|"Deviations in Destiny: Interiors"
by Criss Moody
Disclaimer: Jason Katims and co. own the characters and
concepts, I'm just using them for my own perverse
Summary: The aliens find their ways back into the lives they left behind.
Authors Note: This is the next installment in my Deviations in Destiny series. You can find the first story, Deviations in Destiny at my website, http://www.crosswinds.net/~wyoluvr/CrissFic
|Scrape. Scratch. Tearing of vines and then a dark, arm
shaped object flung itself over the cement block wall on
the far side of what was once Liz Parker's balcony. Max
Evans hauled himself up on both arms, only to find himself
facing his own son, who sat placidly on a lawn chair as he
considered the slightly ridiculous sight of his 40something
year old looking father balanced on two hands on the edge
of a 15 foot wall.
"Can I come up?"
Seth arched one eyebrow but said nothing. Father and son carefully regarded each other until an aggravated voice echoed from somewhere under Max.
"Look, I don't wanna stay down here all night, could you hurry it up? Besides, my arms hurt."
Seth shrugged his shoulders and turned his attention back to his book. Soon, Max and Michael stood at the edge, dusting off their clothes from the dust and leaves accumulated from their climb up. For what seemed like an eternity to the older men, they stood there looking around, waiting for Seth to say something to them. Only the silence of Roswell after midnight met their ears.
"So, you've got your mom's old room."
"Must come in handy when you want to sneak out."
Michael rolled back onto the balls of his feet, biting his lip to prevent himself from saying anything more. Seth Parker didn't seem like the forthcoming type. As Michael considered abandoning his plans for the evening, the boy spoke.
"What are you guys doing here?"
"Didn't we already cover this?"
Seth put his book aside to really look at the two men. Max stood back, closer to the wall, his hands clasped behind his back, while Michael thrust himself forward, his knees touching the edge of Seth's lawn chair.
"No, I mean why did you just crawl up a wall at 1:11 in the morning?"
"Oh." Michael backed up a little bit, obviously ill at ease with the topic. He rubbed his arms and looked back at Max for support.
"I wanted to talk to your mom, without Michael and Maria bickering in the background." An indignant hey from Michael sounded as Max continued. "I was half-way up the wall before I realized that he'd followed me."
Max tried to meet his son's gaze, but the young man had something past the two men in his sights. Max looked over his shoulder only to see his sister crawl over the wall, ripping an inseam on her jeans in the process. A quick pass of her hand over the tear and Isabel stood up.
"Wow, it's a party!" All four creatures on the balcony turned to see Jo place two drinks on a stand just outside of the window, then crawl out herself. She handed one to Seth, who took it with a frown on his face, and sat down on the parallel chair. The girl had changed from her waitress uniform into a halter top and wrap around skirt.
Michael felt a tiny snake of jealousy wend its way through his chest, wrapping tight around his lungs. His daughter, his child, his flesh, his bone, and he didn't know her. Did she even care that she had a father? Knowing DeLuca, the kid hated him. This was a bad idea, and blindly, he turned to go. Two hands, one Isabel's and the other Max's, stopped him.
Jo appeared before him, droplets of condensation sliding off her drink and onto her hand. She cocked her head to really look at him. "Why come all this way and just run away?" She giggled. "Hey, I rhymed."
The tension broke a little and Seth groaned. "Jo, what did you put in these drinks?"
She cheerfully replied, "What I always put in our drinks. Coke, extra syrup, and a healthy dose of Tabasco sauce."
The corner of Isabel's mouth curved. Jo saw it and almost squealed. "Do you like that? I mean, the whole real sweet real spicy thing?" She looked at Isabel for an answer.
"Yeah, we do. Guess it's an alien thing."
"Yeah, that's so cool. The alien thing, I mean, we knew we weren't the only ones, and after all, we're not full aliens, but I always wondered how alien we were, and…"
"Jo, you're babbling."
A hurt expression blossomed on Jo's face. "I'm not babbling." She turned to her father, Max, and Isabel. "Am I babbling?"
"Sorta." Michael mentally slapped himself for the brutally honest statement. Way to endear yourself to the kid, Guerin, he thought.
Jo flabbergasted him when she laughed out loud, full and throaty, a vibrant joyful kind of laugh. "Thanks for not lying. I mean, I kinda knew what you were thinking, so it's nice that you just said what was on your mind."
As Jo and Michael conversed, Seth noticed that of all of them, only the blonde woman, Isabel, seemed uncomfortable. After a few moments, the woman slipped around her brother and Michael and headed through Seth's room. He thought about stopping her, feeling an territorial need to protect his family. Then, he had a rare epiphany. Isabel was family. Half his family mostly wanted to strangle the other half. Interesting.
Seth turned his attention back to the entertaining scene before him. Without even trying, Jo had her father wrapped around her finger. Michael looked enchanted with his progeny. Dismissing the sentimentality of the meeting, Seth took the chance to really look at his own father.
In all that had happened in the last few hours, Seth hadn't really taken any time to think about having a dad after almost 15 years, let alone look at the man who had fathered him. Not a man, though, but an alien. He didn't seem all that tough, Max Evans. He looked…alone. He had a sister, and two other companions, but he screamed loneliness. Seth almost felt sorry for him. He wanted to feel something other than apathy for the man, but all he felt was a comforting blankness. He had a dad. The aliens had returned and life would never be the same and all Seth could think was that he had a really important History assignment due on Monday and this whole melodrama was seriously cutting into his studying time.
Isabel produced a low glowing light from her right palm to light her way down the shadowy hallway. She could hear a guitar being tuned in the café, and headed for the sound.
When she reached the kitchen area of the café, her nose scrunched in confusion. She'd been sure she'd heard something, but there were no lights on. Then, guitar playing came distinctly from the café. It was an old song, a song Isabel had loved because Alex had played it for her once. Once before she told him to stop bothering her, before she told him she had places to go, people to save. It had once taken all the inner strength she had to callously rip a teenage boy apart, and now she desperately wanted to find out if the man he had become hated her as much as he seemed to.
*Now that I've lost everything to you You say you want to start something new And it's breaking my heart you're leaving, baby I'm grieving*
The song ended abruptly, the harsh sound of a careless hand dragging across guitar strings sounded through the restaurant. Before Isabel could chicken out, she gritted her teeth and pushed through the swinging doors. She immediately saw him, leaning over his guitar, one arm draped over the neck, the other resting against the body, his hand buried deep in his hair. Dark gold light filtered in from the streetlights, casting an eerie glow over Alex. His face hadn't aged much, though his body had filled out. He seemed taller, and he fit his skin now. Fifteen years ago, Alex Whitman had been lanky, pale, and innocent. In that respect, not much appeared to have changed, but the lanky had melted into an appealing leanness and his innocence had died.
As Isabel considered what she saw in front of her, her foot caught on a bit of ripped linoleum and she stumbled. Alex's head flew up. First blank surprise and then resignation flashed over his lean face.
"Cat Stevens, huh?"
Isabel's nervous comment got nothing but a heavy-lidded glare and a sigh from the man sitting in the chair.
"I like that one song you did, the one that almost won a Grammy. Um, it was called, 'Lost Cause' I think." She started to lose her bravado as her chattiness earned nothing but stony silence from her audience of one. A cough, and a quick rub of her arms and Isabel turned to go when Alex finally spoke.
"What is this Isabel?" He put his guitar back into the case sitting on the table as he spoke, closing the latches slowly. "I understand why Max and Michael are here. But there's no reason for you and Tess to come back into our lives." He leaned back in his chair, rocking back onto the back legs.
Reacting defensively, Isabel took a seat at the counter, almost sputtering in her response. "Seth is my nephew, you know. And once upon a time…" she faltered, "once upon a time Maria and Liz were my friends."
"Once upon a time? This is not a fairytale. Trust me. There are no prince charmings, damsels in distress, or dragons to be slain. Just aliens and the people they smush on their way to destiny." The chair thudded to the ground and Alex sighed again. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't expect drama central when I came here tonight, er, last night."
"Neither did we."
Silence fell. Eventually, Isabel could hear the clock ticking and Alex's heartbeat thudding, reassuring her that he was ok, that something was ok.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking you to leave, but what are you doing here?"
She couldn't meet his eyes as she answered. "Uh, Max and Michael wanted to see Liz and Maria and I followed them."
"I don't hear any screaming. Either they died silently, or my dear friends have caved."
"It's neither actually. Jo and Seth caught us in the act."
Reluctantly, Alex felt a laugh slip out. He gave up on his fight to stay angry; five seconds with in Isabel's orbit and /bam/ he was back in her thrall. "Figures. Adults can't do anything around here without getting the third degree from one of them."
"Adults as in whom?"
"Funny. Before Seth let, let mind you, his mom go out on a date last night, he interviewed the guy. Asked him things like 'how much do you earn' and 'what are your intentions'."
Isabel stifled a laugh. "And how do you know this if you just got in last night?"
"Seth called me yesterday and asked me to run a background check on this date of Liz's."
The laughter cracked through Isabel's defenses at the thought of the intense young man she had met just a few hours earlier doing something so outlandish. Her humor eased off as she thought about what it meant, that Seth had called Alex for help, and that Seth felt so seriously about protecting his mom. Alex had probably been pretty dad-like for the two teens. They were a family, two moms, two kids, and a dad.
With no need for four lonely creatures without a place to call home, with no one to call family but themselves. Stranded permanently on a planet full of people who often wanted to destroy them. She looked down at her hands, noting the lines in her palms. Isabel found it easy to forget her alien status when she looked at her body, her statuesque, attractive, so very human body. A warm hand on her shoulder startled her from her thoughts, but it was just Alex. Alex looking at her as he had so many times before, thoughtfully, a little bit of concern mixed into an uneasy awe.
Tears sprang into Isabel's eyes at the familiarity of the gaze. "I know I'm a heart-breaker, but save the tears for my really good moves, okay?"
Isabel tried to speak, but the sweetness of Alex, the proximity of his body, rendered her non-verbal. She nodded and shook her head as if to shake something off or out if it.
"What are you guys doing down here?" Maria's sleepy, gravely voice interrupted the interlude. Alex tactfully retreated, allowing Isabel to dry her tears.
"Just talking." Maria nodded, making her way over the coffee machine. She paused before it, finger on the start button, when it burst into action, whirring and gurgling. In no time, a full pot of steaming coffee poured into the waiting carafe. Maria blinked. As she breathed in, the strong wafting tones of her favorite, but very expensive coffee tickled her olfactory nerves. She turned to stare at Isabel. The blonde shrugged her shoulders.
"Okay, I can't complain. Jo tried to do that once. The machine blew up." Maria dragged herself through the motions of making a cup of coffee. Once she had a large mug of Java, cream and sugar complimenting the blend, she carefully moved over to where Alex sat.
Maria sipped at her coffee, her eyes half-closed. The other two stared at the coffee cup. She groaned in her cup.
"You guys are seriously inhibiting my enjoyment of coffee."
"Sorry, DeLuca. Want us to leave?"
"Nah." Maria frowned and took a large sip of the coffee before speaking again. "Ok, stupid question. Isabel is here?"
"Yeah, she made you coffee."
"Right, I remember something about that. Why is she here?"
Isabel grew flustered at the exchange and made to stand up. Alex waved her back down. "She couldn't sleep. Took a walk and ended up here. Ok?"
"Whatever." More silence ensued. Once Maria had finished her coffee, her body shuddered and then she yawned and stretched. Standing up, she reached up to the ceiling, dropping down to touch her toes.
Without saying another word, Maria shuffled away, yawning as the swinging doors to the kitchen flapped behind her.
Isabel opened her mouth to say something, but couldn't dredge up anything intelligent. She felt like her brain was soaking in alcohol, fuzzy and slightly buzzed by the stream of recent events. As she sat there, studying her perfectly manicured nails, she desperately searched for something to say, something to make everything okay again. She wanted to make Alex feel good again, she wanted him to look at her the way he had that night they'd spent stargazing. Infinitely precious, eternally beautiful, a Venus de Milo for the people, broken from her pedestal, walking amongst the mortals. Touchable and loveable.
Isabel just wanted that. That's all.
She took a deep breath and stood up only to find Alex blocking her path. He stood face to face with her, and Isabel could feel his warm breath mingle with her own.
"Don't go." His gaze begged her not to walk away, not to leave him standing behind again.
This time, she listened to her human heart.
Isabel leaned into Alex, loosely embracing his lean body.
Hours later, the dawn found them curled up against the faded vinyl of a booth, Isabel safely cradled against Alex's body, secure in the knowledge that Alex wanted nothing more from her than what she had to give.
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours