FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Taking A Step Back"
Part 33
by Mary N.
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Max, Michael, Alex, and Isabel dropped Sandie off at Roswell High as she requested. Without delay, not wanting to miss Kyle, Sandie heads into the school and straight to the Gym. She opens the door trying to be as quite as possible, which is hard considering how noisy the big doors are. She slips in, and controls the door closing behind her, while she watches Kyle and his teammates play a scrimmage game, mostly Kyle of course. Once the door is closed securely, she takes a seat on the very front row of the bleachers hoping that Kyle will see her.

Which he did as soon as she set down. At first Kyle worried that some thing had happened. She was supposed to go out to the house with the others, and he was going to meet her/them there. His anxieties fade away when she smiles cheerfully at him. He smiles back and waves modestly to say hello.

During the practice Sandie caught Kyle glancing in her direction, much like he did the night of his game, the night they went to the movies together.

Kyle really wanted this practice to end. He didn't really want to be here today. He wanted to be out at the house with Sandie and the others. It felt like the longest practice he had ever participated in. After Sandie's arrival, he the times seemed to move even slower, because all he wanted to do was kiss her again. He is so grateful when the couch blows his whistle and tells them to hit the showers.

Kyle walks over to Sandie, and gently kisses her lips. He doesn't want to get to close to her yet, because he's all sweaty from practice. "Hey, I wasn't expecting you here. I thought you were going with the others today."

"I was, but we were delayed in leaving. I thought I could ride out with you in stead."

The coach calls, "Valenti, I said hit the showers. Lets go!"

Kyle starts backing away, "Give me fifteen minutes to get cleaned up and we'll get going."

"Okay, that will give me time to run to my locker. I'll meet you back here."

"Sound good." Kyle turns and runs to the other side of the gym and into the guys locker room.

Sandie walks out of the Gym and heads straight to her locker. She pulls out a book she checked out from the Library and closes her locker. A sudden felling of nausea washes over her as she turns to see Tommy and two of his buddies closing in on her.

It's not that Sandie is afraid of these guys, because she's not. She's had plenty of training to know how to protect herself. She simply doesn't like to be placed in situations where she has to or deal with the attention that it seems to bring.

Tommy stands really close to her, blocking her path with his arm. "Hey, Sandie? We're looking for Kyle? We have something for him." Tommy's friends snicker at his statement.

Sandie holds her book up to her chest, and forces herself to look Tommy in the eyes, "I don't think he wants anything that you would give him."

"Wow, did you grow a little back bone Sandie. Last time we talked; I don't remember you being so mouthy. But that's okay, I like my women feisty."

She shifts uncomfortably, "What do you want Tommy?"

"Why Sandie, isn't that obvious. I like you, and I just want to get to know you better." Tommy looks behind him at his buddies.

"I'm not interested in getting to know you, so let me pass."

"That's not very friendly. We're really not bad guys, just give us a chance."

Sandie tries to walk around him, but he blocks her way. She looks at Tommy coldly, and with a very calm voice she says, "Tommy, I'm not interested. That's all there is to it. Now please let me pass."

"And if we don't want you to go, what are you going to do about it? Scream? Don't even bother, no one will hear you. This side of the school is empty this time of day."

"I may look defenseless, but trust me, looks can be deceiving."

"Right, and what are you going to do, sucker punch me like Kyle did?"

Sandie had to bit her tongue, she so badly wanted to say, "I was there, remember. If Kyle wanted to sucker punch you, he had plenty of opportunity to do it. However, he waited for you to look at him. You just can't handle the fact that with one punch you were on the ground." But she knew that would only aggravate him further. What she wanted to do was get out of this situation without hurting these guys or drawing attention to herself, her family, and friends.

Sandie turned to walk in the other direction only to be stopped by Tommy grabbing hold of her by the shoulder. "Where do you think your going?!"

"Keep your hands off of me!" Sandie yells as she shrugged his hand off of her shoulder and continued to walk away.

"You're not going anywhere, until I say you can." He said sternly as he wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her back against his chest.

Sandie didn't have to think twice about what to do, because she knew exactly what to do, a simple move her father taught, that she is sure to catch Tommy off guard. She raised her right foot up straight behind her, balancing on the left one, and ran the heal of her shoe down his shin and ground it into the top of his foot causing him to automatically let his grip on her go and cry out in pain. As he bend down to clutch his aching foot, Sandie spins around on her left foot to face him, and met his face with her right knee. Tommy falls backwards to the ground in a loud thud.

Sandie fixes a glare on his two friends, warning them not to mess with her as she backs way. She never removes her gaze until she goes around a corner, because she suspects if she does, or if she shows any sign of fear, they will try to stop her. Now that she is out of sight, she run all the way back to the gym, because instinctively she knows it's not over yet, not as long as she's alone. *** Kyle returned to the gym after getting cleaned up, only to find that Sandie hadn't. He couldn't imagine why she hadn't returned yet, and decide to go looking for her and make sure that she was all right. As he opened the door, he heard someone gasp. He turned his head only to see Sandie standing there.

The look on Sandie's face made it obvious that something was wrong. Kyle drops his bag and wastes no time pulling Sandie into his arms and scans the hall for a sign of what's happened. "Sandie what's wrong? What happened?"

"I'm fine now, can we go, can we please just go?" Sandie backed out of his embrace taking his hand into hers and started to pull him toward the door of the student parking lot while watching for Tommy and his friends to emerge.

"Sure, as soon as you tell me what happened." Kyle watches the rapidness in which Sandie's eyes move between the two merging hallways. He resists her pull and stops in his tracks. "Sandie talk to me, what's going on?!"

She sees both concern and determination in Kyle's eyes, "Tommy and a couple of his friends stopped me in the hall. . . . "

Frantically he asks, "Did he hurt you?"

"No, no, I hurt him." she replied slowly.

Kyle wasn't sure how to take what she said, "What do you mean you hurt him?" He looks quickly down the hallway to make sure no one is close enough to hear them, "You didn't use your powers, did you?"

If Sandie hadn't seen the concern in Kyle's eyes and heard it in his voice, she would have been angry. "No Kyle I wouldn't do that unless I absolutely had to."

Relieved and curious peeked he asks, "How did you hurt him?"

"I do know a few things about defending myself." She tells him with a modest smile, but she thinks to herself, *More than a few things. *

Kyle looks at her pointedly, encouraging her to continue. "He stopped you, then what?"

Sandie looks down at the ground, then back up to meet his intense gaze. "I crushed his foot with my heal and kneed him in the face, now can we go please, I don't want to be here when he comes for the next round."

Kyle couldn't keep from smiling at the thought of Tommy's face when Sandie did that. She looked so innocent and defenseless, and yet it sounds like she dealt with Tommy with ease. He picks up his bag, wraps his arm around Sandie's shoulder and leads her down the hall while gleaming with pride. "There are definitely things I don't know about you Sandie Gates." *********************************

Once Sandie was dropped off at the school, the others in the Jeep fell into a state of silence.

Isabel refused to talk to either Max or Michael. She couldn't believe the risks that Max and Liz, Michael and Maria were taking. The only comfort she felt was that of Alex's arms wrapped securely around her shoulders as she snuggled into his chest listening to the steady, strong beat of his heart. Isabel wanted nothing more than to stay safely in Alex's arms forever feeling safe and loved. If only she keep her worries and fears at bay.

She too wanted to be with Alex as much as the others wanted to be with the one they loved. However, she couldn't let go of her fears of the unknown. Things like what changes to expect, and would it be the same for all of them, or different for each couple or individual. What were the chances of something going wrong, really wrong. Now she added one more; if Alex could hear her thoughts, would he still think she was as beautiful on the inside as on the outside? It scared her to think he wouldn't, and that she could lose him.

Max pulls in front of the house, and both Michael and he jump out of the Jeep to check if everything is safe. They hadn't been out here in over a week and wanted to make sure no one else had either.

Isabel sat slowly up in her seat and climbed out of the jeep with Alex right behind her. Once they were all inside the house and still weren't talking. Alex, who was tired of the silent treatment they were giving each other, lost his temper. "Okay, were here! What's the plan?! Are you three going to start talking or do I have to start kicking some butts?!"

"There's nothing left to say." Isabel said coldly as she crossed her arm over her chest. She wasn't about to give in on this. She was to full of pride and fear.

"I say there is! I'm sorry Isabel, but I have to agree with Max and Michael this whole thing!"

Max and Michael, both couldn't believe what they heard, they both joined in saying, "What?," in unison with Isabel who was in total and complete shock. She couldn't believe one Alex was rasing his voice to her, and two that he was taking their side over hers.

"I don't mean for us. It's obvious you aren't ready to take the next step and move forward with our relationship, but they felt they were. It's like any relationship. . . ."

Isabel verbally exploded, interrupting Alex in mid sentence. "You're kidding right?! There's nothing normal about any of this! That's the problem!"

"Granted the changes aren't normal, but with any relationship there are going to be changes."

Isabel points at Max and Michael "That doesn't excuse what they did!"

Alex very assertively tells Isabel, "What they do in their relationships isn't any of your business. It's theirs, and if you think there is anything you can do or say to stop them from being with the person they love, you are in for a rude awakening. I know your scared Isabel, but that's just how it is. Get over yourself, and accept it." Alex storms out of the room leaving a dumbfounded Isabel standing looking at Max and Michael who are just as shocked by Alex as she is.

Alex couldn't stand staying in the same room as Isabel, he knew those final words would be painful for her to hear, but he loves her too much to stand by and watch her alienate herself from the people she loves, because they made choices she didn't agree with. **************************************

Kyle and Sandie are on their way out to the house to join the others. Sandie called her mother to tell her what had happened. She didn't want her mother to worry, she suspected that she sensed something, but because of the shortness of those scared moments her mother wouldn't make a connection with her.

Kyle then called his father to give him a heads up. Knowing full well that when Tommy's father saw the bruises on Tommy's face, he would be calling.

Sheriff Valenti raises his eye brows at the sound of Kyle's voice. Kyle doesn't normally call his dad during the day. Just at night if he's running late getting home. "Kyle? What's going on?"

