TIC TAC - (CC,AU,Adult) - COMPLETE - 7/12/15

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

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Double Trouble
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TIC TAC - (CC,AU,Adult) - COMPLETE - 7/12/15

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:10 am

TIC TAC - Two Is Company – Three’s A Crowd

Image

Author(s): Double Trouble – aka Angel (ArchAngel1973) & Steffi (candysteffi)

Banner: By us

Disclaimer: All characters and plot lines that appeared in the series or in the books are not ours. The concept of Roswell does not belong to us either. They all belong to Melinda Metz, UPN, yada, yada, yada…

Pairings: M&M, M&L, K&T, A&I – some UC in the beginning

Rating: Adult

Category: AU without Alien

Summary: First impressions… assumptions… snap judgments… Intentionally or unintentionally, everyone makes them. They could be correct or they could be the complete opposite of the truth. A first impression, an assumption, or a snap judgment may be all it takes to ensure that neither side ever learns the truth. But on occasion the opportunity to discover the truth presents itself. What happens when everything you believe about someone proves to be wrong? When most, if not all that you thought was true of them turns out to be false? A small group in New York City – friends, lovers, enemies, neighbors and family – are about to find out.

Trailer: TIC TAC TRAILER

Author’s Note 1: This fic is based on a challenge by killjoy! Thanks for this inspiration! ;)

Challenge requests:

All Human
Any Rating Is Fine
M/M,M/L,A/I and K/T

Michael and Maria have been best buds since they first butted heads back in first grade. They fight like cats and dogs over things but when push comes to shove they both have each other's backs. Even though everyone sees sparks between them the two have never had a sexual pull to each other.

Now Michael is a ladies man...or as Maria calls him...a male slut...Michael bounces from one girl to the next never once wanting to get serious with any of them. But that all changes when Courtney comes to town. Courtney the new girl catches Michael's eye. She's into the hard rock like him, sports like him and she's all over him which feeds his male ego. Now at first Maria is not worried about it, Michael has never been serious over a girl and SHE was always the most important female in his life. But much to Maria's shock she slowly watches as Courtney wraps Michael around her finger. Now Michael is talking about Courtney being THE ONE. This doesn’t sit well with Maria as she starts to realize her true feelings for Michael and how now Courtney might take him away from her and now how Maria must fight to win Michael back.

Must haves

No Evil Tess

Maria going on a jealous rant about Courtney once Maria realizes she's in love with Michael




The challenge is Candy based, but like in “Double Trouble – the fic”, we will have a huge storyline for the other couples as well.



Author’s Note 2: TIC TAC is gonna be our seventh fic as a writing team, so we thought this might be the time to tell you (those of you who don’t know already) who’s behind Double Trouble.

Double = Angel aka ArchAngel1973

Trouble = Steffi aka candysteffi


Yep, that’s us. ;)


Okay, on to the fic… finally!!!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


PART 1


Alex Whitman

Pic: ALEX

Trailer: ALEX


AGE: 23

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: Full-time file clerk at "Briston & Partner's"; part-time janitor

FAMILY: Sandra Whitman, Charles & Amanda Whitman

FRIENDS: None

ROOMMATES: None

HOBBIES: Photography, mountain biking



ISABEL GUERIN ABOUT ALEX WHITMAN:

“Alex Whitman? Do I know him?”


MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT ALEX WHITMAN:

“Whitman? Yeah, I know him. Well, as well as you can know any asshole who’s always bustin’ down the door and demandin’ that you shut your music off and put an end to the party. Dude seriously needs to just chill out with a cold beer and a hot chick. Getting laid would seriously improve his outlook on life.“


KYLE VALENTI ABOUT ALEX WHITMAN:

“Whitman? Do I know anyone named Whitman? Oh, wait, that nerdy guy that lives above us? Hell, yeah. Always bustin’ our balls over the noise. I guess to be fair I should mention that he only does it durin’ the week. He’s never said a word on the weekends. Guerin’s right though, sex would really improve the guy’s mood.”


LIZ PARKER ABOUT ALEX WHITMAN:

“Alex is a nice guy. Probably too nice for someone who lives in New York. I doubt he grew up around here, he doesn’t seem to have that… New York style, ya know?

He always leaves good tips for me at the café and he mostly sits on one of the barstools at the counter because there it doesn’t look so weird when you’re all alone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him hanging out with someone else.”


*****

The lines in the textbook were starting to become one big blur, but Alex Whitman forced his eyes to focus on the words. He had at least another hour of studying before he could call it a night. He had spent the day working at his thankless job that barely paid enough to make ends meet all so he could come home and be unable to think straight for all the noise coming from the apartment below.

He stomped his foot on the floor in irritation for the fourth time that night, sighing in relief when the music was turned down fractionally. He had knocked on his neighbors’ door more than once and asked them to keep it down but he was sick of running up and down the stairs so he had resorted to stomping on the floor to get their attention.

He got up to get a glass of water and rubbed his eyes tiredly as he sat down and got back into his studies. He was highlighting an important part when the music was notched up again, louder than before. The marker was thrown down in frustration and he grabbed his keys as he stormed out of his apartment and down the stairs.

The door to apartment number 215 was decorated with a big sign that announced that ‘this is where the party is’ and he snorted as he reached up and pounded on the door.

Michael rolled his eyes at Maria. “I know that knock.”

“Oh, God, is it him again?” she muttered as she grabbed another beer. “Maybe you should just invite him to a party – he can’t complain if he was invited and he said no can he?”

Michael snorted. “I don’t think he’s the party type. The guy’s more boring than the political news.”

Maria giggled at his description of his neighbor and she followed him to the door just because she wanted to see how this round between the two guys went.

Michael ripped the door open and leaned into the doorframe lazily. “Alex, what a surprise.”

“Is it?” Alex snapped. “Because the noise from down here only seems to be getting worse. I realize you have nothin’ better to do than ditch class durin’ the day and party all night, but some of us actually attend school and would like to keep our GPA above the bare minimum.”

Maria bit her lip from laughing. “Why don’t ya come in and have a beer to loosen up a bit, Alex?”

He glared at the goofy blonde standing next to his thoughtless, inconsiderate neighbor. “Turn the noise down or I’m callin’ in to file a complaint. I’m not tryin’ to ruin your fun and you know I don’t bother you on the weekends, but it’s the middle of the week and I have to study.”

Michael groaned and pushed himself from the doorframe. “Go find a girl and get laid, man, that’s what any normal guy our age would do.” He didn’t wait for a reply and walked back inside, pulling Maria with him and closing the door right in Alex’ face.

“Arrrrgh!” Alex shouted as he stomped back down the hallway to the stairs. “What an asshole!” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed the number for the Super. “Come in and have a beer,” he mocked. “Stupid...” He nodded when the call was answered. “Yeah, Mr. Ludlow, this’s... Um, yeah, Whitman... Uh-huh, I’m callin’ about a noise complaint... Look, my lease states that...” He stared at his phone when the man interrupted him to tell him that he’d handle it and then hung up on him. “The world is full of assholes today,” he muttered as he went back up to his own apartment, the noise of the party following him.

*****

Liz Parker

Pic: LIZ

Trailer: LIZ


AGE: 21

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: Waitress at the “The Sweet Spot”, college classes

FAMILY: Aaron Parker

FRIENDS: Michael Guerin

ROOMMATES: Trent Harper

HOBBIES: Relaxing, inline skating


MAX EVANS ABOUT LIZ PARKER:

“I can’t stand bein’ near her, I can’t stand talkin’ to her, and I sure as hell can’t stand her bitchy attitude. God, if there’s a chance to avoid Liz Parker, I’m takin’ it!

Seriously, this woman gets on my nerves whenever we meet. The sad thing is that I can’t avoid her since my friends are always hangin’ out in the café where she works.”


MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT LIZ PARKER:

“She’s very quiet most of the time, but a very good waitress at my favourite café. I’ve tried to get her to hang out with me an’ my friends after work, but she always comes up with an excuse. I’ve got a feelin’ Evans has something to do with that though.”


MARIA DELUCA ABOUT LIZ PARKER:

“God, I really don’t know anything about her, even if I see her practically on a daily basis. She’s a waitress at our favourite café and she’s nice from what I can tell. I’ve seen her on campus as well, but I couldn’t tell you what she’s studying for.

Her kinda hate-relationship with Max gets on my nerves, I have to say. No clue what the story is behind that.”

ALEX WHITMAN ABOUT LIZ PARKER:

“She’s probably the nicest person I’ve met since I’ve been in New York. She’s the waitress at a café near my apartment. I can’t say we’re friends, but she is the closest thing to a friend I have here – now how sad is that?”


*****

Liz shoved her key into the lock on the front door of the apartment as she glanced at her watch and sighed. Only half an hour before she had to leave again to work her shift at the café. When would she do her homework? Probably very late at night like she did most nights. She could hear the TV blaring from the living room.

“Ah, you losers, you can’t see the ball when it’s right in front of you,” someone yelled.

Liz rolled her eyes and walked towards the man sitting on the couch. She leaned in the doorframe and waited until Trent finally noticed her.

“What’re ya doin’ here? Don’t you need to be at work or somethin’?”

“Where’s Aaron?” she countered, ignoring his question.

“What? I don’t know, probably sleepin’ or somethin’. I don’t know why you let that stupid babysitter drop him off early... you know I don’t have time to watch him.”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot you’re busy with...” she glanced around the room, “nothing.”

“I don’t need this shit from you, Liz,” he said as he finally turned away from the TV. “I spend every fuckin’ night bustin’ my ass. I don’t need to come home and have you on my ass too.”

“Oh, right. Thank God, I don’t have to go through that. I am so lucky to have college, two jobs, plus a three-year-old to look after because you’re too busy to be bothered.” She stalked off to see if Aaron was in his room.

“Hey, I’m not the one who wanted a damn kid!” he shouted after her. He shook his head and turned back to the television.

“You suck,” she muttered under her breath as she walked down the hallway to get to Aaron’s room. She opened the door quietly and found him curled up in a ball in his bed. “Hey, sweetie, what’s wrong with you?”

The little boy scrambled across the bed to launch himself into her arms when she sat down and he hugged her tightly as he tried not to make a sound, knowing that it only made Trent more mad at him.

Liz hugged him back and lay down with him to at least be with him for a few minutes. “Are you hungry?”

He nodded silently and flinched when Trent cursed loudly at the television and then threw something to express his irritation for a bad play by his team.

“Hey, you can come with me to the café, what ya think? I could get ya a burger and you could play with your toys in the back room.”

Aaron nodded and plucked at the long ears of the stuffed rabbit he was holding. “Rabi too?” he asked, his voice hushed.

“Yeah, sure. Take your backpack and pack a few toys ya wanna take with ya. But only what fits in there, okay? I’ll take a shower while you do that.”

He climbed down off of the bed and went to get his backpack when she left the room for her shower. He bit his bottom lip and hugged the stuffed animal tighter when he remembered that he had dropped it by the front door in his excitement to come home and show off the picture he had colored at Mrs. McGinty’s apartment.

He peered out into the hallway before creeping out of his room and edging along the wall. He ran into the living room and grabbed his backpack, freezing when he turned around and saw Trent standing there.

“Whatcha got, kid?” Trent asked, not really caring.

Aaron hesitated, unsure of the man’s attitude. Trent could be nice when he wanted to be, but he could also be mean and yell at him and hurt his feelings. He shook his head and tried to hide the backpack behind his back. “Don’t got nuffin’,” he muttered, staring at the floor.

Trent shook his head and walked past the little boy to go into the kitchen, not bothering to ask him if he was hungry or thirsty. He had never wanted a kid underfoot, but when it had come up Liz had refused to take care of the problem.

Aaron released a breath he had been holding in and hurried back to his room.

*****

Kyle Valenti

Pic: KYLE

Trailer: KYLE


AGE: 22

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: Firefighter in the New York Fire Department

FAMILY: Jim & Sarah Valenti

FRIENDS: Maria DeLuca, Michael Guerin, Max Evans, Isabel Guerin

ROOMMATES: Michael Guerin

HOBBIES: Sex, parties, mountain climbing


MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT KYLE VALENTI:

Kyle’s a party animal, a chick magnet, and the kinda friend who’s always gonna have your back. He’s a guy who isn’t worried about tellin’ you when you’re wrong but even if he doesn’t agree with you he’ll still support you. He’ll just tell you later after whatever’s come back to bite you on the ass that he tried to tell you. Seriously though, Kyle’s the one good thing that came out of the darkest time in my life. It brought us together and that’s one thing I’ll always be grateful for. Wait, you don’t have to actually print that part, do you? It sounded a little too emo for me. Hey, why’re you laughin’? That’s not funny! Okay, well, maybe you can edit it up or somethin’, huh?

MARIA DELUCA ABOUT KYLE VALENTI:

“Kyle and I are good friends. He loves to party an’ have a good time and he’s no slouch where women are concerned. He’s not at the same level where Michael is when it comes to sluttin’ around, but he definitely has his share of female… hmm… companionship. He’s a guy, ya know? He’s got a high-stress job so when he gets off the clock and he can relax and let loose, hell I have no problem with how he chooses to get rid of that tension. He’s careful and it’s not like he’s out doin’ drugs or somethin’ so what’s the harm? He works hard and he plays hard. He’s a guy who loves life and he enjoys living it to the fullest. It’s somethin’ everyone should do, ya know? Life is a fragile thing and should never be taken for granted. Hmm? No, I’m fine, sorry, kinda drifted there for a minute. Everyone should have a friend like Kyle on their side. There’s no amount of money in the world that could ever provide that kind of safety.”

ISABEL GUERIN ABOUT KYLE VALENTI:

Companionship? Um, not exactly the word I’d use for it. But, okay, whatever. I’m not about to pass judgment on him for tryin’ to get under any skirt that catches his eye. He’s young, he’s… well, basically single… you try to figure that one out. Well, yes, I know that was cryptic but I’m not here to give you the dirt on my friends. Anyway, you interviewed Kyle, right? So he probably told you that the two of us bet over everything… yeah, thought so. You’d think he’d stop tellin’ people that since he loses the majority of the time. He’s protective of the people he’s close to, he knows how to listen – something that is remarkably rare in men, and if you’re in a bad mood or just down he’ll cheer you up. One of these days someone’s gonna realize what a great guy he is and put an end to his sex-a-thon. No, I don’t care if you print this interview as is, it’s all true… and besides, that part about someone finally getting him to settle down, it’ll make him nervous as hell… care to make a bet on that?”

TESS GUERIN ABOUT KYLE VALENTI:

“Wait, he just compared me to a gross piece of gum on the bottom of his shoe? Well, unlike all of Kyle’s fans I really can’t think of too many flattering things to say about him at the moment. He’s blind, I do know that. Inconsiderate most of the time. He can be a major asshole when it suits him. Okay, yes, I do know most of that only occurs when I’m around, but can I help it if I’m sick of seein’ him get into the panties of every woman in NYC? I know everyone else seems to be just fine with the way he screws any willing female around, but he could certainly do better. I came back here hoping that things would be different but things are the same… only worse. Kyle Valenti may be the hero, he may be all the things that everyone else has raved about, but as far as I’m concerned he’s just a blind, inconsiderate asshole!”

*****

The sound of a basketball striking the floor could be heard over the sound of voices as the small group of people talked and laughed. Tennis shoes squeaked against the polished floor and the players on both teams elbowed each other and did their best to take possession of the ball. The teams were divided by the players in white tee shirts and those in blue tee shirts and one of the guys in a blue tee shirt snatched the ball from another player and spun around before launching off of his right foot to dunk it in the basketball hoop.

The guy who had scored lifted his hands up in the air as his teammates slapped him on the back. “That’s right, baby! Eat that, Guerin!”

Michael Guerin rolled his eyes and accepted the ball when it was tossed to him. “Shut your hole, Valenti.” He dribbled the ball and nodded to his partner as he shifted the ball to his other side to keep his opponent from taking it back.

Firefighter Kyle Valenti grinned and glanced back at Dana Sharpe. “You guys can’t win this one,” he taunted.

Dana rolled her eyes and motioned for Michael to toss the ball to her. They had been working together and hanging out from time to time since he had joined the fire department as an EMT. She was a paramedic and had been with the department for several years and she had been partnered with Guerin since he had joined about two years earlier.

The good-natured insults and taunts continued as the game progressed and the firefighters played against the EMTs and Paramedics. The fun was interrupted by the alarms going off in the building and a call came out over the loudspeaker issuing orders and giving information on an emergency situation that required their immediate response.

The ball bounced across the floor, forgotten as firefighters and the emergency medical response teams all geared up and climbed into their trucks within seconds. The large bay doors were still opening as the trucks began rolling out, one after the other.

Kyle glanced at his watch as the driver of the fire truck turned on the sirens and started to pull through the now open doors. He reached for the grasp next to him to hold himself in place as they picked up speed and everything outside seemed to pass by in a blur. When he had first gotten here he had been all sweaty after every drive to an accident or fire, but he had gotten used to it by now and his heart didn’t jump like crazy over every car they overtook as they raced to get to their destination as soon as possible.

They heard Sally, the dispatcher from the emergency call center, speaking over the radio and giving them more information about what was to be expected in this case. “Alright, guys, we’ve got an explosion on the third floor, not clear what caused it so wear your protective masks.” The guys grinned at each other. Sally always passed along the warnings even though they knew to gear up for whatever was coming. “The fire’s spread over three rooms now and we have several people trapped. The reports coming in indicate that we have a man down in one of the apartments and he seems to be hurt badly.”

*****

Michael Guerin

Pic: MICHAEL

Trailer: MICHAEL


AGE: 22

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: EMT in the New York Fire Department

FAMILY: Isabel Guerin, Tess Guerin, Ava Guerin, Adam Guerin, Nicole Guerin

FRIENDS: Maria DeLuca, Kyle Valenti, Max Evans, Liz Parker

ROOMMATES: Kyle Valenti

HOBBIES: Sex, parties, designing tattoos


MARIA DELUCA ABOUT MICHAEL GUERIN:

“He’s the most annoying person I know, he is a male slut, totally superficial when it comes to women. But other than that, I can’t imagine my life without him. He’s my support in rough times and my shoulder to lean on. I love him as a friend.

You won’t tell him I said I love him, right? He would get a total boost from it and believe me, he doesn’t need another one!”


KYLE VALENTI ABOUT MICHAEL GUERIN:

“We’re co-workers and roommates. He’s someone ya can count on during the shifts. We have a lot of responsibility to carry. Beside that the man definitely knows how to have a good time. Ya want a good party, hot chicks and a lot of alcohol? Hell, then our apartment is the right place for you to be.

Oh yeah, I should probably mention that he hangs around with Maria a lot. You can’t know him and not know him or the other way around.”


ISABEL GUERIN ABOUT MICHAEL GUERIN:

“Michael is like a phenomenon to me. I don’t know how one person can have such a responsible job on the one hand and then on the other be such a party- and sex-oriented guy? He takes his job very seriously, while he tries to keep his private life as simple as possible. He’s only got a few very close friends.

You probably can’t talk about Michael, without mentioning Maria. They are like fire and ice and yet they spend more than half of their free time together. I seriously hope that one of these days he will finally open his eyes and see what is right in front if him.”


ALEX WHITMAN ABOUT MICHAEL GUERIN:

“God, don’t even get me started about that jackass! All he knows is how to party and to have sex. I doubt he is doin’ anything meaningful in his life. Well, I bet he would say now, that having random sex with every female person in New York is meaningful…”

*****

In the Paramedic truck Michael was busy memorizing all of the information that Sally was providing, mentally preparing for the possible injuries and casualties they might encounter. He grabbed the radio when she gave the signal to let them know she was finished and he pressed the button on the side. “Sally, this’s EMT Guerin, do we have anyone with medical knowledge on the ground with the injured man?”

“We only have the man’s six-year-old daughter on the phone; she was the one to call 911.”

“Thanks Sally.” He hooked the radio back into its holster and shook his head. The calls involving kids were always the worst. The kid didn’t have to be physically injured – it would be enough that she had seen her father hurt.

The fire trucks were the first to arrive at the building and Kyle jumped out of the vehicle before it had come to a complete stop. He was already on his way to the entry, trying to get through the crowd of people gathered there and getting in the way. “Hey, we need some space here!” he screamed over the noise to a police officer who was talking to someone on the radio. “Clear these people outta here!” The man nodded and motioned to some of the other officers trying to get control of the crowd and they immediately started to help the firefighters with their gear.

“Please, we need more space here,” one of the police officers barked into the megaphone. “Move back away from the cordoned off area or you will be arrested!”

Michael pushed his door open and dropped down to the asphalt as Dana brought the truck to a stop and he tipped his head back to look up at the seven story building. Flames leapt out from the windows across the front and side and everyone ducked when glass shot out from one of the windows as another explosion rocked the building. “This isn’t good,” he growled to his partner as they turned to start grabbing their gear.

Kyle walked past Michael, already wearing his mask. He gestured to the radio, letting the other man know that he would tell him when and where to come.

Michael nodded and gave him a thumbs-up, knowing he wouldn’t hear him with all of the gear and the noise around them if he responded verbally.

Kyle was the first one to enter the building, quickly checking the location of the emergency exits on the map in the lobby before gesturing to his coworkers to take the stairs on the left.

Even though they had to wear the heavy gear they made it up the stairs to the third floor in a short time. Kyle pushed the door that separated the staircase from the hallway open. The corridor was full of smoke and he checked his mask one more time before he moved further towards the fire.

He looked back when Dan Gilyard hit him from behind to get his attention and he nodded when he motioned to his ears and then to the closed door on their right. He shook his head, wondering yet again how the older man could hear anything, but not questioning him. He moved toward the door while Dan crossed the hall to check another door.

Kyle checked the door for heat and when it felt cool to the touch he turned the knob. He could feel something blocking the door and he frowned when something hit it from the other side. He jerked his head gear off and pressed his ear to the door, hearing the faint sound of coughing but no other response. He put his head gear back on and shoved his shoulder against the door, feeling it start to move.

The opening began to get larger and he swallowed hard when he looked down and saw a tiny soot-covered hand. God, please, not a kid, he thought as he shoved against the door with more urgency. Smoke was beginning to billow out from the opening, indicating that the fire was most likely breaching the room from the opposite side.

An arm flopped against the floor and he realized that the thing blocking the door was a body. He pushed harder, finally creating enough space to get his head inside and he leaned down to grab the shirt of the man lying on the floor, pulling him up enough for him to get the door open. He grabbed his radio and yelled for help and within a matter of seconds a couple more firefighters had joined him. They quickly cleared the debris from around the fallen man and checked him over before determining that it looked like cardiac arrest in addition to other injuries sustained when the ceiling above him had collapsed. They quickly hauled him up and carried him out of the apartment and down to the first level. The little girl was barely breathing, suffering from smoke inhalation, and he knocked the cell phone she was clutching out of her hand as he scooped her up and held her cradled against his body as he ran from the room.

The radio clipped on Michael’s jacket crackled with static a few times before Kyle’s voice could be heard. “We’re on our way down now – first floor entry, south side of the building. Two victims, first is male, approximately 40 years’ old, possible cardiac arrest, internal bleeding, injuries to the stomach and chest. Second victim is female, approximately six years old, unconscious, smoke inhalation, and no other visible injuries.”

Michael grabbed his gear and took off running for the exit Kyle had indicated. Dana beat him by seconds and she and another paramedic went straight to work on the injured man. She shouted information into the radio clipped to her jacket to the medical staff waiting at the hospital as she and the other medic fought to stabilize the injured man.

Michael took the little girl from Kyle as the firefighter handed her off and their eyes met briefly before he turned to run back inside. He shut down every part of himself that saw her as a little girl, a child who was way too young to die, forcing him to see her only as another patient. His mind focused on doing what was necessary to stabilize the patient and prepare her for transport to the nearest hospital.
Last edited by Double Trouble on Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:16 am, edited 202 times in total.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 2

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:06 am

Eva: Thank you!

You wouldn’t believe the schedules we keep to write together, lol. Sometimes we work some pretty crazy hours… living in different time zones with a seven-hour difference can really make it interesting! However, we love to write and we love to write together, so we make the time. ;)

We’re glad you liked the beginning.

Liz and Aaron are definitely having a hard time. Alex is too, but for a much different reason, lol. No, Aaron will never get anything like that from Trent.

Kyle and Michael do have jobs that are very stressful and we will be seeing how that affects their personal lives.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Yeah, these two… we’re gonna see more confrontation between them.

No, Liz hasn’t had time to go out and party for quite a while now. Think she should get rid of Trent, huh? Well, we’ll see.

Earth2Mama: After two years we decided to unveil our identities because… it was time. Plus we both also post individually and things have been pretty hectic for both of us lately so this saves us from outing ourselves by mistake. ;)

Trent and Liz… we’ll find out as the story progresses. Liz isn’t being beaten at home or anything although, yes, Trent is verbally abusive. Her reasons for staying where she is will come out later.

Lol, that would’ve been one response. As for why Alex appears – and appears is the right word – to be timid, that’s something else that will be unfolded as the story moves along.

The jobs Michael and Kyle have are both very stressful and we’ll be discovering how the two of them deal with those stresses.

Thanks! Let’s see if we can get our other four main characters to inspire more of your theories… that you can share at any time. ;)

Heavenli24: Thanks!

Lol, really? Yeah, suppose if you haven’t read a lot of Candy fics you wouldn’t have tripped over either one of us individually, lol.

kismet: Thanks!

Already set to see Trent gone, huh? Oh, you know we can’t possibly make it that easy. Wow, hate, huh? Such a strong word. But, if there’s a character to hate right off the bat in TIC TAC, it’s Trent, lol.

Alex isn’t having an easy time of it, that’s for sure.

Michael and Maria do their best to enjoy life when they can.

rosyrosy2882: Ear plugs, huh? We shared that with Alex and well, his response to that wasn’t as pleasant as you might imagine.

Hmm, are Liz and Trent Aaron’s parents? We’ll find out. Max the hero… well, we’ll see what happens on that front.

Thanks! Well, no promises that none of them will get hurt over the course of the fic. We’re only about 250 pages in right now and well… there’s still a lot of story to tell. ;)

We’ll be posting every Sunday.

April: It’s true, you were probably the first (and if not, definitely one of the first) to unmask us, lol.

Whoa, two woohoo’s in one review!

Thanks, we’re glad that scene came to life so well.

Yup, Alex has every right to be pissed.

Liz, well, we can’t give anything about that situation away… it’s too soon, lol.

Kyle rocks in TIC TAC! There’s no way to not be in love with him here. Word of warning though… he’s only gonna get more lovable as we go on.

Alien_Friend: Thanks!

Very stressful jobs! Our guys didn’t go into anything simple, that’s for sure. Lol, excessive unwinding… that’s for sure.

Nope, Alex has no idea what the guys do for a living. First impressions… gotta love ‘em, huh? All of the characters here have opinions about each other based on first impressions and/or assumptions… very few opinions have been based on fact. Something that is so true in real life too. :)

Aaron is gonna be a sweetheart. Trent… well, we’ll find out more about him as we go. Liz works hard for the little guy and she’s trying hard to get out of the situation she’s in. Trent’s easy to dislike… he’s a jerk.

Thanks, we think you’re gonna enjoy the ride.

After two years we decided to unveil our identities because… it was time. Plus we both also post individually and things have been pretty hectic for both of us lately so this saves us from outing ourselves by mistake. ;)

mary mary: Lol, had us pegged, huh?

The situation is dangerous. Things will definitely begin to become more clear as the story unfolds. Ridiculous, yes, but unfortunately, also all too common. Nope, the fire isn’t in her building, so it won’t be solving any of her problems.

Lol, another reason for us to rush your week along.

keepsmiling7: Thanks! Yup, that’s what we’re counting on.

Jennifer24: Thanks!

Liz and Aaron are in a very difficult situation. And Trent, well, worthless is a good description for his sorry ass.

Yup, most of us are on one end of that spectrum or the other… and when you’re not the one throwing or attending the party, it’s an aggravation. Granted, most of us have probably been on both sides from time to time. Alex and Isabel… yeah, that one’s gonna be good. :)

Thanks! The guys do have a tough job and it’s gonna be an important part of the fic. Hey, look, it’s Sunday!

sptfire86: Thanks! Those trailers do take a lot of work… and a lot of time, lol. But they’re always worth it in the end.

Don’t look for Max to be falling for anyone anytime soon… these two are not gonna make things easy on each other.

We’ll be back… every Sunday.

maipigen: Thanks! It makes sense, lol.

Thanks again! We love to write together.

Yup, the first couple of parts put a lot of information out there in a short amount of time, lol. Poor Alex… ain’t that the truth? Yup, most of us are on one end of that spectrum or the other… and when you’re not the one throwing or attending the party, it’s an aggravation. Um… that’s a seriously loooooong party!

Aww, well, unfortunately, Max isn’t Aaron’s real dad. Trent, sadly, is the total douche he comes across as.

Yes, the whole hate/hate relationship between Max and Liz will be hilarious at times and trying at others.

As for the Candy… well, they’re best friends so we’ll get lots and lots of platonic Candy, lol.

Isabel, you can look for development.

Kyle’s great and the thing with Tess, definitely gonna be fun to follow.

We’ll be updating on Sundays. We’re glad the vids caught your attention!

You’re welcome. :)

Cardinal: Thanks! Well, we do like to mix things up and make ‘em interesting.

Awesome compliment, thanks!

Angel eyes: Thanks, we’re glad you enjoyed it! Nope, definitely not good, but we’ll see how their story progresses.


Author’s Note: Hey folks, just a quick note to let ya know we’ll be taking a short break over the Christmas weekend but we’ll be back on New Year’s Day. ;) MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!




