Cemetery Party (M&M, AU, Adult, Ch. 11, 09/15/08, COMPLETE)

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April
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Cemetery Party (M&M, AU, Adult, Ch. 11, 09/15/08, COMPLETE)

Post by April » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:57 pm

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Title: Cemetery Party

Author: April

Disclaimer: Michael, Maria, and all things Roswellian are not my property. They belong to Jason Katims and Twentieth Century Fox. No copyright infringement intended.

Category: Michael and Maria AU (without aliens) (Michael’s POV)

Rating: Adult

Summary: He wants to save her, but he never can.

Warnings: This is going to be a little dark, just so you know. MORE than a little dark.

Author’s Notes: I’ve had this idea in my head for awhile, and I thought about posting it as a challenge before I decided to just write it myself. It won’t be very long. Several chapters.


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

Chapter 1: This Is How They Disappear

I’ve always known things. I don’t know how I know, but I do. If something bad is gonna happen, I see it coming. I mean, I see it. I see it play out right in front of my eyes before it ever really does. Sound cool? It’s not.

When I was seven, I had a dream my dog Rocket got ran over by a car. Except it wasn’t a dream, because it happened the next day, exactly the way I’d seen it happen the night before. Rocket chased a cat out onto the street. The cat made it across before the car drove up. Rocket didn’t.

I told my mom and dad about my dream. They started to get worried about me, said I was talking crazy. So I quit talking. Simple as that.

A couple of years later, I dreamt that my best friend Alex drowned in his family’s swimming pool. Two days later, he did just that. I didn’t tell my mom and dad anything this time. I kept the dream to myself, and I thought it was my fault. I thought I’d made it happen. I could never sleep well after that. I was afraid to dream.

It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I learned what was really going on with me. I was dating this girl named Liz. She was a good girl, and we got along well. We were barely more than friends, but I cared about her a great deal. I didn’t want to see anything bad happen to her.

But I did. I wasn’t even dreaming this time. I was sitting in biology next to Liz. She asked me to hand her a petri dish. I picked it up, but then something happened. It happened. I saw it happen. I saw her house on fire, and I saw her trapped inside it. It only took a second, only took me a moment to realize that Liz was gonna die. That was sobering knowledge, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

“Michael, what’s wrong?” she’d asked me.

I told her she couldn’t go home that night, that she had to stay at my house or a friend’s house. She was worried about me, thought I was acting strangely. She spoke to my parents, but I kept insisting that she couldn’t go home. Finally, she agreed to stay with me that night just to put my fears to rest. Imagine her surprise when she got a phone call from her dad early in the a.m. hours telling her that their house had caught on fire. It was burnt down.

Bad news for her. Good news for me. Or so I thought. I thought I could prevent the deaths I was seeing.

Except I couldn’t. A few days later, I saw something else. I saw Liz get hit by a car while crossing the street, just like my dog had. I called her and told her not to cross any streets. Anywhere. She laughed and promised she wouldn’t, but I should have known she would. Liz died exactly the way I saw her dying. You know, the second time.

I lost it after that. My parents sent me to an institution, and I thought they didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. Who could blame them? They had a mental patient for a son. No one believed a word I said, and I understand why. It sounds pretty crazy.

When I got out of the clinic, I dropped out of school and ran away from home. Life didn’t get any easier. The visions became more and more frequent. I tried to stop a few of them from coming true, but eventually, I just gave up trying. If a person didn’t die one way, they died another. There was nothing I could do about it. I realized that I wasn’t causing the deaths, but I was foreseeing them. Still . . . I was powerless to stop any of it. You don’t know how pathetic that makes a man feel.

I’m nineteen now, working as a dish washer at a local bar and strip club. When the visions hit, they feel like a migraine. They send me home from work early a lot of the time. I think I’m about to get fired. Or maybe I’ll just quit.

It’s a Friday night. I haven’t “seen” anything for a week. That means it’s a good week. I meet a girl outside in the parking lot, talk to her for a few minutes, and take her home with me. We’re halfway undressed before we even stumble into my apartment. She wants me; it’s obvious. I guess I want her, too. Why wouldn’t I? She’s pretty. She’s obviously got some sexual experience under the belt. What’s not to like about that?

She pins me down on my bed and starts rubbing herself up against me. Feels pretty good. I wonder if she’ll be like some of the other girls and stay all night. Or maybe she’ll want to go home right after we’re done. It doesn’t really matter to me.

She’s taking off my pants when it hits. My whole head starts to pound as images start to play out behind my eyes. I can see it . . .

Blonde girl. Walking out of a restaurant. Little red car. She drops her keys. Bends down to pick them up, and someone grabs her around the waist, throws her onto the cement. Rapes her in the parking lot. She’s screaming, crying, and he tells her to shut up. She doesn’t. After he’s done, he takes out a knife and slits her throat. Takes her awhile to die, but she does. No one finds her until morning.

My whole body spasms as the vision lets up. I’m covered in a sheen of sweat, and panic courses through my veins. My sex partner stops what she’s doing and looks down at me in confusion. “What’s your problem?” she asks insensitively.

That girl’s gonna die. No matter what I do, she’s gonna die. But I don’t want her to.

I don’t know why, but something feels different this time. I can’t ignore this one. I can’t let anything bad happen to her. I have to keep her safe. I have to keep her alive.

I have no idea how to do that.








TBC . . .

-April
Last edited by April on Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:16 pm, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: Cemetery Party (M&M, AU, Adult, Ch. 1, 08/22/08)

Post by April » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:02 pm

Chapter 2: Everything Won’t Be Alright

I should probably mention that my visions come with locations. It’s not as though I see the city right in front of my face. It’s just knowledge, a knowledge attached to what I see. This time, it’s happening in Roswell. The beautiful blonde girl is going to die in Roswell, New Mexico, home of the little green men.

I drive there from my place in Santa Fe. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t know this girl, and I gave up the hero act a long time ago. Something about this time, something about this person . . . I have to do this. I don’t know why.

I do know that she works at a restaurant, and a cheesy one at that. The Crashdown Café. (I don’t know how I know that. I just do. It’s strange that I can know so many things about so many other people and know next to nothing about myself.)

I pull up outside the café, park my car across the street, shut it off, and peer inside the place. There aren’t many waitresses at work, but even if there had been, I would have noticed her right away. It’s strange. I feel like I’m meant to look at her.

I slowly get out of the car and make my way into the café. I slide into an empty booth, pick up a menu, and pretend to look it over, but my eyes are always drifting back to her. She doesn’t appear to be having a good day. She’s arguing with her manager. He’s asking her to work a double shift, to close-up tonight, and she doesn’t want to. She tells him she has to leave early; she’s singing with her band. He doesn’t care. He tells her to stay until closing and walks away. She looks defeated.

I feel bad for her.

She walks over to my booth with her order pad in hand and doesn’t even look at me when she says (unenthusiastically, I might add), “Welcome to the Crashdown. Can I get you something to drink?”

I don’t say anything. I can’t. It’s as though suddenly I can’t remember my own name.

My silence prompts her to lift her gaze and look me in the eye. I feel on fire as we set our sights on each other. I want to save her more than anything.

She gives me an expectant look and says impatiently, “Hello? Did you hear me? Do you want something to drink or not?”

I still don’t say anything.

“What do you want?”

And then I blurt it out, because . . . how else am I supposed to warn her? “You’re gonna die.”

At first she just looks confused, then taken aback, and then scared. She backs away from the table and glares at me with fire and accusation in her eyes. “Are you threatening me?” she demands.

“What? No.”

“You stay away from me,” she warns. “I mean it.” With that, she turns and runs away from me.

“No, wait!” I call after her, rising from the booth. “Maria!” The name just comes to me like the location of Roswell did. This is Maria.

She turns around slowly, and she looks completely panicked now. “How do you know my name?” Her voice is wavering with fear. “Are you one of Billy’s guys?”

“Billy?” I don’t know who that is. It’s not the guy who tries to rape her tonight. She doesn’t know him.

“Tell him to leave me alone,” she grinds out. “And you stay the hell away from me!” She whirls around and practically throws herself into the back room. I briefly consider following her, but I don’t want to freak her out more. If she doesn’t trust me, I can’t protect her. And I need to protect her.

The whole restaurant is silent now. Everyone is looking me, looking at the door she just pushed through, wondering what just happened. I decide to do them all a favor and leave the premises. I walk back out to my car, climb inside, and wait there all afternoon. And night. I sit there and wait until closing time.

She’s the last one there. She’s working that double shift her manager forced her to. Everyone else has gone home, and she’s supposed to close up. All by herself. It’s not fair. She’s young and small and beautiful. It’s a recipe for disaster.

She looks tired when she walks outside and locks the door. I place my hand on the door handle and get ready to jump out at any minute. I watch as my vision plays out in real life. She’s walking towards her red car, she drops the keys . . .

