Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Chasing Hope"
Part 13
by Candy Doris
Disclaimer: The characters are not ours, just the creative circumstances in this particular fanfic came from our minds.
Summary: All our favorite characters are chasing every sense of the word. When the aliens leave to follow destiny, their earthling counterparts are forced to follow a destiny of their own with Hope being their only guidance. But what happens when the past and future, destiny and hope blend together and the future becomes past and the hope becomes destiny?
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: R
Author's Note: There are two imaginations behind this fanfic. One in California, one in Florida. A chance meeting empowered us to work together, each using our individual talents of editing and writing, respectively, and ultimately taking the first steps in achieving our dreams. Please let us know what you think. (Your conscious will eat you alive until you do!) Please copy both of us at the following email address: &
"Isabel," Alex spoke putting his hand on his girlfriend's shoulder. "I promised her. Hope is expecting Prince Alex to take her to the ball."

"I know. I understand," Isabel said touching Alex's hand that still rested on her shoulder. She sat in the padded stood of her vanity putting on the final touches for her evening's attire. "It's okay Alex." Isabel tried to assure Alex she was content with going to the Grammy's alone. "I'll see you at the party afterwards. Besides, my publicist says an openly unavailable model is twice her worth." She smiled at Alex as she motioned for him to help her fasten the diamond necklace lent to her for the night by (Expensive Jeweler in LA). "Performing at the Grammy's is a very big deal...not to mention the tension she must be feeling having been nominated for two awards."

Isabel stood and twirled in her flowing, blue chiffon strapless. "How do I look?" she asked.

Alex was overwhelmed with emotions. "Beautiful," he answered honestly.

"And you Sir," Isabel began reaching to straighten the bow on Alex's traditional black tux, "are going to be the most handsome prince at the ball."

Alex took Isabel's hand and kissed it softly. "Don't want to mess up your makeup," Alex explained the kiss that would have otherwise been on her lips. "Gotta run to pickup my tiny princess," Alex said. "See you there?"

"You got that right," Isabel said sassing Alex as she headed back for her vanity. "Tell Hope I said hello and give Marianna my best wishes."

Alex left Isabel's apartment and headed for Maria's to pick up two of his best girls. He thought how lucky he was to have Isabel and how guilty he felt about not telling Maria the truth. He worried that the truth would one day come out and that both his loves would be angry with him - Maria for not knowing Michael was back on Earth and Isabel for not knowing Marianna was Maria, alive and extremely well.

Alex loved Maria and Hope dearly. He wondered if he'd made a mistake by not telling her Michael was back from Antar. He wondered if he'd helped her or hurt her. He wondered if Hope felt deprived of a father. Worst of all, he had the knowledge to change all that and was afraid to share the knowledge with Maria. Originally, Alex made the decision not tell Maria about Michael because he wanted to protect her from pain. Now, he felt he couldn't tell her for selfish reasons - so she wouldn't be angry with him. Those selfish reasons were eating at Alex something awful.

Alex arrived home and knocked on the door.

"Mr. Whitman, why do you knock on your own door?" Lupe asked with surprise when she opened the door.

"Because I'm picking up my girls for a date. Are they ready?" Alex asked as he poked his head inside to look around at the empty living room. "Figures. Just like a couple of girls. Always gotta be fashionably late."

"I'll go see how long," Lupe smiled opening the door wider to invite Alex to come in.

"Thanks," Alex said taking a seat on the couch.

In a few moments, Maria descended the stairs. Alex stood and watched as she came down the stairs. "Oh my gosh," Alex exclaimed placing his hand over his heart. "You look amazing!"

Maria wore a full-length fuchsia gown with a scoop neck lined with tiny rhinestones. Her dangly diamond earrings brushed at her bare shoulders with each step she took. When she reached Alex, Maria looked skyward and batted her long eyelashes as she extended her right hand for Alex to kiss.

Alex knelt to one knee and took Maria's hand. "My lady," he spoke and kissed her hand.

Maria broke her composure and excitedly jumped in place. "What do you think? " she asked grinning from ear to ear.

"Wow," Alex said shaking his head. "Marianna is gonna break some hearts tonight." Maria blushed a little and hit Alex playfully in the arm.

