posted on 13-Nov-2002 12:23:44 PM by DMartinez
AUTHOR: DMartinez
EMAIL: shockerdm⊕
DISCLAIMER: The characters portrayed in the following piece of work belong to creative geniuses: Melinda Metz, Jason Katims, and UPN. ‘Invincible’ belongs to Pat Benatar. ‘Until the End Of Time’ belongs to Jordan Hill and All-4-One. ‘We’ll Never Say Goodbye’ belongs to Jay Gruska. ‘Amor Prohibido’ belongs to A.B. Quintanilla and dearly departed Selena Perez. The Last Unicorn belongs to Peter S. Beagle. ‘The Distance’ belongs to Jamie Walters. Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You) belongs to Dramarama. No infringement was intended.
SUMMARY: After graduations life took a dive and keeps heading south.
NOTATIONS: [ ] flashbacks. {} Thoughts. /\ Illusions.
CATEGORY (S): A/I, M/L, M/M, M/T, M/I, Mi/L, D/E, K/J, Mi/O, M/S
I lost my thread again. sigh.
Note on 73: A similar thing happened to a lawyer friend of my family. I always thought it was an amusing story.

The Fate of Destiny Part 70

Len waited impatiently as his employer answered the phone. "Thought I told you not to call me."

"Deal's off, mister." Len adjusted his shirt collar.

"What are you talking about?"

"Send the letters, I don't give a fuck. We've been made. None of my surveillance equipment is working, which means someone has found the bugs." Len ran a shaky hand through his hair.

"What do they know?"

"I don't know. If they can trace anything to me, they'll sure as hell trace it to you. I'm out. Deal's off." Len hung up the phone and began erasing his files. He wished he had never heard of Max Evans. Whoever had disrupted the signals knew exactly what they were doing.


Michael rubbed a hand over his face. It was a Sunday and Max had some guy searching the house for bugs. Crossing his arms, he turned to his friend. "Who is this guy again?"

"The guy that's going to find our peeping tom." Max played it down as much as he could but he was nervous. Isabel had been so scared, she let them do whatever they wanted. The second Michael woke up, he'd be livid.

"You trust this guy?"



"I just do." Max shrugged. He turned when Goldblum paused at the top of the stairs. "What's up?"

"Need to get into the girl's room." Goldblum looked to Michael.

"What the hell for?" Michael growled.

"Got a signal from the room. I need to find the bug." Goldblum had the sudden urge to run.

Michael shut his eyes and turned on Max. When he opened his eyes, anger was building in a raging fire. "Signal? There are signal's to begin with? I thought you were just checking." His eyes snapped to the man on the stairs. "How many signals?"

"Just four. May I?"

Michael nodded and then turned to Max. "What the hell is going on? Just four? What does that mean?"

"There was a bug in nearly every room in my house." Max tried to placate Michael but it was too late for that. "It's being taken care of."

"What's being taken care of?"

"We'll have the guy within a week."

"We or you?"


"Max! What the hell is going on? Who is that guy?" Michael pointed up the stairs. "We don't need strangers with the Feds poking around."

"He is a Fed." Max admitted and waited for the explosion.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" His voice boomed. "You brought a Fed into my house? He's probably the one watching us."

"Stop." Max barked out. He was tired of this. "It's being taken care of. Just go about life like nothing's changed."

"Nothing has changed. You still don’t trust me. I'm not the same little kid that will fly off the handle and do something stupid but you obviously don't think that. I need to know what the hell is going on so I can protect what I got. I need to know." Michael shoved Max against a wall.

"I knew you'd do this but that's not why I did it. You've got enough to worry about. You don't need this too."

"Don't need this? I have this. This is my problem especially when there are bugs in my little girl's room."

"It's not that I don't trust you, Michael. You know I do. We've got this. Agent Goldblum and I are handling this so we don't startle the guy watching. We're going to get him."

"When you leave, you don't get to come back." Michael stormed out of the room.


Max settled himself in on the couch. He wasn't going to be able to sleep but he might as well give it a shot. He had put David and Bethany down himself. Danny had to be blaring his music in protest of having to come home right after school the next day and every day until the situation was resolved. He had never figured out why Kathy was mad. Liz had gone to bed, shut the door and turned off the light without so much as a goodnight.


Liz picked up the phone to order in. Danny and the girls were home already, David would be coming home with Max in an hour. She just couldn't shake the bad feeling she'd had all day.


Max nodded to the day care nurse as he wearily pushed the door open. Confused, she called out. "Dr. Evans?"

"Yeah, Becca?" Max turned.

"What are you doing?" She shook her head at him.

"Picking up David."

"But you took him home hours ago. Remember? He was fussy and didn't want to go." Becca caught on the second the blood drained out of his face. "It was you. I saw you. You forgot your ID."

"Becca, I've been up on the surgical floor all day. Where is David?"

"You picked him up. It was you." She repeated, tears forming.

"He looked like me?" Max reached over the counter and held her shoulders.

"It had to be you."

"I never forget my ID, Becca. I haven't been in here since I dropped him off." Max felt his heart stop as he realized her story was never going to change. It didn't matter that he had been upstairs all day. It didn't matter when the last time he was in the day care. Someone who looked enough like him to fool Becca had taken Danny. "What time, Becca? When did he take my son?"

"Two o'clock."

"Call the cops. Now. Get Sheriff Valenti here." Max reached for the phone next to hers and dialed. "Goldblum, did you get him?"

"I got one Leonard Scott. Not the guy we want but the professional I figured."

"Did he have my son?"


"Leonard Scott, does he have my little boy?"

"No, Max, what's happened?"

"Someone who looked like me walked into the hospital and took my little boy. He's got a three hour lead on us." Max couldn't hold in the tears. Having to say it ripped out his heart.

"I'm on it. We'll get him back." Goldblum promised.

Max hung up the phone and dialed home. He squeezed his eyes shut when she answered the phone. "Liz."

"What?" He winced at her tone and couldn't stop the sob. "Max? What happened?" How could he tell her that? It was all his fault. "Max, you're scaring me. What's going on?" He couldn't tell her that. "Where are you? Are you coming home with David soon?" More sobs. "Max! Where's my baby?"


Yes, I know. 'Use the powers for good not evil.' Sorry to drop off at this point but it had to be done.

[ edited 6 time(s), last at 15-Feb-2003 5:47:52 PM ]
posted on 19-Nov-2002 3:07:01 AM by DMartinez
The Fate of Destiny Part 71

"Fourth floor, clear!"

"Third floor, clear!"

"Second floor, clear!"

"First floor, clear!"

Max squeezed his eyes shut and gripped his head in his hands. He knew what that meant. It meant that David was not in the building. Kyle suddenly filled his vision. "Max, I'm sorry, he's already gone but we'll find him."

"Dr. Evans. I am so sorry. I should have known when he put up such a fuss." Becca sobbed.

"It's not your fault." Max rose to his feet and turned to his brother-in-law. "Is Liz here?"

"She's waiting to be let in." Kyle patted him on the shoulder. "I got that FBI Agent on a free line. He'll let us know if he finds anything." He gripped his brother-in-law. "Max, we're getting him back. I promise."

Max made the journey down to the lobby where Liz and the kids had just made it through. One look at the patriarch's red rimmed eyes and solemness and they all knew it was real. The baby was really gone. They clung to each other while Kyle gave orders to his men. "Our boy is four years old, he's wearing a blue and green striped shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers. Possibly a blue hooded jacket. Our abductor very closely resembles the boy's father. He's six foot one, dark hair, possibly some gray. He was last seen wearing hospital scrubs but could have discarded them at the earliest opportunity. Let's find them."


Goldblum laid out every single piece of equipment he had rounded up. "Mr. Scott, who is your employer?"

"I don't know." Len answered, handcuffed to the chair.

"You don't know." Goldblum shook his head. "This guy approaches you, offers you money to investigate Dr. Evans and every one associated with him, and you don't know who he is?"

"Listen, I get hired for all sorts of jobs. This was no different. The money was wired into my account. I lost interest in his identity when he had dirt on me."

"I need your account number."

"I can't give you that."

"Mr. Scott, I don't even need a warrant for this. You have violated a trust by your participation. I can't even tell you what the punishment will be for your involvement. Your employer, I believe he looks just like Dr. Evans."

"That's all I can say."

"Well then, your employer kidnapped a four year old little boy from the hospital." Goldblum took a seat and pulled a pen from his pocket. "If you don't want abetting a kidnapper on your list of charges, I suggest you give me your account number."


Max gripped Liz's hands as she concentrated. The five of them had planted themselves in the lounge. She released his hands with a sob and let him wrap his arms around her. "Sh. It's okay. We'll find him. Maybe when you calm down, you'll be able to reach him."

Liz sat up and smacked him in the chest. Hard. "I won't calm down, Max. My baby is with God only knows who, having God knows what done to him and I can't concentrate enough to see for myself if he's really ok or lying in a ditch somewhere."

"I can't just sit here." Danny mumbled. "Why aren't we out there looking?"

"Because I want you all where I can see you and we're waiting for word from… whoever." Max rubbed at his eyes.

"It's called a kidnapper." Kathy muttered.

"Is something going to happen to Davey?" Beth whispered from her chair at the little table.

"No." Max shook his head. "Nothing."

"I know why we're here. Because he knows where we live." Danny slammed his fist into the wall. "He can't come after the rest of us in public."

"Agent Goldblum suggested to Kyle that we stay here. He's going to handle everything. Okay? He's on this. He'll know before anyone else who this guy is." Max tried to reassure his family but it wasn't working… for himself either.

"Is he an alien?" Liz asked finally. "If he is, none of these cops or Agent Goldblum will be prepared for it."

"I know."


"Listen, Agent Goldblum. I haven't seen Mason in a year." The slightly slurred voice purred over the phone. "He's a little crazy. Thinks aliens are out to get him."

"Mason?" Goldblum made a note of that in his notepad.

"Yes, Mason. Mason Burkhardt. I don't know what he's done but you can be very sure that I'm also curious to his whereabouts."

"Mason Burkhardt… as in the Florida Burkhardts." Goldblum ran a hand over his face as he waited.

"Yes. One of those. I am one by marriage myself. I'd rather not be. Find him, so I can serve him with divorce papers."

"Mrs. Burkhardt, I'm sorry to inform you that your husband is a suspect in a kidnapping."

The woman snorted. "I doubt it. Mason doesn't have the balls for it. He'd hire someone to do it for him. I do know about the transactions and I'm freezing the accounts."

"Just to be sure, ma'am. I'd like a general description of your husband."

"Six foot one. Dark hair but he was going grey the last I saw, medium build… entirely too handsome for his own good and you couldn't coax that cigarette out of his hand unless it's with another cigarette. I'll fax you a picture. If he does go to jail, I'll get to keep it all. Hell, I'll give you the credit card number if it'll help."


David watched the man pace the room. It looked like Daddy, sounded like Daddy but he didn't dress like Daddy or act like Daddy. Daddy never would have taken him to a hotel. Daddy would have taken him home. He wanted to go home. "Where's my daddy?"

"Shut up, kid." Mason waved him off and lit another cigarette. He didn't know what he was going to do now. If that damned detective was caught, he needed something to hold over Evans so he could get his answers.


Kyle picked up the radio. "Confirmation from our buddies at the FBI, boys. Our guy is a look alike for the victim's father and a chain-smoker by the name of Mason Burkhardt. He may be unstable. Be cautious." Then he picked up the cell phone. He waited while he was patched into the lounge. "Max, your man called me. His name is Mason Burkhardt… he's human."


"I hafta go to the baffwoom." Davey announced.

"Hold it." Mason ordered and turned on the TV. "Shit." He was on the news… and they knew who he was.

"I hafta go."

"We don’t have time. We're going."

"I'm gon tinkle in my pants." Davey whined.

"Fucking… go. Quick." Mason barked and Davey jumped but rushed into the bathroom and shut the door. Putting his hand over the doorknob, he locked it the way Uncle Michael did. He jumped into the bathtub and hid behind the curtain.

He cried softly when Mason began banging on the door once he figured out he couldn't open it. {I want my mommy. I want my mommy. I want my mommy.} The bangs got louder. Davey pressed his hands over his ears.


Liz gasped. Eyes shut and fists clenched. {I want my mommy. I want my mommy. I want my mommy.} Tears slipped down her face as she felt the fear in her child. "Davey."

Max's head snapped around. He could see Liz was concentrating very hard on keeping whatever she had. Immediately, he was on the floor in front of her. "Is it him?"

"Yes. Max…" Her face crumpled. "He's so scared." She took a harsh breath of air. "I… I'm losing him. He doesn't know what he's doing… I'm trying to hold on to him, Max."

"I know. I know." Max took her hands. "Just try to calm down. See if you can send him any thoughts."

The sobs came out louder. "Max, he's calling for me."


{Mommy!} Davey buried his head under his arms as the pounding continued.

{Davey, can you hear me?}


{Davey, it's Mommy, where are you?}

{That's not Daddy. It's not Daddy.}

{I know. Where are you?}

The door broke open. {No! Mom--}


"Davey!" Liz screamed. She clutched onto Max. "I lost him." She beat her fists on his shoulders as she sobbed. "I lost him."


Kyle flipped on the sirens and whipped the car into a dangerous U-turn. He was the closest to the hotel where the disturbance was reported. Occupant matched their suspect. When he ran into the room, it was a mess. The bathroom door hung off its hinges and a set of scrubs lay on the floor. Kyle examined the door. The doorknob was still in place. He whipped out his cell phone. "Max, Davey's using his powers."


Mason ripped his arm away from the kid. There was a burn the size of the boy's hand where the boy had touched him. "What the hell are you?"

Davey glued himself to the door, as far away from that man as possible. As they rounded a sharp turn, he tumbled under the dash and braced himself there. Relief washed through him when he heard the sirens. Uncle Kyle.


"In pursuit." Kyle barked into the radio. "He's headed out of Roswell. Barricade Main West." He picked up the cell phone and Max was too eager to be there as soon as possible. "And Max, I'm trying to keep the cameras away but this is a big deal. No magic."


Max let Kathy out of the car two blocks from the barricade, behind the news van. He parked one block away. Danny, Beth and Liz were back at the convenient store where they could see but couldn't get hurt. Max stood directly in front of the barricade. The car would be coming very soon. No one was disappointed. The car screeched to a halt in the cleared area. He heard Kyle call out for Burkhardt to vacate the car and let Davey go. No response.

It was time.

posted on 19-Nov-2002 4:44:48 PM by DMartinez
The Fate of Destiny Part 72

Hands raised in the air, jacket on the ground, Max approached the car. "Mr. Burkhardt!"

"Holy shit." The profanity drifted to Max's ears. Smoke blew out of his mouth as he spoke.

"Mr. Burkhardt, I just want to talk to you." Max called from where he stopped at the front of the car. He swallowed thickly when he couldn't see David in the car.


Kathy casually leaned on the news van. She shut her eyes and focused on the cameramen and anchorwoman. She thanked God that there was only one news station in Roswell. When she started the mindwarp, she short-circuited the news van.


Burkhardt glanced at the man standing in front of the car. The temptation to run him over was great…. But he needed answers. "You ruined my life."

