posted on 27-May-2002 3:27:08 PM by Chynna Princess
Title: I Will Love You
Rating: Will never cross PG-13
Couple: Mostly M/L, I may throw in the others later. I'm a BIG Stargazer and Candy.
Spoilers: Up until Departure. Nothing after that happened.
Summary: After learning of Tess' betrayal, the group is crushed. They allow her to return home with Max's child, but it isn't the end for the pod squad. With Alex dead and Tess gone, the group is falling apart. But is Alex really dead? Is Tess really gone? Is it ever going to be over?
Notes: This story begins with Departure to refresh your memory and continues from there.

I posted this a while back and got some nice reviews and a friend asked me to repost and continue. I stopped at 5 chapters which could have considerable been the end but she thought I could keep going. I'll let you guys decide since I now have some time on my hands to continue

*Chapter 1*
~*~*~*~*~*~
*Departure*
~*~*~*~*~*~

"She killed him. Tess killed Alex." Kyle's voice was full of grief and loathing. Liz raced to the pod chamber hoping she wasn't too late. She had discovered the truth. The truth about Alex. The truth about Tess. The truth about everything. It was not suicide that claimed the life of her friend but a certain blonde that the whole group had come to trust. After everything Tess had done to prove her allegiance to the group, one act of clarity on Liz' part had allowed her to see the true nature of this demonic blonde. Unfeeling. That's the only word she could come up with to describe her. She had killed him in cold blood. She had sucked him dry of his life and murdered him. Alex was the sweetest boy she had ever known and now he was dead because Tess wanted to go home. It made Liz very angry when she thought about it. From the moment Tess came to town she hadn't trusted her. She had learned to push those feelings aside when Tess came through for the group when they were in tough situations. It was all in vain though. Liz' first impression had been correct. Tess had to be pure evil to do something like this to her. To do something like this to Alex. Liz had never wanted anything more than to have five minutes alone with her. The rage built up inside of the petite brunette until she could feel her whole face turn red.

"Hurry!" Liz screamed from the passenger's seat as Maria sped through the the deserted road. It was freezing but Liz didn't notice. Her mind was set on one thing and one thing alone...the truth. She was going to snap Max out of his trance and make him realize the kind of person he had trusted. She was going to make them all realize that Tess was the sole cause of their pain. Over the hill Liz could see the cave where the aliens would be. No doubt they were together and happy with the realization that they would be going home.

Maria stopped the car and Liz immediately opened the door and made her way quickly through the cool desert air. Though the shouts of her friends to slow down were loud in her ears, they didn't register. She was on a mission.

"Liz!" she heard Maria scream, but she did not stop. She did not turn around. She couldn't stop. She couldn't slow down. She was too close now. Before she knew it, she was there. She was standing right in front of the cave. She ran up to the entrance at such a fast pace that she had to throw her hands in front of herself to cushion the impact. She hit the rock wall with a thud before collecting herself and banging her fists against the jagged rock. She was soon joined by an out-of-breath Maria and an equally tired Kyle. They continued to bang on the rough surface and scream at the top of their lungs.

"Michael!" Maria shouted, "open the door! Michael!" Liz' desperate voice followed.

"Max! Open up! Max! Max!" she pleaded.

From the inside, their screams seemed non-existent. The aliens stood around the large base contemplating their journey home oblivious to the cries of the humans outside their very walls. The silence was deafening. The mood was somber. Their eyes focused briefly on each other and flickered back and forth. The lights of the granolith whirled around them. Heavenly shades of blue and violet lit up the inside of the compact chamber. Michael stood deep in thought as Max touched the basin on the transport. Michael's eyes tore away from the ground at a sudden realization. "Max, I can't go," he whispered in a soft voice. Isabel stepped to him knowing full well that Michael had thought this out.

"Ever since we came out of those pods I've been on some quest to figure out where I belong. I finally found home. The weird thing is it's here. It's on earth."

Max had known that Michael had been thinking about it and he had finally made up his mind. Max looked at him as several moments passed. He walked steadily up to Michael and pulled him into a tight embrace. He was leaving him behind. His friend. His brother. He may never see him again. Max held in the tears from falling so that he wouldn't seem like a wimp. Inside he was dying.

"Take care of yourself," Max said in a low voice. "I love you."

They held on to each other tightly and exchanged their silent love and respect for each other. They didn't need words. They had been together since they were children and it was finally time to part.

"You're a great brother," Michael admonished with a pat on the back.

He stepped away from Max while his voice tightened in his throat. "Take care of the others," Max told him. Michael nodded knowing the intention of Max's words. Isabel watched the scene unfold in front of her and tried not to break down. She looked at Max, her tears now flowing freely.

"I would understand," he said in a soothing voice.

Isabel couldn't believe what she was hearing. She couldn't leave him. As much as she wanted to stay, she couldn't. "What you said before...you're my home too," she said with tears escaping the corners of her moist eyes. She hastily pulled Michael into an embrace only to be then interrupted by Tess.

"Well, whoever is coming, we have to go...now," she said looking towards the origin of the swirling lights.

Isabel reluctantly let go of Michael. Michael took one last look at the pod chamber and the loved ones he was leaving and made his way toward the exit.

Outside Maria and Liz leaned against a rock exhausted from their failed attempts to get the attention of their alien friends. They felt so lost. In a few minutes they'd be leaving with someone who could end up turning on them. There had to be some way to let them know. Liz felt like she had that day in the Crashdown. She felt hurt and scared. What they needed was a miracle much like the one bestowed onto her. On that note, a noise erupted from the cave.

"Liz!" Maria exclaimed tapping her friend as the entrance to the cave rolled away.

Michael soon exited the cave. Michael's face was full of shock as he saw Maria and Liz standing there. Before he had a chance to get a word out, Maria stepped up to him and in a shaky but determined voice told him what she had been waiting to say.

"Tess killed Alex," she said a little calmer than she had thought. It finally registered with him.

"What?" Michael said, his face shocked with this realization.

There was no time. He quickly turned around and ran back into the pod chamber with Maria, Liz, and Kyle in tow. Max was finalizing his trip with the readying of the granolith when Michael and Liz emerged from the entrance.

"Max don't!" she cried running in with strength she didn't know she had. "It was Tess. Tess killed Alex. She mindwarped him into going to Las Cruces to decode the book and when he broke out of the mindwarp she killed him." It came out in one long breath.

Liz shook from the inside out as Kyle took his cue to confirm her story. "It's true. I was there. I witnessed it," he told him. A sickening thought emerged in Max's mind about Alex's true last moments.

"Why didn't you ever say anything?" Max burst out in a fit of rage. He was interrupted by Kyle who stepped closer to Max in order to see the crouching blonde behind him.

"Because she mindwarped me. You lived in my home! You were like my sister!" he shouted unable to control his rage. Max turned to look at her.

"How long?" Max asked not taking his eyes off of her.

"Three minutes," Michael said looking at the orb lighting up quickly on the wall.

"Everyone out," he said keeping a steady voice and piercing eyes. They all filed out leaving them alone. It was just Tess, Max, and his anger.

"Did you kill Alex?" he said in a voice so cold it sent shivers up her spine.

"I didn't want to. I wish I hadn't, but I did." Max began stepping closer to her making her back up farther and farther.

"Why?" he burst out.

"Look Max, the clock's ticking. We don't really have time..." she was interrupted.

"TELL ME WHY!!!" he said losing all control that he had left.

"He would have told you what I did and I couldn't let that happen," she said believing it was justified.

"So you just...you just killed him?"

"I didn't mean to," she went on. "His brain was just so weakened by the mindwarps and... Look! None of this matters now," she stopped.

"Life matters, Tess. My life...your life...his." She stopped him.

"What matters is getting home. But you could never understand that, could you? I might have been able to teach you but that stupid bitch had you wrapped around her..."

"Don't you ever call her that," Max shouted in a fit of rage. He continued backing up on her and they continued this way around the granolith floor words of hatred flying out of each others mouths.

"See? Look how fast you run to her defense," she screamed. "Why couldn't you ever feel that way about me?" tears were running down her face in slow streams. "I'm your wife, Max," she said gathering up her strength. "I'm carrying your child."

The realization hit Max instantly. "This was all some kind of plan to get pregnant and go home, wasn't it? Home to what, Tess? To Kivar? To our enemies?" Max stared at her as the impact of her words his him.

"They're not my enemies, Max" she said turning away from him.

"You made a deal with them. With Kivar." Max stopped for a second. Max didn't know how he had ever trusted her.

"No! Nasedo made the deal 40 years ago." He once again began to come closer.

"What was the deal? Tell me!"

"To return home with your child and to deliver the three of you to Kivar," she said afraid Max would go off on her again.

"And what would happen to us once you delivered us?" Max asked knowing exactly what would happen. The tears flooded her face now as Max told her exactly what he was thinking.

"How could I ever fall in love with someone like you? How could I ever marry you?" Max was now standing over her and looking down.

Tess stepped up to him and looked him in the eyes. "You were different then. You were a king. Now you're just a boy." Max raised his hand to her and she glared at it angrily. "You kill me, Max, you kill our son."

Max relented and balled his fists tightly. The colors swirled brighter than ever through the chamber and the clock met its final countdown.

"Go. This isn't over, Tess," he said backing up through the doorway. Tess scrunched her face letting tears fall freely and moved toward the base of the granolith.

She carefully stretched her hand up to the spiraling vortex forming in the center. In an instant, she was transported to the center of the vortex with the colors of the granolith surrounding her. Violet, blue, orange. Every color imaginable permeated the cave walls and met in the middle of the chamber giving off a white, pure light. It was blinding and breathtaking. Max gave one more look around as he made his way out. As he did, the cave was filled with black smoke and it began to shake. Each quake caused more debris to plummet from the ceiling. He was met by Isabel screaming his name and they both climbed out of the cave shaken by the destruction happening around them.

As soon as Max was out of the cave, he was met by the group. Liz was in front gazing intently at him. He took no time but grabbed her hand and pulled her along leading them all to safety. "Let's go," he told them still squeezing her hand.

The granolith had finally hit it's mark as the friends made their way down the rocks and hills of the desert led by Max. The ground shook beneath their feet as they saw the smoke rise from the tip of their cave. The ship whirred from the inside of the cave and lit up the inside of the rock. Max led them to a trench behind a rock as they watched the top of the cave break away and a spaceship barrel out the tip and through the clouds. Max grabbed Liz and held her close to shield and comfort her. Michael did the same for Maria. In an instant it was gone. They all gazed up at the clear blue sky that had been pierced by the craft. They were in awe. Max was the first to turn away. He looked down at the shaken brunette he held in his arms.

