The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M,Mature)Ch 98 1/27/15 Complete

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 10 - 4/20

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:41 am

Spacegirl23 – Well, Maria has always been extremely jealous and possessive so her thinking that Michael Guerin, regardless of the universe, is hers and hers only is only logical.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading.

DeDe Pr – Confused is the right word to describe Michael. And in denial, too.

Eva – Oooh, yeah, times and many parts before those two manage to find a way to deal with each other.


Part 10

Michael was parked at the edge of an overlook, sitting sideways on the motorcycle seat, long legs stretched out in front of him and crossed at the ankles. He crossed his arms over his chest as he stared into the canyon, dark eyes trained on some point in the distance and completely unaware of the panoramic beauty stretched out in front of him.

He didn't know what was going on or how to handle this situation. What was he supposed to do with this girl? he wondered. Okay, she was probably a woman… she was nineteen, maybe twenty years old, so technically she wasn't a girl any longer. He shook his head, trying to derail this line of thinking. All of her insane ranting and babbling was affecting his ability to think and it had to stop. He didn't care whether she was a girl or a woman, he just needed to figure out what he was gonna do with her.

She knew too much for him to simply let her go. "Which isn't a problem apparently, since she doesn't want to go," he muttered. This was not the way he was supposed to be spending his time off. He was supposed to be hanging out, getting laid, and enjoying the lack of complication in his life. But, no, that was not the way the way his vacation was being spent; instead of relaxation he was experiencing the onset of some illness that he had yet to determine whether it was human or alien in nature, his dick had gone on strike, and he had been besieged by some escapee from the psychiatric ward.

He stood and walked to the guardrail that had been built between the side of the road and the drop-off and kicked several rocks over the edge. What was he gonna do with her? If he let her go she might run her mouth to the wrong people. He scratched his chin thoughtfully. Crazy people were nothing new; what were the chances that anyone would believe the story she had told him? He couldn't leave her with Indigo indefinitely, but maybe he could leave her with him while he tried to figure what to do with her. No, that wasn't gonna work either; Indigo had a big mouth and he liked to talk as much as… He frowned. What the fuck was her name anyway? She had never given him her name. He shook his head. Not the point, he reminded himself. Maybe he could just drop her off at the nearest hospital and tell them he had found her walking in the desert, rambling about aliens and other nonsense. Something inside of him rebelled at the thought of leaving her anywhere that wasn't with him and he screamed in frustration, hating the feeling inside of him that seemed determined to hound him into doing things he didn't want to do.

"Fuck!" The single word echoed off of the walls of the canyon and he scrubbed his hands through his hair as he tried once more to focus on the problem.

He was going to have to take her home so he could figure out what to do with her. At least there she would be isolated, she wouldn't be able to give out any information about him, and if things went just right she'd quickly decide that the little fantasy she had created in her head had nothing to do with him. He had no idea why she had fixated on him, but if he could focus her insanity on someone or something else he could get rid of her without risk of exposure. Besides, she already thought he was an asshole; how hard could it be to turn her fixation onto someone else? Especially if all of this was just because she had recently lost a lover who happened to look like him… His eyes gleamed as he suddenly realized that he had quite possibly hit the nail on the head.

"Of course!" he shouted. That had to be it! The guy she had described was nothing like him; they just happened to have the same name or something. That could happen… he probably wasn't the only guy out of several billion people on the planet to have this name. Besides, everyone supposedly had a twin somewhere on the planet, right?

Somewhere deep inside of him he knew he was fooling himself and that he was trying to come up with a plausible scenario that would allow him to ignore the thoughts she had put into his head. He didn't want to think about his origins or his past, he wanted those things to stay in the little box in his mind where he kept them because he knew there were no real answers available.

Now, out of nowhere, she - whoever the hell she was - had entered his life with this fantastic story of past lives, royalty, war, and betrayal… and part of him wanted to know more. Part of him wanted it to be true, to know that his existence on this rock meant more than it did now. But, on the other hand, what did it really matter if it was true? She had already said that the other three royals were dead in this universe… He shook his head, shoving the thoughts away. He was not going to get lost in this mind-boggling science fiction/romance story that she had put together in her convoluted mind.

He needed to get back to Indigo's house so he could collect the little package of insanity that was suddenly part of his life before she unloaded her story on the man and opened an entirely new can of worms. He would have to sort through his thoughts later and decide which road he wanted to take, he thought as he walked back over to the motorcycle.

*****

Michael frowned when he stepped up on the porch and heard Indigo's raucous laughter coming from the back of the house. Instead of knocking on the front door, he walked along the wraparound porch, pressing his back up against the side of the house when he got close to the back deck.

"I lost my hand, not my hearing, Guerin," Indigo called, busting his stealthy creeping.

His hands clenched into fists and he scowled when he heard the woman's amused laughter at his expense. "What the fuck are you laughin' at?" he snarled as he came around the corner and stood directly in front of her. She was curled up in one of the padded deck chairs, her placid green gaze leveled on his angry face.

"You," she answered without missing a beat.

Michael motioned for Indigo to join him at the other end of the deck, uncomfortably aware of her gaze following him.

Maria watched him as he stripped off his leather jacket and threw it into a nearby chair before launching into a very loud argument filled with expletives and angry questions. His tee shirt pulled taut across the muscles of his back every time he lifted his hands to express himself and she couldn't help but admire his physique.

"What the fuck did you tell her?"

"Hey, man, Maria and I were just talkin' about things; neither of us revealed any of your deep, dark secrets. Why don't you just chill out and relax before you have a stroke," the big man suggested.

Maria, Michael thought. So that was her name. He turned to look at her, unconsciously standing up straighter when he realized she was checking him out. The name suited her, he decided. "I've gotta get on the road; if I leave now I can be back home by mornin'."

"Look, man," Indigo said, lowering his voice, "she's a sweet girl, but you can't leave her here; I'm gonna have a hard enough time explainin' this to my ladies as it is."

"I'm takin' 'er with me."

"You can't expect her to make that trip overnight, Guerin; that poor girl's already worn out and that ride's what, ten or twelve hours?"

"I can do it in about ten and a half." He shook his head adamantly when Indigo's expression turned disapproving. "Look, she wants to stay with me, then she's gonna play by my rules." He turned to stalk back along the deck to the young woman.

Indigo shook his head in exasperation. He'd love to be a fly on the wall at Guerin's house once the two of them were in close quarters with no one else around. He had only spent a few hours with her, but he had a feeling that she wasn't gonna just fall into line the way the other man expected her to.

*****

Maria stumbled across the hotel room floor and fell onto the unmade bed when Michael unceremoniously shoved her through the door and slammed it shut behind him. She quickly righted herself and got to her feet, moving to sit as far away from him as possible.

"I don't know what you think's about to happen, but I can assure you that I am not having sex with - "

"You'll do what I tell you to do." Michael turned away from the small refrigerator, bottle in hand, and he moved to tower over her. Twisting the top off he tossed it across the room where it landed silently in the small wicker trash can. He took a long drink from the chilled bottle before setting it on the nightstand and calmly reaching down to unbuckle his wide leather belt. His right hand shot out to hold her still when she tried to crawl backwards on the bed and after a brief struggle he released her and stood back to pull the belt through the loops on his pants and then tossed it on the dresser.

Maria stared at the handcuffs connecting her right wrist to the headboard as she tried valiantly to bring her heartbeat under control. For just a minute she had thought… She shook her head, refusing to allow that thought to complete itself. He was employing scare tactics, expecting her to run like a scared rabbit or melt into a puddle of tears at his feet. Well, she had news for him - it wasn't going to work like that. She was just going to have to find a way to deal with him and learn fast to expect the unexpected.

He pulled his tee shirt over his head and folded it up, dropping it on the dresser next to his belt. His hands rested over the snap at the top of his cargo pants as he glanced at the mirror to see if she was watching him. Uh-huh, just like he suspected. He popped the snap and lowered the zipper halfway before moving back over to the nightstand to retrieve his drink.

She tensed up when he sat on the edge of the bed next to her but she refused to back away from him. She was not going to give him the satisfaction, she thought, irritated that he was acting this way. Her breathing froze in her throat when he suddenly moved and she found herself flat on her back, staring up into his cold eyes as he straddled her waist.

He leaned forward, fisted hands braced on the mattress on either side of her body as he studied her jade eyes for any trace of fear. It pissed him off when he realized that her attention was focused on his dog tags as they swung gently at the end of their chain, so close to her nose that they were almost brushing against it.

"I could fuck you right now if I wanted to."

Maria barely controlled the urge to cringe at his crass terminology as she forced her gaze away from the identification tags that symbolized a life so different from the one her Michael had led. How was she going to put herself on level ground with this man? she wondered as she met his gaze head-on. She could see the anger seething in his dark eyes, but it was unlike any emotion she had ever seen; it was edgy, dangerous, and bordered on violent. He wasn't the type of man to make idle threats, but if he had been going to hurt her he would've already done it. She consoled herself with those thoughts.

"You know why you're handcuffed to my bed?" he growled.

"Not really," she said, sounding bored.

Michael drew back and his eyes narrowed suspiciously when she answered without the slightest trace of fear in her voice.

Her gaze lowered to his crotch and she smirked as she looked back up at him. "I'm not one of your over-inflated, empty-headed Barbie dolls whose sole purpose in life is to boost your ego."

"You don't have any clue - "

"What? I don't have any clue what type of women you have sex with? I met your… friend at Indigo's house, heard her rave about your sexual prowess in the man's bathroom. She was very vocal about your…" Her gaze slid down over him again when he slowly leaned back and placed his hands on his thighs. "Attributes."

He followed her gaze, glancing down at himself and just barely bit back a curse when he realized that his dick had decided that it was ready for action. How the fuck had that happened? he wondered, pissed off that his dick was reacting to this woman. He refused to believe he was interested in her sexually despite the erection that would seem to indicate otherwise. He was reaching for his zipper to tug it up when she shifted beneath him and started to speak again.

"If you lower that zipper any further I swear your days as a sexually active hybrid will end tonight."

"Believe me, if I was the slightest bit interested in fuckin' you, I would, and you couldn't do a goddamned thing to stop me," he snapped.

"No? I was involved with an alien for five years, went up against some very bad aliens, and evaded law enforcement numerous times… do you really think I haven't learned a thing or two after those experiences? Touch me again and you'll spend the rest of your life as the only neutered alien on the planet."

"You're a mouthy little bitch." He punched the wall above the headboard and climbed off of the bed. "Don't turn your back or close your eyes," he warned, turning his back to her. "You just never know who might make your worst nightmare come true."

His stomach rolled with nausea as he stalked into the bathroom and started the shower before slamming the door shut and leaning back against it. He raised a trembling hand to his face and drew in a shaky breath, inhaling lungfuls of the hot, moist air. What he had just done felt wrong in every possible way; he wasn't nice by anyone's standards but even he had never stooped so low as to imply that he might force a woman to have sex with him. It was her fault, he decided. If she had just kept that last comment to herself he wouldn't have lost his temper and made a threat that he would never, ever, carry out. He blamed it on the illness; it was still too new and the lack of knowledge surrounding it was making him edgier than normal.

In the bedroom, Maria grabbed a handful of the comforter and pulled it over herself as she curled up tightly into the fetal position. Tears leaked from the corners of her eyes and fell onto the pillow she was hugging with the arm that wasn't hanging from the headboard. It had taken everything she had to keep her face from revealing her fear to him; at first she hadn't believed he would really hurt her like he had implied, but he had been menacing enough to scare her and now she was questioning whether or not she was safe with him.

She briefly let herself think of her Michael, imagining his long arms wrapped around her, holding her securely against his big, warm body as he whispered reassurances in her ear. She hugged the pillow tighter and as she drifted off into an exhausted, restless sleep, she could almost feel his presence right there with her, making her feel safe and protected.

Michael stepped out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and he glanced into the bedroom, surprised to hear nothing but silence. He crept around the bed, ignoring the droplets of water dripping from his hair to splash onto his shoulders and roll down his naked torso. He looked down at the little blond, sound asleep and curled up into a little ball. Her tearstained face was buried in his pillow and she was gripping it tightly with her free arm.

His dark gaze settled on her right arm, suspended above her head and hanging from the headboard by the handcuffs. Bruises marred the flesh of her upper arm where he had grabbed her several times that day and that nauseous feeling surfaced once again. His eyes followed her arm up to her wrist and he winced when he realized just how tightly he had closed the handcuffs; the skin was red and irritated where the metal had pinched her tender flesh. He reached up and with unaccustomed gentleness he released the handcuffs and eased her arm down under the covers.

Refusing to look any deeper into his actions, he backed away from the bed and walked back to the bathroom so he could finish getting ready. Okay, he thought, he had meant to scare her as badly as he obviously had, but he hadn't intended to make her believe that he was capable of that kind of violence.

He roughly towel-dried his hair before hanging the towel over one of the chrome rails, grabbing a fresh pair of pants, and pulling them on. He walked over to the sitting area and turned a lamp on before walking back over to the bed. For several very long minutes he stood beside the bed, arms crossed over his chest as he studied her. He looked down when he noticed her feet, still clad in a pair of shoes, sticking out from under the comforter. She was probably sleeping due to exhaustion and he knew she wasn't going to sleep well if she slept the entire night constricted by her street clothes. Not that he personally cared one way or the other, but if she woke up pissy because of a bad night of sleep he'd probably have to listen to her bitching and whining all the way back to L.A.

"Lucky for you I'm an expert at undressin' women," he grumbled as he quickly and efficiently stripped her clothes off and placed them on the nightstand, leaving her dressed only in her bra and panties. Free of the constriction she stretched a little and he could see her visibly relax, though it was only fractionally. He covered her back up and looked around for the small bag she had been carrying earlier, finally locating it sticking out from under the edge of the bed.

He snatched it up and turned off the light next to the bed before grabbing another bottle from the refrigerator and dropping down on the couch in the sitting area. He took a long drink before placing the bottle on the table next to the bag, leaning forward to unzip it and pulling the contents out, one by one. He placed the few pieces of clothing on the table, followed by a folder filled with black-and-white copies of… he flipped through the sheets of paper, frowning when he realized they were old newspaper articles, probably copied at a library.

He set the folder down beside him on the couch and checked the bag for anything else of interest. The last thing he found was a man's leather wallet and he shoved the things on the table aside so he could slouch down and prop his feet up. He flipped the wallet open, mentally counting the meager amount of money tucked inside one of the folds before moving on to the clear pouch in the center that housed a drivers' license. He stared at the photograph of a twenty-year-old that did bear a striking resemblance to him, but despite the name below the picture he didn't believe that it was some other universe's version of him.

He dug through the last couple of pockets in the wallet and pulled out a few photographs, carefully wrapped in clear plastic to protect them from damage. He dropped the wallet on the cushion beside him and unwrapped the plastic, dropping his feet to the floor and leaning forward once more so he could place the pictures face-up on the surface. There were five of them in all and on a hunch he reached for the folder of copied articles and quickly matched the snapshots to the photographs in the articles.

He picked up the group photo and turned it over to look at the names scrawled on the back, frowning as he looked back at the obituaries lined up on the table. Four of the seven people in the photograph were dead… two of them at least eight years before the picture was taken, and another two wouldn't have made it to seventeen, as indicated on the back. Two of them had moved away several years prior to the picture and the last person in the picture, the one that resembled him and even bore his name, couldn't have been photographed on the date written in feminine handwriting.

His gaze settled on the kid that looked like him - not that he ever would've been caught dead with hair like that - and the small blonde tucked in safely against his side. It was easy to see the boy's protective nature in the way he held her and the way his eyes were watching the person who held the camera. He glanced down at the obituary for the young woman sleeping in the bed behind him and for the first time he began to think that the insanity she had been spouting might be true.

He put everything back the way he had found it and placed the bag under the edge of the bed before he checked the locks on the door again. It was all too much to consider; he had to put the thoughts out of his head until he got home and he could focus on it without any distractions. That thought had him shaking his head as he dropped back down on the couch. Maria DeLuca was going to be trouble and he had no choice but to take her with him because if any of this was true he couldn't risk letting her get away.

*****

Maria awoke by degrees, shifting against the scratchy hotel sheets and freezing when she realized that she could feel them rustling against her bare skin. She knew she had been fully dressed, all the way down to her shoes, when she had fallen asleep, which meant that… she had to grit her teeth at the reminder that he shared the same name and face as her Michael… Michael had undressed her. Perverted jerk probably enjoyed that, she thought indignantly. She lifted the comforter up and glanced down at herself, calming slightly when she saw that she wasn't completely naked.

She sat up, surprised to see that she was no longer handcuffed to the bed, and looked around the room. Judging by the weak light filtering in through the closed blinds it was early and her gaze momentarily settled on the man sprawled out on the couch that was too short for his tall frame. Maybe he did have some redeeming qualities, she mused as she grabbed her bag and crept into the bathroom for a quick shower. She couldn't deny that he had scared the hell out of her the night before, but as she thought back over those few minutes and she recalled his expression as he left the room, she began to wonder if he hadn't scared himself as well.

After a hot shower, she dressed and crept out into the bedroom to place her bag on the bed. She chewed on her thumbnail as she eased around the furniture in the sitting area to get a better look at the sleeping man, curious to see how much he resembled her Michael when he was asleep. His right arm was bent at the elbow, his head resting on his forearm, and his left arm was lying over his stomach… Her eyes traced over the well-defined chest and abdominal muscles, his skin tight and toned, bronzed, probably from working out under the sun without a shirt on, because she couldn't imagine him being so vain that he would spend time in a tanning bed.

"Decide you wanna piece of this?" he asked, his voice gruff from sleep.

Maria jumped when he spoke, his voice unexpected in the early morning stillness. So much for redeeming qualities, she thought, shaking her head. "As tempting as your offer is, I'm gonna pass." She rolled her eyes when he shrugged carelessly and proceeded to scratch himself without the slightest bit of modesty.

"Suit yourself," he muttered. "Your loss." He rolled off of the couch and got to his feet, towering over her as he met her annoyed glare. "Unless you're interested in fuckin' me so I can get rid of this hard-on I'd suggest you move so I can spend some quality one-on-one time with my right hand."

"You're disgusting."

"Deal with it," he tossed over his shoulder on his way to the bathroom. "And while you're out here wishin' I was nailin' you through the mattress, maybe you could get your shit together so we can hit the road. You've already fucked up my schedule and we've got a long ride ahead of us. We're leavin' in fifteen minutes, whether you're ready or not."

Maria gaped after him when he sauntered into the bathroom and turned the shower on but didn't bother to close the door after him. She couldn't believe his audacity and for just a moment she wondered if it was just her, or if he talked to all women that way. He was crude, cruel, and disgusting, and she had a feeling she hadn't even scratched the surface with him yet. She had no idea what she was getting into by going with him to his home, but she had no choice; she had to follow this through to find out why she was here in this universe.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 11 - 4/27

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:06 am

Spacegirl23 –
Michael's not that bad. Granted, I wouldn't really want to be stuck alone in a room with him if he did make threats to become violent, but Maria should see that Michael, on any dimension, would never hurt her.
Michael is frightening. Maria has learned that he had been a true soldier since he was 17, that he was a sniper and has killed people without feeling any regrets. Being with this kind of guy is scary.

DeDe Pr – Michael won’t believe for too long that she is crazy. Maria knows too much and she is sane.

Flamehair -
Hmm, really don't like Michael of this timelife too much At least he seems to believe her a little bit. But I really wonder where this story will go. Will Maria be able to take him to the other timeline?
This Michael isn’t very loveable. But this is a very long story (we are up to part 50, in the writing) so expect to see more bad sides of this Michael. But he has a long way to go so don’t give up on him yet.


Part 11

Maria was exhausted after ten hours on the road; other than the times they had stopped to fuel up, Michael hadn't bothered to offer to stop for restroom breaks or to eat. If he had a single shred of decency he would've at least made the offer to stop halfway through the trip, but, no, he had insisted on driving the entire distance in one day. The few times he had stopped to fuel up she had been forced to watch and listen to him as he graphically assessed every single female in sight.

She leaned with him as he made a right turn, exhausted beyond belief and wanting nothing more than to get off of the motorcycle before she just fell off. She felt him let up on the throttle and she lifted her head up from its resting place against his back to look around, hoping they were stopping somewhere… anywhere. They left the paved road and turned onto a narrow, gravel road, and she wondered where they were going.

Her eyebrows lifted in surprise when she saw the hacienda-style house situated at the end of the gravel road. She didn't have much time to admire the columns that rose up into three arched openings over the flagstone entryway before they were pulling into the garage and the door was closing behind them.

The silence was deafening when he cut the engine and she reached up to rub her ears. He dismounted and stood next to the motorcycle, glaring at her as he motioned impatiently. "You just gonna sit here all day?"

Maria returned his glare and considered kicking him just for spite. She carefully stood and dismounted, snatching her arm out of his grasp when she stumbled and he caught her. Her entire body was humming after so many hours on the motorcycle and she wanted it to stop.

"Fall on the floor next time," he snapped as he jerked his hand back. He didn't know why he had bothered to stop her fall anyway. He grabbed the saddlebags and walked up the two steps that led into the laundry room, dropping them on the washer before continuing on to the kitchen.

He was hyper-aware of the woman moving around the room behind him and her presence in his home, in the very space that he had never shared with another living soul, was making him anxious and irritable. He dropped his keys and wallet on the counter before grabbing a bottle out of the refrigerator and stalking through the house to make sure no one had been there.

Not knowing what else to do, Maria followed him but stopped when she reached the living room. His home was amazing; beautifully furnished, meticulously maintained, and obviously expensive. Aesthetically, it was everything the home she had shared with her Michael hadn't been, but it lacked the most important things that their humble home had been filled with: love and warmth.

She remained silent when her reluctant host walked through the room and went back into the kitchen. She moved around, looking at the things he surrounded himself with, and frowning when she turned a corner and found herself facing a wall decorated with several dozen different types of weapons. A glass front was mounted over the weapons displayed there, showcasing everything from knives to swords and handguns to machine guns. There were framed photographs and medals next to some of the weapons and she recognized Michael's unsmiling face in all of them. Indigo was in most of them and she leaned in closer to look at the military rank bars situated next to a photograph of Indigo propped up in a hospital bed, his left arm heavily bandaged where his hand had been. She glanced back over the other photographs, searching for one where Indigo was wearing a military rank, but she couldn't find any.

"Lookin' for somethin' in particular?"

She jumped, startled when Michael spoke up behind her, his tone annoyed.

"I was just trying to see what this rank means; I don't see it on Indigo's - "

"It's not his," he muttered.

"It's your rank?"

"It is now." He took a drink from the bottle in his right hand before motioning to the military bars. "I took them off of the man responsible for takin' Indigo's hand… after I killed him."

She shuddered at his unemotional statement.

"Why don't we discuss sleepin' arrangements," he suggested, turning to walk down a hall and clearly expecting her to follow him. He stepped into a large bedroom and turned the overhead light on even though there was enough sunlight coming through the windows to illuminate the room.

"This is your bedroom," Maria guessed, standing in the doorway. The room, like the rest of the house, was beautifully furnished and very masculine. His presence was strongest in this room and she could feel his predatory gaze following her every movement as she moved to glance into the bathroom. It was the size of a small country, she thought, shaking her head. "I'm guessing since you're showing off your bedroom, you must not have a guest room?"

"Why would I have a guest room when I don't have guests?" he asked, rolling his eyes heavenward. As if he would bother with people in his own house!

"Well, it's unexpectedly nice of you to offer your bedroom, but I couldn't ask you to sleep on the couch." She whirled around to look at him when he actually laughed, the sound rusty from lack of use.

"I have no intention of sleepin' on the couch. If I hadn't brought you back here you'd still be on the streets of Santa Fe, tryin' to find someone to pull your little scam on." He continued, ignoring her when she opened her mouth to protest. "The validity of your story has yet to be proven and until I have somethin' more concrete than your insane ramblings you're stayin' here, and at the very least you could be grateful and show some fuckin' appreciation!" he roared.

Maria bit back the overwhelming urge to laugh at him. He was unsettled by her presence and he apparently thought that he had come up with the perfect solution; she would be off of the streets and he would be… satisfied. "Okay, so, let me get this straight," she said once she could speak without laughing in his face. "In exchange for the relative safety that being here with you will provide, which I would assume includes shelter, food, and clothing…" She went on at his impatient nod. "Right, so in exchange for these things, I should just… what, exactly? Strip naked, climb up on your bed, and spread my legs for you? And presumably, I would do this anytime the mood strikes you, would that be a correct assessment of your plan?"

Michael scowled at her clinical description. "Yeah, that's basically correct, but it's not like you wouldn't be getting anything out of it. I've been with a lot of women and I've never once left a single one of 'em unsatisfied; you wouldn't be any different."

Bastard! She would show him who Maria DeLuca was. "A lot of women, huh? You're just making this offer sound too good to pass up." His dark eyes were scanning over her body, paying no attention to the fact that she was being sarcastic. A quick glance at his crotch told her exactly where his few functioning brain cells were currently residing and she shook her head in disgust. She walked up to him and her eyes turned to shards of jade ice as she took in his smug expression. "I hope you have a very good relationship with your right hand because you can't honestly think that I have any intention of having sex with you."

That got his attention and his eyes stopped their assessment of her body to focus on her angry gaze. He started to argue when she brushed past him, close enough to touch him, and he was reaching out to stop her when she suddenly turned and kneed him in the crotch.

Maria stared at him when he dropped to his knees, his left hand braced on his thigh as he fought to control his breathing. She hadn't planned to do that; she had just reacted when his hand had wrapped around her wrist.

"That was uncalled for," he wheezed angrily. "I've never fucked a woman against her will and I'm not about to change that."

"Not now, you're not," Maria remarked, pleased to have put him in such torment.

"I'll bet you're a real wildcat between the sheets, but I'll be goddamned if I have any interest in findin' out now." He struggled to his feet and dragged her back out into the living room, shoving her down on the couch before turning to go back to his bedroom. "Welcome to the guestroom."

She took a quick look around the depressing room. "You expect me to sleep out here?"

"You can hang from the fuckin' rafters for all I care," he snarled as he slowly crossed the room. His dick would probably be black and blue after that vicious kick and with the way his luck had been going lately, it'd probably go back on strike just to be spiteful.

*****

Maria paced around the living room, trying to decide whether she wanted to incur his wrath any further by demanding a pillow and a blanket. Her stomach rumbled, reminding her that they had only stopped to eat once - and only because he had been hungry. She glanced back towards the hallway that led to his bedroom before going in the opposite direction and entering the kitchen.

It wasn't quite dark outside but she searched for the light switch and flooded the room with light anyway. The kitchen was more than adequate but she had to wonder why he had every possible modern convenience when it was obvious by the contents of his cabinets and refrigerator that he ate like a bachelor. The refrigerator had a minimum of food; most of the space was taken up by bottled beer, the doors held things like mustard, ketchup, and a jar of jalapenos, and the drawers at the bottom were packed with sandwich things. The freezer was predictable, filled to bursting with frozen pizzas, TV dinners, and other frozen… delights. The cabinets were nearly empty with the exception of several boxes of cereal and a box of taco shells that looked like they were at least a year or two past their expiration date.

"Figures," she mumbled. There was nothing there that qualified as a vegetable; not fresh, frozen, or canned. "Okay, looks like tonight is sandwich night… if he has any bread." She finally found a loaf of bread in a cabinet beneath the island in the center of the kitchen and she placed it on the counter along with sandwich meat and the jar of mustard. She shook her head at the pathetic meal, but it was better than nothing so she ate it and cleaned up after herself before going back into the living room.

Restlessness quickly began to overtake her as she paced the length of the room repeatedly and she paused to stare at the hallway. Curiosity got the best of her and she wandered down the long hall to look around. She was just about to enter what appeared to be an office when the door at the end was jerked open and Michael stalked towards her.

"No one said you could stick your nose in my stuff," he snapped. "Go back in the other room and get some sleep."

"It's barely eight o'clock; I can't go to sleep this early," she argued. She was doing her best to ignore the fact that he was only wearing a pair of boxers, but that wasn't easy to do when he stopped mere inches away and loomed over her. She was sure he was trying to be intimidating, but if he thought crowding her while he was almost naked was going to scare her then he was in for a shock. "Besides, you didn't even give me a blanket or a pillow… how do you expect me to sleep?"

"Why are you snoopin' through my house?" Michael had been trying to get comfortable when he heard the floorboards in the hall creaking and the sound had grated on nerves already stretched too far.

"What've you got to hide?"

Her tone was challenging, further pissing him off. "It's my goddamned house!" he exploded. "Just because I don't want you snoopin' around my house doesn't mean I have somethin' to hide; it just means nothin' here is any of your fuckin' business." His eyes darkened with irritation when she didn't back away from him. "Stop movin' around so damn much; you're makin' noise and I want it quiet!"

"Walking through the house is - "

Michael moved past her, grabbing her arm only after his already-tender crotch was out of kicking range and dragged her back into the living room. "This is your space…" He let go of her to make an erratic motion with his hands that encompassed the couch and its surrounding area. "Right here. You don't need to go anywhere else. If you're incapable of remaining here I'll be happy to solve the problem and cuff you again." He nodded in satisfaction when Maria sat down on the couch and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Do you think I could at least have a blanket?"

Michael's eyes narrowed as he tried to decipher whether or not there was some ulterior motive behind her request. After several minutes he went to retrieve a blanket and threw it on the couch beside her before going back to his bedroom and slamming the door. He didn't normally go to bed this early but he was exhausted after dealing with the lunatic sleeping on his couch and he just wanted the oblivion sleep would hopefully provide.

*****

Maria opened her eyes and looked around in confusion as she tried to get her bearings. It was early, as evidenced by the sunlight just beginning to creep across the wood floor. The events of the day before came flooding back and she forced herself to stay still as she listened for anything that would indicate Michael was awake. The house was silent and she settled back down, pulling the blanket up to her chin and snuggling under it. She was on the verge of falling asleep again when she heard a door slide open and a moment later something hit the back of the couch and her eyes flew open.

"Wake your ass up and make yourself useful," Michael growled as he walked around the couch. "I want breakfast ready by the time I get outta the shower."

"Go to hell."

His right eyebrow quirked at the sleepy snarl and he reached down to grab a corner of the blanket covering her, jerking it away from her body and carrying it with him to his room. "I'll be outta the shower in fifteen minutes and I'm not jokin' about breakfast."

Fifteen minutes later he stepped out of his bedroom and rubbed his hand through his damp hair, frowning when he didn't detect the slightest hint of anything that smelled like breakfast. He stopped at the entrance to the living room and propped his hands on his hips when he saw the woman who was once more sleeping.

"Fuckin' hell," he muttered. He went into the kitchen and opened the cabinets one by one, looking for something large enough to meet his needs. As soon as he located the cooking pot he had been searching for he placed it in the sink and filled it with cold water from the faucet.

He carried it into the living room and stood behind the couch, holding it over her head as he kicked the leg of the heavy piece of furniture. "I'm givin' you one last chance to get your ass up, Wildcat." He smirked when she grumbled under her breath, cursing him and quite possibly threatening him with bodily injury. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

Maria choked and sputtered when she was suddenly doused with cold water… a lot of cold water. She shot into an upright position and used her wet shirtsleeve to get the worst of the water out of her eyes. "What is wrong with you?" she shouted, standing up and looking down at the water dripping off of her clothes.

"I got your ass off the streets and I would appreciate a little fuckin' gratitude!"

"And I would appreciate a hot shower, dry clothes, my Michael, and my own damned reality!" She was screaming at him, but the anger helped push down the pain and sadness that kept trying to surface. "Instead I'm soaking wet and I'm stuck here with you in a reality where you're a cold, mean-tempered asshole! We don't always get what we want!"

"A cold, mean-tempered asshole who could've just left your ass on the streets!" he shouted.

Maria drew herself up to her full height and stared him down. "I want to take a shower," she said, her teeth clenched to keep from screaming again.

"And I want breakfast. I'd prefer sex, but since you won't give it up, I want breakfast." He didn't know why he was participating in such a stupid argument but he wasn't willing to let her win.

"You want breakfast." She nodded slowly and stalked past him, knowing that he would follow simply because he wasn't comfortable with her being anywhere in his home when he couldn't see what she was doing. She jerked the freezer door open and grabbed a frozen pizza, shutting the door with her shoulder as she slammed the box down on the counter in front of him. "Bon appétit, asshole."

Michael stared at the box as she breezed past him, cursing his brain for locking up and not forming a coherent response to her baiting. His fist came down in the center of the box, crushing it and leaving a crater in the middle of the frozen pizza. He followed her back into the living room, stopping to watch her as she carefully placed the leather wallet in her bag before sorting through the few items of clothing she owned.

He could see that he wasn't going to get anything resembling peace until she'd had a shower. "There's only one bathroom; don't move any of my stuff around." He paused at the entrance to the hallway when she didn't move to follow him. "I don't have all day, so if you want a shower you'd better come on."

She hurried after him, but only because she desperately wanted a hot shower. Like every other room in the house, the bathroom was immaculate and she was certain that was most likely due to the time he had served in the military. The room was huge but it somehow shrank the moment she was standing in it with him.

"Cabinets on that side have towels an' washcloths an' stuff," he said, pointing at the cabinets that lined one entire wall below a row of windows that were high enough that there was no reason to worry about anyone looking in. "Cabinets on the wall on the side with the sinks have soap an' shampoo; I ain't got any chick deodorant so you're on your own there. I assume you know how to operate the shower… and the whirlpool jets if you decide to take a bath." He stretched before slouching against the doorframe and grinning at her. "And, uh, if you happen to feel the need to touch yourself while you're thinkin' about me in the shower, go with it."

And he just had to go and ruin the most civil moment since they had met. "Dream on; I have no intention of doing any such thing."

"Liar." He chuckled smugly and backed out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Maria shook her head; his ego was unbelievable! The man had apparently been catered to by every female he had ever encountered and he needed to be brought back down to earth.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 12 - 5/4

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon May 04, 2009 1:29 am

Spacegirl23 – Well, only time will show Michael that Maria is sane and that her story is true.

Flamehair – Don’t expect Michael and Maria to hop into bed and be all fine and dandy. It’s a long road for the both of them.

DeDe Pr – No, this Michael doesn’t paint and Maria won’t have the opportunity to sing.


Part 12

Michael ignored her when she came back into the living room, keeping his eyes focused on the magazine in front of him. He had cleaned up the water dripping off of the couch and pooled on the floor before going through the mail to find something to read, but only because he didn’t want the water to ruin the furniture or the hardwood floor.

“I suppose you only subscribe to that magazine for the articles?”

He looked up from the centerfold he had been admiring when she spoke, her voice laced with disgust. “If I say yes, I’m a liar, and if I say no, I’m just a pervert, right?” He slouched down further in his chair and unbuckled his belt. “Now, you can either go make breakfast or you can stay here and enjoy the show.”

Maria rolled her eyes at the threat; despite the fact that he was completely disgusting and lacked any social skills whatsoever, she was fairly certain that he wasn’t going to follow through with his… show. “What you have in your kitchen doesn’t qualify as food; every single thing in there is lacking in any type of nutritional value. I have no problem cooking in exchange for being here, but I’m not making or eating the crap you’ve got in there. I’ll be happy to make you a grocery list – “

“You can eat what I’ve got here or you can fuckin’ starve.” End of discussion as far as he was concerned.

“Then I guess I’ll starve.” That dumbass! She was starting to get fed up with him.

“Fine. Go throw a pizza in the oven; I’m still hungry.” Michael watched her, fully intending to win this round.

“Did you not hear a single thing I just said?” Maria gritted out. It was taking everything she had to resist the temptation to strangle him.

Michael stood up and threw the magazine down on the coffee table. “I’m goin’ out for a couple of hours; can I trust you to stay put or do I need to cuff you to somethin’?”

“Where do you think I’m gonna go?” she snapped. “You live in the middle of nowhere.”

“Be sure to remember that.”

“Yeah, I’ll do that.” Her gaze slid over him and she smirked as she met his annoyed eyes. “You might wanna remember to not go out in public with your pants undone.”

Michael buckled his belt and cursed long and loud as he stalked around the house gathering his things so he could leave. He didn’t want to forget anything because he had no intention of coming back anytime soon. “I’m leavin’.” He paused in the doorway to stare at the back of her head when she didn’t turn to look at him. “Don’t touch anything, don’t move anything, and don’t do anything while I’m gone.” He hurried out of the house before she could say something that would probably just piss him off anyway, needing to get away before he imploded.

Maria waited until the roar of the motorcycle’s engine died down in the distance before she glanced around, wondering where to start her exploration. She wasn’t worried about his threats; he was a jerk, he was mean, and he hadn’t exactly handled her with kid gloves, but he wouldn’t intentionally hurt her.

She decided to have another sandwich before she set off on her search. She needed to make a grocery list because he would eventually give in, she was certain of it. He didn’t even have the most basic items that people had in their kitchens so they were going to have to start from scratch.

Paper, she needed paper. She went to the room that she had glanced into the night before, having identified it as an office, to look for paper. Of course nothing was out of place, no notebooks lying around or untidy papers in a pile anywhere; everything was carefully put away, out of sight.

It was almost creepy, she thought as she sat in the chair behind the desk. Her Michael was a slob; he was much better than he had been when they had first gotten together, but he still tended to think that things belonged wherever he dropped them. This man’s house was meticulous, nothing was out of place and everything was so… sterile.

She shook her head as she finally found a notebook in the bottom drawer, but it was the sketchbook beneath that caught her attention. She carefully lifted it out, placing it on the pristine surface in front of her and opened the cover. Her Michael liked to sketch and she had been his favorite subject, but these were nothing like his sketches. She flipped through the pages, glancing over what looked like rough maps with notes scrawled in the margins. She had a feeling these were somehow related to his work with the military; they weren’t drawings created out of a passion for the subject, there was no life in them and they lacked any personal influence.

She placed the sketchbook back in the drawer and closed it before leaning back in the chair and using her foot to slowly spin it around. She stared at the computer on the desk when she returned to her original position, knowing instinctively that it would be a waste of time because he would have protected anything of interest with a password. She would come back to it later, once she had spent more time with him; maybe then she’d have a better chance of figuring out his password.

*****

Michael slouched down in a corner of the small diner, his back against the wall as he glanced over the menu. He placed an order with the overweight, middle-aged waitress as he wondered what his life was coming to. He wasn’t generally given to self-analysis, and this wasn’t any different; he just wanted to know how he had suddenly gone from eating what he wanted, having sex when he wanted, and doing what he wanted in his own home, to being run out of his home, eating at the local diner that he normally avoided, and not having sex. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t had sex in a week! He hadn’t been celibate for that long since he had discovered what sex was.

It was all her fault, he thought, annoyed. If she wasn’t there he’d be out getting laid and doing what he normally did. But, instead, he was stuck with some insane woman who was convinced she was from another reality where she had been involved with some guy who was a commander or something in some alien military. Oh, and just to make things more interesting, the guy looked like him.

Apparently that wasn’t enough incentive to make her have sex with him though. He dug into his steak omelet smothered in sautéed onions and fresh jalapenos, as he considered the crazy woman staying with him. He didn’t understand her; it made no sense to him why she wouldn’t take advantage of what he had to offer. Besides, he was the one who would be making the sacrifice… if she ever gave in and agreed to have sex with him they’d probably end up fucking a couple times a day for however long she was there. Definitely his sacrifice, he thought with a nod. He had never lived with a woman and he made it a rule to never get involved for more than a night. He frowned at the word and shook his head. He wasn’t interested in getting involved, he just wanted satisfaction from something besides his right hand, and if she was gonna be there anyway, what was the big deal?

It was obvious from the pictures he had seen that the young couple had been in a sexual relationship, so it wasn’t like she was protecting her virtue or saving herself for the guy. She had to miss sex, right? He had no idea how long it was going to take to figure out what was going on with her alternate reality theory, but the longer it took the more she would miss having sex. If she was right – and he wasn’t saying she was – but, if she was right and the kid in the picture was him… well, if the kid was anything like him in the sack, she would be going through withdrawal soon.

His mood lifted with those thoughts and he dug into the stack of pancakes on the right side of the plate as his appetite reasserted itself. Under normal circumstances he’d have already lost interest in nailing her, but she was a challenge and he never backed down from a challenge. He was confidant he would win; she was eventually going to give in and beg him to fuck her, he just had to wait her out. In the meantime though, he needed to find a woman he could fuck because he didn’t know how long she was gonna hold out and he sure as hell wasn’t interested in forming a long relationship with his right hand.

*****

Maria walked along the back deck, her gaze searching the land surrounding Michael’s house. Curiosity had her walking along a well-worn path to the red barn situated back behind the house. He didn’t strike her as the type of individual who would have animals of any kind; he was too wrapped up in himself and his own wants and needs to have the time or consideration for any other being.

The double doors were locked and a heavy chain was laced through the metal handgrips and padlocked to keep intruders out. She sighed and walked back to the house, bored from hours of searching for anything of interest. She had been all over the house and the garage, but other than his collection of weapons and the stash of porn tapes and magazines on a shelf in his bedroom she hadn’t found anything personal. She had hoped to find something that might give her a clue as to why the Granolith had chosen this place to send her to, but she was beginning to think that it had made a huge mistake.

She turned her head to the side when she heard the rumbling of the motorcycle’s engine as Michael returned home, wondering what kind of mood he was going to be in. He had been gone for hours and the sun had already started its descent in the west, marking the coming end to another day.

*****

Michael slammed the door behind him and grabbed a bottle of beer from the refrigerator on his way into the living room. He had been gone longer than he had anticipated and he still hadn’t gotten laid. Oh, he had found the perfect piece of ass for a quick romp; she had been hot, wet, and ready to go in no time, but his dick had apparently had other ideas. Stupid bitch had even suggested that maybe he needed to see a doctor for his condition.

So, he was in no mood for a confrontation of any kind with the woman sitting in his living room. He paused beside the coffee table and picked up the television remote, aiming it at the flat screen and putting the basketball game on before dropping it and snatching his magazine up. He completely ignored her in favor of slouching down in his chair and propping his feet up on the table.

He watched the game until it broke for a commercial and then turned his attention to the magazine in his lap. He opened it up, his gaze scanning over the glossy pages filled with naked women posed in various sexual positions. He glanced up at the television from time to time and he frowned when he looked back down and found two sheets of paper folded in half between the pages of the centerfold.

He dropped the magazine and opened the papers up, and his temper flared when he realized what it was. “What part of don’t touch anything did you not understand?” he yelled as he slammed his beer down on the table beside him. He was so pissed off he didn’t notice the liquid sloshing out of the bottle and pouring over his hand to pool on the polished surface.

Maria looked up when he started to throw his fit, but she remained silent as she waited to see what he would say next.

“What the fuck is this?” He threw the papers on the coffee table and paced restlessly. “Are you gonna answer or have you suddenly forgotten how to speak?” He snatched the bottle up and took a long drink. “Answer me! Because I somehow doubt you’ve lost the use of your vocal cords since I left this mornin’.”

“What’s it look like?” she snapped. “It’s a grocery list.”

“I told you I’m not goin’ to the store – there’s nothin’ wrong with the food I’ve got here.”

“What you’ve got here barely qualifies as food.”

Michael prowled around the room, the normally spacious area suddenly feeling confined and too small. He was gritting his teeth so hard his head was starting to hurt and he had to force his jaw to relax. “I am not goin’ to the store while there is food in this house and unless you were lookin’ through that magazine for tips I’d suggest you keep your hands off of my stuff.”

“Sticking the grocery list in the centerfold was the best way to get your attention; I have a feeling putting it anywhere else would’ve been a waste of time.”

“Puttin’ it there didn’t make a damn bit of difference because I’m not goin’ to the store.” He glanced down at himself and swore under his breath. Three hours ago he’d had a willing woman who wanted to be fucked and his dick had refused to cooperate, and now there wasn’t a willing woman in sight and he had a raging hard-on.

His eyes darkened when she snorted derisively and folded her arms over her chest as she stared at him. “Why don’t you explain somethin’ to me.”

Maria looked up at him when he cornered her on the couch, his hands braced against the back of the couch on either side of her shoulders. His eyes were so dark they were nearly black, he was breathing hard, and she could smell the beer on his breath. “What?” She cursed her voice for sounding so weak.

“This guy that you think I look like – “

“I didn’t say you looked like him, I said you are him, just in a parallel universe.”

“Yeah, whatever, that’s not important. If I’m supposed to be him then we look alike, right? And you were with him, sexually – “

“That’s really none of your business.”

“Just answer the fuckin’ question! We look alike and you fucked him.”

“Obviously you look alike.” She shook her head at his lack of understanding. “It’s a parallel universe; events may have happened differently, and there may be subtle differences in appearances, but basically – “

Michael held his hands up, requesting silence. “You fucked him.”

Maria had to grit her teeth at his continued use of the graphic phrase. “What Michael and I have goes much deeper than just base, animal – “

“I thought you said he’s dead.”

The reminder hit her like a physical blow and she struggled to keep breathing.

Michael was oblivious to her pain, unused to trying to decipher people’s emotions and too focused on getting an answer to his question to search her reaction to his callous words. “I wanna know why you could fuck him but you won’t fuck me. What’s the difference if we look alike?”

“You want to know why…” Maria shook her head at his stupidity. “You look alike but that’s where the similarity ends,” she shouted, ducking under his right arm and moving away from him. “You’re nothing like him! He was good and kind and decent; he had a horrible childhood and he still grew up to be a man with a strong character and a good heart. Yes, we made love, but I never fucked him.” She glared at him from across the room. “And you can think what you want but I’m not gonna have sex with you just because you look like my Michael. You’re not half the man he was and you never will be.”

Michael turned to watch her, his right hand clenched around the bottle so tightly he was surprised it hadn’t shattered from the pressure. He hadn’t asked her to measure him up against his counterpart who was obviously perfect; all he wanted to know was why she wouldn’t agree to fuck him. “Fine, the guy was a saint and I’m the scum of the earth; all I wanna know is what the big deal is since we look alike?”

“Have you ever had a single meaningful relationship?”

“I have single, meaningful, one-night stands; I have no interest in anything beyond that.” He emptied the bottle and looked at it for a moment.

“I’m not gonna have sex with you; I’m in love with Michael and obviously that’s a concept you can’t wrap your tiny brain around, but I will eventually figure out how to return to my universe and fix things so the accident never happens, and I’m not gonna cheat on him while I’m waiting for that to happen.”

“You’re not gonna cheat on him?” he repeated, confused. “If I’m him, only in another universe, how is that cheating?”

Maria was getting frustrated with this conversation. “I’m not gonna stand here are argue semantics with you all night. I’m not the one-night stand type anyway, so you – “

“You don’t have to worry about that; we can have sex every damn day. I mean, you’re gonna be here anyway, so it’d be convenient.”

“I’m not having sex with you.” What language did she need to speak for him to get it?

“What happens if you’re stuck here? Huh? What then? Say for whatever reason, this trip was one-way and you have no way to return home… what then?” Not that he wanted her to stick around; he enjoyed his freedom too much. She would have to go soon, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have sex in the meantime.

Maria refused to think about his theory. No way. The Granolith had to have a reason to send her here. “You’re not him and even if I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t be with you. You have his name and his face, but you’re everything he isn’t, and my heart could never let me be with someone like you.”

Michael was already pissed off and listening to her tell him how he wasn’t as good as some dead guy and she’d never consent to having sex with him for that reason made him so angry he couldn’t see straight. He paced around for several minutes before he suddenly swept everything off of the end table next to his chair, picked it up, and threw it through the sliding doors that opened out onto the deck.

*****

Michael lay in his bed hours later staring sightlessly at the ceiling in his bedroom, trying to figure out why he had let her get under his skin. He had always had a bad temper and most people realized that and backed down, but she continued to provoke him past the point where anyone else would have known to stop. Now he was going to have to spend the next day going into the city to buy replacement doors and installing them.

It was well after midnight and he hadn’t been able to sleep despite hours of lying in bed surrounded by silence. His mind kept going over the conversation… argument… he still wasn’t sure what category any exchange of words he’d had with the infuriating woman fell into.

She had kept going on about his counterpart who was apparently the model of perfection while constantly pointing out that she was not going to have sex with him. He really wanted nothing more than to call it her loss and forget about it, but his dick had taken an interest in her that he just didn’t understand. Granted, it wasn’t imperative for him to necessarily like a woman to fuck her, but the fact that his dick was refusing to cooperate unless she happened to be around was a new and completely unwelcome experience.

He shoved that thought aside and focused on what she had said about his counterpart in her universe… God, he was starting to buy into this bullshit, he thought. What had she meant when she had said that the Michael in her universe had had a horrible childhood? His childhood hadn’t been any bed of roses but he wouldn’t exactly call it horrible; lonely, maybe, but not horrible. He snorted and shook his head. Please… how bad could the guy’s childhood have been? It couldn’t have been that bad considering her belief that he was such a saint.

Yes, we made love, but I never fucked him… I’m in love with Michael and obviously that’s a concept you can’t wrap your tiny brain around… No, he couldn’t wrap his mind around such an antiquated concept; love was just a word that people used to explain the ridiculous urge to form a relationship based on sexual compatibility. It was such a stupid notion and he didn’t know how seemingly intelligent people allowed themselves to be lured into that trap. Why couldn’t they just call it what it was? Why did they have to go and romanticize it? Did they really think changing the terminology would civilize that animalistic-driven lust and make it somehow more acceptable? That by calling it making love instead of fucking it somehow tamed that base instinct to find satisfaction at every possible opportunity? He shook his head; he didn’t want to think about any of this any longer because it was only making his headache worse.

He rolled over and punched his pillow before settling into a new position and wishing for the oblivion of sleep. He slept much better after having sex but until he figured out how to control his dick that was going to be a problem. Jerking off wasn’t anywhere near as satisfying and after a week of that he was bored with it and he craved the physical exhaustion that came after a long night of fucking.

He finally had to give up after another two hours of tossing and turning and he went out to the shop to find something to work on, hoping it would take his mind off of things. He eventually lost himself in the intricacies of an engine that he was repairing and he forgot all about the woman in his house and all the problems she had brought into his life.

*****

Maria stared at the wood covering the sliding doors the next morning and wondered if he always reacted so violently when things didn’t go his way. He had left the room after throwing the table through the glass doors, returning several minutes later to clean up the glass that was everywhere. Afterwards he had boarded the doors up and gone to his room, slamming the door and not coming out again until morning.

She had heard him leave the house about an hour ago, taking his truck instead of the motorcycle, and not bothering to wake her rudely like he had the day before. The grocery list was still lying on the coffee table and she was certain he had left it there on purpose. He refused to go to the store because he felt there was plenty of food… A slow smile spread over her face as her mind began to formulate a plan. Oh, yeah, he was going to the grocery store tonight.

For the next couple of hours she worked on carrying out her plan while her mind turned over the events of the night before. The sad thing was she didn’t think Michael was kidding or being a smartass; he was genuinely confused and didn’t understand why she wouldn’t have sex with him. It was evident by his behavior that he was used to getting his way and he acted like a spoiled child when he was denied what he wanted.

Once she had finished ensuring that he would have no choice but to make a trip to the grocery store she went to take a shower. She only had a couple sets of clothes and she was wearing her last clean shirt; she had one more pair of jeans, but she needed to find something to wear while she did a load of laundry.

It was the only solution, she thought as she opened the door to the closet in Michael’s bedroom and turned the light on.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 13 - 5/11

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon May 11, 2009 9:09 am

Eva – Hot tempered is the right definition. And it’s like Michael and Maria in the show, hot tempered too.

Tequathisy – Thanks for reading.

DeDe PR – Michael is having a strong opponent in Maria. He never had a woman standing up to him like that before, it’s new territory for him.

Spacegirl23 – Michael on edge? Yes, but that’s because he isn’t used to someone like Maria. Women have a tendency to lie down and… do what he wants them to do, period. That’s not Maria, we all know that.

Flamehair – Oh, don’t worry, Maria won’t hop into bed with Michael. And it will just eat him.


Part 13

Michael walked through the aisles of the large home improvement center, ignoring the bothersome employees who kept stepping into his path to offer their assistance. He knew where he was going, what he was there for, and he had no need of them or their pesky offers to find everything he needed.

He finally reached the far end of the store where dozens of doors in every imaginable design and style were lined up on the wall. He wandered along the aisle until he reached the section that housed the outer doors, quickly locating the ones that he needed and cringing internally when he glanced at the price.

Thirty minutes later, after standing in line behind some moron who couldn’t make up his mind about whether or not he wanted an extended warranty on his purchase Michael got into his truck and backed up to the dock so the doors could be loaded. He contemplated stopping for something to eat but decided against it in favor of getting back home and installing the doors while he still had plenty of daylight. He checked his watch; he could have a cold beer and throw a pizza in the oven while he was removing the frames from the broken doors, eat, and still be finished in plenty of time for the game.

The hardware store he had gone to was nearly an hour from his house and his stomach was rumbling by the time he drove around to unload the doors on the back deck. He wrestled the large crated doors up onto the deck and leaned them up against the house before grabbing a hammer out of the toolbox in his truck and prying the boards away from the house.

He carried the large boards back out to the shop and put them away before going back to remove the old frames. He slid them into the truck so he could put them in the garage until he got around to hauling them off and then went inside to fix something to eat. He stepped through the glassless doorframes and went into the kitchen, barely pausing to look around for his unwanted houseguest.

He pulled the refrigerator door open, scanning the shelves and quickly realizing that instead of filling every available inch of shelf space, the bottled beers occupied only half of the top shelf. He grabbed a beer and uncapped it, tossing the cap into the trash before taking a long drink of the cold liquid and contemplating this new development. He frowned as a thought occurred to him and he opened the door above, unprepared for the sight of an empty freezer, and his left hand tightened on the door as his teeth clenched together painfully.

He slammed both doors shut and stormed through the house looking for her, and he quickly concluded that she was either hiding like an intelligent human being or she was in the bathroom. He shook his head at the thought that she would hide from him and barged into the bathroom, unconcerned with modesty or propriety as he jerked the shower curtain aside.

Michael knew it was a mistake the moment he did it; not because it was wrong, but because the vision of her standing in his shower, naked and wet, was going to fuel his fantasies and keep him awake at night.

“Did you need something?” Maria snapped, forcing her arms to stay at her sides. She wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of cowering or hiding; his intimidation tactics were not going to work on her. She ignored the familiar feelings that rushed through her as his dark eyes slid over her body. Those feelings had only ever been invoked in response to one man and despite appearances he wasn’t that man so she refused to acknowledge them.

Michael’s eyes snapped up to meet her annoyed gaze and he shook his head. “What happened to all the food?”

“What you so generously refer to as food is gone.”

“I can see that it’s gone!” he roared. His body had immediately reacted to her and it was only pissing him off more. “What the fuck did you do with it?”

“Your garbage disposal got quite a workout today,” was her only answer as she turned back to step under the spray, rinsing the soap from her body.

His eyes unwillingly followed the soap’s path as it traveled down her body and after a moment he jerked the curtain back into place and stalked out of the room. In the kitchen once more he took a drink of his beer and set the bottle back down so he could brace his hands on the counter in front of him. He let his head drop forward and he stared at his traitorous dick, angry at its eager response to the woman in his shower. “You might as well hang it up because you’re not getting any attention from me; I’m sick of catering to your obsession with her. So, you can either get yourself under control or you can have an ice-cold shower to calm you down.”

“That’s an interesting approach,” Maria commented, leaning against the doorframe. He was probably so used to being alone that it hadn’t occurred to him that she would overhear his… conversation.

Michael swore loudly and turned to face her; he couldn’t hide his body’s reaction to her so he didn’t even bother trying. He was ready to yell at her for destroying all of his food and emptying out most of the beer, but the words froze in his throat when he saw that she was wearing one of his shirts. He wanted to scream in sheer frustration when he realized that her legs were bare below the hem of the shirt. “What the hell are you wearin’?”

Maria looked down at herself before shrugging her shoulders. “I needed something to wear and since I only have a few things and they need to be washed, it was either this or I was gonna have to walk around naked until I can wash my clothes.”

“Well, you’ve got plenty of fuckin’ time to do laundry because now I’ve gotta go to the goddamned store! Do you have any idea how much money you threw away this mornin’?” He stared at her in disbelief when she took four steps forward and placed the grocery list on the island that separated them. “I’ve already told you that I’m not buyin’ a fuckin’ thing on that list.”

“Then I hope you plan to eat out a lot because if you bring one more frozen pizza or dinner into this house they’ll meet the same fate as the previous residents of your freezer. You cannot eat that crap the way you do and expect to live – “

“I don’t need you tellin’ me what to do,” he snarled. “I’ve made it this long without any outside interference and I intend to go on the same damn way.” He slammed his fists down on the counter, angered by her continued defiance. “This is my house and since I don’t know how long I’m gonna be stuck with you there’re gonna be some ground rules that I expect you to follow.”

“And I suppose all of these rules will benefit you.”

“If the rules were gonna benefit me you’d be fetching my beer, cookin’ my dinner, and we’d be screwin’ our brains out. So, no, obviously, the fuckin’ rules aren’t gonna benefit me.” He had started to pace while he ranted and he hadn’t even realized it.

“First, I do not fetch anything for anyone, and second, I don’t mind cooking for you; it’s only fair since I’m staying here with you – “

“And yet I haven’t seen you cook a single damn thing.”

“Throwing a pizza or frozen dinner in the oven is not cooking and I will not waste my time with it. You go to the store and buy what’s on that list and I’ll be happy to cook.” It was incredible how he didn’t seem to care about his health. Sure, aliens didn’t usually get sick, but with the way he was eating it was only a matter of time.

“Uh-huh, so you’ll earn your keep as long as it’s in a way that suits you; that’s very mature.” This girl had some nerve, telling him what to eat; what’s next, telling him what to wear?

“Says the man who five minutes ago was carrying on a conversation with his penis.”

Michael bristled at her insolent tone and his gaze dropped to the grocery list, reading over the items written there. “You want me to buy you clothes?”

“I only have a few things, but I have no problem making myself right at home and wearing your shirts until I have a little more variety. Oh, and there are also some other things on there that I’ll need; deodorant, body wash, tampons…” She almost laughed at his disgusted expression. “But, I’ll be happy to go with you to make sure you get the right brands.”

“You’re not goin’ anywhere with me,” he growled, snatching the list up and shoving it in his pocket. He walked around the island with the intention of leaving and he crossed his arms over his chest when the woman standing in the doorway didn’t move. “Get out of the way or I’ll leave without puttin’ those new doors up.”

“I am going with you; I can only imagine how completely lost you’d be in the feminine hygiene products aisle, and I’m sure as hell not letting you pick my clothes out.”

“And you plan to go dressed like that?”

“Why don’t you go put the doors up and let me worry about how I’m gonna dress.” And with that said she turned and walked away, leaving him alone in the kitchen with his mouth hanging open.

Michael cursed and finished his beer before disposing of the bottle and walking back out to the deck where the doors were waiting. It took almost two hours before the doors were in place and the crating material was loaded into the truck. He retrieved a bottle of glass cleaner from the cabinet under the sink, along with a roll of paper towels, and sprayed the glass, wiping it until it was spotless.

Once he was satisfied that it was as good as it was going to get he put everything away and locked the doors. Pulling the keys out of his pocket he walked out to the truck and pulled the drivers’ side door open. He took a step back when he noticed the woman sitting against the door on the passengers’ side and he wondered when she had slipped past him to get in the truck.

“Thought you were gonna leave without me, didn’t you?” Maria asked when he slid in behind the steering wheel.

Michael grunted and started the truck, determined to ignore her for as long as possible. He glanced in the rearview mirror and decided to make a quick stop to dispose of the doorframes and the crating materials before going to do something he absolutely detested and did as seldom as possible.

“Doesn’t your stereo work?”

He bit his bottom lip and his right hand clenched on the steering wheel. This was a huge mistake, he could already feel it. He relaxed slightly when she fell silent once more, but he just knew it wasn’t gonna last long.

“Do you have any idea how much pollution a vehicle like this contributes to – “

“Like I give a fuck,” he muttered. “It ain’t even my planet.”

“So, just because you’re not from this planet you don’t care that you’re contributing to the overall destruction of the environment?”

“No.”

“How can you be like that?” She shook her head, dumfounded by his careless attitude towards everyone and everything. Her Michael had cared about those things; what had happened to the Michael of this world?

“How can you talk so fuckin’ much?” he snapped. “Could you just shut up for more than thirty consecutive seconds? God, I haven’t heard a single coherent thought in my own damn head since you showed up.”

“Well, considering the fact that your thoughts revolve around sex, food, and beer, I can’t imagine that you’ve missed too many meaningful thoughts since my arrival.” Maria smirked, happy with her comeback.

Michael turned the stereo on, refusing to engage in the conversation any longer, and he rubbed his forehead in an effort to focus his concentration. He had survived battles, wars, countless dangerous missions, and even capture on several occasions, so surely he could survive one trip to the grocery store with Maria.

He made a quick stop at the landfill to unload the junk and left the back seat folded down, figuring he was going to need the additional space since her list was as long as his right arm. He slammed the back door before walking around to get back in the truck and head for the city; he already knew he wasn’t going to be fortunate enough to make a stop at the small grocery store in the little town he normally went to when he had no other choice but to stock up on food.

Maria looked around in interest when they entered the city limits of Los Angeles, taking in the sights that it had to offer. She glanced at her silent companion when she felt the tension settling over him as he searched for a parking spot in front of the large shopping center. It was early afternoon, but there was activity everywhere; the parking lot was packed with vehicles, and people were on the move, hurrying between the various stores and their cars.

Michael spotted a car backing out near the front of the store and he ignored the woman patiently waiting ahead of him, swerving around her and pulling into the space before the other driver had completely vacated the spot. “We’ll get the clothes first,” Michael said as he opened his door and lowered his left foot to the ground.

“You just cut that woman off, Michael!”

He refused to argue with her and continued into the department store, unconcerned with the rightful ownership of the parking spot. Possession was nine-tenths of the law… well, he was now in possession of it, so that meant it belonged to him.

“This’ll go much faster if you get your ass in gear,” he shouted over his shoulder.

Maria hurried after him, shaking her head at his rude behavior. He was in the process of mapping out the store when she caught up with him, his military-trained mind planning out the best approach to find all of the items she needed in the least amount of time.

“Here’s what we’re gonna do…”

Maria nodded dutifully while he expounded on the best plan of attack and then chose her own direction, pushing the cart past him as she headed toward the section of the store that housed the health and beauty department. He followed after her just like she had known he would, grumbling under his breath about the amount of time it was taking her to pick out the items she wanted.

“How hard can this possibly be?” he finally yelled, annoyed by the people milling around the aisles, crowding him and making him feel claustrophobic. “It’s deodorant, for God’s sake!”

Maria continued to browse through the available selections, unconcerned with his irritated tone or his yelling. She laughed when the other people in the aisle scattered, hurrying to get away from the volatile man. “You’re really too tense.”

“Yeah? Well, a good, hard fuck would cure that.”

“I don’t think sex is your problem,” she said as she finally found an acceptable brand of deodorant and dropped it in the cart.

“Sex isn’t my problem… the lack of sex is my problem.” His hands tightened spasmodically around the cart as he pushed it after her when she moved further down the aisle. “Which wouldn’t be a problem if you’d just – “

“We’ve already been over this,” she reminded him as she dumped an armful of items into the cart. “I’m not having sex with you.”

“Right, I forgot… same name, same face, but I lack the saintly quality that your Michael had.”

The laughter was so unexpected that Maria nearly choked on it. “Saintly quality?” she repeated, certain that she had heard him wrong.

“Well, apparently he was perfect and a saint because I can’t imagine what other reason there is for you to turn down my offer.”

“Michael was far from being perfect or a saint; he had lots of faults, but he was amazing in spite of them. He actually worked to overcome his past…” Her gaze turned to him and she was once again stunned by the clash of similarities and differences between him and her Michael. “I’m sure it would’ve been easier for him if he hadn’t chosen to do better and improve himself, but he did make that choice and he was a better man for it.”

“Whatever. Just get the rest of the shit on this list so we can move on.” His tone was disgruntled and his expression didn’t invite further discussion.

Maria finished gathering up the necessary items in that area of the store before following him to the clothing department. She was surprised when he actually took an interest in the clothes, but as soon as he focused on undergarments that were made for seduction she rolled her eyes and went searching for comfort.

“What’s wrong with this?” he muttered, holding up the latest garment she had rejected.

She shook her head at the teddy he was obviously partial to and tossed a couple of packs of functional undergarments into the cart, along with a pack of socks.

“Well? What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing, if I was interested in dressing like a slut.”

Michael frowned at the barely-there teddy, intrigued by the revealing slits cut into the wispy fabric in the most interesting places. “I don’t see what’s wrong with it,” he grumbled, hanging it back on the rack.

“You’re not picking out my underwear, Michael; you won’t be seeing it anyway.”

The reminder only pissed him off and he followed her through the maze of clothes racks until she stopped to browse. His attention was soon drawn to the racks where the more daring clothing was on display and he wandered over to do some browsing of his own. He had never been in a position where he had to shop for a woman, but this actually wasn’t so bad, he thought as he picked out a mini-skirt that was so short he wasn’t sure it would actually cover anything and a tee shirt with a plunging neckline.

“I’m not wearing that, either.”

“Look, I’m payin’ for all this crap so I think I should have some say in what you buy.”

“Then pick out something that was designed for comfort because I’m not wearing that.” She should have expected him to focus on the shortest skirts and the sexiest underwear, but he had another think coming if he thought she was going to wear any of it.

“What the fuck’s wrong with it?” Michael looked at the skirt, not understanding her objection to it. It was perfect, in his opinion.

“I’m not some little whore who’s gonna parade around your house dressed like a hooker because I’m just waiting for you to bend me over the nearest piece of furniture.”

Michael threw the clothes on the floor and stalked off, allowing Maria to finish shopping in peace and quiet. Nearly an hour later she dropped the last item in the cart and went to look for him. His childish reaction to being told no was something she was still getting used to; it was such a contrast to his usual behavior and she wondered how many people had seen this side of his personality. She had no doubt that plenty of people had been witness to his hostility, anger, and bad temper, but she couldn’t imagine that many had seen the petulant side he had exhibited several times since she had met him.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 14 - 5/18

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon May 18, 2009 12:56 am

Spacegirl23 – Yes, Michael and shopping, imagine that! Michael hates mall but here, he has no choice.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading.

Eva – Michael and food, it’s a love story.

DeDe PR – yep, shopping and Michael, two words which don’t belong together.


Part 14


She walked through most of the large store before she found him, stretched out on a bench in the gardening section, asleep. A tall, skinny kid, probably seventeen or eighteen years old, was lurking close by and Maria had a feeling that he had been on the receiving end of Michael's temper.

"You here to get him?" he asked nervously.

"Yeah." She smiled when the kid let out a relieved breath. "Was he rude?"

"Well, I tried to tell him he couldn't just sleep on the merchandise and he threatened to remove my balls and shove them down my throat, so yeah, I'd say he was rude."

Maria bit her lip and refrained from commenting when the kid's voice squeaked, knowing he was doing his best to sound indignant. "Why don't you go back to whatever you were doing and I'll get him out of your department, okay?"

"No problem!"

She really thought about finding a case that housed cold bottled water and just dousing him with it, but they still had to go grocery shopping and he was already in a bad mood, so she settled for moving behind the bench and giving it a hard shove. She stepped back and leaned on the cart when he jerked upright and grabbed the back of the bench to keep from falling on the floor.

I should've known, he thought as his gaze quickly zeroed in on Maria. "What the fuck do you want now?"

Maria smiled sweetly. "Your credit card."

"Does that mean you're finally done? We can go now?"

"Yes, we can go… grocery shopping."

"Whatever, let's just go."

Maria followed him to the registers, doing her best to ignore his grumbling. She had a feeling it wasn't going to get any better at the grocery store. More than an hour later, she had proof that she was right; he had made snide comments about everything, insulted and offended numerous shoppers, and he was currently eating donuts out of a package that he had opened without paying for it.

She was discussing the freshness of the different types of fish displayed in the seafood case with one of the employees while Michael leaned on the cart and stuffed his face with junk food.

"I'm not eatin' fish," he announced after she made her selection and the man behind the counter moved to wrap the fish in heavy white paper.

"Fish is good for you, and you will eat it." She shook her head and wrinkled her nose in disgust when he turned to look at her, saluting her with the donut in his hand before sticking his tongue in the center and wiggling it around suggestively. "Are you aware of how juvenile that is? No woman is going to find that the slightest bit erotic."

He shrugged carelessly.

"Michael Guerin!"

Maria cringed when a tall, slender brunette slinked up to him and quickly struck up a conversation. It was obvious by the expression on his face that he didn't have the slightest idea who she was, but he was playing right along and the woman was totally buying his act. She stalked over to the cart and slapped the wrapped fish down right in front of him.

"Maria!" he yelled, irritated at the interruption. "What the fuck?"

Maria tried to control her irritation with him and the situation, but it was no small task. A woman he had fucked, what a big surprise. Not that it was any of her business. Nope, not at all. "That takes care of all the meat; we need to move on to the fresh fruits and vegetables."

"I'm busy," Michael snarled. He turned back to the other woman and sized her up. Nope, didn't ring a bell. Oh, well, no problem; he'd fuck her a second time. A man had needs and if that Maria girl wasn't gonna help him out in that area, it wasn't like there was a shortage of hot chicks… any chick would do.

Unaware of Michael's uncharitable thoughts about her, the poor girl hesitated before speaking. "I'm sorry," the woman said, her gaze bouncing between them. "You're - "

"Nobody," Michael interrupted, shoving Maria away. "She's nobody important… she's just uh… she's a…" He glanced at the cart as he searched for an explanation for her presence. "Nutritionist. Yep, nobody important."

"Uh-huh," the woman said, sounding uncertain. "Well, you have my number; don't lose it in the wash next time, okay?"

He grinned like a fool and his gaze slid over her appreciatively as she turned to walk away. He looked down at the tiny slip of paper she had placed in his hand. "I won't, Tina."

"I won't, Tina," Maria mocked, drawing his attention.

"Jealous?" he taunted as he crumpled up the piece of paper and threw it on the floor.

"Of what? My Michael wouldn't have given a cheap tramp like that the time of day." She snorted. "That white trash makes Courtney look a winner, and you have no idea how much work that takes. You don't even know who she was, do you?"

"Who cares? She remembers me; that's all that matters." Michael thumped his chest. Ooooh, yeah, she remembered him! He was a sex god; women would kill to get in his pants. He was THAT good.

Maria couldn't help feeling nauseous as she watched him parading around like a rooster. How could that… that copy of her Michael be so repulsive? He couldn't possibly share the same DNA as her Michael, it just was not possible. There was something off, here! "You're disgusting. Now, come on, we need to get the fresh produce before we leave."

"I need a bag of chips." He yawned in disinterest and turned back in the direction they had already covered to retrieve a bag of chips. "I'll catch up in a minute."

Maria rolled her eyes and looked over her list, frowning when she noticed that they hadn't picked up salad dressing, trying her best to forget the pig accompanying her. She checked to make sure they weren't missing any other items before walking back a couple of aisles and scanning over the variety of flavors available. She was reaching for two separate kinds when she noticed Tina standing at the opposite end of the aisle.

"Tina, right?" she asked as she neared the other woman.

The woman looked up, startled. "Oh, hi, you're Michael's… nutritionist, wasn't it?"

Maria was jumping for joy inside because Michael's weak explanation for her being with him provided her with the perfect revenge. "Yes, well, that is part of my job as his nurse."

Tina frowned. "His nurse? You don't look like a nurse."

"No, but he requested that everything remain as normal as possible for appearances' sake. He doesn't like to seem weak," she said, her voice low as if she were sharing the information in confidence.

Tina opened her eyes wide, interested. Juicy gossip! "He's sick?"

Maria looked to her right and then to her left, as if she was watching for anyone who might be listening to her. She got close to the other woman and spoke in a low voice. "Normally, I wouldn't divulge this type of information regarding a client, but it seemed as though you had a past relationship… am I correct, or was I reading the situation wrong?"

Starting to get worried, Tina corrected Maria. "I wouldn't exactly call it a relationship; we just hooked up for a night."

Maria nodded and patted the other woman's arm in a consoling gesture. "Don't feel bad; I'm afraid there are simply too many women out there who have had one-night stands with him, and he didn't remember any of their names either. It surely would have made it easier to find them and let them know that they should definitely get tested."

Tina completely forgot that she had just been insulted when she heard the words get tested. "Tested? For what?"

Maria looked around under the guise of ensuring their privacy, once again. She felt like an actress on stage and she was starting to love that. She smiled inside at what she was about to reveal to the brainless girl. "Trichomoniasis," she whispered. Thank God for Sex Ed class in high school. "I'm afraid for Michael it may already be too late; in rare cases it causes impotence in men." Okay, she had just thrown that in because he was being an asshole and she was getting tired of women coming up to him because they remembered how good he was between the sheets. "It's important to get tested if you've had sex with him any time within the last two years."

Gasping, Tina grasped her shirt as she tried to not panic. Oh, God, that son of a bitch had infected her! She was going to die, oh, God! She breathed deeply for a few seconds and asked the kind soul who was going against the medical rules to give her a chance to live. "Can you even say this stuff?" she whispered back.

Maria shook her head sadly to indicate that she shouldn't be revealing such privileged information. "Would you rather not know? Technically, no, I'm not supposed to tell you any of this, but it's so important to get treatment if you've been exposed. Michael's in therapy for his… problem, but there's no guarantee that he'll recover from his infection."

Tina practically ran from the store and Maria walked back to the cart, dressing in hand. She was smiling widely. She sooo deserved an Oscar for her performance! If she was lucky, Tina was a chatter-box and was going to blab "the truth" in any bar Michael used as his hunting ground when he was on the prowl. Ha, let's see if he could get laid with that rumor going around, Maria thought with glee. She didn't feel guilty in the least. Michael had used women like Kleenex for years, and she, Maria DeLuca, was going to avenge the fairer sex.

Michael was already there, unaware of Maria's most recent stunt. He was leaning on the cart and eating from an open bag of potato chips. "You are aware that grocery stores do not appreciate it when people do that."

"Like I fuckin' care. I'm gonna pay for it anyway, so what's the big deal when I eat it?"

"Your behavior is despicable." Says the woman who just told a horrible lie about him, she thought with a wide grin. She really didn't feel bad about it though, not even a little; he was a bastard and he deserved it.

"How come you look like you know somethin' I don't?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Maria said as she headed down the last aisle.

"Uh-huh," he muttered, his tone disbelieving. He pushed the cart along behind her, and shook his head when she began debating between iceberg, romaine, and some other kind of lettuce. "I'm not eatin' that. I already told you I don't eat any of this crap."

"It won't kill you to eat healthy for a change, Michael."

"Not eatin' it," Michael replied, full of self-confidence. Maria might be hot, but no hot girl was going to force him to abandon the food he loved so he could eat fish and salads.

She chose to ignore him and selected several different varieties of bell peppers, fresh jalapenos, onions, and tomatoes. She collected a large bag of potatoes and studied the squash before deciding she didn't like the way it looked. She reached for a cucumber, checking the skin as she squeezed it to make sure it was firm, and she froze when she felt his eyes on her. She knew what was coming, she just knew he wouldn't be able to resist.

"I'm bigger," he announced proudly.

She rolled her eyes to the heavens above. Disgusting, he was just disgusting. "God, do you think you could muzzle your filthy mouth for five minutes?"

"Doubtful." He shuffled along behind her when she started bagging different fruits and he frowned when she reached for a kiwi. "I'm not payin' for that," he denied.

"Have you ever tried it?" Maria asked.

"It's got fuckin' hair all over it!" Michael protested vehemently. Who would eat fruit with hair on it, for God's sake?

"We're buying it," she snapped, shoving half a dozen in a plastic bag and placing it in the cart. She went after the peaches next just because he had pissed her off. "I suppose you don't eat these either."

"They're furry." What was she going to suggest he add to his diet next? Sushi?

"Good, we're getting half a dozen of them too," Maria decided, unmoved by Michael's protestations.

An unsure voice interrupted them. "Um, excuse me… ma'am, sir?"

They both turned to look at the clerk who had approached them, shouting "What?" at the same time.

Swallowing audibly, the poor man tried to appear firm. Never show your fear, right? "You're causing a scene and it's making some of the customers uncomfortable. I'm gonna have to ask you to - "

"We're leaving," Maria said, grabbing Michael's arm and pushing him towards the cart before he could get into an argument with the clerk. "We've been in here for over two hours; do you really wanna have to come back and do this again?"

That question succeeded in reining Michael in before he could do anything else that would result in them getting kicked out of the grocery store without making a purchase; he wasn't interested in repeating this experience any time soon.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 15 - 5/25

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun May 24, 2009 11:31 pm

Mary Mary – The Granolith… hmm, there was a little hint about the Granolith early in the fic. Something that might have appeared as not important but let’s just say that the Granolith is using Maria for its own advantage.

Spacegirl23 – This Michael has an unhealthy way of life. No women there to teach him stuff. Well, Maria is there, thank god!

Eva – Thank you, glad that you found this part funny. This fic is mostly angsty but it has some funny moments.

DeDe Pr – Maria the nurse… Michael had it coming! He started it.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading and congratulations on your baby boy.


Part 15

Michael pulled the truck into the garage and sat there for a moment before he turned the key and cut power to the engine. He had to get out for a while, had to get away from this woman and her constant chatter.

"I'm goin' out," he said suddenly.

"Where're we going?" Maria asked, deliberately misunderstanding him. He had been silent since they had made their way out of L.A. and it was beginning to grate on her nerves.

"We aren't goin' anywhere. You had to have all this shit so do somethin' with it." He got out and slammed the door before stalking around the front of the truck, unlocking the door that went inside the house before going over to the motorcycle.

