Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)149-6/3/18

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ArchAngel1973
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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)133-10/3/15

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:10 pm

keepsmiling7: Maria’s dad was never dealt with, in the show, it’s a big mystery. We can go wherever we want, with him.

Eva: Everything seems to fall into place, that’s how it should be. Especially since they are soon to embark on a new journey; the end of high school and life in Roswell.


Part 133

Michael squinted against the weak sunlight filtering through the clouds as he applied the brakes and brought the ATV to a stop. The desert air was arid and while the temperatures had only climbed to the mid-fifties they were beginning their downward descent as afternoon edged into early evening. He shut the engine down and took his helmet off, hooking it over one of the handlebars and shifting around to lean back against them to prop his booted feet on the rear fenders.

He grabbed the radio from the clip on his belt and checked in with the others, not surprised when they came back with nothing to report. He waved to get Max’s attention and before long the other guy pulled up alongside him. Max cut the engine and pulled his helmet off, running a hand through his dark hair before shifting around and placing the helmet on the rear rack. He shook his head and brought his right knee up, resting it on the seat and looking around the desert landscape.

“You don’t really think about just how big the desert is until you get out here.”

“Don’t get discouraged, man.” Michael closed his eyes behind his sunglasses as he drew in the dry air. “That cave’s out here somewhere. We’ll find it.”

“Yeah, I know. I guess I was just hoping it’d be a little easier with six of us working on locating it. I don’t even know why it’s such a big deal, but…” he shrugged it off.

“Doesn’t really matter why. You wanna find it, we’re gonna find it.”

And with that said the subject was closed and they moved on to talking about sports and girls. Over the past couple of months they had spent a lot of time together, especially on their weekend outings since their girlfriends had quickly decided to pair up. That decision had been argued initially because they hadn’t really been interested in being stuck together for an entire day and they’d used every argument they could think of; the girls could get lost, they could get into trouble and be unable to protect themselves, they didn’t know what they were looking for, and on and on. None of those arguments had helped their case. Quite the opposite in fact, since rather than getting their way they’d ended up with two pissed off girlfriends because they’d called all of their abilities into question.

It had been a great start to their search. It hadn’t helped that Isabel had insisted on siding with the girls because arguing against her was a waste of time and effort. Of course, the battle of the sexes had managed to bring the three girls closer, and Alex, traitor that he was to the male of the species, had just sat back and watched with an amused expression on his face while the girls got their way.

As the weeks had passed Michael had found himself enjoying their company and coming to respect the strengths that they each possessed. He had invited Max and Isabel over for dinner a couple of weeks back and they had accepted. Mom had thankfully kept things low key and even shocked him by asking him to invite Maria out too. Things on that front seemed to be thawing and he was immensely grateful for that. He didn’t know if it was because he’d finally sent his college applications in or if Dad was just wearing her down. To be honest, he didn’t really care as long as she accepted that Maria was in his life to stay.

He was still stalling on the college conversation, doing his best to put it off until after they had a chance to get to San Francisco and firm up their plans. Spring Break afforded them the perfect opportunity to get away without revealing their true intentions and at Maria’s suggestion they had talked to the others and decided to make it a group outing. It turned out that Alex and Isabel had both applied to Berkeley and it would give them a chance to tour the campus and check out housing. Max and Liz were just looking forward to getting away together and he wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t see a whole lot of each other as a group that week.

Max and Isabel’s parents were excited at the prospect of their daughter going to the college of her choice and they couldn’t be more pleased about their children’s significant others. Mr. Evans had even offered to speak to one of his friends, an old college roommate, about leasing his beach house for Spring Break because the family wouldn’t be using it until closer to summer. He couldn’t say Mom was very excited about him going off to San Francisco for a week, but she had agreed to let him go without a single argument.

It might have had something to do with Maggie and her two best friends announcing their plans to spend Spring Break in Corpus Christi at Shyanne’s invitation. They were spending the first half of the week in Austin because Linda was interested in going to college there and Shyanne’s fiancé Nick had promised to show their boyfriends a good time. Boyfriends that not all of their parents knew were going. It was okay though. He knew and he’d make sure they were properly warned before heading off to spend a week tubing the rivers and hitting the beaches with the girls, he thought with an internal smirk.

“… you think?”

He shook himself when he realized Max was talking. “What?”

Max turned his head to look at him, wondering if Michael had been dozing while he was talking. “I said, have you ever given much thought to the way we ended up? I mean, you in one direction with me and Isabel in another? I wanted to know what you think about that.”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe you guys came outta the pods first, maybe I followed and got spooked when your parents’ car pulled over. Does it matter?”

“I just wonder sometimes if she was supposed to be with you.”

Michael frowned. “What?”

“You guys are a lot alike.” He picked at a loose thread on the worn knee of his jeans, not lifting his head as he looked at Michael. “I know you’ve noticed it.”

“Be kinda hard to miss. Tell you what, Maggie’s got dark hair, kinda has a temperament like yours, so if you want we’ll just trade.” He smirked when that got a reaction out of the guy. “I’m kiddin’, Max. Chill out, okay? My point is me an’ Maggie, we don’t share the same blood but that doesn’t make her any less my sister. And no, I wouldn’t give her up for anything. Same thing with you an’ Isabel. I’m not interested in proving one way or the other that me an’ Isabel are related. Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t.”

“She thinks you are, y’know?”

He shrugged. “So? It’s not gonna change the dynamic of your relationship. You’ve got twelve years together under your belt and I’ve got the same with Maggie. If she wants to claim me as her brother I’m not gonna try to stop her. I’ve talked to my sister about it and it took some time but she’s okay with it. She knows I’m not goin’ anywhere. She’ll be in college on the east coast and I might be livin’ on the west coast, maybe with Isabel close by, but she finally understands that there’s no threat to our relationship.”

Max snorted. “Yeah, the two of you are so alike it’s scary.” He shifted, mimicking Michael’s position. “You do realize she’s gonna be a pain in the ass, right?”

“That girl’s already a pain in the ass. Whitman must have a high tolerance for insanity because no matter how much she dishes out he’s there to take it.”

“Yeah, I tried warnin’ him but he wouldn’t listen. I’m glad though. She’s changed a lot since he’s been around and he’s gotten past walls no one else has even dared to get close to.” He smirked. “See? Just like you.”

“Yeah, well…” he trailed off, not really knowing what to say to that. “So how long have they been together?”

“For a while, not that she’d admit it. Alex became a part of the secret and no matter how hard she pushed he wouldn’t back off. I’m not really sure if she’s even realized they’re together. It’ll happen sooner or later and she’ll make it official.” She had to be the one to make that move and Alex seemed to know that.

Michael rolled his eyes. “They’re lookin’ at goin’ to the same college and she’s still keepin’ the guy at a distance?”

“Isabel doesn’t let people in often or easily… ever really. The fact that he’s not only been given that access but that she goes out in public with him says a lot.”

“Yeah, well, plantin’ one on her would say a lot too. What’s the guy waitin’ for?” He didn’t get it. Sometimes you had to just put your intentions out there if you wanted a girl to pay attention.

“I think Alex is waitin’ for her to come to him.” He smiled when Michael grumbled under his breath before sitting up. “I guess we should get back to the others,” he said as he followed suit. It was another Saturday where they’d searched the desert and come up empty-handed where the cave was concerned, but not so empty in other areas. Michael’s responses to his questions about Isabel had helped ease his mind. He wasn’t losing a sister, he was gaining a brother, he realized as he put his helmet back on. He jumped when Michael suddenly smacked the helmet, jarring him, and he turned to glare at him.

“Race ya back,” Michael challenged as he slapped his visor into place and revved the engine.

Max smirked and shook his head as he quickly settled into position and took off after him. No matter what he called him – friend or brother, he enjoyed hanging out with him and he loved competing against him. There was no halfway with Michael. If he put a challenge out there he would do everything in his power to win. So anytime Max won he knew it hadn’t been given to him. Their girlfriends would roll their eyes and shake their heads at them but then they’d look at each other with that expression that was somewhere between amusement and disbelief at their antics and congratulate the winner. The loser always bought the winner’s lunch the next time they were all together, but they kept it on the cheap side since they were all saving for their week in California.

The wind was growing colder but as he raced to catch up with Michael he didn’t even feel it. He was only concerned with catching up with him and then passing him before they reached the others. As soon as they hit a flat area he surged forward and he grinned when Michael shook his head and did his best to hold onto the lead.

*****

“Aaaaaaaalex.”

He turned at the sound of the girls’ calling his name from down the hall. They were standing next to Maria’s locker and he grinned as he approached them. The Valentine’s Day cupcake was tradition after all these years and thanks to them he still had a great love for all things chocolate.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, ladies,” he said as he presented each of them with a card he’d handpicked at the store. He waited patiently while they opened them, reading every word and gushing over it before hugging him like their lives depended on it.

Liz gave him the card and Maria withdrew the clear plastic container that held one of her mom’s chocolate death creations. He could feel himself salivating as he stared at it while trying hard to focus on the words inside the card. The girls were always more elegant in their prose while he usually settled for some witty one-liner before scrawling out a Happy Valentine’s Day and his name.

“Looks like Alex is still the biggest girl in school.”

The sneering voice went ignored as he finally succeeded in reading the card. “If either of you sacrifices that cupcake to get back at her you’re gonna ruin my whole day.”

“Don’t worry, Alex,” Liz said with a smile, “I wouldn’t come between our favorite chocolate junkie and his addiction. Besides, I’m leaving in a few months for college and all Pam’s gonna have is her job at the cheese factory.” Satisfaction rolled through her at the sharply indrawn breath taken by her nemesis as she turned and hurried away. The truth hurts, she thought without an ounce of remorse.

