TIC TAC - (CC,AU,Adult) - COMPLETE - 7/12/15

Fics using the characters from Roswell, but where the plot does not have anything to do with aliens, nor are any of the characters "not of this Earth."

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 11

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:15 am

keepsmiling7: Thanks!

Max’ behavior really is inexcusable, but even so… you know there’s gonna be a story behind it. He’s had a rough experience and it weighs heavily on his mind.

Liz might open up a bit to Michael.

Oh, Aaron already adores Max.

Earth2Mama: Of course there’s a story about Liz’ parents, you know us. ;) But it’s gonna be revealed later.

Max’ past is tough and it’s not easy for him to realize that his father is not the person to blame and didn’t mean to hurt him. It will take some time and help for him to figure this out.

Lol, Tess still has a lot to learn about flirting, huh?

kismet: Thanks!

The story behind Liz’ parents… we’ll learn about it later. :)

Aaron is very drawn to Max and we’ll see more scenes between the two of them.

We’ll see in this next part whether or not Liz will open up to Michael. You could be right about Cody and Aaron.

guelbebek: Thanks! That’s quite a compliment, thank you!

Well, hopefully, as we progress through the story Tess will grow on you. :)

Yup, we’re finally back in our normal rotation… updates for all three fics every Sunday.

Heavenli24: We’re glad to hear you’re all caught up and enjoying TIC TAC.

Cool, that’s what we wanted everyone to think, lol. Think Max and Liz have some history, huh? You could be right, we’ll see.

No, everyone here is clueless about Max’ time in the military. It’s not something that he’s shared with any of them.

We’ve got more twists and turns coming… so hold on tight!

killjoy: That’s okay, we don’t expect anyone to be sorry for Max. He’s in a dark place right now and he hasn’t dealt with his past. Currently it’s easier for him to blame his dad for everything instead of facing things head on.

Lol, we told Kyle what you said and he looked pretty offended. However, his views may change in time…

The story of Liz and Aaron’s parents will be revealed later on.

There’s no denying that summer in the South is hell, lol. But folks up there… well, for them a NYC heat wave is hell too. Put them down South and well… they’d likely melt. The humidity is a killer for sure.

begonia9508: Turning Aaron over to anyone else wasn’t an option for Liz. Aaron is her family and she wants to do the best for him that she can.

Max can be a major jerk. There is no excuse for his behavior, but there is a reason.

Michael and Liz might just become friends and we’re pretty sure they’d help each other too.

Alien_Friend: No, lol, they didn’t. The girls do have a lot in common. We think you’re right about Aaron and Cody being buddies.

Trent… well, we’ll get the backstory on him and why Liz puts up with him later on. But, no, they’re not related at all.

A friendship between Michael and Liz could be a very good thing for both of them.

Ah, Max… things could have gone in a very bad direction if that man hadn’t intervened. He will find his peace, but he’s going to need some help because it means facing his past and finding a way to let it rest. Diane won’t give up on reaching her son and eventually she may have some help.

9/11 is a big event in many of the characters’ lives.

Slowly but surely it comes together. :)

Cardinal: It’s possible…

Max’ hate is misguided, but for him to realize that he’s going to have to face his past and take a good hard look at himself.

As for Trent… well, that’s definitely one possibility…

mary mary: Max did get himself into trouble… and you can just never foresee the consequences of your actions further down the road.

Max isn’t of the opinion that he has it worse than any other soldier. His anger/hurt is being misdirected because it’s the only way he can cope right now.

The story about Liz’ parents will be revealed eventually. Oh, if Liz felt she had another option she wouldn’t be living with Trent.

Eva: Thanks!

Lol, that’s good… that’s exactly what we were aiming for. Her situation is tough, but she’s doing the best she can.

You could be right there. Aaron and Max only had a moment but it was enough for the little boy to see something worth liking in the man.

Max is in a very dark place right now and getting through each day as it comes it about as far as he can look into the future.

We’ll see in this next update if Liz will take a step in that direction.

Thanks, we really like Mrs. Evans here. She wants so badly to reach her son.

Starcharms: That’s good ‘cause that’s what we wanted everyone to think.  Trent… well, we’ll find out more about him as the story unfolds. Aaron definitely brought Max’ softer side to light. As for the dealio between M&L… it’s gonna take time, but it’ll eventually come to light.

Don’t look for the frustration on M&M Avenue to let up anytime soon. ;) Alex and Isabel, yup, we’ll have more scenes between the two of them. We’re
glad you’re enjoying TIC TAC.





Part 11

New Friends and Past Lovers


Liz stared down at her hands for a very long moment. “It’s just Aaron an’ me,” she mumbled.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Liz. So, I guess he really is yours, huh?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t give him to another family.”

“Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility. He’s quiet, huh?”

“Yeah, he’s not used to being around a lot of people. Most of the time he’s with one of my neighbors because I’m at work. I can’t afford a real daycare, so I’m glad the woman’s willing to watch him for a very small amount of money.”

Michael nodded and watched the little boy as he amused himself. “It’s hard to find someone trustworthy when it comes to kids.” He shifted and stretched one arm out along the back of the bench. “Cody, he doesn’t spend much time with other kids either. Little guy’s got a heart condition so he’s not really well enough to go out and play like other kids.”

“How bad is it?”

“Bad.” He sighed and shook his head. “He’s on the transplant list so it’s just a matter of wait an’ see. The doctors are doin’ everything they can but... right now we’re just playin’ the waitin’ game.”

“That has to be hard,” Liz mumbled, glancing at Aaron as he played in the sandbox without a concern. “Kids are supposed to be... happy-go-lucky, ya know? It’s hard for the parents or,” she glanced at him, “sister, but you want them to enjoy their life and not have to worry about what’s going on in the big bad world.”

“Not easy to do in these situations though, is it? No matter how much you try to protect them they know things aren’t the way they should be.”

She sighed. “Yeah.”

“Cody knows more about doctors and hospitals than any kid ever should.”

“It’s a wonder we never met at the hospital before,” she muttered.

He pulled his gaze away from the little boy to look at her. “You’ve been at the hospital a lot?”

Liz leaned forward to rest her elbows on her knees and her head in her palms as she looked at her brother. “Not recently, but there was a time I was there a lot. Aaron’s epileptic, ya know, he has these seizures...” she trailed off and looked at him, “you know what that is, right?”

He smiled gently and nodded. “Yeah. He’s on meds for it?”

“Yeah. And they’re expensive.”

“Yeah, the cost is high. I guess your doctor’s told you that it’s possible Aaron could outgrow of the seizures.”

She nodded. “I really hope they’re right.”

“The meds are controlling them pretty well right now?”

“He hasn’t had any problems for a while now,” Liz answered.

“That’s good.” He looked up when the little boy they were discussing approached them slowly.

Aaron eased up close to Liz and leaned against her leg as he gnawed on his fist. “Who’s him?” he asked quietly.

“Hey,” Michael greeted gently and slipped down from the bench to crouch down in from of the little boy. “I’m Michael.”

The little boy glanced up at Liz as he reached out to touch the picture on the man’s arm. His fingers traced over the design for several minutes before he looked up at Michael. “Aaron,” he said softly and pointed at himself.

“Nice to meet you, Aaron. Like those?”

He nodded and continued to trace over the tat, wrapping his small fingers around Michael’s arm and tugging on it so he could see the rest of the design.

Liz reached out to stop Aaron.

“Nah, he’s okay, Liz. Some kids are really fascinated with the tats.” He chuckled when Aaron reached up to gently touch the ring over his eyebrow. “Wha’s that for?” he asked.

Michael chuckled, carefully trying to move his face back out of the kid’s reach so Aaron couldn’t touch the new piercing any longer. “That, buddy, is just supposed to look cool.”

Aaron nodded and glanced back at Liz. “It’s kinda like the one your friend has,” he said when his attention returned to the tattoo.

“He’s not my friend, Aaron.”

Michael grinned. “Any chance he meant Max?”

Liz grimaced. “We ran into him at the cafe when I stopped in to pick my check up.”

Michael glanced back at Aaron when the tiny hand moved over the back of his. “Ya like that, huh?” he teased and tickled the little boy’s bare stomach.

Aaron giggled and scrambled back out of Michael’s reach. He leaned on Liz’ legs from the other side and smiled up at his sister.

Michael wiped the edge of his tee shirt over his face. “Damn heat,” he muttered under his breath.

Liz nodded as she glanced around. “Be nice if this heat wave would break sometime soon.”

“I second that,” he nodded. “People are crazy these days.”

She snorted, making her brother laugh at her. “Yeah, they’re crazy enough without the heat makin’ it any worse.”

Michael smiled at the boy’s happy laughter as he got up to stretch his muscles. He watched Aaron as he walked further away to watch some birds sitting on the ground. “Did you ever try to get him into a normal daycare with other kids?”

Liz nodded. “Yeah, but like I said, everything’s so expensive. To be honest, I can’t really afford a normal daycare. And the ones I can afford won’t take him because of his condition.”

He nodded. It was exactly what he had expected. “Maybe there’s somethin’ I could try... I mean, if you want me to?”

She looked at him. “Why? I mean, you don’t even know me.”

He shrugged and smirked. “Doesn’t have to stay that way, does it?”

“Well...” she smiled at him. “No, no, I guess it doesn’t. What’d you have in mind?”

“You do like to be mysterious, don’t you?”

He grinned cheekily. “That’s what it’s all about.”

“It is, huh?” She shook her head but she couldn’t stop herself from grinning back at him. “Okay then, I guess we’ll see what you come up with.” She turned her head to watch Aaron for a few moments. “I would like for him to be around other kids. I don’t want his condition to keep him from experiencing life and I don’t want it to set him apart from others, ya know?” She sighed. “He’s self-conscious about it as it is.”

He glanced at the kid for a few moments before turning to Liz again. “You know, I’ve got a little ... condition.”

Her gaze shot back to him. “You?”

He chuckled. “No, I mean, I’m gonna find a daycare for him on one condition.”

“Oh,” she laughed, embarrassed. “Sorry. What’s the condition?”

“If I find a daycare you can afford you’re gonna come to the next party with us.”

“I don’t even remember the last time I went out to a party,” she admitted. She thought about what she had promised Aaron’s doctor earlier that afternoon. “It would be nice to get out for a little while.”

He smiled. “You’re too young for a life like that, Liz.”

“I know,” she said quietly. “Although, if I could get him into a daycare it would help a lot. Mrs. McGinty, my neighbor that keeps him for me when I’m at work? She doesn’t mind watching him but I feel guilty asking her to watch him more than she already does.”

He didn’t know exactly why he wanted to help her. Maybe it was because he was aware of what Maria and Amy had to go through day after day with Cody and all the financial problems because of it. Liz seemed to have no one but Aaron and from what he could tell, the girl needed a break from real life. “Alright,” he glanced at his watch, “I need to go, gotta work the nightshift and I should try to catch some sleep before.”

Liz smiled at him and caught his hand before he could move away. “Thank you, Michael.”

“Nothin’ for sure yet,” he winked at her.

“But you care enough to try. That’s fairly uncommon these days.”

“Not in my world,” he told her quietly and glanced at the boy. “Have a good day, Aaron. And be good to her.”

Michael shoved his hands into his pants pockets and turned to Liz. “See ya ‘round.”

She nodded. “Bye, Michael.”

*****

Isabel walked out of the bathroom, wearing a pair of hot pants and a tank top while she rubbed her hair with a towel. It was shortly before 10pm on Friday night and she had made plans with her couch, a bottle of wine and “The Notebook”.

Barefoot, she wandered through her nicely air conditioned apartment and checked the locks on the front door before returning to the living area and plopping down on the couch. She sighed and grabbed the remote, ready to let real life stay outside for tonight.

Her cell started to buzz across the table just as she was getting comfortable. “Of course,” she muttered and leaned forward. The caller ID said it was Tess and she dared to consider just letting it go to voicemail, but decided against it. Maybe it was something important. “Hello?”

“Hey, Izzy, whatcha up to tonight?” Tess asked.

“Nothin’. I was just getting comfortable on the couch.”

“I was thinkin’ about goin’ out ‘cause I’m seriously bored over here. So, wanna go?”

“Not in the mood.”

“C’mon, Iz... please?”

“Can’t ya ask Michael or Kyle or whoever?”

“Well, I could but they’re both workin’ tonight.” She wrinkled her nose. “I wouldn’t be askin’ if I had someone else to go with.”

“Oh, wow, thanks! Really interesting that I’m so high on your social scale.”

“Well, I didn’t mean it like that,” Tess insisted. “It’s just...” Okay, there really wasn’t much of a defense for her statement. “Just go with me.”

“Wait, let me think... uh... NO!”

“Why not?” she whined.

“Because I’d have to do my hair, pick out some nice clothes and do my makeup and I’m not really in the mood for all that right now.”

Tess rolled her eyes. “Fine, Isabel, stay at home and be bored. But I’m goin’ out.”

“First, I’m not bored and second, don’t go out alone.”

“Who would you suggest I go out with, Mom?” she asked, annoyed.

“Well, I would say Maria, but ooops, ya fucked that up.”

Tess rolled her eyes. “Way to be subtle.”

“I’m not trying to be subtle.”

“No need to draw this conversation out any longer then. I’ll talk to ya later, Iz.”

“Sure. Be ready in the morning. We’ll have breakfast and then go shopping.”

“Hmm, alright. Not as fun as goin’ to the club tonight, but I’ll accept that. I’ll see ya in the mornin’ then.”

“Bye bye.” Isabel hung up and was ready to get back to her original plans when a knock on the door interrupted her again. She sighed. I should’ve known Tess wouldn’t give up and was already on her way over to try and make me go out, she thought as she walked to the door. “Tess, I meant it when I said...” she trailed off when she jerked the door open and Richard stood on the other side. “What do you want?” she snapped.

“To talk to you,” he answered smoothly.

“I don’t know what there is to talk about?”

“I’d like a chance to explain things to you. I would think you could at least listen to me.”

“Why don’t ya just write it down and email it?” she asked coldly.

“I’ve already tried that multiple times... you’ve only replied once.” He frowned at her. “Personally, I felt that the ‘FUCK YOU’ written in the largest font possible was uncalled for in your reply.”

“No? I thought it was pretty much the only two words you deserve.”

“Okay, look, I probably did deserve it, but look... it’s done and over, Iz. Can’t we just move on?”

“I’m already moving on, Richard. Without you.”

“What?! You can’t have moved on that quickly.” He shook his head. “Why don’t you let me come inside before your neighbors start comin’ out to see what all the noise is?”

“I’m moving on,” she said sternly. “Deal with it and leave me alone.” She pushed the door shut.

“As long as I’ve put up with you I think the least you could do is overlook one little slip!” he yelled through the door.

Her mouth opened and closed several times and she was tempted to go back to the door to slap the shit out of him, but she took a deep breath and went to her cell instead, dialing the number of the front desk downstairs.

James looked up from newspaper when the desk phone rang and he picked it up. “Front desk,” he said.

“Hello, James, this is Isabel Guerin.”

He straightened up when he heard the tension in her voice. “Everything alright, Miss Guerin?” he asked, concerned.

“Yeah, just... get that asshole out of the building and make sure he never makes it upstairs again, okay?”

“Mr. Mathews?” he asked, already getting to his feet.

“You’re right about that. I don’t wanna see him ever again.”

He knew she had thrown the man out recently. He hadn’t been able to stop the smirk when the man had come downstairs using the morning paper to cover himself. He’d had to wait in the office for someone to bring him something to wear. He nodded at her request as he set his paper down. “I’ll take care of it, Miss Guerin. He won’t bother you again. Not here at least,” he promised.

“Thanks,” she said, relieved. “Have a nice evening, James.”

“You too, Miss Guerin.” He placed the receiver in the cradle and took the elevator to her floor, stepping out and walking down to the man yelling through her door. “Mr. Mathews, you need to come with me, sir.”

*****

Tess was still annoyed that Isabel had refused to go out with her as she walked down the street, her feet taking her to the Taco Bell a few blocks from the guys’ apartment. She had been gone from the city long enough that the clubs that were popular now would be different and it seemed like everyone she knew who was familiar with the club scene was all busy or just didn’t want to go out.

She nodded and smiled at the man who stepped out of the restaurant and held the door open for her. She went inside and placed an order, paying for it and accepting the plastic cup the cashier held out to her. She walked over to the drink dispenser and filled her cup with Pepsi before turning and leaning against the counter while she waited for her order.

Her gaze scanned over the customers scattered around the room and settled on a group of denim and leather-clad guys hanging out in one corner. She was just about to move on when one of the guys shifted and she recognized him. Unfortunately one of the other men noticed her watching and he laughed and pointed her out.

“Looks like you gots an admirer, Evans,” the guy said.

That drew the attention of the others and they all turned to look at her. One of them whistled loudly as his gaze slid over her and he made a comment that would’ve had her brother punching him in the mouth. She smirked when Max just shoved him and told him to back off.

“Oh, c’mon, Evans, lighten up. Chicks don’t go out dressed like unless they’re wantin’ some action. And hell, I’d be happy to give that one all the action she wants.”

Max shook his head at him in warning as he got up. He crossed the room, nodding at Tess as he approached her. “Ignore them,” he said.

“You’ve got nice friends, Evans,” she told him with an eye roll.

“Not really friends,” he said, shaking his head. “Just hangin’ out. Got nothin’ better to do.”

“Well, get rid of them and go out with me instead.”

“Whatcha got in mind?” he asked, nodding behind her when one of the employees slid a tray on the counter and called her number.

She leaned sideways to grab her food and took a bite before offering him something as well. “Michael and Kyle are at work and my sister prefers to stay home, sooo.... I got nothing else to do and I really don’t wanna sit around at home.”

“Wanna head over to one of the clubs?”

“Sure,” she smiled. “Just gotta change into something more... suitable for goin’ out.”

His gaze moved over her and he raised his right eyebrow. “If you say so.”

She ran her hand over her bare thighs to the hem of her jean shorts. “Well, or I can just go like this.”

He grinned at her as he motioned to himself. Worn blue jeans and a leather vest over a sloppy tee shirt. “Up to you,” he said with a careless shrug of his shoulders.

“Why don’t we just go?”

“That’s cool with me. You’ll get plenty of notice the way you are,” he said with a grin.

“Uh-huh... if it’s the same notice I got from your friends I’d say I refuse.”

“Not my friends,” he denied. “But, I can give ya a hand if anyone starts botherin’ you.”

“Uh-huh, Evans the protector, huh? Promise me you’re not gonna be another man with big brother tendencies.”

“I’m not,” he assured her. “Doesn’t mean if some guy you’re not interested in starts pawin’ you I’m not gonna do somethin’ about it.” He grinned at her. “But only if ya wanted me to.”

She snorted and got ready to leave. “Say goodbye to your... non-friends and let’s go.”

Max simply raised a hand to let the guys know he was gone as he followed Tess outside.

They walked along the sidewalks, which were still busy at this time of the evening on a Friday night. “Where ya wanna go?”

“There’s a new club over a couple blocks that’s pretty popular right now.”

“Okay, sounds like a plan,” she decided, happy that she had finally found someone to hang out with.

He nodded. “How’re things goin’?” he asked as they crossed a busy street.

“They could definitely go better. Livin’ on the couch with Michael and Kyle as roommates sucks.”

He snorted. “So why not get your own place?” He shrugged when she looked at him. “It’s not exactly a secret that your family has money.”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure how my father would react if I asked him for money so soon after my return. Besides that my siblings all work. My family has money, but in my father’s opinion, ya have to deserve it.”

He snorted. “Well, fathers do have their own opinions about what is and isn’t right for their kids, don’t they?”

“Yeah, obviously. I have to find a job first and then I seriously need to move into my own place. The guys’ apartment sucks.” Well, it wouldn’t suck as much if Kyle would actually be nice to me, she thought bitterly.

“Well, I’m sure livin’ with your brother and Kyle can’t be a lot of fun. I’d wanna move too.” He glanced at the people lined out around the corner, hoping to get inside.

“At least they’re gone a lot together for their shifts. Then I have the apartment all to myself. Sucks on a Friday night though,” she admitted.

“No problem, ‘cause we’re not spendin’ a Friday night at home,” he said as he nodded at the man at the door.

The mountain of a man nodded back at him and lifted the barrier holding the crowd back to let Max and Tess inside.

“I love man with connections,” Tess teased slightly.

He just snorted. “See the tats on his neck? I did ‘em.”

“Hmm... considering that most of the doormen in New York probably have tats that maybe you did, you’re my favorite goin’ out buddy now,” she decided loudly.

“Hope you can hold your liquor,” he yelled over the music as he headed for the bar.

“Why? Ya don’t have to get me drunk, Evans, we already had sex, remember?” she teased.

“True. I just don’t wanna have to carry your ass outta here.”

She snorted. “I think I can behave myself.”

He laughed and motioned to the bartender, ordering a couple of beers and a round of Tequila shots.

Tess took the shot and held it up to Max. “Thanks.”

He lifted his own glass with a simple nod before tossing it back. The club scene wasn’t unfamiliar to him by any means, but he didn’t spend as much time in them as he had a couple of years back.

She leaned her back against the counter while her eyes roamed over the happenings in the middle-sized club. “You a dancer, Evans?”

He shrugged. “Sometimes.”

“What about now?”

“What the hell,” he muttered and took a long drink of his beer. “Why not?”

She grinned and took her drink as well. “Come on then.”

Max followed her out onto the dance floor, enjoying the pounding music and hating the warm press of bodies all around them. There was a time that it hadn’t bothered him, but now if he couldn’t focus on something else he started to feel suffocated.

Tess swayed her hips to the music as she walked further into the crowd until they reached a spot that wasn’t packed with people. “I like to have space,” she told him with a wink.

“Makes two of us,” he said, letting the movements of his body fall into sync with hers. It was effortless and before long he realized he was actually enjoying himself.

“Who would’ve thought you’re actually pretty good at dancing?” she said, amused after watching him for a while.

“You had doubts?” he snorted.

“Uh-huh, I know a lot of men who know what to do between the sheets, but are total losers when it comes to dancing.”

He shrugged, wondering how many men she could possibly know that way. “Makes no sense to me. Either you’ve got rhythm or you don’t.”

“Right? You’d really think that! But take my brother for example. Have ya ever see him dance?” She shook her head, amused. “He sucks and he always hides behind Maria. But then again... the women seem to fall for him all the time.” She made a face, trying to shake that image.

“Yeah, there’s somethin’ I wish I’d never seen,” he said. “You’d think he’d have better rhythm.” He grinned wickedly. “Although, you never see him with the same girl twice, so maybe he doesn’t have any rhythm there either.”

She laughed out loud. “Never saw it that way but you could be right.”

He smiled in response to her laughter. “You’re not that bad to hang out with, Tess.”

“Yeah? Am I one of your non-friends now?” she teased.

“That what you want?” he countered.

“As long as you don’t start actin’ like an overprotective brother I think there could be worse people to hang out with,” she told him, grinning. “Actually it’s really refreshing to hang out with someone like you.”

He shook his head. “I think Michael’s all the big brother you need,” he said with a grin. “Not interested in bein’ anybody’s brother.” He tipped his head to one side. “Someone like me?”

“Uh-huh. You don’t care what people think about what you do, you don’t look like someone who takes everything said too serious. When I’m out with the others... well, it’s always like, the girls are nice because they want my brother, and the boys are either talking to me because they’re interested in Isabel or they stay away because they know who my brother is, ya know? Sucks big time.”

“You’re in good company then. Isabel’s nice an’ all, but I’ll pass. And I’m not scared of your brother. I like him, he’s a good guy, but I’m not scared of him.”

“You got any siblings?”

“No, it’s just me.”

“Lucky you,” she said. Okay, actually it wasn’t all that bad having siblings. It was pretty cool, but sometimes they just drove you crazy.

“Yeah, I guess,” he muttered.

“Hey, Evans!” Some guy showed up next to them, checking Tess out while he continued to talk to Max. “Got my design ready?”

Max nodded at the other man. “When you comin’ by the shop so I can ink it?”

“Monday maybe?”

“Cool, works for me.”

The other guy nodded, smirking softly at Tess as she danced along with the music.

Max shrugged when Tess glanced at him as if she were checking to see if he was going to say something. “Not your brother, father or boyfriend,” he said with a smirk. “What you do’s totally up to you.”

She smiled. “You were the right man to go out with, Evans.”

“I know. I tell people that all the time but no one ever listens,” he said with a teasing grin.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 12

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:38 am

begonia9508: Michael’s still got some growing up to do.

Max, well… that story is still coming.

Earth2Mama: Michael is full of surprises, huh? He might come across as superficial and rude to those who don’t know him. But if you’re part of his family/friends, he’ll show that other side. We’re pretty sure Liz will be affiliated with this circle soon. ;)

He’s blind because we want him to be, lol. For now. No, seriously, maybe when you know a person for so long, like he’s known Maria… well, the most obvious thing just goes right by you.

keepsmiling7: Michael may have his faults, but he is a sweetheart. Liz, she does need a night off… we’ll see what happens there.

Oh, Aaron and Cody… these little guys don’t have a normal childhood but they do have people who care about them and it looks like Aaron’s circle might just get bigger.

Max and Tess… Nah, we can’t just have two couples in the same kinda relationship in this fic, so don’t worry about it, lol. We have something else for them.

mary mary: Michael with a halo and Max with a pitchfork… hmm…

Lol, we’ll see how things progress with Max as the fic moves forward.

Alien_Friend: Michael’s gonna do his best. Aaron and Cody might just make great little buddies, huh? Only time will tell if the little guy outgrows those seizures. Liz is just starting to really talk to Michael since she only knows him from serving him at the café.

Lol, chances are good that Max wouldn’t be thrilled… but we’ll find out in time.

James is a sweetheart and he’ll be happy to toss Richard out for Isabel any day. Not trusting Richard is a good idea.

Max and Tess are on their way to becoming good friends.

Eva: Lol, halo and pitchfork, huh? Max wasn’t happy with that suggestion. ;)

Thanks! It’s taking time, but the pieces are falling into place.

Rodney: LOL! Yeah, we know… horror of horrors, we’ve gone and done it!

And yes… you told us, lol.

kay_b: Michael is a very good friend and once you’ve got him on your side… you’re set.

No, there really isn’t a relationship between Max and Tess. As for Max liking Liz… are you sure he doesn’t?

kismet: Michael’s a sweetheart and those two little guys could be really good friends if given the chance.

Lol, yeah, Liz isn’t that thrilled about Aaron being drawn to Max. Aaron is definitely a piece of the bridge between the two of them.

Michael may just convince Liz to go out with them yet.

We can put your mind at ease on that front… Max and Tess aren’t going to get serious.



