posted on 8-Dec-2002 8:14:41 PM
Category: pre-To Serve and Protect (M/L; CC)
Summary: Strangers converge in Roswell and their presence affects the Roswell teens.
Disclaimer: The characters of Roswell are the property of Twentieth Century Fox Television and Regency Productions. All original characters and concepts are the property of the author. No profit has been made from the distribution of this work of fiction. No infringement intended. Similar situations are chances of fate.



__________
Part 1

NEW ORLEANS

Something had drawn her to New Orleans, just as something had pulled her from Lubbock, Texas, almost forcing her into her car and onto I-20 East. From the moment she set foot in the Crescent City, she’d felt more peace than at any other time during her seventeen years of life. It had taken her two days to find an apartment in the French Quarter, feeling that she needed to be in the heart of the city, and after emptying her Texas bank accounts, she had decided to spend a few dollars on a fortune teller. She spent most of the cool January morning staring at the statute of Andrew Jackson astride a reared horse, the center piece of Jackson Square, contemplating her new life. She had abandoned everything she’d ever known in Lubbock when she made the split-second decision to follow her heart. As she inhaled the aromas of Cafe du Monde and the slight hint of bourbon in the air, she knew she had made the right choice. Following your heart can’t steer you wrong, her grandmother had once told her, and Serina smiled to herself as she crossed her arms over her chest, hugging herself against the wintery breeze floating off of the Mississippi River.

She stepped onto Decatur Street, her eyes instantly drawn to a frail black woman on the west side of the square. As she crossed Decatur, her hands firmly in the pockets of her khaki pants, she watched with interest while the woman spread a purple table cloth across the small card table. She smiled at a street vendor, pretending to peruse his assortment of creole paintings but her attention remained fully on the woman. She surmised the woman had to be at least seventy, given her stutter-like steps as she continued to prepare her table and the achingly slow tempo with which she went about this chore. Snapping herself back to reality with the thought of approaching this woman to have her fortune told, Serina’s eyes widened and she almost shrank behind the displays as the woman turned toward her and motioned for her to come out of hiding. She turned away quickly, thinking the woman had mistaken her for someone else.

“I’s lookin’ at who I nee’,” the woman replied with a laugh, her craggy voice echoing through the crisp morning air. “I ben waitin’.”

“I’m sorry,” Serina said reflexively, the inflection of her voice turning the phrase into a question. Despite herself, she cautiously stepped toward the woman’s station, her eyes widening with each step she took. “I...I think -”

“I knowed who ya is, Miz Serina White, and I knowed de ansa ya seek.”

“How,” Serina began, blinking her eyes at a rapid pace, sending tears streaming down her cheeks. “How do you know me?”

“Maum Viv knows lots, more ‘an dese,” the woman replied, nodding her head at the other tables being set up on the west side of the square. She slowly sat down and once she was properly settled into her own chair, she patted the empty chair across from her. “Sit down an’ see wats I can tell ya.” Serina pulled the rickety wooden chair away from the empty space at the table and slowly sat down, not taking her eyes off Maum Viv’s now-hunched frame. Tears pooled in her brown eyes once again and she absently swiped at them with the back of her hand. “You hurtin’, aincha chile,” Maum Viv whispered so low Serina had to strain to hear her. She lowered her upper body toward the center of the small table, concentrating on the words flowing from Maum Viv’s mouth as the French Quarter came to life around them. “Cain’t stay he’ no matta how ya wants t’. More waitin’ fo’ ya...out dere.”

“What,” Serina pleaded, almost grabbing Maum Viv’s wrinkled hands but she stopped herself before she did any damage. “I...I don’t understand. You’re talking in circles.”

“Not my job t’ teach, chile. Jus tellin’ wat I sees an’ I sees a lot. Wat you lookin’ fo’ ain’t he’. Ain’t got no reason t’ be he’.”

“I...I don’t want to go. Something told me to come here. I left everything I’ve ever known behind. I...I’m not leaving New Orleans.”

