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

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

In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) Part 41- 8/7/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:46 am

mary mary: There you go with that again! Okay, so eventually, that other shoe’s gonna have to fall… no way around that.

Earth2Mama: We’re glad you like the flashback scenes. Ah, Andy is a teenager and he’s still a work in progress, lol. Chances are he’ll trip up now and again.

Oh, Max and Liz… it’s gonna take time. :) But, they’re gonna get there.

We’ll see how long it takes before Kyle and Tess take your advice, lol.

Natalie36: Thanks! Perhaps that will happen one day. Forgiveness is a big step and Andy’s not quite ready to take that one just yet.

killjoy: Kyle and Tess are taking it slow, but they’re moving in the right direction.

Jim did make quite a few changes in the show – changes for the better, we might add!

Football season… it’s getting so close!

Eva: Well, it was their first date in a really, really long time!

Max and Liz are working toward that goal and for now they’re making some good progress.

Yes, what Andy did was very good.

keepsmiling7: Yup, we kinda got the feeling it’d been a while since Max had done anything that spontaneous.

It was good for the family to get out all together and spend a normal evening together.

Never lose hope!

Cardinal: Thanks!

Ah, well, ya know… they’ve still got things to work out and they haven’t dealt with everything, so you’re probably right about that. If Max does go camping with the boys we’re sure you’ll be right about that to.

Lol, well, we’ve gotta have a little bit of normal and somehow they just fit the bill.

Yeah, Sam wasn’t playing and she doesn’t pull punches. She gave it to Andy very straight and it made him sit up and really think about things.

sarammlover: Well, for Andy, even a small step is good progress right now. They are cute… you never know though, they might just try to get cuter, lol.

rosyrosy2882: You’re back! We understand all about vacation and the lack of technology, lol. We’re about to experience that ourselves for a bit.

The twins and Kara are good kids and they do try to help out… just doesn’t always work out the way they intended. But you’re right – it is the thought that counts. At least Max and Liz took things in stride.

Lol, yeah, no one wants to think about their parents doing THAT! :) Of course, it’s always much funnier when it’s not your own parents.

Andy still has some work to do. He needs to understand that his mom isn’t abandoning him by going to work and that it’s her job to make the decisions. We’re pretty confident that he’s gonna figure these things out though.

No arguments from us! Football is the best sport to watch… c’mon football season! Michael played that one well, didn’t he? Yeah, poor Alex… we’re sure Isabel will help him smooth out his abilities.

Michael’s trying very hard to do the right thing. He knows how disastrous it could be for him to pursue anything with Maria right now, but his attraction and desire to help her and Andy are causing the lines to blur a bit.

Sam and Andy would make a cute couple. Sam doesn’t both sugar-coating things, she’s very straight-forward, and Andy really needs that right now. It helps, too, that he listens to her. Oh, we’ll see how the thing with Justin plays out… eventually.

Kyle and Tess are funny, we love them. Even in the midst of trying to figure things out about their own relationship, they’re both very dedicated to helping their family.

Max and Liz are working hard to put their relationship back together. Neither of them wants to let it go… it’s just a matter of dealing with what’s caused the problems and finding a way to fix it.

It was good for Andy to remember his dad and really think about the way he’s been treating his mom. Maria was spared that, thankfully. Andy kept his word and came home when he told her he would, so he is making progress.

begonia9508: Kara was adopted, yup. :)

Thanks! It was past time for Andy to realize a few things about the way he’s been acting and treating his mom.

Maiqu: Thanks!

The boys definitely turned that into a competition, didn’t they?

Ya think the kids do a better job of cooking, huh? That’s scary.

Michael definitely found a way out of wallpapering so he could go home and watch football… how smart is he?

Sam has a way of making Andy see things he doesn’t want to see.

Tess and Kyle… yeah. :)



A/N: We posted one day early because vacation time is coming up for us and we’ll be taking two weeks off from updating. We’ll be back on August 29th. Don’t be too mad at us, we’ll be using at least some of that time off for writing! ;)


Part 41

Tess placed a stack of dishes from dinner in the sink and she started to walk back to the dining table to get the rest of them.

“Tess, dear, I told you, you don’t have to do that. You’re our guest.”

“I can’t sit around and let you guys do all the work,” the blonde woman denied and continued to help with cleaning up.

Amy smiled and shook her head slightly. Well, she wouldn’t complain about a daughter-in-law who didn’t just sit around lazily.

“Yeah, Mom, let her help. She’ll be a part of the family sooner or later anyway,” Maria teased her friend with a wink as she brought some plates into the kitchen as well.

“Oh, I really hope so,” Jim said, as he grabbed a couple of beers out of the refrigerator.

Tess smiled silently. Correction, she was already a part of this family. She was Andy’s aunt, but she wouldn’t mind calling herself Valenti some day in the future.

“Let’s all go back into the living room,” Amy said. “The dishes can wait until later.”

Maria and Tess agreed and followed Jim, who was already sitting on the couch again next to Kyle. Amy sat down next to her husband while Maria and Tess took the armchairs.

“Where’s Andy?” Kyle asked when he realized the boy wasn’t around.

“He went upstairs,” Maria answered. Dinner was over and she understood that her son wasn’t really interested in hanging out with the adults any longer than necessary. Besides, she had a feeling he felt a little uncomfortable about some of the things that had happened earlier in the day. Maybe they’d find some time to talk about it later.

“So, tell us about your business idea,” Amy said excitedly.

“Oh, you should come and have a look at the location we’ve picked out. It’s directly under my apartment and it is sooooo perfect for our plans,” Tess started out enthusiastically.

“We’ll take it easy, start slowly and see where it leads,” Maria continued. “We’ll probably take some classes first.”

Kyle ran a hand through his hair. “Is it safe to let you cut my hair?” he teased Tess.

“Depends…” she told him.

“Roswell doesn’t have a lot of haircutters or cosmeticians,” Amy thought aloud. “You should probably concentrate on the younger demographic.”

Tess laughed. “I hope we can count on you as well.”

“Oh, sure!” Amy smiled. “And once my friends see how beautiful I look after a visit at your shop they’ll start to come around as well.”

Maria nodded. She knew her mother had a lot of friends in town and she had influence. “You could also recommend us during at the events you help to organize. Oh, and we can always be a part of those park festivals and the Crashdown festivals, offering to help people who’re looking for costumes.”

Tess snapped her fingers. “Great idea.”

Amy smiled as she watched her daughter making plans for her future. She was finally starting to heal and look at her future with a positive outlook. It felt good to see her like this.

“You got a plan when to start?” Kyle asked.

“We’ll wait until Maria and Andy have settled down again after moving into the new house. There’s no rush and I can take the time to look around for equipment and all the stuff we’re gonna need. It’s still a lot to do.”

“But that’s a good thing,” Maria said. She wanted something to concentrate on in her life. Something new and exciting. She knew this was her chance to have a different, but normal life again. Andy deserved a normal life again too. Maybe he wasn’t sure what to think about all the changes, but one day, he would realize that a big part of her reasoning for doing all this was to make his life better again as well.

*****

Max wasn’t in the living room where Liz had left him when she came back downstairs from checking on the kids. Kara was fast asleep but the boys hadn’t even started getting ready for bed yet. Thankfully Max had already checked over their homework so that was one less thing that had to be done to get them ready for school the next morning. She found him in the kitchen, scribbling on the dry erase board while Lucky laid on the floor behind him, his eyes on Max as he devoured a rawhide bone.

“What’re you working on?” she asked as she leaned across the table to collect his forgotten mug of coffee. She rinsed it out and poured a fresh cup along with one for herself before joining him.

He accepted the coffee with a nod of thanks, but his eyes were focused on the board. “I’ve been lookin’ at the P&L’s for the shops.” He took a sip of his coffee and set the mug on the table as he tapped the marker against one of the names on the board. “I’m wonderin’ if there’s any way to make this one turn a profit or if it’s more of a financial drain to bother even tryin’.”

Liz hid her surprise when he started talking about the business with her and she picked up the folder lying on the table as she sat down in its place. She glanced over the documentation inside, noting the number of employees, the profit and loss margin, and the services the shop offered. “Max, when did this shop start showing more loss than profit?”

“Around nine months ago.” He leaned against the table next to her and flipped through a few pages before tapping his knuckle against one. “The shop sits off of one of the major freeways, but it’s been under construction that doesn’t seem to be progressing. It’s killin’ the business ‘cause no one wants to bother with the hassle of detours and extra wait time sittin’ in traffic to get to the shop.”

She glanced at the board where he had listed several options. “Do you think relocating is a possibility?” she asked, seeing it on the board with a question mark beside it.

“It’s possible. I just don’t know how practical it is.” He shook his head. “I was never very good at this part of the business, Liz. Lookin’ at numbers is one thing, deciding to close a shop and knowin’ that you’re puttin’ people out of work… it’s part of the business I never wanted to deal with.”

“Okay, well… what about the city? Wouldn’t they have to be responsible for covering at least part of the cost for relocation? I mean, it’s their fault the shop’s losing business in the first place; you have documentation showing that it was turning a profit before the construction blocked off easy access to the shop. That’s put a hardship on the shop that is in no way related to the level of service provided.”

Max tipped his head to the side as he studied the numbers on the board and after a minute he started rearranging numbers and reconfiguring costs. “You’re right, the losses we’re showin’ are directly related to the construction. I’ll get with Alex this week, see what he can find out about what you’re sayin’.”

Liz stretched her leg out and grabbed his shirttail between her toes, tugging on it to get his attention before he could get lost in his work again. “The kids are all in bed,” she said when he turned to look at her.

“Good place for ‘em to be this time of night.” He dropped the marker into its slot and turned to brace his hands on the table on either side of her body. “Sounds like a good place for Mom an’ Dad to be too.”

She reached up and let her fingertip trail over his throat and down to the opening at the top of his shirt. “Sounds like a very good idea.”

Max took the folder from her and set it aside as he leaned in to kiss her. “I’ve already locked up for the night,” he whispered against her lips. “Dog’s been out, alarm’s set, TV’s off…”

“Looks like you’ve got everything under control.”

He picked her up in his arms and started walking to the door when she shook her head. “What?” he asked slowly.

“You’re forgetting one thing, Max.”

He paused, wondering if her hesitation meant he wasn’t out of the guestroom for good yet. “What’s that?”

She grinned and pointed over his shoulder. “Coffee pot’s still on.”

He growled and moved to turn it off before hitting the light switch with his elbow as they left the kitchen.

*****

It was shortly after 10pm when Tess announced that it was time for her to go. She had spent the past few hours with Kyle, Maria and their parents. They had talked about the new business for a while and then about her life in California, things that had changed after Andrew’s death, and some other stuff. She liked the family, but she couldn’t wait to get back to her own much quieter apartment.

“Thanks for the invitation. Dinner was really delicious,” she said as she and Kyle walked to the front door.

“Are you sure you don’t want to take some leftovers with you?” Amy asked.

Tess shook her head. “Nah, save them for Andy. We’re all familiar with the appetite of teenage boys.”

“Make sure you come by again soon,” Amy told her.

“I will. Bye,” she called as she and Kyle walked outside to his car.

“Ya wanna drive or walk?” he asked, glancing at the dark sky. IT was a nice night. Cool, perfect for a walk in Roswell, but she should decide.

Tess considered the options and decided that a walk would be nice. It was late, but it was still nice out and driving would mean the evening would be over sooner than she wanted. “Why don’t we walk?” She smiled. “If you’re not in any hurry.”

“I’ve got the whole night.” He winced as soon as the words were out of his mouth. That might’ve come out all wrong.

“Well, aren’t you optimistic,” she teased.

“Sorry,” he muttered. “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”

She reached for his hand as they started to walk. “Never hurts to aim high.”

He grinned to himself. “And are you aimin’ high for tonight?”

Oh, it was tempting, she thought. He was making it hard to resist him, but not yet. “How long are you gonna be here, Kyle?” she asked instead of answering his question.

“I don’t know yet. Depends on some things, ya know?”

“Things, huh? Like what?”

“Like whether you decide to give me another chance or not,” he answered honestly.

She nodded but remained silent. That was more honesty than she had been expecting and she wasn’t sure if she was ready for that conversation. “I really want to be closer to my family. The past few weeks… spending time with everyone, getting a chance to hang out with the kids or Maria and Liz, it’s been nice. I think I even have a pretty fair chance of fixing things with Max.” She looked up ahead when a car passed by them. “That would’ve made Drew happy, ya know?”

“I’m sure it would’ve,” Kyle said and squeezed her hand. “I couldn’t wait to get out of Roswell after high school, ya know? But it’s nice to be back, and some of my college friends are here too. Can’t stay with my parents much longer though.”

“Yeah, I took off as fast as I could after graduation. I felt like I was suffocating here. So, where’re you gonna stay if you move out of your parents’ place?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know.” Damn, she had to know that depended on her.

“How many serious relationships have you had, Kyle?”

“What’s serious in your opinion?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Have you ever lived with a woman?” She glanced at him. “You must’ve at some point, right?”

“Once,” he told her. “Not for long though.”

“What was she like?”

He shrugged, not really wanting to talk to her about his ex-girlfriends. “She was cute, she was nice. But she wasn’t right for me.”

“Was she an agent?”

“No! Two agents? That wouldn’t work.”

“Really? I’d think that’d work well since you’d understand each other’s job. Law enforcement is a career that doesn’t seem to see that many successful relationships.”

“Nah. You wouldn’t see each other a lot if you worked on different cases and you’d fight about everything if you did.” He made a face. “Not to mention all the regs involved.”

She was quiet for a few minutes. “I have a friend in California who was married to a cop. They got divorced a couple years ago when she just couldn’t handled his job anymore. He was away a lot, when he was home his mind was still on the job… she said she understood that there were some things he couldn’t talk to her about, but he kept shutting her out little by little and she said it destroyed their marriage.” She turned her head to look at him. “How do you keep that from happening?” Maybe it wasn’t a fair question, but she was pretty sure she had a right to ask it.

Kyle sighed and stopped, taking both of her hands as he made her look at him. “I can’t promise you that nothin’ like that would ever happen. Of course I’ll be away now and then because of my job and yeah, there’s a lot of it I can’t talk about in a lot of detail. I worked hard to get this job and I can’t just let it go, it’s a part of who I am now.”

“No, I know, Kyle.” She smiled at his sincere tone. “And I know there’s no way to predict what’s gonna happen down the road. You love your job and I’d never ask you to give it up. I’ve known people who’ve done that and I’ve always thought it was just so unfair.” She looked down at their joined hands thoughtfully. “I think it’s important to understand what each other does, ya know? You should honestly decide whether or not you really think you can deal with it before you get that involved.”

“Question is can you deal with it, Tess?” He ran his thumbs over the back of her hands. “I, for my part, can live with your job,” he told her with a smirk.

“Yeah, well, no one’s gonna be taking shots at me,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“I can take care of myself and I’ve got a good partner. You’ll get a chance to meet him soon.”

“How long have you two been partners?”

“For a few years.”

“Is he married?”

“Not married, but he had a girlfriend. You’ll meet her too; she’s cool.”

“Uh-huh. Have they been together long?” she asked curiously.

Hell, why was she asking all these questions? “Over two years now.”

Tess smiled to herself. She could hear the impatience in his tone in spite of his attempts to hide it. He had no idea where she was going with all of her questions… and he wasn’t going to know tonight either. They were getting closer to her place and she wondered if she should invite him in or just say goodnight at the door.

“So…” he said when they had walked the last few steps towards her building. “I hope the evening went the way ya wanted it to go. I know my dad can be… weird, when it comes to watchin’ football.”

“The evening was very nice, thank you.” She stepped up on the first step and turned to face him. “You can be just as weird about football; don’t think I don’t know that, Valenti. You’ve managed to be very well-behaved all day, but you haven’t fooled me… you were crazed about the sport in high school and somehow I doubt that’s changed.”

He shrugged with a smirk. “I was occupied with somethin’ more important today.”

Her smirk mirrored his. “Um-hmm, and just how long will that last?”

He glanced down at her. Hell, when she was looking like she was tonight… “For a while… a long while.”

“Good answer.” He was full of it, but it was a good answer, she thought. “So…”

“Sooo…” he replied, glancing at her, not really sure what to do. He didn’t want to fuck things up tonight. He knew that the way tonight turned out was somehow important to how they would go on from here on out.

Tess bit her bottom lip uncertainly. She wanted to invite him in and for that reason she knew she should wait.

The silence between them was making him crazy. “So how about us havin’ lunch together tomorrow?”

She smiled. “I’ll be free around one o’clock.”

He nodded. “Want me to pick ya up somewhere?”

“Over at the paint store on Main?”

“Okay, I’ll be there at one.”

Could this feel anymore like the awkward ending after a first date in high school? she wondered. There was just nothing quite like that uncomfortably awkward moment as you waited for someone to make that crucial first move.

He sighed. “Okay, Tess, if ya don’t stop me I’m gonna kiss you in like… three seconds.”

She gave him a cheeky grin. “Has it been three seconds yet?”

He laughed a little in relief. Now, this was more like them. Kyle took a step forward to stand right in front of her. With her high heels and the step she was standing on she was already a few inches higher than he was and he had to look up slightly.

She reached up to brush her fingers over his lightly shadowed jaw before letting her hands slide down to rest on his shoulders and his arms came around her in a gentle but firm grip as he pulled her closer. “Feels like back in high school,” he told her with a smirk as his lips brushed against hers.

“Weird, huh?” she whispered.

He laughed slightly. “I promise I know how to kiss now, though.”

She grinned. He had known how to kiss back in high school, but there was no need to inflate his ego. “Show me.”

He brushed his lips against hers again, backing away when she leaned in. “Impatient?”

“You’re so not right for that, Valenti,” she told him, amused.

He grinned and settled his lips over hers again, but with more pressure this time.

He could be such a big tease when he wanted to be, but thankfully he had moved on with things. There was no doubt that his technique had improved over time. Yeah, it had been a smart move to let him say goodnight at the door, she decided and then let her mind focus completely on him and how he made her feel.

Kyle tried to hold back as he kissed her. He did his best to keep it gentle instead of wild and full of passion since he knew where it would lead them. She wanted things to be slow, and hell, if that’s what she wanted, he would give her slow!

Their lips parted again and he leaned his forehead against hers. “Alright,” his hand came up to caress her cheek as his thumb swept over her still-well lips. “I’ll pick ya up at one o’clock.”

Tess nodded, waiting for her heartbeat to calm and her breathing to become steady once more. “You’re right,” she whispered when she could speak without sounding like she’d just run a marathon, “you do know how to kiss.”

“You had doubts?” he asked, pretending to be shocked. He took a couple of steps back when the temptation to go to her again arose. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Tess.”

She smiled and went inside before the last shred of her self control disappeared into thin air, locking up and leaning back against the door. At this rate she wasn’t going to be able to hold out for long, she thought.

*****

Andy was trying to figure out his math homework when a soft knock on the door interrupted his thoughts and he turned the music he was listening to off. “Come in.”

Maria opened the door slowly, balancing a plate on one hand while she held a soda in the other. “Hungry?” Andy hadn’t eaten much for dinner. She could tell that he had been uncomfortable and that was always a killer for his appetite. “I’ve got some pizza from the lunch ya missed.”

He smiled at the smell of Grandma’s homemade pizza and nodded. “I wouldn’t turn it down.”

She grinned and placed the plate on the desk. “Still got homework to do?”

He sighed and glanced back at his open books. “Yeah, kinda totally forgot about them and thanks to my own stupidity I have to do it now.”

“Anything I can help you with?”

He snorted, knowing his mother couldn’t help him with this one. “Mom, ya know you’re as bad as I am when it comes to math.”

She laughed and squeezed his shoulder. “My gift for you when you were born.”

He groaned. “Not really one I was hoping for.”

“Maybe you could ask your friend… Sam, to give you some help with math? Wasn’t she told by the principal to tutor you anyway?”

Andy frowned. “Yeah, she’s tryin’ hard, but I guess I’m just a hopeless case or somethin’.”

“Ah, don’t say that. It just takes time.”

He shrugged dumbly and took a bite of his pizza. Damn, it tasted as good as it smelled. He wished she would’ve brought more.

“There’s more in the refrigerator. You can eat it tomorrow for dinner if ya want.”

“Cool,” he mumbled and swallowed the pizza down with a sip of the soda. “So, when will you and Aunt Tess start with the business?”

“We don’t have a date yet. First, you and me are going to move into the new house and take some time to get settled. We don’t need to rush with anything, so it’ll happen when everything else is done and prepared.”

Andy nodded. “Okay.” He glanced at his mother. “I am sorry, Mom. I …” He turned his face to the ground again. “I guess I was overreacting. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

She crouched down next to his chair and laid one hand on his thigh. “I understand why you did what you did. I really do. But you need to know that you don’t have to be afraid of anything, Andy. A job doesn’t mean that I won’t have time for you or anything like that.”

“I know,” he said quietly.

“Will I be at work late sometimes? Probably yes. Will we have to order food instead of having something homemade now and then? Well, probably a yes to that as well. But I will make sure we have at least one meal together every day, I will make sure that you know I am always there for you and I will make sure to give you a hell of a grounding when you do something stupid.”

That made Andy laugh. “You’ve never grounded me for long, Mom!”

“No?” She frowned and thought back. Well, that was probably true. A two-week grounding often ended after a few days because she couldn’t bear his grumpy mood for much longer than that. “Well, I guess I’ll just have to be more strict then.”

“Ungh, no, Mom. Please! Just be…” he shrugged. “Well, Mom, ya know?”

She smiled and nodded. “Always, Andy.” She got up and wrapped her arms around him from behind. To her surprise he returned the hug before he finally complained about it again.

“Your Uncle Kyle left with your aunt, so he can’t help you with the homework.”

Andy grinned. “Think she’ll give in finally?”

“I don’t know, but I bet my brother won’t keep it to himself for long either way.”

“I think they’d make a good couple,” Andy decided.

“Sooner or later they will be.” She chewed on her bottom lip. “Maybe we can ask Jim to help with math?”

“Nah, I think I’m gonna call Sam and ask her if she can come to school a little earlier tomorrow morning to help me get it done.”

“You like her, huh?”

“She’s okay. Not like… ya know, the other girls. She’s more like one of the guys.”

Maria laughed. “Don’t tell her that.”

“Oh, no, I’m not that stupid, Mom.”

“I don’t know her very well, but she seems to be nice. Maybe you can ask her to help with your room when we move.”

Yeah, Andy thought. That wasn’t a bad idea. Mom would be there, which meant there was an adult in the same house and Sam’s dad couldn’t say anything about it at all. “Maybe I will.”

“Alright,” she ran her hand through his hair. “I think I’ll get some sleep now. Make sure ya don’t stay up too late and you’ve still gotta tell me what ya want for your birthday.”

“A new cell would be cool,” he said. “There is one I like.”

She smiled in surprise when he didn’t tell her that he wanted nothing this year. “Okay. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”

He watched his mother leave the room before he took another large bite of his pizza. Yeah, he thought and glanced at the framed picture of Dad, Mom and him on his desk, this was more like his Dad would have wanted things to be without him.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) Part 42- 8/29/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:30 am

begonia9508: It was a nice evening for all of them.

Yup, Tess is definitely making Kyle work for it, lol.

Max and Liz, they’re making some progress.

He’s starting to deal with things a little better than he has in the past.

Earth2Mama: We’re seeing forward movement with them, no doubt.

Lol, you never know… however, nothing has been confirmed, yet, so we’re waiting to find out…

mary mary: Trouble brewing in Happyville? Would we do that? Well, yeah, okay, we would… and probably will. But not in this update, lol! Enjoy another week in Happyville. :)

keepsmiling7: Thanks for reading!

rosyrosy2882: Yup, vacation time! Hopefully, you lived and you’re checking out the new update, lol!

No more than three chapters, huh? You just never know. Yup, the family loves Tess and they won’t mind her becoming part of the family.

Well, they haven’t named the salon yet, but when they do, we’ll let ya know.

We’re glad you’re lovin’ Max and Liz.

And that’s ‘nuff said ‘bout that, lol.

Yeah, not exactly the kinda thing Sam wants Andy to tell her, so he’d be wise to keep that little gem under his hat. ;)

sarammlover: He’s coming along. More Kyle and Tess, huh? Well, all we can say is that you’re gonna be getting more of them soon.

killjoy: Well, ya know, if they had just consulted us first…

Thanks! Uncle Max and of course Alex… yup, he’s still gotta deal with both of them… eventually anyway.

Alien_Friend: Yup, that connection was just waiting to happen… who knew Michael would be the one to orchestrate that moment? :)

We may finally see that particular issue of Andy’s being brought to the surface here pretty soon.

That moment did present a complication that we’ve all known exists here. There is a good chance that Andy’s reaction to his mom and Michael being interested in each other won’t be favorable. But, on the other hand he is starting to make progress, so we’ll see.

Andrew was a good guy and we’ve enjoyed getting to know him through his family. Andy is finally starting to face what happened as well as his actions since then and he’s beginning to heal.

Yup, Tess falls right into place.

The family scenes are always a lot of fun!

Tess and Kyle are pacing themselves but we think it’s gonna work well for them.

It was such a small thing, but such a big step for Max to open that door.

We’re so glad you’re enjoying this story! Vacation was great and very productive on the writing front! ;)

Maiqu: Ah, well, not everyone can be friends with their kitchens. ;) That’s why it’s important to know the numbers for the best restaurants in the area that deliver, lol!

Kyle and Tess are a lot of fun and we’re glad you’re lovin’ ‘em!

Andy and Maria are finally starting to make some solid progress.

Thanks, it was great!


A/N: We’re back! Updates are on schedule – every Sunday again. And good news for the new fic as well. Writing is going pretty good so we’ll be able to post soon!


Part 42

Max wrapped the last sandwich and set it on the counter before pulling three lunch bags out of a drawer and opening them up. He lined them up next to the sandwiches and packed the kids’ lunches, folding the tops of the bags over twice when he was finished. He glanced up when the doorbell rang and Lucky nearly tripped him up when he jumped up and ran ahead of him to get to the door first.

“Lucky, sit!” He snapped his fingers and pointed at the floor as he pulled the door open. His eyebrows lifted in surprise when he saw his sister standing on the front porch.

“Good morning, Max,” Tess greeted and walked inside when he motioned for her to enter the house.

“Hey, I’ve gotta finish getting the kids ready and off to school.”

“Go right ahead with what you’re doin’,” she said, following him into the kitchen. “I talked to Missy late last night and she’s gonna drive down this morning. She said she could meet with you whenever you have the time. This afternoon, tomorrow, whatever works for you.”

“Why don’t you tell ‘er to come by the shop this afternoon an’ I’ll go ahead an’ talk to her.” He walked over to the doorway and leaned into the hall as he gave a sharp whistle. “C’mon, kids, let’s get a move on or you’re gonna be late!”

“Where’s Liz?”

“She needed to go in a little bit early so I told her I’d get the kids up and off to school on time.” He rolled his eyes. “Of course I’ve got one that didn’t wanna get outta bed, one that couldn’t decide what to wear, and one that couldn’t find her shoes.”

“Hi, Aunt Tess,” Nick greeted as he bounded into the room. He grabbed his lunch and stuffed it into his backpack. “Did ya cut the sandwiches in half like Mom does, Dad?”

“I’ve helped your mom make more than enough lunches to know how she makes them.”

“Daddy!” Kara screeched as she ran into the kitchen.

Max rubbed his ear and winced as he looked down at his little girl. “What’s the matter?”

She held up a mangled ribbon and made a face as she pointed at Justin when he came in behind her. “He made it ugly, Daddy!”

Justin shrugged as he grabbed his own lunch, opening the bag up and inspecting the contents before shoving it into his backpack. “What?” he asked when he glanced up and caught Dad shaking his head at him. “She said to tie it in a bow.”

“Not like for shoes, you big stupid,” Kara grumbled.

“No name-calling, Kara,” Max said as he frowned at the knotted mess Justin had made.

“Oh, good grief, give that thing to me,” Tess insisted, snatching it out of her brother’s hand. “Kara, sweetie, this is beyond a quick fix. Whatcha say we run up to your room and pick out a different one?”

“I don’t got ‘nother one that color,” the little girl insisted mulishly.

“Kara Renee Evans, that’s a bald-faced lie,” Max said.

“This one has the kitties on it.”

He crouched down in front of his daughter, biting back the grin that wanted to surface at the stubborn look on her face. He knew better than to let her know certain behaviors amused him because it would only encourage her to continue acting out. “You have other pink ribbons.” He held a hand up when she started to interrupt. “Maybe not with the kitties on them, but you have other pink ribbons. Now take your little butt upstairs and get another ribbon.”

She stuck her bottom lip out in a pout but after a moment she turned and stomped out of the room.

Max waited until her footsteps slowed down before he stood up again. “You guys go on before you’re late for school. I’ll drop Kara off on my way to work.” He cleared his throat just as Justin thought he was making a clean escape. “And Justin?”

“What’s up, Dad?”

“Don’t pull that with me. Next time your sister asks you for help with one of these things,” he said, picking up the ribbon Tess had dropped on the counter while she foraged for something to drink, “don’t do this.”

“What? Dad, she asked me to make a bow.”

“And you knew what she meant. We do not need to create anymore drama around here. After practice lets out this afternoon you’re gonna stop off at the store and you’re gonna use your allowance to replace this ribbon.”

“What? But, Dad,” he complained, “Mom buys all those hair ribbons and stuff at that girl’s store downtown. I can’t be seen goin’ into that place! If the guys see me I’m gonna be the big joke around school!”

“Then it’ll help you to remember why you won’t do this again, won’t it?” He waved the boys out. “Go before you’re late for school.”

Tess snickered as she poured a glass of orange juice and turned to lean back against the counter. “I can’t believe you’re gonna make him go into Sullivan’s Boutique,” she said as she took a drink of her juice.

“I didn’t tell him he had to go to Sullivan’s.”

“Semantics,” she said, grinning.

“It won’t kill him.” He pulled down his travel mug and filled it with the last of the coffee, adding cream and sugar to it before pressing the lid into place. “What’re you up to today?”

“Nothing much, just runnin’ a few errands, havin’ lunch with Kyle…”

“Didn’t you have dinner with him last night?” He nodded when he saw the smile on her face. “Uh-huh, guess that went well then?”

“It went very well.”

“Ready, Daddy,” Kara announced as she walked back in the room, dragging her backpack.

“Are we in a better frame of mind now?” Max asked as he knelt down on one knee and helped her hook the straps over her arms. He tipped her chin up with his forefinger. “Hey, talk to me, baby girl.”

She averted her gaze, staring at the pink ribbon in her hands. “Are you an’ Mommy mad?”

“Are we mad?” Max frowned. “What d’you mean?”

“How come Mommy’s gone?”

“Oh, no, baby girl. Mommy needed to go to work early, that’s all.” He could see that she wasn’t convinced so he picked her up and sat her on the counter. He reached behind her and grabbed her lunch, tucking it in her backpack and zipping it up. “Tess, I’ve gotta take my little girl to school and we’ve gotta hurry up ‘cause we need to stop off an’ see Mommy first.” He tapped his daughter’s hand. “Don’t lose that ribbon.”

“So Mommy can fix it, Daddy?”

He kissed her forehead and picked her up, turning to set her down on the floor next to him. “No one can fix it like Mommy, right?”

She smiled and nodded as she hurried out of the kitchen.

*****

Max hurried inside when he arrived at the shop and he could hear the guys moving around, getting ready for the customers that would start streaming in after 9am. Josh was already busy working on a car with a bad transmission, Rick was pushing the bay doors up, and Jamie was outside talking to a customer. He rolled his eyes when he recognized the woman behind the wheel; Tricia Reynolds came in at least once a week to flirt with his newest mechanic.

“Hi, Max,” she sang out when he walked outside.

“How’s it goin’, Tricia?” Her family had moved to Roswell from Savannah, Georgia when she was 14 and her flirtatious behavior combined with her thick southern accent had driven Liz straight up the wall. Actually, it still did and his wife still avoided the woman as often as possible. Almost 20 years away from the place of her birth and she had held onto her accent and her ultra sweet disposition.

“Just peachy. Did I see your sister in town?”

“Um-hmm, she’s movin’ back home.”

“Well, isn’t that nice? You tell her I said hi now, would ya?”

He nodded. “I’ll pass it along.”

“Alrighty then. I’ll see you boys later. Bye, y’all.” One perfectly-manicured hand lifted past the open window to wave as she drove off.

“Y’know, if you’d just ask her out we might just get some work done around here.”

“Sorry, boss,” Jamie apologized with a sheepish grin. “I don’t know… I’m a couple years younger than she is.” He shrugged. “Then there’s the whole thing about me bein’ a grease monkey; she’s not gonna take me seriously.”

“Jamie, in the past couple of months she’s come in to have her tires rotated three times. Tricia may come across as a ditz, but she’s not stupid.”

“So, ya think she keeps comin’ back ‘cause she likes me, huh?”

Max just snorted and went back inside, checking the waiting area before heading back to his office. He opened the door and flipped the light switch with his elbow, groaning when he saw the little yellow rubber ducks sitting all over the place. He had just known the guys weren’t gonna let the news pass without some sort of comment.

He picked up one of the little yellow toys and squeezed it, shaking his head at the high-pitched squeak the thing emitted. “That’s just great,” he muttered as he started collecting the things and tossing all of them into an old parts box.

Finished with that he wandered over to the fax machine in the corner and lifted several pages out of the tray, scanning over the cover sheet. It was a resume faxed over by Tess’ friend and he sat down to read it. His sister hadn’t been kidding about the other girl’s qualifications, but from what he was reading she was way too qualified for a position managing an office for a small town mechanic shop.

Oh, well, he’d know more once he actually talked to her face to face, he thought. He heard the bell jingle over the customer’s entrance and he got up to go see what the person needed.

Max smiled when he saw the elderly gentleman slowly making his way over to the counter, keys clutched firmly in his hand. “How’s it goin’, Judge Edison?”

The white-haired man raised one bushy eyebrow as he lifted his head to look at the younger man. “It was goin’ good until I realized I have no idea what today is or why I came here,” he answered crankily.

Judge John J. Edison had been the presiding judge at the courthouse until a year ago when he had been diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s. His wife had passed away prior to his diagnosis and now he relied on his youngest son to look after him.

“Well, it’s a Monday and could be you came in for an oil change.”

The old man’s brow furrowed as he tried to remember. “Hmm… could be.” He reached out to pat Max’s arm. “You’ll check it and see if it needs that, won’t you?”

“I’ll go take a look, Judge. Have you seen your youngest boy today?” he asked, trying to determine how bad the man’s memory was today.

“I… my youngest… my youngest…” The tip of his tongue pressed against his upper lip as he tried to recall his son’s name. “Do you know his name?”

“Jasper,” he said gently. “You want me to give him a call?” He would call the man anyway because the judge wasn’t supposed to be driving himself around anymore. “He’s always loved that car of yours. Bet he’d like to get behind the wheel.”

“Yes, alright.” He patted his pockets. “I think I have his number…”

“Nah, s’okay, Judge, I’ve got his number. Why don’t you have a seat while I get one of the boys to check and see if you’re in need of an oil change and after I call your son you can tell me what you think about some of these new laws that’re bein’ proposed.”

The judge took a seat and while he couldn’t remember the day his finicky mind pulled up the beloved topic of law and he talked at length with the shop owner until his son came by. Max handed the keys over to the harried-looking young man and assured him that his father hadn’t come to any harm during his morning adventure.

He could see the pain in the man’s eyes when it took several minutes for his own father to recognize him and he handed the judge a copy of the paperwork he had printed off from his last visit. “You come back and see us again, Judge.”

The old man looked at the paperwork and smiled. “I knew there was a reason I came here today.” He held it out to his son. “See? I haven’t completely lost all of my faculties.”

“No sir, you haven’t,” Jasper said quietly and glanced at Max, nodding in thanks.

Max smiled and watched them walk out to the car.

*****

Kyle climbed out of his car, checking his appearance in the rearview mirror first. He had decided to go with a causal look today. Faded jeans and a black tee shirt, just like he wore to hang out when he wasn’t at work. He had considered dressing up more for her, but no, Tess should take him the way he was, right?

He smiled when he noticed her standing at the end of the street, right in front of the shop where they had agreed to meet. Good, he thought, he wasn’t the only one who was early. His mind was running over different ways to greet her. Since his palms were sweaty he decided to waive shaking hands. He shoved them in his pockets and lifted his head to meet her gaze when he was only a few feet away from her.

Tess could feel her heartbeat rising with every step as he came towards her. She smiled nervously, melting when he put on his flirty grin. “Hey,” she said softly when he stopped in front of her.

“Hey,” he replied, leaning forward to breathe a hardly noticeable kiss against her lips. “You look beautiful.”

Tess couldn’t stop her smile when she realized he was just the slightest bit nervous, but she didn’t comment on it. “You look good, too,” she said, nodding in approval as her gaze swept over him slowly.

He sighed in relief. “So, where’d ya wanna go?”

“I thought we could go over to that new restaurant over on the corner of Main and Vine. Amy said they have the best salads in town.” She waited a moment to see if he’d have a comment about that.

He chuckled. “Yeah, that’s somethin’ Amy would recommend,” he said and grabbed her hand. “Let’s go then!”

“Uh-huh,” she said slowly, “you’re not gonna tell me you don’t like salad?”

“Well, I know they serve other stuff too,” he winked at her. “Went there with Michael once.”

She rolled her eyes. She probably should’ve guessed that. “You guys go out more than we do.”

“We can change that,” he told her.

“I think we’d better otherwise people will start to talk,” she said with a teasing grin.

He opened the door for her when they reached the small restaurant and let her pick out a seating area. She led the way over to a table near the back and they slid into the booth. It was only a matter of seconds before a waitress appeared to take their drink orders, leaving them to peruse the menu.

“I think I’ll have the roasted chicken salad,” Kyle said, knowing it would surprise her.

Tess glanced at him, surprised by his choice. “I’ll have the crispy chicken salad.”

“So, what’re your plans for today?”

“I’ve gotta go by Morrison’s Furniture to check on the bedroom suite I want to order. He said he was going to have one coming in that someone else had ordered and I could come by and take a look at it to make sure it’s what I really want before I place the order. The living and dining room furniture is in but he’s holding it for me until I get the rooms painted.”

“Need any help?”

“You wanna help me pick out my bedroom furniture?” she asked, her voice dropping flirtatiously.

He shrugged with a cheeky grin. “I could help ya pick out the right mattress.”

“Well, if you don't have anything better to do this afternoon…”

“Nothing that’d be more fun,” he told her with a wink.

She smiled. “And maybe tomorrow or Wednesday you’d be free to help me paint?”

“Sure.”

They placed their order when the waitress brought their drinks and Kyle waited until the woman was gone before he reached across the table to lay his hand above hers. “But I’m gonna warn you. Last time I painted my foot landed in the bucket.”

Her heart jumped at the contact and she hoped her voice sounded steady when she spoke again. “Any chance you were drinking prior to painting?”

“Hmm... nope.”

“I don’t remember you being that much of a klutz. You had to be goofing off or somethin’.”

He shrugged. “I’ll try to behave at your place.”

“Um-hmm, I know better than that. We’d better double up on the plastic we lay down to cover the carpet that way if,” when, she thought, “you step in the paint I won’t have to worry about it getting all over the carpet.”

“Don’t trust me, huh?” he teased and let his thumb wander over the back of her hand.

She did trust him and that was what scared her. Her eyes were following every brush of his thumb against her skin and she wondered if he knew how much even that simple touch was affecting her. She had trusted him once before. Let it go, Tess. That was high school… he’s a grown man now and he’s changed, matured… She lifted her gaze to his, intending to tell him that she did trust him but movement caught her attention and she smiled when she recognized the woman waving near the entrance.

Kyle frowned when he turned to follow Tess’ gaze. “Who’s that?”

Tess didn’t answer him as she jumped up and met the other woman halfway, hugging her tightly. She missed the impressive eye roll Kyle gave when the two women started talking over each other and yet seemed to be carrying on an actual conversation. “Oh, my God, you look great! You’ve been taking advantage of all that free time to get some sun, girl!” Tess said when she saw her friends’ tanned skin. “C’mon, you can have lunch with me and Kyle.”

“Wait… Kyle? The guy from high school? I thought he was the scum of the earth?” Her eyes followed Tess’ pointing finger and her eyebrows lifted when she saw the man standing beside one of the booths. “Tess, that man is nowhere near being fat or bald. I’ll give you short, but uh…” she shook her head. “You didn’t say anything about him when we talked last night.”

Kyle rolled his eyes. Great, just what he needed. Someone to remind Tess why she had sworn she would never give him another chance. He forced a smile when the two women joined him, feeling a little better when Tess grabbed his hand and pulled him onto the bench seat beside her and leaving his seat for her friend. “You must be Tess’ friend from Albuquerque,” he said. “Missy, right?”

“True,” the woman said, delighted. “And you are the famous Kyle. Wow, finally we meet.”

Was that good or bad? he wondered, feeling like a bug under a microscope when she openly studied him. “Yeah, so, you’re gonna talk to Max about a job?”

“Yeah, I’ll meet with him in about an hour. I didn’t know you guys were here. I was just coming in to get something to eat before the job interview.”

“We were just planning out our schedules for the week,” Tess said as she reached over and rubbed Kyle’s arm. “Kyle’s gonna give me a hand with some painting and pickin’ out furniture.” She grinned as her hand slid down to cover his and their fingers interlocked without a second thought.

Missy lifted one eyebrow in surprise. “Uh-huh.”

“We were,” Tess insisted and rolled her eyes. “Are you all ready for your interview?”

Missy sighed. “I don’t know. Tell me about your brother? Should I be nervous?”

“Nervous? About Max?” Tess snorted and shook her head. “No. Max is generally pretty easy going. He’s a good boss.” She rolled her eyes. “I couldn’t work for him because we’d constantly be arguing about how to do things, but most everyone who works for him genuinely likes him.” She shrugged when Missy pinned her with an inquisitive stare. “I told you about our older brother…” She smiled when she felt Kyle squeeze her hand and she momentarily tightened her fingers in response. “It hit Max hard and his temperament has altered slightly. Most people have been able to work around that but there have been a few who just threw in the towel and quit. He’ll be the first to admit it though.”

Kyle smiled slightly and nodded at the waitress when she brought their salads over. He wondered if Tess knew she was defending Max. “Can I get extra Ranch dressing?” he asked.

“Sure, I’ll be right back.”

Tess shook her head. “Now you’re gonna drown your salad, huh?”

He rolled his eyes. He wouldn’t have to drown it if he’d gotten the crispy chicken, but no, he had ordered the roasted. “I like Ranch dressing… lots of it.”

“Men,” Missy said, smiling

“That’s right,” Kyle grinned. He reached over and snatched a large piece of the crispy chicken out of Tess’ salad and popped it in his mouth.

“Hey,” she smacked his hand. “That’s mine!”

“Ow!” He glanced between their salads. “Wanna trade?”

“Nooo,” she shook her head. “Deal with your drowned roasted chicken.”

“You sure? I don’t mind.”

She rolled her eyes. “He’s not always like this,” Tess told Missy.

Kyle grinned mischievously at Missy and winked. “I am always like this… she’s just blinded by love.”

“Love, huh?” Missy teased Tess.

Tess rolled her eyes and elbowed Kyle. “Why don’t you stick somethin’ in your mouth?” She knew it was a mistake as soon as she said it and she had taken the inside of the seat so there was nowhere to go when he turned to look at her.

“Here’s the extra dressing.”

Kyle turned around, surprised when the waitress came back to their table. “Oh, thanks.”

Tess rolled her eyes when he was momentarily distracted with drowning his salad.

Missy was trying not to laugh at the look of relief on her friend’s face and she wondered what Kyle would’ve done if the waitress hadn’t picked that moment to interrupt them. “So, what is it you do exactly, Kyle? Tess mentioned something about you being a desk jockey at the FBI?”

“A desk jockey?” He glanced at Tess with raised eyebrows.

“Um… I was just guessing?”

He rolled his eyes at her. “Actually I’m out in the field trackin’ killers and other criminals down,” he told Missy.

She laughed at his expression. She had a feeling payback was coming and Tess wasn’t looking forward to it. “I thought about becoming a CSI, but then I spent a week actually following one around and…” she wrinkled her nose. “I decided to let that thought just pass.”

Kyle just nodded, not knowing what to say. He had to admit that he wasn’t very happy about their sudden company. He had planned to talk to Tess about their relationship. Find out if they were back together officially or not. Guess that’ll have to wait, he thought sadly and concentrated on his salad.

Tess and Missy talked while Kyle picked at his own meal. It wasn’t long before it was time for her to leave and the two women made plans to catch up later that evening.

“Hey, everything okay?” Tess asked after her friend was gone.

“It’s really nothing, Tess,” he told her. He didn’t want to talk about his worries that she’d let her friend talk her into taking a step back again from him.

“You didn’t like Missy?”

“No, she’s okay.”

“I’ll be getting the third degree about you tonight,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “Even though she didn’t know you she was always on my back wantin’ to know why I wouldn’t let you explain your side of things.”

“And what’re you gonna tell her tonight?”

“That as much as it pains me to admit it, she was right.”

Kyle felt a little bit better after that. Maybe he was just worrying for nothing and this friend of hers wasn’t going to be a roadblock for their relationship. He decided to wait on that talk he had wanted to have with her and just concentrate on enjoying their day together. He could save that for some other time.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 43

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:51 am

Alien_Friend: Kyle and Tess made a lot progress lately. He knows he only has this one more chance to get her back into his life.

Kara definitely knows which strings to pull with her parents lol. She is adorable and you just have to love her. ;)

You will get the chance to learn more about Missy in this part.

We can’t wait to see your reaction of the new fic as well. ;)

Eva: We hope your vacation time was fun as well. We saw you posted your new fic, very cool.

Max is good to his kids, wife and friends. His own problems and fears keep him from showing that now and then. He has his moments, where ya wanna kick his ass and yeah… they are not over yet.

K&T know they belong to each other and now that they are start to admit it towards each other, it is only normal to feel nervous. Especially when there was a time in the past, where things had been screwed up between them.

rosyrosy2882: Our break went well. We used the time to relax and of course… write.

Lol, poor Justin is probably not that happy to buy a new one. That’s what ya get for annoying your little sister, huh? ;)

Max is great with his kids. He loves them without a question. Sometimes, when his own problems overtake, it is hard for him to show though.

Don’t like Missy, huh? Max and her meet in this part, we are pretty curious about your opinion after this.
Well, when to girlfriends meet, the men have to lean back for a while, lol. It was not Tess’ intention to ignore him, he knows that.

keepsmiling7: Justin is probably not very happy now, huh? We are sure he learned his lesson about annoying your little sister. Max handled the situation pretty cool, didn’t he?

mary mary: Thanks, our vacation time was great!

Oh wow, we got ya out of bed this early, huh? ;) Thanks for the compliment.

You will learn more about Missy in this part.

Natalie36: Thanks!

Earth2Mama: Lol, spidey sense? Oh, we doubt that your sense is off, maybe Missy is just no thread… Maybe.

Max handled the morning kitchen chaos with his kids pretty good, didn’t he?

Yeah why is that? We don’t know either, but have accepted this as an unwritten rule, lol.

sarammlover: Missy is not married. A problem? Hm, we say no for now.

Thanks, we love to write K&T in this fic, they are so much fun and the comic relief here.

We had a good vacation time, but of course we also missed you guys. ;)

begonia9508: We are glad to be back as well.

Kara definitely knows which strings to pull to get her way, lol.

K&T: so much fun to write. ;)


Part 43

Andy threw himself down in the chair across from the counselor’s desk and glared at the man as he folded his arms over his chest. He slouched down in an effort to show the man that he didn’t care about being there, unaware of how much his body language was really revealing about him. It only took several minutes of silence before his right leg started to bounce up and down nervously and he finally couldn’t take it anymore.

“This is stupid!” he exploded.

Michael stretched his legs out under the desk, intentionally keeping his posture relaxed and as non-threatening as possible. The boy had been sent to his office after an argument with a couple of other students and from what he had been told the only reason it hadn’t escalated to a physical fight was because some of the guys from the basketball team had stepped in and broken things up. “You don’t think talkin’ about what you’re feelin’ will help?”

“Guys don’t talk about that kinda stuff,” he muttered.

“No?”

“No, that’s what girls talk about.”

He smirked at the boy’s disgusted tone. “Well, I’ll give you that one. So, girls talk about feelings… what do guys talk about?” He shrugged when the kid just rolled his eyes. “Alright, you and your friends, what d’you talk about?”

“I don’t know. Sports, I guess… cars… maybe sometimes we talk about girls.” He shrugged. “We used to anyway. They’re kinda doin’ their own thing now. It’s not like we’re gonna email or call each other every day like a bunch of girls.”

“Have you stayed in contact with your friends back home?”

Andy tugged on his watchband as he stared at the floor. “I’ve only got one friend,” he mumbled. “I used to have more, but…”

“But they started to drift away after your dad died.”

His head shot up and he stared at the counselor in shock. “Yeah. It’s like they didn’t know what to say or how to act so they just… quit hangin’ out after a while.”

“That says a lot more about them than it does about you, Andy.”

“You think so?” he asked after several minutes of silence. He hated feeling like he needed reassurance, but it had hurt when his friends had started to pull away after his dad died.

“I know so. Your friend that stuck with you, did he know what to say or do?”

“Nah. Scrappy just… he’s just there, ya know? Me an’ him, we met in the third grade; some fifth-grader was hasslin’ me for my lunch money an’ Scrappy just plowed into the guy.” He laughed at the memory. “It didn’t really help ‘cause that asshat took my money and Scrappy’s, too, just ‘cause he tried to help me. Man, you shoulda seen it! Scrappy was like really short in third grade and his head was seriously too big for his body, and he wore these thick glasses…” He snorted and shook his head. “Gave himself a bloody nose when he ran into that other kid.”

“Scrappy sounds like a good guy, the kind who’s always gonna have your back.”

Andy just nodded.

“You guys have stayed in contact?”

“Yeah. We talk online a lot, but…” he shrugged. “It’s not the same, ya know? Back home we hung out all the time and nobody messed with us ‘cause, y’know, you start shit with one of us and you’re gonna have to deal with both of us.”

“I take it y’all got into more than one fight?” Michael asked with a grin.

“Yeah, especially when we were little. See, everybody else calls him K.P. ‘cause he hates his first name, but his mom called him by name one day in front of some of the guys and…” he whistled, “man, it was on!”

“That bad, huh?”

“Kermit Petrowski.” He made a face. “His parents are nice an’ all, but they had to be on some serious drugs to stick him with a name like that, y’know?”

Michael chuckled. “So, how’d he get the nickname?”

“Oh, well, while the school nurse was cleanin’ him up an’ fixin’ his bloody nose she was tellin’ him he was too small to be messin’ with the fifth graders and he just busted out with ‘I may be little, but I’m scrappy’.” He shrugged. “It just kinda stuck.”

“Scrappy must’ve known your dad pretty well then… and your mom, too.” He saw the wariness enter the boy’s eyes and he waited to see if he would answer the question.

“So what?”

“So, he must’ve had an opinion when your mom started to pull away – “

“Don’t talk about my mom!” Andy shouted as he jumped up and started to pace around the office. “You don’t know what she’s been through! You don’t know how much she loves my dad and how much she misses him!”

“No, you’re right, I don’t know those things.”

“Well, she did! And when my dad died she might as well have died too! She doesn’t care about me anymore, not now that he’s gone.” He swept everything he could reach off of the desk, not even noticing when the noise brought Mrs. Walker running into the room.

Michael shook his head in warning and sent the woman back out of the room, motioning for her to close the door behind her. He left everything as it was, listening to Andy as he moved around restlessly, muttering to himself.

“She doesn’t want me around ‘cause I look so much like my dad. She thinks I don’t know what she’s thinkin’ when she turns away like she just can’t stand the sight of me. I’m just a reminder of him and it’d be better if…” He suddenly trailed off and sat down on the floor under the window, looking frightened and small.

Michael grabbed a couple bottles of water from the small refrigerator behind his desk and crossed the room to sit down next to Andy. This was what he had been waiting for. He had slowly been picking away for the past few weeks, trying to get to the real issues the teenager had buried so deep inside and it was finally coming out. The boy still bounced between running hot and cold most days when they had their sessions, but it had been a couple of weeks since he had seen this level of emotion from him.

“Andy, I know things are screwed up right now and you an’ your mom are both tryin’ to heal – “

“How’s she gonna get better when she’s gotta look at me every day?” he asked, turning away so the man couldn’t see the hurt in his eyes. “Sometimes she looks at me and she gets this look on her face, ya know? Like she wishes I wasn’t there or somethin’.”

“I’ve talked to your mom and I’ve listened to her talk about you. There’s no way she ever has or ever would wish you weren’t with her. You’re a part of her and your dad, and yeah, maybe it’s been rough on her because you look so much like your dad, but have you ever considered that it’s not just her loss she’s thinkin’ about when she sees that resemblance in you?”

“What? Like, you think it makes her sad ‘cause I don’t have my dad anymore?” He accepted the bottle of water and played with the cap, unscrewing it and then screwing it back on again.

“Yeah, I think that’s very likely. Relationships between a mother and son aren’t the same as a relationship between a father and son. There’re things that no matter how much she wants to give you, she can’t, and she knows that, but it doesn’t stop her from wishin’ she could.” He took a drink from his own water bottle and then let it dangle from his fingertips when he braced his forearms on his raised knees. “A few minutes ago you said ‘maybe it’d be better if…’ but you didn’t finish that statement.”

He shrugged. “It’s just somethin’ I think sometimes… like maybe it’d be better… easier, if I had died too. And no, I don’t think about killin’ myself, ‘cause I know that’s where you’re goin’ next.”

Michael nodded. “Why do you think it’d be easier? You think it would’ve been any easier for your mom if you had fallen off of that mountain with your dad?”

“Wouldn’t it be easier for her if she didn’t have to look at me and wonder why he died and I didn’t?”

“What makes you think she’s ever thought anything like that?” God, the kid couldn’t honestly think his mom would ever think such a thing!

Andy wiped the back of his hand over his eyes and shrugged again. “I wonder, okay?” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. “Dad wouldn’t have treated her bad like I do. He wouldn’t have made her sad or pissed her off or disappointed her all the time… that’s all I do anymore. I can’t make her happy…” His voice cracked and he quickly averted his gaze and took a long drink of his water.

“Andy, it’s not your job to make your mom happy. Something you do may give someone a moment of happiness, but when it comes right down to it people are responsible for their own happiness. Yeah, she’s obviously gonna be happier if you’re behaving yourself and doin’ what you’re supposed to be doin’, but for her to be genuinely happy it’s gotta come from inside of her. If your mom’s not happy then it’s because somethin’ in her is missin’, some need inside of her isn’t bein’ met.”

“So, it’s like she’s… incomplete.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s the best way to describe it. People need certain things to fill the empty spaces inside of ‘em and it’s like they have to find a balance before they can be complete… your mom’s just tryin’ to find that for herself. You’ve mentioned noticing changes in her since the two of you moved back here, right?” He went on when the boy nodded. “Okay, and you said some days she seems more like she used to be… even farther back before your dad’s accident.”

“Yeah, but… does that mean even when he was alive that somethin’ inside of her was missin’?”

“You’d have to talk to her about that, buddy.”

Andy nodded and sighed quietly. “I tried to get to my dad that day…” He squeezed his eyes shut at the memories. He could still recall the scent of freshly overturned earth as his boots trampled the ground already disturbed by his uncle’s descent.

He had run down behind his uncle, determined to get to Dad, and more than once his boots had lost their grip on the loose soil and rocks and he had thrown his hands out to grasp onto low-hanging limbs and trees to keep himself from falling. He had known he was nearing the place where his father lay; he could hear the weak screams but his mind refused to equate them with the strong man he knew and loved.

The soles of his boots landed against a fallen tree just as his body slammed into something immovable and his eyes shot up to meet his uncle’s dark gaze.

“I told you to stay with the boys.”

Andy shook his uncle’s hands off. “I’ve gotta get to my dad, he needs me!”

“Get back to the top,” Max insisted. “When the rescue team gets here they’re gonna need to know how to get down here. Now go!”

“No!” Andy screamed, trying unsuccessfully to shove the older man back so he could get around him. “Dad!” Further attempts by his uncle to stop him only infuriated him and he swung his fists wildly, connecting without inflicting any real damage.

Max had finally wrapped his arms around his nephew, holding him in a bear hug to stop him from throwing anymore punches and from moving any closer to the injured man. “Andy, listen to me… we don’t have time to waste here. When rescue gets here they need to know the fastest way down this mountain, do you understand me?”

Andy had fought against the hold, calling his uncle every vile name he could dredge up from his memory. He finally broke free and his eyes were blazing with accusation and hatred as he stared at the man who stood between him and his father. “This’s your fault… he better not die ‘cause I’ll never forgive you for lettin’ this happen.”


“I didn’t really think my dad was gonna die,” Andy choked out as tears fell from his eyes. “I never got a chance to even tell my dad I loved him before he died… I could’ve at least told him when he would’ve understood what I was sayin’… but he wouldn’t let me see him… he took that from me and I hate him for it!”

Michael caught the boy when he suddenly crumpled in on himself, his body shaking with ragged sobs as he cried for probably the first time since his father’s accident. He held the teenager tightly and he felt the boy’s arms come around his waist as he searched for something to anchor himself to and his eyes stung as he recalled his own break when he had finally faced the truth that his parents weren’t coming back.

He knew that once the emotional outburst was over and realization set in that Andy would likely be embarrassed by it and he wouldn’t want to talk about it. He’d want to go home and hide in his room for a while until he could get himself under control again. The kid wasn’t closed off or emotionally shutdown so he knew giving Andy some space would allow him to compose himself and hopefully once he’d had time to calm down he’d see that he actually felt a little bit better.

*****

Max looked up from a phone call when he heard a knock on his door and he motioned for the woman there to enter. He didn’t need verbal confirmation to know she was Tess’ friend; the wide purple streak in her hair identified her. She was pretty; average height, blonde, blue-eyed, and mentally taking stock of his disorganized office.

“My wife says there’s no excuse for the mess,” he said as he ended his call and stood to extend his hand in her direction. “Max Evans.”

“Missy Lawson,” she introduced herself and shook his hand. “And your wife’s right.”

“Yeah, well, she usually is.”

“Tess probably didn’t warn you about my tendency to be very direct.”

“No, but I’ve found over time that it’s better to keep things open.”

“Um-hmm,” she said as they sat down. “Well, I should probably tell you that I’ve lost a couple of jobs over it. These days it doesn’t seem to matter how well you do your job; if you’re not gonna kiss the boss’s ass or sleep with him you might as well pack it in.”

He held his left hand up, showing his wedding ring. “Even if I wasn’t married that wouldn’t be an issue. And I can assure you I don’t expect anyone to kiss my ass.”

“We’ll get along beautifully then,” she said with a smile.

“Can I ask why you’re interested in this job?” He shrugged and smiled. “I got your resume this mornin’ and with your education and work experience this position just seems a little…”

“Beneath me?” She chuckled and shook her head. “My parents are a bit on the odd side but they’re good people and they raised me to believe that there are no small positions in life, just small people. Every position in a company exists for a reason and all that matters is that you take pride in your job and you do it to the best of your ability.”

He nodded. “I like your attitude.”

For the next hour they discussed expectations and different aspects of the business. When they got around to talking about the pay rate she looked at him skeptically.

“I don’t expect special treatment just because your sister’s my friend.”

Max frowned. “Excuse me?”

“I did my research, Mr. Evans, so I know the amount you’ve suggested is well above the average around here.”

“Are you as good at your job as you say you are?”

“Better, but that’s – “

“It’s not special treatment, Missy. I believe in paying my employees well.”

“I can only assume the woman who previously held this position had to be making more than this since she had been here for quite a few years, so why would she quit? I doubt she would’ve found another local job that pays this well.”

“Sometimes the money isn’t worth puttin’ up with a moody boss.”

Missy smiled. “I can deal with moody, but if you get outta hand I’ll be the first in line to tell you to get your head outta your ass.”

“The guys are gonna love you.” He grinned. “C’mon, let’s walk out to the shop and I’ll introduce you. They’re good guys, you won’t have any problems with them. You’ll have to keep an eye on Jamie. He’s the youngest and one of the girls in town likes to stop by and sit outside so she can flirt with him. He’s a good kid and a hard worker, but when she comes around that boy forgets everything else.”

“Good for romance, bad for business,” she said with a chuckle. “Run her off when she shows up, got it.”

“Rick’s married, has a couple kids, and I get him outta here early twice a week. Wednesdays and Fridays he’s out the door at 3:15pm. That’s not negotiable.”

“Got it.”

“Josh is the quietest of the three and he’ll work like a dog to meet deadlines. If we’ve got a vehicle in the bay and the owner expects to pick it up at 8am the next mornin’ he won’t go home until the work’s done. I don’t mind pushin’ to get a job done when it’s necessary, but unless it’s a special circumstance I don’t push deadlines on my guys.”

“Keep the work orders reasonable, got it.”

Max pushed the door to the shop open and he was immediately suspicious of the silence that greeted them. Moments later someone cranked up the radio and he winced when he heard the familiar music.

“Splish splash I was takin’ a bath…“

Before he could get a single word of warning out, the guys jumped up from behind a car, holding various tools up in front of their faces like microphones as they sang along with the song.

They fell silent when Max brought his right hand up to indicate the woman with him and Jamie tripped over himself as he scurried away from the guys to shut the radio off.

Missy couldn’t help but laugh at the guys’ antics and she wondered at the story behind their little sing-along. She glanced at Max and was surprised when she detected just the slightest hint of a blush creeping up his neck. Oh, this had to be good!

“If you guys are finished I’d like to introduce our new office manager, Missy Lawson.”

The guys all straightened up to introduce themselves and Max lifted an eyebrow when Josh stuttered out an introduction before hurrying back to work on the transmission he had been working on that morning.

“So, you’re not from Roswell,” Rick said as he shook her hand, his eyes wandering over her hair.

Missy grinned and shook her head. “Southern California, born and bred,” she answered proudly.

“What brings you down to our neck of the woods?”

“Providence.”

He chuckled and nodded. “My wife would love your sense of humor.”

After spending some time in the shop Max led Missy back inside and they took care of the necessary paperwork. He was going over the forms before filing them when he realized that he hadn’t asked her if she had a place to stay.

“I’ll be staying at the hotel Tess recommended until I can get on my feet,” she said in response to his question. She shook her head in denial when he asked if she needed an advance on her first check. “You folks are very trusting down here.”

Max smiled and shrugged one shoulder. “My sister vouched for you and there aren’t many people she trusts that much.”

“Well, I appreciate it, but I’ll be fine. What time do you open?”

“8:30am as a rule. The guys are usually here by 8am and if I don’t have kids to get off to school in the morning then I’m here a little earlier than that.”

Missy glanced at one of the framed photographs on the wall behind him. “You have a beautiful family. Do you mind if I ask how old your kids are?”

“Thanks,” he grinned as he turned to follow her gaze. “My boys are 15 and my little girl’s four, going on five here pretty soon.”

“You must be a very busy man, Mr. Evans,” she mused. “Tess mentioned that you were also traveling some for the business.”

“Max, please. And, yeah, there has been some traveling recently. As you can imagine that hasn’t helped things out around here.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll have you organized again in no time. And I’m very familiar with handling travel reservations, so that’s one less thing you’ll need to squeeze in.”

“Oh, well, my accountant’s been handling all of that for me.”

She snorted. “He must be one hell of an accountant if he’s being that accommodating.” She winced. “Too direct?”

He chuckled. “No, Alex has been a lot more accommodating than I’ve had any right to expect, and I don’t know another accountant that would’ve gone to these lengths.”

“Let me guess… he’s not just your accountant, he’s your friend?”

“Yeah.”

She nodded. “Why don’t you take that off of him and let me handle those things for you?”

“Probably not a bad idea,” he acquiesced. “But we’ll save that for tomorrow. It’s almost time for me to pick my daughter up from school and I don’t need to get sidetracked.” He stood and walked her out to her car. “Don’t get here too early and show the boss up. 8:30am is fine, 8am at the absolute earliest.”

“No problem. I’ll see you in the mornin’.”

Max waited until she had left before he walked back inside and made a quick call, leaving a message on his sister’s voicemail to thank her for the recommendation and let her know he had decided to hire her friend.

*****

Maria stared at the phone in her hand after disconnecting from a call with Mrs. Walker at the school. The woman hadn’t given her many details, just asked if she could come in for a meeting with Andy’s guidance counselor as soon as possible. It was Monday so she knew he didn’t have a session scheduled with the counselor, but she couldn’t imagine why she was being called with a request for a meeting.

The drive to the school only took a few minutes and she smiled politely at the people in the office as she stepped inside. “I’m looking for Mrs. Walker,” she said when one of the women behind the counter asked if she could help her.

“Oh, you’re Mrs. Evans. Yes, I’ll let her know you’re here.”

Within moments the older woman opened the outer door and motioned for Maria to follow her outside. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Evans,” she greeted.

“Mrs. Walker,” Maria said with a small nod. “Is everything okay? My son…?”

“I believe everything’s alright.” She motioned to the corridor to her left and they began walking toward the counselor’s offices. “Counselor Guerin asked me to give you a call, see if you could come in to speak with him.”

“It sounded urgent on the phone,” Maria said cautiously. “You’re sure Andy isn’t in any trouble?”

“No, he’s not in any trouble at all, Mrs. Evans. Here we are.” She reached out to gently rap her knuckles against the frosted glass of Michael’s door. “I’m sure he’ll explain everything in a satisfactory manner.” She lifted her head to check the time. “Oh, I’d better go, it’s nearly time for the final bell of the day.”

Maria took a step back when the door was suddenly pulled open and she was surprised when the counselor stepped out of the room and shut the door quietly behind him. “Is something wrong with my son?” she asked immediately.

He smiled and shook his head. “On the contrary,” he answered. “He’s cleanin’ up a little bit.”

“He’s been in a fight?”

“Not physically, no.”

“I don’t understand.”

“He’s gonna wanna go home and I doubt he’s gonna want his mom to take him there.”

“Then why did you call me?”

“We had a breakthrough today and I’d like to talk to you about a few things if you have the time.”

“You’re sure Andy’s okay?”

“He’s okay,” he assured her.

Maria released a relieved breath and nodded. “Thank God. I’d like to see my son if you don’t mind.”

“Go right ahead, I’ll wait out here.” He reached out to touch her arm when her hand settled on the doorknob. “Maria?”

A tiny shiver raced down her spine when her name passed his lips. She lifted her head to meet his intense gaze and she lifted an eyebrow in question.

“He looks a little rough and you’re gonna wanna fuss over him ‘cause you’re his mom, but let him have his space.”

“Okay,” she said uncertainly. She knew what he meant as soon as she stepped into the office and saw her son’s ravaged features. Something big had happened but she didn’t know what it was. She gave him a small smile and he quickly turned his head to stare at the floor. “Your counselor suggested you might want to go home.”

Andy nodded silently.

“I have the car, but if you’d rather walk…” She left the offer open, letting him decide what he wanted to do.

“I wanna walk.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. School would be out in five minutes. “I kinda wanna leave now,” he said and turned away to wipe his eyes again.

He didn’t want anyone else to see that he had been crying. She nodded and reached up to gently cup his cheek in her hand. “You go on home then and I’ll see you in a little while.” She wasn’t expecting it when his long arms came around her in a bear hug and he held her tightly for several long seconds before releasing her and grabbing his backpack.

“Thanks, I’ll see ya at home, Mom.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A/N: We posted a profile of Michael Guerin in TIC TAC on our Author's Thread, ya might wanna look at it to get some information about his character in our new fic.

Here is also a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvzvtWRx2Ak
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 44

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:50 am

begonia9508: Lol, wanna get Missy’s job now? We bet Max would appreciate the help from you. ;)

Natalie36: Lol, thanks!

keepsmiling7: Yeah, Andy is finally dealing with his feelings. That will be rough, but good.

Missy is different, no denying!

Earth2Mama: It was a very emotional moment and this part will be emotional too, ...in a good way we hope.

mary mary: Missy is a good girl!

We will see lots of Maria/Michael/Andy today again.

Alien_Friend: The Andy/Michael scene was very emotional, but an important scene for this fic. The boy finally showed some of his hidden feelings. That’s a first step in the right direction.

We have finally a little bit more insight, why Andy has problems to face Max. It will still take a while until they work through this.

Missy is cool. She will be able to help Max.

Eva: The Andy/ Michael scene was a very important moment in this fic. They boy finally showed some of his hidden feelings.

We will have a Maria/Andy moment today.

rosyrosy2882: We are sure Max and Andy would hug you back. ;)

It was an important moment for Andy here and it will help him to finally move on.

We love counselor Guerin as well, lol. He is definitely good for the boy.

We are pretty curious how your Missy opinion will develop, lol.

Another Maria/Andy moment is coming up today!

sarammlover: Missy? Trouble? Nooooo! ;)

It was an important moment for Andy, the boy was finally able to let go of some of his hidden feelings.

killjoy: Ya wanna share those memories? Lol

Awww, is it helping when we tell ya that there will be a BIG K&T part soon?

Thanks, it was an important scene of the fic.



Part 44

Maria sighed after Andy had left, wondering what had happened to upset her son to such a degree. Michael joined her in his office again, looking at her quietly and giving her some time to collect her thoughts.

She cleared her throat slightly. “What happened, Michael?” She knew he wasn’t allowed to tell her any details about his counselling sessions with Andy, but maybe he could give her something to work with.

“How about a coffee? I’m done for today and there’s a nice little coffee shop just around the corner.” He didn’t answer her question on purpose, still trying to decide how much he could tell her without upsetting Andy over it.

She thought about his invitation for a few seconds before she finally nodded slightly. “Yeah okay, why not.” It didn’t matter if they drank coffee in his office or somewhere else anyway, and another place would definitely be nicer than his office.

He smiled slightly when she agreed despite his assumption that she wouldn’t. “Okay, let me just put some things away.” He walked around the room and collected some papers and folders before he put them in one of the drawers on the right side of his desk and locked it. He glanced around and nodded to himself. “We’re good to go.”

The walk over to the coffee shop only took them a few minutes. They walked next to each other in silence. “The table over there is the nicest,” he pointed at a booth on the left of the coffee shop next to the window when they had entered the small room through the front door.

“Let’s go there then,” she said and walked over to sit down.

The waitress stopped by immediately. “Hey Michael!” she greeted, smiling. “What can I get you, guys? Today’s dessert special is a homemade strawberry cake with cream.”

“Just a large black coffee, please,” Maria said, not feeling hungry.

Michael realized that he hadn’t really eaten anything since breakfast. “I guess I’ll take the cake and…”

“… a large black coffee for you as well,” the woman said knowingly with a wink. “I’ll be back with your order in a minute.”

“You’re a regular here, huh?” Maria asked, hoping that he didn’t catch the slight jealous hint in her voice after she had seen the waitress’ flirty behavior.

He smirked at her question, wondering where the little jealous tone was coming from. Maybe it was just my imagination, he thought. “Well, I get tired of my own cookin’ and this’s close to the school.” He shrugged and smiled when the waitress returned with their coffee and placed his plate on the table in front of him.

“Can I get y’all anything else?”

Michael glanced at Maria before shaking his head. “Nah, I think we’re good here. Thanks.”

“Alright, just lemme know if ya need anything else, sugar.” The woman patted his shoulder, winking at him as she turned to walk away.

He took a bite of the cake, chewing it thoughtfully and washing it down with a drink of coffee before he spoke. “Today was a good day for Andy. It was a rough one, but we made a lot of progress.”

“Why was he in your office?” she asked, still unclear about that. “Was his session rescheduled since he only has one a week now?”

“No, he got into an argument with some other boys but it was broken up before it could turn into anything physical. He was sent to my office to diffuse the situation and see if I could get a handle on him.” He was still trying to figure out what to say to her because breaking Andy’s confidence wasn’t an option. “How’s your relationship with Andy comin’ along now that you’ve had a little time to start settlin’ in here?”

“I think we’ve made some progress. At least we can have some conversations without getting into an uncontrollable fight. He still has his moments when he shuts down, like the other day when I told him about my new job plans.”

“Did he come back home without you havin’ to go look for him?”

“Yeah, he was home before dinner, thank God. And we got the chance to talk afterwards again. I guess he still isn’t really comfortable with me getting a job, but he’s trying to deal with it.”

He nodded. “That’s good. He’s making an effort and right now I think that’s probably the most important thing. Last time we talked you said you were hopin’ to get things rollin’ with the new house pretty soon… you have a move-in date yet?”

She glanced at her watch. “I’m supposed to get the keys in about an hour and that’s pretty much the starting shot for us to move.”

He smiled slightly. “He doesn’t know you’re pickin’ the keys up tonight does he?”

“No, I wanted it to be a surprise.”

Michael nodded and paused a moment before carefully choosing his words. “Andy’s still harboring an extensive amount of hostility for his uncle and it’s gonna take time to work through that and while that’s certainly a concern I’m not too worried about it because he’s not just holdin’ that inside; that anger and hostility is fairly open. The thing that concerns me most is his mixed emotions where you and the accident are concerned. It’s obvious from the way he’s pushed things with you in the past that the two of you still have some issues to work through, but…” He swallowed and tried to come up with a way to bring up the feelings Andy was dealing with about his resemblance to his father and the way his mom was dealing with it. “Do you have any particular difficulties dealing with him?”

She frowned at his choice of words. “Particular difficulties?”

“Andy’s love for his father is in no way in question, but he takes it very personally if someone calls him Andrew or tries to…” he cleared his throat. This was not easy! “He doesn’t like it when people draw certain comparisons between them.”

“What does that have to do with my relationship with my son?” she asked, puzzled. “I don’t compare Andy to my dead husband. Of course there are similarities, but… what does that have to do with anything?”

Michael heard the slight hint of defensiveness enter her tone towards the end of the question and he knew he needed to tread carefully. “Has it ever caused a problem for you personally? I’ve never seen a picture of his father but he seems to feel that the resemblance is significant.”

Maria studied Michael’s for face several long moments before she pulled her wallet out of her bag and pulled a tiny picture out of it. It was a photograph that showed Andrew in the backyard of their house in Miami.

He stared at the photograph for several minutes. The resemblance was strong, there was no doubt about that. “You can’t help but see it, can you?” he asked quietly as he glanced back up at her.

“Andy is not his father. He’s my son and that’s what I see when I look at him,” she told him coldly and took the picture away from him again.

“I’m not tryin’ to start an argument here, Maria. I’m just concerned that maybe he’s bein’ hurt unintentionally.”

She stared at her still untouched coffee. “It’s a fact that he looks like his father. I can’t change it, no one can change it.” She sighed. “I’ll talk to him about it.”

He reached over and rested his hand on top of hers. “I know what it’s like to look at someone you care about and see someone else staring back at you. I can’t imagine what that would be like when that person is a significant other.”

She pulled her hand away from him, feeling uncomfortable being touched by him in public while they talked about her dead husband. “As I told you, Michael, I don’t compare my son with my husband. There are undeniable similarities, but I won’t let myself see someone else other than my son in him. Andrew is dead and nothing or no one can bring him back. Andy might look like his father, but he has his own personality.”

He nodded and leaned back in the booth, holding his hands up. He knew Andy could just be overly sensitive about anything concerning his father, but he didn’t think that was the case. The boy was genuinely upset about the resemblance and how his mom dealt with it… or didn’t deal with it. And after talking to her about it he wasn’t sure if it was outright denial or she really didn’t see it as a problem. He wondered if he should bring up the fact that Andy questioned whether he should’ve survived that trip. “I’m sorry,” he said finally. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

Maria bit her lip as she wondered if she should ask him something that had been in her head for a very long time now. “Has Andy ever told you that he should’ve died there as well?” She swallowed hard. “That it would’ve been better for me?” She ran her hand through her hair. “It sounds weird, sorry.”

“Andy’s expressed that he feels that way, yeah. Your son isn’t suicidal, Maria,” he hurried to assure her as he reached for her hands again. He just barely caught himself and he dropped his hands down to curl around his seat. “He doesn’t want to die… and there’s no indication that we need to be watching him for any type of harmful behavior. It's a question that a lot of survivors ask after losin’ someone close to them.”

“He brought it up during a bad fight we had back in Miami. We were yelling at each other and he said to me that he wished he had died there as well for my sake. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even remember it anymore, but I still wonder why he would say that. I mean, for my sake? How can he think I would be better if he wasn’t here anymore as well?”

“I’m gonna tread on dangerous territory again, Maria. It all ties back in to his resemblance to his father. He feels like…” he sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. “You may not do it consciously, but he feels that there are times when you’ve turned away from him because simply lookin’ at him is just too hard for you. Not just because he looks like his dad but because he’s a reminder of everything that you lost.” He shook his head when she started to speak again. “Your son loves you. That boy would put anyone down who said a wrong word to you or about you, but his own behavior towards you is somethin’ he knows is wrong and he doesn’t fully understand it or why he can’t seem to control it. Part of it is his hurt and anger pouring out of him, and the other part of it is him tryin’ to get you to be the mom you were before that accident took you away from him too.”

She ran her hand over her face and shook her head quietly. “The problem is that I can’t be the mom I used to be,” she said quietly. “I mean, Andy was always a very father-oriented kid, as stupid as it sounds. I’m kicking myself now for letting that happen, ya know? I mean, he could always come to me and stuff, but then again he was always out hunting with his father or camping or whatever and I was... home. I feel like I wasn’t really a part of his life, even through I was there. And I want to change this now. I have to change it!”

“Hey,” he started to lean forward and then reminded himself to stay out of her space. “It’s not unusual for kids to identify with one parent over the other and you’re suddenly in the position of head of household. He’s used to Dad goin’ out and bringin’ home the bacon and Mom bein’ in the home. He’s used to having that male influence at home so it’s takin’ some time for him to adjust to Mom makin’ all the decisions.” He smiled at her. “You’re doin’ a good job, Maria, and he’s comin’ around.”

“Moving into a house together is a good start, right?” she said, more a statement than a question. “I want him to know that we’re still a family and that even though his father can’t be replaced, we shouldn’t feel... incomplete for the rest of our lives. I know my husband wouldn’t have wanted that.”

“You got the ball rollin’ when you made the decision to pick up and move across the country. Like most anything else, healin’ takes time…” he smiled briefly. “No matter how much you might wanna rush it along. I know Andy’s lookin’ forward to y’all movin’ into your own place.” He stretched his left arm along the back of the booth. “Has he started to show any interest in his birthday?” he asked.

“He told me he wants a new cell,” she told him with a small smile.

“A new cell,” he said and chuckled. “I remember thinkin’ how cool my family was when we got a cordless house phone when I was a teenager.” He nodded at the silver napkin dispenser sitting at one end of the table. “That thing’s smaller than the handset was.”

She chuckled. “Reminds us how old and boring we are in the kid’s opinions.”

“Speak for yourself,” he teased with a warm smile. “I’ve got status as the cool counsellor at the school.”

She snorted. “I’ve heard different.”

“Different? About me?” He frowned, thinking about that. “Andy doesn’t count. At least not until I’m off his shit list.”

She took a sip of her coffee. “Think you’ll ever make it off of that list?”

He grinned boyishly. “You’ve got doubts?”

“If ya do your job as good as you’ve been doing it, then chances are good you will.”

He nodded confidently. “Then I will.” He took the last bite of his cake, chewing on it slowly, while he watched her from across the table.

She wasn’t sure what else to say to him. She knew he wasn’t allowed to tell her what had really happened with Andy in his office that day, but she was thankful he had given her some hints. It seemed like her son was worried about her affections towards him. She had to talk to him about it, making sure to tell him that he wasn’t a bad reminder of Andrew or anything else that was negative.

“Oh, hey, there is something else I wanted to talk to you about,” Michael said after finishing his coffee. “Think Andy would consider playin’ on the school basketball team?”

She shrugged. “You know he loves the game. He still hesitates about it… for his father’s sake.”

Michael nodded. “We should try to get him into it though. I have the feeling that the game can help him to move on. He needs something to focus on, especially when his Mom starts a new job. A sport is always good to lose yourself in and work off a little bit of that anger. And it distracts him from doin’ anything… well stupid, ya know.”

“Feel free to convince him,” she told him. “I know he wants to play and I agree that it would be good for him.”

“There’s a college game in Santa Fee on Friday evening. I’ve got two tickets, but Kyle kinda dumped me, telling me he needs to focus on Tess right now. I was thinking about askin’ Andy to come, but I wanted to talk to you about it first. And, yes, it’d be late when we get back,” he said before she could ask.

“How late?”

“Probably around midnight.”

“Don’t ya have things to prepare for the party on Saturday?”

He waved her off. “I’ve got Isabel and Kyle to help me with it.” He looked at her questioningly. “It could be my birthday present for Andy.”

“I doubt that counsellors are expected to hand out presents,” she told him with a small smile.

“I also wanna be his friend, Maria,” he told her seriously. “I really like Andy; he’s so much like I was at his age. And he may feel less pressure to talk or offer up any information about himself. If you’re not comfortable with it just let me know and I’ll withdraw the offer.”

She nodded. “Okay, if he agrees to this, then he’s allowed to go.” She glanced at her watch. “I’m sorry, but I should go. I’ve got the appointment to get the keys to our new house soon.”

He lifted his hand. “I don’t want to hold ya back so… If ya need to go…” He shook his head when she was about to pull her money out of her bag. “I invited you, Maria.”

She looked at him for several moments and then nodded. “Thanks.”

“If ya need any help… with the move I mean, than tell me, okay? I’ve got a vehicle with plenty of room and I’m very good when it comes to painting,” he winked.

She laughed slightly. “I guess it’d be a little too weird for Andy if his counsellor came to our home to help with the move right now.”

He sighed. She was probably right about that. “Couldn’t let you go without offering though. I’m too much a man.” He tried to play it cool.

“I’ll let ya know if there’s anything you can do for us,” she stood up and grabbed her bag. “Thanks, for calling me and for the coffee. I’ll see you soon.”

He nodded and watched her leave through the front door of the café.

“Need anything else, handsome?” the waitress asked when she noticed Michael was alone again.

*****

Max was under the hood of an old pickup truck trying to loosen a stubborn bolt when he heard the shop bell ring, announcing a new customer.

“You need to get that, boss?” Jamie huffed out as he shifted to try and keep the part steady.

“Huh-uh,” Max grunted, putting all of his weight into turning the wrench. “Keep it still, Jamie; it’s movin’… yep, there it goes… got it!” His upper body jerked forward when the bolt finally gave in. He quickly removed the bolt and dropped it in the pan with the others as Jamie lifted the part out and they high-fived each other.

“Thanks for the hand.”

“No problem. Why don’t you go ahead and close the shop,” Max said when he turned and saw Liz standing in the doorway between the waiting area and the shop. He pulled a grease-stained rag out of his back pocket and wiped the worst of the grease off of his hands.

“You mind if I hang around for a while and work on the truck?”

“No, just make sure you clean up before you leave.”

“Cool, thanks.”

“Is that the truck he bought at auction a while back?” Liz asked when Max joined her. She knew he had agreed to let Jamie store the truck back behind the shop so he could work on it in his spare time.

“Um-hmm.” He leaned in to kiss her as he reached for the door and pulled it open. “It’s been slow for the past hour so we pushed it in to work on it for a while. So, what’re you doin’ up here at closin’ time?”

“Well, dinner’s in the oven. It’ll be ready about the time you get out of the shower.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And you should know that Justin’s in a mood.” She rolled her eyes at him when he chuckled and led the way back to the office. “It’s not funny, Max.”

“Hey, he thought it was funny when he tied that damn ribbon in knots this mornin’.”

“You made him go into Sullivan’s Boutique!”

“No, I didn’t. I told him he would replace that ribbon today. I never said he had to go to Sullivan’s to do it. And he knows better than to pull crap like that.” He leaned over the sink in the small bathroom to scrub his hands.

“You realize he’s completely embarrassed.”

“It won’t kill him.”

“I think he’d disagree with you right now. Some of the boys from the wrestling team saw him go in so they were waiting around when he came back out.”

“He’ll survive, Liz. You gonna tell me why you’re really here?” He knew why she was there but he had been trying to wait for her to bring it up.

Liz was sitting in his chair when he stepped back out into the office after washing the worst of the grease from his hands and arms. She knew he knew as soon as he leaned against the doorframe and smiled lazily. She shrugged and grinned sheepishly. “What? So, I wanna know about Tess’ friend.”

“Um-hmm.” He drew the sound out as he rounded his desk and leaned over her, hands braced on the arms of the chair. “I hired her.”

Liz ran her thumb over the scar on his wrist as she bit her bottom lip. “Is she pretty?”

He snorted. “Well, you wouldn’t have to tie a pork chop around her neck to get the dog to play with her.”

“Max Evans!” She smacked his arm hard enough to leave a stinging handprint. “You did not just say that!”

He grinned unrepentantly. “Yeah, she’s pretty.” He made a face. “And she has purple hair. Josh got all flustered when I took her out to the shop and introduced her.”

“Really?”

“Yep.” He turned and grabbed the folder with Missy’s resume inside so he could hand it to her. “I think you’ll like her, Liz.”

“She’s way too qualified for this position, Max,” she said after scanning over the paperwork.

“She has a very unique viewpoint on that. But I’m starvin’, so you think I can just tell you about it over dinner?”

“Bet I can make it home before you,” she dared as she flashed a teasing grin at him. “Loser does the dishes.”

“You’re on.” He was reaching for his keys when she kissed him and ran out of the office. It was only a matter of seconds before he realized she had moved his keys. “Cheater!” he shouted after her as he scrabbled to move things out of the way to find his keys.

*****

Andy hadn’t come downstairs for dinner that night. No wonder, Maria thought. After the way she had found him in Michael’s office she had been pretty sure he would hide in his room for the rest of the day. It was after 8pm when she walked into the kitchen and fixed her son a plate of food. There was no doubt that he wasn’t hungry, he was just trying to avoid everyone.

Amy watched her daughter for a moment. “What happened this afternoon?”

“I don’t know for sure. You know his counselor isn’t allowed to tell me the details, Mom. But Michael seemed to be satisfied with Andy’s reaction, even if it was a very emotional one.”

“I told you he’d be good for the boy,” Amy said with a smile.

Maria couldn’t hide her own smile. “He is.” She took the plate from the counter. “Let’s see if he is willing to eat something.” She walked out of the room and took the stairs, which led to the small room Andy had occupied while staying with her parents. She knocked softly, waiting to see if he was ready to face anyone yet.

“Come in,” he told her after a moment of hesitation.

She pushed the door open, carefully balancing the plate with food on her other hand. “Hey, I thought you might be hungry.”

He looked at her from across the room, where he was lying on his bed, open book in front of him. As she walked further into the room, she noticed that it wasn’t a normal book, it was a photo album. She forced down the weird feelings as she placed the plate on his small desk. It was really good that they would be moving soon, his room was way too small.

“A little bit,” he admitted and sat up. He still looked shaken up, but not as much as he had that afternoon.

“What’re ya looking at?” she asked, leaning a little forward to have a better look at the photos. She recognized one that showed Andrew, Andy and her at the beach in Miami.

“Nothin’,” he said quickly and closed the album.

“Can we talk about something, Andy?” she asked quietly.

He made an uncertain face. Did he want to talk about this afternoon? Definitely not!

“Tell ya what,” she said as she noticed his hesitation. “Let me just talk, okay? You just have to sit and listen.”

“Okay,” he grabbed one of the sandwiches she had made from the leftovers from dinner.

“Okay, good.” She pulled up a chair next to his bed and sat down. “First off, I want you to know that Mr. Guerin didn’t tell me anything specific about this afternoon… ya know, what had happened in his office. This is just something I think you should know.”

“Mom…” he complained, already not liking the direction this was leading.

“Just listen, okay?”

He nodded and took a bite of his sandwich.

“Alright,” she took a breath. “I think you’ve got a wrong opinion about some of my feelings towards you, Andy.” She looked at him seriously.

He frowned. “What d’you mean?”

She leaned forward and took the photo album from the bed, browsing in it for several seconds before she had found the pic she had been looking for. It was one that showed all three of them. It had been taken by a professional photographer not too long before her husband’s accident. She laid the book in front of him, pointing at him. “You look a lot like your father.”

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, not looking at her.

She winced when his words only proved that she was right about her worries. “Andy, look at me,” she pleaded softly and waited until he did. “What are you sorry for?”

He bit his lip, unable to say anything. How could he tell his mother that he felt bad for reminding her every day about her dead husband, his father?

She stood up from her chair and sat down next to him on the bed, placing the photo album in her lap. “You look a lot like him, there is no denying that, Andy,” she started softly and glanced at the picture. She smiled as her fingertips brush against the edges of the photo. “Your lips are mine though.”

He snorted. “No denying that either, huh?”

She laughed. “No.” Maria placed the book aside again and turned to look at her son. “You should be proud to look like ya do, Andy. He was always a ladies man, by the way,” she told him, bumping his side with a wink.

Andy snorted. “Wish I didn’t remind everyone of him, though.”

She shook her head. “We all miss him, but he will always be a part of our lives. Nobody can take the memories from us, not the good moments and not the bad ones either, but a part of him is still alive,” she brushed her fingertips at her son’s temple. “He’s alive in you.”

“But you hurt when you look at me,” he blurted out.

There! He had said it! “But not because you look like your dad, Andy!” she told him directly.

“Why then?”

She considered her answer for a few moments. “Because I see how much you’re hurting, Andy, and I don’t know how to make ya feel better.”

“You hurt, because I hurt?” he asked, puzzled.

She nodded. “Of course I do. You’re my son, Andy. I care about you like about nothing else in this world and when you hurt, then I hurt as well. I can see the sadness in your eyes and it worries me. I know it’s normal to some extent, but I want it to change.”

Had he misinterpreted his mother’s reaction to him from the first moment? he wondered. “So…” he cleared his throat, “you aren’t hurt because I look like Dad?”

She smiled and shook her head. “No. I’m happy that you’re so much like him. But no matter how much you are like your father, Andy, you should live your own life, you understand me? Don’t question yourself every time and try to figure out what your Dad would’ve said or done.” She looked at the picture next to her again. “That doesn’t mean you should forget about everything he ever said to you, because most likely he was right.”

“You’re talkin’ about basketball, aren’t ya?” Andy guessed.

Maria chuckled. “For example, yes. If this sport makes you happy, then do it! Just because your father didn’t like it doesn’t mean you should stay away from it. You father hated Coke as well and told you every time that you shouldn’t drink it.” She reached down and picked up a half-empty bottle from the ground. “Did that stop you?”

Andy shook his head, finally realizing that she was probably right.

“And your father seriously didn’t allow eating in bed,” she teased.

The young boy took another bite of his sandwich. “But it never stopped me from doin’ it.”

She laughed. “You’d better not do it anymore as soon as we move. I picked up the keys today.”

“Really?” he asked excitedly. “When can we start movin’?”

“Hm… what about tomorrow?”

“Cool, can I pick out the colors for the second floor?”

“Sure, it’s gonna be your floor, right? Just no black or something totally ugly, okay?” She stood up from the bed again. “Alright, there is more food downstairs in case you’re still hungry.” She started to walk to the door. “Make sure you at least make a short appearance to speak to your grandparents, will ya?” She turned to look at him, surprised to find him standing right in front of her.

“Thanks, Mom,” he mumbled and suddenly hugged her tightly.

She hugged him back, puzzled. “For what?”

He let go of her again, shrugging. “Ya know… for being… my Mom.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 45

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:14 am

Earth2Mama: Thanks!

This was a necessary talk between Andy and Maria and it showed how much they care about each other.

begonia9508: It was important to know for Andy, why his mother acted around him like she did. He now understands that she cares about him a lot.

mary mary: Lol, some comic relief was needed here again ;). Thanks!

Alien_Friend: Thanks! It was an important / necessary moment for them.

Lol, Max knows how to push the right buttons with his wife ;).

Michael’s interest is starting to grow. This could cause a problem.

sarammlover: Michael will do his best to be there for both of them. His feelings for Maria are growing.

Eva: Lol, at least Max hasn’t lost his sense of humor!

Andy is still learning that he didn’t lose his whole family with the accident of his father. But he is making a bit of progress.

Maiqu: Thanks!

It was an emotional moment, but necessary!

rosyrosy2882: We are glad that we made you happy. It was a good mom/son moment!

M&M will have their time together… later.

A hidden secret? Hm…. Lol. We’ll see.

killjoy: Oh, we won’t disappoint you. Hopefully, lol. But ya have to wait one more week ;) *duck*


Part 45

Alex stepped out of the elevator on the second floor and approached the door to Isabel’s apartment. He smoothed his free hand over his shirt one more time and inhaled deeply, holding it a moment and exhaling slowly before he reached up to knock on the door. When the door opened and Isabel smiled at the bouquet of flowers he held in his left hand he relaxed and returned her smile. He had been sweating his choice as he walked into the building, wondering if it was too much or not enough. It had been so long since he’d been out on a date with a woman he was really interested in and he wanted to make a better impression than he had at the hardware store. He grimaced internally at the memory of his moronic comments and he was thankful that she had such a good sense of humor because most women would’ve given him his walking papers right there on the spot.

“Hello, Alex.” Isabel stepped back, inviting him inside as she accepted the flowers he offered. She was impressed with his choice, happy to see that he hadn’t shown up with a dozen red roses. Red roses were nice of course, but they were so cliché. The bouquet he had presented her with was a tasteful mix of white and purple Picasso Calla Lilies, white roses, a couple of types of different smaller purple flowers, and greenery.

“Hi,” he greeted with a smile. “I didn’t know if you’d wanna have dinner first or not so I left my toolbox in the car.”

Isabel motioned for him to follow her as she walked to the kitchen so she could put the flowers in a vase. “I should’ve asked you which you prefer… having a daughter at home you’re probably used to eating pretty early.”

He watched her move around her kitchen, glancing down when he felt something brush against his leg. “This little guy must be Caesar,” he said as he crouched down to lavish attention on the feline.

She looked at him in surprise. “How’d you know?” she asked as she cut the stems before placing them in the waiting vase and arranging them.

“You described them the other day when we went out for coffee.”

She hadn’t expected him to actually remember anything about her cats.

Alex cleared his throat as he stood up once more. “Um, about the other day… I should apologize for some of the things I said.”

Isabel smiled at him. “Why?”

“I’m not usually that embarrassingly lacking in social skills.” He chuckled and shook his head. “I’m out of practice. I don’t date much and you’re a very beautiful woman. That doesn’t excuse what I – “

“I appreciate the thought behind it but an apology isn’t necessary.”

He nodded. “So, why don’t we take a look at that room and then we’ll get started?”

“You’re sure you don’t mind eating a little later?”

“Nope. I eat early ‘cause I’ve got a teenager at home and it helps to keep her on a schedule. I don’t keep to a rigorous meal schedule for myself.”

“Where is Sam tonight?” Isabel asked as they walked down the hall.

“She’s with my parents. My mom keeps hoping Sam will take an interest in the winter dance comin’ up but even if she was interested she wouldn’t wanna go shoppin’ for the dress with her grandma. I have no idea what kinda dresses are in style or fashion this year, but whatever they are, I can assure you they wouldn’t be anything her grandma would pick out.” He sighed. “I haven’t figured out how to tell my mom that though.”

“Yeah, that can be tricky.” She stepped into a large room off of the hall and held her arms out at her sides. “This’s it.”

“You didn’t…?” he said, motioning to the furniture that had been moved to one side of the room.

“Oh, no. Kyle and Michael came by and did that for me. I thought it’d help if the furniture was already out of the way. Oh, and the wallpaper’s already cut; I took the liberty of taking the measurements and asking Clay to get it ready for me.”

“Good idea. That’ll save us quite a bit of time. Well, let me run down to my car and get my tools and we’ll get started. Um, would you mind if I take off my shirt? I’ve got a tee shirt under it, but I wore this one for dinner…”

“No, please,” she gestured at the shirt, “take it off.” She rolled her eyes when she realized what she had said. “Fine,” she said when he laughed teasingly at her, “you’re not the only one who hasn’t had a date in a while.”

He unbuttoned the dark blue shirt and pulled it off, leaving him in a stark white tee shirt and a pair of jeans. He wasn’t heavily muscled but the way the tee shirt clung to him revealed that his upper body was fit and toned. She bit back a groan and held her hand out for the shirt.

“I’ll hang that up for you so it doesn’t get wrinkled.”

He grinned. “Thanks. I’ll run down and get my things.”

“Just leave the front door unlocked, Alex. I’m gonna go ahead and do a couple of things while you get your tools.” She leaned against the wall after he left to go get his things and she reached up to fan herself. “Good grief,” she muttered to herself.

Leaning back against the front door outside of her apartment Alex reached up to tug his collar away from his neck. “Holy hell,” he mumbled with a big grin. She had been checking him out! He just barely caught himself before he started acting like a 16-year-old boy. “Okay, Whitman,” he advised himself, “play it cool. Just be yourself and take it slow.” He whistled under his breath as he went down to his car for his toolbox.

*****

Alex was sitting on the balcony that opened up off of the living room of Isabel’s apartment, his eyes following a cat in the garden below as it stalked something creeping through the grass. He smiled when it suddenly pounced and then scrambled to locate the creature when it realized there was nothing between its paws. He could easily understand the animal’s frustration with losing its dinner, he thought as he glanced over his shoulder.

Isabel was a wonderful woman. She was warm, funny, caring, and she didn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She had worked right alongside him as they hung the wallpaper, finishing a little more than half of the room before they had decided to stop for the night. They worked well together; he had enjoyed their conversation and he had quickly discovered that she had a great sense of humor as well.

Everything had been going beautifully until they had sat down for dinner and his taste buds had been subjected to what he was certain was the worst meal he had ever eaten. When they had sat down at the table his mouth had been watering at the sight and smell of the food, but somehow, somewhere, the taste had gotten derailed and missed his plate. She had been so proud of her skills in the kitchen that he hadn’t had the heart to say a single word that didn’t praise her culinary skills and before he had even realized what he was doing he had asked for seconds.

He had forced every single bite down, all the time praying for something to happen to make it stop. He wasn’t picky. Beggars couldn’t be choosers after all. He’d take what he could get. Fire alarm… earthquake… tornado… power outage… whatever. But, he hadn’t had any such luck and he hadn’t had any choice but to ingest every bit of the food that tasted remarkably like sawdust.

After dinner he had helped with the dishes and then she had sent him out to sit on the balcony while she put dessert and coffee together. He leaned forward and wondered if he could fake tripping and dropping whatever she had made onto the ground below. Damn, if dinner was bad, what was dessert gonna be like? He was almost scared to let that thought loose in his head.

“It’s a beautiful night out, isn’t it?” Isabel asked as she joined him with a tray containing two small plates and two cups of coffee.

Alex stood and took the tray from her, setting it on the small table while she closed the door behind her. “The weather’s been amazing this year. It’s not often we have such comfortable evenings at the end of October.”

She smiled and took her seat when she realized he was waiting for her to sit first. He really was a gentleman and it was refreshing to know guys like him still existed. It was even better to know that she had found him. Or he had found her. She wasn’t exactly sure which one it was, but it didn’t really matter. “I hope you like key lime pie.”

“I love key lime pie!” And he honestly did… he just didn’t know if he’d still love it after tonight. He accepted the small plate when she handed it to him and he picked up the fork, slicing into the pie slowly. He could feel her eyes on him as he raised the fork to his mouth to take the first bite. He was expecting more of what he had experienced at dinner so when the flavors exploded on his tongue his eyes widened in surprise. “Isabel, this’s amazing!”

Isabel smiled proudly. “It’s my grandma’s recipe.”

“Really? Is she also the one who created the recipe for dinner?” he asked, hoping she would say no. There was no way the same woman had invented both of them.

“Oh, no,” she denied with a laugh. “That’s straight out of a cookbook. Grandma would’ve had something like pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and celery, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, maybe broccoli and cauliflower with a homemade cheese sauce, and of course, homemade dinner rolls.” She rolled her eyes and waved her right hand. “Who eats like that anymore though, ya know?”

Alex hoped she couldn’t hear his stomach rumbling at the mere mention of the veritable feast she had just described. Where was Grandma when you needed her? “You’re close to your grandma?”

She nodded. “Grandma and Grandpa raised me. My mom wasn’t ready to deal with a child and my dad wasn’t ready to marry her or even be in the picture, so my grandparents were given full custody of me when I was three years old.”

“Do you have a relationship with your parents now?”

“Not much of one. We speak on occasion, but that’s about it. It’s not easy to build much of a relationship with people who essentially abandoned you because they were selfish and immature. I was fortunate to have my grandparents though, so it’s not like I was unloved or alone.”

“Sometimes I worry that Sam’s gonna miss out on somethin’ because she doesn’t have a woman in her life.” He paused. “I mean, she has my mom of course, but my parents are older. They love her and they’d do anything for her, but…”

“But it’s not the same as having that female influence there all the time,” she guessed.

“Yeah,” he sighed. “I’ve tried to be prepared to answer any questions she has and we have a very solid, open relationship, but… she’s a teenage girl and I know she doesn’t wanna talk about certain things with her dad.”

Isabel smiled. “Probably not, but she doesn’t have to question whether or not you’ll be there for her no matter what. She already knows the answer to that.”

He grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, I tend to get easily sidetracked and if I don’t watch it I’ll spend the whole night talkin’ about Sam. A friend told me once that I don’t go out enough to remember that there are other things to talk about. He also told me that I should go out and for a few hours at least put the dad in me on the back burner and focus on the man.”

“Your friend sounds like a smart man.”

“He has his moments,” he agreed.

They talked for another half hour before Alex told her he had to go. At her front door they paused, watching each other.

“I need to pick Sam up and get her home,” Alex said, but didn’t move to step out into the hallway.

Isabel nodded. “Thank you for all of your help tonight. The room looks great so far.”

“It’s gonna look even better Thursday night when it’s finished. Should we agree to meet at the same time? I could bring dinner. It’s only fair since you cooked tonight.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Alex sighed, relieved.

“Well, the time sounds good,” she clarified. “You’re doing me a huge favor and you enjoyed dinner so much tonight that I insist on cooking for you again. It’s my way of saying thank you and you wouldn’t take that away from me, would you?”

“No, not if it means that much to you.”

She smiled. “Good, then it’s all settled.”

Alex met her gaze and after a moment his eyes wandered down over her perfect features to rest on her lips. He resisted the temptation to lean in and kiss her the way he wanted to; settling instead for brushing a kiss against her cheek as he finally stepped out into the hall. “Until Thursday night,” he said with a grin as he walked backwards down the hallway.

“G’night, Alex.” She stood in the open doorway until he had disappeared out of sight and she smiled to herself. Yeah, maybe she had finally found a man who was interested in more than just a few meaningless dates. He was a single father, an intelligent conversationalist, he was handy around the house… and yes, she had felt heat rush through her entire body when she had come back from feeding the cats and found him standing in the middle of her bedroom, tool belt hanging low on his hips as he determined their starting point.

She closed the door and leaned back against it as she smiled stupidly. Yep, it was official. She really, really liked Alex Whitman.

*****

On Wednesday afternoon Isabel stared down at the folder lying open on her desk and her pen tapped against it as she carefully weighed her options. She knew what she needed to do but she also knew Michael wasn’t going to like it. The timing of the request in front of her couldn’t have come at a better time and she nodded to herself as she signed the forms. She looked up when Mrs. Walker knocked on the open door.

“I’ll be leaving in about ten minutes so I wanted to see if you needed anything before I go?”

“Just one thing: Have Counselor Guerin paged to my office.” She smiled at her assistant. “Have a nice trip and congratulate your daughter for me.”

Mrs. Walker smiled. “I’ll do that, thank you.”

Less than five minutes later Michael was at her door and he frowned when she waved him in and motioned for him to close the door.

“Must be serious,” he attempted to joke. He knew why she wanted to talk to him but he hadn’t expected to have this conversation at school.

“You know I don’t like to pull the boss card with you, Michael – “

“He’s makin’ progress, Iz… if you move him now it could undo all the work we’ve done.”

“If I don’t move him now I’m risking even more than that. You’re too close to this one, Michael, and it’s keeping you from seeing just how dangerously close you are to crossing the line.” She shook her head when he opened his mouth to protest. “It’s only a matter of time before that boy realizes you have feelings for his mother and when that happens it’s not gonna be a matter of taking several steps back on his progress and you know it. He’ll feel used and betrayed and that’ll be far worse than a setback right now.”

Michael knew she was right but he didn’t want to just cut the kid loose. “We just passed a major hurdle in his sessions, Iz. He may very well refuse to talk to a different counselor.”

“And as far as counselors are concerned that is no longer your problem. You’ve been filling in for Coach Morrison while he’s been out and he was scheduled to be back next week.”

“I’m guessin’ that’s no longer the case?”

“It looks like he’ll be out until after the first of the year so I’ll need you to handle the basketball team in his absence. You’ll continue in your role as a guidance counselor, but Andy Evans will no longer be assigned to you in an official capacity. We’re friends and I don’t want this decision to come between us, but – “

Michael held his hand up, cutting her off. “Do I like the decision? No. Do I understand why you’re makin’ it? Yeah, I do. We don’t always agree about each other’s decisions, but we’ve always found a way to work around that. You can be more objective about this situation than I can and like you said, we’re friends, and I trust you to make the right decision for the right reasons.”

“I’ve watched you with him, Michael. He looks up to you, he respects you, and little by little you’re reaching him. But I’ve also seen the way you look at his mother and on a couple of occasions I’ve even seen the way she looks at you. I don’t know how he’ll handle it if something develops between you and his mom now that I’m removing you from his case, but I do know what we’d be looking at if that happened and you were his counselor.” She shook her head. “I know you’re doing everything you can to make sure that doesn’t happen, but sometimes we can’t control our hearts and we end up doing more damage than we can control. I don’t wanna see that happen here.”

“What about the basketball team?” he asked uncertainly. “Andy’s been givin’ me a hand out on the court.”

“I’ll remove it as a requirement. If he chooses to continue helping you then I don’t have a problem with it. You might wanna think about talking to Mrs. Evans at some point in the near future though. I know you said you were honest with her from the first day, but she’s probably gonna wanna know why you’re no longer counseling her son.”

“You think I should talk to Andy?”

“I think that’s between you and Mrs. Evans, my friend.” She smiled and shook her head. “I think he’ll be happy to ditch you as his counselor. What you choose to tell him as an explanation is probably something you should discuss with his mother. She may not feel that it’s necessary to tell him anything more than his enforced counseling sessions are being temporarily suspended to see whether they still need to be required or not.”

Michael nodded. “I shouldn’t have put you in a position where you felt it was necessary to have me removed from Andy’s case.”

“We’ve known each other long enough for me to know that whatever your feelings for Mrs. Evans are, they’re not just a passing thing. I know you’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure this out, trying to weigh your options, and determine your ability to maintain your distance… if there’s a chance that a relationship can come about through this and that the three of you can, I don’t know, become a family, then I really hope that it works out for you.”

He smiled slightly. “Speakin’ of relationships, weren’t you supposed to be wallpapering last night?”

“We did. We wallpapered, we had dinner… What?” she demanded when he lifted an eyebrow.

“Please tell me you didn’t make one of those healthy dinners that lack any taste whatsoever.”

“For your information, Alex enjoyed dinner and he even asked for seconds.”

“Iz, honey, if you tortured the man with some low-cal, no-salt, low-carb, low-whatever-else, and he asked for seconds then he did it to make you happy. Next time cook somethin’ that isn’t so regimented. We like red meat, we tolerate vegetables, potatoes aren’t considered a vegetable as long as they’re baked, mashed or fried, and while we appreciate that you wanna take care of us, we like to enjoy our meals with some flavor.” He grinned. “Did you send him home after dessert? Or were you dessert?”

She rolled her eyes at him. “I have never put out on a first date and that wasn’t even technically a first date.”

“Um-hmm… did he kiss you goodnight?”

“That is none of your business, Michael Guerin!”

“Oh, my God, you went an’ fell for an actual gentleman; he didn’t even try to make a move, did he?” He grinned even wider and slouched down in his chair. “You wanted him to though, didn’t you?”

“Shut up.” She grinned to take the sting out of the words. “I’m not sure how his daughter is gonna take the news that we’re seein’ each other. I kinda got the feeling that she’s not exactly thrilled that her dad’s interested in me.”

“Well, she’s 15 and she’s used to it just bein’ her dad and her, so, include her when you get the chance. She’s a teenager so she may cop an attitude from time to time, accuse you of takin’ him away from her, but it’ll help for her to see you’re not tryin’ to come between them and he’ll appreciate it too. Of course, on the other hand she may accept it without too much drama.”

“Yeah?” She chewed on her thumbnail. “What’re the chances of that?”

“15-year-old girl?” He chuckled. “Slim to none. But here’s the thing… you survived the teen years so you know the ins and outs of that special hell. Besides, she’s been raised by a single father… there might be some things you can help her with. I’m sure he’s handled it as well as he could, but there are some things no girl ever wants to talk about with her dad just like there are some things a guy never wants to talk about with his mom.” He shrugged. “Chances are she’s already lived through some of her most embarrassing moments with her dad ‘cause he’s the only parent she’s got.”

Isabel made a face. 15 years old… yeah, there were so many things at that age that would’ve just made her die of embarrassment if she’d had to talk about them with her granddad. “Include her, huh?”

“That’s what I’m sayin’.” He reached down to tie one of his shoes when he noticed the shoestring had come loose. “I think I’d better get back to my office so I can get outta here for the night. Got some thinkin’ to do.”

She nodded. “I’ll see ya in the mornin’, Michael.”

He left her office and made his way down to his own office, closing the door behind him and dropping down to sit in the chair behind his desk. He had no idea what to do now. Should he go and visit with Maria, explain the situation to her, and hope that she understood? Or would it be better to wait and let things settle down first? He didn’t know which option was best at this point so he packed his laptop in its case and grabbed his jacket as he headed out of the building. He would think about it over dinner.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 46

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:23 am

Natalie36: Thanks! ;)

mary mary: Lol, think Alex should overtake the kitchen ASAP?

We are sure Andy can’t resist the basketball temptation for too long.

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… SUNDAY! ;)

Alien_Friend: Alex will probably try to convince her about going out for dinner, lol.

We will see Andy’s reaction soon!

keepsmiling7: Thanks!

Earth2Mama: It’s gonna cause some trouble / discussion, but we will work them through that. ;)

sarammlover: Thanks! More A&I is coming up soon.

Isabel was able to see what is going on with her friend and employee. It was the best for all of them and one day, all of the characters will agree. ;)

begonia9508: Thanks! Oh yeah, our Alex has manners, lol.

killjoy: “One red and rare steak and French fries here for our Mr. Killjoy. And leave the salad off the menu!”
Lol.



Part 46

Kyle leaned back and twisted his body to the left as he tried to stretch his muscles. He had forgotten just how much work painting was and how much he hated it. One more wall and they would be finished, he thought as he looked around at what they had accomplished so far. The apartment walls looked good and so far he had managed to avoid embarrassing himself by doing something stupid like sticking his foot in the paint tray.

Tess glanced over at Kyle, catching the grimace that crossed his face as he reached around to rub his back. “You okay?”

“Hmm? No, I’m fine.” He dropped his hand and grinned as he motioned to the wall. “We’re down to the last one. Wanna flip for it?”

She shook her head. “No, I’m feeling generous this afternoon and since you said you’re okay you can take the wall and I’m gonna go call for a pizza.” She patted his shoulder as she passed him. “That wall can wait until after dinner, Valenti. Why don’t you sit down and take a break?”

“No jalapenos on that pizza, Evans,” he hollered as he walked over to the last wall and stood in front of it for several minutes. She had chosen a deep red for the living room and even though he didn’t know much about interior decorating he knew it would look good with the lighter-colored furniture she had chosen.

Tess made a face as she flipped her cell phone open and scrolled down to the local pizza place. Yeah, like she was ordering jalapenos, onions, or any other offensive topping tonight. She placed the order and grabbed a couple of beers out of the refrigerator, popping the tops off and trashing them before walking back to the living room.

She stopped in the doorway and stared at the last remaining beige wall, swallowing hard when she saw the big ‘I Love You’ boldly splashed across it in red. Her stomach flip-flopped and she glanced around, looking for the culprit. Kyle was nowhere to be seen and after a few minutes her curiosity got the best of her and she went searching for him. It didn’t take that long to find him; she could hear him washing up in the vanity area outside the bathroom before she saw him.

He was leaning forward over the sink as he scrubbed paint flecks from his skin, his discarded tee shirt hanging from the door knob of the open bathroom door. She watched the muscles in his back flex with every movement and her admiring gaze was drawn to an old scar high on his shoulder. It was round, slightly puckered, and she was fairly certain that it had been made by a bullet. Exiting or entering, it didn’t matter; it was a reminder of how dangerous his job could be under the right circumstances.

Kyle knew she was behind him, he could feel her with every breath he took and every beat of his heart. He grabbed a towel and straightened up when she quietly backed away, leaving him alone. He dried off and glanced at himself in the mirror, wondering what had caused her to take off so quickly. He pulled his tee shirt back on and wandered back out into the living room. He smiled to himself when he saw his handiwork and he walked into the kitchen to find Tess.

“Did I freak you out with that?” he asked, hooking his thumb over his shoulder to indicate the wall in the living room.

She shook her head silently and leaned forward to push the second bottle across the surface of the island. She waited several minutes before she spoke. “When did you get shot?”

“Tess, don’t make my job into somethin’ it’s not,” he said quietly. “Yeah, there’re times when it’s dangerous but I don’t end up in a lot of situations where I’m in harm’s way.”

“No, it’s not that, Kyle. It’s just… I’ve heard bits and pieces of information about you over the years, but I don’t remember anyone ever mentioning that you’d been shot. Did your family even know?”

“It wasn’t that serious and it happened not long after Andrew’s accident. No one needed another reminder of how fragile life is.”

“So they didn’t know about it.”

“No.”

She didn’t like the thought of him being wounded and alone with no one around to fuss over him and make sure he was taken care of.

“I wasn’t alone.”

Her head snapped up when he spoke and she realized that she must’ve verbalized her thoughts without realizing it.

“My partner and his girl insisted I stay with them while I was recuperating.” He turned his head when the doorbell rang. “Want me to get the pizza?”

“Yeah, I’ve got some paper plates in here somewhere… I’ll dig them up. The money’s – “

Kyle shook his head. “I’ve got it.”

She smiled and started digging through the cabinets, looking for the package of paper plates. It shouldn’t be hard since there wasn’t much of anything in any of the drawers or cabinets yet, but she still ended up checking nearly every storage space in the kitchen before she found them. She was pulling a couple of plates out and setting them on the counter when she heard a voice she had hoped to never hear again.

It was like fingernails on a chalkboard and it nearly made her hair stand on end. It also threw her back in time to a long hallway in the high school and the feeling that her world was about to change as she neared the door to the eraser room. Hurt, betrayal, and anger had rushed over her in wave after unrelenting wave when she had caught her boyfriend in the tiny room with Stacy Portman clinging to him.

Kyle frowned when he pulled the front door open and saw the woman standing there. Stacy Portman was tall with long dark hair and crystal blue eyes that were still as full of mischief as they had been in high school. Coming face to face with her was unexpected and he could almost smell the chalk dust and feel the forbidden feelings and raging hormones that had been running rampant the day she had pulled him into the eraser room.

“Um, I thought you said you needed to talk to me about somethin’.”

“C’mon, Kyle, no one has to know,” she had whispered as she pressed herself against him and pushed him back against the door.

“Know what?” he asked, his voice strangled. This was wrong. He knew it was wrong, but damn the way she was rubbing up against him and touching him sure as hell felt good! He liked Tess a lot and he wasn’t sure, but he thought he might even love her. He had felt the prickles as his conscience reared up to remind him that if he really cared about Tess he’d tell Stacy to quit and he’d just walk away.

“No, Stacy, I’ve gotta get outta here. I’ve got a girlfriend and this isn’t cool…”

“What’s it gonna hurt? We both know Tess isn’t givin’ it up – “

It had been like a bucket of cold water and he had taken a step away from her. No, he and Tess had never gone all the way but he cared about her and respected her enough to back off when she put the brakes on. “What happens between me an’ Tess is none of your business,” he bit out angrily.

She had smiled, further confusing him, and the next thing he had known she had been plastered to him. Her hands had been everywhere at once, her mouth on his, hot and wet. He had been so surprised by the aggressive move that he had been slow to react when she had started kissing him like he had never been kissed before.

He had felt like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car when the door had been ripped open and he had seen his girlfriend standing there. He followed her gaze when her eyes lowered and he swallowed hard when he saw Stacy’s hand gripping his belt buckle, her intentions obvious. “Um, Tess, this isn’t… it’s not what you’re thinkin’…” he had tried.

Anger and hurt had mingled with betrayal as she had lifted her gaze to meet his guilty eyes and he had known he had just made the biggest mistake of his life. Why had he allowed Stacy to talk him into going into the eraser room with her? He had known better. The girls were rivals, had been since the second grade when Stacy had poured glue in Tess’ hair and it had been so difficult to get out that she’d had to have most of it cut off.

“You can’t even imagine what I’m thinkin’ right now, Kyle.” Tess had backed up a few steps, shaking her head when he brushed Stacy off and moved towards her.

“Tess, let me explain – “

“We’re over! There’s nothin’ you can ever say that’ll make me forgive you for this! I hate you for doin’ this to me, Kyle!”

People had started to gather around by that time but he had known that he deserved every angry word she wanted to hurl at him. He also knew that trying to calm her down at that moment was only going to be a waste of time and effort so he had just stood there while she tore into him. He had been aware of Stacy slinking away as Tess started to wind down, but he had known the exact moment his now ex-girlfriend had noticed the other girl’s retreat.

Stacy had never expected Tess to physically attack her so she had been shocked when she had been thrown up against the lockers. “Hey, it’s not my fault if you’re not givin’ the guy what he needs,” she said cattily.

“You’d know all about givin’ it up, wouldn’t you, Stacy?” Tess had snarled. “Football team, basketball team, hell, you’re probably doin’ the dodge ball team too!”

“Well, I’ll do you a favor and give Kyle back to you then… he wasn’t all that great anyway.”

Tess had grown up with two older brothers so when she got into a fight it wasn’t a matter of slapping and hair-pulling. He knew she could throw a mean right hook and unfortunately her opponent didn’t have a clue how to defend herself or even put up a decent fight so it hadn’t taken long before Stacy gave up trying to put up a fight and settled for just trying to escape. But even he hadn’t been expecting it when Tess had put Stacy in a headlock and dragged her to the girls’ bathroom down the hall where she had unceremoniously pushed her into one of the stalls and shoved her face-first into the toilet before flushing it.

It was at that point that several teachers had rushed in and broken things up and he wondered where they had been throughout the entire fight.


“I think you’ve got the wrong apartment, Stacy,” Kyle said as he shook the memories off.

She lifted her right hand with the intention of placing it on his chest but she dropped it back down by her side when he shook his head and gave her a warning glare. “I was hoping to see Tess,” she said, her expression turning serious.

“Huh-uh, no way. How’d you even know she lives here anyway?” he asked suspiciously.

“I was over at the Pizza Pan when she called the order in.” She shrugged and looked away. “I’m kinda dating one of the delivery guys.”

“So, our dinner’s getting cold while you’re up here tryin’ to start trouble?” His tone was cold and he made no apologies for it. He wasn’t going to lose Tess a second time.

“High school was a long time ago, Kyle. I just wanted to apologize.”

“Sure you did. You came over here to start trouble with her again and I swear to God I will make your life miserable if you come anywhere near her. If you see her on the street you’d better cross to the other side, if you see her in the grocery store you’d better leave and go back later, and if you ever come to this door again I’ll have you arrested. We’re not gonna have a repeat of high school and unless you wanna be introduced to the toilet when she realizes you’re here you’d better go. And tell your boyfriend our pizza’s late and that means it’s now free.”

Stacy tossed her hair back over her shoulder. “I should’ve known she’d take your sorry ass back. Even in high school the two of you only had eyes for each other.”

“Then why the hell did you make a play for me? Just to fuck with her?”

“It was just a stupid bet to see whether or not I could get between the two of you.”

“You should be proud of yourself then, Stacy, but just so you know, you don’t get all the credit. See, you’re out here pattin’ yourself on the back for breakin’ us up in high school and you’re not the one who did it. You’re not the one who compromised her trust because she never trusted you. You’re not the one who broke her heart and you wouldn’t know anything about that kinda pain since you obviously don’t have a heart and you learned nothin’ from that day.”

She shrugged carelessly. “Hey, no one told you to kiss me back.”

“No, I shoulder the blame for that alone. But let’s be straight about somethin’, Stacy – I didn’t go with you that day because I wanted a shot at what every other guy on the team had already had. We both know I only went with you because you said you needed to talk to me and as soon as we were in the eraser room you were all over me.” He shook his head. “I’m not gonna stand here and talk about this with you. Go tell your little boy toy that we’re still waitin’ on our dinner and I wasn’t kiddin’ when I said I’d have you arrested, Stacy.” He shut the door in her face and leaned forward, his left hand braced against the frame as he drew in a deep breath. Damn it! It seemed like no matter which way he turned something was popping up to remind him of the day he had made the biggest mistake of his life.

He took a step back when a timid knock sounded and he jerked the door open. A slow grin appeared when he got a look at the young guy standing there, nervously waiting to get his ass chewed out for delivering the pizza late. “Take some advice, kid,” he said as he took the cardboard box the guy had just pulled out of the heated delivery bag. “Get rid of her because she’s only gonna give you more trouble than she’s worth.”

The kid swallowed hard. “Um, that’s $17.25 for the pizza,” he said hopefully.

Kyle snorted. “It was $17.25 seven minutes ago.” He pulled the receipt off of the box and held it up in front of the kid’s face since he obviously had a problem with his eyesight. Either that or he couldn’t tell time yet. “Check your watch, bud, ‘cause you missed the delivery time.”

“No, see, I was outside before the – “

“Uh-huh, and then you let your girl come up here with the intention of harassing my girl… and now that you’ve decided to come up here and bring our pizza you’re late. Delivery time doesn’t mean the time you parked in front of the apartment and sat out there pickin’ your nose or scratchin’ yourself, you moron. That $17.25 is comin’ outta your wallet, now get lost.”

Tess was leaning back against the counter nursing her beer when Kyle walked into the kitchen carrying the pizza that was thankfully still hot. She watched him as he set the carton down and her gaze slid over his tense shoulders, moving down until it settled on his hands where they were curled around the edge of the island in a white-knuckled grip. She had made it as far as the doorway before she had heard him speak and she had made herself stand there and listen instead of charging blindly into the scene and starting a fight.

Even though she and Kyle had been seeing each other for a few weeks unofficially now they still hadn’t really talked about what had happened that day. It was something she had known they would have to deal with eventually because it was the event that had changed the course of their relationship. He had never tried to defend his actions beyond his attempt that day in the hall when he had tried to explain that it wasn’t what it looked like. She should have known that Stacy had orchestrated the entire thing, but it didn’t excuse him from kissing the tramp. She was glad she had stayed back and just listened because she had a clearer picture of what had really happened that day and even in talking to Stacy he had been man enough to shoulder his part of the blame.

She had never considered how much he had regretted that day or how much it had hurt him. She had never been interested in hearing his side of the story, concentrating on her own pain and the fact that the one person she had been so sure of had turned around and betrayed her without a second thought. But she had heard it in his voice and she could see it in the set of his shoulders as he stood in front of her facing the wall. It was past time to let it go, she realized. They had a second chance, something too few people ever got, and she didn’t want to waste it on something that really didn’t even matter. It was a mistake and it had cost them enough time.

“Kyle?”

“Yeah,” he exhaled, “time to have the talk.”

“No.”

He turned around to question her and blinked in surprise when she walked out of the room. “Damn it,” he muttered under his breath as he hurried after her. “Tess, look, I know the timin’ could’ve been better, but…” he trailed off when he stepped into the living room and she turned away from the unpainted wall, paintbrush in hand. He half expected a big swath of paint through the ‘I Love You’, but when she stepped aside his eyes moved to settle on the ‘Too’ at the end and a smile lit up his features.

Tess watched him as he crossed the room and her eyes remained locked on his when he took the paintbrush from her and tossed it in the general direction of the paint tray where it landed with a wet splat. His hand came up to cradle her cheek as his eyes traced over her features to settle on her lips and she saw him swallow convulsively when her tongue slipped out to wet them. His hand slid around to settle at the back of her neck and he used the gentlest of pressure to bring her forward.

“I’ve never loved another woman, Tess,” he whispered raggedly as he lowered his head to capture her lips with his.

Somehow she wasn’t surprised by his admission and her heart pounded madly in her chest when he changed the angle of the kiss, taking it deeper. His hands were scrabbling with her tee shirt, tugging on it roughly as he tried to pull it free of the waistband of her jeans. Her hands collided with his and she brushed them aside impatiently, nipping his bottom lip in warning and smiling when his hands stilled long enough for her to jerk the hem of her shirt free.

He growled and broke the kiss only long enough to rip the shirt over her head. His mouth settled over hers again and his hands slid down over her body, fingertips skimming over her sides on his way to his destination. He gripped her thighs and lifted her up until she was high enough to wrap her legs around his waist and she yelped when he caught his foot in the plastic sheeting covering the floor and lost his balance. He threw his left arm out to brace himself against the wall and he sighed in relief when her back came to rest against the wall without him squishing her.

Tess giggled suddenly and she ran her fingers through his hair, tugging on the ends to get his attention and make him look at her. “Maybe we should take this somewhere that isn’t gonna end up with one of us injured or covered in paint.” She shifted, using her position to her advantage as she rubbed against the bulge in his jeans. “Probably oughta hurry… I think your weapon’s ready to fire.”

He chuckled. “I think we’re safe. I’ve had a lot of practice learnin’ how to control the impulse to fire too soon.” He used his nose to nudge her chin up so he could kiss her again. As soon as they had to break for air he drew in several deep breaths and then turned to carry her through the apartment to her bedroom. “I’ll be glad when you’ve got real furniture,” he rasped against her ear as he lowered them to the air mattress in the middle of the room. Other than the lamp sitting on a box next to the mattress and a few articles of clothing there wasn’t really anything in the room.

“Shut up, Valenti,” she muttered affectionately as she rid him of his shirt and traced her fingertips over his chest. “I think there’re better things you could be doin’ with your mouth.”

“Yes ma’am.” He grinned when she rolled her eyes at him and his gaze dropped to the sky blue bra she was wearing. His hands trembled slightly as he fumbled with the front clasp and he could feel her trying not to laugh. “Never laugh at a man who’s armed and dangerous.”

“Armed and nervous maybe,” she teased lightly before tightening her grip on his hips and rolling them over. She sat up and shrugged the bra off, tossing it aside and brushing her hair back out of habit. She felt Kyle’s hands clench where they had settled on her thighs and they began to slide upwards as he slowly brought himself upright.

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered as his hands came up to cradle her breasts. He smiled when his thumbs brushed over her nipples and he heard the hitch in her breathing that promptly turned into a low moan when he took the first one in his mouth. His right arm had made its way around her waist and his fingers were happily teasing her skin where the gap between the waistband of her jeans and her body provided him with opportunity. It was his turn to groan when she wiggled around and he wondered what she was doing until he suddenly realized he had a lot more room to play. She had unfastened her jeans to give him better access and when his hand slid over bare skin he leaned back to look up at her. “Goin’ commando, Tess?”

She shifted against him when his hand made a torturously slow journey over her hip, fingertips teasing her abdomen as they came to rest at the top of her mound. “Don’t be a tease, Kyle. Payback’s a bitch and we’ve been waitin’ years for this.” She shifted to give him more room to move when he complied with her demand and she watched his eyes darken as he touched her for the first time.

Kyle’s fingers danced over her wet flesh and he felt the shudder race through her body when he brushed against her clit. Her hands clenched on his shoulders as she rose to her knees, hips shifting restlessly as she sought more contact. He used his free hand to slide around her waist, holding her close as he laved attention on the breast he had missed earlier while the other hand continued to bring her closer to the edge.

Back in high school he had dreamed of touching her, tasting her, and he had driven himself crazy wondering what it would feel like to have her wrapped around him in the most intimate way possible. He had spent so many nights and mornings jerking off to every fantasy he had of her, trying to find some relief from the constant edge he had been on around her. Her breath was coming in stilted pants now and if it was possible he hardened even more. He forced his own breathing to calm down and he slowed the movements of his right hand before he eased it out from between her legs and he smiled tightly when her eyes shot open and she stared at him accusingly.

“I’ve been waitin’ almost 16 years to finally know what you taste like,” he whispered raggedly. His words drew a helpless whimper from her and she nodded wordlessly, letting him know that he had her permission. He rolled them over and quickly stripped her jeans from her legs, leaving her bare to his hungry gaze. His breathing quickened when she raised her right leg at the knee and spread herself open for him. His voice was hoarse as he forced the words from his tight throat, “Fuck, you’re so wet.”

He crawled up over her, carefully avoiding touching her where she so obviously needed it and he kissed her hard and deep for several long minutes before he released her mouth and moved back down her body. He remained on his knees between her legs, his heated gaze moving over her, taking in the light sheen of sweat glistening on her body, the pulse pounding madly at her throat, and the rapid rise and fall of her breasts in tandem with her ragged breathing.

Tess watched him as he devoured her with his eyes and she squirmed in frustration when he took his sweet time. She knew how long they had waited to reach this moment and she didn’t want to rush it for him, but damn it, if she was this ready to come he had to be ready to explode! Just when she was about to remind him of that little fact his hands smoothed over the flesh of her inner thighs and she took the hint, parting them further in invitation. She felt his heated breath against her wet flesh seconds before his tongue touched her and his hands gripped her tightly to hold her still when her hips bucked up at the contact.

He set up a maddening rhythm with his tongue, bringing his teeth and lips into play when the mood struck and she just knew she was going to die from the pleasure before she ever reached orgasm. His tongue teased her entrance and her strangled cries let him know she was on the verge of coming. He jerked his wallet out of his back pocket and fumbled for a condom, pausing just long enough to rip it open with his teeth, shove his jeans down his hips, and roll it on.

Her hands slid against his skin as she scrabbled to find purchase on his sweat-slicked back when she felt the blunt head of his cock nudging her entrance. “Yessss,” she hissed when he started to push into her and she felt her body stretching to accommodate him. It felt so right, she thought when he was finally inside her as deep as he could go and he stilled to let her adjust. She pushed her hips up and he took the hint without any further signals from her and he withdrew and eased back inside as he brought his mouth up to kiss her deeply and slowly, his tongue mimicking the movements of his lower body.

Tess moaned loudly when he changed his angle just slightly and he hit that perfect spot. She was still seeing stars when he lowered his right hand, slipping it between them so he could tease her clit at the same time. He was still riding her slowly when her back arched up off of the mattress and she screamed hoarsely as she came harder than she ever had in her life.

“My turn,” he growled into her ear before he bit down gently on her neck where it joined her shoulder and sucked hard as his hips picked up speed. She was quickly approaching a second orgasm and he pinched her clit gently to push her over as he reared up on his knees and held her hips tightly as lifted her lower body up and pounded into her hard and fast as he sought his own release. His hips stuttered as he felt his own orgasm wash over him and he thrust as deep as possible as he tried to draw it out.

Tess pulled him close when he practically collapsed on top of her and she wrapped her legs around him, holding him inside and savoring the feeling of being joined with him. Before long she had to let him go so he could take care of the condom and she grinned when he flopped back on the mattress beside her after he had dealt with it. She came up on one elbow and rubbed his chest as she leaned down to kiss him tenderly. “That was worth the wait,” she said with a satisfied smile.

“You’ll get no arguments outta me,” he agreed and still sounded slightly breathless. His right hand came up to cradle her cheek and he met her gaze seriously. “I love you, Tess. I always have.”

Her heart pounded at the honesty in his eyes. They were three words that she had never spoken to any other man because she had always known that despite the circumstances her heart would never belong to anyone but him. “I love you too,” she whispered.

“How much are you gonna hate me if I take a little nap?” he asked, fighting back a yawn.

“Promise to warm the pizza up when we wake up and I’ll join you.”

“Deal,” he said and sealed it with a kiss.
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Part 47

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:46 am

Eva: Thanks!

It was time for the truth to come out. They couldn’t really move forward with that hanging between them. Kyle is man enough to own up to his mistakes.

Kyle was just trying to protect his family by sparing them more pain, but you’re right, they should’ve known he had been hurt.

keepsmiling7: Thanks for reading.

Earth2Mama: Yeah!

That story was bound to come out and for them to continue moving forward it had to happen sooner rather than later. Tess’ reaction was definitely priceless! There are some great benefits to having two older brothers, lol.

Kyle is a man who believes in doing what is right. He regrets what happened in high school but he isn’t going to try to shovel all of the responsibility for that day on Stacy. But he’s definitely gonna make damn sure she knows she won’t get another shot at ruining things between him and Tess.

We kinda got the impression killjoy was happy with this update too, lol.

begonia9508: Lol, turn the air conditioner on!

Kyle wasn’t going to let Stacy ruin things again. She had no right to show up at Tess’ apartment like that, but she was just looking for trouble.

Pizza guy, well, one can only hope!

Glad you enjoyed that HOT part!

mary mary: Stacy deserved everything Tess gave her, didn’t she? Lol.

Natalie36: Thanks for reading!

Alien_Friend: It took some time for them to reach this stage of their relationship. Stacy isn’t the slightest bit apologetic for her actions in high school. Kyle believes in taking responsibility and he did that, didn’t he?

We’ll see more between Kyle and Tess. 

killjoy:  LOL, we kinda thought you might enjoy that part. How was your Tess… er, your pizza? ;)

Maiqu: Yeah, college can interfere, lol.

Glad you enjoyed those parts!

sarammlover: LOL… got ya blushing a bit, huh? Yup, it was past time, and Tess finally got to hear the truth about what happened that day. Glad you enjoyed the update!


Part 47

Maria was slouched down on the porch swing reading a book and enjoying the early evening breeze while Kyle, Andy, and the twins tossed the football back and forth in the front yard. Jim had played for a while but a solid tackle by Nick had sent the older man back in the house to pester his wife while she cooked dinner.

Her mother was enjoying all of the company she suddenly had underfoot and Kyle’s announcement that his FBI partner was coming for a visit and bringing his girlfriend had sent Amy into a flurry of activity. He had tried to convince her that she didn’t need to go to a lot of work, but she had insisted that she wasn’t having dinner guests and giving them anything less than a good, home-cooked meal.

She snorted to herself as she turned the page and glanced at the activity in the front yard. Like he was gonna argue with Mom over food, she thought. Her eyes were dropping back to her book when a loud horn disrupted the quiet evening and her gaze automatically shot up to check and make sure the boys weren’t anywhere near the street. She rolled her eyes when the truck slowed down and Kyle ran out and threw himself on the hood as the truck came to a stop and the driver climbed out.

She had met Jack before so she recognized the tall, sandy-haired man that jumped down out of the cab and ran around to the front of the truck where he and Kyle engaged in some form of male greeting ritual.

Kyle broke free of the playful chokehold Jack had on him and he reached up to straighten his hair when a tall redhead joined them. They exchanged a quick hug before he stepped back and pointed at his partner’s right arm.

“What’d ya do to him, Shay?”

Shayna grinned and settled against Jack’s side when he draped his right arm over her shoulder and she reached up to pat the cast encasing his forearm. “I take no blame for this injury. He broke it last week when he and his brother made a bet to see which one could stay on a bull longer.”

Justin’s eyebrows shot up when he heard that and he looked over the guy talking to Uncle Kyle. “I thought you were in the FBI?” he asked as he edged closer.

Jack grinned and pushed his hat back before offering his hand to the kid. “Jack Kelley,” he introduced himself. “Yeah, I am, but I’ve been on vacation. We were up in Montana visitin’ with my parents and just hangin’ out on the family ranch.”

“Don’t encourage him,” Kyle whispered. “His mom will kill me for sure if you do.”

“Yeah Jack. Maybe you could try to behave for once,” Shayna teased him as they walked along the front yard.

“Aww, honey, I could try, but that’s nowhere near as fun as misbehavin’.”

“So, these three young men are my nephews,” Kyle introduced them. Jack had met Andy before but he hadn’t met the twins and Shayna hadn’t met any of them. “This’s Andy, Nick and Justin. Boys, say hello to my partner and his girl.”

Shayna just rolled her eyes and shook hands with the teenagers, biting back a smile when they stared at her. She was used to it. She was a dancer and she had never been self-conscious about her looks.

Justin pulled his attention back to the cowboy. “So, you’re into rodeo an’ stuff?”

“Yep. Competed all through high school and college, but now it’s just somethin’ I do when I make it back home.”

“You play football?” Nick asked. He couldn’t care less about rodeo.

“Well, I’d hate to show your uncle up in front of you guys,” he answered with a slow grin.

Kyle snorted. “I’m not playin’ against an injured man,” he told his partner.

Jack shook his head, amused. His eyes locked on Maria where she was sitting on the porch. “Look who else is here.” He walked up to her. “You get more beautiful every time I see you, Mrs. Evans,” he teased.

Maria smiled and stood up to hug him. “It’s nice to see you again, Jack.” He was an openly affectionate man, respectful with women and his elders, and she knew her mother was just gonna love him. She glanced back at the woman standing with Kyle, not surprised when he said something and she laughed and shoved his shoulder. She had heard a lot about Shayna and she knew her brother liked the woman but she had never met her. “This must be your girlfriend?”

“The one and only Shayna,” Jack chuckled.

The woman smiled and stepped next to him. “Hi, Maria, it’s nice to meet you.”

“You too. I’ve heard quite a lot about you.”

Shayna grinned. “Kyle’s had plenty to say about you and your son as well. Although, I have to admit I’m really curious about someone else he talks about a lot… any chance we’re gonna meet the infamous Tess while we’re here?”

Maria sighed in relief. For a moment she had thought Kyle had said something about Michael. Why would he? Maria inwardly rolled her eyes at herself. “Oh, I’m pretty sure you’ll meet her. She’s loud and she tends to be hard to ignore, so there’s no way you’ll leave Roswell without getting to know her.” She knew he had spent the day with Tess and she could just imagine what they had gotten up to while they were supposed to be painting her apartment. He hadn’t been able to stop grinning like a fool since he had come home a couple of hours ago.

“Good, ‘cause I’m dyin’ to know what she’s like. So, have you decided to stay here?” she asked, knowing Kyle had said it was a possibility.

Maria nodded. “Yeah, Andy and I are moving into our own place this week.”

“Cool. I hope you’re gonna make lazy bones help you.”

“Hey!” Kyle complained.

“Did I say your name? No. Did you automatically assume that ‘lazy bones’ meant you? Yes. Now, whose fault is that?”

Maria laughed. “She’s right, Kyle.” She looked at the other woman again. “He’s pretty busy with Tess this week. They’re painting her new apartment, but I’m hoping for some help with the furniture from him.”

“Why’re you guys makin’ it sound like I don’t do anything?”

Jack slapped his partner on the back. “Don’t worry, City, I can always give you a hand.” He held his right arm up. “This here ain’t nothin’ more than an inconvenience.”

“Uh-huh...” Kyle suddenly wasn’t paying much attention to what his partner was saying because a certain blonde appeared at the entrance of the front yard.

“Hey, Aunt Tess!” the boys hollered as they ran to greet her.

“Check it out. Uncle Kyle’s FBI partner came for a visit,” Nick said.

“Yeah, he broke his arm bull riding,” Justin added in.

Andy smirked. “Justin’s got a man crush,” he laughed and ducked when Justin turned to shove him.

Tess groaned as she walked up the stairs after greeting the boys. “Don’t tell Justin too much about bull riding or you’re gonna be in trouble with his mom,” she told Jack and offered her hand to him. “Hi, I’m Tess, the crazy woman who thought Kelly was your first name and you were a woman.”

“Hope you gave him hell for that little stunt,” Shayna said, recalling that particular phone call.

“Hey, could you not encourage heaping anymore abuse on me?” Kyle muttered.

“Mom doesn’t mind that I’m into rodeo,” Justin said. Okay, she wasn’t exactly doing back flips over it, but she was cool with it… kinda.

“Dude, Mom would have a cow if anyone encouraged you to go out and get into rodeo,” Nick said, rolling his eyes.

Jack grinned at them and shook his head. “Moms are never happy about that, bud.”

“How long are you two stayin’?” Tess asked as the kids went on with their game.

“Through the weekend for City’s birthday and then we’re headin’ out to Dallas for a few days to visit Shayna’s family.”

Shayna grinned. “Yeah, then it’s back here so he and Kyle can spend a weekend playin’ outdoors.” She wrinkled her nose. “I may just stay in Dallas that weekend.”

“Not much of an outdoor girl, huh?” Tess asked knowingly. “Me neither.”

The tall redhead snorted. “No. I enjoy going out to his family’s ranch but I’m perfectly happy letting him go out and play by himself. I don’t mind taking walks with him or even the occasional midnight swim,” she said with a wink, “but staying outdoors overnight… no indoor plumbing… huh-uh, I love him, but it’s not happening.”

“Girl, I already like ya,” Tess told her, laughing.

Shayna grinned. “Maybe I won’t have to hide out in Dallas while the boys are out then.”

Jack smiled when he heard the women talking about things they could do. Shayna was outgoing and friendly but she didn’t have many friends because a lot of women were intimidated by her looks and they just assumed she had some ulterior motive for being nice to them. “So this’s fun an’ all,” he said, “but let’s talk about dinner ‘cause I haven’t eaten in hours. You guys wanna go out?” he asked, not knowing that they had been expected for dinner.

“Go out?” Amy asked when she joined everyone on the porch, followed by Jim. “Oh, no, I have a perfectly nice homemade dinner that’ll be ready in about an hour.”

“Y’all must be Kyle’s folks,” Jack said with a grin.

“He’s such a cowboy,” Shayna whispered to Tess.

“Hey, we’ve gotta be getting home,” Justin said when he glanced at his watch. “Dinner’ll be ready soon an’ if we’re not there we’re gonna be in trouble.”

“Yeah,” Nick agreed, “I didn’t realize it was getting so late.”

Justin motioned for his brother to wait as he walked up to the porch where Jack was resting against the railing. His eyes followed the man’s long legs where they were stretched out in front of him, booted feet crossed at the ankles. They weren’t brand new, shiny boots. They were old, broken in… the kind a real cowboy would wear. The man looked like he could’ve just stepped out of a Western… or a rodeo, he thought.

“What’s on your mind, bud?” Jack asked when he realized the kid was staring at him.

“You’re gonna be at Uncle Kyle’s birthday party?”

“Yep.”

“Cool, so… maybe you could tell me some stuff about the rodeo?”

Jack grinned and pushed his hat back. “Sure, I’d be happy to.”

Justin nodded. “Awesome, see ya Saturday then.”

He chuckled when the kid ran off to join his brother as they took off for their own house. “Your nephew’s got the rodeo bug,” he said, nudging Kyle.

“You’re takin’ your life in your own hands if you encourage him,” Tess warned.

“She’s not kiddin’ about Liz,” Kyle said, nodding in agreement.

“Hell, City, I’m not puttin’ the kid on a bull, I’m just gonna tell some tales.”

Shayna snorted and shook her head at him. “I’m not savin’ your ass from an angry mama bear, Jackson.”

“Mothers love me,” he insisted.

“Ooookay,” she said, drawing it out as she held her hands up. “I’m sure you know what you’re doin’.”

“I always know what I’m doin’,” he said smugly and reached out to wrap his arm around her waist.

Tess leaned back in Kyle’s arms, her back resting against his chest as he rested his chin on her shoulder. Her fingers played with his, tracing over his knuckles, sliding between his fingers and then slipping away again.

Maria smiled at them as she got to her feet and picked up her book. She excused herself to walk Theo and left the others on the porch. She retrieved his leash and stepped back out onto the porch, shaking her head when Andy asked if she wanted him to take the dog for a walk. She was happy for Tess and Kyle, but watching them together made that ache inside of her come to life and it reminded her of how much she missed the closeness of a good relationship.

*****

Andy ran into the twins as he walked to his locker after the final bell of the day and he fell into step beside them. “You guys got practice today?” he asked.

“Huh-uh,” Nick answered. “We were just talkin’ about getting outta town for a couple hours. You can come along if you’re interested.”

“How’re you getting outta town?” He knew neither of them had a drivers license or a car.

Justin just grinned. “I’m gonna head over to Sam’s locker an’ see if she wants to go too,” he said as he gave his brother a shove. “We’ll meet you guys out by the front entrance.”

“Okay, so, what’s goin’ on?” Andy asked.

“Ya ever caught a ride on a freight train?”

“No,” he answered slowly. “How d’you even do that?”

Nick grinned and shrugged. “Carefully. You in?”

“What the hell, why not?”

They made the necessary stops at their lockers to get the things they needed and then headed out to meet Justin and Sam. Andy walked along beside the others, glancing around at the unfamiliar part of town they were walking through, his expression one of curiosity. They crossed a field and the dirt and grass gradually gave way to gravel as they neared the railroad tracks and he watched as a couple of freight trains pulled past them, going in opposite directions.

Nick pointed at the train moving north, slowly moving along the tracks. “This one runs up to Clovis but we can switch trains when it stops in Elida so we’ll be back here before dinnertime.”

“C’mon, there’re only a couple dozen cars left,” Justin yelled as he selected one of the boxcars and started to run beside the train so he’d be ready when the empty boxcar reached him.

“Uh, what’re we doin’?” Andy asked.

“Let’s go or we’re gonna miss it,” Sam called and grabbed his sleeve as she followed the twins. “Just watch and do exactly what we do.”

Andy ran to keep up with the others, paying careful attention to the way they reached out to grab onto the bars on the side of the car and swung their bodies up inside. The train was beginning to pick up speed when his right hand shot out and gripped the bar and he hauled his body up inside the boxcar. The others reached out to grab him, steadying him until he could drop down to sit on the floor next to them.

“You guys do this a lot?” he asked breathlessly.

Justin shrugged. “Enough. It kinda gives us a chance to get outta town for a couple hours and kick back. The trick is to make sure you’re back before they realize you’re gone. That’s why we don’t take the train all the way up to Clovis. As long as we switch in Elida we stay under the parental radar.”

Nick dropped his backpack on the floor and stretched out to lie down with his head resting on his pack. For the next hour they talked about football, basketball, their parents, school, and what they might want to do for Halloween.

“Hey, the train doesn’t actually stop in Elida; it’ll slow down and when it goes ‘round a curve near the station we’ll jump and catch the one goin’ back to Roswell.”

“We’re gonna jump off a movin’ train,” Andy muttered.

Sam grinned and elbowed him. “It’s easy.”

“Uh-huh, okay.”

Justin snorted at his cousin’s less than enthusiastic comments. “It’s a grassy area. We’re not gonna jump into a gravel lot or anything. You’ve just gotta be ready to move when the southbound train comes down the rails. It’ll be movin’ faster than this one was when we jumped on.”

“Guess you never did anything like this in Miami, huh?” Sam asked. She had moved closer to the open door, the cool air brushing against her face and whipping her hair back.

“No. Me an’ my friend Scrappy used to sneak down to the marina and take his dad’s boat out.”

“Really? That’s cool. You guys must’ve gone out on the ocean a lot, huh?”

He smiled at the memories. “Yeah. You ever seen the ocean?”

“Um-hmm, my dad took me to California year before last. We went to Disneyland, spent some time in San Francisco, and then we went sailing with a friend of his. It was amazing.”

“Hey, we’re getting close to the bend,” Nick said as he stood and picked up his backpack. “Just watch the way we jump, Cuz, and your landin’ will be fine.”

Andy nodded. “That’s good. I come home with a broken leg or somethin’ an’ my mom’s gonna be pissed.”

Justin snickered. “Just watch us, Cuz. We’ve been doin’ this for a couple of years and never broken a bone yet.”

Jumping off of the train wasn’t as difficult or as painful as it had sounded like it could be and before long the four of them were walking along the tracks in companionable silence as they waited for the next train to pass them. The sound of a distant whistle heralded the oncoming train and after a few minutes it began its approach from behind them. As the train passed them Nick started checking the cars and after a few seconds he selected the boxcar and pointed it out to the others.

“Let’s go, Andy!” he yelled and the two of them started to run, hauling themselves up into the car and motioning for the others to hurry.

Sam was reaching for the bar when she felt Justin lose pace behind her and as she turned to check on him she missed the opportunity to grab onto it.

“Ah, damn it!” Justin shouted when his right foot slid in the gravel and he lost his stride. “Sam, go!”

“Nick, we’ll catch up! Cover for us!” Sam yelled, nodding when he gave her a thumbs-up sign.

*****

“Damn, I hope Nick comes up with a good excuse for me bein’ home later than expected,” Justin muttered quietly as he and Sam walked along the tracks in the direction of their hometown. It was still almost another hour before the next train would pass by on its way to Roswell.

Sam snorted. “Ya know how bad he lies.”

“Ungh, I can already hear Dad yellin’ at me. Damn.” The last thing he had wanted was to bother his parents even more, but he still had a little hope that his brother would find a way to cover up for them.

“I’ll be lucky if my Dad doesn’t find out that Andy was here too.” She made a face.

“Huh? Why’s that matter?” He kicked a small stone along the tracks as they walked.

“He thinks Andy’s trouble and well, since we skipped that one class together I’m not allowed to see him without an adult around.”

“You’ve been breakin’ that rule a lot lately then, huh?” he asked, trying not to sound as weird and jealous as he felt. He didn’t want to feel that way, but he couldn’t help it.

Sam glanced at her best friend as he walked next to her, trying desperately to avoid eye contact. “Yeah, a few times. I know my Dad’s just worried and all, but I think he’s overreacting.” She shook her head. “Not that I’d tell him this.”

“I don’t know, maybe you should talk to him. He seemed to be in an awful good mood this mornin’,” Justin considered. He remembered Mr. Whitman’s behaviour that morning when he had dropped his brother, Sam and him oft at school. The older man had even tried to make some jokes.

“Oh, God, don’t remind me,” the girl groaned. “He’s been like that the last few days. I want my old Dad back!”

“You know why he’s actin’ so goofy?”

“Yeah, but I seriously wish I didn’t know,” she grimaced.

He looked up at her, interested, and rolled his eyes when she stayed quiet. “Wanna share, Whitman?”

She glanced at him, feeling her cheeks flushing. “I don’t know. It’s kinda embarrassing.”

Justin grinned. “Now you’ve got me interested. Come on!”

Chewing on her bottom lip, she glanced along the rails. “Alright, but first you have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone. Not even your brother!”

“Okay. Promise.”

“Seriously, Justin!”

He stopped and looked at her. “Hey, I said I promise, okay? Have I ever broken a promise?”

Was he offended now? she wondered, but left it alone and nodded as they started to walk again. “The thing is… my Dad has started dating a woman recently.”

His eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Really?” Well, it had to happen sooner or later, but finally hearing about it was a little surprise. “Someone I know?”

Ungh, how was she going to say this? “Pretty sure you know her, yes.”

“It’s not a married woman, right?” He frowned. There had to be a reason why Sam seemed to be uncomfortable with this. Doubtful she’d feel like this if the woman was just a normal, random woman.

“No, no, he would never date someone who’s already taken.”

“Okay,” his mind ran through the woman he knew out of town, but he couldn’t think of one who wasn’t married and who would be the age of their parents. “Ya sure I know her?”

“ItsPrincipalRussell,” she shot out in one mumbled sentence.

Justin had to repeat the mumbo-jumbo in his head a few times before his eyes suddenly grew wide and he stopped abruptly to look at his friend. “Okay, it sounded like ya said he’s datin’ the principal. I think I misunderstood…”

“You didn’t,” she admitted. “My Dad’s seein’ our principal, Justin.”

“Ungh,” was all he could say at first.

She wiggled her nose. “I know.”

“How did that happen?”

She shrugged and hooked her arm through his as they continued to walk. “I don’t know all the details, but he met her in the hardware store the other day and suddenly he was wallpapering her apartment with her.”

“And you’re sure there’s somethin’ goin’ on between them? Maybe he’s just… ya know… bein’ helpful.”

She looked at him in disbelief. “Come on, ya saw him. He’s totally infatuated! The goofy grinning all day, the awful good mood…”

“Yeah, I know, I was just trying to make you feel better,” he answered and bumped her with his right hip.

She chuckled. “Thanks for the attempt, but it didn’t really help.”

“Thought so,” he said and glanced at his watch. “Hey, but maybe this can also be an advantage.”

“An advantage?”

“Yeah, ya know… He’s distracted… she’s distracted..! And she might even try to be your friend. If she’s really interested in your dad, then it’ll be important to her for the two of you to get along.”

“True...” Sam said thoughtfully and grinned a little. “I think I understand now where ya comin’ from.”

“You probably shouldn’t aim for that.”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I should skip another class, just to see if she would tell my Dad or try to talk to me first.”

“Your Dad’s smart though, he’d see right through that, Sam.”

“Ungh, that’s probably true. He knows how I think just too good sometimes.”

“Well, at least he’ll be distracted with his new romance, right? You can take some advantage of that,” Justin offered.

“Let’s hope so. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he won’t even realize that I’m home late and the possibility that Andy was with us won’t even occur to him.” Yeah, one can hope.

He straightened up at the mention of his cousin again and could kick himself for it. There was no way she hadn’t noticed it.

Sam had recognized the change in him again with the reference to the other boy. She couldn’t escape the feeling that there was an uncertainty between them that they should get out of the way. “Can I ask you somethin’?”

Damn, he knew it! “Sure.”

“Are you feeling…” she bit her lips as she searched for the right words, “… I don’t know how to say it. Are you feelin’ weird or anything about the fact that I’m hangin’ out with Andy a lot?”

Of course she would ask the only question he didn’t really have a good answer for. “How do ya mean?” Stupid, ya know what she meant.

“Um, I just wanna know how you feel about me and Andy hanging out a lot. Sometimes, I have the feeling that you’re…” What word would fit here, she wondered.

“Jealous?” he filled in bravely. Hell, there was no way of avoiding this conversation anyway.

She turned to look at him, surprised. “Are you feeling jealous?”

He shrugged and lowered his gaze to the ground. “Maybe sometimes,” he admitted quietly.

God, what to do now? She hadn’t really expected that. “What kind of jealousy?” she asked carefully.

“What kind?” Now it was his turn to look puzzled.

“What I mean is, is it just because we used to hang out together all the time or is it also something else…?”

Something else, he mused, knowing what she meant. Well, what was it exactly? Did he have any romantic feelings for her? Justin stopped and looked at her intensely, studying her face for several long moments.

No, there weren’t any romantic feelings involved, he was almost sure of it. He couldn’t really imagine kissing her or anything. “I guess it’s just that I’m not used to the fact that you’re spendin’ so much time with someone else other than me, ya know? I’m not… interested in you in any other way. I guess I’m probably just jealous ‘cause I don’t want you to have this kinda close friendship with someone else.” He checked her face. “Sorry, it is stupid.”

“No, no,” she shook her head. “It’s not stupid, Justin. I understand what you’re saying and I can honestly tell you that my relationship to Andy is totally different from ours, okay? I already have a best friend and I’m not lookin’ for another one or a new one.”

He couldn’t hide his smirk. “Yeah?”

She nodded, relieved. “You’re the only best friend for me, Justin. And there’s no one else in this world who knows so much about me.”

He nodded, satisfied. “Okay.” He dragged her along with him to continue on their way. “So what is this thing between you and Andy then?” he asked, now interested.

“Um, I can’t really explain it. I enjoy his company, but in a totally different way than I enjoy hanging out with you.”

“Oh my God, are you telling me you have… romantic feelings for my cousin?” He made a face.

“WHAT?” she shrieked, but suddenly started to wonder. Did she?

“Uh-huh,” Justin looked at her knowingly.

“I swear to you, if you tell anybody…”

“What’re the two of you doin’ here in the middle of nowhere?”

They both glanced up to come face to face with a track worker. Where had he suddenly come from?

“We missed our train,” Sam said quickly.

The man lifted his eyebrows. “That’s no explanation for why you’re walkin’ along the rails. And since there’re no passenger trains runnin’ through here I think you’d better come with me. We’re callin’ your parents now,” the man said and pointed at a small building a little ways away from them.



:!: :!:
A/N: A new character profile for TIC TAC is ready and can be found at our author’s thread (link in our siggie). Read and find out more about Liz Parker ;). Link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fyrHPjlZmY
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) Part 48 - 10/10/

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:18 pm

Earth2Mama: LOL, not nuts, just teenagers… although, in some ways the two go hand in hand. Yeah, the parents aren’t gonna be happy.

Kyle’s friends are gonna fit right in. You’ll love the rodeo! Keep an eye on those bull riders. ;)

mary mary: Train hopping isn’t something that should be done and we don’t recommend it. The kids are gonna get an earful about that little stunt.

Oh, Jack and Liz will cross paths, lol.

Just seven little bitty days.

keepsmiling7: Well, they weren’t intending on getting into trouble, but it looks like trouble found them anyway.

Eva: Yeah, the parents aren’t gonna be happy at all.

That’s it exactly. They’re young enough to still believe they’re invincible. We have a feeling their parents are gonna remind them that they’re not.

It was time for those two to clear the air and straighten things out before anymore confusion damaged their friendship.

Alien_Friend: Yeah, we’re thinkin’ they’re about to be in some major trouble. Train hopping is very dangerous and really shouldn’t be done. We wouldn’t recommend trying it.

Yup, they had to get things sorted out before their friendship was ruined.

Jack and Shayna are definitely gonna fit right in.

The birthday party is coming up in a few more parts. You’re right about those interactions!

dreambeliever: Oh, yeah, the parents aren’t gonna be happy about this at all!

begonia9508: Train hopping is a very crazy, dangerous thing to do.

It’s true, they could’ve run into anyone or gotten hurt getting on or off of that train.

Don’t think that guardian angel’s gonna protect them from their parents’ wrath, lol.

sarammlover: It was time for the two of them to straighten things out between them. Yeah, the parents’ are gonna be… well, not happy.

Jack and Shayna are gonna fit right in with this group.

killjoy: Yes, it did and it’s not a smart thing to do. Their parents aren’t gonna be happy with them at all… and we’re really not feelin’ that sorry for the kids either.

We’ll see if Jack lets that bit of info slip.

LOL, true, but ya know… Sam’s just looking at it from the daughter’s point of view… Dad’s just bein’ goofy!

Jennifer24: That’s a lot of readin’!

It was about time, wasn’t it? Oh, she’s gonna start realizing it before too awful long. Andy, well, that has yet to be seen. Chances are he isn’t gonna be too thrilled with it at first.

Oh, Sam and Justin are in some seriously hot water, but what they did was stupid so they deserve it, lol. Ya know how it is when you’re that young – you think nothing can happen to you. But their parents are definitely gonna flip out.

Sam’s gonna have to learn that she isn’t losing anything by sharing her dad with Isabel. And you’re right, she deserves to have someone – Isabel – in her life.

It’s definitely a painful road, but if things are dealt with they’ll be able to pull it together and come out on top. :D


Part 48

Max entered his house earlier than usual on the sunny Thursday afternoon, intending to surprise his wife with his appearance at the unusual time of a day. He heard noise coming from the kitchen and smiled to himself when he heard Kara complaining about something. Chuckling, he walked towards the swinging door while he stripped out of his jacket and threw it on the couch.

