FanFic - Other
"Playing House "
Part 1
by Katjen
Disclaimer: Nope, no , not mine…
Summary: The gang has a school assignment that involves marriage and flour…
Category: Other
Rating: G
"Okay this is sooooo dumb – no offense Max."

He smiled a "None taken" and rested his chin on Liz’s shoulder as she leaned back against him, feeding him a piece of an orange.

"P.D.A.!" Alex groaned and Liz grinned at him tossing him a slice.

"Nuh uh - *lunch*"

"I don’t know what you’re complaining about…" Michael grumbled at Maria and pulled up a handful of grass to throw at her "I got stuck with *Gracie* - any time you want to put me out of my misery we can go over to the parking lot and you can run me over – jetta or jeep - your choice."

"Helooo *I’m* with Valenti – how much does that suck?" Isabel chimed in.

"He’s not so bad…" Liz ventured and Maria rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, maybe when he’s in poodle mode, but bitter ex-boyfriend Kyle is kinda…um…off – putting…and besides…" Maria turned back to Isabel, her nose scrunched in distaste "you’re father-in-law is *Valenti* Valenti – how friggin’ ironic is that?!"

"Almost Alanis-like" Alex agreed and she nodded slapping him a quiet low-five as Isabel frowned.

"Nothing in that song is really ironic …they're more of a series of bummers…"

"You’re just upset cuz you’re not with Is, and you’re mad cuz you’re not with me." Michael said starting to become bored with the whole thing as Max asked Liz what "poodle mode" meant.

"Yeah right! Like I want to be married to *you*…we’d kill each other…" he grinned at Maria sleepily and laid down on the grass resting his head on his arms.

"Yeah but we’d have fun doin’ it." he drawled.

"Pretending to be married for a week…think we can handle it Alex?" Liz smiled and kissed Max on the cheek as he asked her again when Kyle was a poodle.

"Sure thing Liz – I’ll be the best fake husband you could ever ask for."

"I’m still sticking with my original thought. This assignment is soooooo dumb. I mean if I have to get stuck with anyone, I guess I’m okay I’m stuck with Max…"

"Thanks Maria." Max laughed as she dropped some grass in Michael’s hair.

"Yer askin’ for it Deluca…"

"…It’s just…what’s the point of it y’know?"

"To prepare us for the real world – money, finances, compromise – all that fun stuff our parents are always complaining about…" Alex stole another orange slice and Liz offered him the rest of her soda. "And *sharing*…Liz we are so going to kick ass on this assignment…"


"Okay", Liz began taking out a clean sheet of notebook paper and lining up two freshly sharpened pencils along its sides. "First we have to come up with jobs for ourselves and then figure out an income based on that, and then we have to look for a house or apartment or whatever – That’s the first part." Alex took one of the pencils and chewed on the eraser thoughtfully.

"What if we were both millionaires? That’d be cool…"

"That’s not a job…" Liz laughed.

"I bet you anything Kyle’s going to be a basketball player…"

"Well it does have to be something realistic…"

"Okay what can I do, what can I do…Hey, are there professional leagues for dodge ball?"

"I don’t think so…"

"Okay…um…" he sighed and threw down his pencil in despair. "Computer Programmer I guess…ugh that’s so booooooooriiiiiiiiiiing…"

"But realistic." She smiled and he lifted his head from his hands.

"Your turn…"

"Head of Molecular Biology at Harvard." They said at the same time and Liz smacked his arm.

"How’d you know?"

Alex rolled his eyes and raised his hands in a mock don’t-hurt-me gesture and said, "Who do you think you’re talkin’ to? I’ve only known you for what? Like seven years? Your interests haven’t changed that much except for um…the whole astronomy thing…besides I listen when you tell me things." Liz was quiet for a moment, studying her friend as he grabbed her pencil and busied himself with writing down their "jobs", still chewing on the end of his eraser.


"I don’t have any skills." Maria announced flopping down on the chair at Max’s desk. She looked around the room interestedly. She’d never really been in here before. It was always cool to see what people’s bedrooms looked like, to see what kind of pictures they had up, what kind of knick-knacks they had lying around. Max’s room was very clean and tidy, a few posters on the wall and some pictures on the desk next to his computer of him and Isabel and Michael. Michael was actually smiling in one. She leaned in a little closer to get a better look. She never knew he had so many teeth.

She looked over at the stereo and found that most of his C.D. collection was identical to Liz’s. She smiled at that and took one more sweeping look around the room as Max got out some paper from his book bag.

Their rooms didn’t look the same – Max and Liz’s, but the feeling was the same – Calm. Rational. In control.

* Her * room on the other hand was full of stuff.

Stuff on the walls, stuff on the desk, stuff on the bed, stuff on the * floor *. Everything in her room was purple and blue and red and pink and green and yellow and…Technicolor…yeah…Maria was a Technicolor girl – completely different from Max’s beiges and browns and dark blues. She felt like she was in a grown up’s room.

He was sooooo perfect for Lizzy.

"Of course you have skills…" Max said confidently and handed her a piece of paper and a pen. "What did you want to be when you were little?"

"Not my mom." He smiled gently.

"Besides that…"

"Umm…the same thing all little girls want to be I guess…A ballerina, a nurse, a teacher, a princess, a fairy…" Max smiled again imagining Maria Deluca as a fairy. He could definitely see her, colorful wings sprouting from her back, only he saw her with a pair of boxing gloves on her hands. He laughed and she grinned at him.

"What? You don’t think I can pull off being a fairy? I was Tinkerbell one year for Halloween and everyone said I looked great – even dorkbutt got a kick out of my wings…"

"I remember…" Max smiled softly remembering that night, how perfect it was as he walked down the dark street with Liz’s hand securely in his. He thought at the time there could be nothing better in the world than holding Liz Parker’s hand. And then he had kissed her. "Have you ever wanted to be a singer?" he asked.

"A singer…"

"Yeah…I mean I was pretty out of it during that concert you and Alex did but when I got home they were playing you on the radio and I remember thinking how good you sounded. And that means something – I was in the middle of freaking out over not remembering anything that happened that night except for kissing Liz in front of a club full of spectators and I still took a minute to think about how great you guys sounded."

"Really?" she grinned and he nodded.

"I’d buy the C.D."

"Well okay then…if you really think I could."

"You can." He said firmly, really believing it. "And not just for some school project – for real."

"Thanks Max…Do you…do you know what you want to be?"

"Ahhh…When I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian…" He thought about the bird that had almost blown his cover, but then thought about that amazing feeling he’d gotten when it flew straight from his hands into the sun, free and alive and whole again. He wouldn’t have done anything different that day even if he knew then that it might almost cause him to be discovered. He hadn’t felt that again until that day in the Crashdown when he healed Liz. "…or a doctor…" he said.

"Yeah…I can see that…I think you’d be a great doctor Max…or veterinarian…Hey, if you were a veterinarian you could fix our dog for free if he ever got sick!"

"Our dog?"

"Yup. We have a dog. You and me – a Dalmatian. So we have to find a place to live that allows animals…"


"Professional Basketball player…" Kyle mumbled as he jotted it down in his notebook and looked up at her. Isabel Evans was sitting on his couch in the middle of his living room looking very uncomfortable. She really didn’t look right here. She was New York and he was New Mexico, style-wise. They just didn’t fit as a couple. As a *married* couple they were even more ridiculous. They had nothing in common except social standing. He supposed if you went by the rules of high school (which were completely asinine in his humble opinion), they *should* be dating, they *should* be together, they *should* make sense…The Homecoming Queen and the Captain of the Football/Basketball/Wrestling team (depending on what season it was) *made* sense. And it wasn’t like he didn’t think she was hot…she was sizzling…but he’d always been drawn to the sweet, quiet, smart girls, like Liz Parker who made * him* feel smart and worth more than the stupid trophy’s he brought to West Roswell. Those kind of girls made him feel like a regular guy, he didn’t feel like he had to pretend with them. Well yeah he had to play his macho card to get their attention, but once they let him in he was able to be himself and that was nice. A girl like Isabel would be pissed off if he didn’t turn out to be what his social package implied. Because Isabel Evans was a shallow little princess, who had no interests outside of anything but her own little clique of her, Maggie, and Gracie - the Glamour-Puss clones from hell.

She frowned at him suddenly, like she knew what he was thinking and he cleared his throat. "So what about you? Let me guess…Super Model, right?" she glared at him, and he smirked.

"That’s what I told Topolsky," She said smoothly, studying her nails. If he wanted to think of her the way he’d been thinking of her fine. She’d just make it easier for him. She didn’t care if Kyle Valenti thought she was shallow because she thought the same thing of him.

"Very original…" he murmured and she glared at him again.

"You work with what you’re given" she repeated the line she had given to Topolsky to get her off her back and said, "You should talk Mr. Jordan. I wouldn’t be giving myself any points for originality either if I were you…"

"Fine." He crumpled up the paper. "Let’s start over."


"So I was thinking like an actress or a model or something like that…you know because I want people to like, see me? And I think I could do it because I took this modeling class…"

Michael was getting a headache. She hadn’t stopped talking about how cute she was the whole way to the Crashdown, and she made it very clear that he was an idiot for not just coming out already and agreeing with her. This was going to suck. It already sucked. He wondered if you were allowed to get divorces.

"So I basically want to be the next Elizabeth Hurley because we both have brown hair and she’s a model and she’s an actress and I know I can do it because I took this acting class…"

How the hell had Isabel put up with this all those years? He looked over at Maria mournfully who had just come in with Max to start her shift. She looked up at him as she finished tying her apron around her waist and grinned. He sunk lower into his seat.

"Of course you’re no Hugh Grant…"

*Kill me. Kill me now.*


"So is Alex a good husband?" Maria grinned at her friend as she wiped down the counter.

"He’s great, whoever gets him for real will be very lucky…we didn’t have any trouble agreeing on a place to live."

"And where will that be?"

"You know those new houses they’re building just off of Citrus? We were thinking of one of those. It fits into our "budget.""

"You’re kidding! Max and I decided on one of those too…I swear to God you guys like share a brain or something…hey maybe we could be neighbors! That’d be sooo cool!" Liz smiled enthusiastically.

"I’m surprised at how much I’m getting into this…it’s actually kind of fun you know? Planning and stuff…"

"Yeah…"Maria rolled her eyes, "It’s faboo…If I didn’t have Max I’d be going nuts. He’s really good at this stuff – figuring out how much the house will cost with taxes and factoring in any initial repairs and add ons…He made a chart and everything that has how much each of us will make per year with our jobs and then how much of it has to be put into what…" Liz was wiping down the milkshake mixer smiling to herself. "Liz…"


"You made a chart too didn’t you?"


"Oh my God" Maria giggled "I can’t wait to see you two when you get married, making sure all the colors match on your charts and coloring them in together…"

"Who said anything about marrying Max…" Liz blushed and Maria tossed her dishtowel at her.

"Oh please if any of us are ever going to tie the knot with a Czechoslovakian it is soooo gonna be you and Max…"

"You think so?"

"Duh squared Lizzy. You two were made for each other. It’s a shame we didn’t get to choose our own partners – you and Max could have gotten a head start on all that fun planning…"


"Kyle Valenti is a jerk."

"Hey Isabel." Alex looked up as she sat down beside him at the lunch table. "What’d he do?"

"I don’t know, he just makes me mad." He laughed.


"He thinks I want to be a Super Model."

"Oh…well…will you think I’m a jerk too if I say it is a highly conceivable job option for you…?"

"No…but he just…*assumed* that that’s what I want for myself."

"What do you want Isabel?" She sighed and played with the ring on her middle finger. He smiled. It was the ring he had given her for her "birthday" last month. A little turquoise star on a silver band.

"I don’t know…I don’t know where I’ll be a week from now let alone years…it’s hard to think about things like that…I never really have thought about things like that…By the time I’m ready to get married and have a family and a job…I might not even be on this planet anymore and who the hell knows how things work there…do they have jobs? Marriages? Kids? Little houses with white picket fences?"