“Well, ladies, thank you for the card and the entertainment,” he grinned as he accepted the container, “and especially for this beautiful concoction.”

Maria looked up when the warning bell sounded. “We’d better get to class.”

He chuckled when the girls gave him another round of hugs and wished him good luck. He had just enough time to hurry to his locker and put the container away so he could enjoy it at lunch. He reached inside for the rose he had carefully selected from his mom’s garden that morning. It was perfect in every way; full, deep red petals, the leaves a healthy shade of green. He closed his locker and snapped the padlock closed, spinning the dial before hefting his backpack on his left shoulder and heading for his first class of the day.

Since the third grade he’d left his anonymous rose on Isabel’s desk in whatever class they shared first, waiting and hoping to see it garner a genuine smile. Nine roses had been sacrificed in his mission to put that one special smile on her face and each time he’d been crushed by her response. This was their final year of high school and the rose he held was his tenth attempt at drawing her out. And he was about to take the biggest risk of all.

Isabel walked into class and felt the eyes of her classmates zero in on her. She frowned and did a quick check of her appearance before heading for her desk. She forced herself to keep going, to ignore the blank surface that was waiting for her. Disappointment settled heavily inside of her as she slid into her seat and carefully placed her textbook on the desk.

She could hear the hurried footsteps of students in the hall as they rushed to beat the second bell and after a few moments conversation around her began to buzz again. She opened the front cover of her textbook and flipped through the pages until she found the chapter they had been studying. She’d become so accustomed to seeing that rose lying on her desk every Valentine’s Day. She had no right to expect it; she knew that, not after the way she’d reacted to them year after year.

She tossed her hair back over her shoulder and drew her shoulders back. She picked her pencil up and worked on one of the problems while she was waiting for class to start. The sensation that always accompanied the knowledge that she was being watched suddenly rose up inside of her and as she glanced around without lifting her head she realized the room had gone silent again.

Annoyance began to build but before an acceptable response could form, movement directly in front of her caught her attention and she shifted her gaze. Her eyes locked on the stem of a flower and she slowly lifted her head, following it up past the fingers gently gripping it to the leaves and settling on the unblemished velvety soft petals. Her breath caught in her throat and hope rose within her as she finally dared to lift her gaze.

Alex had never cared for being the center of attention and this was no different, but after all the years of anonymity he knew it was time to step out of the shadows and make his intentions known. He could feel the disbelieving stares locked on him, could hear the intermittent derisive comments uttered by some of the jocks who couldn’t believe how far he’d overstepped his bounds with his gesture.

But that all fell away the moment her gaze collided with his; the comments, the disbelieving silence, even the room and the people around them. It all disappeared because as he watched, the smile he’d been waiting ten years for suddenly graced her features and he felt like he’d lost the ability to breathe.

Isabel’s gaze dropped for a moment to rest on the rose, staring at it as she slowly slid off of her seat and stood to face him directly. She’d wanted it to be Alex and she hadn’t even realized it until she walked into class and the rose was absent from its expected spot. She’d kept her growing attraction to him close to her heart, fostering it, protecting it, waiting for the right moment to finally admit it to him.

In the months they had spent together, getting to know each other, he’d never asked more of her than she was willing to give. He’d gently nudged and given the occasional push, wanting her to demand more of herself, wanting her to be the person he’d somehow known she was capable of being. She knew he was attracted to her, knew he wanted more, but in spite of that he’d never once pushed for more.

“All these years,” she murmured softly. “It was you.”

He shrugged one shoulder and smiled.

“Why? After what I did why’d you keep doing it year after year?”

Neither of them noticed that their classmates were nearly falling out of their seats as they strained to catch bits and pieces of the quiet conversation, filing away any information they could get so they could be the first to hit the gossip grapevine with it.

“Because since the first day I saw you I’ve been waitin’ to see that smile,” he whispered as his thumb grazed her lower lip. “I didn’t understand why you hardly ever smiled and I wanted so badly to make you smile.”

It wouldn’t have mattered to him if she ever knew he was the one who had left the roses. She knew without asking that he never would’ve said anything. That’s just the way he was, wanting to do something for others but never bothering to take credit for it. She thought about every time she’d shredded the roses and probably stomped his poor heart into the ground. “I’m so sorry.”

He shook his head. “Don’t be, it was worth the wait.”

“Alex – “

A chair scraped against the floor, the annoying sound intruding on the moment and he cleared his throat lightly. “We’ve got an audience so maybe we should continue this later.”

The words were spoken so quietly she knew no one else could’ve heard them. Even now he was prepared to step back and give her time to save face with their classmates. She appreciated it but she was finally ready to admit the truth that had been staring her in the face for some time now. He wasn’t like any other guy she’d ever known. He wasn’t afraid to call her on the carpet when her behavior crossed the line, he was honest with her, and he treated her with respect.

Isabel took a step closer, feeling the change in his breathing as her hands glided over his chest to rest on his shoulders. “Let them look.” She didn’t generally care for public displays of affection but for this she was making an exception. She’d publicly dismissed him and humiliated him on more than one occasion and she wasn’t going to treat this like something that needed to be kept hidden, like she was ashamed of him or her feelings for him.

His hands settled at her sides and he let her decide how she wanted this to play out. If Isabel Evans was going to kiss him right there in the middle of their History class, well, he wasn’t going to try to talk her out of it. He leaned in slightly and she closed the distance between them. Somewhere in the room there was a loud thud as something hit the floor, textbook, a shocked classmate, he didn’t know, but a heartbeat later it was forgotten in favor of memorizing every sensation of their first kiss.

A throat clearing accompanied by an insistent finger poking into his back that refused to be ignored finally forced them to pull apart and he turned his head, ready to tell off whoever it was. He swallowed that thought and forced a smile when he saw their History teacher standing there.

“Oh, uh… Mr. Tate.”

“If the two of you don’t mind taking your seats I’ll get class started and we’ll get you an hour closer to your Valentine’s Day date.” He smiled and motioned to their desks before turning to move to the chalkboard.

“There will be a date, Isabel Evans,” Alex whispered, squeezing her hand as he passed her to take his seat.

She smiled as she slid into her desk, bringing the rose up so she could inhale its sweet scent. The silky petals brushed against her lips making them tingle as she let her thoughts drift back to the kiss she had just shared with Alex. She turned her head slightly to glance at him and he gave her a grin as he mouthed the word, ‘tonight.’

She just nodded before facing front again and pretending to pay attention to what Mr. Tate was saying. Her mind was nowhere near the lesson though; already busy planning what she was going to wear on her date. She was oblivious to the hushed comments being tossed around when the teacher had his back to the class. She had finally realized that it didn’t matter what most people thought about her or what they said about her. What mattered was what the people who mattered to her thought and said because in the end the opinion of anyone else wasn’t going to make a difference in her life.

Her thoughts drifted back to her wardrobe as she ran through the acceptable possibilities. Not that it mattered of course. She could easily use her powers to create something that would blow his mind. She smiled as she pictured the perfect outfit. Red, she decided, and it had absolutely nothing to do with it being Valentine’s Day. She’d noticed the way he looked at her anytime she wore red and it was a color she wore very well.

She had no idea where they would go or what they would do, but Alex was a gentleman through and through so she knew he’d have something planned before he picked her up. Her fingertips traced over the rose petals as she imagined the night ahead of them. Six months ago she wouldn’t have been able to picture this scenario in her wildest imaginings and now she was looking forward to going out with Alex Whitman with more anticipation than she ever could’ve imagined.

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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)133-10/3/

Postby Eva » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:59 am

Ohhh, what a sweet moment. It was so totally an Alex and Isabel moment. You captured them well.

Max and Michael had "the" talk and it went like it should've. I really like this mature Michael. I already said it a thousand times but I'm going to repeat it: this Michael is really awsome. He still carries his flows and his positive things inside him but he's so much stronger. The love of his family makes him standing very secure in his life, with his two feet on the ground.
Take a look at Eva's world[/center]

keepsmiling7
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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)133-10/3/

Postby keepsmiling7 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:55 pm

Good part.
Thanks,
Carolyn

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)134-10/18/15

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:01 pm

Eva: Yes, that was the goal of the fic, to have a still canon Michael but with a happy family with no contact with the other Roswellians; what would he have become? So pleased that you like our answer to that question.

keepsmiling7: Thanks for reading!


Part 134

Michael ate breakfast in record time and hurried through his morning chores. Maggie kept pace with him, eager to be finished so they could get on the road. School had let out early the day before, freeing them for Spring Break. In spite of the plans they had made with their friends to hit the road that afternoon the parents had collectively overruled them. As far as they were concerned, Spring Break destinations could wait until the kids were well rested and ready for the long drive ahead of them.

They ran in the house as soon as they were done, kicking their boots off and rushing down the hall. They had agreed to hit the showers and get ready without wasting any time and he just rolled his eyes when Maggie informed him that she’d be ready before he was.

“Yeah, roll your eyes all you want.” She shook her head as she turned to duck into her room. “Just don’t get hung up in another one of those parental lectures or we’re gonna be late.”

He had every intention of avoiding that if he could help it. It was part of the reason they had all agreed to meet at the Tribal Office. They had both been subjected to those painfully uncomfortable talks the night before and he wasn’t interested in rehashing it. He appreciated that Mom and Dad were concerned and that they were able to sit down and have these kinds of talks if they were needed, but enough was enough.

He grabbed what he needed from the bathroom before Maggie took it over and he used their parents’ bathroom to grab his shower. Dad was waiting for him when he got back to his room and he paused for a moment before walking in and tossing his dirty clothes in the basket by the door.

“Looks like you’re just about ready,” John commented, carefully schooling his features to hide his amusement at the look on his son’s face.

“Yeah.” He crossed the room to pound on the bathroom door with his fist.

“Can I help you?” Maggie asked when she jerked the door open.

