FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Growing Pains"
Part 25
by Dee
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell, I know it and you know it so why don't I save the mantra?
Summary: This is a sequel to my story Growing Up...
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: Feedback: Is necessary for my existence.
Maria DeLuca took several deep-sucking breaths, clutching at her chest while trying to convince herself that what she was seeing was actually a hallucination. Michael Guerin was in her home. More precisely, he was in her bedroom…in her bed. He sat up now looking completely disoriented, obviously awakened by her piercing scream, and staring at her through, confused bleary eyes. “Michael! What in hell are you doing here?”

Michael swung his legs over the edge of his bed, massaging his temples as he did. “I was under the impression that I lived here.” He groaned, extending his arms in a bone-popping stretch.

“Excuse me if I’m delusional here,” Maria bit out sarcastically, waving her hands in her agitation, “but the last time you paid rent was almost nine months ago and I was under the impression that one had to do that in order to have a place to live…which you, buddy, don’t got. Get out of my bed and get out of my house.”

Maria’s head was spinning, going in eighteen hundred different directions at once. Michael was back. Without warning, without reason, he was just there, lying in her bed as if no time had gone by at all. Maria wanted to strangle him and hug him all at once. Suddenly all the fears she had been suppressing for so many months, that he was dead, or hurt, had been alleviated and the relief that overwhelmed Maria left her feeling weak. She hadn’t realized she cared, had never acknowledged her fear. And it made her uncomfortable. No, it made her damned mad! Because she didn’t want to feel that. She wanted to be angry, she wanted to hate him. She did hate him.

And yet when he stood up, her eyes drank him in. His clothes were wrinkled and he badly needed a shave. His hair was longer now and he seemed to have a harder edge than before, but beneath all that Maria could still see Michael, the father of her children. Maria clamped down on her emotions, giving herself a mental shake. She wouldn’t allow herself to feel anything for him, not now and not ever again. She glared at him with cold eyes. “I said get out Michael.”

“Maria, I know that you’re mad…and there’s no excuse for what I did,” Michael began haltingly, holding out his hands in supplication and then nervously shoving them into his back pockets. “I was scared. I wasn’t ready to be a dad and husband and all those things that came with it.” His eyes pleaded with her to understand but Maria remained coldly resolute. Despite her frosty reaction Michael took a cautious step closer to her. “I wasn’t ready then, Maria, but I am now. I’ve changed. I bought presents for Mickey…and the baby….”

“Adrienne,” Maria said frigidly, “Her name is Adrienne.”

A crooked smile curved the corner of Michael’s mouth. “Adrienne, I like that name. It’s-,”

“What do you want, Michael?” Maria interrupted smoothly. “Just cut to the chase and cut all the sentimental bullshit.”

“Fine,” he said, reaching down into the pocket of his khaki trousers and extracting a black velvet box. In one deft motion he flipped back the cover, revealing the biggest diamond Maria had ever seen. It had to be at least two carats, gleaming beautifully even in the artificial light that illuminated the room. “It took me three paychecks to pay for this thing,” he told her proudly.

Maria slowly lifted her disbelieving gaze from the ring to Michael’s grinning face. “Will you marry me?” he asked. Maria didn’t bother to hold back any longer. With a grimace of blinding white fury she drew back her fist and socked him as hard as she could. And it hurt. Her knuckles actually cracked from the contact with his jaw. But it had been worth the pain to watch Michael hit the ground like a felled tree.

Michael rolled over, massaging his aching jaw. “Why the hell did you do that!” he demanded with an angry glare, “I thought you wanted to get married!”

“You can not possibly be as clueless as you pretend to be,” Maria sighed in the disgust. As she walked around his prone form she became aware of the fact that she was wearing only her bra and panties. She headed straight for her closet and pulled out one of her bathrobes. After she had secured the belt tightly she turned back to Michael, who was now sitting upright in the middle of the floor. She nodded towards his duffel bag, which was propped in the corner of her bedroom. “You should get your things and get out.”

“You know,” Michael said, struggling to his feet, “you certainly have a sanctimonious attitude considering what you’ve been up to for the last few months.”

“What did you say?”

“I’m talking about you and Max.”

“How do you know…?” Maria trailed off, an idea suddenly occurring to her, “Exactly how long have you been back in town?”

“A little over five months.”

Rage exploded in Maria’s brain, obliterating all reason. She glanced around the room and picking up the heaviest thing near her, a crystal lamp that sat on the bureau next to her bed, she hurled it at Michael with all her might. The lamp missed his head by mere inches, shattering into the wall behind him. Michael looked at her in incredulous horror. “You son of a fucking bitch!” Maria blazed, her eyes narrowed into blue slits, “You’ve been here the whole time! What have you been doing? Spying on me? Have you been spying on me, Michael?”

