FanFic - Michael/Maria
"La Verite En Peinture"
Part 1
by tj thwaites
Disclaimer: They're not mine, I'm just taking a quick dip in the WB's pool.
Summary: Micheal is having second thoughts about breaking it off with Maria, but he needs to find some way to express himself.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
La Verite En Peinture

Micheal Guerin flipped on the lights as he entered the arts classroom. He crossed to his easel and turned to a fresh page. He wasn't sure why he felt the need to be here right now, over an hour before school started. On a Monday morning, even. But he just had to do something. What, he wasn't entirely sure.

He hadn't slept all weekend. He couldn't make his mind stop; couldn't banish the image of Maria's face that haunted him. Tormented him. Ever since Friday night at the soap factory, when he'd told Maria that he thought they shouldn't have started whatever it was that they were to each other; that he had to be alone. For that one brief moment, the look in Maria's eyes tore at his soul. And now kept returning every time he closed his eyes.

Without conscious thought, Micheal's hands began sketching on the page. If anyone had happened to glance into the room and seen him, they might have thought him crazed or obsessed. Micheal's hand moved at a furious pace, the pencil scribing lines and shading almost as if alive.

Over the next twenty minutes, a portrait took shape on the easel. Standing back from the finished pencil drawing, Micheal stared for a moment. He shook his head. This wasn't working. It needed something else. Something more. Micheal turned away from the easel, his eyes searching the supplies stored along along the walls.

[There,] Micheal thought, his eyes landing on the acrylic paints, [That's what I need.]

Oblivious to time and his surroundings, Micheal added paint to paper. His brush strokes were precise, strong and forceful. Even when he'd been working on the painting of the dome from his vision, Micheal hadn't been this driven. Nothing mattered to him except the image taking shape before him. He didn't notice Mr. Cullen entering the room, or the first period's students filtering in to begin their own work.

Mr. Cullen occasionally watched Micheal, in between offering advice to the other students. He'd seen the young man this focused once before and remembered the painting that had been the result. He wondered what Micheal was working on this time, hoping it wasn't another geodesic dome. His student really needed to attempt other subjects for his artistic talent.

Micheal never noticed the teacher wandering around the classroom, occasionally speaking softly to an individual student. He was too focused on his painting. And the revelation it confirmed in his mind. The thought that he'd made a big mistake at the rave.

Mr. Cullen's rounds brought him back to Micheal's easel. He had to stop and stare. This painting was even better than than Micheal's previous one. The nearly finished portrait seemed almost alive. You could tell this was a real person. The face was so vibrant, practically glowing on the page. You could seen the mischievous sparkle in the girl's eyes, and the tiny pixie grin playing at the corners of her mouth made you wonder what she could be thinking of. Mr. Cullen had to turn his head and really look at Micheal when he recognised the girl in the painting. It was another student from one of his other classes: Maria DeLuca.

The intent, purposeful concentration evident on Micheal's face was revealing.

[Ah, the infatuations of youth,] Mr. Cullen thought.

Suddenly, Micheal stepped back, finished with the painting. He bumped into Mr. Cullen, and finally realized what time it was and who was around.

"Excellent work, Micheal," Mr. Cullen said, his eyes on the painting and not noticing Micheal's suddenly red, embarassed face, "Quite excellent indeed considering it was done from memory, not from a sitting subject."

Micheal stared at his shoes. He hadn't intended for anyone to see this. When he started it, he hadn't been sure what he would do with it, but, as he was putting the finishing touches on it, he began to think that it might provide an opening to apologize to Maria for the way he'd treated her on Friday, the things he'd said. He was uncomfortable with anyone else seeing it; it was too personal. Private.

"Micheal," Mr. Cullen said, turning to face his student, "Despite a rather abysmal beginning in this class, I think you may be heading toward an 'A'. You show a real talent, keep up the good work."

Mr. Cullen patted Micheal on the shoulder encouragingly before moving off to help another student. Micheal took the painting off his easel, careful to keep from smearing the wet paint. He carried it to the drying room off to the side of the class and draped a drop cloth over it. He didn't want anyone else looking at it. He quietly slipped out into the hall, his hands in his pockets. He strolled down the hall toward his locker, his mind busy. Trying to figure out just what to say to Maria. If she would even talk to him after what he'd said at the rave.


Maria DeLuca dug through her purse for her keys as she walked through the student parking lot after the final bell. She sighed to herself, undecided whether she was grateful that she hadn't bumped into Micheal at all today or not. She didn't think she could talk to him without revealing that he'd shattered her heart on Friday. She'd managed not to cry in front of him then, but she'd more than made up for it once she'd gotten back to her own room. She'd laid on her bed, for hours it seemed, sobbing into her pillow and clutching her stuffed bear to her chest.

She reached her car and stuck the key in the lock. But froze as she looked into the front seat. There, on the driver's seat, was a portrait of her. It was beautiful. It made *her* look beautiful.

"Maybe I was wrong on Friday," Micheal's voice came from behind her, hesitantly, almost as if he was afraid of her reaction.

Maria turned. She gazed at his eyes, trying not to let the hope that suddenly welled in her chest from showing in her own eyes. Micheal looked nervous, fidgity.

"Did you...?" Maria asked, trying to keep her voice steady as she pointed over her shoulder at her car.

"Yeah," Micheal replied, nodding, "I can't stop thinking about you. I haven't slept all weekend. And I just wanted to tell you I'm sorry about what I said to you at the rave. I don't know what I feel, and it scares me. All I do know is that you make me feel things I've never felt before. And I don't like the things I felt all weekend. I....I....I don't know what I'm saying."

"Hell of an apology," Maria murmured, turning to look at the painting again. It was the only thing she could think to do other than rushing into Micheal's arms. But, as she studied the portrait, the urge to drag Micheal off somewhere private and kissing him breathless erupted again. That painting was incredible. And it clearly showed exactly what Micheal was feeling, even if he couldn't find the words to admit it to himself. Or her. But she knew.

Maria looked up when a shadow fell across her car's window. Micheal stood beside her. His expression was worried, wondering about what was going to happen next.

"So," Maria said, "We do have something, whatever it is."

"Yeah," Micheal replied, "I guess we do."

"And that means....?" she asked.

"I haven't got a clue," he grinned back at her, "But I'd like to find out. If you would?"

"I would," she smiled.

"So....," Micheal said awkwardly as silence descended.

"So," Maria echoed.

The tension suddenly became too much. The pair were wrapped in each other's arms, their lips pressed together. Time stopped. The rest of the world vanished. For Micheal and Maria, there was just the feel of their arms around each other. The taste of each other. And the growing need for oxygen. They broke apart, gasping for breath and grinning foolishly.

"I've got to get to the Crashdown," Maria said, "I'm going to late for work."

"I'll see you tommorow," Micheal grinned, backing away slowly.

Maria opened the car door. She reached in and shifted the painting to the passenger seat before dropping on to the driver's seat. Her eyes remained glued to Micheal as she started the car. He waved at her as she pulled out of the parking space. She glanced into the rear view mirror before she pulled into the street. Micheal was still standing by where she'd been parked, watching her drive away. She laughed to herself at the goofy grin that was plastered on his face. She kept glancing over at the painting on the other seat. A goofy grin made it's way onto her own face. Like Micheal, she didn't have a clue what was going to happen between the two of them. But she was looking forward to finding out.

[Should be one Hell of a roller coaster ride,] she thought. The devilish, Mona Lisa smile on her face was a near perfect match for the one in the painting.


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