded less than enthusiastically. Yesterday had been hell for her in so many ways. She had cried all morning and decided to go for a walk before Liz got home so that she didn’t have to tell her. How could she tell Liz? Sure Liz was her best friend and would be there for her always…but she didn’t want to disappoint her. Besides, Maria needed to figure some things out on her own before she told anyone else. She had made Isabel promise not to tell anyone, especially Michael, about yesterday.

It had been a rough night. Long after Liz had gone to bed Maria had lain awake thinking about her future, and when she had finally drifted off to sleep, it was with one hand protectively covering her stomach. To think that there is a life growing inside of her…

Her hand drifted down to her stomach once more before she snapped back to reality and delivered the coffee to the three students sitting in the corner. When she came back to the counter it was to find Liz carefully watching her.

“Are you alright Ria?” Liz asked curiously. She could tell something was up, Maria had been staring off into space.

“Yeah. I just didn’t sleep well last night…” she didn’t want to lie to her friend, but she couldn’t tell her everything yet either. But it was true, she hadn’t really gotten much sleep.

“Oh, you’re not getting sick or something, are you?”

“No, I don’t think so. I’ll be fine. Mom’s coming and I’m just kinda nervous about meeting Jim and Kyle and everything. Plus, finals are coming up and my psych class is going to kill me. I have two papers to do for psych, and one for lit, and…”

“It’s okay Maria. Calm down.” Liz wrapped her arms around her best friend, feeling that she could really use a hug. “Just relax. It’s almost Thanksgiving, so just enjoy the time that you have with your mom while she’s here. Okay? Don’t worry about the other stuff, it’ll all work out in the end.”

“Thanks Liz.”

“No problem. What else are best friends for?”

“Hey Maria, can I talk to you?” a voice called from the counter, startling the two friends.

“Sure Isabel,” Maria spoke hesitantly. “I’m gonna take a short brake Lizzie, k? I’ll be back in 5, I promise.”

“Don’t worry, it’s during classes, hardly anyone comes in, I’ll be fine.”

“Thanks.” Maria led the way outside of the café and rested against the side of the building. There was no one around, everyone was either in classes or at home. “So what is it Isabel?”

“How are you doing?”

“Okay.”

“You don’t look so good. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah. I was just up late trying to think. Umm…you didn’t…you know…did you?”

“No. It’s not my business. This is your secret to tell Maria. But you can’t keep it a secret forever. Everyone will understand. He will understand.”

“I know…it’s just…”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Mom!” Maria squealed as she ran down the terminal towards her mother as she got off the plane. People were staring at the two women making so much noise. It was obvious to anyone paying attention that they were very close and missed each other very much.

“Maria! Oh I missed you so much honey!” The two ran to each other, holding each other close and not letting go. “How are you doing?”

“I’m…I’m fine mom. How is…everything?”

“Ria?” a voice came from somewhere behind Amy.

“Tess? Oh my god! Tess!” Maria let go of her mother who was now smiling at the two girls as they squealed and hugged each other in surprise. “Oh my god! What are you doing here?”

“Well, Amy thought it would be a great surprise for you guys. You know, maybe cheer Lizzie up a little too.” Tess smiled. She definitely was a surprise.

“Wow! She’ll definitely be surprised. We had no idea!” Maria smiled and hugged Tess once more. “I’m so happy you’re here.”

“Me too.”

Maria smiled at her friend, a real smile. She was able to forget, if only for a little while, all of the things that had bothering her for the last few days. When she looked up she saw two guys standing beside her mother.

“Maria, honey, I’d like you to meet Jim Valenti, and his son Kyle.” Jim reached his hand out to the small blond girl who looked so much like her mother, and he smiled.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Maria. You’re mother’s told me so much about you.”

“Oh no, not all the embarrassing stories!”

“At least you weren’t there to hear them talking about you!” Kyle laughed. He had been there…he had to hear them trading stories about the crazy things kids do…oh yeah, that had not been fun, for him at least. Especially the story of when he was five and he had that encounter with the Easter bunny…oh the horrors!

“I’m Maria.”

“Kyle.”

“It’s nice to meet you in person I guess. I’m sorry about being rude on the phone that day…I just kinda needed to talk to mom.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Kyle walked up to her and gave her a hug. He wasn’t really sure why, but it felt right. “Welcome to the family. I always did want a little sister,” he laughed.

Maria couldn’t believe it. Maybe everything was finally all right now. Her mother had done well. She couldn’t help but smiling at his sweet gesture.

“Thanks. I can’t say that I always wanted a big brother…” everyone laughed at her antics. It was true, she had always had two sisters, Liz and Tess, and she’d never really thought about having a big brother…well, okay so Alex was like her big brother after she got to college, but now she’d have one for real, kinda. And the more she thought about it, the more she liked it.

Maria turned to look at the man who had her mother’s heart. He seemed nice enough, and his son was definitely growing on her.

“Thank you for bringing my mom out to see me!” Maria smiled brightly at the man who held her mother closely to his side. They really did look happy together. Like they were meant to be. And there was no way she could deny how happy her mother looked with his arm around her shoulders. Taking a step forward Maria gave him a tentative hug, until his arm gently came around her. Maybe this family thing wouldn’t be so bad.

She wasn’t sure why she had overreacted so much over the whole marriage issue in the first place…look where that got her…drunk at a party…NO! She wasn’t going to think about that right now. Pushing all thoughts aside she focused back on her new family around her and smiled.

‘Happy Holidays.’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




posted on 8-Dec-2001 6:07:08 PM by shorty828
Well that part was really interesting. To start. Max please please please talk to Liz she isnt over you. Please. I cant stand them not talking to the other or being with the other. Now onto Maria. What a Maria centered part. I cant believe this. She is pregnant. When will she tell Liz. She has to tell her best friend. Now what about Michael what will he do. Will he tell Max and Max tells Liz, leaving her made at Maria. This is a mess. Please. everyone needs to talk.

Lisa
posted on 8-Dec-2001 6:09:10 PM by Eerie
great part! keep up the great work. I love this story and I hope that everyone, especially michael can support maria with her baby

please update soon!!! *bounce**bounce**bounce*

Eerie
posted on 8-Dec-2001 7:17:23 PM by SciFiNut111
Good part. Thanks for posting.

Michael's reaction to the new situation should be interesting. His mother's reaction will be something else.

I feel really sorry for Maria, that she has to carry the child of such a b*****d. Can't work up any sympathy for the jerk. If you like or love someone you don't take advantage of them, drunk or not.

Glad you're letting Max stew awhile. He listened to Michael, wrong move. I would think that he would be a little bit madder at Michael than he is. He already seems to be forgiving Michael for ruining his life. I guess Liz didn't really mean all that much to him if he can just accept that Michael broke them up and move on.

As for Liz? I hope she doesn't just melt and take Max back after she hears why he broke her heart. It seems almost worse that Max would destroy what they had based on heresay, not anything that Liz herself did. And Max never, let me repeat that, NEVER, gave her a chance to defend herself.

Liz fought hard to get to where she is without Max. I can't see her opening herself up to the chance of heartbreak with him easily. He's going to have to work long and hard.

Looking forward to the next part.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Dec-2001 12:21:30 AM ]
posted on 8-Dec-2001 8:01:57 PM by rollergal20
OMG!!! Maria's pregnant, I hope she tells Michael soon, and that he's supportive and all.

Max and Liz have to get together again soon. Isabel and Alex are so cute. I bet it will be one fun thanksgiving dinner, are Isabel and Michael going to show up?

post more soon ~ *happy*
posted on 8-Dec-2001 10:19:38 PM by sunrise102
I just found this story and I'm hooked!! I cannot believe what Michael did!!!! He's such a jerk. It' would serve him right if Max didn't forgive him. at least for a long while, Michael needs to learn a lesson. But please let Max talk to Liz, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. And soooooooooooooooooon.

Roxy

BTW, I cried in the last 2 parts. yeah, you guys did that.
posted on 8-Dec-2001 11:00:15 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part but I need my M/L WAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Don't you let Max forgive Michael easily.
posted on 8-Dec-2001 11:00:16 PM by Alien614
Please come back with another part!
posted on 8-Dec-2001 11:39:43 PM by LegalAlien
Oh NO!!! Max is giving up way too early! I hope someone makes him understand that neither he nor Liz will find any happiness without each other! Let them at least start to be friends again - and Liz deserved to know why Max broke up with her, even if this only shows that he didn't really trust her!

Come back with a new part please!!!

Joe
posted on 9-Dec-2001 1:43:01 AM by roswellluver
Maria sure has a lot to work through, I hope she tells everyone of her pregnancy soon! Thanks for writing!
posted on 9-Dec-2001 2:31:08 AM by y3n1ov3lygur1
please make Max to tell Liz asap...I want Liz to slap on Max's face, he deserved it..anyway, aaww Maria is pregnant, I can't believe it, Michael will definitely be really shocked
**I can't wait for the next part**
night *big* *angel*
posted on 9-Dec-2001 4:41:19 AM by Black Rain
Come back!!!!
I can't wait for Michael's and Amy's reaction.
I'm jumping up and down in my room, beacuse I so can't wait for a next part.
I love this story, I really do.
*bounce* That's me at the moment
posted on 9-Dec-2001 4:42:45 AM by angelbaby6977
I hope Max speaks with Liz soon! But I guess it will not be easy for him to win her back.
I can't wait for Michael's reaction.
Please post more soon!
posted on 9-Dec-2001 10:25:04 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Micheal had better support Maria!!I think he would , at least after the shock wore off!! Now Max just has to get his courage up and talk to Liz!!! Can't wait for more!!
posted on 9-Dec-2001 11:14:56 PM by angelbehr
Maria is Pregnant?! Michael's reaction should be very interesting! I know he will support her in the end though. He may be a liar, but he still deserves a second chance at love. *happy*

Max rrreeeaaalllyyy needs to talk to Liz! If he is willing to give up so easily, then maybe he doesn't deserve her. *sad* If they do talk, Liz shouldn't be really quick to take him back though. Max made the decision to break up with her on the basis of hear-say, so he obviously has some issues with trust. If they can learn to trust one another, then they should get back together.

Maria reunion with her mother and Tess was wonderful!*big* Maybe she will be able to sit down and tell Liz and Tess about the pregnancy now. She is really lucky to have Isabel as and ally too!

Good luck on the rest of your finals, girls! *happy*

~angela~
posted on 10-Dec-2001 10:37:30 PM by y3n1ov3lygur1
I'm so exited!! I can't wait for the next part that is coming up..heheh *angel*
--good luck on the finals for whoever attending to college--
posted on 11-Dec-2001 3:57:56 PM by dancepixie
Hey everyone, I just thought that I'd leave a little note to say that Michelle has been writing, don't worry...she's got like 8 pages done. But the ever present finals...and she's sick too, so that kinda sucks. She says she'll have it out...sometime...but our ethernet isn't working, it's being dumb so we have to use dial up and it's slow... But we promise more sometime soon.

And Meggie Doll, if you're reading this, call me later, k?

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 11-Dec-2001 4:03:04 PM by shorty828
haha Im the first to reply to this, Of course we understand, and will be waiting

Lisa
posted on 11-Dec-2001 7:27:41 PM by rollergal20
I for one understand about finals. I had three today, along with a paper due. So I know how crazy it is this time of year.

So we will be waiting patiently, and wishing you lots of luck.

vacation can't come soon enough ! ~ *big*
posted on 12-Dec-2001 1:13:37 AM by dancepixie
Alrighty...Michelle is trying to post her part, yet as Michelle and Nikki are using the same computer for internet access...and our ethernet is being dumb. And as Michelle was stupid and didn't look at the name that she was loged in as when she posted...you get this random post that has no value what so ever. Thank you for listening to my ramblings.

~Michelle

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2001 1:18:58 AM ]
posted on 12-Dec-2001 1:22:05 AM by Pegleg
AN: Alright. Yes despite finals and the fact that I'm getting all sick and stuff and that I've had to change my random plans for this weekend...like three million times, I was still able to get this part out today...due to Nikki's not so gentle persuasions. So anyway, here is the part. I hope you like it. I'm not so sure about it, but I think it's cute. Don't forget to let me know what you think. And so...without any further ado...part 28

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 28

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Mmmm. Honey, that was so good. Thank you for taking us all to dinner,” Amy said as she leaned towards her fiancé to give him a quick kiss.

“My pleasure,” Jim responded after the two had broken apart.

Maria watched her mom and this new man in their life with awe. Had she ever seen her mother this happy? Just looking at Jim seemed to bring a smile to her mother’s face. After spending the evening and having dinner with her new family, Maria could see that her mother was completely and totally in love with this man. Jim held Amy’s heart in a way that Maria was sure even her father hadn’t.

If she could even call that man a father. He never had been, at least not to her. When she was young she used to wish for him to someday return, riding in like a knight in shining armor and she could finally have a real family. But as the years went by, that dream faded and Maria became comfortable knowing that it was always going to be just her and her mom. Two of a kind. And that was all the family that she ever needed.

Suddenly, it wasn’t just her and her mom anymore. Suddenly this new man was coming into their lives and Maria couldn’t help but feel that little bit of anger. Where had this wonderful man, the one that could make her mother utterly and completely happy, where had he been when he was really needed? When Maria really needed a father?

Although, she knew it was wrong to blame him for the absence of a father figure in her youth. It wasn’t his fault that her biological father had just up and left at the first sign of trouble. Jim was a great man, and probably would have been a great father…too bad it was too little too late.

All this thinking about her youth brought her thoughts around to her own child. Would it have a loving and supporting father like she had secretly wished for her entire life? Would Michael be there to stand beside her through it all or would he run scared like her own father had? Maria could feel the tears pricking her eyes simply at the thought, so she quickly pushed them back, returning her thoughts back to the present situation.

“So mom, you never told me. When is the wedding?”

“It’s the first week in January. Oh dear, I keep meaning to ask you. Will you be my maid of honor?”

“Oh mom…of course I will,” Maria said as she leaned over the table to envelope her mom in a hug.

“Oh, thank you honey. I know this is hard for you. I’m so glad that you’re being so supportive of this,” she whispered in Maria’s ear so that no one else heard.

To all witnessing the exchange however, they could tell that these two women were very close and that they were most definitely one of the most important things in each other’s lives.

“So…” Maria started, breaking the silence after she had once again settled down in her seat. “Jim, I hope you know that you’re a lucky man. My mom is a very special woman.”

“Maria!” Amy protested lightly.

“No Amy, she’s right. You are very special, and trust me Maria. I thank god every day that she loves me back just as much as I love her. She means the world to me.”

And just by looking into Jim’s eyes and then seeing the way her turned to gaze at her mother, Maria could tell that he meant every word of what he said. ‘He might just be good enough for her,’ she thought.

“Alright Dad, enough with the mushiness. As if I don’t get it enough at home…hey” Kyle started, but was interrupted by the firm smack to the back of his head. “What was that for?”

“Kyle, you sure know how to ruin a moment,” Tess interceded.

They all laughed, enjoying their time together, getting to know each other as a family. It was then that Maria looked at her watch, realizing what time it was.

“Oh, you guys. I’d hate to leave, but it’s getting late and I should really get some studying done before I go to bed and I have classes and work tomorrow, so…yeah. Umm…Tess are you coming with me?” Maria asked, assuming that she would want to see her sister as soon as possible.

“Actually. I think that I’m gonna try and surprise Liz tomorrow. You know, come by the café. When is she working by the way?”

“Umm, she’ll be there anytime after noon. I think she’s working till at least five,” Maria was a little confused by Tess’ decision. But she guessed she could understand how she wanted to surprise her sister.

“Thanks ‘Ria. Night,” Tess said as the wrapped her arms around her friend in a hug. Then, whispering quietly in her ear, “Besides, this means I have to share a room with Kyle.”

Maria giggled as realization dawned on her. “Just be good,” she whispered back and they pulled apart.

They both giggled again before Maria moved on to her mother, giving her a huge hug before saying, “I’ll call you tomorrow, when I get off work.”

“Alright honey. See you soon. I’ve missed you.”

“Me too.”

She came up to Jim, giving him a hug, much surer of herself this time then the last. “Thank you for making my mom happy,” she spoke into his ear, not sure whether anyone could hear her or not.

“No need to thank me, dear. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just seeing the smile on her face brings me more joy then I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve got all the thanks I need right here.”

Maria just smiled. Yeah, if there was ever a man that deserved her mother, this was the one.

“Now, can I give you a ride home?” Jim started.

“No, no. I’ll be fine. You guys are already here. I’ll just walk, it’s not that far.”

“Nonsense. At least let me call you a cab.”

“No, really Jim. I’ll be fine.”

“I insist. I’m not going to let a young lady like yourself walk the streets alone at this time of night. I’m going to go call you a cab, and Kyle is going to wait outside with you.”

Before Maria could protest, Jim had walked over to the front desk, as the restaurant emptied out into their hotel lobby, asking for the number of the nearest cab company. Maria turned to Kyle, feeling bad for getting him drug into this.

“I’m sorry. You don’t have to wait with me really. I’ll be ok.”

“Naw. It’s alright. What are brothers for anyway?”

Maria couldn’t help the smile that came over her face. Yeah, maybe she could get used to this after all.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The cab pulled up to the hotel and Kyle walked over to the driver’s side window, handing the man the money his father had given him. “She’ll tell you the address when she gets in. Just make sure that she gets home safe…and keep the change.”

He then walked back over to where Tess and Maria were saying goodbye yet again. “Bye, I’ll see you tomorrow. And then you are definitely staying with us. There is no getting out of it. Once your sister knows you’re here, she’s not gonna let you out of her site.”

“Yeah, I know. Make sure that you don’t let her know…even inadvertently. I want this to be a surprise.”

“Yeah I know,” she said giving the girl one last hug.

“Plus, can you blame me,” Tess whispered smirking.

Maria just laughed again, and moved to say goodbye to Kyle. He quickly enveloped her in a hug, squeezing her tightly. “Night sis.”

“You know technically we are not brother and sister yet,” she responded with a smirk. Maybe this big brother thing wasn’t going to be so bad…she could get used to this.

“Yeah I know. I’m just getting plenty practice in ahead of time,” he replied a huge grin spread across his face. He wasn’t lying when he said he’d always wanted a sister.

Maria laughed again, before getting into the cab and waving goodbye. Once alone however, she was without distractions once again, and her mind quickly drifted to her current situation. These two men that were slowly working their way into her life were amazing, more then she could have ever asked for. But would they feel the same way after they found out? A lone tear streaked down her cheek before she was able to push it back. She needed to keep herself composed if she was ever going to be able to keep this from Lizzie.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tess and Kyle made their way up to the room once they had finally said goodbye to Maria. Upon reaching their door, Kyle fished around in his pocket, coming out with the card key that his father had handed him just before him and Amy had gone up to their room.

The two entered the room and were met with an awkward silence, neither one knowing quite what to say or do in their present situation.

“Well. I’ll take the bed by the window if that’s ok with you,” Tess said, finally breaking the silence.

“Yeah yeah…fine…whatever you want.”

“Thanks. Well, I think I’m gonna go take a shower ok?”

“Sure,” Kyle said awkwardly as Tess moved to open her bag and get out the things that she needed for the night.

Once she had made it into the bathroom and Kyle heard the soft click of the door locking, he finally let out the breath that he just realized he’d been holding and fell backwards onto the bed with a deep sigh.

How was he supposed to do this? How could he spend the whole night in the same room as her, knowing that her sweet succulent body was lying in the bed only five feet away? Yeah, he was gonna get lots of sleep tonight.

Kyle was startled out of his thoughts when he heard a light knocking coming from the door adjoining this room with the one his father shared with Amy. He walked over to open the door, finding his father standing there.

“Hey Kyle. I heard you guys come in. Everything ok?”

“Yeah, Maria’s on her way home.”

“Where’s Tess?” his father asked, not seeing her in the room behind Kyle.

“Oh, she went to go take a shower.” As if confirming Kyle’s statement, at that moment the water could be heard as the shower came on.

“Alright, good. Just checking. Ok, I’ll see you two in the morning. Behave,” Jim finished, just as he moved back into his room and shut the door.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Jim let out a sigh as he left one longing look towards the door, before moving back into the room towards his fiancé.

“Are you sure it’s smart to leave those two in a room together?”

“Jim honey, calm down. I’ve known Tess all my life. She’s a smart girl with a good head on her shoulders. I know she wouldn’t do anything rash.”

“Yes, and I know my son. He’s a twenty-year-old male, and I remember all too well what that was like. And I know that you have seen the looks that those two have been giving each other lately.”

“Jim, do you trust me?”

“What? Yes of course I do, but…”

“Then trust me when I say that everything is going to be fine. They’re not going to just jump into anything, especially when they know we are in the next room.”

“Yeah…I guess you’re right.”

“Of course I am,” Amy agreed, before moving her arms around Jim’s neck to meet him in a loving kiss.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

What kind of a guy did his dad think he was? I mean, really. Like he had no self-control at all. Of course telling Kyle to behave seemed to have exactly the opposite affect on him. Now he couldn’t seem to keep the mischievous thoughts from his mind.

‘Alright Kyle. Get a grip on yourself. You’re never gonna make it through the night at this rate,’ he thought as he flopped back down on his bed.

Kyle slowly began to clear his mind, trying to rid it of all thoughts…concentrating on something, anything else that would get his mind off things. Kyle soon found himself focusing on the sound of running water coming from the bathroom.

‘Water…crisp cool droplets…hot steamy shower…Tess in the shower…hot streams of water dribbling over her tight, pert little…Damnit Kyle,’ he thought to himself as he felt the familiar tightening in his pants. ‘You need to get a hold of yourself. God, it’s not even legal.’

All too soon, Kyle heard the water turn off and was now trying desperately to get his body under control. And he had almost succeeded when he heard Tess’s re-entry from the bathroom and looked up to see her in that skimpy little tank top and shorts that she was obviously wearing to bed. Did she not understand what wearing something like that was going to do to him?

Kyle quickly muttered something about going to take a shower before he disappeared into the bathroom, bag and all.

Tess was a little surprised at his hasty retreat, to say the least. As she heard the spray of the water come on, Tess lay back on her bed wondering if Kyle would ever notice her. She couldn’t help but be attracted to him. He had a body to die for, and on top of that, he was just about the sweetest guy she’d ever met.

Granted, she hadn’t known him for that long, but of all the times she had been with him he had been nothing but the sweet, kind gentleman that Tess had always looked for. Sure, he’d joke around with her, but on the inside he was a great guy and Tess just couldn’t help the feeling that came over her whenever she was with him.

Tess would often go visit Amy; she had ever since Maria had left. Amy kind of took Tess in as a surrogate daughter, something to try and lessen the blow of her daughter’s departure. Ever since the engagement, Kyle had been coming over more to see Amy, helping her out and getting to know his soon-to-be stepmother. That’s where Tess had first met Kyle and how they got to know each other. Tess and Amy would often go out to eat or go shopping, and sometimes Kyle would tag along with. She wasn’t quite sure why a twenty-year-old guy would want to go shopping with two females, but she wasn’t complaining. Just seeing the way that Kyle acted with Amy endeared him more. He was just always so polite and caring… ‘Ahh, if only he would notice me!’

Tess was broken out of her thoughts when she heard what sounded like a yell coming from the bathroom that Kyle had disappeared into just ten minutes ago. The water was soon shut off and she moved to the door of the bathroom to make sure everything was ok.

“Kyle? Is everything alright? I heard you yelling.”

There was a moment of silence before she got his reply. “Yeah yeah…I’m fine. Uh…the water just got really hot there for a moment…” she heard from behind the still closed door.

“Oh…ok.” Tess said unsurely. She walked back over to her bed, and searching through her bag, came out with her hairbrush. Taking her hair out of the clip that it was held back in, she was just about to begin brushing through her hair, when Kyle came out of the bathroom clad in only boxers and a wife beater.

Tess couldn’t help the gasp that escaped her mouth at the vision she saw in front of her. Realizing that she was staring, Tess quickly looked away, blushing her embarrassment.

Kyle however wasn’t any better off. With her hair now down, Kyle was entranced by how the wet curls framed her face and moved further down to gently flow across her shoulders. The way she was sitting now, cross-legged on the edge of the bed, looking so sweet and young and innocent struck Kyle somewhere deep within. She was absolutely gorgeous, that was the only way he could think of to describe her, and even then he thought it wasn’t doing her justice.

When Tess’ face turned back up to his own, he realized he had been staring at her the entire time. Yet despite his embarrassment, he couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away from her beautiful face. They shared a sweet smile, and then the spell was broken when she finally spoke.

“Have a nice shower?” Tess asked innocently, not knowing what else to say, as she continued brushing her hair.

Kyle’s eyes went wide and he sputtered, not knowing exactly what to say. “Uh…yeah…I guess,” Kyle said coolly, while on the inside he was panicking. How could he let himself lose control like that? She was in the next room for Christ’s sake.

Kyle just moved to lay on his bed, trying to allow his mind and body to relax. He silently watched Tess out of the corner of his eye, watching as a yawn escaped her.

“Tired?”

“Yeah, a little,” Tess admitted. “Jet lag,” she offered as an explanation.

“Understandable. Why don’t you get some sleep? I’m sure you have a long day ahead of you with seeing your sister and all.”

“Yeah, I think I might.”

“Do you mind if I read for a little bit? I’ll just keep this light on here next to the bed,” he said motioning to the lamp on the far side of his bed.

“No, it’s alright. You don’t need to turn the lights off. I can sleep with them on,” she said while already crawling into bed.

Kyle just shook his head. She was always thinking about everyone else before herself. He guessed that was what he liked about her, apart from the fact that she was simply beautiful of course.

Without saying a word, Kyle went around the room, turning off all the lights besides the one next to his own bed. Lastly, he came to the lamp that sat on the night table beside Tess. “Goodnight Tess,” he said quietly, after turning off the bedside lamp. Unable to help himself, he ran the back of his hand down across her cheek, before making his way over to his own bed and settling into read his book.

Surprised by his warm gesture, Tess couldn’t help but feel a tingle run through her at the touch of his hand upon her skin. She had no idea what had possessed him to do that, but she couldn’t help but hope that maybe, just maybe, he was beginning to notice. And that maybe he could just possibly feel a fraction of the attraction she felt to him.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Well, are you gonna tell her?” Isabel asked Max as they sat together in the café.

“I don’t know Iz. I mean, even though it was Michael that instigated it all, I can’t just walk right back into her life like that. I made the decision to listen to him. I didn’t question it at all. I just took everything at face value and broke it off. Look at her,” he said, gesturing to the woman working behind the counter, a longing look in his eyes. “She’s over me. She doesn’t even so much as look my way when I’m around anymore. I can’t just go up to her and pretend that it was all some misunderstanding and ask her to take me back. It was my decision to make. I can’t take back the hurt I caused her.”

“Well Max, it seems to me that you don’t really need my advice. You seem to have decided everything for yourself already.”

“I know…it’s just…I still love her Iz. Just as much as I ever have. I just wish I hadn’t been such a stupid idiot and broken her heart in the first place.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tess walked into the café and spotted her sister behind the counter. They were still kinda busy, so Tess wasn’t all that surprised when Liz didn’t look up. Walking up to the counter to where Liz’s back was turned, Tess started, “What does someone have to do to get a little service around here?” She spoke harshly, trying to disguise her voice as much as possible.

“I’m sorry. I’ll be right with you,” Liz threw over her shoulder, doing a double take upon seeing who it was. “OH MY GOD!!! Tess, what are you doing here?” she asked as she ran around the counter to envelope her sister in a warm hug.

“I thought that I’d surprise you. Amy brought me along with.”

“Oh my god, I’ve missed you so much. I can’t believe you’re here. Wait…does this mean that Maria knew you were here and she didn’t even tell me…the nerve of that girl.”

“Hey, hold up. She didn’t know until we got in last night, and even then I made her promise not to tell you. I wanted to surprise you.”

“Oh, you surprised me alright. Now come on. Sit down, and tell me everything that’s been going on back home. Oh, I can’t believe you’re really here.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max and Isabel were disrupted from there conversation by the sounds of two squealing girls. They looked up to see Tess and Liz holding each other in a tight embrace. Isabel looked on with excitement, but her heart broke when she looked back to Max, who was currently looking at his ex with a lost look in his eye, despite the slight grin on his face. He really missed her. More than anything Isabel wished there was something that she could do, but this was something that Max and Liz needed to work out on their own. As much as she wanted to, she knew that she couldn’t interfere.

Max’s gaze finally dropped from Liz and he looked back at Isabel. She gave him a supportive smile, before setting one last glance back at the girls, not being able to resist.

“Why don’t you just go say hi,” Max said.

“What? No Max, it’s ok…”

But he cut her off, “No Isabel. I insist. Go say hi. Tess probably won’t be around for too long, this may be your only chance. Go.”

“Are you sure?” she asked him questioningly. She hated to leave him like this.

“I’m fine. You don’t need to listen to my stupid problems anyway. I’ll be fine.”

“Max, it will get better. I promise,” Isabel said as she got up to leave. “I won’t be too long. Wait for me?”

“Yeah ok.” And then as a last thought, as Isabel was walking away, “I sure hope you’re right Iz. I sure hope you’re right.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Tess!”

“Isabel! Hey,” Tess said as she jumped up to hug her friend.

“When did you get here?”

“Just last night. I wanted to surprise Lizzie. I came with Maria’s mom.”

“Wow. So, I’ve heard you have the hots for Maria’s soon-to-be brother. You have to tell me all about him.”

“God, is there anyone that Maria didn't tell?” Tess asked, looking towards Liz who had just asked her the same question.

“Come on Tess, we are talking about Maria here,” Liz answered as if that explained everything. “Besides, do I not have a right to know what is going on with my own sister, even if she won’t tell me?” Liz accused.

“I’m sorry Lizzie. I meant to tell you. Really. I guess it just slipped my mind.”

The three friends talked for a while before Isabel decided it was time for her to go.

“Well guys, it was nice talking to ya. But I should probably get back to…uh…back to Max,” she finished awkwardly. “Bye Tess. It was good seeing you again,” Isabel said as she gave the girl a final hug. “Bye Liz. I’ll see ya around,” and with that, Isabel turned around to go back to the table where Max was sitting silently drinking his coffee.

Watching Liz as she looked over at the man who broke her heart, Tess felt the need to say something. “I’m sorry Liz.”

“Huh…what?” Liz asked coming out of her daze. “What do you have to be sorry about?”

“About Max.”

“Oh that,” Liz let out a sigh. “It’s alright. Really. I’m over that. We broke up and I moved on. I really wish everyone would stop harping on it.”

But seeing the look that crossed Liz’s face as she looked at Max from across the room, Tess knew that she was only kidding herself. Liz was far from over Max, that was for sure. Maybe it was just sisterly intuition, or the fact that they’d been able to read each other all their lives…but Tess knew that no matter how much Liz tried to convince herself that she was completely over him…there was still some part of her that was holding on to what they once had. Her heart had been broken, and it was far from mended. Tess just hoped that she could help heal the wound that Max had left.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2001 1:47:16 AM ]
posted on 12-Dec-2001 1:30:37 AM by angelbaby6977
Wonderful part!
posted on 12-Dec-2001 1:41:24 AM by shorty828
I really love this story so much, I loved reading about everyone else. Tess and Kyle have the hots for each other thats great. Kyle make your move. Please dont get me started on this M/L thing. Ok you did. They have to get back together, they are just lost without the other, cant they see that. I cant wait to read when they do. Max, just talk to her please. Please hurry with the next part. I might go into withdrawl if it isnt posted soon. Good luck on all the finals, I KNOW how stressful they are. Sorry bout your ethernet and building probs, that is so frustraiting. Well take care

Lisa
posted on 12-Dec-2001 8:04:07 AM by SciFiNut111
Great part.

It was nice that Maria finally accepts her mother's upcoming marriage and even likes the fact that she will have a brother.

It's very interesting. In story after story, no matter how much Michael and Max are trashed, Kyle keeps coming up smelling like a rose. The perfect boyfriend. Isn't Tess the lucky one. While Maria is stuck with the jerk and Liz is stuck on the dimwit, Tess scores big time.

Like the fact that Liz is starting to get over Max. She should. I hope they get together by the end of the story, but come on, he really hurt her alot. Don't make it easy for him to win back Liz. He should have to work for it.

How can Maria keep her condition from Liz? MAria will need the support of all of her friends. She needs to tell Liz. And Alex.

Looking forward to the next part.

posted on 12-Dec-2001 9:03:08 AM by angelbehr
You are so good to us! Even with finals and fighting a cold, you come here to give your loyal fans a new part! *happy* Now that's dedication!!!
Okay, so now that I have buttered you up *wink*, please have Max talk to Liz!!! I know that their situation won't be a quick fix, but they have to start somewhere. I agree with Scifinut in that Liz should make Max work to get her back, but there is no denying that they are still in love.
Maria, Maria, Maria! That girl needs also needs to talk to Liz!!! I mean, Liz is her best friend. Maria is really going to need her support for when she tells Michael.
Alright, those are my demands! J/K *wink*, you know I will love this story no matter what happens!

~angela~
posted on 12-Dec-2001 9:10:58 AM by Black Rain
Great part.
Looking forward to the next one.
Can't wait for Maria to tell
posted on 12-Dec-2001 9:18:13 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part but where's my dreamer action????
posted on 12-Dec-2001 10:23:07 AM by mpls muse
My heart is just breaking for Max and Liz! I think it's about time Max did a little crawling on his knees and begging for forgiveness. Also - Michael needs to haul himself over to Liz and tell her what he did.

Ok - sorry for the rant! I really love this story - come back soon.

Robyn*happy*
posted on 12-Dec-2001 11:21:36 AM by rollergal20
What a wonderful part... please put Max and Liz together again, an have Michael be supportive and possible acutally excited about the baby - let him suprise us for once.

thanks for posting... good luck with your finals...*happy*
posted on 12-Dec-2001 11:47:50 AM by tabasco sauce
go tess! I hope she can to something to mend our dreamcouple's problems.... ::hint hint::

-andy
posted on 12-Dec-2001 12:00:09 PM by SpencerHopeful
Loved the Tess/Kyle parts. Very nice.

Max needs to stop all the self-pitying bull crap, and talk to Liz. He hasn't earned the right to wallow yet.

I love that Maria has accepted Jim and Kyle in her family. Very nice. I love how close she and Amy are too.

What would surprise me is Michael not being there for Maria, in the end. I mean, he was willing to be disowned for that other chick. But he was burned pretty bad by her, so he might not be readily willing to go to those same extremes. And you know his bitch of a mother won't approve, again. I just hope his love for Maria wins out, and that he allows himself to try again.

In the meantime Maria needs some support. She has to talk to her friends about this..
posted on 12-Dec-2001 2:21:22 PM by kittens
Someone needs to tell Liz, and I think it should be Michael, he hasn't gotten nearly enough of the heat.

And when is Maria going to spill, she's going to start showing, or someone is going to start noticing the morning sickness soon.
posted on 12-Dec-2001 2:23:27 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Really Great Part!! I am happy for Jim and Amy!! I can't wait for Tess and Kyle to realize they like each other!! I hope that things turn for the better soon for Max, Liz and Maria!! Can't wait for more!! I hope you feel better soon!!
posted on 12-Dec-2001 2:53:59 PM by roswellluver
I wish Max would take the first step back towards Liz, and I hope Maria lets more people in on her baby news! Thanks for writing!
posted on 12-Dec-2001 4:44:20 PM by Rapunzel
This story just keeps getting better and better each time another part is written. The whole thing between Kyle and Tess is really cute! I really want Max and Liz to get back together.....they're still so in love! Keep writing!
posted on 12-Dec-2001 6:33:19 PM by zannyb
AHHH!!! What is wrong with Max? Beg, grovel, do whatever you have to to get back together with Liz. Please? I love it when Max and Liz are together. Tess and Kyle are so cute! I love the way you portray their characters. Maria has to tell everyone about her baby. Michael won't run, will he? He better not. Post again soon!

~Nikki~
posted on 13-Dec-2001 8:56:44 PM by y3n1ov3lygur1
you guys are the greatest, I know you guys are pretty busy later because of the finals...but still posted the next part for us..thanks a lot!!

good luck on the finals
night
posted on 13-Dec-2001 9:04:21 PM by TrueLoveConquersAll
Nikki, I just read Parts 27 and 28 and they were both great. I hope Maria tells Liz and Michael that she is pregnant soon because Liz is going to be upset with her because she is her best friend. Michael is such an ass, but I have a feeling that he will stick by Maria because he really loves her. Max is just plain stupid like I said before, but at least he knows he was wrong to treat Liz the way he did. I really feel sorry for Max and Liz because they both still love each other and don't know how to act around each other anymore. I hope Max and Liz both work out their problems and get back together, but Liz better make Max do a whole lot of grovelling. Please come back asap with Part 29 and keep up the good work!!!!*happy*
posted on 15-Dec-2001 1:14:10 AM by dancepixie
Okay...so here's the thing. Today was my last final and I was planning on going home to my family right after and then writing this next part tonight after a little time with my family...but things didn't quite happen that way.

First, Michelle noticed my car had a flat tire when we were leaving our final. So when we got back to our apartment we put the spare on, but since it's not a full size tire my dad said there is no way I should drive home with that on my car.

So, then I had to take my car to a tire place to see if they could patch the tire, but they couldn't, in fact, I needed to have all four of the tires replaced. Lucky me though, I have a sweet roommate who waited for me to make sure I would be able to get home and who kept me company at McDonalds while George (my car) was getting his new tires.

So 200 something dollars later...my car has new tires. But I didn't get to leave early, so I caught LA traffic by the time I reached LA, and let me just say that the 405 is the devil incarnate!!!

Anyways, I found out from the guy at the toll booth on the 73 that one of my headlights is out, cause Michelle just happened to be right in front of me and asked the guy to tell me that. Let's just say that George is having way to many problems, he's on my bad list right now...plus the fact that his brakes squeek...

So now I'm finally at home...hours later...and while I might start writing the next part, I know it won't get done...sorry everyone. I know, you just read this whole rant, and you aren't even getting a new part, I'm sorry. But I'll try for sometime tomorrow, it just depends on whether the ideas are flowing and how much baking I have to help my mom with.

Okay, enough of me ranting...sorry you had to listen to this...but I'm just slightly frustrated right now!

Oh, and Michelle, if you're reading this...it's so weird...I'm at home and you aren't in the same room to talk to anymore*sad* Sigh...I'll get over it though!*wink*

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 15-Dec-2001 1:20:22 AM by shorty828
:( sorry to hear about your no good terrible rotten day:( Hope things go better for you!! yay your finals are over mine too!! And wed and thur I experienced the no net thing :( Well Cant wait for the next part

Lisa
posted on 15-Dec-2001 8:33:22 AM by Eerie
awww I'm sorry that this happened to you. dont worry, I will still be here when you do have your next chapter. no worries

Eerie
posted on 15-Dec-2001 10:50:42 AM by rollergal20
I'm sorry to hear about your car troubles, I know how that is... trust me I know!

I hope the rest of your holiday goes better and that you enjoy your time with your family. I know I will with mine.

I had finals this last week as well, and they have already posted the grades on my schools web site. What a way to ruin a perfectly good vacation! lol lol

HAPPY HOLIDAY'S TO EVERYONE ~ *angel*
posted on 15-Dec-2001 12:37:05 PM by Rapunzel
Aww...poor George! Can't wait for the next part!
posted on 16-Dec-2001 5:42:15 PM by PennyLane
Hi sweeties. Where is the rest of my Story!?!⊕$!?
I guess I'll give you a break seeing as George was having issues and you guys just finished you EVIL finals. But write faster*tongue* Love it so far. It had better end happy. Bye bye now!
Love Me
*angel*
posted on 18-Dec-2001 1:16:13 PM by Black Rain
I need an update!
But I think I let you rest after your finals.(Isn't that a nice thing of me to do)(Just kidding)
Loved the new part
posted on 18-Dec-2001 2:45:13 PM by dancepixie
Hey everyone, I'm sorry that this took a while to come out. But I finished it this morning and just had to post it right away. I'm glad you are all liking this story, and Meg, yeah! you can post now. Michelle, I hope you're happy, you can stop bugging me now. Now it is my turn to bug you! hehehe!!! As always, feedback is greatly loved!*wink*

~Nikki~
*angel*

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 29

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh come on! You’ve got to be kidding. There is no way he would do that!” Liz and Maria both laughed at the idea.

“I’m serious, I heard it!” Tess told them.

“No!”

“Yes!”

“But…”

“I swear I’m not making this up! Scout’s honor!” Tess giggled as she lifted her right hand as proof. This only caused the other two to laugh harder.

“Since when have you been a scout?”

“Okay, so I never was, gees Ria, it’s just an expression.”

“I know, it’s just fun to watch you squirm.”

“Thanks,” Tess rolled her eyes. “But seriously, I’m not lying.”

“Wow, so how rich is he anyways?”

“I don’t know, but very!”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. But it’s not about the money. I mean, you’re mom loves Jim, and I think it’s really sweet that he’s building her a house and everything. I didn’t hear much, but it’s going to be big. I think they already started building it because they want it done before all the heavy winter snow. Amy sounded really happy when she was talking about it with Jim. Don’t they make such a cute couple?” she gushed.

“Yeah, they do. Last night I was realizing how perfect they really are together. How come he couldn’t have come along a little sooner, you know? I mean, I’m fine that I didn’t have a dad growing up, I had your dad for that…but it still wasn’t the same. But now my mom finally found the perfect guy for her, and I just kinda wish it could have happened a little sooner.” Liz and Tess shared a sympathetic look before wrapping their arms around Maria in a group hug.

“But hey, you can all be a family now.”

“Yeah, one big happy family…” Maria let her voice trail off not wanting to say anything else, but subconsciously thinking of how much bigger the family was going to get in the coming year…

“Ria, are you okay?”

“Huh? Oh yeah, sorry. I was just sort of spacing for a minute. Sorry. So, Tess tell me about this thing with you and my future step-brother!” Maria smiled. Maybe soon all of them really would be family. If Tess and Kyle got together, they would all be sisters…

“What?” Liz asked, a little bit out of the loop.

“Tess has a crush on Jim’s son Kyle!” Maria offered in explanation.

“Hey! Why haven’t I heard about this until now? I’m your sister!”

“I know. I’m sorry Lizzie. I just…well I was busy with stuff and then getting ready to come here to surprise you, and I didn’t want to accidentally give anything away…I’m sorry.”

“So tell me about him already.”

“Okay, well,” Tess giggled a little remembering the night before in the hotel before she told her sisters all about Kyle and everything that went along with that.

“Amy and I got really close after you two came out here. I would stop by after school on my walk home to see how she was doing and if she needed help with anything. It was great cause she’s always been someone that I could talk to you know? She’s like a mother, but not. Anyways, just after getting home from visiting you guys I stopped by Amy’s place after school and Kyle was there. He was there doing yard work for your mom. I come walking up to the house that I practically grew up in and there is this gorgeous guy without a shirt on in the front yard. I think I might have been drooling, but he didn’t notice me, he was to busy with his work. So I walk inside and Amy and I were talking and she told me about Kyle and Jim, and how Kyle was helping her around the house at his dad’s request. I think it’s really sweet that Jim cared so much, but anyways… Kyle came in a little later and we all had some lemonade together and Amy introduced us. Then she asked Kyle if he could give me a ride home. She wouldn’t listen when I said that I could walk. So he drove me home, and he was really sweet and nice. We talked a little bit in the car and he told me all about how he’s at the local JC trying to decide what he wants to do in the future. He’s not really sure so he doesn’t want his dad paying for some major college…even though that is like pocket change to him. I’d see him every now and then after that. He and Jim and Amy have had dinner at our place a few times and sometimes he’s there when I visit Amy,” Tess concluded, wringing her hands in her lap as she finished her little story.

“Oh! That’s so cute!”

“Yeah, you didn’t hear her last night when she was telling me the real reason why she didn’t want to come back with me…huh Tess?”

“What? Tell me! Tell me!” Liz bounced around in her spot on the sofa as she took another spoonful of ice cream.

“Calm down!” Tess laughed. “I think maybe you’ve had too much of that!”

“Get on with it already, stop stalling,” Maria poked.

“Fine. All I said to Ria was that if I stayed at the hotel I’d be sharing a room with Kyle, and all I have to say is that it was sooo worth it!” Laughter filled the room once more and it felt just like it always had in the old days back in Nebraska when they would lay around and talk about guys. “I just wish that he would notice me. I mean, last night, I don’t think he hardly noticed I was in the room. What else can I do to get his attention if I couldn’t in my little pj’s last night?” Maria raised an eyebrow at Liz and from Tess’s point of view it was like they were having a conversation without her. Liz slightly shook her head in response with a slight raise of her shoulders.