PART 2

Isabel Guerin

Pic: ISABEL

Tailer: ISABEL

AGE: 23

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: Nurse in the Pediatrics Wing

FAMILY: Tess Guerin, Michael Guerin, Ava Guerin, Adam Guerin, Nicole Guerin

FRIENDS: Maria DeLuca, Kyle Valenti

ROOMMATES: Richard Mathews

HOBBIES: Shopping, wellness, clubbing, hanging out


ALEX WHITMAN ABOUT ISABEL GUERIN:

“Four words. Pampered, spoiled, rich bitch.

Isabel Guerin’s just one more thorn in my side. That whole group down in apartment 215 is a nuisance but she takes it a step further. Put them all together and you’d have an entire village of idiots. And that woman… she’s their leader! She has no morals, no ambition, and I’m sure she’s never worked a day in her life. You know what her goal in life is? Pissin’ me off! She can’t possibly have any other goals ‘cause every time I turn around no matter where I am, she’s there! Ungrateful, selfish, promiscuous… need I say more?”


MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT ISABEL GUERIN:

“Isabel’s my big sister… yeah, technically that means my older sister, but last time I referred to her as ‘older’ I woke up with a hangover and missin’ a strip of hair straight down the middle of my head. Only way to fix that was to shave it all off and well, that wasn’t a good look. So anyway, yeah, she’s my big sister but she’s not the overbearing type. Bossy, yeah, but she’ll be the first one to admit that. All I’ve gotta say is Whitman better watch his step ‘cause he doesn’t know what he’s messin’ with. It takes a lot more man than he’ll ever be to tangle with her. It’s a sex thing. Guys who want ‘er an’ know they haven’t got a chance in hell always get pissed off and talk shit about her.”


KYLE VALENTI ABOUT ISABEL GUERIN:

“Whitman vs. Guerin, huh? Hell, yeah, that’s a bet I’ll take! You can put my money down on Isabel. She’ll chew him up and spit him out. Only a moron would throw down the gauntlet with her. Me an’ Isabel, we’re bettin’ buddies. We’ll bet on anything and everything. If you listen to what Whitman has to say you’d think there’s no depth but don’t take his rant to heart. The guy couldn’t be more wrong. He doesn’t know Iz the way I do. He’s just pissy ‘cause she tore his ass up the other day. On a serious note though, she’s a good person an’ a great friend. Personally I think he’s just got a bug up his ass ‘cause he’s hot for her. Anybody wanna bet on that one?”


TESS GUERIN ABOUT ISABEL GUERIN:

“Yeah, I’d have to say Michael’s right about the nerd king and Isabel. That guy’s gonna eventually push it too far and she’s gonna tear him to shreds. She’s cool about a lot of stuff, but this guy’s just pushin’ her buttons like crazy. Oh, right, you wanted to know about Isabel. Well, she’s my older sister… yeah, I know, she gave Michael shit over that. I know how to get around that. Anyway, she’s been on my ass since I got back and even though it drives me crazy I know she’s just doin’ it ‘cause she cares. She’s the kinda person who’ll go outta her way to do stuff for others in spite of what the dork upstairs says. We might not always agree about things and we can fight like cats an’ dogs but if she cares about you she’s always gonna have your back.”

****

Isabel Guerin pushed her sunglasses up to rest on top of her head and she smiled brightly at the uniformed doorman as he tipped his hat and opened the door of her apartment building for her. “My luggage will arrive shortly, James.”

He nodded. “I’ll have it brought right up to you, Miss Guerin.”

“Thanks.” She paused in the lobby to check her mailbox, pulling several envelopes and magazines out. She wrinkled her nose at the bills before sticking them back inside and taking a wedding invitation and a lingerie catalog with her. The rest was dropped in the trash bin in the corner on her way to the bank of ornately-designed elevators.

She stepped into the car and checked her reflection in the mirrored wall. Hmm, she needed a slight touchup, she thought as she pulled some things out of her purse. She let the elevator pass her floor twice before she stepped off, makeup perfect and not a single hair out of place. Her tan was flawless after a couple of weeks on the beach in Jamaica. Her boyfriend Richard was an investor who worked on Wall Street and he had been called back for some sort of business emergency a few days earlier. She was happy to be back at home and she couldn’t wait to see him.

It was only Thursday and he wasn’t expecting her until Friday, but she had wanted to surprise him with a home-cooked meal after what she was sure had been an exhausting and stressful few days. Afterwards she would take him to bed and show off the new and daring lingerie she had purchased and let him unwrap her. She was humming to herself as she unlocked the door and walked into the large foyer and she fell silent when she heard something coming from inside.

She dropped her sunglasses and purse on the table by the door before walking through the apartment. Her eyes widened in disbelief when she heard the unmistakable sounds of people having sex coming from her bedroom. Who could be in her apartment? God, if it was her brother she was going to kill him!

She flung the door open and smacked the light switch on the wall by the doorframe. “Michael, if that’s you I am sooo going to – “ Her words froze in her throat when the man shifted around, pulling the sheets up around his waist as if that could hide what he had been doing.

“Um, Izzy, baby, I can explain this…”

She froze in place and stared at her boyfriend and the blonde bitch next to him, speechless.

Richard Mathews cleared his throat and sat up straighter. “This has never happened before,” he started.

Isabel almost laughed at his ridiculous statement. “Yeah,” she walked around the bed and pulled the sheets from them, “and it will never happen again. GET OUT!” she yelled and grabbed the clothes from the floor, “and take your little skank with you.”

Richard made a desperate grab for the sheet to cover himself. Which was ridiculous considering the many times she had seen him naked. “No, Iz, really, I can explain this.”

She snorted. “Nothing you say will change this, you little bastard, don’t you think this’s kinda obvious?” She hesitated a moment then made a playfully surprised face. “Oohhhh, did she force you to have sex with her in our bed?” She tapped her lips thoughtfully.

“Um... well... no, but...” He turned when the woman he had been with hurried from the room and a moment later he heard the front door slam shut. “Damn, she sure got dressed in a hurry, didn’t she?”

“You should’ve used that time as wisely, buddy,” Isabel said and pulled his jeans and boxers from the floor next to her. Without thinking twice she stalked over to the balcony, jerked the doors open and threw them out. “You’d better hurry before someone takes them.”

“Damn it, Iz! I paid over $200 for those jeans! What do you expect me to wear now?”

“Um... nothing! Now get out of my apartment!”

“I can’t go outside like this. I’ll be arrested! C’mon, Izzy, you don’t want me to be taken to jail.”

“Why not? Good way to remember what a fuckin’ asshole you are,” she walked to the front door. “Get out, Richard, I’m serious.”

He shook his head at her and sighed in resignation. “Alright, Izzy, throw your little fit and when you’re over it, call me.”

She gasped at his insolence. She couldn’t believe he would insinuate that she would even consider ever calling him again. “I’ll send your stuff over to you in the next day,” she said and waited until he had passed through the door before slamming it right in his face.

*****

Max Evans

Pic: MAX

Tailer: MAX

AGE: 22

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: Owner of a tattoo studio

FAMILY: Diane Evans, Philip Evans

FRIENDS: Michael Guerin, Maria DeLuca, Kyle Valenti, Tess Guerin

ROOMMATES: None

HOBBIES: Designing tats, parties, playing guitar



LIZ PARKER ABOUT MAX EVANS:

“Every day without Max Evans is a good day.

Max Evans is an egotistical, self-centered, know-it-all asshole who's made it his goal in life to piss me off! He comes into my place of work and proceeds to tell me what I should and shouldn't do like he has any right to tell me anything. Like that jerk even knows me! I'll tell you something right now - Max Evans doesn't know anyone, least of all me! And he doesn't want anyone to know him. He doesn't have to be such a jerk or an asshole... wait, did I already use those words to describe him? No matter, they're both true and they can be used multiple times to describe him. I'd be perfectly happy if he'd just disappear and leave me alone!"


MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT MAX EVANS:

“Max isn't the first person that comes to mind when you mention the word fun, but he likes to have a good time like the rest of us. He's just not as obvious about it. Until some hot chick catches his eye. Then you'd better hope it's not the same chick you were just checkin' out. But he's the guy you want at your back in a fight. You definitely don't want him on your bad side. Kinda like Liz... you wanna talk about a hate/hate relationship, that's it right there.”


MARIA DELUCA ABOUT MAX EVANS:

“Michael's right. What? It's bound to happen on occasion, law of averages and all that, right? Anyway, Max isn't the kinda guy anyone would peg as Mr. Fun but when he relaxes and gets into a party he can cut loose. It just doesn't happen very often. Not sure what he's so worried about or whatever but he's a good guy. He and Liz have a major antagonistic relationship though. Talk about dysfunctional! You should hear them going back and forth. This is where Michael and I disagree though... it's not hate... they're so hot for each other they're gonna spontaneously combust if they don't just do it already!”


TESS GUERIN ABOUT MAX EVANS:

“Yeah, Max is a good guy. I wasn't so sure for a while, kinda thought he was just a major prick on an ego trip, but turns out he's not really like that. As far as friends go, you couldn't ask for a better one. He'd do anything he could for you but one of his faults is that he gets pissed off if people try to do somethin' for him. His other fault? He's a liar. Yeah, read it again, I called him a liar. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't go around lying to his friends or anything... dumbass just lies to himself. He's convinced himself he's right about certain things and one of these days that's just gonna backfire on him.”

****

“Well, I don’t know…”

Max Evans gnawed on the sliver ring on the left side of his bottom lip as he watched the couple standing in front of the wall where he showcased his art. He was a tattoo artist by trade and the shop belonged to him. Some of the designs he inked were created by a guy he had met and become friends with a couple of years earlier, but most of them belonged to him.

He folded his arms over his chest, showing off the tats on his right arm as he waited for the couple to come to a decision. He looked up when the woman turned and cleared her throat to get his attention.

“Don’t you have like… butterflies or unicorns?”

“No.” He sighed as he straightened up from his slouched position. “I can do either one if that’s what you want, but it’s not original and it doesn’t really make a statement.” He turned his head when the bell chimed and he grinned at the woman who sashayed through the door. “How’s it goin’, Randi?”

The tall blonde tossed her hair back and grinned. “If you’ve got my new design ready it’ll be goin’ great.”

He motioned to the back of the shop. “It’s on my desk.”

The couple’s mouths dropped open when the woman walked right up to the artist and presented her perfect breasts for his inspection. “You’re sure it’ll work with this other design?”

Max stared down at his own artwork that he had designed and inked into her luscious flesh. “Oh, I think it’ll be gorgeous, Randi.”

She smiled in satisfaction and covered herself up as she turned to grin at the couple. “Oh, don’t mind me… I’m just checking on my next tat.”

Max turned to the couple again. “So...”

“You could get somethin’ like she has, honey,” the guy said.

The woman turned and looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “I said I’d get somethin’ small and it won’t be on my...” she lowered her voice to hiss, “breast!”

“Which part of your body did you have in mind?” Max wanted to know as he straightened up and walked to a table.

“Maybe somethin’ like a little flower on my ankle,” she answered, biting her lip hesitantly. “I mean, I don’t want anything, ya know, indecent.”

Max nodded. “You should know that the ankle can be a pretty painful place to get tattooed.”

“Oh, well... what would you recommend?”

“Well, breasts, the upper arm or the side of your thighs isn’t as painful.” He shrugged. “It really depends on you.”

“Oh, um...” she blushed hotly. “The upper arm maybe... I mean...” she glanced at Randi. “You’d have to, ya know, really touch me in a personal way to do those other areas and I don’t really know you.”

Randi laughed at the poor girl’s embarrassed commentary. “Honey, you wouldn’t have a problem with this man’s hands on your bod, trust me.”

Max got a folder and pressed it into the woman’s arms. “Here, take this home with ya. There’re a lot of different designs in it. Might even be some butterflies and stars and stuff. Maybe you’ll find somethin’ in there that’ll fit you. My advice: upper arm isn’t that great for small tats. I’ve got a female tattooist who works here every Friday if you’d prefer a woman do your tat.”

“Oh, but I thought you didn’t showcase any of those types of tattoos?”

“The designs in the folder are not mine and I don’t showcase them.”

Her boyfriend took her hand and pulled her towards the door. He could see the annoyance on the other man’s face at being asked to tattoo things that he obviously felt unworthy of his time or effort. “Maybe we should just leave and we’ll check around at some of the other places.”

“You are a menace,” Randi teased as she sat down over by the table where he would ink her tat.

Max grinned. “I’m not a menace. You could see in her eyes that she didn’t even want one. I don’t ink people who aren’t sure about it.”

She rolled her eyes. “She would’ve changed her mind if you’d gotten your hands on her breasts.”

He walked over to her to get ready. “Speaking from experience?”

Randi just grinned. “Ya think?”

Max wiggled his eyebrows. “Take your shirt off, Sexy.”

*****

Tess Guerin

Pic: TESS

Tailer: TESS

AGE: 19

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: College classes

FAMILY: Isabel Guerin, Michael Guerin, Ava Guerin, Adam Guerin, Nicole Guerin

FRIENDS: Max Evans

ROOMMATES: Uncertain living situation

HOBBIES: Shopping, clubbing, hanging out



KYLE VALENTI ABOUT TESS GUERIN:

“You ever got gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe? That’s Tess.

Since she came back to New York it doesn’t matter where I go or what I do, she’s right there.”


ISABEL GUERIN ABOUT TESS GUERIN:

She’s my little sister and she can be a major pain in the ass but it’s good to have her back home. She likes to stick her nose in my business but the good thing about that is it gives me the right to do the same thing to her. And speaking of that, I think it’s time to get down to business and figure out what happened a few months ago.”


MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT TESS GUERIN:

“Yeah, Isabel’s right about the kid. She can be a pain in the ass but she’s basically a good kid. Little bit lost right now and I don’t know what that’s all about but when she’s ready to talk she’ll let us know. Kid’s a little party animal like us and she can be wild an’ crazy sometimes… makes her popular with the guys though.”


MARIA DELUCA ABOUT TESS GUERIN:

“Tess? Yeah, I’ve got a few words about her: Don’t trust her.”

****

“What do you mean, my luggage is in Florida? I’m here, so why would my bags be in another state?” The blonde pushed her hair back before putting her hands on her hips again and staring at the woman in front of her angrily.

“Well,” the other woman swallowed, “sometimes it happens that the luggage is loaded into the wrong plane.”

“Oh, well, now I’m already feeling better.”

“We’re very sorry, Ma’am.”

“Ma’am? You won’t get anywhere with that. I want you to get my bags here, immediately.”

“Of course. It will only take a day or two.”

“WHAT?”

“Sorry, but we have to wait for the next plane coming in from that location; your luggage will be delivered to New York as soon as possible. I’ll just need your name and address and we’ll bring it directly to your home.”

Hmm, she didn’t know which address she should give. Her brother’s address would be good, she decided. “Fine.”

“Name?” the woman behind the counter asked shortly since she was fed up with pissy customers. As if it was her fault the luggage was lost.

“Uh, I don’t know... how about disgruntled customer?” she snapped.

The woman looked at her customer in disbelief. “We won’t get anywhere this way.”

“Well, we haven’t gotten anywhere before now have we?” She glared at the woman. “How would you like it if you were in New York and all of your panties were in Florida?”

“I’m very sorry about this, Miss, but I have no other choice but to get your name and address and tell you that the luggage will be here soon. You taxi from the airport to your residence will be paid as well.”

“I would certainly hope so. My name is Tess Guerin,” she said and then rattled off her brother’s address. “I will expect my luggage to arrive as soon as possible and if it’s damaged in any way, I will be back to see you personally.”

****

Maria DeLuca

Pic: MARIA

Tailer: MARIA


AGE: 21

LOCATION: New York

OCCUPATION: Modeling, teaching fitness classes

FAMILY: Amy DeLuca, Cody DeLuca

FRIENDS: Kyle Valenti, Michael Guerin, Max Evans, Isabel Guerin

ROOMMATES: None

HOBBIES: Visiting Broadway Shows, clubbing, dancing, relaxing, sleeping



MICHAEL GUERIN ABOUT MARIA DELUCA:

“Maria an’ me, we’ve been best buds since… hell, since forever. I don’t even know how long it’s actually been. Most of our lives though. A lotta people are surprised that we’re just friends, which neither of us gets, but, that’s their deal an’ they’ll get over it. You asked me to describe her in one word and really there isn’t a single word that captures her adequately. She’s passionate, funny, selfless… oh, don’t get me wrong, she’s no saint an’ in an argument she could give Iz a run for her money, but she’s the one person who’s always taken me just the way I am. She might give me shit about it, but you can bet your bottom dollar that she’d take on anyone else who did the same thing. She’s the one who got me through a few years back… Hmm? Oh, sorry, kinda got caught up in the memories there for a second or two. So, when do we get to see these interviews for ourselves? I’m kinda wonderin’ what RP said about me. What’s RP stand for? Nope, not givin’ that one away ‘cause she’d kick my ass into next week and I’ve been on the receivin’ end of a DeLuca ass-kickin’ before… it’s not somethin’ I’m eager to experience again any time soon. Ya still want that one word, huh? Heart. The girl’s all heart.”


MAX EVANS ABOUT MARIA DELUCA:

“You want a single word for Maria, huh? Lemme think about that an’ I’ll let ya know at the end of this thing. I’ve seen more suffering than anyone should ever see and what kills me is that Maria’s seen it too. No, it’s not the same thing but there’re countless ways that suffering and pain can take shape… humanity can be cruel and so can fate. She handles it though and when it gets to be too much, we all know who she goes to. She faces the challenges head on and in the time I’ve known her I’ve never once seen her back down or give in. She doesn’t have it in her. I admire the passion she has for life and I think sometimes I’m a little jealous of it. She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, she’ll fight for anyone who can’t fight for themselves, and she’s got an inner strength that just amazes me. You want one word to describe Maria DeLuca? Survivor.”


KYLE VALENTI ABOUT MARIA DELUCA:

“Maria’s just about as perfect as a girl can get. Ya know, a friend who’s also a girl… nevermind. Anyway, she and Michael, they’re kind of a package deal. If you get one of ‘em you get ‘em both. I’ve never known either of ‘em to really have friends that the other one didn’t like. Tess doesn’t really count ‘cause she’s Michael’s sister so he kinda has to like her, ya know? Maria’s the kinda girl who’d do anything for you an’ that isn’t just limited to her friends. She just cares about everybody and if she sees someone struggling she’ll try to help out, that’s just who she is. She’s a fighter. Loves ‘er family, takes on extra jobs to help out with the situation at home… you couldn’t ask for a better friend than Maria. One word? Fighter.”


TESS GUERIN ABOUT MARIA DELUCA:

“I’m probably not the best person to ask for an interview about Maria… we haven’t been that close lately. She’s got her own thing goin’ on an’ I kinda took myself outta the picture for a while. We were tight before I left but she hasn’t forgiven me for takin’ off in the first place and I guess I can’t really blame her for that. Wait, are you gonna print all of this? Okay, well, maybe just scratch everything I said before and just say that Maria’s not the person you should cross. Is she gonna do anything to you if you cross her? Doubtful. But, then again, why would she have to do anything? Everyone else would beat her to the punch and Michael would be leading the charge. And right behind him you’d have Kyle and Max and an odd assortment of others. You want one word for Maria? Inspiring.“

****

“Move your left leg in closer to you. And lift your head up a little bit more. Nobody wants to see a double chin.”

Double chin???? Was he kidding? She didn’t have a damn double chin. Breathe, she reminded herself and did what the photographer was demanding of her. Why was she doing this job again? Oh yeah, because it gave her the money to afford her shitty apartment not too far from downtown New York.

The corset she was wearing was way too tight and the sitting position didn’t help at all. How fast am I gonna pass out if I have to sit here any longer? she wondered.

“Can you please straighten up a little more?” she was asked by the impatient jerk.

Could she? It didn’t seem possible, but she tried. “I can’t breathe in this thing,” she said, annoyed.

“Well, then I would suggest you lose a few pounds before the next shoot,” the photographer said, unimpressed.

Maria DeLuca glared at the photographer. “Lose a few pounds?” she echoed in disbelief. No, it wasn’t the wisest thing to piss off the person behind the camera but this guy was really pushing it. How badly did she really need this particular assignment? “Maybe you should learn how to do your job so the models you’re photographing don’t pass out from oxygen deprivation.”

“Maria,” someone from behind said, sounding annoyed. It was Nancy Wilson, the owner of the modeling agency she worked for. “Would you please just do what he asked you to do?” She turned to the photographer. “And she will not lose a single pound, Mister. My models are not some kind of stick figures.”

Scott Mancuso set his camera down as he crossed the room to face Nancy. “I should not be forced to work with such unprofessional...” he waved at the young woman as he struggled to find the adequate words. “You insist on using these girls who are overweight – “

“I’m not overweight,” Maria protested.

Nancy sighed. “Scott, you came to me and you know what my girls look like. So deal with their perfect bodies or go and find someone else for this shoot.”

He growled under his breath and moved across the room to snatch his camera up. He would do it because his company had contracted out for this job, not because he was happy about it. “Perfect bodies,” he muttered under his breath. “Perfect my ass.” He set up for another round of shots and inhaled deeply as he turned back to his subject. “Try very hard to straighten up and hold the position so I can at least get off a few shots before you ruin it again.”

“Asshole,” Maria muttered quietly to herself. She tried to think of something good while taking the uncomfortable position again. Meeting her friends at the café later would be good. I’m gonna eat a big, fat, greasy cheeseburger, she decided.
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 3

Postby Double Trouble » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:01 am

Cardinal: Oh, we’re gonna get to know them better as we go along. First impressions… they’re something else, aren’t they?

Max definitely has his good points.

Oh, yeah, we all saw that one coming. Well, all, apparently, except for Isabel. Yeah, she wasted no time ridding herself of him.

killjoy: Somehow we knew you’d like that, lol.

Earth2Mama: Lol, you’ll get no argument from us there.

Oh, he totally had the gall to do exactly that. True, and we’re sure at some point she must’ve questioned it. But she’s definitely better off without him.

Somehow we doubt that Isabel intends to ever give him a call.

We passed that along and Max just smirked and went back to inking.

rosyrosy2882: Boys can be incredibly stupid. Although, in all honesty, we suppose us girls have our moments too, lol. Yeah, ol’ Richard was certainly full of himself, wasn’t he?

No, Max really doesn’t care about much of anything right now. Randi is just a customer and someone he hangs out with on occasion, but maybe knowing that there’re no other benefits there will put your mind at ease? ;)

Yup, it always sucks when they lose your luggage!

You won’t have to worry about Maria harming herself for the modeling jobs. She won’t do that. As for why she’s modeling… well, just stay tuned. All will be revealed in time.

First group scene in this next part.

mary mary: Lol, well, she certainly had a point.

(ArchAngel’s note – I haven’t forgotten about TMWDB… however, I did forget to post a note letting the readers know we’d be back to posting as soon as our Christmas fic wrapped up. Sorry ‘bout that.)

keepsmiling7: Oh, there’s a definite reason for the problem between Max and Liz and we’ll find out in time why their relationship is so antagonistic.

Alien_Friend: It’s crazy, but we love it so we find ways to make it work.

It’s quite possible that we’ll see flashbacks from time to time from their pasts.

Isabel wasted no time, did she? She isn’t one to be walked all over, so her dealing with Richard was very quick.

Max… well, his story will take time to unfold.

You’re right about that.

kismet: Yup, he had to go!

That seems to be the question where Max is concerned. Keep reading. ;)

No promises there… it’s gonna be a wild ride.

begonia9508: Thanks!

Lol, you were right. We’ll actually find out how he managed to get out later on.

Oh, you know there has to be passion simmering below the surface to create such strong feelings of dislike between these two.




Part 3


Reunion

Maria DeLuca crossed Times Square, cutting her way through the crowd of people that never seemed to disappear no matter how dark or cold or whatever it was outside. She ran her hands through her long blonde hair, lifting it up from her neck to let some air hit her sweaty skin. It was the middle of July and New York’s citizens were suffering from a heat wave that had lasted for days and showed no sign of letting up.

She groaned when even more people seemed to appear around her, taking the last bit of air away from her. “It’s so freakin’ hot,” she mumbled to herself, glancing down at herself to see if there were already sweat spots on her white tank top. She nearly jumped when her cell started to buzz in her tight jean shorts and she fumbled to get it out of her pocket.

Hey, RP got off from work early. Meet me at the café?

She snorted at the message from her best friend. RP was short for Roly Poly, a nickname that had stuck with her since the fifth grade, when she had been anything but slim. She glanced at her watch. Still a bit of time before she had an appointment with her hairdresser, yeah she could make it. She quickly changed direction and was glad when the crowd on the street finally began to thin and she could take a deep breath of the... well, the air was still too hot and muggy. It only took her another five minutes to get to the café where she liked to hang out with her friends.

A cold breeze from the air conditioning hit her face when she pushed the double door open. “I’m in heaven,” she sighed and walked further into the room to a booth on the right at the very end where she knew she would find her best friend. “Hey, CB, what’s up?”

Michael Guerin glanced up when his best friend slid into the booth across from him. CB... he had been seven years old when he had fallen out of a tree he’d been climbing to rescue a stupid cat that had belonged to one of his sisters. He had hit a thick branch as he fell, knocking him unconscious and cutting his head badly. The people at the hospital had shaved him bald so they could stitch the wound closed and Maria had come to see him just as soon as his dad had brought him home. As soon as he had made some snarky comment that had assured her he was alright she had reached up to pet his bald head and immediately named him Cue Ball. He hadn’t been able to shake it since, but at least now they had dropped the childhood nicknames to abbreviations.

He and Maria had argued and fought over everything and nothing since their first meeting, but they were tight and they had each other’s backs. They might hurl insults back and forth and call each other names, but God help anyone else who did that because neither of them would put up with it from someone else. She had known when he had been sitting in his bed, miserably bald and aching from the massive headache that he felt self-conscious about not having any hair and she had grabbed a pair of scissors out of his father’s desk and attempted to cut off her own hair. Yeah, she’d only butchered her hair and made a mess of it, much to her mother’s horror, but he had appreciated it. And he’d gotten a kick out of it when most of her hair had been cut off to repair the damage she’d done.

He grinned at her and reached up to point at the new piercing over his left eyebrow. “Whatcha think?”

She leaned over the table to look at it more fully. “I thought you wanted a new tattoo?”

“I can get both.”

She reached out to touch his face. “Does it hurt?”

“Nah, it’s a little sore, but that’ll be gone in no time.”

“Ya gonna go with the stud or a ring?”

He ignored the magazine he’d been flipping through when she showed up and gave her his full attention when he heard the tone in her voice. “I was thinkin’ maybe I’d go with the ring... why?”

“Ungh, seriously? A ring?”

He shrugged. “Why not? What the fuck’s wrong with a ring?”

“A stud’s definitely better, right, Liz?” she asked the waitress when she approached them at their table.

Liz had been waitressing at the cafe for several months and she had gotten familiar with the regulars. These two would be joined by their friends before long and she wished they would leave before HE came in. “I really don’t have an opinion about facial piercings.” Well, she did, but she didn’t want to get drawn into a conversation that would keep her there because it was only a matter of time before that asshole Max Evans showed up.

“Ah, c’mon, you have to have an opinion,” Maria said.

“Fine, yes, I’d say go with the stud,” she answered. Okay, she didn’t really have a preference where Michael was concerned; she was only saying it because HE seemed to prefer rings.

Maria clapped her hands. “See! Told you so. Oh, Liz, I’ll take the usual.”

The brunette nodded and glanced at Michael, knowing he’d order his usual as well, but she always checked just as a precaution.

“Same,” he grumbled.

“Now you’re gonna be pissy just ‘cause I’m right?” Maria asked, kicking him under the table.

“Who said you’re right?” Michael asked, ignoring the knowing smirk on her face.

“Prove I’m wrong,” she challenged.

“How am I gonna do that?” he asked.

Maria glanced around the café and giggled. “You could ask him, over there?” She pointed at the guy sitting at the counter. It was his neighbor and it was no secret that the guys couldn’t stand each other.

He rolled his eyes when he recognized Alex. “Why would I ask that neurotic, anti-fun jerk-off anything?” He rolled his eyes. “You’re practically at every party, Maria, and you know without fail he shows up to beat the door down and insist we stop the party. That guy wouldn’t know fun if he was lookin’ right at it.”

“I can hear you ya know, Guerin?” Alex yelled from the counter without turning around.

Maria giggled. “Seems like you’re not gonna make any new friends today.”

“Huh... figured you’d be deaf by now, what with all the loud noise from the parties an’ shit,” Michael bit out.

“What’re we gonna do tonight?” Maria asked. “I seriously hope there’s a good party goin’ on ‘cause I could use some drinks. The photographer today called me fat, can you believe that?”

Michael’s right hand froze, the page he was turning suspended from his fingers as his head snapped up to look at her. “Why the fuck do you take on those jobs?” He knew she picked up whatever jobs she could to make ends meet and he knew the modeling thing paid pretty decent, but was it really worth all the abuse she had to put up with? “He’s a fuckin’ moron, RP. No guy in his right mind would call you fat.”

“I know,” she sighed. “Hell, what guy wants a woman that looks like she’s gonna pass away sometime soon? But, well, ya know I need the money because I have to pay the rent on my fairytale apartment all alone.”

Now there was a topic he didn’t want her to get started on. “I’m off duty for the day and I’m not on-call tonight, so let’s throw a party. I think most everyone’s gonna be around.” He shrugged. “We can make some calls, and hell,” he grinned, “if not, we’ll just hang out and get shit-faced by ourselves.”

She grinned. “Sounds like a plan. I’ve gotta get to the hairdresser before that though and I need you to go jogging with me later when it starts to cool down.”

“Cool, they re-opened the trail we used to take. Guess they finally finished the construction on the new path.” He tipped his head back to the side so he could glance at Alex. “Hey, Whitman, ya hear that? Party at my place tonight... don’t be there, just be square.” He smirked. “Ya know how to do that, right?”

“There’s a party tonight at our apartment?” Kyle Valenti walked into the café, sunglasses covering his eyes as he greeted Liz with a simple nod and started to walk towards the last booth on the right side.

“Uh-huh, Maria needs a boost,” Michael muttered. “Some dickhead photographer called her fat today.”

“WHAT? What the fuck is wrong with him? There isn’t a single thing on you that I’d call fat.” He placed his sunglasses on the table and leaned forward to glance at Maria directly. “And I know what I’m talking about.”

Michael rolled his eyes when Maria smiled at his roommate and pulled him closer for a long kiss. Kyle was a good guy and as long as she was happy he was happy for her.

Maria smiled when Kyle pulled back to look at her. “How was your shift?” she asked, knowing he had been on duty for the past 48 hours.

“Exhausting,” he admitted. “Fighting a fire when it’s already 100 degrees outside makes your blood boil, I can tell ya.” He glanced at Michael. “How’s that little girl doin’?”

“She’s got a 50/50 chance,” he said, forcing his eyes to stay locked on the glossy photos in the magazine and away from the images of earlier that day. “It’s always touch and go with cases of smoke inhalation. Her respiratory system was compromised and there’re complications because she’s asthmatic, so it just depends.”

“Hey, what ya think about Michael’s new piercing?” Maria asked Kyle, changing the subject to something lighter. “Stud or ring?”

Kyle glanced at his friend and shook his head. “The stud for sure.” He made a face. “Can you imagine getting a ring caught on somethin’?” He looked at Maria. “Hey, did you order anything to eat? The food at the station doesn’t really do much for me.”

“Nah, the heat minimizes my appetite to nothing. But Liz will be here with the drinks soon and we can order ya something then.” She glanced at Michael. “See, I’ve got another person on my side.”

He shrugged. “We’re not takin’ a vote on whether I go with the stud or ring... I’ll go with whatever I wanna go with.”

She giggled. “We can put a leash on you then. The ring would just work out fine for that.”

“Yeah, and at the end of the day we’ll hang it on the wall right next to a picture of you... the one taken with the panoramic view.”

Maria stuck her tongue out at him when Liz arrived at the table, placing a cherry coke in front of Michael and a latte macchiato in front of Maria.

“You’re drinkin’ somethin’ warm when it’s hot like this?” Kyle made a face.

She shrugged. “They say it’s better for you than the ice cold things.”

“Well, I’ll have an ice cold coke and some fries.”

Liz nodded. “I’ll be right back.”

“Do you two agree about anything?” Michael asked.

“Sex,” they answered at the same time.

“Good answer,” Max said as he came up behind Michael. “Hey, I’m short on time today so I can’t hang long. Any chance you got that design finished?”

“Sure, the last night at the station was surprisingly quiet.” Michael handed Max a folder that was sitting next to him on his seat.

He leaned against the bench next to Michael’s shoulder as he opened the folder up. “Now that’s beautiful. The client will love it. Want your payment in cash or did ya have another tat in mind?”

Michael lifted his right arm up, showing Max the back of his lower arm. “I kinda want to extend this a little but more.”

“Ya know, it’d be badass if you’d let me bring it down and wrap it around your wrist.” He gripped Michael’s arm in his left hand as he leaned in closer to inspect the pattern. “You could definitely extend it further up your arm too, maybe take it up to your shoulder.” He brushed the sleeve of the other guy’s tee shirt back without a second thought. “It ends at a good place, high on your arm, but you could take it higher.”

Maria smacked Max’s hand away. “Don’t tell him that. It’s high enough!”

“Since when do you have an aversion to ink?” Max asked.

“I don’t, but I think it looks better this way than if it went all the way up his shoulder.”

“Well, since it’s his shoulder maybe he should decide.”

“It’s just an opinion,” Liz muttered as she slid Kyle’s fries and drink on the table.

“Oh, well, you would know all about opinions, wouldn’t you?” Max snarled at the waitress.

Maria shook her head at them. From the very first moment she could remember, Liz and Max had been antagonistic toward each other and she had no clue why.

“I’ll think about it,” Michael told him, bringing his sleeve back down.

Liz bit her lip to stop herself from responding to the taunt. The last thing she needed was a scene that would get her fired. “Did you need anything?” she asked, knowing if she didn’t he would be tempted to tell her manager that she was being rude to him. Again.

Max felt his anger notch up at her tone and his response was out before he could stop it. “A decent blowjob would be nice... but I’m guessin’ you wouldn’t know anything about that.”

Liz drew herself up to her full height, which was still too short for her to look down at him and she stalked right up to him, getting in his face as she reached up and gripped his left nipple, feeling the ring there and giving it a twist. “Considering what I’d have to work with...” she glanced down below his belt buckle. “I’ve had my lips around straws that took more work to suck.”

Michael and Kyle both choked on their drinks and couldn’t hold back the laughter as soon as they had swallowed. “Ouch, Evans.”

Maria frowned at them and crossed her arms over her chest, leaning forward when Liz stalked off again. “How does she know what your dick looks like, Max?”

Max glared at Maria. “If you think that’s an accurate description of my dick I’ll be happy to let you take a look.” God, that woman pissed him off more than anyone he’d ever known!

Kyle made a face. “Leave it where it is, Evans.”

“I don’t know why you insist on hangin’ out someplace where you’ve gotta put up with waitresses who have such shitty attitudes.”

Michael glanced up at Max. “The attitude only seems to come out around you. I’ve never had a problem with her.”

Kyle nodded. “Me neither. She seems pretty cool if ya ask me.”

“Yeah, what is your deal, Max? It’s like as soon as you see her you get all defensive,” Maria said as she leaned over to steal a fry from Kyle’s plate.

“Fine, defend her bitchy attitude. But I’m not the one who started this shit.”

“Well, you can’t be talking about me because I just got here,” Isabel said as she shoved Michael’s shoulder and sat down when he shifted over to make room for her. “I’m desperately in need of something alcoholic after the day I’ve had. Who’s havin’ a party tonight?”

“We’re gonna party at the guys’ place.” Maria wiggled her eyebrows and snatched another fry.

“Hey.” Kyle complained playfully, “you’re gonna have to lose weight, remember?” he teased.

“All men are assholes,” Isabel said as she grabbed Kyle’s plate and pulled it closer to her side of the table. “Why do guys feel the need to cheat? I mean, take a guy who’s getting what he needs and wants at home... why does he cheat?” She looked at the guys accusingly. “Can any of you explain that to me?”

“Wait,” Maria put her hands flat on the table. “Are you telling us that Richard cheated on you?”

“Yes! I caught him in our bed... MY bed with some white trash skank! I threw her out, told him to get out and do you know what that spineless bastard said to me?”

Michael tensed up. “Where’s that little prick now?”

“I’m in the middle of my story, Michael.” She patted his arm. “He looks at me with this long-suffering, exaggeratedly patient look on his face and says to call him when I’ve calmed down! Yeah, like I'm gonna call his cheating ass!”

“Damn,” Maria shook her head. “We definitely need some tequila tonight.”

“Oh, and to answer your question, little brother, I’m sure he’s out whoring it up with that little piece of white trash.” She sighed. “Now I have to go shopping.” She looked at Maria. “You free for an all out attack on the mall tomorrow? I’ve already called and scheduled to have the bedroom furniture taken away so I need new furniture.”

Michael’s eyebrows lifted. “Um, Iz, I thought Dad said that credit card was only for emergencies?”

“Well, duh! Pay attention, Michael! This can only be classified as an emergency! Where should I sleep? On the floor?”

“She’s right,” Maria agreed. “She can’t sleep in that bed again!”

Alex placed a ten dollar bill on the counter. “God, they make me sick.”

Liz smiled in appreciation at the tip. “They’re not all that bad.”

“Not all that bad?” He shook his head. “You obviously don’t live in the same building with them.”

She chuckled. “No.” But it couldn’t be any worse than her own living situation.

“Alright, I gotta go,” Max told the gang. “So, tonight?”

“What’s tonight?” a breathless voice asked and he turned, catching the small blonde when she tripped over... nothing.

“Tess?” Michael and Isabel both asked in surprise.

“Hi! I just knew I’d find you here when you weren’t at home.” She grabbed a chair from a nearby table, dragging it over and ignoring the protest from the guy sitting there.

“Hey!”

She turned and glared at him. “What? You’re not using it and it’s not like you’re with anyone. Tell your imaginary friends to use the other two chairs.” She rolled her eyes and set it down in front of the table where everyone was gathered. “So, I kinda just got into town,” she said with a big grin as she looked at her older brother and sister and pointedly ignored the other side of the table. “I kinda need a place to crash, so which one of you’s gonna let me sleep on their couch?”

Maria snorted silently. “Yeah, I bet.”

She shot a quick glare at the other girl and frowned when neither of her siblings jumped to offer her a place to stay.

“Um... hey, Iz, your apartment’s kinda lonely right now, right?” Michael tried.

She kicked him as hard as she could and only hoped that the heel of her leather boot would leave a sizeable bruise on his shin. “Well, she doesn’t want to stay with me,” she hedged.

Michael groaned. “Fine, Tess. You can stay with Kyle an’ me... but only a few nights,” he hurried to add. “How am I supposed to bring a girl home with me when my little sister’s sleepin’ on the couch?”

“Ungh, Michael, like I care what kinda freaky shit you get up to,” Tess said, rolling her eyes. “As long as I don’t have to see it, I don’t care.”

Maria glanced at her watch. She still had plenty of time before her appointment, but the air seemed to be getting thick inside of the café and she needed to get out. She got up from her seat and pulled a few dollars out of her pocket. “I gotta go.”

Kyle looked up at her. “Already?”

“Yeah, it’s getting too crowded in here for my taste,” she muttered.

“Okay,” he stood and pulled a few bills out of his wallet and threw them down on the table. “So, where’re we goin’?” he asked, sensing that something was wrong.

She shook her head. “Nah, you stay here. I know ya need to rest after your shift. I have an appointment with my hairdresser soon anyway. I’ll see you tonight, okay?”

“You sure? ‘Cause ya just kinda seem like something’s buggin’ you.”

Michael knew very well what was bugging his best friend. “What time is it?”

“Close to 5pm,” Kyle said as he glanced at his watch. “Looks like I’m flyin’ solo for a while and if we’re havin’ a party we’d better make a beer run.”

“Yeah, hold up, DeLuca. We’re gonna have to run by the liquor store and after that your wonderful boyfriend and I will drop ya off at your stupid hairdresser.”

“Hey, what about me?” Tess asked.

“You’re gonna stay here with me and tell me about your trip to Mom’s and why the hell you came back without tellin’ anyone,” Isabel told her sister sweetly.

“Where’d the guy with all the tats go? I think I’d rather spend time with him,” she grumbled.

“Oh, no, believe me, ya don’t,” Liz said as she came to the table.

“I don’t know... he was kinda hot. A little too broody for my taste, but it wasn’t really his personality I was interested in.”

Kyle snorted. “I think you should leave Evans alone,” he warned her. “He’s a good guy, but he’s not the right guy for you.”

Tess snorted. “I doubt that’s any of your business.”

He shook his head at his best friend’s little sister. “One of these days that smart little mouth of yours is gonna get you in trouble.”

“Can we leave now?” Maria asked impatiently.

“Let’s go,” Michael said as he dropped his money on the table with everyone else’s and made sure to leave a substantial tip. “Hey, Iz, you in the mood for tequila tonight or you want somethin’ else?”

“Anything that drowns my misery will just work fine for me.”

He grinned. “I’ve got ya covered.” He pushed the doors open and put his sunglasses on as he stepped out into the sunlight. When the time was right he would track his sister’s ex down and let him know that he didn’t appreciate the way she had been treated. But first... first, they needed to party and some of them needed to drown their sorrows and forget their pain for a while.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 4

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:03 am

kismet: Lol, glad that made ya laugh. Oh, they’re gonna be like that for a while. Max and Liz… well, that’s a story that’s gonna take a while to come out.

We’ll get a look into that in this next part.

It’s gonna take time, but we’re gonna get them where they’re supposed to be.

Earth2Mama: So… um… have you processed? Or did we fry your processor? :)

Natalie36: Lol, hope we didn’t fry your processor.

keepsmiling7: Cool, ‘cause it’s gonna take some time.

Yeah, she gives as good as she gets.

Thanks!

begonia9508: Happy New Year to you too. And thanks for the wish!

Max does have his issues… and they’re gonna take time to discover.

Their history… also gonna take time to discover.

She’s Isabel. Would we expect any different from her? :)

Alien_Friend: Aww, we’re glad ya got to catch the updates before going outta town.

No, right now Maria cannot stand Tess. We’ll get our first look at what Tess did in this next part.

The story behind RP… well, we’re certain there’s a story there and it’s quite possible that it’ll come out eventually.

Kyle remains clueless on this one.

Michael does create designs for Max. We agree that the stud would be much hotter… and Maria’s already tossed her vote in too, so we’re pretty sure he’ll do what she thinks is best.

Yeah, Alex isn’t having any fun at all right now.

We’ll see more of that as we go along.

Happy New Year to you too!

killjoy: Ah, the first impressions… gotta love ‘em. :) Hopefully as the stories unravel they’ll grow on ya.

What did Tess do? Well, we’re gonna get a look into that in this next update.

mary mary: Do Max and Liz have history? We’ll find out in time.

Cardinal: Oh, it’s not gonna happen all at once. And there’s a reason why Kyle and Maria being together hasn’t brought things into focus for Michael.

Stay tuned… the story between Max and Liz will unfold.

Eva:

weird but why not


Thanks! We thought the same thing.

And the game is underway… let the good times roll!

We’re glad you’re ready, ‘cause so are we.

guelbebek: Yup, you were right. Oh, the mess will be solved… slowly. But you already knew that, didn’t you? ;) Better as friends… you’d be surprised.

kay_b: Well, we do like a bit of complicated.

We’d love to hear your spin on it, lol.

rosyrosy2882: We think it’ll be worth it.

Yup, with that much hate there has to be some serious passion boiling beneath the surface.

Already redirecting Tess, huh? Lol, we’ll see how that plays out.

Alex… keep reading.

Thanks!

sarammlover: Hey, we’re glad you’re here! We’re happy you like the characters here. Alex, very glad you like him the most!

sptfire86: Hmm… not a glowing endorsement for AT&T. Perhaps the one of us who was considering a switch might be rethinking that now, lol. Glad you liked the Max and Liz scene. A loooooooong road… lol, sounds like you already know we tend to write novels. Yeah, it’s true and we can’t deny it. :)




Thanks so much to all of you for the great feedback! We love it, thanks for taking the time to write it!


Part 4

Finders keepers, losers weepers!

Isabel watched her younger sister as she rearranged the stack of bills lying on the table, turning them this way and that way in an effort to avoid an actual conversation. “You know this isn’t gonna get you out of talkin’ to me so you might as well just tell me why you just showed up without letting anyone know you were comin’.”

“No reason,” Tess said and shrugged.

“Uh-huh, does Dad know you’re here?”

“Well… no. Mom knows I’m here.”

“Uh-huh, well, Mom would have to know since you live with her, wouldn’t she?”

“You know, you can be a real bitch when you wanna be, Iz.”

“You just happened to choose the worst day of the year to come flyin’ in unannounced.”

“Why?” Tess asked, puzzled.

“Because I came home and found my dick of a boyfriend in bed with another woman.”

“Ungh, seriously? Told ya Richard was a waste of time.”

“Thank you, Tess... that makes me feel sooo much better.”

“Hey, I’m sorry, okay?” Tess said.

Isabel shrugged. “It’s no big deal. Better to know before he asked me to marry him... God, that would’ve been a nightmare!”

“You’re not... I don’t know... sad or anything?”

“Well...” Isabel tossed her hair back over her shoulder. “I mean, yeah, but what’s the point of cryin’ about it? Will it make what I saw this afternoon disappear? No. So, what’s the point of...” She wiped a hand over her eyes when she felt them fill and she cursed her younger sister’s question.

Tess knew this stubborn attitude of Isabel’s all too well since she and Michael were just alike. She got up and sat down next to her, hugging one arm around her. “Ya know, I think I had pretty good timing with my arrival back in New York.”

“Why? Did you pack an assassin in your luggage?”

Tess snorted. “Nah, but I am good at distracting my sister from her broken heart.”

“Uh-huh, and you intend to do this how?”

“We’ll think about it. From what I heard we’ll start with a party tonight...”

Isabel glanced over her sister’s appearance and shook her head. “Okay, where’s your luggage because you can’t go to a party lookin’ like this.”

Tess groaned. “Don’t ask.”

“Airline lost it, huh?” Isabel asked knowingly.

“Yeah, it’s in another state and won’t be here anytime soon. So, whatcha say about a quick stop at the mall?”

“Perfect! Shopping always makes me feel better.”

“Let’s go then!”

Isabel stood and turned to leave but a moment later she glanced around to make sure no one was looking and tossed another bill on the table. Michael was always on her ass to leave decent tips because he claimed waitresses didn’t make much money and even though she didn’t know if that was true or not, she always tried to leave a little something extra because she knew it made the blockhead feel better.

*****

Michael pulled up and parked at the entrance to the park where he and Maria liked to jog and he reached over to poke her when she didn’t move to get out of the truck. He never took the Camaro out when they were doing anything that might potentially damage the interior, so trips like this were limited to the Avalanche he had picked up his second year in college.

“Hey, you wanna talk about it?” He rolled his eyes when she stubbornly shook her head and he leaned forward to pull his tee shirt off and pulled on the tank top lying on the console between them. “I know you weren’t expecting to see Tess today... hell, I wasn’t expectin’ to see her today, but I know things are kinda weird between the two of you, so just get it out... yell, hit somethin’,” he made a face. “You can even cry if ya wanna, but just say what’s on your mind.”

“How the hell can she just walk in like this?” Maria suddenly exploded.

Um-hmm, and there it was – he had known she was ready to blow. His younger sister and Maria had been roommates up until six months ago when she had suddenly just up and left without a word of explanation, going to stay with their mother and leaving Maria hanging in an apartment that she could barely afford WITH a roommate. He waited patiently, knowing that speaking too soon would have her turning that anger on him.

“I mean she just left without a single word to me and here she is, pretending that nothing happened and ignoring me as if I wasn’t even there.” She pushed the door open roughly. “What the hell did I do to her?”

Oh boy, he thought, wincing. He had no excuses for his little sister. Yeah, he had known it was bad but she had kinda held most of it in before this. She was letting him have it with both barrels. “I don’t know why she left like she did, Maria, and if I’d known she was comin’ back I would’ve warned you.”

“I hope she isn’t staying with you for long ‘cause I’m not coming over and hanging out while she’s there.”

“Not... Maria, you can’t just not hang out ‘cause my sister’s there! Most of the time you stay over ‘cause Kyle needs to be closer to the station house when he’s on-call... c’mon, she won’t be there for long, I’ll talk Iz into takin’ her.”

“Guess Kyle’s just gonna have to sleep alone for the next few nights then,” Maria said stubbornly.

Michael rolled his eyes. His sister and Maria could fight like crazy and he had a feeling that when they finally decided to deal with things it was gonna be a huge fight that he wasn’t gonna want to be around for. “No reason to punish him just ‘cause the two of you aren’t getting along right now.”

Maria shrugged. “He’s barely gonna be home anyway. If I remember right his shifts right now are a little sucky and he’s gonna be there more than at home. Same as yours,” she said and shoved his shoulder.

“Yeah, well… summer, ya know? People get crazy when it’s this hot out day after day.”

“I’ll see if I can pick up some extra classes at the gym I guess. I could use the money and it’s good training.”

“Uh-huh,” he said, grinning and shoving her. “Just a bonus it’s an air conditioned facility, huh?”

She grinned and ran her hands along her sides. “And it helps to keep this amazingly sexy body in shape.”

His gaze moved over her and he chuckled. “Guess you’d better do that then ‘cause if you’ve got another session with that photographer from today he’s gonna see all those fries you were chowin’ down on earlier,” he teased. He reached out to pinch her side and snorted like a pig. He grinned at her expression and took off running before she could retaliate.

“Guerin, you’re a dead man!” she shouted, running after him.

Michael stayed ahead of her easily, his longer legs giving him an advantage. He slowed down after a few minutes to let her catch up. “I’m a dead man, huh?” He laughed and held his arms out at his sides. “Hit me with your best shot.”

Maria grinned at his offer and curled her right hand into a fist, punching his side and laughing when he winced. “I am teaching a Tae Bo class, did ya forget?”

“You’re startin’ to get violent,” he complained. “Nobody better mess with you.”

“Yeah, especially not some stupid photographer who tells me I’m fat!” They both fell into the same pace and stayed quiet while they were running through the park.

Maria rolled her eyes when they passed a bunch of girls who nearly fell on their faces while they drooled over Michael. “Next time you’re gonna leave the tee shirt on,” she complained.

He grinned and shook his head. “Nah, might as well show off the goods.” He winked at her and motioned at what she was wearing. “Last time you wore that when we went joggin’ that poor guy ran into a tree ‘cause he was starin’ at you… remember that?”

She shrugged with a grin and wiped some sweat from her cleavage. “Damn heat, it’s still so hot.”

“Yeah, doesn’t seem to really start coolin’ down until around three or four in the mornin’.” He used the shoulder of his shirt to wipe his forehead and he glanced at her. “They get that problem with your air conditioner fixed?” It had gone out the week before and they had fixed it but then after a couple of days it had started acting up again.

She just glanced at him, shaking her head.

“Maria, you can’t stay in that apartment with no air… it’s too hot, you’ll pass out. You know how many calls we get about people passin’ out in this heat?” He didn’t offer money for a hotel room because he knew she’d tell him where to stick it. “If you won’t stay over at our place, what about one of the girls? Isabel would let you crash at her place.”

“I’m not home that often anyway,” she told him. “If it gets to be too much I can go stay with my mom and Cody. I don’t wanna ask Isabel, ya know she hates havin’ a roommate and God, ya know I love her, but she’s demanding! I need some peace when I get home.”

He laughed out loud at her description of his older sister. “Yeah, that’s true. Alright then,” he shrugged and motioned to the curve in the path where a vendor had set up a cart with water and other drinks. “Hey, my dad’s gonna barbeque this weekend… Saturday afternoon. He already call you about comin’ out?”

Maria made a face. “No, but if he tried to reach me at home then it’s no wonder. They disconnected my land line again.”

He didn’t comment. Her home phone was turned off every other month at least. “Well, ya know you’re invited and it’ll be fun.”

“I’ll see if my boss gives me the day off,” she agreed.

“Ungh, which one?”

“Well, I’m not instructing any fitness classes on the weekends, so ya know which one.”

“The agency? What’s the job this time?” He wiggled his eyebrows playfully. “If it’s somethin’ hot I’ll come hang out on the set.”

She rolled her eyes. “It’s actually a shoot for a promotion of some wild party that’s gonna be here in the city. Forgot the name…but yeah, probably models with very little clothing. I haven’t been chosen for the shoot yet though and if it’s the same photographer from today I bet I won’t get it.”

“Let the guy complain. Ya know he’s full of it.”

“Yeah, I know. But the pay’s gonna be good so I’m still hopin’ to get picked for it.”

Michael nodded as they finally reached the vendor. “Lemme get a couple waters, chief.” He looked at Maria and shrugged. “Who cares what he thinks anyway? What matters is the client lookin’ at the photos, right? If they like the pics then that idiot will have no choice but to do the shoot if he wants to keep the job. You’ll get the job,” he said matter-of-factly.

Maria took the water from him as he held one out to her and she took a sip before spilling some of it onto her hand, using it to wet her cleavage. “Can I shower at your place before the party? I don’t wanna go home again since I’d just be all sweaty again the moment I stepped out my front door.”

“Yeah, of course.” His eyes followed her movements unconsciously.

“Cool. I hope Tess doesn’t block the bathroom all day like she used to,” she rolled her eyes. It was still hard to believe that the girl was back as if she had never left.

“Well, ya know how my apartment is… turn on the right faucet in the kitchen and the water in the bathroom turns cold as ice.” He grinned wickedly. “I know how to get her outta there. If you’re gonna be stayin’ over at your mom’s place you wanna take my truck so you don’t have to take the subway?” he asked, knowing to get from her mom’s place to either of her jobs she’d have to be on the subway either very late or very early and neither of them lived in upper class areas. They weren’t bad neighborhoods, but the subway could be dangerous for a woman traveling along, especially at those hours.

“Taking the truck would mean no drinking and seriously… we wanna party, right?” She shrugged. “I guess I’ll stay with Kyle tonight and slip out early so I don’t have to deal with her in the mornin’.”

He nodded and controlled the urge to throw his fist up in the air triumphantly. He loved getting his way. All he said though was, “Cool.” He finished his water and tossed the bottle in the trash nearby. “Alright, let’s head back and get ready to knock the pictures off Whitman’s walls.” He grinned. “I got that new sound system I’ve been lookin’ at… figure if we crank it up, we’ll rattle the guy’s cage for sure.”

She snorted. “I’ll bet it’ll be more like another girl and you that’ll be rattling his cage.”

He grinned unrepentantly. “Whatever works.” He shook his head. “I don’t get why the guy’s so uptight… jeez, have a little fun, ya know?”

“Yeah, I know! I mean, he doesn’t have to be a male slut like you are,” she grinned and bumped his side with her hip, “but what about a bit of fun and a party? We won’t be young forever and life will get boring soon enough.”

“Right? Jeez, I’ll bet he’ll be bangin’ on the door before things really get goin’… how much ya wanna bet?”

“Maybe we should just drag him in and lock him in your bathroom,” she suggested, lifting her tank top slightly to wipe the sweat from her face as they jogged back to the car.

“Doubt that’s gonna help his disposition any.” He shrugged. “Not our problem,” he decided.

“Did Max do the piercing?” she asked after a while of running in silence.

“Yeah. Why? Does it look jacked up or somethin’?”

“No, it looks fine just like everything that Max does. You should really rethink the tattoo thing though. I think the one on your arm looks good the way it is.” They slowed down when they neared his truck and she grabbed his arm. “I mean, maybe you could let him extend it further down to your wrist, but not to your shoulder.”

“So, what? You think it’d look better if I let him run it down and take it around my wrist?”

She nodded. “Definitely better than the other option.”

“Okay, what’s up with not goin’ higher with the tat?”

She shrugged. “I just think it won’t look that good anymore if you do that.”

“Huh. Okay. You wanna grab somethin’ to eat before we get back? Kyle’s probably up by now.” His roommate had passed out as soon as he had hit the couch.

“Yeah, what about one of those extremely delicious burgers they make at that nice little diner over by your apartment?” Her stomach growled at the thought of it.

He grinned. “Oh, Sal’s place? Good idea.” The man who owned the little diner made the best burgers in the neighborhood.

She groaned in anticipation. “Now I can’t wait to take the first bite of it.” They reached the truck and she pulled a towel out of it, wiping the sweat from her body. “Michael!” she called when he was about to climb in behind the steering wheel. “Aren’t you forgetting somethin’?”

“Huh?” he asked, puzzled.

“Stretching, I need your help.”

“What?”

She rolled her eyes. “Stretching. Remember? I told you I’m gonna be teaching some stretching and relaxation classes soon and I need to be very… well, stretchy for it.”

“Very stretchy,” he muttered under his breath. “Oh, right. Sorry, thinkin’ ‘bout that burger now. You shouldn’t have mentioned Sal’s before this.”

“Think you can hold yourself up long enough to give me a hand first?” she asked, shaking her head at him.

“Guess I’ll have to otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it.”

She grinned and looked around for a good place to lie down in the grass. “Over here,” she told him, leading the way.

“Ya know, that burger would be a lot more fun,” he said as he followed her.

“Ya know, maybe I should ask one of those guys over there. I bet they wouldn’t complain that much about it. Bet they’d love it.”

“Whatever,” he snorted. “C’mon, let’s get started.”

She lay down on the ground and lifted her right leg up. “Alright, push it down.”

Michael grabbed the bottom of her foot and pushed. “You got any classes at the gym tomorrow?”

“Nah, I’m off from everything tomorrow.”

“Cool. Wanna take Cody to the aquarium? They’ve got a new shark exhibit I’ll bet he’d love.”

She smiled. “The little man would so love that.” She put her right leg down and pulled up the left.

Michael nodded. “How’s your mom doin’?” Normally he stopped by to visit but the past few weeks had been crazy at work and he hadn’t had much time.

“Ya know her. She’s working from her office at home and trying to make Cody’s life as enjoyable as possible.”

“I’ve kinda put off askin’ about his last appointment ‘cause ya hadn’t said anything.”

She shrugged, glancing to the side. “It’s always the same, ya know?”

Michael nodded, not pursuing it when he saw the sadness in her eyes before she looked away. Her little brother had been born with a heart defect that would one day require a transplant, but his condition had been deteriorating more rapidly than the doctors had anticipated and they all knew that time was running out. “Maybe I should change your nickname from RP to Gumby, whatcha think?” he asked, providing resistance when she pushed against his hand to stretch her leg.

“Yeah, if I can call you slut-butt,” she teased.

He snorted and nearly choked. “I don’t think that’s even a word, but I think I can live without that one.”

“Yeah, thought so.” She groaned when he pushed again. “God, I think that has to be enough.”

“Weak!” he huffed and shook his head. He grinned to let her know he was teasing and rubbed her calf before releasing her leg. “C’mon, I think it’s burger time,” he said and held his hands out to her.

“Definitely,” she agreed, taking his hands. “And we’re not bringin’ anything for your sister.”

He snickered. “Not getting involved in that one.”

*****

Kyle was barely awake when he heard the key turning in the front door and he yawned widely, scratching his chest as he sat up and looked around blearily. He rubbed his hands over his face and pushed Loco away when the ferret hung over the arm of the couch to sniff his forehead. The little animal chirped and scurried up to walk along the back of the furniture, hoping to entice him to play.

He and Michael had rescued the animal more than a year before when Isabel had discovered it in the hallway and tried to brain it with a broom. She had thought it was a rat loose in the building but it had turned out to be a pet that someone had thoughtlessly abandoned. No one had claimed the little creature and they had only intended to keep it until a reasonable amount of time had passed and if no one came for it they were going to take it to the humane shelter. That time had long since come and gone and the animal that had been christened Loco had somehow ended up being the mascot for party central.

The ferret loved the parties and he was an endless source of amusement whether they were drunk or sober. He was a highly social creature and his antics had made him quite popular, especially with the girls who came to the parties and thought he was “just sooo cute!” He glanced over his shoulder when the door opened and Isabel stepped inside, smiling until she saw Loco perched on top of the couch.

“God, Kyle, can’t you put that thing in a cage?”

He chuckled sleepily. “That’s what all the girls say.”

“Ungh, the way you talk about your dick is perverse.”

Kyle just got to his feet and gave her a lazy grin. “Have you finished wreaking havoc on the local malls?”

She snorted and bypassed him with a couple of sacks of items from the store. “Nowhere near finished; today’s trip was just to get Tess some clothes.” She rolled her eyes and set the sacks on the island, rolling her eyes as she looked around the apartment. “I know you two bought more than this,” she said, gesturing to the bottles lined up on one counter.

“So, what’d you do with the kid? Leave ‘er in the car?”

Isabel just looked at him. “I cracked the windows,” she deadpanned.

Kyle stared at her for several seconds before he burst out laughing. “I know you didn’t leave her in your car no matter how tempted you might’ve been, and no way you left her in your apartment all alone, so what’d you do with her?”

She grinned and pulled out a couple of mixers and set them aside. “I told her she could park my car.”

“Uh-huh… unless you have the valet park your car you’re gonna drive around for hours lookin’ for a place to park.”

“You know that and I know that. Tess just thought it was cool that I was lettin’ her drive my BMW.”

He snorted and glanced down when Loco chirped and flipped around crazily on the floor. “You know if she figures it out she’ll park someplace where you’re gonna get towed just to piss you off.”

“Who’s gonna piss ya off?” Michael asked as Maria and he walked into the apartment, carrying some bags with burgers.

Kyle shook his head. “Iz put the kid behind the wheel of her car an’ told her to park it.” His eyebrows lifted in interest when he saw the sacks with Sal’s logo on the front. “Tell me you brought enough to share and I’ll love you forever,” he said with a grin.

Michael snorted. “She’ll be out there for hours.”

Maria walked over to the kitchen and pulled several plates out. “Your love is so easy, huh?”

He just grinned and rubbed his stomach. “What can I say? I’m easy.”

“That’s for fuckin’ sure,” Isabel muttered under her breath.

Michael laughed and nudged her with his elbow as he passed her. “You’d better call down and have one of the valets flag her down before she does park somewhere she shouldn’t.”

“I don’t mind if she’s down there for a while longer,” Maria muttered.

That wish evaporated into thin air as the door to the apartment was thrown open and Tess walked in, her expression irritated. “You are soooo wrong for that, Iz,” she growled.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 5

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:38 am

Alien_Friend: No, from what we know so far… not cool at all.

Michael and Maria are the best of friends. Kyle not being concerned about it… well, we’ll learn more about that as we go.

Cody doesn’t have it easy but he’s surrounded by a lot of people who love him. Amy’s great and we will be seeing more of her as the story progresses.

Isabel is funny and we’ll see more of that too.

mary mary: Michael and Isabel are finding their way around Tess again. They’re a close group but the way she left was a shock but they’ll find their footing around each other again. Oh, Alex isn’t going to be getting any peace and quiet anytime soon.

Lol, you could be right about that!

begonia9508: It is for them too, lol. The exercise is just a benefit on the side.

Earth2Mama: A man could definitely be involved… and probably is, lol.

Oh, they’ll explain as the story progresses.

We’ll get to see a LOT of that friendship dynamic between Michael and Maria.

rosyrosy2882: Things are not always as they appear at first in this fic. ;)

Yup, Michael and Maria are awesome as best friends here.

Cardinal: Hmm, that’s one possibility, isn’t it?

It’s true, there would seem to be a lack of courtesy there. We’ll learn more as the story progresses though. The parties, as we’ll learn, are always open to their neighbors. Alex is the one person in the building who complains and since he and Michael got off on the wrong foot in the beginning… Michael’s made it his goal in life to aggravate Alex.

killjoy: You hit the nail on the head!

Lol, you’re very right about that.

Eva: Exactly! Those reasons will be explored as the story moves along.

Oh, all of those questions will be answered, but it’s going to take time for things to begin to unravel.

sarammlover: Lol, hopefully it’ll work itself out. Michael and Maria are best friends and we’ll see a lot of that in this story. The deal with Tess… is going to take time to fully discover.



Part 5

New Bondings – Old Habits

“Wow, that was quick,” Isabel said, grinning.

“Yeah, only because one of the building valets saw me driving in circles and flagged me down.”

“We brought food,” Michael offered, ignoring the death glares Maria was shooting at him.

“Really?” Tess bounded across the room, avoiding Maria and stopping between her brother and sister.

Maria rolled her eyes and took some of the burgers with her as she sat down next to Kyle. She groaned, her muscles aching from all the working out she had been doing lately to prepare for her new classes at the gym.

Kyle glanced up from the burger he was devouring to look at her. “Wha’s wrong?” he mumbled.

“Just some stiff muscles.”

He reached over to rub her thigh. “You’re workin’ too hard.” He knew why she pushed herself the way she did and he had a lot of respect for her because of it. They had been friends long before anything physical had developed between them and neither of them expected it to last long. There was no serious commitment between them but they were enjoying each other while it lasted.

One day it would run its course and that part of their relationship would come to an end. He knew when that happened neither of them would regret it or mourn it. Their time together would be a pleasant memory and knowing them they’d probably joke about it when it came up.

She smirked. “You work just as much and just as hard as me.”

“Yeah, but at least I’ve just got the one job.”

“I won’t be teaching as many fitness classes when college classes start up again,” she took a bite of her burger and chewed on it slowly.

“Um-hmm, but I know you,” he said as he reached for the fries. “You’ll find somethin’ else to do.”

“Yeah.” She thought about it. “You’re probably right.” She wasn’t the type who enjoyed lying around lazily. She wanted action, meeting new friends, having fun. Enjoying her life as much as possible.

“Probably right,” he scoffed. “I’m always right.” He looked down when Loco stood up between them, front claws gripping the cushion as he peered up at them. His right paw shifted to Kyle’s leg when he saw the fries in the man’s hand and he chattered excitedly.

Maria chuckled. “Someone’s hungry,” she reached out to stroke the animal’s head. “But ya won’t have any luck with Kyle, Loco. He’s not sharing any food with anyone.”

The ferret wasn’t interested in anything but the French fries and when no one offered him one he reached for the bag on the couch between them.

“Oh, no, ya don’t,” Michael reached for Loco and pulled him away and up into his arms before he could reach the food.

“I can’t believe you guys kept him,” Tess said, watching her brother play with the ferret to distract the animal from the food.

“Why? We let you stay here, don’t we?” Michael told his sister, grinning.

“I think Loco’s a better roommate,” Maria muttered.

Tess ignored her comment and sat down in one of the armchairs, taking a burger out of the bags.

“So, Dad never said anything about you comin’ home, Tess,” Michael said once Loco had been distracted and he was busy playing with one of his toys on the floor.

“Well, guess it’s because I didn’t tell him I was comin’ back.” She shrugged. “It was a spontaneous decision.”

“Uh-huh, kinda like your spontaneous decision to leave?”

“Yeah, kinda.” Her decision to leave hadn’t been totally spontaneous. She just hadn’t told anyone about the idea.

“What was up with that?” Michael asked. “I mean, not a word about it before you just packed your shit up and took off.”

Tess hated that all the attention seemed to be on her right now. She didn’t want to talk about her reasons for leaving with anyone. “I knew you would’ve tried to convince me to stay if I had told you guys earlier.”

“Just weird that you didn’t tell anyone you were takin’ off. I mean, you didn’t even tell the kid and you tell her everything,” he said, talking about their youngest sister. “Just for the record, she’s still pissed at you.”

“She’s not the only one,” Maria muttered as she got up to get something to drink.

“So are you gonna tell Dad you’re back or just spring it on him by showin’ up at the barbeque on Saturday?” Isabel asked curiously.

“I think I’ll call him tomorrow,” Tess answered, suddenly not feeling that hungry anymore.

“How’s Mom doin’?” Michael asked when he noticed that Tess was starting to feel trapped by all of the questions. No, he didn’t like what she’d done to Maria and he didn’t understand it, but he didn’t want to make her feel bad either.

“She has this weird new boyfriend,” she complained. “Ungh... one of the reasons I came back, I can’t stand the guy.”

“Weird?” Isabel echoed.

“Yeah... he’s... Ungh, I can’t describe it. Ya have to meet him for yourself.”

“Not like bad or anything though, right?” Michael clarified.

“No, nothin’ like that. He treats her good, it’s just that I don’t understand what she sees in him.”

“Oh, well, since the divorce Mom’s been pretty flaky when it comes to the guys she dates,” Isabel said as she pulled a beer out of the fridge and uncapped it. “You guys remember the guy she dated a few years back... you know, that circus performer? Now he was weird.”

“God, don’t remind me,” Tess shook her head, amused.

“He wasn’t as weird as that other guy,” Michael said. “Remember the mime? God, that guy was annoying!”

Maria pulled her legs up on the couch, resting her head against the armrest. She wasn’t interested in participating in the conversation and she felt incredibly tired after eating.

“Hey,” Kyle rested his hand on her hip, “you wanna go lay down in my room while we get things ready?”

“Uh-huh, yeah,” she answered quietly.

He gave her a hand up and smacked her ass playfully when she passed him. “Don’t drool on my pillow.”

She turned and flipped him off with a wink before she went into his room.

“She’s gonna burn out if she keeps workin’ like this,” he said after she had gone.

Michael glanced at the now closed bedroom door. “Yeah, I know.”

“How’s Cody doin’?” Isabel asked as she leaned back against one of the counters.

“Not better, that’s for sure,” Michael said worriedly.

She shook her head sadly. Maria had a lot on her plate and tonight she was going to take a break from life. “Alright, you guys, let’s get ready to party.”

“Yeah, I’ll make a few calls,” Kyle said, getting his cell. Normally they just had to call like five people and in the end the apartment would be crowded.

Isabel walked over to Michael and grasped his chin in her hand as she turned his head to the side to study the ring over his eye. “Go with the stud,” she advised.

“Go with the stud,” he mocked.

“Mock me all you want, little brother, but I’m tellin’ you, the ring is not the look you want. The stud has a more masculine look, especially for a guy like you.” She shuddered. “Besides, rings can get caught on things and the last thing you wanna do is get it caught on something and rip it out.”

*****

“Hey do we have limes for the tequila?” Tess asked a while later as she glanced around the kitchen. Oh, she had missed New York parties!

“Lemons and limes are in the bottom drawer in the fridge,” Kyle called from across the room where he was crouched down pulling bottles out of one of the bottom cabinets.

“No, they aren’t.”

“Guerin, you were supposed to grab the lemons and limes when we stopped at the store,” Kyle grumbled.

Michael grinned. “Got sidetracked by a pair of melons,” he said, thinking about the babe with the large breasts he had run into in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket. And yes, she had been invited to the party.

“Ungh, no wonder Maria calls you a male slut,” Isabel said. “Go back to the store and focus on lemons and limes,” she ordered.

He groaned. “Seriously? Out in the heat again?”

“Michael.” Her tone held the warning threat that she had used to get her way with him since they were kids.

“Uh-oh, I’m goin’, okay? Anything else we forgot?”

“WE?” Kyle repeated. “WE didn’t forget anything, YOU did.”

“Shut up, Valenti,” he told his friend as he was on his way out the door again.

“I think he needs to get laid,” the other guy said loudly. “Might help his attitude!”

Isabel snorted. “Bet it won’t take that long before it happens.”

“I’ve got a twenty-spot that says by eleven o’clock tonight,” Kyle said. He and Isabel would bet against each other on just about anything.

“Hmm...” she chewed on her lip. “I think I’ll put my money on midnight.”

He grinned and pulled a twenty out of his wallet and threw it on the counter. “You’re on.”

“You’re seriously bettin’ on Michael’s sex life?” Tess asked.

“Nothing’s sacred, kid,” he muttered. “We’ll bet on anybody’s sex life.”

“Yours as well?” she asked, more out of her own interest.

“Hell, yeah.” He grinned and pointed at Isabel. “And since you’re a free agent again, looks like you’ll be on the prowl before long.”

“So you an’ Maria... it’s just... what?” Tess pushed further. Was she being too obvious?

“Maria and I are good friends who happen to hook up on occasion.” He shrugged. “We’re not married and we’re not serious. We’re just lookin’ to have a good time and we enjoy our arrangement.”

Isabel made a face. “Sounds very romantic.”

“It serves its purpose.” He shrugged. “At least we don’t have to worry about the other person cheatin’ on us ‘cause there’s no commitment there.”

“Do you make out with others in front of each other?”

He shrugged. “Like I said, it’s not a committed relationship.”

Isabel nodded. “Huh, it’s probably not that bad. I’m pretty sure any serious boyfriend of hers wouldn’t be able to deal with Michael anyway.”

“Why d’you say that?” Tess asked.

Kyle snorted. “You’ve seen the two of them together, haven’t you?”

“Yeah,” Isabel agreed. “Come on, no other guy would deal with Michael being around her the way he always is.”

“But that doesn’t bother you, Kyle?” Tess asked.

“Like I said, we’re not a serious couple and I’ve known them for a long time now. I know how they act around each other.”

Tess just shook her head. What was the point of being with someone if you knew it wasn’t going anywhere?

“You can be glad that you’re a friend of Michael’s. I know times he used to go after every guy Maria was meeting. The poor guys didn’t have a chance,” Isabel remembered, amused at those times in high school.

“Hell, she’d be the same damn way about the girls if he ever showed any interest in them beyond a couple of nights.”

“Think that’ll happen one day?” Tess asked doubtfully.

“What, him actually bein’ interested in someone beyond sex?” Isabel asked as she browsed through the alcohol lined up on the counter.

“Yeah.”

Isabel and Kyle exchanged a look before shaking their heads and speaking at the same time. “Nah.”

Only if the blockhead opened his eyes and saw what was right in front of him, Isabel thought, but kept it to herself.

“What about you?” Tess asked Kyle.

“Huh?”

“Think you’d ever be able to stay with just one girl?”

He shrugged. “Why?”

“Just curious.” She pretended to be busy in the kitchen so she didn’t have to look at him.

“I don’t know... just one girl?” He scratched his chin thoughtfully as he imagined that and after several long seconds he snorted. “Nah, not anytime soon anyway. I mean, what’s the point, ya know? People think they’re with the right person and they get cheated on or they get dumped... why put yourself through that?”

“Right!” Isabel shouted into the air. “They cheat and betray you! I don’t wanna deal with that anymore either. Not in the near future at least.”

“See?” He poured a couple of shots of tequila and handed one to her. “Here’s to no-strings sex... and may there be plenty of it!”

“Hurray,” Tess mumbled, less excited than the other two.

*****

Michael wiped the sweat from his face and winced when he accidently brushed against his new piercing. Damn, yeah, he knew a stud would be better, but he was just waiting a while longer so the girls wouldn’t feel like they had convinced him.

He stopped when he walked past the café they hung out at and saw Liz closing up for the day. She was balancing several grocery bags with her left arm while she tried to lock the door with the other. Another bag leaned against her leg on the ground. “Here, let me help you,” he offered and took the bags from her.

She turned around in surprise, but smiled when she saw a familiar face. “Oh, thanks.”

“Isn’t there anyone who can pick ya up?” He would never let Maria or one of his sister’s walk around this part of the town alone if he could prevent it.

“Um, it’s not that far,” she said, not wanting to explain her situation.

“I can walk ya home.”

Liz shook her head and smiled in appreciation. “No, that’s alright, but thank you.”

“You sure?” he asked doubtfully when she grabbed the bags from him and struggled to hold them. “I can help ya take that home and then you could come over to our place for the party?”

“A party?” God, a party... a normal night out for someone her age. It was a tempting, but fleeting thought. “Oh, no, I’m taking summer classes and I’ve got a lot of homework to do.”

“Really? I haven’t seen ya on campus.”

“You’re takin’ summer classes?”

He shrugged. “Need ‘em for my job.”

“Oh, right.” She shook her head. “Anyway, yes, I am in summer classes. I take mine early in the morning because of my job.”

He smirked at her. “No chance of convincin’ ya, huh?”

She smiled tiredly. “I wish, but I’ve really got too much to do.”

“Alright. I not gonna let ya walk home alone though. Which direction are we goin’?” he asked as he took the bags from her again.

Liz bit her bottom lip. The last thing she wanted was to run into Trent while another guy was walking her home. “It’s... I mean... it’s really not that far.”

“Where is it?”

Damn, he wasn’t going to let it go. “Look, I appreciate it, but you were obviously going somewhere and – “

“And what? Party at my apartment will be on all night so I won’t miss anything.” He finally gave in when he noticed that she was really uncomfortable. “Got a jealous boyfriend at home, huh?”

Oh, she had something at home that was for sure. Did she want to walk home alone at this time of night? No. She lived nearly a dozen blocks from the café and she hated the walk late at night, but the alternative was dealing with Trent in an even worse mood than usual and it just wasn’t worth the hassle. She just smiled. “Somethin’ like that.” She took the sacks from him. “Thanks for the offer though. Enjoy the party.”

He helped her to get a good hold of her groceries. “Tell your somethin’-like-a-boyfriend that he sucks for lettin’ his girl walk home alone at this time of night.” He winked at her as he headed in the direction of his apartment.

She’d like to tell him more than that, but how could she? He was a jerk more often than not, but she needed him to survive right now. She couldn’t risk him throwing her and Aaron out on the streets and without him she knew that’s where she'd be.

“Were ya just talkin’ to that bitchy waitress?” Max asked as he approached Michael from behind. He had been on his way over to the apartment when he spotted them.

“Why don’t you get off her ass?” Michael said, slowing so Max could catch up with him.

He shrugged. “Just can’t really stand her. She thinks she’s so much better than us and hell, she isn’t. One day she’s gonna look back at her life and realize that she didn’t even try to live it.”

“And maybe she’s got a reason for bein’ the way she is. I know she’s got a reason for actin’ like she does around you.”

“And that would be?”

“Don’t act like you don’t know, Evans. You’re not that stupid unless all that ink in your skin’s gone toxic and seeped into your brain.”

He shoved Michael, laughing as they entered the building. “Shut up, Guerin, or I’m gonna make your next tat a nightmare.”

“Whatever. You have any idea what kinda shit I’m getting from the girls over this?” he asked and motioned to his newest piercing.

“Come over tomorrow and we’ll change it to a stud.”

“Huh-uh, too soon. I can’t have all the women in my life thinkin’ they’re right at the same time.” He shuddered. “You have any idea what I’d be dealin’ with then?”

Max shook his head. “I don’t wanna know, man. Oh, hey, speakin’ of the females. Your sister... the one who just got back? She taken?”

Michael glanced sideways at Max and cleared his throat. “You uh... you’re interested in Tess?”

His friend shrugged. “She’s cute.”

“Well, guess it’s up to her whether she wants to try your scruffy ass on, but I’ll tell you like I tell any other guy... you hurt ‘er and I’ll kick your ass.”

“Hey, I’m not a guy who promises girls somethin’ I’m not gonna deliver.”

“Just lettin’ ya know how it is, Evans.”

He nodded and waited for Michael to open the door up. There wasn’t any music yet, but people would start arriving and the party would start soon.
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 6

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:37 am

begonia9508: Thanks!

Michael is very perceptive. He knows that something’s up with Liz, but he doesn’t know what it is exactly just yet.

Oh, let’s get that party started and find out…

Eva: That’s Michael exactly. He will play a part in Liz’s situation as the story begins to unfold.

Right again. :) Kyle and Maria’s friendship has simply expanded to provide them with some fringe benefits. And they definitely care about each other a great deal.

Don’t worry, Maria’s got very good friends there to keep an eye on her. And one that would take on the world for her if she’d just let him. ;)

Natalie36: Lol, you’re ready for Trent to get a serious ass-kickin’, aren’t you?

mary mary: Hmm… that has yet to be revealed. All will become clearer in time. We’re going to take the dangerous path here and assume you meant the Guerin parents here. ;) Just in case though… Max’s parents are still together.

Next week… always. ;)

Earth2Mama: Lol, great.

You sure about Tess? :p

The Maria/Tess disaster still needs to be revealed. For now our advice is to like both girls as individuals, lol.

keepsmiling7: Well, all we can tell ya there is it’s gonna take time for that to come out.

kismet: Yeah? It’s one possibility.

Michael will be instrumental in Liz’s life and that’s all we can say there.

Michael knows… something.

We’d like to promise you that it won’t happen… but, it’s going to take time for our couples to find their ways together, so you can expect some pretty bumpy parts.

Alien_Friend: Nope, they’re not serious at all. Everyone around them sees it… they’re the only ones who are clueless.

Michael is a sweetheart, especially with those he cares about. Trent likely won’t be receiving any kind words from anyone… Michael will play a big role in Liz and Aaron’s storyline.

Sure Max will be the one doin’ the propositioning? ;)

He sooo doesn’t want that, but we think they’re gonna know anyway, lol.

rosyrosy2882: Don’t look for anything serious to develop between Max and Tess. He’s committed to not being committed. ;)

Yeah, don’t do that… you’d miss one helluva story. Okay, we’re biased, but we think that’s okay. :)

sptfire86: There’ll be lots more with Max and Liz.

Cardinal: Ah, first impressions… well, the entire building wouldn’t be bothered by the noise, just the surrounding apartments. We’ll find out more about that as we move along.

Tess is Michael’s little sister… Kyle has yet to see her as anything else.

killjoy: That’s good. The guys don’t throw parties every night. Actually, with their schedules the parties aren’t a regular occurrence. Not that we’re condoning his behavior where Alex is concerned… but, there’s more to the story there.

It might be a while before you like Max even a little.

Kyle and Isabel are good friends and they’ll bet on anything. We’re glad you’re liking them and Maria.

Cool… you want more information before you decide why she left… we can totally respect that. ;)

It is a tough spot and a bad one. Yet another one that’s gonna take a while to unfold.



A/N: Thanks for the nominations in part A of the voting, guys!



Part 6

Mating Season

Michael and Max walked into the kitchen and glanced around. “Where’s Maria?”

“Still crashed out,” Kyle said as he caught the sack Michael tossed in his direction. “I’m about to get started on the margaritas, so why don’t you go get her up?”

“Sure.” He walked past the others to Kyle’s bedroom and closed the door behind him quietly. He chuckled when he saw her stretched out on the bed, hugging the pillow and wearing one of Kyle’s shirts.

Maria barely noticed it when the mattress dipped with Michael’s added weight, shifting and burying her face against the pillow.

“Hey, RP,” he whispered, leaning down to blow in her ear since he knew how much she hated it.

She grumbled in her sleep and brushed her hand over her ear.

He shook his head in amusement and repeated the act, waiting to see if it would make her wake up this time.

Maria slowly came awake when she swatted at the air again and came into contact with something solid. The warm chuckle gave Michael’s identity away and she rolled over to smile up at him sleepily. “Wha’sup, CB?” She glanced around, realizing that it was dark outside. “What time is it?”

“Shortly after 10 pm,” he told her, brushing some of her hair out of her face.

“God, I didn’t mean to sleep so long.”

“Sometimes your body needs some sleep, ya know?”

“True, but sometimes you just don’t have time for that particular luxury.”

He shook his head. “Then let me help you, M’ria.”

Her brain was still half-asleep. “What?”

“Ya know my family has the money but you refuse to let me help you with this.”

“No, Michael, I can’t... WE can’t. Your Dad insisted on paying for the transplant when the insurance company told my mom the procedure wasn’t covered and okay, we couldn’t turn that down, but...” she shook her head. “We can’t accept more than that.”

He sighed. How many times had he tried now? “Alright. Just tell me if it gets to be too much to handle, okay?”

Maria reached for his hand, threading her fingers through his and tugging on it to make him look at her. “I know you wanna help, Michael, and you do... in so many ways. You’re my best friend, my anchor when things get crazy, you care about my mom and Cody, and I know if I let you you’d take care of everything. And I love you for it, but you know me, and you know I’ve gotta be able to pay my own way.”

Michael nodded, using their intertwined hands to bring her closer. “We’ll take it easy this weekend. Ya need to rest.”

She smiled and gave in, leaning against him and letting him have his victory. She knew it made him crazy that she wouldn’t let him shoulder her financial worries, but he had enough responsibilities.

The doorbell had rung several times now, a sign that people were arriving slowly. “Go and take my bathroom, there’s still some of your shower stuff in it. I’m gonna set the music.”

She nodded and waved him off so he could get to his guests. “Thanks, I’ll be out there in a few minutes.”

*****

The living room was already starting to fill with people from the college. “She okay?” Kyle asked when he saw Michael coming out of his bedroom.

“Yeah, just... it’s rough on her.” He grinned and shook his head. “I know, not tellin’ you anything you don’t already know.”

“Yeah, well, there’s one area where I can say I know more about her than you do,” he winked at his friend, letting him know he was just kidding.

Michael rolled his eyes and shoved Kyle as he reached for the tequila and poured a shot. “I’m gonna get the music rollin’.”

“Finally?” Tess teased,

“Are your hands broken?” he tossed back. “You know where the stereo is.”

“Well, I was busy checkin’ your friend out.”

He turned to follow her gaze, knowing it would be locked on Evans. “He’s a good guy, Tess, but...” he shook his head. “He’s not lookin’ for anything serious, so if you are, don’t get anything started with him.”

She shrugged. “I just got back. I’m not lookin’ for Mister Right on my first day back in New York.”

“Then go on, smartass, what’re you waitin’ for?” No, Evans wouldn’t be his first choice for either of his little sisters... or his older sister, but he didn’t get involved in their choices for hookups unless he had reason to. Evans was messed up, no denying that. The guy had some serious baggage and he didn’t know what all it was, but he wasn’t a danger to Tess.

She chuckled. “It’s still early, isn’t it?”

Michael just downed his shot and then went to get the music started. The way she was watching Evans it wouldn’t be long before she was on his ass like green on grass.

“Hey,” Isabel held Michael by his arm when he passed her. “Who’s that?” She pointed at a guy who had just entered the apartment.

Michael turned to look at the newcomer and he grinned. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, and knew what to say to any woman who crossed his path. “Tony Carter, he’s the new firefighter Kyle’s been bitchin’ about ‘cause he’s kinda been catchin’ all the female attention when the two of them are in the same room.”

“Hmm... he looks like Paul Walker. Any idea if he’s taken?”

Hell, both of his sisters were on the prowl tonight. Tess wasn’t such a big deal because she wasn’t involved with anyone. Isabel, on the other hand, had just broken up with her long-time boyfriend and she was out to prove something. “Nope, just got out of a relationship. Don’t think he’s really lookin’ to get into another one so soon though.”

She shrugged. “Me neither.”

Michael shrugged and grabbed a stack of CDs off of a shelf. “Want me to introduce you?”

“Nah, I don’t need help from my little brother for this,” she told him as she walked in Tony’s direction.

He just rolled his eyes and continued on his way to the stereo. He was surrounded by horny sisters and there was just something sooo wrong about that! He leaned down and scooped Loco up when someone nearly stepped on him and the ferret settled in the crook of his arm while he loaded the music.

“Michael?” someone asked from behind.

He turned around and came face to face with the woman from the grocery store. “Hey,” he said flirtatiously.

“Who’s your little friend?” she asked.

“This’s Loco,” he introduced the apartment pet. “And Loco, this’s...”

“Ellen Carpenter.” She reached out to pat the ferret. “Unusual pet.”

“A cat or dog would just be too normal for this apartment.”

“Besides, this little critter’s very entertaining,” Kyle said as he shoved Michael aside to get to the stereo. “What’s takin’ you so long to get the music goin’?”

“I get interrupted a lot,” he said, winking at Ellen.

“Not when it counts I hope,” she said as she smiled up at him.

“Wanna get somethin’ to drink?”

“That would be nice.”

Michael handed Loco off to Kyle as he walked back towards the kitchen with Ellen.

Maria walked out of Michael’s bedroom, her hair still wet from showering but she hadn’t bothered drying it because the last thing she wanted to deal with was more damn heat. She was wearing a pair of dangerously short jean shorts and a tank top. Glancing around the room, she tried to decide what she wanted to do.

Michael was fixing a couple of drinks when Maria came into the room, her gaze assessing the situation. After a matter of seconds she winked at him, grabbed a beer, and disappeared again.

Ellen had recognized the glance between Michael and the other blonde in the room. God, he wasn’t taken, was he?

“So, did you say what you do?” Michael asked, unaware of her observations. No, he didn’t care what she did, but he knew girls always liked it if a guy sounded like he was interested in the stuff they were into.

“Oh, I’m just going to college, ya know,” she started.

His right eyebrow quirked when she didn’t carry it any further. Uh-huh, she didn’t care about conversation either apparently. “Okay, I could stand here and ask questions all night, but neither of us really cares about what the other does, am I right?” Yes, he was right.

She smirked. “What if I agree?”

“Then I’d say we can skip the beginnin’ of the party since there’s not much goin’ on right now and we’ll get our own party started.”

“Then I’d say, what’re we waitin’ for?”

Oh, hell yeah! This was how a guy’s night was supposed to start. He took her hand and led the way past their guests and down the hall to his bedroom.

Maria rolled her eyes when Michael took off with his ‘date’ after just a couple of minutes. He was such a slut, she thought.

“I won!” Kyle shouted, glancing at Isabel and tapping his watch.

Isabel smirked and shook her head at him. She would win her money and his back before long.

“What’s that all about?” Tony asked.

“Oh, just a bet,” she answered, not interested in explaining.

“Did ya bet on his sex life again?” Maria asked, amused when she approached Kyle and handed him a beer.

“Can I help it if he’s predictable?”

“He so is, huh?”

“Uh-huh. Hey, you feelin’ better now that you’ve had some sleep?”

She nodded. “I’m all good.”

“Good, can’t have a rockin’ party without Maria DeLuca at her best, can we?”

“So true,” she said, grinning.

“Hey, I’m gonna hand Loco off. Pick some more music out, would ya?”

She nodded. “Yeah, okay.”

Kyle wandered around the room, talking to a few people and making his way to Max where he had been willingly cornered by Tess. “Hey, Evans, wanna do me a favor?”

“No, not – “

“Thanks. Keep an eye on Loco for me, would ya?”

“Ungh... Kyle... seriously?” he grumbled even thought the other guy had already disappeared again.

Tess glared at Kyle’s retreating back. Rat bastard! she thought. She couldn’t seem to get him interested so she finds someone who is interested and what does he do? He makes a nuisance of himself. “You don’t really have to babysit their pet,” she said.

Max cradled the stupid animal and scratched the furry head with his thumb. “He got a reason to be jealous?” he asked. Michael had said she wasn’t with anyone and Kyle was with Maria, sort of, but his interruption sure seemed like a jealous move to him.

I wish, Tess thought. “No, not that I know of.”

“I’m not lookin’ to get in the middle of anything. I have no interest in getting involved in that shit. I’m out for a good time an’ nothin’ more.”

She frowned. “You’re not in the middle of anything.”

He nodded. “Just so there’s no confusion.” He’d done his part, told her what he was and wasn’t doing.

“No confusion on my side,” Tess said.

He nodded. “Good.”

“Hey, T-man,” Maria greeted Tony with a short hug. He was still new with the New York Fire Department, but he had been hanging around at several of their parties over the last few weeks since he was a single man again.

“Hey, girl, how’s it goin’?”

“The usual,” she said, shrugging. “What about you? Finally getting used to the shifts in the Fire Department here in Manhattan?”

“It’s busier than what I’m used to, but I like the pace.”

“Yeah, it is busy. Kyle and Michael are at work than they’re home right now.” She hopped up to sit on the counter, glancing over the other people in the room.

“Most of the guys tell me that once this heat wave breaks it’ll ease up a bit.” He leaned against the counter next to her, his gaze scanning over the bottles on the island. “You ever had a mango martini?”

“Hmm... not that I can think of,” she chewed on her lip. “What’s in it?”

“Couple kinds of rum, triple sec, lime juice, cranberry juice, and mango.”

“Sounds tasty,” she said, checking the counter. “Think we got everything here for it?”

Tony glanced over the available ingredients once more and nodded. “Yup, looks like it’s all here.”

“Think ya can mix us one?” Isabel asked when she came back after talking to an old friend from high school.

“Well, I suppose if the two hottest girls at the party want me to play bartender I can do that.” He grinned and grabbed a cocktail shaker, putting half a dozen ice cubes in it and adding the rest of the ingredients.

Maria leaned closer to Isabel when the girl looked at her skeptically. “Don’t worry, he’s all yours.”

“So, Tony, I didn’t see you arrive with anyone,” Isabel said. It wasn’t subtle and she didn’t care.

He smirked at her obvious comment. “Nah, I’m here all alone.”

“Sad, isn’t it?” For just a moment her mind wandered to her own situation and she felt sadness wash over her. Last time she had been to a party Richard had been with her.

He shrugged. “Not at all. I’m in good company.”

She smiled and watched him shake the drink until it was ready and then he strained it into a couple of cocktail glasses. He speared a chunk of fresh mango and a couple of cherries onto the tiny umbrellas and dropped them into the glasses before handing them to the girls.

Maria took the glass and tried the drink. “Yummy!”

Tony winked at her. “Good, huh?” He shot a glance at Isabel. “Whatcha think?”

“It’s great. Why haven ‘t we ever ever heard of this before?”

He grinned and shook his head. “Michael Guerin and Kyle Valenti... great guys, but neither of them are lookin’ to do more than they have to when it comes to makin’ an effort with women. Hard liquor and cold beer is probable the extent of their knowledge when it comes to drinks.”

“Thank you.” Maria and Tony high-fived each other. “You are the man Tony.”

“I am the man!” He held his fisted hands up in the air.

She laughed and groaned when the door was opened up and several more people came in. “Ungh, I was hoping he wouldn’t stop by tonight.”

“Who?” Tony asked, turning around.

“Just some guy I saw a few times. It’s been almost a whole year, but he’s still calling now and then or showing up at my place.”

“Some guys just don’t get the message.” Tony glanced over the guy before turning back to Maria. “You actually dated that guy?”

“We went out a few times.”

“Well, honey, I don’t wanna talk bad about anyone, but what the hell were you thinkin’?”

She snorted. “He’s not that bad, just... totally boooooring.”

“Yeah, I can see that... see how everyone he stops to talk to seems to be in a coma when he walks away?”

She shoved his shoulder. “Stop makin’ fun of me.”

He grinned. “Well, one of these days he’s bound to get the picture and he’ll figure out that you’re just not interested.” He took a drink of his beer. “Granted, most guys would take the hint a lot quicker.”

She smirked. “Don’t blame him. I know I’m hard to resist.” She hopped down from the counter again.

Tony grabbed her hand, stopping her. “No, Maria, save yourself from the snooze-fest!” he shouted dramatically.

“I wasn’t planning to go over to him.”

“You sure? ‘Cause you’re headin’ in that direction.”

Damn, the guy was hot when he smirked, Maria thought, but Isabel had already staked a claim on him. Besides that, she wouldn’t make out with a friend of Kyle’s, just like he wouldn’t go after a friend of hers. That was kind of an unspoken rule.

Tony let her go and turned back to Isabel, motioning to her glass that was almost empty. “Want another one?”

“Yeah, sure,” she agreed. Drowning her sorrows was the only way to escape them tonight.

“You wanna talk about it?” he asked as he started mixing another of the fruity drinks.

“Talk about what?”

“Uh-huh, I’ll just take that as a no.”

She nodded. Last thing she needed was to cry in front of him or something.

“Ah, girl, whoever the prick is and whatever he did, he’s not worth cryin’ over,” he said, handing her a fresh drink and leaning against the counter with his arm around her waist. “Trust me, if he did somethin’ bad enough to put that sad look in those gorgeous brown eyes then he’s not worth givin’ him another thought.” He pointed at the guy across the room holding the ferret. “Rumor has it you tried to kill that little furry guy over there.”

She shuddered. “It just creeps me out.”

“Ya know I’m talkin’ about the rodent, right?” He grinned when that got a laugh out of her.

She elbowed him. “Haha.”

Kyle wandered in for another beer and he tossed his empty in the trash. “Whatcha got there?” he asked, motioning to her drink.

“A mango martini. Tony made it.”

Kyle wrinkled his nose. “That’s a chick’s drink.”

“Bet you wanna taste it though, don’t you?” Tony asked.

Kyle took Maria’s drink out of her hand when she passed them and sipped on it.

“Hey!” she complained.

“That’s actually kinda good.” He glanced around as if afraid that some of the guys might have heard him.

“Yeah, and it’s mine,” she took it from him again.

“Aww, c’mon, just one more drink?”

She shook her head and stuck her tongue out at him. “Nope.”

“That’s just mean,” he complained. “You know I can’t walk around with one of those things.”

She handed him the glass again. “You owe me, Valenti.”

“Hey, ya know me, I always pay my debts.” He winked and took a long drink from her glass before handing it back.

“Ya almost emptied it,” she said, whining.

“So, have pretty boy make another one.”

Maria ducked behind the bar when the boring guy walked up in their direction.

Kyle frowned and followed her. “Um, Maria?” He crouched down beside her.

“Go away,” she hissed. “You’re gonna draw attention to me!”

“Attention?” he asked, puzzled. “Who’re ya hidin’ from?”

“You remember Jimmy Luttrell? That guy I was kinda seein’ last year?”

“God, that walking sleeping pill?”

“Yes, somehow he found out about the party ‘cause he’s here.”

He shrugged. “Where’s the problem? I doubt he’s gonna give ya shit about not calling him back after almost a year.”

“You don’t understand... if he sees me he’ll wanna talk. Ungh, God, I don’t wanna talk to him.” She shoved his shoulder. “It’s your apartment, make him go away.”

He shook his head and stood up, lifting her up with him.

“Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy,” Michael called out over the music as he rejoined the others looking pleased with himself. “Where’s your date, bud?”

“Um...” Jimmy glanced at Maria for a brief moment.

He shook his head and made a disappointed sound as he placed a hand on the other guy’s shoulder. “You need a date... want me to help you out?”

“No,” the other man said and glanced at his friends. “Let’s go.”

“You sure? ‘Cause there’s a couple girls in the buildin’ who haven’t had a date in a couple years... I mean, the one, she’s got a mustache that she can’t seem to get rid of, but man, you can overlook that.”

Jimmy made a face and left without saying anything else. Maria chuckled when Michael joined them at the counter. She glanced past him. “Where’s your bimbo? You’re done? Already?” She glanced at her watch teasingly.

He hooked his thumb in his belt and grinned. “Hey, it only takes as long as it takes.” Damn, what was her name again? “She’ll be out in a few minutes,” he said when he couldn’t remember her name.

“You can’t even remember what her name was, can you?” Maria asked knowingly,

“She probably can’t remember my name either, but apparently she had a rather unearthly experience ‘cause she was callin’ for heavenly intervention a lot.” He grinned smugly.

Maria made a face. “You’re disgusting!”

He snorted. “Whatever.”
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 7

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:49 am

Eva: Yes, he is, and it’s not a good attitude to have. You believe he’s lonely… you could be onto something.

mary mary: Lol, someone’s let them out of the circus. ;)

Tony and Michael can be counted on for some great scenes.

Earth2Mama: Well, whatever kind of sex it is, the two of them are satisfied for the time being. It’ll be explained as we get further into the story.

begonia9508: Well, with Aaron at home it’s not likely. It’s possible that she might eventually make it to one of the parties, but right now she’s not interested in spending any more time with Max than she has to, lol.

rosyrosy2882: Loco’s great, huh?

Yeah, Michael wasn’t wasting any time at all, was he?

Glad you’re lovin’ Maria. :)

Cardinal: LOL.

Alien_Friend: It’s possible there’s something there… although if there is, he’s unaware of it, lol. Oh, that web’s only gonna get more tangled for a while.

Go Tony! Never had a mango martini? Worth a try. ;)

Maria does her best to carry her own weight and then some. Michael wants to make things easier on her and it frustrates him that she won’t let him help her.

killjoy: Vulgar or not, that’s exactly what Max is looking for… well, perhaps without the buddy part because he’s not looking for anything more than a one-night stand.

Yes, unfortunately, if she’s not one of the women he actually cares about he seems to have a serious issue with recall where names are concerned.

Lol, Isabel sure knows when her lines aren’t the most brilliant in the world. :)

StarCharms: We’re glad you like their relationship. Hmm… we’ll find out whether or not there’s a back story with Max and Liz as the story progresses. The two of them are not easy to read just yet, so keep readin’. We update every Sunday. ;)

kismet: This gang does have its issues as individuals and the road ahead of them (and us) is not going to be a smooth ride, but it will be interesting for sure. Jealousy? Quite possibly.




Part 7


Sneaky Green-eyed Monster


“Alright,” Maria said, grabbing another beer since Kyle had taken the last bit of her drink. “Izzy, c’mon, let’s party.” She took the other girl’s hand and led her to the middle of the room, swaying her hips to the sounds of the music.

“And now the party gets started!” Tony hollered, following the girls. He loved to have a good time and he didn’t care that he wasn’t a great dancer. He just wanted to enjoy his night out.

Kyle followed them as well without hesitation.

Maria glanced at Michael. “C’mon, Guerin. Prove ya got some rhythm outta the sheets.”

He grabbed another beer and joined them in the center of the room. He had no rhythm and there was no point showing off his lack of ability so he did what had never failed him. He got behind Maria, one arm around her waist as he followed the movements of her body. The girl could dance, no doubt about it, and like this he almost looked like he knew what he was doing.

Maria laughed as he did the expected. “You are such a bad dancer, Michael.”

“I know, but after enough alcohol it won’t matter!”

“Hey, Guerin,” some of the guys called and waved him over to take a few shots.

“Oh, gotta go, Sexy... time to drink these boys under the table.”

She waved him off and kept dancing, smiling as she watched Kyle. “You’re doin’ much better.”

“I am, huh?” He grinned. He wasn’t much better than Michael, but he was willing to try.

“Uh-huh,” she laid her arms on his shoulders as they kept dancing.

Kyle’s hands settled on her hips and just like Michael had he let his body follow hers. “Man, it feels good to just relax tonight,” he said as them moved to the music.

“Yeah, seems like a lifetime since we were all off from work to party together.”

“I know. Doesn’t help that we’ve all got jobs that keep us busy ‘round the clock.”

“Yeah, you haven’t even had any time to give me a proper massage lately. No fair,” she complained playfully.

“Hell, you’ve got me all night tonight. You don’t have an early set time tomorrow, do ya?”

She shook her head. “No, finally got some time off.”

“Cool, looks like it’s your night for a massage then.”

“Yay,” she yelled out slightly.

He grinned. She was so easy to please. “Just don’t let me drink myself unconscious like the last time.” He made a face. “I didn’t appreciate you guys leavin’ me in the hall in my boxers, covered in makeup like a fuckin’ clown. That’s only funny when I do it to other people.”

She laughed at the memory. “Oh, that was funny,” she pressed her body further against him. “Well, we could quit the party a little earlier than we usually do.”

His arms slid around her waist and he kissed her. “Anytime you’re ready,” he whispered huskily.

She smiled against his lips, letting her tongue wander over his bottom lip teasingly.

Tess felt sick to her stomach as she watched Kyle and Maria dancing together. Couldn’t they at least go into the other room or something?

Max followed the girl’s gaze and he chewed on his lip ring. There was something there, but from the looks of things it was one-sided. “Hey, you wanna get outta here?” he asked, not really interested in her schoolgirl crush on her big brother’s best friend.

“Yeah, why not?” Anything was better than watching this, she thought bitterly.

He glanced down when he realized he was still cradling the ferret. “Lemme just hand Loco over to someone else.” He glanced around and located Michael slamming shots back with some of the guys. “Be right back.”

“Alright, I’ll wait by the door.”

Max walked over to his friend and nudged him. “Hey, man, take your rodent.”

“Don’t be so rough with the little guy,” Michael said and took him from Max, caressing its head.

Loco latched onto Michael’s shoulder and lifted his head straight up, chattering at Max.

One of the guys fell over on his back on the floor, laughing. “Dude, the weasel’s tellin’ you off!”

Max rolled his eyes. “I’ll catch ya later.”

Michael nodded and glanced back at his younger sister. “Don’t forget my warnin’, Evans.”

Max lifted his hand to tell Michael he had understood him before he walked back to Tess. “Ready to go?”

She looked at Kyle and Maria once more. “Let’s go.” She let him take her hand to lead the way out.

Isabel walked up behind Michael and thumped the shoulder Loco wasn’t perched on. “Hey.”

He turned to look at his older sister. “Hey.”

“We’re runnin’ low on the tequila... we need someone to make a run.”

“Someone?”

“Well, someone who hasn’t had too much to drink... or what about your doorman? Mine will run pick things up if I ask him nicely.”

“Nah, he’s not allowed to go, we tried before.”

“Oh, well... I’m still sober, Michael, and I’m not happy... find someone to make a run.”

He groaned. There she was... being part of the party for the first time in weeks and already ordering him around. “Why don’t ya go with Tony?” he suggested.

“What?” Leave it to little brother to pull his independence card tonight. “Michael,” she whined.

“What? It’s your chance to get in his pants.”

“I don’t need your help to have sex, Michael.” She huffed in irritation when he didn’t cater to her demands. “You’re such an ass sometimes.”

“There’s no tequila left,” Maria complained after coming back from dancing.

“Michael won’t go on a beer run,” Isabel muttered. “I’m gonna go find Tony and see if he’ll be a sweetie and do it.”

He rolled his eyes at her. “She’s so annoying sometimes.”

“Michael, you know she’s havin’ a shitty day, why won’t you help her out?”

“What, now you’re givin’ me shit as well?”

“I’m just sayin’.” She shook her head at him. “I’ll go give her a hand tryin’ to convince Tony.”

He groaned. “I’m goin’, okay? Satisfied now?”

She smiled and gave him a quick hug. “Thanks, CB.”

“Yeah, whatever,” he grumbled.

Kyle laughed and reached for Loco. “Ya know, it’s funny how quickly you jump when the two of them gang up on you.”

“Oh, ya wanna give me a hand, Kyle? Cool,” he said, loud enough for Maria to hear it.

Kyle was holding Loco in the air between him and Michael when Maria and Isabel both turned to look at him and hurried back in his direction. “What’d you just do?” he hissed.

Michael just grinned. He knew he wouldn’t turn the girls down either. “Payback’s a bitch, Valenti.”

“Sucker,” Kyle muttered as he tried to remember everything the girls were telling them to buy.

Tony came over to join them and he slapped Kyle on the back. “Hey, I can always go... I don’t mind makin’ the girls happy.”

He shook his head. “No, now that Guerin’s told the girls that we’ll go,” he glared at his roommate, “I can’t stay here ‘cause I’d be getting the death glares.”

Michael paused, shot glass halfway to his lips. “Uh, I said YOU would go... there was no WE implied.”

“You told Isabel you’d go, so you’re gonna go!”

He growled and downed the shot, slamming the glass back down on the table. “I’m not fit to drive, so I don’t see why I should go.”

“The store’s only two blocks from here,” Isabel said from behind him, smacking his head. “Go and walk.”

Michael belched loudly and got to his feet. “Alright, fine, I’m goin’.” He grabbed onto Kyle’s shoulder when he stood too fast and the room started to spin. “Whoa, hold on a sec. Okay, that’s better,” he said when the room started to right itself again.

Maria shook her head at him. “The fresh air will be good for you.”

“Fresh air? Suffocating, oxygen-sucking heat isn’t gonna be good for me.”

“Watch out for him and don’t let him drink too much on your way back here,” she whispered into Kyle’s ear.

Michael checked his pockets and nodded to himself when he felt his wallet. “Okay, tequila, tequila, tequila...” he grinned stupidly and started making up a song about the drink as he weaved his way to the door.

“He’s a lost cause,” Maria said and shook her head in amusement.

Tony chuckled as he passed her. “Ya wouldn’t think that he actually has a lot of responsibility at work.”

“No,” she agreed, knowing that unwinding like this helped him to keep that part of his life separate. His job was intense, stressful, and at times it put him through the wringer physically and emotionally so she understood his need to keep the rest of his life as normal and uncomplicated as possible.

“He’ll never grow up and become an adult,” Isabel said as she watched the boys leave.

Maria just smiled and looked down at the ferret Kyle had handed to her before leaving. “Where’d Tony go? We may be out of tequila, but there’s plenty of rum so he can make more of those mango martinis.”

“Oh, I’m gonna go find him.” Isabel disappeared into the crowd.

*****

Liz walked up to the front door of the apartment, juggling the groceries as she unlocked the door and pushed it open. She leaned over to set everything on the floor before closing the door and hurrying down the hall to knock on a neighbor’s door. She smiled at the older woman who answered the door, stepping inside when she motioned for her to enter.

“How are you, Mrs. McGinty?” she asked quietly.

“I’m just fine, dear.” She patted Liz’s arm as they walked down the hall to the living area. “He’s asleep, but he’s been very restless today.”

Liz nodded, smiling when she saw Aaron sleeping on the couch with Rabi held close against his little body. She gathered his things together and hooked his little backpack over her arm as she lifted him up and cradled him to her chest.

“Thanks for watching him,” Liz told the other woman.

“Anytime, dear.” She followed Liz back to the front door and stood at her door and watched the young woman until she was safely inside her own apartment.

Liz rolled her eyes when she could hear noise coming from the living room. Trent obviously had some of his friends with him and they were watching sports again. She closed the door quietly, hoping that she could get down to the bedroom without them realizing she was home.

Trent stepped out into the hall when he heard the floorboards creak. He glanced back at the sacks on the floor by the front door. “You buy some beer?” he asked.

“Shhhhh,” she hissed because Aaron was still sleeping in her arms.

“Ya know, you worry too fuckin’ much about that kid,” he snarled. “You used to remember to buy shit for me but now it’s all about that damn kid.”

“You want beer,” she snapped, “then go and get it yourself. I don’t have any time for this, Trent.” She started to walk to Aaron’s bedroom.

Trent let her go and stared at the grocery sacks for a moment before going back to his friends.

“The ball an’ chain bring the beer?” one of the guys asked.

“Fuck no,” he muttered and threw himself down in his chair.

“What a bitch, man... don’t she know you work hard?”

Trent high-fived the guy and nodded. “I know, right?” The guys didn’t know what the situation was and he felt no need to explain it to them.

Liz heard what the guys were saying since they didn’t do anything to hide it from her. She blinked her tears away as she put the little boy into his bed, wrapping the light blanket around him. “I wish I could give you more,” she whispered as she kissed his forehead.

God, she was so tired, but there was a ton of homework waiting for her. She forced herself to get up again, going to put the groceries away before returning to Aaron’s room and turning on the small lamp in the cramped corner where she would do her homework.

*****

Michael did a fairly good job of walking a straight line as he and Kyle made their way to the liquor store. He had only had to grab onto Kyle’s shoulder a couple of times and he blamed that on cracked sidewalks that had caused him to trip and not his slightly inebriated state. He wasn’t drunk, but he’d slammed back enough shots in a short amount of time that he wasn’t exactly sober either.

“So, what’s up with Evans an’ Tess?” Kyle asked, grasping a handful of Michael’s shirt and pulling him across the street so he didn’t wander out to play in the traffic.

“Whatcha mean?” he asked, frowning at the puddle of nasty water running along the edge of the street to spill into the gutter. He glanced down at the brand new pair of tennis shoes he was wearing and then back at the water.

“Step up on the curb, you brain-dead idiot,” Kyle muttered.

“Right, I knew that.”

“Anyway, I kinda thought you’d have somethin’ to say about your sister takin’ off with Evans.”

“Why? He’s okay an’ he’ll make sure Tess knows the score.”

“Dude’s a little fucked up, man. You’ve seen the way he acts with the waitress at the café, right? No way to not see that. Granted, she seems to give as good as she gets, which only seems to piss him off even more, but Tess doesn’t have that much experience…” he waved one hand at the city around them, “ya know, out there.”

“My sisters don’t appreciate me meddling in their,” he held his hands up and made air quotes, “love lives and I’ve discovered over the years with Isabel that if I stay outta her business she’ll stay outta mine. And the last thing I need or want is any of my sisters getting into my shit.”

Kyle rolled his eyes and reached for the door, holding it open so Michael could walk, or rather, weave inside. He grinned widely at two girls who glanced back at them and smiled when they entered the liquor store. “Evenin’, ladies,” he greeted.

“It’s sooo sweet the way you held the door for him,” one of them said.

“Well, it’s either that or he’d walk into it.” He shrugged and grinned, completely missing what she was suggesting.

The girls looked at each other before one of them gave the other a shove in the boys’ direction. The blonde one looked at her friend in annoyance before she walked up to Michael and Kyle as they stood in front of the shelves of alcohol. “So, you guys know about any good parties? ‘Cause my friend and I... we’re pretty bored.”

That got Michael’s attention and he shifted to brace one hand against the refrigerated case behind him as he turned to look at her. “Party at our place.”

She glanced back at her friend, making a face when she nodded furiously. “Well, gay guys do have great parties... you guys got any straight friends who’re gonna be there?”

“GAY guys?” Kyle asked shocked.

Michael’s foggy brain was just starting to get with the program and he shoved himself to his full height. “You think WE’RE gay? If I was gay I could sure as hell do better than him!”

Kyle shuddered. “We’re sure as hell not gay, blondie, okay?”

“Told you,” the second girl said. She stepped forward and gave the guys a big smile. “She’s new in the city and there were a lot of gay guys at the last party we were at. She didn’t mean to offend ya... if she did.”

Michael shook his head when he saw the way she was checking him out. “No offense taken,” he assured her. He shoved Kyle. “Go get the tequila so we can go.”

Kyle rolled his eyes and gave his friend a little shove, grinning when he barely stayed upright. He walked to one of the shelves and grabbed a few bottles of tequila as well as some more rum as Maria had instructed him.

*****

“So, ya think Tess is safe with Max?” Isabel asked Maria as they both danced along with the music, well aware that all of the men there were staring at them since they were going with the sexy style of dancing. Swaying their hips, going down on each others’ bodies... men were so easy.

“I couldn’t care less, girl,” Maria grumbled.

Isabel looked at her in a ‘come-on-ya-know-what-I-mean’ way.

Maria shrugged. “He’s okay, he won’t hurt her.”

Isabel just nodded. “I know my little sister’s a major pain in the ass, but I don’t know him that well. Not when it comes to him hookin’ up with Tess anyway.”

“He is a little weird, but he’s not a jackass who would do anything bad to anyone.” Maria glanced around the room and noticed the way Tony was looking at them. “So, Tony’s the man for the night?”

Isabel turned just enough to glance at the man in question. “He is hot,” she said with a grin. “I might try him on, see how he fits.”

“Don’t waste any time, girl, he won’t stay alone for long with his looks.”

“Yeah, he’s not goin’ anywhere,” Isabel said, her tone knowing. She waved her hands over her body. “This body? Huh-uh, he’s not gonna take off with anyone else here.”

“Be glad he’s one of Kyle’s coworker’s, otherwise you’d have me for competition,” Maria told her with a wink.

Isabel snorted. “I sooo don’t get this thing you an’ Kyle have goin’ on.”

Maria shrugged. Most people didn’t understand it, but they didn’t care. “It’s pretty simple.”

“Just don’t get the friends with benefits thing... I mean, isn’t it weird to have sex with someone you’ve known for so long? Someone you’ve been friends with?”

“No, because I trust him. I think it’s much easier than one night stands, ya know? If you have sex with someone you don’t know, then you won’t open up, well at least I won’t. I wouldn’t be able to talk about what I want or what I like. With Kyle it’s different, because I trust him.”

Isabel shrugged. She still didn’t get it. “How’s my brother really doin’?” she asked. She knew he had been working non-stop recently and Maria knew him better than anyone.

Maria made a face. “One moment we’re talkin’ about sex and the next you’re askin’ me about Michael,” she shook her head, amused. “He’s worked a lot lately and sometimes it’s hard for him... ya know, when he gets home and he finally thinks about what happened during the day.”

The taller blonde snorted. Michael, Maria, and sex all went together as far as everyone they knew was concerned. Somehow the two of them had overlooked the most obvious thing that was right in front of them, but who was she to judge? She had somehow overlooked the fact that the guy she had been planning to marry one day was a first-class, cheating asshole.

“Oh, my God, is that..?” Maria quickly grabbed Isabel and turned her so she wouldn’t be able to see the front door. “Girl, don’t freak out, okay?”

Isabel frowned at Maria’s weird behavior. “What’re you talkin’ about?” she asked, turning her head and gasping when she saw who had just entered the apartment. “No, no, no, he did not come to the party! What the hell?!”

“Ungh. Breathe, okay? Don’t even let yourself care. We’re just gonna ignore him and he’ll go again.”

Richard took in a deep breath and looked around the room, spotting Isabel and heading for her. He brushed his hands over his striped, button-down shirt as he approached her. “Isabel, I thought I might find you here.”

“She doesn’t want to talk to you,” Maria answered for her.

Richard brushed her off like a pesky insect. “I wasn’t talkin’ to you.” He was moving to get between the girls when he saw a guy come up behind Isabel and place his hands on her hips. “Hey, who’re you?” he demanded.

Tony grinned and rested his chin on Isabel’s shoulder as his arms came around her waist. “This guy botherin’ you?”

She leaned in closer against Tony’s chest. “Oh, I’m pretty sure he was just about to leave, right Richard?”

“Hell no, I’m not about to leave. Look, Isabel, we just need to sit down and talk about what you saw earlier today... there’s a perfectly reasonable – “

“Shut the fuck up. I don’t wanna hear anything you have to say.”

Tony could feel the anger vibrating in her body and he rubbed her right arm in a soothing manner. “Look, bud, the lady asked you to leave, so either take a hike or I’m gonna show you the door the hard way.”

“Who the fuck is he?” Richard asked Isabel, ignoring Tony’s taunt,

Maria looked up when the front door opened again and Kyle and Michael stepped inside... bringing two new bimbos with them. Great!

“Michael,” she called him to get his attention.

Michael looked up and his laughter died the moment his eyes locked on his older sister’s ex. He shoved their purchases into Kyle’s arms and stalked across the room, grabbing Richard by the collar and jerking him closer. “What’re you doin’ at my place, Dick?” he growled.

Richard’s eyes widened when he came face to face with Isabel’s brother. They hadn’t been friends, but now with the new circumstances it would be even worse. “Don’t hurt him,” Isabel told him and walked up to them. “Leave, Richard! Now!”

“Don’t hurt him?” Michael muttered incredulously. “This douche-bag fuckin’ hurt you an’ – “

“He’s not worth it though, just show him the door.”

Maria reached out and touched his arm when Isabel looked at her and after several long, tense seconds, Michael released Richard and shoved him away. “Get the fuck outta my apartment. You come back here again and I’ll give you the beatin’ you deserve.”

Richard coughed a few times and decided there was no chance to win Isabel back tonight. He’d have to try at a different place and a different time.

Tony grabbed a beer out of the kitchen and came back to press it into Michael’s hand. “Here, partner, have a drink an’ chill out.” He grabbed the other guy’s shoulders and turned him around to face the girls he had arrived with just a few minutes ago and gave him a push. “Ya know that display’s gonna have ‘em hot an’ wet... now go!”

Maria rolled her eye and elbowed Tony. “Don’t cheer him on, he’s already had sex tonight.”

“His big sister just put a damper on his alpha display, girl... let the man go out an’ play. A little ego stroking works wonders for us.”

Maria rolled her eyes and glanced at Kyle where he was leaning against the counter, talking to one of the two new bimbos. Great, she thought. So much for him being all hers tonight.

“Yes, I can see how this arrangement is so wonderful,” Isabel muttered.

“Shut up,” Maria told her with a wink. “I am so much sexier than her.”

“It’s true,” Tony agreed. “However, the opportunity to dip his wick seems to have him captivated by that admittedly less-sexy girl.”

Maria sighed. “I guess I need a drink. There should be more tequila now, right?”

“Yup, that’s probably what the guys brought in with ‘em.”

Maria headed for the kitchen. What else could she do? Isabel was hooked up with Tony, Michael with bimbo one, Kyle obviously with bimbo two... Max with ungh... don’t even think about her name. And she couldn’t even go to bed since she was pretty sure the boys would need theirs soon enough. She hopped up on the counter and threw back her first shot, suddenly feeling her exhaustion again.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 8

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:26 am

Eva: This group definitely has a lot to work though.

You’re very right and it’s going to take time to discover the root of their loneliness and to figure out their situations. Liz is in a precarious situation and the fact that she has Aaron only makes it an even worse situation. Hmm… someone to care about her and Aaron… got anyone in mind?

keepsmiling7: We’ll learn more about Aaron… who his father is. As for Trent, well, don’t look for her to be rid of him right away.

Earth2Mama: The chance of royally screwing up the relationship is there… only time will tell if that happens here.

A lot of people out there are in casual relationships for comfort or they just don’t want to be alone. Some people don’t ever really go after love in their lives, they just drift. Maria wants more at some point, but right now this is easier.

begonia9508: Liz’s life is very difficult and Trent really doesn’t make things any easier on her.

mary mary: We’re not sure there’s really all that much to understand about these parties, lol. And it would probably give you a headache trying to make sense of them.

Liz is painfully aware of the situation she and Aaron are in. Liz isn’t paying for everything… Trent does his part there. All will be explained… in time. We’re not gonna like, it’s gonna be painful for a while.

That confused, huh? We’ll take that as a compliment. ;) Thanks!

rosyrosy2882: Enjoying those tension-filled Max and Liz scenes, huh? We will have more of them.

As for her moving out… or why she’s even there… all we can say is it will be explained in time. We’re in for another long haul here.

Alien_Friend: Isn’t he?

No, he hides a lot underneath his easygoing persona.

A lot of people get into casual relationships for comfort or they just don’t want to be alone. Some people don’t ever really go after love in their lives, they just drift. Maria wants more at some point, but right now this is easier. Eventually she’s gonna see the one she wants that ‘more’ with.

Oh, the deal with Liz and Trent… you’re right, no one should live like that. It’s something that’s going to take time to tell.

Thanks!

kismet: Thanks!

It’s gonna be a long road for all of our characters, rougher for some than others, but it’ll be worth the ride.

Start the betting, huh? Hmm… we might just do that…

killjoy: It’s true… but there has to be at least one moron in the fic. Richard is convinced that Isabel will calm down and see things rationally… and no, we don’t know what’s wrong with him.

Exactly. Kyle and Maria aren’t together as far as a relationship. They just stumbled on something that works for them.

We apologize in advance for the gag-worthy scene but if it helps, be forewarned… it’s in this part.

Yup, Liz’s situation is bad and we’ll find out more as we get further into the story.



PART 8


The Thin Line between Friends and Lovers


Michael was tipping his head back to drain the last of his beer when movement caught his attention and he noticed that Maria had retreated to the kitchen. It was after midnight and her exhaustion was starting to show. “S’cuse me, ladies, gotta grab a drink and make sure everyone’s got what they need.”

Kyle looked up when Michael motioned to the kitchen and he nodded when he saw Maria sitting on the counter. He knew she was in good hands. Michael would take care of her.

Maria tossed back another shot. A few more and she would be able to sleep on the couch in Michael’s or Kyle’s room, not caring if they had sex in the bed behind her.

“Hey, RP, you look like you’re about ready to hit the wall.”

“Huh?” She glanced up, surprised to see Michael beside her. “Shouldn’t ya be nailin’ the blonde bimbo over there by now?”

“Aw, hell, girl... I don’t have to nail multiple chicks in a night.” He grinned and took the shot she had just poured, knocking it back and resting his elbow on her thigh as he leaned against her.

She rested her head against his. “Michael?”

“Hmm?”

“I am so tired.”

“You wanna go crash in my room?”

She wasn’t really looking forward to going to bed alone while everyone was still out to party, but her body told her she should. “Yeah,” she answered slowly.

“C’mon, let’s go on and put you to bed,” he said, helping her down off of the counter.

She let him lead the way to his bedroom, ignoring the envious glares of some of the girls who thought they were taking off to have sex.

Michael closed the door behind them, shutting out the worst of the noise from the party. “Go on an’ grab one of my shirts to change into an’ I’ll make the couch up for you.”

“You won’t come in here and have sex while I’m here on the couch, will you?”

Michael pulled a couple of blankets out of the closet to make the couch up while she was digging through his closet. “No, I think I’ll be able to control myself.”

She didn’t bother to go into the bathroom to change. He had seen her in underwear or bathing suits countless times before. “Good.”

“I can’t believe you’ve never considered a tat,” he said when the moonlight illuminated her flawless skin.

She walked towards him after pulling his shirt on. “Maybe one day. I don’t know where though and my boss would be all pissy if I did.”

“Ah, they can always do that airbrushing stuff... they do it on professional models that have tats an’ stuff.”

“I’m not that professional and they’d gimme hell for the amount of time it would take to get me ready for a shot.”

“Okay, what about a piercing?” He reached out and poked her right above her navel.

“Same with piercings I think.”

“Belly button ring... it’d be hot.”

She shrugged. “I’ll think about it. Just not now.”

He grinned and pointed at the couch. “C’mon, get over here and lemme tuck you in.”

She obeyed and walked over. “I don’t think I need a blanket Michael.”

“It’ll get cool overnight with the air on.”

“Okay.” She was too exhausted to argue about it right now.

“Here, I’ll just fold it over and put it on the back of the couch, how’s that?”

She nodded and lay down. “Thanks.”

“You wanna move over and I’ll hang with ya till you fall asleep?”

“Nah, it’s okay. Don’t let Bimbo Number Two wait too long. She might consider a threesome with Kyle.”

“Now there’s a thought I don’t want in my head.”

She chuckled and raised herself up again to kiss the corner of his lips briefly. “Nigh-nigh.”

He grinned and patted her leg as he stood up. “Don’t let the dragons bite,” he teased as he walked back to the door.

She watched him as he closed the door and immediately wished she had taken him up on his offer to stay. It was ridiculous though, she knew she only felt so weird, so lonely right now, because she hadn’t slept enough.

Kyle slipped into Michael’s room a while later when he realized that Maria was missing and his roommate was busy flirting with several girls in the living room. He knew Maria had been counting on him for that promised massage and he knew she’d been working hard. He had felt bad when he realized that she had left the party and crashed for the night.

Maria held her breath when someone opened the door to the bedroom. While the party was going on you never knew who it could be. She wiped away some tears that had run down her cheeks quietly while she had been laying there in the room, haunted by her thoughts as her hand clenched around her cell phone convulsively.

“Hey, you still awake?” Kyle asked as he crouched down next to the couch.

“A little. Hard to sleep with the music and all.”

He tipped his head to one side, studying her in the meager light that came in through the window. “You okay?”

“Uh-huh, yeah,” she lied. “Just a little burned out.”

“Ya sure?” He reached out to brush her hair back.

She looked at him, knowing he would see right through her. He knew her well enough. “Yeah. Thanks.”

Kyle nodded, pretty sure he knew what had put the tears in her eyes, but he wasn’t the one she would open up to about it. “Want me to hang here with ya?” he asked quietly.

“Nah,” she reached out to squeeze his hand. “It’s okay. You should enjoy your night off from work.”

He lifted her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. “Call me if ya change your mind, okay?”

She nodded, touched by his gentle gesture. “Thanks, Kyle.”

He squeezed her hand before releasing it. “Get some rest,” he said before standing up and leaving the room. As soon as the door closed behind him he went looking for Michael.

The other man leaned against the counter as he talked to the blonde from the shop earlier. What was her name? Had she told him?

“Hey, Guerin, ya got a sec?”

“Depends...”

“It’s about your best bud...”

“Excuse me,” he told the girl and walked up behind the counter to Kyle. “She’s crashed in my room, if you’re lookin’ for her.”

“No, no, I always know where to find Maria,” he said with a small smile. “No, it’s just... are things okay with Cody?”

Michael frowned. “Why would you ask?”

“I just went to check on ‘er and she's kinda down... not just wore out from too much work and not enough sleep... something’s not right.”

Michael stared at his bedroom door. He’d known something was wrong. “I’ll go talk to her.”

Kyle nodded and slapped him on the back. He’d known that Michael wouldn’t hesitate to go and check on her.

*****

Max unlocked the back door of his studio and pushed it in, entering the dark, cool interior and pulling Tess along with him. As a rule he didn’t take women back to his place. His teeth gritted in irritation as his mind wandered against his will to the one woman he had allowed that access to and he quickly shook it off. He didn’t need her in his head while he was fucking some other girl.

He flipped a switch on the wall and the room was illuminated, showing off what he did for a living. He watched Tess as she moved around, looking things over before turning to stare at him. He shrugged carelessly. “It’s this or the back alley... your choice.” He wasn’t looking for a commitment, a relationship, or anything other than meaningless sex.

She frowned at him. “Ya know, we don’t have to do this if you’re gonna just act like ya don’t care anyway.”

Max folded his arms over his chest and his gaze raked over her. “We don’t know each other well enough to give a fuck one way or the other... this’s about sex, nothin’ else. Either you wanna get it on or not. I told you before we left the party I’m not lookin’ for anything serious.”

She walked towards him, poking her finger into his chest and forcing him to take a step backwards. “That’s not what I was talking about, Evans. I know this is just about sex and I don’t wanna commitment from you either. But if you’re gonna act like it’s too much effort to give the slightest bit of a thought about what you’re saying to me or doin’ with me, then fine... take me back home.”

Max grabbed her hand, stopping the irritating poking motion and staring down at her. She was younger than most of the girls he bedded and it was obvious she wasn’t as experienced, and she didn’t really know the score. And it was apparent that she was just looking to get laid to forget the person she really wanted. He sighed and tugged her closer, holding her stiff body against his chest as he relented slightly and put his anger and bitterness on the back burner.

He had his reasons for being shut down, had his reasons for not getting involved, and he knew he could be an asshole, but that was usually reserved for one woman in particular. He didn’t normally treat women this badly but he was still smarting from his earlier run-in with Liz Parker.

“I want you to treat me with some respect and not like some random hooker. I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” she told him, letting her tiny hand wander under the short sleeve of the tee shirt covering his strong, tattooed upper arm.

Max released a breath he had been holding and he took a step back, nodding. “Sorry,” he muttered. “I’m not normally like this. Believe it or not, I don’t usually go around treatin’ women like hookers.”

“Good,” she stated shortly.

“There’s a room in the back... I use it when I sleep here.” He tugged on his lip ring for several seconds. “Might be better than just goin’ at it against the nearest wall.” He shrugged and pointed to the short hall behind her. “It’s back there.”

She glanced behind him, recognizing the comfortable chair where she guessed people could sit down and relax while they were tattooed. She took a step forward, grinning cheekily when she put her flat hands against his chest to move him backwards until the backs of his legs came into contact with the chair. “Or... we could use this.”

Max glanced up at her in surprise as he dropped down in the chair. “Yeah, that’s definitely a good option.”

She smirked, climbing on him in the chair, as she rested her bent legs on either side of him. She lowered herself down on him, surprised when she realized he was already as hard as a rock. “Think ya gonna be able to find a fitting tat for me too?”

“Fuck, girl, I can tat anything, anywhere.” He brought his hands up to settle on her hips for a moment before easing his hands under her shirt and sliding it up over her sides to take it off of her. He reached for her breasts, cupping them as he brushed his thumbs over her lace-covered nipples. “Ever thought about a tat here?” he asked, his thumb moving higher on her breast.

Her eyes followed his movements. She shook her head slightly, her long blond hair sliding over her bare skin and hiding one of her still-covered breasts under it. “I was thinking more about something here,” she showed him the inside of her upper arm.

“Got anything in mind?” he rasped when she moved against him. Intentionally or unintentionally, he wasn’t sure.

She shrugged, lowering her hand to his chest as she started to unbutton his shirt. “I’m gonna ask Michael, I think he’ll come up with something cool.”

He nodded, letting any conversation involving her brother fade away. “You’ve done this before, right?” he asked, suddenly conscious of the difference in their ages. No, it couldn’t be more than three or four years, but sometimes he felt so much older.

“What? Sex?”

“Yeah.” He couldn’t handle the responsibility of bedding a virgin.

She giggled. “Max, I’m not that young, okay? I am almost 19.”

“Hell, that doesn’t mean anything... and you didn’t answer my question.”

She leaned in closer. “I’m not a virgin, okay?”

“S’all I needed to know.” He nodded, his eyes lowering to her lips as he licked his own unconsciously. He wrapped one arm around her waist and leaned forward so he could pull his wallet out of his pocket and set it on a nearby table, flipping it open and grabbing a condom that he placed within easy reach.

“So...” she teased, nipping his lip, “since we’ve talked about everything necessary... wanna show me if ya can do everything your body’s promising?”

Max dropped his hands to her thighs, bare beneath the miniskirt she wore. “I’m ready to go,” he said, grinning as he exerted just enough pressure to get her to rise up.

She raised her lower body without breaking eye contact, groaning when his hands moved under her skirt.

He bit his bottom lip when her hands settled at his belt, quickly unbuckling it and unsnapping and unzipping his jeans to free him. His fingers traced along the material of her thong and he felt her shudder when he grazed the wet heat between her legs.

*****

Michael located Loco on his way to his bedroom and he scooped the ferret up when he caught him drinking beer out of an abandoned plastic cup and clutching several pretzels in his right claw. “You have no sense whatsoever,” he chastised. He walked into his bedroom and closed the door behind him. “Hey, Maria,” he said in a sing-song voice, “got someone that wants to see ya.”

She bit her lip when Michael walked into the room. She should’ve known that Kyle wouldn’t just let it go. Of course he had gone to Michael and told him something was wrong. “What’re you doin’ here again?” she asked huskily without looking at him.

He could hear the thickness in her voice and he knew something had to be up with Cody. He’d let it play out for a few minutes, see which way he should go. He sat down next to her hip and placed Loco on the floor, shaking his head when the animal scurried across the room to munch on his pretzels. “Ya know, I was out there and realized that I wasn’t really havin’ all that much fun an’ then I caught Loco boozin’ it up so I thought I’d better get that little party animal somewhere he could chill out.”

She didn’t reply or move to look at him. She knew he was just making the story up to lighten the mood. They both knew Loco wasn’t the reason he had come back to the room. It was a sure fact that he had been having fun out there, and probably more than the ferret had been having.

Michael reached up to scratch his right eyebrow when she remained silent and after several minutes he nudged her and stretched out beside her, wrapping his arms around her and holding her tightly. Her refusal to take the opening and talk was a red flag that something wasn’t right so he just held her and let her know he was there for her.

His gentle embrace broke the last bit of strength that had been holding her together until now. Her body started to shake and she couldn’t suppress her sobs any longer. She grabbed his tee shirt with both hands, holding onto him tightly.

Please, God, let the kid be okay, he thought when the dam broke and the emotions she had been trying so hard to keep at bay broke free. She tried so hard to be strong for everyone and she had never once put herself first. He bit his tongue to keep from telling her it would be okay. Truth was, no one knew that it would be okay. Cody had been sick for most of his life and some days were a lot worse than others. Time worked against them a little more each day and empty platitudes wouldn’t make her feel any better.

He rubbed her back and pressed a kiss to her head. He was the only one she had ever allowed herself this freedom with and he knew how much trust that required. They might not agree about everything, might fight and argue over anything that struck their fancy, but when the chips were down they knew they could count on each other to be there to shoulder the weight of their worries for a little while.

It felt good to be held by Michael. He had this warmth about him that drew her to him, it made her calm down again and it always gave her hope that things would get better. She knew he was there for her whenever she needed him to be and he would her always put her over some random chick he had been flirting with – no matter how hot she probably was. Yeah, she probably should’ve told him earlier about the text message her mother had sent her while she had been asleep earlier in the evening. Cody needed to go back to the hospital on Monday. Again.

She hadn’t told him because she knew he had been looking forward to the party and he deserved to hang out with his friends without worrying about anything. His job wasn’t easy and there were often times when he got home and started to think about the things that had happened during the day. And yet, he always seemed to take her sorrows in as well.

Michael could feel the shaking in her body starting to ease and his right hand slid up under her hair to rub her neck. “Feel like talkin’ about it?” he whispered when she began to calm.

She reached between them to get her cell that still had to be there next to her. After several seconds she located it and her hand wrapped around it. She glanced at it to make sure the message her mother had sent her was still on the display and then lifted it up to Michael.

He read over the message and squeezed the back of her neck gently. “Hey, this’s just routine testing. If he was bein’ admitted for somethin’ serious they wouldn’t wait several days with his condition.”

“But he hates it there,” she said hoarsely, her voice still weak from crying. “And I have to work so much next week I won’t even be able to be there with him to make time pass for him a little bit more quickly.”

Michael knew how much that bothered her. “What’s your schedule look like?”

She shook her head. “Crazy. I’m gonna be at work from Monday till Wednesday almost nonstop”

“Well, looks like he’s gonna be in what, Monday and Tuesday?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t trust anything they say anyway.”

“Alright, well… tell ya what. I’ve got some free time on Monday afternoon and Tuesday mornin’. I’ll go by and hang with the little man an’ keep your mom company, how’s that?”

She nodded slightly and brushed her tears away as she let go of him a little. “Thanks.”

“Nah, you know I enjoy spendin’ time with Cody. I’ll even spring for somethin’ healthy so they don’t have to eat that nasty hospital food.”

She chuckled slightly but turned serious again in just a matter of seconds. “I don’t know what I’d do without ya, Michael.”

He cleared his throat. “Never gonna find out either, M’ria.” He shook his head and rubbed her shoulder. “’Cause I can’t imagine what I’d do without you either.”

She snorted, smiling at him. “You’d be a lost cause without me.” She took his hand and intertwined their fingers. “You and Kyle, too! But it’s okay, I’d be lost without you guys, too.”

Loco chose that moment to crawl over to the couch and stand up on his hind legs to peer at them, whiskers twitching. “He was out there drinking beer again,” Michael chuckled.

She laughed and lifted the pet onto the couch so she could caress his head. “Ya wanna go out there again?” she asked Michael. “I think I’m okay now.”

“Nah,” he chuckled. “I’m good right now. Gotta give ‘em enough time to miss me.” He shifted around to get more comfortable. ‘I think’ – key words in the DeLuca language, he thought. In this case, words that meant something more along the lines of ‘I don’t want you to miss out on the fun because of me’ rather than ‘I’m okay’.

“Okay.” She wrapped her arms around him again. “I bet that bimbo’s already missin’ ya.”

He snorted. “That one’s not the brightest crayon in the box.”

“Yeah, could’ve told you that without talkin’ to her,” she teased lightly, getting the blanket from where he had laid it down earlier.

Michael chuckled and took Loco from her while she fussed with the blanket, arranging it to her satisfaction. She was tired and he knew she’d be asleep before long but he wouldn’t leave her alone.

*****

Max didn’t pay much attention to Tess as she straightened her clothes. He was just waiting for her to ask about seeing him again. He was always sure to make sure that the girls he hooked up with knew from the start that he wasn’t interested in more than a one-night stand but that didn’t stop them from thinking they could change his mind afterwards.

Tess looked up from smoothing the wrinkles out of her skirt and she shook her head when she saw the way Max was determinedly avoiding her gaze. “You can quit worrying, Max… I’m not lookin’ for a commitment from you. If this happens again I’d be okay with that, but I’m not makin’ any future plans for us.”

He just shrugged and tucked his shirttail in. It was just something to do with his hands because he’d be un-tucking it again before long.

“Does anybody even know you?” she asked when he didn’t have anything to say. She shook her head when he remained silent. “Don’t you want someone who really knows you? Someone who cares about you?”

An image leapt into his mind and he quickly shoved it away. “What’s the point?”

“I don’t know. I think sex is one thing...” she bit her lip, “a good thing, but for me it’s not the way I wanna live my whole life.”

“No-strings just makes it easier.” He shrugged. “No issues to work out when people decide it’s not gonna work.”

“It is easier,” she agreed, “but easy gets boring and someday you’re gonna look back at your life and ask yourself what ya might’ve missed if ya had taken some risks.”

“Risks,” he muttered and snorted derisively. “Risks are for people who’re willin’ to lose.”

She frowned, wondering where his opinions were coming from, but she didn’t ask. “So, how about we stop at the McDonalds over on the next block before we head back to the party? Sex always makes me hungry.”

Max felt himself relax at her casual attitude and he grinned. “I could go for a Double Cheeseburger,” he agreed.

“C’mon then, I don’t wanna miss a chance to see one of my siblings doing something stupid when they get drunk.”

“Yeah, that’d be a real tragedy.”
Image


Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 9

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:55 am

Earth2Mama: And you’ll find out soon! No, she really isn’t that bad, just young and inexperienced. She still has a lot to learn.

Max is a complicated individual, LOL. Yeah, we’ll eventually solve the mystery around him. ;)

The characters here are still in their early 20s and some of them don’t realize how lonely they really are… yet. But one day…

keepsmiling7: There doesn’t appear to be much to like about Max right now, we’ll agree with ya there. As for why he’s shut-down and why he is the way he is… well, we’ll get a look into that in just a few more parts. Does Liz have any involvement? We’ll find out as the story unravels.

Eva: Max has a very caustic view of the world and most everyone in it right now. We’ll get more of a look into why he is the way he is in just a few more parts. Whether or not that includes a girl that resembles Liz… that has yet to be seen.

begonia9508: There are reasons behind Max being the way he is… and well… we’ll get around to revealing that. We’ll actually get a look into his past in a few more parts.

Michael is definitely a friendly guy…

Cardinal: Extrapolate away… we enjoy it and it’s always interesting. History between Max and Liz? We’ll find out as the story unfolds. Could Liz have a tat? She could… she hasn’t revealed that information yet though.

Maria does come first, she always has for Michael. Kyle understands just how strong the bond is between them and he would never try to come between them. Maria frustrates Michael when she turns down his offers of help, but he finds all sorts of little ways to help out. We’ll actually get a glimpse of him with Maria’s family in this part.

somewhere87: It’s true, that’s never been in question and he understands their bond and accepts it. It’s just a given where the two of them are concerned.

Yep, that’s it exactly. Perhaps it’s not the best thing, but it works for them and the biggest, most important thing is their friendship.

mary mary: Is Max Aaron’s father? That’s a good question… it would certainly explain a few things, wouldn’t it? Well, it’s true… we’ll reveal that in time, so stick around. ;)

Alien_Friend: Ah, you’re thinking ahead with these two, lol. Max is incredibly lonely and there is definitely some potential for these two to become good friends. Oh, there’s definitely something there that just sets him off every time.

Michael and Maria = one awesome friendship.

He’s always there to step in and lend a hand when Maria, Cody or Amy needs something. Matter of fact, we’ll take a little look at all of them in this next part.

Loco has very bad habits, lol.

killjoy: Being alone isn’t fun, you’re so right. Perhaps the relationship they have isn’t perfect, but the whole thing is it prevents them from being alone and when they choose to be together they’re with someone they care about and trust.

Hey, at least you were spared the worst of it for that scene, lol.

angiebrenna: Thanks for putting your opinion out there! We agree that most everyone wants to be loved and accepted by someone. Having someone in your life who does that for you is important but unfortunately not everyone finds that.

Max definitely has his reasons… and we’ll get to see a big part of one of those reasons coming up in just a few parts.



A/N: Just a little warning about some Maria/Kyle stuff in this. :twisted:



Part 9


Life Is A Rollercoaster


Tony had been watching Isabel for a while now. She hadn’t looked like she was having any real fun since her ex had showed up at the party. “Checkin’ Michael’s sister out?” Kyle asked, sounding amused when he showed up next to him.

Tony shrugged. “And where’d ya leave the admittedly hot chick with the unbelievably high-pitched voice?”

Kyle made a face. “She went to the bathroom and now I’m tryin’ to find a way to ditch her.”

“Why?”

“Well, like you said, man, her voice is makin’ me insane and I swear it’d be a total mood killer in the sheets.”

Tony snorted. “Where’s Guerin?”

“Probably with Maria.” He hadn’t seen his roommate after he had gone to check on their friend again, so he figured that he had stayed with her.

“What’s with this weird thing between you and her and him?” Tony asked, still not getting the relationship thing they had going on.

Kyle shrugged. “Mainly, we’re just friends. Just, Maria and I like to get it on now and then.”

“And there’s nothin’ romantic in there?”

Kyle shook his head. “I care about her, just not like a boyfriend or anything. Neither of us wants that.”

“And you don’t think that’ll change at some time in the future?”

Kyle frowned. “Whatcha mean?”

“Ever considered that your feelings towards her could change? And they WILL get romantic?”

“Oh, hell, I hope not,” Kyle said laughing.

Tess tensed up as she unintentionally overheard the conversation between the two guys after she and Max had gotten back to the party.

“Guess you can never really rule anything out. Bet Guerin wouldn’t like it though,” Kyle continued.

Tess didn’t like what she was hearing. Just the thought of him and Maria getting serious together made her wanna puke.

Tony chuckled. “No one really believes the just-friends thing him and Maria have going on, huh?”

“I seriously doubt it,” Kyle told him with a nod. “It’d be interesting to see what he’d say if I did hook up with her seriously.”

“That could get ugly,” Tony mused.

“We’d better not test him,” Kyle agreed.

“Yeah, maybe you should leave that alone,” Max advised as he joined them.

Yeah, you should, Tess thought as she went past the guys to get something to drink.

Tony leaned back against the wall and glanced out over the crowd, his eyes once again wandering to Isabel. “So, how’d you an’ Guerin meet? You two known each other since you were kids or somethin’?”

Kyle shook his head. “Nah, we’ve only known each other for about four years now.”

“Four years, huh? Gotta be more to that story.”

“We met on 9/11,” Kyle started. “Michael and I were workin’ together on one of the volunteer rescue teams at ground zero.”

Max had heard the story before and it was before he had known either of them but it was a time best left forgotten as far as he was concerned. “I’ll catch you guys later,” he said as he pushed away from the wall. “I’m gonna go grab a beer.”

Tony nodded absentmindedly, his attention focused on the other man. “Horrific day... days followin’ it were pretty dark too.” He had been on one of the search and rescue teams that had been flown in within hours of the attack.

“Yeah, it was a tough time. Michael’s roommate at the time had moved out shortly before that day and he offered me the room while we were on the rescue team since it was near ground zero and my place was at the other end of the city.”

“It’s good that we were able to walk away with somethin’ good from that time.” He shook his head. “I had worked a few bad scenes before that... train derailments, mineshaft cave-ins... but nothin’ like that. I hope I never see anything like it again.”

“I second that,” Kyle tapped his beer against Tony’s and took a sip. “After the work was done Michael asked me to move in. I’d been lookin’ for a better apartment anyway and Guerin and I seemed to have pretty much the same interests. I met Maria at that time too. She often came by to bring food for the volunteers and she and Guerin’s little sister hang out around the apartment most of the time anyway.”

Tony motioned to Isabel. “What about her? Was she there?”

“No, she was with their parents most of the time. It wasn’t easy for the family around that time; Michael’s older brother was in the South tower when it was hit.”

Tony froze with his beer halfway to his mouth. “What?” He had never heard anything about Guerin losing someone in the attacks that day.

“They managed to rescue him and he was alive when they got him out, but he died on his way to the hospital.”

“Aww, hell, that’s tough, man. I had no idea.”

Kyle nodded. “They don’t talk about it very often.”

“No wonder he pushes himself so hard at work,” he mused thoughtfully.

Kyle had noticed the glances Tony and Isabel had been exchanging while they had been talking. “Man, she wants ya, what’re ya waitin’ for?”

Tony grinned. “Good point. If I stay over here talkin’ to you all night people are gonna start to talk.”

Kyle snorted. “Nobody would think I’m gay,” he said, ignoring the memory of earlier that night in the shop with Michael.

He laughed and shoved the shorter man. “You insinuating they’d think I am?”

“Go on and get that woman outta here before Guerin sees ya.”

“You think he’d have a problem with it?”

“Nah, but you’ll get the speech: If ya hurt her I’ll kick your ass.”

Tony just grinned. “I think his sister can hold her own, but I can understand where he’s comin’ from.” He straightened up. “I’ll catch ya later, Valenti.”

Isabel smiled when Tony came towards her. They had kept eye contact for most of the last hour and she still wasn’t sure where the night was going to lead.

He walked up to her confidently and grinned when she got rid of the people she had been talking to. “You wanna get outta here for a while?” he asked when he reached her.

“Sure,” she said, feeling a little nervous.

They walked out into the hall and Tony rested his shoulder against the wall and took a drink from his beer. “We can hang here and talk for a while if ya want.”

Isabel leaned against the wall next to him, staring at the stairwell at the end of the hallway. “Okay.”

Tony glanced at her and smiled when she seemed to relax slightly. “So, what line of work are you in? Modeling? Acting?” He couldn’t remember anyone ever mentioning what she did for a living. He smiled when she didn’t answer right away. He knew the Guerin family wasn’t hurting for money and she was probably a Daddy’s girl which meant anything she wanted Daddy gave her. She probably hadn’t worked a day in her life. “Guess you already know what I do,” he said with a smirk.

“Uh-huh, hard to ignore a man in uniform,” she teased.

Yeah, there was just no way to deny that the chicks loved the uniforms. “I’m hard to ignore out of the uniform too,” he teased.

She let her eyes wander over him. “Yeah, that’s probably true.”

“Probably?” he snorted. “It’s a fact.” He waggled his eyebrows playfully as he bent over to set his bottle on the floor. “Wanna see?” He unbuttoned a couple of buttons at the top of his shirt and lifted his eyebrows in question.

Isabel held her breath as she watched him opening up his shirt. “I see.”

He grinned and unbuttoned his shirt the rest of the way, letting it hang open as he shifted to face her, bracing his palms against the wall on either side of her head. “So, you see... do ya like?”

She nodded. “Definitely.”

Tony laughed, the sound raspy as he leaned in to nuzzle her neck. “You can touch if ya want...”

She chuckled and lifted her hands to let her fingertips wander over his strong chest and the undeniably sexy six-pack.

“Like a hard body, huh?” he growled as he lifted her chin and kissed her deeply. “Got more if you’re interested.”

She shivered, loving the feeling of being wanted and the way he looked at her, it made her feel sexy. The fact that they were out in the hallway, where at anytime someone could see them didn’t worry her, it was more that she liked the feeling of the risk of getting caught. “Do ya really have to ask?” she breathed against his lips.

He chuckled. “I’ve learned to never make assumptions where women are concerned.”

“Probably not a bad idea,” she said, amused. She let her hands wander down to his belt to tug on it.

“In a hurry?” he asked, his voice rough. As soon as he realized how that had sounded he rushed to reassure her. “Not complainin’.” He nudged her with his hips, showing her just how much he wasn’t complaining.

She groaned slightly, starting to open the belt around his jeans that hung low on his hips.

“Damn it, why can’t you people keep it down?” a new voice echoed in the stairwell. Angry footsteps pounded down the stairs and a moment later Alex stepped into the hall. He rolled his eyes at the couple making out heavily near the door of party central. Couple more minutes and they were gonna be going at it full on right against the wall. “There’re laws about indecent exposure,” he called loudly.

Tony was vaguely aware of someone talking, but the voice didn’t make it past the part of his brain that was focused on the feminine hand brushing against his boxer-clad dick.

Alex gritted his teeth. Irritation at being ignored repeatedly and maybe even some jealousy since he couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten laid fueled his temper as he walked up behind the guy and thumped his shoulder

Tony froze momentarily when someone had the nerve to interrupt them and he drew in a deep breath before he turned his head to glare at the asshole who was fucking up his plans to get laid. “You’ve got seconds to disappear before I kick your ass.”

“I’d like to see you try. Glasses and a brain are not reasons to assume that I don’t know how to hold my own in a fight.” Alex held his gaze, refusing to back down. He worked hard to hold onto his apartment and earlier that afternoon his second job had let him go, telling him that they were making cutbacks and his position had been merged into someone else’s. Their offer to provide him with a good recommendation was kind, but did him no good in his current situation.

Isabel groaned. “You have to be the boring nerd from the third floor. My brother already told us about your lack of sense for good parties. Why don’t ya just go get a beer and a woman and leave us alone,” she said impatiently.

“Listen up, airhead... and try hard, I know it’s taxing for you to focus those few functioning brain cells with all that space between your ears, but some of us actually have a goal in life beyond the occasional screw in the hallway.” His gaze slid over her and he shook his head. “Let’s not forget shopping since I’m sure that’s pretty high on your list of priorities too.”

“Why don’t you get off her back?” Tony snapped.

“Why, so you climb on and mount her like a rutting animal?” Alex shook his head. “I want the noise level dropped or I’m callin’ in a formal complaint.”

“Well, you should bother one of the people who live here then,” Isabel said, her tone bitchy.

How many times had he walked into scenes just like this one? Different girls, different guys, but their goal was always the same. “How do you not have more respect for yourself?” he muttered. He glared and had to step around them to get to the door. He pounded on it and crossed his arms over his chest while he waited for someone to bother answering the door.

Isabel and Tony waited impatiently, but of course nobody would hear the knock over the loud music. “Damn it, just go in there. Door isn’t locked.”

“Just walkin’ in would be rude... I’ll leave that to you people,” he muttered and pounded on the door again, louder this time.

*****

Max winced when an emergency truck raced through the street next to him making his head hurt even worse. He was suffering from a major hangover after last night’s party. He shouldn’t have drunk that much tequila after getting back to the guy’s apartment. But he had and now he was paying for it.

He glanced at his watch. He still had 45 minutes left before he needed to open up the tattoo shop. A coffee would be good. He glanced at the other side of the street. She didn’t work on Thursday mornings, he thought and sprinted across the street, ignoring the honking cars and flipping a couple of them off. He pushed the double door of their favored café open and walked up to the counter. There was no one but him there yet and the waitress seemed to be in the back room, since he could hear noise from there.

He sat down on one of the barstools, coughing slightly to make sure someone knew he was there. “Sorry, I...” the waitress started, but fell silent again when she recognized him.

“You?” he asked, irritated.

She placed her hands on her hips. “I do work here, Evans.”

“If that’s what you wanna call it,” he muttered under his breath. He wasn’t sure he was mentally ready to do battle with her this early in the morning… not when he was feeling like this. “Get me a coffee… black, no sugar, no cream, just straight coffee. Think you can handle that?” he bit out.

“Sure. Coffee with sugar and cream. Easy.”

Gritting his teeth wasn’t helping the pounding headache. He was certain that he had just made it crystal clear that he didn’t want sugar or cream so he could only assume she was messing with him. He refused to give in to her baiting until he at least had some caffeine in his system… straight caffeine, he thought irritably.

Liz filled a cup of coffee and placed it in front of him. It was tempting to throw some sugar in just to piss him off but he would only complain about her in front of her boss. Jerk!

“Most people serve it hot,” he growled rather than simply nodding or saying something as civilized as ‘thank you’. There was nothing wrong with the coffee, but he didn’t care.

“Most people are nice,” she countered.

“Don’t know what world you’re livin’ in,” he muttered quietly. He had seen more of the world than he had wanted to and one thing he knew for sure… most people were driven by the darkness in their souls.

“Whatever,” she muttered as she wiped the counter. What would he know about a hard life? she thought bitterly.

He shook his head at her comment and stared at the counter to keep his eyes off of her. Yeah, your little college life must suck, he thought. He’d give anything for his biggest concerns to be about whether or not he was gonna pass a class. His stomach growled, reminding him that he should probably eat something before opening the shop for the day. Once he started working he wouldn’t stop until he was ready to close for the day. “Hey.”

“What?” she asked. “Is it too hot now?”

“Yeah, it went from not hot enough to too hot in a matter of minutes,” he snapped. “I want a short stack of pancakes with a side of sausage. Think you can get that right?”

“Think you can choke on it?”

Max glared at her, unexplainably irritated by her quick response. “Just put my order in,” he snapped. “I don’t have all day to wait on your lousy service.”

“I sure as hell hope not,” she told him and gave the order to the kitchen. She couldn’t wait for the moment when he would leave again.

He almost wished he didn’t have to open up because he’d sit there all day just to aggravate her.

It only took a few minutes for the kitchen to get his food ready. She placed the plate in front of him. “Enjoy your meal, it might be your last,” she grumbled.

“Doubtful, who would you torment if I wasn’t around?”

“Oh, believe me, you aren’t the only annoying ass in this city!”

He ignored her and poured syrup over the stack, grabbing a fork and cutting into the pancakes. He focused on his breakfast for the next few minutes instead of the irritating woman bustling around the small café taking orders and delivering meals to the customers steadily coming in.

*****

Michael was making breakfast the next morning, humming along with the radio when Kyle stumbled into the kitchen. He turned the stove off and grabbed a package of paper plates out of one of the cabinets. “We’ve got eggs and bacon, who’s hungry?” He glanced over his shoulder when Tess raised one hand from her position curled up in the recliner. She and Isabel had gotten into a huge argument over who was getting the chair and who was getting the couch at some point and from the looks of it Tess had lost.

“Ungh, how’re you already awake and ready to face the day?” Kyle grumbled.

“Because unlike you, I’m not dealin’ with a hangover.”

Isabel came out of the second bathroom after freshening up and she made a face at breakfast. “Just coffee for me. I don’t normally eat this early.”

Michael nodded and lined four plates up on the counter. He grabbed the pan and scooped the eggs out, dividing them up evenly on three of the plates and putting the small amount remaining on Maria’s plate. Bacon next, then toast, and last he grabbed a cantaloupe out of the refrigerator and cut it into slices so he could lay two on Maria’s plate.

Kyle sat down at the counter. “Ya got coffee?”

“Always got coffee,” Michael said. “Tess, make yourself useful. Get your ass in here and pour this man some coffee.”

“I’m not your maid or something.”

He glanced at Kyle. “I don’t recall seein’ her name on either of the rent checks last month.” He turned to his little sister when Kyle carefully shook his head before resting it on his folded arms. “Maybe you’d rather clean toilets?”

“You suck big time, Michael,” Tess complained as she got up, wincing at her stiff muscles.

“You’re lookin’ a little the worse for wear this mornin’, Tess,” Isabel said as she breezed past her to grab her cell phone off of the counter. “I slept very well myself.”

“Fuck you. At least I got laid, what about you?”

Isabel glared at her little sister. No, she hadn’t gotten laid. Mr. Mood Killer had hung around long enough that by the time he had left the moment had passed and Tony had decided to call it a night because it was so late and he had to work the next day. So, instead of a satisfying sexual encounter she had been reduced to fighting with Tess over the couch and spending the night alone.

“I’m not sure I’d be braggin’ about earning a notch on Evans’ bedpost,” she bitched right back.

“Girls, girls, girls,” Michael said as he got between them and draped his arms over their shoulders. “It’s so nice to have you both under one roof again. I had forgotten how amusing you two could be. However, my roommate, my friend, and my co-worker is suffering from a hangover and he’s gotta work tonight, so let’s all play nice okay? Put the claws away. Iz, have some coffee, and Tess, sit down and eat before the two of you end up in a wrestling match on my kitchen floor.”

Both girls groaned at their brother’s speech, but did what he had asked for. “Hey, where’s Maria?” Kyle asked as his brain finally started to wake up after a few sips of coffee.

“She’s still sleepin’,” Michael answered after making sure that the girls had gone to separate corners.

“Were you able to get anything outta her last night?”

“Yeah, Cody’s gonna be in the hospital couple days next week. His doctors wanna run a bunch of tests and it scares her. A couple of times they’ve run tests and ended up keeping him for a week or more and she’s just worried that’ll happen again.”

Kyle nodded dumbly and stared into his coffee. “I wish there was somethin’ we could do for the little man.”

“Yeah, tell me about it.” Michael shook his head. “You wanna go get ‘er up? I can put your plates in the oven to keep ‘em warm.”

Tess had to control the urge to choke on her food as Kyle got up. “Yeah, I’ll get her. Might take a while,” he told his friend with a wink.

“Yeah, hey,” Michael shouted after him, “if it’s gonna take a while take it to your own room!”

“God, am I livin’ in a porn house or somethin’?” Tess complained.

“Ya know for someone who hooked up with the tat king I don’t think you’ve got any room to talk,” Isabel griped.

Michael sighed. “Girls! Cut it out, okay?”

“She started it,” Tess muttered. “I don’t know how you put up with her constant bitching.”

“Well, I’ve got news for you. I’ve got my own apartment and me an’ my bitching are gonna leave ya all alone now.”

“Aww, Iz...” He didn’t make it any further before she stormed out of the apartment and he turned to glare at Tess. “Why do you have to antagonize her?”

“Why? Because she’s been a bitch since your friend left without fuckin’ her.”

“You can’t honestly think you were gonna win in a fight to get the couch,” he said, knowing why she was picking fights.

“Some things never change, huh?” she muttered, staring at her food.

“No, and winnin’ a fight with her is one of them. Although, excellent shot with that not getting laid bit,” he said and grinned as he high-fived his little sister.

Maria was barely aware of someone coming into the room quietly, but she was still too tired to open her eyes. It was probably Michael. He would make sure she had some breakfast; he always watched over her and made sure that she ate enough during her busy jobs.

Kyle quietly crossed the room and crouched down next to the couch since she was taking up most of the space. “Hey, there,” he whispered, “you awake?”

She smiled when she heard Kyle’s hushed voice and she grumbled something sleepily.

He reached out to brush her hair back away from her face and leaned in to kiss her temple. “What time ya need to get up this mornin’?”

“No plans for this mornin’,” she mumbled, blinking a few times when she opened her eyes slowly.

“Michael made breakfast... feel like eatin’?”

She made a face. “Not yet.”

He nodded and sat on the floor facing her as he leaned against the couch and rested his arm on the cushion next to her. “Things are gonna be okay, Maria,” he said as he brushed his thumb over her cheek.

“Michael told you, huh?”

“Hell, girl, even I know when something’s goin’ on with Cody.” He smiled when she quirked an eyebrow in question. “Yeah, he told me, but I already knew it had somethin’ to do with your brother.” He gently rubbed at the dark smudges beneath her eyes. “I wish there was somethin’ we could do, Maria.”

She leaned into his touch. “Ya already do a lot Kyle, don’t worry about it.”

He smiled and shook his head. “You wanna sleep for a while longer? Or you maybe wanna get the mornin’ started right?” he asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

She smirked at his teasing. “I think ya know some ways to keep me from sleepin’ more.”

“I know lots of ways to keep you from sleepin’ an’ all of ‘em have a couple things in common.” He leaned in and kissed her slowly as his hand settled on her hip. “We’re naked...” he shifted his hand under the tee shirt she had worn to sleep in and wiggled his eyebrows. “See, not far from it already.” She shifted onto her back and his hand slid over her stomach to tease the waistline of her panties.

“Not on your end though,” she glanced down his body. “Too many clothes in my opinion.”

He grinned and moved to stand up, gathering her up in his arms and carrying her back to his own bedroom. He dropped her on the bed and pulled his tee shirt over his head when she started giggling. Sex between them was so easy, he thought. Somehow they had stumbled onto something that worked so well for both of them. He started working on his jeans while she removed her clothes. There was never any pressure to have sex, there was no nagging or relationship worries because that wasn't what they had together. They enjoyed each other without the normal constraints couples had and it worked for them.

“Your job and the training they put ya through really has its advantages,” she told him teasingly as her hands moved over his well toned upper body.

“There are advantages to the physical demands of the jobs,” he agreed as he settled over her. He nudged her with his erection and grinned as he leaned down to tease her breasts with his tongue. “I get to take all the credit for that though... fire department gets no credit for my dick or how impressive it is.”

She chuckled and took the condom out of his left hand and ripped the package open with her teeth. “It is impressive and I seriously can’t complain about your abilities with him.” She reached down to pull the condom over him, moving painfully slow.

He growled. “Maria...”

Her smile was teasing. “Need somethin’?”

“Yeah, hurry the fuck up,” he huffed out on a laugh.

“Relax Valenti. You’re not at work, nothing’s on fire,” she told him, amused as she let her hand wander over his hard length.

“Nothing’s on fire,” he echoed and shifted so he could slide his fingers between her legs to tease her. She was hot and wet, ready for him, but she could tease mercilessly when she was in the right mood. He curled his forefinger over and rubbed against her clit, adding a little bit of pressure to see if she’d give in yet.

Maria groaned slightly, adding more pressure as she stroked him as well. She raised her hips up against him to get more friction from the hand that was touching her.

“Huh-uh,” he muttered, pulling his hand away and grinning at her frustrated groan.

“No fair, Kyle,” she complained, stopping her movements as well. “Be nice.”

“Me?” He let his fingers move lower to brush against her silken flesh again and he teased her entrance as he shifted enough to remind her of where she had her own hand. “It’s all yours, just say the word.”

“The word?” she wondered playfully.

“Um-hmm...” his finger slid in up to the first knuckle. “Just one word... maybe two.” He wasn't surprised when she didn’t give in yet, shifting to take his finger in all the way. It wasn’t enough to satisfy her though no matter how she tried to move against him and he knew it wouldn’t be much longer.

“Fuck me,” she whispered into his ear.

Hell, yeah, those were the two words he had been waiting to hear. For some reason it just drove him crazy and he didn’t waste any time shifting to line himself up and thrusting into her willing body.

She moaned loudly, probably loud enough to entertain Michael and Tess, but she didn’t care. It didn’t take long until she reached the edge. “Almost there, Kyle,” she told him breathlessly.

He chuckled at her words, knowing that was his cue to pick things up. They fell into a hard, fast rhythm that they knew wouldn’t last long but neither of them cared. If they were in the mood they could always go for another round after their bodies recovered. Or, to be more accurate, once his body recovered. If he could hold off his own orgasm they could go for quite a while but his schedule had been beyond hectic recently and it had been a few days since they’d had sex and thankfully she was past taking it slow.

Maria squeezed their intertwined hands when she felt her orgasm washing over her. Kyle was right there with her, crashing his mouth onto hers as they both came.

“Told ya,” he panted smugly and rolled over onto his back, “naked and sweaty.”

“We could relax a few minutes and then take a shower,” she suggested.

“Um-hmm, you just want my ass to recover so you can get another ride on my dick,” he said, reaching over to pinch her side.

She giggled. “Not denying that.”

*****

Alex was coming back from his early morning walk to grab a cup of coffee and a newspaper so he could begin the aggravating search for a second job by browsing the help wanted section. He had gotten precious little sleep the night before courtesy of homework, his worry over finding another job, and of course, that group of thoughtless assholes on the floor below him.

He stopped next to the wall that housed the mailboxes and he retrieved his mail, sighing at the Past Due stamps on a couple of them. It couldn’t be just one thing at a time, he thought. He turned away and was quickly pushed back when someone ran into him, but before he could speak the prima donna from the night before was in his face. No, it had to be… hell, it had to be everything.

“Why don’t you watch where the fuck you’re going?” Isabel snapped when she recognized the pain in the ass from last night. Because of him she had gone to sleep frustrated as hell. If not for him she wouldn’t have spent the night tossing and turning restlessly.

“Wh... ME?” Alex looked at her, speechless.

“I don’t have time to deal with you. Get out of my way.” It wasn’t like she couldn’t go around him, but he was the one who was standing in her way and she had places to be. This guy couldn’t possibly have anywhere to be... maybe in front of his computer playing some stupid game, making little cyber friends because he was just too sad to go out and get a life.

“I’ve got news for you, princess. I don’t wanna deal with you either, so move your fat ass out of the way.” She didn’t have a fat ass, but he knew it would make her... very unhappy.

Isabel drew herself up to her full height and put every ounce of intimidation she possessed behind the look of righteous indignation on her face. “Fat ass?” she echoed. “I realize the only action you’re probably getting is from some other geek online, so it’s probably been a while since you’ve been with a real woman...” She paused and a slow smile teased the corners of her lips as her expression turned condescending. “Oh, wait... you’ve never been with a real woman, have you? Aww, that’s so sad. No wonder you get so uptight about parties and sex.”

He rolled his eyes. “Frustrated much that you didn’t get laid last night?” He grinned knowingly. “You should thank me. I saved you from a potential STD.”

She snorted indelicately. “Yeah, because you’d know anything about my sex life. I’ll have you know your little temper tantrum out in the hallway did not keep me from getting laid. And I’ll let Tony know you’ve accused him of having an STD... I’m sure he’d like to kick your ass for that.”

He looked at her, pretending to be shocked. “I’m already trembling.”

Isabel glared at him. “Are you gonna move?”

He shrugged. “If your ass isn’t too fat, go around me.”

Move around him? Her eyes flashed when he insulted her again and she reacted without thinking. She took a lot of pride in her appearance and she did her best to maintain her weight so she knew she wasn’t fat. She moved into his space and grabbed his hand, forcing it to settle against her ass. “That right there is a perfect, well-toned, and evenly-tanned ass.”

Alex tried to hide his shock. What the hell? “TMI!” he choked out and stepped aside.

Isabel reached out to pat his cheek, grinning when she got her way. “Sorry, forgot you don’t know what a real woman feels like.” She waved over her shoulder as she breezed past him. “Bye.”

Alex cursed under his breath and started to walk upstairs. How much did he hate Guerin and all the people who seemed to go in and out of his apartment whenever they wanted? He couldn’t decide which of them was the worst.

He took a deep breath when he finally reached his floor and walked up to his small apartment. He frowned when he saw a small paper pinned on the front door. With one quick move he ripped it off.

Mr. Whitman,

This is a reminder that the rent for last month has been past due for a while now. I expect your payment, including all late charges, by the end of next week or we will begin eviction proceedings.


“Fuckin’ great,” he muttered when he read the letter left by the landlord. How was he gonna get that much money so soon? Hell, the late charges alone almost added up to a full month’s rent!

*****

Maria turned the key to open the front door of her mother’s apartment. “Hello,” she called out when she walked in, closing the door behind her quickly. “Awesome,” she mumbled to herself as she felt the blessedly cool air conditioning.

“Maria, hey!” Amy came out of the kitchen, smiling. She was always happy when her daughter stopped by. Wiping her hands on a towel she hugged Maria tightly. “You look good. Your hair looks different… new style?”

“Um-hmm, thank God the agency pays extra for that. They want their models to look good.”

Amy smiled sadly. She knew Maria worked a lot, and so hard, to pay for her apartment and to help with her younger brother’s medical bills. She hated to take money from her daughter, but it was impossible to afford it alone.

Maria’s dad had been Amy’s teenage love and he had taken off as soon as she had gotten pregnant, while Cody’s dad had been a long-time boyfriend. Maria had always thought the man was cool… right up until Cody had been born and was diagnosed with the heart defect and he had taken off too. Jerk!

“Is Mike comin’ too?” Cody asked when he came into the room.

Maria smiled at her younger brother when she saw him. He always looked so small and pale, as if the slightest touch would shatter him into pieces. It made her heart clench painfully. She knew it was a good day for him when he walked around the apartment though. “Uh-huh, he should be here soon. We’ve got a little surprise for you.”

The boy snickered happily and ran towards her. She bent down to catch him and lifted him up in her arms to kiss his cheek. “Did ya miss me?”

Cody giggled and buried his face against her shoulder. “M’ria,” he complained, but she could tell he was happy. “Wha’s the s’prise?” he asked curiously.

“Well, it won’t be a surprise if I tell you, huh?” she teased, tickling his side.

He grinned mischievously. “I won’t tell if ya tell me.”

Amy watched her son with his older sister. The little boy was always so happy when she came by. “Why don’t you go change into the things we picked out earlier?” she asked Cody.

“Okay, Mama!”

She smiled when he scampered off to his room. “Where’re you two taking him today?” she asked. It wasn’t unusual for Maria and Michael to take Cody out for an afternoon on one of his good days.

“Michael said they’ve got a new shark exhibit at the aquarium, so we’re gonna take him there,” Maria whispered so her brother wouldn’t hear her.

“Aww, he’ll love that.” Cody loved any kind of animal and he especially loved marine life. “Did Michael invite you over to his dad’s place on Saturday?”

“Yeah, he mentioned it yesterday while we were joggin’.”

Amy nodded. “How’re your jobs going?”

“The photographer for the current shoot sucks, but the rest is cool. I’m gonna pick up a couple more classes soon… stretching and relaxation, and of course there’re still the Tae Bo classes too.”

“I’m glad you finally have a day off,” she said, wishing that her daughter didn’t have to work so hard.

“Don’t worry about me, Mom,” Maria shook her head. “I love my jobs and besides that I’ve got some very cool friends.”

Amy was so thankful for that. She knew Maria’s friends – Michael especially – helped her to get through the rough patches and hold onto her sanity. “How are things with Kyle?”

“Good. Haven’t seen him much the last few days since he’s been stayin’ at the station.”

Kyle was a good guy but Amy knew the relationship wasn’t serious. “You two are still leaving things open?”

“Yeah,” Maria shrugged, “we both know it’s not real love that we have. We care about each other though and… he’s a fireman… that makes him hot.” She wiggled her eyebrows.

She chuckled. “No point trying to deny there’s just something about a man in uniform.” She often wondered how Maria and Michael had managed to overlook each other, but she had never tried to instigate anything between them. They would see it one day, she was sure of it. She turned to the door when the bell rang. “That must be Michael. Let me go check on Cody and make sure he’s put his pants on the right way… the other day his pants were on backwards and his shirt was inside out.”

Maria chuckled and went to open the door. “Hey, CB!”

Michael grinned and gave her a one-armed hug as he stepped inside. “Wha’sup, RP? Where’s my little buddy?”

“He’s tryin’ to put his clothes on and Mom’s givin’ him a hand.”

“She’s not gonna make him wear somethin’ she made is she?” he whispered. Amy was many things, but she should leave the clothes making to people who knew what they were doing.

“No, I think we would’ve heard him protesting by now.”

He nodded. “You wanna ask your mom if she wants to go or ya think she just needs a break for a few hours?”

“I think I’ll use the time to get some grocery shopping done, Michael,” Amy answered for herself when she came back into the room.

“How’s it goin’, Amy?” he asked, giving her a hug.

“Good, I’m good. Just a little tired.”

“I could take Cody over the weekend,” Maria offered. She knew her mom deserved some time off from everything too and yeah, it’d mean no partying for her, but that was okay. No one knew how much time she had with her brother if a viable transplant didn’t come available soon. “I’ve basically got the whole weekend off. Might have a little photo shoot on Saturday mornin’.”

“Yeah,” Michael spoke up before Amy could turn the offer down, “besides, I’m off on Saturday and if Maria’s shoot runs late I can head over to my dad’s with my little buddy here.” He scooped Cody up when he ran up to him. “I need as many guys there as I can get… I’m surrounded by girls!” He grinned and high-fived the little boy.

Amy smiled. “But you know you’d have to spend your weekend at home for the most part.”

Maria watched Michael playing with Cody and nodded. Michael was careful with him, messing around without getting too rowdy, but he knew how to make Cody laugh. He understood the boy’s limitations and he knew how to deal with them and care for him. Yeah, she knew it would mean staying home, but that was okay. The little guy was feeling good today but it wouldn’t take much to wear him out; any activity exhausted him before long. If he felt up to it they could hang out at the barbeque for a while, but she knew even that might be too much for him. “That’s alright, there’re plenty of things we can do at home.”

“Yeah,” Michael agreed and looked at Cody. “We can watch some movies, right buddy?”

Cody nodded. “Ice Age!”

Maria groaned. “Again?”

The little boy loved Ice Age and he was convinced that the prehistoric squirrel was like Loco. “We can do a movie marathon,” Michael suggested helpfully. “Ice Age, Madagascar, maybe some Toy Story.” If Cody was feeling up to it and they made it over to Dad’s house they could just hang out in the theater room, but he’d wait and suggest that later depending on the little guy.

Amy glanced at them, amazed at how they didn’t think twice about spending their weekend with him even though it meant they couldn’t hang out in the clubs or whatever they did with their time off.

“You stayin’ wif us, Mike?” Cody asked him.

“Of course. You know I never turn down a chance to hang out with my best bud. We’ll pop the tops on a couple of cold root beers and kick back.” He tickled the little boy. “We won’t even make Maria cook for us… we’ll call Sal and have him fix up a bag of his special cheeseburgers and fries and if Isabel’s hangin’ around maybe she’ll make that special hot fudge sundae you like, huh? How’s that sound?”

Cody nodded, excited. “Can I go, Mama?”

She smiled and nodded. There were such limitations on him but she wanted him to enjoy every minute because they just never knew what the next day held in store for him. Maria knew what to do if his health worsened and Michael was a trained EMT so she had no worries beyond the normal ‘mom’ worries and concerns. She had decided long ago that she wasn’t going to prevent him from living because he was sick. “You guys just take it easy on the junk food, okay?”

“We will,” Michael winked at her. “Ya ready to go?” he asked Cody.

“Let’s go!” the little boy shouted enthusiastically. “Wanna tell me what the s’prise is, Mike?”

“You’ll see soon enough,” he told him, grabbing some stuff that Amy had packed for him.

“C’mon, Mike… you can tell me.” He tugged on the man’s collar and grinned when Michael looked at him. “Pleeeeeeze?”

“Bye, Mom,” Maria said as the three of them headed for the front door. “We’ll bring him home after dinner.”

“You guys have fun,” Amy called after them. As soon as they were gone she collapsed on the couch and sighed in exhaustion.

_____

Next week we gonna start from the beginning again, means you will get an MSH uppy.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 10

Postby Double Trouble » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:12 am

mary mary: Michael and Tony are both pretty great… of course we might be biased just a bit. We’ll get more clarification about what’s going on with these women the further we get into the story. ;)

Max… well, we’ll get a little bit of insight into his character today.

Earth2Mama: The reasons why Alex can’t/won’t just move out of this too loud apartment are there, we haven’t revealed them all yet, though. ;)

Lol, didn’t you see? There was a warning at the top of the part.

Being in a kind of relationship like that (friends with benefits) can cause problems. We will see how our group will deal with this once the situation changes. We know you guys expect a BIG backfire on them, lol…. yeah, we can’t share if you are right yet. Though, it probably won’t go all in the direction you would expect by now. ;)

Maximum M&M showtime huh? Oh, we think we can totally promise this!

We are glad the Ky&Ma stuff won’t make you run off! ;)

Eva: Ah, Alex definitely has his own story… and we’ll get around to it eventually. It’s gonna take a bit of time before we get them all unfolded, but we’ll get there.

