FanFic - Alex/Isabel
"Closer to Fine"
Part 3
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.
When Isabel notices the UNM exit off the highway, she is glad the trip is almost over. They have been listening to concert tapes the whole way. In the last half hour, Alex has been stepping up his efforts to get Isabel to join in singing along on the harmony parts or on the song bits that are left to the audience during shows. She's resisted successfully but her defenses are wearing down.

"Uh... I don't think so, Alex. I can't carry a tune." Just because Alex, Scott and Cathy make it seem easy and fun, doesn't mean it's for everybody. Anyway it's not really Isabel's style to join in these group things.

Alex smiles and winks at her. "Don't worry, you're in the right hands. We'll teach you." Alex is dying to show his friends that Isabel is not a snob.

Alex seems so eager, she hates to keep saying no to him, but the alternative just seems too scary. "Um... I don't know the lyrics." She says in another attempt to close the subject. But Alex is undeterred.

"This is so not a problem. Hey Scott, do you have any of the songbooks around?" He calls out to the front.

"Sure, I have a couple of them in my guitar case in the trunk." Alex's face falls and he is stumped for a minute trying to solve this problem. There is no way to get the songbooks out of the back just now. He knows if he could convince her to get into the spirit of things, she'd have a blast at the concert. Isabel feels a little guilty when she sees that Alex's smile has disappeared. She reaches for him, hoping that she can distract him and make him forget this small setback.

"Uh? ..." He turns to her when he feels her fingertips brush slowly against his open palm, sending shivers down to his toes. She just brought his awareness of her in crystal clear focus and made everything else fade in the background.

Isabel flashes a small smile at his look of surprise, pleased that she got his undivided attention. "Sorry, I'm really not the singing type. But this is fun, listening to you guys. Do you mind?"

"No, no... I have been trying a little bit too hard, haven't I?" Alex admits ruefully.

"Just a little. And believe me it's not that I want to be difficult, but I'm really an awful singer, just ask Max or my Mom. Otherwise how could I resist?" Isabel flirts. Did she actually bat her eyelashes right there? Alex is grinning from ear to ear. He doesn't resist when Isabel gives in to the urge to touch him and takes his hand into both of hers.

Sensing her playful mood, Alex sits still, looking at her expectantly, waiting for her next move. He treasures these moments when she lets her guard down and he can actually tell that she enjoys being close to him.

One of the things that make Alex the best boyfriend in the world(tm) is that he knows how to put everything on hold and just be there with Isabel. When he does that, it's like he's telling her she's the most important person in the world to him, not his friends, or music or what others are going to think. Her fingers start carefully tracing a lifeline from the center of his palm down to his wrist. She stops on the spot where a small artery is pulsing, tirelessly pumping blood. The beat is surprisingly strong and steady and real. Then she follows the blue line of a vein up his arm. It is faint but slightly more visible than the ones running under her skin. She's never been so aware of the reality of his warm human body, its perfect balance of flesh and blood and the softness of his skin. She's always felt like a visitor in her body, like a stranger in borrowed clothes, but Alex's body somehow fits him completely.

Alex is trying to read the expression on her face. He can feel the weight of her gaze as both of them follow with their eyes the path of her fingertips. They do not leave any visible trace on his skin. But his defenses are peeling back in the wake of her light touch, revealing the emotions he usually hides from her, so that he won't scare her away. They rush to the surface now. He feels exposed and yet unwilling to summon one of his usual quips and turn the moment into a joke. She raises her eyes to his to find him looking at her. It's been hard for Isabel to acknowledge the depth of Alex's feelings for her. If she did, it might upset the delicate balance of their relationship. So far it's been mostly about him being there for her when she needs him. She hadn't quite realized how unfair this is to Alex until now.

He reaches over to push a strand of hair away from her eyes and picks up her hand resting on his forearm, watching her closely as he brings it up to press a gentle kiss in the center of her open palm. Looking at the emotions on his open face, she suddenly understands that despite her best efforts, she can't keep her relationship with Alex limited to a safe, well-defined part of her life. She can no longer avoid taking responsibility for not hurting him and without making a conscious decision, she knows she's accepted that reality. She should be scared by how this is going to complicate her life, but right now she's not afraid of anything. They exchange happy smiles, knowing that no one else could possibly understand how they feel.

When they get to UNM, Scott has no problems finding a spot in the student union parking lot. On week-end nights after hours, it's mostly empty. They decide to leave most of their stuff in the car for now. Alex picks up a couple of mats for them to sit on and the girls get their daypacks while Scott grabs his guitar case. Isabel watches him with concern. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Does this mean they're in for an evening of participatory music?

They walk out of the parking lot past the dark and crowded Coffee House, obviously a favorite hangout for students on Saturday nights. Right next door is the new student union which houses the ticket office. The building is mostly deserted but there are a few diehards waiting at the door. Alex nudges Scott. "That must be where the line is starting. Let's drop our stuff and we can go over to the green to hang out for a while." They approach the two college students at the end of the line who are talking animatedly and say hi.

"Hey there, when did you guys get in line?"

"Around 5pm. We all got there around the same time."

"Cool. We'll be over on the grass. Talk to you later."

They spread a mat and drop one of their bags on it to save space in the line. Scott and Cathy have already headed out to the little patch of grass surrounded by three scraggly pine trees. They are settling down. Alex takes Isabel's hand and walks over to the spot they picked.

"I'm going to show Isabel around the campus a bit. See you guys later." Alex waves and tugs Isabel behind him. He loves the campus. The buildings have an unmistakable Southwestern style that give them a very distinct personality. They walk past the new student union. Past the corner, in front of them, is the largest fountain on campus, with the old student union on one side, the campus bookstore and post office on the other.

There are ten or so students enjoying the warm evening, splashing each other and playing with water around the fountain. Everybody seems to be having fun. Alex and Isabel stop to watch for a minute. Several students are drenched from head to toe. Alex steals a glance at Isabel, wondering if now would be the time to test how many changes of clothes she brought with her. She looks back at him reading his intentions before they're fully formed.

"So what else is there on this campus?" Isabel asks suddenly in a hurry to get away from the fountain. Alex hates to pass up on such a great opportunity to tease Isabel, but tonight he's trying to show her that he's not all about goofiness and fun. Alex Charles Whitman can be as poised and romantic as any guy and then some. So he gives her his most charming smile.

"We could go up the Clock Tower. There's an elevator to the last floor and you can see the whole area from up there. It's really nice." He suggests. This is the kind of romantic stuff girls love.

Isabel is surprised but relieved that he gave up so easily on his plans for the fountain. She considers his suggestion and nods. "Okay." Alex leads on past plumeria trees and several large cactus. There are red hibiscus in bloom and lily of the nile everywhere. The plumeria flowers smell wonderful. Alex stops in front of a small tree with smooth, light grey bark and insists on having Isabel smell one of the fragrant blossoms.

"I brought back a cutting from a plumeria tree when my parents and I went to Hawaii ten years ago, and I planted it in our back yard. It took forever for it to get established. At first I didn't think it would survive, so I spent a ton of time taking care of it every day. Now it's bigger than I am." Isabel looks at Alex. He's so different from any of the guys she knows. She wouldn't want to change anything about him.

"The flowers smell incredible. They seem like such a tropical plant. You must be a pretty good gardener." Isabel looks at Alex with admiration, thinking about all the care he put into his little tree from Hawaii.

"I kept remembering how beautiful those flowers looked and how they smelled of paradise." He whispers, moving closer to her. Isabel has been dying to kiss him ever since that moment in the car when he looked at her with such intensity. She got a bit side tracked, but it's all coming back to her now that they are finally alone together. She hums her approval when he touches his lips to hers and immediately deepens the kiss, putting an arm around his neck to bring him close.

They walk hand in hand to the Clock Tower and take the elevator to the terrace on the last floor. As they contemplate the view, Alex points out the landmarks he's familiar with. "This place is so great. I love Albuquerque. There's so much going on here compared to Roswell. Sometimes my Dad takes me up here with him during the summer when he has a class to teach on campus. There is a really good planetarium in town. We should go there sometime. They have open telescope nights where they let the public come in and use the giant telescope." Alex thinks of how close Isabel and he have gotten over the past few months since they first looked at stars together on that camping trip. He would never have imagined it would be possible.

When they get back to the spot where they left Scott and Cathy, Scott is playing a crowd favorite and there's a small group gathered around him. Alex and Isabel sit down next to them to enjoy the music on this sweet summer evening.

i'm trying to tell you something about my life
maybe give me insight between black and white
and the best thing you've ever done for me
is to help me take my life less seriously
it's only life after all

well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
and lightness has a call that's hard to hear
i wrap my fear around me like a blanket
i sailed my ship of safety till i sank it
i'm crawling on your shores

i went to the doctor, i went to the mountains
i looked to the children, i drank from the fountains
there's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line
and the less i seek my soul for some divinity

the closer i am to fine
the closer i am to fine

By the end of the evening, Scott has pretty much gone through his whole repertoire and is taking requests. Isabel is leaning on Alex's shoulder. She has been enjoying herself tremendously. It's wonderful to be able to relax and act like a normal teenager for once, hanging out with her boyfriend and his friends. It's getting really late and she's just about ready to fall asleep sitting up. But she doesn't want the evening to end. Alex looks down at her. "Hey, getting sleepy?"

"Hmmm..." She nods but without conviction. It would take too much energy. Alex gets to his feet, pulling her up with him. "Let's go get our stuff."

Later, they spread their sleeping bags and mats next to each other. The night has gotten cool like it always does in the desert. Alex gets into his sleeping bag and invites Isabel to cuddle up. She settles on his shoulder and they look at the stars above them. Alex quickly locates the North Star, Cygnus and Vega. These days when he looks at stars light years away from Earth, barely noticeable in the night sky, he feels a little closer to them because his life has been touched by someone who came from out there. It's as if he shares a secret with them.

"Thanks for inviting me to join you. I really had a good time." Isabel says softly. Alex turns to look at her and grins. "Me too." Pretty soon they're both asleep. Alex dreams of the last IG concert he went to a year ago in Albuquerque. Isabel finds herself wandering into his dream. She smiles when she recognizes where they are. Alex is so happy to see her, she decides to follow his lead and she has wonderful time dancing and listening to the music.

The End

Part 2 | Index
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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