FanFic - Alex/Isabel
"Closer to Fine"
Part 2
by Murasaki
Disclaimer: Roswell characters belong to folks like Warner Brothers and/or Melinda Metz. No infringement intended.
Summary: Alex introduces Isabel to his world and his friends.
Category: Alex/Isabel
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: This one is pure foof with lots of Alex and Isabel togetherness to make up for the lack of it on the show. I wrote it to take a break from the continuity of my post-Destiny stories Changes and Growing Up.
It's 6:15pm on Saturday when Alex pushes the front door of the Crashdown with Isabel behind him. Scott and Cathy are probably already there. Cathy is a punctuality freak, worse even than Liz. He looks around. Sure enough, they're in one of the booths in the back. They saw him come in and wave to him. They know Isabel from school but Cathy isn't in any of the same classes as her, so they haven't officially met. Alex takes Isabel's hand. They walk together to Scott and Cathy's table and Alex says Hi and apologizes for being late before sliding onto the bench across from them. Alex introduces everyone. "Izzy, this is Cathy and Scott." Isabel takes in the appearance of Alex's friends and can hardly believe her eyes. When they're side by side like now, Scott and Cathy look like flower children escaped from the sixties. Both of them have long light brown hair with streaks of blonde, going down to about the middle of their back. They both have blue eyes, but Scott's are hidden behind ultra thick glasses, which give him a junior absent-minded professor look. Cathy is wearing a peace symbol around her neck, resting on top of a blue summer dress. A slight scent of vanilla surrounds her. Isabel is once more starting to have second thoughts about this whole expedition.

It all started earlier when Alex called to see if she needed any help getting to the Crashdown by 6pm. Isabel is the most wonderful girlfriend anyone could have of course, but she does have a problem with being on time. She broke down on the phone and admitted that she wasn't sure what to pack for the trip, and that her bag wasn't even close to being ready. After a few minutes trying to calm her down, Alex decided he'd better come over. When he got there, she explained her predicament. She had no clue what one was supposed to take to go camping in the city. Were they going to need a tent? What about sleepwear... and how many change of clothes? She seemed really freaked out that she did not know what to expect. So first he had to hug her to make her feel better. Then he attempted a joke.

"Hey, I thought Max was supposed to be the controlling one in the family." She shot him a dark look. Wrong approach. To make things worse, he got distracted as he always did when she was pouting and an uncontrollable urge to kiss her came over him. He made an effort to focus, summoning unknown reserves of self-control. Too late. Isabel had turned back towards her closet, and was surveying its contents again. He was dismissed. After standing around for a few seconds, he went to her bed and sat down.

"I'm taking a sleeping bag, a self-inflating sleeping mat, a towel and a toothbrush." He offered cautiously. "That's all you need. The ticket office is in the student union, there's bathrooms with showers and stuff there." She turned towards him briefly then, and silently pointed at a pile in the corner. He checked it out: sleeping bag, mat, towel, small toiletry bag. He was impressed. She'd obviously thought this through already. It was so great to have a smart girlfriend.

"I have an idea." He motioned her to take a spot next to him on the bed. Clearly, the only thing that was needed was to keep her calm until it was time to leave. She looked at him impatiently, and walked to the bed reluctantly. He took her hand and laid back on the bed, tugging her down with him without warning. Isabel lost her balance and fell on the bed next to him. She propped herself back up to look at him, torn between annoyance and laughter. He was watching her with an innocent smile on his face, trying to send his best 'don't worry be happy' vibes her way. He seemed so genuinely unconcerned, his good mood was contagious. She couldn't help smiling despite the obviousness of his ploy. Alex noticed the softening in her eyes and relaxed. He didn't see her move, but the next thing he knew, she was tickling him to retaliate for catching her by surprise.

Alex yelped and tried to scramble away from Isabel but she had his hands caught in one of hers and was using her body to pin him down so that he couldn't escape. "Do you admit that I'm the tickle master?" She teased with a glint in her eyes, reminding him of the many times he'd had her at his mercy.

"Yes, yes... you're the tickle master." She looked at him triumphantly and released his hands. He didn't move for a minute, trying to catch his breath while she beamed a smile at him. Alex just watched her happy face, enjoying that rare glimpse of the real Isabel, the one who laughed at his goofy jokes and insisted on meeting him in the eraser room to make out like normal teenagers. Then he let his gaze travel down the perfect curve of her cheek until it rested on the softness of her lips.

