Somewhere, Anywhere (M&M, CC/UC, AU, Adult) COMPLETE, 07/23/17

Fics using the characters from Roswell, but where the plot does not have anything to do with aliens, nor are any of the characters "not of this Earth."

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sarammlover
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Re: Somewhere, Anywhere (M&M, CC/UC, AU, Adult) Part 62, 02/19/17

Post by sarammlover » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:34 am

Well there goes the promise michael made to Tina...guess he really hasn't changed. And shame on Maria. break up with Max if you want to continue this. Oh April....I want to bitch slap michael and maria, no matter how hot they are together! AHH!

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April
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Part 63

Post by April » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:42 pm

CandyFi:
OMG they are animals!!!
Mmm-hmm. :shock:
I feel that Maria is going to get pregnant from this and then she won't be able to hide from Max.
Interesting theory.
She must realise now that it's happened again that she can't keep doing this to Max. She needs to end it and then surely Max and Liz can have there happily ever after.
She definitely needs to realize that. And Max and Liz . . . who knows what the future would have in store for them, but their relationship is certainly very good nowadays, and they could have a shot at happiness together if Maria were honest about what was going on.


Sara:
Well there goes the promise michael made to Tina...guess he really hasn't changed.
He knew right when he made that promise that it was going to be hard for him to keep it. :(
Oh April....I want to bitch slap michael and maria, no matter how hot they are together! AHH!
Good, that's kind of what I'm aiming for. :lol:



Thanks for reading and leaving feedback!


Music suggestion today is "Honest" by The Neighbourhood. The second I heard the lyrics, I just knew it had to accompany a certain scene I had in mind. You can listen to it here when you see :? if you'd like.








Part 63








The house was empty, and that was good. Maria had a few hours to herself before she had to go pick Dylan up from school, before Max got home from work.

Max.

She winced, partially because thinking of him hurt, and partially because her body hurt. Michael definitely hadn’t been gentle today. Not that she’d wanted him to be.

Maria shut the front door, feeling disgusted with herself. In the moment, it had felt great, exhilarating, even. But now, just like last time, she felt horrible afterwards. The fact that she’d let this happen with Michael, not just once, but twice . . . was horrifying. She didn’t want to be the kind of person who would do this, but when he looked at her, and when he had his hands on her, and especially when he kissed her . . . she just felt powerless to stop it, or even protest.

Lifelessly, she tossed her purse onto the floor, forgetting about the text she’d gotten from Liz on the way home. It was an invitation to go grab lunch somewhere, but she wasn’t hungry. And as good of a friend as Liz was and always had been to her, she really didn’t feel like sitting through lunch with her, listening to her speculate about why Michael and Sarah had broken up.

She slumped down onto the couch, running her hands through her hair; but when she did that, all she could think about was what it had felt like today when Michael had pulled on it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Feeling completely spent, Michael crash-landed onto his bed, face-first. Today had been exhausting . . . in the best possible way.

How long had it been since he’d just straight-up fucked Maria like that? He couldn’t recall. But it had felt so damn good. He’d gotten her to cum twice, and afterward, she’d barely been able to stand. That was the good news.

The bad news was that, even though her legs had hardly been functioning, she’d still managed to high-tail it out of there as soon as they were done, pausing only to remind him, “Don’t say anything.” How many times was he going to have to have sex with this girl to get her to realize that her desires for him were far stronger than her obligations to Max?

When his phone rang, he groaned, debating whether or not to answer it. There was one small shred of hope, though, that it might be Maria, that she might be calling to tell him that she’d decided to tell Max everything. So he answered it, hoping, praying. “Yeah?”

“What up, bro?” Tina laughed.

He smiled, turning over onto his back. “Hey, Teenie,” he said, yawning. “How’s it goin’?”

“Pretty good,” she said. “I hardly got any sleep last night, though. Joe slept all through the day, and then he just woke up. And he wouldn’t go back to sleep.”

“Did Nicholas help?” he asked. If that kid had gotten a full night’s sleep, he was going to be fucking pissed.

“Well, he was downstairs on the couch,” she said, sounding very much like she was making an excuse for him. “So I just handled it.”

Oh, no, no, he didn’t like the sound of that. “Just wake him up next time,” he advised. “Take turns.”

“I guess,” she said, pausing to do a yawn of her own. “So what’d you do today?” she asked him. “Anything interesting?”

“Uh . . .” His fingers burned with the memory of holding Maria’s hips in place. “Not really,” he lied, feeling like the biggest jackass ever for breaking his promise to his sister. And it had taken him a whole whopping one day to do it, too. Loser.

“Did you have class?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“Was it boring?”

Part of him wished he could say it had been. That would have been simpler. “No,” he replied, rubbing his forehead to ease the impending headache. “Definitely not boring.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Isabel handed her waiter the menu, flashing him a flirtatious grin. He was definitely a college guy, and definitely one of her subscribers. He was that polite type, though, who, instead of asking her for a picture or an autograph—or a blow-job—instead didn’t say anything and tried really, really hard to only look at her eyes.

When he was gone, she refocused her attention across the table. “Thanks for having lunch with me today,” she told her brother.

“No problem,” Max responded. “It’s not like I have anything better to do on my Saturday.”

“Hmm. Was that sarcastic?”

He smirked. “A little bit.”

She knew better than to be offended. It was meant to be more teasing in nature. “Look,” she said, “I know you don’t particularly like spending time with me—nobody really does, but . . .”

“It’s not that,” he cut in. “It’s just that we live two totally separate lifestyles these days. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to you.”

“I know.” Most people did. “But you’re my brother. I still care about you.” She looked down at her water glass, touching the cold, moist side of it with her fingertips. “I still worry.”

He frowned. “Well, there’s nothing to worry about.”

She stifled the urge to laugh at his obliviousness. “Oh, I think there is,” she said, tracing her finger around the rim of her glass.

He stared at her for a few seconds and didn’t say anything, like he was trying to be uninterested. But eventually he broke down and asked, “What?”

Good, she thought, got him intrigued. “Let me ask you something, Max,” she said, sitting back. “Why do you think Michael broke up with Sarah?”

Her brother made a confused face. “I don’t know. No one knows.”

“But if you had to guess . . .” She trailed off curiously.

“What does that have to do with anything?” he spat.

“Oh, Max, don’t play dumb. I know you’ve thought about it.”

“Thought about what?”

Maybe I’m giving him too much credit, she thought. Max was a smart guy—he was an Evans, after all—but perhaps the domesticated life had dulled his shrewder instincts. “Him,” she answered. “Her. Rekindling.”

“You mean, Michael and . . . and Maria?” he sputtered, as if it were unthinkable.

“Bingo.”

He grunted, shaking his head in denial. “They’re not rekindling anything. At least nothing beyond friendship.”

“You sure about that?” She really hoped he hadn’t grown so complacent to overlook the obvious fact that Michael and Maria had never just been friends. Their little love story had always lurked beneath the surface, and just because she’d learned that the hard way, it didn’t mean he had to.

“Yes,” he answered firmly. “I’m sure.”

“Hmm. Because I have this theory that Michael’s still in love with Maria, and that’s why he broke up with Sarah,” she put forth, shrugging. “If you think about it, that’s really the only thing that makes sense.”

Max stared at her for a few seconds, then growled, “No.”

“No, you don’t believe me?” she questioned. “Or you don’t want to?”

“I don’t believe you. I saw Michael and Sarah together. They were in love.”

“And they’re not anymore. Why is that?” She leaned forward, becoming increasingly passionate and urgent as she tried to get him to understand. “What could possibly be strong enough and powerful enough that Michael would call it quits with his perfect girlfriend? Take it from me, Max, there’s more to their ‘friendship’ than meets the eye. I had a front row seat the last time this played out.”

“So you think history’s repeating itself?”

“I do. Unfortunately.” True, she didn’t want Max to end up with Maria—she would have much rather preferred Liz. But still, when their relationship came to an end, she wanted it to be Max’s decision and Max’s decision alone. That way Maria could feel a little of the heartbreak for a change.

“I think you’re wrong,” he told her decidedly.

She rolled her eyes, wishing she could get a glimpse of the devious, daring brother hiding somewhere inside of him. That version of him never would have been so . . . whipped.

“I called Maria a whore in front of Michael,” she blurted, figuring it was time to resort to the closest thing she had to proof.

Max gave her an annoyed look.

“What? That’s what she is,” Isabel grumbled.

He immediately got up to leave.

“No, stay. Please,” she begged. “Please.”

He rolled his eyes and reluctantly sat back down.

“The point is,” she went on, “when I called her that, Michael didn’t like it very much.”

“Did he say something?”

“No. But the body language said it all.” She chuckled as she thought of how tensed up he had instantly become. “You should’ve seen him. It was like, if I wasn’t a girl, he would’ve throttled me.”

“Isabel, would you listen to yourself?” he snapped, clearly at the end of his patience. “You’re so desperate to be included that you’re making up crazy theories just to have a reason to talk to me.”

“Oh, trust me, I’d rather be talking to you about anything else,” she assured him. “But I’m worried, Max. If Michael still has feelings for Maria, then what if she still has feelings for him?”

“She doesn’t,” he stated simply. As though it could ever be that simple.

“And what if they act on those feelings? I don’t think they’ve slept together yet, but when they do . . .”

“Stop it,” he broke in.

“Max, I--”

“No, stop,” he growled emphatically. His eyes were wide with anger now, his lips drawn tight. “I don’t need to sit here and listen to this. I love Maria; Maria loves me. We both love Dylan. There is no problem here.”

Oh, Max . . . Her heart went out to him, honestly. He was trying so hard to be nice, supportive, understanding guy, but it was coming at the expense of his own common sense. “I just think you should be wary, that’s all,” she cautioned, wishing he would understand that she wasn’t trying to upset him.

“The only thing I’m wary about is another lunch with you,” he grumbled, standing up again. He walked away from the table, and this time, she knew there was no way to get him to come back.

Dammit, she thought, frustrated. That hadn’t gone the way she’d hoped. But maybe she’d gotten through to him. Maybe even the faintest spark of doubt would be enough to get him to question what was right in front of him for a change. And if he ended up hating her for it . . . then so be it. It was worth bearing his wrath to try to look out for him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Everything was an adventure when you were young, even something so simple as going to the grocery store. “I got it!” Dylan exclaimed, reaching for a heavy sack that had to weigh almost as much as he did. He seemed determined to help load stuff into the car, which was nice.

“You sure?” Maria said, hesitantly letting him lift the sack. “Be careful,” she cautioned, even though he seemed to have a good hold on it. “That’s heavy.”

“I’m strong,” he declared, setting the sack on the floor in the backseat.

“Yeah, you’re strong,” she agreed, letting him load the next sack, too. It was nice to see him wanting to be helpful.

“It’s ‘cause I play football,” he said, attempting to flex.

“Yeah, football players are pretty tough,” she agreed, her attention shifting when she saw someone out of the corner of her eye. Tess was traipsing through the parking lot, a long grocery list in her hands.

“Do I hafta play basketball next year, Mom?” Dylan whined, but she was distracted now. “ ‘cause I like football better.”

I have to talk to her, she thought, trying to think of a way to do it out of earshot from Dylan. “Yeah, me, too,” she said quickly. “Um . . . hey, why don’t you get in the car and snack on a few Fruit Roll-Ups while I put the cart away,” she suggested. “Okay?”

“Okay.” Dylan eagerly crawled into the back seat and started digging through the sacks, and she shut the door and grabbed the empty cart, hurriedly wheeling it towards the store’s entrance.

“Tess!” she called, managing to stop the other girl there.

Tess literally sent her a death glare. “Maria,” she groaned. “You’re probably the last person I wanna talk to right now.”

“Yeah.” She’d figured as much, which was why she had to have this conversation when presented with the chance. “Look, I know you hate me . . .”

Tess folded her grocery list and stuck it into her pocket. “Hate is . . . too nice of a word,” she said. “Despise? Loathe? Detest?”

Maria sighed, trying to deflect all the choice words and be civilized. “I understand why you . . . despise me,” she acknowledged. “But I just wanted to thank you for not saying anything to Max. It would just crush him. And Dylan, too.”

Tess rolled her eyes and took a step closer. Maybe it was the pregnancy at work, but she looked pretty damn intimidating. “Let me be perfectly clear here, Maria,” she growled. “The only reason I’m keeping this little secret is because my best friend asked me to, and the only reason she’s keeping it is because she’s way too nice for her own good. But if she ever changes her mind, then I will be the first person in line to tell Max everything I know.”

Maria shifted uncomfortably, hoping Sarah never changed her mind, then. Because that would be awful for everyone involved. “Well, regardless,” she said softly, “I’m very grateful.”

Tess smiled angrily and huffed, “Unbelievable.”

“What?”

“You,” Tess spat accusatorily. “You never stop doing this, do you? You act all nice and innocent, when in reality, there’s nothing nice and innocent about you. In fact, there’s a word for you, Maria: slut.

Maria opened her mouth to deny that, but given what had just happened after class yesterday . . . it hit home.

“You’re a slut,” Tess stated. “And Michael’s a male-slut, so I hope the slutty sex you had with him was worth it. Because you caused a lot of damage in the process.”

Maria blinked back tears, wishing she had some sort of rebuttal, something she could say to not leave it at that. But there was nothing.

Smiling, as if she were satisfied with her parting shot, Tess spun on her heels and practically pranced into the store through the automatic doors. Maria just stood there, shaken, disturbed. There was clearly no love lost between herself and Tess Harding, which explained the bluntness of that conversation. But just because it was blunt didn’t mean it was . . . unfounded. Tess was right. They had caused a lot of damage, and she wasn’t as nice and innocent as she wanted people to think she was.

She heard the car door open, and moments later, Dylan piped up, “Mom? Can we go now?”

She took a breath to try to calm herself and replied, “Yeah. We can go.” The only good thing about that conversation was that Dylan hadn’t overheard it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Michael sloshed his drink around in the glass, wishing it tasted better. Kyle’s suggestion of a night out at The Cave had seemed like a good idea a few hours ago, but now, he was wishing he’d just stayed home and gone to bed early. The alcohol tasted like shit tonight, the music sounded like shit, and he felt like shit. It was a perfectly shitty evening.

“You’re not gettin’ drunk, right?” Kyle asked. He’d been watching him pretty closely ever since they sat down at the bar, like he was just expecting him to go overboard any minute now.

“No,” Michael assured him. “Just pleasantly buzzed.” In fact, the only thing keeping him from going home was the fact that his buzz was starting to kick in, and everything was starting to seem slightly less shitty.

“Alright,” Kyle said. “I’ll stay pleasantly sober, just in case.”

And we’re back to the way it used to be, Michael thought. They’d come full circle, him and Kyle. “Does Tess know we’re hangin’ out tonight?” he asked.

“Yep. She’s not too happy about it, but . . .” Kyle shrugged. “Oh, well. I think she and Sarah were gonna so see some movie, so what am I supposed to do? Sit home and knit?”

Michael chuckled, but when he thought of Sarah . . . he couldn’t help but get serious. “How is she?” he asked.

“Sarah? Ah, she’s . . .” Kyle hesitated, and when he finally gave him an answer, it wasn’t much of one. “You know.”

He did know, though. There wasn’t a day that had gone by since their split that he hadn’t thought about her, hadn’t wondered how she was doing, hadn’t hoped that she was doing better.

“I think she found an apartment,” Kyle revealed, “so that’s good.”

“Off-campus?” Michael asked.

“Yep.”

He nodded, knowing that had to be stressful on her. It was never easy trying to find someplace to live, especially when you hadn’t really wanted to move in the first place. “I should give her some of the furniture so she can get settled in,” he said, thinking out loud. “At least the bed or somethin’.”

Kyle grimaced. “You really think she wants the bed?”

Where it all went down, he thought, reconsidering. Me and Maria. “Okay, good point.”

“Besides, I think her parents are kinda helpin’ out with that stuff.” Kyle waved the bartender over, but instead of ordering any alcohol, he asked for club soda. Michael happily took another drink.

“Hey,” he heard from over his shoulder suddenly. Sounded like a girl. He didn’t care.

Kyle kicked him subtly, and he turned around to get a load of the smokin’ hot redhead behind him. She sort of looked like Jessica Rabbit and Roxie from high school combined. “Oh, hey,” he returned, though even her hot body couldn’t hold his attention for long. He looked down in his glass, noticing that he was nearing the bottom.

“I’m Rachel,” she said, jutting her hip out to the side flirtatiously.

He wasn’t in the mood to flirt. Which had to be a first.

She waited for a few seconds, then asked, “And you are . . .?”

“What? Oh, Michael.”

“Michael,” she said, smiling. “Are you here with anyone tonight?”

“Yeah.” The last thing he wanted to do was have to deal with some random chick tonight, not with thoughts of fucking Maria fresh in his mind. So he said, “He’s my date,” and motioned to Kyle.

“Oh.” Rachel laughed, embarrassed, and said, “Never mind then,” as she slinked away. She scurried back out onto the dance floor, where a group of equally hot friends of hers were waiting, and they all giggled.

“News to me,” Kyle said. “I didn’t know we were takin’ our bromance to the next level.”

“Yeah, we’re gonna make out when we get in the car,” Michael joked.

Kyle chuckled, trailing off as his club soda landed back in front of him. “So did you blow her off because you just broke up with Sarah?” he asked. “Or ‘cause of Maria?”

Did it really matter at this point? “Both,” he said, downing the rest of his drink. If they kept talking about Sarah or Maria, though, he was going to need a much stronger one.

As much as he wanted to just sit there with his best friend and be lighthearted and maybe even immature, his mind just kept going back to the same thing, the same person, the same sexualized thoughts of her. “I can’t stop thinking about her, Kyle,” he confessed, wondering if it would have been easier had they not hooked up again yesterday.

“Which one?” Kyle asked.

A gentleman would have said Sarah, but . . . that just wasn’t the case. “Maria,” he replied.

Kyle nodded slowly, his facial expression transforming into one of . . . concern. “You guys haven’t . . . I mean, it hasn’t happened again, though, right?” he questioned. “It was just the one time?”

Michael knew he could tell the truth. Hell, if there was anyone he could be honest with about anything, it was Kyle. And since they were back in their traditional roles of screw-up and caretaker, Kyle would probably even give him some good advice about how to handle it.

But he lied. “Right,” he said. “Just the one time.” Needing a distraction, he signaled the bartender back over to give him a refill.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz entered Chancellor Rehabilitation, double checking the address on the cake she was delivering. Yep, this was it.

“Hey, Liz,” she heard, and when she looked up, there was Sarah, sitting on a couch in the lounge area in scrubs.

“Hey,” Liz returned. “Look at you, working on a Sunday.”

“Well, not working very hard,” Sarah acknowledged. “For once, we’re actually over-staffed.”

“Oh, that’s gotta be nice.”

“It is. It makes the day feel long, though.” She pointed to the cake and asked, “Who’s that for?”

“Uh, Cindy,” Liz replied. “For her birthday, from her boyfriend.”

“Oh, she’s so spoiled. She’ll love it,” Sarah said, taking the cake from her. She set it down on the coffee table and admired it openly. “Wow, that’s really amazing, Liz.”

“Thanks.” It was just a double-layer chocolate cake with pink frosting roses on the top. Nothing too strenuous. “It’s actually a lot easier than it looks.”

“Well, it looks delicious.”

“Thank you.” Liz sat down on the arm of the couch, figuring she could take a minute for a brief conversation. This girl was, after all, a friend, and obviously she was going through something lately. “So . . . how’s it going?” she asked hesitantly.

“Oh . . . it’s going.” Sarah definitely didn’t sound like her usual cheerful self.

Liz nodded, trying to delicately approach the obvious topic. “So I heard that . . .” She stopped and started over, lowering her voice even though the only other person within hearing range was the woman at the front desk who looked totally engrossed in her work. “I heard about you and Michael. I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” Sarah said. “Yeah, it was, uh . . . really heartbreaking. Actually, tomorrow marks the one-week point. But it feels like it’s been longer.”

“Oh, I’m sure. You guys were together for years. It’s gonna be an adjustment.” Liz couldn’t even imagine the pain that this poor girl had to be feeling. Her own experience with Max had been painful enough, and they’d only been together a couple months. “So what—what happened, exactly?” she asked, trying to get a little more info without being obnoxiously nosy. “Or is it none of my business? You don’t have to tell me.”

“No, it’s okay,” Sarah said. “I just, uh . . .” She trailed off and hesitated for a long, long time, maybe because it was difficult for her to rehash. “I think he was just having second thoughts. Too many of them.” She shrugged sadly. “He just thought it wasn’t working out.”

Liz wrinkled her forehead, confused. “Then why did he propose to you?”

“Oh, trust me, I’ll be asking myself the same question for years to come.”

Liz frowned, figuring it must have been his last-ditch effort to make things work, to see if they could last. Maybe there had been more stuff going on beneath the surface than anyone had ever suspected. “So it was just a feeling then?” she asked, still halfway expecting Sarah to mention Maria’s name, to allude to some sort of lingering feelings Michael had for her. “He broke up with you because he felt like he had to?”

Sarah lowered her head, mumbling, “More or less.”

Huh, Liz thought, more than a little surprised. But it was a good thing, she supposed. This way, Max wouldn’t have to endure any drama or heartbreak of his own.

It was good for Max. It was really, really good. For Max.

“Well, for what it’s worth,” she told Sarah, “it’s obviously his loss.”

Sarah tried to smile, but it came out as more of a grimace. “Yeah, that’s what I keep telling myself,” she said, “but still . . .” Her eyes glazed over with tears, allowing Liz to see just how sad she really felt about the whole thing. “I feel like I’ve lost something, too.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Work was unproductive for Michael on Monday. He zombied his way through the majority of it, neglecting to pay as much attention to Jake as he should have. It had gotten easier with him lately, and he was requiring less and less assistance.

When the last bell of the day rang and the students started flooding out to the buses and their parents’ cars, he went outside, too. He stayed up by the front door, watching intently as Maria got Dylan into the car. Just seeing her there made his heart beat fast. It was like she was going in slow motion. She had on these high-waist jeans and a black midriff that accentuated every curve and contour of her body. He felt fascinated.

He took out his phone and sent her a quick text. You’re so beautiful. Then he waited and watched as she felt it vibrate in her purse. She reached in, took it out, and froze as she read what it had to say.

He grinned, loving that she looked so . . . touched. That a simple compliment from him could make her feel so much.

When she glanced up from her phone, her eyes instantly met his, and just like it had been in the classroom the other day, it was a lengthy, inflamed gaze. Had Dylan not been in the car, had she not been in mom-mode, he wondered what could have happened. Would she have gone home with him? Would they have slept together again?

She put her phone away and got in the car. He watched her drive away.

That night, he lay in bed flat on his back with his hands behind his head. There were plenty of things he could have been doing, productive things like studying or reading the assigned chapters for the many classes in which he was continuing to lag behind. But he had no motivation to do any of that. If he tried, he’d just end up stopping the second his mind became occupied by her again.

He wondered when he would see her next. The answer wasn’t clear. Sure, she’d shown up in class last Friday, but what had happened afterward may have dissuaded her from showing up tomorrow. He assumed she wouldn’t be there, and that didn’t work for him.

He wanted to see her. He had to see her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When she was little, Maria vividly recalled her mother doing a lot of cleaning, even when nothing needed it. Dusting, vacuuming, laundry . . . you name it, and she’d done it. Only when she’d gotten older had Maria realized that cleaning was her mom’s way of overcoming stress and anxiety. By being productive, she was able to forget how miserable she was, particularly during her divorce with Maria’s father.

The cleaning method didn’t work for everyone, though. Maria had started just shortly after waking up, and even though she’d been at it for hours, she didn’t feel any better.

She sat on the living room floor, dusting off the television stand. Then she started trying to reorganize some of Dylan’s Wii and Xbox games. They had a shelf for them, but most of the time, they just ended up scattered all over the floor. Even the monotony of alphabetizing all of those, however, failed to distract her.

The doorbell rang, and she said a silent prayer that it was Liz. Preferably Liz with Scarlet, because that little girl could definitely distract anyone. Hell, she’d even take Isabel at this point, because at least fighting would give her something to focus on.

When she opened up the door, the very source of her stress was standing on the other side. “Michael,” she said, wishing it felt worse to see him. Maybe, if she’d just hated him and hated what he was doing to her, then she could have just slammed the door in his face.

“Can I come in?” he said, phrasing it as a question, even though he didn’t wait for an answer. He stepped right past her without a formal invitation. “Are Max and Dylan around?” he asked, peering down the hallway.

“No.” She shut the door as her eyes traveled up and down his body, taking in every well-built inch of him. “Max is at work. Dylan’s at school.” She had hours to kill by herself today. By herself. Not with him.

“So it’s just us then?” he asked, cocking his head to the side.

What did that mean? Her mind was already running wild. “You shouldn’t be here,” she said, walking back over to the TV. She bent down and picked up the dust can and dirty cloth, halfheartedly continuing her household chores.

“I know,” he said quietly.

She shook her head, frustrated with him. Why would he come see her if he knew it wasn’t a good idea? Was he just trying to make things harder? “What do you want then?” she demanded shakily, keeping her back to him.

It took him a few seconds, but when he finally answered, it was at once exactly what she did and did not want to hear. “I want you.”

She inhaled sharply, feeling like she could break apart into a million pieces. Setting the cleaning supplies back down, she whirled around. “Michael, I . . .” Even though she was ready to lecture him, maybe even yell at him, she stopped short when she saw that longing look in his eyes. It was like nothing she’d ever seen before, even from him. Because it went beyond longing, actually. It was . . . like a craving. Like he was craving her.

“I want you, too,” she whimpered, her mouth betraying her mind. She knew she shouldn’t have said that. “But we can’t.”

“We already have,” he reminded her, sauntering closer, a mischievous grin on his face. “Twice.”

Her whole body shuddered as he came up right in front of her. She could feel the heat emanating from him. It made her skin flush.

“I can’t stop thinking about it, can you?” he asked, gently threading one hand through her hair.

It was all she’d thought about this morning, all she’d thought about last night and the entire weekend. “No,” she confessed, wishing she had more willpower than that.

“No?” He encircled his arms around her waist, pulling her closer, one hand tickling the small of her back while the other traced up her spine. “I feel like I’m goin’ crazy if I’m not touching you.”

She closed her eyes for a few seconds, reveling in the simple touches, but common sense fought back, and she reluctantly pushed him away. “You have to stop, though.”

“Why?” he challenged.

She looked up at him with pleading eyes, begging him to understand. “Because it’s wrong.”

( :? )

He no longer seemed as bothered by that as she was. In fact, at this point, he almost seemed completely unfazed. “It was wrong last time, too,” he pointed out, “and the time before that.”

But this makes it worse, she told herself, trying so hard to be logical. The more they did this, the worse they were.

“You know, it wouldn’t be wrong if you just told Max the truth,” he suggested.

She shook her head stubbornly. “I’m not gonna do that.”

He moved in closer again, and his hands found her waist. “Well, then, we have a problem,” he said, lowering his head so that he was speaking right into her ear. “ ‘cause you’re with him, but . . .” His voice was low and sensual and sent tingles up her back. “I wanna make love to you.”

She squeezed her eyes shut and shivered.

“If you want me to,” he added as an afterthought.

It definitely wasn’t a question of want; that much was clear. The pure, unadulterated desire was there, now more than ever. But her conscience, the fragile remains of it . . . it wanted her to hold back.

“Michael, sex with you . . .” She took a step back, but not far enough that his hands were no longer on her sides. “It’s not just something I can forget. I tried, but . . .” A tear slipped out of the corner of her right eye, and she didn’t even wipe it away. “It’s like I’m addicted or something.”

He smirked.

“It’s not funny,” she said.

His smirk disappeared, and his expression grew serious again. “Well, then, I’m addicted, too, I guess,” he openly admitted. “I always have been.”

She chanced a glance down from his face, fixating on his chest, on the button at the top of his shirt that was undone. Even seeing the smallest expanse of his skin drove her wild with impulse. “If we were to do this . . .” she said, moving his shirt to the side so that her fingertips could brush against his heart. It was beating so fast.

“If we were?” he echoed, bending his head down.

As if they had a mind of her own, her fingers found the second button of his shirt unbuttoned it as well. “No one can know,” she said as more of his chest came into view.

“Our little secret,” he swore, gazing at her. “I promise.”

“But it’s so wrong,” she weakly protested one last time.

“I don’t care.”

She did care. But not enough to stop. Tilting her head back to look him in the eye, she told him what to do. “Put your hands on me, Michael.”

Clearly he didn’t need to be told twice.

His hands slid around her back to pull her whole body up against his, and his mouth captured hers at the same time. The rush of feelings was almost an assault on her body, one so powerful that she had to hold onto his shoulders for support. Almost instantly, it felt like her legs were giving out, and much to her relief, he moved his hands down over her backside to hoist her up. She wrapped her legs around him as he carried her down the hall.

As if he’d been in that bedroom a thousand times before, he lay her down on the mattress and climbed on top of her in one fluid motion. The look in his eyes was an intense one as he hovered above her, situating himself in between her legs. He rolled his denim-clad hips against hers as he plunged his tongue into her mouth.








TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

CandyFi
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Re: Somewhere, Anywhere (M&M, CC/UC, AU, Adult) Part 63, 02/26/17

Post by CandyFi » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:14 am

OMG April! You are making me really dislike M&M at the moment! I really hope Maria comes clean with Max. I sort of feel sorry for him now as it's pretty clear he has turned his life around.

Eagerly waiting for some sort of resolution!!

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Re: Somewhere, Anywhere (M&M, CC/UC, AU, Adult) Part 63, 02/26/17

Post by sarammlover » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:39 am

bad bad bad naughty naughty naughty. LIES! ALL LIES!! And good for Tess. Sorry, I am not saraMMlover for nothing, but these two are extremely selfish.

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April
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Part 64

Post by April » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:07 pm

CandyFi:
OMG April! You are making me really dislike M&M at the moment!
This is gonna sound weird, but . . . I'm glad. Because you're not supposed to like what they're doing. They said it themselves in the last part: It's wrong.
I really hope Maria comes clean with Max. I sort of feel sorry for him now as it's pretty clear he has turned his life around.
He has, and despite the horrible things he's done in the past, he doesn't deserve to have this done to him.


Sara:
bad bad bad naughty naughty naughty. LIES! ALL LIES!!
Great reaction. :lol:
Sorry, I am not saraMMlover for nothing, but these two are extremely selfish.
You're right. They're putting their own wants/desires above all else right now, above what's morally and ethically right, even.




Thanks for reading and leaving feedback! It's appreciated!








Part 64








Michael was on a high when he got back to his apartment that night. His mind was so elsewhere that someone could have jumped right out in front of him as he strode down the hallway, and he wouldn’t have even noticed.

He kept hearing her in his head. All her lustful moans, contented sighs. Those sharp little gasps for air when she dug her fingers into his shoulders even more. He grinned as all those sounds reverberated off the walls of his mind. Knowing that he could do that to her, give her so much pleasure . . . it was the greatest feeling in the world.

When he pushed open the door to his apartment, though, the harsh reality came crashing back in, ruining his fantasy world. Sarah was standing there, staring down at the bed that she’d gotten so used to sharing with him, and she didn’t even look up when he stepped in.

“Hey,” he said, surprised to see her there.

It took a few seconds for her to snap herself out of her daze. “Oh, hey,” she said, casting him the quickest of glances before settling her eyes onto that bed again. “I just . . . I just stopped by to meet with Brody,” she explained, “get my name removed from our housing contract.”

Well, that was awfully official, wasn’t it? “Oh,” he said, not sure how to react.

“And I just thought I’d come up here one more time before I turn in my key.” She smiled when Shango pawed at her foot and then bent down to pet him.

“You can stay as long as you want,” he told her, removing his coat so he could hang it up next to the door.

“Actually, I was just leaving,” she said quickly, making a beeline for the door, as if she suddenly couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Maybe she felt okay being reminiscent when he wasn’t around. Maybe when he was there, she wanted to be stronger.

He reached out to grab her arm, stopping her, but then he thought better of it and slowly let go. “So you got a place off-campus?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

“Livin’ by yourself?”

She lowered her head, scraping at a small stain on the carpet with the toe of her shoe. “Yep.”

Carlsbad wasn’t a bad town by any means, but he still worried about her. “Be careful,” he cautioned, wishing she’d have a roommate.

Raising her head again, she glared at him. “I can take care of myself. Probably a lot better than you can,” she growled. “I mean, have you even thought about washing the dishes?”

He frowned. Dishes? What did dishes have to do with this?

“Or cleaning the bathroom? Or just picking up around here at all?” Her voice started to shake, and her agitation increased. “And you—you have no food in the refrigerator, Michael. How are you supposed to cook . . . with no food? What’re you gonna eat?” The tears started to fall, and she shook her head, trying to wipe them away. “God, I’m being stupid,” she muttered.

No, he thought. It wasn’t stupid at all. It broke his heart that she was worried about the simplest of things with him, things that he could do just fine. Things that she’d gotten accustomed to doing for him.

“I just . . . I don’t know why this had to happen,” she murmured, reaching for the door. She slipped past him and slammed it shut on her way out.

He sighed heavily, feeling like a jackass. Like he’d just gone from the highest high to the lowest low in the blink of an eye.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Like an old married couple already, Kyle and Tess sat up together in bed that night. She was diligently reading one of the baby books, and he was supposed to be paying attention, reading along with her. But he was bored. Those books were just repetitive at this point. He felt like he had a pretty good grasp on what was to come.

“So what exactly is our plan for tomorrow?” he asked, hoping to draw her attention away from ]i\What to Expect When You’re Expecting.[/i]

“We’re gonna help Sarah move into her new place,” she replied, flipping the page.

“And how are we gonna do that? I can’t do any heavy lifting. You can’t do any heavy lifting.”

“I . . .” She looked up from her book long enough to contemplate it. “. . . am gonna add decorative touches to the place. I don’t know what you’re gonna do. Stand around and look hot, maybe?”

He chuckled, glad to know that he’d done enough working out to be considered hot again. “I should call Monk and Fly,” he presented, “see if they can help.”

Tess made a face and looked down at the pages again. “Monk’s not gonna be able to lift anything. He’s a string bean.”

“Alright, maybe Steve then,” he reconsidered.

“Yeah, that’s better.” She turned the page once more, but then she finally stopped reading, looked up, and even set the book aside, keeping it open so she didn’t lose the page. “You know what? I like Steve,” she chirped.

“Yeah, he’s a good guy,” Kyle agreed.

“And a good friend,” she added pointedly. “Maybe he could be your best man.”

He groaned, sitting up straighter. “Tess, we’ve been through this. I want it to be Michael.”

“And I don’t. So what do we do?”

So stubborn, he thought, determined not to just give in and agree with her. Not this time. It meant too much to him to just let her have her way. “We don’t even have a wedding date set yet, so maybe we just wait and see if you change your mind,” he suggested.

“Or you.”

“I’m not gonna.”

“Well, neither am I.”

He took a deep breath in order to keep himself calm, knowing that nothing would get accomplished if this turned into an argument. “Tess, it’s my decision,” he pointed out rationally. “You choose your maid-of-honor, I choose the best man. That’s how it works.”

“Except you’ve chosen the worst man,” she protested dramatically. “That’s what I have a problem with.”

“Are you serious? He used to be one of your closest friends, too.”

“Used to be,” she huffed, picking up her book again. Instead of continuing to read, though, she bookmarked her page and set it aside on the nightstand. “Goodnight, Kyle,” she said sternly, effectively closing the door on that conversation before turning out the light. Closing the door for tonight, at least. He’d bring it up again tomorrow and keep bringing it up until she gave in.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

At this point, the theme song from Frozen was so overplayed and over-covered that it was annoying to hear anyone sing it, even a good singer. So hearing dozens of high-pitched little girls singing it at the Pound Elementary music concert on Friday night was downright torturous. The only thing that salvaged it was how cute they all were.

“Am I the only one wondering why they’re singing a wintery song at the spring concert?” Maria leaned over to ask Max.

“My brain can’t function enough to wonder,” he mumbled in response. “How much of this do we have to sit through?”

“A lot.” She took a look at her schedule, wishing they hadn’t shown up so early. Dylan’s music teacher had been very clear that all the students were supposed to be there forty-five minutes ahead of time. Why? That was the mystery. It had been forty-five minutes of sitting in uncomfortable, fold-up chairs, crammed in like sardines with other parents and family members who were struggling not to yawn.

“They have another song after this,” she told him, “and then the first, second, and third grade girls sing. Then we get to the boys. And then everybody sings together at the end.”

Max groaned, looking like he would have rather been anywhere else tonight. “And you think basketball tournaments are boring.”

She laughed, and even though it was a quiet laugh, she still garnered a “Shh!” from the man in front of her, who was recording the current performance on his phone.

Maria tried to focus on the adorable little girls—because really, they were adorable. She tried as hard as she possibly could, but she just felt her attention diverting elsewhere. Almost like there was something there that had this magnetic pull over her eyes. Or someone.

She looked to the side, and there was Michael, standing up in the back row. He was slinking along behind proud, smiling fathers, not even pretending to be interested in the song that was being sung. His eyes were glued onto hers, and they gleamed with mischief.

Her stomach muscles fluttered as she tried to be unaffected. But it was impossible not to be. She couldn’t just sit there and listen to the Frozen song when that look in his eyes was anything but frozen. It was molten hot.

Inconspicuously, she glanced out the corner of her eye and tracked his movements through the crowd. He grinned at her and headed out of the commons area, ducking down the closest hallway. And obviously he intended for her to follow him. Sexually, their week together had been amazing. They’d gone back to his place and done it after class today, but they’d had to cut it short because he’d gotten a call to fill in for someone at work. Clearly he was still . . . unsatisfied. And she loved knowing that she could satisfy him.

She double-checked the schedule as “Let It Go” came to an end. Clapping halfheartedly, she figured that she had enough time to slip away and make it back before Dylan’s performance. Just a quickie. A quick fix.

“I’m gonna go to the bathroom,” she told Max, handing him her schedule. “I’ll be back.” She left her purse with him and ducked down as she squeezed out of the row, not wanting to be in the way of anyone’s video. As the little girls started singing their next song—an old-school Hannah Montana one this time—she managed to squeeze through the crowd of people and slip into the hall.

Have to make this subtle, she thought, traipsing right past the bathroom as though she already knew exactly where she was going. She walked all the way down to the end of the hall and then had to take either a left or a right. On gut instinct alone, she took a left. She slowed her pace, waiting for Michael to pop out of somewhere, or whistle to get her attention and motion her into some secluded room. But she couldn’t find him.

“Michael?” she called quietly, sort of liking the sense of adventure. There was something thrilling about being with him right underneath all these people’s noses.

Suddenly, just when she was about to give up hope on this hallway and backtrack, a hand shot out from the big double doors that led outside, and she gasped in delight as Michael pulled her out of the hall.

They ended up in the back parking lot of the school, which existed only for busses and school vans. They slipped in between two busses, perfectly concealed even though there was no one around, and it didn’t take much convincing for her to get on her knees once she heard him unzip his pants. She took his cock into her mouth and bobbed her head up and down rhythmically, sucking, licking, taking in as much of him as she could. She’d done this enough before to know exactly what he liked, and it helped that he pretty much liked it all.

He leaned back against the bus, his hips unusually still as he allowed her to control the pace of it. Groaning, grunting, he pressed his head back and closed his eyes sometimes, only to then open again and look down at her. He liked watching. He always had.

She moved her hand in time with her mouth, squeezing gently but pumping insistently. When she stopped sucking and traced her tongue around the tip of his penis, that seemed to do him in. A low growl escaped his throat, and he grabbed her head and thrust himself back into her mouth, moving his hips forward and back just a few more times before he came. Hard. It was warm and salty and coated her mouth. Some of it slipped out the sides.

When it seemed like he was done, she pulled back, careful to keep as much of it in as she could. She knew Michael loved it when she swallowed, so she did, letting it slide down the back of her throat while wiping away what little had spilled onto her chin. It was a unique taste, but not a horrible taste by any means. If anything, the sheer eroticism of drinking down Michael’s cum was staggering. Besides, he always lapped up everything her body gave him. Every drop he could get.

Tilting her head to the side flirtatiously, she peered up at him and asked, “Did you enjoy that?”

He laughed dazedly, stroking his cock as it started to go limp. “Yeah.”

Of course you did, she thought. He was a guy. Guys loved getting head.

Getting to her feet, she readjusted her own clothes. Before getting down on her knees, he’d been pretty grabby, probably thinking that they were going to have full-on sex. But it was cold outside, and she was more than happy to treat him to this tonight.

“How long were we out here?” she asked, wondering if time had actually gone as quickly as it felt like it had. Surely that couldn’t have been more than five minutes . . . right?

“I dunno,” he answered, still off on another planet. Clearly the wrong person to ask.

Oh god, she thought, panicking a bit. What if she’d stayed out there too long? What if Dylan was getting ready to sing right now? She tried to leave, but he grabbed her hand and pulled her back.

“Hey . . .”

Despite knowing that she had to get back inside, she let him bring her in close, close enough that his head could dip in for a kiss. She knew he had to be tasting his own semen on her lips, which was probably why he let the kiss linger.

As much as she would have loved to have stayed out there with him, and as tingly as she was feeling at the juncture between her legs, she knew she’d been gone long enough. She had to get back in there so she could watch her son perform.

“I gotta go,” she told him, letting go of his hand.

On the way back through the hallways, she stopped at a drinking fountain and took a big gulp to get rid of the taste in her mouth. She dabbed at the corners of her lips, wiping away and smudged lipstick, and clumsily made her way back through the crowd, apologizing as she tripped over a few people’s feet this time.

“Where was that bathroom?” Max asked when she sat back down again. “Siberia?”

“There was a line,” she lied, looking up at the stage. The boys were singing now, but it was already the older boys. The ones who were scheduled to go after Dylan’s group. “Oh, no, did I miss it?” she bemoaned.

“Yeah,” Max confirmed.

“Did you film it?” At least seeing it on video would be better than nothing.

“I tried, but my phone stopped halfway through, right before his solo.”

“Solo?” she echoed, mortified. Her son had sung his first ever solo in a music concert, and she’d missed it? “Oh god.”

“He did good, though,” Max told her.

Yeah, she was sure he did. He was her son, after all. Maybe music wasn’t his passion, but he still had a good voice.

“It’s okay,” Max said, reaching over to put his hand on her leg. “I got some of it recorded. And you can see him with the whole group at the end.”

She sighed, supposing that was better than nothing. But still . . . it didn’t make up for missing his performance. He’d been singing, and she’d been out back giving a blow-job. What the hell was wrong with her?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz couldn’t seem to express her gratitude enough when Max stopped by her house Saturday morning to pick up Scarlet. “Thanks for watching her today,” she said. “I just really need to get this tax stuff done, and when you own your own business like I do . . . well, it can be time-consuming.”

“No problem.” Max carried his tired little girl towards the door in one arm, bending down to pick up her bag of toys with the other. “I like spending time with her.”

Liz smiled. “Well, she likes spending time with you.”

Good, he thought. Hopefully it would always be that way. Hopefully he would never make any mistakes with her.

Stopping in the doorway, he frowned, mentally debating whether or not to ask Liz something. It’d been weighing on his mind for a few days now, and if there was anyone he could talk to about it, it was her. Liz was probably his best friend. She always listened to anything he had to say.

“Hey, can I ask you somethin’?” he started in.

“Sure.”

He rubbed Scarlet’s back as she moved in his arms a bit, but she didn’t wake up. She just turned her head so that a different cheek was resting against his shoulder. Quietly, he inquired, “Do you know anything about this whole Michael/Sarah break-up?”

Liz looked a bit surprised that that was his question. “Well . . . I know Sarah’s really heartbroken,” she replied. “I know it was Michael’s decision. Beyond that, I don’t really know much. Why?”

He sighed, embarrassed that he’d already spent so much time thinking about it. “Isabel.”

She tilted her head to the side inquisitively.

“She said some stuff the other day that got me wondering,” he explained.

“Wondering what, exactly?”

“Wondering . . .” He hated even saying it out loud, but Liz was the person he felt most comfortable saying it to. “. . . if Michael still has feelings for Maria.” The mere thought of it left a bitter taste in his mouth. “Maybe that’s why he ended things with Sarah, you know?”

“That’s kinda what I thought at first,” Liz admitted.

“At first?” he echoed.

“Yeah, but then I talked to Sarah the other day. She didn’t say one thing about Maria.”

“She didn’t?”

“No.”

“Oh.” Interesting. That sure as hell made him feel better. More reassured. “Well, that’s good I guess.” But still, even though that was pretty compelling, he couldn’t help but wonder if that was the whole story. “Do you think he does still have a thing for her, though?” Anyone else’s opinion wouldn’t have mattered much, but whatever Liz thought was important to him.

“I think he’ll always have a thing for her, to be honest,” she confessed, “but I don’t know if that thing is enough to make him break up with his fiancée.”

“Yeah.” He nodded, letting that sink in. Logically . . . that would make sense. Some residual feelings, but nothing earth-shattering. If that was all that Michael felt for Maria, then he could handle that.

But what if it wasn’t? What if he did still feel something and it was strong enough to break up him and Sarah? Max wasn’t trying to be a pessimist, and he didn’t want to fear the worst, but something in him just refused to be placated.

“I don’t know, maybe you should just talk to her,” Liz suggested.

“To Sarah?” Maybe that would work.

“No, Maria,” she amended. “If she knows anything, she’ll be honest with you, right?”

“Right.” He didn’t want it to seem like she was the one he was doubting, not when she hadn’t even done anything wrong. “I trust her, obviously,” he put forth. “I’m just not so sure I trust Michael.”

“So talk to Maria,” Liz said again. “Sound good?”

“Yeah.” He smiled, grateful for her advice. “Thanks, Liz.” She always knew exactly what to say to keep him calm. No wonder raising Scarlet with her was so easy.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Michael yawned as he staggered towards the door, clumsily tripping over his own feet on the way there. “Kyle, I told you, we’ll work out later,” he groaned. “I’m sleepin’ in today.” When he opened the door, though, it was definitely not Kyle on the other side.

His mom smiled at him and said, “I’m not here to work out.”

Oh, shit, he thought, figuring she was there to lay into him. They hadn’t spoken once since he’d come back to Carlsbad, so she was probably still pissed at him.

She didn’t look pissed, though, which made him relax a bit, and even a crack a smile of his own.

Since she was there, sleeping in wasn’t really an option. So he got out of bed and got ready while she made breakfast. They small-talked their way through the morning, and then, closer to lunch time, he took her out on a walk across campus. She kept marveling at how big it was, even though, compared to other campuses, it was downright small. It probably seemed big to her, though, since she’d never gotten to go to college.

She was more than eager to show him all the pictures on her phone, photo after photo of Joe. Joe in the sink, getting a bath. Joe asleep in his crib. Joe drinking from a bottle. Joe, Joe, Joe.

“Jesus Christ, Mom, how many pictures did you take?” Michael asked her, astonished.

“Oh, hundreds,” she acknowledged. “I can’t help myself. He’s a very photogenic baby.”

“Well, at least you finally learned how to use your camera phone.” He handed it back to her when he finally got all the way back to the pictures at the hospital. He’d seen all those before. “Something tells me you didn’t come all this way just to show me pictures of Joe, though.”

She put her phone away in her purse, admitting, “No, of course not.”

Of course. The morning with her had been nice, but there were more serious things to discuss. He spotted an open bench outside the English department building and sat down, scooting over so that she had room to sit down beside him.

“I felt like we needed to talk,” she said. “Face to face. The way we left things was just so . . . unsettled.”

He nodded in agreement, regretting that he hadn’t made the effort to call her and at least check in. Things at home had to be pretty stressful on her right now. Even if Tina and Nicholas were doing a decent job taking care of Joe (which she assured him they were), obviously she had to be helping.

“Are you still mad at me?” he asked her, slightly afraid of the answer.

“I don’t think I was ever really mad,” she said, reaching over to put her hand on his leg.

“Just disappointed.” Wasn’t that the line parents always used?

“Well . . . yes,” she said. “And I hate to say that. It’s so cliché.”

“It’s alright. I get it.” He’d fully expected it, and that’s why he’d been reluctant to tell her.

She withdrew her hand, letting out a sigh before scooting a little closer and asking, “So how have you been?”

“Fine,” he answered vaguely. “Busy.” Truth was, he’d been more than fine. These past few days with Maria . . . they’d been mind-blowing. And last night at the music concert . . . god, the girl just had a way with him.

“And Sarah?” she prompted.

All it took was one mention of her for Michael to remember how bad he felt in addition to how good he felt. “Uh, she . . . she moved out,” he told her, “found a place off-campus. Tess and Kyle just helped her move in the other day.”

“And emotionally, is she . . .?” His mom trailed off, but it wasn’t like she had to finish the question for him to know what she was asking.

“She’s pretty torn up,” he admitted. “But she’s Sarah. She’s strong; she’s smart. She’s not gonna let this ruin her whole life.” If there was anything he knew for sure, it was that Sarah Nguyen would emerge from this whole thing just fine. She’d get her degree and find someone a hell of a lot better than him to marry someday. She’d get a happy ending, and he’d be so glad for her. Proud of her.

“I just feel so bad for her,” his mother said.

“I know. And I’m not tryin’ to make it sound like I don’t care. I mean, I feel horrible. I never meant to hurt her.” He hung his head, looking down at his feet, and mumbled, “I still love her; I want the best for her. And the best thing for her is to not be with me.”

“I understand,” she said. “And I even agree. I guess I just . . . well, I just wish you’d ended things with her before you and Maria . . .” She trailed off, as if she didn’t even want to speak of it.

“Me, too,” he whispered. At this point, it felt like fate that he and Maria had ended up back together, even if it was a secretive together for now. But even if that had been destined to happen all along, he knew he still could have gone about it in a different way. A better one.

“And what about Maria?” his mom asked. “What’s she been up to?”

Screwing me, mostly, he thought. They’d had a hell of a frisky week, and to be quite honest, he had hopes of seeing her later this afternoon, too. But that would require his mom’s visit to be a short one.

“I don’t know. We haven’t really talked since . . .” He trailed off, hating that he had to lie to her. But she couldn’t have any idea about what was really going on behind closed doors. “So I don’t know.”

“Is she still with Max?” she asked, her lips drawn tight.

“Yep.”

His mother sighed warily. “Well, that’s her decision about how to handle things then.”

“You think it’s gonna blow up in her face?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.”

I wouldn’t be devastated, Michael thought. If something happened that forced Maria to tell Max, he’d throw a fucking parade. “What if it does?” he asked. “Or what if she changes her mind and just tells him?” That was actually the ideal scenario, that it would happen solely because it was her decision. “What if we get back together? How would you feel about that?”

“Honestly?” His mom stared at him, narrowing her eyes in contemplation. “Apprehensive,” she replied. “Because you’re life’s just been so steady and secure these past few years. I’d hate to see that change.”

“It won’t,” he assured her. Just because Maria complicated his life didn’t mean she ruined it.

“I think it already is.” His mother looked down at her lap sadly, then cleared her throat and looked back at him. “I, um . . . I got an email yesterday from the scholarship office,” she told him.

His stomach clenched. Great. He’d gotten an email, too, and if he hadn’t been so focused on having sex with Maria, he would have been stressing out about it.

“Seems like they’re monitoring your grades pretty closely right now,” his mom went on. “If they don’t go up before the end of the semester, they’re not gonna renew your scholarships for next year.”

It was a nerve-racking thought, especially since he’d accumulated quite a few scholarships these past few years, all of which had GPA stipulations attached to them. “Yeah, I just gotta work harder,” he said nonchalantly, trying to make it seem like it would be no big deal.

“A lot harder,” she emphasized. “Those scholarships have really helped you out, Michael. I don’t want you to lose them.”

“I know.” Hell, it wasn’t what he wanted, either. “I’ll handle it.”

“You promise?” she asked skeptically. “You promise me you’ll go back home after I leave, crack open the books, and study?”

A couple of months ago, he would have done so willingly. But right now, even with the threat of losing his scholarships, it just didn’t feel like enough motivation. “Yep,” he assured her, nodding. “Yeah, that is . . . exactly what I’m gonna do.” Even as the words left his mouth, he knew they just weren’t true.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Uh!” Maria moaned loudly, throwing her head back in ecstasy as her orgasm ripped through her. She dug her hands into Michael’s shoulders and tightened her legs around his waist as he pressed up into her a few more times. His chest rubbed against hers, and he soon followed her over the edge.

“Oh . . .” he groaned during his release. “Shit.”

A pleasant warmth spread through her whole body, through every vein and artery, all the way from the pit of her stomach to the tips of her fingers and toes. She felt completely and utterly satiated. It was a great feeling.

Even though she pretty much loved every single sexual position with Michael, sitting up with him like this was definitely one of her favorites. The proximity alone was mind-blowing. There was something so addictive about being able to feel all the sweat on his body as it slid against hers. The boy had definitely exerted himself.

“That was so good,” she told him, reveling in it for as long as she could, for as long as her mind would remain ignorant to that clock on the nightstand.

“Yeah,” he agreed, his breathing muffled against her shoulder.

As much as she would have loved to just keep sitting there in the middle of that mattress with him, delighting in the fact that he was still inside her, she knew she couldn’t. When she did force a glance at the clock, it was a harsh reality. “But I have to go,” she whimpered, disappointed that time had flown by so fast.

“What? Why?” he whined, actually tightening his arms around her, as if he wasn’t going to let her go.

“I was supposed to leave fifteen minutes ago,” she pointed out. He’d already distracted her long enough.

“Stay,” he said pleadingly, thread his hand through her hair.

“I can’t.” She would have loved to, but it just wasn’t feasible. “Help me out here,” she said, forcing herself off of his lap. The loss of sensation as his cock, limper now, slid out of her was devastating. “I gotta get dressed,” she said, peering down over the side of her bed. Her jeans were there, but where the hell were the rest of her clothes? She swung herself down over the edge, legs and waist still on the mattress as she looked underneath. “Have you seen my underwear?” she asked, because her shirt and bra had gotten kicked under the bed, but her underwear were still nowhere to be seen.

“No,” he replied. “But I am seein’ plenty of stuff I like.”

She giggled a little, knowing she must have been giving him quite a view of her backside right now.

“Maria.”

“What?” She lifted her head up, and damn if he didn’t look so unbelievably sexy sitting there naked on the bed, twirling her panties around on his index finger.

“How’d you get that?” she asked, getting back up onto the bed.

“I have my ways.” He smirked, holding the panties just out of her reach when she tried to grab them.

“Give ‘em back,” she said.

“They’re mine now.”

“Um, hello, it’s my underwear.”

“Exactly.” He grinned. “I’m starting a collection.”

“Oh my god, give it!” She climbed back onto his lap, getting up on her knees, trying to reach them as he held them back and above his head. Finally, he just sent them flying towards the other side of the room with a flick of his wrist. “Michael!” she yelped, whacking his shoulder playfully.

“What? Everyone needs a hobby.”

“And collecting my underwear is your hobby?”

He shrugged, putting his hands on her waist. “One of them.”

“What’s the other one?”

He leaned forward so that he could murmur his response in her ear. “Sex with you.”

A pleasurable tingle shot up her spine. “That’s your hobby?”

“No, it’s my favorite thing ever.” He kissed her cheek, then bent his head to kiss the side of her neck and her shoulder.

His mouth felt so good on her body, she couldn’t help but close her eyes and moan contentedly. “Mmm . . .”

“My very favorite,” he promised, lips moving against her skin.

Oh god, she thought, overwhelmed. If he kept kissing her like this and talking to her so flirtatiously, she was never going to get out of there. “Stop it,” she said, pushing his shoulders back slightly. “I have to get dressed.”

“But I want you to stay undressed,” he protested. “So then I can do this.” He lifted her left breast in the palm of his hand, bending his head so he could press a sucking kiss to it. “And this.” Then he switched to the other one, tracing his tongue around her nipple before giving it a gentle bite. “And this.”

She gasped suddenly when she felt his hand slip between her legs, his middle finger tracing her lower lips. Good God, this guy possessed more sexual ability than the Kamasutra instruction manual itself.

“You’re making it really hard to leave,” she told him, rubbing herself wantonly against his hand.

“Good.” He removed his fingers suddenly, as if that had just been meant to give her a taste. “I want you to stay.”

The way he said it was so innocent-sounding, even though his intentions were clearly the opposite. “You know I can’t,” she said. It broke her heart to not just give in.

“But I want you to.” His expression started to shift from playful and teasing to sad and serious, and his hands settled in around her back rather than roaming all over friskily. “I hate how you always have to leave so soon after we’re done. We never have any time left over to just lay together, hold each other, talk.”

She rubbed his shoulders, noticing the fingernail marks she’d left there. “You hate doing those things.”

“Not with you.”

She sighed longingly. Oh, Michael . . . He really knew how to pull at her heartstrings here, how to make her feel guilty for leaving even though the only thing to feel guilty about was showing up over there to have sex with him in the first place. “So what you’re saying is, the next time I come over, we shouldn’t have sex?” she teased. “We should just lay around and talk instead?”

He grinned. “No, we should do both.”

Laughing lightly, she thought about how much she would like that. This little interlude right here was almost as enjoyable as the sex itself. Maybe just cuddling up in bed with him would be a euphoria all its own. They could do that for a little while . . . as long as she still found the strength to eventually get up and leave.

“Help me get dressed?” she asked him, knowing she’d already wasted another five minutes.

He looked her right in the eye and shook his head earnestly. “Never.”

She wished his saying that would anger her, frustrate her at least; but it didn’t. In fact, it only made her heart skip a beat.

By the time she got home, it was well after 7:00, nearly half an hour later than she’d told Max she would be home. She knew she was going to have to monitor the time more closely, keep herself on a better schedule. Too many late nights would be suspicious.

As she walked to the door, she got a text from Michael. She stopped to read it, thinking that it would be a romantic one. But rather than that, he’d gone the sexy route this time.

i came so hard for u today

She felt herself blushing, amazed that she of all people could get such a strong physical reaction out of him.

She kept heading towards the door, but when she was up on the porch, she got another text. Turning her back to the door, she stood and read it, mesmerized by the words on the screen.

u turn me on so much

She inhaled shakily, getting turned on herself as she imagined him lying unclothed in the bed they’d just fucked in, one hand holding his phone, the other maybe wrapped around his long, hard . . .

“Hey.”

She spun around as Max opened the door, and with a swipe of her thumb, she deleted both text messages. “Hey,” she said, putting her phone away.

When she stepped inside, he kissed her cheek and said, “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Yeah. Sorry I’m a little late,” she apologized. “I had to wait for the new girl to show up, and when she finally got there, she had no idea what she was doing.”

“Oh, the joys of work.”

“Yeah, really.” She bent down and removed her shoes, setting them by the door.

“Well, Dylan is cleaning his room, believe it or not,” Max informed her, “and I got dinner covered.”

“Really?” Her curiosity was piqued, but she didn’t smell anything. “What’d you make?”

“Oh, I ordered pizza,” he clarified. “Hope that’s okay.”

“Oh, that’s more than okay,” she assured him. “That’s perfect.” Pizza was a no muss, no fuss type of dinner, her favorite kind.

“Should be here in a few minutes,” he said.

“Great.” She went into the living room, setting her purse down on the floor next to the couch, and turned on the TV, yawning. “So how was Scarlet today?” she asked, flipping channels.

“Talkative,” he replied, sauntering in after her. “Half the time I didn’t know what she was sayin’, but she was sayin’ a lot.”

“Cute.” It was hard to believe that Scarlet was now nearly as old as Dylan had been the year they’d left Albuquerque and moved to Roswell to live with her mom. Until they got kicked out, anyway. Until they went to live with . . . Micho.

“Did Dylan play with her a lot?” she asked, hoping her little boy would be worn out tonight. He always wanted to stay up late on weekends, and she just didn’t have the energy to handle that tonight.

“Yeah, he did,” Max replied, pointing to the screen right as she bypassed some NBA game. She backtracked and set the remote down, knowing she’d have even more of an excuse to go to bed early if he got absorbed in this.

“Can we talk?” he asked suddenly.

She jerked her head towards him, alarmed by the seriousness of his tone. “Sure,” she said, already trying to figure out what was on his mind. “About what?”

Instead of answering, he motioned to the couch and said, “Sit down.”

She did so hesitantly, worriedly. “Is everything okay?”

“I think so,” he said, slowly taking a seat next to her. “I just wanted to ask you about something.”

Trying to remain calm and casual, she urged, “Okay, go ahead.” But inside, she was freaking out.

“It’s . . . about Michael.”

The freak out began to multiply itself. She was sure her eyes got wider, but she tried not to seem nervous, tried to act like there was nothing to hide. “What about him?”

“Uh, well . . .” He licked his lips, waiting a moment before starting in. “This isn’t all that easy to talk about, but . . .” He cringed, looking like he didn’t even want to ask the question, even when he was in the process of asking it. “Do you think Michael’s still in love with you?”

Oh god, she thought, her heart pounding. What does he know? “What?” she said, even laughing a little as if the mere thought of it was so ridiculous that it was amusing.

“I’m serious,” he said.

Oh, she could tell that he was serious. That was what worried her most of all. “Why would you even think that?” she asked, trying to understand why this was all just coming out of nowhere.

“Well, I was talkin’ to Isabel--” he started.

“Isabel?”

“Yeah, stupid I know. But she kept goin’ on and on about how she thinks Michael still has feelings for you, and that’s why he broke up with Sarah. And at first I just ignored her, but then I started thinkin’ about it, and . . . I don’t know. What if she’s right?”

“Max . . .” She felt horrible for lying to him, but the truth would hurt him too much. “No. No, she’s not,” she assured him. “Michael is not still in love with me. Trust me, I’d know if he was.”

“Because Isabel said she talked to him, and it seemed like . . . like there was still somethin’ there.”

“Well, yeah, a friendship,” she acknowledged.

“Something more than that.”

She sighed heavily, wishing Miss Isabel had just kept her damn mouth shut. “Max, Michael and I aren’t . . .” The words got caught in the back of her throat the first time she tried to say them, so she took a pause and then started in again. “There’s nothing going on.”

“No, I’m not saying there is,” he clarified. “I’m not questioning you here, okay? I trust you completely.”

Her face didn’t wince, but her heart grimaced.

“I know how committed you are to me and to our family,” he went on. “But clearly Michael wasn’t so committed to Sarah, even after getting engaged to her. So he’s the one I wonder about.”

She nodded solemnly, trying to find that perfect balance between being reassuring and not being too reassuring that it seemed like she had something to hide. “I understand,” she said. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about, but I understand.”

“I’m not worried,” he corrected. “Just . . . I don’t know. Curious, I guess.”

Don’t get too curious, she wanted to tell him. If he probed too deeply into this, he’d find a lot of answers he hadn’t been looking for. “So Isabel’s going around telling people Michael broke up with Sarah for me, huh?” she said, trying to turn some of the negative attention back on her instead. “Great. That’ll do wonders for my reputation.”

“I’m sorry,” he apologized. With everything going on that he didn’t know . . . he was actually the one who apologized to her. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“No, I’m not upset with you, Max; I’m upset with her. Trust me when I tell you she has no idea what she’s talking about, okay? She just wants to cause problems for us because she hates me.”

“She’s not causing problems, though,” he said. “If you say he doesn’t have feelings for you, then I believe you. One-hundred percent.”

She smiled at him shakily, grateful beyond belief when the doorbell rang and she had a reason to get up. “Pizza’s here,” she said, shooting to her feet. When she turned her back to him and headed to the door, she let her smile dissipate completely, and a horrified expression swept into its place.








TBC . . .

-April
Last edited by April on Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

sarammlover
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Re: Somewhere, Anywhere (M&M, CC/UC, AU, Adult) Part 64, 03/05/17

Post by sarammlover » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:57 am

Outside giving Michael and blow job while her son is singing a solo....where the fuck are her priorities? You have me detesting Michael and maria at the moment.

I also hate that you have my sympathizing with MAX! OF all people!! But he truly seems like he has changed....

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April
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Part 65

Post by April » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:52 pm

sarammlover wrote:Outside giving Michael and blow job while her son is singing a solo....where the fuck are her priorities?
Her priorities are super skewed right now. So are his.
You have me detesting Michael and maria at the moment.

I also hate that you have my sympathizing with MAX! OF all people!! But he truly seems like he has changed....
Oh, my, how things have changed, huh? :twisted:


Music recommendation today: "Fire Meet Gasoline" by Sia, which I actually liked and was listening to long before it was popular and on the radio, but whatever. Listen to it here when you see :? if you'd like.








Part 65








Even though he was working a solo shift, Michael had no problem dozing off behind the desk on Sunday. In fact, he welcomed it. Mostly everyone had headed home for spring break, so it was dead as a doornail around there. Or at least it was until he felt two familiar hands grab him and pull him to his feet with surprising strength.

Groggily, he tumbled back into the mail room with Maria, behind all the mailboxes. She shut the door and then reached up to pull the string that turned on the overhead light. Michael winced against the sudden brightness, trying to get his bearings as he woke back up again. “Right now?” he said. “In here?” Hell, it was kind of cramped, but he wasn’t picky. “Alright, I’m down.” He started to undo his jeans.

“Keep your pants on,” she ordered sharply.

“Huh?” If she hadn’t dragged him back there for sex, then what were they doing?

“We need to talk,” she said.

“Oh.” He shrugged. “Okay.” Conversation was definitely not the norm lately, but it was fine by him as long as she didn’t yell at him. Which, unfortunately, it seemed like she was about to do.

“I can’t believe you, Michael,” she hissed. “You have Kyle and your mom and Tina, yet you choose to talk to Isabel? I mean, of all people, she’s the one you talk to about us?”

“What? Isabel? I—I didn’t say anything to Isabel,” he stammered.

“Well, you must’ve, because she’s been saying some interesting things to Max,” she growled accusingly. “What happened?”

“Nothing.” He wasn’t about to stand here and get blamed for lying his ass off, just like she’d asked him to do. “She found out about me and Sarah, and she jumped to conclusions—the right conclusions, by the way, but I didn’t tell her that.”

“So you lied.”

“Like a fuckin’ a rug.”

She threw her hands up in the air, still exasperated. “Well, apparently you should’ve lied better, because she didn’t believe you.”

“Yeah, ‘cause she’s not an idiot.”

“And neither is Max.”

He grunted. “Could’ve fooled me.”

“He knows how well Isabel knows you. He knows that something about your breakup with Sarah isn’t right. So he’s suspicious.”

“Of us?”

“No. Just you.” She lowered her head ashamedly, mumbling, “He says he trusts me completely.”

“Hmm.” He wasn’t about to act all sympathetic when he really wasn’t. “Ironic.”

“Look, I told him there’s no way you still have feelings for me, and he says he believes me, but . . . I think he’s just saying that.”

Michael shrugged. “You got a problem then.”

“No, we have a problem,” she corrected adamantly. “We’re in this together.”

Always together, he thought. It didn’t matter if keeping Max in the dark was her decision alone; he’d still agreed to it. “So what do you propose we do then?” he asked.

She fell silent for a moment, looking like she was contemplating something, but he had a feeling she already had a plan in mind. “It’s the housing department party tonight, right?” she said.

“Yeah.” It was technically supposed to be a staff appreciation night, but over the years, it had turned into more and more of a spring break celebration. With fewer students left on campus and some dorms closed altogether, they’d have plenty of time off this week.

“Are you gonna go?” she inquired.

“Yeah. Are you?”

“Yeah.”

He grinned, liking the sound of this. Perfect chance to slip away together.

“With Max,” she added, much to his displeasure.

“Seriously?” How the hell were they supposed to slip away with him there?

“Yes. And I think you should bring a date, too,” she suggested.

“A date.” Had she officially lost her mind?

“Yes. I don’t care who. Just some girl. Any girl. Not blonde, because you don’t want her to look like a replacement me. But that way, Max can see you out with someone else, and that’ll put his mind at ease.”

He made a face, thinking that this sounded like more work than it was actually worth. “So I’m supposed to go out and score a date with some random chick, all within the next seven hours?”

“Yeah. Shouldn’t be too hard for the legendary Michael Guerin.”

“Oh, it’s not,” he boasted. There were plenty of girls who would jump at the chance to go out with him. It came with the territory of being so dastardly good-looking. “It’s just . . . this is so stupid, Maria. Why go through the trouble of doing all of this when you could just tell him the fuckin’ truth?”

“Not gonna happen,” she stated decidedly, crossing her arms over her chest. “So . . . do we have a deal?”

Did they? Well, he sensed he didn’t really get much of a choice in the matter. Besides . . . there was potentially some fun to be had in this scenario. “Sure, I’ll bring a chick to this party tonight,” he agreed. “Try not to be jealous.”

“Try not to be obvious,” she shot back, turning to leave.

“Hey.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her back, grinning eagerly. “Are we still gonna do it?”

“Ugh,” she groaned, rolling her eyes in annoyance before stomping out of the little room and shutting the door.

He shrugged and unzipped his pants anyway, figuring he might as well rub one out himself while he was back there.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The parking lot outside Vidorra seemed to be the only one on campus with any actual cars in it. Everything else was looking pretty deserted and shut down for the week. Vidorra was one of the few halls staying open, though, and what with the party happening there tonight, there were plenty of vehicles lined up.

Max brought the car to a stop in a space close to the entrance. “So you think this’ll be fun?” he asked, taking the keys out of the ignition.

“Yeah,” she replied. “I work with a lot of really nice people.”

Max nodded, hesitating a moment before inquiring, “Is Michael gonna be here?”

He’d better be, she thought. The guy had one job tonight: to look cozy with some lucky girl. If he failed in that responsibility, she’d be furious with him.

“Maybe. Probably. I don’t know,” she answered vaguely, reaching over to put her hand on top of his. “Does it matter?”

He thought about it for a moment, then smiled at her and squeezed her hand gently. “No,” he said. “We’re gonna have a great time no matter what.” He lifted her hand to his mouth and pressed a kiss to the back of it, then got out of the car.

She exhaled deeply, hoping tonight would help lessen his anxiety about . . . everything.

The party was in the lounge, which was a fairly expansive room down on the first floor, right across from the computer lab. There was a fireplace, couches, and even a pool table and foosball table. They had a snack table set up, containing a vast array of crackers and cheeses and chocolates, as well as a fountain of punch. Some very radio-friendly music was playing over a speaker system set up in the corner, and people were mingling and chattering and seemingly having a very good time.

“Pretty tame for a spring break party,” Max remarked.

“It’s the housing department,” she reminded him. “They can’t exactly throw a kegger.”

“Fine by me,” he said, wrapping his arm around her waist. “So who’s who here?”

She glanced around and started point people out. “Well, there’s Aubrey, the new girl. A little air-headed, but nice. And that’s Spencer. He’s a senior and he’s worked here forever. And, let’s see . . .” She spotted Brody in the corner, attempting to learn the whip and nae nae dance from some of the students. He was failing miserably, of course. “That’s my boss, Brody,” she told Max. “I’ll have to make sure I introduce you. He’s a really nice guy.”

