Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters but Jason Katims Productions has put them inside my
Summary: Post “ Destiny”; the aliens return to find their real destiny and what I would like to happen, really.
Authors Note: Would really welcome feedback. My first attempt. This is for enthusiasts who want a long read.
|Michael was so finely attuned to Maria that when she opened her eyes, his responded in an automatic reflex action. For a long moment she gazed at him, unblinkingly, without understanding but also without fear. He became instantly aware that they were lying together and that his one arm was imprisoning her against him. Someone had been into the room to cover them both with a blanket. He waited for her to draw away instinctively, but she did not.
“Where am I?” she whispered, dragging out every syllable in wonderment.
“Safe. And so am I.” He schooled his face to show no feeling.
“Michael. I had a funny dream.”
He lifted his arm to put a finger against her lips; there was no need for talk, he felt, but she persisted.
“I dreamed that we were in a car, we were all afraid, and I could not wake up to help at all. I just slept against your shoulder and felt safe.”
“No dream. It happened.”
He felt her eyes wandering over every part of his face, drinking him in, as if she were trying to remember something. He did not want her to stop; it was as if she were bringing him to life.
“Mm?” He did not want talk; just to lie there with her, drawing strength, feeling, from her proximity. How long had he lived for this moment? Dreamed of it, through all the bad times?
“Michael. I think I understand. That girl..the one you told me about…your problem.”
“Sshh. You’ll understand everything today. Max’ll tell you.”
“I don’t want Max to tell me. I want you to tell me.”
A flash of impatience, irritation, fear of closeness – the old Michael with his insecurities – altered the soft expression on his face. “I can’t.”
“I can’t explain it to make sense. I want you to understand completely. Not hate me.”
“I couldn’t do that. Hate you, I mean. The car ride. I couldn’t wake up, couldn’t move, couldn’t talk. But I kinda understood some things.”
He looked at her then. “What do you think you understand?”
She pulled away from him and sat up, struggling like someone who was intensely tired after a long illness. Groggy. Her face was turned away. “I think that the girl..the girl.. I think that…maybe it’s me.” He saw the hunching of her shoulders, tight, taut, as insecure as he was, but he kept silent.
“Tell me if I’m wrong and then I won’t ask anything else. I’ll wait. For Max to explain everything.”
He pulled himself up behind her, trailed a finger over the nape of her neck then put his lips to the warm spot. “You’re not wrong.” He said in a low voice, with a trace of melancholy. He breathed his reply, against her skin.
She turned to him, then, and wound her arms against his neck. “Thank you. I don’t care about anything else. I know that whatever you have done," (he winced inwardly at that remark, knowing she was merely talking about his sudden abduction of her from everything that was happy and safe) "you did it for me.”
He pulled her against his shoulder and they clung together, both deriving safety and security from the knowledge of the other. *I hope that you will still want this when you know everything, Maria* he thought to himself, *I hope that knowing the pain, suffering, loss - everything I have done and not done - will be better than what I have made you give up.*
Max found them like that, moments later. He looked refreshed, energetic, eager to move on.
“Have you told Maria anything?” Max asked, looking enviously at the couple who seemed to want nothing more than physical unity, even in the most platonic sense.
“No. Not really.” Michael growled his reply from somewhere in Maria’s hair.
Max sat down on the bed.
“How are you feeling, Maria? Strong?”
Maria still lay with her head cradled against Michael’s neck, unwilling to move. She looked at Max out of happy, dreamy eyes. “Mm. Uh uh! I think so. Michael said that you would explain everything. Why have you taken me away? Am – I mean – was I in danger?”
Max grinned – a kind grin. “Not the kind you were thinking of, Maria. Not physical danger. You’re in physical danger now. We all are. You were in a safe world; you seemed happy… but the life you were living was not real, d’ya understand? Now, today, you must choose. To know everything…which might be painful…or to stay as you are, knowing nothing…in which case our mission was in vain…and we must find a way to take you back.“
Maria’s eyes clouded in puzzlement. She clung closer to Michael.
“It’s difficult to understand you, Max.”
Max rose and went to the door. As he opened it, he spoke to her. “There’s someone I want you to meet, Maria.” Liz had obviously been waiting for his signal for she instantly appeared at his side. She did not rush to Maria, as Michael expected, but glided forward slowly and gracefully, her long dark hair swinging freely on either side of her face. She sat down on the side of the bed in Max’s vacated space.
“Do you know me, Maria?”
Maria searched her face for something familiar. It seemed a long time before she said, “You’re the girl in the tree…in the photograph… Alex’s friend. I remember the photograph.”
Liz twisted her fingers together nervously, then lifted an arm to push her hair away from her face. There were tears in her eyes and her voice shook. “I‘m not just a girl in a photograph, Maria. I am your best friend. So is Alex. We’ve known each other since first grade at Roswell Primary. We’ve been together for years…through school…we worked together after school at my folks’ restaurant…The Crashdown…don’t you remember that? I left Roswell to move to Florida with my folks eight months ago. It was painful for us to part. Don’t you remember?”
Maria pulled away from Michael and stretched out both hands towards the other girl. “I’m sorry. I don’t. I really don’t. I wish I could…How could I forget?”
Max was pacing up and down in front of her, behind Liz. He threw up his arms in an agitated gesture. “That’s the point, Maria. You were safe…but something has happened to you that we don’t know. Something has happened to you which has taken away your memory of important things…much of your life…surely you remember some things about your childhood?”
Maria was holding Liz’s hand to comfort her, to calm her obvious distress. She looked up at Max in a mixture of bewilderment and re-assurance. “Of course I remember. We lived in Reno. We moved when I was nine or ten. I don’t really remember Roswell. My dad died when I was twelve. But he left us money..a nice house…my mom bought a restaurant..I helped her after school. I have friends in Reno…and my mom still lives there but she’s traveling at the moment…with a man who seems to be a free spirit…she is, too…”
Her voice trailed off at the expression on Max’s face. “Not much of that is true, Maria. Not much. Ask Liz. Ask Alex. Ask Michael.” Michael squirmed away at the mention of his name. He was not comfortable with any of this now.
Max continued, relentless. “I can take you to see your mom tomorrow. She’s not traveling with a mysterious free spirit. I saw her three days ago. She’s married. She lives in Roswell. She has a baby now.“ He stopped suddenly and the other two people in the room were quite aware of the unspoken. The silence hung like the mist had done over the lake. Obscure but enveloping.
Maria had started to tremble and Michael was in a state of confusion. Was now the time to comfort her, hold her? Or would she cast him away? He decided to take the risk and folded his arms around her, clasping his hands across her stomach. “Don’t be afraid, Maria. It’s all your choice..to believe or not. To stay and listen - or go back. It’s your choice.”
It helped. He felt her relax against his chest, felt the bones of her spine push into him. “Max. What are you trying to say? What has happened to me, then? What you say seems impossible.”
Max dropped to his knees to crouch in front of her, to look directly into her eyes. He leaned against Liz’s lap for support, physical and psychological. “I can give you your memory back, Maria. So can Isabel. So can Michael. Don’t ask me how: you just have to trust us. But the point is…do you want to know the truth? Because I can tell you this. Your life was not as easy, as happy, as satisfied as your substitute life. You have to know that. And if you decide that you want to know…” he paused to allow his ideas to sink in, “Then you must also know that we must go further…find the people who did this to you…find out why…so that we can give you your life back to have meaning…a future…do you understand what I mean?”
“Will I be in danger?” she whispered, with fear in her eyes, “Will all of you be in danger, too?”
“We were always in danger,” said Max slowly. “And you were, too, once you became involved with us. But we have ways of protecting ourselves that you don’t. We’ve come back to protect you. I want to protect Liz; Michael wants to protect you and Isabel wants to protect Alex. Our lives came together at a time you can’t remember anymore: we all loved each other.” Something prompted Max to grab Liz’s hand; she didn’t resist and squeezed his fingers gently. He coughed, a show really to collect his feelings before he rushed on, “That’s why it’s painful for all of us to see you this way, Maria. You don’t remember that love. You don’t remember any of us. Not even Alex and Liz whom you’ve known your whole life.“ He paused. “But you must decide. We can’t do it for you. You could accept what you have now and kinda move on, you know? Get to know us all again and not much needs to change.“
Michael had tightened his grip during the love part of Max’s speech and buried his face again in her hair. She knew what he wanted and she knew that he would never voice that wish.
“Can I think about it for a moment?” she said slowly, dragging a hand across her face to push back her unruly hair.
They all moved instantly to leave.
“No, not you, Michael. Would you stay?” She asked this quietly, without expectation or pressure upon him.
He sank back silently against her without saying a word.
The door closed on the others and neither of them could speak. He just held her, gently, breathed against the back of her neck, not even tightening his grip over her stomach. Just held her, as he had done during that long car night. There was a suggestion of a desire to possess. He wanted to caress her, press his hands against her stomach, the part of her which had held his alien child but knew with a deep sense of loss that now was not the time.
At last Maria spoke. “What do you want me to do?”
“Don’t ask me that,“ he groaned. “Please. Don’t. You must know that there are things I don’t want you to re-discover – about me, about us. Things I’m definitely not proud of. Things I’m even afraid of. Part of me…” he paused, and she turned her head to look at him with enquiry, and he saw her glance and his voice resumed in a whisper, “Part of me wants to take it from here. Ya know? You say you don’t hate me…you might have reasons to do so…but I came back, Maria, to make things up to you. This is the only way I know how at the moment…but don’t ask me, please.“
She squirmed round to face him so that they were crouched, twisted facing each other in the middle of the bed. “Maria…” she looked at him calmly, soaking in every word he was saying, “Max was right…and you must remember what he said….your life was not entirely happy…not even when you were young. Mine wasn’t either. That’s partly why we were attracted to each other. We had misery in common, ya know? You were better at coping with it than I was…you taught me a lot…and I…I often made you unhappy. Know that, before you make your decision.”
He leaned forward to kiss her: a gentle, lingering union of lips. He drew breath from her but did not invade her. “Now, I know that I don’t deserve this. To be here with you. Like this. But I know that I am alive…feel…” He clasped her hand and put it to his heart which was pounding like a machine in overdrive…fast, compulsive. “Either way, for me… just to be with you.“
“Are you afraid if I agree?”
“Haven’t I said it? You say you don’t hate me now…but with your life back you probably have more reason to hate me than to love me.”
“Could I be happy if I knew?”
He groaned and again pushed his mouth to hers. “Haven’t you guessed that’s what I hope for? Haven’t you guessed that I came back partly for you to forgive me? I could never speak to you before…could not speak of feelings – you could – I couldn’t – but life without you was a burning hell – all I wanted at the end of it was your forgiveness so that maybe after that I could hope for something more.”
He dropped his head against her shoulder and she could feel the brush of eyelash and the clamminess of his cheeks. His body convulsed and he could not speak again.
Almost absent-mindedly, she rubbed his back…a soothing caress, up and down, rhythmic, warm, soothing. “Don’t anguish, Michael,“ she whispered. “It may sound crazy because I am happy..I was happy…I am now in a different kind of way…but I sorta instinctively knew that something was missing. A spark. A fire. Something. I can’t explain it. Being happy all the time is kinda dull…but that makes the whole thing too simple. Pain grows..in you and for you. And I don’t remember pain. And that’s kinda funny, ya know, when you can understand it in others. Why not me? I kept asking myself. How come I can understand Ernie’s pain..Mr. Valenti..so many…my mom’s too, in a way…but I never remember it for me? How can I understand it for others without knowing it myself? Maybe I knew it..but kinda forgot it…I did sometimes wonder. I remember my dad dying…but I don’t remember the pain. It’s not normal, is it?”
Michael breathed in her skin, pressed his lips to it at the base of her throat and groaned. “Maria, your dad isn’t dead. He walked out…when you were seven. You knew more than pain…it broke you up…you were still a broken thing when we met…he destroyed you. You waited years for him to come back…and he didn’t.”
