|"The New Girl"
Disclaimer: This story is starting to read like a novel...it uses all of the characters, including a new one. It takes place after Balance.
Summary: I do not own these characters. They are the property of Jason Katims and Melinda Metz. (I hope they don't mind if I borrow them for a little while) Author's note: This is my first story, please be kind and e-mail me.
|Maria and Isabel glanced at each other as they waited for their homeroom teacher, Mrs. Foster, to finish reading the days announcements. The classroom door opened and a girl walked up to the teacher handing her a note. As she waited for the teacher her eyes scanned the room glancing at the faces with a somewhat pensive look on her face.
Mrs. Foster glanced up at the class and nodded to the girl, "I would like to introduce you Carrie Atherton, she just moved here with her father." The Teacher’s eyes scanned for an open seat and noticed the one next to Isabel. "Isabel, Would you mind showing Carrie around today? And make sure she finds her way to her classes?"
"Sure Mrs. Foster, I would love to." Replied Isabel. Isabel looked at Maria and mouthed the name "Atherton" to her and gave her a quizzical look. Maria shrugged her shoulders and mouthed the word "Lunch" Isabel nodded and turned to where Carrie was settling herself down.
"Hi Carrie, I’m Isabel, Let’s take a look at your class schedule?" Carrie took out her class list and showed it to Isabel. " It looks like we have two classes together, Homeroom & English, and you have Biology and math with my brother Max." Said Isabel.
They listened to the rest of the announcements in silence, and both stood when the bell rang. "You have a study hall next period, it’s what they give you when they don’t have any room in any other classes. " Commented Isabel "I’ll see if I can get out of my next class, Its just Gym, and I can give you the grand tour."
As they walked toward the gym to talk to the teacher Isabel tried to get some more information from the girl, "so what brings your family to Roswell?" asked Isabel.
"My mother died last month in a car accident, (drunk driver) Dad wanted a change. His father, My grandfather, used to live here a long time ago and we just decided to go for it." Said Carrie, " I never knew my grandfather, he disappeared when my dad was a young boy, Dad said he was an author."
Isabel suppressed a shock when she realized who the grandfather was. She responded with "that’s too, bad, is he trying to find out what happened?"
"Sort of, when he was going through my mothers things in the attic, he found some of his fathers papers." Carried answered, "he was coming here hoping to find some answers."
They had reached the gym, and Isabel went to find the teacher to get excused.
Elsewhere in the school Maria was talking to Liz
"I’m telling you this is strange Liz, just when we had run out of clues, this girl walks into our lives." Maria felt someone come up behind her. Sensing it was just Michael she continued without turning, "I mean what are the odds that Atherton’s granddaughter would transfer to our school."
"What!" burst in Michael, "Where is she, does she know anything?"
"Relax Michael", cooed Maria, "She’s with Isabel, getting pumped for information as we speak."
Michael relaxed slightly, but it was evident that he was not satisfied simply waiting. "I have English with Isabel 3rd period, I guess I had better find out what assignment I was supposed to have done if I’m going to attend that class."
With that he left.
"Men!" Remarked Maria; "He could have said something about the other night."
Liz looked at her friend and nodded, "Maria that’s just Michael’s way. He doesn’t realize how insensative he really is."
"I guess, I knew what I was getting myself into when I started this whole ‘thing’ with Michael" sighed Maria, "I just wish he could be more like Max, sometimes. You know exactly how he feels about you."
"Yeah, but who was the first to get kissed Maria?" Scoffed Liz. "I feel like I have to make all of the moves with Max."
"Liz, I’ll see you at lunch, Isabel said she would meet us and dish on the new girl." Said Maria
"I will let Max know, I have social studies with him 3rd period. " Replied Liz, "I had better get going Maria, I’ll see you at lunch bye."
**** As they parted we see a familiar figure leave the school office, none other than Mrs. Topolski’s FBI Superior, agent Stephens.
The new school councilor walks him to the door, saying as they walk, "The loss of a mother is a tragedy, be sure to let your daughter know my door will always be open if she needs to talk. Mr. Atherton" "I will, replied the man. Thank you for arranging her schedule the way I asked."
Liz quietly moved into the seat in front of Max, she silently opened her social studies book to the page that the teacher was discussing today. As Liz pulled out her homework from her backpack she glanced and smiled at Max. The teacher asked for the papers to be passed to the front of the rows, as Max passed her the papers her hand brushed hers gently and sent a tingle up her spine. They were discussing the feudal system of Western Europe, and she wondered how she would manage to concentrate on the class discussion. Liz took out a blank piece of paper and pretended to take notes, instead she jotted a quick note to Max.
Max, Maria and Isabel have some news. We are all going to meet at lunch in the quad. See you then Liz
She folded the note into a small shape and fitted it into her hand. She could feel his eyes on the back of her head as she slowly moved her hand behind her. Max then pretended to drop his pencil and as he reached down to retrieve it quickly grabbed the note giving her hand a quick squeeze in the process.
The rest of the class was a blur; she half heartily took notes secretly hoping that whatever she missed Max would fill in. ‘What a great excuse to study together’ she thought to herself.
At the other end of the hall Isabel and Carrie where just walking into their English class Isabel suddenly stopped and glared at someone in the back of the room. It was Michael, she quickly rushed up to him and asked through a clenched jaw, "what are you doing here?"
Michael looked around Isabel to the girl standing behind her and said, " Hi, I’m Michael, Izzie keeps forgetting that I have English with her."
"Maybe if you came to class occasionally, I would remember." Isabel accused. "Do you even know what today’s assignment is?"
"Sure it’s a book report on James Joyce’s, Ulysses, A book I happened to have read." He said as he showed her several pages of neatly written script. Isabel rolled her eyes and went to find her seat.
Carrie held out her hand to Michael and said, "I’m glad to meet you, Isabel tells me we have Art class together last period."
As Michael grabbed her hand a vision flashed in his mind, It took all of his control not to betray himself. He quickly added, "I didn’t think I would like art as much as I have, I’ll see you there."
Carrie gave him a parting glance as she turned to find an empty seat, just as the teacher started calling attendance.
Michael sat quietly trying to decipher that quick vision. The girl, an older man, some files, and a journal. He jolted back to reality when he heard the teacher call his name. "Mr. Guarin, glad you could join us today, I don’t suppose you have anything to share with us on today’s topic?"
"As a matter a fact…" Michael began, and then went on to give the teacher the complete plot of the book along with his interpretations of several of the predominate themes. The teacher just stood there slack jawed as Michael continued.
The bell rings and everybody rushes out of class. We see Michael and Carrie walking together towards the lunchroom. Max walks Liz out of the classroom and towards her locker so that she can pick up her lunch. On the way, they run into Maria who joins them.
"Have we heard any more information?" Liz asked Maria?
"No, but Isabel skipped out on gym so I’m sure she had and opportunity to glean some facts from the girl." Maria replied
Max just smirked and commented, "leave it to Izzy to find a way to get out of Gym, her least favorite class."
The three walked together to the quad where they found Isabel sitting by herself. Isabel handed Max his lunch, "Here’s your lunch, Mom dropped it by"
Max opened the bag, "thanks Izz, I was wondering what I was going to eat" Max placed his Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich next to his ‘hot and spicy’ chips. He opened the top of his sandwich and poured on the chips.
Liz raised her eyebrows, and Maria couldn’t resist adding, "Yuck, does you mom know you do that?"
Isabel just smirked and let Max answer, "well, no but I thought since you both know the truth you wouldn’t mind. You don’t do you? This is how I really like to eat." Max glanced anxiously at Liz.
Liz gave Max a big smile, "No, not at all Max. I’m glad that you feel comfortable enough around us to eat they way you like, I just won’t ask to share."
Isabel rolled her eyes, "please can my life get any worse."
Maria, ripped her eyes away from what Max was eating and turned to Isabel, "So, what did you find out? Does she know anything? Will she help us? Come on Izz spill."
Isabel Laughed and said, "Maria if you let me get a word in edgewise I’ll tell you." She turned to the others and continued, "Yes, she is ‘the’ Athertons granddaughter, and she has some of his notes from the book."
Isabel went on to tell the trio all that she was able to learn from her conversation with Carrie.
"Max, I think if you talked to her about your job at the UFO center you might be able to get her to show you some of the papers," Isabel added.
"I don’t know Izz, Michael has always been better at getting things from women." Max nodded to where Michael and Carrie were sitting and talking.
At this point all of the girls turned and looked to where Max indicated. Isabel was the first to comment, "what does he think he’s doing? He’s going to ruin everything."
"It will be okay, Izz, Max is right. Michael does have a way of manipulating women." Liz glanced at Maria.
"Yes, but I don’t want him to get himself into mischief, he doesn’t know when to quit." Worried Isabel. "Max it would be safer if you talked to her. Just pretend that she’s Liz. Carrie will melt in your arms." Isabel added as she glared at Liz. "Besides your job at the center makes it more believable that you would be interested in the papers."
Max gave a questioning glance to Liz. Liz gave him a brief nod, "okay, I’ll give it a try but how are we going to get Michael away from her?"
Maria, who had been glaring the entire time at Michael and Carrie, spoke up, "I can get him away, I’ve been wanting to talk to him anyway."
The others just smiled at each other seeing the humor of Michael and Maria’s relationship. Apparent to all on the outside, Michael and Maria just couldn’t see it for themselves. Maria stood and walked over to where Michael was sitting with Carrie and placed her arms around his neck, and gave him a kiss on the side of his cheek."
Before Michael could speak Maria turned to Carrie, "Hi Carrie, I see you met my guy Michael." Michael attempted to remove Maria’s arm from around his neck, but she continued, "Carrie, would you mind if I borrowed him for a few minutes we need to talk about our date tonight." With that Maria pulled Michael away with her.
When they had moved out of earshot of the table Michael stopped and asked, "what was all that about? We don’t have a date? And since when am I ‘your guy’?"
"Oh stop it Michael, You know you loved it. Max and Isabel wanted to talk to Carrie alone so I was sent over to get you out of the way." Maria decided to add, "Besides, I wanted to talk to you anyway."
As Michael and Maria moved off to talk, Isabel brought Max over to where Carrie was sitting. "Hi Carrie, this is my brother Max, your next two classes are with him." Isabel paused and then continued." I thought he could fill you in on them, and you two could get to know each other better before the lunch period ends."
Carrie looked at Max and said, "Isabel has told me all about you Max." Max glanced at Isabel who shook her head no. Carrie continued, "it must be nice having a sister who thinks so highly of you."
Max nodded in agreement, "Yes, Izzy is one of a rare breed" it was Isabel's turn to squirm as he continued," Izzy tells me we have Biology and Math together.
Isabel decided to leave and let them get better aquatinted. When she saw Liz she felt a pang of guilt and decided to walk back to where Liz was sitting. Liz was looking somewhat like she had lost her best friend. "Snap out of it Liz, your being sad isn’t going to make it any easier on Max. I know I haven’t been the best friend to you and Maria, but it’s hard to trust someone you barely know with your life."
Liz nodded, "I guess your right, but you must believe by now that Maria and I would never do anything to expose you and your secret."
"Yes, I know you care very deeply for my brother, and Maria has that ‘vibe thing’ or what ever you want to call it with Michael." Isabel sighed, "I just wish I had someone to share secrets with the way you and Maria do."
"Isabel, we would love to share ‘girl talk’ with you." Liz gave Isabel’s hand a quick squeeze and continued, "Maria and I have been wondering if we should include you in our little pow-wow’s. But we didn’t think you’d be interested."
Isabel agreed that she had been distant to them in the past, but that was only an attempt to keep her secrets. With that settled both girls shared a hug and agreed to work on the friendship. Just then the bell rang. And the girls rose to head to their classes, "can I buy you a strawberry shake and tobasco sauce at the Crashdown after school?" Liz asked? Isabel nodded and they both smiled.
Maria and Michael who up until 5 minutes ago had been arguing about who was avoiding who, who’s fault it was that they kissed, and what exactly that kiss meant, suddenly found themselves in a passionate liplock when the bell rang. They both separated in unison, "Now have we got it straight?" asked Michael
"Yes" replied Maria. They both turned and walked their separate ways to class.
Liz walked into the Biology room and spotted Max and Carrie already setting up the lab. She quietly walked over to another empty lab station, and began setting up her own station. She felt someone standing over her. She glanced up to se Max looking down at her.
"You don’t need to do that Liz" Max finally spoke. "I told Carrie that you were my normal lab partner, and wouldn’t mind sharing"
Liz smiled, "You’re sure, Max, I don’t want to intrude." In response Max put his arm around her and walked her back to their station, and introduced her to Carrie.
"Carrie, This is my friend Liz. She has been helping me pass this class all year. I don’t know what I would do without her help." Max introduced.
"Hi Liz, Max has been telling me all about you. Your parents own the restaurant across from where Max works at the UFO Center."
"I’m glad to meet you too, Carrie." Liz nodded, "What do you think so far of our little town?"
Carrie thought for a moment and said, "if the people I’ve met so far are any indication, I think I’m going to love it."
The three continued working on the lab together, Carrie reading the instructions, Max making the cuts and Liz recording the information. After they had finished the lab and Max and Carrie started putting things away as Liz put the finishing touches on the lab report.
Liz asked, "Carrie, What’s your last name?" Indicating the blank space at the top of the report, "I need to add it to the report if you are going to get credit."
"Atherton", Carrie replied.
As Liz was writing it down she turned to Max and said, "Max weren’t you just reading a book written by someone with that name?"
"Yes, it was called ‘Among us’, My boss at the UFO center suggested I read it." Max replied.
"That must have been written by my grandfather" Carrie added, "My father was telling me he wrote about UFO’s. Do you think you could find me more information about my Grandfather?"
"Sure, Carrie, why don’t you come over tomorrow after school? I’m certain my boss will know more about him. He has the largest archive of UFO material in the country."
" I wonder if he would be interested in some papers and photographs of his we found when we were going through my grandmother’s estate," added Carrie
Max eagerly stated, "I’m sure he would, he keeps everything related to UFO’s in his archive. I’ve been categorizing papers for weeks now."
Liz glanced at Carrie, "That’s a very pretty locket you are wearing Carrie, may I look at it?" Carrie nodded and Liz carefully lifted the small pendant and opened it. Inside she saw a photograph of Carrie on one side and a boy on the other. "Is that your boyfriend Carrie?"
Carrie looked at Max, "Uh … no, that’s my brother, Josh." Carrie had a pained expression on her face. She took a last look at the photo and carefully closed the locket.
"What happened to your brother Carrie? I thought you said it was just you and your Dad." Liz asked with concern.
" Josh ran away when he turned 17, I haven’t heard from him since. We were so close growing up." Carrie replied with sadness on her voice.
Max reached over and gave her a friendly hug, "Why would he run away? Did he get in a fight with you or your parents?"
Carrie looked up and nodded, "He was young and confused, He told me a very big secret about himself, I couldn’t help it but I told our parents. When they found out that that he was something different from what they expected. They blew up! They couldn’t deal with him being… different." Carrie wiped away a tear; "He walked out of the house that night and out of my life. I’ve missed him every day since, and when I’m able I going to find him and apologize. I need him to forgive me and be in my life."
Liz and Max looked at each other remembering the secret they shared. Liz reached over and gave Carrie a hug, and said, "If anyone can find your bother, my friend Alex can. He’s a whiz on the computer.
The bell rang and Liz told Max that she would see him later, Max walked Carrie to their next class.
Liz was walking down the hall when she bumped into Michael. "Hi Michael, I haven’t see much of you lately. Did you and Maria finally work things out?"
Michael reddened a bit and said, " Yah, we came to an understanding, in fact I was on my way to find her so that we could work it out some more. Did you want me to pass along a message?"
"Yes, tell her that I will see her after school at the restaurant for some ‘girl talk’ with Isabel." She responded.
Michael continued down the hall and spotted the girl he was looking for heading into an empty room. He quickly followed and closed the door behind himself. As his eyes grew accustomed to the dim light he saw Maria waiting for him. He quickly bridged the gap and caught her in his arms. And covered her mouth with his. He didn’t like always fighting with her, even if it was sort of a dance they shared, sometimes he just wanted to hold her and feel complete.
Michael had never felt whole with anybody before, He shared a secret with Max and Isabel, but up until the road trip with Maria, that was the only thing he had to hang on to. He had always struggled to control his powers. But he lacked the confidence in himself, at least that was Max’s theory, to use them as well as the others. It was different when he was around Maria; he had sensed it in the dome, When she was near, he felt in control. He was afraid to share that knowledge with her, afraid at what she might think of him. For the time being, he would just enjoy the closeness with her, the passion they both shared, but he had to keep it private.
Maria Finally broke the bond, to come up for air. They both looked at each other with sheepish grins on their faces. "That was pretty good space boy, where did you learn to kiss like that?"
Michael shrugged, "I guess you just bring out the best in me." He was still holding her when he asked, "thanks for meeting me Maria, are you going to be late for class? I would hate to get you into trouble."
Maria shook her head no; "The teacher had a meeting today, so he assigned study hall in the library. You haven’t seen Liz around have you? We forgot to talk about what we were going to do after school."
Michael winced, "Yes, I ran into her on the way here. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner but… I got a bit distracted." He pulled her in for another kiss. Maria melted in his arms once more.
"Are you going to tell me what she said?" Maria asked as soon as she caught her breath.
"Yes, she said to let you know she would meet you and Isabel at the restaurant for some ‘girl talk’ after school." Michael tried to move in for another kiss, but Maria held him off.
"I wonder why Isabel’s coming, she always acts like she hates us."
Michael answered, "you should give her a chance, Isabel hasn’t had anyone that she could really open up and talk to. You know… someone that knows our secret. Max & I make lousy ‘girl talk’ companions."
"Are you kidding, I always thought she had lots of friends. She is always seems to have a crowd around her," remarked Maria.
"That is just for show, she can talk fluff with them, but when it come to the big topics, where do I come from, what will I become, she just has us." He paused and added, "And we don’t even have many answers."
Maria sighed, "I think I understand, I really don’t have that much information about my past either. It would be nice to have a friend like Isabel."
Glancing at her watch, Maria exclaimed, "shoot, I’ve got to get going Michael, I promised Alex I would help him make some signs for the dance next weekend. I don’t suppose you…" she let the words trail off.
Michael, gave her another kiss, and told her to scoot. He then waited alone in the room for a few minutes, trying to decide how best broach the subject of a date with Maria to Max. After all of the grief he had given Max about staying away from Liz, he knew Max was not going to make it easy.
Michael left the room, and started to head out to the art portable where his final class of the day would be held. He had some ideas in mind for project the teacher had assigned the previous day and wanted to get started. He was planing the drawing in his head, he thought pastels would best express his vision. He stopped off at the bathroom, to check that there were no visible signs of his Meeting with Maria. As he was wiping the last of Maria’s lipstick off of his face he saw Max walk in the door.
"Hi Max, I was kind of wanting to talk to you…" Started Michael.
"Michael I’m sorry about moving in on your lunch with Carrie, it was the girls idea." Max interrupted.
"It’s okay, Max but I wanted to let you know that I was wrong about trying to keep you and Liz apart." Michael continued, "It’s just that I was mad about you telling her about… well.. you know, stuff. Now that I know her better I can see that she isn’t the type of person to turn us in."
Max looked pleased but a bit suspicious of his friend’s motives. "What brought this sudden change of heart? It wouldn’t have anything to do with that ‘Maria girl’ would it?"
Michael swallowed, "well, there is a dance next weekend and she wants to go, you know … as friends"
Max attempted to suppress a smile, it came out looking like a smirk. Liz had been hinting about this dance as well. He decided to let Michael off the hook this time. "Just as friends… I mean it would look suspicious if we didn’t do the stuff ‘normal’ kids do. Perhaps I should see if Liz wants to go as well… just as friends of course. We wouldn’t want to stand out or anything."
Michael relaxed, Things had worked out better than he had hoped. He decided he would swing by the Crashdown after school and surprise her.
As he headed off for his last class he almost forgot about the ‘new student’ in it. He found her wandering alone in the halls trying to match up door numbers. "Hi Carrie, you look lost." He said as she saw the puzzles look on her face, " The reason the numbers don’t fit is that the art classes are out in the portable class rooms." Michael pointed to a row of self-contained classrooms outside. "We only get to have art when the town approves funding for it. Would you like to walk over with me?"
Carrie accepted his offer and they headed out the door.
"Mr. Guerin, glad to see you could join us today," The teacher announced as the entered the class room, "and you friend is…"
Carrie quickly took the class admittance from to the teacher. "Carrie Atherton"
They both found easels to work at, the assignment was the human face. Michael who had planned the project out in his head started immediately to work. The teacher came over surprised that he had started working so quickly.
"Are you planning anymore architectural drawings, Mr. Guerin?" the teacher inquired
"No, I think I will tackle your assignment this time", Michael replied without taking his eyes off his drawing.
The teacher glanced at Michael’s work, he had started with light pencil strokes, blocking in the eyes, and the upturned nose, the narrow chin, and full lips. He was surprised at the quality of work Michael was capable of when he attended class. He left Michael to get Carrie settled in class. He found her looking at some projects other students had completed. She seemed very focused on the geodesic dome Michael had completed last month. He showed her where the supplies were, and explained the latest assignment to her and went back to his desk. He sat watching Michael work, so fully focused on his drawing that he didn’t even notice when the bell rang and school ended for the day. The teacher watched Carrie stopped by to say good bye to Michael but he didn’t respond.
The teacher decided to let Michael continue working while he graded papers. When he looked up about 20 minutes later he saw Michael heading out the door. The teacher walked over to Michael’s easel, the drawing was nearly complete, the face was unmistakable, and it was Maria. The teacher smiled to himself, remembering young love.
As Carrie was leaving the School, she spotted a familiar face waiting for her in the car. She ran over and hopped in. "How did your day go? Did you make contact?" the man asked.
"Yes, they were very friendly. But I had to adjust the cover story a bit." Carrie answered; She went on to explain the whole brother ‘Josh’ thing. "I forgot how hard high school was, The classes were easy enough (I had to pretend I didn’t know too much) but the social skills, and fitting in brought back too many bad memories." She paused, "Did you find a house?"
"A nice two bedroom one, it even has a white picket fence. It’s located between the school and the Evan’s House. We wouldn’t want them to go out of their way when they drop you off now would we?"
Maria, Isabel, and Liz were all sitting in a booth at the crashdown, drinking milkshakes, and laughing. Maria was trying to get a paint stain out of her shirt when suddenly Isabel reached over and ‘cleaned’ it with a flick of her hand. "Neat trick, Iz, but aren’t you worried that someone will see you?" Maria asked
"No, these booths are so high even if there were someone nearby they wouldn’t be able to see." Isabel replied," besides how did you get paint on yourself anyway?"
"I was helping Alex make some signs for the dance next weekend. Are either of you going?"
Liz had a wishful look on her face and responded, "I haven’t been asked by anyone yet, how about you Iz, are you going?"
"I don’t know, perhaps, It would be fun to go with a boy who wasn’t so ‘into himself’ but those are the only ones that ask." Isabel confided.
Maria giggled, "you know who would love to take you to the dance, but is afraid too?" Maria paused, " Alex, we had this long discussion on the subject while we were working. You know how people view themselves and how others view them. We decided that it is hard to convince others what you are really like on the inside when all they every get a chance to see is the outside. I’m babbling I know it’s just hard to put into words."
Isabel stepped in, "No, actually I know what you mean. I have wanted to have close girlfriends, like you two, forever. I was just too afraid to let anyone get close and I came off looking like an Ice princess. It wasn’t until I took a chance, that we discovered that we do have lot’s in common."
The girls all smiled at each other. Liz glanced out the window and saw Michael heading their way. She took Isabel’s hand and said, " Izz lets take a trip to the ladies room, I have something I want to tell you."
Michael came into the diner, just as the girls we getting up. "Can we talk"
Maria nodded to the others, "Sure Michael, I love to try new things"
He glared at her quickly realizing that she was not going to make it easy on him, He then directed his attention to the other girls indicating that they should leave.
Liz and Isabel headed toward the restroom, Leaving Maria alone with Michael. "Sit" he said sitting himself down. "I know you were going to ask me something today and I didn’t give you the chance"
Maria sat and took a sip of her milkshake, "It was about the dance," she finally said.
Michael indicated he would like a taste of her shake, "what kind is it?" He asked taking a sip, "It needs something" he added taking the bottle of tobasco sauce.
"Don’t you dare Michael!" Maria shrieked.
He put the bottle down, "for you honey, anything" he teased. "About that dance, I think maybe I should go, you know for appearances."
Maria nodded, "yes, it would seem the ‘normal’ thing to do."
"Good I’ll pick you up at then," Michael got out of the seat, "see you around…" and he left the crashdown.
Maria let out her breath, as Liz and Isabel returned to the table.
"What did he want?" Liz asked?
"He asked me to the dance, I think," Maria answered
The girls looked at each other and giggled, "well one down two to go…" they replied in unison.
Liz looked at Isabel, "Excuse me but I think I had better go find your brother, I had trouble taking notes in Social Studies today and I was hoping I could copy his." She stood and started walking over to the UFO center.
"Now Isabel we need to get you and Alex together," stated Maria.
"I will not be the one to ask, I just don’t do that. Especially after what happened the last time I asked him out." Frowned Isabel.
"That might have been a problem… but I had a feeling you would agree, so I told him where to find you." Maria paused, "don’t make it hard on him, he’s the one taking the risk here."
"I promise, I’ll be nice" Isabel crossed her heart
"Good, because here he comes." I’ll see you tomorrow at school. Maria stood and left the diner.
Alex walked into the café and found Isabel sitting at a booth by herself.
"Uh… Hi Iz, can I sit down for a minute?" Alex asked
Isabel looked at Alex and gave him a big smile, "sure Alex, have a seat."
Isabel noticed a few smudges of paint on his collar, and made a move to unbutton his top button, as she did, she casually waved the paint away. Alex looked down as she was doing this and commented, "It’s hard to get used to… you know… what you do, but thanks I was working on some signs."
"I know, Maria came in with the same color on herself as well."
Alex continued to just stare at Isabel, Until she blushed and looked away. "You wanted to ask me something Alex?"
"Yes… um… Maria and I were talking… and um…" Alex stammered and looked down at his hands.
Isabel just looked at him and said, "Alex… Just say it."
"Dance! That’s it the dance. I don’t suppose you want to go… Well the last time, I mean we never had the chance, with that whole misunderstanding and all. You probably have other plans, I mean your not exactly in my league and all, and don’t feel you have too, because I know, well you know…"
Isabel interrupted, "Yes, I’d love to"
Alex stopped his stammering and looked up, " You would? With me?"
Isabel nodded, "you’re a good guy Alex, not many girls can see that. I feel safe with you, I don’t have to pretend so much."
Alex smiled and took Iz’s hand and gave it a squeeze. " I don’t want you to have to pretend Iz, I like you for what I see on the inside."
They both smiled at each other and started discussing the dance, and making plans.
Carrie and Agent Stephens stopped in front of a modest two-story house in a quiet neighborhood. They walked to the front door silently, pausing briefly to make sure there weren’t any nosy neighbors lurking about. As they entered the living room it quickly became apparent that this was not a normal house.
The house was only partially furnished, with folding chairs, & tables, boxes of documents laid piled about on every available flat surface. There were several other people, all in dark suits and ties, sorting through the paperwork. "The moving van will arrive tonight, with enough furniture to make the house looked ‘lived in’" Agent Stephens remarked.
"OK, I’ve made contact with the kids, Isabel Evans seemed to be very interested in my past, I had to ‘ad lib’ some to my back story to make it believable, but I think she bought it." Carrie started in on her de briefing. "Max Evans, offered to ‘help’ me find out about Atherton, but I know it’s just an excuse to look at these documents. What have these kids done to warrant an entire ‘team’ of operatives on this case? And what makes you think that they will know any more about what is in these journals than us? You have had the best minds in the agency on this for two months."
Agent Stephens glared at Carrie, "Let’s get this straight from the start! This is my case, and the information is on a ‘need to know basis’ and right now you do not ‘need to know’ the answers to those questions. I made the mistake of telling your predecessor too much and she took it upon herself to act on her own and nearly blew the entire operation. I wanted a ‘trainee’ on this case in the hopes of not repeating that mistake." Stephens’ took a deep breath and continued, "Your job is to gain these kids confidence, make them trust you, You will pass the information I give you onto them in the way I tell you too, and report back to me any findings that they have. Most importantly you must fit in to this role you are playing. You must think like a 16 year old, you must act like a 16 year old, and fortunately you already look like a 16 year old."
Carrie nodded her head. She remembered all too well what it was like to be a 16 year old, desperately trying to fit in when your body was growing and changing and your emotions running rampant. Feeling the outsider, the ‘alien’ in you own home, relationships with your parents suddenly change. Carrie remembered all too well what it was like as a 16-year-old… that was the year her Brother ran away. They had always told her she could come to them with any problem. But no, the look of absolute disgust that they had for their only son was more than he could bear, so he ran. She regretted forcing him to share his secret. All of these memories flashed in her mind and she struggled to push them back down, to hide them before they clouded her judgment on this assignment. This was her first under cover assignment, and she vowed that she would do her best. She had been chosen because she looked young, and vaguely resembled a man in an old black & white photo. Carrie hoped that her position with the FBI would allow her the chance to ‘find’ her brother. To mend the rift that had been left by his absence.
With renewed determination, Carrie asked, "OK, what do you want me to take to them first?"
"Here are some photographs taken at the reservation outside of town, those damn Indians wouldn’t even look at them, perhaps the kids will have better luck, they grew up around here after all. We also have this journal it had several interesting entries, and parts of it appear to be written in some sort of code." Stephens’ passed the document to Carrie and continued, "We have had our best cryptographers on this and the best they could come up with is that they are some sort of ‘Pictographs’."
Carrie took the documents and placed them in her backpack and carefully took out her homework and started to work on it. She looked up, "Do any of you guy remember how to write a geometry proof?"
Liz found Max putting books away at the UFO center and came up behind him, He must have sensed her because turned to greet her before she had gone more than few steps.
"Hi Liz, are you and Iz getting along better?" He asked with a grin.
Liz brightened when she saw that he was in a good mood, "Max, Iz is great! We had a great talk this afternoon. I guess I never realized just how much we have in common."
"I’m glad she finally opened up to you, She really needed someone to talk to." Max paused, "I mean someone besides Michael & me. There’s a lot of things, "girl things" I mean, that she can’t even talk to our mom about because she doesn’t know about our past."
"Max, I was wondering if you had today’s Social studies notes? I was a little distracted in class today and I really didn’t do a very good job on mine."
"Sure" just a minute Max went over to his book bag and found the notes, he looked down at them and saw that he had doodled pictures of Liz all over the margins of the page. Max quickly shoved them back into the bag. " I guess I left them in my locker at school… OK if I catch you before school and give you them then?"
Liz could see that Max was hiding something but decided not to press. " Uh, sure, in the morning." She was struggling to come up with some way to bring up the dance. When Max, beat her to the punch.
"Liz, I’m glad you came over… I was hoping you could help me out with something. There’s a Dance next week, and it would look kind of odd if I didn’t go. I was wondering if you would go with me as a friend, you know so it would look normal." Max explained.
Liz smiled, pleased that she didn’t have to ask this time. "Sure Max, no problem." She turned to walk away; "I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Bye."
Max pulled out his paper and ran his fingers over the pictures of Liz, erasing them before putting it back into the backpack.
The next morning Maria & Liz were talking about the dance at their locker when Carrie stopped by. "Hi Liz, did you finish the lab write up?" Carrie asked.
"Yes, it’s right here" Liz said pulling the sheet out of her locker, passing a copy to Carrie.
"Thanks, I couldn’t believe how much homework I had last night, I spent 2hrs working on those stupid geometry proofs. Thanks for making me a copy." She turned to Maria, "You’re in my home room class, Maria isn’t it?"
"Yah" Maria replied surprised that she remembered.
"That Michael is quite a guy, you should see the portrait he is doing from memory of you in art class." Carrie added.
Maria’s jaw dropped, she had no idea Michael was doing this. She blushed when she saw the alien trio coming down the hall towards them. Maria gave Michael a shy smile when he stopped.
Max handed Liz the Social studies notes and Liz handed Max a copy of the science lab write up. "Thanks" they replied in unison staring deeply into each other’s eyes.
Carrie broke the silence by saying; "I found the Journal, and a few old photographs" The group turned to look at Carrie as she was pulling an old book out of her bag.
Max stopped her from pulling it all the way out and said, "why don’t you bring it over to the Center today after school, I already told my boss that you might have some papers he would be interested in. Give this pass to the woman at the front desk, and she will let you right in." Max said as he handed her the pass.
Just then Kyle walked up, he glared at Max and said to Liz, "Hi Liz, did you hear about the dance?"
"Yeah, Kyle, she said trying to let him down gently, "Max asked me to go with him yesterday."
"Oh" Kyle said visibly deflated, "I just wanted to make sure you had a chance to go" he paused and saw Carrie standing there. "You’re new in school aren’t you?"
"Kyle, this is Carrie Atherton. Carrie, this is Kyle Valenti. Carrie just moved to town." Liz introduced.
"I know you don’t know me very well, but would you like to go to the dance with me?" Kyle asked. "Just as friends of course."
Everyone was looking at Carrie, she put the book back in her bag and said, "I’d like that, thank you Kyle."
Isabel gathered the girls, "It looks like we're all going then, we should start thinking about what we are going to wear."
As the girls started talking about the dance, with excited voices the boys just watched with amused looks on their faces. The morning bell rang, dividing the group as they headed off to class.
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