Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Can't Find a Better Man"
Part 10
by Ariana
Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Summary: Sequel to "Just Like Me"
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
Maria made it back to the Crashdown just in time for her shift, "Hey babe."

"Hey, where were you I called Valenti's but Kyle said you took off with Liz and Alex?" Michael asked as he checked on the cooking fries.

Maria felt very cheerful, "You'll never believe where I took Alex and Liz. They've been feeling down lately, so we went to see a fortune teller."

"You went to see a fortune teller," Michael looked at her as if she were crazy.

Maria nodded, "Yeah and you should hear what she said about us."

Michael held up his spatula, "Wait a minute, you talked to a fortune teller…about us."

"Don't get upset," Maria told him. "She told me that we would be together forever." Maria waited for a reaction out of him, but Courtney came sashaying in. "No waitresses in the kitchen," was the first thing that came to her head and out her mouth.

Courtney ignored her, "Hey, Mikey G. You got my order yet?"

"Yeah right there," Michael pointed to food he had just finished preparing.

Courtney balanced the tray of food on one hand, "Takeoff Tacos, Plutonium Platter, and the Greek God salad, light on the feta. You're such a good boy." She used her free hand to slap Michael on the butt.

Maria stood there with a look of disgust as Courtney left. Michael didn't know what to say, "She put in that order before I got busy."

Maria was amazed at how Courtney's presence can drastically change her mood, "Oh, give it up Guerin. What's going on with her?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I want to know," Michael stated.

"Michael," Maria said with an edge to her voice because that wasn't exactly what she wanted to hear.

Michael added, "I don't trust her."

"Neither do I," Maria snapped.

"I mean, there's something going on with her," Michael explained. "Another new face in town. Arrived this summer after the signal went out. Her picture was in Whitaker's office. Constantly hanging around me, always giving me these looks."

"So, do you think she's an alien?" Maria began to think that Michael was making some sense.

Michael shrugged his shoulders, "Or with the government. I don't know."

"Well, I'll tell you what I know, Mikey G," Maria's voice dripped with disdain. "The slut wants in your pants."

A light bulb went off in Michael's head, "That might work. Oh nice."

"What might work, Michael?" Maria had her hands on her hips.

Michael didn't think it was a good idea to tell Maria about his plan because he knows how she feels about Courtney. "Oh, it's nothing," he said as he reverted his attention back to the grill.

"Whatever Michael," Maria left the kitchen in a huff.

"Note to self," Michael thought in his mind. "Buy some tulips for Maria."

* * * Maria was still hard at work when Michael left the Crashdown that night and he decided to put his plan into action when he noticed that Courtney got off at the same time.

"Hey Courtney, you really shouldn't walk home alone at night," Michael called out to her from the back alley of the Crashdown.

Courtney wore a smirk on her lips, "Mikey G, I didn't know you cared."

Michael wanted to roll his eyes, but he resisted, "Come on I'll give you a ride."

She took the helmet her offered her and slipped it over her head, "I live in the duplex on the corner of Elm and Madison."

Michael felt guilty as Courtney wrapped his arms around him. He ignored her closeness as he revved up his motorbike and just prayed Maria didn't come out to say good-bye to him.

"Thanks for the ride," Courtney said once he reached her place.

Michael replied, "No problem."

She handed him the helmet; "You handle your machine really good."

"Thanks," Michael said hooking the helmet to the back of the bike.

"Well, I guess it's time for another night curled up in my sheets, fondling my remote control," Courtney hinted to him in a seductive nature.

Michael knew what was coming, "I guess."

Courtney smiled, "Unless, of course, you want to be my remote control for the night?"

"I'd better go home," Michael told her.

"Too bad," Courtney moved in a little closer. "Well…good night." Courtney forced her lips onto his.

Michael felt like he betrayed Maria, but it was the only way he could get the dirt on Courtney. "Maria, forgive me," he thought before saying. "What the hell." He got off his bike and followed Courtney inside. Her home was small and slightly messy completely unlike Maria's room.

