Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) A/N 26th of Jan 10 [WIP]

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Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) A/N 26th of Jan 10 [WIP]

Post by Rowedog » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:03 pm

Round Thirteen RF Awards

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Best Challenge Response Fanfiction

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Best Fanart Cover by DreamerLaure

Title: Amongst Women

Author: Alison

Genre: AU W/O Aliens, M/M, CC

Rating: Adult, I guess... it may not actually get there, but I reserve the right to use it if I want.

Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell, nor any of its characters. They are owned by the WB, UPN, Jason Katims, Melinda Metz and a whole bunch of other that I’ve never met. Don’t sue, ‘kay?

Summary: Challenge #246 from Nibbles2, so I can’t take any credit for the awesome plot. How will Michael Guerin, bachelor extraordinaire cope with four girls living in his house?

A/N: Seeing as I finished writing NID the other night I decided that it was time for me to post the next one. I generally like to have two stories on the go in case I get bored with one, so I figured why not? This is my first real candy fic, but I will, as usual give significant attention to the other couples. Also, I have no idea what they train you for in the army, but I’m going to pretend that it comes with a bit of basic fire training and my knowledge of house fires is limited to Wikipedia and fire fighting movies.
Amongst Women

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Wonderful Banner made By Dreamerlaure. Seriously, it's so awesome.

Part One
Michael attacked the lid of his tin of coffee with his knife. He couldn’t grasp why the fucker wouldn’t open, he’d got the other tin open no worries. He supposed this was karmic retribution for stealing army supplies, but he figured after everything he’d been through that the least that they owed him was a tin of shitty coffee. Jamming the pointy end of the knife underneath the lip of the lid, Michael tried to lever it open with minimal success.

It was the nicking of his finger on the blade that caused him to give up and throw the heavy tin onto the kitchen bench. Sucking his finger, he reached over and grabbed a paper towel to stop the bleeding and was distracted by the sound of his four neighbours who were obviously just about to go to work.

Michael glanced through his window at the giggling group as they clambered into the crappy rust bucket they liked to call a car. Narrowing his eyes, Michael wanted to know what was so funny anyway.

He knew for a fact that they didn’t have a sense of humour. In fact, the big-lipped blonde one really hadn’t seen the funny side of it when his cat had somehow broken into their house and taken a dump in their kitchen pantry. She’d nearly had a conniption when he’d laughed in response. What was her name again? Marie... Masie... Michael shrugged it off. It wasn’t important to him, although, she wasn’t exactly on the ugly side. He definitely wouldn’t mind feeling those enormous lips wrapped around his-

“Ow! Motherfucker!” he grunted and then scowled at the tin of coffee that had rolled and fallen from the bench onto his foot. He needed to concentrate on opening the coffee tin because he sure as shit needed a hit of caffeine.

Bending down to pick it up, Michael swore as the muscles in his left shoulder twinged. Grasping the tin of coffee, he straightened and placed it back on the counter, this time making sure to place it properly on its base. He then gingerly rubbed the stiff lump of scar tissue on his left shoulder blade hoping to ease the pain therein. Just what he fucking needed.

Gritting his teeth in an attempt to override the residual pain, Michael gripped his knife and set to work attacking the coffee tin again. He was going to have his hit of caffeine, come hell or high water.
***
“Michael! You haven’t been here for a while, where’ve you been?”

“Who are you, my Mom? I’ve been around,” Michael replied, smiling at his old friend.

“Tell you who’s not your Mom; that blondie heading towards you to your left,” smirked Jim running his eyes over the blonde’s full figure. Damn Guerin, the lucky, undeserving dog. He got all the play.

“Hey baby, you here all alone?” the sultry blonde asked in a husky voice that had been irreparably altered through years of smoking, sliding onto the stool next to his.

“Doesn’t seem so anymore,” replied Michael coolly, a half smirk on his face as he took another swig of his beer, taking stock of his new plaything for the night. Big boobs, blue eyes, thin waist, full lips, delicate hands. All checks in the plus columns. However, he could do without the good inch of dark regrowth, somewhat chunky thighs and ski slope nose, but he figured that he’d cut his losses and just go with it. He’d had far worse.

Running her hand down Michael’s muscular forearm, she pulled her stool in closer as she whispered into his ear. “Wanna keep me company tonight?”

Michael glanced over at her, focussing on her obviously surgically enhanced breasts. “I haven’t got anything better to do.”

“What’s your name?” she asked as Michael finished the last of his beer.

“Michael.”

“Mine’s Hannah,” she informed him when he didn’t ask for hers. He nodded, but didn’t say anything. Like he needed to know, she’d just be another girl in a long line of conquests for him.

Standing up from his stool, he slid some money over to Jim who winked at him before turning back to his lay for the night. “Let’s go.”

The girl grabbed for her keys as she followed him out into the car park and Michael let loose his first fully blown smile for the night. If she thought that he was going to go back to her place, she was sadly mistaken. There was no way he was going to be stranded at some strange chick’s house with no mode of transportation.

She looked at him in confusion when he grabbed her by the elbow and took her around the corner to the darkened alleyway alongside the bar.

“What are we...?” her question was muffled when Michael crushed his lips to hers, pushing her back against the brick wall. She clutched his back and moaned into his mouth as his large hands cupped and kneaded her breasts. While Michael considered himself a lover of all breasts, he really preferred the non-surgically enhanced variety, but he’d take what he could get. And hers were big enough to make up for the stiffness of the implants.

Thirty minutes later, Michael wandered back to his car, wiping cheap lipstick off of his cheek and whistling as he walked, his right ear slightly deafened. She had been a screamer. And while he could do without the partial deafness, he had certainly enjoyed her enthusiasm, just as he was sure she had enjoyed his. She had gone to the bathroom to freshen up and Michael had taken the opportunity to cut and run. He didn’t need the false niceties and while he had enjoyed her, he certainly wasn’t looking for a repeat performance. The wrestling would be on in fifteen minutes. He needed to get home.
***
Michael wearily rubbed at his eyes, both of them feeling gritty from fatigue. Yawning, he turned his attention away from his tiredness and onto the wrestling that was being replayed whilst idly scratching at his crotch. Sighing, he glanced around as an advertisement came on for a nasal spray that supposedly helped with erectile dysfunction, an area that he could proudly proclaim that he had no problem whatsoever with. Though if he did, he would hardly think that a catch phrase like “up the nose and away it goes” would induce him to seek out that product for help.

His eye was caught by an unusually bright light flickering from his neighbours’ house. A sense of unease rumbled through him, prompting him shifting his ass from its worn groove in the couch just to reassure himself that his sneaking suspicion was no more than an overtired brain’s paranoid jump to conclusions.

But as he gazed out the window his heart dropped in his chest as he saw flames lick at the windows from the interior of the house. Flinging open the door he rushed out, not even bothering to close it behind him in his mad dash to their front door.

Flinging the door mat to one side he grabbed up the spare key and hurriedly rammed it into lock, swearing when it wouldn’t unlock. Deadlocked? He’d never seen them deadlock the front door before. In fact it had to be done from the outside, a second lock used only when the occupant of the house would be away from the house for an extended period of time. Something was definitely off about this fire...

Hearing a high pitched scream come from the other side of the door, Michael abandoned his unlocking attempt, yelled, “Get away from the door, I’m going to knock it down!” and then sprinted to the side of the house.

Grabbing the small axe from the woodpile next to their house, he hacked at their front door, wincing as hot splinters struck him in the face, thanking God that there was no backdraft when he ripped the first hole in it. Wedging the head of his axe into the door, Michael levered it from side to side to widen the hole. He did this several times, each time alternating between strikes. Finally, he managed to break a hole wide enough for his body to squeeze through by breaking the hinges of the door. Pulling the tall blonde through the gap and dragging her onto the lawn, Michael then turned and ran back to the front door. There were four of them. One down, three to go.

Upon entering the house, Michael first scoped out where the source of the fire was. In a room to his left, but quickly spreading. The hallway was in front of him and he prayed to God that that was where the bedrooms of the girls were situated. Sweat immediately formed on his brow from the heat and his lungs burned from the lack of fresh air. Dropping onto his stomach, he began to crawl commando style.

Crawling low on the floor to escape the smoke, Michael headed for the first bedroom he came to. He just hoped he could reach them in time, he knew from experience that people were more likely to die from smoke inhalation than from burns in a fire, but neither were too attractive a prospect.

As he crawled low, he stiffened as the familiar rattle of machine guns and garbled cries of Arabic sounded in his ears. Reaching for his rifle, Michael blinked back into reality when his hand came into contact with the soft cotton of his t-shirt. Shaking his head, he worked his way quickly forward, concentrating hard on the reality of here and now.

Crawling forward he reached what looked to be the first bedroom and found a terrified blonde in skimpy nightwear crawling towards him. Beckoning her forward he led her through the smoke and heat towards the front door, pushing her through the gap and then heading off to find the others.

He would have rolled his eyes at the lacy negligee that the blonde was wearing if the situation hadn’t been so urgent, aside from the flammability of the items, he knew that she had been sleeping alone. Why go to all that trouble if you were going to bed alone?

He retraced his steps, mentally trying to review the setup of the house from his knowledge of it outside. There two rooms upstairs, he mentally groaned at the idea the thought of one of them being a bedroom. There was nothing worse than a staircase when there was a house fire, it was what had gone wrong last time... Michael swallowed back the memory. He needed to stay focussed. He passed the first bedroom and found the second one empty. Must have been the first blonde’s room. He kept crawling, ignoring the sting from his bare knees and elbows as he went, trying to keep all of his training in his head. He let out a cry, not audible over the roar of the fire as his left shoulder twinged and protested under the heavy use. Biting his lip, he continued forwards. Making it to the end of the hall where the third bedroom was situated, Michael found a tiny brunette cowering in fear as flames loomed over her, clutching a photo album tightly to her chest as she tried to find the door, disorientated by the fear and thick smoke surrounding her. Michael looked at the fire, wondering how the fire had managed to migrate to her room without burning the door in the process, it was then that he noticed the secular nature of the fire. This was a separate fire, and by the looks of it, one that had been started just outside her window. This was no accident. This was arson.

Grabbing her wrist, Michael tried to lead her towards her door, only to have her shake her head and yell something that he could barely distinguish over the roar and crackle of the fire.

“My sister!”

“I’m getting them all out!” he cried back, trying to remember if he knew which one was her sister. “Two are already outside!”

She nodded and allowed herself to be led, Michael using his memory and sense of direction to guide him when the smoke became too thick to see and the heat forced his eyes shut. He nearly sighed in relief when he hit the front door. She clambered out the front door and he turned back for that Miriam/Masie chick that he could never remember the name of.

Making his way up the stairs, he was relieved when he felt a cool draught sweeping the smoke upwards and off the stairs, he didn’t think he could hold his breath for as long as he would need to summit the stairs if the smoke was simply hanging around on them. Quickly clambering up them, Michael found two doors, one on his left, one on his right. Taking quick stock of both, he chose the door on the right when he noticed the edge of tiles just underneath the lip of the left door. It was probably a bathroom and thus it was ruled out for the moment. If the last girl wasn’t in the bedroom, he’d have to try the other rooms, but as he spotted the carpet beginning to curl and blacken around the edges from the heat, he sincerely hoped that she was in there. There wasn’t enough time for him to go exploring through the other rooms, this place was about to go up like dry twig in an inferno.

His sigh of relief when he found her in her room was short lived when he noticed that she wasn’t conscious. She was flat on her back on the floor, probably having noticed the smoke she’d stood up to make a run for it and inhaled a lungful of smoke. He quickly checked her breathing and was relieved to find that she still was. It was shallow, but it was there. Hauling her awkwardly, Michael crawled, half dragging her across the floor to the stairs. He swallowed as the stairs disappeared into a thick haze of smoke. This was where it had gone so wrong before...

Grasping her awkwardly Michael mounted the stairs backwards and began to pull her small body down the stairs. He winced as her small, fragile body seemed to bounce down each step, but he made sure that her head was secure and in no danger of cracking against the step below. He reached the bottom, heaving a sigh of relief as he passed the danger zone. His jubilation was short lived when he remembered the length of the hallway and the distance to the door. Now, Michael was no weakling, even with the bung shoulder, and she was definitely no heavyweight, but the awkwardness of dragging her when he couldn’t stand up for leverage made him extremely grateful when she regained consciousness and began to crawl with him.

The going was slow as her weakness from the smoke inhalation, but Michael helped her as much as he could, the exertion causing the sweat to turn from a trickle to a river down his back, his face, his legs. The fire seemed to be growing in intensity, the heat emanating from it almost unbearable as they crawled towards safety. Michael couldn’t make out the room that seemed to be ablaze, the flames too blinding to give him a visual but he was certain that it was right next to the door. He cried out in pain when his knee hit a hot cinder that had fallen from the roof, hoping to hell that the door to freedom would soon be in sight. He almost cried when it came into view.

