In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) COMPLETE 3/10/13

Finished stories that feature the characters from the show, but there are no aliens. All fics completed on the main AU without Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

Moderators: Anniepoo98, Rowedog, ISLANDGIRL5, Itzstacie, truelovepooh, FSU/MSW-94, Erina, Hunter, Forum Moderators

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

In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 11 - 1/10/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:06 am

Earth2Mama: Why oh why do we think you’re right? Maria and Andrew married young and just started to grow apart after years of marriage. Not being able to conceive really didn’t help things, but chances are that having another child would’ve only been a temporary fix.

Parents too often believe that they can protect their children from these kinds of things.

Kara was meant to be with them, for sure! They will, we promise.

Yes, seriously he’s pondering that, but actually he’s pondering how he let things reach this point and not really how they reached this point.

Well, we could do that, but it might seriously shorten the story.

Hope those sheep cooperated for ya!

mary mary: He did… he had to ask.

Well, all we can say for now is that they will all make it through this tragedy. Whether or not they make it out unscathed is a different matter.

We agree, and the fact that they married so young only contributed to them growing apart as time passed. Having to live with the knowledge that they were unable to resolve their problems before his death only adds to Maria’s guilt and grief.

kismet: Such a violent reaction!

Because it’d make for a very short fic, lol!

Natalie36: It’s gonna happen, we promise.

begonia9508: It’s true, and we can only hope that Max and Liz won’t reach that point. That point gets closer every time he shuts down on her, but they’re not ready to give up just yet.

We’ll see…

No, Michael was not very happy about that. He probably should’ve, but Kyle’s main interest was keeping an eye on Tess.

keepsmiling7: They do need to open the lines of communication because they’re only deteriorating further the longer they go without really talking.

Thanks! We’re glad you’re enjoying the fic!

sarammlover: They will find their way back together. Yeah, we can say with certainty that Maria will find that man in little ol’ Roswell.

killjoy: We’re glad you’re enjoying Kyle and Tess here! No one wants to have any kind of imperfection pointed out, least of all by someone they like, lol. You can look forward to more scenes between them. Matter of fact, there’s one or two coming up in this next part.

And you could be right.

Maiqu: We know you do!

Hmm… could you possibly be referring to DT Max? LOL. We hope to get ITCOAL Max up to a lovable status before too long.

Why do we think you’re right… again?

Alien_Friend: Part 9 –

Sam and Andy are gonna make great friends. She’ll help the twins and Andy find the common ground needed to bring them closer despite the awkwardness of the situation.

They’ll always come together when it counts – especially when it involves their kids.

Quite the philosopher, isn’t she?

Part 10 –

Being together and getting married so young allowed them to grow up together in some ways, but after years together they began to develop different interests and over time they began to grow apart.

Michael’s looking for much more and whether he knows it or not, he’s found it.

They’re gonna figure it out though and they’re gonna get through this.


Part 11

Tess felt a shiver race down her spine when the bane of her existence spoke and she refused to acknowledge that his voice alone was enough to make her want to throw caution to the wind and give him the second chance that he so obviously wanted. She didn’t bother to look at him though, picking up the menu in the center of the table and flipping it open as she pointedly ignored him.

Maria rolled her eyes. “Kyle, I didn’t know you were gonna be here tonight.”

He frowned when he saw his sister’s puffy eyes. “Everything okay with you?”

“Yeah, just catching up on some girl talk,” she assured him.

Kyle nodded and snatched the menu out of Tess’ hand. “What about… hmm...” he grinned when he pinpointed a fitting cocktail and tapped it. He leaned down until his lips were only inches away from her ear “... an Orgasm?”

“What about...” She leaned back, making sure she was brushing right up against what he had assured her wasn’t a weapon. “Blue Balls?”

Kyle smirked at her response. He loved it that she always had a tough response for him. That was one of the things that made her so special.

“No response, G-man?”

“Just testing you to see if you’d really go for it,” Kyle teased and leaned down again to whisper in her ear. “But, it would seem that you don’t wanna ruin my ability to make you scream.”

Maria leaned back in her chair and watched them. You could almost see the sexual tension between them.

Tess snorted inelegantly and grinned when she rubbed her elbow against the bulge in his jeans and he shifted back out of reach. “I can see now why you didn’t want me to mistake that for your weapon... no self-respecting F.B.I. agent would carry such a small...” She tipped her head back to smile wickedly at him. “Weapon.”

Kyle’s smirk faded and his mouth opened and closed several times without a sound.

“Valenti,” someone called from behind him.

“Sounds like your date’s missin’ you.”

He held a hand up when Michael called him. “You an’ me, we’re gonna dance, baby,” he growled, meeting Tess’ challenging gaze head-on. Unable to ignore the taunt she was aiming in his direction he swooped down and kissed her hard and fast.

Michael couldn’t believe his eyes as he watched his friend kissing another woman while he was sitting there at the damn table with their dates.

Kyle pulled back just as she was getting into the kiss and Tess quickly recovered, shoving him back as she turned in her chair to face him. “Kyle Valenti, I can’t believe you have the nerve to come over here and stick your tongue down my throat!”

His hands were still braced on the table behind her, bracketing her body. “No?” he whispered in a soft growl. “Someplace else you’d rather have my tongue?”

“God, Kyle, could you just leave now?” Maria complained.

“How dare you come over here and proposition me!” she huffed indignantly, talking right over Maria. “I already have a very nice man interested in me and now you’ve probably ruined it.”

Kyle snorted. “Uh-huh, a very nice man...” He shook his head. “A very nice man couldn’t handle your spirited little ass.”

She refused to give in to his superior attitude. “I do not need a man to handle me.”

“Um-hmm...” He didn’t miss her furtive gaze darting around the room, looking for a suitable fool to play along with her. “There isn’t a sap in here who’s man enough to take you on.”

Someone cleared their throat behind him and he turned, blushing when he came face to face with his furious date. “I can explain...” he started.

Amber slapped him with every bit of strength she had and he could swear he heard ringing in his ears.

“So, we won’t be goin’ back to your place later?” he called to her retreating back as she stalked out of the bar, dragging her friend with her. He turned back to Tess. “I can explain that...”

“Good, I can’t wait to hear this. Because it looks to me like history repeating itself.”

He faltered when she just crossed her arms over her chest and glared up at him. How was he supposed to explain that the date had only been a cover so he could spy on her?

“Is that your friend?” Maria asked, shocked as she studied the man who had called out to her brother earlier.

“What?” Kyle glanced over his shoulder. “Oh, Michael, yeah.”

Damn, she thought. It was the same guy who tried to flirt with her that morning in the park.

Michael couldn’t believe his eyes when the other woman looked up and he recognized her as the woman from the park. This day was just getting better and better, he thought sarcastically.

Tess took a look at Michael, too. “He’s sexy, don’t you wanna invite him over?” she teased.

Kyle frowned at her when she openly checked his friend out. “What? No.”

“No,” Maria blurted out almost at the same time.

They both turned to look at her.

Michael’s right eyebrow lifted in interest when the woman he had met in the park denied any interest in having him join them. Damn, how many times could a guy have his ego kicked before he had no choice but to crawl into a dark corner to lick his wounds?

“Never mind,” Maria said quietly and glanced away.

“So, now that you’ve screwed everyone’s night you can go,” Tess said, waving her hand imperiously.

Kyle took one of the empty chairs from a nearby table. “Nah, I think I’m gonna stay for a while.” He turned to look at Michael, who was talking to the waitress that had been flirting with him all night. “Hey, Guerin, get your ass over here, I wanna introduce you to someone.”

Michael wished for just a moment that he was the slightest bit interested in the offer the waitress had been flaunting in his face all night. He crossed the small space separating him from Kyle and two more blondes. Why couldn’t the guy be attracted to women who weren’t blond?

“Michael, this is my step-sister Maria. Maria, this’s the man who broke a lot of hearts with me in college,” Kyle introduced them with a grin.

Michael held his hand out to her, hoping she wouldn’t just leave him hanging and completely embarrass him by ignoring it.

Tess laughed. “A lot of hearts, Valenti? Please... when did you figure out that women had hearts as well as vaginas?”

He made a face at her.

“Oh, I’m sorry... is that word too big for you?”

Maria shook Michael’s hand and mumbled something that sounded like a “Nicetomeetyou”.

Michael had already figured out that the woman Kyle was fighting/flirting with was Tess; he had heard enough about her over the years that he recognized her without an introduction. But he kept that knowledge to himself. She was already busting the guy’s balls, so if he mentioned that Kyle had talked about her the whole time they’d known each other she’d have too much ammunition against the guy.

His gaze shot back to Maria when her palm slid across his and he could’ve sworn he felt a shock as they connected. “How’s Theo?” he asked, scrabbling for something, anything to say to her.

Kyle was about to say something back to Tess when he heard what Michael had said. “You know Theo?” he asked, confused.

“We ran into each other in the park this mornin’,” Michael answered and left it at that. No reason to relive that humiliation.

“Uh-huh,” Kyle glanced between Michael and Maria.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Tess hissed to Maria.

Maria was just about to shrug her shoulders when she realized her hand was still held in Michael’s warm grasp. She cleared her throat as she jerked her hand free and prayed that her embarrassment wasn’t visible on her face. “No reason to mention it,” she said dismissively.

“Well, since you already know each other...” Kyle turned to Tess, “Let’s dance, babe.” He pulled her to her feet with one quick move.

Fuck! Michael thought as Kyle ditched him, leaving him with a woman who couldn’t have cared less if he inhabited the same planet as her. “So... sorry for bustin’ up your girl’s night,” he said as he glanced around. “I assume it’s a girl’s night since you two were alone?”

“It was, yeah,” she answered, frowning when a terrible thought suddenly occurred to her. If he was Kyle’s friend... maybe he already knew that she wasn’t married anymore?! Oh, God!

He nodded. God, he hadn’t felt this awkward with the opposite sex since his first date! “You never did say if you were just visiting or...?”

Maria wished she could just vanish into thin air right now. This guy was definitely good looking – something she didn’t feel she could say about herself since she hadn’t really cared about her appearance lately – damn. But she didn’t want anyone to see her with another guy. Roswell was a small town and people would talk. “I haven’t decided yet,” she told him.

Michael glanced up at her when she finally spoke. “I moved here middle of this past summer.”

“Um-hmm,” she mumbled. What was she supposed to say about that?

“It’s quiet here... takes a little bit to get used to that.”

“Well, it’s Roswell. What’d you expect? Aliens?” she asked and almost smirked.

There went that weird feeling again, he thought when she gave just the slightest hint of a smile. “Well, I’m fairly open-minded, but I can’t say I was expecting to see any little green men.”

“Good, ‘cause about the only thing you’re gonna find’s gonna be some of the freaks who hang around here.”

“I have run into a few of those, but for the most part they’ve been tourists chasin’ those little green men.”

Maria took her cell out of her bag when it buzzed a couple of times. She flipped it open and read the message that Andy had sent just as she had asked him to do. He was safely back at home – ten minutes late, she realized with a small smile, but at least he hadn’t just ignored her request to contact her.

“Your kid?” Michael asked.

“Yeah.” She put her cell back again.

“Just one? Or you got several at home?”

God, why wouldn’t he stop with the questions? “Just the one.”

When he caught the hint of annoyance in her tone Michael motioned to the area of the bar where the pool tables were set up. “I think I’m gonna go hit the tables for a couple games,” he said. “If you don’t mind; I’m sure Kyle will be back soon enough.” He needed to get away while he still had some of his dignity.

Maria glanced at the other couple and doubted that they would be back anytime soon. “I think I’ll just go home.”

He knew he shouldn’t do it, but his mouth jumped in without consulting his brain. “Do you need a ride home?”

“I’m here with my own car, thanks. You both just make sure Tess gets home.”

“Okay, well...” He watched her as she stood up, gathering her jacket and purse and he stood up respectfully. There were so many reasons why it was wrong to have any interest in her... she was his best friend’s sister, she was probably just visiting, and of course there was that little issue of her being married. “Can I at least walk you to your car? You can never be too safe.”

“Uh, better not, Michael.” If people saw her leaving with him the rumors would start. Oh, God, she could already hear the curious old lady in the neighborhood across the street calling her mother.

He nodded and motioned to the dance floor. “I could get Kyle for you... or... what’s-her-name, Tess?”

She shook her head. “Don’t worry, I’m a big girl.”

“Very well then, I’ll just go shoot a game of 8-ball.”

She nodded quietly before disappearing into the crowd and leaving him alone.

Michael slouched down in his chair and stretched his long legs out under the table. He flagged the waitress down and ordered a drink, opting for a Jack and Coke instead of another beer. His fresh drink arrived seconds before Kyle returned to the table with Tess and he did his best not to snap at both of them for leaving them alone with Maria. “Your sister asked that we give your girl here a ride home.”

Tess snorted at that. “Oh, you are waaay off base, buddy.”

He shrugged. “Whatever. You obviously need a ride home, don’t you?”

“Why’d she go home? Did you do somethin’ to annoy her?” Tess asked, taking a long sip of her drink.

“Yeah, that’s generally what I do with attractive women,” he muttered sarcastically as he took a drink.

“Attractive, huh?” Kyle teased.

“Don’t worry, Valenti,” Michael said, not even noticing the humor in Kyle’s tone, “I got the message, okay?”

“What? I was just teasing, Guerin.”

“It’s just my luck that the first interesting woman I meet has to be your sister and she’s married.” He pulled his wallet out and tossed a couple of bills on the table, sitting the glass on top of them to keep them in place. He stood as he shoved his wallet back in his pocket. “I think I’m gonna walk home, let the cool air clear my head a bit. You’ve got my number, so gimme a call and we’ll do this again... without the dates though.”

“But, she isn’t....” Kyle started, but Michael was already too far away to hear it.

“Interesting,” Tess mused. “How long have you known him?”

“I met him my first year in college.”

“Way back then, huh?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Just that was a loooong time ago.” She snorted. “I’m surprised you can remember that far back.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

She smiled sweetly. “Nothing.”

Women, Kyle thought. “So, what’re we gonna do now?”

“What’d you have in mind?”

“Well,” he leaned over the table, “I’ve got a big car.”

“Um-hmm... to go along with your big weapon and your big ego?” She shot a teasing grin at him. “’Cause, y’know, the weapon... not that impressive. Now, your ego on the other hand... you’d need a big car for that.”

“That makes two of us then, Evans.”

“Then it’s good we won’t both need to get in your car, isn’t it?”

Fine, if she wanted it to play that way... “Alright,” he glanced around the room, “think I’m gonna go home now. Have a nice evening Ms. Evans.” He winked at her and grabbed his jacket from the chair.

Tess stared after him in shock. What? He couldn’t seriously think he was leaving her there alone! She grabbed her bag and stalked after him.

Kyle walked straight through the bar to get outside. He grinned when he heard her running after him, her high heels striking the ground.

She pulled up short as she barreled through the door and saw him leaning against his car, arms crossed over his chest as he grinned arrogantly. She gritted her teeth and made it a point to look up and down the street before walking right past him and heading in the direction of the hotel. He’d better come after me, she thought as she walked along the street. The damn hotel was almost a mile away.

He stood there for another minute, just watching her walk, cursing now and then when one of her high heels would catch on something. He shook his head – stubborn woman. Kyle got in his car and started to drive slowly in her direction. When he was next to her, he rolled the window down slowly. “Need a ride?”

She hid her smile. Predictability could be a very valuable tool at times, she thought. “It’s a perfectly nice night for a walk.” Or, at least it was until the heel of her right shoe got caught in the metal grating she stepped on by mistake and she ended up on her ass right in front of him.

He couldn’t help it and burst into laugher even if he knew it wouldn’t help him make his case. After Kyle had stopped the car, he got out of it and walked around it to help her up. “Perfectly nice night for a walk, huh?”

“You owe me a new pair of shoes,” she grumbled as she generously allowed him to pull her to her feet.

He grabbed her in a quick move and pinned her against his car, his hands braced on each side of her. “The only thing I owe you is to make up for what I did in high school. So you gonna go out for dinner with me?”

It was so distracting when he was this close! “Do you have any idea how expensive these shoes were?” she asked, annoyed more by her reaction to him than the loss of her precious footwear.

He ignored her question and took her chin in one hand so she had to look at him. “Dinner? Tomorrow night maybe?”

Damn it, she was supposed to be the one calling the shots. “Dinner,” she agreed finally, “but not tomorrow night.”

He smirked. He had already known she wouldn’t agree to his entire request. “Okay, then any other night.”

“Are you stayin’ with your parents?”

“As weird as it sounds for a guy my age, I am.”

“Well, I guess it’s acceptable since you don’t actually live here. So, about dinner...” She reached up to run her hands over his chest, letting her fingertips trace over the muscled ridges.

He followed the movements of her hands with his eyes. “Um-hmm?”

“Your parents do the whole Sunday dinner with the family thing, so I accept your invitation to dinner.” She smirked at him when he frowned, knowing that wasn’t what he’d had in mind.

“You honestly want to have dinner with my parents? And Maria and Andy?”

“I think you’ll be more inclined to keep your hands to yourself if you’re surrounded by your immediate family.”

He sighed. “Fine, we’ll have dinner with my parents then.” Damn.

Tess smiled and her blue eyes sparkled brilliantly when he agreed. “I should be getting back to the hotel now,” she said, happy that she was once more in control of things.

He nodded and took a step back to open the car door for her.

Well, his manners had certainly improved over the years, she thought as she slid into the soft leather seat.

He closed the door and walked around to the driver’s side, already considering how to tell Amy that they would be having a guest for dinner soon.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 12 - 1/17/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:09 pm

begonia9508: Those two will be providing the comic relief, lol!

Things will be a little less strained when he realizes what her situation is.

Earth2Mama: They’re crazy, but it’s the good kind, lol!

Glad that made ya laugh that hard! Oh, they’ll eventually get around to that conversation!

She did have some speed on that escape, didn’t she?

We’ll see that soon!

Alien_Friend: Tess isn’t about to admit that she’s not in control of anything, lol!

Michael is old enough that he’s had time to mature and while he’s very interested in Maria he’s fighting that because he believes that she’s married. We’ll see what happens when he learns the truth… which isn’t far away.

LOL, small towns are great, but the gossip factor can be hell! Especially when everyone seems to know everyone.

It’s never easy to realize that the person you’re in love with is changing and growing in a different direction.

mary mary: Now that made us laugh! Kyle is cocky, but Tess knows how to handle him.

It will be, and it isn’t far away.

Maiqu: We guess you were… again! Glad you enjoyed that last update!

sarammlover: The man does not know the meaning of ‘give up’! Don’t give up on them just yet. Maria’s just in a bad place right now and Michael’s under the impression that she’s very unavailable. But, we promise you… it’s gonna happen!


Part 12

Nick followed Justin into the house and they went to the kitchen when they heard someone moving around, pulling things out of the refrigerator. They found their dad standing at the island, putting a sandwich together and they looked around to see if Mom was anywhere to be found.

“Hey, I’ll take one of those,” Nick said as he moved to sit on one of the barstools facing his dad.

“Me too,” Justin said as he sat next to his brother. “Mom already go to bed?”

“Yeah, she has to get up early tomorrow for her drama club thing.” Max cut the sandwich he had just made in half and handed them over to his boys.

Justin wolfed his sandwich down, his actions suggesting that he hadn’t eaten in days instead of less than an hour. “You’re not workin’ tomorrow, right?”

“No,” Max said, shaking his head at his son when he saw his eating manners.

Nick’s manners mirrored his brother’s and he followed his lead for the conversation. “You wanna go out to the park with us? We were gonna meet up with some of the guys an’ their dads for a football game.”

“We’ll see. Kara was running a fever earlier, so I’ll have to wait an’ see how she is in the morning.”

“What’s wrong with the squirt?” Justin asked.

“I’m sure it’s nothing serious. But if she isn’t feeling better tomorrow I’ll have to take her to the doctor.”

“We can always go rent some movies and just hang out if she’s gotta stay home.” Nick shrugged and eyed the second sandwich his dad had just finished making. “You gonna eat all of that?”

Max rolled his eyes and glanced at Justin. “You too?”

The teenager grinned and shrugged.

“Fine.” He did the same as before and gave them each a half of his sandwich.

“Hey, we were thinkin’ since Mom’s gotta work tomorrow we could help you make dinner to give ‘er a break,” Nick said, talking with his mouth full.

“Sure. And lookin’ at the two of you, we’re gonna need a lot of food for that.”

“We’re growin’ boys, Dad,” Justin mumbled. “Can I have somethin’ to drink?”

“What now you’re a stranger in this house? You want something to drink then you get up and get somethin’.”

“Mom would get it for me,” he muttered and dropped down off of the stool to go get a glass.

“Uh-huh, so much for givin’ your mom a break, huh?”

Justin rolled his eyes and turned to ask Nick if he wanted something to drink when he saw his brother reaching for his sandwich. “Hey!”

Nick jerked his hand back and got up to go to the pantry and grab a bag of chips. “Milk for me,” he said, making it clear that he intended to share the chips.

“So, how was the movie?” Max asked, finally making a sandwich for himself.

“It was awesome!” Justin enthused. “The action sequences were out of this world, Dad, you gotta go see it!”

Nick nodded in agreement. “That lead was really hot, too!”

“Hot, huh?” Max asked, amused. He couldn’t believe how fast his two boys were growing up.

“Oh, Dad... she was... man, I don’t even know! She was just...”

Justin grinned. “Nick was totally droolin’, Dad. I mean, she was hot, but not like THAT hot.”

“Andy was with you right? Anyone else?”

“Are you kiddin’?” Nick asked. “Not that hot? She had those big...” He held his hands cupped in front of his chest and he paused when he realized his dad had asked about their companions. He hurried to drop his hands. “Oh, yeah, Sam was with us.”

Max grinned. “I suppose she was really excited about three boys drooling all over the lead through the entire movie.”

“I didn’t,” Justin denied. “But, yeah, her,” he mimicked his brother’s hand gesture from a few moments earlier, “y’know, they were impressive, but, I don’t know, I didn’t think she was all that hot.”

“Yeah, just because Sam was sittin’ next to you,” Nick countered.

“Shut up, man.” Justin still wasn’t sure how he felt about Sam taking such an interest in Andy.

Max smirked at his boys. He and Liz had really done something right with them.

Nick glanced up and caught his dad smiling and he wished it wasn’t something that was so rare these days.

*****

“Thanks for the ride,” Andy said to Sam and her dad when they stopped in front of his grandparents’ house and he opened the door. He nodded at the man behind the wheel. “G’night, Mr. Whitman. Guess I’ll see you in school, Sam.”

Alex couldn’t stop his eyebrows from shooting up to his hairline when his little girl giggled as she waved at the teenage boy who had just climbed out of the car.

He tugged at his collar. Damn, was it hot all of the sudden? It felt like there was no air in the car.

“What’re you doin’, Dad?” Sam asked when he started acting weird.

“It’s warm in here, isn’t it?”

“Nooo.”

“So,” he coughed a little, “you like the twins’ cousin?”

Sam pushed her hair back behind her right ear and smiled. “Yeah, maybe.”

“Uh-huh... maybe?”

“Well, he’s different than the twins... they’re like my best friends, y’know? And he was cute too, didn’t you think so?”

“Cute? Well, if you say so...”

She laughed at his expression. She had grown up without a mother, so he was the only parent she had to share her confidences with. “C’mon, Dad, y’know, he’s just... different.” She knew her dad tried hard to be both parents for her and he had tackled everything no matter how uncomfortable the subject was as she had grown up; no subject had been off limits and he had done his best to always answer her questions as honestly as possible. She just hoped that they never had to have the sex talk again because as much as she loved him that had to have been the most embarrassing moment in her life. Well, she amended silently, it was definitely in the top five.

“No, no, it’s okay. I just wanted to know. If ya like him... then okay.”

“Well, we just met and I don’t know what he thinks, but...” She smiled again. “He is cute. It’s really sad how he lost his dad an’ stuff though.”

“Did he talk to you about that?”

“No. Not yet anyway,” she answered confidently.

“Maybe you can help him to get along since he’ll be settling into a new school,” Alex suggested. He didn’t know much about the situation, but Max had told him that his sister-in-law and her son were struggling from the loss.

She frowned as a thought occurred to her. “I’m not sure about his relationship with Justin though... Nick was fine, but Justin was kinda tense most of the night.”

Alex smirked. “Maybe he was a little jealous?”

“Dad, you’re totally off base with that one! Justin’s my friend... guys can be just friends with girls.”

“I know that. But you two are always hanging out together even without his brother sometimes. And you can get jealous, even as a friend.”

“Well, that’s just silly. Why would Justin be jealous of his own cousin?”

“He is his cousin, but he’s also a boy, Sam.”

“Yeah, but... we know every embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to each other, Dad.”

Alex sighed. How could he explain this? “I don’t mean it in a romantic way, sweetie. Justin and you – you spend so much time together. Maybe he’s scared that you won’t have time for him anymore, if Andy gets in the picture.”

“Oh, well, I guess that does make sense, huh?”

“Just let him know that you’ll always be his friend no matter what and I’m sure he’ll understand.”

“Okay, I’ll do that.” Yeah, just gotta do it in a way that won’t step all over his fragile male ego. He and Nick had to be handled in completely different ways.

*****

Maria stopped the car in front of her house and sat there for a few minutes in the dark to think about her day.

And that guy.

Michael.

She wished that she could just act normal and flirt with him, because honestly, the guy seemed to be pretty nice. But how could she do that? Her husband had only been dead for six months now. Everyone would start to talk if she was seen with someone else this early. And Andy... what would he think of her?

Andy opened the front door after hooking the leash to Theo’s collar and he took a step back when he saw his mother standing there. “Mom, I thought you were goin’ out with Aunt Tess and Aunt Liz?”

“Well, Liz couldn’t come because Kara’s sick and Tess kinda got distracted by your Uncle Kyle.”

“Huh. I’ve gotta walk Theo... you wanna go? You don’t have to... just if you wanna go.” He shrugged as if to say he didn’t care if she went or not.

“We could walk together,” she suggested.

“Yeah, okay.”

She nodded. “Let me just change my shoes.”

Andy rolled his eyes. Why couldn’t girls just wear shoes that made sense? Guys didn’t have to change their shoes to go out to eat or go for a walk.

Maria hurried inside and replaced her pumps with some sneakers. “Okay, let’s go,” she told Andy once she was back outside.

Andy took his usual route through the neighborhood and he stared at his feet as they walked, not sure what to say to his mom now that he had her full attention.

“How was your evening?” Maria started.

“S’okay,” he answered, shrugging one shoulder. “The movie was okay.”

“Just the twins and you?”

“Their friend Sam was there, too.”

“And does he go to the same school?”

“Um, yeah, Sam goes to the same school.” He wasn’t ready to tell her about the girl he had met.

Maria nodded quietly. Obviously Andy wasn’t in a mood to talk.

“The twins are both on the football team,” he said after several minutes of silence.

“So, ya wanna try out for the team?”

“I don’t know... I haven’t really gotten into any sports since before...” He shrugged. “Y’know...”

“But you still go jogging pretty often.”

“Yeah, I guess. They’ve got a basketball team, too.” It was the sport he had always preferred even though his dad had really hoped that he would change his mind and start playing on the football team.

“You’ve always been more into basketball.”

He smiled faintly. She had always supported him and defended his choice to his father.
He had only considered football because he knew it would’ve made his dad happy, but it wasn’t what he really wanted to do.

“You should do whatever ya want, Andy.”

“You think I’d be any good at football?”

“If that’s what you want, sure, why not? You’re tall, strong, and you can run fast. That’s all important, right?” She made a face. “Sorry, I don’t know too much about football.”

“I played pretty good with my friends back home... when we’d get together on the weekends.”

“Uh-huh, I remember our kitchen window being broken twice.”

“Well, that’s just ‘cause Pete couldn’t catch.”

“If you wanna visit your friends, then just tell me, okay? We can always find a way to visit them. I know it’s not the same, but...”

Andy glanced at his mom when she made the unexpected offer. “Really?”

She shrugged. “Sure. I know you had some pretty close friends there. Miami isn’t very close, I know, but if ya wanna go there during a school break or something, then we’ll find a way.”

“Cool. Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“What’re you gonna do here? I mean... are you gonna work or somethin’?”

“Yeah, of course.” She shook her head. “I don’t know, I always wanted my own little business to run. Maybe a hair studio or something; I’ll have to check and see what the women of Roswell need around here.”

“How come you never did anything like that at home?”

She didn’t know if Andy was ready for the truth, but on the other hand, she didn’t want to lie to him either. “Your father never really wanted me to do that. He was away on business a lot the last few years and – “

“You’re blamin’ Dad?” he asked, his voice rising loud enough to draw the attention of the old man sitting on his porch across the street.

Maria winced. “I’m not blaming him, Andy. He had his opinion and I had mine. But I thought he was right, that I should stay home so I could be there when you got home from school or when you needed anything.”

He shook his head. “But, you wanted to get out and do somethin’ on your own, right?”

“I didn’t really think about it much. But right now, I need something to distract me Andy.”

“So, now that Dad’s gone...” He trailed off, feeling angry and he didn’t know why.

“Andy,” Maria stopped to look at her son, “it’s just that I have to do something in my life so I don’t go crazy, you understand? If I stay home, all I’d think about is your father.”

“You don’t wanna think about Dad?”

“That’s not what I said Andy, and you know it.”

“Who cares, Mom?” He jerked away when she reached out to him. He could see the house up ahead and he tugged on Theo’s leash to urge the dog into a run.

“Andy, wait,” she called after him but it was unnecessary. He wouldn’t listen to her now anyway. How could she tell her son that his dad and her hadn’t been very close the last couple of years, even before his death?

Andy unhooked Theo’s leash and dropped it on the floor before running upstairs to his room and slamming the door.

Maria took her time to walk the last few yards to the house. She tried to control the feeling of wanting to cry again. She was sick of crying and she was sick of fighting.

“Honey, is everything alright?” Amy called from the kitchen when she heard her daughter come in behind Andy.

Great, Maria thought. Right now she wasn’t really in the mood for talking, but what other choice did she have? “Andy and I just had a fight… again,” she said as she walked into the kitchen.

Amy could hear the sadness in her daughter’s voice and she could tell that she didn’t really want to talk about it right then either. “How was your evening?”

She rolled her eyes. “You mean besides the fact that Liz wasn’t able to go and Kyle was drooling over Tess all night?”

Amy laughed at the mental picture that conjured up. “He has always had a thing for that girl.”

“Yeah, and he isn’t holding back with it either.”

“Oh, really?” She was aware that Kyle had made a serious mistake with the girl when they had been in high school and as a result Tess hadn’t wanted anything to do with him since then.

“Yeah, and they’re playin’ the ‘I want you, I don’t want you’ game right now.”

Amy laughed. “I don’t think it’ll take long for that game to come to an end.”

“I really hope so.” Maria went to the refrigerator to get a drink.

“How is Tess? I don’t remember the last time I saw her.”

“Well, she’s planning to stay here in Roswell too. We didn’t get the chance to talk much for obvious reasons, but I think she’s planning to try and reconcile with Max.”

“That’ll be nice. He hasn’t been looking well lately. I saw him recently when I took the car in for an oil change and,” she shook her head, “he looks so worn down and lost.”

“Yeah, he isn’t admitting it, but I think so, too.”

“How’s Liz doing?”

“I can’t really say. She pretends that she’s okay, but it doesn’t look like she’s doin’ too good either.”

Amy shook her head. “I know it’s been very hard on them.” She hoped that maybe Maria and Andy coming home would lead to healing for all of them.

They both glanced up when Kyle walked through the door.

Maria rolled her eyes when he swaggered into the room and crossed to the refrigerator, pausing to brush a kiss to Amy’s cheek when he passed her. “Beautiful evening isn’t it, ladies?” he asked, grinning like a fool.

“Not at all,” Maria told him.

“I beg to differ... the stars are brighter, the air is crisper, and the gods are smiling down on me.” He uncapped a beer and turned to face them. “Mom, would it be okay for Tess to join us for dinner on a Sunday night sometime in the next couple of weeks?”

“Here we go,” Maria muttered.

Kyle rolled his eyes. “What?”

“Nothing,” she replied sweetly.

“Hey, she’s keepin’ me on a short leash and I’m not gonna f... screw it up.”

“Of course you can invite her for dinner, just let me know early enough.”

“May not be much notice with her,” he grumbled.

“Alright, I’m gonna go to bed,” Maria said, feeling tired suddenly.

Kyle glanced at her, realizing that his level of happiness might be too much for her to handle just yet.

“Good night,” Maria told them quietly.

Kyle grabbed another beer and hurried to follow her.

Maria stopped in front of Andy’s room, considering if she should knock or not. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea right now.

“Hey, Maria, can we talk?” Kyle asked as he reached the landing on the second floor.

“I’m not really in the mood, Kyle.”

“Can I at least apologize for leavin’ you alone with Michael?”

She rolled her eyes. “Let’s go to my room.”

“Now how come I couldn’t have heard those words from a different blond about 20 minutes ago?”

“I don’t wanna know anything about you and Tess.”

“Well, that’s okay ‘cause I wasn’t gonna tell you anything about me an’ Tess,” he said as he handed her the second bottle and threw himself down on the window seat. “Anyway, I’m sorry about the Michael thing. I had no idea the two of you had met or that he was interested in you.”

“He’s interested in me?” Damn, she should think before she spoke.

He controlled his expression at her question because he could tell that she hadn’t asked it intentionally. “Yeah, Sis, he’s definitely interested. But, I also know that he’s not gonna push if you tell him to back off.”

She shook her head. “It’s too early for that, Kyle.”

He picked at the label on his bottle. “Why?”

“Why?” she repeated, surprised. Wasn’t that obvious?

“That’s what I’m askin’. No one’s sayin’ you’ve gotta marry the guy or have his children or anything. What’s wrong with goin’ out with him and lettin’ him distract you for a few hours?”

She rolled her eyes. “And then? Can you imagine people’s reaction? Especially Andy’s reaction? Or Max’ reaction?”

“Maria, I don’t know what the right thing is here, but I know you need to start livin’ again. Andrew wouldn’t have wanted you to just curl up in a little ball and let life pass you by.”

“I know,” Maria whispered.

“And I know Andy will have a hard time with it, but he’s a tough kid and he’s gonna have to learn that you need more outta life, too.”

“Um-hmm, we just talked about that and it ended in another fight.”

“You talked about movin’ on?”

“Yeah about me getting a job... something like that.”

“And he had a problem with it?”

“More about the fact that I didn’t have one when Andrew was alive and now I want one to distract me and he’s seein’ it as some kinda betrayal of his father.”

“He’s just used to things bein’ a certain way, Maria. Don’t let that stop you from getting back out there.”

“I’m trying, okay?”

“That’s all I’m askin’ from you.” He grinned as he stood up, sensing that she was reaching the end of her patience for the conversation. “Although, if you change your mind about Michael, I’ve got his number.”

“No. Thank you, Kyle, but I’m not ready to deal with another man right now.”

“Well, if you change your mind...” He leaned over to drop a kiss on her head. “I’ll see ya in the mornin’, Sis.”

“Good night,” she said and waited until Kyle left the room to prepare for another lonely night. Just one more in a long line of lonely nights, she thought.


****


Author´s Note: We have a new fic coming up next Sunday. Here is the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRmgYdWfsxc
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 13 - 1/24/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:56 am

Earth2Mama: Right?! No girl wants to consider those possibilities!

He’s about to meet the person who’s gonna help him get a handle on those issues.

Nothing wrong with starting out with small steps and we’re pretty sure Michael would be okay with that.

We’ll see what’s going on with Justin and Sam as the story goes on.

There’ll be more scenes with the Evans family.

mary mary: We love the scenes with the parents and the kids.

Michael will be entering the picture here very soon. There is a lot of drama, but we promise we’ll sort it out.

Hope you enjoy the new fic!

Alien_Friend: Yay, we hope you’ll enjoy it!

They’ll have more moments and as they begin to work through their issues we’ll see more of them. Kyle will continue to be the voice of support and giver of the occasional nudge as she begins to step out into life again.

Alex and Sam have a great relationship and that openness is important. We’ll see what the deal is with Justin and Sam a little later on.

Max and his boys… we love those moments too! Yeah, the twins were definitely being guys!

killjoy: LOL, that’s cool! We’re glad you’re enjoying these two so much! Feel free to talk away!

Now it’s just a matter of seeing how long it takes before they (and by they we really mean Tess) give in to their feelings.

Kyle’s a man who has respect for his mom.

sarammlover: Andy is about to begin counselling, so you can look for him to slowly begin making progress with his behaviour. Max and Liz have great kids and they’re gonna get through this.

begonia9508: Andy’s just having a very hard time and he’s being a real pain, but he’s about to meet his counsellor and he’ll get help whether he wants to or not.

Maria will begin taking those steps soon.

Eva: Everything isn’t lost! Max is just lost right now and he hasn’t realized that he has to accept help to heal; he thinks he can do it alone.

Andy is still struggling, but he’s going to get there.

Maiqu: Thanks! We’re glad you’re lovin’ it!


Part 13

Early Monday morning found Maria sitting just outside the principal’s office with Andy and somehow it made her feel like she was a teenager again, waiting for some punishment to be doled out by the head of the educational institution. She would rather be about a dozen different places, but she knew she was going to have to face this woman sooner or later and if she was going to get her son into school it was going to have to be sooner.

Beside her Andy was slouched down, behaving like the typical teenager, his rebellious expression indicating he would have preferred to have someone remove one of his limbs to being seen sitting in the principal’s office with his mother.

She glanced up when the door to the inner office opened and a tall, blond woman appeared. She was dressed to perfection, not a single hair out of place, and she carried her authority in a way that left no doubt as to whom she was. And when she spoke her voice was polite, but also authoritative and no-nonsense.

“Mrs. Walker, if you would keep an eye on Mr. Evans while I speak with his mother.”

The older woman sitting at the desk to the right of the principal smiled and nodded before going back to her reports.

“Mrs. Evans, please come in,” the tall woman said as she stepped to the side and motioned to her office.

Maria stood and smoothed a hand over her clothes, feeling ridiculously under-dressed and inadequate next to the stylishly-dressed woman.

“I’m Principal Russell,” Isabel said as they entered her office and she closed the door behind them. “Please, have a seat.” She indicated the comfortable looking chairs in front of her desk. “I wanted to meet with you in person since it looks like Andy’s had some issues settling back into school since his father's passing.”

“Um… yes, that’s right,” Maria admitted quietly.

“I realize that this is a difficult time for both of you and as a teenager Andy is most likely to act out, but his behavior at his previous school indicates a lack of self control and concern for his classmates. It also tells me that he’s having a problem with authority.”

“He never had these problems before his father died, Ms. Russell,” Maria sighed. “It’s hard to explain. I guess you know that my husband was in coma for over a half year before he died?”

“Yes, I’ve read Andy’s file.” She had just about memorized it over the past week. “And I’m not placing any blame or trying to come across as unfeeling or uncaring because nothing could be further from the truth. But, I take this job and the safety of my students and faculty very seriously. And I assure you, Andy’s safety is just as important to me.”

Maria nodded. “It’s like he’s lost faith in everyone and everything around him since the accident happened.”

“He’s difficult to manage at home?” she asked sympathetically.

“Most of the time, yes.”

Isabel nodded. “According to his file he was seeing a therapist for a few months, but when it was suggested that Andy see someone else because no progress was being made he refused to attend anymore sessions... correct?”

“That’s right.”

“Um-hmm. I hope I made myself clear when we spoke last week that meeting with one of our counselors will be mandatory, Mrs. Evans.”

Maria nodded. “I’ve already told him and he’s agreed to go.”

Isabel could see the strain on the woman’s features. “He wasn’t happy about it though, was he?”

“No, not really. But he knows it was a condition for his enrollment.”

“I’ll be honest with you, Mrs. Evans, I was prepared to deny your son for enrollment, but one of my counselor’s is certain he can reach Andy. If it hadn’t been for his persuasion this meeting might have gone a very different way.”

Maria bit her lip. So Andy was just here because one of the counselor’s was willing to try and deal with her son’s problems. “Money isn’t an issue for us, Ms. Russell,” Maria swallowed hard. “My husband left a... enough for the rest of our lives. But, I don’t want my son taught by private tutors or attending a private school, or anything like that. He needs friends and a normal life to heal.”

“I can appreciate that and while I do still have my reservations, Counselor Guerin has a very good track record with troubled kids and if I have anyone on staff who can reach Andy, it’s him.”

She nodded. “Can I talk to him? Before Andy meets him for the first time?”

“Yes, he’s waiting in his office. He’s expecting you and I think you’ll find that he’ll put everything he has into helping your son, Mrs. Evans.”

“Thanks. I’m really glad you’re willing to try with Andy, Ms. Russell.”

Isabel smiled reassuringly at the woman and stood up. “Why don’t we go down to the counselor’s offices and I’ll introduce you to Counselor Guerin. Andy can stay here until the two of you are ready for him and Mrs. Walker will bring him down.”

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

“Very well, then.” She stepped around her desk and opened the office door. “Mrs. Walker, I’m taking Mrs. Evans down to meet Counselor Guerin, so if you would keep an eye on Andy until I return I’d appreciate it.”

“Of course, Ms. Russell.”

Maria nodded in Andy’s direction before she left the room with the principal.

Isabel knocked on the door to one of the offices when they reached the section of the building that housed the Counselor’s offices. She heard the gruff invitation to enter and she opened the door. “I’ve brought Mrs. Evans down to meet with you.” She motioned for the woman to enter the office and glanced down as the radio clipped to her belt chirped. “I need to get back to the office. Mrs. Evans, once you’ve finished your meeting with Counselor Guerin and he’s met with Andy we can decide whether to have your son start classes today or tomorrow.

Maria nodded before she stepped into the room. “Thank you.” Her eyes widened in shock when she saw who was sitting behind the desk. She had a hard time hiding it until Ms. Russell had closed the door behind her again. “This has to be a dream,” she muttered quietly.

Michael stared at the woman in disbelief. “Mrs. Evans,” he mused quietly. He couldn’t believe that God or fate or whatever would finally bring someone into his life that intrigued him only to so cruelly take her away again before he could do much more than get her name. He motioned to the chair in front of his desk. “Have a seat. Please.”

“Seems like I have no chance of avoiding you, huh?” she mumbled, accepting his invitation to sit down.

“I had no idea you were Andy’s mother. I probably should’ve made the connection when Kyle introduced us, but the last thing on my mind was work,” he apologized with a smile.

“Well, I don’t think I was very helpful either,” she replied.

Michael could sense her discomfort and he eased back in his chair. “Do you mind if I call you Maria? Or would you prefer to be called Mrs. Evans?”

She chewed on her bottom lip. “I think it’s already too late for the formal thing, huh? But I would like it if you would make sure to address me as Mrs. Evans when Andy’s here.”

“Fair enough.” He clasped his hands together loosely on his desk as he met her gaze seriously. “I’m not gonna sit here an’ feed you a line of bull because that’s just a waste of time for both of us and life’s too short to hide from what we want. That said it’s only fair to tell you that I’m attracted to you.” He held a hand up when she started to protest. “I will do my best where your son’s concerned, but if you feel that this is gonna create a conflict of interest or if you feel that because of what I’ve just told you that I can’t do my job with a certain degree of objectivity I want you to tell me now so that I can talk to Principal Russell about findin’ another counselor for Andy.” He shook his head. “I may be biased, but I do think I’m the best person for the job... but if you feel differently, you should tell me now before I go through the initial evaluation process with Andy. There’s no reason to put him through this twice.”

Maria did her best to follow his speech, but all she could think was: he’s attracted to me, he’s attracted to me, he’s attracted to me.

“Um...” she coughed slightly and remembered what the principal had said before. “Ms. Russell told me that you’re practically her best counselor and the only one really willing to try to get through to my son, so... I want him to go to this school. And you’ll work with him alone most of the time, right?”

“Yeah, the counseling is one on one.”

She nodded. “Then it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Alright. Did his problems start before his father’s death? Your husband was in a coma for nearly eight months prior to that, correct?”

God, how often was she going to have to go through the whole story of her life? And in front of him, too! “Yeah. He started to act out right after the accident happened, but it got worse after Andrew died.”

“I read his file from his previous school; the counselor hadn’t documented any serious problems until the incident with the monitor.” He tapped the folder under his hands. “People go into this field for a lot of different reasons, but too many people view it as a typical 9 to 5 job... I don’t. Just because the school day ends at a certain time doesn’t mean that the kids magically stop havin’ problems until the next day when the mornin’ bell rings.”

He met her curious gaze, seeing a dozen different emotions there. “There’s a crucial point that troubled kids get to and I think it’s important to reach them before they turn that corner. I haven’t met your son yet, but it’s clear that he’s fighting to hold onto the person he is while struggling to become his own man and he's makin’ some mistakes. That’s not a criticism or a slight against your parenting skills; it’s just a statement of fact. Can you tell me about your relationship with Andy right now?”

Maria would have preferred to run away rather than go over this right now. Talking about such personal stuff, especially with him, was so uncomfortable. “We fight a lot,” she started. “Any time I mention something that involves his dad or what we’re gonna do now ‘cause our life has to go on somehow... it ends in an argument. He’s always turning my words around on me, as if I’m saying something against his dad.” She swallowed with difficulty. “As if I’m not just as sad and hurt that Andrew’s dead.”

“Maria, I’m sure he’s said a lot of things that have been hurtful, but it’s the pain talkin’. Kids strike out the only way they know how and right now he’s tryin’ to hold onto his dad in any way that he can.”

“I know,” Maria whispered and looked at the floor.

Michael did something he had never done when interviewing a parent; he stood and walked around the desk, kneeling down next to her and reaching out to cup her chin. “Do you?” he asked quietly as he tipped her face up. “Do you really know that he doesn’t mean all of the things he’s said to you?”

“It’s hard to ignore it,” she admitted, not really giving him an answer.

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

His hands were callused, but his touch was gentle, and despite her desire to let it continue she knew it had to stop. “Depends...” she said, slowly moving his hand that was still holding her chin, away.

“Andy’s behavior is a way of begging for attention... how have you responded to his acting out?”

She winced. “Not so good I guess.”

“Have you disciplined him in any way?”

“I’ve tried, but since we started to fight he mostly just runs away and locks himself in his room or leaves the house without telling me where he’s going.”

Michael frowned at that. There had been no documentation of the kid running away from home. He stood and moved back to his chair, sensing that she needed some space. “He’s run away from home... how many times?”

“I don’t know. A lot. But most of the time he was back after a few hours.”

“Did you call the cops very often when he would run off?” He tapped the folder lying open on his desk. “I’m askin’ because his previous counselor didn’t document that information.”

“If he wasn’t home after several hours... yes.” She wiped her eyes and cleared her throat. “Well, my husband dealt with quite a few of the officers at his shop and they’ve been kind enough to handle the situation with… discretion.”

Michael nodded. “Where would they find him?” He was pretty sure the kid had gone back to places that had been important to him and his father.

“Mostly he would take the bus out of town to the woods where he and his dad went a lot.”

Michael nodded and scribbled some notes down in the notebook in front of him. “What about where the accident happened? Has he ever been back there?”

“No, it was over a hundred miles from where we lived.”

“Has he ever shown any indication of wantin’ to go back there?”

“Um, no... not that I know of.”

“What about you? Have you been there since the accident?”

“I’ve never been there... I... I wasn’t there when the accident happened either.”

“The only others present at the time of the accident were Andy, your brother-in-law, and two nephews, correct?”

“Yeah.”

“What kinda relationship does Andy have with them? How has it changed since before the accident?” The boy’s relationships with his family was an important piece of the puzzle.

“They were always close. But after the accident Andy started to blame his uncle for his father’s death.”

“Why?” While he had the reports he needed to know how much the kid’s mother actually knew about where he was emotionally and what he was feeling.

“Andrew, my husband, fell over a cliff and Max caught him at the last minute, but he wasn’t able to find anything to hold onto or pull him up and...” Maria paused and wiped a single tear away. God, she didn’t want to cry in front of him, but she couldn’t help it. “Andrew was pulling his brother down and he had to let go or they’d be both dead now.”

“Did your brother-in-law... Max... did he let go?”

“My husband let go...” she whispered.

Oh, boy, Michael thought. This family was dealing with a lot of pain, a lot more than he had expected. “But Andy still blames his uncle for his father’s death.”

She nodded quietly.

“Have you tried to talk to him about that?”

She looked up at him surprised, hurt. “Of course I have,” she said a little louder than necessary. “What kind of a mother do you think I am? Do you think I’ve just ignored what happened?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let’s go back to that part where I said I wasn’t placin’ any blame or criticizin’ you... I’m just tryin’ to establish a foundation to work from. And, no, I don’t think you’ve exactly ignored what happened, but I do think you’ve probably had a difficult time dealin’ with the situation and Andy.”

“We were having a hard time in Miami,” Maria admitted, a little calmer now.

“Has he had much interaction with the rest of your family since the accident?”

“We just moved back here. Before that Max would visit now and then and my brother, Kyle, came to Miami when his job allowed it as well.”

Michael was still kicking himself for not picking up on the connection. It wasn’t like Roswell enrolled that many new students each year. “He has a strong relationship with Kyle?”

“As strong as it can get when you don’t see each other a lot, yes.”

“How’s the rest of your family dealt with the loss?” he asked curiously.

Maria was getting impatient. Nobody had told her that she had to answer so many questions the first day. She wasn’t prepared for this. “I just arrived back here last week, so I can’t really tell you that. Max is obviously having a hard time. His sister Tess is dealing with it a little better I think.”

“Evans,” Michael said slowly. “Justin and Nick... they’re your nephews?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Their dad owns the repair shop over on Second Avenue, right? And their mom, she’s a kindergarten teacher and she teaches a drama class here at the high school.” He laughed at her look of surprise. “I’m still getting used to this small town stuff,” he admitted. “It’s different when you realize just how many people you really know... it’s not like that in a big city.”

Yeah, she thought, that’s why she had moved away just as soon as high school was over. But right now Roswell seemed to be the only place she wanted to be. How had she survived the last half year in Miami all alone?

Michael nodded to himself when Maria fell silent and her expression turned contemplative. “Well, I think I’ve got about all of the information I need from you, Maria. Would you mind if I talk with Andy alone?”

“No,” she glanced at her watch, “should I wait outside?”

“Yeah, there’s a sittin’ area out there an’ Mrs. Walker usually makes a pot of coffee. Word to the wise... add a lot of cream because she makes it strong enough that it’ll just about stand on its own.”

Maria chuckled. “Well, she and Kyle have something in common then.”

Michael made a face. “Yeah, I remember that from college... I prefer my coffee a little... less spirited.”

God, the world is so small, she thought. Michael and Kyle had gone to the same college and now he was going to be counseling Andy. What were the chances?

Michael reached for the phone and called Mrs. Walker to ask her to show Andy to his office. He stood after hanging up and he met her gaze as she stood as well. “I will do everything possible to help your son, Maria.”

“Okay... thanks.” She gestured to the door. “I suppose I’ll go drink an awful cup of coffee then.”

Left alone for a few minutes Michael slumped down in his chair and rubbed his forehead. This was a lot more complicated that he had expected. Oh, he wasn’t backing down from the challenge, but he knew he had to talk to Isabel and let her know what was going on. He glanced up when he heard the knock on the door, biting back a grin when he recognized the angry tone of the knock.

Andy didn’t wait for an invitation; he opened the door just after knocking and stepped inside.

“Funny, I don’t recall askin’ you to come inside,” Michael said, remaining seated. “But now that you’re here, why don’t you have a seat?”

Andy sat down in the chair in front of the desk, slouching down as much as possible.

Damn, he recognized the kid’s belligerent behavior! “Not too happy about talkin’ to me are you?”

Andy just snorted at that. Of course he wasn’t happy about it. Could any teenager be happy about this situation?

“Why don’t we just start off with introductions, huh?”

The young man shrugged. “Guess you already know who I am, so...”

“Michael Guerin,” he introduced himself, “but you can just call me Michael. Do you go by Andy or Andrew?”

“Nobody calls me Andrew!”

No need to make a note about that, Michael thought when the kid reacted angrily. He nodded. “Andy it is then. I thought we’d just get acquainted for a little bit this mornin’ and then I’ll turn you back over to your mom.”

Andy shrugged. “If you say so.”

“How would you describe your relationship with your mom right now?”

Andy looked at the other man skeptically. That’s what this guy thought getting acquainted meant?

Michael nodded when Andy just stared at him. “You don’t wanna talk about your mom?”

“No,” the boy answered simply.

“No,” he repeated. “Okay, how about your dad?”

“As I’m sure you already know... I don’t have a dad anymore.”

“Well, that makes two of us,” he said, gambling by tossing that bit of information out there.

Andy looked up at that and met Michael’s gaze. Was he just saying that to get his attention or...? “Guess we have somethin’ in common then.”

“Well, common ground is a good place to start. Losin’ a parent isn’t easy and I’m not here to tell you how life is suddenly gonna be a big bowl of friggin’ cherries. I’m here to help you, Andy, but I can only do that if you let me.”

The teenager was about to tell him that he didn’t need any help, that he was damn fine on his own, but he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from saying anything. He knew that this guy sitting in front of him only had to say one word and he would be kicked out of another school. He didn’t want that either.

“I understand you have a couple of cousins attending school here. They both play football, don’t they?”

“Yeah, I think so,” he replied, even though he knew they did.

Michael nodded. “You play sports?”

“Not much. We didn’t have any good sports teams at my last high school.”

Interesting answer, Michael thought. The high school where Andy had been enrolled boasted a very good athletic program. “What about your dad? What kinda sports did he enjoy?”

“Hunting... if that counts as sport. And he watched a lot of football.”

Michael forced his expression to remain neutral. He didn’t care for hunting and saw no need for it when he could buy prepackaged meat at the supermarket. “Football’s a good sport... do you play?”

“Just a little.”

The kid had an athletic build so it wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy sports, but something was holding him back. “Okay, well, how’re you adjustin’ to the move from Miami? Leavin’ your home and your friends?”

And here they were again. Those personal questions he wasn’t in the mood to answer. “The move was good for my mom, so I can deal with it.”

That was in interesting way of answering the question. “Do you have any plans to try out for any of the teams or join any of the clubs after school?”

Andy shrugged. “Don’t know yet.”

“Well, tell ya what then... why don’t we schedule our sessions for the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays?”

“Haven’t seen my schedule yet.”

Michael grinned at the kid’s tone and he tapped his thumb on the paperwork in front of him. “I have... and would ya look at that? You’ve got a free period in the afternoon on both of those days.”

“Fine, I’ll be here.”

“I’m sure your mom and Principal Russell have explained how important it is that you attend these sessions.”

“I said I’d be here, okay?” Andy said again, stressing every word.

He nodded. “Alright, get outta here then and I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”

“What about my schedule?”

“You can pick it up in the Office; what I’ve got is just a copy for my records to help with scheduling.”

Andy nodded. “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.” Can’t wait!

Michael watched the kid practically run from his office despite his attempt to play it cool and he shook his head as he leaned forward to make some notations in the folder.



Link To Our New Fic – Mountains So High: http://www.roswellfanatics.net/viewtopi ... 36&t=21184
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Part 14

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:43 am

keepsmiling7: Michael’s definitely the man for that job!

begonia9508: Andy is being difficult right now, but we’ll begin to see a change in him. We’re pretty sure Michael will be helping both of them.

killjoy: Don’t take it wrong, please. Our intent isn’t to make a statement against hunting or hunters in general. For Michael and Andy, it’s just not something that they’re into.

Earth2Mama: Yup, the coma lasted for a long time and it only prolonged their hopes that Andrew would eventually wake up.

Michael is very dedicated to making a difference with kids. We’ll find out more about the reason for his decision to become a counsellor later on.

mary mary: We’re so glad that you enjoy our fics! Yup, just once a week for this one.

Michael isn’t upset that Andrew was a hunter or that he taught his son to hunt, he just doesn’t happen to care for it himself.

Alien_Friend: Small towns are great, but there is that everyone-knows-everyone drawback, lol!

Michael isn’t exactly the type to hold back here. That direct and honest approach is something that will help him in his dealings with both mother and son.

That would be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for someone in Maria’s position. Andy probably won’t be ready for that when it first happens, but in time we think he’ll warm up to the idea.

Michael’s history is an important element and it’s directly related to the way he deals with kids like Andy; we’ll be taking a look at it later on. Isabel and Michael have that direct approach in common.

We’re so glad you like Isabel’s character here!

kismet: You just never know.

sarammlover: It did go well. Nope, Andy won’t have to worry about Michael ever giving him a line of bull. As for Maria, he wanted her to know the truth for herself, but also because he wants to do the right thing where her son is concerned. We’re glad you’re lovin’ it!

Rowedog: Thank you for your feedback and insight. We hope you’ll keep reading as all is not as it appears.

Maiqu: Yay, we’re glad you loved it!



Part 14

Liz got up later then usual on Monday morning. She didn’t have to be at work until 11am and she had heard Max get up with the kids so she had decided to just sleep in. The house was quiet when she wandered down in the kitchen, wearing only a white tank top and a pair of panties like she used to wear in bed. The twins were already gone to school and they had promised to walk Kara to her Kindergarten class before heading over to the high school. And Max... he was still sleeping in the guestroom, so she hadn’t seen him since the night before. Anyway, she was sure that he was already at work; he had gotten into the habit of leaving as early as possible in the mornings. That left her... and the big empty house. She sighed and walked around the counter to make herself a cup of coffee. When did they start to live different lives? she wondered.

Max opened the front door and shoved his keys in his pocket as he quietly locked up behind himself. He rolled his eyes and shook his head when he saw that the alarm hadn’t been set. What was the point of having the damn thing if no one ever armed it? He scratched his head as he wandered through the first level, trying to remember where he’d left the paperwork he needed for his meeting with Alex later that afternoon.

He walked into the dining room, thinking that just maybe he had left it on the table when insomnia had forced him to prowl around the house until nearly dawn. He had tried to work on the papers, but he hadn’t been able to focus on them. After not finding the paperwork on the table he turned to go up to the guestroom and froze when Liz walked past the opening over the bar that separated the dining room and kitchen.

She hadn’t noticed him and his mouth went dry when she stretched up on her tiptoes to reach for the coffee filters and he saw what she was wearing. The tank top rode up as she stretched and he realized that he had put the filters up too high again. Before they had started to drift apart they had gone running together in the mornings, but they had both gotten out of the habit when it became a matter of running alone.

Her body was in great shape, toned, tanned... and no tan lines either, he thought with a smirk. There was no way to hide the fact that she had given birth and the light scar on her belly would always be a reminder of just how close he had come to losing her and the boys, but there wasn’t anything he would change about her.

He swallowed hard when she cursed out loud and opened the cabinet on the bottom and used one of the shelves to give her enough leverage to climb up on the counter so she could reach the filters. His eyes followed the lines of her body, envying the way the scraps of material clung to her flesh and without conscious thought his feet carried him around the bar and into the kitchen. His footsteps were silent as he crept up behind her and as he reached out to touch her, his right knee hit the edge of the open cabinet and he swore out loud.

He wasn’t expecting it when Liz shouted in surprise and reacted by kicking him in his ribs before turning around to see who was in the room with her. “Damn it, Liz!” he howled as he took a step back.

“Oh, my God, I’m sorry Max.” She hushed to his side. “What’re you doin’ here?”

“Why the hell am I payin’ for a security company to monitor our house if you never turn the alarm on? I could’ve been anyone sneakin’ around in here!”

“What? You went to bed after me if I remember right!” She let go of him and bent down to get the coffee filters that had fallen to the ground when he had almost scared her to death.

“This mornin’, Liz,” he grated out, unable to ignore it when she bent over and presented him with a perfect view of her backside.

“I just crawled outta bed, Max. You could’ve turned it on when you and the kids left the house.” She walked over to finish what she had started earlier, with her back still to him.

He leaned back against the island and drummed his fingers on the surface. Had he forgotten to turn the alarm on? No, he couldn’t have! “You didn’t let the dog out or go outside to grab the mornin’ paper?”

“Max, stop bothering me with the fuckin’ alarm, okay?” Liz hissed. They lived in Roswell, what the hell did he think was gonna happen? And did he have to get this angry just because of the stupid alarm?

“Fine, take your safety for granted,” he snapped. “Excuse me for fuckin’ worryin’ about you.”

Liz snorted. “Yeah, whatever.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing,” she answered defiantly.

The irritated drumming stopped as his hands slid down to grip the edge of the counter.
As much as her defiance was pissing him off it was also turning him on and he was having a hard time not just grabbing her and kissing her like he hadn’t in way too long.

“Was Kara okay this morning?” She turned around and walked over next to him, hopping up to sit on the counter to drink her coffee.

Max shook his head comically when she suddenly changed gears on him. “What?”

“I wanted to know if Kara felt alright this morning.”

“Yeah... yeah, she was fine. No sign of the fever since it broke early yesterday mornin’.”

She nodded and took another sip of her coffee. “Fuck,” she hissed, when she accidently spilled some of her drink. The hot liquid was now running down her neck to the hem of her tank top.

Max grabbed a dishtowel off of the counter and turned to take the mug from her hand. He reached out to grab her top and pulled it away from her skin and he dropped the towel when he saw her nipples standing taut against the material.

He carefully lifted the tank top, running his fingers over her damp skin as he glanced up at her. “Did you burn yourself?” he asked, concerned.

“No,” she whispered, glancing down at his hand.

His breathing felt constricted as he touched her for the first time in weeks and he couldn’t stop himself from whipping her top off and tossing it aside so he could cup her breasts in his calloused palms.

Liz groaned softly and leaned into his touch. God, she had missed this so much.

Max bumped his nose against hers, his ragged breathing matching hers as he took her mouth in a heated kiss. God, nothing felt more right than being with her!

Liz let her hands trail along his chest, moving down until she reached the hem of his shirt. “Take it off,” she breathed, helping him with it.

He unbuttoned a couple of buttons at the top, just enough so he could pull the shirt over his head and dropped it on the floor.

Liz let her gaze wander over his upper body. She bit her lip when she felt the same weird feeling in her stomach that she always got when she saw him undressed.

Max gripped her hips in his hands, pulling her closer to the edge of the counter and pressing his throbbing erection to her heated center. Even through a layer of cotton and denim he could feel how wet she was and the knowledge that she still got so hot, so fast, just for him made him crazy.

Liz moved against him when he had grasped her hips and pulled her towards him. How long had she wanted him to do that to her again? It was almost scary to think about it.

He rubbed himself against her but it wasn’t enough and he hurriedly reached for his belt. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he muttered against her lips. He needed her like a starving man needed food and he had to have her now!

She helped him to shove his pants down over his hips and her hands moved quickly along the waistband of his boxers.

As soon as he realized her impatience matched his own he pushed her panties aside and pulled her even closer, thrusting deep inside of her welcoming body and taking her mouth in a devouring kiss as his hips stilled, waiting for her signal.

Liz dug her nails into the skin of his back and groaned. How long had it been since they had last made love? She couldn’t remember. It felt so good to be near him again. After a few moments of just enjoying him being inside her again, she squeezed her legs around his hips to show him that she was ready for more.

Max felt it when she tightened her legs around him and he knew she wasn’t going to last any longer than him. It had been weeks... but how many? Enough that he had lost track and he was too far gone to care as he sped up his movements.

Liz threw her head back to give him better access to the soft and heated skin of her neck. She moaned loudly when his thrusts became more intense.

He followed her direction, letting every sigh and moan guide him and tell him what she wanted. Even though he knew this brief moment of insanity wasn’t going to last he held onto the closeness desperately.

Liz could already feel her orgasm building up in her body. “Max,” she panted. Her hand grasped a fistful of his soft brown hair and tore him away from her body to crash her lips onto his.

Max growled and the sound vibrated deep in his chest when she took control of the kiss. She was wild and out of control as they rushed toward that final peak. His hand on hip tightened as he leaned her upper body back, intensifying his thrusts and chanting her name in between hard and fast kisses.

“Oh, God,” Liz breathed and let her back rest on the counter fully. With one hand still buried in his hair, the other one came up to grab the edge of the counter next to her head.

He felt her inner muscles clamp down on him as her orgasm rushed over her and her body bowed up under him as she screamed out her release. His mouth clamped over hers and he swallowed the last of her scream as his hips slammed into hers and he went over the edge right behind her.

As soon as Liz had calmed down and her breathing became normal again, her worries started to surface once more. Would he just pull away from her now?

He lifted his head to stare at the woman who had held his heart since the moment he had first seen her, the woman who had given birth to his children, the woman who still trusted him enough to let go of all of her inhibitions and get crazy with him and he knew he hadn’t given her any reason lately to keep fighting for him. His dark eyes searched hers when she looked up at him. “I love you, Liz... God, I still love you so much,” he choked out.

Tears welled up in her eyes at his confession. “I love you, too, Max. I could never stop loving you.”

His hand trembled slightly as he stroked her cheek. “There’s just... I’ve gotta work through this thing that’s hangin’ over me.”

She rested her hand over his. “I wish you’d let me help you with it.”

“I can’t, Liz... I need to fix this on my own.”

If only she knew why, if he would only confide in her and help her to understand. What was on his mind that he couldn’t share with her?

Max avoided her gaze and focused on the necklace she was wearing instead. He knew she wanted to help, but he couldn’t let her know what he was struggling with. How could he tell her that he was doubting himself and his abilities as not only a husband and a father, but as a man?

“Maybe you should talk to someone else then?” she suggested. He couldn’t do this all on his own, but for whatever reason he wouldn’t admit it.

He bit his tongue, knowing she wasn’t making the suggestion to piss him off. “I’m not goin’ to see some shrink, Liz,” he muttered as he pulled away from her and started to put himself back together. “I’m not crazy.”

“Nobody said you’re crazy, Max. But obviously you can’t talk to me or anyone else you know, so it would probably help you to talk to a stranger.” She hopped down from the counter and searched around for her tank top.

Max grabbed her top off of the toaster and handed it to her before reaching down to buckle his belt. “I said I’ll deal with it and I will.”

Liz glanced at the clock in the kitchen, realizing that she had to leave in less than half an hour. “I’d better take a shower and hurry,” she told him and walked in the direction of the stairs. “Will you be home for dinner?”

His gaze was locked on the counter as he nodded. “Why don’t I pick Kara up after school? I’ll take her to the park and when the boys get home I can help the kids with their homework while you make dinner?”

Liz smiled a little. “Sounds good.”

Max nodded. “Okay... um, Liz?”

“Yeah?” she paused on the first step.

