Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell but if I did then it would still be on the air.
Rating: PG-13 for language
"She's never going to forgive me," Max said hopelessly to Maria. He'd found himself inexplicably at her house after healing Liz. He actually couldn't think of anyone else he would rather talk to about this. He and Maria weren't as close as they used to be but he knew that he could count on her to listen without judgment.
"Why is it so important for her to forgive you?" Maria wondered as she positioned her back against the pillows on her bed.
"I love her," Max replied as he sat down in the chair at Maria's desk.
"You love her? That's the only reason you want her forgiveness?" Maria raised her eyebrows, contorting her face into a look of disbelief.
"I want her approval. I want her to say that everything that happened with Tess was okay. I want her to understand that I regret sleeping with Tess," Max said after thinking for a couple of minutes.
"She knows that," Maria pointed out. "But maybe you need to accept the fact that she may not forgive you. Maybe you need to forgive yourself before you can expect Liz to forgive you."
"What if I can't do that?" Max wondered as he rubbed his temples trying to soothe the headache that was beginning.
"Then maybe you need to accept the fact that this thing will always be between you. You have a son with this woman who killed her friend and she may always resent that. I know you don't want to hear this, Max, but maybe it's time for you to let her go."
"People forgive others for horrible things all the time. I know it what I did was wrong but I can't keep apologizing," Max said hopelessly.
" I'm going to tell you a little secret that I've never told anyone and I'm going to trust you not to tell anyone."
Max nodded in agreement.
"Okay," Maria licked her lips as she prepared to tell Max a long-hidden truth. "Last week it was me and Michael's anniversary and Michael forgot. It's not atypical of Michael, he just doesn't remember stuff like that and I've actually accepted that fact. In reality I don't get angry about that sort of thing anymore."
"What are you talking about, Maria, you get mad if Michael forgets to give you extra pickles with your hamburger," Max pointed out.
"I don't get mad about that. Sometimes I think about my future, my future with Michael. I want to go to New York and be a singer and travel to exotic places and get married and have kids and I want to do those things with Michael. But then I think that those things may never happen because he's an alien. At the very least he might not be able to go to New York and travel with me because he'll always be tied to the alien stuff here. I might actually be able to accept that, but what about the family I want with him? No one knows if it's even safe to have a hybrid-human child. I think about that and I get so angry. It's not about the anniversary or the pickles or anything else; it's about him being alien. I can't forgive him for being an alien. What right do I have to be angry over something he can't control? But I am and maybe Liz is, too."
"We can't change who we are." Max said as he moved to the bed to sit next to Maria.
"No, you can't and maybe that's why it doesn't matter how many times you apologize because her anger goes deeper than the Tess thing. And maybe she's angry with herself for falling in love with you in the first place. Her life would be so much easier if she hadn't."
"Are you talking about you or Liz?" Max wondered as he brushed the tears from Maria's cheeks.
"I think we're interchangeable in this case," Maria smiled weakly.
"I understand what you're saying, Maria, it actually makes perfect sense."
"So what are you going to do?"
"I don't know, you?"
"I don't know, either."
"It's late, I'd better go but thanks, Maria. And don't worry, I won't tell anyone I was even here."
Max ducked out the window and slipped into the inky darkness. Maria stood and watched as he made his way quickly down the street to his waiting car. She'd given Max a lot to think about but she'd giver herself even more to think about.
Liz had left. Barely a goodbye, just a quick, "I need to get away from all of this, Maria," and she was gone. It happened so fast, one day she was here and the next day she was gone. Maria never thought Liz would crack under the alien pressure first since Maria tended to be a bit more emotional.
"Guess that shows everyone the power of cedar oil," Maria mumbled to herself as she grabbed her order from the window.
"What the hell did you just say," Michael asked as he rushed around the kitchen putting together orders.
"Nothing, just thinking out loud," Maria replied to her grumpy boyfriend.
"I don't know what's with you today but you need to get your head out of the clouds and on your work."
"Excuse me?" Maria slammed her plates back down on the counter. "I'm a little upset over the fact that Liz is gone so maybe my mind isn't totally on the job today but can you blame me?"
"Food's getting cold," was Michael's reply.
Sighing in frustration, Maria picked her order back up.
The evening wore on in much the same fashion which is why Maria was surprised when Michael invited her to come over so they could talk. She figured that was code for having sex but Michael had ticked her off today so he darn well wasn't getting any.
Arriving at his apartment, Maria felt the need to put Michael in his place as fast as possible so there wouldn't be any misconceptions about where the night was going.
"We're not having sex tonight," Maria said as she walked in the door.
"What? Oh, I mean, uh, yeah, no sex," Michael stammered. Part of his plan was shot to pieces so he guessed he would have to go with the other part.
"I've been thinking a lot about us lately and I've been wondering what we do for each other," Michael started.
"You've been thinking about us, I'm impressed," Maria replied as she made herself comfortable on the sofa.
"And the thing that keeps running around in my head is why are we together? Is there anything you actually like about me? We're always fighting about something and I can't help but wonder if you would be happier without me."
"Are you breaking up with me?" Maria looked up at Michael in wonder.
"I don't want to but I don't think you're really happy with me. Why do we stay together if we make each other miserable?"
"Are you happy with me?"
"Sometimes and sometimes I feel like you're punishing me for some unknown reason," Michael informed her as he sat down next to her on the sofa.
"I am and I have been," Maria admitted. "You're an alien and that pisses me off. I don't see a future with you because of that and I'm sick of trying to pretend it doesn't matter."
"So now the truth comes out," Michael said angrily.
"What? I thought you were trying to be understanding and then you do this one eighty and get angry." Maria pushed herself up off the couch.
"Of course I'm angry that you're angry over me being an alien. This is not something I can control!"
"I never said you could!" Maria retorted. "But can you blame me for being angry that we can't have a future together? You know we can't and that's because of the fact that you're an alien!"
"That's not the only reason we don't have a future together!"
"I know that," Maria screamed. "We're too different, we probably wouldn't have lasted anyway! We should just do what everyone thought we should do a long time ago: breakup."
Michael visibly deflated. "Maybe we should."
"Great," Maria said as she headed to the door.
"Maria!" Michael called out.
Maria stopped and turned around. "There's nothing left to say, Michael, just let it go."
Max came in as Maria rushed out the door.
"Bye, Maria," he said, startled at her quick exit. "What's up with her?" He asked as he turned towards Max.
"We broke up," Michael said glumly.
Max wasn't surprised. In the two weeks since they had their talk, he'd watched Maria and Michael's relationship deteriorate. "Is she going to be okay?"
"She'll be better off now without me," Michael answered as he descended into a pity party.
"You stay here and feel sorry for yourself, I'll see you later." Max walked out the door in hopes of catching Maria.
"Maria!" He yelled when he spotted her getting into her car. "Wait up!"
"Hey, Max." She smiled weakly as she leaned against the open car door. "Sorry about before but I was kind of in a hurry."
"Yeah, I noticed. Are you okay?"
"I will be, eventually."
"It's just that with Liz gone…"
"I'm so sorry, Max, I completely forgot that you must be upset about that."
"Maria," Max interrupted, "I'm fine. What I was trying to say that is with Liz gone maybe you need someone to talk to."
Maria's face was puzzled. "Are you offering?"
"Well, I feel kind of responsible."
Maria's back stiffened noticeably. "You feel responsible, that's just great. I've gotta go." Maria quickly got into her car and sped off into the night.
"Feel responsible," Max thought, "I must be channeling Michael. That's so not something you say to a girl, well at least not a girl like Maria."
Defeated, Max walked back to the apartment where Michael was now watching a hockey game and sat down next to him on the couch. When he and Liz had broken up, Max secluded himself in his room for days but Michael was acting as though nothing had happened. Was it any wonder Maria had broken up with him?
"You're a jerk, Michael." Max told him as he used his powers and turned off the TV.
"Thanks, Maxwell, tell me something I don't know." Michael shrugged nonchalantly.
"What you don't know is that there is a great girl out there who for some reason loves you and you're not fighting for her!"
"This is none of your business, Max, so drop it." Michael said as he spared Max a glance.
"Fine, what do I care? Some guy who can give her all that she deserves is going to snatch her up and you'll be left alone. Hope it's worth it."
Sighing, Michael used his powers to turn the TV back on. He wasn't actually watching the game, he was thinking about Maria. Flashes of their times together were playing back in his head. But he couldn't tell Max that, couldn't tell anyone.
The next day Max felt he'd better make amends with Maria so he went over to her house with a small pot of daffodils. It always helped to bring a gift when apologizing for doing something stupid. He knocked on the door and then waited for Maria to answer, hoping she actually would. Maria could hold a grudge when she wanted to; at least she could against Michael.
Knocking on the door, Max hid his head behind the pretty clay planter so that when Maria opened the door the flowers would be talking. Okay, so it was kind of dumb but Max loved to do cheesy things like that.
Maria opened the door to Max's body behind a pot of daffodils. Maria couldn't help but smile even though it was a dumb stunt. "May I help you?"
"We're here to plead for the forgiveness of Max Evans," Max said in a high-pitched voice. "He was extremely dumb to say such a thing to such a kind and forgiving lady."
"Alright, Max, I forgive you," Maria said in hopes of stopping Max from making anymore of a fool of himself.
"Do you mean it?" He asked as he ducked out from behind the daffodils.
"Yes, you really didn't say anything that bad, I was just a little emotional last night. Do you wanna come in?"
"Yeah, sure." Max followed Maria into the house and sat down on the sofa. He looked around, noticing the empty feeling of the house. "Where's your mom?"
"What's the date?" Maria asked as she sat down in the comfy bowl chair. "I'm not sure. I have an agenda with where she's staying but it doesn't really matter to me."
"When was the last time she was home?"
"Hmm," Maria crinkled her forehead as she thought for a moment, "maybe three weeks ago for a weekend. She's been doing the sci-fi conventions and the festival circuit."
"So you've been living here by yourself? I didn't know that. No one said anything. I mean I thought it was kind of weird that you were spending so many nights at Michael's place but I thought you were just sneaking back in before your mom woke up."
"Mom hasn't been around that much since I turned sixteen. I just don't want it advertised that my mom's never around. She sends money and everything so it's not like I'm struggling to pay the bills. Stop looking at me like that, it's fine." Maria told Max as she saw the look of concern on his face.
"But you're all alone."
"I'm all alone a lot, it's no big deal."
"But now with Liz gone and Alex… Well, who's left to talk to here?"
Maria shrugged her shoulders. "Me, myself and I?"
"You could talk to me, I mean, if you wanted to." Max said shyly.
"What's going on here, Max?" Maria questioned. "I don't expect you to break ranks and still be friends with me now that Michael and I aren't together. You don't have to feel guilty or obligated towards me. I'm fine, I'll be fine."
"No, that's not what this is about," Max protested. "I just keep sticking my foot into my mouth. What I'm trying to say in a not so sophisticated way is that I like you, Maria. You're a good friend and just because you and Michael broke up doesn't mean that I'm going to stop being your friend. It's not because I feel guilty or obligated or whatever other excuse you can come up with, it's because of you. We may have become friends because of Liz and Michael but we're going to stay friends because of us."
Maria smiled at Max's little speech. He really was a sweet guy, albeit kind of dorky in that sweet little boy way. "Okay, got it. Thanks, I appreciate it."
"Great," Max smiled. "So do you want to hang out now? Watch a movie or something?"
"Good, I was hoping you would say that. I brought The Return of the King." Max made a big excited face as he tried to get Maria to be enthusiastic about the movie.
"A sci-fi movie, how sweet," Maria said as she tried to return the excited face but instead it was more of a look of horror.
Seeing her horror, Max quickly changed his face to one of a puppy dog begging.
"Fine, go ahead and put it in the DVD player. No wonder Liz couldn't let you go." Maria paused as she realized what she said. "Sorry, I didn't mean to bring up Liz."
"No, it's okay. I'm fine that she's gone. I think we're better off apart. When all two people do is hurt each other it's better that they break up." Max paused as he realized that he probably just stuck his foot in his mouth again. Looking at Maria with baited breath, he was relieved when she smiled.
"You can say that again. I'll go make popcorn. Make yourself comfy, I've heard this movie is really long."
Max settled on the couch. Looking around him at the small living room, he realized he felt relaxed here, safe, and that was something he hadn't felt in a very long time.
The next day Maria went to work. She and Michael were scheduled for the same shift. Things could be awkward but Maria resolved to handle them with maturity.
"These people aren't serving themselves, hurry it up, Maria."
Maria smiled sweetly at Michael. "Go screw yourself, Guerin." So much for maturity, it was over-rated anyway.
The afternoon went by swiftly. Maria and Michael barely had a chance to breathe, much less fight. With Liz gone, The Crashdown was short a waitress which meant Maria was stuck working a double shift. By the time her twelve hours were over, she was exhausted. Thank goodness for school tomorrow, she could only work six hours a night during the week.
Maria was in the back rubbing her sore feet, trying to get herself motivated to walk home. She could ask Michael but she didn't want to feel like she owed him anything. Before she could get her coat on, Max walked in the back door.
"Hey. What are you doing here?" Maria asked Max as she opened her locker. "Michael is out front mopping if you need to talk to him."
"Actually I wanted to see if you needed a ride home. I figured your mom probably had the Jetta and it's late so I thought I could give you a ride."
"You came all the way over here just to give me a ride home?" Maria was amazed. What guy did that sort of thing? "That's so sweet. Just let me tell Michael I'm leaving so he can lock up after me."
Maria pushed through the swinging door that lead to the dining room. "Michael, I'm leaving. Make sure to lock the door after me."
"Yeah, sure." Michael looked up briefly from his mopping to catch Maria going out the door followed by a dark haired guy. Dark haired guy? Max? What was Maria doing with Max? Michael did a half-assed job with the rest of the mopping and headed home. He intended to find out what the hell Max was doing with his girl.
Max arrived back at the apartment about a half an hour after Michael. It took less than five minutes to get from The Crashdown to Maria's place and less than that to get back to the apartment so what had taken Max so long?
Max was startled at the voice that greeted him through the darkness. He assumed Michael would be in bed by now and he could sneak in un-noticed.
"Yeah, why do you ask?" Max wondered as he flipped on the light.
"Why were you at The Crashdown with Maria?" Michael was surprised at the anger in his voice.
"I just offered her a ride home."
"It doesn't take that long to get to and from Maria's house."
"We were talking. What's with the third degree?" Max asked as he contemplated a better place to sleep tonight.
"I just don't understand why you've taken such an interest in Maria lately. Liz leaves town and you start up with her best friend?"
"Hey, it's not like that!" Max protested as he stepped closer to Michael.
"So what is it like?"
"Maria is all alone. Liz is gone and Alex is dead. Her mom is never around. Any friend she used to have has long since been forgotten because she's been so involved with our dirty little secret. And she doesn't have you anymore, either. You can't be with her but you're not even willing to try and be her friend. I like Maria. She is my friend. I don't feel like an alien when I'm with her, I'm just a normal teenager. That's what it's like Michael."
"Just remember that she's my girl."
Max rolled his eyes at Michael. "If she is then start treating her like it and if she's not then let her go. Really let her go. Don't let it be in the back of your mind that maybe someday you'll be together."
"Don't tell me what to do about Maria. You don't know anything. You're hardly an expert in relationships. Liz left town, remember?" Michael stood up and faced Max eye to eye.
"I know that she deserves better than you." Max said quietly. "She deserves better than all of this. So does Liz but she knows that, that's why she left." Max turned around and opened the door.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm not staying here waiting for you to smother me in my sleep. I'll see you later." Max headed back out into the night.
He quickly eliminated his parents' house and Isabel's place before heading back to Maria's house. She said that she would probably be staying up a little while longer so hopefully she wouldn't mind him showing up at her door begging for the use of her couch. Knocking on her door, he waited patiently, hoping he hadn't startled her from sleep.
"Max," Maria opened the door after looking in through the peephole. "Are you okay?" She was concerned for her friend and she knew from experience that her friends wouldn't show up at her house so late if something weren't wrong.
"I'm afraid that Michael might smother me in my sleep. Do you mind if I crash here?"
"On one condition," Maria said as she opened the door to let him in. "I've heard that the only food you can make is a mean bunch of chocolate chip pancakes. I love chocolate chip pancakes."
"Sure, I'd be my pleasure." Max said as he followed Maria into the living room.
"Just make yourself comfy. I'll get you some bedding."
Maria headed down the hallway and Max sank onto the couch. The spat with Michael had left him feeling tense but he didn't want to talk about it. He guessed Maria sensed that because the normally talkative girl was quiet as she came back out and handed him a pillow and some blankets.
"Will you be able to sleep?"
"Are you kidding?" He asked as he bounced up and down on the couch. "This sofa is tons more comfortable than that piece of junk at Michael's place. Thanks, Maria."
"It's no problem. If you want to give Michael some space you can stay here for a couple of days."
"You wouldn't mind?"
"No, it gets kind of lonely here sometimes. Well, it's late and we have school tomorrow so goodnight."
"Night." Max lay down on the couch and quickly fell asleep.
Michael was feeling frustrated. It had been four days and he hadn't spoken to Max. He was sleeping somewhere though. His toothbrush and some of his clothes were gone. Max must have come by at some point when he was at work and gotten them. Michael had been working so much he hadn't had time to do more than work and sleep but today he was going to stop by Isabel's and have it out with Max.
"Hi." Isabel looked surprised to see Michael when she opened the door. "What's going on?"
"I, uh, came to see Max. I assume he told you we had a, uh, fight." Michael looked down at the ground, feeling slightly stupid under the unwavering gaze of Isabel.
"Yeah, he mentioned something about it when he stopped by yesterday but I haven't seen him since. Do you want to come in?"
"Yeah. What do you mean he hasn't been here since yesterday?" Michael questioned as he entered the apartment. "He hasn't been staying here?"
"No, Michael, I thought he was still at your place and he was just avoiding you."
Michael felt his blood go cold. "I haven't seen him since Sunday. If he hasn't been staying here then where has he been staying?"
"I was just over at my parents' house and Mom didn't mention anything about Max coming back so he's not there. This doesn't make any sense. Where would he be?"
"I have a good idea. Gotta go, Is, I'll talk to you later." Michael took off and headed over to Maria's house.
It didn't seem possible, Maria and Max, but Max had been keen on defending Maria lately and that seemed strange. Maria and Max couldn't be a couple, right? They'd just broken up and Liz had just left town. But maybe it had been going on before all that happened. Max and Maria had gotten to be good friends the summer after Tess arrived. Maybe the relationship had developed into something more and now with both he and Liz out of the way, they could act on it.
The thoughts going through Michael's head had gotten him so angry he was seeing red by the time he arrived at Maria's house. He didn't bother to knock when he got there; he just stormed right in expecting to find Maria and Max in a compromising position. Instead he found Maria sitting on the floor, crying as though her heart were breaking.
Upon hearing the door slam open, Maria tensed her body and prepared for a fight but instead she saw Michael and got angry. "What are you doing here?" She yelled as she pulled herself off the floor. "And what the hell do you think you're doing barging in like that?"
Michael immediately felt awful for his behavior. "Sorry, I, um…" Michael struggled for an excuse but for once had none. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Are you okay?"
Wiping the tears from her face, Maria headed to the kitchen and pulled out plates for the dinner Max was picking up. "Get out," she told him as she laid the plates on the table.
"You were sitting there crying your eyes out. I ask if you're okay and you tell me to get out? What the hell?"
"I don't know why you came over here like you did, all barging in like you own the place. You weren't invited so leave." Maria said as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"I'm asking if you're okay, you can talk to me," Michael told her as he reached out to caress her cheek.
Deftly ducking her head, she gestured to the door. "I can't talk to you. You run hot and cold, Michael, one minute you're interested in me and the next minute you can't stand to be around me, and I'm not putting up with it anymore. Leave."
"Pizza's here!" Max called out as he opened the door. He was shocked when he saw Maria's red eyes and Michael's confrontational stance. "What's going on here?"
"Michael was just leaving," Maria informed him as she grabbed some glasses.
"Not until you tell me what's wrong." Michael said with a glint of determination in his eyes.
"What's wrong?" Maria yelled and threw down a glass, startling both Michael and Max.
"Maria," Max said as he walked towards her, "calm down."
"Stay away from me, Max," she warned. "I'm so sick of Michael coming in here and getting me all upset and then you coming in after him to clean up the mess. Do you have any idea how messed up this is making me? I don't know whether I'm coming or going these days. I put on this show of being okay, but I'm not and somehow no one has noticed. My mom has barely been around for two whole years, Michael, and yet you never asked where she was. Didn't you wonder how I could stay at your place so much? Do you want to know why I crying, Michael?"
Michael nodded, unsure of what was coming next.
"Was that a yes?" She asked as she threw a glass at his feet. Maria was starting to feel out of control, she took a deep breath of her cedar oil but then threw it down it anger. "This stuff doesn't work, what was I thinking? My mom says it does but it never has. Oh, my mom, she was supposed to be home this weekend but she just called me and said she couldn't make it. Pretty vague about her plans, I don't know if it's a job or a guy and I don't know when I'll see her again. I don't know why I should be surprised, everyone leaves me."
"What are you talking about, Maria?" Michael questioned.
"You, of all people, should know what I'm talking about, Michael," Maria said as her eyes refilled with tears. "I thought you could see inside my soul, you told me you could, so if that's true then how don't you know what I mean? My father left when I was seven and I haven't seen him since. I don't why, my mom never told me, he was just gone. Was it something I did? Logically, I know it's not, but no one ever told me it wasn't. And then Alex died. It wasn't his fault but he left me, too. He was my best friend and I couldn't do a damn thing to save him."
"Maria, don't do this," Max told her as he made an attempt to hug her but was quickly rebuffed by another glass landing beside him.
"Stay back, I have to do this, I have to know what's wrong with me. I should have been a better friend, and then maybe I would have known what was going on. I could have stopped Tess. I knew Alex better than anybody, if I'd been paying attention instead of being so involved in my own problems, he would still be alive today."
"Stop it, Maria," Michael demanded, "none of us knew about Tess."
"Liz left. I guess our friendship wasn't enough for her to want to stay. But once you guys came on the scene you always took precedent over me. Why were your needs more important than mine? And you, Michael, you left me, too, but you were only there half the time so I guess maybe you only count for half a person. You can leave now and so can you, Max. I'm sick of the self-righteous anger from Michael and the pity-party from Max so you can both leave. Goodbye."
"Maria, please don't be like this," Max said in his 'I'm a sensitive guy' voice, "we just want to help you."
"Fine," Michael said, "I'm out of here. You obviously made up your mind about me so screw it."
"Leave Max," Maria demanded as she watched Michael walk out the door.
"No, I'm not leaving you. If I leave you then I am exactly like every other guy in your life and I'm not. You can try and push me away all you want but I'm not going anywhere." To make his point Max went over to the couch and sat down with his arms and his legs crossed in a determined posture. "And don't forget that I can make a force field so I wouldn't even try throwing anything at me. Besides, I'm an alien, a little glass doesn't scare me."
Maria smiled at Max. She was actually happy he stayed. Max was a solid guy and no matter how hard she tried to push him away he wouldn't budge. Finally, she found a guy who wouldn't leave her.
"Okay, Max, which one do you like better?" Maria asked as she held up two dresses in front of her.
"Um, maybe the red one, you looked hot in that one," Max told her as he concentrated on the dresses Maria held up.
"Max, this is supposed to be a graduation dress, I shouldn't look hot." Maria pointed out.
"So pick the blue dress, you looked so not hot in that one."
"Thank you, Max, remind me to take you shopping with me more often." Maria said as she hung both the dresses back on the rack.
"Sorry," Max grinned. "Pick the red, it's a good color for you. We need to hurry, we have a meeting at Michael's place in fifteen minutes."
"What is it now?" Maria asked as she rolled her eyes.
"Something about some visions," Max said as he grabbed the bag the saleslady handed Maria. "Let's go."
"I have my dress for graduation," Maria chortled happily as they stepped out into the sun. "Now I just have one week until I get to wear it."
"And your mom is coming home for it, for sure?"
"Yes, I talked to her yesterday and she's going to be flying in on Friday for sure. So that means all your stuff has to be gone before then."
"Got it." Max replied. More and more of his stuff had been showing up at Maria's place and he'd been spending more nights there than at Michael's. They would just hang out. He would help her with her science homework and she was trying to teach him guitar. Trying being the key word here since Max wasn't very good. "I know this is a dumb question but is Liz coming back for graduation?"
"Nope. Her school's graduation is on the same day and then she's off to spend the summer in Florida. Liz is never coming back here. You do know that, right?"
"I'm fine with that, Maria, really. Okay, I'm mostly fine with it. But I loved her for two years and even though I'm over us as a couple, I miss her as a friend."
"I totally understand. Except that I don't feel that way about Michael. We never made great friends. Oh well. We're here so let's go do this," Maria said with fake cheeriness as they pulled up in front of Michael's apartment.
"Okay, Michael, what's going on?" Max asked as they entered Michael's apartment. Isabel and Kyle were already there so Max was ready to get down to business.
"What's she doing here?" Michael asked, indicating Maria.
"Don't start this, Michael," Isabel admonished. "We don't need this now. Maria is part of this so get over it."
"Whatever," Michael said as he rolled his eyes.
"I had a vision," Isabel started. "We were at graduation and these men came in all dressed in black and killed us. I think it was just the three of us and maybe Kyle but I don't know for sure. I know it sounds crazy but I believe it's going to happen."
"So I guess that's it then, it's time to leave Roswell." Michael stated. "Just the three of us."
"I can't leave without Jesse," Isabel protested. "He's my husband."
"He's human, he's a liability."
"What about me?" Kyle questioned. "I think a maybe is enough evidence to bring me along."
"Fine, Kyle, you can come, too." Michael agreed.
"What about me? I'm a human so I guess I'm a liability, too." Maria spoke up. "I've been a part of this for the past three years, my friends are gone and all I have left is you guys and now I'm a liability."
"You are," Michael growled. "It's too dangerous to have you with us when you can't protect yourself."
"It's not just your decision to make," Max told Michael quietly. "It's all ours."
"Fine, I vote no humans."
"I want my husband with me," Isabel chimed in.
"I think it's okay if Isabel brings her husband," Max agreed.
"But what about me?" Maria questioned.
"Maria," Max started but was quickly interrupted.
"Fine, just go, have nice lives." Maria turned to leave but paused for a moment to look at Max. "Of all the people in my life who have left me, I never thought you would be one of them." She then turned on her heel and left.
"Good riddance," Michael muttered.
"What the hell happened to you, Michael?" Max yelled angrily. "You and Maria break up and you turn into a monster. But that's it, isn't it? Maria was the one thing in your life that made you happy and now she's gone. Instead of being a man and apologizing to her you push her away with your nastiness. Newsflash, I know your game. You're still hoping she'll come crawling back to you because she's loves you so much. The thing that you can't see is that she's gone and she's not coming back to you."
"Look at Maxwell, he's become such an expert on me and Maria since they started spending all that time together." Michael yelled back. "But you don't know anything, Max, and you never have. You spent so much time with your head up your ass that you don't know what's happening around you. Maria and I breakup and makeup, that's what we do. Don't think for one second that your little bit of time with Maria is going to change that."
"I've learned more about Maria these past few weeks than you have the entire time you were dating. My head has been up my ass? Then please tell me where yours has been. Screw this, Michael; I'm done talking to you. I do know that when we all leave Roswell, it sure as hell won't be together. Kyle and Isabel, make up your minds who you're going with. Meet out at the quarry on Wednesday at sundown and we'll leave from there. That gives everyone two days to say their goodbyes." Max turned and left. He had to find Maria and talk to her. He needed to make her understand that what he wanted and what was safe for her were two different things.
"What do you want?" Maria asked as she looked out over the clear water.
"I figured you be out here. There's just something about this quarry that's peaceful."
"Peaceful and quiet. Why are you here?"
"I wanted to talk to you about what happened back there. About what's been happening between us."
"What exactly has been happening between us?"
"Michael, just leave me alone!"
"I can't. I've been such a jerk."
"Can't argue with that one. What else do you want to say to me?"
"I want you to come with me when we leave Roswell. It'll be just the two of us, no outside interference from anyone."
Maria laughed hollowly. "You've got to be kidding me, Michael. Why would you even want me with you? It seems like all you've been doing the past few weeks is pushing me away. And I'm a human and a liability so why are you here?"
"I guess I just can't imagine my life without you in it."
"Yeah, that's not working for me. I think that when you all leave Roswell, eventually you'll go your separate ways. Isabel will go with Max and Kyle will go with whomever he's getting along with at the time and chances are that it won't be you. I think that you want someone on that trip who'll be on your side. Well guess what, that won't be me, not anymore."
"What do you want me to say to you, Maria?" Michael yelled angrily.
"Figure it out, Michael!" Maria cried. "I need you to say something real, something from the heart! Tell me that I'm wrong, that you want me to leave town with you because you value me as a person and not just someone to take your side! Just say something!"
Michael refused to lower his gaze under Maria's unflinching glare. "You want something real? Fine, here it is. You're not the only one who gets angry about me being an alien. I get angry, too. I feel so cut off from the rest of the world because of this secret. But I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is the fact that because I'm alien I won't be able to give you the kind of life that you deserve. I know all the things you want for your life, Maria. I see those things when we kiss and I know that I can't give them to you. And I want to, I truly do."
"Is that why you've been so angry lately?"
"What's the other part?"
Michael finally lowered his gaze but kept silent.
Maria studied Michael for a moment before it dawned on her. "Is this about Max? Are you jealous of our friendship?"
"It's just a friendship?" Michael asked as he raised his head. "He's been living at your house and you're always together."
"I don't owe you any explanations about my personal life. Is that the reason you came out here today? Are you trying to get a one up on Max because you think we're a couple? Give us both some credit! We're just friends but on the outside chance that anything ever did happen or was going to happen between us we would come to you. That's out of consideration of our past."
"I know you are," Maria sighed, "you always are. I need to get back to town."
"So what are you going to do?"
"I've got time to decide. I'm not making up my mind right this second."
"We leave Wednesday at sundown and I want you with me, Maria. I know that I'm not the greatest boyfriend but I do love you."
Michael walked away, leaving Maria to absorb the words left by Michael. It was typical of Michael, leaving with an 'I love you' to absolve himself of everything. And as much as she didn't want it to, it did have an effect on her. There was so much to think about and so little time to do it.
Isabel arrived at her parents' house to find Max pacing back and forth across the living room.
"What are you doing here?" Max asked angrily as he stopped pacing.
"I could ask you the same thing," Isabel replied. "You haven't set foot in this house in months."
"I just needed to come home for awhile. I remember you saying that Mom and Dad would be out of town until graduation so I thought I'd stop by and hang out."
"I know, I feel safe here, too. Do you want to tell me what's bothering you? Does it have something to do with Maria?"
"I heard them together."
"Heard who together?" Isabel questioned.
"I went out to the quarry to find Maria but instead I saw her with Michael. I got closer thinking that I'd let them know I was there and we could all talk but I just stayed quiet and listened."
"And what did you hear that's upsetting you so much?"
"Nothing," Max said as he shook himself out his memory of Maria and Michael's conversation, "what are you doing here?"
"I needed to prepare myself to talk to Jesse. I don't know how he's going to react about leaving. I don't even know if he would want to. His whole family is here. He's my husband and I love him but how can I ask him to leave all he's ever known?" Isabel wondered as the tears fell freely down her face.
"I'm sorry. I know this is really hard for you. I wish there was something I could do to make it better."
"It's hard on all of us," Isabel replied as she opened the door to leave. "But I want you to not make this any harder than it has to be."
"What do you mean?"
"Don't make us choose between you and Michael. We all are going through enough without having to make the decision between which of you to choose. Work it out because I'm losing enough and I don't want to lose one of my brothers in the process." Isabel stepped out the door and slammed it for emphasis.
Max stared at the closed door, realizing that he had to swallow his pride and go see Michael. They needed to work things out between them. And it might be the only way he would be able to keep Maria close by and that was what was most important to Max. If he had to leave everything behind, he wanted to make sure the one thing in this world that had become most important to him was by his side.
"Hey," Michael said to Max as he opened the door to his apartment.
"Hey, uh, can I come in?" Max asked hesitantly.
"Yeah, sure," Michael said as he opened the door. "I, uh, was hoping you'd stop by."
"About today…" Max said as he entered the tiny apartment.
"Forget it, it doesn't matter." Michael interjected.
Max pressed his lips together, restraining himself from saying that it did matter. "You're right, it doesn't. I think what's most important is that we all stick together. It's not smart for us to split up right now."
"So we leave Roswell together."
"Have you talked to Maria?" Max asked, pretending he hadn't heard them at the quarry.
"Yeah, and I asked her to come with me but seeing as how we're all leaving together it doesn't matter anymore. That's if she decides to come. I don't know if she will or not." Michael shrugged his shoulders in a careless gesture. "There's nothing else I can say to her, she just needs to make up her mind on her own."
"Right. Well, I need to take care of some things before we leave. I'll see you on Wednesday."
"Uh, yeah, bye." Max sent Michael an awkward wave as he left. His next stop was Maria's place. He needed to talk to Maria about leaving Roswell. It was wrong of him to ask her to leave Roswell but he couldn't stop himself.
Maria was sitting in her apartment, thinking about her future when her doorbell rang. Figuring it was Max; she decided to ignore the doorbell. She didn't want to be bothered when she had a lot of thinking to do.
"Maria, are you home?" Max shouted through the door. "Just let me in so we can talk."
"You wanna get in so bad? Open the door yourself!" Maria yelled as she checked to make sure the door was locked.
"Okay," Max replied as he used his powers to efficiently unlock the apartment.
"Damn aliens," Maria muttered as Max appeared before her.
"What?" Max questioned as he noticed the dour look on Maria's face.
"You were supposed to try the door and find it locked and then beg me to let you in."
"Oh, sorry," Max smiled sweetly. "Can we talk about what's going to happen on Wednesday?"
"Why do we need to talk? You're all going to leave and I can either go with Michael or stay in Roswell."
"It's not just about staying in Roswell, Maria, it's about living your life!" Max yelled. "You can go anywhere and do anything but the rest of us can't! We're bound to this life but you're not! You can go anywhere or do anything! You can go and be a famous singer but if you go on the run then you know it won't happen!"
"You think I don't know all that?" Maria cried passionately. "But Michael is the closest family I have! I don't have a father and I never see my mom. You guys are it and I'm just not ready to let you go. At least if I go with Michael then a part of all of you will still be with me."
"But it's Michael!"
"He's the only one of you who wanted me to come!"
"What if I had asked you to come? What if both Michael and I had asked you to come, what would you say?"
"Is this some sort of competition and I'm the prize?" Maria asked incredulously.
"Just answer the question, Maria." Max demanded.
"Because I need to know if you still love Michael!"
"What does that have to do with anything? And why does it matter to you?"
"Because of this," Max replied as pulled Maria towards him kissed her deeply.
"I'm sorry," Max told her as he pulled back from the kiss. "I shouldn't have done that."
"Max, I…" Maria trailed off as she ran out of words.
"I'm sorry for all of this, Maria. Do what's right for you." Max said as he quickly left the apartment.
Maria placed her hand on her rapidly beating heart. Max Evans had just kissed her. Maria still thought of him as Liz's boyfriend even though they'd broken up. But maybe that thought had blinded her to the young man that was much more than just Liz's boyfriend. Max Evans wasn't Liz's boyfriend anymore. He was a kind, considerate, thoughtful, and fun guy. And he was a really good kisser. But Michael was still in her heart. She didn't love him like she used but he was still there and she didn't feel right about letting him leave Roswell alone.
"It's time to go," Max said quietly as he looked at the faces around him. "Jesse's not coming?
Silently, Isabel shook her head. She'd asked her husband to come but in the end, he had decided that Roswell was his home.
"Well I guess we should be going. Is everyone ready?"
Silently, Max looked at the group standing in front of him. Maria wasn't one of them but Max had put off leaving for as long as he could. They couldn't wait any longer to leave.
"Let's go, guys," Kyle said, trying to pretend to be happy. "I for one cannot wait to spend hours upon hours in a smelly van with you guys."
"Maria isn't here, yet." Michael said as Max started up the van.
"She's not coming, Michael." Isabel whimpered. "She couldn't leave Roswell either. She'll be better off, just like Jesse."
"I know she will," Michael agreed, "But I was still hoping."
"We need to go." Max said, staying out of the conversation about Maria. He couldn't say anything because he was afraid anything he did say would belie his true feelings.
They all loaded into the van and started to pull away when the sheriff's truck came speeding up the road.
"What going on?" Isabel wondered.
"It's Maria," Max said with relief as the girl stepped out of the car with a load of bags.
"What's going on?" Maria asked as both Michael and Max stepped out of the van. "I thought you guys were leaving separately.
"We worked things out for the best of the group." Michael said as he grabbed the bags out of her hands and took them over to the van.
"I thought you weren't coming." Max said.
"I was running late, packing is a pain. But you do know that not coming was never really an option, right?"
"So which one of us were you going to leave with?"
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked that, we need to go." Max ducked his head and turned towards the van.
"I'm not going to say. It doesn't matter anyway. I'm not going to be a party to any disagreements that you're going to have. So we're all just going to be friends in order to keep the peace. Got it?"
"Good," Maria replied as she opened the sliding door to the van.
Max stood there for just a moment. He didn't want to just be friends with Maria but what could he do? He couldn't force her into a relationship she didn't want.
"Hey Maxwell, get the lead out and let's go!"
Max slowly walked to the van. He didn't know what the future held for all of them but he did know that it was going to be a long journey, one that they would hopefully all survive.
I have no immediate plans on writing a sequel, if ever. It's up in the air as to what will happen. I wrote this story years ago and I'm only posting it now because I think it's actually the best of all my Roswell stories. I hoped you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.