FanFic - Michael/Maria
"Remember Me"
Part 1
by Danette
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Summary: Takes place after “The Balance” episode; however, it does not coincide with the “Toy House” episode.
Category: Michael/Maria
Rating: PG
Title: Remember Me

Author: Danette


Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.

Summary: Takes place after “The Balance” episode; however, it does not coincide with the “Toy House” episode.

Category: Michael/Maria, Max/Liz, and Alex/Isabel—I love them all!

Rating: PG

Part 1

Michael Guerin was sitting at the Crashdown Café, looking very impatient. He had a lot on his mind—Maria, his previous visions, the constellation, and well, Maria. He was slouched in the same booth that he usually shares with Max and Isabel, but today he was alone.

“Hey, Michael, can I get you anything?” Liz Parker asked. Michael noticed that she looked a little tired—her eyes were red and puffy. She’s probably very tired especially after his cave incident, he thought.

“Oh, hi, Liz. I’ll take a…Coke. Thanks.” Michael was hoping that he could catch Maria working today. She had been on his mind a lot since his cave experience from a couple days ago. He was very tempted to ask Liz about her friend’s whereabouts but resisted.

“Alright, coming up,” said Liz with a bleak smile before she went back to the counter.

Michael was always one to hide his thoughts, his feelings—always showing a tough side. He was not overly excited at the fact that Maria was able to peel a very thin layer of his shell during that one night in the hotel in Marathon. Nor was he impressed at how she could get under his skin to the point where he just wanted to break and tell her all his feelings. But something happened when he was having his visions. He experienced something extremely powerful with Maria during one moment.

Okay, he thought, it was a kiss. He remembered that it was a passionate kiss but definitely not like the steamy kisses they had at the Crashdown that one night. The kiss he experienced in his vision stirred up deep feelings in him—making him feel comfortable yet so very new, exciting yet calming, and happy yet sad, as if it wouldn’t last forever. This is so weird, he thought.

Liz broke his train of thought by placing his Coke on the table. “Here you go,” she said.

“Oh, thanks, Liz,” Michael said, and before he knew it, he blurted out, “So where’s Maria?”

“Hmmm, what?” Liz said, tilting her head as if she wasn’t paying attention. “Oh, Maria, she asked my dad for a couple days off…”

“Hmmm, whatever, just curious,” Michael did not want to seem like he was interested at all, but on the contrary, he was positively curious. “Liz, do you mind making my Coke to-go? I forgot that I have something to do.”

“No problem, Michael.” Liz took the Coke and went back to pour it into a to-go cup with a straw. She quickly returned to his table.

“Thanks, Liz. Bye.” Michael said as he gave Liz two dollars and walked out with his drink.

* * * * *

Have you ever wanted to be absolutely prepared for a situation that you knew would never ever happen? Maria DeLuca kept thinking to herself, You are crazy, why are you setting yourself up for hurt again and again? Just quit thinking about Michael. OK, yeah, right! Why am I doing this?

Ever since the ritual with Michael, she kept thinking about how close she was to losing him. No one had to ask her twice to step into the circle to save him. But still, why did she care? She knew for a fact, well maybe, okay, she had no clue whether she was in love with Michael or not.

So why did the very thought of him make her feel so lightheaded? And the mere presence of him made her heart race! Their relationship was so love-hate—heavy emphasis on the hate. But oh, his stares were enough to make her faint! She was so sure that he was staring at her when he came out of his cocoon-whatever thing. She was almost in tears then, so happy that he was alive and kicking.

So with Christmas coming up, she wanted to make sure to give the perfect gift to each of her friends. So what does that leave Michael? A lump of coal would be too generous for that boy—unless it was hurled at his head. Maria smiled at the thought then thought out loud, “So again, why am I doing this?” Maria pondered everything again on her way to the Indian Reservation.

Maria easily found the jewelry maker that Liz was talking about at the reservation, so she parked along the road. She mentally remembered where the jewelry maker was, but her goal was to find River Dog. Maria was walking along the hard dirt road when she saw the older Native American walking towards her.

“River Dog?” Maria asked in a timid voice.

“Yes. You are a friend of Liz? No?” he said in a soft but strong voice.

“Yes, I’m Maria,” Maria replied.

“Maria, why do you come here? Is there something wrong with your friend Michael again?” River Dog asked, concerned.

“Oh, no, I have a special favor to ask you.” Maria stopped to breathe. “I was hoping that I could get a sample of the special rocks that we held during the balance ritual for my, um, friend Michael.”

“No!” was the thunderous reply. “Why do you need something like that?!”

“I’m, I’m sorry! I, I, just wanted to get him something special,” Maria. “I’m very sorry to have disturbed you, I’ll just go now…” Maria blurted, walking backward, and just about to leave.

River Dog stopped her by raising his hand.

* * * * *

Part 2

Max Evans was shooting baskets in his driveway. Actually, it looked more like he was shooting the backboard with a basketball; he hadn’t made a single basket in the past half-hour. Max had just shot an air-ball when he heard, “Don’t quit your day job!” He didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was.

“Hey, Michael,” said Max with obviously feigned enthusiasm.

“Well, don’t be so happy to see me!” Michael said in jest but definitely connecting with Max’s down mood.

Max put down the basketball and walked to his water bottle on the front porch bench. He sat down, while Michael leaned against the porch railing. It must have been apparent that “Girl Trouble” was written on their foreheads.

“So, how are you and Liz?” Michael asked, for once genuinely interested in his friend’s love life.

Max staring off into space with a look of hurt on his face, shook his head as if to shake Liz’s face out of his mind. “I do not want to talk about it,” he said, clearly emphasizing each and every word. He then softened his face, looked up at Michael, and asked, “How about you? How are you? You know, you really scared everyone a couple days ago.”

Michael smiled at the concern of his friend, “I’m okay.”

There was a comfortable silence between the two. They had such strong camaraderie that they could almost convey their thoughts to each other telepathically. They were the best of friends, almost like brothers—joking, talking, having fun, and depending on each other. Michael’s recent episode had bonded them even closer. Max realized more strongly how special he, Michael, and Isabel were, and that is why he vowed to keep focused on what made them different from other people.

Max got up and leaned up against the railing next to Michael and broke the silence. “I want to reassure you that I am 100% focused on us—you, me, and Isabel. I am not going to put anything before our friendship.”

Michael could tell by Max’s voice that he was covering up some hurt feelings going on in his heart. “I don’t know what I want, Max,” he said softly, looking opposite of Max’s direction towards the neighbor’s house.

“What do you mean?” asked Max.

Michael looked at Max. “I mean, I don’t want to run away. I want to experience things, whether they be here or…up there,” Michael said, with a nod towards the sky.

Max blinked in surprise and asked in a credulous tone, “You mean with Maria?”

Michael looked down at his shoes to avoid Max’s gaze, “Uh, yeah, I mean, I don’t know, maybe…You know? She’s…good, she’s a good person—smart, pretty, fun, a little on the chatty side, but I feel like we have a, I don’t know, a connection thing goin’.”

Max was very happy for his friend. While reflecting on his own connection with Liz , he exclaimed, “I think that’s great, but what about finding out about our past?”

Michael repeated himself just as he did two days ago, “No more running.”

They both smiled. Max was taking a big sip of water when Michael asked him, “So, OK, what’s up with you and Liz?”

Max almost choked but looked up. “I broke up with her,” he said softly.

“Whaaaat?!?!” The two turned around as they heard a very surprised Isabel announce her astonishment.

* * * * *

Part 3

“I ask you again, why do you need a piece of the special rock?” River Dog asked firmly.

“I, I just wanted it to make a special necklace for Michael as a gift, a Christmas present,” Maria said in an almost frightened tone.

River Dog’s harsh voice diminished, “You have a fondness in your heart for Michael, am I correct?”

Maria thought about it for a minute. Did she? Well, she thought, he is nice to look at, and she does feel a strong undescribable connection to him. “Yes, I do,” she said quietly. The look on her face said it all.

“Maria, I cannot give you any piece of those rocks. See, before he left, Nacedo told me that the rocks are from his home—very special—and meant to remain whole. I know you want to give something special to Michael. I think I have something that might be very special for him. Come follow.”

Maria felt comfortable with River Dog. She followed him down the road a little ways. She saw a small but cozy house up ahead. River Dog opened the unlocked door and made a gesture for her to step inside. The house was small but warm and inviting—different historical photos and Native American art hung on the walls.

River Dog went into a room and returned with a little chest. He opened the chest which contained many wrapped items. He pulled a small wrapped package out. It was a tiny black leather pouch. River Dog gave it to a wide-eyed Maria. “Open this,” he said.

Maria did as he said. Inside was a pendant—very similar to Isabel’s. It was a silver pendant with some strange hieroglyphics on it, just like the writings in the cave. It was on a thin black leather necklace.

River Dog explained, “This belonged to Nacedo; he wore it often. It was very dear to him.”

Still examining the writing, Maria asked, “What does this mean?”

“Michael will know,” River Dog assured her. “He will know.”

“Thank you very much, River Dog.”

“You are welcome, Maria.”

Maria looked outside. The sun was starting to set, and she did not want to be late. “I’m sorry, but I have to go now.” She placed the pendant back in the pouch.

River Dog led her back to the door, “Do you remember what I told you during the ritual?” Maria thought about it and nodded. He had told her, “You take your path.”

“Go now, child. Always remember.” River Dog nodded his head. He waved goodbye.

“I will, and thank you again,” Maria said and started walking back to her car.

* * * * *

Back home, Alex was racking his brain trying to figure out what to give Isabel for Christmas. Should he even give her a gift, he asked himself. He liked her, liked her a lot. He would buy her the world if he could.

Jewelry? No, she would freak out. Clothes? Out of the question, he could barely dress himself and wouldn’t want to insult her. Electronic equipment? Sure, perfect gift—if she was a techno geek like himself. Gift certificate? ‘Hi, I put no thought into my gift for you, Merry Christmas!

Argh!” he yelled, “I’m getting nowhere!”

It was quiet in his room, Alex picked up another CD and put it in his stereo. He sat down at his desk in front of his computer. Hmmmmm, perfect, he thought to himself.

* * * * *

Part 4

“What?” Michael echoed Isabel’s surprised tone.

“I called things off with Liz.” Max said slowly, turning away from both of them. He sat back down on the porch. “It’s better this way. You two were right; I haven’t been very focused lately. That is going to change. I need to put things into perspective. We’re different—we can never be like them or with them.”

“But, Max, are you sure? You really care for her,” Isabel said in a concerned tone. She sat down and put her arm around him.

“I know,” Max said in a sad and defeated voice. “A relationship with Liz will only result in a world of hurt for both of us in the end. Besides, I need to remain the grounded one for the three of us.”

“Does this change of heart have anything to do with me,” Michael asked, once again putting blame on himself for botching up something.

“No, Michael, it doesn’t. It’s just the way things have to be,” Max was trying to be reassuring.

“Max, remember what I said about ‘no more running’? I meant it. I think you should think about it.” Michael said, thinking about Maria and how he didn’t want to hurt her anymore.

“Yeah, Max,” Isabel said in agreement. “You’re lucky—you have found someone with whom you share a bond. I’ve seen you two together—almost as sickening as Michael and Maria…” Isabel rolled her eyes and shook her head with a slight laugh. Michael shot Isabel a smirk.

Max laughed. He looked at his sister and wished she had a person in her life as wonderful as Liz was to his life. “So where do we go from here?”

“Let’s take it one day at a time—enjoying what we have and looking forward to what we can have.” Isabel said, absorbed in thought. She, too, was thinking of her situation—with Alex. Ever since the dream walk, Isabel could not stop thinking about him.

* * * * *

Liz was waiting at the Crashdown. They had already closed for the evening, and Liz was pickup up and putting down each of the Christmas decorations mixed with alien paraphernalia at the restaurant. She picked up a little green guy with antenna and a Santa suit on. “You look like the Grinch who stole Christmas, “ Liz said.

“Yeah, that’s Michael alright!”

Liz smiled and turned around. Maria smiled as she closed the back door behind her. “Sorry, I’m late, Lizzie. Had to run a personal errand and then pick up our stash.” She dumped out a grocery bag full of junk food onto the counter—Rolos, Doritos, white cheddar popcorn, Hagaan Daas ice cream, gummy aliens…

“Maria, I’m so glad you’re here! It’s been horrible these last two days! And absolute torture since I couldn’t talk to you!” Liz rushed over to the junkfest and gave Maria a grateful hug.

“So what’s new and exciting in the life of Liz Parker?” Maria started to braid Liz’s beautiful hair. Liz opened the ice cream and stuffed a gummy alien into her mouth.

“The life is Liz Parker is nothing but a big puddle of nothing!” Liz put her head down on the counter. Maria gave her best friend a hug.

“What happened?!”

Tearfully, Liz explained everything, “Max broke it off, everything off! He wants to take a break from me! He said that we don't belong together. Maria, it just hurts…sooooo much!”

“I know, I know, Lizzie! I’ve been there, not that that helps any. But maybe, no probably, Max is temporarily mental. It’s only obvious to the entire city of Roswell that his feelings for you run deep and strong. I, for one, will chalk this one up to temporary insanity.”

“Maria, have you ever been in love? I mean, a couple days ago, I was completely and insanely happy—having the most wonderful time of my life with Max. I even had his Christmas present engraved weeks ago. Now, I feel like I’m at the lowest point of my life. I can’t eat or sleep—I’m walking around like a complete zombie! How do I get rid of the pain?” Liz was pleading to her friend.

Maria looked at Liz with sympathy. She just held her friend in her arms as she cried out some of her pain. Maria remembered her breakup with Michael at the rave. Now that was hard.

Maria understood everything that Liz was saying. She, too, was at the top of the world when she had her little relationship with Michael. Even though it fizzled as soon as it started, the whole thing hurt her very much. And even now, she still could not shake the stare Michael gave her after the cave incident.

“Liz, we are not going to let Max or Michael take away our essence. We are strong women who can handle ourselves with or without them. We have to live life one day at a time and live each day to the fullest,” Maria said with as much confidence as she could muster. “Now let’s get started on the popcorn and Rolos.”

* * * * *

Part 5

A few days later, Max was lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He was thinking about Liz—in fact, he was always thinking about Liz.

Isabel walked in and sat on the edge of his bed. “Hey, you, I betcha twenty bucks I can guess who you’re thinking about,” she said.

“That obvious?” Max asked.

“Ooooh, yeah! Hey, are you going to the thing at the Crashdown tomorrow night?” Isabel asked carefully.

Honestly, Max hadn’t thought about it. He replied, “I don’t know.”

“Max, haven’t you been thinking about what Michael, of all people, said to you the other day? About no more running?”

“Yes, in fact, I have. I probably will go tomorrow.” Max said as he sat up on his bed.

“Good, so am I, and I think Michael is, too. Do you have a gift for Liz?” Isabel asked, her voice filled with curiosity.

“Isabel, do you have a gift for Alex?” Max asked her back with a smile.

Isabel just smiled sweetly at Max who seemed to be in a little better mood. She gave her brother a quick hug and left his room.

* * * * *

Michael was busy in his room. He had never worked so hard on a project before. His old tee-shirt was covered in different art mediums, and crumpled paper was strewn all over the floor. The music pumped loudly in his headphones.

He stepped back, eyed his work critically, and smiled with satisfaction.

* * * * *

Part 6

West Roswell High had just gotten out for Christmas break. Liz’s dad opened the Crashdown for the entire evening just for the students to hang out together one last time before vacation. They hired extra help for the night so that Liz and Maria could enjoy the festivities with their friends. The music was loud and fun, and the decorations were literally out of this festive world. And who could forget the strategically placed mistletoe hanging from the ceiling?

The alien trio was sitting at their usual booth. Michael with his brooding “get-me-out-of-here-yet-where’s-Maria” scowl, Max with his “I’m looking for Liz” look, and Isabel looking like the perfect Christmas vixen in red.

On the other side of the café, Liz and Maria were mingling with a few of their friends. They both looked very attractive in their smart holiday outfits. Liz looked great in a short black skirt and little red sweater, and Maria was smashing in her long black knit skirt and champagne sweater twin set. Neither could see that they were both being eyed by Max and Michael respectively.

Just then Alex walked into the Crashdown, and started making his way toward the two girls. Isabel saw him stop, his path blocked by some people chatting. Well, Isabel, it’s now or never, she thought. She excused herself from the booth, and walked toward Alex. Unbeknownst to him, he was standing directly below a dangling mistletoe. Isabel tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around. Before he knew it, she gave him a very light, but definite kiss—very soft—on his lips.

“Whoa…whoa…I mean, WHOA! Merry Christmas to you, Isabel!” Alex was obviously happy, but looked perplexed. He wanted to ask her if that kiss was meant for him, or someone else.

“Merry Christmas to you, Alex. You look fantastic!” She meant it, too. The darling boy actually left the top button undone on his cute Tommy Hilfiger shirt, she thought. “I hope you didn’t mind…” She pointed to her lips in regards to the kiss. “But you were standing under mistletoe.”

“Mind? MIND???” Alex exclaimed. Are you insane, Isabel, you just made the next 5 Christmases for me, he thought to himself. “No, I didn’t. It was very nice.”

“Good. I have something for you.” Isabel gave him a flat medium sized package. “You can open it now if you want.”

Alex was speechless. Here the most beautiful woman on earth actually was talking to him, had just kissed him, and gave him a present. He felt like he had just died and gone to heaven. He graciously accepted the present and opened it. He took off the wrapping and opened the box. Inside was a beautifully framed and matted poem by Emily Dickinson .

“She’s my favorite, you know. This poem kind of explains my feelings. I hope that I will let you in some day.” Isabel looked down with a blush on her face.

“I hope you will.” Alex took the tips of his fingers and lifted up her chin so that he could look into her beautiful eyes. “Thank you, I will treasure this gift. Now I have something for you. Please open it.” He placed a small little holiday bag into her hands.

Isabel was not expecting anything from Alex. She opened the bag and took out a wrapped flat package. She unwrapped a CD that Alex had made for her—all of her favorite songs. He even typed out a little insert with all the lyrics. Isabel was very touched. She gave him a warm hug. “Thank you, Alex, I love it!”

* * * * *

At the other end of the room, Max finally made it to where Liz was standing. Liz was examining some wall decorations when Max interrupted her. “Liz, can we go somewhere more quiet to talk?”

Liz turned around; she was surprised to see Max. “Oh! Hi, Max! Yeah, sure, the backroom should be open.”

Max was nervous. “Liz, I have a present for you.”

“Max, you didn’t have to get…” Liz was interrupted.

“Shhhh,” Max said as he placed a finger over her mouth. “Just open this.”

Liz opened the large package; it was a beautiful photo book of places around the world that every person should experience. She then turned to the front of the book where Max had inscribed a message to her. It read: “Dear Liz, No matter what we go through, it's all worthwhile for me because we're together. I hope you can forgive me. I want to be able to experience the all the places in this book with you someday. Love, Max”

Liz remembered those very words Max said to her the night of their first kiss. They were embroidered on her heart. The look on Max’s face as he held her face said everything—he still loved her and wanted to be with her! Max cupped her face with his hands and looked deeply into her eyes. Liz was completely lost in his eyes as well. She put her arms around his neck and then they shared a sweet and gentle kiss.

“Oh, Max, I have something for you, but it isn’t wrapped.” She didn’t want to go into the fact that she wasn’t going to give it to him because she thought they weren’t going to be together this Christmas. “I’ll be back down in a sec.” She ran upstairs to her room and grabbed the unwrapped box.

“Here, Max, please open my gift.” Liz was saying in anticipation.

Max opened the box. Inside was a beautiful antique pocket watch. “It was my grandpa’s watch—Grandma Claudia’s husband. Here turn it over.” He saw an engraving on the back of the watch that read: “Max, It is the times we spend together that makes my sweetest memories. Love, Liz.”

“Liz, I love it! But this is too expensive, too important to you! I can’t take it!” Max said.

“Max, you’re important to me. Thank you for saving me.” Liz said with all the emotion she could fit into her heart.

“Liz, you have saved me. Thank you.” The two kissed again more passionately this time, and for the remainder of the night, they never left each other’s side.

So then there was one. Michael was left alone in the booth. He didn’t mind watching Maria have a good time at the party. She was extraordinarily beautiful tonight. He caught her eye as she was talking among some friends and motioned for her to join him at his table.

Maria excused herself and made her way towards the booth. “I’m sorry, but I can’t serve you today. As you can see, everything is self-serve at that buffet table.” As soon as she said it, she regretted it. Maria saw a hint of hurt in those gorgeous eyes.

“I know that,” said Michael with a very slight annoyed tone. “I just wanted to give you something.”

Maria softened a bit and sat down. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologized. Michael pulled out a wrapped cardboard tube.

Maria was more than surprised at the gesture. She looked at the person sitting across from her—boy, he was beautiful! His present to me could be allowing me to stare at him for a couple hours without him talking or grunting or...she was lost in thought.

“Ahem,” Michael shifted his eyes to the gift.

Maria unwrapped the tube and pulled out a drawing. As she unrolled it, she could see that it was a couple on a balcony holding hands, looking out into the moonlight. The moon could be seen to the upper right of the couple’s view and Michael’s constellation in the upper right.

Wait, Maria thought, the couple looks like, Michael and someone else. She looked closer. That’s me, she thought silently. Her heart soared at the thought of Michael and her holding hands looking up at the moon and stars. The picture was beautiful. The way Michael drew her was beautiful.

“Thank you, Michael. I love it!” She was breathless as her heartbeat sped up since Michael was so close in proximity to her. She wanted to hug and kiss the dickens out of him, but of course, she held back.

“You’re welcome, Maria,” he said very quietly, pleased with her reaction to his gift. He was drinking in her beauty with his eyes. She smells so good, he thought.

At that moment, Maria pulled out a small wrapped box from her sweater pocket. “Here, this is for you,” she said.

Michael was surprised. He had never received any presents from anyone he really cared about other than Max and Isabel. Hank didn’t count—a yearly 6-pack of socks do not count as gifts that show you care. He was so touched that he just held the little pretty box and looked at it.

“Well, aren’t you going to open it?” Maria asked.

Michael unwrapped it carefully, almost as meticulously as Maria had wrapped it. He took out the little black leather pouch and emptied the necklace into his left hand. He recognized the writing from the cave and his visions. He closely examined the pendant and looked up at Maria who was watching him.

“I hope you like it,” Maria said, silently happy with his reaction, “River Dog said that this was Nasedo’s necklace.”

Michael knew exactly what the writing on the pendant meant. “True love conquers all” was the motto on the necklace. River Dog must have been able to read between the lines.

“So, what does it say?” Maria asked eagerly.

“What? Oh, it says ‘Conquer all.’” He didn’t want to freak her out with the love part. And well, Michael thought, it wasn’t really a lie.

“Hmmm, that’s cool...Conquer all,” Maria repeated.

At this point, Michael and Maria were sitting across from each other in the booth. She was just sitting there, beautiful and glowing. His heart was racing, as was hers. Michael really appreciated his gift from Maria. He reached across the table and took both of her hands into his.

Maria got chills up her spine at Michael’s touch. She took her fingers and intertwined them with his. He then kissed the back of one of her hands. He never took his eyes off her. He just wanted to hug her so badly, to hold her close, to make him feel safe...

“Thank you,” he softly whispered. To Maria, the thank you was loud and clear.

* * * * *

Part 7

The weather outside was cold, clear and crisp. The party atmosphere inside the Crashdown was still going strong. A DJ was starting up some music, and tables were being pulled to the side to make room for dancing.

A slow song came on. Alex stood up and held an outstretched hand to Isabel. She took a long happy breath and reached for his hand. The two walked their way to the dance area. Isabel put her arms around Alex and drew him close to her. Alex nodded for her to look up. Mistletoe. Alex gently pushed her long hair back with one hand, and put the other hand behind her neck. He leaned in ever so gently for a warm gentle kiss. Isabel kissed back. The two danced for quite awhile.

“They’re a cute couple, aren’t they?” Liz asked Max as she smiled in Alex and Isabel’s direction.

“I can think of cuter couple, let’s go,” Max helped Liz get up from her chair. The two moved to the dance floor.

Liz was so happy at that moment. To be so close to Max felt so right! He held her close as they started to dance to the slow song.

“You’re so beautiful, Liz,” Max said with passion. “I’m just so sorr—“ Max’s words were stopped short as Liz placed her finger to Max’s lips this time.

“I understand why you did what you did. But right now, I just want to relish this moment and make a sweet memory,” Liz said looking up into Max’s piercing eyes. Her put her head against his chest, and she could smell his sweet, spicy cologne. Yummmm, she thought.

Just then, Max ran his fingers through her hair and looked deep into Liz’s eyes. As they danced, they shared the most passionate kiss they’ve ever had.

* * * * *

“Come on,” Michael said to Maria, getting up from the booth. Maria thought he was going to lead her to the dance area, but they bypassed all the people dancing including their close friends. Michael led her outside by the hand.

“Brrr, it’s a tad chilly out here,” Maria said shivering. Her sweater was quite thin. However, the one arm Michael had around her was slowly heating her up, to say the least.

“Here,” Michael stopped to put his jacket around her small shoulders. Mmmm, his jacket smells good, she thought to herself.

“Thank you,” Maria said as Michael put his arm around her once again, and they started walking along the sidewalk.

Maria enjoyed this quiet time with Michael. The silence was comfortable, not awkward. The moment was perfect. Michael stopped for a minute to take out the leather pouch from his pocket. Maria watched him take the necklace out and put it over his head.

“How does it look?” he asked. Maria nodded with a broad smile. It looks good; damn, Michael, you look good, she thought to herself.

He proceeded to place the hanging pendant inside his shirt. “Ahhhh, cold…metal, very cold,” Michael said as he tried to hollow out his chest away from the small piece of cold metal.

Maria giggled. “Here,” she said. Taking this opportunity to give him a hug, she placed her arms around him and pulled herself close to his chest. “Let me warm you up.”

“Hmmm, that’s much better, “ said Michael as he held her close. They were facing a street full of beautiful Christmas light displays. Could this Kodak moment get any better?

As they looked into each other’s eyes, Michael said, “Maria, thank you again for the pendant. It really means a lot to me.” He then gently took her face and pulled it towards him. He leaned in and placed his lips on hers. It was a soft beautiful kiss.

Michael closed his eyes as he held Maria close against him. He wrapped both strong muscular arms around her. At that very moment, he felt completely happy, warm, safe, and loved. “True love conquers all” was the saying on the pendant. He now knew exactly what that meant and what love felt like.

Maria was resting against Michael’s chest. The moon and stars above the two of them—just like his picture. “You’re welcome,” she said quietly, “I just wanted to give you something that would make you remember me.”

The End

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