FanFic - Unconventional Couples
"Opposites Attract?"
Part 1b
by NewMex_sky
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of the show "Roswell". They are owned lock, stock and barrel, by the creators of the show and the WB. I can only admire them from afar, and use them as a template for my imagination.
Summary: Maria finds herself developing an unlikely bond with, of all people, Kyle Valenti. This is having a disruptive effect on her other relationships, especially with Michael. As she is drawn further into the situation, she is being challenged to see where it will lead. And perhaps, who she will end up with.
Category: Unconventional Couples
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I am a new member on the Boards, though I have been shadowing the Crashdown site pretty much since its inception. I have watched the show since it was first aired. I deeply respect the people that I consider brave enough to lend their imaginations ,via this Board and their Fan Fiction, to continue growing the show's mythology. Some of you are so amazingly prolific! Let me state that I am a firm M&M fan/supporter. After some aborted attempts at other stories featuring my favorite twosome, this story pretty much leapt out of the (darker) recesses of my brain when I wasn't looking. I can only hope that it is considered within it's intended context and is not meant to be disrespectful to M&M lovers. That being said, read on.
Maria re-entered the room. She glided past him and returned to her "post" in front of her night table. He viewed Maria by her reflection in the mirror that hung on the wall opposite her bed. She fiddled with some of the vials of oils she was forever whipping out and sniffing.

Maria was different. Her life wasn't perfection or anything close to it. Her mom had a struggling business, and reputedly, a pretty wild past. Kyle was tempted to ask her about her father. From information his own father had supplied, Kyle was aware of Maria's father leaving a long time ago. He wanted to ask Maria for her opinion on his "concept", but why should she want to share with him? Maybe if he shared something about his own family history first........

"Maria," he started, "what do you know about my Mom and Dad?"

Maria's reflection looked startled. "Not much...just a few things my Mom told me. Nothing really personal or anything," she hurriedly added.

"Well, my father said that he was responsible for my mother leaving." He continued eyeing her reflection in the mirror. She hadn't decided to move any closer to where he sat.

"Don't take offense, but your Dad is kinda scary", Maria blurted out. "I mean, until you get to know him." Maria rolled her eyes; she couldn't believe she'd just stated that out loud.

Kyle chuckled. "I appreciate your honesty. We Valenti's don't make the best first impression. Or maybe we don't make a good lasting impression, 'cause I always figured that if I was just a little bit cuter, or funnier, or smarter, my mother would have had enough of an incentive to stay. At least she could have stayed for me."

Maria was listening attentively. His sentiments echoed hers regarding her father. She approached Kyle slowly as she spoke.

"Kyle, why do you think you weren't enough for your mother?" Maria asked. "I guess I want to know because I wonder how my dad could have walked away. If I'm following you, how much more interesting, or cute, or anything, should I...I mean you, have been? What did your mother have the right to expect from you at such a young age? We...I mean, you were her kid---that should have been enough to hold them---her--here."

Maria bounced nervously on the balls of her feet. She knew that in about six seconds she was going to start pacing the room, a nervous habit. She wanted to reach for a vial of calming oil, but that would mean moving back across the room to her nightstand. She didn't want to be so obvious. Worse than that, Maria couldn't understand why she was sharing anything with Kyle.

Talking about this topic struck a chord. It was too close to everything she wanted to forget about herself and her life. Besides her mother, Michael had been the one soul that she felt obliged to talk to about this kind of stuff. After all, she knew his secret and she felt it was her turn to share. But Kyle Valenti had really caught her off-guard. He was a good listener. And talker! Michael usually never had much to say. Her voice, alone, would fill the room. Sometimes, she wanted feedback--but Michael was a good listener--feedback wasn't Michael's forte.

Kyle leaned his head back to see her better and slapped his knee, trying to get her attention.

"Listen to this and tell me what you think of 'Kyle Valenti asks: Life's Great Question' question. Ready?" Kyle dramatically cleared his throat, but when he spoke, his voice cracked with emotion. "When the people you love leave you, is it your failure? Or does it show their lack of faith in love?"

