Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No
infringement intended. |
Summary: How will Liz tell her daughter about who and what she really is?
Authors Note: This story is part of an evolving storyline that currently includes (in order): "Decisions," "Looking In," "Christmas Envy," "From Another Place," "Husbands and Fathers," "Claudia and Nicole," and "Stars." More stories may be forthcoming.
In the desert
Of the night|
Her dad found her sometimes looking up at the night sky, watching the stars. Her favorite spot was the attic window. She would sit on the window ledge for hours, staring up, wondering who might be looking back. Her dad seemed to understand what she was looking for. Sometimes he sat with her, and they watched the stars together. But mostly when he found her looking at the stars, her dad smiled gently and left her alone.
She couldn’t explain what it was about the stars that drew her to the window ledge night after night. But she had the feeling it had something to do with the strange glowing thing that sometimes happened to her hands. The glowing thing had been happening all her life, but it had been happening more frequently since her tenth birthday four weeks ago.
She was afraid to talk to her parents about the glowing thing. Usually she wasn’t afraid to talk to them about anything. Her parents were pretty cool. But she couldn’t figure out how to explain that sometimes her hands shone, and sometimes she was able to do things, like fix torn book pages or close small paper cuts. How would she start such a conversation, anyway? Mom, Dad, I think I have super-powers didn’t sound right.
Actually, she had been more confused about how to talk about the glowing thing before she and her parents had gone to visit family and friends and celebrate the Fourth of July in their hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, two weeks ago. After the trip to Roswell and a heart-to-heart talk with her grandmother, she had a good idea about how she could start the conversation with her parents.
She heard a footstep on the stair, lighter than her dad’s. The door opened a crack, and her mom poked her head into the attic room.
“Hey, sweetie. What are you doing up here?”
“Mom, hi.” Claudia leaned back away from the window. “I was just looking up. Were you looking for me?”
Her mom had the grace to blush. “I was actually. Mind if I sit down?”
Claudia shook her head and moved over to give her mom room to sit down beside her on the window ledge. She waited for her mom to tell her whatever was on her mind.
“Sweetie. Before we left New Mexico, your grandmother and I talked.” Claudia stiffened. She watched her mom re-tuck her hair behind her ears, a nervous habit that her dad always teased her about. Her mom-radar must have picked up the stiffening, because her mom smiled at her reassuringly. “Don’t worry. She didn’t tell me anything you told her in confidence. But she did say that we should probably talk. So I thought we could talk today maybe when it was just the two of us.”
Claudia glanced at the stars for courage, then stared down at her hands. Her mom was giving her the opening she needed. She took a deep breath, then asked, “Mom, what am I?”
* * * *
Liz Evans closed her eyes. She had known this day would come. And of course, it would have to come when Max was at a medical conference on the other side of the continent. Opening her eyes, Liz studied her daughter. Claudia was so much like her father. She had Max’s dark eyes, his not-quite-human ears, his intense expression, his slow, sweet smile. Liz smiled at herself. It was so typical that she should have dreaded all her adult life to have to explain to her daughter about her true heritage. Other parents worried about explaining the birds and the bees. Explaining sex would be easy compared to this. She smiled at her daughter and said lightly, “Claudia. You’re what happened when I followed my heart.”
Claudia cringed with preadolescent squeamishness.
Liz stifled another smile. “Hear me out here, kiddo. Have I ever told you about your great-grandmother Claudia?”
“Yeah. Lots of times. I’m named after her. She was a famous anthropologist. She wrote about Native American culture.”
“That’s right.” Liz paused. “Okay, bear with me some more; this might get a little sappy for you. Before she died, my grandmother – your great-grandmother – made me promise that I would follow my heart, no matter where it took me. So I did follow my heart. And it led me to your dad.”
“To Dad,” Claudia repeated. She tilted her head to one side and bit her lip. “Mom. When we were in Roswell, Grandma Diane and I had a talk. About being special. Mom, Grandma Diane said that Dad and Aunt Izzy are both special, that she always knew they were special. She said that I was special too.” Claudia swallowed nervously. “This thing happens to my hands sometimes, Mom—“
Liz placed a hand over Claudia’s. “I know, sweetie. Sometimes you can fix things and heal things just by touching them. That happens to your dad too. And your Aunt Izzy. And your Uncle Michael.”
Claudia looked up sharply. “Not to you?”
“No.” Liz smoothed Claudia’s hair away from her face. “I’m not as lucky as you are.”
Claudia pulled away to stare at her mother then stood up. “Is it lucky?” she asked seriously.
Liz smiled, thinking back. “It is for me. Your dad’s special-ness saved my life.” Liz patted the window ledge beside her. “Sit down, sweetie. Let me tell you a long story about what happened when your dad and I were sixteen years old, and he healed a bullet wound in my abdomen, and then everything that happened afterwards.” Liz gave Claudia a little hug when she was once again seated beside her. “Sit tight again, because it still might be sappy in bits.”
* * * *
Claudia listened intently to the whole story, not guessing that her mom was thinking that she looked exactly like her dad did when he was concentrating hard. When her mom finished, Claudia sat back against the window glass. “I get it now.”
Her mom looked surprised. “What do you get, sweetie?”
“I know why I look at the stars. Why Dad sits beside me sometimes and looks too. We’re looking for the same thing.”
Her mom nodded and pointed to an off-centered, v-shaped constellation of five stars high in the night sky. “That’s what you’re looking for.”
“That’s it?” Claudia asked, her voice full of wonder.
Her mom nodded again. “That’s it.”
Claudia hugged her mom. “Thanks for telling me. I wasn’t sure how to talk about this with you and Dad, but I really wanted to. After we went to Roswell, I mean.” She stole a glance at the stars twinkling outside the window. “So Dad is special. And Aunt Izzy and Uncle Michael.” She looked again at her hands, all of sudden feeling confused and a little scared about everything. She bit her lip. “Mom, I think I need to think about this stuff some more. It’s a lot to take in all at once.” She looked carefully at her mom, not wanting to hurt her feelings. “I guess I should talk with Dad about this stuff, huh?”
Her mom squeezed her shoulders in another quick hug. “Talk to your dad when he gets home. Your dad will know a lot of the answers you’re looking for.”
Claudia smiled at her mom. “Dad knows a lot of stuff, doesn’t he?”
Her mom smiled back, her face soft. “Yes, he does.”
After that, they were quiet for a while. As they sat side-by-side on the window ledge, Claudia and her mom looked up at the stars, those teardrops of light hung on the vast face of the universe. They sat on the window ledge for hours, staring up, both silently wondering who might be looking back, both silently accepting that there were some questions even Claudia’s dad couldn’t answer.
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