“Yeah,” he said with a jerky nod at their dad, “hurry up or we’re gonna be late.”

Under normal circumstances she would’ve been quick to remind him that if anyone was going to make them late it was going to be him, but in this case she nodded and let it go. “Be ready in five.”

“You ready for this?”

Michael grabbed a shirt out of his closet. “Dad,” he complained, his voice muffled as he pulled the shirt over his head.

“It’s a long drive.”

Oh, that. He shrugged. “Well, if there hadn’t been a parental uprising we’d be more than halfway there by now.”

John just chuckled. “You’ll understand one day when your kids want to head out for a long drive and you want to make sure they’re ready for it.” He watched his boy as he sat down to pull on his socks and shoes before checking his bag one more time. “Got everything?”

Michael tugged on the zipper to close the bag as he nodded. He knew Dad had seen the box of condoms a couple of nights ago when he’d been packing his bag and without a doubt he knew that’s what he was asking about.

“I know you love her,” he said as he stood and moved to face his boy. “Just remember that respect goes hand in hand with love.” He reached out to rest a hand on Michael’s shoulder to get his attention. “Remember to listen to her and don’t ignore the signals she sends. Women can be confusing when sex isn’t a factor so just make sure you’re on the same page.” He squeezed his son’s shoulder. “And enjoy yourselves while you’re away. Just remember how you were raised.”

He rolled his eyes affectionately and hugged his dad when he pulled him closer for a moment before letting him go.

“Alright, let’s get moving before you’re late.” He picked up the bag sitting on the bed and ushered his son out of his room.

Maggie was enduring her own list of last-minute instructions and based on the pained look on her face Michael knew he wasn’t the only one suffering from a case of parental advice overdose. He grabbed her bags – because the girl could not be gone for a single day without several bags – and bumped her with his shoulder as he passed her. “Clock’s tickin’,” he muttered.

Catherine met her daughter’s gaze. “I’m serious, Maggie,” she continued once Michael was out of earshot. “Intimacy isn’t something to be taken lightly and no matter how careful you are there’s always a risk and I’m not just talking about getting pregnant. There are consequences that are even riskier.”

“Mom,” she whined, “we’ve had this talk and I’m aware of the risks.” Having a mother who worked in the medical field meant that conversation and been VERY informative.

She sighed quietly and studied her daughter’s features as she reached up to frame her face in her hands. “I just don’t want to see you jeopardize your future, honey. You’re on the verge of stepping out into life…”

“Mom,” Maggie wrapped her hands around the older woman’s wrists, “I’m only gonna be gone for a week.”

“I know and I want you to enjoy yourself.”

“Just not too much, right?” she teased. “C’mon, Mom, it’s me we’re talkin’ about here.”

“Young men can be very persuasive.” Her eyes twinkled mirthfully. “Trust me, I know all about that.”

“Okay, if you’re talkin’ about Dad that’s just gross.”

“I’m talking about men in general.”

Maggie’s gaze drifted to her brother and she watched him as he tossed their bags into the back of Linda’s jeep. She had no idea what he’d had to agree to or give up, to get his hands on it for the week, but he seemed accepting of their deal. She chewed on her thumbnail as she organized the thoughts in her head.

“What is it, Maggie?” Catherine asked when she recognized the signs that indicated the teenager was working up the nerve to say something.

“Things are just changing so fast. College acceptance letters will be mailed out in the next few weeks and it won’t be long after that me an’ Michael will be moving out, probably going in opposite directions.”

“We’ll still see each other, sweetie.”

“Will we? Me, yeah, you’ll still see me because I wanna make a life here for myself after graduating.”

“Even if your brother finds something that makes him happy and it takes him in a different direction we’ll still see him. The most important thing is that he’s happy.”

“I wonder.” She sighed. “He’s found someone who makes him happy, Mom, and I know you’ve eased up on them, but it scares me to think that one day he might not come back. Not because he catches an intergalactic ride or because he’s too busy to make time, but because you push him too far into a corner and he feels like he has to choose.”

“Honey, you and Michael – “

She shook her head, cutting her mother off before she could finish. “It’s not my relationship with him that I’m worried about. Me an’ Michael, we’re solid and nothing’s gonna come between us.”

“Has he said something to you to make you think – “

“He doesn’t have to. Michael’s never been a big conversationalist but haven’t you noticed that he’s been in his own head more than normal? You accepted Maria once you saw how much he cares about her and you welcomed her into our home, but ever since he chased after that sighting and she went with him it’s like you’ve been trying to find fault with her. I don’t know, maybe even before that. He got into that fight with Dakota after Kai’s ceremony and you made it sound like it was somehow because of her.” She waved her brother off when he gestured impatiently for her to hurry up. “You guys have always taught us to be fair and tolerant, to treat people with respect, to give them a chance even if we didn’t necessarily agree with them, but it’s like you’ve tossed all those lessons out the window where Maria’s concerned.”

Catherine shifted her gaze, watching her son as he fidgeted restlessly. He was ready to go and his patience was wearing thin.

“I know you’re trying, Mom, but please try harder.” She shrugged one shoulder. “I know things change and so do people and I’m okay with change. I just want our family to be strong enough to grow with those changes. Remember how you always told us that we have to stand for what we believe in? That we had to understand there would be times when the difference between knowing we were right and digging our heels in and refusing to see someone else was right was simply a matter of taking a step back? You said we had to know when to bend and when to let go because if our only foundation was foolish pride we’d eventually crack under the pressure.” She smiled and hugged her mom. “It’s time to bend, Mom. And it’s time for me to go before he leaves me here.” She backed away. “I love you.” She hurried to hug her dad when he stepped out on the porch. “I love you too, Dad.”

John hugged her tightly. “Behave yourself and have a good time.”

Michael straightened up when Mom approached him, hoping she wasn’t about to say something that would start the trip off on the wrong foot. “Mom.”

“Make sure you stop every three or four hours to stretch your legs. And when you kids stop for the night don’t sit up half the night. Get plenty of rest and make sure you don’t eat a bunch of junk food.” She held a tin out to him and he pried the lid off to look inside, smiling as the scent of her homemade cornbread wafted up to tease his nostrils.

“Can’t get this anywhere else,” he said as he replaced the lid and snapped it into place. “Thanks.” He leaned over to wedge it between his bag and the seat.

“I guess I’m gonna have to share the recipe with Maria and make sure she knows how to make it.” She leaned in to hug him.

“Mom,” he complained when she held on. He wrapped his arms around her when she didn’t release him. “It’s just a week.”

She nodded and moved back, reaching up to frame his face in her hands. “I love you and I just want what’s best for you.”

He nodded slowly. “I know.”

Did he? A sheen of moisture caused her vision to swim as she studied his downcast expression. “You kids have a good time and you and Maria…” she could see the tension that immediately settled over him and she suddenly saw the situation with a clarity she’d refused to acknowledge before. “You two know what’s right for you. Just be safe, Michael, for you and Maria.”

His surprised gaze shot up and collided with hers. He was struck speechless and if not for his sister climbing into the passenger’s seat and pressing the horn there was no telling how long he might have stood there.

“Love you too, Mom,” he said gruffly and gave her a quick hug before climbing in behind the wheel to start the engine. He shot a look at his sister as he backed out of the driveway. “What were you an’ Mom talkin’ about?”

“Last minute advice about men.” She rolled her eyes as she buckled her seatbelt. “The sex talk was bad enough the first time I had to sit through it and the refresher course wasn’t any better.”

He snickered and waved at their parents as they drove past the house. “Guess it’s probably worse for girls than it is for guys.”

“Ya think?”

“Hell, no.” He made a turn at the stop sign.

“Really? I think pregnancy tips the scales in favor of the female population.” Amusement lit her features up as she started to laugh.

“What?” he asked warily. It was never good when she laughed like that.

“I was just thinking how hilarious it’d be if Antarian men were the ones who got pregnant.”

“Yeah,” he muttered dryly, “that’s a riot.”

“Male pregnancy doesn’t seem to work out so well for the alien giving birth though. You remember Enemy Mine? Yeah, so when you and Maria get around to having kids I think you should just do it the old fashioned Earthling way.”

He shot a glare at her. “If I remember correctly, the alien in the movie was also asexual. Not the case here.”

“I was actually talkin’ about the whole girl getting pregnant thing, not the…” she made a face at him, “sex thing.”

Michael shuddered as the birth scene from that movie flashed before his eyes. Not only had it not worked out well for the alien giving birth, that whole scene had just been gross. And disturbing on too many levels to count. “Thanks for the imagery.”

She just grinned at him without an ounce of remorse. “So, you guys are stayin’ overnight in Arizona?”

“Yeah, in Kingman. About ten hours, give or take.” He smirked. “About two hours longer than it takes to get to Austin and we’ll still be there first.”

“Whatever. You guys are taking three cars so it’s gonna take you three times longer at every stop for gas, bathroom breaks, food, and whatever else. Better make that five times longer because not only do you have three girls, one of them is Isabel.”

“Yeah, and there are three guys goin’ too.” He shook his head at her. “We’ve already factored all of that in. The situation’s under control. We’ll be at the hotel by six tonight.”

“Yeah, okay.” Her tone clearly said she thought he was full of hot air. “At six o’clock tonight we’ll already be having dinner.”

He snorted. “What, that alligator tail Nick threatened to feed you?”

“He swears it tastes like chicken.”

He pulled up in front of the Tribal Office where everyone from Maggie’s group and only part of his group was already waiting for them. “Lemme know how that goes.”

“You’re just jealous because you wanted to try it,” she said as she opened her door and dropped to the ground.

“I’m sure California has it too.”

“What’s California got?” Max asked from the drivers’ side of his jeep.

“Gator tail,” Maggie answered with a smile. “Nick’s taking us to some restaurant in Austin that makes it.”

“Tastes like chicken.” He shrugged when they stopped pulling her bags out to look at him. “I’ve had it before.”

“Where’s Maria?” Michael asked as he shoved one of the bags over to his sister.

“She called and said she was running late and since Isabel operates in her own time zone she was runnin’ late too, Maria said she was catching a ride out with her and Alex.”

He shook his head in annoyance. “Are you serious?” He stopped what he was doing to look at Max.

“I tried to tell you it wouldn’t matter if we dummied up the schedule.”

“Whitman said he understood the importance of getting here on time.”

“And I tried to tell both of you that it wasn’t gonna work. There’s no such thing as rushing her.” He smirked. “No matter how much you plan in advance, if she’s got it in her head that she’s not gonna rush…” he shook his head, “she’s not gonna rush.”

“What was that you were sayin’ about getting to Kingman before we get to Austin?” Maggie asked as she hopped up to sit on the tailgate while Jesse and Cameron pushed and shoved the other bags around so they could squeeze her stuff in. She rolled her eyes when they managed to move the entire load and she heard Morgan muttering from inside the vehicle about how girls had no idea how to pack for a simple week away from home.

“Care to make a bet on that?”

Oh, he couldn’t admit he’d been beaten even when it was glaringly obvious. “Fine, if you just have to have something to help you remember how you lost… loser does all barn chores for a month.”

“No problem.”

“Um, Michael?” Liz cleared her throat. “It’s gonna easily take at least two hours longer to drive to Kingman than it is to drive to Austin. Then you have to factor in the additional time it’ll take with our three vehicles versus their one.” She made a face and shrugged when he pinned her with an annoyed glare. “I’m just sayin’.”

“Yeah, well, don’t.”

“Alright, we’re ready.” Cameron elbowed Maggie to get her off of the tailgate, slamming it shut as soon as she was out of the way.

“Looks like we’re not the only ones pullin’ out late.”

Jesse glanced at his girlfriend. She was involved in a conversation with her best friends so he knew he was safe to speak up. “Nah, we told the girls seven-thirty but we weren’t plannin’ to leave ‘til eight at the earliest.” He high-fived Morgan and Cameron as they passed each other.

“Yeah, well, we did the same thing,” he grumbled under his breath.

“Told you half an hour wasn’t a big enough window when Isabel’s part of the equation.” Max studiously ignored the look being directed at him.

“There they are,” Liz said, relieved when she recognized the car pulling off of the road. At that point she probably could’ve dredged up an enthusiastic response to a bird flying by if it would’ve taken his attention away from them.

“Nice ride,” Maggie commented as she joined them again.

“It’s Dad’s,” Max said as he slouched down in his seat. He loved the weather in New Mexico; even at the end of March it was perfect for driving without the top on the jeep. Their parents had insisted his sister and her boyfriend take Dad’s car because no way was their little girl going to be traveling unless they were almost one hundred percent certain the vehicle wouldn’t pose any problems whatsoever.

“Great way to start the trip,” Alex commented as he pulled up next to Max and got a good look at Michael’s annoyed expression. He glanced at Maria in the rearview mirror. “So glad you’re the one ridin’ with him.”

“He’ll get over it.” And she was off and running with the animated conversation she and Isabel were in the middle of. He shrugged and released his girlfriend’s hand to shift into park, grateful he didn’t have to get out and transfer her multiple bags that were absolutely necessary to the trip into another vehicle. He was fine with leaving them alone until they got to the beach house Philip had made arrangements for them to use on their vacation. Surely she wouldn’t need all of them when they stopped at the hotel that evening.

Their parents had all insisted on meeting when they’d sprung their plans for Spring Break and for the most part it hadn’t been that bad. In spite of their plans to drive straight through to San Francisco the day school let out early for the break their parents had nixed that and decided for safety’s sake an early morning departure the next day would be more acceptable. They’d also nixed their plans to make the trip in one shot, insisting on paying for a motel about halfway to their destination to ensure they didn’t push themselves too hard. Two rooms, of course, one for the guys and one for the girls. Yeah, like they hadn’t seen that one coming.

But, they were all eager to have their parents’ permission for the trip so they’d agreed to their demands. He walked around and opened the girls’ doors for them before heading around to open the back up so Michael could come over and get his girlfriends’ things.

“It’s after eight o’clock,” Michael growled. “You were supposed to be here over half an hour ago. You’re gonna make us late for…” He stared at the girls when they continued to talk over each other, completely involved in whatever asinine thing they were discussing and his back teeth ground together. “Hey! We’re runnin’ behind so shut your traps and get in the car and let’s go!”

“Shut up!”

He drew back when they responded at the same time and at a decibel that was uncalled for.

“Just get in the car and drive, Michael.”

His eyes narrowed at the dismissal when they went right back to talking as if he hadn’t spoken and his annoyance with the situation notched up. His head snapped to the side when Alex cleared his throat and motioned to Maria’s bags. “How many bags do you need for this trip?” he grated out.

“Hey, at least it’s not as much crap as Isabel insisted she needed.” Alex shrugged and waited to see if Michael would collect her bags.

“What took you so long?” He stalked over to the vehicle and snatched up two of the bags. “You said you had everything under control. You said you could have her in the car and headed this way by seven.”

“And I had her in the car by seven.”

“So it’s Maria’s fault you’re late.”

“No, it’s Mr. Evans’ fault we’re late. I thought I’d escaped the conversation where he reminded me that she’s his little girl and if I like my life I’d do well to make sure she returns exactly as she left.” Okay, it hadn’t been quite that bad, but it had felt like it at the time. Besides, if it got him on the other side of Guerin’s mood, he wasn’t above playing the fatherly warning empathy card.

Michael felt some – not all, but some of his annoyance fading at Whitman’s confession. “Yeah, well, that’s to be expected, I guess.” The guy could’ve at least issued the fatherly warnings the night before though. He’d endured his own round of warnings but somehow he had a feeling he’d take Amy’s motherly concern over anyone else’s when it came to being warned about his girlfriend’s safety and care before a long trip. At least she was cool about it; motherly, direct and concerned, but still cool.

“I thought we were running late?” Maria called from where she was leaning against the side of Max’s jeep, taking a brief break from her conversation with Liz and Isabel.

Maggie snickered as she climbed up to sit in the front seat of the vehicle the others were all squeezing into. “Yeah, I’d hate for you to be any later losin’ that bet, big brother.”

Michael dropped Maria’s bags, ignoring her indignant squawk as he walked over towards his sister. “Hey, Jesse, before you go…”

Her eyes widened when he called the other two boys, motioning for them to join him a little ways away from the car. “What is he…? Michael, no!” She rolled her eyes when she realized she sounded like she was scolding a puppy.

“No, Maggie, stop him,” Christina insisted when she realized what was going on. Morgan was not going to appreciate another round of warnings and neither did she.

“Michael Guerin,” Linda yelled as she leaned out through one of the windows, “so help me, if you don’t stop right now I’m gonna rescind the deal and you can walk to Frisco!” She could see the trapped look on Cameron’s face and the last thing she wanted was for him to walk on eggshells around her for the next week because Michael had used his intimidation tactics on him. He waved her off without even looking at her, apparently unfazed by her threat. “Maggie, do something!”

“Okay, look, we knew he was gonna do this and we warned the guys about it.”

“Yeah, Cam looks fine,” Linda grumbled when he nearly tripped over his own feet while shifting under Michael’s intimidating gaze. The longer they stood around here the greater chance there was that someone would notice and her mom would find out that her boyfriend was going too.

Morgan looked like he was ready to run and that was not a good thing. “Okay, that’s it.” Christina shoved the door open and dropped down to the ground. “I’m not gonna have my vacation ruined because your brother has to play his role to the hilt.”

“You guys, you can’t just go over there or he’s only gonna be more difficult. Look, let me handle this.” There was only one surefire method for getting Michael’s attention and it wasn’t going to be any of them that got it. She scrambled out of the vehicle and walked over to Maria. “Hey, can you please do something about this?” she asked, motioning to her brother as he talked to the guys.

Maria bit back a smile at the girl’s pleading tone and she nodded after exchanging a look with Isabel. She sent Maggie back over to join her friends as they headed for Michael.

“Michael, if you keep running your mouth we’re gonna lose our reservations at the hotel and next thing you know we’re gonna have all kinds of parental trouble on our hands,” Isabel said as she came up next to him.

“Can’t you see I’m in the middle of somethin’ here?”

“She’s right, Michael,” Maria agreed from his other side. “Besides, at this rate we’re not gonna make it to our stop for the night until after eight.” She waited, giving him a moment to process that thought. “And from my understanding you and Maggie have a bet riding on who gets to their destination first and they already have an advantage.” Yeah, his sister’s destination was two hours closer and they were all traveling in one vehicle. Nothing was going to change that, no matter how hard they pushed, that was just the reality of the situation. But nothing was going to alter his belief that he could win until his sister and her friends beat them to their destination. And she had no doubt they would.

“Fine,” he bit out as he leveled a look at the three guys doing their best to look like he wasn’t intimidating the hell out of them, “you can go, but don’t forget what I said.” He pointed at his sister and her friends. “Anything happens to any one of them and I’ll hold every single one of you responsible. Don’t forget it.” He narrowed his eyes when they stood rooted to the spot. “Well? Why’re you still standin’ here?” He smirked when the three of them nearly tripped over each other as they scurried back to their girlfriends.

“Wow, could you be any more of a killjoy?” Isabel rolled her eyes at him. “Scaring those poor boys right before sending them off with their girlfriends?”

“That’s right.” He grinned slowly. “I take my role as brother very seriously.”

Her eyes narrowed when he shot a glance at Alex. “No. You don’t say one word to him. No threats, no warnings, no nothing, Michael. Do you understand me?”

Maria rolled her expressive eyes and grabbed his hand, dragging him back over to the waiting cars. “Let’s go before you stick your foot in your mouth and we really get things started on the wrong foot.”

Michael pulled the map from his back pocket and shoved it in her right hand, grabbing the other and practically dragging her over to the jeep. “I’ve already got the route mapped out.” He looked at Isabel when she hurried to catch up. “We’ll take the lead. You guys just keep up.”

“Yeah, okay,” she said, her tone mocking.

He scowled when Maggie leaned out the window when Jesse stopped beside him at her urging. “What’re you doin’?”

She stretched out so she could give him a hug. “Have a good time, Michael.”

“Yeah, you too,” he said gruffly. He released her and nodded. “Get in there and buckle up.” He looked at Jesse. “Take turns drivin’; switch off every couple hours to give yourselves a break.”

“Bye, Michael,” the girls called out at the same time, giving Jesse a reprieve.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” He rapped his knuckles against the side of the vehicle. “Get outta here.”

Big softy, Maria thought with a smile and took his hand again. Everyone settled into their respective vehicles and after a few minutes they pulled out onto the highway. She opened the map up and looked it over. She couldn’t wait to get to San Francisco and spend the next few days exploring the city they would hopefully be living in when autumn rolled around.
Last edited by ArchAngel1973 on Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

keepsmiling7
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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)134-10/11

Postby keepsmiling7 » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:20 pm

another great part,
Thanks,
Carolyn

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ArchAngel1973
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Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:02 pm

Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)135-8/11/16

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:23 pm

keepsmiling7: Thanks for reading!



Part 135

“Oh, my God, Max,” Liz whispered when he leaned out through the open window to punch in the entry code and the wrought iron gate slowly swung inward. “When your dad said he had a friend with a beach house I just thought it would be some nice little place on the beach.”

He grinned at her and glanced over his shoulder to make sure the others were still right behind them. “Dad said the guy’s some big shot trial lawyer in DC.”

“Jeez, maybe I need to rethink my career choice.” She rolled her eyes when he just laughed. “Can you imagine owning a place like this?”

“Yeah, in my wildest dreams.” He parked in the circular drive in front of the steps that led up to the front porch and reached up to flip the visor back as he opened the door. He got out and stretched before going around, opening her door and offering his hand to help her out. He pulled the keys from his front pocket and dangled them in front of her. “You wanna – “

“Thanks, Max,” Isabel said as she passed him and took the keys.

“Hey!”

“Never dangle shiny things in front of your sister,” Alex said, laughing as he followed his girlfriend with a couple of bags. She was already through the front door and before he could make it to the front steps Maria and Liz passed him at a dead run.

Michael rolled his eyes when the air was suddenly filled with shrieking and squealing as the girls ran from one room to the next. “Yeah, no problem,” he yelled to no one in particular, “we’ll just get the bags.” He shook his head and snorted as he jerked the first one out and let it drop to the ground at his feet. “You’d think they’d never seen a house before.”

“You’ve gotta admit it is pretty impressive,” Max said as he started to unload the jeep.

“It’s four walls and a roof.”

He chuckled and focused on what he was doing rather than Michael’s surly tone.

“Michael, you have to see this!” Maria ran down the steps and grabbed his arm, tugging on it insistently. “C’mon, we can get the bags later.”

He handed one of the bags to her. “We can get them now and save ourselves the trip later.”

She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Fine, but hurry up.” He had been moody since they had stopped for lunch and she knew he was at the point where he needed to get away from everyone and just go off on his own for a while. “Wait ‘til you see the view, Michael! It’s so beautiful,” she gushed as she practically dragged him inside and through the house.

He didn’t have time to see much of the place but there was no question in his mind about the financial status of the owners.

“Just look!” She released his hand and motioned to the back wall of the house. Top to bottom it was glass with thick polished wood beams that did nothing to hinder the view of the beach and the ocean that stretched out as far as the eye could see. “How amazing is that?” She moved over to the sliding glass doors off of the kitchen and pushed them open, stepping out onto the deck. She didn’t say another word, letting him follow at his own pace. She heard their bags hit the floor and before long she felt him as he joined her.

Michael barely noticed when she took a seat at the table set up at one end of the huge deck. He tipped his head back and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply and soaking up the late afternoon sun, letting the sound of the waves wash over him. He turned his head to look at her when she said something and he missed it.

“What?”

“Why don’t you go take a walk? Stretch your legs for a bit and clear your head. I’ll put our stuff in our rooms and if we get around to dinner before you get back I’ll set a plate aside for you and keep it warm.”

He searched her eyes for a moment, seeing the understanding and acceptance there. He nodded and took off without another word.

“Where’s he goin’?” Max asked as he stepped outside.

“Just taking a walk.” She rested her chin on her raised knees and looked at him. “Where’s Liz?”

He nodded. Over the past few months he’d become accustomed to Michael’s moods and he’d recognized the behavior pattern at lunchtime. “Said she had to call her parents.”

Maria smiled. “Yeah, I need to call my mom and I should probably call Catherine too, let them know we arrived safely.”

He dropped down on the round sectional sofa on the opposite end of the deck. Isabel had offered to call their parents so he was just going to kick back and relax for a while. “What a view, huh?” he said when she showed no sign of moving.

“I could get used to it.” She smirked at him. “You’d better enjoy it. You and Liz are gonna be freezing your asses off this time next year.”

“Hey, there are good things about the east coast too.” He shrugged when she just looked at him. “Okay, no one’s gonna be running around in shorts in the wintertime there, but it’s a small sacrifice to make to go to the college of our choice. White Christmases, right? You’re not gonna get that out here.”

“Um-hmm, not that it’ll matter since you’re likely to be back home in Roswell for Christmas.”

“Well, that’s probably true, but the fact of the matter is that it’s something in favor of the east coast.”

She rolled her eyes affectionately. “Whatever you’ve gotta tell yourself,” she said with a wink.

“When are you guys gonna go see your mom’s friend?”

“She’s tied up in meetings in the morning but she was able to clear a couple of hours in the afternoon to show us around.”

“Okay,” Alex said as he joined them and took a seat at the opposite end of the sectional, “I put your stuff in your rooms since I nearly tripped over it when I came through the kitchen a few minutes ago.”

“Sorry, Alex.”

He waved her apology off. “It’s alright. I forgive you.” He grinned widely when she stuck her tongue out at him. “Max, I hope you don’t mind us bunking in together.” There were four bedrooms but Isabel and Michael weren’t the type to care for sharing their space in a situation like this so he and Liz had come up with the arrangements.

Max shrugged, unconcerned with the room assignations. “No reason to saddle anyone else with the two of them.” He knew without asking that his sister and Michael would’ve been given rooms to themselves.

“We should grill tonight.” Maria’s eyes traced over the surf lazily, enjoying the view and the sound of the waves crashing against the beach.

Alex looked at Max. “Just in case you’re not clear on that suggestion, it translates into: the guys should grill while we sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.”

He glanced over at the monstrous grill at the end of the deck behind Maria. “Never used a grill that fancy, but I’m up for it if you are.”

“We’ll grill, but you girls have to get everything ready.” Alex was pleased with his suggestion. He could grill too, but right now that was about as much work as he wanted to put into it.

“We’ll have to if we want the food to have any flavor.” She rolled her eyes at him. “If someone doesn’t season it you’ll just throw it on the grill and expect it to come out with a flavor other than burnt.”

“My grilling abilities are not that challenged,” he huffed indignantly.

She got to her feet reluctantly. “I’d better go call my mom and then I’ll get the girls and we’ll get dinner started.” She stood and stretched, her eyes moving over the beach in the direction Michael had taken. He would most likely be back in time for dinner; he just needed some time alone. It was that lone wolf part of his nature exerting itself and she had accepted that about him.

She took her time calling her mom and then Catherine, assuring them they had arrived safely and explaining to Michael’s mother that she was calling for him because he was out taking a walk. Luckily she understood and let it go after extracting a promise that Maria would make sure he called sometime that evening. After placing the calls she checked in with the girls, agreeing that showers were in order before starting on dinner. She needed a shower after so many hours sitting in a moving vehicle.

Once in the kitchen she opened the windows, listening with half an ear as the guys discussed their plans for the week and on occasion she had to smile at them. She checked the refrigerator and cabinets, impressed by the contents; Mr. Evans had contacted the caretaker at the owner’s urging, providing a list of items to be picked up so the kitchen would be fully stocked upon their arrival. Liz and Isabel were organizers and they had taken on the task of planning meals, leaving several nights open since they would either be going out or ordering takeout.

She was eventually joined by the other girls and they set about making dinner preparations while discussing their plans. She and Michael would be going to look at the houseboat and checking out employment opportunities, squeezing in a side trip to Chinatown and for some reason she didn’t understand he wanted to see Alcatraz Island. Liz and Max were basically going to be touring the city, checking out the sights and just enjoying themselves since they weren’t planning to be living in San Francisco. Isabel and Alex had plans to tour Berkeley University; checking out the campus and housing, the job market – for Alex anyway, there hadn’t been any mention of Isabel seeking a job when they moved to the city. Not that she believed the tall blonde was incapable of holding down a job, but she wasn’t at a place where it was necessary. She could be wrong though. It happened on occasion.

They finished their preparations and turned the food over to the guys before going to work on putting a fresh salad together. Dinner was almost ready by the time Michael appeared in the distance and Maria felt herself relax. She could see the difference in his posture and she knew the time he’d spent on his own had helped. She took a seat, her attention taken by Alex and Max when they started to disagree over whether or not the burgers were ready to come off the grill.

Michael bumped his shoulder against Max as he passed him. “They’re ready,” he said, effectively ending the potential argument as he ambled over to drop down in the chair next to Maria. “Hey.”

“Feel better?”

He made a face at her phrasing. “I’m good.” He leaned in for a kiss before settling into his chair and stretching his legs out. “So what’s the plan?”

“I called our parents and your mom wants you to give them a call sometime this evening. Oh, and I did talk to Deanna and she said we’re good for tomorrow afternoon. I went over the directions to make sure they’re right and asked about the time it’ll take us to get over there so I think we’re good to go.”

He nodded as the food was placed on the table and the others slowly began to settle down, talking companionably as they filled their plates and began to eat. The evening was comfortable and the conversation was punctuated by occasional laughter as the topics ranged from vacation to the future and what they wanted and expected. They finally forced themselves to get to their feet and clean up the mess they’d made before retiring for the night and there was an air of barely contained excitement as the next day loomed before them.

*****

The San Francisco Bay area was bustling with activity and Michael shifted restlessly as he pulled into the parking lot. He had really hoped there would be fewer people around the houseboat community Amy’s friend had described but based on the sheer number of vehicles he could only imagine the foot traffic in the area.

“You don’t like it.”

He turned his head to look at Maria as he cut the engine and pulled the key from the ignition. “I haven’t seen it yet.”

“Um-hmm.”

“There’s just a lot of people around. I guess I figured there wouldn’t be so many.” He shrugged and got out, coming around the front of the jeep as she hopped down.

“I think a lot of them are probably here because the marina shares the same parking lot. Let’s just go take a look at it.” She turned to reach inside and grab his camera case.

“Yeah.” He relaxed fractionally when she took his hand, falling into step next to her without thought. They followed a path around the marina office, taking the steps down to a gated entry with a keypad to the right of the gate. He watched her punch in the code Deanna had provided and a moment later there was a quiet ‘click’ and he reached out to push the gate open.

They stepped past the gate and he released it, listening to make sure the latch caught before continuing on their way. There were a few more steps then a landing that led to six more steps down to the right. The noise from the parking lot, the hum of conversation, car engines, and traffic fell away as they stepped onto the wide wood plank walkway that stretched out for a few hundred yards.

“Oh, wow,” Maria whispered as she took in the bushes and colorful plants that bordered the walkway on the left. There were also plants and bushes on the right, but they were sporadic, leaving openings at the entry ways to the houseboats docked there.

Michael stared at the houseboats that dotted the area, surprised to see a comfortable space between them. He’d looked the houseboat communities up online and most of them had been accompanied by pictures that made it look like the houseboats were practically right on top of each other. The open feeling provided by the space between them made him feel a little more comfortable.

“You kids lookin’ for somethin’?”

They turned to look at the man who had spoken. His voice was rough and gravelly and it fit his appearance to perfection. He was older with long hair the color of steel wool pulled back in a ponytail and his beard, full and bushy, was the same color. He wore wire-rimmed glasses that did nothing to soften his rugged features and his expression was suspicious and unwelcoming. He wore a faded tie dye tee shirt and an old pair of jeans, the frayed hems dragging the walkway over a pair of flip-flops.

“We’re here to see Deanna,” Maria said, squeezing Michael’s hand when she felt the tension that notched up as he sized up the potential threat.

He suddenly smiled and it transformed his features. “Oh, you must be Amy’s kid. Good Lord, you were no bigger than a minute last time I saw you.”

Her eyebrows lifted. “I’m sorry, have we met?”

“Not so you’d remember.” He laughed, the sound gruff. “Like I said, you were just a little thing. Name’s Morgan.” He reached out to shake their hands. “I used to help organize most of the protests Amy was involved in. These days I keep it local. Trust me, there’s plenty to protest in these parts.” He nodded at something in the distance. “You just head down there to Slip 11 and you’ll be at Deanna’s place.”

Maria stared at him. “Wait, Morgan? Captain Morgan?”

He laughed heartily. “That’s me.”

“Yeah, I do remember Mom talking about you.”

“You take the houseboat we’ll have to catch up sometime. I’m in Slip 4.” He winked. “The stories I could tell you about your mom…”

“Is he an old boyfriend or somethin’?” Michael asked as they started walking again.

“Gross, Michael! He’s like, old enough to be her dad.”

“Well, she’s got that whole hippie thing goin’ on.”

She shuddered comically. “Never think or say that again. Ungh, Captain Morgan and my mom? Really?” Her attention was thankfully pulled away from that thought when Slip 11 came into view and she inhaled sharply. “Michael,” she breathed, “look at it.”

He had to admit the outside of the houseboat was attractive. The dark brown siding stood out against its counterparts, many of which were very colorful. Most of them were too colorful in his opinion; reds and blues, yellows and greens, oranges and even one that was a weird shade of purple. This one at least was a normal color, the kind a guy could actually admit to living in.

The door opened while they were admiring the exterior and a short woman with dark hair pulled up into a messy bun and held in place with a pencil of all things welcomed them inside. She hugged the younger woman. “Maria, I haven’t seen you in ages, girl.” She stood back and took a good look at the girl. “Look at you all grown up.” She sighed and shook her head. “I don’t know where the time goes, but I swear it goes faster every year.”

“It’s good to see you, Deanna.” She smiled and introduced her boyfriend. “I hope we’re not late. We got held up for a few minutes when we got here.”

“Captain Ahab,” Michael added as he shook the woman’s hand.

“Ahab? Oh, you mean Morgan,” she said with a laugh. “He’d just love it if you called him that. Every Halloween he dresses up as Captain Ahab. He gets such a kick out of it.”

Maria laughed. “Yeah, I’ll bet he does.”

“Hi, Ms. Saunders!”

They turned to look at the little boy that had shouted as he pounded along the walkway and ran up to mash his face against the screen door. A small dog ran beside him and it stood up to press its nose to the screen, mimicking his young master.

“Hi, Caleb.” She motioned for him to move back and she opened the door to let him in. She crouched down to give the dog a pat. “Max, I see you’re as handsome as ever.”

“Dad said to come ask if you got some eggs ‘cause we don’t got none and he’s tryin’ to make a cake for Cindy’s birthday.”

“Oh, dear. Honey, tell your daddy that Mr. Harvey has that cake already baked and he’ll bring if over when you two go over to pick her up from ballet practice.” She glanced at the couple and introduced them. “We’re a small community but we look out for each other.” She ruffled the little boy’s already messy hair. “And Caleb’s daddy should never try to extend his culinary abilities into the area of baking.”

The boy grinned, showing off a missing front tooth, and shook their hands. “Are you the new people?”

“Sweetie, they haven’t even had a chance to look at the place yet.”

That didn’t deter Caleb and he tipped his head to one side as he studied the man. “Do you play football? ‘Cause we could use another player an’ if you move in you’ll be here for football season. Mrs. Collins, she lives in Slip 7 an’ she’s got the biggest TV of anyone here, an’ she loves football! Everyone goes to her house to watch the games an’ Mr. Harvey brings all the best food.” He looked Maria up and down with a critical eye. “You’re kinda small, but you can play too.”

“I’m kinda small?” Maria asked incredulously. The little boy was easily half her size.

“Well, yeah.”

“We have a friendly rivalry between our community and another floating home community in the area,” Deanna explained. “Football and softball keeps everyone active and involved. It’s just for fun.”

Michael crouched down so that he was at the boy’s level. “Well, if we move in that sounds like it might be fun.”

“Cool.” Caleb grinned and bumped his fist against the man’s. “Okay, I gotta go. I’ll tell Dad about Mr. Harvey, Ms. Saunders.” He hurried back outside calling for his dog. “C’mon, Max!”

“Great name,” Michael commented once the boy had gone.

“Sorry about that,” Deanna apologized with a smile. “Let me show you around before anymore interruptions crop up.”

“Oh, do you mind if we take some pictures? We’d like to be able to show Michael’s parents what we’re thinking about doing.”

“Sure, no problem.”

The houseboat was the perfect size. The kitchen was large and airy with a small dining room and plenty of natural light. There was a bedroom and bathroom and of course the living room. At the back there was a small den, the walls lined with shelves that held books that spanned many genres. Next to the den was the office. Both rooms at the back looked out over the deck that was furnished with Adirondack chairs, a small table and chairs perfect for eating outside and enjoying the view of the ocean, and also boasted a small vegetable garden at one end. The spiral staircase between the kitchen and living room led up to a second bedroom with a small bathroom.

“As I told your Mom, Maria, I own the place free and clear and I’m not looking to profit from it,” Deanna said as they made it back down to the first floor. “I own the slip space so there won’t be any monthly payments there either. That’s one of the things I happen to love about this little corner of the world. There are only 11 slips and they’re all owned by the residents so that provides stability; we know who our neighbors are and if one of us does opt out or decides to sublet we give ample notice and make sure everyone’s agreeable to the person or persons taking our place.” She shrugged one shoulder. “It just makes everyone a little more comfortable if they know who’s gonna be living next door.”

“So we’ve gotta meet all of them?” Michael asked, not sure how he felt about that.

“Well, you’ve already met two of them,” she said with a reassuring smile. “It’s just a little courtesy and they’re all really nice.” She glanced at Maria. “Quite a few of them know your mom and I’ve already talked to them so the meet and greet is really just a formality. We thought we’d just have a dock party on Wednesday night and you’re welcome to bring your friends so you’ll feel more comfortable with your potential new neighbors.”

“That sounds like fun.” Maria looked at Michael, searching his features to see if he’d be comfortable with it. When he gave a one-sided shrug she grinned and reached for his hand. “I think Wednesday night would be perfect.”

“Great! Now, I’ve got a breakdown of the monthly expenses so you’ll know what you’re looking at as far as outgo, and Amy said you’d be looking for jobs. I have some leads on that as well if you’re interested.” She led the way back to the office, gathering up a file and then motioning for them to follow her out onto the deck. They settled down at the table and she opened the folder up, going over the expenses and explaining a couple of them in further detail.

