By: Double Trouble
Disclaimer: Characters and plot lines that appeared in the series, the books, and the concept of Roswell are not ours. Belong to Melinda Metz, UPN, etc, etc…
Pairing: M&M, M&L as well as K&T
Summary: Just a little Christmas reunion with our gang from Mountains So High
A/N: For those, who haven't read MSH or need a little refreshment, here are the most important facts about the fic summed up:
Maria and her bf Mark, M&L as best friends and K&T as a couple are going on a mountain climbing trip at Mt. Rainier. There they meet their three guides Michael, Tony and Nick. Michael is Maria's ex, but they haven't seen since high school and are both surprised to see each other again. During the fic on the mountain, Maria learns about the true reasons while he broke up with her in the past (her parents), they get back together and she breaks up with her current bf, who doesn't get along with her friends anyway.
After the trip, M&M meet up with her parents and her father is all but happy to see Michael back in the picture. It takes time, but they convince her parents to be right for each other and they get married quickly.
Max has a secret crush on Liz for the past years and during the trip he's finally able to tell her. Liz is hesitant first according to bad experiences and a not so easy childhood. They get together in the end of course.
K&T are the fun couple of the fic, who are already engaged.
With the end of MSH, M&M are getting married while the rest of the gang considers to move to Mt. Rainier as well, so they could all be together.
Christmas music played softly in the background, lending a festive quality to the snow piled high on either side of the road. The woman behind the wheel hummed along with the song playing on the stereo, her eyes constantly scanning between the children sleeping in the backseat and the woman dozing in the seat next to her. They had been living in Mt. Rainier for almost three years now and in that time life had taken some interesting turns.
Movement from the backseat pulled her out of her musings and she smiled when her 18-month-old son yawned before giving her an angelic smile. Predictably, her little girl awoke right behind him and she rubbed her eyes before looking around with interest. Jake’s blonde hair stood up in soft spikes where the right side of his head had been pressed against his car seat while he slept. Katy’s curly blonde hair was a mess, one side flattened from sleeping on it and the rest was all over the place.
Twins, she thought with a soft smile. One of those interesting turns their lives had taken. Having children had never been in question but somehow they had just expected it would happen later. Oh, they had done everything right, but they had managed to find themselves in that ridiculously tiny percentage the birth control companies warned consumers about. Of course, when they defied the odds they really went all out.
She chuckled to herself as she remembered her husband’s reaction. He had been settling into the new business, splitting his time between settling into their new home, classes and climbs. It had been so busy and at first she’d just ignored her body’s signals, putting them down to all the stress of adjusting to the changes. When she’d finally made an appointment she’d fully expected the doctor to tell her she needed to get some rest because she was coming down with the flu. A nine-month affliction had been the last thing she’d been prepared for and it had taken her new husband’s feet right out from under him.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a disturbance from the backseat and a quick check of the rearview mirror easily identified the culprit. “Katy.”
Her little girl’s eyes shot up to meet her gaze in the mirror and after a moment the pout came into full force and her lower lip started to tremble. Her husband swore up and down their daughter had gotten that from her. But he couldn’t be more wrong. She never resorted to such tactics. She wasn’t that obvious.
She reached back between the seats, fumbling around for the toy that was just out of reach. Unfortunately she grabbed the wrong one and as soon as his hands clenched around the stuffed animals’ fur all hell broke loose.
Katy’s eyes widened when her brother’s possession of her toy registered and she leaned over to grab it. “Mine!”
Jake screamed and a battle of tug-o-war began in earnest as they each struggled to take ownership of the toy.
“You two stop it right now!”
The brunette in the passenger’s seat was suddenly wide awake and cursing her boyfriend for suggesting she catch a ride with their friend so he could finish up some last-minute things at the office before shutting down for the holiday weekend.
“Sorry, Liz,” the blonde woman apologized. “When they’re like this they listen so much better to – “
Katy chose that moment to grab a handful of Jake’s hair, pulling as hard as she could. He howled in rage and grabbed her hand, pulling it closer so he could sink his teeth into it. She shrieked and pulled even harder. They pulled apart as the car came to a stop, both too busy screaming and crying to even notice their mother opening her door and getting out.
Liz made her escape and quickly shut her door, hoping to trap the ear-piercing racket inside with them. She rubbed her temples and made her way up to the cabin just as the front door opened and her best friend greeted her with a hug and an offering of aspirin with a bottle of water.
“Oh, my God, you’re the best,” she groaned and wasted no time downing the pills.
Maria laughed and ushered her inside. “Why don’t you have a seat by the fire and keep Mack company?”
“What about – “
“He’s asleep and will be for a while yet.”
“Uh-huh, sure. Turn the Valenti twins loose and that won’t last long.”
“Go on and I’ll give Tess a hand with her little angels.”
Liz snorted and went inside, kicking her shoes off and shedding her winter gear before making her way over to the comfortable furniture situated around the fireplace. Mack, the black Labrador Maria’s husband Michael had given her as a Christmas gift their first year together got up and ran over to join her. “You’re the sweetest boy,” she gushed as she gave him a good rubdown. “And you’re so quiet.”
He pressed his nose against her side and snuffled happily, his tail wagging a mile a minute.
“Seems like you’ve got your hands full,” Maria watched, amused as her other friend tried her best to keep Katy from getting out of the car since she had kicked her shoes off, while she already held a very upset Jake hanging lopsided in her arms.
“I wouldn’t mind some help,” Tess looked up, her face not half as stressed as one would have expected.
The news of twins had shaken the couple pretty hard at first, but it was incredible to see how they had grown with their tasks. Now they seemed like parents who didn’t get worked up no matter how hard the little rioters tried.
“Hey boy, what’s got you so upset, huh?” Maria approached them and held her arms out to the little boy.
Jake’s tears dried immediately and a smile broke loose on his face. Impatiently, he leaned over with his arms outstretched and his mom was all too willing to hand him over so she could find Katy’s other shoe.
“I think we scared Parker for good,” she snorted while she leaned into the car.
Maria chuckled. “Could be. But I don’t think Max will give up on that. He’s too much of a family guy an’ you know she’ll be a good mother one day. She’s still young.”
“Katy!” Tess looked at her daughter encouragingly when she kept kicking her feet. “If you want to get out of this car, then let me put your shoes back on. Daddy told you to be a good girl, didn’t he?” She smirked to herself when the mention of her husband calmed her down and she was able to finish the task. Yeah, she was such a Daddy’s girl!
Pulling her out, she kicked the door of the car close and went to grab her bag while steadying the wobbly movements of her daughter on the ground. “We’re all young, but my family expansion plans are over.”
“Uh-huh.” Somehow Maria doubted the truth behind that statement.
“How are things going with Tobey? You look pretty relaxed.” Tess eyed her friend. For someone who had a two-month-old baby in the house, she looked pretty good. A lot better than she had looked – but then again twins were a totally different challenge.
“Things couldn’t be any better. He’s just perfect. I know every mother says that about her children, but in his case… well, it’s just true.”
Tess snorted with a nod. She knew all about that. She also knew her little angels weren’t as perfect as she’d believed at first. They could be a handful, there was no doubt about that, but she and Kyle handled things pretty well. “Katy, stop jumping around before you end up falling in the snow.”
Katy’s eyes widened and she pulled on her mother’s hand, letting her know that was exactly what she was trying to do.
“Oh, no, no, no. You can make snow angels later when Daddy comes home.” She rolled her eyes at her friend. “I have to remember to thank Vanessa for that.”
Maria chuckled as she led the way into the cabin. “You can’t blame her for that. I happen to know for a fact that you’re the one who showed the twins how to make snow angels.”
“I admit to nothing of the sort.”
“Katy,” she crouched down in front of the little girl, “who showed you how to make those snow angels, hmm?”
“Mommy!” the girl said and grinned widely.
“Remember that when Tobey’s old enough to bust you for things,” Tess said as she helped her daughter out of her coat. She wasn’t quick enough to hide the smile and she just shook her head when Maria caught it.
“Doggy!” Jake ran across the room and threw his arms around Mack’s neck.
Liz winced when the dog was practically smothered by the boy’s enthusiastic hug, but Mack was used to the kids and he tolerated them with patience that would make a saint proud.
“Don’t crush him, Jack,” his mother called after him but her words went unheard.
“Me puppy, Mommy,” Katy said impatiently, trying to get away.
“Hey,” Tess held her still to peel the rest of her outer gear off, “we don’t yell in the house, alright? The baby’s sleeping.”