Her would-be killer is there before even I know it. I hear her scream, and I bolt from the car, angry with myself for not having acted sooner. I race towards the scene and find him on top of her, straddling her, pinning her wrists above her head with one hand and undoing his pants with the other.

“No, stop!” she cries.

“Shut up, bitch!”

“Get off her!” I roar, grabbing him by his jacket. I toss him onto the ground, away from her, and proceed to beat the living shit out of him. I hit any part of his face I can, slam his head into the car window, break a couple of his ribs somehow . . . I just want to hurt him for trying to hurt her.

Once he’s finally unconscious, I pin him down on the ground, look up at Maria, and tell her to call the cops. She looks terrified, but she does. Her fingers tremble as she dials the buttons, and she can barely speak when they ask her where she’s at. She manages to relay the address, though, and the cops arrive fashionably late in ten minutes. Maria is shocked and silent that whole time.

Once they get there, sirens blazing, lights flashing, they put the jackass in handcuffs and throw him into the backseat of a police car. One of the cops goes up to Maria and says, “The guy that just attacked you . . . his name’s Marcus Branson. Serial rapist. We’ve been lookin’ for him for a long time.”

“I don’t . . . I don’t know him,” she stutters.

“That’s his pattern. His victims are random. You’re just lucky you’re alive. The last seven girls weren’t so lucky.”

She shudders, visibly distressed, and I make my way over to her to interrupt, hoping the cop will take the hint to back off. “So, what’s gonna happen?” I ask him. “He’s gonna go to jail? He won’t try to hurt her again?”

“Oh, yeah. This guy’s gonna be locked up for a long time,” the officer assures her. “You’re safe now, ma’am.”

“I don’t feel safe,” she whispers.

I can’t blame her for that. Who would feel safe after any of this?

“We’re gonna ask both of you to come in for questioning,” the officer tells us. “It shouldn’t take long. Standard procedure.”

“That’s not something we could postpone until tomorrow?” I ask him.

“It’s best to get it out of the way. Once we’re done tonight, you probably won’t ever have to see us again.”

I suppose he’s right, that it is best to get it out of the way. “Alright, thanks, officer.”

He nods and leaves us.

“We’ll just get it done,” I say to Maria. “Like he said, it won’t take long.”

She doesn’t seem to care about any of that. I find her staring at me with a look of intense questioning and suspicion. “You,” she chokes out. “You knew. How did you know?”

I sigh heavily. She won’t believe me if I tell her.

“Did you set this up?” she shrieks. “Was this some kind of plan of yours? Who are you?”

“My name’s Michael,” I tell her, “and you have to believe me, I would never hurt you. I came here to help you.”

“Then you knew it was gonna happen?”

No point in denying it. “Yes.”

“Then how did you know?” she demands. “You know Billy, don’t you? You knew he was planning this?”

“Maria, I--”

How do you know my name?” she cuts in violently. “No, no, just . . . you know what, just stay away from me.”

“Hey, I just saved you,” I remind her. “Not exactly big on gratitude, are you?” I immediately regret the words when I say them. She’s traumatized. I shouldn’t expect her to feel thankful for anything right now.

“Stay away from me,” she says again, backing away from me.

“Listen, I don’t know who this Billy guy is,” I say in a rush as she opens up the door to her car and climbs inside. “But you heard the cop; this guy didn’t know you. It was a random attack. Maria!”

“Leave me alone!” she screams as she starts the car, puts it into drive, and floors it out of the parking lot. A few of the cops call after her, only caring about their standard procedure questions, but she’s long gone. I watch the car drive on down the street, and I wonder if I’ve lost her. Not that I ever really had her. Not that I ever really will.

The cops bring me in anyway and ask me their questions. Nothing too exciting. What did you see? What did you do? That kind of thing. By the time I leave, it’s after 2:00 a.m. and I’m exhausted. One of the cops gives me a ride back to my car. It’s too late to check into a hotel room, so I climb into the back seat and try to get comfortable. But I’m not comfortable.

I allow myself false hope. I let myself believe that she’s going to be okay, that I’ve saved her once and now she’ll never need saving again. But I know it’s not true. I know I just prevented one death. There’s another one waiting right around the corner. She’s still going to die. They always die, one way or another.

I’m tired, but I don’t want to go to sleep. I’ll see it happen in a dream if I do that. So I keep my eyes open and stare out the window at the stars. It doesn’t matter, because it happens anyway. It flashes before my eyes, replacing the stars for a moment.

At a party. Dancing. Singing. She gets into a car with a guy. He’s had one too many. He loses control. Car speeds into the ditch. Squeaking breaks. Doesn’t matter. She screams. She dies. Blood on the window shield.

I shoot upright, gasping for air. I have to save her again.









TBC . . .

-April



(Note: Reposted due to board back-up.)
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Chapter 3

Post by April » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:11 am

Thanks for the feedback Krista, tequathisy, and nibbles! Also, I'm pretty sure Christina had feedbacked before the board back-up. Thanks guys! You're the greatest!







Chapter 3: Travel Is Dangerous

I go to a party that night, not because I’m in a partying kind of mood but because I’m in a saving Maria’s life kind of mood. She’s there.

It’s not much of a party, really. Just a bunch of college-aged kids gathered at someone’s house, getting drunk. The music is good, though, probably because Maria is singing.

She looks like she’s the lead singer of an all-female band. They’re set up in the living room, and some couples are swaying romantically to the music they’re making. I stand back and listen to the song, to the way she sings it. I recognize it. Sarah McLachlan song called Witness. I’m more of a heavy-metal guy myself, but I remember my mom playing this and singing along to it sometimes back when I still lived at home. Maria sings it better.

It’s a song about heaven. It’s ironic that she’s singing it.

Her eyes eventually land on me, and although she keeps singing, a brief wave of panic flashes through her eyes. She finishes out the song, though, with raw emotion in her voice, and once she and her band are done, somebody turns on a rap song, and dirty dancing ensues. I watch as she and her band members talk for a minute. I hear her say that she’s going to leave soon, and I have a feeling she wants to leave because of me. I won’t let her get into a car with anyone. If she does, she’ll die.

She tries to slink towards the door, but I push through the crowd and step in front of her, preventing her from leaving.

“And my life just keeps on sucking,” she says, looking fed up with me. “What’re you doing here? I thought I told you to stay away from me.”

“You did.”

“So, what, you’re stalking me now?”

I shrug, supposing that’s sort of true. “It’s good stalking.”

She gives me a confused look. “What? God, how high are you?”

“I’m not high. I’m just Michael. And in case you forgot, I’m the guy who saved your life last night.”

“I wasn’t gonna die,” she said. “I was gonna . . .” She trailed off, and I saw the fear course through her.

“Get raped?” I fill in. It’s the truth, but it sounds so harsh to say it so casually. I wish I hadn’t said it at all.

She blinks back tears, looking at me angrily, and says, “Don’t even . . .” She trails off and shakes her head, then pushes past me and hurries out the front door.

I sigh in frustration and head out after her. “Look, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say it like that.”

“Just stay away from me, please,” she begs as she scurries across the front lawn. “I don’t know you, I don’t want to know you, and you’re really freaking me out, so just--”

“No, Maria . . .” I run to catch up with her and grab her by the arm, stopping her.

“Don’t touch me!” she shouts, jerking her arm away from me.

It occurs to me then that after what happened to her last night, she really wouldn’t want to be touched liked that. “I’m sorry,” I apologize again. “Please, you have to listen to me.”

“You haven’t said anything worth hearing.”

“Because you haven’t given me the chance.”

She looks utterly exasperated, so it’s no surprise that she throws her arms up in the air and says, “Fine. The floor is yours. Michael. Tell me, what’s this ‘good stalking’ all about?”

“You’re not gonna believe a word I say,” I inform her before I start in, “but I see things.”

“Yeah, me, too. 20/20, actually.”

“No, I mean, I . . .” This is harder than I thought it would be. I’ve never told anybody this before, except for my parents, but that hadn’t gone so well. “Alright, the other night, I was . . . well, I was doin’ something; it doesn’t really matter what I was doing. But I . . . it feels like a migraine, but it’s not a migraine. I saw you walk out to your car and drop your keys. I saw you get raped and killed, but . . . it hadn’t happened yet.” I realize I’m lacking eloquence here. “I’m sayin’ this all wrong. You gotta believe me, though. I saw you die, Maria, so I came here to save you. And I did. But last night I saw you die again. A different way.”

“What do you mean you saw me die?”

What does she think I mean? Isn’t it sort of self-explanatory? “Isaw you die! It’s . . . ever since I was seven years old, I’ve seen people die. In my head. I see the future, okay? I know it sounds completely ridiculous, but you have to believe me. I’m the only one who can keep you alive.”

She grunts and says, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I think I’ll stick to my theory, which is that you’re working for Billy, and I better watch my back.”

“No, I don’t even know who this Billy guy is. But you think he’s out to get you? Then I’ll keep you safe.”

“I don’t trust you. I don’t even know you.”

“But I know you. Don’t you get it? I know how you’re gonna die. You’re gonna get in a car with some guy, and he’s drunk, and you’re gonna . . . you’re gonna die, Maria. You’re just gonna die.”

She does look scared. That tells me that maybe a very small part of her does believe me.

“Just let me walk you home,” I say.

But she’s still stubborn. “Screw you.”

“No, Maria!”

She steps up to the edge of the street and waves her arms at a car coming down the street. “Hey! I need a ride!”

“Do you wanna die?” I shout at her. “‘Cause that’s what’s gonna happen!”

“No, it’s not!” she shouts right back at me. “I can take care of myself.”

The car pulls up to the curb, and the driver rolls down his window. “Hey, baby,” he greets, both looking and sounding drunk. I can smell the alcohol on his breath from feet away.

“Hey,” she says quietly. “Can I, um . . . I need a ride.”

“Hop in, baby.”

“Don’t do it, baby,” I warn her. “Please.”

She turns around and looks at me, right in the eye. She doesn’t want to believe me; that much is obvious. But she’s even more scared now.

She turns back to the driver and says, “Never mind. I’ll just walk.”

“Suit yourself, bitch.” He floors it and speeds down the street. I breathe a sigh of relief, because I know Maria is safe . . . for now, at least.

“Are you happy?” she asks me.

“Kinda.”

“What else do you want?”

“I want you to not die,” I admit. I like this girl. She’s got something, something I’ve never glimpsed in anyone. She doesn’t deserve to have her life end.

“Fine,” she says. “Then I’ll live. I’ll be full of life. Lively.”

“No, you won’t.” I sigh heavily, hating that I have to tell her this. But she needs to know. “I saved you just now, but that’s the thing. It was just now. There’s always a next time. You’ll just die some other way now. That’s how it happens.”

She looks completely freaked out now, perhaps more afraid of me than of the dying itself. She’s trying not to show it, but I can tell. I think she’s starting to believe me more and more with each passing second. I can see it in her eyes. Something’s changing.

“No, I’m not gonna die,” she insists. “I’ll be careful. Thank you . . . for helping me. But I’m fine.” She tries to look strong and she walks on down the sidewalk.

“Maria.”

She doesn’t look back.

I stand there watching her, briefly wondering if I should just let it happen. I know I can’t stop it. I know one of these days I’ll be too late. There was this one little boy, about six years old . . . I saved his life seventeen times, and then one day . . .

Maybe it would just be easier to let Maria . . .

Before I can even complete the thought, it hits.

The street. She just takes a few steps. Car comes out of nowhere. Hits her. Just like the one that hit Liz. She’s in pain as she dies. Dies slowly.

The vision literally knocks me off my feet, and once again I’m left gasping for air. I glance up at Maria, and what I see horrifies me. She’s taking a step out onto the street . . .

No.

“Maria!” I spring to my feet and run after her. She doesn’t hear me, because she takes another step, and another, and another . . .

“Maria!”

Headlights appear out of nowhere as a vehicle comes racing up the street. It’s happening just like I saw it happen. I run faster.

“Maria!”

This time she hears me. She looks up, but all she can see is the glare of the headlights.

I run at her and push her out of the way, falling on top of her. The car barely misses the both of us.

“Uh. Oh my god,” she gasps.

I find myself lying atop her, close to her, staring down at her. She gazes up at me and somehow I know what she’s going to ask before she even asks it.

“Walk me home?”










TBC . . .

-April
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Chapter 4

Post by April » Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:01 pm

nibbles: Of course there can be a chance for romance to bloom between the life/death stuff! ;)
Buddha-boy: :lol: No, Michael isn't "green around the gills," although that's a good theory. Really, I'm not going to explain his visions at all. You can just assume that he's a guy with a very unique ability. He doesn't know where they come from. He just knows that he gets them. And as for why Maria is so important to him . . . she just is. He can't really explain why, but he already cares for her a great deal.
tequathisy:
Will he be able to save Maria or is it inevitable?
I don't know, you'll just have to wait and see.
Sara:
But how long can Michael keep this up?
As long as he has to.
Wendy:
Who knows what goes in your head honey.....
:lol: It's a kooky/crazy place sometimes.
Krista:
Ready to marry me yet, April? I'd love to be married to someone with writing abilities such as yourself. Then I can chain you to a desk and force you to write me 8,000 fanfics in our basement while I play the Stepford wife.
Ooh, that's a scary visual place!
Christina:
I guess they'll just have to spend every waking second together now, won't they?
Um . . . pretty much. ;) ;)








Chapter 4: The Little Things Give You Away

I walk Maria home to her apartment that night, and when I get there, I find that it isn’t much of an apartment, but rather one room with everything in it. A bed, a kitchenette, a TV, and a couch. The only adjoining room is the bathroom. It reminds me of my place.

“So . . . you see people die while they’re still alive. But if you keep them from dying one way, they just die a different way. Like it’s inevitable?”

“Pretty much.” The latest near-death escape seems to have convinced her. She’s really scared now.

“And there’s not a certain point where, if you save someone enough, they don’t have to worry anymore? Like a point where the death just quits trying?”

“I don’t know,” I answer honestly. “I’ve never . . . I don’t really know how it works. All I know is I’ve seen hundreds of people die . . . and they’re all dead.”

She lets out a shuddering breath and says, “Oh . . . kay.” She’s holding it together, though. “Now, I’m not saying I believe you . . . because I really don’t want to. But I think that maybe . . . you should stay here tonight.”

“You want me to?”

She makes a face. “No. No, I don’t want you to. And I don’t need you to. All I’m saying is you look like you need a place to stay, and it’s the least I can do.”

I smile. As much as I’m frustrated by her fierce independence, I’m also undeniably attracted to it. “Okay, then I’ll stay.”

“Okay.” She glances at the bed and says, “You can sleep on the floor.”

I nod. The floor is fine with me. I just like the thought of being able to be so near to her. Nothing can happen to her when I’m here. I won’t let it.

Fifteen minutes later, she crawls into bed, and I settle down on the floor. She’s given me a pillow and a blanket. It’s not particularly comfortable, but that doesn’t matter. She’s all that matters right now.

“Do you snore?” she asks me.

“A little,” I admit. “Do you?”

“No,” she says quickly.

I glance up at her, and wait for her to turn her head to the side and look down at me. There’s something about this, about just seeing her . . . the only way I don’t like seeing her is when I see her die.

“Are you from around here?” she asks me.

“Santa Fe.”

“How old are you?”

“Nineteen,” I reply.

She laughs a little and sounds tired when she says, “Some people get Superman. Some get Spiderman. I get a kid.”

“I haven’t been a kid for a long time,” I inform her. “And I bet you’re not that much older than me.”

“I’m twenty-one,” she tells me. “Trust me, life gets a hell of a lot better when you turn twenty-one.”

“I’ll bet.” I watch her expression turn to one of sadness, and I know it’s because she just used the word life, so I quickly change the topic. “So you like to sing?”

“Yeah.” She smiles fondly. “I’ve been with my band for five years. We wanna go to L.A. someday.”

I want her to be alive enough to go there, too.

“I wanna go swimming in the ocean,” she goes on. “Have you ever been to the ocean?”

“Nope. You?”

“No. That’s why I wanna go. I wanna go skydiving, too.”

“Hmm.” I laugh a little. “That’d be fun.”

“Yeah.” She’s gotten quiet now, and I can barely hear her when she says, “There’s a lot of stuff I wanna do.”

I wish I could do something to make her feel better, wish I could say something. All I can do is promise, “You’ll get to do all those things.” Because I’m gonna make sure of it.

“Yeah,” she says, sounding less sure. “Michael?”

“Hmm?”

She smiles a little and says, “I do kinda snore sometimes.”

She’s so special. I’ve never met anyone like her before. “It’s cool,” I assure her.

“I know,” she says. “Goodnight, Michael.”

Nothing bad is ever going to happen to her. I won’t allow it.

“Goodnight.”









TBC . . .

-April
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Chapter 5

Post by April » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:29 am

Thanks nibbles, Krista, Christina, CandyLand, Sara, Nat, and tequathisy for the feedback!








Chapter 5: It’s Beginning to Get to Me

Water. It fills up the car. She didn’t know the streets were this flooded. Can’t get out. Doors won’t open. She gasps for air. The air runs out.

I shoot upright, engulfed in sweat. That’s the worst one yet. I can’t think of a worse way to go than drowning. But that’s what is going to happen to her. Or rather was.

I glance up at her bed, but it appears empty. “Maria?” I look around the room and find her standing by the window, arms wrapped around herself, looking outside.