“Ya don’t belon’ he’,” Maum Viv shouted as she placed her palms flat on the table, leaning toward Serina. Serina cowered from the woman’s forward motion, surprised that such a small woman could elicit such fear within her heart. “I cain’t ‘splain it no betta, chile.”

“I don’t have anywhere to go,” Serina whispered, suddenly overcome with emotion as unshed tears pooled in her eyes for the third time since meeting the fortune teller.

“T’ain’t true,” Maum Viv replied, taking both of Serina’s petite hands into hers. Serina momentarily marveled at the differences between their two hands: age, size, color. She lowered her gaze to her hidden hands and while she knew she shouldn’t feel any better simply because Maum Viv had offered comfort, she did. Maum Viv hadn’t said anything unusual or perceptive; she had simply spoken the truth. As easily as she had left Lubbock, Serina could leave New Orleans. “Dere’s more fo’ ya den Naw’lins. A des’ny.”

“What did you say,” Serina questioned, removing her hands from Maum Viv’s weak grasp. Her eyebrows furrowed together and her mouth dropped open slightly, as if she were going to ask another question but her voice caught in her throat.

“T’ain’t never gonna fine ‘em in Naw’lins. Go Wes’,” Maum Viv added the exact moment Serina thought it. Serina slumped against the back of the chair, her mind whirling with so many questions yet without the ability to ask Maum Viv any of them. She watched with bated breath as Maum Viv bent at the waist and dug for something in the large black bag sitting beside her feet. Maum Viv returned to the table moments later and spread before Serina a map of the continental United States. “Close y’ eyes. Pick a place.” Serina opened her mouth to protest but Maum Viv simply nudged the flimsy paper map toward her again. Sighing loudly, Serina closed her eyes and pulled her hand into a fist, leaving only her index finger exposed. She exhaled then quickly jammed her finger down onto the table. Opening her right eye warily followed by her left, it took several seconds for them to dilate to the sunlight illuminating the square. She read the town’s name silently, allowing herself a moment to savor it within her mind, and for a fraction of a second, she felt recognition.

Roswell, New Mexico.

Raising her eyes off the map and toward Maum Viv’s chair, several seconds passed before she realized that she was the only person occupying the small table. Serina stood quickly, oblivious to the breeze that swept across the table and claimed the map, and glanced around the square, looking for any signs of Maum Viv. She turned in a small circle, continuing to stare toward the statute of Andrew Jackson, toward Decatur Street and the river front, toward the St. Louis Cathedral but any trace of Maum Viv had vanished. With her brain clouded by confusion, Serina sat back down in the rickety chair, not surprised that the map had vanished along with Maum Viv. But at least she had a name - a definite destination - and the distinct feeling that she should go there.



[ edited 6 time(s), last at 11-Feb-2003 6:15:00 PM ]
posted on 18-Dec-2002 6:43:40 PM
Just to let you all know I haven't forgotten about this fic. I hope to update it before the weekend.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!!!

JO
posted on 19-Dec-2002 8:23:25 PM
Part 2

ROSWELL

Maria absently wiped the counter top with the soapy rag, her mind clearly somewhere else other than the Crash Down Cafe. She could hear Michael in the kitchen, scraping away remnants of burgers and fries off the grill. She was almost tempted to turn and watch him work, but they were having one of their “off” moments and Maria knew she should just concentrate on the few remaining customers in the cafe. She glanced at the watch Liz had given her for Christmas and shook her head, wondering how their lives could be fine one minute and terrible the next.

It had been a wonderful month for she and Michael. After he had presented her with the pearl earrings and the new bumper for her Jetta, Maria had thought they had reached a turning point in their relationship. Her mother was regularly out on dates with Sheriff Valenti, busy with her own love life instead of Maria’s and her extended absences; there were no more Michael worshipers in Roswell that she knew of - their lives seemed to be heading exactly where Maria had hoped. Then, out of no where, Michael had become distant and withdrawn. She had initially attributed the mood swing as alien related. After all, both Max and Isabel had been moody around the same time, but that had quickly changed. Isabel had begun dating Grant Sorenson on a regular basis, and Max had been spending more and more time with Tess, much to Maria’s chagrin. That’s when the alien mood swings swung toward the humans. Alex had fled to Sweden. Liz had sentenced herself to solitary confinement in her room, and Kyle had become a jock again. Was she the only one that realized their group was splintering apart?

The bells on the door of the cafe tinkled, startling Maria from her daydream. She glanced at her watch again without looking up to see who had entered the cafe, and she couldn’t help the sigh that escaped from her throat. 9:45 p. m. Liz had promised she’d be down to help Maria with the closing. Kristi, the peppy freshman cheerleader Mr. Parker had hired to cover the longer holiday hours, had decided she was too peppy to come to work that evening, leaving Maria and Michael understaffed. Liz had been upstairs reading when Maria had told her the news several hours ago, and although Liz told Maria to call her if there was a problem, Maria had known Liz was less than enthusiastic about the offer. Still, Maria knew Liz would keep her word, and if Liz Parker said she’d be down to help with the closing, she’d help.

Raising her head up from the counter top, Maria’s eyes widened as she watched Grant, Isabel, Max and Tess share a booth, their laughter filling the pseudo-empty cafe. She spun toward the kitchen without thinking and was surprised to see Michael standing in the pick-up window, watching the scene too. Their eyes met momentarily and Maria hoped they could speak to each other, but Michael quickly broke eye contact. Exhaling as the sound of pots and pans clattered in the kitchen, Maria walked from behind the counter to the booth. “Hey guys,” she chirped, surprised by how easy she could fake happiness. “What can I get you? “

“Oh,” Isabel replied, her laughter dying down. “I’ll just have a Cherry Coke.”


“Me too.”

“Cherry Coke with lime.”

“I’ll have a Cherry Coke too, Maria, thanks,” Max stated and Maria looked up from her order pad to stare at her friend. He smiled at her weakly and while Tess, Isabel and Grant continued their conversation about some movie they’d seen, Max glanced over his shoulders at the double doors. Maria knew instantly that he was looking for Liz, and her heart broke a little more for her two friends.

“I’ll be right back,” Maria said and Max smiled at her again, then returned his attention back to the conversation at the booth. She placed her order pad and pencil in her apron pocket and returned to the counter, repeating the four drink orders over and over in her mind. By accident and somewhat out of habit, she turned to her left, watching Michael scrub the grill. She felt the syrupy liquid spill onto her hand and immediately stopped pressing the drink lever. “Shit,” she mumbled as she grabbed the soapy rag and wiped her hands. She paused for a moment in her inner-mind ramblings, feeling Michael’s warmth directly behind her.

“Grill’s closed,” he barked as she slowly turned to face him. “If they want food,” he continued, nodding his head toward Isabel, Grant, Tess and Max, “it’ll have to be a sandwich or something cold. “

“Okay,” she said, propping her hands against the counter top. They stood in awkward silence staring at each other until Max appeared at the counter.

“Need some help,” he offered, glancing from Maria to Michael to Maria again.

“I’ve got it,” Maria replied as Michael vanished through the swinging double doors. She sighed slowly and picked up the four drinks, balancing them in between her hands and followed Max to the booth. “Here you go,” she said, dolling the drinks to the rightful owner. “The grill’s closed so if you want anything -”

“I’m not hungry,” Tess interrupted, flipping a mass of blonde curls over her shoulder as she moved closer to Max.

“We already ate,” Isabel offered, turning her attention from Maria almost immediately back to Grant.

“Okay. Here’s the check.” Maria placed the check on the table and turned away, her mind already cleaning the milkshake machine.