“What’s the matter with my little girl?” he asked as he walked into the kitchen and found Liz at the counter, Kara sitting in front of her crying.

His wife glanced up in surprise. “Max, what’re you doin’ here?”

“Daddy,” Kara cried loudly as tears rolled down her face before he could form a sentence.

He looked at Liz in confusion as he reached for his daughter and cradled her in his arms. “What happened?” he asked, rubbing the little girl’s back in soothing circles to calm her down.

“She pinched her finger in one of the drawers.” Liz looked at Kara. “Again. We’ve told you not to play with them.”

Max leaned back to look into his daughter’s face as the tears finally stopped. “Which finger?”

Kara held up her right hand. “Tis.”

“Lemme see,” he said, glancing at her tiny hand and sighing in relief when he saw that there was no serious damage. He leaned forward and kissed each of her five fingers since he wasn’t sure which one his little girl had meant. “Is it getting better yet?”

The girl chewed on her lip, thinking a few seconds before shaking her head with a soft smile. Max laughed and repeated the motion again. “Now?”

The back door was suddenly pushed open and Nick walked in, freezing in place when he saw the whole family in the kitchen. Damn it, why was Dad already home? It was bad enough to lie to one parent, but both? Ungh. “Hey. What’s wrong?” he asked when he saw Kara’s puffy eyes. Maybe they were too distracted to even notice Justin wasn’t home yet.

“I pinch my finger,” his sister told him.

“Let me guess? The drawer?”

Liz chuckled. They all knew their stubborn little girl so well. “Yeah.”

Nick nodded and pointed to the stairs. “I’m gonna go upstairs.” He started to walk in the direction of his room and was almost out of the room when Max stopped him.

“Where’s your brother?”

Damn! “Oh, he’s with Sam.”

“Where are they?” Liz asked.

“Just out somewhere I guess. Ya know… Justin and her used to hang out all the time and now that Andy’s here…”

Max grinned a bit. “Little bit of jealousy?”

Nick grinned back. “I didn’t say anything about it. You just figured it out on your own.”

“Right,” Max agreed. “Go ahead. Dinner will be a while and I’m sure your brother will be home by then.”

Nick ran up the stairs, relieved. And hey, technically he hadn’t even lied. Justin was hanging out with Sam.

****

Alex was entering information into the computer as he talked to a client on the phone and he glanced at the digital readout on the handset when a couple of beeps indicated that he had another call. He shook his head when he didn’t recognize the number and he put the phone back up to his ear, quickly catching up on what his client was saying.

“No, I think switching to that…” he sighed when the beeps started again. “Eric, would you mind if I called you back?” He nodded when the man on the other end agreed and after disconnecting the call he hit the button to answer the waiting call. “Hello?”

“Um, hi Dad.”

His frown deepened when he heard his daughter’s hesitant voice and he lifted his head to check the time at the bottom right hand side of his monitor. “Sam, are you alright?” he asked, putting the most important thing first.

“I’m fine, I’m fine.”

“Alright, then where are you calling from?” It wasn’t a local number; that much he knew for certain.

“Um, well… that’s um…”

“Samantha,” he warned.

“I’m kinda outside of Elida.”

“You’re where?”

She cleared her throat and winced. God, he was gonna be so pissed! “Elida… ya know, kinda halfway between Roswell and – “

“What are you doing there? How did you even get there?” He was already standing, gathering his keys, wallet, and cell phone.

“Wekindahoppedatrain,” she mumbled.

Alex froze, bent over the desk as he closed out the files he had been working on. His mind sorted through the words, making them make sense and he slowly straightened up as he finally figured out what she had said. “You did what?!” he yelled.

Sam winced and held the phone away from her ear when his voice bellowed down the line. “I can explain, Dad,” she tried.

“Don’t worry, you will. I assume you’re callin’ because you got caught by someone?”

“Yeah, one of the rail workers.”

“Let me talk to him. Now.”

“Well, he’s not here… we’re with his supervisor – “

“Put whoever is in charge on this phone, right now, young lady!”

“This’s Randy James, Mr. Whitman.”

“Mr. James, I need to know exactly where you are.” Alex scribbled the information down on a tablet and after extracting a promise from the man to keep his daughter safe he ran out of the house and jumped in his car.

*****

“Did I already give you a kiss?” Max asked, wrapping his arms around Liz from behind after he came back down from taking Kara upstairs to take a bath and telling Nick to look after her.

“I don’t think so,” she answered softly and leaned back against him. She had felt tired and exhausted all day and it was good to feel his body against hers. It was almost as if parts of his strength moved into her own body.

“Ya okay?” he asked as he noticed her pale face when she turned around in his arms.

“Yeah, just unbelievably tired for some reason.” She shook her head when she noticed his worried expression. “It’s nothing more, believe me. Now gimme that kiss!”

“Yes, ma’am,” he teased and leaned forward to press his lip against hers. He growled low in his throat when her hands came up to grab his collar to hold him close. His arms moved around her waist in a protective grip as he widened his stance and continued to kiss her slowly and deeply.

Liz held onto him tightly, trying to enjoy every moment. Moments when they were close, when nothing else but the two of them mattered. It almost felt like back in high school, when they hadn’t had to be responsible for a whole family, where the death of a beloved man wasn’t casting a shadow on their lives.

The ringing telephone brought them back to reality. She groaned when he released her slowly. “Want me to answer?”

She shook her head. “Nah, why don’t you go look in on Kara again? Nick will be grateful.”

“Okay, I can do that.” He kissed her again quickly and then ran back upstairs while Liz went to get the phone.

“Hello?”

Thank God, it’s Mom, Justin thought. “Um, hey, Mom.”

“Justin?” Liz asked, already starting to worry at his hesitant tone. “Are you okay?”

“I’m alright, Mom. Don’t worry.”

“Okay,” she said, relieved. “So why’re you calling?”

“Well…” How should he explain this?

“Justin Evans,” his mother said when she realized that he was hiding something.

Okay, there was no way around it anyway, Justin thought and glanced at Sam, trying to make an encouraging face. “I’m somewhere between Elida and Roswell.”

“Somewhere?” she asked confused.

“We took the train to Elida, but missed the one comin’ back, so we started to walk.”

“We?”

“Sam and me.”

“Why did ya go to Elida, Justin?” Liz asked confused. There were no passenger trains that ran out of Roswell, so how could he have taken a train?

“Um, well, just because, ya know… just to get outta town for a while.”

Liz heard someone mumbling something in the background and suddenly there was a different voice on the phone. “Mrs. Evans? This’s Randy James. It was one of my workers who found the two of them walking along the tracks. I probably don’t have to tell ya how dangerous that kinda sport is. We’ve been catching quite a few teenagers playin’ around here lately.”

“Sport?” Liz asked, confused.

“Train hopping. Ya ever heard of it?”

Her eyes widened in shock. “Oh, my God.” She looked around for a piece of paper and found it on the counter. “Where can we pick him up?”

Randy rambled off the location before the woman on the phone insisted on talking to her son again.

“Young man, don’t you think our family has been though enough lately?” She ran her hand through her hair furiously. “Your father will be disappointed and so am I.”

“Mom,” Justin whined. “Do we have to tell Dad?”

She snorted. “You think you’re worried about your Dad? Just wait until you come home and listen what your Mom has to say.”

“I’m sorry,” Justin mumbled, knowing it wouldn’t help him out of his misery at this point.

“Your Dad will get you soon.” She disconnected the call and slammed the phone on the table, wincing when it made a cracking sound. She forgot all about her tiredness as she took the stairs two at a time to get upstairs to her husband. “Max?”

He stepped out of the bathroom when he heard his wife’s… pissed voice. “Huh?”

“We just got a call from your son.”

Uh-oh, it was never good when one of the boys was HIS son. “What’s wrong?”

“Well, guess what?” She placed her hands on her hips. “He and Sam decided to go train hopping and then got caught when they missed the train back to Roswell.”

Max’s face turned into a worried grimace. “They’re okay, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, thank God. He’s waiting for you to pick him up. The address is on the kitchen counter.”

“Alright,” Max brushed a kiss against her cheek and walked past her, ready to get in the car. He suddenly stopped and turned around again. “Nick?” he yelled through the hallway.

The other boy came out of his room, head bent down to the ground. “Don’t think you’re getting out of this. I know you’ve been with him so consider yourself grounded as well.”

Nick just nodded dumbly.

*****

Michael was leaning out to grab the mail he had forgotten to pick up earlier when he noticed the woman walking through the park and his hand dropped back down by his side. Should he go over and talk to her? He didn’t want her to find out what had happened from someone else; he felt a responsibility to explain the situation to her personally.

He stepped out onto the porch and let the screen door close behind him, waiting for the quiet click that would indicate that the door was secure before making his way down the steps and through his front yard. He took his time when he realized she was heading for the bench she seemed to favor and he pulled in a deep breath as he approached her.

Maria looked up when she heard footsteps on the path and she smiled slightly when she saw Andy’s counselor coming closer. “Lose something?” she asked, motioning at the ground by his feet.

He chuckled and shook his head. “Nah, Mojo wasn’t in the mood for a walk. Actually, Mojo is rarely in the mood for a walk. He’d be just as happy left alone in his own yard where he can chase butterflies and hide from the squirrels. What about you? No Theo today?”

“No, he’s already had his walk and I just wanted to get away for a little while.” She looked up at him again when he shoved his hands in his pockets and seconds later pulled them out again. “Do you have something on your mind?”

“Yeah, there’s actually somethin’ I need to talk to you about.” He nodded and sat down when she shifted to the side and motioned to the bench beside her. “Workin’ with kids has always been important to me and when I was given the opportunity to help Andy I knew I could do it and it meant a lot to me personally to be able to reach him. Our situations aren’t exactly the same, but I lost both parents at 15 years old and I didn’t want anyone’s help at first either. He’s a good kid and I knew when I read his file that I could help him and I know we’ve made a lot of progress, but…” He forced himself to meet her gaze. “I made a mistake, Maria.”

“With Andy?”

“With the entire situation. When I saw you the first time my heart literally stopped in my chest and I couldn’t breathe. It complicated things when I realized you were Andy’s mom because I knew I was attracted to you, but I thought I’d just be up-front about it and things would be fine. It’s what I wanted to believe and I guess I thought as long as I could kinda keep the two things separate the situation would be in my control.”

“But it hasn’t turned out that way,” she guessed.

“No. Isabel, Principal Russell, called me in to the office today and removed me from Andy’s case. She feels that the conflict of interest is too great and that if I continue to counsel your son while I have feelings for you that it could cause a serious problem.”

Maria watched him, seeing how torn he was over the principal’s decision. “What do you think?”

Michael sighed and lowered his head to stare at his hands. “I think Isabel’s a very smart woman and she was probably right to make that decision. I’ve tried very hard to keep the situation from becoming a problem and I knew my attraction to you was somethin’ that I couldn’t pursue while counseling your son…” He shook his head. “But even knowin’ all of that I’ve found it very difficult to keep a level of professional detachment when I’ve run into you. I shouldn’t have asked you to go out for coffee, or asked about you and Andy comin’ over for his birthday, or offered to help you move, and I really shouldn’t have asked about takin’ him to a game… at least not while I was counseling him.” He shrugged one shoulder. “I still wanna do all of those things and now that I’m no longer his counselor it’s a little more feasible, but…”

She stared at him trying to figure out what was wrong and it suddenly hit her. She reached out and let her hand rest over one of his fists, unconsciously rubbing at the tension she could feel there. “You haven’t failed, Michael,” she said quietly. “My God, do you have any idea how much you’ve helped him? How much you’ve helped us?”

“I don’t want to stop helpin’ him. Especially not now, after we’ve made such a breakthrough, but I’m worried my mistake could cause him to have a setback.”

“Because you don’t think he’ll be willing to see another counselor?”

“I don’t think he’ll be willin’ to see one of the other counselors. It takes time to build trust and for him to transfer to another counselor, I just don’t see that happenin’ after Monday. Honesty is very important to me and now…” He shook his head. “I may have done more damage than I can undo, Maria.”

“Because you’re,” she swallowed with difficulty, “attracted to me?”

“I don’t wanna lie to him about why I’m bein’ removed as his counselor and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed that I’m attracted to you, but…”

She smiled when she realized he was at a loss for words. “But he’s not ready to deal with that.”

He shook his head. “No, I don’t think so.” He ran his left hand through his hair as he sighed raggedly. “Lyin’ doesn’t set well with me, Maria. I know what it’s like to have people lie to you because they think they’re doin’ you a favor or sugarcoating things.”

“What’d Principal Russell suggest?”

“I told her I intended to talk to you to let you know what was goin’ on. Her suggestion was that I talk to you and find out what you felt would be the best way to handle the situation. She does have me takin’ over coachin’ the basketball team while the regular coach is out.” He ran his hand over his face. “I don’t know what to do. Maybe tellin’ him the truth would just be selfish and only serve to ease my conscience.”

“You don’t think Andy’s ready to deal with this situation and you don’t wanna lie to him. I can understand that, but if he’s not ready and you know it then I think telling him would be a matter of easing your conscience. So why not just go with what Principal Russell’s given you to work with? She wants you to coach, that’s gonna take up a good bit of your time. You’ve said he’s making good progress and you cut his sessions back to once a week.” She shifted on the bench, pulling her left leg up and tucking it under her so she could face him. “Michael, I can talk to him,” she offered. “Explain to him that between your new coaching job and his progress that we’re gonna give him time to see how he does without the counseling sessions.”

“I appreciate that but if you don’t mind I’d like to be the one to tell him.”

“And what’re you gonna tell him? Because I’m not completely comfortable with him knowing the real reason right now.”

Michael nodded and smiled briefly when he realized she was giving him a way out. “I’ll defer to your judgment. But, one day, when the time’s right, I’d like to sit down and tell him the truth.”

“I have no problem with that.” She reached out to pat his hand where it rested on his thigh. “I think in some ways this might actually work out better.”

“How so?” he asked, trying not to stare at her hand where it had settled over his once more.

“You’ve said before you’d like to be his friend. He enjoys spending time with you and he talks to you. He may open up even more this way. This removes the barriers he sees between you and I’ve already seen what you can do with him when those barriers exist… take them away and there’s no telling what’ll happen.”

“Then you’re alright with him goin’ to the basketball game with me tomorrow night?”

“As I said before, Michael: If Andy wants to go with you I have no problem with it. I’d just ask that you respect my wishes and not reveal the truth to him until I feel he’s ready to deal with it.”

He nodded and risked turning his hand over under hers, leaving his fingers splayed in case she wanted to pull away.

Maria stared at their hands for several moments before sliding her palm across his, enjoying the feel of his rougher skin rasping against her soft skin. She linked her fingers with his, smiling at the warmth that enveloped her when he closed his hand around hers. His hands were so big, she thought. They just dwarfed her smaller hands.

“Is that you, Maria?”

Michael sighed, annoyed by the interruption because Maria jumped guiltily and pulled her hand free of his.

Maria smiled at nosy old Mrs. Miller when she approached them from the right. “Good evening, Mrs. Miller.”

“I didn’t know you were seeing anyone,” she said, her polite voice barely concealing the undercurrent of disapproval as she looked between the two of them. “It’s so soon, dear.”

Michael knew their moment had been blown by the old gossip and he could’ve happily yelled at her but he controlled the urge and forced a polite smile. “Nice evening for a stroll, Mrs. Miller.”

“Yes,” she said, dragging the word out for several long seconds. “So, the two of you are…?”

“Discussing something private,” Maria said, putting an end to the woman’s intrusive line of questioning before it could get started. “I’m sure you can understand that.”

“Well, I never!” the old woman huffed indignantly. “I’ll be speaking with your mother.”

“That’s fine.” She smiled innocently. “I’m sure she’s home now.”

Michael chuckled when Mrs. Miller stuck her nose in the air and walked off. “I swear, I don’t think there’s a bigger gossip in this town.”

“That is something I didn’t miss living in a big city.” Maria shook her head. “Well, I should be getting home. My parents are going out for the evening and I have a feelin’ Kyle will be with Tess, but I still have a teenager to feed.”

“Maybe one of these days you’ll let me take the two of you out for dinner.” He smiled. “Or maybe just you.”

Her heart felt like it stuttered in her chest at his slow smile and the suggestion of having dinner together. “Maybe one of these days I’ll let you do that.” She stood up and her fingers brushed against his hand. “I’d better get going. It was nice talking to you, Michael.”

“You too, Maria.” He shook his head and stood up before she had gone more than a few steps. “Wait! Did you mean you’d let me take you and Andy out… or maybe just you?” he asked, unable to keep the hope out of his voice.

Maria smiled. “We’ll see. G’bye, Michael,” she called as she continued on her way.

He managed to keep from shouting in elation. She was going to agree to go to dinner with him one day, he was certain of it. He glanced at his watch and realized that he still had dinner to make and Mojo was waiting to be fed. He hurried across the street with a big, goofy grin on his face.
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Part 49

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:17 am

killjoy: Lol, and Liz isn’t done yet. She definitely isn’t gonna be the calm one here.

Cardinal: Yeah, and Mama Bear is gonna have some words for her cubs.

You’re absolutely right about Sam. Andy’s involvement… well, the kids are hoping to keep him under the radar. We’ll see if they succeed or not.

Michael… yeah, it’s one very small step forward. But, it’s a step in the right direction.

keepsmiling7: Max and Liz… their family… the magic is still there it’s just been a little hard to find lately.

Yup, when that kid is “yours” somebody’s in big trouble!

It took Isabel stepping in for him to begin really seeing what was going on.

Earth2Mama: Oh, probably.

It is a tough spot, but they’re gonna get through it.

Well, we’ll find out what kinda punishments the kids are looking at here pretty soon.

Those family moments are great. Hmm… you’ll be getting news on that front as soon as Liz lets us know for sure what’s going on.

mary mary: Max does seem a bit more relaxed… wonder how long that’ll last? Oh, we’re gonna get a chance to see Andy’s reaction when that happens. He’s made some progress, done a little bit of growing up, but he’s still got miles to go before things are all well and good.

Jennifer24: Thanks! Oh, he’s in for a very rude awakening, lol.

The game… we’ll see soon.

Sam doesn’t need any help getting in trouble. :D She can certainly find it on her own or even with the help of the twins.

Michael wanted to make sure he set things straight with Maria. True, time will tell where Andy’s concerned.

sarammlover: Oh, they’re gonna get there. Michael wants to be honest about things and now that he isn’t counseling Andy in an official capacity some of the pressure’s off.

Alien_Friend: Looks like they are finally taking a step towards something more. Maria wants to spend time with Michael and it looks like she’s making some progress of her own.

Oh, Nick gave it a shot but it really didn’t help his case any. Yeah, there’s just no good way to tell your parents something like that.

Max is slowly taking steps back towards the man he was before the accident.

begonia9508: Seems like that’s pretty universal, lol.

Yeah, dangerous and stupid… think they’re in major trouble.

Michael’s treading softly with Maria. He’s letting her know he’s interested and what he wants without being pushy about it.



Part 49

The small building that housed the supervisor’s office was nothing impressive but that was the least of his concerns as he climbed the rickety steps and opened the door. As soon as he stepped inside he saw Sam and Justin sitting against the far wall looking like they’d like to be anywhere but where they were. He held his right hand up when she started to speak, shaking his head in warning.

“He’s super pissed,” she muttered, slouching down next to Justin.

Justin rolled his eyes. “Uh, yeah, I can see that.”

“You must be Mr. Whitman,” the short, stocky man behind the messy desk said as he stood and held his hand out. “I’m Randy.”

Alex nodded and shook the man’s hand. “Why do you assume I’m Sam’s father?”

The man smiled. “I’ve got three girls myself, Mr. Whitman. That call would’ve had me breakin’ speed limits the entire way out here too.” He raised his right hand to point at the teenagers with the pen he held. “One of my guys found these two walkin’ the tracks. They haven’t admitted to it, but my guess would be they caught a ride in an empty boxcar on one of the freight trains comin’ in through Roswell and then missed their ride goin’ back. We catch kids doin’ that all the time and they never understand just how dangerous it is. I generally don’t press charges the first time I catch ‘em, but if I catch ‘em again…”

“My daughter won’t be doin’ anything this stupid again.” The muscle on the right side of Alex’ jaw was twitching as he turned to face his daughter. “Go get in the car.”

“If I don’t live long enough to see you again, it was nice knowin’ ya, Justin,” she whispered as she grabbed her things and hurried outside.

He nodded and slumped down in his chair, staring at the floor so he didn’t have to meet her dad’s angry gaze. “I’m sorry, Mr. Whitman,” he mumbled after several minutes.

“Are your parents on their way?”

“Yeah, I called my mom.”

“I’ll wait until your mother gets here.”

“Oh, well, you don’t gotta do that. I mean, it’s probably my Dad, who is coming and it will probably – “

“I said I’d wait, Justin.”

“Yes sir.”

They didn’t have long to wait before the sound of a vehicle coming to an abrupt halt could be heard outside the building. The heavy footfalls on the steps had Justin breathing heavily, because he knew it couldn’t be Mom. Damn, he had hoped she had been kidding about Dad coming here. Seconds later the door opened and Dad stepped into the office.

Damn it, he thought, … he was in so much trouble.

Alex shook Max’s hand and the two men talked for a few minutes before his dad turned to talk to the supervisor and Sam’s dad left.

*****

Justin climbed into his dad’s car quietly, head bent as low as possible as he slouched down in the passenger’s seat. Hopefully Dad would leave him alone for now. Mom had sounded pissed like hell, so maybe they’d want to give him the lecture together?

Max took his seat on the driver’s side and slammed the door shut. “Sooo… ya gonna give me an explanation for the stunt you pulled, boy?” he asked his son and started the engine.

Justin knew that no answer would be good enough and it wasn’t going to get him out of trouble anyway. He shrugged and glanced out through the window. Heavy dark clouds were hanging in the sky. It was probably going to start raining any time now, so there was at least one good thing about not having to walk the rest of the way home. “We just wanted to hang out,” he mumbled.

“Hang out?” Max asked angrily. “What kinda hanging out is that? Train hopping,” he snorted and shook his head. “I’m really disappointed in you, Justin. I thought you’d be smart enough to know how stupid this kinda thing is! And I thought Sam would be smarter than this too.”

“Sorry,” the teenager muttered.

“You boys will be grounded. I’ll leave the interval to your mother’s discretion though.”

“Nick’s grounded as well?” Justin asked, puzzled.

“Just because he didn’t get caught like you, doesn’t mean anything.”

“But he…”

“If you’re gonna sit there and tell me that your brother wasn’t out there with you then I’m gonna ground you for the rest of your life, Justin.” Max had seen Nick’s face. He had been out there on that train as well, it was perfectly clear to him. He wondered if Andy had been hanging out too, but maybe he didn’t even wanna know about it and Maria probably didn’t need any more worries. Besides that, he wasn’t sure if he was ready to give the boy a lecture about things given their current situation.

Justin just nodded and continued to stare out through the window. “How pissed is Mom?” he finally asked after a while.

Max had to suppress a laugh when his son’s voice revealed just how much he feared the answer. “You’d wanna prepare for a storm at home, my boy.”

*****

Alex was silent as he drove back to Roswell, fingers drumming on the steering wheel as he tried to figure out how to handle this one. His heart was still pounding in his chest because he couldn’t shake the thoughts plaguing him. Ever since he had gotten that call and Sam had told him how she had gotten to Elida he had felt like his chest was in a vise.

“Do you have any idea how many things could’ve happened to you doin’ somethin’ so dangerous?” he demanded finally, his voice raised.

“Dad, we’re always really careful – “

“What?!” he yelled.

Okay, did not mean to let that slip, she thought with an internal grimace. “No, what I meant was that – “

“How many times have you done this?” He took his eyes off of the road long enough to look at her when she mumbled under her breath. “Speak up!”

“I don’t know how many times we’ve done it.”

Alex was just barely holding his temper in check. Fear for his daughter, relief that she was safe, and anger for the stupidity of this stunt… they were all turning his stomach into knots. “And when you say we you mean… you and Justin?”

“Well, yeah,” she hedged. “Sometimes.”

“Damn it, Samantha, give me a straight answer! What about Nick? Has he been out with the two of you on these little excursions?”

She sucked on her bottom lip as she nodded once. Sorry, Nick. She knew without asking that he’d be making a phone call to Nick and Justin’s parents at some point that night.

“And Andy? Has he been out with the three of you in the past?”

It was the question she had been dreading and Sam nearly melted into her seat when he phrased it in a way that she could answer without lying to him. “No.”

“What the hell possessed you to ever do somethin’ like that? Do you have any idea what could’ve happened to you out there?”

“I’m fine, Dad, nothin’ happened to me or Justin.”

“And you’re damn lucky that nothin’ happened to you. Do you know how easy it is to miss a step and end up under the train? And that kinda activity isn’t limited to teenagers lookin’ for some fun. There’re dangerous people who do the same thing, people who wouldn’t think twice about takin’ advantage of a 15-year-old girl.”

“Dad,” she whined, not wanting to have this conversation.

He was silent for several minutes, not speaking again until he pulled up in their driveway. “Do you have any idea what went through my head when I got that call?”

“That you were mad at me?” she asked in a small voice.

Alex turned the car off and turned to look at her. “Sam, do you know the first time I ever held you I was so terrified I could hardly breathe?” He shook his head. “Barely seven pounds and I suddenly realized that you had changed my entire world and I had no clue what I was doing.” He stared at the house as his hand dropped from the key in the ignition and he leaned back in his seat. “Yeah, I was mad, but that call scared me. Keeping you safe has always been one of the most important things to me and what you were doing today is so dangerous for many reasons.”

“I’m sorry, Dad. I won’t do it again, okay?”

“No, it’s not okay and right now I don’t trust that you won’t do it again. I’d like to think that you sayin’ you won’t do it again is all I need but it’s not. You knew before you went out and hopped on that train the very first time that it’s not something I’d approve of otherwise you wouldn’t have kept it to yourself.”

Sam could hear the disappointment in his voice and she winced. First she got caught skipping class and now she got caught train hopping and scared years off of Dad’s life. Not to mention she had disappointed him again. She could hear it in his voice and she hated being the one who had made him sound like that. “So, um… I guess I’m grounded.”

“You would guess correctly.”

“For like a week?”

“Try two weeks and I swear, Sam, if I ever catch you doin’ somethin’ like this again…” he removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose before turning his head to look at her. “I’m not kiddin’.” He reached out to cup her chin in his hand. “I love you and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna see you get hurt or worse doin’ somethin’ so damn reckless.”

“I really am sorry, Dad. We never really thought about it bein’ all that dangerous.” She shrugged. “We were just hangin’ out.”

“Hang out closer to home from now on. And I wasn’t kiddin’ about you bein’ grounded for the next two weeks.”

Sam nodded and decided it was the wrong time to bring up Andy’s birthday on Saturday. He had given her permission to go but she knew if she brought it up right now he’d change his mind so she decided to wait a day or two. There was enough time for him to hopefully calm down enough to allow her to still go to the party.

Alex pulled her into a tight hug, squeezing his eyes shut and savoring the moment. She was home and safe and for the moment that was all that mattered. Oh, he knew after a few days she’d be moody and he’d want to lift the grounding just to get a break from her irritability but he didn’t care right now.

*****

Justin swallowed hard, when Max pulled into the driveway after the short ride back from Elida. If someone had asked him a few hours ago whose reaction he feared more – Mom’s or Dad’s – he would’ve said Dad’s without a doubt. Now, after Dad had been pretty easy with him about things, he wasn’t so sure anymore.

They climbed out of the car and walked up to the front door and Justin kept his head bent to the ground. Max glanced at his boy and shook his head. The boy knew he was in serious trouble and he almost felt for him. But no! He had done something very stupid and he had to learn his lesson now.

He opened the front door for them and found his wife and Nick already in the living room. The boy was sitting on the couch, his head bent just like Justin’s while Liz sat in an armchair across from him. As soon as she saw Max she got up from her seat and walked past him to grab Justin by his shoulders. She glanced over him for several long moments to make sure he hadn’t been harmed in any way.

“I’m not hurt, Mom,” Justin said quietly.

She nodded, satisfied, before reaching behind him to slam the front door shut. “Good, then you should be ready to deal with your furious mother. WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!” She whirled around to include Nick. “BOTH OF YOU!”

Max winced at his wife’s sharp tone and gestured upstairs to let her know he was going to go keep an eye on Kara. She nodded briefly before concentrating on the twins again. “I asked you something.”

Justin pulled his jacket off slowly, hoping that his brother would start to speak but he didn’t. “We… we weren’t really thinking about it,” he admitted finally.

Liz paced through the room furiously. “Yeah, that’s for sure! You didn’t think of the possibilities, what could have happened to you. You didn’t even consider that this is a dangerous thing to do!”

“Sorry,” Nick mumbled from where he was sitting on the couch stiffly.

“Sorry,” Liz snorted. “A sorry can’t help you. What good would a ‘sorry’ do after someone got hurt?”

“We’re alright, Mom. Nothing happened and we won’t do it again,” Justin tried and took a seat next to his brother, taking the same position: Back upright, head bent.

“Yes, you are alright, I can see that, but it could’ve gone a different way.” She ran her hand through her hair and stopped in front of them. “Don’t you think this family had been through enough in the last year? What you did was life-threatening and I won’t just sit back and accept what you’ve done until you both realize how stupid it was!”

“We know it was stupid,” Justin admitted.

“Oh, it isn’t gonna be that easy, my boy. You’ll both have plenty of time to think about it. You’re both grounded until I decide you’re not anymore. You will come home right after school, you’re not allowed to play football and…”

“Mom,” Nick complained. “You can’t just not let us go to practices or the games.”

She glanced at him angrily. “I can and I will. Watch me. The only thing that you’re allowed to do is go to your cousin’s birthday party and that’s only because the boy deserves a good party.” She frowned as a thought occurred to her. “Was Andy with you?”

“No,” Justin said before Nick could answer. He had promised Sam he wouldn’t mention Andy since she wasn’t allowed to hang out with him without an adult there. “We didn’t see him after school.”

Liz nodded. Good, the last thing Maria needed was something like this. “Go upstairs and wash up and then come back down for dinner.”

Both boys got up quickly, relieved that they could finally escape the room, which felt too small at the moment. They hurried up the stairs, almost running into their dad when he came downstairs again.

“Storm over?” he asked gently when the boys were out of earshot.

“I don’t know how you’re being so cool about this, Max,” she shook her head. “God, when I think about what could’ve happened…”

He walked towards her and took her in his arms gently. “I’m not cool about this. They know they’ve done somethin’ wrong, darlin’ and I doubt that they’ll do it again. Don’t forget they’re teenage boys and…”

“But this was dangerous,” she interrupted.

He nodded. “It was and I’m not sayin’ I appreciate it at all. Ground them as long as you want, Liz, I’m totally with you here.” He kissed her hair and let his hands wander over her back to ease the tense muscles. “Let’s have dinner and put our little girl to bed. After that we’ll sit down with the boys again and make sure they know how we feel about it, okay? Without yelling though.”

She nodded. “Was I too… loud?”

He chuckled quietly. “No, I think you scared the hell outta them, but that’s good ‘cause they’ll remember it longer and maybe it’ll make ‘em think twice when they feel the need to be fearless teenage boys again.”

*****

Isabel smiled when she opened her front door and saw Alex standing there with a bouquet of flowers that were just as unique as the first arrangement he had given to her. “Alex, come in!”

“Isabel,” he greeted with a smile. “Things haven’t quite worked out the way I had planned for this evening.”

“Oh,” she said, sounding disappointed. “You have to cancel?”

“Well, that depends.” He stepped to the side and reached for his daughter’s arm to pull her forward. “I have company this evening.”

“Sam, hi.”

“Hey,” the teenager mumbled. How could her dad seriously drag her out on his date? God, could this be any more embarrassing?

“There’s more than enough dinner for the three of us,” Isabel said, wondering what had happened to make him bring his daughter over.

“You’re sure?” Alex asked.

The principal nodded with a smile. “I’m sure. Sam, it looks like you’ve brought your homework along so you can set up over on the dining room table if you’d like.”

“Great.”

“We could have dinner first if you’d like,” she offered when the sullen teenager moved past her and settled down at the dining room table. “I know you’ve got her on a schedule.”

Alex smiled and shook his head. “Sam will be doing her homework first. I’ll run down and grab my toolbox and then we can get started.”

She nodded. “I could make her a little snack if you’d like,” she offered.

“Sam, would you like somethin’ to snack on while you’re workin’ on your homework?” Alex asked.

“No, I’m fine.”

He nodded at her tone and shrugged. “She’s probably not gonna be all that pleasant.”

“It’ll be okay, Alex,” she assured him. “Go on and get your things while I check on dinner.” As soon as he had gone back outside she went into the kitchen to put the flowers in a vase that she placed in the center of the table. She checked on dinner before turning to look at her young guest. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like something to snack on, Sam?”

“Tryin’ to make points with my dad, Principal Russell?” Sam asked as she crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the woman.

“I’d really like it if we could avoid getting started on the wrong foot here,” Isabel said as she sat down across from the teenager.

Sam shrugged and flipped her textbook open. “Whatever.”

“Okay then.” She stood once more and went to open the door when she heard Alex’s footsteps in the hallway.

“Do we need to start with movin’ the furniture?”

“No, the boys came by and took care of that.” She smiled. “They were impressed with how much we accomplished the other night.”

“They should be,” he said with a grin. “Our work was impressive.”

At the table Sam rolled her eyes and just barely kept from gagging out loud. “Dad, can’t I call Grandpa and have him come pick me up?”

“No ma’am, you can sit right there and work on your homework.” He followed Isabel into the bedroom and set his toolbox on the bench they had set up to work on and he sighed tiredly.

“Is everything alright with Sam?” she asked.

“I had to drive out to Elida to pick her up this afternoon. She and Justin apparently jumped into a moving boxcar and rode the train out there and then missed their ride back.” He shook his head. “She has no idea how dangerous that is… God, for so damn many reasons.”

“My God, Alex, you could’ve cancelled tonight if you needed to. That had to scare about ten years off of your life.” There were so many things that could have happened to his daughter and she was sure he had been going over every single one of them.

He shook his head stubbornly. “No, as long as you didn’t have a problem with my daughter bein’ here then I wasn’t gonna cancel tonight. I don’t want you to think I intend for Sam to be around for our dates on a regular basis, but…”

“No, no, I understand. You have a daughter and there are times when that’s gonna take precedence over a date and I know that. And I don’t mind including her sometimes. Matter of fact, it might be a good idea so she knows that I’m not trying to take her place or take all of your time.”

He smiled and took her hands in his. “Thank you. I know it can’t be easy to even think about getting involved with someone who has a kid… and to be honest, I don’t know how difficult Sam will make things ‘cause I haven’t dated anyone seriously since I brought her home.”

“Alex…” she turned her hands over in his and linked their fingers together. “It’s been a while since I dated anyone seriously, since I dated anyone at all, really. I like you, a lot, and I’d like to see where this goes. Sam’s used to having you all to herself so it might take her a while to adjust to sharing you, but I’m willing to work through that.”

He smiled and nodded. “Then we’ll work through it together.” He raised their joined hands to motion at the walls. “We’d better get through this first though.”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Re: In The Course Of A Lifetime (CC, AU, Adult) Part 49-10/17/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:34 am

Natalie36: Ain’t that the truth?

Earth2Mama: Oh, we think Liz has that covered, lol.

Well, chances are good that’s one lesson she won’t soon forget.

mary mary: Justin was pretty relieved too.

Yeah, that would be too embarrassing… and the ‘date’ isn’t over yet.

Even these kids are bound to do stupid things now and again. Luckily they have parents who aren’t gonna just lets those things slide.

begonia9508: It does make a difference, doesn’t it? Because when Mom suddenly goes off like that… you know you’re in trouble!

Alien_Friend: Even though she doesn’t have any children of her own Isabel has an advantage… she works with kids Sam’s age.

So true, there’s no way to protect them to that degree.

Liz wasn’t about to let that go easily.

The Andy situation… we’ll see.

killjoy: So very true! It’s probably a good thing moms don’t know all that stuff, lol.

Cardinal: Something so true of most mothers. We’ll see if that lasts.

sarammlover: Yeah, the parents were none too happy with their children’s escapade. And the consequences are likely to make the kids think twice the next time they wanna do something stupid.

keepsmiling7: Max knows his wife well, lol.

Eva: Thank you! Knowing your children have been in danger and that they put themselves in that position would have to be a terrifying thing.

The parents definitely got their messages across and it’ll likely make the kids think twice next time around.

Alex, like most parents, only wants what’s best for his daughter. Her safety isn’t something he’s willing to jeopardize so he does what he feels necessary to keep her safe.

rosyrosy2882: Lol, yeah… never make mama bear angry! Definitely a dangerous ‘sport’ and one that deserved serious punishment. Alex… well, he’s one of a kind, lol. Yeah, Sam isn’t exactly gonna be thrilled with this idea at first.

What’s not to love? ;)

Nah, don’t feel horrible! We love your feedback and miss it when you’re not around, but we sooo understand real life getting in the way of fun! ;)



Part 50

Sam was staring at her textbook but her thoughts were a million miles away… well, at least a room away. Her dad and the principal were in the kitchen, talking as they washed and dried the dishes. Principal Russell had been pleasant in spite of her surly mood all evening and she couldn’t deny that her dad looked really happy when the woman was around. He was washing dishes and she could hear the quiet murmur of their conversation, occasionally interspersed with laughter.

Dad had never dated seriously while she was growing up so this was new territory for her. She had always had his full attention and she was accustomed to not having to share him with anyone else. What if things got serious between them? God, what if they did get serious? Her dad and the high school principal? Her life would be over!

The woman had been nice and she knew that was just making her look worse the longer she copped an attitude, but she couldn’t help it. Part of her knew she was being petty about the whole thing, after all, who deserved to be happy more than her dad? She knew he had given up a lot over the years and he had never once complained about it, so how could she stand between him and something that might really make him happy? She didn’t really know what the addition of a girlfriend would do to their relationship but she was scared to find out.

“How’s that homework comin’ along?” Alex asked as he stepped out of the kitchen drying his hands on a dishtowel.

She shrugged silently.

Alex draped the towel over his shoulder as he moved to stand behind her chair, leaning over and bracing his left hand on the table. His gaze slid over the homework she had completed and he frowned when he saw how little of it she had done. “Are you havin’ trouble with this?”

Sam tipped her head back to look up at her dad. His expression was concerned as he looked down at her and she gave him a small smile. “It’s just kinda confusing. I don’t know why I chose a psyche class for an elective. We’re supposed to answer all these questions and some of them don’t seem to fit in with anything we’ve covered. I don’t know, maybe they’re just worded to be intentionally confusing.”

“They’re worded to make you think,” he said with a quiet chuckle. “They don’t provide any kind of a challenge if they’re worded straight out of the text.”

Isabel stood in the kitchen doorway, smiling as she watched Alex patiently helping his daughter with her homework. It was really her first opportunity to observe them interacting, other than the night of the street festival. As he had predicted Sam hadn’t been pleasant and she knew it was going to take time before the girl was able to accept her so she was preparing herself for what could likely turn into an uphill battle.

She smiled at Alex when he straightened up and turned his head to look at her. “We can always finish that last wall another day,” she offered. “Tomorrow’s a school day and I know you don’t wanna keep Sam out too late.”

“I think we’re okay,” Alex said with a grin. “I know you’ll be at the game tomorrow night and then Saturday we’ve got a birthday party to attend. I’ve already accepted the invitation so it’d be rude to cancel at the last minute.”

Sam carefully schooled her expression when Dad confirmed that they were still going to Andy’s birthday party. Yes! And she hadn’t even had to beg or anything.

“It wouldn’t by any chance be the birthday party for Andy Evans and Kyle Valenti would it?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

She smiled. “Kyle’s one of my best friends and the party’s at my other best friend’s house. I’ll be over there early getting things set up. God knows if I left it up to Michael he’d be grilling and serving beer and soda.”

“No birthday cake?”

She snorted. “He’d sit a box of donuts out and think he’d done a good job. But, he has a house with a large backyard so his place works a lot better for large get-togethers. Especially when there’re gonna be kids underfoot.”

“Well, if ya need any help I don’t have any plans on Saturday mornin’.”

Oh my God, seriously? Sam rolled her eyes. How embarrassing! Yeah, that’s what I wanna do on Saturday morning, she thought. “Dad, we go grocery shoppin’ on Saturday mornings.”

Alex shook his head. “We can go tomorrow night.”

“But we’re supposed to have dinner with Grandma an’ Grandpa tomorrow night, Dad,” she reminded him. She had talked to the twins earlier and since they weren’t playing in Friday nights’ game Dad had agreed to have dinner with her grandparents instead of attending the game.

“We’ll work it out.” He smiled at Isabel. “If there’s anything I can do to help just let me know, okay?”

“Well, getting Michael out of the house while college football is on ranks right up there with tryin’ to get him to do anything while there’s an NFL game on, so…” Isabel glanced at Sam, nearly laughing at the girl’s disgusted expression. “If you could pick up the cake from the little bakery over on Main and Second that’d help me a lot. It’ll be ready to be picked up any time after 11am and I don’t need it at the house until noon.” She tipped her head to the side so she could smile at Sam. “That way you’ll be able to do your shopping on Saturday morning as long as Sam gets up early,” she said with a wink at the frowning teenager.

Alex chuckled and nodded. “Sounds like a plan. Right, sweetie?”

“Yeah,” Sam muttered. “It’s a plan, alright.”

He rubbed her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. “You concentrate on that homework. We’ve got that last wall to knock out and when that’s finished we’ll be headin’ home.”

She waved her pencil in the air like a flag. “Yay.”

*****

They finished right before 9pm and while Alex was washing up Isabel went out to check on his daughter. Sam had finished her homework about an hour earlier and Isabel had told her she could watch television in the living room if she wanted to. The girl had just scowled at her and crossed her arms over her chest as she turned her attention to the cover of her textbook but a few minutes later they had heard the television come on, the volume low. She smiled when she found Sam asleep on the couch in the living room with the cats curled up on their blanket at the opposite end of the couch.

“She looks all sweet and innocent when she’s asleep, doesn’t she?” Alex said, smiling when he caught Isabel watching over his daughter. “The horns only show when she’s awake and lookin’ for trouble.”

She smiled. He was a proud father and he knew his daughter well. “She’s a good kid, Alex.”

He nodded. “She is. Always has been. She has her moments like any other kid but…”

“She’s your world,” Isabel said as she met his gaze.

He was silent for a moment as he studied his daughter’s sleeping features. “Has been since the day she was born.” He sighed as he leaned back against the doorframe. “When I got her home earlier this evening I talked to her but I don’t think she really understands how much danger she put herself in.”

“How can she, Alex? She’s at an age where she thinks she’s ten feet tall and bulletproof. She’s not a parent. She doesn’t understand that if something were to happen to her it would destroy you.”

He crossed the room and leaned over to brush Sam’s hair back where it had fallen across her cheek. “She hasn’t been very happy with me the past couple of hours,” he said with a faint smile.

“One day she’ll realize you were only doing what was best for her.”

“Yeah, that’s true.” He chuckled. “I remember when I was her age and my parents would ground me for getting into trouble… I was so sure they didn’t understand me, my friends, or anything else. Back then I never could’ve imagined bein’ in their shoes one day.”

She laughed quietly. “Yeah, I know what you mean. And my grandparents were older so there was an entire generation thing going on there.”

Sam stirred and their quiet conversation caught her attention. She forced her eyes to stay shut and her breathing to stay even as she listened to them talk.

“I’d imagine there was.” He glanced at Isabel after a moment. “I know you’ve got the game tomorrow night and I’ve got dinner with Sam and my parents, but I was wondering if you’ve got any plans after that?”

Isabel bit her bottom lip and nodded slowly. “Yeah,” she said regretfully. “A couple of Kyle’s friends are in town and he wanted to get together at one of the local bars to hang out and celebrate his birthday without the kids underfoot. I already told him I’d be there.”

His disappointment reversed itself at her explanation. “You wouldn’t happen to have a date already would you?” He grinned. “His sister’s brother-in-law is a friend of mine so I got an invite earlier today.”

She smiled teasingly. “How would I have a date for tomorrow night if you haven’t asked yet?”

“Fair enough,” he said with a quiet laugh. “Would you go with me tomorrow night?”

“I’d love to.”

The teenager couldn’t quite stifle a groan as the adults made plans to meet the next night after their prior obligations had been met and a moment later Dad was leaning over her.

“Sam? You okay, sweetie?”

“’m jus’ tired, Daddy,” she mumbled.

“I’d better get her home, Isabel,” he said as he helped Sam to sit up. His attention turned back to his daughter when Isabel nodded. “You got everything in your backpack?”

“Um-hmm.”

“Alright, where’s your jacket?”

Isabel smiled as he fussed over his daughter and she excused herself while he got Sam up and ready to walk out the door.

Alex glanced around after getting Sam together and he shrugged into his own jacket before picking up his toolbox. He smiled when his daughter paused at the end of the couch to pet the cats she had tried to ignore all evening. She was doing her best to dislike Isabel and anything associated with her and he wasn’t sure how the situation was going to play out. He just hoped she could find a way to get along with Isabel because he really liked the woman and he enjoyed spending time with her. He turned his head when the woman in question entered the room again and he glanced at the covered dishes she held.

“C’mon,” she said, “I’ll walk you out.”

Alex guided Sam out of the apartment and out to the car, settling her inside before placing his toolbox in the trunk. He walked around to the drivers’ side where Isabel was waiting and he nodded at the dishes she had placed on top of the car.

“Leftovers,” she said with a smile. “I thought maybe it would save you having to make lunch for tomorrow.”

He grinned at the thoughtful gesture. She had shocked him with the meal that she had talked about that first night and he had loved every bite. He had gone for seconds and hadn’t had to choke down a single morsel. Sam had enjoyed dinner as well and even though she hadn’t said a word to indicate that he knew his daughter well enough to know when she liked something.

Inside the car Sam was rolling her eyes. Great, she was sending leftovers home with them and Dad was giving her that goofy grin while thanking her. And they had a date for the next night… a date with both of their friends. That couldn’t be good. God, that meant they were totally going public!

She pretended to be asleep when Dad leaned into the car to place the dishes on the seat between them and she hoped it would put an end to the night right then. But, no, that would be too easy, she realized when he stepped back and turned to face Isabel. They were talking quietly but she could hear their regret at having to go their separate ways. Ungh, this was not a good sign!

No, no, no, she railed silently when they moved closer together and she couldn’t help but lean over to see if they were… yeah, that was a kiss, no denying it! Grounded, forced to spend an evening with Dad on a date, and now stuck in the car while they kissed goodbye. Could life be any worse right now?

She hurried to lean against her door so he would think she was asleep when he climbed in behind the wheel. She did another eye roll when he rolled the window down and told Isabel he’d wait until she was safely inside before leaving. A few more words of gratitude for the leftovers… and, yeah, another kiss, this one thankfully brief… and finally she was gone!

She hid a smile when Dad leaned over and checked her seatbelt and checked the door once more to make sure it was securely shut before putting the car into drive and pulling away from the curb. A few minutes later he turned the radio on, careful to keep the volume low to keep from disturbing her and then it happened… she realized that yes, life could get worse. Because within a matter of seconds Dad was singing along with some sappy love song, completely oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t keeping up with the singer and he wasn’t getting all the words right.

Great, she thought. Now what was she gonna do?

*****

Andy closed the door to his bedroom at 10pm that night and looked around smiling. Just a few more days and he’d finally be able to put his stuff into a much larger room and he wouldn’t have to live out of his bags and packed boxes anymore. He couldn’t wait to go to the new house tomorrow to finally get started with moving. Maybe Sam could help him with the painting.

Sam, he remembered and walked up to his cell on the nightstand, checking it for any calls or text messages. He groaned in frustration when there was none.

Andy had sent her a text almost two hours ago to see if she had made it home okay, but she hadn’t replied yet. Was she still out there with Justin? His hand clenched on the phone before he put it down again. “I am not jealous,” he mumbled to himself when he dropped down to his bed and reached out for the remote to turn on some music.

Damn, he should have jumped off of the train again. But then again… his Mom would have been worried if he wasn’t home on time. Not a good option either.

A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts and he straightened up before inviting the other person inside. “Come in.”

Maria opened the door slowly and peeked around to look at her son. “Hey, just wanna know if I should pick you up after school so we can drive to the house together or if you wanna walk?”

“I think I’ll walk.”

She nodded and leaned against the doorframe. “Everything okay? I know I haven’t had much time today, I had to make a few arrangements for our furniture.”

Andy smiled. “Everything’s okay, Mom.”

“Good. I’m going to bed now. Tomorrow’s gonna be a busy day.”

“A good day,” her son said with conviction and at that moment his cell started to buzz loudly.

She smiled. “A good day.”

“Yeah,” he mumbled when he pulled the incoming message up, not listening anymore.

Maria snorted. “Someone interesting?”

Andy glanced up. “Huh? Oh, no… it’s just… Sam.”

“Just Sam,” his mother said. “Goodnight.” She closed the door quietly again, amused by her sons behaviour when it came to that girl.

Sorry for the delay, I just got back from hell, was Sam’s reply to his message from earlier.

“What that’s supposed to mean?” Andy asked loudly, while his thumb danced over the buttons of his cell and he got more comfortable on his bed.

What’s wrong? Did your Dad find out?

Sam winced when her cell beeped loudly. She had almost dozed off and fallen sleep. She reached for it on her nightstand and smiled when she saw that Andy had replied.

If it was only that. It just got worse after missing the damn train.

Andy frowned when he read her reply. What else could have happened?

Is it safe to call you?

It only took her a few minutes to reply again.

Yeah, my Dad went to bed.

Andy didn’t think twice as he pressed the speed dial button to call his friend. Something was wrong with her and he couldn’t wait until tomorrow to find out what it was.

“Hi,” she greeted him quietly.

“Hey,” he replied just as softly.

His voice made her shiver and she glanced at her arms, irritated with the big goosebumps all over it. What the hell? “I can’t talk too loud. Dad sleeps in the next room.”

“Okay,” he nodded and then felt stupid. “So tell me what went wrong.”

She groaned slightly and let herself fall back on the bed. “Everything! First we got caught by a track worker and then the silly guy forced us to call our parents.”

Andy winced. “Shit.”

“Yeah. Shit. You can probably imagine how happy my dad was about all of that. God, he was so mad at me when he had to pick me up from there.”

“I can imagine,” the boy said sympathetically. “What about Justin?”

“His dad came to pick him up.”

Andy wondered how his uncle had reacted to all of that. Especially after everything that had happened to their family lately. God, what had he been thinking, doing it at all? He should’ve convinced Sam and his cousins to do something else. What would his mother say if she found out about this? He could already see her disappointed face in front of him.

“We didn’t tell anyone you were involved,” she told him, practically reading his mind.

“It’d be okay though, ya know? I was there, so…”

“Don’t worry about it, Andy. Justin and I promised each other we wouldn’t mention your name. Nobody will find out.”

“Okay… Thanks,” he told her quietly.

“Looks like I’ll be allowed to go to your birthday party even though I’m grounded for two weeks.”

“That sucks that you’re grounded,” he cursed.

“I have my ways with Dad. And he is in an awful good mood these days anyway, so that might be a plus.”

“Yeah? Why’s that?” Andy asked. “Thought you said he was pretty pissed.”

“Oh, he is pissed at me, but other than that he’s on cloud nine.”

“Why?”

“He’s dating someone,” she told him without thinking about it. She didn’t want everyone in school to know that her dad had it bad for the principal, but she trusted Andy just like Justin.

“Oh wow,” the boy said, surprised. “That must be weird.”

Sam shrugged and snuggled under her blanket when the room started to cool off. “The fact that he’s dating someone isn’t so weird.”

“No?”

“Well, no, not really. I mean, I can’t expect him to be alone for the rest of his life just because he has me. He’s still young and he deserves to be in love again.”

“Yeah,” Andy said, momentarily lost in his thoughts.

“You don’t expect your Mom to be a single for the rest of her life, right?” she asked, confused. “Andy?”

“What? Um, no, I… I guess not.” Seriously, the thought of his mom with someone else felt stranger than anything else, but he had to admit that Sam had a point.

“She’s only in her mid-thirties. She can’t stay alone forever, Andy. Not someone like your mom.”

“Someone like Mom?” he asked.

“Yeah, your mom’s still full of life. And she’s beautiful.”

“Ungh, Sam, she’s my mom. Can we please not talk about how beautiful she is?” Secretly, he just didn’t want to think about her and another man anymore.

“Okay,” the other teenager said, well aware that he was just trying to avoid the subject.

“So, who’s your dad dating?”

“And that’s where it gets ugly,” Sam started.

“She’s ugly?” Andy asked, confused.

The girl laughed, amused. “No, she’s not. Just the situation. Ya know… WHO she is.”

“Well, who is she?”

“Itstheprincipal,” she muttered.

“WHAT?”

“It’s the principal,” she replied, clearer now.

“Yeah, I understood that, but WHAT???”

Sam snorted. “Yeah, I know, right? I mean… the principal?” She rolled her eyes. Dad dating the principal, she thought with a mental eye roll. She wasn’t even gonna tempt fate by asking what could go wrong next.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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