“How does it happen this time?” she asks, her voice wavering only slightly. “Is it gonna hurt?”

I rise unsteadily to my feet. “You really believe me.”

“I really wish I didn’t.” She shudders, clearly terrified. “I just don’t understand. I haven’t really done anything wrong. I’m not a bad person. Why do I have to die?”

“You don’t have to.” I’m not sure whether I’m lying when I say that to her or not. She doesn’t have to die if I can stop it, but the skull-crushing images that play out in my head seem to think otherwise.

“Maybe I should just get out of town,” she ponders. “It’s not like I have any great thing here. Just my band, but they can live without me. And maybe I can, you know, just live.”

“I don’t think it matters where you are,” I tell her. “The safest thing you can do is stay with me.”

“I don’t even know you.”

I shrug. That’s true.

She gazes up at me, and the tears shimmering in her eyes make me ache. “Why do you even wanna save me?” she asks. “You don’t know me. You don’t care about me.”

That’s where she’s wrong. For whatever reason, I care about her more than anyone. “Don’t be too sure about that.” I look out the window, looking out on the small town. It looks even smaller from up here on the fifth floor of this apartment complex. It looks dark, too, darker than nighttime should be. Hopefully that’s not an omen.

“Don’t worry, Maria,” I say. “I’m gonna keep you . . .” I trail off suddenly when I notice tiny droplets of rain begin to hit the window. “Safe.” This can’t be good. Fear courses through me as the rain starts to fall faster, but I try to keep it contained so that she doesn’t notice and get worried, too. More worried than she already is. “You should try to get some sleep.”

“No,” she says stubbornly. “Tell me. How does it happen this time? What did you see?”

I don’t want to tell her. Not now. I want her to crawl back into her bed, shut her eyes, and get some rest first. She won’t get any sleep if I tell her now.

Michael.”

There’s something about the way she says my name . . . I can’t lie to her. “You drown.”

Her eyes bulge out in panic for a moment, but then an expression of confusion sweeps across her face, and she asks, “How do I drown? I . . . I don’t understand.”

“You see this rain? Doesn’t look like much now, but it’s probably gonna be the biggest rainstorm to hit Roswell since . . . I don’t even know when. The point is, you don’t wanna go driving in weather like this because the streets are gonna flood, and if you . . .” I trail off, figuring she’s got the point. “Just stay inside today.”

“Oh god.” She looks as though she feels sick to her stomach. “I’m gonna drown?”

“No, you’re not gonna drown. ‘Cause you’re just gonna stay here today. You’ll be fine.”

“I have to go to work.”

“Call in sick,” I tell her. “Maria, none of that matters right now. All that matters is keeping you safe.”

“Safe?” She grunts. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s no such thing as safe anymore.”

She’s not wrong. So I don’t correct her.

She rakes her hands through her hair, looking increasingly afraid. “And—what, I’m just supposed to take some gigantic leap of faith and just-just trust you?”

“Yeah.” I don’t see her having a whole lot of other options.

“I don’t want to. God, I don’t want any of this.” She sits down on her bed, seeming very small in that moment. There are a lot of bruises on this girl. You can’t see them, but they’re there.

“Who’s Billy?” I ask.

She immediately tenses and lifts her face to glare at me. “Who do you think you are?”

“I think I’m the guy who’s trying to save your life.”

She springs back up to her feet, clearly angry now. “Hey, you may be saving my life, but I don’t have to tell you anything!

“He’s an ex-boyfriend or something?”

“He’s . . . he’s just a bad guy, alright? And I was stupid enough to get involved with him. But what does he even matter? You said it yourself, I’m gonna drown.”

“I just think I should know more about you. The more I know, the more I can do to protect you.”

“So I’m just supposed to be an open book? I can’t have any secrets, any privacy?”

“What’s more important, staying alive or having privacy?”

“Look, I just don’t wanna talk about it!” she cries, a few of her tears spilling over. “Okay? Can we just . . . can we just go back to sleep?”

Maybe I’m pushing her too far, too fast. She doesn’t know me. I can’t blame her for not wanting to tell me everything. Or anything, for that matter.

“Okay.” I return to my uncomfortable spot on the floor, knowing that I won’t get any shut-eye for the rest of the night. I’ll lay there and watch her sleep, knowing that she’s not really sleeping, either.

“Okay.” She sniffs back the rest of her tears, wipes her cheeks, and curls up on her side, her back towards me. I watch her for awhile. She doesn’t make any noise, but I can see her shoulders quivering. She’s still crying.

It’s hard to say what’s coming down faster, her tears or the rain.










TBC . . .

-April
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Chapter 6

Post by April » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:05 am

Thanks singerchic4, Christina, and Sara for the feedback.






Chapter 6: Matters of Smiles and Gunfire

Maria and I spend the next day doing . . . nothing, basically. I thought she might want to do something, but after she calls in sick to work, she just wants to sit and watch TV. I don’t question it, but if I were her, I’d be living it up. Although I suppose she can’t live it up since I’ve told her not to leave her apartment.

It’s pouring rain. I’m surprised the TV is still working and that the power hasn’t gone out. I sort of wish it will, because the show that we’re watching on television is absolutely excruciating. For some reason, she’s settled on a first season episode of Beverly Hills 90210. The acting isn’t even acting—it’s that bad—and the plots are ridiculously contrived and high school. I watch the show for forty-five minutes until I can’t take it anymore.

“Can we watch something else?”

“You don’t wanna watch this?”

“No, not really.”

“Why not?”

“‘Cause it’s bad.”

She rolls her eyes and hands me the remote control. “Knock yourself out.”

I smile, liking that she seems to be feeling more and more comfortable with me as we spend time together. We haven’t done a whole lot of talking, but we don’t really need to.

As I’m flipping channels, I pause for a minute on the local news. A reporter is standing outside in the rain getting pelted with drops and talking about how some of the streets are flooding. She says it’s an unusual phenomenon. Roswell, or any southwest towns, for that matter, aren’t exactly known for getting a lot of rain. She says that several people have had to escape their own vehicles due to flooding. I flash back to my latest vision of Maria’s death, and it’s chilling.

“What?” she asks.

“Nothing.” I change the channel before she can figure out that the news reporter is describing the very way she was going to die.

She’s too smart for me, though. It goes without saying, and she gets it. “Great.”

“You’re fine,” I assure her quickly. “Nothing happened.”

“Yeah, today. What about tomorrow?”

“Let’s just not think about that,” I say. “Let’s think about . . . ooh, hockey.” I set the remote down, satisfied to watch the game play out on ESPN.

“You’re kidding me. Hockey? It’s, like, the worst sport ever.”

“It’s the best.”

“People don’t even care about it anymore.”

“That’s ‘cause people are stupid.”

She turns to face me and asks, “You do this a lot? In between saving lives, watch a little soccer on ice?”

“It’s not soccer on ice. It’s completely different.”

“If you say so.”

“And for the record, I haven’t saved anybody’s life. Not really.”

“Well, that’s encouraging.” She actually smiles a little, and I find myself drawn to it, drawn to her.

“You have a nice smile,” I tell her.

“Hmm, enjoy it while you can. It doesn’t happen very often.”

I think that’s a shame.

All of a sudden, the television blinks off. All the electricity blinks off, just as I thought it would.

“Shit,” she swears. “I don’t even have any candles.”

“Maybe it’ll blink back on.” We wait for a few seconds, not saying anything, but the power appears to be completely out.

“Not a problem,” she says. “There’s this little general store attached to the downstairs lobby. I can go see if they have any candles in there.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“No,” she says. “I don’t mean . . . it’s just that I have to be able to do something alone.”

She’s right. She’s too old to have some kind of babysitter. Or bodyguard. There’s a more manly word. Bodyguard.

“I’ll be back in a minute.” She gets up off the couch and leaves the apartment. I get a nervous feeling in my stomach when she steps out, but I try to ignore it. I can’t be there with her all the time. I doubt she wants that.

I stretch out on the couch and close my eyes, feeling more than a little tired. I’ve never gotten a lot of sleep because of all the startling dreams, but lately, I’ve been getting less and less. I might have to go to sleep early tonight. I’ll sleep on the floor again. My own comfort doesn’t matter.

I haven’t fallen asleep—I’m not even close to falling asleep yet—when it hits me again. And I hate every second of it.

She just picks up the candle. Hears a man’s voice yell out and spins around. He’s dressed in all black, a ski mask covering his face. Wants money, wants to be a criminal mastermind. Doesn’t really mean to fire the gun, but he fires it anyway. She falls to the floor, blood pouring from her abdomen. The candle rolls out of her hand . . .

“No!” I scream, literally falling off the couch. I struggle to regain myself, crawling on my hands and knees, feeling dizzy and sick. “No.” I push myself up to my feet and stagger out of the apartment. “Maria!”

I break into a sloppy run down the stairs. Flight after flight, step after step . . . it’s not going to be fast enough. All I can think is that I’m going to be too late this time. She’s going to die, and it’s all my fault. Why did I let her go by herself? I’m supposed to protect her.

“Maria!”

I burst into the lobby, gasping for air. I don’t know where to go, so I let my intuition lead me. Finally, I see the general store she was talking about, attached to the first floor lobby. I see the guy, the guy who’s going to kill her, and I race forward faster. He takes out his gun and yells, “Everybody, get down!”

I feel like I’m living in slow motion. Maria turns around, her eyes grow wide at the sight of the gun, and her assassin’s index finger lingers on the trigger . . .

I plow into him and knock him over just as he lets a shot loose. The bullet flies into the wall next to Maria instead of her stomach, and the gun slides towards the counter.

I pin the guy to the ground and slam his head forward, knocking him unconscious. “Get me something to tie him up with,” I tell the store clerk. “Maria, call the cops.”

She doesn’t move.

“Maria.”

She looks completely terrified, and rightfully so. “Oh-okay,” she stutters. “I’ll call them.”

The clerk hands her the phone, and she does what I ask her to do. I’m in the midst of tying this bastard’s wrists together behind his back and feeling relieved that I was able to save her again, but she doesn’t look okay. She doesn’t look okay at all.









TBC . . .

-April
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Chapter 7

Post by April » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:44 am

Mercedes:
Will it come down to something like him letting someone else die to save her?
I don't know! You'll just have to keep reading! (:lol: No, actually, I haven't even written the last chapter yet, but I know how it ends.) ;)

Sara: "Nervous nelly?" Oh, I love that! But I mean, yeah, she is going to be BEYOND nervous now. Terrified, perhaps?

spacegirl23: Thanks!

Christina:
It's scary that she keeps getting closer and closer to death, though. Kinda freaking me out. But I'm sure that's what you're going for... so yeah.
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm going for!


This chapter is kind of a dark one, so . . . just be warned.








Chapter 7: You Could Make a Killing

Maria and I head back up to her apartment after answering questions for the cops that night. The electricity has come back on, so that’s a good sign . . . although nothing about this night is good.

She’s visibly distressed, and I don’t know what to do about it. This isn’t the same as accidentally getting run over by a car or accidentally drowning. This is something involving a gun, something that can end your life in a split-second. I think the reality is settling in, and it’s scarier than ever. All it takes is that single moment for everything to be over.

It’s getting harder. It’s getting harder to keep her safe.

“So . . . so they said it was random, right? I didn’t know the guy?” she asks quietly.

“You tell me.”

“I didn’t know him. Do you think he knows anyone I might know?”

I shrug, still unable to give her any answers. “If you’re talking about the mysterious Billy, then I’m really not sure. You won’t tell me anything about him.”

“Never mind,” she says quickly. “That guy was just a kid robbing a store, right? That’s all he was?”

He was the guy who could have ended her life. That’s all he was. “Yeah, just some dumb-ass tryin’ his hand at crime.”

“And murder,” she mumbles.

“No one got murdered.”

“Yet.”

“Stop that.”

She looks up at me with tears in her eyes, but being as stubborn as she is, she quickly blinks them away. “You should go . . . take a shower. You kinda smell.”

“Like roses?”

“Like . . . onions.”

I try to smile, hoping that we can somehow lift her spirits again. She was doing pretty good before this, joking about hockey, calling it soccer on ice, even though that’s clearly not what it is. I want to get back to that. I’ll feel better if we can get back to that.

“Go take a shower,” she says again.

Should I be ashamed for wanting her to shower with me? I know this is a life or death kind of thing, but I’m still a guy in the prime years of his sexual drive. I can have urges.

“Michael, I’m serious. You’re starting to attract flies.”

I make a face. “That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?”

“A little true.”

“Fine, I’ll go.” It occurs to me that I don’t have any clean clothes to put on afterward, though. I came here to Roswell a couple of nights ago to save her, and I didn’t pack much of anything. I was in too much of a hurry.

“What?” she asks.

“I don’t have any clothes.”

“So?”

“So . . .” I decide that this might be a good time to joke with her, make her feel better. “I might just have to go naked.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t go naked? You’re gonna be missin’ out.”

“I’m sure I’m not. I have some men’s clothes around here somewhere. They’ll fit you.”

That piques my interest. “Why do you have men’s clothes?”

She shrugs. “Because I’ve had men.”

She can have me. Easily. “Men,” I echo. “Like Billy?”

She doesn’t say anything, just glares at me.

Stupid me. I went from joking to serious in about three seconds. I should’ve just stuck with joking. “Alright, I’m gonna go shower. Don’t peek in on me, now. I know you want to.”

She looks away to hide the slight blush that has crept up her cheeks. She’s not quite smiling, but she’s definitely fighting the urge to.

She’s going to be okay. She’s holding up fine.

I can’t say that Maria’s shower is the best shower in the world. The water is cold and comes out in a trickle rather than an actual stream of water. I don’t even want to know how long that mold and scum has been caked on the walls. It doesn’t really matter. None of it matters, not when you’re trying to save a life.

After my shower, I climb out and wrap a towel around my waist, considering my feelings for this girl. It’s probably not a good idea for me to get involved with her. Not only does she have the Grim Reaper chasing her, but she’s obviously got a whole lot of other issues to work through, too. Not to mention the fact that, if I were to date her, it would be a lot like a therapist dating a patient. There are just some lines that are better left uncrossed.

But then again, maybe this isn’t one of those lines . . .

It hits me out of nowhere, right as I’m having very juvenile, adolescent feelings about Maria. My head feels like it’s about to explode, and I collapse on the floor.

She’s not even crying as she’s tearing up her sheets. Determined. Desperate. Ties them to a rafter on the ceiling. Puts it around her neck. Steps off her bed and flails in agony, pain, sorrow. Tries to loosen the sheets as last minute regret seeps in. It’s no use. No air. No breathing. Suicide, quietly.

Once the images stop racing through my mind, I make every effort to get back up to my feet and get to her. “No,” I choke out, feeling as though I’m about to lose consciousness. She was fine. She was joking with me. “Maria . . .”

I manage to struggle back to my feet and stumble out of the bathroom. “Maria!” I cast a glance towards her bedroom and feel sick at the sight I see. “Oh god.” I’m too late. “Maria!” I race towards her, towards her lifeless body dangling from her noose, and I lift her up and out of it, praying for some sort of miracle.

She gasps loudly, forcefully as air fills her lungs once again. She’s not gone. I saved her.

I fall down to the floor, holding her in my arms, actually crying. I’ve never . . . I’ve never seen anything like this, not in visions and not in real life. I’ve never seen anyone try to end their own life.

Her chest heaves with every breath she takes. Her throat is red from where the sheets were digging in. Her eyes are wide and full of panic and horror. She’s a disaster.

“Maria. Maria, what the hell were you doing?

She doesn’t say anything. She can’t.

“That’s your solution? Commit suicide? Kill yourself?

Her rapid breathing begins to calm down, but she still feels week in my arms. She came so close to succeeding in her endeavor.

“Answer me!” I roar, unafraid to be angry with her.

She holds one hand to her throat and manages to choke out my name in a hoarse voice. “Michael.”

She’s infuriated me. I’m so glad she’s not gone.

She looks me right in the eye and says, “Screw you.”

“What?”

“Why’d you save me? Why didn’t you just let me go?”

“Because you’re not supposed to go that way.”

“Yes, I am.”

“I won’t let you.”

Fuck you,” she grumbles, trying to sit up. She’s still too weak. “Oh . . . I can’t do this.”

“Yes, you can.”

“No, I can’t.” She shakes her head, beginning to cry. She’s giving up. I don’t want her to give up.

“Maria . . .”

“You can’t be around me 24/7. It’s just not possible. And I can’t live my life like this.”

“Come on, Maria, I thought you were tough.”

“Not this tough. I can’t--”

“Stop saying that!” I’m not going to let her give up. Or at the very least, she can give up on herself, but I’m not giving up on her. “What the hell, Maria? I’m busting my ass trying to protect you from all kinds of shit, and now I’ve gotta protect you from you? You’re not making this any easier.”

“No, it would’ve been easy,” she insisted. “It only would’ve taken a little longer, and I would’ve been--”

“What, dead?” I cut in. “You wanna be dead?”

“No--”

“Then don’t die. It’s that simple.” I wrap my arms even tighter around her, around this amazingly haunted, beautiful girl, and I know I’m in love with her. Already.

“Michael . . .” She sounds so scared.

“Don’t die, Maria.” I rock with her just slightly, hoping this comforts her, makes her feel at least a little bit safe. “Don’t die.”










TBC . . .

-April
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Chapter 8

Post by April » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:47 pm

Thank you PML, Christina, nibbles, Krista (aw, 3 bunnies? cute!), tequathisy, and Sara for the feedback!








Chapter 8: I Light My Own Fires Now

Maria don’t talk about her suicide attempt for the rest of the night. In fact, we don’t even talk. She’s exhausted, so she goes to sleep. I catch a few hours of rest myself, but mostly I just sit beside the bed and watch her. I’ve only known her for three of the some-odd 6,935 days of my life, but I love everything about her. She’s damaged, but that’s what makes her so beautiful.

The next day, we continue to not talk about the suicide attempt. She’s probably pissed at me for watching her like a hawk, watching every little move she makes, but I don’t want her to do something stupid again.

I ask her what her plans for the day are, and she just shrugs. We watch some TV for awhile, and later, she gets a phone call from her boss, asking her why she’s late for work. She gets into her uniform and heads in to the Crashdown Café for the remainder of her shift early that evening, and I tag along with her. She tells her boss that I’m a friend and that I’m not loitering, even though that’s technically what I’m doing. He doesn’t seem to care and tells her to get to work.

I sit there in a booth by myself all night, only getting up once to go to the bathroom. I sit there and draw a picture of her on my napkin. It’s not very good. It doesn’t do her justice. She’s so much prettier than my sketch.

Finally, around closing time, the restaurant finally starts to clear out. Maria walks around wiping off the tables and the counter with a wet rag while the stragglers finish eating, and I can tell she wants to get out of there. I watch her, completely captivated by even the smallest of her actions, and can’t help but feel aroused when she drops the rag and has to bend over to pick it up. The jeans she has given me to wear are already a little small, and now they’re even smaller. “Shit,” I mutter. What am I going to do about this? I shouldn’t even be thinking about her like this, not with all that’s going on.

Except . . . right now there isn’t anything going on. I haven’t seen anything since last night. Maybe we won. Maybe we beat death.

Yeah, right. It’s a nice thought, but I know it’s not true.

“How hard are you gonna let it get?”

I’ve been so lost in a world of my own thought that I didn’t even hear her approach. What’s she asking? How hard . . . “What?” I try to laugh and subtly cover up my growing erection with a menu. “What’re you talking about?”

“You know what I’m talking about.” She slides in across from me and elaborates, “It’s getting harder and harder to keep me alive, isn’t it?”

“No,” I say quickly, even though it is. The visions are getting more painful, hurting me more, and it seems that I’m not getting much advanced warning anymore.

She knows I’m not telling the truth. She just knows. “You don’t have to lie to me,” she says. “Is it getting harder?”

I suppose she’s right. I shouldn’t lie to her. “A little bit,” I confess. “Nothing I can’t handle.”

“I’m sorry about this.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“I’m the one who’s dying.”

“So? It’s still not your fault. And trust me, if I didn’t wanna be here, I wouldn’t be. You don’t have to apologize to me.”

“I guess. I just . . . I still don’t understand why you care so much. Why don’t you just give up on me?”

Why can’t she just understand that I’ll never do that? “Is that what you want me to do?” I ask her.

“No,” she admits.

“Good, ‘cause I’m not gonna.”

She smiles a little and says, “Everyone else has.”

“Yeah, well, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not like everyone else.”

“Yeah.” There is a spark of life back in her eyes as she teases, “You’re such a freak.”

I laugh a little. It’s amazing how much I enjoy talking with her. In these past few years, I haven’t done much talking with any girl.

“Maria!” her overbearing boss yells, leaning out the kitchen window. “Are you gonna count the register or what?”

“Yeah, I was just take a one-minute break.”

“Well, hurry up.”

She rolls her eyes and mutters, “Prick.”

“You hate this job, don’t you?”

She shrugs. “Sometimes. I’ve had worse.”

“Like what?”

“Trust me, you don’t wanna know.”

“Pretty sure I do.”

She sighs and says, “Well, I went through this whole rebellious, badass phase during my senior year of high school. So when I graduated, I left home, did what I had to do to make it. You know?” She laughed sadly and said, “Guys sure love girls, I’ll tell you that.”

I’m not quite sure exactly what she’s saying, but I get the basic idea. She used sex as a means of survival, whether it was stripping or prostitution or . . . none of that matters now. “I’m a dish-washer,” I tell her.

“What?”

“Yeah. Or at least I was. Back in Santa Fe, that’s what I did. I washed dishes at a, uh, bar and strip club.”

“Fascinating.”

“I know.” I chuckle. “It was called the Kitten Corral.”

“Sounds classy.”

“Oh, it really was.” I shake my head at the ridiculousness of that place. “Well, I’m probably fired now anyway. That’s fine, though. I hated it there.”

“Not much better here,” she mumbles. Then her face lights up for a moment when she sees the sketch of her on my napkin. “How artistic,” she remarks.

I didn’t mean for her to see that. It’s embarrassing. “Oh . . . yeah, well, I didn’t have anything better to do.”

“I like it,” she says. “I like you, Michael. You’re a good guy.”

She’s a good girl. Really, she is. “I like you, too.”

She smiles. It’s hard to fathom that this girl and the girl hanging from the noose last night are the same girl, but they are. This one is the one I like to see.

“I have to go count out the register,” she says, sliding out of the booth. “Then I think we can leave.”

“Okay.” I wonder what we’ll do when we get home. Maybe . . . maybe I shouldn’t kiss her, but maybe I will.

Once the last customers have cleared out and she’s done counting the register and changing back into her street clothes, she says goodnight to her boss, who in turn just grumbles, and we walk outside. We’re heading towards her car when she clears her throat and says, “You know . . . I was thinking that, if you’re getting tired of sleeping on the floor, I might be able to . . . create space for you on the bed. Or something.”

“You want me to sleep with you?” I smirk.

“Head out of the gutter, alright? I’m just saying . . . if you want to, you can. I’m not saying you can have a whole side all to yourself. Maybe two inches.”

“Two whole inches?”

“Yeah. Feel honored.”

I laugh a little, but I stop laughing when I feel the tension in my head start to mount. Oh, no. Not again. Not another one. Please, no.

Standing right next to the car. She doesn’t see it inside. Small, black box. Red, ticking numbers. 10, 9, 8, 7 . . . counts down to zero, and then there’s no more car. Just an explosion. Fire, bright and hot and orange. She dies in the explosion. There’s no chance for her.

I fall onto the ground. Everything in front of me looks dark, like I’m losing consciousness. No. “Maria . . .”

“Michael?” I hear her ask, but her voice sounds faint. “Michael, what’s wrong?” She kneels down beside me and asks, “What’s happening?”

I force myself to stay with it. I can’t pass out. Not now. I look over at her car. It’s the same one I just saw. I can’t see inside, but I don’t have to. I know what’s in there. It’s a bomb, and right now it’s probably on 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .

“Maria, look out!” I grab her and throw her down onto the ground beside me, enveloping my body with hers. The explosion rockets through the air, loud, hot, strong. I shield her body with mine, protecting her from the debris as it flies everywhere. A large hunk of metal lands right next to us, and fires crackle as they burn.

“Oh my god,” she whispers, coughing because of the smoke surrounding us.

“Come on,” I say, struggling to my feet. “We gotta get out of here.” This isn’t an accident. Somebody planned this.

“Michael . . .”

“We gotta go.” I pull her up alongside me and take her hand as we run through the parking lot. I try not to let it show, but I’m terrified. I don’t know how to keep her safe anymore. I’m grasping at straws.










TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

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April
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Chapter 9

Post by April » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:18 pm

nibbles:
Great part. How soon to kissing?
Very soon. ;)
killjoy:
Kind of cool it being Michael with the visions.
First of all, thanks for reading this fic, too. Second, I'm glad you like Michael having the visions. I'm usually adamant about portraying characters as the anti-hero rather than the traditional hero, but I wanted to write a fic where Michael's just this amazingly heroic guy, hence him being the one with the visions.
Christina:
Anyway, I don't think I mentioned it, but I love the titles for your chapters April.
Thanks! I love coming up with titles for things, and I'll admit that I really do like these chapter titles. I can't take full credit for them, though. Some of them are song titles, and some of them are modified song titles. The title of this chapter is actually a song by the group Mogwai. :)
Krista:
Seems kind of lame that natural forces and unnatural forces are against her.
Yeah, basically everything is against Maria right now (except for Michael, of course.) So it kind of sucks to be her, but . . . at least she has him! :D
tequathisy: Who's trying to kill Maria? Billy, Mother Nature, Fate . . . basically everything. :(
CandyLand:
Michael/Maria have started a great friendship, which I think is leaning toward more on both parts?
Oh, yeah, for sure. It's leaning towards more on both parts. And this isn't like Passion, where everything is very slow and gradual. Things happen a lot faster in this fic. So Michael, for instance, is already completely in love with her, because . . . well, he just is. And he knows that he is. And as for Maria . . . well, how could she not start to feel things for Michael? He's hot and he's saving her life. Sounds like a winning combination to me. :lol:
singerchic4:
can't a guy catch a break?
Apparently not. :(
spacegirl23: Thanks, I'm glad you like the premise of this story! The idea originally occurred to me after watching the movie The Butterfly Effect, and then I tweaked it and have since realized that it's exactly like a past storyline on the show Lost. :lol:


Thanks for the feedback! Enjoy this part.









Chapter 9: Take Me Somewhere Nice

We’re both out of breath when we get back to her place that night. We ran all the way there. I don’t know about her, but my heart is just about beating out of my chest. We both look like we just survived an explosion, probably because we both just . . . survived an explosion. We both have smudges of dirt and ash on our faces. She has a bruise on her forehead, and I have a couple of cuts and scrapes on my arms.

“You wanna tell me what the hell that was about?” I ask, locking the door securely into place.

She sighs heavily and mumbles, “I’m not sure.”

That’s a lie. “Who would put a bomb in your car?” I think I already know.

She rakes both hands through her messy hair and looks out the window when she finally gives me a truthful answer. “I think it was Billy.”

I assumed as much. “I think it’s time you tell me about him.”

“Oh, god.” She turns around, looking terrified and distressed. “I . . .” She frowns, looking as though some of these memories are very painful to her. “After I graduated high school and ran away, I started doing some work . . . on a street corner.” She winces, very much hurt by these memories. “Billy came along, and . . . he’s just a guy who I was stupid enough to get involved with. That’s the Cliffsnotes version.”

“So, what, you guys broke up and now he’s trying to kill you? Doesn’t really make sense.” Whether she wants to or not, she needs to tell me more.

She seems to realize that, because she goes on. “He didn’t seem that bad at first, okay? He gave me a place to stay, bought me anything I ever wanted. But I started to get suspicious, because he always had all this money, but he never had a job. I asked around, and I found out . . . he’s, like, the leader of this gang. Or, it’s not really a gang. His family has these mob connections and . . . I didn’t really wanna know a whole lot, so I just tried to ignore it. And I was stupid. Because I stayed with him even after I knew he was a bad guy, and it was just a stupid thing to do. Because one night we were out driving. He said he was gonna take me somewhere nice, and I was actually kind of excited about it. He stopped at this gas station first, though, said he needed to take care of something. So he got out of the car, and I watched him walk inside. And he said something to clerk, and then . . .” She trails off, her bottom lip trembling, her eyes glossed over with fear as she retrieves the memories. “He just shot him. He shot the guy who was working there, point-blank range, in cold blood. And I sat outside and watched it happen.

“When he got back in the car, I was crying and screaming at him. He told me it was business, that the guy was a loose end that needed to be tied up. He said if I ever said anything, he’d kill me. He’d rape me and kill me. He made me promise to keep my mouth shut, so I did. I didn’t say anything for a month. But just when the cops were about to close the case . . . I couldn’t take it anymore. So I told them everything I’d seen. They arrested Billy and put him away. My testimony put him away. So I got the hell out of there and came here, because I didn’t want his family or his friends or anyone trying to find me. But I guess they did. Or maybe Billy got out of jail or something. I know he was up for parole a couple months ago. I don’t know. The car bomb thing, though . . . there’s no way it’s not related to him.”

I wish I’d known this sooner. I’m not sure if it would have helped, but . . . I just wish I’d known. “We might need to leave town,” I say.

“We?” she echoes.

“Well, I’m not leaving you alone. We can go to . . . I don’t know. Didn’t you ever think about something like the Witness Protection Program?”

“No,” she says adamantly. “I don’t wanna lead a completely different life. I know my life isn’t the greatest, but it’s still my life, you know? Or at least it is until you get another one of those skull-crushing visions.”

“We can get out of here right now,” I tell her.

“No,” she says. “No, I don’t wanna go anywhere tonight. Whoever put that bomb there could still be there.”

“Tomorrow morning then.”

She nods her head in agreement. “Fine, tomorrow morning. We can go . . . somewhere.”

“L.A.,” I suggest, remembering that she wants to go to L.A. and go swimming in the ocean.

“Yeah,” she says. “Big city. Easy to blend in. Yeah, we’ll go to L.A.”

“Yeah.” I try to sound excited about it, but how can I be? Taking a vacation is one thing. Running for your life—or her life, as the case may be—is quite another.

“Great,” she says, sniffing back tears. “It’ll be . . . great.”

“Maria . . .”

A giant sob wracks her body, and she coils forward, covering her mouth with one of her hands as her tears flow freely. I immediately go to her and take her into my arms, holding her forcefully against me. She clings to my torso and presses her cheek against my chest, crying, whimpering another apology. “I’m so sorry.”

“Shh.” I tangle one hand in her hair and smooth my other hand up and down her spine, trying to comfort her, trying to let her know without words that I’m there for her. She’s not alone. I’m not going anywhere.

She stands there with me, shuddering and sobbing for only about a minute before she slowly lifts her head and gazes up into my eyes. Her eyes are shimmering with tears, brimming with emotion, and her voice is barely above a whisper when she says, “Michael, I . . .”

I can tell she wants to say something. What it is it what I don’t know, because she never gets the words out.

“Oh, screw it.” And then she kisses me. What choice (or desire) do I have but to kiss her back?

How many times have I imagined this, imagined what it would feel like to kiss these full, luscious lips of her? And how great is it that the real thing is blowing my imagination out of the water? A kiss from Maria is everything that I hoped it would be: forceful, passionate, and exhilarating. The best part is that she doesn’t let it stop. We keep kissing, because it feels like the right thing to do.

She turns her head to the side, gasping for air, and I trail a line of kisses along her jaw and down to her neck. I find my hands roaming her body, grasping each and every inch of her I possibly can, touching her waist, cupping her bottom, tangling in her hair. All I want to do is touch her, feel her all around me. I wanted this girl before I even knew her. I’m sure of it.

I feel her insistent fingers fumbling with the buttons on my shirt, and a moment later, she rips it apart. Buttons scatter everywhere on the floor, and my shirt joins them a moment later as I shrug it off my shoulders. I return the favor to her by pulling on the hem of her shirt, lifting it up over her head. She raises her arms to assist me, and I could care less about the garment as I toss it to the side.

She shakes her hair out of her face and seeks out my lips again. I thrust my tongue into the hot cavern of her mouth and mingle it with hers as my hands crawl up her spine, seeking to undo the clasp of her bra. Nerves start to kick in for the first time, and I struggle with the simple task.

She takes over for me, stepping back and reaching behind herself to undo the clasp. She shrugs it to the floor, and her perfect breasts fall free before my awe-struck eyes. Before I can even reach out to touch them, she plasters herself against me, mating her naked front to mine. She moans in pleasure at the sensation and tosses her head backward. I seize the opportunity to press a sucking kiss against her throat and run my hands up over her hips and sides at the same time. I cup her breasts, kneading the mounds in my hands, and she moans again.

“Oh, Michael,” she gasps, digging her nails into my back, holding onto me for support. I run my thumb in small circles over her nipples, reveling in the feel of the little hardened nubs. I have to taste them.

I lift her up and carry her backward to lay her down on the couch. Her hips land on the arm of the couch, elevated and arousing. I climb on top of her, not at all graceful, and latch my mouth onto one of her mounds. Her back arches upward, and she gasps. One of her hands burrows in my hair while the other grips the back of the couch.

“Oh god,” she murmurs. Her breathing is so heavy that I can barely make out what she is saying. Don’t need to. I know what she’s feeling, because I’m feeling it, too. That’s all that matters.

I make my way lower in my exploration of her body, raining kisses over her abdomen before standing up straight to rid her of her jeans. Whatever nerves I was feeling a minute ago, whatever performance anxiety I was experiencing, is gone now. We’re two people who are meant to do this. No question about it.

I unfasten her jeans and pull them off of her legs. I drop them down beside me and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of her limbs. Long, silky smooth . . . I run my hands up the inside of her thighs and stop at her pleasure center. She closes her eyes and digs her head back into the pillow, and I hook my thumbs into the side of her thong, removing the last clothing barrier to her doorway to heaven.

She’s so beautiful. Even though she’s literally filthy following the aftermath of that explosion, she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

The sense of urgency is heavy in the room. I hurriedly undo my own jeans and push them down to the floor. My boxers immediately follow, pooling at my feet in a likewise manner. I step out of both of them and then match her in my nakedness . . . and most certainly my eagerness.

She slides backward on the couch, and I lie down on top of her. She spreads her legs, and I settle myself in between, taking my erection in hand. I run it up and down along her slick folds for a moment before easing inside. All coherent thought vanishes for a moment as I revel in the feel of it, of being surrounded by her, her hot, hot heat.