Part 12


And so the Circle is Complete

Kyle and Michael walked into their apartment around 7am on Saturday morning. It had been another busy shift during a hot New York night at the fire department. They had been on four calls overnight. The first had been a building fire, thank God they were there soon enough to save everyone and they had only had to deal with small injuries. Next had been a bunch of drunken panicked teenagers stuck in an elevator. They hadn’t been injured but some of them had started to hyperventilate from the lack of space and the increasing heat.

The last two calls had been car accidents. While one had been pretty harmless with more damage to the cars than to the people, the other had been a lot worse. Kyle and his coworkers had spent almost two hours trying to get the two passengers out of their truck, using cutting tools to get through to them, while Michael and Dana had tried to keep them alive long enough to get them to the hospital. Unfortunately, they had lost the battle against time and both occupants had been dead before they had been able to get them out of the wreck.

“You’re already up?” Michael asked his little sister when he saw her already sitting in front of the TV.

“Your couch isn’t really comfortable, ya know?”

“And yet she’s blockin’ it all day,” Kyle mumbled as he kicked the door shut behind him.

Michael frowned at his sister’s outfit. “Ya always wear somethin’ like that at night?”

“I’m goin’ out for breakfast with Isabel soon,” she said and yawned widely.

“Long night?”

“Yeah, just got home around 3am.”

“Who were you out with?”

Tess shrugged. “Max…”

The guys exchanged a look. “Alone?”

“We were at a club and partied, Michael. Nothing to worry about, okay? I’m not a kid anymore!”

“You’re not fallin’ for him, right?” her brother asked.

“What? No!” she denied heavily.

“Uh-huh…”

“Michael, don’t worry okay? I’m not into Evans! Promise.”

Michael and Kyle took their phones out of their pants when they both started to buzz at the same time. They glanced at each other with a smirk. “You tell her,” Kyle said before Michael had the chance, knowing that it was Maria messaging to ask both of them about their shifts before she had to go to work.

Michael knew that there was more than likely about to be a battle of wills over the couch so he just shrugged and walked into the kitchen to get a glass of juice. He flipped his phone open to check the message and smiled before he thumbed out a response.

Long night. Four calls. What time should I pick Cody up?

There was no point in telling her that they had lost people on this shift. She had enough on her plate and she was on her way to work. He hit the send button while he downed a glass of juice. Damn, he was tired.

Maria knew that the short answers most likely meant that the shift had been pretty rough.

We’ll talk about it tonight. Around 1pm if you’re not too tired.

She sent the message as the constant sound of the moving subway train she was sitting in made her tired all over again.

He made a face when her message came back. He should’ve known she’d see right through it. She always did. He punched in another message and sent it.

1pm works. Gonna grab some sleep. We’ll see ya soon as ya get off. Don’t let that moron photographer get your down.

She chuckled as she read his text, making other people in the subway look at her.

Will kick his ass happily. Get some rest and tell Kyle to do the same. Later

Michael just grinned and shook his head. Oh, he had no doubt she could kick that sorry excuse for a photographer’s ass anytime she pleased, but he also knew that as long as she needed the job she’d hold back. “Hey, Valenti, Maria said to tell you to take your ass to bed and get some sleep,” he hollered.

“Why? She got plans for us tonight?” He wiggled his eyebrows as he approached Michael in the kitchen to get something to drink, not noticing Tess’ disgusted eye roll from the couch.

“No clue... didn’t ask about hot monkey sex plans for tonight, but I doubt it since she’ll have Cody overnight.”

“I guess I’m gonna crash on the couch for a while, need some time to cool down before I can sleep,” Kyle said loudly so hopefully Tess would move.

Tess just dug her heels in and made herself comfortable. She was not moving from the couch! She had already staked a claim on it and possession was nine-tenths of the law, right? She had read that somewhere and since she was sitting on it, that kinda meant she had possession of it.

“Good luck with that,” Michael told his roommate. “I’m crashin’ now.”

Kyle just stared after Michael when he left him alone with the demon spawn. He had no idea what her problem was but ever since she had come back it was like she was everywhere, like she was intent on finding new and interesting ways to make his life hell.

“Wow, first time since forever that I saw my brother exhausted from a night of work instead of fuckin’,” Tess said, amused.

“You have no idea what that man does,” Kyle growled. He knew she was just messing around, but he wasn’t in the mood to put up with her shit while she was taking up space on HIS couch.

She rolled her eyes at his lack of humor. “He’s my brother, Valenti. I have to talk shit about him. It’s like a rule or something.” She pulled her legs further towards him, curious to know if he would take a seat next to her on the couch or not.

“Go sit in the recliner.”

Of course he wouldn’t, she thought bitterly. “No thanks, I’m very comfortable right here.”

“What the hell did I ever do to deserve bein’ tormented by you?” he muttered as he grabbed one of the small pillows and stretched out on the couch. She wanted to fight over it, fine! He used his feet to push her back into the cushions and he braced his heels against the arm of the couch in case she tried to push him off. He smiled to himself, knowing that he had squished her into the corner and consoling himself with the knowledge that it wouldn’t be long before she got sick of it and moved.

Tess shook her head, amused. She reached out to tickle his feet. Most people couldn’t stand that.

Kyle jerked his feet back out of her reach before he could start laughing like a hyena. He was extremely ticklish but she didn’t need to know that. “Will you be getting a job any time soon?”

“Oh, I don’t know yet. Maybe,” she told him. She has already checked all the newspapers, but there was no need to tell him that.

“Maybe?” He snorted and laid his head down again. “Maybe you could go work for Evans.”

She snorted. “Yeah, sure, and what would you suggest I do there?”

“I’m sure there’re plenty of things he’d be willin’ to pay you to do,” he muttered.

“I’m not a slut, Valenti,” she told him angrily.

“I didn’t call you a slut!” he shouted back.

“Not exactly saying it doesn’t mean you didn’t mean it, asshole,” she pushed him away to get up from the couch to get herself a coffee.

Ah, now that was more like it, Kyle thought as he stretched out fully and rolled over to face the back of the couch. He could feel the welcoming feeling of warmth and familiar darkness as sleep began to envelope him but something was picking away at him just enough to keep him from giving in to it.

Why did he care one way or the other if she thought he had meant that comment in a derogatory manner? He hadn’t, he was just exhausted and the words combined with his tone could easily be misinterpreted, but there was no reason to care how she perceived his comment. Well, okay, she was Guerin’s little sister, but still. He forced his eyes closed and tried to go to sleep but now she was moving around the kitchen, making enough noise to raise the dead.

“Motherfucker,” he snarled under his breath as he shoved himself to his feet and stomped into the kitchen. “Look, I don't know what the fuck your deal is, but if you’re gonna misinterpret even half of what I say you might as well get used to bein’ pissed off all the time. Had I intended to call you a slut, I would’ve just said it to your face.”

“And I don’t know why you can’t just go to your fuckin’ room and sleep if you’re tired, just like Michael does. I don’t have a room to go!”

“Oh, my God, we’re seriously standin’ here arguin’ about this? I like to come home an’ unwind by layin’ around on the couch... I think a 12-hour shift, a fire, a bunch of moronic teens, two car accidents, and two dead people entitles me to a couple of hours on my own fuckin’ couch!” He tried hard not to let his job get to him, but nights like that last one left him drained and he just wanted to decompress without any drama.

Tess opened and closed her mouth several times. How the hell should she have known his shift had been that busy and bad? “Whatever. You’ve got a bed to sleep in and there’s also a TV in your room.” She didn’t have the chance to say anything else when suddenly the front door was opened and Isabel walked in, holding a coffee to go in her hand. “Mornin’.”

“How’s it goin’, Iz?” Kyle asked to stop himself from going off on Tess.

“Oh, ya mean other than my ex-boyfriend callin’ me like 10 times last night, leaving me 100 emails and showing up at my door? I’m doin’ good.”

He snorted. “Ya know, your little brother would be happy to kick Dick’s ass for ya,” he offered with a tired grin.

“I doubt that’d make him back off,” she sighed. “You look tired, man.”

“Long night. We fought like hell for a couple of hours, tryin’ to get a couple people out of a wreck around 3am...” he shook his head. “Ended up losin’ both of ‘em. Ya know how the fight goes... sometimes you walk away a winner and sometimes you lose big.”

She winced. “Young people?”

“Around our age... most likely comin’ home after a party.”

“Shit,” Isabel muttered. “I’m sorry. How’s my brother doin’?”

Tess could kick herself right now for acting like a brat. But why the hell would he talk to Isabel like that and just yell at her?

“He’s Michael, ya know? Won’t talk about it with anyone but...”

They looked at each other and nodded in understanding.

“Maria,” they said at the same time.

Isabel glanced around. “I’m picking Tess up for breakfast and shopping, so the apartment’s all yours and you can cool off.”

Kyle took in a deep breath, thankful that she understood. He grabbed a glass of water and downed a couple of aspirin for his headache and wandered back into the living room so he could crash on HIS couch in peace and quiet. Who would’ve thought that Isabel Guerin would be the one to rescue him?

“Are you ready to leave?” Isabel asked her little sister when she noticed her staring after Kyle.

“I don’t get it,” Tess grumbled. “Why didn’t he just say why he’d had a shitty night in the first place?”

Isabel frowned. “Huh?”

“Well, all he did was fight with me about the stupid couch. You come in and there was actual conversation... I don’t understand why he couldn’t talk to me like a normal human being.”

“Come on,” she dragged her sister along with her out of the apartment, “the guys just need to unwind sometimes after a shift, don’t take anything they say personally.”

“Don’t take it personally? I was talkin’ about a job and he suggested I whore myself out to Max Evans.”

Isabel almost laughed at that. Yeah, sounded like Valenti’s humor. “Why’re ya getting so pissy, Tess?”

“He called me a slut! How should I take that? As a compliment?!”

“Do ya like him?” Isabel asked suspiciously.

“What? Why would you ask that?”

“Because normally you don’t give a shit what people think of you.”

“I don’t care what the fuck Kyle Valenti thinks about me!” she denied. Yeah, lie to yourself, dumbass, her conscience taunted. “I just don’t appreciate bein’ called a slut!”

Isabel wasn’t sure if she could trust Tess here, but she decided to let it go for now. “Let’s distract you then.”

“Really? Shopping?”

“Yeppers.”

“Are you goin’ to Dad’s for the barbeque this afternoon?” Tess asked as she slid into the butter-soft leather passengers’ seat of her sister’s BMW.

“You talked to him?”

“Well... no. I heard Michael talkin’ to him yesterday.”

“I’m goin’ and you should come too, let him know you’re back.”

“You think he’s gonna be mad?”

“He’ll be mad if you stay in the city any longer without telling him.”

“Has he said much about me while I’ve been gone?” Tess asked uncertainly.

“Other than not understanding your sudden hurry to leave New York to live with Mom? Nope.”

“Well, you guys aren’t mad at me, right?”

“We’re not mad, Tess. We were just shocked.”

“I just... I had to go, Iz. There was... I had my reasons.”

“And those reasons don’t exist anymore now? You figured everything out?”

“Well, I thought I had. Now, I’m not so sure.” She stared at the businesses they were passing on their way to the largest mall in the city. “Sometimes it just seems like everything’s so damn fucked up.”

“Tell me about it,” Isabel told her with an encouraging smile. “Hey, if ya wanna tell me about it... you know ya can, right?”

“Yeah, it’s just... I don’t know... you’ll probably think it’s just stupid.”

“Ah, come on,” she turned to look at Tess, “it can’t be that stupid if you took such a big step and left New York for it.”

“I’m tellin’ you it was stupid. There was this guy I liked and he kinda... liked someone else. So, I just decided I didn’t wanna deal with the drama.”

Isabel lifted one eyebrow in surprise. She left because of a random guy? That wasn’t the whole truth. “Who is he?”

“He’s just... he’s just a guy I thought I liked, Iz.”

“Where’d you meet him?”

“Around,” she hedged.

Isabel groaned. “Alright, understood; ya don’t wanna talk about it. But don’t expect me to believe it was just a random guy, Tess. I’m blonde, but I’m not stupid.”

No, he wasn’t random, Tess thought as she sighed. “I don’t know why we let ourselves get so tied up in knots over guys.”

“True, don’t know a girl without those problems though, little sis.”

“We don’t know anyone who’s in a relationship and happy about it?”

“Do you?”

Ungh, yeah, Kyle and Maria, she thought in irritation. Not that what they had was a relationship and they would be the first ones to admit it.

“Let’s face the truth, Tess. Me an’ Richard: fucked up. Monica, ya know the cool hairdresser I go too, she just got divorced. Nancy from work, her boyfriend told her he loves someone else... a younger someone else. Liz... the waitress from the café, well, I don’t really know her, but the shit she’s pulling with Evans... and then Maria. Sleeping with Kyle but really wanting Michael. Everyone is so fucked up!”

“Wait, there’s somethin’ between that waitress and Max? Are you fuckin’ kidding me?!”

Isabel frowned. “Max isn’t... he’s not the reason you left, right?”

“Oh, hell no! I just met him the other day. Damn it, I can’t even pick a random fuck out right!”

“I don’t know what’s going on between him and the waitress, but it seems like they passionately hate each other. If ya ask me, I think they’ve already had sex.”

Tess snorted. “Well, he’s a decent fuck, but I can’t imagine getting that passionate about him.” She shook her head after a moment. “Nah, he was good, but he wasn’t that good.”

Isabel made a face. “TMI, girl.”

“Oh, please, this from the girl who had her hand down Tony the Firefighter’s pants in the hallway the other night?”

“Hey, he’s hot, don’t ya think?”

“Hell yeah, he’s hot. Are you gonna see him again?” She giggled. “Not that you really saw much of him the other night, but...”

“Don’t remind me of that other stupid guy, okay? Well, I don’t know... if he happens to be at another party... then I guess I’ll see him again.”

“Other stupid... oh, the wet blanket from upstairs? Yeah, do you think that guy’s ever gotten laid?”

“Probably not,” Isabel shook her head, amused.

*****

The sun was climbing higher in the sky as Maria waited to be called on Saturday morning. The humidity was unreal and she was glad that Michael and Cody had chosen to stay at the apartment and watch cartoons while they waited for her to finish. They were going to pick her up around 2pm when the shoot was scheduled to be done for the day and then head over to his dad’s place for the barbeque. The weather would probably be too muggy for Cody and it would irritate his respiratory system and if so they would be sitting inside watching the movies she knew Michael had already packed for the afternoon.

She shifted in the uncomfortably hard plastic chair and glanced up when they called the next group of girls in. She sighed and tried to focus on the magazine she held when she noticed the photographer on the other side of the door before it closed behind the girls. “Great, this day just gets better and better,” she muttered.

“That doesn’t sound good,” a tall blonde said as she sat in one of the seats vacated by the last group of girls.

Maria let the magazine slide closed in favor of shifting her attention to the girl who had spoken. “You’re new,” she said and held her hand out. “Maria DeLuca.”

“Courtney Banks,” she introduced herself with a smile and they shook hands. “Yeah, I just started and Nancy thought this would be the perfect shoot to get my feet wet.”

“Just don’t expect much from the photographer... verbal abuse and an attitude is about all you’ll get out of him.”

Courtney snorted. “You know how to deal with guys like that?” She shrugged. “You’ve gotta figure that they come in with all their fancy equipment, showin’ off, ordering people around, insulting everyone who crosses their paths... they’re trying to compensate for a lack of command in the bedroom.”

Maria laughed and nodded. “Yeah, I can see that. Mancuso is a jerk and he’ll point out any flaw he finds with you and if he can’t find anything he’ll start makin’ shit up.” She shifted and shrugged one shoulder. “Whaddaya do though, ya know? Gotta have the paycheck.”

“No lie! Girl, I knew it was expensive in New York, but I had no idea how expensive it was until I actually got here. I’m gonna need more than one job just to afford a shitty little efficiency.”

“Tell me about it. Have you considered getting a roommate?”

“Nah, that tiny space may be shitty, but it’s mine and I have no intention of sharing it.”

“Ah, DeLuca, you’ve returned,” Scott said as he stepped out of the room. “I see you haven’t taken my advice and dropped a few pounds.”

Maria winked at Courtney as she stood up and dropped the magazine in the chair. “If I didn’t need the job,” she muttered as she turned to follow the rude photographer into the other room.

Mancuso came out of the room again just moments later. “You! Come here.”

“Me?” Courtney asked.

He rolled his eyes. “No, I was talkin’ to the plant next to you. Of course you, blondie!”

Courtney controlled the urge to tell him off. But if she didn’t need this job she’d be telling him a few truths about himself. She bit back a grin. Just wait, she thought. As soon as you’ve got a few jobs under your belt you’ll have the opportunity to tell him off without losing the job. She couldn't resist reaching over and stroking one of the leaves of the plant. “Maybe they’ll call you next,” she said.

“Alright, you two...” Mancuso said and walked over to them, pulling one of the straps of Courtney’s top down her shoulder and brushing her hair back before he glanced at Maria and shook his head. He walked over to some racks and picked up a different top for her, something similar to the last one he had insisted she put on. “Change into this.”

Maria was biting her tongue to stop herself from snapping at him. It was practically the same damn thing! She shot a quick glance at the clock on the wall as she went to change.

Courtney glanced after Maria when the girl disappeared behind a studio wall to change her top. What the hell was wrong with the one she was wearing?

“Got a problem?” Mancuso asked when he noticed the direction of her gaze.

“No,” she grumbled as they waited for the other girl to get back

“No, no, no, that’s too loose,” the photographer complained when Maria came back.

“Too loose?” she asked in disbelief. The damn corset was already much tighter than was comfortable.

Mancuso ordered one of his assistants to pull the cords of the top tighter around her.

“Can I call my friend?” Maria croaked. “He’s an EMT and I think I’m gonna need resuscitating soon.”

Courtney tried not to laugh and ended up snorting. “Your EMT friend… is he a friend or ya know, a friend?” she asked, shrugged when the photographer turned and glared at her for interrupting him.

“No, just my best friend.”

“Best friend, huh? So, I guess he’s probably all… responsible,” she said cautiously. The first word that came to mind was boring, but she had just met Maria and she seemed pretty cool so there was no reason to tick her off.

Maria snorted. “Maybe when it comes to his job, yeah.”

“Yeah? Tell me you guys know how to party,” she begged dramatically. “I’ve only been to a couple of parties since I got here, but so far they’ve been kinda lame.” She had been disappointed in the party scene so far.

Maria laughed. “You haven’t met any of my friends then, yet.” She ignored Mancuso’s pissed look. “We love to party. This weekend will be quiet, but there might be some time to introduce you next week. I’m pretty sure there’ll be a good party to go to or we’re gonna throw a party at my friend’s place.”

Courtney nodded and smiled. “That’d be cool. I’ll have something to look forward to then.”

“Would ya mind doin’ your job now?” Mancuso growled. “God, I should’ve taken the professionals.”

Maria just rolled her eyes. Like it was his choice, she thought.

“So, the professionals,” Courtney spoke up. “They’re what, psychic?”

“And anorexic,” Maria added.

“The only reason you’re even being considered for this layout is because of the demographic it’s intended to reach… at least with professional models I would be dealing with professionalism that you have no chance of understanding.” Scott huffed in irritation and moved over to his camera.

Courtney rolled her eyes at Maria and shrugged as they started to pose for the shots.

“Can’t wait to get outta here,” Maria muttered, glancing at the clock on the wall behind the irritating photographer. It should be over soon.

“Got plans for the rest of the day?” Courtney asked just to make conversation.

“Yeah, gonna hang out with my brother and my friend.”

“Ungh, sounds a lot more fun than my afternoon,” she said, making a face when Scott let out an exasperated sigh as if they were the worst models he had ever worked with. “I’ve gotta go back to the agency and meet with Nancy to get my schedule worked out for this next week.”

“I’m gonna be at work a lot from Monday to Wednesday, so we’ll probably run into each other again.”

Courtney nodded. “Cool, maybe you’ll have some news about a party for next week.”

“For damn sure,” Maria said and winked at her just as Scott snapped the photo. He had to admit that it had been a lucky shot. She looked sexy and cheeky, but of course he wouldn’t tell her that. “Concentrate,” he growled.

Courtney shook her head and immediately the photographer unleashed his wrath on her for daring to move during the shot. She just stared at him, using the most clueless expression she could muster up because she knew it would irritate him further. He was hoping she would argue with him so he’d have an excuse not to use her for the shoot and she refused to give him the satisfaction.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 13

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:23 am

Earth2Mama: Lol, slowly but surely, definitely.

Tess is a brat right now, isn’t she? No wonder Kyle isn’t interested. But she’s gonna change tactics soon… ;)

Hmm, if Isabel is right about M&L will not come out in this part, lol.

begonia9508: Thanks for reading!

keepsmiling7: Thanks! They’re a handful, but they do keep it interesting. ;)

Eva: We’re glad to hear just how hooked you’re getting on TIC TAC.

Oh… while Courtney will eventually factor in we have to admit we weren’t too thrilled with sharing Michael either.

Natalie36: Oh, you might have to wait a bit… they’re not gonna be rushing to be together.

Alien_Friend: Surprise, lol!

They do have very intense jobs and they affect them in many ways.

You could be onto something… Kyle may just not realize he likes her too.

Lol, could be.

mary mary: We have a feeling Mancuso isn’t going anywhere.

Nope, Kyle didn’t… it was all about how Tess perceived his tone and what he said.

Rodney: You would be correct. :)

Yeah… that might not be a good thing.




Part 13

Why? How? Whatever!

“God, Iz, it’s really hard to be out with you, even in the mall,” Tess complained.

“What?” Isabel asked confused, “Why?”

“Because they’re all staring, okay? Every damn man is staring at you; the single guys, the married guys, the young ones, the old ones. I think I’m gonna get a complex here.”

The other woman snorted. “Tess, there’s no need to get a complex, okay? You’re a Guerin, you look good. We all do.”

“Yeah whatever,” her sister muttered.

Isabel smiled at a group of men they had just passed, which made Tess groan. “Sick.”

“Okay, girl! If you wanna get some attention, then you probably need a makeover,” the older girl stated and stopped to look at Tess.

“A makeover?” she asked in disbelief and glanced down at herself.

“Uh-huh. Your hair’s… boring.”

“Boring?”

“Yeah,” Isabel reached out to tug on her curls, making a face. “It’s not shiny, it’s like straw and it’s shaggy. You should do something different, blonde wisps and I think it would look a lot better if it was more flat. Not totally flat, but not… like this dishmop style.”

“Okay, ya know what? Me and my…. dishmop are going home now,” Tess told her, pissed.

“Hey, you’re the one complaining about not getting any attention, aren’t you? So I tell you what to do and you get sulky. Come on,” she pulled her sister by her upper arm, “I know the best hair cutter in New York, it might take a few days to get an appointment but I’m even gonna pay for you.”

“You’re sooo generous,” Tess muttered and followed her sister along the mall to the next boutique.

“God, is he serious?” Isabel asked quietly as she watched a man in a tux in front of a mirror while Tess went through some clothes.

“Huh? What’s wrong?”

“He looks like a penguin in that thing.”

“Um… you do know that’s exactly the style Richard used to wear, right?”

“Yeah see, he always looked like a penguin too. Even last night when he showed up at my door he was all dressed up.”

“He came by your place last night?” Tess rolled his eyes. “Jeez, and I had given him credit for at least knowin’ when to cut his losses. So, what’d he want? To explain? Get back together?”

“Both I guess, I don’t know.” Isabel shrugged. “He’s really getting on my nerves right now. He leaves like 50 messages on my voicemail every day, my email account’s full of his stuff as well. I didn’t let him in and I told my doorman to not let him upstairs again.”

“He’s turnin’ into a stalker,” Tess snorted. “Better watch it, Iz.”

“Nah, he’s harmless, just a little too clingy, ya know? It’ll pass I guess.” Isabel grinned. “He missed his opportunity to marry the most beautiful woman in New York, of course he’s upset.”

“Suppose that’s true enough. He’ll avoid crossing Michael’s path if he’s got any intelligence left in his head.” Their brother was pretty good about not getting involved in their romantic lives, but if one of them got hurt the protector in him came out. “I’d almost feel bad for him, but in this situation if Michael gets his hands on him I’d say he deserves everything he gets.”

“Yeah, Michael can use the experiences from his job to hurt those guys badly without doing major harm,” Isabel said amused.

Tess laughed and shook her head. “We’d better not let Michael know we find his behavior amusing.”

“Yeah better not, he might like it,” Isabel snorted. “So what’d ya do after calling me last night?”

“Went out for a while. I ran into Max when I stopped to get somethin’ to eat and since he wasn’t really doin’ anything either we hung out together.”

“Max, huh?” Isabel teased.

Tess shrugged with a grin. “Hey, he got us into one of the hottest clubs in the city.”

“And what’d ya do afterwards?” her sister asked with lifted eyebrows.

“Went home and slept on that crummy couch that Kyle’s so in love with,” she said, making a face.

“Where ya wanna go now?” Isabel asked when Tess didn’t seem to be interested in any of the clothes in the shop.

“How close are we to the computer store? I wanted to check out what they’ve got for laptops.”

“It’s just around the next corner. Maybe Mitchell’s there, he’s really good with all the computer stuff, he’ll tell you what ya need.”

“Dad’s friend?”

“Yeah, he’s the manager.”

“Cool.”

They rounded the next corner and saw the computer store up ahead. “Hey, look,” she said, pointing at the sign taped to the window. “He’s taking applications for a salesperson.”

Tess wrinkled her nose. “Do you think you need any knowledge of computer stuff to get the job?”

Isabel shrugged. “Tess, you could sell ice to Eskimos. Besides, I’m sure if there’re other things you need to know Mitchell would be more than happy to train you.” Her steps faltered when they reached the entrance and she saw that thorn in her side talking to the man in question.

“Isn’t that...?” Tess hissed, not remembering the nerd’s name.

“Yes, it is.” Isabel’s eyes narrowed when she realized Mitchell was going over an application and asking questions as he browsed through the various entries on the form. She reached around to the inside of the window and pulled the sign off, shoving it in her sister’s hands. “C’mon, before the nerd king takes your job.”

Mitchell Wainwright was a slightly paunchy man in his early 50’s with kind blue eyes and dark hair that was starting to thin. He shifted as he nodded at the young man’s answer, impressed with his knowledge of computers and sales. “Well, everything looks good, Mr. Whitman. I’ve got a couple other interviews scheduled, but once I’ve had time to check your references I’ll be giving you a call.”

“Thanks, Mr. Wainwright,” Alex said as he shook the man’s hand. “I appreciate it.”

“Izzy, what’re you doin’ here?” Mitchell asked with a big smile when he noticed the young woman hurrying up to the counter. He didn’t often get a chance to see Adam’s kids now that they were getting older and had their own lives.

“Oh, Tess and I are out shopping for a new laptop and a job,” she confided as she hugged him. “And since your store’s here, why go anywhere else?” She shot a triumphant look at Alex over the older man’s shoulder. “It’s been sooo long since we’ve seen you, Uncle Mitch.”

Alex glared at her when she interrupted his discussion with the store owner but as soon as her voice shifted and sweetened in combination with addressing the older man as ‘Uncle Mitch’ he just knew it was all over. Seconds later the younger sister was joining the little reunion, waving the Help Wanted sign and going on about how she needed a job so badly.

“I’d love to hire you, sweetie, but I’ve already got an applicant who I think’s gonna fill the position perfectly.” He released the younger Guerin girl and motioned to the young man he had been interviewing. “This’s – “

Isabel gasped loudly as she turned and looked at Alex. “You!” she said as if she had just noticed him.

Mitchell frowned as he looked between Isabel and Alex. “You two know each other?” he asked uncertainly.

“I should certainly hope not!” she said, her tone heated. “Several months back I had a run-in with him at some store he was working at… I was reaching for something and…” she turned her head, lowering it as if she were embarrassed and her voice dropped to just above a whisper. “He was kneeling on the floor a few feet away, stocking shelves and he… oh, it was sooo humiliating, Uncle Mitch.”

“Oh, my,” he said, his imagination running with her insinuations.

Alex stared at the woman in disbelief. He hadn’t understand what she had told the other man, but from the way his face had turned into shock, he already knew it wasn’t anything good and a lie for sure. What to do now? Would it really matter if he tried to tell Mr. Wainwright that the woman was lying? “Um, sorry, I don’t know what’s going on, but I certainly didn’t do what she said,” he tried. There was nothing to lose anyway.

Mitchell forced his face into a neutral expression as he nodded. “No problem. I’ll get back with you as soon as I can, Mr. Whitman,” he said, dismissing him.

Alex let his head hang. He knew that the job was a lost cause and that he could nothing to get it now no matter how much more qualified he was compared to that stupid blonde. Great, now the family was also taking control of his life outside the apartment building. “Thanks,” he told the owner briefly before shooting an evil death glare at Isabel. Bitch!

Isabel smiled at Mitchell when Alex finally tucked his little tail between his legs and left the store. “You’re wonderful,” she said, hugging him again.

“Well, I like my customers to get the attention they deserve, but…” he shook his head. “That right there would just be a nightmare waiting to happen.” He glanced at Tess. “So, lookin’ for a job, huh?”

“Yeah, just got back to New York and I really need my own apartment and soon.”

“Well…” he scratched his chin as he stared at her. “Think you’d make a good salesperson?”

“Sure, I could sell ice to Eskimo’s if it is necessary,” she told him, stealing Isabel’s saying from earlier.

He laughed and nodded. “I don’t doubt that. Tell ya what… I’ve got another kid workin’ here who works evenings and weekends…” he shook his head at her surprised look. “Yeah, I know, most people want anything but that schedule. I need someone who can be here during the day Monday thru Friday… sound like anything you’re interested in?”

Tess leaned against the counter and grinned. “Let’s talk about the pay.”

“You are your father’s daughter,” he said with a grin.

****

“Guess I’ve gotta go meet Nancy,” Courtney told Maria as they walked out of the building where the photo shoot had taken place. “You were right, Mancuso is an ass.” She shook her head. “You aren’t fat at all.”

Maria sighed. “Neither are you, so don’t let him drive you insane; we’ve got enough anorexic people in New York.”

She giggled. “You’re right about that.”

Maria glanced around and located Michael and Cody on the other side of the street as he best friend held her brother in his arms so he could have a better look at a parked police cruiser. “My boys are already here.”

Courtney followed the other girl’s gaze. Damn, the guy definitely didn’t look boring. Actually, he was pretty hot.

“Next time I’ll introduce you. We’re already runnin’ late ‘cause of the shoot, so I’ll talk to ya later.” Maria hurried to cross the street to join Michael.

“Yeah, bye,” Courtney called and started to walk off in the opposite direction. She couldn’t wait to meet Maria’s friend personally.

Michael reached in through the open window and shook the officer’s hand, thanking him for showing his patrol car to the little boy. He had seen Maria step out onto the street with another girl and he poked Cody, making him giggle. “Hey, little man, look who’s finally done with work.”

Cody held onto Michael’s neck tightly as he stretched up to wave to his sister, letting her know they were there.

“Hey,” she greeted them tiredly. “Sorry it took so long.” She rubbed her brother’s hair slightly and kissed Michael’s cheek.

“Nah, you kiddin’?” Michael asked. “We were checkin’ out Officer Garcia’s patrol car.” He patted Cody’s back as they turned to walk over to his car. “It was pretty cool, huh?”

The little boy nodded and took a deep breath. “He let me talk on his radio, M’ria!”

She smiled at Michael’s ability to make Cody happy. “Wow, that’s cool.”

“It was. Ya know, when I was a kid my dad took me downtown with him for business and I got to do the same thing. The radios are much cooler now than they were back then though.” He unlocked his car and settled Cody into the car seat strapped into the back. He and Maria took the little guy out often enough that he had just bought one that he kept in the trunk until it was needed. Back when Cody had been a baby until about two years old the kid had been a chick magnet, but now… well, at four years old he was big enough that the girls weren’t exactly rushing to get to him when they were out together.

“I don’t think I can eat anything after that photographer put me in that damn tight corset again,” Maria complained as Michael started to pull out onto the street. She snuggled down in her seat, knowing that it would take them about an hour to get to his father’s house at this time of day.

“Ah, I bet you will.” Michael glanced in the rearview mirror, checking on Cody. “Hey, you cool enough back there, little man?”

Cody nodded and smiled. “I’m good, Mike.” He leaned forward as much as the restraints would allow and he patted his sister’s shoulder. “Mike said his dad’s gonna make that meat you like.”

“Brisket,” Michael mouthed when she glanced at him in question.

Maria chuckled. “That’s great. Are you hungry?” She turned in her seat to look at her brother, watching him play with his little hands.

He shook his head.

“Hey,” Michael reached over to cover her hands. “Check the time. It’s just ‘cause he took his meds a little while ago.” Cody always had to eat a little something with his meds or they gave him an upset stomach.

She nodded and stretched. “I think I’m gonna take advantage of that comfortable hammock in your dad’s garden and you guys can make my food.”

“You hear that, Cody? Your big sister thinks we’re gonna wait on her.”

The little boy snorted.

“What? I deserve it,” she complained playfully.

“You do deserve it,” Michael agreed. “And that’s why my dad has an entire staff of people at the house.” He winked at her. “Just for your comfort.”

“God, I love your dad,” she said with a smile. “Think you could marry me? Then he could be my dad too. Well, kinda.”

Michael snorted. “I love ya, DeLuca, but marry ya? I’ll pass.”

Cody looked back and forth between them. “How come you don’t wanna marry her, Mike?” he asked curiously.

“Oh, no, don’t you get in on this. Me an’ marriage? Not happenin’. At least not for a long, long, looooooooong time, like when I’m too old to have fun anymore.”

“An’ then you’ll marry M’ria?” the little boy kept on.

“You started this so fix it,” Michael hissed when Maria just closed her eyes and grinned at his predicament.

“Ya know, Michael and me, we’re just friends, Cody. And friends don’t marry each other.”

“Why?”

“Why? Well, because friends don’t do stuff like kiss. Friends are just…” she struggled. Oh, hell, how to explain to a four-year-old kid? “Friends just hang out and have fun. When you’re married you live together and you have kids and you kiss.”

Cody frowned. “That don’t make no sense. I seen you kiss Mike.”

“It’s not the same way friends kiss, bud.”

He puzzled over that for a few minutes. “So does that mean you gotta marry Kyle since you kiss him?”

Maria looked at Michael helplessly. “Help me,” she mouthed.

“Hey, bud, you wanna watch a movie? I’ve got a couple cartoons: Land Before Time or Finding Nemo.

Finding Nemo!” Cody said excitedly, totally forgetting all about his questions.

Michael grinned and reached for the controls to start the movie. “They ask the best questions, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” Maria whispered. “How would you explain the weird relationship between Kyle an’ me to a four-year-old?”

“I wouldn’t even attempt it,” he chuckled.

“Yeah, better not.”

He slouched down and grinned at her. “We’ve got about half an hour before we get to Dad’s place. Why don’t you try to get a little sleep?”

“Best idea you’ve had today,” she joked and wiggled around to get comfortable.

*****

Kyle was stretched out on the couch, feet propped up on one end and crossed at the ankles as he dozed lightly with the stereo playing loud enough to keep most people awake. Loco had wedged himself in between Kyle’s side and the back of the couch and his whiskers twitched when someone knocked on the door. He chirped, annoyed, when his human cushion shifted, disturbing his position and waking him up. His head lifted as he flipped over to pull himself up onto the back of the couch so he could look around.

The person at the door knocked again and when that didn’t get a response they started to pound in earnest. Loco skittered down to the floor and started running around crazily, agitated by the noise. Kyle finally hauled himself to his feet and scooped the frantic animal up, rubbing him gently as he walked to the door and pulled it open. He glanced at the man and lifted an eyebrow in question. “Can I help you?” he asked, yawning.

“I have a delivery for a Tess Guerin,” he said, motioning to the cart next to him.

Kyle leaned out into the hallway to look at the mountain of luggage piled on the cart and he cursed under his breath. “Great,” he muttered. Now he was never gonna get rid of her!

“This’s the address she gave,” the man said when the occupant of the apartment didn’t look like he was going to accept the luggage.

“No, it’s fine,” he said, stepping back. “Just unload it right here by the front door.” He waited until the guy had stacked the bags and suitcases inside, tipped him, and then shut the door again. Loco had wanted down as soon as he saw the new things and now he was climbing all over the luggage, chattering excitedly as he investigated the zipper tabs and pockets. He sighed and started back to the couch, pausing halfway there and slowly turning around to look at Mt. Leather as a thought suddenly occurred to him.

He smiled as he grabbed the first bag and hauled it down the hallway to the living room. He opened the balcony doors and shoved the bag outside before going back and getting another one. With the largest ones outside he unlocked the storage closet and started piling them inside. Her things wouldn’t get damaged out here, but they wouldn’t be in his way either, he thought. Besides, didn't she deserve it after hiding the remote? Yeah, she did. She deserved more than that.

He went back inside to get the last of her bags and stopped to laugh when he saw the pile of clothing the ferret had managed to drag out of one of the suitcases. Loco had finally worked one of the zippers open and he was in the process of stealing smaller items, collecting them to take back and hide in his basket. Kyle went to get a drink and let Loco finish his little shopping excursion before shoving whatever was left over back into the bag and zipping it back up. At some point Loco would reveal something he had just taken, but for the first few days he always hid his new acquisitions from everyone. He glanced at the door when he heard the girls talking on the other side and he hurried outside to shove the bags into the closet and lock it up. He got back inside and cracked his knee on the coffee table in his haste to make it back to the couch as the key turned in the lock.

Isabel laughed at something that Tess had said, while the girls stumbled into the room. “Hey, Kyle, we didn’t wake you up, did we?”

“Huh? No, I got up a little while ago. Loco wanted to play and I banged my knee up when he got away from me.” At least that would explain the temporary limping until the pain wore off.

Tess threw her bags with the shopping stuff next to him and ran off. “Need to pee.”

“Hey, thanks for the unnecessary update!” he shouted after her.

Isabel rolled her eyes. These two were not easy to bear. “Alright, I think I’ll leave.”

“Hey, no need to rush, Iz,” Kyle assured her as he turned to look at her. “Don’t you wanna hang out? Or maybe the two of you are gonna go out again? Huh?” He gestured to the pile of shopping sacks taking up space on his couch and after a moment he pushed a couple of them off of the cushion and they landed on the floor. “Surely you two have more shoppin’ to do?” He smiled innocently when the sound attracted Loco and the ferret scrambled across the floor and burrowed inside the first bag.

Isabel chuckled. “You’ll survive Kyle, she’s not that bad.”

“Easy for you to say,” he grumbled. “No one’s takin’ up space on your couch.”

“Good grief, Kyle, you’re like a big baby,” Tess said when she came back and hugged her sister. “Bye for now, Iz.”

He was gritting his teeth when the door shut after Isabel, leaving him alone with Tess. She was probably gonna want to talk or think they should hang out now. No time like the present to make sure she understood that wasn’t happening, he decided. He got to his feet and moved around the room, picking up the few things he had brought out from the kitchen and putting them in the sink to be washed later. Last time one of them had left dishes out Loco had confiscated a fork and hidden it. Michael had gotten a rude awakening the morning after a party when he had gone to kick something out of his way as he stumbled through the apartment and gotten stuck with the tines of the fork.

He grabbed his shoes and sat on the couch to put them on, ignoring Tess when she just looked at him.

“Where’re you goin’?” she asked when he didn’t bother to tell her on his own.

“Out.”

“But I bought food,” she said, hurt. “I was planning to make dinner, but if you’re goin’ out,” she shrugged and wandered off to put the things into the refrigerator. She wasn’t planning to cook for herself, so it was probably pizza again.

Kyle rubbed his hand over his face. Damn, he hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings. “I’ve got plans,” he said as he tied his shoes. “You can hang out with Loco. He likes to eat, so whatever you fix I’m sure he’ll be happy to scarf up a few bites.”

“Yeah, whatever,” she said, taking a bottle of water out of the refrigerator. “I’m gonna take a bath since none of you is gonna be home. Have fun with whatever you’re doin’.”

“Whatever,” he mocked. “Stay outta my bathroom.”

“I’m taking Michael’s, ya know. He is my brother and he’s okay with it,” she snapped back and slammed the door shut behind her.

He rolled his eyes. She was so friggin’ dramatic! “Loco, you’re on your own, buddy. If I were you I’d go hide in my room… you’ll be safe there.”

****

Liz glanced at her watch, realizing that it was already time to get going or she would be too late for her summer class. Damn, and she still wasn’t finished with rereading the paper she had to deliver today. Well, it had to be okay, she thought and out it in her bag, before she turned around and looked at Aaron, who was lying peacefully in his bed after lunch. She smiled at his worked up hair and went over to smooth it.

“I’ll be back soon,” she whispered, pretty sure he wouldn’t hear it. She got up to go downstairs. It bothered her to leave him with Trent, but Ms. McGinty was with her grandchild today and there was no one else to watch him.

Trent looked up from the game he was watching when Liz came into the living room and he frowned when he saw the backpack she held in her right hand. He leaned back, looking for Aaron and he shook his head when he didn't see or hear the little boy. “Where the fuck do you think you're goin’?”

“I have a class like every Saturday, Trent.”

“Uh-huh, and as I recall I told you I’m not a babysitter.”

“He’s sleeping anyway and he won’t probably up for another hour. There’s something to eat for him in the kitchen in case he gets hungry.”

“This isn’t up for negotiation... what the hell does NO mean to you?” He threw the remote on the coffee table and stood up to look at her fully. “I let you bring the little brat back here but I told you I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“It’s just for two hours.” She hated to beg, especially when it was him. “I wouldn’t ask you if I had someone else.”

“Two hours? Are you out of your mind?” He wouldn’t watch the kid for two minutes! “Then if I’m your only option looks like you’ll be missin’ class today.”

“But I have to turn a paper in.”

“Not my problem.” He glanced back at the screen when the crowd went wild and he realized he had just missed a big play. “See what you did? Damn it!”

She stared at him in disbelief and let her bag sink to the ground. “You are such an asshole.”

He shrugged carelessly. “You didn’t used to think so.”

“You didn’t used to be one,” she countered back, frustrated. What now? Taking Aaron with her wasn’t an option either.

“You’re the one who changed everything, Liz. Things were fine before you decided to bring the brat here.”

“He’s my brother for God’s sake, Trent. He has no one else.”

“Yeah, and you’re doin’ a great job with him.” He snorted derisively. “Cramped into a room that doubles as a study/bedroom... no yard for him to play in... kid’s got no friends... doesn’t see you all that much between work and school... yeah, great choice you made for him.”

She bit her inner cheek when she felt the tears, but she was able to fight them back. The bad thing was that to some degree he was right. She had nothing to offer Aaron, but still, it had been right to take him with her. It had to be the right thing.

“If you’re gonna be here anyway, why don’t you go make lunch?” He glanced at her, wondering how things might have been different if she had just let the kid go into the system. She had made the choice though, she had chosen the kid over him so she only had herself to blame for the situation she was in now.

“Aaron and I already had lunch,” she gritted out and went upstairs again.

“You know, you’re the one who chose this,” he yelled after her. “Aw, damn it!” He kicked the corner of the couch when he realized he had just missed another big play.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 14

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:01 am

Earth2Mama: Not liking Isabel the most, huh? True, it was uncalled for. Lol, Tess is getting on your nerves too… well, we’ll see how long that lasts. For you and Kyle. ;) Trent… well, that story has yet to be unveiled.

Yeah, that didn’t take long, did it? Oh, how would anyone explain that relationship to Cody?

Natalie36: Thanks! Liz is in a bad situation.

keepsmiling7: Yeah, nothing like that kinda compliment from your older sister.

Rodney: Well, Tess was very pleased with your review.

Some of the characters it’s gonna be hard to like for a while.

Lol, better get used to it.

Alien_Friend: It’s doubtful that anyone’s gonna care for Trent… there’s nothing to like about him. We’ll take a look at what happened to bring them to this point.

That was a low blow. Alex is struggling to hold on, so we’ll see what happens.

Kids have the best questions. They see things without all of the filters adults have and they just put it out there. Cody knows what he sees and he doesn’t understand why they aren’t together.

mary mary: Oh, we promise, she and Michael are related. Liz is dealing with the situation the only way she knows how for the time being. In time things will change for her and Aaron.

Next week… always. ;)

begonia9508: They’ll have their rough times too… money does not make them exempt.

Liz is in a tough situation but it’ll be sorted out in time.

Maria only knows Liz from the café. Michael’s the first one to approach her outside of her job.

Lover of Metallica: Believe it, ‘cause she did. Great imagery there, lol. Oh, things are going to change in time…

Yes, he can be that selfish and close-minded. We’ll get more of a look into the situation with Trent and Liz as we get deeper into the story.

Kyle and Tess have their own situation to sort out… and they will. Well, in time. ;)

kismet: What about we drop him to Mt. Rainer? Lol

We can see why ya don’t like Iz, probably no one does, but we will work around it eventually. ;)

We will see more about the Guerin family today.

And more Mi/Li scenes will come soon as well.



Part 14

Family Madness

Michael pulled in past the wrought iron gates and drove up the long driveway to the front of the large house his dad owned. He glanced back at Cody and grinned when he saw the little guy’s rapt expression as he watched the cartoon. “Hey, bud, you ready to eat somethin’ yet?”

“Do I gotta?” Cody asked, still not feeling very hungry.

“No, course not. How ‘bout we wake Maria up and we’ll go in an’ see everybody.”

“Otay,” Cody agreed and leaned forward to shake his sister’s seat. “M’ria!” he shouted as loud as he could, “wake uuuuuuuuup!”

Maria jumped and glared sleepily at Michael when he grinned at her.

“C’mon, girl, let’s go inside and get somethin’ to eat.”

Michael used his key to let them into his father’s house and he smiled when he heard the usual chaotic madness. His father was arguing with Nana, the woman who had been in charge of overseeing the day to day business of running Adam Guerin’s household since before Isabel had been born. He knew from years of watching similar scenes unfold that the older woman would win the argument, she always did. His dad would stomp around for a while, muttering indignantly about the insane woman and wondering aloud when he had lost complete control in his own home.

Maria held onto Cody’s hand as they followed Michael through the expansive home. She had long since gotten used to the ridiculously large house and now the opulence surrounding them was no longer something that made her stand and stare. The first time she had been to visit she had felt so awkward and out of place because she wasn’t used to such luxurious things. She smiled when she heard the irate voices coming from the kitchen and a moment later a woman’s voice cut into the argument, efficiently ending the squabble over the best way to grill brisket.

She smiled when Michael’s dad stalked out of the kitchen, muttering to himself. The man was Michael, 30 years from now. She could see his son in his features so clearly. Nicole, the woman he had been married to for the past three years wasn’t far behind him, her expression a mix of fond exasperation as she tried to calm him down.

“I don’t know why you have to rile that woman up. You know you’re gonna let her cook it the way she wants to cook it anyway.”

A slow grin slid over Adam’s features and he shrugged. He didn’t really know why he bothered the woman other than it was fun. She was bull-headed and she never backed down; even when he had first interviewed her she hadn’t been impressed with his wealth or his attitude and he had known right then that she was the perfect person to manage his home. Nana had been entrusted with the safety and well-being of all of his children and in spite of his ramblings he would never replace her. He turned when Nicole motioned behind him and he smiled warmly when he saw his son walking towards him with Maria and Cody.

“You’re early,” he said as he hugged them each in turn. He scooped Cody up and patted his back gently. “How’re you feelin’ today, little man?”

Cody smiled and nodded. “I’m good today, Adam. Is Chase here?”

“That little scoundrel’s around here somewhere,” the man said as he leaned over to set the boy down again. He glanced around when he heard something fall somewhere in the house and he rolled his eyes when an ear-splitting wail followed the sound. “And I’m sure that whatever that was that just broke can be blamed on my grandson.”

Before he could say anything they heard another familiar voice heading their way and moments later a short blonde woman entered the room. She was kissing the little boy she held and trying to soothe his cries of distress. He had calmed down enough that now he was just sniffling and drawing in ragged half-breaths.

“Maybe you should go tell Grandpa you’re sorry for knocking that picture off the wall because you hit it with that ball.”

The little three-year-old boy ducked his head down and buried his face against her shoulder as he shook his head.

“Ungh,” she groaned. “He didn’t break it, Dad,” she said as she faced the man and her features lit up with a smile when she saw her older brother standing there. “Michael!”

“How’s it goin’, Ava?” he asked as he pulled his youngest sister into a bear hug. He laughed when Chase complained about being squished and he ruffled the little boy’s hair when he released them. Ava was Tess’ twin, younger by only four minutes, but in many ways she was the more mature of the two. The girls were identical but Ava had several facial piercings and her hair was worn in a different style.

“Things are good but this guy never takes a break!” Ava placed Chase on the floor and it wasn’t long before he and Cody were wandering off together. She smiled at her older brother’s best friend and the two girls exchanged a hug.

“He can be a full-time job, huh?” Maria asked, amused.

Ava had gotten pregnant pretty early and the father had taken off. It hadn’t been easy for her to scratch the party life and be a mom instead, but she was doing great now and her family supported her as much as possible.

The younger woman chuckled. “Some days I think two full-time jobs would be easier to handle than one little three-year-old.” She sighed and smiled as she shrugged. “But I wouldn’t trade that little monster for anything in the world.”

“At least he’ll be occupied a bit now that Cody’s here,” Michael suggested.

“Uh-huh, that just means double the trouble,” Ava said, winking at Maria to let her know she was joking. Kids always found a way to get into some sort of trouble and two little boys just seemed to find it without even trying.

“Why don’t we all go out into the backyard?” Adam suggested. “Ya look like you could use some rest in that hammock you like so much,” he told Maria.

“Adam, you read my mind,” Maria said with a smile. “I swear, I was just tellin’ your son he should marry me so I could have you as my dad too.” She stepped out on the back deck and headed straight for the large hammock stretched out between two tall shade trees.

Michael snorted. “I am not marrying you, DeLuca.”

“I wouldn’t marry you either, man-whore,” she said with a wicked grin. “Maybe your dad can just adopt me.”

“Ya know you’re always welcome without any paperwork to sign, Maria,” Adam said, amused.

She stuck her tongue out at her best friend. “See?”

“See,” he mocked.

She rolled her eyes at him and settled into the hammock, stretching out comfortably. Now this was what life was supposed to be like, she thought.

“Isabel will come, won’t she?” Nicole asked, when she carried some drinks out into the backyard.

“Um-hmm, she said she’d be here.” He wondered what his dad would say when he realized Tess had come home.

Maria glanced at Michael questioningly. “Don’t they know?” she mouthed.

He shook his head slightly. “Have you talked to Iz in the past few days?”

“Not since last weekend.”

“Oh, well... you might now wanna ask how Dick’s doin’.”

“Michael,” Adam shook his head.

“The guy’s an asshole, Dad.”

“What’d he do this time?”

“She caught him in her bed with some other chick.”

“That bastard,” Nicole blurted out and then looked at Adam in shock. “Sorry.”

He chuckled and shook his head. “How’s she doin’?” He knew where that little bastard worked. All he had to do was make a few calls.

“You know her; she pretends to be just fine.”

“Um-hmm.” He knew that all too well. “You leave Richard to me,” Adam said, knowing it wouldn’t take much for his son to beat the living daylights out of the other man.

“He’d better hope he never crosses my path again,” Michael grumbled.

“Alright, let’s not talk about him anymore,” Nicole said, seeing that the two of them were getting agitated by the subject. “How’s work, Michael?”

“Shifts are crazy right now,” he answered, trying to not think about the car accident from last night.

Adam’s sharp gaze caught the gleam of sadness in his son’s eyes and wondered what had happened to put it there. Another fatality accident no doubt, he thought. He knew how deeply the losses hit his son and he wished yet again that Michael had been interested in something safer. What was really safe though? His oldest boy had been killed doing nothing more than coming in to pay him a visit at work.

Nicole spoke up when Adam squeezed her hand. “I think I’ll get a drink. Michael, would you like a drink? Lemonade, tea, beer?”

“Guess a beer would be okay,” Michael said.

Maria made a mental note to talk to her best friend about his latest shift. Something was bothering him and she had to get it out of him.

Adam looked up a few minutes later when the glass door was slid aside and Nana stepped out onto the deck to check the grill. He growled out a warning when she dared to touch the grill he had already prepared and she just shot a look at him that quickly passed when she noticed Michael sitting silently by the railing.

“Michael, you don’t come in to say hi to me anymore?” she scolded him the way she would a small child.

He smirked and got up to press a kiss onto the woman’s cheek. “Hi, Nana.”

“You’ve been working too hard, boy. I can see it in your face.”

“Summer’s always busy. There’re a lotta fires around the city, lots of young people out at night to party and the thunderstorms from the heat don’t help either.”

She smiled gently. “Um-hmm, and all those parties and girls?”

He grinned. “Gotta have some fun, don’t ya think?”

“You’d better behave yourself, Michael Guerin.”

Maria laughed. “You can give up on that, Nana.”

“Maria, you’ve obviously been hanging around him too long because his poor manners are rubbing off on you.”

“Oh, no. Well, maybe the parties, but I can behave myself with the men.”

“Are you still dating that Valenti boy?”

“Yeah.” Well, it wasn’t really dating, but how to explain that to Nana?

“Um-hmm,” the older woman huffed. She glanced between Michael and Maria and just shook her head before turning to go back inside.

“How’s Kyle?” Adam wanted to know. He had met the younger man several times and he seemed to be good for Michael. They worked together and had developed a great friendship since the day that had changed all of their lives.

“Kyle’s good. Exhausted from all the hours we’re puttin’ in, but he’s holdin’ his own.”

“You don’t have to work tonight do you?”

“Nah, off until tomorrow mornin’ and then it’s back for another 12-hour shift.”

“You just wanna duck out of our Sunday ritual,” Maria said teasingly.

She and Michael had come up with the ritual almost five years ago. They got together to eat junk food and watch old movies all day on Sundays.

He snorted. “Yeah, ‘cause I’d rather be dealin’ with the insanity out there than watchin’ some crappy B movie with you.”

“We can do that tonight instead,” she suggested.

“Sounds good,” he agreed. He hated to miss movie night with her.

“Can I watch too?” Cody asked as both kids came to join the adults since he needed a break.

“If it’s not too late,” Maria said, rolling over in the hammock, to look at her brother, who was sitting on the grass. She checked his temperature while caressing his cheek. “You want something to drink?”

“Do I gotta have water?”

She smiled. “Nah, not today.”

“Okay.” He knew better than to push his luck and ask for a soda so he settled for tea instead.

“I’ll get it,” Michael said when Nicole came back with his beer.

“Me too, Uncle Mike!” Chase shouted because he didn’t wanna be left out.

“Of course,” he winked at his nephew.

Ava shook her head. “No soda for him. God, I’ll be up all night if he gets that much sugar in his system.”

Michael rolled his eyes at her. “I’ll get tea for both of them, relax, sis.”

“Relax, he says,” she muttered. “I’d like to hand Chase over to him one night when he’s on a sugar high and see how relaxed he is the next mornin’.”

Adam laughed. “You, young lady, should be quiet. You always threw a fit when you didn’t get sugar. And it’s only afternoon. Besides I thought our grandson would be staying with us tonight, huh?”

“Oh, well, by all means, Dad, if you and Nicole wanna deal with a hyperactive three-year-old, then go for it.”

“I’m spending the night at Maria’s,” Cody said happily.

“I’m stayin’ with Grandma an’ Grandpa,” Chase said.

Michael joined them in the garden again, handing each of the boys their drink as they dropped down in the grass between them.

“Thanks, Mike,” Cody said with a smile.

Maria took the beer outta his hands and sipped on it, looking up when noise could be heard from the inside of the house.

“What the...” Michael trailed off when the boys looked at him expectantly. “What was that?”

“Isabel!” Chase shouted when he saw her through the large glass doors and got up to run towards her.

Isabel chuckled and caught her nephew up in her arms, hugging him tightly. “How’s my favorite nephew today?”

“I’m stayin’ wif Grandma and Grandpa tonight,” he said instead of answering her question.

“Really? Well, that’ll be fun won’t it?”

“YES!”

Isabel shifted him onto her left hip as she walked over to greet her father. “How’re you doin’, Dad?” she asked, giving him a one-armed hug.

“Better than you from what I’ve heard,” he said gently.

“Michael,” she complained, drawing his name out.

He just rolled his eyes at her, wondering where Tess was. Has she decided to stay away from here? She had always had a great relationship to their father and Nicole, but her sudden escape from New York had hurt the old man more than he admitted.

“What took you so long to get out here?” Adam asked. “Was traffic bad getting out of the city?”

“No, actually I was shopping and lost track of time.”

“Ah, you were out with friends then,” he said, knowing she liked to shop with at least one other person.

“Uh, kinda yeah.”

Adam’s smile was confused. “It’s okay if you don’t wanna tell me, honey.”

“Well, someone else is gonna tell you, I think,” she said when she saw Tess nearing the doors slowly.

Nicole reached out to rest her hand on Adam’s shoulder when he noticed Tess. Neither of them knew why the girl had taken off without a word of explanation a few months back, but she knew it had hurt him to think that his daughter couldn’t come to him with whatever was bothering her. He had worked hard to make sure his relationships with his children were open and strong and he had been confused when she had left so suddenly.

She took a step forward, letting the younger woman decide if she was comfortable enough for a hug. “Tess, it’s so nice to see you back home.”

“Hey, Nicole,” Tess replied quietly and hugged her stepmother tightly. “It’s nice to be back home.”

“He’s missed you,” she whispered so only Tess would hear her. “If we’d known you were coming we would’ve had Nana make something special for you.”

“Oh, no, having a normal barbeque with all of you is more than enough, believe me.”

“Go on over and talk to him,” Nicole said gently. “Just be honest with him.”

Tess took a deep breath as her eyes settled on her father slowly. She knew she had to come up with an explanation sooner or later. Hopefully he wouldn’t push it though.

Adam stood up and he swallowed down the questions that wanted to surface as he walked over to his daughter. “How have you been, Tessie?” he asked as he hugged her tightly.

“Good, Dad,” she whispered, burying her face against his chest. She had missed her Dad so much. He had been one of a few reasons why she had come back to New York. She hadn’t had any problems with her mother, but the woman was... she couldn’t even describe it. She had always loved her children, but in some way she had always been... distant as well.

“You’re back for good?”

“Yeah,” she nodded, wiping a single tear away. “I think so.”

He smiled and hugged her again. “Good, good. It’s nice to have all of my kids together and home.” He swallowed convulsively at the reminder that one of them would always be missing. He had sworn when he buried his oldest boy that he would never make his other four children feel as if that loss overshadowed his love for them.

“I’ve missed you,” she admitted as he released her again.

“I’ve missed you too, girl. Now make yourself useful and see if you can sneak a beer for me past that warden in the kitchen.”

“Okay,” she took a few steps away as she glanced at her twin sister. “Hey.”

Ava nodded at Tess and debated the best way to deal with her. Like everyone else, she had been shocked when her twin had just dropped everything and moved away to live with their mother. In a way she felt that sense of betrayal even deeper because of their bond. “Tess,” she said slowly.

The other girl smiled uncertainly. She hadn’t had have much contact with Ava since she had left New York. She knew she had hurt her sister.

“Mommy,” Chase hollered as he ran across the deck and held his hands up to her. He had managed to pour a glass of tea all over himself and she shook her head at him. “Go tell Uncle Mike you need a fresh set of clothes.”

She yelped and jumped when a blast of cold water hit her in the back and she turned to glare at her older brother. Michael was standing there with the garden hose and a big, sneaky grin.

“What? You said the kid needed to be cleaned up, right?”

“You know this means war!” she shouted as she ran to the other side of the deck and snatched up the second water hose and turned the faucet on.

Chase giggled as every now and then, some water was splashed on him as well.

Maria glanced at the activity, amused and trying to avoid the little disturbing fact that Tess was here now. Michael and Ava were soaking wet by now as they ran around the garden, followed by the little man. She glanced down at her little brother where he was still sitting in the grass and watched what was going on. She knew Cody wanted to run along with Chase, but his health wouldn’t let him. She swung herself out of the hammock and lifted him up into her arms. “Hey, ya wanna have a look at the fish?”

Adam had a large pond, very shallow, because of Chase who played in the garden a lot, but there were a dozen large goldfish in it.

“Okay,” he said as he looked longingly at the horseplay taking place up by the deck. He smiled at his big sister. “Can we feed the fishies?”

“Hmm, I don’t know,” she turned to Adam. “Are we allowed to feed the fish Adam?”

He turned away from his children’s antics and nodded. “There’s a plastic container in the shed with food for the fish. If ya just sprinkle it on the surface they’ll come right up.”

She nodded and walked around the garden to the pond.

“Here,” she placed some of the food they had gotten in her brother’s hand. “Throw it as hard as you can.”

He walked up close to the edge of the pond and flung the little fistful of food as far as he could and then he crouched down to look into the water as the goldfish started to come to the surface to feed.

Maria sat down in the grass beside him as she watched her brother more than the fish. God, she loved the little man so much, she couldn’t think of a life without him.

Cody dropped down to his knees and stretched out on his stomach, resting his weight on his elbows as he watched the fish dart around below the surface. “M’ria?”

“Yeah?”

He bit his bottom lip as he reached out to touch the water, giggling when the fish scattered. “Can I learn to swim one day?” he asked quietly.

“Sure,” she said without hesitation. She didn’t want to doubt that, not now and not ever.

“I seen on TV where people swim with the dolphins... that would be fun, huh?”

“Uh-huh, and expensive, buddy,” she teased.

“Mike said if I ever got a ‘quarium big ‘nuff he’d buy me a dolphin.” He laughed. “I don’t think I can get a ‘quarium that big though. It wouldn’t fit in our house!”

“That’s true.” She chuckled, “but we can always visit them at the aquarium we were at this week.”

“Yeah. The sharks was really cool. Mike knows all ‘bout ‘em.”

Maria shook her head, slightly amused. In her brother’s opinion, Michael was like the coolest and cleverest man alive.

“He said one day when I’m all better me an’ him are gonna go deep sea fishin’.”

“I’m sure you will.”

“He said you can come too but only if you got your sea legs...” He scrunched his face as he turned his head to look at his sister. “Wha’s that mean?”

“Hmm, it means that I feel really sick when I go out on a boat.”

“How come?”

“I don’t know, some people just feel sick on boats, Cody.”

“I hope not me ‘cause I wanna go fishin’ with Mike. He said there’s dolphins out there, but we won’t catch none of them ‘cause that’s mean.”

“Yeah, that would be really mean,” Maria nodded.

“Yeah. Dolphins can talk, ya know. Not like people talk, but they’re real smart.”

“And what do they say?”

“Mike says the army uses ‘em to send secret messages.” He nodded to himself. “So, they gotta be really smart, don’t you think?”

“Oh, yeah, no doubt,” she rubbed over the little boy’s head.

“What’re we talkin’ about over here?” Isabel asked as she joined them. She had already run inside to change clothes once after getting soaked and she didn’t intend to do it again.

“Dolphins,” Cody answered. “They’re real smart.”

“Oh, yeah, they are,” Isabel crouched down next to the little boy. “Are you hungry?”

Cody chewed on his bottom lip and thought about it. “Just a little... not like a lot.”

“We still have at least 30 minutes before it’s ready. How about we play cards until then?”

“I’m real good at Go Fish!” he said proudly.

“C’mon then, I’ll get a blanket from inside so we can lay down on the ground.”

“Okay,” he said agreeably. “M’ria, you wanna play too?”

“Yeah, I’m coming,” she got up from the ground and they started to walk back to the others who had finally ended the water game.

Michael came back outside after changing clothes and he joined them as he rubbed his hair with a towel. “What’re you guys doin’?” he asked, frowning at Maria when she laughed at him. “What?”

“You look like a wet dog,” she said, shaking her head.

“I can still go get that hose,” he warned.

She shook her head. “You better not, CB.”

“Uh-huh, we’ll see how well you behave yourself.”

Isabel snorted. “Yeah, you’re one to talk about behaving.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 15

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:01 am

Earth2Mama: There’s a lot of craziness with this family but there’s a lot of love and support there too.

Tess will explain everything in time. Ya wanna know more about their mother, huh? Well, we’ll see. She hasn’t had much of anything to say so far.

Nana’s great, lol. She’s definitely got M&M’s number, doesn’t she?

kismet: Oh, yeah, you just know he’s gonna eat those words one day.

We’ll get to know the Guerin family more as the story moves forward. There are a lot of stories to tell here.

begonia9508: The Guerin family does have a lot of fun.

Cody can’t run around like other kids but his family and friends make sure he gets to have fun too.

mary mary: Maria loves her little brother and even though he has limitations she makes sure to involve him in other fun things. She wants him to experience life as much as he can.

Eva: The Guerin family is a warm and loving family and like all of us they have the good and the bad to deal with. We’ve enjoyed writing Michael as part of a good family here.

Tess does have plenty of people to fall back on but she isn’t ready to answer that question just yet. Tess may have lost sight of her riches (;) non-monetary) for a while but she’s getting a reminder now.

Alien_Friend: The Guerin family is great and we have a lot of fun writing them. You’re right, that is the best kind of family.

Adam is pretty awesome. Losing his oldest boy was difficult but he knows the importance of making sure his relationship with his other children don’t suffer for it.

Tess will eventually open up, but for now she’s keeping it to herself.

Thanks!

rosyrosy2882: Thanks! We’re glad you’re loving the characters!

Aaron is Liz’s brother. We’ll learn about what happened to her parents fairly soon. As for Trent, he’s her ex.

Rodney: Yup, Ava too. :) Lol, we’re not sure how much they appreciate that particular comparison.

Well, Tess is keeping quiet about that for now so… we’ll find out when she decides to share.

StarCharms: Lol yep, the family is big. M&M will get their shove eventually. ;)



Part 15

What Friends Are For


Max glanced up from where he was sitting at his desk, glancing over his newest designs. “Hey, Valenti,” he greeted his friend and got up. His afternoon appointment had just called and cancelled so he was glad to see a friend.

“What’s up, Evans?” He glanced around the shop. “Business slow today?”

“It was busy until about an hour. My last appointment for the day cancelled so...”

“Perfect timing then. Wanted you opinion on a piercing.”

Max nodded, gesturing to the desk. “Coffee?”

“Yeah, that’d be great. I feel like a refugee fleeing my homeland. Can’t get any peace and quiet at home,” he complained.

“Why’s that?” Max asked and handed Kyle a mug of hot, fresh coffee. “Guerin home with a chick?”

“No, that wouldn’t be any big deal. Tess,” he grated out. “The apartment is not big enough for her too.”

Max grinned. “Another Guerin who makes trouble.”

“I tell you what… things are never dull with them around.” He took a drink of his coffee before setting it on one corner of the table. “That one though…” he shook his head. “Man, I’m havin’ to fight with her over the remote, the couch… everything!”

“She’s good company at night though,” Max said with a shrug.

Kyle snorted. “Sooo not goin’ there, man.”

“I was talking about bein’ out, not sex,” Max told him with a grin. “Though both are enjoyable.”

“I don’t care what you were talkin’ about. I don’t get it though. She was okay before she left, ya know? But now she just bothers me an’ I don’t know why.”

“She wasn’t living with you before.”

“Yeah, that’s true. It’s not makin’ things with Maria easy either.” He growled under his breath and rubbed his hands over his face. “Enough talk about the she-wolf.”

“Alright,” Max took a chair and sat down on it in front of Kyle, resting one forearm on his thigh when he bent forward to look at the other man. “Whatcha want?”

“I was thinkin’ about a stud… right here,” he said pointing below his bottom lip. “Whatcha think?”

Max leaned back and tried to get an image of Kyle with that piercing. “Ya wanna go with the middle or side?”

“Not a lip ring like you’ve got. Want it in the middle, kinda right above my chin, ya know?”

Max nodded and got up to go over to his equipment. He searched around a small box for a while and then came back with two little silver things in his hand. “Guess what ya want is this?” He showed Kyle a stud, bullet on the one side, flat on the other, what would be hidden in the mouth.

“Yeah, that’s what I want.”

“Can I make another suggestion?” Max asked. “Ya don’t have to if ya don’t like.”

“Go for it.”

“Okay.” Max lifted the other silver thing he was holding out to Kyle. It resembled a ring, but it didn’t fully close. It was more like a half ring and on both ends was small bullets. “This would be pierced right here,” Max pointed at his own lip ring, “one bullet would show directly under your bottom lip, the other would come out between your lips. It’d look a lot better on the side than in the middle though.”

“Alright, Evans, you’re usually right about these things, so I’ll go with your suggestion.”

“Yeah? Cool, it’ll be totally bad ass, believe me.”

“Is it pretty much pierce an’ go?”

“Ya might wanna stay out of too much contact with that part of your body for the next few days,” Max told him with a wink. “Could hurt if ya don’t. But since it’ll be on the side, it won’t get in the way too much. I’ll give you a bottle of disinfectant spray. You should use that for the next few weeks to clean the piercing after every meal ya eat or ... whatever.”

Kyle snorted. “Yeah, I’ll remember that after… whatever.”

“If it starts to swell then you should put some ice on it now and then. It’s normal for your lip to be slightly swollen for a while.” He chuckled at Kyle’s horrified look. “Wanna wait until after the weekend maybe?”

“You’re tellin’ me I’m gonna be walkin’ around with a fat lip?”

“It’s different for everyone,” Max told him. “But yeah, it’ll probably be swollen slightly.” He placed the tiny silver ring aside. “I think Michael told me earlier this week you guys don’t work on Monday. So why don’t ya come in shortly before I close up that day?”

“Alright, that sounds good.” He grinned and shrugged. “Better than walkin’ around all weekend lookin’ like someone punched me.”

“And happy’s the way we wanna keep ya,” he said with a smirk. “Guerin’s my last appointment on Monday, so just come by with him.”

Kyle nodded and leaned back. “That sounds good.” He yawned and stretched his arms over his head. “What’s Guerin comin’ by for?”

“We wanna discuss extending the tat on his lower arm.”

*****

Liz dropped down to sit on one of the benches that were spaced around the park. She had decided to take Aaron out for a while after he woke up from his nap, wanting to get him out of the apartment since Trent was in a mood. The park wasn’t too far from their building and the exercise would be good for the little boy. She watched Aaron for a few minutes, sighing when he headed for a sandbox that none of the other children were playing in.

It worried her that he always chose to be by himself because he hadn’t been like that before their parents had died. He had always been a little shy but before the accident he would buddy up with some other little boy and they would play together. But now he preferred to be alone and she wondered how much of that had to do with her parents and how much of it could be blamed on his epilepsy. He would spend hours there if she let him, playing with his little trucks and getting filthy while building little sand castles and then plowing them over with the toys before starting all over again.

She lifted her head, looking around at the families that dotted the park. Children running around, playing with each other or on the equipment, parents engaged in conversation with each other, and she felt the loneliness tug at her again. When she had gotten the news that her parents had been killed in a car accident she had turned to Trent and he had been supportive.

“Lizzie,” Aaron called for the second time to get her attention as he waved at her.

She glanced up at him and smiled as she waved back, waiting to see if he needed anything. He was going to be a sandy mess later but it would be worth it if this gave him some peace and enjoyment for a while.

“Come here an’ watch my san’ castle,” the boy insisted.

She got up and crossed the park to look at his creation. She sat on one of the bordering sides and looked at the sand castle. It really looked nothing like a sand castle, but he looked proud of what he was building so she nodded and smiled. “That’s really good, Aaron.”

He smiled and used his tiny hands to make the last affords to finish it. “Where’s my Daddy, Lizzie?” he suddenly asked after he had watched the other kids with their parents for a while.

“Your daddy...” She swallowed hard. She had tried to talk to him about this before but she knew he wasn’t old enough to understand the concept of death yet. “Dad went away, remember, buddy? He and Mom went to heaven and that’s why you came to live with me.”

“Didn’t they wanna be wif us?”

She watched him pat the sand into place and she took a deep breath. “Yeah, they wanted to be with us but sometimes... sometimes that just isn’t possible.”

“I hope they come back,” the boy said, not understanding the situation.

She wondered just how much of their parents he could remember. How did you tell a four-year-old that his parents were never coming back? “I’m sure they would if they could, buddy.” She could remember the day that had changed her life forever all too clearly. It had been a sunny day, not as hot as today, but she hadn’t expected anything bad to happen.

“What ya wanna do?” Trent hugged one are around her shoulders while they walked though Central Park, enjoying the warm sun on their faces.

“Enjoy a day with no work, no classes, and a great guy.” Life was perfect. She was making it in New York City, she was in love with a wonderful man and she had her future all mapped out. She smiled up at him and reached up to push his sunglasses further up on his nose.

He grinned and swooped down for a kiss. “I heard one of the guys talkin’ about some art thing uptown that you’d like.”

“Yeah? Let’s do that then.”

“Cool. We could head over to Ryan’s afterwards, have dinner an’ maybe catch that new action flick that’s out.”

“Sounds like a plan,” she agreed, smiling and leaning against his side.

He pointed up ahead where a bunch of kids were playing a soccer game. “Bet we could get in on that.”

“Huh-uh, no way!”

“Oh, c’mon, why not?” He laughed when one kid tripped over the ball and fell, starting a domino effect until half of the players were on the ground.

She pointed at her shoes. “I paid a fortune for these and I am not ruining them.”

He rolled his eyes. “Fine... art, dinner, movie... and afterwards,” he grinned, “hot sex.” He glanced down at her heels and growled. “And you can even keep those on if you want to.”

She laughed and swung both of her arms around his waist while they kept walking. “I think it’s weird but I’ll do it, just for you.”

He groaned at the thought of her in nothing but the heels. “You’re beautiful, ya know that?”

“Uh-huh, people keep saying that,” she teased.

“What people?” It was true, but he wasn’t sure he appreciated anyone else saying it.

“Oh you know, just the men that ask me out… the same men I keep telling I already got the hottest guy in New York.”

He snorted, placated by her words. “They’re jealous ‘cause I got the hottest girl.”

She groaned when her cell started to buzz and she dropped her arms to get it out of her bag. “This better be important.”

“Better be. Hell, it took some serious bargaining to get today off.”

Liz frowned at the caller ID; it was a number from Roswell, but it wasn’t her parents’ house. “Hello?”

Trent slowed to a stop beside her, reaching out to touch her arm when the color drained from her face. He motioned for her to give him the phone and waited to see if she would comply.

She gave in to his wish easily, holding the phone out to him with a shaky hand, unable to hold it any longer.

Trent introduced himself to the caller and quickly got the details from the officer on the other end of the line. After assuring the woman that they would be in contact soon he hung up and shoved the cell in his pocket as he pulled her into his arms. “Damn, honey, I’m so sorry,” he whispered. Her parents were gone, leaving her alone, and he knew it would hit her hard.

Liz grabbed his shirt tightly with both hands as she buried her face against his chest. “No, this can’t be. This can’t be true.”

He held her tightly, running his hand over her back as he tried to calm her down. He knew nothing he could say would make this any easier to handle or any easier to believe. “C’mon, let’s go home.”

She agreed, but after a few steps her legs refused to carry her any further and she slowly sank down. Trent caught her up in his arms, glancing around for the nearest bench and he hurried towards it. Thankfully it was a little ways back off of the footpath, giving them some privacy. He sat down with her in his lap, kissing her temple and whispering nonsensical words of comfort.

“What about Aaron?” she asked, realizing the woman on the phone hadn’t said anything about him and he had probably been in the car as well. “He’s not dead,” she shook her head, “he can’t be dead, he’s just so small.” Sobs were making it hard for her to speak, and she looked at Trent, terrified.

“Liz, honey, you’re gonna get through this,” he assured her. “I’m gonna help you any way I can.”

She looked at him with puffy eyes. “I need to go home.”

“Home... to Roswell?”

“Yeah.”

He nodded. “Of course. Hey, look, I’ll get the time off... go with you.”

She nodded and hugged him. “Thank you… This is…” The sobs started again.

He rubbed her back, wishing he could do something to ease her pain. Mentally he was already going over the things they would need to do to prepare for their departure. He could get the time off without too much hassle, but her job might be a problem. The position at the university lab wasn’t one that she could take much time off because she hadn’t been there long enough to accrue much time, but not going back home wasn't an option either. The lab would need to continue to run in her absence and while she would have three days leave for this situation, it was unlikely she would be able to do everything she needed to do in three days. She would need to make arrangements for her brother, make arrangements for her parents' funerals, and handle a million other details. The position at the lab was one that students stayed in competition for and while the pay wasn't that great it allowed her to meet her half of the rent and it had other benefits where her studies were concerned. He kissed her head and rubbed her arm when she started to shake. “This isn’t gonna be easy, but I’m gonna be with you, okay?”

She nodded, unable to form a single clear thought in her head. How could such a perfect moment turn into a nightmare in less than a minute?


Liz glanced away from Aaron and wiped away the tear that had fallen at the memories of the worst day in her life. A few hours later she had found out that Aaron had been in the car with her parents, but miraculously he had come out of it with nothing more than a few bruises.

Aaron looked up at Liz and he reached out to touch her arm to get her attention. “Why you’re sad?” he asked quietly.

She tried to smile at him encouragingly. “Just missing Mommy and Daddy, buddy,” she told him and kissed his cheek.

He smiled bravely. “Me too, Lizzie.”

“I know.” And I’m sorry I can’t offer you a better life, she added quietly in her thoughts.

*****

Maria glanced into the backseat when Michael stopped the car in front of her building, squeezing into the tiny space available. “We should get him straight into bed,” she said quietly as she looked at her little brother. He had been fast asleep since the moment they had left Michael’s father’s house. It wasn’t really late, but Cody was exhausted and he needed to rest.

Michael nodded. “C’mon, let’s get out.” He climbed out of the car and walked around to open the back door, turning Cody loose from the restraints and lifting him up in his arms. The little boy mumbled sleepily but didn’t wake.

She walked ahead of them, opening the door for them to enter the foyer.

“God, how hot is it in here? Like a thousand degrees?” he muttered. “We should’ve just stayed at my place.”

She shook her head. “No, Cody doesn’t need that much excitement. And with Tess around…” she rolled her eyes. “The air conditioner’s workin’ in my apartment again, so c’mon.”

Michael stepped into the apartment behind Maria and breathed a sigh of relief when he felt the cool air. “That’s more like it,” he said as he waited for her to put her things down. “You want him in your room?” he asked.

“Yeah, go ahead and put him down in there.”

He carried Cody through the small apartment to her room and held the boy carefully as he reached for the covers and pulled them back. He laid Cody down and sat on the side of the bed so he could untie the little guy’s shoes and drop them on the floor by the nightstand. He reached up and brushed the floppy hair back off of the boy’s forehead and rested the back of his hand against his skin, checking for an elevated temperature. Satisfied with that he picked up one of the little hands lying on the mattress and checked his pulse. It was slow, but that wasn’t unusual with his condition. It was within an acceptable range so he picked up the stuffed toy Cody had dropped when he had laid him in bed and tucked it against his side. He smiled when the little boy rolled over and curled up around the toy.

“Is he okay?” Maria asked, leaning in the doorframe as she watched Michael and her brother. She didn’t know how she would survive all of this without her best friend. He was so caring when it came to Cody; it was like he was a different person when he was around them.

“Yeah, he’s fine.” He tugged on the fat yellow duck that Cody was hugging. It had belonged to Maria when she was a kid, a present from his dad when she’d had her tonsils out. “It’s funny how attached he is to this thing… just like you when you were little.” God, he had teased her mercilessly about carrying it everywhere they went.

She chuckled. “It’s sweet and fluffy.” She walked over to caress her brother’s hair. “We should leave him alone before we wake him up again.”

“Yeah, poor guy doesn’t always sleep that well, does he?” He leaned over and pressed a kiss to the boy’s tussled hair before standing up. “Sleep well, bud.”

“Whatcha wanna do?” Maria asked when walked back into the living room. “Oh, or do ya have other plans? I mean, it’s Saturday, so I know sittin’ at home isn’t really somethin’ you were lookin’ forward to doin’.”

He shrugged and dropped down on the couch, leaning back and stretching his arms out along the back. “We could order pizza and watch a movie. I could run out and pick up a new release if ya got somethin’ on your must-see list. No sappy chick flicks though.”

She made a face. “Pizza? We just came from a barbeque, Michael.”

“And it’s an hour from my dad’s place and I’m hungry. Just ‘cause you’ve gotta watch your calories doesn’t mean we both have to suffer, RP.”

She rolled her eyes. “Alright, go grab a pizza and a DVD, and I’m gonna have a shower.”

“What movie? Or are you just gonna fall asleep on it anyway so it doesn’t really matter?” he teased.

“You’re probably right about that,” she admitted.

He smirked. Of course he was right. “Go hit the shower, DeLuca. I’ll be back before long.”

“You got your key with ya?”

He held his key ring up. “Got it. Back in a few.”

She watched him leave before she went to her bathroom and stripped out of her clothes. A cool shower was just what she needed after spending so much time sitting in a car that afternoon.

*****

Tess moved on the couch when her current position got uncomfortable. How had it happened that her life had turned out so boring? Before she had left New York there had been always something to do. Shopping, going out, hanging out at the café, jogging in the park… her life had been busy 24/7. She sighed sadly. Because her best friend had made it busy most of the time. And now... She glanced up when the door was opened and Kyle walked back in. She felt a mixture of happiness, confusion and annoyance, like she mostly felt when she saw him. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Kyle answered. Great, he had hoped to be alone. Why the hell wasn’t she hanging out with someone? Girls always did girls stuff, at least all the girls he knew were out most of the day. “You’re here.”

“Where else would I be?”

He just shrugged, knowing anything else would piss her off.

Tess turned her attention back to the television when a commercial came on announcing the program coming up. How sad was it that this was the most exciting part of her evening? Watching a fashion show and chowing down on pizza… this was not the way life was supposed to be going. She got up and went to get a fresh slice of pizza, shoving the remote into her pocket and pulling her shirt down to cover it. She knew if she left it there he’d get it and change the channel to something she had no interest in watching.

She started to ask if he wanted some pizza but then changed her mind. He knew where the kitchen was and he wasn’t acting like he was in the mood to hang out or talk or anything anyway. She pulled a couple of pieces out and put them on her plate and grabbed a drink from the refrigerator before going back out in the living room and putting everything down on the coffee table. She straightened the cushions since they had been pushed out of place during Kyle’s search for the remote and sat down, wiggling around to get comfortable. “Lookin’ for somethin’?” she asked innocently as she reached for her plate and sat back.

Kyle paused, his hand pushed down the side of the recliner as he felt around for the missing remote. His eyes narrowed suspiciously as he glanced between Tess and the television where some stupid fashion show was coming on. “I’m not watchin’ this crap. There’s a game on and I’m gonna watch it. What’d you do with the remote?”

“Don’t know where it is. I was lookin’ for it as well,” Tess said innocently.

“No matter,” he muttered as he walked over to the television and crouched down to start pressing the buttons behind the little door under the screen. He stared at it in disbelief when the image of a small padlock appeared in one corner, indicating that it had been locked by the remote. He turned his head to look at her. “Been lookin’ for it, huh?” He stood up. “I want that remote, Tess, and I want it right now.”

“If you wanna watch baseball then go to your room,” she told him coolly.

“Which one of us is paying rent again? Oh, that’s right, not you. Now give me that remote!”

“Can I go to your room then?”

“What? No!”

“Why not?”

“Because I said no.” Good grief, he could just imagine the drama he’d be dealing with if Maria found out Tess was hanging out in his room.

She shrugged. “Well then, it’s the fashion show or nothing I guess.”

Kyle just glared at her when she turned to the TV and ignored him. He paced around the apartment for a while, looking for something to do. After a while he gave up and was heading to his room when his phone rang. He checked the caller ID as he hit the button to accept the call. “What’s up, Tony?”

“Feeling like goin’ to a party tonight? Guerin said ya might be goin’ insane at home, not sure what he meant though.”

“A party? Hell yeah, just tell me where to go.”

“It’s a friend of mine. He’s got a big house a little outside the city. Wanna come to my apartment and we’ll ride out there together?”

“Sounds good.” They finalized their plans to meet and Kyle hung up.

“A party?” Tess asked, interested.

“Yeah, a party,” he said as he went into the kitchen to fill Loco’s bowls before leaving.

“Can I come?”

Kyle nearly tore Loco’s food bag in half. “No! You wanted to watch that stupid fashion show… so watch it!”

“I wasn’t even planning to hang out with you, I just asked if I could go too,” she mumbled more to herself than to him as she slouched down on the couch again.

Like he had told Max, he had no idea why she was bothering him so badly. Was Evans right? Was it because she was occupying his space? He shook his head. He didn’t care what it was, not right now anyway. He put Loco’s food away and went to his room to get ready, hurrying so he could get out of the apartment.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 16

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 01, 2011 4:58 am

kismet: What happened to Trent and Liz will be explained very soon!

Maria and Liz huh? Hm, not a bad idea, but we won’t tell ya if it happens or not. ;)

Tess and Kyle are just hilarious, huh? It will take some time, but they will figure each other out sooner or later. ;)

begonia9508: You could be onto something with Trent!

No, not Michael, lol. He’s doing very well with those little guys.

Attraction? *gasp* Who told you that?

Earth2Mama: Lol, we wish Tess could hear ya, but nope, she is still her old self. But she’s getting better! Promise.

Aww, don’t cry. We promise we will make them both happy eventually and find a dark dirty alley for a certain man. ;)

mary mary: Max is definitely going to be someone, lol. It will take time and patience though. We bet you already knew that. ;)

Eva: Right? Such a big contrast between present and past Trent. Liz will find a way out eventually.

keepsmiling7: The little guy has it tough, but we will make it better for him. Promise.

Alien_Friend: Lol, not easy to see a nice Trent, right? Well, but there had to be a reason why Liz liked him in the first place.

We love Michael too (surprise, lol).

Tess needs to set things straight, once that happens it’s gonna be better for her.

Cardinal: Three’s a crowd, very well said and it is so true for the whole fic, not only for Liz/Aaron/Trent ;)

You are definitely onto a lot with what you said about Liz/Trent/Aaron. Doesn’t make Trent more likeable, huh? He’s too selfish right now and he doesn’t want to deal with problems that are not his.

So you are voting for Trent finding a new roommate first? Hm, we will see… ;)

Tess and Liz… nice combination in so many ways, lol. They could drive Max insane in a heartbeat.

rosyrosy2882: What happened will be explained soon.

Kyle is just being totally stubborn about that damn couch lol.

angiebrenna: Yeah, he’s definitely selfish and doesn’t want to deal with problems that are not his.

Drogyn: Hello and welcome new reader! ;)

Thanks for the great compliment!

M&M are so blind and we afraid to tell you that they’re gonna stay this way for a while. Lol, nice comparison.

Insane pre-mating? LOL

We told K&T about your suggestion and they both denied it.

Liz really has it difficult in this fic… at least for now. You are right about Trent in many ways.

Max didn’t get so many sympathy points until now, lol. But once we look behind his story more and the reason why he acts to weird around Liz, we promise he will be more likable.

Not sure about Isabel? Good, that’s the way we are heading for :). The A&I storyline will be a mixture between fun and emotional, we are excited about writing it.

Alex will get more airtime in this fic too. He’s coming across as quiet and boring, but he has his qualities and like just all of the other characters, he has some history, that still needs to be revealed.

Lol, after Oscar the pig in a different fic, Loco is definitely our favorite. ;)

Thanks for taking the time to write this long review! And on to more…


A/N: For Rodney! We're thinking of you and your family and friends.


Part 16

Bring Light Into Darkness

Alex closed his mailbox, a stack of letters held in the one hand while he used his other to find the ringing phone in his pocket. “Hello?”

“Is that Mr. Whitman? Alex Whitman?” a deep male voice asked.

“Yes, that’s right,” he nodded even if the person on the other end couldn’t see the motion. His heart was starting to hammer in his chest. Was it one of the companies he had applied to?

“This is Mr. Sullivan from your cell provider. You haven’t paid the bill for the last two months and you didn’t respond to our reminder last week. I’m calling to inform you that if we don’t receive payment within the next two days, we’ll have to disconnect your service.”

Isabel stepped into the hallway, on her way to see her sister, when she realized who was just a few feet ahead of her on the stairs.

“No, no,” Alex begged. “I’ll get my next check at the end of this week.” Yeah, final check from his recently lost job. “I promise you I’ll…”

“Sorry, Mr. Whitman, but I can only give you two more days.”

Alex resisted the urge to scream. If he lost his cell service he wouldn’t have a way for potential employers to contact him. Damn, it was just one thing on top of the other these days. Two months of service… he didn’t even have any bills he could put off that would allow him to pay this bill. “What about an extension?” he asked. “Isn’t there a percentage I could pay that would carry me over until I get my next check?” God, he hated begging but he couldn’t lose his phone.

Isabel stayed safely behind him to be able to listen to what he was saying without being detected.

“How much can you pay, Mr. Whitman?”

“How much do you need to keep the service from being disconnected?” he countered.

“I’ll have to check with my supervisor, Mr. Whitman. Can you hold for a minute?”

“Yeah.” Like he had a choice. He shook his head as he waited for the man to return. Yeah, here it comes, he thought when the man came back on the line. “You can’t accept anything less than $60?” he asked, mentally calculating.

“If you can’t pay that amount over the phone by close of business in two days your service will be suspended until full payment has been received and processed.”

Alex sighed and nodded. “I’ll make the payment.”

“Would you like me to use the card on file?” The man continued with the payment when Alex told him to proceed and less than a minute later he spoke again. “Your payment of $60 has been processed. Is there anything else I can help you with today, Mr. Whitman?”

“No, you’ve done enough, thanks.”

“Thank you, Mr. Whitman. Have a nice day.”

“Yeah, it’s been a great friggin’ day,” he muttered as he hung up. “Who needs groceries anyway?” He mentally kicked himself and sighed tiredly as he looked at the stack of outstanding bills he held.

Isabel swallowed. It wasn’t hard to put one and one together and tell that Alex was struggling with money. She had to admit she felt a little bad now about her earlier stunt in the mall. Obviously he really needed a job to pay his bills and she knew that Mitchell paid pretty well.

“Oh, just what I need right now,” Alex grumbled as he turned and saw one of the Guerins in the hallway behind him. How much had she heard?

She knew she should apologize for eavesdropping but he didn’t seem to know she had been there for very long so she just gave him one of her patented looks that expressed annoyance as she moved past him to stab the button for the elevator. Okay, they had obviously rubbed each other the wrong way from the first moment they had met but she did feel bad for him. As soon as she heard his words though, every charitable thought she had flew out of her head and she pushed the button for Michael’s floor without waiting to see if he was going up or not. “Jerk,” she grumbled.

“Stupid, rich, blonde bitch,” Alex gritted out as he opened the door for the stairs. He just wanted a cold shower now. Thank God, he wouldn’t care if they turned off the electricity after not paying that bill as well. The damn heat outside made sure no one needed hot water lately. At least that bill was only a few days late and they were supposed to honor the extension he had requested until his check came in.

Isabel stepped out on Michael’s floor and walked down to the apartment, pressing the doorbell and holding it down longer than necessary because she was still annoyed.

“What the hell?” Tess ripped the door open.

Isabel raised her right eyebrow at Tess’ lack of manners as she jerked the door open. “Well, hello to you too.”

“Why’re you ringing like a crazy bitch? I’m not deaf, ya know.”

She just rolled her eyes and stepped into the apartment. “What’re you doin’ tonight?”

“Nothin’, why? Ya got plans for us?” Tess asked hopefully.

“Well, nothing specific... just felt like goin’ out tonight and thought you might wanna go with.”

“YES,” she nodded. “I need to get outta here.”

Isabel glanced around. “Why the rush? It’s too quiet for the guys to be home so you’ve got the place to yourself.” She wrinkled her nose when Loco ran through the room and pounced on one of his stuffed toys. “Not counting the resident rodent,” she muttered.

“I’ve been alone almost all day after we got back from the mall. I’m freakin’ bored, Iz.”

“Party or club?”

“I don’t care as long as I can get out of this apartment for a while.”

Isabel chuckled and nodded. “Go get ready then and we’ll go. You wanna stop somewhere for dinner first?”

“I already had pizza. There’s some left if ya hungry.”

“Oh, that sounds good. Hurry up and we’ll go check out some of the clubs,” she said, already on her way into the kitchen.

*****

Michael unlocked the door and entered the apartment, elbowing the door closed behind him and carrying the pizza and a couple of DVDs into the kitchen. It was quiet and he wondered if Maria had already fallen asleep.

“Whatcha got, Mike?”

He looked down when Cody came up beside him and he crouched down in front of the little boy. “What’re you doin’ up?”

“I had a scary dream,” he whispered.

“Did you tell Maria?”

“She’s ‘sleep an’ I din’t wanna wake her up. She worked hard today.”

He smiled at the little boy’s consideration for his sister as he crouched down in front of him. “You wanna tell me about that scary dream?”

Cody wrapped his arms around himself as he stared at the floor. “It was the heart monster.” He turned his head to rub his chin on his shoulder. “He came an’ took my new heart.”

Michael made a quiet sound as he considered Cody’s words. He was familiar with ‘the heart monster’. It was a nightmare the little boy had on occasion and it was evidence that he was scared of his upcoming tests. “The heart monster, huh?” he mused.

“Yeah.” He looked up at Michael. “What if he takes my good heart, Mike? If he takes it I can’t be here no more.” He reached out to take a handful of the man’s shirtsleeve. “Would you take care of Mama an’ M’ria if he takes my good heart?”

He swallowed hard when he heard the slight tremble in the little boy’s voice and saw the sheen of tears in his eyes. Maria’s little brother already knew too much about the sad and the bad hands that life could deal. “Cody, I will always take care of them, buddy.” He tugged on the tail of Cody’s shirt. “But, I’m just your backup ‘cause we all know you’re the man of the Deluca house, right?”

“Yeah, but the heart monster…”

He shook his head. “When your new heart comes in nothin’ and no one will take it away from you, hear me? I promise you, Cody, I’ll be there to watch over your new heart until they get it all tucked away safe in here.” He tapped the boy’s chest, over his heart.

Cody leaned forward to wrap his arms around Michael’s neck. “Thanks, Mike,” he mumbled against the man’s shoulder.

“The monster still hangin’ around?” he asked gruffly.

“Huh-uh, you scared him ‘way.”

“Good. You hungry?” He picked Cody up and sat him on the counter when he shook his head. “How ‘bout a glass of water then, huh?”

Cody wrinkled his nose. Everyone was always trying to make him drink water. “Didja get movies?”

“Um, yeah…” Nothing he could watch with Cody in the same room though. “You up for a little Hot Wheels Racing?” he asked, knowing how much the little boy loved the Playstation game.

*****

The club was packed as the girls made their way off of the dance floor and over to one of the small tables strategically set up around the perimeter. Isabel smiled at the waiter who immediately jumped to see if they needed anything when he noticed that they were returning to their seats.

“That right there is how you earn a decent tip,” she told her sister after he had taken their orders and rushed to fill them. She sat down and brushed her hair back before picking up the drink menu and waving it in front of her.

Tess wrinkled her nose. “No thanks. I think I’ll be perfectly happy working for Mitchell.” She chuckled. “I was impressed with the way you managed to eject that nerdy guy out of the running for the job.”

“Yeah,” Isabel said, forcing a smile. After overhearing the guy’s conversation with a bill collector she was feeling guilty for doing that.

“At least I don’t have to start the new job until next week.”

“What’re you gonna do until then?”

“She could do me,” a male voice interjected and a moment later a chair was plunked down between the two women and a guy sat down, uninvited.

Tess’ gaze slid over him and her gaze became icy as it traveled over his sculpted body. He was sexy as hell but his over-confident attitude and pathetic come-on just detracted from the overall package. “No one at this table is the slightest bit interested in anything you have to offer.”

“You sure about that?” he asked smugly.

Isabel shook her head. “Do you ever pick anyone up with that line?” she asked, shaking her head at him when he just grinned. “Tess, meet Keith Malone. He really does think he’s God’s gift to womankind and ignoring him won’t make him go away.”

“Hell, Guerin, ya gotta bust my balls like that in front of the hot chick?” he muttered.

“Find a new line... and don’t use it on my little sister.”

Tess couldn’t help but smile when Isabel gave him a friendly shove, making him laugh.

He turned back to her and his eyebrows lifted in surprise. “Sisters, huh?”

“Gross, Malone... we’re sooo not doin’ a threesome with you,” Isabel said with a quiet snort.

“Damn, girl, just kill the fantasy outright.” He laughed and turned to Tess, holding his hand out to her. “Yeah, I’m a player but don’t hold it against me.” He talked to them for a little while before spotting new girls in the club and excusing himself.

“Well, he’s... colorful,” Tess said with a smile.

“He’s a male slut is what he is,” Isabel countered. “But he’s not a bad guy.”

“No, he seemed nice enough. Anyway, back to our conversation...”

They talked for a while, pausing only when their waiter returned with their drinks. It was nice to just spend some time together and catch up without anything serious going on. After a while they decided to dance again, enjoying the freedom and energy on the dance floor. When they’d had enough they returned to their table once more, annoyed when they realized that a couple of guys had followed them.

“Can we buy you two a drink?” the sandy-haired one asked.

“No thank you,” Tess declined, smiling. “We’ve already got our drinks.”

“Oh, c’mon,” the dark-haired one said insistently, “it’s just a drink.”

“She said no,” Isabel repeated. The guys were too pushy and she never accepted drinks from guys like that. They had a tendency to expect a girl to show her appreciation later on and there was no way that was happening. “Look, you guys should just take off.”

“Too good to have a drink with us?”

“Take off before I have one of the bouncers toss you outta here,” Isabel warned, her eyes narrowing to slits when the first one put his hand on her shoulder.

“Think you’re all that?”

“Only thing that makes you any different from us is Daddy’s money,” the second one sneered.

“There a problem over here?”

Isabel simply smiled when the guys’ eyes widened as they looked up at the mountain of a man who had come up behind her, muscled arms crossed over his massive chest. “These... gentlemen were just leaving, Bruno.”

Tess giggled when Bruno grabbed the two guys by their shoulders and dragged them away from the table before releasing them and shoving them ahead of him. “Guess they won’t be bothering us anymore,” she said.

“No, Bruno’s very good about that.” She took a drink of her margarita and leaned forward to rest her forearms on the table. “So, when are you gonna tell me why you really left, Tess?”

Tess frowned. “I did tell you… this morning.”

“Uh-huh,” Isabel said slowly. “I don’t think you told me the whole story.”

The younger girl rolled her eyes, of course she had to just bring that up now. The night had started out pretty good and now here she was again, the nerve-wracking I-know-it-all Isabel Guerin. “I don’t wanna involve you in this, okay? Let it just be my problem.”

She shook her head. “What’re you doin’? Tryin’ to be as stubborn as Michael?”

“This has nothing to do with being stubborn.”

“Then what’s it got to do with?”

“I just don’t want you to know, because I know it’d change the way you act around me.”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “Fine, don’t talk to me about whoever it is. You’d better talk to someone though ‘cause your behavior throws up a red flag.”

“What’d I do to you now?”

“I’m not talkin’ about me. Before you took off a few months back I don’t remember you being so antagonistic towards Kyle.” She took another drink of her margarita and nearly choked when she realized what she had just said. No, the guy couldn’t be Kyle… could it?

Tess tried to stay cool as she just shrugged. Hopefully the heat coming up in her cheeks wasn’t too obvious.

Isabel’s eyes narrowed as she studied her younger sister. Was she blushing? The lighting in the club was lowered for atmosphere so she wasn’t absolutely positive, but she’d almost bet her next paycheck on it. “You left Maria hanging when you took off… your best friend and you didn’t even say a word to her about leaving. You had to know what that would do to her personally and financially.” It made sense, she thought. Tess hadn’t told anyone why she was leaving, but why else would she have excluded Maria of all people? Kyle, it had to be Kyle.

“I knew financially wouldn’t be a problem. And then of course I also knew Michael would be there for her,” Tess defended herself.

“Yeah, but you also know she isn’t gonna take anything from anyone… something that you know drives him crazy.”

“Hey, it’s not like I left because it was fun to hurt everybody okay? I was hurting too and I didn’t know what to do about it.”

“The guy… it’s Kyle, right? It’s the only thing that makes sense.”

Tess held her glass in both of her hands as she looked down at the table, nodding slightly.

“Are you in love with him?” she asked gently.

“Can you be really,” she made quotations marks in the air, “IN LOVE with someone, when that someone doesn’t love you back?”

Isabel snorted. “Yes.”

Tess sighed. “I was pretty much into him from the moment Michael brought him home after 9/11.”

“So when he and Maria got together it was just too much to deal with.”

“I couldn’t see them together,” Tess admitted.

“But you came back.” She shook her head. “Did you think they wouldn’t be together anymore?”

“I just... I wasn’t happy in LA either, Iz. I missed you guys and I thought I’d be able to deal with both of them…”

“You know you’re gonna have to talk to Maria.”

“I don’t know how. I know I should’ve told her when I started to have feelings for Kyle, but I didn’t want anyone to know. He doesn’t feel the same and I didn’t want to hang out with all of you every day while everyone knew I had feelings for him. That just would’ve been awkward... not to mention how Michael would’ve reacted to that one.”

“Michael doesn’t involve himself in our love lives. What makes you think this would’ve been any different?”

Tess lifted one eyebrow. “C’mon, Iz, when Kyle and Michael became friends I was 15. You don’t really think Michael would’ve stayed out of it.”

“Well, no,” she laughed. “That wouldn’t have gone over well. But you weren’t 15 when you took off.”

“Yeah, but you know Maria and Kyle kept their relationship or however ya wanna call it a secret at first. And then one day she came to me and told me first that she and Kyle had something going on. They’d already had sex by then, ya know? What should I have done? It was too late to admit it.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose. “Okay, good argument. But what’re you gonna do now?”

Tess shook her head sadly. “I don’t know.”

“I think Maria would probably understand if you’d talk to her. She won’t be happy with you but I do think she’ll understand.”

“I’m ashamed of what I did to her, Iz. And I’m mad at this situation!!! I want him and she just takes sex from him and she’s happy with that,” Tess snorted. “She could have him all the way and doesn’t want him and I want him and can’t have him. It’s so fucked up.”

“I think that’s pretty mutual, Tess,” Isabel said sympathetically. “Neither of them wants a serious relationship with each other… I don’t get this thing they’ve got, but according to both of them it’ll allow them to go their separate ways and still be friends later on.”

Tess snorted. “If ya ask me, Maria just needs to snap her fingers and he’d do anything for her. He’s just like Michael when it comes to her.”

“Were you any different before she and Kyle got together?” Isabel countered.

“Kyle was never the same to me as to Maria,” Tess denied. “He never looked at me like he looks at her.”

“You’re Michael’s little sister.” She made a face. “I’m sure there are all kinds of ‘guy rules’ about that. Besides, as you pointed out, you were 15 when you met him… you have to make him realize that you’re not 15 years old anymore.”

“And how do I do that, huh?” Tess shook her head. “Not that it really matters. Kyle will never notice me THIS way and even if he does, don’t they have that unspoken rule about not having sex with each other’s friends? I know I don’t count as Maria’s friend anymore, but ya know what I mean...”

“Yeah, they’ve got that rule, but,” she shook her head, “I think that applies as long as their arrangement is working. Once one or both of them decides that they want out it’ll end. After that, I don’t know.”

“I’m still hoping that Michael grows up and sees what’s right in front of him.” Tess shook her head. “Still doesn’t change my situation, though. He doesn’t want me Isabel.”

“Tess, the guy only sees you as Michael’s little sister. I mean, if you were interested in any other guy would you be having childish battles over the remote or trying so hard to get him to pay attention to you?”

“I don’t wanna talk about this anymore.”

“Alright, but all I’m sayin’ is don’t sell yourself short, Tess.” Isabel shook her head at the mulish look on her sister’s face. “Alright, topic change,” she said agreeably.

Yeah, easy to say when you were Isabel Guerin, Tess thought.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 17

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 08, 2011 6:58 am

Earth2Mama: We haven’t revealed all of the Tess/Maria disaster yet. ;) But definitely true, Tess needs to grow up.

You can be still mad at Isabel, she was really not nice. But what she just overheard maybe makes her thinking!

begonia9508: Admittedly, compared to Maria and Liz, Isabel and Tess shouldn’t complain at all. But that’s just the contrast we were heading for, lol.

mary mary: Lol let it all out girl! You are right! That was NOT nice Isabel!

Eva: Tess might starts to listen to you eventually. ;)

How Alex got into this disaster has still to be revealed. He is working hard, but no, he has to pay full rent.

Hm, will Isabel show? Maybe… eventually… ;)

Alien_Friend: It is finally out right? Sometimes this helps to deal with the situation. We will see if it does any good for Tess.

Yeah the heart monster was really something sad. We feel with Cody. Glad the scene mad it to you list though. ;)

Hm… she might “help” him sooner or later. lol

Rodney: Welcome! ;)

Yeah, being the little sister in a guys eyes is bad and it is not easy to change that pic in Kyle’s head, lol.

The two Guerin girls are really coming off a bit spoiled right now compared to Maria and Liz lol. But that was just what we wanted. ;)

Drogyn: If she expected a warm hello, then she really got surprised lol. Isabel comes off cold and calculating right now…. And it will still take some time until she get rid of those thoughts combined with her.

Now that Tess has finally told the truth, it might help her to start dealing with all of this mess. You are right, Maria should come first, the girl deserves an explanation. It will come, but we still have some (okay a lot) parts before that. ;)

Hm, interesting question. It could be different if there weren’t the more serious problems from Maria and Liz. But we wanted this stark contrast here between those girls. ;)

As Candies we agree. Michael IS the best, lol.



Part 17

Revelations

“Ouch,” Michael yelped and shook his hand a few times, blowing air on his finger that he had just burned on the hot plate.

“What’d you do?” Maria asked as she came out of her bedroom, where Cody was now sleeping for the night. It was already 10pm and the boy had been totally exhausted.

“Burned my finger on the hot plate when I took it outta the microwave,” he said as he carried the newly heated pizza from earlier to the coffee table in front of the TV.

“Smells good.”

“It IS good. C’mon, I got everything,” he gestured to the couch where the food and drinks were set up. “We’re gonna watch The Terminator today.”

“Yay, hot Arnie,” she said with a wink.

“Hey, he’s the bad guy.”

She shrugged. “And? Ya know woman just love the bad ass type.”

He snorted. “Yeah, and afterwards they complain about it.”

They sat down on the couch, when Michael started the movie. Maria leaned forward and took a piece of the pizza, blowing some air on it before taking the first bite. Michael shook his head after watching her for a couple of minutes. “That looks like a porn.”

“Huh?” She swallowed. “WHAT?”

“The way you eat,” he said.

“Why would that be lookin’ like a porn?”

He rolled his eyes. “Have you never noticed just how much you enjoy food? The look on your face when you’re eatin’ somethin’ you really enjoy...” he shook his head. “Downright pornographic, RP.”

“You’re sick and an’ pervert, Guerin.”

“Hey, you’re the one goin’ down on that slice of pizza.”

She snorted and then choked on a bite of pizza. “At least this isn’t getting me in trouble with any STDs.”

“Hey, what’re you sayin’?”

“Nothin’,” she said innocently.

“I’m always careful.”

“Whatever. I wouldn’t want you though, even if ya were the last man on earth.”

“Really? Not even if I was the last man on earth? Wow, I think my feelings might be hurt, DeLuca.”

“Uh-huh, deal with it, male whore.”

“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t want you either, if you were the last woman on earth. I could survive with my right hand for company if I had to.” He stuck his tongue out at her. “Male whore... you do realize that Kyle’s no different, right?”

“He’s not that bad,” she denied. “At least he has some taste in women,” she threw her hair back demonstratively.

“Hey, I’ve got good taste in women... jeez, did you not see the one I landed the other night at the party?”

“She was probably a hooker. Did you check your wallet yet?”

“Eww, gross, RP! I do have standards, ya know!”

She snorted. “Yeah… very low standards if ya ask me. You don’t even have a type.”

“Sure I do... female... hot... flexible...”

“That’s half of New York. Whore!”

“Fine, I’m a man whore... what’s that make you?”

“Huh?”

“You and Kyle don’t have an actual relationship and you’re free to sleep with whoever... c’mon, I know you’ve done other guys since the two of you hooked up.” He glanced at her sideways. She had, right? He knew their relationship wasn’t committed and he knew for a fact that Kyle had hooked up with other girls.

She shrugged. “I haven’t had someone else in a while now.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. Not enough time, no guy that really interests me and I don’t get that much from a one night stand anyway.”

“Really?” He slouched down and chewed on his pizza thoughtfully. “There’re no strings with a one night stand though... no messy relationship stuff... no obligations. That’s the whole point.”

“Yeah, I can see why you men love ‘em. But for us women it’s different.”

“Why?” he mumbled. “I mean, it just makes things easier all around.”

“Yeah,” she wiggled around on the couch to get more comfortable and placed her feet in his lap while she took another slice of pizza from the table in front of them. “But for me, it’s... not really satisfying to sleep with a random guy. Of course, there are exceptions, but most of the time I just leave the bedroom pretty frustrated.”

“Really?” Yeah, he guessed it was different for girls what with all the emotional stuff, but... yeah, okay, he didn’t really understand what she was talking about.

“It’s just that a man you just know one night... he doesn’t really know how to touch you.”

“Okay, I’ll give ya that one,” he conceded. “Guys are pretty simple when it comes to getting off, but girls... there is no single sure-fire method that works for all of you.”

“Well, that’s true and that’s why one night stands don’t work for me most of the time.”

“Huh.” He rubbed her right foot unconsciously as he stared at the television neither of them was watching. “So, is that why you’ve kinda stuck with your deal with Kyle?”

She shrugged. Was she stuck with him? Well, admittedly she was looking for a real relationship more than random hook ups and while she seemed to be damned to just date losers, her deal with Kyle was definitely the best thing she could get right now.

“Hell, whatever works, ya know?” He glanced away from the screen when a commercial for auto insurance came on, depicting an accident. “Life’s too short to not take enjoyment where you can find it.”

“What happened during your shift last night?” she asked, remembering his morning text message and the way he had avoided the topic during the barbeque.

He shrugged and took a drink from the bottle he held in his left hand. “Fire, kids trapped in an elevator, couple accidents.”

“Uh-huh,” she nudged his side with her foot. “And which one was bothering you all day?”

He swallowed hard and took another drink. “Last one.” He brushed his thumb over the opening of the bottle as he shook his head. “Two kids, 19 years old, on their way home from a party. Ironically enough the accident wasn’t even their fault.” He chuckled but the sound held no humor. “The truck they were in was crushed and they were in bad shape when we got there... we kept them alive, kept them talkin’ while the guys were doin’ their best to cut them outta the wreckage.” He squeezed his eyes shut and reached up to rub his forehead. “We lost the first one and the other kid went into a panic. We finally got him calmed down, convinced him that his friend was just unconscious...” He emptied his bottle and stared at the window across the room. “We lost him about 10 minutes later. 19 years old,” he muttered, shaking his head.

Maria could only imagine what it was like to watch someone die right in front of you while you were desperately trying to help them. She admired him for what he was doing for people he didn’t even know. Like many times before, she wanted to hug him right now, to just let him know she was there, but she knew he wouldn’t really welcome anyone’s touch when he shared information like this. She forced herself to stay where she was; she knew he would give her a sign when he was ready to be consoled. “At least they didn’t have to die alone, you were there with them.”

“Yeah.” He set his bottle on the end table and sighed. Sometimes it was hard to shut out the voices, to shut out the memory of the pained cries for loved ones, or last-minute confessions as the person dying sought some sort of absolution. “I knew when we got there that it wasn’t likely that either of them were gonna live... the injuries were horrific... but for a little while there I thought maybe it was gonna happen.” He shook his head and stretched his left arm out, taking her hand where it was resting on the back of the couch.

She squeezed his hand. “From what I know you’ve accomplished a lot of little miracles in your job. It’s okay to lose a battle now and then. You’re an EMT, but there are times when you can’t do anything else.” She got up and turned in her seat to rest her side against his.

“It just... they were just kids, M’ria,” he mumbled. “They hadn’t even had a chance to live yet.”

“I guess fate doesn’t give a damn about how old you are,” she said, thinking of her own brother.

Michael swallowed hard and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer against his side. He hadn’t meant to bring up anything that would make her think of Cody’s situation. “You should’ve seen the group we had to rescue from the elevator.”

“Yeah?” She sensed it was a lighter topic. “Tell me about it.”

“Bunch of drunk teenagers stuck in an elevator.” He snorted and shook his head. “Totally freakin’ out. One of the guys was high as a kite and he was convinced there was an evil spirit tryin’ to kill them. Couple of ‘em were dehydrated an’ ended up passin’ out. One of the girls started takin’ her clothes off ‘cause it was so hot an’ then one of the guys thought it was such a great idea he started takin’ his clothes off... ended up trippin’ himself up and hittin’ his head on the wall. Dumb fuck knocked himself out cold.”

She chuckled. “I bet the girls really enjoyed salvation from EMT Guerin though.”

“Yeah, the one thanked me by throwin’ up on my shoes.” He grimaced. “I would’ve been a lot happier with a simple thank you.”

She snorted. “Great.”

“Yeah, I know I appreciated it. Kyle thought it was hilarious, asshole.”

“Is Kyle home?”

“Yeah, probably. Or he found a party, don’t know.”

“Poor boy,” she muttered.

“More ways than one,” he mumbled tiredly.

“Huh?”

“I don’t know. Tess seems to have taken an interest in pestering him and it’s drivin’ him up the wall.” He rolled his eyes. “He hasn’t said anything yet, but I know it’s comin’.”

“That’s why I said poor boy. Locked up with your sister in one apartment all night. Thanks, but no thanks.”

He chuckled. “I’ll be glad when the war ends between the two of you.”

“You think it’ll end? I doubt it.”

“Eventually.”

“Not until she pulls her head out of her ass and tells me why she left like that.”

“That’s somethin’ we’d all like to know.”

“Yeah, but you weren’t the ones who had to find a new apartment and got stuck with more rent than you could afford.”

“No, I know, and I wish you’d let me cover her half of the rent when she took off like that.”

“That’s not the point, Michael. She knew that I was hardly able to pay my half as it was. And she knew that my life was busy enough without having to move. Did she care? No.” She sighed and shook her head. “Well, at least I’ve finally paid off the late fees and the damn broken lease charge.” She smiled proudly. She had sent off the last payment just this month.

He winced. He knew Tess had left her hanging and he hated that it had put her in such a tight spot. As if things hadn’t been rough enough before that! “I know nothing’s gonna make it right, but maybe you’ll get an answer out of her now that she’s back.”

“I won’t ask her anything,” she said stubbornly. “I’m not the one who makes the first step here.”

“No, of course not,” he agreed. “She should definitely be the one to put the explanation out there.”

“Let’s not talk about her anymore.”

He grinned and dropped a kiss on her head. “Your wish is my command, DeLuca.”

*****

Max crossed the busy street, dodging cars and ignoring the honking horns and the rude gestures made by the drivers he cut in front of. He was in an area of the city that he only frequented on the rare occasion and never for pleasure. The bars and clubs weren’t the type that he normally spent time at – not that he had anything against bars or strip clubs. But the area was rundown and the clientele was mostly made up of questionable characters involved in shady dealings and he had no interest in getting involved in that world. He had come as close as he ever wanted to get at 17 years old.

He stepped around the bum sleeping on the sidewalk and opened the door of the strip club on the corner, feeling the need for a tetanus shot as soon as he stepped inside. He paused for a few moments to let his eyes adjust to the darkened interior and his gaze slid over to the stage and the woman peeling her skimpy outfit off. He walked around the outer perimeter of the large room, making his way to the bar and nodding at the man behind the counter.

Teddy Mackey was the new owner of the club and he had met Max a year before when he had stopped in the shop for a tattoo. He had approached him recently about painting a mural on the wall behind the stage and the artist had agreed to consider it. “Hey, kid,” the man greeted as he wiped the counter down. “You make a decision about that mural?”

Teddy was trying to clean the joint up but Max had his doubts that it was possible. “Yeah, I’ve got a few designs for you to take a look at,” he said as he tossed a folder on the counter. “See what ya think of ‘em.”

“You’re very talented, Evans,” Teddy said after glancing over the sketches Max had done.

“I know,” Max said absently as his gaze wandered to the stage again. “If you’re gonna improve this dive you’re gonna have to hire some decent strippers, Teddy.” He made a face at the woman on stage and shook his head as he turned back to the owner.

“Ah, it’s just early. Look around, the club’s just startin’ to fill up. I save the good ladies for later.”

Max snorted. “Maybe I’ll hang around and see what you’ve got.” He shook his head. “Although, you couldn’t pay me to sleep with anything you put onstage.”

Teddy snorted. “First off, the strippers aren’t supposed to sleep with the clients and second, don’t talk before you’ve seen what I have to offer.”

“Gimme a beer, Teddy. Nothin’ on tap... I don’t trust your glasses to be clean,” he said as he settled on one of the stools. “Think you should go with the skyline for the mural,” he mused.

The other man set a beer on the counter. “Yeah, I was thinking the same and just for the record, the glasses are clean.”

“If you say so... not takin’ any chances though.” Max took a drink and placed the bottle on the counter. “I don’t know why you picked this place up, Teddy... well, other than it had to be fairly cheap.”

“Cheap? I wish.”

“Compared to what you would’ve paid uptown? Cheap.”

“So, how’s your shop runnin’? I was plannin’ to stop by here pretty soon.”

“Business has been good, so can’t really complain.” For the next hour they talked in between Teddy filling orders and as the conversation began to wind down he stood and tossed a couple bills on the counter. The club was beginning to fill with more degenerates and he was ready to go. “I’m outta here, Teddy. Gimme a call when you’re ready for me to start on that mural.”

Teddy nodded. “Ya sure ya wanna go right now?” He pointed to the empty stage. “The next one’s damn good. Customers like those shy types… gets ‘em revved up.”

Max shook his head and started to head for the exit, ready to leave and go home. He was halfway to the exit when the music started and the next act stepped out on the stage. He glanced back out of habit and he paused the lights illuminated the stage and she stood with her back to the crowd. She was dressed scantily like every other dancer that had been up there but there was something about her that held his attention.

He shook it off and was about to continue on his way when she wrapped herself around the pole center stage and turned her head just enough to bring her profile into view. He froze where he stood, certain it had to be a trick of the light.

Her gaze wandered over the crowded club as she swayed her hips the music. Her small left hand held onto the pole while the other one ran over the side of her body. She tried to tune everything else out and concentrate on just the music, ignoring the greedy looks of the men in the room.

Max frowned. Looked like the kid wasn’t the only thing she was hiding. What the hell was she doing in a dive like this? Didn’t she know what could happen to someone like her? She was confident about her body, but it was easy to see she wasn’t comfortable up there. Or maybe it wasn’t so easy to see, he thought as he glanced around at the animals clamoring for her to take off more. They didn’t care; they were getting off on it. And why should he care one way or the other?

Liz’ eyes wandered over the crowd, searching for a man who looked ... decent and normal. It always helped her to calm down a little under the bright lights. Tonight she hadn’t had any luck though. Her eyes widened in shock for just a moment when she noticed the one man she had never wanted to know about this.

Max felt something he didn’t have a name for when their eyes caught and held. Humiliation and shame were visible in her dark eyes and he wondered again why she was there.

“Take it all off!” someone yelled over the music and some of the others agreed with nods, laughs and other sounds.

She knew she had to, it was what she was paid for, but right now it didn’t seem possible under the watchful gaze of Max Evans.

He could see the uncertainty and he knew he was the cause for it. Whatever had her in the club baring her body to strangers for money had to be important. She wasn’t there because she enjoyed being onstage or being the focus of so many leering men. She was there out of necessity, that much he was sure of. He had a feeling she was embarrassed that he had seen her and now she was having an even more difficult time performing.

Pull yourself together Parker, she told herself strictly. You can’t change it anyway. He’s seen you and it’s obvious what you’re gonna do so you can just go on. Besides, it’s not like he hasn’t seen it before.

Max crossed his arms over his chest as he forced down the urge to remove her from the stage and away from the hungry gazes of the crowd. He held her gaze and gave the slightest of nods. If she had to do this then he was going to make sure that no one got out of line with her.

She closed her eyes for a brief moment before opening them again. He was still there, looking at her like all the others, but in a different way. His gaze wasn’t heated or hungry, it was... protective. Could that be? Her hand let go of the pole and she stepped in front of it, turning to face the crowd with her back as she started to brush the first strap of her top down her shoulder.

His breath caught in his throat as she began to remove her top and every sound around him began to fade into the background. She was watching him, not looking away as she revealed her soft flesh in a way that should’ve been foreign to her. Her moves were practiced and he could tell she hated every second of it.

One of her hands ran along her back and opened her bra with one quick move. The small bit of fabric flew to the ground immediately, making the crowd groan even though she still had her back to them.

Max’s hands curled into fists as he watched her. She had turned her back to the crowd, teasing the men as she released her top and let it fall to the floor. His eyes trailed down over her back to rest on the gentle swell of her ass. The panties she wore barely hid the small birthmark he knew was there and he wondered if anyone there had ever seen it. It was a topless bar, but if she was that desperate for money who knew what else she had agreed to do? His mind immediately rebelled at that thought.

Liz slowly turned around, hiding her bare breasts with one arm while grabbing the pole and starting to swing her ass again. She slowly bent her knees to go deeper and deeper, before she went back up again. The turn of her head let her long brown hair brush over her bare upper body.

Max couldn’t help but watch her even as he cursed every other man there. It was difficult to forget the one night they had spent together although at the time he had thought it would be more. He still had no idea what had happened to make her turn and run the next morning.

Liz couldn’t hold his gaze anymore when she slowly dropped her arm and showed everyone in the room what she looked like bare from the waist up.

Max leaned back against the wall and a nearby conversation caught his attention and he turned his head to narrow his eyes at the unshaven, overweight slob running his mouth.

“Not my type, but who cares in the dark, right?”

A thinner, scraggly-looking man to his right snickered and nodded. “Right about that, Ronnie. They all look alike in the dark.”

“Bet for a few bucks I could get her to blow me out back.”

“I’ll bet if you approach her you won’t walk outta here.”

Ronnie turned his head to look at the owner of the menacing growl and his eyes moved over the tattooed arm closest to him. “This ain’t any of your fuckin’ business.”

“One word to her and I’ll make it my business,” Max threatened. He kicked the back of the man’s chair before resuming his position against the wall.

Liz was glad when the song finally ended. She bent down to collect up the clothes before she made a quick escape from the stage while the men were cheering and laughing.

Max glanced over at Teddy and motioned to the door that led to the dressing area behind the stage. He didn’t bother responding when the owner gave him a knowing look and a nod. He had no idea why he felt the need to talk to Liz right now, but her working in the bar bothered him and he needed some answers.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 18

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 15, 2011 6:10 am

Natalie36: Cool, that’s the reaction we were hoping for, lol.

Earth2Mama: Lol, there was something. When, how long, and why did it end are all questions that have yet to be answered. That confrontation is coming.

mddk98: Welcome to DT world!

The answers will come… they just may take some time.

kismet: Shocked ya, huh? Lol, well, you’ll get Max and Liz in this update. Yeah, sounds like you know what to expect with the upcoming meeting.

No, it wasn’t Trent that caused Liz to run. And, no, we don’t think you’re mistaken.

keepsmiling7: Yeah, Max wasn’t expecting that either. Lol, don’t expect these two to make things easy. It’s gonna take time.

Cardinal: You’ve got a good read on the situation between Max and Liz.

Yeah, Michael and Maria are going to eventually eat those words.

You’re right about Tess too. That’s exactly the way she’s acting. But she’ll get her act together.

Misunderstandings… miscommunications… there’s a little bit of both in a way.

Max and Liz were together after his stint in the army.

Alien_Friend: Afloat is a good word for it. She’s struggling just to keep them doing that well. Trent doesn’t appear to be good for much of anything.

Ah, yes, that was a shock, huh? Well, we’re not sure how much of a conversation they’re going to have… at least as far as their mutual past is concerned.

Unfortunately, Michael and Maria aren’t going to be cooperating anytime soon.

Lol, we’ll see what else we can spring on you in coming updates. ;)

Eva: Surprise/shock is what we were going for. :)

Lol, these two have a past but it might take a little time before we get it out of them.

We’re glad you’re hooked for sure now.

mary mary: Um… well… the conversation will go…

Next week for sure.

Drogyn: Yeah, it’s a bad situation all around.

Max is learning something about Liz – just not the answers he’s looking for.

begonia9508: That’s definitely a big part of it.

Why she left the way she did… she hasn’t revealed the answer to that one yet.

There are still feelings there.

Clari: Welcome to DT world!

Lol, well, it’s Sunday but we can’t promise that the whole Max/Liz drama will be revealed just yet.

itsme69: Lol, every Sunday. Enjoy!

Rodney: Lol, ya obviously have no sympathy for Max or Isabel right now, huh? Hm, maybe we will be able to change this a bit during the fic?! What a nice challenge. ;)

M&M are really nice, they might get a bit frustrating during fic-time. Lol

quelbebek: Hey girl! And welcome back again! ;) 36 hours? Yeah this would really help! We make a vote for it too.

We will get more if A&I today.

The history of M&L is something we will reveal…. Later. Lol

Smac: Welcome to DT world. ;)

Thanks! The story is definitely filled with secrets and love triangle messed up relationships lol. We promise we will make them happy in the end though. It’s just a looong way.



Part 18

Dismissal

Liz walked along the long corridor at the back of the club, heading for the dressing room to get dressed again. She wrapped the large robe around herself tightly even though nobody was there to see her right now.

Max pushed through the door and caught a glimpse of light that quickly disappeared when a door was shut near the end. Without that the light the corridor was barely lit and cast in shadows. He followed the strip of light on the floor until he reached the last door and hoped she’d at least had the sense to lock it.

Liz winced when the knock on the door sounded. Who could that be? Was Teddy there to tell her that her show had been a disaster?

Max leaned against the doorframe, one hand shoved in his pocket and the other braced on the doorframe across from him as he waited for her to answer the door. He had no idea what he was even going to say to her... or why he felt compelled to come back to talk to her at all.

“Who’s there?” she asked, getting up to walk to the door. Liz turned to look at the large mirror, making sure that nothing was revealed.

He shook his head when he heard the caution in her tone. “Does it matter?” he asked, knowing she would recognize his voice.

Her heart tightened when he spoke. She would know his voice under thousands. “Go away, Evans.”

“Open the door, Parker. There’s no reason to be shy now.” He winced. Not a smart thing to say, Evans.

She bit her lip to keep from yelling at him. This situation couldn’t get any more embarrassing, could it? What should she do now? Tomorrow he would sit in the café again, telling all of his friends the truth about her. How would she be able to survive that? “Just go away,” she mumbled, her tone almost begging.

He straightened up and took a step back before bracing his hands on the doorframe and leaning in closer. She was a strong woman, opinionated as hell, and she drove him crazy. She shouldn’t have to beg anyone for anything, but he couldn’t let it go to save her the added humiliation. “Tell me why you’re doin’ this,” he insisted.

“Just for fun,” she told him coldly and leaned against the wall next to the door.

Ah, there was that bitchy tone he had become so familiar with. “Flaunting yourself out on stage in front of a bunch of slobberin’, sweatin’, half-drunk losers who would just about give their next breath to grope you doesn’t sound to me like somethin’ you’d do for fun.” He thumped his fist against the door. “What the fuck are you doin’ here, Liz? You’ve got a kid at home... there’s no way you’re doin’ this for fun when he’s at home waitin’ for you.” He shook his head, denying her words.

She snorted. “Slobberin’, sweatin’, half-dunk-losers, huh?” she yelled through the door. “And yet you’re here as well, Max. What does that say about you?”

His hands tightened into fists at his sides. He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of defending his presence in this dive. “It says I came to see some real entertainment... a woman who knows what to do with her body whether it’s on stage or in bed. Imagine my surprise when I saw you up there,” he snarled. God, she could piss him off!

“Well, sorry I’m not your fantasy, Evans. Maybe the next girl will be more taste.”

He growled and moved back away from the door, glaring at it in irritation. “And maybe I’ll just go talk to Teddy and request a lap dance from you,” he threatened, knowing it’d piss her off. She hated him anyway so why should he care?

“Or maybe you could just go fuck yourself.”

“Liz, Liz, Liz,” he chanted with a smirk. “You work for Teddy, darlin’... he’s not gonna turn down a payin’ customer’s request.”

“Go ahead and ask him then.” She had made sure her boss knew she wasn’t available for anything other than dancing onstage.

She had to have made a deal with that moron Teddy, he thought when he heard the confidence in her voice. He hated that even when she was pissing him off he wanted her so bad he could hardly think straight. And it hadn’t escaped his notice that she hadn’t given him a real answer about why she was there. She was putting herself in danger here... the club, the clientele, the location... it was a recipe for disaster. It had to be a money issue, he decided. Maybe they didn’t know everything about each other but he knew enough to know that she wasn’t doing this for fun.

“Bet he’ll change his mind about whatever deal you’ve got goin’ if he’s offered enough money. This isn’t the kinda business people get into because they’ve got a heart of gold and he’s no different. If he can turn a buck he’ll do what he has to do to make sure he gets everything he can out of it. So don’t fool yourself into thinkin’ it’s any different with you... like every other man out in that bar you’re just a piece of ass that can be bought, sold and traded. You’re smart enough to know that what I’m tellin’ you is true. And whatever’s got you here is likely to push you to do whatever you’ve gotta do to keep this shitty job.”

She ripped the door open and stared at him. “What the hell do you want, Evans?”

His eyes slid over her against his will and he felt all of his blood rushing south. He shook his head to clear it and glared at her. “I wanna know why you’re doin’ this,” he grated out.

“This’s none of your business.”

“I’m makin’ it my business. You’re dancin’ in a bar that’s full of guys who aren’t exactly upstanding citizens... half of those guys out there have probably been arrested and served time for assault. You’re puttin’ yourself in a dangerous situation, which you have to know because no matter what else you are, you aren’t stupid.”

“Maybe all your dreams will come true then and some pervert will kill me in a dark alley. You’ll get a new waitress. Tempting, huh?”

His temper shot through the roof at her callous remark and Max pushed his way into the small room, shoving the door closed and turning to push her up against it. “Don’t you ever fuckin’ say anything like that to me again!” he shouted as he slammed his palm against the door next to her head.

She stared at him with wide eyes, scared by his sudden outburst.

He brought himself under control when he realized that he had scared her. “You might piss me off more than anyone I’ve ever known but,” he shook his head, “I’d never wish that on you and I don’t appreciate you sayin’ I’d want that to happen to you.”

She stared into his eyes, trying to find a good reason why he was here and why he seemed so worried about her. “Let me go, Max,” she said quietly, her gaze dropping to his hand that held her wrist.

He followed her gaze and wondered when he had grabbed her. He released her and took a step back, forcing his breathing to even out.

She straightened the robe around her. “You should go.”

“I’ll go,” he said as he rested his hand on the doorknob and waited for her to move. “But you can count on me bein’ back.”

Liz shook her head slightly and stepped aside.

He stared at her for several long minutes before he finally pulled the door open and stepped out into the poorly lit corridor. He leaned back against the wall and pulled in several deep breaths, getting himself back under control before turning to head for the exit.

*****

Michael glanced at the clock in the kitchen when he entered his apartment on Sunday morning. 9am, only one more hour before the next 12-hour shift would start. He didn’t feel like working today, he was tired and a night in Maria’s much too small and hard bed didn’t help either. God, she should definitely get out of that crappy apartment. If only she wasn’t too stubborn to let him help her with the financials.

Kyle walked out of his room, already fully dressed in a red tee shirt and some faded jeans. “Mornin’.”

Michael nodded quietly when he noticed his little sister still sleeping on the couch.

“Did ya have breakfast yet?” Kyle asked as he wandered into the kitchen to prepare some coffee.

“No, I’ll probably just have some cornflakes.”

“Corn flakes... Yeah, well, your sister ate the last of ‘em yesterday.”

“Great,” Michael groaned and sat down on one of the barstools, nodding in thanks when Kyle put a mug of fresh coffee in front of him. “I guess I’ll eat something at the department then.”

“Hey, um, any chance Isabel’s gonna let Tess stay with her?”

Michael looked at his roommate curiously. “Any particular reason why you’re askin’?”

“Just ‘cause I don’t like havin’ to fight to sit on my own couch or eat a bowl of friggin’ cereal.”

“I can talk to Isabel,” Michael shrugged. “Not sure I can convince her though. Ya know her attitude.”

“Then make a deal with her, pay her… I don’t care, but if I have to fight over my couch one more time I’m gonna lock her out on the fire escape. Do you know what she did last night?”

“I guess you’ll tell me soon...”

“You know the Yankees were playin’ last night, right?” He continued when Michael nodded. “And sports are the main reason why we invested in an 82-inch screen… she put the TV on some stupid entertainment/fashion thing and then hid the remote! She watched that for two hours and she didn’t pull out the remote again. I still can’t find it.”

Michael tried to hide his smirk at the image, but he could understand his roommate. It was important to rest between their shifts and his sister wasn’t really helping the situation.

“Man, you know I’m cool with your sisters hangin’ out over here but there’s just a lot goin’ on right now and she seems to be goin’ outta her way to annoy me. I mean, if Iz can’t do it then maybe I can go hang over at Maria’s place until Tess gets her situation figured out.”

It had to be really bad if Kyle was even considering staying at Maria’s place. Well, nothing against Maria. Everyone enjoyed hanging out with her, she was just... uncomplicated. But her apartment was anything but fun. Especially in the summer. “I’ll talk to Isabel, okay? Maybe we can all hit a club tonight after our shift. I’ll get her drunk and then convince her.”

Kyle perked up at that. “That sounds like a great way to unwind after another long shift.” He nodded. “Yeah, let’s do that.”

Michael nodded, getting his phone out to write a text to Maria and Isabel, asking them if they were in as well.

“Hey, we should see if Tony wants to hang out too. I think your big sister likes him,” he said with a grin.

“She’s probably just fooling herself with that because of that asshole Richard, but yeah, Tony will be at the department with us anyway, right?”

“Distractions don’t necessarily hurt in these situations,” Kyle said as took a sip of his coffee.

“True, but ya know her...” Michael smirked, “she just pretends to be the ice queen.”

“Yeah.” He shook his head and leaned back against the counter. “It sucks that happened to her. I know she can be pretty high-maintenance, but there’s gotta be a guy out there who can handle her and still be a stand-up guy, ya know?” He glanced down when Loco ran into the kitchen and straight to his food dish. Michael had already put the ferret’s food out and the first thing Loco did was push his nose around the bowl, knocking most of the food onto the floor. “Guess you weren’t all that surprised though, huh? You never did really like him.”

Michael snorted. “I told her from the very beginning that he’s nothin’ more than a snob who needs a nice girl at his side to show off, but did anyone listen? No!”

Kyle chuckled. “Well, Isabel’s got a heart of gold and I know she tries to see the best in people even though she doesn’t want anyone to know it.”

Michael glanced at his phone when it buzzed. “Isabel’s in... and asked me to bring Tony.”

“Told ya!” Kyle grinned.

“I bet Evans is in too.”

“You shoot him a text?”

“Nah, but I’m stoppin’ by his shop to drop off a new design before work anyway.”

“Cool. Hey, everything okay with Maria?”

“Yeah, Cody was with us all day and he’ll stay with her until this evening. She finally got some rest this weekend, she needed it. Well, at least as much as you can rest in her crappy apartment.”

“The girl’s stubborn, but you’ve gotta give her credit. She never takes the easy way out.” He shook his head fondly. “Not even when someone’s tryin’ to get her to accept some help.”

“Tell me about it,” Michael said just as his phone started to buzz again. “Maria’s in as well. She won’t stay out too long though since she has to work on Monday.”

“Tell her we’ll pick her up otherwise she’ll be ridin’ the subway.” He made a face. “Not the smartest thing to do since she’ll be by herself.”

Michael nodded, punching in a message that he and Kyle would pick her up right after the end of their shift.

“Yeah, poor Maria shouldn’t take the bad subway,” Tess grumbled as she walked to the bathroom in a pissed mood.

“What is your sister’s deal with Maria?” Kyle asked, annoyed with Tess’ attitude.

“I wish I knew, man!” Michael shook his head. “I don’t know any more than you do. Maria’s obviously pissed at her because little sister left her overnight with an apartment that she couldn’t afford alone. I don’t know anything about Tess’ problem with her though.”

“Well, you’re her brother… can’t you find out?” He smiled slowly. “Better yet, maybe we should just turn Isabel loose on her. You know she’ll get the truth out of her eventually. See? It’s just one more reason why her stayin’ with Iz makes the most sense.”

“A bet might work, but that’d cost us.”

“No problem! I’ll be happy to fork out the money.” He grinned. “And you know Isabel can’t resist a bet… um-hmm… never mind, Guerin, I can totally get this thing taken care of in a manner that makes all of us happy.”

Michael shrugged. “Even better. That way I can concentrate on the ladies!”

“I’ll just have to live without tonight. It’s a worthy cause.” He grinned and straightened up. “Guess it’s about time to head out. Especially if you’re stoppin’ over at Evans’ place before work.”

Michal nodded and stood up as well. “Let me just grab the designs from my room.”

“Cool.”

*****

Max smirked when Randi sat down on the chair in front of him, lifting her left foot high on the chair right next to her, revealing the rest of the soft flesh of her inner thighs that had been hidden by her short skirt. “Whatcha think?”

Max glanced over the small tribal tat high on her inner thigh, trying to ignore her almost transparent panties. “It’s pretty ugly,” he admitted with a nod.

She sighed. “Right?” The tat was a painful reminder of her first boyfriend in high school. “I wish I had known you back then.”

Max bit on his lip and played with the ring there while he stared at the small tat. “I think we can make something good out of it.”

“Yeah?” she asked excitedly.

“Isn’t it too early in the morning for this?” Michael asked, grinning when he and Kyle entered the shop.

Randi smirked and lowered her leg again as she got up to give both men a brief hug. “Never too early.”

Michael laughed and nodded. “Ya got that right.” He held a folder out to Max. “Got those new designs for you.”

Kyle snorted. “’Cause he’s got nothin’ else to do.”

Max snorted. “I think ya meant no one else to do.”

“Hey,” Michael protested.

Randi just chuckled when Kyle and Michael started shoving each other. “Boys, boys, boys,” she said with a shake of her head.

“Oh, hey Evans, we’re gonna go out tonight. Ya in?” Kyle asked.

“Yeah, why not,” he muttered as he flipped through the designs. “You want that ring changed out for the stud since you’re already here, Guerin?” he asked absently.

“Sure, if you can make it quick. We need to be at work soon.” He hadn’t planned to give in so soon, but he had to admit that he had gotten caught with the ring a few times and it didn’t feel so great. Maybe a stud would be better and less painful in the end.

“Nah, won’t take more than a few seconds to switch ‘em out.” Max held the folder up. “Lemme just put these away and I’ll grab what I need.”

“I’ve heard you’re gonna give Kyle one of those lip piercings?” Michael asked as he sat down in the comfortable chair.

“That’s the plan,” Max called back over his shoulder.

“Bet Maria will like it,” Michael looked at Kyle with a grin.

“That’s for sure,” Randi said with a grin.

Max came back with the stud and held it out for Michael to look at. “This one work?”

“Yeah, looks cool.”

“Maria will like that as well,” Kyle teased.

Max rolled his eyes. He couldn’t believe that Michael and Maria were so completely blind. He tore open an alcohol pad after removing the ring and carefully cleaned the area as a precaution before inserting the stud. He hooked his thumb over his shoulder at the mirror on the wall. “Take a look and see if ya like it.”

“Looks good,” Michael said and got up again. Much better actually but he wouldn’t admit it.

Kyle smirked. “You’re gonna get so much crap over that.”

Michael shrugged. “I’m getting crap from Maria and my sisters all the time so nothing new there."

Max laughed quietly and shook his head. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”

Kyle groaned. “Don’t know how you managed to grow up with your three sisters, man. One is more than enough if ya ask me.”

“Bet you’ve just got one in mind,” Max teased.

Michael glanced at his watch. “We need to get goin’.”

Max nodded. “What time you guys goin’ out tonight?”

“Not sure yet. We’ll probably stop over at the café first, grab a bite to eat. Wanna just meet us there?”

Max nodded, briefly wondering if that meant he’d have another run-in with his nemesis. “That’s good for me. I’ll meet ya there.”

*****

Isabel scrolled through the messages on her phone, looking for one from her dad. He had sent a text earlier to invite her to dinner later in the week if she could get away for the evening but she hadn’t had time to check her schedule for any changes until the end of her shift. She sent a reply to let him know dinner sounded good and that she would be there as she glanced up to see how crowded the subway was.

Ungh, no way, she thought as she backtracked out onto the street. She wasn’t in the mood to put up with it today. She had dropped her car off that morning for some routine maintenance, which had left her at the mercy of the public transportation system. It had been a long day and she just wanted to go home and not deal with any drama for a few hours.

She stepped back out onto the street and hurried to stand under the awning over the front of a nearby store to avoid the worst of the rain. It had started a little while ago and she knew it wouldn’t last long but she had no intention of getting wet while waiting for one of the cabbies to stop. Sometimes it took forever for one of them to decide to pull over and pick up a fare.

“Isabel, I thought I saw you over here!”

Her gaze narrowed as she lifted her head to look at Richard when he joined her under the awning. “Pretend you didn’t see me and get lost,” she said, annoyed.

“I wish you would just be reasonable for once in your privileged life and give someone else the time of day.”

“I’ll give just about anyone the time of day… just not you,” she said and stepped out into the gently falling rain to raise her right hand and flag a cab down.

His face expressed irritation as he followed her and grabbed her arm. “I’m fed up with this attitude you’re copping with me.”

Isabel glanced down when she lost her grip on her phone and it fell to the ground, bouncing twice before landing in a puddle. “That’s great, Richard,” she snapped as she tried to jerk her arm free of his grip.

“Forget the damn phone!”

“Hey, the lady said to back off,” a new voice interrupted.

Isabel looked up in surprise when someone pried Richard’s hand off of her arm and pushed him back before he leaned down and picked her phone up. He shook the excess water off before drying it as well as he could with his shirttail. She gasped in shock when he turned to hand her phone back to her and she recognized him.

Alex gave an internal sigh when he looked at the woman who was being harassed and he realized who she was. “Here’s your phone,” he said.

“Excuse me,” Richard interrupted rudely. “We were in the middle of something.”

“Looked to me like the lady wasn’t interested in the conversation,” Alex countered.

“This is none of your business,” Richard growled.

“No? Well, maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world today. No one bothers to get involved in anything anymore. I’m not gonna stand around and do nothin’ while a woman’s bein’ harassed.” He brought his fingers up to his lips and emitted a loud whistle before lifting his hand and motioning for one of the oncoming cabs to pull over.

Isabel couldn’t do anything but smile at that moment. Nerdy boy was playing it cool with Richard.

“I’m not harassing her, alright? She’s my girlfriend and we’re just having a little fight over here. Now go and play the hero somewhere else and leave us alone.” Richard made a dismissive gesture.

Alex had no doubt that she had dated the jerk, but her tone indicated that things were over between them. He glanced at Isabel when one of the cabs separated from the others and pulled over to the curb. He barely contained a laugh at her look of irritation when the cab pulled over and he knew without asking that she had already attempted to flag one down and been unsuccessful. “I was about to head uptown if you’re interested in sharin’ a cab?” Yeah, he mused, you can’t even afford to take a cab across the street right now.

“Uptown? That’s where I’m heading,” Richard said and stepped onto the street, opening the door and glancing at Isabel. “Come on, it’s raining. We can talk while riding and afterwards I’ll leave you alone.”

“Could you be any more rude if you tried?” she asked, shaking her head at him. “No, I’ve already said everything I have to say to you.”

Meanwhile Alex had flagged down a second cab right behind the first one and he stepped towards it, leaning down to look at the driver. “Could you take the lady home?”

“You’re not going anywhere with that guy,” Richard said insistently. “He’s not like us.”

“No,” Isabel mused as she glanced at Alex where he was conversing with the cabbie. He was nothing like them and against her will she could feel her curiosity building. He should’ve just walked away when he realized who she was but he hadn’t done that; he had stayed to make sure she wasn’t bothered by someone she didn’t want to deal with and then made sure she had a way home. He was just weird, she decided.

Richard was getting impatient. “Then let’s go.”

“What? I was only agreeing with you that he isn’t like us, Richard… I wasn’t agreeing to go anywhere with you.”

“Hey, if ya wanna a ride then get in,” the cabbie in Richard’s cab yelled. “I don’t have all day.”

Richard slammed the door on the cab and the guy pulled away, stepping on the gas so that his back tires spit up a spray of the filthy water from the street. He jumped back out of the way but not fast enough to avoid getting soaked from the knees down.

Isabel laughed as she watched her ex and walked over to Alex’ cab, climbing inside. “Are you coming?” She looked at Alex and rolled her eyes when he hesitated. “Your apartment’s right on the way. Consider yourself invited.”

“Sure, why not?” Alex climbed in beside her and glanced back at her ex once more. The guy was staring at Isabel, his expression one that he couldn’t quite put a name too. Dangerous came to mind, he thought as he looked at her as he closed the door. He waited until she had given the driver their respective addresses before he spoke. “He seems like he could be a problem,” he said.

“He’s fine.”

He shrugged. “I don’t know… there’s somethin’ about him that seems a little unbalanced.”

“Alex,” she sighed, “that’s your name, isn’t it? I’ll be okay. Don’t overreact. I can deal with him.”

“I don’t think I’m overreacting,” he said, shrugging when she just shot a mind-your-own-business look at him. He held his hands up and nodded. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped he reminded himself. Hadn’t the past taught him anything?

“Look, thanks for stepping in, okay? Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten rid of him so easily. You got the cab ride, so we’re even again.” Yeah, besides that little stunt from the mall, she thought.

He rolled his eyes and leaned against his door. “Yeah, well, next time you can handle him yourself,” he muttered. Why did he put himself in these situations?

“Yep,” her cell started to ring and she opened her bag to get it out. “Hey, sis. What’s up? Party tonight? Yeah, sounds great. I had a helluva day, I can tell you.”

Alex rolled his eyes. Yeah, I’ll bet. Shopping, gym, and riding around by cab all day must be so exhausting.

“Okay, we’ll meet at the café then.” Isabel hung up, well aware of Alex’ less then subtle eye roll. “Yes, we go out a lot. Got a problem with it?”

“It’s your life,” he said.

Alex pulled his wallet out when the cabbie pulled up in front of his building. He glanced at the meter and grimaced internally before pulling the bills out and reaching over the seat to hand them to the man as he thanked him.

“I told you I had this,” she reminded him.

“Thanks, but…” he shook his head. The last thing he needed was to end up owing her for anything. Who knew what her devious mind could come up with? No way, he had enough problems.

Isabel watched him as he climbed out of the cab without saying goodbye. Great, she had invited him to silence her conscience after he lost the chance for a well-paid job because of her. Now she was feeling even more guilty because he had paid a cab that she knew he couldn’t afford.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 19

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 22, 2011 6:14 am

Earth2Mama: Hm, Richard could be a problem, huh? We will see in the future.

Yeah, Alex is definitely a good young man. He could have turned his back on Isabel but he didn’t.

LOL, feeling the chemistry, huh? We will get lots of more of this, don’t worry! ;)

begonia9508: Max definitely isn’t doing anything to smooth that situation over.

Max still has some growing up to do. True, his ego is bruised… his heart likely got stomped on too.

Richard could prove to be a problem.

Natalie36: Lol, it should be an interesting ride.

kismet: Bribery, huh. *Double looks at Trouble and shrugs* Well, you could try. ;)

We’re glad to hear you wanna know more. We’ve got a lot more to tell with this story.

We’ll find out soon enough if Max is gonna share that secret.

Alex is a good guy and he definitely gave Isabel a hand.

Richard could be a problem… we’ll see.

keepsmiling7: Understatement… us? :D Yeah, it’s gonna take time.

Max could use a slap upside the head. Liz has her moments too though, lol. The two of them really need to talk and until they do they’re just gonna keep going in circles.

No, definitely not having any fun.

Cardinal: Ah, you’re so on target with the majority of what you said about Max and Liz.

Yes, everyone sees it but them. Lol, think Kyle will have his eyes opened by the sudden absence of Tess from his life? We’ll see.

Alex is a good guy for sure. Isabel has no clue whatsoever how to handle him. Those two should be interesting to watch.

angiebrenna: We’re glad you’re enjoying Max and Liz here. :)

mary mary: Thanks! Richard could prove to be dangerous.

killjoy: Could be. Alex is a good guy. He isn’t the type of guy to turn his back on someone who needs help, even if it is an enemy.

Lol, he’ll grow up over the course of the fic.

Maybe Tess needs to switch directions then. ;)

kay_b: Bit of a surprise there, huh? :) There is, of course, more to their story. It’ll come out in time though.

Slowly but surely the pieces are coming together for our characters.

Alien_Friend: We’re sure that Isabel will figure something out. Richard could be a problem. We’ll find out.

Lol, yeah, kind of is a good description of that conversation. Max has layers… they’re just very slowly being revealed.

Thanks!




Part 19

Threesomes

Maria walked over to the kitchen carrying a stack of plates from dinner over to the sink. She had brought Cody back over to her mother on Sunday evening just in time to eat. Amy had managed to convince her to stay for a while, since mother and daughter rarely had time to hang out since Maria had moved out a few years ago.

“I can do the dish later, sweetie, just put them in the sink.”

“Ya sure? I’ve still got enough time. Kyle and Michael both have to work until 10pm and then it’ll probably take another 30 minutes before they get to my place. Well, that’s if they aren’t held up on an emergency.”

“You guys planning to hang out tonight?” Amy walked over and put her hands over her daughter’s with an amused shake of her head when she started to fill the sink with water.

Maria nodded and wiped her hands on a towel. “We’ll probably hit a club together tonight.” She made a face. “Only negative thing is that Tess will probably go as well.”

“She’s back in town?” Amy asked, surprised.

“Didn’t I tell you?” Maria sighed. “Sorry, I must’ve forgotten about it. Things have just been busy the past few days. So yeah… boohoo, she’s back.”

“Has she talked to you?”

Maria snorted. “No, she’s ignoring me all the way.”

Amy smiled sympathetically. She knew how hard Maria had taken it when Tess had just up and left the way she had. “I guess that means she hasn’t tried to talk to you? Tried to explain why she left like that?”

“No, and ya know what? I don’t wanna know anymore. I mean, she obviously didn’t need me as a friend anymore and I’ve moved on, I don’t need her anymore either. Michael’s my best friend and Kyle follows right after.”

She knew Maria wouldn’t admit that she needed an answer for why Tess had just left without a word so she just nodded. She wasn’t going to try to defend the other girl’s actions because there really was no defense for that kind of behavior. “Why don’t you go check on Cody? Otherwise I know you… you’re gonna start washing dishes.”

Maria nodded. “Is he already out of the tub and ready for bed?”

Amy smiled as she thought about her little boy. “He wanted to do it all himself. He’s not very good at the drying off part yet, so he’ll likely need a fresh set of pajamas.”

Maria walked into Cody’s room, smiling at the wet patches darkening his pajamas in spots. “Need some help, little man?”

Cody pulled the towel over his head, leaving his damp hair standing up in soft spikes. “S’good, M’ria,” he assured her a little breathlessly. His dinosaur pajamas stuck to him in places where he hadn’t been quite dry before dressing himself.

She shook her head in amusement and took the towel from him, crouching down to dry his short hair fully. “I think we need a new one, huh?” she teased, poking her finger softly at a wet spot

He pursed his lips as he looked down at the wet spot. “I don’t got no more of the din’saur ones,” he said thoughtfully.

“Hmm, then we’ll go with the Simpsons huh?”

“’kay.” He giggled when she wrapped the towel around his back and tugged him close for a hug.

Maria moved to his closet and pulled it open, reaching inside and pulling out a pair of pajamas with Homer on them. “These?”

He shook his head.

“No? Hmm, okay,” she stuck her head in the closet again and pulled out a black set with Bart on the front. “These?”

He shook his head again, laughing when she made a face at him. He was waiting for her to get to the ones with the dog on them.

Cody bounced up and down on his bed, nodding excitedly when she finally pulled the right ones out. “That’s them,” he said with a grin.

“Arms up,” she told him and pulled the tiny tee shirt over his head.

“Hey, M’ria?” He was quiet for a few seconds before he looked up at her. “I don’t wanna go back to the doctor on tomorrow,” he mumbled

She forced an encouraging smile. “It’s just for some tests. You’ll be out in no time, buddy.” She held the pants out for him and he stepped into them slowly.

He scrunched his nose up. “But it’s for too long,” he said.

“Michael will come by tomorrow afternoon. I bet he’ll bring something for the two of you to play with,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows at him.

“Yeah? ‘Cause it’s not fun there.” He smiled. “Michael makes it more fun.”

“Mom will be there too, and I’ll come by as soon as I can, okay? I won’t have much time, but I will be there.” She ran her hand over his hair.

“They won’t make me stay, right?”

“I don’t think so.” She shook her head and hoped it was the truth. You never knew these days. “It should only be the two days for them to run the tests.”

He nodded. “Would ya read me a story, M’ria?”

“Sure,” she waited until he lay down and she pulled the thin blanket over him. “Which one?”

He pointed at a book lying on the rocking chair in the corner. It was his favorite book and the cover was held together with tape because it had been read so many times.

Maria got comfortable next to him and rested her back against the headboard. She started to read to him softly, while her free hand ran over his bare arm in a soothing manner. It wasn’t long before the little man drifted off to sleep. She placed the book aside and stared down at her sleeping brother. He looked just like any other normal kid and yet she knew that tomorrow the reality of his situation would try to take that from him again.

She slipped out of the bed and kneeled in front of it, her elbows resting on the soft mattress. “I love you, little bro,” she whispered and leaned forward to brush a kiss to his forehead.

*****

Tess slid into the booth that her brother and sister normally occupied when they hung out at the café. She played with the edge of the menu while she waited for the waitress to come over to the table.

“Can I get you a drink?” Liz asked.

“Just a coffee, thanks.” She glanced up when the door opened and Max sauntered inside, crossing over to the table and towering over Liz as he glared at her.

“You wanna move so I can sit down?” he snapped.

Liz rolled her eyes and slapped the menu in her hand against his chest. “Can I get you anything?” she grated out.

“Yeah, a different waitress. I prefer someone without the bitchy attitude.”

“Max,” Tess snapped her fingers to get his attention, “sit!”

“Yeah, Max,” Liz taunted. “Sit and be a good boy. If you’re lucky maybe she’ll give you a ‘treat’ later.”

Tess rolled her eyes. God the two of them were so annoying.

“Like you’d know anything about it,” he grumbled. “Most women know what to do with a dick.”

Liz let her gaze slide over him dismissively. “Yeah? So, what do they do with you?”

Max opened his mouth to respond but before he could get a word out Liz stalked off and Tess started laughing at him. “It’s not that fuckin’ funny,” he snarled.

“Um-hmm, believe me, it is,” she shook her head when he slid into the both. “Relax, Max.”

“All of you seem to think I’m the one who’s bein’ a dick to her. How has it escaped your notice that she’s the antagonist? HELLO!” he waved his hands in the air. “Did you not just see that?!”

Liz rolled her eyes behind the counter since he was speaking loud enough to entertain the whole café. She glanced at the clock. How long would it take before the others joined them? They usually all met up at the café before going out for a night of partying. Would he humiliate her with his newest knowledge about her?

Max drummed his fingers on the table and glared at Liz. “How long does it take to pour a fuckin’ cup of coffee?” he wondered aloud.

“Maybe I should’ve stayed home until the others were gonna be here,” Tess mumbled as she glanced over the menu.

He turned back to look at her. “Why?”

“Uh, because all you’re gonna do is sit over here and ramble over her and antagonize her, so what difference does it make if I’m sitting here or not?”

“I’m not the one...” he trailed off and slouched down to prop his feet up on the seat next to her. “So, what’s up with you?”

“With me?”

“No, with the man in the moon.” He shook his head at her. “Yeah, with you.”

“Just makin’ sure you realize you’re not alone in the room with her.”

“Do you think I’m a total dick?”

“Hmm, I’m not sure yet,” she teased. He wasn’t a total dick, but he could definitely tone it down. “Let’s see if you can let her serve my coffee without being a dick,” she challenged and pointed at Liz when she came back.

Max bit the inside of his cheek and stared at the table when Liz came back with Tess’ coffee.

“Anything else?”

Max jumped when Tess pinched his leg – hard. “Damn it!” He looked at Liz while he rubbed his leg. “Coffee... slice of chocolate cake.”

The blonde girl chuckled. “You’re so tight when she’s around. What’s up with that?” she asked as soon as Liz went away again.

“She just pisses me off.”

“Liar,” she countered coolly.

“About what?”

“This isn’t just about pissing you off,” she told him knowingly. “So, which club are we hittin’ tonight?” Tess changed the subject before he could say something else.

Max just shrugged. “No clue. My guess is Michael’s already got somethin’ in mind.”

She made a face. “I sure as hell hope it’s not a strip club then.”

Max glanced at the waitress coming towards them, not missing it when her steps faltered. “Yeah, I’m sure he’d wanna be seen at a peeler bar with two of his sisters.”

Liz sighed relieved when he didn’t make a comment about her... yet.

“Besides, can you imagine the fit your sister would throw if that suggestion even came up?”

“Yeah, I don’t think she’d ever take a step in those bars.”

He snorted and shook his head, barely sparing a glance at Liz when she set his coffee and cake down. “No way,” he agreed. “She might if it was a male strip club.”

“Oh, please, as if she needs a male strip club to see naked male bodies. Ya ever been out with her? It’s very frustrating.”

“Don’t really care... when we’re out at the same clubs or parties we’re not chasin’ the same thing so doesn’t really matter.”

“Lucky you.”

He laughed, cutting it short when he realized just how rusty it sounded. “Yeah, well...” he glanced up at Liz when he realized she was watching him with a look he couldn’t define. “Did you need somethin’?”

“No, do you?” she asked defensively.

His gaze slid over her. “Nothin’ you’ve got to offer.”

Tess groaned in frustration. “I hope the others will be here soon.”

*****

Michael and Kyle walked along the corridor to Maria’s apartment after climbing the stairs to her floor since the elevator was out of service. Again.

“I thought you said they had fixed the air conditioning over here?” Kyle muttered as he pulled his shirt away from his lower back.

Michael just shrugged. “You know that fuckin’ thing breaks down every other week. Just don’t say anything about it. She was in a good mood when I talked to her earlier and reminding her that she lives in a shitty apartment will fuck up her mood tonight.” He grinned and shoved his friend, laughing when Kyle hit the wall and bounced back because he hadn’t been expecting it. “Not that it’d be my problem ‘cause she wouldn’t be mad at me.”

Kyle snorted. “I’m a lotta things, Guerin, but stupid’s not one of them. I’m pretty sure she’s aware that the air’s not workin’ the way it should be.”

“Fine, mention it... if the two of you were plannin’ to hook it up tonight I’ll bet you 50 bucks it doesn’t happen after that.”

“This’s just one more reason why your sister has GOT to go, man. Tryin’ to sleep over here when it’s so hot an’ sticky just gives me nightmares. I wake up feelin’ like I’m in the middle of a fire.”

Michael chuckled and knocked on Maria’s door when he unlocked the door and felt the security locks on the inside catch. “Must be in the shower or getting dressed,” he mused as he leaned against the wall to wait."

Kyle leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the corridor and crossed his arms over his chest. “So, Isabel has no idea we’re plannin’ to hit her up for resident occupancy for your annoying little sister, right?”

“Huh-uh, no way. She would’ve told me to stick that idea up my ass and hung up on me.”

