Against My Programming (CC,TEEN) pt 62 pg 10 2/26 [WIP]

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Which would you like to see happen first in our story?

Poll ended at Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:14 pm

Max get his memories back with Leslie's help.
4
67%
The podsters and company find out more about the history of themselves and other members of the royal family.
2
33%
You decide or I'll tell you another suggestion in the thread or by direct contact.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 6

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littleroswell
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Against My Programming (CC,TEEN) pt 62 pg 10 2/26 [WIP]

Post by littleroswell » Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:46 pm

Against My Programming

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Thanks to Crashdown_51 for the beautiful banner!!

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. The characters, the music, the movies referenced, none of it is mine. Please don’t sue me!

Rating: TEEN

Category: All CC except for A/I. I have someone else in mind for Alex and also for Isabel.

Author’s Note: This fic was originally to save Alex. That was my mission. It grew into a huge monster after that because I wanted to address all the issues the show left for me. I kind of feel that all fan fiction is AU because when we change what happened to the original story, it is an alternate ending. Anyways, I don’t think there are enough fics that feature Alex in his true, well, “Alexness”. I don’t know how well I’ll do with it but I’m gonna try.

Therefore, this fic is a tribute to every girl’s dream come true, a great friend that is male. It will also feature Max/Liz relationship, Michael/Maria, Isabel/? and Kyle/? relationships. I am starting this fic somewhere around the time of “Independence Day”. It will jump forward at one point and I will let you know when that time comes. If you don’t remember what has happened around that time, let me refer you to the transcripts at http://www.crashdown.com. Now on with our story. Enjoy!

Part 1

Alex Whitman sat in his room, working on his music. He had been working on his homework, but somehow Geometry just didn’t have the same appeal as his guitar. He heard his mom coming up the stairs and then a knock on his door. He called out for her to enter and she came in carrying a load of clean laundry.

“Alex, here are your clothes. Please put them away today and not next week,” She said, setting the basket down with a smile.

“Mom, I’m 16 not 12. I’ll put them away as soon as I’m done working on this song,” Alex groaned while picking at his guitar.

“Ok, sweetie. Hey, have you seen the new neighbors that moved in yesterday? I saw the truck and the movers yesterday, and they were back again today. There was a lot of stuff for only the two people that I saw."

Alex raised his eyebrows in surprise. “New neighbors? That house has been for sale for as long as I can remember. What did they look like?” He asked.

“Like I said, I only saw two people that looked like they lived there. There was a woman and her daughter. The girl looked about your age. She’s cute but kind of into that semi-goth look that so many of you kids are into these days. You could be a gentleman and go introduce yourself. I’m sure the girl could use a friend, you know with being in a new place and not knowing anyone,” his mom answered.

Alex rolled his eyes at her. “Mom, don’t push. Maybe I’ll go over there, maybe not."

“Ok, ok! I’m not pushing; I’m just suggesting. Dinner will be ready in about 20 minutes so be at the table ready,” she told him as she left the room.

As soon as the door had closed behind her, Alex jumped off his bed and ran over to his window. He moved the curtain aside and craned his neck to see around the side of the house to the front door, hoping to get a glimpse of the new neighbors. Damn! He couldn’t see anything. The movers must have left because the truck was gone.

He pushed the curtain back and opened the window to let some air in, as it was a nice day for February. As he did so, he looked up through the tree that was in between the two houses and saw a girl that looked about his age walking around in the room just on the other side of that tree. She had long hair that was pulled up in a strange way and it was obviously died as black as she could get it. She had on a long black sweatshirt that reached to her knees and baggy black jeans. She had at least 3 pairs of earrings in her ears and a lone hoop at the top of her right ear.

“Hey,” Alex called to her. When she looked up questioningly, he asked, “Moving in?”

The girl gave him a look that clearly said, “Duh!” but she just nodded instead of answering him. She turned back to the boxes. Alex didn’t get the hint. He decided to keep talking.

“It’ll be kind of strange to have somebody in that room now. I mean the Robetelli’s had used that room for a study or an office or something, and they moved out months ago. Good thing I’ve got curtains up; I wouldn’t want to give you a peep show or anything,” he said. Inside, he cringed. Did he really just say that?

The girl just kind of glanced at him, and he could tell that she was trying really hard not to roll her eyes at him. Unable to stop now, however, he plowed on. “My name’s Alex, Alex Whitman. I go to West Roswell High. I’m in the 10th grade, and I’m a single man,” he babbled.

“Thanks for the bio, Alex,” the girl said sarcastically. Then she went over to her window and pointedly closed it. She walked away and went back to unpacking.

“Great job, Whitman,” Alex muttered to himself. He closed his window and started to put his clothes away.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The next morning, Alex was coming out of his house to leave for school, when he saw the girl opening the front door to the house next door. She almost ran out of the house with a woman trailing her to the door. The girl did not look back but kept walking toward the street.

“Leslie! You forgot your lunch,” the woman called after her with her hands on her hips.

“I’ll buy my lunch,” the girl threw over her shoulder as she neared Alex.

“I want you to come straight home, Leslie. Straight home, do you hear me?” The woman called after her.

The girl didn’t acknowledge her. Alex assumed that the woman must be her mother. He decided to seize the opportunity that had presented itself. With a silent prayer that he wouldn’t completely humiliate himself, he cleared his throat and spoke up.

“Uh, Leslie? Would you like a ride to school? I mean I know you don’t know me or anything but . . .“ he started.

Instead of really answering, Leslie just opened the passenger car door and climbed in the seat. Alex was so surprised that he just stood there staring at her for a moment. She brought him out of his daze with the words, “Are we going to school or what?”

“Huh? Oh yeah, yeah,” he stuttered and climbed in the driver’s side.

He started the car and pulled onto the road, heading for the school. As Leslie didn’t seem eager to start a conversation, Alex decided to try. “So that was your mom, huh?” He asked.

“Uh huh,” she answered, looking out the window.

“So is it just the two of you? I mean I didn’t see anybody else move in with you guys,” Alex rattled off.

“Uh huh,” she said again, still not looking at him.

“So why did you get in the car with me? I mean you don’t know me at all and yet you decided to accept a ride from a total stranger. Is it because I look so trustworthy? That’s gotta be it. I’ve been told that I’ve got an honest face,” Alex babbled on.

Leslie finally interrupted him. “Look! I took the ride because my mom expected me to take the bus. Right now, my number one goal in life is to do the opposite of what my mother tells me.”

“Oh,” is all that Alex could think to say. Her voice was much older than her face. She had one of those voices that wasn’t that of a young girl’s, not that of a teenager, not that of a smoker, but that of a woman. Alex couldn’t help but wonder where a girl in high school got a voice like that. Before he could think of anything to say, however, she continued.

“And you know what? I’m not really into the whole meeting new friends thing ok? So let’s just get to school and you can go to your classes and I can go to mine, ok?” She told him.

“Um, sure,” Alex finally got out. They drove the rest of the way to school in silence.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Alex left his locker and made his way over to Liz and Maria’s lockers, where Max was already there, trying to talk with Liz. Michael and Maria were already in an argument and it wasn’t even 8:30 yet. Isabel was chatting with one of the girls in her little clique and looking beautiful as always. Alex sighed as he approached; Isabel was never going to go for him. He should just give it up but every time he saw her, alien or not, she was hot and he couldn’t help but notice.

“Good morning, Isabel,” he said good-naturedly. He smiled at her, but she just ignored him as usual and walked off with her friend. Then Alex turned to Liz and Maria. “And how are my two favorite girls this morning?” he asked. He acknowledged the sort-of-boyfriends with a nod and a “Max, Michael.”

Liz’s eyes never left Max’s as she answered, “Great, Alex, just perfect,” in a flat tone. She just couldn’t seem to get over the whole blind date incident and couldn’t forget how Max had made her feel when he had said that he really wanted to be with her. She turned away from his questioning look and looked at her friend with a genuine smile. “How’re things with you?”

“Ok, we got some new neighbors that moved in over the weekend,” Alex began.

Maria butted in with, “Alex, how would you like to be a gentleman and walk Liz and I to our classes and you can continue your story?” She asked with a glare at Michael and then a bigger one for Max.

“Uh, sure,” Alex said. He put an arm around each girl and started off down the hall, leaving Max and Michael staring after them.

As they headed to their respective classes, Alex rattled off his story of the new girl next door. Maria and Liz were only half listening as he yammered on about what an idiot he had made of himself. As the first bell rung, Liz and Maria quickly excused themselves from Alex and made their way hurriedly to their classes.

Alex walked himself into his English class and sat in his chair towards the back. As the second bell rung, everyone dived for their seats and Alex leaned down towards the floor to dig his notebook out of his bag. The teacher called for everyone’s attention. As Alex looked up, he sunk down in his seat so as not to be seen by the girl standing next to the teacher.

“Class, we have a new student that just moved here from Atlanta, Georgia. I know you will all make Leslie Terrell feel right at home here in Roswell,” the teacher said. Then she looked around and Alex held his breath. “Ah, there’s an empty seat next to Mr. Whitman as Mr. Carson has had to change his schedule.”

Leslie did a double take as she heard Alex’s name. “I’m sorry, did you say Mr. Whitman? As in Alex Whitman?” she asked.

“Great! You already know Mr. Whitman then. That means you already have one friend here already,” the teacher said. “Now if you will just have a seat, we’ll get started.”

Alex smiled as she sat down next to him and said, “Well, looks like we were actually going to the same class.”

Leslie didn’t look at him as she muttered, “Shoot me now.”
Last edited by littleroswell on Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:42 pm, edited 109 times in total.
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Post by littleroswell » Wed Mar 19, 2003 9:41 am

Ok, guys, the new part you've been waiting for is finally here. Here you go! Enjoy!

Part 2 – “Graduating to Polite”

By the time lunch came around that day, Alex was seriously wondering what he was doing wrong. Leslie was not only not warming up to him, she wasn’t talking to anyone. When Maria tried to introduce herself at the end of their English class, Leslie completely ignored her and walked off as if she hadn’t heard a word. Maria declared right then and there that the girl was hopeless and rude and definitely not “friend material”. Alex didn’t get it. Everybody talked to him! Either they made fun of him, thought of him as a friend, or just called him names. Everyone that is, except Leslie.

“So you’re saying that this girl is a bigger Ice Queen than Isabel?” Liz asked at lunch.

“I resent that, Liz Parker,” Isabel said as she sat at the table with Alex, Liz and Maria. Michael and Max joined them as well.

“Sorry,” Liz mumbled, winking at Maria.

“Let’s just say that if we put Michael and Leslie in the same room, one of two things would happen. One, they would either kill each other, or two, they would end up best friends and killing everyone else,” Maria said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Michael asked frostily.

“It means, space boy, that she has your winning personality. She’s deep, dark, and annoying. I mean she’s like moody or something,” Maria answered in the same tone.

Before they could get going at each other too much, Max interrupted. “Maybe it’s for the best that she’s like that. We shouldn’t be making new friends anyway. It’s too dangerous to let it get bigger than just us,” he said.

Liz sighed and angrily turned to Max. “You know what, Max? We’re not talking about letting her into the alien abyss because trust me, I wouldn’t do that to anyone. People who know about you guys get hurt, in more ways than one. We just wanted to be friendly to someone who is new to Roswell. This isn’t always about you, Max.”

A look of pain and anger flashed over Max’s face before he looked down at his lunch. He still didn’t understand what he had done wrong. He thought that Liz and he were going to try to be friends. He didn’t even say anything about that blind date that she had gone on. He still didn’t understand how his lips had ended up on hers that night either, in front of tons of people no less.

Liz turned to Maria only to find her staring at a table where Leslie was sitting with a tray with the school’s pizza on it. Liz studied the girl for a minute before standing up. She looked at Alex and Maria and said, “Well, I’m going to try to talk to her. She’s new here, and from what you were saying, Alex, it doesn’t sound like she gets along with her mom. She is sitting by herself and is probably having a horrible day. I can’t believe that you two, of all people, would give up on her so fast.”

Liz left the group watching her with curiosity as she approached the girl sitting by herself. Leslie finished the last bite of her pizza as Liz walked up to her. “Hi, I’m Liz Parker. I understand you’ve already met my friends Alex and Maria.” Liz pointed at the table she had just left. “Anyways, my friends and I were wondering if . . .” she started.

“You mean you’re friends with Mr. Nerd and Miss Overly Perky? Great! Hey, Liz,” Leslie interrupted, saying Liz’s name like it was some kind of disease. “Are we allowed to use that pay phone by the bathroom inside?” she asked.

It took Liz a moment to register what Leslie had said. “Um, yeah? I mean, yeah, the pay phone, yeah we’re allowed to use it,” she answered.

“Great! You got thirty-five cents?” Leslie demanded. She got up from the table and headed for the building with Liz trailing behind her. Liz noticed that she didn’t bother to clean up her trash from the table.

Liz dug in her pocket and pulled out a quarter and a dime. She placed them in Leslie’s outstretched hand. She noticed that the girl’s nails were long and painted black. What was with this girl and black? “Here you go,” she said, still trying to make conversation.

They had made it over to the pay phone that was right outside the bathroom. Leslie mumbled a “thanks” and dropped the money into the pay phone. She started dialing the numbers, but then she paused when she saw that Liz was still standing there. “Do you mind? This is kind of a private call,” she told her.

Liz looked around and then tried to smile. “Ok, yeah, sure. I’m just gonna go to the um, yeah,” she stumbled and fled to the bathroom.

After locking herself into a stall, Liz took several deep breaths. She had never met anyone like Leslie. The only other people that she felt that awkward around were Isabel and Michael. Even they didn’t make her feel quite that bad anymore. Michael and she were grudgingly friends after he had returned her journal, and Isabel allowed Liz to be around for her brother’s sake.

Liz opened the stall door after flushing the toilet to keep anybody from wondering what she had been doing in there. She went over to the sink and washed her hands and splashed cold water on her face. Then she dried her hands and face off with a paper towel and walked out of the ladies’ room.

As she came out of the restroom, she had prepared herself to give this girl one more try and that was all. She certainly wasn’t going to beg Leslie to act like a human being. Her ill thoughts towards Leslie evaporated, however, as she saw the girl leaning against the wall by the pay phone with a look of pain on her face.