"I did?" Max returned his attention to the driver.

"I know what you are. Your kid burned me with his bare hand. You ruined everything."

"I don't know what you're talking about but if it is my fault, I apologize." Max craned his neck a little. "Is David okay? Can I talk to him? Can I see him?"

"Not right this second." Burkhardt shook his head and took a drag on his cigarette. "Answer a few questions and we'll see what we can arrange."

"Okay." Max nodded and moved around to the side. "I'm not trying anything. I just want to sit down where I can see you." Keeping his distance and his eyes on the threat, he did just that. "Ask."

"Why do you look like me?"

Max rubbed a hand over his face. "Um, your grandfather and I share some common DNA."

"My grandfather? He died before I was born."

"How old are you?" Max asked.

"Forty-two." Max could only nod to that.

"It doesn't change anything. I have more DNA in common with him than I do with you." Max clasped his hands over his knees. "I can guarantee you that. Can I ask you a question?" Burkhardt nodded. "Why did you take my son?"

"I needed to talk to you." Lit the next cigarette with the butt of the last.

"So you kidnapped my four-year-old?" Max couldn't contain the rage at that one. "Why not Daniel? He could have defended himself. Hell, Kathleen could have taken you down all by herself. I'd wager Bethany would have given you a fair fight. David is a very shy four-year-old boy. He can't fight back."

"You'd be surprised." Burkhardt revealed his burned arm to the doctor. "You want to tell me how he did that?"

"He's a special little boy."

"Is that how it works?"

"How what works?"

Burkhardt took a breath. "If you are related to my grandfather, is this how it works? You and your family get special gifts and me and my family get bad blood and mental illness?"

"I'm sorry. I had so say in the matter." Max wiped at his nose. "If you had come to me and asked me these questions… I would have answered what I could. You didn't have to take my boy."

"You took my informer away." Burkhardt rubbed at his temples.

"Because you were spying on my family. Do you have kids, Mason?"

He could only shake his head. "None of my babies survived infancy."

"I'm very sorry for that."

"My wife's a drunk that spends all my money. She considers it her reward for trying to have kids." Burkhardt turned to look at the little boy cowered under the dashboard. "Why you do get so much and I get so little?"

"I don’t have much." Max cleared his throat. "I have the house, the cars… are nothing fancy. I have my wife and my kids. My mom, my sister and her family… my best friend and his family."

"That's a lot, Dr. Evans." Burkhardt cleared his throat suddenly. "My parents are gone, my wife hates me, my friends aren't my friends and, hell, my career isn't even mine. I have eight of the finest cars ever made. I have more money than God but I don't even have my health. I don't have nearly as much as you."

"I'm sorry to hear that." Max whispered. "Can I talk to Davey now?"

"One more question." Not having much choice, Max nodded. "Do you have the alien dreams too?"

"Alien dreams."

"Dad told me that Granddad thought he had been taken by aliens back in the twenties. Before Dad died, he would get strange feelings and dreams about aliens coming to get them. Always when he came back from California." Burkhardt rested his head against the steering wheel. "When I took over… I started to believe him. I'd get feelings, sick feelings when I was California… and in Arizona. The dreams intensified when I got here… looking for you." He groaned. "They make my head hurt."

"I'm sorry. I don't have the dreams." Max apologized. "Can I please see my son now?" Max leapt to his feet when he saw the gun. He hadn't even been sure the man was armed until that point. He backed up when Burkhardt stood and climbed out of the car. The man walked ten feet in the opposite direction and suddenly guns were clicking from all around. "Mason?"

"Get your kid."

Max immediately scrambled for the car. "Davey?"

"Daddy?" Davey climbed out from under the dash and studied his father's face. Max closed his eyes and let his son touch his face to be sure he was the right man. Suddenly, Davey threw himself against his father. Max took a shuddering breath and squeezed out a tear at the feeling of having his little boy in his arms again. Slowly, he ducked out of the car and turned to face Burkhardt.

"Go home, doctor." Burkhardt had gripped the small hand gun tightly in his hand. He sucked in deeply on the last of his cigarette.

"Why don't you put down the gun?" Max asked, backing up some.

"I don't think so." He spit the spent cigarette out of his mouth and turned the barrel of the gun up to his face.

"No!" But it was too late. Max hid Davey's face against his shoulder as the gun sounded.

Her father's shout had startled Kathy out of her mindwarp. She looked up in time to see the gun go off. She broke into a run. She had to make sure.

Danny picked up Beth and tore out of the store behind his mother at the sound of the gunshot. The family gathered around Max and Davey as they walked through the barricade. Davey leapt into his mother's arms. "Mommy!"

"My baby. Oh, I was so scared. Are you okay?" Liz looked him over. "If he put one scratch on you, I'll—"

"Liz." Max stopped her words. "You couldn't hurt him if you tried."

"I tried to hide." Davey squeezed his mother's neck. "But he broke the door."

"Sh… it's okay. It's okay." Liz tried to soothe him. "We're going home now."


Max watched his family from the entryway near the stairs as Goldblum relayed what he had found out. Goldblum cleared his throat. "His wife's not too broken up about it. She's already planning what to do with the money, even though his life insurance didn't cover suicide."

"He was a sick man." Max whispered.

"Yes, he was. Apart from his alien fantasies, the doctors had no reason to question his mental health. His real illness was an inherited blood disease. He would have died within the next five years. I can't figure out why he'd kidnap though. It's not in his profile. He wasn't a spontaneous person. He liked to plan, tediously."

"We took away his insurance. He was hoping to find some things out on his own, to hold something over us while he got his answers." Max explained quietly. "His grandfather was abducted because of a rare blood defect… I am essentially his great-uncle. I don't know about the alien dreams though… or the feelings he gets from here, Arizona or California."

"I guess we'll never know." Goldblum patted him on the shoulder. "I've turned Mr. Scott over to the police and confiscated all of his recordings and notes. I'm going to dispose of them and be on my way."

Max turned to the man. "Thank you, really, for everything you've done. I hope we never have to meet again."

"Take care of that kid." Goldblum gestured to Davey amidst his mother and siblings. "I don't suppose you have a therapist in the family."

"I'm a doctor, Michael's wife is a speech therapist, my sister is a lawyer, her husband is the Sheriff. We kind of thought we had our bases covered." Max sighed and offered the man a smile. "Go get married."

"I will." Goldblum opened the front door and disappeared into the night.

Max returned to the den and hunkered down on the floor with everyone else. "There's my brave boy."

"Daddy? Can I sleep with you and Mommy tonight?" Davey whispered.

"Definitely." Max nodded.


Yeah, I couldn't leave you hanging too long,
posted on 22-Jan-2003 11:40:48 AM by DMartinez
[center]The Fate of Destiny Part 73
January 2020

Alex watched from the booth as Lynette swayed with her friends. Danny and Emily sat across from him whispering to each other. Kathy sat at the counter next to Jacobi, little Davey in her lap. Beth sat at the register with her grandfather counting change and tallying the bin. Teenagers had overrun the place. Alex couldn't help but feel uncomfortable under any scrutiny. The beating had left scars that didn't heal so well. Withdrawn from everyone except family, all his friendships at school were falling apart. Even Lynette was drifting away. This was the 10th date in the past two months where they were at the same place but not within the same five feet.

He was lost. The identity crisis had begun.


Liz rose against her husband's hips. He did this on purpose, she was sure of it. He waited until all the children were away before he attacked her, trapping her in bed for hours. She gripped his sweaty flesh as she began to shake, sinking her teeth into his flesh as his continued motions prolonged her pleasure. Finally, he arched into her body, hips pumping and long breaths escaping his lungs until neither could move an inch. Reluctantly, Liz shoved him off of her and reached for her robe. "Where are you going?"

"To take my pill." Liz tightened her robe as she wandered out to the kitchen for a glass of water. When she returned, he had her pills in his hand. "What?"

"You sure you want to take one?" Max opened the little box and examined the contents.

"Hand them over, Max." Liz demanded.

"The kids never had any side effects. They say sometimes if the chemicals are still in your system when your pregn—"

"Give them." Liz reached over and took them from him. Popping one out, she downed it with water. She put the pills away and sat on the bed. "When exactly did you find out?"


"About my dosage." She knew he was playing dumb.

"The first… two or… three times your pills changed." Max gestured to the drawer. "Those are experimental."

"I know."

"Your body either absorbs too quickly or disposes of the chemicals." Max nodded, admitting he had read the file. "It's getting tougher to maintain the levels."

"If I don't take my pill everyday at the same time, it throws the pills off and I can't maintain my levels." Liz tilted her head at him. "Isabel's on these too." He looked away. "But you knew that… and the only reason you care is the one we don't ever talk about."

"And what's that?"

"Max, we agreed. David was the last one."

"Are we sure?"

"I'm sure. I can't handle another baby. I'd like to go more than three years without taking maternity leave. I love teaching, Max. I want to keep teaching and having another baby right now, is not good… not for me and definitely not for David, Max…" She let the thought trail off. That was still a touchy subject. "In fact… by the time I'd want to have another baby… the only way I'll get a baby is if one of our children gets pregnant or their girlfriend gets pregnant." She leaned over and kissed his lips lightly. "You need to get a vasectomy."

"Um, uh, what?" Max coughed. "I don't get a say?"

"Did I get a say the last two times I got pregnant?" Liz cleared her throat. "You knew about the chemical washout. I miss even one of those pills and I get pregnant. You know that. I love my children but you didn't consult me when you decided we needed more children."


Oriel rested her hand on her small stomach and watched Michael take apart the motorcycle engine. "Where'd you get that piece of crap?"

"Off of Bubba Bowerman. I can fix this, it'll just take me some time."

"Why do you need another bike?"

"I don't but I'll get it done in time for Em's birthday." Michael gripped the screwdriver and eased a screw out. "Don't tell her. I want it to be a surprise." When she didn't say anything, he looked up. "What?"

"You're giving your seventeen year old daughter a motorcycle?"

"Yeah. She's been riding on them since before she could walk." He adjusted his flashlight and examined another part. "It's about time, you know?"

"Un-huh." She backed out the door. "I'm going to reserve judgment until this one is old enough to drive."

Michael just shook his head and reached for a wrench.


Isabel flipped through a file in the firm's law library. She loaded book after book onto a table and then returned to the file. She saw the pile falling before she registered that they would. She raced to catch them and ended up knocking herself in the head for her trouble. She heard the voice before she saw the owner. "Dios mío, you okay?"

"Fine." Isabel took a moment before she looked up and allowed the stranger to help her up. "Who knew research could be hazardous to your health?"

"What's that you're doing research on?" He reached for the file that had fallen to the ground. "Property law?"

"Not exactly exciting." Isabel straightened herself and the books before taking a good look at her intruder. Late 40s, nice suit, briefcase. "Can I help you?"

"I…" He set the file down on top of her stack of books. "I was looking for your boss actually."

"My boss?" The thought made her laugh. She cleared her throat. "Who would that be?"

"Um," He dug a card out of his pocket. "Evans is the name I have, would have replaced Phillip Evans, I believe."

"That," she pointed. "Is an old card." Gathering her books and her file, she started the trip back to her office. "You always follow up on outdated research?"

"I was made to believe that the boss was here." He followed her, grabbing his briefcase. "I talked to the gentleman out front and he said, 'Yep, the boss is in'."

"He's right." Isabel nodded and allowed him to grab the door for her. "You are?"

"Jesse Ramirez." He hovered in the doorway for a moment, noting the name on the door. "Look, I know that a paralegal's work is never done but really need to speak to your boss."

Isabel took a seat with her books and ran her eyes over her appointment book. It was clear… and much later than she thought. Isabel took a breath and motioned for Jesse to sit. "That would be impossible. My employer passed away some time ago."


She cut him off and sat back. "That card is very old. I haven't been a paralegal in a very long time, Mr. Ramirez, and an Evans for even longer. What can I do for you?"

Jesse sat up straight and working his mouth for a moment before sound came out and he could recall the name on the door. "You… are Isabel?"

"Valenti but yes."

"I'm sorry." Jesse took a breath and started again. "Ms. Valenti, I spoke to Phillips Evans many years ago about a position in this firm. He told me that I was welcome any time in the future. I've made plans to relocate to Roswell. I just found out about Mr. Evans's passing but…"

"You wondered if the invitation still held?" Isabel patted her hair down and folded her hands over her desk as she sat up. "Mr. Ramirez, I am not currently looking for more associates but what I do need at this point is a partner. I believe I spoke to a mutual colleague of ours. Maury Ferrell is the reason you're here?"

"Yes." Jesse seemed to relax.

"He sent along a dossier of your more impressive case files, along with strong recommendations." Isabel shook her head. "I'm going to be honest… Roswell is not the place for a lawyer like you. Taking a step down, even to partner—"

"I'm looking for a slower pace." Jesse interrupted. "I'm relocating regardless of whether or not you take me on as a partner or an associate or even at all. This firm is my first choice."

"That's good to hear." She sat back. "It does bother me, though, that Maury is plugging so hard for you. He and I don't have the best history and that doesn't exactly put you in the best light with me."

"Maury Ferrell is someone I met through Phillip Evans and over the years, we've kept in touch. He's been trying to get me down here since the first time I spoke to Mr. Evans."

"I know." Tilted her head and really studied the man across from her. "Maury has been trying to take control of this firm since my father passed. Hell, it was all I could do to keep it Evans and Associates for so long. It's no longer possible to stand up on my own. Maury is retired but that won't stop him from seeing his favorites to partner." She took a breath. "What I'm saying is this: I like what I've seen of you so far. The cases you've won, your courtroom manner. It's all good but if I take you on as partner… there had better be some hostility between you and Ferrell's cronies. Entiende me?"


"Well, Jesse Ramirez, let's show you around and introduce you to Bruce before he leaves for the day. My assistant is already gone… and so is everyone else. The money isn't overly fantastic and your office will take a week or two but I'll find some catalogs for you." Isabel rose to her feet and held out her hand. "Welcome."


Liz was blowing drying her hair when she heard the front door open. Max was sulking on the bed before he had to leave for work. A light pounding of feet through the house ended at their door. Davey pushed it open slowly until he could see his father. Max lifted his hand to his head and wiggled his thumb and ring finger. Liz could see the slight hurt in Max's eyes every time he had to reassure their baby of his identity.

Reassured that it was his father, Davey raced into the room and onto Max's lap. "I'm home."

"So I see. Did you have fun?" Slow nod. "Did Kathy take care of you?" Slow nod. "Did you see Grandma and Grandpa?" Slow nod. "Did a cat steal your tongue?" Giggle. "Oh no, Mommy. Davey forgot how to talk."

"Oh no. What are we going to do, Daddy?" Liz shook her head and shut off the hair dryer.

"I don't know." Max tapped his chin and squinted his eyes. "I guess I'm going to have to check his batteries."

"No, no, no." Davey shot off the bed but Max was quicker. His fingers sneaking under the T-shirt to tickle his son's tummy. "Quit it, quit it. Ah! Stop!"

"He's talking! It's a miracle!" Max threw Davey over his shoulder. "Let's go find your brother and sisters."

"Danny taked Emmy home." Davey managed after he caught his breath.