The little girl’s eyes grew wide and she placed a finger over lips like mommy did when Daddy was sleeping on the couch after getting home from work.
“That’s right. Shhh.”
Liz rolled her eyes and got out of her seat when both kids started to play with Mack and disturbed the silence once more. “Seriously, Valenti, I love your twins, but…” she lowered her voice, “do you ever have a few hours to relax with those two? I think I’d be suffering a major case of burnout right now.”
Tess laughed quietly and got rid of her own coat and shoes. “You won’t look at it that way when they’re your own. And you develop a great deal of patience with time.”
“Uh-huh,” she wasn’t convinced.
Maria looked up when she heard a little beeping sound. “Oh, I need to check the pork.” She went off to the kitchen and looked around for the potholder before opening the oven to check the slow cooking meat. Michael loved a good pulled pork sandwich after days on the mountain. If only it didn’t take forever to prepare the stuff.
“Have you heard from the guys?” Liz and Tess both walked in moments later.
Three years ago, none of them had thought a simple trip on the mountains would bring such a huge change for all of them. Just weeks later, Maria had been married to her old high school love, Max and Liz had started a serious relationship, and along with Kyle and Tess had decided to move to Mt. Rainer for the sake of the group.
It had been a chaotic time organizing college transfers, moving stuff from California and settling in, but somehow they had managed it and their little group had grown even tighter.
Back then Michael and his two mountain guide friends Tony and Nick had only dreamed of owning their own outfit here in Mt. Rainier, but it hadn’t stayed a dream for long. They had started it soon after they had met and while Nick had dropped out for family reasons Kyle had soon joined them as a mountain guide. Max had eventually taken over the outfit’s office, handling the legal and financial aspects of the business.
“Michael radioed a couple hours ago. They reached the camp behind schedule last night but he said they’re still gonna try to make it down before nightfall.”
“They’d better,” Tess said as she opened the refrigerator to get a drink. “The weather forecast is calling for more snow on the mountain by this afternoon.”
Liz sat on one of the barstools at the island in the center of the kitchen. “I’m glad Max decided to stick with law. I love going up on the mountain but I wouldn’t want him up there all the time, guiding and dealing with the weather conditions this time of year especially. I mean, last year they had that big group that went up the week before Thanksgiving and he agreed to go with them because they needed an extra climber since one of their group cancelled at the last minute and what happened?”
A freak storm had blown up out of seemingly nowhere and it had left the entire group stranded on the mountain for several days.
“Yeah, but it’s not always like that,” Maria said as she closed the oven door and tossed the potholder on the counter.
“She’s right,” Tess agreed, taking the stool next to Liz. “Besides, we still had Thanksgiving. It was just a little late.”
The brunette uncapped her bottle of water and took a long drink. “That’s the first time I’ve ever had leftovers for Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Michael’s not gonna miss Tobey’s first Christmas.”
“Yeah, and Kyle has to dress up like Santa for the kids so obviously he can’t miss it either.”
Liz rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe he’s actually gonna put that suit on and pretend to be Santa Claus.”
“The kids get excited about the jolly old elf and I know they’re not really old enough to really have any idea what the fuss is all about it’ll be fun.”
“Um-hmm, I think you just have some sort of perverse attraction to fat men in red suits.”
“If anyone has any pervy inclinations it’s you, Parker.” Tess rolled her eyes and leaned on the counter closer to Maria. “Last time they were visiting her an’ Evans did it in our bathroom. Unbelievable.”
The other blonde giggled.
“Hey,” Liz stuck her tongue out, “at least we still have a pretty active sex life.”
Maria lifted an eyebrow. “What makes you think we don’t?”
“Well, you’re… moms!”
“And?” Tess placed her hands on her hips. “Does this make us less attractive? I got my former size back an’ Maria just gave birth two month ago. She’s in a pretty good shape already after such a short time.”
“Whoa,” the brunette lifted her hands, “I didn’t mean it that way, chicas, so relax, alright? I was just saying you always have to be careful so your kids don’t walk in or disturb playtime.”
“Whatever,” the curly blonde said, “you just have to be a little more creative that’s all. An’ I’m so glad we moved when the twins were born, because we could hear you every night, ya know?”
The twins choose that moment to stumble into the kitchen, automatically putting an end to the conversation.
