FanFic - Alice in Wonderland Contest
Part 1
by Lilybunny
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. I just followed me down my rabbit-hole one day and I decided to let them hang out and play. I promise to let them back out when they’re done :)
Category: Contest Stories
Rating: PG-13
Maria peeked out from behind the stage into the crowd. ‘Where is he?’ she thought impatiently, scanning the audience for his face. When she had asked him if he was coming to the concert tonight she was kind of surprised that he had actually said yes, especially since the last time she sang with Alex’s band he had been a no show. Maria turned to see Alex making last minute adjustments to his guitar. She was surprised that he had asked her to sing with them once again considering the fact that she nearly passed out on stage the last time. But it’s not like he had much of a choice. Apparently the Powers That Be at KROZ had loved her so much the last time she performed with Alex’s band at the “Blind Date” contest concert that when Alex auditioned for the benefit retro concert for the Heart & Stroke Foundation they were holding they had gotten the gig. On the condition that Maria sang with them.

Maria played with the fringes on her vest and watched the band that was currently on stage belting out a rendition of Johnny B. Good and her stomach knotted at the thought that they were next. There were five different bands playing that night, each one dedicated to a different era of music. Alex hadn’t been thrilled at the thought of playing music from the sixties instead of the nineties slot he was hoping for, but after Maria reminded him that he could have been playing KC & the Sunshine band instead of Jimi Hendrix he stopped complaining too loudly.

She turned back to the audience once again looking for that one face in the crowed she hoped would be there. She couldn’t believe how many people had actually shown up. It was a riot of nostalgia…costumes ranging from poodle skirts to material girl appeared throughout the crowd. She spotted her best friend, Liz Parker, standing front stage center with none other than Max Evans. The two had opted for the sixties look and were sporting tie-died clothes, bell-bottoms, bandannas and beads. She was surprised at just how well Max suited the look. ‘The only thing he needs is a bong and he’d be the perfect Dead Head’ she thought to herself with a slight smile. Of course the thought of Max stoned made her giggle. The last time she had been on this stage Max had been drunk…after drinking only a mouthful of alcohol. She could only imagine what recreational drugs would make him do and thanked God that he would never be that stupid again. At least one good thing had come out of it…Liz and Max had gotten a lot closer and after Liz had started seeing visions while kissing Max the two of them had pretty much given up all hope of keeping their feelings to themselves. Maria knew that she would always worry that Max would someday hurt Liz…but as long as she was happy Maria would try to deal. Looking at them there at the front of the stage hand in hand Maria saw the glow of happiness on her friends’ faces and smiled.

But the smile faded when she noticed her mother standing towards the back of the room with none other than Jim Valenti at her side. While Liz and Max looked like a perfect match, her mother and the Sheriff looked like complete polar opposites. Amy De Luca was dressed as Liz and Max were in all her hippie glory while the Sheriff remained in uniform. The two had been dating on and off for the past few months much to the horror and disgust of Maria. She just couldn’t understand what her mother saw in Kyle Valenti’s father. Maria knew that the Sheriff had a mission to expose Michael, Max and Isabel as aliens so she didn’t quite trust that his motives with her mother were on the up and up. ‘Besides’, she thought to herself, a little shiver going down her spine. ‘He’s just plain creepy. And what if he goes crazy like his father did? ’ She had heard that Kyle’s grandfather had been institutionalized after killing someone a few years back. What if the sheriff was just as nuts as his dad was? At least Liz had stopped dating Kyle. After all, for all they knew insanity really DID run in the Valenti family tree. ‘Lord knows bad taste does’ Maria thought as she spotted Kyle dressed in all his Urban Cowboy glory. But she knew that Kyle wasn’t crazy. Maybe a little blind to what was going on around him, but not crazy. It had taken him months to realize that Liz was in love with Max. Maria wondered how anyone could be right in the middle of something for that long and not know what was going on.

Maria felt a hand on her arm. “You’re not going to hyperventilate again are you?” Alex asked her, peering over her shoulder into the crowd.

“No, I’m fine.” She said, her eyes never leaving their search.

“He’ll be here.” Alex told her, intuitively knowing who she was looking for. “Isabel told me they were coming here tonight together.”

“What?” Maria’s heart skipped a beat as she spun to face her friend. “What do you mean they are coming together. As in coming “together” or “just happening to be arriving at the same time together”.

“Relax.” Alex said, putting his guitar strap over his shoulder. “You know nothing like that is going on between them. Michael & Isabel are like brother and sister for crying out loud. It would be like incest or something.”

“Yeah,” Maria looked back out into the audience “You’re right.”

“Besides,” he added, a broad smile crossing his face “I think I’m making some progress with Isabel. Lately she’s been a little more receptive to my whiley Alex charms. I mean, I had pretty much given up hope and there she appeared on my doorstep looking for a kiss.” Alex looked thoughtful. “Take my advice. You just have to play it cool. Like me. Maybe if you stopped chasing Michael he’d stop running.”

“What? Mike…? Chasing? Um…No.” She said emphatically. “I am NOT chasing Michael Guerin. Don’t be ridiculous. If anyone has been doing the chasing it’s been you with Isabel.”

“Me?” he asked her. “No way. I’m like a cat.” He said, a typical Alex smile spreading across his face. “ I’ve just been playing it cool. And it seems to be working I see.” Alex pointed out across the crowd to where Isabel was walking through the door. Maria strained her eyes to see if Michael was with her, but she was alone. Maria watched Isabel saunter through the crowd and thought to herself that even though Michael loved Isabel like a sister she’d be crazy not to worry that he might someday change his mind. Isabel was perfect in her red glittering disco dress; her hair swept up on one side with a comb and her makeup immaculate. Maria felt another knot in her stomach. There had always been something about Isabel that had made her uneasy. Granted the two of them had gotten a lot closer ever since Valenti had ordered Maria to his office to question her about Max, Isabel & Michael. The gang had been sure that Maria would crack under Valenti’s interrogation, but instead it had only made her understand her alien friends a little more and the experience had brought her closer to all three of them. But even so there was still a very strained relationship between her and Isabel. She wasn’t too sure if it had to do with the fact that Michael came to her that night in the rain instead of Isabel. Isabel had always been very protective over Michael and Maria felt deep down that if Isabel had her way Maria would be out of his life. Period. Isabel had a way of knowing what she wanted and how to get it, and Maria knew that if Isabel wanted she could twist Alex around her little finger and then hang him out to dry when she was through.

“Don’t lose your head over Isabel Evans” she told Alex, a note of concern in her voice. “She’s heartless. You can do better than her.

“Ah, but you are wrong my friend.” He said, his voice slightly wistful. “Isabel is the Queen of Hearts”

“Yeah, sure.” She said. She didn’t have the strength to argue with him right then. Besides, her stomach was doing flips so she mentally went over the first song she was to sing that night to focus her thoughts away from Michael, Isabel and everything else. But it wasn’t working. Her mind was blank! Maria closed her eyes and concentrated. After all, the song was her mother’s favorite and so she must have heard it a gazillion times over her lifetime. But her stage fright mixed with her anxieties about Michael being there were making it hard for her to remember the words. Slowly they started coming to her and she began mouthing them to herself.

“One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small. And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all. Go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall.”

Unscrewing the cap of her cedar oil inhaler Maria took a good, long sniff to calm herself down as the KROZ DJ came up on stage. Continuing to mouth the rest of the song she started to feel a little more confidant.

“And if you go chasing rabbits and you know you’re going to fall tell them a hooka smoking caterpillar has given you the call. Call Alice when she was just small.”

Alex gave her a little nudge as the DJ announced their name and the band began to stroll out onto the stage. Maria took one last sniff of oil and followed behind Alex. It took everything she had to not just keep walking across to the other side of the stage as she had the last time she got stage fright, but she had promised Alex that this time she wouldn’t freak out and she intended on not letting him down. Her legs trembled as she walked towards the microphone, her body balancing on the four inch platform shoes that she had chosen to go with her seventies ensemble. Maria looked towards Liz, hoping that the sight of her best friend would calm her. Unfortunately Michael chose that very moment to appear beside Liz and Max, all dressed in black and his hair a disaster. Exactly the way she liked him best. Maria’s heart lurched as he gave her a shy half grin and she was so preoccupied with the fact that he was there center stage watching her that she didn’t see the cable lying on the stage until her one of her platforms caught on it, sending her tumbling down.

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