Disclaimer: I own no one Roswell, nor do I own Timmy T's "One More Try," Cowboy Mouth's "Whatcha Gonna Do?" or Pat Benetar's "We Belong."
Summary: Post Heatwave. Maria and Michael are broken up, and Isabel thinks a trip for all 6 teens to her family's cabin is just what M&M need to fix things between them.
|It was around 10:30 when the two cars pulled up outside of a medium sized cabin just across the Colorado New Mexico border. Maria pulled up behind Max in the driveway and cut the engine. The sensation of stopped movement was enough to finally rouse Michael from sleep and he blinked and looked around in confusion. “Where are we?” he asked Maria through a yawn.
“We’re here,” she told him as she opened the door and climbed out. She met up with the other teens on the large porch that covered the entire front of the house. A few moments later Michael joined them.
“Have a nice nap?” Isabel asked sweetly. Michael just glared at her, not happy about having been so abruptly woken up and cranky from sleeping for such a long time in an uncomfortable position in the car.
Maria stretched her arms over her head and looked around the porch. To her left there was a large wooden porch swing and to her right was an assortment of very comfortable looking porch furniture. “Wow,” Maria said. “Tell me you guys don’t just leave that stuff out when you’re not here.”
Max shook his head. “There’s a man named Mr. Wyland who comes by periodically to check on the place. Mom called him up and told him we were coming and he came by and pulled out the furniture for us, turned on the light timers so they’d be on when we got here, and he even said he was going to stock the fridge up for us.”
“Nice,” Alex murmured. Maria agreed silently. It certainly wasn’t the rustic cabin by the lake she’d been picturing.
“Ok,” Isabel said. “We’re all here, let’s get our stuff out of the cars and go inside.”
Everyone agreed and headed back to the two vehicles. They re-met on the porch and Max pulled a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door. The six teenagers entered the house, and the four that hadn’t been there before stopped to look at their new surroundings. They were in a large, airy room that had two large skylights in the ceilings. A very comfortable looking couch, two easy chairs, and a smaller love seat were arranged around the room, which also contained a large fireplace on one wall and an entertainment center complete with TV and VCR on another.
“Ok, Iz, how about you, Liz, and Maria take mom and dad’s room and Michael, Alex, and I will take our room?”
“Works for me,” Isabel said. She picked up one of her suitcases and headed down the hallway, motioning for the two girls to follow her. On the way she gave a mini-tour. “That’s the kitchen,” she said, gesturing to her right. “And that’s Max’s and my room where the boys are staying.” She nodded to an open door on their left, which had two twin beds and a large camping cot set up in it. “And this is our room,” she said grandly, dropping her bags on the floor when they reached the room and the end of the hallway. “Mom and Dad usually sleep in here, but for this trip, it’s ours.” The room had a queen-sized bed and another camping cot already set up in it. It also contained two separate dressers, a fairly large closet, and another door on one side of the room, which Isabel told them led to their private bathroom.
Maria dropped her bags and flopped down on the cot. “Whew, I am so wiped,” she said, rubbing her eyes tiredly.
“Hey, at least you survived the trip with Michael,” Liz said. She looked closely at Maria. “You did survive all right, right?”
Maria nodded. “If you count hours on end of silence as surviving, then yeah, I survived.”
Isabel rolled her eyes. “He can be such a pain in the ass,” she said sympathetically. Then she brightened. “Come on, let’s get our pajamas on and go out to the porch to talk. Max and I used to do it all the time with our parents when we came here when we were younger. It’s kind of a tradition with us.”
Liz and Maria both agreed, happy that Isabel was beginning to open up to them so much, even though Maria was sure she wouldn’t be able to stay out there and stay awake for very long. Maria pulled on a pair of pajama pants with small purple and gray checks on it and a burgundy camisole, Isabel wore her favorite red silk pajamas, and Liz changed into shorts and a long sleeved T-shirt. Then they left their room and headed back down the hall. When they reached the front porch they found that the guys had had the very same idea as they sat there dressed almost identically in pajama pants and tank tops. Max looked at Liz and gestured to the seat beside him on the cushioned wicker couch he was sitting on. With a smile, she went over and joined him, sitting very close to him as he put an arm around her shoulder. Isabel took the chair right next to the one that Alex was sitting in, the two exchanging shy smiles as she did so. Maria refused to even look at Michael, and instead headed for the big circular chair with the large cushion on it that was a little set apart from the others. She settled down comfortably into her chair as the others began talking and laughing. *Mmm, it’s like a giant cat bed or something,* she thought drowsily as she curled up on the cushion and closed her eyes.
About ten minutes later Liz asked Maria a question about the story she and Alex were relating about something the three of them had done once at The Crash Down when they were seven years old. When she didn’t get an answer she looked over and found that Maria was fast asleep. “Hey guys, Maria’s asleep,” she said softly. “Wonder why she was so exhausted.”
Michael glanced over and felt a pang of guilt when he saw how tired she looked. “Probably because she drove the whole time,” he admitted.
“The whole time?” Alex asked incredulously. “Geez, no wonder she’s so wiped.”
“Michael!” Isabel scolded.
Max and Liz just looked at each other and shook their heads. “Hey, I’m sorry,” Michael said, getting defensive. “She never really asked me if I wanted to drive. Well, except for that one time.”
Isabel rolled her eyes. “Well she’s out cold now,” she said. “And we can’t just leave her out here. Michael, can you bring her back to our room, please?” she asked, smiling innocently at him.
Michael looked like he was about to protest, but after a quick look around he changed his mind. “Fine,” he said with a long-suffering sigh. He slowly rose from the other wicker couch where he’d been lying down and made his way over to where Maria slept. He hesitated a moment, just watching how peaceful she was when she slept, then he bent down and lifted her easily into her arms.
He cradled her against him and made his way to the door, which Isabel was holding open for him with her powers. “She’s sleeping on the cot in our room tonight, Michael,” Isabel called after him as she shut the door softly behind him.
Michael headed down the hallway to the room the girls were sharing. Once he was inside, he shifted Maria slightly so that all of her weight rested against his chest and one arm as he pulled back the covers on her cot with his other hand.
When he had done that he looked down at the sleeping girl in his arms. She was cradled comfortably in his arms, her head resting against his chest and her arms wrapped loosely around his neck. He smiled gently and then lowered her down onto the cot. His body immediately felt cold where she had been resting against him and a little voice in his head protested the loss of her body pressed against his. Maria apparently felt the same way, because after Michael had laid her down she reached out beside her for a moment, but finding nothing pulled her arms back with a discontented expression on her sleeping face. Michael pulled the covers up and tucked them around her. Without thinking about his actions, he leaned down and brushed a soft kiss across her forehead. When he realized what he was doing he straightened up quickly and headed for the door.
“Michael,” he heard her murmur behind him. He froze and slowly turned around, forcing himself to remain calm. She had caught him. Great, how was he going to keep up that “stone wall” now? When he turned to face her, however, he saw that her eyes were still closed and the troubled expression on her face had been replaced by a smile. He couldn’t help but smile at her unconscious actions as he stood watching her sleep peacefully. *Like an angel,* the voice in his head said.
The sound of laughter drifting in from the front porch brought him back to reality, and he realized he needed to get out of there before he lost all resolve. He took one more quick look at Maria, who still had a contented smile on her face, and was suddenly very tempted to find out just what was causing that smile. She had said his name, after all. Maybe he could just pop into her dream for a moment. It couldn’t be all that hard, and he had been practicing with his powers lately. Then he shook his head. *Bad idea,* he told himself mentally. *Stone wall, remember?* With a last glance back at Maria he headed back to the front porch to join the others.
There was a sense of peace and a calmness about the whole group from being away from Roswell, as they sat on the porch, and this made them all more comfortable with each other than usual. They all felt so at ease discussing everything from school to family to work that it was long past midnight when they finally left the porch and headed back to their rooms to get some much needed sleep.
Michael lay on his back on the cot in the room the guys were sharing, his arms folded behind his head as he tried to force himself to go to sleep. Alex and Max were both sound asleep in the twin beds, but Michael found himself unable to sleep, his head filled with thoughts of Maria. Though he had repeatedly tried to convince himself he didn’t care, he had to admit he was extremely curious about just what Maria had been dreaming about when she had said his name earlier.
Sighing in frustration Michael rolled over onto his side and reached his hand down towards the floor, searching for his duffel bag. His fingers closed around the bag’s strap and he pulled it closer to the cot. He opened the side pocket, pulled out what he was looking for, and lay back against his pillow.
Michael gently ran his fingers over the picture of Maria that he had taken from Alex’s locker a few weeks earlier. *I won’t be in there long,* Michael told himself. *Just long enough to find out what’s going on in there so I can get some sleep.* Concentrating on the image of Maria, Michael closed his eyes and was soon fast asleep.
Michael opened his eyes and blinked at the bright sunlight that assaulted his vision. When his eyes had adjusted he looked around at his surroundings. *I’m in Maria’s front yard,* he realized.
The thought had just crossed his mind when the front door to Maria’s house opened. Michael backed up, keeping himself on the edge of the dream and out of sight of anyone who was a part of the dream. A tall blond man walked out of the house. In his arms he carried a small blonde girl who was wearing a pale blue sundress and had her hair pulled up into two curly pigtails. The little girl had her arms tightly around the man’s neck and was crying loudly. “Daddy, please don’t go!” she begged. With a sad smile, the man gently removed the girl’s arms from around his neck and set her down on the grass.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” the man said, bending down to kiss the girl’s tearstained cheek, “but I have to go. I love you, Maria.”
Michael froze as he realized that Maria was dreaming about her father abandoning her. Mr. De Luca walked to his car as the little girl dropped her head onto her knees and sobbed like her little heart was breaking. Michael felt his own heart breaking a little for the lost child on the front lawn of the house, knowing all too well how it felt to have someone desert you.
The car disappeared suddenly and someone leaned forward to tap Maria on the shoulder. When she raised her head, she was no longer a crying seven year old child, but the sixteen year old that Michael knew so well. Her curly pigtails had disappeared in favor of her current shorter haircut, and her sundress had been replaced by a long silver evening gown. Michael started when he saw himself standing in front of Maria. He was dressed in a tux and holding his hand out to Maria.
“Michael,” she said happily, taking his hand and rising gracefully to her feet. Then her smile was replaced with a look of puzzlement. “What are you-?”
Michael took her right hand, which he still held in his, and raised it to his lips, kissing it gently. “No more running, no matter what, remember?” he said softly. She smiled back at him as he turned and, still holding onto her hand, led her towards a large silver limousine that was parked at the curb.
The Michael of Maria’s dream helped Maria into the limousine and then climbed in after her, pulling the door closed behind him. Michael himself climbed into the limo before his dream counterpart could close the door, and sat in the backseat on the side of Maria that his dream self was not sitting. The dream Michael put his arm around Maria’s shoulders and she snuggled up close next to him. She sighed contentedly as the limousine started up. To Michael’s surprise, however, the limo didn’t begin to drive down the street, but instead took off up into the air.
“Where are we going?” Michael heard Maria murmur.
“Somewhere we’ll both be happy,” his dream counterpart responded. This was enough for Maria, and she closed her eyes, resting her head against Michael’s shoulder.
Then, suddenly, the Michael she was leaning against disappeared and Maria fell to the side as the limo lurched in the air. “Michael?” she cried, frightened now. It was all Michael could do to continue to conceal himself from her and not try to comfort her. “Michael, where are you? What’s going on?”
The partition between the front and back seat of the limousine slid open to reveal a driver. When the driver turned to face Maria, Michael’s forehead furrowed in confusion as he saw his own face staring back at her. “Michael, what’s happening?” Maria asked in a shaky voice, as the limo continued to pitch and spin through the air.
Michael the driver smirked at Maria. “I’m alone, and that’s how it’s gotta be.”
Tears filled Maria’s eyes and she shrieked as the limo began to plunge downwards. “Michael, what-?”
Michael shivered at both the words his dream self spoke, and the coldness that accompanied them. The limo picked up speed as it plunged downwards, Maria’s screams of terror ringing in Michael’s ears.
Right before the limo hit the ground there was a flash of light, and Michael sat straight up in his cot. He sat for a few moments on his cot, taking deep breaths to calm his pounding heart. The room felt like it was stifling him, and he decided to head out to the porch for some fresh air.
At the front door he paused, sensing another presence already out on the porch. His better than human eyesight let him see that Maria had beaten him out there. She was sitting on the porch swing, her knees curled up with her chin resting atop them, one hand reaching idly out from time to time to gently push off and make the swing rock slowly back and forth.
Michael could see that Maria’s pajamas offered little protection against the cool mountain air, and he grabbed the large cotton blanket that was draped across the back of the couch before he quietly opened the door and joined Maria on the porch.
She didn’t look up as Michael approached her, but he could tell that she knew he was there. He draped the blanket across her shoulders with a mumbled, “Thought you might be cold.”
“Thanks,” she whispered, daring to glance up at him.
He saw the tracks her tears had left on her face and he felt a pang, knowing the dream, and more directly he, was the cause of her tears. He sat down gingerly next to her on the swing, daring to pull a little of the blanket across his own shoulders. “Are you okay?” he asked her.
She took in a shaky breath and then nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just couldn’t sleep,” she said.
“I’m fine,” she insisted firmly, and he knew enough from the tone of her voice not to pursue it any further.
Instead, he pulled the blanket more closely around them so that their bodies were practically pressed together beneath the covers. He breathed in the scent of Maria’s hair, aching to pull her into his arms, to hold her tight and never let her go, to take away all the pain she had ever felt. But he knew all too well that he himself had been the cause of much of that pain, and actions like that would only lead to more grief for the beautiful girl by his side. Forcing these thoughts aside he quietly asked her, “Warm enough?”
Maria was surprised by Michael’s almost tender attitude towards her, especially after he had ignored her for almost the entire trip to the cabin, and could only nod silently. *I guess even he can be pretty sweet when he wants to be,* she thought sleepily to herself. Suddenly alarm bells went off in her head as pictures from her dream flashed through her mind. *You know he’s only going to do what he does every time!* the voice in her head screamed. *He’ll be nice for a little bit, ‘til he gets what he wants. Then he won’t be able to get rid of you fast enough! Have some pride, girl, and get away now, while you still can!*
Maria practically leapt from the swing. “I’m, uh, I’m actually pretty cold out here,” she mumbled, not meeting Michael’s gaze. “I think I’m gonna go back to bed.” And with that she all but ran through the front door to the cabin, the screen door slamming behind her.
“Dammit,” Michael cursed to himself. What had caused her to run off like that? *Gotta be that damn dream,* he thought to himself. *God, how can I prove to her that that dream’s wrong, it’s all off? I’d never do that to her.*
*Oh, wouldn’t you?* the voice in his head taunted back. *Isn’t that what you always do to her? You abandon her, just like her father did. She’s not anything but a distraction, a little plaything for you to amuse yourself with and then discard when you tire of her.*
“No!” Michael growled softly. Afraid to admit it even to himself until now, he knew that that was not all Maria was to him at all. She was so much more than that. She was everything to him. She was the sun in his life, his reason for getting up in the morning, the strength that kept him going even when the situation was grim. She was the most important thing in his life.
The intensity of this confession to himself left him breathless, and he sank back against the swing heavily. He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, but the feeling was still there. A desire for Maria to be happy and safe at all times, an intense need to hold her in his arms again, to be there to make her laugh and smile when she was happy, and to wipe away her tears and comfort her when she was sad. A fierce longing to be a part of her life again, to be with her always. He shook his head resolutely. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. He would not abandon her like her father had. He folded up the blanket underneath his arm and headed back into the cabin. Now he just had to figure out how to make her see that.
|Part 2 | Index | Part 4
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