He closed his eyes, not wanting to see her expression when she looked at him. "What do you think Maria? Hurry. Don't spend a decade trying to answer it, like I have."

Maria was blown away. That cool detachment he projected was a bigger front than she could have realized. Obviously, he was pretty messed up over his mom leaving. She could definitely relate.

But the issue at hand was that Kyle Valenti wanted to know what she thought? She glanced over at him; he opened his eyes and looked back at her expectantly. Maria gave in to her urges. She returned to her nightstand and grasping a bottle of calming oil, popped the lid and inhaled deeply. Drum roll, please, she thought to herself. She closed her eyes, partly to allow her time to consider her answer, and partly to block out Kyle's expectant expression. Maria considered her answer carefully.

She opened her eyes. "I'm not sure," Maria finally responded.

Kyle looked a bit disappointed.

"Wait," Maria consoled him, "Um, let me think." She bit the inside of her lip in concentration. "Gosh, Kyle. I just never thought about it that way, exactly. I suppose that with my history when things don't work out I let the blame rest at my feet. Heck, it's easier than thinking about it too much". Maria sighed heavily. "You know what I've always wanted to do? I've always wanted a machine that could create a 'Brady Bunch' alternative-reality. Then just for a moment---when things get really crazy or sad, I could go from Problem to Resolution in thirty minutes." She smiled weakly at Kyle. "What does that say about me, I wonder?"

It wasn't necessarily the answer he was expecting, but it worked. Kyle nodded his head. "I know what you mean. I've been trying to find the perfect answer that, for every situation. I force myself to think about that question and then I pick my "correct" answer." He searched for the right words before he continued. "I don't want to be so angry that I miss out on love."

He almost sounded like he was pleading. Maria could feel her heart go out to him. Kyle wasn't really shy, or angry, or even a hard-ass. He was just sad about all the time he wasted being all of those things.

Kyle hung his head as if he were really exhausted. Maria had never seen Kyle looking so intense. Well, intensity that wasn't rooted in humiliating some opponent on the court or field. This was a Kyle Valenti that Maria had never witnessed before. She slowly edged around to the foot of the bed. Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, she leaned towards Kyle. His shoulders were slumped. He balanced his elbows on his knees and rested his forehead on his palms. He looked so tired and defeated.

"Kyle?" Maria questioned. He didn't answer her. She reached out to him and very slowly stroked his hair. Kyle didn't move, but a contented sigh escaped his lips.

It was so very unexpected.


They both sat quietly on her bed, deeply in thought. There certainly was a lot to think about. This entire day had been so very weird.

For Maria, not quite as weird as discovering the "Czechoslovakians", but very bizarre all the same.

For Kyle, he knew he would be giving this evening a thorough "Post-game analysis" later on.

Maria stood up and stretched her arms over her head. Her cream-colored sweater lifted a little, exposing her smooth, flat belly. Kyle observed that she had an "inny" bellybutton shaped like a teardrop. Again with the thoughts, Valenti?, he admonished himself. She should not be a thought in his head. Not like that anyway. He shook his head quickly and violently, hoping to regain some perspective.

"Earth to Kyle," Maria was standing over him. "Where'd you go?"

"Music. You do have a box in here, right?" Kyle ventured, attempting to redirect the conversation.

"Yeah," she answered absently. Maria went over to her nightstand and popped open the CD-player lid.

"The stuff you have isn't like, chick-music?" Kyle cautioned.

"What do you consider "chick-music"?" she challenged.

"Jewel, Ricky Martin--anything that has some chick with a big guitar whining about some crap some guy did to her" he answered.

"Oh, I see. You'd end up feeling guilty," Maria teased.

"Me?" Oh, no. Remember, I'm the one who gets left," he exclaimed.

"So, I can safely conclude that you are not dating Vicky Delaney anymore, huh?" Maria questioned.

"You are brutal," Kyle pouted, hanging his head.

Maria, flustered, started to apologize until she noted the impish grin playing on Kyle's lips. She lightly smacked him on the shoulder. She could hardly fathom how she could be standing here, joking...yes, joking...with Kyle Valenti. "Oh, and Ricky Martin---he's a guy," Maria corrected him. "Debatable," Kyle contended.

Maria rummaged through her CD racks finding nothing she considered suitable. Then she spied the perfect CD on the bottom of her bookshelf. She hurriedly placed it into the player and slowly turned to face Kyle as the first few beats of music filled the air.

"This okay?" Maria questioned, a slow smile forming on her lips.

"Perfect!" he chuckled. He too, started to smile.

Maria selected a CD she used when she babysat, "Romper Room: The Singles". It included the hot, pulsing tunes, "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and "Mr. DoBee".

Kyle laughed aloud when it started playing. He laughed harder and harder until he began to cough. Tears edged from the corners of his eyes.

Maria couldn't help but laugh, too. God, it felt like something she hadn't done in a long, long while.

It felt good!


The setting sun was being chased by indigo streaks in the sky, signaling the approaching dusk. As Jim and Amy entered the house, they noted how eerily quiet it was except for the sound of music, children's music, drifting from Maria's bedroom. They looked at each other questioningly.

Reaching Maria's bedroom, they found the door open. Both of their kids were sprawled across Maria's bed. Kyle was flipping through a magazine, feet dangling over the edge of the bed, tapping together in time with the music. Maria sat cross-legged, her back against the headboard, painting her fingernails.

Again, Jim and Amy looked at one another, this time in amazement. "Hey, guys. Uh, Kyle? Maria? Are you two...alright?" The sheriff figured that this was a safe question. This scene was too bizarre, even for a man who believed he had witnessed plenty that would fit into that category.

Kyle tilted his head in the direction of his father and Amy. "Yeah," he answered simply. Craning his neck around to look at Maria, he asked, "What about you? Are we alright?" Maria screwed the cap back onto the bottle of polish. "No problems here," she stated. She placed the bottle on her night table. "How are you two doing?" she asked flashing a genuine smile at them both.

Now it was the sheriff and Amy's turn to be observed; both their children eyed them expectantly. The sheriff cleared his throat and shoved his hands into his back pockets, while Maria's mother, wearing a sheepish grin, shrugged and crossed her arms. "We're great! Both of us are just great!" Amy answered enthusiastically. She was delighted to witness this Detante between Maria and Kyle. She wondered if they'd made some deal, or reached some agreement to disagree. Then again, she didn't really care as long as it worked. There was definitely less tension in the air.

Seizing onto the tranquility of the moment, Sheriff Valenti suggested that they all go out for ice cream. Kyle and Maria looked at each other. There was immediate recognition of each other's thoughts, and they both doubled over laughing. Kyle picked himself up off of the bed and held out a helping arm to Maria.

"How very 'Brady' of you, "Greg". "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia". You are so very welcome" they deadpanned to each other. They skipped out of the bedroom humming the tune to the "Brady Bunch". The sheriff and Amy followed them into the hallway, slightly dazed, and very confused at this sight. "Very cute," Amy managed to call out after them, "but you're short four kids".


Maria stacked together the last of the menus after attaching the slip stating "Today's Special". She bent down to stick them under the counter. As her head came up from behind the counter, her eyes landed on a figure standing before her. Michael. Her heart leapt into her throat. Fight or flight? Neither was really an option. A flood of emotions washed through her brain, impairing her speech--- anger; curiosity; sorrow; disdain; longing.

There were so many things she wanted to say to him, scream at him, and accuse him of: "Michael, you are so selfish! I've been so sick with worry"---"Michael, how could you have put me through all that?"---"Michael, I've missed you; I'm sorry we argued". Her mouth moved, but no sound escaped it. She forced herself into silence. I'm not speaking first she chastened herself. She settled for trying to look impassive. Cool--stay cool, she prayed. Her heart only beat harder in her chest.

"Hey", Michael quietly said. His voice did not betray anger, sadness, nor regret. Is that IT? She fought to maintain control of herself. I will not fly off the handle and give him the chance to feel justified or superior for having stayed away for what was now officially, two entire weeks. Sure, he'd seen her here at work, but he still refused to speak to her. It appeared to her that he deliberately looked right through her or past her. He mechanically took her orders, dispassionately completed them, and unenthusiastically he bell when they were ready.

Finally, it had reached the point where she was unable to tolerate him ignoring her. Maria did not want to be the one responsible for bringing up the whole. She approached Liz to switch her schedule around so she could have the least amount of contact possible with him. That meant she had to work later--usually until closing. Just so that she could cut out two or three hours of Michael's presence. Working that late had left her exhausted and she was struggling to keep up with her schoolwork. She logged this as yet another reason to be angry and disappointed with him.

"What?" was all she could muster. Do I sound detached enough? she wondered. She braced the palms of her hands against the counter, attempting to look coolly distant, but in fact, needing the firmness of the Formica to steady her. He gave her a brief, fleeting smile. He placed his hands on the counter between them. He was thinking how pretty she is, even when she's mad at him. He wanted to tell her that he had avoided her all week because he was embarrassed about the way he had acted. He wanted to tell her how much he'd missed her. He wanted to admit to her that he was jealous of the Valenti presence in her home, especially that he felt unwelcome after Amy had discovered their little sleepover.

He wanted her to understand that he had his pride, and that's what he had been protecting by withdrawing from her. He wanted to tell her that the Valenti-thing really put him in an odd position.

But, he didn't say any of those things. Instead he asked, "What's going on?"

"What's going on?" She shook her head in disbelief. "What's going on?" she repeated again. "That's what you want to know, Michael? That's what you want to know? That's what you want to know?" She repeated it again more fiercely. Okay, now she was losing control. She noticed a few of the nearby customers had turned to look in their direction. Michael pushed himself away from the counter, increasing the distance between them. Maria felt she could launch herself over the counter and strangle him. Couldn't he see what he was doing to her? Why did he allow her to fall in a little more deeply? Every time she loosened her white-knuckle grasp on her fear of rejection, she was in free-fall. Maria couldn't accept that she was being shut out just because of the Valenti's. Was Michael just looking for an excuse to limit her access to his life? Was she in love all by herself?

Guerin's eyes betrayed nothing about what he was feeling, and his face was expressionless. By contrast, her jade green eyes were bright with confusion. They appeared to be facing-off each other. Maria looked really upset. He knew he probably shouldn't, but he couldn't help himself--he approached them. His curiosity was getting the better of him. Plus, he had this weird feeling--kinda like he wanted to interfere with whatever Guerin was doing to her. Maybe deflect, was a better word.

Kyle stopped about two feet from Michael. "Um, hello", he started cautiously. Michael didn't even turn around. He was looking hard at Maria. Maria broke off her staring contest with Michael. She was startled to see Kyle standing there.

"Kyle." Maria had seen him only at school since the infamous dinner. He would nod his head at her in acknowledgement as he passed. Liz had even caught him doing it, and asked Maria what that was about. Maria just lowered her head and smiled. "Nothing much, Liz. We both have gained a greater clarity about some things. That's all." Okay, Liz had thought. Probably about their parents dating situation. So she had let it alone.

"Ah...Kyle. How are you?" She didn't have time to think of anything else to say. Michael's head snapped around. Now he took notice of Kyle Valenti. He squinted at him, regarding him with a disdainful look.

Kyle hadn't intended on placing an order when he had approached them, but he needed some excuse to be standing there. "Maria. Can I get a couple of menus?" he asked as innocently as possible.

"What Valenti? You can't take a seat like anybody else?" Michael sneered.

Drop dead, Guerin, Kyle thought. Well, at least I have his attention, he reasoned. Because he wanted to irritate Michael, Kyle ignored him. Kyle addressed Maria without looking in Michael's direction. "A couple of Cokes, too, while you're at it." Just before he turned to leave, he smiled brilliantly at Maria. "By the way, I know your throwing arm is good. How do you think you'd fair on the mini-golf links? Cheryl Kosloff Billy Ramos, and me were planning on heading over there after practice tomorrow. Think you might be interested? Let me know."

Maria was so stunned by the invitation; all she could think to do was to hand him the requested menus. He winked at her and added, "Thanks," before turning to return to his booth. Maria was surprised that she was pleased, but whoa, what was Kyle thinking? He definitely had been challenging Michael. What she wanted to know was why? She did know that this wasn't sure going to help her "Valenti" situation. But at least if it had the effect of making Michael realize that she had a life that he had no control over, well then that is a good thing-right? Albeit this was Kyle Valenti being considered here, but she had a life that was hers, and she was showing Michael that she wasn't just sitting around waiting for him to notice her or talk to her.

It reminded her of what her Grandmother DeLuca used to tell her, "When the boys stop noticing you, then you're in trouble". I suppose she meant any boy, Maria thought to herself. Well at the very least, the benefit in Kyle speaking to her showed Michael that there were other guys who would notice her.

Michael looked back and forth between Maria and the departing Kyle. Michael shook his head in disbelief. "I must be standing in an alternate universe-realm kind of thing, 'cause I just thought I heard Kyle Valenti invite you, Maria DeLuca, out to play miniature golf! And did I see him wink at you?"

When he turned his attention back to Maria, there were little patches of flushing skin on his forehead and at his temples. He was clearly irritated.

How nice, Maria thought, satisfied. Finally, I'm not the only one who is aggravated. He shook his bandana-covered head as if trying to clear away the most awful of visions. "Nah, I don't believe it". Michael started on his way back to the kitchen.

Maria panicked--What! He's just dropping it? Wasn't he going to challenge Kyle? "Maria, that guy better watch his step. He's lucky I'm not a jealous guy". Or maybe some sort of "High Noon" showdown to clarify whose woman Kyle had addressed? Nothing?

Before she could think, Maria grabbed another menu from under the counter, circled the counter, roughly brushing past Michael. Her sneakers squeaked against the floor as she hurried over to the booth Kyle and his basketball teammate, Harry Opel, occupied. When she appeared hovering over their table, Kyle turned to her and smiled again. "Sodas?" he inquired.

Maria glanced down at her hands clutching the menu. "Oh--yeah. Um, I'll get them in a second. I just wanted to make certain I had put the little slip in each of your menus--the one that lists our specials". She felt so stupid doing this.

"Let me check", Kyle said, flipping open his menu. Harry did the same. Both menus contained the little slip. "Everything here is good", Kyle confirmed.

Maria blushed uncontrollably. "Well, I was changing them, but I was in a hurry. I wasn't certain that I got all the menus. Sorry to bother you." She started to turn away from the table. "Wait", Kyle said, grabbing at her arm. From the booth's angle, he could see Guerin peering over at them from the kitchen. "Did you decide--on mini-golf?" he questioned. Maria couldn't see Michael, but she could feel his eyes on her back. This is sooo silly, she thought to herself. She was tempted to "just say no", but when she turned her eyes to Kyle, he looked really---dare she think it---hopeful. Hopeful that she would answer in the affirmative? Harry seemed to notice Kyle's eagerness, too, because he had that little smirky-smile guys get when they get a hint that another male likes a girl. "Likes a girl"---yeesh. Earth to Maria!! Weirder still, from the eager look on Kyle's face, she reasoned she'd feel guilty if she said "No".

So, she answered "Yes".

"Great. I'll pick you up around 7:00, okay?" Kyle asked. "Sure," she answered, unsure of what to actually say. "Thanks" lacked enthusiasm. "Great!" sounded phony. She had started away from the table when Kyle called out, "DeLuca. Be ready to get your butt smacked!"

He grinned from ear to ear. She waved. Already done buddy, she thought to herself, glancing towards the kitchen window. Michael eyed her suspiciously before moving out of view. Michael will have to get over it, she reasoned with herself. It's only a night out with a different group of people than she was used to being with. She felt a little twinge of guilt for thinking it, but she had to admit that alone, was nice. It was only one night. Not a big deal.

Part 0 | Index | Part 2
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