“Probably true.” Isabel’s temperament was so like her brother’s that it was fairly easy to determine how she would react to certain situations. He looked up when he heard the interior locks turning and straightened up when the door opened.

“Good God, Valenti, what’s wrong with you?” Michael asked as he gave Maria a bear hug before going inside to get a drink. It was suffocatingly hot.

Kyle’s mouth was hanging open as he took in Maria’s appearance and he wondered how it was possible for her to look so good when it was so hot and miserable in the building.

Maria glanced at Kyle, liking the way he was looking at her. Oh, yeah, her outfit had definitely brought out the reaction she had hoped for.

“Uh, Maria... you uh... I mean... Wow!”

“What?” She glanced down at herself innocently. The denim shorts ended high on her thighs, showing her well formed legs in a very nice way. To be honest, there was no way they could end any higher and still be counted as shorts. A black strapless top showed a lot of skin on her shoulders, and highlighted her trained body well.

“That outfit oughta be illegal.” He grinned as his legs finally cooperated and he pushed away from the wall. “Matter of fact, there’re probably some states where it IS illegal.”

“Not in New York,” she teased.

“If it was we’d be breakin’ the law,” he murmured as he pulled her into his arms. “You gonna kick my ass if I kiss you?”

“Haven’t put anything on my lips yet,” she breathed against his lips.

He growled and pressed her back against the doorframe as their lips met and his right hand slid down to cup her ass.

“Take it inside, people,” someone complained from the hallway.

Kyle didn’t break the kiss, taking it deeper as he flipped off the owner of the voice without bothering to look at him.

Maria giggled slightly under his lips. “You’re so bad.”

“Sooo bad,” he agreed. “We’ve got a few minutes... I could show you just how bad.”

Michael made a gagging sound at that as he stood up next to him. “Leave your dick where it is, Valenti.”

“I think we could just make him wait in the car,” he suggested. “Whaddaya think?”

“She says no,” Michael decided. “Go and get ready DeLuca.”

Kyle bit his lip and shook his head at Michael. “Want me to give ya a hand?” he asked hopefully.

Maria laughed. “Maybe we can wait on that. Mr. Annoying over here won’t give us a chance.”

“I can ignore him.”

Michael laughed. “Am I allowed to watch? Now that should be interesting.”

“Ungh, no, Michael! I have some standards,” Kyle protested. “C’mon, Maria... he’ll be fine on his own for a little while.”

“Maria has to work in the morning, so pull yourself together, Valenti. You two can leave early and head back to our apartment.”

Kyle wasn’t about to be dissuaded and he followed Maria, frowning when she turned and placed her hand against his chest to prevent him from following her into the bedroom.

Maria waved her finger back and forth in front of his nose. “Not right now, Kyle.”

“Ungh, I can’t stand you, Guerin,” he yelled as he walked back into the living room. He grinned on his way into the kitchen. “Payback’s a bitch... remember that later on.”

“Whatever, man,” Michael said and shrugged. He was pretty sure it would only take an hour before he and Maria disappeared again, so his night was free for some lucky woman.

Kyle frowned at the meager contents in her refrigerator and rubbed a hand over his face tiredly. He could probably lie down and go to sleep right now but he wanted to go out and have a little fun first.

“Another reason to stay over at our apartment,” Michael hissed, gesturing to the sad contents in the refrigerator.

“Then get Isabel to take your pesky little sister!” Kyle muttered.

“Tess will be out late anyway.”

“I’m sure I can persuade Maria to stay over at our place tonight.” He shrugged. “No big deal.”

“Persuade her before we leave then. Ya know girls always need their overnight bags.”

Kyle made a face at him. “I know that, Guerin. But thanks to you instead of convincin’ her to do anything I’m kinda stuck browsing an empty fridge.”

“How was your shift?” Maria yelled from the small bathroom where she was brushing her hair.

“Wasn’t bad today,” Kyle yelled and paused with his mouth open to continue when Michael caught his gaze and shook his head, mouthing the word NO. “Did Michael tell you about his experience this afternoon?” he asked, grinning because payback really was a bitch.

“Nope. Must be something embarrassing then,” Maria said, amused.

“Shut up, Valenti,” he hissed.

Kyle grinned and leaned back against the sink as he shook his head. “We had a group of kids come in to take a tour through the station house, check out the trucks, ya know, just learn a little bit about the firefighters and paramedics.”

“Okay.” Maria looked between the two of them as she came into the room, going over to the small closet and getting down on her knees to dig for a pair of shoes.

“Well, they were little guys... six and seven years old. So, Michael’s takin’ inventory of supplies in the van, right? This one little snot who’s been a pain the whole tour walks over to him and wants to know what he’s doin’. Michael explains in that oh-so-patient way he has with kids and this brat informs him that he’s not as cool as a cop or a firefighter. And then he hauls off and kicks the shit out of Michael’s right leg, calls him a pansy-ass loser and runs back over to his group.”

Maria turned to look at him with wide eyes. “How rude.”

“It was rude,” Michael grumbled.

Kyle laughed. “Oh, c’mon, Guerin, it was funny. I’ll bet you were like that when you were his age.”

Maria snorted at that. “Michael can be an ass when he wants to be, but I can assure you his father would’ve had somethin’ to say if he’d done anything like that.”

“That’s for damn sure.”

Her eyes narrowed at her best friend. She suddenly started to grin and got up, forgetting about her mission to find shoes. “Ya got a stud!”

Michael kept his expression cool as he shrugged. “Yeah, so?”

“Told ya it’d look a lot better.” She hopped up on the counter in front of him to inspect it closer.

He snorted. “And I’m sure you think that’s why I changed it.”

“Yep,” she told him knowingly.

“Well, you’re wrong.”

“Yeah, whatever,” she tapped his shoulder with a grin and winked at Kyle.

“I’m hungry,” Michael said as he reached up and rubbed the stud. “Let’s get goin’ so we can grab somethin’ before we hit the club. C’mon, if we leave now I’ll even spring for the food.”

“I need some shoes first.” Maria slipped down again and walked over to the closet once more to find some.

Kyle nodded at Michael, grinning at the smug look on his face. He had neatly maneuvered things around so Maria would eat dinner and not have to think about the money. From the looks of her refrigerator she probably hadn’t eaten much of anything.

“You can even stop at that greasy pizza place you both seem to like for some reasons. I ate with my mom and Cody earlier.”

“Cool,” Kyle said. What was better than New York style pizza?

“How long since you ate?” Michael asked, making sure he didn’t sound like it really mattered.

“Lock your worries away for tonight, will ya?” Maria asked as she pulled some black pumps out of the closet and decided they would work for the night. “Mom made salad with roasted chicken and I ate A LOT.”

“I’m not worried,” he denied. “Just don’t want you getting drunk and pukin’ in my car.”

“I need to work early in the morning, I won’t be drinking much,” she informed him, though she knew he wasn’t worried about his car.

“Fine, don’t eat. Now that you’ve mentioned pizza that’s what I’m in the mood for.” He glanced at her. “You ready?”

“Yep, let’s go boys.”

They stepped out onto the street a few minutes later and walked over to Michael’s car. He brushed his fingers over the hood as he walked around to the drivers’ side. He paused near the front bumper and leaned down to take a closer look at it.

“Somethin’ wrong?” Kyle asked.

“I don’t know,” he muttered as he rubbed his finger over what looked like a scratch. He sighed in relief when the mark came off after rubbing it for a few seconds. “Nope, s’all good.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 20

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 29, 2011 3:06 am

Eva: Lol, yeah, we think you’re right. We’ve just gotta get them in that room first.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Oh, but Tess and Max are becoming good buddies.

kismet: Lol, oh, that sexual tension is off the charts, isn’t it?

Tess, huh? You never know.

Michael said to tell you he hasn’t forgotten.

One scratch… do we really want to ask him that? ‘Cause he might tell us in excruciating detail. You know how boys are with their toys. ;)

mary mary: Um… no, not this week. Well, if Liz didn’t need this job so badly, she’d probably do just that, lol.

keepsmiling7: Can’t say ‘when’ but we can say it’ll happen. :)

About the vids – thanks! As their stories unfold a lot more becomes clear in the vids.

Alien_Friend: That will be interesting, won’t it? We can’t wait for that either!

There is a lot going on there. And slowly but surely we’ll piece it together.

Thanks!

sptfire86: Lol, get in line… we’ve got quite a few people with that opinion right now.

moomin: There is some of that in play here, lol. Like you said, boys!

Hold onto that hope… you’re pointing in the right direction. ;)

Things will eventually start to change for the better, promise. Glad to hear you’re starting to like the others, even if it’s just ‘kind of’ right now. :) Isabel might just start to grow on you eventually. We’ll wait and see.

Rodney: Lol, well… you could have a point there. Yes, at this point, we’re pretty sure he’d like for someone to feel sorry for him or take his side.

That is exactly why Michael pushed things along… he wasn’t about to wait around for them.

AMEN!!! This half of DT is cold natured as well… and Tejas is a sweltering sauna about 10 months out of the year. Give me winter over summer any day of the week! Hell, I run my air conditioner in the winter, lol. And I’m not kidding, either!

Smac: You would be correct, there’s more to that story. Still more to uncover about those two, as well as all of the others. Oh, the barbs will continue, but whether or not her secret comes out as a result of that has yet to be seen. We’re glad to hear their storyline has you intrigued.



Part 20

Group Havoc

“Don’t you guys wonder when it’ll finally start to cool off?” Isabel complained as she approached Tess and Max in the café.

“Hey to you too, Sis,” Tess said, rolling her eyes. “Maybe you should’ve chosen a shorter skirt then,” she teased, even if the tiny clothes on her sister’s body were pretty much already as short as possible. The men will be all over her again, she thought.

“You don’t look that bad tonight either,” Isabel countered when she read her sister’s thoughts. “I like your hair. Told you the big curls would look better than those tiny ones.”

“Gotta agree with that,” Max nodded.

“Anyway, thank God you’re here, Izzy. Max is not good company.”

“What the…?” he complained.

Tess lifted an eyebrow. “The rambling about the waitress is really getting on my nerves, ya know?”

“You’ll get used to that,” Isabel told her and made a sign to Liz to bring her the usual.

Max glared at both of them. “Do I need to go over how this isn’t my fault?” he asked.

“Please no,” both of them groaned.

He rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”

“Did ya talk to Michael? When will he and Kyle be here?” Tess asked her sister.

“They should be here anytime now,” Max answered. “The two of ‘em were pickin’ Maria up first and then headin’ this way.”

Damn, Tess thought. She had still hoped Maria would decide to stay home.

Max tipped his head back to glance at the door when he heard Michael’s big mouth. “Took you guys long enough. Almost thought I was gonna have to eat the food here.”

Maria walked up to them, ignoring the annoying blonde while she hugged Isabel and Max. “I saved you a piece of pizza,” she whispered into his ear.

“How’d you manage that with these two around?” he asked, returning the hug.

“I was sitting in the backseat and told them I wanted one,” she winked at him.

He chuckled. “God knows neither of them would eat it if you asked for it.” He left his arm around her waist, his thumb hooked in one of her beltloops. “You’re lookin’ sexy tonight, Maria. Might have to beat the guys off with a stick.”

“Ya gonna help me with that?” she teased and took a bite of his chocolate cake.

Max grinned. Maria had a tendency of putting everyone at ease. “Sure, gorgeous, I’ll watch out for ya tonight.”

Tess controlled the urge to roll her eyes. Maria was even worse with the guys. She entered the room and suddenly it was all about her.

“I doubt that’ll be necessary,” Michael said as he joined them, already carrying Isabel’s drink as well as his and Kyle’s. “Valenti’s all over her tonight. It was hard to convince them to not do it right in front of me.”

“How fortunate for you that you were able to avoid that show,” Tess muttered.

Isabel could easily hear the tension in her sister’s voice now that she knew the truth. “Which club are we hitting tonight?”

Kyle shrugged. “Michael suggested some new club that Evans and Tess went to the other night. Said Evans could probably get us in since he knows the guy at the door.” He glanced at Liz when he noticed the time. “Hey, Liz, you getting off soon?”

“Soon the last customers go,” she said with a wink, since the group were the last.

“Wanna hang out tonight?”

“What?” Max asked, disbelieving.

Maria flicked his ear. “You be nice,” she warned with a smile.

“Yeah,” Michael got up and moved to sit on one of the barstools at the counter. “Why don’t ya come with us? We’ll keep Evans away from you.”

“I’m startin’ to feel like the annoying family dog that won’t stop botherin’ the company,” he griped.

Michael ignored him. “Ya got someone who can keep an eye on Aaron?” he asked quietly.

“He’s with his sitter.” Liz bit her lip as she considered the tempting offer. Even if that dick Max Evans was gonna be there. “I’d have to call her, see if she’d mind watching him for a couple of hours.”

Michael smirked. “Okay, cool.” He turned to the others. “Hey, Iz, c’mere for a sec.”

Isabel got up and shot a glance at Max across the table. “If she decides to go you need to behave.” She walked across to the counter and lifted one eyebrow in question. “What’s up?”

“Ya know the daycare at your job? Ya know for the employees and a few other kids?”

“Yeah,” she said slowly. “Why? Do you have a child that I’m unaware of?”

He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you wish. No, but I know someone who needs a place for her kid. The little boy’s got epilepsy, not severe, but it’s enough for normal daycares to... avoid him.”

“That’s just ridiculous.” Isabel frowned, thinking. “I’d have to check with someone at work, but they might have an opening.”

“Okay, lemme know when ya got somethin’.”

Liz returned from the backroom and nodded at Michael. “It’s still gonna take a while before I can leave,” she said. “My boss would kill me if I didn’t clean up first.”

Michael grinned and nodded. “Yeah? Want some help?” He motioned between himself and the others. “We work pretty fast as a group.”

“Uh-huh,” her gaze wandered to Max doubtfully.

“Ah, forget about Evans... the girls will keep him in line.”

“Your sister’s killin’ me,” Kyle groaned as he joined them.

“Hey, you mind givin’ Liz a hand so she can hang with us tonight?” Michael asked before Kyle could go off on his new favorite topic.

Kyle grinned. “Where should we start?”

“I’ll help as well,” Maria said as she joined them, squeezing between Michael and Kyle, one arm wrapped around each boy.

“See? You’ve got a whole crew ready to knock out clean-up. Now, since it was my idea, I’ll delegate.” He clapped his hands together and started issuing orders.

“Don’t give us that face, Evans,” Tess complained. “Hey, why don’t we go and let them join us later?” she suggested. She wasn’t sure how much more of Kyle’s glances at Maria’s ass she could take.

“Hey, you two better get over here and pitch in,” Michael said and then grunted when he was punched from one side and kicked from the other.

“What the fuck’s wrong with you?” Kyle and Maria hissed at the same time.

“See, they don’t need us,” Tess said. “Let’s go.”

Max stood up and stretched, jumping back when Tess ran her fingertips over his bare skin when his shirt rode up.

“Ticklish?” she teased.

He grinned and ducked back out of reach when she advanced on him. “Better cut it out ‘cause I’ll retaliate.”

Isabel shook her head. “I’ll see you guys later,” she told them as she walked up to the others.

Liz was surprised when the tall blonde girl offered help. She didn’t look like this type of girl who cleaned up anything by herself.

“Alright, if you guys have any trouble getting in the door just call me,” Max called as he pulled the door open for Tess.

Michael nodded and turned to Kyle. “See, at least our little girl’s able to distract the trouble maker.”

“Our little girl?” he asked.

“She’s the youngest,” Michael shrugged.

“Uh-huh, it’s that ‘our’ part that I was more concerned about.”

“I’m pretty sure that just included him and Isabel,” Maria said coldly and stood up in front of him.

Michael saw the fiery spark in her eyes and he pulled her into a bear hug. “Chill out, girl. Ya know I love ya and I wasn’t tryin’ to piss ya off before we go out for the night.”

Isabel watched their interaction. Tess really needed to talk to Maria. It couldn’t be like this from now on.

“C’mon, M’ria,” he teased as he rocked her back and forth. “Don’t be mad at me... I take it back.”

She snorted. “Let me go, CB.”

“Nope,” he said, holding her tighter. “Not ‘til you say you’re not mad at me.”

“Kyle, help me, he’s crushing me.”

“I don’t know, Maria.” Kyle grinned as he watched her trying to squirm free. “He might try to hug me next.”

“Let me go,” Maria giggled. “Come on.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No, no, no,” she yelped.

He laughed and released her.

“Well… thinking about it twice,” she teased as soon as she had gotten safely behind Kyle.

“Nope, can’t be mad at me now, RP... ya already said ya weren’t.”

“Let’s get started with the café,” Kyle said. Sometimes Michael and Maria were just like five-year-olds.

“I’ve already delegated everyone’s jobs, so get to it already,” Michael said. “Valenti, turn that sign over so we don’t get any new customers.”

“He needs to boost his ego after what happened today at the station,” Kyle hissed to Maria with a wink and got up.

*****

Max and Tess were flushed as they left the dance floor and headed for the bar, ordering a couple of shots along with beer. “I think we’d better get back to our table before someone tries to take it,” he said after tossing his shot back.

Tess just rolled her eyes and slammed her shot glass back on the counter after emptying it. “Oh, yeah, like that waitress is even gonna let that happen. Please, she’d be bearing your children if you gave her the chance,” she snorted.

He laughed and followed her as they weaved their way through the crowd. “Not interested in anything like that, Tess. Do I strike you as ‘Daddy’ material?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. All that matters is that you’re not my daddy and you don’t treat me like I’m five years old.”

“Who treats you like you’re five years old?” he asked as he dropped down into one of the chairs and stretched out in a comfortable sprawl.

“No one treats her like that,” Michael denied as he and the others joined them and started filling up the other chairs. “She just likes to bitch about everything.” He held his right hand up, waving to get the waitress’s attention. “What’s ‘er name, Evans?”

“Uh, Brandi, I think.”

“Appropriate for a waitress in a club,” Maria snorted.

Michael ignored them and waved again, grinning when the bleached blonde turned to look at him. “Yo, Brandi, over here!”

Isabel just rolled her eyes when the waitress smiled goofily and waved back enthusiastically. “You sure her name isn’t Bambi?”

“Or Bimbo?” Maria added.

Kyle’s eyes traced over whatever-her-name was. “Who cares? Look at the way she fills out that little outfit!”

Michael grinned and high-fived his best friend. “Yeah, check out her ass.”

Max leaned forward to brace his weight on his forearms as he took a look. “She definitely gets points in that department,” he mused and shook his head as he tapped his temple. “Think she’s missin’ major brain cells though.”

Isabel shoved him. “Yeah, like you give a shit about brain cells.”

Maria snorted. “Yeah, neither of your cares about her intelligence.”

“Hey, I care about her intelligence,” Kyle defended himself. “Maybe only as far as it concerns getting our orders right but I care.” He grinned and leaned in to kiss her.

“I’ll take a beer, tell her that,” Maria said and got up again when she saw Liz joining the group. The girl had insisted on going to the restroom before joining them. Maria had the feeling the other girl felt a little bit insecure about the clothes she was wearing. Liz hadn’t had anything to wear for a night out at a club, so they had stopped by her apartment again to get her ready for a night out.

Max took a swallow of his beer and it got lodged in his throat when he got his first look at Liz.

“Better put your eyes back in your head, Evans... otherwise people might start thinkin’ you like her,” Isabel whispered in his ear.

“I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about,” he muttered and leaned back. “Just surprised to see Parker in anything other than her boring uniform.”

Liz could’ve kicked him for that comment. “I don’t know what you’re getting so uptight about,” she hissed at him. “Considering you wear the same damn thing every day of the week.”

“C’mon, let’s dance, girl,” Maria took Liz’ hand and pulled her away from the rest.

Kyle shook his head at Max. “Maybe the two of you could just disappear for a while an’ fuck it out.” He shrugged when the girls just looked at him. “What? Ya know, like work it out, just, ya know, with sex.”

Michael ignored the rest when Brandi joined them at the table with a flirtatious smile. “What can I get ya, sexy?”

“Nothin’ that’ll help this group,” he said with a grin. “I’ll have a beer. No, make it two, and a round of Tequila shooters for the table. You can put everything on one tab and we’ll sort it out later.”

“Add another beer,” Kyle said, while glancing at the dance floor.

“You’re not gonna dance are you?” Isabel asked with a frown. She’d seen Kyle dance and it wasn’t pretty. Enough alcohol and it was funny, but never pretty.

“He’s just drooling over Maria,” Michael informed her with a smirk.

“Take a night off,” Tess muttered under her breath.

“Well, I think I’m gonna dance and you boys should do somethin’ about the stares over at the bar.” She laughed when all three of them jerked around to look at the women checking them out. “Tess, join me?”

“Looks like you’re outta luck, Evans,” Kyle said as he got to his feet. “Only two of ‘em an’ this whole attitude thing you’ve got goin’ on’s only gonna interfere with the potential for getting laid.”

“Excuse me?”

“Dude, they’re gonna take one look at your sorry ass and take off. So you can’t go. Stay here an’ wait for Liz to get back.” He grinned and patted Max on the shoulder as he moved past him.

“Gosh, I feel the need to hit something,” Tess muttered as she followed Isabel.

“Kyle could be onto somethin’ about that whole pissed off sex thing,” she tossed over her shoulder.

“Huh?”

“Oh, c’mon, you’ve never been in the middle of a fight with a guy and you were suddenly so hot for each other you just had sex until you couldn’t move afterwards?”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “You and Kyle... sex... getting this thing out in the open?”

Tess snorted. “Yeah, great idea, Sis.”

“Well, if you’re not gonna give that a shot... you know what I think you should do,” she said with a meaningful glance at Maria.

The other girl looked at her confused. “Kill her?” she guessed.

“Yes, that’s exactly what I meant.” Sarcasm dripped from her voice. “And then you can spend the rest of your life in prison with a cellmate named Big Bertha who’ll make you her bitch. Ya know, you’re gonna have to deal with Maria eventually. This group is too small to have this kinda tension all the time.”

“And you think this tension will be so much better when Maria knows and Kyle knows AND Michael knows?”

Isabel shrugged. “It’s gonna come out sooner or later. How long do you really think you an’ Maria can continue making cutting remarks to each other and about each other before you go off on each other?”

Tess rolled her eyes. “No talking about this anymore now, okay?”

“Whatever.” Isabel’s body moved to the music and she smiled as she crooked a finger at a tall, good-looking guy dancing nearby.

*****

“You look amazingly good tonight. Max’ eyes just about fell out when ya joined us,” Maria said with a grin at Liz. They were dancing just a few feet away from Isabel and Tess.

“If you were going for a compliment you just missed it by a mile, Maria,” Liz said, shaking her head.

“Ah, c’mon, Liz, ya might hate him, but you’re also damn hot for him.”

“For Max Evans? Are you insane?” She snorted in disgust. “No way.”

Maria lifted one eyebrow, her face turned into a silent ‘I don’t believe you.’

“I’m not,” she denied. She shoved down that little voice that called her a liar and tried to hide a shiver when she glanced over her shoulder and caught him watching her.

“He’s watching you,” the blonde added with a smirk.

“He’s just lookin’ for somethin’ to bitch about.”

“Whatever,” Maria shook her head and swayed her hips to the music.

“Damn girl, you raise the temperature in this room by about 10 degrees,” someone said from behind her.

Maria’s bottom lip jutted out in a pout as she turned to look at the owner of the voice. “Only 10?” she asked, taking Tony’s hand and pulling him closer to them.

“Considering how freaking hot it is outside, don’t ya think 10’s more than enough?” he teased and hugged her.

“It’s never enough. Tony, this’s Liz. She’s the waitress over at the cafe where we hang out.” She winked at Liz. “This’s Tony the hot fireman. He works with Kyle and Michael.”

Liz greeted him with a nod, still feeling a bit weird. When was the last time she had been out like this? It felt like the first time.

“So, you an’ Evans, huh?” he asked, nodding at the other man when he noticed the way he was watching the brunette. He didn’t know him that well but he recognized the territorial look on the guy’s face.

“Everyone seems to notice,” Maria teased, “everyone but them.”

“Denial, huh?” He grinned and glanced over his shoulder where Michael and Kyle were hanging out at the bar with a couple of girls. “Seems to be the main theme in this group.”

“Let’s have a drink,” Maria said, running her hand over her sweaty neck. “It’s so hot outside or inside, it seems like it’s creeping in everywhere.”

Tony draped his arms over their shoulders as they left the dance floor. “Drinks are on me, girls.” He flashed a grin at Max and nodded in his direction. “Ooh, don’t think he likes that. Wanna play a little grab-ass and see if he comes unglued?” he asked with a teasing grin at the girl under his right arm.

Maria laughed, when Liz looked at him, her expression one of shock. “You are so not right for that, Tony.”

“Hey, most girls get a thrill outta havin’ my hand on their ass,” he complained.

“We’re not most girls, we are THE girls!” Maria told him as they sat down.

“Alright, what would THE girls like to drink?"”

Maria held her beer up. “Hmm, what’s your recommendation?”

“Depends on how fast you wanna get drunk,” he grinned.

“No getting drunk for me, need to work in the morning,” Maria said with a grimace.

“That sucks ass. No matter, we can still have a good time tonight. Hey, lemme get a couple mojitos over here and I’ll have a jack an’ coke. Trust me, you'll like the mojito.”

“He’s cute,” Liz admitted as soon as he was gone.

Maria nodded. “He is. Isabel’s kinda got her eye on him though. Although if you’re interested he’s fair game.”

“Are you talking about Tony?” The girl they had been talking about appeared at the table again, followed by Tess.

“Um-hmm, Liz was just sayin’ he’s cute.”

“Really?” Isabel glanced at Max, waiting to see if he was going to take the bait. “I’m always up for a little competition.”

He wasn’t quick enough to stop his snort. “Miss Priss isn’t in your league, Isabel.” He narrowed his eyes at Liz.

Liz rolled her eyes. “There won’t be any competition from me,” she said, meeting Isabel’s eyes directly before she got up.

“Why’re you bein’ such a dick to her, Max?” Maria demanded.

“Hey, if she can’t take the heat she shouldn’t be startin’ shit.” He slouched down further and crossed his arms over his chest as he shrugged.

Maria followed Liz to the bar and sat down on one of the stools there, well aware of a couple of guys checking her out without any subtlety.

Liz inhaled deeply and released her breath before taking a long drink. “I swear, I think I’d strangle him if I thought I could get away with it.”

“I really don’t know what the matter is with you two, Liz. I get along with him pretty well.”

“Yeah, I know, the entire world gets along with Max Evans. Well, sorry, but the rest of you obviously can’t see what an asshole he is.” The thing that was so disturbing was her knowledge of just how different he could be under the right circumstances.

“C’mon, don’t let him bother you too much. Let’s get back to the others.”

“Easier said than done.” Liz sighed. “Yeah, alright.”

Maria nodded, satisfied, and got up again, winking at the two guys, who had been checking her out.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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