Being Essential by Doc Paul
Summary: This story explores the role Maria has in others lives, and what she needs. It takes place after Independence Day and give Michael the opportunity to repay Maria for her support of him. Note: This was only my second story, and in it the character of Amy DeLuca is a self-involved parent that basically is being raised by Maria. Michael has a nice uncharacteristic speech.
Genres: Angst, Other
I never have been like my friend Liz Parker. Liz has this thing about her that demands that she record her every though and emotion, like somehow, if she can capture the thought on paper it will validate it or make it more real. Me, I just feel what I feel. I like to think that nothing sticks to me, that I am protected from harm by my jaded view on the world and relationships. So why can I not let this go? Why am I hurting?
He told me that he couldn’t become intense or involved. He told me that I made him feel vulnerable and confused, that I made him feel human. What hurts the most was that he did not want me. His desires or whatever you want to call his feelings that revolve or in anyway involve me are feelings he doesn’t want. I am so sick of this story, this same old tired story. My father didn’t want me, my mom loves me, but I am more a responsibility than wanted at times, and then there is Michael. He doesn’t want me either.
It’s not that I think I want the whole ‘look into my eyes, soul mate thing’, but I guess I just thought that I was worth at least some consideration. I feel hurt, but mostly, I feel unnecessary. I have my uses I guess. The sounding board for Liz Parker’s life, the picker up of broken pieces of my mother’s life, and now the only when needed comfort blanket for Michael Guerin. I always considered myself as strong so it’s hard to come to terms with being an object. So everyday I go on and be what everyone needs while a little piece of me dies each day. I am so alone.
Michael sat at the CrashDown watching Maria work and trying to half listen to Max. That name, Liz, Liz this and Liz that was being ushered from Max. They use to talk about other things. He couldn't even really remember what because it had been so long now, but they did. Now all the two friends
talked about was Liz and their secret. Michael knew that they were never really normal, but at times it felt like it. Now they lost that.
Max finally came out of little world revolving around him and Liz and noticed that Michael was frowning while watching Maria. “What is it, Michael?” He speaks? Michael turned back to Max seeing that his attention was finally on him.
“It’s Maria. I don’t know what’s bothering me about her lately, but something is. It’s like her light has dimmed somehow.”
“Maybe you’re getting over your attraction to her? That would be great since I know that you have never felt very good about it.”
“Yeah, sure Max, that must be it.” In a pig’s eye thought Michael. His attraction to Maria was a constant thing, and the most constant part about it was that it grew stronger and more annoying everyday. Michael just quickly agreed with Max and then went back to observing Maria while Max went back to his world of Liz. “Did you notice that Liz changed her hair today?”
Michael waited in the dark outside the CrashDown for Maria. He gave Max the slip hours ago with an excuse about needing to get his homework done. Right, Max was so busy thinking Liz thoughts that that little piece of bull totally blew over the old Maxwell noggin.
“Maria?” Maria startled as Michael emerged from the shadows.
“Michael, I don’t know what you want or need, but I just can’t. I don’t have it in me to give tonight. I’m so tired, okay?”
“I don’t have a clue what you are yapping about now. I just wanted to see if you were okay. If that’s okay with you?” Michael was worried. She really did look tired.
“I’m fine, just peachy. So if that’s all you needed, then I think I will head home.” Maria started to move off leaving Michael even more worried. Maria’s responses were too softly said for Maria.
“Wait up, Maria. I’ll walk you home.”
“That’s okay, I know the way.” She didn't even look at him.
“It’s late, Maria. You shouldn’t be wandering the streets of Roswell at night by yourself.”
“That’s different. I can take care of myself. You are a very small woman. It’s just not safe. Where is your car anyway?”
“It isn’t different. And you assume too much if you think I can’t take care of myself. I’ll have you know that I been taking care of myself for a long time with little to no help from anyone. And also for your information, I am not a small woman. I am perfectly the right size for my frame and height. And my car is my mother’s and she is out of town until next week, so I don’t have a ride. Is that okay with you, Mr. Guerin.”
“No, it’s not okay with me. Who's taking care of you while your mom is away?”
“I take care of myself. Contrary to your belief, I have been doing this for a long time, thank you very much.”
“Okay, granted you are very capable to care for yourself, but I would still like to walk you home. Do it as a favor for me?”
“Fine. Whatever makes you happy.” Maria took off down the street without looking to see if Michael was really following her. What was this all about? He never really seemed all that concern with her life before. Maria quickly looked over at Michael. Yep, he was still there.
“What was that crack about anyway?”
“What crack would that be?” He hated that she was still ignoring him.
“The one about you not having the energy to give tonight, that you are tired.”
“It wasn’t a crack. It is the truth. I’m just not feeling like my usually self. All the stress, watching out for my mom and Valenti, Liz’s love life, Alex’s lust relationship with Isabel, and then there’s you. I guess I am just tired of juggling all the different balls of everyone else’s relationships. I need a break.”
“What about me? How are you juggling my relationship needs?”
Maria stopped to look at Michael noticing his confused look. He didn’t know. He was totally clueless.
“I really can’t get into this tonight, okay? I am just so tired.”
Michael looked closely at the young woman. Her energy level was diminished somehow. It was hard to really explain to others, but Michael saw aura around people. It wasn’t really anything special since he had learned to ignore them as nothing different than normal. Maria’s aura always had a healthy feel to it, somehow vital. Lately, the vitality was less. It pained Michael to see the different colors in Maria’s aura bleed out to unhealthy hue.
“Okay, not tonight, we’ll talk about it in the morning. Let’s just get you home.”
Maria was surprised when Michael entered her house with her. She had turn to say goodnight and he pushed on pass her into the house. Going to the stove Michael filled a kettle with water and turned on the burner. Reaching over and pulling Maria into the house, Michael shut the door and locked it.
“Why don’t you go and get ready for bed? I’ll make you a hot drink, okay.”
“Michael, you don’t have to stay. I’m okay by myself. I’m use to it.”
Michael kept looking at the warming kettle. He could feel her body heat behind him and feel her slowly moving towards the door.
“No one ever gets use to be alone, Maria, nobody, not you and not me. I’ve been alone all my life, and there hasn’t been a day that hasn’t gone by that I haven’t wanted more. So whatever you want to say or do, just know that I am not leaving you alone.”
Michael could feel Maria coming closer behind him. Her slim arms wrapped around him from behind and held him closer with her head against his back. Finally she let go and walked out of the kitchen. Michael closed his eyes to savor the feel of her along his back. This wasn’t getting intense; this was intense.
He could hear her in the back rooms getting ready for bed. He waited until the shower turned off before adding the hot water to the herbal tea. Adding a teaspoon of sugar to her cup and few teaspoons plus Tabasco to his, Michael picked up the beverages and took them to Maria’s room. He stopped at the door to watch her brush her shiny cap of blond hair. The tiredness was evident in the lines of her back and shoulders. Bringing her cup of tea over Michael put it down in front of her placing his next to hers.
“Not that one unless you like Tabasco with your tea, too.” Maria quickly reached for the other cup and took a long sip. She startled when she felt Michael’s hand on her shoulders. Suddenly her head fell forward as a long groan moved out of her mouth. Michael’s hands were slowly kneading the tiredness from her shoulders and back. It felt so good along with the hot liquid warming a path to her stomach.
Suddenly the phone rang. Michael could feel the tension in Maria increasing under his hands. He refused to let her pick up the phone or get up to answer the phone. Michael continued to rub her shoulders as the answering machine picked up the message.
“Maria, Maria are you there? This is mom. I just wanted to let you know that I will probably be a few days later than I thought. The conference is going great and I am meeting so many interesting people. You know where the emergency money is if you need anything. I am going to be staying at a new friends place for the rest of the stay so here’s the information.”
Michael tuned out the rest of the message as Maria’s mom left the new phone number of where she was staying. He could feel Maria’s tension increasing despite the massage.
“What’s wrong? Are you upset that your mom isn’t coming back sooner?”
“No. It just means that she met a new man who she’s going to shack up with for a few days. Then he will shove her off home and she will show up with a broken heart again. Then we will spend a few weeks doing all that intense mom and daughter bonding so she won’t have to feel alone.” Michael was surprise to hear a long sob coming from Maria. “God, I am just so tired.”
“Come here.” Michael took Maria’s hand and led her to the bed. Letting her get in, he pulled the covers over her. Moving around the room, Michael turned off the lights except the soft light on her vanity. Taking off his top shirt and shoes, Michael hesitated to remove his jeans. After a few seconds of thought, he removed them leaving his boxer on and climbed into bed behind Maria. He pulled her softly crying body back against him and held her tight in his arms. He was surprised by how Maria’s hands were holding tight to his arms as they wrapped around her body. Her crying was making his heart bleed.
The phone rang again. The two of them stilled while they waited for the machine to take the message.
“Maria, it is Liz. Are you still awake? If so please pick up.” Michael and Maria remained unmoving in the bed, neither moving to answer the phone. “I just wanted to tell you what Max told me tonight after you left work. He’s so wonderful. We went for a long walk and talked and talked.” Michael and Maria both listened as Liz droned on and on about the wonders of Max Evans, God’s gift to teenage girl fantasies.
“Is she always that insipid about him?”
“Worse at times. When they were breaking for a while it was worse, because she needed a lot more comforting and support. Now she’s just happy and needs to talk about it so it becomes more real. I think she is afraid that she will wake up and it will have only been a dream.”
“Does everyone always come to you for comfort and support, Maria?”
“Yes.” Maria said tiredly.
“Even me?” He was almost afraid to ask.
“Yes.” Michael finally understood just how much of Maria’s life was spent being everything for everyone else. But it seemed that there was rarely anyone in her life that served the same role for her. Michael felt bad about how he treated her at times. He knew that she wanted more from him then just a quick grope in the eraser room, or an occasional make out session at the CrashDown or his apartment. She was the only person he could think of going to when the entire situation with Hank had blown up. She took him in and cared for him when he couldn’t find comfort from Max and Isabel. He felt ashamed at how little he really gave her in return. How could he go on denying to her and himself his feelings, and just let her die slowly more each day?
“Maria, look at me.” Michael turned her around to face him. “Tell me what you’re feeling. Tell me what you need.”
“I don’t need anything.” He hated the way she avoided his eyes.
“Yes you do. Tell me.” Her resigned sigh was almost despairing.
“I just feel that I’m unimportant. That no one sees me as anything, but an object that they occasional need for support. I just wanted to feel like I was essential. That something was finally about me. Everyone calls me a drama queen, but I guess I just over compensate. Like I am trying to be so exaggerated that someone will finally notice me. Notice that I am there. That’s why I wanted what Liz has with Max. He really sees her. She is essential to him. I just wanted to be essential, first in someone’s eyes. Not forever, just for once, for a small space in time.”
“You don’t think that you’re essential to me? You don’t think that I see you?”
“No. I am just a girl that let’s you kiss her; let’s you touch her, and I’m available when you can’t find Max or Isabel. Someone that you will let hang around as long as it doesn’t become intense or as long as I don’t demand more than you’re willing to give.”
Michael could feel his stomach souring at the thought of how Maria saw their relationship. It was worse because he never gave her any reason to see it any other way. The extent of pain he was responsible for in her was immense. A part of him already knew this. He felt it in her when he kissed her, but he chose to ignore it because he didn’t want to have to deal with what it meant.
“Maria, you are wrong. But, this isn’t your fault. It’s mine. You have to listen to me, and I mean really listen, because I am bad at expressing myself and I don’t want you to miss anything I am going to tell you. Especially since I will probably be too much of a coward to ever repeat it.” Michael pulled Maria closer into his body and framed her face with his hands.
“I see you. I see you when I close my eyes. I dream about you. The reason I grab you and pull you into the eraser room or find you at the CrashDown is the smell of you. When I touch you and you touch me, you leave the smell and taste on my body. I find that I need that smell. I need your taste. I want every breath I take to contain parts of you. When I am not around you for long periods of time I feel this burning need to seek you out. Like parts of me are missing until I find you.” Maria could feel her heart speeding at Michael’s words.
“Not essential? You are so much more than essential. I tried to stay away. I tried to ignore you, to write you off and prove that there was no way that I was attached, that walking away would be easy. I lied to you. I lied to myself. I’m not walking away now. I will never walk away from you again.”
“Michael, you can’t promise that. You have waited your whole life to find out about your home. You have waited to have them come take you home. How can you tell me that you won’t leave?”
“I am not saying I wouldn’t leave. I’m saying that if I leave, I’m taking you with me. And if for some reason you are unable to come with me, then I’m not leaving. You’re right. I waited my whole life to find home. I found it in you, and I’m not giving it up for anything in this world or all other worlds.”
Maria laughed, “I don’t believe it’s you talking to me like this. You never talk like this.”
“Yeah, well, I never thought I would need to, I guess. But I never wanted to hurt you, or be the cause of your pain. Staying away seemed so much easier, but it wasn’t. It hurts.”
“I like you like this. No one would believe me if I told them you could open up and have a real conversation.”
“If you tell anyone, I’ll deny it.”
“Do I look crazy? If I told anyone they would demand mandatory drug testing.”
“They should do that anyway. You seem to act like a drug on me.”
“Are you trying to tell me that you’re in love with me?” Michael laughed. He pulled her face into his chest and wrapped her into his arms so tight her lungs protested.
“Love you? That is a small word, Maria. Love you? I don’t know love, or what it means, really, but I do know what I feel for you, and it’s so much more.”
Michael looked deep into her eyes holding her face hoping for once his uncontrolled powers would allow him to do something that he needed to do. Maria could see pictures and feel emotions from Michael. All his life experiences played through her head at speeds so fast, she felt like her body was going to explode. All the abuse and neglect, all the loneliness, and all the need almost felt like torture. Then like a flower to the sun, she saw herself. She caught him looking at her, watching her, seeing the movement of the tendons in her hands, the movement of her fingers along his skin, the feel of his heart opening when she moved closer and touched him. The feelings he had when he held her in his arms, when he kissed her, and touched her. Maria gasped as all the feelings overwhelmed her. How couldn’t she have known?
“You didn’t know, because I didn’t show you. I rarely show myself. Maria, I have a hard time opening myself up, making myself vulnerable to anyone. Every person I have ever trusted outside of Max and Isabel has betrayed me. In sixteen years of life, more specifically, in the last ten years, I have never found one person to trust with my heart. But, to say that I own my own heart and soul is a lie. I gave it to you so long ago. I see you. I need you. You’re the most essential part of my life. I would die a thousand deaths before I ever gave you up.”
“Michael.” Maria’s voice showed all the awe and amazement she felt from the gift he had just given her. It was more valuable than any present ever given. Her mouth found his, her arms reached for him, her hands searched for his body. The mating of their mouths was accompanied by the mating of their minds. The link Michael had created between them remained open with both of their feeling flooding along the link. Her hands moved over his body touching him. They felt not like her hands but like Michael’s own hands moving in place of hers. The sexual frenzy increased and vibrated. Her small hands found his body hot and hard with her body softening and yielding to his hardness.
Michael felt her hands, could smell her scent, hear her sounds of passion, and taste the perfume of her body. The sound of passion from Michael’s own body was impossible to keep contained. He was almost startled to hear himself. He never really considered himself to be very vocal, and the sounds seemed very personal and telling of the effect she had on him. Maria’s body responded almost immediately. What was once soft and yielding quickly turned into hard, blazing, and demanding passion. Michael felt Maria turn him over unto his back. He opened his eyes to see her more appealing than an explorer conquering uncharted territories. That territory was his body, heart, and soul. Sometimes a smart man has to know when to yield.
“Michael, Michael I need to feel you. I need your hands and mouth.” Maria’s mouth plunged into Michael’s giving him a kiss unlike any they had ever shared before. Previous kisses had been passionate and eager, but this kiss was nastier and almost earthy in nature. It spoke of consumption, of devouring need. Michael’s own passion rose to meet hers, to join it as his hands found her clothes and disposed of them.
“God, yes, baby. Oh, Maria, Maria, devour me. Feed off of me.” Maria’s head came up, letting her eyes make contact with his. Michael couldn’t keep the gasp from escaping his mouth. Maria’s eyes were wild, more like an out of control animal then the sweet spitfire he was use to. In all the past interludes he had been the one in control. He was always the one to start the action and the one to leave. Maria was not willing to give up her control. The wildness in her eyes sparked something primitive and repressed inside of Michael. It was as if her wild nature reached out for his. Their mating grew more wild and primitive bordering on violent. They were like wild horses.
Michael whole body almost exploded when Maria’s mouth found his nipple. Her hands and nails were hard on his back while her teeth and mouth pulled at the nipple making it even more sensitive. His hands quickly finding her hot, wet core finding it tight and inviting. The smell of her arousal invaded his senses leaving him slightly drunk and dizzy. Maria’s body kept his pressed hard into her bed. Her nail scraped across his chest just under his clavicle actually cutting a long thin groove. Michael watched in fascination as his blood pooled along the groove. He could feel her beautiful small hand finding his harden cock. His eyes shut as her hand tightened around him making him even harder than before. Maria’s hand could barely encircle Michael as she looked down to see his endowment. Big hands and big feet, the old adage in Michael’s case was very correct. He was packing major heat. Michael opened his eyes to watch her looking at him his heart picking up speed as her eyes met his. The heat and hunger in her gaze almost sent him over the edge.
“Anything you want Maria, anything.” Michael couldn’t believe that the husky impassioned voice was his own. His fingers continued to work themselves into Maria, stroking her clitoris. She closed her eyes and began moving her hips, thrusting herself harder upon his fingers with cries of abandonment while her hand started to work Michael’s cock. Her eyes looked drugged as she once again met Michael’s eyes. Using her other hand, Maria pulled Michael trunk into her. Her mouth found the small river of blood on his chest. She drank deeply from him as her body exploded around Michael’s hand. His own body joining her in the release as the sight of her drinking his blood drove him over the edge. The last thing he remembered before he lost consciousness was stars and planets racing past him.
Michael came back to himself with Maria’s naked body lying heavy on him. He looked down to watch her sleep. Without thought, his hands began to move over her again, mapping every curve and turn of her body. They had wild and dirty sex without penetration. Michael couldn’t help but smile, because he couldn’t remember the last time he felt so great, so sated. Damn, maybe there was something to smoking cigarettes in bed. He could imagine what going all the way with Maria would entail. Didn’t the French call orgasms the little deaths? Michael’s smile grew when all he could think about was how eager he would be to die that way a thousand times, over and over again.
“Feeling pretty pleased with yourself, huh?” Michael looked down to see Maria watching him with sexually hot eyes, a smile around her mouth telling him that she was pretty happy with the past events. He almost sighed a sense of relief. Post-orgasm anxiety and regret wouldn’t be something he could handle right now, especially with his regret level being very much in the negative.
Taking her small hand that had jerked him off into his, Michael sucked her fingers into his mouth licking his own cum off her hand. Maria’s eyes became heavy at the sexual sensation Michael was causing in her body. Reaching up, her mouth and tongue joined his in licking at her fingers. She gave a pleased squeak when Michael hotly swore, grabbed her and flipped her onto her back. Joining her mouth in a kiss that was furious enough to snap her neck. His body hardened on hers, and pushed her into the tangled bed sheets. Opening her legs, Maria pulled Michael between her legs giving him a hot place to reside.
“**** me, Michael. I want you so bad.”
“Don’t you mean, make love to you Maria?” Michael could admit to being slightly taken aback by this earthier version of his Maria, and a lot turned on by her. Having Maria talk dirty to him could become a major kink for him, that and the blood thing.
“Later, make love later. I want you ride me hard, then turn me over and ride me again. You said anything? That’s what I want. I want you inside me, deep inside me. I want you so deep that I can feel you in my throat.” Michael buried his head in her breast at her words. He could feel his primitive side rising, taking her for her words he quickly reached over the bed for his discarded jeans. Quickly finding his wallet, Michael removed protection from it. Maria’s eyebrow arched upward.
“Just one? Spaceboy, believe me, we are going to need a lot more than that tonight.” Maria reached over to her bedside table to open the drawer and take out a box of condoms. It was Michael’s turn to raise his eyebrow.
“My mom, okay? She put them in there the day after she found you in my bed and after we sprung you from Valenti’s jail. I’m already on the pill for my cycle, but mom says that the pill doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases.” For the first time since they had taken off their clothes and got down together, Michael saw Maria begin to blush. There was his Maria, of old. Maria pushed Michael back onto his back to help distract him from her blush.
“God, I love your mom.” Michael groaned as Maria opened the condom and slowly placed it on his hardened cock. Her hands were making him even harder and hotter than before. His eyes became heavy as she straddled his hips and placed her hands on his shoulders. Michael pulled himself up against the backboard of Maria’s bed placing one hand on her hip and the other around his cock. They both slowly moved together with him aligning himself to enter her slowly and Maria slowly pushing herself down on him, impaling herself at her own speed. Michael’s eyes shut and a deep groan left his throat as he felt himself slid into her hot tight channel made slick from her earlier orgasm. Maria’s small moan of pain brought him back to himself. Moving his hand from his cock, he sought out her clitoris. The stroking of the small bundle of nerves helped her to move beyond the pain of her first penetration. They both held their breath as their bodies finally settled with his cock completely buried in her. Michael pulled her into his arms and held her tightly until she was ready to move.
“God Michael, you’re huge. I feel like your splitting me apart. God, I love feeling you deep inside of me.” Maria leaned heavy into Michael’s chest, her hips slowly rocking. Both lovers groaned as the feeling between them swelled. Maria’s movement becoming faster, while Michael’s hands tightened on Maria’s hip pushing her heavily onto his cock while he pushed up into her.
“Yes.” Screamed Maria as her head fell back and her nails bit into Michael’s back. He grabbed her tighter into himself taking her breast into his mouth suckling on her. Her screams of ecstasy were in between her demands for harder and faster thrusts. Michael grabbed her body and pushed her onto the bed on her back. Grabbing her legs, he opened her up more by thrusting her legs over his shoulders, his hip pummeled into her driving her hard. Her voice lost all demands with primal grunts and cries pushing him harder and faster his own voice demanding her to take him, to take all of him.
“Take me, Maria. Take it all. Come on, baby, open up. God, you’re so beautiful. God, you feel so good. More, more, take more, Maria.” Michael watched as her eyes glazed over with passion, her breast were hard and swollen from his mouth, he could see the bruises on her breast and mouth, and he could feel her orgasm as she went over the edge. Her screams inflamed his passion beyond reason. He took her hips into his hands and rotated her hips to give his thrusts a different angle. His hips pushed hard and fast into her, as he no longer could hear her cries of release as the sounds of his own panting and groans grew like a steam train in his ears. As he reached the edge and his orgasm moved up over him he felt her coming again as the gray took over his sight.
Michael came awake to the feel of Maria under his body. He quickly moved off her before he crushed her. Rolling over on his back he pulled her into his arms and went back to sleep. Later he was aroused from sleep by the feel of her kissing his body all over. He held himself still to let her go wherever she wanted. His hands tangled into her hair as her mouth took his harden cock into her mouth. It was like entering a furnace.
Michael groaned in approval saying her name over and over like a life giving mantra. He was surprised as her hand worked his cock she removed her mouth to continue working his groin with the sacs of his scrotum already draw up tight against his groin. The passion was slower this time. It built in strength as Maria continued to worship his body. Michael’s controlled snapped as he grabbed her head and moved himself deeply into her mouth while holding her firm again him. She was doing things to him he didn’t know was possible or even have a name for. Michael was too far-gone to hear the screams and words from his mouth, the continuous screams of her name, and finally the roar of completion as his body convulsed. The gray screen that took over his sight was becoming a very familiar sight as he loss consciousness again.
Michael woke to the feel of Maria washing his tired sated body. Her administrations and care were gentle and loving. Every inch of his body felt like it was humming as she put down the cloth and began to soothe lotion over his body. He watched her for a while with his eyes half closed.
“I know you’re awake, you know. Your body is giving you away.”
“I can’t imagine how my body could find the energy to do that. Did you sleep at all?”
“No, I watched you sleep instead.”
“That must have been very exciting.”
“Actually, it was. You are so incredibly beautiful while you sleep. I could literally watch you for hours.”
“The feeling is mutual, blonde. My god, Maria, where did you learn to do that?”
“Oh, that. Well I really didn’t learn to do it. I read about it with pictures.” Michael bolted upward in bed at her words, but quickly lay back down as the tenderness and bruises on his body reminded him that he wasn’t use to level of activity. It looked like both of them were going to be sore from this night of losing their virginities.
“You read about this?” He looked at her in disbelief. They obviously didn't frequent the same bookstores.
“Sure. Remind me to show you my mom’s collection of sex manuals. She has every version of The Joy of Sex for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, plus some pretty graphic reading materials. I found them when I was ten. I swore to Liz that I was going to join the church and become a nun because there was no way I was going to be doing any of those things. That lasted until about until I was twelve and a half when I had my first crush on Freddy Watson.”
“Freddy Watson? The guy who has acne all over his body, including his hands? That Freddy Watson?” Michael didn't know whether to be amused or slightly disgusted.
“Uh huh, that Freddy, of course, back then he didn’t have those skin problems. So anyway, I went back to recheck out those books. They were very informative.”
“So did you and Freddy ever,” Michael made hand gestures, “you know, try anything from The Books?”
“No way. I was so over him a week later. Then there was Doug. I let him kiss me, but everything else was out of the question. I not that kind of girl.”
“You are with me.”
“Well, that’s true, but you’re different.”
“Different? How so?” Michael acturally sat up a little in interest.
“You’re the one, the only one for me. So I guess with you I will always be that kind of girl.” Michael pulled Maria in for a deep intimate kiss. He could feel his passion rising again. Okay, maybe he wasn’t really sated, just temporarily appeased.
“Thank you, Maria, thank you for letting me be, the one. You’re my one, too, you know.”
“I know. Michael?”
“You said I could have anything I want before. Does that still go?” Michael looked down at her and thought about it for a few seconds. As far as he was concern, Maria could do anything she wanted with his body from leather straps to whipped cream. He never thought he would ever be able to give up control over himself to any other person. It never occurred to him that he could ever trust anyone else that much.
“Anything you want, Honey. It will always apply.” Maria smiled her beautiful sweet innocent smile. How did he ever delude himself into thinking of her as sweet and innocent? The woman was as spicy as Tabasco sauce and thanks to him and her mother’s books, not quite so innocent. He really needed to borrow some of those books. Maria reached up and said something that was guaranteed to increase his interest.
“I want more.”
Michael watched Maria the next day running around trying to gather everything she needed before she had to be at work. They had overslept this morning which wasn’t a surprise considering they only really got three hours of sleep. He woke to find marks from the previous night all over his body. Maria had left some very telling marks on his back and surprisingly a bite mark on his ass. Maria noticed that Michael was lounging in the kitchen chair watching her closely. She could feel the blush rising over her cheeks and up her neck. After last night, he couldn’t imagine that she would ever be shy with him again, but somehow she was and that delighted him.
“Call in sick.”
“I can’t do that Michael. Liz will come over to see what’s wrong with me. I can’t just desert them on a Saturday afternoon. It’s really busy on Saturdays.”
“Call in sick and spend the rest of the day with me. We could go for a drive with a picnic lunch. I’ll let you drive.”
“You’ll let me drive?”
“Sure. But, I’ll have to borrow Max’s jeep since your mom has her car.”
“I have been wanting to drive the jeep. This is not fair. I would love to go with you, but I really should go to work.” Maria stopped talking as Michael reached for the phone and called Max.
“Max, it’s Michael. Where are you, the CrashDown? Good. Can I borrow your jeep today? I’ll bring it back by early evening.” Maria watched Michael as he talked to Max.
“No. I need to take Maria somewhere and her mom has their car on a trip. Is Liz there? Let me talk to her.” Michael waited for Max to pass the phone to Liz who was obviously sitting next to him. “Liz, I need to take Maria somewhere. Can you cover her shift this afternoon and evening? What? No. She says she doesn’t feel good and she needs special medicine that her mom gives her, but her mom is out of town. So I’m going to drive her to the Native American woman that makes it. I don’t know, something about cramps? Okay. Let me talk to Max again, because I need to use his jeep.”
Michael listened on the phone as he heard Liz telling Max how important it was for Maria to get her medicine. That they should let Michael take the jeep since Maria didn’t have a car to take herself. He could hear Max’s whining about them not getting back in time for their date. He looked up at Maria and saw her stare. She couldn’t believe him.
“Yeah, sure Max, we’ll be back in time for that, no problem, and I promise to put gas in the tank. Okay, we’ll be there in about twenty minutes. Can I talk to Liz again? Liz can you have the kitchen pack us some food? Maria hasn’t eaten yet today and I don’t want to stop because we will need to get back early so Max can have the jeep back. No that sounds good. We’ll see you soon.”
Michael looked over at Maria. She was very quiet.
“So, do you want to spend the afternoon and day with me?” Michael held his breath waiting for her to explode over the tall tales he just told to get her out of work. He was surprised when she smiled. “Okay.”
Over the next three months both Michael and Maria spent as much time together as possible. They had yet to let anyone know about their degree of sexual activity, which was to say at the very least, extreme. Both of them were worried about letting other people know about them living together, which included Maria’s mom. They still had that overwhelming primitive passion that drove them, but their lovemaking had added a new degree on gentleness and intimacy that shocked both of them to the core. Long interludes of hot, slow passion with candlelight and music, Michael and Maria slowly mapped each other’s bodies.
Michael took a job at the CrashDown so he could work the same hours as Maria, and he made sure she got home okay. On days Maria’s mom was out of town, Maria came home and slept in their bed. When Maria’s mom was home Michael found himself crawling through Maria’s window so he could sleep with her. They took the precaution of always locking her door to keep him from being waked to the thumping of a newspaper on his head. They agreed to sustain from sexual activity in Maria’s house when her mother was home since neither of them really tried to be quiet during their love making sessions. Michael’s neighbors were giving them strange looks of envy and flat out shock. They must be even louder, than they had thought and a lot more active than was considered normal.
A few times they were almost interrupted by Max and the gang. Finally Michael mentioned off hand that it would sure be nice if everyone would knock before unlocking his door and just entering. It was really making him paranoid. That way he can just assume that the person entering without knocking are some FBI agents there to kidnap him to some secret government installation. The message finally hit home when the group of them walked in on Maria and Michael making out on the sofa with Michael minus his shirt and Maria’s half off and her hands unbuttoning Michael’s jeans.
The rest of the group noticed Michael and Maria’s improved relationship. It was decided that Michael must have finally asked Maria to go steady since she was wearing a silver band on her wedding finger with engraved symbols from the cave on it.
Michael insisted that Maria take a martial art so she could defend herself when he wasn’t around. Maria refused to do it unless Michael took the same class with her. In three months their skill was incredible. The instructor was amazed how uniform their movements were, almost like looking at twins moving in tandem. Michael noticed the changes in his muscular structure first. The toning from the martial arts was making his muscles longer and leaner. His abdomen was becoming structured with strong powerful shoulders and arms. The only thing he regretted was not being able to lose thicken around his waist. Maria just laughed and said he should keep it, because it was nice to have something to hold onto.
Maria was looking excellent. Her muscles were much finer in structure than Michael’s, but they still were impressive. Michael took to drawing her nude while she slept. She talked Michael into taking yoga with her. At first he refused until she told him that people who practiced yoga had incredible internal muscle control that improved their sexual performances beyond belief. Michael pulled Maria all the way to the YMCA to sign up.
Isabel was amazed as she looked around Michael’s apartment. The walls had been painted and there were drawings on so many walls. The paintings were incredible. Michael’s talent was becoming notorious at school. The art teacher had proclaimed him as a genius, which was, of course, overheard by a student, which in turn spread like wildfire through the school. People were looking at Michael in a different light than before. Besides his dating of Maria, his artwork had raised him in people’s eyes. For the first time in his life, people saw Michael as a person with a future ahead of him. Maria just laughed and said his drawing reminded her of Mad Magazine at times. Michael was surprisingly please, because that was one of his favorite reading materials.
What Isabel noticed the most were the laugh lines around Michael’s eyes that hadn’t been there just a few months ago, he seemed at peace with himself for the first time in his life. Isabel expected that Michael’s clean and neat apartment and healthier outlook was due to a certain sassy blonde. Even Maria seemed to have changed. She was quieter and more focused. She seemed to enjoy doing quiet things with Michael more than anything else, and wanted to be with him. Her hands always seemed to be on him with a gentle smile on her lips just for him. The rest of them had a running joke about the couple. If one left the room they could time it to the minute how long before the other followed as if separation was too hard to handle.
Michael was cutting up vegetables in the kitchen while Isabel looked at the paintings and sketches. Max was engrossed in a magazine he found on the coffee table. They were waiting for Liz and Maria to show up. Michael was making dinner for them, which surprised Isabel and the others. Maria got stuck working an extra shift at the CrashDown, otherwise she would have been there helping him. Alex was sitting on the floor in front of the stereo looking for music to play, when the door opened. Liz came in hold Maria up with her body.
Michael looked up when the door opened and saw Maria’s face. He dropped the knife and rushed to pick her up from Liz. “Maria? Honey what’s wrong?” He could see the pain in her eyes and the tension in her body. He quickly sat in an armchair with her in his lap. Pulling her into his body he began to rub her back and neck. “Liz? What happen?”
“I don’t know. We were finishing up and getting changed when all the sudden she had this massive headache. On the way over here we had to stop so she could be sick. I had to drive the rest of the way. I didn’t think I was going to make it up the stairs.”
Michael looked down at Maria. She had fallen asleep under the administrations of his hands. He slowly got up and carried her into the bedroom ignoring all the others. Taking a T-shirt from a drawer, he slowly removed her clothes, put the shirt on her, placed her in the bed, and covered her. Turning on a soft light on the dresser he pressed a kiss to her head and lips and left her sleeping in their bed.
Closing the door softly, Michael went to the phone and called Maria’s mom. “Amy? Hi, it’s Michael. Yeah, she’s here. Her and Liz just came in just a few minutes ago. Listen, Maria has another migraine headache. I put her to sleep in my bed. I was going to leave her sleeping until the headache passes. Do you want to come over here? I really don’t want to wake her? No, Liz is still here. Sure. Just a second.” Michael held the phone out to Liz. Liz took the phone to talk to Maria’s mom.
“Yes? No, it just came on about half an hour ago, but she was ill on the way over to Michael’s. No, she said that the light was hurting her eyes and that her stomach felt unsettled. No, I think Michael is right. She should sleep it off. I can stay to if you want. Okay.” Liz handed the phone back to Michael. He took the phone walking away from the others.
“Amy? I know, Maria told me. I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Amy. She might have the flu or something. If you leave in the morning and she gets sicker, than who’s going to watch her? I really think she would rather have you here. No. I understand that, but she really looks ill. No. No. I really do understand exactly how it is. Fine, if that’s what you want. Well then she will have to stay here until you get back or until she feels better. No, that’s unacceptable. Forget it. She’s not staying home alone. Okay, then I’ll stay at your house while you’re gone. I’m not letting her stay alone. What if she gets sick in the night? Whatever? Sure, I will. Okay, I’ll have her give you a call when she wakes up. Yes, why don’t you give me that information just in case you don’t get to see her before you have to leave?”
Michael quickly wrote down the information and hung up. He ran his hand over his face with a deep sigh. Looking over at the closed door, he walked toward it leaving the rest of them watching. They watched him go inside and shut the door behind him. They could hear him waking up Maria and the two of them talking. The sound of Maria crying shocked them. Michael was talking gently to her and after a few minutes her crying stopped. A little while later Michael came out of the room and shut the door behind him.
“Is she okay, Michael? Should I go talk to her or something?”
“No thanks Liz, she’s asleep again. I had to wake her to let her know that her mom is leaving in the morning in case she wanted me to take her home tonight so she could see her before she left.”
“Why was she crying?”
“The reason she always cries, because she’s not important enough for her mother to put her life on hold and stay with her when she’s sick.”
“I’m sure her mom wants to be here for her Michael. It’s probably something real important.”
“This isn’t the first time, Liz. And, I assure you it won’t be the last time either. I’m really worried. This is the third really bad headache she’s had this week. I don’t care. I’m taking her to the doctor tomorrow, no excuses. Look, I hope you guys don’t mind, but I really need to cancel dinner tonight. Maybe we can do it next week when Maria feels better?”
“Sure, no problem Michael. It really wouldn’t be the same without Maria here anyway.” Alex looked up as the bedroom door opened. Maria stood wavering in the doorway with blood on her shirt from a nosebleed. Michael rushed to her side as she collapsed.
“Call 911, now. Maria, honey, can you open your eyes? Come on baby, open your eyes, please open your eyes, Maria. You’re scaring me, honey. Open your eye’s, baby.” Michael never stopped talking to her even when the EMT unit arrived. Max placed his hand on her trying to find what was wrong, but all he could feel was her pain and something in her head, but it was too deep for him to fix.
Michael paced around the emergency room like a caged jungle cat. His concern was overwhelming. When Amy Deluca finally arrived, everyone was still waiting for the doctors. They had taken Maria for an emergency CAT scan and MRI. Maria had a seizure in the ambulance on the trip from Michael’s and was in a coma.
“Michael, where is Maria? What happened?” Michael didn’t even bother to look at her. He just kept looking at the door that Maria had disappeared through a while ago. All he could see was her face, the way her eyes had rolled back in her head just before she fainted. She was going to be all right. She had to be all right. Michael could feel himself sinking in despair. His heart ached for her touch, for her smile, for anything that would reassure him that he wasn’t going to lose the most important person in his life. Max and Liz watched the chasing emotions cross Michael’s face. His hand kept rubbing his chest as if it was paining him. He seemed to sink into himself without hearing anyone around him. Liz moved forward and took Amy’s arm.
“Maria had a nosebleed and then collapsed. We called 911 immediately, and they brought her here. The doctors haven’t come back yet. They took her to nuclear medicine for CAT scan and a MRI. We have all been waiting. Do you want to sit down?”
Amy looked over at Michael. His silence was the scariest thing she ever seen. Over the past few months they had created a sort of friendship. He had made it clear to her that he felt that she was careless with Maria’s care and love. Amy kept expecting him to demand that she let Maria move in with him so he could take care of her the way he felt she needed to be taken care of. Amy occasionally felt guilty, because she knew that Michael would be better at loving Maria than she had been. He sat there like a stonewall, as if moving would cause him to fall apart. She could see the fine tremors in his beautiful artist hands. His despair was evident in the lines of his body. His eyes were already dead. Amy could feel the sorrow moving up her chest to lodge in her throat like a large lump that no amount of swallowing would remove.
It was over an hour before the doctors came to find them. They had stopped at the nurse’s station to have a conference before coming to the waiting room.
“Yes, I’m Amy DeLuca. What is wrong with my daughter?”
“We have admitted your daughter to the Intensive Care Unit. Her CAT scan and MRI are showing bleeding within the cranium. Some people have a condition called TIAs, which are transient ischemic attacks. That is when small blood vessels break interrupting flow to areas of the brain. These attacks are immediate and usually don’t last longer than 24 hours. In Maria’s case, her intra-cranial pressure has increased to an alarming rate. This accounts for the severity of her headaches and the nosebleed. Mr. Guerin tells me that she has had three migraine headaches this week alone. Did you notice any other problems besides the headaches?”
“No, I mean she told me that she was having headaches so I gave her an herbal remedy to help. Michael would know better since he’s always with her.”
“What kind of herbal remedy did you give her? Not golden seal or any other blood thinning herbals?”
“Well actually it is a blood thinning agent. But, it is a natural herbal with no additives. It thins your blood so it’s easier for the blood to flow through narrowed vessels. I can give you some if you like. I have some in my purse.”
The doctor took the herbal medicine and handed it to a young Native American doctor. She opened the drug bottle and smelt the drug and then tasted it. The doctors gathered around each other and had another conference. The group of doctors left, taking a sample of the medicine with them. The young Native American doctor approached the group again.
“This is a natural herbal made from yucca derivatives and other indigenous plants in this region. I know it well. It is usually used and prescribed for cramping during menstrual cycle. It can be used for headaches, but usually only those during your menses. It should never be used as a general analgesic. The consequences are that this drug can breakdown the vessel walls causing ruptures and internal bleeding. How long did she take this herbal?”
“Not that long. I gave her some earlier this week and told her to take four every four hours as needed for her headaches. Her headaches just kept getting worse so I guess she took it continuously. Michael do you know if she took all of the medicine?”
“She was taking these green herbal capsules for her headaches. But, I didn’t think they were helping because she kept using them. She finished the bottle you gave her and she got more.”
“The headaches were the TIAs that we were discussing earlier. That is a form that they can manifest. Analgesics wouldn’t have done her any good for this. The therapy I am going to prescribe is going to be aggressive and fast. Usually, TIAs do not cause brain damage, but Maria has the extra complication of being in a coma due to the intra-cranial pressure. The length of her coma will determine whether or not she has brain damage. The most important task at this time is to re-strengthen her blood vessels and return blood flow to all parts of her brain before damage can occur. If we can do this quickly, then the pressure should alleviate on its own. We can try shunting cerebral fluid from her brain to help drop the pressure, but that will be a last option, because she really isn’t suffering from meningitis. I’ll have the nurse let you know where she is being transferred to and when you can see her. This is my card in case you have any questions. Otherwise the nurse’s station can get hold of me if you need anything. Take heart, we are doing everything humanly possible.”
Amy collapsed in a chair. Liz’s parents who had come when Liz called them about Maria went to her side. Michael quickly moved over to Max and pulled him to the side.
“Maxwell, can you help her? Can you fix this bleeding problem?”
“No. I tried already Michael. It was too deep and too complicated. I don’t know how to correct it. I’m sorry.” Michael dropped into the nearest chair feeling his life dropping out below him. Isabel came behind him and pulled his head into stomach. Reaching down and placing a kiss on top of his head she hugged him tightly. She could feel the tremors raking his body.
Doctor Carlisle noticed the young man beside her patient’s bed. In the four days she had been in a coma, he refused to move from her side. He sat there for hours reading to her. She caught him talking to her.
“Maria, it’s time for you wake up. I want you to know that if this is a ploy to get me to do the dishes for the next month, it’s not going to work. I should also tell you that there is this really stupid looking tube hanging out of your mouth and you look silly. So I think it time that we work on waking you up so we can get rid of it.”
She stood at the door listening to him talk to her none stop. He read her the entire book of Ulysses by James Joyce. What amazed her was that most of the time he wasn’t reading. Instead he was quoting the book from memory. He sat drawing pictures of her laughing, sleeping, crying, and dancing. He never left her side. She left orders with the nurses that he was to be left alone. Her mother and other friends stopped by to see her, but the young man never left her side.
After a week, they were becoming worried that she was not showing any improvement in her responses. It was time to consider taking her from life support. The mother was given all the options. But, the bottom line was that the longer she was unresponsive, the chances decreased in her ever waking up. Michael heard them talking about removing her life support.
“You can’t do that. You can’t just unplug it.” Michael could feel desperation rising as tears threatened to choke him to death. “Maria is alive, Amy. Don’t give up on her, for the love of God, for once in her life, be her mother, be here for her, make her the most important, the most essential thing in your life. Trust that she will not leave us unless she has to.” His voice went husky with the unshed tears and the depth of his emotion. “Help me Amy. Help me bring her back. I can’t lose her now. I can’t live without her. I see my unborn children in her eyes, your grandchildren. Don’t let them kill her. Don’t let them take away the only thing I have in my life, please. I’m begging you, please.”
Liz and the others stood in the corner listening to Michael’s desperate pleas for Maria’s life. The tears streaming down his face and the catch of emotion in his voice made it impossible for the rest to remain untouched by the event. The strength of his appeal was so touching. Isabel looked at her brother seeing his character, his great love for Maria. She closed her eyes and prayed for Maria. She prayed for Michael. If Maria died so would Michael, they were unable to survive without the other. She had always thought that Max and Liz’s love was the kind of destiny, but Michael’s love of Maria was so strong and pure. It was beautiful and earthy, not living in some ethereal plane, but here and now and all so real.
Amy looked at her daughter’s lover. She knew that Maria and Michael had moved to a physical relationship almost from the moment it happen. When she came home after that week away, Maria had been different. She was so happy and Michael was always there. Late at night she could hear their voices talking in Maria’s room. While Maria was at school, Amy went into Maria’s room and looked into her bedside table drawer. The box of condoms she had given Maria was gone. It had been replaced with another box, lubrication, and wipes. Amy shut the drawer feeling like she was invading her daughter’s personal space. On a few occasions Michael’s clothes found there way into the laundry. Amy decided to keep her own council until they decided to tell her. She made sure that the condoms did not run out and that Maria stayed on her birth control.
As she looked at Michael, she was overwhelmed with feelings close to jealousy for her own daughter. The expression of emotion that Michael had for Maria was something she had spent her entire life looking for and never finding. She looked closely into his beautiful eyes seeing those grandchildren he spoke of in his eyes. With a tears slowly running down her cheek, she went forward and kissed his lips gently.
“Okay, let’s wake up that daughter of mine, and your wife. I think she has had enough rest.” Michael startled when Amy called Maria his wife. His insides turned at the thought. Wife? That was the perfect word for Maria. She was his wife, his lover, his soul mate, and best part of his life. She was everything. He watched as his future mother-in-law went to the other side of bed and took Maria’s hand in hers.
“Maria, this is your mother. I am looking at a beautiful young man who tells me that he sees his unborn babies in your eyes. Well I am giving him my permission to marry you and get me those grandchildren. But, before this can happen, you are going to have to wake up. I am going to have to tell you that there is this really ugly green tube hanging out of your mouth. And it is making you look really silly.”
Doctor Carlisle walked away from the family in that room. She smiled to herself. It’s going to be all right. If those two can’t talk the dead into waking, she didn’t know anyone who could. That young man was enough to make you believe in true love.
“Maria, I see you. I see you when I close my eyes. I dream about you. The reason I grab you and pull you into the eraser room or find you at the CrashDown is the smell of you. When I touch you and you touch me, you leave the smell and taste on my body. I find that I need that smell. I need your taste. I want every breath I take to contain parts of you. When I am not around you for long periods of time I feel this burning need to seek you out. Like parts of me are missing until I find you. You are so much more than essential. I will never stay away from you. I will never be able to ignore you. I am so attached to you, that walking away wouldn’t be possible. I will never walk away from you. You are my life and my love. I will not go on without you. If you love me, then you have to wake up to save me from myself. I need you.”
Michael continued to talk for hours. Amy fell asleep in the other chair listening to him. Alex, Isabel, Liz, and Max were asleep across the room in other chairs. And Michael kept on talking. He didn’t notice the touch at first, but the gentle sweep of fingers across his lips finally registered. He looked up into Maria’s beautiful eyes.
“Maria!” Michael’s cry woke the others and brought the nurses into the room. The doctors quickly followed pushing all the family out of the room. Michael became violent trying to stay with Maria. Doctor Carlisle grabbed him to calm him. “Michael we have to intubate her immediately. She can’t breath with that tube down her throat. Calm down, she’s alive. She’s alive and awake.”
Michael collapsed on the floor in a heap and sobs from deep inside tremored through his body. The rest quickly gathered him closely to them giving him the strength he had lost from all those days of waiting and fighting. After the doctors came out they went to talk to the family and friends.
“We won’t know until we run test whether there is any brain damage. She can’t talk very well, yet. Her throat is sore from the tube. She’s awake and breathing on her own. Congratulations. You can see her for just a few minutes.” Before Doctor Carlisle finished Michael already pushed past her into Maria’s room. The nurse was helping Maria wash out her mouth and drink small sips of water.
Michael stood in the door watching. Drinking in Maria as she sat in her bed. She looked so tiny, so delicate. Michael wanted to grab her and hold her tight so she could never leave him again, but he was afraid of breaking her. The nurse looked up and saw him standing there. She smiled at him as she left the room, stopping to give him a kiss on his cheek and a friendly pat on his arm. Maria looked up to see Michael standing unsure in the door.
“Michael? Baby, please come to bed. You look so tired. I feel lonely without you.” Michael felt all his walls crumble at her words. The enormous realization of what he almost lost finally was released from Michael. He climbed into bed with her careful of any IV lines and pulled her onto his chest. Her voice was soft and slightly croaking. He pushed her hair off her forehead and placed a kiss there. With a shaking hand he lifted her chin so he could kiss her lips. They were dry and cracked, but tasted more wonderful than anything he had ever tasted.
“I tried to find you. I looked everywhere. I went into your dreams to bring you home, but I couldn’t reach you. I was so scared that I lost you. I love you. God, I love you.” Maria put her arms around her lover and held him tight as he cried. Brushing his tears from his face, she pulled him close and kissed him until he was asleep in her arms.
Amy Deluca and the others came to the door and watched the two sleeping. She reached into the room and turned off the lights and pulled the door close gently behind her. They had a lifetime to touch and love Maria, but this time Michael needed her more than the rest of them. He had walked to hell and back for her.
Amy turned to see the group of tired young adults. “Anyone for pizza?” The group left the hospital for the first time in a week with light hearts.