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
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TIC TAC - (CC,AU,Adult) - Part 31 - 8/14/11

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:51 pm

Earth2Mama: Yeah, we can imagine.

Isn’t it frustrating when anyone (esp. us) know the truth, but the main people are clueless? lol

begonia9508: Yeah, that would really be stressful.

Oh, we’re gonna find out. We’ll follow them through the blackout.

secretk: Nope, not at all.

People don’t realize how dependant they are on power until it’s taken away.

Lol, we’re pretty sure that while it bothers Kyle he just hasn’t figured out why yet.

Michael is intrigued by Courtney, but it’ll take her to be the catalyst to make him and Maria open their eyes to the possibilities.

There’s a very good chance that the weekend at the beach will somehow get everyone together.

Your dreamer mind might not be too far off track.

kismet: True, that would’ve been ideal. Unfortunately, they’re not all together. However, there’s a good chance that a lot of them will be meeting up.

Isabel and Kyle are very good friends

mary mary: We won’t leave Tess stranded by her lonesome for long. Ungh, heat wave with no A/C? Yeah, a dip would be the way to go, lol.

What direction will Max take… we’ll see soon.

Smac: Lol, they are good friends, first and foremost. Ah, we’re gonna spare you that for any further scenes. Nope, Maria can’t imagine it. And Kyle? Well, the thing with Tess and Max bugs him but he just can’t quite figure out why.

You just never know how things are gonna line up during the blackout.

Rodney: Lol, yes, but… we’re still gonna hear about the blackout.

Hmm… you did make that recommendation and we haven’t forgotten it. However, it just wasn’t to be in this scene.

keepsmiling7: He’s heading… well, he hasn’t said yet.

Think lockdown in the elevator is a good thing for Tess, huh?

Alien_Friend: Nope, Max hasn’t shared that with anyone.

Blackouts can make people insane and combined with the high temperatures of the heat wave, there’s just no telling what’ll happen.

Michael definitely knows what to do and how to handle people. Ah, yes, foreshadowing…

Kyle and Isabel are great friends and they have a good time together.

Eva: Hmm… some of them might run into each other and maybe learn that not all of their assumptions are correct.

sarammlover: We’ll get a little glimpse into Tess and Maria’s history in this part. Yeah, we want Candy too… if Michael and Maria would just cooperate we’d get there a lot faster, lol.

phyco352: Well, you’ve got some reading to do, lol! Enjoy!



Author’s Note: We’ll be taking a vacation break for a couple of weeks, so we’ll be back on September 4th with a new update!

Part 31

Somber

“HELLO???” Tess pounded against the closed door of the elevator. “Hello? Can anybody hear me?” She had been in the small dark car for more than ten minutes now. The security telephone didn’t work and the only light was coming from her cell right now, which had no signal of course.

“Fuck,” she hissed, trying to control her breathing. “Don’t panic, Tess, it’s probably just a power outage,” she told herself to calm her down, but she could already feel her pulse racing with every second that she was trapped.

She once again glanced at her cell, alarmed when the beeping sound told her that the battery was almost empty. “No,” she hissed, “don’t go out.” Her begging didn’t help though and a moment later she was surrounded by complete darkness again.

“Hello?” she tried one more time but didn’t get a reply. Slowly she slid down the small wall next to the doors of the elevator. She rested her forehead on her knees, while her hands wandered to the back of her neck.

“Focus, Tess,” she mumbled, trying to concentrate on her breathing to keep it regular. The last thing she needed was to start hyperventilating in here. What was happening outside? Was it really just a power outage or something worse?

Her thoughts immediately went to the day that had changed all of their lives. Had Matt known what was going on while he was trapped in that stupid elevator on 9/11? Was he all alone in that moment?

Her hands started to shake and she could feel the panic in her trying to escape. “I promise to make up for my mistakes in the past,” she whispered, “just let me outta here. I’ll go and tell Maria, I swear. Hell, I’ll tell Kyle too if it’s necessary.”

Sweat was running down her spine. The air conditioning was out and it was only a matter of time before the air would get really hot in this tiny space. Her rapid heartbeat didn’t help the situation either. “I should’ve come clear from the very first moment,” she babbled to herself for distraction as she slowly rocked back and forth. “I should’ve told Maria instead of leaving.” She was pretty sure she wouldn’t be where she was right now if the past had been different…

Tess’ hair fluttered slightly when she crossed a busy street in Manhattan. A bus passed on the street behind her in a rush, honking when she didn’t run fast enough. She frowned when she couldn’t hear her friend on her cell. “Maria? Sorry, damn traffic is way too loud to understand anything.”

“Where are you?” the other girl said again, louder this time.

“Almost there,” Tess answered. She and her best friend had planned a girl’s night only and she had already bought their favorite takeouts. This would be a special night, the blonde thought. Today she was finally planning to admit her biggest secret and she couldn’t wait until Maria finally knew. She was sick of keeping her crush on her older brother’s best friend a secret; it would be so much easier once she was able to talk to her buddy with it.

“Can you bring some beer as well?”

“Already got that, girlfriend,” Tess laughed, knowing exactly what her friend needed for a good girl’s night. Junk food, beer, more junk food, and a good old movie. “Gimme another two minutes,” she yelled into the cell when the traffic got too loud again. She closed her phone and pushed it back into her pants pocket, greeting the doorman with a nod when he held the big front door open for her to go inside.

Maria was sitting on the couch, staring at the television and wondering why they bothered to subscribe to the cable service. There was never anything on and it seemed like they played the same boring things over and over again anymore. She tipped her head back when she heard the noise in the hallway and knew that meant Tess was there. She got up to go open the door so she wouldn’t have to fight with the multitude of locks just to get inside. She was grinning as she hurried to beat her best friend to the door. Besides, she had some interesting news to share. Last night she had found a solution, albeit temporary, for her sucky love life here lately.

“Wow, how’d you know I was here,” Tess wondered aloud as she stepped inside weighed down with food, her bag, beer, and some shopping bags.

“I heard you soon as you hit our floor,” she answered, reaching out to take some of the bags. “Jeez, you look like you’ve been on a shopping spree.”

“You know how hard it is for me to resist.” Tess sighed when she could finally walk around without any heavy bags in her hands or on her shoulders.

That was true, Maria mused. The only person she knew who could out-shop Tess was her older sister Isabel. Although she could give them both a run for their money if she had access to credit cards with no limits like they did. She started nosing through the bags, grinning when she saw the tags with marked-down prices. She had shared her knowledge of sales with Tess and it looked like she was finally getting the hang of it. “Looks like you hit the jackpot with the sales.” She shifted a couple more bags around. “What’d you bring for dinner?”

“Your favorites of course.”

“Beef and cheese enchiladas with extra Spanish rice? Oooh, tell me you got the fried ice cream too!”

Tess snorted. “You’d give me hell if not, so yeah.”

“Awesome! Spanish food is perfect with beer. The only thing that goes with it even better is pizza.” She dug through the sacks, grabbing the ice cream and putting it in the freezer for later. She pulled the lid off of one of the containers and grabbed a warm tortilla chip, dipping it in the salsa and taking a bite. “Mmm, that’s good. You’re sooo my favorite person.”

“Ya can’t even wait until we’re settled, huh?” the other girl asked in amusement and took everything over in front of the TV where Maria had already spread a blanket so they could picnic on the ground.

“Are you kiddin’? I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast. I didn’t have time to grab anything for lunch. I know it’s just a temp job, but they want like a million and one things done… and they want me to do all of them.”

“If you’d just let me pay more of the rent you wouldn’t have to work so much,” Tess said, rolling her eyes and covering her friend’s mouth. “Yeah, yeah, don’t gimme the speech about how ya don’t wanna take money from anyone. Not again.”

“Mu mo my,” she mumbled against Tess’ hand and then shrugged when she got an annoyed look in response.

“You’re just too stubborn.”

Maria rolled her eyes when Tess lowered her hand. “Yeah, well, ya love me anyway.”

“Sit,” the curly blonde ordered. “I’m starving.”

She shrugged and dropped down to sit on the floor without another word.

“Soooo, girl,” Tess said excitedly as she reached for a Taco. “What’s the great news, huh?”

Maria reached for one of the takeout plates and popped the top off. “So, I get to go first?” she teased since she knew Tess had mentioned having something to tell her when they had talked earlier.

“Yep, I’m that generous.”

“Whatever,” she snorted as she cut into one of the cheese enchiladas and bit into it. “Oh, my God, these are soooo good!” She pointed at Tess with her fork. “You’re never that generous.” She narrowed her eyes at her best friend. “That means whatever it is will be good... spill!”

Tess laughed, but shook her head. She knew once she had shared her crush with Maria they would talk about it all night.

“No way, girl... you have to go first now.”

“Nope. Age before beauty.”

“Ungh, you sooo did not go there!” Maria muttered, throwing a chip at Tess.

“Hey! Don’t waste the food.”

“Yeah, way to try an’ change the subject, Guerin.” She shook her head. “You know you wanna share, so let’s have it.”

“Ya know what? We’re gonna do a little game,” Tess grabbed the boxed full of Mexican food. “The one who can get more Tacos in her mouth at once wins and can choose who starts.”

“Yeah, I’m gonna choke on a taco just so I can make you go first.”

“Either that or ya give in.”

Maria made a face at her. “Fine, I’ll go first if it means saving myself from death by taco.”

Tess grinned. “Guerin’s get always what they want, you should know that by now.”

“You’d think I’d know that, wouldn’t you? Fine, I’ll go first, but then you’re tellin’ me everything.”

“Of course,” the other girl promised.

“Okay, well, it’s not like my news is anything earth-shattering, it’s just kind of a temporary fix to my crappy love life. Ya know how recently it’s just been kinda... well, it’s just sucked here lately.”

“Your own fault. You can get any man with your looks.”

“Then why do I seem to be attracting losers and assholes? I mean, what is it, some sort of sign visible only to them or something?”

“Guess ya just attracted to the wrong kinda guy… But anyway, ya found a solution. What is it?”

“God, you are in such a hurry... are you sure you don’t wanna go first?”

Tess groaned and threw her head back against the couch, where she was resting her back. “You are so frustrating, girl!”

“Kyle.”

“Huh? What about Kyle?”

“Kyle. He’s my solution.”

Tess’ heart suddenly started to race. “Kyle Valenti?”

“Do you know another Kyle?”

“Well, no, but maybe you do,” Tess babbled, still hoping this didn’t mean what she thought it meant.

Maria snorted and leaned over to grab a bowl of hot sauce. “I don’t think so, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m talkin’ about Kyle Valenti, your brother’s best guy friend.”

Breathe, Tess reminded herself. “So um, what exactly does this mean?”

“It means I hooked up with Kyle last night.”

Oh my god, I think I’m gonna be sick! “Oh. Wow….”

“Yes.” Maria nodded matter-of-factly. “Neither of us was expecting it, believe me. I mean it’s not like we’re talkin’ soulmates or anything but...” she shrugged.

“How?” Tess asked stupidly. “I mean, how did it happen at all?” Did she really want to know?

Maria snorted. “It just sorta happened, I don’t know. We were just talkin’ about things an’ how all guys/girls either wanted too much or not enough an’ we eventually ended up discussing what the perfect solution would be.” She wrinkled her nose. “Okay, that discussion might’ve happened over tequila shooters, but neither of us was drunk when it happened.”

She really slept with HIM, was all Tess could think in that moment. How could that happen? What had she done wrong that someone would punish her with something like this? “Do you think it’ll happen again?”

“Well, that’s kind of the great thing about this deal... there’re no strings, so when one of us does find someone else we’re interested in we can go for it. If it doesn’t work out, well, we’ve got each other to fall back on. It’s perfect.”

“Perfect,” Tess muttered.

“Um-hmm, it is.” She chewed on a mouthful of rice for a moment. “Okay, so, what’s your news?”

“Oh…” Tess said, trying to come up with something. She couldn’t tell her the truth now, how embarrassing would that be? How uncomfortable for both of them. “It’s not as big news as yours.”

“Oh, c’mon, it’s gotta be big. And besides, me an’ Kyle, it’s not like some fairytale romance or anything, it’s just...” she wrinkled her nose. “You’re sidetracking me... share!”

“Think Michael will be okay with it?” Tess asked to distract Maria. She still wasn’t sure what to tell her.

“Michael... why would he care? I mean the three of us are all great friends and he doesn’t care who I sleep with.” She made a face. “And I don’t care who he sleeps with, although sometimes I think he could be a little more discriminating.” She grinned. “But that just gives me ammunition against his dumb ass for some of his choices.”

“Well, if that’s what ya want…”

“Why not? It’s not forever but don’t you ever just get sick of bein’ alone?”

“You were never alone, Maria.”

“Not lacking for company maybe, but one-night stands suck ass.”

“What’s the difference? I mean, it’s just sex with Kyle as well, isn’t it?”

“Well, yeah, but he’s a good friend so it’s not like it’s just wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, ya know?”

“So you guys… snuggle and stuff as well?”

“What, like after sex?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, not really. But he doesn’t just grab his shit and take off either.”

Tess glanced at the food in front of her, suddenly feeling not the slightest bit hungry anymore. “Hope it works out for ya then.” Liar!

Maria snorted and nearly choked on a chip.

“I gotta pee,” the other girl said and got up to practically flee to the bathroom. She needed a few moments alone the get her thoughts straight again.


*****

“Let’s get outta here,” Michael said to Courtney after the club had cleared out and the power didn’t seem like it was coming back on anytime soon. “Where d’you live? I’m gonna take you home.”

Courtney glanced outside. “Looks like a parking lot out there. I live about eight blocks from here.”

“We’ll have to walk,” he told her as they stepped out on the street. “Which direction?”

She pointed to the right. “Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“I’m not gonna leave you alone in this chaos,” he told her. What the hell did she think he was? “I’d say we could go to my place since that’s closer, but chances are good I’ll be getting called in for work.”

She nodded but inside she was doing a happy dance. “So, you work with the fire department, right? Paramedic?” she asked as they started walking.

“EMT right now. I’m taking classes during the summer to be a paramedic.”

“You must work a lot then,” she said, wondering how he managed to have a social life. “No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend.”

He chuckled. “My job isn’t responsible for that.”

“So, what’s your aversion to steady dating?”

“Just all the relationship things, ya know? Having to remember anniversaries and dates...”

She snorted. “I’ve never really understood why people get so upset over someone not remembering anniversaries, ya know? I mean, as long as you remember important dates like birthdays or holidays, isn’t that enough?”

Was she just saying that to impress him? he wondered. “Right,” he answered and pulled his cell out. “Gonna make a few calls.”

She nodded. “Alright.” She motioned to the left as they approached the end of the block and he nodded.

Michael grabbed his cell phone and scrolled down to Maria’s number and hit the call button. “Hey,” he said when she answered the phone. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’ve been tryin’ to get through to the hospital but the lines are crazy busy.” She paused. “What about you?”

“Fine. Got stuck at the club, but s’all good. Hey, Cody’s fine. The hospitals are prepared for this type of thing.”

“I know. I’d just feel better if I could reach my mom.”

“Keep tryin’ and I’ll see if I can get someone over at dispatch to check on them if they get a second. Someone’ll be in contact with the hospitals.”

“Alright, thanks, Michael. Go on now, I know you’ve got others to check on.”

“Check on ya again in a bit.” He hung up and called Tess but only got a busy signal. He tried two more times before he switched over to call Isabel.

*****

Isabel narrowed her eyes at Loco when he discovered the power button on the side of the small flashlight Kyle had left on the coffee table. She was still holding the other one while she waited for Michael to call. She glanced down when her phone buzzed and she answered it without checking the caller ID. “Yes, I’m perfectly fine, little brother.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m still at your place.” She rolled her eyes when Loco started pushing the button and chattering maniacally as the light came on and went off repeatedly.

“Is Kyle with you? An’ Tess?”

“What? No, I thought she was with you and Max, and Kyle got called in. Which reminds me, the department’s looking for you. They want you to come in as soon as possible.”

“Damn it,” Michael muttered. “Tess and Evans left the club earlier, no clue where they went.”

“Well, if she’s with Max at least we know she’s safe. He won’t let anything happen to her.”

“Yeah, try to get her on the phone, will ya?”

“Yeah, I’ll try to get her. I think I’ve got Max’s number, so I can check with him too, make sure things are okay.”

“Alright,” he nodded even if she couldn’t see it. “Better hurry. Stay where ya are, Iz.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll tell you what I told Kyle: I’ll stay until your psychotic pet drives me out of the apartment. And then I’m making my way home.”

“I don’t want you goin’ home alone when it’s dark out like this, Iz.” Michael reached out to tug Courtney closer when he saw a few guys walking towards them.

“Michael, I love you dearly but I’m not spending the night in the dark with your rodent.”

“Rather spend it outside with the trash on the street, huh,” he grumbled.

Isabel sighed. “Look, I’ll stay here as long as possible, okay? If I leave I’ll call and let you know when I leave and when I get home... alright?”

“Can I stop you?” he sighed. “Take care, Iz, I need to hurry.”

“Alright, and Michael? No unnecessary risks tonight.”

He snorted as he hung up the phone. “Sorry, I need to get to the station so we’re gonna need to hurry,” he told Courtney.

“No problem. My building’s right on the corner up ahead.”

“Thank God ya live near the department. Makes it a lot easier for me tonight.”

“Guess you’re in for a busy night, huh?” she asked as they neared the corner.

“Bet I won’t be home before dawn,” he agreed.

“At least it’ll be light out again.”

“Yeah.” He wasn’t really looking forward to this shift.

She knew he didn’t really have time to stand around and talk so as they stepped up on the sidewalk in front of her building she glanced at him. “Well, I guess we’ll catch up again...”

Damn, he’d really had different plans for tonight. “Ya got a flashlight in your apartment?”

“No, but I’ve got candles.” She shrugged. “Serves the same purpose.”

He smirked. “Just don’t burn it down.”

She smiled flirtatiously at him. “If I did could I expect you to show up at my door?”

“Most likely you’d see Kyle first, but I’d be waiting downstairs,” he winked at her.

“I’ll keep that information handy.” She looked around at the streets that were overcrowded for this time of the night. “Be careful, the natives are restless.”

“And you lock the door behind ya,” he said. He glanced down at her face that he could barely see in the dark. “See ya sooner or later,” he finally said and lowered his head to brush a kiss against her lips without taking his hands out of his pockets.

Courtney was pleasantly surprised when he leaned in to kiss her. It wasn’t as heated as she would have liked but she knew he was in a hurry and had other things on his mind so she would give him a pass this one time. She thought about grabbing his collar and really laying one on him, but she knew he had to go.

Michael smirked at the hunger in her eyes that he could easily see even in the dark, before he turned to walk down to the street again. “Get inside and lock the door,” he called over his shoulder.

Courtney paused at the entrance to the building to watch him walk away, chuckling to herself when he turned and motioned to the doors. She nodded and waved before disappearing inside.

*****

Isabel glanced at her watch. The power had been out for almost an hour now. She had tried to call Tess, but she couldn’t get through to her. Nervously she dialed Max’s number for the sixth time now and waited to see if she would get a signal.

Loco ran across the room blindly, passing her feet now and then. “Ungh, you little rat, would you please just die.”

“What?”

“Uh, Max. Sorry, I was talking to Loco,” she said, surprised when he answered his cell. “Is Tess with you?”

He frowned. “No, I took her home shortly before the power went out in almost the whole fuckin’ city.”

“She’s not picking up her phone so I’m a little worried here.”

“I saw her walk in, Isabel. It’s all good.”

“Yeah, I guess if she made it inside before the power went out she should be fine. What’re you doin’?” she asked, hearing a lot of noise in the background.

“Headin’ back to my place,” he muttered, cursing at some guy who plowed into him and kept going without so much as an ‘excuse me’. God, he hated people sometimes. “What about you?”

“I’m at Michael’s place.”

“You should probably stay there.”

“Um-hmm, that seems to be the general consensus of every male in my life. Get home safe, Max, an’ I’ll talk to ya later.” She disconnected the call and jerked her foot back when Loco ran over it. Ungh, no, she was not staying here any longer. She was going home where there were no furry critters roaming around her apartment.
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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 32

Post by Double Trouble » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:21 pm

Hey everyone! Yay RF is back!!!! :mrgreen: :D

So we won't wait any longer We are posting new parts for all three fics.




Earth2Mama: Remember, we’ve only seen one side of what happened that day. We’ll get Maria’s recollection of that day at some point.

itsme69: Well, you never know what’ll happen in a blackout…

begonia9508: Thanks! That would be scary and hopefully Tess won’t be stuck for long.

NYC would be intimidating in a blackout.

Vacation was great, thanks!

Natalie36: You’re not along there, lol.

Eva: Looks like you’ve got it outlined just right. Things are setting up nicely. 

Alex, well… we’ll look in on him in this part. And Liz, we’ll be checking in on her in this part too.

Ah, the “what-if” game… there are so many possibilities there. In time we’ll get Maria’s side of that story.

keepsmiling7: Vacation was great, thanks!

Well, maybe we’ll check in and see what the two of them are doing in this update.

Smac: We’ve seen one side of what happened that day… now we just need Maria’s side to find a balance between the two… and in time we’ll get that.

As for Tess’ vow to come clean… only time will tell.

We’ll be looking in on a few of the characters this week… ;) Not sure how full of action it’ll be, but it’ll give us more insight into our characters.

kismet: It’s likely that it wasn’t the right time for Kyle to learn about Tess’ feelings.

Waiting for Max to run into Liz, huh? Well, the night is young. And as for Alex… we’ll be checking in on him in this update. Looking for some help from Fireman Kyle for Tess, huh? It’s a strange night… you just never know.

sarammlover: Tess was in a difficult situation and she did the only thing she knew to do. But, we’re still waiting for Maria’s side of the story, which will come out at some point. Someone will find Tess… she’s gonna need help getting out of that stuck elevator. Courtney… no one seems to like her for some reason, lol. Vacation was great, thanks!

Alien_Friend: Blackouts are just no fun! And poor Tess, being stuck in that elevator, that just makes the situation even worse.

It does say a lot… although he missed the clue bus there.

Lol, exactly! We’ll eventually get Maria’s side of the story about what happened that day.

We got back and what did we discover? We couldn’t post because of board issues! However, we did have fun while we were away. ;)

in_love_with_max: Lol, another vote for Fireman Kyle to be Tess’ rescuer. It’s true about best friends, but so far we’ve only seen Tess’ side of the story. We’re still waiting for Maria’s side of the story about what happened that day. Although, speaking up at that point really would’ve been awkward.

And another vote for dreamer action, lol. We’ll check in on Liz in this part. Trent is an asshole, but right now Liz doesn’t see any other options.
Alex, well, we’ll be checking in on him in this update as well.
Well, lol, you’ll be able to find out about those guesses real soon!
Rodney: That is something that’s hard to understand if you don’t have a problem with claustrophobia. However, in Tess’ case, it’s not so much the enclosed space as her memories of her brother’s death.

Yeah, Michael/Courtney are starting to move along… things should start getting really interesting there soon.

HypnotiqBlueEyes: Hey, we’re glad you’ve discovered TIC TAC! We’ve got a new update and we’ll be checking in on Liz. We’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for Max and Liz to give in. But, we’re back from vacation and that means we’re back to posting every Sunday. ;)



Part 32

A Litte Bit of Truth

Alex shoved the big front door of his building open, sighing when he finally made it home after a crappy shift and an even crappier walk home. Thank God, the power had been out before he had entered the subway. That would have sucked. He used one hand to slide along the wall as he slowly made his way up in the dark hallways of the building.

Isabel stepped out of the apartment, pulling the door shut behind her and automatically reaching over to turn the lights off even though the power was out. She jumped when someone bumped into her in the dark and she just barely registered the fact that she had dropped her keys when the door shut and she heard the lock kick into place.

“Oops, sorry ‘bout that,” the girl giggled as she continued on her way, noisily bumping against the walls like the ball in a pinball game. She disappeared into one of the apartments a few moments later.

“That’s just great,” she muttered as she tried the door, hoping that maybe the lock hadn’t caught. No such luck. That meant she now had to walk home. Well, traffic would be a nightmare anyway, she thought. It wasn’t that far to her place. And Tess was already there so she could let her in when she got there. She felt along the hall as she made her way to the stairwell. No way the elevators would be working with the power outage and it was only a couple flights of stairs. She could navigate that in the dark with no problem.

Alex sighed when he reached the second floor. God, going up in the dark was really no fun. He couldn’t even see his hands in front of his eyes.

“Where the hell is the emergency lighting?” she wondered aloud. Talking to herself made her feel a little bit better in the darkness. “10, 11, 12…” she was counting the steps, pretty sure there were only 13 steps between landings, so she wasn’t expecting it when her next step didn’t land where she had expected and she realized there must be 14 steps. She cursed a blue streak when she landed on her right foot all wrong and she felt her ankle twist. She tried to grab onto the rail to keep her from falling, but of course, there was no rail on the landing and she turned instead, falling back against the wall, right foot suspended to keep from putting any pressure on it.

“Whoa.” Alex paused when he suddenly heard noise on the stairs right in front of him. It sounded like someone had fallen in the dark and hurt themselves. “Hello? Are you okay?” he asked into the dark, not sure how far away they were.

Of course, Isabel muttered silently, it would be HIM of all people who would be there when she managed to do a swan dive on the stairs. Damn it, her ankle was already throbbing. There was no way she was walking home now and she had just locked herself out of her brother’s apartment. And of course, he and Kyle weren’t coming home anytime soon so now she was stuck. She could feel him close by, could hear him breathing as he listened for an answer. She supposed she had already been rude enough to him and she had cost him that job. “I’m fine,” she grated out finally. “Just made a less than graceful landing and now I’ve probably sprained my ankle.”

“It’s you,” Alex groaned as he easily imagined the face that went with the voice.

She gritted her teeth. “Yes, it’s me. Look, feel free to continue on to wherever you were going.”

He bit his lip. Go, just go, he told himself. She wouldn’t care about you either! “Let me help you up.”

“Well… actually, I just locked myself out of my brother’s apartment and I doubt he or his roommate will be home tonight.”

“They’re gonna party even in the dark, huh?” Ales asked sarcastically as he reached for her in the dark to help her up. He inhaled his breath sharply. Did I really accidently just brush my hand against what I think I did?

She felt a frisson of electricity where his hand had just brushed against her and that only irritated her further. “Yeah,” she snapped, “because that’s all we do. Party, party, party.” No, there was no way she was attracted to this guy… no, not in any way, shape or form. He was the nerd king, the guy who hated them, Mr. Anti-Fun, and she was the opposite of all of that. It was just the weirdness of this whole night, she assured herself.

He finally got a good grip on her hand and slowly pulled her up. “So, what now?”

What now? That was a good question. She didn’t have an answer. “Um…”

“You did say you locked yourself out,” he started. “Where do you live?”

“Too far to even think about walking,” she answered.

“Any friends around here?”

“No,” she sighed.

