Title:The Mystery in your Eyes
Category: M&M, AU
Rating: teen - mature
Disclaimer: If I owned anything, you can bet I wouldn't be sitting in front of my computer just writing fics.
Summary: She was an independent woman, swearing off love, while he was a cold man, thinking no woman could make him feel. She was a reporter, searching a story; he was an artist, opening a new restaurant. It was left up to chance; it was seen in their eyes. Because once you take the leap, there's no turning back.
Authorís notes: I'm dedicating this entire thing to Sarah, for a major reason, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't even be writing, from the shy girl who was a wreck to share her writing, through Sarah I've grown to write as if it is breathing. So thanks to you Sarah, for helping me in every way you can, it means more, than you can ever understand.

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Chapter 1: Just a step in Stone

It was just an Ordinary Day; well it started out that way, but no one would speculate this would be the dawning of revelation, a change of heart, or a lost soul to discover the light, to brighten a stranger’s life, to renew hope.

No, this young writer believed she had one simple duty, to bring news; to inspire others with the emotion she couldn’t process. She never imagined she had the power to make a closed off man, feel again. That he could make her do the same.

Neither did he, he was an artist, simply painting to express himself and maybe someone could relate to the picture in front of them. He never knew a smile could make his day, or the little laugh that escaped her lips, make him feel whole again. He never imagined God could bless him with that kind of feeling.

She had given up completely on love, allowing it to be an experience she’d never taste. But he had entered her life at the point where there would be no turning back, forcing her to accept the feelings that had began to consume her lonely heart.

Her long wavy blonde hair blew lightly, almost flowing in the crisp autumn air as she entered the tiny cafe in the center of town, in dying hope to receive a half way decent coffee. Her long black sweater dangling around her tiny, but strong body as she found a booth in the corner\ where she could find peace and quiet.

The roughly twenty year old waitress with short black hair made her way over, and with a soft smile on her narrowed lips, she politely asked, “What may I get you miss?”

“Just a cup of coffee, cream please,” she said as she opened her shoulder bag. A purse wasn’t able to carry all her belongings anymore. Her silver notebook, with a single red rose was too big to fit into any of them and she learned she couldn’t live without that notebook by her side.

Her fingertips easily brushed over the cover in a quick attempt to calm herself, before trying to capture a moment. Many people didn’t even try to think of such a thing, but to her, writing was like breathing. In every scent, every smile, every laugh, every voice that past by her, she tried to describe the feeling in extensive detail. In hopes, someone would one day read it, to feel a certain power cleanse their souls.

Maybe one day she could read it herself, and feel something, anything perhaps.

She was use to hurt. She was use to pain, to disappointment, to failure. To narrowing eyes, telling her that everything she was doing was wrong, for not fitting the mold. She was use to loneliness most of all.

Most of her childhood she had inspected a million men that waltzed through her front door, attempting to capture her mother’s heart. And it worked, for the time being. But she’d get bored and he’d get sick of a kid around. Above all else, it was like her mother was desperately trying to replace her father, and each man ended up failing a final test.

She never understood completely. Perhaps it was the feeling of being alone that killed her, or that the one she longed for, was never returning. In the end, she was afraid to have to live each day without him, so for the time being she used other man as replacements; to allow her to ignore the lonely feelings she endured.

In a desperate attempt to not end up like her mother, she made a silent vow to be strong, to be independent, to never be what people wanted her to be, to live each day as a simple girl. Somewhere she knew she was using it as an excuse to never try love because she was afraid she’d live her mother’s life. Of never being satisfied.

In an empty building across town a man scratched his chin with his left hand, smearing a powder blue paint on his morning whiskers, dabbing the other into a deep violet gob of paint, stretching across the picture outlining a dark cloud.

He wanted the emotion, feeling to scream out at customers, in hopes of capturing their attentions, to provoke them to continuously return. Dark colors always seemed appropriate. Some would say because he’s depressing, a sad man with nothing. He would have to agree a little.

Most of his childhood was not pleasant, not filled with happy memories, and certainly not any he’d care to relive, bouncing around from home to home, to be forced to stay with a drunk, and a girl a year younger than him.

His foster sister, Laurie was quite different than him. She was loud, she grabbed people’s attention and she could hold it. She adored affection. She was caring, thoughtful, and lovable and deserved a hell a lot more than the crappy life handed to her, but she took it the best she could, attempting to make the best out of a bad situation.

She taught him what friendship was. How you never give up on the ones that matter, and you fight for them even when they can’t fight for themselves. She was the one person he could love with his heart, and trust her with it. She understood what a pain living was, being beaten every day, of how hard surviving in a world that no one cared.

And the best part was she never pretended to understand when she didn’t. She simply nodded her head softly, letting him express himself.

When he turned eighteen, he dragged her with him, and wouldn’t refuse. She gladly followed. A certain hope glistening in her young eyes. She was finally free, and he discovered that was what life was meant to be. Free.

He thought the worst was over, it wasn’t. She got home late one night, all battered and bruised mumbling words he couldn’t understand. But he understood Hank, realizing he had come after her for leaving. She taught him how to be a brother, forcing him to be angry, but not allowing him any part in it. She was good at giving him the worst positions.

Somewhere in there he had started drawing, painting. One day she caught a piece on the counter. In typical Laurie fashion she asked in curiosity. He mumbled that he was just having a little fun, it was nothing. She glared at him and blew him off with, “This is pretty amazing, Michael. You should try to do something with this.”

It all happened by accident, but the next thing he knew, he wasn’t just doing a little here and there. They wanted to display all of his art in showcases. So his career started, and the money he made, he never imagined.

But he learned that it isn’t all its cracked up to is, for money didn’t buy happiness. Though he could live a comfortable life, it was unfulfilling somewhere. One day he asked a close friend, if he wanted to start a restaurant. The friend gladly accepted the idea, which left him with more than just paintings. Still there was something he felt was missing.


Tess Harding soared through the narrow spaced hallway, a stack of papers in hand and her engagement ring glittering, even in the dim light. Stories needed to be done, research needed seeking, people needed to be interviewed, someone had to do layout, ads needed selling and someone had to organize the entire mess.

She stopped at the first miniature office with a shut door, which so happened to be one of her best friends. She opened the door slowly knowing music would be bouncing out of the speakers.

Making a tired sound, she fell onto the side chair next to Maria’s desk, “Did you happen to get that story…umm….about the…um…” Her voice trailed off, as she tried to remember.

“On the elementary schools,” Maria chimed in, “I put it in your mailbox yesterday.” Still glued to the computer screen, taking a sip from her coffee, “So what’s the next story you want done?”

Tess paused, almost frozen in her spot, almost wincing as she mumbled a few words than said, “I don’t know how to say this, but I’m fresh out of ideas. I know you can come up with something great. So do you mind doing a little extra research?”

That captured Maria’s attention enough to force her to actually look at Tess, with speculation all over her face, she muttered, “Like now?”

Tess nodded, a relieved smile on her face, knowing Maria realized what she was doing. Getting up she said with encouragement, “I know you can do it.”

And with that, she left Maria alone in thought. “She’s lost it,” Maria concluded.


The streets were fairly crowded, for the small town. She decided to roam the streets of Roswell in hopes to find a decent story for Tess. Even though she knew most of the small town, she was willing to notice anything. She understood how hard Tess worked on the paper, and how much effort she put forth to make each issue, special.

Maria surveyed her surroundings, the people, analyzing every detail, soaking in as much visual information as she could, to later look back to form the words to do justice to her feelings, to the emotion of the small town.

She often got so carried away with that goal of every day to focus on whether she was really happy or just too busy to realize she was miserable.

On that sidewalk, she noticed a plain sign reading ‘New Restaurant titled A Desert Variety’ and it sparked something through her. The glass windows had black paper against them, preventing an observer, not much of a view. She decided to risk it, to see what was behind the paper, perhaps she could see the light.

To her amusement the door was unlocked, allowing her to enter this new restaurant that had formed a home in downtown Roswell and Maria’s curiosity was hopefully going to give her a story.

A man was painting; he looked about twenty-five. His chestnut amber hair dangled, often in his way as he worked. His washed-out jeans hung loosely around his firm body, and his black t-shirt seemed a bit faded as well. He caught Maria’s interest.

“So Michael, I’ve heard,” A voice called from next room, and entered the open area to discover Maria standing by the door. The man looked about the same age, and his gelled dirty blonde hair spiked up, and basically appeared a mess. “Hi, I’m Kyle, and you are?”

The man painting realized she was there and turned slightly to see, and he caught her gaze. His deep brown eyes were captivating, and held so much. Maria had never seen a man with so much emotion, power, just in his eyes.

“I’m Maria.” She smiled brightly. “I’m from the Roswell Times, noticed the sign and hadn’t realized a new restaurant was being put in, and figured if I haven’t noticed, perhaps a lot of readers haven’t either.”

Kyle, nodded, folding his buffed arms a crossed his chest, a soft grin grazing his well defined face, saying, “It appears we could work something out.” He led Maria further into the place, than gesturing to the painter, “This is my associate, Michael Gurein, you might have heard of him—“

“The artist,” Maria murmured, beginning to understand, how amazing of a story this could become, “You have some brilliant work.” She was trying to be polite, she had seen a few pieces, and thought they were amazing, in reality, she had no clue what to say to him.

“Brilliant?” Michael laughed uncomfortably, and than scratched the back of his head, before replying, “Usually means it sucks.”

Maria laughed at his response, a little taken back by it. “What does that mean?”

“Well when people say that, it’s like their trying to say something, something intelligent to impress me somehow, like because I am an artist, I hold some genius in my mind. It kinda of bugs me.”

“Well excuse me, that wasn’t my intent. I honestly liked what I have seen of your work, if you got offended, I’m truly sorry for that, but isn’t it wrong of you to assume because other people do that, means I did it. That’s a bit unfair, don’t you think?” She crossed her arms, and let her hip stick out a little. He had prejudged her. It was a pet peeve.

Kyle coughed interrupting the uncomfortable silence. “I’m sorry Michael isn’t exactly easy to have a conversation with. He gets a little defensive of his work.” Kyle sent a glare at Michael and turned his attention to Maria, talking sweetly. “Now about this story?”