“Yeah, looks like it,” Max said, scanning the room himself. He pointed over in the direction of the pool table and noted, “There’s Michael.”

Maria whipped her head in that direction, hoping to see some girl on his arm. But he looked like he was just shooting pool with a bunch of other guys. Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me, she grumbled inwardly. One job. One little job. “Do you wanna go say hi?” she asked Max. “Or . . .”

“We can, if you want to,” he answered.

Maria looked over there again, noticing a pretty red-headed girl leaning back against the wall, her eyes trained on Michael, an intrigued grin on her face. She definitely didn’t work for housing, so hopefully that was Michael’s date. “Well, it’d probably be weirder if we didn’t,” Maria said to Max.

“Let’s go then.” He took her hand in his and led her through the crowd of people in that direction.

When they were close enough, Maria reached out and tapped his shoulder. “Michael.”

He turned around, holding his pool cue in both hands. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” she returned. “Having fun?”

He shrugged. “Kinda. You?”

“Oh, we just got here.” She peeked at the redhead, hoping to see a glint of possessiveness in her eyes. If that was the girl Michael had found, then it was a job well done, because she was gorgeous. Perfect hair, perfect makeup. Even the perfect body, the kind that looked surgically enhanced even though it probably wasn’t.

“Hey, Michael,” Max said tersely.

“Max.” Michael barely paid him any attention as the redhead finally sauntered up to him and territorially slinked her hands around his waist, leaning against him.

“So who’s this?” Maria asked, happy to see that he’d followed through.

“Oh, this is Rachel,” he answered. “My date.”

“Hi,” Rachel said, one of those movie star smiles spreading across her face.

“Hi, I’m Maria. This is my boyfriend Max.”

“Nice to meet you,” Max said, holding out his hand.

Rachel removed her hand from Michael just long enough to shake Max’s. “You, too,” she said. “Do you guys both work here?”

“No, just me, for a few months now,” Maria said.

“Do you like it?”

She liked working with Michael; that was for sure. “Oh, it’s definitely not the worst job I’ve ever had,” she said. “What about you? You don’t work here, right?”

“No, I’m doing some part-time modeling,” Rachel informed her.

“Oh.” She gave Michael an unsurprised look. “Of course.” Of course he would go out there and find the only girl on campus who’s beauty could possibly rival even Isabel’s. That was a good thing, though. It was . . . believable, because that’s what a single version of Michael would have typically done.

“Well, anyway . . . we should probably mingle,” Maria said, linking her fingers with Max’s. “Nice meeting you, Rachel.”

“Yeah!” she exclaimed, still beaming that huge smile.

Maria pulled Max away, waiting for a reaction. When they were out of earshot, she got one.

“Huh,” he grunted. “Gotta admit, I didn’t see that coming.”

“Oh, please, I did,” she scoffed. “She’s young and beautiful. That’s Michael’s type.”

“But I didn’t think . . .” Max glanced back at them for a second, then shrugged. “I guess I just didn’t think he’d have a date tonight.”

“Why, because he’s still so in love with me?” she teased.

He laughed lightly.

“I’d say if there’s any proof that he’s not, it’s right there,” she said, watching the supposed couple over Max’s shoulder. They were definitely playing up their connection. A lot. “They look like they’re totally into each other,” she said, trying to ignore the pangs of envy when Michael bent down behind Rachel, helping her line up her shot.

“Yeah,” Max agreed. “Hey, maybe he broke up with Sarah for her.

“Maybe,” she said. “Or maybe he just wanted to play the field. I mean, Michael’s not the type to settle down.”

“He was ready to settle down with you,” Max readily pointed out.

Subconsciously, Maria touched her left hand, right where her engagement ring had once been. “No, he wasn’t,” she mumbled. If he really had been, then she wouldn’t have had to leave town. They would have followed through on all their plans, like getting married, moving to Alabama, maybe even having a kid of their own. They wouldn’t have been scrambling to see each other in secret, stealing moments, kisses, touches.

“Look, maybe it’s just none of our business,” she said, hoping that they could close the book on this speculation altogether. “Now do you wanna stand here talking about Michael all night, or do you wanna enjoy your time with me?”

( :? )

Obviously it was a no-brainer for Max. He smiled at her and leaned forward for a kiss, then wrapped his arms around her and hugged her. “I never doubted you,” he promised, holding her close.

Even though you should have, she thought guiltily, staring over his shoulder at the person he had doubted. The person whose hands were now squeezing Rachel’s butt.

Hmm. Maybe he was playing the part a little too well.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Rachel’s lousy shots ended up losing the pool game for Michael. He paid up twenty bucks to his opponent and assured Rachel that it was okay she sucked at pool. ‘cause she still looked hot. Really, this short, tight black dress she had on . . . it was a winner.

“So how’d you get my number?” she asked as she followed him over to the punch bowl.

“Asked around.”

“And you’re not gay?”

He chuckled. “No.”

“Then why’d you tell me you were on a date with that guy the other night?”

“It was a bromance night,” he explained, picking up a cup and the punch ladle. “No chicks allowed.”

“Oh. Are chicks allowed tonight?” she asked, tilting her head to the side flirtatiously.

He grinned, pouring himself an ample amount to drink. “Yeah, tonight chicks are definitely allowed.”

“Good,” she said, moving in a little closer, “because seriously, I think you’re, like, the hottest guy I’ve ever met.”

“I get that a lot,” he boasted, “but thanks. You sure know how to stroke a man’s ego.”

“Oh, that’s not all I know how to stroke.”

“Forward. I like it,” he remarked, taking a drink. Tasted pretty good for something non-alcoholic.

“So . . .” she said, tracing her index finger around the rim of the punch bowl. “Did you and the blonde girl used to hook up?”

“That obvious, huh?”

“Only very.”

He looked around for Maria, eventually finding her over on the other side of the room. She and Max were talking to Brody now. “Used to,” he said, wishing he could just go grab her and whisk her upstairs. Even if Max found out about it, he didn’t care.

“And now you’re friends?” Rachel made a face. “Lame.”

“Hey, I’ve hooked up with lots of girls, but I’m not still friends with many of ‘em. It’s a big accomplishment.”

“Congrats,” she deadpanned. “Lots of girls, though, huh?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s actually a pretty long list. Sarah Nguyen, future pharmacist. Maria DeLuca, love of my life. Isabel Evans, porn star. And it just goes on and on. There’s actually another porn star on the list, too. She was my first.” He swirled the liquid around in his cup, expecting her to start getting turned off any minute here with all these lurid little details. “Still into me?”

“Actually, yeah,” she chirped without hesitation. “Honesty is . . . sexy.”

He smirked at the irony of that particular statement. “Yep,” he agreed, his eyes flittering over to watch Maria again. “Honesty’s important.” He took another drink, watching her with Max, wondering if every single interaction was intentional and forced. That stupid son of a bitch had no idea just how many lies she was telling him at this point, but he deserved each and every one of them.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Apparently Brody was a basketball fan. Who knew? Maria hadn’t, not until he and Max had started talking about it. Once they started, they just kept going, and soon enough, a two-minute meet-and-greet had turned into an unending conversation about a sport she didn’t know or care anything about.

She was getting very bored very quickly, and that wasn’t a good thing. Because if Max couldn’t hold her attention, it would go elsewhere.

“It really does infuriate me when people compare LeBron to Jordan,” Brody was saying. “It really does.”

“I know,” Max agreed emphatically. “I mean, LeBron’s great and all, but Michael Jordan’s in a league all his own. Everybody knows that.”

Maria crossed her arms over chest and tapped her foot impatiently. Why did guys talk about sports so much? And why did they get so wrapped up talking to each other that they just forgot anyone else was even around?

The nice thing about being invisible to them was that she got a chance to look over at Michael again and see what he was up to. And goodness, he was up to a lot. Rachel was standing in front of him, her whole body leaning into his, her fingers hooked through his belt loops. He was looking down at her with this sensual, seductive look on his face, and one of his hands rested comfortably on her hip.

God, that’s a little much, Maria thought, disgruntled. All Michael had needed to do was bring a date to the party and make it look convincing. Not that convincing.

She tried to look away, but that lasted for only a few seconds, and then she was sneaking a peek at the two of them again. It was even worse now. Rachel’s arms were around his neck, and his hand was on her ass, and they were kissing. Actually, legitimately kissing. Maria narrowed her eyes, trying to see if there was tongue involved. Oh god, hopefully not.

“Is your son a basketball fan, too?” Brody’s question abruptly jerked her out of her jealous trance.

“What?” she said dazedly. “Oh, um . . . sort of. He played this year.”

“He prefers football,” Max said, just the slightest trace of bitterness in his voice.

“He’s good at both, though,” Maria added, just to try to make him feel better.

“Well, actually, he’s a lot better at football,” Max conceded. “He got started on it at a younger age, so . . .”

“Makes a difference,” Brody said, nodding.

All of a sudden, Michael came zooming past, hauling a giggling Rachel with him. He looked like a man on a mission, like he wanted to get out of there. Maria’s entire body tensed with alarm.

“Michael,” Brody said, grabbing his arm. “You leaving already?”

Michael grinned and leaned in, speaking quietly to Brody but loud enough for Maria to hear. “Actually, Rachel and I are gonna continue the party back at my place, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh. Well, by all means . . .” Brody trailed off uncomfortably. “You’re not obligated to stay.”

“Later,” Michael said, quickly hustling off with Rachel. She scurried in front of him, and he gave her a little spank as they ran down the hallway and rounded the corner for the elevator.

Oh my god, Maria thought, feeling completely mortified. What the hell was happening? When had sex become part of the equation? She hadn’t said one thing to him about sleeping with someone else. Just going on a date. Making it look real. It wasn’t supposed to get real.

“Well, he seems to be bouncing back quickly,” Max remarked.

“Very quickly,” Brody agreed.

“Yeah,” Maria added quietly, trying to smile, just so that Max wouldn’t be able to tell just how upset she really was.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Spring break was a week of partying for some people, but for Jesse, it was all about business. Even when Isabel begged him to take her somewhere, maybe just to the beach for a day, he said he didn’t have time. Apparently there was a whole list of things he had to do. Website maintenance. Video editing. Concept brainstorming. Eric and Courtney were taking a road trip to Palm Beach, doing the whole spring break thing the way it was meant to be done. But it seemed that Isabel would be stuck at home.

Since her boyfriend was occupied, she didn’t feel the slightest bit bad about going out and pursuing her own avenues. She talked to Alex and arranged to meet up with him, telling him it was for academic reasons, even though it was primarily extracurricular. He wouldn’t allow her to come to his apartment, nor did he want to go to her place. But he said a coffee shop was fine.

It was just the two of them when she showed up, which was nice. Quiet. Peaceful. Just the way a coffee shop was supposed to be without all those annoying college kids around. Alex was already there when she arrived, seated at a table by the window. He looked up and actually smiled when he saw her.

“Thanks for meeting me,” she said, sitting down across from him.

“Well, you said it was important.”

“It is.” She reached down into her bag and took out the reason for their meeting, a hundred and two page document held together by a jumbo black binder clip. She slid it across the table, smirking proudly. “I’ve been doing some writing.”

“I see that.” Alex picked up the story and flipped through all the pages, his eyes widening at the amount of words on each one. It was single spaced, normal-sized font, so it definitely hadn’t been a small endeavor. “What’s it called?” he asked her.

My Life as a Pornstar,” she joked. “No, actually, I don’t know. I just need something that’ll catch people’s attention.”

“That’ll do it.” He started to read through the first page, his eyes darting back and forth between her and the words. “So obviously this is autobiographical.”

“Yep.” People had always been interested in her life back in high school, even before she’d done anything scandalous. Surely they’d be interested in it now that she had much more scandal to her name.

“Interesting,” he said. “You know, though, most of the people who buy this would expect Fifty Shades of Grey.

“I know. But that’s not what it is at all.” Her aim had not been to glamorize her lifestyle, but rather to depict it as realistically as possible. “It has more substance. I hope.”

“I’m sure it does.” Alex flipped to one of the pages in the middle randomly, and his eyes got wide when he read the words on the page. “Wow,” he said. “Looks like some of it might be a little tough to read.”

“Some of it is,” she acknowledged. It was graphic and sometimes gritty. There were detailed descriptions of her first time having anal sex, her first time with another girl, the first time she’d allowed herself to be double-penetrated. Stuff like that. “I really wanna know what you think, though,” she told him, well aware that it might be kind of weird for him to read all of this and picture her doing it. He was, after all, one of the few guys in this town who probably hadn’t subscribed. “I mean, I can’t show it to Jesse or Courtney. They love what we do.”

Alex set the story down, staring at her keenly. “And when did you stop loving it?”

“I never loved it,” she admitted. “I just got used to it.”

“So why do you keep doing it then?”

Because I’m used to it.” As shocking and obscene as some of those chapters would be to him, they were just commonplace to her. And they would pale in comparison to the chapters of any memoir Courtney might ever produce. “Because I have nothing else,” she added sadly, looking down at the table.

“You have this.” He held up her story emphatically, as if trying to drive home a point. “You have talent, Isabel. You have potential.”

She let that sink in and laughed a little. Potential.

“What?” he asked.

She sighed, wishing that word didn’t exist. “I used to tell Michael he had potential all the time,” she recalled, understanding now that it wasn’t so much a term of encouragement as it was a sad reminder of all that was lost, or rather just out of her reach.

“That’s right, and look him now,” Alex said. “I hear he’s a pretty good guy.”

“Oh . . .” Isabel shook her head skeptically. “I wouldn’t be too sure about that.” Maybe that was his college persona, but she just wasn’t buying it. And if Alex had been more in-the-know about all the recent relationship dramatics, he probably wouldn’t be buying it, either. He was too smart for that. It was a pity Max wasn’t.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Maria waited for a few days after the housing party to reach out to Michael. She didn’t want to seem desperate to hear from him, so she didn’t call him, didn’t text, didn’t swing by his place. But secretly, she hoped he would do any of those things for her. Just something to let her know that he and Rachel weren’t spending their entire spring break breaking the bed.

Finally, she couldn’t take the not knowing anymore. She had to see him, but she wanted to be subtle about it, so she figured she’d catch him at the school instead. She got dressed in a nice, professional-looking shirt and pencil skirt, then strolled in on a day when she saw his car parked outside. She found him in the guidance counselor’s office, without the guidance counselor around, of course. He was kicking back in her cushy chair, feet up on her desk, dozing.

“Is Vanessa here?” she asked.

He opened his eyes and took his feet down. “No, she had an appointment,” he told her. “I think she might be pregnant.”

“That’s a pretty radical assumption, don’t you think?”

He shrugged. “She threw up the other day.”

Oh, the morning sickness. It was a distant memory for Maria at this point, but not a forgotten one. “Okay, maybe not so radical,” she acknowledged. “Isn’t Brody her boyfriend?” The thought of him doing anything sexual was sort of strange, because he was just such a responsible guy.

“Yeah,” Michael said, pulling out Vanessa’s top desk drawer so he could fiddle around with the clips and erasers and other odds and ends inside. “I could see him being a good dad.”

“Yeah, me, too.” She watched him become utterly distracted by a rubber band. He put it on his hand and shot it like a gun at the wall, but it landed short on the carpet instead. Like a kid with ADD, he bent down to pick it back up and put it on his hand again.

“You need something?” he asked, narrowing his eyes as he shot it again. It landed smack dab in the middle of an Einstein poster this time.

“Oh, well, I just came to ask Vanessa . . .” She trailed off, struggling to come up with a feasible lie. What would she possibly be there to ask Vanessa about? Her son was in kindergarten, and he was a smart, well-behaved boy. There were no issues to address, no concerns to make her aware of. It had to be pretty obvious why she was really there.

She stepped further into the office and shut the door, lowering her voice so the secretaries outside couldn’t overhear. “I didn’t come to see her, Michael. I came to see you.”

“Figured as much,” he said, retrieving the rubber band one more time. He put it back in the drawer and closed it. “What’s up?”

Sound casual, she coached herself, unaffected. She didn’t want to seem jealous. “Well, I just wanted to see . . . how it went with what’s-her-face the other night.” She cringed inwardly. So much for casual.

“What’s-her-face,” he echoed amusedly. “You mean Rachel? Oh, it went great.”

“Really?” How great was great? Was it just good or . . . really good?

“Yeah, she’s a cool girl,” he said. “We really got to know each other.”

“Oh.” She didn’t like the sound of that. At all. “Like . . . intimately?”

“Oh, yeah. First we, uh, we watched TV.”

She started to relax a little.

“And then we played with Shango,” he went on. “Then we talked about her ex-boyfriend who, coincidentally, cheated on her.”

“And that’s it?” It would be a comfort if it was; that was harmless enough.

“Well, then there was the sex.”

“What?” she shrieked, unable to keep her voice down.

He laughed. “I’m kidding.”

“Oh.” Thank God, she thought, sighing in relief. That had really freaked her out for a second there. Just the thought of his hands on some other girl . . . she hated it.

“Come on, you didn’t honestly think I was gonna sleep with her, did you?” he teased.

“Well, I didn’t know. You two looked pretty cozy. You were, like, full-on making out with her.”

“It had to look convincing,” he reasoned.

“But it’s not like we’re technically together,” she reminded him. “You could’ve slept with her if you’d wanted to.”

His eyes locked onto hers, and his voice sounded so smooth and sultry when he said, “I didn’t want to.”

She couldn’t help but blush a bit. Being the only girl Michael had eyes for, the only object of his affections . . . it was a rush. Especially considering how drop dead gorgeous Rachel was. And how smart Sarah was.

“So we hung out,” he recapped. “Then she left. End of story.”

“Good.” She would have appreciated a phone call to let her know that, though she supposed he liked making her squirm and be envious. “I think it put a lot of Max’s suspicions to rest, too,” she said, “so that’s good. Now we can just go back to--”

“Having an affair?” he cut in.

