part 3 begins after the jump.
“What happened?” Michael asked groggily. He addressed his question to Liz, who was, surprisingly, the only other person in the room with him. It looked like he was in the hospital. He was hooked up to all these weird noisy machines, and his leg was in a sling rendering movement impossible.
“Michael. You’re awake.” Liz sat up and leaned over to grab his hand before thinking better of it and letting it go. The broken contact bothered Michael in some inexplicable way, and without thinking about it too deeply he clasped her hand with his before she got too far.
Liz didn't say anything about the hand holding, but she couldn't look him in the eye. She didn't want to attach too much meaning to the action. He needed comfort. When he spoke again with his customary sarcasm, Liz found it comforting. “That’s stating the obvious, Parker. What happened? Last thing I remember—oh never mind. I remember.”
“I’m so sorry, Michael.” He knew then that she had somehow discovered what had happened between him and Maria.
“For what? You didn’t make Maria say the things she said.”
“Yeah, but I should have stopped you from going. I knew you were too upset to be riding.” She seemed distraught by this train of thought. And Michael knew he had to nip this in the bud. It was in no way her fault that he had chosen to be so reckless. He'd been upset and craving danger. That was his m.o. She couldn't think she was to blame for any of this.
“Liz, trust me, I knew that too. There was nothing you could have done. Now what’s the deal here? How do we get out of here before they figure I’m not from around here?”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. They think you’re one hundred percent human.” Liz beamed at him as she shared this welcome news.
“Really, did Kyle...” Liz nodded cutting his speculative question short.
“Nope, didn’t have to. Apparently, green-glowy cells don’t show up in regular blood tests. Some of your levels are a little funky, but easy to explain away. No one suspects anything.”
“Cool. So where is everyone else?”
“In the waiting room I guess. They let me in because they think I’m your girlfriend.”
“Why didn’t the others come with?”
“It’s family only.”
“Right,” Michael said bitterly, “And I have no family.”
“You’ve got me,” Liz said quietly.
“Thanks, Parker. You’re a real friend. How long will you stay?” Michael asked squeezing Liz’s hand with a ferocity that startled them both.
“I’ll be staying with you tonight. No complaints. Now that you’re awake, I expect that they’ll move you into a standard room tomorrow, as long as you don’t have a concussion.”
“Well, that’s no problem. How soon can I heal myself and get the hell out of here?” Michael was ready to do it now, but he thought that might raise too many suspicions. If only he was better at healing. He was especially bad at it when his emotions were all over the place.
“One week, maybe two. We don’t want anyone suspecting anything.” He groaned at Liz's words even though she was only confirming what he thought. He was going to have to heal the human way. Too bad that happened to be the sucky and slow way.
“Parker, that royally blows.”
“Don’t get too agitated or it’ll take a lot longer,” Liz threatened.
Michael settled back into the hospital bed and soon drifted off to sleep but even asleep he didn't let go of the fine-boned hand he held tightly in his grasp. Liz leaned forward, her head resting lightly on the bed and watched him sleep as her own lids got heavy with slumber. It had been a long, emotionally wrought day.
Liz came by everyday he was in the hospital. She had stayed with him for the two miserable days he’d been in ICU. Honestly, Michael still wasn’t sure why she came by. All he knew was that when she was there he felt better.
She didn’t make him talk about his feelings. She didn’t even make him talk about inane, unimportant things like what band was playing the local dive. She didn’t ask him questions. She didn’t make him do anything he didn’t want to do. The funny thing was that when she was there he did feel like talking. And they did talk about stupid things like the Crashdown menu. And important things like why Metallica was the best Heavy Metal band on the planet, and why Lars was a god. And they laughed.
And Michael realized that he hadn’t seen Liz laugh in so long. That maybe for the last year she'd been angry at the world. Angry at her parents, at Max, at Maria, at the whole situation. Michael was horrified to realize that he wanted to make it better. He was upset to realize the hurt that their secret had inflicted on her. He wanted Liz happy.
And the feeling was damned unsettling. Which is why he was thrilled when Monk and Fly walked into his hospital room instead of Liz. They'd be the perfect distraction to these new revelations about his feelings. He didn't want to think about his damned feelings.
He wasn’t disappointed.
“Expecting someone else Guerin?”
“No,” Michael said shortly.
“Yeah, Monk I think he was wishing we were a girl.”
“Maria and I broke up.”
“That’s the loud blonde isn’t it Fly?”
“Yep. No, Guerin, not the loud one.”
“Who the hell are you guys talking about? Why are you here, just came by to make my head hurt? I already have a concussion for that thank you very much.”
“He’s acting touchy.” Michael hated when they talked about him as if he wasn't there.
“Yep, I think we’re on to something. He is in love with the brunette.” Fly grinned. He knew that Michael was going to fight admitting the truth everyone else could see.
“Isabel’s like my sister you dopes! That’s disgusting!”
“Monk, isn’t Isabel the tall busty one?”
“Yeah, Guerin, we’re not talking about the busty one.”
“Then who? You can’t be talking—Liz is my friend. We’re just friends. She’s in love with Maxwell. They’ve got this whole Romeo and Juliet, we’re soulmates and star-crossed lovers shit going on.”
“Oh he’s got it bad,” Monk whistled sympathetically as Fly shook his head.
Michael watched them and regretted the fact he was still in traction, because he’d would have totally pounded them. But he was stuck in a room with his two idiot co-workers who had determined in their pea-sized brains that he was in love with Liz.
He so wasn’t. Liz was Liz. His incredibly beautiful, amazing friend. No, that wasn’t right. She was just a friend. Just a friend with a brilliant mind who sparkled when she laughed. Just a friend. Friend. Who was stubborn, persistent, and exhausting. Exhausting. Just a friend.
He was going to pound Monk and Fly into the ground. They would be nothing but dust. They would be blasted into little bits like the Skins when he was done with them. It was their fault he was thinking these things.
That she looked like an angel every time she walked into his room. That when she was dressed in her Crashdown uniform, he loved watching her drop spoons. It was then that you could appreciate how short the Crashdown uniforms really were. And her—he wasn’t going to go there. He was so going to pound them.
“Hey Guerin, where’d you go?”
“What? I can’t go anywhere you fools. I’m in TRACTION.”
“You’re in a bad mood, Guerin. You’ve got it bad for this girl.”
“Get out.” Michael knew he was being irrational. But they wee making him crazy thinking about Liz in ways that he shouldn't. Liz was Max's girl. His best friend's girl. He was the punchline to a cheesy love song.
“Take it easy man.” Fly held up his arms in defeat.
“Both of you, get out. I’m not sitting through anymore of this shit.”
“Hey boys,” Liz said as she opened the door catching that last bit, “Is the patient in a bad mood?”
No one answered her greeting. “You being mean to your guests, Michael?” Liz spoke lightly, glancng around at everyone. For some reason, none of them would look her in the eye.
Monk and Fly stared at each other for a moment before muttering goodbyes and walking out the door.
“Nope, they were just…teasing me. Anyway, I’ve been waiting for you.”
And that was the truth. He was going to have to admit this to himself and deal with it somehow.