"I've been really wrong about a lot of things, but I've been right about one thing. To get you into my life. To be around you. To love you." Max gently caressed her cheek and ran his fingers through her silky hair before pulling her to his chest.

Maria pulled Michael's collar to get his attention. "You opened the door and you came out. Why?" she asked rubbing up and down his neck. "You stayed for me," she said resting her head against his throat.

Max took Liz' hand and led her down the rock towards the group. Isabel stopped him. "What happens now, Max?"

He didn't look at her. He didn't turn around. "I have to save my son."

They stood there, the six of them on a large rock. The wind blew through their hair and echoed off the rocks. It was still and silent. Nobody moved. They just stood there. They were all together again except for Alex. There was a new battle to fight and a new day to do it.

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 12-Jun-2002 11:08:23 PM ]
posted on 27-May-2002 3:27:55 PM by Chynna Princess
Chapter 2
Mending Hearts

They were at the Crashdown now. The evening still lingered in the air. Max sat next to Liz in a booth gently squeezing her hand.
Michael was standing by the bar holding Maria as tightly as he could. Isabel and Kyle took a seat in front of Max and Liz and
stared at them for many moments. Liz rested her head on Max's shoulder and reveled in the scent of him. She never thought
she'd ever be this close to him again. She was so close that she could hear his heart beating and feel his shivers of delight as she
ran her fingers over his chest. Max looked down at the girl he held in his hands. She was the most beautiful creature he had
ever seen and she loved him. Max Evans was loved by this perfect being. Max felt complete but something still irked him. Why
did he feel guilt for what he did to Tess? Did he still love her? No, but he still cared for her. How was that possible? Max
noticed the look of discomfort on Isabel's face and pulled away from Liz.

"What is it Izzy?" He asked her in a voice full of compassion. Isabel looked at him with tears in her eyes.

"Well it seems that you and Liz have made up...and Michael and Maria have never been closer. I..." Isabel didn't have to finish.
Max slipped around the booth to her side and pulled her into a tight hug. "I can't believe she could be so cold. I can't believe
that he spent his final moment begging for his life from that heartless beast."

Isabel's sobs were now coming in huffs. She loved Alex with all of her heart and soul. Even though she didn't say it, Max knew
she had always loved him and now regretted not expressing it to him more fully. She was crying now more than she had cried at
the funeral. She had tried to be strong and failed miserably. Now that she had realized the truth, what Alex had been put
through, the torture he endured for Tess' pleasure, she broke down and feared she'd never stop crying. She was finally crying
for him. Alex was gone and she was finally allowing herself to feel it. The loss of her friend. The loss of her love.

Max smoothed Isabel's hair as her sobs subsided and turned into small outbursts. Liz watched her with a caring eye. Max saw
the feeling behind Liz' eyes and smiled to himself. She was so loving, so caring. How could he have ever doubted her? Max
didn't know. His judgment had somehow been clouded. Lately he hadn't been himself. He realized that now. He looked down
at Isabel. She was perfectly silent. Her eyes were closed and pressed against his wet shirt. She was still.

He wrapped his arm around her and held her to him. His sister. He had lately taken that word for granted. He hadn't treated
her like a sister. He hadn't tried as hard to protect and comfort her when Alex died. He had spent all his time with Tess. It
made him physically sick but he held it inside so that he wouldn't disturb Isabel's rest. She felt so tiny, like a child. Isabel had
always been so strong, but now the barriers had been broken down. He was seeing the real Isabel. The one people rarely get
to see. He was seeing the scared, frail Isabel.

Kyle was sitting next to the two of them unsure of what to do. Isabel had taken this hard. Kyle thought back to the real
happenings of the night. It made him visibly ill to think about it. He had helped her. In a way he had killed Alex. He had helped
her carry the body. He had helped her cover it up. He had helped her destroy the lives of all his friends. He had killed his best
friend. He thought back to all those times he and Alex had gotten into sticky situations. Alex always came out smiling. He made
him laugh even when they feared there was no hope. Alex was his friend...his best friend, and he had killed him. He had
murdered Alex. Kyle felt tears form in his eyes. He put his head down on the table and began to sob uncontrollably. Liz was
the first to notice. She reached over the table and stroked his hair. Kyle kept shaking and crying.

"Kyle..." Liz said in a soft, low voice, "it's not your fault." She said that as if she knew exactly what he was thinking and she did.
She knew that Kyle must be blaming himself now but it wasn't his fault. "You didn't do anything," she said sweetly.

"I...helped her. I...helped...her cover it up," he said with racking cries.

"But you didn't kill him," she said stroking his face as he looked up at her. She wiped a tear from his cheek as it glided down his
guilt-ridden face.

"I might as well have," he said pulling his face from her silky palm. "I had just as much to do with everyone's grief as she did."

"She mindwarped you, Kyle. She controlled you," Maria said with a sniff. She was still wrapped in Michael's strong arms. "Liz'
right. It's not your fault. You didn't do anything. You have to believe that," she said with another sniff. Tears started to roll down
her cheeks and Michael took that as his cue. He pulled her head close to his chest and rubbed up and down her back as she
continued to cry over the loss of her friend once more.

Everyone was crying. Liz looked around. She wasn't crying though. She was stunned to silence. She couldn't cry. She had
cried too much over Alex's death already. Crying wouldn't help. Crying wouldn't bring him back. Crying would only bring back
the memories. The memories of Alex. The memories of his death.

Max shifted carefully under his sister. She was asleep. His arm was beginning to fall asleep but he didn't get up. Isabel hadn't
slept since that night. The night that Alex had died. Everything had gotten so complicated after that. Alex had been so modest
and shy. He would never know the impact his death had on everyone. He touched everyone's life in some special way. He was
special. Max almost broke down then and there. He refused to though. He pushed Alex out of his mind as hard as it was. Kyle
wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and looked at the teary group surrounding him. He looked at the shell-shocked Liz.
She hadn't said anything in a while. She just stared down at the table.

She finally got the strength to look up. Her eyes scanned the crew and then went to Max. He looked down at his sister lovingly
not noticing the gaze she held upon him. He kissed her forehead and stroked her hair. He looked up to see Liz' eyes on him. He
smiled at her. It was his first true smile since he had seen her with Kyle. He remembered climbing her balcony and smiling all the
way up. He was so happy. That all changed when he looked in her room. They were together in bed. Max felt his stomach
plummet. He felt dead inside. His eyes went cold with rage. His Liz had left him. His Liz had betrayed him. It was the one thing
he never thought she'd do. It was the one thing she said she'd never do. But it never happened, Max reminded himself.

Why had she lied to him? Why was it so important? Max didn't ask. It didn't seem like the right time. He'd ask her later in
private. Right now he had to focus on what to do next. Liz' voice sounded from across the booth.

"So, what happens now?" she asked unsure of how to break the silence. It was deafening.

"I don't know," came Max's sullen voice. "I just don't know." Liz' eyes went back to the table. Maria pulled away from
Michael's grasp and collected herself.

"Well we have to do something. Tess killed Alex. We can't just let her get away with that," Maria said trying to keep calm.

"I know, Maria," Max's deep eyes kept at Liz' head as she looked down and fiddled with her fingers. "Somehow we'll find a
way. I...I just think we're not seeing the whole picture for some reason." Maria lost it.

"You don't think she killed him?" Maria's voice echoed through the diner. "How much more proof do you need? You have a
witness, not to mention a confession from her own devious lips. Do you still love her? Is that it? She really does have you
wrapped around her finger doesn't she?"

"I didn't say that, Maria. I have no doubt that she killed Alex but I still think something feels off. I don't know how to describe
it. After what she told me...I don't know how I could have had feelings for her..."

"What did she tell you?" Michael asked stepping up and wrapping his arms around Maria's shoulders. Max couldn't look him in
the eyes.

"Max?" Liz whispered, concerned.

"She...she told me that Kivar...that the skins weren't her enemies. She...Nasedo made a deal with them 40 years ago and she
was going to go through with it." Max could barely go on. His voice went to a whisper.

"What was the deal?" Liz asked him as she reached over the tabled to rub his trembling hand. Everyone was now focused on
Max's lips as the words formed.

"It was all planned," he explained. "It was all a plan for her to get pregnant and go home. She was to return with my child and
deliver the three of us to Kivar."

"What would happen to us?" Michael called from the back of the diner. Max didn't reply. That said it all. He didn't need to hear
anymore to know what would happen to them. No doubt they would be killed with Tess responsible for it all. One of their
own. Someone they had trusted.

"I can't believe this!" Michael called. "I can't believe that we could have been killed!"

"You wouldn't have been killed. You chose to stay. Isabel and I would have been killed," Max said in a sad tone.

"Max, don't," Liz said in a voice no louder than a whisper.

"Don't what?"

"Don't blame yourself," she told him. "Tess...she had some kind of force over you. She tricked you. It's not your fault."

"I should have never trusted her. I should have never allowed her into the group. If she wouldn't have gotten so close, none of
this would have happened. Alex would still be alive. We'd still be..." his voice trailed off. "I let my judgment become clouded.
What kind of ruler could I possably be?"

"Max, it's all in the past now. We have to move on. You have to forget," Liz said sweetly.

"I can never forget. Things can never go back to the way they used to be. I betrayed you all."

"Stop it Max," Michael's tightening voice sounded. "We'll get through this together. We'll figure out something. We'll save your
son." Liz once again looked down. Max was right. Things could never go back. Their lives were forever changed just like that
day in the Crashdown.

"Max, what did you do about your parents? Did you tell them?" Liz asked wanting to get rid of the thoughts circling her head.

"Tell them what?"

"Well, you knew you were leaving. What did you tell them?" Max's eyes lit up with a realization that caught him off guard.

"Oh no!" he said sitting up straight. This movement jarred Isabel making her open her eyes and stretch. Max looked down at
Isabel who was now almost fully awake. "Iz, we have to go."

"Go? Go where?" she said in a sleepy voice.

"We left the tape for them." Isabel's eyes were filled with the same light as Max's. "We have to get it before they see it?" Max
stood up abruptly followed by Isabel.

"Max? What are you talking about?" Liz' quiet voice rang in his ears.

"We left a tape for them telling them that we were leaving. If they see it..." Liz nodded her head in understanding. Max made his
way to the door. Michael involved himself once more in Maria's embrace.

"Max!" he called before the siblings reached the door. "What do we do about the jeep?"

"Crap!" Max's head was swimming. "We'll have to fix it later. Right now we have to get home and swipe that tape. Maria, can
we borrow the Jetta?" Maria looked at his weary eyes and tossed him the keys.

"Call me later and tell me how everything went," Michael told him. Max's brown eyes smiled with a warmness they had lately
lacked.

"Sure thing...brother." With that, Max turned and exited the doors of the Crashdown as the chimes echoed behind him.

Max made his way out of the doors of The Crashdown and hopped in the Jetta. Isabel got in on the other side. In a way he
was happy because he got to stay. In a way he was sad. So many things to be sad about he just couldn't pick one.

"Max?" Isabel's soft voice called, "I'm glad that we didn't have to leave them."

"I know, Iz. I didn't want to either. Looks like we have a little more time here."

"Yeah, a little more time," Isabel whispered into the cool breeze whipping at her hair. "A little more time."


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posted on 28-May-2002 4:37:53 PM by Chynna Princess
Chapter 3
A Little Trust

The car ride home was eerily silent. Max sped through intersection after intersection hoping to get home before all hell broke loose. His parents could never know how close they came to losing them. They could never know about Max's aborted mission.

Max's mind was somewhere else when his attention turned to his home of all his life. His parents' cars were in the driveway. Max quickly pulled into the open space causing the tires to squeak at an ear-piercing frequency. He jumped out of the car and slammed the door forgetting everything else.

Isabel was still in her daze as she saw her mom's car get closer. She braced herself for an impact and was surprised when all that can was a slight jolt of the brakes and a screech. She saw Max jump out of the car at lightening speed and make for the front door. She had never seen him so determined.

Max fumbled around with the keys as his heart pounded loudly in his ears. He found the key and inserted it giving it a quick turn. He ran inside and headed for his room. Isabel followed him as he sped through the house. As he got to the room he opened the door a crack to see his mother in front of the television crying.

Isabel made her way quickly and down the hallway and smacked into the back her brother. "Max, what the hell..." She quieted down when she took in the site of her mother sitting on the bed with tears trailing down her face.

"Oh, no," Isabel's voice caught in her throat. "She's already seen it. We're too late. What are we going to do?"

Max was stunned. He felt like less of a man. Here he was, supposed leader of a destitute planet, being torn up by watching his adoptive mother cry. He didn't know what to do. What would he tell her.

"We...we could tell her it was a...joke." It sounded stupider coming out of his mouth.

Isabel looked at him with tears in her eyes and he wished he had kept his comment to himself. "Well we can't just do nothing. We can't stand here and watch her cry. We have to tell her." She gave Max a glare that made him feel like his eyes would burn.

"You mean...TELL HER?" Max face krinkled with worry. "But Iz...we..." Isabel held her hand up to his face.

"Enough is enough!" she said in a very loud whisper. "We've put her through hell this past year. We leave on these alien excursions and never know if we'll come back alive. Sometimes we're away for days and she always believes us when we lie to her face and tell her we were camping or sleeping out. Just once I'd like to have a little closure."

Isabel's mind began to drift to Alex. Max realized this and gave her a nudge. "Isabel, I don't think you realize the severity of this."

"The hell I don't. I've wanted to tell her since that first day. The day when she walked into that orphanage and I knew then and there that she was going to be my mother. She was the most beautiful thing in the world. So comforting. And she wanted me. Out of all of the kids in the orphanage she wanted me."

Max looked at her, his face twisted in a frown while his eyes smiled a genuine smile. He had wanted to tell her too but he was afraid of how she would react. Would she think him a freak? She had stood behind him all the way. She had trusted him even though he had kept her in the dark. He had asked her to trust him and she did.

"I want to tell her too Iz but..." he was cut off.

"No buts Max, we're telling her. Mothers and daughters should have a bond. We don't have that because I can't be honest with her and tell her about who...what I really am."

"Your Isabel Evans," Max said lifting her tear-stained face to meet his gaze. "You're a beautiful, smart, caring girl. You're everything she thinks you are and more."

"I want her to know that I'm more," she said pulling her face away.

"She does," he whispered to her. "That's why she picked you. Out of all of the little girls it was you that she wanted. She knew you were special. She does. Why do you think she's crying?"

Isabel let the tears fall and pressed her face into her brother's jacket. She sniffed and hearing her mother's stifled cries choked them back. She pulled away.

"I never got closure with Alex. I never got to tell him what I wanted to. I never got to tell him how much I loved him..."

"I'm sure he knew," Max interrupted.

"I need this, Max. I need her to know that if we don't return one day that it's not because we don't care. I don't want her to think we don't love her. I want her to know the truth. I want her to know who we really are. I want to know that I never have to lie to her again."

"Do you know what you're asking here?" Max's voice was full of worry.

"I've made up my mind," she said sternly. Max dared not protest. He too wanted to tell her but tried to hide it.

"I never got to have closure with Alex. I want to have closure with her. One day we'll leave and I just want her to know why."

