Disclaimer: No one in the WORLD would take ownership of this one but me! The characters aren't mine, though. Life's a bitch.|
Summary: A teen sci-fi show's director is unhappy with the chemistry (or lack thereof) and believability of his characters. He gets permission to take them to Roswell for a bit of atmosphere and a reality check. (You may notice some similarities between these characters' names and those of our beloved cast and creative team.)
Authors Note: Acknowledgment: The premise for this story is really based on a fic idea from Jane of my Roswellnet list. She has not only allowed me to use the idea, but to warp it just a bit for our purposes. Thanks, Jane! Caution: Most of you who read my fics are used to some serious plot, character development, etc. Quit looking. This is a fluff piece I wrote over the holidays. The readers at Jenn's board VOTED on what would happen at the end of each installment from 3 choices I gave them. They dictated the direction and emphasis. (I've kept the choices they had to choose from in here, so you could see what they DIDN'T choose!) So don't think too hard! Just sit back and enjoy! Here's what I told them to begin: Setting: We want everyone getting along in this one, so let's say it's just after "Sexual Healing"
|The teen club was packed, but when Marla, Rick, and Brent walked in, the crowd became subdued and parted like the Red Sea in front of them. Maria turned from where they were setting up on stage when she heard the quiet descend and saw the three looking up toward her. Brent waved. Maria motioned for the manager to join her on stage and whispered in his ear. Beaming broadly, he made his way to the microphone.|
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have some special guests with us tonight. From 'UFO Undercover,' please give a rousing Roswell welcome to Brent Fairchild, Marla Delaney, and Rick Wesler."
The place was up for grabs as the manager hurried down the stage steps and came to welcome his celebrity guests. He showed them to a table in front that had mysteriously emptied and took their drink orders, on the house, of course. Maria and Alex came down to greet them, waved through by the not-so-invisible bodyguards who were keeping the eager fans at bay.
"You came!" Maria yelled excitedly over the crowd. "This is so cool!"
"Of course, we did. I told you I wanted to hear your band before we headed back to LA. Marla and Rick decided to tag along."
"Thanks, man," Alex added, offering a handshake to Brent. "I should warn you, we do a lot of different kinds of music. Some is my own, some are the 'classics.'" He shot Maria a knowing look, since she was always the one wanting to perform the standards. He had to admit, though, more people wanted to hear that kind of music, so it gave his own music a broader audience. "Let's get to it, Maria."
They returned to the stage and finished their preparation. They began with an original hard rock piece that Alex's band did without vocals. Then Maria followed with "Something in the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. Brent was grinning at them as they performed, and it seemed to push them to new heights, knowing what they were doing really counted tonight. They performed three more numbers before they took a break.
Michael walked through the doors just as Maria was in the final measures of "I Love How You Love Me." She saw him at the doorway and gave him a little wink. He smiled in spite of himself. She was talkative, he was quiet. She was bouncy, he was moody. She was nosy, he was private. She liked to be on-stage, he liked anonymity. And he loved her. Go figure.
As the set wound to an end, Maria descended the stage stairs to a loud ovation. She had planned to go see Michael, but she heard her name and turned to see Brent walking toward her. He picked her up, spun her around, and set her back on the floor. "That was great, Maria! You have such a sultry, sexy voice, and Alex's band is really very good. I'll definitely want to talk to you two when I get my company going."
Maria couldn't believe her ears. She threw her arms around Brent's neck, squealing in excitement. She was about to turn and call Alex over, but when she pulled back from Brent, she found herself on the receiving end of a kiss. It was only a quick, celebratory kiss, but still . . . she was being kissed by Brent Fairchild. Wow!
She was carried away with the moment--the exciting news about the potential for a real record deal, the giddiness of being kissed by a hot celebrity, and the adrenaline of just having performed for an enthusiastic audience. Her body briefly responded to the kiss until she felt Brent pull away very suddenly. She opened her eyes in surprise to see Michael's seething face nose to nose with Brent's. A bodyguard was there in a flash, but Brent waved him off.
"It's okay, John. He's a friend."
'I wouldn't count on that, if I were you," Michael hissed.
"Michael!" Maria intervened. "What are you doing? It was nothing. Brent was just telling me his new record company might be interested in the band. I was just excited. It was nothing!"
"Nothing to you, maybe," Michael retorted. He had to believe Maria had been a victim here. It had taken him so long to trust her, so Brent had to be the bad guy. That's the only way it made any sense. "Mr. Hotshot here thinks he can just take whatever he sees. But she doesn't belong to you, Fairchild."
Maria was angry now and the crowd was silent, listening to every word. "I don't belong to you either, Michael." She turned on her heel and walked out, shaking with anger and embarrassment. Leave it to Michael to turn one of the best moments of her life into a complete disaster.
Michael watched her leave, astonishment on his face. Then he turned back to Brent, not knowing what to say next.
"Looks like the little lady wants to make her own decisions now, doesn't it?" Brent gloated.
"And it looks like you'll need to find someplace else to sleep tonight, doesn't it?" Michael spit back. He turned and made his way through the awestruck crowd and into the night. Damn! Why didn't anything ever turn out right for him?
He began the long walk home, anger and hurt helping him build another layer onto the already high walls that protected his heart.
Mason came through the kitchen door to find Isabel pouring a glass of juice.
"Want some?" she offered.
"Yeah, thanks. Sounds good."
They sat together at the kitchen table.
"How's Cheryl?" Isabel asked.
"Doing pretty well, actually. She really wants to get back to work, but they want her to take at least one more day of bed rest. Now I have to run lines and work on blocking with a stand-in, so I asked Liz."
Isabel's jaw dropped. "You're going to be on the set with Liz? Running scenes? Doesn't Cheryl play your love interest on the show?"
Mason nodded, confused by Isabel's shock. "Yeah. Is that a problem?"
An evil grin erupted on Isabel's face. "Does Max know?" she asked.
"Yeah, he was right there when I asked her. Why?"
"How did he react?"
"Fine, I guess. I mean, he looked disappointed that they had to put something off. But Liz said it was fine and he didn't object."
Isabel laughed. "This should be really good," she said, almost to herself. She felt Mason's confused eyes on her.
"You still don't get it, do you? Those two are so in love, so inseparable." She shook her head, realizing how pointless it was to try to explain their connection to anyone outside their group. "Liz knows there's no reason to be jealous, but I don't think Max will feel the same way." She grinned again. "Is he coming to the set?"
"Yeah, I think so. Liz invited him and I said I'd leave his name at the gate. Besides, it's only acting. It doesn't mean anything."
"Not to you, and not to Liz. We'll see how Max feels. Did you tell Cheryl?"
"Yeah, I told her before I asked Liz. I just think Liz is most like Cheryl. She'll be a good stand-in for lights and sound, and we can run lines at the same time."
"So Cheryl doesn't mind?"
"Of course not. I mean, she's a professional. She knows we have to continue our work." Mason hesitated.
"What?" asked Isabel, seeing the concern cross Mason's face.
"Well, now that you mention it, she didn't look happy. But I think it's just that she wants to be back to work herself."
Isabel decided to test the waters. "Or," she hypothesized, "she might not like your running those scenes with someone else any more than Max does."
A happy smile lit Mason's face briefly as this possibility sank in. Then he doused it with a reasonable explanation. "No, I'm sure that has nothing to do with it. She's just bored."
"Does she know how you feel about her, Mason?"
The question caused him to lock his eyes with her, shocked. "What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean. You have feelings for her. Does she know?"
Mason's embarrassed expression and his jaw working to form an answer made Isabel giggle. "It's alright, Mason. It's a good thing! Why is it so hard for you?"
"I don't get attached to people," he mumbled, a serious expression replacing his embarrassed one. "They let you down. It's every man for himself."
"You don't really believe that, do you?"
"Yes. Or I least I thought I did." He sighed, and looked at Isabel. "I'm confused. Things are so different here from where I grew up in LA. Everybody around me just wanted me to act, make money, pose with them. Even my mom. She would talk to all her friends about what I was doing or how much I was making, but she never spent any time with me. She never wanted to know how I felt about anything. I moved out as soon as I was old enough. My dad left when I was little, and the girls . . . they just want their picture taken with me or a good lay so they can tell all their friends that they slept with me. I used to believe their lies, but no more." His face was contorted with bitterness. He wasn't even aware that Isabel was in the room anymore.
"Mason, I'm sorry." She reached for his hand. "But I don't think Cheryl is like that."
Mason snapped back to reality. The bitterness softened. "I don't think so either," he agreed. "And ever since coming here, I've seen how people are with each other. You know, they're nice, respectful, they care about other people just for themselves. And Max and Liz, man! How do two people ever get that close? I don't think there's anything they wouldn't do for each other."
Isabel nodded. "I know. I used to practically gag at how cutesy they were. But now I realize that's just them. They're special and there's no explaining it. You just have to accept it. And maybe envy it just a little." She smiled encouragingly at Mason. "Maybe it's time to take another chance."
A slow smile broke out on Mason's face. "Maybe you're right.
Max and Liz left the Crashdown and took a stroll through the streets of Roswell. Max's large hand held Liz's small one lovingly as they walked, his thumb gently stroking her wrist. A feeling of contentment had settled on them, and they didn't spoil the mood with words. As they turned into the park, Max tugged Liz toward a bench and they sat looking up at the moon, Liz tucked securely under Max's arm, her head resting under his chin. They sat like that for a long while. Then Liz felt Max shift and his hand came sliding under her chin, lifting her head toward him. Their eyes locked as a world of feeling and meaning was silently exchanged. Finally, Max lowered his eyes to her lips and she instinctively licked them. He slowly brought his head down and touched her lips with his own, the lightest whisper of a kiss. Liz wanted more, and she lifted her face to his, seeking the pressure that would bring him even closer.
He sank into her willingly, opening their mouths and their minds to each other in a burst of emotion. It was at once thrilling and frightening for them to openly see the urgent need each one felt for the other, the depth of feeling they had denied for so long, and the hopes for their future. Their kisses grew more urgent and they broke apart, panting, eyes shining.
"This is a little bit public, Liz. We'd better cool off. We don't want the residents of Roswell to see you glowing," Max teased her.
"Too late," Liz smiled up at him. "I'm glowing all over. It's on the inside. You just can't see it."
Max smiled lovingly at her and chuckled, remembering his similar words to her not long ago when they had first discovered the phenomenon of her glowing response to his kisses. "I'd better get you home."
Liz nodded and they rose as one. Arms around each other, they ventured out into the streets of Roswell once more, meandering slowly toward Liz's home. When they reached the ladder to her rooftop, Max kissed her lightly. "I'll pick you up for school tomorrow, okay?"
"Don't leave yet, Max. I'm not ready to let you go."
"I'm never ready to leave, but it's getting late."
"Just a few minutes, Max. Please?"
He looked into the beautiful chocolate eyes that had drawn him in from the first day he saw her. How little she understood of the control she had over him. He was at her mercy when she turned those large, loving eyes on him and asked for . . . anything.
"Okay, a few minutes."
She climbed up first and he followed quickly. "Wait! I forgot Cheryl is in your room."
Liz's face told him she had forgotten, too. Liz eased over toward her window and peeked in. Cheryl was sleeping, with the light on!
"She's asleep. It's okay." Liz slid her arms up Max's chest and around his neck, curling her fingers into the longish hair along the nape of his neck. She looked up into Max's eyes and sighed. "I'd rather be here than anywhere in the world, Max. Pardon me, the universe." She smiled, hearing Max sigh in response.
"Liz Parker, I don't know how I got this lucky." With that, he bent to kiss her, hungrily trying to get as close to her as possible. His tongue dove into her mouth, sliding across hers. Hearing her whimper intensified his already building need and he slipped his hands under her top, reveling in the soft scented skin. Liz wriggled in his grasp, feeling suddenly that she wanted his hands all over her. She followed his lead, easing her hands up under his t-shirt, marveling again at the taut muscles he kept hidden there. Quiet strength. That was Max. His mind and his body exuded strength and confidence and competence, but always understated. She loved that about him.
His response to her actions was anything but understated, however. She felt him harden against her and pulled back to enjoy the hooded look in his eyes when he lost some of that famous control of his. When she broke off the kiss to look at him, though, she noticed it. The glowing.
"Max, it's happening!"
He looked down where his hand was stroking her side and saw the soft glow emanating from her. He smiled. "That's how I feel when I'm kissing you, Liz. I feel like I'm glowing. You light up my heart, my life."
His smile turned shy. It sounded so sappy when he said it out loud.
"It feels the same over here, Max."
"Liz, I'd better go. Please. I really have to go."
Liz sighed, this time in frustration. "I know, Max." Their relationship was still young. They had a lot of things to work out before they explored the physical side of their relationship more intensely. Still, the cold empty feeling that filled Liz when Max moved away was almost painful. "I'll dream of you tonight," she whispered.
"I've dreamt of you every night for years, Liz. They're just getting better all the time." He gave her one last kiss and disappeared over the side of the wall.
It wasn't my imagination, thought Cheryl as she watched him climb over the wall to the ladder. How does he do that to her? It's not natural!
As she heard Liz walking toward the window, she quickly closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep again.
|Part 7 | Index | Part 9|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|