Title: Hotter Than A Heat Wave
“What is wrong with this thing?” Maria De Luca muttered under her breath as she heaved and hoed to close the cash register drawer.
Category: M&M, Heatwave Tag
Summary: This fluffy piece was inspired by and set after the events of the season 1 episode, Heatwave.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the writers of the Roswell High books and the show creators/writers. I own nothing…although I wish Michael Guerin was mine!
It was jammed again and she really needed to close it so that she could wrap up her work at the Crashdown Café and go home.
“I need to shower…desperately.” She wrinkled her nose, noticing how sweaty she had become just sitting at the counter, going through some files. Her comfy cotton shorts and sleeveless T-shirt had done nothing to keep her cool in the midst of the prevailing heat wave. Neither had the fans, whirring at light speed, just a foot or so away from where she sat.
Light speed , she chuckled to herself. What an ironic choice of words, given my current circle of friends.
Had it really been just a few months since their entire lives were turned upside down? Fellow high school student, Max Evans had literally crashed into her friend Liz Parker's life one afternoon at this very café. He had healed a gunshot wound in Liz's chest–the result of a stray bullet–and the two were inseparable ever since. A few really big secrets had come out, the most important being that Max and his mini-clique weren't from around here.
That was a stretch! A galaxy far, far away was more apt.
Max's glamorous sister, Isabel, had seemed a bit snobbish at first but was now slowly warming to them.
Michael on the other hand…
“Argh, jerk!” Maria swatted away a fly and continued to push at the drawer.
Michael, the outsider, had been a jerk at first…
He was very suspicious about her and Liz and never gave her any credit for the fact that she'd lied to Sherriff Valenti about him, Max and Isabel.
Then something happened…
After their trip to the middle of nowhere just weeks ago she had warmed to Michael. They had got talking and she found that he was a lot deeper than she gave him credit for. He was well read, smart and actually had a sensitive side.
Sadly he's also incredibly good at covering it up with his “don't care” attitude.
Then he catches me off guard.
He'd been watching her from outside the café, just a week ago and for some strange reason she'd let him in. She wasn't sure if it was the heat wave, the way he had looked at her or the fact that she had felt this strange need to run her fingers through his hair.
Now, thinking back, she couldn't remember if she'd actually run her fingers through his hair. She did however recall that when Michael Guerin's kissed her, it felt like fire.
And he finally slams me with some stupid line.
Michael had backed away from their relationship almost before it got going. He had told her that things were getting intense, that she was getting intense and he was a loner and this just wasn't his thing.
“Jerk,” she muttered again.
She didn't hear the café doorbell jingle just then.
“Working late, huh?” an attractive and familiar male voice startled her.
“What the––” She nearly dropped the folder she was carrying. “Do you really need to go around freaking people out like that?”
“No, just you…” Michael replied in his usual deadpan style and gave her a once over.
“My, I feel special now.” Maria shot back, placing the folder on the counter.
“Problem with the cash register?” he nodded towards the half open drawer.
“No…” Maria folded her arms across her chest. She didn't want Michael's help. Not after what happened the last time he walked into the café at closing time. “Nothing I can't deal with.” She stole a glance at the machine. There was just no way she could get it to close.
But I'm not asking him to help. He cannot stay here…I have to get him out of here…
“Y'know, I could-” he began offering.
“NO!” Maria's protest came out too loud. She smiled nervously. “I mean, no…I can handle it, really.”
“Is that why you've been cursing and struggling with that thing for the past half hour?”
Maria felt her cheeks get hot. “What were you doing? Stalking me?”
“I prefer ‘observing from afar'.” He shrugged, nonchalantly.
Sweat glistened on his forehead and cheeks and the spiky hairstyle he wore just added to his rather hot appearance.
Did I just say hot? What am I saying? I have to get him out of here before…
“Well go find someone else to observe,” she pushed him towards the door.
…before one of us does something stupid.
“You're a lot more interesting.” He said without batting an eyelid.
Maria felt her mouth drop open for a moment.
Did it just get warmer in here? Maybe I should turn that fan up a notch…and get this attractive guy out of my sight.
She turned the handle on the door of the café and indicated that he should go.
“You're tossing me out?” He looked at her incredulously.
“Yes…yes, I am.” Maria's voice was just a tad shaky but she hoped he hadn't noticed it.
“Ooohhh, boy,” She let go of the door and exhaled, placing a hand on her forehead to wipe the beads of perspiration that had started to form. “I'm closing up, Michael.” She walked back to the counter. “I just want to get this work done, close up the café and head home where I shall proceed straight to the shower where I shall stay for a week.”
“Huh…” he muttered, but there was no mistaking the amusement in his voice or the look in his eyes.
“Wait, what am I telling you this for?” She asked out aloud.
“I dunno,” he shrugged but the devious glint in his eyes never left.
What is wrong with me? Did I have to say the word shower in front of him just now?
“What are you, like 12?” she covered up her nerves by giving him the best chastising look she could.
“Hmph,” He smiled again with that irritating half chuckle, half grunting thing he often did.
Irritating…and strangely attractive.
“And as I am soooo busy,” she indicated to the files on the counter top, “I need some peace and quiet to finish this work.” She opened the door once more.
“Accounts?” He asked, still not moving from his spot. “Coz if you want I can help you.”
“Yeah, sure…” she chuckled. “Michael Guerin is gonna sit down and do the numbers with me.”
“Why not…I can do the numbers with you.” His eyes didn't leave hers for a moment and Maria wasn't sure if there was a double meaning in there somewhere.
And I'd rather not know right now. If I did I think I might experience a brain boggle.
“I don't know how much you'll be able to help me Michael-”
“You've got it all under control?”
“Just a few things to balance and I'll be fine. Nothing too difficult, really. Liz's dad does most of it. He checks the stuff every week.”
“Oh,” Michael sounded disappointed.
Wow, he actually registered an emotion there. And here I thought he only had one expression…Either that all or all his emotions could be expressed with one facial expression.
“All right,” he said. “I guess I should go then…” he let his voice trail off, still looking at her somewhat longingly. When she caught his eye he looked at the cash register. “If you're sure I cannot do anything…” He smiled ever so slightly, maintaining eye contact with her.
Maria felt a smile coming on and then she felt her mouth open and before she knew it she had uttered something.
“The cash register––” She caught herself before she said anymore. But from the look on Michael's face she'd said enough.
“I'll take a look at it then.” He said quickly.
Argh! How does he do that? Here I was playing it cool––well as cool as I can around this incredibly attractive guy––and he got me to open my big, stupid mouth and ask him to stay.
Michael took off his jacket and tossed it onto a nearby chair. He bent down and peered at it closely.
“So it's jammed, is it?” he mumbled, as he bent down further to look under the drawer.
“Oh, yeah,” she managed to cough. “…seriously jammed.”
Like my head… seriously jammed!
Maria tried to find something better to do than notice how the taut muscles in his arm flexed with every movement.
“Do you guys have a tool box around here?” he asked, looking around.
“Sure…” Maria coughed and pointed to the swinging doors leading to store room and the Parkers' residence. “Um, it's in the back.”
She watched him go. That's some back , she smiled inwardly admiring the sheer length of his torso and the way his shirt clung to his perfect proportions.
“I'm impressed, this thing actually has stuff you can use.” He commented as he walked back into the room.
“Whatever,” she shook her head. “Can you get the job done?”
“Yeah,” he glanced up at her. “It's easy enough.” He grabbed a screw driver and got to work.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she offered. He was sweating bullets now and the last thing she wanted was for him to pass out.
And if he doesn't, I just might…
“Yeah…anything cold.” He said not looking up.
Maria headed over to the drinks machine and poured two large plastic cups full of soda. She got some ice from the kitchen and made sure to add extra to his cup.
Easy does it, Maria. Get him a drink, let him fix the cash register and then you can pack him off…
She placed his drink on the counter top near him with flourish. “There you go.”
“Thanks,” he said, still looking at the drawer he was working on.
“I thought you could wave your hand over it and fix it.” She waggled an eyebrow.
“I could,” he shrugged. “I could also wind up making it explode.”
“Point taken, spaceboy” she agreed. “Stick with the human approach.”
“Although…if I did something a bit subtle…” he said, almost to himself and then waved his hand over the drawer. The entire thing glowed for a few seconds and Maria was about to protest when he suddenly grinned and pushed the drawer back in place.
“How…” she began, then looked at him suspiciously.
“Like this,” he stood up and reached for her face.
“What are you doing?” she nearly jumped as his hands grazed her ears.
“Would you relax?” He touched her ear gently and then, as though pulling something from behind it, produced a coin.
“I hate to burst your bubble, but that's not a new trick.” Maria commented.
“It was wedged in there between the drawer and the…well the rest of it. That's why it got stuck.”
“You're kidding.” She bent to look at the bottom of the cash register, now currently missing the drawer.
“Nope.” He held out the coin placed it in her open palm, his fingers grazing her skin for just a moment.
Long enough for me to experience high voltage shocks.
“Er, your drink.” She pushed the tall cup full of soda and ice towards him.
Great, just what I need…to be distracted by spaceboy. He pushes me away and then thinks I'll still be available every time he feels like repeating his Eraser room antics.
“Thanks,” he took it and then looked around as though something was missing.
“I can't believe I forgot.” She smiled wryly. She got a small bottle of Tabasco sauce out of the nearby drawer and handed it to him.
She watched as he liberally sprinkled it over his fizzy drink and proceeded to take a gulp. He held up the cup and nodded. “Aren't you having yours?”
“Oh, I forgot about that.” She smiled nervously and reached for her own cup.
Michael smiled but didn't say anything. His smiles were a rare occurrence but when they did show up they made her feel like there were a thousand frogs jumping around inside her stomach.
Wow, what a disgusting thought…but the feeling is weirdly wonderful.
“So,” he placed the cup back on the counter.
“So…” she responded, wondering why her drink hadn't really cooled her down much.
“So-” he said again.
“Its time to go, isn't it?” Maria's response was quicker than she had anticipated. “I mean…it's late…” Her nerves were in serious knots.
“Hmm.” He mumbled.
“ You need to get home-” she gestured with her hands.
“Not really,” he said taking a step towards her.
“-Well then, I really need to get home,” she stepped away from the counter and started walking towards the kitchen.
Run, Maria. Run really fast.
“Right.” The way he said it made her look up at him. “You need to get home.” He closed the distance between them with a few long strides.
“What was that?” she asked, folding her arms.
“What was what?” he took on a defensive tone.
“That little remark there…”
“I didn't say anything remotely insulting.” He countered.
“It was your tone.” She insisted.
“My tone was insulting?”
“Yeah, you were implying that I wanted you to stay. That I was just playing hard to get when in fact I really wanted to stay here with you and-”
“-And, what?” His eyebrows shot up.
“And get… jiggy with it , I don't know!” she waved her hands, frustrated with the way he was making her feel.
“Well for one thing that jiggy reference is a bit ancient…”
Maria turned pink. “Yeah, well…it's sometimes hard to find a word to describe your behaviour.” She was acutely aware of the fact that he was standing very close to her.
“Stop right there Michael Guerin.” She held her hands up in protest. “You're not getting away with it again.”
He appeared to be confused. “With what?”
“With this!” Maria gestured wildly. “This thing you keep doing to me. First you act like I'm some strange chick who you wouldn't give the time of day. Then you walk in here and start kissing me like I'm the last surviving woman on the planet. And then you're blowing me off.”
“Oh, that…” he pursed his lips together, looking a bit guilty.
“Yes, that, Michael. What have you got to say for yourself?” When you need a quick fix you drag me into the broom closet. But the rest of the time I'm invisible.”
“I wasn't using you…” he tried to explain.
“Really, then what do you call it?”
Michael looked stumped for a moment. “Being aloof?”
“Y'know, Michael you're actually too complicated to describe in words. You cannot sit down and talk to a girl. Which makes sense coz words aren't exactly your forte. After all, you're a man of action…especially in the Eraser room during a free period.”
“I haven't exactly heard you complain…well not in the eraser room anyway.” he smirked.
“Why you…jerk!” she burst out, feeling the heat rise up her cheeks. “I like us to be close but that also means that we talk about things. Why can't we be like any other normal couple?”
“Coz we're not, De Luca.” He said simply, picking up his jacket. “We never can be. I'm a guy from outer space with a whole load of baggage and you're…”
This should be interesting…
“…You're this crazy earth chick who gives off vibes I cannot seem to ignore.”
“What?” Her throat went dry. She completely ignored the “crazy chick” part.
“You heard me.” He fiddled with the sleeve of his leather jacket.
Gives off vibes…isn't that what I told Liz? Wait a minute…
“Who told you that?” She asked softly. “…that thing about the vibes?”
“No one…that's what I kept feeling…I said it to Max and Isabel once. Why?” He eyed her suspiciously.
“I said the same thing to Liz once.” She answered, sitting on the bar stool, facing him and his somewhat surprised expression.
“Some time ago.” Her cheeks felt warm when saw the interest in his face.
Oh no, he thinks I've been interested for a while.
She corrected herself. “Erm, not that long ago…recently, actually. How about you?” She leaned against the countertop and tried to appear as calm as possible.
“Around the same time.” His lips curved into a Michael-style smirk.
Oh wow…another classic moment in our on going non-relationship. And now silence…unbearable silence…
Michael looked at the clock. “It really is late, y'know.”
“Yes it is,” she nodded.
“You should be getting home…” He shook his head. “Nice girls don't stay out this late.”
“I'm done.” She shrugged. “I'll close up when you're gone.”
“Well then, I guess I had better be going .” He said, eyeing her with a naughty look.
Maria shook her head. Some things never change. Michael is still good at making a girl change her mind. But I'm not falling for it, pretty boy.
“Yeah!” She smiled, knowingly and cocked her finger as she would a gun. “You do that.” She said in her best ‘Michael' voice.
“Hmph.” There was that snarky chuckle again. “See ya.”
She waved, “See ya.”
Almost out the door…just inches away. Keep moving Michael. Keep moving…atta boy.
“Although there's just one thing…” he lingered in the doorway.
Oh no you don't…this isn't sorted yet. No more jiggy till you treat me right.
“-I need.” He finished his sentence as he walked back towards her and trapped her at the bar, his arms against the counter, preventing her from getting away.
No, no, no, no multiplied by a million.
“Hold it right there, mister-” she said as firmly as she possible could while within such close proximity of his face. “You're not gonna get away with this again. I-”
Her words disappeared into oblivion. Michael's lips closed in on hers, sending her protests flying into some far off orbit.
Intergalactic space travel has nothing on him.
As her drew her close to him she couldn't help but reach out and run her fingers through his hair, now damp due to the extreme heat.
Wow, the heat wave's got nothing on him…I wonder if it's an alien thing…or this weather…or is it…
Michael finally pulled away, a bit breathless himself. He grinned mischievously and whispered in her ear just before he headed for the door. “Tomorrow…”
I don't believe it. He's done it again…
She heard the bell ding at the entrance to the café. He was gone.
Tomorrow… Maria felt totally dazed.
That's great…but not right now… She stood up and walked to the drinks machine.
Right now I need to go home and quietly pass out !
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