“What do you have there?” Maria asked when Katy rounded the island, carrying something in her arms. Her eyes widened when she noticed it was Mack’s water bowl. “Sweetie, give me that.” She crouched down in front of the girl to take it from her before she could spill anymore water all over the floor.
“I think Mack’s alright for now.”
Liz’ gaze roamed over the little girl as she reluctantly relinquished possession of Mack’s water bowl. “Cute outfit.”
“Isn’t it?” Tess had to smile victoriously. “I nearly didn’t get my hands on it. I had to… No, sir, that isn’t yours.”
Jake paused, one hand in his mouth and the other reaching for the broom in the corner. He gave her a smile that was all innocence and edged closer to the object of his desire. He stopped when she shook her head and he waited a moment before edging another step towards it. “Mine!”
Maria tried her best to hide a smirk when his expression turned stubborn as his gaze bounced back and forth between her and his mom.
“If you want it you have to ask.”
He frowned at Mommy’s words and he reached out, his fingertips brushing against the broom handle as he looked at Maria again. “Mine?”
She laughed and pulled him to her for a hug. “It’s all yours, little man. Go for it.” She released him and pointed at the broom. “Can you bring it to me?”
He gave her a wide smile as he went to get it, dragging it across the room and nearly throwing it at her when he let it go.
“Thank you.” Maria unscrewed the handle Michael had made when he’d noticed the boy’s fascination for the broom. He had cut it in half and fixed it so the top half could be taken off to replace the lower half, making it just the right size for Jake to push around the room and amuse himself with. As soon as she had affixed the shorter handle she held it out to him and off he went, babbling to himself happily as he pushed it around the room.
“There you go,” Liz said with a snort, “now you have your own little cleaning maid.”
“You should see him at home,” Tess said as she kept an eye on the boy to make sure he didn’t knock anything around with the broom. “I wish he was a little more coordinated so I could let him clean the tiles in the kitchen. Kyle has a talent for messing them up while fixing a simple breakfast.”
“Men in the kitchen,” Maria rolled her eyed. “My husband can cook, but he always makes this huge mess and IF he cleans it up, I can’t find anything for days.”
“Tell me about it,” the other blonde agreed and focused her attention back on the girls when her son seemed to be out of trouble.
“Hmm, well I guess I’ve got the great exception then, because Max’s a cooking god. He makes more use of the kitchen than I ever will. When his parents came for a visit last month, he made this huge dinner… I have no clue how he did it in our small simply-equipped kitchen.”
“Your man knows how to make the most of the little things, that’s why he works in our office,” Maria winked.
“Speaking of parents,” Tess leaned on the counter with a curious look, “are the DeLuca parents comin’ in for the holidays or what?”
“Yeah,” Maria nodded, “Mom called last night an’ said they’re gonna be here some time tomorrow.”
“She’s probably excited to finally meet her grandchild, huh?”
“No doubt. Mom was devastated when they both came down with the flu when Tobey was born and they had to cancel their planned visit.”
“What about big ol’ grandpa Carson?” Liz asked, remembering the man’s grudge against Michael in the past. He had been anything but happy to see Maria getting back with her old high school love.
Maria grinned happily. “Just wait and see. Grandpa Carson’s gonna be a big ol’ marshmallow when he sees his grandson in person the first time.”
“Please, he'll be like that from now on. I mean, you've seen my parents and Kyle’s parents with our kids.”
“Yeah, but your parents were actually happy the two of you were together. Happy isn't the word for her dad’s reaction to them getting back together.”
“Maybe happy’s not the right word,” she agreed, “but he was over being openly hostile towards Michael by the time they got married. And he has been more civil since then.” She turned her head when the sound of pots and pans clattering to the floor created enough of a racket to wake the infant sleeping in the nursery. She turned to look at her children and shook her head at them.
“And that would be what happens when Michael actually cleans the kitchen and puts the dishes away,” Maria said as she headed out of the room. “Be right back.”
Katy was climbing into the cabinet that was now empty while Jake created more noise as he pushed the pots and pans around with the broom. He paused to pick up a colander and inspected it for a moment before deciding it would make a suitable hat. Once it was in place he went back to his version of cleaning up.
“Nice,” Liz murmured with a teasing grin at Tess. “What do they do for an encore?”
“Have some of your own and find out,” Tess replied coolly and went to collect some of the pans. “Jake, you can’t make so much noise.”
His eyes widened when Mommy started picking up his newfound possessions and he grabbed onto the next one she reached for.
“Yeah, it’s tempting,” the brunette said with a shake of her head. Granted, Tess had twins and that had to be twice as difficult to deal with.
“No,” Tess shook her head when her son put on the pouty face.
Jake studied her expression and he pulled on the pot she held, trying hard to take it back. When she didn’t release it he stuck his bottom lip out and it started to tremble as he pulled so hard he lost his grip and landed on his backside on the floor. His lip started to tremble harder and his eyes began to water as he worked himself up to a fit that would break loose as soon as he decided whether he was hurt or not.
“That what happens when you don’t listen to Mommy,” she said at set him back on his feet, knowing he was just putting on a show and if she fussed over him he’d make it even worse. So instead she set the pans aside and closed the cabinet door again.
“Um, Tess?” Liz pointed at the cabinet door she’d just closed. “You forgot someone.”
“While the little prince there was busy making enough noise to raise the dead the little princess was climbing inside the cabinet castle.” She raised her eyebrows as she nodded at the cabinet meaningfully.
Tess looked over her shoulder. “Oh.” She crouched down again and opened the cabinet, greeted by a stunned pair of eyes. “Sweetie, what’d I tell you about hiding in dark places?”
Katy launched herself out of the cabinet and into her mom’s arms. “Mommy!”
She chuckled at the girl’s relieved tone and held her against her. “Everything’s okay, baby girl.”
Liz watched them and leaned forward to rest her chin in her hand, her eyes following Jake when he went after the broom again and started shuffling around the kitchen, achieving nothing but making himself happy. Katy was soon soothed and she was off investigating on her own again. “When do you ever sit down for five minutes at a time?”
“During the day? Hardly ever.” She shrugged and joined her friend at the counter again. “The twins keep me busy every second when they’re awake and not in daycare. At least when Kyle’s gone for his trips.”
“And when Kyle’s home, what? You turn the little beasts loose on him?”
“He has great patience with them and he tries to catch up with them for the time he’s been away so that gives me some time to do the things I wanna do.”
Liz nodded. She’d seen Kyle with the twins often enough she knew he was a good father who doted on his kids. And he really did have a lot of patience. He was also very supportive of Tess and he made sure she had time to herself. “We’re all agreed he’s pretty close to being perfect.”
“Who’s perfect?” Maria asked, walking back into the kitchen with Tobey in her arms. The baby was wrapped in a light blue fluffy blanket, hands balled into tiny fists while he looked at them curiously.
“Kyle,” Tess said as she smiled at the baby. “Look at that little man. I swear he gets bigger every time I see him.”
“That’s no wonder. He’s always hungry.”
Liz watched them as they gushed over the baby. She loved the kids but she didn’t know if she was really cut out to be a mom. Her childhood had left scars. Most people probably had them in some form, but hers had left her questioning her ability to be a parent.
“Let me hold him,” Tess said, reaching for him.
Maria chuckled and released her son. “Just remember you have to give him back.”
“As soon as he cries you can have him back.”
Liz snorted at their friend’s response and nodded in agreement. In her case that was pretty much immediately because babies always seemed to sense it if the person holding them was uncomfortable and they started to cry right away.
“When’s Max coming?” Maria asked when she saw the look on her brunette friend’s face.
Not soon enough. “It shouldn’t be much longer.” Her boyfriend was a natural with the kids and he enjoyed spending time with them. “He said he had almost everything done. There were just a few last things he wanted to take care of before shutting down for the holiday.”
“Cool. First he can get the extra mattress from the attic. Otherwise you guys would have to sleep on the couch and that thing’s very comfy for sitting but not so much for sleeping.”
She snickered. “Max just loves being your errand boy.”
“Well, Michael was supposed to do it, but they’re still stuck on the mountain.”
“They’ll be down soon enough.”
“Why don’t we go have a seat in the living room? Everything’s set for a quick dinner tonight and the rest of tomorrow night’s dinner will be done in the morning when Mom gets here.”
“Sounds good to me,” Tess agreed. “Jake, let’s go sweep in the living room. Katy, c’mon, sweetie.”