She tensed, not sure why. An affair. It was what they were doing. It was what they’d been doing for nearly three weeks now.

“It’s alright,” he said, getting to his feet. He stood in front of her, stroking her cheek with the back of his hand. “I’ll say it so you don’t have to.”

Not saying it didn’t make it any less real. Sometimes when she thought about what they were doing, it exhilarated her. Other times, it devastated her.

He put his hand on her waist, pulling her in a bit closer, and she knew she had to put some distance between them before things escalated. “We can’t do this here,” she whispered, pushing his hand away.

“I know,” he said, brushing her hair back from her face. He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead, one that left her wanting more. All kinds of kisses in all kinds of place, and all sorts of touches to go along with them.

She did manage to leave, but she didn’t get far. In fact, she only made it out into her car before her whole body just . . . stopped. The keys were in her hands and her foot was on the pedal, but she couldn’t seem to start the car. She just sat there, thinking about him, wondering if it would have been possible to hook up with him just now. They could’ve been quiet. And quick. No one would have ever known.

God, what’s wrong with me? she wondered, jamming the keys in the ignition. She still didn’t turn the car on, though. Something told her to stay put.

Momentarily, she thought about reaching down to touch herself, get off right here and right now. Because if she didn’t, she was going to be thinking about it all the way home, and she wouldn’t even be able to concentrate on her driving. As irrational as it was to be so totally and completely invested in her sex life with Michael . . . she just couldn’t get enough of it. Of him. Her hand would be a lousy substitute.

Just as she was resigning herself to masturbation, the passenger’s side door of the car swung open, and Michael hurled himself inside. His lips attacked hers ferociously, and with reckless abandon, she kissed him back. She heard him unzip his pants right away, and she knew what was going to happen. More than that, she welcomed it. Was it risky to do this right here of all places? Sure. Was it immoral? Probably. It was her son’s school, after all. But they were on the far side of the building where there were no windows, and there was no one else in the parking lot. It was just the two of them, and they could make it quick.

She clamored over the gearshift and into his lap, cupping his face with both her hands as their mouths mated. Her skirt hiked up over her backside on its own accord, allowing him to rub his hard cock against the juncture between her legs. He seemed delighted to find out she wasn’t wearing any underwear, because he smiled against her lips, and a low groan rose up from his throat.

Seconds later, she guided herself down onto him. It was a smooth fit, because she was already so wet. No wonder she hadn’t been able to drive away. She’d been sitting out there for at least five minutes now, secretly yearning for this, hoping that he would come out and satisfy her the way only he could. It wasn’t just desire at this point. It was undeniable need.

She rode him at a frantic pace, worried that they would get caught, that some teacher would walk out or some parent would drive by. No one did, but just the fact that someone could . . . it was pretty damn thrilling and made the sex feel even hotter.

When he reached down between their bodies to rub her clit, it sent her over the edge almost immediately. She sank down to the base of his shaft and stayed there as she came, letting the feeling wash all over her. Whether it was brief or drawn-out, rough or romantic, it always felt so fucking good with Michael. Like an itch that had just been scratched.

He pounded his hips up into her a few more times and climaxed shortly after, leaning his head back against the seat, eyes closing as though he just wanted to stay there and never move again. “I couldn’t resist,” he breathed out, grinning dazedly.

There was no time to recover, though. He had to get back to work, and she had to get home. Because they were in the middle of an elementary school parking lot, and they literally could’ve gotten arrested for what they’d just done. “Go,” she said, lifting her hips so that he could slip out of her. “Get out of here.” She gave him what she thought was a gentle shove, but apparently there was more force behind it than she thought, because he tumbled out of the seat onto the pavement.

“Shit,” he swore, quickly zipping up his pants. He stood up then, looking around, and straightened out his shirt. It was all untucked now.

She pulled her skirt down, then reached out to grab the door handle and pull it shut. She smirked at him and locked it, just so he didn’t try to come back in for an encore. Not that she wouldn’t have enjoyed one. It would just have to wait until later.








TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

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Part 66

Post by April » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:34 pm

Ooh, music suggestion today, and it's one of my favorites: "Trust Me" by Dee Joy, which you can listen to here when you see :wink: if you'd like. Such a little-known song, but it's a hidden sexy gem. And I literally just accidentally discovered it one day. Had it in mind for a certain scene from the moment I heard it. Enjoy!








Part 66








It was a risk stopping by Tess and Kyle’s place that afternoon, and Michael knew it. These days, being anywhere within a fifty-foot radius of Tess Harding was a risk for him, but he was willing to chance it. Sure, it would have been nice to see Kyle’s truck in the driveway, because that would mean he’d have a little backup. But even without his best friend there, he was determined to try to set the record straight with Tess, get back on good terms. Or at least civil ones.

He still had his key to their house, so he let himself in, knowing she’d just slam the door in his face if he knocked. The moment he walked inside, he heard crying, and he was immediately concerned. “Tess?” he called, heading into the living room. There she sat on the couch, her face in her hands as she sobbed uncontrollably.

“Tess?” he said again, rushing to her side.

“Go away,” she snapped, trying to scoot to the end of the couch.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine.” She sniffed. “Just emotional.”

He frowned. “Well, what’re you emotional about?”

“That’s just it, I don’t even know!” she wailed. “When you’re pregnant, you can go from being completely fine to completely distraught in, like, half a second. It really pisses me off!”

That sudden burst of anger in her voice really freaked him the hell out. “Okay, maybe now’s not the best time to talk,” he decided, taking a few steps back.

“Oh, I know when we should talk, Michael,” she said, glaring at him. “Never. How about that, huh? Does never work for you?”

He sighed, frustrated but unable to be as mad at her as she was at him. “No, it doesn’t,” he answered, slowly sitting down next to her. “You’re my friend, Tess.”

“No, Kyle’s your friend,” she corrected adamantly.

“But you’re my friend, too.” Hell, he’d known this girl since she was a freshman in high school, and as much as she annoyed him sometimes, she was practically family at this point. He wasn’t just going to stand back and let her hate him for the rest of her life.

“I was your friend,” she growled. “But I’m not anymore. And I’m not forgiving you.”

“Even if Sarah does someday?” he asked hopefully.

“Not even then. And FYI . . . she’s not forgiving you.”

Maybe she wasn’t, and that was understandable. But still . . . he wanted her to. Selfishly, even though he didn’t deserve to be selfish, he would have loved to come out of all of this without Sarah, Tess, or anyone hating him. Except for Max. He really didn’t give a shit if Max hated him.

“Kyle forgives me,” he pointed out.

“That’s because Kyle is hopelessly strapped to the Michael Guerin redemption train, no matter how many times it crashes.”

Michael exhaled heavily, knowing she wasn’t wrong to be saying all of this. How many times had he been unfaithful to a girlfriend at this point? When you started to lose count, it was pretty damn bad. But that didn’t have to make him a horrible person, did it? It just made him . . . fallible.

“So that’s it then, huh?” he mumbled, dissatisfied with the way this was going. “You get to make all the decisions? He doesn’t even get a say?”

“Oh, no, he can decide some things,” she said. “Like who his best man is. I caved in on that. But I’m not caving when it comes to my kids. That’s a decision Kyle and I have to agree on, and I just don’t agree.”

And of course that was the issue that was eating away at him the most. He could handle it if Kyle chose a different best man. That was just a one day thing. But being a godparent to his friends’ kids, being the one who stood up their at their baptism and promised to be there for them no matter what . . . that was something he’d miss out on for a lifetime if he couldn’t get her to change her mind and try to see the good in him again.

“You know I’d love those kids,” he told her. “I’d be a good godfather.”

“But you’re not trustworthy,” she told him icily. “You’re not respectable. And let’s not forget, when it came time to be an actual father to Dylan . . . you pretty much sucked at it when it mattered the most.”

He tensed, lowering his head. It always came back to that night, didn’t it? Somehow Max seemed to have escaped the shame of his actions, his mistakes, but Michael’s still surrounded him. Constantly. He never stopped feeling the regret of it, the horror.

“Just give me another chance,” he begged. “Please.”

“I can’t keep giving chances to the guy who keeps cheating on my best friends.” She shrugged unsympathetically. “Besides, I’ve got two older brothers who would be perfect for the job.”

“Older brothers you never even see,” he pointed out. One had joined the military, from what he recalled, and the other had gone to live in another country. “Come on, Tess. Obviously this is important to me.”

“Oh, I know it’s important,” she said. “I just don’t care.”

He swallowed the lump in his throat, nodding sadly in resignation. Tess wasn’t changing her mind. Not yet anyway. She had a couple months left to do so, but if she didn’t, or if Kyle couldn’t convince her . . . then he wouldn’t get to be Uncle Michael. Not to their kids anyway. And in a way, that would hurt just as much as breaking Sarah’s heart had.

“I hope you change your mind,” he said, getting up from the couch. He sulked back out the front door, and as he shut it, he heard her start to cry again.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was a remarkable thing when the creative juices were flowing. For Isabel, when inspiration struck, she didn’t want to do anything else but write. Eating, drinking, sleeping . . . it was all secondary. The story was what mattered.

When she returned home from class, it was with the full intention of heading straight upstairs to her bedroom, sitting down with her laptop, and penning another chapter, one she would give Alex to look over once he’d read what she’d already given him. But when Jesse came out of Courtney and Eric’s room with a camera in his hand, she had to stop.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hey.” He frowned, concentrating on the camera. She wasn’t a technical expert by any means, but she could tell by the way he was fiddling around with it that something wasn’t working right. “Where were you?” he asked distractedly.

“Just out,” she replied, “clearing my head.”

“Class?” he assumed.

“I’m on a spring break.” Did he seriously not remember that?

“Oh.” He shrugged, then held up his camera, aiming it at her, playing around with the zoom in/zoom out.

Of course you don’t remember, she thought, pouting. Lately, it seemed like her boyfriend cared more about his business than he did about her. It was frustrating, but not entirely unexpected.

“You should get back to filming,” she suggested, hoping that she could just do her own thing today.

“Yeah,” he agreed, lowering his camera. “It’s gonna be a wild one.”

As if on cue, there arose a plethora of loud laughter from the bedroom. Male laughter. As in many males, definitely not just Eric.

“Actors,” Jesse explained.

Is that what he was calling them now? Why not just call a spade a spade? They were horny guys who were more than willing to have sex on camera. That was it. “How many?” she asked, afraid of how staggeringly high the number would be.

“Five,” he replied.

Her eyes widened. “Five?” Just thinking about it was . . . painful, and she wasn’t even the one getting gangbanged. “Courtney’s gonna have sex with five guys?”

“Well, six, if you count Eric.” Jesse chuckled lightly.

On some guttural level, Isabel felt opposed to it. In a major way. In the kind of way where she almost wanted to just go in there, grab Courtney, and drag her out of the room before she sunk to a whole new level of degrading herself.

“Don’t worry about her,” Jesse said, almost as if he were reading her mind. “You know Courtney. She loves this stuff.” He bent forward, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and then turned and headed back in the bedroom. When he opened the door, Isabel got a glimpse of the so-called ‘actors’ inside. One was significantly overweight, and another was super hairy. Slobs, by the looks of it. Total losers. But it didn’t really matter, though, did it? No one was subscribing to Courtney’s site to see them.

She loves it, Isabel reminded herself as inspiration for another chapter of her book started to strike. Or at least she acts like she does. Could anybody ever truly love what they did, though? The longer she was involved in it, the more she was convinced the answer was no.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“So then I said he’s not trustworthy,” Tess recounted as she zipped around the house, putting out all the springtime knick-knacks and decorations.

“Even though I trust him with my life,” Kyle mumbled.

“And then I said he’s not respectable, which, at this point, is pretty much a well-known fact, so don’t even try to argue it.”

He rolled his eyes, following her into the kitchen. “And then?”

“And then . . .” She paused for a long time as she swapped out the Valentine’s Day towels on the oven handle with flowery ones. “I brought up Dylan.”

“What about him?”

“Oh, I just reminded Michael how miserably he failed when it came to being a father to him.”

“Oh my god, Tess,” Kyle groaned, rubbing his forehead. “That wasn’t necessary.”

She shrugged flippantly. “It got him to leave.”

“Yeah, ‘cause it was a low blow. I was there that night when Max took Dylan. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” Even now, it practically made his skin crawl to see Max, especially to see him with Dylan. In his mind, he just always went back to that night, to helplessly watching as Max drove down the street with a hysterical little boy in the back of his car. He could only imagine how horrible Michael felt whenever anyone brought it up. It had to be a nightmare, even to this day. “You shouldn’t have said anything about that,” he told Tess.

“Well, he shouldn’t have cheated on Sarah,” she shot back.

“I know. He knows. We all know that,” Kyle acknowledged. “But that doesn’t mean we should just turn our backs on him.”

“Why not?” she challenged, folding her arms over her chest stubbornly.

“Because we—I can’t,” he declared adamantly. “I’ve known him my whole life. He’s more of a brother to me than a friend. And I still believe in him.”

Tess snorted. “Maybe you shouldn’t.”

“No, maybe you should.” Even though he wasn’t looking to get into some huge argument about this, Kyle refused to not stick up for his best friend. And he desperately wanted his own girlfriend to understand that. “Do you know how much this guy’s sacrificed for me? He could be playing football at Alabama right now. He could have a whole life for himself out there, but he gave that all up for me. To stick with me, to be there for me when I needed him the most.”

Tess’s expression softened momentarily, but only slightly. There was still a lot of anger in her eyes.

Kyle sighed, shaking his head. Those first few days following his injury were mostly a blur. He’d been at such an emotional low that most things had pretty much blended together. But he distinctly remembered sitting in the hospital with Michael on his third night, talking to him after everyone else had gone to sleep. And even though he’d told him to stay in Bama, keep playing, Michael had told him right then and there that he was returning to New Mexico with him. No decision to be made. “He sacrificed his own talent just ‘cause I don’t have mine anymore,” Kyle said. “And he never gave up on me, so I can’t give up on him.”

“He’s not the only one who’s sacrificed, though, Kyle,” Tess pointed out, her eyes welling up suddenly with tears. “I didn’t even have a senior year of high school because of you. I haven’t gone to college, and with the babies coming, I probably never will. I’ll be way too busy and too tired and--”

“You make it sound like you’re on your own,” he cut in.

She flapped her arms against her sides. “Well, I might be.”

His mouth dropped open, and he stammered, “Are you . . . are you serious?” downright offended that she would even suggest that. “You really think I’m gonna check out on you again? All the changes I’ve made, all the progress I’ve made . . . you think that’s just temporary?”

“Well, I hope not!” she cried. “But honestly . . . sometimes I worry about it.”

He stared at her incredulously, grunting. He knew things between them had deteriorated these past few years, and he was more than willing to own up to his many mistakes. But here he’d been thinking that they were back on the right track, that they had been for a while now. But apparently not.

“Well, no wonder you don’t believe in Michael,” he ground out accusingly. “You don’t even believe in me.” He shook his head sadly and stormed down the hall.

“No, Kyle . . .” she whined pleadingly.

He tuned her out and slammed the bedroom door shut behind him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Even though he could have been studying—should have been studying—Michael went with Kyle to the football field. When he’d called, he’d just sounded stressed, like he needed to blow off some steam. And that was what you did when you were part of a bro-pack. You met up whenever you needed to and just hung out, just to blow off steam.

They had the whole football field to themselves, and Kyle brought a ball. So it kind of felt like old times again.

“So it was bad, huh?” Michael said, squinting against the glare of the sunlight.

“Yep, pretty bad.” Kyle drew his arm back and slung the ball in Michael’s direction. It was a little high, but he was able to reach over his head and grab it.

“How bad?” he asked.

Kyle shrugged. “We didn’t speak for the rest of the night, barely said two words to each other this morning.”

Michael looked down at the ball in his hands, feeling guilty. “Sorry,” he apologized, tossing it back to him.

Kyle caught it easily, muttering, “Not your fault.”

“No, it kind of is, though,” Michael accepted. “I mean, this whole thing with me and Maria and Sarah . . . I feel like it’s pitted you and Tess against each other, and I don’t want that.”

“We’re not against each other,” Kyle denied, batting the ball back from hand to hand. “We’re just not seein’ eye to eye right now.” He sighed. “I don’t know, things just aren’t as easy now as they were back in high school.”

The ball flew towards Michael fast, and he caught it hard against his stomach. “Things were easy then?”

Kyle grinned. “They were for me.”

Michael chuckled, tossing the ball back. He put too much force into it, though, and it went right past Kyle. He didn’t dart after it, or even reach for it. He just let it land behind him on the ground.

“I gotta do somethin’ with my life,” he announced suddenly, his whole expression shifting into a contemplative one.

Michael frowned. Like he wasn’t already? “What’re you talkin’ about, man? You’re gonna be a dad.”

“Besides that,” Kyle said, looking out on the whole big football field, one that he was so familiar with even though he’d never played on it. “I need goals. I need plans. And now that football’s off the table . . . well, it’s hard to figure out what to do next.”

“Hmm.” Michael nodded. This was classic Kyle here. Kyle had always been the type of person to have goals, to have all these great things in mind he aspired to be or become. And he’d always had a well-developed plan to get there. There just had never really been any doubt that he would go somewhere in life, and that he would be someone when he got there. Michael had never doubted it, not once, not even in the aftermath of his accident. Kyle Valenti was destined to succeed no matter what.

“You could coach,” Michael suggested. “And not just like the pee-wee games we coached this year. You could coach here. You know, they’re always lookin’ for student assistant coaches.”

“Yeah,” Kyle said. “I’m not a student, though.”

“Well, you could do that, too.” Really, he had a lot more opportunities than he did obstacles these days. With two kids on the way, it might not be easy, but it definitely wasn’t unattainable.

“Yeah,” Kyle said. “Yeah, I think I do wanna get a degree. And Tess . . .” He swallowed hard, nodding determinedly. “I want that for her, too. I think we could make it work.”

