Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Pt 63 COMPLETE - 5/22/11

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

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Double Trouble
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Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Part 11 - 4/3/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:25 pm

NotYourChick: More of those to come.

kismet: LOL, yeah, they just haven’t been very cooperative, lol.

Oh, we’ll find out more about the parents in time.

Hmm, well we’ll see what happens with the accessory, lol.

begonia9508: It’ll happen when they’re both a little more at ease with the idea.

Think kicking Mark outta camp’s the answer, huh? We’ll see…

Eva: Michael and Morgan are friends and they have a mutual trust and respect.

Yep, they’re both right. And it won’t matter if someone makes the decision about Mark for Maria – she has to see it for herself. Or perhaps she’s already seen it, just hasn’t admitted it.

Earth2Mama: LOL, a point in Morgan’s favor. Well, we’ll see what happens when Maria finds out.

LOL, hopefully he’ll take that advice!

mary mary: So true… but that would make for such a short story, lol.

Alien_Friend: Oh, he should’ve told Maria, and you’re right about him making the decision for her and not letting her make up her own mind… only he’s Michael and he doesn’t see it that way… at least not for now.

He should tell Maria… and in time he will. As for Mark, well, only time will tell what will happen with him.

We’re glad you’re enjoying the Dreamer storyline. It’s definitely a risk, but they’re probably making the smart move by taking it slow and making sure it’s right. They have their friendship as a foundation to build a relationship on and that is a very solid base to build from.

Natalie36: LOL, thanks! Glad you enjoyed that last part.

Maiqu: Well, he does rock… we can’t deny it.

Morgan’s a good friend… with good advice.

Michael’s not too fond of them either.

Well, of course it was, lol.

sarammlover: So, Vanessa vs. Morgan… all settled now?

Max is wishing the same thing right now. There will be more opportunities.

Ah, look at that… it’s morning!


Part 11

Mark blinked a few times when he woke up the next morning. He reached up to lift one hand out of his sleeping bag to take a look at his watch that was lying next to him. He shivered when the cold crept in as soon as he had opened the zipper.

It was 6:30 am and he was sure he had already heard the guides outside, so it was just a matter of time until they had to get up. He rolled over to glance at his girlfriend who was still sleeping peacefully. Maybe I haven’t been a very good sport since we started this, he thought when Maria shifted closer to him in her sleep.

He reached out to let his hand travel over the soft skin of her face, trying to wake her up softly before one of the others would do it less gently.

Maria grumbled in her sleep, when something disturbed her and she tried to shove it away. “Hey, sleepyhead, it’s time to get up,” Mark said quietly and leaned over to place a kiss on her forehead. Hopefully today would start better than the last had ended.

She tried to burrow in closer to the warmth at her side and frowned when her movements were constricted. “What the...” she mumbled, forcing her eyes open. The night before came flooding back as she recognized her surroundings and she realized that one side was warmer than the other because she and Mark had slept in separate sleeping bags. “Mark... wha’ time is it?”

“6:30 am,” he said gently.

She bit her bottom lip uncertainly. “Mark, I don’t think this’s workin’,” she said slowly.

He frowned. “What?”

“I thought we could do this and everyone would get along and have a good time, but... maybe it would be better if we just have our guide take us back down the mountain. We could spend the rest of our vacation at the cabin.”

He shook his head and moved closer to take her in his arms as much as possible with the sleeping bag around her. “Listen, Maria, I know that things haven’t been working out so great lately, but I’ll do better, okay? It was your dream to come up here, so we’re not gonna just go back down again.”

“I just... I know you guys don’t really get along and why should you force yourselves to hang out together just for me?” She shrugged. “I just figure it’d be easier if we left.”

“Well, easier isn’t always better, right? You did teach me that, so we’re staying.”

“I just don’t want everyone to be miserable because of me.” She looked up at him. “Are you sure?”

He smiled. “I’m sure and I’m not miserable, okay?” He opened his sleeping bag more. “Wanna snuggle a few more minutes?”

She smiled, quickly switching sleeping bags and diving into his arms. “Okay.”

“Excited about the upcoming day?” he asked as his hands roamed over her back.

“Yeah.” She hesitated a moment when she heard movement nearby.

“Hey, guys, time to get up,” Tony called from outside, pulling on the tents to be sure everyone would wake up.

“Okay, you weren’t kidding when you said a few minutes were you?” Maria muttered.

“No,” he sighed. “Wish we had a little more time.”

“Well, there’s always tonight,” she said, shoving down the weird feeling that came over her at the thought of spending the day trying to talk to Michael.

“Yeah,” he opened the sleeping bag again to crawl out and pull his clothes on.

“Let’s go, campers,” Michael called loudly.

Maria rolled her eyes when she realized he was standing right outside their tent. The man lacked subtlety, she thought.

“That guy is annoying,” Mark whispered and grinned at her.

“Shh!” she hissed. “Don’t piss off the guy leading us up the side of the mountain.”

Mark was already fully closed and got out of the tent. “I’m gonna take piss.”

She nodded and shook her head when he took off so fast that he didn’t zip the opening back up. She was reaching for the zipper when her view was obstructed by Michael as he crouched down in front of her. “You don’t look like you’ve been properly kissed,” he observed in a low, gravelly voice.

“You don’t even remember how I looked after bein’ kissed,” she hissed back.

“Oh, yeah, I do... and this...” he motioned at her appearance with his right hand. “This isn’t it.”

She leaned forward and looked at him, her gaze challenging. “Maybe I don’t looked kissed, but what about bein’ touched?” Without waiting for an answer she pulled back and zipped the entrance up.

Michael jerked back so quickly that he lost his balance and landed on his ass in the snow. He glanced up when Morgan smacked the back of his head as she passed him. “Smooth move, Guerin,” she laughed.

Liz pulled the zipper open at that moment and looked out of the tent she and Max were sharing, lifting one eyebrow in question when she saw one of the guides sitting in front of Maria’s tent.

“Y’all ready for the next leg of this climb?” Morgan asked the girl with her head sticking out of one of the tents.

“You’re goin’ with us?” Liz asked confused.

“Nope, I’ll be taking my group down the mountain after breakfast.”

“Oh.” Liz crawled out of the tent and stretched. “Are the others up yet?”

“The other couple, Tess and Kyle, I think? They went up to watch the sunrise.”

Liz rolled her eyes. “Kyle, the romantic.”

Maria opened the tent after getting dressed and she stretched as she stepped out. “Hey, girl,” she greeted her best friend.

“Hey, Maria!” She ducked down to look inside the tent. “Where’s Mark?”

“Already out to pee and brush his teeth.”

Well, there’s a disgusting image, Liz thought. “Okay, I was gonna get with Kyle and Tess about us switchin’ things up, but the lovebirds are out watchin’ the sunrise.”

Maria rolled her eyes just as Liz had. “What’re you two talking about?” Max asked as he crawled out of the tent as well. “Fuck,” he hissed. “It’s cold.”

“Don’t be such a pussy, Max,” Maria said, shaking her head. “We’re on a mountain; it’s always gonna be cold up here.”

Liz howled with laughter at his offended look and held her hand out to him, helping him up.

Michael had heard his ex’s comment from afar and he grinned to himself. She had always been different than other girls. There were only a few who wouldn’t bitch about the cold and the wind and every other inconvenience up here on the mountain.

“What’s for breakfast?” Max asked, shooting a glare in Maria’s direction.

Liz intercepted when she recognized Max’s grumpy morning mood coming on. “Blueberry pancakes or scrambled eggs and bacon, take your pick.”

“How about we make both and share?”

“Amazing how men can be appeased with either food or sex isn’t it?” she asked, grinning at Maria.

Max rolled his eyes and shook his head. He’d be happier with food and sex.

“Uh-huh,” Maria said and leaned into Mark’s embrace when he came up behind her.

“I think I’m gonna put another pullover on, it’s kinda windy today.” Mark kissed her cheek quickly before he disappeared into the tent again.

Maria walked up to the fire, knowing that Michael was still waiting for an answer from her.

He was warming his hands over the fire when she joined him and he straightened up to look at her. “We’ll be leavin’ in less than an hour,” he said. “Which way’re we gonna be goin’?”

“To the summit,” she said without looking at him. She sat down on a rock next to the fire.

He nodded in satisfaction. “I’ve gotta get my gear packed up.” He leaned down over her shoulder as he moved to pass her. “Just for the record though, I have perfect recollection of what you look like after you’ve been properly kissed and touched and it’d do you good to remember that,” he whispered, his lips grazing her ear.

She shoved him away, glaring at him. “You have no right to talk to me like that, Michael Guerin.”

“I don’t recall this prissy attitude of yours though.” He stepped back. “Of course, if Mork doesn’t know what it takes to satisfy you sexually that could explain you lack of humor.”

Maria got to her feet and grabbed his arm, dragging him several feet away from everyone. “Listen,” she grabbed his collar, “you probably think you’re Mr. Know-It-All, but you’re not. You don’t even know me anymore. The Maria you remember died when you left, so deal with it.”

She walked away from him before any of her friends could see them together and sat down so she could prepare her breakfast.

Michael swallowed hard. It wasn’t true, he was sure of it. He had seen the girl he had loved several times so he knew she was still there. He had known that she was going to be hurt when he had left the way he had, but now he had to wonder if she could ever forgive him for something he had done for her.

“Hey,” Mark greeted her when he joined her at the fire and sat down next to her. “That smells good.”

Maria forced a smile as she glanced at him. “Hey, you all ready for today?”

“Of course.” He leaned forward to get a cup. “Want me to make you a coffee as well?”

“Please.” A splash of something alcoholic in it would be nice, she thought.

“Hey, Maria, wanna come with me?” Liz held up her toothbrush and gestured in the opposite direction.

“Sure.”

Mark frowned. “But, you haven’t had breakfast yet...” He held up the cup in his hand. “Or coffee.”

“I’ll be back in a few minutes and then my coffee will be ready,” she said and winked at him.

Liz rolled her eyes. “I think I’m gonna puke,” she muttered to Max.

“Hey, you said we should be nice,” he whispered back before Maria approached them and the girls walked off.

Liz reminded herself to kick Max for his helpful little reminder when she went back to camp. “So, how’re things with you an’ Mark this mornin’?” she asked.

“Good. And actually, I don’t think we should change partners today, Liz. He’s been pretty nice this morning and all. I don’t wanna ruin it again by telling him that we would change.”

“Isn’t that gonna make it kinda difficult for you to talk to Michael?”

“I don’t wanna talk to him. Not more than necessary.”

Liz was confused. “Okay, what changed between last night and this mornin’?”

“I slept on it, okay?” She shrugged. “It doesn’t matter anymore why he left. He kept it a secret for two years and didn’t bother to call or write me one damn time, Liz. I don’t wanna end this trip missing Michael more than I already know I will anyway. And I know it’ll just get worse with every second I spend with him.”

She snorted. “You are sooo not over him, girl! You honestly think you can get through this trip without fallin’ for him all over again?”

Maria rolled her eyes. “Thanks for your support, girlfriend. You think spending MORE time with him would make it better?”

“Um, he’s your guide, Maria, and the guy doesn’t seem to have the slightest problem tryin’ to get a rise out of you regardless of who’s around.”

“I set him straight,” Maria told her confidently.

“Ooookay, if you say so.”

“Liz,” Maria complained, “you don’t know how much it hurt me when he left. I don’t wanna go through that again. So it’s either try to avoid him as good as possible or leave the group.”

“Alright, changing the subject. Max will be happy that he doesn’t have to spend the day with Tess happily talkin’ his ear off.”

“How was the night?” Maria asked, grinning. “Did you two snuggle?”

“Well, of course we snuggled; he’s very warm and snuggly.”

“C’mon, tell me more. Ya know what I wanna hear.”

“There’s not that much to tell, Maria. Although I did discover somethin’ I didn’t know about him.”

“And that’s what?”

“He’s a romantic.”

Maria almost choked on her toothbrush. “And what make you think that?”

“You should’ve heard him goin’ on about connecting with that special someone and how sex is so much more intense when you’re in love with the other person... I had no idea he had those thoughts runnin’ around in his head. I mean, we’ve talked about sex plenty of times... neither of us are exactly shy about the subject, but... romance? That’s a new one.”

“Maybe it was just his weird way of telling you that you’re THE one for him?”

“I still don’t know about that, Maria,” she hedged. “Although, thanks for suggestin’ that he’s interested in me ‘cause now I can’t get rid of that idea. The whole time he was holdin’ me before I fell asleep it’s all I could think about.” She rolled her eyes at her friend.

Maria shrugged with a grin. “Welcome to my world, girl.”

“Ungh, I’m not sure I even want a complication like this in my life.”

“Ditto,” Maria replied simply.

“Okay, no more talkin’ about our situations with guys for this mornin’,” Liz said before they could get bogged down with the conversation. “We came here to have a good time, so let’s have a good time.”

“Let’s get back to the others,” Maria said when they had finished brushing their teeth.

Liz nodded and they started back down the path. “I’m glad we decided to make this trip, Maria.”

“Yeah, me too, but it would be so much more fun without the guys,” the other girl joked.

“Sure would be a lot less complicated.” She chuckled and shook her head. “Although Max does such a good job of keepin’ me warm at night, so I’m not sure I’d do this trip without him.”

Maria rolled her eyes. “I wish I had your problems, girl.”
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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 12

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:37 am

Alien_Friend: Hey, there’s gotta be a reason Maria’s with him… the rest of us just don’t know what it is exactly.

Maria’s determined to have a good time.

Keeping that upper hand is important!

mary mary: Michael has no worries about Mork… although he does tend to resort to juvenile tactics at times, lol. Hmm… we’ll see how long it lasts.

Natalie36: We’re pretty sure too. You just never know when a wish could come true… keep wishing.

begonia9508: Now what’ll she do with that information?

Not sure that good side would help him where Max and Liz are concerned.

Earth2Mama: Yeppers… hard to be a Candy fic if the Candy couple isn’t together in some fashion, lol.

Hmm… does that make it harder to hate on him?

Doubtful.

Maiqu: We’re not sure Maria appreciated it as much as you did, lol!

sarammlover: Nah, she just won’t do anything about it… yet. LOL, not slow… the guys kept going back and forth between her first and last name, so it’s perfectly understandable how that got confusing!



Part 12

Liz and Maria rejoined the others where they were all sitting around the fire, preparing their breakfasts. “Mornin’,” the girls greeted and sat down next to Mark and Max.

Kyle and Tess joined them after a few minutes and held their hands out to the fire. “You guys are behind,” Tess teased, nodding over her shoulder at their gear that was already all packed up.

Kyle grinned. “It’s all about havin’ a system.”

Maria rolled her eyes at them. “Have a seat and eat Mr. and Mrs. Perfect.”

“Perfection is – “

Tess hurried to cover his mouth with his hand before he could start spouting some Buddhist philosophy because the way the others were looking at him one of them might just send him rolling right back down the mountain. “Breakfast first, babe.”

He nodded. “I’ll grab the meals if you’ll fix ‘em.”

Liz rolled her eyes. “Totally feelin’ the need to hurl again,” she muttered.

“Did ya already check the weather report for today?” Michael asked Tony during breakfast.

“Yeah, we’re not as clear as yesterday and we’re gonna be lookin’ at some wind later in the afternoon.”

“That’s gonna make it dangerous when we reach the ridge.” Michael stared at the mountain ahead of them. “We might wanna radio in around lunchtime and let base camp know we’re gonna bunk in early; that ridge will give us the best protection from that wind.” Weather on the mountain could only be predicted up to a certain point. Beyond that it was a matter of rolling the dice and he’d rather err on the side of caution than risk it and get one of the climbers hurt or killed.

“Hopefully we’ll reach the ridge before those winds start,” Nick commented, knowing how dangerous high winds could be.

“What’re we gonna do if we don’t?” Liz asked.

“Dig in and wait it out.” He shrugged. “Not much else you can do. It’s a little bit scary the first time you get caught in one of these storms, but it’s not really that bad.” He winked at her. “And if ya get a little scared I’ve always got extra room in my tent.”

Max tightened up at the guy’s last comment and almost bent the fork he was holding in his hand.

Michael watched the interplay between the others as he checked over his gear one more time. He didn’t miss the way Max reacted to Nick’s flirting with Liz and he considered offering to switch couples when he glanced at Maria and saw the way she was leaning into Mark.

Liz sent a flirtatious smile in Nick’s direction before shooting a quick look at Max. His jaw was set, his eyes locked on his breakfast, and... Was his fork bent? Was he really into her like that? Did she really want to risk their current relationship to see what could be?

Maria nipped on Mark’s earlobe, well aware of the fact that Michael was watching. “When it gets stormy outside and we’re in the tent...” she whispered in his ear, leaving the rest open.

It was like watching an accident, Michael thought. You wanted to look away, but morbid curiosity kept your eyes locked on it until you had taken in every gory detail.

Mark smirked at her. “Think the storm would be loud enough, huh?”

“Let’s pack it up and get movin’, people,” Michael said loudly as he stood. He couldn’t take much more of watching Maria with the boyfriend and he’d be damned if he was gonna wait around to hear her answer that THAT question.

Maria kissed him quickly. “Who knows,” she said and stood up to get their stuff ready to go.

*****

Michael cursed out loud when the wind whipped around the edge of the shelf they were attempting to reach and knocked him back against the side of the mountain. “That’s gonna leave a mark,” he muttered, throwing his right arm up and forward so that the ice tool would give him some stability.

The storm had picked up faster than expected as the clouds began to move in, bringing snow and hard winds. Climbing with seasoned climbers in this kind of weather was difficult enough, but in a situation like this, where their group was mostly comprised of climbers who were fairly new to the game it was even harder.

He glanced over his shoulder when he felt the rope at his waist being pulled and his eyes widened when he realized that Maria’s grip had slipped. Ice crystals were forming on the rope and it was making it hard to maintain a decent hold on it, but they had no choice but to keep going. They had no protection in their current location so they had to make it to the ridge; it wasn’t that far away, but the weather was working against them.

He could see the brief moment of panic in her eyes as she looked up and caught his gaze and he shook his head at her. “Ice tool!” he shouted.

Maria struggled to decipher his words as they were caught by the wind and ripped away, but when he made it up another few inches and pulled his own ice tool out she nodded. She felt stupid for not thinking of it immediately, but she shoved that away and focused on pulling herself up closer to the shelf.

Michael hauled himself over the ledge and braced himself so he could help the others up. He was glad Maria was right behind him because while he didn’t want to lose anyone she was his biggest concern. He grasped her coat to get a grip on her and then locked his right arm under and around hers to pull her up onto the shelf. He pointed behind him. “Rest… soon as the others are up we’ve gotta keep movin’!”

She nodded and moved back away from the edge, huddling against the wall as she sought protection from the bitterly cold wind and the snow pelting them relentlessly. Somehow, getting caught in a storm wasn’t quite as exciting as Nick had made it sound, she thought as she watched Michael helping the others up onto the shelf.

Max stayed as close to Liz as possible to make sure she didn’t slip or fall. He felt relief wash over him when she made it onto the shelf and he quickly hauled himself up and over, moving to shield her from the worst of the wind while the guides pulled the others up to safety. He smiled to himself when he felt her press against his back, gladly seeking the shelter he was offering.

“Alright,” Michael shouted as soon as everyone was safely on the shelf, cramped together because of the lack of space. He pointed at the end of the shelf. “We’ll go around the wall here… there’s about two feet of air between the shelf and the mountain, so watch out for it! If you fall you could be seriously hurt and you could take someone with you, so don’t miss a step!” He checked the line that connected him to Maria and Mark, tugging on it to let Nick know that his end was fine. “Let’s go, people!”

“This is exhausting,” Liz yelled back to Max. She felt him pat her shoulder, letting her know he agreed with her.

“Soon as we’ve got the tent up you can hit the sleepin’ bag,” he hollered back. “I’ll get lunch ready.”

They made it off of the shelf and around the wall, their steps slow and careful. The group was relieved to see the large outcropping of rock that would provide them with a barrier against some of the wind and they quickly set about making camp.

“Watch out around here,” Michael shouted over the wind. “This camp isn’t as safe as the last. Stay in the group, don’t go any further than this,” he pointed to some poles he had just stuck into the snow around them.

“No problem,” Liz muttered, helping Max to get their tent set up. Something that was difficult because the wind kept hindering their efforts.

Michael had quickly built up his tent, one that he and the other two guides would be able to share during the storm while Nick and Tony helped the other couples with their tents.

“Yeah, forget the perimeter,” Max agreed. “I’m not getting outta this tent until this storm blows over!”

“Alright, you guys get in the tent, I’ll do the rest,” Nick said to Liz and Max. Getting the climbers safely out of the weather was first priority for the guides.

Max slapped him on the back. “You’re not getting an argument out of us.” He followed Liz inside and grinned at her when she wasted no time getting rid of her outerwear and diving into the sleeping bags.

“That was kinda thrilling, huh?” he said and let his muscles finally relax a little.

“Yeah,” she agreed with a grin. “I’ve gotta admit, I do get off on the adrenaline rush.”

“You warm enough?”

“No, but I’m warmer than I was a few minutes ago.”

“Yeah, that wind cuts right through you.” He shivered only from the thought.

She watched him pull out what he needed to make a couple of hot meals without the use of a fire. “I take back every joke I made about you buyin’ that now,” she said.

He smirked. “Uh-huh.”

They paused when they heard a wind-muffled sound that sounded suspiciously like a scream from someone outside.

Liz head shot up. “What was that?”

“Based on the high-pitched girly sound, I’d say it was Mark,” Max muttered as he glanced at her. “Maybe I should go out and make sure the prick’s okay.”

Liz shook her head. “You can’t go out there again, Max.”

Michael had been working on Maria and Mark’s tent when he heard the scream and his eyes widened in shock when he realized he couldn’t see Mark anywhere.

Mark winced when pain shot through his leg as the lower half of his body hung over a ledge. He had dropped one of his gloves on his pack so he could reach under his glasses to scratch his face and the wind had caught the glove and blown it outside of the marked perimeter. He had glanced around and decided that it would be safe if he just made a quick grab for it, but the wind had pushed it even farther out and he had taken three more steps before he had heard the cracking sound that indicated ice breaking under too much weight and he had just barely had enough time to yell before twisting his body around and grabbing onto what was left of the ledge.

Michael straightened up and glanced around. It took him several seconds before he pinpointed Mark hanging over a ledge out of the perimeter he had just warned them about minutes before. “Tony,” he shouted to get the other guides’ attention.

Tony was just finishing with Kyle and Tess’ tent when he saw the other man Guerin was gesturing to. He quickly grabbed the rope and threw it out to Michael.

He pointed back at Maria. “Keep her back!” Michael quickly secured himself and pulled the ice tool off of his belt as he crossed over the perimeter and carefully dropped to his stomach. He inched across the ice and snow, his calm gaze locked on Mark’s terrified eyes. “Look at me!” he yelled when Mark turned his head. “Don’t look down!”

He shook his head as he inched closer, keeping his expression neutral when he heard the dangerous sound and he turned his head to look at the crack slowly moving along the ledge. “Damn it,” he muttered. “Mark, I want you to stop movin’! You’re puttin’ too much pressure on this ledge!”

Mark wasn’t able to say a word. He could feel his strength slowly fading and he knew it would only take another few seconds before he wasn’t able to hold on any longer.

Maria tried to get a better look at what was going on, determined to see what had happened. How had this happened? She couldn’t tell.

“Hey! Focus on me! Stop thinkin’ about anything else!” Michael knew the ledge was going to give out at any second and he glanced back over his shoulder, giving a quick signal to Tony to let him know to brace for the fall.

Tony nodded. “Get in the tent, Maria,” he ordered.

If he was going to get a hold on Mark before it gave out he was going to have to risk moving quickly and forcing the ledge to break off. He felt the line jerk and knew that Tony was ready so he took a deep breath and lunged forward, throwing himself over and grabbing Mark just as the ledge made a sharp cracking sound and gave out, falling from beneath them.

He barely heard the frightened scream from the man he was holding onto as they fell through space for a heartbeat before the line went taut and their descent stopped abruptly. “I’ve got you,” he yelled at Mark. “I won’t let go.”

He looked down when Mark suddenly went completely limp and his body weight increased. “Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me?” he growled when he realized that the guy had fainted.

“Nick,” Tony called out for the third guy who had been busy getting all of their gear in the tent. “I need your help here, man.”

“Tony!” Michael shouted.

“We’ll pull you up, now,” Tony shouted back.

“You guys are gonna have to pull me up without my help... the guy fuckin’ fainted!”

“Alright,” Tony nodded at Nick behind him and they started to pull them both up. “Guerin, when we get down, I swear I’m puttin’ your ass on a diet.”

“Remind me to kick your ass when I’ve got my feet back on firm ground, asshole!”

The other two guides needed all their strength to pull the other two men up. The wind was blowing hard and had taken Nick’s feet out from under him twice.

Tony sighed, relieved when he finally saw his partner’s body coming up over the edge of the cliff.

Michael used his feet to push back away from the wall and turn so they didn’t drag Mark over the edge face first.

“Alright,” Tony moved forward slowly without letting go of the rope to grip Michael’s clothes and pull them over the edge.

Nick felt the rope go slack once they were once more on solid ground and Michael and Tony hurried to carry Mark back within the safety markers. He joined them, giving Guerin the once-over to make sure he was alright before leaning over the man who had fallen. “What happened?”

Mark was vaguely aware of voices around him and as his eyes slowly opened he also became aware of the pain in his leg. “Owww...” he moaned.

“Get him in our tent,” Michael said to the other two guides. The first aid kit and the emergency supplies were all in there.

To save time in severe conditions the three of them would share a tent for the night and they quickly carried Mark over to it. “We’ve only got room for three people in here,” Nick said as they maneuvered the injured man inside.

“Take care of him,” Michael shouted back. “I’ll finish getting her tent ready first,” he motioned to the one Maria was in; it wasn’t completely grounded yet. “I’ll bunk with someone else,” he gestured to the radio on his belt, “just let me know how he’s doin’.”

Tony gave him a thumbs-up and nodded at Nick, letting him know to zip the flap up. “We’d better get his leg taken care of and get him bundled up for the night.”

Nick closed the flap and turned around to dig out the first aid kit. “Did he hit his head or do we just have the leg injury to tend to?”

Michael finished securing Maria’s tent and motioned for her to move back when she unzipped the flap at his shouted request. He hurried to crawl inside and sit down on one of the sleeping bags as he jerked his gloves off and blew on his hands.
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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: Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Part 12 - 4/11/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:01 am

NotYourChick: Don’t feel too sorry for him. Well, maybe for a moment, but let it pass quickly, lol.

You just never know…

Natalie36: Well, that depends… as long as it doesn’t lead to singing and dancing over his unfortunate accident, it’s probably not too mean, lol. Sad thing is that Mark brings a lot of this on himself. Guess we’ll see if you’re still kinda feelin’ for him after this next part.

Earth2Mama: Nah, he didn’t do it on purpose, he’s just dumb, lol.

Praying for some disaster? ;) Kidding. There might be some momentous moment.

keepsmiling7: You can count on Max to always watch out for Liz. Yeah, he did get just a bit jealous, didn’t he?

Eva: We can’t either. Your sarcasm here was great – made us laugh!

Well, if you’ve gotta channel someone here, Michael would be that one, lol.

mary mary: Hmm… good question.

Here’s hopin’ you haven’t gone completely nutty yet!

Alien_Friend: Mark’s ability to continue the climb… well, we’ll find out soon. Lol, yeah, he’s the type to find himself in these positions. Nah, we’re not going for tragic here, not even with Mark. Even if, like Max said, he screams like a girl.

We think it’s gonna prove to be interesting too, lol.

begonia9508: Oh, she is testing things with Max.

Mark was just being dumb… there’s no other excuse for it.

sarammlover: Don’t feel too bad for him. Hey, it got the right M&M in the same tent, didn’t it? You just never know. Lol, Max has it bad for his best friend.

Maiqu: Lol, Max just can’t help that he’s a good guy… even when it comes to Mork. We’re pretty sure Michael will be taking up residency with Maria.

No, but Max is getting closer to letting the cat out of the bag.

killjoy: S’all good, lol! Two hours reading and catching up… yep, you were way behind!

Glad you’re lovin’ Kyle and Tess here even though they’re not being focused on as much as the others.

Lol, feel free to shout at him… he’s on the verge of revealing his feelings, but he hasn’t yet got there.

Well, he could have, but we kinda needed Mork the Dork around because his role is still part of the story so we couldn’t let Michael just drop the ASS HAT.

Lol, Alex and Isabel haven’t yet told us where they are, but when they do, we promise to share with everyone.


Part 13

Maria was surprised when Michael came in alone. “Where is he?” she shouted, grabbing his collar and shaking him. “Tell me where he is!”

He reached up to take her hands, holding them against his chest. “He’s fine, Maria. A little banged up, but he’s fine. He’s with Tony and Nick so they can keep an eye on him overnight.”

“I wanna see him,” she said stubbornly, reaching for the zipper.

Michael leaned forward and grabbed her around the waist, pulling her back against his body. “Hey, listen to me, you crazy woman; you need to stay inside. There’s no room for another person in that tent and he needs to stay where he’ll be safest.”

Maria snorted and moved away from his touch, scooting to the other side of the tent. “Great, now I’m stuck with you in one tent and can’t get out while my boyfriend’s only a few feet away.” So much for staying away from him, she thought bitterly.

“You don’t have to jump across the tent like you think I’m gonna attack you or somethin’,” he muttered, irritated with her behavior.

“Yeah, who knows,” she muttered. He had already tried to kiss her once. She shoved those thoughts away. She knew she was perfectly safe with Michael; she just couldn’t seem to stop the mean thoughts.

“Trust me, baby, I’m not that hard up,” he snapped as he unzipped his coat and shrugged out of it.

“Don’t call me baby,” she snapped back. He had called her that the whole time they had been together and it wasn’t right for him to still say it.

“Whatever,” he muttered as he finished pulling off his outerwear. “I’m tired and I’m not gonna spend the rest of the day and potentially all night arguin’ with you.”

The radio suddenly started to crackle to life and Tony’s voice came over the speaker. “Just a scratch on the head we could staple. His leg doesn’t seem to be broken; it’s probably just a sprain.”

Michael reached for his radio and pressed the button on the side. “He’s coherent?”

“Yeah.”

“Put him on the radio so he can reassure his...” he glanced at Maria, surprised that he still had any skin on his bones when he met her burning gaze. “Put him on so he can talk to his girlfriend.” He threw the radio across the small space that separated them. “Here, talk to that little boy you’re datin’.”

Maria just rolled her eyes at him and grabbed the radio when she heard Mark’s weak voice. “I’m here, Mark. Are you okay?”

“Think so. They think I sprained somethin’... it doesn't hurt as bad now. They gave me somethin’ for it an’ it’s makin’ me kinda fuzzy.”

“Try to get some sleep. We’ll get you back over here in our tent as soon as the weather allows it.” She glared at Michael again to make sure he had understood.

“Okay,” he said as he fought to keep his eyes open. “Make sure you thank Michael for me.” His tone was sluggish as his hand slipped off of the radio and sleep pulled him under.

“You heard him,” she said and handed the radio back to Michael.

“Yeah, so how would you like to thank me?” he asked mockingly.

She started to pull some of her clothes off and ignored his question.

“Hey, Guerin,” Tony was back on the radio. “What about you? Looked like you hit the rocks pretty hard when you caught him.”

“I’ll be okay... just a few bumps and bruises, I’m sure I’ll live.”

“Alright. Base camp says the storm should be over in a couple of hours.”

“What about Morgan’s team? Base camp say if they made it down yet or not?”

“Yeah, they arrived about an hour ago.”

Michael nodded, relieved that his friend was safely down off of the mountain. “Alright, I’m gonna try to catch a couple hours of sleep. You guys should do the same.”

Maria’s stomach grumbled loudly when she put her gear aside so she would have more space to move around. God, she was so hungry and tired at the same time.

“You should probably eat somethin’,” he muttered as he situated his pack and leaned back against it with his eyes closed.

“Don’t have anything to warm it up in here,” she said quietly and wrapped her sleeping bag around her.

He was tempted to just shrug it off and go to sleep because even though he knew he deserved it, he was tired of her pissy attitude towards him. Instead though, he sat up again and dug around in his pack to pull out an emergency heating kit. “Dig out an MRE an’ mix it up,” he said.

She nodded. “Thanks.” Damn, why did he always have to be nice, even if they fought? Even when they had been back in high school and had fought about something... he had never really tried to hurt her with his words. She chose one of the MRE’s and heated it up slowly. “Are you hungry?”

He shrugged. “I still never turn down a meal.”

She nodded and handed him the MRE she had just heated up while he looked around for a new one for her.

He nodded at the heating pouch. “Pretty cool invention. Without it we’d be stuck eatin’ trail mix or granola bars.”

“God, I hate those things,” she said and made a face.

“I’m surprised you didn’t pick one of these up; they’re easy to use and practically no mess.” He rolled his eyes. What a moronic conversation, he thought.

“I never take the easy way,” she turned to him, “as you would know.”

“Your boy seems pretty easy.” He regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth because he knew she wasn’t going to appreciate the comment.

She glared at him. “You know what, let’s just not talk anymore.”

He snorted. “Yeah, that’ll last all of five minutes knowin’ you.”

She didn’t reply and concentrated on her food.

Michael winced as he lay back against his pack, feeling the aches from being slammed against the mountain on several occasions throughout the day as his body began to relax. As much as he still loved her and wished they could be together, he couldn’t think of a single place he wanted to be less than he wanted to be in the tent with her at that moment.

Maria heard him take in a sharp breath. “You okay?” She couldn’t help but ask, damn it!

“Fine,” he grumbled.

“Fine,” she said back.

He wished he’d had time to grab his own sleeping bag because he’d be damned if he was gonna climb into Mark’s sleeping bag to catch some sleep. He grabbed his coat and draped it over him for warmth and closed his eyes.

Maria watched him out of the corner of her eyes and almost felt sorry for him. Almost. He could sleep in Mark’s sleeping bag, but she bit her tongue before she could make the offer. It was only 6pm, weird time to sleep, but what else could you do during a storm? Do not go there! she thought when her mind automatically supplied an answer for her. She put the things she had needed to prepare the meal aside and moved around a little to slip into her sleeping bag.

Michael shifted around uncomfortably and wished he wasn’t so aware of every breath she took and every sound she made.

Maria stared up at the ceiling of the tent, thinking about how weird it was to lay there next him after all the years she had wished for it.

“I’m sorry you got stuck with me,” he growled finally. “I just figured it’d be better than stickin’ you with Nick or Tony since you don’t really know them.”

“I don’t really know you either,” she answered quietly.

“I’m the same guy you knew two years ago, Maria. A little older, hopefully a little wiser, and now I get smacked around by Mother Nature instead of Hank, but I’m basically the same guy.”

“You know,” she glanced at him for a brief moment, “if you had asked me in high school, I would’ve said ‘Yes, I know Michael Guerin better than anyone.’ But then again,” she shrugged, “I was probably wrong.”

“You weren’t wrong,” he said quietly.

She rolled over to look at him, still with a safe distance between them. “Then why didn’t I even suspect that you were gonna break up with me? I mean, there had had to be signs or something, but I didn’t even think about that possibility. It just hit me totally unexpected.”

“There weren’t any signs, Maria.” He sighed. “I didn’t end things because of anything you did or didn’t do...” He shut his mouth before he could say anymore. How could he tell her that he had ended things to stop her from making a decision that would’ve caused her pain?

She waited for him to continue, but he didn’t and she was too scared of the answer to ask the question herself. There was no logical reason she could think of that would explain his decision. Well, no logical reason except the one where he didn’t love her enough to stick it out and go through with their plans. She turned to lie on her back again, afraid that he would notice her wet eyes. She didn’t want to get into this all over again. Somehow she had managed to survive after he had left, but it hadn’t been easy.

“I didn’t end things for another girl or anything like that either. I never wanted you to hate me and I didn’t wanna walk away, but you have to believe that if I had thought there was another option I would’ve chosen to take it.”

That still made no sense to her. “It’s okay, Michael. Whatever it was....” she shrugged, “it’s not important anymore. You had your reasons for leaving me and I had a hard time after that, but I survived it.”

He nodded and shifted onto his side so that he was facing away from her. She had always been able to read him like an open book and the last thing he wanted at that moment was for her to see how much her words had hurt.

Maria turned away as well and wiped away a tear. “Would you make the same decision today if we were back in high school?”

“If the situation were the same as it was back then... yeah.” He paused and stared at the tent as it shifted and snapped with the force of the wind. “If the situation was the same and I had the benefit of certain knowledge that I didn’t have at the time, no.”

Her muscles tightened at his answer. She had hoped he would just say yes. It would’ve been easier to accept the fact that they just didn’t belong together anymore.

He swallowed hard when he heard the thickness in her voice and he realized she was crying and trying to hide it from him. “Where d’you think we’d be today if we had stuck with our plan?”

“I can’t talk about this right now, Michael,” she whispered. It would totally break her if she thought about that possibility right now.

He had broken her, he realized. He had taken the one good thing in his life and destroyed it... destroyed her. That knowledge was too much to take and he sat up, leaning over and grasping her arm so he could tug her over onto her back. “I’m sorry,” he whispered raggedly. “Don’t ever think I left because you weren’t worth the risk, Maria. Hell, you were worth everything... I’m the one who wasn’t worth the risk.”

She shook her head sadly and wiped away another tear, which was totally unnecessary because new ones where already on their way. “I would’ve done anything for you back then, Michael.”

“I know and I never for a single second doubted that.”

She looked up into his eyes, trying to find a reason for the way things had gone.

He suddenly realized that their upper bodies were pressed together and his right hand came up to reverently touch her face. The time and distance created by two years apart fell away as he met her gaze and for just a moment he was back in high school with the girl he loved at his side and the world at his fingertips.

She leaned into his touch and closed her eyes for several moments, enjoying the feeling of his hands on her. Maria knew it was wrong and that she had to put an end to it because it was only going to hurt her more in the end, but she had missed him so much and her heart screamed for him so badly.

Michael knew he should stop, knew that this was wrong for so many reasons, but he had a better chance of stopping an avalanche with his bare hands. “Maria...” He whispered her name softly as he lowered his head and kissed her gently.

Maria felt the familiar dizziness in her head, the weird feeling in her stomach and the heat in her body as soon as his lips met hers. She had felt it every time he had kissed her and every time they had gotten lost in each other.

His lips moved over hers slowly and she realized just how much she had missed the way he had kissed her.

How long would it last before one of them would regret it, she wondered.

Michael felt the familiar feelings hit him when she shifted under him and returned the kiss. He had been crazy in love with her since the first time he had seen her and her love had saved him in every possible way. It wasn’t possible for him to ever go back and stop himself from hurting her, making her regret ever letting him in that way, but he could at least do his best not to hurt her again.

Maria reached up to grasp his collar. She couldn’t stand the thought that he would end this kiss and back away again.

Her touch encouraged him and he deepened the kiss even as he fumbled with the zipper on the sleeping bag and shoved it out of the way so he could slip his hand under several layers of clothing to get to her skin.

“Michael,” she moaned into his mouth, unable to hold back her reaction to him.

One seriously negative factor about his chosen profession was the many layers of clothing necessary to stay warm, he thought as he finally felt her top shirt come undone. “God, Maria...” he rasped. He had missed her so much and no matter how much time had passed he knew he was still in love with her.

She hissed when his ice cold hand touched the bare skin of her belly and she bit his bottom lip playfully. “Cold,” she whispered.

“Just give it a second,” he said with a smile. He leaned up and jerked his own shirt up. “Feel free to warm your hands up.”

Maria tried to move further back into the sleeping back to make some room for him to squeeze in as much as possible. Her hands came up under his shirt since he had offered, and her fingertips slowly wandered over his well-toned upper body. “You’re so sexy,” she admitted with an almost shy smirk.

Michael shifted up onto his knees long enough to flip the top of her sleeping bag over and jerk his shirts over his head. He tossed them across the tent and braced his arms on either side of her as he settled over her more fully.

“What’re ya doin’ to me, Michael?” she mumbled, feeling lightheaded.

“Same damn thing you’ve always done to me.” He had finally reached the last shirt and he raised his eyes to hers, looking for permission before removing that barrier.

She reached up to caress his face with her hand and her thumb drove carefully over his lips while their eyes were locked. She still loved him, maybe as much as she had two years ago and maybe even more. What should she do about that, she wondered.

He kissed her before removing the shirt and tracing his fingers over the flushed skin of her breasts. They had both been virgins their first time together and he could still remember that day with crystal clear clarity. “You remember that first time?” he asked, chuckling quietly. God, he had been so nervous and uncoordinated.

She snorted. “How can I ever forget that, baby?” As soon as it slipped out she was thrown back to her feelings of the past and it scared her.

Baby... How many times had they used that endearment with each other? He had never once used it with any other woman because it would have been wrong. “You have no idea how nervous you made me that first time. I had never in my life seen anything so beautiful.” He pressed a kiss to each breast before levering himself up to take her mouth in another heated kiss.

“Well, I was your first, so obviously you had no experience and nothin’ to compare it to,” she said. Neither had she, but Michael had been her first and he was still the only one sex had ever felt completely right with.

He laughed quietly. “Thanks for pointin’ that out for me.”

She shook her head. “Even if we were both nervous and a lot of things went wrong that night, I would never wanna change it, Michael.”

“Me either.” His right hand settled at her waist and his fingers dipped between her pants and her skin. He watched her eyes, knowing that she would let him know if he could continue or if she wanted him to stop.

Maria stared up into his dark brown eyes. He had said that he wouldn’t have broken up with her if he’d had certain knowledge. What did that mean? Was there any chance they could get back together? Was he willing to take her back in his life no matter how it worked out at first? She knew her answer would be yes to all of that and it almost freaked her out. She had to know before she could go any farther.

“Michael, I need to know…”

She didn’t make it any further before the radio suddenly started to make noise again and a female voice could be heard over the static. “Hey, Michael, can you hear me?”
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Re: Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Part 13 - 4/18/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:55 am

Earth2Mama:
Candy momentous interruptous!
LOOOL! C’mon, the fic’s still in progress. We can’t let them give in so soon.

Maria is still with Mark and she feels bad about cheating. But who can resist Michael Guerin?

Well, we’ll never know what he would’ve said. Any suggestions?

begonia9508: The woman on the line… her identity will be revealed in the next part. Lol, it’s not that Maria’s not curious, she’s just not sure she’s ready for the answer. It’ll come up eventually though.

Eva: Lol, Mark did a very good thing.

Michael and Maria needed that moment. They had to have a point to start from. So, let’s see what happens now.

mary mary: We do agree with you, but we don’t always make the best (or right) decisions right off the bat.

killjoy: It will be and he will tell her the truth… eventually.

Aww, that’d just be a shame, wouldn’t it?

Alien_Friend: Lol, we’ll find out who that girl is in this next part. Almost… and he will tell her in time.

Time and distance haven’t erased their feelings for each other.

Oh, we’ll see if Mark can continue.

sarammlover: Lol, there’ll be more good parts. The truth will come out… it has to.

Maiqu: Lol, they were headin’ that way! All she has to do, huh? Well, we’ll see…



Part 14

Could that woman’s timing be any worse? he wondered as he moved back over to the other side of the tent to retrieve the radio. “This’s Guerin,” he barked into the mouthpiece.

“Hey,” the woman replied, irritated at his tone, “its Courtney. I just wanted to see if you’re okay up there? I heard about the storm”

Maria sat up, listening as the woman talked to Michael. Was she just some woman working at the base camp, or...?

“Nah, we’re all good up here. Tucked in for the night and just waitin’ the storm out.” Damn it, how was he gonna get her off the radio before Maria changed her mind?

“Oh, okay, good. When’re ya gonna be back home?”

Home? Maria thought, alarmed. That wasn’t just any woman and the voice sounded kinda familiar.

“We’ll have to tack a day on since we lost a lot of climbin’ time today due to the storm.”

“Alright, call me when you get back, okay? And watch yourself.”

“Will do. Call ya later, Courtney.” He tossed the radio aside and turned to look at Maria, wincing when he saw her retreating.

Suddenly Maria remembered the girl. “That’s the girl from the restaurant, right? The waitress?”

“Yeah,” he answered slowly. “We had a... thing... it wasn’t anything serious.” But he knew it wouldn’t matter.

She nodded. “Well, she’s kinda your type, huh?” She tried to act cool, to downplay her hurt and embarrassment over thinking that she and Michael could really get back together.

“Maria, she’s just a girl I’ve hooked up with on occasion... it’s not serious and it doesn’t mean anything.”

She shook her head. “You don’t have to explain anything to me, Michael. It’s okay. Really.” She forced a little smirk. “But you should probably explain it to her eventually because if it’s not serious and doesn’t mean anything she shouldn’t be callin’ to check on you.”

“I have explained it to her,” he growled. “Repeatedly.”

“Hey,” she gently laid a hand on his arm. “No matter what this girl was or is for you, it’s none of my business and you have every right to hook up with someone or love someone.” Her own words hurt like hell, but who was she to flip out over that girl? Especially when Mark was lying in the tent right next to them, injured.

“Hell, Maria, it was a hook up, not a pledge of eternal love.” He sighed and shook his head. “I don’t want you readin’ anymore into this because it didn’t mean anything. It was just sex, nothin’ else.”

She crawled back into her sleeping bag. “Okay,” she replied quietly.

“You don’t believe me,” he mused.

“No, I do,” she said truthfully.

He bit his bottom lip uncertainly. “But I’m guessin’ you’re not gonna invite me over to finish what we started before that call came in.”

She looked at him for several long seconds before she shook her head slowly.

“Does this change things between you and Mark?” he asked, actually getting the guy’s name right and surprising her.

“I think so,” she replied honestly. How could she pretend nothing had happened? That would just be lying to herself.

Michael pulled a couple of his shirts on and stretched out to rest his head on the pack again. “Any chance that means you’re gonna toss that little fish back?”

“You want that?” she asked back.

His head turned so fast that it actually hurt. “What if I said yes? Would that affect your decision?”

She shrugged. “Maybe.”

“Yeah, if what I want means anything, then yeah, toss his ass back in whatever river you found him in.”

And does that mean that we could get back together? she asked him – but only in her head.

Was he jumping the gun? he wondered. Taking things too fast and not really thinking through what was best for her? “I know you’re goin’ to college in California and I’m workin’ here in Washington... and there’s more than just the distance factor to work out, but...” He wanted so badly to tell her he was worth the risk, but he didn’t completely believe that himself.

She smiled slightly when he considered that they maybe had a chance together. But she knew she had to talk to Mark first. “Hey, Michael, you think you can just hold me a little while? No talking or ya know... anything.”

“Can I come over there? I’d rather not be in his sleepin’ bag while I’m holdin’ you.”

She nodded and moved around to make some space.

He grabbed one of his shirts and helped her into it before lying down next to her and pulling her into his arms. He flipped the top of the sleeping bag over them and closed his eyes as she snuggled into his embrace.

*****

“I really hope the weather won’t stay this way for long,” Liz complained and rested her back on her pack. “I’m not even really tired yet and it’s only like 7pm.”

Max tried to get a little more comfortable as well. “Yeah, I’ve read that it can stay this way for hours, or even worse, days. That would really suck.”

“Seriously? Days?” She sighed heavily. “The climb up here was pretty exhausting during the storm, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, that wind made it difficult there for a while. We took a pretty good beatin’ out there, getting thrown up against the side of the mountain.” He glanced at her, noticing that she was having trouble getting comfortable. “Your back botherin’ you?”

“Yeah, it hurts,” she whined a little more than necessary.

Max shifted up onto his elbow and looked at her. “I could give you a backrub,” he offered, hoping he didn’t sound too eager.

Liz smirked inwardly; she had known he would make the offer. He always did. “Yeah, sounds great.”

“Assume the position.” He grinned and shook his head. Damn, was it just him or had that sounded downright filthy?

“Think it’ll be okay if I leave some clothes on? It’ll be too cold otherwise,” she said as she got comfortable on her stomach.

“Yeah, that’ll work.”

“Okay,” Liz reached out to pull the upper end of his sleeping bag under her head to use it as a pillow.

Max pulled his pack closer, unzipping one of the pockets and pulling something out before he shifted to straddle her hips. “Where’s the worst of it? Upper or lower back?”

“Lower,” she mumbled.

He lifted one of the packets he had taken from his pack and ripped it open with his teeth, shaking the contents out and reaching under her shirt to place the small warming pad against her back. He repeated the process again, hoping the heat combined with the massage would help ease her pain. “Better?” he asked as he tugged her shirt back down over the warming pads and let his hands settle on her sides.

“Awesome,” she said, enjoying the warmth.

“No more jokes about the emergency hand warmers?” he asked. She had given him shit about his decision to add them to their purchases when they had picked their gear up.

“Not as long as you’re using them on my back,” she joked.

He closed his eyes for a moment when she shifted under him and he forced his hands to settle into a repetitive rhythm as he did his best to work the tension out of her muscles.

“That feels good, Max,” she admitted, wondering if he was as gentle with everyone else as he was with her.

He mumbled a response and worked his way down, pausing for a moment when temptation nearly got the best of him before he shook his head and forced his hands back up. Damn, he’d give anything for her to see him as more than just her best friend. Make a move! His conscience was shouting at him and he quickly silenced it.

“What’re we gonna do after this trip?” she asked when the silence started to feel awkward.

“Whatever you wanna do,” he answered without thinking.

“Won’t you be goin’ home to see your parents?”

“I’m gonna visit them, but just for a few days.”

“Right after this?”

“It’s not set in stone or anything. I might wait a while since my sister’s gonna be flyin’ in for a visit next month and it’d be cool to hang out with her for a while. What about you? You gonna go visit your parents?”

“No, they’re in Europe for several months.”

Damn, he had forgotten about that. What would she get up to while he was visiting his family? What if she started dating someone else? He wasn’t sure he could handle coming back to find that she had hooked up with someone else. “You could come home with me. Your parents won’t be around, but ya know my parents love you.”

She shrugged. “I don’t know... won’t your parents think it’s weird if I come home with you?”

He snorted. “We’ve been best friends our whole lives and you spent half of that at my house growin’ up... what’s weird about it?”

“True...” She sighed. “Yeah, I’ll probably come with ya.”

He was ridiculously relieved. “Cool.”

Liz groaned slightly when his hands slid over her sides and she bit her lip when she realized that it might have sounded just a little too excited.

Max leaned back and pulled his outer shirt off and tossed it over on his side of the tent. “It’s a little warm in here,” he muttered.

Liz smirked inwardly. It wasn’t warm by any definition of the word.

He was going to give himself away one of these days, he thought. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad if she knew he was interested in her though... well, if she didn’t laugh in his face. God, that would be the ultimate humiliation, wouldn’t it?

“Ya think Mark’s gonna be alright?” Liz asked. They had only heard the voices outside so they didn’t know any of the details about what had happened yet.

“I’m sure that asshole will be fine.”

She reached behind her and slapped his thigh. “Max, don’t be so rude. I know you can’t stand him, hell, we all can’t stand him and I honestly don’t know what she sees in him, but Maria is our friend and she’s probably pretty upset about him being hurt.”

“Y’know, whatever happened to him it was probably his fault.”

“Think he’ll be able to go on with the trip?”

“Not if we’re lucky,” he muttered and grabbed her hand before she could smack him again. “Be nice or no more backrub for you.”

“But if he couldn’t continue that would probably mean Maria would go back down with him too,” she said sadly.

“Alright,” he gave in, knowing how much fun she and Maria had together, “then I hope the prick’s okay.”

Liz suddenly rolled over to face him directly. “I really hope she’ll see that he isn’t any good for her sometime soon.”

Max really hoped she couldn’t tell that he was gritting his teeth when she met his gaze. Touching her wasn’t bad enough, no; she just had to go and roll over under him, brushing against him and driving him crazy.

She frowned playfully. “Everything okay?”

“Um-hmm,” he squeaked out, sounding strangled. “All good.”

She let her own hands rest on his thighs. “Sounds like that storm’s already slowing down, huh?”

“Yeah.” The one outside maybe, he thought.

“Hey,” someone called from outside and pulled on the tent slightly. “Storm’s over, so c’mon out and let’s have dinner.”

It was Nick’s voice, Liz realized.

Well, that took care of the pressure behind his zipper, Max thought when Liz hurried to pull herself together to get out of the tent and join the others. Damn that flirtatious guide!

“Yo, Guerin,” Nick walked further into camp to get everyone up. “You up?”

Michael poked his head out of the tent and blinked fuzzily as he looked around. He had been napping and enjoying a dream where Maria was his and Mark didn’t exist. “I am now, jackass,” he growled.

Nick crouched down in front of the entry of the tent. “Whatcha doin’ with the little blonde, huh?” he whispered with a smirk.

Michael shoved the grinning fool back out of his way as he climbed out of the tent. “What’s up with our injured climber?”

“He’s still sleepin’. We gave him some painkillers, so it’s doubtful that he’ll wake up for long if he wakes up at all tonight.” Nick glanced into the tent to make sure the girlfriend wasn’t nearby. “He’s not gonna be able to continue with that injury.”

“We’ll need to radio base camp, arrange for a pick up to get him down off the mountain.”

He nodded. “You gonna tell her?”

“Yeah. What kinda damage did that idiot do to himself? I don’t want ‘er to go over there without knowin’ how badly he’s hurt.”

“Nothin’ really bad. A little cut on his forehead and his leg’s hurt; looks like a sprain, but I bet he won’t be able to walk on his own.”

“Great. Alright, lemme talk to her first, let ‘er know how he’s doin’, and then I’ll send her over to check on him.”

“Alright,” Nick glanced around the camp, “Tony and I will get everything set up for dinner.”

Michael ducked back into the tent and zipped the opening back up. Maria was awake and pulling her outer gear on as he crouched down next to her. He could see the nervous expression on her face and he wondered if it was because of their earlier actions or if it was because she didn’t know how badly her boyfriend was hurt.

Maria felt awkward about the situation. She shouldn’t have started something with Michael right here. It wasn’t fair to Mark and she didn’t know what Michael’s real intentions were. “How’s he doin’?”

“No major injuries, but he’s not gonna be able to continue the climb. We’ll radio for a chopper and have him picked up at dawn.” He reached out and gently tipped her chin up, bringing her gaze to his. “I can’t tell you I’m sorry for earlier, Maria, because I don’t regret kissin’ you.” He ran his thumb over her lips. “And if it had gone farther, I wouldn’t have regretted that either. But, I do regret the timin’ because I don’t want you to feel bad about it... and I think you do.”

She brushed his hand off slightly. “I have to go down with him, Michael.”

He nodded. “If that’s what you want.”

“That’s the only thing that’s right,” she answered, letting him know that is wasn’t necessarily what she really wanted.

He bit his bottom lip. “The right thing isn’t always what we really wanna do,” he said quietly.

“Speaking from experience, huh?” she muttered as she climbed out of the tent.

Michael sighed when he heard the hurt in her voice. Leaving her had been the last thing he had wanted to do, but at the time he had been so certain it was the right thing.


A/N: We're not sure if we can post in our regular updating schedule the next week, since we'll both pretty busy. We will try through, just no guarantee. You can check out our Author's page here, we will keep ya up to date there, when the next uppies will be posted.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Part 15

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 02, 2010 6:48 am

kismet: He did, didn’t he? We’ll see!

They were close… but, they’ll get another chance, lol.

Earth2Mama: No love for Mark, huh?  Maybe he will surprise you.

Max isn’t making his life easy with his hidden feelings for Liz. But he is still worried about their friendship. He will come along though… eventually.

keepsmiling7: Hmm… because we said so, lol!

Ah, patience… it’s gonna happen!

Eva: Another good deed for Mark… let’s see if he’s got it in him.

begonia9508: You’re absolutely right… now let’s see what happens.

LOL… which one’s the cat and which one’s the mouse?

mary mary: Sunday’s for sure! It’s just that Thursday update for DT that’s been affected by our real lives. :)

Lots of settling to be done… we’ll see.

We’re hoping Max takes your advice soon.

Natalie36: Once she gets done testing to be absolutely sure about Max we might see something happen with him and Liz. She’s still not completely convinced that he’s interested in her. We’re hoping for Michael and Maria to get back together too.

Alien_Friend: Right? Damn those interruptions!

Michael’s realizing that he’d better speak up… now he just needs to tell her what happened.

No, no, no… no more guys!

sarammlover: Lol, you make a good point. No one could ever deny that! No worries… only the Thursday update for DT has been affected by our current hectic schedules.

Maiqu: Yeah, we didn’t think it was just him either. ;) Think Mork can convince Maria to stay? Or will he even try?



Part 15

Maria walked over to Michael’s tent and crouched down to open the entrance. She winced when she saw the cut on Mark’s face and felt even more horrible about what she had done earlier. She climbed into the tent carefully and crawled up next to him to watch him.

Mark shifted and grimaced when he realized how badly his head was hurting. He groaned and reached up to rub his forehead, frowning when someone stopped him from moving any further. He forced his eyes open and looked up at his girlfriend. “M’ria? Wha’ happened?”

“I don’t know why, but ya moved too far out and then you fell over the edge.” She caressed his cheek gently. “But Michael got to you in time.”

“Hope they pay these guys what they’re worth,” he mumbled.

Maria felt even more guilt creeping up inside of her. “They don’t think you’re gonna be able to continue the trip. They’re gonna arrange a pick up in the morning to get ya down.”

“Kinda fucks up our plans, doesn’t it?”

She shook her head. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll go down and spend some time together in the cabin while we wait for the others to get back.”

“Maria, you’ve been lookin’ forward to this for so long.”

“I’m not gonna leave you alone, Mark. I’m not that bad a girlfriend.” She snorted silently. Yeah, DeLuca, you suck!

“You’re a great girlfriend,” he said, reaching up to touch her cheek. “But you deserve to spend this vacation hangin’ out with your friends.”

She laid her hand over his. “But I don’t want you to be alone down there.”

“I’ll just hang out at the lodge and catch up on some readin’. I want you to enjoy this trip.”

Maria smiled weakly. God, she was so screwed. “Thanks,” she mumbled quietly.

“So, it’s settled then?”

“Only if you’re really sure about it.”

“I’m sure.” Now watch her choose to stay with her friends, you idiot, his conscience screamed at him.

“Alright, I’ll stay,” she leaned forward to kiss him carefully. “Are you hungry? We’re getting ready for dinner now that the storm’s over.”

“Yeah, I could eat a little somethin’,” he said, forcing a smile.

“Ya wanna try to come out with me or you want me to bring something to you?”

“No, I think I’ll just hang out here that way if I fall asleep again I won’t have to worry about havin’ to get back in the tent.” Not to mention he wasn’t in the mood to put up with the smart remarks that were sure to be made after his accident.

“Okay, I’ll be back soon then.”

Michael looked up when Maria emerged from the tent the guides had put Mark in and he sighed when she avoided his gaze. Just as he had feared, she was regretting the time they had spent together... and more specifically the kisses they had shared.

Tony glanced at Michael, concerned when he saw the way his friend was watching Maria. He walked over to the spot he had chosen, secluded from the others. “Hey, buddy.”

Michael glanced up when Tony approached him. “Hey.”

Tony unfolded the camp stool he had grabbed and sat down. “You wanna tell me what’s goin’ on?”

Michael frowned. “Don’t know what ya mean.”

“You remember when you first got here an’ started trainin’ for this job?”

The other guy snorted. “Sure, I asked myself every day why I was doin’ this.”

“Man, you were shut down, withdrawn, focused on learnin’ this mountain and what it took to conquer it, and you didn’t want anything to do with anyone beyond that... you remember that?”

Michael studied his partner and friend. “What’re ya up to, man?”

“It took time for you to start to come outta that, but for the past year you’ve been doin’ better than that. This’s the first time in a long time that you’ve spent evenings on a climb hangin’ by yourself instead of sittin’ around the fire bullshittin’ with the climbers.”

“I’ve got a headache,” he lied.

“You’ve had a headache for the past couple of days?”

Michael groaned in frustration when the other man refused to drop it. “It’s something personal, okay?”

“Well, we’re not a couple of girls so it’s not like you’ve gotta tell me so we can have a good cry and hug or anything, I’m just sayin’, ya know, if ya wanna talk or anything, I’m around.” He cleared his throat. “Okay?”

Michael glanced at Maria again, watching the way she prepared dinner for her boyfriend and he shook his head. “Nothin’ to talk about, Tony. Everything’s fine.”

“Alright. You’re a fuckin’ liar, but alright.” He elbowed his friend. “You wanna cup of coffee?”

“Yeah.” Michael got up from where he was sitting to join the group. Tony was right, he had been acting unusually and that had to stop.

Nick glanced up when his partners finally decided to join them. “About time you got off your ass, old man,” he joked, tossing one of the cups to Michael and motioning to the coffee.

“Did you just call me an old man?” Michael asked.

“Whatcha gonna do about it, Grampa?” Nick grinned at him. He was only two years younger than Michael and Tony but he liked to give them shit about it.

Michael glanced at Tony and they both just nodded and each took a handful of his coat to pull him backwards in the snow. They used their free hands to grab some of the cold white stuff and rubbed it into Nick’s face.

“Hey, no fair! Fuck, that’s cold!” he shrieked when some of the snow got under his shirt.

Liz laughed out loud as she watched the guides behaving like a group of ten-year-old school boys.

Maria shook her head at them with a small smile.

“See, this’s the kinda job I need,” Kyle said. “These guys are havin’ fun and getting paid for it.”

“Uh-huh and also risking their lives for people they don’t even know,” Tess said.

“Yeah, but at the end of the day it’s all worth it... and hell,” he held his arms out, “look at their office!”

Michael came back and took a seat next to Kyle. “Pay could be better. Seriously, I can only afford a little one-bedroom apartment.”

“Yeah, but you’re not confined to an office all day.”

Michael shook his head. “Nah, thank God. I need to be outdoors.”

Max rolled his eyes. “Are you ready to give up law enforcement to be a guide?”

Kyle shrugged. “Hell, why not? My parents would kill me, though.”

Maria watched Michael for a few moments, knowing that he meant every word. He needed the open space and she was pretty sure that he’d go crazy confined to an office day after day. She shook herself out of her thoughts and turned to go back to take Mark his dinner.

“So you study law?” Tony asked and took a seat next to Michael.

“Sounds boring,” Michael made a face but winked at Kyle to show him it wasn’t meant to be rude.

“Well, some of it is, not even gonna lie about that,” Kyle said with a laugh. “But I’d like to eventually get into the FBI, so the degree’s a necessary evil.”

Michael nodded. “Cool, what about the rest of you?” he glanced at the others.

“Same as Kyle, just a different area of interest,” Tess said. She pointed to Max, “Lawyer,” and Liz, “forensics analyst.”

Wow, Michael thought, a bunch of intelligent people around here.

Maria approached them again. Mark had already fallen asleep so she had decided to eat his dinner with the others.

“So, what about you, Maria?” Nick asked.

She glanced at him. “What about me?”

“What’re you goin’ to college for? Sounds like the rest of these jokers are pursuing law degrees, so what about you?”

“Well, officially my parents think I’m studyin’ law as well. In reality, I’m studyin’ geology.”

Michael’s eyebrows nearly shot off of his forehead. “Geology?” he choked out.

“Rock jock, huh?” Tony asked as he reached out to pat Guerin on the back.

She nodded. “Yeah.”

Michael was having trouble focusing on the conversation going on around him. “I think I’m gonna take a quick walk,” he said to Tony before getting up and leaving the group. She had pursued her dream... even without him there she had chosen to defy her parents’ wishes and go after the career she had always wanted.

Maria watched him leave. Why was he acting so weird? Had he thought she would just obey her parents and forget her own dreams after he left?

Tony glanced between Maria and Michael’s retreating back. He knew something was going on there but he didn’t know exactly what it was. “So, what’s Mark studyin’?” he asked.

“Law,” she answered shortly.

Boring, Tony thought, but stayed quietly. What did a girl like her want with someone who studied law? He didn’t know her, but she seemed to be the adventurous type, always looking for the next big adventure.

Nick filled his coffee cup and then grabbed a second one and filled it when he saw Max go over to his tent.
He carried it over to Liz and sat down on her friend’s vacated camp stool and held it out to her with a smile. “Your friend call it an early night?” he asked.

Liz returned his smile and shook her head. “No, he’s just grabbing his journal.”

“Uh-huh.” A journal... okay then. No way she could really be interested in a guy who openly kept a journal... that was such a chick thing! he thought, but wisely kept it to himself.

A thought crossed Liz’ mind. How would Max react when he came back and saw Nick sitting next to her? Would he get jealous? Now, this could be the perfect chance to find out if Maria was really right. Maybe the girl had just interpreted Max’ overprotective issues with her wrong.

“So, how’d you like your first storm up on a mountain?”

“Whew, it was pretty exciting and a lot exhausting. A little bit scary, too,” she admitted, “but in a good way.”

Nick grinned. “There’s only one thing that even comes close to that rush,” he said with a wink.

“Hmmm, what could that be?” she said playfully.

He felt pretty confident when her tone and expression turned flirtatious. “Sex... no, not just sex... hot, wild sex.”

Max froze in place, when he came out of his tent again and saw that... prick had taken his seat next to Liz. And if that wasn’t enough it seemed like he was flirting with her too.

Nick glanced up when he noticed Max several feet away, not missing the death grip he had on the leather-bound journal in his right hand. “So,” he let his voice drop lower, well aware that it would carry just enough for the other guy to hear what he was saying, “you wanna take a walk? I’ll bet you’ve never seen anything like the view from up here at night.”

Liz could see Max out of the corner of her eyes, but it would have been too obvious to fully look at him to see his face. “Sure,” she said.

Max had to force his hand to relax when he realized he was on the verge of snapping his pen in half. What could she possibly see in the guy? Didn’t she know he probably did this any time an attractive woman made the climb? He cleared his throat as he joined them, making it a point to get between them when they stood up. “Goin’ somewhere?” he asked, shoving his elbow in Nick’s space and smiling inside when he heard his coffee slosh over the sides. “Sorry ‘bout that,” he apologized, not caring that it came out without the slightest bit of sincerity.

“Yeah,” Nick growled, “it’s okay.”

Maria watched the drama of Max, Liz and Nick and inwardly shook her head. When would her best friend finally give in and go after Max?

Max ignored him and turned to look at Liz. “Where’re ya goin’?”

She shrugged. “Just around camp. It’s not like I can go very far.” Oh yeah, she thought, this was jealousy.

He turned to look at Dick... er, Nick, and his eyes narrowed. “Don’t you have some kinda guide stuff that you need to be doin’?” Damn it, there was no way that hadn’t come out sounding jealous and it was doubtful that even Liz would miss something that pointed. Did he really care? He was getting tired of hiding his feelings for her.

“Max,” Liz placed a hand on his arm to get his attention. “Why don’t we take a walk, huh?”

Nick hid a grin when Max went from irritated to placated in less than a heartbeat and he decided to try to get a rise out of him once more. “Sure, you can come with us,” he offered generously. “The view’s big enough for all three of us.”

Tony had been watching the situation as well and he shook his head. He stood up and grabbed Nick by the arm. “You and me need to check the weather for tomorrow.”

“Dude!” Nick complained as he pulled his arm free of Tony’s grip. “We are sooo not a couple - quit actin’ like a jealous boyfriend!”

Tony rolled his eyes at his partner. “You suck.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard right.”

Nick just grinned and shrugged. “The guy obviously needed some help... I was just givin’ him a nudge in the right direction.”

Liz glanced at Max, still waiting for his answer to her earlier question.

Max turned to place his journal in his seat and pulled in a deep breath before he turned to look at Liz. “So, let’s take that walk.”

She nodded and felt her own heartbeat speed up. What if he really told her he had feelings for her now?

It wasn’t the first time they had taken a walk together, but he could feel the possibilities and change on the air as he held his hand out to her.

She took the hand he had offered and they started to walk away from the others.

“Don’t go too far,” Michael warned as he came back into camp. “We’ve got the boundaries set up closer than usual because of the instability of the outer lying area. Less privacy, but better than fallin’ off a mountain.”

Max nodded. “Okay.” Not that they really needed a reminder of that. Only Mark had been too stupid to pay attention to the guide’s warnings.

Liz glanced up at Max when he bit back his automatic response, knowing that he really wanted to make a comment on Mark and stupidity. “It’s just killin’ you to not say anything bad about him, isn’t it?” she teased as they walked away from the others.

Max grunted. “I still don’t see why we’ve gotta be nice to him... he’s open about bein’ a total dick when Maria’s not around. Just once I’d like for her to catch him when he’s not on his best behavior just to impress her an’ make it look like we’re the ones causin’ all the drama.”

“No drama from anyone anymore. Well, at least not up here on the mountain, ‘cause Mark’s going down tomorrow.”

“Is it wrong of me to be happy about that?” he asked. “Wait, Maria’s not goin’ with his worthless ass, is she?”

Liz shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I hope not, but she might.” With all the Michael drama, she added in her head. “It would suck.”

“Yeah, it’d suck if her vacation got cut short because Mark’s stupid. Besides, she’d miss out on a good time... and things’ll be more like normal without that ass bringin’ the drama.”

Liz doubted that anything would be normal when Mark left, but damn, she couldn’t tell Max. She had promised Maria that she wouldn’t tell anyone. “Yeah. It would be nice if it was just us, ya know? Maria, Kyle, Tess, you and me. I don’t know, we’re all so much alike and Mark... just isn’t.”

“Mark’s a pampered little bitch who’s used to getting everything he wants from Mommy and Daddy... it’s no wonder he doesn’t fit in with us.”

Liz nodded. “Maria could do so much better.”

“We’ve all told her that.” He stopped when they reached the rope that marked off the safe area. He drew in a deep breath, feeling the cold air as it filled his lungs. “I’m glad we chose this for our vacation.”

“Yeah, me too. It’s really somethin’ new.”

He snorted. “C’mon, the cattle drive that Kyle suggested, the one on that ranch up in Wyoming, that would’ve been somethin’ new too,” he teased.

She made a face. “This is so much better.”

“Don’t think you would’ve enjoyed learnin’ how to chase an’ rope cattle?”

She shook her head. “That’s a guy thing to do.”

“Sexist comment, Liz? Somethin’ for the guys, but not the girls?” He laughed as he shook his head. “Since when do you pull that card?”

“Because it’s true. I don’t know any woman who dreams about chasin’ some stinkin’ cattle.”

“It’s about the challenge, Parker.”

“I can think of better challenges than that.”

If his ears could’ve stood anymore upright they would’ve been perfectly vertical at her tone. “Tell me more.”

She shrugged. “Climbing this mountain, bungee jumpin’, some wild safari, descending into the deep dark depths of some caves..... much more interesting than cattle.”

Max just shook his head at his adventurous friend – as long as cows weren’t involved – and looped his arms around her when she leaned back against his chest. He rested his chin on her head when she pointed out into the distance. “What’re we lookin’ at?”

She shrugged. “Just the landscape, ya know? It’s good to know that there are still a few places in the world that’re almost untouched by any humans.”

Max smiled. For someone who insisted that she wasn’t a romantic she certainly had some romantic notions at times. “You ever wonder what it was like out here a hundred years ago?”

“Probably the same with a little more snow,” she joked.

He snorted at her answer. “It’s amazing how some things can change and stay the same.” He took a deep breath. He could tell her now, just open his mouth and put it out there, tell her how he felt about her and end this agonizing limbo he’d been living in for what felt like forever.

“What’s that?” Liz’ head snapped to the left when she heard something next to them.

Max turned his head when he heard the same high-pitched whistling sound. “Hell, I don’t know. I would say it’s the wind, but uh... there’s no wind.”

Liz looked around when they heard the sound again. “There...” she pointed at something only a few feet away from them.

He frowned. “That’s the biggest fuckin’ rat I’ve ever seen,” he muttered. “No one said anything about rats up here.”

“You sure it’s a rat?” Liz crouched down to have a better look at it.

“Hell, I don’t know, but that’s what it looks like.” He winced when the whistling sound started again and he realized that it was coming from the animal. “Why’s it doin’ that? We should go, damn thing’s probably about to attack.”

“It’s a pika,” Tony said when he approached them from behind.

“A who?” Max echoed.

“Pika,” Tony repeated. “It won’t attack you, it makes that sound when it feels threatened.”

“IT feels threatened? What’s it doin’ up here?”

“Well IT lives here.”

“Then shouldn’t it go home? Hide in a cave or a burrow or somethin’?”

Liz laughed at Max’ disgruntled tone. He hated mice and rats and the thing just looked too much like one for his comfort.

“It probably thinks the same about you,” Tony said with a grin. “You two coming? We wanna discuss what’s up tomorrow.”

“Those things won’t get in the tents or anything will they?” Max asked, eyeing it warily. That sound probably wasn’t a warning... damn thing was probably calling all of its friends to prepare for an ambush on the humans.

“Not if ya keep your tent closed.”

“Look, Max, its ears are just like yours,” Liz teased.

“Ha ha, funny girl,” he made a face at her as they started to walk back to the others. So much for telling her the truth, he thought.

Liz glanced at him, easily detecting the note of frustration in his tone. He had something on his mind and he wanted to talk, but she recognized the look of resigned acceptance on his face and decided to let it wait until later when they were alone again.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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

Part 16

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 09, 2010 7:27 am

Eva: Well, not afraid exactly… he just HATES them with a passion.

We’ll see how long Mark can be the good guy.

Earth2Mama: It IS cheating. But it’s only Mark, lol.

M&M should talk. JUST TALK? We’re not so sure with those two…

M&L are frustrating, huh? Otherwise it wouldn’t be any fun. 

keepsmiling7: Yup, she missed that opportunity, but another will present itself.

Natalie36: LOL, that was great! She’s gonna figure out that this’s one bull she’d like to wrestle to the ground. ;)

mary mary: Oh, we’ll find out just how far ol’ Nick’s gonna take this game.

Alien_Friend: Liz will always choose Max when it comes right down to it.

There’s a very good chance that things would’ve gone a lot differently had Michael just talked to Maria instead of trying to handle things for her.

Yes, Mark is just full of surprises… we’ll see more of them.

killjoy: That’s exactly it! Max HATES them! And with a passion, no less, lol!

Pushing him too far is always a possibility… we’ll find out.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Michael did believe that he was making things easier for Maria if he took that decision out of her hands, but Maria is bound to have a different opinion.

It was funny, right?

sarammlover: A little jealousy is good. Hopefully Liz will reach the end of the “testing Max phase” soon. Nah, we don’t think it’s wrong. They’ll all have more fun without wussy boy around.

Maiqu: *Max crossing his arms over his chest and scowling. “I HATE them… I am NOT scared of them. There’s a difference.”* Now you’ve done it… you’ve insulted him.

But will it last?

Glad you’re lovin’ M&L here.



Part 16

Maria glanced at her friend when they rejoined the group. Hmm, did he tell her the truth? Liz caught her eye and decided to sit next to her for now. “Hey,” she said as she sat down. “How’s Mark doin’?”

“He’s gonna be okay, but they’re gonna have to send him back down the mountain in the mornin’.”

“You’re not goin’ with him, are you?” Please say no, Liz thought.

“No, he thinks I should stay.” She bit her bottom lip. “Is it wrong if I stay, Liz?”

“Of course not,” Liz insisted, “it was your idea to do this, so it wouldn’t be right if ya had to quit now.”

“Yeah... I just don’t want him to feel like this is more important to me.”

Liz shook her head. “Let’s talk later, okay?” she said when Tony sat down as well.

Kyle glanced up when Max crouched down next to the fire to warm his hands. “Hey, man, where’d you go?”

“We were just enjoyin’ the view at night,” Max said, not really interested in sharing anything else.

Tess elbowed Kyle before he could ask anything else. “Hey, we were just talkin’ about tomorrow... you ready for another day?”

“Sure, what’s up for tomorrow?” Kyle sat down next to Tess and Tony and waited for one of the guides to speak up.

Michael glanced at Nick and grinned when he saw the way the younger guy was fidgeting. He motioned for Nick to go ahead and start talking.

“We get to scale the side of a glacier tomorrow!” His tone gave away his excitement. It was one of his favorite parts of this climb.

“Yeah, and hopefully the weather will stay calm tomorrow,” Tony added. “I checked the weather report and so far, everything seems to be cool.”

Michael nodded. “We’ll get a bit of a later start tomorrow, but you’ll appreciate the extra rest. It’s gonna be a very physically demanding day.”

“Who’s gonna bring Mark to the pickup point?” Maria asked.

“Michael and I will take him and we’ll leave you guys with Nick... do us a favor and don’t push his annoying ass off the mountain or anything before we get back.”

We’ll see, Max thought, shooting a glare at the man in question.

Tony glanced at Max and lowered his voice. “Seriously, no pushin’ the guides off the mountain.”

Max smirked at him. “Sure.”

“Uh-huh.”

Michael looked at Maria, noting her silence and wishing he knew what to say or do to fix things between them.

Maria glanced up and caught Michael’s gaze, wondering what he was thinking right now. Had he really meant what he had said a few hours ago? That they could figure things out between them? The distance, their past, everything? She felt so bad for what she had done to Mark. She had never ever in her life cheated on anyone.

“I’m gonna get my tent set up,” Nick said as he stood and stretched. “Much as I love the thought of sharin’ with you guys I think I’m gonna pass.”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Same here.” And the worst thing was that Mork was lying in his tent, which meant he had to sleep somewhere else.

“Yeah, I think the kid’s got the right idea, Guerin,” Tony said as he tossed the last of his coffee into the fire. “Mark’s not in any immediate danger, so there’s no reason for us to camp out with you to keep an eye on him.”

“You can sleep in my tent,” Maria said to Michael.

For a brief moment his heartbeat sped up, but then he realized that she didn’t mean that he could sleep in her tent with her. “So you can be with Mark,” he muttered to himself as he nodded.

“Alright, you guys,” Tess and Kyle stood up, “we’re gonna call it a night.”

“Keep it down, would ya?” Max complained playfully, pinching Tess’ side as she passed him.

“Use your iPod,” Tess shot back.

“Volume setting doesn’t go that high.”

“We’ll give ya 30 minutes before we go to bed,” Maria said with a wink.

He glanced at Liz. “When the two of them get goin’ she kinda sounds like that rat thing we saw.”

Liz started laughing when she took a sip from her coffee and almost spit it out again. “Max,” she reached over to slap his thigh, “don’t do that when I’m drinkin’.”

He grinned. “Hey, I’m just sayin’.”

Maria stood up. “I’ll get my stuff outta my tent.”

Liz held onto Max’ shoulder as she stood up. “Be back in a few... gotta talk to Maria before she bunks down with Asshole,” she whispered.

Max nodded and then glanced at Michael, the only guy left at the fire with him. “Chick talk,” he said when he saw the guide’s eyes follow the girls. “They won’t go too far, don’t worry.”

Michael lifted his coffee cup to acknowledge the other man. “So, you an’ Liz... just friends?”

Damn, it was that obvious, huh? “Yeah, kinda...”

He grinned as the focus was shifted away from him. This was much better, turn the heat on under someone else. “Be more if it was up to you, huh?”

“Would ya believe me if I said no?”

Ah, denial... his old friend was quite popular. He shrugged as he stood and emptied his cup. “Regret’s a bitch to live with,” was all he said as he stretched and turned to watch Maria climb into her tent ahead of Liz. “Looks like they’re gonna be there for a while.”

“Yeah,” Max shook his head, “when they get started... it can take hours for them to stop talking. They met our first day in college and from that point on... Man, they’ll find somethin’ to talk about for hours every damn day.”

He smirked, remembering just how long Maria could talk about everything or nothing until she was sufficiently distracted.

“But I guess that’s a woman thing in general,” Max added.

“Yeah, I think you’re right about that.” He sat down on the stool Kyle had been using and he scratched his chin as he debated the intelligence of what he was about to do. “What’s the story with Maria and Mork?” he asked after several minutes of internal debate.

Max snorted. “Hell, if I know. First year in college she dated the cool guys. Ya know, guys like us, but then... suddenly she started bringin’ Mark home and we all were like, what the fuck?”

“Yeah, noticed there doesn’t seem to be any love lost between Mark and the rest of you.”

Max shrugged. “He doesn’t fit in, that’s all.”

“Uh-huh, that’s gotta make it difficult since you guys all seem to be pretty close to Maria.”

“Yeah, Maria, Liz and I share an apartment.”

Michael made a face. “Ungh, so Mork must spend a lot of time at your place.”

“Thank God, they’re over at his place most of the time when they’re together.”

“Things seem to be more antagonistic between you, Liz, and Mork than between Kyle, Tess, and Mork.
What’s up with that?”

“Kyle and Tess don’t have to put up with the guy as much as we do. And we know Maria, and that guy is no good for her. She isn’t even really happy with him.”

Interesting... time to dig around some more. “Then why’s she with him?”

Max shook his head. “No clue.”

“They been together long?”

“About five month or so, I guess.”

Michael shook his head. “Why do girls get involved in relationships with guys who aren’t right for them?”

“I don’t know. I mean, normally when girls get involved with guys who aren’t good for them it’s a matter of the guy treatin’ ‘em bad. But it’s not like that with them. It’s not like he’s treatin’ her bad or anything, he’s just... boring... I mean, he studies law. Ungh.”

Michael bit back a grin. “I thought all of you were studyin’ law?”

“Yeah, but we’re cool,” Max answered with a smirk.

He laughed and slapped Max on the back. “Yeah, you guys are pretty cool.”

“So, what about you? Now that you know our group’s got it’s own fucked up dynamic. What do ya do when you’re not up here?”

Michael shrugged. “I spend most of my time on the mountain.” Keeping busy was the only way to keep his mind occupied and off of everything he was missing in his life. “When I’m not up here I’m either pickin’ up odd jobs or goin’ out for the occasional date.”

“So, no current girlfriend?”

“I have a current...” What exactly was Courtney? he wondered. “There’s someone I see on occasion.”
Max smirked. That didn’t sound like anything really serious. “Bet you guys have a lot of girls around here who’re all too willing to throw themselves at ya.”

“There’s no shortage of opportunities an’ if all you’re lookin’ for is an easy lay you’re set up here.” He shrugged one shoulder. “They come an’ go...” he smirked. “In more than one way but there’s nothin’ serious about the women who come up here for a vacation.”

“Would be hard since they’re from all over the country, I guess,” Max said. “But it’s the same in California. Most girls are good enough for a night, but if ya have to spend much time with them and actually talk to them,” he made a face.

Michael laughed. “Yeah, some things are the same no matter where ya go.”

*****

Liz crawled into the tent right after Maria and closed the zipper behind her. “Soooo,” she started, “Mark suggested you should stay?”

“Yeah. I’m not sure he really wants me to stay, but...” she sat on her sleeping bag and looked at Liz. “How wrong am I for wantin’ to stay when he’s injured and has to leave?”

Liz sighed. “Look, I wanna be honest with you; I think that this relationship with you an’ Mark... it sucks Maria, sorry.”

Maria stared at Liz; she was stunned, shocked, hurt. It was no secret that Liz and Mark couldn’t stand each other, and it wasn’t the first time her friend had expressed her opinion about Maria’s relationship with him, but it was the first time she had been so direct about it. “What do you think I should do, Liz?”

“If you’re really honest with yourself, Maria, is there any possibility that you could ever love that man?”

She leaned back to rest against her pack, sighing deeply as she stared at the tent above her. How could she really love Mark when her heart still belonged to the man who had rejected it and walked away from her?

Liz crawled up to sit next to her. “I guess that’s a no.” She grabbed her best friend’s hand. “Stay here with us, Maria. And stay with the man you really want. Let Mark go down alone and talk to him when we get back down there, ‘cause as much as I may not like him... it wouldn’t be fair to tell him anything right now and then send him down without givin’ him the chance to ask any questions.”

“I’m so confused right now... my heart wants one thing, but my brain’s tellin’ me to run the other way before he hurts me again.” She shook her head and glanced at Liz. “I know you don’t go in for all that romantic, mushy stuff, but if you ever let yourself fall in love you’ll understand.”

Liz found herself asking if she could have something like that with Max and if so... would it be this confusing too? What if the relationship didn’t work out? She would not only lose a boyfriend, she would also lose her best friend. “I can´t really help ya with that, Maria. And I don’t know if Michael’s good for you or not, ‘cause I don’t know him. But whatever’s goin’ on with Michael, it doesn’t change the Mark situation.”

“The Mark situation,” Maria snorted. She fell silent for a few minutes as her thoughts shifted back to earlier that evening when she had been in this same tent with Michael. “He kissed me,” she blurted out finally.

Liz frowned. “Who?” She already knew the answer, but she needed to hear it out of her friend’s mouth.
“Max, Liz,” she muttered sarcastically and rolled her eyes. “Who do you think I’m talkin’ about? Michael.”

Liz grinned. “How’d it feel?”

How did it feel? “Incredible... like the most right thing in the world. Remember when we went skydiving last summer? That feeling you get when your stomach drops? It’s like that, but combined with this rush of heat...” She smiled. “The most amazing feelin’ in the world, Liz, and he hasn’t lost the touch.”

“And? Did he say anything about it? I mean, did he just want in your pants or is there more to it?”

And now we come to the confusing part, she mused. “He wants me to ditch Mark. He said he knows we’d have to work some things out, but... I don’t know, he seems to think we can make it work.”

Liz looked at her with eyes wide open. “That’s great, isn’t it? I mean, isn’t that what ya want?”

“It’s what I want, but it’s not that simple.”

“You’re afraid that he’d leave you again?”

“Wouldn’t you be? He still hasn’t told me why he left, he wants me to dump Mark, says we can work things out... he’s holdin’ all the cards, Liz.”

“Uh-huh, but you have your own cards, Maria.”

Maria sat up and looked at her friend. “What cards?”

“Well,” Liz grinned and gestured at her friend, “your sexy body, the fact that Michael feels threatened by Mark, and you’ve got me, your best friend.”

“Score one for my sexy body ‘cause he’s already caved on that one. Score two for Mark ‘cause he’ll be goin’ back to the lodge tomorrow mornin’. That just leaves you... what’re you gonna do?”

“Well, I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.”

“Um-hmm, I have no doubt you’ll come up with somethin’.” She grinned and turned the tables. “So, what’s goin’ on with you and Max?”

Liz sighed. “I don’t know.”

“He hasn’t said anything yet?”

“No, we took a little walk away from everyone to talk, but an animal, I don’t remember the name, but it looked like a rat, interrupted and then Tony called us back.”

Maria laughed. “Considering how much Max hates the little furry critters I can just imagine how well that went over.”

“Yeah, right? But ya know I’m really scared of that moment when he tells me.”

“Because he’s your best friend?”

“Yeah, I don’t wanna lose that.”

“You guys are pretty tight, Liz. Just tell him what scares you. Max will understand.”

“God, why did ya have to tell me this? Now that’s all I can think about when I’m with him.”

“Okay, let’s try a little ‘what if?’ What if you guys weren’t best friends? Would you take him to bed?”

Maria already knew the answer, but Liz needed to think about it without worrying about the constraints of her current relationship with Max.

“Of course, the guy’s totally hot.”

“If he wasn’t your best friend, just take that outta the equation for a minute, could you see it developing into more than just sex?” She grinned. “And we’re probably talkin’ about some pretty hot sex, too.”

The other girl shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t know, Maria. I’ve never done the relationship thing.”

“Relationships are not that scary... besides, you and Max are practically in a relationship, just without the sex.”

“And without the jealousy and complications ya suddenly have when you are in one.”

Maria snorted again. “You’d better go back and check again... the jealousy’s already there. He looked like he could’ve happily choked Nick earlier... did you not notice how quickly he got between the two of you?”

Liz bit her bottom lip. “I did, yeah.”

“I probably shouldn’t be tellin’ you to go for it considering my current situation.”

“Uh-huh! That’s so right, girl. We’re both screwed.”

“Screwed... Ungh, yeah, just not the right way.”

“Why can’t life be easier?”

“You’re askin’ the wrong girl!”

“Think we should go outside again?”

Maria sat up and unzipped the opening to glance outside. “Ungh, wouldn’t you know it? Just our luck the only two people left out there is Max and Michael.”

Liz looked out as well. “And seems like they’re getting along pretty well,” she said when the guys laughed about something.

“Well, isn’t that just special,” she muttered. “Maybe tomorrow they can climb together and me an’ you can work with Nick.” She snickered. “Although Max is liable to have a coronary at the very suggestion.”

“Let’s do that then,” Liz said with a smirk.

“Somebody’s in an evil mood,” Maria laughed.

“Just wanna draw him out.”

“Girl, one of these days you’re gonna push that man too far and he’s either gonna give up on you or he’s gonna kiss you silly.”

“And I’ll bet that Michael’s gonna get in your pants before we leave this mountain.”

“Oh, you wanna put it out there like that, huh?” She nodded. “Okay, and I’ll bet Max gets in your pants before we go back home.” She held her hand out. “Care to put your money where your mouth is?”

Liz shook on the bet and climbed out the tent first, laughing. “Now this’s gonna be interesting.”
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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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Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Part 17 - 5/16/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 16, 2010 9:04 am

Earth2Mama: Hmm… true, and she certainly doesn’t want more guilt!

The guys are definitely gonna get along. Yeah, we aren’t that excited about it either!

begonia9508: Lol, isn’t it though?

Thanks!

mary mary: Lol, just lookin’ forward to a little mischief, aren’t you?

Alien_Friend: That would certainly be a win-win situation for the girls, wouldn’t it?

The guys definitely have some things in common, lol!

Well, we’ll find out soon if she’ll say something before Mork departs.

Natalie36: Ah, and the betting pool begins…

sarammlover: Yes, so do we, lol! It was past time for someone to be completely honest and tell Maria the truth. Oh, and you just know Michael and Max have plenty of things to talk about! Nick’s pretty excited about that glacier climb too.

Eva: Lol, another bet for both girls… wow!

kismet: Yup, we can easily imagine that too!

Give ‘er a push! Let’s see what happens!

Well, no worries… Mork’s gonna be on his way back down the mountain soon.


Part 17

Michael glanced over his shoulder when the girls approached them, laughing about something. “Whatcha think that’s all about?” he asked his companion.

“Probably nothin’ we really wanna know about.”

“You could be onto somethin’ there.”

“Hey, guys,” Maria greeted the boys when they got back to the fire, feeling much better now that she had talked to Liz for a while.

Max nodded in greeting. “I think I’m callin’ it a night.”

Liz glanced at her watch. “C’mon, Max. I thought you were gonna cook some brownies,” she wiggled her eyebrows.

“You have a chocolate addiction and I really think we need to find you a new drug.” Max rolled his eyes at her. “But, if you want brownies...”

Liz nodded in satisfaction. “I’ll get them outta our tent.”

“Sucker,” Michael muttered under his breath.

Max heard the guide’s comment and he took a handful of snow to throw at the other man.

He grinned. “Don’t you have some brownies to make, Mr. Parker?”

Maria laughed out loud at that. “So you already figured it out too, huh?”

Max shot a glare at Maria. “You’re not as funny as you think you are.”

Maria glared back at him. “Just pointing out the truth here,” she hissed before Liz came back.

“Well, don’t,” he hissed right back.

Maria shrugged and leaned back against the rock. She should probably check on Mark, but right now she just felt like sitting here and doing nothing but being close to Michael.

“They’re like an old married couple,” Michael said quietly as he watched Max mix the brownies while Liz supervised.

“Yeah, they just don’t realize it.”

“Think they ever will?”

“I really hope so. It’s getting pretty annoying, especially when you live with them.”

He grinned. “We could always strand ‘em up here together.”

Maria smirked. “Nah, I need my best friend with me.”

“I like your friends. They seem like good people.”

She nodded. “They are.”

“Your parents like ‘em?” he asked.

Maria snorted. “Of course not. My parents don’t like any of my friends.”

He decided not to comment on that. “So, you decided to go for that geo degree, huh?”

“Yeah, it’s what I always wanted to do.”

“We’ve gotta lot of rocks up here in Washington.”

“Yeah, that’s why we’re here.”

He shot a glance at her and shook his head. “Ya know what I mean.”

She nodded silently.

“You, um... you gonna leave with Mark tomorrow?” Say no, he thought.

“I’m stayin’,” she said and watched his face for any reaction to that.

“That’s good.” He turned his head to look at her, smiling as he reached over to take her hand. The other couple was busy debating who had the bigger half of the brownie so he knew they had a couple of minutes. “I’m glad you’re gonna stay.”

She dropped her gaze to their intertwined hands. “I hope I’m doin’ the right thing,” she whispered.

“Just give it a chance, Maria... maybe I don’t have the right to ask you to do that, but right or wrong, that’s what I’m askin’ here.”

She was so tempted to lean over to kiss him but Max and Liz were still there, so she had to stay away from him. Instead she just squeezed his hand slightly.

Michael could see the desire in her eyes and he wished the other couple would get over their little brownie battle and go to bed.

Maria rested back against the rock again and closed her eyes. She felt dizzy from nothing more than his simple touch.

He pulled his hand back when he realized that Liz had once again claimed victory and taken possession of the larger half of the brownie. “Not sharin’?” he asked.

Max snorted. “Liz doesn’t share chocolate... the two of them have a perverse relationship.”

“It’s not perverse,” Liz denied.

“I beg to differ,” he muttered. And if you had any idea how much pressure’s bein’ put on my zipper you’d understand, he thought with a mental eye roll.

Maria laughed, “Max is right, girl; you’d kill for chocolate and it’s not even funny. Do ya remember the day we were watching TV together and I dropped some of the chocolate sauce from our ice cream to my cleavage?” Maria leaned forward to look at her. “You fuckin’ licked it up.”

Max choked on the brownie he had just swallowed and his eyes bugged out as he tried to catch his breath. “God,” he rasped, “that is not imagery I need.” What the fuck was he supposed to do about a hard-on out here? He was sharing a tent with her and his other option was jerking off outside in the freezing cold... something that was sooo not happening.

Maria shrugged. “It’s the ugly truth.”

Michael smirked and shook his head at Maria.

Max glared at Liz. “Warn a guy, will ya?” he growled. It wasn’t her fault, but at that moment he didn’t care.

“Ya like that thought, huh?” she teased. “Me licking chocolate from Maria’s body...”

“I can think of a thing or two I’d enjoy more.”

Maria and Liz both laughed at Max’ heated tone. He definitely would like to see that one.

“What? I’m a guy, sue me!” he huffed indignantly.

“Alright,” Maria started to get up. “I think it’s time for me to go and have some sleep. I’m getting tired.” Honestly, she wasn’t really tired, but sitting next to Michael without being able to touch him wasn’t doing her any good and it would only make her feel more guilty.

Michael looked at her when she moved. “You’re really gonna leave me alone with these two?”

“No, we’re goin’ to bed as well,” Liz said as she and Max stood up.

Michael rolled his eyes. “Okay, amending that last statement... you’re leavin’ me alone?”

Maria glanced at Michael. Did he have any idea how badly she wanted to stay with him? But she knew she shouldn’t.

He nodded, tamping down his disappointment when he realized how torn she was. “I’ll see y’all in the mornin’.”

“Good night,” she said quietly and pulled her strength together to turn away from him.

Michael watched her go and he wondered how much sleep she’d get once she realized she had to use his sleeping bag.

Max climbed into the tent behind Liz and shook his head when the girl in front of him practically shoved her cute little ass in his face. How was he gonna survive one more night with her in the tent without being able to touch her? Maybe he should suggest that Maria and her should share one when Mark left? Yeah, that would be much better for his situation.

“Ya wanna come in?” Liz asked when she saw Max hesitating in the entry.

Max just knew he had a stupid look on his face. “Well, since the other option is sleepin’ out here in the snow...” he started with just the slightest hint of sarcasm coloring his tone.

“Everything okay?” she asked, even if she knew what his problem probably was.

No, he muttered internally, everything is not okay! But he only forced a smile and wondered if a guy could suffer permanent damage from having a hard-on that wouldn’t quit. “It’d be really great if you’d move your ass before my nuts turn blue an’ fall off... it’s fuckin’ cold out here in case you’ve forgotten.” Yeah, he was on the verge of a serious case of blue balls, but it wasn’t from the cold!

She lifted one eyebrow. “Uh-huh, we’ve spent the last couple hours outside and NOW suddenly your nuts are gonna fall off?”

He was starting to get cranky but he couldn’t help it. “Oh, my God, Liz, would you just move?”

She rolled her eyes and moved out of the way to let him in.

He just threw himself down on his sleeping bag and tried to think of anything but the woman next to him.

Liz searched around her pack to find a new pullover to wear and started to pull her clothes off when she found it.

Max couldn’t stop his eyes from following her movements even though it was only making things worse for him. “What’re you doin’?” he rasped as she got closer and closer to revealing skin.

“Changing clothes, what does it look like?” she asked. He had seen her in her underwear so often that she wondered if it could really be a problem for him now.

He swallowed hard and stared at her back as the last shirt came off and revealed her perfect skin. His eyes widened when she reached for the clasp on her bra and he scrambled to grab his toothbrush and bolted.

“Where’re ya goin’?” Liz turned around, holding her right arm over her upper body to cover her breast.

To jerk off and hope my dick doesn’t end up frostbitten, he thought, but refrained from sharing with her. “Brush my teeth,” he answered, fumbling for the zipper on the opening.

“Ya know, you could wait for me.”

Wait for her? Was she deliberately trying to kill him?! “No, um... gotta take a piss, too.” God, why wouldn’t the zipper work?

“Okayyyyyy,” she said, doubting that his answer was the real issue but letting it go anyway.

Michael glanced up from the fire he was staring at when Max suddenly left his tent in a hurry again. “Forget somethin’?”

“Yeah, my spine,” he muttered as he hurried away from the main camp.

The other man just smirked and shook his head. That man was in serious trouble.

*****

The rush of cold air brought Mark’s eyes open and he blearily looked around, trying to find the source of the annoying breeze. He tried to focus on the person zipping the flap closed again and he groaned when he shifted and a momentary bolt of pain reminded him that he was injured. He pushed himself up on one elbow to look at Maria as she turned to check on him. “Is it late?” he asked quietly.

“No, only about 9pm.”

“You don’t have to take care of me, Maria... you can stay out there with your friends.”

“No, they’ve all gone to bed by now,” she said and lay down next to him.

“I’m...” he gritted his teeth. “I’m sorry ‘bout getting hurt like this.”

She shook her head. “Don’t worry about it, Mark.”

“Guess I’ll be goin’ back to the lodge in the mornin’.” Like she doesn’t already know that, you idiot! He felt like he suddenly didn’t know what to say or how to act around her and he didn’t really know why.

“You sure you don’t want me to come with you?” She really hoped that he hadn’t changed his mind about it, but if he did ask her to go back to the cabin she would.

Mark considered being selfish and then decided there was really no point. If things between them weren’t going to work out he wasn’t gonna force it or beg her to stay with him. He would wait and see how she was after being on this godforsaken mountain with her friends after another few days. That would probably be enough to make her see just how great he was.

“Mark?” Maria asked when he seemed to be lost in thoughts.

“Hmm?”

“You didn’t answer...”

“Answer what?” he mumbled, still distracted by his thoughts.

Maria sighed. “Ya want me to come with you down to the cabin?”

“Oh, no... you should stay. No point in both of us losin’ our money for the trip.”

She nodded, relieved and doing her best not to show it. “Okay, if that’s what ya want.”

“Yeah, we paid a fortune for this trip and it’d be stupid for you to throw your money away like that.”

“But you’re not going home, right? You’ll wait down there?”

“Hell, I’m not throwin’ all my money away. The least I can do is hang out at the lodge.” Maybe check out some of the girls hanging around, looking for a hookup. It was all about discretion, he thought.

“Okay,” she replied. It was so weird to be near him now that she had kissed Michael. All the guilt was eating her up inside.

“Well, we should probably get some sleep. I’ve got an early mornin’ and chances are good that you an’ your friends will have a blast without me around to ruin their fun.”

“Come on, it’s not like that, Mark.” She sat up again to get out of her outer gear.

“Maria,” he said slowly, “there’s no reason for us to argue over this; your friends don’t like me and that’s alright ‘cause to be honest... I don’t really like them either.” There, it was out there.

Maria’s thoughts shifted immediately to Michael and how well he seemed to get along with her friends. Yeah, so it couldn’t be Max or Liz’ fault, it was Mark. “I know that,” she said back, maybe a little too harsh.

“So maybe me getting hurt was a good thing. You’ll have more fun with them while I’m not around.” He sighed and folded his arms under his head. “Kyle and Tess, they’re not so bad... not great or anything, because seriously, they’re too positive, but they’re nowhere near as bad as Max and Liz.” He pulled the sleeping bag up closer to his chin. “Y’know, I think those painkillers are kickin’ my ass... they just make me so tired.”

“Then I guess ya should sleep,” she replied and moved to her own sleeping bag. She was tempted to just go outside again to see if Michael was still sitting by the fire.

“Mmm... ‘night, M’ria.” He had barely gotten the words out before he was snoring.

“Night,” she mumbled back, sure he wouldn’t even hear it. She took a deep breath and regretted it immediately when she could smell the scent of Michael on his sleeping bag. Her mind went a few hours back, when he had held her in his strong arms and it had felt so right.

I’m so screwed, she thought.
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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 18

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 23, 2010 6:43 am

Eva: In Mark’s mind discreet = didn’t really happen/doesn’t count.

No, Mark is definitely not “mister love”. We’ll see if Maria finds out how he really feels about things.

Earth2Mama: Lol, again, no lovin’ for Mark, huh? We’re with you, he sucks and he’ll be sent down in no time.  He’d hate to be on your shit list, but it’s his own fault. Take that, Mork!

We’ll see if M&M follow your advice about screwing each others’ eyes out. :D

mary mary: Well, there’s imagery that’s potentially damaging, lol. Max may change his mind once he gets out there… either way, we certainly hope he’ll avoid that painful possibility.

Mork’s ass will be shipped down the mountain soon!

Alien_Friend: Lol, maybe you should suggest that to him!

Oh, a little more truth may be revealed in this next part, too.

Lol, Maria’s parents just want what’s best for her and they haven’t quite reached a place where they’ve realized they have to let her pursue her own dreams and make her own successes and mistakes.

Natalie36: Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it, lol.

begonia9508: Lol, believe it!

Max should definitely go with the sneak attack, lol. Liz isn’t trying to be malicious – she would never do that to Max, not intentionally. She’s avoided relationships in the past and Max is her best buddy, so changing their relationship isn’t something she can do lightly. So, she’s not playing with his feelings, promise!

sarammlover: Max will get there.

We’re gonna put in a radio call to our evac team and see what their ETA is… we’ll get back with ya on that.

Michael and Maria will talk.

somewhere87: Chances are, even if Maria discovered Mark’s willingness to cheat, she’d still feel guilty. But, the important thing is that she realize he’s not Mr. Right and sends him packing.

guelbebek: Thanks! Hope your exams went well! Thanks for dropping in to post – we appreciate it!

killjoy: Lol, true. Cheating is wrong regardless of the party involved – the difference here is that Maria actually feels guilty.

Liz isn’t teasing Max to be mean… she’s never been in a relationship before, she’s avoided them like the plague. Max is her best friend and she doesn’t want to lose that. She’s scared to take the first step and isn’t 100% sure of Max’s feelings or thoughts about their changing relationship so she wants him to be the one to bring it up.



Part 18

Vanessa entered the bar in the main lodge that evening. She was glad she had a few days off before she had to get back on the mountain because her last group had really taken the best of her. She glanced around, but didn’t see anyone she knew. Great, first night off and all the guides seemed to be up on the mountain, she thought as she walked over to her preferred table.

She took a seat and a second later the waitress was there to take her order. “I’ll take a beer and,” she glanced over the menu even though she knew everything that was on it, “the usual salad.”

The other woman nodded and disappeared again just as someone spoke up behind her. “Hey, what’re you doin’ here? I thought you wouldn’t be back until tomorrow or the next day?”

Vanessa turned in her seat and she smiled when she saw her best friend Courtney approaching her. She was glad to see someone familiar. “Someone got hurt so the group wanted to call it quits early. You workin’?”

Courtney shook her head. “Just finished my shift.”

“Cool, wanna join me for dinner then?”

“Sure,” she agreed enthusiastically. “Did you guys get caught up in that storm while you were comin’ back down?”

Vanessa shook her head. “Nah, luckily we reached base camp before it got really bad.”

“Michael’s group got caught in it, but at least they were able to make camp before it got too bad.”

Vanessa lifted one eyebrow. She knew that her friend was interested in the guy and had been for a long time now. “You radioed him?”

“Um-hmm,” she said as she browsed the menu. “He sounded distracted, but he tends to get so focused when he’s up there.” She laughed. “Guess that’s a good thing though; not enough focus and he could get hurt.” She ordered a grilled chicken salad and a beer when the waitress came back with Vanessa’s meal. “The group didn’t wanna come back after the storm though; they still wanna make it to the summit.”

Vanessa nodded. “Yeah, he’s got a group of young sporty people; they won’t let a storm change their plans.”

“They seemed like a very energetic group. They rented one of the cabins a couple days before the climb and they had their meals down here.”

“I met them on my way down. We stayed with his group and I shared a tent with Michael ‘cause I lost my tent while I was trying to save the idiot who tried to do a swan dive off of the mountain.” She hoped the other girl wouldn’t get jealous about it since Courtney knew that she and Michael were just friends.

Courtney nodded and wrinkled her nose. “He said they’re gonna have to add a day to the climb since they lost so much time today.”

“Well, ya know how that goes. Sometimes the weather changes your plans.”

“Yeah, it can be so unpredictable up there. Makes no sense to me, but then again, I don’t climb mountains, so...” She grinned and accepted the beer from the waitress with a nod of thanks.

“I’ve got a few days off now, so we can hang out if you don’t have any plans.”

“Nope, no plans.” She winked. “I’m hopin’ to have some plans when Michael gets back down off of that mountain.”

Vanessa sighed. She hated to hurt her friend in any way, but she had a feeling that Courtney was hoping for more with Michael than he would ever give her. “How serious is it between you and him?”

“Well...” she took a bite of her salad and chewed thoughtfully. “Definitely not as serious as I’d like it to be. I mean, we go out an’ stuff, but it’s not like we’re gonna be movin’ in together anytime soon.” She lowered her voice as if she was sharing a secret. “I think he has commitment issues.”

The other girl shook her head. “Don’t get your hopes up too much over him, okay?”

Courtney’s head jerked up. “Why?”

Vanessa winced. She didn’t know if it was really right to tell her since Michael was a very private person. “Because he’s not giving you what ya want,” she tried.

She snorted and waved Vanessa’s concern off. “Oh, that? He’s not givin’ me what I want now... he’ll come around though.”

Damn, why wouldn’t she just believe her? “Don’t be too sure about that, girl.”

“D’you know somethin’ you’re not tellin’ me? ‘Cause Michael’s commitment issue isn’t like somethin’ new, ya know?”

“Maybe.” Vanessa stared at her plate.

Courtney frowned. “So, what is it?”

Alright, there was no way to not tell her. She just hoped Michael would understand it since Courtney was a good friend of hers and she couldn’t just stand by and watch as she kept her hopes up for the man. “He loves someone else.”

“What?” She rolled her eyes. “Michael doesn’t... No, that’s not possible.” She set her fork down when she saw the look on her friend’s face. She knew Vanessa wouldn’t lie or make jokes about something like this. “Who?”

“His ex.”

“What ex? He’s never said anything about an ex.” She shook her head. “Nooo... you’ve gotta be mistaken about that, Vanessa; there is no ex. He just does the occasional hookup, and we’ve kinda been each other’s exclusive hookups for the past few months.”

“You don’t know about her ‘cause she’s his ex from high school, from before he even came here.”

Courtney laughed, relieved. “Oh, well, if she’s just some girl from high school, what kinda threat is she, really? Given enough time he’ll forget about her.”

“Well, she isn’t just some girl from his past, and right now... she’s up on the mountain with him.” Vanessa made a face. “Sorry to have to tell ya that.”

“Whoa! She’s where?”

“Up there with him.”

“No... no, that’s not possible. Those girls, they were all with... wait, it’s that brunette, isn’t it? She wasn’t really with any of the guys an’ she was flirtin’ with every penis in the place... it’s her, isn’t it?”

Vanessa shook her head. “No, it’s the short blonde with the flat hair.”

“What? The one dating the guy with the stick up his ass? No way! What could Michael possibly see in her?” Courtney shook her head. “That’s like, not even possible, Vanessa!”

Vanessa laid one hand over her friend’s to calm her down. “I’m sorry, but I’m not makin’ this up, Court.”

“Okay, well... how serious could it really be? I mean, he’s been here for a couple years, we’ve been screwin’ around pretty exclusively, and he’s never even mentioned her.” She chewed on a crouton as she drummed her fingertips on the tabletop. Michael never talked about anything personal... what if what Vanessa was saying was true?

“He told me when he came here... You know we were dating at first, but he always seemed to be distracted and closed off. Well, I think she’s the reason. And believe me, seeing her now after all these years really hit him badly.”

“And you really think he still loves her?”

Vanessa nodded. “He admitted it to me.”

“Oh.” How could she argue with that?

“Listen, maybe nothing will happen between them. She has a boyfriend and maybe they’ll all come down and she’ll leave again. But the point is that he still has feelings for her.”

“What am I supposed to do with that, Vanessa?”

“I think you should talk to him when he gets back. I’m sure Michael doesn’t want to hurt ya intentionally.”

“No, he’s not like that.” She picked at her salad. “Well,” she forced a smile, “I guess I’ll just have to wait an’ see.”

Vanessa nodded quietly, knowing that Courtney was hurting right now.

“So, let’s talk about you, girl. Any new guys in your life?” At that moment she wanted to run to her apartment and just curl up in a little ball and cry, but she refused to give in. She would not give in or accept that Michael was in love with someone else... it just wasn’t true.

Vanessa shrugged with a little smirk. “Tony kinda asked me out yesterday while we were up there.”

Courtney felt some of her self-pitying mood lift at her friend’s announcement. “Oh, really?”

“Uh-huh and I think I’m gonna go. I mean, he’s hot...”

“You think?” She snorted. “Every girl that comes up here – and even a few guys – want a piece of him.”

“Well, you can say that about almost all of the male guides here.”

“Yeah, but Tony’s super selective about who he hooks up with.”

“He’s a cool guy, I’ll see how the date goes.”

“Bet it goes until the next mornin’,” Courtney teased.

Vanessa laughed. “Oh, no, as tempting as it is, I’m not gonna jump him on our first date.”

“And I didn’t say a word about sex, did I?” Courtney leaned across the table to tap the neck of her bottle against Vanessa’s. “Good luck with Tony.”

*****


Liz hurried to the fire and gladly accepted one of the cups of coffee that Nick was filling. Kyle and Tess were already sitting at the fire, debating breakfast and everyone else was just starting to wake up and crawl out of their tents. She glanced back over her shoulder when Max caught his foot on the tent opening and nearly landed face-first in the snow.

“No, we had that yesterday,” Tess said, shaking her head. “Let’s try one of the other ones.”

“But, I like the pancakes.”

“Doesn’t mean you should eat them every mornin’.”

“Are you two about to have a fight?” Mark asked as he hobbled to the fire, supported between Michael and Tony. “’Cause that might actually be worth getting up for.”

“Kickin’ your ass would be worth getting up for, too,” Max muttered under his breath, but it was still loud enough for Liz to hear him and she leaned back to smack his leg.

“You’re so grouchy in the mornin’,” she said, handing him her coffee.

“You wanna just throw the gloves down, Evans?” Mark taunted. “I could still kick your ass even with my leg messed up. Just because the only action you’re getting is from your right hand you’ve gotta be a dick all the time.”

Maria came out of the tent just in time to hear Mark’s last comment. Why am I not really sad that you have to go? Maria thought. “Stop it,” she said firmly when she approached the others.

Mark just rolled his eyes. “I don’t know how you can be friends with these people, Maria,” he muttered. “I can excuse Kyle and Tess since they’re boring, but Max and Liz? Two of the most bitchy, antagonistic, overly-sexualized – “

“You can excuse us?” Tess bit out as she jumped to her feet and glared at Mark.

Kyle almost felt sorry for Mark because Tess was about to go off on his ass. And just to save his own ass, maybe he’d choose something besides pancakes for breakfast.

“God, I’m so sick of this,” Maria muttered and stood up again to get away from her friends and Mark for a few minutes.

“You’re about a stupid fuck,” Michael bit out as he and Tony lowered Mark down to one of the camp stools.

Mark just barely stopped himself before he told the guide where he could stick his unsolicited opinion. He turned his head to look for Maria and he saw her standing alone near the edge of the boundaries that had been set up by the guides. “Did I ask for your opinion?” he snapped and shook the helping hands off. He took a deep breath and turned to look at his girlfriend’s friends. “Look, I’m sorry... I know we don’t care for each other, but that’s no excuse for my behavior.” The expressions on Evans’ and Parker’s faces were almost worth the pain this apology was causing him. “I’m just pissed that I’m not gonna be able to finish the climb and that Maria’s gonna be alone.” Ungh, this apology business just left a bad taste in his mouth, he thought as he forced himself to his feet. He grimaced as his weight pushed the pain in his leg back to life, but he was determined to go talk to Maria.

“You shouldn’t move around,” Tony said. “You’re gonna need all your strength when we take you to the pickup point.”

“I won’t be up for long, but I need to talk to my girlfriend.”

“What was that?” Max hissed as soon as Mark was away.

“Ya know... I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘overly-sexualized’ before,” Liz mused, not even paying any attention to the rest of the insults Mark had tossed out. She shrugged carelessly. “Bitchy and antagonistic, sure, but... overly-sexualized?” She tipped her head back to look up at Max. “Is that even a word?”

He shrugged. “Hell, I don’t know.”

“I wanna kick his ugly ass off the mountain,” Tess said when she sat down next to Kyle again. She smirked when she saw that he had chosen a different breakfast.

Kyle grinned. “You’d probably break his stupid neck and end up goin’ to prison... and I don’t think you’d enjoy havin’ some big ol’ girl named Big Bertha as your cellmate.”

“I can see the groups’ sadness over Mark leavin’,” Michael said with a smirk as he prepared his coffee. It felt so good to see that everyone was against Mark and he couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

“Yeah, just tears my heart out,” Max grumbled.

Liz reached back to tug on the end of his coat. “Hey, whatcha want for breakfast?” She rolled her eyes and shook her head when he opened his mouth. “Following up on Tess’ idea is not on the menu.” She motioned to the tent. “Go get breakfast... surprise me.”

“Surprise me,” he mocked and went into their tent.

Michael glanced at Tony. “What time are we meetin’ the evac team?”

The guide glanced at his watch. “About an hour and a half. I was thinkin’… between our climbin’ time yesterday and today we’re still gonna be behind schedule.”

Michael nodded. “I was thinkin’ the same thing. I think we should just climb to the camp we wanted to reach yesterday. We’re still gonna be behind by a whole day, but pushin’ it would be too exhausting.” Even if this group was sporty and fit adding additional distance to the climb over what they had planned for one day was just too much risk.

“Yeah,” Nick agreed. “Guess that means scalin’ the glacier will have to wait until tomorrow.” He shrugged and grinned. “Oh, well, that means a pretty easy day and we’ll get to stop early.”

Michael nodded. “Yeah, we’ll reach the camp probably around 3 or 4pm, so a lot of time.”

Liz glanced at Max when he came out of the tent again, looking a little more awake and thoroughly lost in thought as he debated between two different meals. A lot of time, she thought. What would they do with so much time together? Her awareness of him had shifted and she couldn’t get her mind to stop straying to the possibilities.

Maria straightened up when she saw Mark slowly approaching her. He wasn’t doing very well since the snow was high and he couldn’t put much weight on his injured leg. She wondered if she should go to him, but decided against it.

Mark did his best to use Maria’s footprints but it was still difficult with his injured leg. “Hey,” he said quietly. He waited for her to look at him; his ability to judge her moods was weak when he wasn’t looking into her face.

She turned around slowly to face him. “Hey.”

“I...” Damn, it was painful to actually say these words! “I’m sorry, Maria.” He looked away and shrugged one shoulder. “I even apologized to your friends.”

She stayed silent and considered how sincere that apology could’ve been.

Mark hobbled over to her, putting on his best pitiful and suffering expression. “Maria... maybe you could go down to the lodge with me. We could use some time alone.”

Maria hoped she didn’t look as half as horrified as she felt after what he had just asked her. Why had he changed his mind suddenly? After what she had just overheard going down with him really didn’t feel like an option anymore. She needed some time away from him. “Why’d you change your mind?” Did he suspect something related to Michael?

“Maybe part of the problem we’re havin’ is that we’re ALWAYS around your friends. So, we should spend some time with just the two of us.” He smiled. “Please?”

She knew that wasn’t the real reason. They didn’t spend much time with her friends in Cali. It was usually either her and her friends or her and Mark. “I can’t.”

“You can’t?” he repeated. “Why not?”

“We have had some problems lately and maybe a few days apart will do us both some good.”

“How is spendin’ time apart gonna help anything?” he demanded, annoyed that she wasn’t agreeing with him.

She shrugged. “It’ll help me think about some things.”

“Fine, Maria, if that’s what you want. Stay up here all alone with your friends.”

“Yesterday you told me you wanted me to stay because you didn’t want both of us to lose the money we had invested in this trip and that I should have a good time with my friends. Did you just say that to make yourself feel better?”

Oh, no, she was not turning this around on him! “I just thought... look, it’s not like we’re gonna go broke over this vacation and I thought we could enjoy some time together... away from all the distraction your friends provide.”

“My friends are not a distraction,” she denied. “And we can spend some time together later.” Her parents were going to be staying with his parents at a cabin not too far from the lodge and they were meeting them after their climb was finished. How was she gonna survive that?

“Maria, do you think I’m blind? That I haven’t noticed that you’ve been distracted?” He huffed. “I know they’re your friends and I’m tryin’ to deal with that, but some time away from them wouldn’t hurt.”

Well, the distraction is maybe something other than my friends, she thought bitterly. “I wanna finish this, Mark, sorry.”

“Hey, I hate to break up this sweet moment,” Michael hollered, “but it’s getting close to time for us to head to the pickup point and those of us who’re continuin’ the climb need to eat and start packin’ for the next part of the climb.”

Maria glanced at Michael and nodded slightly, kind of relieved that she didn’t have to talk to Mark any longer because she felt uncomfortable. In some ways she felt bad for him because she had secrets, but right now wasn’t a good time to tell him anything about Michael.

Mark turned to look at the guide and forced a grin. “Girls... some days they just can’t make up their minds, ya know?” He made his way past Michael and reached up to pat the guy on the shoulder. “Thanks, man, breakfast sounds like a great idea.”

Michael frowned. What the hell was that all about?
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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: Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Part 18 - 5/23/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun May 30, 2010 4:51 am

Earth2Mama: Maria’s still not sure of Michael’s intentions and she doesn’t have an answer as to why he left… Mark… er, Mork, is kinda like a safety net.

Sometimes confrontation is necessary to bring the truth out.

They should be… and they are… she just hasn’t taken the warning to heart yet.

That’s definitely a possibility.

killjoy: Well, it is rare to run across anyone who is a fan of Courtney. Lol, no, not here anyway. We’ve been known to put her in that role too. As you said, she just kinda had her hopes set on a relationship with Michael… we’re pretty sure she’s not gonna turn into a stalker here though.

Kyle is a smart man.

mary mary: Ah, Maria’s not with Mork because of her parents she’s just with him because… well, we suspect she’s with him because he’s safe. Safe as in she knows she isn’t going to suddenly fall in love with him and therefore he can’t hurt her the way that Michael did. So, a recommendation for a little snuggling, huh? We’ll see what we can do about that. Might just be the nudge these two need!

keepsmiling7: You’re seconding that motion, huh? Well, maybe we’ll see if we can’t get these two to cooperate with us.

Natalie36: Well, we’re pretty sure you could get away with calling him Dick. Matter of fact… his middle name could be Richard… we’ll discuss. ;)

Alien_Friend: Hmm… we’ll find out. There’s a definite possibility of Courtney and Mark running into each other at the lodge. We don’t think Courtney’s interested in chasing after someone who isn’t interested, but only time will tell. Prior to her dinner with Vanessa she believed that it was just a matter of time… now she knows there’s more behind Michael’s lack of interest in pursuing a relationship with her.

We hope she doesn’t go home with him too!

Ah, the spare time… it’ll be fun. Yeah, you and the rest of the group up there on the mountain!

Eva: It’s likely that a confrontation will happen. You’re right about that! So hopefully Michael will get around to telling Maria the truth.

Mark is a very self-sustaining individual… and if he does have his own friends he’s never mentioned them to us.

sarammlover: Nah, no psycho Courtney here. Hmm… a Courtney/Mark hook-up, huh? Could be interesting…

begonia9508: Because that would be too simple. ;)

Obviously, yes… but what will it take for her to finally end it with him?



Part 19

Maria moved back to where the others were gathered, but instead of joining them at the fire she disappeared in her tent.

Max had been watching the interchange between the couple and when Maria chose to duck into her tent he stood and grabbed Kyle’s breakfast just as he stuck his fork into the pouch.

“What the fuck, man?”

“Be right back,” Max said as he followed Maria. He ducked down in front of the opening to look at her and he felt like a total asshole when he saw the expression of hurt on her face. “Hey, can I come in?”

She shrugged. “Can I stop you?”

“Tell me no.”

She rolled her eyes and gestured for him to come in.

Max grinned and climbed inside. “See how easy that was?” He held the pouch out to her, a peace offering of sorts. “Hey, I’m sorry Mark won’t be able to make the rest of the trip.”

She snorted. “Yeah, right!” She reached out and took the pouch.

“Okay, well, I’m not sorry for me personally, but I know you were lookin’ forward to him bein’ on the climb and y’all spendin’ some time together.”

“Max you don’t need to apologize or explain yourself, okay? If it’s anyone’s fault then it’s my own, ‘cause I’m the one who came up with the idea and invited Mark. I should’ve known that it wouldn’t work out.”

Max snorted. “Girl, I would’ve hiked up the side of an active volcano with Mark if it meant I’d be spendin’ time with Liz.” He winked at her. “And you know that.”

“Uh-huh, and when’re ya finally gonna have the guts to tell her?”

“Ungh,” he flopped back to lean against Mark’s pack. “I don’t know... sometimes I wonder what she’d do if I just kissed her... no reason, no explanation, no apologies, just planted one on her. But, then I remember what she did when Kenny Parsons did that to her in high school.”

Maria laughed. She knew this story and the way Liz had kicked the guy where it hurt the most. “I don’t think she’d be that cruel to you, Max.”

“I don’t know... the girl’s very particular about what is and isn’t acceptable and I’d kinda like to keep the equipment in workin’ order, ya know?” He made a face at that thought. “I um... I just wanted to make sure you're okay.”

She smiled weakly. “I will be.”

“Think maybe I could talk you an’ Liz into a re-enactment of that chocolate scene you were describin’ last night?” he teased, trying to get a real smile out of her.

Maria laughed. “No way.”

He smiled at her reaction. “Fine, take away potential fantasy material,” he grumbled good-naturedly.

“Uh-huh, fantasy, Max, that’s where it belongs.”

“Hell, I’ll take what I can get until she sees me as more than just her best friend.” He glanced at Maria. “What d’you think she’d do if I just kissed her?”

Maria shrugged. “She’d let you.”

He shot upright and his eyes widened in shock. “Has she said somethin’ to you?”

She grinned. “Just a feelin’.” She wasn’t gonna tell Max that her and Liz had already talked about him.

“Oh.” He practically deflated and fell back against the pack again. “Okay, you said she’d let me kiss her... that has two possible endings. One, she reacts by usin’ my nuts for field goal practice, or two, she kisses me back.” He bit his bottom lip. “You’re a girl, Maria, what’s she gonna do? The first or second?”

“Max,” she grabbed him by the shoulders, “do us all a favor and just tell her, okay? And by the way, what’re ya asking me for? I’m with the guy nobody can stand.”

He stared at her in shock. “He’s just so...” he made a face. “We just think you can do so much better, girl. We’re your friends and we love ya, but that guy is not the best you can do.”

“But the better ones don’t want me,” she muttered.

His right eyebrow lifted in interest. “What better ones? Ya got someone in mind?”

Maria wondered if she should tell him about Michael or not. “No, I guess not.”

“Want me to find a guy for ya?”

She grinned. “Got someone in mind?”

He shrugged one shoulder. “Maybe... do you?”

“Come on,” she slapped his shoulder.

“You do have someone in mind!” he crowed victoriously. “Tell me who it is.”

“Tell me who you thought about first.”

“You tell me first – and be honest – and I’ll locate my spine and kiss that crazy woman out there.”

Maria shook her head. “You’re not gonna win this, Max.” She started to open up the tent to go outside.

“It’s someone I know, isn’t it?” he asked, lowering his voice as he followed her out of the tent.

“Shut up,” she hissed.

Hmm... very interesting reaction, he thought. I sooo have to talk to Liz!


*****


Michael watched Mark as he made a show of kissing Maria goodbye right in front of everyone. “Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but my breakfast is threatening to reappear.”

Tony’s gaze shot to his friend when he heard the muttered comment. What was going on with him? he wondered.

“Somebody wanna tell the lovebirds we’ve gotta get movin’?” Michael grated out. “If he sticks his tongue any further down her throat we’re gonna have to ship her down off the mountain too.”

Nick glanced at Tony and held his hands up in question.

Tony just shrugged and cleared his throat. “Yo, Mark, hate to interrupt, but we need to get movin’.”

Michael shot a disgusted look at Mark when he stepped back and preened like a fucking peacock. Did he seriously think that kind of behavior impressed Maria? Maybe he could orchestrate a small fall for the prick. He met Maria’s gaze and shook his head when he saw the look in her eyes. Oh, they had shared plenty of heated, sizzling kisses back in the day, but there was a difference in that and this blatant show Mark was putting on.

“Nick, get everyone ready,” Tony called as he and Michael prepared to take Mark to the pickup point. They had to backtrack nearly thirty minutes down the mountain to reach the area set up as a rescue point.

Michael nodded when Nick waved and motioned for them to go on and he grabbed Mark’s right arm with more force than necessary. “Let’s get movin’.”

“Alright, get on the litter,” Tony ordered Mark, “so we can get movin’.”

“I really think if I just take it easy I’ll be fine,” Mark said, not wanting to look like a wimp.

Tony shook his head. “We don’t have time for that.”

Mark glanced between the two guides before finally allowing them to help him into the litter. “Just for the record, this isn’t dignified at all.”

Michael just rolled his eyes, but stayed quiet as he glanced around the camp. “Make sure you’re ready to leave when we get back,” he told Nick.

Nick shook his head at them. “Guys, this is not the first time you’ve left your little boy in charge... go, and I’ll take care of everything.” He glanced at their group. “Jeez, they’re like an old married couple!”

Michael and Tony both packed a snowball and threw them at the third guide as he turned away. One hit him in the head and the other hit him in the ass. They high fived each other before they picked up the litter, balancing Mark’s weight between them.

“Hey, you ever wonder how we got Nick?” Tony asked as they started on their way.

“Yeah,” Michael replied, “how’d he pass the tests?”

“I think he was sleepin’ with the instructor.”

Nick snorted. “You guys are a riot,” he hollered after them. “I’m gonna put myself up for adoption when we get back home!”

“As if he could live without us", Tony shock his head. "Damn Mark, you are heavier than you look."

Michael wondered why he hadn't just sent Nick in his place so he wouldn't have to deal with Mark any longer than necessary.

“Um, guys, not to make things any more difficult than they already are, but, um... I’m assumin’ we have to go back down the same way we came up, right?”

“Yeah,” Michael answered. That or we just throw ya down the mountain.

“Uh-huh... and how exactly do we make it down the part where we roped up?” He wasn’t trying to be deliberately obtuse, but he wasn’t gonna make it down in this thing!

“We’ll put you in a harness,” Tony replied simply.

“I see.” He grimaced. “Not exactly the way that I had anticipated goin’ back down the mountain.”

Yeah, your own fault, idiot, Michael thought.

Tony grinned. “Not as much fun this way, but you’ll get to catch a ride with the flight crew... if you’re real lucky they might take ya up so you can see the summit.”

“The summit,” Mark echoed, “God, this all sucks.”

“Ah, you’ll be good as new in no time,” Tony assured him. “You can always take another shot at the mountain next time you’ve got a vacation.”

Michael shook his head. How could Tony just converse with Mark like he was a normal human being? The guy was a jerk and the thought of carrying on a conversation with him made Michael nauseas.

“Sure, but this was really important to my girlfriend and now she’s doin’ it alone with her friends.”

“Well,” Michael said, cheering up a little, “at least she’s gonna make it to the top.” Without you, you pansy-ass loser!

“Yeah,” Mark sighed, “keep an eye on her, okay? Make sure she’s safe. I know she wouldn’t do something stupid like I did. Just... well, keep her safe.”

“She’ll be safe,” Tony said.

Yeah, safely away from idiots who don’t know what to do with her. Michael shifted the litter and glanced up at the sky. It was gonna be a beautiful day for climbing and the best thing was they would be making camp early... and Mark was going away!

Mark nodded. “Ya know, I didn’t even have time to thank you guys, ya know, for saving my life. Thanks for that.”

“That’s what they pay us for,” Michael muttered under his breath.

Tony grinned. “Hey, you paid for the full package; that includes daring life saving heroics by your guides.”

Mark chuckled. “Still, I didn’t mean to put you in that situation.”

“I’d hope not... that would’ve been pretty stupid.” He nodded at Michael. “We keep a bettin’ pool open down at the lodge about when this guy’s next rescue will be... your swan dive will mean we’ve gotta start a new pool.”

“Who gets the money this time?”

“Who called this climb, Guerin?”

“Man, I don’t know about your ridiculous bets.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “All I know is it wasn’t me or Nick.”

“Poor guys,” Michael said unsympathetically, but smirked at Tony.

“You put in a last minute bet before we left, didn’t you?” Tony asked.

“I don’t bet on my own ass,” Michael denied and placed the litter down carefully when they reached the point where they had to put Mark in the harness and rope down.

“Uh-huh,” Tony said slowly. “I’ll bet you did.” He took care of hooking Mark into the harness while Michael broke the litter down and stored the lightweight frame in his pack to transport it.

“I’ll go down first,” Michael said and walked closer to the ledge to start the climb down.

Tony watched as his partner began to rope down, anchoring the ice screws and descending to solid ground. As soon as he had placed the last anchor he motioned for Tony to hook Mark in and send him down.

“Okay,” Michael called when Mark was down with him safely and he had unhooked him from the harness.

“Boy, that’s a lot easier when the wind isn’t blowin’ so hard,” Mark commented.

“True. The glacier we’ll climb tomorrow won’t be as easy,” Tony said when he joined them.

Mark worried his bottom lip with his teeth. “But you guys have done it plenty of times, right?” He wasn’t sure what was going on with him and Maria but he wanted to make sure she was safe.

“Yeah, can’t even count anymore,” Michael said as he got the litter out of his pack again.

“Guess we must be getting pretty close to the pickup point, huh?” Mark asked when Tony dropped down beside him and unhooked the rope from his harness.

“Only a few hundred yards or so, yeah,” Tony nodded.

“Gotta admit, part of me will be glad to sleep in a real bed tonight,” he admitted.

“Not really into all this out here, huh?” Michael gestured at the landscape around them.

“Nah, I mean, it’s cool an’ all, but,” he nudged Michael with his elbow, “I’m really more into indoor sports, ya know what I mean?”

Ungh, Michael felt the need to puke. Hearing another guy talking about sex with Maria was awful. “Uh-huh, as long as you got the right partner for it.”

“Don’t I know it,” Mark grinned.

“So the little blonde ya got, she’s a wildcat, huh?” Tony asked with a grin.

Michael gritted his teeth when Tony only made the situation worse with his question. Don’t answer, don’t answer, don’t answer, he chanted silently. Prove me wrong and show me that you’ve got a decent bone somewhere in your body.

Mark laughed. “Wildcat... man, that ain’t even the half of it! She can do things in bed – Ow!” he yelped when Michael dropped his end of the litter.

“Oops, my fault,” Michael said and picked the litter up again. Tony frowned, wondering why Michael wasn’t playing along.

Mark glared at the guide. The guy seemed to be all thumbs today; damn, he was lucky the dumbass hadn’t dropped him while they were roping down the side of the glacier.
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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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Mountains So High (CC, AU, Adult) - Part 20 - 6/6/10

Post by Double Trouble » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:34 am

keepsmiling7: Don’t worry, they’re getting closer… it’s gonna happen, promise!

Earth2Mama: Don’t worry, Mark is practically gone. That leaves M&M alone on the mountain. Well, with the others of course, but ya know what we mean… :lol:

mary mary: Although that could’ve been very funny… just not for Mark.

Alien_Friend: Lol, you could be onto something! Michael definitely wanted to make sure he was gone.

Max tries to do the right thing. Think he knows who it is, huh? We’ll see… ;)

Lol… yeah, that’s definitely a good reason to be cautious. We’ll see how long he holds onto his caution though.

Natalie36: Thanks for reading!

killjoy: Lol, sorry! Oh, they will go for it… we’re just waitin’ to see who makes the first move.

You’re right, Maria has to hear what happened and she needs to hear it from Michael.

begonia9508: Yes… maybe he should just sent her a text, lol.

It is a risk and it could go either way, so his fears are valid. But he’s never gonna know the answer if he doesn’t just go for it.

sarammlover: Excellent advice… we’re not sure if they heard ya though. Ya know, they’ve got all that denial build-up in their ears. Consider him gone… bye-bye, Mark… away you go!


Part 20

“So that’s the reason you two are together?” Tony picked up their conversation again. He was interested in knowing since Mark and his girlfriend didn’t seem to have anything in common.

“Well, our parents are friends. Took me forever to get her to go out with me.” He rolled his eyes. “But the sex made it worth the wait.” He grinned. “You guys know how it is.”

Michael straightened up. “So you already know her parents?”

“Yup, they’re good people. A little on the strict side at times, so I can understand why she has these little rebellious spells... like the geology thing...” He shrugged one shoulder. “But after a while she’ll see that a career in law is better for her than some crazy future studyin’ rocks.”

Michael nodded when Tony motioned for them to set Mark down.

“I’m gonna go radio the evac team and see how far out they are,” Tony said and moved away from them as he checked for a strong signal.

Mark looked up at Michael. “Hey, I’m just bullshittin’ with the guy about the sex stuff; I wouldn’t give out any real details about what happens between us. Me an’ Maria, we’ve had some fights recently because of her friends, but they’ll blow over.”

Michael sat down next to him on a rock and stared out on the landscape. “So you and her parents get along, guess that’s important, huh?” Damn it.

“Oh, yeah.”

Michael felt like somebody had punched him in the stomach. “So what’re ya gonna do after this here? You still have vacation time left, right?”

“When the climb’s over? Uh, well, actually, our parents are comin’ up here in a couple of days; they’re gonna be stayin’ at a privately-owned cabin just outside of the National Park.”

“Privately-owned... by your parents?”

“Huh-uh, some corporate guy my dad’s company deals with. Hey, you’ll have to come by an’ meet them. I know my dad would love to buy a drink for the man who saved my life.”

Michael felt his throat tighten at that thought. Oh, yeah, he’d stop by and Maria’s parents would tell all of them that he was a loser and didn’t deserve to breathe the same air as them. “I’ll be busy with another group as soon as we’re finished up here, sorry.”

“Oh, really? That’s too bad... You’re really gonna go back up that quickly?”

“Yeah, I’ve got only one day off as far as I know.”

“Wow, you’d think they’d want you guys to rest more between these climbs.” He shook his head. “I could have my dad talk to your boss,” he offered. “He’s very persuasive.”

“Oh, no,” Michael said, horrified, “I actually want it that way. Need the money.”

“Well, he could cut you a check... like a reward or somethin’.”

Michael would have screamed at that moment if he could’ve. Now he was even feeling a bit of guilt about him and Maria in the tent. “No, man, I’m good, thanks.”

Mark shrugged and nodded. “Well, if you’re sure.” He couldn’t understand people who didn’t want free money.

“Guess your parents have a lot of money, huh?” Michael asked, and mentally kicked himself. Why was he tormenting himself?

Mark shrugged. “Yeah.”

Michael glanced up when he heard the helicopter coming in closer. “Your taxi’s almost here.”

“I’m sure the ride won’t be as smooth as the private jet, but I guess it’ll do.” He grinned. “Guess you’ve never been on a private jet, huh?”

God, how much I hate him, Michael thought as he shook his head. “Nope.”

“Maria just loves it. There’s nothin’ like bein’ able to take your girl out to dinner practically anywhere in the world.” He reached out and patted the guide’s shoulder. “I guess it’s kinda like you takin’ a girl out to...” he frowned. “What’s the biggest city outside of Rainier?”

“Seattle,” Michael grumbled and got to his feet again when the evac team was nearby. “Protect your eyes.”

Mark turned his head away and covered his eyes, wondering if the guy sounded defensive because he lived out in the sticks and taking a girl out someplace nice meant a seriously long ass drive.

Michael waited until the helicopter had landed and turned off the rotors before he turned around and walked towards it. The door opened and a tall black-haired woman stepped out, smiling at him. “Hey, Guerin, heard you’re the hero of the day again.”

“And you’re lookin’ awful pleased about that... make some money off of that, did ya?”

She shrugged and raised a fist in the air. “I won the pot, baby!”

He snorted. “You guys really need to come up with better entertainment, Tracy.”

“I like it.” She glanced at Tony as he approached them.

“Hey, Trace,” he greeted her with a hug.

“Hey, T-man! So,” she glanced behind Michael, “that’s him?”

“Wow, Trace... you picked out the guy on the litter...” Michael grinned at her look of annoyance. “Can’t get anything by you, can we?”

She slapped the back of his head. “Go get him and bring him over here, smartass.”

“Ow,” he grumbled as he rubbed the back of his head. “What’s your old man think of you goin’ around hittin’ people?” He grinned as he walked backwards. “Or is that how you got him to marry you?”

“You better shape up, Guerin,” Tracy warned.

“Alright,” Michael told Mark as he helped him up. “Time for you to go back to base camp.”

“Does she really go around hittin’ people?” Mark asked as the guys helped him to his feet.

“Uh-huh, you’d better watch your back man.”

Tracy watched the guys as they helped Mark into the helicopter and Doug, her co-pilot, got him secured into one of the seats. As soon as Doug gave her a thumbs-up and closed the door she nodded. “Alright, boys, it’s time for us to go; don’t break anymore of your climbers this week.”

Michael snorted and started to walk backwards. He nodded to the woman when she closed the door and he and Tony turned around to shield their eyes when they started the engine again.

*****

“Well, between you an’ me, I’m not gonna miss that asshole,” Tony said as they made quick work of breaking down the litter and repacking it.

“Not for a single second,” Michael agreed.

“You kinda seemed to take a special dislike to the guy.”

Michael frowned. “You’re the one who was just sayin’ how you’re not gonna miss him.”

“Uh-huh, I’m talkin’ about the past couple of days, Guerin.” Tony shot a speculative glance at his friend.

“He’s a jackass,” Michael said, “that’s all. Did ya see how he treated his group?” He shook his head.

“Yeah, he definitely isn’t Mr. Popular with them.”

Michael lifted his pack from the ground. “Let’s get back to the group.”

Tony wondered at Michael’s refusal to talk about things. “Yeah, I’m lookin’ forward to getting a chance to rest a little bit today.”

“Yeah, that’ll be great. I haven’t really had much time off the past three weeks.”

“Stop takin’ those private climbs between the group climbs... wouldn’t hurt for you to take time off like the rest of us mortals, Guerin.”

“Uh-huh.” Tony knew the main reason why he refused to take much time off. Of course the other reason was Courtney. He couldn’t really call her his girlfriend. She was cute, nice, and he knew she’d do just about anything for him, but he honestly knew that this... thing with her wasn’t gonna last a lifetime, or even anywhere close to that.

Tony checked the straps on his pack and adjusted them. “Let’s get goin’; we leave our group alone with Nick for too long and there’s no tellin’ what stories he’ll start tellin’.”

“Yeah, or he’s already been killed by now ‘cause he tried to lay a hand on the brunette again.”

He snorted. “Good point. Evans does seem to be pretty territorial where she’s concerned.”

“Yeah and Nick’s totally screwin’ with the guy,” Michael laughed. “Maybe it’ll get the guy to finally admit he’s got feelings for her.”

“Ya know, I asked Vanessa out. I think she’s finally gonna go out with me.”

The other guide grinned. “You did, huh? Told ya she’s into you.”

“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking, ya know? She’s made it clear she’s not just lookin’ for a fling, so I’ve gotta be straight with her ‘cause she’s not interested in any bullshit.”

“And you? Whaddaya want?”

“I don’t know, man.” He shrugged and hooked the rope into his harness again. “I do know I like ‘er... a lot... I guess we’ll just see what happens.”

Michael nodded. “That’s good.”

“Hell,” Tony grunted as he roped up and hooked into the next secure point, “I don’t even know what I wanna do next week, so how am I supposed to know what I want for the rest of my life?”

“Yeah, I know what ya mean.” More than you know.

He grinned as he pulled himself up onto the shelf. “This goes a lot faster when it’s just us.”

“Yeah,” Michael followed him easily. “I’ve got a feelin’ we’re gonna be faster now that the jerk’s gone.”

“Wanna bet the mood’s gonna be a lot lighter now?”

“I really hope so. I mean, they’re all cool, but the fights were really startin’ to get on my nerves.”

“The guy really seemed to take some kinda weird pleasure outta pushin’ Max an’ Liz into arguments.”

“Yeah, and they’re pretty cool.”

“They’re a good group. Lotta energy an’ I think the rest of the climb’s gonna go pretty well.”

“Yeah,” Michael didn’t sound too convinced. He knew there was still that one girl in the group that made it hard for him to think straight.

Tony glanced up ahead, seeing the camp coming into sight. “Let’s get movin’. I wanna see about getting one more cup of coffee before we get goin’.”

“Not sure if Nick left any out,” Michael muttered.

“Knowin’ the kid, probably not.” He turned and faced Michael, making him stop in his tracks. “Square with me, man; what’s goin’ on between you an’ Maria?”

Michael looked at his friend in surprise. Damn, he had already suspected that Tony would see right through him. “Who?” Michael tried, knowing that the other man wouldn’t fall for it.

“Did I stutter when I said her name? Nope, and since there’s only one girl named Maria on this climb, she must be the one I was talkin’ about.” He tipped his head to one side and his blue eyes sparkled as he grinned. “C’mon, man, just tell me what’s goin’ on with this girl. She’s got you tied up in knots an’ if I didn’t know better I’d think you guys knew each other before this trip started.”

Michael scratched his eyebrow and looked out at the landscape. “I know her.” He glanced back at Tony. “Pretty well.”

“Meanin’ prior to this trip.”

Michael nodded slowly.

“So, gimme the story.”

Michael sighed. “Long story short, she’s my ex.”

“Which makes Mark her ‘why’,” Tony said with a grin. “Ya know, like x, y...” he shook his head when Michael just looked at him. “Too short, compadre, need a little more than that.”

Michael shook his head. “You’re crazy.”

“I’m crazy... and you’re a man with a lotta secrets.” He held his hands up. “So, what’s the story?”

“Met her in high school, we were together in high school, broke up after high school and now here she is,” he gestured to the camp. “With Mork the dork.”

Tony frowned at the abbreviated version. “You’re not over her,” he realized as he stared at his friend. “What about her?”

“What about her?” Michael echoed. “I don’t know man, look at her.”

“I’ve been lookin’ at ‘er for the past couple days.” He took a step back when Michael’s gaze swung to lock on him. “Whoa, easy there, buddy, I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just sayin’ she hasn’t exactly had her eyes on Mark.”

“Wasn’t easy for her to see me again either, I guess.”

“Why’d you guys break up?”

Michael shook his head. “I don’t really wanna talk about it.”

Tony cast a speculative glance in Maria’s direction. “She broke up with you, huh? She’s probably regretting that now.”

“No, I broke up and she still hates me for it.”

“You... broke up... with her,” he said slowly. “Why?”

Michael rolled his eyes at his friend. “What part of I don’t wanna talk about it do you not understand?”

“Alright, but I don’t think you’re gonna get anywhere with her with that attitude.”

“What attitude, man?”

“Nope, you don’t wanna talk about it, remember?” Tony turned and headed back into camp.
“Nicky, you ready to move?” he yelled to catch the younger man’s attention.

“All packed up and ready to go, man,” the other guide yelled back.

“Great, take the lead with Max and Liz an’ let’s get movin’.” He knew that would make the kid happy. “Kyle, Tess, let’s take the middle position today.”

Michael glanced at Tony doubtfully. “Putting me at the end, huh?”

“I’m just changin’ things up a bit, makin’ things interesting for all the climbers.” He pointed at his friend as he glanced at him over his shoulder. “What you do with that’s up to you.”

“I don’t need your help, man,” Michael denied.

Tony turned and walked up to Michael, moving into his space. “You’re getting awful defensive and you’re already distracted.” He shoved his forefinger into the other man’s chest. “You know better than to take the lead when you’re distracted.”

He smirked at his friend. “You’re just puttin’ Nick in the lead ‘cause he’s not as fast as I am.”

“Call it what you want.” He grinned and shrugged. It wasn’t worth getting into a fight over why he was putting Nick in the lead. “Won’t be as hard for you to talk to Maria if you’re bringin’ up the rear.” He paused. “Unless you’d rather take Kyle and Tess? Maria can always climb with me.”

Michael shook his head when Tony dropped the subject after several minutes of silence and moved forward to join the others.
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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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