Endless Summer Nights

Category: M&M, AU
Rating: adult
Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own a thing!
Summary: This is in response to Vera’s (xgirl22’s) Hawaii challenge, the requirements of which can be found below. The title of this comes from an old Richard Marx song of the same name. I was going through some old CDs and as soon as I came across it, I just knew it was perfect.

Challenge Requirements:

Michael works in a hotel on Hawaii. It's up to you as what (cocky barkeeper, responsible lifeguard, shy Pool Boy... whatever you want). Maria is there on vacation, so she is a guest in his hotel.

On their first meeting they must bicker and bitch, because something the other does is just ticking them off. The second time they meet by chance because one of them is in an unusual place, trying to be alone because they're sad and depressed (for whatever reason you come up with). The other finds them and comforts.

That's it, the rest is all open. Oh, but I want one special scene included too: They're alone on a deserted beach (might just be by night) and kissing and making out in the sand while the water washes over their legs.

Rating I don't care, though... alright, it should be R at least (for the beach scene )


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Chapter One

Maria Deluca had been in Hawaii for a little over an hour and she had already fallen in love with the island. She had been in complete awe during the taxi ride from the airport to her hotel and after having checked into The White Sands Hotel, she was now admiring her beautifully decorated suite. As soon as she had tipped the bellboy and he had left, she had walked straight over to the glass doors leading to the balcony and opened them. Stepping out onto it, she gasped at the exquisite view of the beach which was practically just a stone’s throw away. It was easy to see how the owners of the hotel had come up with the name of it.

A light breeze was blowing and she breathed in the fresh sea air. It was so different from the dry, often oppressive heat back home in Roswell and she knew that she was going to thoroughly enjoy her three week stay in Hawaii.

Even though the breeze was invigorating, Maria felt tired from her journey. It had been an early start that day and even though it wasn’t particularly late now, she felt like taking a nap. When she had entered the bathroom she had immediately wanted to take a bath in the large, sunken tub but she knew that it was more than likely she would fall asleep in it so she settled for a quick shower. The shower she had in her apartment was reasonably sized but compared to the one here, it was tiny.

Once she had dried off after her shower and moisturised her skin, she slid between the fresh Egyptian cotton sheets. They felt so soft against her skin that she couldn’t help sighing with satisfaction. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she was out like a light.


The ringing of her cell phone woke Maria from her sleep and glancing at the clock on the nightstand, she jumped out of bed. Quickly, she walked over to the vanity table and grabbed her phone and answered it after checking the caller ID.

“Hi Mom.”

“Hi honey, I’m just calling to make sure you arrived safely. I thought you might have called me wh...”

“I’m sorry,” she interrupted. “I meant to call but I think everything just caught up with me because I pretty much fell asleep as soon as I’d entered my room.”

“That’s okay. Did you have a good sleep?”

“Uh huh. In fact it was my cell phone ringing that woke me up. A good thing too seeing as it probably won’t be long before they finish serving dinner.”

“Well I’ll let you go then. Have a fabulous time and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Call me if you need anything.”

“Thanks Mom...for everything. I think this time away is really going to help.”

On the other end of the phone, the older woman smiled. “Good, I’m glad. And there’s no need to thank me, honey. I’m happy I was able to do this for you.”

The two women said their goodbyes and after she had hung up, Maria quickly opened one of her suitcases and selected a blue and white summer dress and a pair of white strappy sandals. As she dressed, she made a mental note to unpack her cases as soon as she returned to her room after dinner.

Once she was dressed, she applied some make up and brushed her hair up into a high ponytail. Grabbing her purse and making sure she had her room key, she left her room and made her way downstairs to the restaurant she had booked herself into when she had first checked in. She had missed her reservation but she hoped that they would still be able to seat her.

Checking her watch as she rode in the elevator, she saw that there was just under an hour left before the restaurant closed and as soon as the doors opened, she rushed out and headed for the doors leading into the restaurant and promptly collided with someone...a waiter...carrying plates of food.

The waiter managed to keep his balance but unfortunately the plates he was carrying left his hands and the food flew into the air and landed on Maria. She hadn’t been as fortunate to stay on her feet and had landed on her behind and so she was sitting sprawled on the floor with a combination of chocolate cake and cherry cheesecake smeared all over her dress. Some of the sticky concoctions had even landed in her hair.

The waiter; a tall, dark haired young man, immediately placed the plates he was still carrying onto a nearby table and then went over to help the young woman.

“I’m so sorry. Here, let me help you up,” he said offering her a hand.

“Don’t you dare touch me. I think you’ve done enough, don’t you?” Maria said as she scrambled to her feet. She could feel the eyes of the restaurant’s remaining patrons staring at her and she felt her cheeks heat up with embarrassment.

“Excuse me? You were the one who came in here running. It’s not my fault you collided with me.”

“I beg your pardon! I doubt very much that your employers would like to hear the way you speak to their guests. Look at me! I’m covered in food and my new dress is ruined.”

The waiter looked her up and down and he couldn’t help smirking at the sight of this petite blonde covered in chocolate. There was a small splodge of it on her cheek and he had a sudden urge to lick it off.

Maria stared at him incredulously. “Are you laughing at me?” The blood in her veins was boiling and she felt like hitting him to wipe that stupid smirk off his face.

Coughing to clear his throat, he shook his head. “No, I’m not. Look, if you give me your room number, I’ll make sure someone comes by later and picks up your dress and we’ll have it dry cleaned for you.”

“Well, I think that’s the least you can do. Seeing as I’m going to miss having something to eat tonight in the restaurant, is there any chance I can order a sandwich or something?”

“Sure, I’ll arrange that for you too. What’s your name and what room are you staying in?”

“It’s Deluca and I’m in room three forty-five.”

Noting the information on his pad, he nodded. “Okay, is there anything specific you’d like or do you want to take a seat and look at a menu?”

“Yeah, right. I’m going to take a seat while I’m covered in this and have everyone looking at me. I don’t think so, pally. I’ll just have a tuna and mayo sandwich on wholegrain bread and a bottle of water.”

He bit his lip to keep from laughing and concentrated on writing down her request. “Fine, someone will be up shortly with your order and I’ll organise the collection of your dress.”

“Good. Oh, and I should warn you that I will be making a complaint about what’s happened.”

“You do that,” he told her before turning and walking away.

Maria watched open-mouthed as he went over to one of the tables and chatted with the family seated there. They were obviously the ones he had been delivering the desserts to and when they turned back to look at her, she quickly fled the restaurant and headed back to her room. Thankfully, the elevator car was empty and so was the corridor leading back to her room.

As soon as she was back in the safety of her room, she stripped off the dress and placed it on a hanger ready for someone to pick it up. Looking at herself in the mirror, she saw the chocolate on her face and in her hair and she felt like crying. What a great start to her vacation! She just hoped it wasn’t a sign of things to come.


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Chapter Two

After she had calmed down, Maria had taken another shower and washed her hair. While room service had delivered the food she had ordered, she had given up hope of anyone coming to collect her ruined dress. However, as if someone had read her mind, a hotel employee had then knocked on her door and explained she had been sent to collect the garment. It wasn’t surprising to see that the clumsy oaf who had knocked her over hadn’t the guts to come up and do it himself. Chicken, she thought smirking to herself.

As she settled into bed, she decided to put today behind her and start her vacation properly the next day. If she never saw that annoying waiter again it would be too soon.


The next day Maria was up bright and early and when she went down to the restaurant for breakfast, she was relieved to see that the guy from last night didn’t appear to be working. That was definitely a good sign.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, she decided to go to the beach and soak up some sun. Returning to her room, she packed her beach bag with a towel, suntan lotion, sunglasses and one of the paperback books she had bought especially for her vacation. She was already wearing her bikini under the shorts and tank top she had put on that morning so she was ready to go.

The beach wasn’t too crowded when Maria got there and so she picked what she considered to be the best spot. After slipping off her shorts and top, she smoothed suntan lotion into her skin and smiled as she took in the view. The brilliantly clear blue water was sparkling under the sun’s rays and her smile grew a little bit wider when she noticed a couple of cute surfers walking past checking her out.

Grabbing her book from her bag, she flipped onto her front and started reading. Becoming engrossed in the book, she realised that she had made a big mistake in choosing it. As the story unfolded, she found it was too similar to what she was trying to escape from and a few minutes later she closed the book and dropped it back into her bag.

Wanting to distract herself from the thoughts that had suddenly popped into her head and also as the heat from the sun seemed to be getting stronger, Maria decided to cool off with a swim. Dipping her toes into the warm water of the ocean, she walked out further until it reached her waist. The water was refreshing on her sun kissed skin and she raised her knees so she was floating and then maneuvered herself so she was lying on her back staring up at the cloudless sky.

Closing her eyes, she moved her arms back and forth through the water moving herself gently along. Thoughts of what had happened back home once again entered her mind and she realised that just because she had managed to get away for a few weeks, it didn’t mean that she wouldn’t be plagued with memories of what had occurred.

Suddenly her hand brushed against something solid and, in her haste to get back on her feet, she lost her footing and went under water. Coming up spluttering and gasping for air, she felt someone place their hands around her waist to help steady her.

Once she was standing, the person released her and Maria leaned back in order to wet her hair and slick it back off her face. Using the knuckle of each of her thumbs, she squeezed out the water which had gotten into her eyes. Finally opening her eyes, she couldn’t help the gasp that left her lips when she saw who it was that she had brushed against in the water and who had helped her back to her feet.

“You!? I don’t believe it. Wait a minute, what am I saying. Of course, it would be you who bumped into me...again.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me? You bumped into me again, honey.”

“Oh no, don’t you ‘honey’ me, pally. And to think I managed to avoid you at breakfast this morning. Let me guess, you got fired without me having a chance to make a complaint?”

Michael smirked at her. “Nope. Sorry to spoil your fun, but I didn’t. And for your information I’m not a waiter.”

“Really? I would never have guessed.”

He couldn’t help laughing at the situation. Here they were, in the sea arguing about something so trivial. Looking at her, it wasn’t hard to see that she was struggling not to do the same and a couple of seconds later a giggle escaped her lips.

“Look, if I apologise for bumping into you last night, could we maybe start again?” He asked.

Maria looked into his eyes and taking the expression on his face to be genuine, she nodded her agreement. “Okay.” As she watched him, she seemed to realise for the first time just how gorgeous he was and she felt herself blushing. Hopefully, he would think it was as a result of the hot sunshine.

“Okay then, I’m sorry for bumping into you last night. I should have been more careful.”

“Thanks and I’m sorry too. I’d taken a nap before dinner and overslept and missed my dinner reservation. That’s why I was rushing into the dining room when we collided,” she explained.

“So, what’s your name? I mean, your first name.”

“It’s Maria.”

“You arrived here yesterday, right?”

“Yeah.” Maria could feel the blush getting stronger as he gazed at her intently and she lowered her gaze. Her eyes rested on his smooth chest and her throat suddenly felt very dry. “Uh, I think I’m gonna go and get a drink.”

“Sure. I think I’ll stay in the water a bit longer, get some more swimming done before I start work.”

Nodding at him, she smiled and started walking back towards the shore. She had only taken a few steps when she turned and saw him watching her. “I guess I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, I guess you will.”

Turning back, she continued walking back to the shore feeling his eyes watching her all the way.


*********


Michael couldn’t take his eyes off her form as he watched her walk away from him and he was glad he had taken the higher ground and apologised to her. Having an actual polite conversation was so worth it, although that wasn’t to say he didn’t like seeing her all fired up. He could tell she was a passionate person and he couldn’t help hoping that he’d get to see more evidence of that.

When he had first entered the water, he hadn’t seen her but as he had walked further out, he saw her floating on her back and he’d recognised her straight away from the previous night. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her as she lay there with her eyes closed. The blue and white bikini she wore really showed off her curves and he’d got an even better view when she had stood up after brushing against him.

He swam for another ten minutes or so before he decided to get out and make his way back to the hotel to start getting ready for work. Smiling to himself, he wondered if he would already have started his reception desk duty before Maria returned to the hotel and wanted her room key. He hoped he would as he wanted to see the look on her face when she saw him there. It wasn’t his fault she had assumed he was a waiter in the hotel restaurant. He had a feeling the next few weeks would be pretty interesting with Ms Deluca around.


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Chapter Three

Maria returned to the hotel in time for lunch. While she had been sunbathing, she decided that she would do a little bit of exploring in the afternoon instead of just going back to the beach. Going up to the reception desk, she waited patiently while the young woman finished dealing with another guest.

“Good afternoon, can I help you?” The receptionist whose name tag read ‘Isabel’ asked.

“I’d just like to collect my room key. I’m Maria Deluca in room three forty-five.”

“Certainly, Ms Deluca.” Isabel retrieved the key and handed it to the blonde.

“Thank you,” Maria said, smiling at the receptionist. She had taken a few steps away from the desk when she remembered something and turned back, asking her, “I just wondered when I might expect my dress to be returned? One of your employees collected it last night after I had a...uh...slight accident in the restaurant.”

Isabel schooled her features not wanting to let on that she knew all about what had happened. “Oh, let me check for you.” Opening a door behind her, she disappeared for a few moments before returning. “Apparently, you need to speak to my superior about that.”

Maria stared at the woman open-mouthed. “Really? Uh, it wasn’t a big deal and I’ve actually spoken to the waiter I bumped into and we’ve both apologised. There’s no need to take this further.”

Isabel bit her lip to keep from smiling. “I really don’t know much about the incident, Ms Deluca, and I’m merely informing you of what I’ve been told. If it’s okay with you, he’d like to drop by your room this evening around seven o’clock.”

“Sure, I guess that’ll be okay.”

“I’ll be sure to tell Mr Guerin that. I think he just wants to make sure your enjoyment at the hotel wasn’t spoiled in any way.”

Maria nodded at her. “Okay.” As she walked over to the elevator bank to make her way back to her room, she wished that she had never mentioned her dress to the receptionist. Damn, she hoped she hadn’t gotten Michael into any trouble.


*********


After she had freshened up, Maria had taken a long walk around the hotel gardens and, as she did so, she kept an eye open for Michael hoping she might be able to give him a heads up. She couldn’t help feeling guilty about her meeting later that evening with the hotel manager and she figured all she could do was to take as much of the blame as possible to ensure that she didn’t get him into any trouble. God, this vacation was really off to a good start, she thought sarcastically.

Unfortunately, she didn’t see him on her walk and going back to her room, she patiently waited for the manager to arrive. There was a knock at her door and checking her watch, she saw that it was just after half past six. Maybe he had decided to come by early.

Getting up from her seat, she went and opened the door and was surprised to see a bellboy standing there.

“Ms Deluca? I have a package for you,” the young man told her. In his hands he carried a fairly large, flat white box which had a lilac ribbon tied around it.

“You, uh, can put it over there,” she said opening the door wider and gesturing for him to place it on the low table situated in front of the sofa.

After tipping him, she closed the door and then slowly walked back over to where the box lay. Her fingers trailed over its smooth surface as she wondered what could be inside it and who had sent it to her. Curiosity got the better of her and a split-second later she untied the ribbon and lifted the lid off the box. Removing the top layer of tissue paper, she gasped at what she saw inside.

Maria blinked a few times before picking up the beautiful dark red, silk dress by its spaghetti thin straps. She held it up against herself and saw that it hit her just above the knee. She didn’t have to look at the label to know it was a designer dress and probably cost a fortune. Gently placing the dress on the sofa, she looked inside the box for a note to indicate who it was from but there wasn’t anything inside. Her eyes kept wandering back to the dress and she really wanted to go and try it on but there wouldn’t be enough time before this Mr Guerin was supposed to be arriving. Oh well, she’d try it on after he had gone.

Just as she was packing up the box to carry it into her bedroom, there was another knock on the door and leaving the box and the dress where they were, she went over and opened it. She was more than a little surprised to see who was standing in front of her.

“Michael? Uh, hi. What are you doing here?”

“You weren’t expecting me? But I thought Isabel, one of our receptionists, told you I’d be coming by to see you?” He knew that wasn’t the case as he’d deliberately told his sister not to reveal his first name.

“Huh? You mean you’re her superior? But...but you’re a waiter.”

“Nope. I told you at the beach this morning that I wasn’t a waiter.”

“Oh wait, is this where you tell me you’re a ‘food service operative’ or some other weird title that really means waiter?”

Michael burst out laughing at that. “No,” he replied when he’d calmed down. “Look, can I come in? I think we should talk.”

“I...I don’t know. I have no idea who you are.”

“Please, Maria. Look, my name’s Michael Guerin and my family owns this hotel and several others. You’re welcome to call down to the front desk and ask them to verify who I am.”

Maria wasn’t sure what to do but after a moment or two had passed, she decided to take him at his word and she allowed him to enter her suite.

Releasing a quiet sigh of relief, Michael entered the room and smiled when he saw the box and the dress peeking out of it. “I see you received my gift.”

She looked up at him sharply. “You sent that to me? But why?”

“Because I spoiled your other dress. I wanted to say sorry and to replace it so when I saw that one in the hotel boutique, I bought it for you. Is it okay?” He asked almost shyly.

“It’s beautiful Michael, but you really didn’t have to do that. This must have cost three times the price I paid for my dress.”

“Don’t worry about it. It was the least I could do for spoiling your first night here.”

“Thank you,” she told him. “Um, would you like to sit down?”

He nodded and then took a seat on the sofa. “So, I guess I’ve got a bit of explaining to do, huh?” The soft tones of her laugh made him smile.

“Yeah, you do. If your family owns this hotel, how come you were working as a waiter the night we met?”

“I guess you could say I like to have an active role in the running of the hotel. My parents own several hotels but this one belongs to me and my sister, Isabel. When we graduated from college they gave it to us as a gift.”

“Wow, generous parents.” She said teasingly and was happy to see him grin in response.

“You’re not wrong. I always helped out when I was younger and I learnt the trade from work experience. At college I did a degree in travel, tourism and business management and it was always a given that I’d follow in the family business.”

“So the woman I spoke to today at the front desk is your sister? I’m guessing she knew more than she let on when I was asking her about my dress.”

He hesitantly nodded. “Uh, yeah. We weren’t laughing at you or anything and it’s not something the entire staff know about so please don’t think that.”

Maria looked into his eyes and believed he was being honest. Maybe she was being too trusting of someone she didn’t know, but her gut instinct told her to give him the benefit of the doubt. “Okay.”

“Have you eaten yet?” He asked, hoping her answer was no.

Shaking her head, she replied, “No, I haven’t. Why?”

“Well, I was...er...wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me. There’s this great restaurant not far from here that I’m sure you’d like. It would be a great opportunity for you to wear your new dress,” he said with a half-smirk.

She bit her lip as she thought about it. “I don’t know...”

“Please,” he quickly interrupted. “It’s just dinner.”

The hopeful look he gave her won her over and she found herself agreeing. “Sure, why not. Do I have time to get changed?”

“Yeah, I’ll come back and pick you up in about fifteen minutes if that’s okay? The reservation is for eight o’clock.”

As she heard him say the words a thought occurred to her and she frowned. “Wait, how did you know I’d agree to go out with you?”

“I didn’t,” he said trying to reassure her. “While you get ready, I’ll go downstairs and make the reservation. They know me pretty well there and always manage to squeeze me in.”

Maria’s frown didn’t disappear. “So, this is a regular thing? Picking up women you meet in your line of work and taking them out, huh? Well, I’m sorry but I’m not going to be another notch on your bedpost.”

“No Maria, it’s not like that. This isn’t something I do at all let alone regularly. What I should have said is that the management knows my family and they’re grateful for the guests we send their way. That’s why they always do their best to seat me or anyone from my family. I know you don’t know me and you have no reason to believe what I’m saying but...”

“Maybe I’ll end up regretting it later but I do believe you,” she told him giving him a soft smile.

Michael breathed a sigh of relief at her words. “Thank you.” He coughed to clear his throat and added, “I’ll pick you up in about fifteen minutes, okay?”

“Okay,” she said as she got up from the couch and walked over to the door, opening it for him.

He had just stepped out of the suite when he turned back to face her. “Oh, and don’t worry Maria, you won’t regret it. I’ll make sure of that.” Giving her a wink, he turned and walked away leaving her staring after him open-mouthed.


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Chapter Four

Maria was standing in front of the full length mirror in the bedroom staring at her reflection. She had thought the dress Michael had given her was beautiful the moment she saw it but she couldn’t believe the way it looked on her. It molded to her curves without being too revealing and showed just the right amount of lightly tanned skin, which thankfully the deep red colour complimented perfectly.

Not having much time to get changed, she pulled her hair up into a simple twist securing it with ruby coloured dragonfly clips before applying her make up. As she slipped on her red, high heeled sandals, she was grateful that she had thought to bring a selection of colours when selecting her footwear for her vacation. You could never have too many shoes.

Just as she was spritzing herself with her favourite perfume, there was a knock at the door and she unconsciously took a deep breath before walking over to open it.

On the other side of the door, Michael couldn’t believe how nervous he felt. He discreetly wiped his palms on the pants of his suit as he waited for Maria to open the door. When she did, he couldn’t help the gasp that escaped his lips when he saw her standing before him. The dress he had bought her looked incredible on her body, although he already knew it would.

Maria could feel herself blushing as his eyes looked her up and down and she shifted on her feet. “Would you like to come in?” She asked trying to keep her voice light.

He nodded, not trusting his voice at that exact moment. The last thing he wanted was to come over all hot and heavy.

Taking a step back, she opened the door wider so he could walk through and as he passed her, they shared a look. She busied herself by taking a moment to close the door and when she turned around, neither of them knew what to say and they both stood there awkwardly.

“So, I guess we should get going if we’re going to make that reservation?” Maria finally said breaking the silence.

“Yeah, we should.”

“Okay, let me just grab my purse and my wrap and we can go,” she said before quickly making her way back to her bedroom to retrieve them. A moment later she was back and they then left the suite.

When Michael led her to his convertible, he placed his hand on the small of her back and he felt her shiver at his touch. His lips curled up in a half smile at that. The first moment he set eyes on her he knew he was attracted to her and now he knew she felt something too.

During the short drive to the restaurant they mainly talked about how she was enjoying the island so far. Every now and then he would turn his head to glance at her as she spoke and he enjoyed the animated look on her face. She just seemed to have this glow about her and he found it irresistible.

Maria could feel his eyes on her as she talked and she was glad that the darkness that was descending was offering her some semblance of cover as her cheeks flushed. As she finished speaking, she turned her face to the side and looked at the passing scenery. The last thing she had been expecting to do on this vacation was go on a date. But then again, Michael was definitely taking her mind off events back home which more than made up for her rash behaviour.

“We’re here,” Michael announced as he pulled into a parking space and then turned off the ignition. Getting out of the car, he walked around to open Maria’s door for her and offering her his hand, he helped her step out of the car. Once he had locked the car, he hesitated for a moment before making up his mind and taking her hand back in his and leading her towards the restaurant.

Delicious tingles were running up and down Maria’s arm at his touch and butterflies were fluttering in her stomach. It had been such a long time since she had felt anything remotely similar to this and while a part of her was frightened, a bigger part of her was excited.

“So, uh, what type of food do they do here?” She asked as she tried to calm her racing heart.

“Anything and everything. What I mean is they don’t really specialise in any one thing.”

“Well I’m starving so I can’t wait to see what’s on the menu,” she said with a smile.

Opening the door to the restaurant, he let her enter first before following her inside.

Michael was greeted warmly by the maitre d’ as well as a few other members of staff and he and Maria were seated very quickly. Their table was situated in a quiet alcove set a little bit away from the restaurant’s other patrons which made it more romantic, something Maria was only too well aware of as she looked at her menu.

“So, what do you think?” He asked after a few moments had passed. The way she was staring at her menu was starting to make him nervous.

Taking a deep breath, she looked up and met his intense gaze. “Why did you bring me here? Am I just one in a long line?”

“No, you’re not. I meant what I said to you earlier, Maria. I don’t do this at all. I know we didn’t meet in the best circumstances and so I didn’t make the best first impression, but I’m not a bad guy. I promise.” As the words left his mouth, he made sure he maintained good eye contact in the hope that she would believe what he was telling her. He really didn’t know what it was about her but he just knew he didn’t want her thinking badly of him without at least giving him a chance to prove otherwise.

Maria couldn’t seem to take her eyes off his face and she decided at that moment to give him the benefit of the doubt. She reminded herself that it wasn’t his fault she had all of these insecurities when it came to men and it wasn’t fair to paint him with the same brush.

“What are you smiling at?” Michael asked curiously when he saw the corners of her lips curl.

“Nothing. Look, I’m sorry I’m so cynical with you. It really isn’t fair to take things out on you when you’ve been nothing but nice, well except for the actual crashing into each other part. Landing on my ass in a crowded restaurant and then having a fight with you, not so nice.” She teased and was glad when he chuckled.

“Did someone do a number on you?”

Maria looked back down at her menu before once again meeting his eyes. “Yeah, you could say that.”

When she didn’t say anything further, he said, “Do you want to talk about it? I’ve been told I’m a good listener.”

“Uh, I’m sure you are but if I want to enjoy myself tonight, then it would be better for me to leave that topic for another day. Is that okay?”

“That’s absolutely fine. I don’t want to push you into talking about anything you’re not comfortable with. So, how about we order dinner and then we can talk about non-personal stuff?”

The smile he gave her made her toes curl and she felt a flicker of something she hadn’t felt for a long time. Biting her lip, she nodded her consent and went back to looking at her menu. “This all looks good, is there anything in particular you would recommend?”

For the next few minutes Michael pointed out things on the menu that he had already tried and enjoyed before signaling for a waiter to come over and take their orders when Maria had made her choices. They didn’t have too long to wait for their food and soon they were chatting like old friends as they ate the delicious food.

As she spooned the last portion of her triple berry cheesecake into her mouth, Maria sighed. “Ohmigod. I always thought the cheesecake they served in the Crashdown was the best but this is so beyond that.”

“The Crashdown?”

She gave him a smile. “Yeah, it’s this alien-themed café back home in Roswell. My best friend’s parents own it and I worked there as a teenager.”

“I’ll bet you had a cute uniform to wear. Am I right?”

The faint blush on her cheeks gave her away and his smile grew. “Maybe,” she told him. Seeing his eyebrows raised in curiosity, she decided to spill. “Fine, it was a short dress with an alien head apron over it and we had to wear these headbands which had antennae sticking out of the top. Satisfied?”

“More than. Any chance you’ve got some photos of you wearing it ‘cos I’d love to see them.”

“Oh, you have to do more than take me out to dinner to see those,” she teased without realising just what she had said.

Michael had been in the process of taking a drink of his wine when she had said that and he choked on it at hearing her words. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Oh no, I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”

He shook his head as he laughed. “Don’t worry, I know what you meant. It just surprised me to hear you say that. So, uh, do you want to order some coffee here or we could go for a walk?”

“A walk sounds nice. Plus it’ll help burn off some calories,” she joked while silently adding, ‘And hopefully the breeze outside will help cool me down.’

“That’s certainly not something you need to worry about,” he told her as his eyes took in her slender form.

The blush deepened and after taking a sip of water, she said, “Thank you.”

Looking into her eyes, he gave her a genuine smile before gesturing for their waiter and requesting the check. After it had been settled, he stood up from his seat and went around the table to help Maria up from hers. Once again that evening, he took her small hand in his and led her out of the restaurant, saying goodbye to the staff as he did so.

Once outside he asked her, “Are you warm enough? I can give you jacket if you’re feeling cold.”

“I’m fine, thanks Michael. So, where are we headed?”

“Well seeing as we have to come and pick up the car, we could just walk around here and take in the sights.”

“Okay.”

As they walked through the town, Maria took note of the shops and saw a couple of places where she could buy some nice gifts for her family and friends.

“You’re really lucky to live here, you know that?”

Michael nodded. “Yeah, I am.”

“Would you ever leave?”

“It depends.”

“On what?” She asked curiously.

“How strong the reasons for leaving would be.”

Maria wanted to ask him what reasons he could see himself leaving the beautiful island for but she felt that it wasn’t any of her business so she left it.

“This place is so different to where I’m from. Don’t get me wrong, I love Roswell. It’s my home and I’ve lived there my whole life but...”

“But?”

“But I don’t know if I can see myself leaving it despite what happened.”

Michael stopped walked and turned to look at her. “What did happen? Whatever you tell me will just be between us.”

Realising what she had said, she could feel the tears prickling behind her eyelids but she refused to let them fall. She didn’t want Michael thinking she was some weak girl who cried at the drop of the hat, not when that wasn’t her at all. Shaking her head, she replied, “I know it would but I-I can’t talk about it...not yet. I’m sorry.”

Instinctively, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and hugged her to him. “It’s okay. I’m the one who’s sorry, I shouldn’t have pushed. You don’t know me and...”

She looked up at him and gave him a soft smile. “That’s not it. I know we didn’t get off to the best start but I feel that I could talk to you...about anything. I just can’t talk about this yet with anyone. Only my Mom really knows what happened. She’s the one who sent me here, to give me some space from the mess back home.”

“I’m glad you feel like that about me, Maria. I feel the same with you. Just know that if and when you feel like talking, I’ll be here okay?”

Giving him a nod, she stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, Michael.”

He felt an urge to cover her lips with his own but he felt that it was too soon and that now wasn’t the right time. Not when she was obviously upset about whatever it was that had happened to her. Giving her shoulders a light squeeze, he said, “Come on, let’s get you back to the hotel.”

They made the walk back to the car in a comfortable silence and before they knew it, they were back at the hotel. He insisted on walking her up to her hotel room and now they were standing outside of her door.

“I had a really lovely time tonight,” she told him.

“I did too. Thanks for agreeing to come out with me.”

“You’re welcome.” Removing the key card from her purse, she inserted it into the door and opened it.

“Can I see you tomorrow?” He suddenly asked.

“I, uh, don’t you have to work?”

“Only for a few hours in the morning. I could pick you up at lunchtime and we could do something. There’s this great park I know you’d like and I could arrange for the kitchen to pack us a picnic lunch. If you want to that is.”

As she watched him, she realised that she really wanted to spend more time with him. “That sounds really nice. Are you sure it’s not putting you to any trouble?”

“No trouble at all. Is one o’clock okay for you?”

“Sure. Where should I meet you?”

“I’ll come up and get you,” he told her.

She nodded her agreement. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

Giving her another smile, he said, “Yeah, you will. Sweet dreams, Maria.” He turned to walk away but feeling her hand on his arm had him turning back to look at her.

Without thinking, Maria moved forward and placed a soft kiss onto his lips. “You too, Michael,” she said before going into her room and closing the door behind her. Leaning against the solid wood, she sighed. She hadn’t intended to kiss him but she knew that if she hadn’t done it, then he wouldn’t have either. A part of her was sure he had wanted to do it as much as she had. Oh well, it looked like things tomorrow would be even more interesting, she thought to herself as she walked towards her bedroom.


*********


On the other side of the door, Michael was still standing there. He hadn’t been expecting her to kiss him but hell, he wasn’t complaining. Even though it was brief, it had felt great and he now knew for sure that whatever he was feeling, he wasn’t alone. Maria obviously felt the attraction too otherwise she wouldn’t have kissed him. As he walked towards the elevators, the grin on his face became wider. He had a feeling he’d definitely be having sweet dreams tonight.


*********


Chapter Five

The picnic the following day had been another success. As Michael had predicted, Maria had loved the park he had taken her to and he had enjoyed seeing the happy expression on her face. They had eaten the delicious lunch the hotel kitchen had prepared for them before taking a long, leisurely walk around the beautiful tropically flowered gardens.

They once again chatted about this and that, steering clear of anything too personal. The other thing that wasn't mentioned was the kiss from the previous night. Michael kept hoping that Maria would bring it up while she was hoping for the same from him.

Maria couldn't help feeling nervous about how much she was enjoying his company. She needed to keep in mind that she was only on vacation and that she would be returning home in a couple of weeks time. It wasn't fair to either of them for this to become more than just friendly companionship. So, the next time he invited her out she had politely turned him down saying that she needed to spend some time alone to think. She knew it was a flimsy excuse but it was actually true. The whole purpose of getting out of Roswell was to think things through and decide what she wanted to do when she returned.

A couple of days had passed since she had last seen Michael and it felt a little strange admitting to herself that she was already missing him. She hardly knew him but she had gotten used to seeing him around the hotel but since she had turned him down the other day, she had yet to see him working on the front desk or helping out in the restaurant like he often did. A part of her felt like he was maybe avoiding her but she couldn't be sure. Maybe he was just really busy in his office or something. When she had seen Isabel on the desk that morning she had been tempted to ask her about her brother but she had managed to refrain from doing so.

Looking at her watch, Maria saw that it was a little after seven. Walking over to the large glass doors, she opened them and stepped out onto the balcony. The air was cool on her skin and it felt nice. As she looked around she felt like taking a walk on the beach and so slipping on her sandals and grabbing a light sweater, she left her room remembering to pick up her key before she went.