“How could you do this to us?” Liz heard Leslie mutter to no one.

Leslie still had her eyes closed as she turned toward the wall and started to cry. Liz felt her heart go out to the girl. Suddenly, she thought she understood this girl. It was obvious that this girl had been trying to call someone that her mother was trying to keep her away from, probably a boyfriend that her mother didn’t like. Liz reached over and put her hand on Leslie’s shoulder. As she did so, she heard Leslie let out a gasp. For a moment, she seemed to sway on her feet, and Liz was afraid that the girl was going to pass out. As fast as it had started, however, her swaying stopped, and Leslie pulled away from her as if a snake had bitten her.

“Don’t ever touch me again!” she snapped at Liz.

Instead of being insulted, Liz now saw this girl’s actions as a frightened animal’s. She so apparently needed help but was going to fight it with every part of her being. Liz pulled her hand back and tried to give Leslie a warm smile. “I just want to be your friend, Leslie. That’s all any of my friends want too. We thought that since you were new here, you’d need a friend.”

Leslie studied her with wide eyes and then shook her head, as if to clear it of something. “Liz, I don’t have friends. There’s a lot you don’t know about me and a lot I don’t want you to know. Just know that being close to me is dangerous. You can tell your other friends that too,” she told her sincerely. Then she seemed to go back to being the girl that Maria and Alex thought they knew. She put a smirk on her face and then grabbed her bag from the floor at her feet. “You can tell Mr. Rogers Neighbor Boy that that includes him.” With that, she headed off down the hall and a confused Liz headed back to the lunch table.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Michael headed toward his last class of the day, Biology. He thanked his lucky stars every day that he didn’t have the same Bio class as Max and Liz. Watching them moon over each other, even when they were fighting or not together, was really sickening. In fact, he didn’t really have anybody that he felt he had to make conversation with in Biology. He rounded the corner and walked in the door and headed over to his seat. Maybe he’d sleep through this class today. He really hated science, despite Max’s lectures that this should be one class that should interest him since it was one class where they could find out more about themselves and their differences from humans.

He had just decided that sleeping was the way to go today when the teacher announced that they were doing a lab. Michael groaned. Labs were 30% of their grade and with the way his grades were looking, he couldn’t afford to mess this one up. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life in this stupid school. He put his feet back on the floor from where he had propped them up on the chair in front of him and looked up as someone walked towards his lab table.

“Um, I was told that you didn’t have a lab partner, so I should work with you,” came a feminine voice.

Michael looked up and saw that new girl standing there. What was her name again? Oh yeah, Leslie. He couldn’t help but let out another groan. This day just kept getting better. First, Maria started fighting with him first thing this morning. Then she wouldn’t let it drop all day. Now he had gotten paired with the freak for a lab partner.

A look of anger flashed over her face. “Yeah, well, I’m not exactly into the whole lab partner thing either, so just deal with it ok? I for one would like to pass this class so that I can move on with my life.”

Michael could understand that. He opened his mouth and surprised himself by saying, “Sorry, it’s just that I hate science and I’m not doing so well in this class. I’d like to pass too but I’ll have to at least get a C on every lab until the end of the year to do that.” Why was he making excuses to this girl? Michael Guerrin never apologized for anything.

“Well, science happens to be my specialty,” Leslie answered as she sat her books down and sat down in the seat next to him. She held her hand out to him. “Leslie Terrell.”

Still miffed about having apologized to this girl, Michael pointedly ignored her hand and snapped out, “Michael Guerrin.”

Leslie didn’t miss the tone in his voice. She looked him up and down long enough so that he would notice and then rolled her eyes. “Nice hair,” she snorted as she turned back to the front. She didn’t say anything else to him until the teacher had passed out the lab instruction sheet. Her eyes grew wide and she smiled big.

“What are you smiling at?” Michael asked grumpily. This lab looked like it could take a while. “Why couldn’t Liz be my lab partner now?” he muttered.

Leslie’s head whipped around to look at him. “Liz? OH NO! You’re one of those yuppies that hang out with Nerd-boy next door. Man, what is with you guys? You are everywhere! For your information, I was smiling because I don’t have to do this lab to get an A on it because I just did this exact lab at my last school last week and I know what the results are supposed to be.”

Michael was truly interested at this point. “Ok so what can I do to get an A on this lab with your help?” he asked. When Leslie looked at him like he had lost his mind, he rolled his eyes and said, “I mean it! What do I have to pay you or give you or do for you to get an A on this lab? I’m a little bit desperate.”

“Obviously! You don’t strike me as someone who asks for help often,” she answered. She studied his face long and hard for a minute. “Ok, I tell you what, you make it look like we’re actually doing the lab and I’ll deal with the answers and results. I’ll take you up on that favor you can do for me later.”

“What? No way! I don’t do future claims. It’s either payment now or never,” Michael protested. He sure as hell wasn’t going to be in debt to this weirdo.

Leslie rolled her eyes at him. “Michael, I’m not talking about handing over your first child here! I’m just saying that I can’t think of anything right now but I’ll let you know later. I might be suffering from the red dragon one week and need you to do the lab for both of us, for example,” she stated.

Michael’s nose wrinkled as he thought about her words. He was a little confused about a phrase that she had used. Did she say she might be suffering from the “red dragon”? Against his better instincts he decided to ask. “What’s the red dragon?”

Leslie rolled her eyes yet again and leaned closer to him. She talked to him like she would a child. “Look! There are certain things that make boys different from girls. One of those things happens every month . . .” she started explaining.

Michael’s eyes shot open wide as his brain registered what she was talking about. “All right! All right! I get it. Please don’t say anymore,” he begged. Then he started getting out lab equipment as she started on their answers.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was the end of the day and Alex headed to his car. He looked at his feet as he dug in his pocket for his keys. When he looked up, he stopped in surprise at the sight in front of him. Leslie was leaning against his car, arms folded across her chest, and she was studying the people leaving the school. She stood up straight as she saw him head toward her and his car.

Alex recovered and replaced his surprised face with a blank expression. What was she doing here? She had made it plain enough that she wanted nothing to do with him, not only to his face but also in the things she had told Liz. “What are you doing here?” he mumbled as he unlocked his car door.

“Getting a ride home, what else?” Leslie smirked.

Alex’s head snapped up at her with anger and incredulity in his eyes. “You aren’t serious are you?” he asked harshly.

Inside, Leslie flinched at the tone of his voice. Obviously, she had pushed Nerd-boy, er Alex, too far. “Yeah, I missed the bus home so I came over to catch a ride if that’s all right with you,” she answered.

Alex yanked his door open and threw his bag in the back seat. Then he looked up and said, “No it’s not all right with me. I don’t give rides to people that can’t stand me. I only give rides to friends. Acquaintances, maybe, but never enemies.” He dropped into the seat and closed his door.

Before he could drive off, Leslie put her hand to her door and yanked it open. Alex looked at it in surprise. He had thought that door was locked. Then he remembered that Leslie had ridden with him that morning and she must not have locked it when they got to school. “Look, what do you want to make this all work out for both of us? My mom is going to kill me if I have to call her to come pick me up. While I want to piss her off, I don’t want to die. So what do you want from me, Alex?” she asked.

Alex studied her face for a minute. He looked at the steering wheel and then back at her, trying to hide the smile that was fighting its way onto his face. “I want to graduate from I-wanna-kick-his-ass status to polite status,” he said, unable to fight the smile any more.

Leslie pretended to be thinking it over. “Define polite,” she demanded.

Alex rolled his eyes and started listing items on his fingers. “No more ‘Nerd-boy’ or other degrading names. No more treating my friends like garbage. And you might try telling me a little bit about yourself from time to time. You don’t have to list all your felonies, just tell me a little bit about the normal stuff.”

Leslie couldn’t fight the smile that had crept up into her own face at his list. “I think I can handle that, Nerd . . . er Alex,” she said. She sat down in the passenger seat and dropped her bag onto the floor.

Alex at that moment had ceased to breathe. He had thought that she might be cute except for that goth look she had going on, but all that had changed when she had smiled. She was sincerely and truthfully beautiful. Then he came to himself. He held out his hand to her. “Shake on that, Terrell,” he commanded.

She looked at his hand hesitatingly. Seeming to come to some kind of a decision, she shook it. “Congratulations on your graduation to politeness status,” she told him.

He couldn’t say why, but for some reason, Alex could have sworn that Leslie had looked relieved when she had taken his hand and nothing had happened to her. It was almost as if she had been waiting for him to snatch her hand off or something from the look on her face. Looking at her again, however, Alex thought he must have imagined it. He smiled out the windshield, happy with the way he had turned the situation around.
Last edited by littleroswell on Fri Feb 18, 2005 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by littleroswell » Sun Apr 06, 2003 1:14 pm

Ok, here is the next part. I appreciate the bumps and all fb I get! (hint, hint) :wink: Anyway, let me know what you think!

Beth

Part 3 – “Revelations in the Dark”

“Leslie, what are you doing out here?” Alex asked, leaning out of his window into the night.

It had been two days since their pact to be polite, and Leslie was keeping her side of the agreement so well that it was almost painfully obvious to Alex. She never failed to do or say the polite thing but never anything more. Alex tried time and again to engage her in more in-depth conversations, but she only gave polite, concise answers to his questions. He was getting frustrated, but he refused to give up.

Tonight, he had been getting ready for bed, the hour already late, when he had heard a noise outside and a rustle of the tree just outside the window that definitely was not the wind. Walking over to the window and pushing the curtains aside to investigate, he had seen Leslie settling herself on a branch not far from her own window. He had quickly, but noisily, opened his window, so as not to frighten her and send Leslie tumbling to her death, and was currently leaning out to talk to her.

At his question, Leslie snapped her head around in his direction. “Alex, it’s after one; what are you still doing up?” she asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Did you switch bodies with my mother? You’re still up,” he pointed out, leaning still farther out over his sill.

Leslie cringed as she watched his movement, sure that at any moment he would slip and fall and break his neck. “Alex, please don’t lean out of your window any farther. You’re making me nervous,” she asked.

Alex realized that this was the first time since he had met her that she didn’t sound so tough. In fact, she sounded very sincere. He backed into his bedroom and then stuck his foot out of the window. “Ok, then I’m coming out,” he told her as his climbed out completely onto the tree. Looking down, he swallowed; heights were not his thing. “It’s higher than I thought,” he commented, glancing at her and plastering a smile on his face.

Her face creased in concern. “Alex, you obviously are afraid of heights so don’t be an ass and go back inside before you fall and break your neck.”

He grinned for real at that and shook his head, making his way toward her. “No way. If you can do it, I can. I’m not going to be bested by a girl!” he teased. It helped to get his mind off of how high he was. He finally made it over to the branch she was perched on and, holding onto another branch behind him, slowly lowered himself down to sit beside her.

After he had sat down, her look of concern immediately vanished, and she turned away to look out at the sky. As she didn’t seem to want to talk, Alex decided to be quiet for a few moments. He followed her eyes out to the sky. It was a clear and beautiful night with not a cloud to obscure the endless blanket of stars. Alex couldn’t seem to look at stars the same way as he used to, not after knowing what he did about Isabel, Max, and Michael. He wondered just how many different types of life there were in the universe.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Leslie murmured.

Alex looked at her in surprise; she was never the one to initiate the conversation. He looked back out at the night sky and nodded. “Yeah, it really is,” he answered quietly. Then she surprised him again by continuing to talk without his prompting.

“Do you think there’s life out there, Alex?” she asked, staring out at the stars.

The question caught him off guard, as he had just been thinking about that, but he recovered quickly. “Well, if not, it sure seems a waste of a lot of space. Don’t you think so? I mean there are zillions of stars out there and who knows how many planets, it would be sad to think that humans were all there was.”

As soon as Leslie had brought up the subject, she dropped it again. “There’s a lot of world out there too. There’s a hell of a lot more out there than just what my mother wants me to see,” she said bitterly. She looked toward her house with a scowl for her mom who was sleeping soundly in her room downstairs.

Alex could tell from her tone that whatever had happened between her and her mother had nothing to do with the rest of the world or with life out in space. As she seemed to want to talk about it, he decided to ask her some of the questions that had been rattling around in his brain for a while now. “Can I ask what happened to your dad?” To his further surprise, she had decided to answer him.

“It’s really a funny story, mine that is,” she began, looking back out at the stars first and then giving a wry smile to Alex. “You see, my brother and I were adopted by Lauren and Kevin Terrell. We were doing great until they split up a year and a half later. Then we were being passed back and forth like tennis balls. We all lived in Atlanta then and it was easier; you know a weekend with dad here, a holiday there. My mother had decided to change her last name back to her maiden name but I kept my adoptive name. Then last year, our ‘parents’ decided that Lucas and I, that’s my brother, were spending too much time together and didn’t seem to have any other friends. We kept trying to tell them that we were ok, but they didn’t believe us. Mom thought it wasn’t natural to be so close to a sibling, not even a twin,” she continued.

“Lucas is your twin brother?” Alex interrupted. At his outburst, she had stopped, and he was afraid she might not continue. “I’m sorry, please go on.”

“Yeah, he’s my twin brother. I love him to death and that was what my mom thought was unnatural. She’s an only child; how would she know that? Besides, it’s not like Lucas and I were incestuous or anything; it’s just that all we’ve ever had that was constant in our lives was each other. Anyways, as I was saying, mom and dad thought it would be better for both of us to split us up. They thought that if we were forced to separate, then we would be forced to make friends. They call it therapy; we call it cruel and unusual punishment. Anyway, dad took Lucas and moved somewhere away from mom and I and got an unlisted number so that I can’t call him. That’s when mom moved us out here. I don’t know where Lucas and dad moved, and they don’t know where we moved. They said it’s only temporary, but I’m not even allowed to talk to Lucas on the phone. I’ve tried calling his cell phone but they’ve disconnected it,” she told Alex.

As she had stopped, Alex held his breath, not knowing whether he should say something or not. He had never in all the time Leslie had been there heard her speak so much at a time. She had turned her face away from Alex but now she faced him and in the faint light, he could tell there were tears in her eyes. “Is it so wrong to love the only family you’ve ever known? We weren’t adopted until we were 9 years old. He’s my brother for god’s sake! They have no right to do this to us!” she sobbed. She dropped her face into her hands.

Alex did the only thing he could think of, he put his arm around her shoulder. She immediately collapsed against him and her sobs came all the harder. He just let her cry for a few minutes and then started to hush her quietly and gently. When she pulled away from him, Leslie looked embarrassed. She refused to let their eyes meet.

“I’m sorry about falling apart like that, Whitman,” she sniffed, trying to sound tough. “I don’t usually let things get to me like that.”

He placed his hand under her chin and forced her to look at him. “Hey, none of that. I know for sure now that you are a female, whether you like it or not,” he teased gently. “Don’t go commando on me now. You shouldn’t hold so much back for so long. It’s not healthy. You can talk to me about anything. Just ask Maria or Liz. They’ve been my friends since elementary school. You can rely on old Alex.”

She looked him in the eyes as she said, “There’s a reason my mother wants me to make friends, Alex. I don’t have friends. I’ve always been afraid to get close to anyone for fear I might hurt them.”

Alex chuckled. “Yeah, I was kind of afraid that you would hurt me in the beginning but now I know what a softy you really are.” She couldn’t help but smile at that comment. “I tell you what, you raise my status from polite to friend and I won’t tell anyone about your falling apart.”

Leslie frowned. “That’s blackmail, Whitman!” she stated.

He smiled. “Yeah, but it’s a good deal for both of us. So what do you say, Terrell?”

“Ok, friends. But if we’re friends, I think we need to get to know a bit about each other, don’t you?” she asked.

Alex rolled his eyes at her. “What do you think I’ve been trying to do for the past two days? All right, let me ask you something; what’s the natural color of your hair?” he asked.

She looked startled. “My hair? Um, it used to be a light blond but now it’s darkened out a lot to a reddish-chocolate color, I think. I’ve had it blackened like this for over a year,” she told him honestly. “My turn. When are you going to ask Isabel Evans out?” she asked.

This time it was Alex’s turn to be startled. “What?!” he exclaimed. Then he caught himself. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She grinned at him wickedly and shook her head. “You know exactly what I’m talking about, Whitman. The whole free world can tell that you like her. Why don’t you just go ahead and ask her out already?” she repeated.

Alex sighed, no longer denying it. “You see, Leslie, there is one problem with being the guy that anybody can turn to. It makes you single. Maria and Liz have Michael and Max, sort of. Isabel has the rest of the school. To girls, I’m just good old Alex, there when you need him and invisible when you don’t. Isabel never looks at me twice.”

Leslie looked him dead in the eyes and said, “I know I’d take the friend over the hunk any day.”

“Thanks a lot.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it. I mean I’d rather have someone I can talk to than somebody who makes me feel sick just because he looked at me. Butterflies in the stomach are overrated trust me. How can you have a relationship with someone if you can’t get to know them because you’re drooling all the time? Who needs that?” she elaborated.

Alex couldn’t help but laugh at that. “Well, you may have a point but I don’t know of any girl who has applied it. I’ll just have to keep trying to be Isabel’s friend until I work up the courage to actually ask her out.”

As Leslie laughed too, he had noticed something in her mouth, something that looked metallic. “Leslie, do you have something in your mouth?” he asked her.

She looked confused for a minute before her face cleared and she grinned. She stuck out her tongue and Alex caught his breath as he saw that she had a ring in it. “You mean this?” she asked. When he nodded, she chuckled. “It’s not real, but don’t tell my mom that. I came back from the mall with it and she hit the roof. I knew she would so I wear it just to bug her. I haven’t taken it out for the night yet.”

Alex laughed. “That’s pretty mean. I like it, though. The bugging your mom part, not necessarily the tongue-ring, although it’s not bad.”

Leslie smiled and yawned. Taking her cue, Alex stood up carefully and pulled her up beside him. “It’s really gotten late. I know I’m tired and if I don’t get to sleep soon, I’m gonna be a monster tomorrow; well, worse than usual anyway,” Leslie said as she turned toward her window.

“Hey, Leslie?” Alex called to her. She turned back with a questioning look, pausing in front of the opening in the side of her house. “If you want, I’ll help you try to find your brother. I’m told I’m also a computer geek.”

She gave him a beautiful smile and said, “Thanks, Alex. That really means a lot to me. I may take you up on that offer.”

After making sure that she got inside ok, Alex climbed back through the tree and into his bedroom. He started to close the window but then he stopped, leaving a crack at the bottom. If Leslie ever wanted to talk, she might want to come to sit in the tree again or even come over into his house. He wanted her to know that he was available any time she wanted to talk. He did, however, pull the curtains to and, taking off his pants, he crawled into his bed in just a t-shirt and boxers.
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littleroswell
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Post by littleroswell » Tue May 06, 2003 8:46 am

You guys have been so patient with me and I promised a new part this morning but I've decided to post 2 just to say thanks for your patience. Here is part 4, followed closely by part 5. Enjoy!

Beth

Part 4 – “Gibberish and Dead Ends”

It was Monday afternoon and the last class of the day. Michael was in no real rush to get to class. He had Maria on his mind, but if anyone had asked, he would have vehemently denied it. He turned the corner and went in to his Biology class, taking his seat next to Leslie who was already looking over the lab that they were supposed to do today. He gave a grunt to acknowledge her presence and she rolled her eyes at him.

“Good afternoon to you too, caveboy,” she quipped. “Feeling a little friendly today? I hope so because this lab looks like it will be a cinch, and we’ll be outta here before you can kiss my butt for saving yours.”

Michael smirked at her. “What are you rambling about?”

Leslie pulled out the papers underneath their lab instructions and handed him the last lab with his grade on it. Michael couldn’t believe his eyes. “100 percent! I’ve never aced anything in my life!” he shouted.

Their teacher had overheard his outburst and smiled at Michael. It made her feel good that the first 100 that Michael had ever received, he had earned in her class. She strolled over to Leslie and Michael. “Well, you earned it, Mr. Guerrin. That lab was the best effort I’ve ever seen you put forth. Maybe Miss Terrell had something to do with it, but I think I’ll keep you two lab partners for a while just in case. Keep up the good work,” she gushed.

After the teacher had walked away, Leslie rolled her eyes again. “Teachers! She’s all hoity-toity all of a sudden because she thinks she’s made a break through with you. Stick with me, Michael, and I’ll have that teacher defending you and making excuses for you against the entire school board!” Leslie told him.

Michael was genuinely glad to have gotten that grade, even if it was mostly…ok all, Leslie’s doing. He gave her one of his rare genuine smiles and held out his hand to her. “All right, Miss Terrell, let’s see if you can get me a decent C in this class. I admit that I’ll owe you big.”

Leslie studied his hand for a few minutes, as if it was some kind of foreign object that she had never seen before. Michael looked at his hand, vaguely wondering if his alien self was showing somehow. When it looked to him just like everyone else’s, he became annoyed just like he did about everything else. “It’s a hand, Leslie. You see, traditionally, when someone holds out their hand to you, you’re supposed to shake it with your hand. It’s kind of a human custom thing in this part of the planet,” he said sarcastically.

Leslie seemed to come to herself and forced a smile. “I’m sorry, Guerrin, I sort of zoned out there for a minute.” She placed her hand in his and suddenly her face went stone white, and for a minute, Michael was sure she was going to hit the floor. Her body went rigid and started to tremble and her eyes seemed to see past him. Her lips parted and an incoherent bunch of gibberish flew off of her tongue in fluid tones, as if she were speaking another language. As soon as her trance-like state had started, it was over and she shook her head, quickly removing her hand from Michael’s. The color returned to her face full force and her cheeks reddened. She turned away from him and closed her eyes.

Michael couldn’t be sure but he thought she said something like, “No, it can’t be him. They can’t be here!” However, whatever she said had been said so quietly that Michael wouldn’t have testified to it in court. Instead, he looked at her hard and studied the little bit of her face that he could see.

“Are you ok?” he asked, in spite of his usual care-about-nothing attitude, he really wanted to know what that strange transition was about.

Taking a minute to try to compose herself, Leslie turned to face her lab partner and plastered a smile on her face. “Of course. I’m fine; why do you ask?” she asked, not meeting his eyes.

“Then what the hell was that? You shake my hand, and the next thing I know, you’re white as a ghost and start spouting off in some foreign language. What did you say anyway?” he asked, mad now that he wasn’t concerned anymore.

Leslie chuckled. “You’re hands are like ice, Guerrin. A friend of mine when I was little spoke Ukrainian. She taught me a little of it. I was just making a comment about how cold your hands are. Now shall we get back to this lab? Here’s the list of equipment so you can pull it out so we can get started.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Maxwell, are you listening to me?” Michael hissed across the table at the Crashdown after school.

Max took his eyes from Liz’s form to focus on Michael. “Yeah, you said that girl Leslie was talking in Russian or something at you today,” he answered. “So what?”

“It wasn’t Russian; it was Ukrainian. Or at least that’s what she said it was,” Michael corrected.

“I repeat, Michael, so what?” Max shrugged. “Why are you so worked up about it?” He took a sip of his cherry coke with lime and Tabasco sauce.

“Because I don’t think it was Ukrainian. You didn’t see her face when all those words spilled out of her. It was like she didn’t have any control over them. I also felt like I should understand what she said,” Michael rattled off excitedly, leaning over the table to be closer and give more weight to his words.

Max was just amused at Michael’s reaction. “Why should you be able to understand Ukrainian? We’re not that kind of alien, Michael.”

Michael was not amused. “You’re not listening again! I told you that I don’t think it was Ukrainian; I think it might be the language of our planet, whatever that is,” Michael answered, getting almost hysterical.

Max just shook his head at his friend. “Michael, you are far too paranoid. That girl is not from wherever we are. She and Alex are friends and that’s all. I admit that she kind of looks like she’s from another planet with that hair, those clothes, and that tongue ring, but trust me; she’s just a normal human being. Now don’t do anything stupid; I want you to leave that girl alone.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

Alex raised his window as he noticed that Leslie was sitting on their branch again. They had been out there almost every night since that first night almost a week ago. They didn’t always talk but when they did, they discussed everything from star constellations to the best ways to go about finding her brother. He climbed out onto the tree and carefully picked his way over to sit beside her.

She didn’t look at him and smile like she usually did. “Hi, Alex,” she said flatly. She stared at a piece of paper in her hands.

“What’s that?” Alex asked. He tried to look at it but it was too dark.

“Dead end number 2. It’s a copy of our first phone bill. I’ve tried every number that I didn’t recognize that wasn’t a toll free number. None of them are my dad’s or Lucas’s number,” she answered sadly. “I thought that it might be on here even if it was unlisted. I hoped that it was, but there are two calls on here to or from an unlisted number so that must be the one I’m looking for.”

“What was dead end number one?” Alex asked. He took the paper from her hand and tried to study it closer but it was still just too dark.

“Lucas’s cell phone was disconnected. I didn’t tell you that or did I? Anyway, it doesn’t matter,” she sighed. Then she turned to him and forced a smile. “What do you suggest next?”

He thought about it for a minute or two. “Well, I could try a search on several search engines, but I doubt that will produce anything. I’ll try it anyway though. You know, your mom and my mom have kind of become friends over the last week and I think you guys are coming over for dinner this weekend. Maybe your mom mentioned to my mom where your dad and brother are. I’ll see if I can find out. Those are the only two ways I can think of right now. If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know.”

Leslie stood up on the branch. “Are your parents up?” she asked. When Alex shook his head and said they were asleep, she started heading for his window. “Well, let’s go check the search engines on the computer then. At least we can eliminate that possibility tonight.”

“Why the rush? I can look tomorrow,” Alex asked, as he stood up carefully to follow her.

She stopped and glanced back at him. “Because I need to find him soon. I can’t explain it, but I can feel Lucas more clearly now than I’ve been able to for the past week or so. It’s as if our genetic connection, for lack of a better term, has gotten stronger today.” She didn’t look at him directly as she said this, hoping that he wouldn’t push it.

Alex, however, was not the kind of person to let a subject drop that easily. “Why today? You think he’s somehow closer to you? I mean, like he’s headed towards Roswell?” he asked.

As they climbed into his room, Leslie turned to face him. “Look, I know it sounds confusing but I can’t explain it any better than I already have. Please just help me look for him. Please, Alex,” she pleaded. She didn’t want to tell him about what had happened this afternoon with Michael.

Alex sighed. It was unnerving to be this close to a girl, especially one that he sort of had a crush on. However, the close contact made him notice something else. He peered closer into her face and more specifically into her eyes. “I thought your eyes were blue. Do you wear contacts?” he asked.

Leslie’s eyes flew open wide and she rushed over to the mirror above Alex’s dresser. She leaned in close to look at her eyes in the dim lamp light. “My eyes are blue! What color are they now?” she asked as she ran over there. She peered at her eyes and noticed that her eyes were now distinctly brown, almost a chocolate color but with warm reddish flecks. Closing her eyes, she swallowed hard and turned to Alex with a smile. “Alex, you almost scared me to death! I forgot that I got colored contacts. I usually wear clear ones. Do you like my brown eyes?” she asked, batting her eyes playfully at him.

He laughed. “Yeah, I do. They’re almost the same color as Liz’s eyes, except yours have more red flecks while hers are almost completely brown. Strange, considering your eyes are really blue, huh? You can’t even tell you have contacts in. Anyways, let’s get on the computer. It is a school night, and we should get to bed at a decent hour.”

An hour and a half later, Alex yawned and rubbed his aching eyes. He stretched his arms over his head and closed his internet browser. “Leslie, I’m sorry to have to tell you but…” as he started to apologize for not finding anything, he turned to face Leslie. However, Leslie was curled up on his bed, sound asleep.

Alex turned his computer off and then went over to sit beside Leslie’s sleeping form. He put his hand on her shoulder and gently shook her. “Leslie, wake up sleepyhead. You’re mom is going to have a fit if she finds you sleeping over here in my room,” he said quietly, leaning close to her ear.

