and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
- Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou
“Can I get a refill?” One of the customers asked as she hurried past him toward the grill, waving his empty glass in her direction.
Liz nodded with a tight smile. “Just one moment, sir; I'll be right with you.”
He grimaced impatiently, but remained silent, and she took her three plates from Jose and carried them to the corner table. The door jingled again as she made her way to the soda machine to get the grumpy man's refill and she bit back a groan as she heard the high pitched squeal of an excited child.
Could this day get any worse?
The tourist rush was in full swing and Maria was on a road trip with her mother, leaving Liz with very few competent waitresses. Ava had been helping out, but she was scheduled for the evening shift, meaning Liz was basically running the front by herself during the insanity that was lunch at the Crashdown.
And work wasn't her only dilemma. It had been two weeks since Max started training with them and it still hurt every time she felt his energy brush against hers. She wasn't the only one struggling with his presence either. Things were still strained between Max and everyone in the group, with the surprising exception of Ava who had taken him under her wing, a selfless action that earned her more of Liz's respect and admiration. The tiny blonde had been through more than any of them, growing up with that poisonous group she'd once called a family, and had somehow become the strong backbone of their group, helping all of them come together despite her own pain.
Not that she loved everything about the other girl. Ever since Ava had confronted her over Michael, Liz had found it a lot more difficult to ignore her attraction to him, which pissed her off to no end. How could she possibly be thinking about any kind of non-platonic relationship with someone now? And with him? What was her problem?
“Hey, where's our food?” A grating voice interrupted her reverie and Liz clenched her teeth, right, well, that was one of her problems. Work first, brood later.
Three hours later, after passing the baton to Ava, she stumbled upstairs, tired, greasy, and frustrated by life. Stripping off her uniform, she grabbed a towel and walked into the bathroom. Turning on the shower, she waited until the water was hot enough to almost burn, and then stepped in the spray with a sigh of relief.
Opening her eyes almost half an hour later, she felt clean and sleepy, much of her frustration swirled down the drain with the sweat of her long and excruciating day. Turning off the water, she pulled the towel off the shower bar and lazily scrubbed it over her head to get away the surface moisture before wrapping it around herself and stepping onto the tile. Wandering back into the bedroom, she slowly dried her body and put on the skimpy, comfortable, pajamas Ava had laid out of her. She really did love that girl.
Before she could go back to drying off her hair, her phone rang, making her jump and glare. God damn it, were a few hours of peace and quiet too much to ask for? Pushing the talk button as angrily as she could manage, she held it to her ear and bit out one word: “What?”
“I need to talk to you, Parker.” It was Michael, his voice reawakening all of her earlier confusion and frustration over his existence and her feelings about him and all she could see was red.
“Can't it wait? I'm kind of fucking exhausted,” she ground out, her free hand clenching into a fist.
“Well, if you're too tired to deal with alien stuff, Parker, you might need a different life,” Michael growled in response, sounding equally frustrated.
Instead of replying, Liz closed her eyes and bit her lip against the string of curses that were trying to pour out. Dropping the phone on the bed, she willed herself away, only opening her eyes when she could hear Michael again, swearing at his phone.
“What, Michael, what on earth do you want?” she demanded, angrily brushing drops of water off her forehead from her still soaking wet hair.
He spun around and stared at her for a moment, eyes lingering over her clinging tank top and barely there cotton shorts, before narrowing his eyes and biting out, “Why aren't I a Vaneth? Why are you a Vaneth when the Granilith hasn't spoken to me once in this lifetime.”
She gaped at him, furious at his implications, and suddenly knew the answer to his question without having to even ask the entity she was irrevocably bound to. Stalking forward, she shoved a finger into his chest. “You're not a Vaneth because you haven't asked to be a Vaneth,” she glared up at him, frustration seething in her veins. None of this was her fault and fuck him anyways. “And why is that, Michael? Why has it taken you this long to ask that question? Surely the big bad alien isn't afraid?” she drawled out scathingly.
“It can't be that simple,” he insisted, ignoring her taunts as his caramel eyes burned into her, his energy flaring wildly around him.
“It is. So either accept the responsibility, or shut the fuck up about it. I should be sleeping right now, not dealing with this bullshit.”
“Bullshit, Parker?” he snarled, taking a step forward and forcing her to move back or be run over. “Good to know you lied when you told me you were going to actually try and give a shit about this life, about our lives.”
Liz's mouth fell open. Reaching up, she placed her hands on his broad chest and shoved, channeling her own power and pushing him back several feet. “Fuck you, Michael, fuck you. I care so much about our lives that I force myself not to vomit every time I have to look at Max when we practice, much less share energy. I care so much that I've resisted every urge to run screaming for the hills every time your precious fucking Granilith starts talking in my head!”
They glared at each other, eyes sparking angrily and chests heaving as they caught their breaths. Instead of yelling back, Michael moved faster than even her enhanced brain had time to process and suddenly she was shoved up against the wall, his body pressed almost painfully against her as their lips met and their tongues clashed in a heated, furious dance.
She gripped his shoulders, nails scraping at his skin through his shirt and he wrapped his hands around her hips and pulled her feet off the floor. One of his hands slid down to cup her ass through her flimsy shorts while the other slid up her back, burying itself in her hair and tilting her head back as he trailed his mouth down her throat. He bit down on the curve of her neck and she gasped and arched into him, legs wrapping around his waist as the electric energy of his aura battled with hers.
Her muscles were strung wire tight, but she felt like she was melting under the fire radiating from him, the blood in her veins boiling as their auras suddenly melded together, stronger even than when they'd faced Max. Their combined energies crashed explosively into them, their bodies grinding against each other as he claimed her mouth once more, pouring all of his frustration and anger and need into their connection.
She reciprocated, sinking her teeth into his bottom lip as her own rage and irritation bubbled over, joining with his and forming something different, something new, something powerful.
Instead of two beings, they were now one. Their thoughts were jumbled together, origins impossible to determine. Their emotions pulsed in perfect synchronization, a throbbing heartbeat of rage and hope and love. It wasn’t romantic love (not yet), but a fierce, protective sentiment, well seasoned with lust.
Liz groaned at the intensity of his (their) emotions, her skin shimmering with energy that was a melding of the green of her aura and the gold of his. The power covered both of them, tingling not with destructive potential, but something else entirely. She instinctively manipulated it to stimulate Michael’s erogenous zones and grinned fiercely as he gasped. His mouth ceased its plundering of hers and satisfaction welled within her at gaining the upper hand in the sensual battle they’d started.
He growled, low in his throat, and suddenly that mingled energy was rushing over and into her, stimulating things that had never been stimulated before. Just before she crashed over the edge into oblivion, she latched onto his essence and took him with her, both of them crying out as their shared orgasm rocked them and their minds flew through an endless expanse of stars.
When they returned to themselves, they were slumped on the floor, sticky with sweat. Their bodies were still pressed together, limbs awkwardly entangled, clothes damp. Liz raised her eyes, somehow both exhausted and filled with exhilarating energy, and found Michael staring at her. The gold flecks in his eyes were brighter than normal and his expression looked torn between a frown and a smile.
“You’re an asshole,” she said after a moment, and his face settled into a smirk.
She sighed and then melodramatically snapped her fingers, cleaning their clothes and their bodies. “I did not become a Vaneth so that you could have teleportation aided booty calls.”
He grunted, smirk fading into his usual stoic expression and she reached out to grab his chin, reinforcing their still wide open connection. “Are you going to become a Vaneth?”
He lifted his hand and stroked his thumb down her cheek, then showed her his emblazoned palm. “Apparently it’s an STD,” he said dryly.
She began to laugh and then gently pushed him away from her so that she could stand. When she’d regained her feet, she smirked down at him. “I don’t know how it works for your people, Guerin, but that wasn’t sex.”
His eyes glinted and he opened his mouth to retort and she popped away with a wink. She didn’t go home, instead transporting herself to the Granilith chamber, where she knew he would eventually follow. Leaning against the cold stone wall of the cave, she closed her eyes with a slight, troubled smile. She’d temporarily gotten the last word, but Michael was nothing if not stubborn, and what they’d started was far from over. Once again, her emotions and thoughtless actions had sent her blindly stumbling down a path she couldn’t see the end of.
‘Maybe you enjoy the uncertainty, despite your professed need for control,’ the voice in her head (and now Michael’s head) mused.
“Shut up,” Liz said tiredly, and then sighed as she felt Michael’s energy coalesce next to her. So much for ever sleeping again.
“Sleep is overrated,” Michael murmured, blatantly using their connection to invade her privacy, and then claimed her mouth in a sizzling, open mouthed kiss.
She groaned and arched into him, hardly unwilling as she felt the intense chemistry between them flare anew. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be chatting with your new life partner?’ she asked, even as she scraped her nails over the waistband of his jeans, enjoying his hiss of desire.
‘It can wait,’ Michael responded shortly and she laughed into his mouth, then let herself be carried away in the heedless tide of lust only he generated. The Granilith could wait, and who knew, maybe it would enjoy the show.