FanFic - Unconventional Couples
"Guilty Pleasures"
Part 1
by Roswella
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. They belong to the lovely Mr. Katims. For the very last part of the story, I used direct dialogue from the show, the episode "Skin and Bones". All credit goes to the writers of that episode for that part.
Summary: What happens with Max and Maria when Liz leaves for the summer? Maria POV (Takes place between DESTINY and SKIN AND BONES)
Category: Unconventional Couples
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I would absolutely love feedback, seeing as though this is my first fanfic.
Have you ever been able to look back and pinpoint the exact moment that your life completely changed? It might have been something big, something you could never miss. Or it might have been something small, something so tiny that if you werenít paying close enough attention, it would pass by unnoticed. My life consisted of both these "changes". The day my dad left could be categorized as something big, something I could never forget. My first day of kindergarten, on the other hand, was one of those tiny changes, but it grew into something I had never expected.

That day, my mom made me wear these red overalls with a white shirt underneath that had little hearts on it. I was so embarrassed, but thatís the price you pay when youíre 5 and canít even dress for yourself, let alone pick your own clothes out. I had walked into the room very nervous. I played with my pigtails as I looked around the class. Iím not quite sure what I was searching for, but when my eyes laid on this girl with long brown hair, chocolate eyes, and this cute cupcake dress, I knew that I had found it. As I walked over to her, she glanced up at me. Her face had the warmest smile on it that I had ever seen.

"Do you want to sit down?" she asked as she pulled the plastic chair out for me.

"Thanks, I like your dress," I replied to her as I sat down.

"Thanks, my mommy made it for me," she answered. "I donít like it that much, but it made her happy for me to wear it. My name is Liz, whatís yours?"

"Iím Maria. My mommy made me wear this too," I said.

I canít remember too much of the day after that. I was only 5 after all. Thatís one of those times that I always forget about, but really, it was the most important day of my life. That day Liz and I became best friends, and nothing has made that change since. But what she doesnít know is my dark secret, a secret that could once more change the course of our lives. It has already changed mine. The question is, will I let it change our friendship? It happened last summer, after Liz gave up the most important part of herself for destiny, Max. And I...well, I was forced to give up the most important part of myself, Michael. He wouldnít have it any other way.

Liz was so devastated over her loss that she decided she had to take a break. Not just a break from Max or from Roswell, but just a break from her life. She was going to Florida for the summer. Three whole months without her. What was I supposed to do?

Last Summer - Airport

"Do you have everything, sweetie," I asked as I heard her flight being called.

"Yeah, I think so, I hope so," she replied as she looked at her luggage.

For a while we just looked at each other. We both knew it was going to be the longest summer of our lives. I looked her up and down, soaking in as much information as possible. This was a girl I knew all my life, who I saw every single day. Somehow, though, I was afraid that I would forget what she looked like, the way she played with her hair when she was nervous, and the way she rolled her eyes at my lame jokes.

"Come here," she said as she pulled me into an embrace. We held onto each other tight, knowing it would be the last touch until Fall.

"Itís only three months," I told her, trying to make us both feel better. "Itíll be over before you know it. And youíll be back here in good olí boring Roswell wishing you were still at the beach basking in the sun."She smiled and laughed at my comment even though we both knew I was lying through my teeth.

"Now donít be picking up too many hot guys on the beach, unless you find one for me that is," I joked as we let go of each other. She smiled again and a look of pain came across her face. I knew who she was thinking about, but neither of us confirmed it with words.

"Iím going to miss you so much, Maria," she sighed as she hugged me one last time.

"Ditto, girl. I love you, and have fun," I said, and we let go.

"Love you too." And then she was gone. Three long months without my best friend. This was going to be tough.