Max looked at her understanding where she was coming from. Isabel did not see the feeling in his eyes as she watched as her mother continued to cry. A touch on her shoulder startled her. She turned to face Max. She was amazed when he held out his hand. She smiled and brushed her tears back as she took his hand and clenched it tightly.

Max went first. He pushed the door open and stepped through dragging Isable behind him protectively. He saw his mother's eyes light up. She wiped her eyes and choked back a sob.

"Max!" she said as she went up and enveloped him and Isabel in a hug. Isabel let the tears come down again as she felt her mothers tight grip around her body. Max pulled them all out of the hug.

"We're sorry, mom. We didn't mean to worry you. We'll explain," Max told her.

"I'm just glad you're home and safe," she told them as she went and grabbed Isabel who was clearly shaken and wrapped her arms around her. Isabel sighed into her mother as she took in the scent of her perfume. She wanted to always remember what her mother smelled like. If she'd died right now she'd always remember her mother who smelled of jasmine. That's how she'd want to remember her, exactly how she was now, sweet-smelling and beautiful with the sparkle of tears in her eyes.

"I love you so much," Isabel whispered into her hair. It was time. It was finally right. She felt it. Her mother would finally be let in on the secret that had haunted isabel since the day she came to live with her. Isabel pulled away from the embrace.

"We can explain everything mom," she began. "The tape...we didn't..."

"Wait...slow down," Diane could barely understand her daughter who was now panting and crying. "Isabel, calm down. You didn't do anything wrong."

"Yes I did. I just left and..." Isabel couldn't breathe.

"Honey, I don't know what you're talking about. You already told me you were going to The Crashdown, remember? You were at The Crashdown...weren't you?"

"Yeah, sort of. I did go to The Crashdown," Isabel told her.

"Then what's the problem?" her mother asked her puzzled.

"Well, I thought you'd be upset when you found out," Isabel was astonished at her mother's calmness now.

Max didn't understand the exchange between his mother and sister. He didn't understand why his mother seemed so retrained now when a minute ago she was crying her eyes out. He didn't know why she wasn't drilling them on where they were going and why they were back.

"Mom, what Isabel is trying to say is that we're sorry we worried you," Max finally spoke up. "We didn't mean to leave like that but we had to."

"What? What are you kids talking about?" Diane was without a clue. All of a sudden her children were apologizing for something and she had no idea what they were talking about. This couldn't be good.

"We didn't mean to make you cry, mom. Honest." Isabel's teary eyes were reflected by her mothers.

"Oh, Izzy. Sweetheart, don't cry. Oh, I wasn't crying because... Oh my gosh, I'm so embarassed. It's not your fault sweetie. I was just watching..."

"We know what you were watching and you have every right to be upset," Isabel told her.

"But honey, I hardly think it's yours or Max's fault. It just really got to me. The thought that I could lose my children. I never want that to happen."

"It never will mom," Isabel said hugging her.

"Oh, I know that. It's just...I love you two so much and I just want you to know that. In case anything ever happens, I want you to know that I love you," she was crying in her daughter's arms.

"We love you too mom," Isabel and Max both whispered.

"You've loved us and trusted us and...believed in us and we've left you in the dark. We want to tell you something now. Something very important," Isabel wiped the tears from her eyes. Her mother straightened up at the seriousness of her tone.

"We want to explain about what you saw," Isabel began to explain.

"Oh honey, I know," Mrs. Evans relayed.

"You do?" Isabel and Max's eyes were wipe open.

"Of course," she told them. Isabel was speechless. Her mother had known all along. How?

"You mean you've known? How?" Isabel's voice was raspy.

"I came up here one day and heard you. You're my daughter. Did you really think I wouldn't find out? You tried so hard to cover it up, but I saw right through it."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Mrs. Evans' face was wrinkled with puzzlement.

"I didn't think it was very important. I didn't want to make you feel like you had been found out. I didn't want you to think you had something to be ashamed of."

She knew. After everything, she knew. Isabel couldn't believe it. She wasn't shocked. She wasn't surprised. She wasn't running away from her. She was in this to stay. Isabel could finally tell her mother everything. Her mother would finally get to know about her. The side she showed the world and the side she didn't.

"Oh, honey," Diane consoled, "it's nothing to be ashamed of. "I feel the same way. I'm such a romantic. I love to watch those sad movies and cry just for the heck of it. There's nothing like a good cry. You're just like me." Isabel's face fell. She didn't know. Not what she wanted her to.

"So you mean you were crying because you were watching..." Isabel let her fill it in.

"What Dreams May Come. It's a beautiful movie. His children die and then he dies and his wife is left all alone. I don't know what I'd do if that ever happened to me. I don't think I'd be able to live."

This made Isabel feel awful. She had almost left. Her mother was certain that without her children she'd die. Isabel would be responsible for abouther death.

"If anything like that ever happened to you guys..." Diane's voice trailed off.

"Mom, nothing like that ever will," Isabel said hugging her tightly. Max went up to them and joined them.

"You can be sure of that," he told her.

"OK, enough with these dramatics, you old softie," Mrs. Evans said poking Isabel making he sniff back a giggle. "Now what is so serious that it couldn't wait." Isabel's mouth opened and emitted no sound.

"Well mom," Max took his cue, "Isabel...can't decide on what to do next year." Isabel looked at him curiously.

"Max, that's not what I was going to say," she butted in.

"Well what was it?" Diane turned toward her teary daughter.

Isabel loved how things were. What if telling her complicated things? What if she didn't love her anymore? Isabel didn't want to think about it.

"I've decided to graduate with Max next year," she burst out.

"Oh, honey, that's wonderful," her mother said hugging her. Isabel pressed her face against her loving mother's shoulder. "That's another year I get to spend with my baby girl. I'm so happy. Are you sure?"

"Yeah, mom, I'm sure," she told her. And she was. She wanted to spend as much time with her as she could.

"Is that it?" Diane asked looking at her daughter sideways.

"Yep. That's it."

"You sure?" she asked again.

"I'm sure," Isabel confirmed. "I'm staying...that's....all I wanted to say."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

posted on 28-May-2002 6:41:07 PM by Chynna Princess
I must be a total post wh*re. I have more posts than like half the people on this board. I don't even know how that happened. I just realized it. I hardly ever post. Really!
posted on 29-May-2002 10:41:11 AM by Chynna Princess
Bumping this so the rest can see.
posted on 12-Jun-2002 11:07:34 PM by Chynna Princess
Chapter 4
Family Ties

Diane was satisfied with her daughter's plans. She got to spend another year with her daughter. She was practically giddy. Isabel saw the glow on her mother's face and was happy that she had chosen those words. Diane gave her children a quick kiss and headed out of the room.

"I'm going to fold the clothes. Dinner will be ready soon. We're having spaghetti and meatballs, your favorite," Diane couldn't hold in her pleasure. Isabel smiled warmly at her.

"Great! I can't wait," she told her smacking her lips.

"Isabel, you don't know how happy you've made me," she told her.

"I'm happy too, mom," Isabel said.

"I love you both," Diane said before turning and leaving the room. When she was gone, Isabel turned to her solemn brother. He was the first to speak.

"So why'd you do it?" he asked curiously. Isabel turned away from him and began looking around the room. She picked up a stuffed animal off the floor and cradled it to her. He moved toward her. She sat down on the bed pulling the fuzzy, but disheveled bear closer to her. "Izzy?"

"Do you remember this?" she said in a voice barely above a whisper. Max sat down on the bed next to her.

"Yeah, I remember it. Mom gave it to you. You've had it since that first day. You were so happy when she gave it to you. You were certain that it meant she wanted to keep you forever. That she really loved you. You took it everywhere, even school." Max chuckled at the memories of little Isabel Evans carrying a stuffed bear. Isabel giggled with him.

"She...she gave it to me the day she brought us here. She sat me down in my room and told me she had been waiting for me for a long time. I was amazed at how beautiful it was. She had every toy that she could buy in the room and it was decorated for a princess. I was a princess. Her princess. She handed me this bear and told me something I'll never forget. Ever since then..." Isabel patted the bear on it's head and listened as her brother's voice picked up.

"What did she tell you?" he inquired.

"Well, she said that this was hers," Isabel held the bear up to his face. "She had had it since she was a child...just about my age. It had been her mother's bear. Her grandmother had made it for her. Mom said that it was the most precious thing she had in the world. She looked down at me and put it in my hands. She..." Isabel began to tear up.

"Izzy? What happened then?" Max was listening to his sister relaying this story to him. He was finally understanding.

"She said that now that she had me....it wasn't the most precious thing in her life. She told me that she wanted me to have it. She had waited for the day that she could give it to her daughter...the most special person in the world...me. She said that she wanted me to take care of it and give it to my daughter. That's when I knew."

"When you knew what?" Max asked her.

"That's when I knew that she loved me. I was loved. I had a mother...a family. I knew that she'd protect me and never let anything happen to me. She'd love me unconditionally."

Then why didn't you tell her like you wanted too?" he inquired.

"I don't know!" Isabel said standing up and pacing. "I should have. I wanted too. But I didn't. All I kept thinking about is 'What if she didn't want me? 'What if she didn't love me anymore?'" Isabel was in tears.

"That's ridiculous!" Max cried out. "After what you just told me...Isabel, she loves you. I understand what you've been going through. If you want to tell her, I'm behind you. Just know that," he said sincerely.

Isabel choked back a giggle. "What?" he asked her with a smile.

"Now you're the one that wants to tell her and I'm the one who is being cautious," she said with a playful pat.

"Caution is good," he told her, "and I've been thinking about it a lot. We have put her through an awful lot this past year. We've lied to her numerous times. She's never questioned us. She's been totally supportive. I know we can trust her. I know she'll understand and support us."

"But I don't want to break her heart," Isabel said pacing again. "What should I do, Max?"

"Iz, that's your decision. Just make sure you think it through," he told her.

"But you stopped me from telling her. Does that mean you don't want me to?" she said biting her lip.

"No! Of course not! I trust your decision to tell her if you want. Just...just make sure it's what you really want. And...don't rush into it. You were kind of hysterical. I didn't want you to just blurt it out," he said looking inot her teary eyes.

Isabel nodded to him. "Well, I guess we can hold off a little while. When the time is right I'll know," she said turning her face down. "I'm definately telling her before it's too late. I just...don't want to hurt her. When I tell her, she'll have to know about our destiny to return home. She'll have to know..."

"She will Iz. But...she'll know that you'll always be her daughter. And wherever you are...you'll think about her every day. And you'll never stop loving her," her brother said wrapping his arm around her.

"Until the day I die," she whispered as a tear flowed down her face.

"Until the day we die," Max added bringing her close to his chest.

"Well, Teddy," Isabel said looking at the old bear in her arms, "looks like we won't be together forever like I thought." She pulled it close to her face as Max continued to hold her shaking frame. As her tears subsided to wimpers, Max pulled away and looked at her.

"It's OK Izzy, I'm sure that we won't be going for another good while. We have plenty of time," he whispered.

"I don't think I could take it again, Max," she whispered sobbing. "I don't know that I could let go again. It was hard enough the first time."

"When the time comes, you can decide. Until then I really don't see a point in worrying over it," he said lifting her chin and looking into her eyes. "We're not going anywhere anytime soon. When the time comes, if you don't want to go, I'll understand."

Isabel looked into his deep brown eyes that were filled with truth and light. This was her brother. He wasn't the same boy who'd been suckered into sleeping with a traitor and liar. He brother was back. He seemed so different, so much more like himself. She couldn't help but smile and hug him.

"Uhuh," she murmured into his shoulder. "Thanks, Max."

"No problem, Iz," he whispered. "I love you."

"I love you too," she echoed and let go.

A moment later a far away voice called from downstairs, "Max...Izzy...Dinner!" The voice was muffled but chipper none-the-less.

"Shall we go?" Max asked motioning for Isabel to go ahead of him.

"Definately! I'm starved!" she said a little too excitedly and rushed past him to the door.

As she reached the opening she pushed herself back by the frame. She looked back toward her brother as he began to walk over to her. He stopped in his tracks as he saw her reach out her hand to him. She wiggled the top joints of her fingers which made him smile. She hadn't done that since they were little and he had to hold her hand when they crossed the street. He hadn't even held her hand since about that long. He placed his hand gently in hers and clasped it. She turned squeezing his hand and they walked out of the door and to the dining room.

Diane saw her children walk through the door hand-in-hand couldn't hold back her pleasure. She had never seen them so close. Lately she had noticed that her children were drifting farther away from her and, more importantly, each other. Isabel was practically threatening to leave and was dealing with the crisis of school only to lose her...well she didn't know what to call Alex. Her love. That was what she knew Isabel thought of him. He was her love. Diane knew that all of that had put a strain on her daughter but she was pulling through bravely with the help of her brother who seemed awfully chipper himself.

Max had been the most distant of all. Lately he'd seemed...different. That was the only way she could describe him. Different. He wasn't himself. He was distant, moody, and unhappy. He was in a state of total depression. He was low even for Max. Even though the lights danced in his eyes again, Diane could see that her baby boy was unhappy. There was something that was bothering him. Haunting him. She just hoped that in time he'd feel like he could trust her. She hoped that he'd find what he was looking for. She wanted her children to be happy.

"Mom?" Isabel said waving her free hand in front of her mother's glazed over eyes.

Diane's head snapped up immediately. "Huh? Oh, sorry swetheart," she said patting Isabel's shoulder, "I was just thinking about something. You guys hungry?"

Isabel turned to her brother and looked at him stowly releasing his hand. She turned her gaze back to her mother who was standing there holding the a wooden spoon. "Starved!" Isabel admonished, her eyes growing large. Diane moved her gaze to her son. He shook his head repeatedly.

"OK, go sit down. I'll bring dinner in," she said just as her husband walked through the kitchen door.

"Something smells good," he said breathing in deeply and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek and then Isabel.

"Uhuuuuuuuh," she said giving him sideways glare.

"What?" he asked innocently. "Can't I comment my wife on how fabulous her cooking is, how beautiful she is, and what a lucky person I am?"

"Oh you," she said swatting him away. Max and Isabel saw her parents' displays of affection and laughed.

"I think I'll just go sit down at the table," Isabel said motioning toward the table which had the place settings all layed out.

"Why don't you all go sit down," Diane told them and began swatting them out of her way. Isabel turned back to her mother as she waled toward the table.

"Are you sure you don't need any help?" she asked her waiting.

"I'm sure, honey. I've got it," Diane said and sat her family down. "Now sit," she said sternly but with a smile.

They all sat anxiously waiting for their plates to be filled. Before they knew it, Diane came forth and place the mouthwatering plates in front of them. Max licked his lips and Isabel nearly drooled. Diane was amazed. It was as if they hadn't been fed in weeks. They picked up their forks and began to chow down. Soon their plates were empty and they were full.

"That was amazing, Mom," Isabel said staring at her empty plate with a full grin.

"You act as if I haven't ever cooked for you guys," she said looking surprised. Her children exchanged glances and she made a mad face.

"Mom, you're a terrific cook, don't get us wrong," Max began, "but if we never have to eat another bite of fritata or tomato soup cake it will be too soon." After saying this he scrunched his face up into a pained look that made everyone laugh, even Diane.

"OK, I promise, no more recipe of the month clubs," she said holding her hand over her heart. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief which aroused even more fits of giggles around the table.

This was great. The whole family sitting around the table talking. They could forget all their troubles and just be a family It was enough to make Isabel forget her troubles at first but her mind always went back to what had happened earlier and how she'd almost left this. She didn't know if she could go through it again. Deep down, she prayed she'd never have to.