Great, what now Whitman? He sighed deeply. “Ya wanna come with me until the power comes back on?”

Oh, yeah, now there was an evening that would go down in history, she thought. Could it be any worse than sitting in a dark stairwell all alone? No, she decided. “Well, I guess if you don’t mind.”

He was thankful that is was dark right now, so she couldn’t see his eye roll. “I have manners you know. My parents taught me to never let a woman sit alone in a dark hallway in a big city. This has nothing to do with whether or not I mind.” The last thing he wanted was for her to think he liked the thought of inviting her to his place.

“Yeah, well, the thought of spending time with you isn’t high on my list of things to do either,” she muttered.

“At least we’re in agreement here.” He steadied her as well as he could. “As you probably know, we need to go up two floors.”

“I know where you live, remember?”

“Are you able to put any weight on your sprained ankle?”

She gently placed her foot on the floor and applied the lightest possible pressure before lifting it up once more. “Huh-uh.” Great, two sets of steps for every floor with 14 steps from one landing to the next. 56 steps total, not counting walking down to his apartment.

“Great,” Alex muttered and handed her the bag he had been holding. “Here, hold that.”

“Excuse me? Who do you think you – “

He ignored her as he bent down slightly to lift her up in his arms, one arm wrapped around her back and the other in the bend of her legs. “If you can’t walk…” he said, his voice labored. “Ungh, you’re not as light as you look.”

“No one told you to pick me up,” she snapped. “And how dare you say anything about my weight? I’ll have you know I’m the perfect weight for my frame. I’m actually under the average weight for someone my…” She had no idea why she was defending her weight to him. Like he needed to know anything about her! And it wasn’t like she actually needed to defend herself to him anyway. “At least I know how to dress myself. Have you ever looked in the mirror before you go out in public?”

He was tempted to just let her fall on her ass again. “Would you just shut up?” he hissed as he tried to climb the stairs in the dark.

Isabel couldn’t believe the predicament she’d gotten herself into. Here she was being carried up to the nerd king’s apartment by the king himself. After falling at his feet in one of your clumsier moves, her little voice mockingly reminded her. She ran her fingers over the bag he had shoved into her hands, trying to figure out what it was. “Are you coming home from work?”

“Yeah, hard to believe that the lower class has to work, even at these hours, huh?” he told her, panting for air as they slowly climbed the stairs.

He was being sarcastic, but she was surprised to realize there was no bitterness in his voice. “So, what, you just assume even though some of us were born a little better off that we don’t hold down jobs or do anything decent?”

“I don’t know about you, but lying to that manager the other day in the shop so your spoiled sister would get the job is not decent in my opinion,” he grumbled.

“Okay, well, I didn’t say we were perfect. And, why don’t you lighten the fuck up anyway? Maybe it wasn’t right...” Damn, she could actually feel that glare! “Okay, fine, it was wrong, but you started it the other night, comin’ downstairs and killin’ my plans.”

“Maybe you wanna look for a different location to have sex next time,” he hissed back and set her down again when they finally reached the front door of his apartment.

“I have a father for lectures, thank you very much.”

Alex snorted. “And what does he say about his daughter having sex in public?” He fumbled around for a while until he was finally able to find the lock with the key.

“I don’t know. I’ll ask him and get back with you on that.”

He shoved the door open and stepped inside, kicking a few shoes to the side that he knew he had left in the way before he left so they wouldn’t trip over them. “Think you can hop in here alone? Just wait in the doorway until I find some flashlights and candles.”

“Yeah, I can handle that.”

He nodded, feeling stupid about it when he realized what he was doing since she couldn’t see it. With one hand on the wall, he made his way slowly through his apartment until he reached the small wall closet, where he knew he would find at least one cheap flashlight and a few small candles.

It took several long moments until his fingers finally made contact with the things he was searching for. “Finally,” he muttered to himself and turned the flashlight on, cursing when it flickered a few times before going out again. “Great.”

Isabel snorted at his sad emergency supplies. “Hope you’ve got batteries around here somewhere.”

He ignored her and went to light the candles with the lighter that was always on the small cabinet in the living room. After lighting three candles the apartment was finally dipped in a soft light and he went back to the door to get Isabel. “Okay.”

She glanced around the interior, wondering at the decorating style. Somehow it didn’t fit him at all. The stacks of books sitting around seemed suited to him, but most everything else... no. “You live here alone?” she asked curiously.

“No, I’m sure there’re a few spiders behind the shelves.”

“Gross,” she muttered. She hated spiders.

He reached over to steady her again when he noticed she was struggling to walk on her own.

Isabel sank down on the leather couch, grateful to be off of her feet. “Thanks,” she muttered.

He nodded and walked back to close the door. “You want anything to drink?” he asked as he walked into the kitchen to get himself a coke.

Isabel ran her fingers over the cushions. “Yeah, thanks. Water if you have it.”

“With gold foil in it?” he joked.

Isabel narrowed her eyes at him. Somehow she doubted he had anything like that. “Yeah, go ahead and do that.”

He narrowed his eyes at her when he came back. “That was a joke!”

She snorted. “Somehow I knew that.”

“Yeah, you know,” he sat down, “that’s not somethin’ I spend my rare money on, sorry.”

She waved his apology off. “Not everyone keeps it on hand.”

Did she really drink something like that at home? he wondered. He had heard there was a new high society water that they really put a little bit of the gold foil in, but uh… he would’ve guessed only people like Madonna drank it.

Isabel hid a grin when she realized he was trying to figure out whether or not she really used it. “What do you do?”

“Right now I’m coming back from my part time job as a janitor,” he said and checked her expression. “Yeah, I know. Not a glamorous job in your opinion. I lost my job as a clerk in a small law firm last week and I’ve been looking for something else… as you know. Other than that I’m just taking summer classes.”

Isabel shrugged. “Maybe not a glamorous job, but it’s necessary to every organization.”

“So, what do you do besides go shopping?” he asked, pretty sure he already know the answer. Nothing.

“I’m a…” she paused. “I’m a triage nurse at City General.” She crossed her arms over her chest and waited to see if he suspected her of lying.

“A triage nurse?” he asked, surprised.

“What’d you think I do? Spend my life planning and attending parties?”

He shrugged. “Pretty much…”

“Sucks to be wrong, doesn’t it?”

“No, I’m glad I was wrong,” he admitted.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Why?”

“Because it makes you more likeable,” he told her honestly.

“Well, that’s blunt.” She pointed at one of the stacks of books. “What do you do?”

“Huh?” He turned so his eyes could follow her finger.

“It looks like a badly organized library in here.”

“The system’s all up here,” he tapped his head.

“Is it recreational?” she asked. “Or is it course related?”

“Both.”

Her gaze ran over a few of the titles. “Why an interest in social work?” She hadn’t actually expected to find a conversation with him interesting.

“I’m working on becoming a social worker in the very far future.”

“Social worker,” she mused. “That’s a tough field.”

Alex shrugged. “It’s what I wanna do.”

“Well, no, I’m just sayin’ it’s a tough field. I’ve known a few social workers and even though some of them really love what they do it takes a toll on them.”

“Bet bein’ a nurse isn’t that easy either.”

She shrugged one shoulder. “Some days are easier than others,” she admitted.

“Yeah,” he said absentmindedly.

She glanced at a picture on his wall. It was a black and white photograph that captured the sunrise over Manhattan. “I like that. Where’d you pick it up?”

“I didn’t buy it.”

“Oh, you rented the apartment furnished,” she guessed. “Too bad. A print like that would look great over my fireplace.”

He rolled his eyes. “I took it myself.”

“Really? You have a good eye then. Just a hobby or do you sell your stuff?”

“Just a hobby.”

She glanced at several other framed photographs hanging on the walls. Central Park, Times Square bustling with activity, Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island... She got to her feet and hopped over to the photo mounted to the wall between the windows that looked down over the street. Her fingers traced over the frame and her voice shook slightly when she spoke. “It’s beautiful.” It was a shot taken at the groundbreaking at Ground Zero the year before.

He frowned, when she singled out that photo out of all the others in the room. He had the feeling there was some history there. “It’s still a place that gives me the creeps,” he admitted.

“Were you here when it happened?” she asked, unable to look away.

“Yeah, I was working at the time.”

“Did you lose anyone?” Not that it mattered; they had all lost something that day.

“There were a few coworkers in the North Tower, but I didn’t know them that well since I had just moved to New York,” he answered. “What about you?”

She didn’t feel comfortable enough to talk about Matt. It was still hard to talk about the day that had changed everything, the day that had taken her brother away from her. She shrugged. “I’m glad they’re rebuilding,” she said instead of answering his question.

Okay, so there was something she didn’t want to talk about, he realized. “It’ll never be the same thought.”

“Yeah, no way around that.” She cleared her throat and turned to look at him. “So, is your family from New York?”

“No, my parents live in a small town in Alabama.”

“Well, I’ll try not to hold that against you,” she said as she hopped back over to the couch.

*****

Max glanced across the street when he neared the café they all hung out at, wondering if Liz had already left to walk home or if she was still there. Staying there would be the smart thing to do, so that meant she was probably out on the streets. She’s got a kid, Evans, he reminded himself. He shook his head at the reminder and crossed the street anyway.

He was almost past the first window when he noticed movement inside and he realized that she was still there. He reached out to pull the door open, relieved when it didn’t budge. At lease she had locked up. He rapped his knuckles against the glass and waited to see if she’d come to the door.

Liz glanced up, surprised and a little shocked at the sudden knock on the door. She narrowed her eyes to pinpoint who was outside. She groaned when the lights of a passing car on the street slipped over Max. “Of course, that’s just my luck,” she muttered and went to the door. “What do ya want?” she asked without opening it.

Max just pointed to her keys where they were dangling from the lock.

“My keys?” she asked, deliberately misunderstanding.

“Yeah, I want your keys,” he said, shaking his head at her. “Lemme in.”

“Why? We’re closed.”

“You can let me in or I can stand out here all night... either one works for me.”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” She cursed as she opened the door. “One day you complain that your friends have to hang out here because of ME and then you won’t just leave me alone.”

“Why’re you still here?” he asked, ignoring her rant.

“Because I need to clean up before I go, why else would I be here?”

“Where’s everyone else?”

“I sent my coworker home because her son was all alone at their apartment when the power went out and she couldn’t reach him.”

“What about Aaron? He’d probably like to have his mom home too.”

She almost snorted at that but didn’t feel the need to correct him. “He’s just fine with his babysitter and I’ll go as soon as I’m finished here.”

“Well, there’s only so much you’re gonna be able to do with no electricity and no hot water.”

“I’d be ready much sooner if you’d just leave now and let me finish things up here.”

He dropped down in one of the booths by the front door. “Go on an’ finish.”

She put her hands on her hips. “And what do you think you’re doin’ here?”

“I think I’m waitin’ to make sure you get home safely.” He shrugged when she just stared at him as if he’d just sprouted wings and a halo.

“Since when do you care if I get home safe or not?” she muttered as she walked back behind the counter.

“I don’t know... call it a brief moment of insanity.”

“Will you get any weirder, Evans?” She shook her head. Okay, she wouldn’t mind if she had some company on her way home since the city was covered in darkness.

“You’ve probably noticed we’re in the middle of a blackout and there’re some people who’ll take any advantage they can get.”

“Again, I don’t know why you care about my safety,” she lifted her hands before he could speak, “but I don’t wanna talk about it anymore.”

Max shrugged, not all that interested in talking about why he was there either. Part of him might want to leave her smart little ass by herself, but that other part of him knew he couldn’t let her walk home alone tonight.

“What’re you doin’ out when it’s all dark anyway?” Liz asked after a while of uncomfortable silence.

“I was walkin’ home when the power went out.”

“Here? There’re no clubs between your apartment and this part of the city.”

He smirked in the near darkness. “So you remember where I live.”

She winced when she walked around the counter and cut the corner a little too short and she banged her pelvic bone on the edge of the countertop. “Stupid thing. Damn it!”

Max couldn’t stop himself from going to her, reaching out to touch her arm. He could feel the tension in her and it had nothing to do with him. “You alright?” he asked, his voice low.

His touch and the heat that flooded her body in reaction hit her hard and unexpectedly. “Yeah, just stumbled against the edge of the counter. I’ll probably have a nice bruise now.”

“Where’d you hit yourself?”

“On my side, right on the pelvic bone.” She pulled her arm back out of his reach. “It’s nothing.”

“Nothin’, huh? Maybe I should be the judge of that.” His hands settled on the counter on either side of her body and he leaned in to meet her eyes. His heart was pounding from just being close to her. “Want me to take a look?”

“Seriously, Max! Relax, okay? It’s not like I broke my arm or anything. I’m a big girl, I can handle a little bruise.” She crossed her arms over her chest, feeling trapped. “Besides that it’s dark and you won’t see anything.”

“When’re you gonna tell me why you walked out on me?” He knew she wasn’t expecting the question and maybe it would be the opening he needed to finally get an answer.

“Max,” she sighed.

“Just put me out of my misery, Liz. Please.”

“Misery?” she asked incredulously. “I doubt this can be called misery, Max!”

“Misery can be defined in many ways. Leavin’ me hangin’ the way you did was only another brick in the wall where my misery’s concerned.”

“Did you really plan for anything with a real future for us, Max?” she asked doubtfully. He was a womanizer, he was someone who didn’t really have any goals in his life and he was just living in the moment.

“I don’t know what the future would’ve held for us. I’m not gonna stand here and tell you I was expectin’ a fairytale ending. All I know, is I thought it was gonna lead somewhere better than where either of us were at the time. Or at least where I thought we were.”

His words made her wonder, but she pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind. “Let’s face the truth here, Max. We’re as different as people can be. I have Aaron; I can’t do this living in the moment thing, not knowing what tomorrow’s gonna bring. I can’t go out and party at night so often. I have responsibilities, Max. I walked away because I knew it couldn’t turn out as more between us, okay?” Okay, that wasn’t the whole truth, but it was a little bit and hopefully it was enough for him.

He sighed in resignation. “You're never gonna tell me the truth are you? Yeah, you’ve gotta consider Aaron and I can understand that... you could’ve told me about him though, told me you had some concerns. You didn’t have to just leave like that.”

*****

WE MISSED YOU!
:mrgreen:
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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 33

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:59 am

Alien_Friend: We had fun but we’re so glad to be back too!

We’re glad you’re enjoying TIC TAC. The darkness really could open our couples up… if it stays around that long.

Max wishes she’d just tell him, too! Trent has caused some major damage and she has to get herself and Aaron out of that situation. If Max and Trent cross paths… well, we’ll see.

Alex and Isabel are getting the opportunity to discover things about each other that wouldn’t come out in the cold light of day.

Updating Sunday… updating Sunday… Of course we’re updating Sunday!!!

behrlyliz: Think we’re all excited to have RF back!!!

Eva: We’ll be taking another look at them in this part.

Isabel and Alex really weren’t expecting to find that the other one wasn’t the person they expected. You just never know where things might lead.

No, Max can’t do that… and he doesn’t want to. He needs to know why she left that morning without so much as a word. The truth will come out, but it’s gonna take time.

secretk: Darkness can help to get some truth out of everyone, huh?

So ya voting for the other couples to get together too? Hm... let's see what we can do about it. :)



Part 33

Exposure Under Cover of Darkness

The department was crowded with firemen, EMTs, paramedics, and a few police officers when Michael arrived. People sat on the benches or stood in small groups in the big common room, while they waited for their instructions for the night.

He glanced around the room, trying to pinpoint some of the faces he usually worked with during his shifts. He spotted Dana, Kyle and Tony at the very end of the room and started to make his way towards them.

“Hey, Michael,” a female voice greeted him on his way.

He turned slightly and saw Grace, another EMT at the department who had started with him. Great, he thought. Normally they didn’t run into each other since she worked other shifts, but it happened every now and then. “Grace,” he greeted her with a simple nod, hoping to get rid of her soon.

“Gonna be a busy night, huh?”

“You think?” he asked, not caring about her trying to get him to talk to her.

Grace sighed when he couldn’t even be bothered for a quick conversation. “Catch ya later, Guerin.”

“Yeah, whatever.” He waved her off and grabbed his phone when it started buzzing. “Hello,” he barked into the mouthpiece.

“Hey, Michael, it’s me,” Isabel said.

Why was she calling? “Iz... you’re still at the apartment, right?”

“Not far from it.”

“Not far from... Isabel, where are you at?”

“I sprained my ankle in the dark and now I’m with the nerd king since he was the one who found me,” she told him while Alex wasn’t in the room. “Look, don’t yell at me,” she told him when he heard him taking a breath. “No time for this now. Just wanted to let ya know I’m with him so you won’t look for me. Oh, and I was able to reach Max, who told me he took Tess home before the power out went out.”

“Don’t yell at you?” he asked with a forced calm. “If the nerd king found you in the dark you were obviously outta the apartment ‘cause there’s no way he’d step foot in my place.”

“I’m hanging up now, Michael,” she warned him.

He rolled his eyes. “But you’re fine, right? An’ if that little weirdo tries anything you remember those moves I taught you?”

“Seriously, we don’t need to talk about that. I mean, it’s him, okay? I’m okay, don’t worry about me.”

“Alright. And Tess got home okay, you’re sure Max saw her go inside?”

“He said she walked into the building before he left.”

“Okay, long as you guys are safe that’s all that matters.” He glanced up when the chief came in. “Iz, I’ve gotta go. We’re about to get our orders, so I’ll catch up with you soon as I can.”

“Okay, be safe.”

“Hey Guerin, what took you so long?” Kyle greeted his friend when he joined then.

“Got here soon as Iz told me they were lookin’ for me. It’s crazy out there. Any chance you talked to Maria an’ got someone from dispatch to put in a call over to the hospital where Cody an’ Amy are?”

“Yeah, little man’s fine,” Kyle held his cell up. “Just talked to Maria.”

“Good, I told her I’d try but there was no getting through to dispatch. The lines are jammed.”

“Did ya reach your sisters? Isabel was at our apartment when I left.”

“Just got off the phone with Iz. She did exactly what I told her not to do an’ left the apartment. Managed to twist her ankle an’ now she’s hangin’ out with Whitman. We know Max made sure Tess was in Isabel’s building before the power went out, so they’re both accounted for.”

“Good,” Kyle nodded. “That makes the night much easier.” It was hard to concentrate on work when you were worried about someone.

“Yeah, and I’m sure tonight’s gonna be long enough without havin’ anything else to worry about.”

“I hope we get the damn power back soon,” Tony said, rubbing his tired eyes. He had been ready to go home after a shift when they had told everyone to stay in as soon as the power had gone off.

“Weren’t you on the schedule today?” Kyle asked.

“I had the evening shift, but we’d already had an emergency, so we were getting back to the department late, already after 10pm and just as we were about to go home the power went off.”

“Ungh, great,” Michael muttered. “Nothin’ like pullin’ a double shift on a night like tonight.”

“How was your date?” Kyle asked, grinning.

“Shorter than I had intended.”

“The date or the sex?” Tony teased.

“The first, obviously. Had we gotten around to sex I wouldn’t be here right now.”

“You guys are really sick,” Dana complained.

“Ah, c’mon, ya know ya love us,” Tony said with a big grin.

“Yeah, why else would you have begged the boss to change your shifts to make them match our hours,” Michael said teasingly and hugged one arm around her shoulder. “And you should feel honored, you’re the only female we keep around here.”

Dana just rolled her eyes at the three of them. “I’m the only female you seem to tolerate around here,” she corrected.

Everyone went quiet when a few men entered the room and walked to the middle of it. They watched as the chief climbed up on a table to get everyone’s attention.

It only took a matter of minutes to learn that everyone had been called in to handle any situations that arose from the blackout. The heat outside was still stifling and with the power outage people were expected to flood the emergency rooms. The streets, tunnels, and bridges were gridlocked, the subway system was shutdown, planes were grounded, and the city was a ticking time bomb. The temperatures that were still well above normal for this time of the year were making people edgy and combined with the blackout the expectation of problematic situations was even higher.

From early reports it appeared that the blackout was due to the excessive power use, a side effect of the extreme temperatures that were pushing the lines past their capabilities. Orders for the night were handed down and the guys glanced at each other.

“Subway,” Michael muttered. Great. That was the last place you wanted to be on a night without light or air conditioning.

Tony grinned and patted him on the back. “That’ll be fun for ya. Bunch of sweaty, stinkin’ people trapped inside those hot cars... you enjoy that, Guerin. I’m envious, man, really,” he yelled as he walked backwards, heading for his gear. He had been assigned to one of the engines heading out to help with a pile-up.

“Stuck elevators for me,” Kyle said. That was okay, there were worse jobs to do tonight. Subway stations especially.

“Watch out for drunk partiers... they have a habit of pukin’ on everything in sight,” Michael reminded Kyle as he slapped him on the back. “I’d better go before Dana leaves my ass here an’ I have to run after her.”

Kyle nodded. “Watch out down there.”

“Yeah, you too.”

*****

Liz had been doing her best to ignore Max for the past hour while she cleaned up as much as possible so the morning shift wouldn’t have an overload of work to do when they came in. She had been relieved when he had finally gone back to his seat to wait for her, but even though the only light was cast by a few candles she had found in the back she could feel his eyes following her every move. It was driving her insane and the heat was only making her more aware of him.

He had offered to help and she had immediately refused, telling him that if he insisted on being there he could wait for her at the other end of the café. He had used the opportunity to get in her space again and she couldn’t blame the heat in her body on just the damn heat wave. She could explain away a lot of things but her reaction to him wasn’t one of them.

Max grinned to himself as he watched her. She was aware of him and he made no apologies for staring at her. He knew sitting there staring at her without saying a word was actually flustering her worse than if he’d kept up a running commentary or baiting her. They could trade barbed comments back and forth all night but it wasn’t getting them anywhere and as long as they kept that up he was never going to learn what had made her walk away from him.

He slid to the edge of the bench seat when she extinguished the candles. “Ready?”

“I don’t know why you insist on walkin’ me home. This isn’t exactly a date.”

“Maybe I’m makin’ up for actin’ like a dick.” He shrugged. “Maybe I wanna see Aaron again.” He pushed the door open when she unlocked it, glancing around at the activity on the streets. “And maybe I just don’t like the thought of somethin’ happenin’ to you.”

“Considering the past few months, I’d have bet you’d happily pay someone to kill me,” she said flippantly as she locked the door from outside again.

“That comment ranks right up there with the one you made at the club. You might piss me off more than anyone else in the fuckin’ world, but I’ve never wished anything bad to happen to you.”

She nodded and they both stayed silent for a while as they walked along the dark streets of New York City. It felt weird to be walked home by Max Evans. She had felt uncomfortable with Michael, but this was a new level of discomfort; a combination of excitement and discomfort.

Max ignored the urge to shove his hands in his pockets, wanting them free on the off chance he needed them. They had walked eight blocks so far and it annoyed him to know that she walked this route every night that she worked.

“How’s your tattoo shop going?” They still had to walk a bit and the silent was unbearable.

“Can’t complain, business is good.” He shook his head when he heard glass breaking somewhere off to his right and he shifted to keep Liz between him and the buildings they were passing. “I’ve been thinkin’ about your second... job,” he said, gritting the word out.

“Max, just… don’t, okay?”

He grabbed her arm and pulled her around to look at him. “That area of the city’s bad news. You’re doin’ that because you obviously need the money. I’m not an idiot, I know it’s a job that pays well, but... there’re clubs that would be safer.”

She snorted. “Oh, yeah, and you can get in there without the right contacts an’ all.”

“Ugly things can happen to women in this business, Liz. I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out to you. I’ve got contacts at some of the more upscale clubs... let me make some calls.”

And then she would always be in his debt. No way. “Just leave it alone, Max.”

His eyes narrowed when she jerked her arm free and continued walking. “Why? Why knowingly put yourself in danger when you’ve got someone who can get you...” He hurried after her. “What, you think I’d expect you to pay me back at some point? You think you’d owe me or somethin’?”

“It always turns out like that. One day you’re gonna be mad at me... which is nothing new and then you’re gonna be in my face wanting to know why you bothered helping me.

“You know, it’s fine that everyone we know thinks this fight between us is my fault. But we both know that’s not true, so get off your high horse and accept my help.”

“I don’t want your help, for god’s sake,” she yelled at him.

“So you’d rather run the risk of getting hurt and have your son live with the consequences?” He shook his head, frustrated with her and the situation.

She rubbed her face tiredly. Was she making a mistake? Sure, it was better for Aaron if she was safe, but where would this other club be? Sure as hell not in her neighborhood. And spending even more time commuting through half New York wasn’t an option either. She already had almost no time for herself or school or sleeping.

“You’re gonna force my hand, Liz,” he muttered.

“Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I don’t sleep much anyway. If I have to I’ll come out and sit in that club every damn night you’re workin’ just to satisfy my need to know you’re not bein’ forced into somethin’ you don’t want by some drunken asshole.”

Just the thought that he would watch her every night in the club sent a lot of different feelings through her body. “Guess I can’t do anything about that,” she told him.

He shrugged. “Guess not.” He frowned when she motioned to the building on their left. “This you?”

She nodded. “That’s it.”

“I’m not leavin’ until you’re safely inside, Liz, so you might as well lead the way.”

She rolled her eyes at him, but went on and walked up the stairs to the big old front door.

Max stayed close to her as they made their way up the stairs in the dark. He wondered if she had been this close since the night he’d had her and lost her all at once.

“I have to get Aaron first,” she told him, not really wanting the boy to see Max, but she knew he was probably scared.

“Lead the way.” He smirked at her back. The little boy liked him for whatever reason and Aaron wanted Liz to be nice to him.

“I think I really can handle this on my own now, Max,” she tried.

“Not sayin’ you can’t,” he denied as he followed her.

“I doubt it’s good for Aaron to see you.”

“Why? What could you possibly have against the kid seein’ me? God, Liz, you act like I’m some sort of criminal!”

“That’s not what I meant, Max.” Okay, people who didn’t know him would probably see something like that in him with all the tats, but not her.

“Then what’s the problem?”

“He’s little, but he’s not stupid. He’ll wonder what you’re doin’ here, he’ll ask questions about it. Kids come up with all sorts of things that’re going on in their heads.”

Max sighed and looked away. It was selfish for him to insinuate himself into Aaron’s life. He didn’t know the whole story but he knew Liz was right to protect her son. It just hurt that she felt Aaron needed to be protected from him.

Liz stopped at the front door of Mrs. McGinty’s apartment and knocked softly. “It’s Liz,” she said when she heard movement behind the door.

The door opened and the older woman peered out into the darkness. Before she could get a word out Aaron pushed past her left leg and barreled into Liz. He was gnawing on Rabi’s ear and trying not to cry but he was scared of the dark and it had been dark for a long time.

“Hey,” she said softly and crouched down to cradle him up in her arms. “You don’t have to be afraid, I’m here now.”

His arms came around her neck tightly. “It’s dark,” he mumbled against her shoulder.

“I know, but it’s just a power outage, sweetie,” she told him calmly and rubbed his back.

“You was gone for a long time an’ Rabi was scared.”

“I’m sure you told Rabi to be brave, right? Just like you are,” Liz said, smiling and glancing up at Mrs. McGinty. “Thank you, I’m sorry it took so long tonight.”

“No, don’t you worry about that. I knew you’d be caught up in that mess outside.” She glanced at the man standing protectively behind Liz. “But it looks like you had someone watching out for you, hmm?”

Liz forced a smile. Yeah, she couldn’t shake her unwanted guardian angel no matter how hard she tried.

Aaron turned his head to see what Mrs. McGinty was talking about and he smiled when he recognized the man. “Hi, Max,” he said with a quiet smile.

“Hey, little guy.” He crouched down and reached out to touch one of the stuffed toy’s paws. “Looks like you made him feel a lot better. Was he very scared?”

Aaron took a step closer to Max and reached out to pick at the wide leather watchband the man wore. “Rabi doesn’t like the dark,” he whispered.

“Wanna know a secret?”

The little boy looked up at him and nodded.

“I don’t like the dark that much either.”

Liz finished her conversation with Mrs. McGinty and took a step back when the woman closed her door. She looked down at Max and Aaron and couldn’t help the small smile at the way they were at such ease with each other.

“I think it’s time for you to be getting home,” Max said with a nod at Liz.

Aaron just nodded and held his arms out to Max. He caught the little boy and lifted him up, settling him against his side as he stood up again.

Liz thought about taking Aaron from him and telling him that Max had to go, but for some reason that she didn’t understand Aaron had formed an attachment to him. Maybe it wasn’t all that hard to understand, she thought. There was something about Max that drew her to him too, but he didn’t want anything permanent and she couldn’t put her brother through a relationship that was doomed to end before it even started.

“C’mon, I need to get him home.”

“Do you want...” He gestured to Aaron, asking if she wanted to take the little boy from him.

“It’ll be fine for a few minutes,” she decided and led the way to her apartment.

Max patted Aaron’s back when he felt the little guy tensing up as they waited for Liz to unlock the door. “S’okay, Aaron.” He pulled his key ring out of his pocket and pushed the button on the little flashlight dangling there before handing it to the little boy. “See, look at that, it’s not all dark anymore.”

A small clicking sound could be heard when Liz finally managed to unlock the door and she glanced over her shoulder to see Aaron playing with a small flashlight. “Stay here, I’ll get some flashlights and candles first.”

“You can stay too if you’re scared, Max,” Aaron offered while they waited in the hall.

Max chuckled softly, already picturing Liz’ eyeroll at that.

Liz did exactly that when Aaron’s quiet words carried to her ears as she looked for something to break the darkness in the apartment.

“Well, look who finally came crawlin’ home,” Trent muttered. “Where’s the brat?”

“Trent,” she said, startled when she came further into the room that was lit by some candles. “What’re you doin’ here? I thought you were working a shift tonight?”

“Waitin’ on one of the guys to get here; we’re headin’ out to help with a derailed train.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “What’re you doin’ home so late?”

She shrugged. “Customers stayed longer than normal and when it was time to clean up the power went off and it took forever.” Damn it, what should she do now with Trent in here and Max at the door?

He grabbed his gear and hooked the strap of his bat over his shoulder. “Whatever. I’ll be home when I get home.”

Liz opened and closed her mouth, but didn’t know what to say. She could only wait until Trent saw Max.

Trent paused in the doorway when he came face to face with a man holding the brat. “Who the fuck are you an’ what’re you doin’ with that little snot?”

Max knew why Aaron had started tensing up when they had neared the apartment and it wasn’t because of the dark. “Why don’t you watch your mouth around your kid?”

Trent snorted and then laughed outright. “I don’t know what lies she’s been telling you, but that kid ain’t mine,” he denied. “I’ve got enough good sense that I didn’t bother getting her knocked up.”

“Sense and you don’t fit together in the same sentence,” Max muttered. If he wasn’t holding the kid right now he’d tell this scumbag a few different things.

“Yeah, well, if I had any sense I wouldn’t have the two of them under my roof.”

Liz went out to get Aaron away from them. The last thing the little boy needed was too much excitement; that could always cause an epileptic episode and there was no way help would be there soon enough on a night like this.

Max took a step back when Trent got into his space, preventing Liz from taking the little boy. It took everything he had to rein his temper in but he wouldn’t risk Aaron’s safety by engaging in a fight even though her boyfriend or husband or whatever deserved a good beating.

“What do you want, Trent?” Liz snapped.

Max bit his lip. Boy, what he’d give to be the one to give this guy a good ass-kicking.

Trent flipped her off and headed for the stairs. “We’ll talk about this later,” he called over his shoulder.

She avoided Max’ gaze when she took Aaron from him, feeling the tremors running through the little boy’s body. “It’s okay, Aaron. We’re going in now and we’ll snuggle up a little on the couch, what ya think?” She had to do tons of homework, but she knew she couldn’t just send the little boy to bed now.

*****

Alex sat down at the desk under the window that faced the balcony doors, staring out into the darkness. The reflection of the flickering flame of the candle he’d lit earlier danced merrily but he couldn’t see it.

“Why’d you block the balcony?” Isabel asked after the silence became too noticeable.

He turned his head, just enough to present her with his shadowed profile. “What?”

“I asked why you’d block the balcony. Don’t you ever just go out there for a break from being indoors? To feel the city humming right below you?”

He shook his head as he returned to his staring contest with the blackness on the other side of the window. “No.” He hated the balcony and at one point he’d boarded it up but the super had insisted it was a violation and he couldn’t keep it covered. So he’d blocked it with the desk instead, though it wasn’t quite as effective.

Every time he looked at it he could remember the last conversation he’d had with her… could remember the words they had hurled at each other as they stood on that very balcony and he’d tried in vain to make her see what she was doing to herself…

“Just get off my ass, Alex. If that’s the only reason you’re here then you should’ve just stayed back home.”

“I came here so we could be closer, like we used to be. But you’ve changed and I don’t know how to help you.”

“I don’t want your help!” she’d screamed. She had been angry and confused, hating herself for what she was putting everyone she loved through but not knowing how to stop it. Hating him for trying to make her stop. He had always been the one person who understood her and now even he had turned on her.

He had reached out and grabbed her wrist, jerking her arm out to display the track marks on her inner arm. “What the fuck is that? Do you even care what you’re doin’ to yourself?” For more than a year he’d refused to see that she didn’t want help; certain that if he could just get her into the right rehab center she could be made to see reason.

What he hadn’t realized at the time was that he couldn’t force her to get better, to kick a habit that held her in an iron fist and wouldn’t let go. By the time he had come to understand that it had been too late.

“Fuck you. I want you to get out. Out of my apartment, out of my life, out of anything that has to do with me! Just forget that I exist and we’ll both be better off!”


It was the last time he had seen her without machines breathing for her and tubes feeding her. He turned his head again when he realized Isabel had spoken and he had no idea what she had just said. “What?”

“I said the girl who lived here before you actually came to the parties like most everyone else within screaming distance of Michael’s apartment. I know for a fact that Kyle stuck one of their crappy fliers on your door when you first moved in and you went off on him. What’s the story?”

“I was in a bad mood and the constant loud noise from downstairs wasn’t helping,” he answered.

“So, what, you’ve been in a bad mood for months?”

“I just have a lot going on.”

“So maybe a party would help you unwind. We’re not just a bunch of worthless party animals that have nothing else to do with our lives.”

“Yeah, maybe when I win the lottery,” he muttered.

Isabel rested her head against the back of the couch as she studied him. He wasn’t a bad looking guy but he could use a new wardrobe. He dressed like the stuffy old professors she’d had in college. “We don’t charge admission to the parties.”

“But I’ve got jobs to do. Oh, no, wait, maybe I will have time since you ruined my chance of a job and now I only have one left. Thanks for that by the way.”

She cleared her throat. “Um, right... about that...” Yeah, Guerin, what’s your excuse for that one?

Alex laughed ironically. “You didn’t even think twice, did you? Look, I’m gonna tell you something really surprising: Some of us need to work to earn money,” he made a wild gesture with his arms, “because guess what… Yeah, they need to pay their bills with it.”

“Look, get over yourself. Yes, I was born into a family who doesn’t have any financial worries. Am I sorry for that? Hell, no! But I am sorry that I screwed you over with the job. If you’re not too hung up on that chip on your shoulder I can probably talk to Mitch, explain what happened, and see if he knows anyone who’s hiring. He’d put in a good word for you if I asked him to.”

“I don’t want your help.”

She shrugged. “Fine, don’t take it then.”

“Fine.” He sighed and rubbed his tired eyes. He had to do a lot of homework, but with no light it wasn’t exactly an option at the moment.

Isabel wondered why she was surrounded by stubborn men. She would still go by and speak with Mitch because it was the right thing to do. She knew he would be able to find a job for him somewhere. What this asshat did with it was up to him.

Alex glanced at his watch. “You wanna get some sleep?”

“Um...” Hell, she didn’t know him and while he didn’t strike her as someone dangerous, you just never knew. “I’m fine.”

Damn, he thought, that was his chance to get her to shut up but no, she was FINE.

Isabel was annoyed with him, with his assumption that he knew anything about her or her friends. “So, I’m curious...”

He groaned. That couldn’t be 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
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 34

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Oct 30, 2011 6:33 am

Eva: That would solve a few problems, wouldn’t it? Polite isn’t a word we’d use to describe Trent either. Trent may not be with Liz but he doesn’t want her to be with anyone else either. Total jerk.

It’s true… just when you think something is being revealed… it only creates more questions, lol. So far RF is still online, which is great! Because we have a lot more questions (and maybe some answers) to reveal.

Alien_Friend: Max’s rage could come in handy… we’ll see what happens in future confrontations because there are a few lined up for you. ;) We’ll be getting back to them soon to find out if she lets him stay for a bit. Getting the truth out between her and Max would really open communication between them… and we all know they need it. We have a feeling that Max will do exactly that because he doesn’t like her working that second job.

Lol, well, we’ll get a look in on the rescue situation today.

Accepting that you can’t help someone you love is a difficult thing, but we’re sure that Alex did everything humanly possible to help her.

mary mary: That’s definitely how Liz seems to perceive it… Isabel should help Alex, question is, would he accept it? Trent deserves to have trouble come knocking on his door. Tess… poor girl feels like she’s been stuck in that elevator for months, lol.

Rodney: Um… well… see, what happened was… Double and Trouble ducking down and pointing at Isabel. “Isabel said it!”

Think he’s heading over to rescue Tess?

Agreed, weekends are acceptable. During the week, disrupting everyone else around you who’s busting their asses working and/or attending school? Totally not cool.

Earth2Mama: Trent does deserve a good beating… and Max would really like to give it to him.

That would put a lot of people in a happy place, lol.

Roswellian117: And look at that… another update!

keepsmiling7: Max has feelings for Liz and the more time he spends around her the more they’re surfacing. As for Aaron, the little boy has touched something inside of him, something that for so long has felt lifeless. The truth will come out in time.

Thanks! We’re glad to be back. We missed you guys and RF!

secretk: Alex and Isabel may just find common ground.

Agreed, Alex has a valid point. Weekends are acceptable. During the week, disrupting everyone else around you who’s busting their asses working and/or attending school? Totally not cool.

Max wants to learn more about Liz and Aaron… question is, will she allow it?

We’ll look in on Kyle’s rescue today.

Well, we’ll check in with Michael today. Maria… it might be a bit before we see her again.

angiebrenna: Thanks, we’re glad you’re loving TIC TAC. We were going through withdrawal too! You don’t really recognize that addiction until it’s suddenly taken away… we discovered it too, lol!

kismet: Lol, we’re honored that our fics were worth the Internet chase.

We’ll find out today if Kyle’s heading in the right direction.

Hmm… we’ll find out soon what happens with Liz, Aaron, and Max.




Part 34

Heroes of the Hour

“You seem to have an opinion about me and my friends... an opinion that is considerably inaccurate... Why would you form an opinion without having any of the facts in evidence first?”

“Oh, so I’m not the nerd king in your little clique, even though you don’t know me either?”

“Okay, you’ve got me there. We’ve formed opinions about each other without bothering to get the facts first.”

“That’s how the world is.”

She shrugged. “Doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.” She had no idea why she was even trying with him. He wasn’t doing anything to make it easy to get to know him much less like him.

“Do you think that’ll change anything? Tomorrow we’ll be back to our normal lives and you’ll be the smug rich bitch, while I’m still the nerd king.”

“I think perception changes with knowledge,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders. “What you do with it is up to you.”

He leaned back in his chair and looked at her. “So? Then tell me who you are Isabel Guerin.”

“Um... what?” This wasn’t what she’d had in mind.

“You suggested that we get to know each other, so start.”

She cleared her throat. “Who am I,” she mused, thinking. “I’m actually a very nice person... most of the time anyway. You of course, would have no reason to believe that.”

“What kinda nice things do you do?”

She bit her lip and stared at her hands. In spite of his opinion of her she didn’t go around talking about herself or telling the world at large about her good deeds. They were their own reward; she didn’t need praise for them. She took a deep breath and shrugged one shoulder. She wasn’t comfortable listing things off, knowing he would just accuse her of making things up or just not believe her.

“I volunteer at the daycare at the hospital... I work with the humane society one Saturday a month, I run errands for an elderly couple in my building...” she swallowed hard, “I volunteer with the Red Cross.” That last one was something she had started doing after losing Matt.

He glanced at her doubtfully. “And you don’t just do this to calm your guilty conscience?”

“Now I have a guilty conscience?” she snapped defensively.

“You never know. I was just asking. So is there any special reason why you do those things?”

“Because a lot of these organizations don’t have the funding to keep staff employed and a lot of people don’t have the time to put hours in that they’re not getting paid for. I have that luxury and I like to help others.”

“Have you lost someone close to you?” he asked, interested now.

She raised her chin up, swallowing hard to force down the lump in her throat. “Yes, I did.”

He nodded knowingly. “I’m sorry.”

“Your turn.”

“Well,” he rubbed his chin while he thought about what to say. “I’m pretty nice I guess. I like to have good, intelligent conversations. I like to hang out in the café when you guys aren’t there.”

She snorted. “You must not hang out there very often then.”

“Jobs and college don’t give me much time off anyway.”

“Yeah, I suppose that’s true.”

“If I do have a day off then I like to get outta the city and ride around on my bike.”

“You have a motorcycle?” Somehow she wasn’t sure he seemed the type.

“Um, no, I was talking about a mountain bike.”

“Oh, of course. I suppose I can see that about you.”

“Yeah,” he snorted, “fits my uncool appearance, huh? Anyway that’s what I do in my very infrequent free time.”

“No, I didn’t mean it like that. Mountain biking is an endurance sport. You’re not heavily muscled but you do have an athletic build.” She felt herself blushing and was instantly grateful for the darkness. “Anyway, I wasn’t trying to be insulting.”

“Guess I have to consider takin’ you seriously, huh?”

“I suppose that’s up to you.”

“Yeah,” he glanced around the darkness. “It seems like they really have a major power problem.”

“Yeah, I just hope nothin’ goes wrong out there,” she said, thinking about her brother and her friends who were out there tonight.

“Are you worried about someone special?”

“The very same guys in the apartment below that drive you insane on a fairly regular basis.”

“Are they out?”

“You could say that. My brother’s a paramedic and Kyle’s a firefighter. Tony, who you met in the hallway that night,” she made a face, “is also a firefighter.”

Alex lifted his eyebrows in shock. “Um, wow.”

“They play hard, Alex, but they work even harder. No, that doesn’t really excuse the noise or the partying so loud during the week, but most everyone in the apartments that’re affected by the noise from those parties usually shows up at some point or another.”

“I gotta study Isabel. I only have the nights to do that.”

“I’ll talk to Michael.” She shrugged at his disbelieving look. “You’d be surprised just how considerate he can be. Trust me, he’ll see this as payback for you rescuing his sister. He doesn’t take shit like that lightly.”

“I don’t think I rescued you.”

“No, perhaps not, but he has an interesting view of what does and what does not constitute a rescue where any of his sisters or the girls he cares about are concerned.”

“Especially that little blonde, huh? What’s her name again? Mary?”

Isabel nearly choked on a laugh. “I wouldn’t call her Mary to her face. Maria, and yes, he’s especially protective of her.” Um-hmm, see, even people who didn’t know them saw it.

“Yeah, already noticed he’s got it bad for her but no commitment, huh?”

“Oh, no,” she laughed, “they’re not together.”

“Just a sex thing?”

“I wish like hell they would. Maybe then they’d see what they’re both too blind to see.”

“You’re a weird group,” he said, shaking his head and earning a death glare from her.
“And I mean it in the nicest possible way this time.”

“Uh-huh,” she said uncertainly.

“I don’t know about you, but I think I’m gonna try to sleep a little.”

Isabel shrugged and wiggled around to get comfortable. “I guess that might not be a bad idea. It’s probably getting late by now.”

He glanced at his watch. “Yeah, I’m gonna go get a blanket for you.”

“Thanks.” She sat there in the darkness, wondering at how strange the night had turned out.

*****

Michael pulled on the collar of his uniform when he went down the stairs with his partner Dana. “Ungh, it’s still freakin’ hot and we’re still at the very beginning,” he said when they used their flashlights to get a first impression of the darkened subway station near Central Park.

“Yeah,” she coughed slightly. “Not my favorite place to be right now.”

Michael turned his flashlight off when they reached a group of firefighters and policemen who had already set up a small temporary camp near the tunnel where the subway train was stuck several hundred feet in. “Do we know how many people are trapped?” he asked one man that he recognized from the station but couldn’t remember his name.

“We think around 15 people. Got one heavily pregnant lady for sure.”

Of course. Did these situations ever come WITHOUT the pregnant woman? He shook his head and focused. “Are they all in the same car?”

“No, spread over two or three.”

“You already got guys tryin’ to get the doors open?”

“Do we know what the pregnant woman’s situation is?” Dana interrupted.

The man sighed. “We don’t know much right now,” he glanced up when his coworkers started to move, “but we will soon.”

“What’re the chances we’re getting outta here without delivering a baby tonight?” Michael asked with a glance at his partner.

She groaned. “Please no.”

He slapped her on the back and chuckled. “Hazard of the job,” he teased. He watched as the firefighters worked to pry the doors open, waiting for them to signal them to join them. He knew unless they called them over they would just be in the way so they stood back and waited. The biggest issue on a night like tonight was people panicking. The heat was also an issue, but panicking people, especially in crowds, could create a lot of damage.

“This heat’s makin’ me crazy,” Dana complained and ran her hand over her sweaty face.

“Yeah,” Michael rolled his shoulders, doing his best to ignore the sweat already rolling down his back and making his shirt stick to him. “Not gonna be a damn bit of relief from it tonight either.”

“We’ve gotta get them out soon or they’re gonna panic,” Dana said

“Yeah, it won’t take much for things to turn ugly.”

“Whoa.” The fireman took a few steps back when he finally opened the door. “Please, ladies and gentlemen don’t rush the door; one at a time, please.”

With the exception of a couple of people they managed to free the trapped passengers with little difficulty. It was the panicked shouting from the next car that caused concern when they realized that a man had drawn a weapon and was waving it around. He started at the sound of the firefighter’s boots crossing through the evacuated car and he started firing.

“What the…” Michael glanced around, quickly guiding the evacuated people to the side. “Stay pressed to the wall,” he shouted.

The sound of gunshots only escalated the panic that was bubbling beneath the surface and people started to shove each other in an effort to get out of the station first. As the last of them escaped out onto the streets the first responders turned their attention back to the scene. The gunman had stopped firing but the sight of police officers had only agitated him and he had grabbed one of the other passengers, using her as a human shield. He and Dana stepped forward to grab the fireman that was being hustled away from the car and they could see the blood spreading out from a wound to his shoulder.

“Damn, some days I hate this job,” the firefighter growled. “Damn idiots with guns.”

“He’s hopped up on somethin’,” one of the police officers said as he glanced at the paramedics. “You don’t have to stay here.”

“Where’s the pregnant woman?” Michael asked as he and Dana started to work on the firefighter’s wound.

The officer shook his head. “She’s in the next car with two other passengers. Thank God she’s not in that one. As long as she stays low and outta his sights she might just be alright. In his state anything’s liable to set him off.”

Michael glanced at Dana. “Get him outta here.”

“Call Fredericks over. He can give me a hand getting him outta here.”

“Hey, I can walk,” the firefighter protested.

She ignored him and looked at Michael. “As soon as he’s en route to the hospital I’ll be back.”

Michael nodded pushed the button on his radio that was clipped to his shoulder. “Fredericks, we need some help her. Firefighter, GSW to the shoulder.”

It was only a matter of seconds before they saw Fredericks making his way to them with a gurney. He stayed low and close to the wall, his eyes darting over the scene. He had gotten the call that they had a shooter in one of the cars and that it had turned into a hostage situation and now he could see officers trying to talk the man down. They hurried to get the firefighter settled and Dana turned to glance at her partner. “Hey, the rules exist for a reason, Guerin. Stay back,” she ordered as she and Fredericks wheeled the injured man out while he argued with them the entire way that he could walk on his own.

“I’ll watch him,” Tony promised as he suddenly appeared next to them, pressed against the wall and safely out of sight of the man with the gun.

Michael rolled his eyes. “I don’t need a babysitter, Carter.”

“You sure about that?”

He shook his head and turned back to watch two of the police officers as they crept along the car, keeping low and trying to see what was going on with the pregnant woman. “I’m not about to charge a head-case with a gun.” He grinned faintly. “Not while he’s got a hostage anyway.”

“Why do have people always make it worse?” Tony complained.

“Because some people were just born to suck.” What kind of coward used a woman as a human shield?

“Let’s hope this won’t take the whole night.”

“Yeah, no doubt.” He reached up to rub the back of his sweaty neck. “God, this heat just brings the crazies out... add a power outage and let the good times roll.”

“Hey,” one police officer hissed to get their attention. “The pregnant woman…” he pointed to a car. “Looks a little bit stressed, but I think she’s okay.”

Michael gave him a thumbs-up and glanced back at the car when the gunman fired off a warning shot, screaming in agitation at something none of them could see.

“How many shots has he fired? Think he’s still got plenty of ammo?”

“I don’t think anyone’s been able to determine what kinda gun he’s got.” He mentally counted off the shots he’d heard and he shook his head. “Minimum, he’s got at least four more shots.”

“Put the gun down,” someone started to speak through a megaphone. “We know it’s hot in there and we all want outta here. Nobody needs to get hurt.”

It was procedure but he was certain it wasn't going to work with this guy. He hated the waiting, especially when he knew people were in danger.

“The police officer you shot is okay, Mister, you don’t have to worry about him. If you end this right now then it’ll minimize the consequences.”

The gunman pressed the heel of his hand against his temple. Sweat crept along his flesh, the sensation making his skin crawl and further angering him. He couldn’t make sense of the situation he had found himself in but he knew everyone out there wanted him dead. He wasn’t expecting it when the woman he was holding against his body suddenly brought her elbow up and smashed it into his nose.

The police officers knew they had to react quickly. They used the small moment of confusion and distraction to get inside the car. One officer gave the armed man a kick to the backs of his knees and he sank to the ground. The other officer was already waiting for that to happen and he pressed the man’s upper body to the ground, keeping him down with one knee in the small of his back.

Tony grabbed Michael’s arm when he started to move toward the chaotic scene. “What’re you doin’?”

“We wait until they give us the go-ahead, Guerin.”

Michael relaxed a little until two police officers stepped out of the car, the handcuffed man in between them. “You can get the others out now.”

“Now you can charge in, Guerin.”

“C’mon,” he dragged Tony with him and stepped into the car, where everyone was still in shock. “Is anyone hurt in here?” He glanced around but couldn’t see any blood in the car.

“I think this kid’s ankle might be broken,” a man said as he motioned to a teenager sitting on the floor and leaning back against a seat.

The woman who had taken on the gunman was shaking from shock, but was otherwise unharmed.

“Okay, everyone who feels able to get up and walk out should do that now, but please one by one,” he told them and crouched down next to the boy. “Can I take a look at your ankle?”

“I wasn’t runnin’ from that freak,” the kid said defensively.

“How’d it happen?” Michael asked while he brought his hands to the boy’s leg.

“Uh...”

“Dumbass had his feet up under the seat and caught it on one of the rails,” another teenager laughed. “Dude, your chicken ass tried to run as soon as that crackhead pulled a gun.”

“Shut the fuck up, dickhead.”

“It’s broken,” Michael nodded when his hands carefully moved over the boy’s ankle.

“Hey, man, we can keep it between us. You’ll be like the wounded hero... Amber will love that shit an’ you’ll totally get laid.”

Michael grinned at the other boy. “He might be right about that, dude.” He got up again. “I’ve gotta grab my gear, don’t move.”

The kid straightened up a bit, trying to hide the grimace of pain. He glanced up at the paramedic when he left the car and then turned to look at his buddy. “Dude, I’m totally getting laid,” he crowed as they high-fived each other.

Michael glanced at Tony, who was on his way to the other car. “How’s it lookin’ in there?”

“Lookin’ good. Don’t think we’ll be delivering a baby tonight.” He grinned. “Not here anyway.”

“Very happy about that, huh?” the pregnant lady asked when she got out of the car slowly.

Tony smiled at her. “Probably just as happy as you are, ma’am.” He’d experienced that only once in his short career and if he was never introduced to a woman’s lady parts in that way again it would be alright with him.

“Oh yeah, it wasn’t my dream to give birth in a dark tunnel where it stinks.”

“Looks like you’ll get your wish.” He reached out to give her a hand.

“I’m gonna put a splint on the boy’s leg and then we can get outta here,” Michael said as he disappeared into the car again.

*****

New York City seemed like a ghost town, Kyle thought as they drove through the streets, which were only lit by the headlights of the cars. The city that never sleeps was pretty quiet tonight… if you ignored the number of cars on the streets. Bumper to bumper and honking like idiots. “Why is it that everyone seems to forget the simplest traffic rules in these moments?” Kyle asked in annoyance when they could hardly get to the building they had been ordered. Even with the sirens turned on there just wasn’t enough space to drive through quickly.

Dan chuckled. “Because they’re all the same when it comes to stressful situations.”

The radio cracked a few times before Sally the dispatcher could be heard. “Engine 27, I’ve got new orders for you.”

Kyle frowned and picked up the radio, pressing the button. “Firefighter Valenti here. We haven’t even reached our first stop yet, Sally.”

“I know. We have information that the people you were supposed to help got out on their own.”

“Okay, what’re our new orders?”

“We’re rerouting you to Hampton Towers,” she said and rattled off the address. “Woman trapped in an elevator. The doorman said she sounds panicked.”

“That’s Isabel’s address,” Kyle muttered.

“What’s that?” Dan asked.

“A friend of mine lives in that building.”

He nodded. “Hampton Towers is a big building, kid.”