"Oh, okay." Max set him down on a chair in the kitchen. "Did you eat?"

"Uh-huh. Grandpa make me a hot dog and a pickle." Davey nodded and let out a huge yawn. "And ice cream and cookies."

"I think someone's sleepy." Max shook his head as he fixed himself a sandwich.

"I not."
"You are." Liz bent to kiss his head. "And I can't believe Grandpa let you eat all that junk."

"Not junk. It's food." Davey crossed his arms.

"Mom!" Beth came bounding down the stairs. "Guess what?"

"What?" Liz waited a few more seconds before her daughter was visible. "What is it?"

"Me and Kathy are gonna start working at Grandpa's?"

"Really?" Liz's eyes went wide. "Since when?"

"Today I helped Grandpa at the cash register and Kathy had to pitch in when it got heavy today. That's what Grandpa said. It was fun." Beth hopped up on the counter next to her father just as Kathy appeared. "Grandpa said it would be good for us."

"Yeah." Kathy grumbled. "My feet hurt."

"I'll bet." Liz hid her laugh. "So, you're going to work?"

"Yes." Kathy held her head up. "And the major pay off is that we get to hear stories about you and Dad."

"Stories?" Max turned and looked to Liz before wincing and returning to his sandwich.
"Yes. Stories." Kathy sat at the table. "What's this about the two of you running off one night?"


Isabel sat between her two sons and nodded off until she heard the door open and Michael appeared in her living room. Alex took Kyle Jr. to bed, sensing that something was up. Isabel blinked at Michael. "What's up?"

Michael held his hands out and seemed to be trying to contain his rage. "Just tell your brother to keep his kid away from my daughter."

"Michael?" Isabel sat upright, suddenly fully awake. "What happened?"

"I don't want to remember what happened." Michael sank into a chair with his head in his hands. Finally, he dropped them and sagged his shoulders. "I was in the garage working on a present for Em… Oriel had gone for a walk… and I imagine the house was pretty dark when Em got home. When I went upstairs to wash up…"

"She wasn't alone?" Isabel winced. "Michael…"

"I chased him out of there and… I was too angry to talk to Em so I just left." He sank even lower in the chair. "She's 16, barely going to be 17 this summer… Can you talk to her?"

"Michael?" Isabel cleared her throat and leaned forward. "Talk to her yourself or talk to Oriel."

"What?" he looked up at her.

"Kyle gives Alex all of the talks… How do you think he'd feel if I asked you or Max to talk to him instead? How would Oriel feel if I talked to Em instead? You guys are a family now…" She sighed and jumped in. "We're all family. Talk to Max if you want him to know anything. I'm done relaying messages."

posted on 24-Jan-2003 1:14:40 PM by DMartinez
[center]The Fate of Destiny Part 74[/center]

Max picked up a pamphlet and flipped through it. He almost put it back but sucked it up and turned to go with the piece of paper, only to run into Freddy Nichols. "Oh. Hey Freddy."

"Max, some light reading?" Freddy pointed.

"Option number 1."

"Option number 2 being celibacy?" He clapped Max on the back. "This is a sensitive operation…"

"I'm sure I'll find someone." Max nodded.

Freddy started to walk away but turned and cleared his throat. "If your reluctance has anything to do with your cult… I'm sure we can find a discreet way to take care of this."

"Thanks for the offer but I'll get it taken care of." Max tapped his palm with the pamphlet and made for the elevators.


Alex laughed his head off at lunch when Danny and Emily retold their horror story. Kathy sat at Jacobi's table with his friends. "Okay. So how… into things were you?"


"Not far."

The two looked at each other with raised eyebrows then looked away. Alex burst out laughing again. "So, I'm going to assume that clothes are off and there's some friction going on. Then the door opens and…"

"Everyone froze." Emily closed her eyes at the memory. "It was silent for an eternity and then suddenly Dad just flies off the handle, shouting and throwing stuffed animals."

"I'm trying to get my clothes back on without hurting myself, ducking around this enraged alien and honestly fearing for my life. I've never driven so fast. When I got to my room, I half expected him to be pounding my door down." Danny shook his head and buried his face in Emily's shoulder. "My parents haven't spoken to me but… I don't know how long the Evans-Guerin patriarchal feud is going to go on. Sooner or later, they're going to find out."

"But Uncle Max is cool." Alex shook his head.

"If he's your uncle but he's my Dad." Danny threw a piece of fried okra at his cousin. "He makes me so mad sometimes but… he's my dad."

"Yeah." Alex nodded. Sometimes, especially recently, he wondered if he would have gotten into as many fights with his real dad as he did with Kyle. Wondered if his dad got into any fights with his father. Sometimes he felt bad for not spending as much time with his Whitman family. Aunt Mags was cool for all the grief she gave his mom.

"Junior." Emily reached over and waved a hand in front of his face. "Hey, where's your better half?"

Alex turned and spotted her immediately… flirting with Sam Rivas. He turned back to them. "I don't know." He gathered his books and stood up. "I'll be in the music room."

Emily stared after him. "Are they breaking up?"

"I don't know." Danny shook his head.


Kyle pulled off his cowboy hat as he entered the station. It was already warm for January, not that he was complaining much. He waved to the clerk and the on-duty officers behind the counter as he continued on to his office. Officer Davis raced after him but caught him too late. "Sheriff, there's…"

Before he could even register the officer's words, the door was open and there stood a woman by the window. Kyle froze. Officer Davis mumbled an apology and departed for the front desk. The two stared at each other for a long time before she took a deep breath and moved around the desk. "When I asked to wait for the Sheriff… I didn't expect to see you."

Turning his hat in his hands nervously, Kyle stepped into the room and shut the door behind him. "I am the Sheriff, now."

"Oh." She sat in a chair and waited while he made his way around the desk. "How long?"

"Few years." Kyle tossed his hat on top of a file cabinet. "What are you doing here, Mom?"


Dun, dun. Dun, dun. "Never asked to be this way. Running and hiding all day." Dun. Dun. "Drifting this way and that…" Stopping, Alex groaned. "This sucks." His voice echoed around the room. After a long silence, filled with thinking and mental strumming, he tried again.

Bling, dee-dee, dee, dee, dum, dun. Bling, dee-dee, dee, dee, dum, dun. "It's not as easy as you may think." Bund-dunna. "To keep from drowning in the sink." Bund-dunna. "Watching and waiting, always hesitating." He fiddled with chords and tunings before trying again. "Falling through clouds and despair. Catching nothing but air. Looking, not seeing, living, not being."

The bell rang but he ignored it. "It's your Machiavellian face. Locking me inside this haze. Screaming and yelling, My voice it fails me." Shutting his eyes, he let the song guide him. "The alien inside me, Hiding, denying. Screaming, dying. Can't it just end. Plastic and fading, you always hating. The alien inside me, wanting to blend."

A loud tapping halted his jam session. When he looked up, the chorale instructor was standing at the door. "I really hate to interrupt the muse and her instruments but you have got to have class somewhere."

Alex looked at his watch, surprised that he had been in the music room much longer than he thought. He had missed English… again. Shit.

"Come on, Mr. Whitman." She held the door open… and the principal chose that second to walk by.

"Did you say Whitman?"


Isabel shut her eyes when her assistant opened the door while she and Jesse were negotiating the partnership. Lila had that look on her face. Jesse looked between them in confusion. Isabel shook her head and motioned for Lila to speak. Lila shifted from foot to foot. "It's the school, Mrs. Jokhu."