“Oh, our little Tessie is all growing up on us!” Maria finally voiced. “We’re so proud!”

“You two get all creepy when you do that silent communication thing…I mean, how do you do it?”

“You’ll learn in time, young one,” Maria threw an arm around Tess’s shoulder and held her close as she rolled her eyes to Liz with a smile on her face.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Wednesday morning was quiet in the third floor apartment until Maria was woken by the sound of the phone ringing. When it rang again and no one answered it she got out of bed and picked up the phone.

“Hello?” she asked trying to stifle a yawn.

“Ria, honey, are you alright? Oh, I’m sorry. Did I wake you up?” her mother asked.

“Yeah, but it’s fine mom. I didn’t realize it was so late. I’ve just been really tired lately is all,” as she spoke her left hand went unconsciously to cover her stomach.

“Oh, alright. Well Jim and I thought maybe you would want to show us and Kyle around town a little, give the four of us some time to get to know each other.”

“That sounds great mom. What about Liz and Tess?”

“Oh, well Tess called a little bit ago to let us know that she and Liz are spending the day together. I guess Liz had to work this morning, so Tess went with her.”

“Oh. I guess I slept through them leaving.”

“So, do you feel like showing us around?”

“Sure. I mean, of course, mom.”

“Will an hour be long enough for you to get ready?”

“Sure mom.”

“Good. We’ll pick you up then. Bye honey. Love you.”

“I love you too mom. Bye.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So what is going on with Maria lately?” Tess asked her sister as they sat around the café talking. There was hardly anyone on campus. It seemed as though most professors had decided to not hold class on the day before Thanksgiving, or else most of the students chose to skip it in order to have a longer vacation. That just meant that Liz had almost nothing to do except sit around the café, so she was grateful for her sister’s presence to keep her company.

“I’m not really sure. I mean, she and I haven’t really talked much since last week. All I know is that she and Michael seem to be pretty good friends now.”

“Wow, really? She and Michael are getting along? They were bickering and fighting when I was here last.”

“I know, but well, something happened…and…I don’t know if I should tell you this. Maybe you should ask Ria about it.”

“Why? What happened?”

“Well, it’s just not my story to tell. Ask her about it.”

“Okay,” Tess replied reluctantly. She wasn’t sure what was going on but it had to be something big for Liz not to want to tell her. What could have happened in the time since she had last seen her sisters?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria stood in the shower letting the hot water warm her up and wash away the tears as they flowed. She had to stop this; all this crying was getting her nowhere. She had to put on that happy face. She had to.

It’s not that she didn’t want to tell her mother, she was actually pretty sure that her mother would understand. But she didn’t know how to tell her. She didn’t want to face the disappointment that she was sure would be reflected in her mother’s face.

‘No! I need to stop this. All of this. I just want to have a good time with my mom in this short time that we do have together. This is all the time I have to get to know Jim and Kyle, so I have to stop this,’ she told herself.

Turning off the shower she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her small body before stepping out and taking another towel to dry her long hair. But she couldn’t help her mind from drifting.

“Goodnight Pixie.”

She kept replaying that night over and over. He had kissed her, yes only her cheek, but he had kissed her. Did he mean something by that? Did it mean he really liked her? Did he want something more? What would he think of her latest news?

‘No! Don’t go there girl, just stop it!’

Focusing once more on the task at hand she walked to her closet to search for some clothes to wear for a day of family time. ‘Gees, that sounds so weird. It’s always been mom and me, but now, well I guess we’ll be a family. It’s funny how much things can change and yet be so perfect.’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“They look like they’re having a lot of fun, don’t they?” Maria spoke as she watched her mom and Jim in line for the Giant Dipper. It had been her idea to bring them all to Belmont Park. Of course after watching the carousel and starting to feel nauseous, she realized these rides probably weren’t for her at the moment. She hadn’t really gotten sick at all yet, but certain things still upset her stomach, and that was certainly one of them.

“Yeah,” Kyle replied as he leaned against the fence at Maria’s side, watching her. After a few minutes of watching her he asked, “Are you okay? Is something wrong?”

“Huh?” Maria jumped. Okay, she hadn’t been expecting that. “Uh…no. I’m, I’m fine. I just, haven’t seen my mom looking so happy in a long time, you know?” Well, it was the truth.

“Yeah. Ever since our parents met, dad has been so happy. But what about you? Are you okay with this? I mean, not just because it’s making your mom happy, but you.”

“I…I don’t know.” Maria turned to Kyle and looked at him. She could see why Tess liked him. Not only was the boy cute, but he had this look of sincerity. “I’ve always wanted a family, you know. But it was just mom and me and I was fine with that. Now I’m wondering why she couldn’t have met your dad sooner.”

“I understand. It’s been just dad and me for a while too.” Kyle was quiet for a moment as he still watched Maria. “Are you sure that’s all that’s bothering you?”

“Yeah. So, um, do you not like roller coasters or something?” she changed the subject.

“Nope, never have. What about you?”

“I love them! But I haven’t been feeling that great lately; I’m getting over a cold or something. I thought it would be better not to go on it.”

“Well, it just gives us a little time to get to know one another,” he smiled.

“Aww…I’m gonna have a baby brother!” Maria giggled.

“Nuh uh!” Kyle laughed. “I’m gonna have a baby sister, cause I do believe I am two months older than you!”

“Oh well fine then, I’ll have a big brother, but you call me baby again and I’ll…”

“You’ll what?” Kyle’s eyes lit up with laughter as he raised an eyebrow her way. Two could play this game.

“I’ll get Alex to…to…do something to you!” Okay so she couldn’t think.

“Oh, I’m so scared!”

“You should be!” she replied indignantly. Okay, so she had been beaten at her own game. But it wasn’t her fault, she just couldn’t think right now, she was too busy keeping an eye on her mom and trying not to get sick from watching the roller coaster going up and down…and up and down…

“Hey,” Kyle said grabbing a hold of Maria’s arm when she looked like she might fall or something. “Why don’t we go sit at the tables over there. Our parents will find us when they get done.” Kyle was concerned; all of a sudden she had just looked really pale.

“Thanks. I don’t know…I guess I’m just not myself today.”

“Maybe you are getting sick. Maybe we should just bring you home or something.”

“No. I’ll be fine, I just need to sit for a little bit. But thank you Kyle, that’s very sweet of you.” Maria watched him and could see the concern written on his face. How could these Valenti men just be so incredible compassionate? She really wanted to ask Kyle about Tess, but she wasn’t sure how to start the conversation…hmm… “So how long have you known Tess?”

“Huh? Oh, um…we met at Amy’s like a month ago, maybe a little more…something like that.” Maria smiled at his response, he seemed to be slightly blushing, was that a good sign for her friend? She thought so.

“Tess is such a caring person. She’s been checking up on my mom ever since I came away to go to college out here.”

“Yeah, she, uh, seems pretty nice,” Kyle mumbled. Okay so he thought she was more than pretty nice but how could he tell that to Maria? Or maybe she could help him with her. Maybe he should just tell her that he liked her friend.

“You like her don’t you?” Maria watched him carefully and smiled. Perfect!

“Maybe…I mean, well…yeah, I guess I do.”

“Well, I think you should ask her out. I mean, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but since we are going to be family and all…” Maria paused as she saw his eyes widen in suspense. “She likes you too. Didn’t you wonder why she seemed all too happy to stay at the hotel with you the other night?” Maria asked.

Kyle’s face went dreamy for a second as he remembered sharing a hotel room with Tess. God, he had lost control of himself. She had seemed so completely…innocent when he had come out of the shower, and god, those pajamas of hers…could they have been any cuter? He didn’t think so.

“So what did happen in the hotel? You seem awfully dreamy,” Maria probed further.

“Umm…nothing.”

“Oh come on! Can’t you tell your soon to be little sister? Pretty please?” Maria pouted and gave him the sad little puppy dog eyes, knowing that no one could refuse that.

“Gees! How do girls do that?”

“It’s a secret, no guy will ever know!” she giggled.

Kyle had to think quick…what could he tell her? Not the full truth…no that would just disturb her and send her running to tell her friend…oh no…

“She just looked really cute in her pajamas and I…I didn’t know what to do. She just seems so…I don’t know…innocent?”

“Yeah, Lizzie and I like to think of her as innocently naïve… Look Kyle, I like you so I’m gonna give you some advice. Tess really likes you, but she’s never really been in a relationship before. She’s always been incredibly smart and she’s grades ahead and all. She’s always found guys her own age completely…how does she put it? Shallow, dimwitted Neanderthals? I think that’s it. But anyway, she’s never really fitted in with people her own age. She doesn’t have many friends at school. The only way she used to meet people was through Lizzie and me. She has become more out going since we left, but she’s still that way inside, especially when it comes to guys that she likes.”

“So she really likes me?” Kyle was amazed.

“Yes,” Maria laughed. “You should have…never mind!” She had been about to tell him how Tess had gone on about him yesterday, but that was a little much. He really didn’t need to know that. “Just be good to her or I will personally hunt you down like the dog that you are!”

Maria seemed serious and Kyle got scared for a moment, but it was all broken when Amy and Jim found them and they continued walking around together, like a family.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

After a day of walking around the city sight seeing, Maria was incredibly tired. After going out to dinner they bought a cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory in Fashion Valley and headed back to Maria’s apartment to share with Liz and Tess. Alex happened to be over talking with the girls too.

The seven of them sat around talking and enjoying their dessert. Amy finally got to meet the Alex that she heard so much about from both Liz and Maria.

“Alex, if you are going to be here tomorrow why don’t you come up and have Thanksgiving with us? I’m going to come over in the morning tomorrow and the girls and I are going to cook a real Thanksgiving dinner. You are more than welcome to join us.”

“Thanks Ms. Deluca. That sounds great.” Alex smiled. He had decided not to go home this year because he had so much going on with school that it would have been really hard on him, and plus it was so far away, and air fare was expensive. Besides, he would see his family at Christmas time.

“Good, and call me Amy, honey.” Amy smiled at everyone, then turned to the girls. “Now girls, I’ll be here at…how is nine in the morning? Not too early?”

“Sounds good Amy,” Liz told her.

“Yeah, I suppose we can manage to be up.” For that Maria got hit on the arm. “What? I was kidding! Of course we’ll be up and ready to start cooking, o wise one!” Maria mock bowed to her mother causing everyone to erupt in giggles.

“Uh huh…and when I come in and you girls are all still sleeping cause you stayed up all night talking we’ll see what happens then, now won’t we?” More laughter filled the room.

“Hey, I have a key to their place, I’ll let you in!” Alex joined in.

“Thanks Alex, really. Love you too!” Maria and Liz hit him with couch pillows for going against them.

By ten o’clock, everyone had calmed down and Liz, Alex, and Tess had gone down to Alex’s apartment to look at something.

“Well honey, we should go. But I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?”

“Yeah mom. Goodnight.” Maria gave her mom a hug and kissed her cheek before saying goodnight to Jim and Kyle and closing the door behind them.

She was exhausted. Walking around all day had worn her out. She was drained physically and emotionally. Maria was thankful to have the apartment to herself for a little bit as she laid out across the couch. How much longer could she put this off? She knew deep down that if she just told her mother she would feel a lot better. But why couldn’t she? The tears came, unbidden. It seemed like all she ever did lately was cry. God what was wrong with her?

“Maria? Oh honey, what’s wrong?” Maria was startled to hear her mother’s voice as an arm wrapped around her shoulders. Looking up at the clock she saw that it was now ten thirty. What was her mom doing back?

“Mom? What are you doing here?”

“I forgot my purse. Now tell me what’s wrong honey. Why are you crying?” Amy sat beside her daughter and Maria instinctively curled up to her mother’s side like she always had as a little girl. Amy ran her fingers gently through her daughter’s long hair as she gently spoke. “Does this have anything to do with why you’ve been acting strangely the last few days?”

“I…I’m sorry mom…” she tried to wipe away the tears streaking her face, but more kept coming.

“Don’t be sorry sweetie, just let me help you. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I…I’m…I’m pregnant,” Maria finally managed to get out as she hid her face in her mother’s embrace, afraid to see her mother’s face.

“Oh honey,” Amy didn’t say anything else, she just sat there holding her daughter, stroking her hair until Maria finally looked up.

“Are…are you mad at me?”

“Mad at you honey? No. I’d never be mad at you. I’m glad you finally told me what’s been bugging you. That’s a lot to deal with on your own. Do Liz and Tess know?” Maria just shook her head no. “I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this by yourself. Do you want to tell me about it?” Amy prodded, she knew that the best way for Maria to deal with this would be to talk about it. After all, Amy had been in the same position at one time, only her parents hadn’t been so caring and forgiving. “When did you find out?”

“Over the weekend.”

“So you haven’t been to the doctor yet?”

“No.”

“Well, we’ll make an appointment and I’ll take you before I leave, okay?”

“Thank you mom.”

“No problem honey. Why haven’t you told anyone yet?”

“I…I didn’t want to disappoint everyone, I guess.”

“Sweetheart, I’m not disappointed in you. I know that it’s not the best timing in the world, but who am I to judge you? I was even younger than you are when I had you. What about the baby’s father?” Amy had been hesitant to ask since she hadn’t heard anything much from Maria as far as guys were concerned, and Maria didn’t seem to be offering to tell her all about him.

“He’s a friend. It just…sort of happened one night after Lizzie and I went to a party. Believe me, I am never going to a party and drinking so much ever again,” Maria tried to laugh but it came out sounding pathetic.

“That’s good to hear I suppose.”

“I’ve known him since the beginning of the semester. We weren’t really friends until after that night. I…I couldn’t remember anything…and I finally convinced myself to ask him about it, and he told me what happened at the party, and afterwards. We decided to try and be friends, and the last month has been great. Really great. But now…I don’t know what he’ll do if I tell him. I really like him mom, and…god! Why did this have to happen?”

“You need to tell him Maria. He deserves to know. And maybe he’ll surprise you. Are you going to keep the baby?” Amy didn’t want to ask, but she had to know the answer. She was pretty sure that her daughter, just like herself, would not be able to get rid of the child now growing in her.

“Of course mom. I could never…”

“I know. I felt the same way. But you have to give your child the chance to know his or her father. I know you didn’t have a father growing up, but every father deserves the right to at least know he has a child out there.”

“I know.”

“So you haven’t told anyone yet?”

“Only Isabel…”

“Isabel?”

“Yeah, she’s a new friend…and the baby’s aunt. She’s Michael’s sister. She came over to say hi just after I had found out and I couldn’t stop myself from telling her. But I made her promise not to tell anyone.”

Amy stayed quiet, not really sure what to say anymore. She had always wanted Maria to grow up and have a family of her own someday. She just hoped that was still a possibility. Being a single mom was okay, but Maria deserved so much more.

“How far are you, do you know? Have you been getting sick?”

“I’m five weeks along, and I guess I’ve been lucky. I haven’t actually gotten sick. Sometimes I feel really bad in the mornings, but it goes away. I get dizzy sometimes…”

“And that’s why you didn’t go on the rides today when you have always loved roller coasters.”

“Yeah.”

“Oh honey!” Amy held her daughter close, giving her a kiss on the forehead and still not letting her go. “I will always be here for you, okay? I’m glad you decided to tell me. You know you can always tell me anything. But I really think you need to tell your friends. Eventually they will start noticing because you’re very skinny and you won’t stay that way.”

“I know. I have a lot of things to think about. But can you please not mention anything to Lizzie and Tess? I’m going to wait until after Thanksgiving to tell them I think.”

“Okay. That’s your decision. I should probably go now. I’m sure Jim is wondering where I am. I took the car to come back and get my purse over an hour ago. I’ll be back in the morning, alright honey? Will you be okay by yourself?”

“Yeah, I’m fine mom. Thanks. I love you.”

“I love you too. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” Maria watched as her mom walked out the door, shutting it behind her. She felt so much better now that she had talked about it. Her mother wasn’t mad at her. She wasn’t even upset really. Maybe everything would be all right…maybe, just maybe, they would all make it through this…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 18-Dec-2001 3:09:22 PM by the freak of roswell
Another great part, as usual!
I am so glad that Amy is happy and supportive of Maria, it's very sweet.
I liked Kyle's confession to Maria that he has feelings for Tess.
The only issue I have now is... When are Max and Liz gonna sort their relationship out? I am dying for them to get back together!!
Comeback soon with another part, please!!*happy*
posted on 18-Dec-2001 3:17:19 PM by Pegleg
Awwww! So sweet. Love it dear. It's so weird not having you in the same room as me. What am I gonna do? Ah...oh well. Can't wait for more...wait...I have to write it now huh. Doh. Anyway, talk to ya later.

To my readers...I'll work on it and it should hopefully be out before christmas. I know what I'm gonna write but it's just finding the time to write it in. You'd think that being home would give you plenty of time...but nooo. Anyway, hope you like the part...cause I definately did.

~Michelle
posted on 18-Dec-2001 3:29:58 PM by tabasco sauce
::sighs:: that mother/daughter moment between Maria and Amy was amazing. I can't see what happens next! keep up the good work- post more pronto!

-andy*happy*
posted on 18-Dec-2001 3:53:44 PM by roswellluver
That was a great scene between Amy and Maria, with Amy supporting her after hearing about the baby! Thanks for writing!
posted on 18-Dec-2001 4:21:28 PM by angelbehr
What a great mother/daughter scene! Maria is very lucky to have such a supportive mother! But now, I think she needs to tell Liz b/c once her mother is gone she will need Liz's support.
Alright Michelle, Christmas is one week away chica! *wink* Your devoted fans will be waiting!

~angela~
posted on 18-Dec-2001 5:23:34 PM by shorty828
Bravo Bravo great part, I loved it, I am so glad Amy knows the maria is pregnant, I cant wait for her to tell Liz, or michael. I am also desperatly waiting for max and liz to talk, the ball is in his court now. Cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 18-Dec-2001 5:40:18 PM by mpls muse
I'm so glad Maria talked to her Mom! That was a nice part. It's nice that her mom didn't freak out. After all, Maria is an adult. Love this fic!

Robyn
posted on 18-Dec-2001 8:48:05 PM by SciFiNut111
Great part. I liked that Maria's mother was so accepting of her pregnancy. Going crazy after the fact doesn't help anybody.

I'm surprised that Maria still hasn't told Liz. After all she is her best friend from forever.

Looking forward to more.


posted on 19-Dec-2001 12:03:06 AM by y3n1ov3lygur1
hey I'm soo happy that finally Maria told her mom that she's pregnant!! can't wait for the next part
please make max tell liz what happened!! *big*
posted on 19-Dec-2001 1:52:38 AM by angelbaby6977
I'm glad that Maria told her mother. I hope everything will work out fine for her.
posted on 19-Dec-2001 2:14:46 AM by PennyLane
Congratulations Nikki Dear-- You have successfully filled my sappy soul!*happy* I love the Kyle and Tess thing; they had better get together soon because I will be very sad if they don't. Love the reference to Belmont Park. OK tell Michelle to write fast!
Love ya
Me
*angel*
posted on 19-Dec-2001 7:50:04 AM by Black Rain
I loved this part!
Amy 's reaction was way better than I first thought it would be!
She was so great, being there for Maria and all
Update again soon, but only if you have the time to do so
We need a liitle M&M now! Or M&L is okay with me too*tongue**happy*
posted on 19-Dec-2001 8:13:42 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Amy was great. Please post more soon.
posted on 19-Dec-2001 8:02:07 PM by zannyb
It's so wonderful Maria has such an understanding and loving mother. I really think Michael would be a great father. Also, everyone else will be really supportive once Maria tells them. I'm still waiting patiently for the M/L reunion! LOL!

~Nikki~
posted on 19-Dec-2001 9:01:20 PM by Snowdove30
Wonderful mother/daughter bonding scenes*happy*
Hope Michael doesn't freak out when Maria tells him she's pregnant*sad*
Post soon
posted on 21-Dec-2001 1:32:23 PM by SciFiNut111
Page 15?? What's that about. This story needs an update. Maria and her mom had a great scene together. Looking forward to seeing what happens next. Like when Maria tells her bestest buddy.

Post more soon.
posted on 21-Dec-2001 10:24:52 PM by rollergal20
BUMP! *bounce* BUMP! *bounce* BUMP! *bounce*

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL !!! *angel*
posted on 22-Dec-2001 12:31:34 PM by Black Rain
Merry christmas to everybody*angel**happy*
Can't wait for a new part!
posted on 22-Dec-2001 12:42:06 PM by Pegleg
Ok...ok. I get the point. I'll try really hard to find time to work on it today and tomorrow...but if not I should probably have time on monday. I'm sorry that it's taking me so long, just with christmas around the corner, I've been kinda busy. I know that I said before christmas, and I'm really really gonna try and fulfill that cause I know if I don't, I won't be able to work on it for a few days. So, Happy Christmas and I promise to try and get the next part up soon.

~Michelle
posted on 24-Dec-2001 1:31:18 PM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hi ya'll. Well, I promised to get it out before Christmas so here it is. Now...I know what you're all thinking...is Thanksgiving ever gonna end...and no...it still doesn't end in this part. I know it's going on forever, but we just have so much great stuff to write for you, and with trying to keep it under the 10 page max (hehehe) if just seems to keep getting stretched longer. Anyway...enough of my babble that didn't make all that much sense...here's part 30. I hope you like and make sure to let me know what you think.

Merry Christmas everybody...now here's your present!

~Michelle

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 30

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max ran his hands through his hair in frustration as he moved to adjust the volume on the radio playing in his car. Man, he hated LA traffic. Why oh why did he wait till the day before Thanksgiving to head home. Michael and Isabel had left the night before, and so Max had the whole two-hour drive, more with this traffic, to himself to contemplate his current situation.

It was so weird. He wasn’t used to making the drive home by himself. He almost always took it with Michael. The silence, despite the music blaring from the radio, was starting to get to him.

Michael. He didn’t know where they stood anymore. ‘I mean, I guess that’s more up to me then anyone else,’ Max thought. He just didn’t know what to do. He didn’t want to be mad at Michael, it seemed that was all he was anymore. Mad at Michael for something. He just couldn’t help but be angry for what Michael did. Not so much angry, more hurt.

Max just couldn’t understand. How could someone do that to his best friend? How could he shatter the only love that Max had known on the possibility that she might hurt him? It wasn’t Michael’s decision to make. Max understood the reasoning behind it, but he couldn’t understand how Michael could possibly bring himself to cause his supposed best friend so much hurt.

“He shouldn’t have lied to me damnit!” Max screamed in frustration as he hit the steering wheel with his fist. “He could have come to me. We could have talked it out. God, how could he ruin my life?”

And Max meant it, cause he realized way too late how much Liz really meant to him. That she was truly the love of his life. The only person that he could ever imagine spending the rest of his life with. And he had been so stupid as to hurt her to the point of losing her. For he couldn’t think of any reason why she would want to take him back now. He’d caused her far too much pain.

Again, Max cursed himself for being so stupid as to believe such a lie. Why couldn’t he have just trusted his instincts? He knew Liz couldn’t be after his money. He had told Michael that himself. So why had he done it? I guess it just went to show that he was to blame…not Michael. Sure Michael had helped facilitate it, but it had been him who had done the damage.

If only there was some way he could make it up to her…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel walked up to the door of her brother’s old room to see him silently staring off into space as he lay on his bed. “It’s kinda weird being home isn’t it?” she asked. “I mean, after so long.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s kinda funny. In just three months, this place already feels strange to me. Like I don’t really belong here. Ya know what I mean?”

“Yeah,” Michael replied, still seemingly off in his own little world.

“After so little time, I’ve already made my home in with you and Max in San Diego. That feels right. This…this just isn’t working for me.”

“Now you know why I never came home to visit all that much,” Michael said smirking as he sat up and Isabel came to sit down next to him. “Have you told mom and dad yet?” Michael asked.

“No. I’m not sure whether they’d really care that much anyway. You know how they are. Know they’ll just have one less thing to look after. You know, I don’t even think they realized how long I was gone?”

“Does it bother you?”

“What?”

“You know. That they don’t seem to care? Like, does it bother you that they decided to extend their vacation instead of coming home to meet you?”

“Not really. At least they remembered to tell me this time,” she said laughingly. “Remember the one time that we came home from visiting aunt Francis and they forgot to tell us that they decided it would be a good time to go on their second…third…fifth…whatever honeymoon to Hawaii.”

“Yeah, the look on their face when they came home and realized we’d been home for two weeks. I swear, they would have bought us anything we asked for right then, just to make up for it.”

“Yeah. That was right before…” Isabel let herself trail off once she realized where that thought was leading. “Michael, I’m sorry,” she stated at the pained look on his face.

“You know what. It’s ok. It just reminds me of a lot of things I’d rather not think about right now.”

Isabel just nodded mutely as silence encompassed them. Michael was once again staring off into space, confusion painting his features.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Isabel started.

“Is that all they’re worth anymore,” he said jokingly.

“You know what I meant. Come on. I’ve become quite the listener lately.”

“Isabel Guerin, a listener? I never thought I’d see the day…”

“Alright,” she started, smacking him gently on the arm. “I’m serious. Tell me what’s bothering you. You’ve been walking around with this dazed look on your face for days.”

“It’s just…Maria. I mean…ever since we went out last week…I… Sometimes I just wish I knew what was going on in that pretty little head of hers.”

“You’re really falling for her aren’t you?” Isabel asked tentatively, even though she was pretty sure that she knew the answer.

“I fell a long time ago,” Michael muttered more to himself then to anybody, but Isabel heard it.

Isabel didn’t know what to say. There was so much that she wished she could tell him. So much that he deserved to know, needed to know. But, it wasn’t her place to tell. Michael’s last statement just proved what Isabel had thought all along; that Michael would love this baby and be there to stand beside Maria through it all…a great father.

She knew her brother and she knew that he would never abandon Maria. Sure he made some mistakes…okay, he’d made a lot of mistakes, but he was changing. Something had changed in Michael over the last month and he was finally starting to take responsibility for everything he had done. Maria just needed to give him a chance.

“Michael?” she said softly, pulling him out of his daze.

“Yeah.”

“Why don’t you tell her how you feel?” Maybe if Maria knew Michael’s feelings towards her, she wouldn’t be so worried about telling him the truth.

Michael just stared at her for a moment as if she was asking him to do the most difficult task in the world…but maybe for him it was.

“I can’t Isabel.”

“Why not?”

“Because…” There was a pause as Michael let out a long sigh. “Because I don’t deserve her.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Max honey, is that you?” Diane Evans yelled from the kitchen when the heard the front door close.

“Yeah mom. I’m home,” he said walking in the direction of her voice. Diane came running out of the kitchen towards her son, enveloping him in a big hug.

“Oh honey, I’m so glad you’re home. How was the drive?”

“Long. Traffic is pretty bad out there right now.”

“Yes, I’m sure it is. Now, have a seat on the couch, and I am going to get Natalie to make us two steaming cups of hot chocolate and you can tell me all about school and everything.”

Max just laughed as his mother hurried back into the kitchen. She was always like this…wanting to know everything that was going on in his life. But he didn’t mind, he had always found it easy to talk to his mom. I guess being her only child, had made her more watchful then most parents in their child’s lives. She could read him like a book…he was just afraid she would find something that he really didn’t want to bring to light. And knowing his mom…she wouldn’t give up until she knew everything.

“Natalie,” Diane called as she walked into the kitchen.

“Here you are Mrs. Evans,” the English woman said as she handed Diane two cups of hot cocoa.

“How did you…” Diane started but was cut off.

“Please mam…I’ve been around here long enough to know what you always be looking for when your son comes home. I made it as soon as I heard him coming in the door.”

“Thank you Natalie. What would I ever do without you?”

“You’d have to cook yourself mam…but I don’t believe that would be the smartest idea.” Natalie finished laughing.

Diane just chuckled as she exited the kitchen, walking towards her son. As Max saw his mother walking slowly with the full mugs in hand, he quickly got off the couch to help her. Laying the drinks on the table in front of the couch, he waited for his mom to sit down before grabbing his mug and awaiting the interrogation.

“So, how is school honey?”

“It’s good, tiring but good. I’m glad that the semester is almost over though, I am so ready for the break.”

“Ah…poor baby. I always said that you were working too hard. How many units were you taking this semester?”

“Like 20, but it’s not that bad. I’m just ready for a break, you know what I mean.”

“I’m sure, so what else has been going on? You told me that Isabel Guerin was staying with you guys, how is she getting along? Is she still staying there?”

“Oh, she’s doing great mom. And yeah, she still staying with us…actually I’m pretty sure she’s coming back even after Thanksgiving. Oh, and she’s gonna be attending USD with us come January, so she’s pretty much in for the long haul,” he said with a smile. He was glad to have Isabel around. Come to think of it, Isabel was just about the only person he could really talk to anymore. Thinking about this caused the smile to quickly leave his face.

“What…what was that? What’s wrong honey? You were smiling and then sudden it’s gone. What’s bothering you?”

‘See what I mean about reading me,’ Max thought to himself. “Mom, I’m fine. It’s nothing. It’s just…it’s a long story.”

“Well honey, if anyone has time to hear it, it’s your dear old mother,” Diane started. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“It’s just the culmination of a lot of things.”

“Well, why don’t you start at the beginning,” Diane said with a comforting smile. At that moment, Max knew that he was not going to get away with any of this. Max really didn’t want to delve into all this, but maybe telling his mom all this would help.

“Well alright. Um…back in September I met this girl…Liz. And she was just like perfect for me mom. She’s sweet and smart and funny. Just the kind of girl that I was always looking for. So, we dated for a while, like a month and a half. Then, I was stupid and I broke it off. I really don’t know what I was thinking. But I broke her heart, broke mine too in the process. Things were said that really hurt us both.

“So, in the long run, it’s been really awkward between us both ever since then. We’re only casual acquaintances now if anything. The only problem is…I still love her. And every time I see her is like a stab in the heart, as I just watch her day by day as she heals and gets over me.”

“Oh sweetie,” Diane said bringing her only son into a hug. “Have you told her how you feel?”

“No ma…I can’t do that. I can’t just walk back into her life like that when I was the one that messed it all up in the first place. I can’t just walk up to her and say it was a mistake when she’s finally getting over me…getting over what we had. I just can’t to that to her.”

“Why do I think that there’s something you’re not telling me? Why did you break up with her honey? What things were said?”

“I was scared,” Max lied. The truth was he had never been more sure of anything in his life, that is until Michael came along. His feelings for Liz seemed so natural, like he was meant to feel this way. And it didn’t scare him at all, but instead brought a warm, all-encompassing feeling to his heart that didn’t go away for hours. His heart still sped up when he saw her, just like the first time.

“Why do I not believe you?” Diane eyed him curiously.

“Maybe cause I’m not telling the truth. I just…I don’t want to talk about it mom.”

“You sure son, cause I can’t help you unless you tell me everything.”

Max contemplated it for a moment, but then decided against it. He was not ready to delve into everything that had happened with Michael just yet. Maybe in time, but the wounds were just too fresh.

“Mom…I just don’t wanna talk about it now, ok.”

“Alright honey. Well, I’m gonna go make sure that Carla got your room ready for your stay with us. I’m really happy that you’re here honey. We’ve missed you. Your father should be home soon, and I know he’s gonna want to see you, so I’ll just be in the study reading if you need anything. Remember, I’m always here if you ever want to talk,” Diane said as she picked up her mug and moved off towards the interior of the house.

“Oh and Max, before I forget,” she called over her shoulder. “You know how your grandfather hasn’t been feeling well lately, so since they’re not coming down to spend Thanksgiving with us, we’re going to the Guerins’.” And with that she was gone, leaving Max to contemplate all that could come out of this Thanksgiving dinner.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Dec-2001 2:18:30 PM ]
posted on 24-Dec-2001 2:14:21 PM by dancepixie
Chelle,
Oh! I just love Max's mom! She is so sweet. It seems like all the mothers are so perfect...except Michael and Isabel's who is the complete opposite! It's kinda funny!
I had a few other things to tell you, but I'll just call ya in a few. Anyways, did you get the email I sent you with my story? I sent it last night so you could stop complaining!
Love ya,
~Nikki~

posted on 24-Dec-2001 2:34:48 PM by roswellluver
I hope Diane can talk some sense into Max, and ditto Isabel for Michael! Thanks for writing!
posted on 24-Dec-2001 3:56:11 PM by tabasco sauce
I hope Diane can talk some sense into Max. A mother can tell what her children are feeling. keep up the good work! post more pronto!

-andy*happy*
posted on 24-Dec-2001 4:38:28 PM by Black Rain
Tell her already Michael!!!! I love the Michael/Isabel convo. I can't wait for him to find out!
I love Max' mom. Such a sweetheart!

Thanks for the great X-mas present.
I loved this part.
Hopefully we get more soon*wink**happy*

I hope you had a nice Christmas!
posted on 24-Dec-2001 6:18:20 PM by LegalAlien
This was another great part!

I just hope that Max tells his mother what really happened and that she can talk some sense into him! He just has to talk to Liz and clear the air between them - and grovel majorly!

PLease post more soon...

Joe

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
posted on 24-Dec-2001 7:54:37 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
great part please go on.
posted on 24-Dec-2001 8:42:59 PM by kittens
I guess his mom will be finding out real soon then, LOL!!!
posted on 24-Dec-2001 10:27:16 PM by zannyb
Hmmm... I wonder if Michael knows he's coming to Thanksgiving...
That was a great part! Post more soon! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

~Nikki~
posted on 24-Dec-2001 11:21:59 PM by SciFiNut111
Thanks for the new part for the holiday.

Why does everybody worry about Michael's well being and feelings? Michael has been this little emotional tornado, swirling thru everyone’s life creating havoc and heartache. Why is everyone more worried about his poor feelings then the trouble he caused?

Max. Michael lied to his best friend. He used his trust to cause him to destroy his relationship with Liz but you have Max thinking, “I don’t want to e mad at Michael” What’s that about? Max has every right to be very pissed off at Mikey boy. Max’s mom wants to know what happened, but Max doesn’t want to “tarnish” Michael’s reputation with Diane.

Isabelle knows that Michael took advantage of a drunk Maria and now she has to pay a very high price. But Isabelle isn’t worried about her “friend”. She’s worried about poor Michael. I know she’s his sister, but shouldn’t she be just a bit disgusted with his behavior? Should Isabelle be a little upset with what Michael did to Max? Lying to him? She seems to completely accept Michael's behavior as okay, as long as he seems to be a little sorry.

It would probably be interesting to see Liz dating someone new, if only in an attempt to try to get over Max. Max was a complete idiot to trust Michael. Max obviously thought his money was more important than Liz. He really doesn’t deserve her.


posted on 25-Dec-2001 12:46:41 AM by shorty828
great part, its ok thanksgiving is still around. It is a festive time too. I loved this part, the michael, isabel, and max time at home. I am glad Max can talk to his mom. Hopefully soon, he will tell her everything and she can knock some guts and sense into him. Cant wiat for more

Lisa
posted on 25-Dec-2001 3:41:36 AM by y3n1ov3lygur1
omg, it's soo sad, I feel sorry for Max, even though he made a mistake, but he's truly love Liz
*~* I want M/L reunion*~*~
max's mom is such a cool mom hehe *big*
posted on 25-Dec-2001 5:46:13 AM by angelbaby6977
Max's mom seems very nice, I hope he tells her everything. Great part!
posted on 26-Dec-2001 1:09:32 AM by PennyLane
Michelle-
Merry X-mas! That was a great present my dear*happy* I like that Micheal is finally coming to his senses. Just remember it better end happily ever after; I need my sappy love stories*big* I like these little guys that you can insert into the text, it amuses me greatly. Well I guess I better bug Nikki for the next chapter of my soap opera!
Love Me
*angel*
posted on 26-Dec-2001 11:20:12 PM by y3n1ov3lygur1
I just can't wait for the next part...I'm soo excited hehe
*big*
posted on 27-Dec-2001 5:10:37 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Great part!! I can't wait to see Thanksgiving dinner!! post more when you can!!*angel**bounce**angel*
Happy Holidays!!*angel**angel*
posted on 29-Dec-2001 3:52:35 PM by Black Rain
This was on page 19, so I thought I just had to feedback so that it doesn't fall to far behind.
Come back and post more of your wonderful fic if you have the time.
Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!*happy*
posted on 29-Dec-2001 5:23:26 PM by rollergal20
Hey guys,

Happy New Year! *bounce*

Just wanted to post a bump, and tell you we are all waiting for you next part. Max's mom sounds so sweet, I hope that she likes Liz and doesn't care about her financial status. I can't wait to read about their thanksgiving dinner, this should be fun. Will Maria's secret ever come out? I think that she should tell Michael before anyone else, and soon.

post more soon ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 30-Dec-2001 1:03:33 PM by dancepixie
Thanks for all those bumps you guys, that's so sweet! I know I know, it took me forever. We were planning on being able to get a lot more parts out over vacation since we would be home and all, but we are finding ourselves actually very busy, so we aren't writting as fast as we had hoped. I mean gees, it's still Thanksgiving...is it just me or does this feel like the endless thanksgiving? Oh well, it's all for good reason though.

You know, I could've had this out last night but Michelle just had to go see the Shipping News since Jason is in it, and she just had to drag me along...but it was good. I have to say I like the accent he has, but its funny, he loses the accent in a couple places and I noticed it every time...hehehe!*big* But it's a cute movie, if you like Jason, though he's not in it too much, he is very cute*wink*

On with the story, enough babbling from me!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 31

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was nine in the morning when a sleepy Tess wrapped only in a towel got up to answer the door. Jim and Kyle had decided they might as well come with Amy and maybe help out with anything they could, and they were already by carrying the many bags of groceries. Tess stood there after opening the door for a moment in shock…she had only expected it to be Amy.

“Oh, umm…hey everyone…”

“Sorry honey. Jim and Kyle thought maybe they could help or something. Anyways, where are the other two? Still in bed?” Amy asked with a knowing smile.

Jim and Amy stepped in side but Kyle was rooted to his spot in the hall. She was gorgeous, plain and simple. ‘How can she look so great in only a towel? Wait, never mind, don’t think about that…’ but it was too late, Kyle knew why she looked so great, he was sure she’d look even better without that towel, and instead wrapped up in his arms.

“Well Lizzie’s in the shower and Ria is in bed waiting for the shower.”

“Oh well, I suppose that’s okay then. Why don’t you go and get dressed and we’ll get started in the kitchen. I stopped at the store and got everything we’ll need, I think. I hope I didn’t forget anything.” Tess left to quickly finish getting ready. She had been about to get dressed when they had come. Oh god…Kyle had just seen her in a towel, and a rather small towel at that; it didn’t leave much to the imagination. What would he be thinking now?

“Don’t worry about it Amy, everything will be perfect,” Jim reassured her. “Now where should we set these? This turkey is getting heavy!”

“Oh, sorry! How about on the counter there? There should be enough room. I’m going to go see if my daughter is actually awake yet or not…highly doubtful if she’s still in bed.”

Amy passed Tess in the hallway to the bedroom. Tess was all dressed and was going to help the boys unpack everything and help them put some stuff away since she knew pretty much where it all went.

Amy walked into her daughter’s room to find her curled up in a ball on her side. Amy just stood there for a moment, thinking about the past. It had always been the two of them, two peas in a pod the whole time Maria was growing up…they were more alike than Amy had thought. She was so proud of her daughter for getting in to USD, for getting a scholarship, for everything, but most of all for the incredible woman she had become. And now she was going to make Amy a grandmother at the age of thirty-six!

Amy sat down on the edge of the bed and gently brushed some loose strands of hair back off Maria’s face. She was fast asleep.

“Maria honey, time to get up,” she whispered.

“Mmm…” Maria stretched a little but her eyes remained shut.

“Come on sweetie, you need to get out of bed and take a shower,” Amy tried again but was only met with the same response. Yes, this was definitely her daughter, the one that she had always had to drag out of bed to get ready for school in the mornings…

Liz walked out of the bathroom and back into the bedroom to see Amy trying to wake her daughter.

“Morning Amy.”

“Oh, good morning Liz. Is she still like this every morning?” Amy wondered.

“Lately yeah, she doesn’t seem to want to get out of bed, ever. Usually she is good about getting up, but not this last week or so,” Liz shrugged as she finished getting dressed. “Is there anything you need me to do while you try and wake the dead?” Liz giggled.

“Sure, you can help Tess and the guys put away the groceries we bought. Thanks.”

“No problem,” and with that, Liz left the room, leaving Amy and Maria alone again.

“Maria honey, I know you can hear me. Come on, its time to wake up.”

“Do I have to mommy?” It was a mumble, but that was a good sign.

“Yeah honey, come on.” Amy continued stroking her daughter’s hair as she started to come to life. When her green eyes were finally open she saw her mother’s smiling face.

“Hi mom.”

“Hey sweetheart. Did you sleep well?”

“Mmm,” Maria nodded yes as she gave a big yawn. “I was just exhausted last night, that’s all.”

“Yeah, well you need to start eating better, I’m sure that’ll help. It’ll give you more energy cause you’re going to need it.”

“Ugh…Can we not talk about food right now?” Maria’s nose scrunched up at the thought and her stomach churned.

“Sure. You know, I think you’re lucky, I didn’t get morning sickness too bad either. It must be good genes!” Amy laughed.

“Thanks mom. I love you.”

“I love you too honey, always remember that. Now, why don’t you get in the shower and then come out to the kitchen. You can start the pie’s if you want.” Maria had always loved to help make the pies. It was a family recipe that Amy had taught her daughter since she was old enough to help in the kitchen.

Amy smiled as Maria got up out of bed and headed into the bathroom for her much needed shower. She once again drifted back into the world of memories. ‘Things are changing so much lately. Maria isn’t my little girl anymore. My baby’s gonna have a baby of her own! I’m gonna be a grandma! And I’m getting married in a little over a month. I’ll have a new step-son, but Kyle is the greatest. I couldn’t ask for a better son. Our family is growing more every day…and to think it was once just Maria and me…’

Amy shook her head when she heard loud laughter coming from the living room and kitchen area. She better go check on them, who knows what sort of trouble those four were bound to get into.

As she walked into the room Amy was surprised to see that all the groceries were put away and everyone sitting in the living room watching television.

“Okay…no sitting around, sorry! We got to get started on baking some pies and peeling vegetables and getting that turkey ready to go in the oven. Come on girls.” Amy just laughed at the sighs that went up around the room.

Twenty minutes later Maria came out of the bedroom all dressed yet still looking a little pale. She could smell food in the kitchen, and her stomach didn’t like that at all. Amy looked up to see her daughter and gave a sad smile. Maybe having her make pies right now wasn’t the best idea.

“Honey, why don’t you go down and get Alex? I’m sure he’d have more fun with us than down in his apartment alone,” Amy suggested.

“Sure mom,” Maria sighed in relief. What would happen if she did get sick? Then she would have to tell Liz and Tess. Well she did want to tell them, but she didn’t want to ruin the holiday for everyone.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hello?”

“Hi.”

“Hi, can I help you?”

“Is Maria there? This is Isabel,” the voice asked, a little unsure of whether this was the right number or not.

“Yeah, just a minute,” Kyle headed into the kitchen with the phone and handed it to Maria.

“Hello?” Maria asked.

“Hey, it’s me, Isabel.”

“Oh, um, hi Izzie. Happy Thanksgiving.” Maria twirled a piece of her hair around her finger nervously. Its not that she wasn’t happy to talk to her friend, because she was, she was just nervous about the other people in the room. “What’s up?”

Liz was leaning up against the counter and stopped what she was doing to listen to what Maria was saying. Who was on the phone? Did she just hear Maria say Izzie? But why would Isabel be calling her on Thanksgiving? She just felt confused.

“Happy Thanksgiving. I was just wondering how you were feeling.”

“I’m doing good actually. I feel a lot better now.” Maria could see where this conversation was going so she headed for the bedroom where she could have this talk without the extra ears listening.

Liz watched her friend disappear down the hall and the nervousness about her as she moved. Something was definitely up with Maria, and she planned on finding out what it was. How could she not know? Weren’t they best friends? Best friends are supposed to tell each other everything. Did Isabel know? She had so many questions.

“Hey Kyle, who was that on the phone?” Liz asked curiously.

“Some girl, um…I think she said her name was…Isabel…something like that.”

“Izzie called?” Alex’s attention was piked immediately at the mention of his girlfriend’s name being said.

“Yeah, Maria’s talking to her in the bedroom…” Liz trailed off trying and failing to figure out exactly why those two were talking. Yeah, sure they had all gotten close to Isabel lately, all of the girls had bonded, but why was Maria so special?

“Wonder why she didn’t want to talk to me…” Alex sounded sad as he all but whispered the words to himself. Isabel had gone home for the holiday and he had decided to stay in town instead of going to see his own family. Sure Amy had been kind enough to invite him to join their group of family and friends, but he almost felt like his friends were slipping away from him. He could tell something had been up with Maria since the weekend, but had yet to get her to talk to him about it. It was like she didn’t need him, or want him anymore…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So have you told Liz and Alex yet?”

“Well, no. I mean, I want to…I just…it’s hard. My mom knows though.”

“Is she okay with it?”

“Yeah, she’s being completely supportive of me. I guess it’s because her parents threw her out and disowned her when she was pregnant with me. She promised never to do something like that to any of her children. And we’ve always been close. It was hard to tell her, but once I started…you know.”

“I’m happy you have someone else to talk to now at least. See, you were just worrying too much.”

“Yeah, I suppose.”

“Oh, hey. Who was that guy who answered the phone earlier?” Isabel asked. She had been wondering that ever since he had answered the phone.

“Huh? Oh, you mean Kyle? He’s my soon to be stepbrother. Remember I said my mom was visiting me? Well she and Jim and Kyle are all here and we even invited Alex up for dinner with us.”

“That sounds like fun. So how do you like your new family?”

“They are…great; perfect actually. Jim is nothing but sweet. He really loves my mom and it’s just what she deserves. And Kyle, well, I’ve never had any real siblings before, but I’m willing to give it a try. Big brother’s can’t be all that bad, can they?” Maria rambled on as Isabel started laughing.

“Well I’ve had a big brother all my life…and yeah, it can be really great.” Isabel remembered all the times Michael had been there for her through the years growing up. All those times when he had taken care of her because their parents seemingly forgot about them. The way he protected her from boys…Andrew… Michael had always been there for her. “But it can also be a pain too.” She thought about how Michael had nosed around in her stuff, always getting in the way of any guy who wanted to date his sister. But at the same time that was kind of sweet.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh no! I knew I forgot something!” Amy exclaimed as she looked around the kitchen as if that would help find the item she had forgot at the grocery store.

“What is it Amy?” Tess asked curiously.

“Cranberry sauce. And it’s one of Maria’s favorites.”

“I could run up to the store and get you some if you want,” Kyle offered. Tess was about to offer to take him when she realized she didn’t remember how to get to the grocery store either. That could be a problem.

“Oh thank you Kyle! That’s very sweet of you,” Amy smiled. “Would you go see if Maria’s finished with her phone call so that she could go with you?”

“No problem.”

“Liz, Alex, are those potatoes all peeled yet?” Amy called over her shoulder.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The line was quiet for a moment, as neither knew really what to say next.

“How is Michael?” Maria finally blurted out. She really missed him.

“He’s okay I guess. I think…no…I know that he misses you.” Maria closed her eyes and took a few calming breaths as she let Isabel’s words sink in. Michael missed her? What did that mean? But before she could think of anything to say, Isabel continued. “Look Maria, I know you are scared and nervous, but you really need to tell him. I think his reaction might surprise you. Just give him a chance, okay? I know my brother, he would never hurt you like that.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Kyle stood outside the bedroom door about to knock when he heard Maria’s voice, so he stopped so as not to disturb her and overheard some of her conversation.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“But it would hurt for him to stay just because of my baby,” Maria whispered more to herself than anything. Unconsciously she rubbed her stomach in light circles as she thought of her child; a perfect blend of her and Michael. Secretly she hoped for a little girl, with her long blond hair, and Michael’s gorgeous brown eyes, she would be perfect.

“I’m sorry Ria. I didn’t mean to bring all of this up.” Isabel felt really bad. All she had wanted to do was talk to Maria and make sure that she was alright. She didn’t want to upset her on Thanksgiving when she was supposed to be enjoying her time with her family.

“It’s fine Izzie, really. I’m okay. And it’s nice to know that you care.”

“Of course I care about you, you’re my friend. I’m not being nice to you just because of Michael. You were one of the first few people that I met down in San Diego and I’m thankful that you were so nice to me. I’m glad I took the time to get to know you. I don’t care what happens with my brother, I will still be here for you, okay?”

“Okay, and thanks,” Maria smiled through the happy tears that spotted her cheeks.

“Thank you.”

“Gees, we sound like a bunch of girls!” Maria laughed trying to lighten the mood.

“Hey, I am a girl thank you very much,” Isabel tried to sound offended but the laughter came through in her voice anyway.

“I know. I’m just kidding. Umm, it was good talking to you, but I should probably get back in the kitchen and help with what ever they are working on now.”

“Oh yeah, sorry. I guess I’ll see you when I get back sometime. But if you need anything you have my cell number, so just call me. Even if you just want to talk, call me.”

“Okay, I will. Bye Isabel.”

“Bye Maria.”

As Maria hung up the phone she took several deep breaths. It was nice to know that she had friends who cared so much. She would need all the friends she could find in the coming months; that much she was sure of. Wiping her eyes and giving herself a quick once over, Maria reached for the door and slowly opened it.

“Kyle? Do you need something?” Maria spoke slowly, unsure of why she found Kyle outside of her bedroom door.

“Oh…umm…yeah, I was just coming to see if you were off the phone,” Kyle thought quickly.

“Yeah, I just got off. Did mom need something?”

“Yeah. I think she forgot something at the store and she wanted us to run up and get it.”

“Oh, okay.”

Kyle waited and then followed Maria back into the living room and kitchen, still thinking about what he had heard.

“Maria honey, there you are. Would you mind going up to the grocery store with Kyle and picking up some cranberry sauce? I completely forgot while we were there this morning. And I don’t want Kyle to get lost trying to find the place,” Amy asked as she smiled at her daughter. She wanted to give Kyle and Maria some time to get to know each other, although it seemed like they had already done some bonding.

“Sure mom. No problem.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex, does it bother you that Maria is hiding something from us?” Liz asked him frankly after Maria had gone as they sat together, still peeling the potatoes.

“Yeah, I guess. I mean, I thought she could tell us anything, but I’m sure in time she’ll come around.”

“I don’t know. It’s weird. I just get this feeling that Isabel knows what’s been bugging Maria and she hasn’t even told me. I’m supposed to be her best friend, for heavens sake!”

“Lizzie, relax. It’s okay. She’ll tell you when she’s ready.”

“But what if I can’t wait that long Alex?”

“What’s wrong Liz? Really?”

“I don’t know…I guess I just…Maria is getting this whole new family and friends and everything, and I just wonder if she isn’t going to want me around anymore, you know?”

“Shouldn’t you be happy for her though? Liz, she has known you all her life…no matter how many new people she meets, you will always be her best friend since forever. Just because she has a new family and some new friends doesn’t change anything. Besides, isn’t Isabel your friend too?”

“Well, yeah, but…” Liz stopped and thought for a minute. Why was she being so irrational here? ‘Because Maria is your best friend and you would do anything for her, and since she isn’t letting you, you don’t know what to do,’ her inner voice told her. “Thanks Alex. I think I needed to hear that.”

“No problem Lizzie. Just give her some time. I’m worried too. Let her have this time with her mom and her new family. Next week if she still hasn’t told us, then we’ll talk to her about it, okay?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Yes, and that was the last potato!” Alex cheered, waving his arms over his head in much excitement. He loved mashed potatoes, but now he had a new respect for his mother and sisters who did all this work all the time to make them.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Five minutes later, Maria was sitting in the passenger seat of the rental car as she directed Kyle to the store.

“So who was that girl that called for you earlier? I mean, most people don’t call their friends on Thanksgiving; it’s usually family time, you know?” Kyle asked curiously.

“Oh, that was my friend Isabel. She was just checking up on me, is all.”

“She must be a good friend then,” Kyle tried to smile but he knew she wasn’t telling him everything. He had heard something while standing outside her door, and he wanted to help if he could. But he wanted her to trust him enough to tell him what it was herself. “Are you sure that’s it?”

“Kyle, I’m sorry, can we not talk about this right now please?”

“Sure,” he conceded. In silence Kyle parked the car and they climbed out, heading into the store. When they reached the register and Maria was reaching for her wallet Kyle stopped her and paid for it himself, throwing in a chocolate bar with a smile to Maria.

“You really didn’t have to pay for that Kyle. I mean, I could’ve-”

“Don’t worry about it. We’re going to be family, it’s not a problem.”

“Thanks.” Maria couldn’t think of anything else to say. Kyle and Jim were such great people, and she felt privileged to have them in her life now.

They got in the car and Kyle set the bag with the cranberry sauce down before handing the chocolate bar over to Maria.

“I just thought you might want something chocolate. You didn’t eat anything for breakfast, so I thought you might want something…”

“Thank you Kyle…I was just craving some chocolate actually. How did you know?”

Kyle shrugged his shoulders. He wished she would open up to him. Sure, they had just met a few days ago but they were going to be family, and he already felt close to her. He liked her and wanted to protect her. They drove back to the apartment in silence as Kyle concentrated on the road and Maria on her chocolate bar.

“Kyle, did you hear anything when I was on the phone?” Maria finally asked as they pulled up to the curb. A guilty look crossed Kyle’s face as he turned to her.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be listening in. I just went to knock on your door and I heard you still talking, so I waited. I wasn’t listening on purpose.”

“It’s okay Kyle. I mean, you’d find out anyway soon enough.”

“So how long have you known?” Kyle asked.

“Less than a week.”

“And you haven’t told anyone yet except your mom and the girl who called?”

“Yeah. It’s just hard. Really, really hard.”

“What about the baby’s father? Where is he?”

“He doesn’t know, and we aren’t together really.”

“Did he hurt you? Do you want me to beat the guy up for you?”

Maria smiled at Kyle’s sweet gesture. He sounded so protective, it reminded her of Alex. She was definitely starting to like the possibilities of having a big brother.

“No Kyle, but thanks for the thought.”

“Okay, if you’re sure…”

“I’m sure,” Maria let out a small laugh.

“Are you going to be alright?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Good. But if you need anything, just ask. I’ve always wanted a sister, and I’m glad you’re it.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet. I’m glad my mom found your dad.”

“Me too.” They both got out of the car and Kyle wrapped a protective arm around his sister-to-be as they headed into the building and up the stairs to their family and friends.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

That day turned out to be the best Thanksgiving Maria could remember. It had always been her and her mom, usually going over to the Parker’s place. But this year it was her family…well they would be one soon enough…and she loved it. It felt almost perfect. This was what she had always been missing.

She watched as her mom and Jim talked and laughed. She observed the flirting back and forth non-stop between Tess and Kyle. ‘Those two really are perfect for each other,’ she mused. Then there were the concerned looks and friendly glances from Alex and Liz. Oh boy, she would definitely have to figure out a way to tell them all, and soon. Maria was sure that she couldn’t take much more of this sneaky stuff.

Maria also got protective caring glances from her mother and Kyle who kept a good watch on her and made sure she ate plenty of food. And eat she did; she couldn’t help it, all of the food looked so good!

When everyone left, leaving the girls alone they were all sitting around, yet not tired enough to try to sleep. Maria knew that this was the time…she needed to tell them. She wanted them to know. She could use their love and support. But would they give it freely? ‘Well, there’s only one way to find out,’ she told herself. ‘It’s now or never!’

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Aug-2002 7:09:11 PM ]
posted on 30-Dec-2001 1:37:35 PM by LegalAlien
This was such a wonderful part!
I liked how Kyle already acts brotherly protective of Maria!
I'd just hope that Max comes to his senses really soon and tries to win Liz back!

Can't wait to read more!

Joe
posted on 30-Dec-2001 1:50:06 PM by Pegleg
Ahhh...you left it in a mean place. But great part all around. Kyle and Maria are so cute. I just love Kyle in our story. *sigh* Why can't they all come that way? Anywho...what's with blaming everything on me anyway...you know you wanted to see the movie too...so don't even say it's all my fault you didn't get the part out yesterday. You know you liked it and Jason was yummy.

~Michelle
posted on 30-Dec-2001 1:50:23 PM by Rapunzel
Oh, yay, Liz and Tess are finally going to find out about Maria's pregnancy...and hopefully Alex will find out too? Glad Thanksgiving is finally over....maybe now they can start preparing for Christmas, lol. Glad you posted this part...I was really wanting a new part of this to read! Keep up the good work!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
posted on 30-Dec-2001 1:53:49 PM by roswellluver
I'm glad Maria has decided to tell her friends, I'm sure Liz and Alex will be very supportive! Thanks for writing!
posted on 30-Dec-2001 2:24:50 PM by Eerie
great part! I found the whole maria and isabel conversation so touching. keep up the good work!
posted on 30-Dec-2001 2:59:27 PM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please post more soon with dreamer action please.
posted on 30-Dec-2001 3:57:53 PM by rollergal20
Nikki,

I thought this part was so great, I especially liked how protective Kyle got with Maria. It's so nice that she has such a great family.

I hope that Liz and Alex don't get to much in her face about what's she's hidding. She's having a tough enough time dealing with it herself.

Is the next part the other Thanksgiving dinner? I think it was great how Isabel called, and told Maria that Michael missed her.

post more soon ~ rollergal20 ~ *happy*
posted on 30-Dec-2001 4:45:25 PM by SciFiNut111
I'm surprised that Maria even thinks that there is a possibility that Liz won't give her love and support during her pregnancy. They've been friends forever.

Good part but just odd that Maria would open up to a friend of weeks instead of her lifelong friend.

Looking forward to more.
posted on 30-Dec-2001 4:57:29 PM by tabasco sauce
wow! great part! kyle's gonna be a great step brother. keep up the good work- post more pronto!

-andy*happy*
posted on 30-Dec-2001 5:30:50 PM by Black Rain
You updated!
Great new part! Loved the phone call with Izzie and loved Kyle's line: Want me to beat the guy up for you?
Can't wait for the next part!I know I'm annoying!
Do we get any M&M and M&L soon, too?

And I wish you all a Happy New Year!


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Jan-2002 3:51:43 PM ]
posted on 31-Dec-2001 12:18:35 AM by y3n1ov3lygur1
great part!! Kyle is the best, but I want Max to tell Liz that he' really sorry for what he did..

posted on 31-Dec-2001 3:23:40 AM by shorty828
great part, I loved all the bonding going on, esp between, maria and kyle, now I really hope maria talks to alex and liz. and please have max talk to liz. cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 31-Dec-2001 3:35:38 AM by angelbaby6977
Wonderful part! I hope Max talks to Liz soon!
Please post more soon!
posted on 31-Dec-2001 11:06:49 AM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Awe that was such a touching part!! I an glad that Maria is realizing that she need to tell everyone!!!And she seems really happy to have the family she's getting!!Can't wait for more!!*bounce**angel**bounce*
Happy new Years!!!*angel*
posted on 31-Dec-2001 4:16:27 PM by oObubblesOo
Hurray for me....I finally caught up and read the whole thing!! *big* Can't wait for the next part... keep up the good work!

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!!

(Nikki/Meg: What are we doing for New Years??)

*angel* OobubblesoO *angel*


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
posted on 31-Dec-2001 10:55:15 PM by PennyLane
Hola Chica- How come it is always the girls in the towels? Why can't Tess walk in on Kyle in the buff I like that scenario sooooo much better. Well despite the lack of nakedness I guess that was a pretty ok chapter of my soap opera. (You know I loved it*happy*) It looks to me like everything is working out just the way I wanted it to, so thank you very much and tell Michelle to WRITE!!! Oh and Happy New Year
Love Me
*angel*
posted on 1-Jan-2002 1:58:43 AM by carenicoleIQ
Okay...so I just found this and fell completely in love with it as I read it in one full setting. I have to say though, that I am very pissed at Max right now. He needs to get on the ball. Anyway...I can't wait to see what unfolds next. This is really great!
Carey
posted on 1-Jan-2002 3:59:57 PM by Mary N OO8
I just started reading this story! I've really enjoyed reading everything that you have posted so far and can't wait for more.

Michael really messed up in my book, I think he is should do whatever it takes to help get Max and Liz back together. I know in the end it all falls on Max's shoulders, but Michael needs to do something to atone for the pain he has caused both Max and Liz. Fessing up to Max doesn't seem like enough.

Lets hope that Michael also comes forward with his feels for Maria SOON. She really needs him right now, and if he doesn't tell her how he feels first, she will always wonder if he is with her because of the baby or because her really loves her.


posted on 2-Jan-2002 11:35:11 PM by Kristin80
Hey..I just read this WHOLE thing..start to finish..wow...it was awesome, great job and please post again soon. Also I need some M/L action Make him grovel..but put them back together?? Pretty Please with Max on top?? LOL Thanks for writing *bounce**wink*
posted on 4-Jan-2002 7:27:41 AM by Black Rain
I already feedbacked this part.
It's great by the way.
I just saw this story was so far behind.So I thougt I need to change that!

Hope you soon have time to update your wonderful story*happy*
posted on 4-Jan-2002 11:06:25 AM by angelbehr
Hey girls...I can't believe I missed those last two parts! Oh well...now that the holidays are over, I should be able to keep up. *happy*

I'm so glad that Maria had such a wonderful Thanksgiving! She really deserves all of the support that her family and friends are giving her. *happy* I can't wait to see Liz and Alex's reactions to her news! I know that Liz will take it well, but Alex...he may go a little nuts! Watch out Michael!

Well...I hope to see an update soon! I know you both are probably getting ready for classes again, so I won't bug you too much! *wink*

~angela~
posted on 7-Jan-2002 1:42:44 AM by Kristin80
This needed to be bumped..Page 5?? I think not. Please post more soon! I have been checking every couple of hours. I can't wait to see what happens between Max and Liz!
posted on 7-Jan-2002 3:36:27 PM by SciFiNut111
Just bumping, looking for Thanksgiving at the Guerins.

Post more of the story soon. Please

posted on 7-Jan-2002 3:40:40 PM by SciFiNut111
THe last bump didn't work. I'll try again.


posted on 7-Jan-2002 4:45:06 PM by roswell_chick101
please post more M/L love them Mike is whacked
posted on 7-Jan-2002 10:11:47 PM by Pegleg
Okay...okay. I get the hint. I'm sorry. I really starting working on the next part, right after Nikki posted. But the last couple of days at home were pretty hectic...so I had absolutely no time to write. Now I'm back up at school and have nothing else but studying to keep me busy...so hopefully I will right quicker. I wrote some more last night...for some reason I got inspiration at like 1am and just had to write the next scene...kinda funny since I had been struggling all day to get it right. Anyway, I know that it's been over a week since the last part, and all this is no excuse for my slowness...but now I have Nikki by my side once again bugging me constantly to write. Any how, I promise to get the next part out soon. Glad ya'll are liking the story. Please behr with me. *big*

~Michelle
posted on 7-Jan-2002 11:24:30 PM by Kristin80
Thank You...Please Please Please post soon! I am dying for a new part...
posted on 22-Jan-2002 3:11:22 PM by SpencerHopeful
Bump! *bounce**bounce*
posted on 22-Jan-2002 3:17:04 PM by Kristin80
More Please???? Bump Bump Bump!! *bounce*
posted on 22-Jan-2002 3:18:30 PM by Pegleg
AN: Alright...here's part 32 that was lost. Nikki should be up shortly with part 33...or I will. Anyway, here it is.
~Michelle

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 32

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel’s head shot up at the knocking at her door. She’d just sorta been staring off since she got off the phone with Maria. It was amazing how her life had changed so much over the past few weeks. She had a new boyfriend who was wonderful and caring and everything she could ever want or ask for. Max had met and lost the love of his life. Michael had made some terrible mistakes and was just starting to feel the consequences. One of her friends was pregnant; was gonna have a baby. Her brother was gonna have a baby. She was gonna be an aunt.

“Come in,” Isabel said now that she was broken from her stupor. She looked up to see her brother at the door, still in his boxers, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “Well, good morning sleepy head.”

“Ha ha…very funny Isabel. Mom wanted me to tell you that she invited some friends to dinner tonight…again,” he said as he walked over to sit next to his sister on her bed. “And she expects us to dress accordingly.”

“What a surprise. Cause that’s something new.” The sarcasm was more then evident in Isabel’s voice.

“Hey sis, what do you say we get out of here today? Do some early Christmas shopping or something?”

“Michael…it’s Thanksgiving day…all the stores are closed.”

“Details. It doesn’t matter what we do…let’s just get out of here. You know mom’s just gonna be running around, screaming at the caterers and dad will be hiding in the study with his bottle of brandy. I promise we’ll be home in plenty of time to get ready for tonight’s social event of the year,” he said the last part in a snotty aristocratic accent that never failed to bring Isabel giggles.

“Alright. As long as you promise we’ll be home in time.”

“Alright. Let’s go.”

“Uh Micheal,” Isabel started, laughing, “Don’t you think you might want to get dressed first.”

Michael looked down, inspecting the sole pair of boxers that he was wearing and blushed slightly. He knew he was forgetting something. “Oh…yeah. How bout you give me twenty minutes?”

“Deal,” Isabel said, still laughing as her brother quickly made his way out of her room.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael and Isabel found themselves at the park, as there wasn’t much else to do when all the stores were closed. They were both sitting on the swings, now only lightly swaying back and forth, tired from their earlier playground excursions.

“So, how are things with you and Alex?” Michael asked, breaking the comfortable silence that had been surrounding them for a while.

“Great. Michael…he’s just so amazing. I mean, he just… No matter what he does he always seems to surprise me, ya know. I didn’t think I’d ever find someone so perfect.”

Michael just smiled knowingly as silence again overcame the siblings.

“Were you gonna tell mom about Alex?”

“Well…I don’t know. Not yet…I don’t think. Why?”

“Nothing… It was stupid, forget about it.”

“No, what.”

“I just wanna make sure that she doesn’t treat you the same way that she treated me when…well…you know.”

Silence again surrounded the two.

“Cause you know, if she ever did that again,” Michael started after the long pause. “I would be behind you one hundred percent. I would walk right out that door with you. I don’t need their freakin money.”

“I know you will. You always were the best brother a girl could have…even if you could be a little thick headed at times.”

“Trust me, you don’t need to remind me of my stupid mistakes. I have enough reminders everyday,” Michael confessed, a little quieter than normal, but Isabel still heard him.

Once again they drifted into silence, both lost in their own thoughts, until it was time to go home and face the horde.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Isabel dear, hurry up. The guests will begin arriving any minute,” Samantha Guerin called up the stairs to her daughter. Michael had already come down the stairs and was waiting for the guests to arrive. Him and Isabel had so graciously been given the jobs of welcoming the guests and seeing them into the lounge where champagne and cocktails were being served.

“Coming mother,” Isabel called as she smacked her lips together, having just finished applying her lipstick. She checked her hair in the mirror one last time before making her way downstairs. She was wearing her hair down, the curls falling over her shoulders, something she knew that her mother hated. She thought that it didn’t make Isabel look sophisticated enough.

Isabel made her way down the stairs, seeing her brother smiling up at her from down below, a knowing smirk on his face.

“Isabel dear, you look beautiful,” Samantha gushed. “Except your hair. Dear, you know how much better it looks up. You look so much more mature with a French twist,” she sighed. “Well, it’s too late now.” As if confirming her comment, just then the bell rang as the first guests arrived.

“Mr. and Mrs. Graham…how good it is to see you. Won’t you come in?” Samantha smiled widely, bidding her guests forward. The butler took their coats and Samantha led them to the lounge. Leaving Isabel and Michael to great and take care of the other guests as they arrived.

Once his mother and the guests were out of ear shot Michael groaned. “I really get tired of these things. I wish we could just have a normal dinner as a family once and a while.”

“Come on Michael, really,” Isabel chastised. “With our parents, do you seriously think that will ever happen?”

“No, just wishful thinking I guess.”

The doorbell rang once again and the siblings waited patiently as the bulter, Adam, once again opened the door. “Oh, hello Mr. and Mrs. Evans, it’s good to see you again. I didn’t know you were coming today,” Michael started, somewhat surprised to see them. The Evans usually had their own family dinner on Thanksgiving, something Michael had always longed for. “Max,” Michael acknowledged, not really knowing what to say to his friend. They hadn’t really spoken since he’d told Max how he’d lied about Liz.

“Michael,” Max nodded.

Diane noticed the strained looks going between her son and his lifelong friend and made a note to watch them tonight. Deciding to try and cut the tension, “Well, Michael dear, it’s so good to see you too. And you too Isabel. My you’ve grown into such a beautiful young woman.”

“Thank you Mrs. Evans,” Isabel blushed slightly.

“Oh, come on. We’ve known each other forever; call me Diane. And that goes for you too Michael.”

“Well, if you would follow me,” Isabel started, “my parents are waiting in the lounge.”

Once inside, the Evan’s went off to greet Samantha and Patrick Guerin, leaving Max, Michael and Isabel to stand in a strained silence. The doorbell rang once more, and Michael excused himself all too willingly to answer the door.

“I’m sure it’s not any consolation, but I know he’s sorry,” Isabel commented, breaking the silence.

“I know he’s sorry,” Max replied. “That’s not the problem.”

Isabel just nodded, understandingly. This was something that sorry just didn’t fix.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Mr. and Mrs. Harding. It was nice of you to come,” Michael greeted. “Courtney!” he smiled as he enveloped the girl in a hug. “It’s been a while.”

“Too long. Where’s Isabel?”

“Well, if you all will follow me,” Michael started, addressing the Hardings as well, “my parents along with the rest of the party are residing in the lounge.”

The three followed Michael, and as Courtney’s parents went right in to great the Guerins, Courtney and Michael made their way to the corner where Max and Isabel were talking.

“Courtney,” Isabel yelled once she caught sight of her friend, the two had really become close the time she had come down to San Diego. Not caring if she was making a scene, Isabel ran over to Courtney and grabbed the girl in a hug. “I’m so glad you’re here,” Isabel breathed, sure that Courtney couldn’t completely comprehend how glad she was. The tension between Max and Michael was enough to suffocate.

Courtney just giggled as she and Isabel embraced. Then seeing Max, she walked over to him as well, giving him a hug. “Hey Max.”

“Courtney. Long time no see.”

Just as Isabel was about to say something, the bell rang once again and she excused herself to answer.

“So Max,” Courtney started, “How is Liz doing?”

A look of pain crossed Max’s eyes before he replied. “Um…fine I guess. We’re not…we’re not together anymore,” Max finally finished.

Courtney noticed the unintentional glare that Max shot Michael’s way with that statement. A little confused, she was about to ask what happened, when she decided against it. Max didn’t look like he particularly wanted to talk about the subject and she could always ask Isabel about it later.

Deciding to go on to what she thought was a safer subject, she turned to Michael. “So Michael, have you and Maria finally hooked up yet?” she asked teasingly.

Had Michael had a drink right now he would have spit it out at that moment. He was just a little shocked at Courtney’s comment, to put it mildly. “Um…no…no. We’re…we’re just friends.”

Courtney noticed how Michael stumbled a little over those words. What was up with these two? Michael should have at least chastised her over the Maria comment. Something was up, and somehow Courtney was going to find out what.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel hurried quickly to the door, eager to greet the new guests. Her face fell once the door was opened and a tall man with blond hair and blue eyes walked through the door. “Andrew!” Isabel gasped out with a mix of shock and fear.

“Hello Izzie,” Andrew replied, a smile on his face.

That smile sent a shiver directly down Isabel’s spine. It wasn’t until she began searching around in a frantic effort to get away from his intense stare did she notice Andrew’s parents standing behind him. Quickly composing herself and returning to the socially poised mode that she’d been conditioned to, she greeted her guests.

“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Sorenson. I’m glad that you and Andrew could join us tonight. If you’ll follow me, my parents are waiting in the lounge.”

The Sorenson’s were all smiles, having always thought fondly of Isabel.

Isabel led the guests up to the lounge and motioned for them to enter first. She was about to go in herself when Andrew held her back.

“Can we talk?”

Hesitantly Isabel nodded and with apprehension allowed Andrew to lead her away from the security of her friends who were so close, yet so far away. Once they were alone Isabel’s gaze took on a cold demeanor. “What do you want Andrew?” she bit out.

Andrew visibly winced at her sharp tone. “Alright, I deserved that.”

A little calmer this time, Isabel continued. “What is it you wanted to talk about?”

“Ok. Promise me that you’re not going to say anything until I’m through. Ok?”

“Fine.”

“Alright. Look, I know that what we had kinda ended badly, and I know that it was my fault. But look, it’s over between Katie and me. She was nothing compared to you, but unfortunately it took me too long to see that. I can’t take back what I did to you, and I feel horrible. I guess…well I guess I’m trying to say…that I miss you. So much, in fact. I know it’s probably too much to ask but…could I possibly get another chance?”

After a slight pause, Isabel answered. “Are you done?”

“Yes.”

“Than you were right. It is too much to ask.”

“Come on Isabel. I love you. Just please…let me make it up to you.”

‘Right.’ Isabel thought to herself. ‘Like I let you have another chance when I caught you with Christine…and Laney…oh, and don’t forget Rachael. But I just let it slide, believing it was my fault. That I wasn’t working hard enough to keep you. Like I gave you another chance after all the bruises…passing it off as you having a little too much to drink. How I took you back every time you came back to me on your knees…begging…and then just turned around and let you hurt me again. After all those things I haven’t even told Michael about.’ But she didn’t tell him that. No, Isabel wouldn’t say that.

“Andrew. It’s over. You were the one who broke it off.”

“I know, but I was wrong. You mean everything to me. I can’t live without you.”

Isabel let out a sharp laugh at his comment. “Right. Having a little trouble finding a good lay lately,” she muttered before she realized what she was saying. But she soon realized her mistake when he grabbed her arm tightly.

“Listen you little bitch,” he seethed, “I don’t know why, but apparently I hadn’t completely satisfied my craving before I let you go. And then you went toddling off to San Diego before I got my fill. My body craves yours…wants yours. And you’re gonna give it to me. Whether you like it or not.”

“Andrew please,” Isabel pleaded, tears now streaming her face.

“Now now. That doesn’t sound like the proper tone of a former lover to me.”

“Lover…ha. If I remember correctly, you had to get me wasted to even think of giving you any,” she cried out in anger.

“Oh, you’re gonna be sorry for that comment little girl.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael looked around for Isabel, realizing she had been gone for quite some time. Glancing around he noticed the Sorensons talking with his parents. Looking further around the room there was no sign of their bastard of a son. Realizing that the Sorensons hadn’t been there previously, Michael felt a sense of dread well up inside him. ‘Isabel is missing and Andrew parents are here, but no Andrew.’ Michael stormed out of the room quickly, offering no explanation to Courtney and Max as they looked after him oddly.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Isabel!” Andrew heard Michael calling from down the hall. Knowing that he was close, Andrew quickly covered his bases. “You tell him anything…ANYTHING…I swear you’ll regret it,” he said, before forcefully letting go of her arm just before Michael walked into the room.

“Iz, are you alright,” Michael said rushing over to his sister and throwing a glare at the innocent faced Andrew.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Andrew just wanted to talk.”

“Why are you crying?”

“Oh, oh. It’s nothing. I just…got some…makeup in my eye. Stings like a bitch. That’s all…nothing to worry about.”

Michael looked at Isabel curiously, knowing that she wasn’t being completely honest with him. He decided not to push it, she’d come to him eventually. Shooting a threatening glance at Andrew, one that said in no uncertain terms that there’d be HELL to pay if he’d hurt his sister in any way, he turned back to his sister with caring eyes. “Come on, lets go back to the party,” he said, wrapping an arm around Isabel’s shoulders and leading her out of the room, leaving Andrew to follow as he pleased.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Upon returning to the group, Courtney noticed a new tenseness in Michael’s figure. It wasn’t until she took a look at Isabel that she got worried however. Her eyes were red and puffy, as if she’d been crying and her body was rigid, the life taken out of her form.

“Um, Courtney. I don’t know if you ever met…Andrew Sorrenson. Andrew, this is Courtney Harding.”

“Pleasure,” Andrew replied, extending his hand.

“Likewise,” Courtney hesitantly grabbed for his hand. She couldn’t help but notice the way that Isabel attempted to stay as far away from him as possible without alarming everybody. Then there were the death glares shot Andrew’s way from both Michael and Max. The two now seemed on alert, as if ready to lash out at the new guest at a moments notice.

“Hey Isabel, could we talk? We have so much to catch up on,” Courtney asked, disguising her worry with a lighthearted tone. She was going to get to the bottom of this.

“Of course,” Isabel replied, all to willingly. The girls excused themselves from the group and made their way towards Isabel’s room.

Once safely inside, Courtney quickly turned on her friend. “Alright girl, what the heck was going on down there? First Max is glaring at Michael, then you come back with some guy, seemingly scared to death and teary eyed, then both Michael and Max are shooting glares at him. Now girl, I want some answers…now.”

Looking at Courtney and seeing the sincerity and compassion in her eyes, Isabel heaved a heavy sigh, and began…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Michael said something to Max that made him break up with Liz. A whole lot a shit happens and Max starts realizing he’s made a mistake. Then Michael comes clean, tells Max he lied about the whole thing, and so now they’re not talking to each other again.”

“Well, I guess that’s the basics of it, yeah,” Isabel responded to Courtney’s reiteration.

“Alright, well that explains that. Now who is this Andrew and why were Max and Michael giving him dirty looks?”

Isabel closed her eyes, apparently readying herself before divulging her story. “Andrew is my ex and lets just say the breakup wasn’t exactly pretty.”

“What happened?”

“Let’s just say that he got me drunk and slept with me then dropped me the next day for another girl.”

“Oh Isabel, that’s terrible.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” Isabel muttered under her breath, not expecting Courtney to hear her.

“There’s more?” Courtney asked tentatively.

Isabel closed her eyes once again, trying to keep control of her emotions and stop the tears that were trying desperately to fall. After taking a deep breath, she spoke, “Court, could we please not talk about this?”

“Okay. But I’m here for you; you know that right? I want you to know that you can come to me with anything.”

Silence enveloped the two before a knock was heard at the door. “Hey Is? Court? Dinner’s being served,” Michael called through the door.

“Thanks,” Isabel called to her brother before making her way over to the door.

Courtney came up behind her, placing her hand on Isabel’s shoulder. “I meant that Is. I’m here for you.”

“Thank you,” Isabel said so softly that Courtney barely heard her. Without looking back, Isabel led the way out her door and down towards the dining room.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, Isabel dear,” Samantha Guerin started. “How has your stay in San Diego been? She has been staying down there with her brother for the last few weeks,” she continued, turning to the rest of her guests at that last statement.

“It’s been great Mother. I like it a lot down there. I was actually thinking about starting school there,” Isabel said, not mentioning the fact that she had already been accepted and intended on starting at USD in January.

“Oh, that’s great Isabel. I don’t know if he told you, but Andrew was planning on transferring down to San Diego sometime soon. Where was it that you were going to go dear?” Susan Sorenson replied.

“UCSD,” Andrew replied with a smirk.

Susan gazed lovingly at her son, missing the panicked look that crossed Isabel’s face. It was not missed however by Michael, Max and Courtney, who looked sympathetically towards Isabel while the other two sent murderous glares Andrew’s way.

The rest of dinner went on uneventfully. Small talk was exchanged, but this seemed to bore the four youths sitting together at one end of the table. They shared their own light conversation, shying away from the troublesome realities that ruled their lives, their exchanges inconsequential to the rest of the group.

Their interactions were not missed by Diane Evans though. She noticed the tenseness that surrounded them. She saw the glares that Max and especially Michael sent to the young Mr. Sorenson. She also noticed the strained looks that passed between her son and his life long friend. She made note to talk to Max about it later and went back to the conversation she had been only partially participating in earlier with Samantha Guerin and Trisha Harding.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max had finally had enough. He couldn’t take this anymore; he needed to go get some air. The potentially suffocating environment was starting to get to him. Excusing himself from the table, Max made his way outside into the gardens.

Looking up at the sky, he searched for answers. Something…anything that could help him make sense out of his life. But no answers came.

“Hey,” came a faint voice from behind him.

“Hey,” Max replied, not looking away from his inspection of the nighttime sky.

“Look Maxwell, I screwed up big time. I know that. And I’m sorry. I just…God, I hate this. I hate this distance that’s been placed between us. I mean, this is so much worse than you just being mad at me. This is just…it’s like we don’t even know each other any more.”

There was a pause before Michael continued.

“And don’t know how many times I can tell you that I’m sorry. I don’t think that I can express how sorry I am. I don’t know how to make this better.”

“Maybe because you can’t make it better!” Max finally yelled in agitation. “This isn’t something that you can just apologize for and make it all better Michael. This isn’t something you can fix. Saying sorry, no matter how many times you say it, isn’t gonna make this go away. Sorry isn’t good enough!”

“I know that…”

“No Michael, I don’t think you do. I don’t think that you could possibly understand what it feels like to be me. I lost her Michael. I lost her and I love her more than anything. I realize that now that it’s too late. I mean God, you were supposed to be my best friend…and…and you lie to me. You lie to me on the slim possibility that I could get hurt. That wasn’t your decision to make Michael! That wasn’t your call! But for some reason you thought you were protecting me. Well you protected me Michael! Now look, you’ve ruined my life!”

Max hadn’t meant for all this to come out…right now…tonight. But all the days of pent up frustration and anger and pain were coming out right here.

“I’ve been lost Michael. And it’s all because I’m without her. But at least before I could tell myself that it was for the best. That I was saving myself the heartache down the line. But then to find out that it was all a lie. That I could have everything that I’ve wanted for the past six weeks…that I could have her in my arms right now…that I could be happy…

“I threw it all away Michael. I threw it all away and now I’m paying the consequences. So don’t tell me you want to fix it. Don’t tell me that you’re sorry. I’ve heard enough.”

“Max I…”

“Ya know what Michael, maybe since every time you try to help, you end up ruining my life…maybe you should stay out of it.” And with that Max stalked back inside, disappearing into the throng of guests.

Unbeknownst to either of them however, Diane Evans heard the whole exchange.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

posted on 22-Jan-2002 3:23:16 PM by dancepixie
Okay, this is just me reposting part 33 since sadly it was lost. But that doesn't matter anymore since the board is now back! I'm so glad it's back. A big thank you to everyone who helped to get it back in working order!!!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 33

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You’re what?!?!” Tess shrieked into the night.

“I’m pregnant,” Maria replied calmly. She had gone over and over this moment in her head a million times since she had found out; she could do this. Besides, these were her best friends, if she couldn’t tell them, then how would she tell anyone else? Tess of course had been completely out of the loop, so her reaction wasn’t much of a surprise from what Maria imagined it would be. Liz on the other hand remained quiet.

“But…how? I mean, the last time I checked, you were still a virgin! What haven’t you guys been telling me?” Tess had had the feeling earlier that she had missed something important in her friend’s life when Liz wouldn’t answer her question and instead had said to ask Maria about the whole Michael situation. Had…oh my god!

“Last time you were here, I was. I’m sorry. It’s just been a really busy and stressful month and a half, or whatever, since I last saw you. And…I didn’t know how to tell you guys. I’m sorry.” Maria sat down on the couch resting her head in her hands as she rubbed her temples gently. She could do this, she repeated over and over to herself.

Liz came and sat beside her friend, gently rubbing a hand in circles on her back.

“Ria, why didn’t you tell me? I mean, when did you find out?”

“Just on Sunday.”

“Are you okay with this?” Liz refused to let go of her friend, wanting her to know that she would be by her side if she needed anything at all.

“Yeah…I think so actually. I mean, at first I didn’t know what to do. But I’m a lot better now. When I found out I freaked…I mean, I don’t know what I would have done if Izzie hadn’t stopped by.”

“Isabel knows already?” Liz tried not to show it but it still hurt her that she hadn’t been the first person Maria had come to with this.

“She came over on Sunday for something and she found me right after... She made me tell her what was wrong because I was crying and…she was a good friend. I really just needed someone to talk to, and you were gone Lizzie, and…” Maria didn’t know what else to say. She felt like she was apologizing to Liz for not telling her first, but it wasn’t something she should have to apologize about.

“It’s alright Ria. I understand.”

“Wait. I’m still kinda lost. Can we go back to how this all started?” Tess asked as she sat on the other side of Maria so that she was now surrounded on the couch by her best friends.

“Sorry Tess. Umm…well there was this party and it was just after Lizzie broke up with Max and the day I found out that mom was getting married…” Maria relayed the whole story with help from Liz of that fateful night and the morning after.

“So wait, you slept together while drunk and then just decided to be friends? Wow!”

“Well it wasn’t easy. It was really awkward at first. Going up to Michael that day and asking him to tell me what happened that night was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But after a while it was great. We’ve had a lot of fun together…and I think…I really like him…like him like him, I mean.”

“Why’s that a bad thing?”

“What if he doesn’t feel the same way?”

“Wait a minute. You are going to tell him about the baby, right?”

“I…I don’t know. I mean, I don’t want him to feel like he has to stay with me just because we have a kid together. I don’t want to hurt him like that; I don’t want to hurt myself.”

“How do you know he doesn’t feel the same as you?”

“I don’t know. But…I just have to think about this for a while, okay? I’m so confused right now. I haven’t even known for a week yet. I mean, I found out on Sunday, and Izzie stopped by and she found me…I had to tell her. Then last night while you guys were downstairs with Alex, mom came back to get her purse and found me crying, so I had to tell her, too. I’m sorry I didn’t come to you right away Lizzie. I just…I didn’t want you to be disappointed in me.”

“Ria, you are my best friend and always have been. I would never do anything to hurt you, you know that.”

“I know, I’m sorry…here I go again crying…” The tears were streaming down Maria’s face again. But it felt good. She no longer had to hide anything from her best friends; they knew and they still loved her, supported her. What had she ever done to deserve such amazing people in her life?

“Maria, we both love you. You don’t have to worry about losing me or Lizzie as friends,” Tess said softly.

“I realize that now…I guess I’ve just been a little emotional the last few days…” all three of the girls laughed a little bit, but that was soon gone.

“So what are you planning on doing now?” Liz finally asked the question that had been bugging her. She loved Maria and wanted to make sure she would be okay.

“I don’t know. I mean, how am I going to keep up with school while having a baby? And mom…she’s so far away…and…I just don’t know right now!!!” Maria was so confused she couldn’t think straight. Liz had brought up a good point. What was she going to do now? Her baby needed her…she couldn’t just flake out on her own child…never!

“Shh! It’s okay Ria, honey!” Tess whispered softly. “Why don’t you go to bed chica? You look tired and you need your sleep. We can talk more later.”

“Yeah, and if we’re going shopping tomorrow we’ll have to wake up early,” Liz reminded.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Amy arrived at the apartment early the next morning with Kyle standing beside her. Jim had wanted to go visit an old friend so he figured he could do that while the girls and Kyle went shopping. But Kyle wasn’t exactly too thrilled about the shopping part, except for the fact that Tess would be there, of course. He was planning on asking her out sometime…the only problem was he had to find the right time. He just hoped Maria had been right and Tess liked him back.

Tess yawned as she padded her way toward the knocking of the door. Her hair was still disheveled from sleep and she was in her pajamas since she just got out of bed. ‘Well at least this is an improvement, yesterday I was in a towel,’ she thought to herself with a giggle.

Tess opened the door before heading into the living room where she laid down on the couch and was about to go back to sleep when Amy’s voice interrupted her.

“Tess? Honey, why aren’t you ready to go?”

“I figured I’d just stay here and catch up on my sleep,” she answered with a yawn, not even looking up.

Kyle just stood beside the couch watching Tess. She was just so cute when she was half asleep like that. And those little bunny pajamas were too adorable! Did she even realize he was there? He doubted it.

“Okay honey, but you’re gonna miss out on all the great sales,” Amy shook her head with a laugh at Tess’s still unmoving body.

“Yeah Tessie. You’re gonna miss all the great things at Victoria Secret,” Maria stated with a smile as she walked into the room having heard the conversation. She had noticed Kyle right away and gave him a wink as she walked past saying those two words that could get any guy’s blood flowing, ‘Victoria Secret.’

Kyle had to suppress the groan that rose in his throat. Standing there looking at Tess and eyeing the perfectly smooth porcelain skin of her stomach exposed by her tank top riding up…and hearing those words…boy was this a test of his strength…

No one noticed the lack of any response from Tess as she had fallen asleep soon after lying down.

“You know, maybe I think I’ll just stay here too,” Kyle spoke up. This was just the chance he needed. It would be just him and Tess alone in the apartment all day…the possibilities were endless.

“Oh, what’s the matter, Kyle? You don’t feel like spending a day with us girls, expanding your horizons and trying on skimpy little outfits?” Maria laughed. Kyle’s face was so perfect, where was a camera when she needed one?

“That’s okay, I think I’ll pass. I don’t particularly feel like playing Barbie doll for a bunch of girls.” They all laughed at his comment, because they knew it was true. If Kyle had been there, they would have eventually made him try on anything they thought looked cute. Plus, they would have been asking his opinion on the clothes they were trying on, and that was just uncharted territory that Kyle did not feeling like getting himself stuck in at the moment. Nope, he was fine where he was. And Tess was staying, so he had no real reason to go.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“No dad…I know, I just figured I’d let the girls do the shopping. It’s not really my thing,” Kyle laughed into his cell phone trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake up Tess. “Yeah, I’m at Maria and Liz’s apartment…no, Tess is still here, but she’s asleep. I don’t think she liked the idea of getting up early cause she fell asleep two seconds after we got here…Yeah, I know dad. Okay. Bye.” Kyle shook his head at his father’s worries. What did he think was gonna happen? How many times in the past had he been alone with girls and nothing happened? Okay, well maybe his dad didn’t know about all that…but still! He wasn’t a kid anymore, he could take care of himself and make his own decisions.

“Kyle?” Tess’s voice sounded a little sleepy as she stood in the doorway of the kitchen looking at him funny. “What are you doing here?” The only response she got was laughter out of him. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. You just fell asleep right away after letting us in and you missed that whole conversation.”

“Oh. Okay.” Tess still seemed a little confused. “Umm…I’m going to go and take a shower real quick. I guess you can just make yourself at home like you have been. Umm…yeah…” Tess blushed as she thought about Kyle being in the living room while she was taking a shower. Although she wasn’t quite sure why this felt so weird when the other night they had been staying in the same hotel room…

“Sure.” At the words ‘shower’ and ‘quick’ spoken by the little sprite of a girl before him he couldn’t help his mind from wandering in directions that his father would definitely not approve of. ‘I think I could use a quick-I mean cold shower too,’ Kyle thought in his mind, yeah, that’s what he meant…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So Ria, have you thought about what you’re going to do…you know?” Liz asked as the three of them sat down to have lunch in the food court at Fashion Valley.

“I don’t know. I mean…it’s so hard deciding what to do…I mean it affects everything…”

“Honey, can I give you some advice?” Amy asked.

“Of course mom.”

“Well, I want you to spend some time and really think about what this means. Are you planning on telling Michael about this? Cause honey, he does have the right to know.”

“I know mom. I don’t want my child to have to grow up without a father like I was forced to…”

“I know dear. Just give it a lot of thought. You are always welcome to come and stay with Jim and I back home if you ever need us. I mean it honey. I love you and I could never just abandon you.” Maria was crying from her mother’s heartfelt caring words. They had always been close, and now more than ever, Maria was thankful for her mother’s presence in her life.

“Thank you mom!” The two hugged and cried, and soon Liz felt left out and wanted to give Maria her support, so she joined them in a group hug.

A while later they were all calmed down as they finished their lunch.

“Maybe you should take a year off. You know, so you can relax and get used to everything. I’m sure if you talked to the school they would hold your scholarship for you.”

“Maybe. I don’t know. I just…need some time. Can we not talk about this right now?”

“Of course. I’m sorry!” Liz felt bad about bringing all this up; she was just so shocked by it all last night.

“Why don’t we go the baby store over there? Maybe you’ll find something that you like. You know, get the baby its first present or something?” Amy suggested. Amy remembered back to her own pregnancy. She had been scared and lonely and not sure of what would happen after her parents threw her out. She had somehow found her way to some shops, and on impulse wound up in a baby store, where she bought Maria’s first blanket. And she actually still had that blanket tucked away in Maria’s old closet in a box of baby stuff. ‘Maybe it’s time to get that stuff out again…I’m going to be a grandmother!’

“I guess,” Maria shrugged.

“Honey, maybe it’ll make this all a little easier. I know when I bought that first thing for you it changed my world. I wasn’t scared and lost anymore…I had you!”

“I love you mom.”

“And I love you too honey. Come on, we still have more shopping to do.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Tess, would you go out with me?” Kyle asked, wiping the nervous sweat off his forehead as he paced the living room floor. “No! Ahh! Okay…Hey Tess, why don’t we go to a movie?” He thought about it for a moment, then shook his head. “No…it’s still wrong. Tess, would you-”

“Yes Kyle?” Tess’s voice called from behind causing him to jump a mile. He had definitely not been expecting that. Tess had to suppress her own giggles as he jumped in the air and spun around to see her. He seemed completely and utterly surprised. If he didn’t know she was there, then why had he been talking to her? This was too weird.

“Tess!” Great, just great. Now what was he going to tell her? He had to come up with something quick. ‘Just ask her out you stupid idiot,’ that voice inside him replied.

“Yes Kyle?” she reiterated again as she walked past him to sit on the couch.

“I…uh…” he couldn’t find the words as he sat beside her. He was too busy looking at her. God she was beautiful! Without realizing what he was doing, Kyle leaned closer and closer…until their lips were almost touching. The kiss was soft and sweet and only lasted a few moments before he pulled away to look into her eyes. What he found there only made him smile. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea after all!

“Kyle?” Her voice was soft and flowing, it sounded like music to his ears, her expression dazed.

“Would you go out with me?” he blurted out without a moments hesitation.

“Kyle?” Had she just heard him right? He wanted to go out with her? Maybe she was dreaming again…yes, that had to be it. What would Kyle want with a girl like her when he could have anyone?

“We can do whatever you want…I just…”

“Yes,” she smiled at his stuttering. He was just so cute!

“Really?”

“Yes! Don’t be so astonished. I’ve always liked you Kyle,” her cheeks flushed at her forwardness, but she couldn’t help it, it just came out. She couldn’t help herself around Kyle…she just couldn’t.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Kyle and Tess were curled up on the couch together watching 10 Things I Hate About You, Tess’s favorite. Once in a while they would share a shy glance and sweet smile, as she lay curled up against him. Kyle just smiled even more and brushed a piece of hair out of her face as she drifted off to sleep in his arms.

That was how Liz, Amy and Maria found them upon returning from a long day of shopping. Maria’s feet were killing her, but the smile on her face was proof of how much fun she had. It was great having her mom around. She really needed to thank Jim again for giving this to her.

“We’re back!” Amy called out only to be shushed by Kyle as they entered the living room. All three women stopped when they saw how cute the couple on the couch looked all cuddled up together. Maria simply raised an eyebrow at Kyle with a smirk. Oh yeah, she had been right! “Sorry. Is she still sleeping? My goodness I’ve forgotten how much that child could sleep!” Amy laughed.

“We were watching the movie and she just fell asleep a few minutes ago. So did you guys have fun?” He readjusted himself a little so that he could more comfortably look at them while not disturbing Tess.

“Yeah, lots. You could have come with us though.”

“That’s okay. I had fun here.” His smile wasn’t missed by Maria. She had made a match for two of her friends and she wished them well.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was two hours later when Maria found herself finally alone. She was sitting on her couch with her shopping bags on the floor around her. Tess, Liz, Amy, and Kyle had gone to meet Jim while Maria had said she was going to take a nap. But she didn’t feel like sleeping right now.

She took out the bag from the baby store and pulled out the toy inside. It was a white teddy bear that said ‘Baby’s First Teddy’ on its stomach. It was so soft and perfect that Maria couldn’t resist buying it. Her mother had been right. Buying that first thing for the baby made everything more real. And no matter what, Maria was sure now that things would work out. She would find a way to make it work for her child. Anything for this baby…Maria hugged the stuffed animal to herself as she thought about her baby…her baby…

“Ria? Hey, how was shopping?” Alex asked as he let himself into the apartment without so much as knocking.

“It was a lot of fun,” Maria smiled back at him as he came and sat beside her.

“Hey what’s that?” Alex asked as he read the letters on the bear’s stomach. “Baby’s first teddy? Is your mom gonna have a baby or something?” The innocent question caused Maria so much more pain than she had thought. She hadn’t wanted Alex to find out this way, but now she had to tell him. She just hoped he wasn’t too hurt by it.

“No…actually, I am.” Maria bit her lip and watched quietly as Alex’s eyes got wider and wider. The hurt that crossed his face hurt her just as much. She hadn’t told him before. Had she even planned on telling him? She could see all the questions in his emotions. God, how could she do this to one of her best friends? He had practically been the big brother she had never had for over a year now.

“What?” he couldn’t believe his ears. His Ria, was pregnant? Oh god! He should have protected her that night…he shouldn’t have been out having fun with Isabel…he should have known that Maria was up to something…he had been stupid.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before Alex, but I just found out on Sunday, and it hasn’t been easy.”

“It’s okay Maria.” Alex could see the pain that she was going through and couldn’t be mad at her for not telling him sooner. No, it was his fault for not stopping this from happening. “You don’t have to apologize. So, do I get to be Uncle Alex?” he asked with a big smile, instantly cheering her up at the same time.

“Of course! I wouldn’t have it any other way!” Maria laughed. Wow, that had gone so much better than she had ever thought it would. Why did she ever think it would be bad in the first place? She wasn’t sure.

“So who knows? I mean, have you told Michael yet?”

“Well, Isabel, Liz, Tess, Kyle, and mom all know. I’m not sure if mom has told Jim or not. I don’t mind if she does though,” she shrugged, purposefully not answering the other question.

“So what about Michael?”

“I don’t know. Everyone’s been asking me that, and I just don’t know. Can’t I have some time? I mean, I haven’t even known for a week yet! Some women know about their children for weeks before they tell their husbands! So why is everybody freaking out on me?” She was trying so hard to be strong here, but everyone was making this so difficult.

“Because you aren’t married Ria. Don’t take this wrong, alright? We all love you and we want what’s best for you. But don’t you also have to do what is best for your child? Isn’t Michael, having a father, what is best for him or her?”

Maria couldn’t help the tears that were coming now as Alex enfolded her in his arms. It was a conspiracy; everyone was out to get her! It was almost as if she couldn’t get a moment’s peace. Maybe this was why she had kept putting off telling everyone around her.

She felt like she was trapped and she needed to get out, be alone for a while. She hadn’t had a moment alone in forever, it seemed.

“Alex, could you just leave me alone for a while? I think I might go take that nap right now.” She didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she had to be alone for a little bit, and before long the others would be back, so it had to be now.

“Sure. But if you need anything just call or come downstairs.”

“Thanks Alex.”

“No problem.” Alex gave her a hug before he headed to the door. He felt bad for what he had said to her. He made her cry…he never wanted to purposely do that…but he had.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Saturday came and went without much trauma. Maria’s mother kept her word and took her to the doctor and then the pharmacy to get her started on pre-natal vitamins. Maria was amazed by how great her mother was being through all of this. It must be weird to be a grandmother at the ago of 36, but Amy couldn’t be happier.

Saturday was the last day that Maria had with her mother because she would be leaving on a plane early the next morning. She would have to say goodbye to her mom, Tess, Kyle and Jim…at least until Christmas break.

“Maria? Are you alright honey?” Amy asked as she parked the car next to the apartment.

“Yeah mom, I’m fine. I’m just gonna miss you,” Maria smiled sadly.

“Oh, I’m gonna miss you too honey, but I’ll see you in less than a month.”

“I know.”

“And hey, we’re still going out to dinner tonight, Jim insists. So we don’t have to say goodbye just yet.”

“Thanks mom. For everything. You’re the greatest.”

“Oh honey, you’re getting all sappy. What happened to my Teflon-babe daughter who never let anything get to her?”

“She met the real world head on,” Maria offered causing both women to laugh. It felt good to laugh.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Dinner was fun for everyone. Alex was telling some of his silly jokes making everyone laugh. And Maria made sure to watch Kyle and Tess closely. They were just so cute. Kyle had glared at Maria when they first got to the restaurant and Maria had sat in the seat beside her friend. Maria got up quickly upon seeing his face. And the funniest part was that Jim was totally clueless as to everything that was passing with regards to Kyle and Tess. Everyone else at the table knew about the two’s new relationship except Alex and Jim.

Alex being as smart as he was figured it out soon enough. Under the table Kyle and Tess were holding hands until the food came and when it did Kyle gave her hand a squeeze as he lifted it in his own hand. Alex happened to be sitting across from Tess and noticed the simple loving gesture, which really confused him for a moment.

“Wait a minute, are you…ouch!” Alex was asking before he was kicked swiftly in the leg by Kyle to shut him up. “Oh, I get it…” his voice was much softer this time as a result of the new pain in his leg.

The girls couldn’t help but giggling at the look on Alex and Kyle’s faces as they sort of glared at each other. It was just hilarious.

“Thank you for dinner, Jim,” Liz said as they were all getting up and heading out of the restaurant.

“You’re welcome,” he smiled, “I’m just glad we all got this chance to get to know each other.” And Jim meant every word of what he said. The last few days had been quite an experience for him. He met his future step-daughter, and he loved her already, but he knew he would from Amy’s stories. And Maria’s best friends were great people too. He had a feeling he would be getting to know all of them better in the future, but it was just a hunch.

“Yeah, thanks Jim,” Alex piped up.

“No problem Alex, you just keep an eye on these girls for me,” he smiled.

“Yes sir!” Alex saluted causing everyone to laugh.

Kyle stood up from his seat and like a gentleman he helped Tess from her chair, and taking her by the hand as they walked with Amy, Liz, and Alex toward the door. Jim watched them with a confused look on his face. Sure his son had good manners, but since when did he act like that?

Maria noticed Jim’s confusion but tried to hold back the laughter from her voice.

“They are so cute together,” Maria smiled.

“Who?” Jim asked confused.

“Tess and Kyle. They’ve been drooling over each other all week. He finally asked her out though and they are just so cute!” Finally realization came to Jim as he put together all of the odd looks and smiles that had been passed around the table at dinner. Now it all made sense.

“Hmm…do I really want them staying in the same hotel room tonight?” Jim mumbled to himself but Maria heard it and the laughter escaped before she could stop it.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Maria returned as the two of them headed for the doors following after their group. After a short moment of silence Maria continued.

“Thank you Jim, for everything. I’ve had the best week just being able to spend time with mom, and I owe it all to you.” Maria looked down at her hands, which she was nervously twisting in front of her. She could do this…besides, her mother had already told him, hadn’t she?

“I’d do anything for you and you’re mother Maria. I know that I’ve just met you, but I hope maybe someday you’ll come to me like a father if you ever need anything. I love your mother, and you are a part of her. If you’ll let me, I’d love to be the father that you never got to have.” The sincerity in his voice brought tears to Maria’s eyes. Damn all those hormones!

“Thank you Jim.” Maria took a deep breath, trying to find the words. “I just thought…you know…that I should tell you…since you are marrying my mom and everything…I’m pregnant.” Afraid to see the look that might cross his face Maria ducked her head, biting on her lower lip.

“Well, I guess I should say congratulations then, huh?” Jim asked as he reached his arms out and brought Maria into a hug. “So do I get to play grandpa?” he asked with a genuine laugh. Maria couldn’t believe her ears. Was she hearing this right? Maybe everything would work out after all.

“I’d love for you to be my child’s grandpa, Jim,” Maria smiled back happily.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 22-Jan-2002 3:30:52 PM by Pegleg
AN:
Hey guys! Yes...I know that there's been an extreme lack of part lately...but I've been really busy. The problem being that over the last two weekends...which are the best times for writting, I have been extremely busy. And I know that there is no excuse for my slowness...(Michelle looks at calendar and see's that it's been a week and a half since last part)...but I promise that I have been working on it. Little by little. But alas...it has all come to go...as I promise that I will try my absolute hardest to get this part up by tonight. I can also definately promise that this part will end Thanksgiving weekend...finally. Trust me when I say that we hadn't originally intended it on being this long. But there you have it. Anyway, hope you've liked the story so far. Just hang in there. New part to come out soon.

~Michelle
posted on 22-Jan-2002 4:06:59 PM by shorty828
I cant wait for more *happy* I know how busy yall can be

Lisa
posted on 22-Jan-2002 6:40:03 PM by Kristin80
Thanks for the reposts and notes! I can't wait to read the new part....I just wish that all writers could just concentrate on their art and not have to worry about paying the bills and school..*big* well in a perfect world I suppose! *angel*
posted on 23-Jan-2002 2:48:53 AM by Pegleg
Hey guys, well I promised the next part...and it's still the 22nd my time, so I made it on time. I'm not sure if I'm all that happy with this part, but seeing as it's been forever, I'll let you have it. (I'm really sorry that it's taken me so long...but at least the parts are good and long huh?) Anyway, Thanksgiving is now officially over by the end of this part and we can move on to newer and better things. It will be nice to at least have them all in the same town again. Anyway, hope you like the part. Now you can bug Nikki. *tongue*

~Michelle

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 34

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael knocked lightly on his sister’s door. “Isabel?”

“Come in,” came the response from behind the closed door.

“Look Isabel,” he began as he started opening the door and stepping inside, “Can we talk about… Oh, hi Courtney. I didn’t know you were here,” he left off as he noticed the blond girl sitting on his sister’s bed.

“Yeah, so whatever you wanted to talk about, could you make it quick? Cause we were just about to leave to go shopping,” Isabel said, turning coming to sit on the bed from where she had previously been perched behind her mirror.

“Uh…don’t worry about it. We’ll talk later.”

“Alright. Hey, you can come with us if you want,” Isabel smiled at her brother, loving to tease him. She knew how much he hated going shopping.

“No thanks Iz. With all due respect, watching you two try on clothes and carrying your bags around all day, is not exactly my idea of fun.”

“Oh come on,” Isabel grinned. “You know you love it.”

“Right, you just keep thinking that. Have fun you two. And Courtney…keep her out of trouble.”

Courtney just laughed as Isabel glared at her brother. “I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, thank you.”

“I know. I just want to make sure she doesn’t let you spend to much.” Isabel stuck her tongue out and Michael laughed. “Just remember that I want to talk to you when you get back.”

Isabel smiled as Michael left the room. But the smile soon faded once the door shut.

“What’s wrong sweetie,” Courtney asked, seeing the change in her friend’s demeanor.

“Nothing. I just know exactly what he wants to talk about. I don’t think he believed me when I told him that I was okay last night.”

“Probably cause you weren’t. Come on Isabel. Stop kidding yourself. We all knew that you were upset last night. You probably should talk to Michael about it.”

Isabel remained silent for a while, thinking about all the things she hadn’t told her brother about Andrew that she probably should.

Noting the melancholy look on her friends face, Courtney decided to change the subject. Isabel had enough weighing on her mind as it was. “Come on…lets go shopping. You can worry about this later.”

Isabel’s face immediately brightening and the two girls made their way, giggling, out of the house to start their fun filled day of shopping.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Yeah,” Max answered to the light tapping that he heard at his door.

Diane tentatively opened the door and entered her son’s room. “Max, there’s something that I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Sure mom. What’s up?” Max asked, turning away from his laptop to where his mother was now seating herself on his bed.

“Look Max…I overheard your argument with Michael last night.” Diane watched as Max’s face took on a somber expression. “You want to tell me what happened?”

“Actually no mom. I really don’t want to talk about it,” Max replied, with a little more venom than he’d intended.

“Fine, fine. I can’t force you. I just want to say one thing. Do you really want a girl to ruin a friendship that has lasted 17 years?”

“Mom, you don’t understand.”

“Make me understand dear. Tell me what happened.”

“He lied to me. He told me…” Max took a pause. Then quieter, less forceful this time, “He told me that she was after my money. He told me he’d over heard her talking to a friend, and that all she wanted was my money. And of course I believed him…I mean how could I not. After everything that happened two years ago…with Cassie…I couldn’t even imagine that he would make up such a thing. He was my best friend dammit! And I believed him. God I was such an idiot.”

Diane stayed silent throughout the monologue. She knew that this had been eating him up inside for a while, that he needed to get this out. Sensing that he wasn’t done, Diane just carried the silence through his pause.

“A few days later, I broke it off. She didn’t take it very well. She…god, she thought that I broke up with her because she wouldn’t sleep with me. That she was just a poor little nothing that I was keeping around to get laid. I tried to tell her, tried to explain things to her, but she wouldn’t listen. Not that I deserved the chance at an explanation.

“God mom, I love her so much. I can’t…I can’t even describe what it feels like. Every time I see her it’s like my insides are twisting into these horrible knots. And then, when I don’t see her, when she’s not around, there’s just complete and utter emptiness. Like I’m missing this vital part of me. I can’t breathe…like I’m suffocating. And just knowing that she’s out there, hating me, or even worse, just plain indifferent…it hurts somewhere deep inside of me, more than anything has ever hurt before.”

When she was sure he was done, Diane decided it was her turn to speak. “Well, I’m sorry dear. That’s terrible. And I’m sure you really love her…but you’re not going to like what I have to say next.”

“Why?”

“Again, do you want a girl to come between you and your best friend?”

“Mom, I…”

“Wait. Before you interrupt, let me finish. Now I know I’ve never met this Liz, but I don’t doubt at all your feelings for her. But dear, you already ended things with her…the damage is already done…and you have to admit that it isn’t all Michael’s fault. You have quite a lot of the blame to place on yourself.

“Now do you really want to throw your friendship away over a girl who could potentially be lost forever? Could you stand to lose them both?”

Max sat silently for a while contemplating what to say next. He knew his mom was right. But could things ever be the same with Michael again? Could he ever trust Michael again?

“I know mom. You’re right. I just…I just need some time.”

“That’s fine dear, just don’t leave this too long. Time alone can cause quite a bit of damage as it is. The longer you let this go, the harder it’s going to be to ever go back.”

“Thanks mom,” he said as he reached over to envelope his mother in a hug. Even though this wasn’t exactly the conversation he’d been expecting, it was oddly comforting. His mother just had a way of doing that.

As Diane got up and was about to make her way out of the room, she turned back to her son one last time. “Oh, and Max…about Liz. Don’t let this one get away. Just follow your heart.” With that she left the room to leave her son to his thoughts.

As his mother left, Max lay back on his bed with a contented smile on his face. Somehow he had a feeling that everything was going to turn out all right, given time.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Isabel, can we talk now?” Michael asked as he slowly entered her room.

“Sure,” Isabel answered, silently dreading the conversation, as she was putting her day’s purchases away in the closet and drawers.

“I want to know what was going on last night. I mean with you and Andrew. What were you talking about?”

“Just stuff. He was just telling me that he missed me and that he made a mistake. He wanted to know if I’d take him back. And I said no, and that’s pretty much where you came in. And that’s it. Not much to say.”

“Somehow I don’t believe you. What aren’t you telling me Isabel?”

“There’s nothing else to tell Michael. We talked that’s it,” Isabel insisted.

“Why were you crying then?” Michael asked. “And don’t give me that ‘there was something in my eye’ excuse. I never believed that for a second.”

“It was just everything. Seeing him again just brought up all these emotions, all these old memories. It was just a little too much, a little too unexpected.”

Michael just looked at her skeptically. He still didn’t believe what she was telling him. Why was she trying to cover up for this jerk?

“Look Isabel. I know that’s not what happened. I know that he said something to upset you. Isabel, you don’t need to cover for him. What he did to you was terrible. You don’t own him anything.”

“You know you have no right to say that don’t you?”

Michael just looked at her with a confused look on his face, startled by the sudden turn. What was she talking about?

“You really don’t get it do you. Think about it Michael! You’re being such a hypocrite. Think about Maria.”

Michael still looked as if he had no clue what she was talking about.

“God, Michael. She was drunk, you weren’t, you had sex, and she was so wasted she can’t remember a thing. Sound familiar?”

Suddenly Michael’s face fell. Fuck! He’d never thought of it like that before.

“You see Michael, you really have no room to talk.”

Michael was just silent. He didn’t know how to respond to that.

“Ya know. When I first found out about what you did to Maria I was so mad. I couldn’t believe that my own brother could do something so…wrong…so disgusting. Just like what that jerk had done to me. So when I was first coming to talk to you, I fully intended on just barging in there and giving you a piece of my mind. But then I thought about it and I realized…you aren’t Andrew. You’re my brother and I know you’re better than that. I know that what happened between you and Maria, that it wasn’t just a quick lay. At least, not for you.

“But Michael, it still doesn’t change the fact that what happened was wrong. And I’m not sure that you’ve realized the full capacity of what you did. Your actions have a lot of repercussions that you don’t think about.”

Michael just sat silently, having nothing to say to what Isabel had just accused him of. Nothing to say, because he knew deep down, that no matter how much he tried to deny it, that she was right.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

After her brother left her room without a word, Isabel wondered if she had been too harsh. She hadn’t meant for all of that to come out now, but with Maria being pregnant and all, she felt that her brother needed to understand the full impact of everything he’d done. He needed someone to lay it all out for him. To bluntly put it out there for him to see in the light of day.

No matter how bad Isabel felt about her words to her brother, she knew they were something he needed to hear. He needed to realize that his actions affected more lives than just his. She didn’t think that Michael had really thought about how his actions were affecting others, especially when it came to Maria. He didn’t know what felt like to be her, having lost her virginity with no memory of the event. Having a child grow from something that could have meant nothing but a drunken fling.

Isabel hoped her words could give him some perspective, and he could start mending the wounds that he created. Cause it wasn’t until he realized that how deep those wounds would go, could he ever hope to heal them.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael just sat in his room, all Isabel’s words running rampant through his head. One thought however always come to the forefront, Isabel was right. To think that this whole time he’d held this deep seeded hatred for this guy that did this disgusting, horrible thing to his sister…but he was the same. He was no better than that bastard son-of-a-bitch that violated… raped his sister. And what was maybe even worse than that was the painful emotional trauma that she now carried with her everyday.

God, he had done that. He had done that to Maria. To think that Maria had gone through the same thing as his sister. He had seen the pain Andrew had caused on Isabel first hand. He would never wish that pain on anyone…let alone be the cause of it.

Well if there was one thing that he learned from his conversation with Isabel it was that he needed to start dealing with his mistakes. If he was ever going to make up for all the hurt that he had caused he had to start facing the problems head on instead of just skirting around the issue, something he had a feeling he had been doing for a long time now.

The first step…honesty. He needed to start with the honest truth and hope that he could start the healing from there. And if she hated him…detested him for what he had done, then it was no less than he deserved. But he had to take the risk. Cause there was no way that he could stand to be the one to cause her hurt. And maybe…just maybe…this could be the start of something better for the both of them. Or at least he could hope.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max hurried to the front door after he heard the doorbell ring. He was the only one home at the moment, as his parents decided to go out to get started on some early Christmas shopping and the housekeeper had been given the weekend off for Thanksgiving.

Upon opening the front door he was surprised to see a bright-eyed Courtney standing before him.

“Courtney?”

“Hey Max,” she greeted, brushing past him into the house.

“Well Hi.” Max said a little confused.

“Did you just get up?”

Max looked down at his haphazard appearance and blushed slightly. He wore nothing but boxers and an open pair of jeans that he’d thrown on before making his way to the door.

“Gosh, I don’t understand how guys can sleep so late. I mean it’s 11am, already. Well, you’ve got,” Courtney looked down at her watch, “twenty minutes to get ready and then we’re out of here.”

Max still looked confused. “Uh…no offense Court…but what are you doing here?”

“Oh sorry. Sometimes I get ahead of myself. Isabel told me that you’d been moping about lately, and I saw it for myself at dinner on Thursday, so I’m here to get you out of the house. Now hurry up…I’m not going to wait around all day.”

Max just laughed quietly to himself as Courtney pushed him forcibly towards the stairs. He knew that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer, so he didn’t even bother arguing. Besides, it’s not like he really had any plans for today, and who knew…he could end up having some fun. And maybe this could take his mind off Liz, if only for a little while.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So…(munch munch) you want to talk about it?” Courtney said between bites of her salad. As soon as Max was ready she had dragged him out of the house and into her waiting Sebring Convertible. She had quickly driven them to the nearest Applebee’s, a restaurant that Max was not familiar with at all.

Once inside, Max was surprised by it’s casual atmosphere. This was the kind of restaurant that was not often frequented by their society. Just proving to show that there was much more to Courtney than the rich exterior. He had gotten a little glimpse of that when she was visiting down in San Diego, but he hadn’t known Courtney all that well before than, just through their parents and in elite society. But now he was getting to see the real Courtney and he very much liked the friend she was becoming. She had definitely changed a lot from her youth.

“Uh…talk about what?”

“Possibly why you’ve been so mopey lately.”

“Not really,” Max answered, looking down at his food to avoid her eyes.

“Alright. I’m not going to force you. But I think that it’s only fair that I tell you that Isabel told me most of it. About what happened with Liz and Michael.”

Max just sat silently, still avoiding Courtney’s stare.

“Max, look. I already know the basics…well more than the basics, so it can’t hurt to tell me how you’re feeling. I’ll just listen. I won’t say anything unless you want me too. I just want you to be able to get this off your chest.”

Max looked up at Courtney hesitantly, but upon seeing the caring and concern in her eyes, he knew that he could trust her.

“Alright. Well. I don’t really know what there is to tell. I mean, I feel like I’ve talked it to death already. Between Michael, Isabel and my mom, I feel like I’ve pretty much laid it out there.”

“It might help that I don’t know you quite as well as all the others though. Think of me as an impartial judge.”

“Alright,” Max chuckled at her analogy. “Well, there isn’t much to say. I was an idiot. Sometimes I just can’t believe how stupid I am. I mean, I’d see her everyday, and it hurt so badly knowing that I put her through that pain. But then, it was even worse when I saw the hurt start to lift from her face. It was once I saw her getting over me that I really realized how much I miss her.

“I love her Court. There’s no other way to put it. I hate being without her. But I know that I can’t just go walking back into her life like nothing happened. I mean, I can’t just go back on everything now that she’s over it…over us. I can’t pretend that everything’s just going to be that same again. But at the same time, I can’t bare to think that it could be too late. That she doesn’t love me anymore.”

After a silence in which they just looked at each other, stormy amber eyes looking into caring hazel ones, Courtney realized that it was her turn to talk. “You look like you want a response. Does that mean that it’s my turn to talk?”

Max just nodded slightly and Courtney continued. “Well, have you talked to her?”

“No,” Max replied, not sure what she was getting at.

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. I just didn’t want to screw up her life again, I guess.”

“Or maybe you were scared that she would reject you this time?”

Max again remained silent.

“Look Max. You’re not gonna get anywhere until you talk to her. Tell her what happened. Tell her that you made a mistake, what you’re feeling. Tell her what you just told me. And then let her make the decision. Let her know what you want, but that it’s up to her where you go from there.”

“I don’t…” but Courtney cut him off.

“You won’t know until you try.”

They finished their meals with light conversation here and there, Max seriously pondering what Courtney had said to him. Once they had finished, Courtney insisted on paying the check. “No, this is my treat. You’re not paying for anything.”

“But…”

“No buts…It’s not like it’s really my money anyway,” she finished with a smirk and Max finally conceded.

“So, what now?”

“Now…we are taking you shopping.”

Max groaned at the word ‘shopping’.

“Oh, come on. You want to impress Liz don’t you? Now what’s better than new clothes and a girl’s opinion with that, huh? And you know I’m not taking no for an answer, so you might as well stop arguing while you’re ahead. And hey, maybe if you’re good, I’ll even take you to one of those action movies that you guys seem to like so much.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max and Courtney were both laughing when they walked back into his home hours later. “Oh my god!” Courtney gasped, “I can’t believe that you remember that. God, I was such a dork.”

“How could I not? Michael was traumatized by it for weeks, of course it probably didn’t help that I teased him at every opportunity. I mean, that kiss came out of nowhere. I swear Michael looked like he was gonna be sick.”

They both burst out in laughter before Courtney continued. “Oh, I had the biggest crush on him when we were kids. Glad I grew out of that though,” Courtney said laughing again.

Once they had calmed down, Max started. “Thanks Court. I really hate to admit this, but I really had fun today. I think that I needed that.”

“Anytime. I’m just glad that I could do a little something to get you out of your rut.”

“Thanks. Well, I guess I won’t really see ya again before I leave tomorrow morning…so I guess I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, see ya Max,” Courtney says as she turns towards that door about to leave.

“Hey Court?” Max called before she could open the door. After she turned around, “You think that I could call you some time? So we could talk?”

“Sure Max. I’m there for ya.” She said as she walked over to envelope him in a hug. Courtney turned once again towards the door, but decided to leave Max with one last thought. “Hey, don’t give up on Liz just yet. She really loved you, and that kinda love doesn’t just disappear.”

Max gave Courtney a genuine smile before she walked out there door. He couldn’t remember the last time he had smiled like that. It had been a long time.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Kyle and Tess walked into the hotel a few steps behind Amy and Jim. Once they made it up to the rooms, Kyle fished out his key as Amy and Jim entered their room. Kyle quickly opened their door and ushered Tess inside. Once they were inside, they both let out a breath of air.

“Oh my gosh,” Tess exclaimed. “I can’t believe they’re letting us get away with this. Maybe they didn’t notice.”

“No, Amy knows for sure. Anyway, don’t knock a bad thing,” Kyle said as he wrapped his arms around his new girlfriend. ‘Girlfriend, I like the sound of that.’ Kyle lowered his head to hers, enveloping Tess’s lips in a sweet kiss. The moment was quickly interrupted though by a knock on the conjoined door.

Kyle made his way over to the door and opened it to reveal a stern looking Jim Valenti. “This door,” he started, “stays open tonight.” And with that said, a smile broke out on his face as he patted his son on the back and finished, “Goodnight kids.” He then turned back around, leaving the door standing wide open.

Kyle walked dejectedly back over to Tess. “I think we spoke too soon,” he said in a quite voice.

Tess just laughed lightly at their predicament. Here they were, in a hotel room together, alone, finally a couple, and his father and her second mother were in the next room. Wasn’t life ironic?

“Why don’t you just go take a shower, and I’ll take one after you get out.”

“Alright. I’ll be thinking about you.”

“Ew…while you’re in the shower, Kyle? That’s just gross.”

“No, no…that’s not what I meant. I meant that I’ll miss you, ya know. It was supposed to be endearing.” Although, he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t be thinking about her the other way either. He was a 20-year-old male after all.

“Alright…well then that’s sweet…I guess.”

Kyle just laughed as he made his way into the bathroom. Luckily he was able to keep most impure thoughts out of his head. When he came out, Tess had all her things set out neatly on her bed, everything all organized. She was just so cute! He couldn’t help the thought.

Tess walked up to Kyle and gave him a quick kiss, her toiletries and nightclothes held in one arm. She then looked down at his appearance, clad only in boxers, once again. “Hmmm…Calvin Klein…I approve,” she said teasingly snapping the elastic on his shorts before walking past him and into the bathroom.

‘Well so much for banishing impure thoughts,’ Kyle thought. Kyle was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t notice Tess exit the bathroom. She just stood silently in the doorway for a while, watching him. She couldn’t believe that Kyle Valenti was her boyfriend. She had dreamed of this for forever it seemed. And now he was hers.

Finally, he noticed her, and the grin that took over his face made her heart flutter. She was falling for this boy already. God help her.

“You ready?” he asked. “We have an early day tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” she said, shaking herself out of her revelry. “I just need to blow dry my hair,” she turned back into the bathroom, getting the hair dryer.

“Here, let me help you with that,” Kyle said as he came into the bathroom, grabbing the dryer out of her hands. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he then proceeded to start blowing softly on the wet hair behind her ear, making the tiny hairs at the back of her neck stand on end.

“Kyle,” she berated. “Stop it.”

“Alright,” Kyle conceded, the grin still firmly in place on his face. He picked up the hair dryer and began gently drying her hair, running his fingers through it as he went. It was soon dry and Tess turned around in Kyle’s arms, giving him a kiss. She just couldn’t seem to stop kissing him. “Mmmm…Thank you,” she finished, punctuating that last sentence with a final kiss.

“Hmmm…If that’s the way you’re gonna thank me, I’m just gonna have to do favors for you more often.”

Tess hit him playfully on the arm as they made their way out of the bathroom. Once they got into the main part of the room, they were reluctant to part, knowing they were going have to be apart all night. Being so close, and yet so far away.

“Kyle,” Tess whispered, “Could you just hold me?”

There was nothing that he would have liked better. Kyle looked down at the beauty in his arms, then at the door leading to his father’s and soon to be stepmother’s room. Noticing how the beds were in no way in the line of vision of the door, he figured they could get away with it.

“Sure,” Kyle said with a smirk as he went over to light switch, turning it out, and then climbing into bed with Tess. “Goodnight Tess,” he said loudly to make it seem like he was yelling from across the room.

Tess giggled lightly, but was able to suppress it by burying her head in Kyle’s chest. “Night Kyle,” she too spoke loudly.

They thought they were home free until they heard Jim’s booming voice. “Kyle, get in your own bed!” he said sternly.

When two pairs of feet were heard tip-toeing across the room instead of one, Amy could be heard. “Tess!” she warned.

“How do you do that?” Tess finally asked in exasperation.

“Parental radar,” Jim answered. “Now get to bed…separately,” he finished in exasperation.

The two finally gave up, and with one last kiss, crawled into their respective beds and tried to get some sleep.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2002 3:34:15 AM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2002 6:04:01 AM by Eccentric One
Just a couple of things. First off, I too love A&E's Pride & Prejudice. I just adore Darcy & Elizabeth. Of course, I have a weakness for bantering couples. Which is why it's strange that Michael & Maria are only a little bit of fun for me. But Max & Liz... :::sigh:::

Secondly, I love how you have wrote Max's thoughts on how much Liz means to him. Absolutely heart-wrenching. But still beautiful.

Keep up the great work. I can't wait to see how Max will try to win Liz back. I think it would go a long way to have Michael, himself, explain his part in the whole fiasco.

Kara
posted on 23-Jan-2002 9:04:59 AM by Alien614
So glad to see an update! Need more of max and liz.*happy*
posted on 23-Jan-2002 9:27:13 AM by tabasco sauce
thank you for the update...we need more dreamer action though. tee hee. keep up the good work- post more pronto!

-andy*happy*
posted on 23-Jan-2002 9:33:29 AM by shorty828
Awesome part, I loved alll the chats everyone had with the other. I really hope max and liz will be together soon, its tearing me apart. ITs so good to see kyle and tess so cute together. Poor courtney is going to be all alone again when they leave. sorry I cant make this longer, I gotta finish getting ready for work. Cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 23-Jan-2002 10:13:05 AM by Rapunzel
Very good new part....I'm glad Michael has decided to talk to Maria about what happened and deal with his problems. Glad that Max got out and had a day of fun...he really needed that. The Kyle/Tess part was too cute! Keep up the good work!
posted on 23-Jan-2002 10:32:16 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part. More dreamer action please. But Courtney's advice was great please go on.
posted on 23-Jan-2002 2:51:56 PM by rollergal20
Hey guys,

I'm so glad the turkeyday is finally over! lol lol

These last three parts, that I just caught up on are great! Please have Michael find out soon, and Max & Liz get back together! We need some cheesy parts!

Love this fic, post more soon ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 23-Jan-2002 4:17:51 PM by Clari
I so love this story. I hope Michael tells Liz the truth and she forgives Max. I know she won't forget but at least forgives him. And if Michael tells her the story about his ex maybe she'll understand. Please post again I can't wait to see what happens.
posted on 23-Jan-2002 6:39:11 PM by LegalAlien
That was so fantastic, thoughtful and so funny altogether!

I'm glad Diane told Max not to let Liz go if she's really what he needs (and is there any doubt?)*big*! I hope he'll follow that advise and talk to her!

I feel a little sad for Kyle and Tess - they're so near but still so far apart (stupid parental radar!)!

Please give us more soon!!!

Joe*happy*
posted on 23-Jan-2002 8:33:04 PM by Kristin80
Thank you Thank you Thank you..that part was too cute. I am so glad that Courtney talked to Max..he needed it, and maybe now he will be able to open up to Liz. Tess and Kyle are so cute! I love Jim's parental radar, too funny. Please post more soon, preferably some Max and Liz action...I am dying to have those two in the same town again! I also love Alex and Isabel together, and Maria and Michael need to have a talk..okay so I just love the whole damn thing!*bounce*
posted on 23-Jan-2002 10:03:25 PM by roswellluver
I'm glad Courtney got Max out and about a bit and convinced him to talk to Liz, I hope it works! Thanks for writing!
posted on 24-Jan-2002 2:33:34 AM by angelbaby6977
I hope Max takes Courtneys and his mom's advice and talks to Liz!
Thanks for posting! Can't wait to read more!
posted on 26-Jan-2002 1:21:32 PM by Black Rain
Great new part!
Can't wait for new one!*big**happy**wink*
Maybe Michael tells Liz the truth.
Maybe Maria finally tells Michael.
Maybe Max does everything that he can to get Liz back

So many questions!!
I know we'll get our answers*wink*
posted on 26-Jan-2002 3:37:10 PM by cole81
I heard through the grapevine that this fic rocks and I am glad I finally checked it out. I love it! I hope that max and liz make up soon... even though he has some major butt kissin to do. it was really nice of max's mom to be so understanding. I can see her and liz getting along later on perahps. I really hope that maria tells michael soon and that he comes clean with his feelings. well I love your story and I hope you post more soon!
posted on 26-Jan-2002 5:48:56 PM by PennyLane
Good job sweetie! My heart got its much needed nourishing at the end. I love Kyle and Tess*big*. Im glad that someone finally told max to talk to liz, I would love for them to be happy again (hint hint). oh and I was just thinking how great it would be to have izzy's credit limit. I mean can you just imagine how many pairs of shoes I could buy*bounce*. Bother Nikki to write more and tell Pete and Ass that Im thinking of them.
love me
*angel*
posted on 29-Jan-2002 1:21:29 PM by SciFiNut111
Bumping

posted on 29-Jan-2002 2:00:04 PM by Cinder
Love this fic!

I hope that Maria tells Michael about the baby soon. I definitely think that he will support her and the baby. Plus he will probably be happy!

Isabel needs to talk about her abusive boyfriend, esp. if he is moving to San Diego. Andrew is such a loser BTW.

And I hope that Max talks to Liz and soon. Courtney did a good thing being there for Max and helping him to talk about the things he was going through!

Can't wait till the next part! *bounce*
posted on 30-Jan-2002 4:39:31 AM by rollergal20
Just thought I'd...

BUMP !

This great story up a little ! *happy*

rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 30-Jan-2002 8:19:41 AM by Black Rain
Bumping! *happy*
posted on 31-Jan-2002 5:29:04 PM by zannyb
I'm so glad Max and Courtney talked. Maybe now our fav dream couple will finally get back together*big*! Michael's beginning to redeem himself*happy*. Tess and Kyle are so cute together. Please hurry back with the next part!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 2-Feb-2002 1:18:08 PM by Black Rain
Bumping again *happy*
posted on 2-Feb-2002 4:04:11 PM by SciFiNut111
Is there anybody on Max’s side in this story? Why does everybody side with Michael?

I can’t believe that Diane Evans defended Michael. Her son just poured his heart out about the amount of pain that Michael’s lie cost him and her only response is to ask if he wants to lose Michael’s friendship over a girl?

She NEVER said that what Michael did was wrong. “That’s terrible….. …. do you want a girl to come between you and your best friend?”


She basically said it was all Max’s fault! “it isn’t all Michael’s fault. You have quite a lot of the blame to place on yourself” Thanks Mom. I feel like crap, pour it on defending Michael.

Would a mother really tell a son to make up with the person that ripped her son’s heart out? That caused her son so much pain? Would she really side with Michael against her own son’s feelings? Does she really think that Michael is that important to Max that he should ignore the lies and be great friends again?

I really have a problem with her ‘I don’t care how you feel, make up with Michael’ attitude.


And I would think that this entire adventure would teach Max a lesson, that he should follow his heart. He says that Liz means the world to him but when his mother asks if he’ll let a girl come between him and Michael, he says nothing, doesn’t try to explain Liz, describe her, nothing. I guess Max agrees with Mom, his friendship with a liar is worth more than Liz? Why doesn’t he at least tell his mother that he will never trust Michael again? What a wimp!!

Please have Liz find someone that really loves her and not settle for the momma’s boy.


You have Isabel finally confront Michael and tell him that he did the same thing to Maria that Andrew did to her, and then you end the scene with her worrying if she hurt his feelings?

Also, maybe I missed something here. In this story you keep saying how protective Michael is of Isabel. Now we find out that Michael knew what Andrew did to Isabel and Andrew is still breathing? Michael did nothing to Andrew? Michael even let Andrew alone with Isabel even though he saw how upset she was?

Please!!! Let Max ignore his mother’s advice and try to win Liz back and ditch the lying rat that caused his heartache.

I see Michael’s actions from another point of view. Michael didn’t lie to Max to save him from Liz. Michael lied to Max for selfish reasons. He saw that Max was falling in love with love with a great girl and he didn’t want to lose his friend. He couldn’t stand to see his friend happy while he wasn’t. His crap about trying to save Max from Liz was BS, Liz had never done anything to indicate that she was anything but a great girl for Max. Michael simply saw that he was losing his friend to a girl and couldn’t cope with it.

posted on 3-Feb-2002 12:52:40 PM by oObubblesOo
3flowers I hope that Max decides to finally talk to Liz...they really need to patch things up...there are too many emotions flying around and things just need to get grounded.
I also think that Maria should tell Michael...it's not like he's not going to notice when she starts blowing up like a balloon. They would really make a cute family/couple if they only talked things out.


Write more soon.3flowers

purpleflashheart oO bubbles Oo purpleflashheart


posted on 5-Feb-2002 3:16:17 PM by Black Rain
Hi sweeties!

Where are you guys?

I'm bumping for the third time now. I think. *happy*

So don't think I'm crazy.

*tongue*

Hopefully you guys have soon the time to update.

I'm sure life is keeping you busy.

So see you.
posted on 5-Feb-2002 9:15:53 PM by dancepixie
Okay, I am sooo incredibly sorry! And BlackRain, thanks for the bumps! I promise to hurry for ya!*big* I know it's been 2 weeks since Michelle posted the last part...and I'm sorry! Okay so I started writing right away...but then stuff happened...I had a weekend of intensive o.chem studying and then a disney/LA weekend...yeah yeah, I know, enough excuses!

So here's the deal...I'm going to try and get this out in the next day or so...I promise to try...but once the midterms start they don't stop till finals are here and gone... anyways, I promise soon! Have faith!

~Nikki~
*angel*
posted on 5-Feb-2002 10:17:35 PM by Kristin80
Thanks for the update! I can't wait for the new part! I need some more Max and Liz! Please post as soon as you can!*bounce**bounce*
posted on 6-Feb-2002 11:29:12 PM by rollergal20
Thanks for letting us know... *happy*

I guess I'll just be waiting patiently for the next update... Hurry up would ya! *big*

~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 7-Feb-2002 4:00:42 AM by dancepixie
Hey guys, well I finally finished it! Yeah for me! Now that it's one in the morning I think I better go to bed since I have two midterms in the morning, and the first one is at eight am. So enjoy and let me know what you think about this part. Just so you know there is swearing in this part, maybe a little more than usual...so yeah. Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 35

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“God! I can’t believe it’s finals time already!”

“It’s not here yet Liz. Relax,” Maria almost laughed at her friend’s panicked expression.

“Okay, so we have like a week and then finals are the two weeks after that. One lousy week to do all my studying!”

“Breath Lizzie!” Maria couldn’t help the giggles that were escaping her; it was just too funny watching her friend panic over tests. They both knew that Liz would do well whether she studied or not. “The way I see it, you have plenty of time to relax and study at your leisure. I’m mean you don’t have any finals the first few days at least…that gives you extra time!”

“I know…I just-”

“Hey girls!” Isabel called as she breezed her way into the café on Monday afternoon.

“Hey chica. You look like you had a great weekend,” Maria commented.

“Well, let’s say that shopping with Courtney definitely counteracts the vices of staying in my parents house for long periods of time,” she laughed.

“Mmhmm…and those clothes are so cute!”

“Thanks. So how was your Mom’s visit?” she asked looking directly at Maria.

“It was great actually. I…she knows…and she’s being great about it. I guess after going through the same thing practically with me, well, she understands.”

“I’m glad Ria. It’s not something you can keep to yourself forever. So, do you have any idea what you’re going to do? I mean…are you going to stay at school…take some time off?” Isabel didn’t want to seem pushy asking all these questions, but they were things that Maria had to face, and soon. These decisions were important…and if she needed help with anything, Isabel swore to herself that she would be there for her friend and future niece or nephew.

“I don’t know…I mean, I’ve known for a week! This is all so new…so strange. I know I have to make some decisions…it effects everything…I just…I just need some time, I don’t know!” Maria felt like she would explode if one more person asked her about these things. It was driving her crazy.

“I’m sorry. Look, I just wanted to tell you that if you need to talk to someone about it, you should try one of the academic or peer advisors. I know that she really helped me when I went in to talk about starting school here. She told me all of my options and helped me fill out the paperwork. Here, I’ll give you her name. Then if you feel like you need someone to talk to, you’ll know where you can go. Maybe she can help you figure out what is best for you.”

“Thanks Izzie. I’m sorry about getting mad…it’s just…”

“It’s okay, I understand. Don’t worry about it.”

“Oh shit! I have class…sorry guys, I gotta run. I was supposed to leave like 5 minutes ago.”

“Bye Maria!” both girls called after her as she pulled off her apron, grabbed her backpack and headed out the door at a run.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria slowed down when she reached the courtyard of the humanities building. She had to stop doing this…stop panicking… Okay so she just couldn’t take anymore of that conversation, but why was that?

‘Every time the conversation turns into something about the future, I freak. I know it, they know it…and yet they still persist in bringing it up!’

Maria continued on to class without really focusing on where she was going but luckily she made it there fine. All throughout the lecture she was finding it difficult to focus. The professor just talked on and on, and Maria’s mind was occupied with other thoughts. One thought she couldn’t control was the one wondering where Michael was sitting. She knew he was in this room, this was the one class they had together…he was definitely there somewhere. But thinking about that only made her mind drift to more wrenching topics and every word the professor uttered was completely lost on her.

By the time class was over, Maria had made a decision. She had to talk to someone and since she wasn’t able to talk to one of her friends, maybe Isabel’s advisor would be able to help her in some way. So that was where she headed.

Anyone who saw her enter the building saw a frightened, lost girl. Two hours later it was a complete reversal as she walked out the doors with a smile, calm and confidant. Isabel had been right all along. They were miracle workers in there.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So Tess and Kyle got together,” Alex continued telling Isabel as they ate Chinese food on the floor of his small living room.

“Kyle is going to be Maria’s stepbrother, right?”

“Yeah. He and Tess met just after she got back from visiting here.”

“That’s so cute! So did I miss anything else while I was gone?”

“Nah…well, you didn’t get to meet Ria’s mom…but my goodness, now I know where she gets all her energy from! She is so much like her mother its scary sometimes!” Isabel couldn’t help but laugh at how Alex was describing his friends.

“Well it seems like you guys had a great time. I wish I could’ve stayed…” Isabel silently wished away all the horrible memories of her own long weekend from hell.

“So what happened at Chez Guerin that was so bad that you wish you had been here?” Alex got comfortable leaning against the couch, pulling Isabel to settle in his lap with a smile.

“It was nothing…just my parents up to their usual bouts of being so completely oblivious of their own children…now more than ever I realize how much more this place seems like home than LA ever has. You know? I mean, living here with Max and Michael, and you guys not far away…its so much more homey than that place ever has been.” She sighed, resting her cheek against Alex’s chest as she sighed.

“I’m sorry it was bad. If it makes you feel any better, I missed you.”

“I missed you too Alex. How am I going to stand it when you go home to your family for Christmas?”

“Well, you could always come and visit me…for New Years or something. My parents think it’s a great idea. They can’t wait to meet you, and my sisters too.” Isabel was shocked. Was he asking her to meet his parents? Oh god! But he was always talking about how great his parents were…nothing like her own. But if he wanted her to meet his parents, did that mean that he wanted to meet hers? No! There was no way that was happening…her parents would ruin everything…just like they always did.

“Like…staying at your house? With your family?”

“Yeah. They’d love to meet you. There’s an extra bed in Julia’s room, she’s the oldest of my sisters, and they all want to meet you. And besides, I don’t think I could handle a month without you.” Isabel turned so she was looking Alex in the eyes. His sincerity was obvious as he gently reached forward and kissed her lips with such tender passion it made her melt even more into him.

“Okay,” she whispered against his lips before kissing him again. It had been way too long since she had been able to do this.

“Really?”

“I’d love to meet your family.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Ria! You got a package today,” Liz called out as she heard Maria enter their apartment.

“Really? What is it?”

“I don’t know. You know, it’s kind of polite to not go through your roommate’s mail. I try to refrain from doing that as much as possible!” they both laughed, it was an old joke.

“Hmm…it says it’s from Nebraska…Did mom send me something?”

“Open it already! I’ve been dying to find out since I came home.”

The two girls sat on the couch and Maria tore into a box with a smile across her face.

“Jim…oh…he is just too much…” Maria spoke softly before she let out a shrill squeal of delight. “I can’t believe he did this…he is so sweet!”

Maria held in her hand a light purple cell phone with baby pink flowers on it. It was so cute; she loved it!

“I have a cell phone! Eeeee! Can you believe it? This is soo cool!” Liz sat in her spot on the couch trying to contain her laughter as Maria began jumping up and down in excitement…

“Why don’t you call Jim and thank him?” Liz suggested when the giggles died down.

“Oh yeah, good idea!” Maria laughed at herself for not thinking about it. How cute was Jim? Sending her a phone like that…and it was just so cute! Either he had really good taste, or had someone else pick it out who had good taste…her guess was the latter.

After talking on the phone to Jim for ten minutes with many ‘thank you’s and ‘you are so sweet’s, Maria got off the phone.

“So, what’s up?” Liz asked as she brought two sandwiches in to the living room and placed one in front of Maria. While she had been on the phone, Liz had decided upon making them a snack.

“He is just the sweetest man. Mom really found a winner this time. He said that he wanted me to always have the phone that way if anything happened to me or if I ever needed anything, I’d be able to call someone. Isn’t that just adorable?” Maria gushed.

“That’s very sweet of him. You know how lucky you are that you’re getting such a great family? Your mom was so happy; I don’t remember the last time I saw her that way.”

“I know. We’re very lucky…” Maria agreed.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It was going into the first week of finals and at times Liz felt like the time was just flying past her leaving her dazed, but at the moment, it couldn’t possibly go any slower. She had been working for only an hour already, but it felt like ten. The place was empty…she had had three customers the whole time…slow didn’t even begin to describe it. Add into the account the fact that she couldn’t focus on studying…yeah…not a productive day at all.

“Hey Lizzie. So what’s up chica?”

“Nothing much Ria. Thank god you’re here! I’m bored out of my mind,” Liz complained.

“Oh, I’m sorry chica. But I’m here to the rescue now. How goes the studying anyway?”

“Its not. I can’t focus…I mean, I’ve had over an hour of nothing else, but I can’t get through my notes…ahhh!” she threw her hands up in frustration to emphasize her point.

Two hours later Liz was sitting on the couch with Maria, each of them sipping tea and talking about anything and everything when the bell over the door made them look up to see who was coming in.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael’s head was down as he walked towards the café. He was debating with himself over when to tell Maria everything. After talking to Isabel he had come to a few conclusions about what he had done. The first being that Maria needed to know the truth about everything. That would at least be a start. The only problem now was finding the right time to tell her…and how to do it. He wasn’t sure what to do.

Michael wasn’t watching where he was going and just as he was about to enter the café he bumped right into someone.

“Oh, I’m sorry…” Michael let the sentence fall as he looked up into the face of someone he had once called friend but right now…he wasn’t sure what to call him. Yes, Michael would always be there for Max if he ever needed anything, but at the moment he wasn’t too sure that it was a two way street…actually he pretty much knew that it wasn’t.

Michael took a step back and let Max enter without saying anything. Max didn’t seem to really care much, he simply ignored Michael and continued inside. Michael watched as Max went to the corner table farthest from the counter and sat down to study. Why would he come to the one place he couldn’t help but see Liz if he wasn’t going to do anything to get her back?

A pair of green eyes watched the whole encounter in the doorway from a distance, wondering what caused this new development…that would have to wait till later to be explored any further, but now she knew to watch for it. And the more she watched, the more it became apparent that something had happened, something significant.

Looking around Michael saw Maria and Liz talking at the counter. He wondered what they were saying so he headed to the closest possible table to sit and listen while under the pretense of waiting for some coffee. Maybe he would get the chance to talk to Maria too, if he could get her alone that is. This was not a conversation for spectators…

“You want me to go see if Max wants something?” Maria asked when she saw Liz’s eyes hit the ground the moment he entered. Sure, Liz might tell herself that she was over him, but Maria knew, like only a best friend could, that he still held a good portion of her heart.

“You don’t have to…” Liz countered but was stopped by the shaking of Maria’s head.

“Don’t worry. You can see if Michael needs anything.” Maria told herself she was just doing this for her friend, but really…she just wasn’t sure how to talk to Michael…and they needed to talk.

“Okay.”

Maria walked over to Max’s table and sat down across from him. She still wasn’t happy with him for what he put Lizzie through, but he was a customer and she would do her job and serve him to save her friend the expense.

“What do you want Max?” She didn’t mean for it to come out as harsh as it had, she just chalked it up to hormones.

“Nothing, thanks. I just needed a quiet place to study,” Max spoke quietly, almost as if he was afraid to say anything at all.

“Why don’t you try the library then?”

“Have you seen how many people are in there?” he asked completely serious.

“That bad, huh? Okay, but just don’t bother Lizzie, I don’t think she can handle any more,” Maria told him softly so Liz couldn’t hear, before getting up and heading back to the counter.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Michael,” Liz tried to act normal…and normal was treating Michael like he was a friend…not someone who had gotten her best friend pregnant…

“Hi Liz.”

“So, can I get you anything?” she asked sitting at the chair across from him.

“Hey, when does Maria get off today?”

“Umm…what time is it now?” Liz asked. She was getting a brilliant idea. Maybe she shouldn’t since it wasn’t her decision to make…but it was her best friend…

“Three thirty,” Michael replied after looking at his watch. Why didn’t she know what time it was? She was practically staring at the clock on the wall. Women!

“You’re in luck, she gets off at four,” Liz smiled, and now it was genuine. “So can I get you anything while you wait?”

“How do you know I’m waiting for her?”

“Michael, you wouldn’t have asked if you weren’t.”

“Okay, I’ll have a mocha latte.”

“Coming right up.” With a smile she was gone, and Michael looked over to Maria who was heading to the counter from Max’s table. Why was Max here anyway?

“So, what’s up chica?” Maria asked as she sat herself back up on the counter top.

“Nothing. You want to make Michael his mocha latte?”

“Sure, I guess,” Maria conceded. Besides, she did know just how he liked them. It was what he ordered most of the time when he came in, and she always made it for him.

“So…why is he here?” Liz couldn’t help but wonder as she again looked off in Max’s direction. She couldn’t help but watch him; it was like her eyes were drawn to him.

“Don’t worry Lizzie, he won’t bother you. He just needed a quiet place to study. The library is a zoo right now.”

“Oh…okay…”

“Hey, you got me here to protect you…I won’t let him talk to you if you don’t want him too.” And Maria meant every word.

“Thanks Ria, but I’m fine.” Looking back Liz noticed Michael’s eyes on them. “I think someone wants that drink. Ria, why don’t you go talk to him?”

“Liz, I…”

“No Maria. You know you have to sooner or later, why not sooner?”

“Because I’m working?” It was a lame attempt to get out of the situation and she knew it.

“Ria, this place is dead…I think I could handle it. Besides, I already told him that you get off at four. You might as well…what have you got to lose?”

Maria wanted to say, ‘everything,’ but bit it back. Liz meant well…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey spaceboy,” Maria tried for the normal, everything’s fine, this is what I do all the time façade. Setting the cup down in front of him she was about to turn around and head back to the counter when his hand held her wrist tight, preventing her escape. Damnit! She had been so close…

“Maria, wait. Can we talk?”

“Michael, I’m working right now…”

“Oh come on, this place is dead. Besides you get off in 25 minutes anyway.”

“I really need to study. I mean I still have finals…”

“I know. I promise not to take too much of your time. Please?”

Maria was shocked. Was this really her Michael? What had happened to him to change him so much?

“Fine,” she sighed in defeat. Let me tell Liz and then grab my stuff I guess.”

“Thank you.” The sincerity in his eyes spoke volumes to her. Something had definitely happened to him; he was different somehow.

Maria sighed as she headed back to the counter, slowly untying her apron on the way. So this was it…she would be talking to Michael…the two of them alone… What could he possibly have to say to her that was just so urgent?

After saying goodbye to Liz, who gave her an encouraging smile and big hug, Maria walked back over to Michael’s table and the two of them headed out the door in silence.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Awkward…that was the only possible way to describe it. They had left the café five minutes ago and were wandering aimlessly through the main quad. It was deserted except for a few random people lying around studying from textbooks.

“So…” Maria began, hoping that it would cause Michael to speak up about whatever it was that he had wanted to speak to her about.

But he said nothing.

She waited…and waited…and still he was silent.

“So what’s up with you and Max?” Maria decided to take the first step. At least some conversation was better than none, right? And this conversation was better than another one she didn’t want to think of at the moment.

“Huh?” Michael was startled.

“You and Max. I saw the two of you come in today. It was like you didn’t even know each other. What happened?”

Michael stopped walking and looked at Maria. This was it. He might as well tell her now. Then let her decide whether she wanted to be his friend or not.

“Why don’t we sit down over here?” Without looking back at her Michael walked over to the tree and sat on the bench beneath it, leaving plenty of room for her to sit beside him.

“What’s going on Michael?” Now she was curious, he was acting too weird.

“I have to tell you something, and you might not like it, but would you at least let me get it all out before you judge me?” He couldn’t look at her to even see her response; he just had to keep going. “Max isn’t exactly talking to me right now. I’m sure he doesn’t even think of me as a friend anymore. But it’s my fault. I overstepped the bounds of our friendship and did something really stupid. No matter how many times I say sorry, it won’t take back what I did. And at the time I thought I was saving him from the biggest mistake of his life. I’ve been there and I didn’t want him to have to go through that too…” Michael took a deep breath. She was going to hate him after this…

“I was the reason that Max broke up with Liz. I told him that she was only after his money and that she would only hurt him. I ruined my best friend’s life, and your friend’s life too. I had a bad experience…but it wasn’t my choice to make, and I should never have said anything to Max. Now he won’t talk to me. We hardly ever even see each other in the house anymore,” Michael shook his head idly, knowing that it was all completely his own fault. And now he didn’t care, he’d take the blame…his life was screwed up anyways…and he still had more to tell.

Maria was shocked, to say the least, by Michael’s admission. He just sat there and stared at his hands as he told her all this. What gave him the right to decide the fate of others? Who the hell did he think he was? God?

“You what?!?!?!” Maria screamed. Sure he asked her not to talk but she never gave him any response… “How could you?” She was seeing red.

“Can I finish? There’s still something else I think you need to know.” Michael rested his head in his hands, knowing that this might be the last time that she ever spoke to him. If she was this upset for her friend, he could only imagine her next response.

Maria shut her mouth, biting back a retort to let him finish.

“In October, after the party, when I was taking you home and we ended up in my room…I…you were so drunk and I knew it was wrong, but I let it happen anyway,” he hung his head in shame.

“I know this already Michael, so if you don’t have anything else-”

“I knew that it was wrong because I wasn’t.” Michael finished his thought cutting her off, and leaving her jaw hanging in disbelief. He was just waiting for it now. But to his surprise, nothing came. Was this really the same girl who normally blew up over anything? The girl who when he first met her started harassing him in the bookstore?

“Maria? I’m sorry. But you need to know I wasn’t trying to take advantage of you…it was…you were just…so…beautiful that night. And I really…I… Well, I…it was more than just sex, Maria. Yeah, I had had a few beers, but that’s it. I wasn’t drunk. Hell, I wasn’t even tipsy. I let what happened that night happen because I liked you. We’ve had this great friendship since then, and I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to lose you, ever. I think I love you.” Michael paused for a minute, afraid to look up and see her face. “I just thought that you had the right to know everything.” Michael was done talking. That was it. Now she knew, and she would want him out of her life forever. She probably thought he was some kind of monster, and he’d have to agree. What kind of a person would do those kinds of things? Only a monster.

“You what? Who the hell gave you the damn right to fuckin play God? You bastard! First you ruin my friend’s life, then mine, and then you play all buddy-buddy to me? God, and to think I trusted you!” Maria’s voice rose louder and louder as her anger rose. She stood up and took a few steps, looking Michael straight in the eye. “Stay the hell away from me and my friends. Don’t you dare come near me, or Liz again.” With that said, she walked away as fast as she could, leaving Michael behind, thinking that he’d just ruined any possible happiness in his future.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

An hour later Maria was sitting on the sand looking out at the waves on the beach. Sure it was winter, but that’s what San Diego’s known for, fair beach weather even in winter sometimes.

Since that morning when she had left Michael’s and come to the beach, it had become her haven. When she just needed to be alone and think, this was her place. She liked it there on the sand. It was just her and the ocean in front of her, making her feel small, yet whole at the same time.

Who did Michael think he was? So what kind of game had he been playing with her? First he slept with her, knowing full well what he had been doing, and then he becomes her friend and keeps going along with her assumption that he was drunk too? What kind of a person does that sort of thing?

She was mad…mad as hell! The nerve of him. Men! And Liz! Poor Liz, and Max. They were just pawns in some crazy thought in Michael’s mind. He really was a piece of work…thinking he could play god with those around him, people that once called him friend. Well no more!

And to think she was going to tell him about the baby! She had to laugh at that one. After a lot of thinking, Maria had come to the realization that she did not want her child to have to grow up without a father, like she had to. She wanted Michael to be there for her child…their child. More than that, she wanted him to be the baby’s father, to really be there and be a part of the kids life. Not just someone who popped in every once in a while whenever it was convenient. But now, now she wasn’t about to let that man near her child, ever. That was not the image she wanted her baby to look up to and idolize. You think you know someone and then they go and completely surprise you with their idiocy.

Wait a minute, if Michael wasn’t…that meant…god, and she had known all along…

Maria pulled out her new cell phone and dialed 5 on her list. The thoughts kept running rampant through her mind as she waited for the phone to pick up.

“Hello?” the female voice asked.

“Izzie can you come and meet me at the shores?”

“Maria? Are you alright? You sound kind of…I don’t know, funny.”

“Yeah I’m fine. But could you come meet me? I’m just about where you found me that one time.”

“Sure, I’ll be right there.”

“Thanks.” Maria hung up her phone and waited. She couldn’t believe all the turns her life had made in that last month and a half. If anyone had told her a year ago that she’d end up pregnant and alone she would have laughed at them…but now…well…sure she wasn’t completely alone, but close enough. It sure felt like it sometimes.

Maria shook her head trying to clear it a little as she waited for what she knew was coming next. How could Isabel have done that to her? Weren’t they friends?

“Maria?” Isabel’s voice was tentative as she came and sat beside the other blond on the sand.

“How could you not tell me?” Maria turned her head, looking Isabel straight in the eyes as she waited for her answer.

“Not tell you what?” Isabel was confused for a minute.

“I talked to Michael today. You knew! I know you did. It all makes sense now. Why didn’t you tell me? I thought we were friends!”

Isabel closed her eyes for a minute. Oh god, Michael had done it. He really had done it. She was glad that everything was finally out there, but she had never expected Maria to turn on her like this, or even to get this mad.

“I’m sorry Maria. I know he hurt you, but it wasn’t my place to tell. I wasn’t even sure right away. I didn’t know. I eventually figured it out, but by then the two of you were friends, and you both seemed relatively happy. I know he was happy. He always had these happy smiles on his face when you were around or when he came home from doing something with you. I had never seen him happier, not in a long time. And you seemed happy too. I just…didn’t feel like it was my place to mess that up. I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry,” Maria sighed. “I know it’s not your fault…I just…god! Why does life have to be so hard?” Isabel pulled her into a hug as she began to cry on her shoulder.

“It’ll be okay Maria. It’ll all work out eventually. It may seem hard right now but just give it time. I know my brother. And I know that he really does love you.” Isabel’s honesty and earnest tone shocked the girl in her arms.

“He what?”

“He loves you Maria. I know he does. He might not be the most forthcoming with his feelings, but it’s the truth. Just give him some time.” Isabel pulled away from Maria slightly to look at her friend. She looked like a small child who had lost her puppy. “Did you tell him about the baby?” She wasn’t sure whether or not it was a good question to ask, but she voiced it anyway.

“No. After he ruined my friend’s life…and mine…I…I couldn’t.”

“You think he ruined your life?”

“If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be having a baby at 20. My life wouldn’t be changing so much…so out of control…” she was near tears again.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. But can you honestly say that you regret having this baby?” Isabel couldn’t believe it. She was sure that it wasn’t true. Maria just hadn’t realized it yet. Maybe everything just needed a little more time.

“I don’t know…I just don’t know anything anymore.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



posted on 7-Feb-2002 4:40:54 AM by Black Rain
Am I the first to feedback this fantastic new part?

I loved this part-Finally everything is out(Well not "everything", but most of the stuff)

Liked that Michael was honest with Maria.
She should do the same now too-at least in my opinion she should

And Michael should tell Liz.

So , I hope I didn't get on your nerves that much.
Anyway good luck in school.

And hopefully a new part soon.
posted on 7-Feb-2002 5:02:38 AM by mara is a dreamer
He finally said everything!It's about time!
Will Maria go and tell Liz the truth?
Give us a new part soon!*big*
posted on 7-Feb-2002 6:17:49 AM by angelbaby6977
Wonderful part! Thanks for posting!
posted on 7-Feb-2002 8:40:59 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Oh man, Michael so deserved what Maria gave him and more. I just hope M/L talk soon and patch up the mess Michael made.
posted on 7-Feb-2002 9:16:52 AM by angelbehr
WOW...Maria really let him have it! And now that he has told her everything...I think she needs to tell him about the baby. It's only fair.

So is Maria going to tell Liz what Michael did? I think she should since Michael probably won't.

I hope you mid-terms go well!

~angela~
posted on 7-Feb-2002 11:11:13 AM by shorty828
Ok so he finally told maria, but will maria talk to liz. OR will max. When will this all be ok. I cant wiat for more.

Lisa
posted on 7-Feb-2002 11:37:57 AM by oObubblesOo
line_blob


bum bum BUM! Yet another part of the never ending saga filled with heart wrenching truths and endless tears. *Sigh* Why is everyone either so nosy/dumb/hasty.


First of all...Maria should not regret having this baby. Even though she was not in the right state of mind at the time the baby was conceived...that doesn't mean that this child should not have the love and attention that it so deserves. She also needs to get off her high horse and tell the man that the child she is going to have is his. Just about everyone else knows that it's his and someone's bound to slip up sometime. If Maria doesn't want him to act on the "father role" that's her deal...but he should atleast know that...


Secondly...Max should tell Liz the truth...everything else is out in the open...and she deserves to know that he was a moron for breaking up with her and for taking someone elses advice on THEIR relationship.


Well...enough ranting for now...I have to go to school soon...oh yeah NIKKI...I have some info for you...email me soon...


purpleflashheart oObubblesOo purpleflashheart


line_blob

posted on 7-Feb-2002 11:47:36 AM by mpls muse
I'm so glad you updated! While I agree that what Michael did was terrible, at least he came clean. I was a little annoyed w/Maria. Michael ruined her life? I'm pretty sure that he didn't force alcohol down her throat. She seems to blame him for everything - it seems she made some poor judgement calls too.

Ok - done w/my rant! I love this fic and am really excited to see you continue it!

Robyn
posted on 7-Feb-2002 11:58:18 AM by SciFiNut111
Great new part. Poor Maria. Wants some breathing room so that she can sit and think about her options and all of her friends keep trying to ‘help’. You know she values their concern, but sometimes you just want a chance to deal with things by yourself for a while. It was good to see that she went to the counselor.

Maria again. Running interference between Max and Liz was so Maria. Trying to save Liz a little pain. Of course it helped that Liz was willing to do the same for Maria.

Finals time. I expected Maria to tell Max that Liz doesn’t need him distracting her right now. Unlike Max, Liz has to maintain high grades or she can’t stay at the school. She can’t afford the distraction.

Isabel and Alex. Sad that Isabel would be embarrassed to take Alex home to meet her parents. Her mother must be a real piece of work. Eventually she’ll have to. Maybe after they’re married and have a few kids? Meeting Alex’s family should be a big step for the two of them. What kind of excuse will Isabel give her parents for leaving during the holidays. If she says that she’s visiting a boyfriend, mommy dearest will want to meet him. Wonder what the Whitman’s Dunne & Bradstreet looks like?

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. The birds are coming back to roost for Michael.

With three weeks left before Xmas break, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out between the various couples. I can see Liz telling Max that he had his chance and blew it. Could also see Max trying to visit her during the holidays at home to plead his case.

Maria and Michael will be a lot more complex. What Michael did was horrendous. To both Maria and Max. But, he is the father of Maria’s baby. It will be interesting to see how you resolve their relationship.

Is Michael going to talk to Liz? Or will Maria tell Liz what happened?

posted on 7-Feb-2002 12:11:10 PM by tabasco sauce
wow....thank you sooo much for the update! I really missed this fic. We need more dreamer action though. tee hee. keep up the good work- post more pronto!

-andy*happy*
posted on 7-Feb-2002 3:03:57 PM by roswellluver
I'm glad Michael finally fessed up to Maria, I hope she gives him another chance! And maybe she can do something about Max and Liz, too! thanks for writing!
posted on 7-Feb-2002 3:19:14 PM by Alien614
Muchael needs to tell liz what happened so liz will at least talk to max agIN.
posted on 7-Feb-2002 4:48:33 PM by Rapunzel
Great new part! I am so relieved that Michael has finally come clean.....I just wish Maria had said something about her pregnancy! Can't wait for the next part!

Kari

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 7-Feb-2002 4:49:32 PM ]
posted on 7-Feb-2002 5:53:48 PM by Kristin80
Yeah! I am so happy for a new part..even though that part was a little emotionally draining..I am glad that Michael finally told Maria the truth. Even if he has been a total ass at least he has the balls to admit it. Everyone deserves a second chance. I hope that Max can talk to Liz, or Maria can tell her what happened so that she will feel a little better about what happened. At least know that Max believed Michael in all his stupidity and she will know that it wasn't anything that she did....Please post again soon, I love this story and can't wait for things to work out!*angel*
posted on 7-Feb-2002 6:55:10 PM by LegalAlien
I'm very glad that Michael finally came clean and told Maria everything!
Although I have to say that his clear telling of the events only emphasize the fact that he is not only a complete jerk, but he also srewed up everyone's happiness!!!

I really hope that Max will find a way to clear things up with Liz and beg for her forgiveness!!!

Anyway I can't wait to read more...

Joe*happy*
posted on 7-Feb-2002 8:24:09 PM by rollergal20
that was such a great part...

didn't Michael tell Maria he loved her, did she just not hear him?

you can't stop there... I need to know what happens!

post more soon ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 7-Feb-2002 9:14:19 PM by Cinder
Excellent part!

It is now time for Max to talk to Liz and start the groveling!
posted on 8-Feb-2002 8:26:46 AM by SpencerHopeful
If this is how you're explaining the M&M part, I don't think that Michael deserves another chance. He should be told about the baby, because it's his baby, but other than that he deserves nothing. I didn't see that scene this way. I thought he was drunk too, and that she was lucid enough to know what she was doing. I expected regret in the morning, but nothing like what we got. I mean, she called him by name in that car, while she was kissing him. She knew who she was with. I'm so confused about that scene now...But if this is how it is, then it has to play out truthfully. How can he rally behind that? IMO, he can't!

What Michael did to Max was bad too, but I'm still not ready to put all the blame on him. Whatever Michael told Max, doesn't matter in the long run. If he trusted Liz, and loved her as much as he claims, then he should've given her the benefit of the doubt. He NEVER doubted what Michael said that he HEARD. He could've heard wrong, for all Max knew. This is something Max needs to atone for. Big time. I just hope that Liz makes him.
posted on 8-Feb-2002 6:42:38 PM by PennyLane
Nikki~
Such language my dear! I liked that you used my favorite word a couple times (f⊕#k). Anyway, Micheal finally admitting that he messed up to Maria is nice, now they can all make up and live happily ever after. I do have a very sappy soul! Well I anxiously await the next chapter in my saga. Give my regards to P & A.
love me
*angel*
posted on 9-Feb-2002 12:06:52 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Terrific part!!! I can't wait to see what Maria does with her information!! Please post more soon!!*bounce**angel**bounce*
posted on 9-Feb-2002 3:02:34 PM by zannyb
Poor Maria! She's so lost. I think she needs another trip to the adviser's office. Michael, Michael. What are we going to do with him? Hopefully Max and Liz will be able to work things out soon. Maybe Maria will say something to Liz on Max's behalf... Jim is so sweet! I love the fact that Kyle and Tess are together. And Alex is so sweet when it comes to Isabel. Please post more soon!

~Nikki~
posted on 12-Feb-2002 1:21:44 PM by Choc79
I think she needs to tell him about the baby soon. Can't wait for the next part.
*bounce**bounce*
posted on 15-Feb-2002 10:23:28 AM by SciFiNut111
So, Thanksgiving is over and they are in the midst of Finals. Then off for Christmas break. Will anything occur before the gang all seperates for a while?

Oh, and bump.
posted on 16-Feb-2002 2:56:22 PM by Black Rain
I'm really hoping I don't get on your nerves.
If I do,tell me!

Please post more soon! *happy*
posted on 19-Feb-2002 12:01:00 PM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hey guys, I actually had this done last night, but I couldn't post cause there was something wrong with the board. Anyway, here's the next part. Hope you weren't all waiting too long. I'm not quite happy with the whole thing, but here goes. I know I'll never be truly happy with all of it. Lucky you guys I check to see if the board was working so I could post it before I went to class. I"m so thoughtfu. Anyway, hope you like the part. Happy reading.

~Michelle

P.S. OH...and please don't hate me...


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 36

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max stared at the open textbook in front of him, trying to concentrate, but that task was proving virtually impossible. He knew that he had told Maria that he had come here to study, but that was only a half-truth. Sure the library was packed, that wasn’t a lie, but if he really wanted peace and quiet he could have just gone home. That place was dead now days anyway.

No, his real reason for coming here was to see Liz. He just couldn’t help it. He couldn’t stand not being around her. And seeing her, in any capacity, was better than nothing.

But he was starting to wonder if that had been a mistake. Maria’s warning really hit something in him. Playing on the fears that had been playing on him ever since he’d realized how much he missed her. She didn’t want him anymore. He was just hurting her more by coming by all the time.

‘If it hurts to see you that means that you haven’t completely lost her yet,’ Max’s heart screamed. ‘You still have a chance to fix this. Isn’t hurt better than nothing at all?’ But then the logical part of his brain kicked in. ‘What right do you have to just step back into her life again. Are your stupid feelings worth causing her all that pain? Or would she be better off if you just forgo about her and walked out of her life forever?’

Max sighed and thought of the other reason why coming here was probably a mistake. Running into Michael had been…weird…to say the least. They had been avoiding each other completely for the past week, or maybe it had just been Max avoiding him. He didn’t think that he had seen Michael at all in the last week, let alone had to interact with him.

When Michael had bumped into him…literally…it had been awkward to say the least. He knew who it was without having to lift his head. He would know his voice anywhere. He had paused for a moment…wondering if he should say something…could say something… But in the end he had just walked on, after the initial shock had worn off. He knew it would hurt, but he just couldn’t deal with this…not now.

Max was interrupted from his thoughts when he heard the bell sounding from above the door. A tall, sleek, muscular blond who Max had never seen before walked into the café. But it was what he saw next that broke Max’s heart. Liz…his Liz…his angel…was in another man’s arms. He felt his heart constrict at the sight of it.

With that sight Max knew it was over. She was over him. She had moved on, had found someone new.

He knew that it was too good to be true. That Courtney and his mom had to have been wrong to think that he could ever get her back. He lost her and he wouldn’t get another chance, not like he deserved another chance.

After staring shocked for a few moments, Max quickly gathering up his stuff made his way out of the café, not needing to see anymore of the exchange.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz had been so absorbed in her studies and in trying to ignore the fact that Max was sitting in the café just a few feet away that she didn’t hear the bell sound, or the person coming up to her until she felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Justin!” Liz cried as she jumped up to give him a hug. “Oh my god! When did you get back?”

“Just a few days ago. Classes ended and I wanted to come back and see a few people before I went home for the holidays. I go back in January.”

“Wow! I can’t believe you’re here. So tell me, how is Venice? I am so jealous, you know that right?” Liz met Justin way back in her freshman year, when he was a sophomore. They became fast friends and even dated for a while, right before James, but they had soon realized that they were much better off as friends. Justin was gone this year however, studying abroad in Venice. Maria was going to be so thrilled when she learned he was here, they’d all been great friends, them and Alex.

Justin couldn’t help but laugh. Liz was just so…Liz. Always so bright and happy…well, most of the time. He’d missed her a lot.

Before Justin could answer, they both looked up as a figure swept past them and out the door in a hurry. “What’s up with him?” Justin questioned, half to himself. When he turned back to Liz however, he had been surprised to see that the joy had fallen from her face and was replaced by a great sullenness had come over her.

Liz felt a pang of guilt flow through her as she saw Max exit the café. She felt this great need to run after him and explain, but she was able to suppress it. He probably wouldn’t care if she did. She shouldn’t be feeling guilty anyway. She had no reason to. They were over and she had the right to see other guys if she wanted to. Right? Then why did she feel so bad?

“Lizzie…what’s wrong? Who was that guy?” Justin asked breaking Liz out of her thoughts.

“That…” she sighed heavily, “was Max.”

“Uh huh,” Justin said looking at her inquisitively. “And he would be? You need to give me a little more to work with here Liz, I’ve been gone for six months, remember?”

“He’s…” Liz started but then faltered a little. “He’s my ex.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Justin asked with caring eyes.

“Not really. It just ended really badly, that’s why all the awkwardness,” Liz explained.

Justin decided to let it go, although he knew that she was holding something back, but he decided not to press it. But that hadn’t been awkwardness that had been reflected in her eyes as she’d watched Max storm through that door. There had been many more, much deeper feelings behind that look. Love…longing…hurt…and then somewhere, buried deep, with just a glimmer shinning through…hope?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

December 9, 2001
Well I finally did it. I finally got it all out. I finally told her the truth. And now she hates me. No…hate is not strong enough a word…more like loathes me with every fiber of her being. It’s only what I deserve. I knew I never deserved her. She was never mine for the taking. I was only deluding myself to think that she could ever love me in return.
So today I told her the truth…told her everything. I can’t say that she took it all that well. God, I have never seen her that angry. Nothing could have prepared me for the look of hatred that I saw in her eyes. And her words…they cut me to the core. “You bastard!” “You ruin my friend’s life, then mine…” “Don’t you dare come near me…”
I had known what her reaction was going to be. Was expecting it even. But there was still some naïve part of me that had thought ‘what if?’ And I’d allowed it to hold onto some semblance of hope. But now…that hope’s gone. And without it, I don’t even know what to think anymore. I can’t bare the thought of her going through the world hating me. But I can’t blame her. I took away from her the one thing that can’t be given back.
It just hurts. No matter how much I tried to prepare myself for rejection, no matter how much I tell myself that it’s only what I deserve, that I had it coming, I still can’t help the hurt. I mean, I laid my heart and soul out to her. Told her I loved her…and she wasn’t even fazed. Not that I expected that to make a difference…ok, maybe it did. There’s always that fantasy, that dream that plays in your head where she forgives you everything, professes her love in return, and then you live happily ever after. But that stuff only happens in the movies…never in real life…not in my life.
Yet no matter what the hurt…I can’t help but love. She is just such an amazing person…so vibrant and full of life. She does things to me, touches some place deep inside me that no one ever has. I’ve never felt this way before…not even with Cassie. That’s the kind of love you only find once in a lifetime. I’ve lost the love of my life for the second time…only this time it’s all my fault…and this time it meant so much more.
So what do I do know? Where do I go from here? I don’t even know where here is. Do I fight for her? Try to make it up to her? Or do I graciously step away, like she asked me to do? Don’t I owe her that much? I screwed up her life, so why should I have any part in it? I just don’t know what to do. I can’t lose her…but I already have…
God, I’m crying now… But you don’t understand, Michael Guerin does not cry. I’ve cried probably a total of five times in my entire life. But then again…this is Maria…nothing has ever affected me quite like Maria. How do you go on when you know that you’ve lost forever the only thing that will make you ever truly happy?


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey Maria, you’ll never guess who I ran into today…” Liz called as she entered their apartment, but she let her voice trail off at the site before her. There lay Maria, curled up in a ball on the couch, as sobs violently wracked her body.

Liz quickly made her way over to her friend and wrapped her in her arms. “Shhh…shhh. Honey, it’s gonna be alright. Ok. I’m right here,” Liz soothed as she hugged Maria close to her, rubbing her back in soft circles.

They just sat together like that until Maria’s sobs halted and she was left with only the occasional sniffle. Once she’d gotten back some semblance of control, “What are you doing home so early?” Maria asked, knowing that she should be working.

“Rick came by and told me to close up early since there was no one there.”

“Really, wow. That’s a shocker,” Maria said with a slight chuckle.

“Yeah, remind me of this the next time I’m complaining about the awful work schedule that he gives me. Now…do you want to tell me why I came home to find you bawling like that?”

“I guess that everything just sort of caught up with me ya know. I mean, everything that’s been going on, my head is just like spinning in a million different directions…and then Michael…” Maria let her voice trail off, not sure whether she could handle this conversation right now.

“What? Michael what? Did he do something, say something when you told him…” but Liz was quickly cut off.

“No…no. He doesn’t even know about that. He just…let’s just say he had some rather interesting news to tell me too.”

“What? I don’t get it.”

“He wasn’t drunk. The whole time, the fucker wasn’t drunk. And he never had the guts to tell me. I mean here we are, becoming friends, and all the sudden, almost two months later, it wasn’t just a drunken fling. He took advantage of me. God, I thought I knew him. All this time…it was all just a lie.”

When Maria turned her face back up to her friend, Liz could see the silent tears streaming down her face. Liz didn’t know what to say, so she just took her into her arms as the tears fell. “I’m so sorry Maria,” Liz said, knowing that it wasn’t of any help. But what could she say? There wasn’t anything that she could do to make it better, but she felt she had to say something.

After a moment and wiping the tears from her eyes, Maria continued. “I’m just so confused. I just don’t know what to think anymore,” Maria sighed. “It’s just like everything that I knew is wrong. My whole world has been turned upside down in the last few weeks and suddenly it’s like I don’t know whether I’m moving or standing still. My whole life is spiraling out of control,” and the tears began to flow once again.

“Maria, don’t say that. You are the strongest person that I know. I know you’ll make it through this. If there is anyone that can do it, it’s you. And besides, you’re not alone. You’ve got me and Alex and your mom. There are so many people that love and will be there for you. We’ll get through this together…I promise.”

Maria just sniffled and wiping the tears from her eyes. “I know. It’s just…sometimes I just feel like everything’s closing in on me and I don’t know what to do.”

“You don’t have to know what to do all the time. It’s alright to try and figure it out as you go along. You can’t prepare yourself for everything. Sometimes life takes you for a loop and you just kinda have to run with it and turn to the people you love for help.”

“Liz Parker, when did you get so smart?” Maria asked with a smirk.

Liz couldn’t help but laugh. “I learned from the best,” Liz replied sincerely. Then deciding to try and get Maria’s mind off of everything, “Oh, you’ll never guess who I saw today…”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“He shoots…he scores! And the crowd goes wild!”

“I hate break it to you Justin, but this is miniature golf, not basketball. There is no crowd. And even if there was, I’m sure that they wouldn’t be going wild over a hole in five!” Maria teased. Liz and Alex couldn’t help but laugh. It was just like old times.

“Maria, Maria,” Justin started. “What did I ever do without your cynicism?”

“I don’t know Justin. Frankly, I’m really not sure how you survived 6 months in Venice without us?”

“Well there were other…venues of entertainment,” Justin replied, moving his eyebrows up and down suggestively.

“Uh, you pig!” Maria replied jokingly hitting him on the shoulder, but her smile gave her away.

“Really Justin, get off yourself,” Liz started in. “We all know that you spent your nights…pining away for us…alone…wishing you had never taken up this ‘chance of a lifetime.’”