Shoving her through the hot door, Michael then almost collapsed through it himself. Coughing as he landed on the hot cement of their front door step, Michael pushed past his tiredness and ordered himself to stand up and get her as far as possible from the fire. Grunting with the exertion, he scooped her up and walked towards the road, the fire’s heat beating against his back.

As he appeared through the thick smoke, he was practically dive bombed by a gaggle of hysterical females. Great, just what he needed. Ignoring them and their questions about the how their friend was, he laid her out on the cool pavement of the footpath before collapsing himself, allowing the chill to seep into the burns on his hands, giving them much needed relief.

He sighed as the sirens from fire fighters became louder and more distinct as they travelled closer. Better late than never.

God, what a day.
***
Last edited by Rowedog on Tue May 12, 2009 6:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) Pt 1, 9th Feb

Post by Rowedog » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:23 pm

Thank you all for such a great response! Seeing as it's my first candy fic I'm a little nervous, but I hope you all like it. And I hope that I can do nibbles's challenge justice.

Cassie
Lauren-
I'm so not alone in my opinion. You've outdone yourself with that awesome banner.
Novy- I actually live down the road from a pine plantation on a property surrounded by bush and this morning I woke up and smelled smoke. Turns out that it was just from other fires across the state, but it scared the crap out of me for a moment.
POM
Tequathisy
destinyc
chanks_girl-
Well thank you! By the way, I plan to have a bit of stargazer loving in this fic :wink:
killjoy- Your memory is abysmal. :lol:
BB
Laira
Ginger
LovinGuerin2Much
April-
Isn't it just? It's perfect.
Part Two
“There you are, sugar,” cooed a large archetypal motherly woman as she applied salve to his burns and bandaged them. “You’re quite the hero.”

Michael shrugged, hating the attention he was getting. “I have the necessary training,” he grunted. “It was more reflex than any true bravery on my part.”

“Whatever you say, sugar.” Michael nearly groaned as she winked at him. He could do without the fuss, first the firefighters and now the nurse. He was trained to deal with crap like this, they’d have been calling him negligent if he hadn’t done it.

Getting up from the back of the ambulance, Michael crossed over to where the four girls stood, huddled under the same blanket. He wasn’t sure why, but he wanted to make sure that they really were ok, he supposed it was just latent emotions from the intensity of their rescue from the fire.

“Are you ok?” he asked uncomfortably.

“I just don’t understand how the fire started,” stated the medium height blonde that he now knew as Maria.

“The front door was deadlocked and from what I could see the fire came from two different starting points,” stated Michael bluntly as he watched the firefighters spray the last jet of water onto the blackened remains of their house.

“What are you trying to say?” asked Tess, her voice filled with a suspicion that she didn’t want to announce openly.

Never one to sugarcoat the truth, Michael said, “I think someone tried to kill you.”

“Kill us?” asked Isabel, unable to believe her ears.

He shrugged, looking at the wreck of their house. “Well, maybe not all of you. The person could have been out for one person and not cared that they took out others as well.”

Liz gaped at him. “What type of person would do that? What type of person would kill three innocent people just to take out one that they hated?”

“Someone very dangerous,” he muttered, feeling the first stirrings of unease. Not allowing himself to think about it before, he now let himself run through the callousness of the crime. People that didn’t care who they hurt in order to get what they wanted were people he couldn’t stand, people like Hank.

“What are we going to do?” asked Isabel, her voice thick with tears as she looked at the smouldering shell of their house. “We’ve got no place to live, no money and someone tried to kill us.”

Michael swallowed heavily as he glanced around at the four pairs of wet feminine eyes. He could tell that they were a split second away from bursting into hysterical tears. He knew that if he didn’t so something soon, he was going to have a bunch of wailing bitches on his hands and if there was one thing he couldn’t cope with; it was female emotions. They were so foreign, so alien to him. He would rather face an enemy insurgent any day, they at least trained you for that in the army and the problem was easily solved by shooting them. Michael had a feeling that bringing a gun into this equation would be problematic.

Michael froze at the sign of a tear trickling down Tess’s face. His limited experience with women told him that if you let one start they’d all soon follow suit.

“You can stay with me.” As soon as the words left Michael’s lips, he knew he’d just made a very, very grave error.

“What?” demanded Maria as Tess threw her arms around Michael.

“Thank you! You saved us and now you’re giving us a place to stay and... I just...” Tess trailed off as she broke into sobs and Michael groaned inwardly. He had only said that to stop them all from crying and now one of them was crying anyway. Not to mention the fact that he now was going to have to live with them. He couldn’t go back on his word now. He had offered them help and was duty bound to deliver. Michael Guerin may not have been the most gentlemanly of men, but he kept his word.

Isabel looked at him sceptically. “Are you sure?”

He took a deep breath, sincerely hating every moment of this conversation. “My house is big enough for all of you. It’s no problem. You can stay as long as you need.”

“That’s very kind of you,” replied Isabel with some scepticism.

Michael was about to respond when his eye was caught by the approaching police car. Fighting his way through the melee of fire fighters, concerned neighbours and onlookers, Michael managed to reach the deputy before he entered the restricted area.

“Deputy, I think this fire was started on purpose.”

Turning, the Deputy surveyed the outspoken young man in front of him. Judging by the burns to his hands and knees, he rightly assessed that this was Michael Guerin, the neighbour who had swooped in to save the day. “And what makes you think that?”

“The front door was deadlocked. The fire was started in at least two places. One outside the second bedroom on the right. And the other on the uh, left hand side of the house. I’m not entirely sure where. But I know that there was no way that the fire could have spread to outside the second bedroom without burning the hallway as well, and when I got to it, the hallway was still usable.”

Kyle looked at him over the top of his glasses. “You know, some firebugs get kicks out of lighting fires and then running in to help save the day.”

Michael stared at him dully. “Believe me, this is not what I would call fun. I received second degree burns to my hands and knees, managed to inhale enough ash to make my lungs black and now have four homeless girls who are going to invade and take over my house.”

“How did you notice the fire? It must have been pretty late,” asked Kyle, changing tack.

“It was late, I saw a strange light coming from their window and went to have a look.”

Writing the answers down in his notebook, Kyle asked, “What were you doing up so late, Mr Guerin?”

Michael didn’t even bother to question how the deputy knew his name. “I was watching the wrestling. I don’t sleep very well and I often stay up late.”

Kyle glanced over Michael one more time, noting his pissed off stance and his I’d-Rather-Be-Anywhere-But-Here vibe that he was giving off and went with his gut feeling that this guy was legit. Especially given the frosty reception that the fire fighters received when they tried to congratulate him on his daring rescue. He was more interested in telling them that it was arson than being congratulated. Oh well, Kyle thought, better to be safe than sorry.

“Ok, so run me through your suspicions again, Mr Guerin,” said Kyle, his pencil poised.

Michael nearly sighed in relief. Finally, they were taking him seriously. Repeating his story, Michael then led Kyle over to where the four girls were standing.

“Girls, this is the deputy. He’ll be conducting the investigation into the fire.”

Michael then stood back and watched as the deputy questioned each one, prying into their love lives, their professional lives and even into their schooling career. Anything that might lead them to an enemy who would want to hurt them. They all came up blank. Real life nemeses were harder to spot than those on the silver screen. None of them could think of anyone who would want them dead.

However, Michael noticed the deputy paid more attention to Tess’ love life than was strictly professional.

“Deputy Valenti!” came a cry from across the yard. Kyle looked up to see a fireman coming his way holding what looked to be a charred and slightly melted piece of plastic.

“What’s that?” he asked, nodding his head towards it.

“This,” said the fireman, holding it out before him. “Is what looks to be the remnants of a plastic gasoline container, found down in the cellar right near the starting point of the fire. The fire was lit, we believe with this and then the assailant escaped either via the small window just above ground level or via the front door. The fire then spread up the wooden stairs through the kitchen and then they lit the fire just outside the other bedroom. Unfortunately, due to the fire, we can’t find any evidence like fingerprints to help us catch this criminal.”

“How did they even get in?” asked Isabel, her mind running through the possibilities of what could have happened with an intruder in their house. In a way they were lucky that starting the fire was all they did. “We lock the doors.”

“And leave the spare key under the door mat. The first place anyone would look,” answered Michael. “This probably wasn’t their first visit to your house.”

“Why do you think that?” asked Kyle, looking at Michael with renewed suspicion. He didn’t like to think of the brave ex-soldier with anything but respect, but his job had taught him that appearances were deceiving.

Michael rolled his eyes. “The front door. It was deadlocked. I’m pretty sure they don’t leave that key lying around just anywhere. So it’s either someone who spent a good amount of time in their house and had the ability to search, or it’s someone who knows exactly where the key was placed.”

Liz shook her head. “No, the we were the only people who knew where that key was situated, and none of us started the fire. It was in a desk drawer under some paperwork, it would have taken a while to find it.”

“Oh my God... someone wants us dead,” whispered Tess, her hysteria rising. It was too much, first the fire and now a possible murderer was after them.

“Look deputy, the girls have had a long night, how about I take them back to my house and put them to bed. You can question them again in the morning,” suggested Michael, desperately hoping that this would stop Tess from bursting into hysterics in front of him.

Kyle nodded and tipped his hat, allowing them to move off, but not before having a private word with Tess. Michael suspected that it was far from professional, but it was also far from his business.
***
“So, uh, this is my home. The guest bedrooms are all upstairs, my bedroom is down stairs. The beds are made and there are blankets in the upstairs linen cupboard if you get cold.”

“Thanks,” uttered Liz softly, rubbing one hand up her arm to ward off the chill. It was five in the morning and they were all pretty tired from the excitement and terror of the fire.

“We’d better ring Aunt Mary first thing in the morning,” said Tess to Liz, thinking out loud. “You know how she hates to be left in the dark about these sort of things.”

“Sisters?” enquired Michael, looking between the two of them.

“Twins,” corrected Liz, scuffing her feet against the linoleum of the front hall.

“You two are twins?” Michael asked in amazement, looking between the two girls as if some similarity was going to jump out at him to indicate that they really were related. So far their height was the only similarity he could find.

“They’re not into three-ways if that’s what you’re thinking, Don Juan.”

Michael shot Maria a withering look. “Hardly. I was just trying to find some similarity between the two.”

Maria gave him a condescending smile, her guard brought up from the amount of fear she felt. “Despite the lack of similarities, they are twins. Aren’t you Liz?”

“Yep. Twins,” repeated Liz, hating the comparisons that must be running through Michael’s mind in terms of their appearance. She always came up short compared to her sister.

“Wow... and you live together?” Michael had never experienced having a sibling. The only real family member he’d ever lived with was Hank, and that was out of pure necessity. He’d gotten out of there as soon as he turned eighteen. He couldn’t imagine willingly living with a family member.

“Yeah, well we cohabited for nine months in the womb and liked it so much that we just kept on doing it,” muttered Liz, a little put out by her surroundings.

Maria let out a disgusted snort at the sight of a hairy ball of fluff sauntering her way, obviously not put out by the new situation. “I see you still have your cat.”

“Yep.” Michael couldn’t help himself, he bit back a smirk. “I believe you’re already well acquainted.”

Maria plastered on a fake smile. “Only with its faeces.”

“What’s its name?” asked Tess bending down on one knee to give it a pat. As much as she knew about humanity, she figured it was a good sign that Michael had a pet. Pet owners who loved their pets couldn’t be all that bad. Especially considering the cat looked well fed, but not excessively so.

“Fuggles.”

Tess blinked in amazement at him. “Fuggles? Fuggles the cat?”

“He’s fugly,” shrugged Michael, by way of explanation.

“I hope you never have kids,” exclaimed Maria with a shake of her head.

“Why would I want to?” asked Michael in genuine confusion. “They dribble out both ends.”

Isabel grimaced. “And on that note, I’m going to bed. I’ll see you all in the morning.”

Michael watched the girls file upstairs with a sense of unease. He wasn’t sure what unsettled him most, that their presence in his house seemed to be a semi permanent thing until they were out of danger, or that they were in danger. He strongly suspected that it was the former reason rather than the latter. Michael had a horrible sneaking suspicion that his life would never be the same again.
***
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Re: Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) Pt 2, 13th Feb

Post by Rowedog » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:18 pm

Sorry for the wait, I’ve been kinda preoccupied with another fic. I’m so close to getting it done I can almost taste it, so I’m working hard on that one. Thank you all for your feedback!

BB
Killjoy
Novy
Destiny
Ginger
Spacegirl23
Girl afraid
Eve
Tequathisy
LovinGuerin2Much
The Sushi Monster
Chanks_girl
Xmag
Lauren

Part Three
“LIZ!” At the young male’s call, all five heads snapped up from their cleaning up of what used to be their house. Even the frame had collapsed, leaving nothing but charred cinders and the shell of their fireplace. They all felt that it was a cruel reminder of where the fire should have been, the tall, thin figure juxtaposed against all the rubble. They were trying to find salvageable pieces or mementos, but so far had come up with little more than a broken cup and a charred toothbrush.

“Oh, Sean, hey.” Liz couldn’t help but feel a little foolish and a lot guilty over not contacting her boyfriend as soon as possible after the fire incident.

“What...” Sean gazed at the gutted out shell of a house that his girlfriend used to reside in. “What the hell happened?”

Michael rolled his eyes sarcastically. “A fire, obviously.”

Liz shot Michael a venomous look before turning warily back to Sean. “Well, Sean... you see, there was a fire. Last night. We all got out alright, we just lost everything.”

Sean’s mouth dropped open. “Oh my god! Are you alright?” Sean pulled Liz into his arms and she stiffly returned the hug.

“I’m fine.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” Liz could have cringed at the look of confused disappointment on her boyfriend’s face. It wasn’t as though she’d consciously decided not to call him, she simply hadn’t thought of him.

“Well, everything happened so quickly...” Liz prevaricated, achingly aware that four pairs of eyes were trained intently on her conversation. “I was in shock.”

Sean looked unconvinced, but pushed past it. “Well, you don’t have to worry about a thing, baby. You can come stay with me.”

Liz blanched, looking around uneasily. “Actually Sean... I already have a place to stay.”

Sean’s eyes narrowed. “With who?”

Liz cleared her throat uncomfortably. “With... my neighbour. Michael.”

“Excuse me?” Sean’s voice was deathly quiet.

“He’s been kind enough to offer us all a place to stay. Your place isn’t big enough for all of us.” Sensing Sean’s ire rising, Liz’s stance became rigid and defensive. “I’m not leaving my sister, Sean.”

“You’re twenty-five, Liz. Don’t you think it’s time you started living your own life?” Letting out an exasperated sigh at Liz’s immovability, Sean changed tack. “Liz, we’ve been together for a year and a half, it’s a natural progression that we would move in together.”

Liz bit her lip, looking anywhere but at Sean. “Well I’m not ready. I’m sorry.”

“Are you ever going to be ready, Liz?” Sean’s sudden raising of his voice scared Liz, making her take an instinctive step back. Sean noticed this and sighed, hating what was happening between them, but not knowing quite how to stop it. “I just... I don’t know what you want from me. Do you even love me at all?”

Liz didn’t know quite what to say to Sean’s whispered plea. “Sean... I-I like you a lot, but love? I just don’t think I’m re-”

“Yeah, I know you’re not ready,” Sean interrupted, his voice low and reeking of bitterness. “Why do you even keep me around? You don’t love me, you don’t want to move in with me, in fact, we barely even touch anymore, let alone make love. And when we do, it’s always me who instigates and even then I practically have to beg on my hands and knees. How long were you planning on stringing me along? Till you got bored or until I realised how much of a sham our relationship is?”

Liz recoiled back from Sean’s embittered and angry tirade as if she’d been slapped. “Sean...”

“I love you, Liz. But I deserve love too. And you...” Sean swiped angrily at the tears in his eyes. “You can’t give me what I need.”

Sean stalked back to his car, leaving Liz staring at his back as he retreated. The other four stood in silence not knowing quite what to say as Sean’s car roared to life and then peeled angrily out of the street.

“What a fucking pussy,” snorted Michael after a beat.

Glancing around and meeting all the deathly glares from the three other girls being sent his way, Michael concluded that perhaps that comment wasn’t the smartest thing he could have said. But he stood by it. The dude was whipped as a bitch, something that Michael could never comprehend. Sure, he liked women; they were good for relieving sexual tension, but to become such a snivelling little bitch over some chick? Michael couldn’t even begin to understand it.

Moving over to her sister who was still staring at the road that Sean had driven away on, Tess attempted to put her arm around her. “Liz...”

Shrugging her off, Liz turned from her, resuming her previous activity of rummaging through the wreckage for salvageable pieces. “I’m fine.”

Tess sighed, not believing her at all and wishing she had the guts to call her on her bullshit and confront her about her issues. But once again, she let it slide.

Slowly they all went back to searching, their silence only broken by Tess’s mourned cry when she found the burnt husk of her curling iron.
***
“Ok,” began Isabel as they all sat around in Michael’s living room. “We’ve got to figure out what we need. We can’t just go around replacing all the stuff we’ve lost. We’ve got budgets to uphold. I don’t know what you’ve got in your savings, but I was hoping that we could work off of our salaries until we’ve got the bare minimum and then use the money from the insurance to supplement what we’ve already spent when it comes through. I’ve made a list of necessities which I’ve written up and Liz has been kind enough to use her math skills to figure out how much we can spend each week without over taxing our salaries. We’ve decided that what we need desperately right now is some cheap, efficient work shirts and two pairs of good, black pants so that we can wash and wear without wearing the same thing two days in a row. Two pairs of shoes for the moment,” Isabel halted as she heard all three girls groan. “I know, but with the average price of shoes these days we really need to be thrifty. One black work pair and just a comfy pair that you can wear anywhere. We won’t be going out for a while, so there’s no need to buy heels. And I don’t know about you, but I really want a pair of pyjamas that doesn’t smell like smoke.”

“Why is makeup really high up on your list?” enquired Michael, peering at the list.

“It’s a necessity,” answered Tess with an amused smile and a shake of her head. “Duh.”

“Liz and I have done some research and come up with the average price you can spend on each item so that we have some left over for bills and food.”

“Wow...” muttered Tess, wrinkling her nose at the prices. “Walmart here I come.”

“We can’t afford high fashion at the moment Tess,” sighed Liz.

“I know,” she muttered, leaning over her chair to play with the hem of the rolled up, oversized track pants that Michael had leant to her. “It just sucks.”

Hearing the sniffle in her sister’s voice, Liz reached over and rubbed her back consolingly, knowing that her anger wasn’t at the price range she’d been given, but rather at the situation they now found themselves in. Tess was scared and the only way she knew how to deal with it was by tapping into her sarcasm.

Isabel stood up, stretching her legs, finding Michael’s track pants the perfect length for her. “First stop though, is the bank. Luckily, seeing as we all know the people who work at our bank and hearing of our troubles, they’ve already ordered in new bank cards for us. They’ll come soon, but for now, we’ll have to make do with withdrawing money the old fashioned way.”

“I hate standing in line at the bank,” griped Liz with a pout.

“Really?” Asked Isabel sarcastically. “Because I love it! We don’t have a choice, Liz.”

Maria stood up, attempting to smile. “Well, at least the crapmobile only has a bit of blistered paint.”

“That’s the spirit, Maria!” smiled Isabel, clapping her on the back. “And you called me crazy for leaving it parked on the street!”

“No, I called you crazy for leaving it parked on the street with the keys still in it,” replied Maria dully.

Isabel glanced out the window, then pointedly stared at Maria. “There is not a person in the world that’s going to want to steal or take our shitty car for a joy ride.”

Maria considered her point. “Fair enough.”

Michael shook his head, wondering just how tough they were going to make it for him to protect them. “In the future, don’t do that. When you get back I’m going to need a list of all the people you’ve pissed off so that I can figure out who tried to do this to you,” Michael told them as they all got ready to make their way out to their car. His only response was a bunch of non-committal waves and shrugs. Michael watched them all file out of his house and breathed a sigh of relief.

He had a feeling that his peace would be very short lived with the four of them around.
***
“Hey Michael,” greeted Tess from beneath an armful of bags.

“Jesus!” exclaimed Michael taking a couple of bags from her in an attempt to lighten her load. “How did you fit into the car with all this crap?”

“Not very well. But you haven’t even seen the other stuff that the girls bought yet.”

Michael stared at her incredulously, his mouth gaping open. “There’s more?”

“Yeah, you might want to go and rescue the groceries sitting by the front door before they get accidentally stood on.”

Michael diligently went about Tess’s suggestion and dumped the plastic bags on the bench as the rest of the girls attempted to cart their stuff upstairs. Glancing at the contents of the grocery bags, Michael’s brows drew together in confusion. What the heck was all this crap?

Squeezing past Liz in the hallway Tess rejoined Michael in the kitchen as he peered at a packet of shiny green stuff that he couldn’t quite define. It looked radioactive, or at least carcinogenic.

“Hey Tess, what’s this... Konobu, Kombu stuff?”

“It’s seaweed,” replied Tess, grabbing other items out of the bag and placing them on the bench.

Michael had rarely been given an answer that raised this many questions.

Tess rolled her eyes at his appalled expression. “It’s for sushi. You have heard of sushi, right?”

Michael grimaced. “Raw fish? Not really my scene.”

“It also helps with weight loss,” said Tess brightly.

“So does bulimia, I wouldn’t suggest you try that either,” commented Michael, holding the plastic wrapper away from him as if it were toxic. Tess snatched it out of his hands and let out an exasperated sigh.

“The seaweed helps break down protein, fool.”

Michael gave her a tentative thumbs up. “...Awesome?”

“We didn’t know which coffee beans you liked,” Isabel said as she breezed into the kitchen and began grabbing items to put in the pantry, having finished unpacking her new purchases. “So we got our usual brand which is a spicy Kenyan/Morrocan blend. Which type of coffee do you usually drink?”

Michael was at a loss for how to answer that question. “The brown, granulated variety?”

“Don’t tell me you drink instant,” groaned Maria from the stairs.

“It’s ok Maria, he can drink instant and we’ll drink ours,” replied Isabel, glancing around the sparse kitchen. “Where’s your coffee machine?”

“It’s right here,” Michael replied, gesturing to the rusty kettle that sat on the bench. “You flick the switch and the water magically turns hot.”

“Oh dear God,” whispered Maria in horror, as she wandered into the kitchen. “He doesn’t have a coffee machine. How am I going to survive? I can’t live without my coffee.”

“And you laughed at me for calling a hair curler a necessity,” huffed Tess who only drank coffee because her advertising firm considered it sophisticated. She was neither a fan of its taste or its caffeine hit. It made her jittery.

“I can get through the day without curling my hair. I can’t say the same for the coffee. I’m going to have to buy a machine. I’ll pull it out of my savings.” Isabel went to object, but Maria interrupted her. “I don’t care that I’ll lose interest. I can’t drink instant, I need a real coffee in the morning.”

Michael groaned at her melodramatics. “Suck it up, princess!”

“I’m sorry that I’m not used to drinking gasoline in the morning,” Maria huffed, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“What the hell is this thing?” Michael asked as he reached into the grocery bag and pulled out what looked to be a malnourished rocket lettuce.

“It’s bok choy, you caveman,” Maria replied. “A common Chinese vegetable.”

Michael inspected it and finally recognised it. “Is that that rubbery shit that I have to eat around when I get the special at City Wok? Why would anyone buy that?”

“Because we like it?” suggested Tess as Michael placed it on the bench, his lip curled up in disgust.

“Ok, well I’ll just make some room in the fridge,” suggested Liz, grabbing the offending article and opening the door only to reel back as the stench hit her. “Oh dear God... what the hell have you got in here?”

“Stuff,” was Michael’s monosyllabic answer.

When Liz’s eyes had stopped watering she let out a bark of laughter when she saw the contents of his fridge. “Guys, come check this out!”

The girls huddled about the fridge and looked at a forest of Chinese takeout cartons, old pizza slices and beer cans.

“It’s like... an elephant grave yard... for take away...” murmured Isabel as she gazed at the cramped fridge. “Is there anything fresh in here?”

Michael mused over the question that had been directed at him. “I only got the Satay Chicken the night before.”

Isabel grimaced and pulled out the closest carton. “Not quite what I meant.”

Following Isabel’s lead, the girls each took a carton and opened it to inspect what was in there before throwing them all in the trash.

“Hey!” cried Michael in consternation. “What are you doing? Some of those are salvageable!”

“This isn’t going to work,” said Isabel looking at the small bin beside the kitchen bench. “We’re going to need a garbage bag.”

“That’s my food you’re throwing out!”

“Please tell me you weren’t actually thinking of eating this?” Maria said with disgust as she held out the carton for Michael to inspect. Michael grimaced as he looked in. He couldn’t actually see what used to be in there beneath the green layer of mould.

“Creating your own penicillin?” asked Liz as she gazed into another carton. “All the colours of the rainbow in one disturbing mess.”

Michael sighed with resignation and pulled out a garbage bag from the second drawer of the kitchen bench and extended it to the girls. “Here.”

The girls worked quickly and efficiently, cleaning out everything but Michael’s unopened beer cans. They had reached the back of the fridge and Maria pulled out the last carton.

“I think we found the source of the smell,” she coughed, her eyes watering as she drew it closer. Flicking open the lid with trepidation, Maria gave a squeal of laughter before the smell hit her, even stronger than before. “Shit, I think it winked at me!”