“It’s so beautiful and peaceful out here,” Maria mused when they were finished going over the financial obligations that would need to be met.

“Yes, it is. I do some of my best thinking right in this spot.”

Michael’s eyes were locked on the ocean, following a yacht sailing past in the distance, but his mind was busy turning over the possibilities. He liked the houseboat. Maria loved it without question. There was plenty of privacy but also the sense of a close-knit community. He had a feeling they’d be happy here. “So, you said you’ve got some possible job leads?”

“I do, yes,” Deanna said as she slid a handful of forms from the back of the folder. “Amy’s kept me up-to-date on Maria and for the past few months she’s been telling me all about you as well. She gave me plenty of information to send me in the right direction when I reached out.” She winked. “Networking is one of the best ways to find a job, especially around here. I took the liberty of getting applications for both of you from a few places where I have some influence. I know, it’s shameless, but you’re just getting started and your mom is one of my best friends, so I can’t say I feel bad about it.” She placed a couple of the forms in front of Maria. “This first one, it’s for a local environmental group. They’re legitimate, well organized and they’re always looking for good people. I realize you may not be interested in that, but it’s an option. The second one is Laszlo’s Antiquities, he can’t keep people simply because it’s a slow-paced job and a lot of people just find it completely boring. The pay’s good but you might need something else to give you a little breathing room financially.”

Maria bit her bottom lip. “A second job?”

She chuckled and nodded as she turned her attention to Michael. “I’m afraid you’d be looking at the same thing. Amy said you like your freedom and I can understand that, so I have a friend who operates a courier service and he’s always in need of reliable people. She also mentioned you recently came into possession of a motorcycle that might just be operating by the time you’re looking at moving out on your own.”

“No,” Michael interrupted. “We start out workin’ two jobs apiece we’re never gonna see each other. Not to mention, we’re both gonna be dog tired all the time. It’s not worth it, Maria.”

“But the jobs sound perfect. And, Michael, a courier service? You’d be happy doing something like that.”

“Before you toss the idea out completely, let me tell you about the second jobs.” Deanna fully understood the reasoning behind his denial but she wanted them to hear what she had to offer. “Amy said you’re pretty handy and that’s something that could be very useful in our little community.”

“Handy, yeah, but I’m not licensed or anything.”

She shook her head. “I’m not talking about repairs that would be extensive. It would just be basic repairs, the kind that are more of a nuisance than anything else but no one wants to call someone out and pay an outrageous hourly rate to have fixed.”

“The kind of repairs that end up costing an arm and a leg because they’re put off too long to avoid paying those outrageous hourly rates when they start,” he guessed.

“That’s the ones. Most of us do what we can to help each other but not a single one of us is very good when it comes to making repairs like that. So you can see how it’d be advantageous to have someone with that ability living here.” She let him think that over while she turned her attention back to Maria. “As for you, young lady, I remember Amy telling me about how good you’re getting with your writing. I have a friend who started an online magazine centered on the Bay Area a couple of years ago. She’s been toying with the idea of including a biweekly article that focuses on the floating home communities. Should you decide you’re interested in tackling that, there’s an application and she’d like you to submit half a dozen articles you’ve written for your school paper. She wouldn’t be launching the new section until the fall when she implements the new layout for the magazine so there’s plenty of time for you to speak with her and see if it’d be a good fit for you.”

“That sounds amazing, Deanna.” Maria was so excited about starting their new life together in the fall.

“And please don’t feel obligated to pursue any of these options. They’re just there if they sound like something you might be interested in. I’ll be more than happy to put a word in for either or both of you. That’s not a guarantee you’ll get the job, but it certainly won’t hurt.”

They talked for at least another hour before they parted ways and Maria’s hand slipped into Michael’s as they took their time walking past the other floating houses, enjoying the sound of the soles of their shoes striking the sun-baked boards of the walkway.

“What do you think?” she asked, waving to Captain Morgan as they passed him. “I know you didn’t like the idea of second jobs but neither of them sounds like they’d take up too much of our time.”

“Yeah,” he gave her a small smile, “the courier thing actually sounds like somethin’ I might enjoy. No walls to pen me in eight hours a day.” He inhaled the salty ocean air as they climbed the steps to the parking lot, pausing to look over his right shoulder. “Kinda like the place.”

She smiled and nodded. That really said it all.

keepsmiling7
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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)135-8/11/16

Postby keepsmiling7 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:00 pm

What a wonderful surprise to see and LONG AWAITED update.
But, I need to go back for a quick review..............I forget things!
Thanks for coming back,
Carolyn

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Eva
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Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)135-8/11/16

Postby Eva » Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:46 am

Maria & Michael understand each other so well! Very lovely chapter!
Take a look at Eva's world[/center]

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Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)136-8/28/16

Postby ArchAngel1973 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:03 am

keepsmiling7: Yes, we’re finally back! And we’re glad RL’s finally let up enough for us to put some focus on this story. It’s never forgotten, but you know how RL can be. And, lol, well, sometimes after it’s been so long, we have to go back and catch up on certain details too! Thanks for keeping up with this story!

Eva: They sure do and we have a feeling that’s going to help their relationship stay strong.


Part 136

Chinese lanterns swayed lazily on the light salty breeze blowing in off of the ocean, their light illuminating the dock and the residents of the floating home community. The walkway had been decorated with strands of twinkling white lights and streamers that depicted an appreciation for all things sports related. Caleb had proudly admitted that the streamers were his contribution to their decorating efforts, earning him a high-five from Michael. He’d quickly dragged the man off to introduce him to his dad and before long they’d been deeply involved in a conversation that revolved around hockey. Caleb’s dad was a teacher at a nearby high school and he coached a local junior league hockey team.

She didn’t really understand her boyfriend’s fascination with ice hockey. They lived in the desert so it was beyond her comprehension how he’d even gotten so attached to the sport. Grown men on skates chasing a little disc while beating the crap out of each other… what was the point? No, she didn’t get it. But, apparently Caleb’s dad Micah did, and before she knew it Michael had been invited to come out to the rink and watch a practice game, maybe get out on the ice and try his hand at slap shots, whatever that was. It didn’t really matter, she decided. As their soon-to-be new neighbors welcomed them with such ease he finally began to relax and she knew moving to San Francisco and taking up residence in this little community was going to prove to be a great decision.

“Hey,” Liz said as she hopped up to sit on the railing beside her best friend. She nodded at Michael. “He looks like he’s having fun.”

“Yeah,” she smiled softly as she watched him debating sports with Max and several other men. Alex had made himself scarce but it didn’t take long to locate him, immersed in a conversation with Isabel and Sara, an Egyptian woman who worked as an antiquities authenticator for a museum in the Bay Area. “I’m glad you guys came with us.”

“I wouldn’t have missed this. You’re gonna fit in so well here, Maria. It’s such an eclectic mix of people.”

Maria nodded as her gaze bounced around, taking in all of the people she had met over the past couple of hours. She nudged Liz when Brady, a four-year-old belonging to Lisa Taylor in Slip 5, leaned against Michael’s leg to get his attention. As soon as he looked down the little boy held up a broken toy in a silent request for help and without missing a beat he leaned down to pick him up. He settled him in the crook of his left arm and took the pieces of the toy, including Brady in the conversation while he put it back together.

“He’s amazing with kids.”

“I know,” she said proudly. She glanced at Lisa where she was watching the scene unfolding with tear-filled eyes. Deanna had explained that the woman had been hesitant about bringing Brady out because he was shy around new people and she’d been afraid they wouldn’t know how to deal with a child with Down syndrome. Michael had eased her fears without even knowing about them. The woman looked in her direction after composing herself, giving her a small smile and a nod of thanks. She shook her head slightly and returned her smile, watching as she wandered over to talk to Mr. Harvey. He was a pastry chef in one of the local restaurants and judging by the deserts he had provided for this get together there was no doubting his abilities in the kitchen.

“It’s really nice here.” Liz looked up and pointed at the lanterns. “They’re amazing, aren’t they?”

“Um-hmm, Trinh made them. She and her husband Bao live in Slip 1 and they both have small shops in the Tenderloin district. We’re gonna check them out on Friday.” The couple was Vietnamese refugees, coming to the United States after the war in Vietnam had ended to avoid persecution. They had traveled to the States with a Chinese family who had lived in the same rural area and had fled for the same reason. “They’re gonna introduce us to the family they immigrated with. Their shops are close together.”

“You’d think the other people would have their shop in Chinatown, wouldn’t you?”

“That’s what I thought, but Trinh was explaining that there aren’t really any ethnic Chinese shops established in Chinatown. Bao said it had a lot to do with the high cost of rent and stuff, but they’re all happy where they are and that’s really all that matters.”

“Hi, you guys mind if I join you for a bit?”

“Sure.” Maria looked at the woman who had spoken and motioned to the railing as she nodded at the guys. “Need a break from all the testosterone?” Samantha was 19 years old and she and her boyfriend, Chris, had been together since junior high. They had decided to put college on hold and experience life before locking themselves into a path that determined their future. The couple was like a combination of her and Michael and Max and Liz; they were adventurous and marched to their own drummer, but they also had the whole soul mate thing going on.

“Yeah.” The redhead rolled her eyes dramatically. “I don’t mind watching sports and I really enjoy some of them, but unlike Chris, I’m not fanatical about them. Last year he missed some play because I needed his help with something and you’d think he’d missed something of monumental importance.” She rolled her eyes. “I mean, that’s why they have the instant replay.”

“It’s not the same,” Maria and Liz said at the same time and then laughed.