"Make yourself comfortable," Courtney said, happy that she finally had a chance with him.

Michael wished he was anywhere but there, he would actually rather be with Maria. Just being there in Courtney's house will cost him a fortune in tulips for Maria.

"Do you want anything to drink or eat?" Courtney offered trying to be a good hostess.

"No, I'm fine thanks," Michael tried to be polite.

Courtney put her hands on his shoulders, "Wait I have a better idea." She began massaging his shoulders and upper back. "Just what the doctor ordered after a long day's work."

Even though the massage felt great he was still uncomfortable. "So how long have you lived in Roswell, anyway?"

"A few months," she replied.

"What brought you here?" he questioned.

Courtney shared, "I've always been into the whole alien thing, I guess, but I have to admit, the sightseeing has exceeded my expectations. What now?"

Michael could feel her breath on his neck, "Shower."

"Let's," Courtney jumped at the chance.

Michael disagreed, "Just you."

"What?" Courtney dropped her hands.

Michael had to come up with a good lie; "I'm a germ-a-phobe. A clean girl is a sexy girl."

"OK, water sports. I like it," Courtney heads to the bathroom. "I'll play any game you want me to, Mikey G."

The second he heard running water Michael began snooping around her place for anything suspicious. He opened up a cabinet and he found it full of skin lotion. He thought that was rather odd, but a noise coming from outside distracted him. It was coming from the front door and when he swung it open he came face to face with Maria.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Michael didn't want Maria to know he was there.

Maria resisted the urge to smack him, "Investigating Courtney. What are you doing here, hound?"

"No, I'm investigating Courtney," Michael didn't want Maria to find out what had been going on. "Get out of here."

"No, no, no," Maria didn't forget her purpose. "I found a picture of you, Max and Isabel in her locker, and your face was circled."

"No way," Michael said surprised.

Courtney yelled from the bathroom, "Maybe you should put on some tunes, baby."

"Bastard," Maria uttered realizing that he was doing more than investigating.

Michael tried to explain, "I had to get her out of the room somehow." He yelled back to Courtney, "Good idea, baby."

"I…I'm gonna retch," Maria's face started to pale.

Michael was going to have to fix the problem with Maria later. "OK, I've got the situation under control, so get out of here…seriously."

"If you lay one hand on her," Maria started to warn.

Michael responded, "No one is laying anything on anyone."

As if she could hear their conversation Courtney's voice boomed, "By the way, you are an amazing kisser."

Maria's heart sank and she couldn't resist any longer. She raised her hand and smacked the back of Michael's head. "You obviously came here for two reasons, huh?" Maria's voice rose in anger.

"Is somebody here?" Courtney asked coming out of the bathroom clad only in a towel.

"Um…here," Maria threw a hair clip at her. "You left that at work." Maria then turned to Michael, "And um…remember how I said we had forever? That was…that was way too optimistic. We're done."

Maria's words cut Michael to the bone as he watched her leave. But he couldn't let her leave, he loved her. "I'm gonna go," he said not waiting for Courtney to respond.

Maria was peeling away from the curb when he made it outside, and he was powerless to stop her. He fished for his keys to his bike, but his pockets were empty. Then he realized that he left them inside.

* * * Maria didn't know what to do, because she knew that inflicting physical pain on both Michael and especially Courtney was out of the question. "How could Michael do this to me?" Maria cried out as she drove through the streets of Roswell.

When she pulled into the Valenti's driveway she concluded that love sucked and that she would never let herself fall in love again. Kyle was the only one home when she entered the house. He was in his usual spot on the couch in front of the TV.

"Hey Maria," Kyle greeted not taking his eyes off the baseball game on TV.

Maria answered in a small strained voice, "Hey."

"Do you want some left over pizza?" Kyle offered finally looking at her.

