"All right, this is it!" Maria announced, as she walked into the Crashdown. "I have a new boyfriend!" Liz looked up from the table she was sitting at.
"Really?" Liz asked doubtfully. "Just who is this guy and where did you meet him? And what happened to Michael?"
"Right here!" Maria exclaimed, pointing to the empty air next to her.
"Oh, all right," Maria said setting down across from Liz. "So he's imaginary. But Michael doesn't need to know that!"
Liz laughed. "Maria, what are you playing at?"
"Look, we know Michael's never going to come back to me on his own, right? And I don't really need a REAL guy to make his jealous. An imaginary one will do just as well."
Liz laughed again, and shook her head. "All right, Maria. Tell me about your boyfriend."
"Okay." Maria leaned across the table. "His name's Drew. He's tall, thin-- but with muscles-- has dark brown hair, and dark blue eyes. He has a deep voice and a great singing voice."
"Your boyfriend sounds suspiciously like Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees," Liz commented.
"Do you want to hear this, or not?" Maria shot Liz glance. "He has an amazing sense of humor and just moved here from Seattle."
"Okay, but what's the point?"
"I told you!" Maria said in exasperation. "I don't need, or want, a real guy to make Michael jealous!"
"Why do you want to make him jealous in the first place?"
"Michael's trying to act like, 'oh it's too dangerous to be together,' and he won't even talk to me anymore. But if he thinks I have another guy..." Maria leaned back in satisfaction.
"Do you really think this will work?"
"If you help me."
Liz sighed. "All right, what do you want me to do?"
"I'll let you know," Maria said, as she stood up, and started walking towards the backroom. "I better start working. Some of us still have jobs here."
"You're late," Michael said, as Maria walked by the kitchen.
Maria turned and flashed a smug grin at him. "I was with Drew. " She waved at him, and sauntered off to the back room.
Michael looked stunned. "What? Wait! Who's Drew? Maria!"
Despite Michael's persistent questions, Maria let nothing slip about Drew.
"Come on, tell me. Who's Drew?"
"What? Did you think I wouldn't date anyone after you broke up with me?"
"Well." Michael looked uncomfortable. "You could at least tell me."
"I don't have to tell you anything, Michael. Now, are you going to get me those Saturn rings, or do I have to cook them myself?"
Michael silently handed her the food. "Just-- it's not safe, Maria. How do you know this guy's not working for the enemy?"
Maria didn't answer, but she had a small smile on her face. He was jealous.
As soon as Michael's shift was over, he bolted to the Evans' house. "Do you two known anything about a guy named Drew?"
"Hello to you, too," Isabel muttered under her breath.
Michael ignored her. "Come on, you have to know something!"
"What are you talking about?" Max asked.
"Some guy Maria's dating," Michael answered impatiently.
"Michael, we have more important things to worry about than your love life," Max said.
"It's not that. He could be an FBI agent, or one of those other aliens." Michael's explanation sounded feeble even to his own ears.
"All right. What does he look like?" Isabel asked.
"I don't know."
"What's his last name?"
"I don't know."
"What do you know?
"He's dating Maria. Isn't that enough?"
Isabel groaned. "Just talk to Maria. If you hadn't broken up with her, none of this would be happening!"
"It's too dangerous," Michael said shortly.
"But she can't see other guys without you wanting to know every last detail?" Isabel asked sarcastically.
Michael stood up. "Fine. I should have known you wouldn't be any help!"
Soon after Michael left, Isabel called Maria. "It's working. He was just over here, asking about Drew."
"Yes! What did you say?"
"I just told him to talk to you."
"Okay." Maria paused. "Thanks."
"Michael's yours, Maria," Isabel said. "No matter what destiny says."
The next day at school, Michael was still hounding Maria about Drew.
"I want to meet him."
"What do you mean, 'no'?
"Just what I said, Michael." Maria folded her arms over her chest. "No."
Maria held at her hands, as if to stop him. "Hey, spaceboy, you're the one who broke up with me, remember?"
"I know that, but..."
"Do you want to get back together?"
Michael's shoulders slumped. "We can't."
"In that case, I have a date with Drew. See you later."
Michael watched her go, his eyes following her down the hallway, until he spotted Liz and Alex. He ran to catch up with them.
"Okay, tell me about Drew."
"What ever happened to 'hello'?" Alex asked.
Michael ignored him. "You two are her best friends. You must know something."
"She's allowed to date other people, Michael," Liz reminded him.
"Yeah, well, I'm allowed to check up on her."
Liz shrugged. "He's just a guy she met. He sounds like everything she's ever wanted."
Michael's jaw tightened. "Where can I find him?"
"I don't know, I haven't even met him yet."
Michael slammed his fist against a locker. "Someone's got to know something!" He looked up. "Kyle, Tess, wait up!"
Alex looked over at Liz. "Do you really think this will work?"
Liz shrugged. "Maria seems to think so. And he IS jealous."
Meanwhile, Michael was trying to get answers out of Tess and Kyle. "... so you guys don't know anything about him either?"
They shook their heads.
"Doesn't anyone known anything about him?" Michael wondered out loud.
"Michael," Tess said. "Maria would dump him in a second, if she knew you told her you still cared."
Michael kicked at the wall. "It's too dangerous."
"And it's less dangerous for you to be apart? Michael, face it, we're all in danger! You have control of your powers, she's not in danger from you! You should be there to protect her."
Michael blinked in surprise. "Do you really think that?"
Tess' voice grew softer. "Michael, you know I used to think human/alien relationships were a mistake, but this summer you were all miserable. Do you want to be in danger AND lonely? Do you want HER to be in danger and lonely?"
Michael looked stunned. He had never looked at it that way before.
"Talk to her, Michael. Let her know you still care."
Later that afternoon, Michael decided to take Tess' advice. He found Maria sitting alone in the Crashdown. "Maria."
"What? Want to interrogate me some more?" Maria was in a bad mood. He plan hadn't gone nearly so well as she had planned. Michael was still insisting it was too dangerous for them to be together.
"No. May I sit down?"
Maria nodded mutely.
"Tess pointed out something to me today," Michael said conversationally.
"You're in danger."
"No, really? Isn't that the whole reason you broke up with me?" Maria quickly turned her head away, but not before Michael saw the tears in her eyes.
"I thought you were over that, and happy with Drew."
"Drew's imaginary," Maria admitted. "I just wanted to make you jealous." She stood up. "Michael, I really don't want to here this again, so--" She began to walk away, but Michael grabbed her wrists.
"It worked. And Tess pointed out I have control over my powers now."
"What are you saying?"
"Maria-- I want--" Michael took a deep breath. "Will you go steady with me again?"
Maria smiled hugely. "Yes!"
An instant later, she was in his arms.