Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Category: Unconventional Couples
Authors Note: A little spoilerish in terms of the X-mas episode promo.
|Jim Valenti remembered thinking that this might be the best Christmas he’d had since Kyle’s mother had left him. He was sitting at
the town square with Kyle on one side and Tess Harding on the other. Amy DeLuca was sitting behind them, and he remembered
smiling back at her, thinking that maybe he was going to get another shot at making things work with her. Maybe the whole alien
mess didn’t mean that he had to distance himself from the only woman who’d made him feel alive in a long time. He glanced at Tess
again, and she smiled up at him. Even having Tess here felt right. It felt like a family, the three of them. Maybe Amy and Maria could
become a part of that family someday, too.
The first hint of trouble appeared when he turned to look at Tess a little while later and saw that the smile she’d been sporting the entire evening had vanished. He followed her gaze to where Max Evans was sitting with Liz Parker several rows up. They were smiling and holding hands. Jim could see the hurt in Tess’s eyes, the confusion. He reached over and grabbed her hand. Startled, she looked up at him. God, had he ever noticed how blue her eyes were? They were like a china doll’s. He saw the spark of anger in her eyes at the look of pity in his. He watched as those big blue eyes hardened and she forced herself to smile at him. That smile rejected his compassion. Those eyes said Tess Harding did not need any pity from one Sheriff Jim Valenti. He slowly pulled his hand away, but not before noticing the silky feel of her skin, the warmth that radiated from her small hand.
After the caroling, Kyle had wanted to go out with some of his friends. Tess had asked Jim to drive her home. He’d said good night to Amy, promising to call her later in the week. He tried to break the silence in the car a couple of times by saying any inane, mindless thing that popped into his head. Tess said nothing, just looked out the passenger side window.
He remembered how he’d watched Tess silently walk into the house and back into Kyle’s bedroom and shut the door. He remembered how he’d almost followed her to try to get her to talk about it and then changed his mind. If she’d wanted to talk about it, she would have said something. He remembered how he’d been just about to fall asleep in his bed when he heard the first crash coming from the other bedroom.
He’d run to the room and flung open the door to find Tess standing in the middle of a sea of broken glass. The mirror that had hung over the dresser was shattered. Several picture frames had joined it on the floor. He noticed that she was only wearing one of Kyle’s old t-shirts. He saw that her feet were bare and that her toenails were covered in pink polish. Afraid that she might hurt herself, he carefully stepped through the glass, lifted her up and placed her gently on the bed. Tess said nothing, just watched him with those big blue eyes.
When Jim returned a few minutes later with a broom and dustpan and began sweeping up the glass, Tess finally spoke. “Sheriff, do you think I’m pretty?”
Jim felt himself tense. He could hear his heart pounding in his chest. “Yes, Tess, I think you’re pretty.”
“As pretty as Liz Parker?”
He willed himself not to look at her. He’d walked into some kind of minefield and he was suddenly afraid that he wasn’t going to make it out again without losing some part of himself. “Yes, I think you’re as pretty as Liz Parker.”
Suddenly he felt her hand on his shoulder. He hadn’t heard her move. A voice inside his head was screaming at him to leave, to get out. But he couldn’t move. He couldn’t breathe. He watched as her fingers traced gently down his arm and laced themselves with his own fingers. He did not resist when she pulled him up away from the floor and led him over to the bed. Or when she pushed him down so he was sitting on its edge.
He still hadn’t looked at her face. He’d at least managed that. He couldn’t even say why that was so important to him. He just knew he’d be completely lost if those blue eyes captured his. He didn’t understand what was happening to him. What was he doing here?
And then he lost. He felt Tess place those soft, small hands on the sides of his face and turn his face toward hers. He closed his eyes, still trying to resist what he already knew was irresistible, until her heard her whisper “Please.” He opened his eyes and blue eyes clashed with blue eyes. And held. He heard himself gasp. He saw her pink lips slowly curve into a smile. And those eyes were no longer cold and distrustful. They were burning hotter than any fire he’d ever seen.
He didn’t stop her when she touched her lips to his. He didn’t stop her when she parted his lips with her tongue. He didn’t stop her when she grabbed one of his hands and placed it on her naked thigh. He couldn’t stop himself from touching her anymore. He pulled her roughly onto his lap. Tess just laughed and wrapped her legs around his waist. His hands groped frantically under the shirt she was wearing and found nothing but soft yielding skin. He pulled the shirt off over her head and threw it on the floor. His own clothes quickly followed.
He had a brief moment of clarity as he hung over her naked body, a moment when he thought maybe he could have stopped. For one brief moment, he looked up and saw where he was, in his own son’s bed. He thought about this person beneath him, this 17 year-old alien who he knew his son had a crush on. He thought about Amy, the woman who just hours ago he’d been thinking about spending the rest of his life with.
And then his eyes met hers and it was like stumbling over a tripwire. There was no going back. He plunged into her until the world exploded around him, her eyes blazing into his.
And now she lay snuggled against him. Regret and shame were like a phantom limb. He knew they should be there and sometimes thought he felt them itch. But when he looked closely, he realized they weren’t really there. He wondered briefly what other parts of him that had been blown away in the explosion. And then he slept.
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