"Ouch!!!" Alex feigned hurt. "What? You don't want to kill your prince before the ball, do you?"

Maria rolled her eyes as she sighed, "You poor baby. I barely touched you. Now if what you want is pain, then..." Though Alex was lucky enough to catch the look in Maria's eyes, he was not lucky enough to avoid the pinch she gave him on the forearm.

"Someone help!!!!!!! This lady is out of control," Alex playfully cried.

Maria giggled. "Sorry, Alex. I mean...I..." Maria changed her tone and admitted her fear. "I'm kinda nervous."

"Marianna???? Nervous????????????" Alex joked unable to believe Maria could possibly fear anything considering all she'd been through the past few years.

Maria sighed, "I don't know why, but I feel that something is going to happen tonight. It's a strange feeling that's been bugging me all day. I mean, you know how much my career means to me, but what about if I've gotten my hopes up for nothing. What if I don't win anything?"

"Maria, you know that win or not, you will always have my support...and your daughter's support as well. In our eyes, you have already won. We don't care if the industry awards you or not. We love you. I'm sure your fans feel the same way." Alex realized Maria's concern.

Maria was still unsure. "Alright, what if I do win? What if I cry Alex? Oh God, and then my mascara will run. Or worse! What if I trip? And everyone will make fun of me and I'll be on the cover of tomorrow's newspapers looking like some disoriented clown. And kids will be scared of me and everyone will stop listening to my music. And then my fantasies will be ruin and my life will be over. And then..."

"Breathe, Maria." Alex said moving forward to embrace his friend and help calm her fears. "Just breathe. Everything will turn out fine. And who cares if you cry? If eyes are the windows to the soul, then every now and then those windows need a little Windex."

Maria smiled a full-blown smile. "You think so?" Maria asked trying to regain her composure.

"I know so," Alex promised.

"Thanks, Alex. You're the best," Maria hugged Alex tight and Alex returned her affection.

"Where's my little princess?" Alex asked

"She's still getting ready. I wouldn't let the stain-queen put on her dress until just before time to leave. She's so excited about wearing her purple sparkly dress. She's been practicing walking in the mirror." Maria chuckled to herself thinking how Hope acted a lot like she did in her younger years. "How come you're running so late?" Maria asked Alex who was usually the model of a timely date.

"I was with Belle," Alex answered. "She's going tonight, too."

"What?!" Maria exclaimed in surprise. "Why didn't you tell me? We could have arranged to sit together." Maria paused before continuing in a much more serious tone. "Is she going alone?"

"Well, I told her I would hang out with her after the awards at the party." Alex spoke in a nonchalant voice not wanting to upset Maria on her big night.

"Alex," Maria began. "You should be with her tonight."

"But what you and Hope?" Alex asked.

"We have each other," Maria said. She knew Hope would be slightly disappointed, but she also knew a 7-year-old would forgive and forget a lot faster than a serious girlfriend. "Hope will be fine. I think it's more about the whole affair for her...the grandness of the night."

Alex wanted to be with Isabel, but he'd made a promise to Maria and Hope. He loved them both and did not want to hurt them. "No," he thought to himself. "A promise is a promise."

Maria could see the firmness in his face. She knew he needed a little extra push. "Hey, have you ever thought of this? If I do win, which would be incredibly awesome by the way, then the television cameras will be all over me and whom I am with. As much as I would love that to be you, it wouldn't help me with being Marianna. Anyone and Everyone who knew Maria will recognize you and will likely put two and two together. Then my cover will be blown." Maria saw Alex begin to consider what she'd just said. She knew it wouldn't take much more to convince him to go be with Belle. She wanted Alex to be happy. He'd given up so much to make her a success. He deserved happiness and she knew Belle seemed to be making him very happy.

"Go," Maria said. "Be with your girlfriend."

Alex smiled at Maria's words. Girlfriend.

Maria stepped forward and slightly shoved Alex to emphasize her point. "Go,"

Alex kissed Maria on the forehead and said, "Good luck." He reached into his pocket and handed Maria a small box. "Give this to Hope for me?" He grabbed his cell phone and began to dial Isabel's number as he headed out to his car.

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