“Is there anything you need me to do? Pick anything up at the store?”

“No, I think I’ve already got everything for dinner tonight.”

Max nodded and watched her walk up the stairs before he remembered why he had come home. He hurried upstairs to the guest room and grabbed the paperwork off of the dresser before rushing back out to his truck. For the first time in a long time things felt closer to normal. Now he just needed to see if he and Alex could schedule an earlier meeting so he could do everything he had told Liz he would do.

*****

Maria stopped the car in front of her mother’s house and glanced at Andy. He hadn’t said anything since he had left Michael’s office, but she could tell that he wasn’t happy about anything that had happened the last two hours. “Andy, listen to me. I know you’re not excited about the fact that you have to go and visit the counselor twice a week, but it’s a condition if you’re gonna attend this school. If you don’t meet with him they will kick you out. Do you understand that?” She knew she shouldn’t mention that Michael might be able to help him deal with his problems. It would just make him angry and he would deny that a stranger could help him.

“That’s the only reason I’m gonna go, Mom! What the hell does he know anyway? That dumbass thinks he’s so smart... you should’ve heard him goin’ on like he thinks he knows anything about me or my life!”

They both climbed out of the car and walked up to the front door. “That’s his job, Andy. He’s supposed to ask questions and yes, they might sound stupid or totally unnecessary, but I’ve been assured that he’s very good at his job.”

“Well, they were stupid. I’ll give him that much credit.”

She opened the door and stepped aside so Andy could walk in. “Maybe if you get to know him a little better you’ll realize he isn’t that bad.”

“Whatever,” he muttered. “That guy couldn’t find his ass with both hands.”

“Andy, I’m still talking to you,” Maria said, raising her voice when he started to go upstairs.

He sighed loudly and turned around to face her. “What, Mom?”

“I believe we’ve already talked about that tone, young man,” Amy said as she entered the room.

Andy lowered his gaze to the floor, feeling about two inches tall when his grandmother reprimanded him.

Amy glanced at her daughter. “How was the meeting with Principal Russell? Did you get to meet the counselor?”

Maria wasn’t sure how she felt about her mother’s sudden appearance. On the one hand she liked her influence on her son’s behavior, but on the other hand it worried her. Was Andy ever gonna listen to her again? She saw him leaving to go up to his room and she turned to Amy. “Mom... maybe you shouldn’t... I don’t know… step in when Andy and I have a problem.”

Amy considered her daughter’s request and nodded. “I’m not trying to control him for you, Maria, but I will not have that kind of disrespect in my house... I didn’t tolerate it with you and Kyle and I certainly will not tolerate it with my grandson.”

Maria let herself fall on the couch with a sigh. “I know. But he will never learn to respect me as his mother again if you keep doin’ that.”

“Then you need to get a handle on him, Maria. I don’t want to point out the obvious, but right now that boy isn’t listening to you the way that he should. I’m not trying to step on your parental toes, but don’t expect me to sit back and do nothing while he talks to you like that.”

Maria snorted at that. She DID know that, but it wasn’t like she could change it with a single snap of her fingers.

“Honey, I’m not trying to tell you how to raise your son.”

Maria shook her head sadly. “Let’s face it, Mom. I failed as a mother when my son needed me the most and now a stranger’s gonna try to heal that split between us.” She stood up and walked into the kitchen to get a drink.

“You haven’t failed as a mother!” Amy denied as she followed Maria. “You’ve just hit a point where you need some help; we all reach that point at some time in our lives. The important thing is that you have people who want to be there for you and help you in any way that they can.”

Maria rolled her eyes while looking through the refrigerator. Of course her mother wouldn’t just leave it alone, she had to get up and follow her into the other room. “And I’m trying to accept help, okay?”

Amy could hear the defensive tone creeping into her daughter’s voice so she decided to change the subject... sort of. “Did you meet Andy’s counselor?”

“Yeah.” Great, another subject she didn’t want to talk about.

“Which counselor did he get?”

Damn, what was his last name? She tried to remember, but since they had only called each other by their first names... Guerin! Yeah, that was it. “Guerin. Michael Guerin.”

Amy smiled. That was good news! “Well, you got the best counselor for him then... Michael’s got a way of getting to the kids that no one else can reach.”

Maria frowned and finally decided to get some iced tea out of the refrigerator. “You know him?” Of course she knew him, everyone seemed to know him.

“You remember me telling you about that after school program I got involved with last year?”

“Yeah,” Maria nodded. So that was her connection to him.

“He coaches the kids in sports, does a lot of building maintenance, and takes groups out for things like games or camping... he’s very involved with the kids here in town.”

“I thought he just moved here early this past summer?” Didn’t he tell her that?

“Um-hmm, he did,” Amy answered absently as she checked over the list of items she needed to pick up at the store that afternoon. “He didn’t waste any time getting involved in the community center.”

“Are you still workin’ with him?”

“Yeah, his time is more limited with the new school year starting, but he’s still at the center as often as he can manage.”

Great. Her mother was hanging out with him… Kyle was hanging out with him… and Tess probably would be soon enough once she finally gave in and started to date Kyle. And he was Andy’s counselor. How was she gonna avoid him?

“Did you get to speak with him personally?”

“Yeah, I met him earlier.”

“And?” Amy asked impatiently. Sometimes Maria could be so... difficult!

“What AND, Mom? It’s not like I know him now just because I talked to him for a few minutes.”

Hmm... why was she getting defensive? “I didn’t expect that you would know him from that brief meeting, I was just wondering what you thought about him.”

Maria shrugged. “He seems to be okay.”

Amy rolled her eyes. “You’ll see, Maria... you’re gonna see a change in Andy.”

*****

Alex punched in the numbers off of the messy stack of invoices that Max had handed over to him when he had arrived and he winced at the bottom line. He cleared his throat as he looked up at his client, his friend, and he took his glasses off and dropped them on the desk. “The numbers aren’t great, Max... they’re up for now, but a lot of that is due to the summer.”

“There was a lot going on...” Max walked up and down in front of Alex’ desk. He knew that the shop had seen better times.

He tapped his pen against the surface of his desk as he watched the other man. “You do know that the other shops are seein’ decreases as well... I know you don’t wanna hear it, but you need to hire someone to handle the travel and the meetings that Andrew was dealin’ with. Your overhead needs to come down and for that to happen you need to hire someone to get out there and meet with the suppliers or you need to do it yourself. I know you’ve been reluctant because it involves a lot of traveling and sometimes bein’ away from home for weeks at a time... I wouldn’t wanna do it either. That’s why you need to consider hirin’ someone who can do that for you.”

Max sighed heavily and kept walking up and down in front of the desk, his entire posture screaming agitation. How could he replace Andrew? There was no one he could trust like he trusted his brother. “I can’t just give this job to anyone, Alex.”

“Then you’re gonna have to pick up some of that slack.” He reached for one of the files and tossed it across the desk. “Those are your biggest suppliers... four of the contracts have expired and two others are comin’ up for renewal. You’d better start plannin’ to take a trip. At the very least, you need to renew the lapsed contracts and the two that’re comin’ up for renewal. You’re payin’ out the ass for parts and supplies without those contracts.”

Max glanced at his watch. Damn, it was time to pick Kara up. “Alex, I need to go; I’ve gotta pick my daughter up.”

Alex sighed. He had no way of knowing if Kara was just a convenient excuse or if he was really supposed to pick her up so he didn’t comment on it directly. “This problem isn’t gonna solve itself, Max.”

“I know that, okay?” He stopped and looked out of the window for several moments. “I’m gonna call Liz,” he mumbled and pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. She’s gonna kill me, he thought as he dialed her number and waited for her to pick up the phone.

*****

Liz excused herself from the group of teachers she was talking with while waiting for recess to end. The children ran around on the playground, laughing and screaming as they chased each other and played on the equipment. She couldn’t control the little shiver that raced down her spine as she remembered their rare moment of spontaneous lovemaking that morning and she smiled as she greeted him. “Hey, honey, are you already on your way to pick Kara up?” She glanced at her watch and realized that their daughter wouldn’t be out of pre-K for the day for another half hour.

“Um,yeah... that’s why I’m callin’... I don’t think I’m gonna make it to her in time.”

Her heart sank even as her temper spiked. “Damn it, Max, you said you’d be there. I’ve already called the babysitter and told her we wouldn’t need her for today. How would you suggest I rearrange my schedule since my class lets out almost an hour after she gets out?”

“I’m sorry, Liz, okay? I didn’t plan this, but Alex needs me here. Maybe Maria or Tess could pick her up?”

“Yes, Max,” she snapped sarcastically, “they could... IF their names were on the list of people cleared to pick our child up from school. But... that’s right, they just got into town and they’re not on that list!” She sighed. “Forget it, Max. I’ll take care of it.”

“Liz...” he closed his eyes when he realized that she had already hung up. “Damn it,” he muttered and shoved his cell back into his pocket, before he turned to Alex. “So you’re saying I need to take a trip? Where should I start?”

“Start with the contracts that haven’t expired yet... renew those two first. That’s gonna mean a trip to Dallas and then Kansas City.” He leaned back in his chair and looked up at Max. “Have you considered closing a few of the shops?”

Max frowned. “Closing?”

“Yeah. I know it’s not somethin’ anyone wants to consider, but if you could just close even a couple of them it could help. Or, instead of closin’ them, what about sellin’ a couple? Maybe the one in Birmingham and the one in Memphis; they pull in decent numbers, but not enough to keep them operational.”

“We’re not closing and we’re not selling.” Max slammed the palm of his hand on the desk. The vibration made a stack of papers fall to the floor. “Andrew worked hard for this, Alex. I’m not gonna destroy what he worked so hard to build up.”

Alex stood up and leaned over the desk, meeting Max eye to eye. “You won’t sell and you won’t close to keep his dream alive... but you’ll whittle it away and let it die. How the hell is that any better?”

Max took several deep breaths. “Get everything arranged for the trips to Dallas and Kansas City for me, Alex.”

He straightened up and bit back a grin. “You do realize I’m not your secretary or your travel agent, right?” He shook his head and held a hand up before Max could protest. “I’ll handle it. Let me know if you need me to go with you.”

“No, you stay here and compile a list for me; every shop we have, every employee we have on the payroll, and what those shops knocked down or lost over the last six months.”
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Re: In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 14 - 1/31/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:10 am

keepsmiling7: It was a step, a reminder, but there’s still much more to do before the pieces start coming together again.

It will happen.

No, work trips probably aren’t a good idea right now.

Natalie36: He’s in a tough spot right now, but he’s going to get it together.

Earth2Mama: Yup, that’s the saying! Oh, he could’ve done that… he should’ve done that… but, unfortunately, he didn’t do that. Alex’s office is in his garage and he’s a single parent, so we’re pretty sure he would’ve understood.

Definitely need to add that to the to-do list! It’d been a while and that frustration isn’t helping, especially in addition to the rest of the stuff they’re dealing with. They’re gonna work through this and get back where they need to be.

LOL, yeah, Grandma wouldn’t have put up with that kinda behaviour from us either! We have kinda put the pressure on Michael, haven’t we?

begonia9508: Thanks for reading!

RiceKrispy: Um, probably not the wisest choice he could make at the moment.

Andy could use a smack or two.

mary mary: Max just needs to open up and deal with what happened because he’s slowly but surely pushing everyone away.

How ‘bout a lighter part with Kyle and Tess this week?

Maiqu: Yeah, he’s stuck in reverse right now.

killjoy: Yes, we couldn’t agree more.

Eva: He’s not making things any easier on himself or anyone else right now.

Maria’s in a tough position and staying in her parents’ home isn’t helping.

Alien_Friend: LOL, saw right through that did ya?

Max wants to do better by his family but he keeps sabotaging himself. Alex is in a tough position, but it also gives him a little insight into the situation. The time apart… we’ll see.

Andy is still pushing Maria away while so desperately wanting her to the mom he remembers.

Michael is a man who puts his passion into whatever he does.

Glad ya enjoyed the Dreamer moment, even if it was fleeting.

guelbebek: Thanks!

Tess is fun to portray in that role, isn’t she? Maria is struggling under a huge weight right now, but she’ll figure it out as she goes along.

The Evans (Max & Liz) family is struggling, but there is so much love there between them and they’re gonna fight to hang onto each other. The Evans kids are a great bunch and they have a great relationship with their parents and each other.

LOL, well, we’ll see how the Sam/Andy and Sam/Justin situation works itself out.

We’re so glad you enjoyed that last part. Moments of reconnection between Max and Liz are rare at the moment, but even though there is some distance there right now, neither of them wants to lose the other.

Wow, twice a week, huh?

Thanks! Ah, our secret remains just that… secret. Yup, we write separately and together, lol.

Hmm… was someone in the house? It’s possible… or perhaps Max really did forget to arm the alarm. Only time will tell.



Part 15

“Tess, thank you very much.” Liz ran her hands through her hair as she stood in front of the building that housed the pre-K classrooms. “I know this was kinda last-minute, but Max was held up at the office and I have to be back in class in about ten minutes.”

Tess waved her off. “It’s not a problem, Liz. I was bored anyway and besides that,” Tess crouched down in front of Kara, playfully pinching the little girl’s side, “I’d love to spend some time with my cute little niece.”

Kara giggled and hugged Tess tightly. “Do we go to de park, Aunt Tessie?”

Liz smiled sadly. “Alight, I’d better hurry.” She bent down to kiss Kara’s hair. “I’ll see you this evening. Be a good girl.”

Both women stood up again and Tess’ expression turned a little more serious. “Don’t be afraid to ask me for help, Liz. I’m here for you, okay?”

Liz nodded and forced another smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Thanks.” She gestured in the direction of the car. “Sorry, I need to hurry.”

“Okay, go! I’ll bring her home at six.”

Tess watched Liz, as she went back to her car and she wondered what had really happened. She took Kara’s little hand in hers. “So, you wanna get something to eat before we go to the park?”

“Ice cream!!”

Tess laughed at her spontaneous answer. “Okay, let’s get you some ice cream then.”

*****

Kyle was walking through the park with Theo when he heard a familiar childish squeal and he turned to follow the sound. He smiled when he saw Tess pushing Kara in one of the swings and trying to keep the ice cream cone in her hand from dripping all over her.

He tugged on the leash in his hand and frowned at the dog when Theo stubbornly pulled in the opposite direction. “Hey, we’re goin’ this way,” he said, feeling stupid for standing there and arguing with a dog.

Tess looked up when she heard a male voice that was all too familiar to her. She didn’t have to turn around to know that Kyle Valenti was watching her. The guy was just too stubborn and he wasn’t giving up.

“Theo, c’mon, you stupid animal,” he hissed when he glanced up and noticed that Tess had spotted him. “Dude, I’d totally do it for you... you see some fine dog walkin’ around here and you wanna put the moves on her... I’m here for you, man. Now, c’mon.”

“Looks like we’ve got a visitor, sweetie,” Tess told Kara and pointed in Kyle’s direction.

“See, look... little person, lots of lovin’ for ya...” He glared at the dog when Theo continued to ignore him.

“I am so recommending that Maria have you neutered.” He grinned when the dog’s ears flicked and he turned to look up at the threatening words. “Um-hmm, snip an’ clip, buddy.”

“Can’t handle the dog, huh?” Tess teased when she heard him talking to Maria’s dog.

“We’re just checkin’ out...” He glanced around without the slightest clue as to what Theo had been looking at. “Stuff.”

He crouched down and grinned at Kara. “Hey, how’s my favorite girl?”

The little girl, giggled. She had immediately taken to Kyle and adopted him into the family. “Fine, Untel Tyle.”

He ruffled her hair and glanced up at Tess. “So, what’re you girls doin’ out here? And more importantly, did you bring enough ice cream to share?”

“Sorry, but we didn’t know we were gonna have company.”

“That’s okay,” he said with a grin and reached out to take the cone out of her hand. “I’ll share yours.” He swiped his tongue over the dripping ice cream and sent her a heated look.

“Who said I wanna share?” she said, pulling the ice away from him and taking a bite on her own.

Kara frowned and looked between them when they started eating the ice cream. She tugged on their shirts as she jumped up and down. “Don’t eat my ice cream!” she insisted, her tone indignant.

“Here, sweetie, but sit down on the bench while you eat, okay?” Tess handed it over to her.

“Okay, well, that kinda ruined that moment,” Kyle muttered, sincerely hoping that the kid hadn’t slobbered on the ice cream prior to him taking a bite.

“So, what’re you doin’ here, Kyle? Stalking me?”

“Um-hmm, because that’s what you’ve reduced me to, woman... stalking you in the park.” He rolled his eyes. “No, I decided to take Theo for a walk. Just needed a break from the tension in the house, y’know?”

“That bad, huh?”

“Kid’s not givin’ her a break,” he said, intentionally not using names since there were little ears listening to every word they were saying.

“It has to be hard for her,” Tess mumbled. She thought about what Maria had told her in the bar... the fact that she and Andrew hadn’t really been very close for the last couple of years.

“Yeah.” He glanced down when Kara made a noise and he realized that she had finished her ice cream and now she was all sticky. He scooped her up and carried her over to a nearby water fountain, nodding at Tess to press the lever to start the water flowing. “Hands in the water, kid.”

Kara did as she was told to and Kyle rubbed her tiny hands under the running water.

Tess smiled as she watched them. He was good with kids; there was just no denying that.

As soon as they were finished and Kara was all dried off Kyle sent her to play on the playground equipment. “Andy’s not makin’ it any easier for her and she’s been so lost since Andrew died that there’s just a lot of distance between them.”

“Well, Andrew was really the only person she was close to in Florida.” Tess shook her head. “She needs to interact with other people; she needs to take her life in her own hands again, Kyle.”

“Yeah, I’m hopin’ that’ll happen now. She’s been so reluctant to come back home and be around everyone.”

“I’m sure she already knew that this was the smart decision.”

“I hope so. Part of me’s sure it’s the right decision, but another part...” He shrugged. “Things are pretty tense between Max and Andy.”

“Yeah, I noticed that.”

“He blames Max for the accident, y’know.” He smiled and waved when Kara shouted for them to watch her as she slid down the slide. “I don’t think he honestly believes that Max let Andrew go, but...” He shook his head. “It hasn’t stopped him from sayin’ it. And then of course there are the problems he’s had at school recently.”

Tess shook her head sadly. “Hopefully he won’t cause too much trouble in this school.”

“God, I hope not. Maria really doesn’t need the added stress right now.”

“I’ll see if I can distract her a little, ya know? Hang out with her, maybe we can try to find a job together.”

Kyle nodded. “She say anything to you about us leavin’ her with Michael the other night?”

“No, but then again, I haven’t talked to her since she left.”

“She an’ Andrew were together a long time... you think she’ll ever be at a place where she can move on?”

“And love someone else you mean?”

“Yeah.”

From what Maria had told her the other night, Tess was pretty sure that she was willing to move on, but the woman was worried about what others would say, especially where Andy was concerned. She couldn’t tell Kyle that though. He probably didn’t know anything about the relationship between Maria and Andrew before the accident. “She will eventually,” Tess answered.

“I hope so. I mean, I know she loved him, but... she deserves to be happy.” He sighed. “I’ve got a bad feelin’ that Andy isn’t gonna be much help there; I think if she finally reaches that point he’s gonna fight her on it.”

“Yeah, he’s the main reason why she’s holding back with things. He needs to understand that her life has to go on and I have a feeling she’s willing to do it, but she’s worried about Andy’s reaction.”

“He’s not dealin’ with the situation very well,” Kyle agreed. “I think a lot of that is because he’s responding to the way that Maria shut down after Andrew died. After the accident she spent almost every waking minute at the hospital with him and Andy started to feel... ignored, I guess. After he died though, she was absent a lot, y’know, emotionally.” He sighed. “Andrew was practically her life. She didn’t have a job, she didn’t really have any close friends there, and Andy was always a daddy’s boy. They went out hunting and fishing and camping a lot, but she was never really a part of it. At least here she’ll be around family and she’ll be able to hang with you an’ Liz. She needs to get back out there and start living again.”

Tess nodded. “I’ll do what I can.”

“That’s sweet of you.” He smiled at her willingness to help her family. “Whatcha doin’ after you turn Kara back over to her parents?”

“Heading home. Well, back to the hotel.”

“Got plans for dinner?”

“Actually, yes,” she lied. She didn’t have any plans, but she didn’t want to make it too easy for him.

Kyle wasn’t fast enough to cover his surprise. “Oh?” He cleared his throat and turned to look at Kara. “Date?”

“Yeah,” she replied quickly. Was he buying it?

“Anyone I know?”

“Kyle, I’m not discussing my dates with you,” she said sweetly. She couldn’t think of a name fast enough.

“Uh-huh.” She wouldn’t miss the opportunity to rub his nose in it if she had a real date. “You don’t have a date,” he said after a moment.

She rolled her eyes. “Fine, it’s John Harrison, okay?” They had gone to school together all through high school and then college and she knew that he and John had never gotten along.

Kyle turned to stare at her, trying to read her expression. “Harrison? Why would you go out with that dickhead?” What was the guy even doing back in Roswell?

“It’s just a date, Kyle. And he’s not like he was in high school.”

“Y’know I can run him through the system and check on him... I am an FBI agent,” he reminded her.

“What? No, I don’t need any protection. It’s just a date.”

“Uh-huh, I was thinkin’ more along the lines of verifyin’ that he’s in town.” He shook his head and grinned. “I think you’re lyin’.”

Tess shrugged. “Believe what ya want, Valenti.”

He frowned at that. He was almost positive that Harrison wasn’t in town, but he couldn’t quite let that slim possibility go. “You gonna let him go back to the hotel with you after dinner?”

Tess frowned. “First, it’s none of your business, and second, why do you care?”

Why did he care? Because he still had feelings for her... always had, that had never changed even with time and distance between them. “Just don’t think he’s good enough for you and you could do a helluva lot better.”

“With you for example?” she teased.

His head snapped to the side and he glared at her, ready to snap until he saw the teasing look in her blue eyes. “Got a problem with that?”

She shrugged. “You weren’t exactly the perfect boyfriend back in high school, Kyle.”

“You gonna judge me for the rest of my life for a mistake I made when I was a kid?”

“A kid? We weren’t kids at the time.”

“I was young and stupid, Tess... I was far from bein’ a man when I did what I did.” He met her gaze directly. “It’s not a mistake I would make now.”

“Yeah, because we’re not together anymore, Kyle.”

“You’re never gonna know if you can trust me if you don’t give me another chance, Tess.”

“Well, wake up, Kyle. I know they say everyone should get a second chance, but then again, that’s just a stupid saying.”

“Long time to hold a grudge, Tess.”

She looked into his eyes seriously. “Sorry, but I can’t just forget, Kyle.”

“Hell, don’t forget it, but let it go.”

“Aunt Tessie,” Kara pulled at her jacket, “tan we do now?”

Kyle crouched down in front of the little girl. “You getting tired?”

The little girl shook her head. “No, but it’s boring.”

“Boring, huh? So, what’re you girls gonna do now?”

Kara looked at Tess questioningly.

“We can go to my hotel room and play cards?” Tess knew the kid loved that.

“Cards, huh? Well, that sounds like a lotta fun, but I probably oughta get Theo back home.”

“Well, looks like it’s just us girls, huh?” Tess grinned at Kara and was kind of relieved that Kyle had something else to do.

Kyle reached up to scratch his chin when they looked at him expectantly. “Okay, so, guess I’ll just head on back to the house.” He cleared his throat and glanced at Tess. “Can I call you?”

“Sure,” she answered nonchalantly, even though her knees had gone weak over the last few minutes.

“Cool.” He grinned and stepped back, blushing when he tripped over the dog that had decided to just lay down behind him. “Pretend you didn’t see that.”

Tess chuckled. “Hard to do.”

“The least you could do is go easy on the male ego... it’s a fragile thing, y’know.”

“Uh-huh.” Tess took the little girl’s hand and they turned to leave. “We’ve gotta go, so I’ll see you around, I guess.”

“Oh, you’ll be seein’ me around,” he promised.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Re: In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 15 - 2/7/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:23 am

Earth2Mama: He’s determined to get the girl this time around. He’s not about to give up and truthfully, she doesn’t want him to give up.

Kara’s quite the little character isn’t she? They’re gonna work on it.

It was a very difficult situation and unfortunately they’re still dealing with the fallout.

begonia9508: He’s got his work cut out for him.

keepsmiling7: And more is coming!

killjoy: It’s usually easier to give advice than take it. She knows that what happened with Andrew wasn’t Max’s fault, but in Kyle’s case… he was at fault and he openly admits it. She’ll get past it in time though.

Alien_Friend: No, she doesn’t. Kyle isn’t giving up though and she wants to know that she can trust him with her heart this time around.

Tess wants to be there for her family and being needed in that capacity makes her really feel like part of the family. Liz was glad she could call on her sister-in-law.

Eva: Kyle and Tess are taking small steps.

Nope, she’s not making it easy, but she’s learning to trust him again, little by little.

Kyle is great with kids… and that has not gone unnoticed by Tess.

sarammlover: He’s struggling right now, being torn in several different directions and he’s lost his way. Just don’t give up on him.

She will, in time. They aren’t the same, but sometimes it’s hard to let go of old pain.

Maria’s having a very difficult time right now and she’s just now starting to really see how badly things have deteriorated. Amy is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but Maria’s concern is that Andy will only lose more respect for her if she allows her own mother to discipline him.

Glad you’re lovin’ it!

mary mary: LOL… and back we go!

Maiqu: She’ll come around.

It will, it’s just gonna take time and some help from family and friends.


Part 16

Liz pulled a pan of chicken enchiladas out of the oven and set it aside before sliding a second pan inside. She knew from experience that one pan would feed the twins with very little left over, so she always made extra.

“Hey, Mom?”

She turned around when Justin called her and she watched her children for a moment, studiously working on their homework as they sat around the table.

“I don’t understand these equations... I’m getting confused with the negatives and positives and how to know when to add and subtract.”

She could’ve happily strangled Max at that moment. He was supposed to be home in time to help out with homework. “Here, let me take a look at your textbook.”

She was in the process of reading over his assignment when the front door opened and Kara slipped down off of her chair to run and greet Max.

“Why don’t you guys take a break from your homework? Go upstairs and get washed up and we’ll work on this after dinner.”

Justin knew that his mother was just sending them upstairs so she could talk to their father, but he nodded and got up to do as she had asked.

Nick paused in the hallway with his brother, watching their dad as he tickled Kara, making her laugh.

Max looked up when he felt that he was being watched and he grinned at the boys. “You guys done with homework?”

“No, we’re struggling with math.”

“You workin’ on it now or Mom send you to get washed up for dinner?”

“The last.”

Max nodded. “We’ll tackle it after dinner. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.”

Justin nodded. “Hey, Kara, come upstairs with us,” he called his little sister.

She shook her head and held tightly to Daddy’s hand. “I stay wif Daddy.”

“He needs to clean up from work too before dinner’s ready, baby-girl.” He knew she wasn’t a baby anymore, but he and Nick had started calling her that way back when she had first become part of their family and they still used the nickname every now and then.

Max couldn’t help but smile when his daughter’s expression turned stubborn and he knew if he didn’t distract her she would throw a fit. He crouched down so they were on eye level and he took both of her hands in his. “Tell ya what, Kara, you go with the boys and let Daddy clean up for dinner, and we’ll color after homework’s done, okay?”

Kara started to smile and nodded. “Tay.” She turned and grabbed Justin’s hand so they could both go upstairs.

He waited until the kids had gone upstairs and then he took a deep breath and prepared himself to face the firing squad. He walked into the kitchen and watched Liz as she took all of the kids’ homework off of the table. “Hey...” he said quietly.

She didn’t bother to greet him back. “So, you wanna have dinner with us, help with the twins’ homework, and spend some time with your daughter. That’s an interesting plan considering you’ve only got a little over an hour, huh? Because that’s the time Kara goes to bed usually.”

“I’m tryin’ here, Liz,” he growled.

“You shouldn’t promise things to them if you can’t keep that promise.” She walked over to the counter to get the plates for dinner.

“I didn’t promise somethin’ that I’m not gonna do.”

“But you’re not gonna be able to spend time with Kara if you’re gonna help the twins with their homework and you know that. Have you looked at the time recently?”

Max sighed and glanced at the clock. “Then why didn’t you just have dinner earlier?”

“Well, let me think… because I had to go to the preschool to pick Kara up and hand her over to Tess on my break, the time set aside for me to go to the cleaners. So, I went there after work and it took me forever ‘cause traffic had to be rerouted due to an accident and there’s only one freaking cleaners in town. After that I got home and took care of our daughter, which means cleaning her up so that she’ll only need to be dressed for bed after dinner. Oh, and you know what’s really weird? Apparently dinner doesn’t just magically prepare itself, so I have to prepare and cook it BEFORE we can actually eat it.”

“Liz, I tried to explain to you that I had a meetin’ with Alex and – “ He didn’t get the chance to finish that thought because she was in his space so fast, her forefinger poking into his chest before he had time to even complete the thought.

“And you didn’t know about this meeting this morning?”

“It lasted longer than I expected it to. I couldn’t just put it off.”

Liz shook her head. “You shouldn’t have told me that you would do all those things today if you weren’t even sure it was possible.”

“Damn it, Liz, I had no way of knowin’ that the fuckin’ meetin’ was gonna last so long!” He shook his head and slapped his hand down on the counter. “When I told you I’d do that stuff I had every intention of doin’ every bit of it.”

“And now you’re trying to put all that stuff you missed this afternoon into a timeline of one hour. Let’s see how well that works.” Liz turned to walk over to the oven. “Wash your hands, dinner’s almost ready.”

His mouth opened and closed comically as he was dismissed without another word. He hadn’t intentionally screwed this up, but it seemed like that was all he was capable of doing anymore.
He nodded and left the room to go upstairs and get cleaned up for dinner.

*****

Isabel took a step back when she opened her front door and saw Michael standing there. He had told her before leaving his office for the day that he needed to see her after work and she had told him to come by for dinner. She rolled her eyes when he held up a six-pack of his favored beer and she motioned for him to come inside. “You know where the fridge is. Dinner won’t be ready for another half hour.”

He shrugged and pulled two bottles out of the pack before placing the rest inside the refrigerator. “That’s cool.” He sat down at the small dining table in one corner of the room when she opened the oven to check on whatever she was making. “So, I needed to talk to you about the situation with Andy Evans.”

“I just talked to him for a few moments after he was down at your office, but I can already tell that this teenager is gonna make trouble, Michael,” Isabel said honestly and closed the oven again.

He grinned. “Yeah, he is. But, we’ve got a damn good chance to reach this kid, Iz.” He uncapped the second bottle and got up to get a glass to pour hers into.

Isabel watched Michael wander around in her kitchen as she leaned against the counter. “Think so?”

“He’s hurtin’ bad and he’s tryin’ hard to make sure no one knows, but that denial’s causin’ him to make some bad decisions.” He filled her glass and handed it to her before tossing the empty bottle in the trash. “The thing is... he’s not the one I need to talk to you about.”

“No?” she asked surprised. “Didn’t you say he’s the reason you wanted to talk to me?”

“Huh-uh,” he denied. “No, it’s related to him, but not about him directly.” He winced as he turned his back to her and went back to the table to sit down. “See, the thing is... I ran into his mom on Saturday mornin’ over at the park by my place.”

“Uh-huh,” Isabel answered slowly. “And?”

He shifted uncomfortably and reached up to scratch his eyebrow. “Well, it’s not really a big deal, but I was makin’ an admittedly poor attempt at flirtin’ with her.”

The woman in front of him giggled. “You didn’t consider that a new woman in town might be his mother?”

“It’s not like I know everyone in town, Isabel,” he growled. “I backed off when I saw the weddin’ ring. But, then I kinda ran into her again that night when Kyle and I went out for a beer...”

“And?” Isabel’s eyes grew wide. “Don’t tell me you had sex with her!”

“Oh, no, nothin’ like that,” he assured her. “She’s still grievin’ for her husband; I didn’t know that until I met her this mornin’ and realized that she’s a widow.” He looked down when Caesar jumped up against his leg and sniffed his jeans for a moment before giving him a look of disdain and walking away. “What? It’s just Mojo.”

“Thank God,” Isabel said, “so what’s the problem? Doesn’t she want you as a counselor for Andy now?”

“Well, it’s not a problem for me and I’ve discussed it with her...” He rubbed his thumb through the condensation that had beaded up on the bottle he held. “I’m attracted to her, Iz, seriously attracted.”

She frowned. “How serious can it be? I mean, you don’t even know her, right?”

He grinned. “Not yet.”

Isabel rolled her eyes at him and started to take some plates out of the cupboard. “Well, I don’t know how much the boy would appreciate it if you go after his mother, Michael.”

“Yeah, I know. I don’t see it bein’ somethin’ that would happen right away; I already know I’m gonna have to take it slow. I also know how much the reputations of the school and your staff means to you and I don’t wanna step on your toes, but...” He shook his head. “I wanted to let you know where I stand on this.” He reached out to scratch Brutus when he jumped up on the chair next to him. “I’ve talked to her, told her straight up that I’m attracted to her, but that I’ll do my best to do right by her son.”

“What’d she say about it?” Isabel wanted to know.

“She wants me to work with Andy and she wants it kept professional around him.”

“Annnd? Does she wanna go out with you?”

“I don’t know... she wasn’t exactly jumpin’ up and down at the prospect of me askin’ her out the other day. But, like I said... we’ll take it slow.” He used his foot to gently brush Caesar aside when he came over to get in on the attention that Brutus was getting. “No lovin’ for you, buddy.” He looked up at Isabel again. “My concern here is what you think about me workin’ with Andy since I’m interested in his mom.”

Isabel sighed and rubbed her hand over her face. “Okay, listen, Michael. I know you’re lookin’ for a woman in your life,” she held her hand up when he started to say something, “and that’s okay. Really, I mean, everyone wants someone, right? All I’m asking is for you to be careful and keep in mind that the most important thing is helping Andy.” She pulled the casserole dish out of the oven and set it on top of the stove. “There is a serious risk for conflict of interest to arise here and I trust you to come to me if that becomes an issue. Whatever happens, you can’t pursue this woman while you’re counseling her son.” She knew for him to even suggest such a thing that he was serious and she knew he would never compromise his integrity. She also knew that if he had made his mind up to pursue Andy’s mother that warnings and threats wouldn’t keep him away from her. But they had known each other long enough that she knew his priority would be helping the boy first and the fact that he had come to her with this told her that he was aware of the potential problems and that he would watch his step.

He nodded. “Okay, that’s fair. I won’t do anything to compromise your position or the school. Did I mention that she’s also Kyle’s step-sister?”

“Are you kidding?”

“Huh-uh, totally serious.”

“Small world.”

He grinned. “No doubt. So, speakin’ of everyone wantin’ someone... got any prospects?”

“What?” She looked surprised. “I know you haven’t been here that long, but there are no single men in Roswell who fall into the available-to-Isabel category.”

He laughed and took a drink of his beer. “None? That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?”

“Most of the single men are either old enough to be my grandfather or they have a kid that goes to the high school.” She grinned. “So, unless you wanna go out with me…”

“Thanks for the offer, but I’ve already got my eye on a blond... two would just be too much trouble.”

She placed the plates on the table where Michael was sitting. “Hey, I hope that this’ll work out for you, y’know that right? Just... when the time comes, be aware that it hasn’t been that long since she lost her husband.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” He had a feeling it would be hard to forget that because Maria and Andy both had a strong bond with the man who had died and he was going to have his work cut out for him with both of them. “So, what’s for dinner? Somethin’ I’ll actually enjoy or one of those healthy things that’s gonna taste like cardboard?”

She smiled sweetly. “Another crack like that and you can eat with Caesar and Brutus.”

He nodded and turned to face the table. “Bring on the cardboard.”

*****

Max took the used plates after dinner and carried them over to the sink. Thank God the twins had been hungry as always because neither he nor Liz had really eaten more then a few bites of their meal.

“Nick, Justin, go get your homework from the counter and go on in the living room. I’m just gonna give your mom a hand cleanin’ up the kitchen and then I’ll help you with it,” Max told the boys, leaving no room for complaints. “And you, little girl,” he took Kara out of her seat and set her on the ground after tickling her sides, “you go upstairs and get ready for bed, okay?”

“But you said you pway wif me, Daddy,” Kara complained.

He glanced at the kitchen clock and realized that it was almost time for her to go to bed. Damn, Liz had been right.

“I’ll come upstairs and say goodnight to you, okay? We’ll spend more time together tomorrow.” He hated to disappoint his little girl, but there was no way around it. With Liz getting home late and then having to do everything without his help she was going to be up late working on lesson plans. It just wasn’t fair to expect her to handle the kids homework, put Kara down for the night, and clean up after dinner while he did nothing.

Liz watched them and she wanted so badly to step in and smooth things over, but she knew she had to be firm. It was only a matter of time before Kara had a meltdown over learning that she wasn’t spending any time with Daddy.

Max’ heart clenched when he saw the tears welling up in Kara’s eyes. The little body in his arms started to shake from the sobs that were now escaping her mouth.

Kara looked up at Daddy and her bottom lip trembled as her eyes filled with tears. “No time wif me?” She watched him, waiting for him to change his mind, and when he didn’t say anything else she threw herself down on the floor and started to cry.

Liz couldn’t sit there and do nothing so she got up and crossed the room, crouching down next to Kara and struggling to pick her up. It wasn’t an easy thing to do when the four-year-old let her body go limp, making her even heavier. She finally managed to get her up, but the screaming and crying didn’t ease and she knew that Kara would only make herself sick if she continued with this behavior.

Max ran his hands through his hair. Damn, this was all his fault. “Kara, sweetie, calm down please...”

Kara quieted slightly and turned her head to look at Daddy as tears continued to roll down her cheeks. “Daddy...”

He held his arms out to her. “C’mere, Kara. Daddy’ll take you upstairs, okay?”

Liz gritted her teeth when he gave in and she shook her head at him. She bit back her anger when he ignored her warning and cradled Kara close. Giving in to the tantrums wasn’t going to solve the problem.

Max went upstairs with Kara and made sure that she brushed her teeth and got ready for bed. The little girl was exhausted from the crying so it didn’t take her long to go to sleep once he got her into bed and lay down with her to read her a bedtime story.

It was already after 8:30 pm when he came downstairs again. “I’ll be there in a minute,” he told the twins when they glanced up from their homework. He just needed to talk to Liz.

She was putting the last of the dishes in the dishwasher when Max walked back into the kitchen and she barely spared him a glance as she closed the door and started the machine.

“You were right, okay? Is that what you wanna hear?” Max asked when she continued to ignore him.

“This is not about bein’ right or wrong, Max,” she snapped. “You cannot just come in here and fix things by givin’ in whenever she throws a fit.”

“What should I have done? Let her cry for another hour?” he snapped back.

“No, what you should’ve done was be on time for once! What you should’ve done was follow up when you said you’d pick Kara up from school! What you should’ve done was talk to me instead of thinkin’ that you can handle everything on your own!”

Max felt like she had slapped him right across his face and he had to steady himself on the counter. He felt the anger building up in him and he wasn’t able to hold it back. “I already told you: I didn’t know that my meeting with Alex was gonna take so long. And before I forget to tell you, I’m gonna be goin’ outta town for a couple of days pretty soon.”

“And how long have you been sittin’ on that little piece of information?”

“I just discussed it with Alex this afternoon, okay? I need to visit some of our suppliers.”

“What?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Since when do you travel out of town to meet with anyone?”

“Since my brother, who did this kind of stuff, died, Liz.”

“No, you’re not gonna start keepin’ his schedule, Max. Andrew was gone all the time; he travelled constantly and sometimes he was gone for two or three weeks at a time. No, you’re not doin’ that.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. It starts with a trip that lasts a few days and before you know it you’re gone for weeks at a time.”

“Somebody has to do it, Liz.”

“Then hire someone.”

“I can’t just hire someone. The person who does this job has to know the company very well.”

“Then hire someone and teach them,” she growled through clenched teeth.

“I will,” he said, even though he hadn’t really thought about it, “but it takes time. And during that time I’m gonna have to take a few trips, Liz.”

“Max, I’m not trying to be insensitive, but it’s been six months and I don’t really understand why now out of the blue you suddenly need to start takin’ trips out of town.”

“We have to renew some of the contracts with our suppliers, Liz. That’s the way business works.”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot, Max, I know how business works.”

He sighed and ran his hands over his face. “I have to do this, Liz. And there’s no way around it.”

“I just think the timing’s rather convenient.” She shook her head and started wiping down the counters. “Fine, do whatever you need to do, Max. The boys have a game on Friday night... make sure you tell them that you won’t be there.”

“I don’t know yet when I’m leaving...”

“If it’s not this week’s game, it’ll be one soon enough... this’s the way it starts, Max. Before you know it you’ll be missin’ out on more than just games.”

“I don’t know what else to do, Liz,” Max admitted quietly before he left to go to the living room where the boys were waiting.

Liz wanted to stomp her feet and scream in anger and irritation. In all the years she had known Max he had never tried her patience the way he was here lately. Their daughter might just be onto something, she thought. Maybe she should just throw herself down on the floor and scream and cry... maybe that would get his attention.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 17 - 2/21/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:12 am

Natalie36: Yup, he’s got his work cut out for him to get back out of that hole.

begonia9508: You’re right, he does have to get business taken care of. Liz didn’t agree with that either! Looks like you two have something in common, lol.

Earth2Mama: Tess is there to lend an ear and to help… in what capacity? We’ll see.

Yup, there’s still some work ahead for this group!

It could be, you just never know.

mary mary: What an amazing compliment – thank you!!

keepsmiling7: So it seems, for now.

Kara is one smart little girl.

Michael will do his best to maintain professional behaviour when dealing with things.

Alien_Friend: They are dealing with a tough situation and they’re all in pain. Max is trying to do too many things and refuses to ask for help. The trips aren’t the best option for him take right now; part of him knows that, but that other part sees it as an escape from the problems at home… in spite of the reality that it’s only going to create more problems.

He’ll do his best to avoid crossing any lines and compromising his ethics or his integrity. And Isabel’s got his back, so he has someone there who can keep him in line if he starts to slip. Andy doesn’t intend to make this easy, but he’s not expecting Michael’s approach either.

Thanks! It means a lot to us that you’re enjoying this fic!

sarammlover: Liz is doing everything she can to hold her family together even though she can feel Max slowly slipping away. It’s gonna get better!

Maiqu: Max is being a little thick-headed right now. Hmm… wouldn’t happen to be a single father named Alex, would he? We’ll see soon!

killjoy: He’s walking a thin line, but he’ll do his best to do the right thing.

kismet: It’s definitely the wrong time for Max to be thinking about travelling out of town and putting more distance between him and his family. Tess would like to help and given the opportunity, she certainly would!


Part 17

Sam was bent over her keyboard, pencil clenched between her teeth as she stared at the last sentence she had typed, annoyed by the little green squiggly line underneath the words indicating that it wasn’t written properly. She growled under her breath and re-typed the sentence only to get the same response from her vindictive computer. “How many ways are there to say the same thing?” she asked the machine in front of her.

The cursor blinked back at her, mocking her, and she shook her head at it before pulling her legs up and crossing them Indian style. She glanced up when she heard something outside and after a moment she recognized Justin’s voice as he called her name, his voice hoarse as he tried not to be too loud.

She got up and walked over to the window, shaking her head when she saw him standing under her window and he nodded when she motioned to the front of the house.

Her dad was out for the evening and he wouldn’t mind if she let Justin in anyway. She hurried to the front door and pulled it open, frowning when she saw his expression. “Justin? What’s wrong?”

He shrugged, trying to act like he was fine. “Caught my parents goin’ at it earlier.”

“Okay,” she said, standing back and letting him in. She closed the door and leaned back against it. “That’s not exactly news with your parents.” She smirked. “You’ve caught them makin’ out before.”

“No, not goin’ at it like makin’ out, Sam... they were fightin’... seriously fightin’. They argue sometimes, but not like this... it was different. And now Dad’s gonna be goin’ outta town for a business trip and he never does that.” He looked at Sam, his eyes full of hurt. “My parents don’t fight like this... they just don’t...”

Sam didn’t know what to say so she just grabbed his hand and guided him into her room.

He paused to lean over and give Oscar a pat, scratching behind the little pig’s ears when the animal snorted and nudged his hand.

“Make yourself comfortable,” she said, gesturing to her bed.