“He’s never gonna let that go.” She grinned and waved when he looked around for her. “It’s not like he missed an episode of the X-Files. You don’t get an instant replay for a missed episode, no replay of a missed scene if you leave the room. I can miss that and he’s like, ‘What’s the big deal? They’ll show it again after the season ends.’ But he missed a play that they’ll replay less than thirty seconds later and he has a fit.” She shook her head. “So do either of you watch the show?”

“I never miss it.”

“You and Alex both,” Liz said with a quiet snort. She shook her head when Sam looked at her. “Not a big fan, sorry.”

“Mrs. Collins is totally into the show and if there’s a game or something on at least I know she’s recording it. And she loves to watch it with others who’re just as into the show. We have the most fun conversations about theories and conspiracies for the show. You guys will be moving in before next season begins so we should totally get together and do that. It’d be kinda fun to get a guy’s point of view too so your friend Alex could come too.”

“I can just see Alex dragging Isabel along for that.” Maria smirked as she imagined the tall blonde’s reaction to that.

“I met him earlier. He’s really sweet. His girlfriend’s a little intimidating at first but she seems really nice once you get past that. I wasn’t sure at first, especially when he started discussing archeological digs and going on one.”

“Our Alex?” Maria asked.

“Yeah. Mrs. Collins is a professor of archeology and next summer she’s supposed to be heading up a dig in Peru. As soon as Alex expressed an interest in the subject she wanted to know if he’d ever thought of going on a dig to get a real feel for the subject.”

Liz snickered. “Yeah, I can just see Isabel out on a dig for several months.”

“It’s interesting, but that whole no indoor plumbing thing kinda kills it for me,” Sam admitted.

“Amen, sister,” Maria agreed.

Sam turned her head when the gate opened and she grinned when she saw the new arrival. “Watch this,” she said and shot a teasing look at her boyfriend.

The girls turned and their eyebrows lifted curiously when Chris started making hand gestures in his girlfriend’s direction.

“He actually thinks I’m supposed to know what that means. Well,” she laughed, “I know what it means because he finally told me, but before that? Huh-uh, not a clue.”

“Aren’t those like, military type signals or something?” Liz asked.

“Yeah. Chris wanted to join the Marines but he has a heart condition that prevented him from joining. Oh, it’s under control,” she added when she saw their concerned expressions, “but the military wouldn’t let him enlist. I know how much he wanted it and for that reason I wish he’d been able to get in, but I know how scared I would’ve been if they’d accepted him. He’s had the condition since birth but he won’t let it stop him.” She smiled fondly when he repeated the gestures and she shook her head at him. “Anyway, he’s adopted all these stupid hand signals you see military types use in the movies. It’s supposed to be his subtle way of reminding me we’re together.”

Maria had to smirk at that. It was pretty obvious that both halves of the couple were well aware they were together and it was nothing more than foreplay. “Guys have a difficult time being subtle.” Yeah, she thought when Michael frowned at Chris before opening his mouth, especially her guy.

“There somethin’ wrong with you?” Michael asked.

“Just sendin’ a reminder.”

“About what?”

“Every woman around here gets stupid whenever your next door neighbor walks through that gate.” He shrugged and nodded at the new arrival, snorting when he saw the way Michael’s eyes narrowed as his gaze shifted between his girlfriend and the man slowly making his way down the walkway.

“Meet Tripp Anderson, Slip 10,” Morgan said and slapped him on the back.

“The girls, they go loco when he walks by.” Eduardo Rodriguez shook his head and swatted his wife’s hand away when she pinched his side in response to his comment.

“Women have reason to go loco.” Marisol couldn’t resist ribbing her husband as she glanced down the walkway to appreciate the view as the man in question stopped to talk to the girls. Tripp was one of the nicest people she had ever met and his willingness to pitch in and help anyone who needed a hand endeared him to everyone he crossed paths with. He had retired from firefighting at 26 years old after losing his left leg during a rescue and even with that challenge thrown in his way he had carried on, striving to maintain his positive attitude and live his life to the fullest. He was an all around nice guy and she kept hoping he’d find a nice girl he could settle down with. He was the kind of man that needed a family.

Michael shot a glance at the couple, seeing the genuine love and affection for each other that radiated from them. Eduardo had a small landscaping business and Marisol owned a flower shop a few blocks away. They had two children, both in college on scholarships, and their pride in their offspring was unmistakable. They had immigrated as a very young newlywed couple and forged a life for themselves in a country whose people hadn’t been welcoming at times. They had moved to the little floating home community after seeing their youngest child off to college and had only found friends among its residents.

He’d met everyone that lived in the community. They were all friendly and there were a few of them that were amazing cooks. He definitely wouldn’t starve here, he thought with a smirk. He hadn’t really had the opportunity to sit down to a meal that Maria had cooked, but he knew her mom was a good cook and the café sold some of her baked goods, so she had to be good. She’d insisted she had inherited her mom’s abilities in the kitchen and he hoped that was true, but at least he knew for sure there were options among their neighbors. He could always do little odd jobs and trade for food rather than money if the cooking gene had somehow bypassed his girlfriend.

His attention was pulled away when someone touched his arm and he unconsciously rubbed Brady’s back as he turned. The little boy had fallen asleep and he was lying heavily against his shoulder. He smiled at the woman who stood there, recognizing her as Brady’s mother, and he nodded and carefully transferred him into her arms when she reached for him.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

He was genuinely confused. “For what?”

“For treating him normally.”

He shook his head when he heard the thickness in her voice and he hoped like hell she didn’t start crying. “He reminds me a lot of my cousin Joey when he was little.” He ran a hand over Brady’s disheveled hair. “He caught a lot of flak because he’s different.”

She gave him a watery smile. “I have a feeling you didn’t let them get away with it.”

“Not once.”

“I should get him to bed.” She held her hand out to him and had the feeling that he and his girlfriend were going to be a welcome addition to their community. “I hope we’ll be seeing you and Maria when fall rolls around.”

“I think that’s gonna be a safe bet. She was in love with the place the minute we stepped through the gate.” He glanced around for Maria after Lisa left to put her little boy to bed. “So what’s his story?” he asked when he realized Anderson was still monopolizing the girls’ time.

“He was a firefighter for a couple of years and he was off duty when he witnessed a car accident. He called it in and ran to help. There was a family in one of the cars. The father had been thrown clear of the car, the mother had gone into labor and their kid was trapped in the backseat. The car was on unstable ground and there was no way for him to stabilize it. He managed to get them out but before he could get out of the way the ground shifted and the car rolled down an embankment and pinned his leg, damaged it so badly it couldn’t be saved.”

“Bet the girls love that story.”

“What girl doesn’t love a self-sacrificing hero?” Chris laughed and slapped him on the back. “I’m just yanking your chain. There’s no need to worry, man. Tripp’s cool. He won’t make a play for your girl.”

“That’s good. For him.” He frowned when he heard Max snickering behind him and he turned to glare at him. “You got a problem, Evans?”

“Not at all. My girl’s gonna be about two thousand miles away from the heroic firefighter.” He shrugged with a grin. “Yours is gonna be right next door to him.”

“You must be the new neighbor.”

Michael turned back around when he was addressed by the local hero and he sized him up for a few moments before accepting his outstretched hand. “There a reason you think it’s me? Could be him,” he said with a nod at Max.

“Could be, but…” Tripp laughed heartily and shook his head. “That girl of yours is too spirited for this tame fellow.” He glanced at Max. “No offense.”

“None taken,” Max shrugged and shook his hand when he offered it.

“Maria said you’d probably enjoy water sports. Once you guys move up here we should get together and see how you do out there. And if you really want to have some fun hang gliding and sky diving is where it’s at.”

“Are you guys talking about hang gliding over here?” Alex asked as he joined them.

“Yeah, you ever been up?” Tripp asked.

“No, but I’d love to try it.”

“I’d have figured you more for the bungee jumping type,” Michael said, his gaze moving around as he did a quick head count to make sure everyone was accounted for.

“No, I’m not so sure jumping off a bridge attached to a giant rubber band is that great an idea.”

Max raised an eyebrow in response to his comment. “But jumping out of a plane is?”

“Well, I figure you’ve got a better chance of surviving a jump out of a plane because at least there you have the backup parachute. The rubber band snaps and well… I just don’t think I’d look that great as a big red spot on the ground.”

“Interesting logic, Whitman, but I’d be willing to give it a shot too.” Michael nodded briefly when he caught Maria’s eye, letting her know everything was going good.

“Sounds good. You guys move out here we’ll get together and go up. I’ve got a friend who’s in the business. And now, if you’ll excuse me…” he turned to Marisol. “Mari, I could smell those chicken enchiladas before I hit the parking lot.”

“Come with me, diablo hermosa,” she said and linked her arm through his.

Handsome devil, Michael thought, easily translating the phrase courtesy of the language class he’d had to take the year before.

“Mr. Harvey, am I wrong or do I detect the aroma of Italian crème cake?”

The older man chuckled and nodded as he fell into step with them and they headed for the tables laden with a wide assortment of foods and desserts. “Indeed you do, my good man.”

“Michael, I think you and Maria are gonna do really well here,” Max mused as he looked around.

“Yeah, I think so too.” He nodded when Alex excused himself, certain the guy would be making a beeline for his girlfriend. He shifted so that he could watch Maria without being obvious about it, crossing his arms over his chest and feeling it tighten when she smiled so freely and openly as she gestured wildly while talking to some of their new neighbors. “Max, I need a favor…”

keepsmiling7
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Posts: 1902
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Doo 'awéé ééhoozIIh da-The Lost Child(M/M,TEEN)136-8/28/16

Postby keepsmiling7 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:31 pm

Loved the reference to X-Files.......that was my all time favorite show, that is until Roswell came on the scene.
Now you leave me hanging on cliff wondering what Max is doing???
Thanks,
Carolyn


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