Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-6/? - 09/12/18

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Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-6/? - 09/12/18

Postby Fidomom » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:45 am

Title: Finding Something Better
Author: Fidomom
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is only loosely based on characters from the tv series Roswell as I imagine they could be from different points throughout and beyond the three seasons of the show. I am not affiliated with any of the original creations nor creators from the series. I will make no monetary gains from publishing this work of fiction.
Pairings/Couples/Category: Michael/Maria, Max/Liz AU with aliens,
Rating: Adult
Story Premise: Roswell's three teenaged aliens and three of their friends, upon graduation from highschool, embark on a journey toward adulthood, living life everywhere and anywhere outside of Roswell, New Mexico, and endeavouring to do good, while avoiding law enforcement, and other threats.
Chapter Summary: Michael and Maria consider giving their relationship merry- go-round another ride.
Author's Note: warnings=work in progress, this story will eventually contain relationships that might upset fans of strictly canon and it will also include events that may be upsetting for the reader (no main character death, though). If there's a specific thing you don't ever want to read about you can ask me in PM if I intend to have that in my story; if this is a safe read for you or not and I will tell you. I just don't want to divulge too much of my plot by warning everybody for everything I intend to have in this story.

~FM :)

Finding Something Better
by Fidomom

Chapter One

Five nights after leaving Roswell, New Mexico, the six member exodus were finally getting their scheduled overnight at a motel with beds and showers.

As Maria and Liz were getting their things from the minivan to take to the motel cabins they'd be staying in that night, Liz asked tentatively, "So what's really going on with you and Michael?"

Maria puffed out her lips and sighed heavily before answering forlornly, "I would love to know the answer to that myself, Liz, I really would. I mean he isn't the only reason I'm tagging along but he's definitely a big part of it. For some Michael logic reason or another things are just really awkward with us right now. I'm starting to wonder if he wishes I'd stayed in Roswell, you know?"

Liz nodded understandingly and then asked pointedly, "Well, have you tried talking to him about it?"

Maria looked down at the ground sheepishly and admitted, "Well, no. He has avoided being one on one with me since the night we supposedly got back together. Maybe I should just not even try any more."

Liz raised her eyebrows skeptically and asked like she already knew the answer, "Do you still love him, though?"

Maria's face coloured slightly and she nodded, confirming Liz's obvious belief, "Yes, of course, I love him. I've come to accept that this is just the permanent state of my heart where he is concerned and I just have to find a way to grin and bear it."

Liz smiled sympathetically at Maria and set aside her belongings to sling an arm around Maria's shoulders, offering words matching her smile, "I'm sorry, Maria. I've been so focused on Max that I missed entirely that you and Michael were not quite okay with each other. I only finally noticed it tonight. Is there anything I can do to cheer you up or at least take your mind off of him for a few minutes?"

Maria smiled back at her gratefully then leaned toward Liz to rest her head against Liz's and she declined, "I appreciate the offer but no, not really and it's okay, Liz. You're my very best friend, I love you like crazy and I am really and truly happy that things with you and Max are working out so beautifully. Hey, who knows in case things don't pan out for me and Michael, maybe someday my heart will make room and I'll love someone new but just differently than I love him, you know?"

Liz's expression belied any conviction her words tried to convey as she offered Maria support, "Yeah. That could totally happen. I hope it really does. You do deserve happiness, Maria."

Maria appreciated Liz's effort and said as much, "Thanks, Liz. Guess I was wrong. You actually did just cheer me up. You really are the best!"

Both girls looked up startled upon hearing a quiet male voice ask, "Why did you need cheering up? Bad news? Everything okay?"

Liz spoke his name in relief, "Michael."

Maria spoke his name guiltily, "Michael."

Liz made a hasty obviously made up excuse to leave them alone, "You know what, Maria, Max and I have this thing, a mini date thing, yeah so I'm just gonna go and let you and Michael talk.,

"Michael, don't leave her, as soon as I'm gone. You guys should talk, okay?", Liz advised him as she walked backward, then turned and ran off.

Michael made an annoyed face and said dismissively, "Whatever. Yeah, fine. Later, Science."

Maria called out in nervous desperation to her already retreated friend, "Thanks a lot, Liz. I'm rethinking the whole you're the best, thing. Just kidding. Have fun on your mini date. Mini date my butt."

Michael started grabbing his things from the minivan, as well, and questioned, "So what is it that she thinks we need to talk about? And why are you so down?"

Maria looked at the ground and kicked at the dirt as she mumbled, "How typical that you really don't know, Michael."

Michael slammed the vehicle door harder than it needed to be making Maria jump slightly and he warned, "If you're cruising for a fight, Maria, I'm out. I'm too exhausted."

Maria countered irritably, "So then why are you out here instead of already gone to bed?"

Michael answered as if it should already be obvious to her, "I was looking for you."

Maria blinked in surprise and asked before she could stop herself, "Oh. Why?"

Michael shrugged and answered honestly, "It's just been bugging me that you haven't crashed with me even once since we got back together. I thought you agreed that we were in this together but I've been sleeping or rather not sleeping by myself for like four days. Like I said, I'm exhausted. You coming to bed with me now or what?"

Maria's eyes and mouth widened perceptibly and then she blurted, "You're unbelievable! Am I coming to bed? Are you serious? You expect me to have sex with you after you've been avoiding and ignoring me since the night we supposedly reconciled?"

Michael frowned in annoyance and denied her assessment, "No, I haven't! And I didn't say sex I said bed. I'm tired, Maria. For the first time in my life, I can't fall asleep in strange places and having you with me is probably my only shot at getting some shut eye, tonight, finally. Can we fight later? Can you just come to bed already? Please?"

Maria opened and closed her mouth a few times wordlessy before finally rambling, "I. What even? Fine. Well, I guess I've gotta sleep, somewhere. Sure why not with my is he or isn't he my ex? Okay, Michael, you win. But I am not being your booty call! We will not be having sex, understood?"

Michael heaved a visible sigh of relief, nodded and held out his free hand to her as he agreed, "Sure. Fine. Come on. Let's just go to bed."

Michael laced his fingers with hers and without speaking, they walked brusquely hand in hand to the cabin that Michael had chosen from the ones they had all rented for the night.

Michael broke the silence just once to object to what she intended to wear to bed. He threw her one of his clean t-shirts instead and claimed, "I don't want a perfume headache tonight. If you don't mind."

Maria huffed and accepted it with a roll of her eyes. She put it on and crawled under the covers on what had traditionally become her side of the bed whenever they'd slept together. She attempted to sleep on her side facing away from him but as soon as he got into bed and snapped off the bedside lamp, he reached for her, rolled her easily onto her back and snuggled up to her chest. Maria objected indignantly, "What did I just say, Michael? What are you doing?!"

Michael didn't alter his position as he defended, "What?! I'm just getting comfortable. Your heartbeat is a comforting familiar sound. I just want to sleep already. Okay?"

Maria relaxed and said quietly, "Oh. Okay, Michael. Sorry for taking it wrong. Goodnight, then. I hope you get a good sleep, tonight. Michael? Michael?"

He rubbed his cheek over her heart and mumbled tiredly, "Huh? Oh, yeah. Love you, too, Maria. Night."

Maria chuckled in amused chagrin and complained under her breath, "And just like that I'm doomed to never be over this guy."

His hand reached under her shirt slightly to lightly rub her side with his thumb and he slurred his words like he'd been drugged, "I heard that and good. Ditto. Can you do that thing with my hair, again?"

Maria sighed in defeat and her fingers began softly combing through the hair at his temple and down behind his ear as she agreed softly, "Sure. Go to sleep, spaceboy."

"And sing?", he requested hopefully.

"Yeah, I can do that, too.", and she sang Nothing Else Matters a cappella until she was certain he was asleep before she finally let herself fall asleep, too.

*****

Maria felt like she'd only just fallen asleep when she became aware of daylight and of Michael fidgeting restlessly as he mumbled, "Don't do it, Maria, don't say yes. No matter how many times I ask just say no. Promise me you'll say no."

Maria asked in drowsy confusion, "Michael? Say no to what?"

Michael startled slightly, lifted his head to look at her through one barely opened eye and said groggily, "Huh? Maria? Wow, you're still here. I thought for sure I was gonna wake up alone. Good to be wrong."

Maria didn't acknowledge his pleasure at finding himself still in bed with her but asked him again, "Michael, what were you just telling me to say no to?"
"
He frowned in consternation, then shrugged, yawned and snuggled against her again as he mused, "Hmm? Oh. I don't know. Must have been dreaming. Don't remember now."

Maria nodded and rolled her eyes as she absentmindedly rubbed his back and complained, "Figures. Do you think you can let me up, now, spaceboy, since you're awake? I have to pee."

He rolled away from her slightly, answering, "Course.", and then he asked, "You coming back to bed?"

Maria tugged down on the hem of the t-shirt she'd worn to bed, as it had ridden up significantly while they'd slept and she answered him in subdued incredulity,"Uhh, no, wasn't planning on it."

He sleepily pouted,"Why not?"

Maria gave him a knowing look and admonished, "Because in spite of the whole cute, sleepy Michael routine you're playing right now, neither one of us is tired any more and the only reason to go to bed with an on again off again ex-lover when nobody is tired, is for sex and I already told you last night, that is not happening. Here's how it is in broad daylight, if you want me to literally sleep with you after tonight you will stay right there and we are going to talk relationship status, all over again, after I relieve myself, deal?"

Michael scowled and objected, "Ex-lover? Whatever. Yeah, sure. Deal. Won't go anywhere. I'm all yours."

Maria scoffed, "Right. Sure you are. Be right back."

Maria had barely pulled up her underwear and flushed the toilet, when Michael entered the bathroom, completely naked. Maria gasped and scolded him, "Michael! Oh my God! Put some clothes on!"

He gave her a questioning look and countered, "To take a shower? Even for you that's a weird thing to say. Save water with me?"

Maria narrowed her eyes and asked him suspiciously,
"So much for staying put. Wait! Michael, are you trying to seduce me?"

He fought a smirk and denied it, "Nah, I just know you like it when I wash your back. If you don't want me to this morning, it's fine. I'll try to make it quick so you have enough hot left for your hair."

Maria's eyes moved all up and down his body and her throat went dry. She relented and admitted to him, "I can't believe I'm getting sucked in this easily. Okay I'm into it. Move over, spaceboy."

Michael managed to gloat with just the glimmer of a smile and he disclaimed, "Look, Maria, just so you know, the only way we are having shower sex is if you make the first move, so don't pout if I don't come on to you. I still think you're really hot but you said no sex a bunch of times now so I intend to behave myself. Got it?"

Maria lightly smacked his upper arm and complained, "Oh, right, like flattery isn't flirting? What do you call that, if that isn't coming on to me?"

Michael flinched away from the smack, chuckling and answered, "Easy. I call it a statement of fact. You are what you are. Come closer so I can get your back for you."

Maria glowered at him even as she complied. She accused poutingly, "You're the devil, Michael Guerin."

Michael stood just close enough to her for his chest to be in light contact with hers and he lathered his hands and began slowly spreading the lather all over her back. He spoke so close to her ear his lips grazed it, "Yeah, well, your halo is a bit tarnished, too, Maria."

Maria's breath caught and she said his name so quietly he almost didn't hear it over the sound of the shower, "Michael."

He didn't still his hands. He lightened his touch until she visibly shivered and then he finally prompted her to continue, "Yeah, Maria?"

She put her hands on his shoulders and moved them in a light caress between his shoulders, collar bones and chest, before finally speaking her mind, "If you don't give me shower sex like right now, I'm not singing to you ever again."

He pulled her into a full body contact kiss that trailed from her lips, along her jawline down her neck, then up again directly to her ear before acknowledging her ultimatum, "Then I guess we're having shower sex like right now.", and then he turned with her suddenly so that her back was against the inside shower wall.

He slid his hand over her hip, down her behind and gripped the back of her thigh. She offered no resistance when he lifted her leg to his hip and then rubbed his aroused flesh against hers, just hard enough to elicit a response.

She gasped and wound her arms around the back of his neck, inviting him to lift her higher. He accepted and lifted her off both feet, She wound her legs around him, too and he pressed himself tightly against her, pinning her between himself and the wall, grinding against her most sensitive places as he kissed her deeply, sucking on her lips, and tasting her mouth.

She squirmed impatiently against him, with a slight whimper and he gave her what she wanted.

She abruptly pulled away from his kiss to cry out, "Ohhh! Michael, Michael, oh my God. I've missed this. I missed you, so much.", and then she was kissing him back again, matching his hunger and passion.

He dragged his mouth away from hers to echo her sentiments, "I missed you more. Plus I love you more.", and then he spent some time with his mouth on her neck, leaving his mark for her to discover later.

Maria leaned into his mouth at her neck and asked, between laboured breaths, "What is love to you, then, a contest?"

He ceased kisssing her and grinding inside her. He looked her in the eye and clarified, "No, but I heard enough of your chat with Science, last night, to know that you forgot how I feel about you. I'm just reminding you, that's all. Your ride is about to get wild, I suggest you hold on tight."

Maria only managed one intelligible, "Michael.", before Michael made good on his warning and rendered all of her subsequent vocalisations loud, frequent and quite incoherent.

By the time they were done in the shower, Maria's legs felt like jelly from her exertions and both she and Michael were quite out of breath. Michael dried them both off but not very well. He embraced her and kissed her as he moved them from the bathroom back to the bed. She didn't utter any word of complaint as he backed her onto the bed and made love to her some more. Afterward, they lay cuddled closely in each others arms with not even a sheet to cover them.

Maria was the first to move. She kissed Michael's chest and said sincerely, "Thank-you. I have some stuff to do, now, though. I have to deal with my hair and my legs aren't gonna shave themselves so unless you are into your girlfriend resembling a porcupine, you should probably let me up."

Michael didn't immediately let go of her and he asked, "Do I get to watch?"

Maria smiled and shook her head in fond exasperation but agreed, "Sure, but no interference allowed. Deal?"

Michael nodded his agreement and let her up. It took her fewer than twenty minutes to do her after shower rituals and Michael didn't take his eyes off of her except for when she disappeared into the bathroom to attend to things which required a mirror. Only when she reached for some clothes to put on did he voice a complaint, "Don't, Maria! Come back to bed with me."

Maria paused with her bra half on, looked at Michael sprawled out naked and uncovered on the bed. She sighed and took her bra back off again, then crawled onto the bed from the foot, up his body and paused on all fours directly over him. He didn't move or reach for her until she leaned down to kiss him softly on the lips. He pulled her snugly to himself then and she cuddled against him with a contented sigh. He lightly rubbed her upper arm and he asked conversationally, "So, you feeling better, now, Maria?"

She laughed lightly and confessed, "Yes. Much. Thank-you, Michael."

He nodded in approval and then tilted her chin to look her in the eye as he spoke,"Good. Now maybe you can explain that crack you made earlier about me being your ex-lover. What the hell was that about?"

Maria looked startled by the question but then she grew pensive and instead of answering him, she asked him a question of her own, "Michael, why have we spent zero time alone together, until last night, since we decided to get back together?"

Michael's eyes softened and he answered quietly, "That's on you. I already told you how I felt about you, all you had to do was bridge the gap. I was waiting for you because I didn't know how you were feeling about us. We agreed we were doing this together and then nothing for four days straight. I'm curious to know what you were thinking for those four days."

Maria shrugged and looked away as she confessed, "I guess I thought that you still wished I had stayed behind in Roswell and that being around me was uncomfortable for you since you only said you loved me when you thought you were saying goodbye to me forever. Plus that was like the week before graduation, so I wasn't sure if anything had changed for you since then."

Michael rubbed at his eyebrow and sighed as he conceded, "Okay, I admit it; I do wish you had stayed in Roswell but not because I don't want you with me. It's because I just want you to be safe and happy and I'm not sure you can be either of those things if I stay in your life. Selfishly, I prefer having you with me. That's what makes me feel safe and happy, but I'm too aware that being on the run like this, when you don't have to be, Maria, it's not good for you.

As you pointed out the night you joined us, though, it's really not up to me. It's your life and your choice. I guess I was giving you space to not get my own hopes up in case you changed your mind. Since we're both here on this journey, though and it seems like you intend to continue whether I give you space or not, well then I guess I'm an oppportunist. If you are here, then I want you with me. As in with me, with me, but if that isn't what you want just tell me. Tell me what the rules are and I'll do my best to abide by them. I meant what I said when I thought we were saying goodbye and that hasn't changed and never will. I will love you no matter what. Always, Maria. Whether we are a couple or not. So just talk to me. Tell me what you really want."

Maria looked him in the eye and spoke emotionally, "Michael. You know, sometimes when you speak about us, you put your foot in it and deeply hurt my feelings, but wait, not this time. This time I think you just made me fall more in love with you and made me more sure that I am exactly where I want to be and with exactly whom I belong. I love you so much, Michael.

What I want is to be wherever you are, be it cars, minivans, beds, showers, whatever, if you're there, then that's where I most want to be. Can we do that? Can we just be together; have a life together whether on the run or maybe even someday keep having a life together if the running isn't necessary anymore?"

Michael nodded and agreed, "Yeah. Of course we can. So you're gonna crash with me from now on?"

Maria chuckled at how quickly he'd swung the topic back to sleeping together but answered him, "Yes, spaceboy."

Michael flirted shamelessly, "Naked?"

Maria flirted back more coyly, "Sometimes, yes."

Michael grinned smugly and hugged her extra tight as he declared, "I'll take it. I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings, I really was just being cautious in case you had changed your mind. I had no idea you would think, well, that you would think what you thought. I don't just love you, Maria; I like you. I like having you close to me. I'll try to let you see that more often. Thinking about it, you know, the insomnia was driving me nuts. If you hadn't been here already, I think I just might have turned around, gone back, and abducted you, again. Just saying."

Maria laughed appreciatively at that and admitted, "And I would have let you, again. Oh my God, Michael, do you think I have Stockholm's syndrome?"

Michael nodded resolutely and unofficially diagnosed, "Oh, you definitely do. You wanna get over it?"

Maria pretended to think about it and then she slowly shook her head and committed, "Nope, I think ... I think I'm all good with it."

Michael accepted the answer as if he'd predicted as much. He switched their focus back to his recently favourite topic, "Can we have sex, again, now?"

Maria didn't even blink as she quickly answered,"Oh yes, spaceboy. Definitely. I'm owed at least another three rounds for every night we've missed, since leaving Roswell."

Michael laughed wryly and said, "Well, if you really wanna keep score, I'm owed way more than that for the whole time we were broken up."

Maria caressed his jawline with her index finger and kissed him once before suggesting, "Then I guess we'd better get busy settling the score." and then she kissed him again.

Michael started to respond and kiss her back but then he suddenly pulled away to say, "Maria, I just want to mention that even when we were broken up no matter which one of us did it, I still never thought of us as exes. I didn't like it when you referred to me as your ex, earlier. To me exes are people who used to love each other but don't any more and as far as I know that has never been us. Am I wrong about that?"

Maria winced in regret and agreed with him, "No, you're right, Michael. I have never stopped loving you. I'm sorry for saying we were exes. I mean how did we ever suppose you could be my ex-spaceboy, anyway? How would that even work? There's no such thing. It's completely ridiculous."

Michael looked her in the eye as his thumb caressed the newest mark he'd left on her neck, in the shower earlier and he spoke quietly, "Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Thanks."

Maria leaned into his caress briefly then shifted herself to encourage him to roll her underneath him. When he'd acted on her physical suggestion, she wrapped her arms and legs around him and ordered, "And on that note, you need to come a lot closer, my permanent spaceboy. There's something that I need you to know."

He kissed her mouth with his eyes open and then asked intently, "Oh yeah? And what's that?"

Maria kissed him on the lips repeatedly speaking between each kiss, "Oh, just that I missed your hot bod, your possessive hands and your amazing lips all over me. God Michael you turn me on! Why do you have to be so bloody sexy?"

Michael grinned proudly and nuzzled her neck. He muttered almost to himself, "Yeah, you must have really missed me, you're usually way more careful about saying things that might inflate my ego."

Maria pulled him away from her neck to look him in the eye and she conceded, "You know what, Michael? You're right and I'm sorry. I'm gonna work on being more fair about that."

Michael's eyes were glazed in lust and he asked in confusion, "Wait, what? Why are you sorry, now?"

Maria held his face between her palms and explained in remorse, "For withholding from you what I really think of you, when I am having good thoughts about you and trying to justify it, by blaming you for how it might affect you."

Michael's eyes showed his confusion as he asked for clarification, "I don't follow. Say again but maybe this time in English?"

Maria sighed and hugged him suddenly, rubbing his back appreciatively as she elaborated, "It's just pissy of me to only criticise you and rarely compliment you just in case that might make you feel too good, Michael. It's kind of mean. I love you. A lot. I should be doing what I can to support and encourage you and I should have more faith in you. I should expect the best of you instead of the worst."

Michael pulled away to look at her and disagreed adamantly, "Whoa, whoa, no, Maria. Trust me on this, you're fine. You don't owe me an apology. You know me really well and you're right, I do get too cocky if I think there's smooth sailing and maybe I don't try to give you reasons to compliment me when I'm feeling too full of myself like that.

I like that you call me on my crap and keep me on my toes and give me incentives to try. As long as I'm trying, then I feel like I'm less likely to make the mistake of taking you for granted. Besides if you complimented my body or my love making activities all the time, then it might not turn me on so much, the rare times when you do actually do it."

Maria thought over his stated point of view and mused aloud, "Okay. That does make some kind of sense to me, I guess. Wait, so like, you're turned on, too?"

Michael's brow rose and he asked pointedly, "Are you naked in my arms right now?"

Maria batted her eyes at him coyly, pairing it with a flirty smile as she rubbed her leg against his provocatively and revealed, "Yes, very. Even my legs. Feel that?"

He nodded, kissed her on the lips once and informed her, "Then my being turned on is a given, even when you're sporting quills, by the way, so don't ever stress over that on my account."

Maria's face showed her pleased surprise at his claimed level of attraction to her and she vowed, "I'll keep that in mind.", and then she asked hopefully, "So I get the strongest feeling that you, uhh, wanna make love to me, now. How about it, spaceboy?"

Michael was already getting himself in a better position for making love, as he sought confirmation,"Will we be putting a big dent in the outstanding balance owing for missed time?"

Maria was adjusting her own position to better accomodate him, as well and she gave him the confirmation he was looking for, "Yes, or your girlfriend might get cranky and nobody wants that."

Michael moved against her until they were one and stated his double entendre, "Then I'm definitely in. What are you wearing, Maria?"

Maria moaned in pleasure and then mumbled, "I think we've already established that I'm naked."

Michael began moving his hips slowly, kissing and sucking the side of her neck on which he hadn't yet left his mark and trying to talk against her skin, "I mean that perfume smell."

Maria was matching his pace, digging her self-manicured fingernails into his shoulders and she asked petulantly, "Do you want me to go wash it off, already? I just put it on, Michael."

Michael kissed her lips, her jaw, her ear and emphasised with his hip movements as he objected, "No, don't wash it off, it smells really good."

Maria made her neck more accessible for his mouth, then moved one hand up the nape of his neck, delving her fingers into his hair, enjoying the novelty of his recent haircut and informed him, "Michael, it's the exact same fragrance that I wear all the time, including on New Year's Eve."

Michael paused his hip movements abruptly, then lifted his head from sucking her neck to argue, "That's not possible. That can't even be right. You always smell good like this, except for that one night."

Maria's passion filled eyes cleared briefly and she swatted his shoulder, as she asked incredulously, "Wait, you actually do like my perfume? Oh my God you sneak! You tricked me into wearing your shirt to bed! Perfume headache, my butt!"

Michael said "Ow!", then grabbed her violence prone hand and held it captive, as he resumed his hip movements. He didn't defend himself against her accusations right away, nor let go of her hand until she began responding to his lovemaking again. He looked her in the eye as they moved together and finally explained between kisses, "I can't help it that I like seeing you wear my shirts, as your sleep wear. You make them look really sexy, and then they smell like you after, too. I ran out of ones that still smell like you, when we were broken up. I think it's why I couldn't sleep properly for the past four nights. There was nothing familiar for me to sleep with to help me relax."

Suddenly, Maria's eyes widened and she halted Michael's kisses, with a very quiet but serious order, "Michael, you need to back away from me right now. Like right now."

He frowned in concern but he complied and then asked, "Did I say something bad? Was I hurting you or something? Why are you putting the brakes on right in the middle?"

Maria winced and quickly reached out to touch his face as she reassured, "You did nothing wrong, I promise. It's not that I want us to stop right now but we really have to. I should have never let you seduce me or I shouldn't have seduced you, frankly I can't remember now who started what, but it shouldn't have happened. Oh my God, how could I be this stupid and reckless?"

Michael rolled off of her and lay beside her, with his head propped on his palm and leaning his weight on his elbow. With his free hand, he cupped her face and asked in confusion, "What are you talking about? Now you don't want to be with me, after all?"

Maria turned her face to kiss his palm and assured him once again, "It's nothing like that, Michael. Look I don't know how to sugar coat this so I'm just going to say it. I am not now, nor have I been, on any birth control, for these past three months. I quit taking the pill after the last time we had sex. I thought it would make me have to think twice before jumping back into bed with you, if I didn't actually want us to get back together, because I saw that it hurt you getting your hopes up, like that."

Michael looked panic stricken even as he asked her to restate the obvious, "So you're telling me we just spent the better part of two hours having completely unprotected sex?"

Maria nodded and said the only words she could think of, even though she knew they sounded lame and ineffective, "I'm so sorry, Michael. I got caught up in our reunion and completely forgot until you just ment-"

Michael's jaw clenched and his eyes glowed with unconcealed anger, "Would you just shut-up! None of your explanations matter, now! How could you do this? I trusted you! How could you forget something so important? What the hell is wrong with you, Maria?"

Maria was alarmed by his outburst and she tried to calm him, "Michael! I didn't do it on purpose for God's sake! I'm human, okay? I forgot I went off the pill! It's not like this will wreck your life! If I wind up pregnant it's not like you're the one everyone will judge! My God, my Mom will have a whole herd of cattle if I have a kid without being married first!"

Michael got up, threw Maria's clothes at her and then began getting dressed himself as he vented, "What has marriage got to do with anything? Are you insane? Whatever, Maria, I changed my mind. I don't want to be with you, if I can't trust you. I can't make you not travel with us, but stay as far away from me as possible from now on! We are done!"

Maria was bewildered and tried to reason with him, "Come on, Michael, don't you think you're overreacting just a tad? I mean yeah if I'm pregnant that's definitely not ideal but it's hardly the end of the world, and I really don't think what just happened warrants the level of anger you're directing at me. We love each other, Michael. Whatever happens now we're gonna get through it together just like we always do."

Michael shook his head stubbornly and argued, "Not this time, Maria. We're over."

Maria watched him leave in complete stunned silence and then her tears started. She got dressed and went to find Liz.
Last edited by Fidomom on Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
~FM :)
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-3/? - 01/02/18

Postby Fidomom » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:51 am

Title: Finding Something Better
Author: Fidomom
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is only loosely based on characters from the tv series Roswell as I imagine they could be from different points throughout and beyond the three seasons of the show. I am not affiliated with any of the original creations nor creators from the series. I will make no monetary gains from publishing this work of fiction.
Pairings/Couples/Category: Michael/Maria, Max/Liz AU with aliens,
Rating: Adult
Summary: Michael and Maria talk things over.
Author's Note: For anyone wondering why Ava is included in this story. It's because of my head canon that lab techs on Antar put the wrong embryo with Max, Isabel & Michael and Ava was actually supposed to be their 4th; Tess should have been a part of the dupes as far as I'm concerned. No retcon of any closed case series events planned but anything not nailed down, I consider as fair game and open to possibly different explanations, interpretations or outcomes.

~FM :)

Finding Something Better
by Fidomom

Chapter Two

Maria winced as Liz's elbow connected with her side and Liz whispered urgently, "Talk to him, Maria! It's the only way to resolve it!"

Maria saw Michael look back at them from the rearview mirror, but he didn't maintain eye contact. Maria sighed and nodded as she answered Liz, "I know. I know you're right and I will, I just don't know when. Kind of prefer some privacy for that one.", and she gestured to the minivan they were traveling in, which was full to maximum capacity with people, supplies and bare essential belongings. Liz nodded conceding the existence of the indicated obstacle to Maria having that private conversation with Michael.

In just one week of traveling, a lot had already changed since leaving Roswell. Maria was waiting to find out if she was pregnant with Michael's child or not and Michael was still pissed at her that pregnancy was even a concern, at all. At Liz's behest, Isabel had dreamwalked Ava, to invite her to be with them, and Ava had accepted the invitation. They had picked her up two days earlier and only Liz, Isabel and Kyle had really made any effort to make Ava feel welcome.

The atmosphere in the cramped quarters was full of discomfort, awkward silences and tension born of fear for themselves and sadness for those they'd had to leave behind. Maria tried every trick she knew to stop herself from bursting into tears. She missed her Mom, and Michael was being so cold to her. She just didn't know how to end or diminish his continued angry silence.

Liz squeezed her hand and rested her head on Maria's shoulder in a show of comfort. Maria was startled from her thoughts by the sound of Michael's voice addressing Max, "We need to have a rest stop, Maxwell. Not a stupid ten minute one, either. Nobody in this van deserves to be cooped up in this thing for this long. I need to take a walk with my girlfriend. You should know what I'm talking about. Maria's too used to me neglecting her, but I imagine, your fiancee is feeling pretty bummed out not getting any time with you; this isn't like you and you know it."

And just like that Maria didn't feel like bursting into tears anymore. Her heart leapt in hopeful relief at his use of the word girlfriend in reference to her.

Max started to shake his head and he answered Michael but kept his eyes on the road, "Not yet, Michael. We aren't far enough away yet. We've already lost time picking Ava up.,

"Just to be clear, Ava, I do want you here with us, but it did mean a significant adjustment in our driving time to catch up to where we thought we'd be by now.,

"There's also the fact that every time we stop, Michael, we take another risk that we'll be spotted and captured or surreptitiously followed. I'm not stopping outside of our agreed upon schedule, any more. We just can't afford to lose more time, guys. I'm sorry.,

"And that apology is for all of you, by the way. I know things are pretty terrible right now, but we made a plan and I want to stick to it because I think it's a good plan. Please just try to be patient, everyone. Once we get to our first temporary destination, we can stay there for a few weeks before we have to get back on the road."

Maria's heart sank. She'd actually gotten her hopes up, thinking she might soon get some time alone with Michael to talk things through. She felt eyes on her in the mirror again and looked up to see Michael's concerned and full of remorse eyes on her. He mouthed to her, "I'm sorry."

Maria nodded to show him she believed him and accepted his apology. Then Michael surprised her by addressing Liz, "Hey, Science, wanna trade seats with me? Then we'll at least be beside the person we miss, all because of this stupid schedule."

Liz took Max's side, "But Max just said he's not stopping, yet."

Michael implored Max one more time, "Come on, Maxwell, a thirty second stop for musical seats isn't going to break our stride!"

Max snapped, "Okay. Fine. Switch with Liz, then."

Michael fake smiled at Max and said insincerely, "Thank-you, Maxwell, what a thoughtful gesture. So glad you declared yourself not our leader anymore."

Maria saw Max give Michael's retreating figure a brief glare but then his face lit up when Liz took Michael's place in the shotgun seat and he leaned over to quickly kiss Liz on the lips, before he put the still running vehicle back in drive. Maria couldn't bring herself to even look at Michael, even though at least now they were sort of touching. To her surprised and grateful relief, Michael put his arm around her and guided her head to his shoulder. She felt his lips press to her forehead in a sustained contact kiss, after which he whispered, "I love you, and I've got your back but talking will have to wait. Okay?"

Maria nodded with a wistful smile and touched Michael's chin. When he looked downward at her questioningly, she pointed to her puckered lips and he didn't even hesitate, but swooped in and kissed her properly. Not a making out kind of kiss but definitlely one that he meant, despite having been prompted to give it. When he lifted his face from hers, he suggested, "Now that you've got your alien-human hybrid travel pillow, why don't you take a nap?"

Maria had to laugh briefly at his description of himself but then he wasn't wrong, either, so she nodded and snuggled against him to take him up on it. She didn't think she'd sleep but the snuggle and chance to close her eyes were more than welcome ideas.

She was wrong about not sleeping. When she next opened her eyes it was because they had stopped for their scheduled rest stop, only she was alone with Michael in the minivan, so she knew they'd been stopped a few minutes, already. She lifted her head from Michael's shoulder and made a yuck face at the drool mark she'd left on his shirt. He noticed what she was looking at and he shrugged as he offered, "Don't even worry about that. Come on, Maria, I know you need a restroom by now."

At the mere mention of the word, Maria did indeed urgently need a restroom and she scrambled out after Michael as quickly as she could. There was a line-up outside the women's door, if you could call one person a line-up, the one person being Ava. Michael was holding Maria's hand as she waited behind Ava and Maria asked him, "So how long were we stopped for and why didn't you wake me up right away?"

Michael shrugged and answered, "Only a few minutes and I remembered from our hectic rest stop schedule this past week that you don't do well being abruptly woken up. I knew the lack of motion would wake you up more gently than me harassing you into being awake would have. It's no big deal, Maria. While you were asleep, Max and Liz had a chance to talk and she made him listen to reason, we get an actual hour and a half this time, so I saw no point in rushing you awake."

Maria was happily awed at his attentive demeanor toward her and she voiced her gratitude, "Thank-you, Michael. You don't have to wait with me, you know. Don't you need the restroom, too? Men's seems to be unoccupied."

In response, Michael threaded his fingers with hers, squeezed her hand and declined, "I can wait. I'll go when you do. Meantime, I'm exactly where I need to be. Right beside you."

Maria chanced repeating what he had said earlier, "Beside your girlfriend?"

Michael smiled up one side of his mouth and said, "Good. So you were paying attention. Yes and yes we will talk more about that on our walk, after this and after we get some grub to take with us."

Maria was impressed and asked for clarification, "So like a walk, a picnic and talking about our relationship issues? Just you and me?"

Michael nodded and confirmed, "Yes, yes, and yes but hopefully not just talking. I know it's only been a couple of days but I already miss you."

Maria teased him, "Oh I see, so I get girlfriend status again this fast because spaceboy needs nooky time?"

Michael made a face of denial and defended, "I didn't say anything about nooky, I was only thinking eraser room. We definitely don't have time for nooky, Maria. That will require ideally several days and nights in a row, and at worst a minimum of three hours, not less than two hours, which is all we get right now."

Maria gasped at his marathon sex suggestion and declared, "You are the devil, Michael Guerin. Why would you even mention that when you know we won't get to do that for three more sleeps?"

Michael laughed and gloated, "So you are still into it. These next three days can't go by fast enough for me. Oh and it looks like you're up!

"Hey, Shortstop.,

"I'll meet you in the store when you're done in there, Maria. We can grab our picnic supplies together.", and he quickly kissed her cheek and headed for the men's restroom.

"Did he just call me Shortstop?", Ava enquired cautiously.

Maria nodded and confirmed over her shoulder, "Yes. He nick names everyone except me, his girlfriend."

Once Maria was done in the restroom, she hurried into the store to find Michael and make her food selections before they went for their walk. Once they had their purchases, Michael took Maria's hand and led her away from the road and behind the rest stop. Maria asked, "So since you can't possibly know of a spot for us to have this private picnic, where are we going and how much time do we have left before Max expects us to get going again?"

Michael didn't pause or even slow his pace, as he answered, "Easy. We have exactly an hour. Probably need restroom breaks again just before we get back on the road, so that brings it to about fifty-five minutes. We walk as far away as we can for five minutes, we stop wherever we end up, we eat, probably take around fifteen minutes including leave no trace, that leaves us with thirty-five minutes, we talk but only about really important stuff and only for like ten minutes, that leaves us twenty-five minutes and we already know it'll take us five of those remaining minutes to go back, unless we run back."

Maria chuckled and queried, "So you think talking to me for a whole ten minutes, will get you a twenty minute make out session with me? I demand a minutes renegotiation."

Michael shook his head and declined, "No deal. Ten for talking and twenty for making out, we don't have the luxury of minutes to spare for just talking, besides I express myself better without words and you know that first hand."

Maria considered what he'd just said and had to mentally concede he had a point. She grudgingly agreed, "Fine. You'll get your twenty minutes, spaceboy."

He smiled at her for the first time in what seemed like forever ago to her and said, "Thanks, angel."

Maria stopped dead in her tracks and asked incredulously, "Pardon? What did you just call me?"

Michael looked at the travel alarm he was carrying, shrugged and said, "Okay four and a half minutes is good enough. We can do it all here."

Maria was still staring at him waiting for him to explain why he'd just called her a name other than Maria. When he got busy eating instead of answering, she began to scold, "Michael! You can't just ignore my question!"

Michael indicated the time on the travel alarm, which he'd set aside before beginning to eat and he spoke around a mouthful of food, "Talking is after eating, not time yet. Come on and eat up. Tight schedule."

Maria shook her head in exasperation and dug into her food. He finished before she did but he didn't push her to eat faster, he just folded his arms across his raised knees, rested his chin on his arms and watched her finish eating and tidying up after herself. It was making her feel self-conscious and she said as much, "Michael, you're staring. Stop it. Do I like have food on my face or something?"

He resolutely shook his head and refused her request, "Can't stop and no you couldn't look more perfect than you do right now, well, unless you were naked, so no there's no food on your face, Maria."

Maria gaped at him and then suddenly giggled in delight, "Oh my God, you are actually flirting with me while we're both fully clothed! Michael you have not flirted with me while still dressed in so long I forgot what it even looks like or sounds like or feels like. This is so unexpected!"

Michael didn't deny it and instead offered in explanation, "That's why I needed to go for a walk with you. Alone time with you works wonders. I heard what you said to Shortstop earlier and I realised it's true. It was never intentional, I just could never think of anything that fit you as well as or better than Maria until you called me a devil in the shower the other day
and then you called me a devil again a little while ago. I had to be sure the nickname I was considering for you, fit you, so I gave it a test drive and I was right. Angel fits almost as well as Maria. Not only is it the opposite of my devilish tendencies but it matches pretty good with spaceboy, too; both from somewhere up there or out there."

Maria suddenly gasped and asked, "Wait, this is talking time? You said only important stuff and this is your chosen topic? Not the maybe baby situation? Not what changed your hostile attitude toward me?"

Michael nodded and elaborated, "I talked to Max and he made me realise I was freaking out over possibility not fact; there is no baby yet. If that happens then we'll talk about it and deal with it, then. As you said, if there is a baby, we'll get through it together, like we have always gotten through everything. The nickname thing, though, is important to me because you are important to me, and I want you to know how I really see you.

You have literally been my angel of mercy more times than I deserved. You definitely have the patience of saints and angels to have put up with me all this time and yet you made me feel like you thought I was the one making some sort of huge compromise or sacrifice to be in a relationship with you. My only sacrifice in being with you, Maria is that I'm constantly terrified of the danger you're in because of me. Sometimes I even think I pose the biggest threat to you of all, even moreso than my enemies.

Every time I've ever hurt you, I was in agony over it, including the awful things I said the other day when I found out we'd just had unprotected sex. For what it's worth, I am sorry and I do take it back. I still want us to be together. I'm always going to dread the very idea of anything bad ever happening to you, especially if it's only because you love me. Being with you makes me the happiest I've ever been, though, and so being with you isn't and never has been a chore. I love you even when I'm pissed or hurt or worried. I need you to know that. Always.

Just three weeks ago I did try to say goodbye to you, for what I thought, at the time, was forever, because I thought my terror for you was outweighing whatever happiness I felt, by staying in your life, in whatever capacity you were letting me. I tried to do right by you, by letting you go and leaving but I discovered a few things in doing that. One was that my terror for you did not disappear, if anything it was worse because then I couldn't see for myself, any more, that you were safe and happy and two I don't handle terror without you, very well, at all.

I've always believed I was stronger and better off alone. Maybe when I didn't know what it was like to not be alone that may have been true but I wasn't at all prepared for the loneliness of being without you. I missed my other half. I was missing my guardian angel here on earth. You, Maria.

Some of the guys I knew from work, resented their significant others fussing over them, nagging at them to eat, sleep, bathe, pay bills and what not but when you weren't there doing that for me anymore, I finally understood the motive behind it. I suddenly realised I used to have someone who cared if I did any of those things or not, definitely not talking about Hank, and if I'd ever felt resentment about it before, that realisation made it disappear. I had everything I ever needed or wanted being with you and without you I am nothing, I merely survive and exist. I really do want us back. I want to really live again and I finally believe that I can only do that with you.

When I told Max you were my girlfriend earlier, I wasn't sure if you still wanted that to be true or not, or maybe even if you already considered it to be true, because what the hell is an ex-spaceboy, right? No such thing according to you.

Anyway, after I said it out loud, I was waiting to see if you would object to it or correct me and when you did neither, I couldn't get close enough to you, fast enough, for my liking.

And you know, after telling you goodbye forever, and leaving you, I had really thought I'd burned a bridge with you, so when I came back during graduation, I didn't think I had any business approaching you with all of my regrets. I thought my heart would explode right in my chest when you said you were coming with us and then you put your arms around me like we were still an us.

I was kind of in shock, I mean, you had broken up with me and wouldn't take me back no matter how much I begged and then I told you goodbye forever and yet somehow you still not only chose to come with us, I assumed to stay close to Liz, but then you put your arms around me and declared we were doing this together. That qualified as a bonafide miracle to me.

At this point I'm pretty much convinced you have to be an angel because no mere mortal woman could still want anything to do with me after all of this stupidity and my stubborness and mistake after mistake that I keep making. The thing is, my stubborness works the other way, too; I am so stubbornly in love with you, Maria DeLuca, and if you take me back, this time, if you let me stay in your life, I promise you, I'll never try to leave you ever again. All of my tomorrows belong to you because I belong to you and that is all I'm ever gonna need. If you aren't ready for that, I won't push you, but I'm also never going to give up on you, ever again, either."

Maria wiped moisture from her face and hedged, "So all of your tomorrows, that's like way longer than only promising me right now?"

Michael agreed earnestly, "Yeah. Definitely an upgrade from only now. I'm going to be someone you can count on not only now but also tomorrow, every single day of our life together, moving forward."

Maria continued seeking clarification, "And we really are back together? I have nagging rights, again?"

Michael choked up a little and laughed over it, "Yeah, angel, definitely."

Maria then tried to help lighten things up, by flirtatiously admonishing, "You do know I'm not actually an angel, though, right?"

Michael's face turned serious and he shook his head in disagreement, "I'll never believe you are anything except that, now. It only makes sense in my head if we're both other worldly beings. Nothing else could explain to me how you are here with me, right now, especially after the way I overreacted the other day and lashed out at you. But if the word angel makes you uncomfortable I'll just stick to calling you Maria."

Maria frowned and pouted a little, "You can't finally give me a nickname and then take it away from me, Michael. That's just mean."

Michael moved as close as he could get to her and kissed her forehead, then asked, "So then it's okay if I call you angel, sometimes, after all? What about in front of other people?"

Maria grinned suddenly and played along, "Well, since I basically out you, every single time I call you spaceboy in front of other people, turnabout is only fair play. I mean they're just nicknames right? It's not like anyone will ever suspect the truth, just because of a nickname."

Michael grinned triumphantly and agreed, "Exactly. Now are we gonna make out or are you not feeling that way about me, right now, because of my behaviour the other day?"

Maria tackled him, pinned him to the ground and kissed him on the lips. Then she looked him in the eye and ordered, "You are not taking that part of the minutes negotiation back. I get my twenty minutes, spaceboy."

Michael suddenly rolled them both over, kissed her, and admitted, "I was hoping you'd see it my way and say that. Also, this is like a promissory note; a raincheck, our real reunion will resume next scheduled motel overnight, with condoms this time, though. Two consecutive nights. Thanks to your girl, Science, talking some sense into my fearless ex-leader. If you want, I mean."

Maria tightened her arms around the back of Michael's neck and wrapped her legs around him. She spoke against his lips between kisses, "We both know that even though I hate condoms, I'm so all about massive want when it comes to reunion sex marathons with you, and about this and especially when it comes to just simply you. I love you, Michael. Even though I am the only witness to all of the precious things you just said to me, your words are as sacred as vows to me and I'm going to hold you to every last one. Got it?"

Michael nodded his head and also spoke between their mutual kisses, "Got it, but you won't have to because all I have to do is love you and the rest will just happen because of that one simple fact. I'm still all yours and only yours, angel. I always will be. I am, after all, genetically engineered for loyalty; pretty sure angels trump even royal aliens, in supremacy. Even if they don't, though, I'd still choose you, anyway. Way better benefits package."

Maria held his face between her hands and looked him in the eye as she confessed, "I already know you chose me over them. I got scared by what that meant, at the time, but it was a very big deal to me and it still is. I'm not afraid of what it means anymore. You stayed for me. For me. For love. I accept responsibility for your heart now, Michael. I'm going to make sure you never regret choosing us. Your most vulnerable self is forever safe with me, spaceboy, I promise. I've got you now and you'll never be alone again."

Michael was clearly fighting tears and his voice shook as he tried to joke his emotional response away, "See? I knew you were my very own angel. I love you, so much, Maria."

"I love you, too, Michael. More kissing please.", she whispered, touching her forehead to his and closing her eyes against her own threatening liquid emotion.

He answered her by honouring her request and giving her the entirety of the beautiful universe inside of him, for two minutes longer than they'd planned on. They had to run back to have enough time to use the restrooms again before continuing on the journey they'd chosen to embark on together.
~FM :)
I'm also a moderator at Roswell Ardor fan fiction forum.

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Fidomom
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-3/? - 01/02/18

Postby Fidomom » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:01 am

Title: Finding Something Better
Author: Fidomom
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is only loosely based on characters from the tv series Roswell as I imagine they could be from different points throughout and beyond the three seasons of the show. I am not affiliated with any of the original creations nor creators from the series. I will make no monetary gains from publishing this work of fiction.
Pairings/Couples/Category: Michael/Maria, Max/Liz AU with aliens,
Rating: Adult
Summary: Ava is getting used to the group dynamics with some helpful insights from Kyle.

Finding Something Better
by Fidomom

Chapter Three

On their tenth day of traveling, Max pulled up to the motel that they'd chosen off the map for their second overnight stop over. There was initially dead silence as everyone saw where they'd be staying overnight. Nobody moved to get out of the van and go get a room.

Kyle and Isabel finally said nearly in unison, "No way."

Liz looked at Max and asked in concern, "Did we take a wrong turn? I know I fell asleep for a bit but ... ?"

Michael said in wonder, "Hey, Maria, that looks just like ..."

Maria interrupted him but finished his sentence, "It looks like the exact same nooky motel, Michael."

Ava asked Liz quietly, "What is everyone reacting to, exactly?"

Liz smiled reassuringly at her and answered, "There's a motel that looks a lot like this one on two eighty-five south between Roswell, New Mexico and Marathon, Texas and we were all there together."

Ava's brow rose and she asked for clarification, "All of you? Like together together?"

Liz realised how it sounded and she quickly corrected Ava's interpretation, "No! I mean yeah but not, you know, for that! We just somehow all wound up there and had an impromptu meeting in one of the rooms there about how to find Nasedo before we knew anything about where you all come from or anything."

Michael announced without waiting for Ava to digest the history lesson, "I'm sick of this van and everyone in it; except for you, Maria. I'm outta here and I'm calling the porno version of Aladdin suite, for me and Maria. Ow! What? Did you want someone else to get it, ... ,,honey'' ?", he teased.

Maria was blushing but she conceded, "Well, no. But still, you didn't have to say it like that, in front of everyone, Michael."

Isabel huffed loudly and said, "If you hadn't smacked him, Maria, I was about to. Will you please, please, please take him into whatever room he is on about, and just do whatever it is you do that makes him tolerable to the rest of us because I'm so done with his pissy mood and his snarky attitude!"

Maria blinked at her, obviously baffled, "What are you talking about, Isabel? Michael's been pretty much a ray of sunshine the whole trip, so far."

Max muttered,"Only to you."

Liz concurred, "To you, maybe."

Isabel narrowed her eyes, smiled without humour and stated, "Just to you."

Kyle initially laughed and then sobered as he said, "Oh, you were actually serious? Not so much, Maria."

Ava hedged carefully, as she offered, "I thought he was okay, you know, compared to Rath, but ray of sunshine might be pushing it, more than a little."

Michael looked at Maria and didn't deny their assessments, "Told you, angel. Yeah relax, guys, we're going. By the time we get back on the road, I should be returned to just my usual irritated self and it'll probably last for at least a couple days, before I'm back to this again. Come on, angel, let's book. You and I have a hot date."

Maria sprang into action and agreed with Michael, "God, yes. Bye guys!,
"Liz, if we forget to put out our do not disturb sign can you do it for us, please!?", and then Michael was already half dragging her away.

Liz called out to Maria's disappearing back, "Yes, Maria, I will! Have a good sleep!"

Kyle chuckled and asked Liz pointedly, "You do know they won't be doing much sleeping, right?"

Liz sighed in exasperation and retorted, "Well, yes, of course I do, Kyle, but it's hardly appropriate if I yell out in public to my best friend, have great marathon sex, all night!"

Max leaned toward Liz and suggested to her, "Come on Liz, let's run for it! Someone is gonna get stuck in the room beside theirs, and I'd rather it not be us!"

Liz acted quickly and ran with Max.

Isabel shouted after them, "I swear to God, Max, if I get stuck in the room next to them, there will be hell to pay! I need real sleep!"

Ava said to Kyle somewhat concerned, "They all seem a bit tightly wound. Is that normal? And why is everyone trying to avoid being next to Michael's and Maria's room?"

Kyle smiled at Ava and warned her, "Oh, you are in for such a treat, getting to know them all, as well as I wish I didn't. The short story is, noise, Ava. Lots of it. All night. Very loud. Continuous. Impossible to sleep through."

Ava grinned back at him appreciatively and then offered, "Well, I don't mind taking the room next to theirs, Kyle. Sleeping on the streets in the Big Apple you kind of have to learn to tune out most of the noise unless it pertains to your own immediate personal safety, you know?"

Kyle shook his head and admitted, "Can't say, I do, no, but you being willing to take one for the team, as it were, will go a long way toward you becoming one of their favourite people."

Ava smiled her gratitude for his vote of confidence in her and she said, "Thanks, Kyle. But wait, if I take the room next to theirs, and Isabel is beside me, Liz and Max are next to her, and the other three remaining rooms look occupied already, then that leaves no room for you? Where are you gonna sleep?"

Kyle shrugged without losing his smile and answered her, "I can crash in the van but I would really like to use your shower tomorrow morning, would you mind?"

Ava looked concerned and she lamented sympathetically, "You're sleeping In the van, again? Kyle that's so not fair to you. Why should we all get beds tonight, except for you?"

Kyle shrugged and patted her shoulder as he accepted his fate, "Thanks, but don't worry about me. It's simply a matter of the van being the lesser of two evils. I could send you to bunk with Isabel which was the original plan and I could take the second noisiest room in the whole place; the first being the one from which the noise will actually be emanating or I could just sleep uncomfortably, possibly chillingly in the much quieter van. I'm gonna go with the peace and quiet over comfort on this one. Hopefully next scheduled overnight motel stay has enough rooms for all of us, though, because sleeping in an actual bed, at some point, would be fantastic!"

Ava nodded in understanding but offered, "Okay, well if you change your mind about the van, you can just come on in; we could even share the bed without it becoming weird or anything. Anyway, I won't lock the door because if you knock I won't hear it and I sleep fully clothed so it'll be fine for you to just come in. Of course you're welcome to just use the shower, too, if that's all you want to do."

Kyle declined graciously, "I appreciate that, Ava, thanks, but I think I'll do okay in the van. I am definitely all about taking that shower in the morning, though, so I'll probably pop in around dawn, just a heads up."

Ava nodded and accepted that as his final answer, "Okay, no problem, Kyle. I probably won't even hear you. Goodnight, then."

"Goodnight, Ava. Hope you're right and you really can tune them out and get some real sleep.", Kyle said and then he set about turning one of the van benches into a makeshift cot for himself.

*****

Michael and Maria looked around the room they had picked for the night. Maria noted, "Different colours."

Michael nodded, pointed to the handy bowl of condoms and the coin operated vibrator built into the bed and he approved, "Better features."

Maria sniffed the air and conceded, "Cleaner. So that's good."

Michael asked Maria, "Shower now or after?"

Maria pushed him onto the bed and answered, "You are not taking a shower yet, but I am."

Michael scowled and said, "So what if it washes away the smell of me, I can work up a fresh sweat right after, for you."

Maria smiled at him warningly and said, "You can't work up any sweat, if I'm not turned on first. Still want that shower, spaceboy?"

Michael groaned in frustration and flopped backward on the bed hiding his eyes in the crook of his elbow. He conceded to Maria's wishes, "Fine but don't be in there all night. This Space Boy is cranky and you are the only cure."

Maria patted his knee consolingly on her way by and assured him, "This angel isn't exactly feeling angelic either; just going in for a quick rinse. Promise. I'll be right back. You can get mostly undressed but I get to take off your shirt."

Michael sat up slightly, leaning back on his elbows as he looked Maria up and down and mused, "I don't know if I want you walking out of there naked because that means no more delays or wearing a towel because then it will feel like I have an extra birthday gift I get to unwrap."

Maria smiled flirtatiously at him and declared, "Oh, I will be wearing a towel, if only because I like your behaviour better when I make you put a little bit of effort in."

Michael shrugged and said, "Works for me, either way. You want me ready to go as soon as you come out of there or do you want to do the honours?"

Maria sucked in a breath and bit her bottom lip before answering, "I'll do the honours next round. Just be ready for me this time, okay?"

Michael gave her a thumb up, then he got up from the bed and not trusting the provided condoms in the bowl, he grabbed a handful of condoms from his back pack, instead. As soon as Maria had disappeared behind the locked bathroom door, he stripped off all of his clothes, except for his shirt and then listened for Maria to turn off the shower. He'd been hard from the moment she'd patted his knee and he had a condom ready to roll onto his erection, as soon as he couldn't hear the shower anymore.

Five minutes later, Maria had barely taken two steps outside of the bathroom, when Michael pulled her into his embrace and kissed her deeply. Maria gripped his shoulders and kissed him back, leaning into him. Her hands grew restless, fisting his shirt and she made a frustrated impatient sound, to which Michael responded by breaking their kiss and he lifted his arms up so Maria could take his shirt off. She was mesmerised as she appreciated his naked body out loud, "Oh, Michael, you may look good in nice clothes but nothing you wear ever beats this. This, all of this, is just so damned fine! No wonder I want you all the freaking time!"

Michael basked in her praise for a few seconds and then he said, "I'm right here, have what you want. Me? I need the towel gone, Maria. Can I rip it off your body now?"

Maria halted his impatient hands and requested, "No, not just yet. I want to already be riding you when you unwrap me. Okay?"

Michael reached for the backs of her thighs but paused before lifting her up in his arms to confirm, "Now?"

Maria confirmed emphatically, "Yes! Oh God Michael! I need to ride you! I need your alien dick so bad! Hurry up!"

Even as he obliged her, he asked her, "Are you fetshizing my penis, right now?"

Maria admitted unabashedly, "Damn skippy, spaceboy!"

He thrust extra hard, yanked off her towel and said, "Good. I approve. In that case you can ride my alien dick all night long, my sassy lil angel!"

Maria nipped at his bottom lip and teased, "Like there was ever a question, I wouldn't be?"

Michael nipped back and complained, "It wouldn't kill you to let me keep some of my dignity. Whatever. I don't need dignity; just need you. Naked like this. All night long. Preferably screaming my name.", and he began ravishing her neck and breasts.

Maria moaned in his ear and gasped out, "Oh, I'll definitely be holding you to that, spaceboy!"

*****

Kyle was just in that sweet spot between waking and dreaming when, the van door opened loudly and he was jolted from the edges of dreamland by a loud exclamation, "Ahhh! Kyle, what are you doing out here?"

Kyle muttered under his breath, "Well, I was almost asleep.", and then he greeted his interruption, "Hey, Isabel. Just trying to stack some z's."

Isabel frowned at him in puzzlement and stated, "Okay, but why are you sleeping in the van? We're at a motel for a reason."

Kyle shrugged and said, "There's no room at the inn, apparently. Ava took the unwanted room beside Heckle and Scream Queen and I opted for this. Even if Ava had bunked with you, I still would have picked this, over that."

Isabel tutted in irritation, "Well, I'm not letting you sleep out here. You can bunk with me. I trust you, Kyle. We've slept together before."

Kyle felt his face get hot and he was glad it was dark. "Excuse me?", he stammered.

Isabel smiled brightly at him, "Rudolph's Shiny New Year! Remember?"

Kyle's shoulders sagged in relief and he confirmed,"Oh. Right. That. I appreciate the offer, Isabel, but really, I'm fine out here. It's dark, it's quiet, well, it was. And Ava already said she'd let me use her shower before we leave in the morning. Everything is fine, Isabel. What brought you back out here, though?"

Isabel made a moue of self-recrimination and complained,"Oh. Well, I forgot my shower stuff in my hurry to not get stuck with that unwanted room. And Kyle? I think you misunderstood me, just now."

Kyle's eyes widened guilelessly and he prompted, "About?"

Isabel fixed her steely gaze on him and elaborated menacingly, "It wasn't merely an offer. Get your stubborn butt out of the van and march yourself to my room. Don't make me repeat myself. You know what I'm capable of. Moreso in the mood I'm in."

Kyle scrambled off the van bench and started gathering his things as he conceded to compliance, "Okay, okay geez, just leave the 'nads intact, huh?"

Isabel looked hurt and she said contritely, "I would never do that to you."

Kyle smiled kindly and admitted, "Sorry, Isabel, I was kidding. I do actually know that. Thanks for the van rescue."

Isabel smiled slightly and they walked in comfortable silence to her motel room.

Once inside, Kyle started to put his things on the floor at the foot of the bed, as he reiterated, "Thanks, again, Isabel. Floor's still probably more comfortable than the van."

Isabel laughed at him and corrected, "No, not the floor, dummy. Why would I make you leave padded accomodations for a hard floor? You'll sleep in the bed with me. Period."

Kyle put up surrender hands and backed away slightly as he argued, "That's just highly inappropriate. You're a married woman and more specifically not married to me.", and then he belatedly hoped she hadn't detected his bitterness about that fact.

Isabel waved her hand dismissively and insisted, "Oh, don't be ridiculous! Jesse trusts you, too. It's fine, Kyle. Please can you just stop being difficult? I need sleep! Badly! Now just come to bed, already."

Kyle pursed his lips and did as he was told with verbal acknowledgement, "Ma'am, yes, ma'am."

Isabel gave him a sympathetic smile and offered, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bark at you, Kyle. I'm just sleep deprived."

Kyle smiled at her reassuringly and maintained, "I'm a tough cookie. Already over it. Goodnight, Isabel."

Isabel kissed his cheek, smiled, said, "Goodnight, Kyle.", then she turned out the lamp, rolled over and settled in to fall asleep.

Kyle said, "Goodnight, Isabel." and then he lay in the dark forcing himself to count his blessings until he drifted off to sleep, too.

*****

Max and Liz were feeling something akin to first date awkwardness, finally being alone together without the rest of their crew and little to no chance they'd be interrupted.

Max indicated the door to the bathroom and asked Liz, "You want to shower first?"

Liz licked her lips nervously and answered, "No. Max?"

Max looked into her eyes longingly and encouraged her to continue, "Yeah?"

Liz's eyes strayed from his to travel up and down his body and she suggested distractedly, "I was hoping we'd shower, you know, at the same time. Would that be okay with you?"

Max's eyes darkened and he stared at her lips as she spoke. He concurred, "Yes, that, that would be more than okay with me, Liz."

Liz started to strip as she rambled, "Great. Because, you know, I've been looking forward to tonight, as much as Michael and Maria were. I really miss touching you, Max. And you know showering at the same time, it saves time."

Max started to strip, too and he agreed with her rambles, "Right. And water. I miss touching you, too."

Liz was naked yet somehow less nervous. She pointed toward the bathroom, as she suggested, "Then, in the interest of time, we should probably take that shower right away. Plus, then we won't have to miss each other, like at all, anymore. And Max? We'll probably need condoms."

Max had started advancing toward her but stopped in his tracks with the reminder. He assured her, "Yes. Just hang on, I'll grab them.", and he rummaged in his overnight bag for them.

Upon finding them he walked directly to Liz and handed them to her. She accepted them with a smile of anticipation and then she exclaimed, "Max! Oh wow! Why are you carrying me? I can walk you know!"

Max grinned at her with a twinkle in his eye as he countered, "Sure, but why would I let you do that and miss the opportunity to hold your naked body against mine? Plus it's good practice for me, since we're getting married, in exactly one week. There will be a threshold at some point, thereafter."

Liz smiled appreciatively and admitted, "I can find no fault in your logic. I think I'd like our shower just cool enough not to scald."

Max kissed her on the lips briefly and agreed, "Me too. In the interest of time, we should probably get clean first before we get ... distracted by other interests we might have."

Liz nodded and agreed unconvincingly, "Yeah. Totally."

Max set her back on her feet beside the tub, directly in front of him, turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature. He motioned for Liz to test the temperature, as well. She put her hand in the spray, standing belly to belly with him and then nodded at him, in approval.

He took the condoms from her hand, set them on the tub edge, held her hand as she stepped over the side and then he joined her under the hot spray.

Max rested his hands on her hips and gently turned with her in front of the spray as he explained,"If we stand sideways we can share the water until we're wet enough for lathering."

Liz announced quietly, "I'm wet enough, already, Max."

Max's eyes darkened, not missing the meaning in her eyes. He suggested, "Great. You can lather up out of the spray and I'll quickly wash my hair. Then I'll get lathered up while you wash your hair and rinse off. Then after I'm rinsed off, I can get out and go make our room a little more inviting and you can have the shower to yourself to uhh do anything you might want to do privately."

Liz smiled in amusement, indicated the condoms on the side of the tub, then she picked one up and lamented to him, "Seems such a shame to have brought these in here for nothing, if we go with your plan."

Max swallowed, nodded and agreed, "That's an excellent point. What do you think we should do?"

Liz slowly slid her forefinger from his navel, down his happy trail, stopped just short of his groin and suggested, "You know. Since you're umm ..."

Max supplied helpfully, "Already aroused? That's because you're so beautiful, Liz."

Liz smiled and admitted,"Thank-you but I was actually thinking you're the one who looks so beautiful. God, Max, your body is just so perfect."

Max cupped her face in one hand and stroked her cheek with his thumb, as he echoed her compliment back to her, "So are you."

Liz closed her eyes briefly and leaned into his hand on her face. She opened her eyes and voiced her desire, "I'd rather wash after, Max, if it's all the same to you. I'm not feeling very patient, to be perfectly honest."

Max grinned, chuckled lightly, clearly relieved, as he admitted, "I didn't want to be the one to admit that first. I just didn't want to rush you or pressure you. I want you so bad, Liz. Let's definitely wash later.", and he pulled her into his arms, kissing her deeply, as his hands sought out all the places he knew she loved to be touched.

Liz hastily sheathed his erection in a condom, as they made out and then her hands roamed over her man's muscular, beautiful body. By unspoken agreement on the timing, Max gripped the backs of her thighs and she mounted him impatiently.

They kissed unceasingly until the pleasure got to be too intense for Liz and she broke from his mouth to shout in ecstasy, "Oh God, Max! I forgot how good this feels! Yes. Yes, Max! Oh God, Max! Oh God Max, yesssssss!"

Hearing Liz's vocalizations had an immediate effect on Max and he yelled a few of his own,"I love you so much, Liz! Sexy, perfect, beautiful, Liz. My love oh my love! You feel so incredible!"

Liz let loose a final litany as she trembled and writhed in the throes of her orgasm, "Max! Max! Oh please! Oh God Max! Max! Oh Max yes! I love you, Max!"

*****

In the room beside Max and Liz, Kyle and Isabel were wide awake and unable to unhear what was happening next door. Isabel complained bitterly, "Unbelievable! There's no escape from it, is there?"

Kyle suggested lamely, "We could go back to the van?"

Isabel huffed irritably and complained, "No! And I shouldn't have to! I just need a decent night's sleep and I don't think I'm being unreasonable in wanting that!"

Kyle looked at her shape in the dark and said warily, "I'm gonna risk life and limb and ask you a personal question, which is kind of out of character for me but then again, this is not you either, Isabel."

Isabel turned toward him and asked, "Okay, what is it, Kyle?"

Kyle braced for her answer as he asked, "Are you by any chance horny and missing your husband?"

Isabel rolled back onto her back, kicked her feet impatiently, yelled in frustration and answered, "Yes! Okay! Yes!"

Kyle said contritely, "Dumb question in hindsight. I just, well, I thought it might make you feel better to just admit it out loud. I'm here to listen if you want to keep venting or if you just need a friend to be with in silence to not feel so alone."

Isabel snuffled slightly and confessed, "I miss him so much, Kyle! And not just because of sex but that, too! And Max and Michael acting like they are so deprived between our overnights, when they get to have their special person with them this whole time and mine is so far away he may as well be on another planet and I don't know when or if I'm ever gonna see him again! And I miss my Mom and I just feel so incredibly miserable and alone!"

Kyle was quiet for several seconds, in case she had more to say and then he offered quietly, "It's nowhere near the same thing, since I didn't leave behind a significant other but I can definitely relate to missing family. The thought that I don't know if or when I might ever see my Dad again, scares me. I almost feel orphaned right now, you know?"

Isabel snuffled a bit more and then spoke haltingly, "Thanks for not taking my terrible mood personally, Kyle; for understanding the real reason for it. It actually does help to have you here with me. I hate sleeping alone but I guess I'll have to get used to it, again. Eventually, but at least not tonight, thanks to you."

Kyle smiled forlornly in the dark and said, "I'm glad you rescued me from the van, too, Isabel. Thanks. You should probably try to get some rest. I can help you block the sounds from next door, if you want."

Isabel asked with desperate hope, "You can? Really? How?"

Kyle suggested, "Come here and snuggle against me. I promise I'm not getting fresh with my married lady friend. Just come here."

To Kyle's surprise she did so without hesitation. He smoothed her hair away from her ear and further suggested, "Okay now put your ear to my chest. Close your eyes and I will cover your other ear with my hand. Can you still hear them?"

Isabel let out a short giggle and exclaimed in delight, "No! I really can't! Are they even still going at it?"

Kyle lamented, "Oh yeah."

Isabel sympathised with him, "Oh, so then what about you, Kyle? You need sleep, too."

Kyle shrugged and assured her, "I'll be fine. Max and Liz are too wise to stay up all night making that kind of noise. I'll be able to sleep once they quiet down."

Isabel asked, "You're really sure you're okay with this?"

Kyle confirmed, "Yeah, I'm sure. Go ahead and get some sleep, my friend."

Isabel snuggled closer and said happily, "Thank-you so much, Kyle. I don't know what I'd do without you."

Kyle patted her back briefly with his free hand and he asserted, "You'd do just fine but I'm glad you don't have to. I'm here for you, for the foreseeable future. Goodnight, Isabel."

Isabel sighed in contentment and bid back to him, "Okay. Goodnight, Kyle."

*****

Michael woke himself trying to stretch in his sleep, only to find his arm was trapped underneath Maria's body. He whispered in her ear, "Angel, you awake? Maria? Maria?"

Maria smiled slightly in her sleep and snuggled closer to him mumbling, "Mmmmm, love you so much, spaceboy."

Michael looked at her in adoration, with a smile on his lips and he commented quietly, "Yeah, I know you do. Even mushy in your sleep, huh. You make me feel mushy, too when you're relaxed in my arms like this. I wish you understood what you mean to me. Man, I really want to wake you up but I also don't want to. You're so damn beautiful, Maria."

Maria's eyes opened and she caught him staring at her. She asked in sudden alarm, "Michael? What's going on? What time is it? Oh God did we oversleep?"

Michael caressed her hair and assured her, "No. We were only out about two and a half hours. You still tired?"

Maria stretched, yawned, rubbed at her eyes briefly and admitted, "Yes, but I'm still horny and definitely I'm more horny than I am tired. You?"

Michael chuckled and also admitted, "Same. Have I ever mentioned how much I appreciate your honesty?"

Maria sat up suddenly, grabbed a condom and noting with delight that Michael was ready, she put it on him and ordered, "You have a promise to keep. Here, you're gonna need this. Let's get busy, we've already lost a big chunk of the time we had."

Michael pulled her on top of him, helping her mount him quickly and he gasped in pleasure, "God, I love you."

Maria ground down hard on him and exclaimed, "I told you, Michael, I just want to ride your alien dick all night long! God, this feels so freaking good!"

Michael had one hand on her hip while his other hand roamed all over her body. He watched her with lustful eyes and declared, "I have zero objections. You want to ride my alien dick, all night, you go right ahead. I love that my girlfriend is such an insatiable angel!"

Maria nodded, bit her lower lip and thrust her breasts against his exploring hand. She confirmed his assessment, "Oh, you better believe it, spaceboy! I'll never get enough of you and the things you do to me! Oh, God, yes, yes! Oh Michael! God, you feeel so good! Son of a - spaceboy, please, I need you in deeper! Slam into me! Yes, yes, yes! Harder, Michael! Harder!"

Michael was thrusting his hips up into her every grind down. He praised as he watched her, "Oh, Maria, the way you move! The way you grind! Oh yeah that's it angel! Oh yeah Maria! Tell me when to really take over! I'm gonna take you for the hardest ride of your life!"

Mari nodded, her eyes closing in ecstasy and she insisted, "Now, Michael, now! Make me feel everything! Give it to me hard and deep, spaceboy!"

"You got it.", Michael said and he put his other hand on her hip, as well, to pull her down forcefully into his every thrust upward, at a much faster pace than she'd been riding him on her own.

Maria vocalised her pleasure loudly, "Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Oh please, Michael, yes! Michael, Michael, Michael! Oh Michael! Oh Michael! Oh Michael, I love you, I love you, I love you! I love you, Michael! I love you so much! Oh hell yes! Michael! Michael! Please! Please! Oh Michael! I'm coming, I'm coming! Oh, Michael, please! Oh yes, oh yes! Michael! I love you! I love you, Michael! Lose it with me! Please, Michael! Please!"

Michael gave in to her demands and ejaculated, sitting up partially from the force of it as he yelled out, "MARIA! Oh angel, I love you! I love you, Maria!"

Maria collapsed on his chest breathing hard. He kissed her forehead and she kissed his chest, then she carefully unmounted so he could remove the filled condom. As soon as disposed of it, he gathered her against his side and they both just lay there in silence catching their breaths for a few minutes.

Maria broke the silence first and said in awe, "Wow, Michael. Just, wow. That, that. Wow."

Michael chuckled and caressed her shoulder and upper arm as he flirted, "It must have been good for you if you're running out of words!"

Maria nodded and suggested, "Best sex we've ever had."

Michael frowned and asked, "That's saying a lot; we've never had bad sex. You sure this time tops all the other times, even earlier before our nap?"

Maria continued to insist, "Oh yeah. By a landslide. I've never felt like that before, ever. And I agree with you; I've had no complaints about our sex life so far but now. Damn, Michael how are we ever going to even match that, nevermind improve on it? That was just just -"

Michael chuckled and supplied, "Wow? Yeah so you've said. That scratch your itch enough, then?"

Maria lifted her head, lightly hit his chest with her open palm and admonished, "Oh hell no! Don't you even joke about that. We had a deal."

Michael laughed, grabbing her hand on his chest and he confessed, "Okay, good because I don't feel like we're done yet, either. Now if my body would just catch up to my mind because I'm already thinking about all the ways I still wanna give it to you, but junior here needs more time, apparently."

Maria lifted her head again, looked him in the eye with one brow raised and informed him,"Oh I'm not waiting for junior, Michael. Your fingers are not broken and your tongue obviously works well enough for words but I can think of several other better uses for that, too. Time for this saint levels of patience angel to get some just rewards. Time for you to get busy with me, spaceboy."

Michael blinked at her, his mouth opened slightly and then he said, "I love you always, Maria but especially when you're both horny and sassy. Guess I'm going diving."

Maria smiled tightly at him and confirmed, "Oh you bet your sweet spicy ass you are."

Michael hurried to position himself between Maria's legs but addressed her before beginning, "Maria?"

Maria looked down her body at him and asked impatiently, "What?"

Michael grinned lasciviously and advised her, "Don't hold back. You at top volume is what will wake junior up. Pull my hair as hard as you need to, too. Just saying."

Maria smiled back and admitted, "If memory serves, it's impossible for me to hold back or be gentle when you do the things you do to me."

He spread her labia open with his thumbs, licked all the way up just once winked at her and said, "I'm counting on that. Hey."

Maria writhed impatiently and whimpered her answer, "Hmm?"

Michael teased her clit with the tip of his tongue until it swelled then he said without taking his eyes off of it, "I love you. And I'm just as obsessed with all of your sexy bits, as you are with my penis. Just saying.", and he resumed licking, tasting and exploring her wth his mouth.

Maria's reply was cut short, "That's not news and I love you t- oh God, Michael! Son of a - oh hell yes!"

*****

Liz sat straight up in bed and screamed, "Charlie!"

Max sat up, too and put an arm around her, in alarmed concern as he asked, "Liz, are you okay? Who is Charlie?"

Liz blinked at him in confusion as she asked, "What? Max? Is it time to go already?"

Max shook his head and assured her, "No, we've got lots of time yet, before we have to go. You just sat straight up and yelled Charlie. Who is Charlie?"

Liz looked baffled and confirmed it, "I did? I have no idea, Max. I don't think I even know anyone named Charlie. Certainly not well enough to be calling his name in my sleep. How weird."

Max nodded, accepting her answer and then he asked again, "Are you okay, though?"

Liz kissed him on the lips reassuringly and answered, "Yeah, Max. I'm fine."

Max stole a lingering kiss then and asked, "So are you uh going back to sleep, now?"

Liz smiled and laced her fingers with his as she flirted, "Unless you have a better offer?"

Max stated solemnly, "We still have condoms left over."

Liz pretended to be scandalised as she asked, "Max! Are you suggesting we have sex again?"

Max nodded and answered,"Yes. Are you not interested?"

Liz shook her head and denied, "Oh, I didn't say that, I'm just clarifying what you're offering."

Max said with quiet intensity, "Sex, Liz. I'm offering you more sex."

Liz pretended to ponder the notion and mused aloud, "Interesting. Very very interesting. I may need some further persuasion. You umm up for that?", as she fumbled for, found and stroked his erection under the covers.

Max's shoulders sagged in relief and he grinned as he assured her, "Oh yeah, Liz. I'm definitely up for that."

*****

Kyle lamented in silent misery, "Well, Isabel, I'm glad one of us is still sleeping. Seems our neighbours were not quite as wise as I expected. I so should have just stayed in the van. This has got to be some version of hell, listening to my ex scream some other guys name while I'm in bed platonically with a married lady with whom I am firmly in the friend zone, even if she was single. This so is not my idea of a restful night. Nope not at all. Holy Buddha this bites. I may as well go take that shower now. I'll just leave you a note on something, so you won't worry if you wake up."

Kyle carefully got out of bed, trying not to disturb Isabel. He gathered the things he'd need for his shower, then jotted a quick note to Isabel on the complimentary motel stationery, "Dear Isabel, Gone to Ava's room to shower. See you at the van. Hope you slept well. Always here for you, Kyle."

Kyle supposed it was at least a few more hours until dawn as he shuffled to Ava's room. He knocked lightly even though she had said he didn't have to and then he let himself in. Ava was sitting on the bed painting her toenails.

"Hi, Kyle. Come on in."

Kyle started to speak, "You're aw- oh.", and then heard the sex noises coming from Michael's and Maria's room.

He confirmed the reason she was awake, "Obviously. Now you know why nobody wanted this room."

Ava nodded and admitted, "Yeah. She has a powerful set of lungs on her, doesn't she? And he's not exactly a church mouse, either. But what are you doing up?"

Kyle sighed and sat on the edge of the bed with her as he explained, "I ended up in Isabel's room. She was upset and needed a friend. She's asleep now but let's just say her neighbours are not asleep at the moment and it's awkward for me - Liz is my ex."

Ava's mouth opened and her eyes widened as she sympathised, "Oh. That's right. Liz did mention that, but I forgot. Is it as bad as this?", and she thumbed toward the adjoining wall to the room Michael and Maria were in.

Kyle chuckled humourlessly and refuted, "Uh no. No other couple in the history of couples has ever been this loud. I looked it up. True facts."

Ava laughed appreciatively at his hyperbole and then changed the subject, "Right. So is Isabel okay, now?"

Kyle nodded and guessed, "I think so. She's just lonely for her parents. And her husband."

Ava stated, "You don't like him much. How come?"

Kyle quickly denied, "It's not that I don't like him. I do. I mean he's a good guy; Isabel couldn't love him if he wasn't, it's just that I don't agree with nor understand his decision to live without her when she needs him now more than ever. I mean what part of for better or for worse did he misunderstand? Okay rhetorical. Obviously the for worse part."

Ava stated, "You sound jealous. Are you in love with her?"

Kyle evaded, "That would be stupid. She married Jesse."

Ava questioned gently, "What happened first, your feelings or her wedding?"

Kyle shrugged, sighed and shook his head, "It's all moot, Ava. What's done is done. She is in love with her husband. Period. I respect that and I always will. Anyway, Isabel and I do just fine as friends."

Ava nodded, smiled at him sympathetically and suggested "Bet you're super glad she and her husband weren't your noisy neighbours last night."

Kyle grimaced at her and complained, "Gee thanks. Now there's an image I never needed in my head."

Ava blushed and was immediately contrite, "I'm sorry, Kyle. I wasn't trying to be mean. I was just saying I get what the whole unrequited thing feels like. I'm really not going to blow apart yours or anyone else's life with the things I know. I mean, I may look like Tess but both Isabel and Liz have described her to me at length and I can honestly say, I'm nothing like her. I don't even have the same power she had; I can't mind warp anyone, even if I wanted to, which I don't. I promise you, that you can trust me, without remorse."

Kyle eyed her curiously and reassured her, "Okay, calm down. I wasn't so much as even implying you were like Tess. You're right. You do look alike but you don't need to convince me that you're nothing like her. I can actually discern that on my own. I can see that you have a soul and a kindness in you that was never present in her."

Ava smiled at him in grateful relief and elaborated on her life before joining them, "Neither of which did me any favours in my last crew. I was far too trusting and I couldn't see what they meant to do to my Zan, until it was too late. I was okay on my own, for a while, but I was scared all the time and the loneliest I've ever been, in my life. When Isabel dreamwalked me, I was so relieved to be invited to join you guys that I actually cried; I don't cry easily. I have no intention of making trouble for any of you. I promise. It just means too much to me, to not have to do this alone anymore, you know?"

Kyle smiled at her and suggested, "Don't back burner who you really are just because your last crew treated you wrong for it. This crew might seem, as you noted earlier, tightly wound and as you'll soon realise if you haven't already, more than a little socially inept but when it really comes down to it, we're good people. You're safe with us, Ava. You can count on that."

Ava smiled at him, sighed heavily, nodded and changed the subject, "I'm guessing you came in here to shower?"

Kyle nodded and stood up as he queried, "Yeah. Is that still okay with you?"

Ava nodded and confirmed, "Of course. It seems like my neighbours are between rounds again. My toenails are dry, too. If I'm lucky I can fall asleep before she starts up again. You can stay as long as you like after your shower, Kyle but if that noise is going on again, I'll completely understand if you head back to the van!"

Kyle scoffed and warned her, "Yeah. I know those two. They are not done. Trust me. I'll see you at the van when its time to get back on the road."

Ava halted him with a question, "Who's driving next?"

Kyle thought about it for a moment and then revealed, "Oh. Uhh, that would be me."

Ava asked in interest, "Has shotgun been called?"

Kyle smiled encouragingly and answered, "Nope."

Ava asked hopefully, "Well then, would you mind if I sit up front with you?"

Kyle kept his smile and answered, "No, of course I wouldn't mind. I like you so far, Ava and I hope we'll end up being good friends by the time this journey ends, if it ever does."

Ava smiled back appreciatively, "Thanks, Kyle. You're almost as cornball as your ex. I like you, too."

Kyle waved to her briefly as he walked into the bathroom to shower, calling lightly over his shoulder, "Later, Ava. Hope you get some shut eye."

Ava called after him as she settled in, "Thanks! Hope so, too! Later, Kyle."
Last edited by Fidomom on Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
~FM :)
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keepsmiling7
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-3/? - 01/02/18

Postby keepsmiling7 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:11 am

Can't believe I missed this earlier. Great story, I have always like the character Ava.
And thank you for including Max and Liz. I am still 100% dreamer, and loved them rushing to get the cabin by themselves.
And the shower scene was special, funny Liz and Max actually being awkward when alone. It didn't last long!
I can't imagine traveling in that van like they are.......and yes I would be sick of the van too!
Okay..........who is Charlie???
Thanks,
Carolyn

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Fidomom
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-3/? - 01/02/18

Postby Fidomom » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:53 am

keepsmiling7 wrote:Can't believe I missed this earlier. Great story, I have always like the character Ava.
And thank you for including Max and Liz. I am still 100% dreamer, and loved them rushing to get the cabin by themselves.
And the shower scene was special, funny Liz and Max actually being awkward when alone. It didn't last long!
I can't imagine traveling in that van like they are.......and yes I would be sick of the van too!
Okay..........who is Charlie???
Thanks,
Carolyn

I'm obviously a Candy at heart but I do love Max/Liz, too - I just love Michael/Maria more, lol. I'm more nervous writing Max/Liz because they are Roswell's main couple and have so many (protective?) fans and they aren't my "it" couple. They will be in this story a lot, though, but may veer out of character because they aren't the couple I'm obsessed with; I'm bound to get some characterisations and dynamics way wrong, because of that. As this goes on feel free to correct any Max/Liz errors I make, so I won't get it wrong again later. :oops:

I adore Emilie and was so upset what they had Tess do but then there was Ava who is still Emilie and I liked what little we saw of her. I feel like she'll be a bit easier to write because she's sort of a blank slate.

I can sort of imagine what they are experiencing with the traveling because I used to travel by bus for three days to go visit my family in Ontario, Canada - so it was three days there and another three days back. It's as helllish as you might think, lol. Bed & shower are like heaven upon arrival.

As for who is Charlie - well no spoilers but I will just remind you that Liz is psychic. That's all I'll say on that. :twisted:

As always, really love your feedback, Carolyn. Thank-you, so much!
~FM :)
I'm also a moderator at Roswell Ardor fan fiction forum.

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Fidomom
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-4/? - 08/12/18

Postby Fidomom » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:48 pm

Title: Finding Something Better
Author: Fidomom
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is only loosely based on characters from the tv series Roswell as I imagine they could be from different points throughout and beyond the three seasons of the show. I am not affiliated with any of the original creations nor creators from the series. I will make no monetary gains from publishing this work of fiction.
Pairings/Characters/Category: Michael & Maria, Max & Liz, Kyle, Isabel & Ava, CC, UC, AU, w/Aliens
Rating: Teen
Summary: This chapter - Day fifteen on the run, third overnight at a hotel and the Roswell gang discovers there are benefits to having Ava with them.
Author's Note: warnings=none

Finding Something Better
by Fidomom

Chapter Four

"I don't think you'll have any trouble getting a room to yourself, this time, Kyle. Is this place even still in business? I keep looking for a condemned sign.", Ava quipped.

Kyle agreed, "And this from a girl who once called the streets her home. Max? Seriously? You expect us to stay here?"

Max answered simply, "Yes. To everything."

Max looked at Michael, in surprise, when Michael took his side, for a change, "At least they'd never come looking for us here. Good call, Maxwell.,

"Come on, Maria let's go check it out. Never judge a book by it's cover, right? Maybe it's way better on the inside?"

Maria huffed skeptically but accepted Michael's offered hand and went with him grudgingly.

Isabel warned Max, "If I see evidence that there so much as used to be bugs or rodents here, then I'm not staying here, Max! I mean it!"

Max assured her, "If they had those kind of issues, they wouldn't be in business for as long as they obviously have been. Old is good. I'm sure it will be fine, Isabel."

Max turned to Liz and asked gently, "What do you think, Liz? You're kind of quiet."

Liz paused before answering carefully, "I trust you, Max. I'd follow you anywhere. I think it will be fine, just like you said. It does have running water and actual showers, though, right?"

Max chuckled, touched her face briefly and confirmed, "Yes, Liz. Between my sister and Maria, I wouldn't dare bring us anyplace that didn't have that, at a minimum!"

Liz protested in playful indignation, "But you weren't worried about my reaction, if it didn't?"

Max flirted, "Not in the least. You'd follow me anywhere, even if it didn't have running water and showers."

Liz scowled at him, as she leaned in to kiss him and she admonished, "Gloating is so unattractive, Max. Unless you're the one doing it."

Kyle sighed loudly and awkwardly, then excused himself, "Yeah. I'm out of here.,

"Ava? You coming with?"

Ava answered emphatically, "Definitely! Right behind you."

Max waited until they'd left the van, to kiss Liz more deeply, after which he said, "I thought they'd never leave. Alone at last. Hi."

Liz grinned and answered him a little breathlessly, "Hi. Should we maybe go get a room, now, too?"

Max gave her a pained expression and hedged, "Not just yet. I'm a little too busy, right now."

Liz laughed and asked, "Oh, you are? Doing what, exactly?"

Max whispered a breath away from her lips, "This.", and then he kissed her deeply, slowly and thoroughly. She didn't interrupt him again.

*****

"Now, can I finally shower?", Michael asked irritably.

Maria kissed him quickly on the lips and permitted, "Sure, spaceboy. I'm just going to get you all sweaty, again, though, and you know it."

Michael barely suppressed a grin as he retorted, "Yeah, I know. So? I'll take another shower, right before we leave. I just need the van filth off of me, for as long as we're hoteling it. I wish I had my bike. That van pretty much sucks, you know?"

Maria flirted brazenly, "Lucky for you, so do I. Hurry back to bed, as soon as you're all sparkly clean."

Michael gaped at her in baffled adoration, briefly, then shook himself out of the moment and answered, "Copy that, angel mine. Be right back. You're gonna stay naked, though, right?"

Maria only chuckled and shoved at him, as she ordered, "Go shower, already, before I change my mind!"

*****

"Ava? Could we talk?"

Ava searched Isabel's expression, in concern and answered, "Yeah. Of course. What is it? What's wrong?"

Isabel winced and stammered, "Nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I mean, it's something, it's just not that big of a deal. I hope?"

Ava encouraged her, "Okay. Just tell me what's on your mind, then."

Isabel blurted out, "I think you should stay with me, on these hotel overnights, whenever we have to pair up, from now on. I think Kyle might be getting the wrong idea. Unless? Oh God. Are you into him?"

Ava frowned but in amusement, "Into him? What? You mean like I was into Zan? Because if that's what you're asking, then the answer is no. Not even. I'm curious, though, why you would have a problem with it, if I was into him. I mean, you're married to a man named Jesse, right?"

Isabel blushed and hastily clarified, "Oh God! Not for me! I mean yes for me, but as his friend! I was just trying to look out for him, that's all! I swear! Kyle sometimes talks like he is cynical about love or like he has zero interest in romance beyond hot girls and getting laid, but I assure you, that his heart is quite fragile.

I just don't want to see him hurt, again. He hasn't fully recovered from his breakup with Liz. I don't mean that he's still into her, he's not. He's way past being over her, it's just that he's a bit gunshy, ever since. He hasn't had a relationship that lasted longer than two months these past two years. And even those had huge chunks of time between where he hadn't been seeing anyone.

I just noticed that the two of you have been getting closer these past couple of weeks and this is me being a meddling friend and running interference. Does he know that you are not into him? Have you been really clear about that?

I'm just a bit concerned, with him being away from everything that was familiar to him, that he might try to latch onto the first even remotely good thing, with someone new, namely you, and convince himself that it's love."

Ava smiled and assured Isabel, "Kyle and I are quite clear with each other, that we are just friends. You've nothing to worry about, really. It's not good for the baby to get so stressed. Being on the run is stressful enough; I can't even imagine dealing with a pregnancy, on top of that."

Isabel's brows tried to run for her hairline, as she choked out, incredulously, "Pardon me? What did you just say? Baby? What baby? What pregnancy?"

Ava clapped her hand over her mouth and then began to apologise profusely, "I'm so sorry! I knew nobody was talking about it but I didn't realise it was a rule or anything! You're right, it's none of my business! I shouldn't have brought it up! The last thing I'd ever want, is to upset you, in any way!"

Isabel asked shakily, again, "What baby, Ava? What do you mean nobody is talking about it? Do you know something that I don't? Wait! Is Maria pregnant? But why would my stress affect her baby? What are you talking about, right now?"

Ava answered gingerly, "Your pregnancy, Isabel. Am I the only one, besides you, who knows, then?"

Isabel shook her head and laughed in fear, as she denied, "Oh no, no, no! I am not pregnant! That cannot happen! There are no babies in being on the run! It just ... Oh, God. I am late. I assumed it was stress. Please be wrong!

I can't be on the run with a baby, Ava! There's no room in the van for a baby! What are you, anyway? Some kind of walking, talking, breathing pregnancy test? Why would you even think that I'm pregnant, in the first place?!"

Ava shrugged and offered quietly, "The other night, in the van, I couldn't find the flashlight to go out for a pee, so I resorted to finding it with my powers and I saw your baby."

Isabel ignored the statement of a baby as an actual fact and asked, "What power are you talking about?"

Ava shrugged again and tried to describe it, "I guess it's a bit like dolphins and bats except I don't need sounds to do it, I just need to concentrate to get an image in my head of the things near me, that I can't see with my eyes."

Isabel demanded irritably, still not addressing the baby issue, "Then why didn't you use that to go pee?"

Ava answered, "I can only do it in short bursts. The flashlight was the faster, more reliable and sustained option.

Isabel, I truly thought you knew and just weren't talking about it, but this is clearly news to you, so now that you know, what are you going to do? No, wait, I'm sorry. Let me rephrase that. This is my new crew. We are a team, now. What are we going to do? I want you to know that whatever it is you need from me, you can count on it."

Isabel asked in hopeful desperation, "Can you get me a pregnancy test kit, without the others knowing? It's not that I think you're lying, it's that I'm having a very hard time wrapping my head around this! I need some objective proof, no offense!"

Ava nodded knowingly, and assured with a faint smile, "Sure, Isabel. I get that. I'd want more proof, too. I'll go to a drugstore in town; technically nobody is actively looking for me. I'll grab a kit, shrink it down and buy a pack of gum, so the cashier doesn't catch on."

Isabel's eyes widened and she asked, "Shrink it down? What? Like as in all Honey I Shrunk The Kids, shrink it down?"

Ava chuckled and deflected, "I've never attempted it on a living being, and I wouldn't, just because the risk of harming or killing them, is too great, but I used to shrink stuff down, all the time to get an easy five finger discount. Lonnie would resell it, later, on the street, sometimes without me returning it to it's normal size. It made us some decent money, albeit, kind of very illegally."

Isabel gasped and laughed as she remarked, "Those are some kind of powers, you've got there, Ava! Echolocation and you can shrink things and return them to normal after, too?"

Ava ducked her head and admitted, "I can make normal sized into oversized, too. Didn't work so great on food, for some reason, it looked bigger but it wasnt any more filling than it's original size was, but oversizing stuff did come in very handy, more than once, for leaving large obstacles between us and anyone tailing us; as in my old crew.

If I need to do anything like that for you guys, too, I will. I've just been a bit hesitant to do anything that might make any of you uneasy about me. Max has been very clear about expecting us to be law abiders, no matter how challenging, so, if you'd rather I don't go shopping, the way I used to, then I won't."

Isabel suggested, "How about a compromise? I'll give you some money to pay for the kit and the gum, too, as a cover, just in case one of the others wonders why you went to the drugstore. Shrink the kit after it's been purchased and make it normal size for me, later, when you're sure we're alone?"

Ava nodded, so Isabel gave her an amount of money she hoped would cover it and Ava left.

It turned out the gum wasn't even necessary because nobody even noticed Ava's brief absence.

Isabel followed the directions on the package and peed on the stick, first thing upon waking, the next morning, but she already knew, from the moment Ava had said it. She thought wistfully of Jesse, as she waited for the test to corroborate Ava's claim.

She knew he deserved to know that he was a father, she just didn't know how or even if she could share the news with him. It could put Jesse at risk to contact him. She supposed the more imminent sharing would be with their so called crew, as Ava had taken to referring to them.

Isabel laughed mirthlessly and mock predicted out loud, "I'm sure they'll all be falling all over themselves to congratulate me. This should be great fun. Yay."

Isabel startled at the light tap on her hotel room bathroom door and called out in alarm, "Who's there?"

"It's Kyle, Isabel. Ava said you might need my help so she unlocked the door for me? Are you okay?"

Isabel let out a long sigh of relief, as tears sprung to her eyes. She mentally thanked Ava and confirmed Ava's claim, "She wasn't wrong. I'll be out in a minute. Will you wait?"

"Not going anywhere. Take as long as you need to."

Isabel couldn't bring herself to say it out loud, just yet, so she brought the test out with her and showed it to Kyle. Kyle looked at it blankly and asked, "What is it that I'm looking at? Is that ... oh. Oh. Oh! Seriously?"

Isabel shrugged, failed at smiling and burst into tears, lamenting, "What am I going to do, Kyle? This could not have happened at a worse time, you know? And what about Jesse? How do I not tell him but how can I risk his safety by contacting him? I don't know what I should do! Tell me what I should do, Kyle!"

Kyle looked at her without saying anything for several seconds and then he asked gently, "If not for our current circumstances, would this have been welcome news to you, otherwise?"

Isabel eventually nodded and admitted, "I think so? No, wait. Yes, yes, it definitely would be, but we are in our current circumstances, so now what? What do you think I should do?"

Kyle touched her arm and said kindly, "You breathe and we all figure out together how to keep you and your baby safe. Congratulations, by the way."

Isabel spontaneously hugged him and said through continued mixed emotion tears, "You're really the best, do you know that?"

Kyle returned her hug and lightly patted her back, as he made an attempt to lighten things, "Sure do. It's been my claim to fame all through highschool. I am the best."

It worked and Isabel snickered, in spite of her tears. She let go of him and smiled slightly as she said sincerely, "Thank-you, Kyle."

Kyle asked tentatively, "So do you want privacy to tell Heckle and Jeckyl or will you be telling all of them at once?"

Isabel scoffed and admitted, "I am not brave enough to make this announcement more than once. I'll tell them all at the same time, I guess. I could use some back-up? Are you in?"

Kyle nodded and briefly squeezed her hand, as he suggested, "Whenever you're ready to lay it on them, I'll be right there with you."

Isabel stammered awkwardly, "Well, the thing of it is, that Ava diagnosed it with echolocation, which pretty much means it's going to be a short pregnancy like Tess' was because Jesse and I, umm, you know, like just a couple of nights before your graduation. It was the first time in a long time, since finding out about me, you know?

Anyway, my point is, if this pregnancy was human length gestation, Ava wouldn't have been able to see it, yet. I kind of hoped she was wrong, so she got me a test kit to make sure and, well you saw it. Big fat plus sign! I wish I could put off telling them but I think I really can't, so how does kind of right now, work for you?"

Kyle winced uncomfortably but nodded and he took her hand again, "Now works just fine, for me. Let's go gather them up, then."

Isabel gripped his hand nervously and they rounded everyone else up, for a meeting in Isabel's room. Nobody was particularly happy about her interruption, but they all showed up, eventually.

Kyle held fast to Isabel's hand, as she dropped her bomb, with her signature falsely bright smile, "Guess what everyone? I'm having a baby!"

Michael frowned and commented, "I didn't even know you and Kyle were sleeping together?"

Isabel hastily refuted, "Oh God, no, Michael! Seriously? It's Jesse's baby! Kyle and I are just good friends!"

Ava sent a covert look of sympathy in Kyle's direction, as he winced at Isabel's indignation, at the idea of sleeping with him.

Max stated simply, "This complicates things, Isabel."

Isabel sniped at him, "Your firm grasp of the obvious is impressive, little brother!"

Michael commented, "We're going to need a bigger van. Or a second vehicle."

Liz lamented, "Babies, or even an obvious pregnancy draws attention, it's something other people will notice and remember.,

"Max? How do we stay under the radar, now? Isabel's needs have drastically changed. She's going to need vitamins, baby gear and medical pre-natal care, too."

Maria exclaimed in annoyance, "I can't even believe what a horror show some of you are being, right now!,

"Isabel? My Mom always said that since there's no such thing as great timing for a surprise baby, then a surprise baby is great anytime! Congratulations! This is neither the end of the world nor a catastrophe; it's just a baby. Our lives will adjust to this fact, just fine. You'll see.,

"You all will.,

"One question, though, what about Jesse? I mean he has to be told, right? Right?"

Max's features suddenly looked even more worried as he sought confirmation, "Is it going to go short like Tess' pregnancy?"

Isabel nodded at him over Maria's shoulder as she hugged her gratefully for her support.

Max asked carefully, "How long do we have before the baby comes?"

Ava piped up, "I'm not sure, exactly, but it looks like a baby already, just very small."

Liz queried curiously, "Looks? How do you know what her baby looks like?"

So Ava explained about her powers, including her ability to resize things.

Michael brightened up at that particular revelation as he asked excitedly, "Could you shrink car parts or an actual vehicle and then make them normal size, again, any time?"

Maria brightened up too and asked excitedly, "Oooh! Or clothes? It would simple things up so much, if you could just resize clothes we already have, so that the baby has something to wear! We probably still have to get diapers and bottles and stuff, but it'd be great not to have to worry about baby clothes, because babies tend to outgrow them really fast, but if Ava can keep changing the size to keep up with that, then that would be super!"

Ava confirmed that she could resize both metal and cloth.

Kyle nodded to Michael and said, "I think I see what you intend with the car parts and vehicle. We can work on it, on the fly even before we get it operational. Where do we get the necessary components and tools, though?"

Michael stated bluntly, "Dumps and garages. Garages might be willing to do trade-ins for stuff we find at dumps but can't use ourselves, for stuff they have, that we do need. I take it, you do know how to build a vehicle, right? You were a mechanic, weren't you?"

Kyle hedged, "In theory yes, although, I've never actually done it. I could do some research online at the public library in any town we happen to be passing through, if we get stuck on how to proceed. I know you're pretty bike savvy, but how are you with cars?"

Michael shrugged and admitted, "I know next to nothing but I'm mechanically inclined and a quick study. I learned how to change my own fingerprints in under twenty minutes, so learning how to build a vehicle should be easy compared to that. I'll learn, as we go."

Ava offered up, "I know a bit about cars. Zan taught me some stuff. I can help you guys, too, if you don't mind a girl being a part of your project?"

Liz redirected the focus back to how far along Isabel was, in her pregnancy. Ava demonstrated with her hands the approximate size of the fetus and Liz did some math in her head, after which, she announced, "We have roughly two weeks before the baby is born. Can we really have everything ready in time? Can you guys build a working vehicle within two weeks?"

Kyle winced as he admitted, "That I cannot promise, but you know maybe we can just stay wherever the baby is born, just until the second vehicle is ready? I'm going to estimate it'll take four to six weeks to build one from scraps and parts.,

"What do you think, Max? Where will we be in about two weeks, according to your schedule? And can we stay there, briefly until Isabel's baby can safely travel with us?"

Max continued to look stressed but he confirmed, "We'll have to, that's all. Plus after the baby comes, Isabel won't be able to camp just anywhere anymore. The baby could get sick or like Liz said draw too much attention; who goes camping with a newborn? That means more money for lodging for Isabel and the baby. We just have to figure out how to make money to cover the cost of that.,

"I'm willing to do whatever we need to do, Isabel. That's my niece or nephew in there. That's our family. Congratulations, sis. I'm sorry for not leading with that."

Maria smiled proudly at Max and declared, "That's much better! Speaking of congratulations, you and Liz are still tying the knot in Peoria, right? In three days? Shouldn't we be making plans, right now, to have the bachelor and bachelorette parties, at the hotel we're staying at, tonight?"

Liz asked Max hesitantly, "Are we still getting married, this week, Max or are we postponing it, until after the baby is born? Because I would understand, if that's the way it has to be."

Max's eyes softened, as he looked at Liz and he said with a small smile, "We aren't postponing. Arrangements have already been made. Unless you want to wait?"

Liz's eyes lit up and she concurred, "I really don't want to wait. I want to marry you, in Peoria, just like we planned."

Isabel interjected, "That's great news and all but I still have the problem of how to inform Jesse that he's a father. Any suggestions?"

Michael offered, "Dreamwalk him. Give him the number of a burner phone we'll get you and tell him to call it from a payphone. Easy peasy.,

"Hey, Maria? Sorry but a party is lowest priority, right now. Kyle, Ava and I have a hot date with the local dump, tonight. Looks like you're on your own for party planning, until we get back."

Maria smiled tightly at him and said warningly, "You may leave for that hot date in about an hour. You and I have pre-existing plans. Capicce?"

Michael seemed on the verge of arguing but then he said to Kyle, "Meet you and Ava at the van, in an hour, then?"

Ava and Kyle exchanged an amused look and they said, in unison, "Why not make it two?"

Michael nodded agreeably and then he followed Maria back to their shared room.

Max and Liz hastily excused themselves to return to their room, as well.

Ava suggested to Isabel, "From what I've seen in movies and on tv, growing a baby is tiring. Maybe you should rest while Kyle and I take the van to go get us all some food and burner phones. Unless you don't want to be alone, right now? You could come with us?"

Isabel chuckled shakily and admitted, "I actually am feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed after my big reveal. Time to myself and time to rest sound like bliss, to me. Thanks, Ava. For everything.,

"You, too, Kyle. I can't imagine how I'd get through all of this, without you."

Kyle looked her in the eye and said, "So don't try because it seems we're in this together for the long haul. We'll be back soon. You want us to wake you to eat or just leave you to get up whenever you're ready to?"

Isabel admitted with a self-conscious laugh, "I'm kind of starving, so yes, please wake me when there's food!"

Kyle gave her a thumbs up and he left with Ava.

As the rest of the day unfolded, Michael, Ava and Kyle hit the jackpot at the dump and so Maria got her own way and they had the bachelor and bachelorette parties, after all.

On the seventeenth day since leaving Roswell, Max and Liz were married by Reverend James R. Williams, in Peoria, Arizona at the Desert Rose wedding chapel. Ava had filmed the ceremony, as well as their exit from the chapel as Mr. & Mrs. Liz Parker.

Upon reviewing the wedding day footage just a few days later, Isabel was alarmed that she could go from not showing at all, in it, to looking quite pregnant in such a short span of time; Ava had already resized her pants for her, twice.

Maria shared her grief relief drops with Isabel, assuring her they were all natural and quite safe even during pregnancy and nursing. To Isabel's surprised relief they did seem to help her feel more calm. A calm she knew would not last. Her baby was due in less than two weeks. Isabel was still grappling with the idea of being a mother. While on the run.

She had dreamwalked Jesse but hadn't alerted him to call her. She didn't tell the others that she hadn't told him yet because she wasn't ready to talk about why she hadn't.

What she'd seen in Jesse's dream had caught her quite offguard and had made her second guess telling him, after all. She supposed when she was ready, she might talk to Kyle about what she'd seen and see what he had to say about it.

She felt capable of dealing with only one issue at a time, however and so her impending labour and delivery took up most of the real estate in her head.

She already knew what to name the baby if it was a boy; Alexander, she just had to decide on a name for a girl. Working on that list was a welcome repeated distraction from thinking about the how, when and where of her baby's impending birth.
Last edited by Fidomom on Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
~FM :)
I'm also a moderator at Roswell Ardor fan fiction forum.

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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-4/? - 08/12/18

Postby keepsmiling7 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:12 pm

So glad to see another chapter here.
This trip is getting complicated, at first I thought it just might be on again and off again Maria and Michael.
Ava along provided interesting insights.
How are they going to manage a baby on the run........??? and can Jessie be a part of this at sometime???
Poor Isabel, this is going to be crazy in a month or two.
Thanks,
Carolyn

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Fidomom
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-5/? - 08/29/18

Postby Fidomom » Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:30 am

@keepsmiling7: I'm happy to know you are still interested in this story! I am planning to include all seven of them throughout the story but it will likely weight heavily toward Candy, moreso than the rest and you know why, lol. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated, Carolyn, so thank-you. :)

~FM :)

Title: Finding Something Better
Author: Fidomom
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is only loosely based on characters from the tv series Roswell as I imagine they could be from different points throughout and beyond the three seasons of the show. I am not affiliated with any of the original creations nor creators from the series. I will make no monetary gains from publishing this work of fiction.
Pairings/Characters/Category: Michael & Maria, Max & Liz, Kyle, Isabel & Ava, CC, UC, AU, w/Aliens
Rating: Mature
Summary: This chapter - Michael and Maria share a stolen moment. Ava offers sage advice. Kyle struggles with his conscience. Isabel confides in Kyle. Liz Parker is happy. Max is surprisingly reasonable.

Finding Something Better
by Fidomom

Chapter Five

Max waited until the rest of their crew had dispersed to their chosen accommodations, before finally offering his elbow to his wife and inviting contritely, "It's a couple of days late but I'm ready for our wedding night if you are? What do you say?"

Liz smirked at him happily, accepted his invitation and answered, "I say lead the way, Mr. Parker!"

Max queried as they walked, "Are you sure that won't be weird for you?"

Liz chuckled and negated, "No, not if I'm the one saying it. I never called my Dad that. Obviously. It might be somewhat disconcerting to hear other people address you as Mr. Parker but I think I can overcome it. What about for you? I know it was your idea but if it feels too odd, we can always just keep our own names or hyphenate or I could be Mrs. Max Evans instead?"

Max smirked and countered, "My issue with that is I've been in love with Liz Parker for a very long time and I'd like to continue to be for another very long time. Really, though, Liz, I have no regrets about my decision. No matter what my name is, I love you and I get to be your husband. That works for me."

Liz halted him briefly to kiss him and then she said, "As long as you're sure, Mr. Parker!"

Max chuckled appreciatively and only nodded as they continued on to their hotel room.

Once Max unlocked the door, he prevented Liz from preceeding him inside and laughed at her brief scream of delighted surprise, as he lifted her in his arms to carry her through the doorway and into their suite. He paused before setting her back on her feet and reminded her, "Well, I did tell you there'd be a threshold."

Liz grinned and kept her arms around the back of his neck as he slowly set her back on her feet, put out the do not disturb placard and closed their door. She admitted softly, "I do seem to recall that, now that you mention it. So now that we are married, and we're here, and you've carried your wife over the threshold, what happens next, Max?"

Max teased, "I don't know. What do you want to happen next, Liz?"

Liz raised her brow and said with a smirk, "If this is how you want to start our marriage, fine, I can give as good as I get. I think we should unpack and shower separately and go to sleep because traveling is exhausting. How would you like that?"

Max pouted and admitted, "Not much at all, actually. I have a better idea."

Liz prompted him, "Indeed. Please, by all means, do tell."

Max pulled her in close, nuzzled her neck and whispered, "It's not a telling with words idea but more of a showing with actions idea. Interested?"

Liz leaned back and demanded with a seductive grin, "Just shut-up and kiss your increasingly impatient wife, already."

Max nodded and muttered as he leaned in to comply, "I guess I could do that."

Their kiss escalated from fun and flirty to urgent passion very quickly. They stripped each other, as they made their way to the bed. Liz interrupted, briefly, in concern about access to a condom, then grinned and pulled Max back into her embrace when he showed her he had one in his hand already, and had presumably had it the whole time. Liz showed him her approval and appreciation for his foresight, in a way that made him gasp in pleasure.

As he entered her, Max paused and said tenderly, "Thank-you for marrying me, Liz Parker. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that you never regret it. I love you."

Liz kissed him, as she shifted underneath him, to pull him more deeply inside of herself and she assured him, "That is all it will ever take, Max. Just love me and never stop. You are the love of my life and I can't imagine being happier than I am right now."

Max moved inside of her slowly, as he kissed her neck, her ear, then her lips, briefly and then he vowed, "Then I'm going to strive to surpass your imagination for the rest of our life together. Starting ... right ... now."

They laced their fingers together as they made love and Max made immediate progress on his intentions. Liz Parker voiced her happiness loudly and all night long until just before dawn, when she and her husband finally fell asleep, together, still entangled in each others arms.

*****

Isabel was touched, even if occasionally annoyed, by the way that Ava and Kyle had made it their business, to make sure that she was never alone for longer than twenty minutes because her pregnancy was the first of it's kind. They all knew that fully human babies could arrive early sometimes and so they took turns keeping her company, just in case Isabel's hybrid baby decided to come early, too.

Ava was out picking up food and Isabel saw it as the perfect opportunity to talk to her remaining chaperone, Kyle, about dreamwalking Jesse.

They were playing war together, as they awaited Ava's return and Isabel blurted out to Kyle, "I think Jesse is already interested in some other woman."

Kyle frowned, then scowled, as Isabel's card beat his and he asked, "What makes you think so?"

Isabel beat his card again and answered, "He was dreaming about her. In a decidedly not platonic way."

Kyle finally beat one of her cards and he exclaimed, "Yes!", then he prompted her to elaborate, "What did he say about it? Did you ask him about her, when you told him to call?"

Isabel made a complaint noise, as Kyle beat her card for the third time in a row and she admitted grudgingly, "I didn't ask him about her and I haven't told him to call me, yet, either. I chickened out when I saw that he was already moving on from me."

Kyle stopped flipping cards over and he admonished incredulously, "Isabel, he's the father of a baby that could be born in a matter of days! Chickening out wasn't an option. You have to tell him."

Isabel stopped flipping cards, too and she asked forlornly, "How, though, Kyle? How do I tell my husband hey Jesse guess what? You know that time we made love before we parted ways well I'm pregnant and the baby will be here in a matter of days even though that was less than a month ago! Oh and by the way who was that woman you were dreaming about?

I don't know how to do any of this, Kyle! I'm freaking out, here, okay?!"

Kyle sighed heavily, put his hand over hers and he consoled her, "Well, don't do that. Let's figure it out together, okay? Tell me about Jesse's dream."

Isabel took a deep breath and described, "He was in a field with her and he picked a flower and put it in her hair. The way he was smiling at her is how he used to smile at me. It was disconcerting. I haven't been gone for even a month and he already thinks of this woman highly enough to dream about smiling at her and giving her flowers! How was I supposed to intrude and urge him to call me?"

Kyle patted her hand and empathised, "Okay, I can definitely see why it shook your confidence but I suspect you are taking his dream far too literally. You don't even want to know how many times I've had disgustingly pleasant dreams about female teachers I hated. It shook my confidence, too.

I obviously don't know who this woman is to Jesse but I can almost guarantee you, that his in real life interactions with her, in no way resemble what you saw in that dream. Dreams are just so not in context, you know?"

Isabel argued, "But after he dreamed of proposing to me, he actually did it, in real life!"

Kyle bluntly stated, "Giving a woman a flower is hardly tantamount to proposing marriage."

Isabel scowled then grudgingly admitted, "Okay, I know it isn't. Still, Kyle, this is really hard!"

Kyle asked pointedly, "And will it be easier to inform him that his child has been born when he didn't ever know that you were even pregnant?"

Isabel glared at him and she muttered, "Shut-up. I hate it when you make sense like this."

Kyle teased lightly, "What're friends for if not to tell you ugly truths, then, hey?"

Isabel sighed and vowed, "I'll go back in tonight and tell him this time, no matter what he's dreaming abou- Kyle! Oh my gosh I think the baby just kicked! Here feel!"

Kyle yanked his hand out of hers and put it behind his back as he answered, "Uhh no!"

Isabel frowned at him and cajoled, "Oh come on, Kyle, why not?"

Kyle shook his head and he explained,"It's too weird for me. It's like there's an alien in there, well I mean, I know it actually is part alien but I mean, it's like creepy."

Isabel's brows rose warningly and she asked, "Did you just call my baby creepy?"

Kyle's face paled. He swallowed hard and then he attempted to disclaim, "What? Noooo. No, what I meant to say was I find pregnancy creepy, as in, all pregnancies, alien, human or otherwise. You are not creepy, obviously, therefore no child of yours could be creepy. Are we clear now?"

Isabel suddenly giggled and she accused him, "Kyle Valenti, are you a little bit afraid of me?"

Kyle answered, "Mmmm let me think about tha- yes!"

Isabel continued interrogating him, "So then, are you only nice to me, so that I won't manipulate your molecular structures?"

Kyle froze and said nothing for a couple of seconds and then he hastily defended, "No. I'm nice to you because I like you. I'm a bit afraid of you because if you think I'm not nice enough, you may feel like, umm, as you put it, manipulating my molecular structures."

Isabel tilted her head, smiled slightly and reassured him, "I wouldn't, you know. Even if I was mad or hurt. I like you, too, Kyle."

Kyle mentally cursed the sudden leap in his heart at her words and he gave himself a reality check, as he said, "Well, yeah, I mean, we're best buds, right?"

Isabel studied his expression longer than he felt comfortable with, before she elaborated, "Sure, Kyle, but I meant that I like you, as in like like. I even kind of interrogated Ava about whether or not the two of you had anything going on. Crazy, right?"

Kyle's eyes widened, then just as quickly they narrowed suspiciously, as he openly doubted her, "You like me like me? What? For real? But that doesn't make sense. You're married. To Jesse. You just told me how jealous you are that he's dreaming of some other woman."

Isabel shrugged and insisted, "Yes, for real. And my marriage is kind of on the rocks, in case you missed it. Kind of hard to be in a relationship where normal communication is not just impossible but hazardous to his, my and our crew's health. An unexpected and shortened pregnancy is definitely not going to fix that.

Also, I never said I was jealous over her, I just won't like it if he gets over me so quickly. It's a pride ego thing. I don't want Jesse to stay married to me out of guilt or obligation just because we're about to have a baby, either, though, you know?"

"Okay. Fair enough. But, uhh, when exactly did you decide that you like me? You told me very recently that you were horny and missing your husband. You and Jesse haven't even been apart for a month, yet, so when could these feelings for me have even happened?"

Isabel answered solemnly, "Just now because you seemed interested in me."

Kyle's heart sank, he blushed slightly and he ducked his head as he uttered quietly, "Oh."

Isabel laughed in surprise and she hastily exclaimed, "I'm kidding, Kyle! Wow! Now you look like a scolded puppy! Seriously, I realised I liked you pretty much the moment I showed you my pregnancy test and your first question was about my feelings. I just barely stopped myself from kissing you right then and there. Plus from then on, you pretty much never leave me alone."

Kyle fidgeted awkwardly and he asked her, "Oh. So, I'm crowding you, then?"

Isabel sighed in fond exasperation and she asked him, "Did you miss the part where I said that it's related to why I like you?"

Kyle started to jiggle his knee nervously as he confessed guiltily, "Oh. Right, right. This conversation feels highly inappropriate because the uhh pregnancy thing and also I feel like I'm doing something wrong to even have these kinds of feelings for a married woman, who happens to not be married to me. Plus I'd hate to lose what we already have. You're the only girl I've ever considered to be my best friend."

Isabel smiled slowly and she asked with blatant hope and curiosity, "Oh? So you do have feelings for me, too? Are they romantic kinds of feelings? Do you think about kissing me or holding my hand? Do you think about you and I having sex, Kyle?"

Kyle's jaw dropped initially but he recovered and he decided to answer just as brutally honestly, "Yes, yes and yes, even that. Like I said inappropriate, not to mention awkward, right?"

Isabel shrugged and with a remaining hint of a smile still on her lips she disagreed, "No, not really. Me too. After the baby is born, I'm going to ask Jesse for a divorce."

Kyle gasped and asked in disbelief, "A divorce? What? Why? Isn't that kind of out of the blue and a bit drastic? You've only been apart from each other for less than a month! I mean attraction and mutual crush seem like really flimsy reasons to get a divorce, no?"

Isabel conceded, "I agree. Those would be flimsy reasons to get a divorce but they aren't why I want one. I want to give Jesse his freedom.

When I told you I miss him, that wasn't a lie. I really do and there's a part of me that will always love him, especially since I'll be raising his child, you know? But I think I stopped being in love with him, while he was adjusting to the reality of what I am.

The moment Jesse and I lost trust, I knew that our marriage was doomed. I just couldn't admit it because I wasn't up to hearing I told you so from my parents, in the middle of everything else, you know?

I tried to talk myself into holding onto him, like some last ditch token of hope for better times to come but the truth is I'm always going to be what I am and Jesse's always going to pretend it doesn't matter when it kind of actually really does matter and it always will. It isn't what he signed up for. Letting him go is the right thing to do, for both he and I."

Kyle frowned pensively and admitted, "Yeah, when you put it like that, it sounds a lot less flimsy. What about the baby, though? Will Jesse really just let you both go, do you think?"

Isabel mused aloud, "He is stubborn, but I think he might be reaching the same conclusion on his own minus the baby knowledge. He'll likely hesitate when he finds out that he's a father, so I'll just reassure him, that divorcing me, won't make me shut him out of our child's life and that he or she will still be born with his name, too.

As for visitation and custody, that will have to be determined based on safety, you know? The thing is, it'll be complicated and Jesse doesn't do so well with complicated.

I honestly think it will be a relief to him, for us to just make a clean break and let each other go. I don't imagine he'll be overly accepting that our child was created and then born in just one month, either. With us so far apart; so far removed from each others lives, the baby probably won't even seem real to him.

Maybe that's for the best. I don't know. I'm not even sure I'm making any kind of sense right now. Hormones coursing through my body and what not."

Kyle offered her an out, "Maybe I should take your sudden crush on me with a grain of salt, for the same reason, then?"

Isabel looked at him for several awkward seconds without saying anything then she took a deep breath and divulged, "Nope. Actually, Kyle, I may have downplayed my feelings for you, earlier, in an attempt at dignity.

This has gone way beyond a crush or simple liking or passing attraction. Every day, since the night I rescued you from sleeping in the van, I have had to struggle not to jump your bones. You make me kind of hot. There. I said it.

Mere lust I could probably get over but you're my best friend, too, so there are pre-existing feelings with it and then your response to finding out I'm pregnant, well, sufficeth to say, these feelings I have for you, are not going away anytime soon.

Of course now that I know you think I look creepy while pregnant, I will find it much easier to resist jumping you. At least until after the baby is born and after my divorce from Jesse is final. I feel like it will definitely happen, eventually, though.

Hmmm, I can't promise not to kiss you before my divorce is final, though. Just a heads up."

Kyle blinked at her a few times, licked his suddenly dry lips and he announced quietly, "I'm gonna go take a cold shower, now."

Isabel flirted brazenly, "Can I watch?"

Kyle let out a short laugh and shook his head as he replied, "That would be a definite no, Mrs. Ramirez."

Isabel smirked and mock complained, "You're such a spoil sport."

Kyle reminded Isabel, "Ava should be back, in around ten minutes or so but if you think the baby's coming early just knock on the bathroom door, okay? I don't think I'll be that long."

Isabel smiled warmly at him and she assured him, "I'll definitely do that if this baby tries to come early. Thank-you, Kyle. I kind of love the way you fuss over me."

Kyle smiled slightly and he escaped into the bathroom to try to process the new information Isabel had just shared with him.

*****

In the evening of their twenty-third day since leaving Roswell, Max had let them all know that their next fifteen minute rest stop was coming up within the half hour. Maria volunteered, "I can take over driving from there, until we find somewhere to park for the night."

Michael announced, "When Maria's driving I call permanent shotgun, from now on."

Kyle commented, "Kind of clingy with her, lately, aren't you, Heckle?"

Michael shrugged and admitted it, "Yep. So? What's your point?"

Maria informed Kyle, "I don't mind at all, Kyle, so like my spaceboy says, what is your point?"

Michael squeezed her hand and said quietly, "Thanks, angel."

Kyle backed down a little and insisted, "Nothing, Just making an observation. Also, just find it surprising considering the history. Bit of role reversal, no?"

Maria argued, "Oh, there's no reversal, Kyle. The only thing different is that now Michael and I are mutually clingy. We just want to be together, it's that simple."

Kyle shrugged indicating he was done but still added, "Fair enough. The cuteness of it is a bit unsettling, but we'll all eventually get used to it, I suppose."

Michael ignored Kyle's attempt to provoke him and he asked Maria,"You wanna take a walk with me when we stop?"

Maria smiled, nodded and agreed, "Love to. A little one on one time is just what I need. Cooped up in this vehicle for days on end and you're like right next to me but I still feel like I miss you."

Michael looked her in the eye and said with a glimmer of a smile, "Exactly. Huh. Thought it was just me.", and then he asked Max irritably, "Why do we have to go so long between overnights, anyway, Maxwell? This five nights of traveling and sleeping in the van schedule completely bites! You know that, right?"

Isabel addressed Max accusingly, too, "Michael brings up an excellent point. Please tell us, dear brother, exactly why do you have proper bed nights spaced so far apart?"

Max shrugged and defended lamely, "My sex drive is apparently not as high as Michael's. Five is the most nights I can handle being without my girlfri-, I mean my wife, without being grouchy."

Isabel sighed and complained in clear exasperation, "Great. So we're being led around the country by either yours or Michael's libidos."

Max attempted to placate Isabel by divulging, "Well, I was planning to let you have overnights in a bed more frequently, since you're pregnant, sis. How does every third night, instead of every fifth night, sound?"

Isabel exclaimed, clearly annoyed by the question, "Only like heaven?"

Michael and Maria openly complained together, "Wait. What? Why only Isabel? No fair!"

Liz spoke quietly so that only Max could hear her, "I don't think it's fair, either, Max. What about my needs?"

Max was startled and intrigued by her admission. He asked them all, "Do all of you want the same schedule as Isabel, then? Every third night, for two nights, at two different hotels?"

Michael answered irritably, "Brilliant deduction, there, Maxwell."

Ava answered in relief, "Definitely."

Kyle answered unemphatically, "That would be an emphatic yes."

Maria exclaimed, "Hell, yes!"

Liz smiled at Max in approval and said softly, "That would be really great, Max."

Max's eyes twinkled in adoration in Liz's direction and then he agreed with the consensus, "Okay. Fine, then. We'll continue this particular run as scheduled and then I'll revise the itinerary from then on. After our next overnight, we'll only travel for three nights before having our usual two overnights at two different hotels.,

"How's that second vehicle coming along, guys?"

Kyle answered, "It's slow going but we are making progress on it. I'd like to work on it, for a few hours, wherever we park tonight, if Michael and Ava are up to it?,

"What do you say, Ava? Heckle?"

Ava nodded and agreed, "Sure. Sounds good to me."

Michael nodded, too and said, "Count me in, too. It beats just sitting in this tin can doing nothing useful."

Maria piped up, "Well, if spaceboy is working the night shift, I may as well stay awake, too. Maybe I can hold the light for you guys or something?"

Kyle answered, "Every extra pair of willing hands is welcome. As long as our dawn driver sleeps, while we work on it."

Liz raised her hand and volunteered, "That would be me and I am already feeling the need for some shut-eye. I will definitely be in dreamland while you guys work on it. Promise."

Max offered, "I'll be keeping watch until dawn but I'm sure I can pitch in and help as needed."

Isabel spoke happily, "Well, with so few bodies in this tin can for the whole night, I just might get an almost decent sleep, for a change! Count me out! Sorry, not sorry!"

Kyle quipped, "You're pregnant and need your rest, so even if you tried to volunteer, I wouldn't let you, anyway."

Max, Michael, Ava, Maria and Liz all said in unison, "Exactly."

Isabel let Kyle's high handed comment slide, in the face of their whole crew taking his side.

*****

As Max parked for their scheduled fifteen minute rest stop, at a gas station convenience store, Michael nudged Maria and asked, "We still taking a walk together, angel?"

Maria nodded and answered, "Absolutely, but I need a restroom first. I won't take long."

Michael helped her down out of the van and told her, "Okay. I'll wait right here for you."

She'd only gotten a few feet away from him when he suddenly ran to catch up to her and he whispered to her urgently, "Maria! Uhh, there's blood on your pants. On your ass."

Maria looked worriedly toward the van as she turned her back toward the restrooms, instead and she asked him, "Oh. Really? Did anyone else see? I hope I didn't stain the seat! Can you go check, please? I guess this means I'm not pregnant, then, after all. So that's something, I guess."

Michael rubbed her upper arm consolingly as he assured her, "It's not big enough for anyone else to have noticed, I only noticed because I happened to be looking there, anyway. I doubt there was transfer onto the seat but I'll take care of it, if there was, while you're in there. I'll get rid of the stain on your pants, for you, too, once you're done."

Maria leaned in to give him a quick kiss on the cheek and she said in relief, "Thanks, spaceboy. Now, I might be a few minutes."

Michael nodded and reassured her further, "Course. No problem. Hey, angel? It's good news, even if it's a bit of an inconvenient way to find out. Cheer up, okay? We were the only witnesses, to it."

*****

While Kyle and Ava were browsing for breakfast snacks for the next morning, inside the convenience store, Ava commented to him, "You seemed a little, mmm ... irritable, earlier? Is anything wrong?"

Kyle shook his head and grabbed a handful of cereal bars as he answered calmly, "Nope. Not a thing. Isabel told me she wants to divorce Jesse and then she put me on notice that she has her sights set on me."

Ava whistled lightly and said quietly, "Wow. Okay? That's great, so why are you irritable, then? I'd think that would make you happy rather than upset?"

Kyle shrugged and explained, "It would, except that I don't want to be the rebound guy."

He and Ava paid for their purchases and Ava continued their conversation on the way back to the van, "Well, from what I've heard, Alex was her first love, and she didn't date anyone after him, until Jesse, which makes Jesse the rebound guy.

So really it's not a huge surprise, in that case, that she's ready to move on from him, already.

Question is, are you ready to be the guy she moves on with, next?"

Kyle stopped in his tracks, still a good distance from the van, faced Ava who had stopped when he did and he blurted incredulously, "Wait, what? Jesse's the rebound guy? Jesse is? Holy Buddha, Jesse's the rebound guy!

Yes! Thank-you, Ava! You just made my day, maybe my life! Jesse's the rebound guy. Wow. How did I not see that, on my own?

Wait. No. What am I even doing? I can't even believe I just celebrated the probable end of my best friend's marriage. What is wrong with me?

I'm a terrible, horrible, selfish person. I'm probably going to come back as an insect that nobody likes, for this, and be killed almost immediately. That would only be karmic justice."

Ava gave him a look of amused sympathy and commented, "Awww, poor guy! Your conflict is real, isn't it?"

Kyle hung his head and he admitted quietly, "Yeah. It is. To put it mildly."

Ava patted his shoulder with her free hand and offered, "For what it's worth, I don't think you're terrible or selfish, Kyle. I think you just wish happiness for Isabel and for yourself and I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that."

Kyle kept his eyes on the ground and he answered back, "Normally, I might agree with you but what if it comes at the expense of her husband's happiness or her child's, for that matter? Is it still not horrible and selfish, even then?"

Ava stated with conviction, "The only happiness you have any control over is your own; Isabel and Jesse will have to decide for themselves whether they are happy or not in the aftermath of their choices, just like the rest of us.

Their child will take their cues from the adults who surround them; if Isabel decides to be happy, then it stands to reason that her child will be happy, too."

Kyle gave her an appreciative smile and replied, "I really hope you're right, Ava. Thanks for talking me down or rather for trying to cheer me up; it actually did help some. I usually discuss stuff like this with my best friend but since it's about her, that really wasn't an option, this time."

Ava smiled warmly at him and answered, "Sure, Kyle. Anytime."

Kyle's step was a little lighter as they resumed their walk back to the van.

*****

Maria exited the restroom but didn't see Michael anywhere. She called out in a loud whisper, "Michael? Where are y- oh there you are! Hi."

Michael stepped out from beside the restrooms building and greeted her, "Hey. Everything okay, now?"

She nodded and answered, "Yeah. I'd like your stain removal services, though."

Michael took action as he answered her, "Sure thing. There. Seat didn't have any on it, at all, by the way, so now it's like it didn't even happen. So, you ready to go?"

Maria nodded emphatically and asked, "Yes. Where are we going?"

Michael nodded his head toward the van, where the rest of their crew were just standing around it and he answered, "Someplace far less populated by our traveling companions. Preferably quiet and dark."

Maria batted her eyes flirtatiously and she suggested, "Oh! To make out?"

Michael seemed confused by the notion and he said as much, "Oh. Did you wanna make out? I don't think we have time for that. Ow! What did I do?"

After stomping on his foot, Maria scolded him verbally, as well, "Don't you act innocent with me, pal-ly! Why else do you want me alone and in the dark, if not for that?"

Michael said earnestly, "I just wanted to be alone with you, so I can put my arms around you and decompress. Making out with you gets kind of intense and it's not like we have either the time or the space to follow through, if we got hungry for more than a makeout session.

I just thought it'd be nice to have you all to myself, for at least a few minutes. I take it you're disappointed by that plan?"

Maria looked contrite as she relented, "Oh. I thought you were conning me, but since you're being honest, after all, then no, your plan does not disappoint me. You know what a sucker I am for romance."

Michael frowned and insisted, "I'm not being romantic, though."

Maria grinned at him tightly and countered, "Yeah, you are but let's not argue about it."

Michael shrugged and said, "Agreed. Let's walk away a little bit."

Maria took his hand and they walked several feet away from the nearest dim light source, just barely keeping the van in their sights from a distance.

Michael pulled Maria into his arms and said, "C'mere. Feels like years since we did this. You cold, Maria?"

Maria admitted, "A little. In my hurry to get to the restroom, I've left my jacket in the van."

Michael let go of her briefly to rub his hands together before rubbing his hands up and down her arms as he boasted, "I'll warm you up. I'm getting a lot better at controlling my energy output. There, is that working for you?"

Maria moved in closer to him, smiling up at him and she confirmed,"Yes, thank-you, but just you, even without your special abilities, would have worked, too. I swear Michael you throw heat like my own personal spaceboy heater."

Michael stole a brief kiss and commented, "Spaceboy heater? Funny, angel. It's probably only because you make me hot."

Maria flirted right back, "Oh, you don't need me to do that; plenty hot enough all on your own."

Michael's tone had an edge of complaint in it, as he responded, "Subtle, Maria. Real subtle. I swear if we had time, I would properly appreciate all of the praise you're buttering me up with."

Maria sighed in frustration and changed the subject, "I lose all sense of days on this current schedule, when's our next overnighter in a proper bed and with shower access?"

Michael answered almost apologetically, "Two more van on the side of the road sleeps."

Maria groaned aloud and complained, "Might as well be two years! I'll be so glad when the shorter schedule kicks in! God Michael, I miss you!"

Michael lightly teased her, "I'm right here."

Maria smirked wryly at him and said, "Ha, ha. You know what I mean."

Michael admitted, "Yeah, I do. I miss you, too. Van sleeping bites. Not getting any, when you're like inches away from me and we both know we otherwise would be, is making me cranky."

Maria caressed his hair and cheek and she assured him, "Well, you haven't been cranky at me over it."

Michael confirmed, "No, of course not. I know it's not your fault and that you're frustrated, too. We're both just victims of circumstance."

Maria mused with some emotion in her voice, "Could be worse. I could be in Roswell missing you and have no idea where you are, if you're safe, if you miss me, or if you're over me. I'll take what I do have and be grateful. I've got my spaceboy right here in my arms."

Michael hugged her, kissed the side of her head and reassured her, "I can give you a permanent answer to the last two things - yes, I'd miss you and no I'll never be over you. I mean it, Maria.

And just to put it out there, if circumstances not of our own choosing separate us, I will not rest until we're together again. I'll find my way back to you. I've learned my lesson; I will never choose to leave you ever again. I'm not even sure I'd let you leave me.

That worries me a bit. I don't ever want to be that guy. Crazy ex who can't accept when his girl says it's over. I guess I already kind of did that to you but then I did try to back off, eventually.

Maybe I just can't imagine you letting go of me, permanently. I don't know. I feel knots in my gut if I think about it. If you don't love me, then I'm alone in the universe until I die.

I used to think that was ideal. Not any more. Not since that day you said you hated me. I was really worried it was true, that's why I really kissed you, that first time. I had to know. Thankfully it is the only time besides the flashes thing, that you've ever lied to me.

Man, I was so relieved, it was a lie. I didn't know what I wanted from you, back then, I only knew that I didn't want you to hate me. Didn't care if anyone else hated me, but not you. You were the kindest person I knew and the thought that I might be so awful, that even you could hate me. I just didn't want that."

Maria touched his cheek and spoke softly, "Michael."

Michael shook himself out of the moment and suggested, "We should probably head back. Sorry for getting weird."

Maria prevented him from pulling away and she implored him, "No, wait. I want to say something to you. It's important."

Michael seemed a bit guarded as he asked, "Okay, what?"

Maria looked him in the eye and said with emotional sincerity, "I'm sorry for ever saying I hated you. I could never, but not because I'm a kind person. I could never hate you, Michael, because you are you. You're sweet, loyal, protective, beautiful and good all the way through. I am so very deeply in love with you. Like I told you before, wherever you are, Michael Guerin, that's where I want to be, too."

Michael smiled his gratitude for her words but only said, "Ditto."

Maria chuckled lightly and said, "Cute. Apparently you're also funny.

You know what, spaceboy? I'm gonna go ahead and piss off any future version of myself who might think she wants to not be with you; if I'm ever foolish enough to dump you, again, I want you to be my crazy ex. Don't you ever let go of me. I need you and I always will. Don't ever accept a retraction of that truth. Okay?"

Michael kissed her on the lips, then lifted his head, nodded and agreed, "I'll keep that in mind but I honestly hope it never becomes a relevant issue. We'd better head back. I got what I wanted."

Maria leaned her head against his shoulder, as they began the walk back, very slowly, holding hands and she concurred, "So did I. I just want us to be close like this, always."

Michael briefly squeezed her hand and queried, "Okay, same. Speaking of which, I'm still getting some, when there's a bed, or rather a shower, right? I mean even if you're still bleeding, by then? Bed or shower, doesn't matter, you know blood doesn't bother me."

Maria confirmed emphatically, "Oh, yes. Bleeding or not if I don't get some when there's a bed and a shower available, I'm not gonna sing for like a week."

Michael protested, "Hey now! There's no need for those kind of threats. We'll get it on wherever you like; bed or shower, I'm into it either way. You have my word. You are still gonna sing to me when it's our turn to sleep, after we work on the second vehicle, tonight, though, right?"

Maria laughed and answered, "Yeah, spaceboy, of course I will. All the usual things I do to help you fall asleep, my big, manly comfort junkie."

Michael expressed his relief, "Okay, good."

Maria admitted in amusement, "I spoiled you on purpose. Just so you know."

Michael smirked and acknowledged, "I know. Worked like a charm, too. I'm cranky enough not getting any. Nobody needs to know how much crankier I'd be without my Maria comforts."

Maria informed him, "I'll have you know, that doing those things doesn't only comfort you; I do it for me too."

Michael stated skeptically, "I still think I get the better end of the deal there."

Maria insisted, "I get rewarded, plenty, trust me on that."

Michael prompted her to elaborate, "Oh yeah? Like how?"

Maria stated with quiet pride, "Well, you are usually a tightly wound person. You're always ready to put up a fight against an enemy but in the moments before you fall asleep because of the comforts you demand, from me, you completely relax and that makes me feel good. Me; I do that for you. Not a pill. Not Max. Not Isabel. Nobody else. Just me."

Michael turned his face to kiss her head and he confrmed, "I'm glad you finally get it. I don't call you my angel for no good reason."

Maria was quiet for several seconds and then she halted their progress toward the van, as she asked, "Do you know why I call you spaceboy?"

Michael guessed, "Cuz of where I'm from? Or cuz I don't always catch on to the right thing to do in our relationship; like I space out on the right answer?"

Maria shook her head and corrected, "I admit it may have begun like that, but no Michael, I call you spaceboy because so many things were missing from my life and I didn't even know until you came along and filled in all of the empty spaces for me.

Mostly with joy, a lot with love, and even a bit of knowledge that I didn't have before knowing you. You're still doing it, too. Just when I think there are no spaces left in me for you to take care of, you find more and take care of them."

Michael stated his surprise, "Huh. Now you've done it back to me. I honestly did not know that."

Maria asked in curiosity, as they resumed their walk back toward the van, "Well, if you thought it was in any way derogatory or that I was endangering you or outing you, why didn't you ever tell me to stop?"

Michael shrugged and shared, "I noticed you only call me that when things are good between us, so I just figured you were flirting with me and I have zero problem with that. I'm used to hearing it, now. Sometimes when you call me Michael, I freeze and wonder oh damn what did I do wrong this time? I never have that moment when you call me spaceboy; because then I already know I'm on your good list, or at least you're trying to help me turn in that direction.

There's a certain tone you use when you say Michael sometimes that makes me want to duck and run for cover. Then again sometimes just hearing you say my name, reminds me that you love me. It's all in the tone. My ears are extremely fine-tuned to your tone of voice, Maria."

Maria lovingly teased him, "I can't believe you are so easily intimidated by me, Michael! You have alien powers for pity's sake, meanwhile I'm just a delicate human girl without gnarly abilities of any kind."

Michael refuted her claim, "You may look delicate, but you actually aren't. You're a force to be reckoned with and in case you've never noticed, even when my powers go haywire because of you, they never activate against you, so I'm basically defenseless when you're pissed at me."

Maria was distracted from reacting to his revelation, by their proximity to the van and she protested, "Oh, boo. We're almost back at the van. Nooooooo! I don't want to get back in it. I need another big hug and another real kiss before we get going again. Please?"

"Same here. I love you.", Michael stated solemnly and he followed it by obliging her requests.

Maria kissed his neck and loud whipered in his ear, "I love you, too, my snuggly-wuggly romantic spaceboy!"

Michael scoffed in amusement, "Pfft, romantic? Whatever, angel. Two more van sleeps until anything remotely romantic, can even happen. Let's go get this over with, then."

The others were already inside the van, waiting for their driver and her shotgun claimant spaceboy.
Last edited by Fidomom on Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
~FM :)
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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-5/? - 08/29/18

Postby keepsmiling7 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:09 pm

The dreamer here really did enjoy the Max/Liz part.
And Jesse dreaming about someone else......Isabel is really having a hard time now.
I think the gang needs an overnight as often as possible.......or whatever they can afford.
Interesting convo between Iz and Kyle........was she kidding or did she really want Kyle as the "rebound" guy.
It's very handy to have an alien around for "stain removable services." Maria is very lucky!
Great part,
Carolyn

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Re: Finding Something Better by Fidomom (AU,M/M,TEEN/ADULT) Ch1-6/? - 09/12/18

Postby Fidomom » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:25 pm

@keepsmiling7: Glad to know you are enjoying the Max/Liz parts. Hope that means I'm not butchering them, lol. As for Isabel, she really does have true feelings for Kyle but it might take some time before they will do anything about it romantically. Michael certainly does have many uses, lol! Lucky Maria for sure, lol! Thanks so much for the supportive feedback, Carolyn!

~FM :)

Title: Finding Something Better
Author: Fidomom
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is only loosely based on characters from the tv series Roswell as I imagine they could be from different points throughout and beyond the three seasons of the show. I am not affiliated with any of the original creations nor creators from the series. I will make no monetary gains from publishing this work of fiction.
Pairings/Characters/Category: Michael & Maria, Max & Liz, Kyle, Isabel & Ava, CC, UC, AU, w/Aliens
Rating: Adult
Summary: This chapter - The Roswell crew plus Ava make preparations for the birth of Isabel's baby and bonds are strengthened incidentally.
Author's Note: warnings= fisting

Finding Something Better
by Fidomom

Chapter Six

On the twenty-fifth day since leaving Roswell, the crew of seven had an early dinner and then they checked into the Aarchway Inn in Moab, Utah, at five p.m., a full five hours earlier than they usually would.

Liz and Max left the rest of the crew in Isabel's and Ava's hotel room, and Liz drove Max to the Grand County public library. That was their sole reason for checking into a motel, so much earlier in the day; so as not to miss the public library operating hours.

Not five minutes after Max and Liz had gone, Isabel blurted out, "I need all of you to leave! I'm expecting Jesse to call me and I just, I need some privacy for the conversation I need to have with him. Please!"

Nobody argued until Isabel blurted again, "Wait! Not you, Kyle. I might need back-up."

Maria complained, "What am I? Chopped liver? Why does Kyle get to be your back-up? I was the only one who didn't treat your baby like bad news!"

Isabel smiled kindly at Maria and concurred, "Yes. I know that and I do appreciate that. You are not chopped liver but Kyle is my best friend and presumably, unlike you, he doesn't have any other plans, tonight."

Kyle muttered, "Gee, thanks for pointing that out.", and he handed his room key to Ava with a friendly smile. Ava accepted it with an appreciative nod.

Maria coloured slightly and backed down, "Very good points. Sorry for freaking out.,

"Come on, spaceboy! She's right. Plans. We have many. Let's get to those, then."

After everyone else had gone, Isabel asked Kyle tentatively, "Are you mad at me?"

Kyle shook his head and assured her, "No, of course not. I'm not sure that I'm entirely comfortable listening in on your side of the conversation with Jesse, though, given your recent confession to me.

Maybe I could be in the bathroom, with the door closed and the tap running? Then I'd still be near enough, if you do need me but you can also have privacy, too. Does that work for you?"

Isabel smiled through threatening tears and hugged him as she exclaimed, "That would be great! I honestly don't know what I would do or how I would get through any of this without you! You really are the best!"

Kyle patted her back and stepped away from her as he quietly joked, "Yeah, I know. We've already established that. I'll be in there, if you need me but I think you'll be fine, Isabel. You've got this."

*****

As soon as they were alone together, in their motel room, Maria was all over Michael. He was reciprocating but he seemed distracted, so she stopped and asked him, "Michael? Is something wrong? You too tired for this or just not in the mood?"

Michael shrugged and answered honestly, "Kind of not in the mood. I do want to spend time with you but I'd rather do something fun like play cards or a video game together, first. We usually check in close to bedtime but this time we have enough time to do more than just sex each other up all night before falling asleep. So I kind of want to take advantage of the extra time we have."

Maria's brows went up in surprise and she asked for clarification, "Wait, you're turning down sex with me? Where is my boyfriend and what have you done with him?"

Michael pulled her into a hug and elaborated, "I never said I don't want sex, at all. Come on, it's me and you, I always want you, Maria, it's just I'd kind of like to save that for later, just before we go to sleep.

I miss hanging out with you and talking and stuff. Yes, I do know that sounds weird, especially coming from me. I'm not saying I want to do some other fun thing instead of sex, I'm saying I want to do both, just the differently fun stuff, first.

If you aren't into that, though, it's fine. I'm pretty sure you can easily persuade me to get in the mood for sexy times, right now, instead. So what are we doing?"

Maria seriously contemplated his question and countered, "Okay, I'll play cards with you, spaceboy but I want you to do something for me, too, before we fall asleep. You open to it?"

Michael nodded and agreed, "Yeah, course. What did you have in mind?"

Maria held his face between her palms, stared into his eyes meaningfully and spelled out a word, "R-o-m-a-n-c-e, spaceboy. Not an entire evening of it, nothing grandiose. Just something simple that you think up, yourself, without any help from me. One romantic gesture. That's it. That's all I want. I will play cards with you but you will get no song tonight, until I get that one thing from you. You up to this challenge?"

Michael scowled and sighed, as he agreed but still complained, "I hate it when you hold the song hostage but yeah, okay. I think I can deliver. So paper and pencil cribbage, suit you? See how many games we can get in, in an hour? Biggest loser gets a consolation back rub and foot rub?"

Maria chuckled and accused, "You are only preparing yourself to lose because you know I'm a card shark! You are going down, spaceboy; that loser consolation bribe will not work on me! I'm so not throwing any of the games!"

Michael nodded and laughed mirthlessly, as he concurred, "Yeah, I've been with you for a few years, Maria, I already know that you don't throw games. Ever. I gotta go get my cards from the van. Liz must be back by now or she will be, soon. Hey, we can probably hear a couple of cd's while we play, too; one pick each. Which one you want?"

Maria shrugged and admitted, "I can't decide between Dave Matthews Band's album Everyday or my girl Alicia Keys' album Songs In A Minor, so whichever one will least get on your nerves, works for me. This will not count as the romantic gesture, you understand?"

He nodded, kissed her cheek and advised, "Yeah, I know. Lock up behind me. I'll be back as soon as I can."

Maria started to smile at his caution and then she managed to say just before he could shut the door, "That doesn't count either, Michael!"

He called back without turning, "I know.", and then he did close the door.

Maria immediately went to it and locked it behind him, and then she rummaged through the end tables and desk drawer until she'd found a suitable piece of paper and a pen, to keep track of their cribbage scores.

*****

While parked outside of the public library, Liz gave Max a kiss, before he got out of the van and she asked him one more time, "Are you sure you wouldn't like some company while you find us somewhere to live, until the second vehicle is ready?'

Max smiled and assured her, "I'm a newlywed; I'll get more accomplished if my beautiful wife isn't close enough to distract me. Besides, Isabel is really close to her due date and she's counting on you to help her deliver a healthy baby."

Liz's shoulders slumped, she sighed, smiled and said dreamily, "I think my incredibly attractive husband just flirted with me, while rejecting me and while having the audacity to be absolutely correct.

Fine. I will be back to pick you up in two hours. Prepare to be umm extremely distracted by your incredibly patient and understanding wife, once I have you all to myself again, Mr. Max Parker."

Max chuckled then sobered and half-joked, "I definitely will not be thinking about that, while I'm in the library researching or I will get nothing accomplished!"

Liz grinned proudly, blew him a kiss and announced, "Then my work here is done! Bye, Max!"

Max chuckled, nodded and waved before heading inside.

When Liz pulled back up to the motel, she saw Michael waiting out front. She got out and asked him, "Is everything okay, Michael?"

He nodded and assured her, "Yeah. I was just waiting for you to get back with the van because I need some stuff."

Liz smiled in relief, tossed him the keys and requested, "I'll be hanging out with Isabel and Ava, so just drop them back off to me before you head back to your room or one of the rest of us will have to ignore your do not disturb sign."

Michael sucked his teeth noisily and advised, "I wouldn't disturb Isabel right now, actually. She kicked us all out about fifteen minutes ago. Everyone except Kyle. Her call with Jesse is likely in progress, as we speak."

Liz asked in surprise, "Wait, she even kicked Ava out?"

Michael nodded and confirmed, "Everyone except Ava seemed surprised by that. She didn't seem bothered by it, at all. Maria was more offended and she had no intention of hanging out in there for very long, herself, anyway. If you're worried about Ava, you could always pay her a visit. She's in Kyle's room."

Liz nodded and answered distractedly, "Yeah. Thanks, Michael. I think I will. Maybe I'll just wait out here, for you to return the keys to me, first, though. You won't be long, right?"

Michael confirmed, "Five minutes, tops. Here. You can take them now and just lock it up, once I'm done."

True to his word, less than five minutes later, Michael signaled to Liz that he was done and then he hurried back to his and Maria's room carrying a large paper bag.

Since Michael was taking longer than Maria had expected he would, to return to their room, she'd decided to get comfy and had changed into pajama shorts and one of Michael's well worn t-shirts.

She already knew, though, that before they fell asleep, Michael would insist on her sleeping naked with him. She had to mentally concede that she preferred that, as well, anyway. She fidgeted restlessly just recalling, however briefly, the sensuous, luxurious, liberating feeling of being naked in his equally naked arms.

She shook it off and was just starting to feel concerned about what might be keeping him, when she heard his key in the lock. She was seated at the desk and didn't get up, but only turned her head, instead, to greet him, "I was starting to think you'd gotten lost. Everything okay?"

He indicated the paper bag in his hand, from which he extracted the deck of cards and the cd's. He leaned over Maria's shoulder to put them on the desk and before standing upright again, he nuzzled her neck, kissed her cheek, copped a feel of her breasts, through the shirt she was wearing and finally answered her, "Yep. It's all good. Had to wait on Liz to get back and then catch her up to speed about Isabel. I really like your sexy pj's. You're not keeping that stuff on to sleep, though."

Maria smiled coyly over her shoulder at him and concurred, "I know. Wait, where are you going? What's still in that bag?"

He shrugged and waved his hand dismissively, as he answered, "Just some bathroom supplies, that I forgot to bring in, on my first trip from the van. Why don't you put our music on and start shuffling the cards? I gotta make a stink."

Maria snickered and shook her head as she muttered, "Charming. Take your time, spaceboy."

She put her cd on first, then wrote their names on the piece of paper they would use to keep score and since she had time to kill, while waiting for Michael, to be done in the bathroom, she took to embellishing their names with decorations.

She doodled flowers and butterflies around hers and hearts, planets and stars around his. She was so busy doodling, that she didn't hear him exit the bathroom and she was startled by his sudden presence right over her shoulder, again.

He slipped his hand into the neck of her t-shirt, this time, to leisurely rub his palm repeatedly over her bare breasts and he asked, "What are you doing?"

She pretended to ignore his hand down her top, as she finished shading another heart by his name and she answered calmly, "Just waiting to play cards with you but if you keep that up, we won't be doing anything tonight except extreme nooky all night long. Your call. This was your idea, Michael."

Michael kissed her cheek and removed his hand from inside of her shirt as he explained, "You're irresistible but yes, it was my idea, so then let's play some cribbage. My answer to extreme nooky, though - that would be a definite yes, just still prefer later. Okay?"

She looked up at him expectantly and he obliged the desire in her eyes by giving her an open mouthed but brief kiss. She nodded afterward and agreed, "Okay. Cards first then I get some. Just remember that other thing I want or no song tonight."

The corners of his mouth twitched up slightly, he gave her another promising kiss and assured her, "I remember. I'll come up with something while we're playing. Cut them, let's see who's dealing first.", and he dragged an easy chair over beside her desk chair.

Maria cut but didn't show the card right away. She suggested, "Bonus rules? Legit twenty-nine hand is an automatic win and a legit score of exactly one hundred and twenty is an automatic loss?"

Michael conceded, "Sure. Legit, hmm? So, no helping things go a certain way, then, I guess?"

Maria glared at him but was obviously amused at the same time and she threatened, "Michael, I swear if I so much as suspect you are cheating, this will be the very last time that I ever agree to play cards with you. If I win or if I lose, it has to be fair and square, got it?"

He kissed her cheek and promised, "Yeah, I got it. I'm not gonna use any alien stuff to cheat, I promise. So, what did you cut? Low card deals, other one has to keep score."

She showed him and prompted, "Three. Your turn."

He cut and showed her, then reached for the score paper. He examined her doodles and asked, feigning ignorance, "What's with all the hearts by my name? You like me or something?"

Maria smirked and nodded but teased him, "Most of the time. The rest of the time I vary between wanting to kick you in the shins or wanting to rip your clothes off and have my way with your body."

That got an actual smile out of him and he teased back, "And I approve of you doing both. You're hot even when you're pissed at me. I feel pretty much the same as you, by the way, only I'd never physically hurt you, not even just playing around, but there have been times when I could have just shaken you for being completely unreasonable with your safety. The frustration is real, sometimes. Alright, enough mush, angel mine, it's game time!"

*****

Liz took a deep breath and knocked on Kyle's hotel room door. She heard Ava call out, "It's not locked. You can come in."

Liz accepted the invitation and entered Kyle's suite, to Ava's obvious surprise. She exclaimed in puzzled curiosity, "Oh! Liz? It's you. I thought it might be Michael wanting to work on our project, since we have extra time, this time. What's up?"

Liz searched Ava's face with compassion and answered, "That's what I'd like to know. What is it, Ava? What's been troubling you these past few days? You do know that I'm your friend, right? I mean I know I've been more than a little distracted being a newlywed and all but that doesn't negate my other relationships.

At first, I thought maybe you were going to or had already confided in Kyle, instead of me, which would be fine, you know? But I've been waiting for the cloud to lift from you and it still hasn't, so now, I'm being a nosy, concerned friend.

What's upsetting you? Please talk to me? If you're unhappy, especially if someone in our crew has contributed to that, I'd like to know about it, so that maybe we could fix it?"

Ava's mouth was initially agape in shock and then she finally spoke, "The only other person who has ever been able to tell how I'm really feeling was Zan. I thought I was doing better at hiding it. Apparently not. You aren't wrong, Liz. I am upset but not because of any of you.

Unfortunately, though, this isn't something anyone can fix. I'm just broken, is all. Always have been. I didn't want any of you to know because I like being part of a crew that isn't mean to me. I've lied to you, Liz. Not to hurt you or anyone else but just to be able to stay with all of you."

Liz processed her confession and suggested, "Could we maybe sit and talk about whatever it is that you've been lying about? I'm not mad at you and I get the whole not wanting to rock the boat thing but as your friend, I'd like to know why you think you're broken because that isn't what I'm seeing, at all.

I mean if it's a matter of trust and you don't trust me with this, yet, I'll totally understand that, and I'll back off but I just want you to know that whenever you're ready, I'd like to know, because I really do care about you."

Ava sat beside Liz, at the end of the bed and she plucked at the comforter as she woodenly explained, "The lie started when I was fourteen. Rath and Lonnie had just discovered sex together and they were harassing Zan and I about doing it, too.

At first, Zan flat out refused and so he and Rath would argue and sometimes even get physical with each other over it, usually because Rath would accuse Zan of not being the man, after all.

During one of their fights, Rath basically said well if you aren't going to do her, then let's send her out to get done and she can make us some money. Zan came very close to killing him, for saying that but it led Zan and I to pretend that we were lovers, just to get Rath and Lonnie to stop harassing me or threatening to pimp me out.

Zan and I loved each other, a lot. He was my protector and my buffer against Rath and Lonnie but we weren't in love and we most definitely were not intimate because I'm broken, you see. I don't have the kind of feelings required for sex. Not for men, not for women, not for anyone, ever.

I used to think it might happen, eventually but now I know that it won't. I guess I'd be okay with it, except that I've always wanted to be a mom. When I was a lot younger, I kept a very special doll hidden from Rath and I'd pretend it was my baby. He found it when I was thirteen and set it on fire. I had to pretend that I didn't care but I was really devastated by that.

Zan knew everything about me, inside and out. When Lonnie and I started getting breeding pains, Zan would do his best to make me comfortable and we'd talk about someday leaving Rath and Lonnie behind and finding a different way for me to be a mom. That dream died when Zan did.

Isabel's pregnancy has just stirred things up for me, again. Please don't misunderstand. I am happy for her, I really am and I'm excited to meet her baby but I can't help feeling envious, too because without Zan's help, I'm never gonna get to be a mom.

It's not like I can even get pregnant the usual way because the thought of that is like worse than horror to me. I'm fine knowing that other people enjoy sex, I just, I'm broken. It isn't something I'll ever want to do and so no babies for me, ever.

I'm trying to come to terms with that and I thought I wasn't troubling anyone with it but apparently, I haven't been hiding it, well enough. I'm sorry to have worried you, Liz. If I'm not welcome to be part of the crew anymore, I understand.

You've been nothing but kind to me and here I've been keeping this secret from you. I probably would have never told you, either, except that you asked me point blank and omission is one thing but I couldn't bring myself to straight up lie, right to your face.

If you feel like you can't trust me, I get it and I will accept that I don't belong with you guys, after all. Tess caused you all so much damage with her lies and I never meant to be anything like her."

Liz grabbed Ava's hand and she insisted emphatically, "You are nothing like Tess, Ava! Believe that! And you are also not even a little bit broken. What you're describing sounds like asexuality to me and that is a legitimate thing and you are not alone, either!

Many people feel the very same way as you do about sex and there is nothing wrong with that! There is nothing wrong with you! I promise you, that is the truth! If you like, we can go to a public library, tonight or anytime and I can prove it to you! It breaks my heart to think that you've been feeling like this and all the while believing it was a bad thing. It really isn't."

Ava looked scared but hopeful, "There are other people like me? For real?"

Liz nodded, giving her an encouraging smile as she confirmed, "Yes, for real. The only thing I've never heard of before, is menstrual cramps being called breeding pains! How did you guys even come up with that?"

Ava shook her head and corrected, "Breeding pains are not the same as menstrual cramps, at all. I get those, too, sometimes. Breeding pains is excruciating physical pains signifying that we're ready to conceive.

Whoever designed the cocktail that made us, double whammied us; we get both. We bleed once a month for two days, but luckily, I guess? We only deal with breeding pains about three times a year, for three days straight. I just barely finished my last go around with the breeding pains, when Isabel invited me to join you guys."

Liz marveled aloud, "Wow. That sounds so intense and unfair. Not that Isabel and I are that close but she's never mentioned these breeding pains. Do you know if she gets them, too?"

Ava looked baffled and she admitted, "We've never talked about it, so I honestly don't know, either. I just assumed that since it happened to both Lonnie and I, that it must have also happened to Isabel and presumably, Tess, as well.

Now, I'm dreading my next time with it, even more, because I can't function for those three days and from what you've just said, even Isabel won't understand why not. I'll just be utterly useless to all of you.

Wow. I guess, now I've managed to talk myself out of staying in a good thing, haven't I? I'd really like to at least help finish the project, before I leave, if that's okay?"

Liz asked in alarm, "What do you mean, leave? Why would you leave us? I thought you just said, that you liked being in our crew?"

Ava replied uncertainly, "Well, I do, but I lied to you and now you know that I'm also going to be useless, really soon, for like three days straight, and on the regular, thereafter, as well."

Liz openly chuckled and she teased her, "You really think we only keep you around because you're useful? Nope! It's because we like your company; we like you, Ava! I really don't want you to leave. Please stay with us, okay?"

Ava fidgeted awkwardly and she tried to joke back, "Still a cornball, I see. Thanks, Liz. I do appreciate your friendship but I'm not so sure that the rest of them would want me to stay, if they knew everything that I just told you."

Liz gently squeezed Ava's hand and she said, "I happen to know everyone in our crew pretty well and I don't believe for one second, that they will hold either thing against you. If anyone understands about safety and disclosing personal matters, it's Max, Isabel and Michael.

Maria, at worst, will feel upset that you didn't feel safe enough to say something sooner and I think you know for yourself that Kyle, our resident Buddhist in training, will not judge you; harshly or otherwise.

Disclosing to the others, anything that you've just told me, needs to be on your timetable, though. I'm not going to break your confidence. It is entirely up to you, if or when or what you dislose and to whom. I don't feel lied to, Ava. I honestly believe that they won't, either.

In the meantime, if you do want to talk to someone about anything that you are going through, please remember that I am your friend. You can talk to me, Ava. Anytime. I mean that. Okay?"

Ava asked tentatively, "What if I wanted you to tell them all, instead of me? Would you do that for me? I'm just not sure I could handle fielding their questions and you already know the answers. I'm not so good with either confrontations nor with opening up a vein."

Liz gently declined, "No, I will not do this for you. Your reluctance and fear tell me that you are not ready for them to know yet. When you feel comfortable disclosing, on your own, that's when you'll know that you're ready. Okay?"

Ava asked worriedly, "But what if I still haven't told them by the time the breeding pains return? How am I to explain why I can do nothing except lie there curled up in a ball and cry?"

Liz sighed and suggested, "We can gloss over the facts, if it comes down to it; we'll call it severe PMS. The guys won't press for more information and you'll get a ton of sympathy from Maria and Isabel even if they can't exactly relate.

The next time it happens, if I can, and if you'll let me, I'd like to do for you what Zan used to. Make you comfortable and try to distract you? What do you say?"

Ava smiled and hugged Liz, as she answered her, "I'd really like that. Thanks, Liz. For everything."

*****

Michael and Maria managed to get in three games of cribbage, in an hour. Maria won the second and third games, but the only reason Michael even lost the second game was because of the bonus rule of scoring exactly one hundred and twenty points.

Maria took the score paper from him and threatened to frame it, as proof that she could beat him at cards and then she looked more closely at it. Her smile widened, when she saw that Michael had added doodles to it, all over her side of the score sheet.

Music notes, x's, o's, hearts with wings and halos on them, and a doodle of m & m candies bunched together into the shape of a heart. She smiled at him, then, and rescinded her plans for the score sheet, "On second thought, I'm just gonna keep this somewhere safe and ignore that there are any scores on it, at all. I love you, Michael."

He suddenly gathered her in his arms, lifting her off of her feet and then he carried her to the bed, already trying to strip her, while devouring her mouth with his hungry kiss. They were so caught up in their passion for each other, that they both almost forgot about using a condom, again, then both remembered and blurted out, at the same time, "Condom."

Maria did the honours. She hated the damned things but if she had to tolerate them, then she wanted to derive some kind of personal pleasure from using them and touching Michael intimately had definitely always been a pleasure for both of them.

It only took a few seconds and then Michael was back to driving her mindless with a more intense, sustained pleasure. He flooded her with so many flashes of feelings and images that she couldn't keep up, in any conscious way but every single one contributed to her heightened senses and her euphoria.

Her steady stream of vocalisations urged Michael to a furious pace and when they hit the same peak together, it took them to an even more intense one, that seemed to make time stop. Maria felt like she was outside of herself but still with Michael, somehow.

They locked eyes and understood without words that nothing would ever be the same between them again but they didn't know why. Then in a rush, like the sudden descent of a rollercoaster ride, Maria was back to herself, glistening with sweat and quite winded. Michael was in the same condition. He kissed her over and over, everywhere his lips could find skin and all she could do in return was cling to him and surrender.

When Michael's breathing was almost normal again, he kissed her mouth tenderly once and then buried his face in the crook of her neck. He kissed her once more there, as well and then muttered against her skin, "I didn't know, Maria. This kind of love. How? When did I lose the ability to protect you from all of that? My filter is gone. I can't pick and choose anymore. Are you okay? Are you okay? Did I scare you?"

Maria tightened her whole body around him fiercely and assured him, "I'm so far beyond merely okay with what just happened, Michael. I felt so many things during that but I promise you, fear was not among them.

I don't know why it happened and I don't care why, I'm only so incredibly grateful and touched that it did. To think I used to not care about the flashes! I care now, Michael. I definitely care. I hope you're right, I hope you can never block me, ever again.

I've always wanted us to be close but whatever just happened, oh God, Michael, that was so much more, than anything I ever could have imagined. I will feel heartbroken and deprived, if that never happens for us, again. I need you, I need us, I need that, with you. Promise me that you'll never try to protect me from that?"

Michael hadn't moved his face away from her neck and he immediately agreed, "I promise, Maria. You can have all of me. I belong to you, in ways that I don't even fully understand and I don't need to understand. I'm yours and nothing else matters to me. I love you with everything in me. Know that."

Maria nodded and caressed the nape of his neck, as she confessed,"That's just it, Michael. I don't have to believe you, or take a leap of faith or hope that it's true. It's a certainty. I do know. There is no other being who will ever be able to offer me this level of love and security. I belong to you, too. I love you so much."

Michael chuckled wearily and said, "Trust me, angel, I know, too, because you were giving, just as good as you were getting. I can't even make sense of all of it, yet, but I know you showed me some things that you probably would have preferred I didn't see. You have zero privacy left. Are you sure you want that level of closeness?"

Maria was quiet, as she considered his question carefully and then she asked him, "Did anything you saw make you love me less or diminish your opinion or perception of me?"

He shook his head and mumbled, "Opposite. Magnified. Amplified. Increased. Improved. It changed how I see you and how I feel about you but not in any negative way."

She caressed his back and answered his earlier question, "Same here, so yes, I'm sure I want that level of closeness from now on. Privacy from each other is so overrated, anyhow. On that note, the time freeze? It actually happened, didn't it?"

He nodded and confirmed, "Yeah. Don't ask me how or why because I don't know, either but it was real, Maria, not a shared fantasy."

Maria persisted, "But how are you so certain if you don't know why or how it even happened?"

He rolled slightly away from her and caressed her face with his forefinger and he explained, "Because I saw it from my own eyes and from your eyes, too, at the exact same time.

You're always open with me. It was definitely a real experience and not an hallucination or a fantasy or a wish or anything else of the sort. It happened and we may never know why. You alright with that?"

Maria laughed lightly and shrugged as she answered, "Not like I have much of a choice in the matter, so I suppose I'll have to just accept it and make peace with it.

I do need a distraction from dwelling on it, right now, though, at least for a bit. So, by my count, my loveable two time loser, I owe you a foot rub and a back rub. Back rub to help you fall asleep later but I'm not rubbing your feet until they are clean. So do you wanna shower together, now?"

Michael's eyes locked on hers. He shook his head and answered, "No. I'm not done making you scream my name, yet."

Maria took a deep shuddering breath and moved closer to him again, her mouth inches from his and she admitted, "Oh thank God, that's what I was hoping for."

He removed the condom from their first round, tied it, tossed it on the floor and handed her a new one. His next words made her go very still, "Now, I know exactly why you hate these things and you've convinced me, too.

I think I know a way to give you what you want, Maria. It will be a compromise but we'll both get what we want and you still won't be at any greater risk of getting pregnant. It's at least another option to facing down our sex life, having to always have this piece of plastic between us."

Maria's expression made her interest evident as she asked, "How do we do that, Michael?"

Michael sucked in a ragged breath, as she leisurely stroked his re-sheathed rigid flesh. He stilled her hand on him and answered, "I don't plan on telling you, I'd rather show you. Can we? Now? Please? God, Maria, I need to be back inside of you."

She answered him, by indulging his desire and true to his intentions he made her scream so much, her voice cracked a few times. She didn't care because she was too overwhelmed with relief, that with the exception of the time freeze, their closeness from the first round happened again.

It was just as intense and yet somehow it meant even more to her because she knew that they were open to each other, now. Not accidentally, not merely willingly, but passionately and eagerly, completely open to each other.

Michael separated from her immediately, this time, to deal with the condom and Maria thought they were done round two but Michael had other ideas.

Maria's entire body was still feeling sensitive and aroused, enabling Michael to push her past the limits of her voice again, with just his mouth, his fingers, then his hand and finally with his fist inside of her.

He held her close afterward, as she recovered from the places he'd just taken her to and when she could finally speak, her voice trembled with emotion, "Thank-you, Michael. You're right it was a compromise but it was technically what I wanted most. To feel you inside of me, skin on skin. I sort of feel bad that there wasn't any pleasure in that for you, though."

Michael lifted his head and he frowned at her as he asked, "Are you joking, right now? Junior may have been a bit jealous, I can admit that, but I definitely got pleasure from that, too, trust me on that."

Maria tilted her head skeptically and admonished, "Michael, you don't have to say that, and just to be clear, I do not expect that all of the time, or even regularly, it's just that I do like knowing that you can feel the effect you have on me. When you're wearing a condom, you miss out on some of my responses to your lovemaking and it kind of bugs me."

Michael nodded, kissed the side of her head and he agreed, "Like I told you before, you convinced me of that during our first round. I'm with you on that, now. I don't like missing out on any experiences when we make love. I meant what I said, I like what just happened.

Knowing that I do that to you, feeling that connection with you, the pleasure and euphoria transfers to me, Maria. It wasn't just my skin that experienced that, I felt what it meant to you and how it felt for you. It was amazing. Maybe you don't need that regularly, but I do. Are you specifically against that being a regular thing with us?"

Maria chuckled lightly and admitted, "I'm not that selfless or noble, Michael. If you actually really do like doing that, then damn skippy you have my permission to do that anytime you want to. Cause umm wow."

Michael smirked at her and teased, "Wow, huh? I think I have to agree with that very in depth assessment. Definitely wow. I really want to kiss you right now but I know you like me best when I smell and taste like me, so I'm gonna go wash up, first, okay?"

Maria nodded and advised, "You aren't wrong, so yes. That kiss will have to wait until after I go pee, too, though, so hurry up, please."

Michael frowned and argued, "No. You can't go in there."

Maria raised both brows at once and demanded, "Pardon me?"

Michael tried to explain, "I didn't mean that how it came out. Just, let me go wash up and then I'll tell you why I said that."

Maria retrieved their score sheet from the floor beside the bed, to admire Michael's doodles, again, while she waited for him to return from brushing his teeth. He was out again in less than five minutes.

Maria set the paper aside, to hurry off of the bed and then she made a beeline for the bathroom, but Michael physically halted her and requested, "I need you to close your eyes and keep them closed, until you're done. It has to do with your request.

Oh, man, I know you, though. Your curiosity will get the best of you. I'm gonna have to go in with you and keep my hand over your eyes to make sure you don't peek."

Maria shook her head and said adamantly, "Nope. That is not happening. You know I can't pee in front of anyone, especially not in front of you and besides you already fulfilled my request, with your doodles."

Michael shrugged and he refused to back down. He refuted, "No, by your own rules, the doodles don't count because you did it first, so technically you helped me out with it. What I've got going on, in the bathroom, is all my idea, though.

So I guess I will have to help you overcome your shyness, because I'm not letting you go in there by yourself, and spoil my surprise before I'm ready for you to see it. Alternatively, you could always get dressed and go use someone else's bathroom."

Maria pouted and whined, "Those options suck, Michael."

Michael played one last card. He quoted Maria, "What happened to privacy between us is overrated, anyhow?"

Maria gasped indignantly and complained, "That is so low using my own words against me but completely out of context!"

Michael insisted, "It isn't out of context, though. Come on, Maria with everything that's happened between us tonight, don't you think it's a bit pointless to feel self-conscious peeing in front of me? It's not going to damage how I feel about you. You know it won't. Just try. In the interest of your requested romantic surprise?"

Maria still looked skeptical but she conceded, "Okay, fine. I have to pee really badly, maybe I can do it."

Michael covered her eyes with his palm and he guided her, still naked, into the bathroom and to the toilet. He kept her eyes covered as she sat and he encouraged, "Go pee."

Maria winced, cringed and declined, "I can't! I promise I won't look, just go out."

He spoke into her ear, "No. Just go pee. You'll feel better and then we can get to your surprise and get some sleep afterward. It all hinges on you, Maria. You can do this.

I'm gonna count to five. If I don't hear you peeing by the count of five I'm gonna have to resort to drastic measures. One. Two."

Maria fidgeted and whined uncomfortably, "What drastic measures?"

"Three. I'll tickle you."

Maria scowled and stuck out her tongue at him. She complained, "That's not funny, Michael."

"Four. Fi-"

He saw Maria's skin turn pink, as he heard her peeing. He kissed her forehead and praised her, "See? I knew you could do it."

Maria's skin stayed pink and she muttered, "This is so embarrassing."

Michael argued with her, "No, it isn't. Everybody has to pee, eventually, it's just normal. There's no shame in it."

Maria continued to express her discomfort, "No, Michael, I wanted romance and this is so much the opposite of that."

He led her to the sink to wash her hands when she was done. With her hands still dripping, Michael kissed her and slowly let his hand fall from her eyes. They made out for several more minutes before she finally came up for air and asked, "Can I look yet?"

He made her wait a few more seconds, while he made a few adjustments to his surprise for her, then he slowly turned her toward his surprise and said, "Okay, yes, now you can look."

Maria opened her eyes and gasped audibly. She turned to look at Michael and asked, "How is that possible? I didn't hear a thing. And wait are those, Michael, are those rose petals? Where did you get roses?"

Michael hummed and hawed nervously and admitted, "They are now, but that isn't what they were a few minutes ago. The alien thing came in handy. You never said I couldn't use alien stuff to pull this off, right?"

Maria grinned, shook her head and assured him, "That is correct, I did not make that off limits. So do I want to know what these now rose petals, used to be?"

Michael shrugged and admitted quietly, "I had to improvise, okay. It was just torn up toilet tissue."

Maria smiled at him appreciatively and asked, "And the bubbles are?"

Michael winced and confessed, "Stolen, actually. From your bestie's stuff. I didn't use a lot or anything, just enough to make it look nice. I doubt she'll even notice any is missing."

Maria kissed him, several times in a row and then she smiled up at him, as she said, "I don't have to ask about the candles because I recognize my own things. I'm still baffled, though on how you filled the tub without me hearing it?"

Michael shrugged and bragged, "That's why I sugggested the cd's, to cover the sound. Just to be extra safe, I put it on a slow drip besides. It still wasn't full enough when I came in here to wash up, so I took advantage of the noise from the sink tap to disguise adding water to the tub a bit faster, to get the bubbles to suds. Only thing left to do is reheat it and get you settled in it."

Maria shook her head and corrected him, "No, not just me, us. You have to get in there with me."

Michael made a yuck face and he emphatically declined, "Those are girl perfume bubbles, Maria! I'm not taking a bath in that stuff!"

Maria smiled sweetly and said far less sweetly, "But it will make me very happy if my boyfriend will indulge me in this and just get in the tub with me, already."

Michael sighed and relented, "This was not part of my plans but fine if it will make you happy, then I guess I'm gonna smell like girl perfume for a while.

Wait here, I have to go grab the condoms, not because I'm expecting anything but just so we have the option, without having to run out there soaking wet to get them later, if the mood happens to strike us again."

Maria touched Michael's forearm and she asked, "Are you kidding? If the mood strikes us, again? If? If?! Michael, have you met us? Hurry back to me."

Michael smirked appreciatively, kissed her quickly on the cheek and ducked out to grab the condoms. When he returned, he used his powers to reheat the water in the bathtub, tested it and upon deeming it a safe and ideal temperature, he helped her into the tub and then he got in behind her.

Maria relaxed back, against Michael's chest, closed her eyes and let out a long, deep sigh of satisfaction. Her eyes snapped open, in surprise as she felt the water swirling around them and she exclaimed in mild alarm, "This tub doesn't have jets, I checked. Are you doing this?"

Michael rubbed her upper arm with one hand and he reassured her, "Yes, of course, I'm doing this. Just relax and enjoy."

Maria touched his hand that was under the water creating the gentle turbulence and she argued, "While that is really nice, I'd rather you have both hands free. Stilled water still feels pretty great, especially because you're in here, with me. Seriously, Michael. I needed this. Thank-you. This is like heavenly."

Michael smoothed her hair away from her face and neck, kissed her revealed skin and commented, "Appropriate, since you're my angel. Oh, I almost forgot. Here. These are for you, too. Chicks like chocolate, right?"

Maria accepted the package of chocolates and noted, "Umm, Michael this is already opened."

Michael nodded and explained, "Well, yeah, I had to open it to remove the other colours."

Maria shook some out into her hand and suddenly she understood. Hershey's M&M candies. Just the green ones. M&M imprinted on each one. Like his doodle materialising right in her palm. She grinned and fed him one, followed by a kiss. Then she confirmed, "I can't speak for other chicks but your chick definitely likes chocolate. Thank-you, spaceboy.", and then she downed the remaining ones.

Michael suddenly fist pumped the air and hissed, "Yes! Now, I know I'm getting the song, tonight!"

Maria chuckled and asked, "Oh, really? What makes you so sure?"

Michael smirked smugly and said, "You just flirted with me."

Maria prompted for further explanation, "Flirted?"

Michael raised his brows suggestively and boasted, "Yeah. We both know you only call me spaceboy when I'm in your good books. So I'm right, right? I get the song? I met your challenge?"

Maria laughed lightly and nodded as she answered, "Yes, spaceboy! You get the song. I already decided that, when you agreed to my terms without arguing. Just you being willing to try, was always going to be enough, for me.

I have to say, though, I'm practically swooning over you, right now. You might regret meeting my challenge to this degree, later, because now you've raised the bar for yourself."

Michael shrugged and denied dismissively, "Nah, I ain't scared. It was actually kind of fun. Plus, I feel kind of proud, since you just said something about swooning over me. That means you're happy, right? That's all I wanted; I just wanted to make you happy. So uhh, you want me to wash your back, angel?"

Maria took his hands in hers and placed them firmly on her breasts, as she said, "Oh, I definitely want you. To wash my front, actually. Would you mind?"

Michael spoke against her ear, as he gently squeezed them, "We're about to need a condom, aren't we?"

Maria writhed against Michael provacatively and she answered, "Damn skippy, spaceboy."

*****

Kyle heard a light rap on the other side of the bathroom door. He quickly shut off the sink tap and answered, "Yeah, Isabel?"

"You can come out of there, now."

Kyle left the bathroom and looked at Isabel, trying to assess her mood, even as he asked, "So how did it go?"

Isabel teared up, shrugged and answered, "Like I expected it to but with a few plot twists. He asked me for a divorce before I even got a chance to. I was right about that woman; definitely not platonic. He said we can discuss custody of the baby when we know more, as in alien blood or human blood, but basically our divorce should be final by Christmas."

Kyle asked carefully, "Are you okay?"

Isabel tried to smile through a sob, as she answered, "I should be, right? I'm getting exactly what I wanted."

Kyle winced at her obvious inner conflict. He asked gently, "Do you need some time alone, right now?"

Isabel shook her head and said quietly, "No."

Without another word Kyle put his arms around her and held her while she grieved for the end of her marriage to her baby Daddy, Jesse Ramirez.

*****

The next night was spent still in Moab but at Comfort Suites motel, instead.

Kyle and Ava were keeping Isabel company, as usual. Ava had just gone to the restroom and Isabel suddenly looked sweaty and a bit green around the gills.

Kyle looked concerned and he asked Isabel, "You don't look so good, all of a sudden. Are you feeling alright?"

Isabel scowled and said, "Gee, thanks, Kyle, you really know how to make a girl's day! As it happens, however, no, I'm not feeling alright. Not at all!"

Kyle offered a contrite smile and prompted her to elaborate, "Come on, Isabel, you know I didn't mean it like that. What's wrong, in particular?"

Isabel snapped,"What are you? A doctor now, as well as, a Buddha fanboy?"

Ava happened to exit the restroom just in time to catch the tone in Isabel's voice and she said, "Uh-oh, Kyle. I think it might be time."

Isabel turned on her and snapped at her, as well, "Who asked you? And anyway, time for what? Stop speaking in riddles and just spit it out!"

Ava pressed her lips together, raised her brows and then stated, "The baby, Isabel. I think you're in labour."

Isabel scoffed and insisted, "Don't be ridiculous! I think I would know before you, if I were in labour!"

Ava raised one brow and smirked as she asked, "Oh really? Do you have another kid somewhere that we don't know about? I was under the impression that this was your first. Lonnie had two pregnancies but both were stillborn; they weren't Rath's, either, which she loved to throw in his face, a lot.

When she was in labour, she was ravenously hungry but couldn't keep anything down and she was extremely irritable. Do those symptoms sound familiar?"

Isabel scowled and complained, "Thanks for that horror story, Ava! Like I haven't been freaked out enough! I want this baby and now you're telling me that it's gonna be stillborn! That's just great!"

Ava gasped and quickly reassured, "No, no, I'm sorry! I didn't tell you enough details! Lonnie didn't take care of herself and she did a bunch of stuff trying to miscarry because she didn't want to take care of and I quote "any crying, stinking, needy brats".

She said they were stillborn but only her and Rath know for sure, since he delivered them. I only meant to explain how I knew what labour for us looked like but why there are no babies or children in my previous crew."

Isabel's mouth had dropped open and her eyes widened in disbelief as she declared, "That is horrific! How could Lonnie be so malevolent toward her own babies? Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-choice for sure but I always assume it's a heart wrenching decision for any woman to be faced with. I don't know how she can be my genetic copy and be that different from me; be that callous and indifferently depraved. It's mind boggling."

Ava shrugged and admitted, "I ask myself that about Tess, all the time, just from the few things you all have told me about her. I mean, from what I've heard about your friend Alex, seems like he might have agreed to translate the book if she'd just sincerely asked him to. Although, he probably couldn't have done it, on his own, as quickly as she forced him to."

Isabel's eyes watered and she tersely warned Ava, "I know you aren't Tess, but my brain cannot handle her face speaking his name, right now, so just don't, okay? As to the symptoms, if it's the same for all of us, then, I think I really might be in labour, after all. How long does it take? What am I supposed to do? What does a newborn one of us need?"

Ava shrugged and shook her head as she answered, "From the first time she threw up, both times until the babies were born was about ten hours. As for what happens once the baby is born, I really wouldn't know what our babies need, any differently from fully human babies, if anything."

Isabel nodded then was pensive for a moment before she shared, "I threw up just before lunch and by lunch time I was starving again so I ate lunch and that came right back up, as well. Dinner was the same. First time was eight hours and loose change ago? So if things go as they did for Lonnie, I could be holding my baby in just under two hours?"

Ava nodded, offered a small smile and confirmed, "Yes. Lonnie did brag that giving birth was pretty easy and practically painless compared to enduring breeding pains, so you don't need to worry about that. Human women have it far worse, in terms of labour and delivery pains."

Isabel frowned and asked in alarm, "I'm sorry, what? Breeding pains? What is that?"

Ava winced and said quietly, "I didn't mean to mention that. I don't know if there is a correct term for it or not, that's just what Rath called it and it stuck. Basically, it's the urge to get pregnant. It's excruciating.

As far as I know, we won't die from it, if we don't get pregnant but it can make the three days it lasts for, feel like an eternity. That's why Lonnie got pregnant the second time; she couldn't stand the pain anymore.

It happens about three times a year, so once every four months or so. Zan tried to be good to me each time it happened to me but we knew it was never the right time for me to have a baby.

Right after they'd killed him, they threatened me in advance, that if I was stupid enough to get myself knocked up, during my next breeding pains, which they knew I was due for, that they would do whatever it took to make me miscarry.

I left them before the pains came back. Every time it's happened, since then, I was by myself and I just curled up into a ball, doing only enough to stay alive, waiting for the pain to end. The last time, was just before you invited me to join you guys. I'm already dreading the next one, in a bit less than three months. I guess you've never had it?"

Isabel suddenly gasped and blurted out, "I self-diagnosed a kidney infection! And I couldn't get enough sex from Jesse! I put myself on antibiotics, which is probably what made my pill fail. Oh my God, that was about five weeks ago. Was that it then, did I have breeding pains?"

Ava nodded and surmised, "Sounds like it. When we have an existent mate, we tend to turn to them first but if we're turned down or if we're alone or not bonded to just one mate, yet, then the urge to engage in coital sex with any nearby virile male, can be really hard to overcome, but I'm living proof that it's not impossible.

I wonder sometimes if the pain is to keep us stationary so that if there is baby making imminent it will most likely be with our own mate; ensures our mate will get first dibs on being the father or something. I had way too much time to think about this, the last time I went through it, apparently."

Kyle looked deeply concerned and he offered Ava his sympathy, "Wow. That sounds really bad. I'm sorry you went through that, all alone. So, you're saying this will eventually happen to Isabel, and to you, again, too?"

Ava nodded and confirmed, "Yeah. According to Lonnie, it's worse after you have the first baby. I can't even imagine that. Maybe it's just as well, I'm unlikely to ever have kids. I did want them someday but that dream died with Zan. I miss him, more than I expected to and for more reasons than I was initially aware."

Isabel asked, "The first time it happened to Lonnie, how did you guys even know what was going on?"

Ava answered, "We remembered that in our lives before, when we lived on Antar, there was a breeding readiness indicator but we didn't remember anything specific about it, until it happened to us here; the pain seems to have been what triggered our more detailed memories of it. Do you have any memories of life on Antar, at all, Isabel?"

Isabel shook her head and replied, "No. Just Vilondra's relationship with Khivar, nothing about the planet, the culture, what anyone looked like, nor what everyday life was like, either."

Ava concurred, "All my memories seem to develop on a need to know basis, so I don't have planet, culture or daily life memories, either. Zan's memories were more detailed but he didn't like talking about it and I respected him, too much to pressure him about sharing. He did mention something about special plants and flowers, to me, once but the details are too hazy, now. Sorry."

Isabel sighed and assured her, "It's okay, Ava. Sorry for grouching at you. Can I blame it on hormo- oh dear Lord! Go get Liz! My water just broke!"

Ninety-eight minutes later, Liz announced excitedly, "It's a boy, Isabel and he's absolutely perfect!"

Isabel was crying and laughing at her son's first cries and as she held him for the first time, she greeted him, "Well, hello there, Alexander Esteban Ramirez! I'm your Mommy! Welcome to the world, my sweet, precious boy!"

Max, Liz, Maria, Isabel and baby Alex drove to Bend, Oregon together, the very next morning, while Kyle, Michael and Ava stayed behind, in Moab to do more work on the second vehicle.

Once Isabel and the baby had been settled in the four bedroom, split level rental, that Max had procured for them, it was decided that Liz and Maria would make the thirteen hour drive back to Moab, Utah, at first light, to pick up the other three.

Max was chosen to stay with Isabel and the baby because of his healing abilities, just in case. Also, just in case Isabel or the baby needed anything, Max had bought himself a gently used, previously owned bicycle, so that he could go get them whatever they needed, in a timely fashion.

Liz and Maria took turns driving to Moab, then they left again immediately with Kyle and Michael taking turns driving the five of them, to their new, temporary home in Bend.

Isabel shared a bedroom with the baby. Kyle had his own room. Ava had her own room. Max and Liz had the master bedroom. Michael and Maria were relegated to the finished basement for their sleeping quarters, basically to have them as physically far away from the other bedrooms, as possible.

Max had looked specifically for a home with a two car garage so that they could finish building the second vehicle in secrecy.

Both the house and the garage needed some deep cleaning and minor fixing up, so Max had gotten permission for immediate occupancy, as well as a reduction on the rent, in exchange for doing most of the repairs and cosmetic improvements, himself.

Max also suggested to the landlord that implementing sound dampening, in the basement, would make the property more appealing to future renters and/or buyers. The landlord gave him the green light to do the work and that ensured everyone's happiness, while the second vehicle was being made road ready. At least, that was the plan.

TBC ...
~FM :)
I'm also a moderator at Roswell Ardor fan fiction forum.


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