|"Something To Talk About"
by The Crow
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with The WB, Jonathan Frakes, Jason Katims, or Melinda Metz.
Summary: After Isabel has a confrontation with a drunken jock, Alex goes out to defend her honor.
|Max heard the door slam as Isabel entered the house. He turned, but she had already passed by and headed up the stairs. "Hey Iz, what's up?" he called, but Isabel didn't answer. She continued up the steps and into her room.
"Something's wrong," thought Max as Isabel's door slammed shut. He stood and made his way up the stairs. He paused outside Isabel's door and knocked softly. "What's wrong Isabel?"
Isabel's voice was tinged with anger as she responded. "I am fine. Just leave me alone."
Max was taken aback by the tone of her voice. "What'd I do to you?"
Isabel sighed. "Nothing...and nothing's wrong. Just go away."
Max turned the knob slowly. The door was locked, which didnít surprise him. It required only a small burst of power to turn the little knob on the door. Triumphant, Max entered the room.
"I thought I told you to go away," growled Isabel as she whirled to look at Max. The sharp intake of his breath reminded her that she had forgotten to heal the mark. "This is nothing," she said quietly.
Max crossed the room and sat down on Isabel's bed. He watched as she healed the angry red welt on her cheek before saying anything. "How did that happen?"
Isabel rubbed her cheek lightly before she answered. "It's not important...let's just say that the guy that did this is in for a world of hurt." Anger flashed in her eyes as she continued. "It's not something that is going to happen again."
Max stared at her incredulously. "You mean Alex did that? I can't believe that..."
"What?" interrupted Isabel. "Of course Alex didn't do it. He would never..."
"But you were supposed to meet Alex tonight," began Max. Then he paused. "You're right, he would never do something like that. But it doesn't explain who did."
"Who did it doesn't matter," said Isabel matter of factly. "What does matter is that I am going to handle it."
Max considered pursuing the issue further, but he recognized the tone in her voice. She had made up her mind not to tell him, and there was nothing he could say to persuade her otherwise. "Fine," he said. "You've got it under control." He stared at her for a moment. "What did Alex say about all of this?"
"He doesn't know about it, and I plan to keep it that way." She turned and fixed Max in her gaze. "You've gotta promise to never breathe a word of this to him?"
"Breathe a word of what?" came a voice from the doorway. Isabel winced as Alex came into the room. She wondered how much of the conversation he had heard. He walked across the room and grabbed her face gently. He turned her head slightly and tenderly rubbed her cheek. "I see you've already healed it."
Isabel stared at him for a moment, stunned. How did he know? Had he seen the whole thing? What was going on? She had so many questions, but only one came to her lips. "How did you get up here?"
"What's that?" Alex asked absently as he studied her face. "Oh, your mom let me in. She told me you were upstairs talking to Max." He looked back and forth, from Max to Isabel. "So, which one of you is going to tell me how it happened?"
Max shook his head. "Don't look at me. I'm almost as confused as you are." He was glad that Alex had come over. He knew Alex wouldn't let Isabel off the hook. He would keep asking questions until she finally broke down and told them what happened.
Isabel sighed. "How...how do you even know about what happened?" she asked.
"Well. It would be hard for Doug Johnson to backhand you in front of about a dozen people without me hearing about it." He grabbed her hand and looked into her eyes. "I just want to know what happened," he said.
Isabel let out a defeated sigh and sunk into her chair. She also knew that Alex wouldn't quit asking questions. It would be better to just to come out and tell him.
"Well," she began. "I was killing time until you finished band practice, and I was outside with a group of my friends. Doug walked over and started going off on how beautiful I am, and how I should be his girlfriend." Isabel turned and looked at the window. The events of the past hour replayed themselves on the dark glass as she continued. "I could smell the beer on his breath, so I decided to 'ice queen' myself out of the situation. I figured that, if he got a taste of rejection, he would simply move on to the next conquest."
"But it didn't work. I tried to turn and leave, but he grabbed my wrist. He pulled me in closer and started to...grope me. That's when I lost it. I spit in his face and tried to knee him in the crotch, but I missed." She paused. Her voice quavered with fury as she continued. "Then...he hit me. I was surprised at first, but then the rage took over. I pounded him with my fists, but he just laughed and blocked me with his arms."
Isabel stood up and went to the window. She gazed up at the sky and continued. "I let my friends pull me away. I was afraid that I would lose control and use my powers on him." She turned back to the two of them. "I'm not sure what would have happened if I had."
Max stood and walked to Isabel. He put his arm around her shoulder and squeezed her tightly. "You did the right thing. Using your powers would have just raised more questions." He stepped back and looked her in the eyes. "Are you sure you are all right?"
Isabel nodded. "It isn't me you should be worried about. It is Doug"
Max smiled and laughed. "I pity him. He doesn't know who he is messing with."
Isabel laughed. She turned and looked at Alex. He was sitting on the bed staring at the both of them. "Are you going to say anything?" she asked.
"Did he call you anything?" Alex asked.
"What?" asked Isabel.
"I said, did he call you anything? When he hit you, did he say anything?"
Isabel shifted uncomfortably. She had a funny feeling that Alex knew what had been said, but he wanted to hear it from her. "Yeah, he did, but that doesn't matter."
"Actually, it does." Alex said. He looked up at Isabel. "It matters to me."
Isabel turned away from him and sighed. "He said, 'I don't have to take that from Alex Whitman's little bitch'," she said quietly.
"I see," said Alex. He stood up and walked to Isabel. He hugged her quickly and began walking towards the door. "I've gotta go," he said.
Isabel followed him into the hallway. "Don't go do anything stupid!" she called after him. Alex ignored her and continued down the stairs. Isabel turned and went back into her room as she heard the front door shut.
"Give me the keys," she demanded, holding her hand out to Max. "I've gotta go talk some sense into him."
"Relax Isabel," said Max as he fished for the keys in his pocket. "He won't get too far ahead of you on his bicycle." A look of surprise crossed his face as he heard a car engine start. Both he and Isabel ran down the steps to the door. They rushed outside in time to see Maria's red Jetta speeding off down the road.
Isabel swore and jumped into the Jeep. "Come on Max, let's go," she said. "We've gotta catch him before he finds Doug."
Anger filled Alex's thoughts as he guided the car down the street. He couldn't believe that Doug would use his name to cause pain to Isabel. He slammed his fist down in disgust as he recalled the words, 'Alex Whitman's little bitch.' He turned sharply to his left. He recognized Doug Johnson's car parked out in front of the 7-11.
He quickly pulled in and jumped out of the car. He didn't really know what he was doing. Doug was twice the size of him, and wrestling team captain to boot. All the thoughts that were swirling around in his head disappeared when Doug walked out the door. His instincts took over, and they told him to punch.
Doug was taken totally by surprise. Alex's fist crashed into his chin, knocking him backwards. Doug went down in a heap, his drink flying over his head and spilling onto the ground. "Whoo hoo," he said as he sat up. "Quite a little punch you got there." Doug stood up and walked towards Alex. "You want to try that while I'm watching?"
Alex didn't back down. He stood his ground and looked Doug full in the eyes as he responded. "That was for Isabel."
Doug laughed. "Ooh...the little man is sticking up for his woman." His friends began to laugh and point at Alex. Doug threw up his hands in mock fright. "Please don't hurt me."
Rage filled Alex again. He stepped into his punch, aiming for the nose. Doug swung his hand up and blocked. His other hand shot out and hit Alex, hard, in the stomach. Alex doubled over and fell down to his knees. He could hear the laughter of the guys in the background, and the voice of Doug taunting him. "Is that all you got?"
He struggled to his feet and took a deep breath. He circled Doug slowly looking for an opening. Doug staggered around in a tight circle, keeping Alex in sight at all time. He feinted a few punches and then swung for Alex's stomach again. Alex danced out of the way but was still grazed by the blow. He jumped back quickly, trying to stay out of range of Doug's arms. After a moment, he saw an opening and swung at Doug again. Doug's hand snaked up, catching Alex's arm at the wrist. He pulled Alex towards him and punched him in the face.
Alex stumbled backward and fell to the pavement. The abrasive surface skinned the palm of his hand as he reached out to break his fall. He winced as he pushed himself up. He brushed the dirt and rocks from his hand and pushed himself to his knees. He could feel a trail of blood sliding down his face. He wiped his nose on the back of his hand and stood up.
"Oh, you mean you haven't had enough yet? asked Doug. He stood back and let Alex compose himself. "Well...bring it on."
Alex grunted in response and ran at him. Doug moved out of the way and kicked him in the butt. Anger flashed in Alex's eyes as he attacked again. Doug swung his hands quickly, connecting again with Alex's face.
Max recognized Maria's Jetta and pulled in beside it. "Uh oh," he said as he recognized Doug's blue Mustang. "We may have some trouble."
Isabel jumped out of the Jeep and ran across the parking lot. She saw Doug standing over Alex, laughing like a madman. She shoved past him and dropped down beside Alex. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"I'm fine," he responded as he tried to stand again. "Just let me get back to kicking his ass will you?"
"Yeah Isabel, let him kick my ass," said Doug sarcastically. "I was enjoying the workout."
Max stepped between them before Isabel could respond. "Let's all calm down here," he said. He pushed Doug firmly towards his friends. "Don't you want to get back to your party?"
Doug stared at Alex a moment and then nodded. "Yeah. Yeah I do." He smoothed his coat and looked at Max. "I was getting tired of using him as a punching bag anyway."
Max caught Isabel as she launched herself at Doug. With some difficulty, he held her back as she struggled to attack. "Get out of here!" she yelled.
Doug and his friends laughed as they ambled to their cars. Assorted whistles and catcalls erupted from them as they made their way across the parking lot. They piled into Doug's car and the engine roared to life. Their laughter faded slowly as they sped into the night.
Max put out a hand to help Alex up. "We need to get out of here," he said. "I'm sure the owner has already called the sheriff because of the fight."
Alex nodded groggily and took Max's hand. He struggled to his feet and began to walk toward's Maria's car. Max and Isabel fell into step behind him. When they reached the cars, he turned and looked at them, not quite meeting their eyes. "Well...I'm gonna go," he mumbled.
"Oh no you don't," Isabel said. "We really need to talk." She turned to Max. "Would you drive Maria's car to the house?"
"Sure," Max said. He took the keys from Alex and slid into the driver's seat. He looked up at them through the window. "I'll see you in a little while."
Isabel waved at Max as he backed up. She turned back to Alex and motioned to the Jeep. "Get in."
Without a word, Alex turned and walked over to the Jeep. He dropped into the passenger seat as Isabel climbed in her side. He remained silent as she pulled out of the parking space and into traffic. Isabel glanced over at him from time to time as they traveled down the road. They came to Isabel's street but continued on past. "Hey, wasn't that the turn?" asked Alex.
"Yes it was," Isabel said. "But I'm not going home just yet."
"Ok, whatever," said Alex noncommittally. He turned and looked out the side of the jeep, watching the white line of the road slip past. He tenderly touched his lip, causing a small burst of pain to shoot from it. He studied the blood on his fingers and then touched his nose experimentally. It was a bit tender, but he didn't think it was broken.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Isabel asked. "It looks like you are still bleeding."
"I'm fine," Alex said hoarsely. "Don't worry about me."
Isabel looked at him for a long moment, and then turned her attention back to the road. She slowed the Jeep slightly and pulled onto a dirt path that led into the desert.
"Where exactly are we going?" asked Alex.
"Somewhere we can talk," answered Isabel. She looked at him as she guided the Jeep up a small sand dune. "I think we are a bit overdue for a chat tonight."
"Yeah, maybe we are," admitted Alex. He shifted in his seat, wincing as his raw palm met the metal of the frame. He squeezed his hand tightly shut and then settled back in the seat. He kept his gaze on Isabel, careful to look away if her attention ever focused on him.
After a minute, Isabel pulled the Jeep up next to a large flat rock. She killed the engine and jumped out of the car. Alex studied her as she walked over to the rock and settled down onto it. She motioned for Alex to join her. "Come on, I won't bite you."
Alex nodded and climbed from his seat. His leg was beginning to ache. He suspected that he must have twisted something during the time he was rolling about on the ground. He limped over to the rock and lowered himself down next to Isabel. She tried to look at him, but he wouldn't meet her eyes. He knew she was disappointed in him for fighting, and he was ashamed of himself for having taking such a beating.
Isabel began to stroke his face softly. He noticed a light glow coming from her fingertips and a slight easing of pain coming from his cheek. He grabbed her hand firmly and pulled it away. "No Isabel. You can't do that...there will be too many questions."
Isabel sighed and pulled her hand away. "At least let me heal them a little bit," she said softly. "At least enough to take most of the pain away from them."
Alex nodded and sat there as her hands caressed his face. He marveled at the feeling that associated with the healing. It was a cross between the tingle of a limb that had "gone to sleep" and the soothing feel of warm water on tense muscles. He closed his eyes and soaked in the warmth of Isabel's touch.
After a moment, Isabel removed her hand from his face. She took his wounded hand in hers and the same feeling enveloped it. She released his hand and reached into her pocket and pulled out her compact. She flipped it open and offered the mirror to Alex. "How's that?"
He took the compact and studied his reflection for a minute. His nose was a bit swollen still, and his lip was noticeably cut, but they looked like they had healed for a couple of days. "It looks great," he said as he tentatively touched his lip. There was a small bit of pain, but not nearly as much as before. "Thank you," he said as he handed the compact back to Isabel.
"It was no problem," she said. She pushed the compact back into the pocket of her jeans, then she turned to study Alex. "Why did you do it? I said I had it under control, and you know I can handle it."
Alex shook his head. He looked at her for a moment, but then returned his focus to the ground in front of him. "You wouldn't understand...you'd think it was stupid," he said.
Isabel crossed her arms and looked at him expectantly. "Well, try me," she said.
It was apparent that they weren't leaving until the events of the night were put to rest, so Alex turned and spoke, "Well, first of all, Doug hurt you. That in and of itself was enough to justify my actions." He looked back down to the ground as he continued. "And if that wasn't enough...he brought my name into it...like being associated with me was something derogatory."
Alex shifted uncomfortably. He glanced quickly at Isabel and then returned his gaze to the ground. "I don't really know what I was going to do when I left your house. I certainly wasn't thinking of fighting him." Alex looked up and grinned at her. "I mean, c'mon he is twice as big as me."
Isabel smiled at that, she started to speak, but stopped when Alex raised his hand. "Just let me say all this," he said. "It will be much easier for me." Isabel nodded slightly. Alex took a deep breath and continued on. "It was just that, when I saw him, my primitive instincts took over. I thought about what he had done, and what he had said, and the Cro Magnon part of my brain said 'attack.'" He rubbed his cheek for a moment and smiled. "I guess we see that I shouldn't have listened."
He glanced over at Isabel's smiling face, and then stood up. He walked a few paces away from Isabel. Keeping his back to her, he began to speak again. "It's just that...these past few days, I've been doing some thinking. All I have ever wanted to do was to bring some good, however little, into your life. And, I've been fooling myself into thinking that I had." He turned and looked at her before going on. "I realized that, since we've started whatever it is we're doing, all I've done is bring you grief. Even if it has been sort of secret, you had to clash with Max and Michael because we went out, then your social rep took a big hit." He sighed and looked up at the stars. "This thing with Doug just brought it all to a head. Alex turned away from Isabel. "I just don't want you to associate me with all things bad."
He heard a scraping sound as Isabel stood up. He was surprised when he felt her arms come around him. He clasped her hands tightly in his as she laid her head on his shoulder. "You are wrong Alex," she whispered. "You have brought me so much happiness and joy." She squeezed him tightly. "Don't ever tell yourself otherwise."
Alex smiled and reached up to stroke Isabel's hair. "I am glad to hear you say that...though I'm not sure I believe it much anymore."
Isabel released her grip and walked around to the front of Alex. She looked into his eyes sternly. "Don't think that...don't think that at all." She crossed her arms and glanced at her feet. "Before I met you...I was just going through the motions. I never imagined that there would be someone out there like you; someone who would want me for me and not my looks." She stepped in closer and hugged him again. She buried her head in to his chest. "You are the best thing to happen to me in a long time Alex Whitman."
Alex stood there, basking in Isabel's presence. He loved the feel of her pressed against him and the smell of the perfume she always wore. He put his arms around her and hugged her fiercely. He leaned his head down to say something, and was surprised when Isabel's lips met his. He felt a stab of pain as the friction irritated his lip, but he ignored it.
Isabel was surprised by her own actions, but she let herself get lost in the moment. She entwined her fingers in Alex's hair, pulling him hungrily towards her as their kiss deepened. She felt him stiffen for a moment, and then she remembered the split lip that Doug had given him. She pulled away from the kiss and took a deep breath. Alex brought his hand to his mouth and dabbed at his lip, checking for blood. "Sorry," she said. "I forgot about your lip."
Alex smiled and pulled her closer to him. "Oh no, you shouldn't apologize for that," he said. "It was amazing." He gently led her back to the rock and they both sat down. He lay down on the rock, and Isabel curled up next to him, her head on his chest. They remained in that position for what seemed like hours, silently contemplating the stars above.
Doug Johnson strutted down the hall, headed for the gym. He was still feeling pretty good about himself. No one had come down on him for hitting that Evans chick...well, unless you included Alex Whitman. Doug laughed as he thought back to that little encounter. It had almost been too easy to beat the crap out of him. Then again, an ass whipping was an ass whipping. It didn't matter who received it.
He had just passed the eraser room when he noticed that it was slightly open. "Somebody's getting lucky," he thought to himself as he crept closer to the door. He was surprised when a feminine hand slid out the door and motioned him inside. "Score!" he thought as he pushed the door open.
Isabel grabbed Doug's hand and twisted it painfully behind his back. She slammed him into the wall and then used her foot to push the eraser room's door closed. "Hey there," she said quietly. "Do you remember me?"
"What are you, crazy?" asked Doug as he turned his head. It suddenly dawned on him who he was talking to. "Isabel Evans? What's going on?"
Isabel smiled. "You didn't think I was gonna let you just hit me and get away with it did you?" she asked sweetly as she pulled up on his arm. He winced and struggled against her for a moment. She was never more glad that her mom had made her take those stupid self defense classes than at this moment. "Oh, I'm sorry. Does that hurt?"
Doug struggled to free his other hand, which had been pinned in front of him, but it was useless. Isabel had him pinned too tightly. "Let me go Isabel," he growled. "It'll go better for you if you do."
Isabel's hand glowed slightly as she used her powers. She located the nerves in his hand and began to stroke them with her powers. Doug yelped as his brain registered the intense pain. Isabel eased off for a minute and said, "Now, what was that?"
"I said let me go you bitch," said Doug defiantly.
"I'm sorry, that was the wrong answer," Isabel said. She let her power flow out again, this time including the nerves in his upper arm. Isabel almost lost her grip on his arm as he yelped and squirmed about.
"OK, OK...what do you want?" he asked her.
"It's simple," said Isabel as she eased up on the pressure. "You stay at least 100 feet away from me at all times. Next time you get the urge to come up and hit on me, remember what happened in here today. Would you really want this to happen in front of Kyle and Bobby and the rest of the guys?"
Doug shook his head quickly. "All right, that sounds fair," he said. "Anything else?"
Isabel leaned in so her mouth was next to his ear. "Next time you get the urge to beat the hell out of my boyfriend, fight it," she hissed.
Doug's voice was filled with confusion as he answered. "But you don't have a boyfriend... Do you? Or did I miss something?" His mouth dropped open as he realized who she was talking about. "Not Whitman? That can't be. Everybody knows you were just slumming when you went out with him. Besides, he's nobody...a loser."
Isabel used her free hand to open the door. "He may be a loser," she said as she released her grip. "But he is more of a man now than you will ever be."
Isabel walked down the hall, smiling. She was happy that the Doug situation had been addressed, and now she was looking for Alex. She hadn't seen him since Saturday night, and she was eager to see him. She had noticed recently that she got a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach whenever he wasn't around.
She spotted him waiting by her locker. He was looking around nervously, obviously trying to spot her before she saw him. She waved and began to walk towards him. "How'd it go?" he asked as she came up. Instead of answering, she pulled him towards her and kissed him, hard, on the lips. She heard gasps all around her as people in the hall noticed what was happening. She pulled away from the kiss and grabbed Alex's hand. She smiled at the openly incredulous stares of the people all around them. "That ought to give 'em something to talk about," she thought to herself.
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