Liz burst through the swinging doors, a wide smile on her lips, the first genuine smile Maria had seen plastered on her face in months. “Maria, I think I’ve figured out a way to be with -,” Liz began, pausing when her eyes fell on the crowded booth behind Maria’s right shoulder. Maria watched Liz’s face fall and turned around to see Tess’ head resting lightly on Max’s shoulder, their laughter mixing and echoing through the quiet cafe. When Maria turned back around, Liz was gone, the swinging door wafting in the wind of her exit. She glanced toward the kitchen, intent on asking Michael to lock up so she could check on Liz, but the kitchen was already dark. Maria slumped onto the nearest counter stool and realized that her life was beginning to look as dark as the kitchen.


posted on 23-Dec-2002 5:32:40 PM
Happy Holidays to Everyone! Thanks for your continued support. A new part of Intersection should be posted in the new year.

JO
posted on 2-Jan-2003 8:36:31 PM
Author's Note: Special thanks to Deidre and Stacey for their suggestions on this section.

------

Part 3

LOS ANGELES

Her ears rang with the reverberation of ten thousand archangels, their voices joined in one intense exaltation.

That fevered moment, by far, had been the worst moment of discord since the ringing began as a series of tinkling of bells three days earlier. At the time of their initiation into her brain, the constant drone had almost driven her to the brink of insanity but now she knew it was because of who she was, what she had become.

She pressed her fingers against her temples, working them in slow circles. She could hear the bookstore growing louder with incessant chatter, the kind of talking that grated on her already fragile nerves. “Can I have a few more minutes,” she asked the dowdy-looking woman bookstore employ who had been firmly joined to her hip since her arrival, pencils sticking out of her messy bun and a headset attached to her ear. “To prepare.”

“Of course,” the woman named Jane answered but Maggie could tell Jane was angry as she closed the office door leaving Maggie alone. In the dimly-lit room, Maggie could finally be herself, the small-town girl from Roswell, New Mexico. Everyone in Roswell believed she was dead and had been dead for almost seven years. She had seen the grave marker with her own eyes four years earlier.

Maggie Rose Whitman 1979-1994

The first sound she had remembered was the tinkling of bells. It was, in fact, the only sound she had been able to identify and make when the police found her in December 1994, her head shaved, her body so frail she had to spend a month in physical therapy. Afterward, a year of extensive psychotherapy and memory regression did nothing to stimulate her memories of the trauma that had rendered her almost useless. The hospital had been given no choice but to release her to a halfway house under the new identity of Miranda Bell.

Maggie lived in a comfortable existence in the halfway house. She kept to herself, and once she learned how to write again, a pencil was always in her hand. As the months passed, she wrote more and more, retreating into the world she created on paper. She was almost more at peace in the world she wrote about instead of the harsh California semi-life she lived. The last day she was in the house, Joann, her favorite staff member, found her writings and a small black notebook. Maggie tried furiously to explain that the shapes and symbols Joann could not understand made perfect sense to her, and told the story of a galaxy called the Whirlwind Galaxy. Joann feared for Maggie’s safety, especially since Maggie was to be placed back into society the following morning, so she locked Maggie in her room for her own protection. That was the night Maggie’s questions about her past were answered.

The dream was fast-paced but slow enough that Maggie could recognize people and places. She saw Roswell, her hometown, and her family. She saw herself being taken from her bed and her mother’s tearful televised plea. She saw the empty casket and the entire town mourning her death. Then, she heard words, spoken in a foreign language she somehow understood and the same shapes and symbols from her small black notebook branded into her mind. She escaped the half-way house that night, knowing her true identity and the gift that she had been given, turning her journey into one of the best-selling science fiction books in decades. But what Maggie’s agent sold as science fiction, Maggie knew as the true story of the Whirlwind Galaxy and the history of the five planets in the solar system.