“I’ll have you know the women were falling all over themselves trying to get a little piece of this,” Justin said, gesturing towards his athletic body.

At that comment Maria and Liz both burst into bouts of laugher, while Alex just silently chuckled, trying hard to keep from bursting out like the other two.

“Alex, a little help here, please?”

“Sorry Justin, you’re on your own there. Personally, I’d have to agree with them.”

“Traitor!” Justin spat, but it was all in good fun. Turning serious for a moment, “Seriously though, I did miss you guys. I mean, how could I not be lost without my girls.”

A chorus of “Awwww” was heard as the two girls enveloped their friend in a hug.

“Ahem,” Alex cleared his throat loudly. “What about me? I’m so not feeling the love,” Alex pouted, before Maria and Liz pulled him into a four-way hug.

The four broke apart when they heard the grumbling voices behind complaining about how they were holding up the crowd. They quickly moved on to the next hole.

“So,” Justin started, as he got ready to take his first shot, “what all have I missed while I was away?”

“You mean besides mine and Liz’s traumatic love lives?” Maria said with a mischievous smirk. “It’s seems our main man Alex here has been quite the ladies man. He’s had a steady girlfriend for…what is it…two months now?”

“Alex! Have you been holding out on me? Why didn’t you tell me that you got a honey?”

“Her name is Isabel and she is not a honey. She’s a beautiful and intelligent woman who I like very much,” Alex replied in all seriousness.

“Sorry man, you know I was only joking. So, do I get to meet her?” he asked hopefully.

“I suppose, as long as you promise not to say anything bad about me.”

“Don’t worry. I won’t embarrass you…much,” Justin replied as a last thought before running out of Alex’s immediate vicinity.

“Why I oughta…” Alex started running after him. He caught up to Justin just as he was about to reach the tiny windmill and tackled him to the ground. Maria and Liz came walking up to the two guys, both thinking ‘boys will be boys.’

“Alright you two, get up off the ground or we’re going to start pretending that we don’t know you.”

“Is that right Lizzie,” Justin said as he walked up to her with a sly glint in his eyes. Before Liz got a chance to discover what he was going to do and counteract, he was already tickling her sides and evading any attempts from her to thwart his efforts.

Alex started walking up behind Maria who looked on with laughter, but just before he got close enough to do the deed, he was interrupted by Maria’s voice. “Don’t even think about it Alex,” she said in a deathly tone.

Alex’s arms fell deftly to his sides as he dropped his head in mock hurt, “Yes ma’am.”

As the scene played out in front of them, any onlooker could tell that the four were close. Closer than most people got in a lifetime. It was the kind of friendship that everyone hoped for, longed for, but few seldom ever had. It was doubtful that even they realized just how lucky they were.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel walked up to Max’s door and knocked tentatively. When she heard his soft voice answer, she turned the knob and walked in, seeing Max lying back on his bed, his arm flung haphazardly over his eyes as the Counting Crows played softly in the background.

“Max?” Isabel asked, trying to get his attention.

“Yeah Iz?” Max replied, finally sitting up and taking notice of her.

“Hey I was wondering if you wanted to go get something to eat? Alex is out with some friends tonight, so…yeah, how ’bout it?”

“Sorry Iz, but I don’t think so. I just not in the mood.”

Isabel let out an exasperated sigh. “God Max, you’ve got to stop this.”

“What?” Max asked looking confused.

“This…this moping around all the time. I mean all you do day in and day out is sit here and pine after Liz.” She knew it was a little harsh, but it was the truth.

“I do not,” Max replied in his defense.

“Really Max. So what were you thinking about when I came in here, hmmm?”

Max was silent for a moment. Then quietly, barely audible, she heard him. “I saw her with another guy.”

“Look Max, I’m sorry. I really am,” Isabel started with sincerity, “but she has every right to move on. Look, it may not have even been what you think. And even if it was, maybe it’s for the best. I mean it’s been two months Max. Two months! And all you’ve been doing is lazing around wallowing in your own self-pity.

“So Max, if you ask me, you have one of two choices. You either finally get up the damn nerve and talk to her or you let her go. Either way you need to start living your life again. This thing, whatever it is you think you’re doing, it isn’t really living Max.”

“Isabel, you don’t understand. I love her. All I do is eat, sleep and breathe her. I can’t imagine living without her. I just feel so helpless sometimes. I mean, what do you do when you’ve ruined it with the love of your life, only to realize too late what she means to you? But I can’t just stop thinking about her…stop loving her.”

“Max, let her go.”

“But…”

“I’m not saying forever. I’m saying you need to step back. You need to decided who you are before you do anything. Right now you’re just this empty shell of a person. You need to figure out who you are without her. Give it a little time. You can’t even try to get Liz back without finding yourself first. Once you’ve found the Max that she loved, the Max that I know is still in there somewhere, then you can try and salvage this relationship.”

“But what if by the time I do all that, it’s too late?”

“Then she isn’t the one.”

Max just sat in silence, contemplating what Isabel had just said.

“Look Max, I’m gonna go out, get something to eat, if you wanna talk when I come home…you know where to find me.” And with that she turned around and went out the door, leaving Max to his thoughts.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Liz walked into the café with confidence in her stride, a large grin plastered across her face.

“Well you look happy,” Maria remarked. “I trust that mean’s that the interview went well.”

“Oh Maria, it was so great. Mrs. Craine was so nice, she was the lady who interviewed me. She said that there was only five applicants actually being interviewed for the internship, but that it’s really between me and one other person,” Liz finished excitedly.

“That’s great Liz. I hope you get it. I know this is what you’ve wanted to do for like ever.”

“I know, but I never actually thought that I’d get this far. I mean, I was sure I hadn’t gotten it when they hadn’t called in so long. But Mrs. Craine said that there were just a lot of applications to go through and it took them a little longer than expected.”

“So, when do you find out?” Maria asked becoming excited herself for her friend.

“Not until the break. I’m going to be dying, calling to check our messages like five times a day.” They both laughed knowing Liz was going to do just that.

“Don’t worry chica. You’ll get it,” Maria said with complete confidence.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alex and Isabel walked into the pizza place where they would be meeting Justin, Liz and Maria. Spotting Liz first, the two quickly made their way over to where their friends were sitting.

“Hey guys,” Alex started. “And Isabel, this is Justin. Justin, this is my girlfriend Isabel.”

“Nice to meet you,” Isabel replied sweetly while offering her hand. Any friend of Alex’s was certainly a friend of hers.

“You too. And believe me, the pleasures all mine.”

“So, where’s Maria?” Alex asked, seeing that only two of his friends were at the table.

“Actually, she couldn’t make it,” Liz explained. “She has a final tomorrow and so she wants to study.”

“Alright, so are we ready to order? I’m starved!”

“Justin, you’re always STARVED!” Liz replied dramatically.

“What, so I’m a growing boy,” he said puffing out his chest.

“The only place you’re growing is right her,” Liz said with a smirk, patting his stomach lightly.”

“I’ll have you know that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. I get lots of chances to work out back in Venice,” Justin raised his eyebrows suggestively.

“You pig,” Liz replied hitting him on the arm.

“Justin has been studying abroad in Venice,” Alex explained for Isabel’s benefit. Then, loud enough for everyone to hear, “But I think it’s time to order and get some food in this boys mouth before he scares my lovely lady off.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll lay off it. But can you blame me. I mean here I sit with two of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I just can’t help myself.”

“Always the charmer,” Liz said candidly. “A pig, but a charmer.”

They decided what kind of pizza they wanted and ordered. Getting their drinks, they got back into talking.

“So, how did you end up with this guy?” Justin asked Isabel, gesturing towards his friend.

“Hey, you say that like it’s a bad thing,” Alex responded, sounding hurt.

“Hey, I just call it as I see it,” Justin replied flippantly.

“Well, we started out as friends. And then one night he just took me out to this fabulous restaurant and then on a cruise of the harbor. And we’ve been together ever since. Let’s just say he swept me off my feet.” Isabel then leaned up to Alex, whose arm was draped across her shoulder and gave him a quick kiss.

“Awww…that’s so sweet,” Liz replied, breaking the moment as all eyes turned on her. “Sorry,” she said meekly, dropping her head a little in embarrassment. ‘I want that,’ she thought somberly.

“So, how did you two meet?” Justin asked, curious to know where his friend had found a girl that seemed so perfect for him.

Alex looked panicked for a moment, not sure how much of their past he wanted to bring up. He didn’t want to upset Lizzie, after all.

“I was visiting my brother, who goes here and Alex and him had a class together. We kinda moved on from there,” Isabel replied, smiling at Alex. Alex just hoped that Justin didn’t ask too many details.

“Visiting? So you don’t actually live here?” Justin was surprised that they could get so close with a long distance type relationship.

“Well, lets say that it’s become kind of an extended vacation. I’ve moved in with my brother and I start classes here in the spring.”

“Well, congratulations. You two make a great couple. Alex man, I give you my approval,” Justin said, his eyes laughing.

“Not that I needed it, but thanks man. And yes we do make a great couple,” Alex replied looking down at Isabel and giving her a sweet kiss.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

posted on 19-Feb-2002 1:00:53 PM by SciFiNut111
Great new part. Thanks for posting.

Max and Michael deserve a little suffering. Especially Michael. Maria still has to tell Michael about the baby. He may be a jerk but he deserves to know. That should be an interesting scene.

It will be interesting to see how Max works up the courage to talk to Liz. Liz should make him work at trying to get back in her good graces. He wouldn't give her a chance to deny what Michael had said, why should she listen to what he has to say?

Looking forward to how you resolve all of the problems. I hope you make Michael and Max work for Maria and Liz and don't take any short cuts.






posted on 19-Feb-2002 6:15:31 PM by dancepixie
Sorry I couldn't let you know this was here sooner, but I was in class when Michelle posted this part. Of course I got to read it last night cause she wanted to post it then, but the board was being screwey...anyways, enough rambling. I hope you like this part. And I'm going to try to get the next part out by friday because I have people coming up this weekend...so I'll try.

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 19-Feb-2002 6:44:43 PM by Rapunzel
Great new part.......I feel so bad for Michael and Max........they really really love Maria and Liz.........I hope things start to work themselves out soon!

Kari
posted on 19-Feb-2002 6:58:34 PM by obsessionbyroswell
this is such a great story, I hope that Isabel tells Max that Liz isn't seeing justin, but I'm glad that he was hurting. I don't know how he's going to explain to Liz that he didn't trust her. I think it's going to hit Liz really hard, but it's something that needs to come out.
posted on 19-Feb-2002 7:03:37 PM by zannyb
Great part! I like Justin. He seems really sweet. If I wasn't such a dreamer, I would want to see him and Liz hook up...
Anyways, thanks for the new part, and please post more soon!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 19-Feb-2002 7:41:05 PM by the freak of roswell
Yay! A new part...I love it!!
I like Justin, I think it would be good if Max thought him and Liz were a couple for a while longer...maybe it will give him the balls to speak to Liz if he thinks he is llosing her. I don't think Max catching Liz and Justin in one of their friendly playfights or suchlike would be such a bad thing...Just as long as Max gets a bit more jealous...after all, he deserves a bit of torture for being such a wuss!!
Come back really soon, I need more!!!
posted on 19-Feb-2002 8:31:24 PM by shorty828
awe this was a great part, Really sweet. This max and liz thing is really tearing me up. Why cant he just talk to her, thats what ive said for the beginning. My mom's whole speech about the key to everything is communication is totally sinking in. Just let them talk. Same with maria, I wish she would tell michael she is pregnant. Of course I understand the title is complicated circumstances. but urghh its so frustrating.

Cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 19-Feb-2002 9:44:53 PM by tabasco sauce
great part! I feel really bad for Max. I hope he finds out that Justin and Liz are only friends.

-andy*happy*
posted on 20-Feb-2002 12:04:06 AM by kittens
And yet Michael still hasn't told Liz what he did, and no one else has either.
And how Max let all this time go by...???

posted on 20-Feb-2002 12:24:43 AM by roswellluver
I wish Max would just go ahead and talk to Liz, this moping around is killing me! Thanks for writing!
posted on 20-Feb-2002 2:01:26 AM by angelbaby6977
Great part! I hope Max talk to Liz soon!
posted on 20-Feb-2002 2:57:32 AM by mara is a dreamer
I hope Max will gather the courage to talk to Liz and tell her the truth.It's breaking my heart to see how much they're hurting!
Can't wait for the next part!
posted on 20-Feb-2002 3:05:09 AM by Cinder
Love the new part*big*
posted on 20-Feb-2002 3:06:39 AM by LegalAlien
That was another fantastic part!!!

I'd just really hope that Max finally find is guts and talks to Liz!!! Maybe when he gets jealous of Justin he'll snap and start fighting for her love!

Can't wait to read on!

Joe*happy*
posted on 20-Feb-2002 8:14:22 AM by Black Rain
Hey! Just found out that you updated.
And what a great part.
Michael needs to Liz now.
And Maria needs to tell Michael.
Liked the new charcater

More soon.*happy*
posted on 20-Feb-2002 9:08:14 AM by angelbehr
Great new part!

I'm not going to kill you because I think that what Isabel told Max is true. He definitely needs to figure some things out about himself before he pursues Liz again. And I know that when he does, it won't be too late because you wouldn't do that to us...Right? *happy*

I really like Justin...he seems really sweet!

~angela~
posted on 20-Feb-2002 9:11:28 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
WWWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHH why must dreamers always suffer. Make the booboo better please. Post more soon
posted on 21-Feb-2002 9:09:20 PM by dancepixie
Hey everyone! Michelle says I'm spoiling you since it only took me two days to get this out, plus its really long...but hey, I finished it, so I only thought it right that I post it! Besides I said I was going to try my hardest to get it out before the weekend since friends are visiting and I wouldn't have time to write. Anyways, enough of my babbling, and on with the story, since that's obviously what you're here for! Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 37

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria tried to relax as she walked out of the financial aid office. Everything would be okay, she kept telling herself. She had to go in because of her scholarship. There were some details that needed to be worked out and some of the paperwork that the office had had somehow gotten lost. It was all a pain. But it was settled now at least…it had only taken 2 hours.

But now Alex would be free to take her shopping at least. He had said to give him a few hours…well it had been more than 2, so now he had to come with her. She smiled as she made her way to the bus stop and sat down to wait.

Another fifteen minutes later she was stepping off the bus in front of her apartment building with the smile still in place.

“Oh Alex!” she called out in a singsong voice as she knocked on his door.

“What is it Deluca?” Alex asked as he swung the door open. He had been studying…as well as trying to get some things packed for going home. He had to wrap his sister’s presents before he left or else they would try and find them. He learned that last Christmas. But if they were wrapped, they would be safe, or at least he hoped.

“Nothing…just reminding you that you said if I gave you time you would come with me shopping. So, it’s been more than a few hours, so I thought we could go now. Now can we? Please please please please please!!!”

Alex groaned as he realized that he had in fact promised. Why did he have to be such a soft touch? It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go shopping with her…or well, okay so maybe it was. He had been put through many shopping trips with both Liz and Maria, and it wasn’t always fun. They could shop until he dropped. Being the gentleman, the first time he had ever taken them shopping he had offered to carry all of their bags. He had lasted three hours before he couldn’t handle it anymore. For being on strict budgets, they certainly found ways for their money to go a long way.

“Do I have to?”

“But…but you promised!” Maria started to pout, her bottom lip quivering just enough for Alex to notice.

“Don’t cry Ria. Please don’t cry!” he begged.

“But…” she sniffled, “don’t you want to help me find a wedding gift for my mom?” She proceeded to give him the puppy dog eyes as a few tears fell down her cheeks.

“Wouldn’t Liz be better at this than me?”

“Yeah, but she’s working. They asked her to pick up a couple more hours at the café, and she can always use the money. So she can’t come with me.”

“But…”

“You wouldn’t want me to have to take the bus, would you? In my condition? Someone might hurt me…”

Alex sighed. How could he refuse now?

“That’s a low blow Deluca. Fine, let me put my shoes on and grab my keys.”

Maria gave him the brightest smile in the world.

“Thank you sooo much Alex!” she laughed as his face immediately froze.

“You were just playing me!”

“But you’re still gonna take me, right?”

“Yeah, yeah. Let’s go already.” Alex rolled his eyes. Boy did these girls know how to pull his leg. They seemed to be able to manipulate him into doing anything for them.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So Alex and I were shopping yesterday and I couldn’t find anything. It was depressing. What am I going to get her?” Maria whined as she sat a table in the café across from Justin and Liz. Liz was working, but with the place being deserted she had plenty of time for her friends.

“Get who for what?” Justin was slight confused. He had been gone all semester and it was obvious he had missed out on so many important things in his friends’ lives.

“Oh! I’m sorry. My mom’s getting married!” Maria smiled brightly. She couldn’t help it. She was so happy for her mom; nothing could upset her.

“Really? I take it that’s great news?” he asked. He had heard about some of the men Maria’s mom had dated before. But since Maria was smiling, this was obviously a good thing.

“Yeah. He’s really sweet. He brought my mom out to spend Thanksgiving with me since I didn’t have the money to go home. And he has a son our age. They’re both so nice. I’m so happy for her.”

“That’s great Ria. So when’s the wedding?”

“The beginning of January. So I thought I’d get her something special from here and bring it back with me. But I haven’t been able to find anything.”

“Ria, your mom won’t care what it is. As long as it’s from you she will love it,” Liz rubbed her friend’s shoulder gently trying to sooth her.

“Thanks Lizzie.”

“So what else has been going on around here while I was gone?”

“Oh just college life as usual,” Liz smiled.

“Yeah, no kidding!” Maria smirked as she thought about all the crap the two of them had been through.

“Want to elaborate on that?” Justin sensed that something big was up, but he wasn’t sure whether or not they would talk to him about it. He had been gone for a long time; maybe they wouldn’t feel as comfortable telling him as they would have not even a year ago.

“Its just…crazy,” Maria started.

“Ria and I went to a frat party after Max broke up with me to get my mind off of everything.” Justin raised his eyes at this. His girls had gone to a frat party? That could only mean trouble.

“Was Alex there with you?” he was almost afraid to ask.

“No, we kinda ditched him. He was out with Isabel, on their first real date, sorta.”

“Uh huh. And what happened at this party?”

“We got drunk…” Maria hesitated on telling him the rest. “And after it was all said and done…I’m pregnant.” Suddenly her hands were very interesting. She couldn’t bring herself to look up and see Justin’s reaction. She didn’t want to see him feeling bad about not being there like Alex had…or just feeling sorry for her. She didn’t want his sympathy. But he was her friend, and he would find out eventually since he would be coming back at the end of the year.

“Are you alright?” he asked carefully as he placed his hand on top of hers giving them a slight squeeze.

“Yeah. I mean…yeah, I am. I’m doing okay.” Maria breathed in. This wasn’t so bad.

“Do you want to talk about it? Or is that something that you’ve had to do so much lately you’d just rather leave it alone?” He was giving her an out. She had probably talked about it so much lately because of everyone.

“Thank you Justin. It’s just been crazy, and…yeah.”

“Do you want me to beat up the guy for ya? Cause I will!” he added just to see her laugh, and it worked.

“No! That’s okay. Alex offered too, but I wouldn’t let him, so I figure it wouldn’t be too nice of me if I let you do it and not him. He’d think I was playing favorites and didn’t love him anymore. We can’t have that!” Everyone laughed at Maria’s joke. It was the old Maria, making everything a joke.

“Don’t worry about it. So what are we doing tonight? I’m leaving in the morning to go home to my family, so what shall we do for my last night? I won’t see you guys until summer!”

“How about midnight bowling?” Liz asked. The first time she had ever been midnight bowling was when Alex and Justin had practically kidnapped her and Maria one night, saying they needed to get out and take a break from studying for midterms. She had had the most fun that night. It had since become their study break ritual.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria sat in her room packing her clothes and putting things away. She and Liz were leaving in two days now and she still had stuff she needed to get done. She had yet to find her mother a wedding present. But nothing seemed right.

As she folded some clean clothes and tossed the dirty ones into the hamper her stomach began to growl. The laughter coming from the doorway drew her attention to the fact that she wasn’t alone anymore.

“So what’s for lunch since you sound so hungry?” Liz managed through her giggles.

“I don’t know. What do we have in the cabinets?” Liz rolled her eyes. They went through this all the time. The inevitable ‘what do you want? I don’t know what do you want?’ conversation that had no end.

“I’ll go check. You just finish whatever you’re doing.”

“Okay.” A minute later Maria heard Liz grumbling something, so she headed out to the kitchen to see what was going on. “What’s up chica?”

“Nothing. But you still have like five cans of your damn tomato soup. Do you realize how long they have been in the cupboard? Eat them since you wanted them so bad!”

Maria had to laugh at Liz’s overdramatic reaction.

“What’s wrong with tomato soup? It’s good!”

“That’s nasty Maria! I still don’t understand how you can eat that stuff!”

“Easy. It’s good!”

“Whatever. Just eat it. It’s been in there forever. Besides, we need to clean out the kitchen before we go home. I do not want to be coming back to a smelly, moldy kitchen in January.”

“Fine. But just so you know, tomato soup doesn’t go moldy when it’s in the can!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So you’re coming right?”

“Yes. I promise! I can’t wait.”

“Good. I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too.” She kissed him softly on the lips, letting him know just how much she would miss him.

“So what are your Christmas plans?”

“Who knows? I’m sure my mother has some charity ball or dinner, or something of that sort. She is really big on social events. I don’t remember the last time we just had a quiet Christmas…actually, I don’t think I ever have.” Isabel sighed as she leaned back into Alex’s side. She didn’t like to be in the society spotlight. She wasn’t her mother. She would be happy to just spend the holidays with her loved ones. She wanted to spend it with Alex. But at least they would have New Years together.

“Well you’ll be able to tell me all about it when you come and visit. I can’t wait for you to meet my family.”

“What are they like?”

“My family? I don’t know. They’re great I guess. I’ve always been the protective older brother to my sisters, and we get along great. Sure they would get mad when I’d try to keep them from dating, but after I realized I couldn’t stop them, we got over it. They love to shop and talk on the phone constantly. Oh, and they love to hog the bathroom. You know, typical girl stuff.” Alex was nodding his head so sure of himself but was thrown off balance when Isabel gave him a shove on the shoulder for that last comment.

“Hey, I resent that! I am a girl you know.”

“Yeah I know. That’s what I like about you.” His cheeky grin earned him a quick kiss before she melted back into his embrace.

“Alex?”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for inviting me. I don’t know what I would have done without you for so long. But now I know I get to see you in a few weeks, so it makes it all better.” She wanted to say something more. How she really felt. Not that she was completely sure what she was feeling. But one thing was for sure, what she and Alex had, it was more than ‘like.’ Inside she was dying to say ‘I love you,’ three words she that hadn’t crossed her lips in a long time. But she could see herself saying them to Alex. That’s how special he was.

“I know. I didn’t want to leave you for so long either. But it was actually my mom’s idea. She can’t wait to meet you.”

“I’m nervous.”

“Don’t be. I’ll be at the airport to pick you up, I promise. You just have to let me know when and what flight you’re on. Okay?”

“Okay.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria was exhausted. It was nine thirty at night and she was final done with everything. Her last final was over. She had finished doing laundry, packing her things, and the apartment was even clean, for the most part at least.

And now, she was tired. She just wanted to sleep. But she couldn’t. Her mind was racing. Her body was tired, but her mind was racing a mile a minute. Of course…she had been half asleep all day cause her mind wasn’t functioning, and now when her body stopped functioning her mind was racing so that no matter what, Maria got no rest.

The events of the last few weeks were running rampant in her mind, on a constant replay button. So many things happened; so much had changed. She was a completely different person now at the end of this semester than she had been at the beginning of it. For better or worse? She didn’t care. She was who she was. That’s life.

As the images were rushing through her mind, Maria remembered her encounter with Michael. God, just thinking about it made her so mad! That son of a bitch!

She replayed that scene with him in the courtyard over and over again in her head.

“I was the reason that Max broke up with Liz.”

“After the party…You were so drunk and I knew it was wrong, but I let it happen anyway…”

“I knew that it was wrong because I wasn’t…”

“I wasn’t trying to take advantage of you…”

“It was more than just sex…”

“I wasn’t drunk…”

“I let what happened that night happen because I liked you…”

“I wasn’t drunk…”

“I don’t want to lose you, ever…”

“I wasn’t drunk…”

“I think I love you.”


Her head was spinning. What was that? Oh my god! Had Michael really said…? Oh god!

He had to have…it all made sense. Isabel had said the same thing, hadn’t she?

“He loves you Maria. I know he does. He might not be the most forthcoming with his feelings, but it’s the truth. Just give him some time.”

And she thought her life was chaotic before? It seemed to be taking another detour.

Michael loved her? Could that be possible? Why hadn’t he said anything before? Okay so technically he had, but she hadn’t been paying attention, she was too upset and busy yelling at him to listen to him logically.

He loved her? No matter how much she wanted to think otherwise, this did change everything. He loved her. That was why he told her the truth…about him and Max…him being the cause of Liz’s unhappiness…about her missing night… All of it he told her because he loved her. Maybe he couldn’t stand to keep the secret any longer? It was a possibility.

She was going to tell him about the baby that day. She had been ready to let him in on the truth. But his confession sidelined her plans. How could she trust him with the truth of her…no…their child when he had destroyed her friend’s happiness and taken advantage of her in the span of a few days?

No, in his moment of truth, she had decided he wouldn’t know…but how could she go through with that now? How could she not tell him? What if he did truly love her? Why hadn’t he said something more when they had become friends? Why hadn’t he mentioned it? Was he afraid she didn’t feel the same way?

God! She was just so confused.

But maybe he did deserve to know. Maybe she should tell him. But how could she talk to him, face him? She had specifically told him to stay the hell away from her. Maybe he didn’t love her anymore after she had gotten so mad at him.

‘I can’t see him right now…there’s no way. I can’t handle that. Besides I’m leaving tomorrow, and I know his last final is tomorrow…so I wouldn’t be able to see him,’ she told herself.

But she couldn’t stop that nagging voice inside from saying, ‘but he deserves to at least know that he has a child out there.’

Maria sighed. She needed to find a way to tell him, without actually telling him. She couldn’t face him; that was absolutely out of the question. A phone call wouldn’t work because she couldn’t trust her voice. A letter. That was her answer. A letter. She could say everything she wanted to say, and make sure she didn’t forget anything. That was her answer.

Getting up off her bed Maria took out her stationary from her suitcase and began to write.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The step off the bus was difficult, but she knew she had to do this. It wouldn’t take long. Besides, he wasn’t there. She wouldn’t even have to see him. Taking a deep breath she lifted her head and walked the three blocks to reach her destination.

When she walked up the driveway she almost froze. There was a car sitting out front. But after a moment she realized it was only Max’s. Michael wasn’t home. She would be fine. She could do this.

It seemed like an hour as she stood there waiting for someone to answer the door. In reality it had only been a few seconds.

“Maria? What…are you doing here?” Isabel asked. Isabel wasn’t sure what to expect from Maria. The last time they had seen each other Maria had been yelling and very upset.

“Can I come in?” Maria asked softly.

“Of course.” Isabel led her friend into the den and they sat down.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you the other day. I was just really emotional, and I didn’t know what was going on. But I’m really sorry.”

“It’s alright. I realize you’ve had a lot of things happening all at once. You just needed to get through it.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

“Umm…Michael’s not here right now if you wanted to talk to him. He-”

“Is taking a final. I know. That’s actually why I came right now. I don’t think I could face him.”

“But Maria…”

“I know Isabel. Don’t worry. I just wanted to leave this for him.” Maria pulled the small envelope out of her purse. In small letters on the front it had his name. “Can I go leave this for him in his room or something?”

“Umm…yeah, sure.”

“Thanks. I’ll be right back.”

Maria headed up the stairs and down the hall to the room she’d fled from that night two months ago. As she pushed open the door and stepped inside, one hand gently rested on her stomach. It was an unconscious movement, but full of emotion and feeling.

Glancing around she noticed how clean and spotless the room was. She wouldn’t take Michael for the neat type…but she had only been just getting to know him again when Thanksgiving rolled around.

His bed was made and his desk was clear of papers. All that sat on top of it was his computer and a picture. Curiosity made her get a closer look, and what she saw surprised her. It was a picture from Liz’s birthday party. Rosie had taken the picture so that all of them could be in it. She, Liz, Courtney and Isabel were sitting on the couch while the guys were leaning against the back of it. Michael was standing behind her, and instead of looking at the camera, he was looking down at her with a sweet smile on his face. She knew that smile. It wasn’t the smart ass smirk he had when she first met him. It was the soft, kind smile that she had gotten to know when they would go to the movies and talk and eat ice cream. But she didn’t know that Michael at the time of the photo. But that was still his smile.

Maria bit her lip and moved closer to his bed. It was neatly made and everything. The letter in hand, she took another step closer. Her arm was shaking. Her life was such a mess. But maybe, just maybe, this would help to start fix it. Maybe.

She left the note on his pillow; it’s soft pink a sharp contrast to the dark blue pillowcase. He would notice it right away. But that was fine, because she would be gone. Her plane was in a few hours. She needed to head back down and say goodbye to Isabel so she could get back to Liz and Alex. They needed to get to the airport. Alex was sweet enough to give them a ride.

Maria turned around and walked to the door. With one last look inside, she shut the door, not knowing when or if that door would ever open up again in her life.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Are you okay?” Liz asked as Maria came into her room and sat on her bed. She could see the expression on her friends face. She looked like she was going to cry, but was trying her hardest to be strong.

“I’ll be fine Lizzie, I promise. Let’s go. This is it. Home sweet home we come! Alex is bringing his car around to the door so we don’t have to carry our stuff so far.”

“Okay. I’m ready. You’ve got the tickets, right Ria?”

“Yeah. They’re right here in my purse.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael walked out of the lecture hall with a confident stride. That had been a breeze. He had studied so hard since he had nothing else to really do with his time. Maria wasn’t talking to him, not that he blamed her. Max wasn’t talking to him, and he couldn’t blame him either. Sure Isabel and him talked, but it was as if she didn’t know what to say to him anymore. So he’d had a lot of alone time in the last week to spend studying. And that was exactly what he’d done.

For a while it had served its purpose of keeping his mind off of Maria. But now…well he had nothing to study for. And what would he be doing? Going home to his parents’ house where he’d have nothing but time to dwell on his stupid mistakes.

Shaking his head he headed for his car. Hopefully Max wasn’t at the house right now, because Michael really didn’t feel like being ignored. Every time he saw Max he wanted to say something. But he just couldn’t. He had been stupid. So if Max wanted to hate him, well then so be it. It wasn’t his choice. But he didn’t need to go through that right now.

Maybe Isabel would be home. Maybe she’d want to go out and celebrate his last final with him. Yeah. That’s what he needed to do. Go out with his sister and have some fun. Maybe forget some things…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria stuffed her last bag in the trunk of Alex’s car and then sat down in the back. She was letting Liz have the front. She didn’t much feel like talking. She wasn’t too sure about what she had just done, but it was all that she could think of…

As the familiar streets and freeways past her window, she wondered what it would be like going home again. It would be weird. She wasn’t even going to be staying in her home. Jim had built a house, her mother’s dream house, and since it was almost finished, she’d soon be moving in there. She only hoped to have a few days in her old room. She wanted some time to just…get used to the idea.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The drive to La Jolla had never been longer, Michael thought. He just wanted to get home. As he passed all the neighborhoods he had seen hundreds of times as he made this same drive day in and day out, he realized he had never really looked at anything. He was always in a hurry to get somewhere, or do something.

But what was he in such a hurry for today? All he had to go home to was nothing much. His sister…that was it. She was, after all the only one talking to him at the moment.

Taking a deep breath Michael focused once more on the road in front of him, pushing out the distracting thoughts known as his life. He just had to get home. Then he could think about it and wallow in self-pity all he wanted. Maybe he wouldn’t see if Izzie wanted to do something.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The airport. It seemed so busy and full of life. People were rushing around everywhere she looked. Everyone was trying to get somewhere in a hurry. Home. She was going home. Home home. As in Nebraska, home. She wouldn’t see San Diego again until the next year…New Years in Nebraska…well at least they could buy all the fireworks they wanted.

When they were little girls, Maria, Liz and Tess would go with Jeff Parker to get all the fireworks and he would let them have a blast on New Years. The fourth of July was much the same. But the thing about New Years was the snow. For some reason, it was just that much more fun when they were little because there was snow on the ground.

Maria pondered what it would be like to have Christmas and New Years with her new family...but she couldn’t imagine it. It had always been just her and her mom, just the two girls…until now.

The line to check the luggage was horrendous. After waiting for what seemed like hours, Maria and Liz finally reached the front. They each had two bags to check, and as soon as that was done, they headed down towards the terminal to wait. Alex was with them, and they still hadn’t said goodbye. They would miss him not being around all the time. He was like a big brother, always there when they needed him…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael parked his car in the garage…Max must’ve gone out, he thought when he glanced the empty spot beside him. I suppose that only means he won’t have to look at me. He won’t have to remember all the crap I’ve put him through. He won’t have to remember the person who was once his best friend, but now was only a stranger living in the same house.

Locking the door Michael shook his head, giving off a sigh. What was wrong with him? Maybe it would be good for him to get out of the house. Maybe a movie or something with Izzie wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Bye Alex!” Maria cried. She couldn’t help it. She didn’t want to cry, but her emotions were just beyond her. She would miss her surrogate brother.

“Hey, don’t cry. It’s not like we aren’t going to see each other forever. You’re going home to Nebraska, and it’s off to New Mexico for me.” Alex smiled as he thought about it. He’d have to take the girls there sometime. They’d get a kick out of his hometown. Roswell, New Mexico, Alien capital of the world. He just had a feeling that they’d have a blast there.

“Have fun with your family. It’s not fair! Isabel gets to meet your family before we do!” Liz pretended to pout. She was only teasing him.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t help it if she just can’t keep her hands off me. She can’t stand to be away from me…so who am I to deny her?” Alex smirked.

“Oh yeah, Alex’s got a girlfriend now, so he thinks he’s mister high and mighty!” Maria smiled through her tears as she laughed at her friend. “Just imagine in another year or so he won’t have any time for us at all. It’ll be all Isabel all the time…” she teased.

“Now you know I could never live without you. Come here! Group hug!” Alex laughed loudly, drawing the attention of the other people waiting for the plane to look at them.

“I’ll miss you guys, but have a great Christmas! And Maria, no opening your present until Christmas, ya got it?”

“Yeah…yeah…sure…sure. Whatever you say Alex. Consider it as good as done!” Maria smiled brightly, fingers crossed behind her back.

“I mean it Deluca. Don’t think I don’t know you got your fingers crossed.”

“Hey! How’d you?”

“The mighty Alex knows all.”

“Announcing the boarding of flight 217 to Denver, Colorado at gate 5.” The announcement over the loud speakers put a stop to the laughter and wiped the big smiles from all of their faces.

“Bye Alex!” Maria and Liz said at the same time, both wrapping him in a big hug.

“Have fun. Oh, and tell Tess and Kyle I said hi, and Merry Christmas!”

“We will.”

Maria and Liz looked at each other and then getting up they grabbed their carry-ons and their tickets and headed to the gate. When the stewardess took their ticket at the gate they each looked back and gave Alex one last wave goodbye before heading down the terminal together.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Something felt weird. Michael walked in the front door and towards the stairs to head to his room. But he couldn’t shake the funny feeling that something had happened. Something was different. He just couldn’t figure out what that something was.

Opening the door to his room Michael swung the backpack from his shoulders and headed to his desk. Placing it on the ground beside the desk he reached over and turned on his computer, getting a look at the picture beside it. He always smiled when he saw the picture. It reminded him of what could have been if he hadn’t screwed everything up. Everyone had been happy and smiling…

That was when he saw it. It was just sitting there on his bed. Standing out like a star in the night sky. The pale pink envelope had his name scrawled across the front in an all too familiar writing.

The dread in his body came up and attacked him all of a sudden. She had been here…in his room…

Maria.

He sank to the floor, leaning back against his bed with the letter cradled in his shaking arms. What was he so afraid of? This couldn’t get any worse than it was right now, right?

Taking a deep breath Michael opened the envelope and took out the papers that were inside.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria sighed as she sank back into the airplane seat. This was it. She was going home. Looking out the window she could see the runway as the plane just sat there, waiting in line to take off.

She had tried not to think about Michael and what he was doing, and it had worked until now. She had been occupied with Liz and Alex then. But now she and Liz were sitting on the plane, and as she looked out her window, he was all she could think about. Why? Why did this all have to happen to her?

Did Michael really mean it when he said he loved her? How did she feel about him? Did she love him? They had been getting a lot closer, especially the last time they went to the movies. They were getting so close. Could she admit that she liked him though?

But that didn’t change anything. Her mind was made up. She had to do this her way. Maybe while she was home she could figure things out. Take a step back and see the big picture. Maybe it would help make everything clear. Maybe she could find herself somewhere along the way.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael,

I was sitting down tonight and thinking, and I realized a few things. First of all, I’m sorry I yelled at you. I know I had good reason to, but it was still wrong. I was upset, really upset. I didn’t mean everything that I said. I don’t hate you. I promise you I don’t. I don’t know what I feel.

That scene, us talking in the courtyard, it keeps repeating itself over and over in my head. I was so upset, I couldn’t believe what you had told me. It hurt Michael. It really hurt. I don’t understand how you could have done what you did to Max and Liz. Why? You said something like you had been there before and you didn’t want him to get hurt like you had. What does that mean Michael? Why does what happened to you affect Max and Liz? If someone hurt you, it wasn’t Liz. And trust me, she would never have hurt Max as much as he broke her heart.

Michael, when you told me that you weren’t drunk that night, I was furious. I’m sure you realized that though. That means you basically raped me! But I don’t mean that though…not really. I didn’t understand how you could have done such a thing. When I started to get to know you better, when we were becoming friends, I didn’t think you were capable of something like that. I mean, you were the guy who scared off my would-be mugger long ago, the guy who was so sweet and caring towards his little sister when she came to town.

Then you told me you weren’t drunk and I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. I was mad. I was angry as hell! It was easier for me to think of that night as a drunken mistake for the both of us. But knowing that you weren’t drunk made me feel…ashamed, I guess. It’s hard to explain. I wasn’t listening to anything else you said after those words came out of your mouth. But now that I have been thinking about it, I remember every word you said. And I’m almost more confused now than I ever was before.

Did you mean it Michael? When you said you loved me, did you mean it? Those words were what got me to write this letter. I…I don’t know how I feel right now. I’m confused and lost. I’ve had so much happen in the last two months. You don’t even know the half of it.

There isn’t any easy way to say this, Michael, so I guess I should just say it. I’m pregnant. I found out right before Thanksgiving. Were you ever wondering why I was being distant after you got back from LA? That’s why. I didn’t know what to do, so I just tried to stay away from you. I thought it would make it easier. Isabel knows, and so do Liz and Alex.

The funny thing is, when you came into the café last week, I was going to tell you. That was why Liz made me leave early, she knew I was going to tell you about the baby. So when you started talking, I shut up. I let you go first and then later I was glad because I didn’t think you deserved to know about this child after what you had done. But now I realize that no matter what, you still deserve to at least know that you have a child out there. Besides, how could I make Isabel keep it a secret forever?

But I’m going home now Michael. I’m leaving San Diego. I’m taking a year off of school, and hopefully I’ll be coming back to continue my classes. I just can’t be around here right now. I can’t be running into you. I need to figure things out for myself. I need to figure out who I am and what I’m feeling.

Don’t try to find me Michael, please. And leave Isabel alone, she doesn’t have my number or address or anything. Don’t bother with Liz or Alex when they get back, because they just won’t tell you. I’m sorry Michael, but I just need some time alone. I need to sort through all my feelings and everything that has happened.

I hope your not mad at me for keeping this from you, but I know that if I had told you before now, before I had made my decision to leave, you would have stopped me. Right now I don’t know whether or not you even deserve to be my child’s father, but I couldn’t keep you from knowing about it. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.

Always,
~Maria Deluca~


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The plane took off and Maria watched through the window as San Diego got further and further away from her. When she’d be back, she wasn’t sure, but probably not for a while. A tear slipped silently out of the corner of her eye and she had to bite her lip to keep a sob from escaping. She could imagine Michael just getting home and finding her letter…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Michael leaned back against his bed as the tears started to fall. The letter slipped from his hands to the floor unnoticed as he curled up in a little ball, making himself as small as he could. At the moment, he felt small as a mouse in the vast universe, as his heart was broken in pieces again, this time by another girl that he loved more than anything.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Feb-2002 1:25:15 AM ]
posted on 21-Feb-2002 9:50:21 PM by sydniepaige
Thanks for a great, long new part! I adore this story. It's definitely one of my favorites!

Sydnie
posted on 21-Feb-2002 9:59:28 PM by kittens
I still think Michael should go to Liz and explain himself. He needs to fix that screw up first.

And if Maria isn't coming back for awhile then Michael is going to miss his baby being born. He might get a phone call or something.
posted on 21-Feb-2002 11:23:40 PM by shorty828
awesome part, Thank you so much, no you dont spoil us at all, lol *happy* This part was great. Poor michael, maria should at least let him contact her after that note, she is going home. wow. MAx please talk to liz. Cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 21-Feb-2002 11:28:48 PM by roswellluver
I'm glad Maria told Michael about the baby, I just wish she had told him in person! Thanks for writing!
posted on 22-Feb-2002 12:55:16 AM by Kristin80
Wow..that part was so good. It was emotional, and funny at times. I can't believe that I missed two new parts in just a couple of days! This story is definetly one of my favorites and I get so excited whenever I see an update...let alone TWO. Please post more soon, Max and Liz need to talk...well okay maybe Max needs to grovel. I liked Justin, and I liked the fact that Max got jealous. He deserves it after what he did to Liz..but overall I am a dreamer and my Max and Liz have to be together soon! So in all thanks for writing, it was awesome! And I really can't wait for more...(hint hint It would be great if you kept up the semi inhuman pace!)*angel*
posted on 22-Feb-2002 1:38:37 AM by Cinder
That part was sooooo SAD! I am glad that Maria finally told Michael about the baby, but I really wish she had told him in person. He made many mistakes, but he really deserved a personal confrontation!

So what is happening with Liz and Max. Is Max finally going to approach Liz and try to amend things??????

Please post soon!
posted on 22-Feb-2002 2:19:15 AM by obsessionbyroswell
Ok now I kinda feel bad for Michael, but he really needs to fix everything.
posted on 22-Feb-2002 8:19:48 AM by SciFiNut111
I love it when an author keeps a promise. You said by Friday and posted on Thursday.

Great new part.

Alex and Isabel are great. Isabel really paints a cold picture of home life. Visiting Alex's family should be nice. Do we get to read about it?

Mary's emotions are all over the place here. Hormones. Surprised that she isn't coming back to school for the spring semester. Isn't the baby due in the summer?

Interesting the way you had Michael planning the rest of his day and evening then have him read the letter. No celebration of the end of finals for Michael. Maria said a lot of thing that needed to be said to Michael. He did a lot of damage, and possibly ruined a few people's chance at happiness.

I waiting to see Isabel and Max's reaction to the letter. Michael will show Isabel and Isabel will tell Max. I guess now is the time for Isabel and Max to come to his rescue. As hurt as Michael is now, Max won't be able to keep away.

Surprised there wasn't some type of confrontation between Max and Liz on the last day. I figured it would have been a good time for Liz to fire a parting shot at Max.

Umm, didn't Michael and Maria date for awhile after the infamous night? What did they talk about? Wouldn't Michael know the town she comes from? Give him a starting point to go find her? Michael isn't like the normal college kid with only enough money in his bank account for his semester's books and a pizza or two, he's rich. He can hop a plane and go find her.


I guess it's on to the Christmas break.


posted on 22-Feb-2002 8:21:57 AM by Black Rain
Great new part!
Michael finally knows. But I feel kind of sorry for him now.
What is he going to do now? He still needs to contact her.
And Max and Liz need to have a talk soon.
.
posted on 22-Feb-2002 12:11:13 PM by Lucky Star
I am so disgusted with myself for not reading this story before now 'cos it is one of the best stories I have read!! I read all 37 parts in one sitting. It's now past 1 in the morning oops!!
I love the characters (well except for the wanky ones but it's fun to hate them!!*happy*)
Are Justin and Courtney going to hook up because I think they would make a cute couple!!
What can I say about Jim but what a guy!!
Kyle and Tess are just too cute!!
Grrrr Michael made me so mad but I understand where he is coming from, but still
Max is an asshole for breaking Lizzie's heart and he had better start trying to win her back soon or I'll jump in the story and kick seven shades of s**t out of him!!
Alex is just the best guy friend and boyfriend that a girl could ask for
Amy is so wonderful and supportive of Maria
Liz, Maria and Isabel make such a cool group of friends!!

I absolutely love this story, please post more soon!!
*bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 22-Feb-2002 5:15:58 PM by Rapunzel
Oh wow! You made me cry! Lol, that's ok....this part was so great! Your writing really brought out the emotions of Michael and Maria......I can't wait for more!

I really can't wait to see what Michael does......I hope he tries to find Maria, even though she told him not to!

Kari
posted on 22-Feb-2002 5:50:03 PM by zannyb
OMG!!! That was so incredibly sad! I feel so bad for Michael. He deserved some punishment for what he did, but this is more than enough. I can't belive how strong Maria's being. I mean, her entire world has changed so radically in such a short amount of time... I don't know if I'd handle it that well. I still want Max and Liz to make up. They need to get back together! But it doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon... At least Isabel and Alex are happy! Michelle's right, you are spoilling us, but I'm not complaining*big*! Can't wait for the next part!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 22-Feb-2002 5:50:48 PM by tabasco sauce
wow....I'm glad Maria finally came clean with Michael. Maybe now he'll try to fix things with our dream couple...

-andy*happy*
posted on 23-Feb-2002 4:32:08 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Terrific Bittersweet part!! You have me in tears!! I can't believe she is not going to coming back to San Diego!! I feel awful for everyone!! Please post more soon!!*bounce**angel**bounce*
posted on 23-Feb-2002 10:51:09 PM by jendansuer
Oh my.....michael finally knows the truth but maria doesn't,...if I recall she does not know what happened with his first "girlfriend"....knowing that would explain alot about his behavior regarding max.....how sadly ironic that michael finds himself in almost a repeat of the past...despite trying so desperatly (sp?) to avoid it.... I hope liz finds out the truth about what was said to max....I want them all to be as happy as isabel and alex are with each other....but I cant help it, I am a "hopeful romantic" ( romancing the stone )..hurry back...my poor heart can take the estrangement for too much longer
*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 26-Feb-2002 1:42:01 PM by rollergal20
Wow that was so great!

Words can't describe how much I like those last two parts.

I hope everything works out, and that M/L get back together. Max should get a grip and go talk to her.

As for M/M I think Michael should chase after her, he can't just let her leave!

post more soon ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 26-Feb-2002 4:54:19 PM by oObubblesOo

Yet another heart wrenching part of this never ending story...SIGH...does the drama ever end?? Lately, all that has happened has been on the dreary/sad side... I think this story need a definite and MAJOR pick-me-up



Issue Number ONE: Well...atleast Michael now knows that he has a baby out there...but what's the point of knowing if you can't do anything about it. Why would Maria want her baby to grow up with the same pain of living with out a father. Correct me if I'm wrong...but doesn't Maria still have major issues with the fact that her biological father abandoned her and her mother...why would she want this for her own child?



Issue Number TWO: Still waiting for either Max or Liz to work up the courage to say something...ANYTHING regarding their relationship.(past or present) They can't keep going through life living a lie...they both know that they care deeply for another but are just too hurt or scared to do anything about it. They both just need to swallow their prides and communicate.



Well...I should probably stop ranting now and go hang out with Meg...just want to say...keep the story goin...



c109 oO bubbles Oo c109



posted on 27-Feb-2002 10:33:43 AM by SciFiNut111
Who's turn is it for this part???

Just bumping.

posted on 1-Mar-2002 3:17:10 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: So yeah, I can't possibly write as fast as Nikki. That girl is crazy. A fifteen page part in 2 days. Yeah...crazy girl. Anyway, here's the next part. I was really liking it when I was writing it, so I hope you do too. We're hoping to still get the parts out pretty regularly, even though finals are coming up. And we promise not to spend as long on christmas as we did on thanksgiving. That was just crazy. Anyway, enough babble. Hope you like the part.

Oh, and Lucky Star. We must say, we are very impressed that you read that much of the story all in one sitting. Do you realize that that was almost 300 pages in a doc?

Meggie and Jess...yeah...you'll get it when you get there.

Hope ya'll like the part. Happy Reading.

~Michelle

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 38

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Isabel paced the large living room, glancing at the clock for at least the tenth time in the last twenty minutes. ‘Where was Max? He was only going to the store to get a few things. He should be back by now,’ she thought.

Isabel had been in the den when Michael had come home, but hadn’t made her presence known. It would only be delaying something that needed to come out. She knew what was most likely in that letter. For one, that Maria was pregnant, and two that she was gone and wouldn’t be back for quite a while. Now he’d been home for a good half hour and she knew that he would have found the letter by now.

‘Finally,’ Isabel thought as she heard Max’s key in the door. Just as he walked in the door, she attacked him.

“God, there you are! What took you so long?” she asked exasperated.

“I’ve only been gone like forty-five minutes Iz. Why? What happened? Are you okay?” he asked, fearing the worst at the look on her face.

“I’m fine. It’s not me, it’s Michael. Look Max, I know that you two have had your fair share of problems, but he needs you right now. This is something I know that I can’t help him with as much as you can. It’s…well, it’s not really my place to tell you what it is, but it’s about Maria. Please Max! You guys were best friends, and if there’s anyone who can help him right now it’s you. Please, do this for whatever it is that you guys used to have.”

“Where is he?” Max asked immediately. He almost surprised himself at how quickly the words came out of his mouth. Maybe this meant that there was hope for their friendship, that it wasn’t completely dead. He knew that he still cared about Michael, and this only proved it more. There was no question in his mind that he would be there for Michael when he needed him.

“In his room,” Isabel replied, relieved. As Max turned towards the stairs to find his once best friend, Isabel stopped him. “Thank you.”

Max just chuckled. “Don’t thank me. I haven’t done anything yet.”

“Oh, but you have. Just by being there, you have.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Max knocked on Michael’s door tentatively. When there was no answer, he opened the door slowly, calling quietly to his friend. “Michael?” But there was still no answer. Opening the door all the way he saw Michael’s still form laying back on the bed, eyes staring unblinkingly up at the ceiling.

Moving closer to the bed, Max looked at Michael’s silent form and realized the toll that he’d been through. His eyes were red and puffy, his cheeks tear stained, yet the tears and sobs that had previously wracked his body were long gone.

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, Max questioned lightly, “Michael?” looking for any semblance of recognition. He got nothing.

“Look Michael, I want to help. But I can’t help you until I know what’s going on.”

Michael remained laying stock still, eyes never leaving their seemingly fixed place on the ceiling. Then, after a long moment, he took a deep sigh, and handed Max the mangled, tear stained letter; something Max hadn’t noticed when he first came in.

“It’s happening again,” Michael spoke for the first time after he was sure that Max had finished reading. His voice came out hard, but you could hear the despair and vulnerability that came with it.

“What?” Max asked. “What’s happening again?”

“I’m loosing the woman I love all over again.”

Max took a moment to digest what Michael had just told him. From that one statement, Max now knew everything that Michael felt for Maria. After a long silence, Max figured that he was going to need to start the conversation. Obviously, Michael wasn’t just going to jump up and offer information.

“Look Michael, I know that it’s kinda been rough between us these last few weeks, but I want you to know that you can come to me with anything, always. I’m here for you. Please, let me help you.” The last part came out almost pleadingly.

“I don’t know when it happened,” Michael started, his eyes still barely leaving their previous place on the ceiling. “Just, somewhere along the line it did…I fell in love with her. I don’t know how long I was denying it, but it must have been a while.

“That night…when we made love…I’m not quite sure why I let it happen. I mean, I knew it was wrong, that I was taking advantage of her…but it just felt so right. The next morning when she left, I think that’s when it first hit me. That’s when I realized that I was utterly and completely in love with this girl, but somehow I knew that I had just ruined any chances I’d ever had with her.

“When she asked to be friends, I was ecstatic. It’s like I was being given a second chance. That I had not completely lost out on loving again. It’s just that, after Cassie, I really didn’t think that I’d be able to open up my heart to anyone like that again. I think maybe that’s why I denied it for so long. I was afraid that if I let myself love like that, that I’d only end up hurt. Well, turns out I was right.

“When I told her that I was never drunk…god, I will never forget the disgust I saw on her face. When I finally told her the truth, I knew that that was it. And here I am, right back where I started from…losing the woman I love more than anything. Only this time, it’s all my fault. And this time…it hurts so much more…cause she means so much more.”

With that last thought, Michael finally turned his eyes from their unmoving position on the ceiling and looked at his friend. Max was blown away by the depth of love he saw in his friend’s eyes. Somehow that blond little pixie had weaseled her way into Michael’s stone heart. Max was sure that he hadn’t ever seen emotions that strong coming from Michael. Even when everything happened with Cassie…it could only minutely compare to the passion Michael showed when talking about Maria. How hadn’t he noticed this before?

“What are you going to do now?” Max asked tentatively.

Michael sighed heavily. “I don’t know,” he started rubbing his hands over his face. “I know she wants me to leave her alone and give her some space, but…I can’t just leave it like that. I mean, she’s out there, pregnant with my child. I can’t just pretend that doesn’t mean anything. I need her to know how I feel. I want to be there for her…with her. I can’t just let this go.”

“Look Michael, I can’t tell you what to do…even if I knew what that was. And I want to tell you that everything is going to be all right, that it will turn out okay, but I don’t know that either. But I’ll tell you what I do know. I have never seen you like this…that kind of love…it’s something that you can't just ignore. When you were with her Michael, you were happy, and I mean really happy, for the first time since Cassie. I saw how your face would light up whenever you were around her. I don’t know why I never put it together before, but it’s there Michael.

“I can’t tell you what to do, cause I can’t even begin to think about what I would do if I were in your position. But whatever it is…don’t just give up on that love. You won’t find it again.”

“Why am I afraid that it’s already too late?”

There was a long silence between the two, neither knowing quite what to say.

“Michael, I know that there is nothing that I can say to make you feel any better, but I want you to know that I’m here. Whenever you want to talk…about anything, you know where I am.”

“Thanks Max. Could I…I think I just need to be alone for a little bit.”

“Yeah sure. You know where I am if you need anything.” Max got up off the bed and was headed toward the door when Michael stopped him.

“Max, where are we now? Friends again?”

“We’re getting there,” Max said with a smile. Maybe this was just what they needed. Max turned back towards the door again before Michael spoke.

“Max?”

“Yeah.”

“Thank you.” And Max could see the sincerity that was shining through Michael’s eyes. They had a rocky road ahead, but maybe in time, they’d become the friends they used to be.

“No problem.”

After Max left, Michael got up and turned on his computer. He knew what he needed to do right now. There was only one way that he’d be able to get everything off his mind, out of his head. He opened the doc that contained his long, continuing journal and sat down to write.

December 14, 2001

He sat starring at the blank screen for about fifteen minutes. For some reason, the words just weren’t coming out. Usually they just flowed off him, he didn’t even have to really think about it. But for some reason, he couldn’t get all the jumbled thoughts out of his head. The thoughts that desperately needed to be written down before they drove him insane.

After starring at the screen for a good ten minutes longer, Michael finally settled down as the words came out the only way they could.

Dear Maria…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Michael?” Isabel asked tentatively sticking her head in the door of her brother’s room. Seeing that he was at his computer she apologized profusely and starting backing out the door.

“Oh, Michael. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. Just go back to what you were doing, I can come back later.”

“Hold on Iz. It’s okay. I need a break anyway, my fingers are starting to cramp up.”

Isabel nodded and walked slowly into the room, sitting on her brother’s bed as he spun around in his chair.

“So, how you holding up?”

“I’ve been better,” Michael answered truthfully.

“Michael. I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you so much, but Maria asked me not to. And I couldn’t break that promise. I didn’t even know that she was leaving until this morning. And by then it was already too late. And…”

“Iz. It’s okay. I understand. She was your friend and she asked you not to tell me. I can respect that.”

“So you’re not mad at me.”

“Maybe just a little,” he said with a smirk. “I mean I am your brother after all.”

“Michael, I’m sorry…”

“Iz, Iz. It’s okay. I forgive you. It’s not your fault. If it’s anyone’s it’s mine.”

They were both silent for a while, before Michael asked something that had been plaguing him ever since he had read the letter.

“Do I still have a chance Iz? I mean, just the slightest chance that I haven’t screwed this all up?”

“I don’t know Michael. Before, I would have said yes in a heartbeat. But now…after you laid that bomb on her…she was really pissed Michael. I don’t know anymore.”

“Yeah, I thought about as much,” Michael said with a sigh.

“Do you wanna talk about it?” Isabel asked after a moment.

“Not really. I think I just need some time to myself to work things out.”

“Alright…but whenever you need someone to talk to…”

“Yeah, yeah. I know where to find you.”

“Give her some time Michael. I’m sure she’ll come around.”

“I hope so, Iz. I hope so.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“What time is it?”

“Tess, it’s two minutes later then the last time that you asked. Calm down sweetheart. They’ll be here when they get here,” Kyle said, trying to calm his girlfriend. She was just the biggest bundle of energy right now, literally bouncing in her seat.

“I’m sorry. I’m trying. It’s just, my sister is finally coming home. I mean, do you know how long it’s been since she was actually home. I think the last time she was home was last Christmas. And so much has happened since then. I know mom and dad are so excited to see her again. And I’m so excited, even though I saw her just about a month ago, but I miss her so much. And Maria…” Tess was silenced when Kyle’s lips met hers in a sweet but passionate kiss.

When they broke apart, Kyle leaned his forehead against hers, looking into her eyes. “That was to calm you down. You were babbling.”

“Hmmm,” Tess finally opened her eyes, reeling from the emotions that kiss invoked. “Well, I think I’m gonna need a little more calming down before they get here,” she said with teasing eyes.

“I think that can be arranged,” Kyle said before moving his lips to hers once again.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria and Liz stepped off the jet way, looking around for Tess and Kyle. They had volunteered to pick them up since Jim and Amy had a business dinner to go to and Nancy and Jeff were watching the restaurant.

Expecting Kyle and Tess to be waiting for them at the terminal, they were surprised when they were nowhere to be seen. Finally, they spotted them sitting in the seats off near the other end of the gate.

“Hey, get you tongue out of my sister’s throat,” Liz yelled as she approached them. The two jumped apart, startled, as her and Maria burst into bouts of laughter.

“Lizzie,” Tess squealed as she jumped up to give her sister a hug.

“So, you volunteer to come pick me up so you and Tess can have a little alone time…in a crowded airport. Okay, so that last part doesn’t make any sense…” Maria laughed as Kyle got up to give her a hug. “You do have to admit it’s pretty funny.”

“Ya, ya. Laugh it up Maria. Just please don’t tell my dad. I swear he watches over us like a hawk as it is already,” Kyle said, a large smile on his own face.

“And rightfully so it seems. But I promise I won’t tell, if only for Tess’s sake. Cause for some reason that I’m not quite sure of she likes you, and I don’t want her to be unhappy.”

“Nice to know you care, sister dearest.”

“Hey, I ain’t your sister yet. I don’t have to think about your feelings till then,” she said, sticking her tongue out at him, while turning to Tess to give her a hug.

The four made their way down to baggage claim to get their luggage, bantering and laughing the whole way. Tess and Kyle walked hand in hand the whole way, and Maria and Liz seemed to find it just adorable. In fact, they expressed that opinion, over and over, much to Kyle’s dismay.

“Oh no you don’t,” Kyle said as Maria bent down to pick up her suitcase. “I’ll get it.”

“Oh no, you’re not going to be like this all the time are you?”

“Yup. You know I’m just looking out for you.”

“I’m pregnant. I’m not helpless,” Maria said trying to grab her bag back from Kyle.

“I’m carrying it, end of story,” he said, moving the bag out of her reach. “Besides, what kind of a gentleman would I be if I let my pregnant sister carry her own bags while I was empty handed.”

“The kind who knows that his sister is a very independent woman and likes to do things for herself.”

“Nope, still not convinced.”

“Aw look, they’re getting into the brother/sister squabbling already. That’s so cute” Liz gushed, as her and Tess couldn’t help but laugh.

“Alright,” Maria conceded, noticing that they were starting to make a scene. “You win this time. Just know that I can do things for myself and I don’t need you hovering over me all the time.”

“I can deal with that,” Kyle said as he lead the way out to his car to head home.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex!” Jessica screamed as she came running out the door to meet her brother.

“Hey Jessie. How’ve you been?” Alex asked as he enveloped his youngest sister in a giant hug. “Look at you. When did you become so beautiful?”

“I’ve always been this beautiful,” Jessie replied with a smirk.

“Alex!”

“And that would have to be Meggie,” Alex stated, matter-of-factly as Megan ran up to him, jumping into his arms for a hug.

“Alex! We missed you so much!”

“I missed you guys too. Now what have my two favorite sister’s been up to while I was gone?”

“Careful. You better not let Julie hear you. She’ll get jealous.”

“Too late,” Julia called as she walked up to the small group. “I already heard. But it’s okay…I know he’s only saying that to you two to hide the fact that he loves me better.” A large grin painted her face.

“Hey Julie,” Alex hugged his eldest sister. She had always been the calm one, not near as overly energetic as the other two.

“Hey Alex. We’ve missed you. Now why don’t we go back inside before mom and dad start getting worried?”

Alex just laughed and leaving his stuff in his car, allowed Jessie to jump onto his back as they made their way into the house.

“Mom…Dad…I’m home,” Alex called as he entered the house.

“We kinda noticed. It was kinda hard not to considering we had three girls running through the room all trying to get out to their brother fastest. How was your drive honey?” Clara Whitman asked and she hugged her only son and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“Long and tiring. But it’s good to be home.”

“So, son. How is school going?” Charles Whitman asked, finally coming into the conversation.

“Long and tiring. But it’s good to be home,” Alex laughed. “Really though. It’s going pretty good.”

“Good to hear. You keeping those grades up?”

“Yes dad,” Alex said laughing. “Now is the interrogation over, I just got home!”

“Gee, I was only asking,” Charles replied defensively, before he too started laughing. “It’s good to have you home son.”

“Oh mom, before I forget. I talked to Isabel and she agreed to come visit for New Years. I figured that she could stay in Julia’s room…as long as that’s okay with you Jules?”

“Of course, that’ll be great. It’ll give me a chance to really get to know the girl that’s stolen my brother’s heart,” Julia finished with a smile.

Alex couldn’t help but blush at her comment.

“Aw look, he’s blushing. How cute!” Julia gushed, not being able to resist.

“Ha ha…funny Julie. You guys just better be nice to her. This means a lot to me.”

“You know we will. I still can’t believe we get to meet your girlfriend. This’ll be so much fun,” Megan couldn’t help her excitement. They’d all been hearing about this girl for well over a month now and were all dying to meet her.

“I’m sure she’s great,” Clara replied. “We can’t wait to meet her.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

He couldn’t believe he was doing this. He never invaded his sister’s privacy before, but he just couldn’t help it. He had to make sure. Maria said that Iz didn’t have her phone number, but he had to check just to make sure.

Looking through her desk drawer, Michael finally came across Isabel’s address book. Looking under M his eyes lit up when he saw her name. But continuing on, he realized it was not the number he was looking for.

Maria and Liz
(858) 532-1890


‘Their apartment number…nothing of news to him. Well, I guess Iz doesn’t have it,’ Michael thought disappointed. Then he noticed something scrawled messily under the above.

Liz home
(308) 239-8537


Michael laughed to himself. He didn’t understand his sister sometimes. How Liz fit under M, he would never know. But as Michael thought about it, he thought maybe this could be of some help after all.

Michael went back to his room and reached for the phone, dialing, and waiting patiently for the ring…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hello?” Tess answered the phone.

“Is Liz there?”

“Yes. May I tell her who’s calling?”

“Uh yeah…it’s Michael.”

Tess’s looked confused for a moment, deep and thought, before it came to her. Her eyes suddenly got wide and she almost dropped the phone. “Um…okay…hold on a minute.” Then, holding her palm over the phone, she turned to her sister. “Liz, phone for you. It’s Michael.”

Liz’s mouth dropped and a shocked expression overtook her face. She turned to Maria, who had an equally shocked and panicked expression on her face. She had not been expecting this, that was for sure.

Liz made her way over to sit down on the bed and grab the phone from Tess, but then Maria jumped up and grabbed the phone before Liz could take it. She sat down on the bed next to her friend and then, handing Liz the cordless, she pushed the speaker button on the base. Liz knew that that was her cue to talk.

“Hello?”

“Hey Liz?”

“Michael, why are you calling here? I’m not going to tell you…”

“Look, I know she asked me not to come looking for her. And I’m not. It’s just…I just need to know that she’s going to be okay.”

By this time Maria had grasped Liz’s hand and was holding onto it tightly. “Yeah Michael. She’s going to be fine.”

“Good. Ya know, I really wish that you wouldn’t tell her that I called, but since I know you’re going to anyway…can you tell her that if she needs anything. Money…anything…just to call. Or she doesn’t even need to call me, she can just tell Isabel. I’ll do anything…support her in anything.”

“Alright Michael. I’ll tell her,” Liz nodded her head, knowing that it was already done.

“Liz?”

”Yeah?”

“I screwed up big time didn’t I?” His voice sounded so small, so unsure.

“Yeah, you did,” Liz replied slowly. She heard a heavy sigh come from the other end of the line.

“Can you just do me one more thing?”

“I’m not promising anything, but I’ll try.”

“Can you tell her that I meant it? She’ll know that I’m talking about.”

“It’s already done,” she replied easily. But Michael didn’t know how literal that last statement was.

“Thanks Liz. You’re a good friend.”

“Thanks Michael.”

“And let her know that I’ll miss her?”

“Goodbye Michael.”

“Yeah…sorry. Bye.” And with that the line went dead.

As soon as she heard the dial tone, Maria let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “Oh my god!” were the only words that came out of her mouth before her body began to tremble uncontrollably…and the tears came.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Mar-2002 3:49:33 AM ]
posted on 1-Mar-2002 3:42:59 AM by Cinder
Yeah...I am the first to give feedback!

Great part!

I am glad that Max and Michael are on the road to recovery with their friendship. They have both screwed up in many ways in their lives, but it is good to know that they are headed in the right direction for one of their problems.

So Michael called Liz. Interesting...I really wasn't expecting that. He is a good guy (in my eyes) who has screwed up a lot, but I think that his character can be redeemed.

When are Max and Liz going to talk? I am craving that conversation!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Mar-2002 3:44:33 AM ]
posted on 1-Mar-2002 4:23:47 AM by angelbaby6977
So Maria did hear the conversation. What will she do now?
I also can't wait for the Max/Liz conversation!
Thanks for posting!
posted on 1-Mar-2002 7:48:23 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please go on.

But my issue is that all these people know the real reason M/L broke up and none have thought to tell Liz?
posted on 1-Mar-2002 7:59:46 AM by SciFiNut111
Great new part.

First, just a comment on your comment about Thanksgiving being so long. It was basically as long as it had to be. What would you have cut out to make it shorter? Tess and Kyle? They don't effect the basic story. Andrew? (Personally I could have done without him) How about Max's talk with Diane? Like I said, it was as long as it had to be. You did a great job and I'm sure if you poll your readers, nobody thought it was too long.

On to this part.

Max to the rescue. I would think that Max would be a bit more skeptical about helping Michael until after he saw how bad off he was. Go see Michael for Isabel's sake but then jump into friend mode when he sees how hurt his friend is.

I thought the next thing that Maria would hear from Michael would be through the letter he was composing on his computer. You fooled me.

Geez, Michael, you just got done alienating everyone that's near and dear to you and now you go snooping through Isabel's things? Life is about learning. Iz wouldn't give you Maria's phone number, but she probably would give you Liz's. A technicality I know, but one that Iz would use to help her brother.

I'm looking forward to he next part. There should be some interesting conversations. Maria and Liz, Michael and Max. I think there should also be a Michael and Liz talk. With Max willing to help Michael I think part of Michael's rehab should be a call to Liz to try and help Max. Michael has told Max about 15 times how sorry he is but hasn't done anything to correct his mistake. I think it would help his case with Maria if she sees him trying to fix all the mistakes he's made.

Now a closing comment: What part in this latest chapter would you cut out? You just wrote an entire part for the Christmas arc and narry a sniff of gingerbread in the air. You said that you don't want Christmas to be as long as Thanksgiving. The Kyle/Tess scene? How about Alex and his sisters? The computer scene with Michael? They all aren't really needed for the story but they make the story so much better. They really add flavor and color to the whole. The story wouldn't be as good without them.

You're doing a great job, don't worry about length. Just keep writing the story the way you want. It's great.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Mar-2002 3:20:37 PM ]
posted on 1-Mar-2002 8:03:14 AM by Rapunzel
Wow, thanks for the new part! I loved it........I am so glad Max and Michael are trying their hardest to be friends again. Tess and Kyle are just so cute together! I was almost crying when Michael called Liz and Maria heard everything he said......... I can't wait for the next part of this!

Kari
posted on 1-Mar-2002 8:36:31 AM by mara is a dreamer
I'm happy for Michael and Maria!They're on the road of recovery!
But when will we see the same for Max & Liz?!!!
Please I'm begging you!I need Max & Liz happy scenes!*shy*
Post soon!
posted on 1-Mar-2002 9:05:31 AM by Black Rain
I just loved this part.
It was excellent.
I liked that Max was just such a great friend.
Liked his talk with Michael and Michael telling his feelings
was just so great.
I really liked the Michael /Liz convo.
Can't wait for Maria's reaction to this.
But I really think Michael needs to tell Liz too.


Can't wait for more.

P.S.: Cassie lost the baby, didn't she
Please don't let Maria lose her baby too.
I just had this idea with all the "Michael and his past" stuff.
I wouldn't really like that.
But I'm going to let you guys do the writing.
You are way better in it then I'll ever be.

See you soon! *happy*
posted on 1-Mar-2002 11:28:45 AM by shorty828
great part, Atleast michael and maria are making some progress. :( hehe I guess yall know what I want lol, but great part none the less. I cant wait for more

Lisa
posted on 1-Mar-2002 12:45:55 PM by rollergal20
You guys UPDATED !!! ~ my day is now complete *happy*

AWW That was such a great part!

This is the only fic I've read where I actually like Tess lol... I hope Max realizes that Michael really needs him right now... and forgives him for what he did... so what is Maria's reaction... why is she crying... does she now believe he really loves her?... Alex's sisters sound like so much fun... I'm sure Isabel will feel more comfortable there with his parents than she feels with her own...

post more soon *please* ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 1-Mar-2002 2:20:42 PM by roswellluver
I'm glad Max went to Michael to offer his support, I hope Maria starts to forgive him as well! I wish Michael would tell Liz what he did! Thanks for writing!
posted on 1-Mar-2002 6:01:44 PM by tabasco sauce
wow. that was an awesome part. please more m/l.

-andy*happy*
posted on 1-Mar-2002 6:20:38 PM by Kristin80
I love this fic..it has definetly become one of my favorites. I am glad that Michael and Max talked even though Michael has screwed up alot lately. Everyone needs friends when they are going through a rough time, even when they have betrayed friendships.
I can't help but feel torn for Maria, she loves Michael, but how can she trust him after how he betrayed her trust, and lied to her so freely.
I can't wait to see a little more Max and Liz interaction, because after all I am a die hard dreamer! I think that Max needs to talk to Liz and at least let his feelings be known, he needs to confront the situation head on. Reguardless of if Liz is willing to forgive him or not.
Thanks for posting another wonderful part. As always I can't wait for more!*angel*
posted on 2-Mar-2002 3:20:19 AM by Lucky Star
thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!
Michael is too cute *happy* glad he's trying to make amends.
More soon please!!
posted on 2-Mar-2002 2:57:38 PM by zannyb
Excellent part! Maria will forgive Michael eventually, right? They need each other. Just like Max and Liz, *hint, hint**big*. I'm glad Max and Michael are beginning to be friends again. Please post more soon!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 2-Mar-2002 11:10:30 PM by CandyGirl
I just found this and I love it! more soon please!

*bounce**angel**bounce*~*~Christiana~*~*bounce**angel**bounce*
posted on 3-Mar-2002 3:37:50 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Incredible Part!! I am glad that Max is letting Micheal back into his life!! And I am proud of him for calling Liz!! I can't wait for the next part!!*bounce**angel**bounce*
posted on 4-Mar-2002 5:59:52 PM by oObubblesOo
c106


*Sigh*...that last bit of the story was short but it still packed a mean punch. Atleast we're not TOO dreary anymore...slightly...but not TOO much...

I'm glad that Max and Michael are beginning to talk again. The idea of friendship is put out there and both of them know that it will take awhile for them to both heal and clean up the mess that they made...but it's nice to know that they have a chance at friendship again.

I agree with SciFi Nut...I think that Michael should start working on his apology and explaning to Liz the wrongs he has done...hopefully both Liz and Max will come to their senses and get back together.

I just want to say that Meg and I are both honored to have characters named after you in your story... we feel all warm and squishie...c64

Well...that's all for now...

c109 oO bubbles Oo c109

posted on 5-Mar-2002 11:39:07 AM by oObubblesOo

I meant to say...Megan and I are really honored to have characters named after US in your story...just thought that I would clarify that.....oh yeah...I know a part just came out not that long ago but....BUMPc54BUMPc54BUMPc54

c109 oO bubbles Oo c109

posted on 5-Mar-2002 4:45:35 PM by PennyLane
Im soooo happy! All is going well in this little world of yours. Max and Michael are getting along, Maria knows Michael loves her, Michael knows he was an ass, Kyle and Tess are adorable, and Alex has sisters with beautiful names (if I do say so myself*happy*). Keep up the good work.
Love Me
*angel*
posted on 7-Mar-2002 3:18:24 AM by dancepixie
Okay...so here's whats going on. I'm sorry but the next part won't be up until the weekend...hopefully by sunday night, but I don't know. I've been busy all week studying for my last organic chemistry midterm which is friday...and then right after that I'm getting on the train to go home for the weekend. So I'm taking my computer on the train and hopefully I'll have the ideas to be able to sit and write the next part. I mean, what else am I going to do on a 6 hour train ride? So it could be posted anytime this weekend, but most likely not until Sunday. I hope thats good enough for you guys. I know I spoiled you last week with 15 pages after only 2 days...but what can I say, as soon as I have it written I like to post it. So stay tuned...more coming soon...

~Nikki~
*angel*
posted on 7-Mar-2002 5:43:44 AM by Lucky Star
it's all good, I can wait that long (I think *happy*)
posted on 7-Mar-2002 5:50:05 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Good luck on your exam.
posted on 7-Mar-2002 9:35:16 PM by rollergal20
well good luck on your exams... have a fun time at home during the weekend... enjoy your train ride please make it a productive one *big*...

btw... love this story, can't wait for more...

take care ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Mar-2002 9:59:50 AM ]
posted on 7-Mar-2002 10:02:05 PM by sydniepaige
Can't wait! Good luck on the mid-term.

Sydnie
posted on 10-Mar-2002 8:55:14 AM by SciFiNut111
Checking for an update.

Bump
posted on 13-Mar-2002 12:20:56 AM by Black Rain
Bump! *happy*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 2:48:14 AM by dancepixie
Hey guys, sorry this took so long but I was just having some trauma writing certain parts. It didn't want to come out of my brain. But I knew I had to get it out before finals start on Saturday, so here you go. I hope you like it.

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 39

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Ria? Are you gonna be alright?” Tess’s voice was soft as she came and sat on the other side of Maria, surrounding her with comfort.

Maria couldn’t answer anything; she was too caught up in the emotions of the moment to even think. She knew exactly what Michael was talking about.

Can you tell her that I meant it? She’ll know what I’m talking about.

He loved her…and he really meant it…oh god!

…I’ll miss her…

Oh god! What was she doing? Was this all just some crazy dream? Why did she leave? Why hadn’t she just told him the truth up front? Why didn’t she give him another chance?

“Ria, it’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.”

“Is it really Lizzie?” she sniffled. She wasn’t so sure anymore whether anything ever was okay to begin with. Her life seemed like it had always been messed up in some way or another.

“You are strong Maria. This was your choice. You’re doing what you need to do, and there is nothing wrong with that.”

“Really? I’m not running away? Cause that’s what it feels like now…now that I…now that he…”

“Now that he what?” Tess asked, but Liz didn’t give Maria a chance to answer even if she would’ve.

“You aren’t running away, you are taking a break, getting away so that you can clear your mind and figure things out before you go back. You aren’t doing anything wrong by taking some time out and finding yourself. This is something you needed. No matter how much you hide it, you were a mess. You still are, and that’s not good for the baby. Now you just need to relax and enjoy your new family and getting your own life back in order.” Liz hugged Maria a little closer as she finished her little speech. They had been friends forever and she had never seen Maria so distraught and lost as she was at the moment. All she wanted to do was make it better, but the only person who could do that was Michael.

Maria heard Liz but didn’t respond. Why did her life have to be just so difficult?

Hearing Michael’s voice had brought up so many emotions…anger, betrayal, curiosity, pain…love. She had told him not to try to contact her…well, technically he hadn’t. He had called Liz. It made her smile to know that he cared enough to find Liz’s number somehow, just to make sure that she was alright.

Was she alright? Who knew; but she would be better…in time. She’d have to be…soon she’d have someone else depending on her.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey mom!” Maria called as she walked through the front door.

“Did you have fun with the girls?” Amy asked as she came out of the kitchen.

“Umm…yeah.” Well…sort of. It had been interesting to say the least. After she had spaced out on them, Liz and Tess had suggested some ice cream. And ice cream led to random gossip and laughing about when they were younger. But it was fun; it had given her a great distraction and even served to put a smile on her face as she walked home, which was just across the street. She was going to miss not having them right across the street whenever she needed something after the new house was ready.

“Good. Jim and Kyle will be over in half an hour or so for dinner. You wanna wash up and help me with this?” Amy watched her daughter closely. God, she was growing up so fast. Soon her little Maria would be a mother too.

“Sure mom. Mmm…I’ve missed your cooking! Is that spaghetti?” her mom made the absolute best spaghetti.

“Of course. Since Jim and I were at that dinner yesterday I figured I had to make it up to you today by making your favorite.”

“Oh, thanks. I love you mom.” On impulse Maria gave her mother a big hug and kiss on the cheek before heading to the bathroom to wash up.

“So, when is moving day?” Maria asked as she entered the kitchen five minutes later.

“A few days before Christmas. I know it’s really late to be moving and all, but we really wanted to have Christmas in the new house, with all of us together. And right now the carpet and floors are still getting put in. But it’s almost done.” Amy smiled at her daughter. She felt bad that Maria wouldn’t have another Christmas in this house, but they would have new memories…as a family. Maria would finally have the family Amy had always wished she could give her only daughter.

“That’s great mom. I can’t wait to see it. So how big is it really? I mean Tess has said some things, but I don’t believe it.”

“Oh, its plenty big. There is even going to be a stable out back. Kyle has a horse and Jim’s been planning on getting a few more, so since we’re building the house, he thought it’d be nice to have a place to keep the horses near by, especially since its in such an open area. Wait till you see it, I’m sure you’ll love it.”

“I’m sure I will too, mom.” Maria smiled at the look on her mothers face. It was pure joy. Her mother was so different since Jim and Kyle had come into the picture. “I’ve got something important to tell you. I talked with an admissions counselor and the financial aid office and I decided that I’m taking a year off of school. I’m not going back after the holiday.”

Maria prepared herself for her mother’s reaction. Honestly she had no idea of what kind of reaction to expect.

“Are you sure about that honey? I know how much school means to you. I don’t want you to end up dropping out. A lot of times when people take a year off they don’t end up going back. Is that what you really want?”

“You’re right. It does mean a lot to me, and I’m going to go back. Everything is set up with the financial aid about my scholarship; I won’t lose it. And I’m still going to take classes at least next semester here at the JC with Kyle. I can keep up with some of my curriculum and get the units transferred. It’s really not that hard. But right now I just want to be here with you I guess. I needed to get away for a while. I need to spend some time with you.”

“Well it’s obvious that you’ve put a lot of thought into this honey. And you know that I will always support you in whatever you choose. I just hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Thanks mom.”

“What about the Michael? Does he know?”

“Umm…yeah. He knows…I left him a letter when I left. So now he knows everything.”

“A letter? Maria that doesn’t sound like you at all.” Amy closely examined her daughter. The last year had definitely changed her, and it wasn’t just the normal college experience. “You’re usually the first person to face up to a challenge.”

“I know…I just…it’s a long story.” Amy listened as her daughter explained everything to her. All of the ins and outs of Maria’s life for the last two months were laid bare.

“Well, that’s quite the story.” Amy wasn’t sure what to say, so she didn’t. She wasn’t going to judge her daughters decisions because Maria would know how she felt about it already; they had always had a strong connection. Luckily she didn’t have to say anything else because noise could be heard from the front room.

“Mmm…something smells awfully good in there!” Jim’s voice carried into the kitchen as the front door closed behind him and Kyle.

“We’re in the kitchen!”

“Hey Maria, how are you sweetie?” Jim asked as he gave her a hug.

“I’m good. Hey Kyle.”

Dinner was full of talking and laughter. It was nice to have a full table with other people besides her mother, Maria decided.

“Kyle, could you take me to the JC sometime tomorrow?” Maria finally spoke up.

“Sure, why?”

“I…need to register for next semester. I have to talk to…I think her name was Mrs. Ryan…in the admit office.”

“Sure. Wait! You’re going here next semester?” Maria smiled at Kyle…that took him a few seconds to realize. College boys, not the shiniest coins in the bag.

“Yeah. I’m taking a year off, but I’m gonna try a few classes here for at least this semester. Then I’ll see how it goes.”

“Well, I suppose we have to go shopping then,” Jim stated.

“Huh?” Maria was confused. Why would they have to go shopping?

“Well, I’m sure you’re going to want some more stuff for your room. You can decorate it however you want. And we’ll need some furniture for the nursery…” Amy smiled at Jim and mouthed a thank you to which he just smiled. He loved Amy, and Maria too, and he just wanted to take care of them, make them happy. That’s what family is for, after all.

“You don’t have too…”

“Don’t be silly. Besides, two of the bedrooms have an adjoining door. So we’ll just make the room adjoining yours into a nursery. It’s perfect.”

“But I don’t want you to go to all that trouble for me.”

“Maria, stop it. You’re family.”

“Thank you Jim. You’re the best!”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Are you sure you’re up for shopping now Maria? I mean, you’ve been filling out paperwork for the last hour!”

“That’s sweet Kyle, it really is, but there is no way you are getting out of taking me to the mall. You promised,” Maria pouted. They had just gotten in the car and were leaving the college parking lot.

“Fine, just don’t pout, and please don’t start crying on me!” Kyle pleaded. Maria had only just gotten back, but he’d already had one display of her emotions, he really didn’t think he could handle another round. The next several months in the Valenti household would definitely be interesting.

“So I need your help. I don’t know what to get mom and Jim for a wedding present…I mean, well your dad has everything!”

“Maria, whatever you get them will be fine.”

“I know, but I wanted it to be something special…something they’d always remember.”

“Well, I’ll do the best I can, but I gotta tell ya, Tess or Liz would be much better at this than me.”

“Thank you Kyle. I just figured, maybe, we could get them something from us together…you know, supporting the idea that we’re family?”

“That’s a great idea…now we just have to figure out what though.”

“Exactly! So, onward to the mall!” Maria giggled. This felt so right…so perfect, having a real family.

Well two hours later Maria’s feet were throbbing from all the walking, and her back was starting to get sore, but she had succeeded. She and Kyle had been in the department store and passing the photo department, when it suddenly hit her. That would be something special.

So they set up the appointment for later in the week to have their pictures taken. Maria figured that one of each her and Kyle, and then one of them together was what they wanted. Then they could get special frames to put them in. It would be a great present for their parents…their parents…the more she heard it, the more she liked it.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sweetpea: So it’s official now?

Teflonbabe: Yeah, I just got back from enrolling for next semester at the JC. I still wanna keep up with some of my studies.

Sweetpea: You’ve thought about this a lot haven’t you?

Teflonbabe: More than you’d imagine.

Sweetpea: So how are you doing, really?

Teflonbabe: Okay I guess. I mean, Jim is being really great. My mom finally found the perfect guy. Too bad I wasn’t so lucky.

Sweetpea: How can you be so sure of that? Don’t get mad at me for saying this, but did you even really give Michael a chance?

Teflonbabe: Well…

Sweetpea: Maria, you told him in a letter!

Teflonbabe: I know…

Sweetpea: Look, I’m not judging you, but what would it have hurt to give him a chance?

Teflonbabe: Have you seen him?

Sweetpea: I’ve been talking to Isabel and Max. They both say he’s a wreck, even worse than last time.

Teflonbabe: Last time?

Sweetpea: Umm…yeah.

Teflonbabe: What happened ‘last time?’

Sweetpea: I’m sorry…I didn’t realize…

Teflonbabe: Court, please tell me!

Sweetpea: Well I don’t know all the details but… It was in high school…you see, Michael’s girlfriend got pregnant, but they lost the baby. Soon after that she left him for someone else, and he was devastated.

Teflonbabe: Oh my god!

Sweetpea: Yeah. It was pretty bad. But Izzie says that was nothing compared with him now. I don’t know everything that happened with you and him Maria, but Michael’s been hurt before and I know he doesn’t take relationships lightly. You really meant something to him for him to let you in, even as just a friend.

Teflonbabe: You think I should go back?

Sweetpea: I’m just saying you didn’t give him a fair chance. Look, you’ve taken the same basic psych classes as I have. Look at everything Maria…you didn’t really have a stable father figure when you were growing up, and you’re whole outlook on men is a result of that. Maybe you’re afraid that some guy is going to hurt you like your father hurt your mother. Maybe you’re afraid to trust men because of that. That’s not the best way to go on living your life. You’ll just keep denying yourself any happiness. And now you have someone else to think about.

Teflonbabe: I know. Thanks Court. I just…keep an eye on him for me? Look out for him?

Sweetpea: Of course. That’s what friends are for. And Michael is a friend. I promise to check up on him and make sure he’s all right.

Teflonbabe: Thanks. I just…yeah.

Sweetpea: Don’t worry about it. And keep in touch, okay? You’ll be able to find me online anytime, and you have my number anyways.

Teflonbabe: You got it.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

As Jim wandered through the furniture store, he marveled at his new daughter. She was so full of energy, just like her mother. And so not used to the world that he was offering her, also like her mother. He kept telling her to not look at the price tags and just find what she really liked, but getting her to listen to him was proving to be difficult.

He had never had a daughter, so this was definitely a new experience for him. With Kyle things went much faster. But he didn’t mind so much; he was rather enjoying this time.

“Oh, wow. This is so beautiful!” Maria’s voice was awed. Jim smiled, ‘this is the one,’ he thought to himself as he walked towards the bedroom set she was still gazing at.

“I love this color wood!” she exclaimed. It was a deep cherry wood queen sized sleigh bed with matching bedroom pieces. There was a nightstand, a desk, a dresser, and even a large bookcase. It was perfect.

“So is this what you want?”

“No! That’s okay…really. I mean…”

“Maria, I already told you that price doesn’t matter. I know you like this. That smile on your face doesn’t lie. Is this what you want in your room?”

“It’s so beautiful. I always wanted a bed like this… I mean, Lizzie used to have this canopy bed that she loved when we were little, and I just thought it was so girly; not my style. But this is perfect.”

“Then we’ll take it.” Jim smiled, happy that he could finally get Maria what she really wanted after having spent hours of her looking over the price tags when he repeatedly told her to stop.

Fifteen minutes later Jim was talking to the sales guy about making sure the furniture could be delivered to the new house the day they would be moving in. Maria could hear them talking from where she lay on the bed that would soon be hers. It was very comfortable. A girl could definitely get used to that, she decided.

Two hours later she was sitting in a booth at the Parker’s café with Jim, telling him about all the sorts of trouble she and Liz and Tess used to get into when they were younger. They had all loved to hang around the café after school. They thought it was the ‘cool’ thing to do. They had managed to do all sorts of things to get into trouble, and managed to find a million ways to always get out of it.

“There was this one time we decided we couldn’t wait for the waitress to finish with the other customers so she could make our shakes, so we decided we’d do it ourselves. Well, we’d seen it done a million times before, but…we found out its not that simple. We ended up making a sticky mess everywhere. The counters, the floor…yeah, that was the day we learned how to mop a floor until it was squeaky clean. You see that counter there? And the entire floor around it? Yeah, it was covered in chocolate milkshake!” Maria rolled her eyes and laughed at the memory. They were good times.

“Sounds like you girls are quite the handful,” Jim laughed.

“Well, yeah. Mom says we’re high maintenance; but I like to think that we’re just full of character!” That made Jim laugh even more.

“I have some stories like that about Kyle…oh he used to be so shy when he was a toddler. He’d hide behind me whenever someone came near. Then he turned five and he was the perfect gentleman. All the older ladies in the community doted on him because he’d always help them carry their groceries, or take out their trash. It was the cutest sight. Of course he always refused any money they would try to offer him for his help, and back then we didn’t have a lot of money, but he’d never take anything they offered him except snacks. They used to tell me I had the perfect son, and I think they were right.”

“Oh, how cute! I can’t imagine what happened to him since then!” Maria laughed jokingly.

“Girls,” Jim assured her with a nod of his head and a sparkle in his eye. “He met some girls his own age…and that was the end of it!” That sent Maria into a fit of giggles.

“Hey guys, can I get you anything else?” Tess asked as she stopped by their table, taking the chance to sit down next to Maria for a few moments to relieve her feet.

“I’m good.”

“No thanks Tess,” Jim turned to his son’s girlfriend. She was very sweet, but he couldn’t help but wonder what would happen once Tess left for college in the upcoming month.

“Great, so how’s the packing coming? Moving day’s getting closer…”

“Oh! I just picked out my new furniture…it’s so cool!” Maria babbled. The giant smile on her face made Jim’s heart swell; he was glad that he could put it there. He listened, content as she rambled on and on to her close friend.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh my god! I know you said it was big…but this place is incredible! Are you sure this is just for us? I mean, you could fit the whole town in this place.”

“Maria, I think you’re exaggerating a little there honey,” Amy admonished, causing Maria to roll her eyes.

“Okay, but still, it’s huge!”

“Sure dear.” Amy just walked past her daughter shaking her head with a smile as she reached Jim, wrapping two arms around his neck and placing a quick kiss on his lips.

“Mmm. Hey darlin. So, what does she think?”

“She said we could fit the whole town in there…you know, I’m kinda beginning to agree with her. I told you I didn’t need a giant house. I just wanted you,” she punctuated the heartfelt statement with another kiss.

“I know. But I thought my queen deserved a palace.”

“Gees, would you look at those two…they act like teenagers,” Kyle told Maria as he stopped along side her with a box in his arms and watched their parents kissing.

“I think it’s sweet how they like to show how much they care for each other. I’m happy for them.”

“I’m not saying I’m not happy about it; I’m just saying that I really don’t need to see it. I mean, it’s my dad. Doesn’t it bother you thinking about your mom…you know.”

“Okay Kyle, stop right there! I didn’t say I was thinking about that and thanks for the really bad mental picture! God, you’re such a guy!”

“Thank you!” Kyle gave a big smile, proud of being called a guy. Maria couldn’t do anything but shake her head and try to walk away since Kyle completely missed her point. She headed to her mom’s beat up old car to start taking out the boxes of things that had been deemed too fragile to leave to the moving men. She was about to lift one out of the back seat when Kyle’s loud voice behind her made her jump.

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Kyle stood back with his arms folded across his chest trying to look menacing.

“Its called moving Kyle. You know, you take the boxes from one place and you bring them to another. Generally you bring them inside instead of leaving them in the car. You should try it some time.”

“Funny.” Kyle watched as Maria again started to lift the box. “I repeat, what are you doing?”

“Kyle, what is wrong with you? I’m lifting the damn box! Okay? I’m going to carry it to the house now, if that is alright with you?”

“Umm…no, that would not be alright with me. I told you yesterday, don’t worry about it. I can do it, and once the moving truck gets here, the moving guys will do it. Okay?”

“Kyle, I’m a big girl…I can carry a stupid box.”

“No you can’t!”

“Kyle!” Maria screeched. Gees, could this get any more ridiculous?

“You are not carry the box and that’s final. It’s not good for you in your condition. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

“That’s really sweet of you, but I’m fine. I promise carrying a few boxed isn’t going to hurt me or my baby.”

“So. You still aren’t carrying them.”

“Fine! I give up! Could you at least bring the box and show me where my room is then?” Maria gave up. Obviously this was one battle she couldn’t win; he was just as stubborn as her. Hmm…this family thing could definitely prove to be interesting.

“Of course. Follow me,” Kyle smiled knowing that he won. God he loved winning! Setting aside the box he had been carrying to grab hers, he then lead the way towards the house.

“Down here is basically the kitchen, dining room and family room, until you go down the hall. There is a bedroom and bathroom down there, a door down to the basement, and a door to the garage at the very end of the hall, and just before that is the laundry room,” Kyle pointed out as he began to head up the stairs. “Up here are the bedrooms. The master bedroom is to the right, ours are to the left; there’s also two guest bedrooms up here. Your room is the one all the way at the end of the hall. The one to the left goes to the bigger room, and it adjoins to the one on the right, so that’ll be the nursery.” Kyle led the way down the hall and opened the door before stepping aside to let his soon to be sister into her new room.

“Wow!” was all she could say as she stood in the middle of the room and looked around her. She’d never had this much space all to herself before. This was definitely going to spoil her.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 3:05:49 AM by cole81
I am so glad you guys updated! this is one of my fav fics! I hope michael and maria talk soon... jim is so great... and kyle is dreamy... awwww.... hehe. cant wait for more!
posted on 13-Mar-2002 4:06:59 AM by Cinder
The talk between Courtney and Maria was esp. interesting. I wonder if Maria will try to contact Michael soon. I hope so.........

I can't wait for the next part!
posted on 13-Mar-2002 5:15:33 AM by Lucky Star
thankyou so much for the new part!
Could Jim be any more of a great guy? *happy*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 5:19:14 AM by angelbaby6977
I'm glad to see a new part! Loved it!
posted on 13-Mar-2002 5:40:18 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
I feel dreamer deprived!!!!! The part was excellent but I disagree with Courtney.
posted on 13-Mar-2002 7:50:55 AM by SciFiNut111
Glad to see that you updated.

Glad to see that Maria is starting to settle in and not be a mess of raging hormones. SHe's back with her friends and family and can take the time to think and decide where to go from here.

I guess Courtney is going to be the bridge between the two groups. Good choice. She is a great person.

Michael has some work to do. He has to wake up and instead of just saying he's sorry for all he's done, start to actively try to correct his mistakes. A call to Liz to tell her what he did. Try toget her to talk to Max. Check to make Maria is okay.

He has to get his life back on track.


posted on 13-Mar-2002 8:10:46 AM by Black Rain
Thanks for the new part!
And I have to agree with everybody Jim and Kyle are just so great!
Hopefully Maria talks to Michael.
I don't think what he did was right but what she did wasn't that great either

More soon!*happy*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 9:40:28 AM by shorty828
great part, alot of stuff going on, I know yall are gonna kill me if I say this one more time but yes I am dreamer deprived too :( I hope Maria lets michael come down and stay with her or goes back to him, he is having a rough time. I cant wait for more, kyle and jim are great.

Lisa
posted on 13-Mar-2002 11:48:13 AM by rollergal20
You updated!!!, loved this part....

ok, I realize that it's nice for her to be home with her family, and Jim is being super nice and all... I still think she needs to face Michael, and deal with her feelings... I like how Courtney told her about Michael's past relationship, and how he really does love her... she needs to go back, or he needs to come and find her...

post more soon ~ rollergal20 ~ *bounce*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 3:04:36 PM by kittens
Why did they build a 6 bedroom house anyways???
And here I thought they would give Maria the old house to move into, afterall it is across from Liz.
posted on 13-Mar-2002 4:55:39 PM by Kristin80
Another Awespme Part..thank you

I think that Maria needs to go back and face things with Michael!

And I need some dreamyness!

But I love this fic..more soon pretty please with Max on Top!!*bounce**bounce*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 5:24:51 PM by zannyb
Great part! Jim, Kyle, Maria and Amy make, like, a picture perfect family. They're so sweet and understanding. I love it! This part was so funny:

quote:
Maria: "God, you’re such a guy!"
Kyle: "Thank you!" Kyle gave a big smile, proud of being called a guy.


Courtney was right, Maria really needs to give Michael another chance. Thanks for updating! Please post more soon!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 13-Mar-2002 5:31:23 PM by Rapunzel
So glad to see the update! I hope that Maria and Michael talk soon.....and Liz and Max, cause they need to be together too!

I'm glad Maria loves her new house!

Kari
posted on 13-Mar-2002 6:21:58 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Terrific New Part!! I hops that Maria talks with Micheal soon!! I think they both need that!! The house sounds amazing!! And Jim and Kyle are all around sweethearts!! Can't wait to read more!!*bounce**angel**bounce*
posted on 14-Mar-2002 1:46:39 AM by jendansuer
So glad maria and kyle are getting along and that maria feels this is a real family.....loved the chat with court...gave amria lpenty to think about..and now maria knows about michael's past..and how much this is affecting him..hurry back with more
posted on 14-Mar-2002 4:40:54 PM by oObubblesOo
x173



Well...all seems to be well...Maria is slowly piecing her ever so confusing and complicated life together and she is surrounded with those who love and support her in her decisions...HOWEVER...Max and Liz are still splitsville...and...Michael is thousands of miles away from the one that he loves in unbearable pain...(don't get me wrong...he deserves to suffer some for the sh!t that he's done...but this is a little over the top)...

I noticed my issue was brought up in the Maria/Courtney chat...I'm glad that it the issue was recognized...

Well...I don't really have anything to say besides the fact that more issues need to be resolved...so.... c54 BuMp c54 BuMp c54 BuMp

c109 oO bubbles Ooc109



posted on 15-Mar-2002 8:43:12 PM by PennyLane
You make me so happy when you post another section of my soap opera*big*. I like that Maria knows that Michael has had some similar drama in the past; maybe next time he calls she could even talk to him (hint hint). I'm very jealous of Maria; my dad and brother NEVER take me shopping and buy me stuff*sad*. Anyway you guys got me thinking, I need ti fiind a rich, handsome, carpenter man to build me a house because damn it I deserve a palace too! Well, write more to soothe my finals induced wounded spirit. P.S. Nikki I got a fortune cookie yesterday that said, "You are careful and systematic" add your ending to that and be amused.
Love Me
*angel*
posted on 16-Mar-2002 2:58:54 AM by Pegleg
Author's Note: Hey guys. I know I'm spoiling you cause it's only been a couple days, but I have finals in the next few days, and this way I get it out before it's major study time. So, since I have my first final tomorrow...I worked my ass of to get this to ya'll tonight...so I hope you like. Since we have massive finals over the next couple of days, I can pretty much guarantee that Nikki won't even start writing the next part till they're over, so I hope this'll hold ya for awhile.

On another note, I know you all want the dreamer scenes...and I promise that I will get back to the Max/Liz plotline once they get back to San Diego. I know the whole thing between them has been drawn out for like ever...and even I'm getting tired of it...but we needed to get all of the Maria stuff out of the way first.

Anyway, without further ado...here is part 40. OMB!!! We're on part 40...how weird is that. Anyway...hope you like. Happy Reading! (for those of you who haven't already skipped the author's note and gone straight to the story).



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 40

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, your gonna give it a rest for a while?”

“Yeah. I guess so. I mean, I still love her, but I guess I need to step away for a while so I can figure out what I really want. Like, what will I do if you doesn’t want me back? Is being friends just enough? Right now, I’m not so sure.”

“Good. I must say Max. This mopey thing you’ve got going is very unappealing. And now it is time to change the subject cause I am more than tired of talking about Liz,” Courtney said as she dug into her food.

“Sorry,” Max looked down at his own plate sheepishly.

“Hey, It’s alright. I understand that she’s on your mind every waking minute. And as I said before, I am here to listen. But now it’s time to talk about me. I need help deciding where I’m going to transfer to next year.”

“USD,” he stated simply with a smile on his face.

“Come on Max, I’m serious.”

“So am I. Look, we have a great psych department, just ask Maria. And you could even move in with me, Michael and Isabel. There’s plenty of room.”

“Yeah Max. I’m sure that will go over great, considering my parents think that we’re dating.”

“Oh yeah. Why did I agree to that again? I mean the guys that your parents are setting you up with can’t be all that bad.”

“Because your being my bestest friend and trust me, they can be that bad. You don’t even know.”

Max just laughed at the look of disgust on Courtney’s face.

“I mean you should have seen the guy that they tried to fix me up with last time,” Courtney continued. “Some uptight son of an exec that works of one of the companies of their many investments. My parents thought we were the most adorable couple. But while he was all prim and proper on the outside, he was all about sex and booze on the inside.”

“Alright, alright. You’ve convinced me. So what does this whole thing entail? I mean, do I have to like make out with you in public and stuff,” Max said, a teasing glint in his eye.

“Ha ha. You wish Evans,” Courtney shot back. “You know very well that making out in public would not be proper of a lady in our society,” she said, sticking her nose in the air in a snobbish fashion.

“I never said you were a lady,” Max replied, laughing.

Courtney just huffed before she broke out into laughter too. Once they had both calmed down, “You just need to escort me to all the crappy parties that my parents drag me to. And just pretend that we’re close.”

“So how long are we going to carry this on? Am I not allowed to have a girlfriend like ever?”

“Glad we understand each other.” Courtney just laughed when Max groaned. She knew he really wasn’t all too crazy about this plan. “Look. Thank you. I just don’t think that I could stand another one of my parent’s set-ups. I really do appreciate this,” Courtney said sincerely.

“Yeah. Just remember this next time I need like a huge favor from you.”

“Of course. Now about school in the fall, I was thinking maybe…”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Julia,” Alex called to his sister before finding her in the living room. “Hey Jules. I was wondering if you could help me with something,” he said, flopping down on the couch beside her.

“Sure Alex…what is it?”

“Well, I need some help on ideas of what to get Isabel for Christmas and…”

But Julia didn’t let him finish. “Of course I’ll help you. Oh, this will be so great. I need to get to the mall anyway. Megan, Jessie, we’re going shopping,” Julia yelled up the stairs. Squeals of excitement could be heard and then the thumping of little feet above them.

“Wait Julie…no. I just asked for help…I didn’t say…uh, alright,” Alex gave in knowing his protestations were falling on deaf ears.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alright, so what kind of gift did you have in mind,” Julia asked her brother as they walked about the mall.

“I don’t know. Something simple, but nice. Something that tells her how much I care about her.”

“Hmmm… Well there’s always the classics…jewelry, perfume…but I have a feeling that you have something a little more special in mind.”

“Yeah. I mean any of that stuff she could get for herself, but I want to get her something that she wouldn’t think to get on her own.”

“Well…what does she like?”

“Well…” but before Alex could finish his train of thought he was cut off my his little sister’s squealing voice.

“Shoes!” Megan exclaimed, quickly making her way over to the store.

“Megan no!”

“But Alex…”

“You already have a whole closet full. No!”

“But I just need…”

“No.”

“Al...”

“No.”

Megan huffed, crossing her arms over her chest, but relenting nonetheless.

“Anyway, as I was saying,” Julia said, glaring at her little sister, “You need to find something that appeals to her as a person…something that reflects who she is or who she’s trying to be. Those are the presents that really mean something, the ones that are so closely related to our thoughts and feelings.”

‘Thoughts and feeling’…’thoughts and feelings.’ Alex let those words tumble around in his head for a while.

“Oh Alex, can I stop by the book store real quick?”

“Uh yeah, sure,” Alex said absentmindedly, still deep in thought. “Wait, that’s it,” Alex suddenly burst out right as they were about to enter the bookstore. “I’ll meet you guys back in the usual spot in about an hour. Thanks Jules, you were a great help,” Alex said, pecking her on the cheek quickly before racing off.

“Glad I could help,” Julia mumbled, a surprised look on her face. Quickly recovering, Julia turned back to the bookstore to find what she was looking for.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Tess! Guess what!” Liz said running up to her sister.

“What?” Tess asked, curious as to what had gotten her sister so excited.

“I got it! I got the internship!” Liz burst out.

“Oh my god!” Tess exclaimed, enveloping her sister in a hug. The two jumped around, squealing. “Congratulations! I am so happy for you.”

“Thanks. Uh…you don’t know how good this feels.”

“Oh, I can hardly imagine. But I knew you’d get it. No one could be a better woman for the job than my Lizzie. Oh, we have to go celebrate! Why don’t you come out with Kyle and I tonight.”

“Nah. I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t want to impose on your guy’s date.”

“Nonsense. It’s not a date anyway. We’re meeting with one of Kyle’s old friends who’s in town for the break. And this would be so perfect. Now you wouldn’t feel weird and he wouldn’t feel weird…”

“I don’t know,” Liz hesitated.

“Oh come on, please,” Tess pleaded. “Besides, you deserve to celebrate.”

“Oh…all right.”

“Great. You won’t regret it, I swear. We’ll have so much fun.”

“Sure. Now, I’m gonna go call Maria and tell her the news.

“Go…and tell her I said hi,” Tess hollered after her sister who was already disappearing up the stairs.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Liz, are you almost done? We’re ready to go,” Tess called up the stairs to her sister.

“Almost, just give me five more minutes,” Liz called down.

“Whatever. There’s no hurry,” Tess answered, not being able to keep the smile from her face.

“So, how did you convince her to come?” Kyle asked softly in her ear from his position behind his girlfriend, his arms wrapped around her waist.

“Well it just so happens that we have something to celebrate, what with her getting the internship and all. She doesn’t need to know that we had this planned ahead of time.”

“You mean your not going to tell your sister that you’re trying to set her up?” Kyle asked quizzically.

“I’m not trying to set her up. She just happens to be going out with her sister and her boyfriend, and we just happen to be meeting one of his old, very cute, friends. And if anything else happens, well then good for her. Besides, I’m tired of seeing the miserable look on her face every time she sees us together.”

“Yeah…I know what you mean. Wait, you think Danny’s cute?”

“Not for me silly, for Liz. Besides Danny may be cute, but he’s not half as sexy as you are.”

“Hmmm…so you think I’m sexy huh,” Kyle said as he turned Tess around in his arms, bringing his forehead down to hers.

“Was there ever any doubt?” Tess got out before Kyle’s lips met hers. Their kisses were interrupted by Liz clearing her throat.

“Are we ready to go?” she asked from her position at the bottom of the stairs, an amused look on her face.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Danny!” Kyle called as he entered the restaurant, Tess by his side and Liz trailing behind them.

“Kyle, my man!” Danny exclaimed as he enveloped his friend in a hug. “How’ve you been?”

“Good good. It’s great to see you man.” Then as his hand reached back down to grab Tess’s, “And this is my girlfriend, Tess.”

“Nice to meet you,” Danny said shaking Tess’s hand. “Man, Kyle doesn’t do you justice.”

Tess just grinned, blushing slightly, then motioned to her sister where she was half hidden behind Kyle. “And this is my sister, Liz.”

Liz came out from her hiding place, taking his hand.

“Wow,” Danny breathed as he got a good look at Liz for the first time. “Beauty must run in the family. Although, I must say, you two look nothing alike.”

“Yeah well, I look like dad and Tess looks like mom. But thank you for the compliment,” Liz said as he finally let go of her hand. It was then that the waiter came up to lead them to a table where they continued their conversation.

“So Danny, where did you and Kyle meet?” Tess asked politely.

“We went to the same JC last year before I transferred to New York. And where do you go again?” Danny asked turning towards Liz. Tess noticed how Danny seemed to be only focused on Liz, almost forgetting that it was really Kyle that he had been coming here to see. Tess decided that she couldn’t have planned this better if she tried.

“USD. It’s a private college in San Diego.”

“Wow, San Diego huh. That’s a long way from home.”

“Well so is New York,” Liz shot back.

“Very true.”

“It’s a great school. And I got a full scholarship, so it was a great opportunity for me. And I love it there. Their program is really good.”

“What is it that you’re majoring in?”

“Molecular biology. What about you?”

“Actually English, I wanna be a writer.”

“Really? What kinda stuff do you write?”

“Well, science fiction. I’ve always been a big fan of science fiction novels.”

“Well Kyle, I never would have known that you had such talented friends,” Liz teased.

“Ha ha. Funny Parker.”

“We’re celebrating today cause Liz just found out she got this internship with a large biotech company back in San Diego.”

“Wow, really,” Danny seemed thoroughly impressed. “Well then, congratulations!”

“Thank you,” Liz replied shyly. She hated when people brought so much attention to her.

The rest of dinner went along similarly, with everyone talking and getting to know each other and Danny paying particular attention to Liz.

After dinner, the four decided that ice-skating would be fun and walked together to the rink, which was only a few blocks away. Once they arrived, Kyle and Tess went off on their own, skating together, leaving Liz and Danny to themselves.

“I think we’ve been set up,” Liz murmured conspiratorially.

“I can’t say that I mind the company.” Danny flashed her a smile and Liz couldn’t help but smile back. They skated around for a while, and then finally catching up with Kyle and Tess the four of them skated together, talking, laughing and just having fun.

After skating, the four went out for ice cream and then walked back to the restaurant where their cars were.

“Look,” Danny started once they were alone. “I had a really great time tonight…I mean really great. And I was wondering if maybe…I don’t know…you’d wanna go out some time.”

“Wow Danny, I had a really great time too. And your really sweet…”

“But…” Danny finished for her, knowing it was coming.

“But…I just got out of a really serious relationship and I just don’t think I’m ready to date again yet. I’m sorry. You’re a really great guy and all…I’m just not ready for this,” Liz finished sincerely.

“Well, it was worth a shot right,” Danny started somewhat dejectedly. “But hey…just in case you change your mind…here’s my number,” he said, handing her a slip of paper he’d quickly scrawled his number on. “I really did have a great time tonight. Thank you. And hey, maybe I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I better let you get going. They’re waiting for you,” he said, placing a quick kiss on her cheek. “Bye Liz,” he said before turning around and walking towards his car.

“Bye,” Liz called after his retreating figure and then turned, slowly making her way towards the others.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“He asked you out and you said no!” Tess asked flabbergasted. They had just gotten home about half and hour ago and Tess just couldn’t wait to get the scoop.

“Yes. I just…I don’t think I’m ready to date yet. It’s just too soon after Max…”

“Liz. It’s been two months! I think that it’s about time that you let the boy go.”

“I have let him go…I’m just not ready to start seeing someone else, that’s all.”

“Liz, obviously you haven’t let him go, or this wouldn’t be such a big deal. I mean, you guys were only going out for about a month and you’ve been broken up for over two. It’s time to start moving on with your life.”

“I have moved on.”

“No, I don’t think you have. Look, I’m just worried that your hanging on to something that isn’t there.”

“I’m not hanging onto anything. I got over him a long time ago.”

“Then why are you still using him as an excuse.”

Liz didn’t know what to say. She knew Tess was right, that she had been using him as an excuse. It was just that even though she had only been going out with Max for a short time, she had never felt near as strongly for anyone else as she had for him. It was like every other guy she came across just wasn’t good enough. She couldn’t see herself with anyone but Max. It was like he had ruined her for all other men.

“Look Liz. I’m not saying that you have to jump into anything right now. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. I understand that. Just please don’t spend your whole life waiting around for something that doesn’t exist.

Liz just nodded her head, trying to get her tumbling world back into order.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Max!” Trisha Harding smiled when she opened the door.

“Uh…Hello Mrs. Harding. Is…Is Courtney ready?” Max asked somewhat nervously.

“I’m sure she’ll be down in just a minute, but I’ll go check.”

“No need mom, I’m right here,” Courtney said, coming down the stairs and over to Max. “Hey honey,” Courtney said, a smirk on her face, as she came over and looped her arm through his. “You ready to go?”

“Uh…yeah,” Max stuttered, not completely comfortable with the situation.

“Alright, bye mom.”

“Awww. You guys look so cute together,” Trisha gushed. “You two have fun ok.”

“We will Mrs. Harding,” Max said before leading himself and Courtney out the door. Once outside he let out a deep breath. Courtney couldn’t help but laugh.

Courtney let out a hearty laugh; “The only time she takes an interest in my life, when I have a boyfriend she approves of. Ya know, you’ve got to loosen up a little or they’ll never believe that we’re together.”

“I can’t help it. It’s just weird, ya know.”

“Yeah, I guess. But you need to stop being so stiff. I mean, just act like you do around me normally and we’ll be fine,” she said getting into the passenger side of Max’s car. “Oh, and we’re picking up Isabel, she wanted to come with.”

“Okay,” Max replied pulling the car out of the driveway and heading for the Guerins.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Mr. Evans…Miss Harding. I hope everything is going well.”

“Yes, everything is fine Cadbury. We’re just here to pick up Isabel,” Courtney responded to the butler when he offered to take their coats.

“I believe Miss Guerin is up in her room.”

“Thanks. I’m just gonna go up and check on her, but knowing Isabel, it’s gonna be at least twenty minutes,” Courtney said, turning to Max.

“Whatever. Tell her to take her time. It’s not like I’m in all that much of a hurry to go shopping with you two,” Max smirked. Courtney hit him lightly on the arm before making her way to the stairs.

Max made his way into the entertainment room to sit down and maybe watch some TV, but what he came upon surprised him. There, sitting on the couch, watching old reruns of bewitched, was Michael. He looked just as bad as ever. Same dark circles under the eyes, pale complexion, haunted expression. The guy wasn’t taking this well at all. ‘Well, I guess that’s understandable,’ Max thought, ‘considering he just found out the love of his life is pregnant with a child that he may never get to see.’

“Hey Michael.”

“Oh, hey Max. What’s up?” Michael said, still barely acknowledging his presence. His expression was unwavering.

“Not much. How’ve you been?”

“Ah, same old, same old. Still relatively depressed, but it’s not like that’s anything new.”

‘Well at least he’s honest,’ Max thought. “So bewitched huh.”

“Yeah. I don’t know. It kinda helps me get my mind off things for a while.”

“Look Michael. Courtney, Iz and I are going shopping…why don’t you come with?”

“Oh…I don’t know…”

“Come on. I’m shopping with Courtney and Isabel…please don’t leave me alone with the two of them,” Max kidded, although he was only half joking. Shopping with those two was definitely…an experience.

“I guess. Why not? Can you give me a few minutes to get ready?”

“Michael, we’re waiting on your sister…you have all the time in the world.”

Michael just laughed as he left the room and ascended the stairs. Max couldn’t help but smile. His old friend was in there somewhere, behind the lies and deceit and anger and hurt... The only problem now was to make him see that it was alright to come out again.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You haven’t gotten her anything yet?!?!”

“Well…no,” Kyle looked at the ground sheepishly.

“Kyle, it’s two days till Christmas and you haven’t gotten your girlfriend a present yet,”

“Well, I tried. I just couldn’t think of anything. And I figured since my sister-to-be just happens to be such good friends with my girlfriend, that you could help me,” a large boyish grin decorated his face.

“And you waited till two days before Christmas to come to me?!?! You’re not very good at this whole girlfriend thing are you Kyle?”

“No,” Kyle muttered.

“Gee, you would think that you’d have figured it out by now. I mean, it’s not like she’s your first girlfr…wait, she isn’t your first…” Maria started, before Kyle cut her off.

“No!” he said rather defensively. “I’ve had plenty of other girlfriends. Just none of them have meant as much as Tess does,” he muttered the last part under his breath.

“Aww…Kyle, that’s so sweet. But two days..!” Maria was exasperated.

“Yeah yeah, I know. You don’t have to rub it in any more. So, are you going to help me?”

“Yeah, hold on. Let me just go get my purse.”

“Yea! Thank you sis. You’re the best.”

“Yeah, I know.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Maria walked around the mall, glancing at all the shops briefly before quickly dismissing them and moving to the next.

“So what is it exactly that you’re looking for?”

“Something that tells her she means the world to me.”

“Kyle, how do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Spit off lines like that without even trying.”

“They’re not lines, I’m serious,” he said, the expression mirrored in his face.

“That’s not what I meant. I mean…I guess most guys just aren’t as in touch with their feelings.”

“What can I say…I know what I want,” he smirked.

“Hmmm…we’ll see about that,” Maria said, spotting a store in the distance. I mischievous grin came over her face as she started dragging Kyle over to the store. It wasn’t until they were stopped in front of it that Kyle realized where they were headed.

“Uh uh. I am not going in there.”

“Come on. You want to get Tess a present don’t you?”

“In there?”

“Yes, in there. Why not?”

“Because it’s Victoria’s Secret, that’s why!”

“Come on Kyle. You said you wanted my help. Now lets go,” she said, dragging him into the store.

Upon entering, Kyle screwed up his eyes tight, trying not to look.

“Kyle, open your eyes,” Maria sighed upon seeing this.

Kyle let out a heavy sigh, and opened his eyes. Upon seeing the vast spans of lingerie that stood before him, he averted his eyes to the ground.

“Uh Maria…this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

“Come on, it’s just for fun. We’re gonna get her something else too, I promise. So, pick out something you like. Besides, if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even get to see it again some day.”

Kyle blushed profusely at Maria’s words, but still didn’t look up.

“Come on Kyle. It’s not that hard. I’m sure you’ve had fantasies…” Maria let her words trail off. Just getting the juices flowing.

“I uh…” Kyle choked on his words a bit. Then clearing his throat, “I don’t know what…uh…size she is.”

“Well…is it a handful, a little more, a little less..?” Maria couldn’t help but tease. It was just so easy.

Kyle’s face turned a deep crimson. “Maria!” he finally got out, not knowing how to respond to her little question.

Maria couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m sorry Kyle. I’m just kidding. I know what size she is. Just…look around. Find something you like and then I’ll make sure to get the right size okay?”

“Yeah alright. But if she asks, this was all your idea.”

“Fine fine. Just look,” Maria laughed. Then spotting something off to her right, “Oh this is cute.”

Kyle spun around to see what she was looking at, but then wished he hadn’t. “Ok, did not just see sister looking at teddies,” Kyle muttered to himself.

“I’m just going to go try this on. I’ll be right back.”

“What…No! You are not buying that!”

“And why not?”

“Because…because…you’re just not. And besides, you have no one to wear it for anyway.”

“And how do you know that?” Maria smirked defiantly.

“TMFI Maria. I so did not need to hear that.”

“Just go find your girlfriend some underwear Kyle, I’ll be right back.”

“You’re not going to leave me alone are you?” Kyle suddenly looked panicked.

“Kyle, it’s just for a few minutes. Just look around, and I promise I’ll be back before you know it.”

Maria just laughed as she made her way back to the changing rooms. Gee, you’d think a lingerie store would be like a guys’ fantasy…not their worst nightmare. But it was so much fun scaring them, wasn’t it?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Mar-2002 3:27:48 AM ]
posted on 16-Mar-2002 3:11:20 AM by Cinder
Great part! *big*

I am still worried about Isabel being set up by her parents with her abusive ex............
posted on 16-Mar-2002 3:26:11 AM by Lucky Star
Wow great new part!!

I'm a little concerned that Liz goes back to San Diego she is going to run into Max and Courtney and get the wrong idea - please tell me I'm wrong!

waiting patiently (well, trying to!) for the next part!!
posted on 16-Mar-2002 6:08:03 AM by AvengingAngelIQ
Great part please post more soon.
posted on 16-Mar-2002 10:39:31 AM by roswellluver
Max pretending to be Courtney's boyfriend can only lead to trouble! Loved Maria dragging Kyle through Victoria's Secret, lol! Thanks for writing!
posted on 16-Mar-2002 12:38:52 PM by oObubblesOo
pinknessline


ot29



Yay!! Finally...some happy events with no evil/bad consequences. I think this is the first time IN A LONG TIME that I have read a section in this story where all ends well...no crying... no pain... no grieving....*sigh*... things are starting to look up again...

c100


Things that I liked about this last piece....
misc_Pink_rollinflour The butler's name = Cadbury...(the name just reminds me of the Cadbury eggs)

misc_Pink_rollinflour Megan and her endless addiction to shoes...(in the story and in real life)...but you musn't forget her passion for purses as well

misc_Pink_rollinflour Kyle buying Tess' gift last minute...reminds me of sooooo many people I know...

misc_Pink_rollinflour Kyle's behavior in Victoria's Secret is CLASSIC...

Well....I have to go to SDSU now....so...write more soon...good luck on your finals Nikki and Michelle...break a pencil lead!!! I guess all that's left to say is...Buh Bai!!

c109 oO bubbles Oo c109

posted on 16-Mar-2002 12:38:57 PM by Rapunzel
Lol, I loved that part! It's so cute the way Kyle is so nervous in the lingerie store....

Can't wait to see what happens next!

Kari
posted on 16-Mar-2002 12:46:04 PM by zannyb
Maria is evil! LOL! Poor Kyle! That's the last time he asks Maria for help. Well, unless he gets to see Tess in whatever he's going to buy her. Then he'll probably be kissing Maria's feet. What's Alex's gift for Isabel. I like Julia. She's my favorite of Alex's sisters. I feel so bad for Max and Liz. You really have to fix this SOON!!! I can't wait for your next part!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 16-Mar-2002 12:50:26 PM by shorty828
great part, I loved it, I liked seeing them all in their different home towns and surrounding. Good luck on your finals, I havent even had my spring break yet. Its the last week of march, finals are the first week of may. eek. I am glad liz turned down danny, I would be crushed if she didnt I NEED max and liz together, its killing me

Lisa
posted on 16-Mar-2002 1:04:05 PM by CandyGirl
jebus... that took me FOREVER!!!! I just found this and I have to say that I LOVE THIS FIC!!! especially all the m/m parts... (like you couldn't tell with my screen name) anywho... please continue soon!!!!!!!! please?????

~*~Christiana~*~
posted on 16-Mar-2002 2:41:00 PM by angelbaby6977
Great part! I have a feeling that the Max/Courtney situation will lead to misunderstandings.
Can't wait to read more!
posted on 17-Mar-2002 9:26:07 PM by Kristin80
Another great part....mmm I was torn about Liz taking the date..well I wanted her too....I want Max to grovel :lol LMAO I am evil Please post more as soon as you can..and good luck on finals!*angel*
posted on 19-Mar-2002 3:24:19 AM by jendansuer
glad to see max dragging michael out into the world...now if they are all going shopping, are michael and maria gonna bump into each other at the mall? or am I remembering wrong and they are in different cities...hurry back so I can find out *wink**bounce**bounce*
posted on 20-Mar-2002 9:12:37 AM by ps_dreamer
ohhhh...I'm kicking myself for not finding this story earlier!!! I can't believe I didn't see it!!!
neway, I spent two days reading this fic. and finally finished! whew! what an emotional rollercoaster I've been on....all the heartaches.
I hope max will FINALLY find the nerves to talk to liz and mend their relationship. and that maria would give michael another chance.
izzy and alex / kyle and tess :: they are *so* cute. the scene where kyle was in Victoria's secret ...hehehe it was funny!! LOL *big*
neway, can't wait for a new part.
posted on 20-Mar-2002 2:20:57 PM by PennyLane
Need shoes! Must have more shoes! Never can have enough shoes! I love shoes! Good part my dear*big*
You have no idea how much I needed to read something to make me smile after a day of crappy finals*sad*. Anyway I will see you two soon, we can go shopping for shoes over spring break (purses and clothes too!).
Love Me
*angel*
posted on 21-Mar-2002 5:04:06 PM by Strawbehrry Shortcake
Such a terrific sweet part!! just all around happy!! post more when you can!!*bounce**angel**bounce*
posted on 22-Mar-2002 10:45:46 PM by SciFiNut111
Bump. Need more of the story.


posted on 23-Mar-2002 1:02:28 AM by dancepixie
Okay, so I figured I'd give you all an little note to let you know that I'm working on the next part, but I just started it tonight. I had finals and all that icky stuff to think about, but that is over now and I'm back home enjoying my spring break. But I haven't forgot about the next part...it's coming. And for anyone reading my other fic, Life's Stories, I promise to get another part out in a day or two...I kinda lost track of time amidst all the studying. I'll be back soon with more...within the next few days.

~Nikki~
*angel*

posted on 23-Mar-2002 1:13:12 AM by zannyb
Thanks for the note! I can't wait for the next part*big*!

*bounce*~Nikki~*bounce*
posted on 25-Mar-2002 5:46:47 AM by Lucky Star
Thanks for letting us know what's going on, can't wait to read the next part!
posted on 27-Mar-2002 10:57:46 AM by dancepixie
Hey everyone. Sorry this took longer than I expected but I’ve been getting sick and so I’ve been really tired lately. Because of that I’ve been falling asleep early, which takes away most of my writing time since I do that at night a lot. But I finished this part, and I think I like it. There are some parts that just wouldn’t come, but I got through it. I hope you like Christmas, cause here it is! Enjoy!

~Nikki~
*angel*


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Part 41

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Silent night, holy night,” Amy’s voice rang through the living room along with instrumental melody coming from the stereo system.

“All is calm, all is bright,” Maria sang along with her mother. She had been blessed with a voice like her mothers. It had become tradition long ago for the two of them to sing Christmas carols as they decorated the tree. Sometimes they had music, sometimes they did it a cappella, but it was always a happy time.

Jim stood just inside the doorway as he watched mother and daughter at work. Their smiles were as bright as the Christmas lights they were putting on the tree. Jim had a feeling this was going to be a great Christmas…the first of many more to come.

Kyle’s arms were full as he walked in the house with more boxes of Christmas stuff that had been left in the garage during the moving in process. He wasn’t watching where he was going as he tried to enter the living room but he hit something first.

“Woah, careful there son,” Jim laughed as he looked at Kyle buried beneath the boxes and bags.

“Sorry dad.” Jim took the bags off the top so that Kyle could see again. When he looked up Kyle saw the two women and realized that it was them singing and not some Christmas cd. “Hey, that’s them singing?”

“Yep. Pretty good aren’t they?” Jim asked with pride.

“Yeah. I didn’t know they could sing.” Kyle put down the rest of the boxes to lean against the other side of the doorframe like his father.

It was the ultimate family moment, the women in the room singing and decorating as the men stood in the doorway listening and watching from the sidelines.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria?” Amy’s head poked around Maria’s bedroom door a while later. It was getting late and Amy was ready to head to bed but she had one thing she really needed to do first.

“Hi mom. Did you need anything?”

“I just wanted to give you something now since tomorrow we’re going to have everyone over.” Amy sat down beside Maria on the bed and looked at her daughter carefully. She had a lot of Amy’s characteristics, but not her eyes.

“You didn’t have to get me anything, mom. I don’t need anything else.”

“It’s not something from a store, sweetie. This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I don’t know if you want this or not, but I figured you at least deserved to have it, and then you can choose for yourself what to do with it.” Amy took an envelope from behind her back and held it out to her only daughter.

Maria watched her mother carefully, unsure of what to make of this. Amy looked like she would start to cry at any moment. She took the envelope from her mother and unfolded the papers that were inside. It was a name, and an address somewhere in Scottsbluff, the neighboring city. Steven Hastings.

“Mom?” she turned to her mother unsure of what it was she was holding. “What is this?”

“Maria, that’s your father.” Amy wiped a tear off her cheek as she continued, “I’m not sure if you want to know him or not, but I ran into him not that long ago. He gave me that and said that he wouldn’t mind meeting you. All I told him was that I’d let you know and that it’d be your choice. Don’t feel like you have any obligation to him though. He sure as hell didn’t feel any obligation to either of us all these years.”

“Wow…” Maria wasn’t sure what to say, but she could tell her mom had battled a lot within herself before coming into the room. “Umm…thanks. I…why is he interested in me all of a sudden?”

“Well, I guess you have a couple of half-sisters. And when we ran into each other he remembered me, and you, and he acknowledged that he had been an idiot…which is an understatement…but he went on to say that he’d like to at least meet you, and maybe you’d like to meet your other sisters.” The tears were streaming down Amy’s face now as she had images of Maria leaving her behind in favor of her biological father. Even though it was absurd, she couldn’t help it.

“It’s okay mom. Don’t cry.”

“I just don’t want to lose you, sweetie!”

“Mom, you could never lose me. You’ve always been there for me, and I would never leave you for a man who deserted us. He’s not my father even if I do have some of his DNA.”

“I love you sweetie!”

“I love you too mom.”

“I’m sorry for crying like this. Why don’t you really think about this, huh? I don’t want you to give up the chance to meet him and your sisters just because of me. Just think about it.”

“Okay, I will.” Maria gave her mom a big hug and held on tight. Her mother had been through so much and she was still putting everyone else first.

“Good. Goodnight, sweetie. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, mom.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Merry Christmas,” Amy whispered into Jim’s ear as she lay curled against his side. It was now early Christmas morning. The feel of his soft kisses on her neck made her smile.

“Merry Christmas sweetheart.”

“Hmm…you know I was just thinking how odd it is to be able to sleep in so late on Christmas. Well, I guess its not that odd…but I remember when Maria was three she ran into my room to wake me up. When I finally looked at the clock, it wasn’t even six in the morning yet. She kept that up until she was ten. Then she’d let me sleep till six thirty. Now she’s the one who usually has to be woken up to open presents.” Amy sighed as she leaned into Jim’s embrace. She missed having a little one running around.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Alex! Wake up already!” Megan’s cheerful voice filled the dark room.

“Yeah, hurry up! It’s Christmas!” Jessica added as they both pounced on top of Alex’s bed. Alex shot up out of his dream as both sisters bounced up and down around him.

“Do I have to?” he groaned sleepily. Why was it that at their ages they were still all excited about getting up at…6:30 in the morning?!?!?! “You do realize how early it is, right?”

Megan giggled, “Of course silly! Now come on Alex! You know mom and dad won’t let us open anything until you come down too!” Megan grabbed his hand and began pulling but to no use. Alex was too big for her. Jessie saw this and decided to help. Together the two of them pulled their brother out of bed and toward the hall, proud of their work.

“Fine. I’m up! I’m up! I think I can make it the rest of the way without you dragging me.”

When Alex made it to the family room, everyone was there waiting for him. Julia was sitting on the sofa along with their mother. Their father was in his chair beside the couch, and Megan and Jessie ran to the Christmas tree to start handing out presents as Alex headed to the couch to sit beside Julia.

It was a Whitman family Christmas, just like Alex always remembered. Now he knew what it had been like for his parents when all four of them had been young, and woke up at 6 in the morning to run into their parents room and bounce them awake so they could see what Santa had brought. Well times didn’t change much…at least not with Meggie and Jessie around.

It was definitely good to be home.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Maria? Are you alright in there?” Kyle asked concerned. He had heard Maria get up and run into the bathroom fifteen minutes ago and she hadn’t come out yet. He was really starting to get worried since she hadn’t turned on the water to take a shower or anything. What was she doing in there? Then he heard the toilet flush followed by running water in the sink.

“I’m fine. It’s okay. I’m sorry if I woke you up.” Maria opened the bathroom door as she put toothpaste on her brush and began brushing her teeth to get the nasty taste out of her mouth. She hated getting sick.

From the moment Maria had woken up she felt horrible. Then out of nowhere came the nausea, and she’d run for the bathroom as fast as she could.

When she put her toothbrush away and had splashed some more water on her face, Maria noticed Kyle looking at her concerned.

“I’m fine Kyle, really.”

“Why were you up?”

“I just got sick, that’s all. It’s nothing.”

“Are you okay? Do you need to go to the doctor or something? Cause I could take you…”

“Kyle! Listen to me. I’m fine.” Maria put a hand on Kyle’s shoulder and looked him straight in the eye to make sure he got her point. “It’s normal, Kyle. It’s called morning sickness. I just hope it doesn’t last long,” Maria cringed at the thought. She could definitely do without the getting sick part, it wasn’t any fun at all.

“If you’re sure you’re all right…”

“Yes Kyle. I’m fine.”

“Okay.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“So, are you ready for the big day? It’s coming up fast.” Nancy sat beside her friend on the couch, handing her a champagne glass, which Amy gladly accepted.

“To tell you the truth, I can’t wait. I’m so excited, and so nervous at the same time! I mean, for a while I doubted I’d ever get to this point in my life when I’d fall in love with a guy. It had been just me and Maria for so long I was beginning to think I’d never get to walk down the aisle, or have my dream wedding…” a tear ran down Amy’s cheek, and Nancy reached over to grab her hand in reassurance.

“Yeah, but now its time to smile because this wedding is here. What else do you need help with? I called the florist today, and she assured me that everything would be ready on time. And the ba