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 hope...in 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?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
|Three days later
"Please, Max," Michael begged his friend as they sat together in the hospital cafeteria.
"I don't know, Michael. I feel kinda weird about this," Max spoke as he sipped his drink.
"Max. I can't...I just need someone to feel her out...see if she still..." Michael hung his head. "For all I know she could be married."
"Michael, you haven't seen any husband-like men visit her, have you?" Max asked.
"Well, no," Michael answered. "But I do have other patients. I haven't monitored her every visitor."
"I'm sure if she knew that you were back..." Max reasoned.
"I'm afraid," Michael interrupted. After the initial shock wore off, Michael understood why Maria had chosen to leave Roswell and start a new life as a new person. Still, Michael hoped that Maria held him in her heart the way he kept her in his. He knew that Maria would experience severe shock when she learned he was back, and was her doctor. Michael considered her fragile condition and debated whether or not to even tell Maria at all. But in his soul, he knew that wasn't even an alternative. If there was any chance, the slightest chance at all, that Maria could love him again, then he had to act upon it.
"Look, Max. Liz said that Maria had such a hard time before....I just don't want to bring her any unnecessary pain. If you could talk to her. Just find out if she is really..." Michael hung his head again and sighed. "...Really over me, then I won't bother her." Michael's heart stung when he forced out the admission that Maria may not want him in her life. During the time since he'd discovered Marianna was Maria, he'd done a lot of thinking. He dealt with anger...a lot of anger. But ultimately, he understood her decision. He'd decided that if she was happy, truly happy without him, then he would let her remain that way...happy without him. He wanted desperately for Maria to be in his life again, but even more than that, he wanted to see her happy.
"Fine," Max said defeated. He related to Michael's anxiety. He'd been just as anxious when he found Liz, and then just as heartbroken to find out she'd moved on without him. Even after Liz and Jackson broke up, Max settled for friendship with the girl of his dreams just to keep her in his life. Having recently found out that she'd lied to him for years hurt him deeply. Without hesitation, he understood why Liz had complied with Maria's request in telling Michael a false truth. But he had a very difficult time believing Liz could lie to him so easily. He remembered a time when the two vowed to have no secrets.
Max looked at Michael's stress-worn face and saw the desperate hope in his eyes. He couldn't deprive his best friend such an opportunity. "What time is she checking out?" Max asked.
"Four o'clock," Michael answered unable to hide his excitement.
"How much longer, Mama?" Hope asked as she helped her mother slide into the sandals Alex and Liz had picked up from her apartment.
"Only two hours to go," Maria answered from the wheelchair she'd been placed in for her hospital release. She smiled at her 7-year-old daughter grateful to be able to see her again. Maria focused on her bouncing blonde pigtails and thanked God that her blindness had been temporary. Since her sight had returned the night before, Maria had spent hours looked out her window at anything and everything. When morning arrived and Hope joined her in her room, Maria realized the many miracles with which she'd been blessed. "I am so lucky to have you," Maria said as she held her foot out for Hope to buckle the straps on the shoes.
"Yep, I know," Hope answered.
Maria laughed at her daughter's innocence. She looked at Alex and asked, "Did you teach her this arrogance?"
"No ma'am," Alex answered and pointed behind his back to Liz who stood next to him.
"I don't believe that for a second," Maria joked.
When Hope finished with Maria's shoes, she moved to sit in her mother's lap. She looked slyly at Alex and whispered, "Can we show her now?"
"Hope!" Liz spoke.
"What's going on?" Maria smiled realizing that her friends likely got her a going-home gift.
"Okay, okay," Alex said reaching for the shoulder bag they'd used to bring Maria some clothes. "We picked up a few things for you in the gift shop."
Hope jumped from her mother's lap and dashed across the room to join Alex and Liz. She giggled uncontrollably as Alex reached into the bag.
"First," Alex spoke. "Take her this," he said handing Hope a small item.
Hope wrapped her tiny hands around the item and laughed as she skipped over to her mother. "Here!" she shouted as she opened her hands and tossed a plastic fishing worm at Maria.
"Aaah!" Maria shouted and backed away from the flying worm. When it landed in her lap, she picked up the sparkly blue work between her thumb and forefinger and dangled it in the air. "What is this?" she asked confused.
"Wait, there's more," Alex said smiling. "We're just getting warmed up."
Liz shook her head. The jokes were fun, but she knew that as soon as Alex gave her the cue and exited with Hope, that she had a world of trouble to lie on her friend. The secret was out. Everyone knew except Maria. Since Max confronted her with the truth, she'd worried about how to tell Maria. Though she had daily reminded herself that she was simply honoring her best friend's request, Liz felt continuous guilt. She felt guilty for lying to Michael, Isabel and Max.... and she felt guilt when she looked at Hope. But it was time. The day she dreaded for years had finally arrived.
Once again, Hope giggled as she crossed the room to deliver the next surprise for Maria. She tossed a plastic tree frog at her mom.
Maria shook her had and placed the frog onto Hope's shoulder. "Your new pet," she laughed.
"And we have one more," Alex said.
Maria's eyes grew wide. "I don't think I want anything else you might have in that bag," she joked.
Hope rubbed her hands together with excitement. "Yes, you do Mama!" she announced as she again joined Alex and his bag of goodies.
Maria warned, "If any more creepy crawlies come my way..." She drew a deep breath and held it as Hope presented her next surprise.
Hope smiled ear-to-ear. "We wanted to wait until you could see it," she spoke.
"Breath," Alex reminded Maria.
"Oh my gosh!" Maria screamed as she focused on the gold statue Hope held. "I won? I won!"
"Yep," Alex said. "For Best Album and..." he said as he reached into the bag again. He pulled out a second Grammy and finished, "...and for Best Female Performer."
"Aaahhhh!!" Maria screamed. "I can't believe it!" She smiled and reached out her arms asking Hope and Alex to bring her the awards. "Dang," she said aggravated. "And I missed the after-party!"
"There's always next year," Alex said. "Or we can throw you a party when you're all better."
"Yeah," Maria said as her mind began working. "We can invite everyone. It'll be a big celeb bash!" she said smiling. "And you can bring Belle. Maybe I'll finally get to meet her," Maria said.
Alex's smile dropped. He thought about how angry Isabel had been when she found out he'd been lying to her about Maria. He remembered the door that slammed in his face when he'd gone to her apartment to try to explain. Isabel made it very clear to Alex that she wanted nothing to do with someone who could lie so boldly to her face. He knew Isabel would have a lot to deal with when she finally learned the truth, but he'd really hoped that she would understand why he'd lied. He tried to remind her that there was a time when she'd kept a secret from him. Big mistake. That's when he got the door in the face.
"Um," Alex began. He looked at Liz and could tell she, too, was thinking it was time. "Hope, why don't we take your mom's bag to the car for her?"
When Hope and Alex were gone, Liz sat down across from Maria. She wasn't sure where to begin. She'd rehearsed the moment for days, but her mind was completely blank. She opened her mouth to speak, but dropped her head and stared at her lap. She looked back up at Maria and raised her eye brows in preparation to begin a very serious talk, but bit her lip and moved her eyes to the window.
Maria saw Liz's discomfort. Since childhood, she'd been able to tell when her best friend was holding something back. To lighten the tense mood Liz had apparently worked herself into, Maria joked. "What is it you're not telling me? They're fake, right?" She lifted one of the Grammy's and looked on the bottom. "Did you forget to pull off the 'Made in China' sticker?"
Liz grinned. Maria had always been able to detect Liz's need for a laugh. She wished the moment could be as simple as when they were children. "Maria," she began. "There's something you really need to know." She reached out and took one of Maria's hands.
Liz's actions scared Maria. She feared there was something more to her diagnoses. Immediately her mind began diving into the worst possible scenario. She wondered if there was something more to her diagnosis that the doctor didn't share. She thought that perhaps she was being released from the hospital because there was nothing more the docs could do.
Liz recognized the fear in Maria's eyes and quickly decided she must tell her friend immediately before her friend's overactive imagination ran away with her. "I did it for you. It was what you wanted. But, now I wonder, if I should have told you anyway." Liz's eyes began to water as she spoke. "You and Hope deserved to know. Alex and I thought about telling you a hundred times. But the time was never right." Liz looked down at her feet. Her voice changed and she spoke very seriously as she prepared to break the news to Maria. "There are no excuses. Maria," Liz looked into her friend's terrified eyes. "Maria,"
Liz was interrupted by a knock on the door. She glanced at the closed door and back at Maria. The words were on the tip of her tongue. Liz was torn between the interruption and the need to tell Maria the truth.
"It's okay, Liz" Maria answered Liz's unspoken question. "It's probably just the nurse." She reached out her hand and touched Liz's shoulder. "We can finish when she's done."
Liz looked down and shook her head in agreement. She wiped her tears, stood and walked to the door. When she opened the door, Maria was presented with yet another shocking surprise.
"Hi," Max spoke.
Max and Liz watched as Maria's neck went limp and her head fell back against her wheelchair.
|Part 24 | Index | Part 26
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