“If anyone can . . . it’s you guys.” At the end of the day, they were still the golden couple, even if that golden hue wasn’t as untarnished as it used to be.

“Coaching, huh?” Kyle said, grinning. “You really think I’d be good at it?”

Michael stuck his hands in his pockets and shuffled closer to Kyle. “I really do.” Hell, the only reason he was a good receiver was because Kyle had made him practice running the same plays over and over again. When they were little kids, that’s what they’d done. While every other boy their age had been playing with trucks or G.I. Joes, they’d been playing with footballs. Constantly. And it’d paid off.

“You know what you’d be really good at?” Kyle said with a smirk. “Playing.”

Michael laughed skeptically, shaking his head. “I don’t know. It’s been a few years. I bet I’ve lost a step or two.”

“Bet you could get it back.”

Could I? Michael wondered. He missed the game, the thrill of it, the physicality. Next year would be his last shot at playing on a team again, and he’d be lying if he said the thought hadn’t crossed his mind. But still . . . it seemed like a tall order. “I can’t play football anymore, Kyle,” he said, resigned to the fact.

“No, I can’t play,” Kyle corrected. “You can.”

Michael frowned. Was it really that simple? It couldn’t be. A lot had changed over the years. It wasn’t that easy to get the game back, or to get anything back, for that matter.

“I think it’d be good for you,” Kyle said, walking over to retrieve the football. “You got a lot goin’ on, you know? You need an outlet.”

“An outlet?” Michael echoed.

“Yeah. For everything you might be feelin’ or dealing with. You know?”

Michael shifted his weight from side to side. Lately, he was feeling and dealing with . . . more than even Kyle realized. More than anyone realized. “I already have an outlet,” he said, not willing divulge just what it was.

But of course, Kyle was curious. “Oh, really?”

“Yeah.”

“What is it?”

He didn’t say anything, but he pictured Maria’s face in his mind.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Michael!” Unable not to react to his tickling, Maria giggled and squirmed underneath the mass of blankets on the floor. His hands grazed her sides, and his mouth nibbled gently on her neck. “Stop it!” she squealed playfully.

“Ticklish much?” he teased, his hands moving all over her, each touch eliciting more and more laughter.

“Oh my god, seriously, stop!” she yelped.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

He relented, but even though his hand stopped the tickling, they didn’t stop the touching. One second they were on her hips, then they were rubbing her arms. His entire body settled atop hers, warmer than all of the blankets combined.

“How did we even get down here?” she asked him.

“I don’t know. But I like it.” He wriggled his eyebrows and dipped his head down to press a sloppy kiss to the side of her neck. “Mmm, you smell so good,” he told her, his voice husky with desire.

“I smell like you,” she said, playing with the hair near the back of his neck.

“Exactly.” He lifted his head, looking down at her with eager, energized eyes. “So are you up for more?”

“Hmm, maybe,” she said, rubbing her legs against his sides. She probably had to leave in twenty minutes, but . . . hell, they could have a lot of fun in twenty minutes.

“Maybe?” he echoed, kissing her quickly. His whole face took on this look of mischief when he asked, “Are you in the mood for . . . anything in particular?”

“Ooh,” she said, intrigued. “Meaning?”

“Meaning . . . you know.”

“Use your words, Michael,” she told him.

“I don’t have to use my words. You know what I’m thinkin’.”

She was pretty sure she did. Michael wasn’t exactly known for his subtlety in the bedroom. Besides, he made no effort to hide his favorite fetish. “Anal?” she guessed.

“Hell yeah.”

“Hell no,” she mimicked, shooting the idea down immediately. “That’s not the kind of thing you can just spring on a girl. You gotta earn it.”

“Okay, how do I earn it then?” he asked eagerly.

“Well . . .” If she was going to treat him to that kind of sex again, she was sure as hell going to enjoy everything that led up to it. “You have to make me cum over and over and over again. And then maybe I’ll consider it.”

“For tonight?” he asked hopefully.

“For some other night. When we have more time.” Twenty minutes just would not cut it. She’d had anal sex one time before, and it had been with him, of course. And he’d been so diligent and so remarkably loving in the way he’d prepared her for it that it had taken nearly an hour. If they were going to do it again, she wanted it to be just like that. At their own pace, not at all rushed.

He looked a little disappointed at first, but then, as it sunk in that she hadn’t just given him an outright no, he perked back up again. “Okay.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, I can live with that. Besides, I’ll have fun earning it.” He stuck out his tongue and wriggled it.

She laughed again, touching his cheek. “You like making me cum?”

“I love making you cum.”

“You’re good at it.” She smiled up at him, and he bent down to kiss her, not just a little, light kiss this time, but a deeply passionate one, the kind of kiss that made her feel like she was about to cum right then and there.

Suddenly, he tore his mouth away from hers, sat back, and grabbed her around the waist, lifting her up. He tossed her back up onto the bed, causing the mattress to squeak loudly.

“Oh, you’re not wasting any time, are you?” she said.

“Nope.” He crawled up there with her in all his naked glory, eyes locked on her like he was a carnivore about to devour her.

Oh, god yes, she thought, shifting around so that her head was at the top of the bed, pillowed. She so desperately wanted to be devoured.

( :wink: )

He sat back on his knees and grabbed her ankles, spreading her legs apart. He seemed to like what he saw. “Excited, huh?” he noted.

“I am,” she said, already feeling an anticipatory wetness between her legs. “I love this.”

“I’ll make it good, I promise,” he vowed, bending down to rain a few kisses on her stomach.

Her abdominal muscles fluttered in response. “You always do,” she whispered, lifting her hips up.

Understanding her wordless communication, he grabbed one of the pillows and positioned it under her ass, elevating her hips a bit so he would have easier access. That was all that mattered to her at this point, getting his head down there so his tongue could do some good.

He was smart enough not to just dive right in. He trailed kisses down the inside of her thigh, then back up the other one. When he stopped at her center and just blew hot air against it, she gasped, bucking her hips towards him. He grinned in amusement, traced one finger down her folds, then moved all the way in and put his mouth on her, his tongue flicking out to tease her clit.

“Oh, Michael . . .” she breathed, squeezing her eyes shut as she surrendered herself to him completely. He was an expert at all things sexual, but especially this. He knew how to drive her crazy and make her feel extraordinary all at the same time. He could do things with his mouth that most people couldn’t even do with their hands. It was incredible.

The talented tongue that was flicking against her gradually flattened out, increasing the pressure and the insanely arousing texture she felt down there. He started licking her like she was a damn popsicle, and the thought made her laugh.

“What’s so funny?” he said.

She shuddered as his breath tickled her in a much different way than his hands had been. When she opened her eyes, he was already back to work, his mouth enveloping her down there while his tongue sought to slip in between her folds and truly taste her. It pushed in insistently, lapping up the remnants of the orgasm she’d already had earlier.

“Oh my god,” she said, staring at him in amazement. It was quite a sight to see. He was so focused on giving her pleasure that it seemed like nothing else mattered. His eyes were closed in concentration, and his hands shot out to keep her legs apart, even when they just started to close a little bit.

“Wait,” she said, tangling her hands in his hair. She got him to lift his head up, but just barely. He started to look confused when she pushed herself up into a sitting position.

“Lay down,” she told him, not all that used to giving orders.

At once, he understood where she was going with this. “Oh, yeah,” he said, doing as instructed. “That’s my girl.” He swapped places with her, and she slithered up his body, kissing a path from his stomach to his chest, stopping momentarily to circle her tongue around his taut, masculine nipples. Then she moved up further, stopping to latch her mouth onto his. Their tongues moved together for a bit, not dueling, but rather . . . embracing. Everything tonight was better with tongue.

“Remember how you used to be embarrassed to do this?” he reminisced.

Used to be, she thought, grabbing hold of the headboard to pull herself up further. He’d taught her how to revel in this so completely that nothing about it was embarrassing anymore.

When her breasts were at his face, he took one nipple into his mouth, sucking it gently. She closed her eyes and moaned as he released it from his mouth, then did it again. If she’d wanted to, she probably could have just stayed right there and gotten off just from him doing that. But her clit was still yearning for him, so she moved up all the way and straddled his face, moving against his mouth wantonly. He held his tongue out, allowing her to literally grind against it, and it felt so good, she almost came right away.

Holding onto the headboard, she rolled her hips forward and back rhythmically, getting lost in the sensation. Being on top of him, in complete control of him like this . . . it wasn’t the norm, although he was definitely relinquishing more of the dominance these days. She suspected he liked seeing her be the one to work for it, to go after what she wanted.

Even though she knew firsthand that giving pleasure was equally as rewarding as receiving it, she couldn’t help but glance back over his shoulder, just to see how he was holding up. His cock was straining hard, erect to the point where it was lying flat against his stomach. The tip of it was glistening with pre-cum, and she wanted so badly to taste it, to give him some of the same satisfaction he was giving her.

It practically killed her to do so, but she lifted her hips away from his mouth. He frowned, but only momentarily, for when he noticed her turning around, altering the position into one that was mutually beneficial, he said, “Oh, fuck yeah,” and his cock quivered in anticipation.

She settled her body on top of his, her backside face him now, and scooted backward enough so that they were perfectly positioned for a good, old-fashioned sixty-nine. She lowered her pussy back down onto his mouth, and he lapped at her eagerly. His hips jerked the moment she took his cock in her hand. She stroked its entire length a few times, then swirled her tongue around the tip of it to collect the fluid gathered there. His tongue wasn’t the only one that could do some good.

Barely able to focus because of the intense pleasure he was giving her, she took him into her mouth, moving her head up and down slowly. Apparently it was a little too slow, though, because his hips started to thrust upward on their own accord. They calmed down when she picked up the pace.

Groaning, he curled his arms up underneath her legs and splayed his hands against her butt cheeks, spreading them open so he could press his mouth into her even more. The more aggressive he became, the more she felt like she couldn’t hold back. That familiar euphoric feeling bubbled up inside her, and she had to tear her mouth away from his cock to cry out as it ripped through her. She came gratefully, right into Michael’s awaiting mouth. Just as he always did, he tried to drink down every single drop, and he actually seemed disappointed that there wasn’t more.

Wanting the experience to be as rewarding for him as it had just been for her, she stroked his length a few more times, and that was all it took to get him off, too. He came all over her hand and all over his own stomach. She laughed at the mess he made.

“Shit,” he swore.

It was no problem, though. She got off of him and moved so that her entire body was down at the foot of the bed, and she could look up at him and hold eye contact while she cleaned him up. She licked up all the hot, sticky cum that was decorating him, and even though it didn’t taste particularly good . . . it did taste good. Because it was from him. Because it was for her.

“Oh, come here, baby,” he said when she was done, tugging on her hair. He sat up, meeting her in the middle of the bed for a searing kiss, one where he could taste himself on her lips, and she could taste herself on his.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

By the time Maria got home, Dylan was already in bed. He must have had a tiring day, because he never fell asleep so early. Or maybe he wasn’t feeling well. She sat down on the side of his bed and held the back of her hand to his forehead, but he didn’t feel too warm.

Bending down, she kissed his cheek, then got up and left the room so she wouldn’t wake him up. She went down to the end of the hall, noting the light seeping out from under her bedroom door. Apparently Max was still awake. Hopefully he hadn’t been worried about her.

The door creaked when she opened it, and he glanced up from the book he was reading. “Hey.”

“Hey.” She set her purse down kicked off her shoes. “Sorry it’s so late.” She really had intended to make it home half an hour ago. That just . . . hadn’t happened.

“Work again, huh?” he said, setting his book aside. It was some legal thing, the kind of thing he would have read back when he was in pursuit of being a lawyer.

“Yeah. Sorry,” she apologized again, sitting down on the bed. How much longer was work going to suffice as an excuse? It was probably time to start thinking up some new ones.

“Maybe you could ask your boss not to schedule you at night,” he suggested, his voice quiet, as if he were trying to downplay his concerns. “I miss you.”

Oh god, she thought, attempting to keep the guilt off her face. She tried to smile at him reassuringly, hoping it didn’t look forced. Even though it was. He just couldn’t know. He couldn’t know that she didn’t miss him as much as he missed her.








TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

sarammlover
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Re: Somewhere, Anywhere (M&M, CC/UC, AU, Adult) Part 66, 03/19/17

Post by sarammlover » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:01 am

Selfish...that is all I can think. And Maria is going to end up pregnant. Explain that one Maria.....UGH You so have me despising those two right now.

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April
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Part 67

Post by April » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:56 pm

sarammlover wrote:Selfish...that is all I can think.
It is. I won't even try to argue otherwise, because I agree.
And Maria is going to end up pregnant. Explain that one Maria.....UGH
Hmm, that seems to be a popular prediction. We will see.



Thanks for reading!








Part 67








Liz opened the door to Alex’s office and poked her head in. “Knock, knock,” she said without actually knocking.

He glanced up at her and smiled. “Good, it’s just you. I thought you were a student.”

“Oh, god forbid.” She took one look at his desk and wondered if he had gotten any work done over spring break. It didn’t look like it. “So . . . first day back,” she noted. “You ready?”

“No. It went too fast.”

“Hmm.” For her, it hadn’t gone fast enough. When college students were out of town, business was slow. Really slow. “Looks like you’ve already got some stories to read,” she said, tilting her head to the side to get a better look at the pile of paper on his desk. “Or is that just one story?”

“One,” he replied.

“Whoa, a novel.” It was impressive that anyone would have time to compose one of those. “Is it any good?”

“Uh . . . yeah,” he replied slowly. “Holds your interest.”

For some reason, she had a feeling she knew exactly why it was holding his interest so much. “Who wrote it?” she inquired. When he didn’t answer, she gave him a look. “Alex?”

“What? She asked me to read it,” he said. “It’s no big deal.”

She shut the door, sighing frustratedly. “I just don’t wanna see you get caught up in a bad relationship with Isabel right after getting out of a bad one with Leanna.”

“There’s no relationship,” he denied.

“Apparently there is.” Isabel wasn’t even a student in his class anymore. There had to be a reason she picked him over her friends and even her boyfriend to read what she’d written.

“It’s just a friendship,” he assured her. “You know, like you and Max.”

She rolled her eyes. Of course he would try to make that comparison, but the situations were nothing alike. “Max and I are parents, though,” she pointed out. “We have a reason to be close.”

“Isabel and I . . . aren’t close.”

“Close enough for you to read her novel.” She wasn’t trying to be annoying or patronizing; she just wanted to look out for him. Even if he hadn’t confessed to still having feelings for Isabel, she would have known it. “Look, I’m not trying to be difficult, I swear,” she promised. “I just . . . I want you to be careful. Okay?” If he and Isabel reconnected too much, then that was a slippery slope for him to be on.

“I’m always careful,” he muttered as his eyes drifted back down to the pages in front of him. It was like he couldn’t look away.

She watched him warily, fearing that Isabel was going to suck him back in, lure him back into the role of being her knight in shining armor. And at this point, as cruel as it sounded, Liz just wasn’t sure she deserved one.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Spring break was always a blessing and a curse. A blessing for obvious reasons, of course, but a curse because it was just so hard to come back from it. It wasn’t like summer was right around the corner. They still had a few weeks of the semester left, over a month if you counted finals week. And that felt endless.

The one nice thing about being back was that it was more convenient to see Maria. Music Appreciation was an afterthought for Michael at this point. Maria was the only thing he was appreciating.

“So I’m thinkin’ about playin’ football again,” he revealed to her as they sat side by side in the back of the room, waiting for the professor to show up and start.

“Oh, yeah?” she said as she unwrapped a piece of gum and popped it into her mouth. “Next year?”

“Yeah.” The idea had been subconsciously floating around his head for a while now, but hearing Kyle suggest it made it seem more . . . attainable. “You think I should?”

“Yeah, if you want to,” she said. “I mean, you’re really talented.”

He snorted. “I can catch a ball pretty well. Don’t know if that’s a talent.”

“No, it is,” she insisted. “I’ve seen you play.”

“You’ve seen me play with Kyle.” What if it was different without him? More so than the fact that it wouldn’t be as fun . . . what if he just wasn’t as good? Obviously they were a dynamic duo on the field, always had been. Receivers and their quarterbacks had to gel, and there was always the possibility that he wouldn’t gel with whoever else was handling the ball.

“Michael . . . Kyle can’t play anymore,” she said softly. “That’s just the hard truth.”

“I know.” And it was good that his friend seemed to have accepted that. Now if only he could. “I don’t know, I’m not sure if I wanna play without him. I don’t know if it’d be the same.”

“Maybe not,” she conceded, “but it could still be fun.” She shrugged. “You’ve got time to think about it.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Time would fly, though. As much as it felt like it would drag on right now, before he knew it, the end of the semester would be upon him, and he’d really have to give it some thought. Football wasn’t just a fall thing anymore. The preparation took place in the summer.

He smiled at her, relieved to be able to have this conversation. Lately, everything between them had been so sexual—not that he was complaining. But it was nice to know that they could still just talk, too, that that part of their relationship wasn’t gone.

She bent forward to grab a pen out of her purse, and when she did, the back of her shirt rose up enough to expose the MG on her lower back. Seeing it . . . well, it really turned him on; and suddenly, he wasn’t in the mood to talk anymore.

“I love that you still have your tattoo,” he said, grinning flirtatiously.

She sat back, pulling her shirt down. “I wish you still had yours.”

“Yeah, me, too,” he mumbled, regretting his decision to get it removed. He’d just been so damn pissed back then, and so determined to move on with his life. Yeah, right. Like that had ever been possible. “I could get a new one,” he contemplated.

“Uh, no, you can’t.”

“Why not?” Tattoos weren’t that expensive, and he had the money.

“What would Max think when he sees the brand new MD on your arm?” she pointed out.

“I don’t care what Max thinks.”

“Well, I do.”

He groaned. “Okay, fine, I could get it somewhere else then, somewhere he’d never see it. Like on my ass. Or my balls.”

