Liz stepped out of her bathroom; robe wrapped securely around her body, sealing in the warmth that her hot shower had rained down on her body. She ran her towel through her hair, gazing down at her bed, and the lump that resided in it, somewhere, amongst the fluffy blankets.
What a night, and it wasn’t even over yet. Max and Maria were off chasing Enigma and she was sitting in a room alone with an Alien. And a drunk Alien at that. Yet she was still contemplating who’d gotten the better deal.
Maria was now out searching the desert, with Max, for something that always seemed out of reach? Hadn’t she been doing that with him all summer, fall… Jesus, up until now. Wild goose chases, looking for a way to get to his son. Why the hell did that sound like a round about way of saying he was eventually going to leave her?
Max said all the right things. Made her believe them. He held such conviction in his love for her. Yet at the end of every date, what ones they had, or every phone conversation, she was left with a sense of abandonment. He would leave her.
Before she could contemplate what that meant to her, a growling noise filtered out from beneath the blankets. Liz smirked watching his tanned fingertips peek out from behind the grey of her blankets. The bear was emerging from his slumber. She wondered if she should call FOX for a television special: When Aliens Get Drunk, and the inevitable follow-up: When Aliens Get Drunk 2: The Hangover.
Shrugging away the thought she saw the glint of a ring and strands of messy hair appear as the blankets were lowered further. She stood at the foot of the bed amused as his eyes instantly squinted against the light of the room and he once again retreated underneath the covers and away from the offending light.
“Shit!” he hissed loudly, “Think you could close the blinds or something? The sun’s burning my eyes out.”
Liz chuckled, crossing the room to turn off “the sun”, a harmless lamp perched on her desk. The room was dark, but the light from the streetlamps kept the room semi-illuminated.
Michael once again pulled down the covers, rubbing his large hands over his face. Liz watched, once again by the puzzled look on his face as he took in his surroundings, “I didn’t mean to cause an eclipse. Parker,” he grumbled scanning the darkened room before locking his eyes on her.
Liz rolled her eyes and shook her head, running the towel over her hair one last time before tossing it aside onto the floor, “See now, Isabel is the one who can control the weather, but I’m fairly certain, solar eclipses are out of her power realm.”
“Speak English,” Michael groused, putting an arm over his eyes.
“It’s still dark out,” she supplied dryly, “Little phenomenon I like to call night.”
His arm lifted slightly and he peered at her from beneath the skin, confusion evident on his face, “Night? What time is it?”
“There’s a clock next to you,” she gestured at the nightstand, pointing to her old fashioned alarm clock, complete with brass bells on top.
Michael turned his body towards the nightstand, clearly put out that she wouldn’t simply read it to him, “You should be nicer to me I’m…”
“Hungover?” Liz supplied, not hiding the amusement that tingled in her voice.
“Unwell.” Michael corrected reaching for the old clock clumsily, “Why can’t you have a normal clock? Digital Age, Parker.”
Liz opened her mouth to reply, but the loud crashing of the clock striking the floor as it slipped from Michael’s, far from coordinated hand. She gasped scrambling over to the fallen time piece scooping it up off the floor to inspect it, as Michael’s hands immediately went to his ears, the sound of metal and glass meeting the floor rattling his alcohol soaked brain.
A defeated whimper left Liz’s lips and she rose from the floor seating herself next to Michael, the clock cradled in her hands. Michael took his hands down seeing the distress on her face, “Is it…?”
“Broken?” Liz asked, anger laced her voice, she held it up for him to see that the face of the old clock was completely shattered and the hands were in disarray.
“It’s just a clock.” Michael shrugged his shoulders and frowning, “And if you’d told me the damn time in the first place, I never would have… I’m not exactly coordinated at the moment.”
Liz pinned him with a glare, “It was my grandfather’s. Mom’s dad. He had no son’s and this was the only thing of value he had when he came over here from…” she paused seeing the blank look on Michael’s face, letting out a dejected sigh, “You know what, never mind, Michael. It’s an antique. Yet again something precious to me is broken by an alien. If it weren’t true it’d make a great sitcom.”
She kept staring down at the clock, tracing the lines of cracked glass with her fingers, not caring if one of the shards might pierce her skin. This New Year was starting off with a thud, rather than a bang.
The snapping of fingers drew her attention away from the clock and she saw Michael’s open palm extended out to her. Her eyes lifted to his seeing the firmly placed annoyance in the lines of face, but guilt swimming in his bloodshot eyes, “I can fix it. Alien. Remember?”
Liz bit her lip, reluctant to hand over the antique, despite its already broken state, “Are you sure? You were doing a pretty decent impression of a chandelier on my ceiling earlier. What if your powers are still… kinky?”
Michael looked at her as if she should be occupying a seat on the little yellow school bus, “Yeah and earlier every nerve in my body was standing on end, but I’m obviously over it beside this pain in my neck and a serious case of hate for Mr. Bud Weiser. Hand it over.”
Sighing, Liz reluctantly handed Michael the broken clock. The material of her robe fell off her shoulder, it having loosened, in her initial scramble to reach the clock, as she brought her hand back down to her lap. Feeling the loss of its warmth, she reached for the material intent on pulling back up. She felt Michael’s eyes on her, and she brought her eyes up quickly, catching the swipe of his tongue over his lips, just before he darted his gaze back to the broken clock.
She couldn’t help the smirk that graced her face. Michael had just checked her out. Sure most boys would falter at the sight of female skin, but Michael wasn’t most boys. Normally he was quite focused when a task was at hand and here he was getting distracted by her naked shoulder. He’d seen Maria’s…well, all of her. Some of the alcohol had to still be lingering for him to spare a glance such as that her way.
It wasn’t a lack of confidence on her part. It was consistency. Michael didn’t look at her like… like she was the Tabasco to his chocolate cake. So, logically it had to be the booze that kept him looking just one second too long. The booze, and a weeks old introduction to celibacy. It was totally normal. Meant nothing. To him.
She watched his face, a scowl of determination replacing the hung over one as he placed his hand over the broken pieces of metal, gears, glass and springs. She should have been focusing on how he could mend the pieces together as if no harm had ever befallen them, but glimpse at his naked chest had proven a distraction.
Even in the dim light she could make out the rounding of his chest muscles, the dusky nipples topping them. His skin was pale, Michael never being much for sun worship. Smooth skin, with a sparse sprinkling of hair over it. It would have been perfect if not for the faint scars she could make out on them. She stiffened a bit, realizing their edges were far too straight, to have been delivered with a fall. No, she imagined they were a product of Hank’s belt. Reminders of a violent youth.
She knew Michael wouldn’t want her pity, so she appreciated his body for what it was. Flawed. Lived in. Just like him.
A grunt loosed from Michael’s throat brought her attention back to his face and hand. He was looking at her, frown still etched on his face, “Could you…um fix that?” he asked gesturing at her shoulder, “It’s distracting.”
Liz looked down, her cheeks immediately reddening as she realized her robe had fallen off her shoulder again, only this time it had fallen lower, exposing the upper swell of her breast.
“Oh...uh… yeah. Sorry.” She said quickly pulling the material back up, and nervously tightening the ties around her waist.
“Whatever,” he shrugged. His attention returned to the clock, his brows knitted together focusing on the clock, holding his hand over its broken shell. Liz watched his hand begin to glow. No matter how many times she saw one of the aliens demonstrate their powers, it was always fascinating. They defied science with the mending of molecules that never should have been put back together.
Once again her attention was drawn away as Michael growled. She glanced up at him, finding his eyes dark, but clearly frustrated, “Dammit Parker, if I wanted a strip show I would have put on some music.”
Liz looked down at her shoulder to once again find it bared to Michael’s eyes. What the hell? She’d just fixed it. She’d barely moved. All she’d done in the last few seconds was, breathe, and blink.
“Stop staring at it and cover it already,” Michael insisted, his voice sounding strained to hold its conviction.
“Right. I’ll just re-adjust it. You fix the clock.” She rose from the bed turning her body away from Michael. She undid the ties on the robe quickly readjusting the material so that it wrapped tightly around her body.
Liz could hear him behind her, his breath shortening, coming out in pants rather than easy breaths. She looked over her shoulder as she fumbled with the ties, concerned when she saw the beads of sweat that had broken out on his forehead.
“This damn thing…” he muttered. He flicked his eyes up at her, her movement distracting him for a moment, his shoulders slumping, “Maybe I should tackle this in the morn…”
He was mid-sentence when Liz felt an invisible force tug on her robe. Before she could fight it, it was ripped off her body dropping to the floor. She let out a raspy shriek, realizing she was now completely naked in front of Michael. Sure it was dark, but not so much that he couldn’t see anything.
“Oh my God!” she whimpered in humiliation immediately kneeling to the floor retrieving her robe. She didn’t dare look Michael in the eyes, unsure of what she’d see there.
“What the hell are you doing, Parker. The idea was to keep it on, not throw it off!” she heard him say as she threw her arm in the fluffy cotton, quickly wrapping it around her naked flesh and standing, her head still bowed in embarrassment.
“I don’t know. It just fell,” she said through clenched teeth. He was never going to let her forget this.
“Are you sure you haven’t been drinking?” he asked, the amusement in his voice causing her to finally meet his eyes. Of course he had one eyebrow arched, to match the smirk on his face, “Because this whole spastic thing is a side of you I’ve never seen before.”
She bristled, tying the long cords around her waist twice for good measure, “Yeah well, for someone who just got a free nudie show, you complain a lot.”
“I’m not complaining. Just wondering,” He shrugged, “Now, if you’d stop running a burlesque show in here I could fix this clock. Think you can manage to keep your clothes on in my presence?”
“Sailors couldn’t untie this knot.” She gestured proudly at the tight double knotted cotton on her stomach, “Please continue.”
“But if watching me work gets too much for you again, try taking a cold shower instead of getting naked." He winked at her.
Winked? That smug son of a…
“I’ll do my best to control my raging hormones, Michael.” She batted her eyes, before glaring at him, “Won’t happen again.”
“We’ll see.” He challenged, returning his attention to the broken clock.
Liz crossed her arms letting out an annoyed breath. Let him have his victory. This banter was doing little to fix her precious antiquity and if she kept at him he’d likely grenade it. Patience. Isn’t that what Maria said you had to have tons of to tolerate Michael? Yeah patience.
“Guess Maria ran dry.” Liz muttered to herself with a self satisfied smirk.
“I can still hear you, Liz.” He shook his head, eyes still on the clock, “My ears aren’t quite back to normal yet. Temporary. Can’t say the same for Maxwell. Those are permanent. I weep for your future children. Bambi eyes and Dumbo ears. It’ll look like Disney barfed on them.”
Liz threw her arms in the air, loosing a frustrated growl, “While I’m fascinated with your concern over what my future spawn will look like, could you just fix the clock?” She dropped her arms to her side, in surrender, “You know I could be doing a lot better things with my night than nursing you through a date with fermented hopps!”
"Oh yeah, another wild goose chase with Maxwell. Real fun."
“That isn’t what we had planned… Maria dragged him to it.’ She countered, “Who knows what we could have done. I could still be out right now. But no, I’m stuck here with a hung over, cranky, half naked alien in my bed, fixing a clock at three-o-clock in the morning!”
"I get it. You're bitter. There's no need to yell.”
Liz felt her blood pressure rising, and her face flaming with anger. She took a deep breath ready to level Michael with a verbal tirade, but a tugging on her robe stalled her. Her eyes widened as she looked down at the ties of her robe and watched in horror as invisible hands seemed to loosen them from their knots.
“M-Michael…” she whispered, unable to find volume for her voice.
“What?” he asked clearly annoyed. He met her eyes and she saw them widen as another knot on her robe was loosened on its own.