"Not again." Isabel gritted her teeth, then turned to Jesse. "Excuse me a moment." She picked up the phone and hit the button. "Good afternoon, Mrs. Jokhu… No, of course not… what did he do?" Isabel turned the pencil in her hand and suddenly it snapped. Her mouth fell open and her head shook, eyes shut. "I'll talk to him… Tell him he has to be in my sight no later than 3:40… No, he's not. He will leave straight after school to see me. You will not keep him after school… Mrs. Jokhu, if he won't show up to class, what makes you think he'll show up for detention. I will deal with my son."

She hung up and picked up another pencil to finish going over the paperwork. "And these are for tax purposes… and this is the benefits package…"

Jesse nodded and took the stack of papers and ran a quick eye over them. "Covers…"

"Spouse and children."

"Dependant parents?"

Isabel looked up at his question and then got up to find her insurance manual. "I actually don't know. Dad's retired and the state's provided for him."

"So you have a kid?" Jesse bent his head over his forms, the pen flying over the most important of the documents.

"Three." Isabel pulled a five-inch binder out of a cabinet and hefted it onto the table to flip through it. She looked up to find an incredulous expression on his face. "I'm older than I look… much so."

"Mine's eleven." Jesse snorted. "If anyone had told me that pre-pubescent boys could contain such attitude… I might have traded him in for a girl at birth."

"According to my brother, teen girls are hell on earth." Isabel laughed to herself. "But I'll find out in about four years." She flipped through section after section and back as directed but she couldn't find the section she was looking for. "How'd your wife feel about moving to Roswell from Boston?"

Jesse looked up and then down. "She passed away five years ago."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"I'm helping out my mom. She doesn't get to see Sebastián as much as she'd like to and it's getting hard for her to get around." His head bobbed up and down as he talked. "I'd like to spend more time with both of them. I've been considering this move since Patty passed."

"That's good. Family's important. My family is so close, we're all claustrophobic. What time is it?" Isabel turned to look at the clock. "3:45. I'm going to kill that kid."

"No, you won't." Alex spoke as he opened the door. "Jokhu kept me in her office all afternoon. I think she let me go ten minutes late just to piss you off. What did you say to her?"

"Jesse Ramirez, my eldest. Alex Whitman, my new partner." Isabel sat back and crossed her arms. "Sit. Now."

"Do you want me to leave?" Jesse cleared his throat.

"No. I find that humiliation is a great parental tool." Isabel turned to her son when he pulled a chair around to sit next to her. "We talked about this."

"I didn't mean to do it, it was an accident." Alex shrugged and waited for the yelling.

"You promised that you would go to class. You have barely a year left and that's it, you can do whatever you want. One year, Alexander." Isabel sat up straight. "How in the hell do you accidentally miss a class?"

"I went to the music room at lunch to write a song. Before I knew it the bell was ringing and it was 7th period. I was going to get an excuse but Jokhu saw me and pulled me into the office." He shrugged again.

"Listen to me, this is going to stop, accidental or otherwise." She leaned forward to look him in the eyes. "No ditching, no backtalk. If it happens again, I'll ask Aunt Liz to walk you to all your classes." She sat back and turned to her notebook once again. "The file cabinets are waiting for you."

"Yes, ma'am." Alex got to his feet and grabbed the stack of folders waiting to be filed.

"Lynette can wait to talk to you tomorrow, no phone and no going out." Isabel shook her head. Alex nodded to himself and then shook his head as the image of Lynette and Sam in the cafeteria filled his mind. "Alex?"

"Not going to be a problem."

"Good." Isabel turned to Jesse. "I actually don't have the details on that but um, maybe you could ask the consultant when you turn in your forms."

"Will do."

"Okay." Isabel rose from her seat to stretch a little. "The office is being painted, so you'll be in here with me for a while. Hope you don't mind."

"That's fine. I wasn't expecting an office." Jesse shook his head and set his forms aside.

"Alright, I gave you the catalogue last night. If we get the order in by…" She yawned. "Oh, excuse me. By Thursday, it'll be here the day after the paint dries." She cleared her throat. "You're familiar with a courtroom and you don't resort to theatrics, I like that. After you get settled a little, we'll start throwing you in the courtroom. This is Roswell, there's hardly anything big. That property case we're working on is nearly over and that's old news. It was also the biggest case we've had in a while."

"What's your specialty?"

"Contracts. I do really well with the fine print." Isabel opened the door and made a motion to Lila. "You've met Lila and Bruce. They really run things around here. There are five associates, three of whom are Maury's boys. You've probably met them at one point or another. Hank Ryan does divorce, Quincey Miles does any criminal cases we might need done… Perry Lyons is… small claims or anything I feel like assigning him." Isabel caught his smile and nodded. "Yes, it's good to be the boss. Ford Walsh is my guy for family court. People… especially women, open up to him. Kim Isaacs does really well in open court. Paralegals come and go. Millhouse, Darren, Uly, Peters and Wilma are the currents."

"Are those first or last names?"

"I don't remember." Isabel opened the door for Lila who carried in a small cake and headed up the entrance of everyone in the office. Jesse blinked at all the people who lined up behind Lila. "Jesse Ramirez, welcome to the team."

Noisy built as people introduced themselves and had cake. Alex could only nod to the cooler of the bunch as he continued his filing.



Kathy wanted to cry. Her feet hurt, her back hurt and if she broke one more plate, she would have earned nothing for the day. She glanced at Beth and she was doing just fine at the register on that stool.




"Mobecca's got short hair and she paint a picture of Becky and I paint pictures of Mommy and you." David rambled on and on about how much fun he had at daycare. Max could only smile and urge him on. "Jeerry's got shoes with lights when he runs and stomps hims feet. I want shoes like that, Daddy… and Vitty talks a lot and him makes me waugh."

"Yeah?" Max reached over and squeezed his shoe.

"Uh-huh. Daddy, I love you."

"Love you, too."

"And I love Mommy and Danny and Kitty and Befanny."

"Me too."

"Daddy, I want a puppy."

"A puppy?" Max hissed. "I don't know. We'd have to talk to Mommy about that one."

"A black one with white spots."

"We'll see."

"I can call him Pepper."

"Thought a lot about this have we?" Max ruffled his hair and pulled into the driveway.

"And I can pway catch with him… and…"


Emily looked up when the door opened. Michael entered the house and stepped into the kitchen. He froze when he saw her… then he turned, grabbed a Coke from the fridge and continued on to the garage. Emily winced at the loud bangs that emitted from the garage and jumped at the small explosion. The longer he was in there making noise, the worse she felt. When he reemerged, he went straight for the staircase without even a glance in her direction.

When the door slammed upstairs, Oriel walked into the house in complete confusion. She turned to Emily. "What did he do to the bike?"


Isabel walked into the house and found her little ones doing their homework and a great smell permeating the house. Alex brushed past her and disappeared into his room. All she could do was sigh and check the kitchen, surprised when she saw the cook. "Kyle?"

"Yeah?" He wouldn't look up from the stove.

"What are you doing home?"

"I'm on call. If they need me, they'll call." He shrugged.

"Where's your dad?"

"Entertaining an unexpected guest… who's staying for dinner." Teeth clenched, he threw the spoon into the pot of pasta. Kyle leaned on the counter with his hands clenched in his hair. "How was your day?"

"Kyle." Isabel reached out to hug him but he shook his head. "What's wrong?"

"It's my mom."

"Your mom?"

Tugged at his hair and shut his eyes. "The woman who left me and my dad when I was nine? My mom. She showed up at the station looking for Dad. They've been talking for a long time. I tried to tell her about you and the kids but… I get so mad. She doesn't have any right."

"Sweetie." Isabel pulled his hands out of his hair. "Don't worry about it. It'll be okay…" She finally succeeded in getting her arms around him. "Did she say why she's here?"

"No and… I just can't talk to her." Eyes on the ceiling and head tilted back. "What am I supposed to say? Thanks for abandoning us? Where have you been the last 26 years?"

"Relax. It'll be fine. Let's get dinner finished."

posted on 2-Feb-2003 3:57:16 AM by DMartinez
[center]The Fate of Destiny 75[/center]

Dinner was awkward and quiet. Michele broke the silence. "Jimmy, this is a nice house you've got."

"I go by Kyle, Mom." Kyle picked at the noodles on his plate, turning them and wrapping them around his fork but rarely taking a bite.

"Since when?"

"Since I was 10." He shot her a look and then returned his eyes to his plate.

"Annabel, this is very good." Michele gestured to her plate.

"Actually, Kyle cooked." Isabel cleared her throat and offered Kyle a small smile.

"Actually, Mom, her name is Isabel." Shot a look to his father and a sympathetic face to his children. "Remind me and I'll pick up some name tags later. The kids are Alex, Liberty and Kyle Jr. by the way… just in case you forgot already."

Michele set her fork down and dropped her gaze to her lap. "I'm sorry. Obviously I'm a horrible mother. I don't know my son's name or that my husband moved out of our house.."

"I think you can stop saying 'ours' and 'husband' when the divorce is final." Kyle pushed his plate away. He threw his napkin on the table. "I've gotta go relieve Soltero."

Isabel kept her eyes on the table until she heard the front door shut. Then she looked to her father-in-law, who had been suspiciously quiet all evening. Jim was too busy polishing off his second helping of pasta to look like he had been listening. Isabel bit her lip and sighed. "Um, well… I hate to leave you at the table but… I have court in the morning and the kids have school. Kyle, it's bath time."

"Mom…" Kyle picked up his plate and whined his way into the kitchen.

"It was nice meeting you, Michele." Isabel gathered her plate and Kyle's food-laden one to put away. "Where are you staying?"

"The Tumbleweed." Michele nodded with a small smile to Isabel's small smile and nod. One by one the Valentis vacated the table. Michele looked to Jim. He was working on a third helping and his second beer. "Thank you so much."

"You asked me not to interfere. I didn't." Jim shrugged. "It's not going to be better overnight. I think Kyle is more upset than even he thought he would be."

"The oldest one isn't his."


"Where's the father?"

"Don't do that." Jim cleared his throat and pushed his plate away. "Don't try to relate to Isabel. You can't."

"Because she took her kid with her when she left?"

"You and Isabel aren't even in the same boat." His anger finally rose to the surface. "I understand not talking to me but you stopped talking to your son and he's never forgiven you for that. We have always had nothing but each other and we don't need you coming in to reclaim familial ties." He rose from the table. "If you ever try to compare yourself to my daughter-in-law again…" He let the thought lapse and cleared his plate. "None of us invited you back into our lives… this is Kyle's house. If you make him unhappy, I'm not going to stop him from asking you to leave."

After a moment, Michele gathered her plate and glass to join Jim in the kitchen. "When did Jimmy get married? Isabel looked a good deal younger…"

"Kyle." Jim reminded her. "Kyle and Isabel started dating when Alex was two or three… I think… He's 17 now… they've been married about ten years."

"So they dated quite a while." Michele leaned on the counter and swept a grayed lock from her face.

"They were friends for a good while… since high school. Isabel's boyfriend died, then Alex was born. Kyle had a few girlfriends… one serious one but she left him and suddenly, they were best friends with a lot to talk about. I'll tell you… I watched them for weeks, trying to figure it out. They are so much alike in that they are so independent but need someone to rely on."

"I guess I know that you're impressed with her."

"Your opinion doesn't count." Jim reminded her. After a moment, he cleared his throat. "Michele… If you're not going to stick around, don't. Kyle won't be able to take it if you make him love you again and then take off."


"I smell like meat." Kathy announced when she walked into the house.

Liz didn't even look up from the stack of papers she was grading but her smirk showed that she remembered those days all too well. David looked up at his sister from where he had been hanging off the couch. "Kathy."

"What?" She snapped at him.

"I love you."

Max watched Kathy's face melt for a second with guilt before she sighed. "Love you, too, little guy."

"Hey, where's your sister?" Max got to his feet to see around his daughter. "She did come home with you, right?"

"She went upstairs to shower."

"First day didn't go well?" Max guided her to the kitchen to sit.

"It's my second day and no. Grandpa scheduled me to work Valentine's day. Jacobi was going to take me to Chez Pierre." Kathy groaned and grabbed a piece of paper before Max could pull it off the table. "Oh ew! You haven't had that done yet?" She shot to her feet. "I'm going to bed. Today was great. Just… great."

When Max turned, a curious Liz was looking up at him. Grabbing the brochure, he returned to the den.


Emily wiped a tear from her cheek, smearing grease in its path. The light bulb glared down on her as she struggled to put the pieces of the bike together. The garage door was open a crack to let out the fumes from the grease but shut enough to keep anyone from seeing her use her powers to pull errant screws and bolts from beneath the car and shelves. Once in a while she had to reform a piece that had warped when her father had blown the thing up.

She knew she looked horrible. Her hair tangled up in a knot on top of her head, her eyes red from crying, cheeks puffy, tank top dirty and streaked with grease, her baggy pants barely clinging to her hips. She had worked her way through about half the damage inflicted on the machine and the chill of night was already creeping into the garage. Sometimes she could pick out words that drifted down through the vents.

"… don't what I'm gonna do…"

"… can't even look at her…"

"… just wanna kill that kid…"

The words that registered in her head were usually followed by a tear down her face. Her fingers worked diligently despite sore calluses, pricked fingers and scraped knuckles. By dawn most of the damage inflicted on the bike had been repaired. Pink morning mixed with the flickering 40 watt. Tired eyes focused on getting the last few pieces into place.

She was testing the ignition when the kitchen door squeaked open. "I was going to do that."

Emily nearly jumped out of her skin. Her heart thudded wildly for a few moments. She fiddled with a few wires and tried again. "It was my fault you blew it up. I'll fix it."

"Em…" Michael took a breath took a seat on his own bike. He had been about to panic when he woke up and his daughter wasn't in her bed. He had been two seconds from giving in and calling Max when he had heard the noise in the garage. It killed him to find his daughter all greasy and dirty with tear tracks running down her face. He felt like hugging her to make it all better but then the image of his little girl and her boyfriend floated into his mind.

"I'm sorry, okay?" Em focused her eyes on the wires, fiddling with them long after she had known anything that she could have done with them. The silence stretched between them as the light bulb gave out and rosy dawn slipped inside to take over. "Just… punish me or something. I… I can't live like this."

"I can't." Michael shook his head and disappeared back into the house.


Alex moved from class to class. Notes were taken, assignments worked on, homework handed in but he couldn't remember doing any of it. Then suddenly he was walking to his mother's office and Lynette was driving beside him. He looked up. Two doors down and he would be there. There wasn't enough time to escape.

"Where have you been these last few days?" She called out as she climbed out of the car.

"Same places I've always been." Alex shrugged and searched for some cool to cling to. "Can't say the same about you."

"What?" She blinked at him. "Don't make this about me."

"What is this?" Alex felt the anger rising from some place. To his knowledge, he hadn't done anything different but now… she wasn't there. "Are you picking a fight so that you can say you broke up with a jerk?" She didn't answer right away and that was all Alex needed to know. When she opened her mouth, he cut her off. "It's over. Okay? I'm tired of watching you hang all over Sam and listening from other people that you've complained to that I'm taking you for granted. Just save it all for someone who still gives a damn. I quit."

"No." She protested on reflex but Alex had already shut the door on that one. Before she could follow him, he had disappeared into his mother's building.


Liz guided her four-year-old into the house and immediately began relaxing a little. She had some pop quizzes to grade and she was dreading it. She had insisted that her students write some kind of answer and from their blank expressions there would be a long of wrong answers. A glance at the refrigerator said that there would only three stomachs to worry about and she didn't feel like cooking. Danny had half a cupcake in his hand when she turned to put her bag on a chair. "Hey."

"Hey." He nodded.

"Where was your better half today?" Liz continued on back to her room. "She missed her physics class."

"She got into a fight with Michael, she went home." Danny cleared his throat and tilted his head in a gesture that was meant to say he didn't know anymore than that. When his mother reappeared, she gave him a look. "What? She doesn't talk about her problems unless she already knows what to do."

"She's a Guerin." Liz rolled her eyes and opened the freezer. "Frozen pizza or lasagna?"

"I'm not really hungry." He grabbed a banana and disappeared.

She listened to his footsteps thud up the stairs and into his room. His music blasted out the stereo before a huge thump that had to be his landing on the bed. Turning to her youngest son, Liz tilted her head. "Pizza?"

"Yep." David nodded.


Michael entered the house to find the radio on in the kitchen, spaghetti sauce bubbling and Oriel on the phone. When she turned suddenly, she looked guilty and that's when he noticed Emily's absence.

"No, I wasn't aware… I'll talk to her." Oriel set the phone down, biting her lip nervously. "That was Mrs. Jokhu."

"Where is she?"

"I don't know." She turned to the stove. "She wasn't home when I got home… she wasn't at school today… in any of her classes."

After a long silence, Michael standing with his fists on his hips and his eyes on the ground, he reached for the phone and dialed.


Valenti didn't hear the phone ring over the buzz of an electric saw. Berty didn't hear it over the distant buzz and the TV pushing 30.


Aggravated, Michael began dialing every number he could think of. Friends that Emily hadn't spoken to since the third grade. No one knew where she was and no one had seen her all day. Fuming, he sat to eat his spaghetti. He never did more than twirl his fork through the noodles before he started to get up. Then he'd sit and swirl garlic toast through the mess in his bowl until it was soggy and then he wouldn't eat it.

Oriel sat as quietly as she could. She had witnessed the heavy silences and if any of them had been directed at her, she might have been tempted to be anywhere but in the same room with Michael. She didn't really blame Emily for wanting away but surely, especially, Emily knew that disappearing would make matters worse.

He leapt out of his seat and dialed a number, eyes shut and praying that a certain former best friend wouldn't answer.


"Hello?" Liz answered the phone without taking her eyes off her grade book and red-stained quizzes.

"Liz, it's me. Have you seen Emily?"

"Not since yesterday."

"Dammit!" Michael raged over the phone and the loud pop of an explosion traveled over the line.

"Michael?" Liz sat up. "Did something happen?"

"Em's not home. She didn't go to school today and nobody has seen her."

"If you were fighting… did you really expect her to be in the same room with you?"

"Who told you we were fighting?" Michael went still.

"Danny told me today—"

"I'm gonna kill your kid. He told you that we were fighting? Ask him what it's all about."

"He said he didn't know…" Liz furrowed her brow.

"Ask him again and tell him that you've already spoken to me. I'm sure he'll sing like a bird." The dial tone rang through Liz's ear.

"Daniel Parker Evans!"


Alex set two bags and a handful of change on the long conference table between his mother and the new lawyer. Plucking his orange soda from one bag and his burger from the other, he migrated to the other end of the table to avoid as much human contact as possible. But as the two decided to break while they ate, that was impossible. Isabel turned to her son. "How was school?"

"English, Latin, Trig, US History, they were all there and just as boring as yesterday."


"I was there, ask Aunt Liz." He rolled his eyes and concentrated on picking the pickles out of the burger.

"You know, I have a cousin your age. Maybe you know her." Jesse licked some sauce off his finger and then reached for a napkin. "Lyn—"

"Yeah. I do." Alex set his jaw and turned from the adults.

"Lynette's your cousin?" Isabel tried to move past Alex's rudeness. "She's a great girl." She told Jesse sincerely and wiped grease off her fingers. "They've been dating for something like five months. Right, sweetie?"

"Yeah. We dated for four months, two weeks, three days and 12 hours. Can we talk about something else now?" Alex bit out.

"Alex." Isabel barked sharply. "What's wrong with you?"

"We broke up. Okay?" He threw his napkin down and stormed from the conference room with his drink and burger. A few seconds later the inner office door slammed shut.

Isabel tried to look unflustered by Alex's actions but Jesse sent her a sympathetic look and she sank into her seat. No longer hungry, she just picked at her fries. "I suppose it's too late to ask for a trade-in."


Kyle nodded to the phone. "Calm down, Michael. I'm sure she's fine. If her temper is still anywhere near yours, she's just blowing off steam somewhere… I'm serious. If she still hasn't turned up tonight… I'll go looking for her but I can't file a report until tomorrow morning… she's fine. She can take care of herself… she's not of this earth, she can handle herself."

Soltero poked his head into the office. "Boss, there's a woman to see you."

"I promise I'll find her in any case." Kyle hung up the phone and looked to his deputy. "She wouldn't happen to have blue eyes and gray and light brown hair, would she?"

"That's her."

"Tell her to go away."


"Fine." Kyle pushed past the perplexed man and met his mother in the lobby. "Mom, care for a ride somewhere?"


Alex slammed the front door, startling his younger siblings and his grandfather. "If Lynette calls, tell her I took a long walk…"

"Where?" Jim called after him.

"Off a short pier." Alex called back. "I won't be back in this lifetime."

"Okay. Just don't slam—" Jim winced as the boom echoed through the house. "The door.

Alex dropped his bag on the floor and sipped his soda. He wasn't pissed enough to stop being hungry but he didn't taste the burger he wolfed down during his walk. He sank onto the bed and immediately came into contact with a warm body. "Whoa! Holy shit."

Emily sat up and barely managed to appear apologetic. "Sorry."

"Hey." Alex nodded stiffly. "What's up?"

She brought her knees to her chest and shrugged. "Daddy hates me." She tried to laugh but she had only just started to smile when the sob erupted. "I didn't know where else to go. Do you mind?"

"It's cool." He nodded and climbed onto the bed on the other side of her. She curled up next to him and he took in her already puffy eyes, red circling the green irises, hair knotted on top of her head. Grease streaked her tank and jeans, not to mention any available flesh. "You been here all day?"

Emily could only nod as tears flowed for the hundredth time that day. After a good long while of fighting the sobs, she lay back. "Your phone's been ringing since school let out. My dad a couple of times and then Lynette a whole bunch of times."

"We broke up and I think she wanted the final word." Alex grabbed the blankets and sheets from the bottom of the bed and pulled them up and over the both of them. "Now, I don't think we've done this since we were 10 but I won't kick you if you don't punch me."


posted on 15-Feb-2003 5:48:36 PM by DMartinez
I can't describe the way I felt when I read Jen's farewell. It didn't seem possible but here I figured if the mods and such were able to put up with all the conflict that made my head hurt, then I could too.
No pretty words from me. When the Captain and builder of a ship won''t stay aboard, it's time for even the rats to go. Consider me a rat, I'm... I'm not comfortable posting here, haven't for quite a while now. Guess I've found my excuse to go.
I've enjoyed the board since I found it way back when three or four episodes into the series. I've tried to follow it even through my own personal trauma. I've grown tired... not of writing (people who know me best will know that I would write if no one but a sand crab and I would read it). I don't like people and I'm tired of dealing with people. If you want to continue reading, you know where to find me. Least there I don't get ranted at for following through with a story line.

Huh. A weight was just lifted. Funny that.