"Where're you going?" Maria wondered why she was even asking such an absurd question. She was starting to get to know this Michael, and the man had sex on the mind 24/7.

"Someplace where I can get laid."

Bingo, Maria thought unhappily.

Michael glanced at her as he checked his pockets for the keys to the motorcycle. "Preferably by a woman who can use her mouth for somethin' besides talkin' all the fuckin' time."

That son of a… pod! She watched him, eyes narrowed. He pissed her off even more than HER Michael had and she hadn't thought that anyone could achieve that goal. "I guess you should hurry then; I'd imagine the hookers should be making their way to the street corners pretty soon."

He snorted derisively and watched her as she walked around to open the back to get to their purchases. "I don't do hookers."

Ha, she wouldn't bet her life on that! "No? Why? Can't find one willing to work with what you've got to offer? I'm sure with enough money a hooker would be willing to overlook any inadequacies you have."

He stalked to the back of the vehicle to face her and she shoved an armful of sacks into his arms. "There is nothin' inadequate about my dick!" he shouted.

"Oh." She pretended to ponder that for a moment before nodding and walking into the house. "So, it's performance anxiety then," she guessed.

"What?" He hurried after her and unloaded the bags on the island in the center of the kitchen. He folded his arms across his chest and glared at her where she stood across from him. "Performance anxiety?"

"You know..." She held her right hand up, pinky finger extended toward the ceiling and as he watched she slowly lowered it. "You're all into it and then… nothing."

Michael hurried after her when she walked back out into the garage. "I do not have a problem maintaining a fuckin' erection!" You don't have a problem when she's around, his mind taunted. Any other woman… you know what's gonna happen.

"Hmm, so if it's not a problem with size or your ability to…" she smirked, "keep an erection, it must be something else." She sighed and shook her head as she piled more sacks into his arms before gathering up an armful for herself and going back inside. "Yeah, that only leaves one thing."

His jaw ached from grinding his back teeth together. "What are you talkin' about now?" he snapped as he unloaded the groceries on the counter.

Maria leaned back against the refrigerator for a few moments. "Endurance, stamina, the ability to - "

"Wait just a fuckin' minute! Are you suggesting that I shoot my load too quick?" he shouted, his face flushing red with anger.

She shrugged. "I'm just saying that women tend to prefer a man who can make it to the finish line."

"I don't have any of those problems," he denied, following her out to the truck for more groceries.

"You sure about that?" Okay, her Michael had never had that problem, but that didn't mean that this Michael couldn't have it. Oh, who was she fooling? All those women sniffing around him, the way he was constantly parading around and bragging about his sexual exploits; they were all indicators that he was as good as her Michael in bed. Or out of bed… or outdoors… or… damn it, no more thinking about Michael and sex. It was only gonna cause problems. It wasn't any of her business, but she wasn't able to focus on the rational part of her brain.

"I've never left a woman unsatisfied and I've got the stamina of a fuckin' racehorse," he muttered as he pulled the bags closest to the front out and handed them to her.

Maria burst out laughing. A race horse? Did Michael even know that this wasn't the best comparison he could've come up with? Nope, he didn't know. Stupid alien. "Considering a horse race lasts for all of two minutes, I think I would've used a different analogy. Seriously, Michael, if you're bragging about holding out for two whole minutes…"

Michael used every trick he had learned in his job to avoid strangling her. She was insulting him on purpose. He knew it, and he was still there, playing her little game. Well, no more; he had a mission and he didn't want to be late. "What do you want? A list of references?"

"Oh, I'd love to see you put that list together." She shut the back door with her left shoulder and followed him back into the house. "Tell you what, I won't say another derogatory word about your pathetic taste in women or your ability to satisfy them if you can tell me the name of the woman who gave you her phone number at the store."

"The woman at the store?" He frantically searched his mind, trying to remember who she was talking about.

Maria laughed. "See, you've already forgotten her."

Michael shot a dark glare in her direction. "Just give me a minute, would you? I just need to remember what she looked like; there were a lot of fuckable women out today."

Maria rolled her eyes. "The one who came up to you while you were stuffing your face with chocolate donuts… donuts that I know you didn't pay for."

He shrugged carelessly, his mind desperately trying to identify the woman so he could get Maria off of his back. "I saw no reason to pay for an empty box."

"You emptied it!"

Michael waved his hand, unconcerned with his theft. "Not the point."

"How is that - " She shook her head. "You're right, that's not the point. The point is you have no idea what her name is."

So? He was a guy, not some hero out of a Harlequin romance novel, for God's sake. He'd bet she even read that kind of shit. "Actually, the point is that I don't give a fuck what their names are. I'm not gonna remember them later, and before you lecture me on that, they know the score goin' in. I don't make false promises and I don't waste my time tellin' 'em lies just to get between their legs. If any woman I'm interested in fuckin' can't deal with the rules, it's her loss; I can always find another hot piece of ass."

Not for the first time, Maria wondered if her Michael would have eventually turned out like this man, had he not been raised with Max and Isabel, and if he had never met her. It was so difficult to picture the guy who had learned to dance for her spouting these words. She didn't want to think that he could have turned out this way. Her Michael was special, he had something… more, something this Michael was lacking. A real soul, maybe. "Have you ever cared about any woman you've ever had sex with?"

"What?" He wasn't paying attention to her question; he was trying to figure out how she had managed to get him to carry most of the groceries into the house when his intention had been to leave without so much as lifting a single sack.

Gritting her teeth, Maria repeated her question. "I asked if you've ever cared about any woman you've ever had sex with?"

"Don't need to care about 'em to fuck 'em," he said as he pulled his keys out of his pocket and crossed the room on his way to the garage. "Don't wait up."

"Damn it," Maria muttered when she heard the motorcycle engine roar to life. For just a moment she thought she had sidetracked him enough that he was going to forget his intentions to go looking for a woman to have sex with. She should've known better - the man had a one-track mind and right now his only concern was getting laid.

What was she going to do if he brought the tramp home with him? she wondered as she put the groceries away. Knowing Michael he'd probably expect her to get up and make breakfast for him and whatever piece of slutty trash he brought home.

No, she decided, he wouldn't bring women to his home; there was no evidence that anyone had ever been there. Besides, bringing a woman to his home would send the wrong message; it might make them think that he was interested in prolonging their… arrangement, and considering his aversion to anything resembling relationships, he wouldn't take that risk.

She put the groceries away before carrying the rest of the sacks into the living room and dropping them on the couch. Where was she going to put her clothes? She briefly considered hanging them in the closet in Michael's bedroom but just as quickly discarded that idea. As much as she enjoyed pissing him off on a constant basis - and she was certain that encroaching on his closet space would do just that - she needed her own space for her things.

She walked through the house until she reached the room that housed his home office. Standing inside the room she looked around for several minutes before walking back out into the living room, mentally comparing the space. In the office once more, her gaze traveled over the walls and she crossed the floor to open the door that she hadn't noticed before.

A walk-in closet, she mused. It wasn't as large as the one in the master bedroom, but it was more than adequate... and even better than that, it was empty. She stepped back out and looked around the room with renewed interest as she considered the possibilities.

*****

Michael entered the bar he frequented when he had time off, brushing the dust from the road off of his jacket before shrugging out of it. He maneuvered his way through the crowd and found an empty spot at one end of the bar, snarling at the man sitting on the next stool when he turned and started to make drunkenly polite conversation. The drunk stumbled off in search of someone who would listen to him and Michael placed his jacket on the stool to prevent anyone else from sitting next to him.

"Well, you're as pleasant as always," Jordan said as she placed a bottle of his beer on the counter in front of him. She studied him carefully, feeling the tension that was radiating off of him, and she shook her head. "Do not start a fight in here, Guerin."

"Who said I was gonna start a fight?" he muttered darkly. That Maria girl was really something. How had his double put up with her? Now, that was a mystery.

"You're strung too tight and you haven't even looked at a single woman since you walked in; put those two together and it means you're in here looking for a fight. The last time that happened it took several days to fix all the damage you did."

He wasn't in the mood to be analyzed. "I paid for everything, didn't I?"

Jordan snorted. "You broke everything in the first place, and the only reason you paid for the repairs is because I told you I'd stop feeding you if you didn't."

He shrugged, not bothering to deny it. His dark eyes traced over her features, noticing, probably for the first time, that she had green eyes. "How come we never hooked up?"

Jordan smiled. "Besides the fact that I'm not into men?"

"Well, obviously besides that." He grinned unrepentantly. "I could change your religion in one night, Jordan."

She sized him up, her expression pensive. "You think you're that good?"

"I know I'm that good," he corrected her.

Jordan shook her head. Men and their vanity. "I'd hate to be the one responsible for bruising your ego because no matter how good you are, you're not about to change my preferences. I've played both sides of the fence; you wouldn't be the first man I've ever fucked."

"Maybe not, but I'd sure as fuck be the best thing you've ever had between your legs," he said as he tipped his bottle back to finish his beer.

Jordan poured herself a shot and tossed it back as she contemplated his arrogant offer; she was single again since her ex had dumped her for a truck driver who had been just passing through and she hadn't been laid in a couple of weeks. She wasn't interested in anything with strings and she knew he would never want a relationship of any kind or the emotional attachment that went with it.

"Tell ya what," she said as she poured another shot for herself, "if I don't get a better offer before closing, you're on."

Michael hid his surprise at her response and saluted her with the bottle in his right hand. "You won't regret it," he said smugly.

"Not if all the stories I've heard are true," she said with a wink. "You want your usual for dinner?"

"Yeah, and tell Cal to double the order; I feel like I haven't eaten in a week." His mood lightened as he watched her walk away and he felt anticipation curling low in his belly. He was getting laid tonight! He didn't know if it was the combination of blond hair and green eyes or something else and he didn't care - he was getting laid and that was the only thing that mattered.

*****

Michael unlocked the door and entered the dark house, immediately feeling the difference in the atmosphere. The house was normally silent and felt empty, but there were subtle sounds that indicated the presence of another person. He dropped his keys and wallet on the counter in the kitchen before looking through the cabinets and the refrigerator. He had never seen so much real food in his house before; he just hoped Maria knew how to cook all of it.

For the first time in more than a week he felt like he had some control over his life. When he had left the house earlier he had been ready to explode; he had been pissed off, sexually frustrated, and ready to fly into a violent rage at the slightest provocation. Whatever had been causing the mental/physical block had taken the night off and his dick had behaved normally for the evening.

He was exhausted and all he wanted was a hot shower and a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. All of the frustration and aggression that had been building to unmanageable proportions was back under control and all it had taken to achieve that was some very energetic fucking.

He pulled his tee shirt off over his head, wincing when it pulled against his chest. Body shots had a tendency to leave a sticky mess behind, he thought as he made his way to his bedroom so he could wash it off.

He glanced at the shadowed lump on the couch as he walked through the living room. He heard her breathing pattern change and he knew she was awake, but instead of rubbing her nose in the knowledge that he had gotten laid he moved on to his room and shut the door behind him.

He had succeeded in his mission to get laid, Maria thought as she glanced at the clock on the face of the stereo system. It was after three in the morning and he had the audacity to come home without bothering to shower first. Even from across the room he reeked of alcohol and sex, and in that moment she hated him.

She pulled the blanket tighter around her and shoved the thought of Michael with another woman out of her head. She wasn't going to think about it because it was only going to make her angry and she needed to keep her thoughts focused.

Sleep didn't come easily, and when it did finally welcome her into its dark embrace it was anything but restful.

*****

Michael came in early the next morning after doing his exercises and making his five-mile run. He stripped his tank top off and mopped the sweat off of his face as he made his way through the living room on his way to the shower. He felt ridiculously good as he walked through his bedroom door but he felt his good mood begin to evaporate when he realized that the bathroom door was shut.

He could hear the shower running and he opened the door without hesitation. "You've got five minutes to finish up or we're showerin' together," he shouted.

Exactly five minutes later the door opened and she breezed by him wrapped in one of his big, fluffy bath towels. "I see you haven't been able to wash the stench of whore off of yourself yet," she muttered on her way out of his bedroom.

"Why do you have to be such a bitch about my fuckin' sex life?" He followed her into the living room. "I don't wanna hear one more word about what I do or who I do it with, do you understand? Just because you're sexually frustrated, don't take it out on me!" he snapped. "I offered and you refused, so if you're all tense and bitchy because you're not getting laid that's not my fault and I don't deserve to be punished for it."

Oh, someone was touchy this morning, Maria thought, realizing she had hit a nerve. "Did you pay for sex last night?"

"No," he denied, "I did not pay for sex last night."

"Maybe you should've because if you spent the night having sex you shouldn't be this easy to provoke so soon after. Which leads me to believe that it wasn't quite as good as you've made yourself think it was," Maria said, crossing her arms over her chest and watching him. Ooooh, yeah, she was right, he was bragging to make up for an unsatisfactory experience. Now that was hilarious, she thought as a big smile illuminated her face.

"Fuck off." He stalked back into his bedroom and slammed the door, stripping the remainder of his clothes off and getting into the shower. Okay, he admitted as he turned the water on and stepped under the spray, he hadn't exactly changed Jordan's religion the night before and chances were good that he probably wouldn't get another shot at it after his less-than-stellar performance. But, he had been trying to focus on the positive side of things and just enjoy the fact that he had gotten laid. He should've known that Maria was gonna say something and ruin it for him.

Jordan had thankfully had enough tequila in her by closing time that she hadn't exactly laughed in his face afterwards, but that might have been preferable to her informing him that she was planning to stick with women from now on. It had been easier to simply console himself with the fact that he had gotten laid at all before Maria had put her two cents in. Before she had added her opinion, he was content to ignore the other facts; Jordan hadn't been drunk enough to confuse good and bad sex, she wasn't a die-hard lesbian (although she was probably rethinking her stand on that choice now), and while he had gotten off, eventually anyway, he hadn't been able to do the same for her.

He got out of the shower and dried off. "You're stressin' over nothin'," he muttered to his reflection in the mirror over the sink. "You knew goin' in that Jordan prefers chicks anyway and it was your first time…" he snorted at that. "It's the first time you've had sex in a while and considerin' all the suggestions Maria put in your head before you left the house yesterday you still got laid and you got off." He pointed at his reflection. "That is all that matters. Besides, you got it up and you kept it up…" He glanced down at his dick. "And that is all you get credit for," he snapped. "I don't know what the fuck you were doin'; were you completely blind last night? You do realize it's your job to find and hit a woman's G-spot, right? So, on top of Maria's insults regarding our performance, fuckin' a lesbian - because, yes, that's what we've come to - you have to go and ruin it by not getting Jordan off. You do realize that there is not enough alcohol in the world for her to forget that pathetic display of sexual prowess, don't you?"

He shook his head and turned his attention back to shaving. "The fault for last night can be placed in several different places, but just so you know, I take no responsibility for it. It's your fault for not payin' attention, Jordan's fault for bein' a lesbian, and Maria's fault for all that bullshit she was spoutin' yesterday." He wiped the excess shaving cream off of his face and stared at his reflection for a long minute. "All of it's her fault," he said slowly. "Shit's been goin' wrong ever since she showed up." He ignored that worrisome little voice in the back of his mind, reminding him that this problem he'd been having had started before her arrival. "Yep, it's all her fault. But, I'm not lettin' you off the hook," he muttered, glancing at his dick once more. "For whatever reason, you've become obsessed with her and you're not getting the message that she's not the slightest bit interested in you. Okay, that's not true, but she's in denial, and until that changes you're not gonna be seein' any action on that front."

Michael crossed his bedroom to pull a set of clothes out of the closet and toss them on the bed. "We're not gonna think about last night except in the context that we got laid; the rest of it is unimportant, and as such, is not worth thinkin' about." He pulled on a pair of tan cargo pants and picked the tee shirt up, carrying it with him to the kitchen.

The scent of breakfast food cooking had his mouth watering and his stomach grumbling and he decided to be generous and not pick a fight since she was finally cooking. Not to mention there was no telling what she'd do to the food if they got into a fight while she was cooking.

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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 16 - 6/1

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:10 am

Spacegirl23 – Only Maria could disorient Michael, could make him question left or right, north or south. She has come barreling into his world and now the world is spinning on its axis!

Mary mary – Michael and his best friend… his dick, yep, expect more confrontations between the “two friends”.

Eva – Thanks, it was funny to see Michael talking to mini-Michael.

Tequathisy – Thanks, we aimed for this part to be funny so it’s good that it was a success. About who to root for… the ending might surprise you.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading. Congratulations on your baby boy, by the way.

DeDe Pr – Maria will have some time in the future to think about the reason why the Granolith sent her there. But right now, dealing with Michael, she doesn’t really have time to think. Michael is such an overwhelming kind of person!


Part 16

Maria knew making the foods her Michael enjoyed was a risk; the Michael she was stuck with in this universe might not like the same things. He certainly didn't act the same or treat her the same way, but she knew from watching him that he liked to eat so it was one risk she was willing to take.

She slid the last batch of bacon onto a paper towel to drain the excess grease and washed the frying pan before setting it aside to finish chopping the fresh vegetables for the omelets. Red and green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and fresh jalapenos were sliced and diced, and then sautéed before being set aside while she cracked the eggs into two separate bowls. She reached for the bottle of tabasco sauce she had picked up the day before and she paused as she stared at it. How many variations had she tried before she had finally gotten the amount just right? she wondered. Michael had teased her through every single success and failure as she had learned how to cook foods to suit his hybrid preferences.

Her Michael had been a constant in her life; at work, at school, and everywhere in between. He had liked to cook for her on occasion, trying out new recipes and adding his own twist to them. Her mind drifted back to the last time he had cooked for her, making an attempt to recreate some exotic recipe he had discovered…

"C'mon, Michael, just let me see what you're making," she begged, trying to get around him when he shifted to block her view yet again.

"Stop bein' so nosy," he muttered, nudging her back away from the stove. His tone was teasing as he prevented her from seeing what he was doing and he knew that as much as she liked surprises she hated the suspenseful waiting game.

He was putting the finishing touches on the dish when her arms had slid around his waist, sliding under the open panels of his shirt. "Michael, let me see what you're making."

"Go any further with that hand and we're gonna be heatin' this up in the microwave and eatin' it later," he warned when her right thumb brushed over the snap on his jeans in an attempt to distract him. He smirked when he felt her breath gust warmly against his back as she conceded his point and her hands settled on his sides.

"You're being mean," she complained.

He reached for a fork and filled it with food from the pot before bumping her with his left hip and motioning for her to back up. "Here, taste."

Maria kept her eyes locked on his as she accepted the forkful of food he held out to her, chewing thoughtfully as she tried to identify it. It was good… hot and spicy, but the flavors underlying the spices burst to life on her tongue and her eyes widened in surprise. "That's really good, what is it?"

"Chicken and sausage jambalaya; it's one of those Cajun/Creole recipes. You really like it? It's not too spicy or hot?"

"Huh-uh, it's really good."


"You gonna stand there and stare at that all day or you gonna finish makin' breakfast?"

Maria was startled out of her thoughts when her obnoxious host spoke up, interrupting the pleasant memory and completely spoiling the moment for her. "Are you ready to eat?" she asked.

Michael frowned at her tone; there was no heat, no fire there, and that was unusual. As a rule everything she said was laced with passion in some form, but this was different. He pulled one of the stools out from under the far end of the island, sitting on it and hooking his bare feet on the bottom rung as he watched her. "What're you mixin' in the eggs?"

She looked at him when he spoke in a civil manner and held the bottle up so he could see it. "Tabasco sauce." She shrugged when he shook his head in confusion. "It's a hot sauce; you mix it in the eggs before putting them in the pan and it makes them hotter than they would be if you just sprinkled it on after they're cooked."