Rushing over to get a closer look, the girls all gave groans of disgust. “I think it’s eating through the cardboard,” moaned Tess, her nose tightly pinched as she stared at it, not able to look away.

“Would you just throw it away already?” griped Michael, not liking the big fuss they were making.

“Not before,” Maria dug into her pocket and produced her camera phone with a flourish. “I take a picture! Say cheese disgusting food stuffs!”

“Can that even be classed as food anymore?” asked Liz as Maria began snapping away.

“Oh shit, Maria! Don’t throw it around like that, it’s letting out this weird sort of vapour,” coughed Isabel, who had her arm up over her mouth and nose and was attempting to filter the smell through her sleeve.

“I think we should give it a name. Let’s call it Gary,” said Maria as she held it at arms length. “It’s practically alive anyway.”

Having had enough, Michael snatched the container from Maria’s hands and threw it in the now fairly full garbage bag.

“Gary!” cried Maria in mock distress. She turned to Michael, her face a picture of despair. “How could you?”

Not even bothering to respond, Michael tied up the garbage bag and tramped outside to throw it away, ignoring the fresh round of laughter that he could clearly hear all the way out in the street.

He had been right all along.

Women sucked.
***
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Re: Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) Pt 3, 24th Feb

Post by Rowedog » Tue May 12, 2009 6:30 am

I am so, so, so, so, soooooo sorry for the wait on this update guys. Seriously, I suck. If it makes you feel any better, it’s not because I’m slack, it’s because I had other work to do. Thank you for all the fb and the multitude of bumps that made me feel awful for leaving you hanging so long. I’m not worthy!

Oh and I know the whole ‘taking Michael shopping against his will’ thing has been done before (and better too, 521 anyone?) but it’s in the challenge. And it’s hard to write a fic without trespassing on some awesome thing that April’s written. So whatever...

Novy
Ginger
BB-
Please, bump me all over my body. You can call me Miss Jackson if you’re feeling nasty. I love a good bumping.
Destiny
Eve
Steph
Spacegirl23
Neve-
Highly likely hypothesis.
LovinGuerin2Much
Leila
KJ
Buddha-Boy
Xmag
Sarammlover
Lauren
Yasmania
Art_junkie

Part Four
After having a comprehensive run down of all of Tess’s past boyfriends, Michael was just about ready to hit himself in the face with a brick. The other two girls’ lists certainly hadn’t been as long or as involved. Or revolting. Tess had made an effort to describe how good they had been in bed, as if this information would give him startling insight into the would-be murderer.

Sighing, Michael turned to the last girl, hoping that she was a touch more discreet. “Ok, Maria, run me through your ex boyfriends.”

Taking a deep breath, Maria began to ramble through her love life. “Ok, my first boyfriend at sixteen was Ted. We dated for six months and parted amicably.” Michael snorted. He couldn’t imagine her taking a break up well, he was certain that she’d chucked a bitch fit and was just glossing over it. “Second was Pete. We dated for a year then I found him cheating on me with my best friend at the time and therefore dumped him and the friend. I’ve got more reason to want him dead than he does me.”

“What happened to the friend?” enquired Michael, his suspicion raised.

Maria paused for a moment thoughtfully. “She tried to suck up to me and apologise. I told her where to go of course, which she didn’t take well. We had a couple of very public fights in the school hallways, said some nasty things and it all ended with her telling me that she had always hated me.”

“Her name?” asked Michael, feeling like he had the first suspect.

“Courtney Banks.”

“Know where she lives?”

“The inner circle of hell?” Maria shrugged casually, but Michael could see the stiff set of her shoulders and the hurt she was trying to cover. It still stung her, after all of this time. Michael wasn’t a particularly perceptive guy when it came to emotions, but he wasn’t dumb. He could tell that she felt deeply and held her hurts close to her. Why this information mattered to him, he couldn’t tell.

“Ok, next boyfriend.”

Grateful for the reprieve from a very painful time in her life, Maria leapt whole-heartedly into the next relationship bust up. “Billy Darden. My first boyfriend in college. This was around the time I met these three.” She gestured to the girls beside her. “He was a sweet guy, but I couldn’t love him the way he needed me to. So we broke up after two years.”

Michael paused, wondering if she knew the extent to how much she had probably hurt the guy she had been with. “You couldn’t love him after two years? He mustn’t have taken that well.”

“Uh uh,” Maria shook her head adamantly. “You can’t suspect Billy. He’s a great guy. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. Seriously.”

Michael gave a non-committal “Hmm,” and was silent. He resolved to seek out this Billy guy. He had a feeling that there was more to the story than she was letting on.
***
Michael rejoined the girls downstairs after a good hour escaping their non-stop chatter in his room with Metallica turned up. He felt somewhat rejuvenated, but when he saw the four of them standing at the base of the stairs waiting for him, he suddenly felt that he needed an extra hour at least before he’d be ready for whatever they wanted to talk to him about now.

“Michael, we’re making dinner for tonight,” began Isabel. Michael mentally rubbed his hands together in glee, finally, the good part about having women in his house would pay off. He knew they had a use. “But we don’t know how to work the stove. We’ve tried but we can’t turn it on.”

Michael shrugged, looking at them all strangely as he crossed over to the couch in the living room. “Why are you all asking me?”

“It’s your stove!” exclaimed Isabel, standing in front of the TV as he lay down on the couch.

Michael moved his head around attempting to find an angle that allowed him to see past Isabel to the TV. “So? It’s not like I use it.”

Isabel let out a disbelieving laugh and held up her hands as the other three girls crowded around her to stare at Michael and ascertain if he was being serious or not. “Ok, so what you’re telling me is that you’ve never used this stove?”

Michael met the four incredulous stares directed towards him blankly. “I once used the burners to light a friend’s cigar. Does that count?”

Isabel exhaled loudly “No. No it doesn’t. Don’t worry I’ll figure it out myself.”

Isabel moved back to the kitchen and the rest of the girls sat themselves down in the surrounding arm chairs and began watching the large plasma TV. Liz estimated that it was the most expensive article in the entire house, seeing as his furniture was sparse and looked like it came from Ikea.

“Why do you always watch wrestling?” asked Tess as she watched a masked man pile-drive a midget.

Never having had to defend his TV viewing habits before, Michael was at a loss to explain his deep love of the mindless entertainment. “Because.”

Tess raised an eyebrow and smirked a little. “I’m not about to question your sexuality, but does a bunch of sweaty men running around in underwear and tights, grappling with each other really do it for you?”

Michael groaned and immediately switched the channel over to a marathon of Girls of the Playboy Mansion. Liz let out a sad cry and berated her sister. “Thanks a lot Tess!”

“Have you ever considered sprucing up the place?” asked Maria with barely concealed disgust, her eyes flicking around the poorly decorated room.

Michael grunted, his eyes firmly trained on Kendra’s breasts. “I don’t spruce.”

“You should, this place is almost dead. There’s no character or light in here at all.”

He snorted. “I’m real cut up about that.”

Maria groaned. “I hate this show. They’re idiots. Stupid. Disgraces to the female race.”

Sighing, Michael switched it back over to wrestling just to try and gain some silence, he hated people who talked when he was trying to watch something. Feeling something like a victory, Maria silenced herself from attacking this show as well. She had a feeling that is was either this or watching three dumb sluts with a geriatric pervert. She chose wrestling. At least some of the guys were hot in this show.
***
“Guys, I feel so bad for the way he’s living,” commented Tess as she leant against the headboard of Liz’s bed where they’d all congregated before bed. General murmurs of assent assailed her ears.

“I know, it’s so sad. I bet he doesn’t even know how dreadful his clothes are,” said Isabel, shaking her head in disgust at the amount of plaid he wore.

“He looks like a psychotic lumberjack,” agreed Maria.

Liz shook her head and snorted. She was never one to judge others and she got the feeling that Michael was about to have a rude awakening when it came to his wardrobe. She knew the look in the girls’ eyes.

“And his furniture!” bemoaned Tess, her hands raking through her hair. “It’s like he doesn’t even care that his house looks dreadful.”

“He probably doesn’t,” replied Liz, chiming in for the first time. “He doesn’t seem to take much pride in his appearance or the appearance of his house.”

“Well, that changes, right now,” declared Isabel resolutely. “Let’s give him a makeover. House, hair, clothes; the whole lot!”

Both Tess and Maria heartily agreed and Liz shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. She had no concerns about the way Michael dressed.

“I’d suggest not calling it a makeover,” suggested Liz as she tried not to laugh at the excitement she saw in the girls’ eyes. She had a sneaking suspicion that Michael wouldn’t take too well to this intrusion into his life. “It might sound a little too feminine to him.”

“I’m taking clothing,” demanded Isabel.

“Furniture and decorating,” piped in Tess.

Maria groaned. “Oh no, why’d I get stuck with his hair? You know he’s going to be a total pain in the ass about it.”

“Well what’s Liz taking?” asked Tess.

Liz shrugged, not really too upset at her minor role. She didn’t relish the thought of butting heads with Michael. He was one scary looking dude. “I’ll stock up on fabric softener, scented soaps and shampoos. If we leave them there long enough, he’s bound to use them eventually.”

The girls jumped as a shrill ringing pierced the almost quiet room. Tess smiled sheepishly and leapt from the bed, fishing her phone from her pocket and fleeing the room as soon as she saw the name of the caller.

“What was that about?” asked Isabel as Tess disappeared from view.

Liz shrugged in response. “Dunno. I’m sure we’ll find out sooner or later though. She’s always been terrible at keeping a secret.”
***
“Hello?” Answered Tess breathlessly as she closed the bedroom door behind her.

“Tess, it’s Kyle. Kyle Valenti. From the fire? I was the-”

“I know who you are,” Tess interrupted, feeling strangely smug from the nervousness in his voice. She really enjoyed the fact that she could affect him to the point of stuttering.

“Right, I just wanted to check up on you, you know... see how you were doing.”

“I’m fine,” replied Tess, fiddling with the corner of the towel rack as she spoke.

“And how’s the uh... recovery from the fire going?”

“Pretty good, a lot of our neighbours have given us a bunch of stuff and Michael’s been pretty hospitable. At least, I think this is hospitable for him.”

“That’s good.” Kyle paused for a moment, trying to talk with his stomach doing flips. “Listen, I don’t... I don’t do this a lot. And it’s probably – wait, it’s not probably – it is really unprofessional to get personally involved in a case, but I like you. And I know that sounds really bizarre to admit that after only one meeting, but I’d like to get to know you better... I mean, if that’s ok with you?”

“It’s ok with me,” replied Tess, a wide smile slowly stretching its way across her face.

“Ok,” breathed Kyle in relief.

“Ok,” echoed Tess, a hint of amusement in her voice. He certainly was different from every other man she’d dated. Most of them were self-assured corporate go-getters who had arrogance down to an art form. Kyle Valenti was none of those things. And Tess was intrigued by that.
***
“Hey Michael,” called Isabel from the top of the stairs.

Michael rolled into the pillow supporting his head on the couch to smother his groan before he yelled back, “What?”

“When are you going clothes shopping next?” she asked as casually as she could, walking down the stairs towards him.

Michael pondered the curious question, not spotting the inherent danger. “When my clothes start to fall apart.”

Isabel stared at him, disturbed by the answer she had received. “That’s disgusting!”

“No you are,” replied Michael a little immaturely. He was missing the wrestling.

She stood in front of him, blocking his view from the television. He wondered where she’d learnt such an annoying habit.

“Can I take you clothes shopping?” she begged, his outfit offensive to her eyes.

“Can you get out of the way?” he grunted, trying to look around her.

“Only if you let me take you shopping tomorrow,” she bargained, moving with him so that she could continue to block his view.

“Fine, whatever,” he grunted dismissively.

Isabel clenched her fist in victory and moved swiftly out of the way. She wasn’t going to give him a chance to think about his deal with her.
***
The next morning, Michel stomped down the stairs, in his clenched fist he held a piece of paper. The girls all looked up and exchanged questioning glances at his bad mood. None could provide an answer, so they waited patiently for him to begin.

“What’s this?” asked Michael testily, waving the piece of paper in at them as they sat, seated around the kitchen table.

“It’s this thing called ‘paper’,” replied Maria with a snort. “You use it to write on.”

Michael was not impressed. “No, what is this? A bathroom schedule? Seriously?”

Isabel frowned, having never had opposition to her shower schedule before. “Michael, there’s only one bathroom, we all like to have showers in the morning. And besides, it’s a very good system, it’s rotational so that one person isn’t always last and getting the cold water, of course it’s much more flexible on the weekends-”

“I am not having my shower time dictated to me by a piece of paper! It’s my house, I shower when I want!”

“You might want to look into that principal a bit more,” suggested Maria with a smirk, watching his jaw flex.

Isabel stood up, evidently dismissing Michael’s concerns. “Whatever, we can work out the bugs later. Are you ready to go?”

The question was so out of left field for him, that Michael’s frustration was momentarily forgotten. “Go where?”

“Shopping, silly. You promised me yesterday.”

Michael shook his head adamantly. “No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did. You told me that if I got out of the way of the TV you’d go shopping with me. A deal’s a deal. Get your stuff and go.”

Michael opened his mouth to protest over the unfairness of their deal, but Maria beat him to it. “Word of advice? Just go with it. She gets so cranky if you don’t do as she says. It’s better for your health if you just do it.”

Michael groaned and snatched up his wallet and keys. “Fine, but we’re taking my truck.”

He paused as he watched Maria pick up her coat and purse. “What are you doing?”

“Coming with you. There is no way in hell I’m missing this.”

Michael sighed in resignation and headed to the door, the two girls trailing behind him. “Get in the car. We’re leaving the mall when I say so, got it?”
***
“What do you think Michael?” enquired Isabel, holding up a shirt for his inspection.

“Does it have ‘I take it up the butt’ printed on the back?” Michael groaned.

Isabel hung the shirt back up on the rack with a frustrated grunt. “You know, you’ve spent your entire time bitching about the clothes I’ve picked out for you, how about you be helpful and tell me what you do like?”

“I’d like to not look like a complete homosexual,” replied Michael testily, earning him a snort of amusement from Maria.

Isabel shot a glare at Maria and then Michael.

“What’s so gay about this shirt?” asked Isabel, pulling it back off the rack and thrusting it up under his nose.

Michael pushed the offending garment away from him with one finger. “It’s pink, Isabel.”

“What’s wrong with pink?” demanded Isabel, her hands now on her hips, the shirt bunched up and dangling down her side.

Michael gave her a look of pure incredulity. “Pink is for girls. I happen to have a penis.”

“That is the most idiotic, childish and sexist thing ever!”

Michael held up his hands in defence. “I’m just saying, I don’t want to be walking through the park one day, wearing my gaytastic pink shirt, when suddenly Bubba the rapist comes along and decides that I have a hole that needs filling because I’m wearing the most feminine colour known to mankind.”

The look of disbelief and outrage on Isabel’s face tipped Maria over the edge again and she had to muffle her laughter once more into an ungainly snort.

Isabel spun on her heel and pinned Maria with an evil glare, all of her rage that Michael had brought out of her was now directed Maria’s way.

“I had an itch!” protested Maria feebly.

“Itches are silent, Maria,” ground out Isabel.

Maria floundered for a moment before recovering. “An itch that resulted in a sneeze. It was in my nose. Why you gotta be like that?”

“Why you gotta be like that, Maria?” countered Isabel.

“Are you chicks gonna get in a cat fight soon? Cuz, seriously... that’s hot.”

Both girls groaned and turned away from him, rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.

“For that Guerin, you’re getting the gayest haircut in the world,” threatened Maria as she stalked away from him.

“Haircut?” Michael chased after, calling out as he went. “Nobody said anything about a haircut!”
***
Michael ran his fingers though his shortened locks, his hair no longer touching his shoulders, instead framing his face. “How is this any better than what I had before?”

“You look less like one of the Hanson brothers in the 90’s,” replied Maria wearily as she dropped her purse on the table.

“My previous haircut was fine,” grunted Michael, wondering if he really had looked like a member of Hanson. He had a niggling doubt that he did and it was terrifying to him.

“Hey Michael, nice new do,” greeted Tess as she wandered into the kitchen in her tank top and her short shorts, clutching a bowl of ice cream.

Michael grimaced and Tess took a large mouthful of ice cream. “It’s not a hairdo, it’s a haircut.”

“Waz tha diff’rence?” asked Tess over her mouthful.

“One sounds manlier. Seriously, I’ve had enough emasculation for one day.”

“Get over it Michael,” huffed Isabel as she dragged her purchases into the hallway. She had taken some time out after her epic battle with Michael over his clothes and bought some for herself. She had managed to get him to buy three pairs of pants, 3 shirts and one pair of shoes. She considered it a victory, considering how gung-ho he was in opposing any sort of expenditure. Plus none of his shirts that he’d purchased contained plaid, so Isabel considered it a victory on all accounts. Thus she had rewarded herself with a little shopping spree, which Michael had actually been relieved about, because it took the focus off of him.

“What’d you get?” asked Liz as she wandered in. “Ooh, nice hair, Michael.”

Michael rolled his eyes. “I got pants, shirts and shoes.”

“One pair of shoes,” corrected Isabel. “He only bought one pair.”

“How can you limit yourself to just one pair?” asked Tess, digging the shoebox from the shopping bag.

“I only need one pair,” he told them. Quickly pulling the tags off of his purchases and shoving them back in the bag, Michael quickly strode down the hall.

“Well, yeah... there’s need, but then there’s want...” Tess’s voice called down the hall to him as he tossed the bag carelessly in his room.

He answered her as he walked back in. “I’m not into shoes.”

“Well I am,” replied Tess, bringing the leather shoe up to her nose and inhaling.

Michael stared at her, a comical look of revulsion on his face. “Yeah, that’s apparent.”

“She sniffs shoes,” supplied Liz, as if the fact hadn’t been apparent before. “It’s this weird thing she does.”

“You don’t say?” asked Michael, watching in bewilderment as Tess brought the shoe up to her eye level and peered inside at the inner sole. “I’m just glad I didn’t buy any underwear today. Who knows what she would have done with them?”

Liz laughed while Tess placed the shoes back in the box and handed them back to Michael.

“Cool shoes. I approve.”

“I think my shoes feel violated,” Michael muttered clutching his shoebox a little closer than was necessary. “I’m going to go sanitize these. I’ll never be able to wear these without thinking of Tess cracking a boner over them.”

Tess glanced down at her front. “Hey, no I didn’t.”

Isabel chose that point to change the subject. “You’re still in your pyjamas, Tess? It’s like two in the afternoon.”

Tess shrugged and gave Isabel a pointed look. “Well duh, that’s what heroes do.”

Michael opened his mouth to ask, but Liz intercepted him once more. “Don’t ask. Just go with it. She doesn’t make more sense as you get to know her, but you begin to get used to it.”

“You know I was going to do some investigating over this whole arson business, but you’ve sucked the life out of me. I’m going to watch TV. Interrupt me for any reason other than food or sex and you and I’ll have a big problem.”

Michael sank onto the couch, grateful for the reprieve, slinging his feet up – boots and all - onto the coffee table, much to Isabel’s disgust. However, his peace was short lived, as white noise filled the den and crackly static appeared on the TV when he turned it on by remote.

He jumped in shock and immediately began switching TV stations, only to find that all his stations had disappeared. He hurriedly switched off the set and turned to the four guilty faces that refused to meet his gaze.

“Someone care to explain this to me?” he asked quietly, his tone quiet and menacing. It had taken him an exorbitant amount of time to set up his stations just how he wanted them and somehow in the past day all his hard work had been shot to pieces.

“Well... you see...” began Tess, trailing off as Michael’s eyes landed on her, his anger apparent in the expression on his face.

Isabel sighed and took over the explanation when Tess stopped talking and stared at her feet. “While you were asleep we decided that the place was really dusty. So, we were cleaning and we had to unplug some stuff to really get the dust behind the TV stand. We didn’t mean to. We were just trying to help.”

Michael felt a vein pulse behind his eye and he gritted his teeth before he blew up at them like he wanted to. “Just go. I’ll set it back up again. Don’t ever dust the TV cabinet again.”

Isabel opened her mouth to argue on that point, but Maria pulled her away, diverting her attention. She certainly hadn’t missed the murderous rage in Michael’s eyes. “You got it.”

As they were walking away, Michael heard Liz hiss at Isabel, “Are you trying to get us kicked out, murdered or a combination of the two?”

With a grunt, Michael sat down and began reconfiguring his TV settings all the while muttering under his breath about people who interfered with stuff they knew nothing about. Michael didn’t know what he found more aggravating, that they’d forced him to go shopping, that they’d royally frigged up his TV, or that they were in a position to do it again. He couldn’t wait until the arsonist had been apprehended, then his life could get back to normal. All the more reason to really begin investigating the suspects tomorrow. He needed those four girls out of his hair and out of his life. Pronto.

Stupid frigging chicks coming into his house, messing with his stuff and turning his world upside down. He was certain he didn’t like it.

Not at all.
***
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Re: Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) Pt 4, 12th May

Post by Rowedog » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:28 pm

Aren’t you all insatiable? Sorry about the wait. I have no excuse except for lameness. I’m pretty lame dudes and making me feel bad about it would be like kicking a puppy. Hopefully I got all the names of the feedbackers. I’m pretty crappy at doing that sometimes, so if I missed you, be aware that I have read your fb and appreciated it, I just accidentally missed you in the list. Thanks for all the feedback and the multitude of bumps. I appreciated each and every one and it did inspire me to get off my lazy arse and actually write. So... yeah, you all contributed in making this part come to be.

BB- You know if you wanted to punish me you could withhold the booty spankin’. That would be the true punishment in that scenario.
Eve- You’re probably right, I’d have preferred to dress a gorilla too. :lol:
Leila- I love it when you spank me then bump me hard.
Novy- I’m glad you liked it Novy, because I always love your feedback.
Steph- It’s alright Steph, you can spank me any ol’ time. Don’t feel left out.
Destiny- I’m sure he will. But maybe he’ll get to keep one of the girls. :wink:
Spacegirl23- I agree, the girls are too cute. But Michael’s on the case, so don’t worry too much.
Neve- Michael has never been around women, but he’s a quick study, he’ll learn how to say no soon enough. And his male friends are coming, though I don’t know that he needs them, seeing as male friends are the only friends he’s ever had.
Maigu- Thanks!
*BLONDIE*- He is being a sport, isn’t he? He might be a rude guy, but he’s not mean.
Killjoy- Where am I hiding? My parents house to be exact. Free food and mum does the laundry, now that’s living. You only get a little snippet of the K/T date, but it’s better than what the candies got. They only got a small amount of M/M interaction in this one.
Lauren- Hello my lovely lady! How are you? Feels like forever since we last spoke. I need to send you a pm or something as a proof of life. And you can bump me hard, I’m a total bump slut it seems, judging by the amount I received.
Twilight- Thanks for the bump
Zoi- Welcome and thank you! There can never be too much booty bumping.
April- Couldn’t have you missing out on sexy bumping. I’m glad you’re liking the story, April.
Part Five


Michael pulled up at the red light, took a long look at the list of his suspects and let out a long drawn out sigh. He hoped that today would knock out at least one suspect because his list was fairly long.

Isabel
Catherine Jenkins – Jealous co-worker
Grant Sorenson – Jealous ex-boyfriend – split not amicable or wanted on his side

Tess
Workplace is highly competitive. Scope everyone out.
Franz Highbrand – one night stand that wanted more, was fairly aggressive – changed his name from Frank Hughes to sound more exotic – total freak

Liz
Sean

Maria
Billy Darden
Courtney Banks
Everyone she’s ever come into contact with


Michael snickered at the last line that he’d added for his own benefit. The girls had only been at his house a week and they’d already managed to drive him insane. Maria however, seemed to consider it a personal duty to do whatever she could to annoy the living crap out of him. He assumed that this was not a personal vendetta against him and that many other people found her just as infuriating as he did.

He scrolled down it again and then prepared to drop in on Isabel at her work under the guise of bringing her lunch and seeing how she was. While he was there he hoped that Catherine would be around so that he could probe. He’d made Isabel forget to bring her lunch so that he didn’t have to try and recreate the disturbing thing she’d been eating for the past week. It was some sort of weird salad and sushi. He took another glance at the disturbing concoction sitting in the Tupperware container on his passenger side seat and shuddered. Lettuce should not be purple, chickpeas and tofu were never meant to be eaten and fish was meant to be cooked.

He drove on as the light turned green and pulled into the nearest park outside her workplace. He snorted at the sign that heralded it as a psychology department. Counselling was for the weak or the mentally insane. Why anyone would go to a psychologist and reveal personal things about themselves was beyond him. He didn’t need to spend $140 a session to be told some crackpot theory about his mental health. They’d probably try to pin him with an oedipal complex, despite the fact that his mother died after giving birth to him. It’d be a tough ask for anyone to be attracted to someone that had been dead nearly 30 odd years, that they’d never even met. He sneered at the pansy, soothing music as he entered the building and mentally prepared himself to hide all traces of disdain and feign pleasantness. It would be a tough task for him.

He stopped at the reception desk and smiled at the receptionist, despite the fact that she wasn’t the typical stereotypical receptionist he’d come to expect and love. She was middle aged, plump and flat chested.

“Can I help you?” she enquired as she placed the phone back into its cradle, having finished her conversation.

“I’m here to see Isabel Emerretts,” he told her as politely as he could.

“Do you have an appointment?”

Michael kept the smile up, “No, I’m her housemate. She forgot her lunch today so I’m just dropping it off.”

The woman, whose badge identified her as Carol, suddenly beamed at him, her polite smile turning into a heartfelt grin. “You’re the boy that saved her from the fire, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” Michael replied, his struggle to keep the smile on his face.

She looked at him with something close to admiration and awe in her eyes. “Well, you go right on up then, I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to see you. The elevators are down the hall and she’s on the third floor. Her office is the first on the right.”

He nodded his head at her and headed in the direction that she pointed. “Thank you Carol.”

“You’re very welcome, young man,” she practically simpered, apparently suffering a case of hero worship. Michael wouldn’t have minded if she’d been hot, he could have got something out of it, but as it was, his pleasantness only served to further his bad mood.

Michael’s smile slid off his face as soon as he passed Carol’s line of sight. He was in no mood to fake pleasantries. Maria had tried to do his hair that morning while Tess tried to get him to consider painting the walls beige. And as such, he was feeling rather homicidal towards the girls himself. Luckily Isabel had restrained herself to merely a look of disapproval when he appeared in the kitchen this morning wearing his usual outfit of plaid and jeans, otherwise Michael may have merely given up the idea of investigating all together.

“Hey Michael,” Isabel greeted once he stepped into her office. “You bring it?”

Michael handed her the container, making no effort to hide his disgust for the food she was going to consume.

As she took it and opened it, Michael took the time to look around her office at her degrees displayed.

“So, what is it that you shrinks do all day? Diagnose people with mummy and daddy issues and then pronounce them cured?”

Isabel looked more amused at his definition of her job than offended. “I work in the field of abnormal psychology. So I assess people with split personalities, schizophrenia, sexual disorders, eating disorders, that sort of thing. I actually spend a lot of my time doing research and making case studies.”

Michael reassessed his opinion of her job. “So you help people with actual mental problems.”

Isabel nodded as she took a large bite of sushi, raising a look of disgust on Michael’s face. “Yeah. Catherine’s office is down the hall and the last one on the left in case you were wondering.”

Michael took a glance down the hall and noticed through the glass partition that it was empty. “She’s not in. I’ll wait until she gets back.”

Isabel nodded and then looked at what he was wearing in confusion. “Don’t you have work today?”

Michael shrugged. “I’m self employed.”

“Really? What do you do?”

Michael opened his mouth to answer, but was cut short by Isabel who leapt to her feet at the sound of the elevator doors opening and the sight of a woman exiting from within the elevator.

Isabel pointed over Michael’s shoulder and practically leapt to her feet. “Oh! That’s her! The red head who looks like she swallowed a lemon and then stuck a cucumber up her butt.”

Michael laughed at Isabel’s assessment, then agreed with it. The woman had the sourest look he’d ever seen and minced down the hall like she was holding something in her anal cavity.

“Well she looks like fun,” Michael muttered, wondering if he’d be able to get anything out of her. He assumed not, but maybe he’d be able to annoy her. She looked like a fun person to annoy.

“Bout as much fun as a pap smear,” Isabel muttered darkly before spearing some lettuce on her plastic fork and shoving it in her mouth.

“I’ll have to take your word on that,” Michael replied, feeling completely uncomfortable. “Be back in a second. I don’t anticipate she’ll want to talk to me for long.”

He rose from his chair and then headed down towards Catherine’s office. He paused in her open doorway and waited for her to notice him.

The woman rose from her chair once she spotted him and walked towards him. “Yes? Can I help you?”

Michael just about winced at the malice coming from this woman that he didn’t even know. He wondered how she managed in a job that required compassion and people skills. His guess was not very well at all.

“I’m Michael Guerin, I’m investigating the arson that occurred at Isabel Emeretts’s residence and I was wondering if we could have a word.”

Catherine’s face went from forbidding to shrewd and calculating. “I already talked to the police. Are you a policeman?”

“No, I’m investigating the matter in an unofficial capacity and working closely with the police.” Michael figured due to the unprofessional nature of Kyle’s behaviour towards Tess that he could blackmail Kyle into giving his story some credence if it came to that.

“If you’re not a policeman, then I don’t have to talk to you. Door’s behind you,” she ordered, already turning her back on him. Michael smiled and pulled out his notepad and pen, preparing to mess with the woman’s head.

“Unhelpful with investigation,” murmured Michael as he wrote it down. “I’ll tell the police about that suspicious behaviour. That should you shoot you right up to the top of their suspect list.” He smiled and clicked the end of the pen on the notepad. “Have a nice day.”

He almost laughed when he saw her nostrils flare with rage. Her voice was grating as she spoke through gritted teeth. “Fine. What do you want to know?”

“Sources tell me that you and Isabel don’t get along. Care to comment on that?”

Catherine rolled her eyes and shot him a look that clearly told him what she thought of him and his mental capacity. “Yeah, she’s a bitch and I hate her, but not enough to kill her.”

Michael was surprised by the automatic defence of Isabel that rose to his lips. He stopped himself just in the nick of time and decided to actually ask her why that was instead. He mentally chastised himself that defending his annoying neighbour who was in the process of ruining his life was not helpful to the investigation.

“Why exactly do you feel that way about her?”

He watched her lips twist into a bitter line and surmised that it was a case of bitter grapes. His gut feeling was validated when she replied venomously, “She’s thinks she’s such hot shit and the boss plays favourites with her. And she totally doesn’t deserve it either. She’s not better than anyone else here, she got her job because of her looks, not because she’s competent.”

Michael raised his eyes and gazed at her piercingly. “Is that everyone’s opinion or just yours?”

He saw her take on a defensive stance and he knew he’d hit a nerve. “She has everyone in here fooled, I’m the only one who sees her for the hack that she is.”

“Mmmhmmm,” Michael muttered sarcastically, completely unconvinced by this crazy, jealous chick’s assessment of Isabel. Isabel may be a pain in the ass, but he knew that there was no way in hell that Isabel wasn’t just as efficient and competent in her job as she was at his house. “Can you tell me where you were the night of the fire?”

“I was at home. Asleep.”

“Can anyone back you up on that?”

“Unless my eight cats count, no.”

Michael controlled his amusement to that response. She was also a crazy cat lady. It figured.

“I’ll be in touch,” Michael said, his tone falsely bright. Having annoyed this rude woman had put him back into a good mood and he now had a definite lead for the arson.

“Can’t wait,” grunted Catherine sarcastically who had already begun to walk back to her desk.

Michael left the office feeling better about his own life after seeing the bitterness that woman felt every day of her life.

“So? What did you think?” Isabel asked anxiously as Michael re-entered her office.

Michael widened his eyes, showing how amazed he was at Catherine’s reception of him and opinion of Isabel. “The woman is a fucking nutbag. She’s definitely been raised up to real suspect status.”

Michael thought that having a lead in the case would make Isabel happy, but the frown on her lips and sadness in her eyes told him otherwise.

“What’s wrong?” he grunted, not quite understanding her emotional 180.

She sighed. “I was hoping that no one I knew would have cause to try and kill me. I wanted her to be innocent. I wanted the killer to be after one of the other girls. I know it sounds selfish, but I would really like to make it through life without someone wanting me dead.”

“I don’t think that’s selfish,” Michael told her, fidgeting uncomfortably. He never knew how to deal with sadness, not even his own. “I think that’s a pretty normal response.”

“Thanks Michael,” Isabel said gratefully.

“Yeah, well... I better be going anyway. See you tonight.”

“Michael,” Isabel called out as he turned towards the door. He stopped and turned, wondering what she wanted. “If she is the...” Isabel couldn’t get the word out. “Do you think I’ll be safe here?”

Michael smiled reassuringly at her. “There’s security cameras practically littered throughout this building. You get a ride with Maria at the same time every day so she knows that someone expects you at a certain time and will come looking for you. Just keep your food in a safe place that she has no access to and you should be fine. She may be incompetent at her job, but she’s not dumb. She’s not going to do anything with all these people around.”

Isabel’s eyebrows raised in surprise at Michael assessment of the situation. She’d underestimated him and his skills. “Good. That makes me feel better.”

“Bye Isabel.”

“Bye,” she replied, feeling a little more secure with Michael on her side than she had previously. He noticed things. Isabel had worked her for two years and had never taken notice of the amount of security cameras before and hadn’t thought of the safety risks involved in leaving her food in the public fridge where anyone could access it. Michael might be a rude introvert, but he was intelligent and clearly knew what he was doing. Isabel would sleep better tonight knowing that he was looking out for her and her three friends.
***
Tess stood perusing herself in front of the only full length mirror she could find in the entire house, which was strangely located in the TV room. She figured that Michael must like to look at himself in all his splendour sprawled out on the couch with his customary bag of chips.

She smiled at the new dress and heels she’d bought for the occasion and decided that it was totally worth the interest she’d lose in her savings. The insurance money would be coming through sometime next week, but her date was tonight.

“What are you getting all purdy for?” asked Liz as she laid herself on the couch, exhausted from her day’s work. Maria and Isabel appeared in the doorway and perched themselves on the arms of the chairs to watch Tess as she put the finishing touches on her do.

“I have a date,” smiled Tess smugly, pulling the iron away and leaving another perfectly formed curl.

“With who?” asked Isabel, curious as to whom his new guy was. Usually Tess was more than forthcoming about guys she’d met and Isabel couldn’t remember any new ones that she’d heard of.

Tess flicked her eyebrows suggestively at them. “Kyle Valenti.”

Liz sat up quickly and stared at her sister. “The deputy? The one who’s investigating our case?”

“Yeah, I think he liked the look of my Victoria Secret underwear,” she replied with a giggle.

“You scored a number while our house was burning down?” Maria asked, angered disbelief colouring her tone as she stared at Tess who was nonchalantly curling her hair.

“No!” protested Tess, looking offended. “Right after it had burnt down.”

“You are unbelievable,” grated Isabel, throwing her hands in the air in frustration.

Tess smiled. “Thanks.”

Noticing the dark looks that were being sent her way, she set her curling iron down and set out to reason with them. “Come on girls! Something good had to come of this. I was just making the best out of a bad situation.”

Isabel raised a questioning eyebrow. “And this had nothing to do with you being horny and the deputy being built like a brick shithouse?”

Tess’s eyebrow’s crossed in a frown. “You know, I’ve never liked that saying. Ever seen a brick shithouse? They’re gross. Why would you compare some sexy guy to a place you poop in?”

“Maybe because all men are full of shit?” ventured Maria.

“Oh nice,” came a distinctly masculine voice from the doorway. “Have you been male bashing all day or is it a distinction you reserved just for me?”

“Just for you,” replied Maria with a saccharine sweet smile.

Michael sniffed, catching a scent on the breeze that he knew too well, but was certain wasn’t perfume. Looking around for the cause, when he caught sight of it, he nearly burst a blood vessel. “Tess! You’re burning the woodwork!”

At Michael’s angry yell, Tess jumped and snatched the curling iron up off the wooden cabinet. “Oops.”

Michael pushed Tess out of the way and ran his hands over the hot, darkened indent on his cabinet top. “Oops? Oops? I don’t even know if this shit’ll buff out!”

“It’s not like it was very nice anyway,” sighed Tess looking at the beat up old cabinet. In her opinion the best thing for it was a bonfire.

Michael stared at her nonchalant expression, his vein pulsing in his neck. “I can see why someone tried to kill you.”

Maria pushed herself up out of the dilapidated armchair and crossed over to Tess to help her put on her necklace. “Oh, chill out, meat biscuit. You need to change the decor in here anyway.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my decor!” Michael couldn’t believe he’d just said the word decor.

“You mean there’s nothing right with it,” chimed in Isabel looking around at the sparse surroundings with barely concealed horror. “This place is in massive need of a style overhaul. Or at the very least a few throw pillows.”

Michael shook his head adamantly. “No. No. No, no, no, no, no! No massive style overhaul and most definitely no throw pillows!”

“What’s wrong with throw pillows?” asked Liz.

“They don’t have a purpose!”

“Yeah, well, neither do you, yet you’re still here,” snickered Maria.

Before Michael could blow a frontal lobe, the door bell rang.

“Argh! He’s here!” cried Tess, still in the process of putting her shoe on. Hopping her way to the door, she finally managed to get her heel into shiny, purple kitten heel. “Wish me luck!”

“Use a condom,” replied Maria absently as she switched off Tess’s hair curler for her.

“Maria! You know I don’t do that till the second date,” scolded Tess as she paused behind the door to calm herself. Smoothing down her hair once more, Tess grasped the door knob and opened it, plastering on a seductive smile.

“Don’t wait up!” she called over her shoulder as she left the house.

“Is she really going to have sex with him tonight?” asked Michael, feeling vaguely uneasy for some strange reason. He knew he wasn’t attracted to Tess, that much was certain, but he couldn’t rid himself of the urge to give Kyle a good talking to before they left. He found the sensation oddly unsettling.

“The odds are about fifty-fifty,” replied Maria, watching as the red mustang pulled away from the house. “Taking into account that she hasn’t had sex in a while, he’s hot and she’s really attracted to him, the odds are swaying in his favour. But, then again, she’s not some dirty slut so she might not give it up. Depends on how their date goes. If it’s a dud date, she’ll probably have sex with him.”

“What?” Just when Michael thought that he couldn’t comprehend them any less, they go and say something like that.

“It’s a simple enough concept Michael,” explained Maria wearily. “If you like a guy, then you won’t have sex with him on the first date.”

“Why not?”

“Because you want something more than a one night stand,” explained Maria as if he were a simpleton for not getting it. “You have sex on the first date, no guy’s going to respect you. No respect equals no relationship. But if Tess doesn’t see their relationship going anywhere, she’ll probably have sex with him because he’s hot and she’s horny.”

“Oh...” drawled Michael, still not quite getting it. “Is that seriously how it works?”

Michael was amazed at the general mutterings of consent from the other two girls.

“Well... yeah, Michael. Do you respect any of your one night stands?” enquired Liz.

Michael paused for a moment, pondering the question. “I guess not. Huh. How about that? You guys actually made sense for once.”
***
“So he spent the entire meeting discussing the importance of self-actualisation, whatever the hell that means, so I came out of there at halftime with a blinding headache and the first thing I did was down four shots of vodka from the corporate bar. The next half of the meeting was actually pretty enjoyable after that.”

“And no one cared that you were hammered?” asked Kyle, his face taking on a stunned looked.

Tess shook her head and took a sip from her wine. “Nope. We’re marketing execs. We do our best work drunk.”

Kyle let out an amazed laugh and sat back in his chair. “Wow. That’s insane.”

Tess smiled speculatively over the rim of her glass as she surveyed Kyle. She’d never had to compete less for a chance to talk on a date. He seemed very content to let her do all the talking, all the while giving her his undivided attention. And for the first time in her working memory, Tess was actually interested in hearing more about her date, rather than spending her time trying to talk over the top of him.

This was a very strange turn of events for Tess.

“So, tell me about you, Kyle Valenti. How did you get into law enforcement?”

Kyle shifted uneasily in his seat, having much preferred to hear all about Tess’s life. His sounded so dull in comparison. She led such a glamorous life and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold her interest. “Uh... well, my father was a sheriff, like his father before him and so on and so forth. I come from a long line of law enforcers.”

“So it was expected that you’d go into law enforcement as well?”

Kyle shrugged, not liking the implication that he’d been forced into his job. “I guess. Kinda.”

Tess leant forward, her eyes speculative and probing. “And you never wanted to be anything different?”

Kyle paused and bit his lip momentarily, considering the question. “When I was four I wanted to be a ballerina.”

Tess tilted her head back and laughed. Kyle felt pride well up in his chest at the sight. He’d made her laugh. Not some metrosexual, big shot yuppie from a corporation. The kind he suspected that she usually dated.

Once Tess’s laughter had trailed off, she surveyed him with a smile. She liked him, she really did.
***
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Re: Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) AN, 4th of September

Post by Rowedog » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:55 pm

Hey dudes, sorry it took so long. What can I say? I suck. Please bid for me in Stacie’s Auction, I’ll make it worth your while...

Destiny
Eve
Spacegirl23
BB
Leila
Lauren
Eva-
Yeah, I know, right now the girls are being very trying towards Michael, but this isn’t just about Michael learning to appreciate women, the girls have to grow too, which is why they’re a little annoying at the moment.
Neve
Maigu
Zoi
Novy
Killjoy-
I might actually see that spank as an incentive...
Kj4ever- Thank you, that’s a lovely compliment. Although, Alex is a little bit different than the way he was in the show. I’ve taken a bit of a creative license with him, but some of his original traits will shine through after a while. At least I hope that’s what will happen, fingers crossed my writing portrays what I want it to.
Sarammlover
April
Steph-
Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and asparagus. Those are my four flavours.
girlafraid
Part Six
Michael watched with a strange feeling he couldn’t classify as Tess clambered out of Kyle’s car. If he’d really been thinking about it, he might have recognised it as relief, but as it was, he was still getting used to the idea that there were women in his life. The realisation that he actually cared about what happened to them would have to come later.

“Good date?” asked Maria once Tess stepped into the living room.

“It was...” Tess paused trying to find the right word to describe it. “Different.”

“That doesn’t sound so promising,” frowned Isabel.

Tess shook her head. “No, I mean, different in a good way. He seems so nice... so normal. So...”

“Completely unlike anyone else you’ve ever dated?” suggested Liz, from her position on the couch.

“Exactly,” sighed Tess. “It’s kinda intriguing. I never know what he’s going to do next.”

“Good for you,” stated Maria happily, pleased that something in their lives seemed to be going ok.

“Anyone’s gotta be a step up from Franz Highbrand,” snorted Liz as she remembered her sister’s last fling.

Tess scowled at the mention of that particular person’s name. “I was drunk, ok? How many times are you going to bring that up?”

“Until it stops being funny,” replied Liz with a smirk.

“So, never,” laughed Isabel, high fiving Maria.

Tess stuck her nose up in the air, indignant and tired of being laughed at. “You all suck, I’m going to bed.”

“So, Michael,” segued Liz once her sister had stomped her way upstairs. “What’s on the agenda for tomorrow?”

Michael shrugged, annoyed by the interruption during his TV time. “I’m gonna go check out that ex boyfriend of Isabel’s and see if he’s a homicidal maniac.”

“Let me save you some time,” Isabel muttered, not lifting her head from the crossword she was immersed in. “He is.”

“I think I’ll go find out for myself,” Michael decided, hearing the bitterness in Isabel’s tone.

“And if he is?” queried Maria.

Michael sighed, wishing that they’d go back to ignoring him, he’d been quite pleased with the situation. “Then you can have my Ipod.”

“Sweet,” grinned Maria. “In return I’ll sing at your funeral. Any requests?”

“Metallica.”

“What?” Maria scoffed. “That’s not music, that’s just a random mashing of guitar strings and wailing. Got any requests that require actual musical talent?”

Michael shot her a sideways look that very clearly told her what he thought of her assessment of his taste in music.

“I’ll take that as a no,” she said smugly, turning her attention back to the TV.
***
“Grant Sorenson?” Michael asked as he walked into the mechanic’s workyard, navigating his way through randomly thrown about tyres and odd looking tools left lying haphazardly around.

“That’s me, what can I do for you?” asked a man emerging from underneath a car that was clearly in need of repair.

Michael nearly groaned at the mammoth size of the man. He was definitely going to die today. Why couldn’t Isabel have dated a complete dork? Michael may have fought in Iraq, but that had been a long time ago and he hadn’t had his shoulder injury then. The idea of one rusty, wounded ex soldier against a veritable mountain of man flesh did not fill Michael with great hopes for his survival.

Michael sucked in a quick breath, steeling his resolve. The quicker he found the arsonist, the quicker he could get those girls out of his house. It was amazing what the right motivation could do for a man’s courage. “I’m Michael Guerin and I’m conducting a private investigation into the fire at Isabel Emerrett’s residence. I believe you two were involved at one point in time?”

At the mention of Isabel’s name, Grant instantly perked up. “You’ve spoken to her? Did she mention me?”

Michael slowly raised an eyebrow at this guy’s puppy dog eagerness. “Uh, no?”

“Oh...” The smile slid off of Grant’s face. “Are you sure?”

Michael quickly lost all pretences of pleasantness. “Yeah.”

Grant’s brow furrowed. “So you said you were coming to talk to me and she didn’t say anything?”

Michael didn’t know whether to laugh at this pathetic display or to groan with frustration. “That’s right.”

“What did she look like when you said it? What expression was on her face?”

“Can we get back on track please?” Michael asked, letting some of his disgust he felt for Grant’s pussyboy ways show in his voice.

“Sorry,” grunted Grant, still clearly fixated on trying to figure out if Isabel’s lack of actions could be construed into her still having feelings for him. Michael couldn’t help but despise him for it, there was no way in the world that he’d ever get that hung up on some chick like that.

“So you and Isabel were together for a year before you broke up. Was the split amicable on your side?”

“W e didn’t break up. We’re on a break,” grunted Grant, crossing his arms across his chest defensively.

Michael tried to hide the smirk that crossed his lips. “So you’ve been on a break for a year and a half?”

Grant’s jaw twitched with anger at Michael’s insinuation. “She needs time to figure out who she is. When she’s done that she’ll come back to me.”

“That’s funny,” said Michael as seriously as he could. “Because she told me that you two were, quote, “so over”, end quote.”

“She’s just confused,” denied Grant. “She doesn’t know what she wants.”

“Oh, one of you is definitely confused...” Michael replied, unable to stop the grin slowly crossing his face.

“Did you actually want something? Because I’m busy,” said Grant testily, gesturing back to the car he’d previously been working under.

“Yeah, actually I do want something. I want your whereabouts on the night of the fire.”

Grant sighed. “I went out drinking at the new club in town, Dulche. I went there at about ten, stayed for about two hours, then went home.”

“Anybody who can verify that?”

“A bunch of people at the club. I even made out with this chick while I was there,” he told Michael smugly. “So you can tell Isabel that.”

“And I’m so sure she’ll care,” muttered Michael. “What about after you went home? The fire happened well after you left the club.”

Grant shrugged. “I was just at home, sleeping. I had work early the next day.”

“Anybody who can vouch for you?”

Grant shook his head. “No, I live alone.”

Michael had a feeling that that would be a lifelong trend for him. “Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be seeing you around.”

“Can’t wait,” grunted Grant as he turned and walked back to the car he was fixing.

Michael watched his retreat and couldn’t believe that that gargantuan man had become such a snivelling pussy over a girl. What a waste.
***
When Michael got home from interviewing Grant the stalker, he had had every intention of doing some long neglected work. But as he walked into his house, the sounds of angry yowls and hisses assailed his ears. As he wondered what the hell was going on, he heard Maria’s directions to hold his cat still. He felt his anger and rage grow inside him at the idea that the four women he’d saved the lives of and invited into his house out of the kindness of his heart had taken to tormenting his cat.

It was bad enough that they tortured him on a daily basis, but to do the same to a defenceless animal was lower than low.

Michael stormed into the laundry, preparing to boot the girls from his house and give them a verbal flaying of a lifetime. He opened his mouth to speak, the set of his face furious, but his confusion soon overtook his anger as he viewed the scene before him.

They were talcum powdering his cat?

“What the hell is going on?” he asked, wondering what in the world was wrong with these women. The three of them had their hands on Fuggles, holding him while he spat and hissed, as Tess shook what looked to be talcum powder over him and rubbed it through his fur with pink rubber gloves.

Maria looked up from her position on the tiled floor, completely unfazed by Michael’s sudden appearance. “Your cat’s got crabs, Michael.”

Michael reminded himself that he would never be able to understand them, no matter how long he knew them for. “What?”

Maria gestured to the cat in question with a nod of her head, her hands busy. “He’s infested with fleas. Seriously, do you never give him a flea treatment?”

“I think I did about a year ago,” mumbled Michael feeling a little foolish over both his cat being flea infested and assuming that the girls were hurting his cat when in actuality they were, for once, doing something nice.

“Well, they came back,” Maria replied a little sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

“What is that stuff?”

“Flea powder, which you would know if you ever actually tried to deflea him,” Maria shook her head sadly. “It’s borderline animal cruelty, plus there’s an ick factor of ten thousand. I swear, if I get fleas, you are so going get your ass kicked.”

“I’m going to get the plague,” Isabel groaned. “I know it. I can’t afford to have the plague right now. I have a huge case I’m working on and if I’m lucky Alex Whitman might see it and offer his expertise-”

“Isabel, you are not going to get the plague and we’ve all heard enough about your boner over this Whitman dude, okay? We get it, he’s amazing and you want to work with him. Give it a rest,” snapped Maria as a claw whizzed perilously close to her face.

“Yeesh, sorry,” Isabel muttered sulkily.

“Ok, I think I’m done,” Tess declared, standing up and moving as far away from the cat as possible. The three girls tentatively removed their hands and sighed in relief as Fuggles streaked through Michael’s legs and out the door, dust bouncing off him with every step.

Peeling off the gloves, Tess sighed in satisfaction. “Ok, now it’s Michael’s turn. Maria, grab his arms.”

Michael wrenched his arms free from Maria’s grasping hands and narrowed his eyes at them. “You can all just back off right now.”

“It won’t hurt Michael,” promised Tess soothingly, waving the container from side to side at him.

The girls cackled to themselves as Michael fled the scene as if the hounds from hell were chasing him.
***
“Hey Michael...” began Maria as Michael reached the bottom of the stairs.

“What?” he groaned, knowing that nothing good could come of what she was about to say next. He had only come down to check and see what the girls were making for dinner, he should have known he wouldn’t be able to get away from them without having to do something for them.