“Are you ready now, Ms. Ross,” Jane questioned through the closed door. Maggie opened her eyes from her reflective thoughts, her mind still filled with the sound of tinkling bells. The attacks had never lasted longer than a day, and Maggie felt chills go down her spine as Roswell flashed through her mind. Now was not the time to cancel her book tour; Infamy was holding at Number 5 on several lists and internet sites, and climbing steadily due to the book tour. “Ms. Ross,” Jane bellowed again, the annoyance in her voice now unmistakable. Something was going to happen in Roswell, of that Maggie was certain. She knew she would have to abandon her duties as Natalie Ross, successful author, and become Maggie Whitman. Someone she hadn’t been in almost seven years.


posted on 11-Jan-2003 2:34:37 PM
Part 4

ROSWELL

Liz lovingly fingered the wallet-sized photograph of Max as she stood in the back room waiting for her shift to begin. A second photograph just as worn remained in her apron pocket for fear Maria or Michael discovered her obsession and she had to hide the evidence quickly and feign surprise. If found, Liz knew Maria would glare for a moment or two then pull her into a fierce hug followed almost immediately by two pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Maria would cautiously broach the subject of Max, to which Liz would again state her claims in causing the end of the world, and they would return to Ben and Jerry. Michael, however, would ignore the subject completely. He would shake his head and mumble inconsistent ramblings to himself, but Liz knew Michael would keep her secret. Maria would tell Max, in no uncertain terms, how miserable Liz was, and Liz knew if Max discovered the truth now, she would not be strong enough to say no to him. But Maria and Michael didn’t know these things.

They didn’t know Max had told her he believed in her. They didn’t know he had clasped her gloved hand tightly, warmth suddenly flooding her soul, and told her he believed in her. Maria and Michael didn’t know that those simple words had meant the world to her. They couldn’t possibly understand the impact of Max’s statement on her war-weary heart. No one could. And so, she was content to bask in the golden light of Max’s undying love, believing that she would find a way to overcome this final burden standing between them.

“Oh God,” Maria said as she burst through the swinging door into the back room, dabbing at her watery eyes. Liz jumped at the intrusion and slammed her locker door shut with her elbow at the same time stuffing Max’s photo into her apron pocket. “Brody is so funny,” Maria continued, collapsing onto the couch as a loud crash echoed through the kitchen.

Liz stepped into the kitchen doorway and found Michael amidst a variety of pots, pans and utensils, sporadically strewn on the brick red floor. His mouth was taut and turned down in a harsh scowl as he surveyed the floor and the mess. Liz smiled slightly before she stepped out of the doorway and into the back room.

“He told me the best joke,” Maria said, oblivious to the kitchen noise or ignoring it. “Want to hear it?”

“Sure,” Liz replied with a shrug as more crashes came from the kitchen. She leaned against the stairwell, waiting for Maria to begin telling the joke.

“Wait. I have to make sure I remember this and I can’t concentrate with all this noise.” There was a moment’s pause before another crash echoed into the back room, causing Maria to sigh heavily and roll her eyes in an exaggerated fashion. “Okay. I’m ready now. Knock. Knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Carl, the interrupting cow.”

“Wh –“

“Moo!” Maria clutched her waist as her laughter filled the room. Throwing herself backward against the couch, she continued to laugh, a fresh line of tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. Then, Sydney told a joke.”

“Is it like the one Brody told you?”

“C’mon, Liz, she’s eight. Any joke is funny to her. But it wasn’t a knock knock joke,” Maria corrected.

“Okay. What’s the joke,” Liz asked, indulging Maria further.

“What’s green and flies?” Liz thought for a moment then shrugged when the answer alluded her. “Super Pickle,” Maria replied. “That’s her favorite.”

Liz rolled her eyes but couldn’t help the chuckle that came out of her mouth. It felt nice to laugh with Maria again. It almost felt like old times, before the shooting, before Tess and certainly before Future Max and his end of the world.

“There are hungry customers,” Michael barked, thankfully jolting Liz from her thoughts of Max. “People need food.”

“Yes, sir, drill sergeant,” Maria snapped as she popped up from the couch and straightened her uniform and apron. She marched out of the swinging door without a second glance at Michael.

Liz brushed a strand of stray hairs out of her face and smiled warmly at Michael, his eyes watching Maria as she conversed with customers. “It has to get better,” she said, trying to make her remark as vague as possible so Michael would think she was talking about anything.

“It can’t get any worse,” Michael grumbled, turning his back on Liz as he walked into the kitchen. Liz sighed to herself and exhaled slowly before pushing open the swinging door into the café.

posted on 25-Jan-2003 9:28:24 PM
Part 5

CLIFTON, ARIZONA

His bare feet pounded on the craggy earth, thorns and briars digging into his most sensitive parts. As he ran away from his captors and further into the darkness of the woods, he tried in vain to unbind his wrists. Nicholas wouldn’t have used normal rope on his hands, not when they were his most powerful weapon. His hands were his only weapon, his mind his greatest defense against their tortures, but Patrick had learned enough in his incarceration to know his family, his brother, was in danger.

In his previous life, Patrick had been a scout in the King’s Army, a well-decorated and loyal servant of his Magnate. His family had sacrificed many men to military campaigns during their five generations of life on Antar. The fatal uprising that lead to his sojourn on Earth had not only cost him the life of his king but his beloved brother as well, the man who could have claimed the throne in his own right and ruled with the king’s sister at his side.

Several memories of his brother flashed through his mind as he continued to run: their childhood, each pretending the other was a mortal enemy with fights to the death; their years together training in the King’s Army; their induction into their predetermined life paths. Painfully and unable to stop the onslaught of the memory, Patrick watched his brother die, followed almost immediately by the death of his king. The intrusion in the interior of the palace had been well-planned, Patrick’s keen mind discovering too late the key players. So he had watched in stunned horror while his brother, his king and the entire Royal Four were cut down, the usurper and his mistress taking control of the palace.

It was he who had commissioned the queen to replicate her dead children and resurrect them on a distant planet in hopes they would return and destroy the usurper. Patrick had been prepared to take his life that he could journey and be reunited with his brother, but the usurper and his mistress had taken their liberties with him instead, just as Nicholas had. And, just as he had escaped from Nicholas’ traitorous army, he had escaped from the usurper and made his way to Earth determined to find his brother and his king. During both incarcerations with his enemies, Patrick learned vital, sometimes shocking information about those within the king’s inner circle. There had been traitors and double agents around Zan, King of Antar, and now duplicity reigned again around the man called Max Evans.

He stepped down, the lights of the highway visible in the next clearing, his toes catching on a fallen branch and he fell to the ground, rolling downhill several yards. He could feel the bone snap as he rolled, heard it echo through his mind, followed immediately by a string of curses he thought were long buried when he claimed this new form.

Patrick rolled onto his knee and awkwardly wrapped both of his hands, still bound at the wrist, around his dangling limb. His powers flickered a bit from disuse so he closed his eyes in concentration, searching deep within the recesses of his mind. He only had to make it to the highway. Power surged from his palms onto his leg, a healing warmth overtaking his limb. He could feel his strength failing so he stopped the healing, knowing full well the break was only partially repaired. His powers were not developed for healing; he was a warrior, a defender, a protector. Those gifts had been his and his alone, and he had excelled at them all. He only had to make it to the highway, he reassured himself, struggling to stand. He carefully placed weight on his leg and winced as he heard an audible pop. He only had to make it to the highway. Once there, he would do whatever it took to get to Roswell to help his brother, now known as Michael Guerin.


posted on 7-Feb-2003 10:44:51 PM
Just to let you all know that I haven't forgotten about this story. Things have just been hectic and I haven't had a proper moment to sit down and post the next part. I'm aiming for Monday or Tuesday. I'll ask for your patience.

Thanks so much!!

JO
posted on 11-Feb-2003 6:17:19 PM
Part 6

ROSWELL

Isabel buttoned the low-cut red blouse across her chest and stared at her reflection in the mirror. She sighed and ripped the blouse open, scattering buttons across her floor. She dropped the blouse where she stood and stepped toward her open closet, knowing she could repair the buttons later. Now, she had to get ready for her date with Grant. She jerked a blue turtleneck off its hanger, sending the hanger flying out of the closet, and returned to her floor-length mirror, holding the sweater against her chest.

“Iz,” Max called from the hallway through her closed bedroom door.

“I know,” Isabel yelled. “Grant’s waiting.” She threw the sweater over her shoulder onto her bed and retreated back into her closet.

“I’m coming in,” Max ordered in an excited whisper and Isabel heard the door knob jiggle.

“No, Max. I’ve got to get ready,” she said, pulling a black velour v-neck over her head, but Max paid no head to her warning. He stood beside her bed wit his eyes shut tight when her head emerged through the shirt. “Grant’s waiting,” Isabel reiterated as she glared at Max, turning her attention to the mirror to fix her hair. “What do you want?”

“I want to talk to you.”

“I don’t have time to talk right now. If you didn’t catch it the first time, my date is downstairs.”

“I don’t think you should go out with him,” Max admitted in a hushed voice, stepping closer to Isabel.. “I don’t like him. I don’t trust him.”

Isabel spun away from the mirror, her mouth slightly open and her eyes wide in disbelief. “You don’t have any right to tell me who I can and cannot date. Mom and Dad like him. I like him. You don’t have to like him.” She stepped past him to her desk to retrieve her leather coat and purse. “You sound like Michael. Pretty soon, you won’t even trust Liz.”

Max balked at the mention of Liz and ran his left hand along the base of his neck. “Let’s not talk about Liz,” he muttered under his breath.

“You still believe that rumor about Liz and Kyle, don’t you,” Isabel questioned as she pulled her hair out of her jacket. “I can find out the truth about what really happened. It’s very easy.”

“I know you can,” Max replied, “and I told you not to. Liz made her decision and just because it doesn’t seem like she and Kyle are together now -” He broke off and cleared his throat. “I’m now here to talk about Liz. I don’t want you to go out with Grant.”

“I’m going,” Isabel reiterated and stepped around Max toward her bedroom door.

“What about Alex? I thought you were going to give it a chance.”

Isabel stopped cold, dropping her purse onto the floor mere steps away from the hallway. She turned slowly toward Max, allowing herself plenty of time to think of a witty comeback, but she couldn’t think of one. She had decided, had wanted for she and Alex to be closer, especially after Thanksgiving. She had told herself that she would let him in and he would be grateful and loving, and that she would be happy with him. But Grant had somehow gotten in the way once again and Alex had fled Roswell without even saying good-bye. “Alex left me. He left without saying good-bye and I haven’t heard from him. As far as I’m concerned, the chance is over. Now,” she said as she retrieved her purse from the floor, “I’m going to go downstairs and begin my date.”

* * *

“Is this seat okay,” Grant questioned as he nodded toward the two aisle seats. The theater was dark, the preview almost over when they entered with Grant carrying their drinks and popcorn.

“It’s great,” Isabel whispered and they settled into the seats. Isabel smiled, accepting her drink from Grant as the movie flickered to life on the screen. She couldn’t even remember what she had agreed to see, much less who the leading male star was. Her mind was consumed by her conversation with Max and thoughts of Alex.

She felt Grant staring at her so she turned to her left and gave him a quick smile. She was on a date with Grant, not Alex. Alex was in Sweden, not in Roswell, and Alex certainly wasn’t sharing his highly-buttered popcorn with her. Alex knew she didn’t like movie popcorn; Alex would have bought her Junior Mints, hoping she would share with him so he could fire them at unsuspecting movie patrons. But she wasn’t on a date with Alex.

She smiled at Grant again for good measure, noticing as he turned front three small cuts on his neck. “You’re bleeding,” she whispered, snatching several napkins from his leg, her hand almost covering the wounds when his hand abruptly encircled her wrist, stopping her.

Before she could process what was happening, she was standing in a wooded area, a mound of dirt to her left, a large hole to her right. A blonde woman screamed, clawing wildly at her face and neck. Isabel felt fingernails rake the right side of her neck, her hands seizing the blonde’s shoulders, pushing her downward while her hands worked some type of unseen lock.

“I cut myself shaving,” Grant said, holding the napkins on his wound as he turned his attention back to the movie.

Isabel nodded in understanding and cautiously edged away from him. Her heart hammered in her chest as she wondered why she would receive such a flash from Grant when she had never received a flash from him before.