"Uh-huh, so why two bowls for eggs?"

"Because I've never acquired a taste for hot eggs; I enjoy hot and spicy with some foods, but not for breakfast."

Okay, this wasn't so bad, he thought. It had been at least two minutes and there hadn't been one derogatory remark about him or anything related to his sex life. He reached across the counter to snatch a piece of bacon off of the plate but quickly jerked his hand back when she popped his knuckles with the spatula in her hand. "Ow! What the fuck?!"

Maria moved the plate to the counter beside the stove before pouring the seasoned egg mixture into the frying pan. She ignored him when he fell silent, sulking at the end of the island as he stared at his stinging knuckles. Ten minutes later she slid a plate in front of him piled high with the stuffed omelet, homemade fried potatoes, bacon, and toast.

Michael's mouth watered as the smell wafted up to tease his nose and he cut into the omelet, pulling it apart to examine the contents. Ham, bacon, red and green peppers, onions, tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, and two… maybe three different kinds of cheese. He took the first bite and groaned as the flavors blended together and exploded on his tongue. "That's fuckin' good," he mumbled around his second bite, forgetting that he didn't want to encourage her in any way. "Hot, too." His eyes were actually watering just a little from the mix of spices and vegetables she had used. "How'd you get it so hot?"

"The trick is to leave the seeds in the jalapenos; they lose their potency if you don't use the seeds. They'll still be hot, but they're nowhere near as hot without them." She turned back to the stove to finish making her own breakfast, sighing when he picked his plate up and walked out of the room.

Within seconds she heard the television in the living room come on and she moved to the doorway to watch him settle down on the floor in front of the couch, the plate on the coffee table within easy reach. Her gaze slid to the dinner table set up on the other side of the kitchen and it hit her just how much she missed sitting down with her Michael for meals or just to talk.

How many times had she and her Michael been in different rooms doing their own thing, but still being together? She could be in the same room with this man and unless she provoked him in some way, he was practically unaware of her existence. She moved back to the stove and filled her own plate before moving to sit at the table, staring at the empty chair across from her. The feeling of utter loneliness washed over her and she missed her Michael so much that it was a physical ache.

She forced the thoughts to the back of her mind when she felt the depression trying to claw its way out of the depths of her being. She didn't have the answers yet, she didn't know how to undo what had been done, and until she had those things within her grasp she didn't dare let those feelings gain control.

*****

"Somethin' I can do for you?" Michael asked when he felt her standing in the doorway, watching him. He had been out in the shop for hours, the radio propped up on one of the workbenches turned up loud while he worked on a couple of the motorcycles.

Maria crossed to the workbench where the radio sat and turned it down. "I want my own room," she stated, causing his hand to slip on the wrench he was turning.

"What?" He stared at her as if she had suddenly lost her mind. "This isn't a permanent living arrangement and I don't have a second bedroom."

Maria refused to back down. She needed her own bedroom for her sanity. "The office used to be a bedroom."

"No." Michael didn't even bother to develop on the subject. It was his house, HIS, and she wasn't gonna change the arrangement he had made ages ago.

"You don't even know what I was gonna suggest." She walked around looking at the various items he had stored in the shop. Her eyebrows lifted in interest when she spotted the furniture covered by several sheets of clear plastic.

"I'm not turnin' the office back into a bedroom." He shook his head. "You will not be stayin' that long."

"How am I supposed to figure out why the Granolith sent me here if you won't even sit down and talk to me?" she asked, turning away from the furniture to look at him.

"You said if you could do whatever it is you're here to do you can go back in time and prevent your version of me from jumpin' off a cliff."

"He did not jump off of a cliff," Maria said angrily. "You make it sound like he did it intentionally."

Good lord, the woman argued over every-damn-thing! "If it would make you shut up, I'd go jump off a fuckin' cliff. Maybe your little time travel device sent you here to prevent you from altering events. Maybe bein' dead was the only way the poor bastard could get any peace an' quiet!" he yelled.

"Michael enjoyed talking to me," she insisted stubbornly, ignoring his hurtful taunts.

"Whatever. The point is, if you can change events, time, or other stuff, you'll go back before it happens, right?" he asked.

Maria nodded. Yes, that was it exactly. Well, she was 99% sure that that was it. "Theoretically, yes."

"Then why does it fuckin' matter how long it takes?"

"Because I wanna go back home where I can be with the man I love… the man who loves me," Maria exploded. She was sick of being here, treated like his maid.

Michael threw the wrench in his hand down, starting to get just as angry as Maria. "I want you to go home too, because then I wouldn't have to listen to you bitch an' moan about every goddamned thing! This is my fuckin' house; it's the one place where I have peace an' quiet, where I don't have to worry about anyone botherin' me, where I don't have anyone makin' demands on me! I am not rearranging my house just so you have your own space - "

"You haven't even stepped foot in the office since we've been here! What difference does it make if the desk and computer are out in the living room?" She wasn't going to cry in front of him; she wouldn't give him that satisfaction.

Michael brushed past her and motioned for her to follow him as he walked back towards the door. He shut everything down before stepping outside and pulling the sliding door shut before running the chain through the handgrips and locking the padlock. As soon as they walked inside the house he went into the kitchen and grabbed his wallet and keys.

"What're you doing?" Maria asked, confused.

"I'm goin' into town."

God, she was getting sick and tired of his stupid tantrums! Maria thought, listening to the garage door close after he pulled out and drove off. She wondered where he was going this time as she threw herself down on the couch and considered what her next move should be.

*****

Marcos Gutierrez looked up from the dossier he was reading through when his secretary knocked on his open door and announced his visitor. He motioned for her to show the man into the office and he leaned back in his chair when Michael Guerin stormed through the entrance and slammed the door behind him.

"I need a job, Marcos."

The man behind the desk remained silent, watching the ex-soldier prowl around the office like a caged animal. He hadn't expected to see Guerin for a couple more weeks at the very least, and he never would have expected to see the man so rattled. "You wanna tell me what's goin' on?"

"Last time I checked you weren't a fuckin' shrink, Marcos. You got a job, or not?"

"And the last time I checked, it was my name on the company letterhead and my reputation at risk if any of you guys fuck up a job." Marcos leaned forward in his chair, elbows braced on his desk as he considered the man's question. "What's got you so uptight?"

"You'd never believe me," he muttered. "Look, I just need somethin' that I can focus on for a few days."

Marcos regarded him thoughtfully as he leaned back in his chair once more. "You know what's at risk if you screw up, Guerin; I don't like havin' to clean up behind people."

Michael snorted. "I've never given less than a hundred percent to this job, Marcos, and you know that."

"Fair enough." He picked up the dossier he had been scanning and tossed it across the polished surface of the mahogany desk. "Alistair Covington owns a private company that contracts out to the Department of Defense; he has a three-day business trip scheduled to leave out tomorrow mornin'. He's on several hit lists and there was an attempted assassination on his life a month ago, so this needs to be handled with - "

"I'm not a rookie, Marcos; I know how to handle a security detail for a movin' target."

Marcos nodded. "Memorize everything in that dossier, gear up, and be at the address listed inside at oh-five-hundred; you'll be leavin' from a private airstrip an hour later."

"You won't regret it, Marcos."

*****

Michael entered the house and looked around when he realized that it was silent… too silent. He moved from room to room, confirming what he already knew - she wasn't in the house. He walked outside and looked around, trained eyes scanning the desert in all directions in an effort to locate her. He moved to the end of the deck and climbed up on the top rail to see if he could see anything further out.

"Where the fuck are you?" he muttered under his breath.

He was just getting ready to climb back down when he heard the sound of a light snoring coming from behind him. He turned around and his gaze followed the deck where it was built along the side of the house and he shook his head when he saw the woman curled up in one of the loungers, sound asleep.

He jumped down off of the railing and smirked in satisfaction when the sound of his boots thumping against the deck startled her out of her sleep. "You tryin' to get heatstroke?" he asked caustically.

Maria didn't bother to respond, not willing to give him the fight he was obviously looking for. She had made sure she was in the shade and she hadn't been out there long enough to worry about sunburn or heatstroke. She ignored him, knowing he would eventually tire of trying to bait her and he would go inside and leave her alone.

She waited until he had gone inside before she got up and followed him, closing and locking the sliding doors behind her. She went into the kitchen to get something to drink and as she set an empty glass on the counter she noticed the folder lying on the counter under his wallet and keys. She filled her glass with ice and then removed the pitcher of lemonade from the refrigerator, pouring it over the ice as she eased the folder out from under his things.

After returning the pitcher to the refrigerator she carried her glass and the folder over to the dinner table and sat down, careful to keep the liquid a safe distance from the folder. She flipped the cover open, looking at the 8x10 color photo of a middle-aged man attached to the left side before turning her attention to the request for protection on top of the paperwork threaded onto the brads on the right side. She looked up when Michael entered the kitchen and paused in the doorway to see what she was doing.

"What's this?"

"That's none of your business," he muttered on his way to the refrigerator. He joined her a minute later with a beer in one hand and a bag of chips in the other. "You do realize that the big red CONFIDENTIAL stamp on the front of that folder means that you're not supposed to be lookin' at it, don't you?"

As if that would stop her, she thought. He sooo didn't know her! "Is this an assignment that you're doing?"

He dropped the chips on the table and slid the folder out from under her hands. "I'm gonna be gone for a few days."

No, no, no, no, no! Maria tried to contain her panic at the thought of Michael leaving for his job. The Granolith had sent her to this place on a crucial mission and the guy was throwing his life away for some stupid mission? "So, this is your assignment. Michael, this is too dangerous… this guy's been targeted for assassination and his last bodyguard was killed protecting him. Not to mention the location of his business meetings… Lebanon? You do realize how dangerous that is, don't you?"

He snorted. "Dangerous for anyone who tries to get to Covington," he said, unconcerned.

Maria watched him; he didn't sound very worried. Maybe it wasn't a very dangerous mission, but… Lebanon? "They were talking about Lebanon on the news last night; it's a warzone over there and it would be stupid to just waltz in there like it's not dangerous." She shook her head when he shrugged and turned to the next page in the dossier, reading through the requirements for Covington's security detail. "You're so sure of yourself," she muttered, annoyed at the risk he was willing to take.

"I have no reason to question my abilities or think that I can't protect this man from any potential assassins." Michael took a quick look inside the folder, scanning over the details that he would need over the next few days. Yeah, he was confident in his abilities, and even if there was a problem he could use his alien powers, just in case. He had an advantage that his adversaries didn't have.

Maria shook her head. Being overconfident could be lethal. "Why would you accept an assignment like this?"

Michael shoved a handful of chips in his mouth, chewing thoughtfully before washing them down with a drink of beer. "Why not?"

"Because you could be killed protecting a man whose company builds weapons of mass destruction."

"I don't really give a fuck what he does. My job's to keep him alive, not question his ethics." He flipped to the next page, studying the last assassination attempt that had been made on the man's life. "What's for dinner?" He looked at her when she just stared at him. "What? You'd deny a man what could potentially be his last meal?

"That's not funny," Maria snapped, irritated by his morbid sense of humor.

Michael ran his hands through his hair in an attempt to calm down and then took a deep breath. "Look, you deal with stress your way and I'll deal with it mine." Discussion over.

Maria gaped at him. "This is how you deal with stress?"

"Well, it's a toss-up between shootin' somethin' or goin' out and getting laid." He closed the file and slouched down in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest as he watched her. "So, unless you're offerin' to get naked and help me work off some tension, I'm gonna go find somethin' to shoot."

"I'll go make dinner; I'd hate for your last meal to be less than memorable."

Michael chuckled and closed the dossier when she got up and started rummaging through the freezer, slamming things around to express the fury she was feeling. He went through the mental checklist of equipment that he needed to pack as he left the room to start getting his gear together.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 17 - 6/8

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:44 am

Eva – Maria really is having a hard time. Seeing this Michael and trying not to mix him with hers…

Mary mary – This assignment is only the first that you will see, in this story.

Tequathisy – something will happen during this trip that will force Michael to start thinking about the concept of love.

DeDe PR – Maria is in denial right now. This is a stage which can last for months.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading.

Spacegirl23 – Maria is more interested in knowing why the Granolith sent her here because she has a goal: getting her Michael back. Michael has nothing to win by learning the truth about Maria’s presence.

Nibbles2 -
Maria is cruising towards a major melt down soon, she hasn't dealt with her Michael's death yet and it's going to be fun to see how this Michael handles that.
Major, major melt down and Michael will be there to witness it. It will be up to him to be the man of the situation.


Part 17


Maria stirred when she became aware of movement in the house early the next morning. She turned her head, squinting as she tried to read the clock on the stereo; why was he up and moving around at half past three in the morning? She sat up, rubbing her eyes when his shadowed form moved through the living room and into the kitchen.

"You should go back to sleep," he growled as he passed her on his way back to his bedroom.

She stood and followed him, stopping in the doorway and watching him as he paused at the foot of the bed to study the contents of his suitcase. After a moment he nodded and closed the lid, securing it before reaching for a black case and laying it on top. He opened it, checking over the weapons inside before closing it up again and securing it.

He turned when he felt her behind him. "Didn't I tell you to go back to sleep?"

"It's three-thirty in the morning; shouldn't you be getting as much rest as you can before you leave?" she asked when he disappeared into his closet.

"I'm leavin' in fifteen minutes," he answered, his tone neutral.

His mind was already on his mission, Maria could see it. "Fifteen minutes?" She shook her head. "You haven't had anything to eat, Michael."

"I don't eat before I start a new job." He stepped out of the closet, dressed in black slacks and a white long-sleeved button-down shirt. He flipped his collar up as he moved to stand in front of the mirror on the wall above his dresser, adjusting the ends of the black tie hanging around his neck. "No one will bother you out here and I'd appreciate it if you'd stay here and not go wanderin' off while I'm gone."

Maria blinked, trying to contain her tears as she listened to him talking about his absence. She was trying not to be worried but it was hard not to, knowing where he was going and what he was going there to do. "How long do you think you'll be gone?"

"A few days, maybe more." He shrugged as he finished knotting the tie, straightening it and turning his collar down before running a comb through his hair one more time. Once he was satisfied that everything was in order he crossed the room and pulled down a leather harness that he slipped over his arms and settled into place on his shoulders.

Maria swallowed hard as he removed the weapon, checking it before slamming the magazine into place and sliding the gun back into the holster. The last thing to go on was the suit jacket that matched the slacks he wore and she moved back out of his way when he grabbed his bags and prepared to leave. She followed him out to the garage and waited while he placed his things in the backseat.

She was reluctant to let him leave even though she knew she didn't have any choice in the matter. She had seen the news, listened to the reporters as they spoke of widespread violence and listed the numbers of daily casualties. No one in their right mind would just walk into that and she didn't want to see his photograph on the evening news as the next casualty in a war he wasn't involved in.

"Why can't someone else protect this guy?" she asked.

Michael shut the back door and leaned inside the open front door to start the engine before he turned to look at her. "Worried about me?"

"That would boost your ego, wouldn't it?" she grumbled. His ego really didn't need that.

He moved to stand on the bottom step, putting them at equal height. His dark eyes scanned over her features, easily detecting the fear she didn't want to admit having for him. Something that he didn't understand shifted inside of him in response to the expression in her eyes, but he quickly pushed it down and covered it up. "Since you're worried about me makin' it back alive you oughta take advantage of what could be your only opportunity to see what it's like to kiss me."

Maria watched him. There was a part inside of her that wanted to do just that; kiss him and never let him go. But she couldn't… she couldn't, and she knew it. "Just be careful. I know you think I'm crazy and you're not convinced that everything I've told you is really true, but…" Maria met his gaze in the shadowed interior of the garage, shaking her head at his arrogance as she reached up to run the palm of her hand over his tie. "Don't make me bury you a second time."

Michael stared at her for a full minute. "So, does that mean I don't get a kiss goodbye?"

She ignored his flippant tone. "If you would just be careful and come back in one piece I'd appreciate it, Michael."

He moved closer to her, crowding her against the doorframe and leaning in until their lips were less than a breath apart. "Tell ya what," he whispered huskily, "you can save it until I get back. A goodbye kiss is filled with poignancy and sadness…" he shook his head. "And that's not what I want from you." He leaned back and lifted his right hand to her cheek, cradling the soft skin in his rough palm. "No, when you kiss me - and you will," he said with a confident, wicked grin. "When you kiss me I want heat, passion, desire, and I want the time to savor every moment of it." He glanced at his wrist when the alarm on his watch started chiming. "Gotta go."

Maria watched him hurry to the truck and climb inside, gunning the engine before backing out and reaching up for the automatic garage door opener clipped to the sun visor. As soon as the garage door had lowered into place she went inside and closed the door, leaning back against it and sliding down to sit on the floor with her face in her hands.

She couldn't afford this kind of complication. She had been waiting for him to stop being such a cold bastard, but now she realized that if he started to act more like her Michael she was going to have a hard time keeping him at a distance. He would be a distraction she couldn't handle and it would be too easy to let herself fall into that trap.

No, she had to make sure he stayed at a distance and the best way to do that was to keep him off-balance and pissed off. "I can do that," she whispered raggedly. Seriously, how hard could it be? His temper was like quicksilver and he was easier to provoke than anyone she had ever known. The question was, how?

The second bedroom, she thought suddenly. He had gotten angry when she had suggested turning the office into a bedroom… angry enough that he had taken off for several hours. The furniture was in the shop and he was going to be gone for several days at least. There was a lock on the door and he had the key, but there were ways around that.

She stood up, feeling a little bit better about things and she went back to the living room to lie back down. There was no need to get started until the sun came up and she was going to need her strength to move all that furniture. She stretched out and pulled the blanket up over herself, closing her eyes and hoping for the oblivion of a few hours of dreamless sleep.

*****

Michael was ready to spit nails as he stood next to the limo that was waiting to take him and the man under his protection to the airstrip where a private plane was scheduled to take them to Lebanon. They had encountered a slight snag when the client had stepped out of his house with briefcase, luggage, and his wife. Everything had been fine until the man had announced his intention to take his wife on the trip.

Alistair Covington was 47 years of age, balding, and had very severe features. The man wasn't interested in negotiating the terms of the trip; he had decided that his wife would be accompanying him and as far as he was concerned the issue was settled.

Protecting a moving target was a pain in the ass, but two? And a female at that? "Mr. Covington, sir, I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation - " Michael started.

Alistair Covington interrupted Michael rudely and effectively, his eyes cold and confident. "Mr. Guerin, as I understand it, you are here to provide security and to make sure that the clients make it back home alive. Correct?"

Michael bit the inside of his cheek in an attempt to contain his fury. Dealing with the clients was hell; he hated people. He was a protector, not a damned negotiator. "I just think you should consider the repercussions - "

"Is that, or is that not, your job?" Covington watched the bodyguard like a hawk. He was a leader, the kind of man who made the tough decisions and knew how to do his job no matter the circumstances. He remained calm because he knew in the end he would get what he wanted.

Michael took a deep, calming breath before nodding sharply in response to the man's question. "Of course, sir." He nodded at Shawn Taggart, the second bodyguard Marcos had assigned when Mr. Covington had decided at the last minute to allow his wife to tag along. He stood back as the couple was ushered into the back of the limo and then he slid in the front next to the driver, motioning for the man to depart.

*****

Eleanor Covington was two years younger than her husband with pleasant features and a quick smile; she carried herself with grace and dignity and she dressed with a sense of style and panache that most women half her age lacked.

She watched her husband as he paced around the lush interior of the cabin, his face expressing his displeasure with the person on the other end of the phone. She nodded when he disconnected the call and made a small motion with his head before heading for the cockpit.