“Yeah, I know,” Kyle nodded. And if he had been informed right then Isabel was with the nerd king and Tess should’ve already been in the apartment.

“Hopefully it’s just someone in a panic and not a pregnant woman,” he said, recalling that happening a few months back.

“Uh-huh… still uncomfortable that the woman named her twins after us?”

Dan laughed heartily. “Kid, that was the fourth time in my career a woman’s named her newborn baby after me... and only one of those times was my wife.”

Kyle laughed. “Seriously, no new baby tonight I hope.”

“Damn it,” Brent, the driver of the truck, growled when he reached the intersection before their destination. “Looks like a parkin’ lot on game day. We’re not getting any closer than this right now, boys.” He could see police officers doing their best with traffic, but things were already so congested it was going to take time to untangle the mess.

“Alright, let’s take our gear and walk the rest of the way,” Dan decided.

Kyle grabbed his gear and followed Dan to the building. They knocked on the window and a nervous looking doorman let them in before pulling the door closed and locking it once more.

“She’s right over here,” James said, his flashlight sweeping across the floor as he led the way to the elevators. “As far as I can tell she's trapped near the 17th floor, about two floors down from her floor.”

“Stairs?” Dan asked.

“Right over there,” James said and turned the flashlight towards the stairwell.

“You know the name of the trapped woman?” Kyle asked, knowing that sometimes it helped to calm people if you knew their name.

“It’s Miss Guerin, sir.”

“Tess?” Kyle frowned.

“Yes, sir.”

Kyle shot a glance at his partner. “We’d better hurry.”

“This’s the kinda night that makes me wish I had decided to take an early vacation,” Dan laughed as they started up the stairs.

“I hate stairs,” Kyle panted when they reached the 10th floor.

“Yeah, not my favorite part of the job either,” Dan grunted. “Damn, early retirement’s lookin’ better every day.”

“I vote for small buildings. Three floor, four at the most.”

“Yeah, good luck with that in New York.” He glanced at the number on the door, illuminated by his flashlight. “Two more floors, kid. We’ll stop on 16 and check the elevator there. We’ll need to determine if we can get to her from 16 or if we need to go up to 17.”

“Okay. If it is Tess then let me talk to her, okay?”

Dan shook his head. “There somethin’ I need to know, kid?”

“She lost her brother on 9/11. He was trapped in an elevator in the North tower that day.”

The older man winced. “Do what you gotta do.”

Kyle nodded. “She’s the youngest. Annoying and noisy as hell, but...”

“Uh-huh, well, you’ve got the lead on this one, Valenti.” They pushed through the door to the 16th floor and hurried over to the elevator. Dan paused before attempting to get the woman’s attention. “Don’t say anything until we know which floor we’re gonna be able to get to her from, got it?”

Kyle nodded quietly and gestured for Dan to continue.

Dan pushed the head of the pry bar between the doors and started to push his weight against it, nodding at Kyle to grab onto one of the doors when they started to separate. As soon as the doors were far enough apart he wedged the bar between them and leaned in to shine the flashlight below and then above him, illuminating the shaft. He swore under his breath and backed out, popping the tool loose and pushing the doors back together so no one accidentally fell in. “That car’s stopped between floors. We’re gonna have to get to her from 17.”

Kyle groaned. “Just what we need tonight.” He grabbed their gear and nodded to the door. “One more floor.”

On the 17th floor, they repeated the process, prying the doors open and using the pry bar to keep them open. Kyle leaned in and moved his flashlight over the walls of the shaft. “Alright, looks like an easy enough descent.”

Tess held her breath when she heard cracking sounds above her. What was that? She tried to concentrate on it, but the blood rushing in her ears and the pounding heart in her chest were just too loud. “Hello?” she called out into the darkness for what felt like the hundredth time tonight.
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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 35

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:49 am

keepsmiling7: Nights like these do keep our guys busy.

Earth2Mama: Tess will recover from this situation. She has a great support system and she and Kyle may just surprise each other.

kismet: Every little step counts… we might just see another step or two in today’s part.

Eva: Well, tonight might be a bit too soon to get the two of them together, but you just never know…

secretk: Alex and Isabel are making a bit of headway. Michael’s job does keep him in the middle of the action, especially on a night like this one. As for Kyle and Tess, we’ll be checking in on them in this part. Well, we’re still a way from getting to the Candy action, but… that doesn’t mean we won’t have some Candy scenes.

mary mary: Things are finally beginning to fall into place. Now that it’s started things will be progressing pretty well.

Alien_Friend: Like the idea of confrontations between Max and Trent, huh?
Lol, yeah, not exactly the way Tess would’ve planned for things to happen.
Alex and Isabel still have plenty to discover about each other. The blackout just gave them a chance to break the ice and see each a little differently.

Rodney: Of course there is! It’s so much more fun that way.

The blackout’s giving all of them a chance to learn something new. What they do with their new information has yet to be seen.

begonia9508: No fun to be trapped in that tiny elevator. Great movie… really wouldn’t want to be trapped on a stuck elevator!



Part 35

Let There be Light

“I’m gonna get the harness set up in case she can’t climb out herself,” Dan said, nodding at the shaft.

“Gotcha.” Kyle ducked through the doors and reached out to grab the ladder mounted to the wall. He paused several steps down when he heard her call out, her voice trembling and scared. He climbed the rest of the way down and stepped onto the top of the car, light sweeping over it as he quickly located the hatch. He grabbed onto the release and pulled it up. “Hey, it’s me, Tess?” he called quietly. “How ya doin’ down there?”

Tess’ head shot up quickly. In a moment of horror she had thought the elevator was about to crash to the ground and bury her with it. She squeezed her eyes shut when the light from his flashback hurt her eyes after spending so long in the dark. “Kyle?” she asked, feeling irritated.

“That’s me,” he said, rolling his eyes at her tone. “Your white knight in firefighter gear here to save you.”

Suddenly she felt a big wave of relief rush through her body. “Thank God,” she mumbled, crying slightly.

“Hey, s’alright, Tess,” he said as he swung around to drop down into the car. “Thought you were already home.”

“I….I…” she stuttered but couldn’t form a whole sentence.

He hooked the flashlight on the clip on his jacket and held one hand out to her, gently cupping her tear-stained face. “It’s just a blackout, nothin’ more serious than that.”

“What if he was all alone before he got unconscious?” she babbled.

“I think you shouldn’t focus on that... just take some comfort in the fact that he didn’t die alone,” he said as he pulled her into his arms and rocked her.

“I miss him so much,” she sobbed and held onto him tightly.

As soon as he had learned that she was the one trapped in the elevator he had worried that she would go right back to that day.

Dan leaned in between the open doors and looked down. “Everything okay down there?”

“Got it under control,” Kyle called back.

“Get her out,” the other man yelled back. There was always a little bit of danger with stuck elevators. Even if it was practically impossible, he didn’t want anything worse to happen. He had lost too many of his friends and coworkers over the years.

“You think you’ll be able to climb outta here?” Kyle asked. “The ladder’s attached to the side of the wall and it’s about an eight-foot climb.”

“I’ll try,” she said, finally feeling strong enough to get in an upright position again.

“Okay, c’mon, I’ll give you a hand up.”

“How do we get up there?” She pointed to the hatch above them.

Kyle put his hands together, fingers interlocking to form a cradle. “Put your foot in my hands, put your hands on my shoulders, and when I stand up you grab onto the hatch.”

“Better be glad I’m not some old fat lady,” she said, trying to downplay her fear.

“Yeah, thank God for small miracles,” he muttered. “Just get your cute little ass over here and climb up.” He closed his eyes and hoped like hell she hadn’t caught that slip. Since when had he noticed her ass?

Did he say her ass was cute?
she wondered but didn’t say anything. She wanted out of here and soon. “Alright,” she placed her foot in his hands and held onto his shoulders. “Ready.”

Kyle released a relieved breath when she seemed to have missed his comment. He straightened up, lifting her closer to the hatch. “If you need to, step on my shoulder to pull yourself the rest of the way out.”

“Okay,” she said, sounding strained when she tried to pull herself up.

“C’mon, Tess, you’re almost there.”

“Gosh,” she panted as she collected her strength to pull herself out.

Kyle tipped his head back and narrowly missed getting kicked in the face when she brought her foot up to his shoulder.

“Done,” Tess breathed when she managed to pull herself out of the elevator.

He turned and hopped up, grabbing onto the ledge of the hatch and hauling himself up onto the top of the elevator car. He sat there for a moment before glancing at her. “Ladder’s right behind you.”

She looked back at him. God, he had no clue how good he looked right now, she thought and turned to get a hold on the ladder.

“Dan, we’re comin’ up,” he yelled as he grabbed onto the ladder on either side of her hips. Do not look at her ass, do not look at her ass, do not look at her ass, he chanted over and over.

Tess glanced up. “Alright,” she took a deep breath.

“My partner’s waitin’ for you at the top, Tess. Soon as you get up there he’ll help you over to the doors, okay? But I’m right behind you an’ I won’t let you fall.”

She wished his words meant more than he was just doing his job, but she knew it wasn’t meant the way she wanted it so badly to mean.

Kyle followed her up the ladder, his forearms brushing against her hips with every new step.

“Gimme your hand,” Dan said as soon as Tess was near enough to grab her.

Tess glanced at the man, his features cast in the eerie glow of the flashlight. “Okay,” she said slowly.

Kyle waited on the rung a few steps below her until Dan had managed to help her out completely and then he continued to climb up as well.

“C’mon, kid, let’s get you outta there too. It’s gonna be a long night an’ we’re just getting started.”

“Don’t remind me,” Kyle groaned.

“Wait, you have to leave?” Tess asked, not wanting to be left alone right now.

“I have to, Tess. We have to work until the power comes back online.”

“Oh, right, well... I mean, I knew that.”

She looked miserable right now. Shaken up and scared would describe it best. “Want me get you to the apartment?”

“Um, yeah, okay.”

“Alright,” he glanced at his partner. “Would you radio in and get our orders? I’ll be done in a minute.”

“No problem, kid. Keep it short.”

“We need to go one floor up, right?” Kyle asked. Isabel was very weird when it came to visitors; he had been here only once or twice so he couldn’t remember the floor.

“Are we on 17?”

“Yep, and I walked every single step up here.”

“Oh. Um, yeah, one floor up.”

“Let’s go, I don’t have a lot of time left.” He shoved the door open that led to the stairs.

In front of Isabel’s door Tess bit her lip as she fumbled for the key her sister had given her earlier.

Kyle waited a little impatiently. He felt sorry for leaving her alone right now since it was obvious she needed someone. But what could he do? Michael was out all night as well, Isabel was with the nerd king, and Maria wasn’t an option. Evans… maybe he should call Max.

“Okay, well...” Tess pushed the door open and turned to look at him. “Thanks, Kyle.”

He shrugged. “That’s my job, ya know.”

“Right. Of course. Well...” She was starting to feel like an idiot. God, no wonder he saw her as just Michael’s little sister. “Be safe out there tonight.”

He nodded. “Stay in there for the night, okay? Your brother’s out in the city as well, and Isabel had to stay at our building because she sprained her ankle.”

She shook her head. “I’m not going anywhere,” she promised.

Kyle took a step back. “G’night then.”

“G’night, Kyle.” She closed the door and fell back against it, running her hand over her face.

“Sorry,” he muttered to himself and turned to ran back downstairs.

*****

Max walked in behind her and closed the door, biting his tongue on the questions that wanted to spill out about the situation. “You want me to get him a drink or somethin’?” he asked, not wanting to leave them alone just yet.

Liz said down on the couch with Aaron safely in her arms. She nodded and gestured to the door. “Kitchen’s over there.”

She sat there quietly and stared at the soft light of a candle on the coffee table while she pressed Aaron safely against her, caressing his cheek and letting her fingers run through his soft hair. She didn’t even notice the tear that was running down her cheek.

Max checked the refrigerator, pulling the door wide open so the dim light from the other room would give him some light to see by. He frowned in disbelief at the note on two of the shelves tagged: Trent. Okay, that was weird, he thought as he reached for a small bottle of apple juice on the bottom shelf. He carried it into the living room and sat down beside Liz, opening the bottle and handing it to her.

He reached out and gently brushed at the tear making its way down her cheek. “What about you? You want anything?” he asked, knowing a lecture was only going to infuriate her right now.

Some peace of mind, she thought sadly but shook her head. “No.”

He leaned forward to check on Aaron and he could see the drowsy look on the little boy’s face. “Bet you’re ready for some sleep, huh?”

Aaron yawned in response to the question and reached out tiredly to touch his tattooed arm lightly.

“Yeah, I got ya, buddy.” He glanced up at Liz, seeing the pure misery in her eyes. Why was she in this situation? He looked at Aaron again and wondered if he belonged to the asshole he had just met or if he really wasn’t his. For Aaron’s sake, he hoped he wasn’t.

“You wanna go to bed?” Liz asked softly, glancing at the little boy in her arms.

“Tell ya what,” Max said, reaching for the keychain he had given the little boy. He removed the small flashlight and put it back in Aaron’s hand. “You hold onto that so it won’t be too dark in your room, okay?”

“Otay,” Aaron said with a tired smile.

“I guess if you’re gonna put him down I should probably go then,” Max said, reluctant to leave them alone.

“Yeah,” Liz nodded slightly.

“No!” Aaron complained. “Wif us!”

“I’d love to, little guy, but I think you and your mom probably don’t need me around for that.” He raised an eyebrow when Aaron giggled slightly and shook his head.

“No?” he asked, confused.

Liz sighed, just knowing she was going to regret her next words. “It’s alright, Max. I mean, if you don’t mind.” She knew it would put Aaron at ease for Max to stick around for a while.

He looked at her surprised. “Yeah?”

“If you don’t have anywhere else to be.”

“No fun without power no matter where you are,” he shrugged. Honestly, there wasn’t any place he wanted to be more than right here with her in that moment.

She nodded. “Alright, well... let me get him in his PJ’s first and then you can come in and say goodnight.”

“Cool, I’ll put that back in the refrigerator,” he gestured to the half empty juice on the table in front of them.

“Thanks.” He could be so sweet, which of course, she already knew. It was just that other bit of troubling information that she also knew that had made her run that morning. It also conflicted with how well he handled Aaron, she thought as she carried the little boy to his room and got him undressed and into his pajamas.

“Do you like him?” Aaron asked her while she tugged on the sleeves.

Liz’s thoughts were in the other room with Max as she got him ready. “Hmm?”

“Is Max stayin’ wif us?”

“Just for a little while, sweetie. He’ll go home after you go to sleep.”

“Don’t he wanna stay wif us?” the little guy asked with a frown.

Ungh, how to answer that one. Here lately she couldn’t seem to shake Max Evans. “He has his own life, Aaron. He has a job and...” Well, she didn’t really know what else he had.

“Maybe we just have to ask him,” the little boy decided.

Liz cleared her throat. One single five-minute meeting before tonight and Aaron absolutely worshipped the ground Max walked on. “Sweetie, Max has a home.”

“Otay,” he said sadly, wishing secretly that they could go with Max.

She tugged his pants up and pulled the hem of his tee shirt down over his waistband. “I think you’re about as ready as you’re gonna get for bed.”

Aaron turned and took the few steps to the bed, climbing up on it and pulling the light blanket over him. “You not goin’ away tonight, are you?”

“No, I’m not going anywhere tonight.”

“Can I say goodnight to Max too?”

“Yes, you can say goodnight to him.”

Max had overhead the last bit of the conversation and he stepped into the room that was lit only by a candle she had taken with her. It didn’t take much light to see that the room wasn’t a normal child’s room with a lot of stuff to play with. It looked like a home office that happened to have a bed inside.

“Max!” Aaron said as he sat up on his knees. He hugged Rabi and smiled up at the man.

“Hey buddy, ya ready to sleep?” he asked, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

He shook his head. “But I gots to.”

Max chuckled. “You’re right about that.” He ran his hands over the boy’s hair. “Sleep well, Aaron. I’ll keep the bad dreams away.”

Liz watched, unable to tear her gaze away from them. Max was like a fierce guardian angel, promising to watch over the little boy.

“You are very nice,” the boy stated. He wasn’t used to be treated nicely by adult men.

“Don’t let that story get started,” Max said with a smile.

“Time to say nighty-night,” Liz reminded the little boy gently.

“G’night, Max,” Aaron said, knowing he couldn’t put bedtime off anymore. He threw himself against Max’s chest and wrapped his little arms around his neck.

Max was shocked by the boy’s sudden move, but he wrapped one strong arm around him to hug him back.

“I hope you come back,” he whispered before he kissed Max’ cheek and scrambled to get under the covers.

He didn’t know what to say. He wanted to promise the kid he would be back, but Liz probably wouldn’t allow it so he once again caressed the boy’s hair before he got up. “G’night Aaron.”

“He can come back, right?” Aaron asked when Max had left him and Liz alone. “He’s nice an’ he bringed you home in the dark.”

“We’ll see, little guy,” she told him with a smile and kissed his cheek. “Now you gotta be good and sleep, okay?” She didn’t want to promise him something that she wasn’t sure of.

“Otay.” He put the little flashlight on the mattress next to him and snuggled up with Rabi as he closed his eyes.

She watched him for a few moments, trying to also collect herself. She was afraid of the questions that she knew Max would throw at her as soon as they were alone.

Max sat on the couch in the living room, glancing around as he tried to make sense of the situation. The pieces just didn’t fit and he had about a dozen questions on the tip of his tongue, but they all disappeared when she came back into the room and he saw the weariness and exhaustion in her features.

Liz wrapped her arms around herself when she looked at him uncertainly. “Sooo...”

“C’mere, Liz,” he ordered softly.

She was too weak to argue with him right now, so she did just what he had asked and sat down next to him on the couch.

Max shifted and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her up against his body and waiting to see if she’d relax.

Liz let him just do it. She was too tired to fight and her exhausted body and mind longed for some comfort.

He wanted to ask if she had been with that asshole from before the night they had been together but he didn’t want to ruin the moment. “The little guy sleepin’?”

“Yeah,” she said softly.

“Good. That guy earlier... his father?”

“No, he’s not.”

“Kid’s scared of him,” he said quietly. He tightened his hold on her when she started to pull away. “I’m not tryin’ to start a fight here, just makin’ an observation.”

Liz relaxed again, but stayed quiet. It was too hard to talk about it.

“Aaron’s a sweet kid, Liz.” He had known a few guys who had come out of abusive situations intact, but he had also known a couple who had turned out as bad, if not worse than their abusers. “I’m sure you’re not gonna tell me what the situation is or why you’re stayin’ in it, but... get out of it. Get out of it before you’re both irreparably damaged by it.”

“That’s not as easy as it sounds, Max.”

He could hear the worry that he was going to get into territory that she didn’t want to discuss with him but he moved ahead. “No, but you’re tryin’ to get out, aren’t you? Probably been tryin’ to get out for a while now. It’s why you’re workin’ at the club,” he guessed.

She wished she could say that the job let her save money up for a better future, but no, there was nothing left at the end of the month.

“An upscale club would give you a better paycheck, Liz. Safety would just be a bonus.”

“Do whatever you want,” she muttered when he refused to leave her alone.

“You don’t wanna know what I wanna do, Liz.” He sighed. One word from her and even with the way things were between them he’d take her and Aaron right out of this situation.

“Yeah,” she whispered drowsily.

“Maybe I should take you to bed,” he murmured against her head. He winced. Boy, she was gonna take that all wrong.

“You should go now, Max.”

He nodded, not wanting to disrupt the rare moment of peace between them. “I’ll see ya ‘round, Liz.” He dropped a kiss on her head and got to his feet. “I’ll let myself out.”

“Okay,” she said hoarsely and watched him leave. When the clicking sound of the front door indicated the lock setting she couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. She was ashamed of what had happened tonight and there was no way to fix things.

Max leaned back against the door. He could hear the muffled sounds of crying and he wished there was a way for him to fix things for her. He slid down to sit on the floor, deciding he would wait there until she calmed down.

*****

It was already after 5am the next morning when just like a miracle the power in New York City suddenly came on again and the situation started to calm down. Those who had shifts later that day, or who had been out for very long shifts were ordered to come back in to get some rest.

Michael slammed the door of the EMT truck shut and wiped his face tiredly.

“Go home, Guerin,” Dana teased.

“Oh, I will and soon,” he promised and went upstairs to get his stuff.

Kyle was stepping out of the shower area, towel knotted around his hips when he noticed his roommate. “Hey, kinda draggin’ ass there, Guerin.”

“Valenti,” Dana teased when she passed the hallway and glanced through the open door. “Sexy.”

He bowed and stood upright again, arms spread wide. “Thank you, thank you.”

Michael rolled his eyes. “You haven’t seen me naked, Sharpe.”

She snorted. “Makin’ an offer, Guerin?” She winked at him and continued on her way.

Michael grinned and turned to the locker where his civilian clothes were locked up. “How’s the night been?” he asked his roommate while he stripped out of his uniform.

“Night’s been a royal bitch,” Kyle said and pulled his own locker open. “Yours?”

“Same. Idiot in the subway had a gun and started firing blindly.”

“Great. Anybody get hit?”

“One firefighter got shot, but he’ll survive.”

Kyle shook his head. “Always has to be at least one idiot thrown in the mix.” He pulled a tee shirt on. “Had an elevator rescue earlier,” he started.

“Yeah? People tend to panic in them.”

“Yeah... thing is... it was Tess.”

Michael frowned. “My sister Tess?” He swallowed, imagining what that would’ve done to her. “Is she okay?”

“Yeah, I think so. She had calmed down by the time I got her back to Isabel’s apartment. I mean, she was still upset but I stayed as long as I could.”

“Who’s with her now?”

“I got through to Max an’ he said he’d go over an’ check on her.”

Michael nodded. “Good.” Evans wasn’t the romantic, caring type at all, but he knew he wouldn’t use Tess in a situation like this and it was good he was with her for now.

“Don’t really get this thing between them.” He made a face. “I mean, Evans and your sister? What’s up with that?”

“I don’t know, man.” Michael shrugged helplessly and wiped his face with one hand, too tired to think about it. “I’m gonna check on Maria on my way home.”

Kyle nodded. “Tell ‘er I said hey, will ya?”

“Sure,” Michael glanced up when Tony came out of the shower as well. “Hey, T-man.”

“How’s it goin’?” He shook the water from his hair like a wet dog before going to his locker and pulling out a set of clothes. “Any more excitement after the subway?”

Michael made a face. “Had a man with an severed leg in a car accident. Man, the other car probably hit his goin’ over 80 miles.”

“Damn... they think he’s gonna make it?” he asked as he stripped his towel off and threw it on top of his locker to pull his jeans on.

“No, died on his way to hospital.”

“Sorry to hear that.” He stretched before pulling a tee shirt on. “What about you, Valenti? Any excitement?”

“I got away with several smaller things tonight,” he told his coworker.

Tony nodded and glanced to the side when they heard something going on below. “Sounds like Prez is in the house,” he said with a grin.

Michael snorted when he got rid of the shirt he had worn under his uniform. “I saw him earlier tonight, when he was tryin’ to talk to some woman who was hysterical because her kid was alone in the house and she couldn’t get in because of electrical doors.”

Kyle finished getting dressed and sat down on the bench in front of his locker to put his shoes on. “Man, I hope he’s not gonna suggest headin’ over to the pub for a round. I don’t know where that guy gets the energy after a night like tonight, but I’m bushed.”

“You know he’s used to graveyard shift,” Michael said as he scrubbed his hands over his face.

“Want me to stop by your sister’s apartment?”

“Yeah, that’d be cool if you’d check on her.”

“Alright,” Kyle pushed himself to his feet again. “I’ll see you later.” He glanced at Tony. “I can give you a ride home.”

“Cool. Lemme just sign out an’ I’ll be right behind ya.”

The other man nodded and made his way downstairs, grinning when Prez, a cop from the nearby precinct came into sight. His last name was Kennedy and they had just gone from calling him Mr. President to calling him Prez.

Kennedy turned away from the group of guys he was sharing his story with when he caught movement from the corner of his eye. “Hey, Carter, get your ass over here an’ share your stories from tonight.”

Tony winced. “How the hell can you still be wide awake?” He bumped the other man’s shoulder and shook his head.

“Are you kiddin’? Graveyard shift, I live for the night. I’m like a vampire, man... the sun comes out and I’m gone.”

Kyle chuckled. “You better crawl into your coffin then. Sun’ll come out soon.”

“Hey, Valenti,” Kennedy hollered. “Heard you didn’t get any big saves tonight. Maybe next time, huh?”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” he wondered aloud.

“Ah, you know what I mean, man.”

Michael shook his head as he came down to join the others. He had overheard Kennedy’s comment and he knew the guy had a hero complex. He seemed like an okay guy, but most of them would be perfectly happy if they didn’t have to see a life and death situation during their shifts.

Tony yawned widely, feeling exhausting after his double shift. “I’m really ready to crash.”

“What a wuss,” Kennedy snorted good-naturedly. He slapped Tony on the back. “Hell, you fellas did some great work tonight, you deserve the rest.”

“You’re so generous,” Kyle said sarcastically. “C’mon, Carter, or I’m gonna leave your exhausted ass here.”

“Yeah, just don’t drive me off the road,” Tony joked. He glanced at Michael. “Hey, Guerin, catch ya next shift.”

Michael nodded and looked at Kyle, giving him a sign to call him about his sisters later.

Kyle gave him a thumbs-up and hooked his bag over his shoulder as he followed Tony out of the station.

“So, anyone ready to get a beer after tonight?” Prez asked the few people who were still around.

Michael rolled his eyes when he heard a few of the guys making sounds of agreement. Night shift or not, he had no idea how the guy could be so hyped up after a night like tonight. “Count me out, Prez.”

“Some chick waiting for ya?” he teased.

He smiled tiredly. “Not like you’d think, but there is someone I need to check on before I call it a night.”

“Oh, must be Maria then,” the other man said. Anyone who knew Guerin was familiar with her name.

Michael shrugged. “Must be.”
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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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Part 36

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:56 am

Eva: Liz doesn’t know yet if she can trust Max that far. She’s still trying to reconcile what she heard or saw that sent her running after the night they spent together.

Max is trying to be there without pushing too hard, worried that it’ll send Liz running again.

We’ll see what happens in the cold light of day.

begonia9508: Lol, stairs will give you that!

Max and Liz have been antagonistic with each other since he ran into her months after they spent the night together and she ran the next morning. They both need to lay their cards out on the table. Max is very gentle and sweet with Aaron. We’ll have to wait for Liz to let the cat outta the bag about why she’s never told Max about her brother.

Lol, Kyle really didn’t mean to let that one slip!

Earth2Mama: Oh, Liz might be giving you a headache for a while… we’ll see.

Hopefully Tess will recover from her experience under Max’s watchful eye.

Lol, that connection’s pretty obvious… to everyone but them.

keepsmiling7: It is a difficult and sad situation. The good thing is now that Max has become involved things are bound to begin to change.

No kicking the characters, lol. Well, it isn’t really pride that keeps her from telling Max what’s going on. A lot of what she will and won’t tell Max stems from what sent her running after that night they spent together. To her it’s something important enough to be guarded.

Aaron will eventually get there. ;)

kismet: She does… but will she?

Aww… it’ll get better.

Max is a good guy… but they’ve been so antagonistic with each other for so long that she’s got to open her heart and be willing to really see what’s in front of her.

Ah, it’s not a rumor. Whatever she heard and/or saw… she didn’t get it secondhand.

What happens when Trent comes back… well…

mary mary: Max genuinely doesn’t know what sent Liz on the run that morning… and he really wants to know!

Alien_Friend: That’s gonna take some time, but she’s gonna get there. Max would’ve found a way around the Tess situation if he hadn’t felt that it was time to leave before he pushed Liz too far for one night. Aaron really does love Max. They formed a connection quickly and effortlessly. Oh, Max isn’t one to back down from a fight and the pieces are beginning to fall into place about the situation Liz and Aaron are in.

Oh, Liz isn’t ready to reveal that one just yet… but it’s coming! Max does have his moments and even though he and Liz have been so antagonistic with each other it’s hard to miss that he genuinely cares for her.

Leave it to a guy to open his eyes up at a moment like that, right?

Thanks!

We’ll be checking in on Maria in today’s part.

Roswellian117: Lol, King Douche… so fitting.

That would be a horrible place to be trapped with claustrophobia. Oh, we’ll find out soon what happens when Kyle and Tess run into each other again.

Tony and Courtney, huh? Lol, one never knows. Well, we know, but we’re not tellin’!

Michael and Maria are completely clueless… how? We have no idea!

So long as RF cooperates and stays online we’ll be updating every Sunday!

Natalie36: Glad you enjoyed that part!

secretk: Claustrophobia is a terrifying thing in some situations. Knowing that her brother was alone and suffering that day just intensifies things and makes it even more difficult.

Leave it to a guy, right?

Ah, Michael and Maria are both absolutely positive that they’re just friends! Completely clueless as to what the rest of the world sees.

That was a good moment for Liz and Max… and hopefully allowed them to begin building a new foundation. Max is very good with Aaron and the little boy just loves him. What Liz heard… will come out eventually. The thing with Liz and Max is that they’re both to blame as far as the antagonism goes. Neither of them has made an effort to be civil to the other until recently and now, before they can go any further, they’re gonna have to find a way to make peace with their past treatment of each other. Aaron is the center of her world and she tries to make the best decisions she can based on what will be best for him. It may not seem like that with the Trent situation, but it’s true. You’re right, being impulsive is a luxury Liz can’t afford right now. She has reason to be hesitant and she and Max will have to work through that.

angiebrenna: Ah, it’s not really pride that prevents Liz from allowing Max to help her. Whatever she heard and/or saw in the past is something that prevents her from allowing Max to step in and help. Both she and Max have to work through what they’ve put each other through with all of their antagonism before they can get there.

Cardinal: Yay!

Lol, well, that can be a good thing.

Yes, well… he’s Kyle, and what can we say? At least it was movement, lol.

Max is a quick study so chances are good he may continue on this path. Excellent way of phrasing this part: “what she thinks she knows that drove her away from him.”

Alex and Isabel really did make some headway… question is, what will happen to that progress in the cold light of day?

Rodney: Lol, sounds like Kyle needs some guidance… suggestions?




Part 36

Deepening Love and Hate

Michael trudged up the stairs with barely an hour to spare before dawn broke. He was so damn tired but he wanted to check on Maria before going home. He leaned against the doorframe heavily, rubbing his eyes with his left hand while knocking with the right. The city would wake up to electricity once again humming; air conditioners would be pumping blessedly cool air and traffic lights would be working, no excuses for not making the morning commute.

Maria woke up at the quiet sound. She had decided to sleep in the living room on the couch since her crappy apartment didn’t have a window in the bedroom and without air conditioning she had felt like dying in there. Had there been a knock on the door?

He rested his head against the frame and knocked once more, hoping she was just asleep and not passed out from the damn heat.

She groaned when there really was a knock and pushed herself into an upright position. Damn, sleeping on the couch was really no fun. With a big sigh she pushed herself up and walked slowly to the door, smiling when she saw a very tired Michael through the peephole. “What’re you doin’ here?” she asked when she opened the door.

“Damn circuits are still busy and I couldn’t get through to ya so I wanted to come by an’ make sure you were okay,” he said, trying not to yawn.

“I’m fine, Michael. You know you don’t have to worry that much. Come in.”

“Not worried,” he denied, pushing the door closed behind him.

“Want me to make you some coffee?”

“Coffee would be great,” he answered as he dropped down on her uncomfortable couch.

“Okay,” she yawned widely and went into the kitchen.

“Did you ever get hold of Amy?”

“Yeah, didn’t Kyle tell you?”

Had he? Hell, he couldn’t remember. “I don’t know. I remember askin’ him if he’d talked to you or somethin’.” He rubbed his gritty eyes. “He might’ve told me.”

“Cody and Mom are fine. I’m gonna run by the hospital really quickly before work.”

He nodded. “Good idea. I know the hospitals are on backup generators, but that had to scare the little man.”

“Should I tell them that you won’t make it to the hospital today?” Maria asked as she took a mug out of the cabinet. “Bet you’re gonna sleep all day and you have to work again tonight, right?”

“No, I’ll still swing by this afternoon.” He slouched down a little bit more. “I’ll make time to stop in an’ see ‘em.”

She walked over to the couch and handed him the mug. “Okay, thanks.”

He shook his head and waved her off. “Hey, you know I don’t mind.”

Maria crawled behind him and sat up on the back of the couch, one foot on either side of him while she used her fingers to massage his temples.

“Ya know, if heat makes people crazy... heat an’ no electricity makes ‘em insane,” he murmured as he took a sip of his coffee.

“How bad was it tonight?”

“Had a hostage situation on one of the subways... gunman hit one of the firefighters when he was tryin’ to get inside to free the passengers.”

“Is the firefighter alright?”

“Yeah, it was a through-an-through, no major damage.”

“Did ya talk to Kyle yet? Is he okay?”

“Ran into him at the station. He was just getting back in and I was on my way out. He said he was headin’ home as soon as they had finished up.”

“Good, glad my two favorite boys are still in one piece.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever thought your couch was comfortable until tonight... this mornin’... whatever.”

“Wanna crash here for a while?”

“Yeah, that’d be cool.”

“You’re really beat,” she stated. He wouldn’t prefer her apartment over his if it wasn’t so.

“Long damn night... the kinda long night I could seriously do without.”

Her hands ran through his hair in a soft manner, knowing he liked that and she was the only woman who was allowed to mess with his hair. “Make yourself comfortable then.”

He sighed and closed his eyes, letting the soothing feel of her fingers relax him. “Ya know... somehow this isn’t the way I’d imagined wakin’ up this mornin’,” he mumbled sleepily.

“Uh-huh, and where else would have you been?”

“Kinda had my mind set on wakin’ up with Courtney this mornin’.”

“You planned to spend the whole night with her?” she asked, surprised. Normally he just did the have-sex-and-go thing.

“Weird, right?” He shrugged one shoulder. “I don’t know...”

“Normally I’d say no, but with you… definitely weird, yeah.”

“It is weird. She’s kinda cool though, right? I mean, you like ‘er so she’s gotta be.”

“Yeah, from what I know so far she seems to be pretty cool.”

“Well, there ya go. Most girls think they’re gonna change me, like I’m defective or somethin’, but she seems to like me just the way I am, ya know? She didn’t try to convince me to dance, she loves Metallica, she doesn’t have a problem with tats or piercings, she loves cars and sports... an’ Maria, she knows her shit when it comes to either topic. Just about blew me away.”

Wow, she had never head Michael say anything like that about a girl. Was it just because he was tired or was it really more than that? “Seems like ya got it bad for her,” she teased.

He just snorted.

“Michael and Courtney...” she sing-songed slightly, amused.

“Shut up, RP,” he laughed, shoving her leg.

“Michael’s got a crush on Courtney,” she continued.

“Ungh, Maria, now you’re makin’ me sound like I’m a little kid.”

She laughed and swung on leg over him so slide down next to him on the couch. “Just teasing, CB.”

“Besides... guys don’t have crushes.”

“But?”

“Just sayin’.” He grinned tiredly. “It’s lust with... interest.”

She snorted. “Shows how much ya know about love and relationships, Guerin.”

“Hey, back up there, I didn’t say anything about either one of those things.”

“Those words really scare you, huh? Loooooooooove!”

He shuddered comically, making her laugh.

“Come one,” she sat up, “you loooooooove me, admit it. I know you do.”

“Well, yeah, you... my sisters... the kids...” he made a face. “But not like you’re sayin’.”

Yeah, she couldn’t really imagine that for him either. Michael and a serious girlfriend? No, she was pretty sure his enthusiasm for Courtney would be over soon. Give them one or two nights with great sex and after that he’d turn his back on her like he usually did.

Michael rubbed his right hand over his face. “I mean can you really picture me with anyone long term? You saw how ugly things got when my mom divorced my dad... no way. I’m never puttin’ myself through that. Hey, I love Nicole an’ she’s been great for Dad and me an’ the girls, but... no thanks.”

“I guess one day you’re gonna change your opinion, Michael, but I really can’t imagine it’ll happen anytime soon.” She shoved his shoulder. “Slut butt.”

He snorted. “This from the girl who’s been sleepin’ with Kyle... the guy’s about as romantic as a doorknob.”

“He’s got more romantic bones than you, buddy.”

“Yeah, I’m sure.” He rolled his eyes even though they were closed. “That argument would be a lot more effective if you two were actually IN a relationship.”

Maria sighed. “I know, but it’s not like I don’t want one. Not with Kyle, but with someone.”

“Okay... don’t think about it. Just say the first name that comes to mind... Name your perfect man.”

“Michael Guerin,” she mumbled without thinking twice.

He cracked one eye open to look at her, wondering if she was joking. She didn’t sound like she was kidding around. “Me?” After a few seconds he started to laugh. “Yeah, RP, an’ you’re my perfect woman.” He nudged her with his elbow. “That’s a good one.”

Maria glanced at him, inwardly wincing when he made fun of her. In some ways, NOT ALL, she was being honest, but yeah, she was well aware that was never happening. “Right?” she played along.

“Sooo right,” he agreed. “Could you see us ever hookin’ up?” He made a face at that. She was his best friend, his confidant, and the one person who held him together when the entire world went crazy, but... He frowned. Jeez, that did kinda sound... ungh, stop it, Guerin. Damn, he was exhausted and his brain was going into some weird directions.

“No,” she said, pretty sure that was what he wanted to hear. Honestly, she had never allowed her mind to wander into that territory and it wouldn’t change now. “Seriously, you’ve slept with half of New York, ungh.”

“So? You’ve slept with Kyle.”

“And?”

“And... and...” Damn, Guerin, you’ve gotta do better than that. The conversation was already surreal. “And... somehow I think that’s worse than half of New York.”

“It is not,” she denied. “Might be weird if I’d slept with the whole department.”

He chuckled. “I think this whole conversation is just getting weird.”

“You started it with your confession about loooooooove,” she giggled.

“Maria, it was not a confession of love,” he whined.

“I know, CB,” she mumbled tiredly. “How about we get some sleep?”

“Already on my way, RP.”

“G’night, Mike,” she said, using the name only Cody was allowed to say and kissing his temple.

He mumbled what was supposed to be a ‘G’night’ but sounded nothing like it.

*****

Alex opened his eyes as he rolled over, rubbing his hands over his face as he glanced at the window and saw the first streaks of light breaking through the darkness outside. He froze when he heard a sound from the living room and it took a moment before he remembered that he’d had company the night before. He slowly got up and wondered just how long their tentative truce would last.

Confidences shared during the night might not carry over so well during the light of day. He pulled a shirt on over the pants he had worn to sleep in, making a face at the wrinkles in them and then shrugging it off. He wasn’t going out there to impress her, so what’d it matter? She was never going to be impressed or interested in a guy like him. She went for guys with the asshole gene, and while he did have a temper that escaped him in rare moments, that gene had pretty much skipped him.

He left his room and walked out into the living room, glancing around and seeing movement as Isabel sat up and ran a hand through her hair. He caught himself before he could laugh out loud at her less than perfect appearance. Her clothes were rumpled, she had creases along her right cheek where her face had been pressed against the couch, and her hair was all over the place.

“Mornin’,” he muttered as he staggered into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee and thanking anyone listening that the power was back on.

Great, he had to appear when she was struggling to look at least like a half normal human. “Yeah,” she mumbled and let her fingers slide through her hair.

He poured water into the reservoir and punched the button on the side of the pot, sighing in relief when it finally started to gurgle and dispense the dark liquid. He turned his head to glance at her. “Sleep okay?”

“As well as you can on a couch that isn’t yours,” she said and got up to straighten her clothes, wincing when she was reminded of her sprained ankle.

He rolled his eyes. How was it she managed to turn a simple answer into an insult? “Your ankle feel any better?”

“A bit. I’ll have my brother look at it later.”

He nodded. “Coffee’ll be ready before long.” He hated small talk but had no idea what to say to her now.

“Oh, thanks, but I think I should go home now.”

He glanced at her skeptically over his shoulder. “Can you put any weight on that ankle?”

She held her cell up. “I just called Kyle. He’s on his way home from his shift and he’ll pick me up.”

He nodded. Great, just what he wanted... to face one of the co-conspirators of Party Central. “Well, you’re welcome to a cup of coffee while you wait. Seems stupid to try to hop down to the next floor since you locked your keys in the apartment.”

A knock sounded at the door and she had to grin. Kyle had perfect timing.

Alex rolled his eyes. What had the guy been doing? Standing out in the hall just waiting for her to say that?

“Don’t you wanna open up for him?”

Not really, he thought. He straightened up and crossed the room, unlocking the door and pulling it open. He looked at his neighbor, taking in the exhaustion on his features, the tired slump to his shoulders, and saw him differently for the first time. “Hey,” he said, stepping back and motioning to Isabel.

“Mornin’,” Kyle mumbled and stepped in to get Isabel. “Hey, beautiful, you okay?” He kissed her cheek and steadied her so she could rest her weight against his side.

“I’ll live. It hurts but I’m pretty sure it’s just a sprain.” She leaned against his side and glanced at him. “Long night, huh?” she asked quietly.

“Yeah,” he sighed. “Totally ready to crash.”

Alex watched the two of them, amazed at the differences between the way they treated each other and the way they seemed to treat everyone else who wasn’t in their little group.

“Let’s go then. Did you hear from Tess maybe?”

“Haven’t heard from her but first call of the night was an elevator rescue. Your building... Tess was trapped in the elevator,” he said as he helped her across the room.

“No,” she said, worried. “Damn, we need to get to her.”

Kyle started to say something else when he noticed the other guy standing in the kitchen. He nodded at him as he pulled the door open, silently thanking him for helping his friend out.

Alex held his mug up in response, his gaze sliding to Isabel once more.

He kinda rescued you last night, she reminded herself. “Thanks, ya know… for letting me stay here.”

He nodded. “Hope everything’s okay with your ankle,” he said, not knowing what else to say to her.

“Don’t worry about it,” she finally said as Kyle guided her outside.

“No, of course not,” he muttered under his breath when he was finally left alone in his apartment once more.

****

Trent unlocked the front door and stepped inside, tired after another long night. He dropped his things on the kitchen counter, glancing around before grabbing a beer out of the refrigerator. He wandered into the living room and stared down at the woman sleeping on the couch. It wasn’t necessarily all that unusual for her to sleep on the couch since the only other choices were his bed or the little twin bed Aaron slept in.

He took a long drink of his beer as his mind went back over the night before when he had run into her coming home with Aaron… and another man. He didn’t really know why it bothered him to see her with another guy. Hell, they hadn’t been a couple since she had insisted on bringing that damn kid home. He still didn’t understand why she had done that when he had clearly told her doing it would mean their relationship was over.

He didn’t want kids. He was 25 years old, why the fuck would he want to tie himself down like that? It wasn’t like Aaron was even her kid, not that it would’ve made much of a difference to him. Kids were kids. They were messy, noisy, always underfoot, and they were such a drain on your money, time and energy. Damn, look at Liz, he thought. She was always running around trying to take care of the little snot. She never had time for herself, never had time to do anything unless it revolved around Aaron, work or school.

She was killing herself working two jobs and trying to handle her classes while mothering the little boy. He shook his head. She had seen the second job as a way to get ahead, a way to finally save up some money and get out on her own. He snorted at that. Yeah, her insurance ate up a chunk of her paycheck at the café and what was left over wasn’t enough to cover her half of the rent. So the second job covered her half of the other bills, groceries, and then everything else that Aaron needed plus whatever her insurance wouldn’t cover for him. She was never gonna get out on her own at this rate. She needed to turn the kid over to Social Services, let them deal with him.

He kicked the arm of the couch with his knee and watched her jump up into a sitting position and look around in surprise. “Get up, I wanna watch TV.”

“What time is it?” she asked, struggling to open her eyes. Her heart was hammering in her chest from the rude wake up.

“Early.” He shoved her legs out of his way and flopped down in the corner of the couch. “Long night?”

“As if you care,” she snarled.

“Only if you were fuckin’ that tattooed freak on my couch.”

“Yeah, guess you’ll never know,” she said, letting her hand wander through her hair. Let him think what he wanted.

He snorted. “Well, I hope he paid well.” He tipped his bottle back and took a long swallow.

“Fuck you,” she said and got up.

He shrugged carelessly. “That the best you can do? Look, I could care less who you’re doin’ to get off, but I don’t want it in my place.”

She shook her head and was about to leave the room, but the thoughts and the anger running through her head wouldn’t let her. “I’ve got a question for you.”

He paused, mid-reach as he stretched his arm out to grab the remote, glancing up at her. “What?”

“How’s it feel to be the biggest asshole in the world? I mean, can you even look at yourself in the mirror?”

He shrugged and turned the TV on. “I’ll take biggest asshole over biggest loser.”

“Too bad, because you can add that one to your list as well.”

“I think you’ve cornered the market on that one, Liz. I mean, where’d you find that guy last night, huh? What’d you do, pick him up in the alley behind the club?”

“At least he’s someone, who wouldn’t run from responsibility,” she said. It felt weird to defend Max Evans, but Trent didn’t know him anyway. “Not like you did.”

Standing outside the lawyer’s office in the little town she had grown up in Liz had felt like the weight of the world was suddenly resting on her shoulders. Her parents hadn’t made provisions for Aaron in the event of their deaths and there was no other family who could take him. The lawyer had explained that he knew it would be difficult for someone her age to take on such a responsibility and he had told her to take some time to think about it before she made a decision.

“Liz, just give it a rest. You can think about this later,” Trent said as he reached out to rub her arm.

“I’m so confused,” she admitted, exhausted from everything she had been through the last few days.

He knew how rough it had been on her and now that her parents’ funerals were over he wanted to get her back home as soon as possible. “I know, but things’ll start to look better once we’re back home.”

“I can’t just leave him with someone else,” she blurted out.

“You can’t... Whoa, wait a minute, Liz... you need to think about this. You can’t just take on a two-year-old kid.”

“But he’s my brother.”

“Yeah, and you’re 19 years old! Our apartment isn’t big enough for a kid, you don’t even know if you’re gonna have your job at the university when we get back, you’ve got classes... how’s a kid gonna fit into all that?”

“The death of my parents doesn’t fit into my plans either,” she told him defensively, “but I have no choice but to deal with it.”

“No, you have a choice here, Liz, and it’s not just about that kid. I don’t want a kid in the apartment.” Something he couldn’t really control because she did pay half of the rent. “I know we never talked about kids and maybe one day I might want ‘em, but not right now and not one that’s not even mine.”

She looked at him, irritated, hurt, and shocked, while she tried to get out of his reach. “Not even yours? He’s a part of ME.”

He held his hands up as he shook his head. “Liz, you’re upset and that’s understandable. You’ve had a rough few days and I don’t wanna make it worse for you, but...” he sighed. “If you decide to do this, me an’ you, we’re over. I’m not gonna be tied down like that. No, I can’t do anything about it if you say you’re gonna do this, but... if you do we’re done.”


She could still remember the devastating feeling after he had told her those words. He had held her heart in his hands and squashed it like it was nothing. From that time on it had been clear to her what to do.

“Don’t talk to me about responsibility, Liz. Just because I don’t want some snot-nosed little kid underfoot doesn’t mean I run from my responsibilities. And don’t compare me to some tattoo freak you’re doin’.” He shook his head and flipped through the channels. “Loser’s probably on crack or meth.”

“You left me alone when I needed you the most,” she accused him, ignoring what he had said about Max because he knew nothing about him. “You didn’t even consider taking Aaron with us.”

“You made that decision. I told you I didn’t want him. The lawyer said there were other options but your stubborn ass refused to consider them!” He threw the remote down and got to his feet. “If it weren’t for him we’d still be together.”

She snorted. “Doubtful.”

“We were doin’ just fine before you decided to change everything!” he shouted.

“So what? It’s not my fault my parents had an accident and everything after that was just what I HAD to do. If you don’t understand that, then you’re just a jerk,” she yelled back at him.

He nodded. “You changed my life with that decision too! I told you I didn’t want the kid but you went right ahead with it.”

“Changed your life how? By taking up significantly less space in this apartment than I pay for? By taking up an entire shelf in the refrigerator?”

“I’m not gonna argue with you. I consider myself lucky to be free of you. At least as far as a relationship goes.” He looked up when the sound of something being knocked over came from the other room. “See? The kid’s already makin’ noise! Damn thing can’t even keep it quiet until a normal hour!”

“All I was asking for was a little support from you,” she said and hurried to check on Aaron. Her eyes widened and her heart started to pound widely when she opened the door and found the little boy on the floor. “Aaron!”

Trent stepped into the room behind her, seeing the little boy’s limbs flailing around as he had a seizure. He knew it was best not to try to hold him down during a seizure, that keeping the area around him clear was the best thing to do. After a minute or so the jerks slowed to twitches and he watched Liz gather the little boy’s limp body into her arms as she checked him over. He turned and walked out without another word.

“Everything’s okay,” Liz assured the little boy in a hushed voice. “Everything’s okay,” she repeated, as if she had to convince herself. “I’m here, Aaron.” Tears blurred her vision as she tried to not cry in front of him.

One of Aaron’s little hands weakly clenched in the material of her shirt. “Mama?” he croaked out, sounding scared.

Her heart clenched painfully when he called out for his mother. She held him tightly against body as she cried silently. She wished there was someone who could help her.

Aaron reached up slowly, his hand crawling up over her shirt, following her neck until he could touch his sister’s cheek. “Don’ be sad, Lizzie,” he whispered when he felt the wetness there. His fingers twitched slightly but he was starting to feel more awake.

“Okay,” she agreed, wiping her tears away and trying to smile at him.

He shifted closer to her. He didn’t understand why sometimes he acted weird and it made him feel different from everyone else. He hated being different. It had happened one time and another little boy had made fun of him and he had never forgotten it.

Liz looked down at Aaron, wishing she could read his thoughts. “How about we sleep a little more?”

He bit his lip, glancing at the door fearfully as he nodded. “Otay. Can I have my Rabi?”

“Of course,” she got up and took him to bed before getting his stuff animal, trying hard to control the sobs that wanted to break free.
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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 37

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:45 am

Earth2Mother: Trent definitely leaves a lot to be desired. He does blame Liz, and on top of that, he also blames Aaron.

Liz definitely needs to get out… we’ll have to wait and see how and when that happens.

Janetfl: Oh, Courtney will definitely work as the catalyst here. Maria and Michael both have opinions about each other’s lives and about who they hook up with.

Liz has the memory of what she learned about Max reminding her of why she left as well as the antagonistic relationship the two of them have shared for quite a while. Opening herself up and trusting him isn’t something she’s totally ready to do yet. She wants to, but she has her reasons for holding back.

Isabel is selfish at times and she can be a bitch when she wants to be, but sometimes all it takes is the right person to make you take a good hard look at yourself and allow change to happen.

Tess is in a difficult situation. She did the only thing she felt she could do when she left. We’ll
see more of that story come out over time.

Trent wanted the apartment to remain child-free and he had every right to want things to stay that way since he pays half the rent. He had no interest in taking Aaron in and he was honest about that too. You could be right about his motivation.

Thanks!

keepsmiling7: Trent sucks, lol. The truth will come out. Max isn’t going to let up until it does.

begonia9508: Both are good names for Trent, lol.

Becoming dangerous is definitely a risk.

Liz took custody of Aaron when he was two years old, so she’s now had him for nearly two years. Handing him over to someone else just wasn’t an option for Liz even though she knew raising him would be difficult.

She actually never told Max that Aaron was her son. He assumed the little boy was her son and she never corrected him because of his attitude and what he said when he made the incorrect assumption.

It’s okay with us if Michael has that little voice asking that question, lol.

Roswellian117: Now there’s an award that not everyone can win!

Trent does blame Liz… for everything.

Lol, keep yelling because Michael and Maria are both thick-headed and stubborn. They’re both so certain that they’re just best friends.

Alex… has his reasons, lol. He could definitely use some friends though. Circumstances have led to him becoming reclusive in some ways and he’s cut himself off from most everything.

And Sunday it is!

Alien_Friend: Things are hard for Liz and Aaron right now. She hasn’t concluded yet whether or not she can trust Max. But you’re right… they do have Michael there to help. If she’ll let him. ;)

Michael and Maria will definitely hold onto moments like that.

Alex and Isabel have at least broken the ice… the question now is how things will proceed with them.

Cardinal: Liz is really in a difficult situation.

This awakening should make things interesting for Michael and Maria.

While Alex and Isabel are at opposite ends of the pole, given the chance they could learn something from each other and balance each other’s personalities out.

mary mary: Trent is a poor excuse for a human being. Even if he had issues with Liz his method of handling things is deplorable. And poor Aaron! At least the little guy has discovered Max and he won’t be letting up on getting Liz to like him, lol.

secretk: Lol, well, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Trent is a couple of years older than Liz. We agree that he had every right to not support Liz’s decision to take custody of Aaron. At the time their relationship was serious, but when the question about Aaron was presented Trent did demand that Liz choose between him and her brother. About him not knowing what he had until it was gone… Read something interesting the other day, something a friend had on her desk at work.

It wasn’t that you didn’t know what you had until it was gone. You just never thought it would go away.

Liz really doesn’t see the point in understanding Trent’s issues. The man she thought he was isn’t the man he’s turned out to be. While this has been a painful lesson, further involvement with him could have turned out worse for her. She may have escaped the more dangerous path.

Maria and Michael… well, we have our work cut out with the two of them. They’re not gonna make it easy.

Healerfan: Welcome to DT world! We met on YT, didn’t we? ;)

We’re glad to hear you’re enjoying the fics. Liz is having a difficult time but she’s doing everything she can to keep it together.

Lol, Max is with you on that! It’s driving him crazy to not know why she left.

As for the others, it’s gonna take time but they’re slowly working their way in that direction.

Alex has a better understanding of Isabel and the others… question is, what will he do with that information?

killjoy: At least the man is finally starting to open his eyes, lol.

Well, they can’t change overnight, but perhaps change can begin with something as small as a conversation.

Trent does deserve a good beating… soon!

Lol, look for Courtney to get in on things before too long.





Part 37

Interhuman Relations

Isabel was laughing at something Kyle had said as she unlocked her door and entered her apartment, limping slightly as she held onto his shoulder. They had only taken a few steps inside when she noticed the man sleeping on her couch. “Um, Kyle?”

“What?” He was looking around for any sign of Tess and hadn’t yet noticed what had captured her attention.

“Why do I have uninvited company in my apartment?” She made a face at the hand-stitched decorative pillow he was sleeping on. “Do you have any idea how much that pillow cost?” she grated out.

He turned to follow her annoyed gaze and he bit back a grin at the sight of Max sprawled out on the couch. Most of the time people were doing good to be allowed to simply sit on her couch. He bit back a laugh when Evans shifted over onto his back and the unbuttoned shirt he was wearing separated, revealing his chest. “Naked man on your couch,” he grinned, teasing her.

Isabel made a face at the tat designs and nipple rings. NO WAY! What would possess anyone to pierce their nipples? Max had his moments where he could be a major asshole, but she also knew that he could be a very nice guy, and she genuinely liked him even though his past was a big question mark.

“’m not naked, Valenti,” Max mumbled as he reached up to rub his face. He stretched and looked up at Isabel. “I came by to keep an eye on Tess. She was pretty freaked after getting stuck in that elevator.”

“Is she okay?” she asked, knowing how badly that would’ve upset her sister after what had happened to Matt.

“Rough night, but she’s fine. Probably wouldn’t hurt for her to be around her friends an’ family today though.” He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the couch, pushing the pillow back. “Ya know, ya oughta consider getting some other pillows for your couch… these things aren’t comfortable to sleep on,” he teased with a grin.

She hobbled over to snatch up the pillow, trying in vain to straighten out the lace. “You do not sleep on these. I’ll forgive you since you were watching over my sister, but for future reference, these are not – “

“I know what they are, Guerin. My mom collects these stupid things.”

“Are you insinuating that it’s an old lady hobby?”

He smirked and shook his head. “Are you insinuating that my mom’s an old lady?” He reached out to tug on one of the lacy edges. “I can show ya how to straighten it out.”

“You’re a very surprising man, Evans.”

He snorted. “You have no idea.”

“Are you sure you don’t need to see a doc?” Kyle asked when he watched Isabel hopping around, not able to really put weight on her foot.

“No, I’m fine. After a couple of days it’ll be good as new. It’s just a sprain.”

“Thought you were just a nurse,” he teased and took another of the pillows to have a look at it. “You know it looks like an old lady hobby.”

“It is NOT an old lady hobby,” she insisted, sending a glare in his direction.

“Are you gonna start knitting soon too? ‘Cause you know that would be…” Kyle shook his head.

Isabel threw the pillow at him. “Fuck you,” she said with a grin.

“Watch out,” he told her with a playfully grin. “Do you know what they cost?”

“Yes, I know what they cost.” She rolled her eyes at him. “But now that Evans has spent all night drooling and sweating on it,” she made a face, “it’s basically ruined.”

“I do not drool and I didn’t sweat on it…” Max denied and got up, wandering into the kitchen. “You got coffee, Guerin?”

“There’s coffee, but only if you make it.” Did she really want to turn him loose in her pristine kitchen? She rolled her eyes when Kyle followed him and she leaned over to brush the wrinkles out of her couch cushions. “I don’t drool or sweat,” she mocked in a high-pitched voice.

“Which cabinet?” Max yelled from the kitchen.

“Jeez, Evans, can you be any louder?” Tess asked when she opened the door of her bedroom, stepping out only dressed in a tee-shirt and panties.

Isabel straightened up and shook her head. Hadn’t she given Tess a rule about walking around in her underwear? If not, she should have. “We have company, Tess, you might wanna put something on,” she said, trying to warn her.

Kyle poked his head out of the kitchen. “Hey, I’m seein’ a bunch of fancy blends... where’s the normal people coffee? Don’t you...” the words slowed to a stop when he suddenly noticed Tess. Her hair was all mussed up and her legs... no, no, no, he was not noticing her like that! “Hey,” he muttered.

Was he checking her out? she wondered, her heart picking up speed. It had almost looked like his eyes had gone over her legs. She had already known he was there, so Isabel’s warning was unnecessary. To be honest, she was only up because she had heard his voice through the walls. “Mornin’,” she said and squeezed herself into the kitchen to look for Max.

Kyle’s head turned to follow her without his permission, his eyes tracing over the backs of her legs.

“Hey, how’re you doin’ this mornin’?” Max asked as he made a pot of coffee. He had finally hit the jackpot and located everything he needed.

“Better, just totally tired,” she told him, hopping up to sit on the counter next to him and forcing her gaze to stay on Max and not Kyle.

Max glanced at Kyle’s distorted reflection on the side of the toaster before he looked up at her and grinned knowingly. “I’ll bet. You were pretty wiped out when you finally got to bed this mornin’.”

“Yeah, if I ever find my cell I need to call my boss.”

He shrugged. “You know his number?”

“No, not really. It’s saved in my cell.” She reached over to pull a fuzzy out of his hair, probably from the glorious pillows.

He grabbed his phone and held it out to her. “Just call information an’ get it.”

“Where’re the cups?” Kyle asked Isabel and shook his head to get rid of the image of Tess’ legs.

Isabel shook her head, agitated by all of the bodies taking up space in her apartment. “Cabinet to the right over the coffee pot.”

He made a face when the lovebirds were blocking the way. “Evans, you’re gonna get it,” he said and walked out of the kitchen.

Max winked at Tess. “Yeah, I’m countin’ on that.”

Tess snorted amused. “Doubtful,” she said quietly.

He chuckled under his breath and pulled four mugs down. “Hey, Iz, you want coffee, right?”

“No, I was just gonna watch you drink one,” she said, rolling her eyes as she came into the kitchen to help them… and make sure that nothing was broken.

“Lighten up, girl.” He filled the mugs and reached for the sugar as he glanced at Tess. “I think someone needs to get laid.”

“I keep telling her.”

“I do not need advice about sex from the two of you.” She glanced at Kyle when he leaned on one of the counters to grin at her. “And I certainly don’t need it from you.”

Tess rolled her eyes at her older sister. “However, you do need to chill out, Sis, you’re way too worried about your interior. We won’t damage it.” She hopped from the counter again, planning to finally put on some decent clothes.

“I’ll remind you of your advice when you actually have your own interior,” Isabel bitched, making a face at the sugar crystals and drops of coffee now decorating the counter where Max was working.

“You expect any visitors?” Kyle asked when he heard a knock on the door.

She gritted her teeth. “No.” There were already too many people here.

“Bet ya 50 dollars it’s Michael,” he said with a grin.

Isabel shook her head at him. Chances were good that it was her brother. After a night like the last one it would be just like him to make the rounds, stopping in to check on his sisters, Maria, and any other female in his life that he felt the need to take care of. “I’m not makin’ a bet when I’m sure I’m gonna lose.”

“You’re no fun,” Kyle muttered and went to get the door.

She rolled her eyes. “Like I’m just gonna give you 50 dollars for no reason.”

He ignored her and went to the front door, grinning when he opened it and found Michael in front of it. “Didn’t think it’d be enough if I looked after them, huh?”

Michael grinned and shook his head. “Lookin’ after ‘em’s one thing. I’m just here to make sure my sisters are all still in one piece.”

“They were last time I saw them,” he stepped aside to let him in, surprised when Maria came in right behind him.

Michael’s eyebrow shot up when he heard Evans telling Isabel to chill out. “I’d better go see if I can soothe those ruffled feathers ‘cause sounds to me like she’s about to go ballistic on his ass.”

“Good luck,” Kyle chuckled.

He waved him off and went into the kitchen, hooking an arm around his big sister’s shoulders when he caught her advancing on Max with murder in her eyes. “How’s it goin’, Iz?” He nudged Evans out of his way with his free hand. “Why don’t you move aside and let me take over here?”

“What’re you doin’ here?” she asked instead and bit her lip to keep from groaning when she saw Maria follow Kyle inside as well. Great, all of these people in HER apartment.

“Came by to check on you, make sure you’re okay.” He leaned down to whisper, “You look like you’re about to kill all these people in your space.”

“We could go to the café to have breakfast?” Maria offered helpfully.

“See? I brought reinforcements along with good ideas,” he grinned. “C’mon, we’ll clean this up while you run get ready. Wait,” he leaned back, “you want me to take a look at your ankle?”

“It’s nothing,” she denied.

“Um-hmm, can you put your weight on it?”

“No, she can’t,” Kyle answered for her.

“Go sit down and lemme take a look at it before we go anywhere.”

“Might as well do it, Iz,” Maria said. “You know he won’t give up until he gets his way.”

Max watched their interaction, amused as always at the way they behaved with each other.

“Don’t ya need to work?” Kyle slapped Maria’s ass playfully when she leaned over the counter to watch Max.

“Yeah, but it’s gonna be a little later... they’re runnin’ behind schedule after the power outage last night.”

Tess wasn’t pleased when she came out of her room again. She had heard the new arrivals. So much for Kyle’s attention, she thought.

Max glanced up and caught Tess’ eyes and he shook his head. “Hey, you should wear that hot little top you wore the other night when we went out,” he said with a grin.

She sighed. “Bet then he’ll think I’m a slut. I think I’m just gonna give up.”

He crossed the room and grabbed her arm, drawing her gaze. “You want him?”

“What kinda question is that?”

“Just answer it.”

She shrugged. “I do.”

“Then you’re not givin’ this thing up. And why would he think you’re a slut? ‘Cause he thinks you’re with me?”

“What? NO! Because I’m running around in a sexy top at home, first thing in the morning. That’s just not normal.”

He snorted. “Says who?”

She couldn’t hold back the slight laughter when he looked at her in that know-it-all way. “Shut up, Evans.”

“Just abuse me, girl.” He smiled and shook his head at her. “Think we’re gonna head over to the café for breakfast. You up for that?”

“Yeah, why not? Can’t get any worse than being locked up with you for the night,” she teased, but then got serious again. “Thanks for staying though.”

He shrugged one shoulder, glancing away as he nodded.

“I can see you’re still in one piece,” Michael interrupted them after checking on Isabel. “Everythin’ okay?”

Max hooked his thumb over his shoulder. “Think I’ll go finish my coffee before Isabel dumps it.”

“I’m good,” Tess assured her brother.

Michael nodded. “You sure? I’m sure the elevator thing was pretty unnerving.”

She nodded, shivering at the image. “Yeah.”

“You gonna hit the café with us for breakfast? Or you an’ Evans got other plans?” He still wasn’t sure what was up with the two of them.

“We’ll join you.” Her eyes scanned over his face. “Think you should sleep more though.”

“I will,” he said. “After eatin’ somethin’.”

She nodded and suddenly hugged him. “Glad nothing serious happened last night.”

“Nah, it wasn’t too bad,” he assured her as he returned the unexpected hug. It was the first time since she had come back that his relationship with her felt kind of normal. “It had its moments, but it could’ve been a lot worse.”

She tightened her arms around him for a moment before releasing him again. “I know.”

“I don’t know about you but I’m starvin’.”

“Let’s get breakfast then.”

****

Alex unsnapped the chin strap on his helmet and took it off, using his shirt sleeve to wipe the thin film of perspiration from his face. It was already starting to get hot, the brief respite from the early morning hours already waning as the temperatures began their daily climb. By the time he started the 10-mile ride back to the city the heat would once more be closing in on a hundred degrees.

He made quick work of unbolting the front tire and removing it before locking the bike up and pocketing the padlock key. He shoved his helmet and the small toolkit into his backpack, picked up the tire, and walked into the residential care facility. The cool air felt good against his heated skin and he paused a moment before walking over to the receptionist’s desk.

“Good morning, Alex,” the smiling woman at the desk greeted him.

“Morning, Carolyn,” he said with a smile.

“I see you’re taking precautions.” She nodded at the bike tire as he bent over to lean it against the corner of her desk.

He shrugged and picked up a pen to sign in when she opened the visitor log and placed it before him. “Well, I figure they’ll be less inclined to steal the bike if they’ve gotta carry if off.” A couple of visits back he had gone outside to leave and found nothing but what was left of the chain he had used to lock his bike up. Ten miles was a lot longer when you had to hoof it and he hadn’t had the extra money to waste on a cab ride.

“True.” She pulled the log book back to her side when he was finished, making a few notations and then handing him a visitor’s badge. “You’re good to go.”

“Thanks. Would you mind if I leave the tire here?”

“No, of course not.” She motioned to the end of the desk. “You can just put it down there and I’ll keep an eye on it.”

He walked down the corridor until he reached the fourth door on the left. He knocked on the doorframe to announce his presence and a moment later someone called out for him to enter.

“I had a feeling you might be out today.”

He smiled as his gaze dropped to the young woman the owner of the voice was lifting up into a sitting position. “Here, let me give you a hand, Shannon.” Together they arranged the blonde woman in the bed and once she was settled he moved a couple of wires and tubes, carefully tucking them in closer to her body.

“Did you guys get hit by that blackout?”

“We did, yes. It scared a few of our residents, but not Miss Sandra here.” She patted her patient’s hand and gave him a smile. “Well, we’re all finished with this morning’s exercises so I’ll leave the two of you to your visit.”

“Sounds like the night wasn’t all that exciting for you,” he commented when they were left alone. “I can’t say the same. Well,” he amended as he pulled the chair closer and sat down, “it wasn’t exciting but it was eventful. You mind if I have a snack?” He paused for a heartbeat before nodding. “Cool, I’m a little bit hungry after that ride.”

He unzipped his backpack and pulled a sandwich out of the brown paper sack inside. “You know that group that lives on the floor below you? Yeah, I’ve had a few run-ins with them recently. After last night I’ve gotta reevaluate some of my thinking where they’re concerned.” He took a bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chewed it thoughtfully. “I’ve gotta admit I thought they were just a bunch of spoiled rich kid slackers, but… now I’m not so sure.” He leaned back and snorted. “Well, they’re definitely rich kids, spoiled, at least to some degree, but they may not be the slackers I thought they were.”

The room was silent for a few minutes. “Yeah, I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, right?” He nodded. “I try not to but we really got off on the wrong foot and that kinda set the tone, ya know? Anyway, one of ‘em got stranded last night during the blackout so I let her stay in your apartment.” He glanced at her. “Yeah, I said her. I’m sure you remember her; tall, blonde, smart, great body… way outta my league.” He chuckled. “Probably TMI, huh?”

He looked up when Shannon came back and she apologized for interrupting them. He waved her apology off and watched as she adjusted the settings on one of the machines before leaving them alone once more. He dropped his head back against the chair as he looked around him. The walls were canary yellow and the room was decorated to give it a homey feel instead of the cold, sterile feeling of a hospital room.

He rolled his head to the side to look at Sandra, freezing for a moment when he caught her looking at him. Staring, he reminded himself. She’s not looking at you. She had been clinically diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state. The first few times she had made small movements on her own he had gotten excited, believing that it meant she was recovering. But the truth was that she would never recover from this condition. She would stare sometimes, but her gaze was vacant, and no matter how much he wanted to believe that she was still in there, trapped in her own mind and fighting to get out, rationally he knew it would never happen.

Persistent vegetative state. The words still haunted him.

****

Michael yawned widely while he was sitting in the subway, head resting against the window behind him. After a marathon of going to sleep and waking up again he had finally given up early that afternoon. If he couldn’t sleep, he could spend some time with Cody in the hospital.

“Scary night, huh?”

He looked up when someone spoke to him and he met a girl’s sparkling ice blue eyes. She looked familiar, he thought, but couldn’t pinpoint where and when he had met her. Had they had sex? Maybe a long time ago. “Definitely a long night,” he answered.

She sat down next to him. “Yeah, I bet.”

Michael frowned. Did she know about his job? He didn’t talk about stuff like that to random hookups.

The girl chuckled. “You’re trying to remember where we met, huh?”

Michael gave her a saucy grin. “Well… I have to admit…”

“It’s been a while,” she said first.

“Right. So...?”

“You were helping after 9/11, right? I think you were the one who found me after a day of being trapped under a lot of debris.”

He nodded, relieved that she wasn’t some random hookup that was gonna be pissed off because he didn’t remember her. “Ah, okay. You’re doin’ good now?”

“Nothing left but this,” she showed him the scar on the side of her face.

His eyes traced over the scar. “It looks like it’s healed pretty well.”

She nodded. “Thank God.”

He smiled. A scar would be preferable to the other option. He snapped his fingers and motioned to her. “You were the courier, right? Makin’ a delivery at the time of the attack... you weren’t even supposed to be workin’ that day but you had come in to cover for someone else.”

“Yeah, that was me,” she smiled when he remembered.

“You still workin’ that job?” Like a lot of others he had helped to rescue she had talked a lot about following her dreams if she made it out alive. He just couldn’t quite remember what that had been.

“Yeah, gives me a feeling of normalcy.”

He nodded in understanding. “Yeah, normal’s good.”

“And you? Still rescuing people?”

“Yeah, just doin’ it professionally now,” he said with a smile.

“Wow, that’s cool. Now I feel a lot safer in here,” she teased.

He glanced up when the subway slowed and he turned his head to look out the window. “Well, this’s my stop,” he said as he stood up.

“Okay. Take care,” she said. “And thank you… you know, for saving my life. Never got the chance to say that.”

He smiled. “Just glad I could help.” He walked down the aisle to the doors as they slid open. “Take care,” he called with a final wave.

“I will,” she said, more to herself.

Michael walked through the station that would put him out on the street less than a block from the hospital. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and glanced at the number Maria had put there for him. He debated back and forth, trying to decide if he should make the call. He had never actively pursued any girl like this and he was in completely unfamiliar territory. He rolled his eyes at his internal ramblings and hit the call button, clueless as to what he would say to her if she picked up.
Image
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 38

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:10 am

Earth2Mama: Oh… that would be too easy, lol.

The two of them didn’t really have any interaction and Tess was kinda preoccupied with Max and Kyle, lol.

Cardinal: Tess isn’t seeing things from the angle Max sees them, so he has an advantage there. Max definitely has Aaron in his corner, no doubt about that. As for the public antagonism, there’s a chance we could see a change there.

Alien_Friend: We tried telling him that, but he’s not listening.

No, Sandra wasn’t trying to kill herself. Alex hasn’t revealed that yet, but what his responsibilities are will come out soon.

Isabel so wasn’t ready for that invasion, lol. Tess just won a major victory but she doesn’t see it just yet.

mary mary: That story will come out… yes, in time. Thanksgiving was nice, and we both enjoyed it, thanks! Hope yours was nice as well.

Eva: He is finally seeing Tess, which is step one, lol.

The gang is heading to the café for breakfast. We’ll have to wait and see about Liz.

Sandra’s relationship to Alex will come out. She never intended to end things and we’ll get her story through Alex later on.

Yeah, we tried that too. Michael isn’t listening.

begonia9508: Hey, that attraction has to start somewhere, lol. And we all know men are very visual creatures.

keepsmiling7: Lol, they did get the coffee made… and managed to spill coffee and sugar all over her pristine counters.

Rodney: Uh-huh, we weren’t buyin’ that one either!

We don’t get the point of having a sofa no one can sleep on either! It’s like… really? What’s the point? There isn’t one, it’s just a waste of money and space if you can’t actually use it.

secretk: Glad to clarify. :)

Very true, our expectations do often end up hurting us in the end.

Lol, Isabel just likes her space to remain a certain way and having everyone running around in her apartment moving things, sleeping on her furniture, making a mess in her kitchen, it just agitates her. Could be she just needs to get laid… just an idea.

The story around Alex will continue to unfold.

Roswellian117: Lol, thanks! On to the next part…




Part 38

We Hang Together

Michael rolled his eyes at his internal ramblings and hit the call button, clueless as to what he would say to her if she picked up.

Courtney frowned at the caller ID when she didn’t recognize it, debating if she should pick up or not. Curiosity finally won. “Hello?”

“Hi, Courtney. This’s Michael... I got your number from Maria.” He bit his lip for a moment. “Hope that’s okay.”

She almost fell from her bed when she heard his voice. Of all the possibilities, she had never expected him to call her. “Hey, Sexy.”

He straightened up and smirked. “How’s it goin’?”

“Good, I was finally able to sleep when the damn air conditioning came back on. How was your night?”

“Busy, but not too bad.” He crossed a busy street, holding his hand out when a car came a little too close for comfort. “So, I was wondering if you’re busy tomorrow afternoon?”

Was he asking her out? She tried not to get too excited. “Not really. Just working in the morning.”

“Cool. I’ve got tickets to the Yankees game tomorrow. Thought maybe you’d wanna go with, watch ‘em kick some ass.”

She bit her lip. “How much would you hate me if I told you I’m rooting for the Rangers to win the game?”

He snorted. “You’re a Rangers fan? Please, the Yanks’ll wipe the floor with them!”

“You wish.”

“Think they’re gonna be a challenge?”

“I think I’ll bring some tissues for you, baby.”

He laughed out loud at that. Most girls either had no interest on the sport or they pretended to like the same team. “Care to make a bet?”

“Hmm, depends on the stakes.”

“A date. Location and any activities are the winner’s choice... loser pays.”

“Oh, tempting. But seeing my lack of money since New York is sucking my bank account dry constantly…”

“So you admit the Yanks will win,” he shouted, startling an old lady waiting for a cab. He jumped back when she hauled off and belted him with her purse.

Courtney laughed. “Shut up.”

“How about we keep the wager at a manageable level? I’ll cover dinner either way.” He made a face. “I’m all for women’s equality and shit, but the guy should pay for dinner unless his date just isn’t comfortable with it. As far as any activities... when I win I’ll keep it cheap. Mini golf? Go carts? Bowling? Maybe just a walk in the park at sunset?”

“A walk in the park at sunset? What’re you trying to do?” she teased, unable to control the happy feeling in her stomach when she though about tomorrow.

“Tryin’ to get you to go out with me,” he said. “Chicks usually dig stuff like that, so...” Well, they did in the crap movies his older sister pulled out when it was her turn to pick the movie out. “Is it workin’?”

“Hmm, just because the goodnight kiss from last night was too short,” she told him, knowing she was risking a lot with her teasing. He had said he wasn’t looking for a relationship, but damn one night with him didn’t seem like enough.

“Well, in my defense I was kinda in a hurry... ya know, the job an’ all.”

“I let that count for now.”

He snorted. “Real generous of you. So go out with me an’ I promise the next one won’t be so short.” A grin lifted his lips. “It’ll leave ya wantin’ more but it won’t be short.”

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to let the image pass. “Deal.”

“Cool. Game starts at 5pm. I could pick you up around 3:30pm, would that work for you?”

“Sounds good.” Sounded amazing, but of course she wasn’t going to admit that.

“Alright, well, I’ve got some stuff I’ve gotta do,” he said as he reached the hospital’s entrance, “but I’ll see ya tomorrow afternoon.”

“Okay,” she was sad the talk was ending already, but she knew she couldn’t hold him on the phone any longer… Yet.

Michael closed his phone and shoved it back in his pocket as he entered through the emergency entrance. Going through this way was closer to the pediatric cardio unit and he sighed in relief as the cool air brushed against his overheated skin. He was passing the registration desk when he saw a familiar dark head and he switched directions, moving over to waiting area where the woman was tying the little boy’s shoe.

“Liz?” He reached out to steady her when she almost fell back where she was crouched down in front of Aaron. “Hey, everything okay?”

“Oh hey,” she said, forcing a smile. She wasn’t comfortable meeting someone in the emotional state she was in right now. “Are you working?”

“Nope.” He sat on one of the chairs next to Aaron and nudged the little boy. “Just here to visit a friend. What about the two of you?” She looked exhausted, fragile, and it was a look he recognized from the countless nights Maria had worried over Cody after a scare.

“We just had to make sure everything’s okay, right Aaron?” She smiled at him encouragingly, but it didn’t reach her eyes.

“Hey, you guys getting ready to head home?”

Aaron looked at the man next to him while he held Rabi against his chest. “Are you sick too?” he asked before Liz had the chance to answer.

“No, but I’ve got a little friend who’s here for some tests.” He glanced at Liz. “If you guys aren’t doin’ anything maybe you wanna come with me to visit him.” He brushed his hand over Aaron’s hair. “He’s just about your age.”

“Maria’s brother?” Liz asked.

“Um-hmm. He’s in until late this afternoon for routine testing for his condition.” He looked at her. “Might be good for him,” he said, letting her know that he was talking about Aaron as much as Cody.

“I don’t know,” Liz said. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do right now, but… “Do you think his mom would be okay with it? We don’t even know him.”

He smiled. “Amy would be cool with it and she’d like you. She’s a single mom so she knows all about that struggle. She’d welcome a little distraction for her and Cody if you’re up for it.”

She glanced down at Aaron. The little boy always seemed so distant with other kids. “Well okay, maybe they’ll like each other.”

“Yeah?” He lowered his gaze to the little boy. “Whatcha say, Aaron, wanna go meet my little buddy Cody?”

The boy glanced uncertainly at Liz first and then nodded.

“Feel like walkin’ or you wanna piggyback ride?”

“Piggyback!” he suddenly burst out happily, much to Liz’s surprise. Normally Aaron wasn’t so accepting of an adult so soon and especially not men.

Michael grinned and shifted so the little boy could climb on his back. He stood as Liz gathered up her bag and shoved some paperwork inside. “He have a seizure?” he asked quietly as he brushed Rabi’s ear out of his face.

She nodded. “Small one.”

He patted the little guy’s arm where it was wrapped around his neck. “We won’t let ‘em get too excited,” he promised.

“Okay,” she agreed and checked on Aaron, smiling when he seemed to be happy while he was being carried around.

They stepped into the elevator and Michael bent down so the little boy could punch the button for Cody’s floor. As the doors slid open he froze, seeing the sudden flurry of activity of doctors and nurses scrambling around and his heart slowly backed out of his throat when he realized they weren’t heading in the direction of Cody’s room.

They walked down the hallway to the little boy’s room. “Lemme just check first, make sure he isn’t sleeping, okay?” Michael let down Aaron slowly.

Liz nodded. “Okay.”

Aaron looked around as he automatically moved to his sister’s side, reaching up with the hand that wasn’t clutching Rabi to take her hand. “Is his friend sick, Lizzie?” he asked quietly.

“Yeah, he is, sweetie.”

“Oh.” He looked around, pressing himself against her leg and chewing on Rabi’s ear when another team of medical personal rushed by. “Is he scared to be here?”

“I don’t know, but nobody really wants to be here, huh?” She ran the fingers of her left hand though his hair.

“Huh-uh.”

The door opened again and Michael stepped out. “Alright, you two. C’mon in.”

Aaron looked around as he reached up to grab a handful of Michael’s shirt and he walked beside the man, not paying any attention as he was introduced to the other boy’s mommy. He stopped when they reached the bed and he stared at the boy Michael said was Cody. “Who’s him?” he mumbled around Rabi’s ear and pointed to the stuffed toy on the bed.

“That’s Quackers,” Cody said slowly after looking down at the other boy for a while.

He lifted Rabi up to sit him on the edge of the bed, his little hands wrapped tightly around the stuffed animal’s body. He reached out to gently touch the oxygen meter attached to the other boy’s finger. “Does that hurt?”

“No,” Cody shook his head.

“How come you gotta be here?” he asked, chewing on Rabi’s ear once more.

“Aaron,” Liz said warningly.

“It’s alright,” Amy assured her. “I encourage Cody to talk about his condition openly. I don’t want him to feel like it’s anything he needs to be ashamed of.”

“My heart is sick,” Cody told the other boy.

“Oh. I got sneezers.” He rested his chin on the top of Rabi’s head. “It’s scary sometimes, huh?”

“Yeah,” Cody looked at the stuffed animal Aaron had. “Does he have a name?”

“Rabi.” He held the stuffed animal up. “It’s ‘cause he’s a bunny.”

Michael reached over and lifted Aaron up to sit on the bed so the boys could talk eyelevel. “Better, huh?”

Aaron smiled at him. “Thank you.” He motioned to the little remote controlled toys on the table next to Cody. “You got din’saurs!”

“Michael brought it,” he told him happily.

“He’s nice. He gived me a piggyback ride.”

Amy smiled at Liz. “Michael has a rare talent of getting thought to kids. I don’t know how he does it, but it works.”

****

Max walked into the café for the second time that day, feeling just a little bit ridiculous about it. One of his customers had cancelled her appointment at the last minute because of doubts, so his afternoon was pretty much free. He frowned when he saw the red haired waitress behind the counter where Liz should have been at this time. Why wasn’t she at work?

“Hi, can I help you?” the waitress asked when Max didn’t seem to have any intention of sitting down or ordering something.

Her voice brought him out of thoughts and he stepped closer to the counter, sitting down on one of the barstools there. “I’ll just have a coffee. Black, please.”

“Sure,” she worked quickly on his request and walked up to him to serve the cup.

“Where’s Liz?” he asked quickly before she could leave again.

“Excuse me?”

“Liz, the waitress. She normally works at this time.”

The woman’s eyes wandered over the man’s tattooed arm that rested on the counter next to his coffee. What could someone like him want with Liz? Okay, admittedly he was hot, but he seemed too… Well, dangerous didn’t seem quite the right word but it was what came to mind. She couldn’t imagine that Liz was attracted to men like him.

“So?” Max asked with lifted eyebrows when she didn’t answer and instead was staring at him.

“She called in sick this afternoon,” the waitress finally said.

That news immediately alarmed him and he straightened up. “Did she say why?”

“Sorry, but I doubt that’s any of your business,” she told him. Who knew who he was and what he wanted from her? If he was close she would’ve told him herself, right?

He bit his lip to keep himself for saying something rude to her. “None of my business,” he muttered. “She at home?”

The waitress looked at him, confused. “How would I know that?”

Max reached into his pockets and placed more money than necessary on the counter before leaving the café, his coffee untouched.

Weird guy, she thought.

****

Liz watched Aaron and Cody as they sat across from each other talking quietly and coloring dinosaurs and cars in a couple of coloring books that Michael had gotten from Cody’s stash of supplies. When the little boy had asked for a couple of storybooks that he had proudly shown off, telling his new friend about the people who had recorded them, her eyes had watered. Maria had an amazing group of friends, people who were willing to take time out of their busy schedules to record a story for a sick child.

Michael had disappeared a while ago, coming back with a food tray that he set up for the boys to color on. She glanced up when Amy stood, asking Michael if he’d keep an eye on Cody while she took a short break.

“She has it tough,” she said quietly once the woman had left the room.

“Yeah, but like her daughter, she’s a fighter. All three of ‘em are,” he said with a proud grin.

“Have you known them your whole life?”

“Nah, me an’ Maria met when we were like in the first grade. Her mom an’ my dad dated for a while. Somehow we ended up bonding and while we may aggravate the shit outta each other,” he shrugged, “God help anyone else who does it.”

“You two are very close, huh?”

“Best friends.”

Somehow, she had a feeling it was more than that. “She’s a lucky girl that she can count on friends like you.”

“I don’t know,” he said with a grin. “I think I’m the lucky one but don’t tell her I said so.”

“Okay,” she smiled.

“Hey, so, I talked to my sister this mornin’, ya know, about the daycare.”

“Oh, right,” she remembered, not expecting any good news about it.

“Yeah, she said they’ve got an opening comin’ up here in a couple weeks and she can get Aaron in. She worked it out where she can get you a discount so the cost will be next to nothin’.”

“I,” she stared at him in disbelief, “oh, wow... I, I seriously don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything.” He smiled. “Anyway, they’re gonna waive the registration fee and you’ll just need to cover his meals. I think he’ll really like it there, Liz. It’s a good place and my sister said she’d even stop in and check on him when she can if it’d make you feel any better with him bein’ in a new place an’ all.”

“Wow,” she quickly wiped a tear away. “Thank you so much, Michael,”

He shook his head. “Hey, maybe your luck’s changin’, huh?”

“Seems like you have it all stored up somewhere,” she teased.

He smirked. “That’s me... the good luck king.” He nodded at her brother when the little boy laughed quietly. “Any idea what set off his seizure?” He shook his head after a moment. “Sorry, that was kinda nosy, huh?”

“Let’s just say there was a lot of going on...” she said, breaking up when her voice started to tremble.

“Oh, hell… I’m sorry, Liz,” he said as he reached out to rub her shoulder. “I really didn’t mean to pry.”

“It’s okay,” she looked at the ground, trying to collect her strength.

“Usually Maria’s around to tell me when to get my foot outta my mouth... usually right before I manage to stick it there.” He lifted his right foot up. “That’s a big fuckin’ foot too.”

She laughed slightly. “It is.”

He grinned. “Feel free to tell me to mind my own business if I ever push too far... I tend to do that from time to time. Hang around Maria long enough an’ you’ll get the hang of tellin’ me where I can go.”

Funny how he always seemed to go back to Maria, she thought. “I’m just not used to anybody caring, that’s all.”

“Get used to it then... ‘cause you’ll learn soon enough that we care about each other a lot. Not just me an’ Maria, but all of us... and if you’ve got one of us, you’re gonna eventually end up with all of us.”

“You can keep Evans though,” she said, remembering last night when he had comforted her. Hell, suddenly the whole word seemed to change.

He laughed. “Oh, c’mon, now... he’s not that bad. Granted, the two of you have NOT had a great... well, not exactly a relationship, but you guys just rubbed each other the wrong way from that first day at the café. I’ll admit, he was a dick that mornin’ but damn, girl, you didn’t waste any time comin’ back at him. In the time I’ve known him I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone piss him off the way you do.”

Michael didn’t know about their history, she realized. “Guess we just can’t be in the same room.”

He snorted. “You do seem to set each other off like crazy.” He nudged her with his elbow as he slouched down in his chair. “Maybe it’s just sexual tension,” he said with a teasing grin.

“Uh-huh, no!” she denied quickly, maybe a little too quickly.

He chuckled. “If you say so.”

Liz glanced up when both boys started to laugh while they played together and she smiled. It had been a good idea to come here. They seemed to like each other.

“Now there’s a good sight, huh? Thanks for comin’ up here, Liz.” He shook his head. “Amy does everything she can to make sure Cody has a normal life but he just doesn’t have that many little friends.”

“Don’t thank me, Michael, I really didn’t do anything.”

“You could’ve said no,” he said with a wink.

“It’s good for Aaron to have someone his age too.”

“Yeah.” He smiled. “They do seem to be caught up in their own little world.”

Both turned to look at the door when it was opened and Maria stepped inside, stunned to see Liz there with Michael… and another little boy with Cody. “Hey…”

“Hey, RP, you finished up at work?” Michael asked as he stood up.

“Well, for one part, yes” she said tiredly and kissed his cheek.

He made a face. “You’ve gotta hit up the second job tonight?”

“I’ve gotta teach a gym class in about two hours.”

He nodded. “Hey, lemme introduce you to Aaron. This little guy’s Liz’s brother and I think he an’ Cody are well on their way to bein’ best buds.”

“Yeah?” Maria smiled and glanced at the boys who hadn’t even noticed her arrival. “That’s good. Hey, Liz,” she greeted the other girl.

Liz lifted one hand in a small wave. “Hi. Sounds like you’ve had a busy day.”

“I’m gonna be very happy when I can finally hit my couch again,” Maria admitted.

She nodded. “I can understand that. So, you work two jobs?”

“Yeah, at least until classes finally start again.”

Michael motioned to the seat he had vacated. “Go on an’ sit down, RP. Your feet are probably killin’ you. You hungry? Want somethin’ to drink?”

“No, Dad,” she teased and turned to her brother again, smiling when he seemed to he happily distracted.

Michael made a face and stuck his tongue out at her.

“M’ria,” Cody finally noticed her and waved. “That’s my sister,” he explained to Aaron.

Aaron was sitting on his knees and he turned from the waist to look at Maria, giving her a small smile and a wave. “Hi,” he said quietly.

“Hey,” she walked over to them and sat on the edge of the bed to give her brother a hug and a kiss. “What’re you doin’?”

“Look,” Cody said, holding up the coloring book proudly.

“Very good,” she nodded, looking at the picture.

Aaron stared at his own picture, the tip of his tongue sticking out as he focused on trying to stay in the lines.

“You know I just talked to your doctor and he said you can go home later today,” Maria told her little brother.

Cody looked up, his eyes shining with excitement. “Really? I can go home?” His little hands shot up in the air, paying no attention when Michael jumped to keep a couple of lines from being jerked out of the machines they were plugged into. “Yay!”

“Um-hmm,” she said, amused by his excitement.

“Aaron’s gonna be my friend, M’ria. Can he can come over an’ play?”

She chuckled, “You’ll have to ask his mommy, sweetie,” she said, not knowing she would hit a sore spot with her words.

Cody giggled. “She’s not his mommy, M’ria,” he said as he shook his head.

“I know that, goofy,” she tickled his side.

“Mommy an’ Daddy went away,” Aaron said, his voice so quiet it was almost inaudible. He hunched his little shoulders as he switched the green crayon for a blue one and bent over the coloring book once more.

The way the little boy said it, it didn’t sound like it was a trip or something. She looked at Michael to find the answer in his eyes.

He shook his head, his expression conveying what he didn’t want to verbalize with the little boys sitting right there.

“I think we can also ask Liz about some get-togethers for you two, huh? And of course we should ask Mama too.”

Cody smiled. “’Kay.”

****

Max took the stairs to Liz’ floor two and three at a time, unable to ignore the sense of urgency that had settled over him since he had found out she had called in sick. He’d had an unsettled feeling since discovering her situation the night before. Well, he amended, he didn’t really know what her situation was other than she was living with an abusive asshole. No, he hadn’t seen any physical evidence of abuse, but that guy had been verbally abusive and the way Aaron had shrank back away from him spoke volumes.

He could easily tell that Liz did everything she could to keep herself between Asshole and Aaron, but that just put her at an even higher risk. And what the hell was she thinking being in this situation in the first place? Didn’t she realize that if Asshole beat the hell out of her there would be no one there to protect Aaron from him? Abusive people rarely limited their anger to a single person and if she wasn’t there for him to hurt, Aaron would stand in as a substitute.

He had no idea if Asshole was even home but he had to make sure she was alright because his conscience wasn’t going to let him rest until he knew. The thought that maybe it was more than just his conscience was quickly kicked to the back of his mind and he rested his left hand on the doorframe as he reached out to rap his knuckles against the door.

Trent frowned when he heard a knock on the door. Did that stupid woman forget her keys? He glanced at the little desk where she usually put them. Nope, no keys there.

Another knock could be heard and he sighed before getting up to see who dared to disturb his peace.

Max didn’t move a muscle when the door was jerked open and he found himself face to face with Asshole. “Liz home?”

“Would I have gotten up from the couch if she was?” That tattoo freak again! He couldn’t believe had had dared to show up here again!

“No clue what you’d do. You know where she’s at?”

“Nope,” he lied. She was probably still at the hospital, but why would he tell him?

Max had a feeling he was lying. “You seen her today?” he asked, trying to look into the apartment without being obvious about it.

“Well, lemme think,” Trent leaned in the doorframe, “she was bitching over something this morning, so yes, I have seen her. Then she went away and now she’s gone. That’s it.”

“So what’s the deal with you two? ‘Cause you sure as hell don’t strike me as a happy couple.”

“That’s none of your business, man. Now get the hell outta here.”

Max slapped his open palm against the door when the guy tried to shut it in his face. “I wanna know where she is.”

Trent jerked the door open again and took a step outside, coming face to face with Max. “And I told you I don’t know and I don’t give a fuck where she is.”

Max refused to back down and he could tell that was only pissing Asshole off further. “Maybe you get your rocks off pushin’ a woman and a kid around... go ahead an’ try it with me ‘cause I’ve got news for you, asshole. I’ll put you down and you’ll need help getting back up.”

Trent just chuckled. “Try it and I’ll happily drag you in the can,” he looked at the other guy, “where you obviously belong anyway.”

“Shakin’ in my boots,” he muttered. “I don’t know why she’s with you, what keeps her here, but at some point she’s gonna realize that she can do better.”

“Whatever,” Trent made another attempted to get rid of Max by going back inside.

“Look, man, you obviously don’t give a shit about either one of ‘em, so why not just tell me where they are?”

“Did all that ink make you stupid or what? I TOLD YOU I DON’T KNOW.”

Max studied him for a minute. “You’re a fuckin’ liar.”

“Fuck you too,” Trent muttered and slammed the door shut right into Max’ face.

He considered just going through the door but after taking a minute to calm down he knew continuing to push it would only make things worse for Liz. He winced. He probably should’ve just left after Asshole answered the door. There was no telling how pissed off he’d be or what he’d do to take it out on her now. He scratched his chin as he turned and headed for the stairs. Maybe he should just wait for her down by the entrance. She’d have to come back sooner or later, right?
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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 39

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:18 am

Eva: Michael will continue to draw Liz into their circle. Whether she wants it or not she’s made a friend who really wants to help her.

Cody and Aaron will be very good for each other. Max isn’t going anywhere.

Courtney will act as the catalyst.

Earth2Mama: These little guys are gonna be great friends.

We’ll find out how things go with Trent in this part.

keepsmiling7: Max isn’t going anywhere. The wheels in his head are turning where Liz and Aaron are concerned.

Natalie36: Cody and Aaron will be good for each other. Max is hoping she’ll accept his help too. Michael and Maria have some work to do yet.

mary mary: Thanks! The boys will be great for each other while they’re waiting for their situations to be resolved. Max is already thinking, trying to figure the situation out so we’ll see what he comes up with.

Alien_Friend: Aww, it’s all for a good cause, promise! Aaron and Cody will be good for each other, and they both need a little friend. Thanks for the amazing compliment!

Being drawn into this circle of friends is something Liz and Aaron both need.

Max won’t back down, especially with Trent. We’ll check in and see Trent’s reaction in this part.

angiebrenna: Michael kinda bulldozes his way in but he’s trying to help and sometimes that’s the only way to get through to people. Max will be hanging around – he has no intention of letting Liz continue to push him away.

Cardinal: Lol, he does tend to take his own route to get around to things.

So right, and it’ll come out soon.

These little guys really need each other.

itsme69: Lol, no? How about a little Max and Liz scene in this part? Okay, it really is a little scene, but it’s something, right?

Healerfan: We’re glad you’re enjoying the story!

Yup, Michael and Maria will be the last ones to realize the truth that’s staring them right in the face.

Liz and Aaron both need this group.

It is possible that the situation’s been made worse where Trent’s concerned. Lol, no telling what might happen if he ever kicked them out.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Aaron and Cody will be good for each other. They both need a little friend their own age.

We agree with you about Michael being a great father one day.

Glad to hear Max is surprising you in a good way. ;)

Roswellian117: Michael will continue including Liz. Now that he’s drawn her into his ‘family’ a little bit more there’s no stopping him. She and Aaron both need that and you can’t beat having a great support system. We agree with Max’s choice of names, lol.

secretk: These two little guys are adorable and they both need a friend.

Michael will continue drawing Liz into their group.

Yep, it’s hard to miss that he always goes back to Maria.

We’ll find out if Max hangs around very soon.




Part 39

Friendship Chains

Max gave up leaning back against the wall after nearly 45 minutes and finally just sat down on the top step, elbows braced on his knees and his worried gaze scanning the streets. He would have gone to look for her but he had no clue where to start. He had tried the old phone number he’d kept in his phone since their short-lived... could it even be called a relationship? Probably not, at least not by normal standards.

He shifted and pulled his tee shirt away from his lower back, making a face at the damp material clinging to his skin. He hated it when it was this hot out. He leaned back, bracing his hands on the concrete behind him and tipping his head back to glance up at the sky. It was late afternoon and he had now been waiting for almost two hours. Where could they be?

Liz laughed at something that Michael had said. He had insisted on walking them both home, no matter how often she had tried to tell him no. She immediately fell silent when they walked around the corner and saw who was sitting on the front steps of her building. “What’re you doin’ here?”

Jealousy flared when he saw the man walking with her, Aaron between them and holding their hands. Her expression had gone from relaxed to tense in the space of a heartbeat when she had noticed him.

Michael glanced between the two of them uncertainly, looking down at Aaron when the little boy released their hands to run up the steps to Max.

“Hey, Aaron,” Max greeted the little guy and ignored Liz’s question.

“Guess that meeting at the café stuck with him,” Michael said quietly as he watched Max and the kid.

“Aaron’s completely infatuated with him.” She left out the part about the night before, still confused about it herself.

Aaron moved to sit down next to Max and he smiled up at him as he held a folded piece of paper out to him. “I colored it for you,” he said with a smile.

“For me?” he asked, surprised, and took it from the boy, trying to ignore the others. What the hell was Michael doing here?

Aaron looked up at him, watching his face as he unfolded the picture and looked at it.

Michael glanced at his watch, knowing he needed to get home to get ready for his shift soon. “You gonna be okay here?” he asked, still not sure what was going on between Liz and Max.

“I think so, yes,” she nodded. “Thanks, you know… for everything.”

“Welcome,” he said with a smile. He nodded at Max. “I can get him outta here if you want.”

“That’d be nice,” she said. If Trent saw Max here again… ungh, she didn’t want to think about it.

“Yo, Evans, let’s go.”

Max frowned at the other man. “Did I say I wanted to leave yet?”

“Nope, but I’ve gotta be at work soon and I need to talk to you about somethin’.”

“Go, Max,” Liz said as she took Aaron’s hand to lift him up from the steps. “We can’t talk right now.”

He reached up to touch her hand over Aaron’s. “You two are okay, right?” he asked quietly.

“We’re good,” Liz said. “I need to get him ready for a night at his babysitter’s now.”

Max bit his lip, wanting to pursue it further but knowing he couldn’t push with Aaron listening to every word. Instead he smiled at the little boy and held the picture up. “Thanks for the picture, buddy. You did a great job with it.”

“Goodbye, Max,” Liz said and went up the steps.

Max swallowed hard when Aaron turned and waved to him, his expression so open and trusting that once again it shook something inside of him. He turned to look at Michael when they were out of sight and he glared at him. “What the fuck are you doin’ walkin’ her home?” he growled.

“What?” Michael looked at his friend, confused.

“Where were you?”

If he didn’t know any better, he’d think Evans was jealous. Was he? “Oh, you know, we just hang out…”

“You seem to be puttin’ in a lot of effort to get to know them all of the sudden,” he said, trying to tamp down his jealousy.

“You got a problem with it?”

“What if I do?” he snapped. “Would it make a difference?”

Definitely jealousy, he thought, almost amused. It was so obvious. “Chill out, Evans. I just ran into her an’ her brother at the hospital while I was visiting Cody and thought it’d be nice if the two boys could bond a little bit.”

The hospital? What were they doing there? “What, uh... at the hospital, huh?”

Michael frowned. He had expected Max to know about the boy’s condition since they knew each other. “Aaron has epileptic seizures now and then and he had one this morning. Nothing too bad.”

Max winced. Damn, he hadn’t known she’d had that to deal with on top of... “Wait, did you say her brother?”

“Uh… yeah.” Damn what did Evans know?

“Aaron...” he held his hand out around knee level, “the little guy, he’s her brother?”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Evans!”

“I’m just tryin’ to clarify! She’s never said that Aaron was her brother!” Fuck, and after what he had said to her the other day she had just taken his insults and let him make a fool of himself.

“Uh, no offense, but the way you talk to her isn’t gonna make her wanna talk to you. At all.”

“Why don’t you keep your big nose outta my business?”

“You’re the one who accused me of hanging out with Liz so take your own advice. I’m just tryin’ to help her. I don’t think your behavior’s helpin’.”

“Y’know what? You don’t know jack about my behavior around her so why don’t you just back off?” he bit out.

“Fine, I wasn’t asking.”

“Whatever,” he muttered. “You know anything about her home situation?” he asked after they had walked nearly a block in silence.

Leave it to Evans to tell him to back off and then start again, Michael thought with an eye roll. “Not really.” He knew her parents weren’t around, but Liz had obviously told Max nothing about that, so it wasn’t his place to tell him. “You?”

Max shrugged.

“Aaron’s gonna get a place in the daycare where Isabel works, so that’ll take some of the pressure off of her.”

“That’ll be good,” he said agreeably. “She could use some good news for once.”

“Yeah, I got the same feeling. We need to take some of the responsibility off of her shoulders and help her enjoy her life.”

Max smiled slightly. “Man, what is with you tryin’ to save the world?” He shook his head. Michael had an innate need to help people and there were certain ones that seemed to really worm their way into his heart.

Michael shrugged. “Guess that’s my job in the end.”

“Yeah, I guess someone’s gotta do it.” He slapped Michael on the back. “Don’t ever change, man.”

****

“Tan we play something now?” Aaron asked when Liz opened the door to the apartment, hoping Trent had gone out or something.

“Ah, sweetie, we need to get you ready so I can take you over to Ms. McGinty.”

“Can’t I stay wif you tonight?” he asked sadly.

It broke her heart to look into his tearful eyes. She knew he was still scared after his seizure earlier, but she had already called in sick this afternoon, so she couldn’t stay away from work tonight too even though she would happily avoid that one. “I need to work, Aaron, sorry.”

“But I wanna stay wif you,” he cried.

“Can’t you shut that brat up?” Trent snarled as he came into the room.

Liz kneeled down in front of the little boy and wiped his tears away. “You wanna take a bath before I leave?”

He tried to stop crying when he saw how mad Trent looked but he couldn’t. He took his sister’s hand and nodded.

“Okay,” she placed a kiss on his hand. “Go to the bathroom and take your clothes off. I’ll be there in a few minutes, okay?”

He stared at Trent as he backed out of the room and disappeared from sight.

“Why do you always have to be so loud and rude with him? You’re just making everything worse,” she snarled.

“You wanna explain why that tattoo freak was here earlier?” he demanded, refusing to answer her question.

Oh, God, Max had really had the nerve to show up here and knock on her door? “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“That so?” He slouched in the doorframe and took a long drink of his beer. “Guy looked to me like he knew what he was lookin’ for.”

“So? I didn’t ask him to come here.”

“Are you screwin’ him?”

“First off I don’t SCREW anyone and second, that’s none of your business.”

Technically, she was right, he mused. They weren’t a couple but since they had broken up she hadn’t dated and now suddenly she was hanging out with that tattooed freak. And he didn’t like it. “I don’t want him here.”

“He won’t be here,” she told him.

“We’ll see.” The guy didn’t seem like someone who was just gonna back off.

“I need to get Aaron ready now,” she said, going in the direction of the stairs.

“Liz.”

She stopped and turned to look at him.

“If I were you I’d see to it that he doesn’t come around here again. He comes back and you’ll be outta here. You and that brat of yours.”

****

After getting back to the guys’ apartment Maria flopped down to sit on the couch between them. Loco had dragged one of his toys out and was alternating between stalking it and hopping up in the air to pounce on it. He would chatter excitedly after each successful attack, making them laugh. Kyle reached for a couple of Loco’s toys that had been hidden in one corner of the couch, tossing one at a time across the room and watching the ferret stealthily creep along the wall to attack the toys.

“Did you already tell Michael about this weekend?” she asked as she slouched down a little more.

Michael didn’t even bother to move to lift his head from the back of the couch. “What about this weekend?”

“Oh, my parents said the beach house is free this weekend so if we wanna head out there it’s all ours.”

“Sounds cool. Who’s in?”

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to anyone yet... I just thought about it last night when I took Maria home.”

“We should invite Liz,” Michael suggested after a while of thinking about it.

Maria turned to look at him. “Yeah, she kinda seems like she needs some friends.”

“I bet Evans’s gonna love this idea,” Kyle snorted.

Michael just grinned. “Evans usually has a bug up his ass about somethin’ so if he wants to go too he’ll just have to suck it up and accept that she’s gonna be there.”

“Ya think she’ll agree?” Maria asked. “She seems a little… I don’t know… distant sometimes.”

“Girl’s got a lot on her plate.” He bit his lip, wondering if he should say anything else.

Maria glanced at Kyle. “He has secrets, don’t ya think?”

Michael shrugged. “She’s got a kid. Her brother, really. They lost their parents and now she’s raising him herself. I kinda got the feeling that things at home aren’t that great.”

“That’s a tough spot to be in,” Kyle admitted. “Especially in an expensive city like New York.”

“Um-hmm. So, would you guys care if we did more like just a big hang out kinda thing instead of a party hard weekend?” He shrugged and glanced at Maria. “We could take Cody and maybe Ava could come and bring Chase.”

Maria smiled. “I vote for it.”

“Yeah, why not?” Kyle agreed. “It’ll be kinda nice to chill out and just hang. And the little guys will have a lot of fun too.”

“True, Cody’s always so lonely.”

“Yeah, Aaron doesn’t really have any friends. He’s epileptic and it kinda isolates the little guy. He and Cody seemed to get along pretty well and hey, it’d give your mom some time to unwind too.”

“Yeah,” she sighed, “and me too. I really feel every damn muscle in my body right now. I’m looking forward to a few days off and bein’ lazy.”

“So you’ll be able to get the weekend off?” he asked, shaking his head when Kyle stuck his foot out to shove one of Loco’s toys across the floor.

“Um-hmm, at least my boss promised me I’d have it off.”

Kyle stretched. “Think we can get outta here Friday night?”

“Planning to.”

“Cool. Think big sis will wanna go?” Kyle grinned. “We could let her in on it and let her make all the plans for food and stuff... figure out who’s bringin’ what... she loves that shit.” He nodded to himself. “You should ask her.”

Michael grinned. “Ya know asking Isabel means asking Tess as well.”

Kyle shrugged. “Yeah, well... it’s a big beach. Let ‘er piss me off out there. I’ll just toss her ass right in the ocean.”

Maria rolled her eyes. “Or maybe I’ll just stay here and enjoying the silence when everyone else of you is gone.”

“Aww, c’mon, Maria,” they both protested at the same time.

Michael reached around Maria to give Kyle a shove. “Maria, you can’t just not go,” he complained.

“Shut up,” she told both of them and got up to walk into the kitchen. “One weekend with her locked up in a house. Ungh, you’re both gonna have to pay me.”

Michael grabbed one of the pillows off of the couch and whacked Kyle with it. “Don’t even say it,” he warned. “I don’t wanna know what kinda pornographic things the two of you get up to.”

“Ow, Guerin,” Kyle shoved him back and held his lip. “That still hurts ya know, goofball.”

“Suck it up, Valenti. Hell, you’re gonna spend all weekend stickin’ that lip out and playin’ the wounded hero just so all the girls wait on you hand and foot.”

“Oh, please,” Maria said and came back to them, handing Kyle an icepack for his lip, “what girl wants a guy who can’t even kiss her right now?”

“Maria,” he mumbled, looking pathetic.

She shrugged, grinning. “Sorry.”

“C’mon... what’re your other options? Michael? Yeah, not happenin’. Tony? Well, I figure he’ll go if he can get away. And seriously... he’s kinda into Isabel anyway. Max? Yeah, there ya go... you can give him a shot.”

“Hmm… maybe Tony,” she teased.

Michael snorted. “Yeah, that’ll be good for a catfight. And hell, two girls rollin’ around in the sand tryin’ to beat the shit outta each other... preferably in bikinis... that’d be great if one of ‘em wasn’t my sister and the other one wasn’t my best friend.”

She plopped down in between them again. “Shut up, Guerin. It‘s gonna be a sex-free weekend for you. Think you can handle that?”

“I’m gonna be surrounded by my sisters and a bunch of little guys... I think I’ll find a way to survive.”

“I wish it was already Friday,” Maria sighed.

“Well, it’s just a few days away. We’ll get outta here as early as possible on Friday and won’t have to come back until Sunday night.”

Kyle glanced at his watch. “Think I’m gonna lay down for a bit before shift. Wake me up in time, will ya?” he asked Michael.

He nodded. “Sure.”

“It’ll be nice to get away for a few days,” Maria said when Kyle left to rest. “Even if Tess will be there.”

“We can’t just not invite her, you know that, right?” Michael said, reaching over to tug her closer.

“Yeah, I know. Besides, the beach house is huge and there’re miles of beach.” She snorted. “And Max will be there so she’ll have someone to hang out with.”

“As weird as that is,” he grumbled.

She tipped her head back to look at him. “Is that weird for you?”

“Seeing Evans with my little sister? Oh, yeah.”

“I don’t really see them as a couple.” She wrinkled her nose.

“Agreed.”

“It was nice of you to bring Liz and Aaron by earlier. I think it really did Cody some good to spend time with someone his age.”

“The boys got along pretty well. I’ll see if I can talk Liz to getting them together more often. It’d be good for her as well.”

“Why is that that you care about her so much?” she wondered aloud.

He shrugged. “She’s just in a bind, ya know? I mean, it’s kinda like... what if things were different for my baby sister? Or for you and Amy?” He shrugged again. “Liz doesn’t have anyone at all and it’s like she’s just fightin’ a battle she can’t seem to win.”

She smiled. “She will with you on her side.”

“Ya know, Evans was waitin’ at her place when we got there.”

“Yeah?” She looked at him, surprised. “Interesting…”

“Guy sounded a little bit territorial too.” He shook his head. “I don’t know. I really think there’s somethin’ between the two of ‘em.”

“Definitely,” she agreed. “My guess is they’ve had sex in the past.”

“That’d explain a lot. With the tension between them somethin’ had to have happened.”

“They should just get over with it. The constant remarks from both of them are making everyone else nuts.”

He snorted. “Someone needs to give them a push in the right direction.”

“Well, since you’re becoming her new friend, you could be the one.”

“Hell, I'm not a matchmaker.”

“Yeah, all you can do is give them tips on how to get in each other’s pants, ‘cause you know nothing about relationships, CB,” she teased.

He made a face at her. “You do it then.”

“Uh-huh, no. I’m not in the mood for stuff like that. My own life is complicated enough.”

“Yeah, and you’ve been workin’ like crazy lately.” He scratched his eyebrow. “Hey, I kinda asked Courtney to the game tomorrow since you’re gonna be workin’. Is that cool?”

“You asked Courtney?” she asked before she could stop herself.

“Yeah. I mean, she’s off an’ you had to work.” He bit his bottom lip. “I know we usually go together but you had to work so...”

“Oh, yeah, sure, it’s cool.” To be honest, it felt weird that he had asked her. Usually when she had no time, he went with Kyle or his dad, so why ask Courtney?

“Cool.” He glanced at her, trying to make sure she was really okay with it. “She’s gonna get a lesson in a Yankee ass kicking though. Girl isn’t a fan of the Yanks.”

Maria sat up to look at him directly. “Did something happen between the two of you?”

“What’re you talkin’ about?” He rolled his eyes. “Jeez, Maria, it’s just a game. It’s not like I asked her to marry me or anything.”

“It was a simple question, Guerin. Now answer it!”

“Somethin’ like have we had sex?”

“Yeah, or other stuff like kissing, making out…”

“Does that matter? I mean, yeah, we kissed but didn’t get a chance to do much more than that... damn blackout cut the night short as far as that was concerned.”

“So you just kissed her…” She mumbled.

He dropped his head back against the couch and smirked. “Yep, we definitely kissed.”

She rolled her eyes. “Ya know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you are heading for something serious here.”

“Whatever. Hell, RP, I don’t do relationships.”

“If you say so,” she told him with a shrug, but she wasn’t convinced. Somehow she had a different feeling this time, but maybe it was just her.

He rolled his head to look at her. “I wouldn’t know what the hell to do in a relationship.”

“There’re no instructions for that, CB.”

“Apparently. Hell, I don’t even know anyone who’s in a stable relationship.” He snorted. “You an’ Kyle are the closest and how fucked up is that?”

She laughed. “Well… hey, your dad and Nicole have a good one, don’t they?”

“Well, yeah, alright, I’ll give you that one. But people our age... look at Iz, that shit’s all fucked up. Tony, he just had a bad breakup with his girl not that long ago.”

“I didn’t say you should try a relationship with her, but interesting that you keep trying to convince me you can’t do it… Seems like you’ve thought about it a lot,” she teased just to mess with him.

“Whatever. She’s into sports, she has decent taste in music, and she’s just kinda cool to hang out with.”

“Ohhhhh!!! Now you’re replacing me,” she said, putting on a sad face.

“I never could or would replace you, RP,” he said as he draped his arm around her shoulder and tugging her closer.

“I’d really appreciate that.”

“Don’t ever worry about that.” He dropped a kiss on her head. “How bad’s your schedule for the next couple days?”

“Getting better after tomorrow.”

“Cool. ‘Bout time that eased up a bit. It’ll be nice to get away for a few days... just chill out by the ocean.”

Maria frowned when her phone started to buzz and she got it out of her pants pockets. “It’s Isabel.”

“Good, we can find out if she’s free this weekend. She’ll probably take on organizing everyone’s assignments without any prompting,” he snickered.

“Hey, Iz, what’s up?”

“Hey, Maria. Nothing much, just thinkin’ that it’d be nice to get out for a while tonight. You up for that?”

“Ah, I don’t know. I’m kinda beat. What’d ya have in mind?”

“Maybe going out for a drink or something. Just getting outta the house and hanging out for a while.”

“Okay, but I’ll have to leave early.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose. “That’s okay. I’ve got the early shift in the morning anyway.”
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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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Part 40

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:45 am

Healerfan: Thanks!

Even though Michael’s done nothing to make Max think there’s anything going on between him and Liz, he didn’t care for that sight.

This trip will be important for many of them.

Maria’s jealousy is beginning to reveal itself.

Eva: We’re glad you like Michael here. We really wanted to explore this part of his personality because it’s such an integral part of who he is.

Michael and Maria have a great friendship although it may be tested as Courtney becomes a part of Michael’s life.

Maria does have a way of seeing things that others may miss. Although she doesn’t always have that clarity when it comes to her own life.

This trip will be important for quite a few of our beloved characters.

begonia9508: Maria hit the nail on the head with that one.

Max is choking on those words now. We’ll see what happens when they meet again.

No, there’s nothing serious between Maria and Kyle. They’re mutually non-exclusive.

Hmm… what if she knows Max is going?

Earth2Mama: Lol yep, slowly but surely the monster will come out.

It’s still a bit, but in writing we are already at the point where Max admits what / who he really wants. In posting… still a few parts to read.

Rodney: Lol, you could be right about that.

keepsmiling7: While Liz may not make it easy, Max isn’t going to give up on her.

Maria sees what’s going on with others a bit more clearly than she sees what’s going on in her own life.

Cardinal: That’s definitely a possibility. Liz will definitely have some relief by being able to get Aaron into that daycare program. Max would be glad to have Liz give him the time of day… he’s still waiting for an explanation.

Interesting speculation should Liz and Aaron being kicked out of their current residence.

That’s a good term for Michael… either of them really, lol. It won’t be the last we see of that particular green-eyed monster.

Natalie36: Thanks for reading!

mary mary: It could be, lol. The weekend will be important for all of our characters and a turning point for some.

Alien_Friend: The two of them are pretty adorable, aren’t they?

Oh, the weekend trip will be worth the wait.

That’s something they may have to deal with in time. Trent really isn’t happy with this new man in Liz’s life. Aaron is fascinated with Max and every time he sees him just makes the little guy believe more and more that they should be with Max. Lol, think Max will show up at the club, huh? You just never know.

That’s something that we felt was a big part of Michael’s personality, and while it was expressed in small ways on the show, never had the chance to really show through. We think you’re right about him seeing right through things with Tess and Max.

We’ll pass that request along to Michael and see what happens. ;)

Roswellian117: Thanks, we’re glad the characters feel so real here!

Hmm, good point… so many options in a city with so many modes of transportation…

sarammlover: Lol, we don’t want Courtney and Michael together either, but he’s been stubborn and difficult to control in this fic. Oh, Max was totally jealous, and for no reason. You just never know when you might get your wish. Kyle and Tess… they may take their time, but they’ll build on that moment.

angiebrenna: The beach weekend will be good for all of our characters… it’ll be an important weekend. ;)

secretk: It would be good for Liz and Aaron to get away for a weekend.

We’ll have to wait and see what Michael does about Courtney for the weekend.

The beach weekend will be important for all of the characters, and a turning point for others.

Well, we have a few more days before the weekend, so you just never know what might happen between now and then.
Cody and Aaron would really benefit from hanging out and participating in normal activities like going to the beach.




Part 40

Eventful Encounters at Night

Maria turned around from where she was sitting at the bar when she noticed the front door of the small club Isabel and her planned to meet open again. “Hell girl, I thought you were gonna leave me hanging. Didn’t we say 8:30pm? It’s almost 9 now.”

“Sorry,” Isabel said breathlessly as she approached her friend. “I kinda had to take a detour.”

“A detour?” Maria frowned. “Why?”

Isabel waved to the bartender and lifted one finger, nodding when he asked if she wanted her usual. “I changed my route ‘cause I thought I someone was following me.” She shrugged as she took a seat. “For a minute I thought it was Richard, but when I turned around to look he had disappeared.”

“Ungh,” Maria straightened her short jean skirt when a man at a nearby table kept staring at her. “That guy’s sick.”

“It might not have been him.” She waved it off as she felt herself calming down. “No, it probably wasn’t. I mean, why would he lurk around corners following me?”

“Who else would follow you?” She glanced at the guy again, who was now staring at Isabel. Of course! Sucker.

“I don’t know. Why would he follow me? It’s over between us and I’ve made it clear that we’re NOT getting back together.”

“True, but he’s still calling you an’ all, isn’t he?”

“Well, I’ve blocked him on my phone and my email so...”

“Okay, just make sure he isn’t turning into a stalker.”

“Richard’s a man who can have his pick of women. He’s attractive, wealthy, intelligent... and a cheating asshole, but, he doesn’t come with a warning label, so why would he stay focused on me?”

“Well, because every other man is as well?”

“Even if he’s that insecure – which, he’s not – he wouldn’t stoop so low as to follow me around the city.” She snorted and took a sip of her drink. “God, don’t tell Michael about this or nothing will stop him from showing up on Richard’s doorstep and beating the crap out of him.”

“I won’t,” she promised. “For now!”

Isabel rolled her eyes. It would only be a matter of time. When did Maria and Michael ever keep anything from each other? Never!

“So, since those guys over there are staring at us… wanna let them pay?”

She turned her head, noticing the guys for the first time. “Well,” she mused, her gaze scanning over them, “I suppose they’re not bad. The one on the right’s kinda hot.” Or at least he was until he and his friend got up and she realized that he was at least a foot shorter than her.

Maria laughed. “Hot an’ small.”

“There is no justice in this world,” Isabel grumbled under her breath.

“Should we run and hide?”

“Too late, they’re already headed this way.” She nudged Maria. “Look, he’s more your size so...”

“Well, he doesn’t look that bad...”

“Good,” Isabel said, relieved, “he’s all yours then.”

“You can have his friend,” Maria hissed before they approached them.

Isabel hadn’t paid much attention to the taller guy until Maria gave in easily and she sighed. No, there was definitely no justice. He wasn’t bad looking but he just wasn’t a guy she would be interested in.

*****

Tess glanced down when a drop of sweat slid from the hollow of her throat down over her cleavage until it disappeared under her top right at the tiny line between her breasts. Ungh, she hated to take the subway, especially in the summer when the humid heat was almost unbearable even without a bunch of people jammed into a subway station.

She sighed when the train stopped in front of her and she stepped inside, glancing around for a seat that wasn’t already occupied with weird people who smelled like they hadn’t showered in a week. Her eyes narrowed when she noticed a familiar face. Wasn’t that the nerd who lived in the same building as her brother? Great, just her luck that the only two empty seats were next to him or a bum. What a choice.

She walked the few steps towards – what was his name again? and sat down. He didn’t glance up, probably hadn’t even noticed her, as he stared down at a letter he was holding with his hands, while headphones were in his ears on both sides. DUNNING was written in large letters on the head of the paper he was holding. He suddenly flipped it over to another one. Again DUNNING was the only word her eyes could focus on.

Alex glanced to the side when he realized the person next to him was reading over his shoulder. “Can I help you?” he asked.

She looked at him in surprise but tried to hide it. “I don’t think so.”

“Well, maybe you’d just like it if I handed the paper over?” His eyes narrowed as he tried to figure out why she looked familiar. “Have we met somewhere before?”

Tess shrugged. “Who knows? Small world they say.”

His eyes moved over her for a moment, feeling that he should know her. “Yeah, well... I’m kinda busy here if you don’t mind.”

“Go ahead.”

He made a face at her and shifted slightly to prevent her from looking over his shoulder.

She glanced at him a while longer, wondering what was up with him. He came off as a nerd, but when you talked to him he sounded pretty self aware – not a person who would back off in a situation. Would he remember she was the one who got the job he was supposed to get?

Alex huffed when he felt her staring holes in the back of his neck. “Why’re you staring at me now?” he growled as he turned to look at her again.

“This is a free country so I doubt you can say anything about it.”

He pushed his glasses up and frowned at her for a moment before he suddenly snapped his fingers. “You're one of those Guerins,” he accused.

“One of those Guerins?” she echoed.

“Yeah... the one who got me fired before I could get hired.”

“Well, technically that was my sister.”

“Same difference,” he muttered. “You guys just do shit like that for kicks?”

“I didn’t do anything,” she denied. “You should’ve stood up for yourself in front of my sister.”

“Defending myself against your sister’s bullshit accusation would’ve just made it look like I was making excuses for deviant behavior.” He snorted. “I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that.”

They were interrupted when someone greeted them, asking to see their tickets.

Alex made a show of checking his pockets because he wouldn’t have proof that he was supposed to be on the subway. He had jumped the turnstiles because he hadn’t had enough to pay the fare.

Tess handed her ticket over to the man, probably only a few years older than her. He smiled at her, checked it and handed it back before looking at Alex. “Sir?”

He cleared his throat. “Uh...”

“Do you have one?”

His hands finally stilled and he looked up at the man. “Apparently not.”

Tess glanced between the man and Alex. Uh-oh.

“Well... I guess you’re gonna buy one now and add a fine of 50 dollars.”

“Right... well...” Great, as if things weren’t difficult enough, let’s just add humiliation into the mix.

“And I’ll need to see the money right now,” the man said, when Alex didn’t any money out.

“Then you’d better look somewhere else because I’m not about to have an extra fifty bucks in my pockets.”

“Okay, Sir, if you don’t have the money I’ll have to ask you to leave the train at the next station. I’ll have a police officer wait for you there.”

Alex sighed. Great, being arrested would mean bail money and he sure as hell didn’t have that. “Fine.”

Tess bit her lip. He hadn’t had the money to pay for a simple ticket for the subway. And it probably was partly her fault. “Look…” she looked at the man’s nametag, “…Jake. Alex has a monthly pass. He just forgot it.”

He studied the man in front of him. “Is that true?”

Alex had trouble to hiding his surprise. “Uh, yeah.”

He narrowed his eyes, trying to determine if they were telling the truth. “Fine. We’ll let it pass this time but don’t get caught on the train without your pass next time.”

Tess smiled and winked at him. “Thanks, Jake.”

He smiled back at her. “You have a nice day.”

Alex just rolled his eyes when the guy glared at him before walking off. “You didn’t need to do that.”

“Oh, you wanna thank me?” She rolled her eyes. “Welcome.”

He gritted his teeth. “Thanks. Just sayin’ it wasn’t necessary.”

“Oh, well, if you’d prefer a night in jail I’m sure you’ll get the chance in the future.”

“Yeah, well, at least it’d be three meals,” he muttered to himself.

Tess shook her head at him and leaned back in her seat.

“So, I guess you got the job?”

“You’d guess right,” she snarled and felt bad she had gotten it, even if she obviously didn’t need it as much as he did.

He shrugged at her biting tone. Hell, he was just trying to make conversation since she had just saved his ass. “Seemed like a good job.”

“It’s okay, I guess.” Hell, what could she say, she had just started yesterday.

“So, what do you do?”

“Well… selling stuff. That was the job right?”

“Sorry, didn’t clarify that too well. No, I meant outside of the job. Like, are you in college or somethin‘?”

“Yep, just started college last year. Transferred to LA and now back to New York.”

“Didn’t like LA?”

“It was okay. But New York’s better.”

“You got family in California?”

Tess glanced at the upcoming subway station and got up. “Yeah, my mom lives there.” She pointed to the door. “This’s my stop.”

He nodded. So much for small talk, he thought, watching her weave her way past the other people in the car.

She waited for the door to open and glanced back at him quickly. He seemed to be lonely and she wondered what story was behind his life here.

****

The shift started out quietly enough, but less than two hours in the alarms went off and they rolled out, speeding through the streets to get to the scene of a bomb threat. The scene was already chaotic when they arrived as people ran from the building, pushing each other and screaming as they ran away from the danger. The bomb squad was already on site; officers, equipment and dogs deployed to search for the device.

Tony rested his axe across his shoulders, his forearms hooked over each end as he stood back and watched the insanity around him. There wasn’t much for him to do at the moment but to be at the ready. He glanced over and nodded when he caught sight of a familiar face. “Hey, Prez, you heard anything yet?”

Kennedy turned his head and walked over to join Tony when he saw him. “Nah, still waitin’ for the all clear. We’ll cordon off the building for 24 hours to be safe, but as it stands they haven’t found anything.”

He looked around and grinned when he caught sight of a group of scantily clad women huddled together several hundred yards down the street. “Now what’re all those fine young things doin’ out here dressed like that?” he murmured.

Kyle and Michael joined them just in time to overhear the comment and they turned to follow his worshipping gaze. “Holy shit!” Kyle said, his eyebrows climbing high up under his helmet. “Man, do you know who she is?”

Michael slapped Kyle’s hand down when he lifted it to point at a tall, leggy brunette standing at the center of the group. “Way to be cool, Valenti.”

Kennedy tipped his head to one side. “She does look familiar…” His eyes widened after a moment and his mouth dropped open. “Wait, no way!”

“Yes, sir, that is her in the flesh,” Tony said with an admiring smile. “She looks just as good in person as she did draped over the hood of that Corvette in the May issue.” He whistled long and low. “Man, what I’d pay to see her on the hood of my car.”

Michael snickered. “You’d have to pay a lot with that piece of shit you drive.”

Kyle’s eyes slid over the woman in question, admiring the perfect body. “They didn’t airbrush much of anything on her, did they?”

The woman they were all staring at separated from her group and looked around, motioning to them when she saw them standing there. She started walking towards them just as the four of them straightened up and hurried to meet her. “You are with police, yes?” she asked, her voice heavily accented.

“I am,” Kennedy spoke up. “Officer Kennedy at your service.”

“Some of the girls, they are hurt when we try to escape after bomb threat.” She glanced between the four of them. “You are doctor?” she asked, looking at the patch on Michael’s uniform shirt.

“Yeah, I’m… Well, not a doctor, but I’m an EMT.”

“We’re all trained in first aid though,” Kyle spoke up.

“That’s right,” Tony nodded. “We can help out.”

“You come with me,” she said and turned to lead the way back to the other girls.

“Seems like the night’s getting interesting,” Prez mused. “Who would’ve thought we’d get to see a bunch of almost naked bunnies from a photo shoot at the scene of a bomb threat?”

“Yeah,” Kyle mumbled, “it’s hot tonight for a whole other reason.”

“Jessica,” the woman called another tall blonde one who wasn’t wearing much more than underwear. “He can help,” she said and pointed at Michael.

Oh yeah, I love my job, he thought as he made his way over to check the woman’s injuries. So far nothing he’d seen had been too serious.

“Can you have a look at my wrist? I think I squished it in a door,” Jessica told him, her eyes more flirtatious than actually hurt.

Michael mentally kicked himself as a reminder that he was on the job. He reached for the wrist in question, gently probing it and glancing up at her to monitor her expression for any sign of discomfort.

“Do you think it’s broken?” she asked when he touched her.

Tony rolled his eyes at how obvious she was.

Michael smiled and shook his head. “No, it’s not broken.” If it was broken you wouldn’t even be thinking about flirting, he thought. “You’re sure you caught it in the door?”

“I don’t know, it all happened so fast,” she sighed.

Time for the dramatic routine to start. “Well, I’m not seeing any damage or feeling anything to indicate an injury, but I’m gonna wrap it and immobilize it. I’d recommend having a doctor take a look at it to rule out any internal damage just to be safe.”

She nodded, but no one around them believed that she had really listened to a single word he had said.

“I think men in uniform are majorly hot,” a black-haired woman said, letting her index finger trail over Kyle’s chest.

Michael bit his lip when his thoughts went over this scenery. Maria would have a fit about how these girls were projecting a totally wrong image about woman to the world. Okay, he had to agree, it wasn’t like they seemed to have more than one brain cell between them, but that wouldn’t make him agree with her – just because.

Kyle wondered why he had to be on duty while he was surrounded by beautiful women who wanted to flirt. Good grief, they were everywhere. He looked up when Miss I-think-men-in-uniform-are-hot slipped a piece of paper in one of his pockets and smiled at him. Hell, she was the model on the June issue of that motorcycle magazine he had been flipping through while standing in the checkout line a couple months back. Isabel had given him all kinds of crap about that at the time. God, this was so not fair!

“Maybe we can meet after your shift,” she whispered at him and winked before she turned to walk away, showing her sexy back and the well-toned ass, which was covered in black lace, to him.

Kyle grinned. “Yeah, maybe we can,” he mumbled under his breath.

Tony looked over at him and shook his head. “Either she’s got a problem with her eyesight or you’re the luckiest guy out here right now.”

The radio clipped to Michael’s shirt crackled and the broken voice of the captain could be heard. “I need a medical unit, south exit of the building. One officer down.”

The guys mobilized immediately and Michael grabbed his kit, following Prez when he grabbed his radio, shouting into it as he took off running.

The captain was kneeling next to a police officer on the ground, while he kept talking to him. He pressed something to his chest and just as the guys neared them, they could see the officer’s uniform shirt was covered in blood.

Michael barely spared a glance at the rest of the scene as he knelt beside the fallen officer. He recognized the man and he spoke to him as he cut the shirt away from the wound. The officer’s responses were weak and raspy and he could hear the labored breathing accompanied by blood seeping from the corner of his mouth. “We need to transport him now!” He looked up when Dana appeared beside him. “GSW to the chest, looks like a collapsed lung.”

She nodded and grabbed her radio to direct one of the emergency vehicles to them. Her voice was deadly serious and made it clear that the situation seconds could mean the difference between life and death.

“Who shot him?” Prez demanded.

The captain got up from the ground and dusted his knees. “Officers are in pursuit of the suspect. We were about to leave the building,” he pointed at the exit, “when we saw a man exiting the building over there.” He turned to motion to another door at the opposite side. “We started to talk to him, but he began to panic and started shooting.”

“I didn’t hear any shots,” Prez mused. “Silencer?”

“Yes.”

He nodded and started to move away. “They might need some backup.”

Michael glanced up when the van pulled up nearby but his attention immediately went back to the IV he was hooking up. Dana was busy relaying the officer’s stats back to the hospital as they readied him for transport.

“Is he gonna make it?” someone asked, obviously another officer who worked with the wounded man.

Michael exchanged a look with Dana when the officer they were working on started coughing behind the oxygen mask, increasing the flow of blood pouring from the corner of his mouth. The frothy blood was a clear indicator that his lung had been punctured by the bullet. “His left lung’s fillin’ with blood,” he muttered.

“We need to drain the excess fluid before he drowns in his own blood,” Dana said, already preparing to make the necessary incision. There was no time to wait and she glanced up at Michael. “Hold him still.”

He nodded and concentrated on his task. “Ready.”

Dana met the man’s eyes, nodding when she saw the knowledge in them that what she was about to do was going to be incredibly painful. She made the necessary incision and inserted a tube, working quickly and efficiently. She could feel the man’s body fighting against the pain, trying to pull away from it, and she sighed in relief when his breathing eased as his lung began to drain. His body relaxed as he fell back against the pavement, unconscious.

Michael nodded. “Good job.”

“Let’s hope.” She dressed the area around the incision and tube while Michael finished dressing the chest wound. Once the officer was stabilized they moved him to the gurney and loaded him into the back of the waiting paramedic van.

Kyle walked up to Michael. “We’re heading back to the station. I’ll meet you there.”

He nodded. “I’ll catch up with you soon as I get back.”
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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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