by Jill Finegold
|Disclaimer: I wish I owned them. Then maybe we'd have some M/L good plots.|
Summary: Max's 21st birthday. They're in their senior year of college, and that's all I'm sayin'.
Author's Note: Feedback is a must. Whatever you think; I'm all ears. Also, anything like *word* or **word** is an italic thingee. The latter is a memory.
|Michael's expression was priceless. Max would have laughed, and later Maria
admitted it too, had the situation not been so shocking. Max and Michael sat
there while Maria tried to snap out another coherent sentence, but much to
Michael's relief, she couldn't. Instead, she stood there sputtering like a
fish out of water. Michael finally found where he had stashed his vocal
cords, and took control of the situation.|
"Uh…hey, Maria. Long time no see, eh?" Michael said, staring straight into her face, trying not to show his jangled nerves. "It's uh, it's Max's birthday, so I thought it'd be nice to surprise him and take him somewhere fun for once. So…can we have some chicken wings?"
If Maria had been holding anything on her tray, she would have dumped it either over Michael's head or in his lap. She didn't know which, but it didn't matter because she had only her tray. She thought briefly about smacking him with it, but decided against it. Instead, she turned her attention to Max, who sat there trying to pretend he was invisible. She took some sympathy on him, knowing that he probably hadn't wanted to come here in the first place, much less on his own birthday, and what fate probably had in store for him later on tonight. He looked so pathetic, and Maria didn't exactly have a heart of stone. Unless she was talking about Michael anytime in the past four years, but this was Max. So she ignored Michael's comment and turned towards Max.
"Would you like the spicy or house variety?" She asked in a calm, soothing voice. Max's head jerked up, and caught Maria's small, but sincere smile. He felt like crying for some odd reason.
"Spicy, please," his low voice husky. Maria nodded, and wrote her order down on the pad. "Any beverages to go with that?" she asked, all professional now.
"Two cherry cokes," Michael declared. "And step on it, toots." Maria lost her control and gave him the coldest death glare he had ever seen, one that rivaled even Max's. Upon inspection, he was faintly surprised to discover that his face had not turned to ice. She turned on her stiletto heels and sauntered to the kitchen to place her order. Max and Michael stared after her, Michael in longing, Max in disbelief. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Max still couldn't get over it. Maria…here…really here. In real life. That just posed the question: where is Liz, then? Max tried to give it more thought, but the music was too loud. It was Lit, and some bottled blonde with an inch of dark roots and a rhinestone-studded bikini was doing back flips across the runway to it. Max couldn't concentrate.
Maria showed up two minutes later with their chicken and drinks. She set down the wings on the table in front of Max, and gave him his drink. Michael looked expectantly for his, and Maria just gave him a smug smile.
"Hey," Michael said, eyeing his drink. "I paid for that. Hand it over." Maria just kept smiling at him, trying to come off as demure.
"Ah, hon," she smiled, sporting a southern accent, "not until you take back that 'toots' comment." Michael glared at her. Then slapped her ass. Stunned, Maria began to fume. Max wanted to put his head in his hands and just die. This was not what he had in mind for a birthday at all. What he had wanted to do was sulk around his dorm, maybe watch a John Hughes film, but not this. Where were the Counting Crows when you needed them?
Maria didn't waste a second chance. She plucked up the cherry coke from the tray, set the tray down, and up-ended the coke over Michael's head. She flashed him some pearly-whites, picked up her tray, and smacked him with it. Michael sat there, humiliated and appalled at this turn of events.
"Why you little, snot-nosed, up-tight, screechy little bitch! The hell was that for!?"
"*WHAT!?* What did you call me!? You fucking ingrate!! I gave you everything I had, my love, my affection, my virginity, my life, and this, this is how you greet me after ditching me four fucking YEARS AGO!?" Maria was on the verge of hysteria, and of attracting the house manager. Max, his cheeks aflame, reached across Michael and tapped Maria to gain her attention. She looked at him, and he pointed to the big, burly man in the back who was now staring at them. Behind part of the mask, he could see her start to blush. She backed a foot away, and then looked back at Michael. The Lit song started to die down, and Maria's gaze snapped back to Max.
"Oh, God, Max, you should…get out. Leave, go, please, just…trust me on this." Max didn't understand. Why would she want him to leave? Why did she suddenly get that deer-in-headlights look? Max could feel a chill start to crawl up his back.
Suddenly, a very, very familiar song kicked up over the loud speakers. "Hanging By a Moment" by Lifehouse came on. Max could feel the hair on the back of his neck start to rise. Something big was about to go down…
"And now, the moment most of you have been waiting for, the angel to you heart, the beauty that you desire, the one, the only, Mary Sinclair!"
Almost against his will, Max looked to where the spotlight landed. A hole in the stage opened up, and up popped Mary, wearing a long, white loose robe and a pair of white wings made from real feathers. Only Mary wasn't Mary. She was Liz. His Liz. The one and only.
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