Nowhere Left to Turn (CC, A/I, Mature) Ch.10, 01.14 [WIP]

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Nowhere Left to Turn (CC, A/I, Mature) Ch.10, 01.14 [WIP]

Post by StarGazing101 » Fri May 18, 2007 10:05 pm

Title: Nowhere Left to Turn
Author: StarGazing101
Disclaimer: I own nothing, got it?
Rating: Mature
Summary: This is a sequel to Zombie and The Easy Kill. Isabel and Alex have established themselves in a relationship, but new events test the strength of their newfound bond.

Chapter 1

Strange arts decorated a young woman’s bedroom, with low lights and earthy colors, and the only sounds that could be heard were her huddled sobs as she rocked to and fro on top of her bed. Isabel could not stifle the cautionary emotions that she’d pent up in the last twenty-four hours. Her brother was at the other side of the country, with their New York look-a-likes and God knows what else, and here she was, bawling her eyes out after a horrid Thanksgiving feast where all her parents could do was interrogate her on Max’s whereabouts and his little ‘camping trip.’

She brought her arms up and wiped her tears using her forearm and hugged herself once again. She had spoken to Max two hours previously and could not muster a coherent answer for his demanding questions on going home. Even now she could not stop her cries long enough to ponder it. Upon hanging up the phone, it had dawned on her that Lonnie had used her abilities to manipulate Max, and the only person who could answer her dire inquiries was Ava.

Michael had already been at the Crashdown when she called, and as soon as she put the phone back onto its cradle she grabbed the keys to the Jeep and sped out of the driveway. She awkwardly parked and then stomped inside and instantly began hounding Tess’ counterpart on why Lonnie would impersonate her. Liz intervened before Isabel or Michael was tempted to do a bit of molecular manipulating to Ava’s person.

Ava hadn’t flinched in the least when Isabel practically threatened her, but eventually she was able to calm down long enough to listen to Liz, and then she went to speak to Ava in private. Isabel and Michael were both angry and tired and ready to do something drastic if no results were to come from this encounter. When an exasperated response came from Liz, the two of them looked up and saw that Liz was trailing behind Ava, and Ava took a chair from one of the tables and set it at the booth Isabel sat at.

Before sitting, Liz suggested that Isabel attempt to dreamwalk Max, but not without protest from her. When Max was drugged in the White Room, Isabel was able to access his subconscious, but to do so halfway across the continent without any mental hindrance on the person through which contact was needed, Isabel had no idea what was possible and if she could even make him hear her. She tried a few times before hitting her hand against the table and shouting in utter frustration. There was no way she’d be able to reach him, especially if he refused to listen.

Once settled down, Isabel, Michael and Liz were informed that Liz was the key to Max, not that it surprised Isabel, but it didn’t necessarily make her happy. Ava instructed that by-way of Isabel that Liz could connect to Max and warn him of his impending death, and when Isabel took Liz’s hands, though Isabel couldn’t see what was happening, she could feel her powers transferring through Liz to her brother. When they came to, Max had just missed a chained balcony falling on top of him.

Isabel’s stomach rumbled irritably now, realizing that not even Thanksgiving could improve her mother’s cooking and that she wanted real food, whether that meant cereal or her scrounging something up herself. Before she reached her door, her cell phone rang and she picked it up, wondering who would call so late. When she saw the screen blink Alex, she pushed the green phone on the keypad and said, “Hey,” still a bit nasally from crying.

“Hey, I got a call from Liz earlier. Are you all right? You sound like you’ve been crying,” he commented into the receiver, his tone sensitive and concerned.

“I’m fine, Alex. I’m just worried about Max and Tess. I haven’t heard from him since he called earlier, and learning that Lonnie and Rath are homicidal maniacs doesn’t exactly help to alleviate that,” her throat was growing dry once again and her eyes began to well with unshed tears. “God, I don’t want to start crying again.” She paused then added, ”I hate it.”

“Need some comfort? My Dad’s asleep and Mom’s at work. So it’s not like I’d get in trouble since you’re distraught right now.”

She could hear him shuffling in the background, knowing that he’d probably come over anyway, just to make sure that she was okay. “Could you?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there in ten. Do you want anything? Pint of Ben & Jerry’s or some obscure magazine I have never heard of or even want to read?” he asked, and she knew he was smiling by the tone of his voice.

“Strawberry kiwi swirl sorbet,” she supplied without preamble, “please. If they don’t have it, then Brownie Batter works just as well.” Before he could hang up, she caught him and added, “Oh, and thank you.”

“No problem. Anything for my girl,” he said, then ended their call and took his car keys from the key rack and headed out the door.


Isabel had called Alex back right after they’d hung up with each other to tell him to gently knock on her window so not to wake her parents, and as he moved around the house, he briefly hoped that her neighbors were not up and watching, so that they wouldn’t think he was a robber. Once he knocked, he ran back around the side of the house to the front door, where Isabel opened it and pulled him inside and she pecked him on his cheek and took the grocery bag from him. She pointed to the couch for him to sit and she went into the kitchen to grab spoons, since he had bought a pint for himself.

“I always had a feeling you were a sorbet girl,” he said, digging into his pint of Dublin Mudslide, savoring the taste. “It’s been a while since I’ve had ice cream. Mom’s a health food nut, and she only ever buys ice cream that has practically no taste at all because it’s healthy.”

Isabel nodded. “My mother would love for us to switch to a healthy eating regime in this house, but it ain’t gonna happen. Not as long as dad has a say in it. He says he isn’t changing ‘til the food betrays him.” Alex laughed.

He watched her roll her eyes and twist her spoon around a bit before bringing the spoon to her mouth. She closed her eyes and let it melt in her mouth. They sat in comfortable silence for the next few minutes before he spoke, “So are you all right?”

“I’ll be all right once I know that Max and Tess are safe at home, in Roswell,” she stated simply. “You know,” she observed him; “you can make yourself at home. Kick off your shoes and relax.”

For a moment he contemplated the thought of relaxing and did as she said, making sure there was nothing of importance on the coffee table and lifted his socked feet up and crossed his ankles. “Better,” he said, feeling a bit more comfortable.

She shoveled another half spoon of sorbet into her mouth. “Oh, this is so good. I’ve been craving this since yesterday.”

Though he and Isabel for the last few weeks had been spending copious amounts of time together, hardly any of it was spent at her house. They were currently keeping their relationship low profile, and the fact that she had a sibling and parents who came in and out of the house frequently; it was automatically his house they would spend most of their time at. Sometimes though, they would venture to the movie theatre, the swap market, or a decent eatery to go on dates. There was one close encounter when they had seen Kyle and Tess come into the movie which they sat. Luckily, Isabel and Alex had seated themselves at the back while Tess and Kyle opted for seats more in the middle of the theatre. Afterward, they had entertained the idea that they weren’t the only ones keeping “low profile”.

“Anyway,” Isabel started, “I really don’t want to spend my time moping about my brother and Tess. Do you want to watch a movie?” She put her sorbet on the end table and stood up and wandered over to the entertainment center. “I assume chick flicks are out of the question?”

“If it’s not too much to ask,” he said guiltily, but he never really saw Isabel as a chick flick type of girl. Really, he didn’t know if there was really any type that he could place Isabel into, except a girl that he cared for and hoped their relationship would continue to prosper.

Isabel thumbed through the movies and picked one out and showed him. “Considering my mood, there’s not much to offer. How about we just surf the channels and see if there’s anything remotely good on besides crappy infomercials?”

“That works for me as well,” he shrugged his shoulders, just happy that he could be there for her. “I’m not picky.”

“Good,” she said, sitting once again.

Isabel scooted close to him and let him wrap an arm around her shoulder. She grabbed the remote for the TV from the arm of the couch next to Alex, and pointed it at the set then turned it on, and she flipped through the channels at a speed where they could preview what was on and either pass or watch. She went through the lineup a few times before they finally agreed on a rerun of “Whose Line is it Anyway?”.

Whilst they watched, Alex couldn’t help but notice that Isabel seemed unusually stoical, as though something else might have been bugging her besides their friends’ safety. He tapped her shoulder, to which she lifted her head from where it lay on his chest and gazed into his eyes. The sadness in her eyes was undeniable, but something deep down was telling him there was more to it than what she was telling.

He asked, “Is there something else bothering you, Iz? I mean you have been a bit more closed off than usual lately, even before Max’s departure. What’s up?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said simply, reaching to grab her sorbet from the end table. When she noticed that he had not stopped staring, she pulled away from him and sat at the other side of the couch once again. “I’ve all ready told you.”

He boldly responded, “I know that you’re worried about your brother, but you’re not being completely honest. Your eyes are telling a completely different story, because you look exhausted and like you haven’t slept, and that can’t all be from crying.”

Isabel gazed at him intensely for a moment, wanting nothing more than for him to shut up and not make anymore assumptions. Angrily she said, “Alex, please, I told you that I don’t want to talk about it. So drop it!” Her jaw clenched when he started to speak again, but he then surrendered and proceeded to watch the television. They sat in silence until she finally decided to head to bed and he left.

When Isabel had cleaned up, brushed her teeth, and put on her pajamas, she folded the covers down and lowered herself onto her bed. Her worry for brother and Tess had diminished and was replaced by her anger at the slight argument her and Alex had earlier. He could be persistent sometimes when it came to her feelings, always trying to get her to open up to him, though she had been more so lately since they had declared themselves in a relationship. Tonight, though, she wasn’t quite sure why she had snapped at him, but her frustration with things had been building for the last couple days. Max had certainly not helped with his phone call from earlier or her confrontation with Ava.

Sighing, Isabel lied down and turned out her light, her mind in overdrive. When she turned over onto her stomach, she winced as she the pressure of the mattress on her breasts, having been experiencing a bit of soreness for the last couple days, realizing it was probably from her and Alex’s little escapade in the Eraser Room four days previously.
Last edited by StarGazing101 on Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:58 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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Post by StarGazing101 » Tue May 22, 2007 2:42 am

Author Commentary: Thanks for the feedback everyone, and it's fairly obvious where I'm going with this . . . Anyway, this part is not quite as well-written as I would've liked, but there's much more to come, so I figured I'd post it as is. So I hope you enjoy!

<center>Chapter Two</center>

Isabel stood at the Valenti’s doorstep Sunday morning, dressed in a pair jeans and a turquoise, long-sleeved top, waiting for someone to answer the door. She had woken up fairly early that day and took a long jog through Roswell, hoping the endorphins would help alleviate the stress she’d been feeling lately. Upon coming home, she showered, napped then ate and now found herself at Kyle’s, praying that Tess would be home. When someone finally answered, she saw the Sheriff in his usual attire, looking like he was about to leave.

“Hello, Sheriff,” she greeted, plastering a smile on her face. “Is Tess home?” She kept her hands in front of her, playing with the bracelet on her right wrist. She hoped that he didn’t notice her agitation.

“Oh, yes,” he said, “She’s out back in the laundry room, doing some clothes.” He stepped out, though held the door open for her. “Is everything all right? Nothing strange going on is there?”

“Oh, no,” Isabel deflected his questions. “Just girl talk, you know,” she smiled once again and stepped inside.

“Okay,” he nodded, “You know that if there’s anything wrong just come to me. Anyway, I best be going, otherwise I’m gonna be late. It was nice seeing you, Isabel.”

“You too, Sheriff,” and she watched him back out of the driveway and then closed the door behind her. When she walked through the living room, she noticed that the TV was off and that the afghan lay over the couch, which she believed meant that Kyle was not home, though his car, was in the driveway. In their section of town, there were many things within walking distance.

She remembered what the Sheriff had told her and went out to the back porch and saw her petite counterpart shoveling through a basket of clothes and putting them into the washer. Not wanting to startle her, particularly after what Max had told her the evening the before, she cleared her throat and said, “Tess?”

Tess still leapt into the air and turned to face Isabel, her hand over her chest. “Oh my God, you scared me.” She took a moment to catch her breath, and Isabel couldn’t help but notice that Tess looked just about as bad as she did. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. Not sure what came over me . . . Anyway, what brings you by? You look like road kill.”

Isabel rolled her eyes at that last statement, figuring that Kyle was rubbing off on her, though not completely, as Tess did not want to attribute her being startled by what had happened in New York. When it came to their human side, Tess was the least likely to acknowledge she had it, thanks to her upbringing with Nasedo. The tall blonde walked toward where Tess sorted her clothing, the dark circles under her friend’s eyes much more apparent, and it made her feel guilty for coming to her with her problem after going through such an ordeal with her look-a-like.

“Can we talk inside?”

“Uh, sure, just let me finish here. You can go sit in my room if you like,” Tess offered, her eyes not quite looking as haunted as they had a minute ago.

“Okay,” Isabel inclined her head and ventured back inside and down the hallway to Tess’s bedroom. She cautiously went inside and sat on the bed, noticing that Tess still kept much of Kyle’s things still on the wall, never bothering to change them besides a few posters here and there.

When the door to the small room opened, Isabel stopped observing her surroundings and kept her eyes on Tess, her concern growing for the girl who vigilantly glanced over her shoulder as if to check that Isabel was the only one in the room. The girl grabbed the chair from the desk and sat down in it, scooting to the front of it and placing her hands on her knees.

“So what’s wrong?” she started, tilting her head to one side. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine,” Tess said somewhat irritably, having seen Isabel’s troubled stare. “Kyle and Jim have been on my case since I got back, so please don’t ask me what’s wrong. I’ve been interrogated enough.”

“All right,” Isabel replied and began, “How much do you know about our bodies?” She knew the question sounded completely idiotic, but she hoped that Tess understood what she meant.

“You mean the alien half?” At Isabel’s vigorous nod, she asked, “Why?”

Isabel was extremely hesitant with her words and carefully stated, “I know this promise will not last long considering whatever’s happening to my body, but I need you to promise me that you will not tell anyone what I am about to tell you.”

Tess raised one brow and sucked her bottom lip in and bit on it, somewhat afraid of what was to come next. Slowly, she acquiesced to Isabel’s request and urged her to proceed.

“Al-Alex and I, well, we’ve been sleeping together,” she put it bluntly, not quite sure of another way to break it, to which Tess’s eyes became wide as saucers and her mouth opened agape. “I know it comes as a huge surprise, but we’ve been very careful . . . until recently, I think.” When Tess didn’t answer, she went on to explain, “We, uh, we sort of had a quickie in the Eraser Room last Monday at lunch, and, um, I remember that we used a condom, but I think it might’ve broke.”

Tess’s expression remained the same and she pushed her seat closer to Isabel then questioned, “You don’t think you’re pregnant do you?”

Isabel was having a hard time not becoming hysterical under Tess’s scrutiny, and before she could stop it, her eyes began to water and her bottom lip started to tremble. Her shaking hands instinctively found their place over her stomach. “I-I-I know I am,” she quivered. “There’s no doubt in my mind. The symptoms, though, are coming so fast! And I came here to find out if there’s something I should know that you or Nasedo hadn’t told me.”

“Shit,” was the only word that came from Tess’s mouth, and she continually repeated it for the next couple minutes, becoming more frustrated with each uttering. When she stopped, she stood in front of Isabel, and vehemently supplied, “Oh, this is not good!”

Isabel hugged her abdomen tightly and her face was ashen. “What didn’t Nasedo tell me?”

Tess stopped pacing the room and lowered herself to the bed, though she did not face her friend. She wrung her hands together, not quite sure how to break it to Isabel what Nasedo had informed her as a child. “Nasedo said to me, that if one of us, i.e. female hybrids, were to consummate and implantation occurred, that the gestation period would be 30 days.”

Isabel sucked in her breath and held it before she exhaled loudly and doubled over in sobs, feeling like Tess had just punched her in the stomach. While she attempted to regain composure, Tess sat closer to Isabel and rubbed her back soothingly, not quite sure how else to comfort her. When Isabel founded her breathing normal and that her cries had subsided, she questioned, “Why only a month? Weren’t we engineered to blend in or something? How can a thirty-day gestation period be normal when we are supposed to be physically human?”

Tess answered, “I have been telling you since the beginning, we are not human. Our bodies are a mixture of human and alien DNA, and though a normal pregnancy would be nine months, we were engineered to have one month pregnancies. So if we were the only ones left, we’d be able to reproduce more quickly. At least, that’s how Nasedo explained it to me.”

“You’re mocking my intelligence,” Isabel replied angrily, wiping her cheeks of leftover tears. “You didn’t need to recap the fact that we’re human-alien mutts. I already knew that.”

“Sorry,” she surrendered, though it didn’t sound quite as earnest as she had hoped it would.

Isabel stood from her seat and began pacing the room. “So a month . . . How the hell do I explain this to my parents? To Alex and everyone?” She stopped to collect her thoughts and a horror-struck expression came upon her face. “Oh my God, a week’s already passed! Tess, give me a piece of paper and a pen.”

Tess had no idea why Isabel needed those items, but she retrieved them from her backpack that sat next to the desk. “What are you doing?” she questioned, watching Isabel rip the notebook open and putting the pen to paper.

“Calculating,” was all she said, scribbling down numbers and equations. “God,” she breathed.

“What?” Tess came over by her friend, whose eyes had begun to well with water once more. “Could you stop crying?”

Isabel turned on her, appalled at such a request. “You expect me not to cry over this? My life – our lives – are about to change! Tess, by Wednesday I’ll be in my second trimester!” she yelled at the petite alien. “I have a freakin’ right to freak the hell out!”

“What symptoms have you experienced?” Tess inquired, trying to divert the conversion a bit, not wishing to be reamed some more.

Isabel sat down again, knowing that screaming at the one person who had nothing to do with this would not change anything. She listed, “Well, my breasts hurt like hell. Nausea comes and goes, and has been since Friday. I’ve gained two pounds, and I’ve had intermittent heartburn since Saturday.” She paused to contemplate once again. “So basically my body will go through in one month what a normal woman’s goes through in nine months. Great. Just great.”

Isabel placed her head in her hands; her sobs engulfed her body again. She wondered briefly if it was her hormones at work, but ceased as she had begun to hiccup, which made her cry even harder.

Tess was having difficulty attempting to conjure up some compassion for her friend. It wasn’t that she didn’t care, because she did, but she had no idea how to handle this situation. She knew there was no way to really console Isabel, and really the best person for the job was not there at the moment. It did not help that her thoughts were split between her endeavor to help her friend and the events that had occurred in New York, to which she shuddered involuntarily. Maybe if she counseled Isabel, her friend could counsel her with how to cope with her demons.

Before her contemplations ran away with her, Tess lowered herself next to Isabel and wrapped an arm around her friend’s shoulders, lightly rocking her. With her free hand, Tess snatched the spiral bound notebook from atop the desk and scanned the page, a slight jealousy rising within her at the speed which Isabel did her math, but shook it off and continued to read. When she reached the end of the page, she stared at the circled December 19th, which is an arrow diagonally pointed to the words “due date”.

When Isabel calmed, she sniffled and quietly asked, “So how do I tell my boyfriend I’m having his baby in three weeks time?”

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Post by StarGazing101 » Thu May 24, 2007 10:46 pm

Author Commentary: Thank you, everyone, for the feedback! Yes, you all read right. Isabel is having a one month pregnancy, and yes, she does have a definite right, as does everyone else, to freak out. Essentially, everyone's reactions will be similar and different in respects to her telling them.

In answer to this: "f) The fact that she was actually jealous of the speed Izzie does math is SO you. You realize that, don't you?" - cardinalgirl. Yes, hee, it is very me, but I am a math nerd and it's fairly subconscious when I add random little details like that, but I do love having random tidbits wherever I can put them in.

Anyway, now time for some joyful angst. ;)

<center>Chapter Three</center>

It was Wednesday before Isabel had scrounged the courage to confront Alex, because after a difficult conversation with Tess Sunday and having swallowed the idea that there was a child rapidly growing within her, Isabel hadn’t the energy to deal with her boyfriend. She understood that not telling him right away of their impending parenthood further impeded on their time to prepare, but Monday and Tuesday hadn’t proved any easier to handle.

Monday morning Isabel had woken to terrible heartburn and nausea, which neither did nothing to help the irritability she felt from not having slept well during the night. When she had managed to get her ass out of bed and to the bathroom, Isabel had spent a good ten minutes kneeling by the toilet, waiting for the contents of her dinner to rise into her throat, but discovered that it was only a false alarm. Upon standing, she stepped to the right and craned her neck side to side, noticing a few blemishes on her usually pristine skin. Once out the door and at school, her nausea came and went throughout the day, especially after school whilst she attempted to communicate her ideas for the upcoming Winter Formal, having needed to sit down several times when her head had begun to spin and her stomach started to somersault. By the time she had got home, ate dinner, and started her homework, it was 10 o’clock and her eyes were drooping.

The following morning, Isabel was happy to find that her symptoms were practically nonexistent, and for the first time since Saturday was able to complete her breakfast. Though, her happiness was short-lived when third period rolled around and heartburn caused her to conceal her uncomfortable burping throughout class, receiving a few glances from classmates around her, to which she responded with her usual icy glare. At lunchtime, she spent her time in the girls’ restroom, emptying her stomach of the breakfast she had finally managed to choke down. She had not heard anyone come into the room, and when she came out of the stall, she was surprised to find Tess leaning against the sink counter with her arms crossed.

“Have you told him yet?” she questioned, one perfectly arched brow risen high on her forehead. “At the rate you’re going, the entire town’s gonna know before him,” she accused, unfolding her arms and placing her hands at the edge of the counter.

Isabel walked up to the sink and began to rinse her mouth out with water, not bothering to acknowledge Tess whilst doing so. When she had rid of the fowl taste, she snapped, “No, I haven’t told him yet, and it’s my business when I do tell him.”

Tess observed her tall friend for a moment, a pinch of remorse surfacing for the girl’s predicament, but ultimately her perturbed attitude at Isabel and Alex’s careless overrode it, but she otherwise tried to remain helpful. “You’re – what – 13 weeks along now? You have to tell him today; otherwise you will have no time to prepare for this or to inform everyone else. Have you thought about what you’re going to tell your parents?” The petite girl interrogated, much like a lawyer cross-examining her witness.

Isabel slammed her fist on the counter, whipping around to face her companion. “I’m figuring it out, all right?” she stated crossly. “I’ll be 13 weeks tomorrow, if my calculations are correct, and by my symptoms, I’d say they are. I plan on telling him tomorrow.” She paused to compose herself, her gaze softening. “I’m trying here, okay? I’m more worried about Max’s and Michael’s reactions than my parents at the moment. Though I’m sure my dad will be positively thrilled that his ‘baby girl’ got herself knocked up at 18. Oh, and don’t forget that she’s a freak.”

The lighter blonde winced at the harshness of her friend’s voice and her use of the work “freak” to describe them. “You’re an alien hybrid,” she spoke as if talking to a three-year-old. “Get over it, Iz. We had this conversation the other day; that you need to tell Alex first and then everyone else. Either you do it or I will. Would you rather have that?”

Isabel shook her head, her long strands bordering her face. “Tess, I’m happy that you are being supportive, but I really need you to back off me for the time being so that I can do this. Your being on my case is not helping in the least, and I know that you are trying to be helpful in the best way you know how, but I need to stand on my own two feet and not be leaning on you every step of the way. When I need your opinion, I’ll tell you.”

She had reverted into her usual "Ice Princess" modular by the end of her little speech, and another pit was forming in her stomach and she was tempted to head back into the stall from which she had came minutes ago. Unfortunately, the crumbling expression on Tess’s face had kept her stalk still, having never witnessed the last of their alien soiree shed a tear, but in that moment Isabel could swear that the water welling her friend’s eyes were just that. When she tried to reach out to her, Tess swatted her hand away and stomped from the girls’ bathroom, leaving Isabel to her lonesome.

“Nice going, Iz,” she reprimanded. “Way to kick her when she’s down.”

Isabel heard the bell ring that lunch was over and grabbed her things, trekking to the last of her classes for the day. When she reached her fifth period class, the teacher had greeted her and stopped her, asking her if everything was all right, as she looked as if she hadn’t slept. Isabel had given her a gracious smile and through gritted teeth replied that she’d had a less than stellar morning, receiving a nod from her instructor then she took her seat in the middle of the congregation of desks. When the teacher had flicked the lights off, closed the blinds and turned on the movie for the day, Isabel reached into her backpack for her CD player and laid her head down onto her folded arms, contemplating what exactly she would say to Alex tomorrow.

Arriving home late for dinner, Isabel threw her things into her room and joined her family for dinner, where she dug into the plate of food her mother had placed in front of her. The tinkling of silverware had stopped and Isabel suddenly felt a bit self conscious, and when she looked up, she noticed that her family was eyeing her.

“Sorry,” Isabel apologized, slowing down a bit. “I had two meetings at lunch today, so I didn’t have time to eat,” she lied, her parents nodding, but Max continued to stare at her critically.

“It’s all right, honey,” her mother said. “With your busy social life, I’m not surprised that once in a while you wouldn’t find the time to eat. Though, I do wish you would. It’s not healthy to skip meals.” Diane picked up the knife beside her as well as her fork and cut into the meat on her plate, looking to her daughter expectantly.

“I know, Mom,” especially now, Isabel thought. “That’s why I try and keep a granola bar or something in my purse for those very occasions.”

“Good,” her mother nodded, and proceeded to ask her husband about his day at work.

Isabel stayed unusually quiet throughout her meal, unnerved by Max’s intermittent staring and once in a while found it appropriate to glare at him to make him stop. It was their night to clean the kitchen, and their mother and father retreated to the living room to watch Law & Order while their children began collecting dishes from the table. When all the dishes had been put into the sink, Isabel washed and Max dried.

“So what was that about?” Max questioned, revolving a plate in one hand and holding the towel in the other. “You don’t have any meetings on Wednesdays, and you weren’t sitting with your drones at lunch,” he had observed earlier, and gazed up to meet her sister’s eye.

She turned to him and was almost tempted to throw the plate at him that resided in her hands, but gingerly handed it to him instead. “I had impromptu meetings to attend,” she replied nonchalantly, glancing over her shoulder to make sure their parents were not watching them. “What I do at lunch is none of your business, whether school or otherwise,” she added bitterly, her temper rising slowly. “There are some things I do like to keep to myself.”

Max’s right brow rose in curiosity, but he concluded that provoking Isabel anymore than he had all ready would not be a wise idea, particular since his sister was currently handling sharp, metal utensils and glass. Opting to shut his mouth, he and Isabel finished their nightly shores completely in silence and when finished, Isabel threw the dish towel she’d held in hand at him and went to her room, slamming the door.

“What was that about?” his father called from the living room, Diane watching from over his shoulder.

“I don’t know,” was all Max said, not quite sure what had gotten into his sister. “I think I pissed her off.” His parents shook their heads and went back to their usual programming, where he joined them in time to tune into the news.

In her room, Isabel sat on her bed with one arm around her midsection, her other arm resting on top of her fist and her chin held in her free hand. She had the feeling that Max was starting to catch on, and when he was suspicious of her behavior, he would usually enlist Michael to do his dirty work, but often failed miserably. The inkling that she would be having two very serious conversations tomorrow preoccupied her while she attempted to do her homework, but was not having much success with anything. By midnight, her eyes were watering for sleep, and she placed her head down on her English text only to drift into slumber.

That morning, Isabel was roughly shaken awake by her mother telling her that Max was leaving in a half hour, and that she had overslept. Without preamble, Isabel jumped out of the bed, practically reprimanding her mother for having let her sleep-in, to which her mother sternly replied to watch her mouth and get a move-on.

Thirty-seven minutes later, Isabel and Max ran out the door, but not before Isabel overheard her mother asking her father what had got into their daughter over the last few days, which caused her to loudly shut the door in frustration.

Throughout the day, Isabel sat uncomfortably in her classes. Not only did she have to talk to Alex today, but she was dreading what Michael would have to say to her, and the fact her jeans were tight and pressing snugly below her navel did not help matters whatsoever.

When lunchtime came around, Isabel avoided the quad like the plague, having noticed earlier that Max and Michael were huddled at her brother’s locker looking deep in conversation. Luckily, though, avoiding their usual lunch hangout had proven quite easy, as she had passed a note to Alex on her way to math that morning to meet her in one of the vacant labs at lunch, saying that it was urgent she speak with him. Though, she realized now that it might not have been best to put it so, as Alex was of the paranoid type and might’ve gone to Liz and Maria to alleviate his Schizophrenic thoughts. Luckily, when he arrived to the lab she indicated, he seemed calm enough, though worry lingered in his gorgeous greens.

“What’s up?” he asked, indicating the paper he held up in his hand. “It never ceases to amaze me how the word ‘urgent’ is physically equivalent to sky-rocketing blood pressure,” he added, attempting to ease the instant tension that had surfaced upon closing of the door, which he also locked and shut the blinds so they would not be interrupted. “Is everything all right, Iz?” He came over and supportively glided his fingers along her cheekbone.

When she didn’t speak, he supplied, “This isn’t about what happened on Thanksgiving, is it? I’m really sorry about that. I wasn’t trying to force you to open up or anything. I just wanted you to understand that whatever’s on your mind, that you can tell me.”

Isabel quietly replied, “No, it’s not that. I should be the one to apologize for that. I was very sensitive that night, and when people constantly ask me if I’m all right, it just gets on my nerves; that’s all.”

“Okay,” he nodded solemnly.

She reached up and took one of his hands into hers and began tracing the lines in the hollow of his palm. Isabel kept her eyes focused on her task, shaking her head in answer to his previous question if everything was okay. She could feel the concern coming off him in waves. She closed her eyes, willing the tears not to come, but it was only a few minutes later that a solid water drop hit the pale skin of Alex’s hand.

“Isabel?” he questioned, reaching up with his free hand and bringing it beneath her chin, where he gently lifted her head so to see her tearful eyes. “Please, Iz, tell me what’s wrong? You’re really starting to scare me.”

“I don’t know how I’m gonna explain this to you,” she started, still lining his hand with her slender fingers, “but I’ll put it simply.” She stopped her movements, to which Alex bent his hand that she held and gave hers a soft squeeze. “Alex,” she breathed, gazing into his beautifully worried eyes, “I’m pregnant.”

Alex’s face contorted into what Isabel could only describe as horror-stricken and his hand went limp and dropped hers, not fully registering what his girlfriend had told him. “Could you repeat that, because I think my ears are playing tricks on me? I swore that I just heard the word ‘pregnant’ come out of your mouth.”

“That’s because it did, and I understand that you probably would like some time to let this sink in, but unfortunately we are not afforded that in this particular situation . . .”

The lanky young man had stood there with his mouth agape and his hand over his heart as his breathing had quickened and he felt as if his heart were about to jump out his mouth. Alex harshly swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat and responded, “What do you mean by ‘we are not afforded that in this particular situation’? Is there – Oh God, there’s more isn’t there?”

“Yes,” she said impassively, blinking back another influx of tears, “This pregnancy is not normal, Alex.” She paused, observing Alex’s behavior as his hands began to shake almost uncontrollably and his breathing became stilted. Isabel understood that the words to come from her next would send him over the edge. “The pregnancy – the gestation period is 30 days, meaning the baby’s due in a little less than three weeks.”

He crouched down against the lab table, huddling his knees to his body and buried his head in the crook of his knees, veiling his back with his long arms. Alex’s breaths came in gasps and Isabel came by his side, but he pushed her away. “Just – just go away!” He began to rock his body to and fro and Isabel could see his whole body convulsing.

“Alex?” Isabel questioned, not quite knowing what to do. She had never seen him like this.

“Go away and let me let this – just go! Please, just go Isabel!” he yelled at her, not bothering to look up from where his head laid.

“Okay,” she answered, her voice breaking, scared as to what might be going on. Slowly, she backed out of the laboratory, leaving him to whatever was going on. Isabel took one last glance at him before quietly shutting the door.

When she left, Alex lifted his head and leaned back against the lab table, wiping his watering eyes with his forearms, his breaths coming in gasps. He hadn’t wanted Isabel to witness him lose it.

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Post by StarGazing101 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:43 pm

Author Commentary: Like always, I thank everyone for the feedback, as well as those who lurk and read. It's very much appreciated, and I'm glad everyone is enjoying this. Though Alex's reaction seems a bit unorthodox, he is a 17-year-old young adult, and to be told that in three weeks that he'll be a father to a living, breathing human is not something you hear everyday. Believe me, there's more to come and obviously there's no doubts in your minds that I ain't making this easy.

I have added the story banner to the first page. Check it out!

Anyway, this chapter I think is more filler than anything, but I adore the conversations in it and felt it necessary to showcase a secondary storyline in this. We're going to start getting to much of the meat of the story in the coming parts as everyone is gradually introduced. Now onto the next chapter!

<center>Chapter Four</center>

That night Kyle came home from Basketball practice, drenched in cold sweat and exhausted from running suicides and practicing three-pointers and lay-ups the entire afternoon. When he stepped out of his car and locked the door, he jogged up the walk and into his house, shutting the door quietly behind him, having been reprimanded multiple times by Tess in the last few weeks for accidentally slamming the door like a Neanderthal rather than closing it like a normal person. He dropped his gym bag inside the doorway and went into the living room to see Tess reading on the couch and writing on a yellow legal pad.

“Hey Tess,” he greeted, leaning over the back of the couch and watching her scribble notes. “Doing homework?” He stood to his full height and held the edges of the white towel around his neck.

“Yeah,” she answered distractedly and pointed a finger up in the air, signaling him to stop talking so she could finish her page. When she did, she placed a playful bookmark with ducklings in the book, shut it, and laid it against the notepad on her knees. “Ugh,” she grimaced, “You need to shower. Go,” she practically ordered, pinching her nose between her index and thumb.

Kyle rolled his eyes, stepping back a few feet. “I don’t smell that bad,” he said, lifting one arm and sniffing his armpit. He paused a moment, an unreadable expression on his face and added, “Never mind, I reek, but what the hell do you expect? I just sprinted the equivalent of a mile in the gym today.”

“Whatever, Kyle,” she responded nonchalantly. “You and your athleticism do not interest me in the least, and I prefer to speak to you when you are showered, so that I have no need to worry about fainting due to your stench.”

He threw the towel at her that decorated his neck and laughed loudly when she jumped off from the couch, her notes and book falling to the floor. While he was doubled over, she stared at the piece of rag and grabbed it, squishing it into a ball and threw it back at him, to which he laughed even harder. When he gazed up, wiping the wetness from his face, he noticed that she was smiling, stifling her own giggles.

“See, I got you to laugh,” he accused. “You haven’t laughed in days, let alone smiled.” At this, her frown had returned and he feared that he had maybe hit a nerve. “I didn’t mean it like that,” he stated. “I like seeing you smile. You don’t do it often enough, and lately it seems to be even less.” When her expression didn’t change, he questioned, “Seriously, Tess, what happened in New York?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she answered statically, picking up her things from off the floor. “I made dinner. It’s in the oven.” With that, she turned on her heel and went down the hallway to her bedroom. He winced at the force that she had slammed her door.

“Jesus, what’s gotten into her?” he wondered briefly, snatching the towel from where it laid by his feet then proceeded down the hallway into his father’s room to shower, deciding it best to let her cool off before he confronted her again.

Kyle finished his hygienic routine and changed into a pair of grey lounge pants and a navy T-shirt, then proceeded to the kitchen, giving Tess a bit longer to cool her jets. When he reached the kitchen he went straight to the oven, putting on an oven mitt just in case, and took out a lasagna entrée. He smiled and savored the smell of the hot dinner and set it on the counter. After he collected the dining utensils he needed, he cut himself a large square corner and carefully placed it on his plate. Before he went into the living room to eat and watch TV, he grabbed a glass from the cupboard above the microwave and poured himself some milk.

Once settled in front of the television, Kyle watched the game and ate until he was interrupted by a feminine-sounding clearing of the throat. Glancing up from his supper, Kyle put his plate on the coffee table and looked at Tess, who stood against the edge of the hallway, her tightly folded against her body. Without saying a word, Kyle patted the seat beside him and lightly tilted his head to one side, hoping she would take up his offer. Seeing her visibly sigh, he observed her slow pace and bounced slightly when she dropped onto the couch.

“Are you all right?” he asked, his eyes not leaving her. “I know I sometimes lack an ounce of tact, but I didn’t think what I said would upset you. So I’m sorry for being an ass, if that’s what you want to hear.”

She hardly moved and kept her eyes to her feet, moving and shuffling them in odd angles. When she finally looked up, Kyle saw that her eyes were glistening with unshed tears. Carefully, he reached one arm around her shoulder and brought her into an embrace, where she began to sob into his shirt. He had never seen her like this before, and whatever happened on her excursion to the east coast at Thanksgiving was really tearing her apart inside. Kyle wished he could be of more help, but he had all ready put his foot in his mouth once. He didn’t want to pry it out of her.

When her crying subsided, she removed herself from his arms and only stared at him, her blue eyes wide with fear. Quietly, Kyle got up from the couch and went to get her a glass of water, which she gladly took from his hands when he returned.

“You all right?” he questioned again, smiling when she nodded. “Good. Whatever it is, whenever you feel like opening up, you can talk to me. I just want you to know that.”

“Thanks,” was all she said, though the small smile she gave him emanated more than her simple response.

Kyle was ultimately worried about her, but his happiness at seeing her actually show some emotion overrode his concern. For the next hour or so, they sat and watched the game together while he finished his dinner. He would look over to her once in a while, her knees tucked beneath her and her eyes intently watching the TV set. Though she would beg to differ, he could tell that she was definitely interested in the game, and inwardly laughed at how much she was adapting to the Valenti lifestyle.


After dinner, Isabel borrowed her mother’s car and headed to Alex’s, having received a call from him to come over so they could talk. Alex had been on her mind all day, ever since she confessed her reasons for her odd behavior and his reaction, she had almost lost it herself, and was worried that Alex was not be on board with the entire thing. Though, his phone call had alleviated some of her concern, as he did not sound as he had when he had ordered her to leave the lab earlier that day.

It usually did not take her long to get to Alex’s house, but she opted to drive the long way and slower than she usually did, if only to clear her head and figure out what to say to him. She had expected him to be upset, but the utter panic in his eyes when she had left the room haunted her. Her afternoon classes were a blur due to her fears of the others’ reactions and if she would possibly be going this alone, though she later realized the latter was a tad extreme. Alex had as much right as her to be outright upset and needing some time alone, even if she had not liked his coping mechanism or the timing.

Parking along the sidewalk and cutting the engine, she reached her legs out of the car and sat in the driver’s seat for a moment, combing her fingers through her messy, windblown strands. She craned and rolled her neck then reached around with her hands and braided her fingers together, letting them rest against the nape. Sighing, she untangled her fingers and stood, shutting the door harshly behind her. As she walked up the driveway, she stopped and stretched, grimacing slightly at the painful pull within her, not much liking the feeling nor the idea that her uterus was now held captive by this small being inside her.

Before she could knock on the front door, Alex had opened the door and invited her inside. She gave him the once over, observing that he looked just about as bad as she did then went to sit on the couch, accepting Alex’s offer for a glass of water when she did so. When he came back, he handed her the glass and sat beside her, seeing that in a matter of seconds she had drained it of its contents.

“I was thirsty,” she justified, placing the glass on the table in front of her. “So,” she started hesitantly, “About earlier . . .”

Alex surrendered his hands in the air, stopping her from speaking and confessed, “I’m sorry about that, especially if I gave you the idea that I may not be there for you, something you know I would never do. I just . . .” he paused to collect himself, “I just didn’t want you to see me have a panic attack or anything. It’s not something I even like my parents or Liz and Maria to witness. I’m very, er, unlike myself in those moments. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I just didn’t want you to witness it, you know?”

“I understand, Alex,” she quietly acquiesced. “I think everyone’s like that. We don’t want people to see us at our weakest, so we push them away. Believe me, it’s something that I deal with on a daily basis, and many times it doesn’t even have to do with weakness. Though, you all ready know that.”

“Yeah, I do,” he agreed, reaching to take one of her hands into his. “I’m here, Isabel. We’re going to get through this, but you really need to explain to me this whole – sorry to say – alien gestation thing.”

She offered him a weak smile when he gently squeezed her hand and replied, “Yeah, we didn’t really get to that, did we?” He shook his head and she slowly nodded in response. “Well, basically, if Tess and I were to ever get pregnant - something which neither of Tess or Nasedo informed me – the pregnancy would ultimately last thirty days, a month. Though I didn’t bring it with me, I calculated the timeline of it, and each normal 24-hour day is the equivalent to nine and one-third days in the pregnancy, making every three days equivalent to four weeks.”

Alex’s eyes widened in shock for a moment at the statistics, but took a few deep breaths to soothe his nerves and supplied, “It makes sense. I mean if you multiply it by ten, 30 days would be 40 weeks then, but that also means that the last three days are very critical, as you could go into labor at any time.”

“Please, Alex, I know I really should be thinking ahead about this, but I do not at this moment want to think about having to go through the labor and push it out of my body. I’m still not completely settled by the fact that even after this, there’s still a child we have to take care of. Let alone the prospects of having to go to school, provide, and any alien shit that may arise afterward.”

Alex used his free hand to rub small circles into Isabel’s back, attempting to calm her, though he knew it would only help for so long. She then scooted toward him and leaned against him, where he then wrapped his arms around her and held her.

“There’s still so much to do. Right now only Tess knows, and she’s been riding me since I told her. Max is getting suspicious and I have no doubt in my mind that he’s informed Michael of his suspicions, along with Liz and Maria. My parents are catching on to the fact that I have been acting strange. How are we going to do this, Alex? How am I supposed to tell everyone when I can hardly acknowledge that this whole thing is real?” She pushed her hands against his chest and broke the embrace he had held her in, staring intensely into his green eyes.

The young man sighed, reaching one hand up to wipe a solitary tear from where it slid down her cheek. They were quiet for the next few minutes, and Alex continued to watch her, observing her when she veered her vision away from him as the tension was gradually building within the room. Sighing, he turned and lifted her face to look at him and said, “Iz, the best thing we can do right now is to tell the others. If your brothers beat me to a bloody pulp, then so be it, but our window is short and they need to know what’s happening. Though the circumstances are definitely not what you had pictured or had in mind, at least now you can tell your parents who you really are.”

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Post by StarGazing101 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:10 am

Author Commentary: Yes, it took me a bit longer to get this part out, but writing the entire ensemble is not my forte, to say the least, so I rewatched some of my favorite episodes to get into the groove of things. Anyway, feedback is greatly appreciated as are the lurkers who venture in to read. Thank you!

cardinalgirl, I would've never guessed my writing affected you so, but I'm happy to contribute to the study break fund. ;)

Sternbetrachter, thanks for the compliment! Yes, Kyle and Tess do play key roles in this story, and not just to our main characters' predicament. Nope, Isabel does not have to worry about Alex, but she has plenty of other things to put her worrying energies to, though. :twisted:

<center>Chapter Five</center>

Alex was in his bedroom the next evening, sitting on the edge of his bed and thumbing through a book he had bought at the used book store he worked at part time. Since yesterday, he had begun researching all he could on pregnancy and newborns, adding helpful web pages to his bookmarks and skimming through his mother’s old medical textbooks, even going through the shelves at his work to find anything that could prepare him and Isabel for what was to come. The book he held in his hand was a guide, its pages frayed and its binding falling apart, but it withstood Alex’s rough skimming of its pages. He planned on giving it to Isabel when he picked her up from her house. He wasn’t exactly sure what her reception of him giving it to her would be, but he knew that within time that she’d appreciate the gesture, not that he cared in particular that she did. He just wanted to help in any way he could without causing her to shut within herself and emotionally go at it alone.

Before he could lose himself in a particularly interesting chapter he’d stumbled upon, he glanced over his shoulder to the clock on his nightstand and noted that it was time for him to get Isabel and head to the Crashdown. Though she could have caught a ride with her brother, they both agreed that it would be too awkward. She also admitted that she would prefer if they entered the diner together, because going in alone or with her brothers on either side of her would be too daunting and that she’d most likely run. He had been somewhat taken aback by her honesty, but he completely understood and only nodded his head, neither agreeing nor disagreeing as he didn’t want to upset her.

Standing up, Alex gathered his keys and the few books he had bought that day and left the room, shutting the door silently behind him. His mother was asleep in her bedroom, exhausted from having worked a thirty-six-hour shift since the hospital was understaffed and this time of the year was more hectic than usual due to the holiday season. He quietly made his way through the house, snagging his sweatshirt from the rack behind the door as well as his car keys. He locked the door and jogged down the driveway to his car, shivering slightly as the night air picked up.

As he opened his car door, he was scared half to death by the sound of a twig snapping behind him. When he whirled around, he saw Isabel standing a few feet from him with her hands deep in her jacket pockets, a few strands of hair blowing into her eyes.

“Jesus, you scared the crap out of me!” he breathed out, one hand pressed into his chest. “You should know better than anyone never to sneak up on someone.”

“Sorry,” she apologized, a slight giggle coming forth at seeing Alex so riled up. “I wasn’t really trying to sneak up on you, but then I stepped on that very noisy twig back there and – well, oops.” She shrugged her shoulders then took one hand from her pocket to tuck the loose hairs behind her ear. “So you ready to be pummeled by my brothers?”

“If you’re ready for the verbal lashing DeLuca’s about to give you,” he came back, his heart beginning to beat normally once again. Glancing around, he noticed that there was no other car in sight and asked, “Wait, did you walk here?”

She gestured her shoulders once again and answered, “What can I say, it’s a beautiful night. Plus, my mother was practically interrogating me at dinner because of the fact that I haven’t been finishing my meals lately, and I wanted out of the house before you could pick me up. So I figured a good, long walk to your house would be perfect. I need the exercise anyway.”

“Are you all right?” he queried. “Do you want something to eat before we head over?”

Isabel shook her head. “Don’t worry, Alex. I’ll be hungry later and I can always get something at the Crashdown anyway, as whenever we call these impromptu meetings you know Liz is going to have food for us.” When he didn’t back down, she added, “Ever since I got pregnant, my mother’s cooking tastes like absolute crap. When I’m really hungry I’ll choke it down, but in the morning there are consequences. Happy now?”

“Yes,” he said, then walked around to the other side of his car and opened the passenger side door, “Mademoiselle?” He made a sweeping gesture with his arm, which she rolled her eyes at and came around and lowered herself into the car. “Thank you, kind sir,” she replied unenthusiastically.

While getting into the car, Alex realized that he still held the books in his hands that he planned to give her, and gestured for her to take them when she noticed. He watched her fumble with them, stacking them in order of height and laid them down on her lap, carefully scanning the title then turning a few pages into it.

“I picked them up at Walden’s,” he answered her perplexed look. “I figured that it would help to know what was going on.” He shrugged his shoulders, not quite sure as to how she would respond. Letting her mull over it, he closed his door and put on his seatbelt.

Isabel reached forward and placed the books on the dashboard then set her hands back into her lap, her eyes unfocused. It was not until Alex pulled out of the driveway that she softly spoke, “Thank you, Alex.” He glanced at her to see that her eyes were foggy with unshed tears. She brought her hands up to wipe them and smeared her mascara. “Jeez, I’m gonna be a mess before we even get there,” she said, staring at the black streaks on her hands.

Alex drove with one hand and stretched one arm out in front of Isabel, opening the glove compartment and giving her two tissues from a box of Kleenex that was harbored inside. He briefly watched her wipe her hands and eyes and then placed his vision back on the road, though continued to drive with one hand at six o’clock and took her free hand within his other. He squeezed her hand gently, attempting to soothe not only her nerves but his own, receiving one in return from her.

When they reached the Crashdown and parked, Alex turned to her and sighed, “You ready?”

“Let the excommunication begin.”


Liz backed into the dining from the kitchen with a tray of drinks and food in hand and set it on a table that was accessible to everyone in the room. Kyle and Michael were the first to reach for the basket of fries, fighting over it like 10-year olds until Maria interfered and took the French fries for herself, smiling smugly at the two and then offered them to Max. Tess helped Liz to pass around the sodas, leaving the remaining two for Isabel and Alex, who had yet to arrive.

“So what do you suppose this meeting’s about?” Kyle glanced around the room and then popped a fry into his mouth that he had managed to get before Maria so graciously took them. “We just got your clones from off our backs along with the pork-rind crowd from two weeks ago. Can we catch a freakin’ break?”

“Good luck with that,” Maria said from where she sat in the booth behind him, her legs stretched out across the length of the seat. “If I could take one night to give myself a manicure, the world’s come to an end.”

Liz rolled her eyes. She finished with the refreshments and pushed Maria’s legs off the seat, sliding in beside her best gal pal. “You’re such a drama queen, you know that?” She roved for a long French fry and squeezed a line of ketchup on it, taking a bite. “Your nails are fine anyway.” She was never one for girly things like manicures and pedicures, but some nights she wished she could be normal and just paint them or curl up with a good book without fear of an alien interruption.

Hearing an engine, the corner of Liz’s eye caught the stream of headlight that came through the diner and she gazed out the glass double doors to see Alex’s Rabbit pull into a space. She heard Michael grunt a “finally” and Maria kick him under the table, to which he responded with a very distinct expletive. Liz closed her eyes and shook her head, remaining still as they all watched Alex and Isabel get out of the car.

Outside, Alex stepped onto the curb and was about to head inside when Isabel gripped his upper arm. When he maneuvered round, in the dim light that came from within he observed that her face appeared a little green and that a line of sweat was forming along her hairline.

“Are you all right Iz?” he asked in a soothing voice, helping her step onto the curb and tucking some loose strands behind her ear. “You don’t look so hot.”

Isabel shook her head and wrapped an arm around her mid-section. “I don’t know if . . .” She sputtered off and she leaned against him, her hand instantly slapping to her mouth, dry-heaving into her palm.

Alex stared, concerned, knowing exactly how that sentence would end. “All the better that we get inside then,” he steered her toward the Crashdown, opening the door for her and gently prodding her to move.

When they were in completely, Isabel kept herself facing the front and dry-heaved into her hand a few more times before she finally bolted it to the ladies’ restroom. Liz, Max and Michael had stood up straightaway, and Kyle leaned out from his booth when Tess ran into the bathroom to check that Isabel was all right. Maria had not flinched in the slightest when the restroom doors were abruptly thrown open, but instead brought her scrutinizing eyes to rest on Alex.

“Please tell me Alex that you did not make the mistake of getting Queen Amidala pregnant,” she ground out, the eyes of those who still remained in the room settling on him.

When Alex saw the proverbial flames in Maria’s eyes and heard Michael’s fist pound against the table, he knew his lack of speech had given them their answer.

The lanky adolescent mentally noted to never underestimate Maria’s powers of deduction and watched as the different reactions registered on his friends’ faces. If Kyle’s jaw could go any lower, he could have mopped the Crashdown with it. And though Max’s number one priority was to Isabel, his second was to tag-team Michael and make sure that Alex would urinate through a catheter for the rest of his life. Liz was debating if she should join in the gallery of astounded and incredulous persons or help Tess with Isabel. Alex desperately hoped the former, not wishing to be left with Maria, Kyle (who would watch on in amusement his demise), and the Road Warriors.

Before Liz could make a decision and Alex pray for his life, the door to the girls’ bathroom swung open and Tess and Isabel appeared, the petite alien propping up her taller companion until they could get her seated in the nearest booth. Liz jogged to the kitchen and came back with a glass of water and some saltines for Isabel, lightly nodding when the young woman thanked her.

There were dark crevices beneath Isabel’s eyes and her forehead shimmered with sweat, and she drew a napkin from the dispenser and dipped it into her water to wipe and cool her face. When she caught wind of the tension in the room, Isabel gazed up to see everyone staring at her. She hated being the center of attention, so she removed her eyes from the room and brought them upon Alex, where he inclined his head toward Maria, whose light green eyes held nothing but pure loathing for the woman.

“Okay, so you know,” Isabel cried out impatiently. Her stomach was doing flip-flops and she had just vomited the little bit of food she had been able to scarf down that day. She wanted this over and done so she could go home, shower (if she had any energy left), and sleep. “We had sex. I’m pregnant with his baby. The gestation period is a month. There!”

Alex had not expected Isabel to be so blunt nor quite so callous, but he figured that her hormones were playing a role in her attitude, not that he would say it aloud. He was all ready on her brothers’ and Maria’s hit lists; he didn’t need to be added to hers too.

Kyle shifted uncomfortably in his seat across from Isabel, afraid that his man parts were to be threatened at any second. He slowly slid from out of his seat and went to sit at the counter next to where Tess stood. The room was still stunned by her outburst, but it suddenly registered with most of the occupants what she had said and simultaneously yelled, “A MONTH?” After the fact, Kyle added, jabbing his thumb in Alex’s general direction, “How is it that Whitman’s getting action and I’m not?”

Isabel, Liz and Maria all practically growled at Kyle’s inane comment and Tess whacked him upside his head. “Ouch!” His head throbbed painfully where Tess’s hand had made contact and he apologized, “Sorry: Knee-jerk response.”

“I’d say that was more driven by your penis,” Maria corrected, the rest of the females nodding in agreement. It was then that she gave her input on the situation. “So Queen Amidala, seduce any funny, loveable computer geeks lately? Oh wait, that would be my best friend who you now have managed to trap into your scheme to keep him permanently on a leash to keep at your beck and call! All you’ve ever done is treat him like a dog! Constantly tapping his nose with the newspaper to keep him at arms length then reeling him in with a nice juicy treat when you so pathetically need him to do your biddings!”

“MARIA!” Liz and Alex reprimanded, the short brunette hastily making her way toward her best friend, who had stood, before she could inflict another set of harsh words upon Max’s sister. Michael had got up from his seat, grabbing Maria by the arm but she jerked out of his grip.

“No! If you won’t do it Alex, I will. How do you even know this is your kid?” Maria crossed her arms, engaging Isabel’s eye, seemingly wanting to provoke the girl.

“Of course this is Alex's child! What the hell is your problem?” Isabel defended herself, standing up on wobbly legs and using the table to keep herself from falling back into the booth. “You think I want to be pregnant? You think this was planned? How the hell was I supposed to know this was gonna last an effing month?”

Maria interjected, “Right! We’re supposed to believe that freakin’ tripe?! Nice try Blondie, not happening.”

“Maria, will you shut the hell up and let one of us speak – hear our side of it? Like your best friend who did have a hand in getting her pregnant and have not let him get a word in edge-wise?” Alex raised his voice, stunning everyone in the room.

“Fine,” she backed down, proceeding to glare at Isabel. “I’m sorry,” she apologized to the general population, but it did not completely reach her eyes.

“Thank you,” he added, one hand on his side and the other holding his forehead. He lifted his head and said at a normal decibel, “I’m not going to get into the personal details of our relationship, as you can infer from the fact she’s pregnant that we’ve had sex. Fine, there, said and done like Isabel said, but we have encountered an issue that we did not exactly expect. Tess knows more about this aspect than us, so we’re going to have her explain it to you, since she all ready knew before we even called this meeting.”

“Wait and you didn’t think it was important to tell us?” Michael threw vehemently at Tess.

Max spoke for the first time, “It wasn’t her place to tell us Michael; so let’s hear what she has to say. The more information we have, the better we can evaluate the, er, situation.”

He turned his vision to where his sister sat with her head on the table, her hair up in a messy bun and runs of mascara visible on her face. Alex walked over to the where she was seated and she scooted over, lifting her head and instead laid against him when he slid into the booth. Though Max would not say that he was particularly happy with his sister’s recent actions, if there was anyone he could entrust her safety to other than their dad and Michael, it was Alex.

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Post by StarGazing101 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:01 am

Author's Commentary: I had originally planned for this part to be up on Monday, but as it was not complete and I was too exhausted to work on it, I just decided to leave it until I could. I recently (read: Friday) started a new job and I hadn't really expected that I would be working full-time (40 hours a week for those of you outside of the U.S.) right off the bat, so I am very tired. Particularly since my body's adjusting from my night owl tendencies to normal, more conventional hours, to say the least. So expect the parts to come a tad slower than they have been.

Now without further delay . . .

<center>Chapter Six</center>

Isabel only half listened while Tess attempted to explain what a one month pregnancy entailed and why the female hybrids were equipped with it. The night had gone sour the moment she stepped out of Alex’s car and though she sat leaning against him, she was angry that he had not stopped Maria from verbally abusing her sooner. Though everyone was supposed to have their eyes on Tess, their eyes were on her.

Without preamble, Isabel hastily pushed Alex out of the booth, almost knocking him to the floor, and left the Crashdown. She had walked at first but hearing the bell overhead from the doors and their voices, she broke out into a run and did not stop when they yelled after her. The small diner had been stifling her, suffocating her, and she had needed to leave. Isabel didn’t know how her body continued to produce more saline, but her eyes had begun to tear and cloud her vision, causing her to go into a sprint towards anywhere.

Eventually Isabel’s lungs screamed for oxygen and she doubled over with her hands on her knees, gulping for air and wiping her watery eyes. She glanced up and saw the West Roswell High football field and track a few yards in front of her, a left over “Go Comets” banner across the top box on the bleachers. Though she continued to try and catch her breath, Isabel looked to make sure no one was around and jogged over to the familiar field, where she climbed over the chain-link fence and procured a seat in the middle section of the bleachers.

She observed the scenery, the moon high and speckles of stars in the sky, though not as many as she would’ve liked to see. She muttered mindlessly to herself of constellations, astronomical terminology, and boyfriends who could do more to defend their girlfriend’s person. Unfortunately, her quiet tirade was short-lived when the headlights of a car caught her attention and parked along the sidewalk in front of the field. She didn’t bother to stand when she saw her pale, lanky boyfriend step out and walk across the sidewalk and lean against the fence.

“You would do great on the track team,” he commented, his voice carrying across the vast field.

Alex was not surprised at her lack of response. He figured that whatever it was that caused Isabel to leave had something to do with Maria’s accusations, though he could not be sure. All day her mood had ranged from mildly frigid to completely icy.

After a beat, she replied, “Yeah, Dad says the same thing. Coach Colville has been trying to get me on the team since freshmen year, but it gets so hot by the end of the season: No way.”

“I would’ve thought it was the team aspect of it, but I guess track is more individual than most other sports.” He could see her nod from where he stood, and seeing as it was late, he asked, “You going to come down from there before security comes by and threatens us off the property? I can give you a lift home. We can talk in the car.”

She would rather sleep on the field than go home to Max (as well as Michael probably) and be interrogated, and was reluctant to oblige but stood and heavily stepped down the wobbly stairs, almost tripping on the last one but used the railing to balance herself. When she reached Alex, his green eyes shone beautifully in the moon light and he smiled weakly at her, offering his hand to help her over. Not bothering to take it and having learnt a thing or two from Michael, she backed up and ran at the fence, managing. She inclined her head smugly at Alex, opening the passenger door and shutting it loudly when she was settled in her seat.

Okay, maybe it’s not all Maria, Alex thought as he came around and got in through the driver’s side. He put the key into the ignition but did not start the car.

“Are we going?”

“Not yet,” he started, “We need to talk.” She slumped into the seat with a frustrated kerplunk and crossed her arms. “Did I upset you? Did I do something wrong?” He could not understand her frosty attitude toward him and thought that maybe she was doing some sort of transference thing with him. “If I did, please do tell me.”

Isabel stared at the dashboard and wrung her hands in her lap, playing with her nails as she collected her thoughts for the day. Though she had woken late again, her morning had been nothing short of pleasant and she had actually been able to have a meal without interference from nausea. She had driven to school, enjoying the fresh autumn air with one hand at the wheel and the wind blowing through her hair. Neither Max nor Michael brought up the recent changes in her behavior, and instead talked about Liz and Maria, once in a while including her though she had declined their offers to comment (or rather not in Michael’s case).

At lunch, she and Alex had informed the group to meet after hours at the Crashdown to discuss recent events as well as spoken with Tess about giving her input, which she had agreed to. It wasn’t until dinner time that dread of the meet-up and nausea had begun to plague Isabel, where at dinner the mere whiff of meatloaf had almost sent her running to the bathroom. Her mother proceeded to nag her throughout the meal, effecting Isabel to make an abrupt exit and walk to Alex’s. Now here she sat in his car - angry and deeply saddened by how things had developed at the Crashdown - wanting nothing more than to find a hole to burrow into and never resurface.

“Isabel?” Alex’s voice penetrated her contemplations.

Turning to him, she simply said, “You didn’t defend me. I know you warned me that Maria might lash out at me, but when she began to defame my character, you didn’t bother to defend me.”

Alex stared incredulously at her and disagreed, “I don’t remember Maria saying a single thing against your character, just actions. I stopped her before she could get to that point.”

“So none of that Queen Amidala crap or the fact that she said I have always treated you like a dog fazed you? So you agree with her then? I know that we made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, but she just ripped into me, Alex! How can you not be pissed off about that?”

“Of-of course I’m pissed off about it! It’s not that I necessarily agree with her, but you just admitted that we did not start off on the right foot. It’s not about that now. The things she said . . . Well, she hasn’t had it easy these past weeks. I didn’t think she would take it out on you though! Which of course is not right, but it happens! And I’m sorry that I didn’t cut in sooner – is that what you want to hear?”

“I don’t know what I want to hear, Alex,” she sighed, exasperated by the argument. “Just-just take me home!” She angrily waved one hand in the air and turned to the window, her chin propped in her other hand.

Alex watched her, perplexed by the turn of events, but knew that if he even breathed another word that she could possibly blow up at him. Turning the key in the ignition, he started the car and drove away from the school to Isabel’s house.

When Alex parked, Isabel quickly undid her seatbelt and got out of the car, slamming the door once more and stomped up the driveway to the front door, where Max had swung it open before she reached it. She pushed past him; putting a hand up to keep he and Michael - who stood behind Max - from speaking, and left saying through ground teeth that she didn’t want to talk about it.

The young man in the car stared at the dashboard, the books he had given her mocking him from where they had slid to the corner. Alex leaned forward and let his head drop against the steering wheel, hitting his forehead gently against the rubber. When he heard a knock on his passenger side window, he saw Max and Michael standing outside the car on the sidewalk, gesturing for him to come out. Sighing, Alex stepped out of the car and laid his body against it, keeping his distance.

“We have a bone to pick with you,” Michael said shortly.

“Well, before we pick that,” Max started, glaring at Michael to warn him that intimidating Alex was not an option, “What happened?” He poked his thumb toward the house.

Alex clasped his hands together on top of his car and breathed deeply, “She’s pissed . . . at me. After Maria’s lovely display back there and my not having come to her defense soon enough - she’s livid. Rectifying this won’t be hard, but I’m not saying it will be a picnic, but let her cool her jets.”

Michael and Max both raised their brows, the former scoffing into his shirt. “Yeah, like we didn’t know that one, Whitman,” he said, coughing into his fist to cover his snickering. “We don’t mess with her, and Maria will eventually come to her senses.” Michael shrugged his shoulders, putting his hands into his pockets.

“I’m not so sure about that,” both Max and Alex replied simultaneously.

“What? You don’t trust me on that?”

“If I know anyone, it’s Maria,” Alex supplied, “And the only reason I did not say anything sooner was because I don’t think her little outburst was wholly toward Isabel, but rather toward you.”

Michael came around the back of Alex’s car and stood in front of the lanky adolescent, reminding Alex of when he confronted him weeks previously. “What do you mean by that?”

“What I mean is that Maria resents Isabel because she still has not gotten over the whole destiny thing, that you and Isabel are meant to be – remember?” he said acidly. “She’s feeling insecure, and you didn’t help matters when she caught you with Courtney with your pants around your ankles.”

Alex had not realized that he had stepped forward until Max’s hand was on his shoulder, pulling him back. He gulped when he also noticed that Michael’s fists were clenched.

“Okay, I don’t think this is helping matters,” Max interjected. “Though Alex has a valid point,” he looked squarely at Michael, “I personally don’t think that everything should be packaged into ‘Oh, Maria’s being Maria, there’s nothing wrong here’ crap. Alex,” Max began, “You know as well as I do that Maria has never really liked Isabel, and for some time was even intimidated by my sister. Not that I blame her because Isabel can be a forced to be reckoned with, but the fact of the matter is that Isabel did not exactly treat you in the utmost civilest of manners.”

Alex propped his head in his hands and sighed, “Can we just not bring up that fact? I swear that it’s all I have been hearing tonight. Things change, relationships change,” he forcefully threw his hands in a downward motion, “Drop it.”

“Fine, we’ll drop that,” Max began calmly, “But I think you can guess the bone we have to pick with you.” Max tilted his head to one side. “I’m not asking specifics, but when did you and Isabel get back together? From what I remember – particularly since Maria had a few choice words on the matter – you and Isabel broke up at the end of summer.”

“Things obviously didn’t last,” Michael jibbed, one brow quirking high on his forehead. He received a jab and dirty look from Max.

Alex exhaled tiredly, “It’s a long story and it’s been a long day. Do we seriously have to do this now?”

The dark-haired geek could not hide the irritation in his voice or the tenseness his body gave off that he was terrified of what Isabel’s brothers might do to him if they inquired further into the elusive timeline of his and Isabel’s relationship. He could very well be a bump in the road tomorrow after they pounded him into the asphalt.

“We didn’t get to react properly at the Crashdown,” Michael interrupted Alex’s contemplations.

“We know you’re a good guy, Alex, and personally I’m glad that it was you and not . . . someone else, but this could not have come at a worse time.” Max chided from where he leaned against Alex’s car.

“Gee, ya think?” Alex caustically supplied. “It’s not like Isabel and I planned this. Heck, we used precaution and we all know that’s not 100% effective!” Alex halted to breathe, but his irritation continuing to rise and his hands spoke volumes where he was having difficulty verbally. “And technically it’s always going to be a ‘worse time.’ You’re freakin’ aliens for crying out loud! It’s never going to be easy!”

The frustration from the day was building and he’d had enough of everyone’s shenanigans and all the tiptoeing of the subject since he learnt of the news yesterday. “Isabel and I fucked up, okay? Is that what you want to hear? Now you have to tell your parents. It’s always all about you guys and how it messes up your lives. Well how about us lowly humans? We’ve sacrificed a lot for your asses and yet again when there’re two people involved, it’s all about you.

“Well how the hell am I supposed to tell my parents? What about all those human things you guys do that you all take for granted, huh? Three weeks. Three weeks is all the time Isabel and I have to prepare for this. Three weeks is all any of us have to freakin’ get the things we need to get done before this either makes or breaks everything you all have worked for to camouflage your identities!”

Max moved aside before Alex could do so for him. The two aliens watching as the human got into his car and heavily shut the door and drove off, his car sputtering around the corner to the main street. They both slowly looked to one another, an unreadable expression on Michael’s face as he nodded in complete and total ineptitude and Max waving his hand in front of him and coughing from the left over exhaust.

“That went well.”

“You’re not helping.”

Neither of the two young men noticed that a certain blonde someone stood outside, her arms folded loosely across her breasts and a cross expression on her face, her foot tapping testily against the sidewalk.

“Neither of you are helping,” they heard from beyond them. “As if Alex needed the likes of you two intimidating him into submission and making him feel worse than he all ready is.” The two swept their faces to the ground, knowing full well that Isabel could one day channel Medusa’s power of turning people to stone. “Please, do me a favor and stay out of mine and Alex’s relationship.” She breathed through gritted teeth, turning on her heel and throwing the door forcefully shut on her way back inside, locking the door with a wave of her hand.

Her mother met her halfway down the hallway, her father peeking out of the bedroom where he and her mother slept.

“Is everything all right, honey? What’s with all the door slamming?”

“Those doors aren’t exactly inexpensive to replace,” Phillip reminded.

“Max and Michael are asses. That’s all you need to know,” and Isabel walked past her mother and father without another word, going to her room where her parents saw the light from under the door extinguish.

“What’s gotten into her?” Phillip asked, incredulous.

Diane tightened her robe and sighed. “I wish I knew, dear. I really wish I knew.”

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Post by StarGazing101 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:34 pm

Author's Commentary: Yes, I'm surprised too that I was able to get a new part out so soon, but this part was begging to be written. Also, yes, it will be quite some time before we get 'happily ever after', something which I preferably refer to as 'comfortably ever after', if that tells you anything . . . This part reinforces that notion, to say the least.

cardinalgirl, I actually forgot about Isabel's affiliation with the Roswell High bleachers, but I do often wax poetic about her hiding in plain sight, heh. And the parents (at least most) will definitely play recurring roles in this story, as with the situation it's necessary.

The new sleeping routine is definitely taking its course, LOL.

Anyway, onto the next part . . . Oh, and for reference, Alex's father is portrayed by the season two dad from CYN.

<center>Chapter Seven</center>

Alex quietly stepped inside his house; gently closing the door shut behind him and tiptoeing through the house, he stopped when he heard the soft murmurings of the TV from the living room. He paused at the entrance, bending his upper body through the threshold to see the late show on and his father sitting on the couch with a microwave dinner in hand. The adolescent’s eyes widened considerably. It had completely slipped his mind that his father would be home this week from his six-month business venture in Egypt.

Before Alex could escape to his bedroom, his father caught on to the fact that someone was watching him and had turned around. The older man placed his dinner on the coffee table in front of him and stood with an exhausted smile on his face.

“Hey son,” he greeted genially, his tied undone and hands buried in his trouser pockets. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” his father joked in his usual nervous tone, one hand coming up behind to scratch his head.

“Yeah,” Alex responded with a nod. He added nonchalantly, “Mom and I, well, we missed you. Good to know you’re home.”

He and his father stood a moment before giving in to an awkward hug. When they pulled back, his father gestured his head toward the couch for Alex to sit. Though his son was reluctant to do so, considering that it was late and he’d had a long day, he sat down beside his old man anyway and lifted his feet onto the coffee table and crossed his ankles.

“So how was Egypt?” Alex asked. “Bring home any souvenirs?”

“Many,” his father replied with his mouth full, having resumed his dinner. He swallowed, placing a partially closed fist up near his mouth where he then excused himself and apologized. Alex just shrugged his shoulders. He then said, “Egypt was fine, though some things didn’t quite go as planned, but I’d rather keep business talk to a minimum since I just got home. I didn’t bother waking your mother to let her know that I’m home.”

Alex knew his father a little better than he suspected his father knew and had inkling that no matter how hard the man tried, he’d slip and wind up back to his usual “just the facts” self in no time. “Well, mom’s going to get quite the surprise when she does realize this.”

“Yeah,” Charles responded quietly, his eyes trained on the television. Without taking his line of vision away from the box, he asked his son, “How have you been? Keeping out of trouble I hope.” His green eyes stole a side-glance toward the young man next to him: His voice affected by an upward inflection that made it sound more like a stern question than a statement.

The thoughts that entered Alex’s mind were not exactly what his father would consider “keeping out of trouble”, especially considering the predicament he and Isabel had got themselves into, which they had yet to discuss how exactly to break it to their parents. It didn’t help matters that he and his girlfriend had fought earlier that night and that he had basically lashed out at her brothers in front of her house after dropping her home. Maria was angry; he was frustrated; and Isabel was pregnant.

Things could not get any better, he caustically thought, and subconsciously let his head loll back onto the cushions of the couch, sighing and closing his eyes. It wasn’t until after he’d done so that it dawned upon him that he had given fuel to his dad’s previous sentiment. Crap.

Charles raised a brow at his son’s actions, clearing his throat before saying, “So is that a yes or a no? I really can’t tell.” His tone was not quite reprimanding, but his son’s expression was almost inviting him to do so. “What happened?” he tacked on when his son didn’t answer his question.

“It’s nothing of importance,” Alex deflected. It was the best he could do without outright telling his father the situation. He couldn’t exactly say that Isabel was pregnant without explanation of other conditions she possessed, let alone the fact that they had yet to discuss a course of action on how exactly to break the news.

His father sat up straighter, setting his dinner on the table once more and without glancing again at Alex, he questioned, “This wouldn’t have anything to do with the open box of condoms your mother found in your room a few days ago? Not that I suppose she’s spoken with you about it.”

Alex coughed, hard. He received a few thumps on the back from his father who now gazed at him sternly, his body language neither here nor there. Having finally recovered, the young man’s face flushed considerably, both from the coughing fit and from embarrassment of his mother’s possibly accidental discovery that her son had a sex life. He chose yet again not to answer.

“Alex, I’m not mad and neither is your mother. You’re 17, a very normal age for sexual exploration. I mean we didn’t exactly expect it, but we’re happy to know you’re taking precautions.” His father scooped a forkful of noodles into his mouth and swallowed, grimacing slightly when he realized how much his dinner had cooled. “So who’s the lucky girl?”

Blinking once again at his father’s impromptu interrogation, he swallowed and supplied, “Depends if you’re going to tell her parents or not. And,” Alex emphasized, “If you plan on keeping this between us.”

Charles remained quiet, knowing that his son had a right to his privacy – as long as whatever that privacy covered did not harm others, but he hated keeping things from his wife. Though, the fact his son was confiding personal information to him had him blindsided, particularly since he had been out of the country for the last six months. So he nodded in agreement, though undoubtedly had inkling as to who it was, but he needed his son to say her name just to believe it.

Alex admitted reluctantly, “Isabel,” glad that his father had concurred to his terms. He loved his parents, but there were some things that were better left unsaid. He understood that making his father not inform his mother of whom would raise her hackles, but – truthfully – the answer was fairly obvious. Besides Maria and Liz, whom he had no romantic inclinations toward; Isabel had been the only other female friend of his to enter the household. Luckily, his parents had no knowledge of his previous tryst in California from two summers ago.

Rising from his seat, Alex patted the wrinkles from his jeans and looked to the cable box for the time. It was almost midnight, and his eyes were burning for sleep. Deciding that he would give his father a proper welcome in the morning, he wished him goodnight and retreated to his bedroom, Charles watching after him.

Charles understood his son’s reluctance to tell his mother that his and Isabel’s relationship had advanced as far as it could get. Since they were introduced to the young woman earlier in the year, Gloria had not completely trusted Isabel’s intentions.

Though his wife had issues with the girl, Charles was more perplexed by how Isabel and Alex had formed this mutual friendship turned romantic entanglement. Not that Charles had any problems believing Alex could snag himself a beautiful woman, but having heard different stories from different people on Isabel’s reputation kept him from fully immersing his support in their relationship. Especially considering that Amy’s daughter Maria used to complain of Ms. Evans haughty attitude at school, but he listened to his son when he would often defend that there was more to Isabel beneath the surface, and he trusted his son’s judgment.

Having contemplated the subject enough, the pepper-haired man went to reheat his dinner and browse the channels once more before calling it a night.


Noise from the kitchen disturbed Kyle from his slumber and his eyes were blurred with sleep when he looked to the alarm clock on the table beside the couch to see that it was almost four in the morning. Rubbing his eyes and getting up, he walked into the kitchen to see Tess at the table with a granola bar and a glass of milk, a magazine splayed on the table. She glanced up when she heard him enter, giggling slightly at his disheveled appearance, not that she looked any better of course.

“You do realize that it’s 4:00 am, right?” He pulled out the chair next to her and sat. When she didn’t respond, he sighed and said, “Can’t sleep again?”

“Nope,” she answered, taking a bite from her granola bar. “Probably obvious from the way I look.”

“Well I don’t expect anyone to look their best at this time of night in their own home,” he shrugged his shoulders, glancing at the glass of milk she had and decided that he too was thirsty.

She watched him stand and retrieve a glass from the dish strainer and pour himself a glass. When she had first moved into the household in September, he would just grab the jug from the frige and down it - not that she didn’t still catch him doing it every so often - but he had become better about using a glass. When he sat down again, half the glass was all ready gone. She laughed at the milk mustache he now donned.

“What?” he asked, perplexed by her behavior, “Lack of sleep finally getting to ya?”

“No,” she shook her head, covering her mouth but failing miserably to contain her laughter. “That’s a lovely mustache you’ve got.”

It took him a moment to realize what she was talking about: “Oh!” he said, wiping his sleeve across his mouth.

“Ugh, that’s disgusting Kyle. It’s called a napkin, or even a paper towel,” she said emphatically.

“It’s the middle of the night. Quit riding me,” he replied, though mentally noted that if he wished to further impress her when it’s not the middle of the night, to not act like a pig. “Since we’re up, how long had you known about Isabel being, uh you know, pregnant?”

Tess studied her companion momentarily and responded, “Almost a week, though it seems much longer.” She turned the page and grimaced. “No forty-something woman should be wearing a dress that goes above her knees.”

Kyle rolled his eyes at her and proceeded, “It’s weird though. I mean I would’ve never . . . I mean it’s just surreal. I can’t imagine what’s going through Alex’s mind, let alone Isabel’s. And the look on Michael’s face . . . Like if looks could kill . . . Though with you guys you can never know.”

One brow rose on Tess’s forehead at Kyle’s suggestion but she opted to keep her mouth shut, not having the energy to make an argument out of nothing. “Yeah . . . It’s stupid that Isabel would even consider having sex without knowing all the info first, but I suppose it’s partially my fault – as well as Nasedo’s – for not telling her. Nothing we can do now but wait I guess.”

“Well they’re obviously going to need support. Though I guess their only opposition is Maria. Not sure what got into her tonight, but you can never know with Deluca. But from what I know Maria’s never really been fond of Isabel. A lot of people aren’t.”

“It’s because they don’t understand her. That’s it.” Tess defended, surprised at her own admission. “Besides, Maria’s just got her panties in a twist because she’s still steamed about the whole Michael-Courtney debacle. Transference is what I’m guessing.”

“Okay Miss Psychology,” Kyle surrendered his hands into the air, “She’ll get over it. Anyway, what do you think about it besides what you remarked earlier?” He bent forward to read a caption above the head of one of the celebrities featured in the tabloid. “What is so fascinating about celebs?”

“Nothing,” Tess admonished. “Most of them are train wrecks wanting validation for their crappy lifestyles. The only reason tabloids exist is to make us feel better, and to give us a few laughs. I could ask you the same about sports stars. What makes them so special?”

“They have talent.”

“Subjective at best,” she said without glancing at him. “Anyway, yeah, this whole thing – well it looks like we’ll be inviting more people into our little social circle.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing. My dad knows and he helps us out. If Isabel’s parents were to know of their children’s, er, oddity it could help us out in the long run. They are lawyers.” He eyes were unwavering in their reproving stare. “Having a few more adults on our side could definitely help us out when we’re in a jam, especially when it comes to missing school because of some alien invasion.”

“Maybe,” Tess closed the magazine, sick of reading about these supposed glamorous stars. “Not everyone’s going to be all hunky-dory about our origins, Kyle. Your father was hunting us with the FBI in the beginning, but because Max saved your life his mind was changed. Even you still have problems with our existence because it cramps your lifestyle, and because Max stole Liz from you last year.” She gazed up from her fascination of the table-top and took another bite of her granola bar.

Kyle sighed, knowing that she was right to a point but he was long over Liz, though he couldn’t quite say the same for Max. Max acted liked he owned everyone and that he could tell Kyle what to do, and when he needed help wouldn’t let him do so. There was only so much he could take from the alien king.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

He paused in his thoughts, watching Tess. Her hair was a curly mess and her eyes seemed bluer than usual, yet he couldn’t pinpoint why. She had no make-up on and though she was of another world, she looked so ordinary right now, like any other person, but she was extraordinary, if he really wanted to find a word for her. Fatigue may have been impairing his judgment; he thought he’d give New York another shot. “I really don’t want to pry, but this whole insomnia bit and your behavior recently have me worried and wondering what the hell happened in New York.” He quickly added, “And if you don’t want to answer, that’s fine! My dad and I, we’re just concerned that’s all. Don’t take it as some kind of offense. We’re supposed to worry about one another.”

Tess turned her face toward the wall next to her; having known his inquiry would come up again. Her eyes started to heavily mist as images from the events of New York flooded her mind, flash after flash after flash. Her hands gripped her thighs beneath the table and her nails dug painfully into her flesh.

She resumed her forward position and gasped, Kyle coming to her side when her resolve crashed. The petite girl wrapped her arms around him and sobbed, her high-pitched cries resounding into his ear. For a long while he held her, letting her tears and nasal fluid soak his shirt. Eventually she came to a halt, hiccupping and letting him go, wiping her nose with her sleeve, which happened to be one of the few long-sleeved tops he owned, but he didn’t care.

Without a cue from him, she breathily confessed, “Rath . . . he raped me.”

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Post by StarGazing101 » Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:37 pm

Author Commentary: Yes, Tess's rape will be addressed throughout this story and I agree, Trude, that hers is worse than Isabel's. I have reasons for why I introduce everything that I do, and all questions will be answered by the end of this story, rest assured.

You all will be seeing lots of exploration and interaction with their parents, too, especially Alex.

cardinalgirl, You know, I probably should have looked it up, but they seriously de-geek-ified his father in S2, LOL. Thanks for the bit of knowledge. ;)

<center>Chapter Eight</center>

Kyle sat on the bleachers in the gym a few hours later at an early morning practice, but his concentration stayed elsewhere as he uncomfortably wiped the perspiration along the back of his neck with a damp towel. Tess had not confessed anything more to him that morning and had left him at the table stunned and enraged at the abuse she had suffered the week previously. It amazed the young man how terrifying hearing the word “rape” could send such an ominous chill throughout his entire body and to the depths of his heart. He had retreated from the kitchen fifteen minutes later, stopping in the hallway on his way to the couch where he slept, staring at Tess’s doorway as she tried to process such an abominable act. He then stayed up and inattentively watched incoming news reports and discussions on CNN, his eyes fixated on the horrors of the world.

Physically he felt fine but his mental energy was sapped from attempting to conjure ways to help Tess through this ordeal, to help her cope, but was failing miserably in his tries. He had come to the conclusion that her reluctance to mention what happened stemmed from the fact that there wasn’t much she could do to punish her rapist. He understood that there were limitations to what the aliens could and could not do in this atmosphere, but the fact that she could not see a doctor to check that everything was internally all right or call the police and report Rath hit home for him, and hard. It made him want to pound his fists into the nearest surface and cry at the injustice of it all but all he could do was silently fume and give Tess as much support as she allowed herself to receive.

Though he wondered briefly if Tess had thought to use her powers, he reprimanded himself and bit on his lower lip at the mere suggestion. Not because he did not believe that Tess could have defended herself, but the trauma alone could hinder anyone’s – even an extraterrestrial’s – defense mechanisms useless. He vowed if he ever saw Rath again, he would make it his business to castrate him with his bare hands and beat him with the nearest blunt object he could grab. It may not necessarily make Tess feel better, he knew, but at least he’d feel justice had been properly served.

Kyle was interrupted from his contemplations by a loud shout from one of his teammates and glanced up in time for the hurling basketball to plant into the side of his head, the force of the ball knocking him off the bench where his teammates ran to see if he was all right. Malamoot and his coach helped him up and his head was spinning, but neither the throbbing pain nor the stinging alleviated his thoughts constant circling to Tess.


Isabel stood in front of the full-length mirror in her bedroom, surveying the pair of jeans she wore. They were cute and fashionable, but unfortunately due to recent weight gain they protested when she attempted to zip and fasten, gaping open without regard to her need to retain normalcy. She huffed angrily when the zipper proceeded to only halfway meet her needs, and then she lay down on the bed and sucked in her stomach to try again. The zipper would not budge any farther and she was nowhere near able to fasten the button. Contemplating what else she could do, she reached into her nightstand drawer and retrieved a rubber band where she looped it through the hole and stretched it across to around the metal fastener.

When she stood once again, she observed how trashy the whole ensemble looked and undid the rubber band and roughly undressed out of the denim. She stared at the offending pants and glanced at the tag, the number stitched into it mocking her. She threw them into the corner of the room and went to her closet where she weeded out similar pairs of trousers and came upon a deep burgundy, floral skirt with an elastic waist and no zippers of buttons. She slipped it on and reached for a three-quarter sleeve shirt of the same color, but was again assaulted by the clothing at how much it squeezed into her bust and opted out of it.

Utterly frustrated and baffled by her growing measurements, Isabel flopped onto her bed where she lay on her back and gently raked her hands over her abdomen, a slight bulge evident. She had weighed herself in the bathroom after showering that morning and noted that she had gained seven pounds in the last week. She had not thought about the fact that she would be closing in on her fifth month by Tuesday or that she would soon have to invest in some looser fitting clothing, shuddering at the fact that she could not afford at the moment to buy clothing. Though she didn’t really see a point as the baby would be arriving before Christmas anyway - a terrifying thought in and of itself – and to waste money on clothes that she could only wear for maybe a few days was not practical.

Maybe I could borrow a pair of Michael’s sweat pants; she contemplated, or I could possibly head over to the local thrift shop and see what I can find there. Not exactly the hippest stuff around, but I’ll only need them for a little while. I could always use my powers to make them a bit more stylish anyway.

Sighing, Isabel sat upright and scooted off the bed, walking toward her closet once again and searching for a better fitting shirt. She was lucky that her wardrobe consisted of many simple black tanks, some older and more worn than others, that she could mix and match with just about anything. Before she lifted the shirt over her head, she gazed at her body once more in the mirror, scrunching her face in disgust at how her breasts spilled out of her bra, absolutely hating that her pregnancy was making her more endowed than she had ever wished to be.

Alex may possibly enjoy this fact, she concluded, not that he had any reason all ready not to.

When she finished primping herself in her mirror and managed to make her outfit stick, she sat at her vanity and began applying her make-up. While doing so, she heard someone rap on her door and she said for the person to come inside. Seeing the figure of her mother in the mirror, looking very professional in one of her crisply ironed suits, she turned in her seat.

“Good morning, Mom,” she greeted, though her voice was not quite as enthused as she had hoped.

“Morning, honey,” her mother sat on her daughter’s bed, crossing her legs and leaning to one side. Diane gazed around the room, noticing the small pile of clothes in one corner and her daughter’s school books scattered on the floor by the nightstand. When she returned her eyes to where her daughter applied her make-up and observed the skirt and top her daughter wore she questioned, “Did you have a hard time finding an outfit?” Diane tilted her head toward the pile of clothing.

Isabel paused on applying her eye shadow and answered, “No. I thought I wanted to wear jeans today, but it felt more like a skirt kind of day.” Her mother nodded and Isabel returned to the bronze shadow she had in hand. She added, “Plus, it’s nice this time of year.”

Diane was skeptical, but proceeded to entertain the idea that her daughter was telling the truth. “That’s the good thing about Roswell. Only two seasons: Summer and winter, though the former doesn’t stop you from wearing pleather or suede I’ve noticed.”

Isabel only shrugged her shoulders and pointed to her purse on her pillow for her mother to hand her.

Diane did so, receiving a thank you from her daughter and watched her rummage through it. She observed Isabel’s movements and mannerisms, detecting her daughter’s nervousness coming off of her in waves. Deciding to nip it in the bud, Diane queried, “Are you all right, dear? Is there something going on that I should know about?”

Putting down the tube of lip gloss she had found in the mess that was her purse and placing her purse by her feet, she quickly said, “No, everything’s fine.” Seeing that her mother was not convinced, the young woman covered, “It’s just been a tough week. That’s all. Really Mom, I’m fine. See?” She smiled, though it did not quite reach to her eyes.

“You know, I don’t appreciate it when you downplay everything like its fine, when you know it’s not. You weren’t quite so happy last night after whatever Max and Michael did.” Diane sighed. “I’m not sure what’s wrong but whatever it is, I want to know. You don’t have to be afraid to tell me things, honey. You know that.”

“Mom, really, I’m fine,” Isabel stated irritably. “What they did is nothing to be concerned about. I was just tired and frustrated. If anything arises where I need your help, I’ll make sure to come to you. Okay?”

Though her daughter’s voice oozed sincerity, Diane knew better. That her daughter had mastered how to disguise her feelings to an art, but not wanting to force it out of her, the older woman nodded and stood from the bed, ironing her skirt with her hands.

“Okay,” Diane acquiesced, though not before lifting her daughter’s face with one hand and really getting a good look at her. “You look a little pale,” she maneuvered Isabel’s face from one side to the other, “And you feel a bit warm.” She took the back of her other hand and rested it against her daughter’s forehead. “Let me get the thermometer.”

Isabel protested, “Mom! I feel fine. It’s actually a bit cold in here, to be honest, but I’m fine. Please, no thermometer!” she begged. If there was one thing her mother could not stand, it was when her children begged. Her mother exhaled, defeated and waved her hand exasperatedly behind herself on the way out the door, all ready exhausted by her daughter’s antics this morning. Isabel breathed out in relief and continued her morning routine, hoping for no more run-ins with her mother.


Maria and Liz waited by Alex’s locker that afternoon during lunch, knowing that he needed to drop off his morning books in exchange for his afternoon ones since he avoided them that morning. The former tapped her foot impatiently while the other read over her index cards for English. Maria was still fairly angry about the news they were given the night before while Liz was rather perplexed by the entire situation, if truth be told. She trusted Alex to make sound judgments and understood that though he and Isabel had had their problems that ultimately Max’s sister made him happy, to Maria’s disgust. Besides, the problems Alex and Isabel had were often more easily fixed than anything Maria and Liz had to deal with Max and Michael on, Isabel’s pregnancy being the exception of course.

When the two saw their third make his way down the hallway, Liz had to restrain Maria from stomping up to him and demanding information that Liz knew the two would eventually get from Alex without having to pry. Alex stepped up to his best friends, both politely moving out of the way so he could get access to his locker.

“So what’s the big idea?” Maria asked. “Were you going to tell us that you lost your ‘force’ to Queen Amidala? We only find out now that she’s knocked up with your kid.”

Before Maria could start making wild gestures, Liz grabbed her arms and said, “Keep your voice down, Maria. We don’t need the whole school knowing.” The brunette glanced to her tall friend who had finished exchanging his books and closed his locker where he now lightly banged his head against the metal. Liz brought one hand to his shoulder and stopped him. “Good for calorie burning, not quite for brain cells though.”

“Yeah,” he sighed. He turned his body so that he could lean against his locker. “Well Maria, I’d just like to say thank you for your wonderfully kind words last night.”

“You’re welcome,” she sarcastically supplied. “Seriously, Alex, what the hell were you thinking? I mean I know you and Isabel have your own thing, but getting her pregnant is not exactly an accomplishment. What about your parents? Your education? The fact that you’re freakin’ 17 for crying out loud!”

Alex could only stare at her and responded, “Don’t you think I know that? Isabel and I still have a lot to discuss. I only found out the other day, Maria! I could have told you that if you hadn’t made Isabel run off last night with your asinine speech and stupid accusations. I understand that you’re trying to look out for me, but mine and Isabel’s relationship is not up for debate!”

Liz could feel a headache coming on and put herself between the two friends. “Okay, this is not helping you guys. There’s still too much that’s left open and we should probably meet up with the others and get this straightened. We all have our feelings on this, but it’s not up for questioning and we need to stand together. This isn’t going to be easy for Alex, Maria, and this won’t be easy for us either. So let’s go out to the quad and see what everyone has to say. Agreed?”

Maria’s head lightly went from one side to the other as if she were disagreeing with herself and then nodded her head vigorously and acquiesced to Liz’s request. “This is why you’re the logical one.” She glanced at Alex who kept his eyes to the floor, shuffling his feet and gently nodding his agreement. “Look Alex, I don’t like this, but I trust your choices, even if I disagree. So let’s see what the Ice Queen’s got to say on this, since she’s the one carrying your spawn anyway.” Maria began walking in the direction of the quad, Liz and Alex following behind.

Alex whispered to his shorter companion, “Thanks.”

“No problem. So is everything all right? I mean besides the obvious.” She smiled slightly, placing thick strands of dark hair behind her ear. “Congratulations, by the way” she sheepishly added, receiving a small grin from Alex.

“Thanks, I guess,” he said, his cheeks flushing a light pink. “Besides the obvious, Isabel and I got into an argument last night after I went after her.”

“Oh no,” Liz furrowed her brows. “Was she mad about Maria’s little display?”

“No, she was pissed at me for not defending her against it. I drove her home and was then confronted by Max and Michael.” At Liz’s alarmed expression, he assured, “Don’t worry. Nothing bad besides me reaming them out about their lack of concern about us lowly humans, and afterward I went home to see that my dad was back from Egypt, and that couldn’t have been more awkward.”


“Well, uh, my mother was cleaning my bedroom and found an open box of, er, condoms.” He was slightly embarrassed about revealing this to Liz who seemed so innocent now compared to him, but since the damage had all ready been done, it wasn’t a far leap.

Liz bit her lip. “That would be embarrassing, though I wouldn’t know since Max and I have never . . . you know.”

Alex laughed, “I don’t want to know when that happens, thank you very much. But yes, it was awkward and my parents know that I have had sex. It’s now telling them they’re going to be grandparents to a half-alien, half-human child that’s gonna be the hard part. I’m not too worried about my father, surprisingly enough. It’s my mother that I’m concerned about, as she’s not too fond of Isabel and has expressed her sentiments to me, though I don’t think my father knows she has.”

“I think your parents need to communicate more,” Maria suggested from where she had stopped at the entrance waiting for them, having calmed quite a bit. “Though I don’t blame your mother, but seriously? Every time we hear about your parents, it’s always that one knows one thing and the other doesn’t. That just screams a lack of communication.”

“Coming from the person who’s dating Michael Guerin?” Alex raised an eyebrow.

“Shut up, Whitman.”

Ignoring their banter, Liz said, “You know Alex, though I’m not sure the make-up of Max and them’s blood or the proportions, there’s probably at least a fifty percent chance that the baby will be fully human.” She shrugged her shoulders, understanding that the properties of the child’s blood were a ways away, though not far. “If the child’s fully human, at least you can take it to the doctor when it gets sick.”

Alex nodded distractedly, exhaling when he saw Max, Michael, Kyle and Tess seated together, though was perplexed when he didn’t see Isabel.

“Hey guys,” Liz sat beside Max and smiled, though their discomfort was still obvious even if they had decided to remain friends. “What happened to your face Kyle?”

Tess replied for him, “He stupidly got hit by a basketball at practice this morning.” She roughly turned his face toward her. “Eh, you’ll be fine.”

Kyle hated that Tess was acting like nothing was wrong, but he guessed that she needed more time before she revealed to the others what had happened. As heavy as this secret was between them, he felt somewhat special that she came to him and not Max, as much as he hated to admit it.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt,” he added, removing Tess’s hand from his face. “So where’s the other person who’s the subject of the impending conversation?” he winked at Alex, receiving a groan from the geek who then set his head on top of his arms. “Come on, Whitman, if this gets around, you will be forever known as the Geek who knocked up the Ice Queen.” Kyle received abuse from all sides. “Ouch! Stop hitting me!”

“Yeah, where is Isabel anyway?” Max queried, most everyone shrugging their shoulders.


“Okay, open your mouth and lift your tongue.”

Isabel did as she was told and gently clamped her mouth shut on the thermometer the nurse put in her mouth. She had fallen asleep in class and was woken by her teacher, who had felt her forehead and said that she was burning up, but Isabel had refuted any notion that she had a fever by saying that she was cold, which happened to be true. The teacher then said that she was probably having chills and to go to the nurse. When Isabel left the classroom, she had yawned and dabbled with the idea, only to come find herself at her door hoping to take a nap.

Upon arrival, the nurse allowed her to lie down but had questioned if Isabel was all right. The young woman nastily answered that she was fine, but the nurse did not catch her tone and told her that her face was completely flushed, and pointed to the mirror. Upon inspection, Isabel gasped when she realized that the nurse was telling the truth. The older woman asked her a few questions on how she was feeling and Isabel truthfully told her that she was cold, her nose stuffy, and that she was achy. Now here she sat with a blanket around her and a thermometer in her mouth.

When the device beeped, the nurse took it from her mouth and ejected the contaminated plastic from the end into the trash. She shook her head and began furiously writing a note then handed it to Isabel. The blonde stared at the pass, confused.

“You have a 103° F fever. You’re going home.”

“What’s wrong with me? I have never been sick!” Isabel cried indignantly.

“You have the flu, dear. Get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids,” and the nurse left her there in the room, Isabel not completely wanting to believe that she was actually sick.

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Post by StarGazing101 » Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:10 pm

Author's Commentary: As per usual, thanks everyone for the wonderful bits of feedback. I love hearing your thoughts and speculations!

Also, I didn't want to leave without giving you all a new part, so here it is. I at first wanted to add more, but I thought I'd leave it as is since we'll be entering new territory in the next couple of chapters. A lot of the meat of the story is coming up now, so while I'm on vacation (cough Harry Potter Get-Together cough) I suppose I'll let you prepare for it . . .

Flamehair, glad to see you're on board! :)

<center>Chapter Nine</center>

When the nurse returned to the room, she informed her patient to call her mother to pick her up and that if she were not able to reach her, that the piece of paper in Isabel’s hand was a pass to leave campus. Using the phone, Isabel pretended to dial her mother’s work number and feigned to the older woman that she could not get hold of her, to which the woman shrugged her shoulders and pointed to the pass. Grabbing her things, Isabel left the office and wrapped her arms around her, stopping at the principal’s office and then walking out of the building and out to the parking lot. She paused before stepping onto the blacktop and turned to see beyond that everyone was gathered in the quad. Wanting time to figure out how exactly she would explain this to her parents, Isabel decided that some exercise wouldn’t hurt and that walking a half-hour home wouldn’t hurt.

Six blocks from the school, Isabel paused on her way home to rest at a bus stop, finding it difficult to breathe due to the congestion that was wreaking havoc on her chest and nasal passages. She breathed haggardly through her mouth and attempted to regain some of her energy, feeling sluggish and wanting nothing more than to lie down on the bench and sleep. When she felt somewhat rejuvenated, she stood once more and began heading up the block to the main road. It was only a few minutes into her travels that she noticed the Sheriff’s police cruiser making rounds through the neighborhoods. He pulled alongside the sidewalk and gestured his hat to her.

Jim then inquired, “Shouldn’t you be in school young lady?” He leaned toward the passenger side window, a friendly though stern expression gracing his middle age features.

Isabel gave him a half-smile and retrieved the note from her purse that the nurse had written, the glaring red stamp of approval by the principal’s secretary shimmering brightly from one corner of the slip. She handed it to Kyle’s father and shrugged her shoulders. “I’m sick.”

He glanced at the paper, then nodded and handed it back to her, haven’t needing to see it as it was quite obvious. Her cheeks were extremely flushed and her voice nasally. “You do look ill, so I have no reason to suspect that the note is a fake,” he jested, receiving a chuckle from her which consequently sent her into a coughing fit. He winced at the sounds that emanated from her and offered in a fatherly tone, “I’d be happy to give you a lift home. You really shouldn’t be walking sounding like that. You may not make it the rest of the block.”

Graciously, she stepped into his SUV and said, “Oh, thank you Sheriff! I’m not sure if Max has ever told you, but we generally don’t get sick, so this is all very new to me. We get general allergies, but this is the first time I have experienced congestion like this.” She organized her things and closed the door. She added, “Though life seems to be throwing me many curve balls lately.”

Jim checked his mirrors and pulled back onto the street, somewhat perplexed by Isabel’s words. “I think he’s mentioned it once in casual conversation – the whole not getting sick thing. It’s no wonder your attendance records are so pristine sans the last year, of course.” He came to a stop at the end of the street and turned onto the main street, then asked, “So Kyle told me that there was some meeting last night. Is there anything strange going on that I should be concerned?”

Isabel glanced at the older man, confusion etched into her surprised expression at the fact that neither Kyle nor Tess had informed the Sheriff of her and Alex’s predicament. Though she had noticed that Tess seemed preoccupied since arriving home from New York and that the news had only been shared the night before, it should not surprise her all that much that the adult in their house wasn’t in the know. She exhaled exhaustively, knowing that he would find out sooner or later and that was better it come from the source than the rumor mill in coming days.

She began, “Yeah, Alex and I called the meeting but it’s nothing that’s particularly related to my non-human status. Well not exactly. It’s hard to really classify which end of the spectrum this particular . . . ‘thing’ falls into.” The difficulty in describing the situation left her almost stuttering out her explanation, and the fact that the Sheriff was (as usual) the first adult to be let in on the recent events of their little group left her nervous. Considering that in the last couple months he’d grown into something of a second father figure, she was terrified of the disappointment she might cause him to feel in her.

She wiped at the forming tears in her eyes, absolutely sickened by the amount crying she’d done in the last week, and sucked it up and seeing his worried expression went on, “This isn’t easy for me to say, Sheriff.” She bit down on her lower lip and dropped her head, loose strands of hair falling into her face and a hiccough escaping from her.

Flailing her hand before her face and swallowing harshly to calm the reflux, she confessed, “I’m pregnant. That’s what last night’s meeting was about.” She lifted her head to see his widened, watery blue eyes and continued, “But we didn’t finish, because I was so overwhelmed by the entire thing that I ran out of the Crashdown. This thing . . . it’s not normal, and I don’t know how to deal with it.”

Isabel tightly kept one hand wrapped between her knees and the other hovered over her mouth, her chest tightening as she let everything pour out from her. “How do I tell my parents? How do I tell them that their socialite, perfect daughter got herself knocked up by a sweet computer nerd that she loves? Ho-how do I-I ex-explain to them that I-I’m not what they thought I wa-was?”

Valenti could only watch as the girl he always believed to be so together poured her heart out to him, doubling over in the passenger seat beside him with her sobs completely wracking her body. He looked through either window and pulled along the sidewalk, parking his utility vehicle and undoing his seatbelt, rubbing the girl’s back, hoping that her cries would come to a halt. The older man closed his eyes and found that his heart wrenched painfully with each hitch of her breath, but knew it was best that she get this out of her system.

The fact that she had relented this to him left him at a loss for words, and her confession kept repeating through his mind. He was not sure about her or the others, but since realizing that he had been on the wrong side and having helped these kids from tough situations, he had come to see them as his own children. To hear that Isabel and Alex – heck, children themselves – were going to be parents made his own throat dry and his breathing stop. It was not just the pregnancy itself that left him terrified but the trouble that could come along the way due to Isabel’s extraterrestrial status. The only thing that he could think was that these kids were in deep . . . and that if anything were to arise he would be there to lend his help with whatever he could.

Clearing his throat and hoping that his own thoughts would not overwhelm him he asked, “Isabel, when do you plan to tell your parents?”

Isabel roughly shook her head, wiping furiously at her eyes and coughing. “I don’t know. Alex and I still have yet to discuss it,” she explained. “I know how bad that sounds but –“

Jim interjected, “It is bad. I don’t mean to get fatherly on you or authoritative, but if I were in your situation, that would have been the first thing that I would have discussed, regardless.” He took his handkerchief from his back pocket and handed it to her.

“Thank you,” she said, blowing her nose and folding it over itself. “I understand your concern and I agree that it’s terribly irresponsible, but with so many things to consider . . .” she trailed off and leaned back against her seat again, gazing out the window. After a pause she faced him and asked, “I had every part of my life planned to perfection, Sheriff. Then Max saved Liz’s life, and for a long time I resented her. Not just for taking my brother away from, but for introducing another person to take away the other guy I considered my brother away from me, and for ruining my perfectly laid out plan and helping to chip away my cozy existence.”

Jim nodded, slightly perplexed by where this was going.

Isabel blinked another rush of tears and stated emphatically, “But if it wasn’t for all these events, all these stupid shenanigans, I may not have Alex. And truthfully, I’m not sure which existence I would rather have: One without Alex in my life and where my perfectly laid out plans would have had a chance to flourish or one where Alex and my relationship coexist with the alien chaos. Am I a terrible and selfish person for not having chosen which I’d rather have?”

He only nodded, understanding now what she was getting at, and then responded, “I believe it’s very logical to feel that way, Isabel, and it does not make you a terrible or selfish person. To be perfectly honest, there’s always going to be a situation where you’re going to wish that it’s one or the other. If Alex were to be hurt because of all these chaotic circumstances, you’d probably wish he’d never come into your life because the guilt would eat at you. If you were to live the former you mentioned, you might’ve missed out on a caring young man whose world would center on you and only you. There is no right or wrong answer.” He rested a hand on her shoulder and gently squeezed, giving her a reassuring smile then receiving a hug from the young woman.

“Thank you, really,” she smiled, surprised she was able to do so considering that it had been so long. She relaxed a bit, though was coerced forward by a strong coughing fit, in which Jim thumped her lightly against the back. “I can only hope that my parents take the news as well as you did.”

“You’ll be all right,” he put the car in gear once again and drove onto the main road. “Though extremely unexpected, I’d like to think your parents will help you out in the long run even if they might be temporarily disappointed, but you can never know until it’s all out in the open.”

“They’ll know soon enough,” she sighed and then stated in resigned horror, “My mother’s going to nurse me like a Thanksgiving turkey when she discovers I have the flu.”

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Nowhere Left to Turn (CC, A/I, Mature) Ch.10, 01.14

Post by StarGazing101 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:56 pm

Author's Commentary: Well, it's been almost six months on the dot since I have updated this story, but I have known since starting this that I would finish it, no matter how long it took.

I moved in August into my own apartment and transferred universities, so the transition was quite rough and dampened my writing spirit, to say the least. Now that I have settled and my schedule's much nicer this semester than the last, I plan on hopefully regularly updating this again. I thank you all for your patience with my consistently AWOL tendencies as well as your support and feedback.

Warning: Discussion of controversial topics.

Chapter Ten

Diane and Phillip arrived home together in the late afternoon, both exhausted by their days and generally irritated by their current cases. When inside, Phillip went into the bedroom and hung up their coats while Diane set the pizza they had brought home on the kitchen table, briefly wondering if either of her children was home, though she had noticed that the jeep was not in the driveway.

“Anyone home?” she heard her husband call as he came down the hall, and when no answer came, he shrugged his shoulders and greeted his wife in the kitchen.

“We brought pizza home, honey. I think we would know if our children were home. They smell pizza within a one-mile radius of the house, remember?” Her husband chuckled and grabbed a few paper plates from on top of the fridge. “I believe Max works until seven tonight, and I’m not sure what activities Isabel’s up to,” Diane added, taking a slice from the cheesy entrée.

Before Diane could stop herself, she questioned, “Do you think our children have been acting odd lately, or rather, just Isabel? I’m used to Max’s quiet, introverted ways, but Isabel’s been so…so moody, and I just can’t pinpoint why.”

“Maybe it’s that time of the month?” Phillip suggested, receiving a dead-panned expression from his wife. “OK, maybe not.” He thought another minute, “Maybe it’s just the usual teenage stresses. Also, it is the holidays. You know how she gets. Perhaps something’s not going quite as planned?”

“I suppose,” Diane reluctantly agreed. “We used to talk, Phillip. I feel like she’s shutting me out. This morning she acted peculiar and almost seemed irritated by my presence.” Pausing, she sighed and concurred with her husband’s previous sentiments, “Maybe it is that time of the month, and I’m just being paranoid.”

Phillip didn’t say anything further and followed his wife to the next room.

Settling in the living room with their dinner, Diane and Phillip cuddled on the couch and watched the evening news together, Phillip making cracks at the anchors or the political leaders they spoke of, and Diane rolling her eyes in response. As the room darkened to the setting sun, her husband switched on the lamp on the side table and got up to put Diane’s plate into the recycle and to grab himself another piece. While doing so, he noticed movement at the corner of his eye and turned around to see Isabel in a pair of lounge pants and a tank top, her hair in disarray and sleep in her eyes.

“Oh, we didn’t know you were home!” he said with a large smile. “Surprising, considering your mother and I brought home pizza; usually that could wake you and Max from the deepest of sleeps.”

“Who are you talking to, dear?” Diane called from the living room.

“Isabel. She’s home.” He watched his daughter peek into the living room and lean against the doorway. “Would you like a piece, honey? Your guys’ favorite: supreme with extra pepperoni and bell pepper,” he enticed, holding up his slice.

Isabel visibly blanched at the sight of the greasy pizza pie, her stomach churning uncomfortably, and she raised her hand and shook her head in decline. At the same moment, her mother chose to step into the kitchen, and now stood by her perplexed husband. Isabel was not particularly concerned about explaining her refusal of her favorite fast food, as she was reminded for the thousandth time since being sent home that the flu was not a particularly pleasant bug to have.

She buried her head into her shoulders and turned her body toward the wall, her mother’s concerned voice piercing her ears. Her mother placed the loose strands of hair behind her ear and turned her daughter’s face to look at her, Isabel’s complexion unusually paler than normal. Upon inspection, Diane reached forward and set the back of her hand against Isabel’s forehead, a slightly unhappy noise emanating from Isabel’s throat, but Diane refused her daughter’s request to quit.

“Oh, Isabel,” her mother coddled, “You’re burning up!” The upward inflection of her mother’s voice caused Isabel to recoil slightly, and she was tempted to slap her mother’s hand away. “Were you sent home from school?” Isabel simply nodded, seeing no advantage in lying to her mother. “Oh dear, we need to check your temperature and cool you down. Your face is absolutely flushed!”

Isabel was pushed out of the room by her mother and dragged into the bathroom, where Diane took the thermometer from the medicine cabinet and shoved it into her daughter’s mouth. Isabel was reluctant to hold the device under her tongue, but she knew that her mother would only persist and possibly strap her to her bed until cooperation was met. She sat rigidly on top of the toilet seat cover until the thermometer beeped, and the blonde attempted to see the reading before her mother could possess it from her daughter’s mouth. When her mother did not retrieve the thermometer from her mouth right away, Isabel read the numbers in abstract horror as the digital screen flashed 106.4° F and, using her powers, manipulated the numbers to drop to 103.1° F. Satisfied by her handiwork, Isabel reluctantly handed her mother the small, ivory technology and proceeded to watch the older woman’s reaction.

Diane stared at the reading momentarily, then glanced at her daughter, and back to the thermometer in her hand. Sighing, she said, “You have a fever, though you feel much warmer than a hundred and three.” One of her mother’s brows rose skeptically, and Isabel shrugged her shoulders and stood from where she sat on the lid of the toilet. “Anyway,” her mother continued, “You still should lie down, and I’ll make you some of grandma’s chicken broth.”

Isabel was shoved out of the bathroom and toward her bedroom, her mother hovering over her like a hawk, making sure she lied down in bed. When she slipped herself beneath her covers and retrieved some homework from her backpack, her mother gently closed the door, leaving her daughter to sulk.

Sneezing, Isabel grabbed a tissue from the box on her nightstand and cleared her nose, throwing the used Kleenex in the small trashcan by her bedside. Before cracking open her textbook, Isabel propped her pillows against the headboard of her bed and settled, but was interrupted when she heard her cellular phone buzz against the wood of her nightstand.

Isabel answered, “Hello?” to be greeted unexpectedly by Liz Parker, “Oh, hi Liz.”

“Um, hi,” Liz responded somewhat nervously. “I just wanted to call and see how you were, you know, since you’re actually sick, which isn’t exactly fun.”

“Um, thanks,” Isabel said, considerably baffled by Liz’s kindness, but not necessarily surprised. “I’m not trying to undermine your kind gesture, as I do appreciate your concern though am not necessarily wanting anyone’s sympathy, but if Max is anywhere near you, which he most likely is, could you tell him that mom and dad are home, and that I could really use some deflection against mom’s mollycoddling?”

“Oh sure, I’ll tell him,” Liz nodded. “I hope you feel better.”

“Thank you, and Liz,” Isabel paused, “I really do appreciate this,” then hung up.

The brunette stared at her phone momentarily then ended the call, and turned to Isabel’s brother who had watched her the entire minute she was on her cell.

“That was kind of you, Liz,” Max supplied, sipping cherry coke through his straw. “What’d my sister have to say?”

Liz relayed, “Isabel told me to tell you that your parents are home and that she needs a defense against your mother’s hovering over her.”

“I hope she at least appreciated the gesture,” Max said, rising from his seat and putting on his coat. “Wish me luck,” he said as he went to grab his wallet, but Liz stopped him.

“On the house,” she smiled.

“Your parents have got to be losing money off of us,” Max jested, though his expression was serious.

“Believe me, it’s a blip on my parents’ radar,” she waved her hand, and she and Max just stared at one another for a moment. “You better go.”

“Yeah,” he stammered, “or Isabel might be tempted to give me nightmares for the next week. See you when I see you,” he waved as he left, and Liz continued to wipe down the counters and do her job, thinking in the back of her mind how she missed when their friendship was not so stilted.
Isabel lay wrapped in the covers of her bed, exhausted for no other reason than being ill. Though her encounters with her mother had proven troublesome, Max had come home and managed to convince their mother to leave her be. Isabel felt that if she and Max had endured the usual childhood illnesses of every other human being, that her mother would not quite be so mother hen toward her, but having never had anything more than a sniffle or a slight belly ache, that her mother was using this opportunity for missed coddling hours.

Despite her current state of rest and well-being, Isabel was surprised at how awake she was, even if it could be attributed to the fact that she had spent the better part of the afternoon sleeping. She rolled over onto her back and gazed at the ceiling, letting her hands slowly wander to her slightly distended abdomen. As she circled her navel and mentally nitpicked at her increasing measurements for the millionth time that day, she heard the buzz of her cell phone and quickly reached to answer before her mother’s supersonic hearing caught wind.

She propped herself onto her elbow and whispered just loud enough for the person to hear, “Hello?”

“Hey,” he whispered equally low. She could hear him smiling through the receiver.

“Oh, am I happy to hear from you!” she almost felt like crying out, but maintained the volume of her voice. Perching herself against the backboard of her bed, she said, “Look, I’m sorry about last night. Everything’s been so hectic lately and I know it wasn’t your fault that Maria freaked out on me. I guess I should’ve have listened better when you said to prepare myself.”

Alex could hear her rustling in the background. “Well, I suppose I could have stepped in and said something rather than let you take the beating, but due to high risk of great injury and the fact I probably would not have been able to get a word in edge-wise…”

“No, I understand. Really, it’s fine, even though I would have preferred if you had put yourself at risk. We’re just going to have to deal with this. I mean, the worst part of this hasn’t even come…” she paused, letting the weight of their ordeal truly sink. “We need to tell our parents, Alex.”

“Before we get to that, can you let me in?”

“What?” she questioned, then heard a soft tapping upon her window. At seeing him outside the slightly frosted glass, she ended the call then threw her legs over the bed and quickly proceeded to open the window. When he finished climbing through, she let the window stay briefly, letting the cool air graze her fevered skin before she noticed Alex shivering next to her and shut and locked it.

Without thinking, she pressed her hands to either side of his face and brought his lips to hers, initiating a deep kiss between them. It seemed as if it had been forever since either of the two had actually acted like the couple they were, but all the commotion recently had put much of their adolescent lust on hold. When he gently pushed her away from him, she stared at him, perplexed by his actions.

“Human Physiology and Anatomy, remember? We really shouldn’t be kissing when you’re sick,” though his voice betrayed his contradiction.

“You didn’t seem too reluctant a minute ago,” she remarked.

“I know, but then the logical side of me reared its ugly head and forced me to realize that I really can’t afford to get sick right now. So as much as I would love to kiss you and do many other, er, ungentlemanly things to you, it is in our best interest to hold back until you are better.” Though he ultimately wished he would sometimes let his reckless thoughts lead him (not that he didn’t let them at times), the necessity of him not missing a day at either school or work led a more convincing argument.

Alex couldn’t help but be surprised at Isabel’s resilience, as he remembered his bouts with influenza being particularly vomit-inducing and sleep-filled, but he noted that maybe alien immune systems handle it differently. Feeling the tug on his sleeve, he followed Isabel to her bed and sat down in front of her. Despite his earlier thought, even in the darkness he noticed the deep circles beneath her eyes and how her skin seemed unusually sallow.

“How are you holding up?” his voice even and soft, and he wrapped a gentle hand around her own, giving it a light squeeze.

“I’m not sure, Alex. After speaking with Kyle’s father today, I’m terrified at this being real, at this finally sinking in. I have no other choice but to have this baby, and the thought is absolutely magnifying.”

“If you had been given a choice, if it wasn’t for your non-human status, would you have considered an abortion?”

Isabel weighed the question in her mind and quietly answered, “Yes. I’d like to say it’s not about the baby cramping my style, which it’s definitely not, changing my future career prospects, or the responsibility, but if I’m honest with myself, it’s all of the above and beyond. I can hardly fit in my clothes. My breasts have enlarged and the veins are more pronounced. They hurt like hell! Just the fabric of the bra and the slight bounce when I walk hurts!

“Then there’s the fact that I’ll soon look like I swallowed a basketball, and the fact that I may never again have my pre-pregnant body. Though I know the entire process is sped up so that I only endure for a month instead of nine, so I may have a better chance of regaining my old physical state. But it’s not that either.

“What about complications associated with pregnancy? Or the fact that before medical intervention that pregnancy was the number one killer of women? I’m only in the equivalent of the beginning of my second trimester, and though no one may understand how huge this whole ordeal is, I’m physically and mentally going through this transformation so to be personally equipped to raise who I hope to be an self-sufficient and upstanding member of society, whether alien or human. I’m not sure about where I’m biologically from, but here on earth and in this country, that’s eighteen years, Alex, and generally the rest of our lives.

“So while I may not have the choice or would personally choose it, I can understand where any woman who chooses to do so is coming from.”

Alex could only simply nod and added, “I know that adoption isn’t necessarily an option either, as we don’t know how your DNA will transfer, like if it will manifest over time and bring about super-human abilities or if it’s inherently there from the beginning. The baby may even have human blood when he or she comes, but we don’t know that the blood won’t change over the course of time.

“I’d like to think that if we, or rather I since don’t know your feelings necessarily, that if I were given the guarantee that the baby would be born human and stay human, that I hope I’d have the sense to give him or her a chance at a normal life without worrying about being on the run or possibly, at worst, living every waking moment knowing the possibility of being murdered at the hands of a known enemy.”

Isabel inclined her head in concurrence, maneuvering her body and propping herself against her boyfriend. He brought his arm around her waist and rested his head into her shoulder, and she brought one arm around her shoulder and ran her fingers through his soft hair and moved her free hand to where he held his to her stomach.

His warm breath sent chills through her as he gently whispered, “No matter how tough it gets, I will always be here for you.”

“I know.”