While Max and Liz were committing insanity together. Maria was relishing spending the day with her son. Something she could rarely do because she was always in one musical or another before she began rehearsals for the drama that she was doing back home. And with her son now school age. He was in school while she rehearsed. And they barely had time because on the weekends she was working too. Until today. Until now. She had called in sick to work. Or more correctly, a family emergency. But she did not feel guilty. She had put on a performance saying that her mother was in the hospital. And the director, Steven had granted her the rest of the week off. With her understudy taking over for the initial weekend previews. I know, it is a risk she thought to herself.
And yes, only days before. Maria had been worried that her understudy would take the spotlight, and now she did not care. All she knew was she needed this time. To make sense of her world and spend time with her son. As they had driven and seen the sights outside of Roswell. She revelled in the child’s delight at the sights that he was seeing. And she was able to show her son her former world. And Charlie was clearly relished in it. Because he had rarely been able to spend this quality time with his mother.
And his mother was spoiling him, and shopping along the way, and they were both having a good time as they were outside of the angst-ridden world that was Roswell because of Michael. Maria wanted to spend this time with her son. Because before too long. They would be back home and back to their individual lives.
Maria would not have this time with her son anymore. So, as they stopped for lunch in a town outside of Roswell. They had stopped in a diner. Classically known as a greasy spoon. Something she had loved when she was her son’s age, and even older. Only later did she develop a fascination for the Crashdown fare. And since she had been in New York. She had moved on. And now she was back in her home state and revisiting the world that she was so sure she would never leave.
But she had. And now she was back. And so, they were now eating their burgers and fries. And having a good time together.
And that was before her son decided to stir things up. “Mommy,” Charlie asked as he drank the milk shake and ate a fry and he decided to question his mother about what he did not know.
“What is it honey?” Maria asked as she was simply happy to be able to spend this time with her son.
“Why did you not want to bring back here,” Charlie asked as he looked up at his mother. “I mean Grandma always came to see us, but you never wanted to bring me back here to visit Grandma and Grandpa or even Uncle Kyle?” he asked.
“Honey,” Maria sighed as she had known this day would be coming. But she did not want it to be happening, not now, and not yet. As she figured she had a few years before she got these types of questions. But nope, my son has decided to question things she muttered as she tried find a way to dodge out of it. “You are too young to think like that?”
“Well, I do think about it,” Charlie asked.
“Honey, I love you” Maria murmured. “I was always working, and you know that. And Grandma always was able to come and see us in New York otherwise we would have come more often,” she murmured yeah sure, lie to your son she thought, and she knew she was. She was using her job as a crutch. Because yes, she had been in one production or another these last years but those early months, and even years. It was a lot of freer time, and she still had not come back to Roswell. Instead, she worked as many jobs as she could, and her mother came to them.
“I know that” Charlie muttered. “I love that Grandma came to see us, but we never came back here, and it only took Aunt Liz wanting to bring me for me to come even at all?”
“I have a production back home,” Maria sighed. “Which I am already skating the line” she acknowledged given she staged an elaborate ruse in delaying her return to their home. She was not ready to head home yet. But knew the day was coming where she would have to leave this town once again, and Michael. The question would Michael be alive the next time I come back?
“I know,” Charlie sighed.
“You know I love you, right?” Maria asked. As she hated knowing she had been working so much of her child’s childhood. She was able to provide for him, but sure her mother was a hippie in many respects during her own childhood. But at least her mother had been there for her, each day, and she knew she was working more than she has been there for her son so far. She was hoping this production would be a hit, so she could have more choices. And create more of a career where she could choose what she did, and not having to do it, to get paid to be able to pay her son’s tuition.
She was almost there…
“I know,” Charlie sighed. “It is just I wonder if the reason you never brought me back here is because my father is here…” he asked. “I have a father, right?”
“Of course, you do,” Maria muttered as she hated how unprepared she was for this conversation. She always batted back his previous questions but now that he had been exposed to her hometown, and probably heard more than he should have. “I would not have you if you did not,” as she was not ready to get into a lesson on the birds and bees with a six-year-old.
“Then why do I not know him?” Charlie asked.
“Oh, Charlie” Maria muttered. Why me, she thought. This is what happens when you hide the birth of your child from the world around you, and especially from his father and even from your child. “All I can say is that it is complicated.”
“Is it?” Charlie asked.
“It is grown up stuff,” Maria sighed as she wanted their lunch to be over, and for them go onto their next planned excursion and for her son to stop this questioning, and in this way, he was so like Michael for his ability to not be able to settle for the story given to him. Which made her proud, but it was annoying as heck when it was aimed right at her.
“That is what you or Aunt Liz always told me before when I asked,” Charlie muttered. ‘But I heard you talking last night, and I have to wonder if there is more to it?”
“You are too smart you know,” Maria asked.
“You tell me that all the time,” Charlie smiled.
“Which is why I pay that private school tuition,” Maria muttered.
“So, do I have a father?” Charlie asked.
“Oh, Charlie” Maria muttered. Unsure of how to deal with this one. And she wished she had Liz’s assistance, but she suspected her friend would not be much help, but it would have been nice not to be taking the brunt on this…
“Do I?” Charlie asked as he was unwilling to keep quiet about this. Not this time. He wanted answers, and he was finally asking the question, and he wanted his mother to tell him the truth. Do I not deserve it the six-year-old asked?
“You are too young for this?”
“Is his name Michael?” Charlie blurted out and Maria went pale, and she finally knew the that the younger generation were way too smart for their own good.
And Liz wanted to create a new member of the circle. While she was trying to resist the notion that she could seek the help of the man in her embrace at the moment. Max had other ideas, and he seemly was obsessed with the notion of helping his ex. “I want to help you out with this” Max was asking as they laid in his bed. It had gotten seriously steamy in the bedroom, and it was not only the bathroom that had steamy mirrors, but it seemed like everything was around them was supercharged. As if every nerve was fried, and they were going for more. Or that was Liz’s intention even though she knew the changes of her getting pregnant via of any of their encounters that weekend was unlikely because it was not the time of the month for it, but she knew she was heading into the period where it could happen which made every encounter riskier and riskier, and yet here she was. Straddling him and trying to get him to stop thinking about her plans.
And yet he seemed obsessed by this notion, and Liz was trying to divert him from thinking about it and saying the words he was saying as she leaned down with kisses, as he laid against the pillow. Thanking that Micah was heading to her friend’s house after school on this day. And that meant more time before he had come back to reality, and head to pick up his daughter. And it was truly blissed to be here with Liz, and to have this chance.
“I do not want to be talking about it,” came Liz as she tried to smother the words from Max and he knew it and on one hand he was allowing her to do it, because who would not be in his situation. One that had a sexy brunette having her way with him. “I should never have told you anything about it?”
“Why not? Max asked. “It’s your dream?”
“My dream is not your dream,” Liz sighed.
“How do you know?” Max asked as he maneuvered the situation to have completely flipped, and now he had her on her back, and him above her. “You are my dream?” he was trying to say to her, and she was trying to ignore the implications of how it was going between the two of them.
“You should not be saying something like that,” Liz muttered as she was trying to live in the moment. This weekend was not about having a baby. Or planning for one. She was trying to have some time off from it because she had known it was no use trying to use it for that purpose. But Max had other plans, and he could not turn off his brain. She was so used to being at work. And not letting loose like this. She had the time off. And that was unnerving for her, which meant she was bound to get into predicaments that she had not planned on, and that was true for what she was doing, and who she was doing.
“Why not?” Max asked. “You are my dream girl. Someone I saw on that playground,” Max sighed. “And I would do anything if I could give you something you want,” he asked. “And before you try to say that I do not know what I am saying. I do. I know what I am offering, and the implications that could come from it?”
“Do you?” Liz asked as she looked up into the searing eyes of the only man she had truly ever loved. And the one who she threw away. This incredible weekend did not change things, not. even close “I think we are both aware that I do not live here you know?”
“I know that” Max sighed of course you do not. Or lives would be very different if you did, he thought, and that was one thing he knew was for sure “Of course, I wish you that did, but I think I know full well that you do not live here,” he sighed. “And that you will be leaving…”
“So, it means I do not live around the corner and if I were to get pregnant, and then have the baby, then you will not be able to see the baby every day like you do with Micah?” Liz asked. “I will be spending the next couple of years at least in Europe. As I do not have any projects close to here, which means I am not coming back Max. This weekend exempted.”
“Right,” Max asked with a laugh. “But you did come back for no good reason because you know you did not have to come to my sister’s wedding. Sure, you love Kyle as a friend. You would have wanted to support him. Yet, you still came back, even know it meant we would be seeing each other” Max asked. “You knew what you were planning to do, and yet still came back. Maria is clear she wanted to keep her secret forever if she could. But you knew what coming back here would have meant for you, and me, and for everything. Deep down, your brain was telling you that maybe you wanted another option?”
Nice, try she thought as she thought of his justification for why she had come back. And maybe there was a tiny bit of truth of it. Kyle was a friend, but it’s not like we had seen each other since senior year. We talk, but we are not close. Still, she did not want to believe she came back because she was on the edge of losing her tie to Max completely when she wanted something else, something like what Maria had even though her ties to Michael made it complicated Why do I want complicated she thought.
Except her life was boring when she was not finding a way to complicate it, she thought but still she hung onto the idea of moving on from all this. “I came back for the closure,” Liz said as if she did not know that is truly rich to think about given where she was, and who she was doing. Closure is not going to be possible, even if she went home tomorrow, and she never saw Max again for the rest of her life. “And to see my parents?”
“Did that get you anywhere?” Max asked with a laugh. “And you said it yourself you saw your parents a month ago in Paris,” he murmured. “And I am sure you had another one planned within the near future. We both know that you wanted to come back because you wanted me to make this offer?”
“You think a little highly of yourself,” Liz muttered even though she knew there was truth in his words. Because why did I come back? To go to a wedding of a woman who barely was kind to me in high school. If that for the fact I dated both her brother, and her fiancé. She would have no use for me. But I came back. Sure, to support Kyle. But it is not like we kept in touch except for the odd letter or email as technology was changing with the times. I did not come back. I came back because I knew I was going to run into Max she thought as she would rather concentrate on the other motivation. Closure. “Well, it was my goal,” Liz sighed as she wigged around him, as she also tried to get him to move but he was clearly not going anywhere. She did not want to admit that this was what had come back for. Knowing they were older, and single or she had hoped he was still single “Max…”
“But it’s what you want, right?” Max asked. “You want a baby?”
“Yes,” Liz allowed as she continued to wiggle but Max knew how calm her down, and she muttered all the way, this man makes me too weak she sighed. I cannot say no to him she thought. But she was trying because she knew this was the worst thing for them “But not this way?”
“Then you want some anonymous sperm donor to be the father?” Max asked. “Someone you do not know, and all you have is some words on an application form. And who knows if those words would be truthful, or they would be who they say they are? And would be someone you would not know? You know me, and you know I love you and that you can trust me.”
“I know can trust you, sure” Liz sighed. “That is not the issue,” she sighed. “The issue is that we are over. We are not in a relationship anymore.”
“You call this over?” Max asked with a smile as he leaned for a kiss, that she accepted. “We are so far away from over…”
“I call this a diversion. And you know it, as it is the truth because I am headed out of this town Max, and I am not planning on coming back anytime soon” she asked. “If we were to have a baby, you would not be able to see you. You already have a child you do not get to see” she asked. “I do not want to do that to you again. I am not Tess.”
“I know you,” Max murmured as he wanted to curse his former one-night fling. But did not want to do that while he was in his bed with his dream girl. “Why would you think you are Tess? Liz, you are no where close to being Tess. We both know that she did not give me a choice when we created our son. She knew if she had told me what her goal was. I would not have gone there. Not even close. I never would have done that with her. When, I wanted it to be you?” Max murmured and Liz looked away, not wanting to hear something that still stung, and Max knew this and hated it for her, for them both to have to remember that time. “So, while, yes, I went there, and I cannot say I was forced, because I did it, willingly unfortunately, but she did not tell me everything, and I am sorry for that. And what it did to us. I will always regret that and even then, maybe one day I will be able to meet my son, because I do want to hopefully, but she did not give me a choice. She had an agenda and she used me to execute her plan. I was fooled in many ways. But with you and me. You are not using me, if we do this together, and I help you achieve something you truly do want. You would not be using me. I would be going into this agreement of ours knowing that our child will be raised by an incredible mother…”
“Are you sure?” Liz asked as if she thought he was just saying the right words. But she saw genuine words within Max. Still, she did not want to believe it. “Because you do not get to see your son,” she allowed. “I cannot do that to you. I cannot take another child from you. As I said, my future is not here, and it is overseas. Where I have multiple offers and none of them include being here anytime soon…”
“And I accept that,” Max asked.
“You think you do?” Liz murmured.
“I know the reality of what I speak of,” Max asked. “As you have said. I have a child I do not see. And I have another child I am raising even though she belongs to someone else. It would be unusual, sure, but you want a child and I want to give this to you, and maybe one day, things will change, and I will get to know our child.”
“Even if the child is indeed different?” Liz asked. “You will be taking a risk, letting me raise him or her alone, without you?”
“As you said with Charlie. You know what to look out for, and I trust you that if the day came, then you can reach out to me, and I will come running. You know that don’t you?”
“You do not know what you are asking,” Liz murmured. “You think you do. But living with it, is quite different…
“I think I do,” Max smiled with a sexiness that disarmed her, and it was making her crazy as their mutual desire was refueling, I live it every day, not seeing my son he thought but he let it flood out of his mind as he concentrated on driving her crazy. Which he was succeeding in doing for both of them “Anyways, we both agree that it is not happening today, right?”
“Unlikely,” Liz agreed. “Very unlikely,” she thought as she knew her body. And knew it was not going to be happening this weekend. But the longer she stayed, the more she could not guarantee it, so therefore, she should be calling and making those flight reservations.
“Then let us forget what we were only just talking about and just take solace in being together, even though I know you will be leaving before long, and I am only setting myself up for heartache because I love you, Liz. I loved you in third grade before I knew what love was. And I loved you even more when I got a shot with you. We did not make it work, but it does not mean I do not love you, because I do, and maybe we can come back this discussion later, okay?” Max asked. “Unless you want to get up, and leave me?”
“No,” Liz thought to herself. She could not get up. Even if Max did get off her, she knew she was not getting out of this bed. She needed him. She needed something that feels good before she decided to upend her future by doing something risky. She did not want to leave him because it felt too good to be with him. As she was trying to vain to ignore the implications of his declaration of love.
And so, she gave herself to him.
Maria was looking up at the facility. It was later in the afternoon than it had been earlier, and she and her son had driven several hours to get back to town limits. Because she had an exceedingly difficult conversation with her son. And once Charlie was onto the scent. It was impossible to get him away with and she needed the advice from her best friend, but she had been unable to reach her friend in hours. All her calls were going to voice mail. She called Serena, to arrange her latest decision and heard from her that Max had not been in because he had called and said he was tied up. And she could not help but wonder if her friend was also tied up? Those two she thought to herself as she looked up at the building, and then down at her son.
“Mommy, why are we here?” Charlie asked as he looked up at the building. All he could think about was their conversation over lunch when his mother confirmed the name of his father, Michael he thought. Michael Guerin, she would tell him. She admitted that his father had not known about him. Because she had left town before she learned she was having him. It was not the whole truth Maria would think to herself as she looked at her son who was looking wearily at the building. Unsure of what to expect. Or was she telling him the truth? He is too smart that boy… And of course, she would tell herself she had no idea what she was doing.
All she knew she was waiting for is on Serena who was coming to let them in, since Maria had no way to get in without permission. Only three people had permission, or the access except for the odd additional medical personnel that came and went from the facility. The only other exception being the security guards. Still, it was a lot, and Maria did not know why she was doing this.
To herself, or to her son.
But she felt it was the only way because Charlie did need to know. As if Michael would really know they were there, but Charlie had to know he at least had a father. “You wanted to see your father?” she commented as if this were a simple wish, she could grant her son when it was so much more complicated then that. “That is why we are here.”
“He is here?” Charlie asked as he looked away from the building and at his mother.
“Yes,” Maria confirmed. “It’s an awfully long story. And mostly you are way too young for much of it, but you do have a father, and he has to be here for now she thought. “Just remember you need to be on your best behavior.”
“Good,” Maria murmured as she saw Serena come to the doors and open them for them. “It’s nice to see you. Anything from Max?”
“Nope, he has been radio silent” Serena said with a laugh.
“As it so happens, Liz is radio silent as well” she said with knowing smile, and Serena giggled.
“So, maybe they are being radio silent together?” Serena asked as she let the mother and her child in. Michael’s child. And if she had not seen it at the wedding. He could see it now. Charlie was a chip of the old block in his resemblance to her patient. As she also thought of her boss. It was unusual for Max to be so quiet while also failing to show up. Of course, she had seen him interacting with Liz Parker, and could not help but have the impression that he was with his former girlfriend. Doing something together. As she thought back to the woman and her child who was here looking for answers. At least the boy was. The mother wanted to delay this, but she now knew it was no longer possible. As a doctor. Serena did know that this was risky because they could not afford anything to go wrong with her patient. But then when your patient had been comatose for five years. Anything happening would be good, and who knows what this might provoke. “Max has been single all these years. So, I guess he deserves something to happen.”
“So, has Liz” Maria sighed. “It’s only a matter of what they are planning together?”
Anything is more positive than this, Serena thought as they walked into the heart of the beast. The facility that kept Michael alive. Far longer than most others would. But still it was intimidating to walk into. Even working here all these years, it was a tad intimidating for Serena. Max and Isabel have created quite the facility and she wondered what she would do if they did lose Michael to fate one of these days.
Because this could not keep going. It did not help anyone to be kept alive all this time. Without any movement.
“This is Dr. Serena Thomas,” came Maria as she introduced her son, you guys probably saw each other at the wedding the other day. Serena, this is my son, Charles Michael Deluca officially,” she thought although her son always went by Charlie. “He is named for a lost friend.”
“Yes, Max told me of the loss you guys suffered.”
Maria nodded. As Charlie thought of his name. “You named me after him?” he asked of his mother who only allowed herself to nod.
“Yes, in a way I did,” Maria acknowledged as she thought of her sense of humor warped and twisted, She, had knowingly kept the boy from Michael, and yet she wanted to honor him too with their son’s name. Only I would think of doing it?
“But I did not know him?” Charlie asked.
“And he did not know you,” Maria muttered. “Which is a long and overly complicated story,” she thought of their origin story.
“I bet,” Serena smiled. As she did not know everything, but she knew enough and she knew it was the adventure, and she could not have imagined being here for it. As she walked down the hallways, and past the different mechanisms to protect their patient, she could sense Maria had experienced a lot over the years.
“Are you ready?” Serena asked Maria as the got to the end road. She knew Maria was ready, but she had a hard to assessing the child. Whether Charlie was ready. She had the impression that Charlie had seen a lot and experienced a lot in his six years, but still he was young, and she did not know if Maria’s plan would work.
“I am,” Maria sighed as she turned and knelt in front of her son. “Are you ready honey?” she asked. “We could turn around, and do this another day?” she asked after all there are other days, she thought but maybe not for Michael?
“I want to see him,” Charlie muttered. “Does he work here?”
“No,” Maria said as she could not bare to explain to her son that his biological father was sick. And it would take a miracle for him to get well again, so she knew she was blurring a line here, but she knew she could not break her son’s heart.
Even if she knew she was ignoring the ramifications.
“We are ready,” Maria said softly as she looked at Serena, and Serena put her pass through the security lock, and opened the door.
And the three walked in, and moments later…
“Are you okay honey?” Maria asked as if she was thinking this was the wrong decision to have made. “Maybe this is too much for you,” she said as she took his hand. “We can go.”
“No,” said the boy. “He’s not well, isn’t he?” Charlie asked of his mother as he looked up into the face as he looked at the man in the bed. To the boy, who while he might be six years old. It was like looking into a mirror, and he was seeing who he could be when he was old enough and was grown up.
“No, he is not” Maria said softly. “He’s sick?”
“What’s wrong with him?” Charlie asked as he looked at the man in the bed, and then back up at his mother.
“We do not know, because it’s a mystery” Maria sighed. “Right Serena?”
“Right,” Serena nodded. “We have been trying for a long time with your father, but we do not what cause this” she said. “But he’s well taken care?”
Charlie did not know what to say as he looked between the women and then back at the bed, as she took some steps, and went closer, and Maria did not want him to, but the boy resisted it and instead walked forward, getting close to the bed.
“Mommy?” Charlie asked as he turned to focus on him Mom.
“What is it Charlie” Maria asked unsure of what her son would be asking her. As she knew it could be anything because the boy was very smart, and imaginative. Like father and son, she thought.
“Why does this man look like the one who visited me the other night?” Charlie Deluca blurted out as he questioned his man.
WTF both Serena and Maria thought as they looked at each other.
“What are you talking about?” Maria asked of her son.
“Mommy, that man was in my bedroom that night. Looking at me. I swear he was. How could he be there, and then be here, sleeping?” Charlie asked as he looked at his mother, and then at Serena. “He is sleeping, right?”
“Unconscious. He has been unable to wake up,” came Serena to Charlie. “We do not know why. Are you saying that man was in his bedroom the other night?”
“Yes,” Charlie muttered. “Grandpa said it was just because of my dreams. But I remember who I see in my dreams. I do not always see them. I mean I know I do not see Iron Man in my daily life. But that man was in my dreams, and then I swear he was in my bedroom. I was fully awake. I might have been asleep but at that moment, I swear I was not.”
“Oh god,” Maria whispered. “What have I done?” she whispered as she had no idea of what she had started.