Favourite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker ~ Hiding Beneath
Favourite Supporting Portrayal of Michael Guerin ~ Hiding Beneath
Favourite Supporting Portrayal of Maria DeLuca ~ Hiding Beneath
Favourite Supporting Portrayal of Alex Whitman ~ Hiding Beneath
Favourite Portrayal of a Child ~ Tia in Hiding Beneath
Best Original Character ~ Tia in Hiding Beneath
Wow. And that's just for this fic. You guys are insane and I love you for it. I don't really think I'll win any, but it's wonderful to be nominated.
You know, it’s funny, I actually really enjoyed the M/M break up. I really liked writing it and I love where that particular couple are headed. Whereas you guys... didn’t enjoy it so much and some of your fb made me feel a little evil because I liked it so much.
Sorry this took so long to get to you. I suck a little bit. Oh and the song? Totally sad. The lyrics are a little odd, but I think it really fits the mood.
Ginger- Removing Michael from the situation, do you really think it would have been better for Tia to be removed from her loving home just because Michael couldn’t make a payment on time? The situation was not about Michael, it was about Tia. While it’s regrettable that Maria had to go to Phillip without Michael’s knowledge, there was no other option available to her. Maria loves Tia and that means that she’ll put Tia before her own needs. It would have been better for Maria if she hadn’t gone to Phillip and she knew there could have been repercussions for her actions, but she did it anyway. And planting a seed is all well and good, but they take years to grow. Trees take more effort in the immediate short term, but it’s a lot quicker.
And Michael would never have gone to Phillip about that particular problem. Maria was right about his pride.
Crc1228- Welcome! I’m glad you’re enjoying the story and even more so that you talk to yourself too. I do that all the time.
'I eat dinner at the kitchen table
By the light that switches on
I eat leftovers with mashed potatoes
No more candlelight
No more romance
No more small-talk
When the hunger's gone'
When The Hunger’s Gone by Rufus Wainwright Ft. Dido
I try to sleep, but I can’t. My head keeps replaying today’s humiliating episode in painstaking detail. Every look, every snigger, every harsh, angry word that flew out of Alex’s mouth is replayed on loop in my brain, keeping me from any sort of peace. There was once a time when Alex would never even dream of talking to me that way. God, I wish I could go back.
I sniff and wipe off the tears, my steely resolve hardening. I can deal with this. I’ve gotten through worse.
And this time I’m not ten years old, crying in the dark because my uncle touched me in strange places. I’m seventeen and able to cope with any shit life throws at me. The summer holidays are certainly going to help as well.
Yeah, my uncle did stuff to me, but I’m not a victim or whatever. I don’t care now, I really don’t. It was a long time ago and sex really isn’t that big of a deal. It never has been for me. I always figured if guys were going to take what they wanted then I may as well enjoy it.
I’ve blocked most of it out anyway, best to just forget about it all. The only strong memory I have is right after one of my uncle’s assaults I was walking with my parents down the main street of Roswell, feeling absolutely miserable as they fought. My parents always fight, it’s kinda the norm for them. When Dad’s not off plugging his secretary and Mom’s not dosing herself on painkillers it’s what they do. Anyway, Dad was calling Mom a slutty bitch and she was screeching about how he’d fuck anything that moved, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
There, sitting outside a cafe at a table, grinning widely was Isabel Evans. Her entire family looked like they’d just popped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Papa Evans was looking at his wife with undisguised love, Mama Evans was stroking a wayward hair from Isabel’s face and Max was proudly displaying his shiny new baseball bat which he was so excited to use for his little league game. Her entire family stiffened and turned towards the commotion as my family took the fun out of dysfunctional, while I trudged along in misery. As they waited for the unpleasant interruption in their wonderful lives to move on, Isabel caught my eye and shot me a look of pity. A look of fucking pity.
And I have never hated anything as intensely as I hated Isabel Evans in that moment. I hated everything about her and her perfect fucking life and I hoped she choked on her strawberry milkshake and burned in hell.
Who was she to look down on my life and deem it so inferior to hers that it merited a look of pity? I’d show her who deserved to be pitied.
So I tried in vain to beat her at everything she attempted. I tried to get better grades than her. That was a dismal failure.
I tried running for class president against her in middle school. That was also a dismal failure.
I tried to make the boys adore me instead of her and my success with that was only fleeting. Luckily for me by the time I’d thought of that idea, most guys were willing to do anything for sex. I’d lure them away from her with promises of lurid adventures, only to get slapped in the face the next day when they’d go crawling right back to her, still desperate for any scrap of attention she would sparingly throw their way.
I believed for a very long time that guys didn’t care about girls; that they were only in it for sex. And then I noticed Alex. Shy, sweet, completely infatuated Alex. He was most definitely not my type, but he was Isabel’s. I saw the way she looked at him and I saw the way he looked at me. What had been a barely noticeable annoyance suddenly became the most important thing in my life. I had finally done it. I had found something that Isabel coveted, and the best thing about it was that it was already mine. I just had to snap my fingers and say the word and Alex was my lap dog.
At first I didn’t care that I was using him and having sex with other guys whilst I did it, I had assumed that he wanted to use me just the same. But slowly, over time, I began to realise that that wasn’t true. Alex cared about what I thought, he wanted to know how I felt and he was genuinely fine with taking things slow on the physical side of things. I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Here was this elusive “nice guy” that everyone had told me existed, but I had thought was an oxymoron.
His friends of course didn’t like me, but I didn’t care. They were of no use to me, although I did see their burgeoning friendship with Isabel and wished that there was a way I could put a stop to it, but by then it was too late. They already hated me. But even that still couldn’t taint what I had going for me. I had it. I had the nice guy that Isabel wanted above all other things.
Everything was just about perfect. And then that fucking bitch had to come along and ruin everything again. I couldn’t believe he’d taken her side over mine. After everything he’d said and done, he still placed Isabel over me. It was a betrayal and shock like no other. In a moment of weakness, I called up one of my standbys and let him pound me senseless. And when I spotted Alex walk through the door as Vincent fucked me into the mattress, I felt vindicated.
I’d show him. I’d show him how it felt to have someone else put before him. I’d show him how it felt to come in second place. He was meant to love me. He was meant to come back on his hands and knees, begging for me back.
But he didn’t. Even when I made out with Vincent a couple of lockers down from him he still wasn’t spurred into action.
And then he got together with that fucking bitch. After every vow he’d ever made me, every promise of eternal love, he forgot about me and Isabel Evans’ life was once again perfect.
She’s taken everything I’ve ever wanted and now she’s even stolen something I once had.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in love with Alex. But I so easily could have fallen for him, with a little time.
I rush from the bathroom as my cell phone rings on my nightstand. I make a wild grab for it and hear Maria’s watery voice on the other end of the line. She sounds like she’s about to cry and that is never a good thing. “Hey, I need you. Can I come over?”
“Sure,” I reply, a hint of worry in my voice. “You ok?”
Her response is abrupt and I can tell she’s fighting back her emotions. “No. We’ll talk when I get there.”
“Ok, drive safe.”
She says goodbye and hangs up, leaving me to ponder just what she could be so upset about. I hope nothing’s seriously wrong and it’s just another fight with her mom.
When she arrives, she seems to be in a state of shock, like she can’t quite believe what’s happened to her. I’m absolutely terrified as to what that might be.
I take her hands and lead her over to my bed and make her sit down on it as she stares off into the distance, struggling to reign in her tears.
She sits next to me fidgeting for a moment and then takes a deep shuddering breath as she looks at the ceiling trying vainly to blink away tears. “Michael broke up with me.”
My eyes widen and I stare at her in disbelief. “What? No... there’s no way.”
She lets out something that sounds like a mix between a laugh and a sob. “Oh there’s a way. He wouldn’t tell Phillip that he’d been paying off Meg for Tia, so I told him. And now Michael thinks that I betrayed him... the way he looked at me, Liz... it was like...” she trails off and bursts into tears, covering her face with her hands.
I pull her into my arms and let her cry on my shoulder, holding her tightly as she tries to stifle her sobs. Unfortunately for her they won’t be stifled. She gets more out of control in her grief as the seconds pass. I say nothing, knowing that nothing I can say right now could do her any good. She just needs to cry.
“Hello Lizzy, I was thinking that we could...” Alex trails off when he catches sight of an hysterical Maria sobbing in my arms. He pauses in the doorway for a split second before shutting the door behind him as he rushes over to us, sitting the other side of Maria so that he can add his embrace to the mix.
“What’s going on?” he mouthes to me while Maria sobs on my neck.
“Michael broke up with her,” I mouth back in exaggerated way. I can see that it’s just as much of a surprise to Alex as it was to me a minute ago.
When she’s calmed down enough, she tells us the full, much more detailed version of events that led up to this point. I wince as she describes the fight knowing just how painful that must have been for her. And while I can sort of see where Michael is coming from, my loyalties totally lie with Maria. Not just because she’s my best friend, but because I believe that she did the right thing.
By not asking for Phillip’s help, Michael was endangering Tia and Tia deserves stability and a loving home. Meg could have rescinded on her side of the deal at any point in time and taken Tia back. If Michael wouldn’t fight for Tia, then I’m glad that Maria was willing, despite that she knew that it could – and did – lose her her boyfriend.
“Do you think I did the wrong thing?” she asks, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Absolutely not,” I reassure her.
Alex gives his opinion as well. “No way. You did the right thing. For both of them, even if Michael can’t see that right now.”
Maria gives us a watery smile and then chokes back a sob. “God, I am so sick of crying.”
“I think it’s time for junk food and chick flicks,” I tell her, heading over to my ready stash of DVD’s. “Alex, can you go downstairs and get some icecream and other stuff from the fridge?”
“I’ll go,” Maria tells us, getting up from the bed. “If I have to eat it to feel better, then I want to choose it.”
She wanders off downstairs slowly and I turn to Alex once she’s gone. “You know, I can’t see this as being very much fun for you, Alex. You don’t have to stay if you don’t want. I got this one.”
He smiles sadly at me and shakes his head. “I would be the most ungrateful bastard if I cut and run now, Liz. Especially after what you two did for me after my breakup with Slutty McSlutterson. Besides, I’ve been friends with you two for so long that sappy romance flicks are my old friends. I say bring ‘em on.”
On impulse I throw my arms around Alex’s neck and squeeze him tightly. He’s the best. I don’t know what I did to deserve him as a friend, but I’m damn glad that I did it.
I lean against the counter sipping a glass of orange juice as Mom smiles happily, smoothing out the gingerbread dough with her rolling pin. If she wasn’t wearing a business suit, she’d look like the ultimate domestic goddess, complete with the obligatory smear of flour on her nose.
“Gingerbread, huh Mom? I don’t think we’ve had that in years.”
She sends me a smile over her shoulder and then uses her forearm to try and wipe off some of the wayward flour on her nose. “The centre is having a party for all the kids heading off to kindergarten next year, so I volunteered to make some gingerbread. Do you know if Tia likes gingerbread?”
I pause for a moment, pondering the question before shaking my head in the negative. “She’s probably never tried it before, Mom. Meg’s a selfish bitch, and as wonderful as he is, Michael isn’t exactly Martha Stewart.”
“Well, she can try some when she gets home,” Mom says decidedly, using the cutter to make perfect little boys and girls that she picks up carefully and arranges on the greased tray before popping them in the oven. “And if she doesn’t like it, we can make her some cupcakes. Everyone likes cupcakes.”
My eyes light up at the idea. “Ooh, can we make cupcakes anyway?”
She grins at me and wags a threatening finger in my direction. “Ok, but you’re staying away from the frosting. I know what you’re like. I’ve got your number.”
I roll my eyes at her. “My evil plan to eat all the frosting is foiled. You know me too well.”
“I’m your mother, it’s my job.”
I smile at her, feeling the insane tightness in my chest again. I couldn’t love my parents more for what they’ve done for me and Max. They’ve taken us in, cared for us, loved us and shown us what a real family is like. I can never repay them for that.
“Do you know how Michael’s doing?” Mom asks me in a hushed whisper.
I shake my head. “He doesn’t want to talk about it. I don’t think there’s much we can do until he opens up to us. But from what I can get from Liz and Alex, the break up was fairly rough. He’s feeling pretty betrayed I think.”
“Well, I for one love Michael, but I’m completely grateful to Maria. Can you imagine the hell it would have put us and Tia through if that awful woman had ever come back for her?”
I shrug and take another sip of my juice before I answer her. “I don’t think Michael’s thinking about this too logically at the moment. I’m sure with time he’ll come around. At least I hope he will,” I add with a frown.
I turn towards the kitchen doorway as I hear Tia and Dad enter the house as noisily as they possibly can it seems. He’s telling her that he used to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle until his shell fell off and she’s asking what Teenage Rupert Minger Turtle is. I guess it was funnier back when we were kids.
“Hello Tia!” Mom greets, bending down to pull Tia into her arms. Tia stiffens as per usual, but then eagerly returns the hug. She’s still cautious when it comes to physical contact, especially with my parents, but when she’s certain that the touching isn’t going to hurt her, she throws her entire being into it.
“Hewwo!” Tia chirps into Mom’s neck, a piece of paper clutched in her tiny fist as clings to Mom.
“How was your day, sugar beet?”
“Look at dis!” Tia exclaims, thrusting a piece of paper under Mom’s nose.
Mom pulls the piece of paper from Tia’s clutches and stares at for a moment. “It’s gorgeous, Tia! Can you tell me what it is?”
Tia starts pointing out random squiggles on the paper and begins naming them. “Dat’s me... Max... Mitael... Belly... Daddy... and you, Mommy.”
Mom’s mouth falls open in shock and her eyes well with tears. That’s the first time Tia has called her Mom.
“Oh sweetheart...” Mom falters, trying to find the right words to say. “It’s beautiful, I’m going to pin it up on the fridge.”
I look over at Dad and notice that he’s a little teary eyed too. I wager that this is the first time she’s called him Daddy as well.
“Worst day ever?” Max asks me as I lean into him while he guides me through the mall.
“You have no idea,” I groan. “Maria’s so devastated and she’s one of those people that after the initial break down, you can’t get them to talk about what’s hurting them. So she’s going to bottle it up and explode at random intervals. So it’ll make the next few months interesting to say the least.”
“Luckily we have the summer to deal with that,” Max tells me, a grimace of his own spreading across his face. “While I try to figure out how to deal with Michael and his heartbreak.”
“How inconvenient,” I sigh. “So many potential double dates gone out the window.”
“Though you get to go to work with both of them, so it’ll be like chaperoning the most awkwardly heartbreaking date ever in which the two people are angry, heartbroken and depressed over the other.”
I groan at the prospect. “Oh lucky me. I think it’s time I cut back on some volunteering hours. Just for my sanity.”
Max laughs before his expression turns despondent again. “Do you think they’ll get back together?”
“I hope so. Maria was so closed off from me at school today, it’s like she’s turned into this robot. She won’t even talk to me about it and I hate seeing her hurt like that when I know there’s nothing I can do or say to make it right.”
“I know the feeling,” he mutters, before turning his attention back to his surroundings. “What are we looking for here exactly?”
I shrug into his side as we wander along. “We’re just here to shop.”
“Yeah, but what are we shopping for?” he persists.
I send him a strange look. “Nothing.”
He sends me a similar look back. “We’re here to shop for... nothing?”
“That’s right. If something take my fancy I’ll get it, but right now I’m content to window shop.”
Max lets out an almighty groan. “Oh sweet Jesus... what did I agree to?”
“You agreed to spend time with me in a venue of my choice,” I remind him sweetly. “So suck it up.”
“Can I at least get an ice cream?”
I’m somewhat confused by his question. “Sure.”
“Awesome,” he grins. “You’re way cooler than my Mom.”
I narrow my eyes at him and send him a quizzical look. “I should hope so.”
“She never lets me have ice cream when she drags me shopping with her,” he explains.
I roll my eyes at his injured tone. “Such a cruel woman. How do you cope?”
“So scarred,” he whispers with fake emotion. “Being here, it brings back so many memories. Oh, post traumatic stress! I think I need to get out of here and de-stress by going to the movies.”
“No.” I ignore his whining and turn to more pleasant thoughts. “Did you wanna go out for dinner tonight?”
Max raises his eyebrows at me, looking shocked. “Liz Parker... are you asking me out on a date?”
I waggle my eyebrows at him suggestively. “I might be. Depends on your answer.”
“You brazen hussy.”
I laugh at the scandalised look on his face. “That’s me, the brazenest of all brazen hussies that ever hussied.”
“Back in my day, women never asked men out, they’d have been hung from a tree and horse whipped for even daring.”
“Well excuse me, Grandpa Scroggins. I didn’t mean to offend your delicate sensibilities.”
He takes on this haughtily offended look and I roll my eyes. “Well you did. There is a punishment for that, you know.”
He stops in the middle of the walkway, blocking some pissed off shoppers and pulls me in close to him, his hand cupping the side of my face. “You have to kiss me.”
He pulls leans in for a slow, Earth shattering kiss and I have to cling to him just to keep myself from falling over. I don’t know what it is about him, but he knocks my entire world out of balance.
“Mitael, tan we do see Mawia?" Asks Tia from my bedroom floor where she's been lying for the past ten minutes drawing very seriously. "I wanna show her dis dwawing I did. I drewed her and me on da swings.”
My heart clenches in my chest at not only the mention of Maria but at the idea of what I’m about to tell Tia. This will devastate her.
“Tia...” I begin with a long, plaintive sigh, pulling her into my lap. “We need to have a little talk, ok?”
She nods, looking a little confused. “Otay.”
“You see... Maria and I... we... had a bit of a falling out.”
Her little brow puckers with confusion. “What’s dat mean?”
I keep my eyes on her, judging her reaction carefully as I tell her what she won’t want to hear. “We... we’re no longer friends. So she probably won’t be coming around her anymore.”
“I... I don’t unnerstand,” she tells me, her eyes welling up and her bottom chin wobbling. I knew letting her get attached to Maria was a bad idea.
“Sometimes people just aren’t meant to be friends, Tia. It doesn’t mean that either of us are bad people, it just...” I feel tears start to sting my eyes at the thought of Maria, so I do what I usually do whenever I start to miss her. I dig for the anger and feeling of betrayal and smother the hurt with that. It usually works, but seeing Tia’s tears makes it harder for some reason.
“Did I do somefing wong?” she whispers, a few tears rolling down her cheeks.
This is killing me. “No! Tia... it’s not about you. It’s between Maria and I.”
“But I don’t unnerstand!” she repeats, this time her voice has been reduced to a low wail as the tears overcome her. “Why tan’t you be fwiends again?”
I make a desperate grab for anything to keep her tears at bay. I can’t stand being the cause of her sadness. I just can’t. “You’ll still see her at the centre, Tia. She just won’t be coming around here anymore.”
Her breath hitches in her throat and it takes a large effort for her to talk over her tears. “But I want her to tome awound here! I want you to be fwiends again!”
I take a deep breath and try to talk over the tightness of my throat. “I’m sorry Tia. We have some problems that I just can’t fix.”
Problems you don’t want to fix, the voice in my head reminds me curtly. You haven’t even tried.
I block out the annoying voice in my head as Tia sobs broken heartedly on my chest, hiccupping and barely able to breathe under the weight of her heart break. God, I feel like absolute shit right now. I wrap my arms tighter around her, ignoring the insistent squeeze of my heart that’s been a problem ever since I broke up with Maria.
It’s only when I feel the first tear roll down my cheek that I realise that I’m crying too.