Max… we’ll get a little insight into him today.

kismet: Nope, it’s all a matter of the right person and this group has yet to discover that, but we’re just getting started with them.

Communication is definitely a big part of what’s missing here and it’s something that affects all of our gang here in some manner or other.

Michael is very close to Maria and her family. You could be onto something where Michael and Liz are concerned.

No worries, we knew going into this one that the Ma/Ky relationship might not be something everyone was into. But it’ll work out in the end, promise.
Things are going to get more interesting. If it helps… we’ll get a little insight into Max this week. :)

keepsmiling7: Hmm… well, that part of the story isn’t ready to be revealed just yet, but we can give you some background for Max today.

Alien_Friend: Cody’s a sweet little guy.

Yep, everyone has lost something or someone here and it’s responsible (or at least contributes) in some way to how and why our characters act the way they do.

Max… how about we take a look and get some insight into Max today? Liz has no problem telling Max off when she needs to. Trent on the other hand, well, that’s a different story. We can promise that in spite of the hostility between Max and Liz he’s miles apart from Trent.

It’s true, but assumptions are what this fic is based on. Oh, you can expect to see more of these scenes between Alex and Isabel.

Definitely everyone BUT them.

We’re glad you’re lovin’ this story!

killjoy: Lol, we’re glad you’re enjoying Tess here.

So true, and Alex has no problem taking Isabel on here.

itsme69: We’re back to our weekly updates starting today.

And… we’ll have some Max and Liz today.

begonia9508: We’re glad you like Michael and Alex.

Oh, we promised an explanation and we will deliver… eventually. TIC TAC is just getting started, there’s a lot of story to tell here and a lot of ground to cover.
Wanna share any of those different options?

phyco352: Glad to hear you’re enjoying TIC TAC!

Lol, well, we’re guessing you’re probably all caught up now… and just in time for regular updates again.

Lover of Metallica: Interesting… dynamic… we like both. :) There’s a lot of ground to cover to finally get things really rolling but we are getting there. We’re very glad that this fic is keeping you in a state of anticipation.

Max and Liz, huh? Well, we will get a glimpse of the two of them individually this update. As to their deal with each other… that one’s gonna take some time to unfold.


A/N: Since Cupid’s Revenge ends today we are going back to normal updating schedule next weekend.
Means weekly uppies for MSH / ITCOAL / TIC TAC. ;)




Part 10

Lay It On The Line


It was shortly after lunch when Kyle arrived back at his apartment after a visit to his parents’ house. They lived just outside of the city and it was always so hard to find the time to visit them. His job, college classes, the parties… there was always something going on in his life. He glanced at his watch. Six hours left before he had to go back to work the night shift with Guerin. It seemed like there was always a fire here lately. Damn heat! He decided to crash on the couch and rest a little more since he knew his roommate was out with Maria and her brother and they were probably looking at another long night.

Kyle frowned when he walked into the living room and saw Michael’s little sister Tess sprawled out on the couch. His couch! “What’re you doin’ here?” he asked, a little annoyed since he had been planning to take over the furniture.

Tess tried to ignore him, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen. “Whatcha mean? I live here now, remember?”

He rolled his eyes. “I know that, smartass. But aren’t you supposed to… I don’t know… go shoppin’ or somethin’?”

She watched him, her gaze lazily wandering over him and ignoring his obvious irritation at her encroachment on his territory. “No, no shopping today… unless you’re offering?”

He snorted. “Yeah, right!” He walked over to the refrigerator and grabbed a Coke out of it. “I’m workin’ the night shift so I need to rest. Would you mind goin’… somewhere else?”

“Where would you suggest I go?” she asked a little hurt that he didn’t want her around.

He shrugged. “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Okay, he was probably being a little bit too hard on Michael’s little sister but she had just moved in here and taken over like she owned the place… and his couch.

Okay, well, he didn’t have to be a jerk about it. “We could talk. Wanna know what I’ve been doin’?”

He sighed when he realized that she wasn’t giving in and going away. “Move,” he waved her off to get at least half of the couch.

“We can talk about you if you wanna,” she offered as she shifted to make room for him.

“About me? There’s nothin’ to talk about. Nothing’s changed while you’ve been away, Tess.”

She frowned. “Nothing?”

“Nothin’ I can think of, no. Should there be?”

Yeah, she thought. You should’ve realized that you missed me and I’m not just Michael’s little sister. “No, I guess not.”

He nodded. “Okay, well… let’s watch some TV then,” he suggested. Maybe if he watched some sports she’d get bored and leave the couch to him.

Tess crossed her arms over her chest. “So, you don’t wanna hear about what I’ve been doin’?”

He shrugged. “Can I stop you?” Knowing her, he couldn’t.

“No.”

He slouched down further on the couch and propped his feet up on the coffee table, keeping his gaze focused on the TV screen.

Tess couldn’t believe he was totally ignoring her… as if she wasn’t even there! She stretched her legs out and propped her bare feet against his thigh. She watched the TV for a few minutes and then shook her head. She knew from past experience that he would sit there and watch baseball for hours on end and she just didn’t get the point. “So, I was seeing this college guy in Long Beach. He might come and visit when he has a break from his summer internship program.” Okay, that was a total lie… there was no guy, college or otherwise.

“Uh-huh… interesting. I hope you’re not plannin’ to invite him to stay here.”

Seriously? That was the extent of his thoughts on the subject? What was she doing wrong? “Well… no.” What now? “So, are you doin’ any new fireman stuff?”

He snorted. “Every day it’s somethin’ new.”

“Right, well…” She looked up when Loco ran across the room with something in his mouth. “Those aren’t your keys are they?”

He glanced at Loco and groaned. “Oh, c’mon, Loco. Gimme a break.”

The ferret stood up on his hind legs and held the keys in his front claws as he chirped happily. He was just waiting for Kyle to take up the chase.

*****

Liz hurried into the café where she worked after picking Aaron up and she sat him down at one of the tables and told him to wait for her. He fidgeted in the chair as he hugged Rabi and looked around at the customers when she ran into the back. He slid down to stand on the floor next to the table and when the action went unnoticed he moved around the tables. He wasn’t really paying attention to where he was going and when he walked into someone he swallowed hard and lifted his head to look up.

“You lost, kid?”

He started to gnaw on one of Rabi’s ears nervously and he reached up to touch the pictures on the man’s arm. “What’s them?” He was expecting to be yelled at, but he couldn’t stop the curious question from tumbling past his lips.

Liz stepped out from the back after collecting her check and she felt a moment of panic set in when she didn’t see Aaron sitting at the table where she had left him. Panic turned to fear when she glanced around and didn’t see him, and when she spotted him talking to a stranger it turned to anger. How many times had she told him not to talk to strangers? Damn it, why couldn’t he just get that rule stuck in his head?

She stalked in between the tables and reached around the man to grab Aaron’s hand and pull him away. “What have I told you about talkin’ to strangers, Aaron?” she snapped. “You don’t know this man! He could be a bad person!” She winced when she realized how that would sound to the stranger and she paused, taking in a deep, calming breath. “It’s alright,” she said after taking a moment to compose herself. “We’ll talk about this later. For now, go and get your backpack. Your appointment’s in less than an hour so we need to get going because I need to stop at the bank on the way.” She stood and turned, preparing to apologize to the man for insinuating that he could have ill intentions toward the little boy but the words froze on her tongue when she came face to face with the bane of her existence.

“I think it’s interesting how you’re so judgmental of people when you’ve been keepin’ him a secret,” Max snarled at her.

“Aaron is none of your fuckin’ business,” she hissed angrily.

“He’s gotta be, what? Four, five years old? Which would mean you were about 16 or 17 when you got pregnant?” He reached for her left hand and held it up, inspecting it closely. “Nope, don’t see a weddin’ ring there… couldn’t get the poor bastard to marry you?”

“Shut up, Evans!” He didn’t know anything about her and hearing him talking like this hurt more than she would admit even to herself.

He smirked at her, knowing he had just hit close to home with that one. He wished he didn’t feel compelled to be such a dick to her, but she was the one who had started the war and he wasn’t about to let her win. He’d have to be blind not to see the wounded look in her eyes but he wouldn’t let that sway him. She would just find a way to turn it around on him and he wouldn’t give her that power over him. Not again. “Why is it no one seems to know about him, Liz? Too ashamed to let people know how early you started givin’ it up?”

“I’m not the one without any goals or dreams in life,” she told him coldly. “So which one of us has given up here, huh?” She deliberately turned the words around on him. She turned around when Aaron approached them. “Are you ready to leave?”

Max couldn’t exactly argue with that. His only goal these days was to get through each day as it came. He didn’t have any plans for the future beyond day to day survival. He looked down at the little boy who was glancing between them curiously and he felt something tug at him at the boy’s innocence. He crouched down next to the little guy and tugged on his stuffed toy. “You behave, alright?” He swallowed hard when a little hand lifted to settle over the wide leather band of his watch and a moment later Aaron looked at him with a big smile.

“You too!”

He ruffled the little boy’s hair as he stood again and his expression cooled significantly when he faced Liz again.

Liz tried to cover her feelings about Max’s behavior with Aaron. She turned to the little boy, avoiding looking at the man in front of her. “We’re leaving."

“Is he your friend?” Aaron asked as she picked him up and carried him out of the café. He smiled and waved at Max when the man lifted his hand.

“No, he’s just a customer from the café,” she told him quickly. Her and Max friends? NEVER!

“You should be his friend,” he stated in response to her adamant denial. “He’s sad... I think he needs you to be his friend.” He smiled. “An’ me an’ Rabi can be his friends too.”

“Oh, Aaron, you can’t be friends with everyone who’s sad.”

“Why?”

“Because there’re a lot of people in the world who are sad and I’m sure he has other friends he can be with.”

“But if he has friends then why’s he sad?”

“Maybe he just had a bad day.”

“Can I get pictures like he had?”

Great, a meeting with Max that had lasted less than a minute and Aaron already wanted to be like him! “Maybe when you’re older, buddy.”

“Okay.” He looked around at the people walking past them. “Where we’re goin’ now?”

“We’re going to see Mr. Seligman.”

“Who’s him?”

“Your doctor, sweetie.”

“I don’t wanna go there.”

“It’s just a routine checkup, Aaron. Nothing to be afraid off.”

He chewed on Rabi’s ear thoughtfully. “Can we go to the park after?”

“Sure, I’ve got the rest of the day off.”

He smiled and decided to push his luck. “And a cheeseburger happy meal?”

She laughed slightly. “Depends on how well you behave while we’re at the doctor’s office.”

“I’ll be real good,” he said solemnly.

“Promise?”

“He’s not gonna give me no needles, right?”

“Nah, not today.”

“Then, I’m gonna be real good.”

They walked together down the steps to the subway. “Then you’ll get your cheeseburger, my friend.”

He smiled and hugged Rabi closer as they squeezed past a lot of people. He hated going to the doctor, but as long as the man wasn’t gonna be poking him with needles then it would be okay. Especially since he was getting a cheeseburger and playtime in the park out of it.

It took them more than 30 minutes to get to the building where Dr. Seligman’s office was housed. “Are we late?” Liz asked the nurse at the reception desk as they walked in.

The woman smiled and reached for the clipboard with the sign-in sheet. “No, Ms. Parker, you still have a few minutes before your appointment. We’ll just need to make a copy of your insurance card and have you fill out a couple of forms and then you’ll be all set.”

“Okay,” she placed Aaron on the ground. “Go and take a seat over there, will ya?”

“’Kay.” He paused at the table in the corner that held a stack of books and he picked one out before taking a seat.

“Alright,” Liz turned to the nurse again. “This heat’s getting on my nerves.”

“Honey, this heat is making everyone in the city crazy,” the older woman smiled.

Liz filled out all the necessary papers before she walked into the waiting room with Aaron to sit down until the doctor could see them. The minutes passed by slowly and it was nearly 45 minutes past the time scheduled for Aaron’s appointment when they were finally called in to see the physician.

“Hi,” Liz greeted the older man, hiding her anger about her lost time on a rare free afternoon.

Dr. Seligman pushed his glasses up and crouched down so that he was on eye level with the little boy. “How’s he been doin’?” he asked as he listened to Aaron’s heartbeat with his stethoscope. “Any episodes recently?”

“No, not since our last visit.”

The doctor nodded. “That’s good.” He ran through the examination, keeping up a running dialog with Aaron because he knew the little boy would get cranky before long. “Everything looks good, Liz. He’s where he should be for his age, he’s healthy, and he seems to be fairly happy.”

“I’m trying my best,” she told him as she looked at the little guy with a small smile.

“Did you have any questions or concerns?” he asked.

Liz thought about it but shook her head quietly.

Dr. Seligman opened the door and asked one of the nurses to take Aaron out and keep an eye on him for a few minutes. “I know sometimes it’s difficult to carry on certain conversations when children are in the same room,” he said, hoping she would feel comfortable enough to speak freely.

“Yeah, gotta watch what you say,” she agreed, knowing Aaron was pretty aware of what was going on around him.

“Um-hmm.” He sat down on the stool next to the counter and he placed Aaron’s folder on the clear surface. “I feel like there’s something on your mind, Liz.”

She sighed. “Nothing you can make any better, Doc.”

“Maybe not, but sometimes it helps to talk about it.”

“It’s just all kinda...” she shrugged, “exhausting.”

“Do you feel like you’ve taken on too much?”

“I feel burned out. Working, college, taking care of Aaron and all the other real life stuff.... it’s not easy.”

He nodded and bit his lip. “Do you feel that taking Aaron on may have been too much for you?”

She shook her head, determined. “No! He’s the only good thing in my life, Doc. I would never be happy in my life if I had made a different decision a couple of years ago.”

“Sometimes even the best intentions can have detrimental side effects.” He paused. “Are you seeing anyone?”

She snorted. “I’ve barely got time to sleep.”

“You’ve got to make some time for yourself, Liz. I know it’s easier said than done, but even you’re admitting that you’re burnt out. You need someone to help you shoulder everything.”

“Got any unmarried sons?” she joked.

The man smiled. “Just an unmarried daughter and she doesn’t take my advice either.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” she promised him.

“Um-hmm, you say that now, but what you’ll end up doing is workin’ yourself into the ground trying to do it all alone.” He smiled knowingly. “If nothing else, take a night off and leave Aaron with a sitter... get out of the apartment and get a taste of life.”

Liz thought about the invitation she had gotten from Michael the other day. Maybe she should really go one of these days. “Will do, Doc. I think my brother can survive one night without me, huh?”

“I promise you, Liz, the boy will be just fine if you take a night off.”

“It’s been a while since I went to a party,” she admitted

“Have you been out since you took custody of Aaron?”

She shook her head. “Not really.”

He smiled. “Then you need to get out. If nothing else, spend some time with some friends and for a few hours focus on just yourself.”

Liz stood up, nodding. “I’ll try, Doc.”

“That’s all I’m askin’,” he said with a smile.

*****

Maria held the hot dog she had bought for Cody in her hand, carefully trying to avoid getting any ketchup spots on her clothes. Michael took the little boy and sat him on one of the benches in front of the large aquariums. Cody watched the fish there in awe even though they hadn’t reached the really big ones.

They had been here with him countless times and the little boy was still fascinated whenever they made another trip to the aquarium. “Alright, we’re gonna get ya ready for the ketchup battle,” Michael said and put several napkins on the boy. Cody giggled when his friend shoved one between the neckline of his tee shirt and his neck. “Think that’s gonna work?”

Cody nodded, stretching his arms out for the food Maria was holding. She sat down next to him and held the hot dog out for him to take the first bite. She laughed when he managed to get the red sauce all over his face.

Michael shook his head and cleaned up the worst of the mess on Cody’s face while Maria tried to get the ketchup that was running over the side of the bun. He grinned when the little boy shoved his hand away and reached for the hot dog again. He didn’t care how messy it was he just wanted the rare treat. With his condition things like hot dogs were a rare treat because of his diet and he wasn’t letting anything get in his way. He glanced up when a couple of gorgeous girls walked by, giggling and nodding at him.

“Your little boy’s so sweet,” one of them commented.

It wasn’t the first time he and Maria had been mistaken for a young couple out with their little boy but it sure did make it difficult to flirt sometimes. The last time he had denied it his good buddy had been in a teasing mood and she had turned the tables on him and made a scene about him stepping out on her while she was right there. Needless to say he hadn’t gotten that girl’s number.

“Thanks,” he said with a wide grin. He reached over and rested his hand on Maria’s shoulder and winked at her. “We’re very proud.”

The two girls exchanged a horrified glance and started to walk off quickly. “Didn’t you say he’s single?” one of them asked.

“Well, I’ve seen him at plenty of parties without her.”

Maria rolled her eyes. “God!”

Michael just grinned. “You’d think that’d get old.”

“Wha’s so funny Mike?” Cody asked as he looked between his older sister and Michael.

“Nothing,” Maria said, giving up on the ketchup and just waiting until Cody was finished making a big mess. “Michael thinks he’s funny.”

“He’s funny… aren’t you, Mike?”

“I am funny.” He wiped another bit of ketchup from the little boy’s chin. “Almost as funny as you, buddy.”

The little boy grinned at took another bite of his food. It didn’t take long before he was full. “The rest’s for you,” he told Michael.

“Yeah? Cool, thanks.” He finished the hot dog off in a couple of bites, wincing at the overdose of ketchup. The kid loved ketchup and Maria had tried to keep most of it at the end he wasn’t eating so he wouldn’t eat as much of it. He washed it down with half a bottle of water before glancing down at the little boy. “How ya feelin’, little man?” he asked as he ran a hand over the boy’s head, ruffling his hair.

“Good!” he shouted. “Tan we go see the sharks now?”

Michael glanced at Maria, seeing the worry in her eyes when Cody’s enthusiasm didn’t match his slow movements as he climbed down and leaned against the bench. “Tell ya what, Cody, you wanna good view of the sharks?”

He looked up at Michael and held his arms up when the man reached for him, lifting him up and settling him on his shoulders. His little hand squeezed Michael’s and he smiled at his sister when she rested her hand against his back for a moment. “I’m ‘kay, M’ria.”

She nodded and let go of him again, knowing Michael would take care of him. He knew what to say and what to do with Cody and she always wondered if he was just naturally talented or if his job made him better equipped to dealing with sick or hurt people.

Michael pulled the tickets out of his pocket as they neared the area cordoned off and he handed them to the man waiting patiently at the entrance. The man tore them in half and handed the ticket stubs back to him and he reached up to put them back in his pocket. “You ready, little man?”

“What it is, Mike?” Cody asked, his voice hushed as they entered the darkened corridor.

“You ‘member those tiger sharks we were lookin’ at in your book a while back?”

“Yep.”

“Okay, check this out… ya ready?”

“Uh-huh.” The little boy was vibrating with excitement.

“Make sure you hold Maria’s hand… ya know how girl’s are, so she might get scared.”

“You don’t gotta be scared, M’ria.” He smiled reassuringly. “Mike’s here.”

He shot a grin at Maria when Cody held his left hand out to her.

Maria bit back her laugh and took her brother’s little hand.

“You should take her hand, Mike!” Cody decided when the position he had to sit in to hold his sister’s hand got to be too uncomfortable.

“See the things I do for you?” Michael muttered, grinning as he took her hand to make the little boy happy. He lifted their joined hands to motion to the lighted tanks up ahead and he heard the kid’s gasp of surprise when a large shadow swam past them.

“What is it, Mike?”

“Look up ahead, Cody.” He loved it when the timing for things worked out the way he wanted it to and as they came to a stop in front of the large glass wall one of the sharks swam right up to the glass and stared at them.

“Wow,” Cody whispered, holding onto Michael as tight as he could while he watched the sharks with amazement. “They’re bigger’n me,” he noticed.

“But you’re cuter,” Maria told him and pinched his side. “Plus, you don’t smell like fish.”

He giggled and squirmed.

Michael grinned and pointed at something across the tank and they watched as another shark swam past them, just barely missing the one hanging by the glass. He moved as close as the barriers would allow so Cody could lean forward and press his hand to the glass.

“I am cuter,” Cody declared a few moments later, making his sister and Michael laugh.

*****

Max was finishing up running the totals for the day when he heard the chime that announced a new customer and he stayed in the tiny office when Amber, his one and only employee, shouted back to let him know that she’d handle it. He was securing everything into a lock bag to be dropped off at the bank when a quiet knock sounded at his door and he looked up, tensing when he recognized his visitor.

“Mom,” he muttered as he tossed the bag in the wall safe and secured it.

Diane Evans felt sadness wash over her once again when her only son dropped back down into his chair to watch her warily. Things had changed so much since he had been a teenager bent on defying authority and constantly locking horns with his father.

“Hey, Evans, you want I should make the deposit?” Amber asked as she stuck her head in the room. She was tall with hair that changed color at the drop of a hat – this week it was a deep shade of blue – tattooed, with piercings in her nose and ear that were connected by a thin silver chain.

“Nah, I’ve got it covered.”

“Ya sure?”

“Positive, go on an’ get outta here.” He had heard her making plans to meet her boyfriend earlier and there was no reason for both of them to be detained longer than they had to be.

“See ya next week then.”

He grunted and waited until he heard the outer door shut and lock behind her before he turned his attention to his mother once more. He loved his mom and he’d do just about anything for her but he knew why she was stopping by and he didn’t want any part of it.

“She’s very nice,” Diane said, forcing a smile. She didn’t understand why people felt the need to pierce and tattoo every possible part of their bodies, but she tried not to judge anyone just for being different.

Max smiled slightly when his mom tried to compliment his employee and he chuckled as he stood and moved a stack of magazines off of the only other chair in the office. “Have a seat, Mom.”

“You look tired, Max.” He wouldn’t like the observation and she regretted the slip as soon as it was out. “I just wish we could see you more often.”

He sighed when she tried to cover her slipup and he avoided her gaze as he returned to his seat. “It’s been busy, always is in the summer.” They both knew it wasn’t work that kept him from sleeping most nights but she wouldn’t push the issue. He cleared his throat and waited for the inevitable.

“Max, would you come to dinner this weekend?” she asked finally.

“Only if he’s outta town. I won’t step one foot in that house while he’s there. I’ll be glad to take you out to dinner or even come over and have dinner with you, but I will not associate with him.”

Diane sighed in resignation. She had known of course that he would refuse, but it didn’t stop her from trying. He and his father were just alike and neither of them would budge an inch; they both believed they were right and nothing was going to change their minds. “He was just trying to do what he believed was best for you.”

“I spent 17 months in a warzone, Mom! 17 months that I can’t shake because he was doin’ what he thought was best for me! Well, guess what? At 19 I had seen guys blown to bits over there, their bodies literally shredded by weapons fire… I killed people, Mom, and now I have to live with that for the rest of my life.”

She swallowed with difficulty, fighting back the tears at her only child’s pain. At 15 he had started hanging out with a rough crowd, getting into trouble, and the problems had only escalated over the next couple of years. He had been 17 when he had been unintentionally involved in an armed robbery by driving the car his friends had jumped into after committing the criminal act.

The only thing that had saved him from the possibility of prison time had been his father’s quick thinking. Philip had hired the best criminal attorney available and then sat down with him to go over the case and find a way out for his only son. He had been desperate to stop his son’s life from being ruined and he had seen it as a way to prevent Max from becoming a hardened criminal.

Max had been 17 and scared of going to prison; he was rebellious, but he wasn’t stupid. When his father and the lawyer had presented the option of testifying against his friends and then enlisting in the military to show the judge that he had seen the error of his ways and intended to do something better with his life he had trusted his father’s advice.

Nine months later he had been 18 and working hard to make something of himself. Like everyone else he had never expected the terrorist attacks on September 11th, and the next thing he had known he had been on the front lines on foreign soil engaging in battles and taking part in dangerous situations that before then could’ve never been imagined.

He had returned home at 20 years old after being wounded in a gun battle that had claimed the life of one of the men he had gotten close to. The physical injury had healed with no permanent damage, but mentally he had been in no shape to return to active duty status and he had received a medical discharge. He hadn’t been ready for the stigma attached to a medical discharge and he had been unable to find a decent job until he had wandered into a tattoo shop one night after downing more alcohol than his body could handle.

The owner had been the one to take him to the hospital and wait with him while he was treated for alcohol poisoning and for reasons he had never understood the man had hung around until he was released and then offered him a job. At first he had just cleaned up at the shop but his talent for drawing and sketching had caught the older man’s eye and he had started to teach Max the art of tattooing. When he had died unexpectedly the year before he had left the shop and all of his belongings to the younger man and at first Max had been reluctant to accept it. But he had eventually realized that he was the closest thing the man had to a relative and if he didn’t take ownership of the shop, what would happen to it? He couldn’t just let it waste away when the man had put so much work into it… when he had put so much work into Max himself, and he had done his best to take care of the business and run it the way the older man had done.

“Your father never wanted that to happen, Max.”

“Doesn’t matter,” he said, looking down and staring at the tat that ran down his right arm. “It happened and nothin’ can change it.” He shrugged and glanced up at her. “I don’t wanna talk about this anymore.”

“Well, perhaps you’ll let me buy you a cup of coffee and we can spend a little time together before I need to be getting back home?”

He smiled, grateful that she had dropped the subject for now.

*****

“Can I go to the sandbox?” Aaron stared up at Liz, who was standing next to the swings in the park where she had promised him they would go after his doctor’s appointment.

“Yeah,” Liz nodded and crouched down to pull Aaron’s little white tee shirt off over his head. It was still hot, even if it was already after 5pm and she didn’t want to ruin the tee shirt. “Go ahead, I’ll be sittin’ over there.” She pointed to a bench nearby.

“Otay,” the boy ran off before Liz could tell him to try to not get the sand in every pocket of his pants.

She smiled slightly at Aaron’s happiness about being in the park with her. Sadly there weren’t any other kids out today. He was a little shy and it was hard for him to make friends at all. Liz straightened up again and walked over to the bench where she sat down, her gaze focused on Aaron until movement caught her eye and she turned her head slightly to watch another couple and a young boy, probably around the same age as Aaron. They walked along the small path through the park about 100 feet away from her, the man carrying the kid in his arms while he talked to his girlfriend or wife. A wave of sadness washed over as she watched the couple. How would it feel to have someone at her side that actually cared?

“What the…?” she muttered when the couple turned slightly in their walk through the park. Was that…? No it couldn’t be, could it? She could’ve sworn that she recognized Michael and Maria from the café. Did they have a kid together? Those two definitely had chemistry, you couldn’t really deny it, but she had always just pictured them as good friends. Maybe their relationship was in the past and they still got along?

Liz shook her head and forced her gaze away when the other couple left the park. She turned to watch Aaron again and groaned slightly when she saw how messy he already was. “Okay, let’s see,” she pulled a book out of her bag. Maybe this was a good time to get some homework done since he was distracted.

Michael stepped back out onto the street and paused to stretch as he looked around. He wondered if he had enough time to catch a quick nap when he got home. He snorted. Yeah, if Tess and Kyle weren’t at each other’s throats, maybe. They definitely had to do something about that situation and soon. He glanced across the street when a teenager ran past chasing his dog that had gotten loose and seemed to think a game of chase would be fun. He shook his head when the kid finally caught his dog and the two of them continued on their way.

He was stepping down off of the curb when he noticed the woman sitting quietly on one of the benches and he wondered if she lived nearby. He was pretty sure she lived in the opposite direction and nowhere near the area, but maybe she just hadn’t wanted to tell him where she lived the other night. He jogged across the street and approached her, eyebrows lifting in surprise when she called out to the little boy playing in the sandbox and telling him to bring his shoes to her when he took them off and started filling one with sand. He slowed down and stopped on the sidewalk, watching her as she fussed over the little boy for a few minutes before removing his socks and sending him back to play. He rounded the bench and dropped down to sit beside her, smiling as she muttered under her breath about how impossible it was to get sand out of things as she beat the shoe against the bench.

“Hey, Liz,” he greeted with a smile.

“Oh Michael, hey,” Liz breathed, shocked as she looked at the man next to her. Damn, why did he have to show up now? “How’s it goin’?”

“Good.” He nodded at the little boy. “I didn’t know you had a kid.”

“I didn’t know about yours either,” she countered.

“My what?” He glanced over his shoulder and grinned. “Oh, you mean Cody.”

“So his name’s Cody...”

“Um-hmm. How ‘bout your son?”

“His name’s Aaron,” Liz said. “And he’s my brother.”

Michael grinned. “Well, like I said, his name’s Cody. He’s Maria’s brother.”

“Oh,” Liz shook her head and hid her face in her hands. “Sorry, I should’ve known,” she chuckled. “I mean, you and Maria are just friends, right?”

“Yeah, but no big deal. People mistake us for a couple all the time.” He grinned. “Got mistaken for Cody’s parents earlier today while we were out. Maria doesn’t think it’s as funny as I do,” he said with a smirk.

“Have you two ever...” she trailed off and avoided his gaze. “I don’t know, considered more than just being friends?”

He snorted. “Me an’ Maria? No way.” Why did people keep asking that question?

Liz glanced at him amused. “Why’s that?”

He shrugged. “’Cause we’re just best friends.”

Maybe they had been best friends for too long to notice, Liz thought. “You’re very close,” she said instead, “not many people have that.”

“That’s a shame,” he said quietly. Maria was his best buddy and he couldn’t imagine his life without her in it.

“Aaron, don’t put sand on your head, okay?” Liz called. She groaned and fell back on the bench. “Kids.”

He smiled. “Gotta love ‘em though. You babysitting for the evening?”

Liz’ expression turned serious as she considered what to tell him. But lying wasn’t really an option so she shook her head slightly. “No.”

“Your parents on vacation or somethin’?”

She bit her bottom lip and shook her head again.

Michael watched her responses and he wondered if he should pry any further. “I’m a good listener,” he said after a few minutes.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas


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