She made a face. “Ew.”

“What? M on one ball, D on the other. You don’t think that’s romantic?” he joked.

“No, it’s gross.”

“Okay, fine. I won’t get your initials tattooed on my body again,” he sighed, relenting. “I don’t need to. They’re already there; you just can’t seem ‘em.” He pointed to his chest, grinning dopily. “They’re on my heart.”

Her eyes locked onto his, and she got this dreamy smile on her face, like she was melting.

That was good,” he boasted. “That was romantic. Holy crap.” How the hell had he come up with that one? He gave himself a mental pat on the back.

“Yeah, that was pretty good,” she admitted, blushing.

Pretty good? he thought. Understatement. That had been, like, a Kyle thing to say.

Unable to resist, he leaned down and gave her a kiss on the lips. Just a quick one, just because he wanted to. He expected her to keep smiling, keep blushing, maybe even laugh a little. But her whole body tensed up, and she got really serious immediately afterward.

“You can’t do that,” she told him.

“Why not?” He frowned. “Nobody saw.” This wasn’t like high school. Nothing he said or did would start trending on Twitter anytime soon.

“You can’t,” she repeated, resolution in her voice.

He leaned back in his seat, sighing heavily. His eyes remained on her, even after their professor walked in and started talking right away. Little things like this . . . they stung. It was just another reminder that, no matter how passionately in love they were, they still had to keep their relationship a secret from everybody else. And he still didn’t want to.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“122 over 79,” the nurse told Tess, removing the blood pressure band from her arm. “That’s very good.”

“Hmm.” Tess smiled, slightly surprised by those numbers. With the amount of stress she’d been feeling lately, she’d assumed it would be a lot higher.

“The doctor will be in soon,” the nurse said as she left the room.

“Thanks.” Tess lay back on the table, trying to get comfortable. Nothing was comfortable at this point. If it wasn’t her back hurting, it was her bloated feet. Groaning, she sat back up and watched as Kyle roamed around the small room, looking at the various pamphlets and posters on display. He seemed to settle on the poster on the back of the door, which showed a mom and a dad holding their baby, all three of them smiling and laughing. The perfect happy family.

“Kyle?” she squeaked out, hoping he would talk to her. They hadn’t said much these past few days, and she knew his feelings were hurt. It was just hard to apologize to him while still being truthful about everything she’d felt these past few months.

“They look really happy,” he commented, pointing to the poster. “Don’t you think?”

“Yeah.” They probably weren’t even a real family, but it didn’t matter. The point still came across. Babies were a blessing, and they were supposed to bring your life all sorts of joy.

She looked down at and touched her rounded stomach. Even though she had crossed the halfway point of her pregnancy already, she was still getting used to her stomach being so big. It all still seemed kind of surreal.

“So are we gonna find out today?” he asked, turning around.

“Sure,” she said quietly. “If you want to.”

“Well, I want to if you want to.”

She nodded, thinking that it would be nice to know. After all, there was so much uncertainty in their lives—neither one of them knew what the future held for them in terms of education or careers—so it would be nice to be able to at least know one thing for sure.

“What do you predict?” he asked. “Boys? Girls?”

She shrugged. “Maybe one of each.” She’d always envisioned having both a son and a daughter with Kyle. Why not have both at the same time?

“Maybe,” he said, his eyes drifting down to her belly. He looked lost in thought for a moment, and she wished so badly that she could read his mind. Or read anything about him. But Kyle wasn’t such an open book anymore. He tended to guard his truest emotions, which was one of the things she worried about.

“Kyle . . .” She reached her arm out, silently pleading with him to come closer. And he got the point. He put his hand in hers and stepped right up in front of her, close enough that she could have kissed him if she’d wanted to.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized, feeling the sharp pang of guilt when she remembered how upset he’d been the other day. “I’m sorry that I ever made you feel like I don’t believe in you, because I do.”

He shook his head as if to deny being hurt. “No, it’s okay,” he said. “I haven’t really earned it, so . . .”

“No, you have, though,” she insisted. “These past few months . . . you’ve been amazing.” She smiled adoringly at all the progress he’d made. “You’ve been trying so hard to get better, and you are better, and I’m just—I’m really grateful for that.”

He swallowed hard. “Thanks.”

“It’s just . . .” She wanted to be honest with him about her concerns, though, because they weren’t completely gone yet. And the sad truth was, maybe they never would be. “Sometimes I worry,” she admitted. “I worry what might happen if you ever . . . go back.”

“Go back?” he echoed as if he didn’t understand.

“Yeah, to that dark place you used to be in. I mean, it’s not that I don’t believe in you, okay? It’s just that I’ve gotten so used to being hopeless that sometimes it’s hard to be hopeful.”

Instead of reacting right away, he took a moment, thought about it, and nodded as he processed it. “I understand,” he said. “But I promise, it’s not a temporary thing. That dark place was the worst place I’ve ever been to in my life. I’m never goin’ back there.”

She breathed a sigh of relief, just because it felt good to hear him say it out loud. And not just to say it, but to say it with conviction. Like he really believed in himself. That made it so much easier to be hopeful and believe in him. “I love you,” she whispered, afraid she hadn’t said it enough lately. No matter how bad it had gotten, that was one thing that hadn’t changed.

“I love you, too,” he said, touching her cheek. And then he kissed her. And it was the sweetest kiss Tess remembered in a long, long time. In fact, it sort of felt like their first one all over again.

She felt one—or possibly both—of the babies kick in her stomach, and she had to figure that was a good sign.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Michael was completely caught off guard when he opened the door and saw Kyle standing on the other side. He’d been expecting Maria.

“Hey, man,” he said. “What’re you—what’re you doin’ here?” He cast a quick glance at the clock on the microwave, worrying. What if Maria showed up when Kyle was over here? His mind already scrambled to come up with a plausible excuse.

“I gotta show you somethin’,” Kyle said, giddily making his way inside. “Look.” He whipped out two small photos, both of the same thing: two twin babies in the womb. They looked almost too detailed to be real.

“Holy shit,” Michael swore, “is that a real sonogram?”

“Yeah, they make ‘em all 3D now,” Kyle said. “Those are my kids. Can you believe that?”

“Wow.” Michael took a closer look at the image, amazed. They sort of looked like they were made out of clay at this point, but all the features were there, easy to pinpoint. All the features. “Is that a penis?” he asked, pointing to what definitely looked like a penis.

“That’s a penis,” Kyle confirmed.

Michael grinned. “So you’re havin’ a son, huh?”

“Yep.” Kyle beamed proudly. “And a daughter.”

“Really?” The second baby was sort of hidden behind the first one, so he didn’t have a clear view. But of course Kyle and Tess would have one of each. One could play football someday, and the other could be a cheerleader. “Congrats. That’s perfect for you guys, man.”

“Yeah, that’s what we said.” Kyle stared at the photo in astonishment. He’d probably go home and stare some more. It had to be a crazy feeling to be looking at something that was part of you and part of the girl you loved.

Not that he’d know or anything.

“The girl looks like she’s scratchin’ her head,” Michael remarked.

“Yeah, I know, right? And look, it’s like he’s tryin’ to suck his thumb.”

“Yeah.” They looked so developed already, like they could be born any day, even though they still had a few months to go. Before any of them knew it, they’d be more than just images. They’d really be there, just like Joe was. And Michael still didn’t know if he’d be Uncle Michael, or just that guy their mom hated.

“Anyway, one of those is your copy,” Kyle told him.

“Thanks.” He’d put it on his fridge. It was pretty bare there now that there were no longer pictures of him and Sarah hung up with magnets. “Does Tess know you’re givin’ me one?”

“Uh, yeah. She’s fine with it.”

Michael raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Yeah. Doesn’t mean she’s fine with you, but . . . hey, she and I had a good conversation today, and I think we’re back on good terms, so I’ll take what I can get.”

“Yeah, that’s the most important thing,” Michael agreed, giving Kyle back the second ultrasound image. “Well, thanks. Thanks for keepin’ me in the loop.”

“Yeah, sure thing.” Kyle walked further into the apartment and said, “Mind if I use your bathroom? I gotta piss.”

“Go for it,” Michael told him, sensing an opportunity. Once the door was shut, he ran over to the couch, picked up his phone, and started to text Maria, telling her not to show up there. But before he could send the message, there was another knock on the door. And there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that it was her this time.

Crap, he thought, rushing to it. She couldn’t be there when Kyle got out of the bathroom.

“Hey,” she said, smiling when he opened the door. She tried to come inside and throw her arms around him, but he held her back.

“No, you can’t,” he said. “Kyle’s here.”

“Oh.” She frowned, obviously disappointed.

“Yeah, he might be here for a while,” he told her.

“Oh, well . . . that’s okay,” she said. “In fact, it’s probably a good thing. I’ve had way too many late nights already this week.”

“Sorry,” he apologized. He wasn’t sorry for keeping her out so late, just that he wasn’t going to be able to keep her out late again tonight.

“No, it’s okay,” she reiterated. “I’ll just go.”

He heard the toilet flush, and she must have heard it, too, because she spun around to take off.

“Wait,” he said, grabbing her arm, pulling her back. He kissed her quickly, wishing he could kiss her more, then let go of her and watched her leave.

Kyle came out of the bathroom just as he was shutting the door. “Somebody here?” he asked.

“Nope,” Michael lied, putting his hands in his pockets. “Nobody.” He didn’t like being dishonest with his best friend of all people, but until Maria allowed it, he couldn’t tell anybody the truth. When he could, though, Kyle would be the first to know. And even though he’d be disappointed, hopefully he’d still be his best friend.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Maria spit her toothpaste into the sink and washed it down as Max came into the bathroom. She smiled at him as she rinsed off her toothbrush, but he didn’t even look at her. In fact, he seemed sort of . . . out of it.

“You okay?” she asked, looking at his reflection in the mirror.

“I don’t know,” he replied dazedly, brows furrowed.

She set her toothbrush back in the holder, confused. “What’s wrong?”

He reached back and shut the bathroom door. “I was just tucking Dylan in for the night,” he explained, “and we were talkin’ about things we could do this summer. I mentioned taking him to the pool, gettin’ him swimming lessons.”

Maria tensed, already sensing she knew where this was going.

Max frowned. “He just freaked out.”

Oh god, she thought as a shiver darted up her spine. This wasn’t good. “Is he okay now?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Max replied. “But he just started saying, ‘No, no, no,’ and . . .” He winced, obviously pained by all of this. “He was shaking.”

Maria felt like shaking, but she turned her body towards him and tried to keep her voice steady and calm. “Do you think he’s remembering?” she questioned. It wasn’t a pleasant thought, but it was definitely possible.

“No,” Max answered quickly. “Not consciously, anyway. But maybe deep down, some part of him still does remember that night. And that’s why he reacted the way he did.” Blinking back tears, he mumbled dejectedly, “I mean, he’s a kid. Kids are supposed to like the pool.”

“Unless they almost drowned in a river.” She let out a shuddering sigh, hoping and praying that Max wasn’t right. She didn’t want Dylan to remember that night, ever. And she knew Max wanted it even less than she did.

“What if it just comes back to him someday?” Max worried out loud. “What if he just remembers? What if he looks at me and sees the scary guy who kidnapped him and crashed that car? I worry about that all the time.”

Reaching out, Maria put her hand on his shoulder, reassuring him, “We’ll cross that bridge when we--” It quickly dawned on her, though, that that phrase perhaps wasn’t the most reassuring given where Dylan’s near-death experience had taken place. “Sorry, wrong choice of words,” she backtracked, trying to think of a different way to put it. “We’ll deal with it when we have to. If we have to.”

“Oh, we’ll have to,” Max said surely. “If he doesn’t remember on his own, I just know somebody will say something someday. Maybe Isabel. Maybe Michael.”

Maria tensed upon merely hearing Michael’s name.

“Whether it’s on purpose or on accident, somebody will say something,” Max said, a tone of resignation coating his voice. “They’ll tell him what happened, what I did.” He swallowed hard, looking down at his feet, and muttered, “Maybe he should just hear it from me.”

Maria stood up straighter, immediately on alert. “What do you mean?” she asked. “You wanna tell him?” That sounded like an incredibly bad knee-jerk type of reaction to this whole thing.

“I should be honest with him, own up to what I did.”

“Max, he doesn’t even have the vocabulary for what you did,” she argued. “I mean, how would you explain to him that you were high? How would you tell him about it without freaking him out and confusing him even more? Just face it: He’s too young to understand.”

“But it’d be better if he heard it from me,” Max insisted. “Wouldn’t it?”

“Right now . . .” She shook her head sadly, wishing this whole sordid moment in history didn’t even exist from them. Life would have been so much easier if he’d just been a good guy right from the start. “Right now, I think it’d be best if he doesn’t hear it at all,” she told him honestly. “If the time comes someday, then we can talk to him about it, but for now, his mind’s still letting him forget.”

Max thought about it for a moment and sighed solemnly. “They do say ignorance is bliss.”

“Right, so let’s let him stay blissfully ignorant for a little while longer.”

A contemplative expression came over Max’s face, but eventually, he relented and nodded. “Okay. Yeah. You’re right. I won’t say anything.”

“I think it’s for the best,” she reaffirmed. “It’d just be too much for him.”

“Yeah,” Max agreed. “Maybe sometimes it’s better to keep someone in the dark than to tell ‘em the truth.”

It was as if her stomach started to twist itself up when he said that. Because he had no idea what he was saying, no idea that she was keep plenty of secrets of her own . . . from him. Things that would devastate him if he knew. Things that would tear their fragile little family apart.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

These days, it was a rarity for Maria to have time to just lie in bed with Michael, snuggle up next to him and enjoy the feel of his warm body against hers. Physically, their attraction was just at such a high level right now. But he’d made it clear that he wanted these moments, too, the ones in between. And by skipping class, they had plenty of time to cuddle. And even talk.

She told him about what had happened last night when Max made the pool suggestion to Dylan, and even though he could have been a smart-ass about it and made all sorts of little comments here and there, he actually listened pretty well.

“It’s got me all worried now,” she said, tracing feather-light designs on his chest. “What if he does remember someday?”

“Oh, he will,” Michael said certainly. “But it won’t matter then. You won’t be with Max anymore. You’ll just be with me.” With the arm he had around her, he gave her side a gentle squeeze.

“It will matter, though,” she insisted. “Max is his dad. He’s not just gonna forget that.”

“He’s also not gonna forget that his ‘dad’ abducted him,” Michael pointed out.

“But he has forgotten.” She laid her hand flat on his abdomen, appreciating the firmness of his muscles and the smoothness of his skin.

“For now,” Michael said. “But trust me, the horrible things your father does . . .” His stomach muscles fluttered as he took in a shaky breath. “That sticks with you.”

Closing her eyes, she nuzzled her face against his side, inhaling his scent. “Has it stuck with you?” she mumbled.

“More than I probably care to admit.”

She tilted her head back so she could look up at his face. He was frowning, as if he were remembering something.

Taking her hand in his, he moved it up from his stomach to right below his breastplate, moving her fingers along an inch of skin that had just the slightest different texture from the surrounding areas. “You ever wonder what this scar’s from?” he asked.

She’d seen it plenty of times, just the faintest of lines that was a little darker than the rest of his chest. But she’d never asked him about it. “Sometimes,” she admitted.

He looked down at her and revealed, “My dad.”

She gazed up at him with concern, envisioning the worst.

“It wasn’t like he beat me or anything,” he quickly assured her, “but . . .” Trailing off, he swallowed hard and started in. “When I was eight years old, I got detention for the first time. ‘cause I pulled this girl’s hair.” He rolled his eyes.

“Always a girl,” she teased.

“Yeah, always a girl,” he muttered. “Anyway, they call my dad to come pick me up after school, and of course he acts all nice and calm around my principal and my teacher. But the minute we get in the car, he just starts yellin’ at me, cursin’ me out. And when we get home, he pulls on my hair, tells me I’m a little bastard, and throws me across the room.”

Tears stung her eyes at the thought of it. The father-son relationship she’d observed between Andy and Michael was more evenly-matched, because physically, Andy hadn’t had power over his son then. But he had once, and . . . that had to have been terrifying.

“And I end up breaking this glass lamp,” Michael went on. “A shard of it ends up cuttin’ me right there.” Holding her fingers in his, he traced them along the scar again. “So my dad makes me clean up the mess, and then he puts some bandages over it and tells me to lie to my mom when she gets home. Say it was my fault, tell her I was the one who broke it and cut myself. So I did. She never knew how I really got that scar. And my dad and I never talked about it again.”

She sighed, her heart going out to him. “Michael . . .” Maybe that was the moment where the hatred between them had started. Or maybe it had existed long before that. It was hard to say, but it was sad either way. “I’m so sorry.”

He shrugged as best he could while lying down. “It happens.”

“But it shouldn’t happen. Not to you, not to anyone.” As a parent herself, it was hard for her to even fathom how Michael’s dad could be such a world class jackass to his own son.

“Yeah, well, at least I know what kind of dad I won’t be,” Michael said. “He gave me a good example not to follow.”

She gazed up at him appreciatively. If there was a bright side, that was definitely it.

“I’m gonna be a good dad,” he declared confidently, a slow smile creeping to his lips.

“Yeah, you are,” she agreed, remembering what it had been like to see him with Dylan. Watching the two of them play football in the back yard, or walk around the house wearing their matching Guerin jerseys.

“You’re the one, Maria,” he blurted suddenly, and for a second, she had no idea what he was talking about.

“What?” How had they gone from talking about him to talking about her.

There was this determined, delighted gleam in his eyes as he looked down at her and stated with complete certainty, “You’re the one I’m gonna have kids with.”

She felt like she couldn’t breathe when he said that, like all the air just got locked in her chest. He was always thinking that far ahead, with her at least. His devotion towards her and towards their future was . . . absolute. Unquestionable. And that was as heartwarming as it was overwhelming.








TBC . . .

-April
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LOVE IS MICHAEL AND MARIA.

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