"Is that what you want? A little house with a white picket fence and kids playing in the yard…?" she shrugged not saying anything and he reached out and pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear. "Because it’s okay to want that Isabel…to want something normal and safe. I think it sounds nice."

She looked at him, her eyes soft and he felt his heart rate pick up like it always did when she looked at him like that (which was getting oftener and oftener). He cleared his throat, blushing.

"So does Valenti have you guys living in a huge house like with a gate to keep out all the uncool people?"

"Pretty much. We’re living in a mansion built right next to the United Center in Chicago. He figures we can afford it because I’m a world famous Super Model and he’s a world famous basket ball player…"

"I knew it! I knew it! Ask Liz and she’ll tell you I knew it!"

She laughed and took a small bite out of her sandwich.

"So…do you like being married to her? I’m just asking because Max was curious…" he grinned, and took a sip of his soda.

"It’s okay…"

"Just okay?"

"Well I think we have it better than most "couples" - we actually like each other."

"Lucky…" she mumbled. "There’s nothing like being married to someone you can’t stand…whether it’s fake or not…"


"Alright everyone you’ve been married a few days now, you’ve decided on a place to live, jobs that will provide an income for buying and maintaining your homes…which by the way I ran into a slight…discrepancy between your paper, Mr. Guerin, and yours Miss. Cohen." Mr. Hoffman flipped through his papers, looking for theirs and pulled them out, pushing his glasses further up on his nose as he squinted at them. "You maintain you both will be living in a Tuscan Villa, and yet Mr. Guerin has written on his paper that you will be living in, I quote, "a tent city in NYC or a cardboard box in the alley behind the Crashdown…we haven’t decided which yet…"" He put the papers down on his desk as Gracie let out a horrified shriek and glared at Michael as the class laughed at them. "I suggest you two come to a decision and keep in mind the next part of this assignment while doing so…" He picked up a small cardboard box and shook it.

The rustling of little papers sliding against each other stopped the giggling and the class stared at him. "That’s right – children." He paused long enough to let the class moan and groan then went on. "One of you from each marriage will come up and take a piece of paper that will say how many children you have and what sex they are. By tomorrow I expect you to have your children with you – no eggs with smiley faces drawn on them, no baby dolls. I want you to bring in something that will be similar in weight to a baby. I suggest you try bags of flour…"

"Flour children…" Maria whispered to Liz and they smiled at each other.

"If anything happens to your children – they spring a leak – anything - you will be penalized. I’ll weigh them at the beginning and again at the end of this part of the assignment – so duct taping your kid’s ouchies will not be acceptable. Okay who wants to go first…?"


"Michael I don’t know if I’m comfortable with this…" Maria giggled as he pulled her into the eraser room and locked the door behind them. "I mean I’m *married* to your best friend and you have *twins*…"

"Yeah, yeah rub it in that you didn’t get any kids…" he mumbled and drew her close dipping his head to kiss his way along the curve of her bare shoulder. If she was going to wear a strapless top to school she had to know he’d take advantage of it "married" or not.

"Speaking of not getting any…which you better not be…how are things with Miss Gracie?"

"Sucks" he mumbled nipping at the underside of her jaw. "Really really sucks…"



"I’ll help you…steal some bags of flour…after work…" She giggled suddenly and he lifted his head to look at her. "I’m just wondering if Gracie will accept generic flour children…"

"Is there such a thing as designer flour?"

"If there is she’ll find it…Seriously though…" she murmured as he stroked her cheekbone with his thumb, closing her eyes to it and tilting up her chin. "How is she as…a fake wife?"

"Fake. Do you really want to be talking about this now…" He brushed his lips against hers teasingly not waiting for her answer.

"…I dunno…I’m…just….mmm…"


"Yeah…" He stopped and she opened her eyes. He was smiling.

"You’re jealous aren’t you?"

"No I’m not!"

"Yeah you are…this is just further proof that you are nuttier than a Payday…you really think I might like Gracie?"


"Then what?"

"I’m more curious about how you feel about the assignment in general…"

"I told you it sucks…" He kissed her knowing it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. "It wouldn’t be as bad if we got to choose…If I got to be with you…" Another kiss. He felt her smile against his lips before she kissed him back. "That doesn’t mean I wanna marry you Deluca…" he said a little too quickly and she giggled.

"Ditto…I’d have to be nuts to say "yes"…"

"Well…you *are* nuts so…" She smacked his arm and he caught her hand and kissed it.


"Okay so we’ll be in the Petsmart…do you want us to meet you at the car?"

"No, I’ll come find you. This shouldn’t take too long."

Isabel watched as her brother and Maria walked down the sidewalk to the Petsmart beside the Dominics. They both opened the doors and waited for the other to go through, then laughed before stepping inside together. She rolled her eyes smiling a little to herself as she entered the grocery store. Deluca had a talent for lightening up her brothers that was for sure. Michael actually smiled now and last night when she had passed by Max’s room where he and Maria were working she had looked in and found them doubled up on the floor, cracking up. Her brother had actually *giggled* over something Maria was telling him about Liz. Truly amazing.

She wished she could have gotten paired up with Michael or Alex. Well Alex anyway…being "married" to Michael even for a school project was a tad too icky – almost as bad as being paired up with Max. But Alex would have been nice…it would have been fun.

She sighed and found the baking aisle, then stopped, stared, and considered running in the opposite direction. Kyle was there staring at the shelves of flour looking completely overwhelmed. He looked up and saw her. Too late to run now. She grit her teeth and walked up to him.

"What are you doing here?" He squinted at the bags of flour and scratched his head.

"Tryin’ to pick out Junior…what about you?"


"We only need one."

"No kidding. I didn’t know you were going to get him."

He sighed.

"Well I didn’t know if *you* were going to…so I figured I’d pick one up just in case."


"Yeah…" He gestured at the shelves "This is bizarre. I’ve been standing here for ten minutes looking for a bag of flour that stands out. I can’t believe I’m looking for some hint of individuality in a baking product…"

"Just pick one…"

"I can’t or I would’ve by now. You do it." She rolled her eyes again trying to look as annoyed as possible even though she thought he was being kind of funny. She reached out for the bag in front of her then stopped. That one didn’t look right. What about… she reached for the one next to it then stopped again. She looked over at Kyle and he nodded at her solemnly.

"This is why God doesn’t let you choose your children." She laughed despite herself, then closed her eyes, spun around twice with her arm out in front of her, pointing. She opened her eyes.

"That one." She said and he lifted it off the shelf.

"It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It’s a baby. All babies are perfect." He handed it to her and smiled.

"Can I pay for it or do you want to?"

"Let’s split it. He belongs to both of us."

"Okay." They left the baking aisle and wandered over to where the baby stuff was. Isabel took out a memo pad from her purse and a pen.

"We might as well jot some of this down now…" she said and peered at the price tag on a box of Luvs. They went down the aisle together picking out wipes and bottles, bibs, and baby food, until they figured they had enough to last a week and wrote down all the prices. "There…" she said capping her pen. "I think we’re done here – we just have to go to a department store to look for prices on cribs and clothes and stuff…"

"Yeah sounds good – just one more thing…"


"C’mon…" He led her to the next aisle. "The kids gotta have something to play with…you pick something and I’ll pick something…"

Isabel smiled as he continued down the aisle past the Barbies shaking his head disgustedly at them, and looked up at the collection of stuffed animals. There was a little gray elephant that looked so soft. She picked it up and hugged it to her cheek remembering the one her mom had bought her to help her sleep at night when she had first been adopted. Peanut still had a place on her bed after all these years.

She looked up and blushed when she found Kyle staring at her. He probably thought she was being a dork getting all moony over some silly stuffed animal. She put it back on the shelf and took out the pad again to write down the price and sauntered over to him daring him to say anything. He was holding a little baseball mitt.

He was tracing the stitching with his thumb, frowning. He looked up at her and set it down. "Put the mitt on there too…it’s important…y’know…for dads and their sons to play together…" She nodded quietly and wrote it down watching him as he reached out and touched the mitt again, his eyes soft. He cleared his throat suddenly and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "So…uh you like elephants?" She smiled and shrugged.

"Isabel!" Isabel looked up and saw Gracie coming towards them, holding her "twins". "I haven’t seen you in *ages*…" she said coolly and gave Kyle a toothpaste-add smile. "Hey Kyle…"


"What can I do for you Gracie?" Isabel asked just as smoothly.

"I just wanted to say hi and ask you what the deal is with your friend Michael…"

"What do you mean?"

"It’s just like…I don’t understand what his problem is…most guys would be thrilled at getting a chance to be seen with me whether it’s for school or not…" She looked at Kyle for confirmation and he just stared at her. "Is he gay or something?"

Isabel smiled tightly. "No Gracie Michael is not gay. He’s with Maria."

"Oh right, the girl with the clothes…" She rolled her eyes "So what?"

"So he’s not gay. He just doesn’t like you." Gracie paused for a minute then laughed and gave her an Oh-Isabel-you’re-too-funny look before rushing off when they heard Maggie whine from the next aisle over "Gracie come *on* Dawson’s is on in ten minutes!"

Isabel took a deep breath and shook her head at Gracie's retreating back. "Poor Michael" she murmured. And Kyle frowned at her.

"I thought you were friends…You know…you, Gracie, and Maggie…the Princesses of West Roswell…"

"I’m not a princess!" she said angrily and he held up his hands.


"I haven’t been friends with Gracie and Maggie for a long time…" She gave him a hard look. "What gives you the right to be so judgmental anyway? Your friends are the same way!"

"No they’re not…"

"No they’re not obsessed with appearances? Hanging with the "right" people – the "in" crowd? Scoring on the field or with one of the "princesses"? You’re such a hypocrite Kyle…"

"Hey…" he grabbed her arm as she started to leave and she glared at him. "I’m sorry…you’re right…you are…I guess they are the same…" he shrugged and let her go. "I don’t hang out with my friends that much either…"

She frowned at him.

"Why not?" He shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged again. "I just got tired of pretending y’know?" She stared at him.

"Yeah…well so did I."


"Everyone is soooo mad at us because we didn’t get any children…" Maria laughed and wandered down the aisle of chew toys.

"Well we have a dog…" Max smiled and took out his notebook and a pencil. "He’ll be our kid…" He wrote down the price of a red leash and picked up a newspaper squeeze toy. "Is and I had a goldfish once…how about you? Did you ever have any pets?" Max looked up from the toy but she was gone. "Maria?" He went over to the next aisle but she wasn’t there either. He was on his way to the dog section to write down some prices for food when he heard the tiny "yip" of puppy. He followed the noise and when he turned the corner saw Maria staring through the window at a little Dalmatian. There were tears in her eyes but she was smiling.

"Hey" he said softly coming up beside her.

"Hey…" She touched the glass and the puppy yipped again, his tongue rolling out of his mouth in a grin. "Look at him…he’s so beautiful…" she whispered. A tear rolled down her cheek and she quickly brushed it away. "I had a dog once just like that – only he was bigger. He was my best friend. Before Liz and Alex anyway…" She bit her lip. Michael was the only one who knew about Domino. Not even Liz or Alex knew how important he was to her. Her dad had brought him home when she was baby – they had grown up together. He used to make her feel better when her mom and dad would fight. He kept her from feeling so lonely and scared. And then he had left her just like her dad had left her.

She took a deep breath and pushed the tears off her face. "If mom and I had enough money and time to take care of a dog I’d snatch this little guy up in a minute…" she turned to Max and managed a wobbly smile. "At least I can pretend he’s mine…let’s go find a really cool collar for him!" She flashed Max another smile and hurried down the aisle. He watched her go, then looked at the little dog rolling around on his back before trailing after her.

When he found her again she was holding a black leather collar with studs on it. She held it up and laughed. "What do you think? Too Sex Pistols?"

"He’ll never be picked on that’s for sure…" Max smiled and came up beside her, then asked quietly, "Are you okay?"

"I’m fine…" She put the collar down. "I just kind of miss him sometimes…"

Index | Part 2
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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