Title:Taming Michael
Author: Vera & Zia
Category: M&M, AU
Rating: adult
Disclaimer: If we owned it, Michael and Maria would have been on all DVD covers.
Summary: Michaelís father falls in the Antarian war and he gets taken in by Jim Valenti.

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Chapter One

Michael looked up at Jim Valenti, shifting uncomfortably. They were standing on the front porch of the Valenti house and about to enter any second now.

“It’s gonna be alright, son.” Jim gave him an encouraging smile but Michael just felt even worse. He wasn’t his son and he was about to tell him that, when the door opened a brightly smiling woman in a flowery dress grabbed his hand to pull him in.

“You must be Michael. Well come on in, honey. It’s cold outside.” Once he had entered she looked him up and down. “My, my, my aren’t you just a handsome boy. Almost grown-up, huh?”

Michael glared at her but once again he didn’t get to utter a word because she kept gushing on.

“You and my Maria are just about the same age. She always wanted another brother, you know.” She ruffled through his hair and Michael gaped at her. He wouldn’t stand one day in this household, he already knew this much. “She’ll be so happy you’re here. Maria!” She started yelling now and Michael flinched. “Maria, baby, come on down here. Michael is here.”

"Mom!" Maria whined. She had to just bellow though the house didn't she? The teenage girl rolled her eyes and then yanked open her bedroom door. "I'm coming! Geeze mom you don't have to yell." She made her way down the stairs shaking her head a little. She was dressed in a simple knee length skirt, a tank top, and a pair of sandals, her hair was pinned up part way but as she came down the stairs she reached up and pulled the pin from her hair.

Maria looked up at her mother, and her father, and then at Michael, the boy who was apparently moving into their house. She refused to share her bathroom with him. She stopped short when she saw him though. No one said anything about him being so good looking. She swallowed hard and just stood there for a long moment.

Michael glanced up when he heard footsteps just in time to see her open her hair. Whoa. And he was going to live under one roof with this girl? No wait, he wasn’t. Because he was gonna sneak out just tonight and then he was off joining the troops. So it was best not to make any friends here. He shot her a dirty look.

Her jaw dropped when he gave her a dirty look. How dare he?! She shot one right back at him.

"Maria!" Amy scolded her and Maria pouted. It wasn't fair. He got to make faces at her, but she couldn't? When Amy had turned her head away she stuck her tongue out at him.

Michael raised an eyebrow. She was obviously a spoiled brat. He scoffed and was about to stick his tongue out as well, when Jim caught her.

“Now Maria, be nice.” Michael smirked at her. Busted. “You know Michael doesn’t have it easy,” Jim continued and Michael’s face fell. “So just be nice to him, okay.”

”I’m fine.” Michael stuck out his chin. He didn’t need anyone pitying him. It was war, people died all the time. And he’d feel better when he got his revenge.

"Yeah, well he started it." She snapped.

"Maria. That is enough." Maria sighed and shook her head. This wasn't fair. Just because his dad died she had to be nice to him? When it was obvious that he wasn't planning on being nice to her? "Michael, we have a room all set up for you upstairs."

He nodded and passed his hand through his hair, glancing towards the staircase. He felt even more uncomfortable than at the funeral. Jim Valenti had apparently fought alongside his dad and promised him to take care of him, but he didn’t know him. And why was he going along with it anyways? His father was dead, so who cared? Couldn’t they just all leave him alone?

“Maria? Do you want to show Michael his room? Then I can say Hi to your father.” Amy smiled at him, batting her eyelashes.

"Ew." Maria muttered, then looked at Michael. "Are you coming or what?" She asked before turning around and heading up the stairs. She understood her parents had a physical part to their relationship, but she really didn't want to hear about it.

Michael wordlessly followed her up the stairs, clutching on to his small bag. Jim had encouraged him to pack more, but he didn’t really need much when he was going to war. He couldn’t afford to carry too much weight around, it would only slow him down.

She led him down to an open door. "There. The bathroom right there is mine. Stay out of it. There is one downstairs you're more than welcome to use. I guess." Maria walked inside the room and turned around to look at him. "There are more blankets in the closet right there, the dresser is there." She said as she pointed to the different places. "This is my brother's room. Don't mess anything up. He'll be coming home soon. And just so you know, I'm not going to be nice to you just because my parents said to. I'm sorry about your dad, really I am, I couldn't imagine…" She quickly shook her head. "But I'm not going to be nice to you because of it." Maria told him before heading back towards the door.

“I didn’t ask you to.” He let his bag slump down on the ground and stuck his hands in his pockets, looking around. He wouldn’t need to unpack, he was gonna be gone in no time at all. And then she wouldn’t have to worry about being nice to him anymore, and he wouldn’t risk disturbing the room.

"I was just letting you know." She paused in the doorway and looked at him. He looked sort of broken. Just the thought of her own father dying in the war caused a lump to rise in her throat. Maria swallowed hard. "I'm sure mom made a ton of food for you… so if you're hungry the kitchen is downstairs." Then she quickly hurried to her bedroom and slammed the door behind her.

“Thanks.” He knew she couldn’t hear him anymore, which was the only reason he even said it at all. He sighed and sat down on the bed, staring at the wall. What was he supposed to do now? Go downstairs and eat? But he didn’t want to run in on Jim and his wife. He passed his hands through his hair again, then stood up, padding towards the floor. Where had she said the bathroom was? There? He tried the door and stopped dead in his tracks, realizing too late that he had just opened her room.

Once Maria was in her room the tears she'd been holding back broke through the floodgates and she buried her face in her hands and sat on the edge of her bed and cried. She was terrified of her dad going back to fight. Terrified that Kyle might not be coming home. Or that when he did, it was going to be in a wooden coffin.

Suddenly her bedroom door swung open and she jumped, quickly wiping her eyes. "What…" She glared at Michael. "What the hell do you think you're doing barging in here like that?! We have rules here. You knock!"

“I... I…” shit. Could he even be more out of place than in this god damn house? He bit his lip and opened his mouth to apologize when he frowned. What was she snapping at him for? He just got here, didn’t she know he just made a mistake? “Why? It’s not like you were naked or anything.”

"What do you want?" She wiped at her eyes again. She didn't cry, not in front of people. She didn't like to. She was all for showing emotion, but not that. It made her feel too vulnerable. She grew up with her brother Kyle, who teased her when she was little when she'd cry. She never wanted anyone to do that again.

Michael frowned, squinting his eyes at her and taking a few steps into her room. “Were you crying?”

"No." Maria said quickly and shifted her weight, and averted her eyes from his. "Did you need something?"

“No.” He shrugged, scratching his eyebrow. He finally glanced around the room and smiled a little. The walls were so stuffed and colourful. He was really glad he hadn’t ended up with her room, though he wouldn’t mind spending some more time in here with her.

She felt like he was inspecting her room. Something so personal, she wasn't okay with sharing it with a stranger. "Are you hungry?" And he was mean to her, so she didn't want to share it with him, even if he wasn't a stranger.

Michael nodded. There was no denying that. He hadn’t really eaten since… since they told him his father fell.

"Come on then, we have a ton of food, my mom is used to cooking for my father, and Kyle, and they both eat a lot. I think I gained like ten pounds since they…" She swallowed. Since they'd left. Was the war really something she should be talking about? She said she wasn't going to go out of her way to be nice to him, but now that she really thought about it, she couldn't help but want to be nice. "Anyways, I think she was downstairs cooking ever since Dad called." Maria headed towards the door, glancing at Michael on her way.

“Cool.” He frowned a little and looked her up and down. Ten pounds? Where?

"What?" Why was he frowning at her? Had she said something that offended him?

“Nothing.” He smirked a little. “Can you turn around?”

Her brow furrowed. "Why?" What was he going to do?

“Just trying to find the ten pounds.” He shrugged.

Her jaw dropped, then she blushed a deep crimson red. "Hurry up, or I'm going to hide all the food." She smiled a little at him before walking out the door and heading down the stairs. "Ew!" She shrieked seeing her parents kissing in the living room. "We have company!" Maria pouted and stomped off to the kitchen.

Michael looked at Jim and his wife curiously. His dad never brought women home with him and his mom died while giving birth to him. But he still was glad that Maria had been in front of him so he didn’t really interrupt them. He didn’t want to interrupt anything in this house. When he left it should all be like he was never here. Shuffling his feet he quickly followed Maria into the kitchen. “Are they doing this often?”

"Yes. Even before… they've always been like this for as long as I can remember. Sickening isn't it?" Maria shook her head. "Kyle and I always try to get out of the house as often as possible when they are like that." She pulled open the oven and glanced inside. "Okay… pot roast is cooking. I think there is a turkey and ham in the fridge, do you want a sandwich?"

“I dunno, it’s kinda nice.” He shrugged. They were still in love and happy. A happy little family. And he was the trouble-making intruder. He inaudibly sighed and passed his hands through his hair yet again. “Sandwich sounds good.” Any food did, actually.

Maria felt caught off guard by his comment. Where was his mom? All she knew was that his father had died. She bit her lip and tilted her head to the side a little. "I guess… it kind of is." Things could be a lot worse. They could have been split up, or worse. "Okay, food. Here." She started pulling out stuff for sandwiches. "Help yourself. If you need anything, just ask, I'll let you know where it is."

“Are you going away again?” As much as she bugged him, it was good not to be alone. Especially in this new and unknown house.

She frowned at him. She was being nice, and he was basically telling her to go away? "No. I'm hungry too. Mom takes up the whole kitchen when she's cooking."

“Oh.” He nodded. So he was supposed to make his sandwich standing close to her, reaching over and most likely touching her too? Damn. “So why aren’t you making me my sandwich?”

"Make your own sandwich, or you'll end up with peanut butter and pickles." Maria shook her head. She grabbed the bread and set it down on the counter before leaning up against it, leaving him plenty of room to make his sandwich. But he was obnoxious, so she wouldn't leave, or offer to make it.

Michael scowled and reluctantly moved to stand next to Maria. He’d probably eat peanut butter and pickles as hungry as he was, but why should he, if he didn’t have to? Besides, it was no big deal. She was a female, so what? Okay, she was hot and smelling very nice too… He leaned over a bit, sniffing her. Very, very nice.

Maria looked at him, a slightly bewildered look on her face. Did he just…? She shook her head quickly. No, of course not. "Um… do you want something to drink? Mom made fresh lemonade."

“Sure.” He shrugged and started making his sandwich, placing meat and cheese on it. “Do you have salad?”

"It's in the refrigerator, bottom drawer." She had to go over there anyways, to get the lemonade. But she didn't want to get him the salad. He only asked if they had it, not if she would get it for him.

“Okay…” He waited a second but she made no move to get it for him. Some female she was. Didn’t she know she was supposed to at least do small things like that for him? He rolled his eyes and walked past her, very careful not to brush against her, and then opened the fridge, looking for the salad.

Maria watched him for a minute, he would never find it. It was under something else. She walked over and pulled open the bottom drawer, and moved some stuff for him. "There." Then she grabbed the pitcher of lemonade and carried it back to the counter.

“Oh.” ’Thanks.’ He blushed a little. He didn’t like this. He didn’t know where anything was in this house. He didn’t know the people either. Why did he have to be here? If he was too young to join the war, then why couldn’t they at least leave him alone in his old home? He was old enough to care for himself. What did they think he did when his dad was off in a battle? He grabbed a few leaves of the salad and then went back to finishing off his sandwich.

She poured him a large glass of the lemonade and set it on the kitchen table. Then she poured one for herself before returning the pitcher to the fridge. Her parents were probably still too busy making out in the living room to come and eat something. She grabbed another plate and moved over to stand beside Michael again, and started making her own sandwich.

Michael groaned when she was close again. Under normal circumstances he would probably be happy, but this was just too weird. He quickly added the top bread and walked over to the table, sitting down and then taking a large gulp of the lemonade.

Silently Maria made her sandwich, before joining him at the table, sitting on the other end, wanting to be as far from him as she could. But still be close. He was cute after all. So at least she got some eye candy out of this arrangement.

Glancing up at her, he took a large bite out of his sandwich, chewing audibly. Here he was, having a snack with his sister. He snorted. Yeah, right.

She looked at him and scrunched up her nose. He was worse than Kyle. She couldn't wait until Kyle was back. Would Michael still be there? How long was he going to stay? She looked down at her food, her appetite seemed to have escaped her.

“What?” Michael asked, still chewing. She wanted him going upstairs into his own room, didn’t she?

"You're worse than Kyle when he eats." She let out a soft laugh and shook her head. At least he didn't pick on her like Kyle did, but she missed that. For months he'd been gone, and there wasn't anyone to pick on her like he did.

Michael smirked. She had a pretty laugh. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He took another bite of the sandwich and made sure to chew open-mouthed again, grinning at her.

Maria smiled a little. "That is disgusting, and you do too know what I'm talking about." She shook her head and rolled her eyes before taking a drink of her lemonade.

Michael smirked again and took another sip of the lemonade. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. But he still wouldn’t stay. He owed it to his dad to fight.

She rested her cheek against her palm as she rested her elbow on the table. "Are you planning on staying long?" She asked. She was sure that he and Kyle would get along great. If they ever got to meet each other.

“No.” Though even a few more hours were long for him.

"Oh…" She bit her lip and quickly looked away from him. "I just… figured Kyle would like to meet you." She mentally rolled her eyes. What did she care?

“Maybe I’m going to.” Just not here.

Her brow furrowed. "Oh." What did that mean? She shook her head a little and grabbed her plate. Maria wrapped up her sandwich and put it in the refrigerator before she started cleaning up the rest of the kitchen.

Michael frowned. “Why didn’t you eat?” It wasn’t any of his business, but he couldn’t help wondering. And worrying. Didn’t she say she hadn’t eaten earlier either? She wasn’t one of those girls that didn’t eat because they thought they were too fat, was she? He looked her up and down again, looking for signs.

"I'm not hungry anymore." It was all too much. Worrying about Kyle, about her father going back, and surprisingly, about Michael. "Did you want some more lemonade?"

“No, it’s okay.” He quickly finished off his sandwich. “I hope I didn’t spoil your appetite.” It came out harsher than it was meant to be, but she was just making no sense.

"What? No. It had nothing to do with you." She shook her head annoyed. "I'm just… concerned. That's all."

“About what?” He pushed his plate around on the table. “Me living here?”

"No, I told you that it didn't have to do with you." Maria sighed softly and walked back over to the table. "About Kyle and my father. I'm just… " She shook her head. This was none of his business; she didn't want to tell him about her innermost feelings.

“Oh.” He nodded and scratched his eyebrow. Yeah, he had been worried about his dad too. It just never kept him from eating.

Tears welled up in her eyes suddenly and she quickly blinked them away. "Anyways, did you um… need anything in your…" She frowned. It wasn't his room; he made it clear that he wouldn't be staying long. "Do you need anything?" Why was she being nice? She wasn't really sure.

“No.” He passed his hands through his hair and kept looking at her. “Do you?” He’d leave anyways, so it didn’t matter if he was nice to her or not. So he might as well be nice for once.

Maria stared at him, utterly surprised. She opened her mouth, and then closed it again. He was actually asking her if she needed anything? She needed the war to be over, Kyle to be home, her father to stay home, and Michael to not leave.

“So, do you?” This was a bad idea. She didn’t need him, nor did she obviously expect him to offer anything. So why did he keep trying? He frowned.

Slowly she nodded. "Stay." She swallowed hard and moved towards the table. "Don't leave as soon as you want to. My father will be going back to the war soon I'm sure. And if you're gone too… my mom will cry. I don't want her to, so please, just stay for a while?"

“I… I can’t.” He swallowed. Damn. There he had been nice for once and it was already biting him in his ass, because now he felt bad. “I don’t… belong here.”

She nodded. "Right." So much for him offering her something. "If you'll excuse me. I'm…" She shook her head and walked out of the kitchen, past her parents who were still hugging, and talking quietly, and up the stairs to her room.

He had just made it all worse, didn’t he? Michael sighed and quietly finished his lemonade, then cleaned the glass and left it in the sink together with his plate, before he went upstairs as well. The Valenti’s didn’t even notice him passing for all he could tell and it made him chuckle. But his smile died as soon as he was back in the room that was now supposed to be his. He had many more hours to waste before it got dark. Plopping down on the bed, he crossed his arms under his head and stared at the ceiling.

********

Chapter Two

When it was finally dark outside and he could be sure all of the Valentis were sleeping, Michael opened the window and slung his bag over his shoulder. He had figured it all out earlier. Going through the window was the safest way to not wake anyone up. There was a pipe he could climb down at and nobody would notice till morning, or maybe even noon. Whenever they would come to check on him.

He took one last look back at the room, lingering on the short note he left on the bed saying his thanks for trying, then he carefully slung himself out of the window, searching for hold on the pipe.

Maria woke up quickly when she heard a sound outside her window. Quickly she climbed out of her bed and grabbed her hairbrush, ready to strike anyone that was trying to enter their house. She slowly pushed open her window and then frowned. "Michael? What the hell are you doing?!" She asked him, trying to keep her voice down as not to wake up her parents, but loud enough that he'd hear her.

What the…? Michael turned towards the voice and Maria’s face was the last thing he saw before he lost his balance and fell. It gave a loud thud and his back hurt like hell, then suddenly everything around him went black.

Maria gasped and dropped her hairbrush and then quickly took off running out of her room. Silently she ran down the stairs, thankfully her parents were hard sleepers. She ran out the door, still in her pajamas, bare-foot; she rushed around to the side of the house and knelt down beside him. "Michael?" She asked cautiously. "Michael wake up." She hissed at him and shook his shoulders.

He groaned and slowly opened his eyes. “You.” He tried to glare at her but he didn’t think he succeeded, because he was in way too much pain. He tried to move but it was like every part of his body was nailed to the ground.

"Are you okay?" Her voice wavered. "What the hell were you thinking?!" She looked over his body; his bag was laying a few feet away. "You were leaving… you were just going to sneak out the window and disappear?" She felt hurt. She had asked him to stay, and he left the first chance he got.

“Yes. But thanks to you it doesn’t look like I will go anywhere anytime soon now. Thank you very much.” He finally mustered up the strength to move a little and slapped her hand away from his shoulder. Why did she do that? Couldn’t she have just stayed in her bed?

"I should just leave you out here like this." Maria stood up angrily. It was cold. The grass was damp between her toes. "I thought someone was trying to break in." She took a few steps back from him. "You want to leave, go." She crossed her arms over her chest. What if he had broken something? What if he had hurt himself really badly? She cared, but she was mad at him for being such a jerk.

He opened his mouth and just stared at her. If he could he sure as hell would. “I can’t…” He swallowed and tried to sit up, failing miserably and with an embarrassing load moan of pain. “Can’t move.”

She watched him for a moment, before moving back over to him. "Come on." She said kneeling down. Carefully Maria took his hand in one of hers, and slid the other around his shoulders to try and help him up. She hoped that he wasn't fatally wounded or something.

“What? You trying to break my ribs or something?” He shot her a dirty look but wrapped his arm around her shoulders. He had to get up and even though he didn’t want to admit it, he needed her help to accomplish it. Holding on to her, he managed to move up into a sitting position. He had to lean against her so he wouldn’t fall back down though.

"I'm trying to help. But if you'd really like, I could go in there, wake up my father, and you could explain it to him." She frowned at him. He really looked like he was in pain. She rested her hand on his back and just looked at him.

“What? That you made me fall out of the window?” He took a deep breath and shook his head a little. “No…” He looked at her and continued in a barely audible voice. “Please don’t tell him.”

"Then don't be a jerk, and let me help you." She did make him fall, and she felt bad, but he shouldn't have been hanging out of the window in the first place.

Opening his mouth, Michael decided against commenting and instead just nodded shortly. He robbed around the ground, trying to get into a better sitting position. The pain was lessening, but it was still there. Hopefully he didn’t break anything. How would he explain it if he did? He didn’t want to face them and tell them he wanted to leave them in the middle of the night. The Valentis had been nothing but kind to him, but he still had to leave.

"You okay to stand up now? It's cold out here." It was really starting to get to her, she was freezing now, the short shorts, and small tank top that she always wore did nothing to keep her warm during the cold nights.

“Not surprising when you’re dressed like that.” He looked her up and down, only now realizing just how sparely she was dressed. And she was so close to him. Her right breast was pressing into his side and he really wished he wouldn’t still be so numb so he could at least appreciate it.

"Shut up. I wouldn't be standing out here if it weren't for you trying to kill yourself." Slowly Maria tried to pull him to his feet. She was going to freeze to death outside with him. She didn't want to wake up her parents either.

“I didn’t…” He rolled his eyes and gave up, needing all of his breath to get up and moving. “fuck.” He was almost standing but then doubled over in pain. It was his chest. Like someone had landed a huge blow right to his ribcage. But he fell onto his back, why did it hurt in the front? And speaking off, his right arm was still hurting like hell too.

Maria tumbled back to the ground with him and landed with a soft grunt. "What?" Obviously he was in pain. Idiot. He was an idiot. "Come on, just suck it up and get in the house or I'm going to leave you out here to get back inside on your own." She wouldn't but he didn't know that.

“I’m trying okay?” Why did she have to be such a bitch? Did she think he liked lying here in the mud? Any second he spent here was one second closer to getting busted by her parents. “Just give me a minute, then I’ll try again.” He was on his knees now, that was a better position to start with. But his chest started to worry him. He was still having trouble breathing too.

She watched him again, for a long moment. "Alright, come on. We have to get inside before my parents wake up." She carefully curled her arm around his back, and tried to help him to his feet again. She was really worried, and was tempted to wake up her parents anyways, afraid that he was badly injured.

Her arm around his back only made it hurt worse, but he didn’t say a thing. Instead he bit his lip and clenched his eyes shut, collecting all of his strength to finally get standing again. shit, it hurt. If he was her, he’d most likely be crying his eyes out. But his father taught him early that hard men don’t cry.

Michael leaned onto her for support and took a few deep, hitched breaths again. He tried moving his left arm and it worked to some degree. He just couldn’t get it straight. Was that a bad sign? It also of course still hurt, but that might just be from bruises. He cocked his head and watched it closely while he tried to move it again.

"That doesn't look good." Maria spoke softly. His weight was heavy against her, but she was used to wrestling with Kyle on occasion, so she could handle his weight. "Put your arm around my shoulders, and we'll get in the house." How was she going to get him up the stairs without waking up her parents? They were heavy sleepers, but they couldn't sleep through that!

He nodded and tentatively took a step. He was past making snappy comments, he just wanted to get back to the room, lie down on the bed and pass out. Then maybe if he woke up later, all the pain would be gone.

Carefully Maria helped him back into the house and bit her lip. "Maybe you should… just stay on the couch." She glanced towards the stairs; there were a lot of them. Surely they'd just end up falling back down them, and killing themselves.

“Sounds good.” Lying down was good, no matter where. If it wouldn’t have required an explanation, he would have just as happily stayed outside in the mud too. With her help, he made it over to it and as soon as it was in reach, he let go of her and slumped down on it with a loud groan. fuck! He looked at her panicked. Did they hear?

Maria didn't move for a second, frozen, leaning part way over Michael, listening for any signs that her parents had woken up. Long minutes passed, no sounds came, Maria let out a sigh and stood up straight. "Just, lay back. I'll get you a blanket, and a pain killer." She told him in a hushed voice.

“Make it two,” he whispered back in a raspy voice. He still had trouble breathing, even though he was sitting down now, without any intention of ever getting up again.

She nodded and quickly skirted away to the downstairs bathroom. She found some pain killers and grabbed a few, along with a cup and filled it with water. She hurried back into the living room and carefully handed them to Michael. "Here." She said before going to grab the blanket.

Michael nodded gratefully and quickly swallowed the pills, washing them down with the water. It made him cough and he cursed under his breath. But he was inside, so all was fine. He could just say he had a nightmare or some other shit. Unless they went into his room and saw the note he left…

Maria walked back into the living room with two blankets. "I got two, just in case you get cold." She offered. Then she grabbed one of the pillows off a chair and moved up to his head. "Here, lift up a little." She told him.

Doing as she told him to, he lifted his head and looked at her. She was so very close again and now he had even time to appreciate her scent. Even late at night she smelled like it, what was that? His gaze dropped to her lips. They were so full and moist. He groaned again and shifted slightly.

She winced and bit her lip. "Sorry." She murmured. She was making him move, and it hurt him. That was obvious. She unfolded one of the blankets and carefully laid it over him. "Just… lay back, and try to get some sleep." Maria was worried. She wanted to just curl up in the chair and keep an eye on him all night.

“Uh, yeah.” He must have blushed when she pulled the blanket over him. Did she notice? Sleep sounded good. Then he could forget about all of this. The pain, her, his unsuccessful try to escape. The letter… “Hey, Maria?”

"Yeah?" She asked and paused, realizing her face was close to his. She bit her lip and stood up quickly and tucked some hair behind her ear.

“Can you go to my… Kyle’s room and, uh, there’s a letter on the bed. Just rip it apart and throw it away?” She had moved away. Good. But why was he disappointed?

Maria nodded after a second. "Okay." She said. "Did you need anything else before I head upstairs?" His bag was still outside. She had to go and get that.

“A kiss to make it all better?” shit, did he say that out loud? He kept forgetting who was in front of him. This was the girl that made him fall in the first place. And it didn’t matter that she was helping him now. She was probably just doing it because she had a bad conscience.

Her jaw dropped. She was surprised that he asked her that. A blush rose over her cheeks and she glanced away. "I don't think that my kiss would make it all better." Maria looked back up at his face.

“We don’t know until you try.” He managed a small smirk. No matter what she said, it was already helping, because it made him forget about his pain for a moment.

Slowly she leaned down and brushed her lips against his cheek. Then she pulled back quickly and walked back outside to grab his bag. Her heart was pounding. His skin had smelled good. She liked the scent of it. And his skin had felt good against her lips. She carried his bag back inside and looked at him.

Michael was still grinning when she came back only just then able to take his hand away from his cheek. He had placed it there as soon as she pulled away. It hadn’t been quite the kiss he had had in mind when he had asked her, but it was a start. And her lips had been so soft, so gentle.

"What?" That grin on his face, couldn't be good. "Stop grinning at me like that." She growled at him and walked towards him.

That only seemed to fuel his grin even more. “But I’m happy.”

"Stop it! Wipe that grin off your face!" She hissed at him. "If anyone finds out about this… I will hurt you."

She was cute. “What do I get when I promise not to tell?”

Maria gave him a dirty look. "Another kiss?" She offered.

“Okay.” Cute and easy. But not very bright. She totally had the upper hand over him. But maybe she knew that and just wanted to kiss him again. Either was fine with him.

She walked towards him slowly. "So promise and you'll get another kiss." She leaned down towards him slowly. Why was she doing this? She didn't know. But she just wanted to feel his skin against hers again.

“I promise.” He leaned towards her as well but then stopped. Moving hurt and it was bringing him back to reality. A place where he didn’t want to be right now.

Maria leaned in towards his cheek, but at the last moment turned her head slightly and pressed her lips against his. His lips were warm against hers and it made her sigh softly.

Michael smiled and closed his eyes, relishing in the feel of her lips against his, and only that. In this moment he truly forgot about everything. The pain he was in, the house he was in, his dad, the war, nothing existed besides her lips against his. It was his first real kiss, but he would never tell her that.

Slowly she reached a hand up and gently cupped his cheek. His lips felt so good against hers. So much better than her boyfriend's. Her boyfriend. She pulled back from him quickly and pushed her hair back behind her ear again. "You should get some sleep."

He nodded. “Care to join me?” She wouldn’t, and it wouldn’t work anyways, on the small couch with him hurting all over, but hey, he had to try.

She blushed profusely and shook her head. "I have to go upstairs." She turned away from him and quickly hurried up the stairs, and went to Kyle's room. The note. She saw it and picked it up and set his bag on the floor before she walked over and closed the window. Then she headed to her bedroom and tucked the note inside her top dresser drawer before she closed her own window and climbed into her bed.

Michael smirked again and watched her leave. Maybe he could stay here for a while after all. Not like he had much of a choice right now though. He could barely walk two steps alone, let alone travel all the way to join the army. It looked like Antar would have to get along without him for a while longer.

Maria curled up in her bed, tossed to one side, then the other. But she wasn't finding any sleep. She was worried about Michael. With a sigh she climbed out of her bed and silently walked down the stairs. The living room was dark. She hoped that he was asleep as she climbed into the chair near the couch and pulled one of the blankets over herself.

********

“What the…” Jim frowned when he walked into the living room on his way to the kitchen to start coffee. “Maria! Michael! What are you both doing down here?” They were both deep asleep, one on the couch and the other in a chair. Lucky for them and for him. He’d never hear the end of it if Michael had touched Amy’s baby in any way.

Michael woke up with a start, hearing someone yelling his name. The first thing he saw was Maria, curled up on a chair next to him. He smiled. But then he remembered the voice and turned around to find Jim staring at them, scratching his head. Michael groaned. He shouldn’t have moved.

Maria jerked awake and nearly tumbled out of the chair. "Daddy!" She looked at Michael, still on the couch and blinked a few times before looking back up at her father. "Michael fell… he… we um…" She frantically searched for an explanation. "Michael couldn't sleep… so we went out for a walk, to pick berries, out by the creek. And he slipped, and he fell and… I think he's hurt. I… I didn't want to wake you though, so I stayed out here with him. To keep an eye on him." She nervously chewed on her lip, praying that her father wouldn't see through her lie. "Daddy, do you think he'll be okay?"

“I don’t know baby, I need to check him out first. He looks okay to me though.” Jim shrugged a little and walked over to the couch, kneeling down next to it and placing the back of his hand on Michael’s forehead. “How do you feel, son?”

Michael bit down hard on his lip. Again with the ‘son’ comment. Didn’t he realize that just made it all even harder on him? “Fine.” He looked at Maria. “Uh, kinda.”

She held the blanket around herself and chewed on her lip. "He kind of fell far…" She prayed that her parents wouldn't kill her for this. "We won't get in trouble will we daddy? I was only trying to help."

“No, of course not, if you only meant well.” Good that she wasn’t hurt. Amy would have freaked. She would freak either way though. “Just maybe we won’t tell your mom until we really have to, okay?” Jim smiled a little, feeling bad for asking this of Maria.

Maria agreed quickly. She didn't want her mom to get mad at her. "I'll um… go start breakfast." She hurried up stairs first, and into her room to get changed before she walked back down stairs and into the kitchen.

Meanwhile Jim had pulled Michael’s blankets off of him and was checking him out more thoroughly, paying special attention to his left arm. For all he could tell it was broken. So much for keeping this a secret from Amy. His whole condition wasn’t too good either. He was having trouble breathing and Jim suspected it was due to a few broken ribs. “Just how far did you fall?”

”It was rather, you know… deep.” Michael bit his lip, glancing over at Maria for help. He felt better now that she was back, so he wouldn’t have to deal with the questions alone.

"Down that slope … the steep one." It was about the same distance, maybe a little more. Maybe they'd just be so thankful that he was alive after the fall, they wouldn't get into trouble. "It was dark and… there was a flower that he saw that he wanted… he was reaching over and he just slipped."

“A flower?” Jim smirked at Michael bemused, noticing that the boy in question was glaring at Maria. The reason for his fall was probably even more embarrassing to him than the fall itself. “It’s okay, son. Nothing wrong in liking nature’s gifts to us.”

Michael blushed and continued to glare at Maria. Dammit. A flower? Why couldn’t she have said anything else? He had to duck because he thought there was a gunshot. Or a rabid dog chased him. Whatever. Anything but a flower.

She had to bow her head to conceal her smirk, and walked into the kitchen, out of view for a moment when she couldn't hold back her quiet laughter. Maria began making breakfast, before walking back into the living room, still smiling faintly. Served him right. Trying to sneak off the way he did.

“Okay Michael, I think I will have to call a doctor.” Jim stood back up, brushing over his sweatpants. “You fell too deeply to take this lightly. Who knows, you might even have internal bleeding.” He looked him over once more. “Do you feel anything? Inside, I mean?”

“No.” Michael quickly shook his head, suddenly afraid. Internal bleeding? But he would feel that, wouldn’t he? He still hurt all over, but he imagined internal bleeding to hurt way more.

Maria bit her lip; she was worried, she was glad that her father had decided to call a doctor. She wanted to be sure he was okay. She walked back into the kitchen, still amused by the look on Michael's face when she said he was picking a flower. And there was nothing that he could do about it.

Amy walked into the living room and looked at the scene in front of her. Michael, obviously in pain, on the couch. "What happened?" She asked Jim.

“He fell down the slope. Maria helped him back here and I just called the doctor.” He walked over to his wife and kissed her forehead, trying to keep her calm. “It’s going to be alright, I just want to make sure he’s fine.”

"What on earth were you doing out there Michael?" Amy asked, shaking her head. And Maria? What was Maria doing out there? She frowned. That was something that she'd have to discuss with Jim later.

“I couldn’t sleep and usually going for a walk helps me then.” Michael gave her a weak smile.

Amy nodded a little. "Momma, I started breakfast." Maria spoke up from the kitchen entrance.

"Oh, well… I guess I will go and help Maria out. Do you think that you can eat something Michael?" Amy asked him as she moved towards the kitchen.

“Sure.” He could always eat, even if it would kill him. He felt sick, but maybe it would be better after he had eaten something.

********

Sometime later, the doctor had came and went, after placing Michael's arm in a cast, and then a sling, and instructing him to get plenty of rest due to his broken ribs. He was scolded, much to Maria's delight, by the doctor about being more careful.

Amy and Jim had left after breakfast to take care of some things, leaving Maria to take care of Michael. They were alone again, Maria nervously sitting on the chair while Michael still sat on the couch.

Michael watched her for a while, not sure how to start this. Should he thank her for lying for him and taking care of him, or be mad for making him fall and eventually giving him that damn broken arm and the broken ribs. No way was he going to join the army anytime soon now. And it was all her fault. And that story she had come up with!

“A flower?” He narrowed his eyes at her.

"You deserved that. For what you did. My parents were kind enough to let you come live in our house, and you were just going to sneak out in the middle of the night leaving only a note?" She shook her head and narrowed her eyes back at him.

“I never asked for them to take me in. I just wanted to go join the war.” Michael continued to glare at her. She had no right to accuse him.

"But my father made a promise. You'll go out there and get yourself killed! Do you think that's what your father would have wanted? For you to join the war that he died in?!" Maria didn't know why she was getting so upset about it. She'd had this same argument with Kyle before he left. He didn't listen to her either.

“Yes he would. Why shouldn’t I join a war he fought in? If he believed in it, so can I.” In truth he’d had quite a few arguments about this with his dad. He taught him to fight and be strong, but he didn’t want him joining the army. In the end they had agreed he could decide for himself, but only after his twenty-first birthday. Well, that didn’t matter anymore now.

"You're going to get yourself killed!" Maria yelled at him, angrily standing up from the chair. "Is that what you want?! To die in the same war that your father died in!?"

“It’s better than sitting around doing nothing.” Michael shrugged a little, passing his good arm through his hair. Why were they having this argument anyways? “Why do you even care?”

She opened her mouth, then snapped it shut. "I…" She looked away and shook her head. "I don't. I just… It doesn't mean I want you dying. Besides, my father promised your father he would keep an eye on you, and if you go out into that war… he won't be able to."

“Yeah? But if I stay here and he is leaving again, how is he gonna do it then?” He raised his eyebrows. Mr. Valenti wouldn’t just stay at home and take care of his family from now on, same as his dad never did either. So he would be stuck here with two women. Great, just great.

"My mom would." Maria sighed, defeated. She wouldn't be able to talk him out of it, anymore than she could talk her brother out of it. "Fine. Go out there and get yourself killed." Her shoulders slumped forward and she made her way towards the stairs. He made her head hurt. She wanted to go take a nap.

“Wait, where are you going?” Michael looked at her, suddenly panicked. Maybe he shouldn’t have argued with her. She was the only one still at home and as much as it pained him to admit it, he still needed her, since for now he was confined to that damn couch.

"Upstairs. Why?" She was supposed to be taking care of him. Her mom had made that clear to her before she left. She didn't want to anymore!

“Uh, will you… will you hear me when I need anything?” He scratched his eyebrow, not wanting to ask her to stay, but not wanting her to leave either.

So much for a nap. "Probably not." Maria muttered and walked over and sat down in the chair she had slept in the night before.

Michael gave her a weak smile. Great, now he felt bad for making her stay. This was all so damn screwed up. “So… do you want to play a game?”

She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. "What kind of game?"

“I dunno.” He shrugged. “Like spin the bottle?” He’d suggest cards but he wouldn’t be able to hold them and play at the same time. Besides, a more mature game could be more fun.

Maria blushed but then gave him a little smile. "How about Truth or Dare?" No way was she playing a kissing game with him. Aside from the fact that she did have a boyfriend, her parents could be home at any time.

“That works too.” It would work out fine for him. She couldn’t dare him to do much, since he could barely move but if he always chose dare he wouldn’t be prompted with stupid questions either. She on the other hand was an easy catch. He smirked slyly.

"Do you want to go first?" She offered. Maria tilted her head to the side a little and just looked at him.

Michael shrugged. “Whatever.”

She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Fine. I'll go first. Truth or Dare?" She asked him. Maybe she could actually get some decent answers from him. See what really made him tick.

“Dare.” He smirked at her. He could move his face, so if she dared him to kiss her again, he would be all for it.

********

Chapter Three

"I dare you to… " Maria bit her lip in contemplation. But it wasn't fair. He really couldn't do much of anything. "Serenade me. Pick a pretty song." She smirked a little.

“What?” He coughed, almost falling of the couch. “But I… I can’t. I’m still to weak.” He tried to look as miserable as possible.

"Bull. You can talk, you can sing." She smirked at him. "And if you don't sing to me… the consequences will be… not so good for you."

“Why, what are you gonna do?” He cocked his head. Damn, how was he getting out of this? “Can’t I still switch to a truth?”

She tilted her head to the side and pretended to think about it. "I suppose… And trust me, you don't want to know." Slowly Maria got up from her chair and walked over to sit on the coffee table that was in front of the couch. "Alright. Truth then… why do you want to fight in this war so bad?"

Michael groaned and rolled his eyes. “Alright, I’ll sing.” He didn’t want to have another discussion with her. She wouldn’t understand anyway.

Maria smiled. "Like I said, make it a pretty one." She rested her chin on her palms and her elbows on her knees.

“Of course.” He gave her a look and tried to rack his brain to find the song the least embarrassing and the shortest at the same time. All he could come up with was an old Antarian children’s song, so he intoned that.

Maria was still smiling when he finished. "Thank you." She smiled at him. "You're a pretty good singer you know."

“Yeah, sure.” He shot her a dirty look to cover up his blush. “Make fun of the sick and disabled.”

"I wasn't making fun. I was serious. I like your voice." She pouted at him.

“Really?” Michael frowned. Was she just flattering him to flirt? But she didn’t seem the type for this. She didn’t even flirt with him at all before. He scratched his eyebrow. “Thanks, I guess.”

Maria shook her head a little. 'I guess? What kind of response is that?' But she kept her mouth shut. She didn't want to fight. "You're turn."

Good. He took a deep breath. “Okay, truth or dare?”

Maria bit her lip in silent contemplation. What would be the best one to choose? "Truth."

“Why did you lie for me? This morning?” He still couldn’t figure it out. She didn’t have to do that, she didn’t know him.

She shrugged. "Because I think you trying to sneak away in the night really would have hurt my parents. So I guess I just figured it would be best if they never found out."

“No other reason?” He was almost disappointed, but what did he expect her to say? This was a perfectly good reason for her and it worked for him as well.

Maria shrugged again. "I didn't want you getting in trouble." So she risked her own butt, and nearly got herself in trouble too.

“But why?” He couldn’t help but smile at her response, but it soon turned into a frown. “You only knew me for a few hours, why did you want to help me?”

"You used up all of your truth questions. I answered. I'm not answering anymore. You'll have to wait until I pick truth again." Which she wouldn't now. "So, truth or dare Michael?"

He rolled his eyes. “Fine. I’ll pick…” Either would be bad. Dammit. Why did they start this game anyways? Because he wanted to kiss her, right. “Another dare.”

"I dare you to tell me why you want to go fight in that war so bad. And don't give me the revenge card. Because that can't be what it is all about."

Michael sighed and scratched his eyebrow again. “I just do, okay? It’s important.”

"That isn't an answer Michael."

“Well, I’m sorry if that’s not good enough for you. I just… it’s hard to explain.” And part of him wanted her to understand it. Why? “I just think I can really help. I’m needed there.” And now he wanted revenge for his father as well. His death just made him more determined.

"What if you were needed here? Would you still go?" Maria watched him. Fascinated by his answer, she only wanted to know more.

“But I’m not.” He never was.

"But what if you were?" She pushed.

“Nobody could need me as much as the soldiers. They need every man they can get.” Because so many of them didn’t make it. But he would. He’d make a difference. He’d be better than all of them.

"Okay." She murmured softly. She wouldn't believe it though. He didn't have family, she wasn't sure if he had friends, but she didn't believe that he was needed more out in that war than he was needed there.

Michael nodded. And now they should forget about this topic again. Thanks to her he wasn’t able to leave anytime soon anyways and this was starting to depress him. “Your turn again. Truth or dare?”

"Dare." She hadn't really liked his last truth, so maybe a dare would be a better idea.

Okay then, time to get things started. He mentally rubbed his hands. “What are you wearing under your shirt?”

Her jaw dropped. "That isn't a dare!"

“No, but ‘show me’ is.” He winked at her. “I had just wanted to be nice to ask first, so it wouldn’t get embarrassing for you, in case you’re not wearing anything under it, you know.” Damn, didn’t he wish.

"No! I most certainly will not!" She wasn't about to flash him her stupid bra that her mother had bought her. It had little flowers and bunnies on it, which her mother found so cute. And oh yeah, he was a stranger basically. She wasn't going to show him such things.

“But it’s your dare, you have to do it.” His lips curled into a smirk. Was she really naked underneath? Why else wouldn’t she just show him? This would be so much better than in the magazines he found in his dad’s closet.

What did she care anyways? He was leaving soon. Slowly she unbuttoned her shirt. "Fine." She muttered and a deep blush rose over her chest, and her cheeks. Maria pulled her shirt open slowly and closed her eyes, waiting for him to start laughing.

Holy shit! Michael gaped at her chest, then forced himself to look into her face. She wasn’t just flashing him, she was really letting him look! This must be so his lucky day. Well, minus this few broken ribs and the broken arm. And the cuts and bruises and… and damn was she pretty. And the bra she was wearing was so cute. It was nothing like the overly lacy and fake looking stuff the old women in the magazines wore. This was better. It was the real deal. “Wow.”

Her blush deepened and Maria looked up at him quickly. He was just staring. Why wasn't he laughing? It wasn't like she was well-endowed either. Quickly she pulled her shirt closed, and tried to button it back up just as fast.

“Don’t hurry. Please.” It had maybe been his only chance to see this before he left for war. But then he could see plenty. Girls loved soldiers. They had to.

"Truth or dare." She grumbled and finished buttoning up her shirt.

“You decide.” Nothing could hurt him anymore. He would still be happy for the rest of the day.

Maria frowned. That wasn't how it worked. But she could get anything from him now. She bit her lip, inappropriate thoughts running through her head. He made her flash him, what could she do to him? "Let me see what color your underwear is."

She just wanted to see the color, that was all? “Uh, okay.” He wiggled around, trying to get the blanket off of him. “But you’ve gotta help me a bit.” It had all been so much easier when his arm wasn’t in that stupid sling.

She got up from the table and moved towards him. Maria pulled the blanket down for him and glanced up at his face. "Okay." She murmured softly.

Michael gulped. On second thought this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Now that she was so close she would notice that he had a pressing erection, wouldn’t she? He bit his lip and slowly opened the top button of his pants and pulled the fabric down a little, hoping that would satisfy her already.

Maria looked down at his boxers. The light blue material looked soft, and before she could stop herself she reached out and touched it just below the elastic. Then she noticed the slight bulge. Her eyes went wide and she bit her lip. "Uh… thanks." She rolled her eyes and sat back on the table quickly.

He nodded and quickly pulled the blankets up again. They didn’t really cover all of him anymore, but the most important part, his crotch. He scratched his eyebrow and avoided looking at her. When she had touched him he almost came in his pants. Now that would have been as embarrassing as it could get.

She tucked some hair behind her ear and chewed on her lip as she looked at him. It was her turn now. "You get to pick." Truth or Dare, she didn't care anymore. It was only fair after all.

“Can I get a glass of water?” His mouth felt dry and he cleared his throat.

"Sure." Maria nodded and got up from the table again. She walked into the kitchen and grabbed a glass and filled it for him before she went back into the living room. "Here."

“Thanks,” he answered in a husky voice and then gulped down half of the glass, glancing at her. He still wanted his kiss, even after all that had happened. He maybe wanted it even more now. “Ready for a dare?”

She nodded a little. "Alright. Give it to me." She said as she sat back down on the table in front of him again.

He handed her back the glass of water. “I… I dare you to kiss me again.” He tried to look tempting but then his nervousness won over him and he passed his hand through his hair, flicking his gaze back and forth between her face and the wall behind her.

"What?" Her eyes went wide, and she opened her mouth, then closed it again. Alright, a kiss on the cheek. She could do that. "Alright." She stood up and rested one of her hands on the back of the couch, and the other on the arm and leaned over him and pressed a chaste kiss against his cheek. "There." She whispered pulling back slightly.

Michael looked at her crestfallen. Dammit! He should have been more specific. But that was his own damn fault, now he would have to fulfill another one of her dares just so he could get to dare her to kiss his lips again.

She kept looking at him. His lips were so soft. And she could smell his skin. Slowly she leaned down again, closing in towards his mouth. She was so tempted. Quickly she pulled back and plopped down on the table once more. "Alright. So. Truth or dare?"

If possible, he was even more disappointed now. “Dare.” Maybe she would ask him to bang his head into the wall. That would be nice.

"I dare you… to stay. Not just until you're all healed. To actually just stay." Maria locked her eyes with his. He had to. She dared him.

Utterly surprised, he held her gaze. She dared him to stay? So this meant she wanted him to stay? But why? And could he stay for her? “Maria, I…” Her eyes were such a hypnotising shade of green, he couldn’t stop gazing into them anymore. And right now he was tempted so agree to anything she asked of him. He leaned a little closer. “I…”

Suddenly there was a loud knock on the front door and the spell was broken. Michael blinked and moved backwards on the couch, staring at Maria in bewilderment. What was it about this girl?

Maria jumped and nearly fell off the table. She was terrified for a split second that her parents were home. But then her senses came back to her. "Excuse me." She said and quickly got up and opened the door. "Billy!" She exclaimed seeing her boyfriend standing on the other side of the threshold. "What are you doing here?"

Billy? Who the fuck was Billy? Michael craned his next, trying to see whoever was at the door, but he couldn’t do it without falling off the couch. And that was not an option.

Billy stepped inside without warning, his arms went around her waist and he kissed her. "Your parents home?"

"Huh? No... wait!" Maria gasped out and tried to step back from Billy. Then he seemed to notice Michael.

"Who's that?"

"Michael, he's staying with us."

"Oh… let's go upstairs."

"Billy! He's hurt. I'm supposed to be taking care of him."

As soon as this Billy guy had kissed her, Michael could feel the air around him vibrating. He gripped the edge of the couch hard, trying to keep his temper in check. He couldn’t risk exposing even more of him.

“If you want to leave, then leave.” He nodded at Maria. He didn’t want them down here kissing in front of him. Now it all made perfect sense, why she wouldn’t want to kiss him again. And earlier this morning had just been a mistake.

"No." Maria shook her head. "Billy… now really isn't a good time."

"Why not?"

"Billy! Just…"

"I came all the way over here, and you're just gonna kick me out?" She sighed inwardly.

"You can't stay for that long though." He smirked and kissed her quickly, his arms around her waist.

"Alright."

Michael fumed. Who did this guy think he was? He reached towards his glass of water but quickly flinched back when he saw the glass vibrating on the table. fuck. He really needed to get this… whatever it was under control.

Billy pulled Maria over to a chair and sat down on it before pulling her into his lap. "So, what have you guys been doing?"

"Nothing." Maria shook her head and tried to pry herself out of his lap. This was embarrassing. She didn't want him all over her in front of Michael.

“Playing.” Part of Michael really wanted to rub it in that he got to see Maria’s bra, but this guy had most likely seen her without it already. This was driving him nuts.

"Playing what?" He asked and Maria blushed. Stupid boys. Stupid stupid boys.

"A game."

"What kind of game?" Billy pushed.

"Truth or Dare." And with that Billy started laughing. Maria's brow furrowed. What was so funny?

Michael’s eyelid started twitching. The whole energy in the room was about to explode. Could they feel it as well? He squirmed and watched them closely, but seeing Billy laugh just made it even worse. The plates and glasses in the cabinet behind him started shaking.

Maria quickly looked at the cabinet behind Michael. It was all shaking. She looked at Michael and shook her head a little. "Billy you should go…" What was going on?

"But I just got here baby."

"Billy. Please. I'll call you later." Something was wrong. Maria could feel the hair on the back of her neck standing on end.

“I don’t… feel to well.” Michael tried to make it easier for him to leave, but maybe he had just given him one more reason to mock him. But he better just leave. Michael’s whole hand started to hurt from where he was still tightly gripping the couch.

Now Maria was worried. "Billy… I'll call you."

"Maria." He started to whine, but she shook her head, and quickly got up.

"You need to leave. Michael is hurt badly; I need to take care of him." Maria quickly pushed him towards the door. He stole another kiss before she managed to get him out the door and slammed it shut and flipped the lock behind him. She spun back around and looked at Michael. Why were things shaking?!

Slowly calming down, Michael reached for his water again, this time succeeding in grabbing it without exploding the glass. He took a sip and watched her, waiting for an explanation.

"What just happened?" Maria asked, cautiously walked towards the couch again.

“What do you mean?” He unconsciously moved away from her and drank some more water. His mouth was suddenly all dry again.

"That cabinet was shaking… your water glass was shaking…"

“An earthquake?” Michael offered.

"No. It wasn't." She sunk down on the table in front of him. "Michael…" Slowly she reached a hand out towards him.

He flinched back, the glass starting to vibrate in his hand again. “Don’t.” He was afraid he’d hurt her.

Maria jerked her hand back and just looked at him. "Michael… tell me what is going on." She demanded.

“I… I don’t know.” He placed the glass on the floor and then passed his hand through his hair, not looking at her. “I can’t control it.”

Slowly she reached out towards him again and grasped his hand. She didn't get it, and it kind of scared her, but Michael didn't seem to know what was really going on either. "Does anything else happen?"

Michael slowly turned and looked at their hands, then at her face. Should he tell her? She’d already seen it anyways, but should he tell her more? He had never told anybody but maybe then he’d feel better. Maybe they could even figure out just what the hell it was that was wrong with him. “Sometimes my hands, they just glow. And stuff really explodes.”

"Why?" There had to be a reason. It didn't just happen for no reason. It couldn't. Because if it did, she wouldn't be able to figure out what was going on.

He shrugged. “That’s the part I don’t know.”

"Oh." She frowned. "You okay now?"

“Better.” His gaze feel onto their joint hands again. Why hadn’t she let go of him yet? She didn’t seem to be afraid anymore either. Maybe he could trust her. “It always seems to start when I’m angry.”

"Angry? Why were you…?" Billy. She frowned and bit her lip. Was it because of Billy? Billy was a jerk, and suddenly Maria was mad at him for upsetting Michael.

Raising his eyebrow, he just looked at her. She didn’t even know? “Why didn’t you tell me you had a boyfriend?”

Maria pulled her hand back and sighed. "I…" She laid her hands in her lap and swallowed hard. "It didn't seem important?" She offered. What kind of reason was that? But it sort of was the truth.

He could feel it building again. Damn. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t like him that way, that she didn’t even consider their kiss important. He was just not good enough for her. “Oh.” It was better that way. Then as soon as the cast was off, he could just go and leave. Out of the front door this time.

"It's just … me and Billy… we aren't really…" She shrugged. Sure they were together, but Maria knew she wouldn't be broken hearted if they broke up.

“It sure looked like it.” Michael scowled and pulled his hand back. With the way he was kissing her and touching her and making her sit in his lap and… the cabinet behind him started shaking again.

Maria jumped slightly and looked at the cabinet with wide eyes. "You're mad because I didn't tell you? Well I'm sorry. But you weren't exactly sharing personal information either. I didn't think about it. I'm sorry."

“Well, I wouldn’t have kissed you if I had a girlfriend.” Most likely. Hell, how would he know? He never had any.

She looked down at her hands. He made her feel really bad. "It's not like I love him…"

“But you kiss and touch him, that’s enough.” Michael sighed. This was pointless.

Maria stood up from the table and pushed some hair back from her face. "Sorry." She murmured.

“Whatever. Maybe you should just leave now.” He looked at his cast, picking at it with his good hand. Not like he could leave, even though he wanted nothing more right now.

Tears stung her eyes. First he'd wanted her to stay… but now… "Fine." She said and quickly hurried up the stairs, slamming her bedroom door behind her as hard as she could.

Michael closed his eyes. And it had started out so good. Everything was fine till this… this creep came along. Billy. Did her parents know of him? He could hear it shaking again and pulled the blankets all the way over his face. Maybe he would just vanish if he tried hard enough.

Maria threw herself on her bed and buried her face in her pillow. She screamed into it angrily and kicked her legs. Why did he have to be a jerk to her? All she wanted was it to be like it had been, before Billy had showed up. She'd really enjoyed hanging out with Michael.

After a while, Michael had calmed down enough, but he was really hot now. He rolled his eyes at himself and pulled the blankets back down then reached for his glass of water and emptied what was left of it. Damn, now he would have needed Maria, why did she have to go upstairs? She could have gone somewhere where she could have still heard him. Dammit.

He sighed and closed his eyes again, trying to relax and maybe fall asleep. He thought about earlier, before Billy showed up, and had to smirk when he saw her topless again. The image would hopefully be forever etched into his brain. Or maybe just till he could replace it with something better. Someone better. Someone who didn’t hang with Billy.

********

Chapter Four

Later that evening Maria sat at the dinner table with her parents and Michael. She was picking at her food. Barely eating it. Annoyed with Michael for his earlier outburst, and with Billy for showing up, and with herself, for not mentioning it sooner, or not having some great reason why she didn't tell Michael.

Michael kept staring at his plate, avoiding to look at anybody else. He hadn’t been very hungry when he started eating, but now he realized that he could eat anyways. It was probably from the damn pain killers. Tomorrow he wouldn’t take any.

Looking back and forth between the kids, Amy frowned and glanced at Jim, who just shrugged. Something was wrong and she felt the need to make it right again. “So… what did you kids do today?”

"Nothing." Maria said before lowering her head again. She didn't need her parents knowing about their little game of Truth or Dare.

“Nothing? You sat around all day staring at the wall?” Amy raised her eyebrows. Was there something she should know about? But Michael was disabled, they couldn’t have done that, could they?

"Michael slept all day. I… was up in my room most of the day." Maria told her mother, shooting a glance over at her before looking away quickly.

“Yeah.” Michael nodded. “But you came down when Billy arrived.” He smiled at her. Now let’s see if her parents knew.

“Billy? Billy was here?” Amy shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t like this guy and Maria was most certainly not allowed to meet him when they didn’t know about it.

Maria blushed instantly. "Only for a few minutes mom. I didn't let him stay long."

“It was long enough.” Michael muttered, then felt bad about it. Maria had lied for him and now he kept ratting her out.

“A few minutes on the doorstep?” Amy grasped Jim’s hand under the table. A few minutes could be enough to get her baby pregnant and ruin her life.

Jim squeezed Amy's hand in return. "Maria, you know how we feel about you having boys over when we aren't home."

"But we didn't do anything! He came inside, we stayed downstairs, we talked, Michael was in the room. It was five minutes tops!" She was hurt. Why was Michael doing this to her? "May I please be excused?"

“Wait.” Amy held out her hand and then looked at Michael. “Michael? Is that true?”

”Huh?” He coughed on his meat, not expecting to be spoken to again. “Yeah, yes.” He nodded. “What she said.”

"Now may I please be excused?" Maria asked. She was mad. Why did Michael have to tell?

“Okay you can go.” Amy glanced at her husband. “For now.” They would have to talk about this later.

Maria got up from the table, and put her plate in the sink before hurrying up to her room. She slammed the door shut. Stupid Michael. Now she was going to get the sex talk. She rolled her eyes and fell back onto her bed. It couldn't get any worse.

Michael felt even worse now that she was gone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get Maria into trouble.”

“It’s okay, Michael. You couldn’t know.”

He bit his lip. Yeah, right. “But he really was here for just a few minutes.” If they’d ground her for this, she would stay around him even longer, driving him crazy and most likely having Billy visit her again. And that was the last thing he wanted right now.

Jim nodded slightly. "Do you think you can make it up the stairs alone tonight? I think sleeping in a bed, and not on the couch would help you heal faster."

“I’m not… sure.” He wanted to tell him ‘yes, of course’, but the truth was, he wouldn’t be able to without help. “I mean, I feel a lot better already, but…” He bit his lip. Asking for help wasn’t his thing.

"Enough said." Jim told him. "Let me know when you're ready to go up there and I'll give you a hand."

“Thanks.” Michael smiled gratefully, then he dug into his food once again. They were all so nice to him, so it was even worse that he had to stay for a while now. They would all get attached and then get hurt when it was time for him to leave in a few weeks.

********

Later that evening, Maria was laying in her bed, dressed in her pajamas, avoiding leaving her room until her parents were in bed, because she didn't want to have the sex talk. She heard her dad help Michael upstairs, to her brother's room. Then he went back downstairs.

Later, when she was sure her parents were asleep she got up and walked over to Michael's room. Without bothering to knock she opened the door, he didn't deserve any privacy. He was a jerk. "What the hell is wrong with you!?" She hissed quietly at him. "How could you do this to me?! Look, I get you're mad that I didn't tell you about Billy… but ratting me out to my parents… who hate him already. That was low."

Michael shrugged defensively, placing the book Jim had given him back on the nightstand. “How was I supposed to know that? I only knew that he’s your boyfriend, so I thought they’d approve of him.”

"Yeah right. My mom is against me being with anyone." She huffed. "You… jerk! So now I'm going to have to sit through the sex talk, once again, and probably get grounded. All because of you."

He couldn’t help but smirk. “Sex talk? I’m sorry.” He knew how embarrassing that was. He’d been over it with his dad. And it was all just even worse because he didn’t even have a girlfriend at that time. Or even since. “But maybe it’ll do you some good.”

Angrily she threw her hands up in the air. "Not that it is any of your business, but I haven't slept with him, and I don't plan on it. My mom is paranoid enough as it is. She didn't need your help."

“Yeah? But with the way he was all over you, I’m sure it won’t take him long to get you there.” He clenched the sheets. Damn, he didn’t need those mental pictures again. Why did she even come to his room? Couldn’t she just leave him alone?

Her jaw dropped. "Excuse me?! I don't think so." She wasn't having sex with Billy. She didn't love him. No matter what Billy, or Michael, may have thought. Sex wasn't going to happen.

“Yeah? But he does.” Could she really be this stupid?

Her brow furrowed. "No." She shook her head quickly. Maybe it was time to call things off with Billy. She sighed inwardly and glanced away from him.

“No?” He raised his eyebrows. “Yeah, you’re probably right. He’ll be satisfied with just holding your hands for a year or two longer. But wait, then why was he pulling you to sit in his lip and grabbing your ass, and… and…” Damn, he could feel it building again. Not as bad as before though. It helped to know she didn’t want this and neither did her parents.

"I need to go back to my room." Maria swallowed and shifted her weight before heading towards the door. "And next time, keep your damn mouth shut in front of my parents. Or I might have to make up some horrible stories about you for them."

“Wait!” And once again he wanted her to leave, but then not. It was boring in here and this damn book about sports wasn’t helping any. Her brother must not have been very big on using his brains.

Maria sighed inwardly and turned to look at him. "What?" She asked. She was tired. She was mad at Michael. And she was not looking forward to the next day, when she would surely end up being grounded.

“If I promise not to tell anything anymore, does that mean Billy’s going to come over more often?”

"No…I don't think Billy will be coming back over again." Maria shook her head a little.

“Good. Then there’s nothing to tell.” He smiled at her.

He looked a little too happy about all of it. Maria gave him a dirty look. "Good night Michael." She muttered.

“Wait! I promise not to rat you out anymore, no matter what. Okay?” After all, she had done the same for him.

Maria paused and just looked at him. "Alright… but I still don't forgive you for what you did earlier. Now I'm going to bed, good night Michael." She opened the door and quietly left again and went to her own room.

“Night.” He slumped back down on the bed with a groan. Damn, now he was all alone and bored again. He should have taken more painkillers to knock him out and make him fall asleep. He closed his eyes. He just had to picture her without her top then. Or better yet, fully naked. He smirked.

********

Later the next day Michael was woken up by the front door slamming shut. He checked the clock on the nightstand and frowned. It was almost noon. Why did he sleep so much? But wait, he couldn’t fall asleep at all so he took one of the pills that Mrs. Valenti had placed on his nightstand.

He tried to sit up groggily and pressed his hand to his head. Damn he felt sick. And everything still hurt, so it took him almost ten minutes to get into a comfortable sitting position with his feet on the floor. Now he just had to actually get up and walk to the bathroom and everything would be fine.

The first try failed and he had to sit down again right away because he was so dizzy. Damn. He didn’t want to call Jim to help him to the bathroom and if the front door slamming was any indication, that would be futile anyways. He sighed and slowly stood up once more, this time managing to stay upright.

He smiled a little at his victory and then slowly, very slowly padded towards the door, out of the room and all the long way to the bathroom. Michael was so happy when he finally reached it, then he failed to notice the door was locked and he ran against it when he tried to open it. “fuck!”

Maria stood inside the bathroom. A scented candle burning while she took her time drying her hair, and combing it out. She'd been in the bathroom for at least an hour already, after taking a long shower, and then a bath. She refused to leave the bathroom.

Her hair was half dry when she heard Michael on the other side. "What did I tell you?!" She yelled. "You're not allowed to use this one. Go downstairs!"

“But I can’t!” He banged on the door. She couldn’t just not let him in, could she? He really had to go.

"Sorry! Can't hear you." She hollered through the door and turned the hair dryer back on, trying to ignore him. She was still mad at him, so she wasn't going to be nice.

“Come on, Maria. I really have to go.” He rested his head against the door. This wasn’t happening.

"That's nice. I'm sorry, I'm busy, I'm doing my hair… and it takes just sooo long to dry… and then I have to curl it… and that'll take at least two more hours."

“What? But Maria…” Two more hours? He couldn’t hold it in for two more hours. “Can’t you just let me in now and then go back to doing your damn hair?”

"Nope. Sorry, I can't stop this once I've started, or it'll screw it all up. Either suck it up and go downstairs, or hold it." Maria smirked. It was the perfect payback for him being a jerk to her the day before.

“I can’t go downstairs, I…” He couldn’t admit to it. He almost couldn’t get up out of bed. He was weak and needed the help of others. And he would rather pee out of the window before he’d admit it to her. “Come on, let me in!” He tried banging against the door again but that hurt him too, because it was straining all the wrong muscles.

She yanked open the door and glared at him. "Screw you! Why should I do you any favors? I'm gonna get grounded, probably for the rest of my life because of you."

“But I said I’m sorry. And what’s that got to do with letting me use the bathroom?” He rolled his eyes and tried to push past her. “And now let me in.”

"No." Maria stood her ground and crossed her arms over her chest. "Go downstairs."

“But I’m already here. And you just stopped whatever you were doing with your hair.” He quickly looked her over. It was still slightly wet, but so what?

"No." She said again and stepped back and slammed the door shut. She flipped the lock quickly and leaned against the door and flipped the hair dryer on. She wasn't actually drying her hair, but she wasn't going to be nice to him.

“Maria!” Michael banged against the door loudly, silently cussing because his chest hurt more and more. “Open that damn door right now!” Now his freaky powers would come in handy. He could just blow open the door. But he couldn’t concentrate at all and he seemed to be too weak to even have them built up just a little bit, to maybe scare her into opening it.

"Go away!" She yelled at him. "Why should I?"

Did they really have to go over all of this again? “Because I have to go.”

"Not a good enough reason."

He opened his mouth and closed it, then opened and closed it again. This was so ridiculous. It had to be a bad dream. Maybe he would wake up any minute now, and then he could finally go find a toilet. “Open the door before I blow it up!” She didn’t know that he couldn’t do it, so maybe it would work.

Maria jumped away from the door and just stared at it. Could he? She bit her lip and shut off the hair dryer. Slowly she pulled open the door and just looked at him.

Michael looked at her, happy surprise etched all across his face. “I didn’t think you’d fall for that.” He leaned against the door, trying to push his way in once again.

She narrowed her eyes at him before shoving past him and storming down the hall to her own room. "You mess anything up in there and I'll tell my parents how you really broke your arm."

“Whatever.” He entered the bathroom as quickly as he could and closed the door behind him, locking it as well. So much for her hair taking sooo much time. She had just been mean to him and let him wait till it was almost too late. He opened the toilet seat with a deep sigh.

Maria laid back on her bed and stared up at the ceiling. Stupid Michael. She looked at the phone and bit her lip, debating on whether or not she should call Billy.

Michael walked back out after a while. He was hungry and thirsty, but he didn’t want to go ask Maria to bring him something. Hopefully her parents would be back home soon and bring him something upstairs. Or he’d even get downstairs on the couch again, if he had to. But without Jim’s help he was afraid he’s just end up falling down the stairs. He sighed and slowly retreated back into his room.

Maria heard Michael leave the bathroom and took a deep breath before getting up and going over to his room. She knocked softly and pushed open the door. "Hey, you hungry?"

He cocked his head suspiciously. Would she get him something to eat? Maybe she wasn’t all that mean after all. “Yes.”

"Really?" She raised an eyebrow. "Well, I'm sorry, but that's too bad. I have to go and start all over with my hair now since you messed up my routine." She smirked and tossed her hair over her shoulder before walking back down the hallway to the bathroom and slamming the door shut.

“What? But…” Michael stared after her open-mouthed. Oh she was such an evil witch. As soon as he was able to really move again, he’d so get back at her for that.

Maria couldn't help but smile as she went back to drying her hair. Of course, she hadn't been serious about the long hours it would take to get her hair just right. But Michael didn't need to know that. Make him suffer for being such an asshole to her.

Lying down flat on the bed, Michael groaned. He was hungry, dammit. And thirsty most of all. There was still a painkiller lying on his nightstand, but he couldn’t take it without water. And the only other place where he would get any was the bathroom. Hopefully he could just fall asleep again, but being as pissed off as he was, and with everything aching, he strongly doubted it.

********

Much later that day Michael was still lying in his bed. Her parents had come home a few hours earlier and he had been able to cross Maria’s plans to starve him to death by yelling a loud “Hi” just when she was outside telling them he was still asleep. But then Amy had brought him food and water and now he was feeling much better.

He stood up and it went smoother too. It of course still hurt, but less. Walking over to the window, he stared out at the moon. It was a little after midnight and the whole house was quiet. Perfect to leave. He sighed. But not for him. Not today and not anytime soon.

His eyes fell onto a pair of scissors lying on Kyle’s desk. This was all Maria’s fault and she went and made him even more miserable any chance she got. First that lie about the flower, then Billy, then not letting him into the bathroom and then she had the nerve to tease him with food, only to deny it to him after all.

Suddenly he had an idea. He weighted the scissors in his hands. If her hair would be short, she couldn’t use it as alibi anymore. He smirked and silently walked out of his room and into hers, making sure not to make a noise. He peaked inside. She seemed to be deep asleep. Good.

In no time at all, Michael was bend over her and cutting away all of her long strands and leaving just enough to cover her ears. She had brought this over herself. He was just doing it in self-defence, so tomorrow she would have to let him into the bathroom and bring him something to eat and a drink. He smiled.

Maria felt someone hovering over her and she sat up quickly. Her eyes focused on someone, Michael, heading for the door. She growled quietly and felt something tickling her arm. She reached down to brush it away and ended up grabbing a handful of hair. Her brow furrowed and she looked down. There was long hair all over her blankets. "What the…" Slowly she reached up and touched her head. Her hair was cut. Short. No. This wasn't happening! She opened her mouth and started to scream.

Michael flinched and hurried back to the bed as quickly as he could, covering her mouth with his hand. “Shhh. Shhh! You’ll wake up your parents.” That’s when he realized he hadn’t thought this through at all.

She tried to slap him away, tears stung her eyes and she slapped him as hard as she could. "You asshole." She spat against his hand. He cut off her hair.

“Ow! fuck.” Michael took a few steps back. At least she had stopped screaming. “This is all your fault, for letting me suffer all day.”

"So you cut my hair?!" She hissed at him. Maria jumped out of her bed and slapped him again. "You jerk! You deserved it! I got grounded and got the sex talk all because of you." She quickly moved to look in the mirror after flipping on the lamp beside her bed. Her hair was so much shorter now. She touched it with her fingers. Now she'd also have to get it cut again to fix the choppy ends Michael had left.

“What? You didn’t let me use the bathroom because of your hair, and you left me hungry because of it too. The way I see it, I did you a huge favor by cutting your hair.”

"I didn't let you use the bathroom because you were an asshole. And I left you hungry because you tried to scare me by being an asshole." Maria angrily shook her head and pointed to her bedroom door. "Get the hell out of my room."

“Still saved you a lot of time.” Michael shrugged. After seeing her reaction he started to feel bad for it, but he couldn’t show it. It would only make him appear weak and she would continue to be mean to him. “And just remember, when you tell your parents I cut your hair, I will tell them the reason.” He started to go towards the door.

"Get out." She growled at him before walking over and sinking down on the edge of her bed. Maria started to pick up the clumps of hair from her bed. Wishing Michael would just hurry and leave so she could break down and cry like she really wanted to. Her hair was something that had always been important to her. She always took good care of it, and hadn't cut it in years.

Taking a last glance at her, Michael bit his lip and then left her room as quietly as he had entered it. Maybe he had really gone too far now, but this was really all her own fault. If she hadn’t made him fall out of the window in the first place, he wouldn’t even be here anymore. He took a deep breath and then went towards his room again.

Maria threw the hair away in the trashcan before she curled up in her bed and started to cry. She knew that she hadn't been nice to him, but he wasn't nice to her either. But she hadn't done anything quite as mean as Michael had just done. Eventually she dozed back off to sleep.

********

Chapter Five

Early the next morning, after Maria showered and got dressed she headed down the stairs and into the kitchen.

"Good morning Maria." Amy said when she walked into the kitchen. "What did you do to your hair?!"

Maria cast a glance at her mom and shook her head a little. "Just… felt like cutting it."

Michael was woken up from a restless night by Mr. Valenti. He couldn’t have slept more than five minutes. He yawned and sat up, looking at the old man groggily.

“I was wondering if you were fit enough to join us downstairs for breakfast.”

Michael cocked his head. Coffee sounded very promising right now. And he didn’t want to make them bring everything upstairs again. “I think so.” He nodded and carefully got up. He still felt better so after Jim handed him a bathrobe, they made it down the stairs and into the kitchen together.

Maria glanced up when Jim and Michael entered the kitchen, but then she quickly looked away. "What are we having for breakfast?" She asked her mom softly.

"Here." Amy handed Maria a carton of eggs and looked at Jim and Michael. "I hope you boys are hungry. Jim, look at your daughters new hair style."

“It’s short.” Jim walked over to Maria and touched it, then kissed her forehead. “But I like it.” He looked up at his wife. He’d never understand women. He always thought Maria loved her hair. “But you really could have gone to a hair dresser, Maria. We’re not that broke.”

Maria quickly turned back to the stove. “I just… wanted something different.” She busied herself with making breakfast. Why did they have to say anything? If she wasn’t grounded she’d go to the hairdresser and get it fixed. Until then she’d wear a hat. “Besides. I’m grounded. Couldn’t have gone to the hairdresser if I’d wanted to anyways.”

“Oh, you know, we could go together, honey. Then it won’t count.” Amy smiled at her daughter. Then she could watch out that she wasn’t going to meet this awful boy.

Michael quietly went to a chair and sat down. He still felt a little bad for cutting her hair, but it didn’t look bad. He could see her neck, which was nice. If they’d ever kiss again, he could latch onto her throat and… and it would never happen. Never ever. “I like it short.”

She rolled her eyes and bowed her head. She was tempted to mutter a nasty name, but figured it would only serve to get her grounded even longer. "Just forget it." She muttered.

Jim raised his eyebrows and shot Amy another look. This was something he had no clue about, so he decided he would leave Maria alone for now. “Alright, I’m starving. What’s for breakfast, Amy?”

"Pancakes and eggs." Amy smiled at Jim. "It'll be ready in just a few more minutes."

Silently Maria finished making the eggs and helped with the pancakes before carrying a plate over to the table. She was tempted to 'trip' and throw it at Michael, but relented and just set it down on the table. There really wasn't anything she could do.

Michael’s face lit up when he saw the food and he reached towards the pancakes with his good arm, which caused him to groan because it was straining his ribcage. He sighed and Jim wordlessly placed a few pancakes on his plate for him, before grabbing some for himself. “Thanks,” Michael muttered almost inaudible.

Maria glanced over at Michael. He really looked like he was in pain. And she felt bad for him, why she wasn't sure. It was his own fault. He didn't deserve any of her sympathy. Suddenly she wasn't very hungry. "May I please be excused?" She just wanted to go to her room and curl up and not have to deal with Michael being here. Or the fact that he destroyed her hair.

“Uh, okay honey.” Amy had just joined them on the table as well and was now looking at Maria in concern. “Is everything okay?”

"I'm fine. I just didn't sleep well last night." Maria told them. She got up from the table a moment later and quickly hurried up to her room. Stupid Michael. She sat down at her vanity and stared at her reflection. More specifically at her hair. Her horrible hair.

There was silence at the table after she left, then Jim shrugged and nudged Michael. “Women. Somebody understand them, eh?”

Michael smiled politely, but now he felt worse. He should try to make her realize that short hair wasn’t all that bad later. Or maybe he should just forget all about it. Her fault. He only did what she had forced him to.

Some time later Maria got off the phone with Billy and sighed. Breaking up with him hadn't gone as well as she had hoped, but it was something she knew that she had to do. She got up and went into the bathroom, with a pair of scissors to try and repair the damage Michael had done, to even out the ends of her hair.

Jim helped Michael up the stairs again after they had finished breakfast. As soon as they were up, Michael assured him he was fine so he would leave him alone. He had to go to the bathroom first, before he could lie down again so he opened the door, happy that is actually was open this time. But then he saw Maria in front of the mirror. “Oh.” He hesitated.

Maria sighed and shook her head. "You." She pointed at him with the scissors. "Aren't allowed to play with scissors ever again. And if you'll step aside I'll be going back to my room now."

Michael just had to smirk at her comment. “I know. No scissors, no matches, what was the third?”

She crossed her arms over her chest and looked at him. "Me. Now move before I slam the door and lock you out again. Oh, but then I'd probably wake up bald tomorrow."

His upcoming laughter at her first reply died when she had ended her speech. “Listen, I’m really sorry…” He moved aside.

"Bullshit." Maria hissed at him. "You are not. Paybacks are great when you're the one dishing them out. I get it. I'll back off. You'll barely see me the rest of the time you're here."

“But I don’t want that.” He blocked her way again. But didn’t he? It would get rid of all his problems, aside food and water right now, when he couldn’t walk the stairs on his own. But that would only be for a few more days, right?

"Fine, you'll see me when you're thirsty, or hungry. Or in passing. But other than that, I'll stay out of your hair."

He nodded. Alright, that could work. “Me too.” He shrugged a little, then cocked his head. “So now you can go meet Billy whenever you want. I can’t tell what I don’t see.”

Maria rolled her eyes. "Considering he isn't my boyfriend anymore, I don't think he'd want to meet up with me anymore." She shook her head and tried to step past him. "Move."

“Wait.” He frowned and placed his hand on her arm, to keep her from leaving. “He’s not?”

"No. For your information I just got off the phone with him. I dumped him alright?"

“Really?” Michael smiled. “Why?” Part of him was hoping she had done it for him, but after he had cut her hair, that wasn’t very likely at all.

"None of your damn business." But in all truth it was because of him. He made her realize that Billy wasn't the sweet guy she'd hoped he was. And that all he'd wanted was sex.

“Well, it’s good for you.” He was still holding on to her arm.

"Yeah, sure, my parents will be thrilled." She looked down at her arm, at his hand on her arm.

“Yeah, them too.” Maybe even just as much as he was as it slowly dawned on him. She was all free now, so he could… stay away from her. It would only get more complicated.

Maria swallowed hard. "Please let me go Michael."

He looked at her for a moment longer, then let go of her arm and took a step back so she would be free to leave.

Slowly she lifted her head again when he released her arm. "I wasn't trying to hurt you before…" She whispered, and then darted past him quickly and into her room. Closing the door tightly behind her.

Michael watched her till she vanished into her room. What did she mean? Before, when she didn’t let him into the bathroom? When she didn’t bring him food? Or when she kissed him although she was with Billy? His head was starting to hurt and he quickly shook it, then closed the bathroom door behind him. He turned on the cold water and splashed some in his face. She had broken up with Billy. Maybe if he wouldn’t have cut her hair… No. This was all no good. What was done was done.

Maria had stayed in her room for hours after breakfast. She'd done her best to even out the ends of her hair, and attempted to curl it a little. Anything so it wouldn't look as bad as she thought it did. She glanced at the clock and sighed. Her parents were out like usual, doing their usual daily stuff. Her stomach grumbled and she frowned.

After a few minutes she got up and headed down the hall to Kyle's room, and knocked softly on the door, waiting for a response.

Michael had almost fallen asleep over the dull book and jumped a little, when he heard the knock. “Yeah?” He frowned and put the book aside.

Slowly Maria peeked her head inside. "I was just wondering if you were hungry."

“Are you going to get me something if I say yes?” He was cautious now and didn’t want to give her another reason to mock him.

"Yes. I'm going downstairs anyways to get something for myself, so I thought I'd ask if you wanted something while I was at it."

“Yes.” He nodded quickly. “Please. And a glass of water?”

"Sure." Maria nodded and stepped away from the door. She walked downstairs and started making lunch. It was no use being mean, there was nothing she could actually do, she couldn't tell her parents, because then she'd get busted for her behavior, and he was leaving soon, so they really couldn't do anything to him.

With a sigh she finished making lunch and put some on a tray and headed back up stairs. "Here." She said walking back into his room.

“Thanks.” Michael smiled at her gratefully and moved on his bed to make room for her, if she would want to sit down.

Maria looked at him, at the space on his bed and bit her lip. Did she actually want to join him? Why did he move to make room for her? "I thought you wanted to see me as little as possible…" Maybe he did, and he was just trying to get comfortable.

“No, that was you who didn’t want to see me.” He chuckled a little. Alright, so maybe it was mutual.

She bit her lip and sat down on the edge of his bed and just looked at him for a minute. "I um… wasn't sure what you wanted so… " She gestured to the food. "So I got a lot."

“That’s fine. I’m hungry.” And it meant she would stay for a while longer. He was so damn bored, he’d be happy with only sitting here, none of them talking. But at least he wouldn’t be alone.

"Okay… good." She looked down at her hands in her lap and just sat there silently. Why was she staying? She really wasn't so sure. It was better than locking herself in her room.

He took a bite of the food and watched her. Her hair really did look nice now. Would she leave when he told her so?

Maria could feel his eyes on her. She looked up and raised an eyebrow. "What?" It made her feel self-conscious, and paranoid. If he hadn't cut her hair she wouldn't feel quite so bad now.

“Nothing, I was just thinking…” He bit his lip. He really didn’t want to be alone again.

"What? Stop looking at me like that." She started to fidget with her hair, and then her clothes before wrapping her arms around herself.

“Sorry. But it looks cute.” He shrugged apologetically and took another bite.

"No. It doesn't." Maria growled quietly at him. It wasn't cute, it was ugly. And it was his fault.

“No, really. I like it.” He reached out and touched a strand of her hair. “It frames your face.”

She couldn't help but lean into his hand a little. Her eyes slid shut for a moment. The tender gesture made her heart pound in her chest. "Thank you…" She opened her eyes quickly to look at him again, waiting for the cruel remark that was sure to come next.

Michael smiled at her and moved his hand a little, cupping her cheek now. He stroked her skin with his thumb. She was so soft. And she smelled so good. The closer he leaned, the more he noticed it. Hmm, damn.

Slowly Maria reached up and rested it on top of his hand. She watched his face, her eyes darting between his eyes, and his mouth and back again. With every second that passed, they got closer and closer. She knew that she should take a step back from this and take off running, but she just didn't want to.

Should he kiss her again? Did she want him to? Could he even dare do it without a game to back him up? But the closer he got, the more his thoughts vanished and all that was left was her smell and the feel of her skin. Her hand on his, her mouth so close… Michael closed the distance between them by pressing his lips onto hers very softly.

She melted into the kiss. Her other hand slid up and she gently cupped his cheek and kissed him back softly. His lips felt so nice against hers, so much better than Billy's. She'd never really liked kissing Billy, he was too aggressive. But Michael touched her so gently.

He carefully moved his lips against hers. They were so soft, even softer than her cheek under his palm. Cocking his head slightly, he sucked her bottom lip between his and then licked over it. She tasted good too. He let out a soft sigh.

A quiet moan passed her lips and she shifted slightly on the bed. Her mind was spinning. She could feel the heat of Michael's body so close. It felt so nice. It needed to stop, she knew that. Just, not yet. Maria parted her lips slightly and darted her tongue out and touched it to his.

Pulling back at first, he quickly got over his initial surprise and touched his tongue to hers again. Was that how it went? He didn’t know, but it sure felt right. He opened his mouth a little so he could press his lips on her again but still keep touching her tongue. It was electrifying.

Maria moaned again and shifted on the bed once more, moving closer to him. She stroked her tongue against his. She wanted more. His lips, and his tongue, and his skin. Breathing was starting to become an issue, but his mouth was too intoxicating.

Michael bent forward to get into more contact with her skin but then he had to pull back with a deep groan. “fuck.” He slumped back on the bed panting. Wrong move. Very wrong move. His chest burned and he looked up at her with a mixture of pain and utter regret.

She was gasping for breath when he suddenly pulled back. "Michael?" Panic was written across her face. "Are you okay?" She was terrified. What if he was hurt? How would she explain it to her parents?

He nodded and gave her a thumbs up. He was still wheezing too much to talk. Maybe it was worse because he had forgotten to breathe when he was kissing her. Damn. Just how embarrassing was that? He was lying here panting and aching after a kiss.

Maria nodded a little and sat back on the edge of the bed trying to catch her breath. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She reached over and gently squeezed his hand.

Michael gave her a weak smile. “Sorry.” This wasn’t how their second kiss should have ended. It shouldn’t have ended at all.

"It's okay… you sure you're okay?" She rubbed his hand gently.

“Yeah.” It was better now. He was even more nervous than before though. After all he had screwed up the kiss. But hey! She had kissed him! After all that had happened, she had still kissed him back and she was still in his room. And she didn’t seem angry at all.

"Then you should probably sit up and eat something." Slowly Maria pulled her hand back and pushed some hair behind her ear.

“Yeah…” He sighed and moved a little, then gave up. “In a minute.”

Maria pouted a little. She leaned towards him, and gently touched his cheek. "You really sure you're okay? Need anything?"

“Another kiss?” At least that was what he wanted. He smirked a little.

She smiled and nodded a little. She leaned down and brushed her lips softly against his.

Smiling against her lips, Michael just quickly licked over them before he pulled back again. He didn’t want to risk getting another attack. “Thanks. I do feel much better now.”

"Good." She murmured and gently stroked her fingers along his jaw. She really wasn't sure what was going on, or if their making out was going to lead to something, but she really liked the way he felt, his lips, and his body. It was nice.

He caught her hand and brought it up to his lips, kissing her fingers. “I think maybe it’s even better after I’ve eaten something.” As much as he loved just lying there being touched by her, his stomach grumbled because he hadn’t eaten much in the previous days. And maybe it would make him stronger.

Maria smiled a little. "Can you sit up okay? Or do you need some help?" Once they were sitting up, they could eat. Her stomach grumbled, she was really hungry now.

“I think I can…” He moved a little. It still hurt but less than a few minutes ago. “Can you hand me another pillow for behind my back?” He’d reach out himself, but with one arm in a cast it was hard.

"Yeah." She nodded and grabbed another pillow and tucked it behind him. "Good?" She asked and moved a little on the bed.

“Swell.” He nodded and moved up more. “Now if you could feed me too…”

"Until my parents get home, I guess it's okay." Maria picked up the plate and leaned back against the headboard.

He frowned and chuckled a little. “What do your parents have to do with this?”

"I don't think they'd exactly approve of this…"

“You feeding a poor wounded guy some food?” Michael was still smirking.

"Considering we were just making out a few minutes ago… they can sense that sort of thing." She started picking at the food and held some up to his lips.

“Oh.” Michael took what she offered him and chewed quickly. “Yeah, I don’t think they’d like it very much.” He was sleeping only two doors away from her. They were going to kick him out when they found out.

"No, probably not." Maria told him. Was it even going to continue? Or was this just a momentary thing?

“So I guess we’ll have to keep it a secret from them?” He looked at her hopefully. But if she broke up with Billy because her parents didn’t approve, it would be a bad sign for him.

"I… I guess so." Maria murmured. So that meant it was going to continue? Until he got better and left that is. She continued to feed him, alternating by taking bites for herself occasionally.

Michael felt stupid after a while and took a sip of his water, then grabbed the food himself again. It was meant at a joke but it just made him feel weaker than he actually was.

She sat back a little when Michael started grabbing food for himself. "I should… go clean the kitchen." She told him before quickly getting off the bed. She hadn't finished cleaning up the mess, she had intended on going right back down but Michael had easily distracted her.

“Are you coming back when you’re done?” Had he pissed her off now? Maybe she wanted to feel needed and now that he was stupid enough to show that he could care for himself she would leave again.

"Sure." Maria nodded a little. She left his room and walked back down the stairs to the kitchen. She took her time cleaning, thinking, and trying to figure out what exactly was going on with her, and Michael. If it really was anything, or just something to do since he was stuck in bed until his arm healed.

Michael ate a little more but then pushed the plate away so he could lie down again. Maybe he could take a short nap till she came back. He still felt weak even though today he hadn’t taken any painkillers so far. He closed his eyes and imagined her lips on his once again and her smell all around him. Still smiling, he quickly fell asleep.

Maria walked back upstairs once the kitchen was clean and quietly entered Michael's room, but stopped short when she saw that he was asleep. She couldn't help but smile a little. Carefully she took away the plate and carefully covered him with a blanket. She pressed a soft kiss against his forehead before taking the plate, and leaving the room again. She closed the door quietly and headed back downstairs.

“Maria?” He blinked groggily but the room was empty. He must have been dreaming, so he closed his eyes again, hoping to continue wherever it was that he has left off. It didn’t take him long to fall back asleep.

********

Chapter Six

Much later that evening, Michael was sitting in his room, contemplating to go over to Maria’s or not. She never came back and he didn’t understand it. Jim had come to wake him up for dinner and he had been all confused that it had already been so late. But it was kinda good that he had slept so long. It spared him hours of sitting around, obsessing about Maria just like he did now.

She had avoided his looks all through dinner too. He sighed. But her parents had been around, so there hadn’t really been anything any of them would have been able to do. His ears perked up when he heard a door shut downstairs. It must have been the Valentis going to bed. He smiled and got up, then silently walked to Maria’s room. He considered knocking, but maybe her parents would hear it, so he just opened the door.

Maria was stretched out on her side on her bed, her back to the door. She'd been laying there silently since they'd finished dinner. Her mind was still reeling from the kisses with Michael. She really didn't know what was going to happen, and she was scared. Maria knew that she was already getting attached to him, and he was just going to leave again in a few days and it made her sad. Her door opened and she quickly rolled over to see who was coming into her room.

"Oh…" She murmured seeing Michael. "Hi." Her voice came out a whisper.

“Hi.” He entered and closed the door behind him, then leaned against it. “So…”

Slowly she sat up on the edge of her bed. She bit her lip and watched him. "Yeah… did you… want something?"

Michael cocked his head. “Yeah.” Quite a few things popped into his mind, sadly he was only able to do two or three of them right now since he was still disabled.

"Well?" Maria asked raising her eyebrow at him.

“Huh?” He let his eyes travel up and down her body, taking in her curves.

Maria stood up slowly and started towards him. "You wanted something?" She asked softly.

“Yeah.” He licked his lips unconsciously. It was hard to concentrate when she was walking towards him. He should ask her what was up, why she didn’t come back, why she kept ignoring him. Or maybe he should just grab her and forget about all the talking.

"So why don't you tell me." She suggested and stopped in front of him. She just wanted him to grab her and ravish her, but her parents were downstairs and she was just worried that they would find out.

“I wanted…” He scratched his eyebrow. “I…” His gaze dropped to her lips, then back at her eyes. He was afraid she would push him away when he just kissed her. Maybe he should ask for permission again?

Maria bit her lip. He wouldn't say it. He wasn't saying anything. "Michael…" She murmured softly.

“Can I… can I show you?” He reached out and gently touched her lips.

She nodded a little. "Yeah. Go ahead." She kissed his finger softly.

Michael smiled and nodded. This was all the permission he needed. He slowly moved his hand and slid it into her hair, then leaned forward till he could feel her breath against his lips. He took a moment to savor it and then finally closed the distance between them with a soft kiss.

Maria sighed softly against his lips and curled her arms around his waist. She kissed him back softly, tenderly. His lips felt so good, and now that they were standing, she could feel his body against hers, mostly anyways. She held onto him gently, not wanting to hurt him and cause the kiss to end.

Taking a small step closer, Michael leaned his body against hers. She was so small and soft. Now if only his arm wouldn’t be in a cast… He sighed and broke the kiss to take a breath, not wanting to risk another fit like earlier today but then quickly pressed his lips onto hers again, this time letting his tongue snake out too, to lick over her lips.

When he broke the kiss she couldn't help but whimper, but a moment later he was kissing her again. She let one of her hands slide up to tangle in his hair, while she parted her lips to allow him access to her mouth. She flicked her tongue out and stroked it against his.

He curiously stroked his tongue along hers and then slid it into her mouth to further caress it. It felt so great. It tickled a bit and was sending shivers down his spine.

Maria felt light-headed. His mouth was so intoxicating. She let out a quiet moan and kissed him back deeply.

Oh god. This was so… so indescribable. If he had known it would be this good, he probably would have gone out looking for a girlfriend a lot sooner. But maybe it was only so good because it was Maria. He stroked through her hair and pulled back again when his lungs started to burn. Damn. “Maria…” He didn’t want to let go of her and so he nuzzled her cheek.

She rested her forehead against his, her breathing was labored. "Michael." She breathed in return. Maria had no desire to stop, no matter how much she needed oxygen, she didn't want to stop kissing him.

“This feels so good.” He licked over her lips. “You taste good.” He smiled a little and then kissed her again, this time sliding his tongue into her mouth right away, exploring the cavern, stroking against her teeth.

Maria moaned softly against his lips. Kissing Billy had never felt this good. Her body was practically humming with pleasure from the kisses Michael was giving her.

Michael groaned and broke the kiss once again. “Can we… can we sit down?” He couldn’t stand for that long and just was made painfully aware of it again.

She nodded and stepped back a little. "Come here." She murmured, and prayed that her parents wouldn't wake up and decide to check on her. She led him over to her bed and sat down on the edge of it, and waited for him to join her.

Walking around her, he smiled and then sat down next to her, hoping his cast wouldn’t be in the way. “Thanks.” He looked at her and cocked his head. Maybe he should ask her now. But why bother? Everything was fine, or else she wouldn’t be kissing him.

"What?" Maria asked when he looked at her. She reached over and wrapped her fingers around his good hand and rubbed her thumb over his knuckles.

“I was just wondering, earlier today…” He looked down at their hands. “You said you’d come back but then suddenly it was evening and your dad was in my room.”

"I came back up… but you were asleep. I just, didn't want to wake you up. You're hurt Michael. You need all the rest you can get. So you can get better." And leave. She looked down at their hands and sighed inwardly.

“Oh.” He nodded. Right, that was a good explanation. Now he felt stupid. “Thanks, I guess.” He shrugged a little. “Just next time, wake me up, okay?” He finally looked up again, giving her a small grin. “It would have been worth it.”

She smiled a little and nodded. "Alright. I guess I can handle that." Then Maria kissed him softly. His lips just were so tempting, giving her that grin. She wanted him to always look like that. Happy.

Michael closed his eyes and just enjoyed the kiss. He was done thinking for the day, now all he wanted to do was feel and explore her. Touch, taste, smell, there was so much of it. He could feel the electricity building again as well.

"Michael." She breathed out sometime later, the kissing just seemed to get more and more intense. "It's… getting late." She whispered, but she really didn't care. She didn't want to stop this.

“Yeah…” While he was sucking in much needed air, he outlined her lips with his index finger. They were swollen and even fuller than usual. It made him want to kiss them again. And suck and bite them too. He growled and then leaned in for yet another kiss.

Maria moaned and kissed him back passionately. She wanted to wrap her arms around him, and hold him tightly. But she was too worried about hurting him. She didn't want that. So she settled for combing her fingers through his hair gently.

His hand was on her shoulder at first but then he stroked it over her arm and then dropped it to rest on her waist for a second, before slipping his fingertips under her top. Just to feel her skin. He didn’t dare anything else, although the more they kissed, the more tempted he was to explore more of her body.

She could feel her body getting hotter, and when Michael's fingers touched her bare skin it sent electric currents up her spine. "Michael." Maria gasped out softly. What she was feeling while kissing Michael was something so different. And she wanted more.

“Mmmh?” Air was becoming an issue again, but he had figured out that instead of pulling away completely, it also worked when he just rubbed his lips over hers and breathed in at that time. She just tasted so good, he wondered if the rest of her skin did as well. Bending his head just a little more, Michael slowly kissed his way down her throat and then sucked on a piece of skin there.

Her eyes rolled back into her head and she slid both her hands through his hair. His mouth was hot on her skin and it caused a desire to swell within her. "Oh… oh god." Maria murmured softly. Every touch, every kiss only made Maria's body get hotter, and hotter.

“You just taste so good,” he mumbled against her skin and then licked over the spot he had just sucked on. How long could you suck before it became a hickey? He was itching to find out, but what would they tell her parents? He sighed a little and sucked on her skin one last time, before he slowly kissed his way back up towards her lips again.

Maria pulled back a little and looked at him with a faint smile on her lips. "Ditto." She stroked her fingertips over his jaw and kissed him again.

Michael moved a little to get closer, but it was a very bad move once again, because he had to break the kiss to groan from pain. Damn. This just sucked. If he just wouldn’t have fallen out of the window… but then he wouldn’t even be there anymore and he would have never gotten his first kiss from Maria.

"You okay?" She murmured softly and stroked her fingers down his neck. "You should probably rest…"

He sighed. “I know. But I don’t want to.”

Maria smiled warmly and kissed his jaw softly. "You need to." She let one of her hands rub gently up and down his shoulders.

Michael nodded. When he got enough rest now, maybe they could continue this tomorrow, when her parents were gone again. “Hey, Maria?”

"Yeah?" She asked softly.

“Are your parents gone every day?” He cocked his head and touched her lips with his fingertips. So tempting. It was almost making him forget about his pain. But sadly just almost.

"Mostly…" She smiled a little and kissed his fingers. "Why?"

“Just wanted to know.” He winked and then grinned at her. Many time to continue this then. And without the fear of getting caught.

"I see…" She kissed him quickly and then reluctantly pulled back. "But you really should get to bed and rest…"

Nodding again, he leaned in for another soft kiss. “Are you going to help me to my room?”

"I suppose I should… wouldn't want anything to happen to you." Maria smiled and slowly stood up before taking his good hand and helping him off the bed.

“Yeah, I don’t think I could take any more broken parts of my body.” He smirked a little strained when he had to get up. Maybe he should take another painkiller after all.

Maria escorted Michael out of her room and down the hall to his. "Now, get into bed, and get some rest."

“Are you going to help me change too?” He wiggled his eyebrows.

A deep blush rose over Maria's cheeks. "Michael." She murmured softly.

“Just asking.” He smirked and took a step closer to her, playing with a strand of her hair. It really did look cute now, but he should better never mention it again.

She leaned into his hand and let her eyes slip shut. "I'll tuck you in though…" Maria rested her hands on his hips and took a step closer, their bodies were barely an inch apart, she could feel the warmth of him.

“That’s good too.” He smiled and brushed his lips over hers. Did that mean she was gonna watch him change? He frowned a little.

"What?" Maria asked when she saw his frown.

“I, uh, I need to change…” He bit his lip. His body was all blue and bruised, he didn’t want her seeing him this way.

"I'll turn around." She smiled a little and turned around so that her back was to him, allowing him the privacy to change.

“No peaking!” Michael raised an eyebrow and then walked over to his bed. He sat down and then ruffled in his bag for a new button-down shirt. Maybe he should now unpack after all. He shrugged and then started unbuttoning his old shirt. It went slow since he had to do it all just with his left hand.

"No peaking." She smiled, and turned her head just a little. She couldn't resist. She wanted just a little peak.

Michael was fully concentrated on buttoning down his shirt. His hand was trembling, he hadn’t noticed it before. And the more he concentrated, the worse it got. He sighed. Why did she have to be so close? She was making him nervous. But in a good, exciting kind of way.

Maria turned her head for a second and smiled at the little peak she got at his chest before she turned and faced the wall again. She started to hum softly, to distract herself from the extremely sexy half naked guy standing a few feet away from her.

He looked up at her when he heard her humming and smiled. It was weird, but it stopped his trembling when he just concentrated on her voice and he could finally get the shirt off of him. As soon as it was lying on the floor, he stood up again and pushed down his pants. “You have a very nice voice.”

Maria blushed and smiled. "Thank you." Billy never told her that.

“Next time we play, I’ll let you sing.” He smirked and stepped out of his pants, then sat back down on the bed to pull the shirt over his shoulders. He left it open because it was too much work to button it up too and then just slid under the covers as much as he could. “Alright, I’m all set.”

She turned around and smiled at him. "Alright." Then she walked over to the bed and couldn't resist reaching out and touching his chest.

Michael shivered. “You were supposed to… to tuck me in.” Not like he was really complaining though.

"I'm getting there." Maria pulled the blanket up a little and tucked him in the best she could, and then she leaned down and kissed him softly. "Sleep well."

“I will.” He smiled. Now that he was lying down, the pain had ebbed down too. And any kiss of hers made it better anyways. Except for those that left him breathless. “You too. Dream of me.”

She nodded a little. "I will." She stroked her fingers over his cheek and kissed him again softly.

“Good. ‘Cause I will too.” And in his dream he’d be fully mobile and she would be naked. Maybe. He frowned again. It was different with Maria, he didn’t picture her naked every time he looked at her. She was already hot enough fully clothed. And he’d be happy to just dream of endlessly kissing her without ever having to break for air. This wasn’t good. It would make it even harder to leave when it was time.

"Alright. I need to go to my room again… and you need to sleep." She kissed him softly. "Good night Michael." Maria murmured quietly.

“Goodnight, Maria.” He pulled his hand out from under the blankets again to cup her cheek and caress her with his thumb again. Okay, now he could happily fall asleep. And he’d worry about all the rest later, when the time had come.

She smiled and stepped back. "Alright. I'm going now." Maria walked towards the door and lingered in the doorway for a minute before she smiled at him and closed the door. She walked back down to her room and changed into her pajamas before crawling into her bed. She couldn't stop thinking about kissing Michael, and dozed off to sleep with a smile on her face.

Not long after she had closed the door, Michael feel into a deep dreamless sleep. At least he didn’t remember any dreams when he woke up disappointed about it the next morning. But the reality was better anyways. He smirked as he slowly sat up. He couldn’t wait till her parents would be leaving again.

Maria woke up and yawned quietly, still in her pajamas she headed downstairs and was surprised to find that her parents had already left. She found a note from her mom saying they'd be gone most of the day. She couldn't help but smile. Maria hurried back up the stairs and quietly walked down to Michael's room and opened the door.

But then she couldn't help but pout a little seeing that Michael was already awake. "Good morning." She smiled and walked into the room, slowly making her way towards him.

“Morning.” He smiled and then quickly looked down, checking if his crotch was still covered. It was. Good. He sighed relieved. Two minutes later and this would have been pretty embarrassing.

Maria walked over to the bed and climbed up onto it, straddling his legs. "Did you dream of me?"

“Yes,” Michael lied and gulped. If he would have, it would have started like this too. Or hey, maybe this was his dream?

"Good." She smiled and leaned forward. "I had dreams of you."

“Yeah?” He leaned backwards again, resting on his good elbow. “What did I do?”

"Well, your arm wasn't broken... so you could hold me. With both arms. And you were kissing me, making me absolutely delirious with your kisses."

“That’s funny, I was dreaming just the same thing.” He smirked at her. Holding her would be nice. Then he could really feel all of her body pressed close to his. Damn cast. And it would take a few more weeks before it would go off.

"Yeah?" Slowly she leaned in and kissed him softly. "My parents are gone already." She murmured quietly.

“Really?” He raised an eyebrow. That sounded promising. “When are they going to be back?”

"Not till later. Much later." She rested her hands on the bed as she leaned over him.

“Good.” His smile grew and he leaned up towards her for another kiss. But then she would have to leave. If she stayed this close to him for much longer he would probably explode. It was too early in the morning for that.

Maria kissed him lightly and then kissed along his jaw lightly, and nuzzled his throat. "Yeah, I had the same thought."

Michael groaned. “But I’m afraid you have to leave again, till I am back from the bathroom.”

She pouted a little. "But I don't wanna." Maria kissed his throat softly and then parted her lips a little and began sucking softly on his skin. It tasted good. And she could inhale his distinct scent.

“Oh god.” He groaned again. Did she even realize what her movements did to him? “But… but you have to…”

"Why?" She licked his skin and then kissed it again. "Your skin tastes good."

“But I just woke up, and you’re so close…” His eyes slipped shut and he considered just going with it. But no. How would he get rid of the mess? And she would notice too. Then she would jump up and run away. “I don’t have much control so early in the morning.”

Suddenly she blushed and bit her lip. "Oh… sorry." She climbed out of his lap and straightened her tank top and shorts. "I'll uh… let you." Maria cut herself off and hurried out of his room and back to hers. "So stupid." She muttered and banged her head gently against the wall.

Michael let himself fall backwards, flat on his back, and passed his hand through his hair. Damn. Why couldn’t he be in better shape? It wasn’t just from the fall, he just didn’t have any control. Not over his penis, and not over his freaky powers either. He sighed deeply and then eventually rolled out of the bed to pad into the bathroom with his head hanging down in shame.

Maria sighed and fell back onto her bed. She reached up and grabbed her pillow and pulled it over her face and screamed into it. At least it was muffled by the pillow. She threw it back up to the top of her bed and looked up at the ceiling. She didn't get any of it. She loved spending time with Michael, kissing him, touching him, and being touched by him. But soon he'd leave. It all probably meant nothing to him. She was probably just some passing fling.

********

Chapter Seven

After he had quickly relieved himself, which at least was easy this time although he could only use his left hand, he went back to his room to pull his sweatpants back on. Still not bothering to button up his shirt, he walked to Maria’s room then, knocking on the door this time.

"Come in." Maria said from where she still lay on her bed.

Michael entered and closed the door behind himself, staying leaned against it again, just like the night before. “I wanted to apologize.”

"For what?" Her brow furrowed and she lifted herself up a little, resting her weight on her elbows.

He raised his eyebrow. “For well… you know.” He shrugged a little and bit his lip. She had left pretty quickly when she had realized what he was talking about, so she wouldn’t have found it very good.

"You don't need to apologize." She bit her lip.

“But I feel bad about it.” He sighed and scratched his eyebrow.

"But you shouldn't… it was … something you needed to do. I just… kind of… I'm sorry. I didn't mean to… I didn't mean to make you feel bad for it."

“But it is. I have no control.” Especially around her. Like earlier with Billy, when his powers were acting up. What was she doing to him?

She bit her lip. She didn't know what to say to that. Maria wanted to help, but she didn't think she could. "Are you hungry?"

He looked at her. And yet another urge he couldn’t control. “Yes.”

"Okay, I'll go make us some breakfast." She stood up and then stopped. "I should get dressed."

“You don’t have to for me.” He smirked a little again. Maybe after they had eaten, they could just go back to where they had to leave off before.

"But I still should… so… turn around? Or go back to your room so I can get dressed."

“Do you want me to get dressed as well?” Maybe he should change into fresh pants. He didn’t since… too long.

"No, that's okay. You don't need to. You're still healing, you're allowed to wear your pajamas all day." Maria got up from the bed and started finding some clean clothes to change into once Michael had turned.

“If you say so.” He smiled a little and then turned around to let her change.

Maria quickly stripped off her top and pulled on a clean shirt, before stripping out of her shorts, changing her underwear to a lacy thong, just in case, and finished it off with a skirt that fell halfway down her thighs. "Alright." She murmured as she tossed her dirty clothes into the hamper. "Are you joining me downstairs? Or should I just bring it up to your room?"

“I dunno…” His voice sounded husky and he quickly cleared his throat. He never turned, but just the thought of her being naked right behind him, and then hearing the noises she made while changing… it was enough to send him back to the bathroom. “I think it’s, uh, better when you bring it up again.” He might make it downstairs, but then he would be spent again for a while. Why did they have to have such a large but narrow staircase?

"Okay. No probably. You can go back to your room, and I'll go make some breakfast."

“When I’m well again, I’m gonna make you breakfast and bring it on your bed.” He smiled but then blushed, realizing what else this could mean.

Maria couldn't help but smile a little. Did that mean he was going to stay? "Alright, sounds good to me." She walked over and gave him a soft kiss before opening her bedroom door. "Alright, shoo, go to your room, and I'll be back in a few minutes."

“Alright, alright, I’m going.” He smirked and kissed her cheek, then hurried back to his room as fast as he could. Which wasn’t that fast under normal circumstances, but he still noticed that at least his bruises were healing.

She headed downstairs and started to make breakfast for him. Maria really wished that he was healed, so he could really kiss her, but she had this feeling, that once he was healed, he wouldn't want to anymore, because he would be too busy escaping from her, and her family.

Michael sat down on his bed and looked around, waiting for her. After a while he decided to rather lie down and he propped the pillows up against the headboard the best he could and then leaned against them. Alright, now to pull the blankets up or not? It would be stupid if she’d join him and lie on top of them. And she wouldn’t actually get under them with him, would she? But if she would be close to him again, then the blanket would be nice to cover his crotch. And he was thinking about this way too much. What took her so long anyways?

She finished preparing breakfast and laid it out nicely on a tray before she walked back up the stairs, careful not to spill anything she then entered his room again. "Alright, your breakfast is served."

“Thanks.” Michael smiled and moved a little more to the side, then patted the space on the bed next to him.

Maria walked over and sat down on the bed beside him and set the tray down on the bed. "Hope you're hungry… I really wasn't sure what you wanted." She bit her lip a little.

“It looks good.” He moved again to sit more upright. “And a lot is good, I need my strength.” Turning, he smirked at her. “As do you.”

She blushed and smiled at him. "Michael." She murmured and shook her head. "Eat." She laughed and picked up one of the plates and handed it to him.

Chuckling softly when he saw her blush, Michael took the plate and sniffed it before he put it back down on the tray so he could pick up a slice of toast. His stomach grumbled just thinking about food and he quickly started wolfing it down.

Maria sat beside him and quietly started eating her own food. She was glad he seemed to be enjoying it. The question was on the tip of her tongue again, asking him to stay after his arm was healed. But he wouldn't and she knew that.

Only after he was done eating he finally glanced at her again. Sitting on his bed, right next to him. Well, her brother’s bed, but he was gone. Her parents were gone. They were all alone. He grinned. “So what do you want to do now?”

"Well… since you are the crippled one right now. I think you get to choose." She tipped her head back a little, and to the side to look at him.

“We could play something again.” He shrugged a little. Something only with kissing related dares…

"Alright, and just what do you have in mind?" She had enjoyed their last game. And now that they were kissing more, she had a feeling it would be a lot more fun.

“We each get a turn to say a place and the other has to kiss it then.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. Why waste time with anything else?

Her jaw dropped but she nodded. "Okay…" This could get… interesting. "You go first."

“Can you put the plate away first?” Not like he wanted her to kiss his legs, but it could still get in the way.

"Sure." She nodded and took the plate, and hers and set them on the tray before she got up, took them downstairs and then hurried back up to his room.

“Just putting it on the ground would have worked too.” Michael pouted. If he had known she’d run away, he had let her kiss him first. Now his excitement had time to build and he was nervous again.

"I didn't want to have to take it down later though… 'cause I think you sort of distract me. Especially when you're kissing me."

He smirked and reached out towards her, beckoning her onto the bed again. “But it’s a good distraction, right?”

Maria nodded and moved over to the bed. "It is." She slid her hand into his and smiled at him. "A very good distraction."

His smile widened and he tugged on her hand to bring her closer. “Alright, so I want you to kiss me…” He made a dramatic pause. “On my cheek.”

She smiled and cupped his face gently and rose up onto her knees beside him. She leaned down slowly, taking her time as she leaned in, before pressing a soft kiss against his cheek.

“Oh.” This was more tender than he had imagined. But it proved that any kiss by her was a good kiss. This game would so be fun. “Your turn.”

"Okay…" She bit her lip and sat back a little. "I want a kiss… on my wrist." Maria smiled a little at him.

Michael took her hand in his again, then turned it so her wrist was exposed to him, then he slowly leaned down, kissing her soft but lingering. Before he pulled back, he licked over the spot his lips had just touched. So her skin did taste good all over.

The second his lips touched her skin she nearly melted into a puddle. Her mouth fell open a little and she just watched him with lustful eyes. Then his tongue touched her skin and a short, quiet moan came out. "You… you're turn." She whispered quietly.

He looked at her, trying to decide. Then finally he pointed towards the right corner of his mouth. “Here.”

She nodded a little and leaned in again, cupping his face like she had before, and pressed a soft kiss against the corner of his mouth. His lips were so soft. It made her want to kiss him more. So a second later she shifted her mouth and kissed him full on the lips, but continued to keep the kiss soft.

Michael smiled and smacked his lips after she pulled back. He didn’t think he could ever get enough of this. Why couldn’t he have met her sooner? “Was that your spot already or a free bonus?”

"Free bonus." She murmured and smiled at him. "I want my next kiss… here." She pressed her finger against her throat and smirked a little.

“That’s a nice place.” He smirked back and leaned in quickly, first kissing her fingertip before she could pull it away.

Her eyes slid shut part way and she snuggled close to him. "Hmm I thought so." She breathed softy.

He breathed in her smell before he latched his lips onto her throat and sucked softly. God damn, her taste. It was all so intoxicating. He sucked harder to get more of it, his good arm slowly slipping under her top to caress her side like he did last night.

Maria slid her hands into Michael's hair and tipped her head back. "Oh… Michael." She breathed. His lips felt so nice, it made her want more of him.

After a short break to gulp in some air, Michael continued to suck on her soft flesh. This was his bonus for her. He smirked and scraped his teeth over the skin carefully. And his bonus for himself too.

She moaned and let her head fall back. "Oh… damn you." Nothing had ever made her feel as good as his mouth did.

Letting go when he heard her curse, he looked at her confused. Did he do it wrong? Maybe he sucked too hard and it hurt?

Maria looked at him quickly. "Why did you stop?"

He frowned. “You were cursing. And moaning.”

She blushed and bit her lip. "It felt good…" She pulled back a little. "I just…"

“Oh.” Michael blushed at his own stupidity. He bet Billy didn’t have those problems. And he shouldn’t be thinking of this ass anymore. “You just what?” He touched her cheek carefully.

"I liked it… a lot. It never felt this good when … any other time I've been kissed." Slowly she looked up at him. It was embarrassing trying to tell him how turned on she was by his kisses.

He smiled big time. That just blew him away and he couldn’t do anything else but grinning like the happy idiot he was. “I’ve never kissed anyone before.” He blinked. Crap! “Like this. Not like this either.” He bit his lip.

She smiled a little, but then frowned again. "But it doesn't mean anything does it? You're just gonna leave as soon as your arm is healed… and go out into that war… and…" Suddenly tears filled her eyes at the thought of him getting hurt.

“Maria…” He pulled back with a sigh. Damn. He should have never stopped kissing her. “I can come back. Just… just like your dad and your brother. They keep coming back too, right?”

Maria nodded a little. "Yeah… but how am I supposed to know that you'll actually come back? That you won't…" It terrified her. "I don't know if they'll come back either."

Michael shrugged. “But it’s war. If everybody would just stay at home, they would just come and kill you all in your sleep or something.”

She pulled back again and rested her hands on her lap. "But that doesn't mean I want people I care about out there fighting… getting hurt, or killed."

“Yeah, but nobody wants that.” He didn’t want his dad to leave either. Or to never come back. But it happened and at least he died for a noble cause. “But I have to go. I can help. I could never forgive myself if we lose and I didn’t even fight.”

"But I want you to stay here." With me. It wasn't fair. Why couldn't Billy go or something. Why Michael? The man that she was quickly falling for.

“I will stay. For a few more weeks at least.” Which was longer than he had intended to, so what else did she want?

But it wasn't long enough for her. "Alright… yeah…" She whispered softly.

“A few weeks is long.” He leaned closer again, taking her hand in his.

"Yeah." She leaned in and buried her face in his chest and closed her eyes. "But it isn't long enough."

Yeah, maybe it wasn’t. But then again, it was too long. It was both at the same time. This was all so damn confusing. Why did he have to meet her? He didn’t regret it though, not much anyways. Kissing her was something he would have hated to miss out on.

She tipped her head back and looked up at him. "We were in the middle of a game…"

“We were.” He brushed his hand through her hair. Maybe it was best to just get back to it and forget about everything else. “My turn, right?”

"Yeah. It is." Maria nodded a little and leaned into his hand.

“Then I want you to kiss me here.” He pointed at his collarbone.

"Okay." She murmured and leaned down slowly and pressed a soft kiss against his collar. She could smell his skin. Slowly she parted her lips and flicked her tongue out against his skin to taste it.

“Hmm.” He buried his hand in her hair to keep her against him. This felt so damn good.

She sucked softly on his skin and let her eyes slip shut, enjoying his fingers in her hair. Maria slid her hands up to rest them on his sides and moved closer to him.

“Oh, Maria…” He could feel his erection swelling and suddenly he wished she would suck on that. Oh hell! Where had that thought come from? This was a harmless game, but no, he was thinking about sex again.

Maria smiled against his skin and slowly kissed her way up his throat and found his mouth again. "Good?" She asked and slid a hand up to stroke her fingers through his hair.

“Yeah…” he replied in a husky voice. More than that. He growled and closed the short distance between them with a deep kiss.

She moaned and melted into his arms. "Good." She mumbled against his mouth.

Wanting more of her, Michael made the mistake of twisting to get closer. It didn’t go well on his ribcage and he had to pull back completely, grimacing in pain.

She frowned and bit her lip. "Are you okay?" This was bad. They shouldn't be doing this with him. He was getting hurt more and more when they kissed.

“Fine.” He wheezed. Crap. He closed his eyes and leaned back on the bed, taking deep breaths. Why did it still have to hurt so much?

"How about you just lay back and rest." She gently rubbed his shoulder and watched him.

“But what about our game?”

"We can pick it up later. But if your hurting… and I can tell you are. Then you should rest."

“Only if we really pick it up later.” Michael cocked his head. “And I don’t mean tomorrow.”

"Sure. As long as you're feeling better." She leaned forward and rubbed her fingers along his jaw and smiled at him. "But you have to rest." She kissed him softly before pulling back a little.

“I will.” He sighed and moved to get a little more comfortable. “What are you going to do in the meantime?”

"Watch you?"

He smiled. “You would?” But would he ever find rest when she was still in the room? So close to him?

Maria nodded. "I may even snuggle up next to you and take a little nap too." She kind of liked the idea of sleeping beside him.

“That sounds good.” No matter if he would get sleep or not. He could still sleep when her parents were back. And he was already feeling better anyways.

"Yeah?" She turned around and moved so that she could stretch out on the bed beside him. "Sounds good to me too."

Michael moved so she would have some more space and then turned his head to look at her. She was so gorgeous. And this gorgeous, soft and good-smelling girl was now lying on his bed, right next to him. He let out a soft moan.

Maria tipped her head back a little and smiled at him. "Get some rest." She told him and rested her head on his good shoulder. She didn't want to cause him any more pain than he already was in.

He nodded and tried to wrap his arm around her, but it was a bad move again so he quickly pulled back. At least his right side was in the cast, or else she wouldn’t even be able to lie as close to him as she did now. Smiling at her apologetically, he sighed again. There he had a girl in his bed and then he was all crippled.

"Are you okay? Do you want me to move?" She asked lifting her head up to look at him.

“No, I’m fine.” He’d ask her to move closer, but then he probably wouldn’t be fine anymore. Couldn’t he have broken his legs or something? Anything that wouldn’t hurt with every damn movement he made.

"Okay." Maria murmured and laid her head back down on his shoulder gently. She didn't want to cause him anymore pain than he was already in.

He gave her a weak smile and then closed his eyes, pretending to try and fall asleep. Then maybe when she had done so, he could open them again and continue to watch her.

Maria stifled a yawn and snuggled up a little closer, her arm curled gently around his waist as she quickly dozed off to sleep.

When Michael opened his eyes again, he found they were thick with sleep. He blinked a few times but his lashes were too heavy to keep them up for long. It must have been listening to her even breathing. Or something. He blinked again, smiling at the mess of blond hair that came to his view, then finally he followed her to sleep as well.

********

Her eyes fluttered open sometime later, slowly. She wasn't quite ready to wake up yet. It was so much nicer sleeping, with Michael. Maria tipped her head back and looked up at him. He looked so peaceful while he slept. She couldn't help but sigh softly. And before long he'd leave her.

Michael woke up with a groan. He tried to move but it was painful, because of his broken ribs. Right, broken ribs, broken arm… and Maria in his bed? Opening his eyes, he smiled when he saw her. He had half expected her to be gone when he woke up. “Hey.”

"Hi." She murmured softly, and gave him a small smile. Now she was embarrassed that he caught her watching him.

“You awake long?” He raised his eyebrow. Had she just been lying there watching him?

"Not that long." She lied. He was so beautiful; she just wanted to keep watching him. "Are you feeling better now?"

“Yeah.” He nodded. The initial pain after waking up was quickly fading. He just had to remember how to move and what to avoid. “I’m good.”

"Are you sure? Do you need another pain pill?" Maria offered. She didn't want him hurting anymore. It was her fault really. She was the reason he fell.

“No, I don’t… I don’t like them.” He made a face and slowly sat up a little more upright. It felt weird to be lying next to her. It was so close and intimate, so they should at least be doing something in that area instead of talking about pain.

"Okay." She nodded and sat up when he sat up. "Do you need anything?" Maria felt like she was hovering, and mentally berated herself for it.

“No, I’m…” He bit his lip. He still hated asking her for anything. “A glass of water, maybe.” His mouth was dry from the sleep and he didn’t want to kiss her like this. Maybe he should get up and brush his teeth.

Maria nodded. "Okay. I'll be back in just a minute." She got up and stretched her muscles before she skittered off out of the room.

Michael nodded as well and as soon as she was out of the room, he started to get up. It went slower because he had been lying down for too long. He sighed. Damn, this had all better be vanishing soon. After a while he had finally managed to stand up.

Maria came back with a glass of ice water in her hand and smiled a little at Michael. "Whatcha doin?"

“Uh…” He scratched his eyebrow. It would sound very stupid. “I was gonna go brush my teeth.”

"Oh… okay." Then she took a step back to get out of his way.

“That’s better, right?” He cocked his head and walked towards her.

Her brow furrowed. "What do you mean?"

“It’s uh, better for you, right? When I brush my teeth?” He scratched his eyebrow and focused on a spot in the wall past her. This was embarrassing.

"Oh!" Maria blushed. "Yeah, I mean no! I mean…" She opened her mouth, and then closed it. "I mean… feel free. But don't think I'm saying you need to or anything."

Michael chuckled. At least he wasn’t the only one nervous around. Though she shouldn’t be. After all, she had done this many times before. He felt a pang of jealous rise up and wondered just how many times those had been. “So, I’m…” He pointed towards the bathroom and walked past her.

"Yeah." She murmured and set the water glass down on the nightstand before she sat down on the edge of the bed to wait for him.

Michael quickly brushed his teeth. By now he was used to doing it with his left hand. After flushing his mouth, he quickly used the toilet too, washed his hands and then finally walked back to his room. “Okay, I’m ready to play.”

Maria looked up at him and smiled. "Oh really? Are you sure?" She asked raising an eyebrow at him.

“Uhm, yeah.” He passed his hand through his hair, realizing how stupid that must have sounded.

"Positive?" She asked and got up from the bed and walked towards him. Maria stopped in front of him and pressed her lips against his jaw. "Because I am too." She murmured against his ear.

He smiled and took a shaky breath. “Positive.” He slid his arm around her and caressed her lower back.

Maria wrapped her arms gently around his waist and turned her head to press kisses along his jaw line before pressing her lips against his in a tender kiss.

“So we don’t play anymore?” He brushed his lips over hers softly.

"Just another bonus kiss…" She murmured before taking a small step back. "Alright… we can play again, unless you'd like to do something else?"

“No, the game was good.” Michael quickly nodded and then sat down on the edge of the bed. He didn’t want to risk having to break it off again because he was too exhausted or in too much pain. This had already happened too many times.

"Okay." She smiled and walked over to stand in front of him. "Then let’s play."

********

Chapter Eight

“Same as before?” He looked up at her and gulped. Her beasts were so very close to his face right now. Maybe he would get her to show them to him again.

"Uh huh." Maria reached out and tucked some hair behind his ear. "Your turn?"

“I forgot.” He was quickly getting nervous again, still afraid to screw this up somehow. “But okay, I want you to kiss me… on my eyebrow.”

She nodded silently and leaned down to kiss his eyebrow softly. She let her hands rest on the back of his neck and let her eyes slip shut. His body was so close to hers, she loved it.

Michael moaned softly and closed his eyes without thinking about it. She smelled so damn good.

Maria slowly brushed her lips down over his temple before opening her own eyes and pulling back slightly. She smiled a little seeing his eyes closed.

He opened his eyes again when he couldn’t feel her lips anymore and then blushed when he found her looking at him. “Y…Your turn.”

"Yeah… I want a kiss…" She brought her hand up and laid a finger on the hallow of her throat. "Right here."

Leaning upwards a little, Michael smiled and first traced the spot with his fingers before placing his lips on it and kissing her softly. Then he brushed his lips over her skin and darted his tongue out to lick her carefully.

Maria threw her head back and moaned softly. "Michael." She breathed out and tangled her fingers in his hair. Keeping his mouth against her skin. She could feel the familiar swirling of lust within her, that only seemed to happen when Michael touched her.

Encouraged by her actions, he brushed his lips further over her throat, finding the spot he had sucked on earlier and scraping his teeth over it again.

Her knees nearly gave out when she felt his teeth and she gripped his shoulders tighter. "Oh." Maria whimpered softly.

He smirked proudly and pulled back again. “Did I do it right?”

She smirked back at him. "You did perfect… I think I better sit down, or I'm going to end up on the floor."

Michael chuckled and robbed back a little on the bed. “You could sit in my lap,” he offered. “Err well, just to make the game easier, you know.”

"Yeah?" Maria smiled and climbed into his lap, so that she was straddling his thighs, and then realized that the move had forced her skirt up high on her thighs. She bit her lip as she looked down and then slowly raised her head up to look at Michael.

He had followed her gaze and gulped again. “My turn, right?” He kept forgetting, because it was getting harder and harder to think. Looking down again, he placed his hand on her thigh, caressing her skin right above her knee. She had such gorgeous legs. And they were wrapped around him. He let out a husky moan.

Slowly Maria nodded, and then bit her lip when she moaned quietly. His hand touching her bare thigh felt so good. "Your turn." She whispered and slid her hands down from his shoulders and rested them on his sides.

“My lips.” He whispered, not able to point at them, because it would have required taking his hand away from her thigh.

She leaned in quickly and kissed him full on the mouth. Maria pulled herself closer, pressing her chest against his as she deepened the kiss and trailed her tongue over his lips.

Michael opened his mouth and quickly captured her tongue before she could pull away, sucking it into his mouth and then just sliding his own against it. Oh yeah, this was a great game.

Maria moaned quietly into his mouth and tilted her head to the side a little. She wanted more, and tried to press closer to him while tightening her arms around him carefully. She didn't want to hurt him after all.

While kissing her, his hand slid further up her thigh till he reached the hem of her skirt. He stopped there, unsure how much further she would let him go. And this was already pretty damn nice too. He smiled against her lips as he caressed her skin.

She broke the kiss, gasping for breath and letting out a loud moan. "Michael." She slid her hands down and dipped one under the back of his shirt and gently caressed his skin.

He shuddered and gulped in much needed air before he started kissing his way down her chin back to her neck. That would be his bonus. Or maybe they should skip the game already. “Hmm, Maria.” He latched back onto the old spot as if magically drawn to it and sucked hard.

Suddenly her nails dug into his back and she unconsciously ground her hips against Michael's. His hand, and his lips, it was making her dizzy. And it was leaving her wanting.

Michael pulled back to let out a deep growl. Oh fuck. She must know what she was doing to him, right? His erection strained against his boxers painfully and he moaned before pressing his lips back on hers and kissing her hungrily.

Maria kissed him passionately, ravaging his mouth, her tongue stroked against his. He was too good at this. "Michael." She whimpered breaking the kiss for a moment.

“Yeah?” He took a hitched breath. Damn, he wanted to flip them over and grind his hips right back against hers, but then he’d double over in pain because of his god damn ribs. Why now? The timing couldn’t have been any worse.

"I…" She pulled back slightly, giving him a pleading look. She wanted more, but she wasn't sure if she should ask. He was hurt and he probably wouldn't want her like that.

He cocked his head and stroked over her cheek, trying to read her mind. She wanted to stop, didn’t she? “Yeah?” His gaze wandered to her lips and he brushed his thumb over them. So swollen. And just ready to be kissed again.

Maria leaned in again quickly and kissed him passionately. "I… I need…" She gasped out softly. She couldn't. She didn't want to embarrass herself when he turned her down.

“What?” He brushed his lips over hers briefly. “Tell me.” Whatever it was, he wanted to give it to her. Right now she could ask him anything. He probably would even agree to stay just as long as she wouldn’t get up from his lap.

"I… I need more Michael." She murmured softly, and cast her eyes down.

“More?” He gaped at her. More like… more? Oh heck, he had died and gone to heaven. No wait, this was hell. He was still completely disabled. “What… what should I do?”

She opened her mouth, and then closed it. "I'm sorry… I shouldn't have asked."

“No! No wait!” Damn, damn, damn. He should have just done something. But he wanted to do it right, so he thought asking would be good. But then again, if she would ask him, he wouldn’t tell her either. “Let’s make it another game?”

Maria nodded slowly. "But I don't want to hurt you…"

“I don’t want to hurt you either.” By doing it all wrong. He bit his lip. “I guess we’ll see what, uh, works.” Just what would she want him to do? He didn’t want his first time to be like this. With broken ribs and only one arm. That didn’t seem right. But maybe she didn’t care and it would be just another scratch on the list for her.

She nodded. "Okay…another game works…" It really was just a game to him wasn't it? "Your turn? Or mine?" Her voice came out a little shaky. She wanted him, more from him, but she wasn't sure if he could, she didn't want to cause him any pain.

“Yours.” Most definitely hers. He had no idea what to request of her. Okay, some he had, but he couldn’t do ask her that.

Maria slid her hand down and rested it on top of his. She bit her lip and slowly dragged his hand up beneath the hem of her skirt. Her eyes slid shut for a moment, and her jaw trembled. Her breathing quickened, and she wanted to push it farther under her skirt, and let his fingers really touch her, but she felt so unsure.

Michael raised his eyebrow but didn’t say anything. She wanted to be touched there? By him? He swallowed nervously and caressed her with trembling fingers, sliding his hand forward inch by inch, his eyes trained on her face so he could stop when she wanted him to.

"Oh." She moaned softly and dropped her head on his shoulder. Maria slid her hand up to rest on his wrist and rubbed it lightly encouraging him.

She would tell him when to stop, wouldn’t she? And it would be soon? He couldn’t watch her face anymore, but it was probably better this way. Because now she couldn’t see his insecurity either. But she would feel it… He rested his head against hers and boldly moved till he could feel her panties. shit! It almost made him pull back in shock, but he didn’t.

Maria's hips jerked slightly and she wrapped her fingers around his wrist. "More… please." She begged him softly. The pressure of his fingers, it only made her hotter, and made her want him more.

She must be used to doing this. And he shouldn’t behave like the inexperienced male virgin he was. She obviously wanted this maybe even more than he did, so there was no need to hesitate. Yeah. He gulped again and if possible, his fingers trembled even more when he slowly moved to the center of her thighs and then stroked three of his fingers along her panties.

A whimper tore past her lips and she gripped his back with the hand that she didn't have wrapped around his wrist. "Oh… Michael…" It felt so good. Her own fingers had never felt quite as good as his felt right now.

He applied more pressure and frowned. Was he sweating now as well? No wait, wait… this was her. It was a sign he did it right. He remembered having read about this once. “More?”

Maria nodded quickly. "Please!" Her thighs trembled and she turned her head slightly and latched onto his throat and sucked hard on his skin.

Encouraged once again, he moved his hand to get even closer and then just rubbed over her crotch with two of his fingers. This way he could do it faster and target more to where the wetness was coming from. Would she let him touch her bare skin too? He suddenly itched to know what she would feel like underneath the cloth.

She whimpered and ground her hips against his. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and her breathing was harsh. Michael's fingers felt so amazing. "Oh… Michael…"

He groaned when she moved against him, brushing over his cock. He hadn’t realized just how hard he was until now. “shit.” She was evil, so he could be evil too. He quickly moved her panties aside and then touched her bare skin, amazed that she was even softer there than anywhere else on her body before. He hadn’t thought that was even possible.

"Oh fuck." She hissed. She grabbed onto his wrist and squeezed it gently. "Yes. Oh… oh yes!" Maria threw her head back. She opened her eyes and slowly leaned her forehead forward again and looked at him. "That… feels so good."

“Yeah?” He smiled, then cleared his throat. “Uh, I mean sure it does.” Really? His smile returned and he twirled his fingers, to get even closer to the wetness. There was this hard spot that he suddenly discovered. Didn’t he read about this too?

"Oh!" Maria cried and bucked her hips against his hand. "Yes. Yes. Yes." She murmured, and pressed her hips closer to his hand, and to his hips.

Wow, he hadn’t expected that. It must be a really good spot. Concentrating more on it, he pressed a little harder and rubbed in small circles over it, all the time watching her beautiful face. Very good spot.

She bit down hard on her lip and clenched her eyes shut. "Michael… oh Michael…" All of the feelings were getting more and more intense.

“So beautiful.” It was like he had left his body and someone else was acting with it. Someone bolder, someone who knew what he had to do. Because she still let him touch her and was obviously enjoying it very much. He tried to move away from the nub again, but whenever he got back to it, her expression changed as if she was wired up, so he was now rubbing it in different ways to find out which was the best.

Maria sobbed with pleasure. "Michael." Every time he touched her differently it sent spikes of white hot bliss through her spine. She could feel the end was coming, she was so close, and she wanted to take a running leap off that precipice. But something was missing. "I need…"

“What?” Michael gave her a pleading look. He didn’t know, and it was driving him crazy. Billy would… No, no, he shouldn’t go there. He took a deep breath.

She forced her eyes open and looked at him with lust filled eyes before slipping one of her hands down to rest on top of his "Inside… please Michael. Inside of me."

“M…my fingers?” They were trembling again, hopefully she didn’t notice. Where did that guy go, the one who knew what to do?

Maria nodded her head quickly. "Please!" She managed out and slid her hand up along his arm before curling it around his shoulders. "Please Michael…"

Biting his lip, he looked at her and slowly did as she asked, using the two fingers he had been rubbing her with before. He kept his eyes trained on her face, afraid he would be hurting her, but his fingers slipped in surprisingly easy.

Her mouth fell open and her eyes slid shut. "Oh… god… yes… Michael." Maria bit her lip and bowed her head. Unconsciously she started to move her hips slightly against Michael's fingers.

Michael let her movements guide his and he thrust his fingers in time with her hips. Now that he had gotten over the first nervousness, he grew painfully aware of his aching erection again. He wished she wouldn’t have needed his fingers but his dick. Damn. He groaned.

It suddenly was too much for Maria, she saw fireworks of white lights behind her eyelids and her body froze. She went completely stiff in his arms for several long seconds before her hips jerked, her nails dug hard into his shoulder, and then she collapsed against his chest panting and gasping for breath. "Oh… oh Michael." She murmured softly as she tried to catch her breath. Nothing had ever felt so amazing.

Her hips stopped moving, so he stopped as well. He didn’t take his fingers back out though, because he kinda liked the way he could feel her twitching around his digits. God, he so wished it was his cock. He closed his eyes and took another deep breath. But they weren’t there. Yet. Would they get there one of these days? Soon? In the next five minutes? Because if not, he would have to leave for the bathroom again.

Suddenly Maria blushed deep red as she began to come to her senses once again. She lifted her head up from his chest and looked at him with a shy smile. "Thank you…" She murmured before kissing him softly against the mouth. "That was…wow." Her blush grew deeper and she bit her lip.

“Yeah, uh… no… no problem.” He looked away, suddenly blushing as well. But why was she blushing? She was the one used to it and all, right? “Should I, uh, you know…” Damn. “Pull my fingers back?”

Her jaw trembled a little. "Yeah." She murmured softly and carefully lifted herself off his fingers, and whimpered at the loss. Maria slid out of his lap and sunk down on the edge of the bed. Her muscles felt stiff, and she felt embarrassed. He had probably done this hundreds of times, and never with someone so inexperienced.

Michael looked at her and then at his fingers. She seemed distracted, so he slowly brought them up to his face and sniffed them. fuck. His cock twitched and he just had to lick at it. Oh hell, now it was even worse. Growling deeply, he quickly licked his fingers clean. It tasted like liquid sex.

Maria glanced over at him out of the corner of her eye and pushed some hair back from her face. She wanted to apologize for not being better, but at the same time, she didn't want to draw more attention to her inadequacy.

“Uhm…” He quickly hid the fingers behind his back. It was probably freakish to lick them clean, but maybe she hadn’t noticed.

"Sorry." She finally murmured quietly.

Michael frowned and scratched his eyebrow, then looked at his fingers, remembering. Damn. He quickly shook his head. “Why?”

"I'm sure… that I wasn't as good as all the other girls. But I've never… I… Billy… we never…" She shook her head and closed her eyes. "I'm just sorry."

“What?” His frown deepened. Had he passed out because all of the blood was in his lower half and now he was hallucinating? “You mean, you’ve never…?” He trailed off.

She wrapped her arms around her stomach and shook her head. "No." So he hadn't noticed? Now she felt even more stupid. She could have just faked it, and it wouldn't have known. "I should probably just go."

“If you want to.” His face fell. He didn’t want her to leave, but then again, it would enable him to slip into the bathroom without having to explain.

Maria nodded slowly and tears burned her eyes. He didn't have any objections to it. She was just another fling. And now that he knew she was inexperienced, he didn't want her anymore. She stood up quickly and moved towards the door. "Again… sorry it wasn't better." Maria said before leaving his room.

“No, wait!” God, he was so dumb.

Maria froze where she was and slowly turned back around. "What?" She asked defeated.

“I should be the one to apologize.” What did she even thing she was bad about? He had been touching her and had needed guidance while doing so.

"Why?" Maria asked confused. She leaned up against the doorframe and looked at him.

“You don’t think I have to?”

"No." She shook her head. "Why would you have to apologize for anything? If it's for what happened, because I'd never… before. Then don't. I'm the one that asked for it."

“No, I meant because I did it… wrong.” He scratched his eyebrow and blushed again. If he had let her leave, he wouldn’t have to lead this awkward conversation right now.

There was a right way and a wrong way? Maria shook her head again. "Could have fooled me."

Michael smirked. So it had really been good? “Yeah? You know, ditto.”

Maria smiled a little at him. He made her feel better. But she frowned again. "Do you still want me to leave?"

“I didn’t want you to leave, you said you wanted to leave. Remember?” At first he had thought she was done now and wouldn’t need him anymore, that’s why she wanted away. But maybe she was just as embarrassed as he was.

"Well you didn't exactly seem like you wanted me to stick around." She crossed her arms over her chest defensively.

“That’s because I…” He bit his lip and looked away. How could he tell her that all their actions had left him painfully hard. Even now after they had these misunderstandings and he should be turned down he was still more than turned on.

"It's okay, I get it… you don't want to do this with me anymore, that's fine…" Though horribly disappointing.

“What?” He frowned at her and opened his mouth. Now he really was at a loss. Didn’t she notice anything? “I do! God, I so do, I want nothing more right now than to continue our game, since it is my turn now. But…” But she wouldn’t want to touch him the way he touched her, would she?

"Oh." Maria's cheeks turned bright pink as she noticed the bulge in the front of Michael's pants. "Sorry." She murmured, even more embarrassed than she was before. "Yeah… of course." She stepped back inside his room and closed the door. "Just… tell me what to do."

“You don’t have to…” He didn’t want to force her to touch him, just because he had touched her. Fair was fair, but still, it would be so awkward.

"But I want to." It was only fair. And plus, she really wanted to. She just hoped that she wouldn't make an even bigger fool out of herself.

“You sure?” He swallowed and moved on the bed, trying to get more comfortable.

Maria moved over towards him slowly and nodded. "I'm sure." She stopped in front of him again and kissed him softly on the lips. "Just… show me, or tell me."

“Can you sit down? Please?” Maybe it would be easier if he wouldn’t have to look her in the eyes.

"Sure." She nodded and sat down on the bed beside him.

“Good.” He nodded and swallowed. It was weird, he was even more nervous now although it wasn’t him that had to do the touching.

"Okay… what now?" She felt anxious. She wanted to be able to make him feel good. As good as he had made her feel. She didn't think that she would be able to, but she wanted to try.

“Just… just touch it?” He glanced at her but then quickly looked away again.

She bit her lip a little. "How? I mean… through your pants, or inside?" Maria looked up at his face, he wasn't looking at her. She sighed inwardly and bowed her head.

“What you prefer.” He couldn’t help but look at her again. She didn’t seem too happy with this. “Look, you really don’t have to do this, if you don’t want to.”

"I want to!" She exclaimed. "But you're barely even looking at me. I just want to be able to make you feel at least half as good as you made me feel." Maria stared up into his deep brown eyes and watched him. "I want to do this Michael." She slid her hand over and rested it gently on his thigh first.

Michael gave her a weak smile. “Can we just kiss first?” Maybe that would relieve some of the tension. Not the one in his pants, but anywhere else on his body.

Maria nodded slightly. "Okay." She murmured and moved a little closer to him. She slid the hand that wasn't on Michael's thigh up and gently cupped his cheek before kissing him tenderly.

He leaned into her and kissed her back softly, then wrapped his arm around her, pulling her closer and kissing her again. Twisting hurt, he should have her sit in his lap again, but then it would be even worse when they’d get to the touching part again. He sighed.

She kissed slowly, parting her lips a little when he pulled her closer, before breaking the kiss to take in a breath. "Maybe you should lay back? Or against the pillows… I don't want you to hurt something…"

“That’s a good idea.” He nodded and pulled back a little. Then he could just close his eyes and relax.

Maria nodded and pulled back from him. "Against the pillows?" She asked and moved out of the way so he could get comfortable on the bed.

“Yeah.” He pulled his legs up on the bed and then robbed backwards till he reached them. Alright, he already felt much better as soon as he could lean back against something. He hadn’t realized that much of his tension had just been coming from sitting upright for so long.

She watched him move before she bit her lip and moved up to stretch out beside him. "This okay?" She asked as she pressed the length of her body against his good side.

“Uhuh.” He smiled and nodded again, then leaned down for another soft kiss. This was nice. Cozy.

"Good." She murmured against his lips and kissed him back tenderly. She rested one of her hands gently on his stomach while she rested most of her weight against her other arm.

Brushing his hand through her hair, he just kissed her again, deepening it this time. Maybe they should just skip the game, kiss a little longer and then she could let him head for the bathroom.

Maria took her time kissing Michael tenderly, but passionately. Her fingers rubbed over his stomach before inching their way down a little and dipping them under the hem of his shirt to touch his bare skin.

Michael moaned against her lips and slipped his hand down under her shirt as well. Her skin was so soft. And he just realized that with all the touching he had done today, he hadn’t really seen anything. “Can you take off your shirt?”

She bit her lip a little and then nodded. Slowly Maria pulled back and watched him as she pulled her top up over her head. She was thankful for the more grown up bra she had picked that morning.

He gaped at her. “That’s… a different bra.” The other one had been so cute, now this one… it was hot.

"Yeah…" She glanced down at her chest and then back at him. "You don't like it? My mom picked out the other one. I told her I was too old of stupid cartoon flowers and bunnies, I thought this was better… but you don't like it do you? It's just as stupid as the other one."

“No, no!” Why did she care? Did she want him to like it? “I like it, I really do. It’s…” He swallowed, unsure how to word it. “I like it.”

"Are you sure? Don't tell me that you like it just to spare my feelings or anything… I mean, if you don't like it, you can tell me."

“Are you going to take it off when I say I don’t?” He raised his eyebrow with a smirk.

She opened her mouth, and then closed it again. "Do you want me to?"

“You would?” He was gaping again. Damn, damn, damn. He had died and gone to heaven.

Maria watched him for a long moment and then nodded slowly. Would he laugh at her for it? She'd never taken her shirt off for Billy and they had been together for months. "I would."

“And I would want you to.” Why wouldn’t he?

Slowly Maria nodded and sat up a little more before reaching behind her and unsnapping the clasp. "Okay." She murmured and let the straps slip off her shoulders before she slowly dragged it down her arms, baring her chest to him.

********

Chapter Nine

“Oh, wow.” He looked back and forth between her perfect round orbs, unable to decide where to linger. She was just so pretty. Carefully reaching out with his good arm, he hesitated. “Can I touch?”

She smiled a little and nodded. "Of course." She tossed her bra down to the foot of the bed and moved closer to him again, giving him more access.

“I should stop asking, should I?” It showed just what a loser he was. He rolled his eyes at himself and then touched her, still careful, afraid she’d pull away any second because he’d hurt her.

She started to shake her head no, but then took in a quick breath when she felt his fingers against her skin. "Oh."

“You’re so soft.” He caressed her with his fingertips, slowly tracing the outlines of her breasts. His head was spinning. All of the stuff she let him do… Maybe it was time he let her touch him too.

"That… feels so good Michael." Maria tried to keep her eyes open to watch him, to watch his face. She wanted to know that he was enjoying it. "But… it's your turn Michael, not mine."

He pouted and touched her with his whole hand now, before she could tell him to stop doing it at all. Oh, this was nice. It just fit. He smiled and kneaded her soft flesh, smirking when he felt her nipple growing harder. Because from all he remembered, that was a good sign too.

Her mouth fell open and her hand shot up to rest on top of his. "Michael." She breathed out and then leaned forward to kiss him passionately. She shouldn't be the only one getting any pleasure from this. She was supposed to be helping him, not the other way around.

He responded to the kiss and moved around, trying to rub against her. He felt like he was gonna explode any second now, it was suddenly all too much for him. And he had been hard since how long now? It felt like at least the whole day.

She curled one of her arms around him while the other slid back down to rub against his stomach, this time slipping under his shirt quicker than before, and then, moments later she dipped her tiny hand under the elastic waistband.

His eyes grew wide and he reached down as well to grab her wrist, but then he let go of her again. He wanted her to touch him, no, he needed her to touch him.

Maria paused for a moment before daring to slip lower. She came in contact with his boxers, paused a second longer, and then slid her hand inside. She wrenched her mouth away from his and gasped softly at the flesh she felt. She looked up at his face and slowly, carefully wrapped her fingers around it. It was hard, but soft to the touch, silky smooth under her fingertips.

“Maria…” He opened his mouth, at a loss for words. His whole body was trembling now. Why did it feel so different when she touched him than from all the countless times he had touched himself?

She bit her lip and glanced down at her hand covered by his pants, then back up at his face. "Is this… okay?" Was she doing it right? Did he actually like what she was doing? Or was he going to tell her he wanted to go take care of it in the bathroom again?

“Uhuh.” He nodded dumbstruck and cupped her cheek. “More than.” He smiled nervously and then pulled her close for another kiss.

Maria kissed him back quickly but broke apart for a second to mumble softly. "I don't know what I'm doing." Then she kissed him again, as she began to stroke the hard length in her hand.

Michael chuckled. “Doesn’t feel like it.” It was nice to hear it though. Because it meant she hadn’t done that for Billy. He bit his lip and sat back to watch her.

She looked back up at him for a second before focusing her attention on her hidden hand. She wanted to do it right, to make him enjoy it, for him to be happy. Her fist moved slowly, it felt so nice in her hand.

“Oh, damn.” He bit his lip harder to keep from pulling away. All those feelings, they were a little too much. He had to distract himself, and the best way to do so was to touch her again as well. So with a sly smile, Michael reached out to caress her breasts again.

Maria gasped softly and arched her back. "Michael… " She breathed out. "Oh… dammit. That's… so good." Unconsciously she tightened her fist around his dick and began to pump him faster.

“Oh, shit! That… that too.” He moved his hips in time with her strokes unconsciously and twisted one of her nipples. And once again he cursed having one of his arms in a cast. There had to be a reason for having two arms when there were two breasts to be touched.

Quickly she leaned forward and kissed him hard. Her mouth latched onto his and she sucked on his lower lip. She pumped him quicker. His hand against her breast felt so amazing, she never wanted him to stop touching her.

“fuck!” He pulled back from the kiss and looked at her suddenly panicked. “You… you have to stop!”

Maria quickly jumped away from him, hurt written across her face. "I'm sorry!" She exclaimed. "I… I hurt you? I did it wrong didn't I?" Tears welled up in her eyes and she scrambled for her bra and her shirt as she hurried to get off the bed.

“No, no, that’s not it.” He grabbed her wrist to keep her from leaving. “I just… I’m about to…” He sighed. “Your mother will be cleaning my pants.” He shrugged helplessly.

"Oh…" She bowed her head and shifted slightly. "Sorry…" She felt even more stupid now.

“It’s… it’s messy for me.” He shrugged again, hoping she would understand. This sucked. He wanted nothing more than to cum by her hand right now, but he couldn’t. Not if he ever wanted to look her mother in the eye.

"Right…" She had no clue, she didn't know about anything. Well, she knew, but she didn't really know.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled and scratched his eyebrow. Now wouldn’t be a good time to finally leave for the bathroom, would it?

She shrugged a little. "It's… not your fault. You can do whatever it is that you need to do… I'll leave you alone." Maria said as she pulled her bra back on and then pulled on her shirt.

Michael nodded. “I really would have wanted you to… do it, you know.” He sighed and slowly started to get up off the bed. Maybe they could when he was better, and able to do his own laundry.

Maria just watched him but then quickly walked over and kissed him tenderly on the lips. "Thank you." She whispered.

“What for?” He cocked his head and brushed some fingers through her hair.

She shrugged a little and tilted her head towards his hand. "Just… thank you." He wasn't a jerk, like Billy had been sometimes. Maria had never let things escalate so far, with him before, but he'd been pissy when she stopped it, but Michael, he stopped it, and she understood why. "You should go… take care of that." She murmured quietly.

“Yeah.” He smiled a little. “Then maybe we can get back to the kissing.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

"Yeah." Maria murmured and gave him another soft kiss before stepping back, to let him leave the room.

Unsure for a second, Michael scratched his eyebrow and then nodded. “I’ll just…” He trailed off again and then left the room to vanish for the privacy of the bathroom. Once in there he cursed. He should have let her come with him and then she could have… no. No, it was better this way.

Sighing softly after he left Maria walked over to his bed and straightened out the blankets a little. This was Kyle's bed. Not Michael's. They nearly… she had… in her brother's bed. When the reality hit her she quickly backed away from it. It was where her brother always slept and she was making out with a boy in her brother's bed! She dashed out of the room and closed the door tightly behind her and just leaned up against it, waiting for Michael.

A few minutes later, Michael left the bathroom again, surprised to find Maria waiting for him outside. “Hey.” He blushed a little, knowing she knew just what he had just done.

"Hi." Maria murmured quietly. She couldn't help but smile a little. He was cute, and when he blushed, it made him even cuter. "If we're gonna… could we go to my room?"

He shrugged. “Sure.” Passing his hand through his hair, he looked down at the floor. Should they talk about it?

She started to head towards her room but stopped short and looked at him. "You okay?" She asked him softly. Maybe he was just done with her for the day.

“Yeah, just…” He bit his lip and shrugged again. “Confused.”

"About what?" Maria asked tucking some hair behind her ear.

Was she serious? He frowned. Maybe she wasn’t and he was just acting stupid again. “Never mind. Let’s just go to your room.”

"No… stop." She grabbed his wrist and shook her head. "Tell me."

“Not if you’re not.” He pouted and glanced at her quickly before looking away again.

"If I'm not what? Confused? God Michael, I'm confused as hell… I just didn't want to admit to it. It's bad enough that I already admitted that I don't know anything." Maria sighed and released his wrist from her grasp.

Suddenly Michael smiled and leaned down to give her a soft kiss. It was good to hear that, now he felt better. They wouldn’t have to talk about it. In fact, he hadn’t really wanted to in the first place, but he had to know if she felt the same way about this.

She kissed him back softly, and wrapped an arm around his waist. "Michael…" She murmured softly and tilted her head back a little to look up at him. "What are we doing?"

“Kissing.” He smirked and leaned forward again for a longer kiss.

"I didn't mean… Oh forget it." Maria mumbled and moved closer to him and kissed him again. His mouth tasted good, and she could feel the warmth of his body seeping into hers, and she loved it.

He had a pretty good idea what she had meant, but this was better than talking. Acting it out. Whatever it was. Kissing, haying fun, playing games. Dangerous games. But those were always the most fun, weren’t they? He grinned against her lips and buried his hand in her hair to keep her close to him.

She moaned against his mouth and kissed him back passionately. Her lips parted and her tongue darted out to stroke gently across his lips. Maria slid one of her hands under the back of his shirt and gently stroked her fingertips along his spine.

“Maria…” Michael moaned and tried to lean closer, but his cast was in the way. He sighed and reluctantly pulled away. “You room?”

Maria nodded and took a step back. "Yeah." She walked with him to her room and closed the door once they were inside. "So uh… you want to sit down?"

“Yes!” Lying down would be even better. He looked around her room, striding over to her bed. Then he stopped. “Uh, your bed okay?”

"Yeah, it's a good place to sit." She smiled a little and walked over and sat down on it and then looked up at him.

“It’s a good place to lie down as well.” Smirking again, he sat down next to her.

"It is… do you want to?" She offered.

“I probably should.” When they remained sitting, his ribs would become an issue again.

"Yeah, it's probably a better idea." Maria smiled a little at him.

Michael nodded and smiled, then moved carefully till he was lying down on her bed. He let out a deep groan once he was settled and then yawned. Damn, he was always so tired after he had an orgasm.

Maria smiled and then stretched out on the bed beside him, before snuggling up against his side. It was nice to just relax. She could forget about everything, except for Michael.

Wrapping his good arm around her, he kissed her forehead and then yawned again. Damn. The embarrassment never stopped, did it?

"Get some rest Michael." She murmured and wrapped her arm around his waist and rested her head gently against his shoulder.

“Mhmm.” His eyes fell close on their own account. Maybe he could still blame it on being sick. Or something. Right now he didn’t care, he just wanted to sleep. And he did within minutes.

Maria suddenly felt sleepy and was pleased to see Michael fall asleep. She tipped her head back and kissed his jaw before snuggling close to him. She let her eyes slip shut and drifted off to sleep.

Michael was woken up by loud noises downstairs. He groaned and disentangled himself from Maria to rub his eyes. Then suddenly he realized just what these noises meant. Deep trouble! “Maria. Maria, wake up.” His voice was a hushed whisper and he nudged her not to softly.

She was jerked from her dreams by Michael and sat up quickly. "What? What?!" She mumbled. Then she heard the distinct sounds of her parents. "Oh my god!" She gasped out in a hushed whisper. She was dead. She knew it. Her parents were going to kill her when they found Michael in her room, in her bed. Of course they would know what they had done!

“You think they’re going to notice?” Maybe he could quickly dash into his room? Or well, at least slouch over there as fast as he was able to with his broken ribs and still sleep-laced muscles.

“Maria? Baby, are you there?” Amy knocked on the door.

Michael looked at Maria panicked. They had to come up with a cover story.

Maria shot the same panicked look back at Michael. This couldn't be happening. "Just a minute." Her voice cracked slightly and she jumped up from the bed. "You… have to hide!" She hissed at him. "Oh!" She pointed at the closet. "In there!"

“What?” Michael hissed, “In the closet? Can’t we just say I came in here to, I dunno, just hang out?”

"No Michael, she'll know." Maria whimpered and her eyes darted between Michael, and the door. What did it really matter any more though? She was already grounded for life because of the Billy thing.

Would they kick him out then? A few days ago he wouldn’t have cared, not even when he was hurt. He could also just cure it out lying on a street corner, but now… now he wasn’t ready to leave Maria yet. They still had so much more to… explore. “Alright.” He sighed and got up off the bed and then hurried to the closet.

She watched him for a minute before she hurried over to the door and cracked it open part way. "Yeah mom?" She asked quietly.

Michael had just closed the door behind him when she opened hers. He took a deep breath and tried to keep the wheezing down. Hurrying here had not been the best idea. He just hoped Amy wouldn’t notice.

“I just wanted to tell you we’re back.” Amy smiled. And she wanted to see if her daughter was okay and not still mad at them for grounding her. “And ask what you wanted for dinner.”

Maria shrugged a little. Dinner. Like she really cared when she had Michael hiding in her closet? "Uh… whatever you and daddy want is fine."

Amy shrugged. “I’m gonna ask Michael then. You think he’s awake?”

She shook her head quickly. "No! I mean, I checked on him a few minutes ago, he was asleep, so he probably still is now…"

“Oh.” Amy made a face but then nodded. “He will need his sleep. Thank you for checking on him, Maria.” She knew her daughter didn’t really like him, but Michael depended on her right now, when they were gone.

Maria nodded. "No problem mom."

Amy smiled again and then turned to leave. “We’ll eat in an hour.”

"Okay mom." Maria smiled at her a little and closed the door. She leaned up against it and let out a breath. In a few minutes she would send Michael back to his room.

Michael slowly opened the door again, almost falling out along with it because he finally allowed himself to relax. “shit.” He leaned against the wall and finally gulped in some much needed air.

She rushed to his side. "Are you okay?" Carefully she curled her arms around him and held onto him. Please don't pass out. She silently begged. That is just what she'd need.

He nodded and leaned into her. “Just…” He pointed towards the bed. He just wanted to sit down.

Maria helped him over to her bed and let him sit down. "As soon as you're feeling better, we need to get you down to your room though."

“I know.” Michael sighed, slowly calming down again. “That was close.”

Maria nodded a little. "Yeah, but she didn't suspect anything, it's okay."

“Tomorrow we have to be more careful.” They just had to stay in his room. There was always an excuse for her to be there.

"Yeah." She murmured quietly and kissed his jaw softly. "Alright… feeling well enough to get up? Mom said dinner was in an hour."

“But that means we still have half an hour at least.” He cocked his head and then gave her a soft kiss. He knew he should head back to his room, he just didn’t want to.

She sighed happily against his lips and then shook her head. "No, Michael, if one of them happens to go check on you… and you're not there. We're both screwed."

“I know.” He sighed again and then leaned in for another kiss, his breathing finally having returned to normal. “I’m going in a minute.”

"Michael." Maria murmured against his mouth. "A minute is going to turn into five…and then thirty, and then they are going to come up here, and we'll both be in trouble."

“Hmm.” After stealing another kiss, he reluctantly pulled back and stood up, passing his hand through his hair. “Alright, I’m going.” Maybe they could get together again at night, after her parents were in bed.

"Good, go." She couldn't help but smile up at him. "But go quietly…" She bit her lip and walked over to the door.

Michael rolled his eyes. No he was gonna slam her door and then sing all the way to his room. “I’ll see you later.” He reached out and stroked over her hair before leaning in for another short kiss.

Maria stood on her tip-toes and kissed him back slowly, and softly. "Soon." She murmured and smiled a little.

Smiling back, he tugged at a lock of her hair and then quietly opened her door to steal out. He really liked her hair short, though she probably still didn’t. But at least she obviously forgave him for cutting it. He took a last glance back and then went back to his own room.

She reached up and touched her own hair. He liked it. She missed it's length, but it was growing on her. Maria smiled a little and sighed as she fell back on her bed and closed her eyes.

When he was back in his room, Michael went back to his bed and drank the glass of water from before. He still couldn’t believe what had happened today. And what more could have, if he wouldn’t have been so weak. He was almost glad that Mr. Valenti had dragged him here, though he still was needed in the war. But they would have to be able to manage without him for a few weeks longer now.

After a little while Maria left her room and went downstairs to help prepare dinner, but she felt like she was floating on cloud nine. Everything with Michael. It had been so… intense, and incredible. And they really hadn't done anything, well they did, but not much.

********

Chapter Ten

Later that evening they were all assembled around the table for dinner. Jim had helped Michael down the stairs again and Michael had happily realized that it went better and better. Maybe tomorrow he would be able to do so alone.

When they had been gone, Jim had obviously met up with another soldier and was now telling the news about the war. “And they said they have powers. Weird stuff, like energy blasts and such.”

Michael coughed and almost dropped his fork. “Powers?”

“Yeah. He said they’re popping out all over now. Mostly teenagers your age. Some can heal, others can do stuff to your mind. But I don’t know, maybe they just made that all up. I for one haven’t seen any of these freaks myself, and before I do, I’m not going to believe any of those stories.”

Maria jerked her head up from her happy daydream of Michael and looked at her father. "Daddy… don't call them freaks. They're just… different."

Jim frowned at his daughter. “Different? You call reading someone’s mind different? Or those energy blasts! You know what damage they can do in the war? Because for all I know, so far all of them are working for Kivar.”

Michael swallowed. He knew he was needed, and now more than ever. There were more of his kind? That was comforting in a way, but also pretty scary. What was he? And why him? He smiled a little at Maria. It felt good to hear her speaking up for him, even though nobody else at the table could know that she was talking about him.

She sighed in agitation. "Yeah, they're different… if they were fighting on your side you wouldn't have problems with them now would you? Just because some of them are working for the enemy… doesn't mean that they're all bad."

“No, but they’re not normal either.” Jim shrugged.

“What… what exactly are they?” Michael cocked his head. “I mean, do they know where the powers are coming from?”

”My friend called them mutations. Kivar obviously says they’re a the new improved humans.”

“Kivar? He has powers too?” Michael’s eyes grew wide. This couldn’t be good.

“At least they’re saying so. But it might still all be an act, just to get us scared of him.” Jim had heard many lies in his days and this might just be one of them.

Maria looked at Michael, slightly panicked. "But you say some of them can heal… isn't that a good thing? They could heal people that are dying. Isn't that a good thing?!"

“Not if they heal Kivar’s men, it isn’t.” Jim sighed. It would mean their men went down but whenever they landed a blow it would be erased just like that. “It’s dangerous.”

She sighed softly and poked at her food. Michael wasn't dangerous… was he? She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and bit her lip.

“But they’re not all working for Kivar, can they?” There had to be people like him too. Good people. They couldn’t all work for the enemy.

“Yes, they are. Who knows, maybe he’s putting something into their water to create those abominations.”

Abominations. Michael gulped. And dangerous. Yes, that’s what he was. He couldn’t control it and never knew when it would break out again. Maybe Kivar didn’t care. Maybe he knew how to control it and that was why they all went to work for him.

"Daddy stop it!" Maria yelled at him. "You don't know that! This is all just stuff that you've heard! And how much of that is really true!?"

“If there really are these mutants, I know they are dangerous. It’s not good when one man has more power over another, and these things, they have way more power than normal people.” Jim tried to give her daughter a serious look. “And if you ever meet one like that, promise me to run away as fast as you can.”

Slowly she shook her head. "No… I won't…" Maria whispered softly. "You can't…"

"Maria. Do not talk back to your father. Now sit down and finish eating." Amy said calmly.

"No!" Maria shook her head. Why were they doing this? She didn't understand. Michael wasn't a mutant! He wasn't mean! He was really sweet. If only they knew…

“He’s right.” Michael shot her a sharp look. “These freaks sound dangerous. You should listen to your father.”

She looked at Michael and her face crumbled. "May I please be excused."

Jim sighed. “Alright, go. But stay in the house.” He didn’t know what was wrong with his daughter lately. But maybe she did know one of them. Maybe that Billy guy was one of them?

Quickly she got up from the table and ran up the stairs to her room, slamming the door behind her. And then she burst into tears. Stupid Michael. Why was he siding with her father?!

“You think Billy is one of them?” Jim leaned closer to his wife.

Billy? Michael’s eyelid twitched. Just the mention of this name send his blood rushing through his ears. And to think he could be like him? Crap! He could feel it building again and the plate in front of him started to shake. He quickly put his hand onto it, to keep it down.

"Maybe honey." Amy patted Jim's hand. "Try not to think about it too much, I'll try to talk to her later." She offered.

Michael had trouble calming down again. It was all too much and he tried too hard. He couldn’t risk exposing himself. Now would be the worst of all times. “Can I, uh, please go too?”

"Oh, of course Michael." Amy nodded to him. She and Jim needed to discuss their daughter's behavior anyways.

“Thanks.” He quickly emptied his glass of water and then stood up, taking a last longing glance at the food. But he couldn’t risk staying down here.

Jim stood up as well. “I’ll help you.”

“No!” Michael shook his head. “No, I… I think I can go on my own. Thanks.”

“You sure?” Jim raised his eyebrow.

“Yeah.”

“Alright. But don’t hesitate to call me when you need help after all.” He sat back down next to his wife.

Michael nodded and then left, trying to hide that his hands were shaking. Maybe he should go outside and just let it out. But maybe somebody could see him. He sighed and then slowly took on the stairs.

Maria silently got up from her bed and headed for her door. She'd just go take a hot shower and cry in there. But as she headed for the bathroom door she spotted Michael coming up the stairs and bit her lip. The bathroom door was too far away, she would risk actually having to speak to him. If she went to her room, he'd noticed the door slamming and probably want to talk to her or something, so she just froze. Not moving, not breathing. Hoping he wouldn't notice her in the darkened hallway.

Leaning against the wall as soon as he was upstairs, Michael jumped when he suddenly spotted her in the dark. The sudden shock was too much for him, and he could feel the energy crackling through his fingertips as he shot a small blast right to the wall right next to her. “fuck.”

She jumped away from the wall, doing everything she could not to scream out in fright. She looked at him quickly, panic in her eyes, and wonder. When he was angry, he had said. What was he angry about?

Michael stared at her, then at his hand. If he wouldn’t have been so exhausted from the walk upstairs, or if he would have aimed just a bit more to the right… He didn’t want to think about it. He was getting sick. “I…” Shaking his head, he quickly vanished into his room, closing the door behind him.

Her jaw trembled a little and she darted back into her bedroom and leaned up against the door. Her breathing labored. Maybe her father was right… Slowly she slid down to the floor and covered her face with her hands as she tried to calm herself down.

As soon as he had reached the bed, he slumped down on it, still staring at his hand. What had he done? What could he have done? But she had startled him. What was she doing there hiding in the dark? This was her fault as much as his, and… and no, it was all his fault. Because he was a mutant freak. One of Kivar’s men, though he didn’t know it yet. He sighed and closed his eyes. Why did his life have to suck so much? And the worst always happened just when it had started to lighten up a bit.

A few hours later Michael was still unsuccessfully trying to find sleep. But he was still worried about what had happened, what he was capable of. Had he hurt her? He’d missed her with the blast, but still, maybe something had hit her after all? He hadn’t even stayed long enough to make sure.

And they had a date for the night anyways. Not like he really expected her to still want to be kissing him, but who knew. Maybe she was waiting for him? No wait, they had said his room, didn’t they? He frowned and sat up. And what if she had wanted to come, but was lying in her room hurt, or dead. It was all no good, he had to go and check on her.

He pulled his shirt back on and then silently went to her room, knocking softly before he quickly entered, afraid her parents could hear him and even more afraid she’d tell him to go away.

Maria was laying in the dark on her bed, dressed in her pajamas, trying to fall asleep. It just wasn't happening. Then she heard a knock on the door. She jerked her head in that direction, and saw Michael standing in her room. "What do you want?" She asked her voice cracking slightly.

“I just…” He scratched his eyebrow, leaning against the door. “Just wanted to make sure you are okay.” She was. So now he could turn and leave again. Yeah, he really should.

She rolled back onto her side on her bed and closed her eyes. "I'm fine. What do you care anyways?" He was a jerk. A big, stupid jerk.

“What?” His face fell and he stared at her. “What’s that supposed to mean? Of course I care!” Was this about him just running away before? It had to be.

"Bull. You do not." She rolled her eyes and twisted her upper body around and glared at him in the dark. "Dangerous freaks? Listen to your father?" She hissed at him. "You could have just flat out said you were done with me. You didn't have to side with my father."

“But he’s right. They, me… I am dangerous. Look what just happened earlier!” He finally took a few steps closer to her. “I could have really hurt you.”

"Screw you. Just… get out." She turned back around and clenched her eyes shut. It wasn't fair. Why did he have to act like he cared? Tears filled her eyes again and she sighed inwardly.

“So I didn’t?” He leaned down slightly, trying to see more of her. “You’re okay?”

"I'm fine." She muttered. "You didn't do anything to me. The wall, I didn't stop to look. You said you only did that when you were mad… you were mad about my father weren't you? He's a jerk…"

“No, that’s not it. It was the whole situation. The war.” He shrugged. Why was he telling her this? Why was she always making him tell her stuff he didn’t want to? “All of the mutants fighting for Kivar.” He made a short pause and scratched his eyebrow. “Being a mutant.”

"He doesn't know what he is talking about. You don't know that all of the people like you are fighting for Kivar. Maybe they're just afraid, because they don't want people to know… because they think that the others will think they are spies or something." She turned her body again slightly.

“Spies, or just dangerous mutant freaks.” He sighed and backed up against the wall again so he could lean against it. Standing so much after his body was already used to lying down wasn’t very good.

"You're not a freak." She whispered and sighed inwardly. He wouldn't believe her. She knew that. Maybe he really was. He nearly zapped her with… whatever it was.

She didn’t disagree on ‘dangerous mutant’. Michael closed his eyes. Of course she didn’t, he could have killed her this evening, and maybe even before, when that asshole, Billy, wouldn’t have left. “Look, I’m just gonna leave again. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

It was good that he was leaving. That is what Maria was trying to convince herself as the tears filled her eyes and she pulled her knees up towards her chest.

He pushed himself away from the wall and passed his hand through his hair. “Night.” He bit his lip and sighed once again, before making his way over to the door.

"Good night." She whispered quietly.

After taking one last look back at her, Michael left her room and quietly went back to his own. This didn’t go so well. Or maybe it did, considering what he had went over for in the first place. She was okay and she was still talking to him, but she hadn’t kissed him or even touched him. But that was good, because they shouldn’t do this anymore. Maybe he was contagious. Could he really be sure he was not?

He sighed and sat down on his bed, passing his hands through his hair. He had to start testing it out. Practising to focus his anger or something. Anything. But it couldn’t go on like this. Not even when he went to war. What if he got out of control there and then went off on his fellow soldiers instead of Kivar’s men? He had never thought of that before.

Yeah, it was settled. As soon as her parents would be gone the next day, he would sneak out and go somewhere into the woods, where he could hurt nobody but himself.


Early the next day, Jim was looking around the table. He had wanted to put this off till the evening dinner, but why wait? His supervisors expected a reply as soon as possible and he shouldn’t let them wait. “So, Michael…” he started. “You seem to have healed a great deal by now.”

”Yeah, guess I have.” Michael smiled a little. It still hurt and all, but it was a great progress to be able to walk the stairs all on his own. Sure, Mr. Valenti had always been nice about it, but Michael just hated needing anyone’s help, even more than asking them for it.

“You think you still need me for something? Climbing stairs, getting dressed, something only I could do?” He gave Amy an apologetic smile, but his small wife wouldn’t have been able to hold Michael upright for too long.

Michael frowned, then he shrugged. “Nope. I’m all fine. Uh, thank you, Mr. Valenti.”

“Good.” Jim nodded and took a deep breath. “Good. Because I am needed at the front again. I only took a longer leave because you fell and well, now that you’re fine again…”

"What?!" Maria hadn't been paying much attention to the conversation. She was busy pouting over Michael being … whatever he was, and her father's aversion to it. "Dad! You can't! You just got home a few days ago!"

“But baby, I just got home to bring Michael with me. You know I wasn’t due back until next month.” He grabbed Amy’s hand and squeezed it. His wife was silent and he didn’t blame her. He didn’t want to leave either, but he had to.

"But… but why can't you stay?! Just a few weeks longer!" Tears burned at her eyes but she blinked them back quickly.

“I’m sorry. The only reason I would have had was if Michael had needed my help. But he’s fine now, so I have to do what I have to do.”

Maria stared at her father, then looked at Michael and narrowed her eyes before sighing and slumping down in her chair with her head bowed.

He caught Maria’s look and gulped. Damn. But if he had known that was the reason her dad had started this, he probably would have made something up. For her. He kinda still owed her. And now he gave her father a reason to leave his family again. Great. She really must love him right now.

She sat through breakfast silently. Her parents talked, she didn't listen to a word. She was plotting her revenge against Michael. He cut her hair, he made her feel so special, and now he drove her father away.

Silently she helped clear the table, sulking the entire time. He was going to leave, and it was all Michael's fault. Stupid, stupid Michael!

After breakfast, Michael sat down on the couch in the living room. He hoped the Valentis would leave soon, and this way he saved the strength he’d need for climbing the stairs twice. As soon as they were gone, he would be gone too. Then Maria couldn’t kill him.

Maria followed her parents into the living room as they prepared to leave, after saying their goodbyes, and closing the door behind them Maria turned on Michael and crossed her arms over her chest and gave him the dirtiest of dirty looks.

“So, they’re gone, huh?” He squirmed. This wasn’t the plan. Why hadn’t she gone up to her room before? He looked around. If he could make a mad dash out the back… he’d fall flat down on his face as soon as he was out of the house, because he would be out of breath. He sighed and reluctantly faced her again.

"How could you do this to me?!" She yelled suddenly at him. "First you cut off my hair because I pissed you off, and then I nearly…" Nearly had sex with you. "And then you agreed with him about people like you being dangerous, and now this!? Now you drive my father away! Why couldn't you have just told him you needed him a little bit longer, suck it up, get over your pride, because I need him! He was only home a few days and now he's leaving again and who knows when or if I'll see him ever again!" Tears had started to fill her eyes when she first began her spiel. But now she was angry. Livid. She wanted to walk over to him and smack him as hard as she could until he had no choice but to need her father again.

“I didn’t know that was why he asked me.” Michael shrugged a little. “I just… I didn’t know, okay?”

"No! It's not okay!" His father had been in the war, didn't he understand it?

“He would have left anyways.” Sooner or later. Okay, so he knew what a few more days could mean. Although he understood that good soldiers were needed in the war, he had never wanted his father to leave either.

"I know that." Maria wrapped her arms around herself and sighed inwardly. But a few days could have been a lifetime.

Passing his hands through his hair again, Michael stood up. “I really didn’t know.” He gave her an apologetic smile and then left for the backdoor.

Her brow furrowed as he got up and left the room. "Where are you going?" She asked confused. Just because she was mad, didn't mean she wanted to be left alone completely. Where she could just cry and wallow in self pity.

“Out.” Michael opened the door and closed it behind him, hoping she wouldn’t follow. Who knew how it would work out? He surely didn’t need an audience.

She opened her mouth, but the door was already closed. Sighing heavily she sunk down onto the couch and rested her head in her hands.

********

Chapter Eleven

As soon as he was a bit away from the house, he turned around and looked for her. She didn’t follow. Good. Kinda. Though she would have been good to help him built his powers up. Get him real mad and riled up. She sure was the best at that. He sighed and looked around some more. Nobody else in sight either. Alright, now he had to concentrate. Yeah. Easy.

Maria sat on the couch for some time, chewing on her lip, thinking. She had every right to be mad at Michael. But, he didn't know… that was no excuse. She got up and walked to the backdoor and took a deep breath before walking outside, and in the direction she hoped that Michael had gone.

Holding up his arm, he tried to channel his energies. But nothing. Not even a little sizzling. He was too depressed to be angry. Maria. He couldn’t forget her face when Jim had announced that he was leaving again. He should be angry that she blamed it on him afterwards, but he just wasn’t.

Finally after a few minutes she spotted him. What was he doing? He raised his arm and she tensed up for a second, but nothing happened. "What are you doing Michael?" She asked as she got closer to him.

He jumped and turned around, finally feeling it building. Of course. “I was, uh…” He quickly took his arm down so he wouldn’t blast in her direction. Again.

Maria looked at him, then at his hand before sighing inwardly. Practicing, so that maybe he could kill her next time he 'accidentally' blasted at her. "I just wanted to… see if maybe you were going to fall and break your neck, so I could point and laugh at you."

Michael raised his eyebrow and bit back a smirk. “Sorry. No such luck.” He turned again and focused on a tree. She already knew he had powers, so he should use the power that had finally built. He closed his eyes and then send a blast towards it, hitting the tree right in the middle.

She flinched a little when the blast hit the tree. "Well… should I say nice aim? Or bad shot?"

Michael smiled. “Nice aim.”

Maria slowly sat down on the grass where she had stood, and looked up at him. "Impress me. Tell me where you're aiming, before you blast. Otherwise how am I supposed to know whether or not you're telling the truth?"

Turning slightly again, Michael looked at her. “You’re gonna stay and watch?”

"I'm still waiting for you to fall and break your neck. And by the way, when you do, I won't be running for help or anything."

“If I break my neck, you won’t have to anymore.” He turned again and looked at the tree again. He still had some juice in him. Was it really all her? “The branch,” he announced before sending a blast towards it.

She jumped slightly at the sound of his powers crackling through the air. They didn't really make a sound, but Maria could feel it. "Well, I'm waiting. Just one that you predicted to me… I don't know that it isn't a fluke."

Michael’s smile died before it could fully light up his face. “But… but… didn’t you see?” He had hit just the branch he had wanted to. And it had been a rather slim one at that. Slimmer than the whole tree at least.

"Yeah, I saw it, but it could have just been blind, dumb luck." Maria shrugged. He deserved this. It was the least she could do for him being so wretched to her. She would simply return the favor.

He twitched. At least he could thank her for his anger never subsiding. “Alright, so you pick something.”

She tilted her head to the side a little and glanced around the scenery. She looked up near the top of one of the trees, a single blossom was left. "That, up there, the little pink flower."

“What?” His mouth dropped open. “The flower?” That tiny little aim? He could barely see it to begin with. “That poor lonely blossom that’s still holding on to dear life?” She was a girl, that should get to her. Hopefully.

"Knock it down… don't destroy it, pretend you're picking it for me." She smirked at him. "Well, I mean, unless that is, you think you can't hit it."

“No I… I can.” He bit his lip and tried to look confident, but he was anything but. “So you want to have that flower?”

"Yeah, if you can do it." Maria taunted him. "I'd prefer it whole, and not burnt to a crisp."

Michael glared at her but then concentrated on the flower. Now she made him so mad, he had way too much energy in him. He had to turn it down. Or channel it somehow. But even with less, how on Antar was he supposed to get that teeny tiny flower down from up there. He sighed but then suddenly got an idea. He smirked and sent a blast to the branch the flower was up on, sending it crashing down to the ground.

Maria gasped when the branch hit the ground. "Cheater." She told him and pouted. She sighed softly and stared at the little flower on the now broken limb of the tree.

“What?” He shrugged and bent down slowly to pick it up. “You wanted the flower, didn’t you?” With a satisfied smirk he dropped the branch again and then offered the flower to her.

She looked up at him and slowly took the flower from his fingers. "Thank you…" She whispered. How was it that he could be so sweet one moment, and then so cruel the next.

His smirk turned into a smile and he blushed a little, realizing what he was doing. He was handing a pretty girl a flower. Wasn’t that usually rewarded with a kiss? But he had to stay away from her. Or at least avoid intimate physical contact.

Maria just watched him for a moment before looking down at the flower in her hand. "I should… go back to the house." She stumbled slightly over her words.

“Yeah, it’s safer in there.” Michael nodded. He didn’t want her to leave though. She was making him angry. And right now she was making him feel dizzy.

"Yeah…" Maria glanced back up at him for a moment before she sighed inwardly and stood up. "Just… be careful." She murmured before heading back to the house.

“You too,” he muttered silently when she was already out of earshot. This all just sucked. Why couldn’t he be normal? He had always hoped that his abilities would help him fight, but if everyone else was fighting for Kivar, what did that mean for him? He passed his hand through his hair and then sat down on a tree stump to rest a bit before he would practise some more.

She walked up to her room, carefully protecting the little flower Michael had given her the entire time. She reached her room, closed the door behind her, and then walked across her room to her bed. Maria sat down and pulled open the drawer of her night stand and then carefully laid the little flower on top of a notebook she had inside. Why she was taking such care with the flower, she really didn't know. But she couldn't stop herself.

After another hour of blasting branches, Michael finally went back into the house as well. He felt drained and wouldn’t have been able to gather up more power anymore even if he had wanted to. It was time for a nap. Or maybe a shower. But with the cast he couldn’t take one. Maybe he should blast the cast… but how would he explain that to the Valentis?

He silently walked up the stairs and then entered his room, falling flat down on the bed right away. He let out a loud groan and kicked off his shoes, before getting a little more comfortable and closing his eyes. At least he had done something really productive today.

Maria closed the drawer quickly when she heard someone walking through the house. Then she heard Michael groan and leapt up from her bed and hurried out of her room. Quickly she walked down to Michael's room and burst inside, without bothering to knock. He could have hurt himself after all. "Are you okay?" She asked slightly panicked.

“Uh, yeah.” Her frowned at her. Had he been this loud? “I’m… I’m fine.” Why did she care?

"Oh…" She bit her lip and glanced away from him. "Okay… sorry then." Now she felt stupid. She took a step back and mentally rolled her eyes.

“I’m just a bit wiped out.” He shrugged, then narrowed his eyes. “Because contrary to what you might think, it was a lot of work to blast trees.”

"Yeah…" She looked down at the floor and shifted from one foot to the other. "Right. Sorry." She muttered. Maria paused for a moment. "Why are you so mean to me?"

“What?” He sat up straighter in bed again, frowning at her. “You are mean to me!”

"You were mean more. Hello!? Look at my hair!"

“Look at my cast.” Michael held up his arm. Alright, so she wasn’t really responsible for that, not in the direct way he had cut her hair at least, but… but… but she had made him fall.

"I didn't do that! You're the idiot that was climbing out of the window!" She shook her head quickly and threw her hands in the air. "Forget it. You're just… just a big jerk!"

“So it was okay to lock me out of the bathroom when I was hurt and could barely move?”

"I let you in didn't I? It wasn't anything that will freaking scar you for life." She was so mad at him. She suddenly wished she had powers and could blast him.

“Oh like your hair won’t grow back.” He rolled his eyes, then he shrugged and took a closer look at her. “Besides…” Besides he really liked it better this way. She was just even cuter than before.

"Besides what?! I had been growing it out for years! I had not cut it since… since I can't even remember when!"

“Sometimes changes are good.” But he didn’t want them happening either. He didn’t want to change and get closer to her. He had to stay alone. It was better for her and better for him.

"No. They aren't." Maria said simply.

“But I… I like…” He stopped and sighed. She was right. Changes sucked. They made him weak. First his dad and now her.

"What, you like changes?" She glared at him. "Screw you!"

“Not all of them.” Just her hair. And when they were kissing and making out. That was a nice change too. He smiled but tried to hide it. “And… and screw you too!”

"God… I… I hate you! You are such a jerk! I just… I wish you would leave already!" She yelled at him before slamming the bedroom door shut and leaning against it. She angrily crossed her arms over her chest and tried to calm herself down.

Yeah, not like he was able to with the cast. But maybe he was. He could make it on his own on the streets for a while. Even with just one arm, he still had powers. And then he wouldn’t be tempted to just grab her and kiss her to end these arguments anymore. And they could both be happy again.

Yeah… Michael got up from the bed determined and grabbed his bag, quickly throwing the two shirts and the pants that were lying outside back in. Then he grabbed it and flung it over his good shoulder, before he opened his door to get away from all of it.

Suddenly Maria was falling, she opened her mouth, and a shriek came out. She tried to catch herself, but failed. "Ow!" Maria yelped after she hit the floor, knocking into Michael on the way down.

“fuck.” Michael was on his back, unable to move. What the hell just happened? He was on his way out to freedom and then… and then she once again put an end to it. He breathed heavily and just laid there, unable to say more.

Slowly she reached up and rubbed the back of her head. "That wasn't nice." She muttered. And started to roll over, then realized she was mostly laying on top of Michael, and froze.

“No…” It was still hard to breath, but now because she was suddenly so close to him. “No, it wasn’t.” But it was now. Kinda. If his back wouldn’t hurt, and… and… He reached out carefully to brush some hair out of her forehead.

Maria let her eyes slip shut for a moment before slowly opening them again. They couldn't do this again. They just … couldn't. She tried to get up and move away from him, but for some reason, she just couldn't.

Unable to stop touching her, Michael cupped her cheek and stroked her softly with his thumb. What was he doing? He had been about to leave, and now he was back here lying on the floor with her on top of him. Why were they clothed? Clothes sucked.

She leaned into his hand and sighed softly, contentedly. "Are… are you okay?" She asked him quietly.

He nodded. “You?”

"I think so." No. She wasn't. Not at all. But she didn't know what was wrong with her. Slowly she shifted her weight, turning over so she was laying on her stomach, between his legs. She rested her weight on her hands as she laid them on either side of him.

He looked up at her, surprised. And even more miffed that they were both fully clothed. But no, no, this was good. They were still on the floor after a fall, after he tried to leave. So why couldn’t he stop thinking about her naked? “Want me to make sure?”

Maria nodded a little. "Sure…" She murmured.

“Tell me if anything hurts.” He moved his hand down her body to rest on her waist, then he slipped it under her shirt and roamed over her back.

She let out a soft sigh. That felt really nice. Maria lowered herself onto her elbows, her body pressing closer to Michael's.

“Good?” Michael slowly slid his hand to her front, caressing her stomach.

Maria nodded. "Very good." She couldn't help but moan softly at the feel of his fingers against her skin. So wrong. So very wrong.

He smirked and slid his hand up higher to the base of her breasts, where her bra started. Her skin was just so damn soft. Would she take her shirt off again?

"Michael…" She whispered and looked up at him. Slowly she leaned in and kissed him softly on the mouth.

Yeah, he didn’t really think he was checking for injuries either. Smiling, he brought his good hand back up to tangle in her hair and hold her face closer to him while he licked over her lips, wanting to deepen the kiss.

Maria moaned quietly and parted her lips so she could feel his tongue against hers. She could feel the heat building up inside of her. Just being so close to him, then his gentle touches, and now his kisses, they made her dizzy.

Michael slipped his tongue inside of her mouth and let it glide against hers. He couldn’t decide what felt better. This, or her silky lips on his. But both together was unbeatable. It was just… it was worth still lying on the cold hard ground.

She shifted her body slightly, wanting to be closer to him. She laid one of her hands up by his head and kissed him passionately. Like this, she could forget about everything, except for Michael. "I… didn't mean… what I said." She mumbled against his lips.

He frowned in between kisses. “When?” Did they have to talk? He was all fine forgetting reality for a while.

"When I said I hated you." Then she kissed him again. Her eyes were closed tightly and she was happily lost in the bliss of Michael.

She said she hated him? When was that? But it didn’t matter now. Because she was obviously not. And even if, as long as she would still kiss him, he didn’t care. Much. And he should stop thinking about this. He should go back to picturing her naked. On top of him, naked. In the bed. Naked. He grinned and deepened the kiss.

Maria kissed him hard, her tongue rubbed against his. She could feel the wetness between her legs get even stronger and harder to ignore.

Michael groaned and pulled up one of his legs, so he could grind his lower body into hers. Damn. Damn, damn, damn. That wasn’t staying away from her to keep her safe. But right now he really couldn’t care less.

Maria tore her mouth away from his, gasping for breath. "We… we need to stop." She wanted more, so much more. But she knew that to him, it probably wouldn't mean anything. It would just be one more itch to scratch. And plus, he was still wounded.

“Yeah.” He nodded and then crushed his lips down on hers again. Stopping. Yeah, probably. In a minute. Or ten.

She moaned loudly and kissed him back passionately while letting her fingers tangle in his hair. Her hips rocked slightly against his, trying to relieve some of the pressure that was building inside of her.

He groaned again and rocked his hips in time with hers. Oh fuck. He pulled back again and looked at her. “We should stop.” He gave her a short kiss. “And move this to the bed.”

"We… we need to stop." Maria quickly scrambled to get up to her feet and bit her lip as she looked down at Michael. "I … I can't do this." She backed out of the bedroom and wrapped her arms around herself.

Feeling quite frustrated, Michael stared at her and then sat up, glancing at his bag, which was lying a few feet away from him. “Do you still want me to leave?”

"No." She whispered and bowed her head, staring down at the ground.

“You sure? ‘Cause I have my stuff all packed and such.” He passed his hand through his hair and then slowly stood up, sitting down on the bed immediately. He’d leave if she’d ask him to. Just not right now. Right now he wanted to be lying down on the bed, with or without her.

"I want you to stay." She told him quietly. Tears filled her eyes. She wanted to walk back in there, wrap her arms around him and let him touch her. But she knew it was the wrong thing to do.

“Okay.” He couldn’t help but smile a little. He wanted to stay too. It would have been so much easier to leave if she had kicked him out, because eventually he would have to go. Just not right now. He was still not fully healed. And he was just not ready to go yet. Nevertheless he should anyways.

She swallowed hard and without looking up walked down the hall to her room. She wanted him to stay. She wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to just hold onto her.

Michael watched her leave and then considered closing his door. He just didn’t feel like it though. And maybe she would come back. Of course she could open the door again the, but still. He sighed and moved up on the bed, lying down again.

Maria paced back and forth across the length of her room. Trying to figure out what the hell she was doing. And why she was doing it. Michael. He was… so amazing. He made her feel things Billy had never made her feel. Was it his odd abilities that had something to do with it? Or was he just that one amazing person that made you see fireworks when you kissed?

After staring at the ceiling for a while, Michael finally closed his eyes and let sleep overtake him. So much had happened today, and even more just almost happened, so he was having weird dreams. At first he was back to blasting trees again, then suddenly, after he had completely blasted three of them away, a bed was revealed with Maria lying on it, beckoning him to join her. As he got closer, more and more of her clothes vanished till she was just left in her bra and panties. Just as he was about to reach out and rid her of the bra, he woke up. He let out a loud, frustrated groan and rolled over as much as he could, trying to fall back asleep.

She had sunk down on the edge of her bed after a while and tried to figure it all out. After a while she got up and left her room and walked down to his. His door was still open and he was on the bed, awake. "I'm just another girl, right? Just another girl in a long line of previous girls, right?"

“What?” Had he fallen back asleep? No, this felt too real to be a dream. “What do you mean?” He yawned and rubbed over his eyes.

"You've been with tons of girls before me, had your fun with them, and then left them and forgot about them, right?" She wrapped her arms around herself again and leaned against the doorframe.

“What?” He almost laughed. Now this was really ridiculous. If it wouldn’t have been so embarrassing at the same time. “No, I… I wasn’t.”

"Okay… so maybe not tons of girls. But that is what you do, isn't it?"

“I don’t think I understand what you mean.” He scratched his eyebrow and moved up even higher on the bed, so he was sitting upright and he could look into her eyes without having to look up at her.

"You just use girls for sex. All guys do it, don't they? That's all Billy wanted." Maybe she should have just stayed in her room. She sighed inwardly and looked down at the floor.

Michael clenched his fists just at the mention of that creep’s name. “I’m not like him.” She thought this was about sex? But they weren’t having any.

"Well, I know you're not. Well from what I know anyways. But… oh god, just forget it." She looked up at him and saw the anger on his face. Wonderful.

“No, this was bothering you, so…” He shrugged a little. Why was that bothering her? Did she want to keep going? Kiss him and stuff? “I’m not.”

Slowly she looked up at him. "I just, don't want to be some momentary fling that you'll forget about as soon as you leave." Now Maria felt vulnerable. And she really didn't like it.

“You’re… you’re not.” Michael swallowed and got up, walking over to her. What was he doing? Distance was good. But it was as if he was magically drawn to her. “You’re special. Our kiss was my f…” He stopped before he had a chance to embarrass himself even further.

"It was… amazing." She murmured and looked up into his eyes. Slowly she reached a hand up and touched his jaw. "Is this… all just because you're different?" She wondered aloud. Did every touch he made against her skin feel so intense just because he was different?

Michael smirked a little. Amazing? “I dunno. It’s not like I can compare.”

Her brow furrowed and she looked at him. "What… what do you mean?" Was he just saying it was so good he couldn't even begin to compare it to anything else? Or that he had nothing to compare it to?

“Well, you know…” He scratched his eyebrow again. “Just that I can’t compare it to any other, uh, and normal kisses I mean.”

Maria nodded slightly; part of her hoped that he had meant there were no other girls before her. For some reason, it would have made her feel really special. But she just ignored the faint disappointment and curled her arms around his shoulders and kissed him softly.

He smiled though he was still confused. “Why are you back?” He rested his hand on the small of her back.

She opened her mouth, then closed it before shaking her head slightly. "I don't know."

“I’m glad you are.” He closed the distance between them with another kiss, closing his eyes and trying to push all of the doubts out of his head. He wasn’t contagious. She hadn’t caught anything yet, had she?

Maria wrapped her arms tighter around him and kissed him softly, and slowly. Enjoying the feel of his arm around her. His body pressed against hers. And the taste of him. "Me too." She murmured.

He smiled again and walked backwards with her, leading her over to his bed. He wasn’t going to do that standing again, because he knew after a few minutes he’d be out if breath again.

She went with him willingly to the bed. Maria sunk down onto it and pulled him with her, without breaking the kiss.

********

Chapter Twelve

Michael was happy he landed on top of her, because this way it didn’t put a strain on his ribs. And it just felt damn great to be pressing into her like this. She was so soft and pliable. He pushed his hand up under her shirt, caressing her stomach, once again wishing he had another to cup her cheek while he kissed her again.

She couldn't help but moan out his name softly when she felt his hand on her bare skin again. And laying beneath him on the bed added something to it. Safe, and warm beneath him, pinned to the bed. Maria brought her leg up, hooking it over his hip, she wanted to be closer to him.

“Maria?” He slid his hand even higher, playing with her bra. Could he take it off? They had done this before, but maybe it was different now. Was it always the same? Damn, he wished he’d know the rules to this.

"Yeah?" She asked, her voice coming out soft and breathy. Maria couldn't help but arch her back slightly feeling his hand on her bra.

“It’s amazing for me too.” He tugged on her bottom lip before sucking on it softly. Her lips were perfect. So pouty and soft, and gentle against his, but not too gentle either. They drove him wild, but it didn’t hurt. He had just never expected it all to feel like this.

She couldn't help but smile a little. She slid one of her hands down to his side and let it wander under the hem of his shirt. His skin felt so nice under her fingertips. She lightly ran them over his back, and along his spine.

He shuddered and placed his hand over her breast, touching her through the fabric of the bra. Her nipple were hardened to little pointy nubs and it felt nice against his palm. Was that because of him? Did he turn her on just as she was turning him on? But no, it couldn’t be as much, or they would probably already be naked.

"Oh… Michael. That… that's so good." She arched her back again and slightly dug her nails into his back.

“That… that too.” He let out a silent groan and pressed his hips firmly against hers, moving them a bit to get some friction to relieve the tension.

Her mouth fell open and she pushed her hips up against his. The way he was rubbing against her, reminded her of just how wet she had been not long ago. And how much she wanted him.

Groaning again, louder this time, Michael continued to grind into her, his hand palming her more roughly now as well. Their kisses had gotten fiercer too. This was leading somewhere fast. And he wanted it to go there. Oh damn did he want it to go there!

She whimpered into his mouth as his grinding caused pressure against her clit and nearly shot her through the roof. Her palm rubbed over his back again and she wrapped her leg all the way around his waist now.

“Maria…” He pulled back to look at her once more. Could they just keep going? And what? Have sex? Or maybe they could just touch again, like they did a few days before.

"Yeah Michael?" Maria asked softly. She was so turned on. She didn't want to stop, and she was really hoping he wasn't going to suggest they stop.

“What are we doing?” He brushed his lips over hers again, to show her he didn’t want it to end. But he didn’t want to do it wrong either.

"I… I don't know Michael. What are we doing? I mean… are we going to… do more? Or are we just going to kiss." She wanted more. So much more.

“Do you want more?” Because that was the question here.

Maria looked up at him and slowly reached up to touch his jaw. "I do."

He smiled and kissed her palm. “Me too.”

She smiled at him and raised her head to claim his lips in a soft kiss before letting it fall back onto the pillows. "So… how do we do this?" Maria asked unsure.

“I dunno. It sucks that I still can’t use my right arm, you know? And sometimes my ribs still hurt too.” And he had never done it before. And he could still be contagious. But damn, he wanted to find out!

"I know." She sighed softly. "Should we not do this?" She asked softly. Maria didn't want to hurt him, and dropped her head back onto the pillow and just looked at him.

“We probably shouldn’t.” Michael bit his lip and stroked some hair out of her forehead. “But I still want to.”

"I do too… but… I just. You're in pain already. I don't want to make you be in even more pain." She chewed on her lip.

“But I could be in pleasure.” Right? And shit, that sounded so wrong and dirty.

"If it hurts… you'll tell me?" Maria didn't even know what they were doing. She'd never done this with Billy. But she really wanted to do it with Michael. She just didn't want him to hurt.

“Yeah.” He nodded. “You too?” Wasn’t it supposed to be way more painful for her anyways? Though, what were they talking about? He still wasn’t sure. Just some more touching and kissing, or real sex.

Maria nodded. "Okay. I will." It would hurt? She was a little concerned, she chewed on her lip and reached up to touch his cheek.

“Hey, Maria?” He closed his eyes a little, leaning into her touch.

"Yeah?" She asked tilting her head to the side a little.

“Just, uh… just what exactly are we going to do?” He didn’t want to go too far after all and upset her with it. They were just back at being nice to each other again.

"I don't know." She let out a quiet sigh. "Michael… I want… I just don't know."

“So we’ll see.” He shrugged a little. “We’ll… touch and see where it leads to?” He leaned up and gave her a small kiss.

Maria kissed him back softly and nodded. "Okay." And then she kissed him again. Slowly, and softly.

Michael smiled and cupped her cheek while he kissed her again. All the feelings from before were still there, but his nervousness had overshadowed them a little. But now that they were just kissing, he was slowly starting to relax again.

Gently she rubbed her hand up and down his side. He tasted good, and his lips were just so soft. Maria parted her lips a little, and darted her tongue out to touch his lips.

He gladly opened his lips to allow her tongue entrance and then closed his eyes as they were gliding together, creating all of these tingling, fuzzy feelings inside of him. His hand had moved away from her cheek and was now also caressing her sides, much as she did to him.

Their tongues rubbed together softly, smoothed together perfectly. Maria wrapped her other arm around him and slid her fingers up into his hair. His body fit so nicely against hers, perfectly in her mind. Everything about that moment, with Michael, in bed with him, was perfect.

Michael pushed her over a little, grinding his hips into hers again, when suddenly he heard a door slam shut. “Oh shit!” He pulled away from her immediately. “Maria, how late is it?”

Maria jumped up and frantically looked around. "Oh god! They're home!" Tears burned her eyes. God she didn't want them to be home. "I… I have to get back to my room." She kissed him quickly and jumped off the bed and rushed out of the bedroom and down the hall to her room.

“Yeah…” Michael watched her leave and then grabbed his pillow and buried his face under it. Oh god dammit! The timing couldn’t have been any worse. No wait, actually it could. What if they had both been naked, or even further along with their touching? shit. They so had to watch out from now on. This was the second time they almost got caught. But did she have to run out like this? She could have at least stayed, and they could have pretended to just talk or something. Yeah, like that would have worked. He sighed and threw the pillow on the floor. It smelled of Maria.

She fell onto the bed and sighed loudly. Damn him. Why did he have to feel so nice? And why did he have to make her feel so out of her head? Maria pulled her pillow over her head and closed her eyes. "Stupid Michael." She muttered.

He looked outside and realized that his door was still wide open. It could arouse questions, so he rolled out of bed as quickly as he could and then closed it silently, wishing Maria would still be here. If nothing else, they could have played cards together. But now he was alone again. Alone and confused and frustrated.

Maria sat up after several long moments, and opened the drawer of her nightstand. She couldn't help but smile at the flower inside. She touched it lightly and sighed happily. Stupid Michael was really sweet sometimes. Maybe it was better that her parents had showed up. She wanted him. Oh boy did she… but there was a little uncertainty there.

********

They didn’t catch each other alone again till way after dinner. Michael didn’t want to risk of her parents catching them, and she obviously didn’t either. And then it took them way too long to go into bed. When he finally heard their bedroom door close, he was at the door handle in no time, ready to go over to her and kiss her again. And maybe some more. But before he could press it down, he hesitated. Did she even still want him to come over? Maybe she was tired or she had just changed his mind. Then he would look pretty stupid if he arrived there over-eager. And wasn’t it her turn to come to him anyways? He frowned and took his hand away, deciding to wait a little longer before he would make a move.

She took her time getting ready for bed. She heard her parents go into their room and braved opening her door as quietly as she could. She chewed on her lip staring down the hall, wanting to run down to Michael's room, but she wasn't sure if she should. Halfway to his room she glanced at the bathroom door and darted inside. Maria sighed audibly and sunk down on the edge of the bathtub.

Maria didn't know if she should go or not. If she should risk her parents waking up and coming up to check on either of them… they never did, but she couldn't be sure if they wouldn't get a wild hair and do it. Nervously she rubbed her palms against her bare thighs. "Okay… just get up… and go knock… lightly… if he doesn't answer, you go back to bed, if he does… I'm… looking for sex?" She rolled her eyes. "I wanted to… ask him something?" Maria chewed on her lip. "Ugh!"

Michael gave up and left his room. But then in the corridor he chickened out again and instead made a detour to the bathroom. Couldn’t hurt to go, then he wouldn’t have to when he was with her. Yeah. He nodded decidedly and opened the bathroom door, entering and then stopping dead in his tracks. “Maria?”

She jerked her head up and looked up at him, her cheeks turning bright pink. "Michael. What are you… I mean. I was just… I…" She closed her mouth and just looked at him. "The truth is, I was on my way down to your room to…I don't know what. But I chickened out and came in here." Maria stood up and shifted slightly. "And now I'm going to go and take my embarrassment and hide in my room if you don't mind."

“No wait.” He silently closed the door behind him so she couldn’t run out. “I was… I was on my way to you, and then, uh…” He passed his hand through his hair. “Same thing.” Laughing nervously, he looked her up and down. She was already dressed for bed in those very short shorts and the revealing tank top again. Damn. Which bed did she dress for? Argh! “Sorry for not knocking though.”

Maria smiled a little and shook her head. "It's okay. You didn't know I was in here." She moved a little closer to him and touched his good hand. "I'm kind of glad you did chicken out though… sorta forced us together after all."

He let out a short nervous laugh again and interlaced their fingers. “Yeah, it sorta did.” He smiled and leaned down slowly, itching to kiss her.

She stood on her tip toes and met him halfway. The bathroom would work just fine for her. For the moment, they didn't need a bed, or anything. She was perfectly happy to just be standing there, kissing him.

Michael let go of her hand and wrapped his arm around her lower back, pulling her a little closer to him, but not too close, since his broken arm was in the way. But this was good. They wouldn’t have to decide how far they’d go in here, because most things weren’t even possible. They could climb into the bathtub though… But nah, that would be mighty uncomfortable. Or wouldn’t it? Still kissing her, he glanced around her to check it out.

Slowly she wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed him back. He felt good. Warm, and soft, but hard at the same time. Too bad his arm was broken. Maria couldn't wait to feel both his arms wrapped tightly around her. She let out a quiet moan just at the thought of it.

No, the bathtub wouldn’t work. It couldn’t. They’d be stupid to even try, what with both of them having beds just in the rooms next door. And anyways, they were kissing. Just simply kissing. And it had to be enough. Not like he was used to it already, it was still exciting and new to him. Was that because of Maria? Because her tongue danced so smoothly with his, because her lips were so especially full and soft? Because she tasted so good? Or would it be like that with every girl he’d kiss later? Somehow he didn’t want to find out. It couldn’t be better than this. “Maria…” He nibbled on her bottom lip.

Another soft moan passed her lips and her eyes fluttered open to look up at him. "Michael." She whispered back. She wanted more, but at the same time, she didn't want to stop what they were doing. Something about it just felt right, and Maria wondered if they altered that in any way… would it feel just as perfect?

“Your lips are so soft.” He licked over them and pulled back a little to look at them. They were already swollen but he knew he could make them swell even more, if they continued to kiss. Now that was a task to look forward to. He smirked and brushed his thumb over her bottom lip, using the opportunity to catch some air.

"Yours too." Maria kissed his thumb softly and then buried her face in the crook of his neck. She took a deep breath, inhaling his scent. God he smelled good.

Michael wrapped his arm around her and just enjoyed holding her close to him for a moment. Of course it would all be better if he could use both of his arms. His ribs were much better though, finally. Were they supposed to heal that fast? Maybe part of him being a mutant meant he was a fast healer too… He frowned and stiffened unconsciously.

Maria felt him stiffen against her and slowly pulled back. What had she done wrong? "What?" She asked softly.

“Huh?” He was confused for a second, then he realized where he was. “Uh, I was just thinking… about… about how I’m healing.” No need to tell her more. She might freak.

"Is it not getting better? Am I hurting you?" She pulled her hands back and took a step away from him. "I'm sorry."

“No, that’s not it!” He took a step closer to her, not wanting to be apart again already. “It’s… it’s just the opposite.”

Her brow furrowed. "What?" She asked him. What did he mean? "You mean… you're healing? I wasn't hurting you?"

“Yeah.” He smiled a little. “I think I’m healing faster than normal.” Which meant he was not. He already knew that, but he wasn’t sure just how un-normal he was yet.

"Really?" She smiled a little, and then bit her lip. "Do you think it's because… of… you know?" She raised an eyebrow and tilted her head to the side.

“I think so.” He nodded. “But I’m not sure, I don’t know anybody else who had broken ribs, so I could ask how long it took them to heal.”

"Well… I don't know either." She thought about it for a minute. "We should… probably not mention it to anyone… I mean, not yet anyways. Just in case?"

“Yeah.” He nodded again and passed his hand through his hair. “They’re all working for Kivar.”

"You don't know that." Maria reached up and rested her hand on his side.

“But your father said so.” He sighed and looked down at the floor. But maybe he would just be the first. The first mutant to be borne on this side of the country? Yeah, right. But he had thought he was unique before, so maybe it was true.

"But he doesn't know everything." She moved a little closer to him and brushed a soft kiss across his jaw. "Just because he says so, doesn't mean it's true."

“Yeah…” He shrugged and then looked at her with a slight frown on his face. Why was she still touching him? “Are you okay with it?”

"With what? That other people like you are the enemy? That I have a problem with… but not because you're like them… because you're not like them. You're better. You're… not like them." He was frowning at her. She sighed inwardly and pulled her hand back again. "We should both probably get to bed."

“Yeah…” Michael scratched his eyebrow, his gaze flicking back and forth between the floor and her face. “I mean… I meant with me being a mutant.” How could she be okay with it? He wasn’t.

"You're just Michael to me. Moody, brooding, a complete jerk, but generally really sweet." Maria bit her lip and looked down at the floor.

He chuckled. “Sweet?”

"Yeah…" She felt a blush rising up her face. Now she felt stupid because he thought it was funny she said he was sweet.

“I don’t think anyone has ever called me that.” He smiled and stroked over her cheek. She was so damn cute when she blushed. “So thanks. I guess.”

Maria looked up at him and smiled a little. "Well, you definitely are."

“Shut up.” Now it was his turn to blush. Sweet? He wasn’t sweet. He wasn’t even nice to her half of the time.

She pouted a little and shook her head. "Make me."

“Is that a challenge?” Now he was smirking again. If anyone was sweet here, it was her.

"Yup." She smiled proudly at him. "I am motor-mouth Maria Valenti, no one, and I do mean no one can shut me up if I don't want to be shut up."

“Oh, really?” Michael raised his eyebrow, grinning now. He knew at least one way to prove she was wrong.

"Yup. And when I say you're sweet Michael Guerin, I mean it. You are sweet… you picked me the flower…" She smiled a little. "You didn't have to, but you did."

“Yes, I did have to! You told me to!” He pouted. It wasn’t anything sweet, it had been to prove a point.

"But you didn't have to. You could have just told me to buzz off. You didn't have to actually pick the flower, and hand it to me…" But he believed he did. It took a little away from the gesture. "No one has ever given me flowers before… Billy never did… not even if I asked." She shrugged a little. "Forget it."

He could see she was disappointed and that made him feel bad. Okay, part of him had really wanted to give her the flower. But… but he wasn’t sweet. “No, I don’t want to forget it. He didn’t even give you flowers when you asked for them?” Why had she been with him anyways?

Maria shook her head and sat down on the edge of the bathtub with a sigh. Since it didn't seem like they were leaving anytime soon. And they had stopped kissing, so why was she still just standing there.

Michael knelt down in front of her and cupped her cheek again. “I’d have gotten you some.”

"Thank you." She murmured. "But… don't worry about it. I don't need flowers. They die anyways." It wasn't the same when she had to ask for them. They were supposed to be some romantic surprise, the loving boyfriend shows up with a big beautiful bouquet of wild flowers… for no reason at all. Her dad did it for her mom, she wanted the same thing, because she saw how happy it would make her mom.

He shrugged. “Everything dies.” He’d get her some anyways, because she deserved them. She deserved to be happy and have a caring boyfriend. Someone who would bring her flowers every day. Someone who was with her every day. But he couldn’t do that, because he would leave for war.

"True… but flowers have such a short and beautiful life. Until they whither up and die." She glanced up and him and then looked down again. "We really should go to bed. It is late."

“I guess it is.” He stood up again with a groan. Alright, not fully healed yet.

"Good night Michael, sleep well." She told him and stood up too, before pressing a soft kiss against the corner of his mouth.

His frown was back. What was that? She wasn’t even concerned about him anymore. He held his side and groaned again, louder this time.

She jumped back from him and stared at him with wide eyes. "What's wrong?" All she did was kiss him and he was groaning like she kicked him in the gut.

“I guess I’m not fully healed yet.” He faked a pained expression. “Would you mind bringing me back to my room? So I can’t, uh, fall down on the way?”

Maria raised an eyebrow for a second, and then nodded. "Sure." She stepped away from him and pulled open the door. She looked at him and then moved over and curled her arm around his waist. Like she could really support his weight if he fell?

Michael smirked and leaned into her, still faking to be more hurt than he really was. It had just been a short painful pull, but he didn’t want her to just give him a peck and then go to bed. That was just so wrong. “Thanks.”

"Sure." She told him and helped him out of the bathroom and down the hall to his room. To Kyle's room. She pushed the door open wide so they could both make it inside, and guided him over to the bed.

Sitting down on the bed, he grabbed her hand to keep her from leaving right away. “You know what else would really help?”

"What?" Maria asked glancing at their hands before looking up at his face.

“A kiss to make it all better.” He smirked at her.

A smile crept up onto her face and she leaned down and kissed him softly. "Better?"

“Almost.” He quickly let go of her hand to bury his fingers in her hair instead, pulling her down for another kiss.

Maria let out a soft moan and kissed him back deeply. She rested her hands on his shoulder to keep herself from tumbling forward onto him.

Michael smiled against her lips and gave her another quick kiss before letting go off her. Now that was a real goodnight. “Alright, we should probably really go to bed now.”

"Yeah." She murmured a little dazed before straightening herself up. "Good night Michael." She took a step back and then moved towards the door. "Sleep well."

“Good night. Sweet dreams.” He smiled though part of him was reluctant to let her go. But it was better this way. Her parents were sleeping downstairs, so they couldn’t have done anything anyways. What had he been thinking before? And he would also need his strength for the next day, because he intended to keep on practising with his powers.

"You too." She smiled and left his room, closing the door behind her. He made her weak in the knees. Maria went back to her room and climbed into her bed. She buried her face in her pillow and smiled a little.

Still smiling Michael crawled under his blankets and closed his eyes. His lips still tingled from her kisses and maybe tomorrow they could have a little game again and she would kiss him on other places of his body. After he practised though. He nodded to himself and then quickly fell asleep.

She snuggled deeper into her bed and closed her eyes. She smiled a little, imagining that Michael was holding her. Letting out a quiet sigh, she fell asleep quickly.

********

Chapter Thirteen

Later the next day, Michael was about to go into the woods again, when he hesitated in the corridor. He sighed and went back, knocking on Maria’s door first.

Maria heard a knock on her door and jumped up quickly. She hurried to the door and straightened out her clothing a little, wanting to make herself look nice, because she was sure it was Michael at her door. She opened the door and smiled a little. "Hey." She said to him.

“Hey.” He scratched his eyebrow. “I was leaving for the woods again, and I was wondering if you’d like to come along again.” Though they were on good term again, maybe she wouldn’t make him mad. But it was a better chance than to try it alone.

She nodded a little. "Sure. I'd love to. Let me just grab my jacket." Maria walked back into her room for a second and grabbed her jacket and then pulled it on before she walked back over to the door. "Okay, I'm ready."

“Thanks.” He smiled a little. “I might need you to get me angry again.” But wasn’t he practising to be able to use his powers whenever he needed them, and not just when he was mad or scared? Though in war, he probably would be both all of the time.

Maria pouted as they walked down the stairs. "I don't like making you mad."

He laughed and looked at her. “Yeah, right.” She could have fooled him.