“I was thinking... do you have the original paint colour for my room? The colour’s fading and there’s some cracks in it, so I’d like to give it a touch up, but I’d need to know the name of the paint and the brand.”

Michael found the request odd, but decided against pointing that out. “Yeah sure. There’s a spare tin up in the attic if you want that.”

Maria clapped her hands together ecstatically. “Great! Can you show me where?”

Michael sighed and turned on his heel, trudging back up the stairs he’d just come down. This is what he got for being curious. But at least her request wouldn’t affect him too much. Besides, the paint in her room was fairly neglected. It could definitely do with a new coat and if he didn’t have to do it, so much the better.

“There,” he said as he opened the door, pointing at one of the many boxes in the overcrowded room. “It’s in the one labelled ‘House Crap’.”

“Is there room in the basement for any of this stuff?” asked Maria as she tried to make her way through the attic to the box that he was pointing at.

“I moved a lot of this stuff from the basement to make room.”

“What did you need the basement for?” she enquired, stepping over an upturned chair dusty with cobwebs.

“I just needed it,” he grunted, his tone implying that the conversation was over. Unluckily for him, Maria was never one to read subtle hints.

“Making your own pornos?”

“Yes,” he snapped, opening a box to look at its contents. Just a bunch of old business papers of Hank’s. He didn’t know why he held onto this crap, he should have just burnt it years ago. But even with that realisation, Michael still closed the box and left it sitting there. He knew he wouldn’t burn them. Even after being dead five years, Hank still had a hold on him.

Ignoring his tone, Maria continued her line of enquiry. “Kinky. Ever star in one?”

“Yeah, with your Mom.”

Maria rolled her eyes at him, but fell silent in contemplation. After a moment’s deliberation she spoke again, a question that had been burning inside her needing to come out. “How’d you afford a house like this anyway?”

Michael was short and concise in his explanation. “My father died a couple of years ago and left it to me. I grew up in this house.”

Her expression grew contrite and ashamed as she mistook his curtness for pain. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

“I’m not,” Michael said with conviction as he turned and headed towards the door. The world was most definitely a better place without Hank Guerin in it.

Maria stared at his back as he left the attic, his footsteps echoing as he strode down the stairs.
***
Michael sighed as he entered the house after shopping for supplies for his work. After having an hour free from the girls, coming back to the house was almost oppressive. All he wanted to do was sit down and watch TV without being disturbed.

“Hey, move,” instructed Michael as he approached the couch. “I want to sit down.”

“Why don’t you sit on one of the other chairs then?” hissed Maria through clenched teeth as she clutched the hot water bottle tighter to her stomach.

Unfortunately for Michael, he had no previous experience with women. He saw the hot water bottle, he saw the empty packets of pain killers and even spotted the discarded chocolate wrappers on the floor, but none of this added up to anything in his mind.

“Because I prefer the couch,” he grunted, annoyed at her refusal to move. It was his house, he shouldn’t have to change his routine for them.

“Well, I don’t really give a shit,” Maria snapped back as her abdominal muscles twisted, sending searing pain through her abdomen. She grimaced as referred pain then shot through her legs, cramping them. Seriously, how long did those frigging pills take to come into effect?

Michael’s eyes narrowed, his repressed annoyance from everything the girls had done to him since they’d arrived chewing up his last ounce of patience. “God, I save you from a fire, I give up my house for you, I let you take me shopping, I let you hack at my hair I even spend my time investigating who’s trying to kill you and you can’t even do one simple fucking thing for me.”

Michael blinked in shock as a pillow soared through the air and struck him in the face. He recoiled in disbelief and stared at Maria’s furious face searching for an answer for her unprecedented behaviour. “What the hell is your problem?”

“My problem?” She hissed, her cramps sending her piercing pain again. “My problem? My problem is you, you lazy misogynistic dick!”

The second pillow he managed to avoid, though her actions still made absolutely no friggin’ sense to him.

It was only when she started throwing less cushiony objects at him that he decided to get the hell out of dodge. A remote control to the face was not something he thought he might enjoy.

Michael scooted out of the room, his plan to watch football completely forgotten as projectiles flew through the air towards him. He had no idea what the hell was Maria’s problem, but he sure as shit wasn’t sticking around to find out.

He grunted as he spotted Tess sitting at the dining room table, a glass jar sitting pride of place in front of her. “Seriously, Maria’s gone insane. More so than usual. Do you-”

Michael stopped talking abruptly when he saw he heard a sob. He hadn’t really taken any notice of Tess’s position before, but now that he was looking, he could see that she had her head in her hands and her shoulders were shaking as she cried.

“What’s wrong?” he grunted, feeling as uncomfortable as he possibly could.

“I tried to open the jar and I couldn’t and I’m a total fai- failure!”

Michael paused, considered what she’d just said and still couldn’t understand what the hell was going on.

Eventually he approached the table, picked up the jar, and twisted the lid off with audible pop. “There.” He placed the jar in front of her and waited for her to stop crying. “Problem solved.”

Tess’s tears ran unabated however and Michael, unfamiliar with tears of any sort - and definitely not the unashamed crying jag that Tess was currently undertaking - had no idea what to do to make her stop. He decided that it would be best if he just backed away. He gestured over his shoulder as he went. “I’ll just... be elsewhere.”

Tess made no response and kept crying, leaving Michael to wonder what the fuck had happened to the women in his house. They were acting completely nuts. Even in comparison to the way they acted normally - which was barely sane on the best of days – they were acting nuts.

He almost sighed in relief when he heard Isabel and Liz walk up the path. Thank Christ, he thought, it was the saner pair out of the foursome. They would be able to tell him what the fuck was going on.

“Anyone care to explain to me what the hell is wrong with Tess and Maria?” Michael demanded as soon as Liz and Isabel stepped through the front door.

“What do you mean what’s wrong with them?” Liz asked brusquely.

“Maria just pelted objects at me and Tess has been crying for no apparent reason.”

Isabel giggled, waiting with anticipatory amusement for his reaction to what she was about to tell him. “Michael, have you ever heard of a phenomenon called menstrual synchronization? It happens with women who live together, they all get their period at the same time.”

Isabel could tell the moment that that information sunk in for Michael. “Wait, so... they both...” Michael eyes grew even bigger with horror as he looked at the two girls in front of him. “And you both...?”

“Don’t act like it’s the most disgusting thing in the world, Michael,” snapped Liz. “Just because you don’t experience it, you guys think it’s revolting. I hate men.”

Michael flinched at Liz’s uncharacteristic verbal assault and then waited with trepidation for Isabel to do something completely bizarre. At that point, Tess decided to join them, wondering what they were discussing.

“Maria’s really got the worst of it,” explained Isabel with sympathy in her eyes as she looked in the direction of the TV room. “She’s on the pill and yet she still gets the intense pain. I just get bloated.”

“I get tired and snippy,” interjected Liz.

“Really?” asked Michael sarcastically. “Hadn’t noticed.”

“Well, nothing happens to me,” said Tess. She frowned as three incredulous stares were sent her way. “What? It doesn’t!”

“Tess, you’ve spent the last twenty minutes crying over a fucking jar of pasta sauce for fuck’s sake,” replied Michael, groaning as Tess teared up again.

“I can’t believe you’d say that to me.”

“Nice work, ass face,” grunted Liz, elbowing past Michael as she followed her sister’s tearful retreat into her bedroom.

“Don’t worry,” said Isabel, patting him on the shoulder before wandering over to the staircase to make her way up to her room. “I won’t go all hormonal on you.”

Michael sighed and rubbed his eyes with his palms. Christ, he needed a drink.
***
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Re: Amongst Women (AU, M/M, CC, ADULT) Pt 6, 15th Sept 09

Post by Rowedog » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:30 pm

I am so sorry to do this to you. I have writer’s block on the middle of this part, but I’ve got the start done and the end almost done, so I’ll post it in three parts. Part C is way longer, It’s just part B that’s giving me grief. So again, I apologise, both for the lateness and shortness of this update, but I figured you deserved something for waiting this long. Anywho, hope you enjoy.

Twilight
Leila
BB-
I came. I fed. Wow, that sounds so filthy.
Sarammlover-
OMG, I want to bitch slap those girls. I feel SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO bad for Michael. I'm sorry, I am totally on his side. They are ungrateful little bitches.......but cramps do suck and I guess he could be a little more sensitive but hey......hank guerin, not the most sensitive man so where was he supposed to learn. I still think the ladies are assholes. Hugs, Sara
Actually, the girls are grateful to Michael which is why they’ve made him their project. Though I do find it amazing that I inspired so much anger with that last update :shock:. I really thought that everyone would hate Michael in this fic because he’s so rude and blunt. I knew most would find the girls a little annoying because I didn’t want them to enter the house and change Michael without them doing some changing for the better as well. But your reaction is yours and it’s valid, I’m just actually really intrigued as to what the girls have done to inspire so much fury from you.
Spacegirl23
Novy
Neve
Eve
Kismet
Girl_afraid
Nitpick23-
I'm wondering just what Michael's job is/was?? He seems to be recouperating from something that caused him to have some lingering pain. Wonder what it is. Michael seems to hvae some skills as a detective but Kyle didn't seem to know him, was he from out of town and is using the house Hank left him to lie low?
He was in the army and got injured in Iraq. I can’t actually think of a reason he’d need to lie low :lol: and as for his job right now, it’ll be revealed in later parts.
April
Maigu
Earth2Mama-
Welcome! Glad to have you here!
Cardinal
Killjoy
80’s_UnLove_Child-
Coolest. Username. Ever. Oh, and welcome my fellow Aussie.
Part Seven A
Walking into the dvd rental, Michael looked around for his next suspect, but his eyes only spotted one guy behind the counter wearing baggy jeans, a leather vest and watching a porno on a portable dvd player. No way was this guy Liz’s ex. Absolutely no fucking way.

“Sean Willkomenson...age?” Michael paused after sounding out Sean’s last name and screwed up his face like he’d tasted something disgusting. What a fucking dumbass last name.

“That’s me,” grunted a young man surlily from behind the desk at the video store. “Did you want something?”

Michael tried not to smile in amusement at the belligerent young man behind the desk. He looked like a total douchebag. With a spike through his ear, three eyebrow rings, a bolt through his nose, multiple piercings lining his ears and a tattoo that said “BOOBS” emblazoned across his chest, Michael knew that this guy was a real special dude.

“I’m investigating the fire at Liz Parker’s residence. Care to share your whereabouts on the night?”

“You a cop?” Sean asked warily, looking him up and down as if trying to size him up.

Michael shook his head. “No, this is a private investigation.”

Immediately, Sean relaxed. “Oh killer. Cuz I got some Mary Jane on me and the last thing I wanna be doing is talking to a pig while I’m stoned and carrying.”

“I can imagine,” Michael said as expressionlessly as he could. “Your whereabouts?”

Sean scratched at his ear. “I dunno, man. All the days just seem to blur together. I think I was at home high on ice. So I can’t actually remember what happened that night.”

Michael’s eye twitched from irritation, but he kept his voice calm and collected when he asked, “So, you don’t remember maybe heading over to Liz’s place to get her back for breaking up with you?”

“No, but I think I fucked Jessica Alba that night.”

Michael blinked a couple of times, trying to process what Sean had just said. “What? You think you had sex with Jessica Alba?”

Sean scratched his head and rubbed at his red eyes. “I have a pretty clear memory of it. But then again I was high on ice so it was probably a hallucination.”

“I think we can safely assume that it was a hallucination.”

Sean frowned, obviously disappointed by the news. “Bummer.”

“You know, you don’t strike me as the type that Liz would usually date,” Michael said as seriously as he could. It was all he could do to keep a straight face when talking to this wannabe punk.

Sean shrugged with a bit of a smug grin. “I guess the bitch just wanted some bad boy. Or maybe she wanted some of my nine inches.”

And with that statement, Michael knew that Sean had a small penis. “Mmmhmm. Sean, you and Liz broke up years ago while she was still in college, any idea why she’d immediately suspect you of trying to burn her house to the ground?”

Sean shrugged, completely unrepentant. “When we broke up... I may have done some drive by eggings of her house.”

“Anything else?”

“I did some donuts in her street and yelled some stuff. But the bitch had to know that you don’t just break up with the Sean. The Sean breaks up with you, not the other way round.”

Michael raised one eyebrow and his eyes flicked around the video rental store that Sean was currently employed in. Liz was a college graduate with a good job and very high intelligence. What in the fuck was she doing dating this drop kick?

“Well, I’ll be in touch.”

“Piss off,” Sean grunted. “I have things to do.”

“Oh yeah,” Michael said with a smirk. “That porno isn’t going to watch itself.”

Michael left the store and laughed as soon as he was out of view. What a complete fucking waste of space.

What in the hell had Liz been doing with a shit head like that?
***
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