|"One True Thing"
Disclaimer: I own nothing having anything to do with Roswell, but thanks for
Summary: Max opens a connection with Maria with disastrous results; from Maria's POV
Category: Unconventional Couples
Authors Note: Feedback is always appreciated. Thanks!
|The family barbecue. The back yard.
I find it amusing that the one person presently at this event who is not related to me is an alien. And he's the normal one. I don't know where Mom dug up half of these people. I can't believe I am related to them. My boyfriend is supposed to be the freak. Wow, God works in strange ways.
Mom adores Max. I think that's because he is always so polite with her - always calling her ma'am. Get this - he even stands when she stands. The first time he did it, she looked at him like he was trying to follow her or something. Then I saw her face soften and I knew then that she approved. Max is a gentleman. I think he could bang me on the living room floor and Mom would be pleased with it. He does no wrong in her eyes. He doesn't do much wrong in my eyes, either.
Speaking of banging and living room floors, right before this little event, Max and I made love with our new 'connection.' It was the most bizarre experience of my life. I don't mean that in a bad way. We started to kiss, and as things got more intense, I started to get that funny feeling I had in the jeep - like I was losing consciousness, but not really blacking out. Like I was being pulled into another dimension. Then I bit Max's lip and I felt it. I could feel everything going on in his body and in mine. It was absolutely mind-blowing. I actually felt him climax.
Afterward, I just lay and stared at him in wonder. What an amazing world he has opened up to me. It was nothing unusual to him - he fell asleep after a while, his arm over my waist. I watched him sleep, watched his eyelids flutter as he dreamed. I couldn't sleep. I don't want to sleep again. I just want to be connected to him and experience his world. Liz has no idea what she missed out on.
And speaking of Liz, there she is, walking in on cousin Sean's arm. The party just gets stranger. She's cut her hair into a pixie and it actually becomes her. She is wearing a very short skirt and it occurs to me that being away from Max may have been a good thing for her, too. She approaches me, gives me a cursory hug. She doesn't hug me like she used to. I know we aren't best friends any more. Max is a few yards away, helping Uncle Earl with the grill, and Liz ignores him entirely. I don't think Max would care, but it hurts me.
"Lizzie!" I say as I release her from our embrace. "Love the 'do!"
She touches her hair and wrinkles her nose. "Really? Is it too short?"
"You're asking me that question?" I laugh. "I was almost bald at one point. You can never go too short." I glance at Sean. "Sean."
The bastard still refuses to use my name. Well, at least he's stayed out of prison for more than six months this time.
Max walks over from the grill, glances up and looks a little startled that Liz is standing there. I know I should be jealous that Liz can still get a reaction out of him, but I don't feel any envy. I hurt inside for Max, knowing that he still hurts because of Liz sometimes. But he smiles at her and shakes Sean's hand. Then he puts a hand on the small of my back - it's a definite sign of possession. He doesn't linger there, but he's made his point. He's passive-aggressive sometimes, my Max.
"Hi, Liz," he says. "How's it going?"
"Good," she replies and clears her throat. There appears to be nothing more to say between them.
Max gestures toward Sean. "Would you like something to drink?"
Sean nods and the two of them retreat into the house. Liz watches them go and turns back to me.
"Max looks great," she observes.
"Yeah, he does," I agree. "I see you've still got Sean reeled in."
Liz laughs as we walk over to the patio furniture and drop into the padded chairs. "He's a ton of fun, Maria."
"And a ton of trouble," I remind her.
She looks a little defensive. "I think those days are behind him."
I lean closer to her. "Really? Have you reformed him?"
She smiles. "Maybe. Look, he's not all that bad. We have so much fun together. You just can't see it because he's a relative."
"Yeah, that must be it."
I glance up and see Sean and Max at the grill with Uncle Earl. I think maybe Earl and Sean could corrupt my angelic little Max. I know it for sure when Earl whispers something and Max throws his head back with laughter. Liz jumps.
"You okay?" I ask her.
She nods sheepishly. "Max isn't - didn't used to be, um…"
"So loud?" I finish for her. "Yeah, well, I reformed him, too."
She looks stung and I regret having said that. I shouldn't have. Liz has done nothing to me and what she did to Max isn't really her fault either. Relationships go south. Theirs did in a big way. She doesn't need me rubbing it in.
"I didn't mean it like that, Liz," I apologize gently.
"No, Maria, it's okay." She bites her lip and looks at the ground. "He is more relaxed. He seems happy."
I reach over and touch her hand so that she'll look at me. I smile at her and squeeze her hand. She smiles back and gives a little snort. We're living in a strange world.
Max is before me again, taking my free hand in his. Speaking of weird, I'm holding Liz's hand in one hand and his in the other. I can feel the tension run straight down one arm and through the other. I look up at Max.
"I need to talk to you." He has a very serious expression on his face and I rise immediately.
"Is everything okay?" I ask as he ushers me into the house. His hand is around my upper arm and he pulls me into the kitchen. "Max?"
We walk through the kitchen, down the hall, into my bedroom. He shuts the door behind us and uses his powers to melt the lock. I look down in confusion, but then he pins me against the door and kisses me hard. His right hand comes up and firmly captures my breast - I give a little gasp not because he is hurting me, but because I am surprised at his roughness. I feel something like static electricity in the air and the connection begins. When we part, we are absolutely breathless.
"What are you doing?" I gasp.
Biting my skin, he kisses my neck. He doesn't answer.
"Max? What is going on?"
Still no response and I push him away. I see a flash of something I've never seen in his eyes before - anger? Maybe desperation. Next time I'll let the connection kick in full force before I shove him away and then there will be no doubts.
I hold my hands palm-up. "What gives?"
"I just wanted to kiss you," he says, the flash of whatever it was I saw in his eyes now gone. He looks innocent.
"Why now?" I question. "Is it because Liz is here?"
He frowns. "No." His answer is clipped and I know that I have hit the mark.
I cross my arms over my body and shake my head. "Why are you lying to me?"
He meets my gaze for a long moment, then sinks to the bed. He folds his hands between his knees and stares at the floor. I let the silence in the room weigh very heavily before I move over to the bed with him. I put a hand on his knee and he glances at me. The sad expression in his eyes tears a hole in my heart.
"Listen," I begin. "You don't need to prove anything to me. I know you care about me. I know how you feel. You don't need to prove it by whisking me off to the bedroom when Liz appears." I roll my eyes toward the ceiling. "Although, if that is your plan, we could invite her over every day."
His lips curve into a smile at that.
I touch his face. "Do you need to prove something to yourself?"
"What do you mean?" he asks.
"Well, if you don't have anything to prove to me, who do you have something to prove to?" He looks at the floor again and I can't make him suffer. "Max, I know what Liz meant to you. I can only hope to mean that much to you someday. But I understand. I understand that seeing her is going to be hard. But I can't help you work through whatever it is you still feel for her. Only you can do that."
"I don't feel anything for her," he says unconvincingly.
I give him a little smile. "Sure ya do. You don't have that intense of a relationship and come out of it feeling nothing. Love, hate, mutual distaste, nausea. Something." I kiss him gently on the lips. "But I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."
He gives a little snort and wraps his arm around my shoulders. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" I question indignantly. "Mauling me like a cave man? You oughtta know by now that I live for that."
I pull him backward on the bed with me and he laughs. I put my finger over his lips in the universal sign for "Be quiet."
"Still want that quickie?" I ask him.
He shrugs. "Why not? I mean, my ex-girlfriend and your whole family is in the back yard. It's the perfect time for it."
I may be making headway with his sense of humor yet.
Somewhere in the desert. A blanket. Nighttime.
I think I stopped breathing four or five minutes ago. At least that's how it feels. I'm afraid to breathe for fear I will lose the sensation that is coursing through my body. This new connection is starting to frighten me; it's become a drug. I want to be in that plane of nonexistence, feeling his body and my body, constantly. I can't get enough. I close my eyes and savor the sensation.
I am somewhere else. I see the desert as though it were day time. Max is there, clothed, holding out his hand to me, asking me to join him. I look at his hand and he smiles back at me. I can't hear anything, I can only see him, feel him. His lips move, but I can't understand what he is saying. His smile fades away and his hand drops to his side. He's frowning all of a sudden and I no longer feel safe. The sky is starting to cloud over, casting eerie shadows across the sand. I glance toward the sky - the sun is gone. Something is wrong. Terribly wrong.
I am suddenly back in reality. Max's hand is on the side of my face, and he hovers above me, his face glistening with the sweat of our lovemaking.
"Breathe, Maria," he urges. "Come on, sweetheart, breathe!"
I force myself to draw in a breath and I choke on it. I see a look of relief cross Max's face, but it is gone in an instant and he is shifting his weight from me so I can sit up. He supports my back as I gasp for air. His hands make a soothing circular motion against my back and I collapse against his shoulder. I can't help it - I start to cry. My chest is burning from the sudden intake of air, and my head is reeling from the oxygen rush. Something is so wrong.
Max lets me cry. The connection is broken - I can no longer feel what he is feeling - but I think he is upset, worried. I would be if something like this had just happened to him. He doesn't say anything, he just holds me, kisses the side of my head, rocks me. Finally I pull away and wipe at my tears. He kisses my forehead.
"Okay?" he asks, looking into my face.
I shake my head. I'm not okay. I look down at my trembling fingers. I never shake when I'm upset, but this thing has rocked my world. When I was with Michael, I envied Liz for being able to connect with Max. I wanted the same thing. Now I have that thing, thanks in large part to Max's mastery of his powers, and it is terrifying the hell out of me.
"Tell me what happened," Max says gently.
I can't answer him. I pull away and draw my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them. He sits up on his knees and takes my face between his hands.
"Tell me," he repeats.
I draw in a shaky breath and tell him. "I-I just got lost somewhere."
"The desert." I look around us and suddenly the desert seems very large, very unsafe. I am afraid of what the shadows may be hiding. I hug my knees tighter. "It was daylight. You were there. Then it clouded over and I was scared." I close my eyes against the thought and the tears that are threatening to spill over again.
He puts his arm around me and hushes me. With his free hand, he pulls my unbuttoned shirt across my body. Funny, that.
"Maybe the connection thing was a bad idea," I tell him.
I feel his body tighten. He's blaming himself. I lift my head to look into his eyes and I have the confirmation - it's his fault.
"Maria," he begins. "If I had known, I wouldn't-"
"It's not your fault," I say, trying to keep my voice steady. "I wanted you to. But you have to reverse it."
His mouth drops open and he is speechless for a moment. "I don't think I can."
I snort. This is bad. I know what I am about to say will hurt him, but I can't afford to be sucked into the alien abyss and never return. "Then I can never have sex with you again."
Okay, hurt was too mild a word. I've devastated him. His dark eyes cloud over and for a moment I think he is about to break into tears with me. He stares in complete disbelief, then looks shyly down at the blanket. I know what he is thinking - he is kicking the crap out of himself for what he is, for what he has done. He thinks he's a freak and it breaks my heart. I can't find any words to lessen the blow and the frustration of that nearly makes me scream.
He rises, zips his jeans. Then he reaches down and picks up his shirt, which he pulls over his head. Without looking at me, he says, "I'll take you home," then turns and walks away from me.
|Part 1 | Index | Part 3
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours