Fanfic - Michael/Maria
"Chasing Hope"
Part 5
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?
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: alienaddict4ros@hotmail.com & mdomingjr@aol.com
"Hello?" Liz asked holding the cordless telephone to her ear.

"Liz!" Maria screamed not stopping for a breath before continuing to yell into the receiver. "Liz, I did it. I mean, we did...Alex and me. You might want to sit down for this." Maria paused involuntarily as her lungs demanded a breath. She breathed deeply once and finished her news with just as much passion and at the same ear-piercing volume as she had begun. "I've got a record deal!"

"Whoa, Maria. Slow down," Liz said holding the phone away from her ear.

"Liz, we did it. I begin work next month on an album. I just can't believe it. I am leaving the signing right now. I couldn't wait to call you," Maria spoke excitedly as she pushed through the revolving glass doors of Dream Entertainment Industries.

Alex walked a few steps ahead of her pushing through the crowded L.A. sidewalk clearing a path while chanting, "Clear out, folks. Celebrity coming through. Make room, people. The next Whitney Houston coming down this very sidewalk. Come on, people, give us some space here."

"Congratulations, Maria! That's so great," Liz's voice broke as she continued, "I'm so happy for you and Alex."

"Liz?" Maria questioned her friend detecting an emotion in her voice not stemming from an overwhelming sense of happiness. "Is something wrong?"

"Maria, I really am happy for you. You've worked so hard for three years now to get something like this," Liz spoke trying to hide the anxiety in her voice.

"But," Maria prompted Liz.

Liz fought the need to tell her best friend everything. She wanted to tell Maria about the marks she hid at the hospital when Hope was born. She wanted to tell her about the empty promises Jackson made time and time again and about the numerous attempts she made to leave Jackson only to be coaxed back by colorful lies. Liz looked at the square diamond set on a thin platinum band that weighed as much as lead on her finger. She desperately wanted to tell her friend about the emotional war raging in her mind, and too often her bones. Instead, she opted to keep the latest twist of fate to herself and let Maria's news be the pinnacle.

"No 'but,' Maria. I am so happy for you...and for Alex - the big manager," she said trying to sound as enthusiastic as possible. Liz truly was happy for Maria and Alex. The two were a great team. They set their minds to accomplishing a feat and were doing just that. They started over in a new town - successfully. And now they are on their way to being successful in the music world.

Maria felt certain something was wrong, but she decided not to push her friend. Maria knew that when Liz was ready, she would share with her.

"So," Liz continued, "what are you going to sing?"

"Are you kidding?" Maria laughed. "Whatever they tell me to sing. I'm not so big I can make musical demands..." Maria paused before adding emphasis to say, "...yet!" Both girls giggled at the idea.

Nearly an hour later, when Maria and Liz had talked the record deal to death, Liz hung the phone back on the wall. She stood quietly for a moment with her eyes closed as she leaned her back against the wall. Finally, she opened her eyes and surrendered to the inescapable force. She walked into her bedroom, knelt next to the bed, and reached into the darkness beneath the frame. She searched relentlessly until she found the loose board in the hardwood floor. Liz pulled the board from the floor and removed her journal from its prolonged hiding place. She blew dust from the cover and brushed the surface with her palm.

Liz found a pen in her purse and sat at her desk preparing to embark on a familiar, but long overdue, rendezvous with her journal. She flipped the pages until she found her last entry. She turned one more page and began to write:

I'm Liz Parker - engaged to be Liz Adair. It's been over a year since I've had the desire to write what I feel. In fact, I think I've forgotten how to even feel anything on my own. You see, dependence is an emotional cancer. It starts out small and innocent - he suggests what you wear on a date, he orders for you at the restaurant, he goes grocery shopping with you. The next thing you know, he handles your finances and expects you to go nowhere without him. And finally, dependence rears its ugly head and you let him tell you what to feel, when to feel, and how to feel. Lately the "how" has been via slaps, pushes, and punches.

I should have left him months ago. I should have left the first time he raised a hand to me. But that's the funny thing about dependence. You don't think you can leave him; you're afraid to be without him; you actually forget how to live without him.

He apologizes - a lot. I acquired my latest fading blue mark on my shoulder three nights ago. I came home late after spending extra time in the lab to complete an assignment. (Or from work if you want her to be already graduated from college at this point.) Jackson had let himself into my apartment and was waiting on me. He said I was unthoughtful and inconsiderate not to have let him know I'd be late. He said a girl shouldn't be out late by herself. That it was dangerous. Funny thing though - I wasn't scared until I came home. I was feeling feisty that night and I yelled, "I don't have to report to you! I am perfectly capable of..." That's when he grabbed my shoulders to shake some sense into me.

I shouldn't have said it. I knew that the minute I saw his face go from angry to out-of-control. I can always tell when his anger is about to boil over. The crease between his eyebrows gets tight. His eyes bulge until they threaten to pop out. His upper lip curls, his jaw locks, and he takes one long, deep breath. Strange...I always thought deep breathing was supposed to help control anger.

Everything changed tonight, though. Everything. In my world, the word "impossible" is one I have rarely known. Expect the unexpected; believe the unbelievable; and never say never. I was shot and healed all in the same moment. I met aliens. I closed my eyes and "dreamed" my way from New Mexico to New York. Still, I never thought this was possible.

Tonight...well, it started when I was bringing groceries into my apartment. I lugged two bags of groceries into the kitchen, dropped them on the counter, and turned to go out for more. I stopped suddenly and slowly turned around to verify what I thought I had seen. I gasped abruptly and brought my hand to my pounding chest when my eyes found the bottle of Tabasco sauce sitting on the round dining table. A single white rose lay next to the bottle. My breathing quickened and I reached for the counter to steady my weakening body. "Max," I whispered into the quiet room.

"How'd you know?" a voice answered from behind.

I swung around immediately and began crying at the sight of him.

"Not exactly the welcome I had hoped for," Max smiled.

I took one small step and ran the rest of the way to Max. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my crying eyes in his shoulder. I held him intently refusing to let him go. Finally I pulled my face away and looked at him. "It's really you. How?"

Max cupped my face with his hands and said, "The war is over. We've come...home."

"To stay?" I asked as a smile began replacing my tears.

Max nodded his head to confirm my hopes. I thought of Max every day that he was away. Though Jackson has been in my life for some time now, I have never stopped dreaming of Max at night. I dream of the night he first climbed my balcony to kiss me goodnight; I dream of the rave when we danced together; I dream of the fear, sheer excitement, and intrigue I felt when Max told me where he came from. At that moment, Max was my only thought. My mind was so full with Max that no room was left for Jackson.

Michael and Isabel slowly walked in through the door I had left open. "Can we come in now?" Isabel asked smiling ear-to-ear.

"Isabel! Michael! Oh! You're all back!" I embraced Isabel and smiled at Michael.

I doubted the reality of the moment. But only for a moment. Leave it to Isabel to notice. "Whoa!" Isabel exclaimed and stretched her arm to pull my hand for a closer view. "What is this?"

Jackson was forced back into my mind. I wasn't ready for that. I needed time to prepare for how I would tell Max. I needed time to script my words. I fumbled, "Oh, yeah...um...I" I looked at Max who stared at the diamond ring on my hand.

"Who is he?" Max asked without looking at me. His eyes remained on the ring, but I was sure he could see right into my soul. He looked afraid...afraid to hear the answer to his own question.

"His name is Jackson. He's an astronomers." I said nervously.

"Congratulations," Max said sadly. I think I actually saw his hopes fall to the floor. At that very moment, my hopes fell, too. Why did I have to be with Jackson? The moment should have been so perfect. He'd returned for me, but I was gone. I hurt for Max, but I hurt for me, too.

The awkward silence was interrupted when Michael asked, "So, where is everybody? How's Alex, Kyle...Maria?"

Honestly, I wanted to tell him the truth. I wanted to tell Michael where to find Maria. But I'd seen Maria fall so deeply when he left...and now she is out of that hole and climbing a mountain. I couldn't bear the thought of her losing him again. Besides, I wasn't sure if Michael and Isabel were together. When Alex and Maria moved to L.A., Maria and I made a promise that if the Czechs ever returned to Roswell, then I'd tell the story we created. "Oh, Michael. Um...Well, Kyle is in his junior year at UNM. Alex moved to L.A. And...Maria...she died three years ago," I lied relating the date she and Alex left town.

"What?" Isabel sounded stunned. Rightfully so. "Maria...is dead?" Her voice cracked as she finished her question.

"How?" Michael asked refusing to allow an ounce of emotion to cross his face. Years of battle on Antar had apparently hardened him.

"Car accident," I answered quietly hating to lie and hoping they wouldn't ask me to go into detail. I really wanted to tell Michael about Los Angeles and Hope. I felt Michael deserved to know the truth about his beautiful little girl. Hope is so smart and growing like a weed. Each time I see her she looks more and more like Michael. But I'd made a promise. Getting over Michael had been hard enough on Maria the first time he left. If Michael leaves again, it may kill Maria.

"Oh," Michael replied and turned to leave. Isabel followed him out of the apartment. The two came into my apartment smiling and happy. I sent them away with lowered heads and sad. But I wanted to know if the Michael and Isabel were sad at the loss of two friends, or two...

I couldn't stand not knowing so I asked, "Are they?"

Before I could finish asking, Max interrupted and answered, "No. They tried. But I guess it just wasn't written in the stars." Max smiled sadly at the irony. "We're not the same people we were in our previous lives. We're Max, Michael, and Isabel - not Zan, Rath, or Lonnie. And Michael and Isabel are without a doubt not destined to be together. They've really been more like brother and sister all their lives."

I looked down and finally found an opportunity to ask what I'd been wondering since Max arrived. "And Tess?"

"She didn't come back," Max replied.

I tried to conceal the smile sneaking across my face. "Oh?" I asked. "That's a shame," I said as sincerely as my lying lips would allow. I knew I had no right to ask, considering Jackson was in my life, but I felt a little relief knowing Max wasn't with Tess. Actually, I was completely relieved. Even more than the pain that struck me knowing he was back and I was unavailable, was the idea that he may not have come back for me. I desperately wanted him to have returned for me. Is that nuts? I mean, I am unavailable...at the moment, but I want him to want me back.

"No, it's not," Max, said rather matter-of-factly. I looked at him slanting my eyes thinking he must have heard my thoughts. He disconfirmed my concerns and said, "It's not a shame."

I smiled with a little relief, but I almost wish he had heard my thoughts. At least then he would know. He returned my smile. We smiled together. Together. My knight in shining armor had returned. And as all knights worth their title must rescue a damsel in distress, Max needs to rescue me. I need him to rescue me from the life I have unsuccessfully attempted to build without him.

Max suddenly said, "Well, I'll see you around," He must have felt awfully out of place in a world that had moved on without him. If only he knew the truth. If only he knew how urgently I need him to salvage what remains of the Liz he knew five years ago. The Liz who wouldn't take this kind of physical and emotional abuse from a stranger, much less her very own fiancÚ. The Liz who stood up for herself and what she believed in even when it brought distance between she and her mother. The Liz who laughed. The Liz who danced alone on her balcony and loved life.

As Max walked toward the door, I had to say something. Say anything to keep him there just a few minutes longer. In fact, I didn't want him to ever leave again. "Max, I didn't think you would ever..." I began.

"I know," Max interrupted me turning around with his head down. "I didn't expect you to wait on me." He tried to force a smile. "I'm really happy for you." Then Max left.

So now...now I wait. I wait for him to rescue me...again.

Part 4 | Index | Part 6
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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