"I'm not sure when, but you can expect a call from Tommy's dad."

Jim Valenti sits on the corner of his desk, and asked simply, "What about?"

Kyle fills his dad in on the events of the day, staring with Tommy's behavior during school and ending with Sandie kneeing Tommy in the face.

"Is Sandie okay Kyle? That can be a scary situation."

"A little shaken, but she seems fine. We're going to keep our plans and meet with our friends. I think it will be good for her to be surrounded by people that care for her. We've already talked to her mother, and she's agreed with it."

Every since yesterday the Sheriff has felt a strong sense of danger lurking in the air. He's really worried something is going to happen to Kyle, Sandie, Max and the others, and it has nothing to do with Tommy. It's something to do with Clay Woods, if only he could get these kids to trust him. If only he could get Kyle to confide in him. He tried and tried last night to no avail, but he can't give up. His son's life, as well as that of his friends, may be a stake. "Where are you guys meeting again?"

Kyle never told him dad where they were meeting for obvious reasons, and he knew he couldn't tell him any other place that he could check. Kyle knows his father to well. "Sandie and I are going to drive around for a while, then head to the Crashdown. Maria and Liz are working tonight, so we all planned to meet there before they get off."

"I thought you said you were on your way to meet some of them now?"

"Dad, come on. Do I have to spell it out for you? Sandie and I have only recently started dating. We want some time alone."

It sounded plausible, but something about the way Kyle said it, made Jim Valenti doubt the truth of the statement. He decide right then and there that he will do whatever it takes to find out what the truth is, and that he will use all the resources he has at his disposal.

"Just do me a favor Kyle; stay in town, no going out into the desert. Okay?"

Little did the sheriff know, Kyle and Sandie were already out in the desert. In fact they were preparing to pull onto the side road that lead to the house.

Valenti hangs up the phone as one of his deputies knocks on his door. "Sheriff, there's some people here to see you."

"Send them in." Jim Valenti sits down in his chair, as the deputy opens the door once more ushering Tod Dooley, his long time friend, and his son Tommy into the room. Jim Valenti stands to his feet and extends his hand to Tommy's father. "Tod, I've been expecting you."

Puzzled, Tod Dooley accepts Jim Valenti's hand, and then sits down in one the chairs, and motions for Tommy to do the same. "Really? So you've heard what Kyle did to Tommy?"

Jim examines Tommy's face from his seat. *Looks like Sandie and Kyle did a pretty good job leaving some reminders for him.* (The right side of Tommy's face is bruised badly including the tissue around his eye. "Actually, I've heard it wasn't just Kyle that did that to Tommy. Yes it's true Kyle punched Tommy once earlier today. For questioning the honor of some of his friends wasn't it Tommy? To be more precise, his girl friend, Sandie Gates, and his good friends, Liz Parker and Max Evans. The rest of the damage was caused by Sandie Gates herself, in Self-defense."

Tod looks at Tommy questioningly. Tommy sits forward in his seat. "Self-defense is that what she said? I didn't do anything to her. All I did was ask her if she knew where Kyle was. I didn't see him in the Gym, and figured her being his girl friend, she might know where he was. You can even ask Steve Newman and Ben Hollow, they were there."

Tod shakes his head in disbelief. "If you are purely innocent in this, then why didn't you tell me that this Sandie girl had something to do with your face looking like it was run through the meat tenderizer? Why did you lead me to believe that Kyle did this to you?" Tod looks away from his son and back at Valenti. "Jim, this Sandie. . . ."

". . . .Gates." Valenti fills in for him.

"Thanks, Sandie Gates. I don't believe I've heard that name before? Who is she, and what does she say Tommy was doing?"

Jim Valenti wants his friend Tod, to understand how bad this could have been, and convince him he needs to get Tommy under control. "Do you remember an Alisha Williams?"

"From High School?", asks Tod, wondering what she would have to do with this.

The sheriff nods his head up and down. "It would be her daughter. Sandie claims Tommy stopped her in the school hallway while she was waiting for Kyle to finish practice. When she tried to move away from him, he grabbed her around the waist and refused to let her go."

"This is all about him not letting her leave?"

"He held her against her will Tod, and from her perspective she was in danger. Now from what I know about the Gates, it sounds like your son got off pretty luck today with only a hurt foot and a few facial bruises." He smiles to himself thinking how well she fits into Kyle's group of friends with their secrets. "Sandie's not your typical girl, she's traveled a lot with her family, and has been trained to defend herself by one of the best in the armed services. "

"Trained by the Military? Why would a girl like that be attending Roswell High?"

"She wasn't trained by the military Tod. I was referring to her father, he trained her, and to your question about attending Roswell High. She's a Junior, a smart one I hear. Kyle says she skipped a couple of grades. Tod this girl, she's not even 16 yet." Valenti gets up from his chair, walks around his desk resumes his favorite position, leaning back against it. "My advice Tommy, is you leave Sandie, Kyle, and the rest of that group alone. You mess with them, and your only asking for trouble. I've witnessed how protective they are of each other. Basically you mess with one and you'll have to deal with all of them."

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