His face was below hers; she was succouring him…and she smiled at him, gently. “I reckon I do need to know. Who am I? I gotta be more than just a happy person. Pain kinda makes people who they are. Who am I? Am I strong? Brave? Worthy? Happy people just never know…’cos they’ve never been tested.”
He lifted his head to her to look directly into her eyes. “I just have one question. Can you forgive? That’s all I want to know. Can you forgive me?”
“I want to,“ she said simply. “Michael, I really want to. Go tell Max, will you? I’ll do it.”
He claimed her mouth just once more and she melted into him, every fibre of her being melted into him. His breath was ragged; now he did invade her mouth to claim her for his own. And she felt dizzy with his unspoken demand; she lost herself completely in it, merging with him and losing that incomplete personality in his more powerful one. And he knew that it would be the last time that it would be like this. And part of him regretted it: she knew him as perfect for the last time. He had to say it now because it would not mean the same to her next time. As he withdrew his mouth, part of his life was lost in the process. “I… love you, Maria.”
She looked into his eyes with a kind of sweet sadness, as if she were preparing herself to say goodbye to the happiness that had moulded the new life. “I will remember that,“ she joked. “Nothing can make me forget that.”
Michael was sitting at the side of the lake when Alex came for him. He had been skimming pebbles in a stupid, aggressive kind of way. Anything to pass the time without thinking about what was happening to Maria.
“It’s done, Michael,“ said Alex quietly, “except for you. She knows just about everything.”
“Does she want me to come?” asked Michael gloomily, half-afraid of the answer.
“She sent me to get you.”
He sighed and pulled himself to his feet.
“It’ll be O.K.,” said Alex kindly. “She’s taken the whole thing quite well. No tears; no hysteria.”
She was standing rigidly at the window, as Michael and Alex walked up through the trees. Michael could not read her expression from the distance: a pale, small face with her endearing worried pout.
She turned to him as he entered the room.
“Do you still want to do this?” Michael could hear that he sounded sullen, reluctant.
She smiled wanly. “Oh yes. I think so. I just about know everything…even from Alex. They took my life away,“ she faltered and then faded into silence.
“Are you sure that you want the rest back?”
“There’s not much left to find out, I don’t think.” Suddenly, she could not meet his eyes. *Except how you really feel, Michael,* she wanted to say but could not bring herself to say it.
She had changed her clothes since he had been there and the crumpled nurse’s outfit had been replaced by tight jeans and a skimpy tank top. She must have borrowed something from Liz. She was thinner than he remembered.
He led her over to a chair and gestured her to sit down, then placed a hand either side of her temples. “It won’t hurt, as you know,“ he said abruptly, then cursed himself for saying such a stupid thing. *Of course it will hurt…I did some very hurtful things.*
She lay there with her eyes closed and he could feel the warmth of his fingers on her face and the power of the communication between them. It was as if his strength was draining from him and into her. When the sensation faded away, a single tear slid from beneath her eyelid and trailed down her face. He wiped it away with his thumb, very gently. She did not move or give any indication that she was aware of what he had done.
She sat silently.
“Are you O.K.?” Michael spoke hesitantly and diffidently. He suddenly felt that he could not relate to her any more. Could not look her in the eye.
Her eyes opened slowly and she looked directly at him.
“Michael. You know. You know I must go back. To the hospital, I mean. I don’t want to but it’s the only way ... Without involving any of you.”
He gasped his disapproval. “You can’t do that. I won’t let you. A mad idea, Maria.”
She stood up and moved away from him to the window, standing with her back to him while she stared hard at the lake. It was bright blue, now. “The whole situation is madness. I can’t pretend it hasn’t happened, though. I can’t live the rest of my life in fear…”
He moved behind her and turned her round to face him. “Listen to me. You can’t go back there. You know what these people are capable of..we’ll go away somewhere.”
She looked up at him calmly, with very little emotion visible on her face. “I see no better alternative. Really, I don’t. And I don’t think any of you should come with me, either. Too suspicious. Maybe Alex. They wouldn’t suspect anything wrong with him.”
It was as if she had struck him in the chest. “Of course that would be suspicious, Maria. Don’t be stupid. Alex is supposed to think you’re dead in that car crash. I’m going to get Max now. He’ll talk some sense into you.” He swung on his heel and made for the door but Max had heard the voices and was already standing in the doorway.
“Maxwell. Talk to this girl. She wants to go back…to find out who did it. Tell her it’s a stupid idea.”
Max held open the door and gestured for Michael to leave. “Give us a couple of minutes.” He said tersely. “Whatever is going to happen, we leave by boat in two hours.”
He could hear them talking urgently as he walked without speaking through the cabin and out of the door. Out into his familiar friend…darkness. Ignoring Liz and Alex and Isabel he tramped robotically down to the lakeside. He looked back once to see the two silhouettes of Maria and Max talking animatedly. For the moment he hated both of them for shutting him out.
He did not even hear her footfalls as she crept silently across the grass to stand behind him. He was crouched moodily, seemingly transfixed by the black iciness of the surface of the lake which looked decidedly unfriendly now.
He felt her hand comb fingers through his hair and pause momentarily on his scalp.
“Michael? Can we walk? We have some time.”
Part of him wanted to ignore her, to stay cocooned in his own misery and anger. But the other half, the half that had brought him across light years of longing, instinctively responded to her touch. He dreaded what she was going to say.
He hauled himself to his feet and towered above her. She was buttoned into Liz’s parka now, a bright blue tiny thing with an aureole of blonde hair.
“Is a walk going to be worth anything?” he said bitterly. “You and Max have decided, haven’t you? Isn’t it a bit late to include me?”
“Don’t be bitter, spaceboy,” she said gently, lifting a hand to stroke his cheek. He wanted to lean against her hand, show his weakness and fear, beg her to change her mind.
“I can’t.” She understood his thoughts too well. Isabel would have been impressed. “I have to go. You must understand this, Michael. I can’t be a whole person till I take my life back.“
“But …” She moved her hand to his mouth, placing a finger over it.
“Shh. Don’t say it. We’re not talking about aliens with powers storming a deserted military facility now. You know it.“
He moved her hand away with his and held it then moved it to his heart. “Feel this, Maria. I’m afraid for you. I didn’t come back for this. God, surely you know why I came back? Must I spell it out for you?”
She shook her head gently and the hair bounced from side to side, curling over her collar, fine strands of gold held suspended in the cold air. “No. You never did have to spell things out. That much I remember. Don’t you?”
He squeezed her hand and tried to draw her to him. She allowed him to do it, standing immobile with her body moulded against his. She leaned her head against his chest and sighed deeply. Her words were directed against his chest, his heart, but he heard them, every one.
“Spaceboy. Czechoslavakian. Can I tell you what I want? Without making you angry?” She stole a peek at his immobile face, cold and gaunt in the moonlight, with just a tic at the corner of his mouth to indicate his intensity of feeling. He seemed carved in marble. He was staring over her head.
“We need time to make us whole. You need to be made whole, too. You know that.” Gathering courage she turned her face up to his and tried to capture his eyes in hers. Her stare was steadfast and unwavering.
“Max, and Alex, and I…we’re going back..to make life safe for all of us. Don’t worry. They’ll look after me. It won’t take long.”
He resisted the urge to push her away, in jealous torture, and she sensed it and clung to him even harder. “Don’t.” she said urgently. “Don’t push me away again, Michael. Just listen…for once in your life..just listen. I’m asking you to go to Roswell with Liz and Isabel.”
He turned his face away from her, not wanting to hear the reasons. She didn’t want him to help. That was all he wanted to understand. “You’re punishing me,” he grated finally. “O.K. I deserve it. I know it. So go with Alex, if that’s what you want. I can’t stop you.”
“It’s not Alex,” her voice faltered and he knew that the tears were not far away. “Oh god, Michael, it’s never been Alex…it’s…it’s…” she stumbled away from him, withdrew her warmth and leaned her head against a tree. She sobbed.
The old familiar guilt flooded through him. “Don’t. I’m sorry. I vowed that I’d never cause you pain again. I didn’t mean it. Don’t cry…for god’s sake, Maria, don’t cry. What is it? What do you want me to do?”
She was embracing the tree, hugging it and pressing her face against the bark. She was howling. He came up behind her and pressed his body against hers. “Tell me,” he breathed into her hair. “Tell me why and then I’ll understand. I’ll really try. Promise.” He wished at that moment that they were alone in the universe; he wanted to take her and put her down on the cold grass and lie with her, with no words, only the fusing of bodies to make them both whole.
“I want you to go to Roswell,” she whispered. “I want you to tell my mother that I’m alive. I want you to take Liz to a safe place and Isabel to Roswell: Isabel must tell the Evans and…” she broke off and twisted to face him. Before he could understand she lifted herself on her toes and pressed a cold mouth to his, breathing her lifeforce into his open mouth. She moved away a fraction, kissing him with small, frantic kisses, placing them wherever she could find his skin: mouth, nose, cheek, jaw. “I want you to be with Michaela because…because..” the kissing of him became more frantic, desperate and she was wringing his hands now “You know she’s yours, yours Michael..and if…if I didn’t come back…I’d want to know you knew her.”
He was shocked with surprise. He felt shamed that he had not thought of Michaela. She was not Michaela to him but a blonde bundle closely imprisoned in Amy de Luca’s arms. The baby. He kept calling her that.
“You’ll know she’s yours, Michael,” Maria said, unshed tears making her eyes glow in the moonlight. They were huge and looking at him with complete trust, not the old haunted look which anticipated his cruelty. She gave a small smile, almost imperceptible but he could hear it. “She’s got your powers, I think.”
He didn’t need Maria to tell him that truth; he had sensed it instinctively in that one tiny moment that he had held the baby’s hand. His baby. Michaela.
Maria smiled at him again, a stronger smile with silent confidence that he would see it all her way now. “Only you can help me you know? Only you can persuade my mom to give her back to me.” She wanted to say “to us” but dared not voice that hope.
“Michael, I’ve already lost six months of her life,“ her full mouth trembled with pain and she gulped, a gasping noise in her throat, “All that pointless happiness…what happiness compared to..compared to Michaela…and…and…you.”
He crushed her to him and could not say a word. He could not argue now. He buried his face in her hair, inhaling the smell of her to carry with him. “Tell me that you don’t hate me,” he muttered in a low voice, “Just tell me that and I’ll do whatever you want.”
She cuddled herself into him. “I didn’t forget what you said…before..just now. Do you know how long I wanted to hear that? You do know. You said it and then left me…and Michaela.
“I could never hate you. Whatever. I can’t explain it to myself, even. I don’t want anyone else. It was enough to have Michaela if I couldn’t have you.”
“If you’d told me…if you’d told me…I would not have gone. I want you to believe that.” He was trembling and couldn’t stop himself. Michael, the soldier, the man with the scar ripping his chest, felt juvenile in his weakness.
She moved her hand slowly and slid it through the gap in his shirt to place her palm against the scar. She could feel it, ragged and pounding, a living reminder of his scarred life.
“I know.” She sighed and pressed her lips to the scar through the gap in his shirt. “I know. But I couldn’t do it anymore. I tried to impose my will on you…you resented it…would have hated me…you had to find out…your destiny.” She was imprinting tiny kisses against the scar as if to heal them with her touch. And strangely, she was filling him with a deep sense of calm and purpose.
“Maria,” he groaned her name, feeling time slipping away from both of them, knowing that there was no more time for words, “Promise me you’ll be careful. You’ll come back to me?…to us?”
She wrinkled her nose and there was a shadow of her impish smile, a bubble of that inner strength which he had subconsciously recognized and admired, the value of her beneath her “flakiness”. “I’ve waited longer than you have for that, spaceboy.”
He lowered his head and kissed her then. He kissed her with passion not lust, with yearning not hunger and with promise not apology. And then she drew back and it was over, the warmth of her lips were replaced by the cold night air and the darkness of void. She was turning to walk back, pulling his hand in hers.
He did not want to move but knew in his heart that it was useless then to want more. She understood his feelings and turned towards him for one last time. “We must go back, Michael. It’s time.“ She stood for a moment, buried in the blueness of the parka, which swallowed her tiny frame, and smiled at him. “I love you, Michael Guerin. Did I tell you before? I tried to show you..but sometimes actions are not louder than words.”
“I came back to you, Maria de Luca,“ he said in a low voice but finding the courage to keep his eyes on hers, “I didn’t come in a limousine but I came back. I want to show you through my actions…there’s never been anyone else…never could be. I love you, Maria de Luca, Maria Guerin, my Maria…always. Stay safe. Make my life worth it.”
She squeezed his arm and wound both arms round his as they walked reluctantly towards the lights of the house.
It seemed that it was difficult even to be near her after that. Silently they all made their way down to the lakeshore, lugging cases and travel bags. Buried in parkas, and hats and boots they loaded the boat and slipped silently from the shore. The opening roar of the engine seemed obscene in the silence, frighteningly public but nothing stirred and soon the shorelights receded. He tried to get near to her on the boat and finally succeeded by dint of shoving Alex rudely out of the way.
He leaned back against the side of the boat with his legs spreadeagled and she lay back against him, inert and silent. His legs were clamped either side of her. He felt strands of her hair flick against his cheek and wanted time to stand still just for this. His heart shouted at her not to go and its pounding pummeled her spine with its fast regular rhythm. He understood now how she must have felt when he left. Did her heart shout at him? He knew that it had but he had not listened.
Max was going to drop them off in the nearest town to hire a car for the trip to Roswell. Then he and Alex and Maria would head back north in the other car.
With Maria squashed on his lap in the back of the rental car he did not care what the others thought. He held her like a vice and kissed her hungrily. She had to pull away to breathe before he claimed her mouth again.
There was nothing else they could say with Liz and Isabel cramped beside them, both embarrassed by this public display. Michael was relieved that Alex was in the front, busy with Max. He could find no good human feelings for Maria’s friend at this moment.
He could not hold the moment away forever. All too soon they had stopped outside a burger joint on the outskirts of town and parting was a reality.
Michael was gripping Maria as if he could not drag his arm away. The muscles of his face were contorted as he faced Max with Maria pressed to his side. “Look after her, Maxwell." He could not say more.
“I will,” said Max quietly. “You know I will.”
It was Alex who pulled her away; maybe she could not have found the strength to do so herself.
“See you soon, Michael,“ said Alex, and gripped the other man’s arm. “Don’t worry. We’ll look after her.” He did not wait for a reply before pulling Maria back to the car and bundling her into the back.
Michael turned away. He could not look again for fear she was not looking at him. That she had already moved on to find her destiny.
Liz grabbed his hand and yanked him round. “She’s trying to say goodbye, you big blockhead,” she yelled impatiently.
As he turned his head the car was swerving away from the kerb. Maria was twisted to wave from the rear window. Her mouth framed some words but he could not hear. He wanted to believe that she had said, “I love you Michael”. He watched until she was a small blue speck which suddenly vanished.
Isabel had grabbed his other arm and was squeezing it. “She said she loved you, spaceboy,” she said, with a tinge of envy in her voice, “I think that you have come home, Michael. I never figured you as lucky before…but I’m really pleased for you, ya know?”
The girls were either side of him, like prison jailers, clamped on either arm. They hugged him, knowing that he needed comfort.
“It’ll be O.K. you see,” Liz trembled as she spoke, comforting herself as well as Michael. “They’ll be back. We’ll all be together soon. Have faith.”
“She wants you to get to know your daughter,“ said Isabel softly. “She’s given you a mission, Michael, and you know what? That’s more important to her than anything else.”
Isabel, usually so quick to annoy or wound him, had put medicine on his wounds. “I know,” he whispered, “I know.”
|Part 3 | Index | Part 5
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours