First Time for Everything

Category: M&M, AU
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Nope, I donít own a thing.
Summary: Mariaís relationship with her brotherís best friend changes...
Author's Note: Thanks to the girls at RCWW for all your help and support. :D


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Chapter One

It was Friday night and Michael Guerin was getting ready to meet up with some of his friends. He had just arrived back home in Roswell that afternoon after being away at college in New York. He cussed at hearing the sudden knock on his door and quickly rinsing himself off, he turned off the water and grabbed a towel before stepping out of the shower and wrapping it around his waist.

“Hang on, I’m coming.” He called out as the person on the other side of the door knocked again. Opening the door he was more than a little surprised at who was standing in front of him. “Maria? Uh....hi. What are you doing here?”

Maria Deluca couldn’t take her eyes off the vision in front of her and she stood there open-mouthed as she stared at the water droplets glistening on his skin. She had a sudden urge to move closer and capture them with her tongue.

“Maria, are you okay? Is anything wrong?” He asked genuinely concerned. The young girl in front of him was someone he had known for years and considered a sister.

“Uh....what?” Giving herself a mental shake, she gave him a crooked smile and said, “No, no everything’s fine. I’m sorry I spazzed out on you there Michael. Could I come inside for a minute?” she asked a little shyly.

“Sure, come on in.” He held the door open wider so she could enter.

Michael’s “apartment” was basically the Evans’ large garage. They had taken him in when he was 15 years old after his foster father had beaten him to within an inch of his life. Philip and Diane Evans had known Michael for some time as their children’s friend and had no hesitation in taking him into their home but they knew what the young boy was like about accepting help. They were already in the process of converting their garage into a room that Max and Isabel could share as a type of den but neither their son nor daughter objected when they decided to convert the room into an apartment for Michael. The room was large and airy and provided Michael with a bedroom, a bathroom and an area where he could entertain friends. He accepted their offer but as soon as he did he got himself a job as a cook at the Crashdown, a local diner, so that he could pay his way.

“Make yourself comfy while I go and get dressed,” he told her before heading towards his bedroom which was situated behind some screens.

Maria smiled at his retreating form and took a seat on the couch. It had been a while since she had last been here but nothing had really changed. He still had his Metallica posters on the wall and his motorcycle magazines scattered all over the couch and coffee table. Leaning back she closed her eyes as she worked up the courage to ask him the question she had come over to ask. She had deliberately waited until her overprotective step-brother, Kyle, was out of town with his girlfriend for a few days. He’d kill her if he knew what she was planning.

Walking out from behind the screen Michael was about to say something when he saw Maria leaning back on his couch with her eyes closed and he took the opportunity to look at her. He hadn’t seen her for months and she had changed quite a bit from the young tomboy he and Kyle had often hung out with. During high school his best friend had often insisted on having Maria with them so he could keep an eye on her and protect her from guys their age and younger. They had noticed that her name was starting to appear on the boys bathroom walls and this made Kyle ever more protective of her. He knew only too well what guys their age were like being such a horndog himself.

Maria could feel his eyes on her and she slowly opened them and smiled at him. Taking in his semi-smart appearance she asked, “Hey, you look nice, are you on your way out? Oh god you are. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come round tonight. I know it’s your first night back and all but I really wanted to see you and....”

He held up his hands in mock surrender. “Woah! You haven’t changed a bit with your babbling have you?” he said chuckling. “I am on my way out but I’ve got some time to spare so it’s fine. It’s always great seeing my little surrogate sister. What did you want to see me about?” He walked towards her and took a seat on the couch beside her.

She groaned at the sister comment and decided not to ask him her question. “Uh...it’s...er...it’s nothing. I just wanted to come by and say hi. It seems like forever since we last saw each other, you know.”

Michael saw the blush colouring her cheeks and looked at her curiously. “Come on Maria, I know when you’re lying so you might as well drop it. Just say what you came over to say. I promise not to say a word until you’re done if that helps.”

Thinking about it for a moment she nodded before getting up from the couch and starting to pace up and down in front of him. “Okay, but don’t look at me when I’m asking you this. It’s just....it’s kinda embarrassing and I know you’re going to freak when I ask but.....”

“You’re starting to get me worried here so just ask me. Please. Or do I need to give Kyle a call?”

“NO! Please, you can’t call him. He’ll absolutely freak if he finds out about this and....oh god I...I’m just gonna go okay. Just forget I was here Michael.” She told him before turning away and heading towards the door. Just as her hand touched the lever to open the door his hand covered hers, stilling her movements.

“There’s no way you’re leaving here until you’ve told me what’s going on. Never mind freaking Kyle out you’re starting to freak me out.” Taking her hand firmly in his he led her over to the couch and gently pushed her down. Crouching in front of her he cupped her cheek with his palm and tilted her face up so he was looking into hers. “I promise that what you tell me won’t leave this apartment. Okay?”

“Okay,” she whispered. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes before saying the words that came as a bolt out of the blue to Michael’s ears. “I....I want you to....erm....teach me about sex.”


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Chapter Two

A moment or two had passed and Maria slowly opened her eyes and looked into Michael’s. He seemed frozen to the spot and his eyes although looking into hers seemed vacant and unseeing. His hand was still cupping her cheek and she covered it with one of her own hands. “Michael? Dammit, I knew I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Blinking a few times Maria’s face came back into focus and before he knew it he was laughing. “Okay you got me. Whose idea was this, huh? Yours or Kyle’s? I can’t believe he’d use you to stun me like that.”

Her eyes filled with tears at his laughter and she quickly removed his hand from her face before practically jumping up off the couch. “Thanks Michael, thanks for making me feel like an idiot. I’m sorry I ever came to you with this.”

Sobering up quickly at her reaction he said, “You......you mean you’re serious about this? But why? Why do you want me to teach you about.....um.....you know?”

“Sex Michael, it’s called sex. I would have thought you were adult enough to use the word by now. You don’t know what it’s like for me having Kyle as a brother. He’s great and I love him but I’m 18 years old and I’ve never been on a single date because between him, you and Sheriff Jim no guy will come anywhere near me. I’m about to go off to college where all the girls will be talking about boyfriends and sex and how far they’ve all gone. I’m going to look like some kind of country hick who doesn’t know a damn thing.”

“There’s no need for you to rush into things.....”

“Rush? I’m not talking about rushing anything. I just want to know what I’m supposed to do on a date, how to kiss, how far I’m expected to go, that type of thing.”

Michael breathed a sigh of relief at hearing her words. “So you’re not talking about having sex with guys at college?”

“I didn’t say that. Look, if I meet someone I like and we start dating then it’s only natural that we’re going to want to do.....stuff and I’d like to know what I have to do.”

“But why me?” He asked scratching his eyebrow.

Maria walked back over to where Michael was still kneeling in front of the couch. Taking a seat, she took one of his large hands between hers and said, “Because I trust you. I’ve known you practically my whole life and I know you won’t hurt me.....well at least not deliberately.”

“I’d never hurt you deliberately or otherwise, Maria. I.....I just don’t know about this. If Kyle ever finds out then I’m dead meat and you’d probably be locked in your room for eternity or something.”

“He won’t find out, I promise. Why do you think I came over here tonight, huh? He and Vicky just left for their trip a couple of hours ago so I was able to leave the house without the third degree. I can’t understand why he’s so overprotective when Mom and Jim are cool about me going off and doing my own thing.”

“He cares about you that’s all,” Michael told her as he got up from the floor and took a seat beside her again. “I know he can be a bit over the top but he’s just looking out for you.”

“I know he is and I love him for that but I’m a big girl now and I want to live my life without his restrictions. What does he think is going to happen when I’m at college? Is he planning on changing schools so he can keep an eye on me there?”

He laughed at the look on her face. “No, but I wouldn’t put that suggestion into his head just in case.”

She paused for a second before laughing too. “Yeah, thanks for the tip.”

They sat there in silence for a while before Maria spoke again. “I think we should pretend I didn’t ask you to help me. I know it puts you in a difficult position what with you and Kyle being best friends so I’m going to.......”

“Forget your plan?” He asked hopefully.

“No, I’m going to find someone else to help me. I still feel exactly the same way as I did before I asked you to help me. Maybe I could ask Doug. Lizzie told me that she heard from Alex that he has a crush on me so I’m sure he’d be willing to help me out.”

Michael couldn’t hide his outrage. “There’s no way in hell you’re asking anyone else to help you with this crazy idea Maria. If you’re determined to do this, then it’s going to be with me.” He told her vehemently. “Are you absolutely sure you want to go through with this because once we start it’s going to change things between us?”

Maria bit back the smile that was threatening to take over her face. “Yes, I’m absolutely sure Michael. And nothing will change between us because we won’t let it. You may be Kyle’s best friend but I’ve always thought of you as one of mine too.”

Michael gave her a grin. “Really? Well I’ve always thought of you as Kyle’s annoying little sister.”

“Well in that case I think I’ll definitely find someone else to play with then,” she teased.

“Don’t you dare.” He glanced at the clock on his desk before cursing. “I’ve gotta go now otherwise I’m going to be really late meeting the guys so I’ll just walk you home before I hook up with them.”

“There’s no need ‘cos I brought the Jetta.” Seeing the look of panic on his face she smirked. “Don’t worry, I didn’t park it outside. The last thing we need is for Max and Isabel to hear about this. I parked the car in the next street.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. “Cool. Come on then, lets sneak you out of here before anyone sees you. I’ll walk you to the car.”

“Okay, thanks. Uh....when do you.....I mean, when should we get started on our.....er....project?”

He couldn’t help smiling at the embarrassed look she wore. “How about tomorrow evening? I’ve got a shift until four and then I’ve got to be back here to wave the Evans’ off on their vacation so how about you come over here about seven?”

“Seven’s fine. Hey wait a second, why aren’t you going with them this year?”

He shrugged. “I need to try and earn some money to help with next semester so I got my old job back at the Crashdown plus I get this place to myself for the next two weeks.”

“Cool. Am I.....” she coughed to clear her throat. “Will I be staying over tomorrow night?” she asked him, her eyes concentrating on the floor.

“NO! Why would you ask that?”

She raised her eyes to look at him and catching his shocked expression she let her gaze drop to the floor again. “I....uh....I just thought.....I don’t know.”

“Besides, I’m sure I’ll be able to teach you all you need to know in a hour,” he said with a smirk.

The surprise she felt at his statement made her look at him questioningly. “Really? I thought it would take longer than that.”

“Nah. If you’re as good a student at this as you are at school stuff, you’ll know everything you need to by the end of the hour.”

Her face was burning with embarrassment at his casual words. ‘Get over it Deluca, he’s going to be seeing you naked so stop blushing dammit. Red is so not your colour,’ she told herself.

“Come on, lets get you home.” Michael said taking her hand in his and sneaking her out of his place. He was lost in thought as he walked her to her car. ‘This is going to be so embarrassing. How am I supposed to talk about sex with my best friend’s little sister?’


*********


Chapter Three

The next night Michael was anxiously awaiting Maria’s arrival for her first lesson. He couldn’t believe he was going through with this and he silently prayed that no one would ever find out. By no one he meant Kyle.

He had to admit that Maria was beautiful and if he was being totally honest he could admit to having fantasized about what her gorgeous pouty lips would feel like against his own. But he would never in a million years have imagined her coming to him to ask for sex advice. Even though he knew this was wrong and he was signing his own death certificate, he would rather it was him that helped her than some other jerk who would end up hurting her.

As soon as his shift had finished he had raced home from the diner and had eaten a farewell meal with the Evans’ before they left for their annual summer vacation. Before they had left Diane had once again tried to persuade him to join them but he had politely declined. She had given him a soft smile and hugged him tightly before she and the rest of the family had driven off to the airport in a taxi.

Once they had gone he had started to tidy up his apartment. Luckily there wasn’t too much to do seeing as he had only been home a day. He had then jumped in the shower to wash away the smell of the greasy fried food he had spent most of the day cooking.

Now he was standing in front of his closet trying to decide what he should wear; should it be smart or casual or a mixture of the two. Hell, maybe he should just stay as he was with the towel wrapped around his waist and they could get started as soon as she arrived. ‘What am I thinking, we’re just going to be talking about sex that’s all.’ he told himself trying to suppress the disappointment he felt about that.

He finally decided on casual, there was no need to make themselves feel more nervous than they already were. Grabbing his black jeans from last night he pulled them on before pulling one of his Metallica T-shirts over his head. Just as he was tying the laces on his sneakers there was a knock at his door. His legs felt like boiled noodles as he made his way towards the door and before opening it he wiped his sweaty palms on the back of his jeans.

On the other side of the door Maria’s heart was racing as she waited for him to open the door. She wiped her sweaty palms on the front of her denim mini skirt before putting her hands in the pockets of the fleece jacket she was wearing. The only reason she had worn the jacket was to cover up her straining cleavage created by the white Wonderbra she had on underneath her pale blue spaghetti strap top.

Suddenly the door was flung open and her eyes locked with Michael’s and they shared an awkward smile.

“Hey, come on in.” He told her as his eyes looked behind her to make sure no one was around watching them.

“Thanks.” Maria crossed the threshold and stood anxiously in the centre of the room unsure as to what she should do next, if anything.

“Do you want to take your jacket off?”

“Uh....oh sure. I guess we should get started huh?”

He smirked. “No, I don’t think we should just jump into this. I was just asking if you wanted to take off your jacket because it’s a bit warm in here. You can keep it on if you want to.”

She laughed nervously before removing her fleece jacket and handing it to him. “I’m sorry. I’ve been on edge all day thinking about whether I should go through with this or not.”

As she handed over her jacket Michael’s eyes wandered down to her chest which seemed larger than it had yesterday and he couldn’t help staring at her impressive cleavage. He gave himself a mental shake before saying, “We don’t have to do this Maria, not if you’ve changed your mind. I’m not going to think badly of you if you want to call this off.” He coughed to clear his throat of its sudden huskiness.

Shaking her head no she replied, “I want to do this and if I’m going to do it, then I’d rather it was with you. I trust you.” She gave him what she hoped was a reassuring smile.

After hanging up her jacket on the back of a chair he walked back over to the couch and took a seat beside her. Seeing how she was twisting her hands in her lap he placed one of his hands over hers and stilled them. “Can I get you a drink or something? I’ve got some sodas in the mini fridge if you want one.”

“No, I’m fine for now thanks.”

“Right. So I guess we should get started now?” He asked her removing his hand from the top of hers. He could feel his palms sweating again and he discreetly wiped them on the back of his jeans.

“Yeah, I guess we should.” she mumbled. “Is the door locked?”

“Uh huh. I locked it as soon as you were inside. Not that I was presuming....”

“It’s okay. I don’t want anything interrupting this. I’m nervous enough as it is.”

He nodded in agreement before asking, “So.....uh.....what do you want to know about first?”

“Well I guess kissing would be a good place to start unless you can think of something else.”

Michael inwardly groaned and thought to himself, ‘Great, how do you explain how to kiss? Surely she’s seen how it’s done on TV and stuff.’ He was about to tell her that maybe they should forego the kissing part but surprised himself by instead saying, “I think kissing would be the best place to start.”

Maria gave herself a mental pat on the back. She had had a crush on Michael for as long as she could remember but he had always considered her Kyle’s little sister and so would never make a move. When she had decided to ask someone to help her with her plan, which was a genuine one as she really didn’t want to be clueless at college when it came to sex, Michael’s name was on the top of her list. Okay, she didn’t have a list. Just his name. She just hoped she didn’t screw this up. Even if things didn’t work out between them and this experiment stayed just that, an experiment, she was determined that their friendship should remain intact and that at least she would have the memory of him being her first kiss. Getting up from the couch she stood in front of him.

Michael looked up at her confused. “Where are you going?”

“Uh.....to your bedroom.”

“Oh.’ He felt even more confused at her reply. “Why don’t we stay here on the couch?”

“Um....okay I guess. I just thought it would be too small.”

“For sitting?”

Now it was her turn to look confused. “You do it sitting?”

“Yeah, sitting, standing, whatever.”

Maria stared at him open-mouthed. “Uh....right. I figured we’d be lying down when we did it.”

“Did what? We’re only talking Maria. You tell me what it is you want to know and I try and explain it to you.” He looked at her closely, the way her mouth kept opening and closing and the way she seemed to be constantly blushing. “That’s what you wanted to happen right? Me to answer your questions about sex?”

She couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her lips at his adorable expression of confusion. Shaking her head she sat beside him again and forced herself to look him in the eyes while talking. “Yes and no. Yes I want you to explain it to me but no I don’t want to just talk about it. I want you to show me.......physically show me how to do the stuff I want to know about.”

It was Michael’s turn to blush and stare open-mouthed. “Oh...I....er....I didn’t know that. I figured we’d just........we’d just be talking about it. So that’s why you were heading for my bedroom.” He ran his hands through his hair. “This changes things Maria. Kyle’s gonna more than kill me if he knows I’ve laid a finger on you.”

Maria placed one of her hands on his which was resting on his thigh. “Well I was hoping you’d be laying more than your finger on me.” Seeing the look of horror that passed over his features at her remark she lowered her eyes realising she had made a big mistake in asking for his help. “Lets just forget this then Michael. The last thing I want is to cause trouble between you and Kyle. It was a stupid idea anyway. I’ll see you around.” She gave his hand a squeeze before making a move to get up from her seat. Moving his hand Michael grabbed her wrist stopping her from going anywhere.

“No, don’t go. Like I told you before, if you’re determined to do this then I’d rather it was with me. I care about you Maria and the last thing I want to do is hurt you.”

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.

He nodded.

Turning to face her more comfortably, Michael took her hands in his and stroked his thumb over her knuckles. “Okay, when you’re about to kiss someone you tilt your head to one side, the opposite direction of your partner. It’s usually an instinct although with my first kiss we seemed to tilt heads in the same direction for ages before she suddenly took my face between her palms and planted one on me.”

She chuckled at his words and started to feel a little more comfortable. The feel of his hands on hers was helping to relax her. She followed his advice and tilted her head to one side and said, “Like this?”

He nodded. “Yeah. You both slowly lean in so you’re closer together....” he trailed off as they inched closer and he instinctively tilted his head to the opposite direction. “....then you close your eyes and part your lips and then......”

Just as Maria closed her eyes she felt Michael’s warm breath on her face and then his soft lips were upon hers. He held them there for a moment or two before gently sucking her top lip between his lips. He then repeated the action with her bottom lip. Using his tongue he parted her lips a little more and he let his tongue wander inside her mouth to play with hers.

Maria gasped at the sudden invasion of his tongue but a moment later she was letting her tongue stroke against his, loving the soft silky feel of it. She copied his actions by sucking on his top and bottom lips, enjoying the feel of his soft plump lips beneath hers. After what felt like hours but in reality was only a few minutes they pulled apart, panting heavily.

“Wow! That was.....wow!”

He chuckled at her. “Yeah, wow pretty much covers it.” Looking into Maria’s sparkling emerald eyes, he couldn’t help smiling broadly at her. He couldn’t believe how good it had felt to kiss her.

Looking into his eyes she blushed and quickly averted her eyes to look at the floor. “Did I....um.....did I do it right?”

Michael stared at her incredulously and using his fingers raised her chin so she was looking into his eyes. “You did it beautifully. You’re a great kisser. Are you sure you haven’t done this before Maria?”

“Nope, you’re my first. Can we.....”

“Do it again?” He finished for her.

“Yeah. I mean, we don’t have to if you don’t want t....”

Before she could finish her sentence Michael’s lips were on hers and he was practically sucking the breath out of her.


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Chapter Four

“Okay, so what’s next?” Maria asked eagerly as she lay propped up against the pillows on Michael’s bed. After they had spent some time kissing she had taken him by the hand and led him to the bedroom area of his apartment so they could have more room and be more comfortable.

Walking back into the room he handed her a can of Coke before sitting down on the bed beside her and opening his can. He couldn’t help smiling at her mussed up look. Her lips were puffy and kiss swollen and he felt a sudden surge of....pride, for want of a better word, that he was the one responsible. “Well we’ve got a couple more hours before I have to get you home so we could continue the kissing but add in touching. That is if you want to move it forward a bit tonight. If you’re not ready we can do it another night.”

Taking a long drink of her soda Maria swallowed and then nodded. “Touching....uh....sounds good. Do you want to start now?” She shifted on the bed and placed her drink on the nightstand and nervously started playing with the hem of her top.

“Now’s good.” He placed his own drink on the nightstand before climbing onto the bed next to her. He lay on his side facing her and gestured for her to do the same which she did. Moving in closer he slowly began to kiss her and Maria was soon responding and kissing him back just as passionately. While he was kissing her he brought a hand up to her cheek and stroked it softly, letting it trail down to her jaw, her neck and then her collarbone. She wasn’t objecting in the slightest to any of his touches and finally he took the plunge and let his fingers graze gently over one of her breasts. He felt her gasp into his mouth but she didn’t object and just continued sucking on his tongue.

Maria loved the feeling of Michael’s hand on her skin and the way he was moving so slowly was perfect. The situation felt so completely natural that she could let herself believe this was happening for real and wasn’t something else. His fingers were stroking over the exposed part of her breast peeking out from her top and she gasped at the tingles that were shooting up and down her body. She brought one of her arms up and wrapped it around his neck before tangling her fingers through his soft hair. They reluctantly broke the kiss in order that they could breathe in some much needed air and the only sound in the room was their heavy breathing.

“Was that okay? I didn’t move too fast for you did I?” Michael asked her, his hand cupping her cheek.

“It was more than okay. It felt really.....it felt good. What should I do to you? I mean, in this situation what would a girl do to the guy while he’s touching her?”

He leaned in and captured her lower lip between his lips and sucked on it before tugging it gently. “What you were doing was fine. You can play with the hair at the nape of the guy’s neck or scrape your nails against his scalp or you could run your hands up and down his back.”

“Uh huh. I just wanna say that I...I really appreciate you helping me like this. I don’t feel like such a freak now that I’ve at least had my first kiss.”

He nodded and placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’m glad I could help. And you’re not a freak just because you’ve never been kissed before. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel that way.”

“That’s easier said than done,” she told him giving him a soft smile. Pausing for a moment she then added, “Um Michael, do you think we could....er...maybe....”

“Just say it Maria. I agreed to help you so just say whatever you want to and we’ll take it from there okay?”

“Okay. Well, I was going to ask if we could do some more touching. Maybe go a little....go a little further this time?”

“Are you sure? We don’t have to rush things and do it all in one night.” Realising what that sounded like he quickly added, “Not that I’m expecting you to want to do <i>that</i> with me.”

She leaned in and kissed his cheek. “I know what you meant. Lets just move things a little further along and see how it goes.” He smiled and nodded in response. “Hey Michael, were you babbling just then?” she teased.

“I’m going to refuse to answer that on the grounds that it might incriminate me,” he joked before his expression turned a little more serious and he turned them slightly so that Maria was laying on her back and he was half on top of her. Seeing the trusting look in her eyes he smiled again and lowered his head to kiss her lips once more. This time she took the lead and parted his lips with her tongue and once she had slipped it inside the hot cavern of his mouth she let it explore every crevice. Breaking the kiss he kissed down her jaw until he reached the soft skin of her neck and proceeded to suck and nibble on the flesh.

Moaning in pleasure, Maria’s hands flew to each side of Michael’s head and holding him in place she shivered when she felt him lick over the area he had been sucking furiously. Remembering his words from earlier she raked her nails against his scalp and felt his moan reverberate through her and she smiled broadly, happy that she could elicit the same feelings in him as he was with her. She also couldn’t fail to notice the evidence of his arousal pressing against her thigh which was further proof that he was enjoying this as much as she was.

Moving to suck on the other side of Maria’s neck, Michael brought one of his hands up and placed it over one of her breasts and he held it there for a moment to see what her reaction would be. The next thing he knew her hand was covering his and squeezing it gently and he complied with her silent request and began massaging and kneading her breast. He wasn’t able to feel much of her and he put this down to the padding of her bra so stopping what he was doing he pulled back and looked into her face. Her skin was flushed, her eyes were closed and she was biting her bottom lip in what seemed like concentration while one of her hands was running up and down his back. He couldn’t remember ever having seen anything so beautiful.

Sensing him watching her, she opened her eyes and stared straight into the rich chocolate pools of his eyes and she gave him a crooked smile. Bringing her free hand up she caressed his cheek with her fingers before hooking her hand around his neck and pulling him down to crush his lips to hers. He had wanted to say something but she seemed to suck the words right out of his mouth. It was when his hand once again touched her breast that he remembered what he was going to ask and he again pulled back despite her objection.

“Maria, do you.....uh....still want to move this further now?” He couldn’t believe how husky his voice sounded but he didn’t care. Right now he didn’t care about anything except what they were doing and how she was making him feel. He never would have thought that this young girl, a girl he considered a sister, could evoke such strong feelings in him.

“Yes Michael, I do. Did you have anything specific in mind?” she asked as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Uh....yeah. I was wondering if you could.....that is if you want to....take off your bra.” He suddenly felt the years melt away making him feel like an awkward teenager again.

She blushed self-consciously before gently pushing him over on the bed so she could sit up. “Oh....uh....why?”

“It’s just that I can’t really feel you through the padding and if you want to know what it feels like to be touched, then it’s probably best if you take it off.” He reasoned and seeing her hesitation he added, “You don’t have to take your top off yet if you don’t want to. Just do whatever you feel comfortable with, we can stop any time you want to.”

Releasing a deep breath, Maria unfastened her bra and slipped it off from under her top and let it fall to the floor. She had always been self-conscious about her breasts, feeling that they were too small compared to what some of her friends were endowed with. Keeping her top on for the time being made her feel much more comfortable. Laying back among the pillows she closed her eyes and let herself relax again.

“Are you okay?”

“Uh huh.” She reached out a hand and traced his lips with her index finger and gasped when he caught the digit between his lips and nibbled on it before letting his tongue swirl around it. Slowly removing the finger from his mouth she grabbed a fistful of his T-shirt and pulled him back on top of her and leaning up slightly she captured his lips with hers and kissed him hard.

Michael stroked his fingers over her cheek before again finding his hand resting on her breast and this time he kneaded and massaged the soft flesh without any hesitation. Her hard little nipple was proof enough for him that he was doing something very right and he loved how her breast fit easily into the palm of his hand.

“Ohmigod! Don’t stop....please don’t stop,” she panted after they had pulled apart. As she sucked on his Adam’s apple she let her hands roam his back pulling up his T-shirt as she went, desperate to feel his skin.

He was feeling the same way and he let his hand move down from her breast to play with the hem of her top before slipping underneath. They both gasped at the sensation of his hand cupping her naked breast.

Maria loved the feel of his slightly rough calloused hand touching her and she wanted more. For some reason unknown to her she didn’t feel self-conscious anymore and wanted more but wasn’t sure how to go about getting it. Tugging on his T-shirt Michael stopped sucking on her neck and looked into the emeralds of her eyes.

“What? Whaat is it?” He panted, his hand still gently massaging her.

“I....um....I want to feel you,” she told him shyly.

“Huh?”

“I want to feel your skin against mine. I want to know what it feels like.”

Moving off of her he knelt beside her on the bed and ran his hands through his hair. “I don’t know Maria. Maybe we’re moving too fast too soon. We’ve got another couple of days with Kyle gone so we don’t have to worry about being sprung. I don’t want you to end up regretting this.”

She shifted in the bed so she was propped up a little more against the pillows. “I’ll never regret this Michael. Do you honestly think I would let anyone else touch me like this so soon? You’re the only person I trust enough to feel comfortable doing this when I’ve never done it before.”

“Then why were you so nervous when I suggested you taking your bra off, huh? I wouldn’t have minded if you’d said you wanted to stop things there or.....”

“I wasn’t nervous, I was....I’ve always hated the fact I’m so under developed in the chest area. I just felt self-conscious about you seeing me without the Wonderbra on. I saw the way you looked at me when I arrived tonight. You couldn’t take your eyes off my cleavage.”

He smirked at her. “Only because I was trying to work out if they really were bigger tonight or if I was imagining it. And I don’t think you’re too small at all. They’re perfectly in proportion with your frame and besides it filled my hand nicely.”

She blushed at his words and looked away from him. His fingers under her chin directed her to look back at him. “I’m serious Maria, you’ve got nothing to worry about on that score.”

“Thank you for saying that.”

“You’re welcome,” he told her sitting beside her and putting an arm around her shoulders. “How about we leave things here and pick up tomorrow evening, if you’re free that is?”

“Sure, that sounds good. Are you working again tomorrow?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I’ve got the morning shift and then I’m hanging out with a couple of the guys in the afternoon. Do you want to come around about seven again?”

“Seven should be fine. I guess I’d better be going huh.”

“Yeah, I guess so. I’ll walk you to your car.”

Giving him a smile she got up off the bed and slipped on her sandals and remembered to pick up her discarded bra off the floor. Michael pushed his feet into his sneakers without untying the laces and taking her by the hand he led her back into the living room area where she put her fleece jacket on and quickly stuffed the bra into her bag.

Opening the door he scanned the area to see if any of his neighbours were around and seeing that there weren’t he opened the door a little wider and let her exit first. They walked in silence to where she had parked the car and they reached their destination after a couple of minutes.

After unlocking the car Maria turned to face him and giving him a soft smile said, “So, I’ll see you tomorrow night then.”

Michael smiled back at her. “Yeah, you will. Would you do me a favour and call me as soon as you’ve arrived home? I just want to make sure you got there okay.”

“I’ll be fine but if it will make you feel better I’ll call you.”

“Thanks.” He had a sudden urge to kiss her lips but he resisted it and instead leaned forward and kissed her cheek. Opening her door he gestured for her to get in and she did so, buckling her seat belt once she’d tossed her bag onto the passenger seat.

After saying goodbye Michael watched as she drove away and he gave her a wave before walking back to his place. He had enjoyed Maria’s first lesson and he had to admit that he couldn’t wait to see her again the following night and pick up where they had left off.

Just under ten minutes later Maria arrived home and after greeting her parents who were watching a late night movie in the living room, she went up to her bedroom and dialled Michael’s number. He picked up on the second ring. “Hey, it’s me.”

“Hey you. You got home okay then?”

“Duh, would I be phoning if I didn’t? Sorry, I retract that last comment. I’m glad you care about me enough to worry.”

“I do care.” He coughed, trying to relieve his voice of its sudden husky tone. “Anyway, I’ll let you get to bed. Sweet dreams Maria.”

“You too Michael. See you tomorrow.”

After they hung up Maria quickly washed up and changed into her PJ’s before climbing into her bed. She couldn’t stop her mind replaying that night’s events and as she slowly succumbed to sleep her dreams were filled with Michael.


*********


Chapter Five

The next morning Maria entered the CrashDown carrying a few boxes of desserts that her mom had made for the diner and seeing Liz at the counter she smiled warmly at her friend. “Hey Liz, how’s it going?”

“Oh hey Maria. It hasn’t been too bad so far but I’ve probably just jinxed things by saying that. Oooh I see your mom’s been busy,” she said as she observed the boxes before taking them from her.

“Tell me about it. Poor Jim’s hand is red raw from all the slapping it’s taken due to her evil wooden spoon. Every time he’s reached for a slice of pie, down comes the spoon.”

Liz laughed before carrying the desserts into the kitchen to set up on display plates. While her back was turned Maria took the opportunity of looking through the serving window to see if she could spot Michael working. She bit back a smile when she saw him but suddenly, as if he could sense her staring, he turned and looked straight at her. Their eyes seemed to lock and it was only Liz’s voice that broke the spell.

“Maria? Hello, are you listening to me?”

Blinking quickly, Maria nodded. “Sorry Liz, what were you saying?”

“I was asking if you wanted to go and see a movie with me tonight?”

“Oh, I’d really like to but I’v….er....I’ve got to help my Mom with something,” she told her, wishing she could kick herself for the lame excuse she had come up with.

“What are you helping her with?” Liz asked curiously.

“I’m not sure….I mean she hasn’t told me what it is, just that she needs me to help her.”

“Oh okay. Maybe some other time then. We definitely should do something before we leave for college though. I can’t believe we’re going to be separated.”

Placing her hand over Liz’s which was resting on the counter top she smiled. “I know, it’s weird to think that for the first time in our lives we’re going to be apart. But at least we can keep in touch by phone and e-mail and we’ll see each other during the holidays.”

“Yeah, but it won’t be the same without you there. I’m really going to miss you, Maria.”

“I’ll miss you too. Hey, why don’t we plan a night out for before we leave? The whole gang can get together before we all head our separate ways.”

“That’s a great idea. Do you want to meet up tomorrow and start arranging something?”

“Sure. Come over to my place about one-thirty and we can have lunch while working out the details.”

“Okay, I will.” Seeing a big group of customers suddenly walk into the diner Liz groaned. “I knew I spoke too soon. I’ll see you later Maria.”

“Bye Liz.” Before turning to leave she looked through the serving window again but only saw Michael’s back. She stood there watching for a moment, wondering if he would turn around again but when he didn’t she made her way towards the door and left.

Michael turned and seeing her exiting the door quickly called out, “Jose, I’m taking a break.” before practically running out the back door and heading towards the parking lot.

Feeling a hand on her shoulder Maria swung around ready to punch out whoever was touching her and she breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing who it was. “Hey, what’s up? What are you doing out here?”

“I just wanted to say hi and.…uh.…to see if we’re still on for tonight.” The last part of his sentence was almost a whisper.

“Oh, well hi to you too and yes, if it’s still okay for you.” She answered smiling at him.

“Yep, it’s still okay for me. So what are you up to now?”

“I’ve got a few errands to run and then I’m heading over to the video store. I’m thinking I might have me a date with Brad Pitt,” she joked.

“I wish I could go with you. Not that I particularly want to see Brad myself but I’d rather be watching movies than slaving over a hot grill. I’d better get back inside before Jose remembers I’ve already had my break. I’ll....er....see you tonight.” He said and suddenly found himself lowering his head so he could kiss her lips, as if it was the most natural thing for him to do. Realising what he was doing before it was too late, he straightened his back and smiled shyly at her before quickly turning and jogging back towards the diner.

Maria couldn’t help feeling confused as she watched him go back inside. She could sense he was about to kiss her and while she had really wanted him to, she was a bit surprised that he would attempt to do it where anyone could walk by and see them. Oh well, she had tonight to look forward to and she couldn’t help grinning as a rush of images of the two of them suddenly ran through her mind as she drove out of the parking lot.


*********


Back inside the diner Michael leaned back against the door he had just walked through, closed his eyes and then banged his head on the door a couple of times, trying to knock some sense into himself. He couldn’t believe he had almost kissed her....and on the lips this time. While he had known that things would change between him and Maria if he was to help her with her plan, he didn’t realise how quickly it would happen. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her after she had gone home and he was left alone in his apartment, painfully hard. Before going to bed he had taken another shower, relieving himself of the problem whilst in there. He couldn’t help the low moan that escaped his lips at the thought of Maria doing that for him. Suddenly, the thought of moving things forward looked good......very good indeed.


*********


Flicking off the TV Maria rolled over on her bed and stretched. She had just finished watching the gorgeous Mr Pitt in Meet Joe Black which was one of her favourite movies. He looked so good in the suit he wore and she closed her eyes savouring the image when all of a sudden Brad was replaced by Michael wearing a black suit. Damn! He looked way better in black. Giggling she got out of bed and headed over to her wardrobe to start getting her outfit together for later.

There was a knock at her bedroom door and she called out, “Come in.”

Amy Deluca entered her daughter’s bedroom and gave her what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “Sweetie, can we sit down for a moment? I have something I need to tell you.”

Sensing something was wrong, she asked, “What is it, Mom? Is everything okay?”

“I just got a call from a hospital in Tucson. Nana Deluca has had a fall and her ankle is broken. Jim and I are going to drive there tonight and stay with her for a few days until your Auntie Rose gets back from her trip. The hospital are keeping her in overnight just to keep an eye on her but they’re releasing her first thing in the morning so we need to be there for that.”

“Are they sure she’s okay?”

“She’s fine sweetie except for being a little shaken up. Apparently she was up a ladder cleaning some windows when she lost her footing. Rose and I have told her about climbing ladders at her age.”

“I know. Let me just grab a bag and I’ll pack some stuff for the trip.”

“Actually, I think it’s best if it’s just Jim and I that drive there tonight. I promise you Nana is fine and there’s nothing for you to worry about. Why don’t you see if you can spend the night at a friend’s place? Liz’s?”

“Okay, sure.” She agreed.

“Okay, I’ll call you there when we arrive.” Amy told her smiling softly.

Panicking at her mother’s words Maria replied, “Actually, I.....um....I think I’ll call another friend.”

“Oh okay, who?”

Racking her brain for a name she quickly said, “Mic....Michelle.” She bit her lip to stop herself from laughing at the thought of Michael finding out he’d been re-named Michelle for the night.

“Michelle? I don’t think I’ve met her, have I?”

She shook her head. “No.....uh.....she and her family have just moved here.”

“Well try and have fun and I’ll call you tomorrow morning and let you know how Nana is doing.”

“Thanks Mom. I’ll have my cell switched on for you. Give Nana my love and tell her I’ll see her soon.”

Amy stood up and gave Maria a big hug. “I will. Oh, we haven’t rung Kyle with the news......we didn’t want to spoil his vacation. He should be back home tomorrow afternoon so can you give him the news?”

“Of course I will. I’ll see you and Jim before you go.”

Giving her a kiss on the forehead and a smile, Amy left Maria’s room and went into her room to pack some clothes for her and Jim.

In her room Maria was also packing a bag ready for her overnight stay at “Michelle’s” house.


*********


Michael was running late. He had just arrived home after playing basketball with a couple of his old high school friends and was now in the shower preparing for Maria’s next lesson. Just the thought of her was sending all the blood in his body rushing to a particular area and he groaned before quickly rinsing the soap off his body and then switching the water to freezing cold which was helping to relieve his predicament before it got too out of control.

Quickly drying off and getting dressed, he was just finishing changing the sheets on the bed when he heard the knock on his door. Taking a deep breath he walked over and opened it, smiling at the blonde pixie in front of him.

“Hey, come on in.” He watched as she entered and he found himself staring at her again. She was wearing a short black mini skirt and a tight black button down shirt which didn’t quite meet the waistband of the skirt and as a result was showing an expanse of her skin. Her long hair was piled up on top of her head with some kind of clip and he had a sudden urge to release it so her hair would tumble down around her shoulders.

“Thanks Michael. Where should I....um....put this?” she asked indicating her bag.

“What’s in that? You planning a trip somewhere?” he teased when he saw the way the bag was bulging.

“Kind of. If you have no objections I thought I could stay over here tonight. Mom and Jim have had to go to Tucson to be with Nana. She fell and broke her ankle earlier today.”

Michael quickly closed the front door and moving closer to her gave her a hug. “Is she okay? Maybe we should just forget about tonight.” He took a seat on the couch and pulled her down beside him.

“She’s fine. I offered to go with them to see her but Mom said it would be better for just the two of them to go. Nana is staying in the hospital tonight and Mom and Jim are going to stay with her until Auntie Rose is back to take care of her. She suggested I go and stay at Liz’s tonight but I figured staying with you would be more.....educational.” She gave him a wink and he burst out laughing.

“Staying with me is fine but what happens if Amy calls Liz’s place to speak to you?”

“I thought of that so I told her I would be staying with my new friend who has just moved to the area and who I haven’t even introduced to Liz yet. Mom said she’ll call me in the morning to let me know how Nana is so I just have to leave my cell on.” she told him.

“Looks like you’ve thought of everything. So does this new friend have a name?”

Ignoring his question Maria asked, “So where should I leave my bag? I don’t think I should leave it out here in case someone drops by.”

“We’ll take it into my bedroom. So what name did you give to your mom?” He asked intrigued.

“Michelle,” she mumbled under her breath.

“What?”

Giving him what she hoped was an innocent look she said, “It’s all I could come up with on such short notice. Besides, it is the female equivalent of the name Michael?”

To her relief he started laughing. “Okay fine, I’ll give you that.” After the laughter had died down they sat there, the expressions on their faces having turned serious. “So....uh.....what do you want to do now?”

“How about we go into your room and take up where we left off last night?”

Michael cleared his throat before answering, “That....uh.....that sounds good.” Standing up he offered her his hand which she took and picking up her bag they headed towards his bedroom. Once there he dropped her bag on the floor and they stood in front of each other just looking into each others eyes. He released her hand before getting onto the bed and he frowned when Maria didn’t do the same. “Is something wrong?”

“Kind of. What was the last thing I said to you before we ended the lesson last night?”

Knowing exactly what she was getting at he decided to tease her a little. “I’m not sure I remember, Maria. Maybe you need to jog my memory.”

“Uh huh. Well, I said I wanted to know what it felt like to have your skin touching mine but you got all shy and didn’t want to take your shirt off.”

“That’s not true. I just didn’t want you to feel pressured into moving too fast that’s all.”

“Oh so you do remember.”

“It’s starting to come back.” He smirked.

“Will you take your shirt off this time, Michael?” she asked shyly.

“If you really want me to I will.” She nodded and in response he moved down the bed to sit at the foot of it, directly in front of where she was standing. “Okay then.” He slowly started to unbutton his dark blue shirt and he bit back a smile at hearing her gasp as his naked chest came into view. When it was completely undone he left it on, waiting for her to make the next move which she did after moving closer to him.

Tentatively she reached out a hand to stroke his chest and placing his hands on her hips he pulled her closer still.

“If you want the shirt off, then I think you should be the one to do it.” He told her, enjoying the feel of her fingers caressing his skin and he couldn’t help closing his eyes as her hand moved over his breast bone before moving to circle a nipple.

Maria bit her lip as she pushed the shirt off his shoulders and she then brought both hands up to massage his shoulders, moving them higher to entangle in his unruly hair.

Shrugging out of the garment Michael threw it over the edge of the bed to land on the floor as he let himself fall backwards onto the bed and he pulled her down on top of him. She maneuvered herself so she was holding herself above him with her hands on either side of him on the bed, their lips only millimetres apart. Pushing up slightly he captured her lips with his and kissed her slow and deep, slipping his tongue inside to slide against hers. Raising his hands he released the clip holding her hair up and the mass of long blonde curls tumbled down. He let his hands wander all over her back and he groaned at the fact that she was still fully dressed.

“What’s wrong?” She asked him breathlessly before licking her lips.

“Nothing except that you’re overdressed. You still want to know what it feels like to have your skin touching mine?”

“Yeah,” she whispered seductively. She couldn’t help wonder where that voice had come from, never having sounded like that before.

“Okay then.” Flipping them over so that he was now on top, he gave her a soft kiss before slowly beginning to unbutton her shirt. He couldn’t contain the moan that passed his lips when he realised she wasn’t wearing a bra and looking into her eyes he saw them twinkle with mischief.

“I figured it would save time,” she told him and he chuckled in response.

“Good thinking.” Moving to lay beside her he pushed the now open shirt wide apart and, as he did so, his eyes became fixated on her pert breasts and he circled one with his forefinger. Her nipples were already hard and he traced over one with the same finger and smiled at her breathy moan. “Are you okay Maria?”

She nodded. “Uh huh....better than okay. I can’t believe how good that feels.”

“What else do you want me to show you?” He asked moving over her again.

“Well....er....what else would you do to a girl in this situation?” She raked her fingernails against his scalp before moving her hand lower and rubbing it back and forth over the back of his neck.

Instead of answering her verbally he decided to show her. It was after all what she had said she wanted when she requested his help. Lowering his head he kissed her forehead followed by the tip of her nose and then each of her cheeks before arriving at her lips where he again kissed her thoroughly. He couldn’t help smiling at her cry of displeasure when he broke the kiss but she quietened down as he began kissing her jaw and then moved to suck on her neck and onwards to her collarbone.

Maria’s eyes were closed and she was holding her breath as she felt him moving further downwards, planting kisses all along the way. She couldn’t help feeling amazed at the way Michael was making her feel just by having him pressing her into the mattress and dropping gentle kisses all over her. Her skin was tingling all over. One of her hands was playing with his hair while her other was stroking over his shoulders and when she felt the wet warmth of his mouth surround one of her nipples she dug her fingernails into his shoulder and moaned loudly. “Ohmigod! Ohmigod!.....That feels incredible.....”

He smiled at her words and as he continued suckling her breast, swirling his tongue around and around the hard little nubbin, he brought his other hand up to cup her other breast before pinching the nipple and he reveled in the moans and gasps Maria was making. After a few moments he switched to her other breast and as he did so he let one of his hands wander down to stroke her bare thigh. He was so hard that it was actually bordering on painful and shifting slightly he rubbed himself against the mattress trying to alleviate the pressure.

A short while later, after having switched back and forth a few times between her breasts, Michael moved himself up so his face was above Maria’s. “How are you feeling?” He panted, his breath hot on her face.

“Amazing. I never thought it....it would feel like this....that I could feel like this. Thank you for showing me.” She pushed herself up to rest on her elbows and using her tongue traced a path around his lips before kissing him softly. Their tongues intertwined, their teeth occasionally clacking together. Pulling apart they once more gazed into each others eyes while they let their hands wander over one another.

Releasing a deep moan when her hand brushed over his throbbing erection, she quickly took her hand away thinking that she had hurt him. “Oh god, I’m sorry.”

“No Maria, it’s not you. Well it kind of is you in that you’re the reason I’m like this,” he told her raising an eyebrow. She blushed at hearing his words and he cupped her cheek in his palm. “I’m gonna have to....um.....take care of this so why don’t we leave things here tonight.” As he made to move off her she grabbed his arm and stopped him.

“No, I don’t want to. Kyle’s going to be home tomorrow and us meeting up is going to really difficult after that.”

“Yeah, I know but we shouldn’t rush things for that reason.”

“I agree but I don’t think we’re rushing things. This feels so....natural. At least it does for me.”

Kissing the tip of her nose he said, “It feels natural to me too Maria. Let me just go and take care of my....uh....problem and we can talk about what you want to do next.”

She shook her head. “I’ve got a better idea, why don’t I….I mean, I could help take care of you if you want. You could show me what to do....how you like to be touched.....” She lowered her eyes and quickly added, “I mean how guys in general like to be touched.”

Michael audibly gulped. “Are you sure about this? If we do this things are going to be very different between us.”

“They already are different between us Michael and you know something? I don’t care. I’ve always felt so insecure about myself and since we started this I don’t. You make me....you make me feel beautiful and special.”

He lowered his head and kissed her long and hard before telling her, “That’s because you are special and very beautiful. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I won’t.” Wrapping her arms around his neck she pulled him down and could feel his hard length pressing into her thigh and she writhed against him, making him hiss with pleasure. “Show me what to do,” she breathed against his lips.


*********


Chapter Six

Even though he was tired Michael couldn’t sleep. As he looked over at a sleeping Maria, whose head was resting on the adjacent pillow, he couldn’t help smiling as the events of earlier that night ran through his mind. Lost in thought, he froze as she suddenly moved closer to him, pillowing her head on his chest and throwing an arm across his waist as she snuggled into him.

Letting himself revel in the feel of her warm body pressed against his for a few moments, he found himself frowning as he realised that their positions right at that moment were too intimate, too lover-like. They weren’t lovers, not really, not in the true sense of the word, and he needed to remember that but having her touch him, using her soft, delicate hands on him, it was all too easy to forget...

“Show me what to do.”

Audibly groaning at her whispered words, he had started to shake his head no. This was too soon. It felt too soon for this to be happening but it also felt right at the same time. He was so hard and was feeling desperate for some relief but the question was could he let her do this for him?

“Michael? I want to do this...if we stop now and do it another night it’ll feel forced. I thought we agreed that this feels natural.”

“Yeah, we did but...I don’t know Maria. It just feels too soon. It’s only been a couple days since you first asked me to help you and now you’re offering to...what exactly are you offering to do?”

“I don’t know seeing as I’ve never done any of this stuff before. Why don’t we start off by you showing me exactly what...um...you do in this situation?” Knowing he wouldn’t make a move to touch her first, she lifted her thigh and deliberately rubbed it against his hardness which once again elicited a deep growl from Michael’s throat.

“God! Maria...”

“What?” She asked in all innocence.

Looking into the deep emerald pools of her eyes he saw them sparkle with mischief and he realised that although she was the same girl he had grown up with, she was also a beautiful young woman who was determined to learn about sex. She was offering to help him as much as he was going to be helping her so who was he to refuse?

“You know this’ll change things between us, don’t you?”

“Of course I do, Michael. We’re going to be doing what I asked you to teach me.”

“Yeah but I’m not just talking about the physical stuff, I mean it’s going to change things emotionally too.” He inwardly groaned. Where the hell was all this coming from?

Giggling, Maria bit her lip to stop herself laughing even louder. “Awww! Hey, do you and Kyle have these kind of conversations about your feelings?” she teased.

Moving his hands to her waist, he started tickling her and couldn’t help laughing at the way she was writhing and screeching. “Come here you little witch...”

“No! Stop it...please...I’m sorry...please...”

“Take it back and then I’ll stop.”

Rolling her head from side to side she tried evading his fingers as they elicited a tickling torture on her body. “Okay! Okay! I take it back.....you and Kyle don’t have girlie chats about your feelings...stop...pleeeease...”

Ceasing the torture, he shifted down the bed a little and ran his hands over her waist, soothing the areas where he had tickled her. As he looked up into her face he saw her eyes darken and her tongue come out to wet her lips. Not able to resist he moved up and covered her lips with his, kissing her softly. He felt her arms come up and wrap around his neck before she pulled him down on top of her. The next thing he knew she had flipped them over and was now straddling his waist.

Breaking the kiss he gave her a smirk before asking, “How did you manage to do that?”

Laughing softly at his question, she replied, “I’ll have you know I’m surprisingly strong.” Without thinking she lowered herself to rest her bottom on his thighs and gasped when she came into direct contact with his erection and quickly moved up again.

“Oh god...Mariaaa!” Groaning at the contact, he looked up at her feeling out of control. He knew that their current position was too much of a temptation for him so he maneuvered them so that she was now laying beside him. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her; her skin was flushed, her hair was tousled and her lips were swollen from their kisses.

“Michael? You okay?” Maria asked concerned.

Smiling at her, he replied, “Yeah, just taking a moment.”

She smiled back at him. “So, what should I do?”

Thinking for a second, he said, “We could...um...get undressed but only if you feel comfortable with doing that.”

Maria hesitated for a split second before nodding yes. “Okay.” Moving off the bed she slipped the already unbuttoned shirt off her shoulders letting it drop to the floor and then placed her fingers on the side zipper of her skirt.

“Wait!”

“What? I’m doing something wrong, aren’t I?” She asked nervously.

“Huh? No, don’t ever think that,” he told her as he swung his legs over the side of the bed to sit in front of her. “Maria, there is no wrong and right with this. It’s just...uh...if it’s okay with you...uh...could I undress you?”

Surprised at hearing his question, she stared at him for a moment before breaking out into a grin. “It’s more than okay, Michael.” Taking his hands in hers she placed them on the waistband of her skirt and she watched as he slowly lowered the zipper and helped slide the garment off her hips. Once it fell to the floor she stepped out of it and kicked it to the side.

It was Michael’s turn to stare at Maria now as she stood before him in only a pair of black silk and lace panties. Pulling her closer, he nuzzled his face in the soft skin of her stomach before placing a wet sucking kiss there which made her giggle. Drawing back a little he watched as she toed her sneakers off and then moved back towards him.

“It’s my turn now, right?” She asked, her head cocked to the side and one eyebrow raised.

“Yeah, it is,” he told her standing up from the bed. Repeating her earlier action, he took her hands in his and placed them on the top button of his jeans and, looking into her eyes, he watched as she bit her lip before slowly starting to unbutton them. He desperately wanted to close his eyes and savour the sensation but he forced himself to keep them open. Once the jeans were unbuttoned Michael helped her push them down and taking a seat on the bed, he watched as she bent down and removed his sneakers and socks and then pulled his jeans off the rest of the way.

Standing back up and looking at his black boxers Maria couldn’t resist saying, “Hey, we’re colour co-ordinated.”

Michael laughed and grabbing her hand he pulled her to sit down beside him on the bed. The smile left his face as he let his eyes wander all over her body and he couldn’t believe that this was the same girl he’d always been so overprotective of. “I know I keep asking you this Maria, but it’s just that I need to know. Are you absolutely sure you want to go through with this?”

Bringing one of her hands up, Maria caressed his cheek before running her thumb back and forth along his cheekbone. “Yes, I’m positive. I’m not going to regret this, I promise.”

“Okay then.” Turning his head he kissed her palm and then grabbed her, flipping her over so she was now lying flat on her back on the bed. He couldn’t help laughing at the loud gasp she made at his sudden movement. Before she could utter a word, he was lying half on top of her kissing her senseless.

Maria’s hands came up to tangle in his hair and he kissed a path from her lips to her neck where he sucked hard. In the back of his mind he knew he couldn’t mark her because of the questions it would raise if certain people saw her bruised skin. The noises she was making were turning him on even more and he couldn’t help rubbing his body against hers and the strangled “Oh god” that left her mouth made him do it again.

Raising himself up to rest on his forearms he looked into her half-closed eyes and felt his blood spike up a few more degrees at their darkened colour. He pushed the sudden thought that he could kiss her forever to the back of his mind and tried to ignore it. Seeing the beautiful smile on her face, he smiled back at her before lowering himself and capturing her lips once again. She felt so good underneath him with her hard little nipples pressing into his chest and one of her long legs hooked over his hip. Without knowing exactly how she’d done it, he found himself on his back with her draped all over him, her lips a hair’s breadth away from his. Their eyes locked on each other and a second later his whole body arched upwards as he felt one of her small hands take a firm hold of his throbbing erection through his boxers.

“Is that okay?” she asked breathlessly as she continued to look into his eyes. He could only nod in response as he felt her stroke him slowly. What he wouldn’t give to feel her skin on his without any restrictions and just as that thought made itself known, he felt her hand slip under the waistband and he gasped with pleasure at the sensation of her soft skin moving up and down. For someone with no experience she was doing great and seemed to just know how firm her grip should be.

Maria raised up on her knees beside Michael while her hand kept pumping him slowly. Wetting her lips, she gestured to the boxers and asked, “Could I...erm...take them off?”

He nodded eagerly while his hands clenched the bed sheets and he couldn’t help the groan that passed his lips as she released her grip on him so she could slowly pull his boxers off. Once she had thrown the garment on the floor, she couldn’t help staring at his hardened length and, as if in a trance, she reached out a hand to touch it like she had before.

Michael’s breath was coming in pants as her hand moved up and down at a torturously slow pace before circling the head and spreading the moisture that had gathered there. “Oh god...Maria...Maria...faster...do it faster...” he instructed. Taking a moment to look at him, she smiled before doing as he asked and increasing the pace. She kept her eyes on his face and watched as it contorted in pleasure. Pleasure that she was providing him with.

The pressure was building stroke by delicious stroke and he didn’t know how much longer he’d last. His grip on the sheets became tighter and he thought he heard himself scream as she alternated between stroking him and fondling his balls. All thoughts left his mind as he concentrated on the feel of her slick hand moving back and forth and he couldn’t help closing his eyes as the sensation became too much. With a final shout of her name, he came all over her hand. His breathing ragged, he took deep breaths to calm his racing heart and opening his eyes slowly, he was greeted by the sight of Maria licking her fingers as she watched him. Despite having just cum, he felt himself stiffen again at her actions. He made to sit up but she quickly placed a hand on his chest stopping him.

“Where are you going?” she asked nervously.

Giving her what he hoped was a reassuring smile, he said, “Nowhere. I was just gonna grab some tissues and...uh...clean up a little.”

“Oh okay,” she replied before adding nervously, “I could do that...if you want me to that is.”

“You don’t have to, Maria.”

“I know but I...uh...I want to.”

He nodded at her and feeling her shift on the bed, he expected her to lean over him to grab some tissues from the box on his nightstand but instead she shifted further down in the bed and tossing her hair to one side, she leaned down and licked the tip of his shaft.

One of Michael’s hands went back to gripping the sheets while his other rested on the back of Maria’s head as she used her tongue to circle the head of his c*ck. “Ooh...oh...Maria...wh...what are you doing?” he panted.

Looking up at him from her position, she released him from her mouth and replied, “Erm...I just figured we should keep going...I mean keep the lesson going, if you want to?” While she anxiously waited for him to speak, she kept up a slow pumping motion which made him stiffen even more. When a few moments had passed, Maria released her hold on him and started to move away. “I...I guess that’s a no then.”

Michael quickly sat up and reached for her hand to stop her leaving. “What? No, I’m sorry. Don’t go...please.” Placing his hand under her chin, he raised her face to his and gave her a gentle smile. “This whole thing’s just...it’s pretty confusing, you know. What you were doing felt so good but then I felt guilty for feeling that way. I mean, you’re my best friend’s little sister and until a few days ago I thought of you like my own little sister.”

Rubbing her thumb back and forth across the knuckles of his hand which was still in hers, she sighed. “I thought we’d already dealt with that stuff earlier. If this is too weird, then we can sto...”

“That’s the thing, Maria. It should feel weird but it...it doesn’t,” he admitted. “But I still think we’re going too fast too soon.”

Maria couldn’t help smiling at Michael’s comment about it not feeling weird for him. “It doesn’t feel weird to me either. If things are moving too fast for you, what do you suggest we do?” she asked.

Thinking about it for a minute or two, he replied, “Well, sex isn’t just about what you do to the other person. It’s about receiving pleasure as well as giving it so how about I show you how good you made me feel?” She nodded yes and he couldn’t help smirking at the way she shivered in what he took to be a mixture of nerves and anticipation. Pulling her as close as possible, he reached up and cupped her cheek in his palm before drawing her in for a kiss which started out soft and sweet but soon turned hot and passionate.

Without breaking the kiss, Maria followed as Michael laid back amongst the pillows and she once again found herself stradding his waist. He wound his fingers in her hair holding her face to his as he devoured her lips while his other hand palmed one of her breasts.

Maria regretfully broke the kiss so that she could breathe in some air and leaned her forehead against his as he continued to touch her. “Michael...” she whispered as her hands gripped his shoulders.

“Uh huh?” he said panting, just as breathless as she was.

“This feels really good.”

“I know.” The hand he was using to tease her nipples dropped to stroke her through her panties and he watched as her eyes shuttered closed and her mouth formed a perfect ‘o’. Leaning forward, he traced the outline of her lips with his tongue and it wasn’t long before her tongue came out to join with his. Lowering his head, he circled a nipple with his tongue before sucking it between his lips and then using his teeth to graze it. The response he got from Maria was such that he repeated the action a couple more times on the same breast before switching to the other.

One of Maria’s hands tangled in Michael’s hair effectively holding him in place while her other hand joined his which was still caressing her through the silk and lace of her underwear. He was driving her mad with longing and she desperately wanted to feel his fingers on her bare flesh. Without thinking, she pulled the fabric aside and released a long drawn out moan at the first contact of his skin on her lower lips.

Feeling that first contact had Michael stopping what he was doing with her breasts and looking up at her, he groaned at the intense look of concentration on her face as he intimately stroked her. She opened her eyes at that moment and watched him watching her and she smiled at him. Taking the hand he was stroking her with in hers, she placed his fingers at her entrance and he knew what she was silently asking him for. He slowly inserted two of his fingers into her moist passage and gently moved them in and out.

“Oh...oh god...yesss...”

Smiling at the knowledge that he was the one responsible for her feeling this way, he asked huskily, “Does that feel good, Maria?”

She nodded frantically before starting to move herself on his fingers. “Oh god...I...I need...uh...”

“What baby? What do you need?” He couldn’t take his eyes off her face as it contorted with pleasure and he was unable to stifle his response when she answered.

“I need more...”


*********


Chapter Seven

“I need more...”

Michael shifted his position slightly, trying not to disturb Maria, as he remembered the instant effect her words had on him.

Looking deep into Maria’s eyes he could see the blatant lust which he knew was reflected in his own eyes and he moved forward and captured her lips with his, kissing her long and hard while slipping another finger inside her.

“Yessss,” she hissed at the added sensation and when he circled her clit with his thumb she thought she’d burst with pleasure. “Ohmigod Michael!”

Smiling against her lips, he thrust his fingers at a faster pace and inwardly groaned when he felt her internal muscles clamp down on the digits. God, how good would that feel on his... He dismissed that thought as quickly as it had entered his mind and wrapping his free hand around her, he caressed her hip tracing patterns on her smooth skin. Maria’s fingernails dug that little bit harder into the skin of his shoulders and he found himself bucking his hips in response and a moment later he felt one of her hands fall between them and then begin stroking his throbbing erection.

Breaking the kiss, Michael rested his forehead against her neck and uttered her name breathlessly, “Maria.” He pressed his lips against her throat and felt her head fall backwards as she moved herself faster and faster on his fingers and he could sense she was reaching her peak. Adding a little more pressure to the little nub of nerve endings, he whispered, “I’ve got you...let it go and cum for me.”

Maria watched him intently as the feeling inside of her escalated. A few seconds later her eyes automatically closed as she couldn’t take it anymore and climaxed, her feminine muscles contracting seductively around his fingers. As she felt her heart rate and breathing calm down, she opened her eyes and smiled at him. Bringing her hands up, she cupped his face in her palms and kissed him. Slowly removing his fingers, he wrapped both arms around her waist and brought her even closer as he kissed her back. Their tongues tangled and explored each other’s mouths for what felt like an eternity.

Michael pulled back and found that he couldn’t stop staring at her face. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and as his eyes wandered lower he saw that the flushing extended to her neck and chest too. He leaned forward and placed a kiss between her breasts which caused her to shiver involuntarily.

As he slowly began to suckle one of her nipples, one of her hands came up to tangle in his hair and she scratched her nails across his scalp. She couldn’t help moaning aloud when his teeth grazed against the puckered nub of flesh. “Oh Michael...again! Do that again...”

Michael complied with her request and repeated the action before moving across and doing it to her other breast. The delicious bite of her fingernails raking across his scalp was spurring him on and he growled with lust. “Touch me,” he commanded and a split second later he felt her small hand wrap around his cock and begin pumping him. Bending his head, he watched her movements until he couldn’t take it any longer and crushed his lips to hers once again before flipping them over so he was now on top.

Maria squealed in surprise and he smirked at her. “You’re not the only one who can do that,” he told her.

“So I see,” she said wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him down towards her. “Uh...Michael, how am I doing? I mean, is what I’m doing okay?”

He stopped kissing her neck and looked into her eyes. “You’re doing way better than okay,” he replied sincerely before kissing the tip of her nose and he laughed when she scrunched it up. “I definitely still owe you for earlier on and I’m hoping it will help you discover what things you’ll like to have done to you.”

She looked at him a little confused. “What will?” she asked.

“You’ll see.” Before Maria could say anything else, he lowered his head again and kissed her lips, pulling away before it became too involved. He kissed a path down to her jaw and then her throat. The soft little moans and whispers proved he was doing all the right things and as he moved down to her neck he brought his hands into play and began kneading and massaging the soft, silky skin of her breasts. Her hands held him in place, one playing with his hair while the other caressed his back. Soon he’d moved even lower and he was now kissing and sucking on the flesh his hands had been teasing.

“Michael, please...please...” she begged.

He raised his head to look at her and he felt himself harden further at the look of rapture on her face. “Please what?”

“I...I don’t know...I’ve never felt like this before,” she confessed shyly.

Giving her a gentle smile, he replied, “It’s okay. Just relax and let me do this to you. If you don’t feel comfortable at any time I can stop...”

Maria shook her head. “No, I don’t want you to stop. Maybe you could just go slow?”

“Slow is good.” Moving back up her body, he traced his tongue around her lips before kissing her deeply for a little while to relax her again. He once more travelled down her body, placing kisses and little nips along the way. When he reached her stomach, he felt the muscles flutter under him and he planted hot, sucking kisses there. Spending a few moments there, he then intentionally ignored the part of her body still covered by her underwear, choosing instead to kiss each of her long legs in turn. Reaching her feet, he massaged them before licking and then sucking each of her dainty toes into his mouth.

Keeping his eyes trained on Maria the whole time, Michael watched her grip and twist the sheets in her hands as her arousal grew and gently placing the leg he was currently focusing on back on the bed, he kissed his way back up her body. On arriving at her panties, he looked up at her and silently asked her for permission which she gave by nodding her head. Hooking his thumbs into the sides of the garment, he slowly peeled it away and dropped it onto the floor beside the bed. He ran his hands up and down her sides as he let his eyes glance at her neatly trimmed curls covering her femininity.

Maria watched him looking at her and when he didn’t seem to be making any moves to continue things, she spoke. “Michael?”

“Uh huh?”

“Is everything, uh, okay?”

“More than okay,” he told her as he traced a pattern with his forefinger over her lower stomach. “Is this slow enough for you?”

Raising herself up to rest on her elbows, she giggled. “Uh...actually, now that you’ve asked, it...um...feels a little too slow.”

He raised an eyebrow at her admission. “Oh really? Well I guess I should remedy that, huh?” Before Maria could say anything in response, Michael bent his head and flicked his tongue lightly over her clit and she shrieked in a mixture of surprise and pleasure. Spreading her legs slightly, he lost himself as he took his time kissing her inner thighs before arriving once more at her pleasure center and by that time she was practically begging him to make her cum again. He loved the sound of her voice telling him what she wanted him to do and he could tell she was losing some of her inhibitions which was turning him on even more. To try and relieve some of the pressure in his groin he rubbed himself against the mattress.

Maria’s head was tossing back and forth on the pillows and one of her hands held Michael’s head against her as he licked her with broad strokes before suckling her clit between his lips. Her hips involuntarily raised up off the bed as she thrust herself against his mouth and a few seconds later she screamed that she was cumming. His mouth covered her sex as he drank down her juices and he then used soft, gentle strokes to lick her clean.

He felt her relax back onto the bed and after placing a kiss on her stomach, he crawled up her body until he was above her, resting on his forearms. Lowering his head, he kissed her and used his tongue to ease her lips apart. “Did you like that?” He quietly asked her after drawing back.

“Yes,” she answered in a whisper before raising up on her elbows again to kiss him back. “Thank you Michael,” she said after a few minutes had passed.

“For what?”

“For doing this with me...to me. I never thought it would feel like this and I’m so...” she tried to think of the words she wanted but couldn’t. Her mind was fuzzy with blissful pleasure.

“So what?” He prompted.

“I don’t know. I guess it’s just that I’m really comfortable with you and you’ve made it something I’ll always remember with happy thoughts. God, I must sound really dumb.”

“No, you don’t. I know I had some real doubts about this whole thing when you first asked me but I’m glad I got to be the one who shared this with you.”

Maria couldn’t help smiling at hearing his words and she kissed his nose like he did with her earlier. “So, I guess we should maybe try and get some sleep?”

Michael smirked. Yeah, as if he’d be getting any sleep tonight. “Sure, it’s pretty late. I’m just gonna go and use the bathroom.” He was hard as a rock and being so close to her wasn’t helping his problem. A cold shower was going to have to be his solution. Damn, if this kept up he was going to get pneumonia.

As he made to get up from the bed, Maria let her eyes wander down his body and she saw the reason why he would probably be going into the bathroom. “Uh...you don’t have to go in there and...um...do that, you know.”

He froze in his tracks and looked at her. “What?”

Losing her newfound confidence, she backtracked. “Oh...nothing. Nevermind. I was being stupid again.”

“Stop putting yourself down, okay? You are not stupid and I’ve never thought you were. You can tell me anything so what did you mean by what you said before?” He asked cupping her cheek in his palm and making her look at him.

“I just thought you could take care of...um...that in here.” The way he was looking at her spiked her temperature and before she lost her courage she quickly added, “I, uh, want to watch you.”

Gulping at her words, he felt his cock leap in response and without letting himself think about it he nodded yes.

Michael remembered how hot it had been touching himself while having Maria watch him as she leaned back against the pillows. He had sat in his chair at the foot of the bed and after a while he wasn’t able to stop himself closing his eyes as the pleasure mounted. A second later his eyes flew open when he felt Maria’s hand touching him too and this time when she took him into her mouth he didn’t stop her. The feel of her plump lips sliding up and down his hardened flesh while she kept her eyes trained on his face were his undoing and very soon he came down her throat. He’d felt bad about not giving her any warning but looking into her eyes, he saw that she didn’t appear disgusted. In fact, she had taken the initiative and climbing into his lap, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. The taste of himself in her mouth had driven him wild and he found himself attacking her neck...

He was pulled out of his reverie by Maria’s movements as she started to wake up. He felt her stiffen and draw back as she realised that she was practically lying on top of him and he placed a firm hand on her hip to stop her from moving away.

“Hi,” she said shyly looking up at him.

“Hey, did you sleep okay?”

“Yeah, I did. How about you?”

“Best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages,” he told her before placing a kiss on the top of her head.

She blushed at his words. “Listen, I’m sorry for practically sleeping on top of you. I must have moved during the night and...”

“There’s no need to apologise.”

Giving him a soft smile, she rested her head back down on his chest and said, “Thanks.” They lay there in a comfortable silence until Maria spoke again. “Michael, would it be okay to use your shower?”

He bit his lip to stop himself groaning at the sudden image of a wet and soapy Maria which had popped into his head. “Uh...sure. While you’re using the bathroom I could go and make us some coffee and breakfast if you want?”

“Yeah, that sounds good.” Maria was so comfortable lying in the warm bed wrapped in Michael’s arms that she didn’t want to move but she knew she had to. She had to meet Liz for lunch and then she had a shift at the Crashdown. “I guess we should get up now, huh?”

“Yeah, I guess we should.” He stroked a hand up and down her naked back without thinking anything of it. A moment later he carefully shifted her off him so he could get up and swinging his legs around to the side of the bed, he bent down and picked up his boxers from the floor and pulled them on. “There are clean towels on the shelf in the bathroom so just help yourself. I’ll go and make a start on breakfast. Is scrambled eggs and toast okay with you?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.” She smiled and watched as he pulled on his jeans and headed through the door which led him into the Evans’ house. When he was out of her sight, she turned and buried her face in his pillow breathing in his scent. Last night had been so amazing but she had been worried that things would have been really awkward the next day but so far they seemed okay...better than okay.

Grabbing the sheet off the bed, she wrapped it around herself and going over to her bag she retrieved her toiletry bag before going into his bathroom. She quickly used the facilities and then brushed her teeth. As she did so, she looked at her reflection in the mirror in front of her and noticed a red mark on her collarbone. She couldn’t help grinning knowing that Michael had specifically kept her neck mark-free so no-one would see it and ask questions. This mark would be hidden under her clothes and she raised a finger and ran it across the colour-stained skin. As soon as she’d finished brushing her teeth and rinsed her mouth, she grabbed her claw clip and pinned up her hair before turning on the shower and climbing in once it was at the right temperature.

Her mind was filled of images of the previous night as she lathered up her shower puff with her citrus shower gel and then ran it over her arms. The way Michael had kissed her was indescribable and she doubted it could be any better with another guy. He had been so gentle with her and his touches had set her on fire and she couldn’t believe how intense her climax had been. As she had come down from it, he had gently laid her back on the bed so that he was on top of her and he had then proceeded to kiss and lick every inch of her body causing her to climax again. They’d spent most of the night touching and exploring each other and her body was still tingling. She smiled as she felt herself becoming aroused again at just the memory. She was hoping that they would have time to get together again tonight just to go over what she’d learned and make sure she’d got it down. Laughing to herself at the thought, she finished rinsing herself off before turning the shower off and grabbing a towel.


*********


Michael had just finished making breakfast for the two of them and he was drinking his coffee while he waited for her to come into the kitchen. He couldn’t help wondering if maybe she’d regretted going as far as they had last night and had snuck out while he was cooking. Pouring some coffee into a mug and topping up his own, he took them into his apartment and stopped dead in his tracks at the vision in front of him. Maria was standing in his bedroom in a short towel which hit her at mid-thigh and he could see droplets of water glistening on her skin. He could feel himself harden at the sight of her and his mouth was suddenly so dry that it felt like it was stuffed with cotton wool. What he wouldn’t give to lick those droplets off her skin.

Coughing to clear his throat, he said, “I...er...I brought you some coffee. I should have knocked though, I’m sorry.”

“This is your place, Michael, so you don’t have to apologise. Thanks for the coffee,” she said moving forward to take one of the mugs from him.

Without thinking, he took a step forward and bending his head he placed a kiss on her lips. “You’re welcome.” He cleared his throat again and cursed himself for kissing her like that. ‘She’s not your girlfriend, man. Remember that,’ he told himself. “Breakfast is ready so come through when you’re dressed.”

Maria couldn’t help but notice the way he pulled back from her after he’d kissed her and she bit her lip to stop herself saying something. “Uh...okay. I’ll just be a few minutes.”

He nodded and gave her a crooked smile before going back into the main part of the house. Placing his coffee on the table, he walked over to the oven where he had kept the plates of food to keep them warm. As he busied himself in the kitchen, he tried not to think about Maria and everything that had transpired between them. He needed to remember the fact that he was doing all of this to help her and nothing more. While he tried hard to do just that, he kept seeing her in just that skimpy towel with her skin all pink from the shower and all he had wanted to do was rip that towel off, throw her down on his bed and pick up where they’d left off last night. These lessons were going to be the death of him.

Walking into the kitchen, Maria saw Michael staring into space while standing in front of the oven. She couldn’t help staring at his naked upper body, grateful that he had forgotten to put on his shirt. “Hey, is there any more coffee?” she asked bringing him out of his thoughts.

Even though he’d been expecting her, he still jumped a little at hearing her voice and quickly getting himself back under control, he replied, “Yeah there is, help yourself.”

Walking over to the pot, she poured herself some more and seeing his mug on the table, refilled his too. She watched as he took out their plates from the oven and set them down on the table before sitting down himself and she followed suit. Taking a bite of her scrambled eggs, she moaned appreciatively. “Mmm, these are good. I see your talents aren’t just restricted to the bedroom then,” she quipped.

Michael felt his cheeks heat up and knew he was blushing at her words. Ignoring her last comment, he said, “They’re just eggs, Maria. Anyone can do that.”

“Yeah, you would think but just a word of warning. Never try Kyle’s eggs ‘cos they suck.”

He relaxed and found himself laughing. “Your warning’s too late because I’ve unfortunately already tried them. What the hell does he do to them to get them that bad?”

Happy that she’d got him to laugh, she shook her head. “Your guess is as good as mine.” They continued to eat and the silence was a more comfortable one.

“So, uh, what do you have planned for today?” he asked her as he set his fork down after he’d finished eating.

“Well, I’m having lunch with Liz and then I’m working at the Crashdown from four. How about you?”

“I haven’t got anything planned although I’m working the same shift as you this afternoon.”

“Right, so...um...I guess we’ll be seeing each other later then,” she said without looking at him.

“Yeah.” He tried to keep his voice neutral so as not to give away how pleased he was at that fact.

“I guess I should be going. I’ve got some stuff to do before Liz comes over and I’ve got to be there when Kyle arrives back to tell him about Nana.”

Michael nodded at her before getting up from his chair. “Okay,” he said carrying his and Maria’s plates over to the counter. “I’ll probably see him later anyway.”

Maria got up from her seat and stood beside him. “Do you want me to wash up? I mean, you did the cooking so it’s only fair that I do something.”

He gave her a smile and shook his head. “Nah, it’s fine but thanks for offering. I’ll just do them after you’ve gone.”

She smiled back at him before going back through the door leading to his apartment.


*********


The doorbell rang just as Maria had finished setting the table and walking over to the door, she opened it and greeted her best friend. “Hey Liz, come on in.”

The brunette smiled at her before entering the house. “Hi Maria, sorry I’m a bit late. I had to help my Mom with something. I brought over some lemon cheesecake for dessert by way of an apology,” she said following Maria over to the table in the kitchen.

“There was no need to do that but I’m not about to turn down cheesecake,” she said with a wink. “I’m actually running late too. Kyle got back a couple of hours ago and I had to tell him about Nana’s accident and then Mom called to let me know how she’s doing.”

“Yeah, I heard about that last night when your mom and Jim popped into the diner to pick up some food before they left town. How is Nana?”

Maria smiled. “She’s fine, they kept her in the hospital overnight for observation but she’s going home today. They’re going to spend another night there until Auntie Rose arrives home tomorrow.”

The two girls started to fill their plates with food and as Maria filled their glasses with orange juice, Liz asked her a question.

“So, who’s Michelle?”

Her hand jolted at the totally unexpected question and she spilled some juice on the table. “Uh...what?” Busying herself with cleaning it up, she felt her cheeks heat up as she thought about ‘Michelle’ and what they had spent the night doing.

“Your mom told me you were staying over at Michelle’s house because you didn’t want to stay at home without anyone being there. So who is she?” Liz looked at the blonde girl as her face turned red and she kept her eyes averted. “Maria? What’s going on?”

“Nothing’s going on Liz,” she replied as she walked over to the sink and rinsed out the cloth she’d used to wipe up the spilt juice.

“Don’t nothing me. Who is this girl and where did you meet? Is this your way of telling me she’s your new best friend or something?”

Maria spun around to face her friend. “What? No! You’re my best friend and nothing’s ever going to change that so you’re stuck with me, Liz Parker.”

Liz nodded at her life-long friend and breathed a sigh of relief. “So, what is going on? You know you can talk to me about anything.”

Walking back over to the table, Maria sat down opposite her friend. “Yeah, I know but I can’t talk about this yet, not with anyone. It’s not that I don’t trust you so please don’t think that. I promise I will tell you what’s going on but not right now.”

“Why can’t you tell me now? I tell you everything,” Liz said with a pout.

Maria sighed as she thought about what she should do. This was something she didn’t feel ready to talk about with anyone, even her best friend. Firstly, she didn’t know what her reaction would be to the news that she was getting sex education from her brother’s best friend and secondly, she couldn’t risk Kyle finding out. She didn’t want to be responsible for ruining the guys’ friendship.

Liz looked into the other girl’s eyes and suddenly saw something that she hadn’t noticed before. There was a twinkle in her eyes that she hadn’t been there previously and she couldn’t help thinking that maybe a guy was somehow involved in this. Seeing the play of emotions on Maria’s face, Liz relented and said, “Okay Maria, I won’t push this but will you answer me one thing?”

Biting her lip in anticipation of the forthcoming question, she asked, “What’s that?”

“Does this involve a guy?” Maria couldn’t help blushing again and she had a sudden flash of her and Michael in bed together.

“I guess I’ll take that as a yes. Well, whenever you feel ready to tell me you’d better tell me everything and don’t you dare leave out any details.”

Maria laughed at that. “Uh...okay.” Turning serious for a moment, she added, “Please don’t mention this to anyone. If Kyle finds out...”

“Don’t worry sweetie, my lips are sealed. And besides, I don’t know anything so I can’t say a word, not that I ever would.”

“You didn’t let on to Mom that you don’t know anyone called Michelle, did you?”

“No, but I don’t know if she noticed my confused look. Seeing as she was concerned about Nana she probably didn’t and I didn’t say a word. I just knew I was going to ask you about it today.”

“Thanks Liz, I owe you big,” she told her friend. Trying to change the subject, she said, “C’mon, let’s eat. I’m starving.”

“Oh really? And what’s had you working up an appetite?” she asked with a smirk.

“No comment,” Maria replied as she picked up her sandwich and then took a bite.

Chewing on her own sandwich, Liz decided to let the matter drop and asked, “So, what do you suggest we do for our last hurrah? I was thinking of just getting the old gang together and having a sort of leaving party at the Crashdown. What do you think?”

“That sounds good but how about we go to that new club too? We could have the party in the afternoon and then get ready for a night of clubbing. We’re all leaving on different days so we just need to pick a day that we’re all still here for.”

As the girls ate, they worked on the details of the party and while Liz chattered on, Maria couldn’t help breathing a sigh of relief that her friend hadn’t pushed her to reveal everything about where she’d been the previous night.

Liz’s cell phone suddenly rang interrupting them and she answered it after taking a quick drink of her juice. “Hello...oh hey Dad, what’s up?”

Maria listened as Liz talked to her father and she let her mind drift off to thoughts of last night. Now Kyle was back she knew that it was going to be pretty difficult to meet up and she also knew she probably wouldn’t be able to wake up in Michael’s arms again. She couldn’t help remembering how amazing that had felt and she wished she could have stayed in his arms for longer instead of having to get up.

“Okay Dad, I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes. Bye.”

“What’s up?” Maria asked as she reluctantly broke out of her daydream.

“Dad needs me to go in and work because Jennifer’s just gone home sick and Agnes seems to have disappeared. He’s tearing his hair out as apparently a large group of tourists have just walked in,” she informed her.

“Do you want me to start my shift early? I haven’t got anything else to do and I’m due there in a couple of hours or so anyway.”

“Are you sure because that would be great, Maria.”

“I’m sure. Let’s just clear up in here and we can go and rescue your dad,” she told her friend with a smile.


*********


After the two girls had cleared up their plates and glasses and put the leftovers in the fridge, they grabbed their jackets and bags and Maria drove them to the CrashDown.

Mr Parker hadn’t been kidding when he told Liz he was tearing his hair out. The diner was packed to capacity when they arrived and they were soon in the thick of it as they served all the customers their food and drinks.

An hour later when things had calmed down a little, Maria froze in her tracks when she saw Kyle and Michael enter the diner and find a table in her section. Giving herself a mental shake, she walked over to them with a smile fixed on her face. She kept her eyes on Kyle because she knew if she even glanced at Michael she would be a puddle of mush. “Hey guys, what can I get you?”

“I’ll have my usual, Sis.” Kyle told her with a smirk. He knew how much it irritated her when he referred to her as that.

“Okay.” She made a note of his order on her pad before turning to Michael, her eyes fixed on a spot just over his shoulder. “And what about you?”

Michael looked at her and frowned that she wasn’t looking at him. Did she regret everything they’d done last night? “Uh...I’ll have the double cheeseburger, Saturn rings and a Cherry Coke, please?” He watched as she wrote it down on her pad and then turned away to put their orders in.

“What’s going on?” Kyle asked. He could feel that something wasn’t quite right but he didn’t know what.

“Nothing, what do you mean?”

“Something’s off with Maria. She seems a little...weird.”

“She’s always weird,” Michael joked. This was all he needed, Kyle on his back already.

Maria came back a few minutes later with their drinks and just as she was about to leave, Kyle asked her the same question he’d just asked Michael.

“Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine. C’mon, you can tell us. Has someone done something to you ‘cos if they have we’ll beat them up for you?”

She couldn’t help laughing at him. “Honestly Kyle I’m fine. I’m just tired...I didn’t get much sleep last night.” Michael was taking a sip of his drink when she said that and he almost choked on it.

“Oh yeah, you stayed over at your friend’s place last night. How was it?” Kyle asked as he took a drink of his soda, not noticing the way his best friend was looking at his sister.

“I had a fantastic time and she kept me up practically all night...talking.”

Hearing those words made it clear to Michael that she didn’t regret anything about last night and he replied, “Well I’m glad you had a good night. Maybe you two should do something together again.” He gave her a smirk which made her giggle.

“Hmm, maybe. I’ll see what I can do.” She cleared her throat before adding, “I’ll just go and check on your orders.”

After she had walked away Michael leaned over the table slightly and said, “See, she’s fine. You know what girls are like when they get together, they talk non-stop about all kinds of crap.”

“Yeah, you’re right. I wonder when she’ll bring this chick over to our place, I wanna see how hot she is.”

Michael inwardly grimaced at that. “And what about Vicky?”

“I didn’t say I was gonna do anything, I just wanna check her out that’s all. I’ll bet you do too.”

He shook his head. “So, you got anything planned for tonight?”

“Nah, I’m just gonna hang out at home and watch TV or something.”

“Lucky you, I have to work until closing.” Michael tried to hide his pleasure at that fact. He knew Maria could get rid of Liz by telling her they’d close up for her which meant they’d have some time alone together.

“Yeah, well I’ll be thinking of you as I tuck into my pizza and watch the hockey game.”

“Bastard.” He chuckled and out of the corner of his eye saw Maria approaching them with their plates of food.

“Here’s your food, can I get you anything else?” She asked looking in Michael’s direction.

“No, we’re fine thanks Maria.” Michael replied and forced himself not to wink at her. He knew her question was about more than food or drinks.

“Okay, see you later.”

Kyle was engrossed in eating his food and so didn’t notice the looks being exchanged between the two of them. “Oh hey Maria, are you okay getting home tonight or do you need a ride?”

She shook her head. “No, I’ve got the car with me.”

“Okay. I’ll see you at home then,” he said going back to his food but all of a sudden he had a thought. “Hey, I gave Michael a lift here so maybe you could give Michael a ride home tonight after work.”

Maria couldn’t help blushing and Michael choked on a Saturn ring at the hidden double meaning in Kyle’s suggestion.

“Are you two okay?” Kyle asked as he watched the pair.

“Uh...yeah, I’m fine. Listen, I’d better get back to work so I’ll see you later, Kyle.” She said before walking away. Michael watched her hips sway as she headed towards the counter and he licked his lips.

As Maria served other customers, she occasionally glanced up to look at Michael who was sitting face her and she blushed when she happened to catch his eye.

A little while later, the two guys came up to the counter and settled the check.

“Keep the change, Maria. Right, I’m off home now so I’ll see you later tonight. Be careful driving home,” Kyle told her.

“Yes Kyle and thanks for the tip. I don’t know what us waitresses would do without you coming in here,” she replied sarcastically and watched as he gave her a wave before walking out of the diner.

Michael saw that Liz was busy serving a customer and so he gestured for Maria to follow him into the back room where he needed to get ready for his shift. Standing by his locker, he bent his head and whispered into her ear, “That tip Kyle gave you was just for his meal. I’ll give you my tip later, maybe after you give me that ride home.”

She shivered at the way his warm breath tickled her ear and at the blatant meaning in his words. “So, we’re going to fit another lesson in tonight?” She asked trying to keep her voice calm.

“Yeah, I know you can’t stay out for long what with big brother waiting up for you but...”

Checking to see that no-one was around, she raised up on her tiptoes and planted a soft kiss on his lips before walking away. At the doorway leading back into the restaurant, she turned and smiled. “Don’t worry about Kyle, he trusts you so I think I can get away with staying out a little longer.”

Michael groaned after she had gone and heading into the kitchen to start work, he couldn’t wait for his shift to end.


*********


Chapter Eight

Over the course of the next few weeks, Michael and Maria snuck around behind their friends’ backs as they met up and continued their lessons. They hadn’t ventured any further forward and were basically just repeating what they’d already done so far. On the nights that they closed the Crashdown together, Maria would tell Kyle and her parents she was staying behind to hang out with Liz when in fact she’d go back to Michael’s place.

Maria had almost got caught out one time though when having told her family that she was sleeping over at Liz’s after work, Kyle had called to speak to her but luckily her best friend had covered for her and then called her on her cell phone to give her a heads up. Maria knew that she would have to reveal the truth to Liz at some point but so far the brunette had been great and told her she’d wait to hear about it when she was ready to talk. It had been careless of her to lie without at least asking Liz for her help in covering beforehand and she knew she’d have to be more careful in future.

Maria groaned as she stretched her arms above her head, trying to relieve her tired and aching muscles. They had closed the Crashdown for the night and were just finishing cleaning up. She froze when she felt a pair of hands begin kneading her shoulders but relaxed a second later when she recognised their owner.

“Is this helping?” Michael whispered into her ear. He had been watching her from the serving window and couldn’t resist coming over to her when he saw her stretch which in turn had caused her skirt rise to even further up her slim thighs.

“Uh huh but you shouldn’t be doing that, you know, with Liz being around.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” He said, regretfully releasing her shoulders. “Well I’m all done in the kitchen so I’m ready to leave when you are.”

Maria turned to face him. “Okay, I’m finished here too so I’ll just go and get changed.”

“I’ll wait out here for you unless you need a hand getting changed.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“Uh huh. I think I can manage,” she said with a snort of laughter before leaving the dining area. Seeing Liz by the lockers she gave the other girl a smile. “Hey chica, I’m all done out there.”

The brunette nodded at her. “Great, thanks. Hey, do you want to stay over tonight? We could watch a movie, eat some ice cream and catch up.”

“Uh, I...I’d really like that but...I’ve kinda got plans.”

Liz tried to hide her disappointment. “Hey, it’s okay. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then. Will you be able to lock up when you leave?”

“Yeah, no problem. See you, Liz.” Maria couldn’t help feeling bad as she watched Liz go upstairs before quickly changing out of her uniform and into her denim skirt and dark green sweater. Grabbing her purse, she went into the bathroom and checked her reflection in the mirror. Releasing her hair from the bun she had put it into earlier, she fluffed it around her shoulders and added a touch of lip gloss to her lips. A few minutes later she walked back out to where Michael was waiting for her and bit her lip as she watched him. He was sitting in one of the booths with his feet up on the seat opposite and he had his eyes closed. She tip-toed quietly across the floor until she was standing next to him and not being able to resist, she bent down and covered his lips with hers. His mouth instinctively opened to hers and he kissed her back.

Maria pulled away a moment later not believing she had just kissed him. She needed to remember that this was just an agreement between friends and nothing more. Blushing, she asked, “You, uh, ready to go?”

“Yep, let’s go. I take it from that kiss that Liz has gone upstairs?” He asked, licking his lips as he got up from his seat.

Clearing her throat, she replied, “Yeah, she’s asked if we can lock up when we leave.”

Michael followed her out of the door leading to the back room and making sure they each had their things, they left and locked the door behind them. Walking side by side to the Jetta, Maria unlocked the car and they both got in. As she drove to his place, she realised that nothing could happen between them tonight. Kyle would be expecting her to just drop Michael off before going straight home and so she would only be able to spend a few minutes with him.

“So, do you want to come in for a little while?” Michael turned to look at her as she concentrated on driving. He couldn’t help smiling slightly as her beautiful face was illuminated by the street lights.

“Yeah, but I can’t stay for too long. You know what Kyle’s like.”

“I think he might be on a date with Vicky tonight so you should be okay to hang out for a bit.”

As Maria drove to Michael’s place, she could feel his eyes burning into her and she desperately wanted to look back at him. It was probably safer for both of them that she didn’t do that until she’d stopped the car, she thought to herself with a smirk.

“What are you smiling at?” He asked her, curious to know what she was thinking about.

Maria blushed and shook her head. “Nothing.”

A short while later she parked just up the street from the Evans’ house and turned off the ignition. They sat there in silence for a couple of minutes before Michael opened his door and got out of the car. Going around to the driver’s side, he opened her door for her and watched her long legs come into view as she climbed out.

“Why did you park here?”

“Now Isabel and Max are back home we have to be careful, Michael. It’s one thing for them to look out and see me dropping you off home but it’s another for them to see my car parked outside for ages at this time of night. They might put two and two together and realise I’ve got something to do with why you’re suddenly locking the inter-connecting door between the house and your place,” she told him.

“Yeah, you’re right. I guess I wasn’t thinking.”

Walking side by side, their hands occasionally brushed against each other’s and it was taking all of their willpower not to reach out and lace their fingers together. When they reached the house it was in darkness and Michael assumed that the family were all fast asleep which was a relief. The last thing he wanted to do tonight was hang out with Max and Izzy. Unlocking his door, he flipped on the light switch and gestured for Maria to enter first which she did.

Shrugging out of her jacket, she laid it on the arm of the sofa before turning back to look at Michael. The intense look in his eyes gave her goosebumps and she licked her suddenly too dry lips. The next thing she knew he had pulled her to him and was licking her lips for her before parting them and slipping his tongue into her mouth.

Maria’s arms came up and looped around his neck as his hands gripped her waist before moving lower to cup her behind. That action pushed their lower bodies together and she could feel his erection pressing into her and she slowly began grinding against it. Gently hoisting her up, her legs wrapped around his hips and he carried her over to a wall, pressing her up against it.

When Maria broke the kiss a moment later, they stared into each other’s eyes and releasing her hold around his neck, she moved her hands down to the hem of her top and quickly pulled it up and over her head. Seeing the black lacy bra come into view, her breasts threatening to spill out of it’s confines, had Michael grinding his hips into hers that little bit more. Lowering his head slightly, he kissed the top of each breast before once again seizing her mouth in a deep kiss.

Michael’s hold on her waist tightened and as his tongue plunged in and out of her mouth, he found himself desperately wanting to mimic that movement with their lower bodies. What he wouldn’t give to feel her tight, wet heat surrounding him. When he felt Maria’s fingers on his belt as she began unfastening it, he realised he had to stop her. Things were going too far too fast and if he wasn’t careful they would be escalating even more. Placing a hand over hers, he stilled her actions.

Tearing his mouth away from hers, he watched as her breathing slowly evened out and returned to normal. When she opened her eyes to look at him he saw that they were sparkling even more than usual and her full lips were that little bit more swollen than they usually appeared.

Maria shivered under his intense regard and she tilted her head to the side. “What’s the matter?”

Lowering his eyes, he replied, “We have to stop. It’s...er...getting late and I’m sure Kyle’s started pacing already.”

Moving her hand which was resting on Michael’s shoulder, she placed it at the back of his neck and stroked it over the skin there knowing it was a sensitive area for him. “Well if he’s on a date with Vicky I doubt he can even remember my name,” she teased. Pulling him forward, she sucked on his bottom lip before doing the same with the top one. The hand which had been working on his belt, now moved up a little to caress his tummy and she couldn’t help smiling when he moaned into her mouth.

Michael got so lost in the sensations that he totally missed her undoing his pants and it was only when her hand touched his cock that he came back to himself. Moving quickly, he broke the kiss and removed her hand from him. He gently unhooked her legs from his waist so she was standing again and turning his back on her, he tucked himself back into his pants.

Biting her lip, tears filled Maria’s eyes as she watched him with his back to her and she couldn’t understand what was happening. She blinked a couple of times to try and clear her vision and when a couple of tears fell, she swiped angrily at them with the back of her hand.

When he turned back to face her, he couldn’t fail to see that she was crying and he felt a stabbing pain in his chest. “Maria...”

“Why are you suddenly being like this? Did...did I do something wrong?”

“No! No, you didn’t. It’s just...it’s getting late and I don’t want you getting in trouble.”

“Yeah right. Why don’t you tell me the truth, Michael? I’m a big girl, okay, so I can take it.”

Walking over to the couch, Michael sat down and covered his face with his hands. “This whole thing is so screwed up,” he told her. “What did we think we were doing?”

Going over to him, Maria took a seat beside him. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“Don’t,” he said, removing his hands from his face. “You have nothing to be sorry about. It’s my fault, I should have known that agreeing to this would have things getting out of hand.”

She turned sharply to look at him. “What do you mean?”

Realising that he was in danger of revealing his changing feelings towards her, he just shook his head. “Nothing. I mean, Kyle’s my best friend and if he finds out about this, well I know it will affect our friendship. I’m keeping something from him and plus you’re his sister...”

“Why don’t you stop lying and tell me the truth? You knew from the very beginning that this could affect yours and Kyle’s friendship and you didn’t let that stop you from eventually agreeing to help me.”

Michael’s frustration began to turn to anger. “I am telling you the truth, Maria. I was wrong to accept, I realise that now. But it’s not to late to stop this before it gets even more complicated.”

“How is it complicated?” She asked, knowing full well that things had become complicated, for her at least, because of her feelings for him which had only grown stronger the more time they’d spent together.

The only excuse he could think of without revealing the truth to her was Kyle but that just sounded lame and so he didn’t say anything except for, “It just is.”

“Whatever,” she replied getting up from the couch and going over to pick her sweater up off the floor. After putting it back on, she picked up her jacket and put that on too. Her hand was on the door handle when she turned back to look at him. “I guess this is it then, huh?”

Looking at her small form, Michael felt like his heart was shattering. He’d never felt this way before about any of the girls he had dated and he couldn’t understand how the one person to make him feel like this was a girl he’d always thought of as a little sister. “Maria...”

Putting on a brave front she smiled at him. “It’s been fun, Michael. I’ve really learnt a lot so thanks, you know, for everything. I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing you before I leave for college so I’ll say goodbye now.” Feeling like she was about to burst into tears, she quickly turned the door handle and opened the door.

“Wait!” Michael called out as he got up from his seat. The door had already closed by the time he reached it and yanking it open, he saw her running away from the house, her blonde hair flying behind her in the light wind. He knew going after her was a bad idea but he wanted to make sure she got to her car safely so he followed. By the time he reached the street where she’d parked, he saw she was already inside the car and a moment later she was driving away.

Sighing loudly, he stuffed his hands in his pockets as he turned and walked back home, his heart feeling heavy as he said a silent goodbye to her.


*********


Chapter Nine

Maria was grateful that the house was silent when she arrived home. Quietly going upstairs to her room, she took a quick shower before climbing into bed. Unfortunately, sleep didn’t come easy and she tossed and turned for ages as her thoughts were dominated by what had happened just a few hours ago.

Giving up on sleep for the time being, she reached over to her nightstand and switched on her lamp before lifting up a corner of her mattress and removing a photograph. It was one of her most cherished possessions and once again that night she felt tears prickling behind her eyelids as she stared at it.

The photograph had been taken last summer at the local swimming pool. It had been a very hot day and so Maria and a group of her friends had decided to go there and cool off. While they were there, Kyle and Michael, who were home for the holidays, had had the same idea and had actually hung out with the girls. For fun, Maria had brought a disposable waterproof camera to the pool and Liz had grabbed it from her when Michael had come up behind her best friend, wanting to take a photo of the two almost siblings. Maria would be eternally grateful to Liz for her innocent gesture and, looking at the picture, she could still remember the way his body had felt so close to hers. Now she had even more vivid details to add to that memory.

The tears she had been suppressing started to fall in earnest and after tucking the photo back into its hiding place, she buried her face into her pillow and cried.


*********


Michael and Maria did their best to avoid each other for the next week which wasn’t easy as they worked a few shifts together. Realising she needed Liz’s help, Maria confided in her that the two of them had had an argument and that right now she didn’t want to work with him. Liz had desperately tried to get her best friend to talk to her about what had happened but she had tearfully told her that she wasn’t ready to do that. The brunette knew better than to push and so just hugged Maria, telling her that she would be there for her whenever she was ready to talk. She had then re-worked the rota so that Maria and Michael were no longer working any of the same shifts.

Going into the kitchen, Liz watched as Michael took his problems out on the burgers he was grilling. “Michael, I think those are done.” She told him.

Her voice brought him out of his thoughts. “What?”

“The burgers. I think they’re ready.”

“Right,” he said before removing them from the heat.

“So, tonight’s your final shift before you head back to New York?”

“Yeah. Believe it or not, I can’t wait to get back there.”

“Does that have something to do with Maria?”

“I’m sorry, Liz, but I’m not going to talk about that with you. Has...she said anything about what happened?”

Shaking her head, she replied, “No, she hasn’t. Don’t worry, whatever your fight was about it’s still only known to the pair of you. I’m really worried about her but I’m hoping that our night out tomorrow will cheer her up.”

“You’re all going clubbing, right?”

“Yeah. It’s going to be kinda sad as it’s the last time we’re all going to be together for a while but it should be fun. Hey, you know what? Why don’t you come too? It would be good for the two of you to clear the air before you both leave town.”

“Thanks for the offer but I’ve actually got plans with Kyle tomorrow night.”

Liz nodded at him before walking away. She didn’t know what was going on between Michael and Maria but she knew their fight had to be really serious for them to stop talking altogether. She was determined to get them talking though before they both left for their respective colleges. Hmm, maybe she needed to get Kyle on board.


*********


The ring of the doorbell had Maria giving herself one final look in the mirror before she quickly made her way downstairs to meet her friends. Jim had already opened the door and she found Liz and Isabel standing in the living room waiting for her. Earlier that day the gang had held a party in the Crashdown, which had closed for the afternoon. It was really just a get together for the whole gang to see each other one last time before they all left to either start college or return to college after the summer break. After the party had ended, they’d all gone home and got ready for a night of dancing at a club that was holding an under 25s night.

“Wow! Maria, you look amazing.” Liz told her best friend as she looked her up and down.

“Thanks, so do you. You both look great,” she replied looking over at Isabel.

Maria had gone out shopping with Isabel a couple of days ago and she was wearing the pink and black strapless bustier she had bought together with her black mini skirt. She had straightened her hair and then streaked some pink hair mascara through it to match her top. Her black chunky heeled boots and black leather jacket completed the outfit.

Isabel was wearing black pants with a red silk, spaghetti strap tank top and she had curled her long blonde hair. Liz was also wearing black pants but she was wearing hers with a turquoise sleeveless shirt which buttoned up almost to her neck. She had pulled back the sides of her hair and had pinned them up with some glittery butterfly clips.

All three girls were determined to have a good time and they had decided to meet up with Alex and Max outside the club at eight o’clock. It was almost seven-thirty so they knew they had to leave now to make sure they wouldn’t be late and luckily Jim had agreed to give them a ride there.

“C’mon girls, let’s get this show on the road,” Isabel said taking Liz’s and Maria’s hands in hers and leading them to the door.


*********


“So, where are we going tonight?” Michael asked when he heard Kyle coming downstairs. They were at the Valenti house on their own, everyone else having their own plans for the night.

“I thought we’d go and keep an eye on the girls at that club,” he replied.

Michael groaned. “By girls I take it you mean Maria.”

“Look, it’s bad enough that she’s going to be surrounded by horndogs when she’s at college but at least I can keep an eye on her when she’s at home. If you’d been here earlier and seen what she was wearing you’d be wanting to keep an eye on her too.”

He choked on the sip of soda he’d just taken and coughed to clear his throat. “Uh, what...what was she wearing?” He asked, hoping his voice sounded calm. It wasn’t difficult for him to imagine what sort of clothes she had gone out in tonight.

“Well, it was a short skirt with this strapless top which, um, pushed up her...” he replied, gesturing with his hands.

“Yeah, yeah, I think I get the picture,” Michael quickly interrupted.

After pulling on his jacket, Kyle turned to face his best friend. “Actually, I wanted to talk to you about what’s been going on between you and Maria.”

“What do you mean? Nothing’s going on.”

“So you two haven’t had some big fight and are refusing to talk to each other?”

“Has she said something to you?” Michael asked, ignoring the other man’s question.

“No, she hasn’t and that is what’s got me worried. She’s hardly talking to anyone. When she isn’t working, she’s holed up in her room and only comes down when Amy calls her for dinner.”

Michael felt a sick feeling in his stomach but he did his best to school his features and keep them neutral. He knew that he had to tell his friend something so he said, “Okay, we did have a small disagreement at work last week but I can’t even remember what it was about. Who knows, maybe she’s just nervous about starting college.”

Kyle nodded. “Yeah, maybe that’s it. Anyway, while she’s still here and I’m still here I’m gonna be keeping an eye on things.”

Michael groaned at that before getting up from his seat on the couch. “Well, I guess it’s a good thing I dressed up a bit tonight ‘cos it looks like we’re going clubbing too,” he said as he led the way out of the door.


*********


On the outside Maria was having a great time but on the inside she wasn’t enjoying herself at all. She had been miserable this past week when things could have been so very different had things not ended the way they had with Michael. Seeing him that next day at work had been so difficult that she had had no choice but to talk to Liz and see if there was anything she could do to help the situation.

Sitting at the table she and her friends had chosen, she watched as Liz and Max and Isabel and Alex danced together respectively to a slow song and she bit her bottom lip to stop herself from crying.

“Uh...hi.” A voice cut into her bittersweet thoughts. Looking up, Maria saw a tall blonde guy smiling down at her and she couldn’t help smiling back at him.

“Hi,” she replied shyly.

“I’m Tom. I was just wondering if you’re here with someone ‘cos if you’re not, I’d really like to dance with you.”

Reaching out her hand, Maria placed it into his outstretched one and shook it. “I’m Maria and no, I’m not here with anyone. Well, except for my friends that is.”

“So, would you like to dance?” Tom asked tugging lightly on her hand which was still in his.

“You know what? I’d love to,” she told him letting him pull her up from her seat and lead her out onto the dance floor.


*********


As soon as they’d entered the club, Michael’s eyes scanned the place looking for a particular blonde. He couldn’t see her but they’d found the others and were heading over to their table. Desperately wanting to ask them where she was, he forced himself not to and nearly cheered when Kyle did it for him.

“Hey guys, where’s Maria?” Kyle asked without a second’s thought.

Isabel narrowed her eyes at him. “Jesus Kyle, can’t you let her have one night away from you? She’s eighteen now so I think you can ease up on the big brother act.”

Ignoring her, he turned to Liz. “Has she left?”

“No, she hasn’t. She’s out there dancing,” Liz said pointing out to the dance floor. “His name’s Tom and he seems really nice. She’s been dancing with him for nearly forty-five minutes now.”

Michael looked over to where she had pointed and he frowned at what he saw. One of Tom’s hands was practically on her ass while the other was running up and down her back. He could feel his blood boiling in his veins and when the couple turned, he saw that Maria’s hands were wrapped around his neck. Her fingers were idly playing with the hair at the nape and all he could think was how she used to do that to him.

Suddenly feeling sick, he said, “I’m gonna go and get a drink,” before quickly making his way to the bar. After ordering his Budweiser, he went and stood in the shadows of the club where he could observe Maria without being seen by her or any of the others. He watched as she and Tom danced to fast and slow songs and he cursed under his breath each time a slow song came on. Watching another guy hold her so closely made his heart ache and he desperately wished he could touch her once more.


*********


As Maria danced with Tom, she felt a shiver run up and down her spine and it reminded her of how she felt whenever Michael would look at her. Turning in Tom’s arms, she scanned the crowd but couldn’t see him, not that she was really expecting to. Liz had told her when they’d arrived that she had invited him but he’d turned her down. Hearing that had really hurt and she realised that he obviously didn’t feel anything for her at all.

“Hey babe, what’s wrong?”

She couldn’t help cringing at Tom’s sugary sweet tone. He was a nice guy and she was enjoying dancing with him but that was it as far as she was concerned. Maybe it was wrong and unfair, but she couldn’t help comparing him to Michael and he just didn’t even come close.

“Nothing’s wrong,” she said turning to look at him. “I’m just gonna go and use the ladies’ room.”

Tom nodded at her. “Okay, hurry back.” He winked at her and she had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. Giving him what she hoped looked like a genuine smile, she made her way through the throng of people on the dance floor.

Suddenly, a hand shot out and wrapped around her wrist pulling her into a dark, secluded corner of the club and she opened her mouth to scream. Before she could do so, a hand covered her mouth and a familiar voice spoke to her.

“Shhh. It’s okay, it’s me.”

“Michael? What...what are you doing?” As her eyes got used to the darkness, she saw that her guess was right and she also couldn’t fail to see the blatant lust in his eyes.

Michael looked her up and down taking in her revealing outfit. His eyes lingered on her breasts, which were heaving with each breath she took and he realised that her fear at being pulled into a dark corner was probably the reason. His hand was still holding her wrist and raising it above her head, he held it against the wall before doing the same with the other one. Her breasts had already been threatening to spill out of the bustier before but the pull of her arms above her head was making the possibility of it happening more likely.

“Michael?” Maria repeated, her voice sounding huskier as she watched him watching her. He shifted his position so that he was holding both her wrists with one hand and with his free hand, he cupped one of her breasts before massaging it roughly through the fabric. She gasped at the feel of his hand touching her and desperately wished he’d pull down her top so she could feel his slightly callused skin on her bare flesh. Her eyes fluttered shut as she savoured his touch and she couldn’t help moaning at it’s loss. A second later she moaned again but for a different reason when she felt him lift her up against the wall she had already been leaning on. Automatically her legs wrapped around his waist and a moment later he had released her hands so that he could wrap both his arms around her waist. Her hands went around his neck to hold him tightly to her and she buried her face into the nook between his neck shoulder.

They held each other for a little while before they drew back to look at one another. Their eyes drank each other in and almost in slow motion, they leaned forward and shared a soft kiss which went on for a while. Their tongues played together while their lips devoured each other.

As the kiss calmed down, Michael whispered in Maria’s ear. “I’ve missed you.”

Her arms held him tighter as she whispered back, “I’ve missed you too.”

Suddenly realising where they were, Michael lowered her back to the floor and he watched as she straightened her top. Seeing her all flushed with her obvious excitement, he smiled. “You look beautiful.”

Maria blushed at his compliment. “Uh, thanks. So, um, what are you doing here? I thought you told Liz you couldn’t make it?”

“Yeah, I did but Kyle wanted to ch...”

“Wait a second! Kyle’s here too? So you two are here to spy on me, right? You didn’t come here just to talk to me?”

“Maria, it’s not like that.”

“Right. So if Kyle hadn’t wanted to come and check up on me you would have still come?”

Michael looked down at the floor which gave her all the answer she needed. “You saw me here with Tom didn’t you and you got jealous and dragged me into a dark corner where no one would see us?”

“Jealous? Of him? Yeah right. Why would I be jealous when I was the one to teach you all you know? Tell him I said he’s welcome.”

She looked at him questioningly. “What?”

“Well, he’s bound to want to thank me once he’s been with you.”

Her hand shot out and slapped him hard across the face. “You bastard! I hate you!” She screamed at him before running past him and going to the ladies’ room.

Michael felt sick at what he’d said the moment the words had left his mouth and walking forwards, he banged his head against the wall a few times. If things were bad before, they were a million times worse now.


*********


Chapter Ten

Once he was back at college, Michael threw himself into his studies. He filled every available moment with studying and working at a local diner in an attempt to stop himself having time to think about what had happened back home. If only he could stop himself dreaming. Ever since that horrible night at the club, his dreams had been filled with images of Maria’s face after he’d said those words to her. He wished he’d refused to go to that club with Kyle and he knew that if he had, he could have just remembered things the way they’d been with her before that. Okay, they hadn’t spoken since she’d run away from his apartment but that situation was nowhere near as bad as the one now.

The other thing that was different about Michael now he was back at college was that he had stopped dating. His friends thought he’d gone mad as before he’d gone home for the summer he had practically been dating a different girl each night of the week. As far as he was concerned, that was in the past and he no longer wanted the womanising reputation he seemed to be well known for around campus.

He still went out with his friends but when a pretty girl hit on him, which they still did, he politely turned them down. The first time he’d done it, he had had to bite his lip to stop himself laughing at the shocked expression on the girl’s face as she stared at him open-mouthed, obviously having been made aware of his reputation.

Michael often wondered how Maria was getting on at college and he’d asked Kyle about her on a couple of occasions. He just replied that she was fine and appeared to be settling in well. No mention was made of whether or not she was dating anyone and he knew better than to ask his best friend that question. He’d managed to get hold of her contact details from Liz after some begging but he hadn’t yet made the first move and used them. What he had said to Maria that night was unforgivable but he was desperate to speak to her and apologise. He had even contemplated telling her the whole truth about his feelings for her but he just didn’t know how to begin that conversation.

Lying on his bed, he reached out to his nightstand and picked up his cell phone which was lying on the top. Flicking through the different options, he found what he was searching for and looked at the photograph he had taken of her one night when she had come over to his apartment. He had lied and told her he just wanted to test the camera facility when really he had just wanted to have a picture of her. Looking at her image for a few moments caused a lump to form in his throat and he swallowed before closing the file and putting the phone down. He knew he had to do something big to get her to forgive him and he was determined to do whatever it took to make that happen.


*********


Leaving Roswell and everyone behind hadn’t been easy for Maria and it was made all the more difficult by what had happened at the club between her and Michael. All she had wanted to do was hide out in her bedroom but that hadn’t been possible. Amy had told her that that wasn’t the way to spend her last couple of days in Roswell and she had taken her daughter out shopping and then to lunch. In the end, Maria was pleased she had agreed to go because she’d had fun just hanging out and spending time with her mom. The new jeans and top she’d received had helped make her feel better too.

There had been one moment at lunch when Maria had been tempted to confide in her mother about Michael but just when she was about to say something, the stupid waiter had come along and interrupted. After that the moment had passed and she decided to keep the matter to herself.

Even though she wasn’t that far from home, she still felt homesick during her first few days at college. Luckily her roommate, Emily, was really nice and she actually reminded her a little bit of Liz which helped make her feel more settled in her new environment. The other people Maria met were equally as nice and she had been kept pretty busy attending various things with them around campus. Her classes kept her busy too which she was grateful for because by the end of the day she was exhausted and slept fitfully at night without dreaming of a certain someone.

She still thought of him and, on occasion, she would dig her old photograph of him out from under her mattress and just stare at it. Each time she did that, which wasn’t often as it was too painful, she was just reminded of his harsh words that night and her eyes would fill with tears. A part of her had hoped he would come and see her before he left for New York but he hadn’t and that had hurt too. She wished she really did hate him but she didn’t and she couldn’t. There was only one thing she could do to move on and she forced herself to do it, no matter how much she hated the mere thought.


*********


A few weeks later...

Maria smiled at her date as she listened to him recalling something funny that had happened to him when he was a child. She and Danny had gone out a couple of times before and she liked him. She really did. He was smart, funny, loved music with a passion and he just happened to be very good looking.

But he wasn’t Michael.

Danny didn’t make her knees go weak the way that Michael did with just a look in her direction. She had actually wondered if she’d picked her fellow classmate because of his slight resemblance to Michael. He too was over six feet tall with longish dark hair and a similar build but that was where the similarity ended. Danny didn’t have Michael’s chocolate coloured eyes or his trademark smirk and his arms didn’t feel the same when they held her near.

Music was the main thing she and Danny had in common. He played piano and drums and he too wrote songs. They met on their first day of classes when they attended music appreciation and had sat next to each other. He had a laid back personality and was very easy to get along with. It wasn’t long before he had asked her out on a date.

Maria hadn’t been expecting that and had turned him down. One thing about Danny was that he was persistent and didn’t take no for an answer. She hadn’t wanted to lead him on and that had been the reason for her declining his invitation but the more she hung out with him, the more she liked him and eventually she had changed her mind and agreed to go out with him.

Their first kiss was sweet and tender but it didn’t set her on fire the way her first kiss with Michael had done. God, she could still remember the way her lips had tingled afterwards and how she had been able to taste him each time she’d licked her lips.

“Maria?”

Danny’s voice brought her out of her thoughts and she smiled at him from across the table. “Hmm?”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Why?” She asked before taking a sip of her water.

“Because it looks like you haven’t been listening to a word I’ve been saying for the past ten minutes.”

“Oh, uh, it’s just that I...”

“You don’t have to explain,” Danny said interrupting her. “It’s fine. I’m sure it’s just because it’s been a long day.”

Maria frowned at him. She didn’t need him making excuses for her. “No, that’s not it. I’ve just got a lot on my mind that’s all.”

He smiled at her and leaned across the table to take her hand in his. “Do you want to talk about it? I’m a good listener.”

Right, I can just imagine how happy you’d be to hear me talking about another guy while I’m on a date with you, she thought to herself. She shook her head. “It’s nothing serious but I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.”

“Okay, cool. Are you ready to leave ‘cos I thought maybe we could take a walk before we head back to the dorms?”

The last thing Maria felt like doing right then was taking what she knew would be a romantic walk. Even though she knew it was wrong, she just wanted to go back to her room, curl up in bed and think about Michael. She hated what her last words to him had been but he had hurt her so much with what he’d said to her. Deep down she couldn’t help wondering if he’d said that to cover up any jealous feelings he’d felt at seeing her with another guy in that club.

“Ma-ri-aaaa,” Danny sing-songed trying to get her attention back.

She realised that she’d spaced out on him again and smiled apologetically. “Um, that sounds nice but could we take a raincheck? It’s getting late and I’m feeling a bit tired so...” she trailed off.

Danny’s disappointment was written all over his face and he didn’t try to hide it. “Seriously, is everything okay because you never feel like doing anything with me? We’ve been seeing each other a while now and...”

“Danny, we’ve been on three dates and that’s all. I’ve just started college and I’m just getting used to living away from home and all my friends. It would be nice to be given a chance to...”

“To what? We’re all in the same situation here so you’re not alone in feeling like that.” He squeezed her hand before continuing in a slightly quieter voice. “It’s just that every time I kiss you it’s like you’re a million miles away or that you’re thinking about something or someone else.”

Maria couldn’t help flushing with embarrassment at hearing his words and she knew that she’d given the game away. It was true. Whenever he kissed her she found herself thinking of Michael; comparing the kisses they’d shared to the ones she was experiencing with Danny.

“Ahh, so that’s it. I thought you said you didn’t have a boyfriend back home?”

“I don’t. It’s just...it’s complicated,” she eventually said.

“I really like you, Maria, and I thought you really liked me too so...”

“I do like you. You’re one of the nicest guys I’ve met. It’s just that...” she lowered her eyes and concentrated on the pattern on the tablecloth. “You’re not him.”

Danny watched her and for the first time he saw just how sad she looked. It was strange that he’d never really noticed before. He suddenly realised that her smile never quite reached her eyes. Taking a deep breath, he said, “Do you want to talk about it? It might help to speak to someone who isn’t involved.”

Raising her eyes back to his, she gave him a soft smile before shaking her head. “Thanks for the offer but I can’t. He’s the one I need to speak to but right now I can’t. He’s away at college too and this isn’t something I can do over the phone or in an e-mail. It needs to be face to face.”

“When will you be seeing him next?” He asked curiously.

“Probably at Christmas. Apparently, he can’t make it home for Thanksgiving so it’ll have to be Christmas. I just hope it can wait,” she whispered the last part to herself.

Seeing her eyes fill with tears, Danny gave her hand another gentle squeeze. “C’mon, let’s get out of here. I’ll buy you an ice cream on the way home. I hear it helps cure all ailments,” he teased and was happy to see her smile back.

“Yeah, it does.”

A short while later, Danny walked her back to her dorm and he turned to face her when they reached the front door.

“I’m so sorry about this, but I really thought dating you would help me get over him. I didn’t mean to use you and...”

“Hey, it’s okay. I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with you, Maria, and I hope we can stay friends.”

“Definitely,” she told him hugging him tightly. “Thanks for being so understanding.”

“Well, I’m an understanding guy.” He said giving her a wink after they’d drawn back from each other.

She laughed. “Yeah, you are. So, I guess I’ll see you in class tomorrow?”

“Yeah, you will. Try and get some sleep.”

“Okay. Goodnight.” Maria watched him walk away and as she made her way up to her room, she felt the weight on her shoulders slowly starting to decrease.


*********


Chapter Eleven

Michael had travelled back to Roswell the day before and he knew that Maria was due home the next day. He couldn’t believe how nervous he felt at the thought of seeing her again. It had felt like forever since the last time he’d seen her and although he knew things would probably be really awkward between them, a big part of him couldn’t wait for tomorrow to come.

Since he had arrived back, most of his time had been spent catching up with the Evans’ as well as doing his laundry and tidying up his apartment. While he wasn’t expecting to have a certain someone paying him a visit any time soon, he wanted to be prepared just in case she happened to drop by.

As he was hanging up his clean laundry in his closet, there was a knock on the inter-connecting door and he called out, “Come in.”

Diane Evans walked into the room and smiled at him. “Hi Michael, I just wanted to see how you’re settling back in. We missed having you here at Thanksgiving.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry about that but I had a problem with one of my classes and needed to deal with that.”

“Is everything okay now?” She enquired.

He nodded at her. “Yep, it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought and it’s all been sorted out.”

“That’s good. So, uh, Max and Isabel are coming Christmas shopping with me tomorrow and I wanted to know if you’d like to come too.” She smiled at him before adding, “You’re not the easiest person to buy gifts for so I thought you could come and pick out what you’d like.”

“Oh, right. That’s really nice of you but I can’t.” Seeing the look on her face, he decided to be honest with her. “It’s just that...er...Maria arrives home tomorrow and I need to talk to her. We kinda had a fight before I went back to college and I hate that we’re not speaking to each other.”

Looking at him, Diane saw something there that she’d never seen before and she smiled to herself. It wasn’t hard to notice how his eyes lit up at just mentioning her name. “Maria, huh?” She couldn’t resist teasing him.

“What? Oh, no, it’s...er...nothing like that. C’mon, she’s like my little sister.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t say a word. Your secret is safe with me but, Michael, if you ever want to talk just remember I’m here for you.”

Feeling awkward, he gave her a crooked smile. “Uh, thanks but there’s nothing to talk about. Really.”

“Okay,” she said patting him on the shoulder before walking towards the door.

Before she reached it, he called out. “Diane? I’ll be happy with whatever you buy me for Christmas.”

She gave him a big smile and nodded at him before leaving.

After she had gone, Michael went over and slumped down onto his couch. Leaning his head against the back of it, he rubbed a hand across his face before he started to laugh. Of all the people he thought would be the first to realise his feelings for Maria, he hadn’t reckoned on it being Diane Evans. Oh well, rather her than Kyle.


*********


“Maria, honey, are you going to be home for dinner tonight?” Amy asked as she was washing up the breakfast dishes.

Looking over at her mom, she shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. I’m going to go over to the Crashdown in a little while to see if Liz is back so I’ll probably have something with her.”

“Okay. Say hi to her for me when you see her. So, is Liz the only person you’ll be dropping in on?”

Maria took a sip of her tea before answering. “Uh, I might stop by Alex’s too but I’m not sure yet. I’ll just see what happens.”

Amy nodded at her. “What about Max, Isabel and, uh, Michael?”

Hearing her mother say his name startled her and the tea she had in her mouth went down the wrong way and she coughed. After composing herself, she replied, “I don’t know if I’ll have time today. I’ll see what Liz wants to do when I see her.”

Walking over to the kitchen table, Amy pulled out a chair and sat down beside her daughter. “You know you can talk to me about anything, Maria.”

“Yeah, I know that. What’s this about?”

“I’m just worried about you and...Michael. You’ve always been so close and yet for the past couple of months you haven’t spoken a word to each other. If something’s happened...”

“No, nothing has happened.” Seeing the look on the brunette’s face, she confessed, “Okay, if you must know we had a fight before I left for college over his and Kyle’s over-protectiveness. He said some things and I said some things so I guess you could say we were both at fault.”

Placing a hand over her daughter’s, she gave it a squeeze. “Why don’t you go and see him first? I have it on good authority that Diane has taken Max and Isabel Christmas shopping so he’s over there on his own and I really think it would be a good time for you two to talk and clear the air without any interruptions.”

“But Liz...”

“She hasn’t arrived back home yet. Nancy told me that her plane’s been delayed and she won’t be arriving for a couple more hours at least.”

“Mom...”

“Don’t ‘Mom’ me. I miss seeing Michael around here and I know that if you two don’t sort this out now he won’t be coming over when you’re home.”

Maria knew her mother was right and so she nodded at her. “What if he doesn’t want to talk to me?” She asked quietly. “My last words to him were that I hated him.”

“Well then he must have deserved it because I know you and you don’t just say those words for no reason.”

“What he said to me hurt so much and I lashed out at him and slapped him. After that I just ran away and I haven’t seen him since then.”

“Oh honey, I’m sorry. You know what I think? He’s probably feeling really bad about what he said to you too and doesn’t know how to make the first move to put things right. It takes a bigger person to take the first step.”

“Yeah, I guess. But what if he thinks I’m not worth the trouble?”

Amy smiled knowingly. “I’m sure that’s the farthest thing from the truth. I know you young ones think us oldies don’t notice anything,” she said teasingly before continuing, “but it’s easy to see how much he likes you.”

She could feel her cheeks heating up under her mother’s gaze and she knew she was blushing. “Wh...what do you mean?”

“I’m not stupid, Maria. I know you more than like Michael and I’ve known for a while now and I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about you.”

Maria breathed a sigh of relief and as she looked into the older woman’s face, her eyes filled with tears. “I’m in love with him, Mom. I was just scared that Kyle and maybe even you would be against it.”

Moving her chair closer, Amy pulled her daughter into her arms and cuddled her. “Why would I be against it? We’ve known Michael for years and he’s someone both Jim and I trust. He’s been a good friend to Kyle and he’s always looked out for you.”

“I just thought...I don’t know. I guess I was probably more worried about how Kyle would take it if something happened.” She said after moving back to look into Amy’s face.

“Don’t worry about Kyle. Okay, he’ll probably be angry and upset at first but it’ll wear off. I doubt very much that he’ll throw his friendship with Michael away just because you two have become more than friends.”

“Thanks Mom. I wish I’d talked about this with you before I went away. I’ve done nothing but think about all of this for months and there were times I thought I was going mad.”

“Aww honey, you’re welcome but in future just talk to me. That’s one of the things I’m here for along with cooking, cleaning, and ironing,” she said chuckling. “Now, why don’t you go upstairs and make yourself even more beautiful so you can face Michael?”

Giving Amy another hug, Maria smiled at her before getting up from her chair and making her way upstairs. Turning back to face her she said, “You won’t say anything to Kyle about this, will you? It’s just that I want to talk to Michael first and see what happens before we even think about talking to him about any of this.”

“My lips are sealed. Now go get him.”

Her laughter rang out before she ran out of the room and Amy smiled at seeing her daughter happy again.


*********


Kyle was on his way back home from the local sports center where he had gone for a workout when he saw Maria standing at Michael’s door. He watched as the door opened and a few moments later she went inside. Even though his step-sister was friends with his best friend, he couldn’t help wondering why she would be calling on him. As far as he was aware, they still weren’t talking about their argument a few months back.

That had really puzzled him. Neither Michael nor Maria would reveal to him what their fight had been about and no amount of pushing would get either of them to change their minds and tell him.

Turning the car around, he parked it across the street from the Evans’ house and decided to wait for Maria and give her a ride home.


*********


Michael’s heart was racing in his chest as he sat beside Maria on the couch. When he’d opened the door he was actually on his way to go and see her and start putting things right. Finding her standing there had been a complete shock and it had taken him a good couple of minutes to actually find his voice and invite her inside.

Now she was here he didn’t know what to say to her and they sat there in total silence for a little bit longer. Not being able to take it anymore, he finally asked, “Can I get you something to drink?”

Shifting her position to face him, Maria shook her head. “No thanks, I’m fine.”

“Okay.” He wished she’d said yes so that he could have had something to do to break the obvious tension in the room. A moment later, he said, “So, huh, how’d you like college so far?”

“It’s great. I really like all my classes and I’ve met some lovely people.”

“That’s good.”

Once again, the room was filled with silence and neither of them knew what to say next. They knew they had to deal with what had happened so that they could start moving on but both of them were too scared to make the first move in case they made things worse. In the end it was Michael who plucked up his courage and spoke first.

“I’m sorry,” he told her looking into her emerald eyes for the first time in months.

“Michael...”

“No, let me say this. Please?” Slowly she nodded at him and he continued. “I can’t believe I even thought those things let alone said them but I did and I’m so sorry. I...I don’t even know why I did.”

“Oh,” Maria mumbled as she lowered her eyes and looked at the floor. She had obviously been wrong about him possibly feeling jealous of her being with another guy.

“Actually, that’s not true. I do know why.” He took her small hand in his and stroked his thumb back and forth over her knuckles. “I...I was jealous.”

Her head shot up so she could look into his eyes. “What?”

Michael gulped. The expression on her face looked almost hopeful and it gave him the kick he needed to tell her the truth. “I said I was jealous. I hated seeing that guy’s hands all over you when I wanted it to be me touching you and holding you. You looked so beautiful and I couldn’t resist being with you again so when I saw you heading towards the bathroom, I made my move and pulled you into that corner.”

The tears that had filled Maria’s eyes began to fall and she wiped them away with the back of her hand. “Michael...”

Seeing her tears made him panic and think that she didn’t think of him that way. “Don’t cry, Maria. Please. Look, I know what I did was wrong but...”

His words were cut off by her crushing her mouth against his and kissing him softly. When they finally broke apart, they rested their foreheads together.

“You touching me...kissing me, it felt so right and it hurt to hear you tell me that you were only there because Kyle wanted to check up on me. I wanted you to tell me that you were there to be with me and for no other reason.”

Bringing a hand up to her face, he wiped away the last of her tears and cradled her cheek in his palm. “Well, if it helps, Kyle didn’t have to do much persuading to get me to come especially after he told me what you were wearing. I had to see that top for myself. You looked incredible in it.”

Maria giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck. She hugged him tightly, burying her face into his neck and breathing him in. Taking advantage of her position, Michael pulled her onto his lap and held her close.

“I’ve really missed you, Maria. You don’t know how many times I wanted to pick up the phone and...”

“Wait, you had my number at college?” She asked, drawing back from him so she could look into his face.

Sheepishly, he replied, “I...er...I begged Liz for your details and she eventually gave in. Don’t be too hard on her.”

She stared at him open-mouthed before starting to laugh. “Don’t worry, I won’t. So why didn’t you call me?”

“I didn’t know what to say and I guess I was scared that you’d just hang up on me which I would have completely understood. What I said was...”

“Shhh. Just for the record, I didn’t kiss that guy. He was nice enough but it wasn’t fair to kiss him when all I wanted was you,” she admitted.

Hearing her say that had him tightening his hold on her waist. “Is that still true?” He finally asked and held his breath as he waited for her answer.

Green eyes met rich dark ones as they stared at each other and a second later, Maria answered Michael’s question with a passionate kiss. They held hands, their fingers intertwined, as the intensity of their kisses increased. The fingers of his free hand tangled in her beautiful golden hair as his lips nibbled and suckled on hers. The fingernails of her free hand scratched gently across his scalp which was sending tingles up and down his spine.

When they eventually broke apart, they just continued to stare and smile at each other, neither of them quite believing what was happening between them.

“What happens now, Michael?” She asked before her lips latched onto his neck and she began sucking furiously.

Tilting his head to the side to give her better access, he said, “I want to be with you. I know it’s not going to be...” he stopped talking and moaned when she hit a particularly sensitive spot and she giggled against his skin.

“Yes?”

“You’re so evil,” he told her with a laugh of his own. “I was saying that I know it’s not going to be easy telling Kyle but hopefully he’ll come around and see that we didn’t plan this to happen.”

“Yeah,” she whispered planting butterfly kisses all over his face. “I can’t stop kissing you,” she confessed after a few minutes.

“Good because I don’t want you to stop,” he told her before slanting his mouth over hers and kissing her hard and deep. When they parted they were both breathless and panting for air but they were still smiling.

“What do you want to do now?” Maria asked him, her fingers stroking over the nape of his neck and playing with the hair there.

Checking his watch, he saw that it was approaching lunchtime. “How about we go to the Crashdown and get something to eat? I’ve got to go there anyway and pick up a dessert for Mrs Evans.”

Maria frowned. She wasn’t expecting him to say that. “Oh okay, if that’s what you...er...want to do.”

Michael stopped her from getting up off his lap. “Woah, where are you going? I just don’t want us to rush into anything, Maria. That’s all, I promise. Plus the Evans’ are going to be back home soon and I don’t particularly want them rushing in here and interrupting us doing...stuff.”

Seeing he was being sincere, she smiled at him. “Okay. Listen, I’m sorry...”

“You have nothing to be sorry for. I’m not trying to hide us from anyone but I think we should talk to Kyle before we go public. It’s only fair.”

She nodded her agreement. “Yeah, you’re right. When should we do that, do you think?”

He smiled at her. “The sooner the better because I want to be able to show my new girlfriend off.”

The smile that Maria gave him illuminated her whole face and she planted a smacking kiss onto his cheek. “Okay,” she replied almost shyly. Finally getting up from his lap, she held out her hands to him and pulled him up when he put his hands in hers.

She was just about to open the door when he stopped her and pulled her to him by the belt loops on her jeans. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he hugged her while kissing her gently. When he felt her getting even more into the kiss, he pulled back with a smirk and opened the front door. “C’mon, let’s go and get something to eat. I’m starving.”

“Ooh, you’ll pay for that.” She told him with a smirk of her own.

“That’s what I’m hoping for,” he replied.


*********


Kyle checked his watch and saw that Maria had been inside for almost an hour and he wondered what they could possibly be doing inside. What the hell could they be talking about that was taking this long? Even if they were apologising for the parts each of them played in their fight, surely they would have done that by now.

Reaching for the door handle, he was just about to get out of the car when he saw Michael’s door open and him and Maria step outside. He watched as they walked down the path together and then headed down the street. His mouth dropped open in shock when he saw his best friend take his sister’s hand in his. Without another thought, he started the engine and followed the couple slowly down the street making sure not to let them see him.


*********


Maria couldn’t believe how happy she felt just walking down the street holding Michael’s hand. She knew it was a bit risky what with them wanting to tell Kyle themselves about the change in their relationship, but as no one seemed to be around they figured it was okay. Their fingers were laced together and every now and then he would give her hand a squeeze and she would look up at him and catch him watching her.

For the first time in months, Michael felt happy and as he looked down at his girlfriend he knew she was the reason for that. Girlfriend. The word just kept sounding better and better and he found himself grinning. Since when did he grin, he thought to himself.

A short while later they arrived at the Crashdown and they were just about to enter when Kyle came up to them. They immediately dropped each other’s hands and hoped that he hadn’t seen them doing that.

“Hi Kyle, we were just going to get something to eat. Do you want to join us?” Maria asked him.

“No thanks. I need to speak to Michael. Alone.”

Looking at his best friend, it was clear that something was up but he didn’t know what. He nodded before turning to Maria. “Why don’t you go in and order for us. I’ll have my usual.”

“Michael, I...”

“It’s okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes,” he told her with a smile.

She looked between the two young men and then nodded. “Okay.”

“What’s up, Kyle?” He asked after she had gone inside.

“Let’s go around the back and talk. I don’t want to do this out here with an audience.”

“Do what?”

The other man didn’t answer. He instead turned and walked to the back of the Crashdown and Michael followed after a minute.

Maria watched them from inside the restaurant and seeing them on the move, she quickly made her way through to the employees’ lounge where she then quietly opened the back door so she could listen to the conversation between her brother and her boyfriend which was going on just outside.

“What’s this about?” Michael asked.

Kyle stared at his best friend incredulously. “I think I should be asking you that question. What the fuck’s going on between you and my sister?”

“Kyle...”

“Don’t! Just don’t. I want to know what Maria was doing at your apartment this morning for an hour. As far as I was aware, you two still weren’t speaking after your fight which, by the way, I still don’t know the details of.”

Michael glared at him. “How do you know she was at my place for an hour? What, were you spying on us?”

“Answer my question first. What were you doing in there for all that time?”

“That’s none of your business. She may be your sister but she happens to be my friend.”

“Oh really? Since when?”

“Don’t give me that crap. Maria came over to talk about our fight and to clear the air. I was actually on my way to your place to do the same but she beat me to it. She also came over to let me know how she’s getting on at college.”

“Right, and that takes an hour does it?”

Michael bit his lip to stop himself saying something he’d end up regretting. “We had a lot to talk about.”

“Okay, fine. So explain to me why I saw you two walking down the street together holding hands.”

“You were spying on us! How could you do that?”

“I can do what I like. When I see my supposed best friend holding hands with my little sister, well it raises my suspicions. I guess I’m funny that way.” He replied, the sarcasm dripping off his tongue.

Behind the door, Maria was nibbling furiously on a fingernail as she listened to them arguing and she didn’t know what to do. Should she go out there and say something or just let Michael handle it? It didn’t look as though he wanted to reveal the truth to Kyle and, to be honest, she couldn’t say she blamed him. Right now, her brother didn’t appear to be in the best frame of mind.

“What are you wanting me to say, Kyle? Do you want to hear me say that I was kissing her, or that I was touching her? Because I was. I was kissing her and I was touching her and...”

“Shut the fuck up!” Kyle said grabbing the front of Michael’s shirt and pulling his other arm back ready to punch him.

“Dammit Kyle! I’m in love with her!” He blurted out. “Hitting me isn’t going to change that fact. But go ahead and do it if it makes you feel any better.”

The other man’s hand froze in mid-air as the words echoed in his head. “You...you’re in love with her!? H-how the hell did that happen?” His arm fell to his side and he took a step back.

Michael heaved a sigh of relief at seeing his friend’s retreat. The last thing he wanted was to fight him. “I don’t know, it just did.” He knew he couldn’t reveal the truth of what had been going on between him and Maria so he quickly came up with a slightly different version of events. “During the summer Maria came to see me and told me she was really nervous about starting college so we, uh, just hung out and talked. One day we...we found ourselves kissing and it sort of went from there.”

Kyle ran his hands through his hair as he listened to his best friend. “She could have talked to me about that.” A thought suddenly occurred to him and while he didn’t really want to know the answer, he couldn’t help asking. “H-Have you two...um...you know?”

“I don’t think that’s any of your business but no, we haven’t. I’m not some pig trying to take advantage of her, okay? I know I have this reputation back at college, or at least I used to... But since I’ve been back at college I haven’t even been on one date. Maria is the only girl I’ve been able to think about.”

“How long have you been together?” He asked curiously.

Checking his watch, Michael smiled. “Almost two hours now.”

“What? But I thought you got together during the summer?”

“That was sort of what the fight was about. I said something really stupid and messed it all up. I guess we weren’t really together then but that’s what we were doing at my place earlier. We talked and got everything sorted out.”

Kyle paced up and down the alley. “I...I don’t know what to say.”

“Look, I’m sorry if you think we’ve been going behind your back but we didn’t know what else to do. We just wanted to give ourselves a chance before we told you.”

While the two boys continued to talk, Maria was standing frozen in shock. He loved her. She couldn’t believe it. A tiny part of her wondered if he’d said that to Kyle to make the situation better but deep down she knew that wasn’t true. The way he looked at her spoke volumes and she knew what he was saying was the truth. She was so lost in thought that she didn’t hear someone come up behind her.

“Maria? What are you doing standing there?” Jeff Parker asked.

Cringing at his loud voice, she replied, “Oh, uh, hi Mr Parker. I was just wanting to see if Liz was back home yet.”

“No, not yet. I’m actually about to leave and go pick her up from the airport. You’re welcome to come with me.”

“I’d love to but I’ve got a few things to do. I’ll definitely see her later. I’ve got lots to tell her,” she said smiling.

“Okay, well I’ll see you later.” He said before leaving.

Taking a deep breath, Maria slowly turned around and walked out of the restaurant to face Michael. His cheeks were flushed so she knew he was well aware that she must have been behind the door the whole time he’d been talking to Kyle and so had heard his admission.

Walking over to him, she took his hand in hers and asked, “Did you mean what you told Kyle?” Michael nodded at her and gave her a slow smile.

“Good, because I love you too.” Almost as if in slow motion, they moved closer together and shared a soft yet passionate kiss.

Kyle stood there not knowing where to look as his sister and his best friend continued kissing. He had no idea how this had happened. Out of all the guys he’d protected her from, she had gone and chosen the one guy he hadn’t thought to be wary of. As he watched them smiling at each other, he couldn’t help smile too as he realised that if Maria was determined to date Michael, he would be able to keep an eye on the pair of them without too much difficulty. Pushing his hands into his pockets, he gave them one last look before he headed back to his car.


*********


After they had eaten their lunch at the Crashdown, Michael had told Maria he had some errands to run and that he’d pick her up in a few hours from her place. She had asked him what he was up to but he had just smirked at her and told her she’d have to wait and see.

While she waited for the hours to pass until their date, she stayed at the Crashdown and waited for Liz to return home which she did an hour and-a-half later. The two girls hugged and told each other about what had been happening at their respective colleges since they’d last seen each other at Thanksgiving.

“You’re looking happier than when I last saw you, Maria.” Liz said as she spooned out some more ice cream.

“Do I?” Maria asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, you do. C’mon, tell me what’s going on. You know you want to.”

The blonde laughed before nodding. “Actually, you’re right. I do want to. But first I want to say thanks for, you know, not pushing me before. I wasn’t ready to talk about what was going on but now...now I am.”

Liz’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when Maria confessed to her everything that had gone on between her and Michael from the first moment she’d put her request to him during the summer holidays.

“Y-you’re kidding? He was...um...doing...I mean, you were doing...”

“Liz, it’s okay. My request for help was pretty much just an excuse for me to get close to him. I’ve been in love with him for so long and he was the only one I wanted. I wasn’t lying when I said I was nervous about starting college without having any experience with guys at all, but Michael was the only guy I could imagine being that close to and feeling that comfortable with.”

“Wow! And he feels the same way about you, right? He loves you too?”

“Uh huh,” she replied with a big grin on her face. “He does and he told Kyle that. Hearing that pretty much stunned him into silence which was good as he was about to hit Michael.”

“I can’t believe I missed all this. You so owe me,” she teased.

“Well, I’ll have to owe you later because I have to go home and get ready for my date,” she told her best friend as she got up from her chair. “Um, I don’t know where he’s taking me but, uh, would you mind...”

“Don’t worry, I’ll cover for you. Go and have fun.”

“Thanks sweetie.” Leaning down, she gave Liz a big hug and kissed her cheek. “I’ll talk to you later.”

Liz watched Maria practically skip out of the room and she couldn’t help laughing. Never in a million years would she have guessed that had been going on between her best friend and Michael.


*********


At six-thirty that evening, Michael picked Maria up from her house and after talking to Jim and Amy for a little while, they were on their way. Kyle had been nowhere in sight.

After they had eaten dinner at Senor Chows, Michael drove them to their destination. Maria snuggled into his side and ran her hand back and forth along his thigh before finally asking the question she had been dreading the answer to. “Is us being together going to ruin your friendship with Kyle?”

His arm, which was slung around her shoulders, squeezed her closer to him and he shook his head. “No, it won’t. I’m sure of that. It might be a bit awkward for a while but he’ll come around. We’ve been friends for too long.”

“I just don’t want to be the cause of you two...”

“Hey, you’re not. Let’s just forget about all that stuff for a little while and enjoy our first date.”

Looking up at him, she smiled and kissed his cheek. “Okay. So, where are you taking me?”

“I told you, you’ll just have to wait and see. We’re almost there though.”

A short while later he pulled into a parking lot and after retrieving a bag from the trunk, he locked the car. Taking her hand in his, he led her towards what looked to be a bed and breakfast establishment.

Before going inside, he stood in front of her and gave her a shy smile. “I want you to know that just because I’ve brought you here doesn’t mean I expect anything. I just thought it would be nice to spend some time alone away from everyone. Now Kyle knows, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be keeping a watchful eye on us.”

Standing on her tiptoes, she kissed him. “I think that’s a brilliant idea and you never know, you just might get lucky.” She told him with a wink which made him laugh.

Climbing the porch steps, he opened the door and led her inside.


*********


“What do you mean she’s not coming home tonight? You do realise she’s out on a date with Michael, right?”

“Yes Kyle, I do.” Amy shared a look with Jim and sighed. “Look, today is the first day in months I’ve seen Maria truly smile so I gave Michael permission for him to keep her out overnight when he came to see me earlier this afternoon. The thing is that he didn’t have to ask, he could have just had her lie and tell me she was staying over at Liz’s or something. She’s eighteen and not eight and I think it’s about time you realised that.”

“I know that,” he spat out.

“Son, you can’t keep babying Maria. It’s no good for her, or for you come to that. Michael is a good guy and he’s been looking out for her almost as long as you have so we trust him. Maybe you need to have some faith in your best friend,” Jim suggested.

Walking over to her stepson, Amy placed an arm around his shoulders. “Honey, you’ve been a fantastic brother to Maria but I think it’s time to start letting go a little. It isn’t easy accepting that she’s all grown up and I know you worry about her just as much as I do, but we have to trust her to make her own decisions.”

Kyle sighed but he knew his parents were right. He had gone overboard in his need to protect Maria and while it was justifiable when she was younger, now it wasn’t and he needed to respect her decisions. “I just know what guys are like, that’s all.”

“I know but not all guys are pigs,” Amy said with a twinkle in her eye. “There’s you and Jim and Michael for a start.”

He laughed and a moment later his dad and Amy joined in with him. “Okay, I’ll ease up on her. I guess if she has to date anyone, then Michael’s probably the best one for the job.”

Patting his cheek, she smiled at him. “Thank you. I know Maria will be relieved to know that her dating Michael isn’t going to come between you two boys. Come on, let’s go and have dinner before it gets cold.”


*********


Entering the room, Maria couldn’t help the small gasp that left her throat. The room was large and airy, decorated in white and yellow, and from the large windows she could see a view of the park across the street. She turned and watched Michael as he closed the door behind him and placed the bag he was carrying on the floor.

“So, what do you think?” He asked, biting the tip of his tongue nervously as he waited for her answer.

“It’s beautiful, Michael.” Walking over to where he was standing, she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him before drawing back slightly so she could look into his face. Their eyes locked on each other, drinking each other in and ever so slowly they began inching closer together.

Sparks seemed to fly the instant their mouths touched and when her arms tightened around his neck, he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her even closer into him. They devoured each other and when the need for air become an issue, they drew back and after taking a few gulping breaths, Michael latched onto the smooth skin of Maria’s neck. She couldn’t help the moans that tore through her throat as she relished in his sucking kisses. Her fingers tangled in his hair as she held him as close as she could.

As he kissed a path to the other side of her neck, Michael’s hands cupped her ass and he pushed their lower bodies even closer together. While he didn’t want to rush things, he couldn’t help wanting more. The smell of her skin seemed to be intoxicating him and spurring him on. He remembered how good she smelled on the occasions they had been intimate before and he couldn’t believe she was back in his arms.

Releasing her grip on his hair, Maria brought her hands down between them and she quickly began unbuttoning his shirt. She couldn’t wait to feel his naked skin against hers after all this time. It had been so long since the last time they had been together.

“Maria...maybe we should wait and...”

“No! I don’t want to wait anymore, Michael. We’ve waited long enough. I-I want to be with you...completely,” she said shyly.

“I want that too. I guess I’m just worried we’re maybe moving too fast.”

“Fast? Before today we hadn’t kissed or touched each other in months.”

Taking her hand in his, he led her over to the bed and gestured for her to sit which she did. He followed suit and took a seat beside her. “That’s kinda my point. I want you to be sure that this is what you want.”

Looking into his eyes, she smiled. “I am sure. I couldn’t be more sure of anything.” Hesitating for a second, she asked, “You wanna know a secret?”

“Always,” he told her returning her smile.

Maria took a deep breath before making her confession. “I, um, I’ve been in love with you since I was fourteen years old.” She watched his eyes widen with what she assumed to be surprise and her eyes lowered to look at their intertwined hands.

Staring at her incredulously for a moment, he placed his fingers under her chin and raised it so that she was once again looking into his face. “Are you serious?” She nodded before biting her bottom lip. “So, when you...er...asked me for help that day...”

“I wasn’t totally lying,” she said interrupting. “I was nervous about starting college without any experience but...you were the only one I wanted to experience anything with. I’d known you for so long and I knew you would be the one person I’d feel most comfortable with and I was right.”

Michael was speechless and he continued to stare at her. All those times he’d hung out with her since she was a kid and she had felt more than brotherly or friendly feelings for him. And then those times they were together just a while back... “I-I can’t believe it.”

Feeling the sting of tears, Maria tried to remove her hand from his but he wouldn’t let go. “Are you mad at me?” she whispered.

Pulling her onto his lap, he cuddled her close. “No, I’m not mad at you. Why would I be? It’s just a bit of a shock that’s all. I wasn’t expecting you to tell me that. I wish I hadn’t been so blind as to not see it.”

“You weren’t blind. I just hid it really well. I’ve never told anybody how I felt...feel about you, not even Liz. I was so scared of you and Kyle finding out and making fun of me.”

Stroking a hand over her hair, he shook his head. “I would never have made fun of you.” He told her, bending his head to press a kiss to her forehead. Tilting her head back to look up at him, she covered his mouth with hers and kissed him softly.

Breaking the kiss, he took a couple of deep breaths before saying, “I have something to tell you too.” Seeing the curious look in her eyes, he gave her a reassuring smile before he continued. “Remember that day in my apartment when things were getting out of hand and I stopped it going further?”

Maria nodded. “Yeah. I figured you didn’t want to do that with me and...”

“No! That wasn’t it at all. You don’t know how badly I wanted to make love to you that day but I didn’t think you were ready to go that far. And I figured that when you were ready, you wouldn’t want me to be your first.”

“Michael...”

“I was starting to fall for you and...I-I thought you considered it just practice,” he admitted.

“Oh god. I told you it was practice just to get you agree to help me but deep down in here,” she took his hand and placed it over her heart, “I always thought of everything we did as the real thing. Placing her hands either side of his head, she directed his mouth back to hers. She sucked his bottom lip into her mouth before tugging on it. “I would have made love with you that day in a heartbeat.” Seizing his lips with hers again, she kissed him slow and deep.

The kiss quickly became passionate and somehow they found themselves in the center of the bed. Michael was on his back and Maria was straddling his waist. Her hands moved down to finish unbuttoning his shirt and seeing his naked chest for the first time in a long while had her almost salivating, and she couldn’t resist lowering her head and planting hot, open-mouthed kisses all over it. Special attention was given to his nipples and she had them erect in no time at all.

As Maria concentrated on his chest, Michael’s arms went around to her back and he lowered the zipper to her sundress, slipping the straps down her shoulders and arms. Stopping what she was doing, she sat up and pulled the dress up and over her head revealing what she was wearing underneath.

The white lace bra and matching panties looked incredible against her lightly tanned skin and he was having trouble taking his eyes off her. “God...Maria, you look so beautiful.”

She blushed under his scrutiny and moving forward, she kissed him. He kissed her back and as he did so, he turned them over so that he was now on top. Breaking the kiss, he raised up on his forearms and looked into her emerald pools, taking a moment to really look at her. “I love you,” he told her and he watched as the smile broke out across her face.

“I love you too,” she replied cupping his cheeks in her palms and pulling him down for another kiss.

Michael couldn’t help groaning when he felt her legs wrap around his waist and her little feet digging into his ass pulled him in closer to the cradle of her groin. A second later he felt her lithe fingers on his belt buckle and she made quick work of unfastening it. Part of him felt like he should stop things before they got out of hand but another part of him didn’t want to and he remembered her words from earlier when she had said she couldn’t be more sure that this was what she wanted. He felt exactly the same way.

Maria couldn’t wait to touch him and as soon as she had popped the buttons on his button-fly jeans, her hand delved inside and wrapped around his cock. She moaned at the feel of his hot, throbbing flesh in her hand and the fact he hadn’t been wearing any underwear seemed to excite her even more. There was just something so erotic about it. Michael’s breath was coming in pants as she stroked her hand up and down his length and moving her hand a little lower, she fondled his balls. As she worked him, she managed to get him to turn over so he was once again lying on his back.

Michael’s eyes were narrow slits as he watched her over him and he reveled in the feel of her little hand moving up and down. He had almost forgotten how good she was at this and reaching out a hand, he brought it up to one of her breasts and massaged it.

She moaned, desperately wanting to feel his hand on her naked skin. Keeping up her ministrations on him, she raised a hand to undo the front clasp of her bra but he stopped her.

“Let me do it,” he whispered huskily and she automatically nodded. A second later he had undone the clasp and the bra cups had fallen away. His hand immediately kneaded and massaged her breasts alternately and the deep sigh she released made him smirk. She wiped that off his face a moment later when she raked the fingernails of her free hand over his balls as she began pumping him faster. The precum was oozing from the tip and she gathered that and used it to slicken his shaft, making her hand glide over him that little bit faster.

He couldn’t help closing his eyes as the sensations built up and he could feel his climax fast approaching. It had been so long since he had been with someone and he still couldn’t believe that he was finally with the one person he’d been dreaming about for months. His eyes shot open when he felt a wet warmth on his cock and looking down, he saw her lips suckling on the tip. Her eyes were on his as she watched him watching her and that sent an added thrill through his body. Her mouth swallowed him deeper and the sensation of her throat muscles working him had him even closer to the edge.

Michael’s hands clenched and unclenched the bedding as Maria’s oral assault continued and the hand which had been pumping him was now caressing his lower stomach. The gentle caress she was bestowing upon him was in stark contrast to the feel of her hot mouth sucking on him. The second she grazed her teeth along his shaft on the upstroke had him spilling into her mouth with a loud yell and the feel of her throat contracting as she swallowed his seed had him moaning incoherently.

After licking him clean, Maria rested the side of her head on his stomach as one of her hands continued to stroke the fine hair there. Slowly, she calmed down and let her breathing return to normal before crawling up his body, planting kisses on his stomach and chest along the way.

One of his hands caressed over her back and shoulders and once her face was above his, he wrapped a hand around the back of her neck, under her hair, and pulled her down on top of him. She moaned into his mouth as she kissed him thoroughly and shared his taste with him. This seemed to jumpstart his heart. He could feel it thumping wildly in his chest and running his hands up her body, he removed the bra that was still hanging open from her shoulders.

Her body was pressed flush against his and her face was buried in his neck where she was licking the skin there.

“You wanna get my jeans off the rest of the way?” He asked with a chuckle. He couldn’t believe that she’d gotten him off while his pants were bunched around his knees.

Pausing in her ministrations, Maria looked at his smirking face and she grinned at him. “Guess I got a little carried away, huh?”

“I ain’t complaining,” he told her raising up slightly to drop a kiss onto the tip of her nose. “Do you see me complaining?”

Shaking her head, she giggled and replied, “No.” Moving off him, she reared up on her knees and started pulling his jeans down. Untying the laces on his boots, she pulled them off before removing the denim the rest of the way and throwing it to the floor. Before she had a chance to get back into her original position though, Michael quickly moved and grabbed her, flipping them over so she was on bottom and he was straddling her waist.

“Michael!”

Leaning forward, he placed his hands either side of her on the bed and just looked at her. He couldn’t seem to take his eyes off her and he didn’t want to. Her hair was fanned out over the pillows and her skin was flushed pink. Lowering himself down, he covered her mouth with his own and kissed her softly, his tongue coming out to gently part her lips.

Maria brought her arms up and removed Michael’s shirt which she had forgotten to do earlier, too eager to touch and kiss him when his chest had come into view. Breaking the kiss for a moment, he sat up and practically ripped the shirt off and threw it to the side.

“Impatient, are we?” She teased.

“Yeah, you got a problem with that?” He teased back, his lips curling up in a half smile.

“Hell no,” she replied and wrapped her arms around his waist to pull him forward.

They started kissing again but before it got too intense Michael started travelling down her body, planting kisses down her throat, her neck and then to her shoulders. As he did so, one of his hands came up to cup and knead her breasts in turn. He shifted his position so he was lying in the space between her legs and giving her another heated look, he bent his head to her right breast and sucked as much of the flesh into his mouth as he could. His hand continued to play with her other breast, his thumb and forefinger pinching her nipple.

Maria’s fingers gripped his hair as he lavished his undivided attention on her and the feel of his hot mouth sucking, kissing and licking on her flesh had her moaning loudly. She had missed this so much while they were apart and the erotic dreams she’d had of him hadn’t compared in the slightest. His erection was rubbing against one of her thighs and she was desperate to find out how it would feel deep inside her.

When he came up for air and to switch to her other breast, she felt the cool air on her wet skin and she nearly cooed when he covered it with his large, slightly callused hand and started massaging it. The sensation of him plucking at her nipple went straight to her clit and she ached for his fingers to finally touch her there.

“Oh...oh Michael...pleeease...” she begged as the glorious feelings continued.

He didn’t stop what he was doing but he did look up at her from his position and the blatant lust in his eyes gave her butterflies in her stomach. Knowing that he wasn’t done with the task in hand, she removed one of her hands from his hair and placed it over his hand which was on her breast. Taking it in hers, she trailed their hands down her body and showed him what she wanted.

Together, they stroked her through her panties and her moans increased in volume. He was gently biting her nipple as he worked her and while he did so, he kept his eyes trained on her. The colour of her eyes was darkening as she got closer and closer to her peak and it was turning him on even more.

Releasing her nipple with a pop, he moved up her body quickly and took her mouth in a deep, sucking kiss before once again kissing his way downwards. Reaching her stomach, he tongued her belly button which made her giggle and he did it again just so he could hear that tuneful sound once more. Continuing on his travels, he moved further down until his face was hovering over her panty covered sex and he kissed her mound through her underwear.

Maria was biting her bottom lip in anticipation of what was going to happen next and without being aware of it, she was also holding her breath. When he looked up at her with the silent question she nodded without a second thought and a moment later, he had hooked his thumbs into the sides of her panties and was easing them down her hips. As soon as they were off, he spread her legs and looked at her for a couple of seconds before slowly lowering his head and taking his first taste of her.

Gasping at the sudden sensation, she closed her eyes as she savoured the feel of his tongue and lips kissing and licking her. God, it felt so good and even better than she remembered than the last time he’d done it. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she knew he was in love with her. She found herself raising her hips and grinding against his face and raising one of her arms behind her, she gripped the bars of the headboard to aid her. Her other hand tangled in his messy locks as she tried to get him even closer to where she needed him.

Michael crawled up the bed slightly as he was pleasuring her and without missing a beat, he managed to hook her legs over his forearms which tilted her further backwards so he was as close as he could possibly get. He licked her with broad strokes from bottom to the top and reaching the top, he sucked her clit into his mouth and nibbled it with his teeth.

Maria was nearly crying with pleasure. Her moans and shrieks were getting louder and louder as she felt the first tingles of her orgasm swirling in the pit of her stomach. As soon as he thrust one of his long fingers inside her she came all over his mouth and when he added two more fingers and hooked them to stroke over her g-spot, she came again.

As he licked up her juices, Michael glanced up so he could watch her and he couldn’t help smiling at how beautiful she looked. Her shoulders and breasts were infused with colour and there was a fine sheen of sweat over her too. All in all it looked like she was glowing and he couldn’t help feeling proud that he was the one responsible for her looking that way.

His cock felt like it was going to explode and he rubbed it against the bed to try and relieve the pressure before slowly crawling up her body. She watched him with wide eyes as he looked down at her. They smiled at each other before he laid on top of her, his weight pressing her further into the mattress. Maria sighed at the feeling, again remembering how it had felt months before when it had first happened.

“I missed this so much,” Michael whispered into her ear before nibbling on the lobe.

She shivered at the feeling of his hot breath blowing into her ear and her arms came up to hold him tightly against her. “Me too,” she replied.

Feeling his throbbing length touching her entrance had her rubbing herself against it and she kept her eyes open to look into Michael’s face as she did so and he groaned at the feeling of his slickened flesh sliding against hers.

“I want to feel you inside me,” she mumbled against his lips before kissing him passionately. “Y-you feel so good...so hard...”

“I want that too, Maria. You don’t know how much.”

“Yes I do.” Capturing his bottom lip between her teeth, she tugged on it before releasing it to ask, “Did you bring any...um...condoms?”

Kissing her again, he nodded. “Yeah, they’re in my bag.”

Raking her nails up and down his back, she grinned at him. “Well you’d better get your gorgeous ass over there and fetch them, hadn’t you?”

“You’re a bossy little thing.” He told her teasingly before getting up and walking over to where he’d left the bag.

While he did that, Maria pulled the covers back on the bed and got underneath them. “So what else is in that bag?” she queried.

“Just a few bits and pieces I thought we’d need,” he replied vaguely.

Turning around and walking back to the bed, he stopped when he saw her covered up. “What’s the matter? Why did you get under the covers?”

She blushed and shook her head. “I just felt a bit cold,” she lied. In truth, she felt a little strange being totally naked in front of him despite what they’d just done together.

Going over to her, he sat beside her and cupped her cheek in his palm. “You’re beautiful, Maria, and you have nothing to be embarrassed about. I like seeing you naked and knowing that I’m the only one who gets to do that.” Taking the corner of the covers in his fingers, he asked her a silent question and when she slowly nodded, he pulled the covers off the bed and threw them to the floor. Leaning over her, he kissed her softly and let her take the lead. It wasn’t long before she was moving to kneel beside him and he helped get her into a position where she was straddling him as he sat on the edge of the bed.

His arms held her tightly to him as he felt her warm body rocking against his. The anticipation of what was going to happen next was almost making his head spin and he couldn’t wait. He had been waiting for this to happen for such a long time and he wanted it to be perfect...for both of them.

Continuing to hold her closely to him, he asked, “How do you want to do this? I’ve heard that being on top can be better when it’s your first time.”

She shook her head. “No, I want you to be on top the first time.”

”Okay.” Wrapping his arms around her waist, he carefully got up from the bed with her in his arms and placed her in the center of the bed. Shifting back slightly so she was comfortably resting among the pillows, she watched as he climbed on too, placing the box of condoms beside them.

As he kissed her and as his hands caressed over her body, Maria started to relax. Michael seemed to have a magic touch as his hands smoothed over every inch of her and she felt that the more aroused she became, the more sensitive her skin seemed to be. Goosebumps were breaking out all over her.

Michael tested her arousal by inserting a finger deep inside her and stroking her gently. The little noises and whimpers she was making were turning him on even more and he knew he couldn’t wait any longer. Picking up a condom, he tore the wrapper off and then rolled the latex down his shaft. He could feel her eyes on him and he felt himself harden that little bit more. Gently, he eased her thighs further apart before getting into position on top of her.

Resting his weight on his forearms which were placed either side of her, he kissed her before asking, “Are you ready?”

Taking a deep breath, Maria nodded at him and gave him what she hoped was a reassuring smile. Bringing her arms up, she wrapped them around his neck. “Yes,” she whispered before adding, “Just go slow.”

Taking his erection into his hand, he rubbed the head of it along her lower lips a couple of times to get her used to the feel of him before slowly pushing inside her. She was so tight and hot but thankfully she was very wet which helped. Bending his head, he seized her lips in a powerful kiss as he circled her clit with his thumb, trying to take her mind off the pain she would be feeling in a moment. Feeling the barrier of her innocence, he paused for a moment. Instead of just pushing through, he slowly slid back and forth into the space between her entrance and her hymen a few times. He’d heard that the nerve endings there were particularly sensitive and he hoped that spending a little time building her arousal would help when he finally broke through.

Maria was panting into Michael’s mouth as she felt him sliding back and forth just inside her entrance. The feeling was indescribable and she knew it would be even better once he was even deeper inside. She wrapped her legs around his waist, the heels of her feet digging into his ass. Adding pressure there, she pushed him so he knew without a doubt what she wanted. They opened their eyes at the same moment while they continued to kiss and pulling back, he finally pushed in all the way.

Screaming into his mouth, Maria gripped Michael’s shoulders and her nails dug into his skin. Now he was further inside, he wasn’t moving and was instead letting her get accustomed to the new feeling. It didn’t take long for that to happen and she started moving her lower body against his. He used a combination of short and deep strokes and as he did so, he kept his eyes on her. Seeing her in the throes of passion was something he didn’t think he’d ever get enough of. Her skin was glistening with perspiration and he buried his face into the nook between her neck and shoulder and sucked on her salty skin.

Maria was meeting him thrust for thrust and once again she could feel her climax fast approaching. The swirling feeling in her stomach was growing stronger and she pointed her toes when she felt it hit. Fireworks were exploding behind her eyelids and her fingernails were embedded in Michael’s back.

He was almost there and even though he knew she had just cum, he wanted her to cum again with him so he started massaging her clit.

“Michael...Michael...oh ohhhh!”

Feeling him explode inside her triggered her second orgasm and she almost screamed at the sensation. Michael was chanting her name over and over in her ear. He was still semi-hard and he continued to pump inside her, riding out their mutual orgasm. His skin was also slickened with sweat and her hands glided over him as she pulled him down so she could savour the feel of his body pressing into hers.

Michael was sucking on the pulse point of her throat as he rubbed his chest against hers. Her nipples were nice and sharp and were creating a nice friction as he moved over her.

Raising up again, he looked into her eyes and gave her what she could only describe as a totally sexy smile. “Was that okay?” He asked almost shyly.

Pushing herself up, she planted butterfly kisses all over his face before taking his lips in a very heated, intense kiss. “Okay doesn’t even begin to cover it, baby. It was amazing...you were amazing,” she told him honestly.

“I’m sorry I hurt you.”

“You didn’t. It was nothing like what I’d imagined or what I’d read about in magazines. You made it perfect for me. Thank you,” she said before kissing him nice and slow.

When they broke apart, they were simply smiling and gazing at each other. Michael was the one to break the silence.

“I’d better move and get rid of...”

She nodded and slowly unwrapped her legs which were still hooked around him. Hissing at the feel of him sliding out of her, she watched as he got up out of the bed and walked into the bathroom. A few minutes later he was back and picking up the bedding he had earlier thrown on the floor, he quickly made the bed while Maria still lay in it.

Maria couldn’t take her eyes off him as he wandered about the room naked and she couldn’t help blushing. Hopefully it wouldn’t take her too long to get used to seeing him like that, she thought to herself with a smile.

When the bed was looking decent, he climbed in beside her and took her into his arms, arranging their bodies so she was almost lying on top of him with her head resting on his chest.

“Do you feel tired?”

“No, I don’t. I feel wide awake,” she answered. “How about you?”

“The same. What do you want to do now?”

“Hmm, let me think...” she teased as she ran a hand across his lower stomach. When her hand moved down to touch his cock he groaned which made her smile.

“You might need to give me a little while to recover,” he told her placing his hand over hers and showing her how he liked to be touched.

Feeling him begin to harden under her hand, she smiled. “Mmm, it doesn’t look like I’ll have to wait too long.”

Michael laughed and hugged her to him. “He obviously likes you.”

“Well, that’s good ‘cos I like him too.” Placing her hands on his shoulders, she pulled herself up so she could touch his lips with her own.

“What do you want to do while we wait?”

“We could talk,” she suggested and he nodded his agreement.

“I’ve got another secret to share if you’re interested.”

“Oh, I’m definitely interested. What is it?”

Resting her head on his chest, she told him about the photograph she had of the two of them that she had kept hidden under her mattress for over a year and she frowned when he started laughing. “What’s so funny?”

Michael couldn’t stop laughing at the irony of what she had just confessed to but he sobered up when he felt her trying to get away from him. The arm he had wrapped around her waist tightened its hold on her and looking into her face, he cursed himself when he saw her eyes glistening with tears.

“Don’t cry. Please. I’m not laughing at you, I swear. Let me go and get something, okay?” He waited for her consent and when she nodded, he untangled himself from her and went over to where his jeans lay on the floor. Retrieving something from the pocket, he climbed back into bed and moved back into his original position with her. Flipping through the various options on his phone, he found what he was searching for and then handed it to her.

Maria gasped at what she saw. It was a picture of her and she stared at it a moment longer before looking back up at him. “You kept the photo you took of me?”

He nodded at her. “Yeah. I lied to you that day when I said I wanted to test the camera facility. I’d had the phone for ages and knew how to use it pretty well. I just wanted to have a picture of you that I could carry with me,” he told her honestly. “That’s why I was laughing. I love that you did the same with a picture of me.”

Hugging him tighter, she dropped a kiss onto his jawline. “I can’t believe we wasted so much time, Michael.”

“I know but maybe this was the way things had to be for us. All that matters is that we’re together now and your family knows about us.”

“Yeah. Oh, by the way, Liz said she’ll cover for me if I stay out all night so we’re...”

“It’s okay. I actually got permission from your mom to keep you out all night so there’s no problem.”

Maria stared at him dumbfounded. “W-what?”

“Your mom and Jim have been like family to me and I don’t want them thinking I’m taking advantage of you or them. I wanted to be honest with them and I think they appreciated it.”

“My mom knows I’m here in a bed and breakfast with you?”

Michael shook his head. “Uh, no. I didn’t tell her that. I just said I had a whole night planned for us and I didn’t know what time I’d be able to get you home by so I’d made arrangements. She didn’t ask any specifics and I didn’t volunteer any. I just told her I’d look after you.” He could feel his cheeks heating up at the intensity of her gaze.

“Aww, you’re so cute. My hero,” she teased.

“You’re such a brat.”

“Hey! Be careful buddy ‘cos you might not be getting any more from me tonight,” she warned but ruined it by laughing.

“Okay, okay. I take it back.” He started laughing with her but his laugh turned into a moan when her hand once again wrapped around his cock.

“Looks like you’re ready,” she observed. Biting her lip, she looked into his eyes and quietly asked, “Can we do it again?”

Nodding at her, he kissed her hard. “Oh yeah!”


*********


The next morning the sunlight streamed through the windows, slowly rousing Maria from her sleep. Her eyelashes fluttered against her skin a few times before her eyes fully opened and she winced as the harsh light hit them. Note to self: remember to close the curtains at night, she thought with a chuckle.

Turning her face to the side, she saw Michael fast asleep and she couldn’t help smiling at him. She watched him for a little while longer as memories of last night flashed through her mind. The second time they had made love was even better than the first. He had had her straddle him on her knees while he sat upright in bed, his back against the headboard. He had teased her by controlling how much of him she could take in and finally he had released his hold on her hips so she could take all of him in at once. As she had bounced on his cock, he had played with her breasts and her clit until she couldn’t take the pleasure anymore and had climaxed, feeling like she was blasting off into space as it happened.

Michael’s eyes slowly opened to be greeted by a vision of loveliness. He smiled at his girlfriend and wrapping an arm around her, he pulled her flush against him. Rolling over, he pinned her underneath him as he kissed her. The kiss started off soft and gentle but quickly gathered momentum and when they broke apart, they were both breathing harshly.

“I wish we didn’t have to go home yet,” she whispered resting her forehead against his.

“I know, me too. But at least we can walk down the street holding hands now without worrying about people seeing us together.”

“By people you mean Kyle?”

“Yeah. Hopefully it won’t take him too long to come around and be happy for us.”

“Well you know Kyle. He’s not really the type to bear a grudge so I think we’ll be okay.”

“True,” Michael agreed. “Come on, let’s get up and ready. We can get something to eat before we have to leave.”

“What time do we have to be signed out?”

“Ten. Why, what are you thinking?”

“I think you know what I’m thinking,” she smirked.

“Wow, you’re insatiable.”

“What can I say? You’re a bad influence on me, Mr Guerin.”

“Thank god for that,” he said before rolling onto his back and pulling her on top of him.


*********


After a hearty breakfast, Michael signed them out of the bed and breakfast and they were heading back to the car ready to go back home. As they were getting settled into the car, he smacked a hand across the top of his head.

“What’s the matter?”

“I forgot to give you your Christmas present.”

“But Christmas isn’t for a few more days yet.”

“Yeah, I know but I wanted to give it to you last night.”

Maria couldn’t resist the opening he’d given her and she laughed. “Oh, you definitely gave it to me last night, don’t worry.”

He laughed along with her. “I really have corrupted you, haven’t I?” He said before getting out of the car to retrieve the present from the bag he had placed in the trunk. Getting back into the car, he took a deep breath before handing her a small gift-wrapped box.

Carefully holding it in her hands, Maria looked between the present and Michael.

“Go ahead, open it.”

She slowly unwrapped it and when she finally opened the box she gasped. Inside was a silver ring with three small emeralds sitting in a row. “Oh my god, Michael. It’s...it’s beautiful.”

He watched as she picked it up out of the box and he saw her hesitate as she tried to decide which finger to place it on. Helping her out, he took it out of her hand and placed it on the ring finger of her right hand.

“It’s not an engagement ring. It’s way too soon for something like that. It’s a promise ring.”

She nodded at him. A part of her was relieved at what he’d said as she agreed that it was way too soon to be thinking about an engagement. That wasn’t to say that she hadn’t ever thought or dreamt of marrying him. She’d had more than a few wedding dreams of the two of them over the years.

Worried at her silence, he asked, “That’s okay, right?”

“It’s more than okay, Michael. It’s perfect.”

“So you like the ring then?”

Looking down at it, she smiled as she admired its simplicity. “I love it. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Hmm, I wonder if I’ll be getting lucky later,” he mused knowing she was watching him closely.

“Lucky is an understatement. I mean, I need to thank you properly for my present and I haven’t got you anything yet so...”

Her words were cut off by his mouth crushing against hers. Sighing into his mouth as her right hand came up to caress his cheek, she could feel him shifting and the next thing she knew a flash had gone off. Breaking the kiss, she saw he was holding his phone up to them and had taken a picture of them kissing.

“Had to capture the moment,” he told her with a smirk. Giving her another quick kiss, he handed her the phone as he started the car.

As they drove away, Maria stared at the image of her and Michael kissing and her heart felt light and free. Placing her hand on his thigh, she gave it a gentle squeeze as he drove them back home. They were on their way to start the next phase of their lives together and she couldn’t wait.

The End

*********


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