|"A Wish Granted"
Disclaimer: Guess what? Still not mine.
Summary: Future fic. Michael has gotten what he wished for.
Category: Unconventional Couples
|She smiles at him when he tells her he's going to bed. "I'll be up in a minute."
"Great," he tells her, and wonders when-if-ever- it was great.
He's not being fair. It was great at first. The forbiddeness of it - no one was supposed to know what they were doing, they didn't want anyone to find out. They were supposed to be dating other people, but how could a human understand what they'd found in each other? They once had sex in her bedroom as her mother puttered around downstairs making dinner. He found that very exciting indeed.
And they had so much in common. She knew him as well as he knew himself, and she was always there for him, had always been there for him. At the time, he was pretty sure that she was perfect for him.
When they'd first moved to Florida, he mentioned that Maria told him that she'd always wanted to live near the ocean. Isabel had looked at him, and said "Do you miss her?"
"No," he'd said, shaking his head and laughing. "I don't miss her at all."
He longed for her instead, and he figures that difference is what made what he said not a lie.
Isabel comes upstairs a few minutes later. She slides under the sheets, curls up next to him, turns out the light by their bed. Here, in the dark, it's so easy to pretend. He sometimes feels guilty for it. Isabel has given him so much, has loved him for so long, and here he is, pretending. Thinking of someone who was all wrong for him, someone he hasn't seen since he was eighteen.
Last week, Max sent him an article about Liz's latest achievement (some sort of new exhibit at the New Mexico Children's Museum), and Michael had scanned the article lazily, wondering why Max still assumed that everyone else got a thrill out of reading about how Liz could do no wrong.
At the bottom of the article was a mention of guests in attendance. Jim Valenti, Nancy and Jeff Parker, Phillip and Diane Evans, Alex Whitman. The usual crowd. The last name was Maria DeLuca, and he stared at it for a moment. Could it be that she had never forgotten him? He felt a guilty thrill at that - that maybe she was out there somewhere, wondering about him like he wondered about her.
And then he made the mistake of looking at her name again. Maria DeLuca-Valenti. He smoothed the paper out with his hand, laughed out loud at his lunacy. Maria and Kyle. Nah. Max would have said something. Liz would have said something - Michael knew Liz still felt he'd treated Maria poorly. (He'd always agreed with that, he'd just never had the nerve to tell Liz that she was right.)
But no, it was there. Maria DeLuca-Valenti. He put the article in the trash, and then went and got it out five minutes later, tacked it on the fridge. He called Max five minutes after that.
"Michael, is that you? What's going on? Is Isabel ok?"
He gritted his teeth. "She's fine. I got the article you sent."
"Isn't it great? Liz really loves working for the museum. You know, it's really worked out well, us moving back to Roswell, and..."
"Is Kyle Valenti married?"
"Well, yeah. For about ten years now."
Before he married Isabel. She married Kyle before he married Isabel. She'd left him before he left her. He knows that thought isn't valid, or even true, but he thinks it anyway, feels betrayed.
"He married Maria."
"And you never told me?"
"Because Liz and I just found out when we moved back here. Maria hasn't really kept in touch, you know. Ever since..."
Ever since she found out about him and Isabel. He still remembers that day. Isabel had come over to his apartment in the morning, and one thing had led to another. Maria had walked in - he still remembers the precise moment, remembers exactly where everyone was - he was kissing Isabel's neck as he unbuttoned her shirt, she'd had her hands around his waist, and Maria stood there in the doorway, met his eyes, and then closed the door and left. He'd gone after her, tried to explain. He'd caught up with her outside the Crashdown. "Maria, wait!"
"Look, I just can't...."
"Can't what? Be with only one person? Not be an asshole? Remember to button your pants before you come running outside?"
He looked down, cursed, and fixed his pants. When he looked up again, she was staring at him, and she wasn't crying like she usually did when they fought. She looked angry. She looked really angry. "Hey," he said. "You don't understand. Isabel and I...we have a lot in common, and me and you...I.."
"Save it" she said. "God, Michael. Only you could somehow find a way to make me the reason why you're screwing Isabel. Well, you know what? You know how you're always telling me that you wish you weren't involved with a human? Congratulations. You got your wish."
She walked away, and he almost told her he was sorry. But he didn't, he couldn't. She was human, and he wasn't. She would never understand. He was sure of that. He went back inside to Isabel and told her that he wanted only her, that he'd never look back. It didn't take him long to learn that never was an optimistic thought. Never ended about six months later. He called Maria - she didn't call him back. He wrote to her and his letters came back marked "Refused. Return to Sender." He'd stopped trying after a while, convinced himself that she'd had her chance, and she'd blown it. Replace the she with he, and he knew that would be the truth.
But, he figured, he had Isabel. Isabel, who always knew what to say to make him feel better, who always wanted to make things better, easier for him. Isabel, who told him that he made her feel safe. Isabel, who told him that being with Alex was too scary - too much of a risk for her.
He asked Isabel to marry him when they were both twenty-five. They had a big wedding-she wanted a dress, a veil, lots of attendants. He agreed because it was what she wanted and he felt like he owed her. The night before the ceremony, he went out by himself and drank half a beer. There was a girl in the bar he was sitting in. She had short blond hair, and she smelled like lavender. She let him take her home, let him take her to bed. He called her "Maria" when he came. She gave him a black eye, which he managed to fix on his way home, and kicked him out of her apartment.
Marriage to Isabel has been pleasant. They both get up and go to work. They come home and eat dinner. They watch tv. Normal. Safe. What they both wanted. What they both wished for. He sometimes thinks he hears her crying in the shower in the morning, but she tells him he's imaging things.
He leans over and kisses his wife. Her hair slides over his hands and he pushes it up, onto the pillow, so he won't be able to tell that it's longer than Maria's was. He rests his head in the curve where her neck meets her shoulder, smells the soft floral scent that he's always associated with Isabel, and remembers a girl who smelled liked sage and lavender, remembers a girl who carried cypress oil in her purse and sniffed it when she was upset with him.
In the dark, where he can pretend, Maria beckons to him, opens her arms to him, and he goes to her, does all the things he wanted to all those years ago. She says his name when he pushes inside her, and he imagines that the voice he hears is lighter, younger. Human. *I wish I could be free of you*. He actually said that to her on more than one occasion. She would look at him, her eyes angry and sad at the same time. Beneath him, she sighs and runs her hands over his back.
The last time he saw her, she was standing on the sidewalk outside the Crashdown, and he'd hurt her in the worst possible way. He comes as he remembers her final words to him. *Congratulations. You got your wish.*
He rolls away from his wife and curls onto his side. "Goodnight, Michael" she whispers, and he forces himself to reach out a hand, to run it along her side. Isabel loves him; he's made a life with her. He's come as close to home as he probably ever will.
He lies there in the dark and tells himself that he's not crying. He lies there and tells himself he's not cursed. After all, he got his wish, didn't he?
|Email Author | Back to FanFic Page
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours