Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) [COMPLETE]

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Post by Rowedog » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:00 am

It’s official. We’re all a big bunch of sissies. But that’s cool, we’ll all be pansies together. I can't stand scary movies either. Glad you all found it funny, I gotta say that after reading it so much, I don’t find my updates funny anymore.

Good news on the exam results, I passed everything!
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all forgotten me and this fic because its been so flipping long since I’ve updated, so I’m trying make up for it by making this update fairly long. Hope you enjoy.

Chanks_girl
NotYourChick
Steph
Alien_Friend-
It’s ok, we’re all wussies it seems. And my family are a hoot, they crack me up.
Raemac
Eve
Natalie36
Clueless-
I couldn’t even watch the grudge, not even for Jason Behr. That’s how completely sad I am. Such a big wussy. I saw the hand come out the back of SMG’s head in the ads and decided right then and there that I couldn’t watch it.
Spray- How do you think I felt? I had to go on google and rewatch parts just to make sure I had everything right. I didn’t sleep well that night, let me tell you. And don’t worry, I still love you.
Synera
Carolina Moon
Emz
Katydid
Nibbles2
Michelle In Yonkers
Smac-
I’m so glad you’re enjoying my fic, I love writing it and enjoy building those relationships between the teens.
ShatteredDreamer
A_mere_muggle


Part Twenty One: I Saw It On A Show Once


Maria paced before the door to her house. She’d called him ten minutes ago. Ample time, in her opinion, to get from his place to hers. So where the hell was he? She huffed loudly and began to scowl. Maybe he wasn’t coming. Maybe the hockey was on and he’d decided that she wasn’t worth it. Maybe he’d been waylaid by a bunch of half naked cheerleader nymphomaniacs on the way over to her place and was at this very moment working his way through the kama sutra. Maybe he’d-

Maria’s rambling train of thought broke off as she heard the familiar roar of Michael’s bike as it hurtled its way down her street. She smiled in relief then blanched in fear. What if he thought that this was some kind of twisted booty call? She wasn’t ready to go all the way; she just wanted some company and probably some second base action.

She watched from the nearby window as Michael hurriedly got off his bike and tripped over a crack in the pavement, righting himself just before he face planted the ground. Despite her worries, Maria couldn’t help laughing as he glanced around hoping that no one had seen him.

The doorbell rang and Maria froze, her fears coming back full tilt in that instant, before calmly making her way over to the door.

“Michael,” she greeted calmly as he stood on her front stoop, a look of casual nonchalance on his face that mirrored Maria’s.

“Maria,” he echoed back.

“Did you enjoy your trip?” she asked sweetly, a smile breaking through her careless expression.

Michael’s face fell into a grimace. “Goddammit. You saw that?”

Maria bit her lip to stop herself from laughing out loud at the dismayed expression on his face. “I’m afraid I did, Romeo. Real smooth.” She stepped to the side and gestured to the hallway. “You wanna come in?” Maria’s upper lip twitched as he went to make his way in. “Watch that step, wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Michael sighed, cursing the gods for his misfortune and followed closely behind her. So close, in fact, that he almost ran into her as she stopped abruptly and turned around, meaning to lock the door behind them, which she had forgotten to do in her Michael induced daze.

“I forgot to-” Maria’s sentence broke off suddenly as she looked up and caught a glimpse of Michael’s eyes. The tension crackled in the air, and Maria was suddenly aware of Michael’s proximity. He was close. Far too close in her estimation, especially if she was going to stick to her earlier resolve of retaining her virginity.

But as they both reached for each other and met in a bruisingly fierce kiss, Maria decided cheerfully that she’d bring it up later.

It was only when Michael’s hand brushed over her breast did she regain her thought process and the determination that came with it.

“I’m not going to have sex with you,” stated Maria bluntly after pulling away hastily from a kiss.

Michael’s expression revealed nothing as he stared at her flushed, yet hesitant face. She wasn’t sure how he would take this, especially considering she had brazenly invited him over with the promise of a parent free house and then basically attacked him in her hallway. She didn’t mind being considered a prude, but being a tease was another matter all together.

“Well, duh, Maria. We’ve only been going out for like three days.”

“Four days,” corrected Maria automatically. She winced as she realised how smitten that made her sound.

“Not that you’re counting or anything,” replied Michael with a smug smile, trying to bite back the overjoyed smile that threatened to break through.

Maria rolled her eyes and hit him. “Unlike you, Michael, I can count past three and don’t consider it lame to know how many days we’ve been seeing each other when it’s under a week. Knowing the hours and minutes would be lame.”

“Give me your rough estimation.”

Maria’s answer was a slap upside the head.

“Damn woman, what’s your fascination with hitting me?” asked Michael as he rubbed the tender spot on the back of his head.

“What’s your fascination with being a tool?” she retorted sharply.

A wicked gleam came into Michael’s eyes that made Maria step back from him in apprehension.

“I’ll show you fascination.”

Michael grabbed for her but she ducked him and fled laughing through the house. She only managed to make it to the living room where she was promptly caught and thrown onto the couch, where she was straddled and promptly tickled into submission.

“M-Michael, p-please! I give! I give! You win!” she gasped over her laughter, promptly causing Michael’s fingers to cease their relentless torture.

“You’re damn right I win,” he murmured, bending down to kiss her.

As things began to heat up, Maria suddenly had a thought flash through her mind.

“Michael, I forgot to lock the front door.”
***
“Good morning, Liz, Isabel,” said Jeff exuberantly as she and Isabel staggered into the kitchen for breakfast the following morning.

“What’s so good about it?” grunted Liz as she sank into the nearest available seat holding her head in her hands.

Jeff, who was used to Liz’s grumpy nature in the mornings if she hadn’t had enough sleep, replied nonchalantly, “The sun is shining, the birds are singing… ”

“How thrilling for them.”

“I take it you didn’t sleep well, Liz,” said Jeff wryly, turning the page of the newspaper he was reading.

Liz rolled her eyes, “Oh, it wasn’t the sleep that was the issue; it was actually getting to sleep. I actually had to have Isabel sleep in my bed with me so I didn’t freak out, that’s how bad it was.”

Jeff sniggered and glanced at Isabel, “And you didn’t mind sharing Isabel? Liz kicks in her sleep.”

“It was the least I could do after forcing her to watch The Ring. Besides, her bed is a double.”

“I even cut my toenails as a precaution.”

Jeff laughed. “I don’t doubt that in the slightest.”

Nancy smiled at the picture presented to her when she walked into the kitchen, Jeff had his back to her and at the table sat Liz with her head resting on Isabel’s shoulder. Nancy was overjoyed at the new friendship that was developing and was very glad that it seemed to have only strengthened since the night before.

“Good morning girls.” Nancy smiled when Liz answered without turning to look at her.

“GOOOOOOOD MORNING PARKER FAMILY! And one Evans,” boomed Maria brightly as she stepped into the upstairs kitchen.

Liz’s head dropped from Isabel’s shoulder to collide with the kitchen table. “Ugh. Where’s your off button?” she groaned, sincerely hating morning people.

“Didn’t sleep well, Lizzy?” asked Maria, with a smug smile, having heard from Michael that Liz had been watching The Ring the night before.

Liz glared at her, before a knowing smile graced her face. “I would have thought that out of all of us, you’d be the one having the least sleep.”

Maria’s eyes widened at the implication and gritted her teeth. “I don’t know what you mean, Liz,” she replied testily, her eyes flicking to Nancy and Jeff and back at Liz in warning. If Liz told Jeff and Nancy that she and Michael had been alone in her house while her mother was away, there would be absolute hell to pay.

“Oh you know, only that with your uncle sick, you must be so worried about him.”

“Is your uncle unwell, Maria?” when Maria nodded her head, Nancy continued. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do?”

“I don’t think so. He should be ok soon.”

“Well, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Thanks Nance, you rule.” Maria crossed the kitchen and grasped Nancy in a bear hug, her previous night’s comments apparently already forgotten.

Liz rolled her eyes at Maria and whispered, “Ass kisser,” to Isabel who promptly burst into giggles, which she tried unsuccessfully to stifle, turning them into ungraceful snorts. Maria and Liz both looked at each other as Isabel, one of the most sought after and elusive female at West Roswell sat at the kitchen table with bed hair, flannel pyjamas and fluffy slippers, snorting like a pig.

Simultaneously, both girls burst into loud laughter at the irony of the situation as Liz’s parents looked at each other wearing bemused expressions. Obviously an inside joke.

“So, what are we doing today ladies?” asked Maria, once they’d all calmed down and Isabel had stopped snorting. Nancy and Jeff had both given the girls the weekend off and Maria intended to use it to the fullest. Usually it was just her and Liz, but Maria considered Isabel’s presence a bonus rather than something she’d just have to put up with. For starters she could probe into Alex and Isabel’s relationship, something she’d been unsuccessful in doing with Alex. Secondly, of late she’d realised that she actually enjoyed talking to Isabel, if the day before was any indication.

“I was thinking shopping. You cool with that, Izzy?”

“Shopping is my religion. The mall is mecca. Lead on.”

Liz blinked. “Okay then. Just give us an hour and we’ll be changed and ready for you Maria.”
***
“So… what did you and Michael get up to last night?” asked Liz, suggestion colouring her question as Maria drove her jetta through Roswell’s main street to get to the mall.

Maria shrugged. “Not much, just some making out and stuff. We’re both not ready to take that whole leap into sexual intimacy. We’ve only been dating for a couple of days, Liz! Get your mind out of the gutter! Unlike others, who’ve been dating for months and might hypothetically be ready to take that next step, we’re not even remotely close.”

Maria caught Isabel’s eye through the rear vision mirror and Isabel coughed, caught off guard by Maria’s suggestion.

“Maria,” scolded Liz as they pulled into the car park. “Isabel and Alex’s sex life is none of your business. Stop prying.”

Ignoring Liz, Maria turned to Isabel as she parked the car. “Oh come on! Alex won’t tell me anything! I’m dying here! Just a simple yes or no will suffice.”

Isabel caught Liz’s eye as she stepped out of the car and they both smiled and rolled their eyes at the pleading puppy dog look that seemed stuck on Maria’s face.

“No,” replied Isabel as Maria linked her arms with her and Liz as they walked towards the front entrance. “We’re not quite at that stage, yet.”

Maria beamed at Izzy before towing them both faster towards the mall. “I do like the promise the word ‘yet’ holds.”
***
“This one?”

“You’d look like an enormous blueberry.”

“This one?”

“The words ‘Paris Hilton’ come to mind.”

Maria stuffed the offending garment back on the rack with an ‘ick’ and moved onto the next dress she had picked out.

“This one?”

Isabel raised her eyebrows. “All you’d need is your hair in pigtails and you’d be back in third grade.”

Maria studied the dress more carefully and grimaced when she realised she was right. “Damn, Isabel! You’re good. Teach me oh wise one! I wish to know your secrets.”

Isabel shrugged, gesturing to the dark grey knee high dress sitting unobtrusively next to the more brightly coloured cast offs of Maria’s.

“You’re too attracted to the ostentatious. Try for something a little less…” Isabel struggled for the right word to use and ended up going with the first description that came to mind when she thought of Maria. “Loud.”

She handed the dress to Maria who eyed it incredulously. “I don’t know Isabel… it’s not very… me.”

“Just try it on,” pressed Isabel, ushering her towards the change rooms. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Maria grumbled her way into the change room as Liz came out of the one next to it wearing a simple red top over her jeans. She hadn’t thought much of it until Isabel had insisted she try it on. But now that it was on… there was no way she was leaving this shop without it.

“Like it?” asked Isabel with a knowing smirk as Liz beamed back at her.

“I am never shopping without you again!” cried Liz as she twirled in front of her. “I. Love. It.”

“I hate that you’re right.” Grumbled Maria as she stepped out of the change room, smoothing the dress down over her legs and admiring the way it fell over her.

“Suck shit. I am the master. I knew that dress would make your eyes pop.”

Maria paused from her perusal of her dress and turned to Liz, confusion burning in her eyes.

“Did the ice princess of West Roswell High, the one Miss Isabel Evans really just tell me to suck on faeces?”

Liz bit back a laugh and replied with all seriousness, “I believe she did Maria.”

Maria cocked her head at Isabel who withstood her scrutiny with amazing aplomb. “Isabel Evans, a cussing machine. Is there anything else surprising about you I should know?”

Without any hint of embarrassment, Isabel replied, “I also know all the words to the Sailormoon theme song.”

There was dead silence for a second from all three girls before both Liz and Maria burst into hysterics. Isabel rolled her eyes and smiled indulgently at them as they amused themselves at her expense.

“Please tell me that you’re not kidding!” gasped Maria, clutching at Liz for support as she nearly toppled over.

Fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight…

Maria’s laughter doubled until she was crying and clutching her stomach in pain. Isabel rolled her eyes at Liz who was embarrassed by the attention Maria was garnering. Everyone in the shop was now looking at the crazy girl who was making such a ruckus. Liz winked at Isabel as a plan formulated in her mind.

“I do like that dress on you, Maria,” said Liz, offhandedly over the top of Maria’s guffawing. “It really brings out your hickey.”

Maria’s laughter stopped abruptly as she ran to the nearest mirror and began earnestly looking herself over to spot the aforementioned hickey which would mean the end of freedom as she knew it if her mother ever saw it.

“What! Where? What hickey? Liz! Stop laughing! Where’s the hickey?” cried Maria as she ran her fingers over her neck and chest area trying to see where the hickey was. She only stopped when she noticed that Liz and Isabel where both laughing at her.

“Oh, very funny guys. Really. I’m so amused. You scared the absolute shit out of me, Liz! I cannot have a hickey right now. My mom would kill me.”

Liz snickered as Maria glared at her. “Well maybe you shouldn’t put yourself in situations where you could get one.”

Maria inhaled sharply and turned sharply and strode into the change rooms with faux indignation. “I refuse to dignify that with a response. I’m getting changed and then I’m going to buy this dress and I’ll consider driving you all back to the Crashdown afterwards if I’m feeling magnanimous.”
***
Max, Alex and Michael had only been in the mall for ten minutes before Michael began to complain.

“Why are we here again?”

Max rolled his eyes as he kept his eyes peeled for Liz. He’d swung by the Crashdown earlier to see where the girls were and had been told that they were out shopping at the mall. So they had resolved to find them because the choices on TV at that time of day were limited and they were bored.

“We’re here to find Liz, Maria and Isabel. You remember Maria, right Michael? Shortish, green eyes, blonde, can tolerate your poor hygiene in some unfathomable way…”

Michael ignored the dig and shivered as a gaggle of middle aged women passed him, talking animatedly about their purchases.

“I don’t like it here. Too many old ladies that would be willing to claw your eyes out for a piece of marked down Manchester.”

Michael glanced at the two boys across from him who were staring at him incredulously. “What? It’s true! I saw it on a show once.”

Alex snorted. “Oh, so it must be true then.” Alex nudged Max with his elbow. “Hear that, Max? Michael saw it on a show. He knows about these things. He has knowledge that we can’t ever hope to understand.”

Michael gave them both the finger and scowled as Max laughed without restraint at him. “Shut up and look for your girlfriend whom you couldn’t survive ten hours without.”

“You’re here too Michael,” reminded Max.

Alex’s next statement broke up the fight that was about to start. “I see them! Ten O’clock, heading for the food court!”
***


“Really? You and your Mom get facials together?” Maria’s eyebrows raised as Isabel nodded. “The only bonding experience I have with my Mom is when we watch The Hills together. I told her that if I ever brought home a guy like Spencer, she could feel free to shoot me.”

“You watch The Hills?” Isabel asked as they headed towards an empty table.

“She’s addicted. She even-” Liz broke off with a squeal as a pair of large male hands suddenly covered her eyes.

“Guess who!”

Liz pulled the hands off her eyes and spun around to blink up at a grinning Max.

“Max! What are you doing here?”

“I was shopping for, uh… towels.”

Liz stared at him.

“Ok, so I wanted to see you,” he conceded finally.

“That,” she said, grasping his face between her hands and pulling it closer to hers. “Is so cute.”

“Hey babe.” Alex greeted Isabel with a soft kiss and she smiled at him until she remembered that she was supposed to be mad at him.

Pushing him away, she mustered up a frown and stared at him. “I still haven’t forgiven you for last night.”

Alex beamed at her. “That’s ok. I’ve forgiven myself enough for both of us, so you don’t have to be mad at me any more.”

“What?”

Alex paused and tugged at the bottom of his ear as he contemplated what he just said. “It made more sense in my head, then it did coming out of my mouth.”

Isabel rolled her eyes and gave in to the smile that had been threatening to break though. “Oh, come here, you big idiot. I can’t stay mad at you.”

Alex smiled in victory as Isabel returned his previous kiss more thoroughly. Sometimes being goofy had its advantages.

“Couldn’t live without me for more than ten hours, Mikey G?” queried Maria smugly as Michael rolled his eyes.

“Why can’t you react like Liz?” whined Michael as he gestured over to where Liz and Max where kissing.

“Aww, I’m sorry baby.” Her smug smile fell and changed to a pout. She crossed over to him as he watched her warily. He wasn’t quite sure if her change of heart was for real, so he felt that caution was the best path to take with her.

He relaxed slightly as her arms slid around his waist and her head rested on his shoulder. Now this was what he was talking about!

Maria grinned wickedly into his shoulder and ran her hands down his back and then viciously squeezed his butt. “Is that better my little snookums?”

“Snookums?!” Michael was horrified. He was beyond horrified. Snookums was an infinitely worse endearment than Mikey G. And they were all laughing at him. Liz actually seemed to be hyperventilating.

Maria had to fight valiantly to keep her laughter out of her voice as she replied, “You said I could call you that last night. Don’t you remember, snookums?”

Alex had fallen over at this point. “I never said that! Maria, are you trying to ruin my reputation? Because I have to say, you’re doing a bang up job.”

“Shut up Michael, take a joke.”

Liz rested her head against Max’s shoulder and watched the ensuing argument between Michael and Maria -which she had no doubt would lead to a very public make up session- and was struck by the sense of rightness that flowed around them. The six of them seemed to just click. And Liz couldn’t have been more thrilled about it.
***
Last edited by Rowedog on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 21, Pg 12, 14th of Dec

Post by Rowedog » Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:07 am

Howdy kids. Check it out, I’m back, being all updatey and shit.
Sorry I’ve been gone for a while, what with Christmas, New Year and my birthday all in the same fortnight, things have been a bit rushed for a while. Anywho, hope you enjoy!

Cassie
Alien_Friend
Emz
Chanks_girl
Steph
Raemac
Eve
Keepsmiling7
Clue
Synera
Laira
Nibbles2

Part Twenty Two: There Will Be No Tingling
“Ooh, a photo booth! Let’s get our picture taken!”

Michael looked askance at Alex. “Whitman, did you just squeal?”

Ignoring Michael, Alex rushed over to the booth put money into the slot and then began posing wildly as the light flashed. Maria rubbed Isabel’s back consolingly as she shook her head in disbelief. He sprung out once it was done and grabbed the strip of photos, handing it to Max.

Alex waggled his eyebrows and grinned. “What do you think, ey? Saucy?”

Max inclined his head and bit his lip to hide the smile that was threatening to break through. “Indeed. You look incredibly saucy. I’m tingling on the inside.”

Alex snatched the photos from his hand and used them to hit Max over the head. “You filthy pervert! There will be no tingling!” Alex shook his head and turned to Liz with a feigned look of great sadness across his face. “Liz, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but I think your boyfriend has a crush on me.”

Liz bit back her smile and winked at Alex. “He’ll have to fight me for you, you sexy beast.” Liz punctuated that speech with a sharp pinch to his left butt cheek that caused Alex to squeal sharply in surprise and pain.

Michael rolled his eyes. “Again with the squealing.”

Alex stared open mouthed at Liz and then pointed accusingly at Maria. “You! This is all your fault!”

Maria scoffed at him, wondering just when it was that Alex lost his marbles. “What? How is Liz pinching your ass my fault?”

“You poisoned her sweet nature with your rank filth! You are a bad influence, Maria DeLuca!” Alex made a grab for Liz and pushed his palm to her forehead. “I call you forth, you forces of darkness, to leave this girl immediately!”

Liz grabbed his palm and pushed it off her head as she tried hard not to laugh. “You’re so weird, Alex!”

“Well,” said Alex imperiously as he surveyed the rest of the group who were laughing at him. “Let that be a lesson to you all.”

“What lesson?” Isabel enquired, her confusion really setting in the longer that Alex talked for. “Alex, what are you talking about?”

Alex shrugged, smiling broadly at her. “I don’t know. I stopped making sense years ago.”

As Isabel laughed, Max turned to Liz with a serious expression on his face. “Liz?”

“Yes Max?”

“Can you never pinch another man’s ass ever again? Please?”

Liz smiled up at Max, looping her arm through Max’s and resting her head against it as they wandered aimlessly through the mall with no real destination in mind. “I don’t know. Alex’s butt was all firm and tight. How am I supposed to resist pinching it again when I know what I’ll be missing?”

Max smiled coyly at her as they stopped and turned to each other. “I’ll let you pinch mine whenever you want…”

“Deal,” stated Liz, standing up on her tiptoes to kiss him. Their lips had only just met when gagging noises broke out behind them.

They both turned to look at Michael and Maria who stared back at them innocently. “Do you mind?” Michael gestured to the slowly retreating figures of Alex and Isabel who were moseying towards the exit. “You’re blocking the path.”

“Like you’ve been doing all week at school?” asked Liz innocently with a pointed stare at them both.

Maria hissed in a breath. “Me-ow, Liz! That burnt!”

Max looked back at Liz and dismissively waved at Michael. “Go around.” And with that, he returned to his previous occupation, which in his mind was far more satisfying than talking to Michael.

Michael rolled his eyes at the pair who, in his opinion, seemed to lately be joined at the lips.

“Do they ever stop?”

“How about we start?” asked Maria suggestively, grabbing Michael’s jacket and pulling him towards her.

A voice cut in that completely dampened all of Michael’s excitement. “How about you don’t?”

Reluctantly, Michael released his hold on Maria as Courtney approached them. Courtney winked at Michael as she and her two cronies came to a halt before the couple, but not before she had shot daggers at Maria with her eyes. Maria smiled at the bleached blonde that had so rudely interrupted her and her boyfriend and slipped her arms around Michael’s waist just to piss her off. “Courtney, you’re looking particularly vile today. Tell me, what brand of foundation do you use? I’ve never seen anything that shouts ‘two dollar hooker’ quite like that.”

Courtney’s face twisted into a mask of rage, but was cut short by Isabel who had come back in time to hear Maria’s comment.

“I think it’s called industrial cement.”

Courtney’s face grew tomato red as even her friends began to laugh at her. “Whatever,” she sneered before storming off in a huff with her two friends trailing behind her.

“Well,” stated Alex with mock seriousness. “They sure showed us.”

Max and Liz who had been oblivious to everything but each other up until that moment broke apart to the sounds of their friends laughing. Liz frowned at them before asking the question that was uppermost in her mind.

“What?”

Alex sighed and threw his arm around Liz’s shoulder, patting her consolingly on the head as he spoke. “Nothing, Liz. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.” Alex’s eyes lit up as he came up with what he considered a brilliant idea. “You wanna go watch a movie?”
***
Alex scowled heartily, throwing his popcorn in the trash as they all filed out of the movie theatre. He blamed Michael for this travesty. It had been a tie between the girls and the guys regarding what type of movie they were going to see and he was certain that Liz would have caved to their side if he’d had just a couple more minutes, but Michael had folded before he’d had the chance. In his opinion, the only movie worth seeing involved violence, guns, explosions and sex scenes. And the chick flick he had just gone to see had none of his perquisites for a good movie.

“Well that sucked.”

Michael exhaled and inclined his head, saddened by the level he had stooped to just to keep his girlfriend happy. When they had arrived at that theatre he had been adamant that they were going to go see shoot ‘em up film and wasn’t going to be swayed by anything. That was until Maria had forced him to break with the threat of no making out. “You said it, man.”

Liz exchanged a coy glance with Max before replying, “Well, I liked it.”

Maria snickered and winked at Liz. “I’ll bet you did.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked with a frown as the rest of the group bit their lips to keep from laughing.

“Don’t think that just because you guys sat up the back, away from us, that we didn’t know what you two were doing.”

Liz’s eyes widened and she began to almost sputter in indignation. “We were not!”

Maria cocked an eyebrow challengingly. “What was the movie about then?”

Liz faltered. “I-it was about this guy… and a girl… who did…” Liz swallowed. “Stuff.”

“Stuff, hey? You’re a regular Ebert, Liz.”

Liz sighed and let go of all pretences. “Ok, so I didn’t actually watch the movie.”

A voice sounded from behind her that made her blood run cold. “Too busy thinking about me, hey Parker?”

Liz’s voice turned acrid and biting, switching back into her ice queen mode as she answered him. “Actually Tommy, I was too busy making out with Max, which means you were the farthest thing from my mind.”

Tommy, who failed to have a comeback for that particular remark, turned to Michael with a sneer. “Aw how sweet, you went to go see a romance. Are you and Maria going to braid each other’s hair and talk about boys when you get home?”

“At least he has a girlfriend that he doesn’t have to rohypnol to get some action, Tommy,” remarked Alex idly.

Tommy sneered at Alex. “Stay out of this Alec.”

Alex blinked and looked around. “Alec? Who the fuck is Alec?”

“I think he’s referring to you, dear,” answered Isabel with a trace of amusement in her voice.

“Oh.”

Tommy rolled his eyes and gestured to his gang, “Let’s roll.” Turning to Liz, he winked at her. “See you soon, Parker.” The group watched his retreat, grateful that his presence had been short.

Liz shuddered as he left the theatre and turned to Max. “Can you take me home? I want to go scrub myself with bleach until the taint is off.”

Max hooked his arm around her shoulder and kissed the side of her head. “You’ll be fine.”

“Well, that was humiliating. I am never ever going to another chick flick again,” stated Michael resolutely, crossing his arms.

“Yes you are,” replied Maria without even looking at him as she slipped her arms around his waist.

Michael sighed and faced the inevitable truth that he probably wasn’t going to have a choice in the future. “Ok, but I’m going to be wearing a dark coat and sunglasses.”

Maria smiled at him and kissed him in reward. “And in return, I’ll go with you to see some shoot ‘em up, bang bang, explosion movies with you.”

“You will?” asked Michael in surprise as he slipped his arms around her back holding her to him.

“Sure. I think they’re funny. Some of the fight scenes are hilarious. Like, um—Liz? What was the name of that movie where the guy was fighting all the baddies and he grabbed a hot iron and sizzled the other guy’s face?” When Liz shrugged, Maria turned back to Michael. “Well, whatever movie it was, it was funny.”

Michael smiled trying to absorb the information she had just imparted and shook his head. “You keep surprising me every day.”

“I’m just going to put it out there, but I hate Tommy. I can’t wait until karma catches up with him and pushes him off a cliff,” muttered Alex menacingly.

“Why wait for Karma’s lazy ass to do it? You want something done right, do it yourself,” suggested Max, which earned him a hit upside the head from Isabel.

“Max, don’t encourage my boyfriend to do illegal things. He’s susceptible enough to peer pressure as it is.”

“What?” asked Alex, offended by the blunt dismissal from Isabel.

Isabel smiled fondly at Alex and grasped his arm in hers patting it as she moved him along towards the exit. “Never mind, Alec. Let’s go home.”

“Sure thing, Annabel.”
***
Liz sipped her alien blast as she gazed across the table at Isabel and Alex who were currently engaged in a squabble. They had all decided to go back to the Crashdown after the movies and in the process, Alex and Isabel’s standoff had grown to immense proportions. They had even sat on opposite sides of the booth, Alex next to Liz and Max and Isabel next to Maria and Michael. Looking at Max who merely shrugged in response, Liz sighed as they began again.

“Cory, can you pass me the salt?” asked Isabel as her meal arrived.

“Certainly can, Jasmine,” said Alex as he handed her the shaker.

“Thank you, Toby.”

“No problem, Alicia.”

Liz sighed and sunk her head in her hands. “Are you two ever going to stop this?”

Alex pointed at Isabel. “She started it. She called me Alec.”

“And then he called me Annabel.”

“And then she called me Allen.”

“And then he called me-“

“Enough! I think we can all remember how it started, thank you very much. We were all there.”

Michael rolled his eyes and snorted. “You two are so lame. You’re like… meant for each other.”

Maria added her two cents. “Yeah, you’re both stubborn, pigheaded and unable to believe that you’re in the wrong. You’re like twins, minus the same DNA.”

Alex looked at Michael and Maria with narrowed eyes. “Thanks. I think.”

A call from the other side of the café interrupted Isabel’s rebuttal. “MARIA! Can you lend me some dough? I’m broke right now.”

Maria sighed as she viewed her cousin. “When are you not broke, Sean?”

“When I have a job. I’m looking.”

Maria dug through her purse and pulled out a twenty. “Yeah, but you’re not really finding are you? Here, take and go away.”

Sean pressed his hand to his heart and faked a wounded expression. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your new friends, Maria? I’d hate to have to tell Aunt Amy about that little incident with the lamp…”

Maria scowled and gestured around the table. “This is Isabel, Alex’s girlfriend. Michael, my boyfriend and Max, Liz’s boyfriend. Everyone, this is my loser cousin with a criminal record who just got out of juvie.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you all,” remarked Sean, smiling brightly, apparently taking no offence to Maria’s introduction. His face suddenly dropped as he gazed on Michael. “My sincerest condolences to you.”

Maria’s face turned red and she pointed to the door with rage. “Out. Sean. Now.”

“So soon? But we were all just getting to know one another…”

“I think I hear your parole officer calling.”

“Okay! Okay. I can take a hint. I’m leaving.” As he turned to leave he shared a conspirator’s smile with Alex and clapped him on the shoulder and then winked at Liz who smiled back at him chastisingly to which he adopted an expression of innocence that had Liz laughing.

“I hate him so much,” scowled Maria as he exited the restaurant.

“It’s impossible to hate Sean,” said Alex over a mouthful of fries.

“No it’s not.” Maria declared vehemently.

“Going to have to agree with Alex there, Maria. He’s a hard guy to hate. He just knows how to push your buttons.”

“Liz! Be on my side! Please!”

Michael pulled her into his side and kissed the side of her hair. “Well, he’s gone now. So just forget about him.”

“Easy for you to say. You don’t share DNA with that felon.” Maria’s attention was caught by the music that was playing over the radio. “And I hate this song!”

Isabel cocked her head and listened, recognizing the song almost immediately. “You hate ‘Me Love’ by Sean Kingston?”

Maria turned up her nose imperially. “He promotes the use of bad English.”

Liz snorted as Alex burst into raucous laughter. “Since when did you become the grammar police?”

“Well I hate it too,” declared Michael resolutely as he listened to the words.

Why’d you have to go away from home… me love…

With an evil smirk, Michael answered Sean’s rhetoric question. “I’ll tell you why she had to leave, because Sean started to digest her.”

As both Max and Alex snorted in disbelief and amusement and Isabel and Liz stared at him with mouths open, Maria’s eyes flashed with anger that she had retained from her run in with her cousin. “Michael! That is so rude! I can’t believe you said that! Are you saying that you wouldn’t like me if I put on a few pounds? You’re so shallow, I just can’t believe you--”

Michael listened to her tirade with an easy smile until she came to the end. “What do you have to say for yourself, Michael?”

Michael inhaled deeply and patted her hand. “Stopped you thinking about your cousin, didn’t I?”

Maria’s mouth fell open and she gaped at him as the rest of the gang began to laugh.

“So that was--”

“A way to help you vent your anger.”

“So you’re not--”

“Shallow? No, I listen to metal, not cheesy pop love songs. Why would I give a shit about him?”

Maria sat silent for several moments before turning to Isabel who was sitting at the end of the booth. “Isabel, if you’ll excuse us, I need to talk to my boyfriend. Outside.”

Isabel got up from her seat and watched Maria drag Michael outside. “You think he’ll make it back alive?” she asked to no one in particular.

“I have great faith in Michael and his ability to handle Maria,” replied Liz as she eyed Maria’s practically untouched fries. “Quick, before they come back, let’s eat their food.”

Max kissed Liz’s cheek and smiled proudly. “That’s my girl.”
***
Last edited by Rowedog on Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 22, Pg 14, 12th of Jan

Post by Rowedog » Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:52 am

This chapter is more of a plot device rather than an amusing one, but I promise the next update is much funnier and a lot longer. At least, in my opinion it is.

Thanks to thetvgeneral for beta'ing this when she was sick! You rule Stepho!

Alien_Friend- Feedback like yours reminds me why I love posting this story.
Eve
Emz
Katydid-
Check it out, I’m being all updatey again…
Erina
Laira-
I’ll take your word for it on the cheerleader thing. Here in Oz, we’re cheerleader deprived. In fact I’ve never even seen one in the flesh.
Natalie36
Dreamer19-
Glad I could make your day a little better
Starcrazed- Thank you, I usually just write whatever I think of at the time that amuses me.
Raemac
Behrluv32
Clue
Steph

Chanks_girl- I love him too. Alex is possibly my favourite character to write. He has some really great bits in the next part.
Synera- That sounds like a better plan, not that this update’s very funny. Don’t worry, I took it as a compliment.
Smac- That’s my aim, to make you feel good. I’m glad it’s having its intended effect.
Part Twenty Three: Tasted Ass, Have You?
Isabel yawned as the history teacher droned on and on about the Bay of Pigs and Fidel Castro and other things she deemed irrelevant. Catching Maria’s eye, she suppressed a laugh and shook her head, sharing a memory of last night when she, Liz and Maria had stayed up till early morning in Liz’s room talking about everything and nothing. They discussed people they liked, people they disliked, guys they would date, guys they wouldn’t touch with a forty foot pole and girls they would like to run over with a lawn mower given half the chance.

For Maria and Liz, it was just another Sunday night session, but for Isabel who had never experienced such closeness and confidence with other girls it was a whole new experience. She found herself laughing like she had never laughed before and found herself opening up in a way that was totally foreign and intoxicating to her. She had never experienced the heady rush that came with sharing secrets and gossiping with trustworthy girls before.

She smiled as the bell rang. It was about time. Another minute with Mr. Monotone and she’d have gone stark, raving mad. She waited for Maria and they headed out the door together, Maria resting her head against Isabel’s shoulder, trying to hold in her yawn.

“Oh shit… tell me when did history became so goddam boring?”

Isabel put on her best imitation of their droning teacher. “I believe it was around the fall of 1912 when 72 nations came together to sign the pact declaring that history was boring and should be taught in a monotonic pitch designed to send students to sleep.”

As they both laughed, a voice sounded behind them, ruining their good mood.

“Isabel? Are you seriously talking to that white trash?”

Isabel spun on her heel and plastered the fakest smile onto her face as she came face to face with Pam Troy.

“Pam, so wonderful to see you. I’m sorry, but what was your question?”

Maria glanced from girl to girl, wondering just how this would all go down. She knew from their talk last night that Isabel hated Pam Troy and her gang of drones, but the fact remained that they were popular. And popularity was something that Isabel Evans had never been without. So Maria was uncertain whether Isabel would take a stand and claim her as a friend, or completely deny any involvement with her. Maria steeled herself for the latter of the two options.

“I said, what are you doing with that classless hick?”

Isabel smiled again. “See that’s what I thought you said. Which, I’d suggest you take back pretty quickly.”

Pam Troy sneered in confusion as Maria looked at Isabel with the first stirrings of hope. She’d been screwed over by Isabel’s type again and again, but this was the first time she’d ever felt that maybe she could trust someone who looked like she belonged in the pages of Vogue.

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“Because if Michael heard you talking to his girlfriend that way, I don’t think he’d be very happy about it.”

Pam Troy blinked, obviously never having considered that Michael would care what she said about Maria, despite the fact that the two were obviously in a relationship. And a public censure from Michael would seriously hurt her social standing. Despite these reservations, she decided to call Isabel’s bluff.

“He’s only one person, he can’t hurt me.”

Isabel shook her head sadly and tutted slowly. “Pam, Pam, Pam… how little you think. Tell me, who is Maria’s best friend?”

“Liz.” Pam’s eyes widened as she followed the same train of thought that Isabel was leading up to.

“And Liz is Max Evans’ girlfriend, right? Put it together Pam. Not only is Maria my boyfriend’s best friend, she’s also my friend.” Isabel stood menacingly close to Pam and dropped her voice to a low growl. “You stay out of her way. You ever say or do anything to her – or Liz or Alex- Max, Michael and I will make it our mission in life to make your social standing so low, you’ll wish you had the popularity of “white trash,” understand?”

As Pam backed away, Isabel’s face broke into a real smile. Quite a crowd had gathered for that little show and had only just begun to break up after Pam’s hasty retreat. Isabel was glad, hopefully the school gossip would enforce the hands off rule to everyone else and she wouldn’t have to have this conversation with every prissy bitch or brainless jock in the school. Isabel turned back to Maria whose eyes were wet with unshed tears and whose mouth was hanging open. Her eyes creased with worry and her victorious smile vanished as she saw Maria’s state.

“You okay? Don’t let what she said get to you; she’s nothing but a classless, prima donna, hooker biatch whose goal in life is to make other’s miserable to make herself feel better. She’s not even worth-”

Isabel broke off from her tirade as Maria began to speak.

“No one’s ever done anything like that for me before,” she whispered, her hand coming up to cover her trembling bottom lip.

Isabel blushed and shrugged, her eyes dropping to the floor with embarrassment from Maria’s gratitude.

“It was nothing.”

Maria shook her head vehemently. “No. It wasn’t. It was amazing. Thank you.”

“No problem.” Isabel looked around wildly, hoping to find something to distract them from this embarrassing situation she found herself in. Maria’s gratitude wasn’t something she knew how to deal with. “I’m starving! You wanna go to lunch? I don’t know about you, but knocking self important bimbos back in their place always works me up an appetite.”

Maria laughed and wiped away the spilled tears under her eyes. “Sure, let’s do it.”

As the two walked along, laughing and joking, Maria looked at Isabel with a new appreciation. She knew that Liz had really liked her, but her past experiences with Isabel’s cheerleader type had taught her caution and she couldn’t bring herself to trust her. Until now. Isabel had thrown down for her and she had only known three people in her life that were willing to do that. Her Mom, Liz and Alex. From that day on, Maria always held a special place in her heart for Isabel Evans.
***
Isabel stood in the kitchen of their house and hummed to herself as she busied herself with making dinner. Getting her hands dirty was a small price to pay to ensure that she could avoid her mother’s cooking for one more night, plus her parents would be tired from their drive and it would be a nice surprise for them to come home to. She had even managed to swindle Max into making a salad for her, so her workload was almost halved. All she had to do was cook the steaks she had found in the freezer and boil the potatoes.

“I hate salad.”

Isabel smirked to herself as she turned the steaks over under the grill. “You’re just making it, you don’t have to eat it.”

“Couldn’t we have just ordered pizza?”

“No. We’re making an effort so that our parents can see that we actually care about them.”

Max frowned and chopped the celery with more vigour than was needed. “The only good thing in salads is cheese and dressing. Vegetables are insipid and lettuce tastes like ass.”

“Tasted ass, have you?” asked Isabel sweetly as she placed a pot of sour cream on the table.

Isabel smiled as the lock clicked open and cut off Max’s floundering retort. Her parents were home.