Her face contorts in discomfort at first as she adjusts to the size of me, and I feel bad for doing this so suddenly, for not taking things slow and making it romantic. But when her eyes open again and she looks straight up at me, I see such energy and excitement on her face. She wants all the same things I do right now. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with fucking.

I try to take it slow, but I’m no good at it. I find myself lifting her legs almost up over my shoulders as I pound into her, thrashing inside of her, feeling utterly primal and out of control. I give extra power to my thrusts by keeping one foot down on the floor. Her body jolts with every synchronized undulation, and eventually, we fall right off the couch and onto the carpet.

She rolls on top of me, somehow staying joined with me, and presses her hands to my chest, keeping me pinned down as she starts to ride me. The sight of her alone is enough to make me want to cum, the look of dazed concentration on her face, the images of her bouncing breasts, and most importantly, the precise point of our connection, where her body willingly accepts mine, where we two people become just one single person.

She keeps making soft, unintelligible sounds, a whimper of pleasure here, a groan of frustration there. She leans backward, placing one hand on my thigh while keeping the other on my chest, and then she really starts to ride me at something close to a frantic pace. She circles her hips around, adding another dimension to the ride, and all I can do is smile. I love what she’s doing to me. I really can’t hold out much longer.

I don’t want to be alone in the wave of sexual inspiration, so I reach out to circle my thumb over her most sensitive bundle of nerves. For a moment, she stalls her movement and just lets me touch her, but soon she starts right back up again, tossing her head back and finishing up the ride in astonishing fashion. Her orgasm triggers my own release, and I spill my seed inside her.

She collapses on top of me, sweat-soaked and dirty, breathless and terrified. I hold her against me, completely exhausted but still needing to be touching her. The fact that I’m still inside her is too erotic for words, and all I can do is conjure up another way to make love to her. Maybe against the wall. Or in the shower. It’s a small apartment, but the possibilities are endless.

I lie next to her in bed that night, spooning up behind her after hours of sex, some of it the romantic kind, some of it the animalistic kind. We didn’t say much to each other. We just moved. Now I lie here, completely captivated by her as she sleeps, and the reality sets in again: This is a girl whose life I’m trying to save. This is a girl who is supposed to be dead already.

I smooth my hand down over her bare arm, and I can’t imagine a world without her. I don’t want to. Any world where Maria DeLuca doesn’t exist isn’t a world worth living in anymore. I need her. She’s quickly become the most important person in my life. The only person.

I know she can’t hear me. She’s dreaming, and I’m glad she is. But I have to tell her. I have to tell her how I feel.

“I love you,” I whisper, bending down to press a soft kiss to her shoulder. I really do.

I settle in beside her after that and manage to fall asleep easily. After all, it’s been a crazy, eventful day. I don’t know about Maria, but what we did tonight, what we did together . . . I’ve never felt so alive.









TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

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April
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Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:32 am
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Chapter 10

Post by April » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:24 pm

nibbles: Yep, this is a fast-paced fic, much different than Passion! :lol:
Sara:
All of the sudden Marias dying doesn't seem like it HAS to happen.
Well, that remains to be seen. :?
Christina: Satisfied and worried, that's good!
CandyLand:
Passions, take lessons, damn it!
:lol: Passion Michael and Cemetery Party Michael are very different.
spacegirl23:
God, is there any guy out there as sexy as our Michael?!!!
No. ;)
tequathisy:
So why do I feel like we're being set up for a fall?
Hmm, I don't know. (Yes, I do.)


I know this chapter is a little short, so I apologize in advance. :)









Chapter 10: Do You Believe in God?

Water. So much water, churning fast, crashing together and making sounds. Dark water. Cold water. A bridge. A gun. Blood. Fear. Screaming.

My eyes snap open, and I struggle to keep them from closing again. My head feels like someone’s hitting it with a sledgehammer over and over again; it hurts so much. I almost feel like I’m dying, but . . . but she is. Or at least she’s going to. Again. I just saw it . . .

“Maria?” I squint my eyes, even though it’s dark in the room, and I try to make sense of the confusion coursing through my veins. What was that? I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was almost . . . what’s the word I’m looking for? Impressionistic?

“Maria . . .” I’m disoriented, so it takes me a moment to realize that I’m lying on the floor instead of in the bed. That’s not where I fell asleep.

“Uh,” I groan, rolling over onto my back. What’s going on with me? Why do I feel so out of it? And why can’t I make sense of what I just saw?

Water . . . What water? Where?

I struggle to sit up, and everything gets dizzy. What the hell’s wrong with me? Is this all just a big side effect of the vision? Because this is extreme.

My head hurts; it’s throbbing with pain. I press the heel of my hand against the left side of my head and notice for the first time a thick, sticky substance. Blood. I’m bleeding.

The blood goes all the way around to the back of my head. Somebody hit me good. No wonder I feel like such a wreck.

“Maria.” I’m more worried about her than I’ll ever be about me. I look up at the bed, and my worst fear becomes a sudden reality. She’s not there. The bed is empty, the sheets tossed all about. She fell asleep right there, right in my arms. Why isn’t she there anymore?

I force myself up onto my feet and look around the room. It looks completely trashed. The pieces of the puzzle aren’t very hard to put together. Somebody was here. Somebody hit me and took Maria out of her own house, out of her bed, out of my arms.

“Billy.” It has to be him.

I stagger around, trying again to make sense of what I just saw. But I can’t concentrate. Water . . . a gun . . . why is there a gun? I don’t understand. For the first time, I just don’t know. I don’t know what to do, where to start.

She’s gonna die. She’s gonna die, and it’s gonna be all my fault.

I throw on some clothes and stumble out of the apartment, my head still screaming in agony. The combination of the vision and the pain from whatever Billy hit me with makes me want to pass out, but I won’t allow that satisfaction. I won’t make it easy. I promised Maria I would protect her, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I run outside, panicked. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I’m currently doing. I see a group of teenaged kids hanging out on the corner and I race towards them. They bristle as though they think I’m going to attack them, but before they can turn and head away from me, I manage breathlessly, “Hey, where is there, uh . . . a river or a . . . I don’t know what. Some kind of-some kind of bridge or . . . is there some kind of bridge around here or a river or . . . I don’t know, there’s just some water. There’s a lot of water. And a bridge, a wooden bridge.”

The kids look at me like I’m crazy, and one of them laughs and asks, “What’re you on, man?”

“No, I just-I need to get somewhere. Please, can you just-can you tell me? A bridge, a river. Please.”

The kids look at each other, apparently uninterested, but one of them does shrug and answer me. “Pecos River’s not that far away. Some of us used to go and get high up there by the bridge.”

“Pecos River,” I echo, pressing my hand against my forehead. I close my eyes and try to force the knowledge to come. “Yeah, that sounds right.” I don’t really know if it sounds right or not, but it’s all I have to go on. “How do I get there?”

“Yo, I don’t know, man. You look pretty stoned. Go home to your girl, crash for the night, you know what I’m sayin’?”

“My girl’s gonna die.”

The kids look at me apprehensively, and I see some of the girls tugging on their boyfriends sleeves, seeming to want to be away from me. They start to slink away slowly, and I turn and head back down the street.

I’m not very familiar with this town, but luckily it isn’t a big one. I remember walking by a gun shop a couple of blocks away. I run the distance, but when I get there, I find that it’s closed. Of course. It’s late. It’s dark. Nobody wants to buy a gun at this time of night. Everyone who needs one already has one by now. Except me.

I run up to the front of the store and stupidly try the front door. Locked. I’m not sure if I know how to pick a lock, and I’m not sure if I have the patience for it, so I run around to the side of the building, into the alley, pick up a brick, and go back around to the front, not even hesitating to throw it through the window. The glass shatters, and the security alarm sounds. I don’t give a fuck. I climb in through the window and scramble behind the counter to find what I need.

I don’t know guns, so I grab the one that looks most similar to what I see in movies. I load it up with some bullets and shove some into my back pocket for insurance. I can already hear sirens in the distance, so with the gun in hand, I jump back out the window and run down the street and around the corner, out of sight.

There are a number of cars parked along the street. I pick the nearest one and wince as I shove my elbow through the window. It breaks, but no car alarm goes off. I reach inside and unlock the door. Then I climb in hope that I can hotwire this thing, because I really need to.

I remove the panels surrounding the ignition tumbler and locate the color-coded wires inside. I pull those wires out from the ignition, strip them, and twist them together, trusting my instinct. There are other wires in the ignition tumbler as well. I strip the ends of them and touch the ends of both wire sets together briefly. The vehicle fires up. I did it.

I slam my foot down on the gas and whip a quick u-turn on the street to avoid driving past any of those cops. I drive off into the darkness, hoping I know how to get to that river, hoping it’s the right one, and praying to God that Maria’s still alive when I get there.

I have a bad feeling, worse than usual. Death isn’t just a threat anymore. It’s a fact.








TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

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