Risks: Isabel

I must admit, I didn't always know I had feelings for Michael. He was my friend. A good friend, yes, but only a friend. I lied to myself day after day, month after month, year after year, tricking myself into believing that's all he was. Michael had to come so close to death before I realized what my true feelings towards him were.

Now I can admit that it was in fact jealousy that I felt all those time I saw Michael flirting with Maria. I just assumed at the time I was merely uncomfortable. Well, no, that's not true. Deep down I always knew I was jealous.

I guess I never let him in because of my whole need for a normal life. I always knew that eventually I'd wind up with Michael. I just always though he'd be around for me when I was ready. Never in a million years did I dream he would find someone of his own. Someone to take my place. Especially not a someone like Maria DeLuca.

What exactly does he see in her? What could he see in her? She's this melodramatic, over the top, off the wall human who freaks out at the littlest thing. They aren't even the same species! Nothing they could have together would be real.

Then there was that whole mess with Hank. Why didn't Michael tell us before? Didn't he trust us enough? Why couldn't he stop being independent long enough to ask us for help?

My heart stopped when I heard Maria say Michael had spent the night at her place. That after our fight, he had run off and slept with her. Liz was also shocked, until Maria explained that nothing had happened. They had seriously and truly just slept together. I don't think either of them saw how upset I was. I hope neither of them saw how upset I was. I shouldn't have to explain myself to them, yet I know I would if they saw my face.

I don't think anyone will ever know how happy I was when I came down the next morning to see Michael making breakfast. He hadn't skipped town after all. He realized we would always be there for him. He also asked for help. I almost fainted with surprise when I heard him. As much as I wanted him, I never really expected he would ask for help.

My dad won his case, of course. Now Michael can live on his own. He'll never have to stay with someone who hurts him again. I hope having his own place will help him start to believe that he really belongs.

I don't know why Michael doesn't think he's important to us. He seems to believe that since we have a family, we have no need for him. That's just so wrong that it's not even funny. Without him, I don't know how I'd survive.

True, we fight all the time. In fact, Max used to joke, before the whole mess with Liz and Maria and Alex, that the day we stopped fighting was the day hell would freeze over. He's probably right. I don't think I could ever be the type of girl who worships the ground my guy walks on. That's just not me. And it's not what Michael needs, either. He needs someone who will keep him down to earth. And I mean that in more ways than one.

Maria is so flighty. She would more likely just encourage Michael when he goes off on one of his paranoia trips. Encouragement is the last thing Michael needs most of the time.

It's really not fair. Michael had a crush on me for ages, but I was too dense to realize that I had feelings for him too. And just when I finally wake up, he goes and starts dating another girl. Why?

Maybe I should tell him how I feel. The thing is, I'm not sure if that will make things better or worse. What if, when I tell him, things become awkward between us? There are too many what ifs. I could go on for hours.

But if I don't tell him, he could end up with Maria, and we could be miserable for the rest of our lives. I don't think that's a risk I can take.

The End

Risks: Michael