|"Wide Awake and Screaming"
Disclaimer: People who aren't me own all characters and concepts within this
Summary: What keeps Valenti up at night?
|Jim Valenti didn't know when he'd stopped sleeping at night. Was it when his
dad would go out alien hunting for days on end, looking for clues from the big
murder in '59? Or maybe college. . .when the laughs and the rumors had driven
him to drop out and join police training? Texas A&M hadn't been far enough. He
should've run farther. Maybe it was more recent insomnia. Maybe when they'd
lost Kyle's mother. . ?
Or maybe he'd never started sleeping. Maybe he'd come from the womb wide awake and screaming and was destined to be that way until it killed him. He knew what people in town said about him. That he was chasing space ships just like his old man. That he would end up jut as alone and crazy. He was 'focused,' some said. 'Determined,' said others. Most called him 'obsessed.' So be it.
He swirled scotch around in a plastic, green face-bedecked tumbler from Amy DeLuca's shop, listening to the ice cubes clink. Somewhere in the house, a door slammed. Kyle. No doubt he'd just stumbled home from a party. A social drunk where his daddy was a private one. And they'd both be equally sober and clear-eyed in the morning. He'd never yelled at Kyle for drinking underage. . .or for much else. Sometimes it seemed better to forget the boy existed at all, didn't it? He looked so much like his ma. . .
Did Amy DeLuca neglect her precious Maria in favor of making plastic key chains and balloons? Did *her* obsession with space ships make her blind to the kind of people her child hung around with? Liars and freaks and trailer trash?
Jim laughed to himself, covering his mouth and setting down his drink before he sent it sloshing all over himself and the kitchen table. Some sheriff he was--slurring a couple of no-account kids like Liz Parker and Alex Whitman, Max & Isabel Evans, and Michael Guerin. Some impartial enforcer of justice. The town thought he was a crackpot on a crusade. They didn't care if the Evans kids and the Guerin boy *were* extraterrestrials. Roswell's town council would probably hand them keys to the city and ask them to be official mascots.
It was a wonder he hadn't been fired yet. If things kept going the way they were, it would come soon enough. Losing his job wasn't even a fear he really had. He'd lost his sleep, his father's sanity, and his wife all ready. The only things he had left were Kyle and his belief in the truth. The crash in 1947 hadn't been weather balloons. The handprint on the body from '59 hadn't been silver paint. And sixteen-year-old Max Evans had done something to Liz Parker in the Crash Down last fall. She'd been shot and the boy had done something to heal her.
He just wanted proof. He just wanted to believe. He just wanted to sleep again. What else was there in life? Finding love again? Watching his son graduate high school and college? Taking another drink of scotch and wondering if behind three young faces there lay heart-shaped heads and green skin? He raised his glass. The choice was easy. It was the choice he made every night.
Focus. Determination. Obsession. These were virtues, not sins.
Kyle Valenti came into the kitchen for a glass of water and wasn't surprised to find his father slumped at the table with a nearly empty bottle of liquor and an empty glass. It was the only way he ever got any shut-eye.
After taking a long draught from the tap, rinsing his plastic cup out in the sink and putting it back in the cabinet, Kyle washed his father's glass, too. He couldn't hide a chuckle at the alien faces that ringed it.
It would do no good to put the bottle back on the shelf. Or to try and help Jim upstairs. In a few hours, the sun would be up and any signs of weakness gone. The Valenti men took care of themselves. Purely self-sufficient.
He didn't quite believe himself as he slowly made his way back to his room. God only knew what kind of demons were sitting at that table with the only parent he had left. He just hoped he didn't inherit them. The Valenti alien crusade was a legacy he could do without.
When the blackness lifted at 5:00 a.m., Jim was clear-headed and alert. He went upstairs to shower with a casual spring in his step and a cheerful smile on his face. He even knocked twice on Kyle's door to make the boy turn over and mumble that he had two more hours till he had to get up. He was wide awake. And screaming. Always screaming.
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