“Look I can explain, Maria,” Michael said quickly, backing away as Maria began to advance towards him menacingly.

“I don’t know what happened, officer,” Maria remarked, practicing her speech for the police, “I have no idea how his dismembered carcass got into the trunk of my car…”

Michael held out his arms to stave her off. “Maria, stop it!” he cried when she bent over to pick up on of those thick heeled shoes she was so fond of wearing. She began slapping it against her palm threateningly. Michael thudded back against the wall, crunching the remains of the lamp beneath his feet. “Maria, damn it, I love you!”

He shouted the words. To hear them broadcasted so loudly stopped Maria in her tracks. For a moment silence fell over the room, as his words seemed to reverberate off the walls. Maria looked at him in absolute amazement and then…she doubled over in laughter. “Oh my god,” she gasped, falling against her bed and laughing hysterically, “You love me? Michael Guerin loves me!” She clutched at her middle, rolling from end to end of her bed. Her body shook with an almost frenzied amusement before abruptly coming to a stop. She sat up in her bed and glared at Michael in disgust. “You’re more deluded than I thought you were.”

“Maria, you’re being unreasonable,” Michael accused in impatience and annoyance.

Suddenly Maria felt her anger go out of her, leaving her feeling hollow and defeated. She realized then that Michael didn’t get it. He just didn’t get it. He didn’t realize that he couldn’t just come walking back into her life after eight months after walking out of it the way he did. Maria stared at him sadly. “Me aside, Michael. Why did you do this to Mickey? She loves you. I couldn’t make her understand why you left. Why would you do that to her?”

“I did what you asked, Maria. I took that assignment in Columbia. I thought it would be a good thing because we both needed some time to calm down,” he paused for a moment, searching her face to see any signs of softening. Her expression remained aloof and cold. “The assignment lasted only three months and the whole time I was there all I did was think about you and Mickey and the new baby. That’s when I bought the ring, Maria. I’d been an idiot and I knew it. I left South America as soon as my assignment was over.”

“If you thought about us the whole time why didn’t you come back here directly, then?” Maria countered dryly.

“Because you had this cozy little arrangement going on with Max that’s why!” Michael bit out bitterly. “When I first got back I thought it would be a bad move to try and jump back into your life and so I would just follow you around and watch you play with Mickey. That’s how I found out how serious things were getting between you and Max…”

Maria began to tremble, not feeling as resolute as she had when he had first begun speaking. “I don’t believe you…” Maria stated, but lack of true conviction made her voice waver.

“No?” Michael queried with a lift of his eyebrows, “How about this then? You and Max took Claudia and Mickey to the movies to see that Disney flick that came out a few months ago…. I know that you made him dinner twice a week…I know that you had lunch with him everyday… And I know that sometimes you would sleep overnight at his apartment and vice versa.”

Maria gasped in dread, reluctantly realizing that Michael was telling the truth. And yet still she stubbornly clung to her conviction, “I got the letter…it was post-marked from South America.”

Michael threw her a long-suffering look. “Maria, I’m an alien, remember…manipulating postage for me isn’t exactly rocket science.”

Maria shook her head in denial, as she felt too much information assailed her too fast. Michael was there…he had been there for months. He thought she was with Max. He had seen them. Manipulating postage. And he was back. Why? Why now? Maria lifted dazed eyes to his. “If you think I’m with Max then why are you here?”

“Because Liz is back…”

“What has that got to do with anything?”

“I knew he would dump you the minute that Liz came back,” Michael clarified succinctly. “He was using you, Maria, and you just didn’t see it.” He crept over towards her, taking a wary seat next to her on the bed. “I thought you might need someone, Maria. I thought you might be willing to try again with me.”

Maria felt lost. When she looked at him her expression revealed her inner turmoil. “You missed Adrienne’s birth…because you were jealous?”

“My so-called best friend had taken over my life, Maria,” Michael said as if he thought she were dense, “That’s a little hard to get over. I can’t forgive him for that.”

Closing her eyes in an attempt to blot out his words, to blot out Michael period, Maria said, “I think you should go.”

“Go? After everything I just told you?”

She glared at him then. “Just leave, Michael.”

Michael glared at her in dubious betrayal for a long moment before finally looking away. “Fine,” Michael spat, his frustration and anger sending him surging to his feet, “Just tell me where to find my kids. Are they still with your mother in Roswell or did you leave them wherever the hell it is you’ve been all night?”

Maria looked up at him warningly. “Don’t drag them into this, Michael. It’s between us.”

“That’s what you think,” Michael countered softly, spinning around to grab up his duffel bag and jacket. As he stood in the frame of the door he looked back at Maria and said unpleasantly, “We’ll be seeing each other again real soon…”

Only when Maria heard the front door slam did she dissolve into the tears she’d been holding back since Michael’s desertion eight months before.

Part 24 | Index | Part 26
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.