FanFic - Unconventional Couples
"Guilty Pleasures"
Part 3
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.
I had talked to Liz on the phone a couple days ago. She was so excited to be coming home. Somehow, I didnít seem as thrilled. I mean, I love Liz, sheís my best friend and Iíve missed her so much. But the fact still remained that with Lizís arrival would also come Maxís departure, from "us" anyway. That gave me such a bad feeling. Somehow, I was starting to believe that it might be easier for both Max and I if we broke it off now. I know we still have a week left, and I should be thrilled and willing to spend all of it with Max, but I think it would be harder to end it a day before Liz came back than a week, at least for me. So I called Max up and told him to meet me here, saying that it was urgent. I looked up from the table and saw him walk in. Right on time.

"Maria, whatís wrong? Is everything okay?" he asked with a look of concern.

"Yeah, Max. Iím fine. We need to go for a walk, okay?" I looped my arm in his and we walked out of the restaurant, the same exact way we did only three months ago, three months that felt like an eternity. The only difference this time was that I was going to do the talking, or at least I thought.

We took most of the walk in silence. I think he knew something was up, but he didnít want to force it out of me. Thank God for Maxís patience. We made it to "our" bench, but I wasnít in the mood to sit.

"Max, I need to talk to you about something, about us."

"Me, too, Maria," he said. That twinkle was back in his eye. This was not good.

"Well, you go first. I can wait," I offered.

"All right." He paused as if he were trying to find the right words. "Maria, Iíve had the best time this summer. Youíve showed me some many new things, and made me feel so many great things. Things I never knew I could feel...about anyone else. I know we only have a week left until Liz comes back, but I donít want it to end, Maria. I love you." With that, he just looked at me. This was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I was so touched by what he said, but I knew it was unrealistic.

"Max, you know I feel the same exact way about you, but itís not right. We canít go on pretending that things will be okay this way, that people will accept what weíve become. Itís irrational."

"Whatís so irrational about it, Maria? You made me find something in myself that I thought I had lost when Liz left."

"Max, weíre on two separate paths. Yours leads you to Liz, and mine to Michael. Iím not denying what I feel for you, but Iím not going to deny fate either. Our paths may have intertwined for a while, but itís not meant to be. Eventually they were going to separate again, you knew this, we both did. Donít make this harder than it already is." I prayed he would just drop it now before he changed my mind, but that wasnít Max. He fought for what he believed in, and he must have believed in us.

"But fate is what has led us here. Life is hard, Maria. It always has been and it always will be. Love is the same way. There has never been an easy love. There is always a struggle, but you have to be willing to fight for it. Maria, Iím willing to fight. The question is, are you?" Tears formed in my eyes, but I never let them fall. If this didnít kill him, it would definitely kill me.

"No, Max. I canít, I wonít." I reached for his hand but he pulled away, his eyes misting with water. "Max, what happens when Liz comes home. We tell her what, that we fell in love over the summer and that weíre running away together? And Michael.. whatís he going to....." He cut me off.

"Who the hell cares about everyone else, Maria. They donít matter. Youíre the one I care for. Where were they when we needed them the most? Not helping us, thatís for sure." I could tell he was hurting, but I was doing what was right.

"Max, how can you say you donít care for them? Liz is everything to you, and she always will be. I love you, Max, you know I do. But Iím IN love with Michael. No matter how many times he blows me off, I canít help it." That was such a lie. I had grown to convince myself that I was in love with Michael, not Max, but I knew it wasnít true. Max stole my heart that summer, but for once, Iím not going to be selfish. This isnít fore me, this is for him.

"How can you say that? Have you felt nothing this summer?" He grabbed my arm and it hurt, but I held back my pain, because I knew he was serious. "I get this tingling feeling inside, Maria, every time I see you. I know that no matter what Iím feeling, everything is right when Iím with you. My palms become sweaty just thinking about you. Youíve felt none of these things?" His face pleaded with me, begged me to stay, to stay with him. I couldnít do it. This was it.

"Max, when I was with you, I felt those good things, but I also felt the bad. My stomach was in pain when I saw you, and it hurt so bad. My heart hurt too, because no matter how much time we spent together, I knew I would have to let you go. Iím trying not to be selfish here, Max. Iím trying to do the right thing. And the right thing is to let go. Whether I want to or not, Max, I canít love you." It was a low blow, but I needed this to end. I couldnít stand it anymore. The pain inside of me was so wretched, I wanted to crawl out of my body and never come back.

"I donít believe you," he said as he let go of me and stepped away. "I wonít believe you." And with that he walked away. Tears stung at my eyes, but I wouldnít let them fall. I didnít deserve to let them fall. I wanted to call out to him so badly, to run to him and tell him he was right. Fear stopped me. This was the right thing, I kept saying to myself. This was the right thing for all of us.

Night Before Lizís Return - Park

This last week had been so miserable for me. I didnít talk to Max once. I knew it was going to be hard, but I never imagined this. I couldnít sleep and I couldnít eat. I had walked around like a mindless zombie, nervously awaiting Lizís return. Tomorrow was the big day, and I knew I had to be able to act like everything was great. Thatís why I came here, to be able to get out all my feelings for Max, to give myself some closure. It was cold out, and I didnít have a coat on, but I didnít care. I began to shiver and shake, not just from the cold, but from my emotions as well. Then, two strong arms wrapped themselves around me, taking away the cold and the pain.

"I was hoping you would come," I said softly as he came around and kneeled in front of me.

"I canít let our summer end like that," he replied, fidgeting with my hands.


"No, let me talk." I quieted and gazed intently at his face. "Maria, I have had the most incredible experience this summer, and none of it would have happened without you. You showed me so many possibilities that I never even knew existed. For that, Iím more grateful than you will ever know. Iíve been thinking a lot this week, about you, about us, about Liz and Michael, and Iíve come to a conclusion. You were right. It couldnít last. "We" couldnít last. I thought I could push away all the guilt I had been feeling with all the amazing feelings I had for you, but I couldnít do it. Youíre in love with him, Maria. And Iím in love with her, no matter how many times we try telling ourselves otherwise. That is one truth that cannot be denied. But another truth is how I feel for you. Wherever our paths take us, Maria, you will always be with me. You hold a special place in my heart that will never be forgotten. Youíve made me realize so many things about not only myself, but about life and love. Like I said before, itís a never-ending struggle, and I was wrong to have tried to ignore that with Liz. We choose our own destiny, Maria, and we choose who we want to be with. When I learned that you chose Michael, it hurt so much, but I think I knew it all along, just as I knew that I had chosen Liz, a long time ago. " He grabbed my hand and held it to his chest. "But I donít want you to ever, ever forget what you are to me. Youíre my touchstone, Maria. You kept me sane and you kept me alive, and you made me know what real love is, whether it be the kind of love I have with Liz, or the kind I have with you. Words could never describe well enough how that makes me feel, so all I can say is thank you."

I didnít know what to say. I knew this day was coming, but deep inside, I didnít want it to happen. Everything he said was true, and I couldnít have said it better myself. There were so many things I wanted him to know, but I realized that he already knew them. So I said the only thing I thought was appropriate.

"No, Max. Thank You." With that he stood up and pulled me up with him. He grabbed my hands and placed them behind his head as he rested his on the small of my back. Our foreheads touched as we started swaying back and forth, dancing in the night. I closed my eyes and breathed in his scent, never wanting to let go. He started singing softly, and slowly his voice grew loud enough so I could hear him.

"I try but I canít seem to get myself to think of, anything, but you. Your breath on my face, your warm gentle kiss I taste the truth, I taste the truth..." He was singing the song that we had first danced to in the ice cream shop, the night of our first kiss.

"You know what I came here for, so I wonít ask for more. I wanna be with you, if only for one night, to be the one whoís in your arms who holds you tight. I wanna be with you, thereís nothing more to say, thereís nothing else I want more than to feel this way.." He kissed my nose and started humming. I smiled because I knew no one could ever take this moment away from us. They couldnít take the whole summer away. He tilted my head up and we kissed one last time. It was so sweet and pure, I would have died a happy woman right there. Flashes appeared, but this time, they werenít of the future, they were my memories. My walks with Max, us comforting each other. Him in the rain outside my window, then later, lying in my bed. The movie theater, when I got my first flash. Fourth of July, watching the fireworks. The ice cream parlor, dancing and swaying. Our first kiss, so sweet and pure. The night he slept over, when we declared our love. Sleeping in his arms, knowing everything was going to be all right.

We slowly pulled away and I hugged him with all the energy I had left. Max, my security blanket. I began to shake as I held back the tears. I felt my shoulder become moist, and I knew he was crying too. We pulled away and his finger stroked my face, something I had gotten used to. He bent his head down and his lips pressed against my forehead one last time. He looked at me as he pulled away. Smiling with that twinkle in his eyes and tears running down his face, he walked away, and never looked back. The tears that had formed in my eyes could not withstand any longer, as they trickled down my face. What do you know, an alien actually made me cry.

A Few Days Later - Crashdown

Things had been going pretty well the last few days. Since Max and I "broke up", we had talked a few times, reminding each other how to act in front of everyone else, like nothing happened. It still hurts to hear his voice, knowing that he will never talk to me like he did over the summer again. Liz had returned and we had an overwhelming reunion. We screamed for like the first five minutes of seeing each other, in between hugs and laughter. And darn it, the girl was tan! She asked me not to say anything to Max or the others about her return. She wanted to lay low for a few days, recuperate and such. I didnít blame her. I wanted a few days of recuperation myself. So now here we are; Alex, Isabel, Max and I are sitting in front of the television watching the hearing on C-Span. Itís about Agent Pierce and the Special Unit. I could care less at the moment.

"Max, youíre a genius," Alex remarked while watching the TV.

"What?" Max asked with a look of confusion on his face.

"Having Nasedo pose as Agent Pierce. You know, make a mockery out of the Special Unit and the government threat against you. Itís really smart."

"I had nothing to do with it," Max replied with an exasperated tone in his voice. You could tell he wasnít too happy with Nasedo. "I havenít heard from Nasedo in months."

"Well," Alex said, "if Nasedo can put an end to the Special Unit, Iíd say your problems are solved."

"We still have our enemies to deal with," Isabel stated, her eyes glued on the TV.

"Look, itís been over three months and nothing has happened, no aliens have shown up," Max said as he got out of his chair and stood up. "Maybe thereís no one out there. Maybe the war is over." He looked at Isabel who just stared at the screen. Finally, she looked back at him.

"Or thousands of them could be lining up outside of town right now," she quickly stated, almost under her breath.

"I just donít think we should be living our lives in fear, like Michael," Max said as he looked at his shoes. It was still hard for Max to even speak of his name.

"Maybe heís just preparing for the inevitable," Isabel rationalized.

"Theyíre taking a vote," I interrupted. Geez, I couldnít take anymore enemy talk. My life was hectic enough. Courtney, the new waitress who will be replacing Liz, walked in and glanced at the TV. She let out a chuckle and rolled her eyes.

"You people are way too into C-Span," she said as she grabbed something off the shelf behind the television.

"Good-bye, Courtney." Evil wench. I saw her eyeing Michael earlier. She was just waiting for a bitch-slap, I could tell. The woman on TV began talking.

"She looks familiar," I thought aloud as I looked over at Alex next to me on the couch.

"Yeah, thatís Vanessa Whittaker. Sheís our Congress Woman"

"Gotta start reading the newspaper," I replied. Like I had time to do that. I had much bigger issues than the political standings of Roswell. I glanced around and everyone was intently watching the screen. They were saying something about Cabdnium X. I had no clue what they were talking about, but everyone else seemed interested. As Nasedo exposed the Special Unit, I couldnít help but laugh.

"I am definitely not in the market for a 30-something shape-shifter, but I have to admit. The man rocks," I exclaimed. I turned off the television. Too much of that crap for me.

"All right, showís over. I gotta change into my uniform. My shiftís starting." Everyone was leaving as I got up off the couch. Max scuffled his feet as he waited for everyone to leave.

"Uhh..." Max started to say. I put an arm on his shoulder.

"Girlfriend....right. I know that we bonded over the summer, but I am not quite ready to show you the bod yet," I joked. We both knew what a lie it was, but we had to do it. We had become quite used to acting just like friends in front of everyone else. It was quite a skill we had developed. The difference was this time, thatís the only thing I could be for Max, a friend. He peered around, making sure no one was listening.

"No, I...I was just wondering if you had heard from Liz yet."

"Not since you asked me an hour ago, no," I replied sarcastically. I felt bitter, but this is how things were going to be now.

"I heard you on the phone with her," he said as he looked down, then up at my face sheepishly. I cut him off right there.

"Max, little advice. The girl goes off to some haunt in Florida for the entire summer and barely says good-bye. In laymanís terms, she blew you off big time." The hurt on his face was so awful. He looked down, very uncomfortable. I didnít mean to be harsh with him, but the truth hurts. Him and I have learned that.

"I mean, and look at you, look. Youíre like a groveling dog. Have you heard from Liz today? Did Liz call?" I said in a mocking voice. "No, thatís no good. Look, just play it cool. Let her come to you."

"Let her come to me," he repeated as he looked over at me. I head for my locker to get my uniform.

"Thatís what Iíd do," I explained as I turned around. Max stopped me.

"Wait, didnít you like just tell me that you left like five messages for Michael in the past two days?" he asked.

"Whatís your point?" I replied. So what, he can pine over Liz, but I canít do the same for Michael? Men!! He took the hint and started to leave as I got my uniform out of the locker. Right before he left, he turned around and looked at me, my back to him.

"Thanks," he said with a sweet tone in his voice and a half smile on his face. Oh. That was the killer. Memories came back, but I tried hard to push them away. That was in the past, and this is now. This is reality.

"No, problem," I said as I turned around, but he was already gone.

Later that Day - Mariaís Jetta

The rest of the day went by in a blur. I wasnít paying attention to what I was doing and I messed up half the orders. It didnít faze me though. I just kept right on trucking. The best thing to do with this whole situation was to accept it and move on. I had left work and was now on my way home. I turned on the radio to listen to some music. Music was always a release for me, maybe I could find something to cheer me up. I froze when I heard what song came on.

"Iíd like to watch you sleep at night, to hear you breathe, by my side. And although sleep leaves me behind, thereís nowhere Iíd rather be."

I thought back to the morning I awoke to that song. Max looked so angelic, the soft light shining around him. I donít remember hearing too much of the song after that, so I listened now, paying close attention to every single word.

"But now our bed is oh, so cold. My hands feel empty, no one to hold. And I can sleep what side I want. Itís not the same, with you gone. Oh, if youíd come home, Iíd let you know that....All, all you want, is right here in this room, all you want. And all, all you need, is sitting here with you, all."

That describes perfectly what I had been feeling in the last week. With Max gone, I felt so alone. Hopefully Michael and Liz will be able to fill that void for me.

"Itís been three years, one night apart, but in that night, you tore my heart. If only you had slept alone, if those seeds had not been sown. Oh, you could come home, and you would know that...All, all you want, is right here in this room, all you want. And all, all you need, is sitting here with you, all."

Max left me. No, that wasnít fair. We gave each other up, and I would have to live with that the rest of my life. Itís better knowing what we felt for each other, than never knowing at all.

"I hear your key turning in the door. I wonít be hearing that sound anymore. And you and your sin can leave the way you just came in. Send my regards to her, I hope youíve found that....All, all you want, is right there in that room, all you want. And all, all you need, is sitting there with you, all."

At least I knew the girl he was running to was my best friend. I knew they would be happy, that he would be happy, and thatís all I could ask for.

"Iíd like to watch you sleep at night, to hear you breathe by my side...." As the song ended, I knew it was the end of Maxís and my relationship. But, lucky for me, I knew it was going to be the start of an amazing friendship.

Iím writing you this letter, Liz, because I want you to know what really happened that summer. You have no idea the pain and grief Iíve had keeping this secret from you. At night, the guilt ate at my brain, not even counting all the fear I had of what would happen if you found out. I needed to tell you this though, Liz, in hopes that you might come to realize how special and lucky you are, if you didnít know it already. Max and I found each other that summer. We found something that we thought weíd lost forever. But in the end, we both knew our true fate, our real destiny. The summer was a guilty pleasure. You may call what Max and I had a mistake. I call it the smartest thing Iíve ever done. It made me realize everything that was important to me; Michael, Max, and especially you, Liz, the girl that pulled that plastic chair out for me the first day we met, welcoming me into her life and her heart.

Love Always,

A single tear rolled down Lizís cheek as she folded up the letter, stuck it in the envelope, and placed it in her journal....

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