Her gaze eventually turned to the young man charged with the responsibility of keeping them safe. "You don't approve of my decision to accompany my husband, do you?"

Michael's gaze lifted from the file in his hands when the client's wife spoke, her cultured voice carrying with ease. "No, I don't."

She was intrigued by his blunt honesty. "Why?"

"I've read your husband's file so I know you have children at home. Shouldn't you be at home with them?" Michael believed that a woman who had children shouldn't go into a warzone just to be with her husband. Maybe he reacted that way because he had never had a mother, and if he had, he wouldn't have wanted her to dump him off on caregivers just to travel the world. That was his opinion and the hell with her if she didn't like it.

She smiled. This man had a lot to learn about women. "Did you know that I've been married to Alistair for twenty-five years?"

"Like I said, I've read his file," Michael answered, not seeing where she was going with her questions.

Eleanor Covington accepted a glass of wine from the steward, savoring it. She closed her eyes, letting the white wine caress her taste buds. Turning the glass in her hands, admiring the wine's golden color, she spoke again, "Twenty-five years and I've been at that man's side for every one of them. We've had good times and bad and I've loved him through it all; I've never once doubted or questioned where my place was."

"Sounds a bit archaic to me." His gaze dropped back to the file in his hands. "Aren't you worried about settin' the women's movement back a few generations?"

She chuckled, taking no offense to his question. "No. I didn't lose myself by being with Alistair or by loving him all these years. The choice to marry, have children, support him in whatever he's doing, and to travel with him… those choices were all mine to make."

"And is it your choice to die with him if it comes to that?" He looked up when she remained silent and found himself pinned by her penetrating gray gaze.

"Have you ever been in love?" she asked. She shook her head when she saw the answer written across his face. "No, you haven't; you think it's a waste of time, an emotion that has no place in your life."

"I think it's a myth," he corrected. He had his opinion of this so-called 'love' thing, but he didn't feel like developing his theory at any length with his client's wife.

She shook her head, saddened by his answer, yet not surprised by it. But somehow, she felt compelled to try to explain what love was to this young man. There was something about him… she could read people, she had a gift for it, and she felt that Michael Guerin was different. "Then I am truly sorry for you, Mr. Guerin. However, if the right woman ever crosses your path and she makes it past that cynical wall you hide behind you'll understand what I'm talking about. When being with her, holding her, and loving her becomes something that you can't live without, when you realize that you would be willing to walk through the very fires of Hell just to hold her for one more moment…" She smiled. "When you realize that even the threat of death isn't enough to keep you from her side you'll know what love is."

"If you say so," Michael muttered, turning his attention to the folder once more.

Eleanor smiled at his statement; most of the time the men hired to protect them were dull, and they wouldn't even think of disputing anything that she or her husband said unless it was in direct conflict with their orders or it interfered with their ability to provide security for their clients.

She loved a challenge and she had no problem holding her own against anyone who wished to express their own opinions. She wasn't a woman who bowed to any man and she enjoyed engaging in good conversation and heated debates, so she welcomed any opinions the young man might wish to share.

*****

Maria glared at the padlock that stood between her and the furniture she wanted to get her hands on. She had been trying to pick the lock for the past hour without success and she couldn't understand why it wasn't unlocking. She sighed and shook her head as she crouched down to try again. Hair pins, paper clips, letter openers… she had seen a dozen different things used by detectives on television shows to pick locks, but not one of them had ever had this much trouble.

She leaned back and reshaped the paper clip yet again before inserting them into the keyhole at the bottom of the lock and wiggling them around. "Why aren't you working?" she grumbled as she twisted one of the paper clips viciously. "All you have to do is…" She fell silent when she heard the quiet snick and a grin slowly spread over her face when the padlock opened. "Now that's more like it." She tugged on one end of the chain and it slithered through the metal handgrips to fall on the ground. Pushing it aside with her right foot, she dropped the padlock on top of the chain and pushed the door open.

The plastic covering the furniture was quickly removed and tossed aside and as Maria's hand settled on the headboard she frowned. It was oak, she realized as her fingers traced over the intricate designs carved into the wood. Not that there was anything wrong with oak… it just had a tendency to be heavy. She pushed that thought aside for the moment and moved on to the next important issue - the bed. She tugged and pulled on the queen-size mattress for several minutes before she succeeded in pulling it out from behind the dresser so she could check it out.

Satisfied that the furniture was in good condition and most importantly - the mattress was clean - she closed the shop up and went back up to the house so she could start rearranging the living room to make room for the office furniture.

*****

Michael stepped down off of the bottom step as he exited the plane, slipping a pair of sunglasses on as he surveyed the tarmac. He sent Taggart to secure the limo, waiting for the all-clear call before he stepped aside to let the Covington's leave the plane.

Once they were safely ensconced in the backseat with the other man he stood guard while the driver loaded their bags in the trunk. Most of the outer-lying areas showed signs of recent bombings and weary soldiers patrolled the streets. Adults and children ran through the ravaged neighborhoods searching the rubble for food, water… survivors? He scanned the faces of the people they passed, easily distinguishing between those who were used to the violence, the constant toll of death and destruction, and those who were new to the cruelty of war.

Was this what the streets of his home planet would look like? Were the weapons as crude, the people as ready to commit acts of unspeakable cruelty and murder for a cause they didn't even understand? The world he lived in was considered modern and civilized, but mankind had yet to step out of the dark ages when it came to the atrocities people were capable of committing against each other.

Maria had spoken of a coming war and the necessity of his participation in it, and he knew from experience that wars couldn't be fought without cost. They were paid for in blood and the only winners were those who ruled from their protected little rooms where they made rules, passed laws, and decided who lived and died. The winners were those in power, those who sent others out to do what they themselves wouldn't dare to do.

He was pulled from his thoughts when the driver slowed down and his hand tightened on the gun in his hand when he saw the little girl crossing in front of the limo. "Go around her," he snapped tersely.

"She is just a child," the driver said, smiling indulgently at the little girl and waving.

"You're getting paid to follow orders," Michael said, pressing the barrel of the gun to the man's temple. "Go around her. Now."

"You Americans, you worry too much."

Michael ignored the comment and settled back down in his seat, making a mental note to tell Marcos not to use the limo driver again. At the hotel he ordered Taggart to stay with the couple while he checked the room out to make sure it was safe.

*****

Maria dropped down on the couch, exhausted from wrestling the desk from the office to the living room. She didn't know why men seemed to be incapable of buying furniture that was attractive, functional, and easy to move.

The bed had been fairly easy to move once she had come up with the idea of using the plastic that had been covering it to make a path from the shop to the deck. The mattress and box spring had slid right along and hadn't given her one bit of trouble. She had no illusions about the rest of the furniture and she hadn't yet figured out how she was going to get it into the house.

It would've been much simpler if Michael had just agreed to moving the office furniture out; she would've been more than happy to help him switch the furniture out, but he was so damn stubborn that now she was doing it all by herself. Her Michael was stubborn, too stubborn for his own good most of the time, but he never would've put her in the position where she'd have to move furniture by herself.

Of course, it helped that in addition to Michael she'd had Kyle and Max too; there had never been a shortage of guys around when they had needed to move anything heavy. And most of the time she had been able to avoid the heavy lifting altogether, which had been fine with her. She sighed and stretched, switching her thoughts before she had the opportunity to get pulled too deep into them.

She sat up and reached for the remote, unable to put off checking the news any longer. The reporter was grim as he spoke of violence and casualties in the region but he wasn't reporting from inside the city so Maria took that as a good sign. She watched for a while longer before turning the television off and wandering into the kitchen for a late afternoon snack.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 18 - 6/15

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:53 am

Mary mary – Maria doing whatever she wants no matter where she is? Oooooh, yeah and Michael’d better learn quick how to deal with that Maria girl.

Nibbles2 – Maria, determined? You bet she is! Michael is in for a rude awakening.

DeDe PR – Michael knows his job, when it comes to protection. He is a professional.

Spacegirl23 – An argument when Michael comes back home? Chances are that you are right.

Flamehair – No problem and thanks for reading despite having two babies at home.


Part 18

Michael watched from his position as Mr. Covington conducted his business without the slightest trace of emotion; he was cold, calculating, and knew not only how to get to the top, but how to stay there as well.

He stepped aside and held the door open when the meeting ended, carefully watching the businessmen and their lawyers as they filed out of the suite. Once they were gone he closed and locked the door behind them before resuming his position once more.

His gaze tracked Mrs. Covington as she joined her husband, silently taking a seat and waiting as he wrapped up a conference call. As the call came to an end Mr. Covington loosened his tie and took a deep breath before turning to his wife and reaching for her hand. In those moments the businessman relaxed and an entire conversation passed between the couple without a single word ever passing their lips.

Over the past two days Michael had witnessed different variations of the same scene and he didn't understand it. He had studied them, observing their behavior, cataloging their reactions to each other as well as outsiders, and he couldn't make it make sense.

They had been married for twenty-five years, they had five children, and they acted like they actually wanted the other person close by. They were both closing in on 50, they were average-looking, and he couldn't imagine that their feelings were based on lust or sexual attraction. What could possibly make two people stay together for that long? His gaze traveled over them, taking in the physical changes that the passing years made to the human body; receding hairline, the wrinkles beginning to take up residence on features, the softening and expanding waistlines… yeah, physical attraction was definitely not an option, and if physical attraction was out then there was no way it was about sexual attraction.

He shook his head in an attempt to dislodge the thoughts before they could go any further. He did not need the traumatizing image of old people having sex stuck in his head. He quickly cast about for a different subject and his mind immediately settled on Maria.

He wondered what she was doing all by herself; there really wasn't that much to do other than watch television or go for long walks. He supposed he could've given her a temporary password for the computer so she could've done some research or something. He doubted she would've been interested in anything in the shop – except the furniture, he thought. He still couldn't believe she had demanded that she be given her own bedroom or that she had suggested moving his office into the living room.

His thoughts shifted to that moment in the garage when he had been so close to her that he had felt her heart pounding. He had been tempted to take the decision out of her hands, to kiss her so hard and deep that she would've had no choice but to kiss him back. He knew she would've fought it at first, clinging to the memory of her dead lover, but he was confident that she would've given in. The problem was that capitulation wasn't what he wanted from her. He had no idea why that was important to him; with any other woman he wouldn't care as long as he was getting laid. But, somehow, some way, for some reason he didn't understand, it had become essential that she make the first move.

He wasn't the slightest bit concerned that she wouldn't make that crucial first move, he thought with an internal smirk. His only concern was how long it was gonna take before she made that move. There wasn't a doubt in his arrogant mind that it was only a matter of time before she gave it up. Maybe after three days alone, with nothing to do but sit around with her thoughts she'd be ready to accept the inevitable. Hmm, three days to do nothing but sit around and think… three days to miss him being around… three days to think about him and work herself up into a major state of sexual frustration.

He had a feeling he was in for a surprise when he got home.

*****

Michael stared at the desk that was currently residing in one corner of the living room and he bit back the urge to start shouting. He was tired and suffering from jetlag so he wanted to make sure he wasn't seeing things that weren't there before he threw a fit. He closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose and taking a deep breath before looking to verify what he already knew.

This was not what he'd had in mind when he had imagined having a surprise waiting for him when he got home. He'd been envisioning something more along the lines of Maria, naked in his bed… or in the bathtub… or hell, even naked and stretched out on the rug in front of the fireplace. Any of those possibilities worked for him and none of them would have made him feel like behaving in a violent manner.

He didn't know what she thought she was gonna accomplish with this little stunt but she would've had a better chance of accomplishing it with nudity. Yeah, he thought, nodding to himself, had she attempted to plead her case for putting the desk in the living room while lying on its polished surface completely naked he might have considered it. Okay, that was a lie - naked or not, she wasn't getting her way about this.

The desk was going back in the office first thing in the morning. If she thought moving it out into the living room was going to be the incentive he needed to convince him to haul the bedroom furniture inside she was sadly mistaken. If she wanted to sleep in an actual bed that badly she was just gonna have to get with the program and make that first move. He was willing to let her sleep in his bed with him, but only if she was willing to have sex with him. She would eventually get tired of sleeping on the couch and when that happened he would be ready to engage in negotiations. He had no intention of moving another bed into the house and losing that advantage.

He walked down the hall, too tired to worry about it until he'd had a decent nights' sleep. His attention was drawn to the room that had previously been his office when he noticed the light creeping out beneath the closed door. What, was she sleeping on the floor in the empty room? Somehow he had figured she would take advantage of his absence and spend the nights in his bed.

He reached out to open the door, intending to check on her and shut the light off, but he wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted him. His dark eyes traveled over the furniture that had been set up and he felt his temper shifting into the red zone; she had done exactly what he had said they were not going to do. She had obviously discovered the small room in the shop where he had stored all of the extra crap that the interior decorator had used to… what had she called it? Spruce the place up, that's what she had said about the pictures, colorful pillows, lamps, and the matching linens and curtains that she had stuck all over his house.

As soon as she had left he had packed all of the excess crap up and stored it in the shop, where he had intended to store it temporarily. The only reason he had even let her loose in his house in the first place was so he could get into her panties; it had definitely been worth it, but all of that stuff had to go just as soon as he had accomplished his goal.

He looked around the room; the bedside lamp was on, casting a soft yellow light over the bedspread. The furniture looked like it had been polished to a high shine, the solid oak gleaming under the light. He moved deeper into the room, wondering how she had managed to move the heavy furniture by herself. He opened the closet door, turning the interior light on and running his fingers over the hangers that held the clothes he had bought for her less than a week ago.

He stepped back and shut the door before crossing the room and picking up the photo that was propped up against the base of the lamp on the nightstand. His temper flared as his gaze moved over the picture of Maria with her friends, held securely in the arms of the man that she claimed was so much better than him.

"Michael?"

He dropped the photo back on the nightstand, not bothering to prop it up, and whirled to face Maria where she stood in the open doorway. "What the fuck is all this?" he snarled, angry for more reasons than just the office-to-bedroom transition that had occurred against his wishes.

Every ounce of relief that she felt at his presence, at seeing that he was safe and sound, dissipated at his furious tone. "First, just let me say that I'm glad that you made it back home alive. Second, this is exactly what it looks like. I couldn't just keep sleeping on the couch and living out of shopping bags."

He snapped, ready to explode. "There's a bed in my room - "

That she had no intention of sleeping in. "Uh-huh, which I am only welcome to use in exchange for having sex with you, and I hate to be the one to remind you, but that's not gonna happen. Now, maybe you thought that if I had to endure many more nights on the couch I'd eventually decide that having sex with you would be a fair exchange - "

"You act like fuckin' me would be a fate worse than death." Why was he hurt by his own words? He never mixed feelings where sex was concerned, but with this girl, he couldn't seem to help it.

Maria shook her head. The brief moment of happiness she had felt at seeing him back home and alive quickly vanished. "I'm not getting into this with you again, Michael. The only reason I'm here is to find a way to fix what happened so I can go home and - "

Fix the situation in her universe, fix him, and then dump his ass like a used tissue! A little voice in the back of his mind whispered that it was the same thing he had been doing to women for almost a decade, but he wasn't in any mood to hear it. "This shit's goin' back out to the shop in the mornin'; if I wasn't so fuckin' tired I'd haul it out there myself tonight. I don't know how the fuck you got it in here by yourself and I don't fuckin' care - it all goes back out tomorrow."

Fed up with his antics, Maria paused a moment to cover her eyes with her hands. "Why is it such a big deal for me to have this bedroom?"

"Because it's my fuckin' office!" he yelled. "It's my house, my office, and my life! I didn't ask for you to show up and turn my life upside down; before you showed up I was getting laid on a regular basis and enjoyin' my life! You come in and within minutes of meetin' you my entire life was thrown into chaos!"

"Your life?!" she screamed. "You think your life was disrupted? You didn't lose anything by me being here." She held a hand up when he started to protest. "Fine, for whatever reason you've had a problem getting laid since I got here and you think that's my fault… fine! I don't care whether you're having sex on a regular basis or not; the only thing that matters to me is getting back home - "

"You've made it perfectly clear what your priority is!" Michael paced around the room, doing his best to control the urge to start throwing things. "And I do not have a problem getting laid; my problem is getting away because if I leave you alone in my house you rearrange the furniture and fuckin' move in like you think you belong here!"

"I have no illusions about belonging here," she snapped. "Why would I even want to belong here? With a man who treats women as sexual objects who have no reason for existing other than to please him… a man who is incapable of feeling anything for women beyond lust… a man who is disgustingly pleased that his longest relationship is with his right hand…" She shook her head, glaring at him. "I have somewhere that I belong and I have someone who I belong with… a man who knows how to treat a woman, a man who understands the meaning of the word relationship. Why would I ever be willing to lose what I have with him just to sleep with you?"

Michael's face turned red as he finally lost control of his temper and he could feel the blood pounding through his veins as he crossed the room to stand in front of her. His eyes were blazing as his right fist slammed into the door next to her head. He opened his mouth to yell but as he reached out to grab her, intending to shake her and then push her out of his way, he was hit by a wave of nausea.

He backed away from her and his left hand wrapped around the footboard, locking his knees and forcing his body to stay upright. The feeling of weakness assaulted his muscles and joints, threatening to make him lose control of his standing position.

Maria frowned when his hand shot out to clutch at the footboard, concerned when all of the color drained from his face. She took a couple of steps in his direction, reaching out to touch him and see if he was all right. "Michael - "

He jerked away from her before she could make contact, glaring at her as he took an experimental breath, gauging whether or not he was going to be able to move without passing out. "This all goes back to the shop in the mornin' and you go back to sleepin' on the fuckin' couch," he rasped, pissed off that whatever this problem was, it was rearing its ugly head once again.

Maria moved back to her original position and crossed her arms over her chest as they stared at each other. "Fine, but tonight I'm sleeping in this fucking bed, in this fucking room, and I want you to let me have one night of fucking peace!"

Michael took a step back, shocked at her use of the profanity as she screamed at the top of her lungs. He quickly recovered and stalked over to her, towering over her as he stared down into her fiery green eyes. "Go ahead," he snarled, "enjoy the next eight hours of fuckin' peace! We're movin' all this shit after breakfast, so don't get too comfortable." He brushed past her and slammed the door behind him, heading to his own room so he could shower and go to bed. He just hoped that his sleep wouldn't be disrupted by the illness that had suddenly made its presence known once more.

Maria took a deep breath and threw herself down on the bed, sighing tiredly. She had been so relieved to see him alive and in one piece, and he had gone and ruined the moment by opening his mouth and acting exactly like the jackass he was. She didn't know how she was going to manage it, but she was not giving up her bedroom now that she finally had it.

*****

Michael climbed into bed after his shower as exhaustion warred with anger over the situation with Maria. He stared at the ceiling in the darkness and before long the anger began to melt away as sleep started to pull him under.

The streets of Santa Fe were busy and panic was clawing at his chest as he moved through the crowd, looking for someplace private to deal with the episode that he could feel coming on. There were people everywhere though and he was losing the ability to focus on his surroundings.
The people around him began to appear as shapeless beings and their voices combined, merging together and becoming unbearably loud. A shock ran through his entire body as he stumbled and his knees struck the concrete. His mind barely registered the burning sensation as his hands shot out to stop his fall and he only succeeded in skinning his palms when they slid across the grainy surface of the sidewalk.

He heard someone shouting for help and he tried to tell them that it was unnecessary but he couldn't form the words that he needed. Medics suddenly appeared from nowhere and he was quickly strapped to a gurney and loaded into the back of an ambulance. He tried to tell them that it would pass, that their equipment and assessments weren't necessary, but one of them slipped an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose, preventing him from speaking.

He tried to fight against the straps holding him down when the medics started to discuss taking blood. He jerked back as far as his bonds would allow when he felt the needle prick the flesh of his upper arm and his movements suddenly became sluggish.

"That'll calm you down, buddy," one of the medics said. "Don't worry, we're taking you to the best facility in the city; the doctors there'll figure out what's wrong with you."

Whatever they had injected him with worked fast and before he could form a coherent thought the darkness of unconsciousness claimed him. When he awoke he was disoriented and confused by his surroundings; he had been inside of hospital rooms before, visiting buddies who had been wounded in action, but he couldn't recall one that had looked like this. Hospital rooms were always sterile and cold, but this felt more like an interrogation room and as the drugs began to dissipate and his vision cleared he became aware of the mirrored walls that surrounded him on all sides.

He turned his attention to his restraints and he frowned when he saw the leather straps that effectively held him captive. He tugged against them experimentally, noting that there wasn't enough give in them to allow him to work his wrists free. His gaze shot across the room when a dark haired man entered; he wasn't dressed like a doctor and Michael relaxed fractionally. He had probably been captured by some agency hoping to extract information about one of his recent missions; it wasn't be the first time he had been taken and his captors always slipped up at some point, paving the way for his escape.

The man moved around the room silently, making it a point to continually put himself in a position that took him out of Michael's sight. It was a tactic meant to make him nervous, to induce fear in the captive, to put him on edge as he waited to see what his captor would do next. Michael wasn't new to this method of interrogation and the man in the dark suit wasn't intimidating as he skulked around the room.

"You think I'm from some rival agency," the man said finally, his voice condescending as he moved to stand at the foot of the gurney Michael was strapped to. He crossed his arms over his chest as he waited for a response.

Michael shrugged as much as he could in spite of his restraints. "Should we just go directly to the part where I list off my name, rank, and serial number? Because I'm not givin' you any information - "

"No?"

"Nope, not a fuckin' thing." The man smiled and the expression actually sent a chill down Michael's spine, making him question the man's motives for kidnapping him.

The man suddenly moved to stand next to Michael, leaning down so that he was only inches away from him, his cold eyes boring into him as he searched for some sign of weakness. "I'm not interested in any of your covert assignments for the Company, Mr. Guerin." He chuckled, the sound humorless. "I'm interested in what your mission is here - "

"In Santa Fe? My mission was to get laid."

"Your mission on Earth," the man snapped, irritated by his captive's flippancy. "I know you're not human, so let's just go around your usual bullshit and get directly to the point, shall we?"

"No clue what you're talkin' about," Michael stated, hoping the trembling he could feel inside wasn't visible as he stared the man down.

"Your blood was taken at the hospital after your collapse… did you think that no one would notice that it's not human?" He stepped back away from the gurney, stroking his chin as he observed his captive. "What is your purpose for being on Earth? Are you here to research us? To provide Intel to your own people for a future invasion?"

Michael had been trained to withstand torture at the hands of the enemy, but he had never come face-to-face with anyone who knew that he wasn't human. Despite his best intentions he could feel his heart racing, his palms sweating, and for the first time that he could ever remember, he knew what true fear was.

"We have ways of getting the truth, Mr. Guerin. We can make it as easy or as difficult as you want to make it." He snapped his fingers when silence answered him. "Obviously you prefer the hard way."

Michael turned his head to the side when the door opened and several people entered the room, dressed in white surgical clothing. One of them pushed a cart filled with sterile equipment and vials of colored liquids that sloshed gently with the movement of the cart.

"Are you aware that your threshold for pain isn't that much greater than that of the average human? The abrasions on your hands, for example, I'll bet that probably stung when you skinned them on the pavement. Or that bullet wound in your left shoulder - that probably hurt like hell when it happened."

Michael glanced at his left shoulder, frowning at what looked suspiciously like an old bullet wound. He had been shot before, but he didn't recall ever taking a bullet right there.

"So, while you might have a slightly higher threshold to pain than the average human, you're still susceptible to pain and suffering." His smile was positively malicious as he moved close once more, his right hand reaching out and closing around a scalpel. "I've been trained in many fields over the years, but you know, the medical field is one that simply fascinates me."

Michael's eyes followed the agent's hand as he placed the razor-sharp blade against his bare chest. He could feel the cold steel brushing his skin and he gasped in shock and pain when the agent moved suddenly, slicing into his flesh with ease. "What the fuck are you doin'?!" he shouted as he tried without success to pull away from his tormentor.

"Do you know what concerns me most about your existence?" the agent asked as he paused in his task to look at his captive. "The fact that your alien blood is the only thing that sent up a red flag about what you are. You appear human; nothing about your internal or external makeup reveals your true identity. If it weren't for the fact that the blood that was drawn at the hospital showed extreme abnormalities you'd still be walking around free to do whatever you're here to do."

"I'm not here to do anything," Michael denied, doing his best to keep his gaze away from the blood that he could feel welling up from the incision and spilling over to trail down his sides.

"I could stand here and remove your internal organs one by one while you watch, but that's not gonna tell me why you're here. I could use leverage against you, but you have no one who even cares that you're nowhere to be found." He smiled coldly as he placed the blade less than an inch from the previous incision. "Do you know how long it takes to bleed to death from wounds like this?" he asked as he added another incision next to the first. "I can make this last so long that you'll beg me to let you die."


Michael awoke from the nightmare, his heart pounding, his breath coming in ragged pants, and his sheets soaked with sweat. His hand shot to his chest as he bolted from the bed and stumbled into the bathroom, turning the overhead light on and leaning in close to the mirror. His chest lacked any evidence of incisions and he gripped the edge of the sink in an effort to force the trembling in his limbs to stop.

He had thought that the nightmares that had been plaguing him recently were bad, but this was worse. Fear was still new to him, but this nightmare had taken that fear to a new level. After waking from the previous nightmares there had been no memory of what had occurred, only the feeling of fear that had accompanied the blurred images. This time he had complete recall of the events and the images were crystal clear; the feelings of fear were bad enough but they could be explained by the mental connection. He had no way of explaining how he had felt imaginary incisions being made, cutting into flesh and slicing through muscles and nerves.

When he could control his breathing and his heart rate began to smooth out into a normal rhythm he looked at his reflection in the mirror, searching his left shoulder for the scar he had seen in the nightmare. Why would his mind conjure up a gunshot wound that didn't exist? He had been shot several times in the line of duty, so why not use an existing scar?

Is that what would happen to him if anyone ever discovered the truth? he wondered as he leaned over to turn the faucets on in the shower. He had never really considered how he would be treated if the truth ever came out, he had just done his best to avoid it. Maria had mentioned that one of the aliens had been captured and tortured by some government group but she hadn't elaborated. He shook his head; he didn't want to think about it, he just wanted to clean up and go back to sleep.

After his shower though, he was wide awake and not that interested in going back to sleep. Once he'd had time to think about it he decided that more sleep wasn't what he wanted; there was a good chance that the nightmares might surface again and that was the last thing he wanted. He prowled around the house restlessly, needing peace and not knowing how to find it.

Against his will he was drawn to the bedroom where Maria had staked her claim and taken up residence. The door was open and he slipped inside quietly, moving to stand next to the bed so he could watch her. The moon was full and cast enough light into the room that he could see her clearly; she was distraught, her features pinched and filled with pain as she shifted around. Her left arm stretched out to the other side of the mattress, her hand clawing as she reached for something and her movements became agitated when she didn't find what she was searching for.

He didn't know what possessed him to retrieve the wooden rocking chair from the corner by the window and place it next to the bed, but he didn't question it. He let his instincts lead him as he sat down and let his gaze travel over the woman sleeping fitfully. His head tipped to one side when she whimpered, the sound filled with distress as her hand encountered more empty space and her fingers curled into the covers, clenching and unclenching before going back to her futile search.

Something that he didn't recognize or understand prompted him to extend his arm and rest his hand on the mattress. He watched in disbelief as her hand located his with unerring accuracy, curling around it as she relaxed and almost immediately fell into a peaceful sleep. His own nerves settled in response to her touch and he slouched down in the chair as he turned his gaze to the tree branch brushing against the window pane when the wind blew through the desert.

He didn't understand how someone who was so infuriating and had the ability to provoke him and make his blood boil in his veins could also provide such a calming influence to his rattled nerves. He didn't question it; he simply decided that the only reason he had even offered his hand in the first place was to keep her from waking up. He knew the minute she woke up she'd start talking and he wouldn't have a prayer of shutting her up. He needed peace and quiet after the terrifyingly real nightmare that he'd had so he settled for sitting in her room and holding her hand in an effort to prevent her from waking up and destroying what little peace he could find.

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ArchAngel1973
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The Man Who Didn't Belong (M/M - Mature) Ch 19 - 6/22

Post by ArchAngel1973 » Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:37 pm

Eva –
He has the old bullet wound of the real Michael, hasn't he? Maybe this will proove there's a link between the both of them. A link between the different time lines.
Maybe there’s a link, maybe there isn’t.

Mary mary – Michael is slowly adapting to having Maria around, but it’s hard for him to let go of a way of life and of thinking.

Flamehair – Thanks for reading.

Nibbles2 – Yes, that scene was moving. Michael is seeing that even in sleep, Maria can feel him, much to his surprise.

DeDePR – it will take a long time for Michael to accept his feelings for Maria. He is an alien, raised alone, and he has a job where he kills with no remorse. So love isn’t big on his list.

Spacegirl23 – It might be a turning point… we’ll see.


Part 19

Maria woke up and looked around as she tried to figure out what had woken her up. The house was dark so she knew it was too early for Michael to be on his way outside for his morning run. She was shifting onto her side when it registered in her sleepy brain that her hand was being held in a warm, calloused grip.

Her eyes followed her arm to her hand and then to the man slouched down in an uncomfortable sprawl in the rocking chair next to the bed. She wondered what had driven him from his own bed and made him take up his current position, certain that it wasn't something he had necessarily wanted to do. He wasn't the type of man who sought out comfort or offered it, so waking up and finding him sitting in her room, holding her hand was completely unexpected… and slightly unnerving.

He shifted and his features became taut as his sleep was disturbed by something that she couldn't see. Her response was automatic as she rubbed his hand, applying enough pressure to soothe away the tension she could feel thrumming through his body, but not so much that it would wake him up. After several minutes he began to calm, settling back into sleep as he slid further down in the rocking chair.

Had he been her Michael she would have simply tugged on his hand and pulled him into bed with her, wrapped him in her arms and held him until the nightmare released him from its grip. But, despite the momentary illusion provided by the early hour and the rare glimpse of vulnerability in his harsh features, he wasn't her Michael and she leaned back against her pillow with a regretful sigh.

*****

Michael awoke several hours later, his internal alarm clock letting him know it was time to start the day. His gaze shifted to the woman asleep in the bed he was sitting next to, her hand still wrapped around his. He pulled his hand free, careful to not wake her up, and he slipped from her room so he could get ready for his morning run.

When he got back the sun had risen above the horizon and he could smell breakfast cooking so he knew Maria was up. He decided to avoid the kitchen for a while and went to take a shower before facing her. After passing the room she had claimed as hers he backtracked and stood in the doorway, his eyes scanning over the furniture that he still hadn't figured out how she had managed to move on her own. He shook his head and walked back to his bedroom as he considered his next move.

Maria was setting breakfast on the table when he stepped into the kitchen a short while later and despite his intention to bring up the situation with the bedroom furniture, he found himself distracted by the tempting scent of food.

"I'm not changin' my mind just because you cooked," he muttered as he paused in the doorway to watch her.

Maria shrugged as she placed a short stack of pancakes on the table next to his plate. "And I'm not helping you move all that furniture back out to the shop."

Argument or food… argument or food… Michael debated for all of thirty seconds before he gathered his plates up and carried them into the living room. He came back for the glass of juice, syrup, and the jar of salsa sitting on the table.

Maria shook her head at his behavior and stared at her pancakes; they just weren't quite the same without syrup. Was it worth an argument with him just to get it back? She drummed her fingers on the counter as she tried to decide how badly she wanted the syrup. Yes, she decided, it was.

Michael looked up when his view of the television was obscured by his irate houseguest and he motioned for her to move with the hand holding his fork. "Get outta the way," he mumbled around a mouthful of pancakes. "You're blockin' the TV."

"I'd like the syrup, please." She sent a pointed look at the bottle he was clutching in his left hand when he just looked at her.

"Oh." He squeezed more of the syrup over his pancakes until they were practically swimming in the thick liquid and then handed it to her. "Go away now so I can watch TV in peace."

"No problem," she muttered as she stalked out of the room. Cretin! Not a single ounce of appreciation for the fact that she had spent the past hour slaving over a hot stove cooking for him. Jerk couldn't even be bothered to pretend he was civilized long enough to eat a meal at the breakfast table.

She sat down with her own breakfast and realized that she really didn't have an appetite. It wasn't exactly something new; she hadn't had much of an appetite in weeks, not since that day when… No! She wasn't going to think about it. She shoved the thoughts away, pushing them back down into the dark corner where she kept them hidden so she didn't have to deal with them. She couldn't afford to let those feelings out because she knew the moment she did she would be consumed by them.

"Why aren't you eatin'?" Michael asked as he placed his breakfast dishes in the sink.

Maria rolled her eyes. "Do you think you could rinse those off and put them in the dishwasher?"

"I could," he said, nodding his head. "But, why should I when you can do it?" He made a motion towards her plate. "You'd better eat; you're gonna need your strength so we can get that furniture moved back out to the shop."

"We're not moving that furniture out of that bedroom," she said adamantly.

"That room is not a bedroom!" he shouted, infuriated by her refusal to help fix what she had messed up. "No one told you that you could move all that shit in the house… and how did you get in the shop anyway?"

"You didn't make it all that difficult." Maria's tone was condescending and she knew she was only pushing him into a fight, but at that moment she didn't really care. "If you had any idea how to use your powers I wouldn't have been able to pick that lock."

Michael's temper flared at the implication that he was incompetent and he wrapped his hands around the edge of the counter to stop himself from doing something stupid. "You had no right to move my stuff outta the office, or to break into my shop and move all that stuff in the house. I should have you arrested for breaking and entering."

"Go ahead."

His back teeth began to grind in response to her goading and he took a deep breath to bring himself under control. "I didn't bring you here so you could just move in and take over!"

The dishes rattled when her fist pounded against the table. "Why did you bring me here?"

"Because the last thing I need is for you to run your fuckin' mouth and bring attention to me."

"It was never my intention to do that; all I want is to figure out why I'm here so I can do whatever it is I'm here to do. Why won't you listen to me? I just wanna go back home to my Michael and I can't do that until I've accomplished whatever mission the Granolith sent me here to - "

"I'm not interested in your alternate reality or your pathetic lovesick puppy routine! I want you to eat so we can get to work on movin' that furniture."

Lovesick puppy routine?! Maria's right hand clenched around the glass she was holding and before she could control the impulse or her anger, she threw it across the room where it hit the wall and shattered inches from where he was standing. "You have no right to talk about my feelings!"

Michael glanced over his shoulder at the juice dripping down the wall and the bits and pieces of glass littering the counter and floor next to him. He had seen it coming, had seen the anger building in her features, but he had to admit that he was surprised that she had actually carried through with the action. "You'll wanna clean that up before we get started on that furniture."

"We're not moving one single piece of that furniture. As long as I'm here I will have my own room - "

"This is not a democracy! This is my house and - "

Maria pushed back away from the table and stood up. "Do you even understand the need for privacy? You and me, we're stuck together for the present time, and I need my own space just like you need yours."

"You don't have the slightest clue what I need!" he yelled as he straightened up and pushed away from the counter. "Don't stand there and talk about things you don't know a damn thing about!" He grabbed his wallet and keys off of the counter and stalked through the laundry room to jerk the door to the garage open.

Maria shook her head when she heard the motorcycle's engine revving up as the garage door was opened. Why couldn't they ever just have an amicable conversation? Why did he have to be so argumentative? She sighed as she dropped back down in the chair and her gaze was automatically drawn to the mess she had made when she threw the glass at the infuriating man. She knew she couldn't really blame this argument on him; she had started it and she had been more than willing to keep pushing him to keep it going.

*****

Michael left his motorcycle in the parking lot and walked up to the doors of a bar a few blocks from the building that housed Marcos' offices. The bar was a safe place for people like him to hang out and unwind at the end of the day or to just kick back and relax after a difficult assignment. The people who frequented the bar were all employed by the Company or one of its contractors; outsiders weren't welcomed into the bar and the man that stood at the entrance made sure that they didn't make it inside.

The big man nodded and waved one beefy hand when Michael reached for his ID. The man crossed his massive arms over his chest and stepped back to allow the new arrival to enter the bar. "Think I don't know you by now, Guerin?" he rumbled. "How long've I been standin' at this door?"

"Long enough, Raphael" Michael muttered.

He cleared his throat and grinned when the younger man took two steps back and glared at him.

"This is unnecessary."

"You know the rules, Guerin; check your gear at the door or put it in reverse."

Michael turned to look at the owner of the new voice; it was deep and raspy and belonged to the owner of the bar. "Hey, Gabriel."

At nearly seven feet tall, bald, and heavily muscled, Gabriel was a force to be reckoned with; he was a living legend within the Company and the people who frequented his bar knew better than to cross him. A small smile slid across his tough features when Michael removed two concealed handguns and the knife strapped to his right boot beneath his khaki pants. His expression radiated annoyance when he dropped the items into the bin that Raphael held out in front of him.

"You've got locker thirty-seven tonight," the man announced as he slid the bin into one of the lockers mounted to the wall behind his desk.

Gabriel walked back to the bar and pulled a bottle of beer out of one of the coolers beneath the counter, uncapping it before sitting it on the polished surface in front of the younger man.
"What brings you in here so early in the day, Michael?"

"Just needed some breathin' room," he muttered cryptically. He made a motion towards the stage that was empty at the moment. "Who's playin' tonight?"

"Local talent." He could tell that Michael wasn't in the mood for conversation and he wasn't on the prowl because most of the patrons were male and Gabriel didn't allow the guys to put the moves on his waitresses. It was too early in the day for most of the regulars to be showing up any time soon, and it was odd for Michael to be there as early as it was.

"They any good?"

"Would I hire them to play here if they weren't?" He shook his head. "Why don't you just tell me why you're hangin' out this early?"

"Mind your own fuckin' business, Gabriel." His head snapped up when the giant behind the counter chuckled.

"Somethin' has seriously got you wound up."

"I am not wound up," he snarled.

"Well, I've seen you a lot more relaxed than this, Michael. You look like you could choke someone without a second thought right now and I happen to know for a fact that you're not on any assignments for Marcos. Matter of fact, that last job wasn't anything that would account for this type of tension."

"If I say I'm not interested in talkin' about it can we just leave it alone?" Michael took a long drink from the chilled bottle and tapped it against the counter.

"Your choice. You'd feel better if you'd just get it out in the open though."

"I don't subscribe to your belief system, Gabriel; maybe you like to talk about your… feelings, but I'm not interested."

"Suit yourself." He fixed himself a glass of ginger ale and braced one hand on the counter. "Confession's good for the soul though."

Michael rolled his eyes and motioned for another bottle of his preferred brand of beer; he had no interest in talking about his feelings or anyone else's. He should've been able to hold up his end of the argument much better than he had, and it bothered him that he had simply walked away instead of pushing back until he had won. He knew the blame could be placed on the nightmare; he hadn't been able to completely shake the images or the feelings that came with them and it had prevented him from focusing on the argument.

He should be moving furniture and making Maria help him, but instead he was sitting in a bar an hour from home, wondering how long he could avoid going back home.

Locked