FanFic - Other
"Better Man"
Part 1
by Caty
Disclaimer: I don't own anything that has anything to do with Roswell. Nor do I own the song lyrics, they're "Better Man" by Pearl Jam.
Summary: Tess POV, set 7 years after "Destiny."
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
"Waitin', watchin' the clock, it's four o'clock, it's got to stop
Tell him, take no more, she practices her speech"

I'm going to do it. I'm really going to do it this time. I'm going to leave. Really. I know I've said it before, but I'm actually really going to now. I can't live like this anymore, and I've finally gotten up the courage to leave him. I think.

"As he opens the door, she rolls over...
Pretends to sleep as he looks her over"

I can't bear to look at him, lately. All I see in his eyes is pain. I'm not sure anymore if it's his, or if I'm seeing the pain from my own eyes reflected in him. I know he still thinks about her, and I know that somewhere inside he blames me for what our lives have become. He hides it well. He doesn't want to hurt me, even after everything I've done to him. My cowardice has ruined his life.

"She lies and says she's in love with him,
can't find a better man..."

I don't think I ever actually loved him, not like he deserves to be loved. I loved the idea of him, but once I actually met him… Fate, or destiny, or some fucked up psychotic bitch of an alien mother decided that we should be together, and so I told myself over and over that I loved him. I almost had myself believing it, too. Of course, it helped that Nasedo told me every time I turned around that I was meant to be with Max.

That's what I hate myself for the most. I didn't try to resist it at all, even though I knew it was wrong. I hate myself for acting like I loved him, like I couldn't live without him, when really I didn't. I would have been just fine if I had never met Max Evans. Better, even. But I was scared, and I was lonely, and I was desperate. And so I insisted on being with him. I pursued him, even when he tried to resist our destiny. I made him feel guilty; I played all the cards I possibly could to get him away from her and closer to me. Michael and Maria, Isabel and Alex, they fought against what Nasedo told them was their destiny. They fought, and they succeeded. But me? I wasn't even strong enough to admit I didn't want the destiny our planet had laid out for us.

"She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can't find a better man..."

Once upon a time I dreamed that it would all turn out okay. I listened to Nasedo when he told me about my past, about the life I had lived before, and about the future I would have as soon as we found the others and reunited me with them. I managed to convince myself that the boy I saw in my dreams was Max. But the instant I actually saw Max in person, I knew he wasn't.

"Can't find a better man"

He's perfect. I couldn't possibly find anyone better.

"Can't find a better man"

So why do I keep thinking there's someone else I'm really meant to be with?

"Talkin' to herself, there's no one else who needs to know...
She tells herself, oh..."

I haven't told anyone how I feel. Hell, there's no one I can tell. I've managed to make everyone hate me, even the family I longed to be with. The only people I belong to in the entire universe, and they can't even stand to look at me. It would only be worse if I told them the truth. If they knew how much of this really is my fault, if they knew that they all could have had the happy ending, I don't know what they would do.

"Memories back when she was bold and strong
And waiting for the world to come along..."

I wasn't always like this, you know. Once, I was truly alive, rather than this empty shell of a woman. Everything was perfect, then. Or it would be perfect, as soon as we found them. I had myself convinced that it was Max I saw in my dreams, and even more convinced that I could do no wrong. I've learned that no one is as strong as they think they are, especially not me.

"Swears she knew it, now she swears he's gone"

Maybe there could have been a happy ending for me, too. Max isn't the right man for me, and I know that. Truthfully, I've always known that. I saw the right one, the one I'd been dreaming of, the one I longed for, and I let him walk away. If I had been strong, I would've grabbed onto him and held on as tight as I could, no matter what Nasedo said. But I was so scared of rejection from the only family I'd ever known that I let his vision of the future overtake my own. Now, it's too late to reclaim what could have been mine. I can only hope that this time I really will be strong enough to try to right the wrongs I've caused in other people's lives.

"She lies and says she's in love with him, can't find a better man..."

Liz asked me, right before she left our lives completely, if I loved Max. She said if I did, she would leave and never look back. I lied to her. Well, no, it wasn't actually lying, since I believed it myself at the time. Or at least, I wanted to believe it, so I didn't dwell on my doubts. I told her that I loved him with all my heart. That part was true. I do love him. The lie was letting her believe I was in love with Max. I never have been, nor will I ever. But I didn't correct her when she thought that loving him with all my heart was the same thing as being in love with him, and so she left, and I haven't seen her since. I have heard of her though, since I took it upon myself to follow her life. I think it's a way of punishing myself further, seeing just how much misery I've inflicted on others. I don't know why I bother, there's no way I could make up for even half of it.

"She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can't find a better man..."

I still dream of him, of the one I'm truly in love with. I see him every night, and when I wake it takes a few minutes to realize that my dreams are not reality. It's shocking to see Max lying next to me in bed, when I've been dreaming of Kyle.

"She lies and says she still loves him, can't find a better man..."

This will be the fifteenth time in seven years that I've left. Fourteen times before, I've left and come back without him even realizing that I've gone. I don't get very far before my fears start to plague me. I'm desperately afraid of being alone. There's no one for me now, no one but him. That's why I cling to him, why I keep coming back.

"She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can't find a better man..."

I come back, and I retreat into my dream world. In that world, I fought as hard as I could for how I knew things were supposed to be. I didn't let Nasedo use me to manipulate the others. In that world, Kyle and I are together, and we have two beautiful children who've never felt alone a day in their lives. Our son dates Max and Liz's daughter, Claudia. Our daughter is best friends with Michael and Maria's twin girls. Yes, in my dream world, we are all together, human and alien couples, and we are all family. All I've ever wanted in life was to feel accepted, part of a family, and in my dream world I finally am.

"Can't find a better man"

I watch him as he sleeps beside me, and I am determined that I will make things up to him.

"She loved him, yeah...she don't want to leave this way"

I wish I were strong enough to be able to say goodbye in person. But I know I wouldn't be able to stand the questions, the looks. Fourteen isn't the number of my actual escape attempts. It's the number of times I've been able to make myself leave. I've meant to many more times. Hundreds, thousands maybe, I can't keep track. Fourteen is the number of times I've convinced myself that I shouldn't let him know I'm leaving, that I'm not really strong enough, no matter how strongly I think I am. My voice cracks, I stumble over the words, my eyes aren't able to meet his. I let him distract me. And, eventually, I forget that I had meant to leave. The next day I remember, and hate myself even more, and am even more determined that eventually I will succeed.

"She needs him, yeah...that's why she'll be back again"

I won't come back this time…. I swear, this time will be different. I'm stronger now. I've stopped trying to hide behind my mistakes. They're mine, and I have to deal with the life I've created for myself.

"Can't find a better man"

The last thing I do before walking out the door is to put Liz's phone number where I know he'll find it. As I take one last look at the room, I hope that they can somehow manage to fix everything I made go wrong in their lives. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think they'll be able to do it.

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