The Trick Is To... [AU-Tess-Mature] PT 13 11/02/08(WIP)

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~Ruby~
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The Trick Is To... [AU-Tess-Mature] PT 13 11/02/08(WIP)

Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:00 pm

Title: The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

Disclaimer: The characters of "Roswell" belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, WB, and UPN. They are not mine and no infringement is intended.

Rating: Mature

Summary: Tess Harding was found in the desert by the Hardings, who fell in love with her straight away. They adopted her into their small, but growing family and planned on living happily ever after in Omaha, Nebraska. Twelve years later and the Harding family is dealt a cruel blow when John Harding dies in a car accident. Struggling with her grief, Tess tries to find something that will fill the hole her father left behind. She decides to find her real family. With her older sister and best friend in tow, Tess heads to Roswell to find the people that left her behind.

Author’s notes: Just a couple of things that I should make you aware of before you start to read this. Everything in season one and season two happened, minus Tess. Instead, Ava arrived and caused havoc in Roswell. So, those last couple of episodes in season two, instead of Tess being the evil one, it was Ava. Alex died. Isabel graduated early, but she did not start a relationship with Jessie. Kyle and Jim are their ever charming selves. Michael and Maria are together, bickering, but together.

I’ve already written quite a lot of this story so hopefully, I will be able to update regularly. I plan on updating every Monday so keep a look out. Also, I currently do not have a beta so please excuse any mistakes that I might have overlooked.

Image
Prologue
Darkness, darkness, everywhere, do you feel all alone?
Tess Harding sat on the floor of her closet, locked inside her own little world. In front of her was a photo album full of memories and a bottle of unopened vodka. She was wearing a red bra with mismatching blue knickers. The bra had been a gift from her ex boyfriend on Valentine’s day. She hated it because it was trashy, but it was the only clean bra she had. The laundry hadn’t been done for days. On the floor, by the door of her closet, was the black dress she had discarded as soon as she had come into the house. She would burn it as soon as their guests were gone.

“Tess?”

She didn’t answer when she heard her older sister, Kit, call her name. Instead, she kept her eyes focused on the man in the photo that she held in her hands. He was smiling up at her, his hair was damp and messy, and his eyebrows were as bushy as ever. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt that had made her cringe with embarrassment and was holding his surfboard happily.

The door of her closet opened slowly and only then did Tess look up as light burst into the room. Her sister, who was wearing a dress similar to the one that rested by her feet, sighed and moved into the tiny room. She sat ungracefully beside Tess, acknowledging the bottle of vodka with a raised dark eyebrow.

“Where did you steal that from?”

“From underneath Audrey’s bed.” She replied, her voice sounding huskier then normal.

“When did baby sister become such an alcoholic?”

Tess shrugged, “Probably around the same time she started trying to sleep with all of the football team.”

“Ah, to be sweet sixteen again.” Kit said with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She reached for the vodka bottle and opened it. “Mom sent me up here. She wants you to come downstairs. We have to deal with this as a family.”

“Deal with this? How are we suppose to deal with this?” She asked, taking the bottle off of her sister. “We buried our dad today.”

“I know and that’s why we have to be together right now. You, me, Audrey and Mom. That’s all that matters now. You shouldn’t be up here alone with a bottle of vodka. You should be downstairs with the people who love and need you right now.”

“Its those other people downstairs that I’m avoiding. Those people who barely even knew Dad. They stand there awkwardly saying sorry and wondering what else they can say and what do I want them to say. They stumble over their words until they can find an excuse to leave and their relief is clearly written on their face as they start to turn. They can’t even wait a couple more seconds to hide it.” A sob caught in her throat and she choked it back with another mouth full of vodka. “I don’t want to hear how sorry someone is or have them watch me cry. I just want the pain to go away.”

“That’s never going to happen.” Kit said, wrapping an arm around Tess’s shoulder.

Tess leaned her head against her sister’s shoulder and closed her eyes. The last fortnight had been an absolute nightmare, but it would have been ten times worse without Kit. Kit had been the whole family’s rock. When their mother, normally so strong, hadn’t been able to get out of bed the first four days after it had happened, Kit had been the one to start arranging the funeral. When Audrey had broken down and smashed up the kitchen, Kit had bandaged her cut hand and tidied the mess. And now, Kit was here with her.

“How are you keeping so strong?” Tess asked, her eyes still closed as her sister stroked her hair soothingly. “I feel like this pain is going to swallow me whole.”

“God, I feel exactly the same way. Its worse at night. When I’m alone, I can’t avoid thinking about, but during the day, I keep busy and it helps. It helps not to think about it.”

“Its all I can think about.” Tess admitted and the vodka bottle was quickly lifted to her lips.

Kit snatched the bottle away from her, “Vodka isn’t going to make those memories disappear. It might kill a few brain cells, but you’ve got plenty of them so…”

“Hey,” Audrey stood hesitantly in the door way, her hand gripping the doorknob for support. She looked between the sisters before her eyes rested on the vodka bottle that Kit held. “Can anyone join this party or is it invitation only?”

“Come. Sit.”

She walked slowly, stepping over her sisters outstretched limbs and sat more gracefully than Kit on the other side of Tess. She reached for the photo that Tess had been studying, but had discarded onto the floor somewhere between reaching for the vodka bottle and leaning against Kit.

Audrey snorted as she looked at the photo, “I hated that shirt. I nearly died every time he picked me up from school wearing it or any of those other horrible shirts that he insisted were cool.”

“He was such a geek,” Tess murmured lovingly, a faint smile on her lips.

“I miss him so much,” Audrey confessed as tears fell down her cheeks. “I don’t think he knew how much I loved him.”

“Of course, he did.” Tess said. She grabbed her sister’s hand and squeezed it. “Dad knew everything.”

“Apart from how to dress,”

“Or how and why bushy eyebrows should be waxed.”

The three girls laughed. The sound of it filled the small closet until it could be contained no more and it floated down the stairs to the ears of the guests that had come to pay their respects. Unaware of the whispers downstairs, the girls remained in the closet. They had all they need for the time being. A photo album full of memories, a bottle of vodka and each other.
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:51 pm, edited 18 times in total.

~Ruby~
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:06 am

Author’s notes: Thank you for the lovely feedback, guys. I’ve been working on this story since February and it means a lot to me that it is being well received. I lost two extremely important people this year and this story has been my outlet. So, yeah, thank you for reading and I hope that you will stick around as Tess makes this journey.

Also, check out the amazing banner that Anniepoo98 made for me. It features Tess, Audrey, Kit and Zach (who you shall meet in a little while). I hope you love it as much as I do. :D

And on to part 1.
Part 1
Drink up, Baby

One month later

The trick, Tess had discovered, was to keep breathing. When the pain and emptiness threatened to overwhelm and drag her into darkness, she stopped and focused on breathing. It wasn’t a magic trick. It didn’t stop the pain completely, but life went on and she kept breathing. Even though it hurt, she kept breathing. And when the pain got too much to bear, she did the only thing she could to survive.

In the moonlight, her foot looked strange pressed up against the car ceiling. She moved her foot in and out of the patch of moonlight, mesmerized by it. The headlining fabric was rough against her bare foot and she vaguely wondered if it would leave a red mark that would match the color of her chipped red toenails.

“Touch yourself,”

She blinked slowly, almost surprised to see Curtis, her ex boyfriend with the trashy taste in bras, huffing and puffing above her. She tried to remember how she had ended up in the backseat of his car with him thrusting away and her mesmerized by her foot.

She had been at a party and he had been there too. She hadn’t seen him since before….everything had gone wrong. He had searched her out with a drink in his hand. A peace offering. The word sorry had tumbled from his lips. I still love you had followed. I’ll never leave you like… There had been an uncomfortable pause. Tess had downed the peace offering and handed the cup back. She forgave him. He was drunk and stupid. She was drunk and desperate for his words to mean something.

Somewhere between the kissing and the groping, she had forgotten to pretend that she cared. She stared up at Curtis, hoping to arousing something other than disgust. The expression on his face was familiar, a mixture of concentration, lust and the aftereffects of whatever he had been drinking. His eyes were closed, but she knew there would be nothing even close to love in them.

“What am I doing?” She murmured softly to herself, shaking her head slowly as her arms came up from her side. She pushed at Curtis, wanting him as far away from her as possible.

“Fuck,” He cursed as his head hit the ceiling of the car where her foot had been. “What the hell are you doing, Tess?”

He started to reach for her, but she had already made it out of the car. She pulled down her skirt, a sense of self loathing overwhelming her.

“Tess?”

She looked across at Curtis, the car a barrier between them. His blue eyes met hers and she saw exactly what she had expected to see. Nothing. It stung a little. She had hoped for the briefest moment that he might be the one to take away the pain and angst that had taken over her life since her dad had gone.

She didn’t say a word to him. There was nothing left to say. She could only run from the deserted parking lot. Her feet pounded the ground hard as she ran from her demons.

The trick was to keep breathing, but sometimes it helped just run.
***
Elvis, her dad’s golden retriever, was waiting in the kitchen for her when she stumbled into the house, legs aching, lungs burning, stomach churning. She fell to her knees in exhaustion, relieved to be home. The kitchen tiles were cool against her sweaty skin and Tess considered passing out right there and then.

The black and white tiles in her bathroom and a bottle of sleeping pills were a fleeting image in her mind as she tried to slow her breathing down. Her heart thumped painfully against her chest, but she didn’t enjoy the sensation like she normally did. Her running hadn’t been for fun or exercise. Not tonight. Tonight it had been to escape.

Elvis whined softly, nuzzling his nose against Tess’s cheek as if to remind her that he was still there, he still loved her. He licked her hand lovingly before trying to move in for the kill. Elvis was famous for his big sloppy dog kisses.

“Eww,” Tess laughed, pushing him away playfully. “Not tonight, buddy. Your breath stinks of dog food.”

Elvis had the good grace to look offend.

“Time for bed,” Tess sighed. She rubbed her hand through her hair and caught the scent of aftershave on her skin. Her stomach started to churn again. She needed to be clean. She needed to pretend that tonight had never happened. “Shower first and then bed.”

Moving down the dark hallway, she tried not to look at the photographs that hung on the walls. It didn’t matter though. She didn’t have to look to know, which photograph was which and what story went with it. She stopped beside one that had been taken shortly after Audrey had been adopted. It was a photo from their first family holiday. They were at the beach and smothered in sun cream lotion. Kit and Audrey were paddling in the water, while a smiling Karen Harding watched anxiously beside them. Tess was in her father’s arms, clinging tightly to him as if she would never let go.

Daddy.

Her eyes blurred with tears that were long overdue, “I wish that I had never let you go,”

“It wasn’t your fault, Tess,” Kit’s said, her tone soothing and soft.

“I know.” She lied.

“Tess…” Kit sighed, but she didn’t push the subject. “I found this in your room.”

Kit stood on the stairs, causally leaning against the banister, a light blue folder in her hands. Tess didn’t have to ask what it was or what was in it. She already knew what it contained. Three names. Michael Guerin, Max Evans and Isabel Evans. All found in the desert like her. It had every scrap of information in it. Newspaper clippings, addresses, phone numbers. It had everything, but the reason why she had been left in the desert, naked and covered in goo.

Her father had put the folder together two years before he had died. When he had been alive, her father had tried to fill in the blanks for her. Just in case one day she wanted to know. He had even developed his own theory about why she had been left that involved a cult, too much pot and Tess’s rare blood disorder.

It had been left in the bottom of Tess’s desk, covered with magazines and other things that she had deemed more important at the time. She hadn’t cared about why she had been left in the desert. If she hadn’t of been then she would never have been found by her father.

It had only been recently that the folder had seen the light of day again.

“What were you doing in my closet?” Tess asked. She wasn’t mad at her sister. They never normally kept anything from each other and she knew that Kit would have found out sooner or later, one way or another. Tess only wished that it had been after she had left for Roswell.

“I was looking for my AC/DC shirt.”

“Audrey has it.”

“She does? She said that you did.”

“She lied.”

“I’ll kick her ass in the morning,” Kit stated firmly before waving the folder in front of Tess’s face. “What is this and why is there a packed bag in your closet?”

“You didn’t read it?” Tess asked, an eyebrow raised.

“Okay, I know what it is and I can probably figure out why there is a packed bag in your closet. You’re going to Roswell to find your biological family.”

“Give the girl a prize.” Tess said dryly. What else was she suppose to do? Deny it?

“What are you going to tell mom?”

Tess shrugged. She had struggled with that question for days. “I don’t know. The truth? I was going to phone once I got there. Look, Kit. This is something I have to do. I have to find them. I mean, they might be related to me. They might be able to…”

“Fill the hole that dad left?”

“No!” Tess moved up the stairs and snatched the folder of off her sister. “Nobody could do that. This is just something that I have to do. Don’t you ever wonder about your real parents…”

“I know who my real parents are. John and Karen Harding! Have you met them?”

“You know what I mean,” Tess whispered as she moved past her sister.

Kit grabbed her wrist. “I know. Its different for me though. My biological mother was a heroin addict and as for the sperm donor, who knows who he was. He was probably as fucked up as her. I don‘t care who gave birth to me. I care about the people who have loved me all these years.”

“I do too!” Tess cried. “I love mom and dad more than anything. I need something right now. I can’t explain it. I just know I’ll find it in Roswell.”

Kit stared her silently for a moment before nodding, “Okay, but you’re not going alone. I’m coming with you.”

“Then you better get packing because we leave tomorrow.”

“Fine,” Kit said. She smiled wickedly at Tess, “One last thing, why is there a strange boy a sleep in your bed?”

***
Tess slipped under the covers and moved closer to Zach. She rested her head against his chest, listening to his heart beat. He was her best friend, her only real friend other than her sisters. The boy next door, who had been there for her since the day she arrived in Omaha. Geeky, smart and funny, Zach was Dawson to her Joey without the drama. They were both happy with just being friends, no matter what Audrey said.

“You shouldn’t go to bed with wet hair. You’re catch a cold. Or wake up with really bad bed hair or something,” Zach murmured sleepily. “I bought you some comic books and DVDs to help with your insomnia.”

“I know. Sorry, I wasn‘t here sooner.”

“You smell nice.” He mumbled, already drifting back to sleep. “Like passion fruit.”

She smiled, “Goodnight, Zach.”
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

~Ruby~
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:13 am

Part 2
Tied together with a smile
Her room was cast in shadow. The angry black clouds in the sky blocking all traces of the sun. From her position on her bed, Tess watched big fat raindrops fall to their demise against the window.

She hugged Flapjack, a stuffed brown and white rabbit that her parents had given to her when she had first came to Omaha, to her chest. He was a childish luxury that she had never been able to part with. When the going got tough out came Flapjack.

“Where were you last night?”

“With Curtis. I had a little too much drink and fell for his pretty words like a fool.” She whispered, her grip tighten on Flapjack. She rolled onto her back and stared up at Zach. There was no trace of disgust in his eyes. Only understanding. She would have preferred disgust. His understanding only made her feel worse. “God, I’m so fucked up.”

“Have you thought about seeing Dr. Heron again?” Zach asked, awkwardly running a hand through his unruly dark hair. She could tell that he was nervous. And worried. He was twitchier than normal. “She seems to be really helping Audrey.”

Tess sighed at the mentioned of Dr. Heron’s name. She was a bubbly, glass half full type of person and worked at the same hospital as her mother. Tess had gone to see her once, but the clichés that had fallen from Dr. Heron’s lips had done little to help her grief. They had worked for Audrey though. She had come out of her session positive and repeating the clichés until Tess had wanted to scream that no, time didn’t heal anything. It just made the pain lessen a little. She hadn’t though. Tess hadn’t wanted to cause her sister anymore pain.

Tess shook her head, “All Dr. Heron is good for is prescribing me fluoxetine, which reminds me, I haven’t taken my happy pills this morning or any of my other pills. I don’t want to join my dad anytime soon.”

“God, Tess…”

She laughed nervously as she got out of the bed, careful not to step on Elvis, who was laying on the floor. On unsteady feet, she crossed the room to her bathroom with Zach and Elvis hot on her heels.

“What? Is it too soon for death related jokes?” Tess asked, looking at him in the mirror. She gave him a weak smile and attempted to change the subject. “You were so right. I shouldn’t have gone to bed with wet hair last night. It looks like a bird’s nest this morning.”

“Don’t change the subject, Tess. We need to talk about all of this.”

“All of this?” Tess raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“The not eating, the excessive drinking, the Prozac popping, this crazy trip to New Mexico…”

“If its crazy, don’t come.”

Zach sighed in frustration, “Of course, I’m coming. You’re my best friend and I love you, man. I would follow you to the other side of the world if you wanted. I just think that you should postpone the trip to New Mexico until you are feeling more yourself again.”

“I’m your only friend.” Tess said, rolling her eyes. And he was her only true friend. He had been the only one to stick around after her dad had died. “If you don’t come to New Mexico then you will be stuck inside with your playstation or out playing golf with your dad.”

“I’m helping you. You’re helping me. That’s what friends do.”

“I’m not postponing the trip.” She stated, yanking a brush through her long blonde hair. She stared at her reflection. The girl that stared back at her was a stranger. It scared Tess more than she cared to admit. Her life seemed to be spiraling out of control and she couldn’t stop it.

“Talk to me, Tess.”

“What do you want me to say?” She asked, swinging around to face him. “Huh, Zach? Tell me what you want to hear!”

“I want to hear that my best friend is going to be okay.” Zach stated, grabbing her hands. He gripped them tightly in his as if the mere contact could save them both from drowning under the weight of the world.

“I don’t know if I can tell you that,” Tess cried, biting her lip to stop the tears from falling. She couldn’t let him see her cry. “I don’t know if I will ever be okay again.”

“Stop shutting me out, Tess. Tell me what is going on in that dizzy blonde head of yours. I can’t help you if you don’t let me in.”

“I’ve been having these dreams…”

“About your dad?”

Tess shook her head slowly, “No, about the desert. They make no sense to me at all, but everything inside of me is saying that I need to go to Roswell. I need to find my real family. Now.”

“That is kinda….”

“Crazy?”

“No, not crazy. Well, yeah, kinda crazy, but if you need to go to Roswell then we will go to Roswell. Today.”

Tess sighed tiredly and hugged Zach tightly, “Thank you.”

“Tess?” Zach asked after a moment of silence.

“Hmm?”

“How screwed up are you going to be when you find out you are related to aliens?”

She rolled her eyes and shoved him away from her, “Hahaha, very funny, Zach. Way to ruin a moment.”
***
“Geek, freak, loser!”

Tess rolled her eyes as her younger sister greeted her, Kit and Zach with her usual charm as they entered the kitchen. Audrey was in her bitchy cheerleader mode, her dark blue and white cheerleading uniform transforming her personality as if by black magic.

“Have Joey and Dawson been making sweet love this morning?” Audrey asked, glaring at Tess and Zach.

“Uh huh,” Zach smirked evilly. “We did it in your bed. Sorry about the stain on your sheets.”

“Oh, that is so disgusting.” Audrey said. Her nose was wrinkled in disgust as Tess and Kit rolled their eyes. The banter between Audrey and Zach was nothing new. It was almost a daily occurrence in the Harding household. “Why is he here?”

“Because I love you and only have eyes for you, Audrey. I’m counting down the days until you turn eighteen so that I can have my wicked way with you. They will be the best three minutes of your life.”

“The legal age in this state is seventeen, dumbass.”

“Excellent.”

“Ugh! You are such a perv! I‘m getting a restraining order.” Audrey promised as she grabbed her pom-poms from the kitchen counter. “This has been a blast, but I have cheerleading practice this morning. Unlike you losers, people actually like me at school.”

“Go Mighty Mustangs! Yay!” Zach shouted mockingly as he thumped the air for effect. “Its not the winning that matters, it is the taking part.”

“Zach, your father only told you that because he wanted you to join the football team.”

Tess felt her heart miss a beat at the sound of her mother’s voice. She swallowed nervously as she looked up and hoped that the fear didn’t show in her eyes. Not that she was scared of her mother. It was impossible to afraid of Karen Harding. Tess was afraid of hurting her feelings though. And selfishly, she knew it was something she was about to do.

“Oooh, ouch, Mrs. H. That really hurts!” Zach stated, clutching his chest. “I’ll forgive you though since you’re totally hot. Have I ever mentioned that you remind me of a young Catherine Deneuve? All you need is that sexy French accent and…”

Tess punch Zach in the arm. “Dude, stop! Audrey is one thing, but my mother? No!”

“Is it my fault that your mom is a M.I.L.T.F?”

The sisters groaned in disgust while their mother looked bemused. For once, Tess was relieved that her mother worked long hours at the hospital and was unable to keep up with the latest and ridiculous Hollywood lingo. It was a shame that the same couldn’t be said about Zach.

“Please leave before I do some seriously damage to your person.” Tess ordered with a glare for her childhood friend.

“Fine, I need to pack my toothbrush and cookies for the trip anyway.”

“Trip?” Karen arched her eyebrows in interest. “What trip?”

Zach glance nervously between Tess and Karen as he edged his way towards the back door and his freedom. “Yeah, this is my cue to leave.”

“Why are you friends with him again?” Kit asked, mimicking her mother’s arched eyebrows.

Tess shook her head as she watched Zach disappear into his own backyard. “I really don’t know.”
***
“I hoped this day would never come,” Her mother said with a sad smile. She touched her cheek and Tess leaned into the simple caress. “I don’t want you to go. Is there anything I can say to change your mind?”

Tess bit her lip, afraid of what she might confess. Slowly shaking her head, she prayed that her mother would understand.

“You’ve always been so stubborn. You get that from your father. I wish he was here right now. He would know what to say to you. You were always his little princess." She attempted to smile. "Just promise me that you’re be safe and come back home when you’re ready. I…I don’t want to lose you, Tess. I can‘t.”

“That will never happen, Mom.” Tess stated fiercely. She hugged her mom tightly. “I love you. I know I don’t say it enough, but I really do. You’re my mom. Nothing is going to change that.”

“Sweetheart…” Her sentence was interrupted by the shrill sound of her pager. Her mother quickly checked the pager before sighing in annoyance. “God, I have to go. I wish I didn’t…”

“But duty calls.” Tess smiled. “Go, be super doctor. I’ll call you tonight, okay?”

“Make sure you do. Be safe! Don‘t speak to strangers or let Zach drive. Seriously, don‘t let Zach drive! Oh and don‘t forget to take your medication. And don‘t be afraid to call home if you need anything. Money, a sensible word, anything.” She pressed a quick kiss to her forehead. “I love you, Tessie. I’ll see you later.”

Tess watched her mother go and knew that things would never be the same again
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sat May 03, 2008 6:39 am, edited 3 times in total.

~Ruby~
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:12 am

Author's notes: No sign of any of the Roswell gang in this chapter, but I promise that one or two of them pop up in the next chapter so stick with the story. :)
Part 3
Tumble Down The Rabbit Hole
“I spy with my little eye something beginning with S.”

“Sand.”

“Nope.”

“Are you sure?” Tess asked. She raised an eyebrow as she glanced at him. “Because its been sand the last four times.”

“That’s because we in the desert. There’s nothing, but sand, rocks, sand and more sand.” His dirty converse covered feet were pressed up against Tess’s immaculately clean dashboard and he slouched in the passenger seat. He tapped his hands against his legs, matching the rhythm of the music that filled the SUV. “Why couldn’t you have been left somewhere cool? Like the streets of New York! How awesome would a trip to New York have been?”

“Shut up, Zach. Otherwise I won’t be accountable for my actions.” Kit groaned from the backseat. Her voice was filled with sleep as she nudge the back of his seat with her foot and said, “Are we there yet? This has been the longest road trip ever!”

“Not much longer,” Tess stated with a thin smile. Her hands clutched the steering wheel until her knuckles were white. She sat rigidly in her seat. She hadn’t slept well the night before in the motel, knowing that she would be at her destination sooner rather than later. “Ten more minutes, fifteen at most.”

“What’s the plan when we get there?” Kit asked, leaning forward to steal some of Zach’s chips.

“Alien hunting?”

“Shut up, Zach!” The sisters ordered simultaneously.

“What? As if there’s going to be anything else fun to do.”

“I thought that we would check in to a motel and get some rest.” Tess said, ignoring Zach’s comment. “And then tomorrow…”

“We go alien hunting!”

“…I’ll start searching for them. It is a small town. I don’t think it should be too hard unless they’ve moved away. Then we will be kinda screwed.”

“Two words for you. Alien. Hunting. I’ll telling you, if we discover some aliens we could shed our trust fund babies labels and become known as kick ass alien hunters. There will be comic books, films and maybe even some action figures.” Zach smiled dreamily as he became absorbed in his fantasy. “I’ll have groupies. Beautiful groupies who want to fulfill my every whim.”

“Zach, this is serious!” Kit stated, whacking him on the back of the head. “You do realize that this is going to change Tess’s life forever. It is a huge step searching for your birth parents. And meeting them is even bigger. Nothing will be the same again.”

“Nothing will be the same again,” Tess repeated in a murmur. Hearing the words out loud was a lot different from thinking them. Thinking them had been scary enough, but hearing them fall from Kit’s lips was terrifying.

There had already been so much change in her life. She wondered if she could handle anymore. If she was honest, she hadn’t planned or thought about the trip at all. She had followed her instincts. The very instincts that had gotten her into trouble before. Only this time her father wasn’t going to be able to save her.

“Welcome to Roswell, dairy capital of the southwest.” Zach read the sign in front of them. “I can barely control my excitement.”

As they past the sign, into Roswell, Tess knew there was no turning back.

***
“Did you know that we are only a short ten miles from the original UFO crash site?”

“God, you’re obsessed!” Tess muttered as she looked around the motel room. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. For a moment, her worries were forgotten. “I can’t believe that this is the best room they had.”

Kit screeched, “Oh my God, is that a cockroach?”

The threesome reacted almost as if they were one person, jumping onto the queen size bed that was in the middle of the room. They clung onto each other, peering over to see if they could see the cockroach.

“Tess, do something, kill it!” Zach ordered, giving her a shove. “Kill it!”

“You’re the man, you kill it!” Tess said, shoving him back. “You’re 5 foot 11 of skinny Jewish boy muscle. I’m pretty sure you could take on a cockroach.”

“It has wings and creepy little legs” Zach pointed out with a shudder. “Okay, so we’ll just stay here until it leaves and then we will sleep in the car!”

“So, we‘ll just wait. We are totally safe here on the bed as long as we keep watch.” Kit nodded. She slumped down on the bed and leaned against the headboard. “You know, as long as we pretend not to notice the stains on these sheets.”

“Run for it?”

“Run for it!”
***
“I feel like my heart is going to burst through my ribcage, its beating that fast.” Tess whispered as she stared up at the stars. The threesome had abandoned the car for the quiet tranquility of an empty park. They laid on the grass, side by side, looking up at the night sky. “What if this was a mistake? A huge mistake!”

“Then you’ll learn from it,” Kit said softly. She reached for Tess’s hand and squeezed it tightly. “And you’re go on with your life. You’re a survivor, Tess. All us Hardings are. There’s nothing we can’t do as long as we are together.”

“What about me?”

Kit rolled her eyes, “There’s nothing we can’t do as long as we are together and Zach is tagging along.”

“Thank you.”

“What I am trying to say, Tess, is that no matter how wonderful or horrible this experience is for you, you will always be my little sister. Finding these people doesn’t change who you are. You’re Tess Harding, okay? Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground and everything will be okay.”

“Everything will be okay,” Tess repeated, holding the words to her heart. She hoped that her sister was right.
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun May 04, 2008 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

~Ruby~
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:56 am

Author's notes: It Monday again and that means an update. Enjoy! :)
Part 4
This is where the road crashed into the ocean
There are moments that will define someone’s life forever. Sometimes you are completely unaware about the impact that moment is going to have on your life. But then sometimes, you just know. You know that nothing will ever be the same again. Tess Harding knew that she was about to experience one of those moments for herself in a matter of minutes.

“This is it. 7637 Newton Avenue.” Kit stated casually as if she was mentioning some as unimportant as the weather. “How you feeling? Getting any good vibrations?”

“I feel like I am going to throw up.” She said, nervously running a hand through her hair. “But that’s normal, right? This churning feeling in my stomach. Its just nerves. Right?”

“Maybe its hunger. You know, we could always head back to the little café where we left Zach. Hopefully, he hasn’t already eaten all the food. You might feel better once you’ve eaten.”

“Or maybe it will actually make me throw up.”

“Okay, so we will skip the food until you’re done here. I am not that hunger anyway. I’ll just snack on these…” She paused as she rummaged through her purse. “On this mint. Mmm, delicious. Minty fresh. So, are you ready? Do you want me to come with you?”

“No, its okay. I think this is one of those things I have to do by myself.” Tess murmured with a apologetic smile. She checked what she could see of herself in the small mirror. “Do I look okay?”

“You look totally hot. Make sure to mention that you think you might be their sister before one of them hits on you. Otherwise, awkward!”

Tess laughed and leaned across to hug her sister, “Thank you! You always know what to say to make me feel better. I knew there was a reason why I bought you along.” She kissed her cheek. “Wish me luck?”

“You won’t need it,”
***
Tess clutched the light blue folder that her father had left her tightly to her chest as she walked up the path towards the Evans’ house. The folder didn’t only contain information about the Evans and Michael Guerin. Her father had included a copy of her adoption certificate, information about her blood disorder and every other piece of information that he had deemed important. Be prepared. That had been his motto ever since he had been a boy scout.

She reached the door and hesitated for the briefest moment before she shoved all her doubts to the back of her mind. She knocked the door, took a step back and waited. After a minute that had felt like forever, the door opened.

The dark-haired boy who stood before her, hardly resembled the black and white photo from the newspaper clipping, but she knew it was him. She felt it in her bones. He was family. She smiled nervously and wondered if he was feeling the same way. Did he somehow recognize her? He hadn‘t said a word, he hadn‘t even moved a muscle since opening the door.

“Hi, I am…”

“Ava!” He growled, moving forward and roughly grabbing her arm.

She attempted to pull her arm free from his grip, but his grasp tightened painfully and he shook her roughly. The blue folder slipped out of her hands as she stared up into his eyes. His eyes were filled with something that could only be described as hatred. She opened her mouth to order him to let her go, but she didn’t have a chance. Words poured out of his mouth vehemently.

“You bitch, where is he, Ava? Where is my son? Where is he?” He shook her hard as if he was trying to shake the answers out of her. “What have you done with him?”

“I don’t know who you think I am, but I am not her. My name is Tess Harding. I’ve never met you before in my life. Please, let me go.” She prayed that he would see sense.

“Ha! Do you really expect me to believe that?” He sneered. He started to pull her towards the house. “I should kill you now for what you’ve put us through. Its no less than you deserve.”

Fear clutched at her heart at the word kill. She couldn’t believe what was happening to her, but there was no way she was going to stand for it. She struggled against his grip, opening her mouth to scream for Kit, but as always Kit was one step ahead of her.

“Hey! Get off my sister!”

Caught by surprise by Kit’s sudden appearance, his grip loosened enough for Tess to push him backwards. He tried to grab her again, but this time Tess was prepared. She kicked him as hard as possible just like her daddy had taught her.

“Fuck!” He fell to the floor, cupping his manhood. She hoped that she had done some serious damage.

“Let’s get out of here!” Kit ordered, grabbing Tess’s hand.

They ran towards the car as fast as they could. Never looking back. They had both watched too many horror movies. They knew what happened if you looked back and it wasn’t pretty.

“What the hell just happened?” Kit shouted when they were in the safety of the locked car and driving away from 7637 Newton Avenue and the boy laying on the ground in pain.

“I don’t know. I don’t know!” Tess cried, clutching the steering wheel. “Oh my God, thank God, you were there. I thought he was going to kill me. I didn’t even get a chance to say anything. He kept calling me Ava. I don’t know what happened.”

“All I know is that we better get Zach and then get out of this town! Agreed?”

“Hell yes!”
***
Zach was exactly where they had left him, sat in one of The Crashdown’s booths, stuffing his face with fries and chocolate ice cream. It was a disgusting sight, but one that Tess had never been so happy to see before. She rushed toward his booth, flinging her arms around him.

“Hey! What’s wrong?” Zach asked, shocked by the sudden display of affection. He pulled away from her and scanned her face. He frowned with concern and a hint of anger when he saw the red finger marks that marred the skin of her arms. “What happened, Tess?”

“It was awful, Zach.” She cried, her eyes filling with tears that she refused to cry. “I don’t know what happened or why it happened. I just want to go home. This has been the worse idea that I‘ve ever had!”

“Calm down, tell me what happened. I can fix it. I swear.”

“You can’t. I wish you could.” Tess said, laughing sadly. “You know, I wasn’t expecting hugs and kisses. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know it wasn’t what happened. He kept calling me Ava. Ava, Ava, Ava!”

At the sound of plates shattering, Tess glanced over her shoulder. A pretty blonde waitress stood, frozen to the spot. Her eyes were wide with horror as she whispered, “Ava,”

“We have to leave!” Tess stated, grabbing hold of Zach’s arm. Panic coursed through her veins as she staggered out of the booth, clutching Zach‘s arm for support. “Kit…”

“Already ahead of you, sweetie.” Kit jingled the car keys.

They moved quickly towards the door as the blonde waitress remained staring at them in terror. Much to Tess’s relief, the waitress didn’t make any move to stop their exit.

“Oh shit,”

At Kit’s curse, Tess tore her eyes away from the waitress to the look at the boy who blocked the doorway. Tess cursed. She knew she should have kicked him harder.

“You’re not going anywhere!” He said, his voice was surprisingly calm, but nevertheless a chill still ran down Tess’s spine. He waved the blue folder in air. “Not until we’ve got some answers.”
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun May 04, 2008 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

~Ruby~
Obsessed Roswellian
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:34 pm

Author's notes Part 6 will be posted on Monday the 3rd of the September.

Thank you for the feedback, Flamehair, and congrats on the baby. I hope that you and he are both doing well. :)
Part 5
I call for the witness, present the facts right down to the little things


The greasy chef, the blonde waitress and the jerk. It could have been the title of an exceedingly bad movie. Instead, it aptly described their captors. Captors! Tess almost snorted in bitter amusement. She had came to Roswell searching for answers and gotten shoved into the backroom of an alien themed café instead.

“Explain this,” Max Evans, the guy that Tess really hoped wasn’t related to her, ordered. His tone of voice demanded obedience and it obviously wasn’t the first time he had used the tone. He dropped the folder down on the coffee table in front of Tess, Zach and Kit, and stared at them expectedly. His eyes, Tess noticed, were no longer filled with the cold hatred of their first meeting. Instead of the hatred there was confusion and distrust.

“Explain what?” Tess asked, purposely being difficult. She proudly raised her head and stared him directly in the eyes. She refused to be intimidated by him or his friends again. Grabbing the folder, she began to tear out the pages and throw them in his direction, “I thought these pretty much explained themselves, but let’s see, what do we have here that‘s so confusing? Adoption certificate, medical history, social security number. It all seems pretty simple to me.”

“Ava…” The greasy chef growled. He started to advance towards her, but Max blocked his way.

“My name is Tess. Tess Harding! I don‘t know who this Ava chick is or what the hell she did to you people, but I am not her.” She raised to her feet and glared at the trio angrily. “You know, I came to this Godforsaken town looking for you because I thought that we might be related. I thought that…” She shook her head in disbelief, unable to form the words to voice what she had stupidly thought would happen when she found them. It was such a far cry from what had happened that it seemed ridiculous to even mention it. “You know, it doesn’t matter what I thought. What matters is that I‘ve had enough of being accused of being someone I am not.”

“You’re really not her,” Max murmured. He seemed convinced. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for his friends.

“Max, don’t be stupid. Of course, its her. She‘s may not be dressed like the punk rock slut that you were oh too familiar with, but its still her.” The blonde waitress finally spoke. Her words were dripped with venom as she glowered at Tess. “Just because someone did a Eliza Doolittle number on her, doesn’t mean that it isn’t her.”

Kit snorted, unable to hide her amusement any longer, “This is screwed up. Eliza Doolittle? You obviously have no idea who my sister is.”

“Back at the house, I got some flashes from her…”

“They must have been a mind warp. This all has to be mind warp, Max. It has to be.”

“Flashes? Mind warp? The only thing warped here is you three. Seriously, is there something in the water?”

“Oh, don’t your little friends know about your secret?” The waitress sneered.

“I have no secrets from them.” Tess stated, glancing down at the waitress‘s name tag. “I have no secrets from them at all, Maria.”

It was only a small white lie. She did have a small secret. One that she would never willingly confess to anyone especially Kit and Zach. It was important to her survival that they never found out.

“Well, she has no secrets from me.” Kit said with a wicked grin, which was totally out of place considering the situation they were in. “Zach, you are totally going to freak out when you find out what is it.”

The blood had drained from Tess’s face. She had thought that she had kept her secret so well hidden. She had gone to almost painful lengths to make sure that no one ever found out. “How did you find out?”

“I read your diary. Oh, don’t look at me like that. I was ten!”

“What’s the secret?” Zach asked, eyebrows raised in interest. Max Evans and his friends were forgotten for the moment.

“Do you remember Mr. Anderson?”

“Our third grade teacher?” He frowned and Tess groaned. Her humiliating secret was going to be uncovered. Her life was over.

“Kit! No!” She pleaded. She gave her sister her best puppy dog begging look and hoped that it had the same effect on her sister as it did with their mother. Kit’s grin reached all new levels of wickedness. Tess wondered if she was wearing Audrey’s cheerleading uniform under her clothes.

“Well, someone in this room wanted to marry him and live happily ever after. She even sent him a valentine’s card.”

Tess blushed with shame as Zach started laughing. She tried to defend herself. “I was eight.”

“And he was like sixty! Seriously? Mr. Anderson?” Tears streamed down his face as he continued to laugh. He tried to speak, but all that came out was choked laughter.

“Zach, will you stop? Its not that funny. He was a young sixty and its not like I was attracted to him. He was…oh why am I even explaining myself to you.” Tess growled, punching him hard in the arm. Much to Tess‘s distress, not even violence could prevent Zach‘s amusement. Her only hope was that he choked to death on his laughter. It would serve him right. “Seriously! Shut up. Its not funny.”

“It is kind of funny,” The chef, Tess still didn’t know his name, smirked while Maria rolled her eyes.

Crossing her arms across her chest, Tess glared at Max. “Fine, I now officially have no secrets from them.”

“So, they know that you’re….different?” He said, looking anxiously between the trio of newcomers. “From other people ?”

“Different? Are you referring to my blood disorder?”

He nodded slightly at the mention of her blood disorder, “You’re the fourth.”

“Fourth what? Fourth girl to kick you in the nuts because you’re a jerk or fourth girl not to have a clue as to what you are going on about?”

“I’d go with the second one.” Zach, ever so helpfully, said.

“I don’t know. The first one seems probable.”

Max ignored Kit and Zach’s input and remained focused on Tess. He tried a different approach much to Tess’s baffled amusement. “You’re not from around here.”

“Well, duh.” Tess rolled her eyes. The conversation was getting weirder and weirder by the second. “I’m from Omaha, Nebraska.”

“What? It worked the last time I was in this situation.” Max said with a helpless look at his friends.

“What are you trying to tell me?” Tess asked bluntly. Her head was beginning to hurt. Max Evans was one of the most confusion people that she had ever met. One minute he was attacking her, the next he was speaking in some nonsense code. “Are you on drugs? My mom is chief resident at the best hospital in Nebraska. She could probably recommend someone to help you with your…problem.”

“I’m not on drugs.”

“Shame. It would have explained so much.” Kit murmured causing the chef to snigger.

“So, what are you trying to say?”

“I think, Tess, that’s he trying to tell you that you are an alien!” Zach snorted, seizing the chance to make an alien comment.

“Exactly!” Maria said, throwing her hands up in relief. She continued to babble in a whisper. “I’m glad that someone said it. I don’t know how much more of Max’s subtlety I could have taken. You‘re an alien. Probably an evil alien. And they…” She pointed at Max and his chef buddy. “Are aliens too. Or Czechoslovakians as we humans fondly call them.”

Tess stared at Maria in stunned horror. She couldn’t even begin to form words that would rightly express her distress. Luckily, she could always count on Kit to speak for her.

“What is wrong with you people?” Kit asked, fiercely. “Do you think this is some sort of joke? My sister came here for answers, not some sick and cruel joke. Zach, did you have something to do with this?”

“What? No!”

“This isn’t a joke.” Max said calmly. “Our shipped crashed in 1947. We hatched out of our pods in 1986.”

“Hatched?” Tess choked on the word.

“We are not listening to another word of this crap!” Kit hissed. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Tess, Zach, I think we’ve heard enough. We are leaving.”

“Wait!” The chef ordered. He took a step forward, but Max prevented him from going any further.

“Let them go,” Tess heard him say as Kit dragged her out of the backroom.

Deep down she knew that she hadn’t seen the last of Max Evans and his friends.
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun May 04, 2008 11:51 am, edited 5 times in total.

~Ruby~
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:34 am

Author's notes: Lillie, Flamehair and Tears_of_Mercury: Thank you all for the lovely feedback. It means a lot to me that you are reading and enjoying my story.

Part 6
So, You Think I Am An Alien
Her heart pounded hard against her rib cage, making it almost impossible to breathe. She tried to calm herself, but she grew more and more nervous as she walked up towards the house. It was gone midnight and the only sounds that could be heard were her footsteps on the gravel path. She wasn’t quite sure what had possessed her to sneak away from Kit and Zach or how she had ended up outside the Evans’ house. Her sweaty palms indicated that it was a mistake, but her heart demanded answers.

She knocked the door. This time with none of the hesitation that she had displayed that morning. She didn’t take a step back, she didn’t move a single muscle as she waited. She didn’t have to wait long. Max, dressed in pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, opened the door. He didn’t say anything. He just looked at her expectedly as if he had been waiting for her to appear on his doorstep late at night.

“Isn’t this about the time that you attack me?” Tess asked, coldly raising a blonde eyebrow.

Max had the good grace to look embarrassed, “About this morning, I am sorry. If you will give me a chance to explain…”

“That’s what this is. Me standing here is your chance, your only chance to explain what the hell you were going on about today. I came to Roswell looking for some form of answers and I won’t go home without them.”

Had Kit been there, she would have recognized the stubborn tilt of her sister’s chin and the determination that shone in her blue eyes. Sadly, only Max Evans was there and he didn’t know that he should fear the expression on the petite blonde’s face. He wouldn’t know until it was too late.

He nodded and moved aside so that Tess could enter the house. For a moment her determination disappeared and she was back to hesitating. She pushed the fear away. Tomorrow she would worry about the consequences of her actions.

“I have mace, just so you know.” She stated calmly as she moved past him. “And I know how to use it.”

He nodded again and silently led the way to the family room. Tess took a moment to look around the room, taking note of the happy family photos that hung on the wall. They looked like a happy family. A normal happy family. Looks could be deceiving though. Tess had learnt that the hard way with Curtis.

“Please make yourself comfortable,” He said, awkwardly gesturing towards the couch. “Can I get you anything? Water? Soda?”

“I am fine,” Tess said, sitting down in the nearest chair. “Let’s just cut to the chase. I don’t have all night. Kit and Zach will notice that I am gone soon and I don’t want them to worry too much. So, you think I am an alien.”

“I don’t think you are. I know!” He reached for a small box that Tess hadn’t noticed was resting on the coffee table. Beside it was her blue folder. It was no longer in the miserable state that she had left it. The pages had, by magic, been fixed back together. Even the chocolate stain courtesy of Zach had been removed from the front over. Before she could comment on the folder, he handed her a photo. At first, she failed to see the importance of the photo and she started to open her mouth to ask why he had given her a random photograph of a bunch of strangers when a girl with pink hair and piercings caught her eye.

“Oh my God,” She stared wide-eyed at the photograph. “Is this…?”

“Ava.”

She stared speechlessly at the girl with the lip ring. Ava was almost identical to her. If it wasn’t for the hair and piercings there would be no almost about.

“My sister?” She whispered softly. “My twin sister.”

“I’ll explain about Ava later. I just wanted to show you that so that you know that I am not crazy and that I am not lying to you. I guess I should start at the beginning.” He took a deep breath and then begin his story. “In 1947, a ship crashed outside of Roswell. Our ship.”
***
She paced up and down, running a hand through her hair every now and then in a poor attempt to calm herself. The clock read 2.30am. Max had been talking for two and a half hours, and it seemed like he was planning on talking for another two and half hours.

“This is all crazy. I know that I promised not to use that word again, but it kind of fits the situation.” She muttered.

“Its all true.”

She pulled up her shirt, exposing her stomach. “You see this, this is a belly button, which suggests that at one stage I was attached by a umbilical cord to my birth mother therefore I was not hatched. The belly button proves that. Things that are hatched do not have belly buttons. Ooooh, and here’s another thing, these <I>magic</I> powers that you mentioned, I don’t have any.”

“They aren‘t magic powers,” He said, rolling his eyes. “I studied your folder, in particular your medical history. I think the reason why your powers haven’t surfaced is because of the pills that you take to control your supposed blood disorder. One of the ingredients is the same as what we found in my system once I escaped from the white room. It blocked my powers and it is blocking your powers now. Once you stop taking the pills then your powers should start to surface.”

“Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!”

“Why would I lie to you?”

“I don’t know. I really don’t know, but what you’re saying doesn’t make sense. I mean, there is no way that I am an alien. I am normal. Super normal. Its actually quite freakish how normal I am. Nothing in my life has ever been out of the ordinary. I had the perfect childhood, I was an A straight student in high school. I was even valedictorian. I have a dog called Elvis. For Christ’s sake, I am Jewish! I cannot be… an alien. Its just not possible.”

She began to pace again. Her movements were almost frantic and reminded Max of a caged animal. Her eyes also had that same wild look.

“I was seven years old when I saw my first alien movie. Zach had stolen a bunch of horror movies from his babysitter and insisted that we watch them together to prove to Kit what grown ups we were. I had nightmares for weeks until my dad told me that aliens didn’t exist. My dad wouldn‘t lie to me.” She whispered the last sentence with such conviction that Max pitied her.

“Let me show you,” He said. He slowly step towards her and reached for her hand. Her pacing stopped, but the wild look still shone from her eyes.

She frowned, “Show me? How can you…”

Her sentence trailed off as the room filled with green light, light that was coming from Max Evans’s hand. It was physically impossible and for a moment, she wondered if she was dreaming.

“That’s not all I can do. Watch this.” He said with a shy smile. Picking up a glass, he concentrated on it for a moment and before her eyes it turned into a glass rose.

“Oh my God, you’re a….you’re an alien,”

“And so are you.”

And with that for the first time in her life, Tess Harding fainted.
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun May 04, 2008 11:52 am, edited 3 times in total.

~Ruby~
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 799
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Post by ~Ruby~ » Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:06 pm

Author's notes: Gah, I'm so sorry that I disappeared. I'm so mad at myself for leaving this story for so long, but I'm back now and hope to make it up to you.

Tears_of_Mercury: Thank you so much for your feedback. I really can't say how happy I am that you like Kit and Zach. I can promise you that Max and Tess will never ever get together in this story. Liz, Isabel and Kyle will all be appearing in the story soon. Hope that you'll keep reading. :)

Flamehair: Thank you as always for your feedback. It really means a lot.

kittens: Who said that it was Tess's mother that said she had a blood disorder?

Everyone else, thank you for the feedback. I hope that you will stick around for more. :)
Part 7
The Loneliest Girl in The World
Time had stopped for Tess Harding. A bombshell, the second in two months, had destroyed what was left of her world. It had come out of nowhere and forced her to see things that she hadn’t wanted to see. Her whole life had been a lie and not the typical ‘oh my God, I’m adopted’ lie either. No, it was so much worse then that. Her parents had lied about her origins.

She sat silently in the Evans’ living room, her hands covering her face as Max’s words echoed continuously in her head.

“Tess?” His voice was concerned. “I know this has to be a shock for you, but you’re not alone.”

She scoffed at his words, “You see that folder, it was filled with lies. I don’t have a blood disorder. My mother…” She nearly choked on the word. “She is one of the best doctors in Nebraska. She can tell the difference between abnormal blood cells and frinkin’ alien cells. I mean, its not an easy mistake to make, right? If your friend Liz could tell then so could she. So, that means she knew exactly what I am and he…” Her heart ached. “He…must have known too because they never kept anything from each other.”

Her whole life had been built on lies and now everything was falling apart. Her memories of happier times with her parents were now tainted with deceit.

“Are you sure you don’t remember anything about being found?”

“No!” She cried violently. She couldn’t remember being found or what had happened during those first couple of months in Nebraska. Her parents had told her it was probably stress related so she had relied on their versions of what had happened and the newspaper articles that her folder had contained. Only there had never been any newspapers articles about her being found in the desert or police records or anything to link her to Roswell. “I don’t remember anything. I wish I did.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

He shrugged, “Everything. Nothing. I don’t know. It seemed like the right thing to say.”

She snorted in bitter amusement, “Yeah, well I’m sorry too. Coming to Roswell for the biggest mistake I ever made. I was so much happier in oblivion.”

“But now you know who you are,”

“No, I don’t. I knew who I was before I came here. I was Tess Harding, a straight A student from Nebraska with a bright and shiny future ahead of her. I was the middle child of John and Karen Harding, little sister to Kit and big sister to Audrey. I had faith. After everything that had happened, I still had faith. Now I don’t even have that. I am nothing.” She choked back a sob and covered her face again. “Oh God, what am I going to do?”

His arms surrounded her then, offering her comfort. It was awkward and stiff. For him because of his history with Ava. His soft words of reassurance sounded empty. She understood to a certain extent. Ava had killed one of his closest friends and disappeared with his child. It was bound to be awkward. She wasn’t Ava though. She wondered if Max and his friends would ever be able to see that.

For Tess, it was awkward for a whole different reason. She longed for Zach. For his easy smile and goofy jokes. She wanted him, not a stranger and that the end of the day that was exactly what Max Evans was. A stranger.

“I am sorry.” She mumbled, pulling back. She brushed away the tears, hating the feel of them on her skin.

“Its okay. Its understandable after everything you‘ve been through.”

“Understandable. Yeah, I guess.” She muttered, deciding that that was probably the understatement of the year.

“We should discuss you coming off your medication and arrange a time for you to meet the others. They’ll want to meet you.”

It was a lie and Tess saw through it straight away. She knew that his friends wouldn’t want anything to do with her, the Ava clone. They’d probably sooner run her out of town.

“Your powers…”

“Tomorrow. We can talk about it tomorrow.” She said quickly. She needed to get away from Max. She needed time by herself to think, to process everything that had happened.

He nodded, his eyes filling with understanding. “Tomorrow.”

And before he could say anything else, Tess made her escape.

***
“Tess?” Zach’s voice was soft, barely a whisper, as if he was scared he might wake her even though that was his sole intention. She felt him shift closer until his breath tickled the back of her neck. “Do you want to talk about it?”

That question had been the giant pink elephant in the room since she had arrived back to the bed and breakfast. Zach had been waiting for her, ready to give comfort and support. She hadn’t wanted either.

Emotionally, physically and mentally drained, Tess had silently climbed into bed, pulling the covers over her head. All she wanted was the blissful darkness of sleep so that for a couple of hours she could pretend that everything in her life was still okay.

“No,” Her response, swift and firm, left no room for discussion. It would be impossible for her to find the words to accurately explain what she had discovered from Max. She shifted away from him and hugged her pillow to her chest. “I want to go to sleep, okay?”

“Tess…” Zach started, concerned by the coldness in her voice. He started to reach for her hand.

“Can you stay in your room tonight?” She asked before he could touch her. She knew that it would be her downfall. “I want to be alone tonight.”

The moment she said, she wished that she could take it back. The look of hurt and rejection on Zach’s face broke her heart. She hadn’t meant to hurt him. Not him. He was her best friend. She just couldn’t deal with anyone or anything. She started to apologize, but it was too late. Without a word, he had left the room.

She closed her eyes. Finally alone, Tess waited for the relief to wash over her. It never did. Instead, she felt like the loneliest girl in the world.
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun May 04, 2008 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

~Ruby~
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 799
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2002 12:13 pm
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Contact:

Post by ~Ruby~ » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:24 pm

Author's note: I can't believe its been a month already. I know I said I'd be back sooner, but you, guys, would not believe what sort of month I've had. My grandmother broke both of her wrists and since she lives alone, I'm staying with her. I have no internet, no computer, no access to the outside world. Le sigh.

Anyway, here's something I threw together so that I could update. Chapter Nine involves the meeting of all the Roswell gang and Tess (and Zach). Hopefully, I'll be able to get it up before the New Year.

Anyway, thank you for the awesome feedback. Enjoy this part. Or else. LOL.

*hugs*

Ruby

xoxo
Part 8
Down the Rabbit Hole
Somewhere a clock was ticking. Seconds became minutes and minutes became hours. Normally, she would have found the constant ticking sound irritating. She hated how everything kept moving forward while she remained motionless, unable to do anything, but drift through life. Today, however, she had welcomed the sound. It meant that she was one step closer to death. It was a morbid thought and yet it comforted her.

“Dude, you are one step away from becoming a tragic chick flick heroine. All you need is a thunderstorm and some overrated blonde singing a woe is me theme tune.”

“Go away, Kit.”

“No. Unlike Zach, I refuse to take any of your crap so get up, get dressed and tell me what happened last night. You can chose which story you want to tell me first. The one where you crept away to meet that Max or the one where you upset Zach. I’m ready to listen to both so I don’t mind which order.”

Tess rolled over, giving Kit her back to talk to. She wasn’t in the mood to deal with Kit. “Go away, Kit.”

“Fine, we will do this the hard way.” Kit stated, dragging the quilt from the bed. She dumped it on the floor at her feet and smiled smugly at Tess. “Are you ready to get up yet?”

Tess glared at her sister angrily. She reached for the quilt, but Kit kicked it out of her reach. Tess flung herself back onto the bed and glared up at the ceiling. “Why can’t you leave me alone?”

“Because you don’t need to be left alone right now.” Kit said, the smug smile still firmly on her lips. “You need an ass kicking!”

Tess gritted her teeth, “Seriously, Kit, go away!”

“No.” Kit said firmly, a stubborn light glittering in her eyes. She grabbed Tess’s arms and roughly pulled her off the bed. Her eyes narrowed as Tess made it as hard as possible. “I’m doing this for your own good! I am your sister…”

“You have no idea what I need or want, okay?”

“Then tell me. Talk to me, Tess.” She gripped Tess’s hands as she spoke and there was a note of desperation in her voice. Almost as if she knew that what had happened the night before could cause a rift in their relationship.

Tess turned away from her sister, “I can’t.”

“Then talk to Zach. Please. Let one of us in.”

Tess closed her eyes as Kit left the room and another piece of her world crumbled away.
***

She found him, her knight in black converses and faded blue jeans, sat on the porch, reading a comic book. He glanced briefly in her direction, a guarded look in his brown eyes, before focusing his attention back to his comic book. His left foot twitched, a small sign that he wasn’t able to focus all of his attention on the comic book.

She sat down beside him, “I am sorry about last night.”

“Its fine,”

“No, its not. Zach, I hate keeping secrets from you…”

“Then why do it?” He asked through clenched teeth. His eyes remained glue on the comic in his lap and his foot continued to twitch every couple of seconds. His pent up frustration escaping with every tap of his foot against the porch rail.

“Because I’m scared. I want to tell you everything that Max told me last night. Every single word. But I am so scared.” She admitted.

The comic book fell to the floor as Zach turned to face her. “Scared of what?”

“Of losing you.” It was spoken in a whisper. “I’ve already lost so much. I couldn’t bear…”

“Tess, what is it? You’re staring to scare me!” He gripped her hand in both of his tightly.

“This isn’t normal secret material.” She warned, giving him a chance to run. A chance she wished she had taken. “I’m basically putting my life in your hands. And I guess, if everything Max told me was true, then your doing the same.”

“Tell me,”

She started from the beginning and nearly repeated word for word what Max had told her. Zach displayed an array of reactions and emotions. He had laughed the first time the word alien had been mentioned. His humor had soon faded to disbelief and finally concern. There was no repulsion. He didn’t pull away from her as she had feared he might.

“This is so crazy!” Zach said for the hundredth time. He shook his head, trying to make sense of what he had been told. “What did Kit say when you told her?”

“I haven’t told her and I’m not sure if I can.” Tess said, unable to believe she had said the words. “I can’t risk her telling tales to mom. Nothing my parents told me was true and…”

“Tess, you need to talk to your mom. If she knew all this, why didn’t she stop you coming to Roswell? Why did your dad put together that folder for you? Don‘t let this ruin your relationship with your family.”

“That folder was all lies.” She said, focusing on that instead of the valid point that Zach had made. If her mother had known about her alien roots, then surely she wouldn’t have let her come to Roswell. “I was never found in the desert. There were never any newspapers articles about me being found in the desert or police records. I can’t trust anything they said.” She ran a hand through her hand. “Look, can we forget about my parents and Kit for a moment and focus on the matter in hand.”

“My best friend is an alien. So much suddenly makes sense. Is that the matter you are referring to?”

She rolled her eyes and smiled her first real smile since discovering the truth. “Shut up, Zach.”

“I guess I‘ll have to give up my dreams of becoming a badass alien hunter. Goodbye comic books, action figures.” He sighed overdramatically and pretended to wipe a tear from his eye. “Goodbye groupies.”

She smiled and leaned her head against his shoulder, “At least, you still have me. That‘s gotta count for something. I mean, You’re 5 foot 11 of skinny Jewish boy muscle and you have an alien hybrid for a best friend. A cute one too. How many other Jewish boys can say that?”

“Do I win a prize?”

“Me. I am the prize.”

He wrinkled his nose slightly and Tess punched him in the arm. “Ouch. I guess we can finally explain your abnormal strength.”

“I don’t think super strength is one of their…our powers. I‘m no Buffy.”

“Eh, Buffy was overrated. I was more of a Cordelia guy anyway.”

Tess rolled her eyes as she glanced down at her watch. “Crap, I’m going to be late. I told Max that I would meet him and the others for lunch.”

“Can I come?” Zach asked, rising to his feet at the same time as Tess. “I hate to think of them ganging up on you or eating your brains.”

“Maybe they only eat human brains.”

“Ha! Funny.” Zach muttered, losing some of the color in his face.

“Are you ready to tumble down the rabbit hole, Alice?”
Last edited by ~Ruby~ on Sun May 04, 2008 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

~Ruby~
Obsessed Roswellian
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Re: The Trick Is To... [AU-Tess-Mature] PT 8 09/12(WIP)

Post by ~Ruby~ » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:13 pm

Author's notes: So, I disappeared for a while, but I'm back and ready to finish this beast. xoxox
Part 9
Off With Her Head
They were staring at her. Under normal circumstances, Tess would have worried that there was something in her teeth. Unfortunately for her, these were not normal circumstances. It occurred to her then that nothing would be normal for her again. Luckily, she had already forgotten what normality felt like. It would only be in the quiet moments of the night that she would remember and grieve for what she had lost.

After she was awkwardly introduced to the aliens she hadn’t met and their friends, she wondered if there had been some sort of mistake. The aliens were all tall and beautiful. How could she possibly be one of them? It was almost impossible to believe that she was the same species as the beautiful, graceful and somewhat cold Isabel Evans.

She clung to Zach’s hand tightly. He was her anchor. If she let go of him then she would drown in their barely concealed hostility for sure.

“This is Zach,” She said when Isabel’s glare moved to him. “He’s here because…”

“I’m here for the food.” He joked, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. He moved closer and murmured in her ear, “I’ll take the petite brunette if there’s trouble. You can handle the rest, Karolina Dean.”

She choked back a laugh at the comic book reference. Even at a time like this, her best friend couldn’t resist showing his geeky colors and teasing her. She sent him a small grateful smile. Meeting the Roswell gang would have been almost unbearable with him. He made everything so much better.

“I’ve seen her. Can I go now?” Isabel hissed. Hatred dripped heavily from her words and wiped the smile off of Tess’s face.

“Isabel…” Max begun, using a tone similar to the one Tess’s father had used when she had been naughty as a child. It was laced with disappointment. Something Tess had always found more difficult to swallow then anger.

“Don’t. Just don’t. Why don‘t we just preselect someone we love that she can destroy? Who do you want it to be, Max? Who? Kyle? Maria? Me? Michael?” Isabel hissed. There was anger and fear in her voice. “Liz? How would you feel if you lost the person you loved? Would we still be stood here welcoming her with open arms and balloons?”

“I would never…” Tess begun to defend herself.

“Don’t even speak to me.” Her hand was raised and an instant later the sound of a glass smashing cut through the air. A warning not to be ignored. Isabel Evans was not to be messed with.

“Fuck!” Zach mumbled, his eyes wide. If he had had any doubts about aliens, he had none now.

“For Christ’s sake, Isabel! What the hell are you thinking?”

“Don’t you start as well, Michael. Not you.” Isabel shook her head. There was a tremble in her voice. “Not you, Michael.” Her chin lowered to her chest and she looked broken. As if all the fight had been sucked out of her. Her heels clicked steadily on the tiled floor and was followed by the sound of the bell above the door.

Kyle Valenti, a human who Max had saved, quietly followed without so much as a glance in Tess’s direction. She was almost positive that he hadn’t looked at her at once.

Ava, her twin, clone, whatever, had really done a number on these people. It seemed like she had destroyed everything she had touch and what she had left behind, the friendships between the aliens and humans, was held together by the tiniest thread.

“I’m sorry about…”

“Don’t. There’s no need to apologize.” Tess said before Max could finish his sentence. She smiled ever so slightly, “I wouldn’t want to meet me either after everything that Ava did to you guys.”

“But you aren’t her.” Zach insisted on pointing out. “You shouldn’t be held responsible for someone else’s actions.”

“No one blames Tess, but you will have to forgive us for being slightly wary.” Liz Parker, the petite brunette that Zach mistakenly thought he could take in a fight, said. Her dark brown eyes were filled with a unmistakable sadness that Tess was oh too familiar with. “This is hard for us. You can’t expect us to welcome you with open arms.”

“But we should welcome her hostility?” Zach asked, ready to fight for Tess until the bitter end.

“Zach, its okay.” Tess said softly. She squeezed his hand, grateful that he was willing to stand up for her. She turned to face the remaining members of the Roswell gang. “I didn’t come to Roswell to cause trouble.”

“Why did you come here?” Liz asked bluntly.

“Maybe we should sit down.” Max gestured to one of the booths.

“Why did you come here?” Liz repeated once they were seated. Michael and Maria had made their excuses and disappeared into the backroom so it left just the four of them. The table acted like the line in the sand.

“I was curious. I’ve always known that I was adopted, but it was only recently that I became curious. I have all these questions. I just…I don’t know. I guess I wanted to see how my life could have been if I had been raised in Roswell.”

“What provoked this sudden curiosity?” Liz questioned. Again, the question was to the point.

Tess took a deep breath. She had known that this question would come up at some point. Aliens or no aliens. “My dad…” She paused. “My adoptive father was killed in a car crash.”

“I didn’t know. Max never said…”

“It wasn’t mine to tell. I wasn’t sure if Tess would want everyone knowing.” Max said with an apologetic smile to his girlfriend. “I thought the best plan of action was to wait for Tess to tell everyone.”

Liz nodded her understanding at his actions. She looked at Tess. “I know what its like to lose someone you love. After Alex died, I went on this mad crusade. I understand your need for answers. I’d like to help you. If that’s okay.”

And thus begun the cautious friendship of Tess Harding and Liz Parker.

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