“Are the two of you free…say tomorrow morning?” Mara ignored Michael, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear letting the incident fall forgotten and the effect he was having on her.

Kyle smiled brightly, “That’ll be perfect. It was a pleasure meeting you, Maria.”

“You too, Kyle.” She smiled, shaking his extended hand and turning to Michael, “See you two tomorrow.” She left the two, pleased with her findings.

“What are you doing?” Michael glared at Kyle.

“Publicity for the restaurant. You didn’t have to get all pissy with the nice reporter trying to make us money.”

Michael grumbled, trying to wonder why her eyes drove him insane, the emerald pools were like a painting with light blues swirling inside the massive green shades. He’d never seen anything like it.


Isabel shifted her head a little, letting the camera following her eye, never straying as she squinted at the object. She was a perfectionist; in every sense of the word.

“Stare a little more, and it will be suddenly beautiful.” The sarcastic voice answered behind her, almost laughing at her.

“Cynical bastard,” She muttered, as she snapped a picture, and raised herself from her knees, checking the film. “And what do you want?”

He laughed; shrugging his shoulders and fell onto the couch. “I don’t know, I had a hard day, baby, how about you make it better.”

She laughed, crossing her arms. “Oh you make fun of my creativity and expect me to give you some loving?”

“Well your so fine baby,” his smirk grew a little bigger.

She smiled. “I take it you two still couldn’t agree on colors?” She whispered, as she lowered herself onto him on the couch, feeling his breath on her face.

“He’s a pain in my ass,” he whispered, knowing he was tickling her, “a reporter came in offering to do a story and he almost scared her off.”

That caused her to laugh. “He’s Michael.”

“She came in offering Iz, and he gets mad that she was saying his work sucked when she said brilliant. He’s losing it.”

Isabel sat back a little, letting her hands wandering his chest, “Well it’s a good thing you two are doing this restaurant. It’ll give him something to work at, and you won’t have to do construction anymore, Kyle. Your last accident could have killed you, and he’s doing us a favor by asking you to run this thing.”

“I know, I know, alright.”

“Than cut him some slack.” She decided to stop torturing him and kissed him gently, her soft hands grazing his cheek, with her ring sparkling in the sunlight that filtered through the open window.


The following morning, Maria found her at the same coffee shop, ordering a coffee to go. When she turned to leave she noticed a certain artist sitting at the corner booth, reading a paper.

“Excuse me, anybody sitting there?”

Michael glanced up to her crossed arms, with a coffee in hand and an interesting look on her face. She was beautiful; her pouty lips had something about them, something that intrigued him.


She laughed lightly, and he caught himself at a loss of breath. No one caught his breath, no girl captured Michael Guerin’s eye. And it bugged him how she managed to do so without even trying.

His risen eyebrow caused her to respond as she sat down. “Just a no. It’s so neutral. I didn’t realize people could be so unemotional when talking to someone.”

“Is that a compliment?”

“No, it’s an insult, the worse kind. You should probably walk away and talk bad about me.” Her sarcastic tone caught him off guard.

“Why did you...”

She smiled, a bright, friendly smile, “Well I saw you sitting here, figured I’d make peace, because for whatever reason you seem to dislike me.”

“What gave that impression?”

“Oh, I don’t know, you twisted my words like I’m against you. Do you always treat people who are complimenting your work like that?”

“Usually they say it because they feel they have to, not because their genuine.”

She seemed in tune with everything he was saying. She was sweet, she was caring and she was unique. Her voice held a certain friendly tone as she said, “Well if you think negatively of a person that is exactly what you’re going to receive in return.”

“I’m a big boy.” He tried to sound tough, unaffected by her presence, and his usual rude tone he forced people to swallow.

Her mouth remained silent, but her eyes were searching, trying to figure out why he was that way. What made him so cold about things, what made him so unfriendly? And why he was capturing her attention.

“I didn’t doubt that, I was simply making conversation.” She made it sound simple, like it was nothing to talk to him.

His eyes narrowed, she was impossible. “Look, I need to head back to the restaurant; I need to start finishing up.”

“Well I need to do my interview, mind if I tag along?”

He studied her for a moment, she was so easygoing about everything, not easily gotten rid of. Damn, she was a reporter, trying to do her job. “Be my guest.” He muttered, and her smile curved in a delicate dip, making her seem soft, fragile. But she seemed so tough. He had never met anyone like her.

Chapter 2: A Glimpse at love

The music was blaring; luckily it was a sound proof room or his neighbors would be banging on his door, screaming.

He took the quickly disappearing pencil and tried to outline the face on the canvas. He had been trying to find some new, creative work. He hated repeating his work. He wanted each piece to be unique for its own reason.

The gray seemed fitting for the painting. He was keeping it strictly black, white and gray, trying to express the thought that some things in life are black and white and then there’s some gray added in, forcing someone to decided between right and wrong.

“A bit abstract, don’t you think?” A female voice said behind him, he didn’t even realize she had entered the studio. However in typical fashion, she made her presence known and threw out her opinion.

He shrugged turning to her, as he scratched his chin. “I think that’s the point. It might look right one way, but wrong in another.”

“Like life,” she smiled, walking closer to see the painting. She resting her head on his shoulder, knowing it irritated him. “When’s your next showcase?” She asked, eyes still absorbing the painting.

“One week after the opening of the restaurant.” He raised his arm to stretch a little; he felt tense, tired.

“Better get some work done.” She laughed a little, looking over at the clock that read seven. “You’re up pretty early, you’ve beat Micky.”

Michael laughed a little. “Yeah, I couldn’t sleep, figured I’d get work done.”

Laurie nodded, sighing as she said uncomfortably, “We’re going to have lunch with Brody today.” She knew what Michael’s response would be, but it never changed how much she hated it.

Michael sighed, not even wanting to discuss the issue. “Does his wife know?”

“Michael,” Laurie’s voice was rough. His reaction never changed, but it never got any easier to hear.

“I hope you guys have fun.” He kissed her forehead and left the room. There were some things a sister could not expect a brother to understand. This was one of them.


“Hey girly,” Tess smiled as she made herself comfortable on the couch in Maria’s apartment. The relationship between the two was sometimes more like sisters. They were use to working long nights together and enjoying the friendship. “How’s that story coming along?”

Maria entered the living room from the kitchen, her face scrunched up as she tried to express the words. She was desperately trying to ignoring the feeling in her chest. She had spent two days interviewing Kyle and Michael, and she was enjoying their…his company more and more.

“Well do you know Kyle Valenti, and Michael Guerin are opening a restaurant?”

“I told you, you could do it,” Tess grinned to herself. Maria tended to lack confidence, but it looked like she had found her own. Tess has learned that Maria was not all that self assured. However the bubbly girl, who almost refused to show anyone her writing, had matured and found a comfort balance. She knew and recognised her talents.

Maria laughed uncomfortably as she fell onto the couch next to Tess. “You only asked me, so you could spend more time stressing over your wedding.”

“Shut up.”

Maria rolled her eyes. “So how are the plans?”

Tess rested her head on Maria’s shoulder. “Insane, I’m stressing out so bad and Alex is being all calm, like being married to me for the rest of his life is no big deal. Is he insane for thinking he can stand being married to me for that long?”

Maria smiled, rubbing Tess’s arm. “He loves you, that’s all you need to know.”

Tess raised her head. “Tell me more about the interview; I want to know what this story is going to be like.”

Maria sighed. “It’s been great. The two have had previous jobs and Michael ended up asking Kyle to help him run the place. Apparently Kyle’s been in a lot of construction accidents and his wife is good friends with Michael as well. She brought up the idea and Michael asked Kyle to help when he was trying to find another project besides his artwork.”

Tess nodded. “I’ve heard about Kyle’s accidents, most of them have been close calls. Is his wife Isabel Evans?”

“Yeah, she was in your graduating class, wasn’t she?”

“Yeah, and it also explains why Isabel knows Michael. See Michael’s sister, Laurie was in my class as well. She and Isabel were good friends, I’m sure they still are. I’d imagine Isabel and Michael got along because Isabel is a photographer. It can explain the connection.”

“I didn’t know there was a Guerin in your class?”

“There wasn’t, its Laurie Dupree. She and Michael lived in the same foster home and from what I’ve heard, Laurie’s pretty flimsy. She had a relationship with a married man and basically got pregnant right after high school… or so I’ve heard.”

Maria was surprised. “Michael hasn’t said anything.”

“I’d imagine not, the two were close from what I remembered. When he got out, he took her with him. Alex knew more of that group than me anyway. The only reason I know any of that is because he knew Isabel.”

Maria nodded, lost in thought. She didn’t get why hearing about him affected her like this. Why was she wondering if what Tess knew was true? Why did it matter? She was simply a reporter just doing a story. Now if only she could make herself believe that.

“So what do you think of Michael? From what I’ve heard he’s pretty gorgeous and talented.” Tess’s voice drowned Maria out of her own.

“He’s got mood swings, but I think he’s finally warming up to me.” Maria smiled, her real thoughts not yet discovered. There was no way she’d admit that this man could create such a feeling in every cell of her body.

His intense eyes, they caught her off guard. She could see so much, yet so little. It was all in his eyes. No man could unnerve her the way he could. He was textbook, an artist, creative personality; he drove her insane, stubborn as hell and tough as nails.

It was just too much. It all was just so overwhelming.


“Hello Michael,” Maria teased as he attempted to finish the final corner, as she entered the restaurant.

It was actually beginning to look like a restaurant. The tables were all over the place, the chairs next to them, and the kitchen in the back. Besides the painting supplies where Michael was finishing, the place looked done.

“Good Afternoon, Maria.” His tone was harsh, taking Maria by surprised, as she sat at the closest table.

“Where’s Kyle?”

Michael stopped; ignoring her for a minute as he tried to decide on the color, he was still angry with Laurie from the morning but painting always helped. Although, having Maria so close was just pure torture. “He’s finishing up his last day, then we have three days till opening.”

“Have you fixed the name?” She asked. It was the one thing she continuously bugged Michael on. Sure desert something made sense, it’s exactly why Michael had painted an entire desert around the restaurant. But variety? Blah.

“Maria,” his voice was rough, annoyed. God, she was so impossible. A girl was not allowed to be obnoxious and cute at the same time, it was not fair. There must be some kind of law against it, he was sure of it.

Maria completely ignored his rough attitude; she was use to it and had begun to not even let it faze her. “It just lacks something. Come on, yeah the desert part makes sense, but Desert Variety? It sounds like…a TV show. It just doesn’t sound right.”

“So if I change the name will you shut up?”

“Are you alright?” Her voice showed compassion, interest, caring. She had a heart and was not afraid to expose it. Not even to him and he couldn’t understand why. Maybe it was something about her eyes, how it showed how much she cared in one little blink. How she was not afraid of him.

He abruptly turned towards her, no he wasn’t alright. He was frustrated, he was pissed, and above all else, she was frickin’ turning him on, and she was being annoying. That combination was not normal, she was not normal. This was definitely not normal.

“Michael, are you alright?” She repeated the statement, he was scaring her. Not like maniac scary but she was worried. He seemed upset. Yes, he could be rude, but he seemed frustrated, like he couldn’t calm down. She had to laugh at herself, it had only a few days for heavens sake and she could already understand him. There was something so not right with this picture.

He lost his breath, he couldn’t take it anymore. The way she looked, her long golden locks resting a little bellow her shoulders, a tank top underneath a long sweater, exposing her small, but perfect breasts, a tight pair of jeans, making her long legs seem even more gorgeous, and her lips, the right amount of lip gloss covering the perfectly shaped lips, big and pouty.

He lost it, he couldn’t compose himself anymore. The feelings she made him feel, it was overpowering and he never had wanted to just kiss someone the way he did with her. Sex, sure sex was easy and every woman he had ever been with was just a one night stand, but this felt different. She wasn’t just some one night stand. He wanted to kiss her; he could be content with just kissing her. No, this wasn’t natural.

Maria didn’t like the silence. She was worried and his eyes, they were irresistible brown pools, but they were a mask, covering every feeling he’d experienced. His life was hidden in his eyes, but overpowering nonetheless.

He leaned into her, and she didn’t know what to do. She was stuck, trapped in his eyes. She wanted to run, run and never look back but something stopped her, forced her to stay and forced her to experience his lips upon her own.

He was rough but gentle and her hands ended up in his hair while his arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her down onto the wood floor with him looming over her. She couldn’t stop, his face was so smooth, tender, yet he was so tough and his hands, they were magic. The way he touching every inch of her body, as if she was a painting, as if he had to be gentle with her.

They stopped to gain some much needed air. Michael rested his forehead on hers, keeping his eyes closed, trying to control himself. She felt even more amazing than he imagined. He couldn’t understand how this woman made him feel the way she did right now. Her gentle hand on his cheek was such a comfort, it seemed so natural.

His eyes peered open, and he saw her lost look in her emerald eyes, water pooling in the curious lids. He went to wipe it, a natural response but she caught his hand, letting it rest on her cheek, not allowing him to wipe the tears. He couldn’t understand it, why was she crying?

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, knowing he was confused, “I have to go.” She slid gracefully out from underneath him and with weak legs she raised herself up, trying desperately not to look back.

“Maria,” he was shocked by the reaction. She seemed to enjoy it but here she was, running. What did he do? What was she doing?

It wasn’t until she got the door she turned to realize that he was right behind her, his face inches away from hers. She couldn’t form the words. She couldn’t explain to him that he had found the wrong girl.

“I’m sorry,” it came out soft and the look on his face made it even harder. His sad eyes, she had made them sad. She made that look, but he didn’t understand. He’d leave eventually; she was only doing it before he could get the chance. Love was not in the cards.

“Why are you sorry, Maria?” His voice was harsh, worn from kissing her, and desperate to not let her leave the room...to leave him.

“Because Michael, you’ve got the wrong girl.” That had shocked him, enough to let her go, to let her slip through the door. He had let her in, feeling her in every beat of his heart, and she walked out. He couldn’t understand her. He couldn’t understand what drew him to her, but now he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what to think. He didn’t want to know what life would be like without her, without being able to kiss and touch her.

In only a few days, he felt more than he could in a few years.

Chapter 3: A Hidden Heart

Maria found herself in front of Tess’s apartment building, crying, shaking and her eyes could barely see what was in front of her. More tears almost falling out, as she sniffled. She kept telling herself that it was the right thing. In years he’d leave, he’d walk out the door, perhaps leaving her with his kid. A guy never sticks around, only in fairy tales, not in real life.

“Maria,” Tess’s shocked voice caused her to nod, more tears escaped and her shaking increased as Tess dragged her inside.

“Tess,” Alex called out while walking towards his fiancé. “Who’s at the door?” He stopped when he saw Maria standing there, tears falling from her eyes. “I’ll go make some coffee.”

“Maria, what happened? Are you hurt?” Tess’s caring voice made Maria shake her head, trying to say it, trying to be okay, trying to pretend that he had no affect on her, that she could go about her life. That he was just a guy.

“He kissed me.”


Maria looked at Tess, seeing the confusion and in a low whisper confessed, “Michael.”

“Wait, Michael Guerin? As in the artist, as in the guy you’re doing the story on?” Tess was surprised, her mouth left open as she stared at Maria, wide-eyed.

“No, it’s my imaginary friend.” Maria said sarcastically, her emotions flying every where. “How many frickin’ Michaels do you know. Yes, the one I’m doing the story on.”

Tess’s eyes stared at her for a moment, hurt by her tone but understanding all the same. “What the hell happened?”

“He kissed me!” Maria repeated, standing up as she began to shake some more. This wasn’t right, this wasn’t fair. He had to screw her up. She was fine, she was independent, and she wasn’t like this before he came into her life.

“You’ve said that. Now explain what happen to cause that, and breathe sweetie.” Tess said calmly as she tried to get Maria to simply calm down herself.

“I don’t know.” Maria let out a short laugh. “We were talking, he was upset, and the next thing I know, he’s kissing me. Full blown kissing. I mean out of this world kissing. I couldn’t do it.”

Tess watched Maria’s pacing and listened to her words. “Do what, Maria? What is it that you couldn’t do?”

Maria stopped dead in her tracks. “I couldn’t let myself feel like that; I couldn’t give up the control, the safe little security of never having my heart broken.”

Tess grabbed Maria’s limp hand. “Sweetie, you can’t hold back for the fear of hurt.”

Maria sniffled. “I can try.”


A day later, Maria found herself in her office, writing. She was hiding and she knew it. She was afraid of actually falling in love, she was afraid she was simply being another girl in a long line of women Michael Guerin had experienced. She was simply afraid of the loss, to one day lose him or at least drive him away, like she knew she’d eventually do.

A knock came at her door. “Yeah, Tess, I’m fine.” She started but the sentence fell quiet as she realized it wasn’t Tess as her door, it was Michael.

“They told me you were in your office.” He sounded detached, unemotional, certainly not caring. He seemed distant.

“You found me.” She said. She was unsure of what to say. They weren’t friends, they were nothing. She was a reporter doing a story and they had only known each other for a few days.

“So you were hiding.” He pointed out, shutting the door behind him. He folded his arms and Maria couldn’t help but notice how his leather jacket looked good on him, with the denim jeans, dark shirt, and a brown beaded necklace around his neck. He was breath taking.

“That’s not what I meant.”

“What did you mean?”

“I don’t know.” She rubbed her face, trying to ignore him and turned back to the blank screen. Now she had to write an article on the encounter of two men, opening a restaurant.

He hated how she seemed so lonely, but pretending she wasn’t, that she was fine. She wasn’t fine. She looked a mess, so he sat down in the chair next to her and turned her back to face him.

“Why did you run?” His voice was rough, as usual strong, resilient, no pain evident, except in his eyes; his brown swirls staring at her, showing more emotion than she could process.

“I don’t know.” Her voice was weak and she knew it. It held everything, everything for him to take and leave her with nothing.

“Yes you do, now tell me why.” His voice was harsh, persistent; he was not going to leave without an answer, so she gave him one.

“I was afraid, alright.” She all but yelled. He wasn’t going to leave so she would give him reason to. “I’m afraid because we’ve only known each other a few days yet I can’t get you out of my head. I fear that I’d care more about you than you would about me and that I’d end up being the stupid fool who ends up hurt. I won’t go through that.”

Michael just stared at her. “It’s not fair to prejudge someone because of what others do, Maria.” His words cut right through her and he got up to leave. He stopped short of the door and turned his head to the side. “Figured you should know, I’ve decided to call the restaurant ‘Mysterious Desert’, I hope you like it.”

The tears fell fast and hard as she curled her legs up and cried. Cried for being afraid for the feelings he forced her to swallow and for the pain in her heart, knowing that no one would fit her like he did.


“Uncle Michael!”

Michael looked up from his half eaten food to see Laurie and Michelle entering the apartment.

“Have you been really busy, I haven’t seen you much?” She was her mother’s daughter, knowing exactly when to come strolling in. It was always when he wanted peace and quiet.

“Yeah Micky, the restaurant has kept me really tied up.” She nodded, immediately understanding and scurried off to her room.

Before Laurie could say anything Michael half smiled. “I’m sorry; I shouldn’t judge what I don’t know. What you and Brody do is none of my business.”

Laurie smiled sadly, grabbing Michael’s hand. “He’s a jerk, always been. Maybe I’m screwed up, maybe it’s in my genes to go for bad men and get knocked up with their kids. I mean my mother did it. Except I was even worse to go for the married kind who pays for everything Michelle needs, but besides a lunch every once and while isn’t even involved in her life.”

“You’re not your mother.” Michael said, harshly. “She left you, you haven’t left Micky. You’ve stuck around and raised her.”

“I might as well, I mean god, look at me. I’m a pure mess. I’m so sick of love.” She rubbed her eyes, trying to get rid of the tears.

“At least you care and love her. If anything, that’ll mean more to her than leaving her with people who don’t give a damn.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, “so how’s the restaurant coming along?”

Michael laughed, leaning back in his chair. “You think you’ve screwed up. The reporter doing the story, I kissed her.”

“You kissed someone?” Laurie looked at him, dumbfounded by what he had just admitted; this was Michael she was talking to. “And…

“It chased her away.”

Laurie inspected him, seeing his eyes narrow, as if he was trying to hide. He was hurting and in typical Michael fashion he was trying to cover the wounds that were seeping into his skin. His heart was bleeding; for once Michael had let someone in only to have her run away.

“I’m sorry.” Laurie whispered, almost afraid to say anything else, he seemed so broken, this was not Michael Guerin. No one broke him, no one could stop him, he was unbreakable. But he had proven her wrong.

“Not your fault,” he sighed, wishing he could just get the petite blonde with piercing emerald eyes out of his mind and the taste of her lips, out of his mouth. If only he could make her disappear entirely, from his heart, and from his soul.


Maria finished typing roughly around two in the morning. The article would print and be sent out by five in the morning. Meaning the following night was the restaurants big opening. She gave the piece to Tess and with tired eyes, left the building, realizing it was the hardest thing she ever had to do.

She was writing all these amazing qualities about a man, a man she wanted nothing more than to lose herself in but knew that for fear of getting hurt she couldn’t, it still didn’t stop her from falling for him though.

Chapter 4: It’s all in your eyes

Michael glanced at the paper, and realized the restaurant made front page. Despite everything, she had put forth her best work, for him and for the restaurant.

Behind the Painting
By: Maria Deluca

The traditional restaurants have littered the streets of Roswell. There are all the typical basics, with all the everyday foods. Very little variety has been experienced for this small touristy town.

But two men have ventured past the basics and allowed Roswell to be given the opportunity to see more than what lies beneath the surface.

Michael Guerin, the town’s well known artist decided one day, he needed another project. Something else in his creative life, so he asked a long time friend, Kyle Valenti, a construction worker, to help him create a restaurant people would enjoy coming to, time after time.

“This place will hopefully allow people to enjoy things from a burger to Thai to Italian food all in one,” Valenti established, “Roswell has your everyday places and after a while, people get sick of the same thing.”

The overall theme is of a desert. For Guerin has painted a large mural of a night time desert, surrounding this entire restaurant. It adds flavor and taste to the place and there’s always something new to be discovered in the painting. Guerin put long hours working on the painting, hoping each customer could find something of interest, much like the menu.

This little something new will hopefully capture everyone’s heart in a different way each time they visit and this restaurant can form a very strong foundation in the heart of this town.

It just goes to show, trying something a little mysterious can perhaps catch your heart, so take the leap into something new, go to the Mysterious Desert this Saturday evening for the grand opening. You won’t regret it.


Maria Deluca didn’t find herself at the grand opening of a restaurant she helped expose, no she found herself sitting in her office, crying. She let the tears fall silently.

Tess offered her co-editor. Tess said she was brilliant and she deserves the best stories. That she had proved herself with this story, his story. Wiping her eyes, she grabbed the last of her stuff ready to leave.

“Oh thank god,” Kyle sighed, as he reached her office, “I caught you before you left.”

“Hi Kyle,” Maria had already let the tears leave her and she returned to her normal friendly voice. “What are you doing here?”

Kyle looked her over, she was a good actress, but her puffy eyes told him she was anything but okay. “You did an outstanding job on the article, and I personally wanted to thank you and ask you to come to the opening, it wouldn’t be the same without you there.”

“Oh, Kyle that’s so sweet,” She smiled, knowing there was no way she could go. “But I’m going to have say no to your offer, but thank you anyway.” She went past him beginning to walk away, leaving Kyle standing there.

“You know, I’ve never seen anybody get to him the way you did. Lord knows women have tried, but each one fails to even break through the thick ice he has, and for once a woman has actually burned right through his cold heart. It’s a shame, for she’s the one that leaves him and now he’s a mess. I’ve seen Michael battle anything and everything, but I never knew a petite blonde was going to be the one to ruin him.”

Maria turned her eyes already glossy. “Kyle it’s not like that, believe me. It’s not that I’m some heartless bitch, wanting just the publicity, the idea. I wasn’t trying to, really.”

Kyle waltzed up to her, his eyes focusing on her tear filled ones. “You made him feel, and then you walked out the door. What does that sound like to you?”

“I wasn’t trying to hurt him, I hardly know him.” Her voice exposed her tears, making her lose control; she didn’t want to hurt him. She wasn’t trying to do any of that. She was trying to pass the love consuming her heart.

“But you did and you do,” Kyle said simply. “He’s never trusted anybody besides Laurie, Isabel and me, and well, he let you in. He’s a tough man. You think his life has been an exciting ride? Sure, his exterior is pretty loaded, but you saw past that and you left.” His voice harsh as he stared her down then added, “I don’t get it.”

“Kyle, you have to believe me that was the last thing I wanted to do, I just…” Her tears falling as she stumbled on the truth, admitting it, admitting her fears. “I couldn’t let myself love him to later lose him. You think I planned this, you think I wanted this. I’ve avoided love for every reason possible because I’m scared to death of being dependent, of being a pathetic girl who can’t go on without love, and he had to enter my life, ruining everything I had worked so hard for.”

“He’s not going to hurt you, sure he appears to let go easily, but that’s the problem. It takes everything to even trust someone, and when he does, he can’t let go.” Kyle’s stubborn voice was forcing Maria to realize what she did not want to.

She looked at Kyle, her tears still falling, “Thank you, I needed that.” She kissed his cheek; Kyle tried to understand what she was doing. Michael was right, she was confusing.

“What are you doing?” Kyle asked her retreating back.

Maria turned with a small smile on her face as she said words she never imagined could flow from her lips. “I’m chasing after love.”


Maria gracefully glided into the restaurant, noticing soft changes since she abruptly left that day when he kissed her. It was overflowing with people. She felt so out of place, everybody was so dressed up and here she was in a pair of jeans and a black tank top, a long black sweater, her long hair flowing in the wind while she walked.

“You look familiar,” a female voice said behind coming up to her. Maria turned, surprised by the voice interrupting her search for Michael. “What’s your name?”

“Maria,” she answered softly.

She nodded. “I’m Laurie,” she smiled softly before adding “I’m hoping you’re here to fix whatever it is you did, because if you’re not, then I suggest you leave.”

“I’m here to fix it, where is he?” Her voice was timid, but Laurie seemed angry, and there was no way Maria was going to piss her off more.

“He’s in the kitchen, hates crowds.” Her lips curved softly.

“Thank you.” Maria scattered off to the kitchen, hoping to find him there.


He was there, talking to a few chiefs, directing them on exactly how to cook the meals. He had black slacks on, a white button up shirt, his hair dangling down, most likely in his eyes, covering his best features, allowing only special individuals to experience the emotion behind the brown orbs.

How did she ever manage the idea she could let go, to suddenly not feel anything towards this man whenever he was in her presence, whenever he was in her mind, in her heart?

His head nodded, and that’s when he shifted position to see her frozen body against the door, his mouth opened surprised, and his eyes, she could see everything, she could see all that he felt, just in his eyes. “What are you doing here?”

She slid across the space between them. “I’m here to apologize.”

His confused glance, caused her to giggle a little, letting a few tears escape her eyes and her hand touch his cheek. He remained still, perfectly in place, watching her every move, trying to convince himself she was not a dream and that she was real and she was with him.

“I’m here to apologize for thinking I could walk out that door, and never turn back and that I could ignore every feeling screaming out at me, telling me you were the one, to make me believe in love. I may be a writer, and I may throw every emotion to my audience, to my readers, but I never allowed myself to feel any of it.”

She took a breath. “But that day I walked into that restaurant the feelings that soared through me were things people dream about, write fantasies about, and I couldn’t process the idea that it was real. When you kissed me, I ran because I was afraid I’d fall prey, thinking it was real, when in reality it wasn’t. But I was wrong, because it wasn’t until tonight that I even began to learn, that with you I don’t have to be afraid that’s its not real, because it is, it’s very much real.”

By now her tears were overpowering. She couldn’t hold it in anymore, she was rambling, but couldn’t stop herself, she had to say it all, say it all to him, make him understand and make him realize that she was here, here to stay. “Maybe this whole thing is going way too fast considering we’ve only known each other for a few days, and maybe this whole thing is crazy for that simple fact, but that’s the thing. It shouldn’t matter that it’s happening so fast because the voice in my heart keeps telling me this is right, and I’m not use to that. I’m not use to trusting that. I want to fix that part, the part of me that’s afraid of falling in love. I want to fix it with you.”

Her tear filled eyes, held his undivided attention and he understood every word that left her perfectly shaped lips, and he knew he was not alone anymore. Without a second thought he pulled her tightly to him. She was here, in his arms, admitting she was afraid and that she wanted him.

The scary part was she didn’t have to utter a word, he could see it hidden in her emerald gems, telling him everything he needed to hear, to see. It was all in her eyes.

It didn’t matter her fears, because she was saying all the right things. Kissing the top of her head, he let a low sigh escape, relief washing over him. Her head rested on his shoulder, she could smell his aftershave, she had finally learned, that life could be a fairy tale.

His hand wandered to her chin making her look up at him, her soft features, a light smile, a free smile on her lips as she searched his eyes, discovering every detail in his face as he was hers. “I want that too.” He whispered, captivated by her eyes. In his eyes held the understanding, the forgiveness was shinning in the pools she had come to love. She didn’t know what made her think she could let him go, that she could breathe without him.

“You do?” Her voice tiny, fear still evident, that even though she confessed everything, there was still the possibility he didn’t want to give them a shot at love.

He smiled, nodding his head as he lowered his lips onto hers in a slow gentle kiss that sent a tingle through every ounce of their bodies, the type of passion running through their blood people dreamed of. The type of love, romance stories were made of.

She was simply a writer, a reporter that had thought love was just a fantasy, but on an ordinary day she saw something in an artist’s eyes that tore something right through her, to cause her to believe in love, to realize that miracles can happen, even when you least expect it.

She had found hers, and it was all in his eyes.

The End


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