“Something smells good…” stated Diane as she walked into the kitchen, her eyes widening with shock as she saw her children making dinner. Her mouth hung open for a few seconds before she snapped it shut and attempted to convey her delight in words to her children. “Oh my word… are you actually making us dinner?”

Isabel smiled at her and led her over to the table and made her sit at her usual seat. “No need to look so shocked Mom; we can be good kids once in a while.”

Diane waved away her dismissively. “Well of course you’re good kids! It’s just… this!” she remarked gesturing to the salad that Max had just placed on the table and the steaks cooking over at the stove. “This just goes beyond anything I ever… I’m just so… I can’t-”

“Formulate a cohesive sentence?” offered Max, only to be elbowed for his efforts by Isabel. Deciding to change tack and to stop his mother from gushing, Max enquired after Phillip’s whereabouts.

“Mom, where’s Dad?”

“Right here,” came the weary reply as Phillip placed all the bags that Diane had insisted they bring in case she decided she needed her whole wardrobe whilst they were away. As Phillip sank exhausted into his usual seat at the table beside his wife, Diane began to shake his arm and gestured to their kids.

“Phillip! The kids are making us dinner!” she exclaimed loudly, conveying all the enthusiasm and excitement she felt.

“Awesome,” came the tired reply, causing everyone to stop and stare at him in silence until Max felt forced to ask incredulously, “Awesome?”

Phillip rolled his eyes and sat up a little to better address the unspoken question. “I have a new client. He’s a juvenile delinquent with a rich daddy who wants all his criminal mess cleaned up with minimal fuss. I guess I’ve been spending too much time with him if some of his vocabulary is rubbing off on me. I very nearly told the bellboy that our stay was ‘fully sick’ when he asked us how we enjoyed it.”

Isabel shook her head sadly as she brought the steaks over to the table and sat down herself. “That’s really terrible, Dad.” Isabel picked up her cutlery and paused as she was about to dig in, frowning as she properly surveyed her father for the first time. “You look tired, too busy running around after Mom?”

“I have no idea where she gets all her energy from,” replied Phillip with an affectionate pat to Diane’s hand.

“Oh, I’m not that bad,” she claimed rolling her eyes before taking a blissful bite of her steak, the flavour enhanced by the fact that she didn’t have to cook it. “Great dinner kids. Max, have some salad.”

Max groaned and scrunched up his face and stared at the offending dish. “Do I have to? I hate salad!”

Diane slapped Phillip’s arm, causing him to stare at her with complete confusion, wondering what it was he could have possibly done wrong. “He gets that from you, you know!” Turning back to Max, she pointed sternly at the salad bowl. “Eat. Right now. Eat your greens or you’ll get scurvy and then Liz won’t want to kiss you.”

Isabel cackled as Max’s cheeks turned bright red whilst he reached for the salad tongs. “Ha! He’s blushing! Mom, say something else about Liz!”

“Speaking of, how was your stay with her, Isabel?” asked Diane, wisely changing the topic so that her son could get his flaming cheeks under control.

“To quote Dad, it was ‘Awesome!’ I had such a great time, we went shopping, to the movies, had a girl’s night… it was so cool!”

Diane smiled, enjoying the sparkle in Isabel’s eyes that none of her previous friends had managed to put there. “So can I actually meet this Liz that the Evans children are raving about? How about dinner on Friday?”

Max’s eyes widened in terror and he shook his head furiously. “No. No way. Uh uh. No.”

Isabel slapped Max sharply on the back and grinned wickedly at him. “I think it’s a great idea. I’ll ask her.”

“Great, well that’s settled. I think we should go out to a restaurant, maybe have dessert back here… watch a movie together…”

Max interrupted his Mom’s musings and reminded her that he didn’t think it was such a great idea. “Mom, no. We’re not having Liz to dinner this Friday. It’s out of the question.”

Diane frowned and put her best puppy dog expression on, a look specially designed to guilt trip her family into bending to her wishes. “Why? Doesn’t she want to meet us?” Diane knew that the power was in the pout and the wounded eyes. She inwardly smiled as Max looked away, he was cracking; she could feel the victory coming on.

“What? Mom… of course she does,” he assured in a pleading tone, trying to placate his mother’s upset feelings. “I just think she’d feel uncomfortable. I mean, we’ve only been dating a short while-”

“But it’s becoming serious, right?” Diane interrupted.

“Well, yeah. I mean, yes, we’re not just together because we’re bored or anything.”

“Well great, what better way to let her know that you’re serious about her than by letting her meet your parents?”

Max sighed, hoping Liz would forgive him for revealing such a personal attribute to his family. “Mom, she’s really shy. As in really, really shy.”

Diane looked to Isabel who nodded in confirmation. Diane frowned, well that threw a spanner in the works. Her smile quickly returned though. “Well, the sooner you introduce her to us, the sooner she’ll get used to us.”

Max groaned knowing that he couldn’t argue with his Mom’s brand of logic and resigned himself to inviting her over. This was sure going to be interesting.
***
“So you and Isabel had fun right?” questioned Nancy at another dinner table across town.

Liz nodded emphatically before taking a sip of water. “We had a lot of fun, she’s really great.”

Nancy beamed at her, pleased at the confirmation of her suspicions. “She’s certainly a very polite young girl. I would love for you to have her back over again some time,” Nancy suggested, crossing her fingers.

“I’d love that too,” replied Liz sincerely, scooping up some mashed potato as she talked.

“Maybe you could even have Max over too for dinner one night.”

Liz choked on her mouthful, nearly inhaling about half a potato as she froze in horror of her Mom’s suggestion. While she liked her parents and she definitely liked Max, there was no way she wanted to combine the two at a dinner table.

“Well? What do you think? Do you think we could actually meet the boy who’s had you bouncing around the Crashdown like an Elf on speed?”

“You have met him, Mom,” Liz reminded her, hoping that she would drop the idea.

Nancy stared at her dully. “I meant really meet him. Get to know what he’s about and see why you like him so much. One dinner is all I ask, Lizzie.”

Liz groaned and hung her head, sealing her fate. “Fine.”

Nancy clapped her hands together in delight and spoke to Jeff who was engrossed by the TV they had situated in the kitchen. “Jeff, Max is coming over for dinner soon!”

“Yeah?” replied Jeff, obviously still too engrossed in his TV show to hear what Nancy was saying. Liz took that opportunity to pout at her plate of half eaten food and sulkily poke the mashed potatoes. This wasn’t going to be fun at all.
***
Across town at yet another dinner table, Maria was silently wishing that her Mother had been an only child, or that her Aunt Jenny had been infertile.

“So, Amy, what do you think of Michael?” asked Sean as he happily stuffed his face with soft shell tacos.

Maria froze and widened her eyes frantically at Sean, silently conveying to him that pursuing this path was not a wise one. Sean’s smile deepened as Amy asked, “Who’s Michael?”

Sean giggled evilly, a wicked light growing in his eyes with each word he uttered. “Tut, tut, Maria. You haven’t introduced your boyfriend to your mother yet? How slack of you.”

At the mention of the word ‘boyfriend,’ Amy’s head snapped up and her eyes locked on Maria.

“Boyfriend?” she asked a dangerous tone to her voice.

“Don’t freak out, Mom,” Maria pleaded, her life flashing before her eyes.

“You better not be having sex with him!” Maria winced as her mother’s voice went above the 100 decibel level.

“Mom! We’ve been going out for like a week! God, what kind of girl do you think I am?”

The declaration of innocence had the opposite effect that Maria desired, her mother’s eyes narrowing even further. “A week? How come I haven’t met him yet if you’ve been going out with him for a week?”

“Because we’ve only been together a week. It’s not that serious yet, Ma. Jesus, relax.”

“Don’t you roll your eyes at me young lady! And no, I will not relax, not until I’ve met him, seen his credentials, run a background check and sat him through a lie detector test! And then maybe in a couple of years I’ll let you date him.”

Maria closed her eyes and inhaled slowly, trying to find an inner calm and stillness. She failed, but the murderous visions of Sean’s fat head exploding did go some way to helping her relax.

“And I want to meet his parents.”

At this, Maria’s eyes snapped open and she shook her head vehemently at her mother.

“No, that’s impossible.”

Taken aback, Amy stared hard at her daughter before asking dangerously softly, “And why is that?”

Maria’s face dulled with sadness. “Because his parents abandoned him when he was a young boy. He’s been in and out of foster homes all his life until recently when he was granted emancipation of a minor because his foster Dad beat him.”

Amy’s hand flew to her mouth, her hard edge instantly forgotten as Michael’s story appealed to her easily touched emotions.

“Mom, he’s a good guy. He works two part time jobs just to stay in school. He’s part of the football and the basketball team and he wants to make something of himself and go to college. I promise you, we’re not having sex, but if we do I promise it’ll be protected.”

Amy looked at Maria doubtfully, her heart waging a war with her head. While she wanted to believe the best about this poor boy who’d suffered so much, it was still her daughter, her baby girl, that he was messing with and she wanted something better for Maria than the life that she had been forced to lead.

Maria leaned forward, her eyes shining with sincerity as she spoke to her mother. “Mom, I promise, he’s a good guy. Just meet him, you’ll see.”

Amy stood still for a few moments before inhaling slowly and turning to Sean. “Sean?”

Maria bit her lip and closed her eyes, praying that for once in his life, Sean would come through for her.

Sean stood up, holding his empty plate in one hand and clapping Amy on the shoulder with the other. “He’s a good guy Aunt Amy.”

Maria exhaled noisily letting the tension drain from her body. As Sean left the kitchen, Maria thanked him silently, before turning her attention back to how to wreak revenge on him for alerting her Mother to the fact that she had a boyfriend. He may have come through just then, but a DeLuca never forgets.
***
Last edited by Rowedog on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 23, Pg 3, 2nd of Feb

Post by Rowedog » Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:46 pm

Michael’s encounter with Amy is in the next part and for those of you who don’t know, re-re is slang for retard (as un-pc as that is).

Alien_Friend
Nibbles2
Emz
Mezz
Keepsmiling7
Eve
Chanks_girl-
I’m afraid Alex has already met the Evans’. He’s actually already been over to dinner there in one of the earlier parts. I’m actually quite glad I don’t have to write Alex’s first encounter with the Evans’. That would have been quite a feat…
Raemac
Natalie36
Synera
Sunrise102
Steph-
You’re not a bad beta! You’re my favourite beta! (Well… you’re my only beta, but that’s beside the point)
Twilight
Part Twenty Four: Must Be Contagious
“Do I have to?”

Maria’s mouth dropped open as Michael showed great reluctance in regards to her Mother’s generous offer to meet him over dinner. It was especially gracious considering how easily Amy could have vetoed her from seeing him. In fact she was quite sure that her Mother was extremely tempted.

Maria gritted her teeth. “If you ever want to date me again, then yes, you have to.”

Michael sighed dramatically, draping his arms over Maria’s shoulders. “I suppose if I have to.” Smiling jokingly, he tugged the end of her ponytail. “The things I do for you.”

Maria gave him a withering glance and threw his arms off of her. “Please, don’t stress yourself on my account, Mikey G.”

Michael stared at her back in confusion as she stalked off down the school hall, before gathering his wits and chasing after her. The first bell was about to ring and the entire gang, minus Alex had been congregated around Max’s locker, just hanging out till it was time to go to class.

“Dinner with the ‘rents, hey? Must be contagious…” Max muttered to himself.

Liz looked up at Max, with puzzlement etched on her face. How could he possibly have guessed that her parents had demanded his presence at their dinner table? She hadn’t even mentioned it to him yet.

“What?”

Max turned to Liz and smiled in what he hoped was an encouraging manner. “My parents have requested your company this Friday evening for dinner.” As Liz’s eyes widened with what he assumed was fear, Max rushed on to reassure her. “You totally don’t have to come if you don’t want to, it was just a thought Mom had. You can say no, they won’t mind. If you don’t feel ready for it, that’s ok-”

“I’ll go,” Liz said serenely, cutting off Max mid ramble. “But only if you return the favour the following Friday.”

“Your parents want me to come to dinner?”

Liz nodded, looping her arms around Max’s arm and pressing her cheek against his bicep. “They asked last night. I told them I’d ask you. I guess it was inevitable that we’d have to go through meeting each other’s ‘rents.” Liz frowned, worry etched across her face. “I just hope they like me.”

“Hey,” Max murmured comfortingly, kissing the top of her head. “They’ll love you.” Max leant forward and whispered into her ear. “Besides, they liked Alex, I’m pretty sure their standards aren’t very high.”

Max winced as someone slapped him upside the head. “I heard that, Evans.”

Alex ignored Max as he rubbed the back of his head and swept over to his girlfriend, grasping her waist and dipping her before planting a breath stealing kiss on her. As the entire hall whooped and cheered, Alex righted his girlfriend and grinned at her. “My lady, how are you this fine morning?”

Isabel, who was still trying to rearrange her scrambling wits into some semblance, simply stared at Alex breathlessly before asking, “What was that all about?”

Alex waggled his eyebrows, his grin widening. “I, my fair lady, received a call this morning and now have an interview with a man from the MIT scholarship board.” Isabel’s eyes widened and her hands flew to her mouth. “And as such, feel like cart wheeling down the hallway, singing at the top of my lungs.”

Letting out a strangled laugh, Isabel then launched herself on Alex, screaming as she went. “Oh. My. God! That’s so great, Alex! But you’re just a junior…”

Alex laughed, accepting a tight hug from an ecstatic Liz. “What can I say? They like my work.”

“What’s got you this excited, Whitman? Half price at Sears?”

Alex sighed, turning to face Tommy. “I knew that it would be too much to ask for you to be sick with polio on this fantastic day. I guess I’ll just have to console myself with the fact that I rule and you suck.”

And with that, Alex began to dance wildly in the hall, singing as he went. “I got a hot babe, I got an interview, so Tommy can just go suck on my poo…”

“Whatever.” Tommy rolled his eyes at Alex’s antics as everyone else laughed and turned to Isabel and Liz winking at them as he left. “Ladies.”

Liz grasped Max’s arm as he went to follow Tommy. “Leave it, Max. He’s all talk, no action.”

“He’s disrespecting my girlfriend and my sister. Do you suggest I ignore it?” Max asked, his jaw tight with anger.

“For today. Today is Alex’s day, I don’t want to ruin it for him,” murmured Liz smiling softly as her best friend waltzed his girlfriend down the hallway. They came to an abrupt halt as Michael and Maria returned, looking extremely dishevelled.

Alex winked at Michael as Maria tried to surreptitiously wipe her smeared lipstick. “I hope you two left the eraser room in working order. Some of us have hot babes to celebrate with in there,” Alex exclaimed, pulling Isabel into his body as he uttered that last line.

“Alex, because today is your day, I’ll overlook your usage of the term, ‘hot babe.’ But, if you dare call me that tomorrow,” Isabel brought her face close to Alex and growled threateningly, “I’ll have your balls.”

Alex waved the threat away dismissively. “Please, like you didn’t have them before.”

Alex froze as the bell went, then began towing Isabel down the hall by her elbow. “Quick! Must get to class! What will the scholarship guy think of me if I’m tardy?”

Isabel wrenched her arm free from Alex’s grip. “I don’t have science with you, Alex! My class is in the opposite direction, you big re-re!”

As Isabel walked past them, muttering under her breath about highly excitable boyfriends, Liz and Max began to meander to Biology with Michael and Maria trailing behind them.

Max side glanced at Liz as they entered the Biology room, before continuing on with their previous conversation. “You know, I think Alex would have appreciated it if I had beaten Tommy to a snivelling pulp. It would have made his day even more special.”

Liz stuck out her tongue at Max, but quickly retracted it when he reached out to grab it between his thumb and forefinger. “Too late Max, the moment has passed.”

“How about I beat him up for an accumulation of seventeen years of shittiness?”

“No.”

Before Max could respond, Mrs. Hardy’s fearsome presence appeared and demanded absolute silence. Deciding to shelve their discussion for now, Max reached under the lab and grasped Liz’s fingers in his as Mrs. Hardy began reviewing last week’s syllabus. Content that they weren’t learning anything new, Liz sat back and let herself get swept up in sensations that were rolling through her body as Max stroked her fingers gently. Max smiled as Liz’s foot found his and began rubbing back in response to his machinations. Gazing at Liz’s flushed face, Max’s eyes swept over her pert, upturned nose, her shiny brown hair and sparkling chocolate eyes and sighed internally with contentment. He had finally received what he had dreamt of for so long and the reality had turned out even better than he had imagined. Biology just kept getting better and better.
***
“So, nervous about tonight?” Maria asked as she changed out of her sports uniform. “There’s nothing like a rowdy game of dodge ball to get you in the mood to meet the significant other’s parental units.”

Liz paused as she reached for her locker door, turning to Maria. “Ever seen an exponential graph?”

Maria crinkled her nose. “That’s a math thing isn’t it? Not really my scene, Lizzy.”

Liz brought her hand up and across slowly to demonstrate her point. “Well it’s a graph that builds up steadily for a while and then,” Liz’s hand skyrocketed suddenly towards the roof. “BAM! It jack knifes upwards.”

“This has what to do with meeting my parents, exactly?” asked Isabel as she sprayed herself with beyond paradise.

“That’s what my nerves have been doing. My fear has slowly and steadily built up. That is, until today.”

Maria nodded, catching on to what Liz was getting at. “Jack knife day.”

Understanding flashed across Isabel’s face, grinning as she finally got it. “Oh!” Then realisation of what that meant Liz must be feeling hit her and her smile fell. “Oh…”

Liz took a deep breath hoping to settle the colony of bats that had taken over her stomach. “I feel like I’m going to shit myself, vomit, or pass out.”

“Preferably not all at the same time,” replied Maria glibly.

Isabel snickered, her amusement outweighing her sympathy for Liz. “Could you imagine if she did that at our house? Liz rings the door bell, says “Hi Mr. Evans” and then, SPLAT! BLURGH! CRASH!”

Maria laughed wickedly with Isabel, “And then your Mom comes out and asks, ‘what’s that smell?’.”

“Ahem.” Both girls stopped their hilarity as Liz cleared her throat and reminded them that she was still in the vicinity. “Thank you. That really helped to settle my nerves.”

“Awww, Liz!” Isabel placed a reassuring arm around her shoulder. “You’ll be fine. Don’t worry!”

“And besides, you’re an A grade student who’s never even had a detention before,” reassured Maria, grimacing as she thought of her dinner with her family and Michael tonight. “I think Michael’s got more to worry about than you do.”

“Have you talked to Max about it?” asked Isabel as they walked out of the gym together.

“Yes,” replied Liz sulkily. “He just says that I shouldn’t worry, that they’ll love me.”

“And they will,” stated Isabel assuredly.

“Yeah, maybe, but he won’t even let me vent about it. Every time I bring it up he just shuts down the conversation with a,” Liz’s voice deepened as she tried to emulate Max, “‘don’t worry, they’ll love you.’ He’s being a real pain in my ass.”

Both Maria and Isabel snorted at Liz’s poor imitation of Max and gave her a hug. “But you shouldn’t worry Liz,” said Maria, muffled by Liz’s hair. “Even if, by some crazy, totally impossible twist of fate that they don’t like you, it’s not like Max’ll break up with you. He’s so gone for you it’s not funny.”

Liz sighed sadly. “But I want them to like me. So badly.”

“Liz, I know my parents. They’ll love you,” reassured Isabel as the bell rang. “Anyway, we have English Lit right now with Max and Alex. It’ll be great, you can vent to my boyfriend, he’ll say something completely nonsensical and we’ll all have a good laugh.”

Isabel leaned in confidentially whispering to Liz as they both waved goodbye to Maria. “Just remember that my parents liked Alex, how hard can it be to get their approval?”

“I heard that Isabel!”

Isabel frowned as Alex popped out of nowhere. “Goddammit. How does he always do that?”
***
“Standing vigil?” teased Diane as Max continued to hover near the window in the living room that had a clear view of the street.

Max abruptly pulled away from the window, clearing his throat with embarrassment. “No!” he prevaricated. “I was just thinking that these windows need cleaning.”

“Is that an offer?”

Max stiffened, caught out by his own lie. “Ahhh…”

Luckily for him, Liz chose that exact moment to park outside their house and make her way to their front door.

“I’ll just go and… yeah.” And with that, Max fled to the front door leaving Diane smiling to herself behind him.

Max reached the door just as Liz pressed the doorbell and flung it open, causing a rush of wind to tug at Liz’s hair and her dress as she stood with her finger poised in midair, one inch from the buzzer.

Max inhaled as they both stared silently at one another. After a beat, Max spoke. “I just realised how dorkily eager that was.”

Liz smiled tersely at him as she dropped her hand to her side. “I’m just glad it wasn’t your Dad who answered, otherwise I might have fulfilled Maria and Isabel’s prediction.”

Grasping her shoulder in one hand, Max rubbed his thumb gently over her jacket. “Scared?”

“Understatement.”

“Hey… you’ll be okay.” And to reassure her, Max moved in and kissed her, moving his hand from her shoulder up to cup her cheek. He kissed her slowly, easing the tension in her body, seducing her into relaxation the best way he knew how.

“Max? Don’t leave her standing on the porch all da-” Diane cut off immediately as she noticed that her son and his girlfriend weren’t exactly discussing the weather. “Oh.”

Max and Liz broke off immediately as Diane’s voice burst through their bubble. Blushing profusely, Liz kicked herself for the horrific first impression she had just made.

Suppressing her mirth at the situation, Diane took pity on Liz who looked absolutely mortified. “Hi Liz, it’s nice to meet you finally.”

“Hi,” she squeaked, clearing her throat in an attempt to collect back some of her dignity. “It’s nice to meet you too, Mrs. Evans.”

“Where’s my mother-in-law?” asked Diane, looking around.

Max rolled his eyes as Liz’s brows furrowed in confusion. “It’s her way of saying, ‘call me Diane.’” He explained. “She thinks it’s funny.”

Diane scowled good naturedly at Max and wagged her finger at him. “Correction, I know it’s funny.” Turning her attention back to Liz, she smiled at her in what she hoped was a welcoming way. “Give Max your jacket, dear, and come sit in the living room with me. Isabel will be down once she’s finished her homework, then we’ll head off to Chez Pierre.”

Liz followed wordlessly, praying that she wouldn’t do anything to embarrass herself any further. As she entered, Diane ushered her to an armchair next to the couch where Phillip sat watching the news.

“Max, get Liz a drink,” ordered his Mother as Liz sat down.

Max frowned in frustration. “I was just about to offer her one.” Max turned to Liz, his voice a great deal gentler. “What would you like?”

Liz shrugged, looking from Max to Diane. “I don’t know… a water?” she replied timidly.

“Sure thing.”

As Max left, Liz felt tempted to call him back and demand that he stay by her side for the entire night. She glanced around the room, not knowing where to look and cursing her luck that she had been left alone with Max’s parents within the first five minutes of her arrival. Not that Phillip seemed at all aware of her presence.

As the news finished, Phillip glanced around the room, coming out of his stupor and grinned when he saw Liz. Leaning across the arm of the chair, Phillip shook her hand and introduced himself. “Hi Liz, I’m Phillip, it’s very nice to meet you.”

“You too, Mr. Ev– I mean, Phillip.”

Liz almost sighed in relief when Max re-entered the room carrying her water. Handing it to her, he kissed her on the top of the head and sat on the arm of her chair with his arm around the back.

“Max! Don’t sit on the arm of the chair!” cried Diane in consternation, wishing that she had instilled better manners in her children.

“Fine,” Max muttered jumping off the arm and standing up. Liz’s insides clenched as he moved farther away from her. Surely they could overlook this one time in consideration of the fact that she felt like she might vomit all over their carpet?

Liz smiled brightly as Max took a seat next to her feet, leaning his back against the bottom of the armchair and resting the side of his head against her leg.

“So Liz, I hear your parents own the Crashdown?” asked Diane, breaking the awkward silence that had occurred.

Liz nodded, relieved that her first question hadn’t been a personal one. “Yes, we’ve had it for three years now.”

Liz may not have noticed that her hands had begun to unconsciously play with Max’s hair, but Diane had. It made her heart melt to see Liz’s shyness and her reliance on Max to provide her with some comfort.

“And do they enjoy it?” asked Phillip.

Liz nodded, “Yes, it’s a big change of pace for them after running their restaurant in Albuquerque. I think they needed something a bit less stressful, otherwise Dad might have had a heart attack.”

Turning to gaze up at her, Max asked, “Is that what your parents did before you came here?”

“Yeah, they ran a very successful four star restaurant, but it was just a bit too much for Dad, he needed to relax a little more, which is why we bought the Crashdown. Dad saw it on his way through town after a restaurateurs' convention and fell in love with it. He was so excited that it was up for sale.”

“I wonder what’s keeping Izzy?” asked Diane looking at her watch. “She was so excited for tonight; I’d have thought she’d have been down here as soon as she heard your car.”

Max gave his Mom a knowing look. “Mom, it’s probably her Math homework.”

As the Evans’ had a communal wince, Liz wondered what she wasn’t being told. “Does she have trouble with Math?”

Max rolled his eyes. “And then some. But she’s too proud to ask me for help,” Max shrugged. “Something about not wanting to seem dumber than her twin. Mom can’t help because Isabel inherited her mathematical inability from her and Dad is the worst teacher in the world.”

“Hey!” protested Phillip. “I’m not that bad, I just get frustrated,” he said sheepishly.

“And then she gets frustrated and then she yells, and then you yell and then we have to have a family meeting because Mom doesn’t like fighting,” supplied Max, shaking his head.

“Why doesn’t she ask Alex for help?” asked Liz in confusion.

“I don’t think he knows, she’s pretty ashamed of it,” replied Max.

“Well, how about I try?” suggested Liz, quickly qualifying her request when they all looked at her incredulously. “I could just go up there to say hi and see what’s she doing then subtly offer some help.”

Phillip looked at Max and Diane doubtfully. “Do you think she’ll go for it?”

Diane inclined her head, shrugging. “It’s worth a shot.”

Handing her glass to Max, Liz followed Diane upstairs and then knocked on Isabel’s door once Diane was a suitable distance away.

“Come in,” was the disgruntled reply to her knock.

Entering the room, Liz was struck with the subtle elegance of the room with only a little clutter that was restricted to the work desk that Isabel was sitting at. It was not at all how Liz had previously envisioned Izzy’s room at all.

Seeing Liz, Isabel’s scowl was replaced by a genuine smile. “Hey Liz! How’s it going downstairs with the ‘rents?”

Liz gave her a half assed smile. “Oh it’s going, alright. Your Mom caught us kissing on the front step.”

Isabel’s jaw dropped open. “No way!”

“Yes way.” Pretending nonchalance, Liz looked over at the paper strewn over her desk. “What are you doing up here, anyway?”

Isabel smile dropped immediately. “Ugh, spud math,” she replied with a scowl.

“Spud math?”

“You have to have the mathematical ability of a vegetable to be put into this class.”

Liz smiled at her, putting her hand on her shoulder. “I’m sure you’re not that bad… What are you working on right now?”

Isabel pushed the piece of paper at her with a grunt. “The last question. I’ve been working on it for an hour and I just can’t get it right. I need to find out the area of the wooden edging of the picture frame and it just… hates me.”

Liz looked at all the workings out scribbled all over the page. “Well you’ve got the length of the inside measurements worked out correctly, but what I think you’re doing is confusing yourself too much by dividing the frame into four rectangles and trying to get the area of each bit.”

“There’s an easier way?” asked Isabel, hope shining in her eyes.

“Sure is. You see,” Liz knelt beside Isabel gesturing to the diagram. “If you take the area from inside the picture frame where the picture should go and subtract it from the area of the entire picture frame, you’ll then get the area of the frame.”

Isabel stared at the diagram a smile breaking out over her face. “I get it! Oh thank Christ for that.”

Liz sat back and smiled as Isabel began working afresh on the problem, coming up with the answer in a matter of minutes.

“I can’t believe it was that simple. Our teacher taught us that other method and I just couldn’t get it, but this was so easy!”

Liz smiled at her warmly, enjoying Isabel’s enthusiasm. “Well I’m glad it worked for you.”

Isabel’s smile slipped from her face. “Do you think he’ll get angry because I used a different method?”

“Izzy, there’s no right or wrong method for math, so long as you get the right answer. You just have to find what works for you and what you can understand.”

Isabel nodded, then her eyes widened as a thought flashed through her mind. “Liz… you wouldn’t by any chance want to tutor me, would you?” Seeing Liz’s hesitation, Isabel rushed on, trying to convince her. “It’s just that you make it so easy and it’d only be once a week.”

“I’d love to Izzy,” assured Liz, happy that she could help her friend out. And even happier that she had fixed a problem for Max’s parents. It was obvious that they wanted to help Izzy but didn’t know how.

Isabel stood up, stretched and clapped her hands together, absolutely ecstatic that her nightly torture was now finished. “Great! Yay! Let’s go to dinner!”

As the two girls wandered back down the stairs, three sets of eyes widened in wonder. Liz had only been up there for about five minutes and had already managed to get Isabel down. Usually when faced with a problem she couldn’t do, she’d stay up in her room refusing to do anything till she’d got the correct answer and getting more and more frustrated and angry as the minutes rolled by.

“So, Izzy, get your homework done?” asked Phillip, ignoring the death stares from Max and Diane for bringing it up.

“Yeah, it was easy once Liz helped me,” replied Izzy happily as she shrugged into her jacket.

Phillip’s eyes widened then he beamed at Liz. “Really?”

“Uh huh, and she’s going to tutor me once a week.”

Smiling gratefully at Liz, Diane handed her…her coat. “Well, that’s fantastic news. I’m so pleased for you Izzy.” Glancing down at her watch, she raised her eyebrows at the time. “It’s getting pretty late, we should all go to dinner now.”

Taking Liz’s hand, Max led Liz towards the car following his family.

“Max you’re in the middle.”

Max groaned, shaking his head at Isabel. “No. No way am I sitting in the bitch seat.”

“Yes you are,” replied Isabel just as adamantly.

“Guys, I’ll sit there,” offered Liz, hoping to stop an impending fight.

“No!” yelled both Isabel and Max in unison without even looking at her.

“Liz you’re our guest. You don’t sit in the bitch seat,” explained Isabel as she and Max tried to stare each other down.

“You take it, you’re smaller than I am.”

“No way, that’s always your excuse. It’s your turn.”

Exchanging an eye roll with Max’s parents, Liz clambered into the car and buckled herself into the centre seat and then called out to the still arguing twins, “You getting in?”

“Liz! You don’t have to sit in the bitch seat!” admonished Isabel, “It’s Max’s turn, anyway.”

“I’ll fight him for the bitch seat then. This seat is mine, so get in.”

As both Evans reluctantly climbed in next to her, Liz asked, “Why do you call it the bitch seat anyway?”

“It has no arm rests, it’s squashy and you always get elbowed when people want to put their seatbelts on. Basically you become the bitch of the people either side of you,” explained Max.

Liz flicked her eyes back from one to the other, not sure who she should insult first. “It’s a five minute drive, you mooks!”

“It’s the principal of the thing,” muttered Isabel, feeling slightly ashamed.

As the car fell into silence, Liz shook her head, took a deep breath, sat back in her seat and let out a silent prayer.

Please, don’t let me screw this up.’
***
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 24, Pg 4, 10th of Feb

Post by Rowedog » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:47 pm

Steph- I’m glad to hear you’re feeling a little better, let’s hope that it lasts, huh? Give your immune system a good talking to!
Laira-
does that mean there'll be an update in five minutes?
How’s about you update ESL first before badgering others for rapid updates? Sound like a plan? :lol:
Confusedfool
Raemac-
Yes, Liz’s dinner is going well, not so for poor old Michael.
Twilight- Did I have to leave it there? Yeah, I think I did. I’m glad you like.
Alien_Friend- As usual Novy, you are spot on. Michael and Amy are going to be quite interesting.
Synera-
Where do you think up these lines?
In bed, mostly. It’s where I do almost all of my writing, apart from an occasional armchair stint. :lol: I basically just write whatever pops into my head. If something amuses me during the day then I might work it into my story.
Nibbles2-
apparently you have to have the intelligence of a vegetable to teach the class
Ugh, don’t even get me started on crappy teachers. I was the reason one of my friends passed year twelve maths two years ago so I was kinda basing that on a true story. It’s made me even more determined to be a great teacher one day.
Aussietrueblue
Emz
Eve
Roninbehr
Natalie36
Clue

Part Twenty Five: Men, Huh?
“Mom, this is Michael. Michael, this is my Mother.” Maria held her breath as the first encounter took place. Swallowing heavily, Maria waited in anxious anticipation to see if Michael had remembered his line.

Holding out his hand, Michael shook Amy’s as he repeated Maria’s prefabricated greeting. “Hi Miss DeLuca, it’s very nice to meet you.”

Maria’s body slumped a bit as some of the tension drained out of her body. He hadn’t screwed that up. She had made him practice that greeting so that he wouldn’t just grunt out a ‘hi’ at her Mom and completely ruin his first impression. She had also told him that no matter how rude her mother was to him, not to bite at all.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Michael,” replied Amy, her tone implying that that remained to be seen.

Smiling in a falsely bright manner, Maria gestured to the inside of the house. “Ok! Let’s take this inside, shall we?”

Wincing at the heavy silence that hung over them, Maria led the way into the living room and sat down on one the couch, pulling Michael down beside her as Amy sat opposite in an armchair.

Gazing about at the alien themed décor in the living room, Michael smiled nervously. “You have a very nice home, Miss DeLuca.”

“It would have been nicer if Maria’s ass of a father hadn’t run out on us, leaving us high and dry.”

Coughing slightly, Michael gave a weak smile in response. “Men, huh?”

“You see, I got pregnant at Maria’s age and got married too hastily. I’d hate to see Maria go through something like that. She deserves more from life,” said Amy, her tone thick with unsubtle suggestion causing Maria to groan not so silently in mortification.

“Yes, she does,” replied Michael honestly, his collar growing damp from perspiration.

“Have you ever had sex, Michael?”

Luckily at that point, before Amy could say anything else or Michael could attempt to answer, Sean burst into the living room.

“Michael, my man, how’s it going?” greeted Sean warmly as he slapped him on the shoulder. Michael smiled grimly at him, conveying his distress in a look.

“It’s going ok.”

“Glad to hear it,” replied Sean, trying to hide his amusement, but failing dismally. “I’ll just get some drinks for you all. Iced tea okay with everyone?”

Sean waited till he got to the kitchen before he let himself laugh about Michael’s predicament.

Michael squirmed silently in his seat as he noticed Amy’s piercing gaze resting on him. “Michael, you and Sean seem ‘tight,’ did you attend Juvie together?”

“Mom!” cried Maria her embarrassment doubling by the minute.

“Uh, no ma’am, I’ve never been in trouble with the law.”

Amy’s grim look lessened, letting Michael breathe again.

Maria scowled at her Mother, before snidely interjecting, “But you have, haven’t you Mom? Didn’t you get arrested?”

Amy waved off the accusation flippantly, “Oh, that doesn’t count; I was protesting the removal of Native American artwork. That was living history that needed to be preserved.”

Michael smiled genuinely for the first time that day. “Cool. That’s awesome.”

“Thanks.” Amy let her guard slip for a moment and warmed to Michael’s praise.

The lull in the conversation granted Maria time to turn the attention away from Michael onto a much safer topic. “So Mom, what’s for dinner?”

“Ooh,” Amy’s eyes widened with realisation and she rose from her chair quickly. “Fried chicken, I better go check on it.”

Once Amy had left the room, Michael exhaled noisily and slumped forward, holding his head between his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. Maria edged over to him, closing the distance that had been necessary with her mother in the room and rubbed his back gently. Once her mother was sufficiently engrossed in rescuing her fried chicken from the realms of inediblness, Maria whispered to him reassuringly, “It’s only this time that’ll be this bad. She’ll ease up eventually.”

Michael shot her a disbelieving glance and she shrugged. “It could happen… You don’t know…”

Sighing, Maria rested her head on Michael’s shoulder blade, her hand still running up and down his back and sat in comfortable silence in what looked to be one of their few private moments they would share together with that particular evening.

“Ice tea?”

Maria and Michael jumped apart guiltily at the sound of Sean’s voice but quickly regained their composure once they realised it wasn’t Amy who would have surely torn them a new one if she had caught them engaging in any form of physical contact.

“Shit, Sean! You scared me!” whispered Maria harshly as she held a hand to her thundering heart.

“Really? Hadn’t noticed,” said Sean glibly as he handed them their drinks. Taking a seat beside them, Sean leaned in to whisper conspiratorially to them. “Aunt Amy sent me in here to make sure you weren’t up to anything.”

Maria scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Right. Michael and I were just going to fuck on the couch while she made us fried chicken ten feet away.”

Sean winked at the two of them and his whisper got even softer. “But what she doesn’t know is that I don’t give a shit what you do. You two can go at it on the couch if you want.” Striking his chest with his fist, Sean rebelled. “She’s not the boss of me. I’m my own man. I do what I want-”

“Sean, get in here.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Rising quickly, Sean hurried into the kitchen.

Michael stared hard at Sean’s back then burst into laughter with Maria after a beat. Muffling their own hilarity, they tried to listen to Amy’s interrogation of Sean, but were unfortunately unable to hear it properly because it was whispered.

“Do you think she’ll revert to torture techniques to get him to talk?” asked Michael quietly as they sat about a foot apart from each other on the couch. They had both seemingly decided that for the duration of this visit, that distance was the best policy.

“I wouldn’t put it past her,” Maria muttered back as a shadow fell over the doorway, heralding her mother’s arrival.

Standing in her flour streaked apron with a dripping wooden spoon in her hand, Amy looked an intimidating sight. She stared at the two sitting together with a drawn together brow for a moment before asking, “Everything going on ok in here?”

Repressing the urge to sigh in resignation Maria replied as brightly as she could, “Yeah Mom, we’re great. How’s dinner?”

“It’s fine.”

Amy stared at the two of them suspiciously for a moment more before turning on her heel and marching back into the kitchen.

“Psychological help,” muttered Maria with a shake of her head. “She needs it.”

“Just so long as my life and genitals remain intact after this interrogation is over, she’s fine by me,” stated Michael grimly as he took a sip of his ice tea. Pausing for a moment, Michael considered something. “Why has she got flour on her apron? And why was her spoon dripping?”

“She makes pies for the Crashdown. It’s an unescapable fact that there will always be flour spread all over our kitchen. And I have no idea why she’s got that spoon. The chicken was in the oven last time I checked. Maybe she’s making another pie while we wait,” Maria conjectured.

“What? And risk having me take your innocence on the couch? I don’t think she’d be bothering with a pie at such a critical time,” pointed out Michael.

Maria pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Maybe she’s making you up an arsenic cake.”

“We can only hope.” At Maria’s strange look, Michael explained himself further. “It seems less painful than the other ways I imagined she’d have me killed.”

“I’ll speak at your funeral.”

Michael smiled and asked dramatically, “Will you tell the world of my unimaginable bravery in meeting your mother?”

“Hey, I’ll even write a song about it.”

Michael laughed, while Maria excused herself to go the bathroom to message Liz. When she came back both she and Michael failed to notice the edge of Amy’s nose poking from around the corner of the doorway.

Taking Michael’s hand in hers, Maria looked at him gratefully. “Thank you.” Michael’s questioning glance prompted a further explanation. “For meeting my mother. For not just walking away and deciding I’m not worth. For not pissing your pants and fleeing in terror once you realised that I shared my genes with a criminal and a possibly murderous psychopath.”

Stroking the back of her hand with his thumb, Michael smiled gently at her. “Hey, as bad as this will be for your ego, you are worth it. And as for the genes thing, I’m sure there’s some kind of therapy for that.”

Touched by his words, Maria reached out a hand and stroked his long hair as he continued, looking down at his hands in quasi-embarrassment. “And despite what your mother thinks, I’m not just in this for the booty. I happen to care a lot about you. You’re one of the few people who see me as more than just a bad boy football jock from the other side of the tracks. So if you happen to come with a price, then it’s one I’m willing to pay.”

Trying hard not to let the welled tears in her eyes spill over, Maria swallowed before asking tremulously, “Even if it means you might have to eat arsenic cake?”

Glad for the lift in the mood, Michael laughed and kissed the side of her head. “Hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

Unbeknownst to either Michael or Maria, Amy retreated from the hallway where she had been spying and re-entered the kitchen, her perception of Michael remarkably changed. While she still didn’t want to trust him with her daughter, she was dreadfully afraid she was beginning to. Banging her head on the kitchen counter, Amy wished that he had been a trailer trash hoodlum out to impregnate her daughter and ruin her life, because then it would have given her quite a good reason to hate him. But she’d seen the sincerity in his eyes and heard the truthfulness in his words. Groaning, Amy silently questioned a higher power why it was that Maria couldn’t have met this boy after college. She would have been fine with Maria dating guys after college. Sucking in a deep breath, Amy reasoned with herself, if Maria wasn’t with Michael there would have been another and at least with this one she could be almost certain that he wasn’t a dirty creep.

Although, she was going to have a long talk to Maria about the difference between psychotic and protective.

Resolutely, Amy called out to them that dinner was ready and decided that she was going to tone down some. Not a lot, but she was more willing to give Michael the benefit of the doubt now. But if he should ever do anything to break this tentative trust she had just given him, she would have no hesitation in going for his balls.
***
Maria sat looking at her mother in suspicion as she ate. Apart from her opening question about Michael’s intentions towards her, Amy had been quite reserved and polite. Maria wondered what her game was. Maria had actually been very impressed with Michael thus far into the meal, he had actually complimented her Mother on her cooking and his table manners seemed to be passable despite living with Hank for years. She suspected that the Evans’ were to thank for that.

Luckily the table had fallen into silence as they ate, the clink of knives and forks on plates being the only noise heard in the kitchen.

“Hey, Michael,” said Sean suggestively as the table all glanced up to look at him, his eyes dancing with wicked delight. “Maybe after dinner, Maria’ll cut you off a slice of the famous DeLuca pie.”

The silence that fell over the table after that statement was deafening. Michael wondered if homicide was excusable in cases such as these. With that one statement, Michael had probably, through no fault of his own, lost any ground he may have made with Maria’s mother tonight. If Michael had done something himself he’d have been able to bear it better. He now knew why Maria hated Sean with such a passion.

The silence was only broken when Amy raised her hand and slapped Sean upside the head and muttered, “Stupid child.”

Maria stared at her Mother momentarily with her mouth open in shock, before closing it to smile warmly at her. She actually seemed to be making an effort to somewhat like Michael.

Miracles never ceased.
***
Fortunately for both Maria and Michael, the night did end and Amy had graciously allowed Maria to walk Michael to his motorbike.

“Well, that went swimmingly,” stated Michael sarcastically once they were out of earshot.

Maria shrugged, overall quite pleased with how the night went. “It could have been worse.”

“How so?”

“You could have broken out into some interpretive dance.”

Maria smiled as Michael laughed, his face lighting up, it was a large change from looking haggard and nervous most of the night.

“What?” asked Michael as he noticed Maria staring at him.

“I’m just… proud of you. Of how you handled that. You were great.”

Michael stared at her incredulously. “I was sweating fucking bullets, Maria.”

“I know, that’s what makes it so impressive.” Maria turned to him as she reached his bike and took his hands in hers. “Nervous people screw up. You were awesome.”

“I try.” Glancing around, Michael’s face screwed up as he debated the wisdom of giving Maria a goodnight kiss. He’d been dying to all night but he wasn’t sure if he should risk losing all ground he’d gained with Amy. “Do you think your Mom’s watching?”

“No doubt, but I think a hug would be acceptable.”

Michael shrugged and took her into his arms, almost content with any bodily contact he could get. Almost. Taking one last deep breath and inhaling her floral scent he squeezed her tightly before releasing her and placing his helmet on.

Maria watched as his motorbike roared off down the street then turned to face her mother inside.

Entering the kitchen, Amy and Maria stared at each other for a moment, before Maria cocked a half smile. “Thanks Mom.”

Scowling at her own soft nature, Amy narrowed her eyes. “If he screws up, I’m having his balls.”
***
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) A/N 18th April

Post by Rowedog » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:37 pm

I’m back in the saddle again… Okay, I’m going to come clean and tell you that Phillip in this part is based on my dad. And Max’s line of “That’s great Dad, give them a good peering at. That’ll teach them.” Was actually one of my better moments in the car when some guy cut Dad off and he sped up next to them and gave them a ‘WTF?’ look. My brother and I do slide down in our seats when dad tries to drag off young hoons or try to see who’s driving in the car next to him. And that story in the restaurant? Adapted from one of my father’s favourite stories.

Laira- Oh you… here’s your part
Steph
Synera
Aussietrueblue
Novy
Eve
Natalie36
Nibbles2
Elci
Raemac
Tessa1982
Twilight
Michelle In Yonkers-
Hey there, you! You know, I’ve never really experienced any shit from my parents that I can comment on. I’m sure that if my dad had found a guy in my bed before the age of 18 he’d have freaked out just a bit, but really he’d get over it in time and he wouldn’t have thought any less of me. My mum would have been totally cool, but luckily I never had to worry about that because that situation never occurred. A couple of months back I asked my dad what he would do if I brought home a 47 year old chain-smoking biker covered in tattoos. He said he’d need to go have a lie down, but apart from that he said it was my life and I could see whoever I want. But we’re pretty close knit as a family and mum’s a psychologist so she understands that we have to grow up. And that was an insanely long response.
Part Twenty Six: You’re Not So Hot
Liz frowned as her cell phone buzzed in her pocket, was it rude to look at a text message whilst you were out to dinner with people? Or did that only apply to answering a phone call? Deciding that it was better to be safe than sorry, Liz ignored the offending message.

“Who is it?” enquired Max from beside her as they all sat waiting for their meals to arrive.

Shrugging Liz dug into her pocket and pulled it out discretely and read it under the table. Opening the text message, Liz had to cover her mouth to keep the shocked laughter from escaping. “It’s from Maria.”

Isabel’s eyes lit up with wicked delight and she leant across the table trying to see what Maria had written. “Oh wow, she’s in the midst of dinner with her Mom and Michael. What’s going on? What does her message say?”

Liz glanced down at the message.

Kill me. Just fucking kill me. She asked if he was a virgin. I share genes with that fucking maniac.

“Ugh, nothing I can say in company,” replied Liz, flipping the screen of her phone down as she blushed profusely.

“Hand it over.” Placing her phone in Isabel’s outstretched hand, Liz waited for the loud laughter that was sure to come. Liz wasn’t disappointed.

“Oh, man! That’s priceless! What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall at that dinner,” chuckled Izzy as she passed the phone over to Max who took a sip of his cherry coke as he read it and nearly choked.

“What’s this?” asked Diane as the children discussed something that went way over her head.

“Michael’s gone to meet his girlfriend’s mother and she happens to be a bit overprotective,” explained Izzy, as both Max and Liz exchanged glances at the understatement. Amy DeLuca was well beyond ‘a bit overprotective,’ she was in a league of her own.

Liz retrieved her phone and slid it back into her pocket. “So Maria, Michael’s girlfriend, just sent me a message telling me about it.”

“Oh, are you and Michael’s girlfriend friends?” queried Diane with a smile.

“She’s my best friend. Well, she and Alex kinda share that title.”

“Alex? As in Alex Whitman?” interjected Phillip, looking from Isabel to Liz who both nodded.

“So…” Phillip pointed to Max and Liz from across the table. “Your best friends are dating each other.” At Liz and Max’s nod, Phillip turned to Isabel and then back to Liz. “And your other best friend is dating your boyfriend’s sister. Is that correct?”

Liz shrugged. “That pretty much sums it up. Yeah.”

“Ok. A little bit twisted, but ok.”

Max nodded enthusiastically. “It’s easier this way dad, honestly. None of us have to really worry about our significant other’s friends disliking us.”

“Except for me,” interjected Izzy. At Liz’s affronted look, Isabel was forced to explain herself. “Alex and I really began the whole group’s incestuousness and I think I can say with pretty much certainty that Maria was not too pleased with him dating me in the beginning.”

Liz inclined her head, agreeing with Isabel’s point. “Yeah, but Maria’s really protective and doesn’t like change.”

“What is Alex doing tonight?” queried Diane.

Max snorted. “Probably crying into his pillow because his friends and his girlfriend are all out doing things without him.”

Liz rolled her eyes. “He actually has the interview with the man from the MIT scholarship board tonight.”

“On a Friday night?” asked Max incredulously.

“Apparently that’s the only time the guy could see him, so let’s hope things go ok for him.”

“Alex has an interview with MIT?” asked Phillip, obviously impressed.

“I didn’t tell you? He’s been so excited and nervous all week that he’s been more insane than usual,” groaned Isabel her voice a strange mix of affection, pride and long-suffering.

“Did you hear Michael’s advice to him?” asked Max with choked laughter as he reminisced.

“No, what’d he say?” asked Isabel with curiosity as Max shook with repressed laughter.

“He said that if the interview went south, that he should follow suit and give the guy a BJ.”

Liz sunk her head into her hands and fought between laughing and crying with revulsion while Max roared with laughter and Isabel gagged.

Diane and Phillip exchanged confused glances. “What’s a BJ?”

All movement from the three teenagers stilled as they looked from the elder Evans’ to each other.

Max cleared his throat breaking the uncomfortable silence that surrounded them. “And on that note… let’s change the subject.”
***
Liz pushed her plate away from her in contentment as she finished her lasagne and sat back to watch what Phillip would do next. Having nothing on the next day, Phillip felt that he could afford to over-indulge a little bit on the champagne, and as such had become somewhat of an embarrassment to both his kids and a source of great hilarity for Liz.

“Hey Liz, did I ever tell you about the time we won that big case over the use of the mental health clinic just on the outskirts of town?”

Liz bit her lip to keep from smiling as she tried to work out just how Philip thought it was possible that he could have informed her of this case on a previous occasion when she’d only met him about an hour and a half ago. “No you haven’t, Phillip.”

“Oh, it’s a ripsnorter of a story, basically what happened was-”

As Liz tried to contain her laughter over the term, ripsnorter, Max broke into his father’s tale and began telling it for him.

“After the case, they tried to defame us through slander so we sent them a scathing letter.” Isabel joined in at this point and the twins spoke in unison, confirming Liz’s suspicion that this was a story that they had heard many times before. “Telling them that their actions were illegal and that they would face further charges if a public apology was not made and the next day they sent a letter back full of apology and printed it in the newspaper!”

Phillip scowled at his two children who rolled their eyes back at him. “We’ve heard the story dad.”

“About a bazillion times,” added Isabel.

Phillip smiled goofily at his daughter. “Bazillion isn’t a real number. And besides, Liz hadn’t heard the story, and she loved it! Didn’t you Liz?”

Liz nodded her head gravely at the slightly tipsy, but endearing Phillip. “Oh, yes. I was riveted.”

Both Max and Isabel snorted behind their hands and exchanged looks, while Diane sighed and tried to confiscate the car keys from Phillip’s pocket. “Looks like I’m driving.”

“Hey!” remonstrated Phillip, with an evil twinkle in his eye. “Get your hand out of there, you scandalous wench! We’re in a public place!”

As the sober occupants of the table laughed, Diane finally managed to wrest the keys from his pocket, placing them quickly in her own purse. “Now that Phillip has had more than enough to drink, I think it’s time we headed home.” Diane signalled to a nearby waiter. “Check please?”

Leaving the restaurant, Phillip spent his time annoying his children by walking behind them and stepping on the back of their shoes or tapping them on the shoulder. Finding them not easy targets to annoy, Phillip turned his attention to his wife.

“Hey Di, watch out for the tree!” cried Phillip, grabbing his wife by the shoulders and pulling her sideways until she came face to face with a large pine planted in the meridian strip. Laughing gleefully as Di rolled her eyes; Phillip shouted, “Shotgun!” and ran to the car.

As they drove home, Phillip pointed at a large group of adolescent boys standing on the sidewalk. “Hey Di, let’s pick up those guys, they look like they could be fun.”

“Yeah sure. But instead I’ll just drop you off and you can hang with them.”

“Ok, just turn around. You know I always wanted to- Why are we going so slow?” Liz blinked as Phillip cut himself off mid sentence. “Who’s driving so slowly in front of us?”

“Dad can’t stand slow drivers,” whispered Max, informing Liz of why Phillip suddenly seemed so annoyed.

“Settle Phillip, I’m over taking them.”

Planting the foot, Diane drew level with the car only to have Phillip’s hand waving in her face as he pressed his face against the glass and stared through the window. “Slow down Di, I want to get a good look at who’s in the car.”

“Phillip! Don’t be ridiculous!”

Both Isabel and Max had by this time slid down in their seats, hiding themselves from view of anyone.

“That’s great Dad, give them a good peering at. That’ll teach them for driving slow,” exclaimed Max sarcastically.

“That’s right Max. Well done. Ugh, I knew it,” cried Phillip, his voice conveying his disgust. “An old guy is driving. Get back in your grave!” Phillip shook his fist as the quickly retreating car with fake irritation.

Diane pulled up at the next set of lights, praying that their ride home would be merciful and short. She wasn’t sure what Phillip would do or say next. Unluckily for her, a car full of teenage boys pulled up next to them in a shiny mustang.

“Ooh! Di, you have to race them! Race them! Drag them off! We can take them!”

“Phillip, if I thought you were serious, I’d be seriously worried right now.”

“I am serious!” Before Diane could react, Phillip leant over and slapped the horn, getting the attention of the boys in the car next to them. Leaning over his wife, Phillip gave them a vigorous double thumbs up, setting the kids in the car next to them cheering and hollering.

Isabel and Max slid further down into their seats as Liz laughed hysterically in the backseat.

“Yeah! Go old dude!” whooped one of the boys, setting Phillip back into his seat with a frown.

“Old dude! Since when am I an old dude?”

Diane rolled her eyes and thanked the heavens when the green light came and the teenagers roared off with a cheer. “Phillip, you have grey hair.”

“Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the chimney,” stated Phillip with a salacious wink to his wife.

“That,” said Isabel, disgust pouring off her in waves. “Is the most disgusting thing I think I’ve ever heard.”

“I’m going to be sick. Dad, you do realise that we have a guest right?” Max gestured to Liz, but Phillip largely ignored him. He was too busy laughing at the sight of a chihuahua taking a dump in someone’s front yard.

“Go son! Push!” he yelled encouragingly as all of the residents of the car laughed. Some laughs were in pure amusement and others in saddened resignation that they shared genes with him.
***
Liz collapsed onto her bed and sighed with relief. The night had been a success. At least in her limited experience, she believed the night to be a success. She groaned again as she remembered that the experience would be repeated in a week’s time with her own parents. But it would be slightly better at least, because she would be in her comfort zone this time.

Liz nearly jumped out of her skin when the phone on her bedside table started to ring. “Hello?”

“Hey Liz, did you want to meet up at the crash tomorrow and swap war stories?” asks Maria, completely skipping the preliminaries.

“Ok, you didn’t want to talk about it now?”

“No. I want to go to bed, have a nice sleep and repress it as much as I can and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to talk about it.”

“That bad huh?”

“It was better than I expected. But still therapy inducing. Enough about me, I have the rest of my life to relive that terror, how was yours?”

“Not as bad. I managed to win them over by helping Isabel with her math homework, so that was cool. Except when we got back we were sitting there watching a movie and I was cuddled into Max and Diane got teary about her baby boy being all grown up. And Phillip got hammered at dinner.”

“Seriously?” Maria sounded gobsmacked.

“I’m telling the truth. It was the funniest thing I have ever been privy to. He’s hilarious!”

Maria laughed loudly, relieving some of the tension she was still holding on to from the previous hours. “Oh dear… I have to hear all about it. We’ll talk tomorrow, ok?”

“Sure, see ya Maria.”

“Bye bye babe.”

Liz placed the phone in the cradle and let herself drift off to sleep. Despite herself, she’d actually managed to have fun, something she hadn’t even considered before that. Diane was a sweet woman and Phillip was hilarious, she had found herself laughing openly and joining in on group discussions, something that she had only really done with her friends and never in a public setting. Proud of her own progress, Liz decided that she had been terrified for nothing and fell asleep with a smile on her face.
***
Maria sank into the Crashdown booth and let out a sigh of relief, it was an odd occasion that she would turn up to her place of work without needing to work. It was nice to sit back and relax and not have to wait tables for once. And it was even nicer that Liz wasn’t waiting tables either and would soon join her.

“Hey there, you.” Liz slid into the seat opposite her and prepared herself for Maria’s horror of a tale. “How’d it go?”

Maria exhaled loudly and shook her head. “I just…” Maria faltered, trying to find the right words to portray how horrific the night actually was. “It’s times like these that I’m glad that Michael doesn’t have any parents that I have to meet. Because knowing us, they’d be psychotic too.”

“You could always meet Hank,” volunteered Michael as he joined them at the table. Sliding in next to Maria, he wasted no time in kissing her soundly again and again, until Maria was forced to ask, “Not that I’m complaining, but what’s with the kissing?”

Michael smiled at her. “The way I figure it, I get a kiss for each minute I had to spend at your house. So come on, let’s get cracking, you’ve still got three hundred and fifty five to go.”

Doing some quick mental arithmetic, Maria frowned at him. “You did not spend six hours at my house.”

“Felt like it,” muttered Michael, drawing a laugh from Liz, who trailed off when she spotted Max, Isabel and Alex coming through the doors.

“Hey,” breathed Max as he bent down to give his girlfriend a proper greeting. Taking Max’s cheeks between her hands, Liz returned the greeting enthusiastically. That is until Alex interrupted them by slamming the salt shaker on the table.

Grinning unrepentedly at them, Alex slid in next to them as Isabel slid across from him next to Michael and Maria.

“So, who wants to hear how the interview went?” asked Alex, grinning from ear to ear.

Michael glanced over at Alex and noticed the 10,000 watt smile he was sporting. “Seeing as you’re smiling like Isabel’s got her hand stuck down your pants, I’m assuming that the interview went well? Or that it went badly and you took my advice and got the scholarship anyway.”

“Thankfully for me, the interview went really well and should I choose to apply to MIT after graduation, I can be assured of a place and a ten thousand dollar a year scholarship.”

“Oh my god! Alex!” Both Maria and Liz squealed and attempted to hug him from their respective positions, which didn’t work too well, but amused onlookers. Michael and Max applauded him as he took a bow and Isabel watched with shining eyes, so proud of her boyfriend.

Once they’d all settled down, Michael ventured something that was on his mind. “You know, it was probably lucky as well for the MIT scholarship guy that you didn’t give him a blow job.”

Alex looked mildly insulted. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Michael shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m just saying, Whitman, I don’t think it would have been too pleasurable for him.”

Alex’s jaw dropped at the affront. “I’ll have you know that if I had given him a blow job it would have been the most intensely pleasurable moment in his life.”

Hiding his smirk, Michael replied as seriously as he could. “I’ve had a blow job from you Whitman, you’re not so hot.”

As they all laughed, Alex tried to reign in his amusement and appear indignated and righteous. “Excuse you! I’m the best blow job giver-er in the tri-state area!”

The enormously stupid argument raged on until both Maria and Isabel put a stop to it, their amusement giving way to real concern as Michael and Alex began to get more and more fired up and more and more convincing in their act.

As the six friends regaled each other with stories from the previous night, there were shrieks, groans and outbursts of hysterical laughter. Unbeknownst to them, a man sat in the booth, watching one of them intently with interest. “That’s her,” he muttered to himself. “That’s her.”
***
Last edited by Rowedog on Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 26, 30th April

Post by Rowedog » Thu May 29, 2008 12:41 pm

Just a short one to ease your fears and let you know that I’m still alive. School’s intense right now, but hopefully I’ll be more regular soon. I should eat more fibre…
I’m up procrastinating on doing an essay and chatting to people on Skype, so I thought that seeing as Steph sent it back, I may as well post it for you, that way once I’m done I’ll actually hopefully get to work and do this freaking essay. Time to pull an all nighter. Sigh…

Laira
Lockheart
Novy-
I’m back, here to rock your world once more! Oh, just ignore me, I'm tired and silly.
Eve
Emz80m
Nibbles2
Keepsmiling7
Natalie36
Chanks_girl
Tequathisy
Carolina_Moon
Twilight
Raemac-
I’m told my evil side is my best side.
RoninBehr
Steph


Part Twenty Seven: I'm Gonna Hold You, Touch You, Make You My Woman


Liz Parker was having a bad day. Scratch that, she was having an absolutely awful day. Everything that could go wrong, did. Everything that she thought would go wrong went even worse than she had expected. And she was having her period.

“Ugh,” she grunted, throwing herself into her boyfriend’s arm at the first opportunity. “You wanna run away to the Rio with me?” she mumbled into his chest, loving the vibrations that rumbled against her face as he laughed.

“Sure, let’s just stop off at Vegas first and get hitched,” he replied, stroking her hair as she tried to wriggle into him even more, not ever wanting to leave the safety of his arms.

“Who’s getting hitched?” asked Maria looking around wildly, hoping for some good gossip.

“Me and Liz. Then we’re running away to Rio,” explained Max seriously.

“Shouldn’t you have sex first? I mean, what if Max is really crap, Liz? I am certainly installing a try before you buy system in all my relationships. I wouldn’t want to rely on my trusty vibrator my entire life just to mmhphm-” Maria came to an abrupt halt as Alex’s hand clapped over her mouth.

“The comedy stylings of Maria DeLuca, ladies and gents.” Releasing Maria’s face from his grasp he shot her a warning look. “What have I told you about using your inside voice when discussing something vulgar, Maria? Hmm? People down the hall were staring at you.”

“Fine, don’t listen to my sage wisdom. At least let me be the maid of honour, then,” huffed Maria glaring at the people who were still staring at her from all the way down the hall of the school.

“Deal.”

“Can I be your bridesmaid, Liz?” asked Alex with fake enthusiasm. “I hear bridesmaids get tonnes of guys! I’ll have to get my legs waxed and my eyebrows plucked! You need to give me at least three weeks notice because I’ll need a fake tan and to go on a diet to look totally fetch in my dress!” Alex clapped his hands together, letting out a squeal of fake delight.

“We are so eloping,” muttered Liz, her crappy mood already ebbing thanks to the stupidity of her friends. “Max, can you give me a lift home today? My car decided to die on me and it’ll buy you points with my parents for tonight.”

“Ah yes, the dinner with the parentals. Fun, fun.” Max muttered as Michael and Isabel rocked up.

“Good luck with that, Maxwell.” Michael punctuated his remark with a sharp slap on the back.

“Thanks, I’ll console myself with the fact that it can’t go any worse than yours did.”

Maria laughed, deep and throaty as Michael looped his arms around her waist and pulled her into a hug. “You know what the funny thing about that is? That dinner went way better than I ever dreamed possible.”

Michael shuddered. “I’d hate to see what you previously thought might happen.”

“It ended up with a trip to the hospital with you missing vital body parts.”

“And on that note,” cried Isabel, changing the subject, a little bit grossed out by the visual picture she had just seen in her mind. “Who wants lunch?”

They all began heading off to the cafeteria in their respective pairs, not noticing the looks that were thrown their way. They were an odd group, there was no denying, but they all just seemed to fit together.

Finding a spare table the six sat down together, laughing as Maria related a story from her childhood about her and Alex.

“Well, Mom walked in and Alex and I were singing that horrible Whitney Houston duet, except I had wanted to sing the man parts of that song so I’d drawn a moustache on myself in permanent marker and had forced Alex to wear one of my Mom’s skirts as a strapless dress and had put gaudy red lipstick on him and any other make up I could find.”

“The things I do for you, DeLuca,” sighed Alex.

“Wait, what song is that one?” asked Max, who hadn’t been exposed to much of Whitney Houston’s earlier work.

“I’m gonna hold you, touch you, make you my woman,” Alex crooned, stroking Max’s arm.

“You know, I’d imagine that song’d be pretty popular in prison,” mused Michael, biting back his amusement at Max’s absolutely stricken face.

“Alex, let’s make a deal. You never touch me like that or sing that song to me ever again and I let you live, okay?”

“Deal,” agrees Alex, looking pretty satisfied with the reaction he got.

“And that line is the one I was singing when my Mom walked in. She nearly died laughing. And to this day she cannot listen to that song without bursting into hysterics. One time it came on in the car and Mom nearly crashed into a tree. She actually had to pull over. I think we’ve still got a photo of us dressed up, Alex.”

“I would kill for that photo!” exclaimed Liz, holding her stomach which hurt from laughing.

“I’d kill you before you got to it,” remarked Alex shooting them all dirty looks as they laughed at him. So what, he had been gullible in his young age and Maria had been very persuasive for an eight year old. Plus, he totally looked hot as a chick; no one could have faulted him there.
***
“I’ll get it!” Called Liz as she ran down the stairs to the front door to let Max in.

“Hey,” she breathed, greeting him warmly with a kiss that he abruptly pulled away from, not certain that her parents weren’t secretly hiding somewhere watching him maul their daughter.

“Liz, where are your parents?” he asked, not noticing the confused, hurt expression on her face.

“Oh they’re upstairs in the kitchen,” she explained, still a little hurt and confused as to why he had retreated from her advances.

“Great.” Max wordlessly pulled her back into a deep kiss that had her head spinning. Easing back, Max brushed her hair tenderly behind her ears and kissed her forehead. “That’s going to have to last me all night,” he explained breathlessly as Liz tried to get her mind to work.

“Lizzy? Is Max here yet?” asked Jeff, knocking Liz’s brain back into functioning mode.

“Uh, yeah dad, we’re coming.”

Taking Max’s hand in hers, Liz led Max up the stairs and into their small apartment atop the Crashdown. ‘Here goes nothing’ he thought as he crossed the threshold into unknown territory.
***
Maria entered the tiny house she shared with her mother, and recently Sean, humming to herself and swinging her purse by its straps. Maria was reflecting on how her life was at that point in time. While it clearly was not perfect, she was pretty contented with it. She had a hot, committed boyfriend, two best friends and some new friends that she was beginning to love as well. And the meeting between her mother and Michael had gone as well as could be expected. Yep, thought Maria, life was pretty great.

And at that point, she collided with a man who was seemingly in a hurry to leave her house.

“Whoa,” said Maria as she strove to keep her balance. Glancing up at him, she couldn’t help but feel that he looked familiar.

“Sorry,” he muttered before rushing past her, leaving Maria staring at his retreating back in his wake.

“Mom?” she called out, searching the house, an uneasy feeling settling in her gut due to the stifling silence in her house. If Amy was anywhere near the house, you could always tell. She loved to talk and sing to herself and had this inability to do anything quietly, even reading a book silently was a challenge for her.

Maria let out a sigh of relief when she found her mother sitting in the living room, but her breath seized in her throat when she caught sight of the tear tracks glistening down her mother’s cheeks.

“Mom?!” Rushing over to her, Maria knelt next to where she sat on the couch and grabbed her hands. “What’s wrong? Who was that guy? What happened? Why are you crying?”

Amy turned and looked at her, her red eyes a stark contrast to the paleness of her face and viewed her quizzically. “You don’t know who he was?”

“He seemed vaguely familiar… Mom? Who-?”

“Maria.” Amy reached and stroked her daughter’s face tracing her cheek with her thumb, a tear tumbling down her cheek as she looked at those familiar features. “That was your father.”
***
Maria stumbled back from her mother, her hand clutching at her heart as her breath raced and her head felt light. She had to have heard her wrong. “What?”

“Your father, Maria. He’s here.”

“No.” Maria tried desperately not to sway on her feet. “He can’t be here. He left!”

Amy rose from her seat when she saw how badly Maria was taking it and tried to usher her daughter to the couch. “Sweetie, maybe you should sit down, we’ve both had a bit of a shock.”

“No! I will not sit down!” Maria’s breathing deteriorated rapidly as she swung away from her mother’s attempt to lead her to the couch. “What’s he doing here?”

Amy cleared her throat, her own pain magnified by the pain slashed across her child’s face. “He said he wants to be a part of your life sweetie.”

Maria choked on a sob, her heart clutching painfully in her chest with a mixture of raw hurt fresh from the last time he left and a small amount of hope that maybe he would stay around this time. And no matter how many times she tried to squash that small amount of hope, there it stayed.

“It’s a bit late for that, don’t you think?” Maria’s voice was thick with tears and it killed Amy to hear it.

“Sweetheart, he wants to talk to you.” Amy backtracked when Maria’s face blanched. “I told him I’d ask you. It’s your choice sweetheart. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Whatever you want to do, I’m with you, one hundred percent.”

“I can’t deal with this right now,” Maria whispered before turning and walking steadily towards the kitchen.

“Maria…” pleaded Amy, trying to draw her back. She knew that Maria would take Amos’ return the hardest. She herself had gotten over his departure long before. They had never really been in love, more in lust, but when she had fallen pregnant, marriage had seemed the only decent thing to do, even if she had mostly fallen out of her infatuation with him at the time. By the time Amos had walked out, she had been more than ready to see his back walking out the door. Sure she had bitched and griped and even shed a tear, but she knew deep down that they did not belong together. She was more upset about the financial state they had left them in. Amos had taken to drinking and gambling and by the time he had left, their family had almost been destitute.

Maria however, could not console herself with these facts at seven years old. Barely able to even contemplate life without either of her parents, it had made no sense to her when her mother had told her that her father was not coming back. He had to be coming back. He was her father. Her mother must have just misunderstood. So little Maria DeLuca sat on the porch step the entire night with a flashlight waiting for her father to return. She wouldn’t be moved by her mother’s tearful pleas to come inside and would scream and throw a fit if she attempted to remove her. So Amy DeLuca sat on the porch with her until Maria’s seven year old body couldn’t stand to be awake any longer and fell asleep against her mother half an hour before the sunrise. During that long night, Amy DeLuca’s heart had broken a little more as she saw the determined belief dwindle slowly down in Maria’s eyes.

When it had become clear that her father would not be returning, Maria began to question why. And at the age when everything is so ego centric, Maria had taken all the blame upon herself. He wouldn’t come back because she was a bad girl who wouldn’t tidy her room. She was the reason and nothing her mother could say could convince her otherwise.

Therefore it was no wonder to Amy that Maria was not taking his return as well as she would like. Maria’s wounds ran deep and it seemed that right now, they were as painful as they were nine years prior.

Maria blinked, sincerely hating herself for that small amount of naïve hope that dwindled within her. She also hated him for having the power to make her feel this way, so out of control and raw. She needed to get out of the house, she felt like she couldn’t breathe.

She had to leave. And there was only one place she could think to go.
***
Michael groaned and got up reluctantly from the couch looking over his shoulder at the TV as he travelled to the door which was almost being knocked off its already damaged hinges by whoever the eager person was behind it.

“I’m coming,” he called out, adding softly under his breath. “So let up already, would you?”

Swinging open the door, Michael’s facial expression quickly changed from one of annoyance to one of concern as he came face to face with Maria. With tears falling unheeded down her face, her body shivering and her eyes red, Maria looked far from ok. And one thing that Michael hated most in the world was Maria not being ok.

“Jesus,” exclaimed Michael, grabbing her elbow and towing her into his apartment away from the chilly desert air. “Maria, what happened?”

With a million scenarios running through his mind, Maria’s inability to communicate her words without the garble that her repressed tears reduced them to was slowly driving him insane. He needed to know what was wrong so he could fix it and pound the person who had hurt her into a million pieces.

Trying desperately not to howl in misery, Maria’s bottom lip wobbled of its own accord, until she wasn’t even sure she could even attempt to speak without bursting into hysterics.

Michael’s heart tightened painfully in his chest at her attempts not to cry and took her into his arms. Pressing her against his chest, he kissed the top of her head and whispered into her ear, “It’s ok, Maria. You don’t have to be brave around me.”

As if his words were what she had been waiting for, Maria buried her head into the curve of Michael’s neck and let loose all that she had been carrying around inside for years. Michael held her tightly as she shook from the force of her pain, he held her tightly because it felt like she might break into a thousand pieces if he didn’t hold her together.

Her knees went weak and she sank into him, barely able to hold herself up. She had blocked him from her heart, his return shouldn’t have the ability to shake her this much, but the immediate pain was easing along with the shock as Michael held her. As he came through for her like no other person would have been able to. She was so grateful to him. So very thankful to have him in her life.
***
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) A/N 20th July

Post by Rowedog » Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:25 pm

Hey ho! How about that? I actually updated! Someone give the girl a prize.
Thank you to all the bumpers, feedbackers and lurkers alike, just knowing that you like my fic helps to keep the creative juices flowing, and this part was especially difficult to write. For a long time it just wouldn’t flow for me. It has a lot of candy in it, but there’s still some dreamer mixed up in there. And while the majority of it isn’t as light hearted as usual, there’s still (hopefully) some funny bits in there.

Laira
Tequathisy
Alien_Friend-
Thanks for the bump!
Keepsmiling7
Natalie36
Steph
Roswell4life
Eve-
I’m the type of person who doesn’t learn from her mistakes, so yeah, I probably will do it again.
Nibbles2- I couldn’t agree more. Alex desperately needs some more testosterone fuelled conversations. :lol: I’m looking to fix that, maybe in the next part. Thanks for the feedback.
Kay_b- Glad to have you here! You know, this fic is a guilty pleasure for me, because I dig fics where all of them are rock solid friends, so I’m glad you’re enjoying it too.
Lockheart
Emz
Carolina_Moon-
Alex did make a fantastic Whitney. At least in my mind he did...
Synera
Katydid
Ju-
I dunno, might have something to do with the massive hangover I got. But hey, I didn’t throw up, so I count my blessings.
MIY- I have a confession to make. I write scenes that make me laugh. Not just little chuckles, but big belly laughs and that BJ conversation was one of them. But then again, I’m told my sense of humour is a touch warped...
Ashleyt- Coming from a hardcore candy fan, it is a real compliment that you a) like my candy scenes and b) enjoy the not-so-candy scenes. Thank you for taking a chance on a dreamer fic. :D

Part Twenty Eight: What Do You Mean 'Apparently'?
Liz cleared her throat to break the stifling silence that seemed to be suffocating all four of the people seated at the dinner table. There was nothing Liz hated more than an awkward silence. The entire dinner had been so stilted and Liz could hardly think under the pressure to come up with a topic of discussion.

“So, Liz,” began her dad, nearly making everyone jump at the sudden noise at the unusually quiet table.

“Yeah Dad?”

“Anything happen at school today?”

“Well, no... not really,” replied Liz, feeling like a failure at having nothing interesting to bring up for conversation. “No! Wait! Something funny happened in remedial science!”

“You don’t take remedial science, Liz.”

Liz rolled her eyes at her mother. “I know that, Maria told me about it. Apparently Rob Miller asked ‘if blood doesn’t have eyes, how does it know where to go?’.”

Liz relished the sound of laughter filling the room. This was entirely more like it.

“Oh God...” groaned Max. “He’s on my football team and I can’t even begin to tell you about all the bizarre things he does.”

“Such as...” prompted Liz, eager to continue the conversation.

“Such as...” Max paused to think of a suitable example. “Smelling his own socks after a hard workout. I’m not talking a quick sniff to see how ripe they are, we’re talking full on sticking his face in the sock and breathing it in.”

“God, no wonder he’s so stupid, his own putrid fumes have killed his brain cells,” laughed Jeff as both Nancy and Liz screwed their faces up in disgust.

“Why would anyone do that?” asked Nancy, entirely unable to imagine wanting to sniff sweaty socks.

“He says that we lose valuable minerals through sweating and he says he’s trying to reabsorb them.”

“Oh my lord... I think if given the choice between sniffing my socks and losing minerals, I’d take losing minerals hands down,” laughed Jeff. “I gotta wonder though Liz, is this normal behaviour from people at your school or is he just one of a kind?”

“Umm, we have our individuals,” replied Liz diplomatically.

Max was less tactful. “Yeah, like Fart O’Toole.”

“Fart?” asked Nancy, her mouth hanging open. “Surely his parents didn’t call him Fart?”

Max laughed, dutifully spooning in some more salad. He may hate the stuff but there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t do to get Liz’s parents’ approval.

Liz shook her head, answering for Max who was still chewing. “No, that was a school nickname. I think his real name is Raymond...” Liz trailed off, kind of disturbed that she was so used to his nickname that his real name was foreign to her.

“Apparently he was doing a speech in English and he dropped his cards, and when he bent down to pick them up he let one loose,” explained Max as he caught Jeff and Nancy’s questioning stares.

“What do you mean ‘apparently’? I was there and it frigging stank!” cried Liz, over the top of Nancy and Jeff’s laughter.

“Really? I thought it was just an urban legend. Like a made up excuse to start calling him Fart.”

“I wish,” grumbled Liz, her face screwing up with the memory of that foul stench.

“Your classmates are beginning to frighten me a little, Liz,” remarked Nancy once her laughter had reduced back down to occasional giggles.

“You haven’t even heard about Drea Fitz yet.” Both Nancy and Jeff leant forward slightly in anticipation of hearing more about Liz’s classmates.

Liz rolled her eyes as Max and her parents became gossip queens. Was she the only one who was going to show some maturity and not bitch about people that weren’t there to defend themselves?

“Drea Fitz once asked in the middle of American History, “Do cats get their period?” There was just this moment of stunned silence until we all simultaneously cracked up.”

“That’s it, Liz, you’re going to boarding school in Vermont away from all these idiots,” decreed Jeff with a twinkle in his eye.

Liz and Jeff then began a lively debate over the pros and cons of going to Vermont whilst Max breathed a sigh of relief. The conversation was now flowing and he could now hopefully rely on Jeff and Nancy’s good opinion in the future, which he desperately desired, because God knew that Max had some seriously long term plans when it came to Liz. So this easy conversation was balm to his worried soul. Saved by the unsuspecting students at West Roswell. Who’da thunk it?
***
Amy DeLuca was going insane. She had trawled the streets looking for her daughter and had come up short. She had no idea what type of lunatic would be out at this hour and in her emotional state, Maria was extremely vulnerable.

She had tried calling her. So far that endeavour had been fruitless, her cell phone just ringing out and going to message bank.

Racking her panicked and scattered brains, Amy was lucky enough to think of calling Liz. Searching through her cell phone’s phonebook, Amy could have kissed her daughter for wasting her money by texting Liz when her own phone ran out of money. It meant that she had both Alex and Liz’s numbers saved in her cell for emergencies such as this.

“Pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up,” Amy muttered like a mantra as the soft dial tone rang in her ear.

“Hello?”