Maria quickly wiped away the fresh tears that began to fall. "No thanks, I think I'm just going to go to bed."

"Good night," Kyle could now tell that there was something wrong.

Maria tried to keep her voice steady, "Good night Kyle." She closed the door of Kyle's room and peeled off her Crashdown uniform and pulled on her most comfortable pair of pajamas. She figured Tess could take the floor that night as Maria curled up into a ball. For a brief moment Maria wondered where Tess was, but was a bit too consumed in her own grief to care. Maria closed her eyes but all she could see was Courtney in only a towel alone with Michael. She took out her frustrations by punching her pillow until her balled fists began to hurt.

A soft knock on the door made her stop. "Maria," Kyle said.

"Just a minute," Maria ran her fingers under eyes to stop the tears from falling. Kyle was standing on the other side looking a little grim.

"Michael is on the phone," Kyle informed her. "Do you want to talk to him?"

Maria shook her head; "No…I can't talk to him right now."

Kyle nodded, "I'll tell him."

Maria knew Michael wouldn't give up that easily, but she needed time to get her head straight. "Oh and Kyle, can you tell him that if he ever wants me to speak to him again he will give me the time I need and let me come to him."

"OK," Kyle replied as he trekked down the hall.

Curiosity got the better of her and she eavesdropped on the conversation. She was relieved that Kyle did what she asked that she told him, "Thank you."

Kyle hung up the phone; "Do you want to talk about it?"

"I'm really tired right now," Maria said and Kyle understood.

Kyle offered, "Well I'm here if you need me, I guess."

Kyle's sincerity gave Maria a little ease. "Thank you Kyle." In her need to be close to someone who actually cared about her feelings Maria wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Kyle was caught off guard when Maria hugged him, but he knew she was distressed so he gave her the comfort she needed.

* * * Tess was a little upset that Maria wouldn't get out of bed the next morning. Maria disregarded anything Tess said because Tess had never been in love before, at least in this lifetime. Kyle must have told his father that Michael and Maria were having problems because Valenti didn't make Maria go to school.

Maria finally rolled out of bed, so she could start her shift at the Crashdown. She didn't want to go at first but Mr. Parker reassured her that both Courtney and Michael weren't on the schedule. She thought she would be completely fine once she jumped into the busy dinner shift but the minute she stepped inside the break room she felt the tears well up.

"No," she commanded herself. "Not here and not now." She took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders when she opened her locker. She threw her purse and jacket into it when picture she found in Courtney's locker caught her eye.

Maria traced Michael's perfect features with her finger before grabbing the end and ripping the picture into pieces.

"Maria," Alex said from behind.

Maria didn't know he was there, "Can you just wait outside for a second?"

"Sure," Alex replied but he didn't leave. He heard her let out a sob and he knew Maria never cried, at least in front of him, "Maria, what's wrong?"

"Could you just get out of here?" Maria snapped even though she wasn't mad at him.

Alex wasn't leaving, "What happened?"

Maria opened up; "I found this picture of Michael in Courtney's locker…like some sort of surveillance photo or something."

"Oh my God," Alex thought something was wrong with Michael. "Is he all right?"

"Yeah, he's all right. Actually, he's terrific." Maria's voice began to crack as she continued, "I was worried about him, so I went all the way across town to save his ass, and I get there, and I get there, and…he's already there, and so is Courtney…in a towel."

Alex could see the pain in Maria's eyes as she uttered those words. "Maria," he said as he took her in his arms. "It's going to be okay."

"I actually believed he loved me," Maria sobbed into his shoulder. Alex didn't know what to say because he knew that Michael and Maria's relationship was far more intense then his and Isabel's. Her love troubles made his seem so trivial.

This girl that he held in his arms wasn't the Maria he knew, because the real Maria was strong and took no crap from anyone. He concluded that Michael was the one who reduced her to this. Alex didn't care that Michael had superhuman powers no one does this to his friend.

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