FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Growing Pains"
Part 28
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.
“Thanks for letting me do this,” Michael said quietly when Maria answered the door.

Maria schooled herself to remain impassive when she looked at him, but still she couldn’t help but be affected by his presence. He looked haggard and exhausted. Maria wondered briefly if he’d gotten any sleep in the last two days. She knew she hadn’t. Setting her jaw tightly, Maria conditioned herself not to care. As she motioned him inside she said, “I’m not doing this for you…I’m doing it for Mickey.”

Maria barely got the words out before Mickey came barreling out of nowhere, wrapping herself firmly around her father’s knees. “Daddy!” she exclaimed in glee, hugging him tight. She looked up at him, her small face glowing with joy and angry at the same time. “Where the hell have you been?” she demanded in childish outrage.

“Michelle Guerin!” Maria admonished with narrowed eyes, “You will not use that kind of language!”

“But you say “hell” all the time,” Mickey pouted.

Michael smirked, not bothering to reprimand her for her language. “It’s okay, inch-high,” he said softly as he ruffled her hair, “I know you’re mad at me.”

“Damn right!” Mickey retorted.

“Michelle, you’re really pushing it,” Maria warned threateningly.

Mickey just grinned, as irreverent as her father. Michael bent down and scooped her up, groaning under how much weight she’d gained. “Guess I can’t call you inch-high anymore, huh?” he mused, noting her height, “You’ve grown like a weed.” His eyes ran lovingly over her bright features, taking in her longer hair, which was now curling like her mother’s and the new definition to her face. All her baby fat had seemingly melted away, making her resemblance to Michael all the more uncanny. Michael stroked her hair.

“I’m going to be four in two days,” Mickey informed him holding up four fingers for emphasis.

“I know, kiddo,” Michael said, walking her off into the living room. He sat down on the arm of the sofa, cradling her in his lap. Michael didn’t notice when Maria crept silently from the room. He was too busy staring at his daughter.

“Aunt Isabel’s going to throw me a party tonight,” Mickey supplied eagerly.

“Really? Is she?” Michael asked, smiling at her softly.

“Is that why you came? For my birthday? Are you staying for my birthday?”

“I plan on staying a lot longer than that, inch-high.”

“Good,” Mickey said with a firm nod, “because I missed you.”

At that moment Maria returned, holding a sleeping Adrienne cradled in her arms. As she came around in front of him Michael slowly slid Mickey to the floor, his heart beginning to beat with fear and anticipation. Maria carefully deposited Adrienne into his waiting arms saying, “This is Adrienne, Michael.”

Michael looked down at his small daughter, who was barely three weeks old, and felt his throat clog with tears. She was so beautiful…so tiny…so perfect. He touched one, small delicate hand, marveling at how her fist closed around his finger instinctively, even in sleep. She looked exactly like her mother, Michael noted with an inner smile, right down to her curly, blond hair. But then again, Mickey had been blond when she was a baby and now her hair was as dark as Michael’s. He sifted his fingers gingerly through the baby’s downy hair before lifting tear glazed eyes to Maria. “God…Maria…”

Maria’s answering smile was bittersweet. “She’s is lovely, isn’t she?”

“Like her mother,” Michael replied, his heart evident in his eyes. Maria looked away, unable to hold his potent stare. Mickey alleviated the uncomfortable moment.

“Be careful not to wake her up, Daddy,” Mickey warned with the utmost seriousness, “She’ll start squawking and never stop.”

Michael grinned down at Mickey. “She’s loud, huh?”

Mickey nodded emphatically. “I asked Mom if we could take her back to the hospital but she said no…so we’re stuck with her for life.” She said that last part in such a grave tone that both Maria and Michael had to laugh.

“I thought you might want to take them out for a while,” Maria suggested when her laughter had subsided, “I packed Adrienne’s baby bag for you.”

Michael’s gaze snapped to hers in disappointed surprise. “But I-I thought we were going to t-talk,” he stammered, suddenly feeling bereft.

“We will,” Maria assured him firmly, “I just thought you might want to spend time with the girls first.”


Once Liz opened the door Michael fell inside the apartment with an exhausted yelp. “Help me,” he pleaded. As he heaved himself inside Liz became aware that he held a squalling Adrienne in his arms and that Mickey was wrapped around his left leg. He literally dragged her inside. Liz bit her lip to keep from giggling. Michael saw her effort and groaned in exasperation. “Liz, I’m serious…I can’t get the baby to stop crying. I’ve tried everything…singing, rocking, changing, feeding, begging…nothing has worked! And Mickey…I can’t get her to detach from my leg…it’s a nightmare.”

“Well, have you tried telling her?” Liz inquired reasonably. She scratched her head in thoughtful consideration.

“Oh, duh…why didn’t I think of that!” Michael retorted with obvious sarcasm.

Liz looked down at Mickey sternly. “Michelle, let go of your father’s leg,” she stated matter-of-factly. Mickey obediently let go. “Now go upstairs and play. Claudia’s there.” Mickey ran for the stairs with a squeal of glee, leaving a stunned Michael behind. Liz leveled him with a bland look. “You just have to be firm, Michael.”

“Thanks a lot, Sigmund Freud, now let’s see what you can do with the kid,” he quipped, nodding towards Adrienne, “She’s been crying for an hour now and I’m about to go insane.”

Liz gently removed the crying baby from his arms. “You’re nervous, Michael,” Liz said in between nuzzling Adrienne’s cheek, “and she can feel that. Can’t you, baby?” Liz pressed a gentle kiss on the baby’s forehead and cooed to her softly to calm her down. A few moments later, she was quiet, gurgling peacefully.

Michael looked at her in slack-jawed amazement. “How in the hell did you do that?”

“You have to relax with her, Michael,” Liz advised patiently, “If you relax with her then she’ll relax with you.”

In response, Michael trudged into the living room, throwing down the diaper bag in disgust. “Well, I obviously suck as a parent!” he muttered, cursing under his breath several time.

“You’ve just gotten out of practice,” Liz said as a way of comfort. She laid Adrienne against her shoulder, stroking her back gently to ease her hiccups.

“Is Max around?” Michael asked, peering around the apartment, “I need to speak to him.”

“He’s gone with Isabel to pick out decorations for Mickey’s party,” Liz said as she settled into the recliner with the baby.

“It’s just as well…” Michael mumbled, “I’ve got to get the girls back soon so Maria and I have a chance to talk before she leaves for the party.”

“You haven’t talked yet?” Liz asked in surprise.

“No,” Michael said, as he plopped down on the sofa and rested his forearms upon his knees. He steepled his fingers together and propped his chin against them. “And that’s really bugging me…that she wanted me to go off with the girls before straightening things out between us. It makes me think that maybe she doesn’t want to get back together.”

“Well, you did hurt her….” Liz hedged carefully.

Michael looked at her sharply. “Well, she hurt me, too!” But just as suddenly as Michael’s anger flared it died, leaving him feeling depleted and depressed. He collapsed back against the sofa, his arms widespread. “I feel like everything in my life is out of whack!” he moaned in exasperation. He lifted his head to peer at Liz. “Do you know that I barely recognized Mickey when I first saw her? I’ve been watching her from afar for months, but I never dreamed that she would have gotten so damned big. That’s how out of touch I am with everything.”

Liz nodded her empathy. “I know…I felt the same way when I saw Claudia again. I missed her growing up…I missed a lot,” Liz lamented softly.

“Do you know what I’d give to have things back to the way they were before I left/” Michael asked, his desperation evident.

“But we can’t go back,” Liz said simply, “We just have to accept things as they are now.”

“Does that also mean accepting that Maria is in love with my…” he trailed off, realizing he was about to say “best friend,” and amended his choice of words, “…with your husband.”

Liz frowned at him. “If that’s what it takes.”

“Have you accepted it?” Michael challenged.

Liz met his challenge. “Actually, I have.”

“Well, I’m not that magnanimous,” Michael responded sardonically.

Liz heaved a deep sigh. “You should just forgive them, Michael. They didn’t do it to hurt us, in fact, they could have gone much further than they did.”

“Am I supposed to be grateful that Max didn’t fuck my girlfriend?”

“Yeah,” Liz retorted, “you should. Just imagine how hard it would have been for us to deal knowing that they had been lovers!” Her rejoinder actually shut him up. He closed his mouth, compressing his lips in an angry line. “You can think of it as the price we have to pay for being so selfish,” Liz told him mildly, “When you look at it from that perspective…it seems a rather small thing.”

“How can you be so understanding?” Michael wanted to know.

“What are my options really?” Liz sighed, “To lose my husband and my best friend all in one fell swoop and for my own stupidity? No, I don’t think so.”

“Well, at least you have a better excuse than me,” Michael grumbled, “You were grieving because you lost your baby.”

“So was Max,” Liz replied in defense of her husband, “His grief wasn’t any less painful than mine. I did a selfish thing to him…just like you did to Maria.”

“Okay, oh Great Fountain of Wisdom, how do I fix it?”

“You can start by forgiving them,” Liz said, “And after that…I recommend groveling…lots and lots and lots of groveling.”

Part 27 | Index | Part 29
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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