Amy could have cried relief. Liz would know where Maria was. If there was anyone in the world who knew her daughter better than she did, it would be Liz.

“Liz! Where’s Maria?” never one for preamble, Amy’s distress caused her abruptness to reach new dizzying heights.

“Uh- What?”

“Maria. Where is she? Her father is back in town and she’s upset and she ran away and I want to know where she is before I go insane.”

Liz quickly digested that information and pushed past her alarm and amazement. Amy was anxious enough for the both of them. “Amy, I haven’t seen or heard from Maria since school finished. Have you tried calling her cell?”

“No Liz, I’m retarded,” huffed Amy in annoyance.

Sensing that perhaps Amy wasn’t in the best of moods, Liz changed tack. “What about Michael?”

“Michael? Why would she be with Michael?” barked Amy, the thought of her distressed and vulnerable daughter being with Michael only slightly less unsettling than being out on the streets and prey to perverts.

Liz cleared her throat uncomfortably over the phone, trying to word her explanation carefully. “Well... I guess because they’re close and there wouldn’t be any other person who would understand her problem as well as he would.”

Amy thought back to the dinner she had shared with Michael a week before and reflected upon the unity she had seen between the two of them. Maria was definitely with Michael and that could only mean one thing... “Oh God, he’s taking advantage of my baby!”

Liz baulked at the distressed cry. “Amy... Michael may not exactly be Mr. Sensitive New Age Guy, but I can honestly tell you that he is not the type of guy who would sleep with an emotionally vulnerable girl. Michael may not be many things, but one thing he is, is a good guy. He loves your daughter, Amy, he’d never take advantage of her.”

Amy’s breathing slowed as she calmed down slightly. “Liz, give me Michael’s number.”

Liz dutifully rattled off the number and then listened to the dial tone as Amy hung up with nary a goodbye.

“Pick up you big, hairy, baby-taking-advantage-of, hairy football guy,” muttered Amy to herself as the phone rang in her ear.

“Hello?”

“Where’s my daughter?”

Michael tightened his hold around Maria’s waist imperceptibly from their position on the couch, and looked around nervously as if Amy DeLuca was watching him and could tell that her daughter was sitting in his lap.

“She’s safe, Ms. DeLuca.”

Maria hadn’t even reacted to Michael’s answering of the phone. She just sat with her head buried in Michael’s neck, allowing herself to be held, to be vulnerable. It was frightening to her, but seductive in its warmth and emotion. Maria was sure she’d never felt quite so safe, or as loved as she did in Michael’s embrace.

“She damn well better be and you damn well better keep your libidinous hands off of her!”

Michael bit back a scowl, having had quite enough of Amy’s distrust. He’d had enough to last him a lifetime. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be the smartest move he’d ever make but he wasn’t going to take anymore of her crap. He wasn’t a patient guy and he had just overextended his last ounce in dealing with her. “Ms. DeLuca, she’s upset. What type of guy do you take me for? And how insulting to Maria to insinuate that her choice of boyfriend would do something like that. I know you can’t trust me, but could you at least extend some towards your daughter. She’s not stupid.”

Amy sat silently stunned until a bittersweet smile crossed her lips. He was right. Maria wasn’t her and she wasn’t destined to make the same mistakes. As terrifying as this was for her, Amy decided to loosen the reigns just a little. Maybe it was time she took a leap of faith.

Michael sat in absolute apprehension as he waited for the rejoinder to his little diatribe. Now he was beginning to seriously regret it. “Just- just take care of her Michael. She’s not as strong as you think.”

Michael blinked as his mind registered that whispered comment before the phone beeped the end of the call. Well he’d be damned. She’d hung up.
***
“What are you going to do?” asked Michael as Maria sat, curled up into his lap.

She shook her head. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “I want to see him, but a bigger part of me doesn’t want to, but the smaller part of me seems to be winning.”

Maria slapped her head with her palms, groaning. “Ugh, I’m making absolutely no sense now.” Raising her head from his shoulder, Maria caught Michael’s eye. “What would you do?”

Michael blinked, then leant his head against Maria’s as he pondered the question. “What would I do if one or both my parents came to find me?”

Maria watched Michael consider the question and felt immeasurably lucky to have found someone who could honestly relate to her predicament. It was so easy to talk to him about abandonment and betrayal, because his feelings were her feelings. They both knew without words needing to be spoken.

Michael spoke after a while. “I dunno. I guess... I’d be curious to meet them.”

Maria raised her eyebrows. “Curious?”

“Extremely curious,” amended Michael, with a small smile to her. “A part of me would want to know why they did what they did and to I guess, just see where I came from and maybe find out why I am the way I am. But then again, a larger part of me would be so incredibly pissed off I don’t know if I could meet them without causing some serious bodily harm. I mean, how dare they show up and fuck up my life after making it quite clear that they wanted no part in it?” Michael cleared his throat in embarrassment after his almost unprovoked angered response. “Hypothetically speaking of course.”

Maria smiled, burrowing her face into his neck, trying to thank him for finally voicing the conflict that waged within her. “God Michael... you just... you just get it. You get me.”

Michael held her, thankful for the reprieve from the tears that had shaken him to his soul before that. He had seen Maria cry twice and to him, it was twice too many. He was a guy, so naturally, any tears unnerved him. But Maria’s tears? They nearly broke him.

“I try,” he whispered, bringing a smile to her face. He did try. He really did.

“I don’t know what to do,” she admitted after a moment.

“Want me to beat the shit out of him?” asked Michael, only half joking.

“I’ll keep you posted.”

They sat in silence for a moment, Maria breathing in Michael’s scent deeply, reminding herself that he was here and not going anywhere. She needed to believe that. Desperately needed to believe it.

“Michael?” she ventured after a while.

“Yeah?”

“Could you...” she cleared her throat nervously. “If I... if I do meet him... could you come with me?”

“Absolutely.”

“But that’s only if I decide to meet him. I don’t think I will though,” she added on hurriedly.

Michael smiled, knowing that if she was asking then it was almost certain that she was going to meet with him. Maria may not have known it, but Michael did. He knew that she was fighting a losing battle with herself.
***
Maria took a very deep breath and raised her fist to knock at the door, hesitating just before she struck the wood with her knuckles. Her hand hovered in the air for a few seconds before she withdrew it.

Choking on her breath, she turned to Michael. “I can’t do this. Let’s go home.”

Michael caught Maria’s arm and spun her back to face him as she fled past him towards the safety of the car. “You have to. If you don’t do it now, you’ll always wonder.”

Maria slumped in defeat, knowing his words to be true but still resenting the fact that they were. Sucking in a breath and squaring her shoulders, she raised her hand and knocked again, the seconds ticking by so slowly as they waited for him to answer.

Maria nearly fell on her ass as the door suddenly swung open to reveal a man that she hadn’t seen for nearly a decade. A man that she hadn’t wanted to see for nearly a decade.

“Maria,” he said in wonder, not quite believing that his daughter was actually standing in front of him.

Maria stared at him, her mouth hanging open slightly as she unconsciously took stock of his features. Her memory of him was so unclear, but it was reassuring to her to see the same pair of enormous lips that she saw in the mirror everyday on another person. While it looked slightly ridiculous on someone masculine, she couldn’t quite pinpoint the reason why seeing them on him helped ease her nerves.

“You wanted to talk to me?” she replied so calmly that it freaked Michael out. Histrionics he had come to expect, screaming, crying –even violence- were things he was expecting for her first meeting with her father, not calm and disengaged. For Maria to be like this meant that down the line there was going to be a massive eruption, and for a moment he actually felt a little sorry for Amos. But only for a moment, in his opinion anyone who hurt Maria deserved what they got.

“Uh, yeah... come in.”

Maria hesitated only slightly over the threshold, until Michael’s warm hand centred itself in the middle of her back, giving her the support she needed.

They reached the small living room of the tiny rented house and Amos shifted nervously. “You want something to drink? I got snapple and juice... You hungry? I could get you something.”

“Let’s cut to the chase Amos, what do you want?” Michael sucked in a shocked breath at Maria’s harsh question, noting her stiff composure. She looked set to snap and while he was sure this was something Maria needed to do to receive closure, he wasn’t entirely certain that she’d survive the encounter with her emotions intact. And he knew that she desperately wanted to keep up the display that she didn’t care that he was here. It was important to her that he feel as unimportant as she felt when he walked out of her life.

“I-I just wanted to get to know you.” Amos had never stuttered in his life. He’d never really been nervous to the point of nausea before. He seemed to be experiencing a lot of firsts in a very short time. “I wanted to be in your life.”

“I haven’t seen you in ten years and suddenly you want back into my life? This is the first time I’ve seen my own biological father in ten fucking years,” Maria stated with a disbelieving laugh.

“You saw me, at the house,” he grunted, not good with these types of confrontations. He’d almost been stupid enough to let himself believe that Maria was still Daddy’s little girl and would welcome him back with open arms. Almost, but not quite.

“I saw your back as you walked out, a pretty familiar sight I must say.”

Amos winced at the comment, but couldn’t deny the truth in it. “Look I know that I fucked up, but you got to understand, what with the drinking and the gambling I was in no position to be anyone’s father. Let alone yours. You were too important for me to screw up your life, so I left. I’m better now. I’ve been to AA and a gambling support group and I’m fit to be a father again.”

Maria’s breath came in sporadic bursts and Michael’s arms instantly came around her shoulders, trying to anchor her to him. “Drinking? Gambling?”

“Amy didn’t tell you?” asked Amos slowly.

“No.” Maria felt as if she’d been sucker-punched. All this time she’d thought that he’d left because he hadn’t loved her. But he’d left so that he wouldn’t ruin her future, it was a hard pill to swallow.

But then the anger quickly returned. “Well, I hope you and your whiskey bottle were very happy together. Ten years, Amos. Ten years. How long does it take to go to rehab? I’m guessing not that long. Which means that for years getting hammered and pissing away your money was more important than your own daughter.”

“You don’t understand-”

“I don’t want to understand!” hissed Maria, cutting off his explanation. “I don’t ever want to know how somebody can place alcohol above their child. You’re not my father, and I’m starting to believe that you never really were.”

Maria turned and stalked from the house, hot tears that had been burning her eyelids during the entire confrontation she now allowed to fall. Climbing into the passenger side of her Jetta, she allowed Michael to take her home. Her tears fell unheeded as she gave a watery smile to a very concerned Michael. He was aware that she didn’t want to talk, so he merely grasped her hand in his, intertwining their fingers and hoped like hell that she understood just how much he ached for her.
***
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 28, 27th July

Post by Rowedog » Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:29 pm

My God! Could it be...? Yes! I’m back and it hasn’t even been a month yet! It’s a miracle!
Thank you all for your wonderful feedback!
This part came easy. Really easy. So much easier than all the heavy stuff I’ve been dealing with in this fic recently. The second half of the part was just so much fun to write that it came naturally. By the way, I’m not sure if you’ll all understand what a power spew is, but basically it’s the best thing ever. Everyone loves a power spew. It’s when you throw up when you’re drunk, it doesn’t hurt and you feel so good afterwards.
And half the stuff that occurs in this part has happened to me or my friends, if you ask nicely I might tell you some of the things that were true.

Laira-
Thanks for getting up so early to make me so happy!
Edited to say:
Er, maybe "happy" was the wrong word.
As Britney Spears would say “I was born to make you happy” or uh... not so happy as it were.
The Opera House sucks. :lol:
Zanity
MIY-
Hmmm… wonder how the Parkers feel about football players. I was thinking we'd get either a big Yay or Nay at least from one or both, especially given Liz's former views.
Liz came to that conclusion on her own. Nothing like empirical observation. Besides, Nancy and Jeff already thought that Max was a good guy from previous encounters, so Max really had little to worry about.
Steph- You’re a star for getting this back to me so quickly!
Novy
Carolina_moon-
So great to see a new part! Keep them rolling in!!!
Hey, for once I listened!
Jessiebelle47
Cassie
Eve
Nibbles2
Emma
Ashleyt-
So Amy and Maria never talked about the why's of her father leaving?
That’ll be cleared up soon. Amy’s intentions were good though. And don’t worry, Maria won’t retreat, I’ve had enough of the angst, time for some fun!
Synera
Part Twenty Nine: Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy


Liz pushed through the open door of the DeLuca residence followed closely by Alex. Maria had texted them that she was going to meet her father today and they were determined to be there. Michael had had to leave about an hour after they had returned from the visit and Liz and Alex had taken his position in operation Don’t-Leave-Maria-Alone.

They walked past Amy who was sitting at the kitchen table looking run down and tired. “She’s in her bedroom. Thank you both for being such good friends to her.”

Alex paled at the watery eyes he saw on Amy. He was no good with emotions so he thanked God that Liz was here to handle it.

“We care about her too, Amy,” Liz softly reassured as she walked towards Maria’s bedroom.

Opening the door, both Alex and Liz were unprepared for what they were about to see. Maria was a quintessentially bright person, certainly not the type to lie in a dark cold room with the curtains drawn in the middle of the afternoon.

“Hey Bubba,” murmured Liz softly as she crossed the room to Maria’s side. “You ok?”

“I honestly don’t know.”

Liz sighed at the melancholy tone of Maria’s voice and clambered onto the bed beside her, laying down and snuggling into her back and slipping an arm around her waist as Alex perched himself near her feet.

“Was it really bad?” he enquired as Maria wordlessly accepted their support and comfort.

“He told me that he left because of a drinking and gambling problem.” Liz sucked in a surprised breath while Alex let out a low whistle. They hadn’t known that and by the looks of her, Maria hadn’t either. “How could I go through the entire ten years without knowing that he didn’t leave because he didn’t love me? How could Mom do that? How could she let me think that all these years? Do you know how much that’s fucked me up?” Maria’s voice broke in the midst of her speech and Liz tightened her arm around her.

“Maria,” Liz murmured consolingly, “you said yourself that you and your Mom never talk about him. In fact, you shut her down each time she tries. I mean, when was the last time you actually had a real conversation about him?”

“I would have been about ten.”

“And you think that’s an appropriate age to tell your daughter that her father was an alcoholic gambler? I agree that Amy could have handled it better, but there’s no manual for this type of thing, Maria. How was she to know what to do? She thought she was protecting you. How could she have known that you were hurting so badly when you hid it from her?”

Liz’s words hit something deep in Maria and she began to shake with repressed sobs.

“Oh, sweetheart... I didn’t say that to make you cry. I just wanted to help you.”

“I know,” Maria forced out over her tears. “And I can see what you’re saying, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I’ve been so angry for so long and I just...”

“Want someone to blame for all the pain?” suggested Alex, his hand gently rubbing her ankle.

“Yeah,” nodded Maria. “Does that make me petty?”

“I think it makes you human,” Alex said with small smile.

“I’ve been so angry with him for so long and now he’s here and I just... I don’t know what to do. I want to hate him, but I can understand why he did what he did. Though I don’t know why he didn’t get himself together sooner. How long does it take to go to rehab?”

Alex shrugged. “Maybe he was too scared to come back sooner? I don’t know his exact reasons, but I do know that if you don’t talk to him and ask him you’ll never know.”

Maria winced at the idea of talking to him again. It had been so hurtful the first time she was in no rush to experience it again. “It’s still too raw. I can’t see him again so soon.”

“It’s probably not going to get any easier,” suggested Liz apprehensively, not wanting to push too far into territory that she knew nothing about.

“I know, I just want to recover a bit from the first encounter before diving headfirst into the next, you know?”

“That’s understandable,” murmured Liz as she sat up, leaving her hand resting on Maria’s hip.

Maria sat up abruptly, scaring both Alex and Liz a little in her movements. “You know what? I’m so sick of feeling like this. I’m going to go out tonight and have fun. I think it’s time I let loose a little. Mackenzie is having a party tonight and I want to go and get drunk and just be a reckless teenager for a bit.”

“If that’s what you want...” answered Alex uneasily.

“It is,” she replied determinedly. Nothing was going to stand in the way of her having a god time. Not her dad, not her mom, not even her friends.
***


Word of Maria’s party plans spread around the group and it was soon decided that they would all go to watch out for her and have a good time themselves, while Max would be the designated driver because he had work the following morning and would prefer to go it without a hangover. They had all even been given the all clear by their parents to sleep at Michael’s apartment, much to Maria’s surprise. Max had even gone over there beforehand to inflate the two blow up double mattresses. They hadn’t yet sorted out who was sleeping where, but Max kept his fingers crossed that he and Liz would be sharing a mattress. He just wanted to hold her as she slept. Just once. He didn’t even mind that he wouldn’t even really be joining in with the drinking, so long as he could spend time with Liz.

Unfortunately for Max, he was about to learn that there is nothing more boring than going to a party with a bunch of drunk people if you’re not drunk yourself.

As the rest of them predicted, Maria got drunk fairly quickly upon arrival, but unlike their other prediction, managed to stop herself once she felt she’d reached her limit. Much to Michael’s relief. Without the fear that Maria would go too far, Michael was able to actually enjoy his night and get drunk himself.

Alex turned out to have little to no tolerance for alcohol and was thus an even greater source of amusement for everyone around him. And Isabel... she was even worse. Within the first hour, she had already vomited. But, as she later told the gang, there’s nothing better than a power spew to put you back on track. She went back to drinking soon after that.

The only real drawback to the night was that Tommy was there, but with the group sticking together, the guys watching over their respective partners and in particular, Max watching over all of them, Tommy had no real opportunity to try something.

They managed to get even more rowdy when singstar was turned on, and much to the amazement of everyone, Liz was the first contestant, teaming up with Michael to sing Elton John and Kiki Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Except that they decided to switch roles and Max couldn’t believe how bad they both sounded together, or how entertaining it was to watch them. Michael’s falsetto was abnormally horrendous and Liz wasn’t a great singer on a normal day, so the combination of the two was beyond hilarious to watch. Plus their dance moves were out of this world, with both having indulged a bit too much they both seemed to think that the robot and the sprinkler were stellar moves that went well with the song.

While Max was happy seeing his friends have fun, he was glad when the party started to die down and they began trudging back to Max’s jeep.

At least he was glad until Alex started singing. “When a ma-a-an loves a walnut!”

“I believe the word you’re looking for there, Alex, is ‘woman’,” suggested Max bemusedly as he led his girlfriend – who was laughing uproariously – to his car.

“My version’s better. It’s got nuts in it. Who doesn’t like nuts?”

“I like your nuts,” giggled Isabel, pressing her head into Alex’s shoulder as a symphony of cat calls and whistles greeted her comment.

“Wooh! Yeah! Get it on!” cried Michael, who had become more and more giggly as the night progressed.

Max grimaced, tightening his hold on Liz as her tiny frame shook with laughter. “God, I wish I was drunk right now. If only so I wouldn’t have to remember that comment.”

Max breathed a sigh of relief as they reached the jeep, helping Liz into the back seat. It was decided that since the girls were all small they should cram in the back with Alex, while Michael took the front passenger seat.

“Why are we in a cupboard?” slurred Isabel as they all squished into Max’s jeep.

“What?” laughed Max, turning to look at his sister who was off her face. “Isabel, we’re in the jeep.”

“I can see a door. Cupboards have doors. We’re in a cupboard.” Isabel looked mighty pleased with herself after that explanation.

“Who am I to argue with such persuasive reasoning?” Max deadpanned, so glad that the night was over.

“Hey Isabel,” snickered Michael. “Maybe we’re in a closet. Closets have doors.”

“Michael’s a genius,” sighed Isabel sleepily as her head lolled onto Alex’s shoulder. Max was grateful for the reprieve. His sister really couldn’t hold her drink. Even Liz could handle it better.

“You having fun back there with all your women, Alex?” asked Max as he noticed that Alex had both arms over the backs of the seats, his arms looping around all three of the girls.

“What can I say?” asked Alex with a drunken smirk. “Pimpin’ ain’t easy.”

“Especially if one of your girls is unconscious,” remarked Max, with a glance at Isabel who was snuffling against Alex’s shirt.

“Some guys dig that,” stated Maria assuredly. “I saw this thing on the internet once and-”

“I saw your Mom on the internet once,” interrupted Alex, setting the entire car laughing again.

“Hey! Can we stop at KFC?” asked Maria as the red sign whizzed past her window, her glassy eyes lit up with excitement.

“NO.”

“Geez Max, no need to be a sandy little bitch,” huffed Maria, sitting back against her seat with a pout.

“Sandy?” asked Max, having never heard that expression before.

“Yeah Max, been to the beach lately?” Alex enquired, barely able to hold in his amusement.

Max looked to Michael for help as the three conscious passengers in the back seat snickered between themselves.

“Don’t ask me dude. I have no idea.”

In the end it was Liz who took pity on Max. “Babe, it means that you’ve got sand in your vagina. That’s why you’re so cranky.”

“In my WHAT?” Max was aghast.

“Your vagina,” replied Liz as seriously as she could with her slur. “When someone is acting all bitchy, you ask them if they’ve been to the beach lately, because they’ve obviously got sand in their vagina.”

Max took a deep breath as Michael hyperventilated against the window, gasping for air as he laughed hysterically. “Never thought I’d see the day that Liz Parker would tell me that I’ve got sand in my vagina.”

Michael smirked wickedly. “Yeah, you always thought you’d be the one to put stuff in her vagina, but you were thinking more along the lines of body parts than sand.”

“How about you have a nice big mug of Shut The Fuck Up, Michael?” hissed Max as everyone around him laughed.

Max sighed in relief as he pulled up outside Michael’s apartment. He’d never been more glad to get out of a car in his life.
***
Max hauled a floppy Liz from his shoulder and deposited her as gently as he could on the bed.

“Yay! Bedsies!” exclaimed Liz happily as her back hit the mattress. “Thanks for the lift, Max. I don’t know what’s wrong with my legs.”

“Hmm, I wonder,” mused Max sarcastically. “Now stay here and I’ll get you some water.”

“M-AAAA-AAAX! I don’t want water!” she complained as she fisted her hands in her eye sockets, trying to relieve the tired ache and sting from all the second hand smoke.

“Yeah, well, too bad. The best hangover prevention is water, I think it’s like two glasses to one alcoholic drink, or... maybe it’s the other way round. Whatever, you’re going to drink a fuckload of water either way.”

Max filled his water bottle and managed to get Liz to drink more than she thought possible, only allowing her to stop once she’d had a full bottle and another half.

It was then that he noticed Alex had placed Isabel on the other mattress and was planning on joining her in that bed. Not wanting to push their relationship too far too soon, Max was convincing himself that he was fine with sleeping on the couch.

“Hmmm,” Liz giggled as Max bent over her, pulling the covers up and brushing some hair tenderly off her face. “Max, when you touch me you make me all tingly inside.”

Max snorted, keeping his laughter at bay. He loved this side of her. He now had a plan to get her drunk on a regular basis. Not to take advantage of her, but just to see what she would say when she was in this state. So far the night had been fairly informative.

“Tingles is a funny word,” mumbled Liz, repeating the word over and over. “Tingles, tingles, tingles, tingles, tingles, tingles. Pringles!” Liz sat up hurriedly, her face a picture of excitement. “Max, I want some Pringles! Let’s go get some!”

Taken by surprise, Max rocked back on his heels and nearly fell on his ass, having to reach out to the floor to steady himself.

“Liz, how about you lie back down and we’ll get you some in the morning.”

“On one condition...” purred Liz.

“What’s that?”

“That you sleep with me tonight.”

Max’s face went white with shock and this time, he DID fall on his ass.

“Wooh! Yeah! Get it on!” cried Michael as he created an ‘O’ with his thumb and index finger and slid his other index finger in and out of it.

“No! You idiots! I meant sleep beside me. Next to me. I want to wake up in your arms.”

“That’s so romantic,” sniffed Michael, brushing an imaginary tear from his eye.

“Fuck off, Michael.” Max was this close to doing something drastic.

Luckily for him, Maria called out to Michael from the bedroom. “Yeah, Michael, get in here you great big pooter, you can sleep next to me.”

“Did you just call me a vagina?” he asked as he entered the room.

“I think we’ve had enough talk of vaginas for one night,” chimed in Alex as he tucked Isabel into her bed, before climbing in beside her.

“I couldn’t agree more, Alex.” Max nearly breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, someone was on HIS side.

“Yeah, let’s talk about penises instead,” giggled Liz.

Max stared at his girlfriend in frustration. He just wanted some peace and quiet and the chance to go to sleep with Liz in his arms like he’d always dreamed of.

“Oh! I have one of those,” cried Michael excitedly, popping back out into the living room.

“GOODNIGHT Michael,” ground out Max.

“Come back to bed, Michael,” called Maria, oblivious to how her sentence sounded.

Michael blushed as Max and Alex called out simultaneously, “Wooh! Yeah! Get it on!”

“You guys suck,” was his rejoinder as he closed the bedroom door behind him to a chorus of kissy noises and exaggerated moans.
***
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Re: Never In Doubt (AU, M/L, Teen) Pt 29, 4th August

Post by Rowedog » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:53 am

I’m on a roll! Maybe it’s because I can finally see an end to this fic, but I’m cranking out parts like nobody’s business.
Ok, the story I added in about the grandpa... was actually perpetrated by my grandpa. Yes, I know, it’s scary that I share genes with him.

Keepsmiling7
Michelle In Yonkers-
Maria’s not mad at Amy, she’s mad at the situation. And at Amos. She’s understandably confused and emotionally distressed. People tend not to think rationally when they’re in pain, emotion or physical. Liz pointed out to her that Amy wasn’t to blame and Maria conceded the point. She’s not blaming her, she’s just upset.
Drink is really not all it's cracked up to be. Maybe now Maria will have more understanding for her wayward father? Because it seems she's inherited his genes.
I think there’s a big difference between being an alcoholic and going out once in a blue moon to have fun.
But I totally agree that it’s great fun to write Michael’s pay back scenes. :twisted:
Eve
Novy-
What did you learn? Being a teacher in training, I love to hear that I’m being educational. I’m guessing that power spew is new to you?
Laira- You got told... *sniggers*
Cassie
Natalie36
Steph-
yeah, maybe I’ll pm you my drunken tales of debauchery.
Nibbles2
Synera
Carolina_Moon-
Oh the power spew... oh the memories. How about behind a silo? Or in coles carpark? Yeah, I know... I’m classy.
Emz
Tequathisy
Veronica
Zanity-
Ok, so I’m never partying with you, you big ole manipulative meany!
Laure- I still think I want to hurt you for sending me that picture. I was so content to live in sweet, sweet ignorance!
Ju- Sometimes? You should be scared all the time.
Part Thirty: Does She Look Like A Fat Old Bitch?
“Good morning Maria! How goes it?” asked Max jovially, knowing exactly how she was going. Unluckily for Michael, his walls were paper thin and Maria’s retching could clearly be heard from the bathroom. It had woken everyone up besides Liz and Isabel who were still sleeping soundly

“Fuck off you spanker,” groaned Maria as she slumped her head down onto her forearms. “Some of us have hangovers you know.”

“And some of us don’t,” replied Max brightly. “What’s your point?”

“Why are you doing this to me?” Maria held her throbbing head and nearly begged him to shut up.

“It’s payback for saying that I had sand in my vagina.” Max paused, bringing up another situation that had occurred. “And you said earlier on in the night that I was a wrinkly grandpa penis.”

“Ooh, speaking of,” began Alex causing everyone to let out simultaneous groans of horror. Nothing good could come of Alex’s story if the mention of a wrinkly grandpa penis sparked it off. “My grandpa recently got into trouble at his nursing home because he rubbed a banana against this old lady’s neck.”

Alex shook his head while his friends laughed around him. “Is that what awaits me when I get old? Senility and sexual perversion?”

Michael slapped Alex on the back. “Hey, you’re halfway there buddy.”

“How comforting,” he remarked dryly, before gingerly getting off his seat at the kitchen bench. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a toilet bowl to go throw up in.”

“Make sure you flush!” Alex waved off Michael’s concern as he strode towards the hallway, his stomach having a rebellious fit.

“Good morning sleeping beauty, how are you feeling?” asked Max in a much softer tone than the one he used with Maria when he felt small arms clasp themselves around his middle and a forehead rest itself between his shoulder blades.

“Gross.”

“You want some more water?” Max enquired as he turned around to hold her properly.

“Yes please,” she mumbled into his chest. “I’d better have something to throw up later.”

Max smoothed her hair back, his forehead creasing in concern.“You’re feeling that bad? Do you want some aspirin?”

“No, I don’t have a headache. I just get sick when I have a hangover, not a headache.”

“Lucky bitch,” muttered Maria as she accepted a glass of water from Michael who slid another over to Liz.

“You’ve been drunk before?” Max couldn’t recall any situations where he’d seen or heard of Liz being drunk.

“Yeah, Maria and Alex and I went up to visit my cousin Kyle for a fortnight last summer and there was a party on nearly every second day. Which is why we know our limits pretty well.”

“Not that well,” Michael pointed out, looking at their sorry states.

“We get drunk enough so that we have fun, but not pass out or anything stupid like that. It’s only in the morning we regret it,” explained Maria, who particularly felt the truth of that statement at that moment.

“Why aren’t you sick?” queried Liz with a scowl towards Michael who was looking as fresh as a daisy. “You had like three times the amount I did.”

“I’m still drunk,” Michael stated. “I’m dizzy, happy and slowly sobering up.”

“Which means that you skip the hangover,” groaned Liz. “Kyle used to have that happen to him too. We hated him for it.”

“It’s not my fault you can’t hold your liquor,” he smirked.

“You’re like three times bigger than me!” Liz protested, a bit embarrassed by her low tolerance level.

Michael put on a fake wounded expression. “You calling me fat, Parker?”

“You’re a great big fatty boom boom,” interjected Maria. “But I’ll still go out with you anyway.”

“Good to know.”

“Ugh, shut the fuck up, I’m dying over here,” moaned Isabel, rolling over and pressing her throbbing head into the pillow.

Liz’s face creased with concern, as Isabel groaned in pain. “Oh, I’m sorry sweetie, we’ll be quiet from now on.”

There was a moment of silence before the sounds of Alex’s retching and gagging filled the apartment.

“So much for that idea,” snickered Michael in a whisper while Isabel blocked her ears and gave a low affronted cry.

“I’ll go get her some aspirin,” sighed Max, retrieving the medicine from the cabinet and crossing to his sister who took it eagerly.

“So when do you have to be at work?” enquired Liz as she slowly sipped on her glass of water not wanting to aggravate her highly sensitive stomach any further.

“In about half an hour so I’ll leave in about ten minutes.”

“In that case I get to cuddle you until you leave. I’m sick; I want cuddles.”

Max eagerly took her into his arms, remembering the joy in waking up to find her asleep next to him, her head nestled against his shoulder. With such contentment that could only be had with Liz in his arms, Max had a sneaking suspicion that he might be a few minutes late to work.
***
“Does he look like a rapist?”

“What? Michael that’s not a real question!” cried Maria in consternation.

“Sure it is! Nowhere in the rules does it say that I can’t ask that question!”

“I’m pretty sure it does,” countered Isabel, before taking a second glance at the card standing up before her. “But now that you mention it, yeah, he does.”

“Aha! This guy!” yelled Michael exuberantly as he pulled the offending person from his slot and waved it in front of Maria and Isabel’s noses.

“You cheated.” Maria crossed her arms with a pout. “I demand a rematch.”

“You wanna get whipped by us virile, strong he-males again? That’s fine by us,” remarks Alex casually whilst flexing his arm muscles.

Liz snorted from her position on the couch as she casually chatted to her mother on the phone. With everyone having recovered enough from their night, they had decided to just hang out for the day, but that had gotten old quickly when nobody could agree on what to watch on TV. So other entertainment was sought, and for some odd reason, Michael had a game of ‘Guess Who?’ in his apartment that Maria had found whilst rummaging through his closet for a blanket and despite the fact that it was a two player game, all four of them had sat down to play it. At first Michael was a bit distracted as he couldn’t clearly remember purchasing the game and it was weirding him out a little bit, but then he put it down to one of his many post game celebrations that he couldn’t remember and concentrated on whipping the girls’ butts. Though why he’d been tempted to buy a board game whilst drunk was beyond his comprehension.

All four sets of parents had rung up to check on their children and Liz’s mother was the last to ring. Unfortunately for Liz, her mother could chat all day on the phone, so she’d been forced to only watch the ensuing fun, rather than take part in it. Plus because Max had gone to work, she was left playing the fifth wheel. But he would be back by lunch, only having the morning shift to finish off at the UFO centre, so she contented herself with that.

“Does she have a nose like Ashlee Simpson pre-surgery?”

Michael scowled at Isabel. “What the fuck kind of a question is that? How should I fucking know?”

“Yes,” Alex answered curtly as Isabel flipped a couple of little squares down.

“Dude... how do you even know that shit?”

“How many guy friends do I have Michael?”

Michael winced. “Oh... right. Well don’t worry, Max and I’ll restore your testosterone levels to their proper amount.”

“Well thank Christ for that!” Alex quickly backtracked when he was glared at by two very pissed off girls. “Not that I don’t love you guys, but I’d like one conversation that doesn’t involve cramps, boys or hairstyles.”

Maria threw a card at him. “You’re such a pig, Alex.”

Michael gave Alex a congratulatory slap on the back. “See, there you go. You’ve made progress already.”

“Does she look like a fat, old bitch?” asked Alex, remembering that it was their turn.

“No...” sighed Isabel, hoping to remove Michael’s influence from her boyfriend’s life fairly soon before he was corrupted forever. “Does she look like a herpes infested bimbo?”

“Yep,” both boys replied simultaneously.

“Aha! This one!” cried Maria, copying Michael’s actions from his previous win. “In your face!”

“Yeah! High five it, girlfriend!” whooped Isabel holding out her palm which Maria readily slapped.

Michael shoved his board away from him. “This game sucks. I don’t want to play anymore.”

“Sooky sooky la la! Cry it up, you bitch!” taunted Maria, who failed to miss the murderous gleam in Michael’s eyes, too busy in her victorious glee to notice him getting ready to leap at her until he was on top of her.

“A sook am I?” he inquired as he tickled her writhing body, straddling her hips. “Yeah! who’s the sook now?”

“Michael!” Maria gasped, attempting to roll away from him as she laughed. “Stop! P-please!”

“Let that be a lesson learnt,” he said smugly, rising from on top of her.

“Do you guys want to watch a movie?” enquired Liz, who had only just managed to escape her mother.

“Yeah,” replied Isabel, scooting over to Michael’s dvd collection to flick through them. “Let’s see... crap... crap... boring... WHAT?!”

Isabel turned to pin Michael with an incredulous stare. “She’s The Man? Why on earth would you have that movie?”

Michael shrugged, trying not to show his embarrassment. “Amanda Bynes is hot.”

“Michael, Amanda Bynes is dressed in drag for half the movie. Is there something you want to tell us?” enquired Alex with a smirk.

“It’s true!” wailed Michael, deciding that the best way to avoid others laughing at him was to take away their power and laugh at himself. “I’m hot for trannies! I’ve been living a lie!” Michael pointed in Alex’s direction. “With Alex! Whenever Alex puts on his little red dress, I just can’t control myself!”

“I do make a very hot woman,” mused Alex, much to Isabel’s dismay.

“No you don’t, you make a disgusting woman,” countered Michael before covering his tracks. “But that’s ok, because there is no end to my kink. I prefer disgusting trannies.”

“Who doesn’t?” asked Maria over her laughter.

“You’re all disturbing,” declared Liz with a roll of her eyes.

“What’s Clerks II about?” enquired Isabel, hoping to sway them away from their worrying conversation.

“You haven’t seen Clerks II?! Feel ashamed Isabel! And you!” Michael exclaimed, pointing at Alex. “How could you not have made her see it?”

“Because... I haven’t seen it either?” Alex replied apprehensively, fearing the distraught anger in Michael’s eyes.

“What? How can you not have seen it? Oh, Alex, this movie was made for you! That’s it! Put it in! Then we’re going to watch Clerks, Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob strike back. Consider this the beginning of your education on Kevin Smith films.”

With his angered diatribe over, Michael placed himself on the couch with a huff. His scowl only starting to ease off as the movie began.
***
Max paused before Michael’s apartment door, wondering how he was going to knock with his arms full of pizza boxes. In the end, he decided to go with kicking the door, as that seemed the easiest option.

The door swung open to reveal an annoyed Michael, until he spotted the pizza boxes. “Max, your timing is impeccable. I was just getting hungry.” Grabbing a couple of boxes from Max who seemed to be struggling under the load, Michael plonked them on the kitchen bench and grabbed his stash of paper plates, placing them right next to the pizza boxes. “Food time, you whores! Don’t forget to pay homage to our dear friend, Max for bringing us such a bountiful feast.”

“You’re such a wordsmith, Michael,” said Max, before being nearly knocked over by the force of his girlfriend’s greeting.

“You’re back! And you brought pizza!” exclaimed Liz with delight. It sucked watching a movie with two snuggling couples when you were all alone. “How was work?”

“I hate tourists,” Max replied, grabbing Liz and himself a plate.

Liz grabbed a couple of slices of meat lovers as she stared at her boyfriend quizzically. “It’s too bad that they make up the majority of your profits then. Perhaps you should look into a different job.”

“Nah, some of them are ok, but then you have the asshats that you want to strangle. Like the people who have claim to have been abducted and probed and want to tell you all about it. Or the people who come in and want to debate with you over theories you couldn’t care less about. Or the people who come in and want to complain. But that doesn’t matter, what have you guys been up to?”

Liz swallowed her mouthful before replying. “We played Guess Who? Then we watched Clerks II and we were halfway through Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back when you came in. We can go back to the start for you if you want.”

Max took a bite of his pizza with relish and shook his head. “It’s cool. I’m Michael’s best friend. I can assure you that I’ve watched all those movies.”

“Hey guys?” interrupted Maria, her expression serious. “I just want to thank you all for doing all this for me.” She waved off their dismissive replies. “No, I’m serious! I don’t think I could ever find better, more supportive friends. So thanks.”

“Anything for you, DeLuca. Even if it means that I have to listen to all of your drunken drivel for an entire night,” Max joked, breaking the awkward silence that followed, Maria’s heartfelt thanks.

They all laughed and heaped their plates with pizza and moved back to their positions to watch the rest of the movie, Liz curling up into Max’s lap with relief that she was no longer the fifth wheel.

Alex pushed Isabel’s hand off of his chest as they lay on one of the blow up mattresses together. “Stop touching me wench! I know what your plans are! You want to seduce me and have your wicked way with me. Well, that’s too bad, because I’m saving myself for Kevin Smith, because we are obviously soul mates.”

“Alexander Whitman! Did you just call me a wench?”

It was just then that Alex realised he may have gone a little too far. “Well... obviously I was kidding.”

Isabel’s glare only increased, until Alex latched onto another topic, desperate to switch the focus off of himself. “So Michael, why exactly do you have She’s The Man?”

“It’s got that guy from Urban Ninja on it,” Michael exclaimed defensively.

“So does Step Up 2,” rebutted Max. “You don’t seem to have that movie.”

“Alright!” cried Michael. “I like it, ok? I think it’s funny! There? You satisfied?”

Alex’s smug grin grew to enormous proportions. He had escaped his girlfriend’s wrath and embarrassed Michael. What a coup. “Very much so.”

And as they all laughed, Maria tried to remember as much about this time as she could. She had a feeling she would need these memories to get her through the times ahead.
***
Last edited by Rowedog on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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