Leslie’s eyes fluttered open just slightly. She closed her eyes again and rolled closer and tighter against the bed. “My mom is pulling a double shift at the hospital tonight, so she won’t be home before we leave for school. She’s a nurse. Besides, your bed is more comfortable than mine. Just wake me up in a couple of hours and I’ll go home.” She must have considered this the end of the discussion because she snuggled closer against the pillow.

“What about your contacts? Shouldn’t you take those out? I’ve heard it’s not good to sleep in them,” Alex asked.

“They’re the kind you can sleep in,” she mumbled before yawning. Then she seemed to wake up just a little bit as she asked, “Did you find anything?”

Alex sighed. “No, I’m sorry, kiddo. We’ll keep trying, though.”

“Another dead end,” Leslie whispered with her eyes closed. Then she fell into a deep sleep.

Pushing a few strands of her hair away from her face, Alex studied his neighbor and new friend. She was nothing like Isabel, whom he had worshipped from the first time he had seen her. However, she was beautiful in her own way. She’d be even more beautiful if she’d dress to fit her figure better and wear her hair a natural color instead of that shoe polish black. Sure she had seemed tough, but now Alex couldn’t help but think that Isabel was more of the ice princess than Leslie, after you got past that iron exterior.

Alex sighed again and pulled the covers up to Leslie’s neck. He took the other pillow from the bed and threw it on the floor beside the bed. Then he pulled another blanket out of his closet and tried to make himself comfortable. He’d just close his eyes for a moment. Then he’d wake Leslie up in a little while so she could go home.
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littleroswell
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Post by littleroswell » Tue May 06, 2003 8:46 am

Part 5 – “Wake Up Call”

“Alex, are you up? Honey, you’d better hurry or you’ll be late for school,” a female voice penetrated into Leslie’s consciousness. What had she said? School? Late? Up? Alex? Alex?!

Leslie jumped off the bed she was sleeping on and fell as she lost her footing. The floor beneath her feet had moved as she had landed on it and also let out a sound “umph”. As she fell, she found the reason for the moveable floor. She had landed on Alex. What was Alex doing in her room? Then all the memories of the night before came crashing back on her. She was at Alex’s house. She had fallen asleep on his bed. Her eyes were now brown instead of blue.

“As much as I am enjoying having such a beautiful girl lying on top of me, I should get ready for school before my mom comes looking for me and finds us this way,” Alex teased sleepily, looking into Leslie’s eyes.

She immediately leapt from the floor and him and rushed toward the window after glancing at the clock. “Oh my god! I’ve got to get a shower and get ready for school. Alex, it might take me a few minutes so if you get finished and need to go before I’m ready, go ahead. I’ll get to school eventually.”

As she ducked out the window after saying this, Alex called after her. “I don’t mind waiting. I’m just as much to blame for this situation as you are.”

Fifteen minutes later, a whoosh accompanied Alex as he flew down the stairs, pecked a kiss on his mother’s cheek, and flew through the door and to his car, only to have to wait on Leslie. He was surprised that he didn’t have to wait very long. She raced out her front door, slamming it shut behind her, and over to Alex’s car. She yanked open the passenger door. Just before she dropped into the seat, she flashed Alex a smile and said, “Ok, Whitman, let’s get out of here.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he grinned back and started the car.

They both dropped into their seats in English just as the late bell rang. They grinned broadly at each other and started laughing. They began to tease each other, but the teacher starting class cut their bantering short. They flashed each other one last grin and then tried to pay attention to the lecture on their reading assignment.

* * * * * * * * * * *

“So you’re saying that Miss Rambo is really a cream puff under that exoskeleton?” Maria asked Alex at lunch.

“You have no idea. It’s like she’s a completely different person when we’re alone,” Alex said. “She’s just been through so much that I think she’s afraid to be close to people, and then too she has so much going on with her family that it’s hard for her to worry about anything else. I’m surprised she’s doing so well in her classes.”

“What do you mean by family problems?” Liz asked, taking another bite of her sandwich.

Alex looked from one of his friends to the other. He didn’t mind telling Liz and Maria because he was sure that they could be trusted and might even help Leslie to find her brother. However, he was not as sure about Michael and Max. Isabel was in the library, studying for a test the next period. After all, they had a lot on their minds lately too and probably would think it was a bad idea to get involved.

Maria could see her friend eyeing the two aliens and made Alex look at her. “Come on, Alex, you can tell us. We won’t say anything,” she wheedled.

“What is it she wants to know?” came a voice from behind him. It was a voice that Alex recognized.

“Leslie! Hey, what are you doing here?” he asked loudly.

She sat her lunch down on the table between Liz and Alex and squeezed onto the bench in between them. “I thought I’d eat lunch with you today and see if you had a chance to find out anything or think about any other options,” she said roughly. She still didn’t know how to act around these other yuppies. Just because she and Alex were friends didn’t mean that she wanted to be friends with everybody.

“What kind of sandwich is that?” Maria asked, wrinkling her nose at the sight and smell of the item in question.

Leslie rolled her eyes at her and told her, “It’s a noneya sandwich, as in noneya business. Why do you want to know? You’ve got a lunch to eat.”

Alex cleared his throat and interceded before Maria tried to tell Leslie just what she could do with her sandwich. “Well, you know that I didn’t have any luck last night on the computer. I didn’t get to say two words to my mother this morning and classes have been so busy that this is the first chance I’ve had to think about anything else. Maybe these guys could help. We could at least tell them what’s going on and see what they think,” he told her.

Leslie looked around and then met Michael’s eyes. She looked away quickly and mumbled, “Maybe eating lunch here was a mistake.” Louder, she said, “No, Alex, that’s ok, we can talk about it later.” Just as Max was about to introduce himself, she stood up, grabbed her lunch off the table and took a step away from the table. “I’m sorry to have just crashed your lunch table like that. I’ll just let you get back to your lunches. I need to go study anyway,” she told them as she turned to leave.

Alex tried to stop her. “Leslie, it’s ok. You’re welcome to join us. It’s no big deal. We’re friends now remember?”

Looking nervously at Michael, she shook her head. “No, that’s ok, I really should study. I’ll talk to you later, Alex.”

Michael had noticed the looks she had been giving him. His eyes had narrowed, trying to decipher what they meant. He called out to her back, “See you in biology, Terrell!”

She whipped around and had a smile plastered to her face. “Yeah, Guerrin, later!” Then she practically ran for the building.

After she had gone, Michael turned to Max. “See! I told you! She’s acting weird around me and I bet it’s because of that Ukrainian babble yesterday.”

“Michael, will you just drop it!” Max sighed. He had enough problems in his life without Michael’s paranoia rearing its ugly head.

“What Ukrainian babble?” Maria asked. She wanted to figure out the mystery behind this Leslie.

Michael rolled his eyes at her. “Was I talking to you, Blondie?” he asked. “I think not. This is a conversation between Max and me.”

Liz and Alex smothered a laugh as Maria replied huffily, “Well, excuse me! I do believe that the three of us terrestrials were sitting here first. If you don’t want your secrets or conversations to be overheard by anybody, then you shouldn’t air your foreign laundry in public.”

For the rest of the day, Michael was anxious to get to biology to see how Leslie would act around him. When he got to class, however, the teacher was ready to begin class right away and she lectured the whole class. Leslie avoided looking at him but really seemed intent on understanding the material. ‘Oh well, I’ve got the whole rest of the week to see how she’ll act around me. Hopefully, I can figure out why I’m so suspicious of her,’ he thought.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Thursday night, Alex climbed out onto the tree to sit out on their limb to wait for Leslie. She came out as soon as she saw him and sat down beside him. “Have you gotten anything out of your mom yet?” she asked for the third night in a row.

Alex shook his head. “I’m sorry, Leslie, but she doesn’t seem to know anything. I keep hinting around and she just seems to feel bad for you and your mother. I don’t think your mom has said anything yet. How are things going between you two anyway?” he asked.

Leslie snorted and rolled her eyes. “I tried to go through her purse while she was in the shower to see if I could find anything on where Lucas and dad are. Unfortunately, I misjudged my timing and got caught. She yelled at me, of course, and said that she just knew that I was into criminal behavior. I told her that looking for family was not a crime and that I didn’t want her money. She told me that was just fine with her and that any time I wanted any to remember that conversation. Then she grounded me for the weekend, except for dinner with your family on Saturday night. I replied that that suited me just fine since I didn’t have any friends to hang out with anyway. Obviously, I haven’t told her about you yet. I just keep trying to put the digs in and hope that she’ll give up on me and tell me.”

He frowned in thought. “You know, the whole reason she moved you here away from your brother in the first place is so that you would meet new friends. That’s what she was worried about right? Well, why not just do that and then maybe she’ll tell you where Lucas is. It might be worth a shot,” he suggested.

She grinned at him. “You know, if I could I’d bring home a bunch of punk friends and real criminal teens. Then she might not be so worried about me not making friends.” Then she grew serious and looked out into the night sky. “You might have a point, though, Whitman. Saturday, let’s try to pointedly have some things in common. I don’t want a lot of friends, Alex, but since I already have one in you, maybe my mom should see that. We’ll go from there.”

They were quiet for a few minutes before Leslie spoke again. “Alex, what do you know about Michael?” She didn’t look at him when she said it, and she had asked so quietly that Alex had to strain to hear her.

“Michael?” he repeated surprised. “Uh, well, he just became an emancipated minor last week and got his own apartment. His foster dad was a drunk and used to beat Michael, if he got a hold of him. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t trust people too much. He and Max are best friends and have been for years. Other than that, I don’t know a lot about him. He and I aren’t exactly close. Why?” As a thought hit him, his head snapped in her direction. “You don’t like him do you? I mean as a guy?”

Leslie smiled at that comment, but shook her head. “No, Alex, I don’t have a crush on Michael. He just seems so harsh on the outside that I wanted to know why. He really seems to want to succeed. He just doesn’t want anybody to know that or what he wants to succeed at.” She turned her face away from him and said quietly, “I don’t plan to pursue any type of relationship with a guy. In fact, you’re the first guy that I’ve ever talked to more than two or three times other than Lucas.”

Alex smiled. Leslie talked to him like she did with no one else other than her brother? That was nice to know. Then the question of why popped into his head. The first answer he could think of made him squirm. He wanted to know but he was afraid to ask. “Leslie? You aren’t…I mean, you’re not…I mean it’s fine if you are, but you’re not…”

She looked at him and rolled her eyes. “Oh, will you just spit it out already?” she asked.

“You’re not a lesbian are you?” he asked seriously.

The question caught her so off guard and hit her so funny that she started laughing. She was laughing so hard, that Alex had to put out his arms for fear that she would tumble right off the branch they were sitting on. She wiped away a few stray tears of laughter and grinned at him. “I guess I would put out that impression. No, Alex, I’m not playing for that team. I’ve just been through a lot in my past with members of the male species, and the memories are not pleasant. Please don’t ask me to explain because I just don’t want to talk about it now. Maybe I’ll tell you someday, but not today.”

“Well, I’m glad you aren’t mad at me for asking that question. I just wanted to know after the thought crossed my mind. It’s getting late, though, and I’m beat. I think I’ll go to bed,” he told her, standing up. He made his way to the window and Leslie followed his lead and headed for her own. Just before he ducked inside, he turned back. “Leslie?” She turned around and looked at him questioningly. “Don’t give up on finding your brother. We’ll find out where he is, I promise.”

She smiled and nodded at him and then ducked into her room. He did the same and pulled the curtains closed. As he got ready for bed, he couldn’t help singing to himself. He smiled as he climbed in bed, thinking about the answer to his earlier question. Alex didn’t know why, but he was completely relieved to know that Leslie wasn’t a lesbian and also that she felt she could talk to him. Maybe things were starting to change for him with girls. He thought about Isabel and his smile faltered. She was beautiful, but he wondered if he wasn’t attracted to her because she was like an exotic flower. Like one of those rare flowers, she was beautiful and did not originate locally. He fell asleep dreaming about the two girls in his life that he couldn’t seem to figure out.
Just call me Phoenix...cause I'm back from the dead!

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littleroswell
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Post by littleroswell » Wed May 14, 2003 4:36 pm

Here is part 6! Happy reading!

Beth

Part 6 – “Friendly Neighbor Dinner”

Friday came and went and on Saturday Leslie’s mom gave her a list of chores to have done before they went next door to the Whitman’s for dinner. Leslie grumbled but didn’t outright argue about it. She didn’t have any homework and she had already taken care of decorating her room while her mom worked during the week. Her mom had expressed that she had been impressed by how quickly she had gotten it done, but Leslie had just shrugged it off.

Her mother had just left for the grocery store, and she was working in the garden, when she heard music coming from Alex’s open window. She sat back on her heels and listened, trying to place the song, but she didn’t recognize it. When it stopped, she called up to him. “Hey, Whitman, I liked that! What was it?”

Alex’s face appeared above her and he grinned. “You liked that? It’s an Alex original,” he called down to her. “Nice outfit, by the way,” he added.

Leslie looked down to see what she was wearing. Her mother’s old stone-wash jeans were ratty, frayed, and had holes around the pockets. The faded, stained flannel shirt and the baseball cap she had pulled her ponytail through, she had confiscated from her dad’s closet a couple of years ago to use as work clothes. She was suddenly very aware that she looked terrible. Alex thought she had never looked better.

Embarrassed, she covered her feelings with humor. “Yeah, well what would you have me work in the garden in, an evening gown?” she joked, not looking at him.

“No way! Definitely a mini skirt. That way, when you bend over…” Alex’s voice trailed off as he realized with horror what he was saying. ‘Tell me I didn’t say that out loud,’ he thought to himself.

Leslie’s head had snapped up at his words, and she was grinning from ear to ear. Knowing that the tables had turned, she decided to drive the nail home. “When I bend over…what, Alex?” she teased.

“Nothing, forget it,” he answered, starting to back away from the window.

Suddenly, Leslie was sorry that she had pushed the issue. “Hey, Whitman, what’s that song called?” she asked lightly, going back to their original topic.

Alex was grateful to switch the subject. “Oh, I don’t know yet. I was just kinda playing around. Hang on a minute, and I’ll be down to help you,” he called and disappeared inside his room.

A minute later, he reappeared at her side and dropped to the ground beside her. “So where’s your mom?” he asked her. He looked to see what she was doing and picked up the flat of pansies she was planting.

“She left for the grocery store a little bit ago. She said she wanted to bring a dessert or a bottle of wine to dinner tonight. I hope she gets some good stuff to eat, I don’t know if I can take anymore pizza or Chinese food,” she joked. “She’s worked the evening to late night shift every day this week.”

“What time are you guys supposed to come over?” Alex asked. Taking one of the plants and putting it in the hole Leslie had just dug.

“Mom said six o’clock. Hey, Alex, have you found out anything from your mom yet?” she asked, looking at him. When he shook his head and apologized, she sighed. “Oh well, maybe in time…Hey! You wanna have some fun tonight?” she asked.

“What kind of fun?” he asked suspiciously.

Leslie dug another hole and took the pansy that Alex held out to her, placing it in the ground. “We already agreed to pretend that we weren’t friends yet, right?” When Alex nodded, she grinned at him wickedly. “Well, what if we were to become really good friends and your parents just weren’t entirely sure about that? I mean, I want to get back at my mom some more so maybe I’ll just wear my tongue ring, and you could just happen to notice it at dinner. My mom would flip! Then when my mom goes ballistic, you could just mention that you like it and ask if I have a tattoo. I bet that gets your parents’ attention!” Leslie laughed.

Alex laughed with her. “Ok, I could use a little bit of parent aggravating too. What about if I brought up your dad at dinner too? I mean even if your mom doesn’t talk about it then, if we found a way to be out of the room, leaving our mothers alone, I know my mom would be curious and bring it up again. What do you think?”

She thought about it for a few minutes and then nodded. “I don’t see how it could hurt. I can’t think of anything else to do at the moment to look for my brother.” As she packed the dirt around the last plant, she smiled at him. “Thanks for the help, Whitman.”

He grinned back. “You’re welcome.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

At six o’clock, promptly, Leslie and Lauren were knocking on the Whitman’s front door. Mrs. Whitman opened it and bid them welcome. They went inside, and Lauren handed the bottle of wine she had bought to their hostess. Evelyn Whitman then led them back to the kitchen where she was preparing taco salad for dinner. The two women were chit-chatting, and Leslie kept a bored look on her face when Alex walked in along with a man that had to be his father.

“Oh, Lauren and Leslie Terrell, this is my husband, Charles and my son, Alex,” Evelyn introduced them. “Charles, Alex, these are our new neighbors.”

They all shook hands and mumbled their greetings. Lauren looked at Alex. “Alex, are you in any of Leslie’s classes at school?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am, but we haven’t really had a chance to talk much,” Alex answered, just as he and Leslie had rehearsed.

Charles smiled warmly at Leslie, who in turn just looked completely bored, and asked, “So, Leslie, what is your favorite subject in school?”

“Study hall; It’s great to be able to nap in school,” Leslie replied shortly.

Charles just mumbled an “oh”, while Lauren glared at her daughter for her rudeness. There was an awkward silence for a moment before Evelyn announced that dinner was ready. They all sat at the table. Charles took the head seat, Evelyn sat to his left, Alex sat beside his mother, Lauren took the seat on the other side of Charles, and that left Leslie to sit across from Alex next to her mother.

As everyone passed the food dishes around the table, Leslie looked around the table for a particular condiment. Not seeing what she was looking for, she decided to ask for it. “Mrs. Whitman, do you have any hot sauce?” she asked, barely polite.

Evelyn smiled apologetically. “No dear, I’m sorry but I don’t think…” she began but was cut off by her son.

“Yeah, we do,” Alex replied, jumping up and going over to the pantry. He pulled out a bottle of Tabasco sauce and put it down in front of Leslie. “Will that work?” he asked. Leslie refrained from smiling at him as she gave him a mumbled thanks, and poured some on her Mexican food. At his mother’s questioning look, Alex answered her unvoiced question. “A few of my new friends like their food extra spicy, so I bought a bottle so they didn’t have to bring one if they came over.”

“So, how do you two like the area so far? I understand you’re a nurse, is that right, Lauren?” Charles asked.

“Yes, that’s right and I’m afraid because I’m the new kid on the block that I’ve got the bad shifts right now. I don’t mind them too much because of the times but I don’t get to spend as much time with Leslie as I’d like. As for Roswell, I really love it here. It’s such a quaint little town and I love the alien quirks that pop up all over the place,” Lauren answered.

“What about you, Leslie? You like the area, school?” Charles asked her next.

Leslie shrugged. “It’s ok, I guess,” she replied. At the death glare that her mother gave her, she added, “It takes some getting used to not having any pine trees around.”

“That’s right; you guys lived in Atlanta, didn’t you?” Evelyn spoke up. “So what’s Atlanta like? I’ve never had a chance to go there.”

“Extremely miserable in the summer. Unlike the heat out here in the desert, the heat out there is extremely humid and you never get the chance to cool off if you don’t have air conditioning. But the spring time is lovely and you don’t get snowed in for weeks at a time in the winter,” Lauren told them. “There are a lot more trees out there too, as you could imagine, and the falls are really something to see in a good year. If you go north of Atlanta to Dahlonega or Helen, Georgia, to the mountains, they have fall festivals and you can see all the beautiful colors of the trees and smell the scent of burning leaves and hickory from the barbeques. Then too, there are a couple of towns, such as Elijay, that have apple festivals, and they’re lots of fun. If you ever get a chance to go, I would recommend that time of year.”

“Did you leave a lot of friends behind in Atlanta, Leslie?” Evelyn asked her.

“Not really,” she answered.

When she didn’t seem to be eager to continue, Evelyn pressed her. “What about now? Have you made any new friends out here?”

Leslie had to forcibly keep her eyes from glancing at Alex. “No, ma’am, not really. Not yet, anyway,” she answered. Then she turned back to her food, and when the others weren’t looking, she glanced at Alex and winked.

That was their signal that they had formed. Leslie purposely stuck her tongue out a little further to take in her next bite of food, and Alex put a surprised look on his face. “You got a tongue ring?” he asked loudly.

The question had the effect that they had been looking for. Lauren’s head jerked in Leslie’s direction in horror. “Leslie Terrell, tell me that you didn’t wear that awful thing tonight!” she exclaimed.

Leslie wanted to laugh out loud, but instead she just shrugged. “I forgot to take it out; what’s the big deal?” she asked.

Lauren was just about to tell her just what the big deal was, when Alex jumped in. “I like it. It’s kinda sexy on you, Leslie,” he told her.

Charles and Evelyn just about choked on their food. Alex liked the tongue ring? He thought it was sexy?! Before they could say anything, their son surprised them again. “You don’t have a tattoo, too, do you?” he asked.

“Alexander Charles Whitman!” he mother scolded.

“She better not!” Lauren said at the same time.

Leslie ignored them both and answered, “Not yet, but I’ve been thinking about it.” Lauren almost melted into a puddle under the table. It took Leslie everything she had not to laugh out loud at their parents.

Ignoring all of the outbursts, Alex persisted in his line of questioning. “Really? What kind?” he asked, clearly earning not only glares from his mother, but Lauren as well.

Knowing that continuing this conversation could be hazardous to his son’s health, Charles decided to change the subject. “So tell me what classes you’re taking in school, Leslie.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

After they finished eating without too many crises, Alex mentioned that he played guitar and Leslie expressed that she would like to see his guitar and the computer that he mentioned earlier. The two went upstairs to Alex’s room, making as much noise in doing so as they could. Charles mentioned some phone calls he needed to make, and he left Evelyn and Lauren to clean up the dinner remains. As soon as Leslie and Alex made it up to Alex’s room, they turned on the tape they had recorded some of Alex’s playing on and turned it up to where it was just tolerable but loud enough to be annoying. Then they quietly made their way back down the stairs to listen to their mothers in the kitchen.

“Evelyn, do you recycle?” Lauren asked, holding a couple of coke cans over the trash can.

“No, not really. I guess we should, but it costs extra to get the garbage people to pick it up and deal with it, and there aren’t any recycling centers around here either,” Evelyn answered. Then she glanced back over at Lauren. “So Lauren, I know you said that you and your husband are divorced, but didn’t you say that you also have a son?” she asked.

Leslie and Alex passed a knowing look. At dinner, Alex had brought up the subject of Kevin Terrell and asked about him, as Leslie’s father, and Lauren had quickly changed the subject. Now they held their breaths, hoping for the information that they were looking for to be revealed now. Alex had felt certain that his mother’s unquenchable curiosity would cause her to bring up the subject again.

Lauren sighed. “Yes, his name is Lucas. He and Leslie are twins, but we adopted them when they were little. They never seem to have any friends other than each other. That’s why Kevin and I decided that, since our marriage didn’t work out, we would each take one of the kids and go in different directions until they had made some friends. Leslie may seem really tough and everything, but she really used to be such a sweet girl. I don’t know if she’ll ever understand that Kevin and I are just trying to do what’s best for her and Lucas. She’s told me that she hates me for it and that she’ll never forgive me,” she told her new friend.

Hearing that might have made some people feel sorry for Lauren, but Leslie couldn’t. How could anyone think that separating a teenager from their only family would be best for them? She rolled her eyes at Alex and whispered at him, “Yeah, we know all this. When do you think she’ll get to…?” But before she could finish, Alex put his hand over her mouth as he heard his mother ask the question of the hour.

“So you brought Leslie here, but where did your husband and Lucas end up?” Evelyn Whitman asked.

Alex and Leslie held their breath in anticipation for the answer. However, neither was prepared for the answer they heard. “I don’t really know yet,” Lauren confessed. At Evelyn’s disbelieving look, she continued. “Oh, I know that they ended up somewhere in the northeast but where exactly, I didn’t want Kevin to tell me yet. All I have for them is a phone number. Lucas won’t talk to me on the phone, and Kevin says that he’s still mad at both of us, but he can’t ignore Kevin, since he lives with him.”

As it looked like Leslie was about to give away where she and Alex were, Alex kept his hand over her mouth and pulled her to her feet and up to his room. When the door was firmly closed behind them, Alex turned to Leslie just in time to catch her as she collapsed in his arms. “Oh, Alex, even she doesn’t know! What am I supposed to do now? How can I find my brother if my only link doesn’t know where he is either?” she sobbed.

Alex had never seen her so upset, not even the night that she fell apart in the tree. He held her close and let her cry, murmuring soft, comforting words. Then as she calmed down, he told her, “I don’t know, Leslie; I just don’t know. We’ll find him somehow, though. If there is anything that I can do to help, I will.”

Leslie pulled back and wiped at her eyes. “I’m sorry, Alex. That’s the second time that I’ve fallen apart on you like that. Thank you, though, for everything. I don’t know what I’d do without you being here now,” she told him. Then she looked up in his eyes and was startled at what she saw there. Before she had a chance to react, Alex’s lips were on hers in a sweet soft kiss.
Just call me Phoenix...cause I'm back from the dead!

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Post by littleroswell » Tue May 27, 2003 2:27 pm

Ok, I found the disk so I wanted to go ahead and post a new part! Here is part 7. Let me know what you think. Even a "good job...keep up the good work" is appreciated.

Beth

Part 7 – “Sexual Healing”

Leslie pulled away from Alex and backed toward the door to his room. “Why did you kiss me?” she asked angrily.

Alex was confused and embarrassed. He hadn’t meant to really kiss her but he couldn’t help himself. One minute he was thinking about it, the next he was actually doing it. She was so vulnerable and so honest and really beautiful. Now how would he explain his actions? As he rattled his brain for an answer to her question, she got angrier.

“I told you that I didn’t want anything to do with guys or relationships. Just because you can’t get your dream girl, Whitman, don’t come on to me trying to make me your second best,” Leslie growled at him. “You like Isabel Evans; I know it and you know it. Why would you kiss me if you have feelings for her? The only answer I can come up with is that because you don’t have her, you think you can use me. Well forget it! I am through being someone’s plaything! Do you hear me?!”

With that she stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her. Alex stood there, extremely confused. Is that what he had been doing? Had he been using her, even if he wasn’t consciously aware of it? He didn’t know the answer to that. He would like to think he wasn’t, but he had liked Isabel for a long time, even before joining the “I Know an Alien Club”. One thing he knew for sure was that he didn’t want Leslie mad at him. He opened the door again and ran down the stairs.

As he entered the kitchen, he heard Leslie tell Lauren, “Mom, I don’t feel all that well. I’ve been feeling bad all day. I might be catching that flu that’s going around. I thought I’d go on home and go to bed. Thank you so much for dinner, Mrs. Whitman. It was very good.”

Alex appeared at that. “Bye, Leslie, I’ll see you in school Monday,” he told her, trying to say he was sorry at the same time. She didn’t answer but nodded, not meeting his eyes. Then she left.

Later that night, Alex went upstairs to his room to get ready for bed. He slowly went over to his window and looked out, sighing when he saw that his fears had been true. Leslie’s window was firmly closed, the curtains drawn, and there was only a faint light coming from inside. He sighed again and turned away from the window to get ready for bed.

* * * * * * * * * * *

On Monday, Leslie didn’t appear at Alex’s car for a ride. Maria did, however, appear at his locker to tell him all about the kiss that Liz and Max had shared the day before at the Crashdown. “I have never seen her like this,” Maria told him.

“So this was like the kiss of the millennium?” he asked.

“Alex, if they actually do it, she’ll probably explode,” Maria answered dramatically.

“Or maybe she’ll explode if they don’t do it,” Alex countered. As they reached his class, he was disappointed but not overly surprised to see that Leslie wasn’t there.

Later that day, he was walking towards his last class when he almost collided with Liz. She was coming from the principal’s office from getting caught making out with Max in the eraser room during 6th period. “Oh, Alex, I’m sorry,” she said.

“Liz, what’s going on with you and Max?” Alex teased.

“Alex, the most incredible thing is happening to me, but I don’t even know what it is,” she told him excitedly.

“What?” he asked. After hearing her tell about everything that she had seen in her flashes while she was with Max, and after squirming through his last class, he made up his mind about something. Leslie hadn’t been in school all day. He was afraid that she would avoid him even when she did show up. He had to know something about his feelings.

He left his last class and headed for the cafeteria, as he had been told that the person he was looking for was waiting for her brother to get out of detention. He spotted Isabel sitting at a table alone with a piece of pizza. As he walked up to her, she took a big bite and then started to fan her mouth with her hand. Alex went through his lunch bag and pulled out a napkin, handing it to her.

Isabel took it gratefully. “Hot!” she proclaimed, still fanning her mouth.

“You ok?” he asked. After she had confirmed that she’d be fine, he asked, “So speaking of hot…this whole Liz-Max thing?”

“Mm-hmm?” Isabel encouraged with her mouth full.

Alex looked away from her face, not able to look her in the eyes. “Well, I was just wondering, you know, in the interest of science, kissing being purported to provoke these certain insights, I wanted to, you know, offer myself as a…as a human subject available for experimentation,” he told her awkwardly.

“It’s not going to happen, Alex,” Isabel said.

“Right…right…right. I thought I’d give it a shot,” he said absently.

“Yeah, you want some pizza?” she asked.

“Um, yeah, pizza’s always good,” he accepted, taking some from her hands.

The rest of the week, Alex worried about Leslie. She hadn’t been to school and when he had gone over to her house, Lauren had said she had the flu and might not be back for the rest of the week. Alex couldn’t help but worry about her. He had hurt her feelings and was afraid she wouldn’t forgive him. He knew it had been hard for her to open up to him in the first place. He just didn’t understand why. Meanwhile, the rest of his friends were preoccupied with the Max-Liz situation and testing their theories.

Finally, that Friday night, Maria had caught Max and Liz on the verge of really getting heavy in Michael’s apartment. She snatched Liz away from the situation and drove her home herself. Then she called Alex that night and filled him in on everything that had been going on. She was worried about Liz and making Alex worried in the process.

It was Saturday morning, rather early, and Alex opened the front door to his house at the knocking, and found Isabel standing there. “Isabel?”

“Max and Liz are missing,” Isabel blurted out.

“Missing? Ok, let me see, um…let me get the keys to my car all right? Then we can go and find them,” he told her, starting to turn away from her.

“No, that’s ok,” Isabel stopped him. There was an awkward pause as he waited for her to continue and she waited for him to make his move. “Ok,” she told him.

“Ok, what?” Alex asked confused.

“Ok, and kiss me,” Isabel told him.

“K…kiss you?” he stammered, unable to believe his ears.

“My brother is missing. We need to find him. Maybe we can generate some information,” she explained. “Maybe I’ll get a flash of their location or something. So go ahead.”

“Oh, yeah, right. Yes, ma’am,” he said. He stepped over to her and kissed her. As he pulled away, he gave her a questioning look.

“Nothing,” she answered his unspoken question. “Nothing relevant to the current crisis.”

“Oh, well sorry,” he apologized. As she turned to walk away, he said, “You know I’m…I’m available for further experiments. You know, whenever.”

That night, Max called a meeting at Michael’s apartment. Everyone was there except Liz. She had gotten grounded for disappearing with Max. It was only for the rest of the weekend, and she had to work a few extra hours, but her absence was noticeable.

Max explained everything that had happened, and what hadn’t happened, between him and Liz. He also told everyone about the orb they had found and they all speculated on what it could be for. Throughout the whole conversation, Alex listened and brought up helpful suggestions and questions, but his mind was far from the heart of the conversation. He hadn’t heard from Leslie all week and he wanted to get home. He didn’t know why but he was worried about the way things were going with her. He decided to try to apologize.

As the meeting broke up, Alex hurried out towards home, surprising all of his friends. He had even turned down the invitation from Isabel to stay and watch a movie with them. He hurried home and flew up to his room, telling his mom that he had already eaten. He closed and locked his door and went over to the window. He didn’t know how to explain it but he knew that tonight would be different. Sure enough, Leslie’s window was open, her light was on and she was sitting in their tree.

Alex quickly threw his window open and climbed out onto the tree. He made his way over to their branch and lowered himself beside her. “Leslie, I…” he started to apologize, but Leslie interrupted him.

“Don’t apologize, Alex,” she told him softly, looking at her hands. “I’m the one that owes you an apology. You were probably just caught up in the moment with me being so upset, and I lost it on you. I’m sorry, Alex, for flipping out and questioning your motives like that, but I’ve been through a lot. I’ve lived a whole other lifetime,” she said distantly. “What I mean is that that’s what it feels like, that everything I went through was a lifetime ago. I hope you will forgive me.”

“You might have flipped out, but you were right about me straightening out my feelings for Isabel first. I kissed her this morning,” Alex admitted. He wasn’t sure why he told her that.

Leslie’s eyes went wide and she looked at Alex and then quickly away. “So I guess that you and she are together then, huh? That’s good, I’m happy for you both. I don’t really know her, but if you like her then she has to be something special,” Leslie babbled.

Alex took her hand, silencing her ramblings. “No, Isabel and I aren’t together. In fact, that kiss made me think that we’ll probably never be together. She is…she’s like…I don’t know. She’s like reaching for the moon, I guess, or a star maybe…” he started, trying to explain.

Leslie hung her head. She could never compare with a star, never had been able to. She had heard something along those lines before; it hadn’t hurt as much then. “I understand, Alex,” she murmured, thinking that she did.

“No, I don’t think you do. You see, I’ve been thinking about that kiss and about my feelings towards Isabel. What would I do with the moon or a star if it was within my power to have it? I couldn’t bring either here to earth, both are too big. I couldn’t hold it or try to keep it from moving or changing in its pattern or orbit in the sky. Stars and the moon are meant to be admired for their beauty from afar, not to be owned and held,” Alex explained. He chanced a glance at her. She was letting his words sink in.

She turned her face to him and there were tears glistening in her warm brown eyes. “And what am I like, Alex? If Isabel is like a star or the moon, what am I?” she asked in a whisper.

Alex laughed nervously. “Is this a trick question? I know that no matter what I say, you’re gonna beat me up aren’t you?”

“Alex, please be serious. Just please answer the question. No matter what you say, I know you’ll have an explanation for it,” Leslie pleaded.

He thought about it for a minute, seriously thinking about his answer. “I think you are a diamond that has just been mined, not quite polished to its full potential yet.” At her amused look, he hurried on. “I mean, you are tough, durable, have a lot of beautiful hidden qualities, are worth more than you first appear, and you are like a star that is small enough to take home and admire, even if it’s cloudy or raining.”

After a brief awkward silence, Leslie broke into a full smile and chuckled. “You did all right, Whitman. I mean, you had me worried for a minute there, but you pulled through nicely,” she teased, hitting him playfully.

He laughed with her. “Yeah, well, I have to admit that I was a little concerned myself for a minute, but I saw my opportunity and I took it,” he said in his best football player voice. Sobering up, though, he looked deep into her eyes and put his hand to her cheek. “I’ve kissed two girls in the past week. Wanna know how you stack up?” he asked, softly teasing her again.

“I don’t want to push my luck. I’ve won the simile round, but I don’t know about the kiss comparison round,” Leslie chuckled nervously, her eyes darting away from his.

“As good a kisser as Isabel was, there was no comparison, even though she knew it was coming and you didn’t,” Alex told her honestly.

“Really?” she asked, unbelievingly. At his nod, she smiled. “Wanna see how I do when I know it’s coming?” she asked.

“Love to,” he answered. Alex closed the gap between them and kissed her. When they came up for air, he said, “So am I forgiven then?”

Leslie pretended to think about it. Then she smiled evilly. “How good a kisser am I?” she asked.

Alex grinned back. “I don’t have much to compare you to but I’d have to say you’re great!”

“Then, yes, you are forgiven. Now I’m tired and I’m going inside to get some sleep,” she said, standing up on the branch.

He followed suit and pulled her into his arms, careful not to upset either of their balance. “So do you want to do something tomorrow?” he asked. “We could maybe catch a movie or go bowling or something.”

She started to panic. “Uh, actually, Alex, I have some things that I have to do tomorrow. School project that I’ve put off and also some chores around the house. But I would love to do something later in the week. Maybe Monday or Tuesday night,” she said. Then she pulled from his arms and made her way to her window. “Good night, Alex.”

“Good night, Leslie,” Alex called back, making his way back to his own room.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The next morning, Isabel was awakened by an insistent tapping on her window. She looked at her clock. It was only 8:30. “Michael, whatever reason you have for getting me up before 10 on a Sunday had better be good!” she called as she opened the window. She was surprised to find Leslie there instead. “What are you doing here and how did you know which window was mine?”

Leslie blushed a little. “Well, I woke Max up first and he told me which one was yours. I’m sorry to wake you up early on a Sunday but I wanted to ask for your help, and I’m afraid this might take all day. Will you help me?” she asked.

Isabel was tempted to tell this little goth-girl to go bother someone else, but something stopped her. It had to have taken a lot for her to come here. She wanted something very badly, and for some reason, she had come to Isabel to get it. She finally nodded and stepped back for Leslie to enter. “Come on in. You can have something to eat while I get dressed. Then you can tell me what you want me to help you with.”

“Thanks, Isabel, I really appreciate it,” Leslie said, starting to climb over the sill into the room.

As she looked like she was about to lose her balance, Isabel put her hand out to steady the girl. “I haven’t said I’d help yet,” she said dryly.

But her sarcasm was cut short, as Leslie went stark white and seemed to go into some kind of trance. Her eyes glazed over and her lips parted. Unintelligible words poured from Leslie’s mouth, and she passed out onto the floor.
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Post by littleroswell » Tue Jun 03, 2003 11:21 am

Part 8 – “Who Are You and What Have You Done with Leslie?”

Isabel bent over the girl collapsed on her bedroom floor worriedly. “Leslie? Leslie, are you ok?” she asked, shaking the girl gently.

Leslie came to herself quickly and looked at Isabel and forced herself not to recoil from the other girl’s touch. She did, however, gently remove herself from any physical contact from Isabel. “I’m fine,” she said, not meeting the blonde’s eyes. “Why?”

“What happened to you? Are you epileptic?” Isabel asked. At the look on Leslie’s face, she hurried on. “You went white as a sheet, your eyes went blank, you collapsed on the floor, and you started rattling off in some other language or incoherent sounds.”

“Um, no I’m not epileptic. I just lost my balance and hurt myself a little when I fell. I don’t like to swear really so I just make up a bunch of nonsense,” Leslie told her, thinking quickly. “Now about breakfast and the favor I’m asking of you today…”

“Yeah, just let me jump in the shower real quick and get dressed. First, though, let’s go downstairs and get you something to eat while I’m busy keeping Max out of the bathroom,” Isabel said, letting the explanation slide. Something about it didn’t click with it, though.

She led Leslie down the hall and down the stairs to the kitchen, where her mother was scrambling eggs, cooking bacon, and toasting bread. Phillip was seated at the table, pulling out sections to the paper. They didn’t look up as Isabel entered the room so they didn’t notice that it wasn’t Max with her.

“You kids are up early,” Phillip said behind a section of the paper.

Diane glanced at the clock on the wall. “It’s only 8:45 on a Sunday. Isabel, what are you doing up at this hour?” she asked, looking back down at the eggs. “Max, I thought I heard you up earlier, was that you?”

“Um, actually, I’m not Max,” Leslie stated quietly.

Diane froze and as if on cue, she and Phillip looked at them at the same time, surprise on their faces. Who was this girl? Where had she come from? She wasn’t there the night before and they hadn’t heard the doorbell ring or a knock on the door. Perfectly timed, the toaster popped up the bread and broke the silence.

“Mom, dad, this is Leslie Terrell. Leslie, these are my parents, Diane and Phillip,” Isabel introduced them. “Mom, do you have enough for Leslie to have some? If not, just give her mine and I’ll make some more when I get out of the shower.” With that, Isabel gave Leslie a small smile and went back up the stairs.

“So, Leslie, did you spend the night last night?” Diane asked, trying to make conversation.

“Uh, no, actually, I came over this morning to ask a favor of Isabel and I knew it was early so I didn’t want to wake anyone. I just went to her window and knocked on it,” Leslie confessed, reddening in embarrassment. She gave a small laugh. “I guess I could have knocked or rang the bell; you guys were up and then I got the wrong window and woke Max up.”

At that moment, there was a loud yawn behind her and Max walked from behind her to the table. He was clad in a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. His hair was tousled from sleep and he mumbled a “’morning” as he sat down in a chair. Diane placed a plate of food in front of him and one in front of Phillip. She looked up and smiled at Leslie, who looked completely uncomfortable.

“Leslie, come sit down, honey,” she motioned to the girl. Leslie gave her a small smile and took the seat that she had indicated, which happened to be next to Max. Diane then placed a third plate in front of Leslie and then sat down with her own breakfast.

Leslie and Max started to reach for the bottle of Tabasco sauce sitting in the middle of the table at the same time. They both pulled their hands back and Max gave her a smile. “Go ahead. You like Tabasco on your eggs too huh?” he said politely.

“Um, yeah,” Leslie answered, reaching for the bottle again. She watched her food as she added the sauce. “Listen, I’m sorry about waking you up this morning. I thought it was Isabel’s window and I was trying not to wake anyone else up.”

“So I gathered. It’s ok; I usually don’t sleep as late as Isabel. I’m not as grouchy as her when you wake me up either,” he replied smoothly.

There was an awkward silence as everyone started eating. Both parents gave each other looks and glanced at the two teens. Silently, they asked each other if they knew who this Leslie who had appeared at their daughter’s window was. It seemed neither knew. Phillip cleared his throat.

“So, Leslie, tell us a little about yourself. Does your family live nearby? You must go to school with Isabel and Max since you seem to know them,” he asked in a warm tone.

“Geez, dad, you act like your questioning somebody on the witness stand,” Max grumbled good-naturedly.

Phillip gave Leslie a smile and chuckled. “Max is right. Please excuse me, Leslie, if my attempt to make conversation comes across like an interrogation. I sometimes have trouble separating my work attitude from my social life.”

Leslie smiled at the older man; he seemed nice. She was also careful not to touch Max in any way, not even by accident. She couldn’t afford to have a repeat of what had happened a little bit ago with Isabel, even if she wasn’t sure. “It’s alright, Mr. Evans, I’m actually new in town. My mom and I just moved in a couple of weeks ago. I live next door to the Whitmans,” she said.