One thing led to another, and the next time Alex checked his watch, it was a few minutes before 6pm. It all came back to him then. They were supposed to be at the Crashdown at 6pm. He jumped to his feet, taking her up with him and started gathering her stuff up to go downstairs. Isabel grabbed a sweater as she went and followed him. When they got down to the bottom of the stairs, he was going to go for the door. She stopped him and took him to the kitchen instead to find her parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Evans were in the kitchen having a cup of tea. They looked at everything he was carrying in surprise until their gazes rested on his face. Alex had a sinking feeling they could tell what he'd just been up to with their daughter. He had an almost irresistible urge to wipe any telltale signs of lipstick, but he stopped himself in time. Isabel wasn't wearing any today. He finally gathered his wits and looked at Isabel for a sign. She gave him a quizzical glance like she couldn't figure out what was up with him.

Mr. Evans gave Isabel a hug and told them to have a good time and Mrs. Evans gave both of them a kiss good bye. As Alex was starting back towards the door, Diane picked up the sleeping bag that was about to fall out of his grip. "Let me take you two to the car." Alex could have sworn she was about to crack up. He picked up his stuff on the way and they got out of the house.

Isabel steals a glance at Alex, who is talking animatedly with Scott. "So did you get Linux up and running on your PC? It's really the best way to operate your own web server. You can download Apache for instance." He looks at Cathy. "That's what you have running on yours too?" Alex turns to Isabel. He wants to include her in the conversation, so he explains "Cathy has brought up a web server at school and we're trying to convince the principal to get funding for a DSL line and some equipment."

Cathy nods. "Yeah, it works pretty well. Hey Alex, did I tell you that I got the principal to agree to have a concert to raise money to pay for the school's domain registration?" Scott looks at her proudly and they smile at each other.

"I checked, and we can register, which would be very cool. We're going to design the whole web site and get everybody to contribute art and stories, and maybe even video clips and music and stuff. It'll be so cool." Scott explains their plans for Isabel's benefit.

"This is great! We can play at the concert. I'll ask Maria if she'd like to do a set too." Alex signals Maria none too discretely, and she stops at their table on her way back to the kitchen.

"Hey you guys. Do you want to order?" Maria pulls her order pad from her front pocket after greeting everyone. She notices Alex has taken the big plunge. He's introducing Isabel to his friends. So far peaceful coexistence seems to be the order of the day.

Alex shares the news about the fund raising concert and Maria agrees to sing with the Whits backing her up. She comes back with drinks very quickly, careful to put Isabel's Tabasco laced cherry Coke on the other side from Alex's regular Coke. Scott and Cathy are both having iced tea. They believe in staying away from heavily advertised sugar water. Amy would approve.

Isabel has to admit that so far she likes Alex's friends more than she thought she would at first. They're geeky but sweet, like Alex, and they seem passionate about the things they're involved in, not bored and aimless like most of the popular students she used to hang out with.

The meal is uneventful except for an unfortunate incident after Isabel has excused herself from the table. Alex is caught up in his conversation with Scott and Cathy and mistakenly grabs Isabel's glass and starts to drink from it. Big mistake. He chokes on the Tabasco sauce flavored cherry Coke and coughs, and tears start streaming down his face. He is still trying to recover when Isabel comes back. She's alarmed by his cough and Cathy explains. "I don't know what happened... he took a sip and started to choke."

Isabel looks at the glass Cathy pointed to and guesses what must have happened when she realizes it's her cherry Coke with Tabasco sauce. "Oh, Alex, I'm sorry, are you okay?" Alex tries to control his cough and drinks some of his own Coke to soothe the fire in his throat. It helps, and pretty soon, he's able to breathe again. His life has been fraught with many dangers since he learned Isabel's secret and he thought he was prepared, but he had not thought of this one.

Scott is driving his sister's car and Cathy is in the passenger seat with Alex and Isabel in the back. Alex searches his backpack for a minute, finally producing two tapes that he hands to Cathy. "Here are the remastered copies I made of the mix tape and the covers tape."

Cathy's face lights up as she scans the printed labels Alex made for the cassettes. "Oh, you have Tangled Up in Blue and Wild Horses on there." She pops the tape into the player.

Alex rushes to explain. "I got a boot of the second Berkeley show. It was such a great set. There's also Midnight Train to Georgia and Redemption song on there." Alex sits back and turns to Isabel with a big grin. This is going to be the best road trip. Listening to good music with his friends, and spending some time with Isabel being normal teenagers, or at least as normal as they know how to be. He takes her hand in his as Emily's voice fills the car.

early one morning the sun was shining
i was laying in bed
wondering if she'd changed at all
if her hair was still red
her folks they said our lives together
sure was gonna be rough
they never did like mama's homemade dress
papa's bank book wasn't big enough
me i'm standing on the side of the road
rain falling on my shoes
i'm heading out to the east coast
lord knows i've paid some dues
getting through
tangled up in blue

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