by Nace M.
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own them. Melinda, Jason, and the WB do.
Authors Note: Much Love to the folks on the Radish mailing list and message boards. To Kara who helped fix a snag, and to Jing...my muse in princess's clothing.
|She sat at her usual table, parked in her usual position, nose buried in a
book. Oblivious to others around her but every now and then glancing up at
the popular table. Feeling that pang of envy in her stomach that she couldn't
be sitting there. That she couldn't be one of the shiny happy people. Nothing
about her would ever be accepted among them. Isabel had to face it. She was
an outcast, being socially, physically, and…humanly not like anyone else. It
would always be that way. Being called weirdo, freak, and geek princess were
just a few of the names she was called to assure her of her status. She was
different; everything about her was just different. At least before Max and
Michael had gotten their little girlfriends, she had them to turn to. But not
anymore. She was alone. She always found herself alone.
As if by some cosmic irony, the popular table irrupted into a chorus of laughter. Isabel lifted her head from her book to see what all the fuss was about. Her breath caught in her throat the way it always did when she saw him. Alex Whitman, Brad Pitt of the sophomore class. Shampoo commercial hair, soap commercial skin, muscles in all the right places. Despite the fact that he didn't play a single sport, he was the most sought after male on campus. Every girl in school salivated at the mere sight of him, and Isabel was no better. She didn't know how long she had a crush on him, but it had definitely been awhile. Sure he was gorgeous, and funny, and cool. But Isabel had seen things that made her think there was more to Alex. She had witnessed a number of kindhearted things he'd done. Once she saw him help an old lady across the street with her groceries and another time she saw him rescue a kitten out of a tree. All those things she had seen, and none of them ever in the company of the group he ran with. Coincidence? She didn't think so. She watched as he made a joke, then do a little spazz dance to emphasize it. The whole table irrupted into laughter again, and Isabel sighed, still watching as two girls in very form-fitting halter-tops wrapped their arms around Alex and kissed his cheeks. She looked down at her non-flattering Levi overalls and loose white T-shirt. No chance she could ever compete with those girls, she just wasn't in their league. Glancing back up at Alex, she saw him blush and gently push the girls off of him. Isabel thought that was a little odd. What guy would ever push a girl, let alone two girls away when they were blatantly throwing themselves at him? She always thought Alex wasn't with someone because he could have anyone he wanted.
'Who wanted to be tied down when you had that?' she thought.
Sometimes she let herself think he was saving himself for somebody. Her maybe? Ha. But one could dream couldn't they? She would have given up these little fantasies a long time ago, except every once in awhile Alex would catch her looking at him, and he would smile. Not a smug 'look at me I'm getting checked out' smile. A warm genuine smile that made her knee's go weak. A few times she'd tried to build up the courage to talk to him, only back down at the last second when one of his friends would suddenly show up. The bell rang, ending yet another lunch period wrapped in solitude.
'Stupid Liz Parker,' she thought. 'Stupid Maria DeLuca. Had to go and take my brothers away from me.'
She stole one last look at Alex, who sat at the now vacant table. His head was held in his hands, but she could still see the strange expression etched across his handsome features. It looked as if he was relieved that they were gone. But that couldn't be. He noticed her stare, looked up and smiled. She felt herself lightly smile back before nervously shoving her book into her bag and heading off to class.
Alex looked around the quad as he threw his head into his hands and breathed a sigh of relief. They were gone. He wasn't sure how much longer he could put up the charade. Always having to be funny, be cool; give them everything they expected. He didn't know how much longer he could last. Alex Whitman as Mr. Popular? Not really. That wasn't who he was. It wasn't who really existed inside of his head. But no one would want to see that, no one would care. Besides, no one ever saw who everyone really was in this little circle of the socially elite. And why was that? Because they were all as fake as he was. Everyone had their little part to portray in this sick little play that was West Roswell High. You only saw what everyone wanted you to see, and Alex was damn sick of it. Why continue through your existence living a lie? At first it seemed to be worth it, never had he felt so accepted, so wanted. But the value he once placed on his social status diminished with every passing day. Now he wanted something better, something real. Real friends, like what he used to have with Liz and Maria. He had been a total jerk to them once he started to climb the social latter, ditching them at the drop of a hat. At the time he had thought nothing of it, but now. Now he was filled with a terrible sense of regret. He had all the friends in the world…and he never felt so alone. He wished for someone, someone who would she the real Alex and still want him. Those girls Sherry and Sarah, who had kissed him earlier, no way he would ever have a chance them if he wasn't cool. Not that he wanted the chance anyway; he could have one of them so easily. But the relationship would have been on the empty side, a nice little pairing for everyone to gawk at and approve of. He needed someone not afraid to be who they really were, someone who didn't care what others thought of them. Someone like that Isabel Evans girl. She was always looking at him, and when she did, he felt…well it felt good. She seemed to see him, not just look, but really see him. He lifted his head, and by some bizarre coincidence she was looking at him now. He felt the smile grow on his face before he even thought about it. He had to admit to himself, despite the fact that she always had her face buried in a book. She was very cute, and the whole shyness thing she had going on made her all the more adorable. Blonde hair, soft brown eyes, a cute little smile.
'Maybe,' he thought to himself as he watched her smile back at him and hurriedly walk away. 'Just maybe.'
|Index | Part 2
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