Justin threw himself down on her bed and even though he was surrounded by ‘girl stuff’ it was Sam’s and it was a familiar comfort. “I just wanna make it better, but I don’t know how to do that.”

Sam shook her head and sat down on the edge of the bed. “You can’t fix this, Justin. It’s somethin’ they have to figure out on their own.”

He picked up a fluffy pink stuffed elephant. “Where’d you get this ugly thing?” he asked, changing the subject.

“Hey,” she snatched it out of his hand, “it’s not ugly.”

He snorted when she hugged the ridiculous-looking toy. “It is ugly... your dad bought that for you, huh?”

“He won it for me at the carnival last year.”

Justin smiled and nodded. “That’s right, I remember now. He spent a fortune to win that stupid thing. Hell, he could’ve bought ten of them with the money he spent tryin’ to win it.”

“That’s not important,” she denied. “He won it for me, so I love it and it’s NOT ugly.”

“Okay, it’s not ugly... because pink elephants are cool,” he teased.

She gave him a soft smack on his stomach. “Shut up.”

He chuckled and shrugged one shoulder. “Where’s your dad tonight?”

“He called earlier and said he was meetin’ an old friend, so I guess it’ll be late before he comes home.”

He nodded and fell silent. “Sam? What if my parents can’t fix this?”

She said, “I’m not gonna lie to you; there aren’t many perfect families out there, Justin. So, there’s a chance that they could get divorced. But I know your parents and I’m sure they love each other and they’re gonna do their best to fix this. All you can do is to trust them to do whatever’s best.”

“I’m scared, Sam,” he said, admitting something that he hated to think much less say aloud.

“I know.” She lay down next to him and wrapped her arms around him.

He glanced at her desk when her cell phone started to ring. “Wanna bet that it’s my parents?”

“What should I tell them?”

He shrugged. “That I’ll come home when they start actin’ like adults.”

“Okay, and what do I really tell them?”

He laughed. “Just tell them I’m fine and I’ll be home soon.”

“Alright,” she rolled off of the bed to pick up her cell phone.

*****

“Alright,” Liz parked the car in front of her house after picking Justin up from Sam’s house, “just go in the house, okay? We’ll talk about this tomorrow.”

Justin frowned at his mother. “And where’re you goin’?”

“I’m goin’ over to visit with your Aunt Maria for an hour or so. I want to make sure she’s okay.” Okay, that was a lie; the reality was that SHE needed someone to talk to. But she couldn’t tell him that. It was bad enough that he had heard her and Max fighting in the kitchen.

Justin nodded and climbed out of the car. “I’ll see you tomorrow mornin’ then?”

Liz nodded. “Of course. Goodnight.” She pointed her finger at him. “And you stay at home now.”

He nodded with a smirk. “I will, Mom.”

Liz watched him go into the house and sighed heavily. How was she gonna explain to him what was going on between her and Max? She could see in her son’s face that he was questioning his parent’s relationship.

Once Justin had disappeared into the house she started the engine again and drove the few blocks over to Maria’s house, hoping that she would be home and not already asleep since it was almost ten and she hadn’t called first to see if it was okay to stop by.

She parked the car in front of the house and tried to decide if she should ring the bell at the front door or go around to the back door. Before she could make a decision the front door was opened and she got out of the car as Maria stepped outside, followed by Theo.

“Liz?” she asked when she saw her friend standing a few feet away from her. “What’re you doin’ here?”

Liz swallowed hard, trying her hardest to force down the lump in her throat. “I just really needed a friend tonight and I was hoping you were available.”

Maria nodded. “I was just planning to go around a few blocks with Theo. Wanna come with us?”

“Yeah, sure.”

They started to walk next to each other and after a few minutes without a word, the silence started to get too heavy for Maria. “So, what happened?”

Liz shook herself out of her thoughts when Maria spoke up. “Sorry,” she apologized. “I’m just... I’ve gotten so used to trying to hide the fact that things are falling apart at home.” She felt the tears threatening again and she hurried to try and blink them away.

Maria nodded to herself. She had already had the feeling that there was something very wrong between Liz and Max. “He isn’t dealing with Andrew’s death very well, is he?”

“He isn’t dealing with anything very well these days,” Liz said, surprised to hear the anger in her own voice.

“You two fight a lot?”

“God,” she wiped away a stray tear, “some days it feels like that’s all we do together anymore.”

“But you still love each other, right?” Maria thought about the last couple of years with Andrew and how they had become strangers to each other in some ways. She could never imagine that for Max and Liz, they had always been so... full of love for each other.

“So much it hurts sometimes,” she admitted. “It just feels like there’s so much distance between us and no matter what I do I can’t fix it.”

“You two love each other, Liz.” Maria forced a smile. “You’ll figure this out.”

“He won’t talk to me... it’s been months since we’ve really talked and we used to talk about everything. Now... now, it’s just silence or we talk about the kids or the weather, nothing about us, as a couple or what the real problem is that he won’t... I’m so sick of him not talking to me,” she exploded finally.

Maria bent down to unleash Theo when they reached the park and she turned to Liz, taking her hands in hers. “You think he’s blaming himself for Andrew’s death?”

“Max has always been the type to take things on his own shoulders, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he does blame himself...” She bit her bottom lip when the tears rushed to the surface again.

Maria felt her own tears well up in response to Liz’s emotional outburst. “I’m sorry, Liz, I wish I could help you in some way.”

“No, this helps, Maria... being able to finally admit this out loud...” She sighed and shook her head. “I know Max is having a difficult time with Andrew’s death, Maria, but the only thing we seem to agree on lately is that we should try to keep our problems from becoming an issue for the kids.” She looked up at the sky for a minute. “They know though, Maria... no matter how hard we’ve tried to hide it, they know. And here lately it seems like we can’t even keep the problems between us. Justin took off tonight because he was upset about a fight he heard me and Max having.”

“You can’t hide things like that from anyone, Lizzie.”

“You know what it’s like, Maria... you just wanna protect your kids from being hurt.” She ran a hand over her face. “But what do you do when you’re the one hurting them?”

Maria snorted. “Yeah, can’t even tell you how often I’ve asked myself that question lately.”

“I know we can’t protect them from everything no matter how much we want to, but...” She shook her head. “We shouldn’t have to protect them from ourselves.”

Maria took her friend into her arms. “We’ll get through this some way.”

Liz settled into Maria’s embrace, taking comfort from her friend and realizing just how much she had missed her. “I’m so glad you came home, Maria.”

“Me too,” Maria admitted. She needed help as well.

“Okay, enough moping for me... how’re you doing?”

Maria shrugged. “Feeling like the worst mother in the world.”

Liz motioned to a nearby bench and as they sat down she rested her arm along the back. “So, talk to me... what’s going on with you and Andy?”

Maria shook her head. “He’s not talking to me.”

“Does he ever talk to you about the accident, Maria?”

“No. And when I try to bring it up it just ends in another fight. I can’t have a single normal conversation with him. He’s always turning my words against me.” She sighed. “And I can’t blame him; he has every right to be angry.”

“Have you enrolled him in school yet?”

“Yeah, but he has to meet with a guidance counselor twice a week.” Maria ignored the little weird feeling in the pit of her stomach when a picture of Michael came to her mind.

“Oh? Which counselor did he get?”

“Michael Guerin.” She nodded to the left. “Think he lives up there.”

One eyebrow arched when she noticed the way that Maria was trying not to look in the direction she had indicated. “Uh-huh, and how d’you know that?”

Maria couldn’t hide the little smirk. “’Cause he kinda tried to flirt with me right on this very bench before we even knew he was going to be Andy’s counselor.”

“How d’you feel about that?”

“It was weird... I’ve never really flirted with anybody since Andrew.”

“He coached the boys over the summer; they played baseball at the community center and they liked him.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that quite often here lately. He’s also a friend of Kyle’s.”

“So, did he say anything when you found out he was Andy’s counselor?”

“Well, we were both surprised and he admitted that he’s attracted to me or whatever.”

Liz snorted. “Or whatever... has he asked you out?”

“No, not really. And if he did I would say no.”

“Why?”

Maria shrugged, unsure. “That would be too weird... and too soon.”

“Because it’s too soon to move on or because you’re worried about what people would think?”

“Both, I guess.” Maria wasn’t ready to tell Liz about her and Andrew’s relationship before he had died. Liz was Max’ wife and she didn’t want the woman to have any secrets from him. They had enough problems.

Liz reached out and let her fingertips rest on Maria’s shoulder. “Maria, Andrew told Max that you guys had been drifting apart for a while...”

Maria looked at Liz in surprise... and shock. “He did?” Andrew had told Max, she couldn’t believe it.

“I don’t want to pry and I’m not passing judgment... every marriage has its ups and downs. I just wanted you to know that I’m here if you wanna talk about it and you don’t have to feel like you’re betraying Andrew by revealing that you guys were having problems of your own.”

“We weren’t in love with each other anymore,” Maria blurted out. “I mean, not like you should love each other as a romantic couple.”

“Had you been drifting apart for very long?” Liz asked, thinking of her problems with her own husband.

“It was a slow process,” Maria started. “It wasn’t like we didn’t care about each other, we always did. It was just… there was nothing really romantic between us anymore.”

“Max said Andrew had started spending a lot more time travelling.”

“Yeah, he was away a lot.”

Liz felt her heart clench in her chest as she thought about Max’ announcement that he was going to be taking a trip to meet with some of the company’s suppliers.

“What’s wrong?” Maria asked when she noticed the change in Liz’s face.

“Max told me earlier tonight that he’s gonna be taking a business trip pretty soon. He’s never handled that part of the business, Maria. I don’t want him to start travelling... we don’t need anymore distance between us.”

Maria frowned. “Why wouldn’t he give that job to Matthew Connor? The guy traveled a lot with Andrew; he knows the clients and I’m pretty sure he’s still single.”

Liz glanced at Maria speculatively. “Has Alex talked to you? Kept you informed about the business and how it’s doing?”

“I think he may have called not long after Andrew passed away, but honestly... I was too lost in other thoughts to really care at that point.”

“You’ve never really been involved in the business either, huh?”

“No, not really. Andrew always kept that stuff away from me. The business was more than just work for him, it was a hobby and he loved it. I just remember Matthew because Andrew invited him over on several occasions.”

“Okay, enough shop talk,” Liz said, laughing at her unintentional pun. “What’re you gonna do with yourself now that you’re back home?”

“I haven’t decided yet. But like I said at your little welcome home party, I want to find a job. And money isn’t a problem for us, so I was thinking about maybe opening my own little shop or something.”

“Really? That’ll be nice. Have you decided about looking for a place of your own?”

“Yeah, the house isn’t big enough for too many people. But I wanna wait a little longer until Andy gets used to everything. Maybe it’ll be good for him to live with more than just me right now.”

Liz nodded. “That’s understandable. Is Andy interested in getting involved in any sports or anything?”

“Well, he mentioned the football team since the twins are involved in that, but I don’t know… he’s always liked basketball more.”

“Well, the twins have a lot of fun.” She rolled her eyes and laughed. “They should as much as they scare me half to death out there on the field. Max says I worry too much and they’re boys so I should expect them to play rough and I know he’s right, but... I’m always worried that they’re gonna get hurt out there, ya know?”

“Oh, yeah, football isn’t really a safe sport at all.”

“Max likes to tease me about no sport ever being safe enough for them.” She shrugged and grinned. “And he’s right. Right now I’m just hoping that Justin will stick with football; he’s started watching rodeo on TV and he’s become fascinated with it. I think football might just be the safer sport.”

Maria chuckled. “I can only hope there’s no rodeo team or whatever you call it in Roswell.”

“Well, you know... small towns in the southwest always have people involved in rodeo. So far it hasn’t gone any further than him watching it on TV... but if he’s determined to follow the sport, I’d prefer it be from a safe distance.”

“Maybe the boys can get Andy involved in some of the school activities. He needs to make some friends here.”

“Yeah, I’m sure once the boys start hanging out again it won’t take long before they’re getting involved in stuff together. And Sam’s usually with them and she keeps them in line pretty well.” She rolled her eyes. “Or at least they seem to behave a little better when they’re all hanging out together.”

“Sam’s a girl?” Maria asked, surprised.

“Oh, yes, she’s definitely a girl,” Liz answered, laughing.

“Andy didn’t mention that.”

“Hmm, wonder why.” She looked out across the park, lit by the moonlight and the lamp posts spaced along the walking path. “You remember Alex from high school? He was a couple of grades behind us.”

“What’s his last name?”

“Whitman.”

“Oh, yeah, I think I remember him.”

“He’s the CPA for the business, so you’ve probably seen his name on correspondence going back and forth.”

She shrugged. “If I have I don’t recall. Like I said, Andrew never talked about work and totally left me out there.”

“Right. Well, you’ll see him around town and he goes to most of the boys’ games with Sam. He’s a single parent, but he’s done an amazing job with his daughter. And he’s always willing to pick the kids up or drop them off; he’s very involved.”

“That’s good,” Maria said. “So many fathers don’t get involved.”

“That’s not Alex. He and Max get together to take the kids out camping and fishing. Sometimes they’ll wanna hang out and do ‘guy stuff’ so Sam will stay with me and Kara while they go beat their chests and declare themselves masters of the universe.” She smiled and rolled her eyes. “Or whatever it is guys do when they’re hanging out together in their little groups.”

Maria chuckled. “Yeah, Andrew and a couple of his friends would get together and do the same thing with Andy and their boys. If Kyle was in town he’d go with them. It’s like some little secret society thing… they won’t tell you what they did, not that you really wanna know.”

“Not much, anyway,” Liz laughed. “Okay, I have to admit to some curiosity.” She wrinkled her nose. “You just have to wonder what they could possibly be getting up to out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Man stuff.” She rolled her eyes. “Andrew was always in such a good mood after coming back from one of those little trips.”

“Yeah, Max and the boys too.”

They exchanged a look and said, “Guys,” at the same time.

Liz glanced at her watch and sighed. “I need to be getting back home.”

She nodded and whistled for Theo who was wandering around nearby. “I’m glad you came by, Liz.”

“Me too. It’s nice to be able to sit down and actually talk about the situation with someone who understands it.”

“So, let’s not let it be the last time we do this, huh?”

They stood up after making plans to meet for lunch in a few days and Maria leaned over to hook the leash to Theo’s collar before they turned to walk back to the house.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Re: In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 17 - 2/21/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:48 am

Earth2Mama: That friendship is important and had to be re-established. They need each other now more than ever.

Yes, everyone’s pissed off at Max right now, lol. We can pretty much guarantee that at some point one or more of the kids will be turning to Aunt Tess for some help.

mary mary: Glad that gave you a break on the Kleenex! We may just spare you this next update as well, lol!

Natalie36: Thanks for reading!

Alien_Friend: Thanks! Renewing their friendship will be very helpful to both of them.

Justin has always had Sam there to watch his back and he knows he can safely open up with her when things are going wrong.

Liz can be thankful for that one! But, Andy’s going to be getting better.

keepsmiling7: Hmm… there seems to be a lot of that going around.

begonia9508: Girlfriends are a necessity in life!

sarammlover: Yup, they’re gonna need each other to get through everything that’s going on in their lives.

Maiqu: Their friendship is very important and it’s necessary for them to be able be able to talk to someone who truly understands what they’re going through.

Eva: It was past due and they’ll be working on their friendship.

Justin knows he can trust Sam and that she’d never laugh at him or make him feel bad because of his fears.



Part 18

Maria was fixing breakfast on Monday morning when Andy came downstairs, feet dragging, expression irritable, and his hair standing on end. He mumbled a “good mornin’” as he passed her on his way to the table, but she considered it a minor victory. He slouched down in one of the chairs and folded his arms on the table before slumping forward to rest his head on his forearms.

It was the beginning of his third week at his new school and he’d had six sessions with Michael so far. There hadn’t been any overt changes in his behavior, but she had noticed a lessening of the level of hostility he exhibited on occasion. Things that she used to take for granted, like greetings in the morning, had been nonexistent since Andrew’s death and she had nearly cried with relief when he had walked into the kitchen and offered a simple “good mornin’” a week ago.

“Ready for another week of school?” she asked as she pulled a couple of plates down and started to fill them.

“No,” he muttered. “Can’t I just take a day off?”

“You just had two days off.”

“The weekend should be longer. Between school, homework, and those stupid counseling sessions with my idiot guidance counselor I don’t have time for anything else.”

“Well, that idiot…” she winced. No, she had not just called him that! “Mr. Guerin is not an idiot,” she insisted when her slip actually made her son laugh. “He’s tryin’ to help you.”

“Whatever. Y’know why he’s got so much time to spend helpin’ kids? That idiot probably can’t get a date.”

“Andy,” Maria warned.

“I’m just sayin’, Mom.” He rolled his eyes when she slid a plate in front of him and ran her hand through his hair, trying to arrange it in some sort of order. “Mooom,” he complained.

“What?” she asked, taking the chair next to him.

“You can’t just do that.” He ran his hand through his hair. “I’m fifteen years old, ya know,” he huffed indignantly.

“Sorry,” she replied with a little smirk.

“Whatever.” He dug into his breakfast, wolfing it down and only pausing in between bites to take quick drinks of his juice. “You goin’ out today?”

“I’m meeting your Aunt Tess for lunch later, yeah.”

Andy got up to dig a jar out of the refrigerator, sitting back down and coating his toast with a liberal amount of the grape jelly. “So, what’re you guys doin’?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know, we’ll probably eat something and then we might look around for a job or something.” She didn’t know how he would react to that news, but lying wasn’t an option either and she was getting crazy bored staying around the house all day.

He chewed his toast and thought about his last session with Michael. The guy wasn’t all that bad, and he made sense sometimes, but he still wasn’t giving him credit for anything. “So, Aunt Tess is lookin’ for a job too?”

“Yeah, she said she needs a distraction to keep her from thinking about your uncle all the time,” his mom said with a grin.

Andy shrugged. “Uncle Kyle said she’ll come around to his way of thinkin’. He’s just waitin’ her out.”

“Uh-huh, very interesting,” Maria mumbled as she took another bite of her toast. “What about you? Any interesting girls at school?”

“What?” He reached up to rub his cheeks when they felt hot. “No... I don’t know, Mom.”

She shrugged. “As you said, you are 15 and you’ll be turning 16 before long...” She couldn’t believe that he was going to be 16 in just a matter of days.

“Well, but still... we don’t gotta talk about that!” A look of horror passed over his features. “You’re not about to tell me about sex are you?”

She glanced at her son for a moment. This wasn’t really a conversation to have over breakfast, she thought. “I know you already know about that, but if you ever want to talk about it, just tell me, okay?”

“No! God, no! Dad covered that, an’ seriously, that was damaging enough.” He slid down in his chair and shrugged one shoulder. “I mean... ya know... I’m good.”

She nodded. “Okay. Oh, hey, is there anything special you’d like for your birthday?”

“My birthday...” he said slowly. What he wanted he knew wasn’t possible and saying it aloud would only cause her pain. “I don’t really want anything, Mom.”

She knew what he was thinking and her heart sank with the realization. “I know that your birthday won’t be easy, Andy.”

“Wasn’t easy last year either.” He tried to force a smile. “It’ll be okay. Scrappy said he’s sendin’ somethin’... told him not to, but you know he don’t listen.”

“Yeah, that kid has always had a mind of his own.” Maria glanced at her watch. “Want me to drive you to school?”

“Nah, Nick’s gonna stop by an’ we’re gonna walk together.”

“Okay,” she emptied her glass of orange juice and leaned back in her chair, glancing at her son. It was the first conversation they’d had that hadn’t ended in a fight in so long. Wow.

“So, I’m gonna go get my stuff before Nick gets here.” He stood and started to walk out of the room but paused at the doorway. “Breakfast was good, Mom.”

She smiled, and it was a genuine, happy smile. “Thanks.”

He patted Theo as he passed the dog on his way to the stairs. It was nice to talk to Mom without getting into a screaming match, he thought.

*****

Liz placed the dishes the twins and Kara had used for breakfast in the sink and walked over to sit down at the table again. Getting the kids ready for school alone wasn’t an easy job and she hadn’t had the time to eat or drink anything so far.

From what she could hear, Max was still in the shower upstairs. He had been on the phone with Alex almost the entire evening the night before. She didn’t know what they had to discuss on a Sunday, but whatever it was, Max probably wouldn’t tell her if she didn’t ask. She grabbed her coffee cup and lifted her feet up to hook her heels on the edge of her chair while she stared into nothing.

Max walked down the stairs to the kitchen after a long hot shower. He was still tired as hell, but he had to be at work in about 30 minutes. “Mornin’,” he mumbled when he saw his wife sitting at the table. “The kids already leave?”

Do you see them here? she almost asked, but stopped herself at the last second. “Justin’s droppin’ Kara off on his way to school and Nick’s meetin’ Andy on his way to school.”

Damn, he had planned to at least say good morning to the kids before they left. “Any coffee left?” he asked carefully.

She motioned to the coffee pot and watched him as he moved to pour himself a cup of the hot liquid. Should she ask him about the calls back and forth to Alex the night before? Maybe she should just lead the conversation and see if he opened up about it. “Is everything alright, Max?”

Was anything alright here lately? he wondered. “Yeah,” he sat down. “Well, I guess... I have to take another trip tomorrow.”

“Again?” she bit out, unable to stop herself this time.

Max winced. “Just for one night.”

“Just one night?” she echoed. “Like the last trip was for just one night?” His last trip had ended up being four days and they had fought like hell about it when he had gotten back home.

He shook his head. “No, it’s really for just the one night, Liz. I’ll leave tomorrow very early and be back the next day.”

“Mr. Grant’s retirement dinner is on Wednesday night.” The beloved teacher had decided to retire after recently losing his wife and the school was having a dinner to express their appreciation for his many years of service. The faculty and their families had all been invited to participate in the event and it was important to Liz that she and her family attend.

“I know, and I’ll be there,” Max said.

“Where’re you goin’ this time?” she asked, dropping that subject.

“Dallas,” he replied shortly.

At least it was closer than Kansas City , she thought as she nodded. “You said you’re leavin’ tomorrow?”

“Yeah, very early; the plane leaves at 6am.”

She sighed, trying to control her fears so this didn’t turn into an argument. “Will you be home early enough tonight to have dinner with the kids?”

“Yeah, I’m only working until 2pm today so I can pick Kara up.”

A slight smile settled on her face as she thought about how happy Kara would be when she walked out of school and saw Daddy waiting for her. “Should I wait until later to call Mrs. Franklin and tell her we won’t need her to watch Kara this afternoon?”

Max sighed. “No, I’m really gonna make it this time, Liz. I’ve already got everything set up with Alex.”

“You’ve set everything up with Alex,” she said quietly. She ran the tip of her forefinger around the rim of her mug as she glanced up at him. “When did you stop needing me, Max?”

He frowned. “I’ve never stopped, Liz.” How could she think he didn’t need her anymore? She was one of the few things that made his life tolerable these days.

“I feel like... like you don’t need me anymore. You won’t talk to me about what’s bothering you, you’re making decisions that affect our family by consulting Alex, and I’m the last one to even know what those decisions are.”

He placed his coffee cup on the table and stood up to crouch down in front of her. “I do need you, Liz. And those decisions... I have to do this; it’s not something I wanna do.”

She reached out to take his face in her hands. “Then why are you talkin’ to Alex and not me?” she asked.

“I’m talkin’ to ya Liz, right now.”

“Talk to me about what’s been on your mind, Max... talk to me about Andrew.”

He sighed and glanced at the floor to avoid her gaze. “There’s nothin’ to talk about, Liz… it’s nothin’ I can really put into words.”

“Nothing to talk about.” She dropped her hands and met his gaze, feeling so much older than she was in that moment. “I need to get ready for work.”

He nodded. “Me too.”

“You’ll be in more meetings with your suppliers in Dallas tomorrow?”

“Just one.” One seriously long meeting to hammer out the details and negotiate a new contract.

“Do you need me to drop your suit off at the cleaners on my way to work? I can pick it up at lunchtime.”

He shook his head. “I’ll do that myself, Liz. I know it’s been pretty hard on you lately and you’ve had your hands full with the kids, the house, and your job. But I’m gonna try to take some of those things off of you.”

Liz paused at the doorway and turned to look at her husband. He looked so lost and she could see that he was trying to do better even if he wouldn’t open up about things just yet. “Max...” her voice dropped and her tone was one that was unmistakable.

Max glanced up at his wife and slowly walked towards her. “What, darlin’?”

She felt it as his heated gaze moved over her and that crazy little shiver raced down her spine. “I know you just got out of the shower...” she reached out to trace her fingertip down the center of his chest. “Got time for one more?”

“Well,” his hands came up to her hips and he pressed her against the door frame. “If we make it a quick one,” he breathed against her lips.

Heat flooded her body when she felt his body pressing against her. “Have to be a quick one... otherwise we’ll both be late.”

“I’ll write you a letter excusing you for bein’ late,” he joked, lifting her up in his arms.

“Um-hmm,” she murmured against his lips, “I’m sure that’ll go over well: Dear Mrs. Johnston, please excuse my wife for being late. She was giving a lesson in sexual techniques... most notably how to have hot, wet sex without slipping in the shower.” She giggled and kissed him again.

“You’re gonna be givin’ me lessons in sexual techniques, huh?” he asked playfully.

She laughed. “Um-hmm.”

They reached the bathroom and Max kicked the door open with his foot to get inside. He put his wife down but held her close while he leaned to the side to turn the shower on.

Liz hurried to unbutton his shirt; she pushed it off of his shoulders and let go of it when it dangled from his right arm because he was busy adjusting the water temperature. She jerked her own shirt off and dropped it on the floor before going to work on his belt. “I know we’ve discussed this before,” she muttered breathlessly, “and you need to quit with the belts... they take too long to get off.”

“If I don’t wear one my pants slip right over my hips,” he said and took her lips in a hot kiss while he helped her with his belt.

She laughed, and God it felt good to laugh with him again.

After his pants and boxers hit the floor he helped her out of her sweatpants. “Can I sleep in bed with you tonight?” he mumbled against the heated skin of her neck. It had been three weeks now that he had spent the nights in the guest room and he missed her.

“Yes, God, yes,” she whispered raggedly as her hands held him in place. “I miss you so much, Max.”

“I miss you, too,” he stepped out of his clothes and into the shower, looking at her perfect body from a few feet away. “Take your panties off and c’mere,” he said hoarsely

Liz hurried to strip them off, too desperate for him to make either of them wait a moment longer. She grabbed his hand when he held it out to her, carefully stepping into the tub and into his arms. There was nothing like the feel of his naked body against hers and she wished they had the time to really enjoy each other.

“We’ll take our time tonight,” he said, reading her thoughts easily.

Her hands moved over his body, her fingers tracing over his ribs as she moved lower. “You promise?” she asked, wanting so badly to believe him. She leaned back in his arms and brought her right hand up to cup his cheek. “I don’t want a repeat of the last time, Max.”

“I promise,” he assured her as his hands wandered down her back to cup her ass. “I love you.”

Liz didn’t doubt his love for her, but she knew it was going to take more than that for them to get their marriage and their family back on track. She shoved those thoughts away, determined to enjoy this unexpected moment with her husband without letting anything ruin it. She watched his eyes as she let her fingers trail over his hard length, teasing him and loving the way he responded to her touch.

Max groaned when she touched him. God, he missed her closeness all the time. His hand came up to brush some wet strands of hair out of her face. “You’re just as beautiful as you were in high school,” he told her in a whisper.

“You’re biased,” she whispered back and smiled. “But, that’s okay... don’t stop.”

He remembered that time was working against them, so his hands wandered down to her thighs to lift her up. She hissed quietly when her back made contact with the cold tiles in the shower. “Sorry,” he whispered against her lips as he teased her entrance with the tip of his length.

“Max,” she whimpered against his lips, “don’t tease.”

He chuckled at her impatient tone. “Okay,” he agreed and he entered her with one quick move.

She moaned and her eyes slid closed as she dropped her head back to rest against the wall. She bit her bottom lip as the familiar feelings assaulted her and she tightened her legs, letting him know he needed to get with the program.

Max started to move, setting up a fast pace. He wanted to take his time and draw it out, but he knew that he wouldn’t be able to leave work early and pick up Kara if he was late for work that morning. Disappointing his wife wasn’t an option today. “Liz,” he breathed, already close to the edge.

She knew he was on the verge of losing it, but she wasn’t quite there yet so she reached up to grab his wrist, tugging his hand away from the wall. “Touch me,” she rasped.

He did what she asked for and slid his hand between them, his palm on her lower stomach while his thumb was teasing her clit. His lips trailed over the wet skin of her neck. He wished he could kiss her breast, but in this position it wasn’t possible without being way too uncomfortable.

“Oh, God,” she groaned as the wild rush of feelings began to build, but she couldn’t stop the smile when she noticed the direction of Max’ gaze. “Tonight,” she promised.

He nodded and kissed her hard as his hands came up to grab the back of her neck to hold her close. “Liz…” He wasn’t going to be able to hold out much longer.

She could feel her orgasm building and she was ready for him to give her everything he had. She was fast reaching the point where it was nearly impossible to articulate and she made a sound that she knew he would understand, knowing he would recognize it and know there was no need to hold back any longer.

Max thrust deep into her a few more times and widened his stance so he could hold them both upright. He felt the waves of her orgasm washing over her body and that was all he needed to finally let go.

His legs felt weak when his own orgasm hit him and he pulled all of his strength together to hold his wife safely in his arms.

Liz dropped her forehead to rest on his shoulder as she struggled to catch her breath. “Who says sex after 30 loses somethin’?” she laughed.

“Seriously? Never heard anything like that,” he joked, catching his own breath.

“Conversation I overheard the other day... some of the kids in my drama class.” She shook her head. “It’s scary how much they seem to know these days.” She wrinkled her nose. “Did we know that much at 15 or 16?”

He grinned. “Yeah, we did… We thought we did anyway.”

“No wonder our parents were such nervous wrecks when we started dating.” She rolled her eyes and grinned at him. “Of course, if they had known what we were really doin’ when they thought we were studyin’ at the library...”

“Yeah,” he leaned in to kiss her again. “I don’t wanna go, but I have to.”

“Ungh... I know, and I need to get ready, too.” Her hands came up to frame his face. “I love you, Max.”

“Me too. We’ll see you when ya get home,” he said softly. “I’ll pick Kara up and help the twins with their homework, so take your time, okay?” He grabbed a towel and started to dry himself off, handing her another one.

“Don’t forget to drop your suit off before work otherwise the cleaners won’t have it ready by this afternoon.”

He nodded. “Thanks for the reminder.” He would’ve forgotten it without her.

Liz smiled. Maybe they were finally going to start moving forward and really working on things. “Have a good day at work, Max.” She leaned in to kiss him once more. “Miss me,” she whispered as she squeezed past him and hurried into the bedroom to get ready.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Re: In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 18 - 2/28/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:51 am

kismet: Steps in the right direction. Small steps, but important.

He’s gonna try very hard.

Oh, you’re so right about today’s youth!

Um, no unplanned updates, lol.

keepsmiling7: It was about time, huh? Well, a slap or two might just move things along, lol, but hold that for now. Let’s see how he does with this chance.

We’ll see if things go as planned. Yeah, we can’t imagine why you’d worry.

Earth2Mama: LOL, Andy isn’t about to admit that his counsellor’s doing a good job. He’s making progress, but not willing to credit Michael with that. His birthday should be an interesting day.

Talk about a good way to start the morning! He’s working on it… slowly.

mary mary: There is something to be said for the nights…

Natalie36: We hope so too!

Alien_Friend: We’re glad!

You’re so right! Hopefully he doesn’t trip himself up now. He’s gonna try very hard to keep his word. He knows he’s been given another chance and he doesn’t want to screw it up. These two have always been partners in every sense of the word and right now things aren’t equal between them and it’s throwing them off balance.

Andy’s beginning to make progress. We’ll start seeing little moments now that he’s starting to make a change.

sarammlover: LOL, well, that’s one way to put it! They’re all starting to gain some forward movement, now if they can only keep it going.

Maiqu: We are seeing some progress and will hopefully see more from here on out.



Part 19

Maria walked into the small restaurant Tess had chosen for lunch. She glanced around and decided that she liked the cheesy style of the décor. It had opened up while she had been in Florida, so it was new to her.

“Over here,” Tess called from the small booth at the back of the room.

Maria waved back and started to walk towards her friend and sister-in-law as a nice elderly waitress greeted her from behind the counter. “Hey,” Maria took the seat across from Tess. “Did ya already order?”

Tess set aside the newspaper she had been reading. “Just a coffee.”

Maria nodded and grabbed the menu to have a look at it. “So, what’s new?” she asked while reading.

“I was looking for a new place to stay ‘cause after a few days and it’s really annoying to live in a hotel not to mention the small fortune I’m spending for every I stay day there.”

“Found anything interesting yet?”

“Actually, yes. There’s an advertisement in the newspaper,” she tapped her forefinger against it, “for an apartment that seems to be really nice. Not too small, but not big, with a little balcony and a bath with a tub. I was thinking about goin’ over there to have a look at it after lunch. Wanna join me?”

“Sure.” Maria reached out to turn the paper towards her. “Don’t you just hate it when they don’t list the address so you can run by and see if you really wanna spend the time looking at it?”

“Yeah, but I’ve already called the office and gotten the address; they said it’s near the park.”

“The city park?”

“Yeah.”

“Hmm... I don’t recall any apartments in that area.” She shrugged. “Have you already made an appointment to see it?”

“They said someone would be there all day today ‘cause the apartment’s getting new windows and I can just go over there and take a look around. It’s on the second floor.”

“Ungh, second floor?”

“Yeah,” Tess frowned, “what’s wrong with that?”

“Second floor means stairs.”

Tess rolled her eyes. “And? I’m young. Besides, a house would mean stairs as well.”

“Only if it’s a two-story house. Plenty of houses only have one level.”

“C’mon, girl, don’t be negative. Let’s go and at least take a look at it.”

“Okay, no negativity... I’ve had enough of that anyway.” She smiled. “So, my brother seems to think you’ve been hiding from him... tell me it’s not true.”

Tess grinned. “Well, I’ve kinda made up some dates and appointments to put him off.”

“Um-hmm, you do remember he’s a highly-trained FBI agent, right?” She was debating whether or not to mention her son’s little bit of information.

“So, he’s not falling for that, huh?”

“Not so much, no.”

She shrugged. “Well, at least I’ve made him suffer for a while anyway.”

Maria snorted. “He’s insufferably pleased with himself... he’s certain you’re just avoiding the inevitable.”

“Well, nothing will happen until he finally invites me over to dinner with you guys,” Tess said decisively.

“Uh-huh, and how long are you gonna make him wait for an answer to that invitation?”

“I’ll give it to him as soon as he asks me.” Tess glanced at her friend. “But don’t you dare tell him I said that.”

“So, that’s a yes then?”

“Of course it’s a yes. I would never say no to an invitation like that.”

“You’re that excited about havin’ dinner with my family?” Maria asked.

“It would just show me that he is seriously interested, ya know? I mean, guys don’t invite a woman to their parents’ home if it’s just about sex, right?”

“Ah...” Maria raised her coffee cup in salute. “Well played, my friend.”

“Hi,” a different waitress greeted Maria. “What can I get you guys?”

“I’ll have the BLT on wheat toast,” Maria answered as she folded her menu over and slid it to the end of the table.

“For me, the salad of the day, please,” Tess said and waited for the woman to disappear again. “So, how’s Andy doing?”

“He’s doing much better, thanks for asking. Just this mornin’ we had a very nice conversation over breakfast and for once... we didn’t argue at all.”

Tess nodded. “Maybe the counseling is helping him to deal with Andrew’s death.”

“He won’t really talk about his sessions with Mic... Mr. Guerin, but his behavior does seem to be improving.”

“Guerin... Guerin...” Tess mused. “Wait... that’s not the guy from the bar we went to a few weeks ago, is it? The one who was there with Kyle?”

“Yeah, one and the same.”

Maria cleared her throat. She had to distract Tess and quickly! “Tess, can I ask you a really personal question?”

“Ask.”

“After Andrew died...” She bit her bottom lip. “I know the two of you were close... did you see anyone? A counselor or a therapist or anything?”

Tess nodded. “I was seeing someone, yes.”

“Did it help?” She stared into her coffee cup. “I don’t mean to be nosy, but I’m wondering if I made a mistake by not seeing someone.”

She nodded. “I think it helped, yeah.”

“One of these days Andy’s gonna realize that while I’ve pushed for him to see someone to help him deal with that loss I’ve avoided it myself... and I don’t know what I’m gonna tell him when that day comes.”

“Maria,” Tess grabbed her friend’s hand, “everyone deals differently with the loss of someone important. Don’t blame yourself for anything, okay? It was a hard time and you were all alone there in Florida.”

“It was hard... still is some days.” She sighed. “Have you talked to Max?”

Tess snorted. “My brother’s avoiding me as much as he can and he was away on a trip last week. I’ve talked to Liz though; she’s really having a hard time with him right now.”

“She’s worried about the trips... and I can’t blame her.”

“Yeah.... I mean, I know it wasn’t easy for you when Andrew was away all week, but at least Andy wasn’t very small and you only had one child and you were at home. Liz has a full time job and a little girl who needs attention.”

“I can’t imagine having three kids, a job, and everything else goin’ on while your husband’s out of town.” She shook her head. “It was hard enough with just Andy... Liz needs a break from things.”

“Yeah, I’m just not sure how to help her. I mean, I can watch Kara as often as she needs it, but that isn’t really a solution for the problems. I think I need to kick my brother’s ass.”

Maria laughed at that image. “Yeah. I just hope they can fix things between them. Have you spent much time with the kids since you came back?”

“A few times, yeah, but the twins are also busy with school and football right now.”

“Don’t they have a game this Thursday night? I think Andy mentioned something about that.”

“Yeah, I think I heard that, too.”

“Think you’ll go?”

The waitress came back with their meals and placed them in front of them. “Can I get you anything else?”

Both women shook their heads. “I hadn’t thought about it, but yeah, maybe I will.”

“Do you know if Max is out of town this week? Or if he’ll be here for the game?”

“No clue,” Tess said and took the salt from the table. “He’s been away a lot lately, so chances are good that he might not be here.”

“Well, if you don’t have any plans, maybe we should check out the game, give Liz a little support.”

Tess nodded. “Sure, sounds like a plan.”

*****

Andy stepped out of the school building during the last break of the day. He wasn’t really looking forward to his last class, math… something he would never really understand. He glanced around and saw Sam and the twins sitting at one of the wooden picnic tables not far from him. They were talking and laughing about something.

“Hey,” Sam waved him over.

“Hey,” Andy replied and took a seat next to her.

“How’s it goin’?” the girl wanted to know. “Still getting used to everything, huh?”

Andy nodded. “Yeah, this school’s nothin’ like the one I went to in Miami.” His old school had been much bigger and it hadn’t been hard to stay anonymous. Here, it was like everyone knew his background and he was just that weird guy from Florida who was depressed about his dad’s death and had to visit the damn counselor every other day.

“Well, it’s just boring old Roswell, so don’t expect too much,” Nick said.

Andy didn’t really care where he was. No place in the world could give him his father back. Yeah, he missed his friends from back home, but he knew his mom was doing much better since they had moved to this hole in the wall.

“We’ve all got math together in a few minutes, right?” Sam asked, glancing at her schedule. She was still trying to get used to it.

“Yeah,” Justin replied and rolled his eyes. “Who the fuck came up with a schedule that puts math as the last class of the day?”

His brother made a sound of agreement.

“Math always sucks,” Andy said with a shrug, “so any hour of the day is just as bad as any other time.”

Sam rolled her eyes at all three boys. “I don’t know why you all hate it. It’s so much better than boring English or Biology.”

Andy’s thoughts went back to the times when his father had helped him to do his homework on the weekends when he had been back from his trips around the States. It all seemed so long ago and sometimes he wondered if he would lose those memories in the future, after enough time had passed. He didn’t want to forget about his Dad, but thinking about him hurt like hell.

“Hey, Whitman, hanging out with the losers again?”

Andy glanced up and saw Matt Peterson approaching them, his gaze locked on Sam. He had met the guy in his P.E. class and they had immediately disliked each other.

“Get lost, Matt,” she said. The boy had been getting on her nerves since the day she had said no to his invitation to the movies. He was a good looking guy, but she wasn’t interested in him.

Andy straightened up when the boy didn’t bother leaving.

“What’s the matter, sonny-boy?” Matt teased when he realized that the strange boy was getting ready to defend his friends.

“Fuck off,” Andy growled.

Sam laid a hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay, Andy, he’s not worth it.”

Andy glanced at her and was starting to relax when the other boy spoke up again. “Sweet. Did your daddy teach you to be such a pussy?” Matt asked with a grin. “Oh, oops, my bad; he’s dead, isn’t he?”

Andy got to his feet faster than he thought was possible and took a few steps towards the other guy until they come face to face. “Another word about my father and ya won’t be able to sit on your ass for a while because I’m gonna kick it for ya.”

Matt laughed in his face. “Are you threatening me?” He shoved Andy backwards.

“Andy, let it go.” Nick stood up to hold his cousin back, but it was too late because the boy was already shoving his opponent back and they both landed on the ground, rolling around.

“Andy,” Sam also tried to get his attention, but didn’t get a response from him.

“What’s going on here?” a male voice suddenly demanded and a tall man stepped up next to the two boys fighting on the ground. “Stop it.”

Andy and Matt immediately stopped fighting and glanced up to meet the angry gaze of Mr. Miller, their math teacher. “Get up off of the ground,” the old man said firmly and waited until they both did what he had said. “I’m happy to tell both of you that I will see you in detention right after our next class together.” He started to walk away from them again and insisted that Matt come with him to avoid anymore fights between the boys.

“You okay?” Sam asked Andy, when the teacher was far enough away.

He dusted off his clothes. “Yeah, fine,” he mumbled and grabbed his backpack from the table to walk away.

“Where’re ya goin’?” Sam held onto his arm when he took the direction that would lead off of the school campus.

“Leave me alone,” he mumbled and tried to get rid of her touch.

Sam glanced back at the twins when Andy started to walk away. “Someone has to go after him. Would you cover for us?”

“Maybe you should just leave him alone,” Justin suggested, knowing that his cousin was closed off when it came to his dad.

She shook her head. “I’m gonna try at least.”

Nick nodded. “We’ll try to come up with a cover story for Mr. Miller,” he said, doubting that it would work after the detention Andy had just gotten from him.

“Thanks.” She turned around and hurried after Andy.

*****


Alex took off his sunglasses and leaned to the right to open the glove box. He rummaged around for a few seconds until his hands felt out the small envelope he was looking for. He got out of his car and walked across the small, dusty parking lot in front of Max’ shop.

“Hey,” he greeted one of the employees who was bent over the engine under the open hood of a black Ford Mustang.

“Hey,” Josh greeted, interrupting his work for a moment and wiping his right hand on his grease-stained white tee shirt.

“Where’s the boss?”

“In his office.” The man gestured behind him towards the opposite end of the building.

Alex nodded and walked past him. He took a deep breath before knocking on Max’s office door, preparing for what he had to say.

Max walked around the desk and pulled the door open, motioning for Alex to come inside as he shook his head at something the person on the other end of the phone was saying. “No, I want to know why the profit margin has decreased by so much over the past few months.” He waved to one of the chairs in front of his desk as he moved around and glanced at the open folder in front of his computer as he listened to what the person was saying. “No, you’re damn right I’m not happy about the numbers. I want your records for the past year pulled and I’ll pick them up when I stop in tomorrow afternoon.” He ended the call and glanced at Alex as he sat down and leaned forward to drop the receiver back on the hook. “I’m gonna bring back the books for the shop in Frisco so you can go over them.” He paused to look at Alex. “Which you didn’t know, so what’re you doin’ here?” He frowned and glanced at the grease-stained calendar on his desk. “I didn’t miss a meetin’ with you, did I?”

Alex shook his head. “I got a call earlier today from the Brian Adams,” he paused when she saw Max’ doubtful look, “not the singer, the manager of the shop in Dallas.”

Max frowned. “What’d he want and why would he call you and not me?”

“He said he hadn’t been able to reach you here.”

“There a problem? I have him scheduled for a meetin’ after I get away from the suits over at District Suppliers.” He tapped the folder with his itinerary safely tucked inside. “Just the way you set it up.”

Alex nodded. “He told me that he had to cancel the original meeting, but he can make it earlier in the day, not later than 10am though.”

“A 10am meeting? Damn, Alex, my flight’s scheduled to get in around 7:30am. I’m scheduled to meet with the manager at the shop in McKinney at 9:30am; there’s no way I'm gonna be able to take those meeting’s so close together.”

“I’ve already called the shop in McKinney and the manager can meet you earlier if ya want.”

Max sighed and slouched down in his chair, the old leather creaking as he leaned back and rubbed his jaw. “What you’re sayin’ is I need to fly out tonight.”

Alex nodded. “Yeah. Adams said he has no other free time for an appointment for the next three weeks and you know how important this is, Max.”

“I have to be back Wednesday mornin’, Alex. Liz has that dinner for one of the teachers and I can’t let ‘er down again.” Damn it, this was the last thing he needed right now. “What’s the latest flight I can catch tonight?”

“There’s a 9:30pm and an 11:30pm.”

“Shit,” he muttered. Well, if he got the boys home right after practice and got to work on their homework with them while making dinner he could still keep his promise to Liz. It would take a little of the pressure off of her for the night and even though he knew she wouldn’t be happy about his trip being moved up at least she would know that he was making an effort. “Alright, let’s get it set up. Arrange the meetings with the shops and I’ll just have to find time somewhere in there to run by and pick up the books for the shop in Frisco.” He snapped his fingers. “I can have them couriered over to the hotel, it’ll save me a trip.”

Alex nodded and glanced down when his phone start to ring. He pulled it out of his pants pocket and raised one finger to Max, to let him know to excuse him for a moment. He frowned when he glanced at the caller ID and didn’t recognize it. “Whitman,” he answered the phone.

“Mr. Whitman, this is Mrs. Walker at the high school. Principal Russell has asked me to contact you to request a meeting with you this afternoon.”

Alex frowned. “Why? Is something wrong?”

“It seems that Sam skipped her afternoon math class along with another student and Principal Russell is concerned by this unusual behavior.”

“Alright, I’m on my way.”

Max frowned when Alex got to his feet and started shrugging into his jacket. “Somethin’ wrong?” he asked as the other man disconnected from the call.

“Seems like my daughter skipped a class in school. That’s very unusual for her; she’s never done something like that before. I have to go there and talk to the principal.”

Max glanced at his own cell phone and sent a prayer heavenward that it wasn’t about to ring and inform him that the twins had decided to pick today to ditch classes. He could just imagine how badly that would set his wife off. Especially once she knew that he was moving his trip up. “Do you need me to handle changing the hotel and flight arrangements?”

Alex shook his head. “No, I’ll take care of it. I know ya wanna leave early today and spend some time with your family.” He paused at the door. “I’ll assume you want the later flight?”

“Yeah, thanks for doin’ all the legwork and handling the reservations for everything, Alex.” He shook his head. “I know most of that doesn’t come anywhere close to fallin’ under your job description.”

He waved one hand dismissively. “Hey, what’re friends for? I’ll email all of your reservation confirmations later this afternoon. Is Liz takin’ you to the airport?”

“No, I’ll leave the truck in the airport parking garage that way she won’t have to try to squeeze in a trip to pick me up Wednesday. And leavin’ late tonight,” he shook his head. “I don’t want her out that late by herself.”

Alex nodded and opened the door. “Alright, I’ll make sure the flight has a return for early on Wednesday.”

Max reached up to rub his jaw after Alex had left. He knew he was lucky to have a friend like Alex and he frowned when he realized he couldn’t even remember the last time they had gone out for a beer or shot a game of pool. His wife, his family, his friends… he had been letting all of them slip away and now he had to find a way to hold onto them before it was too late.


****

Come to our Author´s page for a little surprise! :) (link in the sig)
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult)Part 20 - 3/14/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:34 am

Earth2Mama: Well… we can’t make it too easy. Tess will be helping in one way or another.

Well, if she takes the apartment they won’t be too far apart.

Most of us probably knew or had to deal with those characters in school… ungh!

We’re hoping Alex takes the understanding approach, too.

mary mary: Nope, Max can’t do it all. Unfortunately right now he isn’t looking at the bigger picture.

Natalie36: Liz would help with anything if Max would just open up and talk to her.

begonia9508: Okay, so that’s probably the first time either of us has been accused of being vampires, lol! We’re trying to give the guy a break, but he’s got a mind of his own and we’re having a hard time keeping up with his male logic!

Andy’s making some progress.

The apartment… hmm, let’s go take a look…

Alien_Friend: No, but he probably would’ve gotten into even more trouble if he’d stayed and run into Matt again. That support system will be so valuable if Andy will just open up to it.

That’s what friends are for and these women need that in their lives. Yeah, dealing with grief is never easy, and it depends on the person. Tess is certainly doing her best to maintain that upper hand with Kyle despite his best intentions.

Max does have his back to the wall in some of these situations and he’s trying to do the best he can. He just hasn’t reached a point yet where he can look to his family and friends – and most importantly, Liz, and actually admit that he needs help.

Hmm, not in this next part, no. But, Alex and Isabel will be meeting soon.

sarammlover: Things often have to hit rock bottom before they get better… let’s hope that isn’t the case here. Part 65, huh? Think we’d really drag it out like that?

keepsmiling7: Nope, not a bit. Nah, Sam is Alex’s daughter. Let’s hope Max’ daughter doesn’t start skipping class – she’s only four, lol!

He’s trying… but right now it seems like everything he tries just makes things worse.

Maiqu: He’s trying though. There’re gonna be more of those Andy and Sam scenes to come.

guelbebek: Small steps, but each one is important. Max is stuck in a position where some of these things are beyond his control and those things are interfering with his ability to keep some of his promises. But, he’s trying. He may not be able to move back into their room tonight, but he’s gonna do his best to make sure he does everything else he told Liz he would do.

Time is important for Michael and Maria. They have a long journey ahead of them. We’ll find out about the others and Andy as the story unfolds.

Here’s hoping we got the post up soon enough!


Part 20

Tess and Maria stood in front of the building and looked up at the two-story brick structure. It was well-maintained and a group of men were in the process of replacing the windows on the second floor. Tess smiled flirtatiously at the man who walked out through the door that opened to the stairs that led up to the second level.

“You must be Mrs. Evans,” he said with a smile. “I’m Jake. Real estate people called and said you’d be stoppin’ by to take a look at the apartment.”

Maria bit her lip to keep from laughing when Tess led the way past the man, letting her fingertips brush against his tee shirt-covered chest.

“That’s Ms. Evans, Jake...” She fluttered her fingers in front of his face. “No wedding ring.”

“That’s a damn shame.”

She smiled and her eyebrows waggled playfully. “Isn’t it?”

“Sure is,” he grinned as his eyes slid over her. “Girl, you’ve got a good set of hips on you... that’s real good for birthin’ babies.”

Tess held her hand up to stop his suddenly annoying voice. “And that is where you stop talkin’ and point the way to the apartment.” She shooed him away and snorted derisively. “Can you believe that Neanderthal attitude? Ungh, I had forgotten about that small-town chauvinist pig male behavior.”

Maria laughed. “Guess that’s what ya get when you flirt with every male around you girl.”

“Real good for birthin’ babies,” Tess mocked, trying to copy the man’s tone and failing miserably. “Seriously? Who talks like that anymore?”

“Well, we’re in Roswell, don’t forget that, sweetie.”

“So, I should automatically expect to be subjected to this kind of behavior? Damn it, where’s Kyle when I need his dumb ass?” She forgot all about her irritation with men in general as she stepped through the open doorway and entered the apartment.

“Wow, the light in this room is great,” Maria noticed as she glanced around.

“It is, isn’t it?” Tess walked around the living room, looking at all of the windows. “Natural light is the best and if this room is any indication it’s spacious, too.”

“Oh my god, Tess, look at this,” Maria called from the bathroom. “There’s a huge tub.”

Tess ran to follow her friend’s voice and she clapped her hands in delight as she looked around. “There’s no way the rent price that agent quoted me is right for this, Maria... it’s not possible.”

“And again, Tess, we’re in Roswell. You can’t compare the rental prices here with the big city.”

“I know, but... Maria, do you know what this kind of space would go for in California?”

“Probably as much as it would in Florida.”

Tess crossed the tiled floor, admiring the glass bricks that separated the bath area from the rest of the room. She reached for the second door and pulled it open, smiling as she stepped into the bedroom and felt the thick, plush carpeting beneath her feet. There were windows on every wall and a skylight overhead, a large walk-in closet and shelves built into one of the walls. “Now, see, this is what I’m talkin’ about,” she said as she walked into the closet. “Look at this! There’s room for my shoes and my clothes.”

“You’ve got a lot of shoes, huh?”

Tess snorted. “You did not just ask that question.”

“Well,” Maria glanced around, “chances are good that you’re gonna rent this one, huh?”

“One more room to check... let’s go see the kitchen.”

“Alright.” The girls walked out to the last room, stopping in shock when they saw it.

Tess walked to the island in the center of the room, staring at the marble countertops surrounding her. Stainless steel appliances balanced against the oak cabinets, windows surrounding them and another skylight. She chewed on her thumbnail as she looked around, wondering if it was some sort of sign that the apartment was so perfect. The only thing she hadn’t liked about the agent’s information had been the 12-month lease, but there was no way she could turn this down.

“I’ve never seen such a beautiful kitchen, girl,” Maria admitted, her desire to get an own place to stay rising again. She loved her mother and stepfather, but the house was so crowded that it was nerve-wracking sometimes.

“It’s beautiful,” Tess agreed. “I’d better call the agent and tell her I’ll take it before someone else grabs it up.”

“Yeah, and I noticed that the ground floor’s empty too, so it’ll be quiet.”

Tess paused, momentarily forgetting that she was in the process of dialing the agent’s number. “Maybe that’s why it’s available,” she mused suspiciously. “There’s probably somethin’ wrong with the first floor.”

“Wanna have a look at it too?”

“We can probably just go down there, right?”

“Yeah, they’re changing the windows there too, so it was open.”

“Okay, let’s go.”

The girls went back to the ground floor and stepped into the apartment below Tess’ potential new home. “This is more like for a business.”

Tess walked around, blue eyes scanning over the space. “You know...” she tapped her lips thoughtfully with her forefinger. “It wouldn’t take much to knock out that wall, push it further back, and open this area up even more.” She walked over to the large picture window that faced the street and she turned to look at Maria. “Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”

“Uh...”

“It’s in a great location, Maria... it’s close enough to the heart of town that I’ll bet it’s zoned for business. And look at this room,” she said, holding her arms out at her sides. “I’ll bet it’s already been used as a business.”

“What kinda business are you thinkin’ about?” Maria asked, interested.

“What kind am I thinkin’ about or what kind was probably here before?”

“The first.” Maria walked further into the room to have a better look at it.

“Well... I’ve been doing some checking with some of the women in town and one thing they all agree on is that Roswell doesn’t have a decent hair salon...”

Maria smiled. “True, and you would so be my favorite hairstylist around here. Of course you should give me some sort of friends-bonus or something.”

“Well, since you’d be doing the cosmetics... I think we could work something out.” She grabbed Maria’s hands. “I’m serious, girl, we could do this! We both wanna do somethin’ with our time and we could work together and actually do somethin’ we enjoy. We can be partners.”

Maria considered her friend’s idea. “We definitely don’t have to worry about the money to get started,” she mused, “so it could work... and if not,” she shrugged, “then at least we tried, right?” She wouldn’t take the risk if she needed the money, but this was one thing that wasn’t a problem in her situation.

Tess grinned. “So... is that a yes?”

“It’s a maybe. Gimme some time to think about it, okay?”

“Ungh... we’re gonna have to work on your ability to be spontaneous,” she complained, but she smiled to let Maria know she understood.

“Spontaneity is something that takes a backseat when you’re a mother, Tess.”

“Nonsense,” she insisted. “I know, I know, you have to consider all these other things, but a little bit of spontaneous is good for you.”

“Yeah, but I can’t make this decision without talking to Andy first, Tess.”

She nodded. “Wonder what kinda deal we can get for both floors... tell ya what, I’m gonna tell the agent I’m for sure takin’ the apartment and I’m gonna ask her if she can hold this place for a few days so you have time to make a decision. Will that work?”

Maria nodded, considering the possibilities.

*****

Andy followed Sam as they snuck around the brick building, looking for a place to enter the high school that wouldn’t make it obvious that they were sneaking in. They hadn’t gone very far, just over to the football field and sitting in the bleachers for nearly an hour without talking. Sam’s presence was calming and she didn’t push him to talk; she just sat with him and let him decide whether or not he wanted to bring the subject up or just let it drop. They had decided to go back inside and sneak into class, hoping that the twins had come up with a good excuse or that the teacher just hadn’t noticed their absence.

“I thought you said this door would be unlocked,” Andy whispered when he tugged on the door and it didn’t open.

“It should be unlocked,” she insisted. “It’s the door we always use when we sneak out for a class.” She elbowed him back out of the way. “Here, let me try.” She turned the knob and pulled on the door, frowning at it when it didn’t open.

“They open a lot easier when they’re not locked,” an amused voice spoke up from behind them.

Sam cringed when she recognized the voice and she turned to lean against the uncooperative door. “Mr. Guerin,” she said, quickly covering her surprise, “what’re you doin’ out here?”

Michael bit back a smile as he looked between the two teenagers. “It’s funny you ask ‘cause I was gonna ask the two of you the same thing.”

“We’re outside durin’ the school day,” Andy snapped. “What d’you think we’re doin’?”

“Me?” Michael leaned one shoulder against the wall, left thumb hooked in his front pocket. “I’m gonna make an educated guess and say you’re probably skippin’ your math class.”

“Guess that second job as a detective must be payin’ off for you.”

“Andy!” Sam hissed.

Michael let the comment pass unchallenged. “I’m gonna take another wild guess and say that you’re probably tryin’ to sneak back in before Mr. Miller figures out you’re not sittin’ in class.”

“Guess that mail-order degree makes you an expert at figurin’ this shit out.” Andy was still pissed about the earlier run-in with Peterson and he didn’t care if he got into trouble for skipping a class.

The counselor studied the young man for several minutes, seeing the defiance, but more importantly seeing the hurt beneath it. “Let’s go inside; Principal Russell’s waitin’ to see the two of you.”

“Um, Principal Russell knows we skipped class?” Sam asked, wincing.

Michael chuckled. “She would be the one to suggest I wait for the two of you to try to sneak back into the school.”

“Damn… really? Why’d she think we’d come back if the school day’s practically over?”

“Because, Miss Whitman, she’s the principal and it’s her job to know these things.” He smiled as he unlocked the door and escorted them inside and down the hall towards the office. “You’ll both be happy to know that your parents have already been called and they’re on their way to the school as we speak.”

“Seriously?” Sam cursed under her breath. “My dad is gonna kill me.” She glanced at Andy. “Well, it was nice knowin’ ya.”

“Sorry, Sam,” Andy mumbled. Mom was not going to be happy with him.

Michael hid his surprise when the difficult teenager gave the girl an apology that was sincere. He dropped them off in the office and went to speak to Isabel before the parents arrived.

*****

“Here you are,” Kyle said, surprising them. He grinned unrepentantly when they whirled around to face him, startled to see him standing there.

“Kyle, what’re you doin’ here and how’d you even know we were here?” Maria asked.

“Saw your car outside,” he said and took her hand to press something into her palm. “You should take your damn cell with you, Maria.”

She frowned. “Is something wrong?”

“The school called and asked if you could stop by this afternoon. Seems like Andy skipped a class.”

“Skipped a class?” she repeated slowly. “But...” Damn, that was not what she wanted to hear. He had been doing well at school so far. “I guess I’d better go then. No, wait... I should go find him first.”

He shook his head. “Sounded like he was in the office.”

Maria nodded. “We’ll talk about this later, Tess, okay?”

The other girl nodded. “Sure.”

“You want me to go with you?” Kyle offered.

“No, I’ll do it alone, thanks. Bye for now. I’ll see ya at home later.” Maria disappeared outside and left Kyle and Tess alone.

Kyle glanced around at the large room they were standing in before he focused on Tess. “So, I’m hopin’ you aren’t lookin’ to rent this as an apartment. The dimensions are all wrong for a residence.”

“No, actually I plan to rent the one above this.”

“Then why’re you an’ Maria hangin’ around down here?”

“We just wanted to check it out since it’s empty.”

“Uh-huh... so, what were you discussin’ when I came in?”

Tess rolled her eyes. “You’re so nosy, Kyle. We were discussing the possibility of a business down here.”

“Really?” He made a waving motion between her and the open front door. “You an’ Maria?”

“No, me and the little spider in the corner,” she said sarcastically and pointed to the little creature.

“You’re a riot, Evans.” He stuck his tongue out at her. “Why don’t you show me around your new place?”

“Sure, why not,” she grumbled and lead the way upstairs.

He grinned at her less than enthusiastic response and followed her upstairs. His cell phone started to ring as they entered the apartment and he glanced at the caller ID as he brought it up to his ear. “Hey, honey!” he greeted cheerfully.

Jack Kelley held the phone out so he could verify the number he had called and he shook his head at his partner’s weird sense of humor. “Valenti, you can call me just about anything in the book, but ‘honey’ is definitely not allowed,” he growled.

Kyle just grinned and held a hand up when Tess turned to stare at him. “No, no, everything’s good here. I love that you call to make sure things are going well for me, Kelley.”

Jack rolled his eyes and shook his head. “There’s a girl there, right?”

“Oh, you know it.”

“Ungh, you’re a sick, twisted man.”

Tess couldn’t believe that Kyle was actually carrying on with some skank while asking her to show him around. What an ass! She rolled her eyes when he spoke again and fought down the urge to gag. “Why don’t you just take off, Kyle?”

He held his hand up again. “Kelley, honey, I need to go now.”

“You are such a prick!” Tess snarled as she reached out and snatched the phone out of his hand.
She put it up to her ear and listened for a moment, waiting to hear this Kelly woman’s voice. “Well? Don’t suddenly lose your voice on my account,” she said, drumming her fingertips on the counter in irritation. “Seems like your trampy little girlfriend’s lost her voice.” She glared at Kyle and nearly dropped the phone when a man’s voice came over the line.

“Well, I’ve been called a lotta things in my life,” he rumbled, amused, “but another guy’s trampy little girlfriend ain’t one of ‘em.”

Tess switched the phone shut in shock and stared at Kyle. Oh, the little prick had tried to fool her. She smiled sweetly. “Kyle, if I had known...” she shook her head. “Don’t worry, your secret will be safe with me.”

“My...” his mouth dropped open. “What? No, Tess, he’s my partner...” He rolled his eyes when she sent a meaningful glance at him. “No, no, not my partner like we’re... Ungh, sooo not the case, Tess! He’s my FBI partner!”

“Uh-huh, and why would you call your partner ‘honey’?”

“Just ‘cause I was fuckin’ with you, Tess. You can’t honestly believe that I’d... that I’m... Tess, you know I’d never...”

She smacked the back of his head. “That’s for tryin’ to fool me, Valenti.” She smacked him again. “And that one’s just for fun.”

He rubbed the back of his head and glared at her. “So, where’s the bedroom?”

“Over there,” she pointed to the left.

Kyle wandered into the bedroom and looked around, sticking his head in the closet and checking out the windows. “Only one problem in here.”

“That would be?”

“I don’t think that closet’s big enough for both of us.”

“Who said that I would share this apartment with ANYONE?”

“So, I was wondering if you’d be interested in comin’ over for dinner this Sunday,” he said, quickly changing the subject.

“This Sunday?” She pretended to think about it even though she was doing a happy dance inside. “Hmm, yeah, I think that could work.”

“Can I pick you up? Bring ya over to the house?”

She nodded. “Sure.”

Inside he was jumping up and down, pounding his fist in the air, but outwardly he remained calm. “Cool. So, I noticed the kitchen... what’re you gonna do with a kitchen of that caliber?”

“Cook?” She pointed out the obvious.

“Have you added to your skills? Because last I recall macaroni and cheese was your big achievement in the kitchen.”

“Why don’t you just shut up, darlin’? I’ve got a phone call to make.” She dialed the number for the leasing company and ignored Kyle deliberately.

He rolled his eyes and wandered into the kitchen so he could call Jack and find out what he wanted. “Hey, Country, what’s up?” he asked when the other man answered.

“I’m gonna kick your citified ass when I see you, Valenti,” Jack muttered. “Shayna an’ I are headin’ up to visit my parents for a few days an’ I thought on the way back, maybe we’d stop in for a visit if you’re not gonna be too busy.”

“Yeah that’d be great, man. My family wants to get to know ya anyway so this could be a great opportunity.”

“Alright, I’ll give ya a holler when we’re gonna be headin’ down your way.” He turned his head when his girlfriend walked in the room, fresh out of the shower and wearing something new, interesting, and best of all, almost non-existent. “Gotta go, City.”

“Later, Kelley,” Kyle hung up and walked back to find Tess and realized she had just ended her call too.

“I need to go over to the leasing agency,” Tess said, already heading for the door. “So, the little tour of my new apartment is over.”

“Oh... already?” he asked, disappointed. “Need a ride? I’m assuming you came over with Maria.”

“It’s just a few blocks over,” she told him. It wasn’t like she didn’t want to ride with him. God, she loved to be near him, but right now she had to keep him at a distance and concentrate on her own life.

“Alright, but I could make it a very interesting ride.” So much more interesting than running errands and stopping off at the grocery store for his mom.

“Nope, thanks.”

“I’ll see ya Sunday afternoon then? We’re gonna be watchin’ the Bears game before dinner... I could pick you up earlier and you can watch the game with us.”

“Okay. 4pm?”

“Sure.” His eyes strayed to her lips and he wondered if she’d knock his lights out if he kissed her.

She nodded, noticing the way he was looking at her. Get out, Evans, her mind screamed at her. “I’ve gotta go,” she mumbled and started to back off.

Kyle followed her, hiding the grin when he realized she knew what he was thinking and she was retreating. “You’re in an awful big hurry all of the sudden.”

“As I just told you, I have an appointment.” She didn’t even turn around to look at him. “See you on Sunday, Kyle.”

Jake grinned at Tess when she hurried past him without acknowledging him. “She’s a hot little number, huh?”

Kyle turned to look at the man who had appeared out of nowhere. “You can’t count that high, dumbass...” He looked down at the window frame in the guy’s hand. “Don’t you have work to do?”


A/N: New voting round is up! Come to our Author´s page!
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Image
Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

Locked