Her frown deepened when he laughed. "I meant it. I don't like making you mad." She didn't like him being mad at her more specifically.

“You sure did it a lot for that though.” He raised his eyebrow at her.

She stopped walking and crossed her arms over her chest. "Forget it. I'm staying here. Figure it out for yourself."

“No, come on.” She had already done her share though and he could feel himself juicing up. There. Way too easy to break a fight with her. And he hadn’t even tried to.

"Screw you." She snapped at him.

“Yeah, whatever.” Michael sighed. “Are you coming anyways? Please?” But he was loaded, why did he still want her to come?

She let out a soft sigh. He said please. Why did he have to say please? "Fine." She stated and started walking again.

“Cool.” He smiled slightly and reached out to grab her hand. He just wanted to spend time with her now. Now that he was still here. If he was really healing fast, maybe he could take off his cast soon too, and then nothing was keeping him with the Valentis anymore. Yeah, nothing… He glanced at her.

Maria looked down at their hands and just stared at them for a moment. The gesture surprised her. But she walked silently with him, back out to where they had been the day before.

When they arrived, Michael let go of her hand. He needed his arm. At least he guessed he needed it. Maybe it should work without it too? But he had no idea how. “Uh, so, any specific target?”

She just shrugged and sat down on a log and rested her elbows on her knees and just looked up at him. "Whatever strikes your fancy."

“Why did I take you with me again?” He sighed and passed his hand through his hair, then send a blast to a large tree. Just to get warmed up. He’d search for better targets soon.

"Good question. So maybe I'll just leave." He was being a jerk. He asked her to come. He wanted her here, and now, he didn't. "So, bye." Maria muttered and stood up from the log and turned towards the house.

“Wait!” Why did she have to be so sensitive?

"No!" She spun around and yelled at him. "You are… such a jerk!"

“But I didn’t do anything!” Michael yelled back.

"Yes you did! You're the one that practically begged me to come out here with you, but then you didn't want me here anymore." Maria threw her hands up in the air and turned around again. "So just… go to hell Guerin."

“I never said…” He sighed and gave up on the yelling. Fine. If she wanted to leave then he shouldn’t keep her. “I never said I didn’t want you here.” He finished barely audible.

"You said! And I quote! 'Why did I take you with me again?'" Maria turned around again to face him. "If that isn't a blatant 'I don't want you here' I don't know what is."

“But you weren’t helping!” He kicked at a stone and then shook his head. “Just go if you don’t want to be here.”

"You only want me here to make you mad. You said that when we left the house. Did I make you mad enough yet?" She raised an eyebrow.

“Yep, you sure did.” He raised his hand and sent a last blast a few feet away from her, just to show her what a success that had been.

Maria jumped and let out a shriek when Michael let out the blast. She looked up at him and just stared for a moment before she turned and ran back to the house. Up the stairs and into the bathroom where she slammed the door shut hard and locked it frantically. Was he trying to kill her? Or just scare her half to death? If it was the latter he succeeded. Slowly she slid down to the floor breathing heavily from running, and from fear.

There, he knew it. He was dangerous and she couldn’t deal with it. He’d scared her, again. Because these powers were bad. That’s why all of the others were working for Kivar. He could never show them to anyone again. They would freak just like Maria, or maybe even worse.

But so he had to get them under control. Michael nodded determined and turned around, walking further away from the house and into the woods, before he started finding new targets to aim at.

She continued to sit on the floor, her knees held tightly against her chest. The house was silent. Vaguely she thought she heard the occasional explosion. She had no desire to leave the bathroom anytime soon. She felt safe, though it was silly, it wasn't like a locked door could protect her. It wasn't like she really felt she needed protecting either. He was the one that was ruining her life, not the other way around, like he was treating the whole situation. She hadn't done anything to him.

After a while, Michael felt completely drained. Damn, now he would need her to help him back into the house. But no, he could do it on his own. It wasn’t that far, it was… He turned around and couldn’t see it. Crap. Just how much further away did he go? He took a few steps, then everything swam before his eyes and he had to lean against a tree. Then he had to sit down in the grass and soon he was passed out completely.

********

Hours had passed. The explosions had stopped, but Maria hadn't heard Michael come back. Slowly she got up and walked out of bathroom quietly. She made her way down to Kyle's room and the door was open. Michael wasn't there. Maria sighed softly and made her way down the stairs and out the back door. "Michael?" She called, concerned. Maybe he had left. Maybe he had come back into the house and she hadn't heard him and he just left. "Michael?!"

He was slowly coming to his senses again. His head hurt and he felt cold. And his back hurt a lot. Where the hell was he? Michael looked around. It sure wasn’t his bed. It was green and it stank. The woods. Damn! He tried to sit up, but he couldn’t move yet. What had happened?

Maria was starting to panic. "Michael! Where are you?!" She stepped off the back porch and started walking in the direction of where she had left him. Maybe he really had slipped and fallen down that steep hill. Maybe he was hurt, or … dead? "Michael!" She screamed as loud as she could. "If you're playing some stupid joke on me I'm going to kill you!"

Voices. Voices in his head. No wait… Not in his head. That was Maria. Maria yelling for him. “I’m… I’m here.” His throat felt dry and he tried to clear it. “Maria? I’m here.”

Her ears perked up and she looked in the direction of his voice. "Michael!" She started running towards where she hoped she had heard him. Maria spotted him and knelt beside him. "Are you okay Michael? Oh god, are you okay? Did you fall? Are you hurt?"

“I dunno. I… no.” He frowned and looked up at her. “No, I don’t think I fell. I just sat down, and then…” He licked his lips. Then everything went black. “I dunno.”

Maria cupped his face and looked at him and then looked over his body. "You wore yourself out." She murmured before standing up. "Are you okay to get up? I can take you back to the house."

“Yeah, I think so.” He looked away. That was embarrassing. He was so weak, he blacked out. And of course she had to find him. On the other hand he was grateful though. “Just give me a minute.” He tried to sit up straighter and this time it worked.

"Okay." She nodded and stood back a little giving him some room.

Michael took a few deep breaths till he worked up the courage to try and stand up. If he fell back down, it would be just even more embarrassing. But to his surprise, it worked. He still had to lean against the tree, but he was standing.

Maria watched him stand up. "You ready to start walking back?" She asked him taking a step closer.

He just nodded, saving his breath. He had to. And then he’d pass out on the couch again.

"Okay, let's go." She moved closer to him and pulled his good arm around her shoulders and wrapped her arm around his waist.

He nodded again and smiled a little, grateful that she was keeping him steady. “Thanks. I don’t know how this could happen.”

"You were out here for a while. You're not 100% better yet Michael, whether you think you are or not. You do this again it'll probably kill you." Maria sighed as they headed back towards the house, slowly.

“Maybe. But so what?” He made a face and considered kicking after another stone, but then decided against it. With his luck he’d fall and take her with him.

She scoffed and shook her head. "Fine. Whatever." Maria rolled her eyes. She wanted to just shove him to the ground and leave him, but she couldn't.

“Maybe you could make me angry again.” If his powers got recharged, maybe so would he.

"How about I just leave you and let you get back to the house alone." She snapped at him.

“But then you can’t make me mad anymore, can you?” He rolled his eyes. Would she do that? Just leave him here?

"Well it would sure as hell make me feel a lot better." He was such a jerk. She rolled her eyes.

“Then why did you come to help me in the first place?” He didn’t understand her. She was still so confusing, even after they had spent a few days together.

"I got worried." She murmured. "I thought maybe you left. And I found you, I couldn't very well just leave you out there."

“Oh, but now it’s different why?” They had almost made it to the house and he was starting to feel his strength returning to him. So he probably would make it inside on his own now, but she didn’t need to know that.

Maria rolled her eyes. "I wasn't serious alright? I wasn't really intending on just leaving you out here at any point and time."

“You were not?” He cocked his head and glanced at her. Yeah, she probably really wasn’t. So far she had always helped him when he needed it. He should cut her some slack.

"No, okay? I wouldn't do that to anyone." She sighed as they finally reached the porch. "Do you want to go up to… Kyle's room? Or stay down here for a while?" She wasn't sure how much of his strength was really back.

“I should probably stay down here for a while.” He shouldn’t jinx it. And it was better to be further away from her than just one room. He felt bad enough as it was, there was no telling how much more he could screw things up between them.

"Right." Maria helped him over to the couch and just looked at him. She should offer him something to drink. As if he needed anything, but with the way he was treating her lately, she didn't want to help him. She helped him back into the house; he could get anything else that he wanted.

“Thanks.” He nodded and relaxed back into the couch with a sigh, closing his eyes. He hadn’t realized just how much his back hurt until now that it was finally getting a little better.

"You're welcome." She murmured before turning and going up the stairs. He didn't need anything, she shouldn't care. Maria walked into her room and closed the door behind her.

Michael sat down for a few minutes, till he forced himself to get up again and walk into the kitchen. He bumped into the door, but finally made it to the refrigerator. Food would definitely help him. If Maria had made it for him and brought it to the couch, it would have helped him more, but he didn’t need her. He didn’t need anyone, he would be all fine on his own.

Maria sat at the vanity in her room, staring at everything on top of it. He didn't want her, and she knew that she shouldn't want him. What changed she wasn't sure. Last night they were kissing, and now… now he just wanted her to make him mad so that he could practice his stupid powers.

Annoyed she got up from her chair and walked over to her nightstand. She picked up the flower and rolled her eyes. He only did it because she told him to. She left her room and walked into the bathroom and tossed it into the trashcan before going back to her room.

Michael had just sat down on the table with a sandwich and a glass of milk, when the front door opened and the Valenti’s came back. Amy went straight into the kitchen, not looking all too happy and Mr. Valenti followed soon after.

”Oh, Michael. You’re here. Good.” Jim stopped in the doorway. “Where’s Maria?”

”Upstairs.” Michael glanced at his sandwich longingly. “I think.”

Jim nodded. “Maria?” He looked in the direction of the staircase, yelling his daughter’s name.

Maria jumped when she heard her father yell and quickly hurried down the stairs. "What dad?" She asked looking at him hopefully. Did he decide to stay? She knew that it was false hope, but it was all she had left.

“Everyone’s here now, good.” Jim took a deep breath. “Originally I had wanted to stay for dinner, but unfortunately I can’t.” He glanced over at his wife apologetically. “So I have to say my good-byes now.”

Tears sprang to Maria's eyes and she wrapped her arms around herself. There went all false hope. "Oh." She bowed her head and clenched her eyes shut, willing herself not to cry, but she was fighting a loosing battle. "I don't want you to go." She whispered.

“I know.” He placed a hand on her shoulder. “But you know that I have to.”

"No you don't." She ground out through a clenched jaw. "We need you here."

“Now Maria don’t be silly. You’re almost grown-up now, you don’t need me anymore.” Jim smiled at her encouragingly.

She looked at him and shook her head. "Just because I'm grown up doesn't mean I don't need you!" Tears started rolling down her cheeks. "But if you want to believe that. Then fine. Go. But don't forget when you're out fighting… that we needed you here." Maria threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly for a long minute. But then she couldn't take it anymore. She turned and ran back up the stairs. No matter what she said he wouldn't stay. She knew that. But she couldn't help herself. She threw herself onto her bed and sobbed quietly into her pillow.

Michael had watched the scene play out in front of him queasily. That’s why he had to stay alone. So when he left for war, there would be no one to cry because of it. But still, something was drawing him to Maria. He really wanted to check on her and hold her, and comfort her. It wasn’t right that she was up in her room now, crying. “Uh, I should probably…” He scratched the back of his head and stood up.

Jim nodded. “You sure you’re going to be okay?”

Michael bit his lip, happy that Maria wasn’t around now. “Yeah. Thanks for… taking me in.”

“That’s the least I could do for your father, Michael.” Jim smiled and walked over to the boy, shaking his hand. “He’s saved my life, you know?”

“He did?” Michael smiled too, proudly. Yeah, his father had been a great soldier. That was probably what had gotten him killed.

“I’ll tell you all about it when I’m back.” He let go of Michael’s hand.

Michael nodded and grabbed his glass and the sandwich and then slowly made his way upstairs without saying goodbye or wishing him luck. He wouldn’t need that from him. It was best to behave as if he would just leave for an hour. It would make it easier on him to leave.

When he was upstairs, he placed the food in his room and then left again, walking through the corridor till he reached Maria’s room. Then he knocked.

"Go away!" Maria yelled. She didn't care who was knocking on her door, she just wanted them to leave. Everyone kept abandoning her. First her father did when he first left for the war, then Kyle, and then she got attached to Michael, and he treated her almost as bad as Billy did, only in different ways, and now her father was leaving again.

“Are you okay?” Michael opened her door a little and peeked inside.

"Just peachy." She rolled her eyes and pulled her pillow over her head. She looked horrible she was sure, face blotchy from crying, swollen eyes, runny nose.

She didn’t tell him to go away again, so he stepped inside, closing the door behind him. “I’m sorry, Maria.”

Maria scoffed and rolled her eyes again. "Why? Why do you care if my dad leaves? You don't need him, and you're not sticking around either."

“But I’m sorry for you.” He shrugged and sat down on the bed next to her, touching her carefully. “I’m sorry that it makes you cry.”

"I'm not crying." She said and sniffled. Why did he have to touch her? It felt so nice. She shied away from his touched and pulled the pillow tighter over her head.

“But…” Michael bit his tongue. He shouldn’t make her angry. “But you’re sad.”

"I'll get over it. I always do." She sighed softly. Why was he in her room? Why was he actually being nice?

“I bet.” He smiled a little. She was a lot tougher than she looked, that much he knew. He reached out to touch her again, but then didn’t.

"Why are you being nice to me?" She asked turning slightly to look at him, but still keeping the pillow mostly over her face. She really didn't want him to see how crappy she looked.

Michael shrugged. Hell if he knew. But he couldn’t help it sometimes. It was all different when she was fine and yelling back at him, but seeing her like this… it broke his heart.

"Figures." Maria rolled back onto her side and yanked the pillow over her head all the way once again.

“What do you want me to say?” Wasn’t it enough that he was nice to her? Did he have to give her a reason for it too?

"Nothing. Just… go away." He was going to leave soon too. And here she was already attached and getting worse every day. He would leave without a second thought, and he wouldn't care at all.

“Are you sure?” He bit his lip and looked at her. It would be better if he left, but would she then just start crying again?

"Please leave." She whispered and bit her lip.

Michael sighed and nodded, then he stood up. He didn’t leave right away though, he just stood there watching her. She looked so sad. And he knew she had been crying, he could see it in her face. The few parts she had revealed at least. “I’m sorry,” he repeated and then leaned down, kissing her forehead, before he turned to finally leave her alone.

Maria closed her eyes, her heart warmed at the gesture. She pulled the pillow all the way off her head and looked up at him. "Wait… Michael?" She was digging herself in deeper. Causing more pain for herself in the end. "Would you… just stay with me for a little while. Please?"

“Sure.” Michael smiled and turned around, sitting back down on the bed. He was still unsure if he could touch her or not, so he just placed his hand in his lap.

She shifted on the bed, moving until she could lay her head on his lap, and then curled up in a ball and closed her eyes. "Thank you." Maria slid her hand up and wrapped her fingers around his pant leg near her head, and started to cry quietly again. She couldn't help herself. Her dad was leaving, if he hadn't already left. And who knew when or if he or Kyle would ever return home.

He froze at first, unsure what to do, then he stroked over her hair, shushing her softly. She was lying too close to his lap for comfort, but this was about her, so he had to fight it down. She had let him in again, so he shouldn’t ruin it.

Sometime later her sobs subsided and she felt tired and worn. "Thank you." She murmured quietly, snuggling up closer to him before she quickly dozed off to sleep. She had never felt quite so cared about in the moments that he was comforting her. She felt uncomfortable going to her mom any other time because she was going through the same thing, and Maria didn't want to make it worse for her. But his soothing words and gentle touches had really helped her.

“No problem.” He watched her for a while, still gently stroking over her hair, but when he was sure she had fallen asleep, he carefully lied back as well. He closed his eyes and wished he had eaten his sandwich before he checked on her. It was just two rooms away. He sighed and relaxed as much as possible, trying to ignore his grumbling stomach. After a while he succeeded and fell asleep as well.

Maria woke up sometime later. It was still dark so she was sure it was the middle of the night. Her stomach grumbled and she stretched her arms up over her head and felt something warm and soft against her hand. Resisting the urge to scream she looked up and smiled a little when she saw Michael sleeping. He stayed. She hadn't expected that. But she really appreciated it. Carefully she climbed out of her bed and covered Michael with one of her blankets. She'd skipped lunch and dinner that day and she really wanted to get something to eat. So quietly as she could, Maria left her room and walked downstairs.

Michael woke up because it was suddenly freezing cold. He pulled his blanket tighter around him and smiled when he inhaled a familiar scent. Maria. Wait, Maria? He opened his eyes and looked around. Damn, he was sprawled all across Maria’s bed, but without Maria to keep him warm. Just the blanket, and it was a bad substitute. Where did she go? He frowned and then sat up to go into the bathroom to splash cold water in his face.

She stood in the kitchen and quietly made herself a sandwich and sat down at the table to eat it. Once her sandwich was gone she felt a little better. Not hungry anymore, but she was still sad. Maria didn't know what was going to happen and it scared her. Sighing quietly she got up and laid her plate in the sink before leaning up against the counter and closing her eyes.

When he exited the bathroom, his stomach reminded him painfully that he didn’t eat anything yet. He sighed and glanced into Maria’s room. She was still gone. Maybe she had gone into her mother’s room or something. Or maybe she had just wanted to leave him. He shrugged and went back into his own room, smiling when he spotted his sandwich and the glass of milk.

Maria pushed herself away from the counter and after peeking into her mother's room to check on her she made her way back up the stairs and entered her room. She stopped short when she saw that Michael was gone. Maria sighed softly. He left as soon as she had.

Michael finished his late night snack and then sat back on his bed. Would Maria be back by now? Maybe she had just waited for him to leave so she could go back to sleep. Alone. He passed his hand through his hair and glanced at the clock. It was too late to worry about that. He’d see her soon enough, but for now he needed more sleep. He still felt drained. With a sigh he moved under his own blankets and then quickly fell back asleep.

She closed her door and made her way back over to her bed before crawling into bed. But now she was wide awake. Her mind was running like crazy. Thoughts of Michael, her dad, and Kyle filled her head. But mostly of Michael.

********

Chapter Fourteen

Not so early the next day, Michael woke up again. He glanced at the clock and frowned. He never thought he’d sleep that long. His stomach grumbled and he suddenly worried he wouldn’t get breakfast anymore. That thought had him almost jumping out of bed and he hurriedly changed his shirt, by now accustomed to work with the cast. Then he quickly made his way downstairs, not bothering to go to the bathroom first.

Maria sat at the kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal silently. She'd been up for hours, unable to fall back asleep the night before. She'd been able to smell Michael on her bed and had been tempted to join him but she wasn't sure if he wanted her to, considering he left. She heard a sound and looked up and saw Michael. She bit her lip and looked down at her bowl.

Michael bit his lip as well, suddenly wishing he had went to the bathroom after all. His hair must look horrible and he probably smelled too. “Hey.”

"Hey." She mumbled into her bowl and quickly took another bite of her cereal so she wouldn't have to talk to him.

His face fell even more, if at all possible and he quietly went to raid the fridge. She had obviously not wanted him in her bed anymore last night. But there had been a blanket around him when he woke up. That had to have come from her. He scratched his eyebrow and took out a bottle of milk. It was just weird.

Maria finished with her breakfast and slowly got up to rinse her bowl and put it in the dishwasher. The silence was tense and Maria couldn't stand it. She wanted to run out of the kitchen and upstairs as fast as she could.

He grabbed a bowl and helped himself to some cereal as well. “So… how long have you been up yet?” She was still at breakfast too, so it couldn’t have been long.

She shrugged a little. "Since about two am this morning." She tucked some hair behind her ear and glanced over at him. Her mom had gone to town as usual so she was alone with Michael. Before she hadn't minded at all, but after the night before, she felt really unsure.

“Uh, no, I didn’t mean when you woke up last night. I was wondering how long you’re up now.” He frowned and sat down on the table.

"I didn't go back to sleep. I just laid in bed till about seven when I heard my mom get up, and got up myself." She got a glass out of the cabinet and poured herself a glass of juice.

“Oh.” His frown deepened. That wasn’t good. “But where did you leave to last night?”

"I was hungry. I didn't eat lunch or dinner last night, so I got hungry. Just went downstairs to get something to eat." She looked down at her juice then over at him. "Why did you leave?"

“I thought you wanted me to.” He stirred his cereal, not very hungry anymore. Damn. She had been up all night probably just as miserable as she was before, and he had been happily asleep in his own room. He shouldn’t have left.

"Oh…" She looked back at her glass. "I didn't think you'd wake up. I tried to be quiet so you wouldn't wake up…"

“I was cold without…” He trailed off and blushed.

Maria opened her mouth, and then closed it again. "Oh."

He glanced at her and smiled sadly. “I should have stayed, sorry.”

"It's okay… don't worry about it. Like I said last night, I'll get over it." Maria finished her juice and put her glass in the dishwasher.

Michael nodded. “It never gets easier though, does it?” His father had also left many times after all. Sure, Michael knew that he had to, and that the war was important, but it still didn’t keep him from secretly wishing his dad would just stay.

"No… it doesn't. You'd think with as many times as I've been through this… it would be a little easier to deal with. I would learn not to beg them to stay. I would learn to just suck it up and live with the fact that the war is more important than family."

“It is.” Because if they wouldn’t fight, the enemies might just come and murder them all. At least that’s what his dad always proclaimed. And Michael believed it as well. He had to. There had to be a sense behind all of this.

"Yeah." Maria sighed and left the kitchen and walked upstairs to her room. She sat on the edge of her bed and then fell back and stared up at the ceiling. Stupid Michael. Stupid, stupid Michael.

Michael considered following her but then his hunger got the best of him and he ate his cereal first. Then he got some toast as well. Would her mom be back soon to make something for lunch because there wasn’t any dinner the day before? Or maybe there had been and poor Mrs. Valenti had been sitting there all alone because her husband was gone and neither Maria nor he had bothered to check on her.

She curled up on her side, her mind wasn't running as fast as it had been hours earlier, exhaustion was slowing it down. Slowly her eyes began to droop, and she curled up into a tighter ball before drifting off to sleep.

When he was finally done in the kitchen, Michael decided to check on Maria. Maybe she would let him hold her again, and maybe then he could help her fall asleep just like the night before. He knocked on her door and waited, but when there was no answer, he carefully opened the door. “Maria?” He peeked inside and smiled when he saw she was already asleep.

He walked further inside and pulled her blankets up and around them, then brushed some hair out of her face and kissed her cheek. He wasn’t sure what this was about her. Sometimes he just wanted to hold her and be sweet and gentle, then he wanted to fight and yell at her. And then there were the times when he just wanted to rip her clothes off and… And it was time for him to leave her room. Right now. He quickly retreated and closed her door silently, before going back to his room, picking up one of her brother’s books.

Maria woke up some time later and snuggled deeper into her blankets. Then she opened her eyes. Her blankets? She hadn't pulled a blanket over herself… Slowly she sat up and looked at the blanket before smiling faintly. Maria got up from her bed and stretched her arms before leaving her room and heading for Michael's. She knocked softly on the door and bit her lip.

“Come in.” Michael laid the book aside and took a deep breath. It had to be Maria. And now she was coming to him. He smiled.

She took a breath before opening the door and looking at him. "I just… wanted to thank you… for last night and… for the blanket." It was nice of him, but she kept her mouth shut and didn't tell him that he was nice.

“No problem.” And anytime. He moved on his bed, making room for her. He wasn’t sure if she wanted to join him or not, but a silent invitation couldn’t hurt.

Maria didn't move for a moment, but then walked over to his bed and sat down on the edge of it. "Thanks… I know that we have fought a lot since you got here… But I really, really appreciate what you did for me last night. It's something I really can't ever thank you enough, or repay you for."

“But I didn’t really do anything.” He shrugged. He had just sat with her, and it didn’t even help, or she wouldn’t have been awake for the rest of the night.

"You comforted me. I know it's not a guy thing to do… but it helped. A lot more than you know." She looked down at her hands and chewed on her lip.

He didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t sure if he liked where this was going either but no… no, he did. It was wrong though. What happened to staying away from her because he was a mutant, because he had to leave for war? But right now that she was sitting on his bed, so small and alone… “Come here.” He opened his arms, wanting her closer.

Maria looked up at him and then moved closer to him on the bed so that she now sat beside him and leaned up gently against his chest. She didn't want to put too much pressure on it and hurt him.

Michael wrapped his arm around her and kissed her forehead. It was time to shut off his brain and just be with her again. But he had to keep that part alive that kept him from taking advantage of her right now and suggesting a few ways for her to thank him, all of which required her naked.

She sighed softly and let her eyes slip shut. "Thank you." She told him quietly again. She wrapped one of her arms around his waist and gently rubbed his stomach.

He nodded and looked down at her. “Thank you.” For being here with him, for touching him like this. Like nobody else has ever touched him. And this time he didn’t mean it in a sexual way. This was just… nice.

Maria smiled a little and sighed contentedly. She just wanted to stay like this for a long time. A very long time.

“You think your mom is coming back for lunch?”

"No… usually she didn't come back until later, when dad is gone, she still goes out and does stuff, she owns a little shop in town. She runs that during the day."

“Oh.” Michael looked at her surprised. He didn’t know that. This meant no food, but also no one to disturb them. “Are you still tired?”

"A little. But that nap I took helped a bit."

“Maybe you should try and sleep some more.” There was not much else they could do to spend the day. Okay so there was, but it would be inappropriate.

She nodded slightly. "Okay." She murmured and snuggled up closer to him. Maria could hear his heart beating, and it quickly lulled her to sleep.

Michael smirked when he noticed she was already asleep. It was as if she had just waited for his command. He carefully brushed his fingers through her hair and watched her for a while, till his eyelids became heavier and heavier and sleep overcame him once again.

Still deep asleep Maria let out a quiet moan. In her dreams she was in Michael's bed, and he was holding her, and kissing her and touching her. "Michael." She whispered softly.

His eyes flew open when he heard his name and he checked her over concerned. “Maria?” he whispered, unsure if she was still asleep or if she had woken up. She looked so peaceful though, she had to be asleep. Maybe he had dreamed he heard her voice?

She moaned again quietly and pressed closer to him. "Don't stop." She whispered softly and leaned her head towards his hand.

Stop doing what? Michael frowned. Was she talking in her sleep? What should he do?

Slowly her eyes fluttered open and Maria found herself face to face with a confused looking Michael. She gasped softly and her eyes went wide. That dream… was so real. "Um…" She really hoped that she hadn't done anything embarrassing.

“Don’t stop what?” He cocked his head.

Her cheeks turned bright red and she quickly sat up and pushed some hair behind her ear. "Nothing." She yelped out quietly.

“You sure?” Michael scratched his eyebrow. Did she just turn red? “It seemed pretty important to you.”

If it was at all possible she turned brighter red and her heart was pounding in her chest. She stood up from the bed and shook her head. "No… it wasn't. It was just… just a silly dream." At least Maria was sure that it would be if she actually told him.

“But you said my name…” Suddenly he started smirking. “Were you dreaming of me?” And it had made her blush?

"Shut up!" She hissed at him and turned her back to him. She wrapped her arms around herself and clenched her eyes shut. "Yes, okay?! I was dreaming about you." She huffed, but didn't turn around. She didn't want to see the look on his face.

“And… was it a good dream?” His smirk grew. From the sounds of it, it must have been. If she didn’t want him to stop, he must have done something right.

"As a matter of fact yeah, now shut up." Maria spun around and shook a finger at him. "You just… drop it."

“But why are you so angry if it was a good dream?” He frowned slightly. He really didn’t get her.

She bowed her head for a moment and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "Because I don't want you to laugh at me for it."

“I won’t.” He sat up straighter and looked at her. “I promise I won’t laugh.” Now he was intrigued. He really wanted to know what she had dreamed about.

"Yes you will. So just drop it." She pouted. Why wouldn't he? It was stupid, and she was stupid too for dreaming about such things.

“Aw, come on. First you make me hot, and then you refuse to tell me.” He faked a pout and moved closer to her.

Her eyes went wide and she bit her lip. "I… We were on your bed, and we were touching… and kissing and… touching." Maria chewed on her lip and looked down at the floor.

“Oh.” Now he started to blush as well. “And you didn’t want me to stop?”

"No. Of course not… I mean… It… I liked it. It felt nice." Really nice. Though it had only been a dream.

“Of course it did.“ He was smirking again and then moved so he could sit on the edge of the bed. As soon as he did, he reached out and pulled her closer to him. “I’m sure I didn’t want you to stop either.”

Maria stood between his legs and just looked at him. Slowly she reached up and touched his cheek gently.

He placed his hand on top of hers and looked up at her, just watching her. Should they start this all over again? It felt so right. “Don’t stop.” He smiled.

She looked into his eyes and bit her lip before leaning in to kiss him softly. His lips were soft against hers and it made Maria want to just melt into his arms the way sparks of pleasure shot through her lips all the way to her toes.

Michael responded to the kiss, keeping it slow and sensual. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her even closer, then he slipped his hands under her top to caress her back. She was always so soft and warm, and just touching her made him feel a lot warmer too.

Maria moaned quietly and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Oh Michael." She breathed against his lips before kissing him again. His hand on her back felt so good, warm against her skin.

“Maria…” He trailed light kissed over her jaw before tugging on her bottom lip. “You’re so warm.” He rubbed his head against hers and buried his face in the crook of her neck, just holding her for a minute. He had missed this. They had been close before too, but not like this. Not since they found out about the other mutants.

She held onto him and rested her head on top of his. It felt so nice to just be with him, holding onto him. His arm around her waist, his breath on her throat. In that moment she felt perfectly at ease, and calm, and happy.

He slowly pulled back a little and kissed her shoulder before he looked up at her again. “Maria…” He wasn’t sure what to say, nor did he know what to do. Should he continue to kiss her? Should he just hold her again? Should they go downstairs and eat something?

Maria looked down at him. She didn't know what she was supposed to do. She told him about her dream and he had held her. He didn't laugh. But what was she supposed to do now?

“So…” He looked at her questioningly and brushed his fingertips over her cheek and through her hair, but then he quickly placed his hand back on the small of her back, afraid she’d step back otherwise.

"What are we doing?" She asked softly. "We've established we both want more but we've yet to do anything… and then what are we doing? You'll be leaving soon, but… I don't want to wonder what I could have missed out on once you're gone."

Michael nodded with hesitation. Yes, he didn’t want to miss out on anything either, and yes, he would leave, but she made it harder and harder for him to keep that in mind. “I don’t want to make it any harder for you.” Though, didn’t he just do that? Why couldn’t he just stay away for good and ignore her?

Maria shook her head a little. "Either way it's going to be hard. I don't want to have regrets though, of not … being with you while you're here."

“Being with me?” He frowned and then blushed again, imagining what she could mean by it. And damn, he hoped he was right. But would he still be able to leave her afterwards? “Oh.”

He seemed embarrassed by her statement. "I just… you know what? Nevermind. Just forget I ever said anything." Maria quickly took a step back feeling silly for saying it. Maybe he had only wanted her for the kissing and touching, but nothing more.

“What? No! Why?” He panicked and tried to pull her closer once again. What had he done wrong now?

"I don't want you to feel obligate just because I said that." She shook her head quickly. "You don't have to want me in that way. It's okay. I don't want you to regret doing something that you didn't want to do." Maria stepped farther away from him and tucked some hair behind her ear.

“No, shit! You totally didn’t get me, Maria.” Michael stood up so he could finally be closer to her once more. “I want you! I want you in this way… so badly, Maria.” He bit his lip and touched her arm. How could she think he didn’t? Didn’t she notice all the countless erections she had caused him?

"But you looked so embarrassed when you realized that is what I was talking about." It was a little reassuring to her that he did want her. But at the same time she felt a little unsure about the whole thing.

“Well, yeah.” He shrugged helplessly. “Embarrassed. But not appalled. I’ve just never… you know.” He blushed again and looked at the floor.

Maria's brow furrowed. "Never … but… never?" Suddenly things were starting to make sense. "You're serious?"

He nodded. “I thought you didn’t either?” He bit his lip and glanced up at her.

"I didn't… haven't… I just… I thought you had. I mean… you just seemed like…" She bit her lip before stepping closer to him, cupping his face, and kissing him softly. Words didn't seem right for that moment. Kissing him was far much more fun than talking.

“I seemed like it? Really?” Michael smiled. And there he had thought he would show his total lack in experience by doing it all wrong. At first. After a while he knew that she liked it the kisses and the touching, but still. There was still so much else he had to explore.

Maria nodded. "Yeah." She rubbed her hands over his shoulders and sighed softly.

“You’re not just saying?” He cocked his head.

"No. Michael, I'm telling you the truth. I didn't think that you'd never… I never would have known." She told him quietly, and honestly.

“Because you have never as well?” She had nothing to compare him to, maybe that was it. He seriously hoped that was it, even though that meant he sucked after all. But he didn’t like the thought of other boys having touched her like he did before. Especially not Billy. She had told him before he hadn’t, but maybe she lied.

She shook her head again. "No Michael. Never. The only thing I've ever done… before what I've done with you, is kiss Billy. It wasn't that good, and it wasn't that much. I dodged his kisses more often than not."

“I didn’t even do th…” He stared at her. shit! He had never wanted to admit that. Maybe she didn’t notice. He quickly bent forward and kissed her to distract her further.

Maria gasped quietly into his mouth before breaking the kiss after a few long moments. "You didn't?"

Michael quietly shook his head, then took her hand in his. “Maybe we should lie, uh, sit down again?”

She nodded and followed him to the bed. Maria sat down on the edge and just looked at him. "Now what?" She asked quietly.

“More kissing?” He sat down next to her and raised an eyebrow, his gaze falling to her already swollen lips.

Maria smiled and nodded. "That sounds good." She leaned towards him slowly, and rested one hand on his cheek while she pressed her lips softly against his.

“Mhmm.” He pressed closer to her and continued to kiss her. After only a few minutes his cast was all in his way once again and he pulled back cursing. “Can you help me get the sling off of me?”

"Yeah." She smiled a little at him and stood up so that she could easily get it off of him. Carefully she slid his arm out of it before pulling the fabric over his head and dropping it to the floor. "Better?"

Michael moved his arm from side to side slowly, testing how much strain he could put on it. To his surprise, it didn’t hurt at all anymore. “Much.” He placed it on her waist as best as he could and then leaned in again, now finally feeling her chest against his. “Oh yeah.”

Maria smiled happily. "Good." She told him before sitting back down beside him as close as she could. Her arms went around his shoulders and she pressed soft kisses against his lips.

He closed his eyes, relishing in her kisses and still partially wondering about the cast. Maybe he should try to take it off the next day. Just to see if he healed much faster everywhere, or if he was just immune to scratches and bruises. But tomorrow was the key word there. For now he had Maria on his bed, so more important things to do. He smirked and threaded his fingers through her hair.

She let out a quiet moan against his lips and kissed him deeply. His fingers felt so good in her hair. Shivers ran through her spine at the thought that she was the first person he was doing this with. And the fact that she never would have known.

“Maria.” He moved sideways to get closer to her, but it wouldn’t really work with the way they were sitting. They should have lied down, or something. He moaned frustrated and broke the kiss to catch some much needed air, before latching onto her throat once more. Suddenly he felt his stomach growling and he sucked harder on her skin, trying to ignore it.

Maria arched her back and threw her head back. "Oh Michael." She moaned and lightly dug her fingers into his shoulders.

“You always…” He licked over her skin. “Always…” And trailed his teeth over it. “Taste so good.” And he was hungry now. Dammit. He was depressed that he had to debate what he was the most hungry for, her or real food. It shouldn’t have to be an issue, but it was.

She couldn't help but smile and press closer to him. His lips were intoxicating. "You make me dizzy." She told him softly and slid one hand up into his hair.

“Ditto.” He smirked up at her and then nuzzled her nose. “I’m hungry…” His stomach grumbled again, but he was still unsure if he really wanted to stop this to get some food. Once again. They always had to stop, it was unfair.

Maria nodded a little. "Oh… okay." Slowly she pulled her hands back from his shoulders and looked at him. "I'll go make something then. What do you want?" She asked before standing up and smoothing out the wrinkles from her shirt.

“You.” He looked her up and down, then suddenly blushed at his own words. “And uh, and maybe something warm?”

She blushed and smiled at him. "We could go downstairs, and maybe just order something?"

“Yeah, sounds good.” He stood up as well, and then frowned. “Do you still have many food places around here?” Where he lived most had closed down, due to the war. Either the owners were participating, or they just had to close because nobody was coming to eat anymore.

"There are a few. We have some menus in the kitchen." Maria started to move towards the door. She wanted to leap onto the bed and just kiss him and kiss him and kiss him until she couldn't breathe. It was taking a lot of restraint not to do that.

“Cool.” He went with her, placing his hand on the small of her back. “I know of something we can do while we wait for it to arrive.”

She gave him a small smile. "Oh really?" She asked as they left his bedroom and headed for the stairs. "And just what did you have in mind?"

Michael smirked at her. “Something with lots and lots of skin contact.” He blushed. That came out sounding wrong, didn’t it? He had just meant kissing and maybe some touching, not more.

Maria shuddered and stopped walking to turn to face him. "That sounds… wonderful." She cupped his cheek and kissed him quickly before she started down the stairs. She didn't care what they did, she was just glad that they weren't fighting.

He smiled and moved his broken arm around a bit. It didn’t hurt anymore at all, it was just heavy because of the cast. Maybe he really should try and take it off. It would be a way to practise his powers too.

She left for the kitchen once they were downstairs and grabbed the phone and a few menus before walking back into the living room. "Here, pick a menu, and then pick what you want and I'll order it." She told him.

Michael shrugged and randomly chose one of the flyers. He didn’t really care, just as long as it was hot. “What do you want?” He looked up from his menu.

"It doesn't matter to me." She shrugged. "You're the one that is in oh so much pain, you choose whatever you want." She smiled at him.

“You know, that’s right.” He grinned. “And I think you neglected to take of me lately, so you owe me.”

"Neglected you?" Maria laughed softly. "And just what is it that I owe you Michael?"

“A back rub?” It was the only place where he was still hurting badly. Probably from all the times he fell on it.

She smiled warmly at him. "That can be arranged." She moved a little closer to him. "But first, we have to order food. So, point out what exactly it is you want to eat, and I'll go order it."

“Okay…” Michael briefly glanced at the menu again. “Number twenty.”

"Okay." Maria kissed him softly. "Get comfortable on the couch, and I'll be right back." She walked into the kitchen and quickly dialed the takeout place, and made her order.

He smiled after her and then laid down on the couch. He hesitated for a second, then he sat back up and pulled off his shirt. That was better for a back rub, wasn’t it? And he would get to feel her hands on his naked skin. He smirked and moved back into a lying position. It was a bit uncomfortable with his arm, but he managed to get comfortable in no time.

She walked back into the living room and stopped short when she saw him on the couch. Well, she hadn't expected him to be lying down. She smiled a little though and walked around to the front of the couch. "Comfortable?" She asked. She couldn't wait to feel his skin under her fingers. The expanse of smooth skin, just waiting for her.

“Uhuh.” He looked back at her over his shoulder, suddenly a bit nervous. He never had a back rub before.

"Good." She murmured before biting her lip. She wasn't really sure what she was supposed to do. Slowly she moved towards him and carefully climbed into the couch, straddling the backs of his thighs. "This okay?" She asked him a little unsure as she rested her hands gently on his sides.

“Yeah, that’s… good.” It would be better if he was lying the other way around though. Ack, no! No, it wouldn’t! Because then she would feel his growing erection.

"Good." She said again before she started to gently rub her hands over his back. First she smoothed them up the length of his spine, then down, then up again. Her fingers gently kneaded his shoulders, and down his back once again. "Does it feel good?" She asked, because she honestly had no idea what she was doing. But she hoped he was enjoying it.

“Mmmh, very.” He closed his eyes and let out a low moan. Her hands felt so good on his skin. Could he make her believe he was still sore anywhere else on his body too? Especially between his legs? God that one time… He shuddered just thinking about it.

Slowly she leaned down and pressed a kiss against his shoulder and closed her eyes for a moment so that she could just breathe him in. His body felt warm against hers and now that she was leaning down over him she didn't want to move. Well maybe just a little, so that he was laying facing her.

“Maria…” She was so sweet and gentle and when she leaned so close, he could faintly smell her unique scent. He moved on the couch, trying to relief the pressure on his loin.

"You okay?" She asked softly. She wasn't sure just how bad his injuries still were, and she didn't want to make them worse by leaning against him.

“Yeah.” He nodded and tried to look at her again. “You feel so nice against me.”

Maria smiled a little and kissed his shoulder again. "You're so warm."

“Can you feel that through your shirt?” He gulped. But to really be skin on skin would be making this whole situation even better.

She looked up at his face and bit her lip. "Not as good as I probably would be able to without it…" Slowly Maria sat up and hooked her fingers in the hem of her shirt and pulled it over her head. She dropped it to the floor before leaning back down and resting her cheek against his shoulder.

“You’re warm too.” And now he regretted even more that he was on his chest, because he couldn’t even look at her.

Maria nodded a little. "I bet I'd be even warmer if you were facing me…" She bit her lip, unable to believe she'd just said that.

“Yeah, I… I think so too.” Michael bit his lip and gulped. “Do you want to… find out?”

She nodded again. "Yeah… I do." At least he agreed.

“Okay…” Michael nodded, then looked over his shoulder again. “Can you move off me a little?” It wouldn’t do him any good to get even sorer. “Just for now!” He was quickly to add.

Maria did as he asked and lifted her weight off of him but continued to let her legs straddle his. There was enough room for him to move, and she was thankful for that, she didn't want to have to move too far away from him.

Michael turned around as quickly as he could and then gulped once again. “You’re so beautiful.” He gazed up at her and placed his good hand on her waist.

She blushed deep red and smiled a little at him. "Thank you." Maria leaned down and pressed her lips softly against his.

He pulled her close to him as soon as he had the opportunity and groaned, partly out of arousal, but also in frustration, because she was still wearing her bra.

Maria lifted her head when he groaned. "What?" She asked already feeling out of breath. She could feel his hard erection pressing against her through their pants, and his arm felt so nice around her waist. And the skin to skin contact. That felt amazing.

“You think we’d both get warmer if you take off your bra?” He blushed but looked at her hopefully.

"I think so." She could feel her own skin heating up as he looked at her. She reached behind her and undid the clasp before sitting up a little again and slowly dragging it down her arms. It fell to the floor with her shirt and she watched his face.

“Hot damn.” It wasn’t the first time he saw her bare-chested by now, but it still amazed him to no end. He slowly moved his hand up till he reached her breasts, then he carefully circled one of her nipples, pulling back in surprise when it suddenly hardened a lot.

Maria's breathing quickened and she let out a soft moan. "Don't stop." She gasped out when he suddenly pulled his hand back. She reached out and took his hand and pulled it back to her chest.

“I was just…” Dumb. Very, very dumb. He avoided her eyes and touched her again, just like before but with a little more skin contact than just his index finger.

Her eyes slid shut and she arched her back. "Oh Michael." She murmured and pressed into his hand. She wanted to feel more, she wanted to feel all of him. Maria leaned down slowly and captured his lips in a soft kiss.

Pushing his hips up into hers, he could feel his passion rising. He deepened the kiss and tweaked her nipple, before rolling it between his thumb and forefinger.

She cried out quietly and felt a new flood of desire fill her. Maria kissed him passionately and dipped her tongue inside of his mouth. She rubbed her hands over his sides, up his chest and then curled them around his back.

“Maria…” He moved his hand to her back, wanting to feel her flat against his chest. Her nipples rubbed against him teasingly and he groaned once more. “So good.” He stroked up and down her spine before burying his hand in her hair, pulling her down for another kiss.

She moaned into his mouth and tried to press closer. His warmth seeped into her and she wanted more. "Michael…" She whispered against his lips. She wanted so much more.

He grinded his hips against her more ferociously. Could he ask her to take off all her clothes? Would he take off his? Down here on the couch? Where anyone could come in at any moment? In theory at least.

She couldn't help but moan his name. Even through their pants she could feel him, but really she wanted to feel him without the clothes. Maria shuddered just at the thought. "Michael." She whispered.

“Oh hell.” Michael closed his eyes to gain back some of his control. Though did he ever have any when it came to Maria? But heck, if this would continue, he would really cum in his pants, which he had tried to avoid for a few days now.

Maria arched her back and rubbed her chest against his, his hard muscles felt good against her body. She leaned in and pressed her lips against his throat and started to suck softly on his skin.

“Maria…” Oh shit, shit, shit. Did she have to rub her sharp nipples against him like that? And why wasn’t she doing it again now? But her sucking kisses almost felt better. He couldn’t decide, he wanted it all at the same time. He clenched and unclenched his hand in her hair. So soft.

She moaned quietly and flicked her tongue out against his skin and trailed it along his collarbone. "Michael." She whispered.

“Maria, I want… I want…” He looked at her and bit his lip, unable to word it yet again.

Maria lifted her head up and looked up at him. "What?" She asked softly. "What do you want?"

Her. Naked. Underneath him. “I want…” Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Michael jumped, almost knocking Maria off of him.

She leapt off the couch when Michael jumped. She looked at the door, it didn't open, and she thanked the powers that be her mother didn't walk through. "The food." Maria whispered and quickly scrambled to grab her shirt, not bothering with her bra, she yanked it on and grabbed some money from the drawer in the table near the door.

********

Chapter Fifteen

Maria took a deep breath and opened the door part way, her cheeks were flushed, her breathing labored and the wetness between her legs was impossible to ignore. "Thanks." She murmured taking the containers of food and handing him the money. She closed the door and turned around to look at Michael.

Michael had pulled his shirt back on as well and gulped when she was back. “That was close.” He knew they shouldn’t have done that on the couch. Or at least he had known a few minutes ago. Before his conscious mind had left him.

"Yeah…" She bit her lip and walked back over to the couch. "Here." She told him handing him his container of food.

“Thanks.” Food was second best now. He glanced at her, noticing how her nipples now stood out clearly against her top. It made him smirk. “We’ll continue this later?”

Maria saw his smirk and nodded a little. "Sure… somewhere… more private?" She suggested. Her mother would freak if she walked in and had found them in such a state.

“Can you lock your door?” Michael cocked his head.

She nodded a little. "I was on this major privacy kick a while ago… Kyle was always a jerk about it so… I got a lock."

“Great.” He grinned and nodded. “So we’ll definitely continue this.” Even if she wouldn’t have been able to lock her door. They would have just had to wait a bit longer then, till her mom would be gone again the next day.

Maria smiled at him. "Okay." She murmured before opening her own container of food and handing Michael one of the plastic forks that came with it.

“And we’ll even have more strength.” He chuckled a bit and opened his container as well. The smell reminded him just how hungry he had been, so he quickly dug his fork in and started eating.

"Yeah." She agreed with him and started to eat. She kept stealing glances at him as she ate, and couldn't help but smile to herself.

Michael noticed her watching him, but refrained from moving closer to her, although he wanted to. But close contact might lead to him forgetting about the food and they would get started all over again. He sighed and ate faster.

Maria finished eating and looked over at Michael. "Are you done?" She asked holding her hand to take the empty container.

Quickly stuffing the last remains into his mouth, he then nodded. “Mhm.” He handed her the container and smiled satisfied.

She smiled back and quickly left to throw them away before she made her way back into the living room. "So…" Maria bit her lip. "Are we… going to continue this?"

Michael nodded, but then stopped and scratched his eyebrow. “Wait… when’s your mom coming back?”

She glanced at the clock, then back at Michael. "In a couple of hours."

“Cool.” He smiled and looked down at his hands. So they were going to continue. Where would it lead to?

Maria smiled at him and extended her hand out to him. Her mom wouldn't be home for a while, but she didn't want to risk her mom walking in. She glanced down and remembered her bra on the floor and picked it up quickly. It would be bad if her mom found that.

Michael took her hand and stood up, then frowned at the bra. “You’re not going to put it back on, are you?”

"No, I wasn't planning on it, but if my mom found it… we'd be busted." She tugged on his hand gently and pulled him up the stairs.

“Oh.” He blushed. Stupid. “Yeah.” He followed her a little reluctantly. Suddenly he was all nervous again. What if he did it wrong? She might not notice, but if he did it very, very wrong? His hands started to shake and he almost stumbled on the staircase.

Maria looked at him quickly and gave him a small smile. "You okay?" She asked. She was nervous. She didn't know what exactly they were going to do, and she didn't care as long as he was touching her.

“Yeah. Just…” He shrugged helplessly. “You know.”

"Yeah. I know." She whispered and then pulled him down the hallway to her room. Maria pulled him inside and closed the door and quickly flipped the lock.

“So…” He remained standing close to the door. “We’re safe for a few hours?”

"Yeah. We are." Maria stepped closer to him and rested her hands on his sides.

Michael nodded once again. “Yeah…” He bit his lip and looked down at her, then glanced behind her at the bed. “We should lie down… Or, uh, sit down at least.”

The bed. She looked at it and bit her lip. Why was she so nervous now, when she wasn't before? Half an hour earlier they were making out like crazy, half naked and having plenty of fun, but now… now they were locked in her room. "Why are we so nervous now?" She asked him softly.

“I dunno…” He let out a strained laugh. “Because we’ve both never done this before?” He scratched his eyebrow. Though they had kissed and made out a few times now. Who said this had to be more now?

"We've kissed… we were downstairs … doing what we were doing… just a few minutes ago. Nothing has to change now that we are up here. I mean… it can if we want, but it doesn't have to. We can just kiss and touch like earlier." Maria bit her lip and took a step back and slowly pulled her shirt up over her head.

“We… we can.” He nodded and then gaped at her. He would never ever get enough of this sight.

Maria smiled slightly and blushed a little as he looked at her. No one had ever made her feel so beautiful. She stepped farther back from him and towards her bed. "So… how about you come over here and…" She sat down on her bed and moved to lay in the center of it. "Pick up where we left off?" She wasn't sure where her sudden burst of confidence came from, but she was really liking it, she hoped that Michael was too.

“If you say so.” He was glad she told him what to do, because if not he might have just continued to stare at her. It still took him a moment to actually get his feet into moving, then he stopped in front of the bed and took his shirt off again. Continuing where they left off. He had been shirtless then.

She smiled at him when he shed his shirt. "I say so." She murmured and held her hand out to him.

He knelt on the bed and took her hand in his. “What else do you want?”

"You." Maria looked up at him. "Just you."

“No, I mean…” He shook his head and mentally rolled his eyes. He was such a moron. Leaning down, he cupped her cheek and kissed her softly.

She kissed him back softly. "I got what I wanted." She murmured against his lips. "You're on my bed and you're kissing me. I couldn't be happier."

“Really? Nothing else that could make it better?” He raised his eyebrow and laid down next to her, still stroking over her cheek.

"Well… I can think of a few things. But this is good." Maria rested her hand on his side and scooted closer to him.

“Like what?” He trailed his hand down over her neck and then her side till he reached the hem of her pants. The pants. They were in the way.

Maria shivered and pressed closer. Her mind went completely blank at the feel of his fingers. "That… that works."

Michael chuckled and placed a soft kiss on her shoulder blade. “Tell me if you want anything.” He looked at her and kissed the tip of her nose. “Tell me and I’ll do it.”

She looked at him and kissed him softly. "You… are amazing." Maria kissed him again. "Touch me… just touch me." She really wanted more, but thought that starting off a little slow would be a good idea.

He nodded and kissed her lips, softly at first, but then he stroked his tongue over them, wanting to deepen it.

Maria parted her lips and eagerly allowed his tongue into her mouth. She rubbed hers against his, and moaned softly. "Michael." She whispered against his lips and moved closer so that her chest pressed against his again. She loved that feeling. His warm skin against hers.

“Maria…” He sucked her bottom lip between his and rubbed up against her. “God, I just love this.” He squeezed his hand between them anyways and brushed over her nipples. “These, I love these.”

"Oh." She threw her head back and moaned loudly. "I love it when you touch me." Maria arched her back and held onto him tighter.

“I love touching you. You’re so soft.” And she made all those voices, like she really liked it. It made it all even better. “And it’s so… interesting.”

"Interesting?" She asked, intrigued. She smiled at him and kissed him again as she trailed her fingers over his side and then up his stomach and over his chest. "You're soft too… but you're really hard at the same time." She bushed at her comment realizing it sounded much different than how she had meant it.

“Yeah…” Michael chuckled. “Thanks.” She was fun to explore, but maybe she wouldn’t like to hear that. But it was just so, well, interesting to see her body change. Her nipples hardening was one thing, but she also blushed on weird places on her body, and sometimes he could make her quiver too.

Slowly Maria let her fingers trail down his chest again and rested them on the top of Michael's jeans. She wanted to see how far they would go, she wanted to see him. But she was still really unsure about it.

He bit his lip and looked at her hand. Yeah, this was just where he wanted it to be, but at the same time not. He couldn’t control himself as much as he liked to, so he might embarrass himself after all. “Do you want to… uh… see?”

Maria bit her lip and looked up at him. "I… yeah." She whispered softly. She leaned in and kissed him softly. Thankful that he was there with her, that he existed in her life, even if only for a short while. She would never regret anything she did with him.

It would be only fair, because she showed him too. But she never offered to in the first place… Did he just cross a line? “Really?”

"Yeah. If you don't mind." Then she groaned quietly and buried her face in the crook of his neck feeling stupid for her comment.

“No.” He smirked because she was blushing again. “No, it’s okay…” It was, right? But they had to start somewhere.

Maria peeked her head out slowly. "Yeah?" She bit her lip and looked down at the buttons. "Can I?" She whispered and slowly started to unbutton his pants.

“Uhuh.” He watched her through hooded eyes. Damn! But his erection was thankful for his decision, because without the buttons, he felt a momentary relief.

"Um… lay on your back?" She asked as she scooted down on the bed a little to finish opening his pants, and pull them over his hips. Her fingers were trembling, she'd never been so nervous in her life.

Michael complied and helped her get the pants over his hips, but not an inch more. He didn’t want to seem over-eager. Now would she want to take his boxers too?

Maria looked up at him and then moved to kneel on the bed at his waist. She chewed on her lip and slowly reached down to hook her fingers in the waistband of his boxers. Take deep breaths Maria, don't pass out. Slowly she dragged his boxers down over his hips and her mouth fell open as his rather large erection sprang free. How the hell was he supposed to fit inside of her? No way in hell. Slowly she reached out and touched it lightly with her fingertips.

He closed his eyes when she pulled his boxers down, but the second he felt her touch, they sprang open again and he stared at her in shock and amazement.

She was completely in awe of him. Granted, she had felt him before, but being able to see him while touch him at the same time. Her fingers lightly ran up and down the length of him.

It had felt different the last time, because he had felt more secure with his boxers still on. What if she didn’t like it? But then she wouldn’t be touching it… “Maria.” He groaned. But now that she was touching, couldn’t she do it harder?

Maria looked up at him. "What?" She asked him. "What do you need?" Hopefully it wasn't for her to stop touching him. She wanted to feel more. She wanted to make him feel really good.

“Can you do it… harder?” He gave her a pleading look. “But only if you want to.”

"Oh… okay." She nodded and then looked back down at his length and wrapped her fist around him. She remembered how she had done it days before and watched his erection as she began to stroke him slowly at first but began building up a pace and stroked him harder and faster.

“Oh… oh yeah!” Michael swallowed hard and thrust his hips in time with her movements. His cock was still swelling up and he could see the pre-cum pooling at the head. And it had never felt any better.

Maria was in absolute awe. She brought her other hand up and lightly touched the tip where the liquid was oozing from. Her eyes darted up to his face, and then back again. "Michael." She whispered. "You're so beautiful."

He blushed. She was telling him now? When he was naked? Did she find his penis beautiful? Why? “Uh, thanks.” He scratched his eyebrow but then forgot his doubts again, when the pleasure coursed through his body.

She chewed on her lips and then slowly leaned down little by little and pressed her lips softly against the head of his length. The wetness there spread over her lips and she flicked her tongue out over them and moaned at the flavor.

“Oh.” His mouth dropped open and he clenched his hand to a fist. The other wouldn’t, because of the damn cast. But even that couldn’t bother him right now. This was just way, way too good to be true.

Maria lifted her head up just a little and looked at him. "Is…is it okay?" She hated being so clueless, but she really didn't know what to do, or what not to do.

“Yes! Yes, it’s… fine.” He nodded quickly. “Don’t stop.” She wouldn’t, would she? He’d die if she would.

She smiled a little at the encouragement. "Okay, okay, I won't." She told him and then lowered her head again and kissed his erection once again before parting her lips and running her tongue lightly along the head.

“Oh, oh shit…” He clawed at the sheets now. “But… but you don’t have to, uh, use your mouth if it tastes bad, you know?”

"I like it…" Maria murmured before wrapping her lips around him and sucking softly. The flavor flooded her tongue and she couldn't help but moan softly.

He squirmed, unsure what to do. His instincts told him to thrust his hips again, to get more, but he didn’t want her to stop. And shit, did she just moan? Was she in pain? But she didn’t stop… Could she really like it? “Maria…” He reached out his hand, hesitated, but then finally buried it in her hair.

She closed her eyes when she felt his fingers in her hair. They felt so good. Her hand sped up and she started to move her mouth along his length, in sync with her fist.

“Oh god.” He let out a loud moan and stroked over her hair. Somehow touching her too made it even better still. As did watching her, although he was tempted to close his eyes, like he usually did. But what would he want to imagine? This right now was way better than any fantasy could ever be.

Maria ran her tongue over him, her fist pumping him quickly. She brought her other hand up and rested it gently on his stomach and rubbed lightly, completely absorbed in giving him pleasure. And getting more of his taste.

“Oh! Oh, Maria! I’m gonna… you have to…” He couldn’t… But damn, he wanted to. He wanted nothing more.

She pulled her mouth away for a second to mumble "What?" before she quickly wrapped her lips back around him. He had seemed to get even harder in her hand and swell even more. No way can he fit inside of me She thought and circled her tongue around the head of his length again.

“Gonna… gonna cum.” It was too late now, he wasn’t strong enough to pull back. But he warned her, so she would have to.

Maria nodded faintly and closed her eyes. She teased him with her tongue and tightened her fist around him. Her other hand was still rubbing his stomach lightly.

“Oh shit! Maria!” His hips jerked once, twice and then he came into her mouth. He had to close his eyes to not see her shocked expression, but he really couldn’t help it anymore. Why hadn’t she pulled back? Was it because of his hand? Had he unconsciously pushed her down? He let go instantly.

She was surprised when her moth was suddenly flooded with warm liquid. She hadn't been expecting that, but she swallowed quickly and lapped up what dripped down his erection before she lifted her head up to look at him. He didn't look mind-blowingly happy. Maria wrapped her arms around herself, maybe she didn't do it right?

“I’m sorry.” He mumbled, still unable to look in her eyes, or even glance at her at all.

Her brow furrowed and she looked up at him. "For what?"

“For, you know…” He finally met her eyes. “For making you do that.”

"You didn't." She shook her head. "You warned me… I … I wanted to." Maria shifted her weight on the bed so that she was sitting down facing the foot of it. "Sorry it wasn't better." She'd heard stories at school about how guys loved it when girls did that for them. But all Maria could think was all the ways she did it wrong.

“You… you wanted to?” He cocked his head and frowned. And she apologized? What the hell for? He quickly robbed next to her and wrapped his arm around her. “It was great! Awesome! It was the best I’ve ever… uh…” He shrugged. “Thank you.” He kissed her cheek.

"You're not just saying that are you? If I was bad just tell me." Maria leaned into his side and rested her head against his shoulder. She hated that they were both so shy about it all. But she didn't know how else to be.

“No, it wasn’t. Really.” He pulled her closer to him. “I wouldn’t have cum so soon if it wasn’t.” He blushed. “It was better than when I…” Ack. He shook his head.

She smiled a little and kissed him softly. "Thanks." She murmured quietly and sighed inwardly. She could feel the wetness between her legs and that really wanted attention, but it felt so nice to just be sitting with Michael, his arms wrapped around her.

“What is it?” He nudged her slightly. He sensed that she still wasn’t happy. Maybe she didn’t believe him? Or maybe she hated his taste after all? “Do you want to go wash your mouth?” He’d understand.

"No. No! I…" She shook her head frantically. "I'm just… kind of torn. Between sitting here with you like this 'cause I really like it… and moving, so that I can be kissing you, because I really like that too."

Michael smiled. “Oh.” He rubbed his hand over her arm and chuckled. He was worrying too much. “Yeah… you could sit in my lap?”

Maria nodded. "That is a good idea." Slowly she moved away from him only to climb into his lap and straddle his thighs. She wished she was naked so she could feel every inch of his skin.

He nodded in approval and wrapped his arms around her again. “The cast isn’t too cold on your skin, is it?” That dreaded thing. He would so get rid of it very soon.

"It's okay." She told him and kissed him softly. It was a little rough against her skin, but all was okay because his arms were around her, and his naked chest was pressed against hers.

“Good.” He nuzzled her nose and then kissed her again, and again, each kiss getting more and more ferocious. He still loved how she was rubbing against him and in no time soon he was hard again. It was good that she still wore her pants.

Maria moaned softly against his lips. Nothing had ever felt quite so good, well she could think of something, things that she had done with Michael days before, but what they were doing now was quickly heading in that direction again.

He buried his hand in her hair again and then suddenly remembered that while now he had received pleasure, he hadn’t done that much for her yet, other than ogling her and kissing. But he got so distracted when she had touched him. But it still wasn’t too late now. He broke the kiss and then bent her backwards a little so he could kiss down her neck and over her collarbone, quickly nearing her breasts.

She tangled her fingers in his hair and arched her back. "Oh… oh god Michael." She whispered. His kisses were leaving a trail of fire in their wake. It felt so incredible and the sensations were going straight to her womb, leaving her craving more and more.

Soon he had reached her nipples and he marveled again at the different texture of them. They were hard but yet so soft under his lips. He took one between them and rolled it softly.

Maria's head fell back and she moaned loudly. She held the back of his neck tight, feeling like she was falling. "Yes… oh god Michael. That… so … good."

He smiled and sucked it into his mouth, then flicked his tongue over it. He could faintly taste her skin and he wanted more of it.

She couldn't even begin to describe how amazing it felt. "Don't stop." She begged him softly. Maria didn't want the feelings to end, ever.

Michael pulled away to smirk up at her and then switched to her other nipple, hoping to get more of her taste. He went straight to sucking on it hard.

Maria cried out softly and her eyes rolled back into her head. "Oh shit!" She gasped out. "Ohh Michael…" She dug her nails into his shoulders and pushed her hips towards his, wanting to find some relief from the ache in pit of her stomach.

“fuck.” He had to pull back again to gasp for air. Did she realize what her rocking was doing to him? He glanced up at her. “Maria…”

Her jaw trembled when he pulled back. "What?" She asked, her breathing was labored and the ache was just getting stronger and stronger.

“I think we need to… switch positions.” If he was to give her pleasure, he would have to forget about his own. His dick at least, not all of his pleasure, because he loved tasting her, so it was impossible.

"O-okay..." Maria agreed with him and slowly climbed out of his lap and sat on the bed again.

“Thanks.” He smiled and scratched his eyebrow. Now maybe he could take off her pants. Would she be okay with it? He kept eyeing them.

"What?" She asked, he was just looking at her. "What is it?" She asked again and reached out and gently touched his hand.

“Can I take off your pants?” He raised an eyebrow and tried to smile to hide his insecurity.

It was only fair. She bit her lip and then nodded. "Yeah." She whispered and slowly laid back on the bed to make it easier for him, and to help him too.

Michael bit his lip and then slowly bent down till he reached the button of her pants. He fumbled a bit but could open it against all odds. His fingers were shaking and he only had one hand, so he had no idea how he did it. But it didn’t matter. It was open. Now he had to lower her zipper…

Her pants were part way open and she looked up at him. "Do you… want help?" She wasn't sure how much strength he had, and she wanted to help him if he needed it.

“I, uh…” Damn. If only he could fully use both of his arms at least. “Yeah.” He hated to admit it.

"Okay." Maria smiled up at him and unzipped her pants and pushed her them down over her hips, and then tugged them the rest of the way down. But now she felt completely open to him. All she was wearing was a skimpy, lacy thong.

“You are just so beautiful, Maria.” Michael was just gaping at her again. She was so delicate. It reminded him how easily he could hurt her, but he wanted anything but.

She blushed and smiled up at him. "Thank you Michael." She whispered and held her hand out to him.

“You are.” He took her hand in his and then brought it to his lips to kiss it, before he carefully laid down next to her. Maybe he should pull his own boxers back on?

Maria kissed him softly and rolled onto her side to face him. She rested her hand on his side and looked up at him.

He smiled. And she was so incredibly cute too. “Do you want me to… continue?” He reached out and trailed his fingertips over the top of her silky breasts.

She nodded quickly. "Please." She asked him softly.

Rolling over, he smirked at her and then closed his lips around her hardened peak once more, playing at it with his tongue. He still wished he could get more of her taste though… Maybe… maybe he could… no.

Her back arched and she tangled her fingers in his hair once again. His mouth was intoxicating. "Oh Michael." She breathed out. The shifting of positions really hadn't helped her much yet.

He smelled her. And it was driving him nuts. Her smell got stronger and stronger too, ever since she took off her pants, and now that he was so close, he really noticed. His cock twitched as if it knew just what it could mean. He groaned and closed his eyes.

Maria moved closer and slowly draped her leg over his thigh, she could feel his length pressed against her through her underwear. "Michael." She whispered and pressed her lips against his shoulder and kissed his skin softly.

“Oh, don’t do that.” He thrust his hips against hers involuntary. “It’s killing me.” So close, but there was still a barrier.

She pulled back a little and bit her lip. "S-sorry." She whispered and pulled her leg down from his.

“It’s just…” He looked at her. “I want you so bad.” He buried his face in the valley of her breasts, ashamed that he didn’t have more control.

"I want you too Michael." She ran her fingers through his hair. "I want you so bad Michael. I've never wanted anything more."

“So what do we do?” He was looking at her now. Could they really… But with his arm in the cast…

Maria sighed softly and rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. "I don't know."

“Can I… can I just do something and you tell me to stop if you don’t like it?” He trailed his fingers through her hair. She looked lost, that was wrong.

She looked over at him and nodded. "Sure." She murmured softly. Maria knew that she didn't want to stop doing whatever they were doing, but at the same time, she didn't know what to do.

“Okay.” He gave her a reassuring smile and leaned over to kiss her, softly at first but then he quickly deepened it. They had to get lost, but in the feelings not in doubts. Maybe he could do it for her. For him it seemed hopeless.

She moaned softly into his mouth and kissed him passionately. Maria rested her hand lightly on his arm and scooted a little closer to him.

Okay, it was working after all. The feel of her body against his, her warmth, her touches, it was just all good. He only broke the kiss when air became an issue and then kissed his way down her body quickly, not lingering anywhere till he reached the hem of her panties. If he hesitated now, he would never do it. He’d chicken out before.

Her eyes slid shut and she let out soft purrs as Michael kissed his way down her body. It made her hotter and hotter. Slowly she reached down and tangled her fingers in his hair. "Oh…" She sighed happily.

“Tell me when to stop.” He glanced up at her and then slowly eased her panties down over her hips. The smell got stronger and stronger and he groaned, rubbing against the sheets to relief some of his own arousal.

Maria closed her eyes tighter, and lifted her hips up slightly, she was nervous. No one had ever done such a thing to her. And she couldn't wait. She knew his fingers already felt good, it had been absolutely amazing, and she couldn't wait to feel him really touch her again.

After he had pulled them halfway down her thighs, he figured she had to be okay with it, so he hurried up. She might get second thoughts and second now. He kept stealing glances at her, a smile plastered to his face. As soon as her panties were on the floor, he settled in between her legs and spread them slightly so he would have better access. “You smell so good.” He bit his lip. That sounded rather stupid right now, didn’t it?

She trembled slightly at being so exposed. But hearing him made her smile. She opened her eyes a little and looked down at him. There was something comforting about him speaking to her, but at the same time, looking down at him between her legs. She closed her eyes again quickly.

“It’s okay.” He reassured them both and rubbed over her thighs. “It’s gonna be…” Hell, he had no idea. Not like he ever even dreamed of doing that. Not since he met her at least. Michael stopped talking and slowly lowered his mouth to her heat. And damn, it really was hot! He kissed her blond curls and smiled.

She gasped softly and shot her hand down to tangle in his beautiful brown locks. Her eyes flew open and she stared up at the ceiling. Just the soft touch was nearly enough to put her through the roof. His warm breath was on her skin and it felt so nice.

He glanced at her again, but she still seemed okay with it, so he dared to move lower. He placed another soft kiss on her flesh and then licked over his lips. He instantly craved more. And who’d have thought her skin would be even softer than that on her breasts? And he should stop thinking. He delved back down and kissed her again before he snaked his tongue out so he could get more of her taste.

"Oh god!" She cried out softly. She never thought anything would have felt better than his fingers. His lips, and his tongue… "Yes." She whispered. "Oh Michael." Maria tossed her head from side to side. She pushed her hips slightly towards his mouth, wanting more.

Michael took it as encouragement and now really licked up her juices. He found that if he touched this special point with the tip of his tongue, her hips were bucking even more. But yeah, she had loved to be touched there a few days ago too. After licking his lips, he decided to concentrate on the hardened nub and he licked around and over it for a while. He had to place his hand on her hips though, to keep her from thrashing too much.

"Oh my god Michael!" She cried and tightened her fingers in his hair. Her breathing was getting quicker and quicker with each touch of his tongue, she could hardly take it anymore, but at the same time she didn't want it to stop. "God yes!"

His lips curled into a grin and he tried to apply more pressure with his tongue. He had never thought she could like it this much. But it was good, because he did as well. So then they could always do this from now on.

An instant later it was too much. She screamed out his name and threw her head back. "Yes!" The most powerful orgasm she'd ever felt racked through her body, her inner walls contracted, and her thighs tried to clamp together and every single muscle in her body tensed up.

Michael frowned at first, then he understood what was happening. Yep, he had been really good and she had liked it very much. He smirked and allowed his tongue to slide lower to lick up all of the new liquid that had seeped through. God, she just tasted so awesome.

Her breathing was labored and she panted quietly as her muscles relaxed and turned to mush. "Oh… Michael… wow." She continued to smooth her fingers through his hair. "God Michael that was …" She couldn't even form the words. Her mind was spinning.

Reluctantly he looked up at her. Did she want to talk now? But he wasn’t done yet. He frowned and then dipped back down, continuing to lick her.

Maria trembled and her eyes slid shut. Her body felt so alive. Absolutely amazing. She lightly rubbed the back of his head, and smoothed his hair back from his forehead.

Finally Michael stopped and kissed his way back up her body. He stopped when he reached her lips and hovered above her, unsure if she wanted to kiss him now, after where he had been.

Her eyes fluttered open and she looked up at him for a moment before lifting her head and kissing him softly on the lips. "Thank you." She whispered. "That was…really, really good."

“Thanks.” He smiled and kissed her again. “Maybe we can do it more often now?”

"Yeah." Maria reached up and gently stroked his cheek. "Thank you so much…" She whispered and curled her arms around his shoulders.

“Thanks for letting me do it.” It meant she trusted him. And what was he saying doing it more often? Wasn’t he going to leave? But he wasn’t going to leave right away, he still had to heal. And spend more time with her. He sighed and wrapped his arm around her waist, closing his eyes.

"But I got all the pleasure from it." Maria snuggled close to him and sighed softly.

“Oh it was pleasurable for me too, believe me.” He smiled and kissed the tip of her nose.

She smiled and kissed him softly. "It was amazing. Never felt anything better." She combed her fingers through his hair gently and rubbed her hands over his shoulders.

“I hope I can hear that again soon.” He winked but then blushed. But they would still do more, right? What had they agreed on again? And would it be better? Maybe it would hurt her too much to be really good?

Maria smiled at his blush and glanced down and noticed his erection was back full force. She opened her mouth, and then closed it and looked up at him. She chewed on her lip, wondering if they were going to do anything else.

“It’s okay, I can wait.” But he should pull his boxers back on. He kept brushing against her bare skin and that was torture.

"No… don't, I…" Slowly Maria slid her hand down between them and trailed her fingers over his dick. "I could take care of that or… we could…" She bit her lip more. She wasn't sure if they would continue, but she wanted to.

********

Chapter Sixteen

“We could?” He raised his eyebrow. Could they really? But what about his arm and the cast? What about… what about her mom? “Hey, how late is it?”

"Um..." She rolled to her side and grabbed her clock and turned it so she could see it. "Just after two…" Maria looked at him over her shoulder. "She won't be home till after four."

“Okay.” Two hours. More than enough time for something else. “But you know, I really… I just want to get rid of the cast first.”

Maria looked at it and then up at his face. "Can you?" Wasn't it still hurting? Broken? She didn't want him to get hurt.

“I… I dunno.” He shrugged. “I think so.” He glanced at it and shrugged again. “I just really want to be able to touch you.”

"I want you to be able to too… I just don't it to hurt you…"

“I can ditto that.” He chuckled. “I mean, I don’t want it to hurt you.” Him, he didn’t care much. If his arm would be hurting again, he could suck it up. As long as he would be able to move it.

She smiled and kissed him. "Okay… so… how are you going to take it off?" She asked looking at the cast.

“I was gonna use my powers.” He shrugged once again. “Or you could get a hammer and a nail.”

Maria winced. "That'll make it worse!" A hammer and nail? It would surely go through his arm and cause even more problems.

Michael laughed. “That was a joke.” She was just too cute.

She swatted his arm and narrowed her eyes. "Jerk." She muttered before kissing him. "Okay… so… should I say good luck?"

“You want me to try it now?” He wasn’t sure if he was calm enough. Or on the other hand, if he had enough strength left. He felt pretty good, but still.

"Whatever you want." She touched his cheek and then looked up at him. "Anything that you want."

“But I better put my boxers on before.” What if he’d miss and accidentally send a blast to… He didn’t even want to think about it.

"Okay." Maria nodded and moved away from him. There was a blanket at the foot of her bed and she reached down and pulled it up quickly and held it around herself.

“I didn’t say you had to cover yourself.” He pouted, but it was probably better this way. Less distracting. He moved off the bed and pulled his boxers back on, then sat down on the edge of it, staring at his cast.

"Well you're covering yourself, it's only fair. Besides, I feel silly sitting here naked when you're not." She watched him and tilted her head to the side. "You can do it Michael… I know you can."

“Yeah…” He nodded to himself. “I can. I can do this. It’s easy. Just a little push to the right spot…” So far he had never hurt himself. That’s probably not how his powers worked. He placed his hand on the cast and closed his eyes to concentrate.

Maria watched him intently, hoping that it went as planned, and there were no random huge explosions.

Suddenly he could see the structure of the cast in his mind. All the little fractures and tissues and he knew just where to channel his energy. It made a small sound and he had split it in two.

She shrieked quietly when she saw the crack appear in the cast, and then it just seemed to fall apart. "Oh! You did it!" Maria smiled at him. "Does it… hurt?"

Michael opened his eyes again and then just stared at the broken cast. Wow, he really did it. “It… no.” He didn’t feel anything, just an immense rush of satisfaction.

"So… it's okay?" She moved a little closer to him and touched his shoulder softly, still holding the blanket against her chest.

“I think so.” He moved the cast away and then moved his arm around carefully. “Yeah…” But it was pale and it looked powerless. Stupid cast. Maybe nothing had been broken in the first place, because why else would it already be healed?

"So… you're okay then?" She bit her lip a little. She really wanted to continue what they had been doing, and didn't want to delay because she was worried it would take too long and her mom would come home.

He nodded and put the cast on her nightstand, still marvelling at how he did it. Suddenly it had been all easy. Natural. He couldn’t explain it. But now he wanted to test his powers some more. What could he do? He looked around her room, trying to find something he could try to split.

Maria chewed on her lip and looked at him. "What are you doing?" She asked, wondering why he was looking around her room like that.

“Nothing.” He didn’t need to tell her he was looking for something to destroy.

She sat back against the head of her bed and just watched him. He seemed more interested in the fact that his cast was off, than he was in her.

He shrugged and finally turned around to face her again. Nothing good in this room. Nothing she wouldn’t rip his head off for destroying it at least. “So…”

"So… are you over the thrill of having your cast off? You want to pay some attention to the naked girl less than three feet away?" She raised an eyebrow.

“You’re not naked.” Michael smirked.

"I am under the blanket… but if you don't like it, take care of it." She smirked back at him.

He wiggled his eyebrows and took a hold of the blanket, then slowly started tugging it away from her body.

Maria lifted her hand enough to let the blanket slip away easily. She still felt shy, but considering he had seen her already, it made it not so bad.

“And now you want attention?” He smiled and balled the blankets up in his hands. It was a good way to test his arm. Everything seemed to work just fine.

"Yeah. I kind of would." She pouted at him and extended her hand out towards him.

Michael chuckled and took her hand, then knelt next to her on the bed. “You’re sexy when you pout.” But mostly she was cute. Though, if you added that she was naked while doing it, sexy seemed to be the better word.

Maria blushed and cupped his cheek. "You think I'm sexy?" She kissed him softly and moved a little closer to him.

“Of course.” What did she think why he was getting an erection whenever he was near her, or just thinking about her. Though she was always near him since they met, even if it was in the room two doors away.

She smiled a little and kissed him again. "Thank you." She murmured. He was so sexy. Warm, and soft… but hard in places too. He made her feel all weak in the knees and gooey in the stomach.

He stroked over her cheek and then laid down next to her, staring at the ceiling. It felt too weird to be looking down at her. What now? Would they… do it?

Maria looked at him and bit her lip. "We don't… have to." She wanted it though. So bad. More than anything she had ever wanted in her life. Aside from her father and her brother safe at home and the war over… she wanted Michael. Maria desperately wanted her blanket back now, to crawl under it and hide.

He glanced at her. “Shouldn’t I say this?” And she was supposed to say no. He was the guy. But still, he felt bad about doing this now. He would leave her, just like her dad. Could he really take something this important away from her first?

She turned her head and looked at him before shrugging. "I don't know." Maria sighed inwardly. "I don't want to stop Michael… but if you're having second thoughts about this then… we should just stop." She rolled onto her side away from him and chewed on her lip, with her eyes clenched shut tightly. Waiting for the bed to tip, the sound of him gathering his clothes, and the sound of him leaving her.

“You know I will leave, right?” He crossed his arms behind his head and continued to stare at the ceiling. It was easier than having to look her in the eyes.

"Yeah, I know." She sighed. "But the way I figure… at least then I'd have this amazing thing to remember when I'm old and wrinkly." To remember alone because he wouldn't come back. Even if he made it through the war, she was sure he wouldn't just return. She pissed him off too much for that.

He smirked and turned on his side so he could touch her shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll still look great even then.”

She scoffed. "Yeah, right, just like Grandma Valenti… She looks like a dried out old raisin." He touched her, he was touching her… She sighed softly.

Michael chuckled. “So? You’ll have a husband that’s just as equally wrinkled by then, so it doesn’t really matter.”

Her jaw trembled slightly. "Yeah." Maria whispered. She rolled over to face him and looked up into his eyes. "Michael… I want this. I do. It is something I want to share with you. Because it's… it would mean something to me. And… I don't know how you feel about it… if it's a big deal or not at all… either way, I want this and if you …" She sighed inwardly.

“It is a big deal.” He looked at her intently. “If it wasn’t, we’d be doing it already. But I just… I really want this too. With you.” He trailed his fingertips down her arm. “I just don’t want you to regret this, or to hate me afterwards.” Because that would be a bad place to start from when he came back.

Maria looked up at him and touched his cheek softly. "I won't. I couldn't. I want to so much Michael." She bit her lip and then leaned towards him and kissed him softly.

Michael responded to the kiss. They both had had more than enough opportunities to back out, but neither did, so now maybe he should really get into it, and just forget all about his doubts. And maybe… maybe if he was really good, she would want him to come back and do it again, even if it would take a few months.

She moaned softly and slid her fingers up into his hair. "Oh Michael." She whispered against his lips and kissed him slowly, but then began to deepen the kiss, and make it more passionate.

“Mmmh.” He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer into his body. Their legs were in the way, so he rolled her over a bit so he could drape one of his own over hers. Better. He smiled and sucked on her tongue.

Maria moaned again, she could feel his erection pressing against her thigh. She wrapped her leg around his and pressed closer to him. She liked how his whole body felt pressed up against hers, it was warm.

“shit.” He thrust his hips out of reflex, hissing when it only created even more contact. He shifted a little and could feel her heat seep through his boxers. Oh god! He groaned and buried his face in the crook of her neck, taking deep breaths.

She pressed closer to him, and held onto him tightly. His body felt so good. And she could feel him through his boxers. If they both just moved a little bit… and they got rid of his boxers… he'd be inside of her. She was scared; she knew it was supposed to hurt…

“Maria…” He looked down at her questioningly. They had agreed, but still… he just didn’t want to rush this.

"You should… take 'em off." She whispered. Slowly she reached up and touched his cheek and rubbed it gently.

“Yeah.” He nodded and leaned into her hand for a few seconds. Then he moved his head and kissed her palm, before he rolled onto his back to get rid of his boxers.

Maria propped herself up on her arm and watched him. He was beautiful. Everything about him. Slowly she leaned forward and pressed a kiss against his shoulder.

Michael looked at her surprised at first, then he smiled. “So…” He rolled back onto his side and trailed his fingertips over her arm.

"So…" She mimicked him and snuggled closer and slowly dragged her leg up to hook it over his waist.

He smirked and kissed her softly. It didn’t feel as weird anymore, now it was just… nice. He cupped her cheek and kissed her again He moved his lower body closer into hers and groaned when he suddenly got in direct contact with her wet folds.

Maria whimpered quietly and kissed him softly. "Oh… Michael." She whispered it felt so amazing… the warmth of his dick pressed against her wet heat. "That feels… so good."

“It does.” He nodded and thrust his hips a little, creating more friction. And it would feel even better when he was really inside of her. And hell, now he really wanted to find out just how just much better that would be.

She gasped a little and kissed him again. "Michael…" She tightened her arms around him and licked over his lips.

How much longer was he supposed to wait? She he do something else first? To prepare her? But what? Maybe he could take it literally… He reached a hand between their bodies and groaned in frustration when he had to shove his erection out of the way so he could reach her center. But soon he’d be back. Yeah. He grinned and kissed her deeply while entering her carefully with one finger.

Maria moaned loudly into his mouth and dug her nails into his shoulders. "Ohh." She gasped and her hips jerked up slightly. It was intense, how much pleasure just as single finger caused her.

“That okay? Can I try more?” He had more inside of her before, but then she had asked him to. This was different.

She nodded her head quickly. "Yes!" She managed out. God it felt good. She wanted more and more and more. "Please." She begged him softly.

Michael smiled. “Just tell me what you want.” He added a second finger and thrust them slowly, taking his time. God, she was tight. He would really hurt her, wouldn’t he?

Maria moaned his name again. "More… please."

“More?” He slowly added a third finger, if that’s what she meant. Then he watched her face. She was so breathtaking. He nuzzled her cheek and then placed some kissed on her flushed skin.

He took her breath away. She gasped and pushed her hips into his hand, crying out softly. "Yes." She breathed and threw her head back.

She wasn’t as tight anymore. Somehow, she expanded and molded around his fingers like nothing he had ever experienced before. He couldn’t wait to feel this around his cock. But he had to. “Maria…” He spread his fingers a little before pumping them in and out again, then he spread them some more.

Maria arched her back and moaned softly. "Oh… Michael… yes." She whispered. She rocked her hips against his hand and dug her nails into his shoulders. She could feel her orgasm building up inside of her.

“Want me to go on?” What kinda stupid question was that? She didn’t look like she wanted him to stop anytime soon. Maybe this was enough for her. Maybe it should be. But he wanted more. And soon, or he’d cum against her thigh.

She nodded frantically. "Yes!" She knew that she was going to cum soon, but she wanted him inside of her when she did.

Michael nodded too and kissed her cheek again, then sped up the pace of his fingers.

Maria bit her lip and arched her back. "Michael… I… I want… you." She breathed. "Inside of me… oh god please…"

He slowed down again and frowned at her. “Now?” But she said she wanted him to go on? And why was he still waiting? Why wasn’t he just… doing it already?

"Michael… please." He'd slowed down his fingers and she didn't want him to. She pushed her fingers up towards his hand again.

He made a face. Argh! Now what did she want him to do? If only he wouldn’t be so damn frustrated. Suddenly he had to chuckle. And this was all his own fault. He sped his fingers up again, keeping his eyes trained on her face. When he saw how much pleasure he caused her, everything was fine again. And he could wait. A few more minutes at least.

Maria's breathing came faster and faster with each touch. "Oh… oh Mi-" She groaned loudly as she suddenly came. Her body tensed and her hips jerked wildly against his fingers.

“shit.” Michael rubbed up against her and kissed her neck hungrily. She was even more breathtaking now. But dammit, he wanted to be where she was as well. He closed his eyes and sucked harder on her neck, his fingers still slowly pumping her.

She panted against his shoulder and gripped his back tightly. "Mi… Michael." He felt good, he made her feel so good, and her body was practically humming.

“Hmmm?” He kissed his way up to her lips. By now she should have enough breath for a real kiss. He watched her for a second and then pressed his lips down on hers.

Maria kissed him passionately and slowly slid her hand down between them and wrapped it gently around his dick. "I need you Michael." She whispered, her body was still craving more, she was craving him.

“I need you too.” He thrust against her hand. “God, Maria, I need you so much right now.”

"Then…" She touched his jaw with her other hand. "Fill me up." Maria whispered softly.

He shuddered just at the thought of it. “God, yes.” He kissed her once again and rolled back on top of her. Positioning himself between her legs. It was what they both wanted, needed, craved. And they had talked about it. There was no more reason to hesitate.

Maria trembled slightly. She knew that there would be pain, and that scared her, but she wanted this, she wanted Michael so much. She gently stroked him, and drew him closer to her wet heat. "Just… go slow?" She asked softly.

Michael nodded. “Yeah.” He would. He bit his lip and took a hold of his erection himself, so he could position it at her entrance. He rubbed it over her nether folds first and moaned loudly. “shit.” This would not last long. He swallowed hard and then slowly, very slowly entered her.

Her mouth opened and her eyes slid shut. "Oh…" It was so different than his fingers. But so good. Her nails dug harder into his shoulders. He was so much larger than his fingers. "Michael." Maria whimpered softly.

He gulped again and was tempted to close his eyes, but he continued to watch her, to make sure this was still okay. She molded around him just like she did around his fingers. And it did feel damn great. Suddenly there was a stop. Her barrier. He looked at her surprised. He didn’t think he’d really feel this.

Maria's eyes fluttered open when he stopped and she looked up at him. "It… it's okay… just… go fast." Just minutes ago she told him to go slow… but now… now she wanted the pain to just be gone so that she could focus on how good it felt.

He raised his eyebrow but then nodded. “Yeah.” Just like ripping a band-aid. Fast, sharp pain was better than a long slow one. He wished there would be no pain at all though. “Maria, I…” He didn’t know what to say. What could be said? “I’m sorry.” He pulled back a little and then quickly thrust forward, breaking her barrier.

She cried out and jerked against him. Her body curled towards him, trying to cave in on itself. Her breathing was fast and labored and tears had filled her eyes. The pain was intense. It didn't last, just a sharp pain, that was fading quickly. But there was still a mild ache. She looked up at him and kissed his jaw. "It's okay." Maria whispered softly. "It's okay."

“Shouldn’t that be my line?” He smiled and placed a soft kiss on her lips. But it was good to hear it from her. Very good. He had stopped moving at all, waiting till she was fine again. She would be fine again soon, wouldn’t she? “And I’m still sorry.”

Maria kissed him softly and looked up at him. "I'm okay." She whispered softly. "Thank you." She'd wanted it to be him. And it was, and this moment was beautiful. She would never forget this. A tear rolled down her temple and she bit her lip. Slowly Maria lifted her hips up towards his and shuddered at the sensations of him so deep inside of her.

He frowned again and wiped away her tear. ‘Thank you’? She truly was weird. He shook his head and groaned when she moved her hips. “Is it… okay to move now?”

She nodded. "Yeah. It's okay." Maria leaned towards his hand and closed her eyes for a moment before opening them again and looking into his.

“Okay,” he repeated and finally did move. Michael slowly pulled back and then thrust forward again, enjoying immensely how her walls faintly fluttered around him. “Maria… this feels so good.”

Maria let out a soft moan and arched her back. "So good." She mumbled and dug her nails harder into his shoulders. "Yes… Michael." Nothing had ever felt so amazing. Intense didn't begin to describe how it felt.

He shuddered and buried his face in the crook of her neck. Now he had to close his eyes. He breathed in deeply and continued to thrust within her, gradually getting faster with each thrust although he tried to keep it down. It was just too good, he wanted more.

She buried her face in his shoulder as he did the same to her. Her breathing was labored, and her thighs were trembling as they curled tightly around his waist. The sensations of him moving within her were sending sparks all the way down to her toes, and the tips of her fingers. "Michael." She whispered.

“Mmmhm.” He nuzzled her skin before he licked over it. This was all so incredible. He knew it would feel good, but he never even imagined it could be quit like this. It was getting better and better and he sensed it would soon be over. But he didn’t want it to. He never ever wanted this to stop.

Maria smoothed her hands up and down his back and sighed contentedly. She leaned her head against his and pressed her lips against the side of his face. "Michael…" She couldn't stop saying his name.

“Maria.” He turned to look at her once more and couldn’t resist kissing her again. He loved this too. Kissing her. He unconsciously moved his tongue in time with his hips.

She shuddered against him and kissed him back, her tongue danced with his. God she was in heaven. She had never imagined it would feel so good, but being there with Michael, it was perfection.

After breaking the kiss to suck in much needed air, Michael closed his eyes again. “Maria…” He was so close. He couldn’t avoid it anymore, but if he came, he wanted her to cum with him. He just knew that would make it all even better. “I’m… I’m gonna…”

Her jaw trembled. "I… I need more." She was close… but not that close. She needed more, but what it was she wasn't sure.

“More what?” She didn’t mean she needed it longer, did she? Because he wanted to satisfy her, but that he couldn’t do.

Maria grabbed his hand and pulled it between them. She pressed his fingers against her clit and her hips jerked slightly.

“Oh.” He nodded. Yeah, more of that. He slowed down his thrusts because he was getting way too close to loosing it. At least this was a distraction. He took a deep breath and then rubbed her clit in circles.

Her eyes rolled back into her head and she moaned loudly. "Oh god." She gasped. Her hips bucked against his and she dug her nails harder into his shoulders. "So… close." She whispered.

“Really?” He looked at her happily and sped up his thrusts again. Damn. “Me… me too.” And her bucking only brought him closer and closer. He didn’t know why he hadn’t cum yet. He must be really good after all.

Suddenly it hit her. Her hips bucked up against his and she cried out loudly. Her inner walls contracted around him, drawing him deeper, holding him tight, and milking him. Her legs were locked tightly around his waist and her arms around his shoulders as she tried to take a breath. The sensations were too strong.

“Oh, fuck!” Suddenly she clenched tightly around him and he came violently inside of her. He shuddered and his arm trembled. He couldn’t hold himself up any longer and soon he’d slump down on top of her, crushing her. But he didn’t want to take the other away from her clit. He liked how she was still fluttering around him, prolonging the sensations.

Maria gasped softly and held onto him tighter. His fingers were still on her clit making her hips twitch and her inner walls dance around his erection. Her eyes slid shut and she just held onto him. This was perfect. She didn't want him to leave. Ever.

Michael trembled even more and then slumped down. “Sorry.” He moved his hand away from her clit reluctantly and tried to get himself back up, but it wouldn’t work, he was too drained. Just like after he had exercised his powers too much. He sighed and rubbed his face against her. This was way more comfortable than the hard ground though.

"Don't be." She whispered and smoothed her hands up and down his back. "Thank you." Maria told him and buried her face in the crook of his neck. She breathed him in and kissed his skin.

“No. Thank you.” He kissed her shoulder and then held her close to him. “That was just great.” They would have to do it again. Every day and night for as long as he was still staying here. And actually, it was a reason to stay even longer.

Maria nodded. "It was." Her body felt tired now, worn, and achy. She didn't want to move ever again. She turned her head and glanced at the clock. Another hour until her mom would be home. She wanted to take a nap. In his arms, with his warm naked body against hers.

Michael could feel some of his strength returning, so he rolled them over till she was on top. He didn't feel like getting up anytime soon and this way at least he would stop crushing her. "So…" He looked up at her and brushed some hair back behind her ears. "I'm tired."

She lifted her head up and looked at him. "Me too." This was the perfect place to be. Slowly she sat up and grabbed the previously discarded blanket and pulled it over them. "It'll be over an hour till she gets home so… we can take a nap." She laid her head down on his chest and closed her eyes. She could hear his heart beating, and the sound was soothing.

“Who?” He frowned, then suddenly remembered. “Oh shit! I forgot all about your mom.” One hour? That was way too short. He should get up and shower and clean the sheets and get out of her room and all. But he was just so damn tired.

Maria smiled a little. "Just sleep for right now." She murmured tiredly and yawned. She was so sleepy. And he was so warm, this was just where she wanted to be.

“You think we’ll wake up in time?” Had they closed the door? He sighed and glanced at it. Damn. He really didn’t want to get up.

She sighed. "I don't know… I don't care right now." She didn't want to move. She just wanted to stay in his arms and sleep.

“But what…” He shook his head and gave up. His limbs were too heavy to move other than to pull her closer into his arms. “Okay. Let’s just hope she’ll slam the door or something.”

"Yeah." Maria mumbled and snuggled up closer to him. Moments later she was sound asleep. Wrapped in Michael's arms having pleasant dreams about Michael.

He smirked and watched her for a few more minutes. She was even cuter when she was asleep, and she looked so happy. Did he make her happy? Or did she dream about something else? Someone else? He kissed her softly and then closed his eyes as well. Listening to her even breathing was soon lulling him to sleep and he was having dreams of the both of them together, lying in bed snuggling, just like they were now.

********

Chapter Seventeen

Maria woke up a while later and glanced at the clock. Ten minutes until her mom would be home. She looked up at his face and smiled a little. "Michael." She whispered and touched his jaw. "Michael, wake up." She whispered again.

“Mmhm?” He frowned but refused to open his eyes. “Just a few more minutes.” Why was she waking him? What did he do? Was he crushing her? No. She was deliciously pressed against his chest, warming him more than the blankets ever could. He smiled satisfied and snuggled closer to her.

She couldn't help but smile and scoot up closer to his face. She leaned down and kissed him softly. "Michael." Maria murmured and kissed a trail along his jaw to his ear. "Wake up baby… we need to get up."

“Why?” He still didn’t open his eyes, but her actions had him more and more awake with each kiss. Especially the lower half of his body.

"Because, it is getting late, mom will be home soon." Sadly, she didn't want her mom home yet. Maybe tonight, after she was asleep, Maria could sneak into Michael's room and they could repeat what they had done earlier. She kissed her way back up to his lips and lightly tugged on his lower lip with her teeth.

“You mom?” Finally he looked at her after all. “Oh crap!” Her mom! And once again he had forgotten all about her. He sighed and quickly gave her a deep kiss. They shouldn’t waste the little time they had left.

Maria moaned softly into his mouth and slid her hands up to tangle in his hair. Her body was responding quickly to his kisses and she really wished her mom wasn't going to be home anytime soon.

He thrust his hips upwards out of instinct and then realized they were both still naked. If she would shift just a little… then they would be right at it when her mom came home. He groaned frustrated and pulled back. “We have to stop.”

"I don't want to." She whimpered but sighed and rolled off of him. Another whimper escaped her mouth as she fell onto her back on the bed. Suddenly she became very aware of the ache between her legs.

“What is it?” He rolled onto his side and checked her over. That last whimper hadn’t sounded very good.

"I'm sore." She looked at him. "I'm okay though. Really." Sure she was. Maria gave him a small smile and touched his cheek. It was nice that he cared about her.

“I’m sorry.” He cocked his head. “Is there anything I can do?”

"Kiss me and I'll be all better." She smiled at him.

“Really? You don’t think I should maybe just rub it?” Maybe that would help? He wasn’t sure just what kind of a sore she had.

Maria rolled onto her side, and closed her eyes for a moment trying to ignore the pain. "You can rub it later."

“You sure?” He bit his lip. Damn, she really was in pain. “But a kiss will make it better?”

"Yeah. For now." She leaned forward and brushed her lips against his and closed her eyes. Why couldn't they have done this much earlier and had the entire day to snuggle up with him.

Michael smiled and kissed her lips again, then moved down her body, trailing a path of kisses all over her skin, till he reached her center. He spread her legs a little, then cursed. “shit, Maria!”

Maria gasped softly at the feel of his lips and then her eyes flew open when he cursed. "What?" She asked looking down at him. Her brow furrowed.

“You don’t…” He bit his lip and looked up at her. “You don’t look so well.”

"I'm fine really." It couldn't be that bad, could it? She was sore, yes, but that was it wasn't it?

“But you’re all bloody.” He pulled back. And he had done this to her. fuck.

Maria sat up quickly and glanced down and saw the blood. "Oh…" Now she felt self conscious. She grabbed the blanket and quickly wrapped it around herself. She'd heard there was blood, but she really hadn't expected that. "I'm fine."

“Yeah, you keep saying that.” But by now he didn’t believe her anymore. “Maybe… maybe you should just stay in bed. I’ll go out till your mom is here and then maybe I can come back and take care of you.”

He wanted to take care of her and it made Maria's heart swell. "Thank you." She told him quietly and cupped his cheek. "But you don't have to…" She sighed inwardly. "I heard that there would be blood… I just… didn't actually think there would be much."

“So you didn’t feel it?” Maybe she really only had that one sharp pain and didn’t just pretend it wouldn’t bleed for all of the time he was in her.

Maria shook her head. "It only hurt for a second… and then it was all good. And now… it's just achy… it's okay Michael. Just a little sore… and embarrassed." There was blood on her sheets too, she needed to change them.

“Embarrassed? Why?” He frowned and glanced at the clock. He had to go real soon. Or at least get dressed.

She shrugged a little. "Just am… it happens I know… but still." Maria saw him glance at the clock and then she glanced at it and bit her lip. "We should get dressed… and go downstairs or something." Her mom couldn't find out. She would freak out.

“No, no! You’re sick, you stay in bed!” He would have to get out though. He sighed and passed his hand through his hair. But he really didn’t want to.

Maria smiled at him and cupped his cheek. "I'm not sick." He was sweet. "I'm okay. If you're leaving my room, I want to go with you."

“But I would come back.” He shrugged. “I’d bring you food like you brought me when I was… injured.”

She bit her lip a little. Her mom might get suspicious, but she could just say that she was sick… Maria nodded. "Okay. Thank you." He wanted to take care of her, and Maria loved it. "I should still get dressed though. And so should you."

He looked down on himself and chuckled softly. “Yeah, I guess.” That should be the first thing on his list right now, especially since the time was ticking away. Michael sighed again and then sat on the edge of the bed.

Maria moved closer to him and pressed her lips against his shoulder. "I don't regret it Michael… at all." She told him softly. "I loved it, and I just want you to know that. Despite the blood, and the ache, I'll never forget this because I loved it."

Michael smiled but didn’t turn around. He would have to kiss her and touch her and then they’d really miss her mother coming home. “Yeah, me too.” He looked at her over his shoulder and then got up to finally get dressed.

She smiled a little and slowly climbed out of her bed and opened her dresser drawer. She found her pajamas and slowly pulled them on. Maria glanced over at Michael and then sat down on the edge of her bed.

He looked at her when he was done re-dressing. “Those look comfy.” And cute. Just like her.

"They are, warm too." She tilted her head to the side and looked up at him. "But it would be a lot nicer to just be wrapped up in blankets, naked with you."

Michael smirked. “Oh yeah, it would surely be.” They were dressed, so he could risk going over to her and give her a kiss.

Maria wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him softly. Enjoying the feel of his warm lips on hers. But she let out a sigh against his lips when she heard the front door open, and her mom call up to them. "Kids, I'm home."

"You gotta get outta here." She whispered.

“I can stay and say I’m looking out for you.” He glanced at the door. But he had to make sure if wasn’t locked first, because that would look very suspicious.

"Then you'd better stop kissing me." She smiled and kissed him again before adjusting her blankets, making sure that the blood stain was covered, and then laid back and grabbed a different blanket and pulled it up over herself.

He rolled his eyes. “That’s a smart idea, why didn’t I think of that?” He chuckled and then quickly went to check the door. Locked. Damn. He unlocked it as silently as possible and then glanced back to her. His gaze fell onto the nightstand and his cast. Oh, fucking hell! How was he going to explain that? He paled.

"Maybe she won't notice?" Maria offered as she looked at the cast.

“That I’m suddenly not wearing the cast anymore? On my arm?” He raised his eyebrow. But maybe she wouldn’t? “Does your mom usually overlook some things?”

"Sometimes… if she thinks I'm sick she might not even notice…" Maria bit her lip. She hoped so anyways.

“You sure?” He glanced at the cast once more. Maybe he could just put it back on, for as long as she was around at least.

"Well… I hope so anyways. I don't know… I've never really tried to hide something like that from her." She looked up at him and shrugged a little.

“Yeah.” Michael nodded. “I bet.” He walked back over and sat down at the edge of the bed, taking the cast in his hands. “Would she believe when I said it just cracked open and fell off?”

"I don't know." She murmured. "I hope so… but… maybe you could just slip it on and fake it for a little while?"

“If I can get it closed again…” He fit it around his arm and it immediately started to itch again. Damn stupid cast. He doubted duct tape would work here.

Maria tilted her head to the side and looked at him. "Get it?" She asked softly.

A second later she heard a knock on her door. "Maria? Honey?" The door opened and Amy stood there, a surprised look on her face.

"Hey mom…"

Michael quickly pulled his shirt over the cast so she wouldn’t notice it was still open. If he tried something now, he’d surely made it explode. “Mrs. DeLuca.” He nodded at her but didn’t get up from the bed.

"What's…?" Amy raised an eyebrow, cautious of why her daughter and Michael were in her room with the door closed.

"I'm not feeling good… Michael was just taking care of me, making sure I was okay. We've been going for walks, and it's been kind of cold lately so I guess I just got a bit too much of a chill and I got sick or something…" Maria tried to explain her fake illness.

“Oh, honey!” Amy rushed over to her. “Is it bad?” She placed the back of her hand on her forehead. “You do feel a little hot.” She sighed. This was just what she didn’t need now. Jim gone and Maria sick. “Wait here and I’ll make you some tea.” She smiled at Michael. “Thanks for taking care of her, Michael.”

Michael blushed and just nodded. Yeah, that had been all his pleasure.

Maria nodded a little. "Thanks mom. And yeah… Michael was a big help." A huge help in making it believable. She hid her smile and snuggled a little deeper under her blankets. "I'm sure I'll be better tomorrow." She told her mom.

“Hm, okay then.” Amy raised her eyebrow and felt her forehead again. “I’ll be back with some tea.” She nodded and then left the room to brew up some herbs.

Michael let out a deep sigh when her mother finally left the room. He pulled his shirt back and let the cast fall open again, then he smirked at Maria. “A little hot, huh?”

"Yeah. Just a little." She smacked his arm and smirked back at him. "Give me a kiss before she comes back."

Still smirking, he leaned over and gave her a quick kiss. “I can’t wait till later this evening.”

"Me neither." She kissed him softly and flicked her tongue out over his lips before settling back into her bed again. "I'll come and visit you after she's in bed." She told him softly.

“I’ll wait.” He smiled and then finally concentrated on the cast. Now he had even more reason to have it fixed. If Amy suspected anything was off, they wouldn’t get their alone time at night. He closed his eyes and tried to feel the texture of the cast just like he had before, just now he had to fix it instead of breaking it. It took a while but then finally he got it, and saw it closing in his mind.

Maria watched him and chewed on her lip as he fixed his cast. "Good job." She told him softly, and lightly touched his hand. "I'm proud of you."

He opened his eyes and looked at the cast astounded. It was one thing to feel it, but quite another to actually see it worked. “Yeah, me too.” He grinned and moved his arm. “Now I just have to get rid of it again later.”

"But now you know how so … it'll be easier." He was really getting good at using his powers, and she really was proud of him.

“Yeah.” He nodded. “I hope so.” He heard footsteps on the corridor, so he quickly pulled his shirt back down and got up from her bed.

Amy walked back in the room with a mug in her hand. "Here honey, drink up." She carefully handed the cup to Maria and frowned a little. "Are you sure that you're okay?"

"Yeah mom, I am." Maria tried to reassure her, and slowly started to sip her tea.

“Now that your mom is here, maybe I should go back to my room then.” Michael passed his good hand through his hair. He didn’t really want to leave her though, even if they couldn’t kiss.

“Oh, no Michael. I have to prepare dinner, so if Maria needs someone to care for her…” Amy trailed off, looking at her daughter.

"I am okay, but I wouldn't mind the company." She drank her tea, and glanced at her mom. She didn't want her mom to get suspicious though.

“Michael?” Amy smiled at him encouragingly. It would be good for him to get along with Maria. Jim was just gone for a while, but his father was gone for good. He needed company.

“Uh, maybe I’ll stay then and we can… play something.” Michael coughed. “Uh, cards or so.”

"There are cards in the hall, in the closet; there is a drawer inside, cards in there." She smiled a little at him. She was glad that her mom was being supportive about Michael hanging out with her.

“Come on, I’ll show you.” Amy looked at Michael and then started out the door.

Michael gave Maria a look and then quickly followed Amy out in the hall. She showed him where the cards were and then patted his arm.

“You be good and take care of my baby.” She gave him yet another smile and then vanished down the staircase to prepare dinner.

Michael stared after her dumbfounded for a moment, then he went back to Maria’s room, with the cards. “I think your mom likes me.”

Maria smiled up at him. "Good, 'cause I like you too."

“You know, I really like you too.” He smiled back. But he still would have to leave. It got harder and harder with each passing minute. He just knew it. He should have stayed locked up in his room. But then he would have missed out on so much, and that would have sucked even more.

"That's good to know." She laughed softly and scooted over on her bed to make room for him. "Okay, what do you want to play?"

Michael looked behind him at the still opened door. “You think I can close it?”

Maria looked up at the door and chewed on her lip. "Yeah, I think it’s okay." She took another drink of her tea.

“Okay.” He closed the door and then walked over to the bed. “We can say it was draughty and you didn’t want to get worse.”

"That works." She smiled at him and tilted her head to the side a little and just looked up at him. "You really do take good care of me."

He kissed her forehead. “I didn’t do anything yet.”

"Yes you have." Maria told him. He had taken good care of her. He held her when she cried, when she slept, and he made her happier than she'd been in a long time.

Michael shrugged it off and then put the cards on the nightstand and instead wrapped his arms around her. With the door closed, they didn’t really need to play cards.

She set her cup on the nightstand with the cards and snuggled into his side. Maria laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes. "See." She murmured.

He rolled his eyes but smirked. “No, no, you got me all wrong. I am doing this solely for me.” He chuckled and wrapped his arms around her tighter. Now the cast was in the way again. Dammit.

"Oh, so you're selfish?" She laughed quietly. "Well, in my mind, you're doing it for me so…" She tipped her head back and looked up at him. "I win. 'Cause I say so."

“I don’t think I can argue with you there.” He laughed and tapped her nose. God, she was just so… cute didn’t really cover it anymore. She made him feel so good. His whole body tingled when she was in his arms.

Maria smiled up at him and snuggled up closer to him. "Good." She loved how he held her. Because she felt so cared about. Even though she knew he would leave eventually, she felt like he'd never leave her when he held her like this.

Michael sighed and closed his eyes. “Would it look suspicious if we fell asleep like this?”

"We'll tell her I got cold." She murmured and let her eyes slip shut. At the moment she didn't care about her mom.

“Mmmhm, okay.” He yawned softly. This was way better than playing cards. And they would save up some sleep for later.

Maria nodded a little and pulled the blanket up tighter around herself and smiled a little. "Sleep." She murmured.

“You too.” He smirked. “You’re the sick one after all.”

She laughed softly and nodded again before stifling a yawn. And then moments later she was drifting off to sleep.

Michael fell asleep almost at the same time as her. This time his dreams started nice, but they turned into a nightmare, when her mother caught them in bed and hit on him with a newspaper. He woke up with a start when he heard her voice and looked around frantic. But she wasn’t in the room. She must have called them from downstairs. Or he imagined that too. He frowned and disentangled himself from Maria, just to be safe.

Maria woke up feeling confused when suddenly Michael's warm body wasn't up against hers. "What?" Then she heard her mom's voice and sat up quickly. "Oh…" She looked up at Michael and yawned and stretched a little. "We should go downstairs?"

“We should.” He nodded and let out a deep yawn. Damn. But at least she wasn’t standing next to him with a newspaper. Or something worse. He laughed and shook his head, then got out of the bed and stretched as well. Nothing hurt. Great.

She nodded and carefully climbed out of the bed. She felt a little better. Not as sore. She stood up and stretched her arms over her head. "Okay. Downstairs."

“Maybe I should bring you yours up here?” He cocked his head, wondering why her mom hadn’t done that in the first place.

"I'm okay Michael. Not that achy anymore. I can handle going downstairs for dinner." She touched his arm and kissed him softly. "Come on, let's go. You should probably help me down the stairs too."

Achy? Oh, right. He actually hadn’t thought about that ache anymore. “That’s good. And no problem.” He’d carry her, if he wouldn’t be wearing the stupid cast. And if their staircase wouldn’t be so damn small.

Maria opened the door and headed out into the hallway. "Come on Michael, let's go." She told him softly. "The sooner we go down and eat, the sooner we get to come back upstairs."

“That’s a plan.” He smiled and took her hand in his, leading her out of the room. “You think your mom will go to bed early?” He whispered, not wanting her to hear him.

"She might… she does have to get up early in the morning." Maria smiled at him and started down the stairs. They entered the kitchen and Amy looked up.

"Are you feeling better?"

"Yeah mom, I got some sleep, it helped."

“I just sat by and uh, watched her.” Michael passed his hand through his hair nervously. Damn, that came out wrong too! “Uh, to make sure she’s okay. And uh, I also read a book, so I wasn’t staring at her all the time or something.”

Maria tried to hide her smile as Michael rambled on. But a quiet giggle escaped. "I'll set the table." She said quickly and grabbed some silverware.

"It's okay Michael, you don't have to explain." Amy patted his shoulder lightly. "Sit, dinner is ready."

“Okay. Thanks.” He blushed a crimson red and quickly sat down, looking at the table and trying to hide his face with his hands. Did she suspect something? Had he just made it all ten times worse?

********

Chapter Eighteen

After they finished eating Maria started to help her mom clean up the kitchen until she shooed her back up to her room. Maria pouted a little and sat on her bed, waiting for Amy to go to bed, so she could go crawl into bed with Michael.

Michael still didn’t feel comfortable all through dinner, so he left as soon as it was over. He didn’t want to be caught staring at Maria or worse. Now he was lying on his bed, or well, it was still her brother’s bed, he supposed, and staring at the ceiling, waiting for the time to pass till Maria would come and visit him.

Maria waited, and waited, she could still hear her mom downstairs. She bit her lip and decided to take a bath while she waited, plus, she wanted to be clean when she went to visit Michael. Maria ran herself a bath, with soap, and lit a few candles.

After sinking into the water she relaxed, and almost instantly was feeling better. The ache was fading more and more, and the warm water loosened her tight muscles. A little while later she heard a soft knock on the door. "Maria, honey? I'm going to go to bed early, you get plenty of rest alright? And don't stay in there too long I don't want you getting sicker than you already are."

"Good night mom." Maria called through the door and smiled. Soon she could go visit Michael.

Michael was listening carefully to the voices outside. So Mrs. DeLuca was going to bed early. That was great. Though she probably did that because her husband was away. But she should be used to it. And there was nothing he could do to help her anyways.

He sat up in his bed and fiddled his thumbs nervously. Maria was in the bathroom, all alone. Naked. Soaking in the tub. He groaned and shifted his pants to relieve some of the pressure from his now painfully hard erection. Just the thought of her in the steamy water, all naked… It made him want to jump up and join her. But it was too risky.

Maria stayed in the tub for a while after her mom had gone to bed, and then climbed out. She wrapped a towel around herself and chewed on her lip, silently debating. Go to him like this? Or put on clothes. If her mom happened to get up and check on them, and she was just in a towel, there would be no denying what they were doing.

She relented and pulled on her pajamas before she dared to venture towards Michael's room. Maria knocked softly on the door, and hoped that her mom didn't hear.

Michael bolted for the door so fast, he was breathless when he reached and opened it. He just stared at her and wheezed, trying to get a decent smile to form on his lips.

Maria smiled at him and quickly stepped forward and into his room. She threw her arms around his shoulders and kissed him passionately.

He still had trouble breathing and the kiss didn’t make it any better. So when they broke it, he was left panting. “Whoa.” He smirked though and closed the door behind her, before leaning against it. “Whoa,” he repeated.

She bit her lip and looked up at him. "I missed you." She murmured and then blushed.

“I’ve missed you too.” He touched her cheek carefully. How would this be when he left for good? Or a few months at least? If they already missed each other after a few hours. He sighed and looked at her. She was so pretty. “You smell good. Clean.”

"I took a bath… lots of bubbles, and candles. I wish you could have joined me." She leaned into his hand and closed her eyes for a second.

“Oh yeah, me too.” He stroked his fingertips over her skin. “I actually considered, after I heard your mom leave.”

"But with her home there is a risk of her coming up…" Maria leaned towards him and kissed his throat softly.

“Yeah.” He nodded and closed his eyes. “I wish we were older.”

She nodded in agreement. "Yeah… but we're not, so we'll just have to settle for what we have. Which is a room all to ourselves… and a nice warm bed."

“It wasn’t so warm without you.” He faked a pout and then took her hand in his, leading her to the bed and sitting down.

Maria brought their hands up to his face and kissed his knuckles lightly. She sat down on the bed and looked up at him.

“So… what are we doing now?” He raised his eyebrow and then smirked. “Wanna play cards?”

She giggled and nodded. "Cards sound like fun."

“Really?” He looked at her surprised. Damn. “Uh, what do you want to play?”

"I don't actually want to play cards Michael." She moved closer to him.

“Oh.” He blushed. “Yeah, uh, me either.” He chuckled nervously. Damn, damn, damn. He should get a grip. This wasn’t the first time after all. It would be second. Maybe. Would it?

Maria leaned in and kissed him softly. "I have a better idea."

“You do?” His smirk was back, but he wasn’t sure for how long he could hold it. “Want to share it with me?”

"Only if you'll lay back for me." She smirked back at him.

“Uh, sure.” And there went his smirk. Why did he have to be so insecure? She seemed way more self-confident. But she knew he would say yes to anything she told him to do. He bit his lip and then laid back on the bed.

Maria smiled and crawled onto the bed over him. She straddled his hips and leaned down to press her chest against his. She kissed him softly and rested her arms on either side of his head.

Michael smiled up at her and placed his hands on her waist. He was happy he already got rid of the cast, as soon as he had heard Amy walk down the stairs. “So? What is it?”

"You take off all my clothes… and I take off yours, and we repeat what we did earlier…" She loved the feel of his hands on her hips.

“You’re right. That’s way better than cards.” He grinned and pushed his hands under her top, caressing her bare skin. Then he stopped and cocked his head. “But are you okay again?”

"Yeah… I feel better. Not so achy, or sore. And if not… we can still have fun." Maria arched her back and kissed him softly.

He trailed his fingertips over her spine and kissed her again. “You’re right. This is fun already.” Of course it would be more fun if her top was off, but like this he could feel her too.

She leaned in and nuzzled his throat, and then slid down his body and pushed her hands under the hem of his shirt and slowly inched it upwards, pressing kisses against his skin as she went up.

“Hmmm.” He swallowed and buried a hand in her hair. “This feels good.”

"Arms up." She murmured and straddled his thighs again. She pushed her hands under his shirt and waited for him so she could pull it over his head.

Michael complied and watched her amused. He liked this. Her on top, controlling this. Then he had to worry less.

She threw his shirt to the floor and then kissed back down his chest till she reached the hem of his pants. "Lift your hips up." She whispered as she unbuttoned them.

Again, he could only comply. But this felt weird with her still clothed. The other way around had never felt like this. But now he felt vulnerable in some way, but also very excited.

Maria dragged his pants down his legs and tossed them to the floor with his shirt before moving back up to straddle his thighs. "You are so sexy." She murmured and then leaned down and kissed him softly.

He moaned and blushed. If anything, she was making him feel sexy right now. But he wasn’t. “No, but you are.” He cupped her face in his hands and smiled, before he kissed her again.

She kissed him softly and nodded. "You are too." She murmured against his mouth. He was. Whether or not he thought so, she knew it.

Michael rolled his eyes. “Soo… are you keeping your clothes on?” He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow, still feeling weird.

"I said I'd take off yours, and you had to take off mine. So that is up to you." She smirked down at him.

He looked at her confused, then he blushed again. “Oh.” Right, he remembered dimly. Damn. He chuckled at his own clumsiness and pushed his hands under her top again, just stroking up and down her back.

Maria moaned softly and pressed closer to him. He felt so good. She leaned down and captured his lips in a soft kiss.

He pushed her shirt upwards inch by inch, deciding to tease her a little. If it was his turn to take off her clothes, then he would have his fun with it. He let his fingertips dance over her skin. “So soft.” Even softer now, after she took her bath. Did this have the same effect on all of her body? He groaned at the thought.

She shuddered and arched her back. "Oh… Michael." She breathed out. His fingers were like magic… creating little sparks of pleasure on her skin.

“Want me to take it off?” He had pushed it just below her breasts now and he moved one of his hands down to stroke the underside of them.

She nodded quickly. "Please." Maria begged him softly. She loved when he touched her. She just wanted more.

Michael nodded and swiftly pulled it over her head, not wanting to waste any time now. He threw it on the ground and then gazed up at her. He would never ever get enough of this. “You are so gorgeous.”

Maria blushed and smiled a little. "I am not." She murmured and leaned down to kiss him softly. "But thanks for saying it."

“Yes you are!” He cupped her cheek. “You’re the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen.” Of course she was also the only one he had ever seen naked, but that didn’t matter.

"Aren't I the only one?" She raised an eyebrow at him.

He bit his lip. Damn, she remembered. “But still. I can’t imagine anyone more pretty. And I have a very good imagination.” He winked.

She blushed again and then leaned down and kissed him softly. "Thank you." Maria murmured quietly against his lips.

He smiled and deepened the kiss, wrapping his arms around her back and pressing her upper body closer against his. Her nipples rubbed against his chest and he thought he could feel them hardening even more.

Maria moaned softly and slowly deepened the kiss. He tasted good, and he held her so perfectly. "God Michael." She murmured softly.

“Thanks.” He grinned and tugged on her bottom lip. His confidence was finally back and he licked over her lips, before plunging his tongue between them.

She moaned against his lips and kissed him back deeply. He felt so good. Maria pressed closer to him and slid one hand up to tangle in his hair.

Michael stroked up and down her bare back again, then he had to pull back to laugh. “You know, your mom would not be happy to see you sitting around topless and not under the blankets.”

"No, she wouldn't… I could catch a chill." She smirked a little and moved back from him. "So we should get under the blankets.”

“Yeah.” Michael nodded, although that hadn’t really been his plan. He had just thought it was funny. “Especially since you already are sick anyways.” He winked.

"Exactly." Maria kissed him quickly and pulled the blankets up around them before she climbed over him again. She pulled the blankets up over the both of them, surrounding them in complete darkness.

He raised his eyebrow. “Don’t you think it will get a little hot in here now?” He liked it though. It made him feel even more comfortable. Though he missed being able to really look at her.

"It might… but for now, I like it." She really liked it. Like they were in their own little world. "And you're not done undressing me…"

“You neither.” He slid his hands lower though and played with the waistband of her pajama bottoms. She wouldn’t be wearing panties underneath, would she? He slid his hand lower and groaned when he found out for sure.

Maria moaned softly at the feel of his hands on her skin. She arched her back and bit her lip. "Michael." She murmured softly.

“So soft.” He brushed his fingers over her lower back and bottom. He really liked this. She should stop wearing panties during the day too. He smirked and started pushing her pants down over her hips.

She wiggled her hips a little, letting him pull her pants down easier. Maria whispered his name again. They were in their own world, and she was happy.

Michael pushed the pants as low as he would get them and then stroked over her cheek. He was thankful she still let him do this. “Are you really okay though? It’s not aching anymore?”

Maria nodded. "I'm okay." She kissed him softly. "But why don't you touch me and find out?"

“I had intended to.” He smirked. But he rather wanted to be sure before he made her jump. He slipped his hand down her body again and then dipped it between her legs. He carefully touched her as soft as he could, some part of him still believing she might be hurt after all.

She moaned softly and buried her face in his chest. She pushed her hips towards his hand and bit her lip. "It's good."

He dared to touch her a little more then and smiled when he felt her wetness. It made touching her even easier. Wait… “You’re not bleeding anymore, are you?”

Maria shook her head quickly. "No." She whispered. His fingers slipped smoothly against her skin. She wanted more. "More… Michael please."

“Can I… check first?” He bit his lip.

"Okay…" She bit her lip a little and climbed off of him. She pulled the blanket down, and blinked at the sudden light.

“You wouldn’t have had to move away.” He pouted but moved as well, sitting up on his knees. Then he moved down on the bed till he reached her legs. He spread them slowly, keeping eye contact so he would know when she changed her mind.

"Easier this way. Plus, now you can take my pants off the rest of the way." Maria looked up at his face and adjusted herself on the bed.

“That’s right, I can.“ He smiled and stopped, ridding her of the garment first. He threw it down on the floor along with the rest of their clothes and then went back to opening her up to his gaze.

Maria let her eyes slip shut; it was still odd being so open to him like this. She had complete trust in him though.

Michael bit his lip again. He didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable, but he had to make sure so he wouldn’t continue to feel this way. When he had spread her legs enough, he reached down and spread her lower lips as well, letting out a sigh of relief when he saw no blood at all. “You’re fine.”

"Told you so." She smiled a little and looked down at him. "So come here."

“Don’t you want me to… stay?” He stroked her again, making sure to rub against that special pleasure point of hers.

Maria shuddered and moaned. "Oh…" She arched her back and pushed her hips up towards his hand. "Damn Michael." She murmured softly.

“Was that a yes?” He moved even closer till he could smell her. Hell, it made his mouth water.

She nodded her head quickly. "Yeah." The way he touched her made her whole body react. She could feel every single nerve in her body.

He smirked and moved again, getting closer to her. He spread her lower lips apart again and then blew hot air against it, looking up to see her reaction. This was why it was good to not be under the blankets.

Maria threw her head back and bit her lip trying not to moan too loudly and possibly wake up her mom. She didn't think that she would… but she didn't want to risk it. She arched her back and slid her hands up to wrap around the headboard.

“You like?” He blew against her again before the smell was too much for him and he had to lean down to taste her as well.

She nodded her head frantically. "Oh god yes!" She hissed as quietly as she could.

He circled her hardened nub with his tongue and then moved it around a bit before he pulled back to just blow against it once again.

"Michael." She whimpered and one of her hands shot down to tangle in his hair. "Oh my god Michael…"

He glanced up at her briefly and then licked up her juices before concentrating on the nub again. It gave her the most pleasure, that much he had learned by now.

Her breathing was getting faster and faster and the pleasure was getting more and more intense. Her hips jerked and Maria tightened her fingers in his hair. "Michael." She cried out softly as her inner walls contracted, and her hips rocked faintly.

“Shhh.” He looked up at her suddenly alarmed and reached a hand up to cover her lips. They couldn’t get caught.

Maria brought her hand up to rest on top of his that covered her mouth. Her breathing was uneven, as she tried to calm herself down. But that wasn't happening anytime soon. Her body was trembling faintly, and her eyes slid shut.

Michael licked her clean and was about to start on her nub again, when he decided against it and moved back up her body instead. If they kissed, it would drown out the noises. He frowned a bit when he noticed how much she was trembling. “Are you okay?”

She slid her arms around him and nodded. "I'm okay. That was… wow." She breathed.

A grin spread over his face and he licked his lips before he kissed her softly. “Glad you liked it.”

Maria kissed him lightly and buried her face in his shoulder. She still couldn't quite get her spasming muscles under control. But ever so slowly the trembling was beginning to calm down.

He stroked over her cheek and pulled the blankets up around them again. “Cold?” He didn’t want her getting sick for real.

"I'm burning up." She murmured and moved closer to him. Maria pushed him onto his back and straddled his waist. "I think I should repay the favor."

“Oh…” He glanced up at her and nodded. Yeah, that would be very nice right now.

Maria moved down the length of his body and tugged his boxers down his legs. Then she moved back up and settled herself between his legs. "Good so far?" She asked and smoothed her hands along his thighs.

“Yes, very.” He nodded again, happy they were halfway under the blankets now. Maybe if she looked too closely she wouldn’t want to touch him anymore. Though it was silly of him to still worry, after she already did touch him and more.

She nodded and smiled a little. She leaned down and brushed her lips along his stomach. Then Maria trailed her lips up along his length. She ran her tongue around the head of his dick.

“Oh, damn.” Michael pushed his hips up, wanting more.

Maria quickly wrapped her lips around his length and stroked him with her tongue. She loved this, giving him pleasure. It made her feel good.

“Oh god, Maria.” He tried his best to keep his voice down and it resulted in it coming out in a weird low hiss. He clenched his jaw and buried a hand in her hair. They shouldn’t risk this with her mom home, but it felt to good to just stop and wait till the next day to continue.

She licked and sucked, and bobbed her head. Her fingers touched him, and caressed him. Maria loved the feel of his fingers in her hair, holding her, but gently. And the way he said her name.

“Please.” He wasn’t sure what he wanted. He knew it would need him a few minutes to be able to get hard again after this, or maybe even longer. But this was just so good! And maybe there wouldn’t be more anyways. “Maria…”

Maria lifted her head up and looked at him, still touching him gently with her fingers. "What?" She asked softly. "What do you need? Tell me and I'll do it." She wanted him to have pleasure. She wanted to make him happy.

“I… I dunno…” He bit his lip. “What… else do you want?”

"I want to make you happy. To give you pleasure like you gave me." She leaned her head down and kissed his length again.

“Just… just keep on doing that.” He brushed some hair out of her face and smiled weakly. He was so turned on, but too nervous to fully relax.

Maria nodded and kissed his dick before wrapping her lips around him again. She closed her eyes and let herself get completely absorbed in his pleasure. The taste, and scent of him.

“Oh… oh damn!” He clenched his teeth and clutched the sheets with his free hand. So incredibly good. “shit, Maria!” He bit his lip hard enough to draw blood and came, spurting his seed into her mouth.

She sucked and swallowed quickly, drinking down every drop before licking him thoroughly clean. Then she kissed her way up the length of his body and pressed her lips to his jaw. Maria looked up at him and smiled a little, but then frowned when she saw the drop of blood on his lip. "What did you do?" She asked softly lightly touching his lip with her finger.

“Trying to keep quiet.” He shrugged apologetically and stroked over her back. He still felt dazed. She had done it for him again. He still didn’t understand why.

Maria nodded a little in understanding and then kissed his lip softly. "I hope it didn't hurt too badly." Even if it was just to keep himself quiet she felt sort of bad that he'd hurt himself, because of her.

“I didn’t even notice.” He smirked and kissed her again. “I was too ecstatic.” Michael threaded his fingers through her short hair. Cute. She was just so cute. But what she did to him was anything but. “Thanks.”

She smiled at him and nodded before laying her head down on his chest. "Good." She rested her hand on his chest and closed her eyes. She made him happy, so she was happy now.

He smiled down at her and pulled the blankets up some more. “Can we risk getting some rest?”

Maria nodded and snuggled closer to him. "Rest is good." She murmured softly. She felt so exhausted now. He had made her body tingle, and she wanted to sleep now. Warm, and safe in his arms.

Michael kissed the top of her head and then wrapped his arms around her tightly. He was content. He didn’t know when he last felt as content as in these last two days with her. Sure, she drove him crazy too, but it was in the good and the bad sense of the word.

"Thank you Michael." She murmured as she quickly drifted off to sleep. Maria was afraid of him leaving, of loosing the warmth he gave her. It terrified her that she would never feel like that again.

“No, thank you, Maria.” He stroked over her soft skin and watched her for a moment longer, till his eyes kept falling closed on their own accord and he dozed off as well.

Maria woke up in a panic. They had left her. Everyone had. Even Michael. And she was cold. Suddenly she realized she was laying on the floor. "Damn." She whispered and crawled back up into the bed and under the blankets again. She curled up against Michael and closed her eyes again. He was there. She could hear his heart beating.

Michael shuddered and woke up feeling cold. He wrapped his arms tighter around Maria and then realized it was her. He opened his eyes in alarm and looked down at her. “Maria?” He quickly stroked up and down her back, trying to get her to warm up. Why was she so cold?

"Sorry if I woke you up." She murmured and chewed on her lip wondering how long she had been down there. Maria still felt cold, and she wanted to cry now. Michael was going to leave her and she knew it, and she was scared. What if, for whatever reason, he didn't come back?

“That’s okay.” He frowned. “Why are you so cold?” Was she getting sick after all? But if she had a fever, she’d be hot and not ice cold like this. He rubbed over her arms.

"I… fell out of bed." He could tell she was cold? So it wasn't just in her head. "I can move… I mean, if I'm making you cold." She felt bad if she was making him uncomfortable.

“No way. Then how am I supposed to make you warm?” He shook his head. She fell out of bed. “Did I kick you out? Sorry. Sometimes I have bad dreams, and then…” Damn.

"No, it wasn't you. It was me." She whispered and buried her face in his chest. "I had a … bad dream."

“Oh.” He looked down again though he barely saw anything since it was so dark now. It must be the middle of the night. “I see.” Would she tell him what it was about? Did she want him to ask?

Maria tugged on her lip with her teeth. She didn't want to make him feel bad. He had given her plenty of outs when they started this, and she didn't want them. She didn't regret anything. She never would, but that didn't change how she felt. "I was… alone and… really cold." She shivered and curled up closer to him.

“In your dream?” Or did she mean when she woke up on the floor? He stopped rubbing her skin and instead wrapped his arms firmly around her. Then he wrapped his legs around hers too, bringing her even closer and creating more skin contact.

She nodded. "Yeah. Everyone left me…" Maria could feel her body slowly warming back up and snuggled closer to Michael. "I know that you'll have to leave eventually Michael… I'm not thrilled, but I do understand… I'm just scared."

“I’m…” He bit his lip and stared at the ceiling. “I am too.” He had never admitted that to anyone. But he would leave for war. People got killed all the time. His father got killed, and he was the strongest person Michael knew. And now he knew what he would leave behind. What he would miss out on.

"I just want you to come back. That's all I want." She curled her arms around his shoulders and held onto him tightly.

“Yeah.” He nodded and kissed the top of her head. “I’ll try.”

Maria nodded and sighed softly. "Go back to sleep." She murmured and closed her eyes. "We should sleep." And maybe she could forget about her dream and just be happy that Michael was with her for now.

“You warm enough?” He raised his eyebrow and stroked over her skin again.

"I'm getting there." Maria whispered. She wanted to be warm. She wanted to be able to just forget about her dream. And hope that Michael would never leave her.

Michael kissed the top of her head and didn’t reply, he just kept on stroking over her back. He wanted to make it better for her, but he had no idea how.

Warmth was spreading through her. And it grew harder and harder for her to keep her eyes open. "Thank you." She murmured through a yawn and then moments later drifted off to sleep once again.

He smiled when he could hear her faintly snoring and then allowed himself to relax as well. And although he was worried now, he was still so tired that within minutes he followed her back to sleep.

Amy was frantic. She had just received a call from one of the Military officials with news about Jim. She hurried up the stairs and to Maria's room but paused when she realized Maria wasn't in her bed. She walked to the bathroom and knocked, no sounds came from inside.

Amy opened the door and there was no Maria. She hurried to Michael's room and without knocking flung the door open, and was not prepared for what greeted her. "Oh my god!" She gasped out. Michael and Maria were in bed, and it was obvious by the clothes on the floor, that they were naked beneath the blankets.

Maria sat up quickly hearing her mom. She was caught in a daze, she had been having nice dreams about Michael when she was suddenly jerked from them. "Mom!" Maria yelped and grasped the blanket against her chest.

“Whu?” Michael was woken up by loud noise and he looked up confused, squinting his eyes. “Mrs. DeLuca?” His eyes grew wide and he scrambled as far away from Maria as he could without falling out of the bed. “Oh shit.”

********

Chapter Nineteen

"Mom! I swear this isn't-" Amy held her hand up and shook her head.

"Get dressed and come down stairs, I need to talk to you." Amy turned around and left the room closing the door behind her.

Maria jumped out of the bed and quickly found her clothes and started pulling them back on. "She wasn't supposed to find out." She whispered. They were in so much trouble now.

Michael nodded and after some more moments of just staring at the door, he finally got out of bed as well to get clothed. “We should have locked the door.” But what good would that have been? She’d have still known they were in here, together.

She shrugged a little. "I guess she would have found out eventually." Maria bit her lip and finished pulling her clothes on and looked up at Michael. "I still don't regret it." She moved closer to him and kissed him softly. "Come on… we need to get down there."

“Really?” He smiled and grabbed her around her wrist to keep her from rushing out. “Maria? I don’t regret it either.” He kissed her again. But maybe he would start to regret it real soon. What would Amy do with him? She’d throw him out, no question.

Her jaw trembled and she held onto him tightly for a moment before slipping her hand into his and giving him a little tug. "Let's go."

Amy sat at the kitchen table when Michael and Maria came down the stairs. "I have news about your father Maria… He was taken prisoner by Kivar's men."

Maria's eyes went wide and her knees started to give out. "No." She whispered and tears sprang to her eyes. She felt dizzy, and sick. "He can't."

“What?” Michael’s arms instantly wrapped around Maria. “When? Is it confirmed?” Maybe it was just a rumor, or some sick joke. He couldn’t be dead, he only just left.

"I got a call from a Military official, Jim's division was taken by surprise, some of the men survived, some were killed, and a few are still missing. Jim is one of them." Amy watched as Maria latched onto Michael.

He nodded. Missing. That didn’t sound good. But maybe… maybe he was still alive. Maybe they would want to exchange him, or get him to tell them military secrets. Which didn’t mean anything good. “I’ll find him,” he said suddenly, without really thinking about it.

Maria jerked her head up and shook her head. "Michael… no… you can't…"

"Michael. Jim promised your father that we would let you stay here, and we would take care of you. I can't let you go and do such a thing."

“But I can! I can do it.” Michael let go of Maria. “I can find him. I have… I have… I know I can find him.” He didn’t need to tell her mom about his powers though.

Maria sunk down into a chair at the table. "Trying to talk him out of it, is like trying to talk dad, or Kyle out of it."

Amy frowned. "I just can't condone this Michael."

"But your husband is gone. Don't you want him back?" He raised an eyebrow and then turned to Maria. "Maria… I know you need your father. And you know I can do this."

"Of course I want Jim back, but I don't want him back at the expense of your life."

Maria shook her head a little. "I know you can Michael." But she was so scared.

“And you also know I would have left eventually.” He concentrated on Maria know. She mattered, her mother didn’t. He could just sneak out of the house at any time now and she couldn’t do anything about it.

Amy sighed. "There is no changing your mind is there?"

Maria looked up at Michael and her jaw trembled. "Just be careful." What if she lost them both? What if Michael couldn't do it? And Kivar's men had already killed her father?

“I will.” He smiled and nodded. “I promise I’ll come back to you.” And he’d bring her father back with him. Michael turned to her mother again. “That is if I will still be welcome here.”

Amy didn't respond for a moment. She saw the pleading look on Maria's face. "Of course you are." She stood up and lightly patted his shoulder. "Be careful."

Maria stood up after Amy left the room and threw her arms around Michael's shoulder and held onto him as tightly as she could.

Michael wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the top of her head. “Shhh. It’s all going to be fine, Maria.” It would. He had to save her dad, no matter the cost. She needed him.

"I don't want to loose you." She told him quietly.

He pulled back so he could look at her. “I’ll come back.” Because now he had a reason to. He didn’t want to make Maria miserable, so he had to survive.

Maria looked up at him and touched his face. She nodded a little and then kissed him softly. "Good. I'm holding you to that…"

Michael gave her an encouraging smile and then wrapped his arms around her tightly again. “You can.”

Maria held onto him tightly, and buried her face in the crook of his neck. "When are you leaving?" She asked softly.

“As soon as possible.” He had no idea though. He didn’t really want to leave already, but the longer he waited, the more likely it was that Jim would get killed. If he wasn’t already… No, he couldn’t think like that.

She nodded. "Will you wait until tonight?" She asked him. "Wait until I fall asleep, please." Maria begged softly.

“You want me to sneak out?” Michael frowned. That seemed so shabby. He wouldn’t have done that, even if he had left in a few days… week. Yeah, most likely weeks.

"Not sneak out… just … stay with me until I fall asleep." She didn't think she would sleep otherwise. It would probably be the last halfway decent night sleep she'd have until her dad, Kyle, and Michael were back home.

“I can leave in the morning then?” Michael offered. He wanted to say goodbye now. He wanted a goodbye kiss. It might make it all harder, but he still wanted it.

"Okay." She did want him to stay, as long as possible. "But you have to hold me all night." Maria didn't care what her mom had to say, she was sleeping with Michael, even if they didn't have sex. She had to.

“I will.” He smiled and kissed her forehead. “Don’t want you falling out again.”

Maria smiled a little and nodded. "Yeah." She pressed her lips against his chest and then stepped back a little. "We should probably actually go up and get dressed and stuff."

“We are dressed.” Michael shrugged. He didn’t want to let her go. They only had a day left.

"I am in my pajamas Michael."

He rolled his eyes. “So? You plan on leaving the house?”

"No… but … mom caught us and… walking around the house like this all day…" She tilted her head back and kissed his jaw. "I'll wear a skirt." She whispered against his ear.

“You think that’s good?” He groaned. “Especially now that your mom knows?” Did that mean they couldn’t do it anymore? Damn.

"I don't know." She laid her head down again and sighed softly. "She knows… so it doesn't matter now I think."

“We’ll see, I guess.” Maybe she would come back with some new rules if she found out he wasn’t leaving right away but only the next day. He kissed Maria’s cheek and then took her hand in his. “Okay, let’s get dressed.”

Maria held onto his hand as they ventured upstairs. She sighed when they reached the top. "Okay… to my room I go…" She looked at him and squeezed his hand before letting go and going down the hall to her room.

Michael sighed and watched her leave, before going into his own room. Kyle’s room. It was never really his, and now with him leaving the next day, it sure wouldn’t be anytime soon. He laid down on his bed and stared at the ceiling, not ready for anything. He didn’t want to get dressed, or go back out and not touch Maria, nor leave in the morning. But he had to. He knew he would leave. He knew, he had planned it. Then why was it suddenly so hard?

She went into her room and got dressed. Then Maria sunk down on her bed and buried her face in her hands. Everything hit her at once. Michael was leaving her. Her father was possibly dead. She didn't know anything about Kyle. Her shoulders shook as she sobbed. She was terrified that Michael would never be able to come back.

After a while, Michael decided to take a shower. His cast was off and it didn’t matter now if Amy knew or not. She hadn’t noticed earlier, so hopefully she wouldn’t later either. But even if, nothing mattered anymore besides getting Maria’s dad back safe and then coming back as well. For a while, before he would leave again. He sighed. War sucked. Why couldn’t they just kill Kivar and be done with it?

He went out into the corridor and was just about to enter the bathroom, when he heard faint sobbing noises coming from Maria’s room. He hesitated but then walked over to her and knocked on the door before he opened it partially. “Maria? You okay?”

Maria wiped at her face quickly and looked up at Michael. "Yeah…" Then she shook her head. "Not really." She covered her face again and closed her eyes.

“Can I come in?” He opened the door a little wider.

"Yeah." She said softly and combed her fingers through her hair.

Michael entered and closed the door behind him, then sat down on the bed next to her, rubbing over her back.

Maria leaned into his side and laid her head on his shoulder. "Why did this all have to happen?" She asked him softly. She knew he didn't have the answers, but couldn't help asking.

“I dunno.” He shrugged. “I think I am not allowed to be too happy.”

She shook her head. "Why not? That's ridiculous."

“Yeah, but…” He shrugged again. “Just every time… something bad always happens to me. I’m just sorry that now I’ve cursed you too.”

"I was unhappy before you came. I'm a lot happier now that you were in my life. I wouldn't give that up for… anything. You didn't curse me. You made me happy. And you'll keep making me happy because you'll come back to me."

Michael gulped. “Yeah, I will.” The powers wouldn’t kill him off. Then he couldn’t be miserable anymore.

Tears burned her eyes again. "I am so scared…" She whispered. "I don't want you to leave…"

“I know.” It was good to hear it though. “But I told you, I’ll come back. And you won’t even really notice I’m gone.” He tried to give her an encouraging smile.

Maria wrapped her arms around him and shook her head. "Thanks… but I will."

“You’ll just have to busy yourself. Help your mom, I dunno.” He frowned. “What did you do all day before I came here?”

"Sometimes I went to the shop with my mom… but mostly I stayed home doing nothing…" She'd spent a lot of her time with Billy because it was something to do, but she didn't want to talk to Michael about that.

“I’m sure your mom would appreciate it if you spend more time with her.” Anything that wouldn’t get her out meeting other guys. Guys who didn’t leave for war. Though, if it made her happy, she probably should meet one of those.

"Yeah. I will…" Maria nodded. "Would you leave something of yours here? Like… to come back for? And for me to just have when I am missing you?"

“Uh, sure.” Michael frowned. “I don’t really have anything special though.”

"I don't care what it is… a shirt or something… just… I need something." She needed something to remind her that it was real.

“That’s cool.” He nodded. Shirts he had. “Can I get something of yours too? Maybe a picture?”

Maria nodded. "Yeah. You can." She tilted her head back and kissed his jaw.

“Thanks.” He smiled. “Not like I could ever forget you though.” But it would be nice to have a picture to look at at nights. Or to show off to the others.

She smiled a little at him and rested her head on his chest. "You're sweet."

She wouldn’t think that if he confessed the showing off part. He smirked. “You’re beautiful.”

Maria kissed him softly and blushed a little. "Stop that."

“What?” Michael shrugged. “I’m not doing anything.”

"Yes you are… you're making me feel really special… and you keep doing that I'll tie you down to the bed or something and won't let you go. Ever."

His smirk grew. “Watch it, I might even like that.”

Maria laughed softly, but then clamped her mouth shut. It felt wrong to be laughing. "Come here." She said and then stretched out on her bed and looked at him. She wanted to lay down and hold onto him, and feel his breathing and his heart beat.

He smiled and laid down next to her. Why had she stopped laughing though? It had felt so good to hear it. He wrapped his arms around her and stroked over her hair. He just really wished this wouldn’t be happening to her. He didn’t care what she said. He knew he’d cursed her.

Instantly Maria latched onto him. She curled up against his side and laid her head on his chest. "I wish she hadn't found us…" But even though she had, it didn't seem to change anything. Her mom hadn't told them to stay away from each other.

“Yeah.” He threaded his fingers through her hair. “I hope she won’t give you a hard time about it when I’m gone.”

"It'll be okay…" She expected that her mom would give her a hard time.

“I’m sorry I can’t be there for you then.” His eyelid twitched. “Alright, no, I’m not. I’m actually happy she can’t throw me out of the house now.” It was the one good thing that came with leaving anyways.

Maria lifted her head up and looked at him. "Yeah, I didn't figure you'd be too sorry you might be missing out on the screaming and yelling… it won't be too bad I don't think." She rested her chin on his chest and looked up at him, watching him.

“I hope not.” He held her gaze. “She’ll go easier on you than she would on me, I’m sure.”

"Yeah… But she likes you, so… maybe it won't be all that bad. She hated Billy." His name slipped out and she didn't mean to say it. But maybe it would make him feel better?

“Yeah, but you didn’t sleep with him.” He raised his eyebrow.

"No, but she still didn't like him at all. From the beginning. You… she always liked, so I think the fact that we slept together will go over a lot better than if it had been Billy. Which, mind you, I'm thankful it wasn't." If it weren't for Michael, it probably would have been.

“Well, you better.” He chuckled. “I am very thankful of that too. And grateful.” He kissed her softly.

Maria smiled and kissed him back softly. "Yeah… me too." She sighed softly, content in that moment. Closed up in her room, the rest of the world blocked out. It was just the two of them. They were all that mattered.

“We still should have locked the door.” At least they had been sleeping under the blankets. If she had come in while they had been right at it… he never would have been able to look Mrs. DeLuca in the eyes.

"My fault…" She laid her head back on his chest. "I came through the door last."

“I still didn’t think about it either.” He wrapped his arms around her tighter. “But it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Maria nodded and wrapped her arms around his waist. "No, it doesn't."

He kissed the top of her head. “So since we were woken up rather harsh… maybe you should try and get some more sleep now.”

"I don't want to miss any time with you though." She told him.

He gathered her closer. “Yeah, but you still need to sleep. And maybe you’ll feel better then.”

Maria nodded a little. "Wake me up soon." She murmured softly.

“I will.” He wouldn’t, but she would never get her rest otherwise. Michael kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back softly.

"Okay." She murmured and her eyes fluttered closed. A yawn passed her lips and she snuggled up closer to Michael, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Michael held her for a little while till he was sure she was deep asleep, then he carefully climbed out of the bed and left her room as quietly as possible. He still really wanted to take that shower. If he left tomorrow he had no idea when he’d get the chance to have another one. He closed her door and then walked straight into the bathroom, wanting to do it as quick as possible.

Amy headed upstairs a while later. Hoping that she would not find the kids in a compromising position. Her baby girl was having sex. With Michael, the boy they agreed to take in, and take care of. Suddenly it was starting to make sense to her. Finding them in her room the night before. The looks Maria gave him. She sighed softly and looked up and saw Michael heading for the bathroom. "Michael."

He froze in place and just stared at her. Great, now she had caught him again. Not like he had done anything besides comfort Maria, but she didn’t know that.

"I want to talk to you." She said calmly. He looked scared. Good. He should be. "You had sex with my baby girl." She whispered, still trying to wrap her mind around that fact.

“Uh.” His eyes flipped around, trying to find somewhere else to look at besides hers. But he failed. Michael gulped. “Uh…” Damn. But did she really want an answer anyways?

"The only reason I am not throwing you out of this house, is because of Jim, and your father. Otherwise I would be swinging a broom, and kicking you so hard out of this house you'd run and never come back. But also, if I did that, I know Maria would never forgive me. I saw the look on her face. And it isn't just sex to her. And so help me, if it is to you, and you hurt her, I swear to God and Antar, I will make you regret ever coming near her."

“It… it isn’t!” Michael held his hands up quickly. “And it was just… just once.” He gulped again. Did that make it any better? He scratched his eyebrow. He should have expected that, but still he had no idea what to say to her.

Amy frowned. "Just remember what I said about hurting her." She turned and started to walk down the stairs but then stopped and turned around again. "But I want you to know, I am much happier that it was you, and not Billy." And with that she continued down the stairs.

He remained dumbstruck for a few moments, then slowly a smirk was forming on his face. Yeah, hell, at least they agreed on something. No, actually they agreed on more. He didn’t want to see Maria hurt either. But still, he would have to leave. But staying here and not saving her father was gonna hurt her just as well. He passed his hands through his hair and finally entered the bathroom. He really needed that shower now.

********

Maria woke up slowly, she rolled over and groaned. Michael was gone. The first thought that filled her mind. She was alone in her bed, and she was cold. She sat up quickly and frantically looked around. Did he leave? He said he wouldn't though.

After taking a long shower, Michael towelled off his hair and then wrapped it around his waist. He looked down at his clothes on the floor and then decided to rather put on fresh clothes. He might not have the time to change in the morning. Unless he slept naked. With Maria. Would she let him sleep naked with her one last time? He’d already be happy to just feel her skin. He smiled just at the thought and left the bathroom to go to Kyle’s room to get dressed.

She got up quickly from her bed and chewed on her lip. She couldn't take it anymore. Maria yanked open her door, and spotted Michael going to his room. "Oh." She whispered, realizing where Michael had been.

He turned around, half expecting to find Mrs. Deluca again. “Oh.” He scratched his eyebrow. It was only Maria but nevertheless he just got busted again. “I was, uh… sorry.”

"It's okay." She nodded a little. He really had nothing to be sorry for, he just went to take a shower. "I just woke up…and wondered where you went."

“Yeah, I just really needed a shower.” He shrugged apologetically. He should have known she’d wake up.

"Yeah, I know. It's okay. I'm just… it's okay. Don't worry about it. Go get dressed, do whatever you need to." Maria forced a smile at him before going back into her room. She felt so out of it. Slowly she sunk down to her bed and sighed.

Michael hesitated for a second, then he went to her room instead. “You okay?” He leaned against the doorframe.

She nodded and looked up at him. "I'm fine." Maria told him. Trying to convince him, as well as her self. "It's just everything… I'm afraid of what could happen. And I don't want you to leave."

“Yeah.” He sighed. But he would have to. “I’m going to get dressed then.” He raised his eyebrow, waiting to see if she was really okay to be on her own for a few more minutes.

Maria sat there silently after he left. Trying to keep herself together. He was going to leave the house eventually, and it would be a very long time before he came back, if he even did come back. She'd have to get used to being alone again. She had been before he came. But now that she'd felt so good being around someone, she was afraid to loose that.

After getting dressed, Michael walked back to her room and leaned against the doorframe again. “So…”

She looked up at him and then down at her hands in her lap. "You make me happy, you have made me happy, and that is what I am afraid of loosing. Not just you, but how you make me feel. I know you're leaving, and I knew you would leave…" She just kept repeating herself. Maria sighed softly and shook her head.

He crossed the distance to her and took her in his arms. “I don’t want to loose you either.” He hugged her close. “That’s why I’m coming back.” But would she really wait for him?

Tears filled her eyes and she nodded. Her arms wrapped around him tightly and Maria buried her face in his shoulder. "But… you don't know for sure if you'll be able to come back."

“Yes I do! Nothing can keep me away from it.” Nothing, besides getting killed. But he didn’t want to think about that right now.

She held him tighter and clenched her eyes shut. Maria held onto him tighter and kissed his shoulder. "Then I'll be here… I'll be waiting for you to come back to me."

He sighed and buried his face in the crook of her neck, inhaling her smell deeply. He didn’t want this day to end, because it meant leaving her. It just sucked with her dad. Couldn’t it have happened a few days later? Or weeks? Or no, what was he thinking? Not at all!

Maria held onto him as tightly as she could. It would work out okay. He'd come back, and they'd be okay. Because he would find her father, and Kyle would come home, and Michael would come back too… and she could be happy.

After a while, Michael slowly pulled back a little. “Your mom caught me when I left your room.”

She jerked her head up and looked at him. "What? Oh god… did she yell at you?"

“Not really.” Michael frowned. “She threatened me with a broom.”

"What?!" Maria gasped out, her eyes going wide. "She didn't actually hit you with it… did she?"

“No. She said she would have if…” He trailed off, not wanting to remind her about her father again. “Let’s just say I was lucky.”

She smiled a little and nodded. "Okay." Maria moved closer to him and laid her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes.

Michael kissed the top of her head and rocked her gently. Timing. For him it had been good this morning, because this way he could at least stay another day. And come back. But it was bad in that Amy came in in the first place. And it just plain sucked that he had to leave early either way. There was still so much more to explore. He sighed and closed his eyes.

Maria relaxed in his arms, enjoying how he rocked her. It sent calming feelings throughout her. "Thank you Michael." She murmured softly. Warm, and safe, and kind of happy.

He just nodded and continued to hold her. “Tell me when to let go.” He didn’t want to keep her from whatever else she might want to do.

"Never." She whispered. "Never, ever, ever." She tightened her arms around him and closed her eyes tighter.

Michael smirked and kissed the top of her head again. Yeah, if only it would be so easy. But they would have to part eventually. Like to go downstairs and eat something. Just the thought made his stomach grumble and he cursed it. He didn’t want to let her go yet. Food could wait.

Maria heard his stomach and opened her eyes. "You're hungry aren't you?" Had they eaten today? She didn't think so. "We should probably go downstairs."

“I can wait.” He shrugged. He should get used to it anyways. Out in the fields he wouldn’t be able to eat whenever he wanted to either.

"I don't want to be the reason you pass out from hunger." She tilted her head back and smiled a little at him. She never wanted to leave her bed, with him. But she would have to get used to him being gone again, she'd be alone.

He made a face. “Okay… I could eat something, yeah.” He stroked over her hair. “What about you?”

"I should…" She wasn't hungry, but she really should. "Come on… lets go." She kissed him softly and then pulled back from him. She didn't want to, she had to force herself to.

Michael nodded happily. She had to eat, but he didn’t think she’d go with him. He stood up and held his hands out for her.

Maria took his hand and climbed off the bed. She didn't want to leave her room though, afraid that she'd get yelled at by her mom, but also because she didn't have to think about other things in her room.

He interlaced their fingers but then hesitated. “You think it’s okay for us to hold hands?”

She shrugged a little. "Well she already knows we had sex, so, I say it's safe to just hold hands." And if her mom had a problem with it… Maria didn't care. She wanted to hold his hand. No matter what her mom said she wouldn't stop.

“Yeah…” He chuckled nervously and kissed her cheek. “Alright, let’s go. Maybe we’re lucky and she’s in her room anyways.” Or maybe Maria wanted to see her? Mrs. DeLuca probably wanted to see Maria. And here he was keeping her all to himself.

Maria nodded and walked out of her room, and down the stairs with him. She held onto his hand tightly.

They entered the kitchen and Michael let out a sigh of relief when he didn’t spot her mother. “You know, maybe you should go talk to her though.”

"Yeah…Get something to eat. I'll go and see her." Maria really didn't want to but she needed to. She kissed him softly and squeezed his hand.

“I’ll get you something too, for when you get back.” Or she would never eat, he knew her this much by now.

"Thanks." Maria nodded a little and headed for her mom's room. She knocked softly on the door and pushed it open a crack. "Mom?"

Amy quickly looked up from a picture of Jim and stared towards the door. “Oh, Maria.” She grabbed a tissue and wiped at her eyes, not wanting her to see that she had been crying. “Come… come in.” She sniffled and gulped, trying to keep her tears in check. She had to be strong for her baby girl.

She bit her lip and walked into her mom's room and sat down on the bed beside her. "Are you okay?" She asked softly. Maria was worried about her mom. Her dad being gone in the war was bad enough, but having been captured… She hoped that Kyle would come home.

“Yeah, I’m… fine.” She put up a fake smile and squeezed Maria’s hand. “What about you?”

"Don't lie to me mom… I know you're not fine. I'm scared… terrified, I want dad to come home, and I don't want Michael to have to go out after him, and I want Kyle back home too…But I know that none of that is happening anytime soon." Maria sighed softly.

Amy squeezed her hand again. “We have to be strong now and hope for the best.” But it was what she had been afraid of all this time. Jim getting captured or killed. But this right now, it was even worse than knowing he was dead. Now she was left wondering all the time.

"It's hard to be strong… I want them home with us, and safe." Maria swallowed and chewed on her lip. "I love him mom…" She hadn't really meant to say that.

“Oh, baby.” Amy wrapped her arms around Maria and held her close. “I’m so sorry.” Now she would have to go through the same trouble she had. Wasn’t it enough that her father and brother were out, now the war had to take her boyfriend too? Amy bit her lip and cursed that dreaded Kivar for the millionth time. “He… he doesn’t have to leave.”

"He won't stay." Maria wrapped her arms around her mother and closed her eyes tightly. "It's something he feels like he has to do… He has to go and fight, but he wants to come back. … He can come back right?" Tears stung Maria's eyes, she was afraid her mom would say he had to stay away.

“Of course he can!” But then her eyelid twitched. “In Kyle’s room or on the couch.” Maria was too young. She might think she loved him, but that didn’t mean they were old enough to have sex.

She hugged her mom again and nodded. "Thank you." Maria told her softly. At least if Michael lived, he'd still be welcome.

“We will have to talk about this though.” Amy pulled back slowly and raised an eyebrow. “In a few days.” When they had calmed down enough.

Maria nodded. She had hoped that her mom would decide not to do the sex talk, but she knew that there was no getting out of it. "Okay… Michael is making lunch… do you want to come and get something to eat?"

Her stomach lurched just thinking about it. “No. No, but you go and eat.” She gave her another smile.

She bit her lip and then nodded. "Okay…" Maria stood up and then turned to hug her mom tightly. "I love you." She whispered before pulling back a little and leaving her room.

“I love you too, Maria.” Amy waited till the door was closed, before she started crying again. Her daughter was so brave. She was so proud of her. And she had to remember to tell her soon.

********

Chapter Twenty

Maria walked back into the kitchen slowly. Her heart was aching. She was afraid of loosing everything, and everyone she loved.

Michael looked up from stirring the pot of noodles with cheese he was making. “Hey.” He smiled at her. “How did it go?”

"Fine… she didn't scream at me… but she said we were having a talk in a few days. And… that you're welcome to come back, as long as you sleep on the couch, or in Kyle's room." Maria closed the distance between them and curled her arms around his waist and held onto him tightly.

“Yeah.” He cocked is head. “Hey, she didn’t say anything about you not joining me then, did she?” He smirked and kissed the tip of her nose.

Maria smiled and shook her head. "No… but I would imagine, that talk we have to have, it will be included in that."

“But I’ll still come back.” He wrapped an arm around her and kept stirring the noodles with the other. “It’s not about sex, I hope you know that.” But hopefully they would still find a way to be together. It had just been too good to not do it again.

She nodded slightly. It was nice to hear him say it. "Yeah. I know. But I still like laying in your arms."

“Yeah, I like it when you do too.” He leaned close to her and whispered in her ear. “Especially when you’re naked.”

Maria shivered against him and held onto him tighter. She wanted to spend one more night with him, really spend it with him, make love with him.

He pulled back a little, suddenly feeling bad. He shouldn’t be talking about sex. Not now, when she was all upset over her father. “I hope you like noodles and cheese.”

She nodded. "Mom used to make it when I was little… comfort food now." She smiled up at him. "Thank you." Maria tipped her head back and kissed him softly. "So much."

“No problem.” He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to pretend everything was normal and fine. And her mom wasn’t there either. Then he sighed. But she was. “So I hope you’ll eat it too.”

"I'll try…" He went to the trouble of making it, she would eat it, even if she wasn't hungry. "I'll get some plates." Maria walked over to grab a few plates and some forks.

“Thanks.” Michael turned off the stove and walked over to the table with the pot in his hands, then filled up their plates richly, because he had a feeling she wouldn’t eat when he was gone and not there to make her do it anymore.

Maria sat down at the table and watched him, waiting for him to sit down with her. She wanted to enjoy every second they had left together until he left. Something she could hold onto until he came back.

He put the pot back on the stove, having made enough so maybe her mom could eat from it too, then he joined her at the table. “Go on, eat.” He motioned towards the plate and gave her an encouraging smile.

"Thank you." She murmured and picked up her fork and slowly began to eat. It made her feel warm on the inside, and she couldn't help smiling a little at him. He really did take such good care of her.

Michael nodded, satisfied that she was eating and then started as well. He ate quickly, since he was rather hungry seeing how he had missed out on breakfast. And he hadn’t eaten much the day before either, because he had been too damn nervous about Amy noticing anything. “I hope it tastes okay.”

"It tastes great Michael, thanks." It really was good. She poked at the food a little. She should eat more. Sighing inwardly she continued to eat.

“Good.” He nudged her leg under the table and continued to eat in silence.

Maria glanced up at him and smiled a little. She really didn't want him to leave. She would just have to hope every single day until he did come back. Maria finished eating and pushed her plate away before resting her cheek against her hand and watching Michael. She hadn't realized until she said it to her mom that she was in love with him.

Her stare was making him nervous so he quickly finished eating as well and then held her gaze. “What?” He cocked his head, smiling a little. She didn’t seem very sad, so whatever it was, it couldn’t be that bad.

She blushed and shook her head a little. "Nothing." She said with a little smile and quickly stood up and picked up the plates from the table. She hurried into the kitchen and rinsed them off in the sink.

Michael followed her and leaned against the counter. “Come on. Tell me.” Now he knew it was something about him.

"No." Maria shook her head. She couldn't tell him, he'd think she was some obsessive lap dog or something.

He frowned, then paled. “Oh damn, do I have food stuck in my teeth?” Maybe that’s why she had been staring at him with this smile.

She shook her head again. "No." Maria smiled at him. "You don't have anything stuck in your teeth, it's nothing like that… I… I'm not telling you." She quickly finished up with the dishes.

He sighed and scratched his eyebrow. "Okay, if you really don't want to tell me." He shouldn't push her although he really wanted to know. But he had to catch her some slack.

Maria moved to stand in front of him. "It really wasn't anything bad. I just… it's a little embarrassing for me, and I don't want to tell you. Not right now anyways." She curled her arms around his waist and closed her eyes.

"Well, okay then." He wrapped his arms around her waist as well. "But you will tell me?"

"Maybe." She laid her head against his chest. "I'll consider it." Maria smiled a little. "What do you say we go sit on the couch?" She just wanted to stay close to him.

“Sounds good.” He glanced around and then gave her a soft kiss. One of their rooms would sound better, but on the couch at least he wouldn’t get tempted to touch her in places that were inappropriate now.

Maria slid her hand into his and tugged him into the living room and sat down on the couch and pulled him down beside her. And then she curled up against his side and rested her head on his chest. She really wanted to be in her room with him, but she knew that her mom would freak out, so she would have to wait until after Amy had gone to bed.

He wrapped his arm around her and stroked her softly. “So, wanna watch some TV?”

"Sure." She nodded and grabbed the remote control off the coffee table before snuggling closer to Michael again.

He played with her hair and let her choose a program. TV. He’d miss that too, although he had managed all fine without in the last few days. At first he had been too woozy after his fall and then he had been too occupied with testing his powers, and Maria of course.

Maria flipped through the channels for a while before settling on some show. She let herself get completely wrapped up in the feel of his hand in her hair, how he touched her, how he smelled, trying to memorize it all.

Michael didn’t really watch the show, and after a while he didn’t even pretend to look at the screen anymore. Instead he was watching her. He’d really, really miss her. He only knew her for a few days but already he was so used to her being around. Even though she drove him crazy most of the time and not always in the good sense.

She could practically feel his eyes on her. She looked up at him and smiled a little. She didn't want him to go. Maria was sick of whining, and crying, and telling him how much she didn't want him to go. "Oh." She got up quickly and walked over to the desk and fished around inside one of the drawers for a minute before grabbing a picture and walking back over to him. "Here, like you asked for."

“Thanks.” He smiled and looked at the picture for a while. Not as good as the reality, but it would have to do. “You look different with long hair.”

Maria reached up and touched her short locks. "Yeah…" She was getting used to the shortness of it, but she still did miss her long hair. "Should I let it grow back out? Or keep it short?" She asked him.

“No! I like it short.” He tangled his hand in it again and tugged on a few strands. “It’s cute, it fits you.” It was the Maria he grew to like and… and maybe even more. Back when she had long hair, she was the spoiled brat who made his first days here a living hell.

She smiled a little. "I'm still mad at your for cutting it though." Maria reached up and touched his hand. "But I think you're forgiven now."

He chuckled. “Well, thank you. I think then I can forgive you for not letting me use the bathroom although I seriously had to pee as well.”

Maria laughed and shook her head. "Do you forgive me for making you fall out the window too?"

He cocked his head. “Oh, I’m not so sure about that. But maybe you can gain some plus points later, when we’re all alone.” He wiggled his eyebrows but then his smirk fell. “That, uh, is only if you feel comfortable and uh, you know.” He scratched the back of his head.

She nodded a little. "I do… I want to." Anything to get her mind off of everything. Maria kissed him softly before laying her head down on his shoulder and let her eyes slip shut for a moment.

“We’ll see.” He kissed the top of her head and stroked over her hair again. They still had a few long hours to waste.

"Okay." Maria snuggled up closer to him and tightened her arms around his waist.

He gathered her in his arms more comfortably and then actually started watching TV. It would hopefully get his mind off of what they would do in his last night there, and that it was his very last night with her in the first place. For now. Because he would come back. Yeah. He nodded to himself. He’d come back.

********

Maria finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and chewed on her lip. She was really worried about her mom. What if something happened to her dad? She wasn't sure what her mom would do, her herself for that matter.

Michael hung around the living room watching TV while Maria cleaned up. Amy was still around, so he didn’t want to risk touching her daughter in the wrong place. It was so awkward now after she knew. He sighed and flipped channels, hoping she would go to bed soon.

Maria finished cleaning the kitchen before venturing out into the living room to join Michael. She sat down on the couch, making sure there was plenty of space between them. She chewed on her lip and glanced at Michael. She really just wanted to curl up against his side and snuggle with him, but she wasn't sure if her mom would freak out over it or not.

Michael glanced at her as well and slid a little closer, then quickly back, putting even more distance between them. “Something special you want to watch?”

"No." Her jaw trembled. He was leaving in the morning, and she was afraid to be near him because of what her mother thought? She might never see him again. Quickly Maria moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "I don't care what she says." She whispered.

He looked at her and bit his lip, then relented and wrapped an arm around her as well. He’d be gone the next day, so for him it wouldn’t matter either. “If you’re sure.” He smiled and kissed her forehead. Oh no, bad start. Now he wanted to kiss more of her. He sighed frustrated.

She curled up closer, happy to be in his arms. "I'm sure." She didn't want him to ever let go of her. "Just hold me." Maria whispered. The warmth from his body seeped into hers and in that moment, she felt the closest thing to happiness that she had felt all day.

He nodded and relaxed even more, pulling her closer. After a few minutes he froze again though, because Amy was suddenly standing behind them. He hadn’t even heard her come up.

“I’m going to bed now. Don’t… stay up too long, okay?” Amy twisted her hands, contemplating adding something else, but this was Michael’s last night here and Maria should know what she was doing. And it was too late to set up a no sex rule anyways.

"Good night mom." Maria said quietly and chewed on her lip. Silently waiting for her mother to blow up and demand that Michael not touch Maria ever again.

“Just make sure you catch enough sleep, Michael.” Amy took a few steps towards her destination, then stopped again. “You too, Maria. Goodnight.” She quickly left before she would say something else. Was this the right decision? It was their last night and Michael was leaving to help finding Jim. Though she had no idea how a boy at his age could do such a thing. Wasn’t he still injured? Why hadn’t she checked? She couldn’t let him go! What was she doing? Right in the morning she would tell him to stay and stop the foolishness. Yeah, maybe he had thought it over till then as well and it would be easier to talk to him.

Maria waited for several long moments before lifting her head to look at Michael. "No screaming… no yelling…" She bit her lip before tilting her head to the side a little. "Want to go to bed?"

“I’m not tired.” He kept glancing in the direction Mrs. DeLuca left to, half expecting her to come back any second.

"Well that's good… because neither am I, and I really wasn't talking about going to bed to sleep." She sat up a little, pulling back from him before getting up off the couch.

“Oh.” Michael blushed and got up as well, passing his hands through his hair. “Right.” He rolled his eyes at himself. “Let’s go.”

She smiled at him and tugged on his hand, pulling him towards the stairs. She paused at the top and glanced between rooms. "My room." She murmured. So she would have the memories of being with him in her room, and not Kyle's." And she had changed the sheets the night before, while waiting for her mom to go to bed, one of the various tasks she did to keep herself busy.

“Okay.” He nodded but then let go of her to open his door. “Goodnight, Maria.” He closed the door again and put a finger to his lips. Maybe her mother was just waiting for an indication to come back up.

Maria nodded a little and waited. She walked over to her bedroom and opened the door slowly. Still no sign of her mom. She held up her hand and crooked her finger at Michael.

He grinned and tip-toed all the way into her room. Would she buy it? Maybe he should have stuffed his bed in case she’d check? But not like she would really mistake a pillow for him.

She grabbed his hand and yanked him into her room quickly before closing the door quietly behind her. "You're smart." She murmured before kissing him softly.

“Just careful.” He smirked and reached around her to lock the door. “And afraid of your mother, actually.”

"Yeah…" She waited for him to lock the door before kissing him again. "I am going to miss this so much." She whispered against his lips.

“Me too.” He cupped her cheeks and mated their forehead. “But we shouldn’t be thinking about this now.” It would just make it all too gloomy and sad, and they shouldn’t waste the little time they had left on being miserable.

"I know. I know." She closed her eyes for a long moment before opening them again and smiling. "Take me to bed?"

“Like carrying you?” He cocked his head.

"Could you?" She shook her head. "No, you don't have to. I just meant I wanted to be in bed with you now."

“But I can.” He nodded happily. “I think…” He hadn’t strained his arm as much since he took off the cast, but it was time to try it out. He quickly swept her up in his arms. “Hah!”

Maria couldn't help but giggle quietly. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held him tightly. "Oh god." She laughed. "Hmmm boy are you strong." She kissed his jaw softly.

“I am.” He grinned proudly and slowly walked her to the bed. Now he didn’t want to put her down anymore, but when they were on the bed together, he could really touch and kiss her, and he craved that more than anything else. So without further ado he dropped her onto the mattress.

She giggled quietly as she bounced on the bed when he dropped her. "Come'ere."

He smirked and nodded, then knelt down on the edge of the mattress. “Maria?”

"What?" She asked rolling onto her side to look at him.

“Are you really okay with this?” Maybe she would rather just lie in his arms again, without anything more.

Maria nodded. "Yeah. I am, I want this. You. I want to forget everything, except for you. Because after you leave… all I'll be able to think about is you, and Kyle, and my dad… and for just one more night, I want to be able to sleep soundly. Even if it's an illusion."

Michael sighed and stroked over her cheek. This all just really sucked. He didn’t know what he could tell her to make it better, so he decided not to try it with words. Instead he leaned down and kissed her slowly, tugging on her bottom lip when he pulled back. Then he stretched out next to her.

She let out a soft moan when Michael broke the kiss. Maria scooted closer to him and wrapped her arm around his waist and kissed him again.

Wrapping his arms around her waist, Michael moved them so she was lying on top of him. “Better.” He smiled up at her and then kissed her again, softly at first but then it was quickly turning more heated.

She moaned softly into his mouth and slid her fingers up to tangle in his hair. His body felt so good against hers. Warm, and hard. How could she live without this? Now that she knew how amazing it was… She tried to push those thoughts from her head, and focus solely on Michael and the moment.

Michael groaned. Maybe he shouldn’t have rolled them over. Now every she moved, she was brushing against his erection, making it harder and harder to concentrate. But he couldn’t rush this. What if she was still not ready? How did he manage before? But damn, it was even harder now, because he knew exactly how great it would feel if he would loose control.

Maria flicked her tongue over his lips, and then dipped it into his mouth to rub against his tongue. She lifted her head up to try and suck in a breath. Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest, making her feel dizzy, but she didn't want to stop.

He looked up at her again. She was so pretty. He wanted to remember her just like that. Above him, her lips swollen, with a faint blush covering her cheeks. And all because of him. He smirked and pulled her head down for another kiss, one of his hands snaking under her shirt now to caress her naked back.

She kissed him back passionately, softly moaning against his lips. Already she felt like she was flying. Just his simple touches made her skin burn with pleasure.

“Mmmh, you’re so soft.” He nibbled on her bottom lip lightly and inched her shirts upwards. He couldn’t wait to be skin on skin with her again.

"You're hard." She murmured in response and shifted her hips slightly. She could feel his length pressing against her, and she loved the fact that she caused it. She made him feel like that. Maria arched her back a little.

“God, yes.” There was no use in denying it. She obviously felt it.

Maria kissed his throat, gently nipping at his skin as she kissed her way down to his collarbone, and snaked her fingers under the hem of his shirt. "I love that I make you this hard." She could feel him against her stomach now, and she wanted him inside of her, now. But at the same time, she wanted to go slow with this. It was their last night together in who knows how long. She wanted to memorize every second of it.

“Yeah? Because it doesn’t take you much.” He smirked, a little embarrassed.

She looked up at him and smiled. "I know." She murmured and pushed his shirt up a little farther so that she could press kisses against his stomach, and then up to his chest.

He moaned and tangled his fingers in her hair again. This felt so good. And she was so close to the lower half of his body… he moaned again.

Maria flicked her tongue out against his skin, and ran it up his chest. "Lift up so I can pull off your shirt?" She asked sitting up a little, her fingers still holding onto the hem of his shirt.

“Yeah.” He nodded quickly and let go of her, holding his hands up over his head instead. Then he pushed away from the mattress enough so she could partially undress him.

She quickly pushed his shirt up, and licked her lips as she looked at his chest. "God…" She whispered. He was so beautiful. And hers.

“What?” He frowned a little. She looked… sorta hungry. He swallowed hard.

Maria smiled at him and touched his cheek. "You're…" He'd freak out if she called him beautiful wouldn't he? "Just amazing."

Michael grinned. “Thanks. But you only realized that after my shirt was off?” He chuckled a little and tugged on a stand of her hair.

She stuck her tongue out at him and smacked his chest. "No. But it is more obvious when your shirt is off." Maria smirked at him before leaning in to kiss him softly.

“You know, you’re pretty amazing with your shirt off too.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

"Oh yeah? Just how amazing?"

“Incredibly amazing?” He cocked his head and reached out a hand to play with the hem of her shirt.

She smiled and kissed him again. "Well I wouldn't want to deny you something 'incredibly amazing' now would I?"

“I hope not.” He grinned. “Though in the first days here you have been rather evil to me.”

"Well, you weren't very nice to me either… but what shall I do to make it up to you?" Maria smirked at him and leaned down to press a soft kiss against his collarbone.

“Hm, well… you could show me something incredibly amazing.” He winked and tangled a hand in her hair to keep her against him for a little longer.

She flicked her tongue out against his skin and laughed softly. "I guess I could do that." She pulled back from him a little and hooked her fingers on the hem of her shirt and tugged it up a little.

“So far so nice.” He leaned back a little and crossed his arms behind his head, waiting for her to continue.

Ever so slowly Maria began inching her shirt up, unhurriedly exposing her stomach, and then up farther revealing her bra encased chest as she dropped the shirt to the floor. "Good?"

“Uhuh.” He nodded and placed his hands on her hips. “Very good.” He slowly stroked up her stomach, but kept his hands low. She could tease, yeah, but so could he.

She arched her back a little and let her eyes slip shut. "Oh…" She breathed out, his fingers were warm on her skin. His hands felt so nice, but he wasn't touching her enough. "Michael." She whispered.

“Hmm?” He nuzzled her throat and kept touching her flat stomach and her back. She smelled so good. He sighed softly, content.

"Your hands feel so good." She whispered and kissed the side of his face. "But I want more."

“More?” He smirked and finally slid his hands higher, toying with the clasp of her bra. “More like this?”

Maria nodded faintly and arched her back. "Yeah…" She looked at him, he was smirking at her, and she loved his lips. She reached up and touched his lower lip before leaning in to kiss him.

While he was kissing her, he carefully opened her bra and then slid the straps down her shoulders. Their upper bodies were pressed close together, so it wouldn’t fall away yet.

She kissed him passionately, her hips rocked faintly towards his. She moaned a little and pulled back to gasp for breath. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Maria couldn't get enough of him.

Michael used the opportunity to take a hold of her bra and tug it off of her and throw it to the floor along with her top. Then he pressed close to her again. shit was her heart beating fast. “Shh.” He stroked over her cheek. “It’s okay.”

Maria kissed him again and buried her face in his shoulder and closed her eyes. She wanted, no needed, more of him. "Michael." She murmured and nuzzled his throat.

“Hmm, Maria.” He moved a little, letting their chests rub together. Damn, this felt good.

"I want you so bad." Maria whispered lifting her head up a little to look at him before kissing him softly. His hard chest pressed against hers and she loved the feel of his skin on hers.

"Me too. I always want you, Maria." He cupped her cheek and kissed her softly, then pulled back a little so he could look at her and gaze at her naked chest. "So bad."

She smiled a little at him. "So take me." She offered.

********

Chapter Twenty-One

“You sure?” He cocked his head and placed his hands on her breasts, massaging them softly. Maybe he should wait for her answer, but he couldn’t.

Maria nodded eagerly and moaned softly as she arched her back towards his hands. She brought one of her hands up to rest on top of his and her eyes slid shut part way. "So good baby… I want you. Need you."

“Okay.” He nodded. “Okay.” He had given her enough chances to back out now, so now he would stop asking. She should know what she wanted, and it was no question what he wanted. He pushed her over softly, so she was lying on her back again, then he kissed his way down her throat and to her pointy little nubs, who seemed to get even harder now that his mouth was giving them some attention.

"Oh…" She moaned loudly and arched her back. She slid her fingers up to tangle in his hair while she curled one of her legs around his waist. His mouth felt even better than his hands.

He sucked them into his mouth and then let his tongue play with them. Her moans were just spurring him on and he sucked even harder. When he was occupied with one breast, he stimulated the other with his hand.

Maria could feel the heat building up in her belly and slid her hands down to grip his shoulders tightly. "Oh god Michael." She begged.

“Good?” He glanced up at her briefly. He was doing it the right way, wasn’t he?

She nodded frantically and shoved her fingers into his hair and pulled his mouth back to her skin. "Good. So good."

Smirking against her skin, Michael licked over her nipple before sucking it back into his mouth. Her skin tasted great. Salty, yet sweet.

Maria shuddered against him. She wound her other leg around his waist and lifted her hips up towards his.

“Aw, damn.” He had to pull back again and reached down to adjust his pants. They were tight before, but that just made it even worse.

"Take 'em off." She whispered. Anything so that she could feel more of him.

He looked at her surprised. Had she just said that, or did he imagine it? He cocked his head and slowly reached down with one hand to unbutton his pants. If he had hallucinated, she would tell him no, wouldn't she?

Maria slid one of her hands down and helped him with his pants. She pushed them down over his hips, as far as she could reach before wrapping her arms back around his waist and smoothing her hands over his back.

Michael wiggled his pants off the rest of the way and then lied down between her legs comfortably. “Thanks.” That was better. His erection was still painful, but not as much anymore. This now was a good kind of pressure, somehow.

She smiled at him and nodded, drawing her legs up to cradle him between her thighs. "No problem." She told him and ran her fingers through his hair.

“How about you? Feeling pressure anywhere?” He smiled and closed his eyes for a second, enjoying her gentle caresses.

"Not so much pressure… but an overpowering emptiness." Maria lifted her head up and kissed his forehead softly. "But you can take my pants off anyways."

He chuckled. “I think that would be a good step towards filling your emptiness too.” Michael winked and pulled back from her just enough so he could open her pants for her.

She lifted her hips up for him and smiled. "Yeah… you're good at taking care of that problem."

“Yeah, ‘cause it will ultimately help me with mine too.” He winked once again and then tugged her pants down as far as he could.

"It will." Maria nodded and helped him get her pants off the rest of the way. She tossed them to the floor before curling one leg around his waist and kissing him again.

Michael kissed her back passionately, keeping it up till he could barely breathe anymore. But he was starting to get nervous again and kissing helped, because he knew he was good at that.

She licked at his lips, and his tongue, while her fingers danced across the skin of his back. It felt smooth under her fingers, and she loved it. "Michael." She moaned softly.

“Mmmhm.” He nuzzled her nose and tugged on her bottom lip. “Did we lock the door?” He glanced towards it. If her mom would come in right now…

Maria lifted her head, and she bit her lip. "I… don't think so." She glanced towards the door.

“Damn.” He cursed under his breath and slowly disentangled himself from Maria. “I think I better check.”

She pouted as he pulled away from her. "Yeah." She agreed with him, but that didn't mean she wanted him to pull away from her.

He nodded and left the bed with a regretful sigh. He cursed again when he reached the door and tried the lock, now remembering that he did lock it just as they got in. But it was better to make sure. After another silent curse, he walked back to the bed, stopping a moment to admire Maria in her full glory.

Maria smiled at him and rolled onto her side a little and rested her head against her hand. "Hi." She murmured softly.

“Hey.” He smiled, still letting his eyes wander all over her body. God, he would so miss her.

Maria held her hand out towards him, and beckoned him towards her. She loved to look at him though. He was amazing.

He took her hand and kissed it, then sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked over her cheek, before he kissed her softly. They had the whole night. But then again, if they would hurry up now, they might get to do it more than once.

"Michael." She murmured softly. Her jaw trembled a little. He was leaving her in the morning. She tried not to think about it, but couldn't help herself.

“Shh.” He kissed her again, moving to lie back on the bed, next to her. They shouldn’t talk. If they talked, it would spoil it.

Maria reached up and touched his cheek and kissed him softly. "Distract me." She whispered softly. Desperate for him to touch her again, and make her body hum.

He nodded and kissed her deeply, then broke it to kiss and nip down to her throat. Her mom knew, now he could leave a mark. Not like he had any idea how to, but he’d love to try. Michael smirked and trailed his tongue along the line where he could feel her pulse before sucking her soft skin between his lips.

She couldn't help but moan and slid her fingers into his hair. "Oh Michael." She moaned and pressed closer to him.

“Hmm, Maria.” He scraped his teeth over the spot he had been sucking on. “You always taste so good everywhere.”

Maria shuddered and moaned again. "Baby… god… that is so good." Her body was hot. The wetness between her legs was growing and growing.

“Want more?” He blew on her skin, satisfied to see it had darkened already.

She nodded quickly. "Yes." She begged him.

“Where? Here?” He traced his fingers over the starting hickey and then stopped a few inches underneath it.

Maria tilted her head back, allowing him more access. "Hmmm that is good."

“I hope they’ll stay for a while.” He placed a soft kiss on her throat before he started sucking once again. It would remind her of him, even after he was gone.

"Me too." She smiled. Maria pressed a kiss against the side of his face and tried to get closer to him.

Michael ground his lower body into hers, suddenly reminded again at how aroused he was. And this, tasting her, making her, was making him even harder. “God damn.” He growled and bit into her skin.

"I want you Michael…" He was grinding against her, and it made her want so much more. She pulled back a little to look at him, she wanted to tell him how she really felt. But she was afraid that he would freak out.

“And I still want you too.” He kissed her softly. Was this the cue to get rid of the underwear?

Maria slid her fingers down his side, and slipped them under the hem of his boxers. "We should do something about that then."

“Y..yeah.” He swallowed hard. Now if she would just slide them a little lower…

She pushed them down slowly. Inch by inch, smirking a little. She could feel his erection, and she loved that too. Loved that she made him so hard.

“You’ll get that back.” He swallowed again and tried to glare at her, but he was too turned on to do a good job with it.

"What?" She asked innocently and nudged him onto his back so she could pull his boxers down the rest of the way.

“You know what I mean.” He pouted and looked up at her. “The teasing.”

She giggled and threw his boxers to the floor before crawling back up his body and kissing him softly. "I'm sorry?" She offered, without much conviction.

“You better be.” He smirked a little, unable to be really mad at her. “Maybe you want to make up for it?”

"How would you like me to?" Maria smiled and pressed soft kisses against his chest.

“Touch me. Make it better.” He bit his lip and pushed his hips up suggestively.

She smiled at him and slid one of her hands down to gently stroke over his dick.

Michael closed his eyes and let out a low moan. This was teasing still, but damn! He swallowed yet again and then dared to look at her again.

Maria slowly kissed a trail down his chest and over his stomach as she wrapped her fingers around his dick. "Good?" She asked as she brushed her lips lightly over the head of his length.

He jumped a little and blushed. Would he make her stop when he seemed too over-eager? “Ye… yeah.” And the lump in his throat was back. “Yes. Great.” He nodded.

She glanced up at him and smiled before flicking her tongue out over the head of his cock. "Am I making it better?"

Not really. But he nodded again. “Feels… feels great.”

Maria wrapped her lips around his dick and started to suck softly. She let her eyes slip shut and rubbed her tongue against his dick.

“Oh… oh god.” He buried his hands in her hair and looked up at the ceiling. Okay, now this was definitely making it better. He groaned and pushed his hips up again, unable to help it. It felt too god damn good.

She closed her eyes and bobbed her head along his length, rubbing her tongue along the vein on the bottom. Maria wrapped her hand around the base and pumped him slowly.

“Maria… yes. Just like… just like that.” He glanced at her again. She was just so… awesome.

Maria brought her other hand up and rubbed it against Michael's stomach. She glanced up at him through her lashes as she sucked and lapped at his dick.

“Oh… oh damn.” He had to let go of her hair to claw at the sheets. He was quickly spiralling closer and closer to getting his release, but… but he shouldn’t. “Maria. I’m… I’m to close. Gotta… gotta stop.”

She lifted her head up for a moment but didn't release him. "I don't want to…" She dropped her head down and ran her tongue around the mushroom shaped head again.

“But I’m gonna… you know.” He bit his lip.

"I know… I like it." She told him, and she did. She loved that she could make him feel so good. That she gave him so much pleasure. She licked at his dick again.

“You sure?” He squirmed. Michael really just wanted to get his release, but not if it made her uncomfortable.

She nodded eagerly. "I am." Maria lowered her mouth again and sucked softly, and rubbed her tongue against him. Maria closed her eyes and let herself get absorbed in the sounds he made, the scents of him, and the taste.

“O..okay.” He gulped and buried one of his hands in her hair again. It was so soft and shiny. He smiled but very quickly his face was contorted in pleasure and all he was still able to do was mumbling her name in between moans and praises.

Maria continued to worship his cock, licking, sucking, and gently closing her teeth around him. She sped her hand up, pumping him quickly.

“Oh… oh, shi.t, Maria!” Michael considered pulling away but she said she wanted to do this and… and now he couldn’t care anymore. He was completely lost in the sensations and then next time he felt her teeth, he came violently.

She swallowed greedily, and lapped up the cum that dripped down his length. She moaned softly and thoroughly licked him clean.

Still faintly moaning, he watched her through hooded eyes. That he would never, ever be able to forget. All of the things she did to him, all the feelings she evoked. The way she looked right now. Her tongue. Oh hell, he loved that tongue!

Maria glanced up at him and smiled before running her tongue up the length of his body. Over his stomach and chest, to kiss his jaw softly.

“Damn.” He looked at her and cupped her cheeks. “That was so great. Thanks.” He kissed her softly before letting go of her.

She smiled at him. "I'm glad you enjoyed it." She nuzzled his throat and snuggled up close to him.

“Yeah, me too.” He smirked a little. “No, of course I did. It was…” He shook his head. “Awesome.” Wrapping his arms around her, he held her tightly to him and kissed her forehead.

Maria wrapped her arm around his waist tightly and closed her eyes. "Good." She had wanted that. Wanted him to really enjoy it.

He took a few deep breaths till his heartbeat had calmed down some again. “So…” He stroked over her hair. ”Now what can I do for you?“

She wanted him. She wanted him touching her, bringing her to orgasm, and making her happy, completely happy. But laying with him, that was really nice too. "Hold me."

“I am.” He smiled and kissed her above her right eyebrow.

"I know." She sighed happily. "Keep doing it."

“Okay.” He had no objections. This way he could get some respite as he was beginning to get more and more tired, the more he calmed down. Right afterwards he had been wired up, but now it was as if someone was sucking the energy right out of him. Her. He chuckled.

Maria glanced up at him and smiled a little and then rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes. "I love you." She murmured softly.

Michael froze. Had she just said…? His eyes grew huge and he stared at the ceiling. No, she couldn’t. Oh, damn! He bit his lip, pretending to not have heard it at all. And hey, maybe he really didn’t. Maybe he just wanted to hear it. But then, why was it freaking him out so much?

She opened her eyes and bit her lip. He wasn't responding in any way. Not that she had expected him to say that he loved her too… But he didn't have anything to say. Maria closed her eyes again and willed herself to fall asleep.

He couldn’t leave her. He couldn’t. How could he leave her, when she loved him? And when he… when he loved her too. That was just not right. Why couldn’t they just be happy? Or at least stay together and then work on the rest. He closed his eyes tightly and forced his tears back down. He couldn’t cry. He didn’t. There was nothing to cry about. There was war, things like this happened all the time. But he… he couldn’t leave her. Not now. He tightened his arms around her, clutching her to him.

"You should sleep." Maria told him quietly and then rolled over with her back with her back to him, and snuggled back against his side.

“Yeah…” He bit his lip. He didn’t think he could sleep now. “You tired?”

"Yeah." She whispered, but she was wide awake. Her body wanted him, but the moment was over. She'd messed that all up.

“Okay then, sleep.” He rolled over as well, spooning her, then placed a soft kiss to the back of her neck. He couldn’t leave her. No way.

Tears filled her eyes and she bit down hard on her lip. "You need to get some sleep too. Big day tomorrow." Big day leaving her. Who knows when he'd come back.

“Yeah.” He sighed and nuzzled her neck, trying to get closer. “But I… I don’t want it to be.”

Her jaw trembled. "Neither do I… But you'll regret not going if you stay."

“Why do you say that?” Would she regret it if he didn’t leave? After all, he had promised to bring her dad back… Yeah… Yeah! He had to go. For her.

Maria looked up at him and tilted her head to the side a little. "Because… you will, and you know that you will. You have wanted to go since before you came here. And if you just decide not to … you know that you're going to regret not going."

Michael didn’t say anything. Maybe she was right, maybe she wasn’t. He couldn’t know. Not yet. Maybe in a few months he would. Or maybe even in a few days. “I’ll find your dad.” He kissed the back of her neck and pulled his arms around her waist a little tighter. It was all he could do for her right now.

Tears filled her eyes and she held onto his arms tightly. "Thank you." She whispered and closed her eyes tightly.

“And then I’ll come back.” He was whispering it against her neck, barely audible. Because it didn’t matter either. Not now. He was going to leave in the first place, that is what this was all about.

Maria took slow, deep breaths, and closed her eyes, she rubbed her hand over his arm. Slowly she began to doze off. Completely worn out.

He had only closed his eyes to get more lost in her, but the steady rubbing of his arm soon had him close to sleep. Listening to her even breathing did the rest. He didn’t even realize when she stopped, because by that time he had fallen fast asleep.

Morning came too soon for Maria. She opened her eyes and then closed them again quickly. He would be leaving her soon. It was too soon. She tightened her grip on his arm unconsciously and chewed on her lip.

Michael woke up hours later, silently cursing when he noticed it was already light outside. That wasn’t supposed to happen. He didn’t want to fall asleep, and if, then not for this long. He sighed and buried his face in her hair, inhaling her scent.

She felt him move and slowly opened her eyes. How long until he left? If she pretended to sleep, maybe he would stay longer?

He sighed when he felt her move. “Hey.”

Maria closed her eyes again and sighed. "Hey." She whispered.

“Did I wake you up?” He pulled back from her a little but kept his arms wrapped around her.

She shook her head a little. "No, you didn't."

“I didn’t think we’d sleep this late.” He closed his eyes and settled back against the pillow, having no intention of getting up soon.

"Me neither." Maria rolled over and settled herself against his chest.

“So we don’t really have time for…” He trailed off. Maybe she wasn’t ready anyways. She hadn’t been last night and nothing much had changed. He was still leaving, her father was still missing.

"It depends on when you're leaving…" She murmured.

He had planned to leave early, but an hour more or less wouldn’t really hurt, would it? “Not right now.”

Maria nodded a little and lifted her head up to brush her lips over his. "Then we have time."

“Or we can just lie here for a while longer.” He planted a small kiss on her shoulder, not wanting to rush her into it.

She laid back and looked up at the ceiling. "You don't want to?" She asked, feeling a little confused. Hadn't he just suggested it? And now was saying he didn't want to?

“No, I do!” He stroked over her cheek softly, watching her. God, it was getting harder and harder to even think about leaving. “I just thought…” He shrugged. “It’s okay if you’re still not up to it.”

Maria looked over at him. "I do want you." She rolled onto her side and looked into his eyes. "I really do."

“And you’re okay with me leaving afterwards?” Was he? Hell, no! But there was no way around it.

"Of course I'm not. But that doesn't change the fact that I want to be with you right now."

Michael smiled and stroked over her side. “When I’m back, we can do it all the time.” Not like her mom would let them, but it was nice to imagine it.

"Right." Maria nodded. She just hoped he did come back. "But until then… I need something to hold onto." She moved closer to him and kissed him softly.

“Yeah.” He nodded. “Me too.” He kissed her again, deeper this time. Closer. He needed to be closer to her. He wrapped his arms around her and interlaced their legs.

A soft moan passed her lips as she shifted a little closer, tangling her legs with his more so. Maria kissed him back and wrapped her arms around his shoulders tightly.

Michael groaned when his cock eventually rubbed against her soft flesh. It instantly made him rock hard and he closed his eyes, trying to will it down a bit.

Maria bit her lip and pushed her hips closer to his. "Ohh." She breathed out at the feel of his hard erection against her flesh. "Michael… baby."

“Hmm, Maria.” He nuzzled her throat. “You’re so soft.” He rubbed against her, groaning louder when he could feel her heat.

She buried her face in the crook of his neck and flicked her tongue out against it. "You're so hard." She murmured with a faint smile.

“God, yes.” He swallowed. And there was no way he could turn it down a few notches. Not with her being so damn close, and soft, and hot. He sighed. “I want you, Maria.”

Maria brought her leg up over his hip and pressed closer, feeling his dick against her wet folds. "Yes." She hissed.

“Should we go slow?” Michael bit his lip but at the same time couldn’t stop moving against her to create more friction.

"I… I don't know. I want you so much… but I want it to last too… but I need you." She could feel a pulsing between her legs. Aching for him.

“We could do both?” He needed to be buried inside of her soon, or he’d go mad. What they did last night had been awesome too, but it just wasn’t the same. And this was his last chance. His last… he should stop thinking about it.

"O-okay… how?" She pushed closer to him.

“Let’s start with fast.” He took a hold of his dick and carefully guided it to her entrance, slipping just the head inside. Then he looked at her for permission to move on.

Maria nodded frantically. "Yes." Just the teasing feeling of him being inside her, but just barely. She wanted him buried inside of her.

Smiling, he slowly inched his way forward. He didn’t mean fast as in hurting her, just as in not waiting a second longer to feel… this. He moaned out her name and closed his eyes when the feelings became almost unbearable.

She arched her back and moaned out his name softly. "Oh… Michael." She would miss that. When he was inside of her, she felt so complete, and happy. Nothing else existed.

He opened his eyes again and kissed her softly. “Now we go slow.” He nuzzled her cheek and slowly pulled back a little before inching forward again. Oh shit! This was going to be torture.

Maria nodded slightly. Hadn't they already been going slow? But her mind stopped thinking, and all she could focus on was Michael moving slowly in and out of her. She trembled slightly. "Ohhh."

“For a while.” He kissed her softly and then sucked on a new spot on her throat. He was still thrusting very slowly within her, but now he almost pulled out, before he slid back in, recreating the feel of his first penetration. This was just too good.

She wanted to scream, and sob, and claw against Michael's back because it felt so amazing. Maria couldn't help but dig her nails into his back as she pushed her hips against his in tandem. The sensations were absolutely amazing.

“F..faster?” He pulled back to look at her. As good as it was, he needed more.

Maria nodded quickly. "Yes. Please yes." Her breathing was becoming more and more erratic with each thrust. She bit down on her lip and tried not to cry out in pleasure.

He nodded happily and moved within her faster. It was still slow though and he could feel every single nerve and muscle tugging at his dick. Or maybe he imagined it, but that didn’t matter. It felt great, that was the most important. “Maria… you feel… this… so good.”

She buried her face in the crook of his neck and held onto him as tightly as she could. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She couldn't help but dig her nails harder and harder into his back with each thrust.

The pain coming from his back was only spurring him on, though he probably… He pulled back a little. “You okay?”

Maria nodded again. "Yes!" She cried out softly. "D-don't stop." She begged. Already she could feel her orgasm swirling low in her belly, and it felt so good.

“Oh, okay.” He nodded and bit his lip, feeling a bit stupid. But as he started to move again, the feeling was quickly vanishing and the bliss was taking over again. “Damn, Maria.” He closed his eyes for a second, not able to go slow anymore.

"So close." She told him, murmuring it quietly. She didn't know how much longer she would last.

Michael nodded, though he wasn't sure what she was talking about. If it was for him, they weren't close enough yet. He wrapped an arm around her back and pushed her chest tighter against his.

Maria clutched to him tightly and buried her face in the crook of his neck. "Michael." She moaned, and moved her hips with his.

“Maria.” He was getting close. And now he realized what she meant. Hopefully. Because he didn’t want to be close without her. No, he didn’t want to be close at all, because that meant the end of this soon, but he couldn’t help it. All the friction, it was just too good. He reached between them with his free hand and carefully started rubbing her where he thought was right.

Her hips began to buck wildly, and she bit down on her lip, stifling her scream. Pleasure coursed through her body and she grasped Michael's back even harder. She could taste blood on her lip, but the sensations of the incredible orgasm were too strong for her to actually notice.

“Oh, fuck, Maria!” Michael couldn’t help but yell out her name when her walls suddenly closed around him, creating even more pleasure, mixed with a hint of pain. It was all too much for him and he released inside of her before he collapsed onto his back, taking her with him.

Maria held onto him and buried her face in the crook of his neck. She tried to breath, but the pleasure was so intense she felt like crying. And she felt like crying because the thought of this being the last time they did this was creeping into the back of her head. She flicked her tongue over her lip and suddenly tasted the blood.

Stroking over her head, he looked down at her and noticed the blood. “Oh.” He unconsciously bit his own lip as well and stroked his thumb over hers. “Sorry.” Now he realized that he had not been quiet in the end. Damn! Would her mom burst into the door now? His eyes flashed to it in fear.

She looked up at him and shook her head. "It's… okay." She reached up and touched her lip, and then glanced towards the door. They weren't quiet. But she didn't hear her mom running up the stairs screaming.

He kissed the top of her head and then settled back down. They had locked the door, so she couldn’t catch them both naked again. Not like it would really matter. He sighed and stared up at the ceiling. He had to leave soon.

Maria laid her head on his chest and listened to his heart beating. He was leaving. Soon. She didn't want him to, but he had to. She kissed his chest and closed her eyes tightly. "I still love you." She whispered. "No matter what."

He froze, unsure if he had imagined this again or not. What if he hadn’t? He swallowed the lump in his throat and stroked up and down her back. “Maria, I…” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I…” He couldn’t say it.

"You don't have to say it." She told him. "You don't have to say anything." She rolled back onto the bed and looked up at the ceiling.

He swallowed again. “But I… I do…”

She looked up at him, surprised. Maria smiled a little and tipped her head back and kissed his shoulder. "It's going to get late…"

He closed his eyes. “I know.” But he didn’t want to think about it. He just wanted to stay here with her. Here in her bed, where it was safe and the outside world was far, far away.

Maria wasn't going to really object to him not getting up and rushing out the door. She laid with him, holding onto him tightly. Silently praying that he was going to be safe, that he would come home to her. And that by some miracle, he would bring her father home too.

His eyes were getting heavier and heavier and they kept slipping shut. He’d either have to get up right now, or he would never. He sighed and glanced at the clock. Damn, it really was getting late. Why was he leaving again?

"Michael… you need to go. I don't want you to, but you need to." She pulled back from him and slowly sat up, pulling the sheet around herself.

“I know.” He felt like turning around and hiding under the blankets, but that was not really an option, was it? And just what was he thinking anyways? He had to go. Period. “I’ve gotta save your dad.” He nodded more to himself than her and sat up as well, passing his hands through his hair.

Tears stung her eyes. "Right." Her voice cracked and she stood up quickly. Maria held the sheet tight around her and shifted from one foot to another.

Michael swung his legs over the edge of the bed and reached for his pants, quickly pulling them on without looking at her. “I’m gonna miss you.”

She nodded a little. "I'm gonna miss you too." Maria's jaw trembled and she quickly started to get some clean clothes. This was it. He was leaving. He was really going to leave. What if he didn't come back? She felt a lump building up in her throat and did her best to try and swallow it down.

He glanced at her before getting up and pulling on his shirt. He felt like he would burst into tears any second now, but he couldn’t. He had held it in all this time, so he wouldn’t crumble now. He was leaving for war. Fighters didn’t cry. He passed his hands through his hair a few times till he had himself a little more under control. “I think I’m gonna go pack real quick.”

Maria nodded silently and busied herself with clothes in her closet as the tears began to fall. Quick. Quick escape. He was leaving. Really leaving.

He glanced at her again before he decided to leave the room as quick as possible. He strode to the door and tried to open it. “Dammit!” The handle wouldn’t budge and he was about to kick against it, when he remembered he had locked it the day before. He blushed and quickly unlocked it.

She glanced up quickly and bit her lip before bowing her head again. She felt like her heart was breaking into pieces.

Michael closed his eyes and gulped, before finally opening the door. “I’ll come back in to say…” He trailed off and looked at her before fleeing into the other room.

Maria let out a sob and grabbed some clothes and quickly yanked them on. She felt like she couldn't breathe, trying to calm her sobbing. She walked over to her bed and sunk down onto it and buried her face in the pillows.

After quickly throwing all of his clothes back in his bag, he made sure the picture of her was safe and wouldn’t get squished too much. Then he slung it over his shoulder and without another glance went back to her room. “Maria?” He saw her lying on the bed and itched to get over there and comfort her, but he couldn’t. He needed all of his strength for himself now, so he remained slightly leaned against the doorframe.

She sat up quickly and wiped at her face, trying to dry her tears. Maria looked at him and bit her lip. "Um…" What was she supposed to say? Was she supposed to go to him? Hug him? Tell him how much she loved him?

“I’m gonna…” He pointed behind himself. “Go.” He scratched his eyebrow. Damn, damn, damn!

Maria nodded, and then leapt off the bed and crossed the distance between them and threw her arms around him. "I love you so much Michael, I am going to miss you so much." She cried.

He dropped his bag and wrapped his arms around her tightly, burying his face in the crook of her neck. “Me too. Me too.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, inhaling her scent for the last time. “I’M gonna miss you so damn much.”

She clutched him tightly, breathing him in. She could barely contain her tears. Maria wanted to absorb herself in this moment. Never forget anything about him. "You should go…"

He nodded and swallowed the lump in his throat before pulling back to look at her. He cupped her cheeks with his hands and kissed her twice. Softly at first but then he gave her another, sweet lingering kiss.

Maria kissed him back and held onto his sides. She pulled back when she had to breathe and looked up at him. "Just come back to me. You have to."

“I will. I promise.” He nodded and mated their foreheads for a few seconds, looking into her eyes. He didn’t need to memorize them anymore, because she was already etched into his brain, but still… It was just so hard to let go. Eventually he pulled back after all and after placing a soft kiss onto her forehead, he turned around and slowly walked away.

She covered her mouth with her hand and watched him, staring at his retreating back. There was nothing she could do. Maria just really hoped that he did come back.

Michael clutched his bag and could resist turning around till he reached the staircase, then he just had to throw a last glance at her. And it broke his heart. He tried to give her an encouraging smile but quickly had to look away again, to hide his own tears. “I’ll be back,” he whispered and then walked down the staircase, through the living room and out the door, all in slow motion for him. It was like he couldn’t really feel his own body anymore and as soon as he was out of the house, his tears finally fell after all.

The front door closed and Maria leaned against the doorframe to her room and sobbed. What was she supposed to do now?

Michael wiped away his tears and shot one last glance at the house. He’d be back, no mater what. And if he… no. That wasn’t a possibility. He would be back. Because he… because he loved her. He closed his eyes and swallowed down fresh sobs. And that was why he had to find her father for her. He clenched his fists and continued on his way to join the forces and request to be sent out to help rescue Maria’s father.

Amy opened the door to her room groggily. Did she just hear a door close? What time was it? She had totally lost track after having taken a sleeping pill the previous night, because had been too freaked out and about to crawl up the walls. She sighed and rubbed her eyes, frowning when she heard muffled sobs. “Maria? Baby, are you okay?” She quickly walked over to the staircase to go check on her daughter.

"He left." Maria hurried down the stairs and threw her arms around her mother. "He left." She cried. "He went to find dad."

“Oh, I am so sorry.” Amy wrapped her arms tightly around her daughter, trying to comfort her. If she hadn’t taken that dreaded pill, maybe she could have caught Michael before, maybe she could have prevented him from leaving. She closed her eyes and gently rocked back and forth with Maria in her arms. “I’m sorry.”

"I knew he was going to leave… but oh god mom, I am so scared." What if none of them came back?

“I know, baby, I know.” She pulled back a little and stroked some hair out of her daughter’s face. She was scared too. Now there were three loved ones she had to worry about. No, with Maria it was four. What if none of them came back? How would Maria handle it? She bit her lip. “How about I make us some hot cocoa, huh? And then we sit down and talk.”

Maria nodded slightly. Here comes the talk now. "Okay." Maria whispered and took a deep breath, slowly beginning to calm down. She was worried. Terrified. Scared out of her mind.

Amy smiled, happy to notice that Maria had stopped crying. Maybe a little talk would help getting her mind off of the war furthermore. And they had to talk. Amy just hoped that she could stay a friend to her daughter and not lecture her like her own mother had done with her sixteen years ago. Of course it had already been to late back then. Now she just hoped that it wouldn’t be too late for Maria as well. Amy wrapped her arm around Maria’s shoulders and led her into the kitchen. “You can help me set the cups.”

********

She was upstairs, locked away safely in her room. Stretched out on her bed, the shirt she had gotten before Michael had left laying beside her. Maria had her head resting on it. She could still smell him on it, while she absently traced her fingers over the material.

Months had passed, and they hadn't received any word about any of them. She was still so scared. What if. What if they all died? What if Kivar held them all hostage? What if… what if… ? She tried not to think about it, but rather, just think about Michael, and about how he held her, and how he touched her, and how good he made her feel. But then, she always started to miss him, and ended up thinking about the 'what if's again.

Amy was in the living room doing laundry when suddenly there was a knock on the door. She froze, like every time there was a knock on the door ever since Jim went missing, always expecting it to be bad news. After calming herself the best she could, she went over and opened it, gasping loudly when she saw who was on the other end of it.

“Jim!” She threw her arms around him and held him tight for a moment, then she pulled back again and slapped his chest. “How could you do that to me?”

Maria heard the knock and held her breath. Then she heard her mother yell out her father's name. She leapt from the bed and ran all the way down the stairs, waiting to see some man from the army to inform them he was dead. But instead she saw her father. "Daddy!" Maria yelled and crossed the short distance to the door and threw her arms around him. He was alive, and safe, and home.

That meant Michael did what he said he would. Maria opened her eyes to look behind her father, to look for Michael, but he wasn't there.

Jim smiled, wrapping one arm around his daughter and holding Amy close with the other. He was so happy to be finally back home, but he dreaded telling them the news about Michael, especially since it was still so hard for him to understand. One minute this boy walks in and saves him, demonstrating a huge amount of those freakish mutant powers, then suddenly he is gone and instead there is Kyle leading him away. And before he had a chance to ask any questions, there is more commotion and he can see Michael getting hit by an energy blast and falling down on the ground. Jim looked at his women in worry. How was he ever going to tell them?

"Where is he? Where is he dad?" Maria asked, tears forming in her eyes again. She knew Michael got her dad out. But now she was scared. Something must have happened. Michael would have come back… he would have right?

Jim locked eyes with Amy, sending her a pleading look, hoping she would understand it.

“Let’s go inside and sit down, you must be tired from your travel.” Amy squeezed his hand, having a dreading vision of what might have happened to Michael. Poor Michael who rescued her husband! She bit her lip to keep from showing too much emotion too soon.

Jim nodded gratefully and closed the door behind himself, walking over to the couch and sitting down. From Kyle he had heard some about Michael and Maria, so he knew that this would break his daughters heart. “Maria…” He stopped. “Come sit down with me?”

"No… " She whispered. Something was wrong. Very wrong. "Tell me… tell me. He can't be dead." Maria shook her head but walked to the couch and sat down. He wasn't supposed to die. He was supposed to come back to her.

He flinched a little when she mentioned the word. “Maria… honey… you know in war…” He trailed off. No, this wasn’t the right way to tell her. “Michael… he came in and he rescued me… me and a few other soldiers. He really is a hero, you know?”

He was a hero. You were only a hero if you were dead. Maria started to sob. Tears rolled down her face and she buried it in her hands. "That means he's…"

“I’m sorry, Maria. He… he didn’t make it.” He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, trying to comfort her, at the same time looking at Amy again, hoping she would come to his aide. She was always so much better with this.

A broken sob left her through and she doubled over. It hurt so much hearing her father say it. Michael was gone. She'd only wanted him to come back. To come home to her, and now he wouldn't, and he never would.

Amy quickly rushed to Maria’s side and rubbed over her back soothingly. “I am so sorry, baby.” She owed Michael so much and now she could never repay him. Oh, that foolish boy! Why did he have to leave? He should have left it to trained soldiers to bust out her husband. Now he was… now he was dead. And he had only been so young! Just the same age as Kyle. “Oh my god, Kyle!” She clamped her hand over her mouth, looking at Jim in panic.

“He’s fine.” Jim shook his head. “He promised to stop by soon, but he met this… girl and he went to see her first.” She had freakish mutant powers as well. It was so weird. They really seemed to be popping up all around him now. Though he probably should stop calling them ‘freakish’, especially after they saved his life.

Maria just cried. She cried and cried. Michael was dead. But her dad and Kyle were alive. That was important, but she needed Michael. There was an empty ache in her chest from when he left, that just got a lot bigger now that he was really gone.

Amy continued to comfort her daughter but kept smiling at Jim, more and more happy that he was back. “Are we going to bury him here or with his dad?” She tried to keep her voice down, not wanting to upset Maria any further. But she also wanted to prepare the burial. She felt that she owed Michael this much.

“Uh, there is not going to be one.” Jim squirmed on the couch uncomfortably.

She lifted her head quickly. "There's no…" Then maybe he was still alive. She knew it was a false hope. But she couldn't help but feel it. She just wanted him back.

“They… I think they carried him away, but there have been rumors about bodies turning to dust.” He shrugged, finding that hard to believe. “But I saw him go down, Maria. After getting a blast straight to his chest. He couldn’t have… I’m sorry.” He didn’t want her to get false hopes up. She was too young to spend more time waiting for a miracle.

Maria cried softly and then threw her arms around her father again. He was home. For right now. She would have to focus on the fact that he was alive. And soon she could go back to her room, and clutch Michael's shirt, and just cry. Because he was gone, and now she was alone, and she was going to be alone forever.


The End.


*********


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