When she reached the main entrance, she couldn't help glancing over at the front desk to see if Michael was there. He wasn't. Making her way out of the hotel she soon hit the sand and slipping off her sandals, she carried them in her hand. Other people had obviously had the same idea as her although most of the people she saw walking along were couples and she felt a dull ache in her chest. It wasn't fair. What had she done to deserve what that asshole had put her through? Was she that unlovable that he could just throw her aside like that without so much as a second thought?

As she walked along deep in thought, she didn't see Michael just up ahead of her walking in her direction. He had started to smile the moment he had spotted her but as he neared her, he could clearly see the tears glistening on her cheeks.

“Maria? Are you okay?”

Hearing Michael's voice brought her out of her reverie and she looked up at him. The look of concern he wore told her what she already knew: that she could trust him and so, without answering him verbally, she took a step closer to him and wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly.

Michael didn't know what to do or say so instead he wrapped his arms around her and just held her. He could feel her body shaking and he knew she was trying to contain her sobs. One of his hands rubbed up and down her back trying to give her both comfort and warmth.

“It's okay to cry, Maria. And you don't have to tell me what's wrong, not if you don't want to.”

Drawing back slightly, she looked up at him and said, “I-I want to tell you, but I can't tonight.”

“That's okay. Whenever you feel up to it I'll be here.”

“Thank you.”

He smiled and using his thumbs, he wiped away her tears. “You don't have to thank me. Do you want me to walk you back to your room?”

“Not yet. Could we just carry on walking?”

“Sure,” he replied. Taking her shoes out of her hand, he carried them for her while his free hand wrapped around her shoulders and together they continued walking up the beach.

*********


“C'mon Maria, what's keeping you?” Michael teased as he sat on the couch in her suite.

“I'll be right there,” she called out from her bedroom.

He couldn't help smirking. If she was anything like his sister, then he'd be waiting at least another half hour before she was ready.

After he had walked her back to the hotel the previous night, Michael had suggested they spend the following day together. There was a place he often went to when he felt the need to escape people and he thought it might help her to go there. He also hoped that being somewhere a little more private might help her to reveal to him what had made her run from Roswell.

Michael was brought out of his thoughts when her cell phone, which was on the low table in front of him, started ringing. “Your phone's ringing,” he called out.

“Could you answer it for me, please?”

“Sure,” he replied as he picked the phone up and pressed the button to answer the call. “Hello, Maria's phone.”

“Uh, where is she and who are you?” A hostile male voice on the other end of the line asked.

“Maria's getting ready. If you tell me who's calling I'll go and get her.”

“Never mind that, answer my question. Who are you?”

“I'm Michael, now who are you?” Whoever was on the other end was starting to annoy him.

“I'm Billy, Maria's fiancé. So why don't you run along and get her so that I can speak to her and find out what the fuck's going on.”

Michael's reply stuck in his throat and he disconnected the call without thinking. Getting up from his seat, he placed the phone back on the table and walked to the door. Even though he knew just leaving was wrong, he needed to get out of there. The last thing he wanted was to hear Maria tell him all about her fiancé. With a final look behind him, he quietly opened the door and left.

In her room, Maria was giving herself a final look in the mirror. She had pulled her hair up into a high ponytail and underneath her denim skirt and light blue tank top, she was wearing her new emerald green bikini. She was determined to have a good time today and not let herself get all depressed over things that were in the past. They could be dealt with when she returned home.

Exiting her room, she entered the lounge area and frowned when she didn't see Michael. Calling out to him, all she received in return was silence. Her phone rang again and picking it up she saw a familiar name flash up on the caller ID. Suddenly, she knew only too well what had probably happened and switching off her phone, she grabbed the bag she had packed earlier and left her suite. As she made her way down to the hotel lobby, she wished she had told Michael the truth last night about why she was in Hawaii because she was sure that things weren't going to be easy to explain to him now.

*********


After he left the hotel, Michael wandered around the gardens for a bit before ending up in a quiet section of the beach. There was a little spot just behind some rocks that he often came to when he needed a break and right now, it was just what he needed.

Despite knowing it was stupid to feel this way when he had only known Maria for a few days, he couldn't help it. There was just something about her that had him smiling every time he saw her. He was obviously attracted to her looks but he could already tell she was a good person and he wanted to get to know her better. The fact she would be leaving in a couple of weeks time didn't factor into it for him.

Running his hands through his hair, he sighed loudly. Why hadn't she told him she had a fiancé back home? He couldn't help feeling confused as to why she was vacationing alone, especially in a place like Hawaii which tended to attract couples. Another thing that baffled him was why she had kissed him that night. Okay, it was probably just a thank you kiss but still… For him, it hadn't felt like that. Even though it was only brief, the kiss seemed to hold promise of things to come.

He kicked a patch of sand in frustration. What the hell was wrong with him? He hardly knew her and they'd only been out to dinner once and here he was getting all bent out of shape over her. Looking out to sea and taking a deep breath, he got up from the rock he was sitting on and made his way back. Just as he rounded the corner leading back onto the main part of the beach, he came face to face with her and he froze in place.

“I think we need to talk, Michael. It's time I told you why I left Roswell.”


*********


Chapter Six

Michael shook his head. “You really don't have to tell me anything. It's none of my business because, after all, you're just a guest in my hotel, right?”

Staring at him, Maria felt a sharp pain in her chest at his words. She could see he was angry and she guessed that he possibly felt hurt too. Why was it that Billy was forever causing her trouble, she thought to herself. “I-I thought we were becoming friends Michael, but if all I am to you is a guest, then I'll leave you alone.” Giving him a sad look, she started to turn and walk away but the feel of his hand on her arm stopped her movements.

“Don't go, Maria. We are friends, I didn't mean that other stuff. I just…”

“Spoke to my ex-fiancé?”

“Ex-fiancé?”

She smiled at him. “Yes, Billy is my ex. The whole reason I'm here in Hawaii is because of him and needing to get away.”

Michael couldn't help smiling too at hearing her say those words. “Is he, uh, still your boyfriend though?”

“No, he's not. He's nothing to me now.” His hand was still resting on her arm and she placed her other hand on top of it and caressed it gently. “Can we go somewhere private so we can talk? I think it's time I told you the whole story.”

He nodded. “Yeah, c'mon let's go.”

*********


About forty minutes later they arrived at a quiet cove which luckily was completely deserted and so would give them the opportunity of talking without any interruptions or disturbances.

“Wow, this place is gorgeous,” Maria said as she took in their surroundings. A waterfall ran down one side of the rocks that secluded them and she was glad she was wearing her bathing suit because she couldn't wait to stand under it and have the crystal clear water raining down on her.

“Yeah it is,” Michael agreed as he shook out a blanket and lay it down on the sand. “When my family first opened the hotel here, I found this little place when I was exploring and it's always been somewhere I've come to whenever I've needed to get away.”

“I can see why. So, um, do you bring your friends here?” She couldn't help asking.

He bit his lip to stop himself from smirking. It wasn't difficult to work out that she was really asking him if he brought other women here and he found it cute that she wanted to know. “Actually, you're the first person I've brought out here.”

Maria gave him an incredulous look. “Uh huh.”

“I'm serious. Look, I know you probably think I hook up with every female guest who steps foot into the hotel but I don't. Like I said before, you can ask my sister if you don't believe me.”

“Okay, okay, I believe you. Thousands wouldn't,” she teased before giving him a wink which made him chuckle.

He gestured for her to take a seat on the blanket and he followed suit so they were now sitting opposite each other. “Do you want to talk now because if you're not ready, we could eat first? I had the kitchen make us a picnic basket again.”

She shook her head. “No, I think it's better that we talk first and get it out of the way. What did Billy say to you when you answered my phone before?”

“He wanted to know who I was and why I was answering your cell. When I asked him who he was he told me he was your fiancé. I-I just hung up after that and left.”

“Why didn't you stay and talk to me?”

“I don't know. I guess I was just shocked. Hearing that you had a fiancé was the last thing I was expecting. But I should have known someone as beautiful as you would have a boyfriend or husband.”

She blushed at his compliment. “I should have talked to you last night when we bumped into each other on the bea…”

“Hey, you were upset. I wasn't going to push you into telling me something you weren't ready to do.”

Smiling at him, she said, “You wouldn't have been pushing me, Michael. If I'd have told you, it would have been because I wanted you to know.”

He placed his hand over hers which was resting in her lap and he gave it a little squeeze. “Thanks. So, why don't you start from the beginning and tell me how you first met him. It might make it easier than just focusing on the bad stuff.”

Nodding, she replied, “Okay.” Taking a deep breath, she started. “Billy and I first met in college. We shared a few classes but it wasn't until we were put into the same group to work on an assignment that we started to become friends. We found that we had things in common, mainly music, and we just seemed to click. We were coming up to graduation when he asked me out on a date and I said yes. After that, things seemed to change overnight for us.”

“How do you mean?”

“When he asked me to go out with him he told me that he'd always liked me and didn't want us to end up going our separate ways after college. Apparently, he'd wanted to ask me out from the moment we met but had been too shy to do it.”

Michael saw a faraway look in Maria's eyes and he turned away to look at the sea. He could see she still had feelings for the guy and he couldn't help feeling jealous. “What happened after that?” He found himself asking.

“We started dating and after graduation I moved back to Roswell and he came with me. He's from Albuquerque so it wasn't a million miles from home for him. I carried on living with my Mom and he got himself an apartment. As the months passed, I kept expecting him to ask me to move in with him but he never did.”

“Did you ask him about that?”

“Not at first. I figured that maybe he just didn't want to rush things and to be honest, that was more than fine with me. I didn't feel ready to move in with him but it just felt like there was a specific reason for him not wanting me to live with him. A few more months went by before I finally brought the subject up and he told me that he didn't want us to live together until we were married which shocked the hell out of me,” she said with a laugh. “Here I was wondering why my boyfriend didn't want me to live with him and then he throws a proposal into the conversation.”

Glancing at her face, he saw a tear trickle down her cheek and reaching out, he gently wiped it away with his thumb. “If this is too much for you to talk about we can stop.”

“No, it's fine. I want to tell you,” she said squeezing his hand. “After he'd said that, he went over to his desk drawer and pulled out a box and then came over to me and got down on one knee. It was a very sweet proposal but even then something felt off about it. The ring he gave me had this huge diamond in the center of it and it wasn't the sort of thing I felt comfortable wearing. It was too showy for my tastes and I was also terrified I'd lose it or something. At the back of my mind though there was always this nagging feeling and I kept wondering how he'd been able to afford something like that on his salary.”

“What does he do?” Michael asked curiously.

“Well, I thought he was a nightclub manager. That was the job he got when he moved to Roswell with me. He earned decent money but to buy the ring he got me, he would have needed to save for years to afford it. But I eventually found out how he managed to buy something so expensive.”

Michael's head tilted to one side as he regarded her and he noticed the anger that had crept onto her face. “What did you find out?”

Maria took a deep breath before quietly answering, “I found out that Billy was dealing drugs out of the club.”

He stared at her, not quite believing what he had just heard. “Wh-what?”

“He was a drug dealer. I only found out when the police raided his club one night and arrested him and several of his associates. He'd been under surveillance for months and the police finally had the evidence to arrest and then charge him.”

His mouth dropped open at the information she had just given him. “Uh, where is he now?”

“Three months ago he was sentenced to ten years in jail.”

“Wow,” Michael said a few moments later when everything she had just told him had sunk in. “So when he called earlier it was from jail?”

“Yeah. It's not the first time he's called and it probably won't be the last. I changed my cell phone number just before I came out here but he's obviously managed to find out what it is.”

“How? I mean, surely none of your family or friends would give it to him?”

“Unfortunately, some of my friends are also his friends and I think I know who it was that gave him the new number,” she replied with a sigh. “I tend to just screen my calls now and only answer if it's a number I recognise. When I asked you to answer my phone it didn't even cross my mind that it could have been him.”

“It's okay. Why does he keep calling you though?”

“Can you believe the bastard wants me to wait for him, to stay his girlfriend and then be reunited when he's finally released. I've already wasted too many years on him and there's no way I'm wasting any more. That last year we were together was the worst of my life. He treated me like crap; canceling dates at the last minute or just standing me up without a word and in certain other ways, it was as if we weren't a couple at all,” she said suddenly remembering the few times he had pushed her away when she had gone to kiss or touch him.

“The last time I saw him was just after he'd been arrested. He was refused bail because everyone knew he'd take off at the first opportunity and I went to visit him in the jail. It was just so I could tell him to his face that the engagement was off and our relationship was over.”

“I'm guessing that didn't go down too well, huh?”

“Oh yeah. Let's just say I was glad that screen dividing us was in place. He started calling soon after that and at first I'd answer and just keep telling him it was over and to stop calling. My Mom changed our home number and her own cell because he kept hassling her too. We've spoken to a friend of ours who is a lawyer and he's looking into it for us.”

Michael shook his head in astonishment at everything Maria had been through these past few months. “Well I can understand why you needed to get away.”

“Yeah. My Mom no longer needed the money to pay for my wedding so she gave me a big chunk of it so I could get away from all the gossip for a while.”

“Hey,” he said quickly moving closer to her and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. He brought her in close to his body and she rested her head against his chest. “Just because he wasn't the right guy for you doesn't mean you won't meet someone else and get married.”

“Everyone back home thinks I'm such an idiot for not realizing what was going on with him sooner. I mean, I only found out the truth because he got arrested.”

“That doesn't matter. What he was doing obviously made him a good liar because I could tell from the first moment I met you that you don't take crap from anyone. Remember our first meeting in the restaurant?”

Maria couldn't help smiling at the memory now and she found herself giggling. “Thanks Michael.”

“I keep telling you, you don't have to thank me. It's obvious to me that you're a good, honest person and it's not your fault that you were taken in by him and his lies.”

“I just feel such an idiot. All the time I spent at his apartment and I never questioned why there was a steady stream of people coming and going. He was a popular guy so I figured they were his friends. Now I know exactly why he was so popular.”

“You have no reason to feel like that. He's the one to blame and if people back home can't see that, then they're not worth bothering with,” he told her vehemently.

Moving her head off his chest, Maria looked up at him and she waited for him to look down and meet her gaze. “I'm so glad I told you. With just a few words you've made me feel so much better.” Inching forwards, she pressed her lips to his cheek and then drew back. She looked into his eyes and noticed that they had suddenly darkened and she felt butterflies in her tummy. Without thinking, she moved forward again and covered his lips with her own.


*********


Chapter Seven

Michael could feel himself getting lost in the kiss but he forced himself to break it before it went too far. “Maria…”

“Shh.” Bringing her hand up to his face, she rubbed her thumb along his bottom lip. “I want this to happen, Michael. Don't you?”

Looking into her clear emerald eyes, he saw the truth in her words and he slowly nodded his head. “Yeah, I do.” Lowering his gaze to her mouth, he closed the small gap separating them and kissed her gently. It quickly became passionate and very intense and as the kiss went on, he managed to maneuver them so that she was sitting sideways on his lap. One of his arms wrapped around her waist while his other hand cupped her cheek, holding her steady.

Maria moaned into his mouth as she felt his tongue glide against hers and then tangle with it. Eventually air became an issue and she gently drew back from him and broke the kiss. Resting her forehead against his, she looked longingly into his eyes and smiled. “Wow,” she whispered once she had caught her breath.

“Yeah,” he drawled huskily. “That was…”

“Amazing?”

“Definitely.” As he held her gaze, his fingers traced lazy patterns on the patch of skin between where her top ended and her skirt began. He couldn't help smirking when he felt her shiver at his touch. “What do you want to do now?” He finally asked breaking the comfortable silence between them.

“Uh, what do you mean?”

“Well, would you like to have something to eat now or do you feel like going for a swim first?”

“A swim would be lovely,” she told him before moving in again and capturing his lips with hers. This time she took control and placing her hands each side of his head, she devoured his mouth with her lips, teeth and tongue. When she pulled back from him, he was panting for breath and she giggled.

“What?” He asked, one eyebrow raised in question.

“Nothing,” she replied before adding, “I just like seeing you all flustered because of me.”

“Hmm, is that so? Well, we'll just have to see how flustered I can get you.”

Her cheeks flushed with colour and leaning closer, he rubbed his nose against hers. “C'mon, let's get in that water and cool off.” Very carefully, he eased her off his lap and then stood up. Once he was on his feet, he offered his hands to her and helped her to her feet.

Maria busied herself with taking her clothes off, carefully folding her skirt and tank top as she went along before placing her sandals on the top to prevent them moving in the light breeze that was blowing. She adjusted the halter strap of her bikini and made sure the bottoms were okay too. Reaching into her beach bag, she removed her bottle of waterproof suntan lotion and although she had applied some before getting dressed that morning, she rubbed a little more into her skin.

“You need some help with that?” Michael asked as he came up close behind her.

Turning to look at him, she had to stop herself from staring. God, he looked so good in just a pair of black swimming shorts. “I-I'm fine, thanks.” Realising what she had just said and that she had just turned down the opportunity of him touching her, she quickly changed her mind. “Actually, could you rub some of this into my back and shoulders.”

His smile widened and taking the bottle out of her hands, he said, “Sure.”

The moment his large hands touched her skin had her inwardly moaning. They were slightly calloused and that just seemed to add to the sensation as he applied the lotion using broad strokes. “Is that okay?”

“Uh huh. Thanks Michael.”

“No problem,” he said handing her back the bottle. When she bent over to place it back into her bag, he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. “You look beautiful,” he told her when she had turned around to face him and he watched her face flush with colour again. He'd never thought he would see the day when he thought blushing was cute but on her it really was.

“So, shall we go in?” She asked after a couple of moments had passed and he hadn't said anything else.

“Yeah.” Taking her small hand in his, he led her towards the sea and when the water was up to their stomachs, they both dived in and enjoyed the feel of the warm water washing over their skin.

Standing up in the water, Maria tilted her head back and dipped her head into the water to wet her hair so that the loose tendrils were off her face. She watched as he stood up too and ran his hands through his hair. They stood and watched each other in silence for a moment before they each had the same idea and moved forwards. Her arms wrapped around his neck as his snaked around her waist and a split-second later, their mouths were fused together.

Michael's hands wandered up and down her back before daring to move a little lower and resting on her ass. He waited for her to say something but she didn't. Instead, her own hands followed suit but where his merely rested on her behind, she kneaded his ass which made him gasp into her mouth. That action had taken him more than a little by surprise but he quickly recovered and leaning down a little, he placed his hands on each of her thighs and hoisted her up.

It was Maria's turn to gasp now at his actions but she didn't object at all. Her legs automatically wrapped around his waist and she pressed herself closer to his body. She could feel his hardness pressing against her and she involuntarily found herself grinding against it.

Breaking the kiss, he stared into her eyes which had darkened with what he could only assume to be lust and he felt himself harden further at seeing that. “God, you're amazing,” he told her before peppering kisses all over her face, throat and neck.

“You are too.” Her head tilted to one side to give him better access and he took full advantage of that. She knew without a doubt that she'd be wearing evidence of their activities by the way he was sucking and nibbling on her neck.

They continued with the hot and heavy make-out session for a while longer before he once again broke off their kissing to look into her face. “Do you, uh, want to stop, Maria?”

She shook her head. “No, not unless you want to.”

“I don't but maybe we're getting too carried away. I-I don't want you to think I'm taking advantage of you or anything.”

“I don't,” she said quickly. “I'm really attracted to you, Michael, and I really want this to happen between us. But if you don't…”

“I do,” he interrupted. “Believe me, I do want this to happen but I just think maybe we should slow things down a bit. We've got the rest of the day and then the evening ahead of us so why don't we take our time?”

Maria smiled at him and nodded. Her fingers tangled into his hair and placing her lips by his ear, she whispered, “I like the way you think, Mr Guerin.”

Turning his face to meet her mouth, he sucked her pouty bottom lip into his mouth and tugged on it before releasing his hold on her and letting her fall back into the water. He laughed as she came up spluttering.

“Oh, you are so going to pay for that,” she told him and before he'd even realised what was happening, she had hooked her foot behind his ankle and knocked him off balance. She shrieked as she quickly started swimming away from him but he was too quick for her and grabbed her ankle which was just within his grasp and he pulled her back.

The couple splashed around for the next hour or so before they both decided it was time to go back to land and have something to eat. Michael offered Maria his hand and when she slipped it into his, he realised how comfortable he felt touching her. Arriving back at the spot where they had left their belongings, he grabbed his towel just as she did the same with hers and they both dried themselves off.

“I'd better put some more of this on you,” she told him holding up the bottle of suntan lotion and he smirked at her. “What?”

“I knew you couldn't keep your hands off me,” he teased and then laughed when she poked her tongue out at him. Taking a seat on the sand, he waited for her to get started.

“Funny.” Moving behind him and kneeling down, she uncapped the bottle and then poured some lotion into her hands before smoothing it over his back, shoulders and then his arms. She handed him the bottle and he raised an eyebrow. “I think you're able to do the rest of your body.”

“I'd rather you did it,” he replied as he quickly turned his upper body to the side and kissed her hotly. Wrapping an arm around her waist, he managed to pull her over so she was straddling his thighs.

“Mmm, I bet you would.” Pouring some lotion into her hands, she rubbed them together before touching his sun-warmed skin and they both moaned at the contact. Their heads inched closer together and they shared another sizzling kiss.

Before things got too out of control though, Michael pulled back and rubbed his nose against hers. “Are you hungry?”

“Oh yeah,” she answered in a lust-laden whisper.

“I meant for food,” he told her with a chuckle.

“What? That's what I meant too.”

“Uh huh. So are you?”

“I'm starving so let's eat.” Giving him a quick peck on the lips, she crawled off his body and went over to where he had placed the cooler. Opening it up, she took out two bottles of water and handed one to him before getting some of the food out and laying it on the blanket. “This looks great,” she told him before opening her bottle of water and taking a long drink.

“Yeah, it does.”

As they ate the food, they chatted about this and that, making sure to keep the conversation light and not bring up anything to do with what they had talked about earlier.

“Do you want to stay here for a while longer?” Michael asked a while later as they put away the food they hadn't eaten.

“If that's okay with you,” Maria replied.

“It's more than okay. One of the things I love about this place is that hardly anyone seems to know about it.”

“It must be a great place to come and think about things.”

“Oh, it is. I've made some pretty serious decisions when I've come down here.”

“Like what?”

“Like what I'm going to do for dinner that night,” he said teasingly which earned him a light slap on his arm. “Hey.”

“Don't ‘hey' me, Michael. I was being serious.”

“I'm sorry,” he replied but it was obvious from his tone of voice that he wasn't. “So, do you want to go for another swim in a little while after we've digested our food?”

“Sure, is it okay if we stay here until it gets dark too? I've always wanted to swim under the stars and I just know this is too good of an opportunity to turn down.”

“It's more than okay. Do you just want to lay on the sand and get some sun for now?”

“Yeah. There's no way I'm going back home without a tan,” she said smiling.

The next few hours were spent with the couple laying under the sun and talking about all different things; from their families and friends to their hopes and ambitions. As the sun began to set, it was as if Michael and Maria had known each other forever.


*********


Chapter Eight

Knowing that the tide would soon be coming in, they had packed up their belongings and placed them further back so that they wouldn't get wet. They had then gone and sat a little closer to the water so that they could watch the sun begin to set.

“Wow, the sunset is so beautiful,” she said turning to look at him and she gasped at the intense look he was giving her.

“It's not as beautiful as you are, Maria.” Slowly moving towards her, he wrapped his arm around her and brought her in close to his body and lowering his head to hers, he once again kissed her.

Maria couldn't remember ever being kissed so much and so passionately in all her life and she realised, not for the first time, that whatever she'd had with Billy hadn't been the real thing. Lifting her hand, her fingers trailed over his cheek and she could feel the prickle of his late in the day stubble prickling the pads of them. Without breaking the kiss, Michael started leaning back and he brought her with him so they were laying side by side. Their legs became entwined as did their arms and their kisses gained an intensity that neither had ever felt before. As they continued making out, the gentle waves of the ocean lapped at their legs.

When they both pulled apart, they shared a smile as they snuggled together. Feeling her shiver, he asked, “Are you getting cold? I can go and get my sweatshirt from the car if you want.”

“No, besides we'll be getting back in the water soon and I'm sure you'll be able to keep me warm.”

“You think?”

“Oh, I know.” Looking up at the sky, she saw the first star twinkling and disentangling herself from his body, she suddenly jumped to her feet. “Come on, the stars are coming out. Let's go swimming.”

Michael watched her run the short distance to the water and he quickly followed. He saw her head over to the waterfall and he swam over to meet her there. Watching her standing underneath the shimmering water made his breath catch in his throat and he froze in his tracks.

“Michael?”

Her voice broke him out of his reverie and he gave her a smile. “Sorry, I was just taking a moment,” he told her as he came closer and rested his hands on her hips.

Wrapping her arms around his broad shoulders, she pulled herself up so she was level with his mouth and licked a path around his lips. When they parted, she slanted her mouth over his and slipped her tongue inside his mouth to play with his. She moaned into his mouth when she felt him once again lift her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist.

“Oh god…Michael…y-you feel so good,” she murmured against his lips before pulling away and latching onto his neck.

“You do too. This feels amazing.”

“Uh huh.” Her fingernails raked across his scalp as she kissed her way to the other side of his neck, pausing to suckle his Adam's apple along the way.

Michael ground his erection against her fabric covered mound and he heard her moan against his skin. One of her hands trailed down his chest and she pinched his nipple which made him growl his approval and he held his breath when he felt her hand start moving lower until she was cupping him through his shorts.

He trailed one of his hands to her backside and squeezed one of her cheeks and, in retaliation, she stroked his c*ck firmly through the fabric which made him gasp and moan.

“M-Maria…please…”

“Please what?”

“I need…more,” he told her breathlessly.

Moving her head so that she could look into his face, Maria could plainly see the frustration written there and she knew she was wearing an identical expression. “Me too. I want to be with you.”

“Are you sure?”

“I'm positive.”

The smile he gave her at hearing her reply could have lit up the night sky and she returned it.

“Do you want to go back to the hotel?” He asked and she shook her head.

“No. I want our first time to be here in the water under the stars.”

“Our first time?”

“Yeah. It depends on how good you are as to whether we have a second time…”

He pinched her side and laughed when she shrieked. “You are such a brat, you know that?”

“Oh, am I?” Keeping her legs hooked around his waist, she kept her balance by squeezing his hips with her thighs while she reached up to her neck and released the clasp of her halter-neck bikini top. Not wanting to lose it in the water, she didn't undo the other tie and instead just pushed it down so it was resting around her waist.

Michael's eyes wandered down from her face to her bare breasts and he couldn't stop staring. They were a perfect size for her frame and her rosy tipped nipples were just begging for some attention. One of his hands slipped up from where it rested on her hip and he cupped her breast in his palm, marveling at her soft silky skin. The moan that tore through her throat urged him on and lowering his head, he suckled the nipple of her other breast.

Maria's hands gripped his head and held it in place as his mouth worked her expertly. The combination of his heated mouth and the cool water raining down from above was sending her blood pressure soaring. Digging her feet into his buttocks, she forced his lower body closer to hers and began a slow grinding motion against him which soon had her on the edge.

“Michael…Michael…Michael…” she chanted under her breath as she felt her climax approaching. Moving one of her hands down the front of her body, she took his hand that was cupping and kneading her breast and brought it down to where she needed to feel it most.

Without removing his lips from her nipple, he looked up at her and gave her a heated look. Knowing what she so obviously wanted, he helped stroke her through her bikini bottoms, his eyes staying on her face the whole time. He watched as she fought to achieve what she so desperately wanted and finally, he pulled the fabric to one side so he was directly touching her flesh.

“Oh god…yes…yesss…” Hearing her voice getting louder as she climaxed, he covered her mouth with his own and kissed her hard and deep. Even though the cove was deserted, he didn't want to attract any unwanted attention and definitely not at that particular moment.

His hands were still touching her as she slowly recovered and placing her hand on the back of his neck, Maria brought him in even closer. She could feel his c*ck through his shorts pressing against her womanhood and she craved to feel it deep inside her. It had been so long since she had last been intimate with a man despite having been dating one for the past few years, and she just knew that Michael would be amazing and that he would more than make up for the dry spell she had been experiencing.

“I-I wanna feel you inside me,” she whispered into his ear after they had broken apart.

“Maria…”

“Please Michael. I want you so much.”

“You do?”

“Yes. Don't you…want me?” Her eyes lowered to his chest as she nervously waited for his answer.

“Are you kidding me? I want you more than anything, Maria. I'm just worried that this is moving too fast. I mean, you've been through so much and…”

Pressing a finger against his lips, she silenced him. “You wanna know something? In all the time I was dating him, I never once felt this way. His kisses never set me on the fire the way yours do and his touches certainly never made me feel this way either. And, to be honest, it's been so damn long since a guy has touched me, I've almost forgotten what it feels like.”

Hearing her say those words made his heart ache. How could someone as wonderful as her have been taken in by such a bastard? She deserved to be treated like a princess and he was determined to be the one to do that. He kissed her finger that was still pressed against his lips before smiling at her. “I don't have any protection with me… I should have mentioned that before but…”

“It's okay. I'm, uh, on the pill.” Seeing the look on his face, she shook her head. “It was more for my cycle than anything else. I haven't been intimate with anyone for almost a year which I know sounds weird considering I was engaged. And just in case you're worried, when I found out about his drug activities I got myself tested just in case he'd given me something from before and thankfully it was all clear.”

“I wasn't worried,” he told her honestly.

“I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to stop this now…you know, before it goes even further.”

“I don't want to stop and I'm not going to. Like I just said, I want you more than anything.” Bending his head, he kissed her softly and he heard her quietly sigh into his mouth. When they broke apart, their foreheads rested together and they looked at each other almost shyly. “Are you ready?” He quietly asked a moment later.

“Yeah, are you?”

“Yeah.”

Maria's hands ran over his chest and stomach until she arrived at his shorts. Keeping her eyes trained on his, she lowered them just enough so that his c*ck sprang free and while she was enjoying the feel of them being in the water, she wished she could see all of his body. He felt big…not just in length but in thickness too and she shivered at the thought of it being inside of her body. Her hand touched him gently, stroking over his manhood from base to tip and then back again. She watched his eyes flutter shut at her ministrations and listened to the little whimpering noises he was making which told her she was making him feel just as good as he made her feel.

“M-Maria…please. I need…to be inside you,” he choked out.

“Okay.” Taking him firmly in hand, she led him to her entrance and it was her turn to whimper when she felt the head touch her sensitive tissue. He slid inside easily and they both groaned at the sensation of being joined.

Her hands gripped his shoulders and she slowly began to move herself up and down on him. Michael aided her movements by placing his hands either side of her waist as he began to thrust up into her. He tried to keep a slow and steady pace but that soon became impossible as their bodies craved the delicious friction they were creating. The moment she clenched her vaginal muscles, he thought he was going to lose it right there and then and it made him speed things up a little more. He knew it wouldn't be too much longer before he came and he desperately wanted her to be with him when it happened so he slipped a hand between their bodies and started circling her clit with his thumb.

The circular movements he was using were driving Maria insane and she hotly whispered into his ear for him to do it harder and faster. Removing his thumb from her had her voicing her disapproval but a quick change in position meant that his pubic bone was directly stimulating her clit on each down stroke and she was back to making happy, contented noises. His hands gripped her hips as he thrust into her even harder, the movements adding to the blissful feeling they were both experiencing.

A few more thrusts later and they both toppled over the edge, letting their mutual orgasm wash over them. As their breathing slowly returned to normal, their heads started moving forwards until their lips met and they shared several intense kisses.

“Do you wanna get out of the water?” He asked her a few minutes later and while he waited for her answer, he planted kisses along her jawline before his lips slid down to her neck.

“Uh huh,” she mumbled breathlessly. Feeling him slipping out of her body had her hissing in disapproval but she had a feeling she would be feeling him inside her again before too long.

Michael dropped a kiss onto the top of her head as he helped her put her bikini top back on before pulling up his shorts. They swam back to the shore and getting out of the water, they held hands as they walked to the spot they had left their towels and clothes. After drying off and getting dressed, they shared a few lingering kisses as they made their way back to the car.

He was just about to start the engine when he decided to go ahead and ask the question that was going around in his head. “Was it, uh, okay?”

Shifting in her seat to face him, she smiled. “It was way better than okay, Michael.” Leaning forward, she kissed him passionately, her hand coming up to caress his cheek. “Let's go back to the hotel and I'll prove how amazing it was.”

Her words went straight to his groin and he felt himself harden again. Giving her one more kiss, he smiled before starting the engine and driving back towards the hotel.

TBC

*********


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