Maria was dancing around the room. Well, actually she was sweeping. It was after hours at the Crashdown and she and Liz were closing tonight.
She had her walkman on and was listening to her music. Our Lady Peace wasn't one of the divas she tended to listen to, but she liked them. Alex had lent her the tape earlier that day. It was one of his favourite bands, but that's not the real reason Maria let herself be persuaded to listen to them. The real reason was she knew Michael listened to them.
Maria had always sworn that she would never be one of those girls who lived and breathed solely for the boy she had a crush on. But with Michael she found herself doing things she would never normally do. Like listening music she would normally turn off before the first word was sung.
She had to admit the group was pretty good, though. The song she was listening to was catchy. By the time the chorus came back on she was able to sing along with it. "Falling. I remember falling. I remember marching. Like a one man arm - Ahh!" Maria broke off in a scream and she jumped up into the air.
She turned off the tape and whirled around to face Liz. Her friend was laughing hysterically. "That was so not funny," she said. Maria started to swat her friend playfully. "You scared me!"
"What are you talking about?" Liz asked mischievously. "That was lots of fun."
Maria stuck her tongue out. A childish gesture, but one she resorted to often with Liz.
"I'm sorry," Liz said, still laughing and not sounding in the least bit sorry. "But I couldn't resist. What were you listening to, anyways?"
Maria pulled her earphones off. "Our Lady Peace," she said.
Liz raised an eyebrow. "The band Alex's always talking about? I didn't think that was your type of music."
"Not the stuff I usually listen to," Maria admitted, "but it's pretty good."
"How did Alex manage to talk you into listening to . . . " Liz trailed off and smiled slyly. "I hear Michael likes them."
Maria turned bright red. The bad thing about having a friend as good as Liz was that it was hard to keep secrets from them.
"So are you two back together?" Liz asked.
"I don't know," Maria sighed. "It's complicated."
Liz waited for her to continue.
"When the whole vision thing was going on, I thought we were back together for sure. Then I told him I faked it," Maria made a face in memory, "and I was convinced we were over for good. Michael didn't take it well. Then," she said, rubbing her head, "I went over and apologized." She turned to Liz, a sappy expression on her face. "He told me he lied about faking the vision." She smiled. "He saw me as a little girl with my red sneakers."
Liz also smiled in recognition. "The red sneakers?" she asked.
Maria nodded. "And he also saw Spot."
"I remember Spot!" Liz exclaimed. "He was the cutest dog ever."
"Yeah," Maria agreed. She smiled sadly, remembering Spot. She had loved that dog and had been devastated when he died. Especially since it was so close to when her father abandoned her.
"So does this mean you guys did have a vision" Liz asked, excited.
"He had a vision," Maria corrected. "I faked it."
"Oh, yeah," Liz said, embarrassed. She had already known that, but hadn't been thinking straight.
"So how mad were your parents?" Maria asked. It had been a busy shift and they hadn't had a chance to really talk.
Liz groaned. "Well, I'm only grounded for three weeks. Can't do anything besides work and go to school. But if mom had her way, it would be longer."
"Mom's are way too over protective, aren't they," Maria complained. "I mean, when my mom walked in on Michael and me sleeping together," Maria shivered at the memory.
"That's totally different," Liz said. "Your mom walked in on you two. It was the most likely conclusion. Anyone would've thought the same thing."
Maria rolled her eyes. "Yeah, and spending the night with Max, all alone, out in the middle of the desert, all alone, could be nothing buy innocent. You know, I don't know how your parents could've ever though you two were having sex."
Liz blushed. "Okay, I'll admit it, you're right. It did seem like we had sex. The worst part was afterwards when my parents had 'the talk' with me. At least your mom believed you when you said you didn't have sex with Michael. My parents didn't."
"Your parents wouldn't believe you when you said you didn't have sex with Michael?" Maria asked innocently.
Liz laughed and swatted her. "You know what I mean," she said.
"So what did you say you were out there for?" Maria asked.
"Didn't," Liz answered. "Couldn't exactly tell them we went out there to dig up a stone that's probably of alien origin."
"Yeah," Maria nodded. "I can see where that would be a problem."
"I hate lying to my parents," Liz said.
"I know. I don't like lying to my mom either. But it's not exactly like we can tell them the truth. Hey, mom," Maria mimicked. "The reason I keep on disappearing mysteriously is because I'm helping my boyfriend find his home planet. You see, he's an alien. You know, as in from outer space."
"The thing is," Maria said wryly, "my mom would probably believe me."
Liz laughed again. "No," she disagreed. "Your mom may be a hippie, and she may believe in karma and all that other new age stuff, but she'd send you to a psychiatrist if she found out you thought your boyfriend was from outer space."
"You're probably right." Maria looked around the room. "We done?"
Liz also looked around. "Think so," she said.
"Good, 'cuz I've a math test tomorrow and I should probably study."
Liz shook her head at her friend. "Maria," she scolded. "You shouldn't leave it to the leave minute."
"Yes, mom," Maria said sarcastically. She grabbed her walkman and put on her jacket. Before leaving she turned around to face the brunette waitress.
"Liz," Maria asked seriously. "If you could, would you give it all up? I mean," she fumbled with the words, trying to explain, "if you could have Max a a nice, normal human being, would you?"
Liz considered the question carefully before answering. "No," she said slowly. "I wouldn't. Would you?"
Maria shook her head emphatically no. "Not for anything in the world," she said. "But I was wondering why. I mean, wouldn't things be much easier, much better if they were normal?"
Liz smiled enigmatically. "As Max once told me," she said softly, "What's so great about normal?"
Maria thought about that answer. "Good night, Liz," she said.
"'night Maria," Liz said. She waited until Maria safely reached her car before locking the door and going upstairs.