They chatted while finishing their food and Leslie couldn’t remember the last time she had felt so at home with a family. Diane and Phillip were extremely nice and insisted that she come by again. It made her feel good that they hadn’t judged her by her looks. It also made her more determined to do what she had planned to do that day.

“Hey, Leslie, you ready to talk now?” Isabel asked, coming into the kitchen. She grabbed a plate of food that Diane had kept warm for her and motioned for Leslie to follow her back to her room.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Alex sighed again as he pulled his last book out of his locker. Maria and Liz were chatting just a bit away from him. Michael and Max walked up and Liz immediately moved into Max’s arms and they were lost in each other. Michael greeted Maria with a nod and a “mornin’ blondie”. Alex closed his locker and turned to the group just as Isabel walked up with a bright smile on her face.

“Hi, guys,” Isabel greeted everyone warmly. “Any of you seen Leslie this morning?” she asked vaguely.

Everyone shook their heads in the negative. “I knocked on her door to give her a ride this morning, but her mom said that she wanted to take the bus this morning,” Alex said. He was worried that his neighbor and friend had changed her mind about forgiving him after their talk. She hadn’t been out in their tree last night and didn’t want the ride this morning.

“Why are you asking, Isabel?” Maria asked, her radar going up. “You haven’t even really talked to her before.”

Before Isabel could answer, there was a commotion from the end of the hallway. They heard whistles and cat-calls from several guys and a crowd was gathering to see what all the commotion was about. Liz in particular distinguished Kyle’s voice in the group of guys. Suddenly, just like in all those commercials and movies, the crowd parted and everything went in slow motion for Alex.

Coming down the hall, in their direction, was a girl that looked awfully familiar. She was about Liz’s height but was wearing platform shoes, giving her a couple more inches. She had long, dark brown hair that spilled down her back, and its warm red highlights appeared as she passed through patches of sunshine. Her eyes too were a warm brown with reddish-gold flecks and danced with a secret merriment. She was dressed in a simple black skirt that reached just to her knees, cherry-red platform sandals that matched her tapered top with sheer, flowing sleeves. She had gold hoops in her ears that dangled dangerously as she walked.

Max, Michael, and Alex reflected the looks that were on the faces of all the other guys in the hall. Their mouths dragged the ground and their eyes were bugging out of their heads. Maria and Liz giggled at the looks on the guys’ faces. Isabel just grinned, feeling pretty good about herself. The girl granted all three of the guys’ wishes as she slowed down and stopped at their little group, an entourage behind her. The guys all swallowed, trying to remember how to breathe.

“Hi, guys,” the girl said, sweetly but a bit sultrily too. “How do you like the new look?”

Alex’s jaw dropped to the ground again as he recognized the voice instantly. “Leslie?! Is that you? Wow! You look…I mean you look…the whole…wow!” he stuttered, giving her the once over two and three times.

Leslie giggled. She turned her attention to the other two guys standing there with their girlfriends. “You guys look like Michael in Mary Poppins. What did she tell him? Oh yeah, close your mouth we are not a codfish.”

Michael and Max’s jaws snapped closed and they turned red from embarrassment over their staring. Leslie looked at Isabel and the other girls and smiled and winked at them. “Thanks, Isabel, for your help yesterday. I never would have thought to go to the stores you took me to. I’ve always thought of them as too expensive,” she said.

All eyes turned to Isabel. “You’re responsible for this?” Michael demanded. That earned him a slap upside the head from Maria.

“God, Michael, could you be more rude?” she asked him.

“Not exactly. I just helped her shop for the clothes and makeup. She put it all together, and I must say, Leslie, you did a fab job!” Isabel answered.

“Thanks, Isabel.” She turned back to Alex. “You still haven’t answered my question, Whitman. You’d better answer it soon or I might have to make you regret it. What do you think about my new look?”

Alex finally found his tongue and grinned at her. She wanted to know what he thought! “I think the diamond polishes up really well!” he answered.

Leslie laughed openly at that. Everyone else looked confused, but Alex and Leslie didn’t bother to explain. “Mr. Whitman, would you be kind enough to escort me to my class?” she asked with a put on southern accent.

“I’d be delighted to, Miss Terrell,” Alex answered back with a slight bow. He held his arm to her and she took it, giggling.

As they walked away, Maria and Liz congratulated Isabel on her choice of clothes for Leslie. Max looked at Michael and said, “Michael, don’t ask me why, but for some reason you’re starting to rub off on me. I could swear that I knew Leslie from somewhere, and it’s making me paranoid.”

Michael smirked at his friend. “Now you believe me? I was just gonna say that she’s finally starting to seem normal to me!” Max and Michael laughed at that. Then they escorted the girls to their class.

Meanwhile, Alex and Leslie had arrived at their class and Alex was watching Leslie from the corner of his eyes. “So why the sudden change?” he asked. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the new look, but why did you decide to do it?”

Leslie tilted her head to the side. “I don’t know. I mean just a few days ago, I really wanted to sulk and be a bad girl to punish my mom for separating me from Lucas. Now it’s as if my body or mind won’t let me stay that punk/goth girl that I was trying to be. I just got this incredible urge to be the best that I could, outside and in. Maybe you have something to do with that, Alex. Don’t tell my mom, though. She’s already happy that I’ve changed my look; let’s not make her ecstatic by letting her know that my attitude has changed too.”

Alex acknowledged her words. Then Leslie looked at her book, obviously trying to avoid Alex’s eyes. “Hey, Alex, are Isabel and Max adopted?” she asked casually.

Before he could answer, the bell rang. The teacher came in and began lecturing on their latest reading assignment. All conversation, including Alex’s answer, would have to be put on hold until later. Alex was trying to figure out how she would know that and why she was asking about it.
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Part 9

Post by littleroswell » Wed Jun 11, 2003 4:02 pm

Part 9 – “One Normal Night”

Alex heard a light tapping on his window from his spot at his desk. He jumped up and, knowing that it was probably Leslie, closed his bedroom door before moving to open his window. As he slid it open, Leslie stuck her head inside. “Hey, done with your homework yet?” she asked.

“Almost, I have a couple more math problems to work out and then I’ll be done. Why? Have something in mind?” he asked with a teasing grin.

Leslie hit his arm lightly. “Not that! I was thinking we could watch a movie and order pizza at my house. My mom is out working tonight and I don’t want to be alone,” she said, not meeting his eyes.

“Uh huh,” Alex folded his arms across his chest knowingly. “That’s not the only reason you want me over there, Terrell. Fess up, what’s on your mind?” he said.

She rolled her eyes and threw up her hands. “Ok, I admit that I have another mission as well, but I do want the pizza and a movie too. Is that so wrong?” Alex waited for her to continue and she squirmed a little. “Ok, I want to look for that phone number that my mom said she had for dad and Lucas.”

Alex dropped his arms and lifted her chin with his hand to have her eyes meet his. “Leslie, I told you I’d help you with finding your brother. You don’t have to lie to me,” he told her. “I’m happy to help any way I can.”

She smiled and hung her head in shame. “I’m sorry, Alex. I did want to spend time with you tonight, but I didn’t want you to think that the only time I want to be with you is when we’re working on finding my brother. Besides, you’re the first person that didn’t want to help me with an ulterior motive.”

“It’s ok. Go back over to your house and start looking for that number. I’m gonna finish my math homework, tell my parents I’m going out and I’ll be over in a few minutes,” Alex instructed her. Then he held her hand and helped her climb back out onto the tree outside.

Fifteen minutes later, he went over to the window and gestured that he was coming over to Leslie, who was sitting in the tree. He closed his window, grabbed a couple of his DVD’s and headed down the stairs. As he went through the kitchen where his mother was making dinner, he came over to her and draped his arm over her shoulders. “Mom, you know I love your cooking right?” he said smoothly.

“Let me guess, you aren’t going to be here to eat it tonight. Am I right?” she asked, hiding a smile.

“Why would you think something like that?” Alex asked with a frown. His charm was wearing off; that wasn’t good. He dropped his arm and stood there looking confused.

His mother laughed. “Alex, when you start to throw the Whitman charm on that thick, I know something’s going on. Go, have fun with your friends,” she said, making a shooing motion with her hand.

“Thanks, mom, you’re the greatest,” he said, planting a kiss on her cheek and heading towards the front door.

“Yeah, yeah,” she dismissed his flattery.

“I mean it! I don’t know how all those other teens survive without you for their mother,” Alex said with his most charming grin while walking backwards the last few feet.

“Oh, go on with you!” his mother scoffed, throwing an oven mitt at him. As he disappeared from sight, she called out, “Be back by 10:30! It’s a school night!” The only answer was the sound of the front door closing.

Leslie opened the front door to the sound of the doorbell and smiled at her neighbor and friend. “Come on in. I started in her room,” she told him, heading up the stairs toward her mother’s room.

Alex threw his jacket on the couch in the living room along with the DVD’s and followed the way Leslie had gone. He looked around her mom’s room and thought he might not really want to search this room. “Uh, Leslie, how observant is your mom? I mean, if I leave something out of place are we going to get caught?” he asked.

“Nah, actually, Alex, if you could start downstairs or even in the office next to this room, that would be great. I’m almost finished in here,” Leslie said. As soon as he had left, she began running her hands all over everything searching for the phone number without disturbing a thing. “Damn,” she mumbled. “They’re getting stronger. I don’t have much time,” she said to herself. Not finding the number in the room, she rushed over to the phone on the night stand. She didn’t know if she could do it yet, but she was going to try. Closing her eyes in concentration, she tried to get the numbers dialed and sort through them through flashes. Nothing happened.

An hour and a half later, Leslie and Alex had searched the whole house and found nothing. They had ended up in the living room together, and were currently sitting on the couch. Alex looked over at Leslie’s face and took her hand. “Hey, don’t give up ok? We’ll find something soon,” he told her.

She smiled at him. “I didn’t really expect it to be here anyway. I thought about searching her purse, since that’s where it most likely will be, but I’ll have to do that while she’s sleeping. Then again, she could have it memorized and I’ll never find it written down. Let’s not worry about it for now. What movies did you bring?” she asked, picking up the DVD’s. “Terminator, Die Hard, Bravehart, and A Walk to Remember?” She grinned at him. “That last one doesn’t seem to fit your tough guy image, Whitman.”

Alex grinned back at her. “I know; it’s my mom’s. I brought it as an alternative.”

“Well, that’s the one that’s going in the player. I haven’t seen that movie yet and I’m not in the mood for future robots or de-gutted Scotsmen,” she told him, standing up with the DVD.

“Hey, that still leaves Die Hard!” Alex protested weakly. Leslie ignored him.

After starting the movie, she snuggled into his arms and then shrugged. “Fine with me, but that means no snuggling,” she told him with a straight face. He grumbled but didn’t move to put the other movie in the player. Instead, he pulled her closer and smelled her hair, trying to keep her from noticing. He wrapped his arms tight around her and was relieved when she didn’t even stiffen up. Maybe Leslie was the one.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Max smiled at the image of Liz dancing and singing to the radio as she got ready for their study date. He had come to her window and was about to knock on it when he saw her just being herself and decided to watch her for a few minutes first. Just as she tried to hit another note…and missed, he grinned and chuckled to himself.

Then he got caught. Liz was putting a necklace on and turned around to find Max at her window. She turned bright red, went over and switched off her stereo, and crossed back over to her window. Throwing it open, she smiled, embarrassed at being caught. “Max Evans, are you laughing at me?” she asked, hitting him playfully on the arm.

“Me? No, I love to hear the neighborhood dogs howl at your singing, or should I say your attempt at singing,” Max teased, holding his hand for her to climb out onto the balcony with him.

“Yeah, well, I know singing’s not really my forte but it is Maria’s,” Liz answered truthfully.

“Really? I didn’t know Maria could sing,” Max said, genuinely interested. He didn’t know anyone that could sing that well. Isabel was worse than Liz and refused to sing unless she thought she was alone. Michael just didn’t sing.

“Yeah, maybe Alex can play something and Maria can sing something sometime and you can hear her. Oh, wait, they already did that but you were too drunk to notice,” Liz teased back.

It was his turn to be embarrassed and turn red. He scratched his forehead. “Yeah, well, maybe I could hear her again sometime. I really admire people who have talent like singing or playing instruments or even painting, like Michael,” he said. “So are you ready to study for the Bio test?” he asked, changing the subject.

“Um, yeah, that’d be great!” she answered, grabbing another folded chair over to her lawn chair and got her books from her room.

* * * * * * * * * * *

By the end of the movie, Alex was sure that “A Walk to Remember” was the movie. Leslie had tears streaming down her face and placed yet another tissue on the pile on the coffee table. Alex’s shirt was soaked and he couldn’t remember feeling so good about such a sad movie. Leslie got up from the couch and he noticed the loss of her warmth against him.

“So what time do you have to be home?” she asked, removing the DVD from the player and replacing it in the box.

“Um, ten-thirty is what my mom told me and it’s only 9 o’clock now. So what do you want to do?” he asked wiggling his eyebrows. He got up and stretched, noticing that as he did so Leslie watched him. He turned a little bit red; he knew he was kind of lanky and not some kind of jock like Kyle or even just well built like Max or Michael. Then he noticed that Leslie seemed to be staring, not at him, but just staring out into space somewhere. “Leslie? Hello?” he said, waving his hand in front of her face.

She seemed to come to herself. However, when she tried to answer him, she had to clear her throat a couple of times before her voice worked. “Ahem!” she coughed. “Whew. That’s better; for a minute, my voice wouldn’t work,” she told him with a smile. “How about you go get your guitar and you play me something?” she asked.

Alex looked at her with a confused expression. Then he shook it off, maybe it was just him. He hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. But it seemed to him that Leslie’s voice sounded just a little different. It wasn’t enough so that just anyone would notice, but Alex’s musician senses heard the difference just the same. “Yeah, ok. I’ll just run next door and get it. I’ll be right back,” he said, heading for the door.

“Alex, we could just go over to your house together. I mean we could go through the windows upstairs like we usually do,” Leslie said, suddenly uncomfortable being alone with Alex in her home. Why was it suddenly she felt like she shouldn’t be with him? It must be her conscience. Keeping secrets from someone you really like or even care about is really hard, and that’s why she didn’t have friends.

“Ok by me,” he said. He took her hand and led her up to her room. Then he stopped to look around before heading to the window. “This is nice. It’s not too girly and it’s not too cluttered. It kinda reminds me of Liz’s room. It must be a science geek thing,” he teased. However, his words bothered Leslie. That wasn’t the first time that something about her was ‘like Liz’. She’d have to be extremely careful if she wanted to keep certain things from happening.

They left her bedroom via the window and started crossing the tree. Half way across, Leslie felt it – Lucas. Their connection was getting stronger. She had to bite her lip to keep from cursing out loud. They made it to Alex’s window and he threw it open. He climbed over the sill and into his room, and then turned to help Leslie inside. He closed the window behind her and then crossed over to his guitar. Picking it up, he started to tune it.

Leslie took a seat on his bed and he sat in the chair at his desk. “Ok, what do you want to hear?” he asked. “Maybe you can sing with me,” he suggested.

She shook her head and laughed at his suggestion. “Trust me, Alex; you don’t want to hear me sing. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket,” she told him.

“Aw come on, you can’t be nearly as bad as Liz. Maria has a pretty good voice; it would be better if she practiced more like she used to but she’s good. Now what do you want me to play? Then I want to hear you sing and let me judge if it’s as bad as you say,” he told her.

Thinking about it for a minute, she finally shook her head. “I honestly don’t know what you should play. Maybe something by the Beatles? Then I’ll think of a song that I know the words to so that I can sing with you.”

Alex played the first Beatles’ song he could think of, “Yesterday”. As he finished, he could tell that Leslie was almost crying. He grinned to himself, thinking he must be pretty good if he could touch her like that. “Ok, what do you want me to play that you can sing with me?” he asked.

“Um,” she said, sniffling and trying to think. “How about the song, ‘While We’re in Love’ by Ivy. Do you know it?” she asked.

“Yeah, although I’m not sure I do it justice with just this guitar,” he said as he started to play just the first few notes. As it didn’t sound just right, he logged onto his computer. He went to a certain web site and downloaded something. “This site is for karaoke singing. I’ve found almost every song I’ve ever looked for on it, including this one.” After another couple of minutes, the first few notes of the song filtered through the speakers Alex had hooked up to the computer and he played with it. After getting the pattern down, he nodded to Leslie and started the song again. As she started to sing, Alex was surprised that she could possibly say that she couldn’t sing. She was amazing!

While we’re in love
We’ll bleed each other dry
We’ll hold each other close
We’ll make each other cry.

While we’re in love
We’ll get what we deserve
Until we lose our faith
Until we lose our nerve

We know it won’t last forever
Cause we’re not meant to be together
Make the best of a bad situation
Face the fear and the desperation
While we’re in love
While we’re in love

While we’re in love
We’ll drag ourselves around
We’ll hold each other up
We’ll tear each other down

We know it won’t last forever
Cause we’re not meant to be together
Make the best of a bad situation
Face the fear and the desperation
While we’re in love
While we’re in love
(Repeat)

As the last few notes died away and Leslie’s voice echoed in both of their ears, Alex looked at her with a stunned look on his face. “If that was what you think sounds bad, I would love to hear what you think sounds good! That was amazing, Leslie! You should definitely enter the talent contest that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. I might even be able to talk my band into letting you sing with us,” he told her.

Leslie looked confused for some reason. Then she hung her head, her eyes filling with tears. “Alex, I think I should go home now,” she said quietly. She stood up and moved to the window without looking at him.

Alex stood too and set his guitar down. “What? Why? What’s wrong? Is it because I said I liked your singing? You don’t have to enter the talent contest if you don’t want to; it was just a suggestion,” he asked, panicking. What had he said or done to make her leave?

“No, Alex, it’s not you. It’s me,” Leslie sniffled as Alex turned her to face him. “I should have known it wasn’t possible to live a normal life. I’m not allowed that option,” she said bitterly, tears openly running down her face.

“Leslie, what is wrong? Talk to me!” he pleaded.

She pulled from his grasp. “I’m sorry, Alex, I can’t tell you anything,” she said. Then she yanked open the window, climbed out onto the tree, and slammed the window shut behind her.
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Post by littleroswell » Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:56 am

Part 10 – “More Investigating”

Alex opened the front door to his house for school with a bit of trepidation. He hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before because of thinking over and over what he had said or done that had made Leslie leave. What had happened? He had thought that everything was going great. Then suddenly, she had left. He was so lost in thought over the night before, that he hadn’t noticed that someone was leaning against his car.

“Hey,” Leslie said softly, not meeting his eyes.

Alex stopped dead in his tracks and blinked a couple of times, wondering if he was seeing things. “Hey,” he answered.

“Listen, I’m really sorry about last night. It’s just that…” Leslie began to explain.

“I know, I know…it’s your mysterious past, especially with the male species; Am I right?” Alex stopped her, moving toward his car again.

The wind picked up a bit and blew Leslie’s long hair around her beautiful face. It gave her the excuse she needed to wipe at her face. “Yeah, sort of,” she answered quietly.

“So do you want a ride to school?” he asked rather gruffly, yanking his door open. He threw his bag in the back seat as he always did and poised to drop into the driver’s seat.

Leslie didn’t answer with words, only a nod, opened her car door and dropped into the seat. As Alex started the car and pulled out onto the street, she cleared her throat. “Alex, about last night…first of all, I wanted to tell you that I really like you a lot. It’s just that the last guy I was with, I fell for hard, even though I knew he didn’t love me. We were…um together for a while, and lots of other girls were jealous. But in all the time we were together, and also in the times in between, he was controlling and demanding…always ordering me around. I took it and bowed and scraped my hands and knees trying to please him in any way that I could. In the end, though, I just wasn’t good enough for him. I…I wasn’t what he wanted and that hurt…because I had tried so hard.” Tears were running down her face now and she wiped away at them angrily.

Alex had been hanging on every word she said. This was the first glimpse she had given him of her life before coming to Roswell that didn’t involve Lucas. He found himself feeling sympathetic to her and also angry at that guy. Who did that guy think he was? Who had died and left him in charge? But wasn’t that kind of what it was like between him and Isabel? He had been following her around like a lovesick puppy, as Maria called him, and she would encourage his advances and then drop him like a hot potato. Maybe there was a reason Leslie Terrell was sent to him.

He pulled the car into the school parking lot and after turning the engine off, he turned to face her and turned her shoulders to face him. “Leslie, I don’t ever want to hear you talk like that again. If that guy couldn’t see how special you are, then he’s the one that wasn’t good enough for you, not the other way around. Did your parents know about this? Did Lucas know?” he said.

“Lucas knew. My parents don’t know squat about us, Alex. Lucas has been the one constant in my life and that’s why he means so much to me,” she answered.

“Leslie, I plan on being another constant in your life. I know that we haven’t really known each other that long, only a couple of weeks, but I care about you and my gut instinct says that you and I are gonna be great together, as friends or whatever. We’ll just take things slow, ok?” he told her.

She nodded and opened the door slowly. Just before she got out, however, she turned back and pulled Alex into a kiss. After kissing until they were both breathless, she pulled back and smiled. “That’s to say thanks for being such a great guy. Now, I need to find a ladies’ room and clean my face up. I’ll meet you in English in a couple of minutes.”

* * * * * * * * * *

It was early in the morning, still dark, as Leslie opened her bedroom door and listened in the house for any noises. Lauren was home for the first night in almost a week and she was sleeping soundly in her room downstairs. The only noises that Leslie could make out was the ticking of the grandfather clock at the top of the stairs and a dog barking somewhere in the neighborhood.

Silently, Leslie slipped down the hall, down the stairs, and headed for the living room. She searched it for the object she was after and, not finding it, had to stop herself from cursing out loud. It had to be in her mom’s bedroom. As noiselessly as possible, she made her way to the bedroom in question and was happy to find that the door wasn’t completely closed. That would make things easier. It also helped that she could see well in the dark.

She pushed the door open carefully, praying the hinges wouldn’t squeak. She had oiled them a little earlier in the day but she didn’t know if it had been enough. Apparently, it had as the door swung open without one squeak. She dropped to the floor on her hands and knees and looked around for what she was after. Leslie spotted her mother’s purse by the foot of the bed. Crawling low to the ground, she made her way over to it and gently lifted it just off the ground. She held it close to her as she backed out of the room, pulling the door to just as she was safely outside.

Leslie stood up and walked over to the couch with the purse in her hands. She knew better than to just turn the purse upside down and dump the contents onto the sofa. Her mother was a semi-organized person and would know if something was in the wrong section even if she didn’t know it wasn’t in the same exact place it had been. She decided to go through each section individually.

Starting with Lauren’s PDA, Leslie went through the purse carefully, writing down any phone numbers that were long distance and not labeled, and even some that were, on a piece of paper. She didn’t find any phone numbers labeled anything that might lead her to believe it was her brother’s or her father’s. Quickly, she put the last of the contents of her mom’s purse back inside it and took it back to her bedroom. After replacing the purse exactly where it had been, Leslie went back upstairs to her room. She would call the numbers the next day. Hopefully, she would be able to find someone with a phone that would let her call long distance numbers.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Earlier in the evening, Diane opened the front door to her home to find Alex Whitman standing on the stoop. “Alex! What a surprise! Won’t you come in? Are you here to see Isabel?” she asked him.

“Yeah, I need to ask her a favor…if she’s home,” he added quickly. He stepped inside and moved out of the way to allow Diane to close the front door.

“I’ll just go let her know you’re here. Come on into the kitchen,” Diane said, leading the way. “I’ve been working on a new recipe and I need someone to try it out.”

“Oh yeah? That’d be great,” Alex said, following her to the kitchen table.

“Ok, so I’ll just dish you up a taste of the casserole surprise and while you try it out, I’ll get Isabel,” Diane told him with a smile.

Alex situated himself at the table and Diane brought a plate of something unidentifiable over and sat it in front of him. “Uh, thanks,” he told her. She smiled and left to go get Isabel. He inspected the concoction placed before him and tapped the edge of the plate. When the pile of…stuff jiggled on the plate, he grimaced and searched frantically for the trashcan. Spotting it by the sink, he rushed over and hurriedly scraped the “casserole surprise” into it. Just as he dived into his seat, Diane returned to the kitchen followed by Isabel.

“Alex, how did you like that casserole?” Diane asked.

The look on her face was so pleading that Alex couldn’t break her heart. “It’s great!” he lied smiling broadly. Before she could question him further, he turned his attention to Isabel. “Isabel, can we go somewhere and talk?” he asked.

“Sure, come on up to my room,” Isabel said, heading back toward the stairs.

“If you two go up there, leave the door open a crack,” Diane stated in a motherly tone.

Isabel rolled her eyes. “Trust me, mom, you have nothing to worry about with Alex.” At his fallen face, Isabel felt she needed to help him save a little face. “He’s the perfect gentleman,” she added. His smile returned.

They made their way to her room and she pushed the door closed quietly. “So what’s up?” she asked lightly.

“Look, I came to you but if Leslie finds out that I told you anything, she might not trust me again so I need you to keep this quiet. Did that make any sense?” Alex said with that confused look on his face.

Isabel sighed and rolled her eyes again. “Not yet. However, I have a feeling that it will make more sense when you explain. So go ahead,” she told him.

Alex went on to tell her everything he knew about Leslie and her family problems. He then explained about their failed attempts at finding a way to contact her brother. He also told her about what they had overheard Lauren and his own mother say about Kevin and Lucas’s whereabouts. When he finished telling Isabel everything he knew, she looked a little wary and confused.

“Ok, why are you telling me all this, Alex? I don’t see what I can do about it,” she told him.

“Maybe you can dreamwalk Lauren and find out the phone number to Kevin and Lucas’s wherever they are. Then I can give the number to Leslie,” Alex suggested.

“And how would you explain how you got that number, Alex?” Isabel asked. “We don’t use our powers for just any whim that comes into our heads. There are numerous problems with what you are suggesting. I just don’t see a way to do that, Alex. However, if I think of another way to help you, I’ll let you know. I know that I would be really upset if mom and dad tried to separate Max and I.”

Alex looked defeated at her words. “I didn’t think it was going to work but I had hoped…” he said. Then he looked at her and gave her a small smile. “Well, a piece of advice for you, don’t stay at home for dinner. I think that ‘casserole surprise’ came to life in the oven.”

Isabel smiled at that. “I really am sorry, Alex. I know that Leslie means a lot to you. I also know that you mean a lot to her too. She didn’t even want to talk about you with me on Sunday,” she told him.

The infamous lopsided Alex grin appeared and his ears turned red. “Really? So you think she likes me then?” he asked.

She just smiled bigger and looked at the floor. “I refuse to confirm or deny any such allegations,” she answered formally.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The next afternoon, Leslie made her way to her last class and sat down beside Michael. “Hey,” he said greeting her. She echoed his greeting and took out her biology book.

“Um, Michael, you know how you still owe me that favor from the labs we’ve been doing so well on?” Leslie began.

He started to panic at that. “I knew it! I knew that future claim thing was going to come back to bite me on the…” he ranted.

“Chill, caveboy!” she ordered. “I just want to know if you’ve got a phone I can use with long distance for a few calls. If you let me do that, we’ll call it even.”

“A couple of phone calls and that’s it?” he asked incredulously. “How can I believe that? That seems too simple.”

“I’m trying to find someone out of town and I need to make some calls without my mom finding out so I need to use someone’s phone and this seems like the perfect way to find one without any questions asked,” she explained, emphasizing her demands.

Michael heard her loud and clear. “Long distance calls? That’s it? Ok, you can come by my apartment this afternoon and make as many calls as you want but this is a one time deal. This is the payback for the labs and this is where it ends.”

“Great!” she said happily. She pushed her hair behind her ears and started looking over the chapter they would be discussing during class.

Noticing that move, Michael squinted in thought. He knew that quirk from somewhere. With the ringing of the late bell and the teacher beginning the lecture, he pushed the thoughts out of his mind and tried to pay attention to the teacher.
Just call me Phoenix...cause I'm back from the dead!

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