Not if I can help it.keepsmiling7 wrote:LOL....."polish the silver".......does anyone still do that??
Did you have Senior Skip Day where you live? Sometimes it's called Senior Ditch Day. All the seniors skip school and meet up somewhere like a park, a skating rink, etc. Here we have Sophomore Skip Day, but it wasn't much of a skip day for our crew.Soph. skip day......??
I try hard not to do that. When I do, I either announce it (i.e. the way the shapeshifters shift--no thunder and lightning) or I've screwed up. Which happens.emerald123 wrote:Before I got to the end of chapter, based on what Brivari was thinking, I thought that perhaps you were changing something from the way it happened in the series.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT
May 14, 2000, 3 p.m.
"Here we are," Maria said wearily as she pulled into the Valenti's driveway. "Home, sweet home. Kyle?" she added as Kyle bolted out of the back seat. "Kyle, wait!"
"Let him go," Alex said. "I know exactly how he feels." He climbed out, stretched. "You know what I need? I need a beer."
"A what?" Maria said in disbelief. "Since when do you drink?"
"Since alien hunters tried to kill us all. Think the sheriff's got a cold one somewhere?"
"I don't know you," Maria muttered as they followed Kyle into the house, Alex heading for the kitchen. "Then again, I suppose today could drive anyone to drink. So could Space Boy."
"Yeah, it looked like you two were getting pretty intense," Alex noted. "What was all that about?"
"About me being 'safe'," Maria said savagely. "Seriously? Do you think I'd be here now if I was worried about being 'safe'?"
"Let's drown our sorrows," Alex said, opening the fridge. "Eureka! Budweiser! Want one?"
Maria wrinkled her nose. "No. Not the whole can, anyway."
"So we share," Alex nodded, opening a cupboard door. "Where do you suppose the glasses are?"
"What are you doing?"
Kyle was in the kitchen doorway, bristling with indignation which could be felt across the room. "Uh...getting a beer," Alex answered. "Want one?"
"No, I don't 'want one'!" Kyle retorted. "What I want is an explanation!"
Alex blinked. "Oh. Well, I...don't usually drink, but—"
"Not for the beer, nitwit," Kyle interrupted. "What the hell is going on here? Where's that guy Max locked in the closet? Why was that deputy lying to me? How did I wind up on the floor of the UFO center? Why don't I remember how I got there?"
Alex glanced at Maria, whose eyes were round. "Uh...Kyle?" she said. "Didn't your Dad explain all this?"
"No!" Kyle exclaimed. "Where'd you get that idea?"
"Well, he asked for a moment alone with you—"
"Where he told me to get my ass home and stay here," Kyle broke in. "No explanations, no nothing. So I guess you get the honors."
"Wow," Alex said faintly. "I'm so honored."
"Same here," Maria sighed. "So go ahead. Tell him."
"Who...me?" Alex said, flabbergasted. "Why me?"
"Because you're the straight 'A' student," Maria said. "So's Liz, and she told us, so I'm just sticking with tradition."
"Maria, the concept of 'tradition' doesn't apply to this subject," Alex argued. "We're not talking about the Easter Bunny."
"Okay, but you'll still do a better job," Maria argued. "I'm just a 'C' student."
"So shouldn't the 'C' students talk to each other?" Alex asked.
"Watch it, buddy," Kyle protested. "I'm just a jock, not a dumb jock."
"I didn't say...I didn't mean...wait a minute," Alex said in exasperation. "Should we even be doing this? I mean, it's not our secret to tell."
"What secret?" Kyle demanded.
"Alex, in case you hadn't noticed, it's not a secret any more," Maria said. "The cat's kind of out of the bag."
"Not if he doesn't know about it," Alex noted.
"Stop talking about me like I'm not here!" Kyle snapped. "What's this big secret?"
Alex looked helplessly from Kyle to Maria, who made various "go ahead" gestures. "Okay, let's...let's start with what you remember."
"What I remember?" Kyle echoed. "What I remember? What comes after that—'how does it make me feel'? Are you saying I need a shrink?"
"No, I'm saying I do," Alex sighed.
"I'm guessing we all will," Maria muttered.
"Look, I'm just trying to see what gaps need filling," Alex explained when Kyle looked ready to explode. "I didn't see everything you saw, remember?"
Kyle gave a snort of disgust and started pacing the kitchen. "I remember being held hostage by some guy in a suit with a gun. I remember Max Evans busting through the sliding door, knocking him senseless, and locking him in a closet. Only he's not there now."
"Glass is," Maria commented, glancing into the living room. "Looks like Armageddon in there."
"Not helping," Alex said reproachfully.
"I remember looking for my Dad, and his deputies telling me he was missing—sort of—but then I saw his car outside the UFO center," Kyle continued. "That deputy who was tied up took the gun and told me Evans had my father. And then...and then I woke up on the floor of the UFO center with my father crying and Evans hovering over me like some creeper. That's it. Your turn."
Maria and Kyle stared at Alex expectantly, who cleared his throat. "Okay. Well...um...okay, for starters, Max Evans isn't...from around here."
"So what?" Kyle said.
" 'Not from around here'?" Maria said in disbelief. "Really? That's all you've got?"
"Hey, that's how Liz told me," Alex protested.
"Told you what?" Kyle demanded.
"Seriously?" Maria said. "Because that's not how she told me."
"Guess she changed tactics," Alex said.
"Told you what?" Kyle practically shouted.
"Kyle, Max Evans is an alien," Maria announced.
Kyle blinked. "A...what?"
"That's how she told you?" Alex said. "Sheesh. Subtle."
"An alien," Maria explained patiently, ignoring him. "You know, like from outer space? Or like 'not from around here', as Alex so enigmatically put it?"
"Liz put it," Alex corrected. "And since when do 'C' students use words like 'enigmatically'?"
"Hush," Maria ordered. "He's processing."
Kyle stood stock still, silent and thunderstruck for several more seconds before he abruptly turned an alarming shade of purple. "Jesus!" he sputtered. "What kind of an idiot do you take me for? All I want is a simple straight answer, and you go and come up with something like that! You!" he said angrily, stabbing a finger at Alex. "Brainbox! Just because you get better grades than I do, what makes you think you can get a groaner like that past me? Aliens in Roswell? Real aliens? In Roswell?"
"The irony isn't lost on us," Alex allowed.
"Kyle, it's true," Maria insisted. "That 'deputy' who took your gun wasn't a deputy, he was an alien hunter, and he was after—"
"No!" Kyle interrupted, wagging a finger at her. "I want a straight answer! Now!"
"I gave you a straight answer!" Maria exclaimed.
"Cut him some slack," Alex advised. "I didn't believe it either."
"For the last time, stop talking about me like I'm not here!" Kyle thundered.
"You didn't believe Liz?" Maria said in astonishment.
"Not right away," Alex said. "What, you did?"
"Of course I did," Maria answered. "Of course, I also ran screaming into the street."
"So that's why she changed tactics," Alex said thoughtfully. "Awkward."
"Very," Maria agreed.
"Would you both just shut up and tell me the truth!" Kyle exploded.
"Denial and screaming," Maria sighed. "Time to try something else. Kyle," she went on briskly, "you were shot. Do you remember that?"
Kyle's eyes widened. "Wow. First one whopper, then another. I think I'd remember being shot."
"So you don't remember?" Maria clarified.
"I don't have time for this," Kyle declared, stalking away. "I'm gonna get my own answers."
"Kyle. Kyle? Kyle!" Maria barked when he ignored her. "Where'd that hole in your shirt come from?"
Kyle stopped, looked down at his chest. "I...don't know," he confessed. "But I'd still remember being shot."
"You were shot," Maria insisted. "Just like Liz was last fall. That's why you woke up on the floor. And Max healed you, just like he healed Liz last fall. That's why he was leaning over you."
Silence. No one moved, no one spoke, or even seemed to be breathing. Kyle raised a hand to the hole in his shirt, started to say something, stopped, started again, stopped again. Then his eyes widened, he tore his shirt off...and stared at his chest in horror.
"Yikes," Alex whispered as a screech of terror filled the house.
"I didn't know what else to do," Maria protested. "I...wait. Is that the phone?"
It was. Maria grabbed a handset from the kitchen counter and stepped into the other room. "Hello?" she said, a finger in one ear.
"Maria? This is Sheriff Valenti," Valenti's voice said. "Could you put Kyle on, please?"
"Just a sec," Maria answered. "It's the sheriff," she reported to Alex in a whisper. "He wants to talk to Kyle."
Alex looked over to where Kyle was frantically trying to scratch the gleaming silver handprint off his chest. "Um...you might want to tell him this isn't a good time."
"Do you see her?" Max asked.
No answer. Max glanced around at the three other people in the van. "I said, does anyone see her? Anyone?"
"No, Max, we don't see her," Isabel said wearily. "Given that there's nothing but desert around for miles and this is the only road, I'm betting you'd see her at the same time we would."
"I should never have let her go," Max fretted, pressing the accelerator a little harder. "She's out there all alone."
"She's out there in your jeep," Michael corrected. "It's not like she's on foot. She'll be fine."
"Did she look 'fine' to you when she ran away?" Max demanded.
"Of course not," Isabel said dully. "None of us are 'fine'. Why should she be?"
"We should have caught up to her by now," Max said.
"Maybe the jeep goes faster than FBI vans," Michael said. "Have you thought about where we're going to ditch this?"
"No, Michael, I haven't thought about where we're going to ditch this," Max retorted. "All I'm thinking about now is finding Liz."
"And that would be the problem," Michael sighed. "Always thinking about the wrong thing."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"What it means, brother dear, is that we just heard the biggest announcement of our lives," Isabel said tartly. "So forgive us if we're not all wrapped around an axle because your capable, self-sufficient girlfriend took off in your fully fueled, well-maintained jeep. As far as I'm concerned, she got the better deal. I'd give anything to be her right now."
There was a pause before Michael's voice came from the back seat. "You really mean that?"
Isabel's face fell. "I didn't...I meant..." She closed her eyes, leaned her head back against the head rest. "Part of me, yeah," she admitted. "Life just got way more complicated, and it was already complicated enough."
"Because we have to go back and save a planet?" Michael suggested.
"Among other things," Isabel said. "Like having enemies that followed us here."
"Well, if we 'perished in a conflict that enslaves our planet', it makes sense that we have enemies," Michael said.
"It might make sense, but it doesn't make me feel better," Isabel said.
"So this isn't about us being engaged?"
Isabel threw an anguished look into the back seat. "Michael, you're my brother. I'm sorry, you're just not—"
"I know," Michael broke in. "I get it."
"What we were doesn't dictate what we are now," Max argued. "You heard her—we were...duplicated. Recreated. We're different now."
"I'm still wrestling with the whole idea of 'were'," Isabel muttered.
"Whatever," Michael said. "None of that changes the fact that we have a planet to save. That's why Liz left. She heard it. She knows we have a job to do."
"Seriously?" Isabel said skeptically. "Liz left because our mother called Tess his 'bride'."
Tess kept her eyes on the road outside her window as every pair of eyes swung toward her, including Max's in the rear view mirror. She'd contributed precisely nothing to this conversation because she knew this all looked very different to her. For them, this was a shock; for her, it was confirmation of what she'd been told for as long as she could remember. For them, this was a 'complication'; for her, it made life much less complicated. What had thrown their lives into turmoil had settled hers; none of them would sleep tonight, while she would sleep like a baby, her path laid out at last. It had been a long wait.
"So how much did you already know about this?" Michael asked her.
Tess shook her head. "I told you that when we went looking for Liz. Ever since I was little, Nasedo told me we all had a great purpose, but he never told me what. I never heard the details until now. I heard more from that recording than I ever have from Nasedo."
"Still doesn't make any sense," Michael said. "Why would he say you had a 'great purpose', but not say what it was?"
"And I also told you that Nasedo didn't like to tell me anything," Tess said patiently. "Most of the arguments we've had over the years were because of that. He wanted me to remember by myself. He said it was better that way."
"And you were supposed to do the same thing with us," Max said. "Not tell us anything."
"Until you remembered by yourselves," Tess amended. "Which you did."
"So he never told you anything else?" Michael pressed. "Nothing?"
Not much, Tess thought, privately noting she'd left out a few details which would have only enraged them. But her hesitation had caught their attention, meaning at least some of those details were now on the table.
"I told you that I grew up knowing there were others like me—"
"That's right," Isabel said. "We were 'the Others'."
"--and Nasedo told me we'd be reunited some day," Tess continued. "I asked him once who we all were, if we were like, random people or something else, and he said...he said we were 'family'."
"Then that fits!" Michael exclaimed. "At least the part where Max and Isabel are family, and you and I married into it."
"Yay," Isabel said dully.
"We're family anyway because we're family now," Max said.
"I meant our past lives," Michael said. "Anything else?" he asked Tess.
"Yeah," Tess said. "He told me Max used to be my husband."
The tension in the car climbed abruptly. "What?" Michael said when Max and Isabel looked thunderstruck. "We just heard that, so that fits too."
"So you came to Roswell thinking Max used to be your husband," Isabel said slowly.
"No, I came knowing Max used to be my husband," Tess corrected.
"But I'm not now," Max said, his hands gripping the steering wheel harder.
"No," Tess agreed, "you're not. But you were. You keep saying we're different now, and maybe we are. But that doesn't change who we used to be."
"Did he say anything about Isabel and me?" Michael asked as Isabel looked away.
Tess shook her head. "No. Just that we were all family. But he did tell me something else, something that, at the time, I thought was ridiculous. I thought he was just yanking my chain."
"What?" Michael demanded. "What did he tell you?"
Tess looked from one face to another, all in various states of expectation and fear. "He said I was a...a queen. I thought he was just telling me something pretty that would shut me up, but...since we moved here, he's referred to Max as 'the king'."
"Wow," Michael said softly. "So not just a 'beloved leader', but a king."
Isabel looked at Max, wide-eyed. "But that means...I mean, if you're a king, then I'm..."
"A princess," Tess finished. "The king's sister would be a princess."
"So what am I?" Michael wondered. "What's does 'second in command' mean? Figures," he went on when Tess shook her head. "You're all the royal family, and I'm the only one without a job title."
"I'm sorry," Tess said. "That's all he told me."
"But how do we know that?" Michael demanded. "You didn't tell us this before, so why should we believe that's all there is now?"
"And how would that conversation have gone, exactly?" Tess demanded. "What I did tell you didn't go over very well, and still isn't. Do you really think I should have marched up to Max and said, 'Hi! You don't remember me, but you used to be my husband!' "
"Like you did in Chemistry class?"
Tess flushed; Max's voice was level, but there was no mistaking the anger there. "Look, I'm...I'm sorry about that. I...got carried away."
"You think?" Isabel murmured.
"But it wasn't all me," Tess protested. "Some of what you saw, what we saw, didn't come from me, so it must have come from you."
"See, that's the problem," Michael noted. "It's hard to figure out what's you and what's him. Too bad you muddied the water."
"It doesn't matter," Max insisted, "because whatever we were before, we're not that now. Whoever we were before, we're not that now. We're different people now."
"If we're so different, then why are we suddenly remembering things?" Isabel asked.
The van got very quiet. Tess said nothing, still smarting from having her gigantic faux pas prove a stumbling block once more. They'll never trust me now, she thought wearily. Even if they were inclined to, Chemistry class would come up again, and that would be the end of that. No wonder Nasedo had been so furious. That moment of fun had been very costly indeed.
"There's the jeep!" Max said.
The van swerved, then came to an abrupt halt. Everyone clambered out to find the jeep tucked neatly by the side of the road...but no Liz.
"She just left it here?" Isabel said.
"Keys are gone," Michael reported. "But she knows we don't need them."
"And that we'd be right behind her," Tess added.
"But where is she?" Max said frantically, scanning the desert horizon. "Where did she go?"
"Probably hitched a ride," Michael shrugged. "We're close enough to town that someone could have come along."
"And that someone could be the Special Unit!" Max said. "We have to find her!"
"Max, relax," Michael said. "Nasedo's Pierce now, remember? Even if the Unit picked her up, he'll let her go."
"Why?" Max demanded. "He kidnapped her before."
"Let's just go back to town and see if she's there," Michael said. "I'll bet she is."
"And if she isn't?" Max said.
"Then we'll find her," Tess said. "And I'll find out what you want to know. I know I'll see Nasedo, so I'll ask him whatever questions you want me to ask him. Maybe he'll tell me more after I tell him what we saw in the pod chamber." She moved closer, but Max backed away.
"We'll find her," Tess repeated. "I promise."
"Right here, thanks," Liz said.
The car slowed to a halt at the curb. "Isn't this the sheriff's house?" the driver asked.
"Uh...yeah. Yeah, it is. His son and I go to school together," Liz explained when the driver's eyebrows rose.
"You sweet on the sheriff's son? Don't tell him you hitchhike."
Liz smiled faintly. "Thanks for the ride."
She climbed out, and the car sped away. No, she wasn't sweet on Kyle, never had been, really; he'd just been a fun guy to date. And she really wanted to go home, curl up in her room, and never come out, but she knew the minute her mother saw her, she'd know something was wrong, and the list of people she could talk to was depressingly short and minus her mom. Plus the keys in her pocket felt like lead, so the sooner she handed those off to an intermediary, the better.
"Liz!" Maria exclaimed when she answered the door. "Thank God you're here! You have to help me with Kyle."
Liz blinked. "What's wrong with Kyle? I thought he was fine."
"What's wrong?" Maria repeated, pulling her inside. "More like what isn't wrong. The sheriff didn't tell him anything, so Alex and I had to fill him in on things."
"Yeah, you know, like Max and the rest of them being aliens? And him being shot? And Max healing him?"
"Oh," Liz said faintly. " 'Things'."
"Exactly," Maria sighed. "And the guy's got a silver handprint he's been trying to scrub off for an hour now."
"It goes away on its own," Liz noted.
"I told him that, but do you think he listened?" Every time he looks at it, it just freaks him out, and he's looking at it pretty much constantly. And then...wait," Maria amended when she saw the look on Liz's face. "Why are you here? What happened? Did you find Nasedo? Did the healing stones work? Did—"
"Yeah," Liz broke in. "We found him, and the stones...brought him back, and he...he looks like Pierce now. Because he's going to take Pierce's place," she added when Maria blanched. "So now the Unit won't go after them any more."
"Freaky," Maria muttered. "But that's good. So...why don't you look happy?"
"Well...um...after he...Nasedo, that is, left...the rest of them tried to make the orbs work."
"You mean...'phone home'?"
"Yeah," Liz nodded. "Pretty much."
"And?" Maria said. "Did it work?"
"Oh, yeah," Liz whispered. "It worked."
Maria slowly lowered herself into a chair. "Okay. I'm sitting. Hit me."
Liz glanced around the empty kitchen. "Is Alex here?"
"He's with Kyle, trying to keep him from tearing his chest apart," Maria answered. "I think they're watching some sports thing or other."
"Alex must love that," Liz noted.
"I'm sure he hates it, but it works for Kyle. Stop stalling. What happened?"
Liz took a deep breath and tried to steady her voice, which was dangerously close to breaking. "Okay, well...this...woman...appeared. I mean, not really 'appeared', it was more like a projection, or a hologram, or—"
"I get it," Maria interrupted. "What did video babe say?"
"She said...she said they'd all lived before," Liz went on. "And that they died when there was some kind of war, and they somehow recreated them as humans."
"Get out!" Maria exclaimed.
"She said Max was her son, and the leader of their people. And Isabel was his sister, and Michael was his second-in command."
"I can see Max being the leader," Maria allowed. "But spaceboy as 'second-in-command'? What, they're like a military culture?"
Liz shook her head. "I don't know. But she also said their enemies followed them here—"
"That's bad," Maria muttered.
"—and they're supposed to go back and free everyone."
"How?" Maria asked. "Take the bus? And who are these 'enemies', exactly?"
"She didn't say," Liz answered. "She just said they'd know them by 'the evil within'."
"Oh, that's helpful," Maria said scornfully. "Sounds like this chick was short on details."
"I wish she'd been shorter on some of them," Liz said sadly.
Maria leaned forward in her chair. "What aren't you telling me?"
Liz opened her mouth, felt her throat constrict, stopped. Don't cry, she told herself fiercely. If she and Maria had been alone, she could do that, but the last thing she wanted was for Alex and Kyle to find her a big weepy mess. Especially Kyle, who was unlikely to be sympathetic after dying earlier today. Priorities, and all that.
"She said...she said that Tess was Max's...bride," Liz finished in a brittle voice.
Maria's eyes bulged. "Oh, Liz...really? Oh, God, I am so sorry."
"And she said that Michael and Isabel were 'betrothed'."
Maria sat back in her chair, completely flabbergasted. "Which we kind of already knew from the book," Liz continued. "I just...it's just different actually hearing it."
But Maria's head was swinging slowly from side to side. "No. I mean, just no. Isabel and Michael are more like brother and sister, and...Max loves you, Liz. Whatever they used to be, that's not the way things are now."
"That's what Max said," Liz answered. "But even if he does, it won't work, Maria. They're supposed to go back and save their planet."
"So go with him," Maria said stubbornly. "They came here. Why can't you go there?"
"I think I'd stick out like a sore thumb," Liz said. "When they were healing Nasedo, he kept...changing. Shape, I mean. He looked like the FBI agent he was when he was killed, and Ed Harding, and...and...like an alien. Kind of like the pictures. Big head, slanty eyes, long fingers."
"So that part of alien lore is right," Maria noted. "Good to know. But—"
"But that really doesn't matter, does it?" Liz rushed on, voicing the argument she'd been having with herself ever since she'd fled the pod chamber. "What really matters is that they're all really important. Max, Michael, Isabel, and...and Tess didn't just crash here by accident. They were sent here on purpose so they could come back and free their people. So we can't make this about me, or you, or any of us. It's bigger than that."
"What?" Maria exclaimed. "Liz, none of them even remember their planet! Why should they run back there and fix it when they don't even remember it? And even if they want to, that still doesn't mean they have to pair up the way they used to. Isabel and Michael are never going to be a couple, you know that. So why—"
"No, Maria...no," Liz said, backing away. "I had lots of time to go over this on the way back, and...this is the way it has to be. I can't make myself more important than an entire planet."
"My point is, you don't have to," Maria argued. "Go with Max, and save his planet. If he's such a 'beloved leader', they shouldn't have a problem with that."
Liz shook her head fiercely because Maria was making some scary kind of sense. "No, I...I need to look at the bigger picture here."
"Oh, for God's sake, would you stop being such a martyr?" Maria groaned. "Just stop and think for a minute—"
"No," Liz interrupted. "Here." She dropped the keys to the jeep on the table. "Give these to Max. Or give them to Michael, and he'll give them to Max. It's best if we make a clean break of it."
"I will do no such thing!" Maria said in exasperation. "Cripes, Liz, one little alien e-mail, and you just give up? Max is going to need you! He just had what must have been a huge shock, so how's he supposed to—"
But Liz held up hand. "Just take them. I'm going home. I'll walk. It'll help clear my head.
"Like it's been cleared already?" Maria demanded. "Liz!" she practically shouted as Liz fled through the kitchen door. "Liz!"
Misha's coming to visit me!!!!! We'll be either partying or watching Roswell for the next 2 weekends, so I'll be back on Sunday, November 17.