Later that Afternoon - Crashdown

I slipped on the blue uniform that I had grown so accustomed to. It was like a second skin for me. I peered into the kitchen to see if Michael was there. The only person I saw was Jose. I grabbed my pen and paper and headed into the front. As I passed through the swinging door, I saw the day Liz got shot run through my mind. I still get this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach sometimes. Itís the kind of feeling you get when you know something is going to happen that is life altering. I got the feeling right before Liz was shot and even that day when Michael told me he cared too much about me for us to be together. I just got that feeling again as I looked around the restaurant. Thatís when I saw Max sitting at his usual booth by himself. I walked over and sat down across from him. The look in his eyes was the most unnerving thing I had ever seen.

"Whatís up, Maxwell?" I asked as I crossed my legs under the table. Michael gave that nickname to Max a long time ago. It rubbed off on me and I liked it. It made me feel like a part of Michael was still with me.

Max just sat there. Finally, he looked up at me and forced himself to give a small smile.

"Hey, Maria." He even sounded different. You could almost feel the pain through the vibrations of his voice.

"Look, Max. This is going to be one hell of a long summer if you are going to act this way the whole time. Stop wallowing, sheís gone. Itís only three months. Iím sure things will be back to normal when she gets back. So until then, loosen up man!" I lightly kicked his shin under the table.

He chuckled lightly and sat up straighter. He put a happy look on his face to make me feel better. I knew it was just an act, but he succeeded.

"Much better. Now, can I get you anything from the kitchen. An alien blast perhaps?" I asked as I got up from the booth. The second I said Alien Blast I wished the words would return right back into my mouth. I had never seen someoneís impression change so quickly. The look on his face was devastating. My stomach twisted into a big knot.

"All right, thatís it. Letís go." I grabbed his hand, threw down the pen and pad, and dragged him out of the restaurant. "I will not have you moping around all the time. Max, you and I are in the same boat here. We are forced to follow something that we donít want to. Michael wonít have anything to do with me because he supposedly cares too much. Liz sacrificed you for your destiny, then took off without letting you put up a fight. Now you donít see me dragging myself around like a...like a....well like something that drags itself around!"

"What do you expect me to do, Maria? Jump around all excited that I have to go a whole three months without my other half? Without my true destiny?" Max replied.

"Of course not. But what you are going to do is spill everything to me. Liz didnít give me the whole story about what happened that day in the desert, I know it. She gave me the sugar-coated version. Now I want you to give me the truth. Come on, letís go for a walk." I looped my arm in his and we set off on our first walk together. Notice I said first walk. Max and I shared many walks together that summer. They were some of the best times I ever had with him.

When he was done with his story, we had come across a bench overlooking the park. We both just sat down and looked around. Sometimes talking is too much. Sitting in silence became much more comfortable. It was a lot easier to enjoy each otherís company that way, neither of us nagging the other one for answers, answers that we knew we didnít have. He took my hand in his and I looked up at him.

"Thanks."

One word, a million meanings. I smiled at him and squeezed his hand.

A Couple Nights Later - Mariaís House

I decided to call Michael up. I figure I gave it a 6 day buffer between us. That way I donít look too pathetic. I picked up the phone and dialed the number. Then I slammed it back down.

"Argh! Come on DeLuca, pull yourself together!" I thought.

I picked up the phone again and this time I didnít hang it up. My palms were all sweaty and my muscles began to tighten. Why was I all nervous? My thoughts were interrupted by his voice.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Spaceboy," I replied, trying to sound cheery. I think it just annoyed him more.

"Maria, why are you calling me," Michael sighed into the phone. Itís just like Michael to close himself off. Heís always had that wall up guarding his emotions.

"I just wanted to know if you wanted to hang out tomorrow. You know, grab something to eat...maybe take a walk in the park...."

"Maria!" He snapped as he interrupted me. "We already went over this. You and I are not a "we" anymore! Somehow you need to get it through that thick skull of yours. Iím too busy worrying about more important stuff than our relationship or whatever you want to call it. I donít have time to be frolicking with you in some park!"

"First of all, WE didnít decide anything! You took it upon yourself to decide where our relationship is headed!" I barked back at him. I couldnít believe he was actually doing this to me. "Why do you keep pushing me away like this? If you say you care for me, then you should start acting like it instead of acting like a selfish pig!"

Click. All I heard was the dial tone....and my heart breaking. I turned the radio on to see if there was anything that could cheer me up. I stopped station surfing when I heard these words:

If you gave me just a coin for every time we say good-bye / Well Iíd be rich beyond my dreams, Iím sorry for my weary life/ I know Iím not perfect but I can smile / And I hope you see this heart behind my tired eyes / If you tell me that I canít, I will, I will, Iíll try all night / And if I say Iím coming home, Iíll probably be out all night / I know I can be afraid, but Iím alive / And I hope that you trust this heart behind my tired eyes / Iím no angel but please donít think that I wonít try and try / Iím no angel, but does that mean I canít live my life / Iím no angel, but please donít think that I canít cry / Iím no angel, but does that mean that I wonít fly / I know Iím not around each night / And I know I always think Iím right / I can believe that you might look around / Iím no angel, but please donít think that I wonít try and try / Iím no angel, but does that mean that I canít live my life / Iím no angel, but please donít think I canít cry / Iím no angel, but does that mean that I wonít fly...

That song fits me like a tee. I couldnít have summed it up better myself. That Dido chick really knows how to spell it out for ya.

I sat in my room for a while just thinking. I thought about all the great stuff Michael has done for me in the past. Itís kind of funny. The whole time Iíve known him, he has given me some of the most painful times I have gone through, yet he has also given me some of the best times. Thatís why he confused me so much. He had a hot/cold thing going on for him. If only he could break down that wall and just let me in. Heís probably pushing me away more now because he found out he was this soldier in his past life. He feels his duty is to his planet, and personal relationships shouldnít be mixed in. And thatís the thing. Heís not even having me on the side! I looked around the room and I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I couldnít stay cooped up like this. I had to go take a walk. I looked at the clock. 12:47am. I grabbed my coat and took off.

Tears began to sting my eyes. I held them back for as long as I could. No alien is going to make me cry. I was lost in my thoughts and I had no idea where I was headed. I just let my heart lead the way. When I realized where it led me, I was in a little bit of surprise. My first guess would be that I was headed for the Crashdown. Figuring Liz was gone, at least I could feel her presence if I was there, feeling some sort of comfort. Instead, I ended up in the total opposite direction. When I looked up, I found myself in the park. I was at the bench that Max and I had sat at only a few days ago. I sat down on the cold wood and began to shiver.

It wasnít because I was cold. Well, in a way I was. My heart had turned cold. I felt a quiver go down my spine and I involuntarily shook. I donít know why this was bothering me so much. I should have expected it, seen it coming. How many times had he done this to me before? More times than youíve got fingers, Maria, I thought. And then that feeling in the pit of my stomach came again. A silent growl that was begging to be silenced. Suddenly, I heard someone coming. I turned around and couldnít believe who it was....

"Hey, Maria," Max said as he sat down on the bench. "Wasnít expecting to see you here this late. Couldnít sleep either?"

"No, Michael and I had a little "tiff" if you will." I answered back in disgust. "How can you stand that boy, Max? He acts so immature sometimes. He never thinks about anyone but his bullheaded self."

Max looked me in the eyes and could tell I was on the verge of tears. I looked away, too embarrassed to see his expression. If Max saw me like this, word could get around that Michael had finally gotten to me. But Max never said anything about it. For a while we just sat there. Like I said before, silence had become a vigil. Then, he rested his arm around my shoulders.

"And you were telling me not to be mopey," he said as he smiled.

"Whoís being mopey? I donít see a mopey person around here," I joked as I looked around.

He just smirked and I put my head on his shoulder. I canít even remember the last time that sitting with someone felt this good. Michael and I never did anything like this. I enjoyed it a lot, it was a change of pace. We sat there for the longest time just enjoying each otherís company. The silence was so welcoming. It swallowed me whole. Time raced by as we just sat there. The sound of his breathing had this very calming effect on me, something that used to bother me with Michael. He always had this wheezing noise when he breathed, very irritating. I glanced at my watch and couldnít believe what time it was. 2:35am! I got up and he stayed on the bench. I looked at him for a second. A shadow was covering half his face, but you could still see something was different. It actually looked like a spark of life came upon Maxís face. As I walked away, I turned around.

"Thanks."

And I made my way back home.

Two Days Later - Crashdown

"Hey, Isabel. Whatís shakiní?" I asked as I walked over to her sitting at the counter.

"That headband on your head by the looks of it," she replied as she glanced up at my head.

I looked up and couldnít help but laugh. She was right. The balls on my headband were swaying back and forth. Whose idea was it to make the waitresses wear these hideous things anyway? Oh, right. Lizís dad.

"Funny. Besides that," I asked, trying to change the conversation. "Youíre looking a little bummed-out there. Troubles on the home front? Or does this extend a little further out than that?"

"Uuumm...actually, youíre right. Itís Max. Heís just been distancing himself so much in this past week or so. Iím really worried about him. Usually we can talk about anything. And now him and Michael arenít talking either. At first I thought it was because of this whole Max being our leader situation, but now I think itís something else. Max seems to be irritated with Michael for some reason or another, and itís not their usual piss fights that theyíre having. Have you noticed anything about Max lately, Maria?"

It took me a little bit to answer. Max couldnít be upset with Michael because of me, could he? I mean I knew we had gotten closer in the last week, but I didnít think Max would let Michael and my petty problems interfere with their relationship. I also didnít want to tell Isabel that Max seemed to be getting closer to me. I didnít want to hurt her feelings or make her feel left out, so I just calmed her fears.

"Listen, itís been really hard on Max this last week. Having to let go of Liz was one of the...no, wait......it was the worst thing that has happened to him in a while. Heís just trying to deal with it in his own way, however nonchalantly that may be. Just give him some time. This is all new to him and he just needs time to deal for a while," I answered, trying to make her relax about it. "Besides, who could blame anyone for being upset with Michael, no matter what the reason is!"

Isabel smiled and laughed lightly.

"I guess your right. We all know how Michael can be sometimes. Listen, if you hear anything from Max, will you let me know? I just really would like to know whatís going on with him."

"Sure, no problem, Isabel."

"Thanks. I think Iíll go and check up on Alex. Who knows, maybe he can help me with my problems."

"Iím sure he will. Alex is great at stuff like that. Oh, oh, and by the way, tell him thanks for replacing me with that Jane wench in his band. That girl does not have half the talent I do, I swear!"

A week later - Mariaís House

Rain was pouring down outside. It had been dreary all day, but it had just started raining an hour ago. I just got out of the shower and I was combing my new long hair. I had Louise at the beauty shop put in the extensions a couple days ago. Itís so weird how different someone can look, even feel, with a new hairdo. Itís like youíre a new person, with new feelings. Even the people around you notice something has changed. It may just be the way I hold myself now, but something inside is telling me things are much different than my posture. The telephone rang, interrupting my thoughts.

"Hello?"

"Maria! You have no idea how good it is to hear your voice!" Liz happily replied.

"Oh My God! Liz, I have missed you soooo much, and itís only been what, like two weeks?"

"I know Maria, I feel like I have so much to tell you. But first of all, how are things there? Is everyone doing okay?"

"Yeah, Isabel and Alex are the usual. I havenít seen much of Tess. Kyle is off at football camp. Michael, ooo, donít get me started on that one. And Max.....Max is doing pretty good. We havenít talked too much in the last week, but everything seems to be going fine for him." I said that last part with a hesitation. Things were definitely feeling different between Max and I, but how are you supposed to tell your best friend that. Oh Liz, by the way, thanks for leaving. Max and I have become real close and it would have never happened without ya breaking his heart? I mean get real. So I skirted around the issue as best I could.

"Good. Iím glad to hear that heís doing okay....that everyone is doing okay," Liz said after a second or two. "Things have been going pretty well here, too. Although, itís really hard to pick up guys without my wacky sidekick, you know? Itís just not the same without you."

"I know, Hun. Itís way weird without you here. But how are the guys down there, and do most of them really wear speedoes like Kyle told us?"

"Letís just put it this way. The ones that arenít should be, and the ones that are.....they shouldnít be on the beach at all!" Liz giggled.

We talked on the phone for a good hour. She told me stories of how she was meeting some friends, and I told her stories about how Roswell was trying really hard to get along without her.

"Oh, itís getting late, Maria. I have to head to bed. Got a long day coming up tomorrow."

"Wow! Itís 12 oíclock already. And itís even later there! All right sweetie, have fun tomorrow. And if you come home with a better tan than me, youíre dead."

"Heh. Thanks Maria. Iíll call you in a couple of weeks. Love ya. Bye."

"Love you too, Hun. Laters."

The second I hung up the phone, it rang again, scaring the hell out of me.

"Hello?"

"Maria? Hey, itís Isabel. You havenít heard from Max today or tonight, have you?

"No, not in a couple of days actually. Why?"

"Well, itís really late and usually heís home by now. I havenít heard from him at all today. When I got up this morning, he wasnít in his room. The last time I saw him was last night."

"Donít worry about it Isabel. Just call up dorkface and see if heís there. Maybe the two of them are trying to patch things up."

"Call Michael? I already tried, and heís not there," Isabel replied in a worried tone.

"All right, just sit tight, Isabel. If I hear anything from him, Iíll let you know. In the meantime, Iím sure heís fine. Donít stay up and worry. Just get some sleep and Iím sure youíll see him in the morning when you wake up. If not, then weíll take some action then, okay?

"Yeah, yeah I guess. Thanks Maria. Bye."

"Night, Isabel."

As I hung up the phone, I couldnít help but wonder. Max does have a tendency to run off sometimes, but usually Michael or at least Isabel know about it. Stop worrying yourself, Maria. Iím sure heís fine. I finished combing my hair and I got into bed. 12:30am. The next time I opened my eyes, it was 2:34am.

I didnít just wake up for no reason though. My stomach started having that feeling again. I got up and took an antacid. Must have been the fajita I had for dinner, I thought. As I went back into my room, I noticed it was still pouring outside. Thatís when I heard the tap at my window. I ran over expecting to find Michael. What I found was a soaking wet Max.

"Max, what the hell are you doing out there in the rain this late? Are you freaking nuts?" I asked as I opened the window to let him in. I started having flashbacks of when Michael came here on this same kind of night. Max just stood there and looked at me, stone-faced and silent. I grabbed his arm and forced him to come through the window. I ran and grabbed a towel out of my bathroom. As I took his jacket off, I dried off his hair with the towel. Yeppers, definitely flashbacks. Well, might as well finish the dejavu. I led him to the bed and pulled the covers over him when he laid down. I laid on top of the covers facing him and put my arms around him, never once pushing him to tell me what was wrong.

Thatís when the tears started. I could feel him trembling, then shake. Then I heard the sobs. I just held him close and tried to soothe him with my voice.

"Itís okay, Max. Everything is going to be fine. Shhhh, itís okay."

He held on to me tighter. I have never felt so much hurt and pain radiate off him like this before. I wondered why he had come to me instead of going to Isabel. Thatís when I realized how close Max and I really had become. We had a confidence in each other. We were able to understand what the other person was thinking without needing to talk. Max didnít want to go to Isabel because she just would have thrown a hundred questions at him. I even considered the thought that Max might just feel safe with me. I never asked him why he had disappeared, then reappeared outside my window, but I didnít need to. I knew the real reason he was there.

He fell asleep in my arms about ten minutes later. He was so peaceful when he was sleeping. He reminded me of a little boy. Yet the weird thing was, when Max was awake, he seemed to have aged quite a bit in the last couple months. I should recommend some of that seed oil to him, I thought. I pushed a stray piece of hair our of his face. He really did look like an angel, and that was my last thought as I drifted off to sleep.

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