posted on 23-Jan-2002 6:54:58 PM by Crimson
Title: Car Ride to Crashdown
Author: Karina a.k.a WINDYM
E-mail: Gooobers98⊕aol.com
Rating: Rated R for some serious subjects.
Category: Conventional Couples
Disclaimer: If you’ve heard of them, they aren’t mine.
Summary: Alternative Universe. They are coming home.

Chapter 1
The Las Vegas road stretched endlessly before them. The van jumped and jalloped, skidding in the pebbles on the dirt road and every so often Maria would have to crank the gear and make sure the van didn’t jerk off road. The dust and rocks bit its chipping vanilla white sides. Maria’s eyes watered in sleepy pain. Her hand clamped on her necklace and swiped away the hairs that stuck to her sweat. Maria sniveled and glanced over at Liz to ask for some sleep but didn’t have the heart.

Liz huddled against the door, exhausted and asleep. Her hands unknowingly clutched the seatbelt; the van jerked and she turned over, slumping against the head rest, her chin tittering close to the edge. She squirmed as the tires popped a dirt peddle; her mouth parted in an low gasp as her breathing deepened.

Michael pressed his head against the window, the cool glass soothing his ringing headache. He moved his forehead back and forth, sighing in pleasure and relief. He watched as his sweat dripped snail-like down; the glass was beginning to warm. He pushed off and turned, the back of his head leaning against the window. His eyes caught Liz’s neck, sticky and glistening with perspiration. Michael smirked as she licked the salty sweat of her upper lip. Her mouth hung open. Michael tilted forward, putting a casual finger under her chin. He shut her mouth.

Max stretched, making a weird growl/whimper as his numb muscles groaned in protest. He yawned and rubbed his face; the van jerked again and he grabbed the arm rest to keep from falling over. Max smacked his lips and looked out the window, instantly bored at the scene. It was the same one they had started with: no trees, no flowers, no other people. It was just them and the road. Max sneered and picked up his duffle bag. He rummaged in it for a minute and wearily found what he was looking for. The sounds of Tetris filled the van.

Isabelle watched the game for a while but soon lost interest. She stared furiously at everyone else there. Everyone had stripped down to their bare necessities: shorts and a shirt. Everyone . . but her. The sweater she was wearing chaffed her arm, itched her neckline, and her whole upper body felt like a furnace, but she didn’t dare take it off. Underneath her sweater was a tank top: a small, yellow, barely there tank top. Her boobs looks huge in them and it was part of the reason why she bought it. But looking at herself in the mirror and letting other people look at her were two very different things. The heat was getting to her but she would take the sweater off, not with Xander Whitman sitting right beside her. Isabelle touched her hair self-consciously and returned to her English book, glancing up now and again to see if Xander was looking at her. He wasn’t.

Alex tapped his pen on the green notebook. He scanned the page again. Da da da. Dear Ava Da da da. . . don’t think this will work out. Da da da. Just know that it really isn’t you. It me, baby. He pursed his lips and tapped the pen on his brow. What was he missing? He suddenly smiled and his pen started scratching, quickly, on the letter. I hope we can still be friends. He smiled. Love Always, Xander. Alex closed the book shut and stuffed it in his back pack. Good. Now that Ava’s over with he was on the prowl again. Alex thought briefly on all the girls he’d done. Leanna, Lannie, Laurie. He sure did like them L’s. Alex grinned. And now Ava.

His eyes jumped around the van. Maria? Definitely a wild cat, but not the one he’d want. Plus, they were friends since forever. She was dangerously close to being a sister. Alex frowned. Sick. He glanced at Liz and quickly dismissed her. Now way. No freaking way. She had long past passed the sister mode and just, no. His thoughts were interrupted by a wheezing to his left and Alex side glanced to see that girl nervously fanning herself. He stared disgustedly at her. They were in Nevada! She was wearing a sweater! What the heck?! No way would he touch her. Besides, she looked like a quiet loser. Who was she anyway? Oh yeah. Maxwell’s sister. Rrrright. Alex looked ahead at Max’s greasy hair pushed up inside a faded baseball hat that smell hideously of fish. Alex rethought his idea. They were definitely related.

Maria smeared her wet palms on her jean shorts. The wheel was already wet and slick. Her hands slipped through too many times and the road had begin to blur from the sweat and oil dripping into her eyes. She looked into her rearview mirror, staring astonished at each and every person in the van. Mickey G, Mawell Evans, Izzy Evans, Xander Whitman, Beth Parker, and her, Ria Deluca. She glanced at the clock. It had only been 2 hours ago when they left Las Vegas. The sky started to grow rosy. Maria sighed. Great. Just great. It would be dark in a few hours. She turned on her lights.


[ edited 27time(s), last at 6-Feb-2003 1:30:50 AM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2002 6:57:07 PM by Crimson
Chapter 2
Maria leaned back on her head rest, feeling the cool wind licking her every crevice, every core. It felt delicious. She purred and stretched her body as best as she could in her driver’s seat. It was half an hour ‘till night and the dark was introduced by a beautiful, sweeping sunset and more importantly, a crisp breeze. Maria had stopped driving some time and they had opened all the windows. Air rushed back and forth through the windows like a silly game of tag. Maria’s lips rippled into a sigh and she closed her eyes, for only a moment.

Max looked down at the pool forming on the ground. Aaaah, that felt so good. He looked up at the sky, tilting his head back and shut his eyes. He groaned in pleasure. There are some times he felt lucky to be a man. Here on the desert floor, millions of miles from a gasoline station, he felt the pure male cockiness of having a penis.

“Hey Maxwell, you done over there?”

Max grunted and pulled up his jeans, making sure he didn’t get caught on the zipper’s teeth. The sun was just beginning to cool and an up breeze billowed his white shirt, causing little goose bumps to rise on his bare back and nipples. He smoothed down his shirt and stared at a brown lizard scamper into a hole. Max passed by the girls who were sitting by some dried out shrub. He heard Izzy speak about Tolstoy. Max shook his head. Izzy was his sister, and he loved her, but she just wouldn’t listen when he told her no one else in the world liked reading books. Beth is probably gonna walk away right now. He climbed into the van and saw Xander in the back seat, speaking loudly to his cell phone to someone he was apparently angry with. Max made a face and reached for his Tetris then climbed back out. He found a good shrub to sit by and started to play.

Michael slowly dragged his cigarette, letting the smoke reach every nook and cranny of his lungs. Oh yeah. That felt so good. He almost believed it. He stared at the cigarette disgustedly and stuck it back in his mouth. They always did say quitting was hard to do. Michael walked over to Max who was sitting by some peeling shrub.

“Maxwell.”

Michael’s brow furrowed when he didn’t answer. “Maxwell.” Michael moved closer. “Maxwell, man, what the . .” Michael shook his head in disgust. “Dude, what the freak are you doing?”

Max jerked and titled his head to face Michael. He squinted against the blistering sun. “Hi there.” Max gave a small smile. “I’m playing Tetris. Have you ever played it? It’s like you have to move these shapes down here,” he pointed, “and then you have to cover the whole thing with the thing.” Max laughed nervously. “I can’t really explain it. Wanna play? It’s really fun.”

Michael dropped his cigarette and nodded to the game. “You play those little games a lot?”

Max’s eyes looked down at his game; he grinned, cupping his eyes with a palm. “Well, sometimes. It’s like a hobby. I collect all these games, I have at least 30 right now but I’m ordering more from this guy in my P.E. class. It’s three of this series I have two and four of, but I need one, three, and five so I can understand how to beat Kradar from the fifth level. It’s really cool and I’m planning on getting it next week ‘cause the graphics on some of those games are –“

Michael walked off. “I was just trying to make conversation, dude. I don’t want your life story.” He made a face. “Loser.”

Max stuck out his tongue angrily. “Loser.” He caught Maria’s eyes who was watching from the van. She raised her eyebrows in revulsion and closed her eyes before he could explain. Great. Now the whole popularity bandwagon was against him. Max picked up his dusted Tetris to play again. Friends were great but games were a lot better.

Isabelle watched her brother return to the game. He looked so alone there, crouched over a small game he was obsessed with. She could see the way he kept looking at Michael’s retreating figure. Max needed a friend and he needed one as badly as she did. Maybe . . maybe by the end of this trip they could be friends. Maybe Beth Parker and Ria Deluca would want to hang out with her at school and possibly sit by her at lunch by the trees where no one sits. She stopped herself before the daydream took a life of its own. Isabelle’s head dropped in misery. No. They wouldn’t ever sit by her.

“Pass me that nail polish, yeah?” Liz asked, busy painting her toe nail a bright glossy red. It would match the halter she was wearing exactly. She looked up when Isabelle didn’t answer. “Hey . . you. Pass that coral red nail polish. I need to recoat.”

Isabelle handed it to her apologetically. “Sorry. I was day dreaming,” she admitted guiltily.

Liz lowered her brush with a piercing stare. “You do that a lot, don’t you?”

Isabelle blushed.

Liz shrugged. “That’s probably why you’re all alone at school.” She carefully filled in the missing parts. “Ria and I see you sit alone all the time at lunch and in class you sit at the very front middle. Weird. How’re you gonna daydream sitting in front of the teacher. You know what you really need to get? You need to get a boyfriend. You don’t have a boyfriend, do you? You look too shy to get a cutie, but maybe you have some nerd boyfriend from computer class or something.” Liz looked up with interest. “Oooh, or maybe from English class. You like English, don’t you? What’s that Toy Story book you were talking about? Oh no, not Toy Story, Tolstoy!” She grimaced. “Oh crap, I’m gonna have to redo that nail.”

Isabelle looked away in pain, hurt by the careless words of the other girl. Why did she want to be popular again if popular people were like Beth? Isabelle fought back the tears. They are so dense! They don’t even know who I am and they’re judging me because of the way I look. So I look like a nerd. It doesn’t mean I’m a loser or anything. Man, they are just big time jerks!

Liz screwed the cap back on the polish and returned it into her purse. She checked her back for a tan line. She seemed more bronzer. Liz smiled happily and turned her attention on Isabelle. “You know who would be really cute with you? I don’t know, I was just thinking about it right now and it just kind of clicked to me. Maxwell!” She clapped. “You can get to know him in the van. You guys look like you would have a lot of things in common.” Liz winked suggestively. “I don’t know. You might even get to answer the age old question: boxers or briefs.”

Isabelle gritted her teeth angrily. “I don’t need to ask about Max. They’re boxer-briefs.” She stumbled to stand and glared down at Liz’s shocked smile. “If you had paid half the attention you do to those nails you’d know that Max is my brother, stupid.”

She walked away in a heated daze. She just told me that Max and I . . ewww! That girl is just so stupid! Me and Max? C’mon now, we have the same last name. She can’t be that stupid. Oh freak! I just called Beth Parker stupid. I will never get to be popular, ever. A smile broke out. I just called Beth Parker stupid. How too cool is that?! She suppressed the urge to squeal.

Liz picked up her purse and started for the car. She bore holes into Isabelle’s blonde head with furious rage. Okay, so I didn’t know that Maxwell and Izzy were brother and sister, but she doesn’t have to act all prissy about it. I barely know them and she’s acting like I should’ve known all along. Goodness! This is what I get for trying to help someone out. Well forget that! Let her try to find a boyfriend by herself. Liz gripped he purse, her mouth clenching dangerously. I am not dumb. I am not dumb. If that girl calls me stupid one more time I swear I’ll beat her down, height or not I’ll beat her down. She thinks just because I’m popular means I’ll be some dumb airhead cheerleader then she’s got everything mixed up. Who’s gonna be Valedictorian at graduation? Me, that’s who. Not her and her dumb little entourage. I bet she doesn’t even know. Well fine. Whatever. Let her find out and we’ll see how dumb she thinks I am then.

The van door shut behind her with a bang. Max glanced up for a second only to focus back to his game. Michael was finishing his smokes and threw the rest of the burnt cigarette out the window. Isabelle was reading some book, upset. Alex didn’t even bother to get off the phone.

“What? What? Okay, yeah go ahead. Go ahead. I’m sure they’d like to know about that one.” His face was distorted with fury. “I dare you try that. No, I double dare you . . . Oh I care, Ava. I care. I was gonna make this nice for me and you. I have the letter right here in my back pack but if this is the way you wanna go then go ahead.” His face grew red and livid. “Well then you better get yourself to a drugstore to find out before you do anything stupid, Ava! Because if it’s mine . . but you don’t know that yet and when you do, and if it’s mine, we are keeping it, Ava. Ava? Ava?!” He hung up with a growl. They were all looking at him. “What are you looking at?” He shot a look at Maria. “Shouldn’t we be moving or something?”

Maria’s eyes flashed. “That’s it. Next stop we make, you drive.”

Alex leaned back on his seat in disgust. The van lurched forward, protesting Maria’s irritated rage, and continued down the road. 20 minutes. All they had to do was wait 20 minutes for a gasoline station to come up. The minutes ticked and the atmosphere inside the van grew intense.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2002 6:58:57 PM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2002 6:57:50 PM by Crimson
Chapter 3
Alex stared out at the night. When he was small his dad used to take him out camping up by Frazier Woods and they would stay out there for weekends, just him and his dad, and they would stargaze all they want. Alex swiped away his tears. They didn’t do that anymore. Ava. Alex grimaced and clutched his stomach in muffled distress. Ava. Why? Why couldn’t she have told him sooner? He would’ve taken care of it. Not . . not the way she wanted to take care of it.

Alex rolled down the window and coughed up dry heaves out the window. His stomach was empty and the only thing he could do was spit. It oozed out of his lips and dropped on the dust with a splat. Alex rolled the windows back up and leaned back on the seat. He could see Michael and Liz talking by the gas pumps, the thick murmur of their conversation mimicked by Max and Isabelle’s inside the store. I don’t want my child to live without a father. If it’s even my child. If she even has a child. He only did her once. Just once and that was it. She didn’t wanna do it with a condom and what guy was gonna argue with that? Alex claws his ear in the insanity. He should’ve argued with that.

It was a car accident. Alex shut his eyes. The other car was blinding. Its white beam lights were too bright, much too bright. There was a sharp turn and he remembered faintly the screech of wheels. He felt his dad’s arm, protecting him, keeping him in his seat. He remembered his dad’s scream. He remembered. Alex’s eyes shot open; he was sweating profusely. No more stargazing. No more real dad. Mom doesn’t even come out of their room a lot now where’s he’s lying, just lying there, not willing to wake up. I try . . Alex sobbed . . I try to wake him up but he doesn’t. He never wakes up. He just lies there, breathing but not there. Alex hung his head, the sobs wracking his body. I will not be like my father. I will be there for my child. I’ll be there for graduation, and band practice, and . . . He fished out his cell phone and speed dialed Ava.

How tiring the day was; the night was no better. Liz settled herself by the gas pump, liking the metallic feel behind her. She stared up at the sky. My God was it beautiful. A shooting star streaked right. Liz fingered her crucifix. It looked like a velvet carpet turned upside down and hiding behind it, barely seen through the punctures of light, was God. Michael shuffled beside her, trying to find a comfortable standing spot beside her. Liz heard him hit out a cigarette but didn’t bother to look. She was tired of telling him to stop but couldn’t help it. “Having fun?”

He was having a hard time lighting it; the match kept dying out and he had to cup the flame to get the cigarette close enough to burn. Michael knew what she was gonna say, knew the pamphlets in his back pack was from her. Liz never hid how much she hated him to smoke; she wasn’t that sort of person to hide. Michael knew. They had been best friends since babies, neighbors since eternity, and he knew the shock that came when she caught him lighting his first cigarette. She knew why he did it, knew why he continued. That didn’t mean she was gonna give up without a fight.

“Don’t even start, Liz.” He sniffed. “We’re all gonna die. I’m just making it easier.” He studied the small white stick nestled between his fingers and wheezed out a chuckle. “Hey you. You kill.” Michael mockingly tapped his cigarette, letting the ash fall to the floor. “Liz, I really don’t care.”

She didn’t meet his eyes, too discouraged to continue. Michael only called her Liz when he was desperately vulnerable and she didn’t want to push his buttons. He might cry and she never wanted to see him cry. Liz unscrewed her soda and took a sip. Without looking, she offered it for him to take.

Michael chugged the rest down. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and tossed the drink on the floor. “Thanks.” It had double meaning.

Liz rummaged in her plastic bag and opened a bag of gummy bears. “Where is everybody? It’s getting late. We should be going soon.” She peered into the bag and ate the white ones.

Michael looked over his shoulder at the illuminating market. “Ummm, they’re still getting their things, I think. Maria’s somewhere, probably getting a mag. Heifer and Trout’s picking up some food for the road.”

Liz snickered. “We already having nicknames, Michael?” She popped another bear in her mouth.

“That cow spotted sweater whatever,” he shook his head, “that’s gonna cause ruckus. You know there’s a spot right on her . .”

Liz slapped his arm. “Michael!”

He grinned and picked an orange gummy bear from her open palm. “I call ‘em as I see ‘em, Gidget.” He looked at the old van parked on the road. Michael sighed and scratched his stomach. “Oh man. What are we gonna tell all our folks? Your parents’ will freak out. You know your dad came up to me before we left. He told me to take care of ‘his little pumpkin’.

Liz scrounged her nose; she hated her dad’s stupid nicknames.

“I’m so gonna get that look from your dad. You’re gonna be grounded from me.” Michael continued wearily, “Alex will be alright but Maria’s mom is gonna get a heart attack, definitely. I’m gonna get so busted. My dad’s cool about me driving back but he’s not so cool if he finds out I paid for a ticket home.”

She grew irritated and glared at her rising guilt. “Well who’s fault is it we’re stuck here?! You’re the one that got drunk and gambled our planet tickets to some hustler on the street.” Liz screamed at the sky. “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you with those tickets. You always lose our stuff, Michael.” Before he vehemently denied, Liz glared. “Who’s the one that lost Alex’s power rangers? Yeah. That was you. And who broke my, My Little Pony’s comb to take out a chicken strip from your teeth?” Michael winced. “I didn’t want to trust you with those tickets, but noooo. You said you’d take care of them. Now we’re stuck in this van with Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum over there and Alex who’s freaking out about Ava being knocked up! So if there’s anything we’re gonna say to them, we’re telling ‘em that you were irresponsible and lost our tickets to a game in Vegas.“

“Oh is that it, Liz?” Michael stomped his cigarette out. “You’ve been waiting to say that forever haven’t you? All this time you didn’t talk to me in the van, you were just thinking up some dumb speech about how wrong I was.” His tone grew in anger. “Well, how about your little part on me losing the plane tickets? Are you gonna tell them that you spiked my drink as a joke, ha ha, inadvertently making me . .”

Alex unrolled his window. “Shut up!” he bawled. “You both just shut up.”

That quieted them, making the two feel like naughty children who’d been scolded for their misdeeds. Liz lowered her eyes and wrapped up her gummy bears and stuffed it in her purse. Michael let the cigarette dangle on his lips before opening his mouth, feeling as the cigarette hung on to his bottom lip before falling. They could hear Alex crying; he didn’t roll up his windows.

“Geez, Alex.” Michael pointed to the van but hurriedly dropped his arm. His voice also lowered. “He told you everything? Her maybe being knocked up by some other guy?”

Liz slowly nodded, keeping an eye on the van. “Yeah, heavy stuff, huh. He told me and Maria when Maxwell and Izzy got out; you were in the bathroom. But Alex said you already knew.”

“Yup.” Michael shook his head. “Man, I warned him all about those whores and skanks like her. I told him to go for the good girls. He deserves a nice girl. Dude, the boy wouldn’t listen. Ava’s a nasty trick and she pulled one on him, sleeping with all those guys. What a whore, man.” He shook his head and grimaced pityingly. “Oh, man, I hope she isn’t pregnant, ‘cause Alex isn’t a dropper. If she’s gonna wipe the baby like she does with the other guys . . . Nah, Alex won’t even let her. He’s not like that.”

“Get with the program, Michael. He can’t do anything about it.” Liz shook her head and sneered. “Ava can do it any time without his permission and that sucks for him.” She sighed. “This is gonna be real bad if rumors get around. He’s a really good guy. Just nobody knows it ‘cept us.”

Michael squinted at the van. “As best friends shouldn’t we be, I don’t know, talking to him or something? Isn’t there a comfort manual we should be following right now?”

Liz shook her head and touched his arm. “No, Michael. As best friends we should know when Alex needs to be alone.” She shivered and moved closer to Michael. He did an instinctive older brother response and pulled her closer, putting an arm over her small shoulders. They swayed, remembering, like kids on the playground.

“We can tell them the tickets got stolen,” Liz suggested quietly. “That’s the best I can come up with.”

“That’s a good one.”

Silence.

“It’s getting dark. We should find some sort of shelter, something cheap.” He played with the cigarette on the floor with the heel of his boot. “Is there a motel near here?”

Liz smiled. “Like Vegas cheap?”

Michael creased his brow in confusion then quickly looked at Liz in surprise. “Whoa, Maria told you?”

Liz gave him her classic ‘duh’ look. “She might not be your closest bud but Maria’s my girl,” Liz said, intentionally leaving out ‘best friend’; Michael loved his best friend title. “We talked about it.“

Michael shrugged nonchalantly. “Okay. No big deal. I just didn’t think she’d tell you.” He cocked his head. “It doesn’t matter. That fling in Vegas was a fling, you know. Sex with Maria was fun but it doesn’t mean anything.”

“Don’t worry. It doesn’t mean anything for her either.” Liz laughed at his shocked face. ”Oh c’mon Michael. You both were so drunk you probably don’t even remember what happened.” She scrounged her nose. “Next time put a white hanky on the door so I won’t walk in and get my eyes burned from seeing you guys buck naked.”

Michael laughed sarcastically. “This isn’t Dirty Dancing, Baby.”

Liz grinned. “You better hope not. Penny got pregnant in that movie.” She saw his face soften and her own face furrowed. “Oh Michael, you were wearing a condom right?”

He didn’t answer. Liz stared in disbelief, not sure what to say. Michael’s face tightened and he gently let her go to march into the store. Liz winced pitifully.

Maria drummed her fingers on the store counter. She glanced outside at the dark night, the neon lights buzzing like electric fireflies. A horn barked and she could see Alex jerk back, startled. Her face softened. She turned back to the counter and saw the old man shuffle out of the bathroom, wiping his wet hand on the green apron tied to his waist. She waited until he seated.

Buenas noches, Senorita.”

Maria nodded absently. “Buenas noches.” She stared down through the glass counter and tapped the glass, pushing a five dollar bill towards him. “That magazine, por favor."

He slid open the glass door and looked to where she pointed, then picked out a pink one.

“No, no,” Maria said annoyed and pointed again.

He pointed to a blue covered magazine and she nodded. “Yes. Si. That one.”

The old man smiled toothlessly and slapped the magazine on the counter, ringing up her change. “¿De donde usted?”

Maria grabbed her change and shoved it in her pocket. “Las Vegas.”

He grinned knowingly and talked in broken English. “Las Vegas. Sinful city.”

Her face darkened. “No kidding,” she muttered. Maria looked up to see his confused face and waved the magazine. “Uh, gracias señor.”

El gusto es mio, senorita.”

Maria flipped through the pages and started for the door. The clerk was staring at her but she was used to it. They’ve been staring at her since she grew boobs in junior high. The pages were a blur to her, picture after picture of beautiful, thin, big breasted girls. Maria swallowed hard. Sometimes being beautiful wasn’t a great thing. She remembered Vegas. Remembered the smell of his drunk mouth pressing urgently, unwanted, into hers. His digging fingers poking into her breasts, the insides of her thigh. She remembered sobbing in relief when he came inside her, knowing that it was all over. Then that bright light. That bright light of someone coming in, rescuing her. Her head bumped into something solid hard and she looked up to the steel eyes of Michael Guerin.

Mickey G. Maria looked uncomfortable at their closeness. “What’s up?”

He grabbed her arm and squeezed it weakly.

“Mickey?”

“We need to talk.”

Isabelle almost cried, well, she did but no one saw her and crying never counts when no one sees you. She almost cried in front of Maria, and that was a definite ‘cannot be’. Popular people don’t cry. They laugh, and they smoke like Mickey G, and dress cute like Beth, and have six earrings like Ria, and have boyfriends named Xander. They have these outrageously fun parties she was never invited to, that she of course didn’t want to go to. But they never cried. Popular people don’t cry and Isabelle was struggling to be one. She licked her lips and counted to three, waiting until those abominable tears recoiled into her heart, hidden from sight.

Isabelle stood alone between aisles and aisles of worthless things and miserably felt like she belonged. She stared at the bottle of cherry coke in her hand; her favorite. She peered outside as Liz entered the front seat, talking to Alex. The door swung open as Michael dragged Maria outside. They walked to the side of the store. The Popular Kids. Isabelle had always wanted to be them. She watched them from afar, more avid than a hawk. She copied their every move, studied their talk, perfected their walk, bought what they dressed, and cloned their smiles. Max said it made her even more a loser.

Couldn’t they see her? The wallflower in the corner trying to blend and stand out at the same time. Some nights she would close her eyes and pretend how it would be if she was one of them. How she would laugh the loudest, and have the most boyfriends. Everyone would be so jealous and want to be her friend in the same time. It would just be a riot. She would lay on her bed and dwell in her imagination for a moment of happiness. Then she would have to open her eyes and see the bleak world she survived in. Sure she had friends, a lot of them actually. But they were losers, nerds exactly like her. They would crowd around her with their nasally breaths and oily hair to ask her, the biggest nerd of all, for advice on homework and quizzes. It was a pitiful sight. Isabelle would watch the popular kids pass by without a glance, leaving her to a throng of whimpering faces. It was sickening.

She didn’t ask for much, just that they acknowledged her: ‘Hi Isabelle’ or a friendly smile, but they never did. They never turned her way and they never knew her name – until last month. Last month changed everything. Courage. That’s all it boiled down to. If she had the courage to ask Maria Deluca to sign her yearbook. It was a common dare between the “lower class”. Ask a popular kid for a signature and get five bucks from each nerd in the game. It was a disgusting ritual done every year. Some managed to snag a few. One time Chester Bishop got Elena Cheng’s phone number but that was very rare; it turned out to be fake. Courage was all that Isabelle was thinking of when she approached Maria Deluca after Choir Class; well, that and $150.

Isabelle remembered mumbling something, not sure what, something like, “Hi my name is Isabelle Evans. Can you sign my yearbook? No? Okay. Thanks.” But then a miraculous thing happened. Maria Deluca laughed . . and she grabbed the yearbook to sign it, complete with a cell phone number. She got a number. Isabelle had stared at the year book in shock as Maria walked away with her friends; her hands literally shaking in joy when she filled the first name in her Hello Kitty address book. It was one of the most significant days of her life.

It changed the whole perspective of life. For once Isabelle knew she had a chance, a real chance, to become popular. That’s when everything really began. It’s incredible how things happen. These miraculous, never can be imagined things that suddenly just . . happen. It’s like a domino effect waiting to topple. Her parents were astonished by her newfound change. Max was none too thrilled; he had to pay five bucks. The next step was inevitable. It was really simple. Call Maria.

She didn’t know when she’d do it, just . . soon. She talked to Aunt Rebekka about the problem, the same Auntie Rebekka and Uncle River who lived in a trailer right outside of Vegas. So on one not so special day, Isabelle called from a trailer right outside Las Vegas where she was visiting her Auntie and Uncle. And Isabelle found Maria to be in a little bit of a dilemma. Seems like Maria and her popular friends were stuck in Las Vegas with no way back. They didn’t even have enough money to drive back to Roswell. And that was when Isabelle found her opportunity.

She had it all planned out. It would be just like her daydreams. They’d want to be friends with her and she’d play it cool for awhile but then later she’d agree and be the most popular girl in the school, even more popular than Liz and Maria. The thing about plans is that sometimes life had a different one.

Isabelle sighed and almost cried. She looked down at her cow printed sweater and rethought her fashion decision; she looked like an overgrown calf.

Max passed by his sister, noticing the far away look in her eye. He knew that look; it was the reason why he was stuck with four strangers he didn’t want to know. Max waved a hand over her eyes. “Earth to Isabelle. Calling Earth to Isabelle. Is anybody home?”

She pursed her teeth, a gesture Max recognized as a distress call. He stepped closer as his annoyance dropped to concern. “What’s wrong?” Max placed an arm on her arm and rubbed it up and down soothingly.

“Max, I don’t wanna be here anymore.” She looked up at her worried brother. “This isn’t what I thought it was gonna be. They’re not the way I thought they were gonna be,” she whispered quietly. “I don’t get it, Max. I’d do anything for them. I’d do anything,” she said breathlessly. “I didn’t have to help them. Me and you could’ve flew home, but,” she licked her lips, “I thought, that if Ria saw I cared . . I don’t know. I thought, I mean I did them a favor. I got Uncle River to sell the van to us cheap. But they don’t, it’s like it doesn’t even matter.” Her eyes began to whimper. “What? They can’t be nicer to me?” Her eyes watered. “Mickey G has been ignoring me. Ria’s barely said anything. Xander’s too hung up on stupid Ava and Beth and I had an argument and I bet she’s gonna tell Lannie and Pam Troy it was my fault too!”

Max flinched. “Isabelle.” He wasn’t sure how to say it. Should he say it? “You can’t let them get to you like that. Forget about ‘em.”

It felt worse than a punch. It was a slap in the face. “What?!” Isabelle’s teeth gritted angrily. “Max! You of all people . . I can’t just forget about them. How many times do I have to keep telling you? I want to be like them. One day, it’s going to happen. I’m going to be popular Max. I need to be popular. I want attention. I need someone to like me. I want a guy to notice me when I pass by.” Her voice cracked. “I have sacrificed everything for them. I need to be them. I need them to be my best friends and I won’t take no for an answer.” Her eyes shone a frightening hope. “Max this is my chance! This van ride, either from fate or some kind of twisted destiny, it has given me this chance of a lifetime. So okay, I had a bad start with Beth. But I can change! Whatever they want, whatever they want I’ll be like that.”

“Isabelle stop!!!” Max stared in horror at the creature in front of him. “What are you doing?!”

She began to walk away.

“Isabelle what are you doing to yourself?!” he shouted desperately. “Isabelle!”

Max ran and caught her arm in a frantic hold. She tried squirming away but he whirled her around, bringing his face up front to hers. They were both desperate. “Isabelle Evans stop this!! You stop this now! They’re not your friends! You can pretend all you want but they’re not your friends!”

She struggled to flee but held tighter. “Wake. Up.. You’re not popular. You’re not them. They’re not you. So get over it already and realize it.”

Isabelle snarled and shoved hard. Max stumbled backward and caught himself on a display table.

She walked past the glass doors, past Michael and Maria’s whispered arguing. She popped opened the trunk and stripped off her sweater. The cool air hit the sweaty tank top, forcing it to cling to her breasts. Her armpits felt damp and sticky. All in all, she felt gross. Isabelle pulled her hair in a pony tail and took a deep breath. She’d give them anything they wanted. Too bad they didn’t want her.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2002 7:02:53 PM ]
posted on 24-Jan-2002 10:24:56 PM by Crimson
To Anya, Thanx for the feedback. "Whoa!!! Very intriguing!!!" *happy* I try to make it so, Anya.

To AINGEAL Thanx for the feedback. "I love it you better get back here and post more soon." Luv how ure so straight forward, Katrina. Btw, loving ure name. I had always wished my name was Katrina instead of Karina. I know, I know. I have problems.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. My girl wonder!! Robyn! You're back. How was the trip. Bmail it to me, sidekick. "So, Michael didn't actually sleep w/Maria did he? He's the one who walked in and saved her - or is he the drunk jerk?" My lips are sealed, chica.

"So- I'm guessing that the typical male reaction to a well-endowed girl in a sweaty tank top should give her self-confidence the little boost that it needs - am I right?" Expect some repercussions to her "daring" new look. "Being a 'less than well-endowed' female, I'm just grabbing at straws here. lol" Me and u, sister. Me and u!

"I'm glad to see that the popular kids aren't as shallow as they appear. I should have known, though. Your characters always have many sides to them." Bless ure heart you've found my secret niche.

"Kerplop! Squish! Holy bad exclamations, Batman!" Yikes! To the Batcave - u need some serious fixerupper!

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. I totally love u luver (lol. still laughing). "I hope Isabel can learn to be comfortable with who she is, instead of being so obsessed with being popular!" That's the problem with most people, huh. lol.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "I said it before (I really did it just got wiped ) and I'll say it again this story is excellent." Well u just keep saying that until I get tired of it - which will be like, never.

"Isabel is just waiting for him to notice her (even if she doesn't realise it herself quite yet )" Umhmmm. "Love the friendship between Michael and Liz. LOL at how she brought up all the incidents from their childhood." I'm a definite PPP here.

To angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback.
"Now that all the FB got lost, I have to tell you again that I already love this story! Can't wait to read more!" That is why I am loving u, angelbaby. U are too kool and nice to a lowly small fanfic writer. Bless u.

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. "I love this story! more soon?" No beating around the bush, huh Jenan. *happy*

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 24-Jan-2002 10:28:51 PM by Crimson
~I'm basically cutting up the chapters so that each person will have one. Not sure if I'm gonna do this all the time. I'm tricky like that. Likes to keep things on ure toes. *happy* Enjoy and write numerous, fumerous, feedback. Yes, I made up a word. Deal with it (my English teacher weeps). ~

Chapter 4
“There’s something awful about the way you cry.” Michael studied her face, his head tilting by instinct. “Maria.”

She hadn’t acknowledge his presence, not for the fifteen minutes he had dragged her out to talk. She shivered but disciplined herself to stand still, staring at her hands. Her eyes focused from a million different images to one: a man’s face.

“You haven’t said anything.” His eyes hung an inch from embracing her. “Did you listen?”

Her head turned away.

“You can’t play around about this.” He was beginning to get irritated. Michael grabbed her arm and brought her to him. “Are you listening to me?” He let go, desperate and breathing heavy of regret. “What I did was a mistake but you can’t . .” He couldn’t find the kind words.

“I didn’t rape you.”

Her breath quivered, but she didn’t say a word.

He moved away, unsure so suddenly, transforming back into the boy he was. Is. “You’re not going to forgive me.” Michael nodded and licked his lips. “I’m not gonna blame you for that. I can’t. I blame myself, Maria.” Her blank stare was infuriating him. “I hate myself.”

He stared at her heaving breasts, knowing that once they were his to caress. His palms came out, almost grasping them, perhaps her shoulders, but hesitated in fear. They dropped to his side. “I hate not remembering ‘cause I want to remember you, Maria . . . I can’t. I took a drink and I remember kissing you, and I hope that was you kissing me back, but after that . .” He let the painful sentence end. “I’m sorry.” Michael’s head turned away. His fingers instinctively shook to his shirt pocket. A lighted cigarette materialized dangling on his lips.

She spoke. No, she stretched her fingers and grasped the small, white death. He caught her arm before she went too far.

Don’t, his looks said. “Maria what are you doing?” he asked tightly. With his other hand Michael snatched the cigarette. “This is bad for you. Freak, think about the baby!”

Not a word.

“Maria.” Michael scowled. “Maria!” His face twisted between fury and worry. “You don’t listen to me. That’s your problem. You never listen to anyone. And one day it’s gonna bite you in the back. I’m trying to help you out, Maria. I said sorry and I don’t say sorry.” He chuckled and sneered. “You’re so weird, Maria. You don’t let anyone get to you. Me neither so I respect that, but you don’t even let anyone try. I let people try. Hell, people try all the time with me. I thought you’d understand how hard it is to show myself to you. I’m not an a-hole like everyone thinks I am. You know it. You just don’t care and that’s what gets to me ‘cause I thought we were friends, at least.”

“So much for being nice.”

He almost didn’t catch her bitterness. “I’m being fake for you,” he spat the words out.

“How sweet.”

“Can’t you stop that?!” Michael shouted anxiously. “Stop being like that! I’m not mean; I try not to be. When I’m Mickey G, when I’m at school, that’s mean. That’s not me Maria, and you know it so why are you doing this to me? You know the real me. You know Michael.”

“We barely know each other,” Maria whispered. She looked up at him then. “And no one tells me what to do.” She snatched the cigarette away and took a long, deathly breath. It choked her. It made her cry, but she kept puffing.

“Maria! Maria!” Michael cried out. He grabbed her face, holding tight and she screamed and squealed, holding onto the cigarette with her teeth. Michael kept her head as still as he could with one arm and slapped the cigarette out of her mouth. She cried then, the tears running down his left fingers. He cupped her head in his hands, watching worriedly as Maria shuddered.

“Why?” he whispered, searching her face for an answer. “Why are you doing this to yourself?” He glanced down at her lips.

She sneered and Michael winced in regret. “Why don’t you trust me? You used to trust me.” He loosened his hold on her. “You don’t anymore. Not after you and I . .”

Maria frowned shook her head. “No, Michael. I can’t talk about this. Not to you. No one can know.” She forced her next words out. “No one knows, Michael.” She let the words sink in. “You weren’t, you were never supposed to know.”

Michael bit his words angrily, ”He raped you.” She looked at the floor and he shook her, making her look up to him again. “That is something horrible and disgusting. But it doesn’t make you disgusting. You’re not disgusting.” He stared at her softly. “You’re beautiful and you should tell Liz and Alex.”

She shook her head crying. “No, Michael, no.” Her face crumpled. “Go away, Michael,” she moaned, turning away.

“You can’t run away from this, Maria!” he called out to her running form.

She stopped. Turned. “I’m not running.” Maria brushed away her tears.

Michael hesitated, then “You’re right. You don’t know me like Alex and Liz knows me.” He shook his head. “I’m not gonna lie. I barely remember your last name and I wouldn’t have thought twice about you if it wasn’t for Liz. But know this Maria,” He stopped and looked at the crushed cigarette on the floor, it’s body mangled in three. “I’m not a bad guy.” He looked at her. “I’m not a player. I don’t do other girls. I don’t like skanks and hoes. And you’re the second person I’ve had sex with.”

A cautious parting of lips. “Second?”

He sighed and smoothed his shirt, the wet spots of her tears dampening his thumb. “There’s always some cockamamie story about me and hordes of college chicks. Hell, sometimes I’m the one making up the cockamamie,” Michael chuckled. “It’s just show, Maria. Nothing’s real. I’m not bad ass. I get pretty good grades actually and my teachers don’t mind the attitude if the A’s keep racking in.”

She blinked. “But . . Michael, you don’t . . where . .?”

Michael grinned. “Don’t play that.” He shook his head laughing. “Don’t play like you’re real at school ‘cause half the time I know you aren’t. But I’m doing it for different reasons. You know why I’m doing it, Maria?” He turned sour. “I hate the real me. I smoke. I tried pot twice. I drink like a train and I could blame it on anyone. My dad for leaving my mom and me. My dad with his other women . .” His face fell wearily, “but I won’t. It’s me. Only me. I’m stupid. I’m stupid Michael Guerin.” She wanted to deny that but he wouldn’t let her. “So I pretend I’m someone I’m not. I make up this guy. Mickey G. And I hate him too,” Michael grimaced, “but everyone buys it.”

Maria couldn’t help the tears from falling and she turned so he wouldn’t see. She didn’t want him to finish the story. It would make him human. His pain would equal hers. It would make him understand what had happened, perhaps, and she didn’t want anyone to understand. The better that he didn’t understand. The less people would know.

Michael saw her turned back and gave an anguished sigh. “Maria, I’m so sorry,” he whispered painfully and closed his eyes. “Your cries sound familiar.”

Maria frowned.

“Michael.”

She turned and found herself alone.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 25-Jan-2002 3:11:24 PM ]
posted on 25-Jan-2002 3:24:49 PM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. "I really liked how open he was with her, and he gave Maria some great advice!" Which advice did you think was great, luver? The one with letting people help her out?

To Angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback. "I like your Michael." I'm smiling. Thanks. I know a lot of people don't generally like him, but I do. Sue me. "Who raped Maria?" Do you seriously think I'm gonna tell, Angel?? Actually, don't look for an answer. It's not gonna be a regular or anything (Kyle, Sean, etc).

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. "aaaww.. honest Michael. sweet Michael. Something we do not see nearly enough of...." Exactly. That's why I like it. "(now it worked last time) I love this story! More, soon?" Haha! Jenan ure too cool. "(I don't need to say anythign else... that seems to work, eh?)" Like a charm.

To Lelea, Thanx for the feedback. "I am really glad to see at least two masks come off for a few seconds." I know one mask is of Michael. Is the other one you're speaking about Maria? You mean that she is finally having speaking parts? lol. "God what happened to Maria is beyond words. I am glad that at least one person knows." I know that rape is a very touchy subject and yet I found that I had to put it in there.

To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. Ooooh, long feedback. Me likes. "This story is very emotional and intense." I find that most of my fanfics are like that. I have plans for a third one that will be light hearted. We'll see if that goes off the ground. "I love how the tables are turned for the characters. Isabel is usually the popular girl, while Liz is the nerd." Yes, I always wondered what would happen. Some writers have done it before but not really in an AU setting (I don't think).

"I was very curious in the beginning about how these 6 people wound up in this situation. Now it has cleared up for me somewhat. I guess Max went along with Isabel's plan so that she wouldn't be alone. Why were they in Vegas to begin with?" Why was who in Vegas? Max and Isabel? Max and Isabel were with their Aunt and Uncle right outside of Vegas. The others were in Vegas.

"The scenes between Maria and Michael were excellent." I humbly bow. "Who raped Maria and why does Michael know about it anyway. I am brimming with so many questions." Like I wrote to Angel, it's not going to be someone with significance. It doesn't work that way in my fanfic. Expect nothing. I might not even give a name.

Btw, love the quote.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 27-Jan-2002 1:54:04 PM by Crimson
To Phoenix82, Thanx for the feedback. "I really like this fic; it's so totally opposite anything I've ever read and you're characters are so real." Really Grace? I know some people didn't think I should've used the Roswellian characters for the parts. But it is AU so I thought why not. "Isabel's desperation to be popular is really something we can all relate with." Oh yes we can. "edited 'cause I forgot to mention that I love michael and liz's friendship." *happy* me too.

To LegalAlien, Thanx for the feedback. "I really like this fic! It's absolutely unique!" Unique. That's a good thing, right Joe? lol.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. "I honestly have absolutely no clue where you're going with this, Well, besides Crashdown that is . ." You're a quick one, rattle. *happy* "(You do know where you're going, don't you?)" Absolutely. TRUST ME!

"There's a bit of "Breakfast Club" vibe, but darker." Yes, I realized that when I began thinking it up. "Why does Max smell like fish?" Fishing trip with uncle. It won't really be explained so I'm telling u now.

"You realize of course that you are completely defying canon by having Max and Liz be completely oblivious of the other? Gasp! Or are they only apparently oblivious?" Not telling. Not telling.

"I want to feel sorry for Isabelle, but I just can't. She's diggin' her own grave. I want to feel sorry for Alex, but I just can't. He dug his own grave. I want to feel sorry for Maria, and I do." I like how you wrote this paragraph.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "It appears that they masks are about to come off." Slowly, yes. But later on . . they'll be RIPPED off. Prepare ureself for that chapter. "Michael revealing himself and letting himself be so vulnerable in front of Maria was really powerful." It always is when you show ure real self to people. "I have to admit, I was a little surprised while reading the first few parts. Where were the characters that I knew and loved? I just didn't look deep enough." U trust me! U really trust me!

I got ure bmail about ure trip, Robyn. Expect one back soon.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "Wow, that's all I have to say WOW." Aaah, short and to the point. Lucky never disappoints. "Seeing as you never get sick of hearing it, this fic is excellent!!" *big* U are too cool.

I'm having tests in almost every class I have (Bio, Bio Lab, Spanish, and Math - none in English thank goodness). I'll try real hard to get the next one out but it's gonna be a little hard with the studying.

Btw, some of the characters and some of the situations they are in are actually real people in my life. My apologies and thanks to Carilly, Gita, and John (just a little bit).

Karina Batman *tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Jan-2002 1:54:38 PM ]
posted on 29-Jan-2002 8:56:02 PM by Crimson
Chapter 5
What a wild night. Max stepped out onto the fresh night air, the sneakers brushing against the ground, transient imprints on the sand. The market’s cupola ended and burst into a thousand speckled stars. His feet stopped walking as Max hung back to stare in wonder. That never ceased to amaze him, the possibilities of life being billions of millions of miles away. Maybe a boy like himself wondering to the stars of his own planet, pondering the very same thing. Max shook his head sheepishly; it sounded like something from his video games.

He yawned and removed his baseball cap, scratching the flaking hair beneath. He smelled the cap and wrinkled his nose. It smelled like fish . . and there was a good possibility he smelled like it too. If there was some place to wash up; there was a bathroom around the corner. But he was a boy and boys are lazy so he coughed instead and replaced his cap. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he doused some cologne on it. There was some eau de something in his back pack and if he took a whore’s bath it might just cover the fish smell. Or make it worse. Max shrugged. He’d take the chances.

Maybe a little air would do good. Max discarded his white shirt and stood there for a moment, letting the darkness bathe him. He looked down at the brown fish scales on his wife beater and carefully picked them out. No one was looking, he hoped not, he looked like an idiot standing right outside the market with his arms flung back and feeling the wind. Max untied the red flannel shirt from his waist and put it on, buttoning it up all the way to cover the grubby shirt beneath. His blunt fingers missed and Max squinted, wishing he hadn’t left his glasses in the van. Once done, he tied his white shirt around his waist.

His amber eyes peered through the blurry darkness; hands fumbled to unscrew the cherry coke. It was all a decoy; he was on the lookout. He had soon realized that without his glasses he should be legally blind and so relied on his other senses. Like hearing. Mickey G and Ria were to his right, arguing hotly about something. He couldn’t really see them, shadows and dots mostly. The conversation was growing heated and Max made a move towards them but stopped guiltily. He didn’t want to be a snooper.

The bottle dripped empty and Max tossed it into a trashcan. There was water running, a toiler or sink, he could hear it somewhere behind him. Max wondered briefly if he should wash up, but didn’t.

He walked cautiously to the van, hoping he wouldn’t trip on anything. While everything was a blur, the van was real and clear. It stood glistening on pause, waiting patiently for another uncomfortable ride. Max stopped. He could hear Xander and Beth talking in the front seat. Something intense. He sighed. Does everyone around here have to be intense? Or have issues? So if Mickey G and Ria were to his right, and Xander and Beth in the van, that left the final question: Where was Isabelle.

Crying. Max sighed and made a face. An unexpected feeling of guilt came over him. He shouldn’t have said that. Isabelle was sensitive, even for a girl. He knew how much she wanted to belong, how much she wanted to feel like she was a part of something. Max stubbornly forced the guilt down with anger. Isabelle was crazy. She lived in delusions and fanciful daydreams that will never come true. Don’t we all. Max fought his inner voice. No, we don’t all. Her frightening words. The way she kept nervously flicking her nails. And her eyes, those fervent brown eyes that held an unearthly, dangerous glint when she talked about her plans –plans of school domination. There was always a reason behind the madness. No, not everyone was like that.

But he was. Max choked on the thought and tried vainly to push it out of his mind. It came piercing back into his ears. For as much as Isabelle needed to be noticed, Max had an equal need to be hidden.

Hidden. Unseen. Out of sight. Unknown. Buried. Concealed. Concealed. After eleven years, Max perfected his way to become a one man spy team. He would slink his way across the halls, unnoticed and undetected. He learned the art of blending – to walls, people, classrooms. He would appear, as if by magic, with a mischievous smile. But no one was there to applaud him. He was merely another bland face in the crowd. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Average height and weight. Baggy shirt and baggy jeans. Nothing about him stuck out. Well, he scratched his ears.

But to be invisible was a blessing, a gift. There was something utterly peaceful about being invisible. He closed his eyes, feet apart and palms out, and felt everything. He could hear the murmurs, and the night, and the neon buzz, and the cold ground beneath his thick leather soles. And for a moment, he was . . not.

Max blinked open; a tear ran down one cheek. He laughed nervously and swiped it away; happy and sad all at once. If he did this long enough, he felt like he’d disappear completely.

Ms. Lambert taught him that trick. Ms. Lambert his psychologist. It was actually his choice to go to her, the school psychologist. His parents didn’t even know he went and Isabelle only knew because she caught him entering her room one time after fifth period.

Ms. Lambert listened well, and was sweet, and kind, and thought the technique would help the young Max Evans in his anti-social behavior. When Max told her what happened she regretted ever telling him and warned him to not do it again. ‘You’re supposed to reflect on things, Mr. Evans, not pretend they don’t exist or that you don’t exist.’

Max sighed. Reflecting on things always made him not want to exist. What she didn’t understand was that he didn’t mind not existing. It wasn’t a scary thought and he didn’t think of it as death or suicide. It was actually nice to think that he could just not . . be. To feel the world move around him, like he was the sun, and everyone was rotating around, thinking they rotated around themselves. Ms. Lambert didn’t see it that way and termed him ‘unstable’ as if one word would ever define a person. She wrote ‘Abandonment Issues’ on top of the 30th page of his file. Maybe she was right. He and his sister, Isabelle, were left on a highway when they were only six. There could be some childhood trauma there. But no. It wasn’t that. It didn’t feel like that. It was merely normal adolescent insecurities to the highest degree. Isabelle needed friends because she wants to feel loved. And he, Max’s brow furrowed . . he didn’t want any friends because he was afraid they’d leave him.

“Oh.”

That surprised him. The newfound information was disturbing. Abandonment issues. Hmph. So maybe she was right.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Jan-2002 8:57:49 PM ]
posted on 30-Jan-2002 10:14:46 PM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback, luver. I usually catch you as the first feedback. I should give out an award or something for my appreciation. *happy*
"I hope Max apologizes to Isabelle, sounds like they really need to support each other!" What do you think this Max would most likely do?

To obsessionbyroswell, Thanx for the feedback. "So when is the group going to merge??" Oh. You expected it to merge? *happy* I'm sorry. I'm sorry, obsession. I'm just teasing u. Just be patient with that question. "I can't wait until "Beth" gets Max to open up." How about Max getting Beth to open up? Oh rrrright. You haven't read the next chapter yet. "Or when Alex will finally see Isabel." Don't expect that too soon. Isabelle's not going to be on any of his lists because of the whole baby/Ava issue and . . . well, ull see. Btw, love the quote about unicorns.

To angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback. "That's a totally different Max in your story. He is not the sexy guy like usual. Looks like he is a guy with lots of fears." I really don't see these characters totally different from the characters in the show. Just . . more real, I would think because there is no alien sense and we can relate more in their situations. Max (in the show) seems to be a boy who doesn't know his own good looks and has many insecurities. Much like the Max in this story. "But that's why I like this story, because it's so different!" Thank you, angel.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "Yay you updated!!" Yes, Lucky. Just for u. *happy* "This part was fantastic, a great insight into Max' character." I thought it was particularly short but full of clues to Max's character. "This fic is excellent." Thank you, Lucky.

To cookiely, Thanx for the feedback. "I like this story. You dont follow the typical character schemes.
Im intrigued." I thought I followed a lot of the character schemes, actually. lol. True, there are no aliens. And Isabelle is not the popular one. Michael and Alex are best friends along with Liz. But I believe that deep down, their characters are still the same. Isabelle is lonely and would like someone to desperately like her. Michael has this image of toughness though he really isn't. It's just a show to hide his true self. And so on. What does 'pereat mundus' mean, cookiely?

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. "Oh dear...I think Max may be insane, or at least near the edge. I think he'll be the axe murderer." Tim, I would really like to know what you're saying here with the axe murderer bit so I'll just go along: I'll just smile and wave. lol. I don't know who would want to kill an axe, anyway.

Karina Batman *tongue*


posted on 31-Jan-2002 11:34:28 AM by Crimson
To LegalAlien, Thanx for the feedback. "WOW, I loved Max' inner monologue and his psychological self-analysis!!!" I didn't really expect anyone to be 'wowed' by this chapter. Um *happy* thank you. "Maybe Liz can get him out of his shell - I mean after she got rid of her fake arrogance!" lol. Joe, you'll be able to see a little bit of the real Liz in the next chapter. "I could also picture him seeing all blurry without his glasses very well - I'm also lost without them!" Haha! Me too. I'm so farsighted it's not even funny. "PS: Of course unique is a VERY good thing!" P.S. You're right.

To Lucky Star, "Just me begging for new parts!!" Too cute. *happy* Expect one friday. Hopefully. Love the quote from Arthur Hugh Clough. Btw, who is he?

To rattlebox, Thanx for another feedback, Tim. "there is some slight possibility that this story won't feature an axe murderer at all, I suppose. (Where would they get the axes anyway?)" lol. I wasn't really expecting murders to anyone in this story, but hey, you never know now. You've given me ideas. LOL. I think I'll stick with my original plan of world domination though. Haha.

"let me put on my fanfic-psychologist's hat" Oh, u have one too? "Max's notion of invisibility, combined with his implied contention that he doesn't care what his peers think of him, lend creedence to the notion that he is inclined towards delusional thinking." Nice observation. "He's wrapped himself in a protective cocoon of isolation, but in doing so has cut himself off from a basic part of his humanity" I really like how u associated his feelings to a cocoon-like layer. "Is it so hard to imagine he might be capable of inhuman behavior?" Do you think that maybe there's a layer even below this one? The 'butterfly' beneath the cocoon? "Well it's kinda of a classic set up for a slasher movie. It's always the quiet, nice ones..." Seems like ure talking from experience, Tim. *happy* I think I might associate that quote from Jane into my life.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "hmmm, I sense Max hiding behind a tree" *happy* Hey. I like that. "I mean, he is detached and yet he is really introspective all at the same time." Almost like he's going out of himself to study himself? "Karina, you know I love your writing, but this story is definitely taking things to a different level." There's a but? "You are really getting into the heads of each character. I love how this story has evolved." Thank you, Robyn. "We were introduced to the characters in a very superficial way - seeing only what is visible on the outside. Now, we are gradually getting a peek into who they are on the inside." Isn't that usually how it is when you meet people? "The psychology-lover in me is completely into this story. I love finding out how/why people tick!" lol. Hopefully you won't use ure powers to do evil, Robyn! "Back to the Batcave!!!!!" - for another part on Friday. *happy*

Karina Batman *tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Jan-2002 11:36:37 AM ]
posted on 31-Jan-2002 6:16:45 PM by Crimson
To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. "as a psychology student, I love it when characters do the introspection thing and realize some truth about themselves." ure a psych major? very cool. For what age group? "I really hope he's there for isabelle. she needs some help too. (poor girl... desparate for popularity/acceptance is just such a sadly familiar place to too many of us)" buh-lieve me jenan when I say I have definitely been there but not to this extreme extent. btw, I noticed ure quote. I'm intrigued. care to translate the hidden meaning to me?

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 1-Feb-2002 3:21:04 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Robyn I was only teasing you. *happy* I'm so cruel like this. Making you have a feedback to my feedback of your feedback and now I'm giving you a feedback for the feedback you gave of my feedback that I gave for your feedback for my story. Figure that one out, Girl Wonder. I'm glad you use your powers for good.

To Transparent Clear, I'm glad you like the feedback to the feedback. *happy* When I first started reading fanfics I noticed that most authors just say a general thank you to everyone and I didn't really like that. I find that the story takes on new meaning if there's a "relationship" between the writer and the readers. The issues are discussed, the chapters broken apart and picked at, at length. I call my feedback to ures 'Author's Thanks'.

"I hope to (someday) be an adolescent counselor. I just have to make it through the h*ll of senior thesis first." lol. The friends I have that want to be counselors/psychologists are focused on preteen, from ages 6 - 12 I think. Much luck on ure senior thesis.

I love the poem. It is simple and yet like all simple things, it's complex. The clear bead, the first two sentences of the poem, has intrigued me more than the last two. I'm trying to figure out the meaning of my own life from those two sentences.

I didn't know that your name, Transparent Clear, was for that. It makes sense now. I really like it too, Jenan.

To Lucky Star, I'm sorry that there was no new part when you came over. But I am posting a new part soon after I write the Author's Thanks to everyone. What other things did Arthur Hugh Clough write? I'm interested. Btw, I have that c.d. of Everclear. I love their songs.

To Snow White, Thanx for the feedback. "Ok this is amazing - I love the changes that you have made to the characters, and there's so much to all of them." *happy* Why thank you, Snow.

Karina Batma *tongue*

On to the show . . .
posted on 1-Feb-2002 3:21:32 PM by Crimson
Chapter 6
Liz leaned back on her seat, the sweat pouring off her arms like tendrils of snakes. Was it always this seat? Almost the driver, never the driver. The cushion had even imprinted her form into his softness so now she sunk into the cloth, almost feeling the hard bones of its skeleton.

Alex moaned and turned over to unroll his windows. He fanned himself but that didn’t help. His shirt was long discarded on the van floor, draped ceremoniously over the brake pedal. Bare chest and sticky, Alex licked his lips to moisten his parched lips, wincing as his tongue dipped into a cracked opening. The sting jolted him back to reality.

She breathed fire. “So this is the choice you’ve made.” Her voice stunned the silence.

Alex’ mouth cracked open, a million words to say. “Yeah, Liz.” He slowly nodded. “This is my choice and I believe I’m doing the right thing here.”

“So basically what you’re saying is that you’re gonna try to be the savior of this unborn baby.” Liz leaned back on her seat, crossing her arms angrily. “No. Don’t speak. You’ve said enough already.” She turned away in frustration. “I can’t believe you’re doing this, Alex.”

Alex stared at the car wheel. “You know what, Liz? I need you to shut up.”

She hissed.

“Liz shut up.” He turned to the window. Tears prickled his eyes. Stubbornly, he didn’t let go. Alex shook his head, not trusting his voice to speak. “You have no idea what I’m going through right now . .” his voice broke. “You have no idea how hard of a choice this is for me,” Alex laughed sardonically.

“Maybe I don’t, Alex, but that doesn’t give you the right . .” she started self-righteously.

You have no idea, Liz!” Alex yelled. He turned to her red-faced with anger, not caring if the tears fell. Not caring if he scared her. “This is supposed to be my normal life too. What? You think I flipped a coin and decided the fate of this baby’s life? My baby’s life?” he seethed. “Because I didn’t. Thing is, Liz, life doesn’t give you a lot of time to think. When we arrive in Roswell I’ll have to haul my ass over to Ava’s to either stop her from having an abortion or pay half the amount and live the rest of my life with regret over something that was mine.” He glanced at the van’s clock and chuckled. “I have a few hours to figure out if a baby should live or die but you know what the great part is, Liz? The great part is that I’ve already chosen and you can’t do a thing about it.”

Liz sneered viciously. “How cute. You,” she grinned, “giving me advice. Times have changed, haven’t they, Alex?” She spat out his name. “Suddenly you’re the good guy trying to save the baby. And so who am I in this? I’m the bad villain who wants you to kill it, aren’t I?” Liz sniffed. “Maybe I don’t understand what you’re going through. I couldn’t possibly have an idea because hey, it’s just little ‘ole virgin Liz who doesn’t have a clue of what goes on in the real life.” She whirled around to face him. “You know,” her eyes widening, “I’ve got this one question that’s been bugging me ever since you told me about Ava.” Liz cocked her head. “Alex, how do you know the baby’s yours?”

“Because I do,” he fumed, every breath filled with pain.

“But you don’t!” she yelled. “And it’s bad enough that you want to keep this baby but what if you don’t? What if it’s some other guy’s choice? What are you gonna do if that happens?”

He faced the window.

Liz shuddered and dropped her eyes. “Alex.” Her tactic had changed. “I don’t want you to have this baby. And not because I don’t want you to because I do. You know I do. If there’s anyone that knows the importance of a life, it’s me, with my mom and grandma sick like this. But I also know the importance of death.” She looked up to see his rigid back. Sighed. “What kind of life are you going to give this baby? Quality over quantity, Alex. Ava does drugs. She smokes and she drinks. You think she’ll stop when she’s pregnant? ‘Cause she won’t. And what are you going to do if the baby comes out with cancer or fetal alcohol syndrome? What life are you going to give it?”

Alex’s tears dripped down to his lap.

“You’re 17, Alex,” Liz whimpered. “You can barely take care of yourself as it is. You have no job, no money. You know in any other circumstance I’d be happy for you. I would be the first person to congratulate and come over with balloons to force the baby’s name to be named after me.” Liz wiped away her tears. “Think about the future of this baby, Alex.” She buried her face in the warm covered seat, her muffled voice ringing clear in his head. “What kind of life are you gonna give this baby?“

Alex turned around and laid his head on the seat, facing her. He touched the hair that stuck to her wet lashes and parted them. “Liz, I’m always thankful for the advice you give me.” He bit his lip. “But in the end it’s my choice and, and I want this baby.” His eyes lowered. “I’ve thought this through. I’ve thought about diapers, joint custodies, diseases, and college money.” Alex rubbed his eyes tiredly. “I’m doing my best.” He closed his eyes. “It’s all I can do. If this baby’s mine then I have the responsibility to take make sure the best thing happens for him or her.” His eyes opened and Alex stared meaningfully at Liz. “It’s worth it.” A tear slithered down his aching cheek. “I can’t take this baby’s life away.”

“Then I trust you, Alex. I do trust you.” Liz smiled a little. “And I won’t bring it up again if you don’t want me to.” She brushed away the drooping locks from his brow. “I’m just afraid. You’re gonna be alone in this. Not that I think you can’t handle it,” she said hurriedly, “but, having a baby is hard enough, but having a baby in high school . . . There’s no Ava, no mom, no dad to help you out.” Liz half shrugged. “I’m just worried. That’s all.

“There’s you and Michael,” whispered Alex.

Liz looked over and saw his boyish, shy smile. She nodded, then gave a loving smile of her own. “There’s me and Michael.”

"Thank you," Alex sighed, "for understanding."

Liz shook her head. "No, I don't understand. But I don't have to understand everything." She shrugged. "I love you, Alex. And no matter what, I just," she licked her lips, "I want you to be okay."

Alex leaned in and kissed her nose. “I love you, Liz.”

“I love you, Alex.”

“You nerd.”

“You geek.”

The van door opened.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 1-Feb-2002 3:29:54 PM ]
posted on 1-Feb-2002 7:38:47 PM by Crimson
To Snow White, Thanx for the feedback. "I'm surprised that Liz is a virgin ('little ole virgin Liz') though cos she seems so much more...I don't know." Why? Because all her friends have done sex? "Alex is a sweetie as always even though in the beggining I thought he was an asshole." I think everyone did. "Max is so funny being like addicted to tetris - thats so cute." I think so too. "I really love this - please post more soon." I'll post next week if I can. Remember. I do have a life and I need the weekends to prove it. *happy*

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "Feedback on feedback's feedback? The sad part is, I completely followed that whole paragraph." Well, that's why you're my sidekick, Robyn. We have a secret language the evil don't know. *happy*

"I'm pretty impressed with Alex. He really wants to do the right thing for this child - whether it's his or not." I'm glad you see him like that. "Liz did seem harsh, but I'm glad she was. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a crisis you need someone to get you to look at things from another perspective, to get you to listen." That is the Liz. You'll see that she does that often. "I found it interesting that Liz seems to be dispensing advice to everyone - does she ever take it from her friends?" Good question. "I really like how we are finding things out by the pairings of different characters. There really hasn't been any large, group interaction. Great angle!" Thank you. Don't expect there to be any until they're all back in the van.

"See you at the next Batsignal! The battle between good and evil never ends... (Gimme a break. It's the end of the day, Friday, and I am so tired!)" Poor baby. I officially call this day Robyn Holiday.

To obsessionbyroswell, Thanx for the feedback. "I get what you were saying earlier about Max getting Liz to open up. I can tell she has suffered, maybe they can heal each other." Maybe they can. "I hope the baby isn't Alex's that would be horrible and wonderful for him." I'm glad that you can see that, obsession.
"Hopefully we'll get a little more interaction between groups in the next chapters." Expect it in the van. "I don't know if I commented about it before but I loved how when Isabel called Liz stupid, Liz brought up the validictorian (sp) thing to herself." Me too. I don't want any of them to be the quote on quote, popular people. Get what I mean? That's a hint, btw.

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. "Liz sure gave Alex an intense "tough love" talk!" He needed it, I thought.

Edited for Cinder
To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. I'm sorry I didn't see u there. I was writing the Author's Thanks when u posted. "The part concentrating on Max was so interesting. I literally heard Radiohead's How To Disappear Completely as I read the part." U know, I was listening to Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry. I do that often when I write a story. I play it over and over again to get into the part and while writing it (of course I already wrote that *happy*)

"The last part with Alex and Liz in the van was quite intense, too." Thank you. I was listening to Life in Mono by Mono. Great song.

"Oh and I love that you respond to feedback!!!!!!!!!!!" Most people do and I really enjoy 'talking' to u guys, Cinder.

Karina Batman *tongue*



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Feb-2002 7:44:42 PM ]
posted on 3-Feb-2002 2:37:53 PM by Crimson
To LegalAlien, Thanx for the feedback. "WOW, that was an intense and absolutely fantastic part!!!" Thank you, Joe. "It's great that Liz talked to Alex and brought up her worries and the problems Alex might face with the baby" She always seemed like the rational one in situations, Joe, and so I wanted to bring it out in her character. "I must say I'm very impressed by Alex: not a lot of teenagers of his age would face all the problems he'll have to to save the baby's life!" Well, maybe it's because of his background? "Who opened the van? Is it Max?" *happy* Nearsightedness is never a joke when u can't see the police car in front of u.

To Lelea, Thanx for the feedback. "I loved this part! It's great that Alex and Liz are REALLY friends. I just loved it." I really liked Alex and Liz's relationship in the show and wanted to do the same here. Luv the quote, Lelea.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "This new part was worth waiting for!!" Awww, Lucky, thank you. I'm not sure if I've heard much about Arthur Hugh Clough. Armours de Voyage sounds strangely familiar although it might just be me being really stupid.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. I love your feedbacks on my quotes. Funny. Charming. Utterly unique. "I guess she's not really thinking about the seat..." Um, maybe not Tim. *happy* "Her voice stunned the silence? I can't decide if that's pure poetry, or utter nonsense." U make the call although I'd say pure poetry. But then I am biased. "This Liz can be quite the hellcat, we only get glimpses of that on the show. I like that she's not relentlessly nice." I like how she's not a doormat. "Oh yeah, I think I forgot to say what a nice part that was." A little bit, Tim. Just a little bit. *happy* LOL. "You are doing a good job of sketching out edgier versions of the characters who are nonetheless still recognizable." Thank you.

To angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback. "I think it's great that Alex wants to have this baby although he doesn't know for sure if it's really his. But there is a chance that it is his child." There is, angelbaby. "I think Liz is a good friend. She only wants the best for Alex." I'm glad you think so.

To Lucky Star, Pushing for another chapter? For shame. I do pretend to have a life in the weekends, remember? *happy*

To Katalina, Thanx for the feedback. "I LOVE this!" Um, thank you for the enthusiasm, Katalina. *happy* "Michael and Liz and Alex being so close. The way you've developed the characters is amazing!" Thanx again.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 5-Feb-2002 7:04:05 PM by Crimson
To Lucky Star, Thanx for the bump. "I know I'm impatient but that's probably 'cos I don't have a life." You're supposed to lie about things like that, Lucky!

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. "(silly obligations!)" Aren't they though? *happy*

"But I loved this part!" Thank you. "It's good to see Alex and Liz being friends again." I missed their friendship too. "The cure for the pain is in the pain". I love it, Jenan. I really love it. Send me the whole poem from Rumi. I think I'm starting to really like this poet.
"I hope there's more soon! and I promise I will find it much quicker than I found this one!" Good one, Jenan. *happy*

To CleopatraRoswellEmperass, Thanx for the feedback. "This is a great story! So Michel raped Maria or someone else did?" I think ure the only person that has asked that, though I might be wrong. No, Michael did not rape her and the story will come out later. "Isabel has this great need to be popular but the way they treat her and Max is...ugh. Isabel and Max went to pick them up and give them a lift when they had no other way!" *happy* I'm glad u noticed that. " It seems as if Liz, Alex, Michael, and Maria are all good people but Beth, Xander, Mickey G, and Ria really suck at being good people!" I love this, Emperass, how you see both sides of the same person.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 8-Feb-2002 1:52:04 PM by Crimson
Chapter 7
The back of the market was quiet and secluded. A stray wind hit the side of his face, stinging it as well as a well placed slap. He rubbed his cheek, feeling the bristles of a shadowed beard. It was so very cold and he had left his jacket in the van. Michael drew his knees to his chest, burying his head in his arms. What was he gonna do. It wasn’t a question anymore. It was a cry for help.

Someone was crying in the bathroom.

“Maria?” he murmured. There was no answer.

He sighed and rubbed his forehead on the hairs of his arm. This was not the way it was supposed to be. She was supposed to listen to him. But why would she? He got drunk. He had sex. He was as bad as the man that raped her. Michael frowned and sighed, clenching his eyes to push back his tears.

It would be all his fault – if she got pregnant. He had a condom. He remembered he had a condom. But the other guy didn’t. Would Maria keep the baby she conceived from her rapist? What would she do with it? His thoughts traveled to Alex. My God, poor Alex. At least his sex partner had a name. At least he would see her again. But not Maria. And Michael wondered what could’ve happened if he wasn’t drunk. Would he have rescued her sooner? Before that bastard raped her? Maybe . . possibly. Michael shut his eyes. Yes.

It was getting too cold. He felt the wind streaming into his thin black shirt, nipping his insides. He hadn’t wanted to go inside the van. Knowing Liz, she had left to go talk to Alex. But he was cold. And he was lonely. And the crying in the bathroom was growing more heartbreaking. Michael got up and headed for the van.

There was someone . . He squinted. Someone had beaten him to it. Who the heck was that? Oh man no. He sprinted for the door. “Hey! Hey you!” He broke into a run, the sadness bleeding out of his eyes. Michael grimaced, feeling the painful transformation exchanging in his heart, his very mind. Michael buried himself somewhere within. A new face approached, surfaced.

Max stuffed his hand in his pockets, a guilty expression on his face. Was he not supposed to go in the van? He nervously stepped away from the sliding door. Max rubbed his nose and waited for the other boy.

SLAM!

Max jerked as an arm slammed inches from his face.

Man, I gotta exercise.” It was Mickey G.

Max cautiously turned to see Michael leaning on the van’s side, scowling and panting hard to catch his breath.

“What are you looking at?”

Max tried not to smile. “Nothing.”

Michael gave him a weird expression then just as suddenly, gave a cheerless tinged smile. He forced it to grow wider, forcing it to seem good natured. Might as well stiff up and be nice. Hopefully Max forgot about the last time they spoke. Do we shake hands? Or is that some weird formality. Michael’s hand lowered from the window, wavering on whether to act like friends or stay as strangers.

The pressed impression of his palm stained the glass white. The silver handprint glanced off the moonlight like an ominous symbol. It began evaporating into the night and Michael waved his palm over it to take credit for its disappearance. He cocked a smile and presented the now empty window. Go with the laughs.

Max snorted.

Michael smiled. Wasn’t the expression he was going for, but, at least it was something. All that remained of the handprint was a sticky smudge. He tapped its middle and pressed his ears to the window, waiting patiently for . . something. Max’s brows furrowed. What was he doing?

“Listen, Moondog. If we’re gonna spend the next couple of hours with forced bonding here, there should be some things you gotta learn in this exclusive group we call us.” Michael tapped the window again. “First rule: always knock.” He tapped the window harder, becoming agitated. “Man, are they awake in there?”

Tap. It came as an answer. Tap. Tap.

Michael nodded, smiling. “Alright then.”

Max returned the smile with a shy one of his own and put his hand on the latch. Good sign. Open the door.

Michael’s face creased and he snatched Max’s hand off. “Hey no! What are you doing?” He shook his head impatiently. “That’s not the signal for come on in buddy. Come on in is a tap, tap with a double tap. That was a signal for do not go in.” He saw Max’s face and shrugged indifferently. “We’ve got a language none but the aliens understand – or would even want to. I, uh, don’t ask. Just trust me on this. Don’t go in.”

Max swallowed hard; eighteen years of imagination running wild. His eyes involuntarily went to the dark window. “What,” his mouth was dry, “what are they doing in there?”

“None of your business.” Michael smirked, his back sliding down the van and falling to the dusty ground, looking strangely comfortable on the road.

Max laughed nervously. “Okay.”

Michael looked at him and sniggered. “Relax. I was joking. They’re just talking in there.” He patted the space next to him. “Sit, boy.”

Max sat.

Michael watched him fidget and sighed. “Moondog, relax. I just wanted to thank you for lending us the van. I don’t think we really did and I kinda feel bad for it now so . . yeah. Thanks.”

Max looked up, surprised. “No problem,” not sure what to say.

Michael disagreed. “No, don’t even, man. You guys went out of your way to help us out.” He nodded appreciatively. “Do you even know us?”

“Kind of.” Max brushed the dirt off his jeaned thigh. “I have Bio with Beth.”

He called her Beth. He didn’t know her. Michael shrugged. “She never mentioned you.”

Max’s eyes roamed the desert. “She wouldn’t.”

Michael didn’t hear. He patted the bottom of the van lovingly. “Let freedom cry outside my ride but silence rules inside my van.” He tilted his head back and began singing, much to the dismay of Max. “Suppression. The road to . .” scratched his lip, “heaven.” He grinned, delighted in his own discovery. “Suppression. The road to heav-en.” Michael slapped the imaginary drums around him. “Bam. Bam. Tsshhh! Kerbam!” He slapped his thighs, then the ground, then his thighs, then the air. “Suppression!”

His voice turned a bit off key and Max winced as Michael pulled his heart into it – and his none existent soprano voice. “Is the road to heaven. Yeah!” Slap. “Yeah!” Slap. “Oh yeah!” Slap. “Tsshhh. Whoow!” Michael leaned back and applauded himself. He began to smile. He hadn’t played around like that for a long time and it felt really good to pretend to have no worries, to just be playing on imaginary drums singing imaginary songs . . like a child. Michael sneaked a quick look at Max. It was a little odd that he felt comfortable around a boy he barely knew.

Max caught the look and smirked. “You’re a regular poet,” he jibed sarcastically.

Michael merely closed his eyes. “Call me Dickens, Moondog. You ever heard us play?”

Max thought for awhile, then nodded. “I think in the gym once. For 2nd lunch.”

Michael made a face. “Oh man! I hated that gig. We sucked.”

Max wisely stayed quiet.

“But we’ve been practicing since then, you know. We practice almost every week. Problem is, we need another singer. Carmen Contini? You know her?”

Max shook his head.

“No? Well, Carmen left for UNM last week and we need a new singer. So that really sucks.”

Max found a stick and threw it at the market.

“You sing, Moondog?”

Max turned in surprise. “I, uh . .”

Michael laughed. “Relax, man. I’m not asking you to join. I just wanna know if you sing.”

“No. I don’t sing.”

Michael scratched his arms and shrugged. “Too bad.”

Max smiled. “Are you gonna be a rock star?”

Michael stared at him incredulously. “Are you serious?”

Max was taken back. “Uh, yes.”

Michael roared with laughter. “Moondog, you’re too funny!” He laughed harder. “Rockstars?! Who the hell do you think we are?” Michael’s shaking had down towed to small shivers of cold and giggles. “Man, that was a good one,” he sighed and laughed again, bringing out the last of the joke.

Max sat uncomfortably, and angrily, by his side. Laughing was not what he expected.

Michael looked up at the van window and reached for the latch to help himself up. Unexpectedly it opened and Michael plopped down on the floor again. He winced, to Max’s satisfaction, and helped himself up into the van.

Alex and Liz looked back as Michael dropped himself on the seat behind them. Their eyes sharpened as Max climbed in to sit by Michael who just sighed and promptly went to a dreamless sleep.

Max was left with one half of the most popular kids at school. Alex and Liz was left with the stare of a stranger.

This was going to be interesting.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Feb-2002 1:55:19 PM ]
posted on 8-Feb-2002 2:02:39 PM by Crimson
I know this isn't what u expected. Not like the last chapter. Two words: TRUST ME.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 8-Feb-2002 4:10:48 PM by Crimson
To obsessionbyroswell, Thanx for the feedback. "I love this story!" Ahhh. Sweet and to the point. Gotta love you for that one.

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. "Poor Max was pretty clueless about what was going on, I hope Maria's OK!" Maria will be . . Maria.

To xmag, Thanx for the feedback. Really. I know you don't particularly enjoy this other fanfic of mine so thanx for giving it a chance.

"silverhandprint ? so there are aliens in this fic." no. You'll see that in this fanfic I incorporate a lot of things that happened in the show (hence, max and isabelle being brother/sister, being abandoned, Las Vegas). There are no aliens in thsi fanfic.

"Did Michael have sex with Maria before the rape or after? I didn't quite understand it. And if it is after, how long after, not just after the rape, right? not the same night, brr, I shiver here." I'm not gonna say now.

"What was their relationship before the rape?" Barely friends. If you see the conversation between Michael and Maria, Michael mentions about not really noticing her if it wasn't for Liz.

"Is Maria going to keep her baby if the father is the rapist? I won't develop here, I suppose you remember my opinion on that question, from an e-mail." I know, I know. Lemme say one thing: things are complicated as it is.

Karina Batman *tongue*

posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:56:09 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, I am so sorry babe. While I was writing an Author's feedback to the others I guess u posted ure fb to me and I didn't see it. Much love, Robyn. Thanx for the feedback, btw. *happy* I'm glad u liked that exchange between Michael and Max. I thought it was funny too.

"So, they are Aliens, but it's their band name? Am I reading this right?" Um, no. lol. Michael said it saying that no one can understand it but aliens, like, no one can? Okay, no one got it. Forget it. "Either way, I love the tongue-in-cheek alien references!" Yay! Someone did!

"I just went back and read it again." Why? lol. "I hope Max will get some balls eventually, but he just seems so nervous around all of these people." Doesn't he?

"Kudos, Karina! I'm so excited that you updated!!!" Thanx Robyn.

To CleopatraRoswellEmperass, Thanx for the feedback. Hiya cutie! "Great new part! I loved it." I can't believe u guys even liked it. I really thought you guys wouldn't. "I liked the fact that Micheal and Max 'bonded'." Bonded? Umm, too strong of a word. *happy* "So Michael, Liz, and Alex all have a secret code or something? LOL!" U know how friends like, have this weird talk that no one understands but them? Well, yeah. "I have the strangest feeling that Isabel is going to do something..not sure yet, but I know it's something. *big*

"Someone raped Maria, before Michael could get there, and he was drunk." Yup. "I'm still kinda confused on the whole thing." Because the real story will be revealed later.

"Ya well *looks smug* then, *falls over in chair and looks around wildly*" I love that u did. Just teasing. "Even Max and Isabel have a diff. side than what they show." Hmm, nice observation.

To Snow White, Thanx for the feedback. "Ok this is getting even better. I like this sooooooooooo much." Oh my goodness. U guys really surprise me. Btw, luv ure quote, Snow.

To LegalAlien, Thanx for the feedback. "That part was really fantastic!" U guys are . . amazing. "You gotta love the Michael's lame attempts on male bonding!" I do, Joe. "I'm however glad that at least someone showed the dentency to thank Max for the using of the van!" Isn't it funny how it is Michael who does it?

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "Michael is just too cute!!" I tend to think so. "This story rocks!! It's excellent!!" The sound of beautiful egoism. Love it!

To angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback. "Wonderful part! Thanks for posting!" lol. Thanx for reading!

To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. "Very good part!" No way! Thanx! "It is amazing to see how quicky Michael can put on his alter ego Mickey G." Glad u noticed, Cinder. "Was he worried that Max could tell that he was crying and that is why he was acting so goofy?" Either that or that's the way Mickey G acts at school. "I hope that Alex and Liz won't be too mean or rude to Max." U'll see. U'll see.

To Angelalien, Thanx for the feedback. "Great story." Thank you. "If they get a cheap hotel room what will the sleeping be." Hmmm. That's gonna be a surprise, Angela. "What mag did maria get I don't understand spanish." I didn't name it. If u want I'll translate it for u in the next post. If u want.

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. U are too hilarious with the "I'll read it at home" stint. Too cute. *happy* "I really really hope that Maria isn't pregnant. That would totally suck..." Wouldn't it, Jenan?

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 10-Feb-2002 12:54:05 PM by Crimson
To Lelea, Thanx for the feedback. "I saw your response and your not ready to answer yet......so Ok I'll keep reading." Thanx Lelea for understanding. Yup, Karina's not ready yet. But of course, they will be answered if not soon . . someday. "Michael is a little difficult isn't he? Poor Max doesn't know what to think!" Yeah well, they are strangers. "Max you really should have got off your lazy butt and washed up. Gross!" Aren't boys just like that though??!

To Krazykitti, Thanx for the feedback. "WOW! Can't wait for the next chapter!" Me neither. lol. I kind of know what the next chapter will be but I'm having reservations over whether it'd be good or not.

To Angelalien, the conversation is in Spanish but I didn't comment on what magazine it was. So here's the translation, Angela.

“Buenas noches, Senorita.” Good evening, young lady.

Maria nodded absently. “Buenas noches.” Good evening.

She stared down through the glass counter and tapped the glass, pushing a five dollar bill towards him. “That magazine, por favor." That magazine, please.

He pointed to a blue covered magazine and she nodded. “Yes. Si. That one.” Yes. Yes. That one.

(skipped part)

The old man smiled toothlessly and slapped the magazine on the counter, ringing up her change. “De donde usted?” Where are you from? (formal way of saying it in Spanish)

(skipped part)

Maria looked up to see his confused face and waved the magazine. “Uh, gracias señor.” Uh, thank you sir.

“El gusto es mio, senorita.” The pleasure is mine.

And that's it, Angela. Hope that made u understand the conversation better. I'm taking Spanish classes so I thought, "What the hey, I should incorporate some of that in this story." And so I did. *happy* Hope u guys didn't mind.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 10-Feb-2002 7:57:23 PM by Crimson
To Ally, Thanx for the feedback. "I don't know where to start." Um, I'll take that as a compliment. lol. "This fic is completely unbelievable and so well written. Ten out of ten for originality." Oh wow Ally, thanx a lot. Hey peoples! I got 10 out of 10 for something!

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 11-Feb-2002 8:26:50 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the other feedback. "I was just a little off with the Alien theory, huh?" Just a little, dear. lol. "They could play songs with titles like, "Baby, You've Abducted My Heart", or a nice cover of the X-Files theme?" Oh . . my . . no words can describe the horror/laughter/disbelief when I read that. That was too hilarious, Robyn.

To Lucky Star, U are too cute, Lucky. Right now I'm working on the next part of "Within the Lies". It's only fair. It's their turn to get a new part. Heck, (shameless plugging) u should read "Within the Lies" like Robyn and Magali do all the time. Bless them for it. It's very different from "Car Ride to Crashdown" but maybe u'll like it too. Who knows.

Karina Batman *tongue*


posted on 15-Feb-2002 12:40:29 PM by Crimson
To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. Alright, I think u gave one of the most intriguing feedbacks I've ever read. Well, that's directed to me anyway. How many times did u read this?? Not complaining or anything, but just . . wondering. Huh. Hmmm. Ummm. I like how there are three stages to understanding this fanfic. *happy* "It seems you'd rendered me speechless, probably a good thing." Is it really?

"Maybe you should retitle this "Max through the Looking Glass." Uh, no. lol. It'd just be like 'Alice through the looking glass.' "certainly Mickey G must seem slightly (slightly?) unhinged." Slightly? I'd say he's off the rocker. lol. Thing is, it's not all about Max. It's about everyone so obviously the title wouldn't go.

"I liked Mickey G's song - it seems to express his core belief well, 'cept I don't know just how silent it really is inside the van." U liked the song? *happy* There's gonna be, at most, 2 more songs he'll be singing. Will it annoy some people? Maybe. Will it cause havoc? Most probably. Will anyone like it? I have no idea.

"You tease!" I am a girl. *happy* I hope u got the joke because if u didn't . . (sigh). "throwin' all those classic Roswell-alien hints and symbols into your non-sci-fi fic. Why I oughta...to the moon Alice!" I love incorporating that into the fanfic. I think u'll see a little bit more of it in this fanfic, Tim.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 18-Feb-2002 6:19:24 AM by Crimson
Just wanted to thank Monica for bumping me and for leaving awesome fb on "Within the Lies" (my other fanfic). U are too kool.

I hope u enjoy this part. And leave MUCHO FEEDBACK! It's short, but I think it's worth it.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 18-Feb-2002 6:20:10 AM by Crimson
Chapter 8
Isabelle grabbed the edge of the sink. The tears dripped from her chin; she watched them run down the yellow sink, stripping the dirt with it. Oh God. The pain. The pain. Isabelle sobbed. She clutched at her heart. There was a pain there. This aching, gnawing hurt she felt coming from within. She massaged the top of her breast, willing it to go away. It wouldn’t.

She looked at herself in the mirror, the cracked edges resembling old cobwebs from her room. Isabelle traced them with her finger. She cut herself on a sharp edge; felt the pain throb on her middle finger. She stared back up at the mirror. Were those her eyes? Was that her tears? She leaned in closer. Was that her bleeding heart?

And she knew that feeling like this was stupid. There was no real dilemma. She wasn’t mad at the ‘popular kids’. They didn’t know her. How could she blame them? Max was merely telling the truth. The truth didn’t hurt. She knew who she was before he said it aloud. Was it because she was abandoned? Isabelle didn’t know. But she kept sobbing. It was what disappointed her; made her frustrated. Because she absolutely had no idea why she was crying. It’s everything. She broke down to her knees, lying there by the clean floor and marked walls. Isabelle buried herself into the walls.

Who am I?

Isabelle flinched. It wasn’t the first time she had asked herself that question. It was the first time she truly thought about it. She wasn’t Isabelle Evans. No, that was only an adoptive name. What was her real name? Was she Carol? Or Jennifer? Or Jane? A Smith? A Johnson? A Doe?

I am Jane Doe.

The worst part, the absolute worst part was that she didn’t know herself. All these years she had been looking at them. Studying them. Wondering what they liked, making it what she liked. Seeing the way they smiled. Just another copy cat.

But when she stopped trying to be them, right now, right now she was trying . . It hurt. Oh God it hurt so much, so badly. Because suddenly she felt very empty. Worthless. There was nothing of her own to fill her up. There was no favorite color, no favorite music. She didn’t even know how she really smiled.

It’s a scary thought. Not knowing who you are. Finding a stranger in your own heart.

Isabelle sat up, then got up. She stood in front of the mirror again. She smiled. It looked like her face broke. She swiped away her tears, grimacing as they stuck to her skin. The tears were gone. She smiled again. Better. Much better. It’s okay. It’ll be okay. Isabelle reached into her bag, sifting for tissue. Her fingers grazed against a bottle of mascara. Her eyes shot up to the mirror. She had to try harder.

If they could just see how nice she was. No, no. How cool she was. If Xander saw how big her boobs were. Or her lips. Guys like lips. If they could just know.

Isabelle couldn’t give up. Not on something like this. If she gave up . . No she wouldn’t give up. They would see her. She’d make them see her. And they’d see that she was good enough to be in their elite group. They’d see who she really was; even though she didn’t know herself. Because she wouldn’t throw away six years for nothing; she hadn’t been following them since seventh grade just to give up now.

Yes, there were times she wanted to cry out and give up. There were times she wanted to moan and leave it all behind: the dream, the obsession, Xander Whitman. But she couldn’t. Because I belong somewhere. I belong there. She had felt it even at 12. I belong with them. And she would get them no matter what it took.

Isabelle hesitated, then took off her sweater again. The tank top underneath was yellow with cow prints all over. It made her look cute. And sticky. She grabbed a tissue from her purse and wet it under the faucet, then wiped her face, neck, armpits. Good. Now she looked fresh, and good enough.

Isabelle stared at the chipped door in front of her. Her hand reached for the handle.

The door opened.

It closed.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Mar-2002 10:43:03 PM ]
posted on 18-Feb-2002 2:30:28 PM by Crimson
Um, do u guys not like it?

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 18-Feb-2002 5:30:35 PM by Crimson
To Angelalien, Thanx for the feedback. "GOOD PART." Oh thank you. *happy* "Where is Maria if isabel was the one crying int he restroom. " She'll definitely come soon enough, Angela.

To Krazykitti, Thanx for the feedback. "Wow! That was deep. I can't wait for more and to see if Isabel does get Alex!" Krazy . . this is a CC. Big hint there. *happy* I like those lyrics in ure quote.

I know this part wasn't up to par like I did before with the Max scene all by himself (u guys went wild although I honestly don't know why). But this is Isabelle's take on herself.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 19-Feb-2002 8:15:58 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "It was hard to read this - seeing her so willing to give up even finding out who she is to be like the "popular" kids. Unfortunately, this happens to millions of teenage girls every day, so it was really realistic." I thought so too. "Again with the last lines!!!!" Me and my infamous last lines. "She closed the door not only on the bathroom, but on herself - her real self." Yes, she did. I was hoping everyone would catch just a glimpse of who Isabelle is. U'll get to see how Xander deals with Isabelle. "love not really having a clue as to what's going to happen next." I try my best, Robyn. "BTW - you haven't been shirking your crime-fighting duties to read/write fanfic have you??? Hmmm???" (uneasy glares) Robyn! U aren't supposed to scold ure leader like that!! lol.

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. "You really fooled me, for a while I thought Isabel was going to decide to just be herself, but it seems like she doesn't even have any self-image except trying to copy the popular kids!" I almost fooled myself, roswell.

To Audio Poet, Thanx for the feedback. "Wow, it's sad the pain Isabelle is in and what drives her to want to be popular." I can almost see half of my high school friends in her shoes. "I'm really liking this and I'm glad I found it." Why thank you, Poet.

To angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback. "That was sad." General gist of what everyone tells me, Angelbaby. *happy*

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. "before I say anything else, yay! you updated!" Ure welcome, Jenn. "It had to wait for a full 13 hours till I got home from work." Oh that's sad. "I have to say that this part was brilliant." Why thanks! I wasn't expecting that. "being all impressed by your work" I'm blushing, Jenn. U make me blush! "and I seriously started to cry." No Jenn! No! "That is so true and painful and scary. and you captured something so many people feel so beautifully, I have to just applaud you on that." I give a shaky bow. "I can't help but wish that Isabel had just accepted herself but thinking about it, it's more real to not." Who really has? "there needs to be some internal strength to accept yourself for who you are that unfortunately Isabel hasn't found (yet)." She won't find it until much later, darling.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. "I know most people are much crueler to themselves than they would ever be to others, but this girl takes it to an almost sadistic extreme. I got the sense that she was mocking the genuine sorrow she was feeling." If that's how u feel then that's how it is. "First she hides behind a parody of melodrama, and then when that doesn't work, she resorts to cruel sarcasm. Finally, she just shuts herself down all together." Is this how u see her, Tim? And why? Grim Tim. Hmm. prophetic almost. *happy*

To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. "It was intersting to see life from Isabel's perspective." I was hoping u would like it. "I was hoping that she would finally give up on this quest to become popular and try to find herself." Did u really think she would there? "It was neat to dwell inside th heart and mind of Isabel for a segment." Because staying too long would be too depressing? Am I asking too many questions, Cinder? LOL. *happy*


To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. "Hey I just found this fic and its so cool." Oh kool. Thanx. "Theres just one thing I can't get past and its picturing max kind of dirty,smelly,sloppy looking." I wasn't expecting that. lol. :I mean if he wants to stay unnoticed and behind that tree he better take a bath cause they may not see him comming but they sure will smell him comming!" Expect this little problem to be brought up in the next chapter, Alien.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 21-Feb-2002 4:51:48 PM by Crimson
To LegalAlien, Thanx for the feedback. "the only thing I can say right now is: That was fantstic, so emotional, great!" Thank you, Joe. *happy* "I really love the way you write those inner monologues!" lol. I thought it was just me that liked them. "It's sad however that she feels that way, and I hope the other girls will start to treat her more friendly soon!" Do u really think they will, Joe? Btw, I noticed u are from Austria. How is it there?

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "I tried to post yesterday but it wouldn't let me." Oh I'm sorry. "I felt so sorry for Isabel but I also wanted to slap her hard." I know what u mean. "we had the most fun because we all accepted each other for who we were and we weren't trying to hide who we were." I'm glad u were in such an accepting group, Monica. "Isabel should learn that in order for others to like her, she has to like herself." Exactly. "Wow I totally managed to sound like my school psychologist!!" lol.

"Once again thankyou for another brilliant part of an excellent story!!" Sucking up, Mon? "And yes, I am sucking up because I want a new part!!" I've found u out! Btw, I read ure story and gave fb. Check it out.

To rattlebox, Thanx for another feedback, Tim. "
Sigh" Sigh?? Oh do I grieve u, Tim? "you're asking me to make sense of my own ramblings? Gee, thanks." Ure welcome.

"Isabelle has genuine cause to grieve, to feel the pain of loss." Abandonment issues. "she's ruthlessly repressed her own authenticity in order to become a mask. The ironic thing is that the shape she's trying to hammer herself into is a) also only a mask, b) not that attractive anyway, and c) not as worthy as her real self in any case." U made her want to be a mask, Tim. But doesn't everyone build a mask in order to hide themselves? "The time she's spent on this fool's quest will never be recovered, and has only served to aggravate her own pain." I do believe in that too.

"So. The door opens and on some level below conciousness she realizes what she's done - what a monumental waste she's making her life into - and she cries genuine tears." Genuine tears. I like how u said that, Tim. "It's an opportunity to turn her life around, though she doesn't really see it." Of course she doesn't. She's blinded by these genuine tears.

"Oh God - the pain! - the pain! She clutches at her heart? C'mon - that's just not a real reaction." One can argue. "She's doing emotional jujitsu - taking a real emotion and negating it by using it's own energy to extreme, thereby making it false." And that is very true. "This comment, which struck me as highly sarcastic, though perhaps again only subconsiously" possibly it is sarcastic. Btw, what is obfuscated? I have an idea of what it is, but I'd like u to tell me. Dictionaries and I don't blend well. "she can deny it altogether and return to her self-destructive fantasy. The door closes. Sad." It is.

I'm glad u took the time to pick apart this part, Tim. Sometimes I feel like all the readers know each character and scene more than I do. I don't analyze these characters. I write them. I know what they do and I know why they do it (sort of) but I don't take the time to wonder and observe. Thank you for enligtening.

Btw, if anyone is wondering: each person in this story are parts of me, my friends, my family, and people I've met. Yes, we're all average.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 26-Feb-2002 2:13:07 AM by Crimson
OH MY GOODNESS. U guys are so cute!!!!

To Lucky Star, Thank you thank you thank you for all ure wonderful bumps!!! U are the nicest thing, Monica. Btw, luv the pic of the girl.


To Ally, Thanx for the feedback. "It was definitely a compliment when I said "I don't know where to start". For once in my life I was actually speechless!" U are too sweet, Ally. *happy*

To rattlebox, hilarious as always. "Do you imagine I actually know what the words I use mean?" Yes? Thank u for quoting the dictionary. only u. lol.

To AINGEAL, Thanx for the feedback. Brilliant? Katrina, I've read ure stories. Been a lurker. And u say brilliant to me? puh-lease. "it's officially one of my all time favourites" aww, thanx.

I'm so sorry I haven't updated soon but I've been so busy with school work and it's my other fanfic's turn, "Within the Lies" to be updated. But I do know what's gonna happen in the next scene so rest-assured, it will come up. Thank you for hanging there for me. U guys are simply the best.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 26-Feb-2002 8:18:26 PM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. "Fate?? heehee!! Who knows." Ure hilarious!

"Anyway, I just stayed up way too late and read the whole thing so far" Whoa. Cuh-razy!! "It is so different!!" Well, yup. It's what I tried to do. "even though a little of the "show" personalities seem to come through at times." Another thing I'm trying to do. "They're all likable, sad, sweet, funny, insightfull, somewhat tortured and quit a bit misunderstood!!" Just like the rest of us. (sigh) Sweet dreams, J.

To Lucky Star, Darling, Monica. What are u doing up??! Within the Lies is up btw. Hope u like it and give mucho feedback. And thanx for all the beautiful bumps.

Shameless plugging: Read "Within the Lies" by moi, of course.

Okay, it's not moi but Crimson. Me. Moi. In French. I'm gonna stop now.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 27-Feb-2002 6:45:49 PM by Crimson
Chapter 9
Maria leaned against the side of the van. She stared past up the clouded sky, at the beginnings of the moon. Her hand reached inside the sunflower purse. Maria closed her hand and pressed it tight. “No. No,” she whispered timidly. Her fingers gripped the grass near her legs, uprooting them in a struggle for control. “Don’t do this. Don’t do this. Oh please don’t do this,” she sobbed.

The stars blinked in confusion. Maria lay on the dust, a hand buried deep in her purse, unwilling. She saw the fog slowly descending from the sky, pouncing with gray giant paws down, down, down. The clouds tickled her nose and for a moment Maria felt stillness.

She rubbed her mouth with her hands. Trickle. Maria touched her wet lips. A searing anger flashed through her. “No. No,” she pleaded, murmuring her agony. She looked down at her wrist. Trickle.

“Suppression. The road to . . heaven.”

Maria turned her neck only to be met by the smooth, pale side of the van.

“Suppression. The road to heav-en.”

Trickle. Trickle. Maria stared at her wrist in dismay. “Oh God. Oh God. Why can’t I stop?” she cried miserably. It came as a soft prayer. She turned the sunflower purse upside down, striking deathlike as the tissues tumbled out. Maria pressed them to her wound. Stop. Stop. Don’t bleed.

Trickle. Trickle.

“Bam. Bam. Tsshhh!”

She leaned against the van, pressing her whole back along it. Maria looked up at the sky and muttered prayers. “Don’t let them see. Please don’t let them see. God. Please. I don’t need them, I mean, I don’t want them . .” She began weeping. “Don’t let them see. Please!”

“Kerbam! Suppression!”

Her back slammed forward as the van door banged shut. Trickle. Trickle. Maria pressed harder.

She could hear Michael mumbling in his sleep. She could feel Liz and Alex stop talking. She could feel Maxwell’s fear.

Trickle. Trickle.

She could feel herself fall.
posted on 27-Feb-2002 6:51:28 PM by Crimson
I know it's a short chapter but I like it. So there! lol. Alright. Many apologies.

To Lucky Star, Chica, thank you for keeping this thing afloat while I was on my hiatus. Did u like my shameless plugging for u in Within the Lies? How is Australia, Mon? I have cousins who live there. Don't even ask me where. I have no clue. *happy*

To Snowdrop, Thanx for the support, Snow. "I am disappointed everytime I come on and see that there isn't an update." Be happy now, Snow. U got what u wanted. "But I understand than genius takes time!" haha! blah. It's life taking its time on me!

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 28-Feb-2002 10:59:50 AM by Crimson
I didn't expect this many feedback. Thank you, u guys. I know this was a very serious part but as u know, I put some real people in my life (frankenstein parts of my friends/family) to make each character whole. One of my friends had just told me about this very problem she had. It paralleled so much on what Maria's character is and so I decided to put a hint of it in this chapter.

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. "CRAP!!! Did Maria slit her wrist?? YIKES!!! Help her!!!" lol. Are u asking me to help her, J? *happy* "That was WAY too short!!" I know, I know. Much apologies.

To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. "Glad to see an update" lol. Me too. "But alas, how does one explain that to a person who has spent her entire existence trying to obtain that elusive "popularity"." Yes. How does one really grow out of it? "I enjoyed seeing inside of Isabel...if it becomes more than just ONE segment, then I will be just as happy as I was to see more of Isabel's motives." All of the characters' 'insides' will be unraveled with each chapter. I'm not going to just show u one brief, very minute glance of their inner thoughts and leave it like that. I'm not that cruel. "I really hope that the next part is in the van" Ure wish is granted.

To AINGEAL, Thanx for the feedback. "Loved the new part, same high standard as always and yes it was short but not too short." Thank you, Katrina. Btw, love ure name. I always wanted my name to be Katrina instead of Karina. (sigh) Childhood dreams.

To Audio Poet, Thanx for the feedback. "Poor Maria, thanks for the update." lol. Short and to the point. Go KA!

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. "Poor Maria, I hope someone realizes quickly that she needs help!" Someone will realize it. Many guesses on who.

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. "OH my God! Did Maria slit her wrist???? oh man..." Yup, Jenn. She did. "ok. so this was a very short part; I think there ought to be more to this..." There will be. There will be. "like someone (Michael) finding her... soon." Obviously Jenn is a CC girl? lol.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. Let me see what Tim has written for me. Hmmmm. "Maria's agent is on the phone screaming about "camera time"; do you have any idea what she's talking about?" And I have no idea what this is about but I'll just smile because, of course, we don't like to get on Tim's bad side and make him send us definitons to words no one knows. *happy* "So, she cut herself, but only enough to cause total humiliation." Yes. "Nice contrast between M's quiet, desperate shame and Michael's noisy defiant shame." Thank you for noticing, Tim. Btw, luv the quote.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 1-Mar-2002 1:20:23 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. I'm glad u enjoyed it, Robyn. "I think that it was very effective just how it is. 'Trickle. Trickle.' Much more powerful than a paragraph with graphic detail - really." I didn't think writing paragraphs upon paragraphs about how the blood ran down her wrists or things like that would capture what I needed at the scene. I was putting Maria in this surreal position where she's watching herself do these things, horrified. "I can't even begin to imagine the kind of pain Maria is in right now." Me neither.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. "So, maria has some major issues,now is this stunt a cry for some melodramatic attention or does she have real major issues going on other than the obvious?" The major issues of Maria will be presented in a couple more chapters. "That chapter was short but right to the point." That was my goal, Alien. "Can' t wait to read more and don't forget to have max take a bath!" Someone will mention the Max stinker. *happy*

And now here comes my wonderful weekend where I don't update or anything. Yay! Sorry guys but author needs to pretend she has a life (funny how I'm talking in third person). My grandfather is going to have eye surgery and so . . yeah. I'm hoping he does great. *happy*

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 3-Mar-2002 1:06:57 AM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, U are so very nice, J. I just wanted to say that yes, my grandfather's doing alright. The surgery was a success. Yay! I'm very glad.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. "Karina you're a legend!!" I'd like to know how, Monica. *happy* And where is this hyper chic gonna gamble at?? I don't even know where the best gambling place in California is. Buh-lieve me. Karina does not gamble. I usually lose playing blackjack with the computer. It's very embarrassing.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 5-Mar-2002 8:12:57 PM by Crimson
~Yes, Chapter 9 was short. But heck yes, Chapter 10 is much longer~

Chapter 10
Liz stared at him from the front mirror. He was cu-, no. No. Interesting. Liz nodded, biting her lip. Interesting. Who was he again? Mark? No. No that wasn’t right. Michael called him Moondoggie or . . what was it? He was beginning to annoy her.

Liz glanced at the mirror again. Mystery guy was playing with his little toys again. She cocked her head, pushing her dark sunglasses down to take a better look. Long eyelashes. Why was it that guys always get long eyelashes. It wasn’t like they needed it. Liz sighed. Life was so unfair. She took a longer look. He was scruffy. Not scruffy woodman scruffy. He just looked rough. 5 o’clock shadow and everything. Liz scrounged her nose. She liked her men clean.

But he had that certain cuteness. Liz smiled to herself, watching Max adjust his glasses. She was a killer for guys with glasses. Alex teased her about it constantly. It was the whole superman effect that she never grew up from. Liz blamed it on Dean Cain. Strong, dark, and handsome. Royal alien from a distant planet. Saving people’s lives in every friggin’ episode. Liz sighed. She had scenarios after scenarios on how they’d meet. She would plummet from a high cliff (very dramatic), he would save her from an evil boyfriend (very ludicrous), or, or, the one where she would get shot, or almost get shot, or did, and he’d somehow rescue her from near death (very tearjerky – Michael’s words).

But the best one was when he’d save her. Just simply . . save her.

Liz rolled her eyes, crossing her arms against the onslaught of childish romance. This was pathetic. He wasn’t superman. He’s no alien king. She chuckled. That’s for sure. No flying cape or crazy powers he could woo her with. No distant planet he could take her to. No. He’s just a boy playing his little video game. Heck, he’s nobody. But he was a lonely nobody.

She winced, remembering. She pushed her sunglasses up, covering her eyes, and nudged Alex.

No, Liz. Absolutely not. Alex gave her a look and fiercely shook his head. There was lots of things he’d do for Liz. He’d die for her. He’d give up his guitar for her, but in no way, no how circumstance would he talk to Mad Max for her. No way. The guy was psycho. Everyone knew it. Maxwell ‘Counting Crow obsessive freak’ Evans. Honestly. The whole school called him that. It didn’t help much that he would appear and disappear out of no where. Like some kind of friggin’ ghost child. Alex shuddered. It was creepy. And it wasn’t as if Alex could easily be persuaded with gossip. Freak, he was gossip. But there was something different about Maxwell Evans and Alex didn’t want anything to do with weirdness.

She glanced hard at Max, then back again at Alex; she was getting annoyed. Talk to him, Liz mouthed.

Alex shook his head.

Liz huffily leaned back on her seat. It wasn’t like she could blame him. In any other circumstance, talking to mystery guy would be something she wouldn’t even consider. He was . . weird. Sure, major cuteness was definitely there. But he was weird. He didn’t talk to anyone. He didn’t have any friends, well, except for his Isabelle, which prompted a couple of really gross jokes from Paulie. Liz stretched in her seat, the top inching up to show her pierced belly button. She yawned; her hand snaked over to Alex’s leg. Oh man, he was gonna kill her. Her fingers captured his leg hairs. Liz bit her lip. She pulled.

Alex gasped. He gave her the deadliest glare and cursed Liz’s offspring through clenched teeth.

Talk to him, mouthed Liz. She pointed violently to Max from behind her chair. Please Alex, she pleaded.

The things he’d do for her. Alex jerked forward, his face half pouncing her. He sneered when she grinned. Alex scowled. “Hey you.”

Max swallowed, hard. Was that . . ? No, no, no. Don’t listen, Max. Close your eyes. Maybe they won’t see you.

“Hey dude uh, what’s your name again. You. Hey.”

They aren’t . . are they? He shook his head. They couldn’t be talking to him. He wiped off the sweat dripping from his forehead. His eyes stung. Was his mind crying? He never sweated this much. Max smeared his arm over his eyes. Dirt, salt, and irritation spread across his face. Focus on the game, Max. Focus on the video game. They can’t see you. They don’t even know your name.

“Maxwell.”

Max stiffened. That’s my name.

“Maxwell.”

Liz raised her eyebrows. That’s his name?

His eyes slowly opened, the sweat still stinging his eyes. They’re talking to me. Them. Me. And one question kept coming to his mind: why? His hands began to fidget, ears turning red. No, no, no. This could not be happening. This was why he hated having friends, hate having people. Because suddenly he became . . visible.

“Um, Maxwell? Are you ignoring me?“

He quietly pressed the off button to his video game. There. There I go. I’ve taken the first step. Max let out a deep sigh. Your turn.

“Maxwell.”

He languidly pressed the buttons of the game, still pretending to be playing. That wasn’t fair. He stopped pretending. It’s my step. What do I do now? Look up.

Alex looked at Liz and shrugged.

Look up.

His eyes raised.

Max’s mouth opened, moved. “Were you talking to me?”

Alex rolled his eyes and turned forward, ignoring him. “That took only forever,” he muttered, fiddling with the radio dials.

Max sunk into himself, embarrassed. “Guess not,” he mumbled, biting his lip.

Michael stirred in sleep; his breath whispered undetectable. The wind rippled under his blue shirt, making blue waves over his puckered skin. He instinctively shifted to the open window, aching for more cool relief.

Trickle. Trickle.

Michael’s eyes fluttered open.

The stars were much to bright. The were blinking so rapidly.

Michael stretched his sore body. His fingers climbed up to the window frame and gripped. Michael s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. His legs shot out and hit something hard. Oh freak. Oh. A back pack. He could feel it with he edge of his toes. There was murmuring in the van; it almost lulled him back to sleep. Michael’s eyes drifted shut.

Trickle. Trickle.

He winced slightly. Trickle trickle? Was someone crying? He clung onto the window frame and pulled his head up over its edge. Baby brown eyes peered down, through the darkness, past the night.

A haloed head. Green eyes shone up. Widened.

Michael stared down at the bleeding wrists, life slipping from small hands.

Their eyes met. Brown and Green. Shock and Dismay. Compassion.

“Hello Maria,” he whispered.

Trickle. Trickle.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 5-Mar-2002 11:40:36 PM ]
posted on 5-Mar-2002 11:16:43 PM by Crimson
To Suli, Thanx for the feedback. "Interesting how Liz wants to be saved. From what? I wonder." Good question. Will I tell u? Of course not. "Interesting how Alex comments on how people gossip about Max. Guess he's not so visible." U mean, invisible, Lisa? "Now that Michael has seen what Maria did, I wonder what he does." What do u think he'll do? I love ure quotes, Lisa. I personally love Joss Whedon.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. Oh goodness gracious. Here comes Tim on his high 'rattlebox'. Let's see what he says to me, shall we. "But, as usual, we aren't exactly sure what we've learned. Of course, that's why we love you, right?" I'll ignore the sarcasm and smile beautifully.

What's with u and masks? I think I should change this title to "The Masks". Oooh. Maybe that'll be a title on my next fanfic. Don't any of u dare take that title from me!!! Back to the Author's Thanx. "Was she just remembering her superman fantasies, or was it something about being a "lonely nobody"? Perhaps time will tell." U know me only too well, Tim.

"I'm not sure I get that, but it sure is curious-clearly a glimpse of actual Alex: really shy." *happy* Glad u caught that. "Of course, once he made the effort, Max didn't make it any easier on him." This is Max. Of course not. :I'm not clear yet on what Alex thinks his mask looks like-well aside from the rapidly desolving player bit." A pregnant ex-girlfriend could do that to some people.

"Oh man, was that pathetically funny, and hilariously tragic, or what?" I like adding the lovingly melodramatic to everything, don't I. "Max thinks his mask is blank, IMO." IMO? Sorry but Karina clearly has no idea what IMO means, and don't even laugh, Tim, when u read this.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 6-Mar-2002 3:06:32 AM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. They call him Mad Max, roswell. Like the movie? Er, maybe u don't know. (sigh) I'm such a sucker for old movies. "he really needs to work up to muttering an unintelligible response, instead of simply ignoring people!" Most definitely.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. "Thanks for the update! I can't wait for more!" Short. Straight. To the point. Bless u, alien.

To Snowdrop, Thanx for the feedback. "As each chapter is posted I find I love this more and more." U, my dear, are too cute. "Max is so sweet in a strange kind of way, thinking that no one notices him." Why do u think he's sweet, snowdrop?

To Transparent Clear, Thanx for the feedback. location: denial? The Nile? Egypt? *big* Sorry. I'm feeling weird right now. How's the midterms going Jenn? "I love Liz's little internal monologue there, talking about being saved. the question is, what from?" lol. Tim has the same question. "I think herself, but hey... I'm just a psychology student." Just a psychology student?? U think too low of ureself, Jenn. "I think she needs to be saved from this image, this mask, she's spent so much time projecting." And what mask would that be?

"And Max is so cute... the only word I could think of when I was readign about him was "internal".." very much so, Jenn. "I'll have to think about that one and I loved the reference to his counting crows obsession." thank you. "I love Alex.." Join the club. *happy* "I love the little glimpses you've given us here into the tight dynamics of the michael-liz-alex friendship." I really wanted to show that tight friendship. Good luck on midterms, babe!!!

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. "I loved Liz trying to get Alex to get Max talking, and her Superman/alienKing fantasies!!" U know I wanted to incorporate the alien with the real life, J. "He's going to take some time...she won't give up on him will she?!!" Of course, that's classified information. "Michael seems a little casual about bleeding wrists to me!!" Believe me. He isn't.

To Katalina, Thanx for the feedback. "That definitely wasn't long enough." Are u scolding me, Katalina? lol.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 6-Mar-2002 10:46:59 AM by Crimson
To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. "So Liz thinks that Max is cute...interesting." lol. Isn't it. "Why didn't she try talking to him herself?" Do u think she really wanted to?

To abbs007, Thanx for the feedback. "Max is a bit of a gubber isn't he?" Okay, Abby, I'm such a Californian. What the heck is a gubber?

To rattlebox, Oh dear Lord. I swear that every time I see u on the feedback list I have to prepare myself for an attack of the evil Tim or run away laughing. Let's see what u wrote.

I did hear about Elmo's twin. Last I heard he and Miss Piggy were having cahoots over the Kermit Debacle and she left him with two children (one red, the other pinkish gold).

Imo's Pizza chain? Sounds so familiar. I think my sister used to waitress there. Oh yes. OH yes. I developed my love for hives after eating their garlic cheese bread (honestly, true story, my sister used to work at this pizza place and I got hives eating the garlic cheese bread -shudder- it still frightens me).

Too darn lazy?? In my opinion. Such as 'lol' and wtf? or even the infamous, ttyl.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 6-Mar-2002 4:17:15 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "So, Liz notices Max first? I like." *happy* I'm glad, and me too. "Ironic humor is one of my favorite kinds." lol. mine too. "I loved how the trickle, trickle kind of incorporated tears and blood - at least it did for me." I'm glad u saw it that way. "I love that the masks are finally starting to come off - little by little." Wait until they're ripped off, Robyn. Oooh, a little hint for the future.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 7-Mar-2002 1:00:52 AM by Crimson
Abby, thank u for clarifying for me. Is that a slang from New Zealand or am I really this dumb?

On to why I'm leaving this message. I have to focus my attention to "Within the Lies". My other 'baby' needs a new part and I feel like people are gonna riot soon. lol. If u guys haven't read it, u should because it's great. *sad* That was my really sad attempt of being cheeky.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 7-Mar-2002 10:49:20 AM by Crimson
To abbs007, What other slangs are from New Zealand? I'm interested. Well, Abby, I plug every moment I get. It's very different from this fanfic, though. Just a warning.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. Finally! I was waiting to see if ud notice, Mon. Macca monster? Is that what we're blaming it on now. I thought we were fighting Gastro, the intestinal creature from McDonalds. C'est la vie. "Of course that sort of thing could never happen!" Only in our nightmares.

Karina Batman *tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Mar-2002 1:44:24 AM ]
posted on 19-Mar-2002 11:29:38 AM by Crimson
Mon, u are the sweetest in the world. Three bumps?? That is totally unheard of! Thank u, thank u, thank u. That's three for ure three.

Alright, peoples, I do want to get Chapter 11 out soon but thing is, midterms are here to stay and I need to get decent grades. I rushed the last Chapter in 'Within the Lies' (and didn't really like it) so I'm being very careful with this one.

Also, a little side note. I have two stories lurking around my head. *happy* They are not like 'Car Ride to Crashdown' or 'Within the Lies' since they're much lighter and one of them will be funnier. I can't say I'll start on them now because 4 fics would just simply KILL me! But if u want I can tell u the premise. And if u beg hard enough, and promise not to hold riots in front of my Crimson porch to update, then maybe just maybe, I'll post one of them (as a test try).

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 20-Mar-2002 11:31:10 PM by Crimson
Chapter 11
The short, halting walk to the van was painful. Very painful. Each downward step was an inch closer to him. To Xander. Isabelle nervously smoothed out her tank top. This could not be happening. Where did all this courage come from? She shook her head, trying to suppress the rise of nervous shame she had for doing this. How far did she have to walk away from her true self before she could mirror them?

Years.

Her hand rose to trace the remnants of her dry tears. Rough, stretched skin met her padded fingers and Isabelle gently rubbed them for warmth. Her eyes began to blister from the cold wind and swirls of dust. She winced as her left eye began to leak. It hurt to cry for nothing.

Her hands fluttered up to brush against the cotton puffed cow prints on her top. It was one of her favorites. Yellow. Cow prints. And cut high and low in all the ‘wrong places’.

She felt her white cotton bra poking from inside her jean pocket. Max would be so disappointed. Isabelle shook her hair, slightly enjoying the feel of its looseness. She had her hair up in a severe pony tail the entire time and now it felt freeing.

Her hair, the wind, the . . everything, made her smile. This was it. She could feel it. The firs step to popularity. No, not even that. It was more than that. It was her first step to acceptance. To finally be seen.

Her whole life felt like an ever stretching ladder and now the top was in view. Her voice cried and yelled inside. I’m almost there. I’m almost there. All those years of gluing masks and ripping them off as quickly as she could find another was beginning to work. Because suddenly it seemed like this mask would make it. This Isabelle.

She stopped as the pristine van came into view. The moon glared white against it ominous pale sides. A wave of panic washed over her trembling arms.

She almost turned back. Almost put that sweater back on and the hair back up.

But she didn’t. She couldn’t turn back now. She was so close to the top.

And it might’ve been the biggest mistake of her life ‘cause Isabel forgot one thing:

What comes up, must come down.

Alex scratched the edges of the old radio, frowning as the black paint chipped and stuck to his fingernails. He sighed and stretched, resting his arched back on the seat. When were they going to move already? For the last ten minutes he’d been vainly trying to get the darn radio thing, whatever it was, to work. He pushed every button, twice. Never mind that he failed Mechanics class last year. It just gave him something to do.

Michael was asleep. Liz wasn’t talking, lost somewhere in La la Lizland. And Maxwell Evans, Alex shuddered. Oh goodness no. He didn’t even wanna try that one again. Shame has its limits.

Alex picked his nails, trying to scoop the paint off. His thoughts drifted somewhere between now and Ava. The cheating whore. The mother of his child. Possible mother of his child. It didn’t make things sound any better. What the heck was he thinking when he got with Ava?

A good lay. Alex grimaced. The truth stung his guilt.

He wanted to call her so badly; his fingers itched to dial. There was so many things, so many questions, to talk about. They needed to discuss this issue, this baby. Alex sank into himself. He shouldn’t have yelled at her like that. It wasn’t Ava-like of her to call. It must’ve taken her a lot of courage to call him up like that. But he couldn’t help it. The first thing she blurts out is, ‘I missed my rag.’ You couldn’t miss an opening line like that. What’s a guy supposed to do but react?

He shut his eyes, wondering what would have to happen; imagining the implications of a child. A job. He would have to get at least a part time job right away. Ava too, at least until she couldn’t handle it anymore. Alex rubbed his eyes. What was that? Like, six months? Don’t they stop working at six months? He didn’t know.

God, he felt so incompetent.

College was, at least for now, out of the question. He needed to get a full time job to support the baby. What if Ava wanted to move in? Alex didn’t think his mom would care. It would save the gas from going over to her house all the time to see the baby. It would actually be kind of a good thing. The three of them could spend tons of hours with each other and maybe then . . he sighed. No. It wasn’t possible.

He couldn’t fall in love with Ava. He could barely stand her. Her fake New York accent, her stringy blonde hair, those big boobs that she’d let anyone take a peek at. They so had nothing in common. But they could pretend. At least then the baby would grow up thinking his parents loved each other . . It sounded even more pathetic in his mind.

Alex glanced at his cell phone laying neatly on the dashboard. There was so many things he needed to know. How is the baby? Is there a baby? Is it his? Is it okay? Is it his? God! Alex moaned, pressing his fingers to his temple. He was getting a serious headache maybe over nothing.

She hung up on him. She would have to call him back. He couldn’t be the only one pursuing this ‘relationship’ but it was honestly killing him to wait for her call. Alex groaned. God! How could he forget. It was Ava. Of course she wouldn’t call!

Michael. Liz. He needed to speak to one of them. Wanted. But couldn’t. They wouldn’t be able to understand something like this. Michael had his own . . problems. And Liz, heck, Liz was a virgin. She wouldn’t know dick from straight. Alex growled in frustration. There was no one to talk to.

Liz breathed deeply into the crusty brown seat. It smelled like old hair gel and ice cream. She made a face. A cool draft streamed into an open window and Liz rubbed the sides of her arms, trying to keep warm.

Alex caught her shiver and shook his head. Red halters are good for Nevada days but the nights were a different story. His eyes glanced at the evening wind traveling past his open window and started pulling off his green army jacket.

Liz gently shook her head and only smiled tiredly as Alex rolled up his window. She rested her head back down on her seat as her eyes drifted to the world outside. From the corner of her eye she could see him shrug his jacket back on. It was different moments like this when she felt his love. Simple moments.

Michael was not the biggest on emotions, and Alex wasn’t too far behind. They weren’t the flower throwing, mariachi singing, chocolate giving boys (although Alex did dance with her once on her 16th birthday). And although Liz wished they’d be more . . romantic, it wasn’t what a girl looks for in best friends.

Michael and Alex were straight and to the point. Simple and yet . . attractive. It was one of the reasons why they were her best friends. They didn’t bullshit her. And when they said they loved you, they wouldn’t actually say it. They’d show it, from the simple, small things they’d do. The distinct things they’d do for each other, and her.

Not everyone was as lucky as them. Heck, classic example of alone to the 10th degree behind her. Her focus shift to the boy behind her. The silent weird. Maxwell Evans.

Liz sighed.

Mystery boy from galaxy creepy. He was odd, and strange, and just . . fascinating. Liz scrounged her face, chastising herself for her interest. He smelled like fish, for heaven’s sake!

But there was something about him, something different that Liz knew she wanted to discover. He wasn’t trying to ignore them, she knew that now. When Alex was speaking, Maxwell wasn’t trying to be rude, or ignorant. Not really. He was just trying to make sure they were actually talking to him. Liz frowned. That was actually a very sad thought.

She tucked a hair behind her ear, trying to sneak a glance at his bent head, probably hunched over to play those videogames. He was asleep. She couldn’t help a quietly chuckle. He looked like a lost little boy. Tufts of hair peeked through his backwards baseball cap and his arm thrown half-hazardly over his stomach. Her smile softened as Max shifted, causing one of his stray hairs to dangle above his eyes

Reflexively, she reached out to brush it away. What am I doing?? Her eyes widened, arm and brain suddenly synchronized with each other. Was she actually going to touch him? She watched as her hand hovered an inch above his forehead, a silent question floating between the tips of her fingers and his untamed hair. Liz held her breath, not really sure what she was doing. What was she doing? As an answer, her fingers moved forward and brushed the soft hair away from his eyes.

Her fingers quickly retreated as his amber eyes fluttered awake.

Max groaned and shifted to sit upright. His eyes slowly cleared from its hazy cloud of dreams.

Beth.

He swallowed, trying to wet his parched throat. His tongue felt dry. “Yeah?” he croaked. Max tilted his head, breathe still heavy from sleep.

Liz smiled. It came as second nature and was the best defense she knew to use.

Max’s eyes softened. Beth Parker was beautiful when she smiled. “Yeah?” he whispered.

Liz ducked her head shyly. Her doe like eyes rose to meet him.

Max blinked.

“Hi,” Liz whispered, and gave a little wave.

An emotion exploded in his chest.

Max grinned. “Hello.”

Michael heard them whisper but his eyes focused, stayed riveted, on her. He watched as she quietly bounded her long, thin scars with band-aid from her sunflower purse. It was ironic. He felt like a spectator in her life, in the most embarrassing moment of her life.

“Can you not look at me?” she whispered. Maria looked up uneasily at his penetrating eyes. “Don’t look at me. Quit it, Mickey.”

He didn’t move.

“Stop looking at me!” she snapped. “What the hell is wrong with you,? Huh?” Maria raised her wrists angrily. “Is this what gets you going? Is this it? Well then here you go, buddy.” She thrust them under his nose. “Have a better look. No,” she sneered. “Have a ball.” Her mouth curled maliciously. “Make up jokes about Ria “The Cutter” Deluca. That’ll go well with your little buddies at school.”

She found grim satisfaction as he retreated a little inside the window.

Maria’s eyes threatened to break. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she mouthed, her voice heavy with tears and venom. “I’m not one of you’re freak shows, okay? You can’t just stare at me and throw a quarter . . ” her voice cracked. Maria shook her head, quickly wiping away her tears. “Go away, Michael.” She sighed painfully, deeply. “God, can’t you just leave me alone. I don’t want you, I don’t . “ she waved her hands. “Just go away.”

“Maria.” The soft caress floated down.

What?!” she barked. “What the hell do you want from me?” Maria looked up, emphasizing her words. “It was an accident, Michael. An accident.” The tears began to stream down her cheeks. “I didn’t mean to do it this time and you staring at me makes me feel guilty for something I didn’t even want to do so stop staring at me, Michael!” she sobbed, turning away from him.

His eyes didn’t waver. “We need to talk.”

He didn’t think she heard until finally her head slightly lowered and came up again. Michael took it for a nod and moved away from the window.

Maria leaned her head against the wide vanilla surface of the van. She waited until her tears began to stop, her body stopped trembling. Maria took a few, deep breaths and shakily got to her feet, brushing her jeans off from remaining dust. She wiped her face with her palms, making sure no marks of her earlier tears stayed behind. She took another deep breath, picked up her sunflower purse, and walked.

Maria yanked the driver’s door open.

Alex’s eyes jerked back. “Mari–“

“Get out,” she sneered, dropping her bag near the pedals.

He didn’t have to be told twice. Bad day. Maria Deluca. Alex scrambled out of the way, shoving Max out to the back seats.

Maria hoisted herself up to find Liz sharply looking at her. She ignored it and climbed into her seat. “It’s none of their business,” Maria muttered and cranked the ignition. The van’s engine sputtered, then roared to life. “We’re outta here.”

Max’s eyes widened. “Hey, wait,” he called. Max’s jaw tightened as all eyes turned to him. “Isabelle.”

“Holy shit!” Alex’s mouth dropped open. He pointed to the window. “Look.”

Dripping blue tarantula mascara.

Chapping fluorescent pink lips.

Boobs. A wide expanse of boobs.

“Holy shit!” Liz sneered, her mouth twisting in disgust.

Michael started laughing.

They gawked. Stared. At Isabelle.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Mar-2002 11:40:18 PM ]
posted on 22-Mar-2002 3:52:02 AM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. Ull see exactly how Isabelle reacts to everyone else's reaction to her new look. Everyone is in turmoil, roswell! lol.

To obsessionbyroswell, Thanx for the feedback. No, she didn't fall out of her shirt. I might be nasty but I'm not that nasty. Just imagine those shirts that we just wouldn't want to see Isabelle Evans wearing: yellow, tiny, full of black and white cow prints. Think about it. "I hope that everything smooths out in the end," Trust me, obsession. Trust me.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. "OMG poor isabel! I'm sorry but I just picture her and have to laugh!" Oh good! I was hoping that some of you would take the Michael way in this Isabelle situation, Alien. It really is funny if you don't know what Isabelle's going through.

To angelbaby6977, Thanx for the feedback. "I think she will feel much more worse after their reaction to her new look." What do u think she'll do then, hmm? Remember this, angelbaby: it's always darkest before the dawn. And buh-lieve me, it ain't even dark yet!

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. "Will Alex jump to her rescue?!!" What do u think he'll really do. "Hope Maria and Michael talk soon!!" And they will. Just not until . . but I'm not telling. *happy* I'm glad u like the Max/Liz interaction. Yes, he does need to take a shower, J. lol.

To Snowdrop, Thanx for the feedback. Don't even worry about how to quote, cutie. That was cute how u apologized. Aww, u liked the Max/Liz scene too. I really tried to make it subtle yet . . alot, u know? "Kind of like the original sweet Max and Liz interaction we used to have - before the gerbil and disaster." Oh yeah. Was definitely aiming for that, Snow.

To Krazykitti, Thanx for the feedback. "I can't believe she's basically losing her dignity to just be seen by them." It's weird when u see someone go to this extreme. But I've seen it. (shudder) Oh I've seen it.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "I don't think she's found the real Isabelle yet and it doesn't look like she's looking for her at all." I do like how ure mind is thinking, Robyn. "I love the juxtaposition between Isabelle and Max. She wants so much to be seen and he wants so much to be invisible." They're complete opposites but so much the same, u know? "There they all are - together - and yet all of them feel so alone. It's almost like they choose their isolation because its what they know best." Hmmmm. Hmmmm. "From what I can tell, Liz seems to be the most together, although I have a feeling there is a lot about her we, as readers, don't know yet. (Am I right?)" *happy*

"So it begins...This was such a great moment!!" LOL. Sorry, I just had to laugh at ure reaction. I'm glad u like it, Robyn. "My hear absolutely melted when Liz brushed his hair out of his face. It was such a tender, ungaurded moment. I get the impression that Liz is rarely ungaurded." I just imagined that Liz would do something like that so I had to write it in. "it almost seems like Isabelle has become like Ava (in physical appearance) whom Alex is basically disgusted by." Oh freak, Robyn. Ure getting ahead of me!!

To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback. "I really liked the introspective moments with Liz. It was cool to see her thoughts on her relationships with Alex and Michael." I did want to focus some of this fanfic on the different relationships each character has with one another. "I am worried about Isabel. What does she look like in their eyes?" Oh ull see, Cinder. "I hope that Max will defend her if they start to be mean." What do u think he'll actually do?

To Katalina, Thanx for the feedback. Katalina is so cute. *happy* "Oh no!" Simple and direct. Too cute.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 22-Mar-2002 3:13:18 PM by Crimson
To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. (hands on hips, making 'tsk' noises) I was wondering where u were, Mon. Oh! U were in the real world. (nods head) How is it out there? Is it spring yet? *happy* I'm glad u liked the new part. Everyone seems to enjoy the Max/Liz interaction. Don't think that everything will peachy keen with them. They're still strangers, u know. I'm not gonna force a relationship in the next two chapters or anything. Look for snippets of kindness but not much more, at least, not yet.

You got a mental image of Michael in EOTW??? LOL!! U are too hilarious, Mon. I love it! "Poor Isabel, she's gonna learn the hard way that trying to fit in often just makes you stick out more." I know what u mean. I think most people fell over laughing imagining what she looks like. Heck, Michael did! "Maybe she'll finally pull her finger out and stop being such a twit!" Is that an Australian saying or something 'cause California Karina has no idea what u mean. Btw, what's with Toby and his sheep?

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 24-Mar-2002 4:19:04 AM by Crimson
To Lucky Star, Thanx for clearing that up for me, Mon. I was like, 'what??' lol. I kinda do understand what u mean, though. Not really, but, yeah. Whatever. Aww, did Australia try to rain. (I'm clapping) I applaud its effort. *happy* I like ure other versions of Mary had a little lamb. Got any more?

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. U know I waited for what u were gonna say, Tim. I'm scared and excited at the same time. lol. Hmm, there's a disclaimer here. That should be a warning sign for me. I'm gonna use ure method of feedback.

Isabelle: Aww, u feel sorry for her? Tim has a heart? When did this happen? Why was I not notified? I can't speak much about Isabelle's (ELLE) state of mind because it'll give a lot away. I understand what u mean about Isabelle's looks (since it is Katherine Heigle). This, of course, will just have to be explained later.

Alex: Oooh, u found similarities with the Ava/Tess situation. Funny how they're 'twins' isn't it? (wags eyebrows suggestively). Obi wan? Someone's waiting for Episode II, folks! Liz - "I love Liz." Simple and direct.

Max - I don't even . . have no friggin' idea where u were going with the Star Trek movie and the 'magic missile'. LOL. U are hilarious, Tim. Maria and Michael: Sort of, yes. But for good reason. Maria was raped. Michael's 'pain' in this story will come out a bit later. Ull see. And ull understand why he wants her to open up to him so badly, and vice versa.

Tim: Hilarious. Thought provoking. Has the heart of a 38 year old clown: experienced, tired, and gets me smiling. (did u even look up the words u used to describe me? I'll make u flip open that dictionary!)

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 24-Mar-2002 9:09:31 PM by Crimson
To abbs007, Thanx for the feedback. No, Isabelle is not topless. I will explain her looks - for Tim's sake - and her wide expanse of boobs - for ure sake - in the next chapter or so, Abby.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 25-Mar-2002 4:08:36 AM by Crimson
To Audio Poet, Thanx for the feedback. Isabelle's reaction to popularity is high school magnified. I do know some people who have this problem. Uve got to remember, people and most situations in this fanfic is based on actual people and events. Yikes!, huh? :At any rate, I hope the group finds a way to safe themselves, from well themselves." The category is CC. Everything will be okay, KA. *happy*

To Lucky Star, who is scary, delusional, and the funniest Australian I've ever met! lol. And that says a lot because I have Aussie cousins (which is smile jerking since I'm Asian - hey, my family has no problem with all colors of the 'rainbow'). Of course, Mon also has to do her usual tradition of asking for a new part. For shame! U know I have to write another chapter on 'Within the Lies' before that happens.
posted on 8-Apr-2002 1:53:18 AM by Crimson
My darlings! My loves. I never knew you missed me so much. What's my excuse? I'm dying from nose congestion and a bad case of real life. Honestly. It's real bad, Mon. I'm failling one of my classes and that's a no no. Plus now I've gained a job (not bad, not bad). It's part time but it's still taking up some of my really precious 'writing time'. Please bare with me dolls. Love ya all for remembering this fanfic.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 12-Apr-2002 5:02:26 PM by Crimson
To Lucky Star, BelevnDreamsToo, and mpls muse, u guys are the best. Thank you for remembering and bumping me. Mon, u are weird and just hilarious. Ure 'lil nursery rhymes scare me as well as they make me laugh. J, u are so sweet. I'm doing fine in my job. It's hard but money's money. Robyn, no one else could be ure Batman. Oooh, u like that don't ya?? *happy*

I hope u guys like this new chapter and give mucho feedback.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 12-Apr-2002 5:03:52 PM by Crimson
Chapter 12
The disgust rolled over them in waves. It won Liz over first, engulfing her in a triad of shudders and painful narrowing eyes. She was the first to look away, her head bowing to rest on her chest. It was a look of mourning.

The rest looked on in breathtaking dismay. Their eyes sparkled, danced in wide wonder as the van became no more than unsteady gasps and Max’s occasional sharp breaths. She looked like a ragged toy, light and weightless, her body slightly swaying from the wind. The door barricaded them from this reality, of remembering that she really was human, a shell of a girl. Alex bit his lip, watching the horrible moment that played outside; Isabelle hobbled towards the van.

Michael was glued to his seat. He quickly glanced at everyone around him, making sure he wasn’t the only one riveted to Isabelle. They stared like little children looking at a dying soul; too fascinated to look away from the monstrous sight before them, too frightened to look away lest it disappeared. Michael wasn’t sure if he should laugh or cry. Watching her, looking at her, he saw his own face staring back at him. The hopeful, lonely, masked face staring at a crowd of people that he so desperately wanted to be a part of. He stared at an exaggerated, grotesque form of Mickey G. Michael swallowed back his fears and hid behind his own mask; he grinned.

Alex’s neck stiffened but he didn’t move to ease the pain. Couldn’t. Because then he would have to move and moving meant breaking this spell. Whatever it was. His jaw stiffened. Alex winced slightly, trying to stop his teeth from grinding; he usually did it when he was furious.

Isabelle plastered her face to the window, cupping her eyes to see through the eroding tint. She sighed and moved back, trying to find a clear place on the window. Isabel spotted one to the left where the tint had come off in splotches. She shuffled forward to look through.

OH MY GOD.

Isabelle bit back a yelp, a glaring mixture of incredulity and panic on her face. They were looking at her. They were looking at her. Oh my god. She felt like running, her unsteady heels popped a dirt pebble and Isabelle almost fell back. Her mouth dried. All these years, all these years. And finally here it is. The time to shine, her fifteen minutes. The moment turned bittersweet in her stomach.

She pushed forward, forcing herself to be brave, to be strong. Her hand reached for the door handle but hesitated before the turn. Wait. Isabelle let go of the handle. She did her best. She had done her part. It was their turn to do theirs. All they had to do was open the door.

Slowly, deliberately, she waited. The sky darkened and she could hear the grocer walk out and lean against the door, watching the scene in quiet amusement. The tendrils of his cigarette smoke traveled across her hair. With each passing minute her frown blackened and etched deeply on her hesitant smile.

It was a silent stand-off. Both not quite sure what to expect from the other. No one opened the door for Isabelle and for some strange reason they couldn’t understand, she didn’t open the door for herself. Isabelle waited outside for a good five minutes.

Alex stared into her eyes, the shadowed glimmer of them from behind the breaking tint. His soul constricted when she frowned. She looked so much like another girl. Blonde stringy hair, that longing look in her gloomy eyes. He looked up to see Isabelle’s eyes crack, saw the way she pushed her bangs back in repressed frustration. What was she waiting for? His eyes dropped to the door and the answer came clear and unbidden. Should he . . would he . .? Alex leaned forward. He heard the sharp intake of breaths, almost a warning to say no. And slid open the door.

Liz and Maria exchanged glances. Surprise surprise. Alex opened the door. Things couldn’t have gotten any weirder. Liz felt Isabel climb in and bristled, an unwanted sound rising to her throat. She stiffened as Isabelle stopped to look at her, but didn’t turn to meet her face. Instead Liz looked ahead at the empty curving road and wished she was home.

The door shut behind her and it felt foreshadowing. Isabelle scanned across the van, trying to find someone to match her smile. It faltered behind the cheap make-up. Her eyes slanted, pleaded, not understanding their shifting eyes or Maria’s snort.

It was Michael that made her understand. Michael who could barley hold back his smirk, or the disgusted wonder as he met her face.

Her heart dropped, sticking to her throat in a sad attempt to suppress her hope and tears. Isabelle scrambled into the back seat and tumbled over Max’s backpack, sprawling her onto the back seat. The humiliation rose to an unbearable notch as most that stared looked away, ready to laugh or just too embarrassed to look anymore. Isabelle sobbed quietly and clawed her way up to sit properly. She felt the air push up her short skirt and reddened. She heard Michael’s not so muffled snickers and felt like dying.

“Is the show over?” mumbled Liz, taking a quick look back, in time to see Isabelle’s skirt flare dangerously high. She made a face. “Guess not.”

Liz turned to Michael only to catch him gawking and angrily slapped his thigh. He looked up at her with that Michael Guerin can’t-help-it-if-I’m-bad look, and merely shrugged. Grinning. Liz scowled. It was his patented excuse: testosterone. More like unchecked hormones.

She turned to Isabelle and sighed, her head slightly shaking in strong disapproval. She felt guilt marring her righteous judgment, knowing the reason behind Isabelle’s mask. Because of them. Because of her. No. Liz wouldn’t blame herself. She didn’t do anything. It was Izzy’s fault. She chose to be like this. She chose this mask. Liz looked forward at the unmovable road again, ignoring her growing sense of dread.

Isabelle toppled into her seat. She immediately dropped her head, not wanting them to see her twisted mouth. Her hands fluttered to her throat to ease back the painful sobs that pushed against her resolve. So she found the truth: it’s horrible to be looked at.

Max couldn’t bare to look at her, to be next to her. He shifted slightly, subtly trying to move away. The seat rocked and she stiffened. She knew what he was doing and it tore into his heart. He was so lost, not sure what to do. He wanted to turn away, play some video games, but he couldn’t. Max’s eyes wandered to where his sister’s head hung. It was horrible to look at.

Maria looked back and her mouth upturned into an unwanted sneer. The gaudy mess of Isabelle was just too much to look at. She pulled back and hid behind her seat. A word came into her mind: Mom. Isabelle was a sore reminder of a mother who wasn’t always there. A mother whose late nights consisted of drunken parties and wild cackling laughter.

Suddenly she was 12 again, walking down the stairs one Sunday morning. She could hear the moans of drunk people. The light splintered through the drawn shades and Maria tiptoed past the sprawled bodies to the kitchen for breakfast. A hand shot up from the floor and took hold of the hem of her long pajama shirt. She ran before it uncovered her immature breasts. She ran to her room and slammed the door, breathlessly locking it behind her, teetering between utter mortification and sexually excitement. Maria shook her head, past memories invading her trembling eyes. It wasn’t rape, it barely constituted as a sexual encounter. But it was the first, the first time any man tried to see more than she was willing to hide.

That look, that look Izzy had when she was waiting outside, waiting for God knows what . . Maria let out a shaky breath. It was the same look she had in her mirror that night when she was 12. Excited, afraid, on the brink of a realization of sorts. She could almost see herself in Isabelle. It was looking at a murky mirror, distorted with cruel exaggerations.

The voice slipped through them, through the walls of the van.

“Can you please start the car?” Isabelle trembled nervously. She bit her hot pink lips, cringed as she nicked a cut. “I’d, I really want to – Can you please start the car?” Isabelle’s voice whispered

Michael’s mouth curled. Balls. If nothing, the girl had balls.

Isabelle pursed her lips, licking the split painful cleft nervously. “Please. Please?” The embarrassment was stretching her limits. Her head lowered as it flushed red, biting the dried skin off her lips. “Can you please start the car, Ria?”

Liz’s eyes slid left, watching from the corner of her eye, her face expressionless.

“Please start the car.” It came like a pleading command. She looked up. “Star the car.” Isabel panicked. “Star the car, Ria. We need to go. I need –“

Maria looked back, her nose flaring in barely check anger, or surprise. Why was she panicking? What was wrong? “I don’t care what you need,” she hissed. A quirky smile played her lips. “No one does.”

Liz nudged her, warningly. “Girl,” she whispered in warning. “Let’s just go. It’s their van anyway.” She gestured to Isabelle and Max with a tilt of her head. “Sooner we get moving the sooner we’ll get home – and rid of them.”

Max’s head shot up and felt pinned to his seat as Liz, Maria, and Michael stared unreadably back at him. He shrank in his seat and closed his eyes.

The van jerked back and started. Max’s eyes fluttered open. None of them were looking anymore, their faces turned forward, ignoring. He laid on the head rest, eyes glued onto the back of Liz’s head and didn’t move.

The engine’s low hum soothed Isabelle’s nerves. “Are we going?”

No one answered.

“Yes, we’re going.”

Her heart jumped at his voice, but when she shifted to look at him, Alex had already turned around.

Isabelle leaned back in her seat. She grinned but dropped it quickly. She turned to Max and whispered. “God. That was something, wasn’t it?”

Max’s eyes flinched for a second before disappearing inside his lids. It closed in pain. His head rolled left on the head rest, but didn’t move away from her.

Isabelle expelled a sigh, her throat pale and quivering. Her insides fluttered like a tattered butterfly.

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 13-Apr-2002 3:45:27 AM ]
posted on 12-Apr-2002 9:03:21 PM by Crimson
To Krazykitti, Thanx for the feedback and congratulations for being the first one to write to me. I should give u an award (but that's what I tell to all the readers). *happy* I'm really glad u like it.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 13-Apr-2002 3:56:04 AM by Crimson
To Snow White, Thanx for the feedback. I know, I know. I haven't posted since . . well looky here. It says since March 20. Blah! U guys are so awesome for sticking by me. "I was almost cringing as I was reading their thoughts on her." Oh u should've seen my face as I was writing this. Btw, if I haven't told u (which I probably have so many times), I love ure quote, Snow.


To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. "OMB, that was excruciatingly painful to read about Isabelle!" Yeah, it was. btw, what is OMB? I am so not really good at all of this computer stuff, roswell. heck, I didn't find out about ttyl until some few months ago (don't make fun. just smile and pity).

To Lucky Star, Thanx for the feedback. It was worth the wait? Why thanx, Mon. I was really afraid u guys wouldn't like it. I think all the characters could see each other in each other. Especially in Isabelle. I'm not focusing on her because she's the main character. They're all main characters. But she will be one of the reasons why this fanfic turns out nicely. "She wanted them to make the step for her and they were unwilling to do it, doesn't that tell her something?? Or is she is special kind of stupid??" Did u also see how they wondered why she didn't open the door herself? I kept wondering (when I wrote it) why does she always rely on other people. I'm gonna have to ask.

"Michael, you pervert, don't look up Isabel's skirt!" Yeah, well. "They have all chosen the masks that they wear, and now have to deal with it." Exactly. Did u catch how Michael slipped his on in the van also?

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. Ure words of encouragement are always welcomed, J.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 14-Apr-2002 5:54:31 AM by Crimson
To Katalina, Thanx for the feedback. "That was horrifying! Absolutely terrifying!" Yeah, I know. (sigh) I had a different sort of plan that I was going to use for this chapter. honestly. and it was going to be so much more . . uplifting? but that didn't happen because I'm thinking of a better chapter to put it in. Sorry, Katalina. I don't think anyone's really ready to help someone else (except for Michael to Maria). They need to focus on their own problems first.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 14-Apr-2002 11:51:49 PM by Crimson
Author's Note:

Just a little hello to u guys. Um, real life has struck and struck harder than I thought it would. No, no sadness or anything. Just studies and work. I won't be able to update this (or Within the Lies) until later. I know. I know. Much cheering. *happy* I'll try hard, though, to finish the next chapter as soon as possible. Thanx u guys for the feedback.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 16-Apr-2002 3:14:49 AM by Crimson
To Audio Poet, Thanx for the feedback. Isabelle is breaking everyone's heart it seems, Audio. But she's breaking hers the most.

To BelevnDreamsToo Thanx for the feedback. LOL. "No cheering at all for no update!!!" Ure too cute, J.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. I know, I know. The beginning of this fanfic will be very painful to read. But believe me, darling. Things won't always be this awful. This is a CC fanfic. The category is a great hint on where it's headed and believe me. It WILL head there. Isn't it weird how you can always relate yourself to someone else? That's what I was thinking when I made them relate themselves to Isabelle. "like the cracked mirror she had been looking into." Love how u wrote that. "This was a brilliant chapter - I really mean that." Thank you, Robyn. *happy*

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. U are too hilarious, Alien. Laughing? Here I am trying to soothe all the other readers and ure laughing. *happy* U are totally Michael. I have to give u a mask. "I think she just about killed any kind of unmasking for max. He is really hiding deeper now because of isabels escapade." Wow. U remember Mister Max. Yes, I can see ure point.

Karina Batman *tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Apr-2002 11:08:17 AM ]
posted on 16-Apr-2002 11:06:47 AM by Crimson
To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback, faerie watcher. *happy* "She is just trying hers on and this group is way too experienced for a rookie mask in their ranks." I really liked how u said that. Because it is true. "This trip is so painful." (sheepish grin) Yeah, everyone keeps telling me. "It is like slowly ripping off a band-aid." Very true. "At times, it seems like the pain will lessen and someone will get smart and try to pull it off quickly...but that sentiment fades." God, I love how u said that, Cinder. The analogy is great.

Karina Batman *tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Apr-2002 11:09:04 AM ]
posted on 9-May-2002 11:10:19 AM by Crimson
Holy mother mackeral and Mickey Roonie! You guys keep bumping this baby to the top (and u haven't forgotten it?!). Bless ure unforgiving hearts. I haven't been able to do an Author's Thanks in a while, so here I am making it up to you (of course, I could also post another part, but then, I'd have to have another part). (hurriedly) Don't kill me.

To Lucky Star, Thanx for all the bumps, chica. Any more and I'd have a lump the size of Texas on my head. But that's kool, it'll cover up my indisposition.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. Aah, Tim, your harsh words were sorely missed. Not as much as your funny ones, though. "Have you read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez?" No, but seriously considering it now. I'm actually reading The Screwtape Letters. Interesting book. "It seems like Liz is the most mercurial of the bunch: she's quick to shock, quick to sadness, quick to pity and, ultimately, quick to defensive cruelty." Mercurial? Whip out ure nonexistent dictionary!

"This does set up a sort of surreal show down, eh? And it turned out that, though she "won", Alex opened it for her, she still lost." Yes, I wanted to convey that in the story. Testosterone is a hormone. I know, I know. College has taught me some things. But I just couldn't think of anything grander. Forgive me, Tim.

You do have a fetish with axe murderers! Should I post my homework on story threads? Hmmm. Awesome suggestion. But I'm afraid some of my teachers might be in here (shudder, and that was a joke). Luv the screaming, Tim. TIM! TTTTTIIIIMMMMM! Geez, no one there. I'm still fighting Finals, which is sort of a dragon in one way. Score. Finals: 3,000,000. Karina: ?? Do I even have to? "She was eaten by a bear????" Sadly, no. "She fell down the rabbit hole?????" Almost, jumped over the Queen. "She was abducted by aliens??????" Don't go Mulder on me, Tim.

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the search party, J. I am not really back. This is a ghost of me haunting.

To MagnusXXN, Thanx for the feedback. Oooh, a newbie (and I say it like it's a non-gay phrase)! "It's great but I feel so bad for Isabel that *I* almost cried and thats one thing I don't do." Almost cried? Aww, Magnus, out of sheer pity that I even tried writing this fanfic? lol. Luv ure quote.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. "Karina - we will carry out our sworn duty to keep this thread up front!" Only a true superhero would do that! I have a great sidekick. *big* Robyn. Btw, u seen Spiderman? I did.

To Krazykitti, Thanx for the bump, Kitti!

Author's Note:

If any of you are reading "Within the Lies", I've posted an Author's Note in that one. I am going to try with posting the next part of this fanfic late next week. No promises. Just think: Karina's human, and she's got finals.

Karina Batman *tongue*

posted on 27-Jun-2002 6:33:12 PM by Crimson
To Alien614, U are so cute for telling me what ROTFLMAO. am I clueless? darling, I should've been in the movie. oh, and much much thanks for the bump.

To Loralee0607, Thanx for the feedback. Have you given me feedback before? I don't remember, Loralee. (shrug) Oh well. Thanks anyway. I like the quote. I'm actually writing a story about something like that but it has nothing to do with Roswell (more of a autobiographical au twist) so I'm not posting it here.

Do u know why Karina hasn't been updating? Because, my dears, Karina is working at her aunt's home tutoring children at a summer school program her aunt created. I get $10 an hour which is not much, but damn I'm still getting some sort of allowance. PLUS, and this is the big thing kiddos, she and my uncle are taking me to Florida and a cruise to the Bahamas this coming August so HELL YEAH! Do u see how I can't get much writing down with what Kids and Bahamas in my mind? lol. Hope u guys can understand.

Karina*tongue*
posted on 17-Jul-2002 12:15:22 PM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. Ure always the first to fb and it's great to see that u haven't let that up. I hope everyone is OK! *happy* That's my answer.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. Robyn! Hello, sidekick. How's things in Gotham? *tongue* I'm glad you like this part. I tried to show the transition between the bitterness and untrustfulness of the first 12 chapters so that it will transcend to this. Yikes, did I write that??!

I really liked Alex and Isabel's talk. The part about not wiping the slate clean was simply amazing. I guess our first instinct usually is to just forget the past, but by doing so we are doomed to repeat past mistakes. Alex is pretty wise! I enjoyed writing that part so much. I am so a Stargazer and no, don't worry. They won't come together that easily, but, it's a friggin' start.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 17-Jul-2002 4:58:06 PM by Crimson
To cole81, Thanx for the feedback. Hey, a newbie. lol. Hey cole. I just found this fic and I have to say that it is really good! I'm glad u like this. I hope that isabel and max can come out of their shells around the "populars." Don't worry. Things will be a-okay.

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. SHIT!!! Did they run off the road??? Their car problems will be addressed in the next chapter. *happy* Prepare for some very interesting, explosive scenes. Oh yeah, baby. I love the Alex and Isabel part! Very sweet that he can see through her mask!! Oooh, I'm glad u caught the transparent part. I just loved writing it. Maria still needs a bit of help!! eekk!! Believe me, with all she's been through, J, she needs to be allowed to freak out.

To Sternbetrachter, Thanx for the feedback. Oooh, another newbie. Hey Trude. I really loved the A/I talk! They are getting friends and then ... who knows. Me is glad u do. *happy* Alex won't die, will he? (or Iz) Oh no! Trude, there are no character deaths in this. Ewww, just eww! I wouldn't do that to u or myself.

Expect cameos later in this story. *happy*

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 18-Jul-2002 12:20:13 PM by Crimson
To Krazykitti, Thanx for the feedback. Yay! New Part! Heck, I'm doing a little dance myself. *happy* The A/I talk was so sweet! I loved it! Awww, thanx Krazyk (my new nickname for u, lol). I hope everyone is okay! Like I said to the others: you'll see (mysterious music in the back).

Karina Batman *tongue*


posted on 19-Jul-2002 6:35:57 PM by Crimson
To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. Did I ever thank you for always bumping this fic? Luv ya for that, Alien! *happy* Maria needs some deep therapy. I think they all do, don't u? Hope the van didn't get into an accident. They don't need any more bad luck. Alien, it gets worse before it gets even better.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 22-Jul-2002 5:55:29 PM by Crimson
To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback. Was I waiting for your fb? Of course, Tim, of course. And what do I think of it? *happy* Cuteness of the most kind. In lamen's terms: me like. So uve dubbed this The Red Baloon tour. For some reason it fits and I have no idea (and should I even be interested?) on why it's called The Red Baloon tour. A prime example of what makes Ms. Karina's writing so special. Simple words that she twists into surprising, yet wonderfully effective, configurations. Bless ure forgiving heart. I wanted to capture Isabelle's feelings and had to change those lines many times to get them "right".

Now, to the left I'm afraid you'll find Michael being a Jackass. Poking her in the head? You didn't find that mysteriously funny in a weird sort of way? lol. Hell, I did. And just who is mysteriously wishing everyone would just shutup? Glad ure taking a gander. I wasn't planning on having those shut up's in there but when I began it was just perfect. Of course, I know who it is. *happy*

Oh! WATCH OUT FOR THE CLIFF! Or the cancellation. Same thing.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 22-Jul-2002 6:02:03 PM by Crimson
Hey cuties, I noticed that there are ratings shown for the fanfics now. (U knew this was coming so . . ) So can u please put in ure ratings for this fanfic. I want honest opinions. If u give it one star, then do it 'cause u really mean it. If u give it five, the same goes. Alright, go ahead. *happy* 'Cause I think it's unfair if I rate myself.

Get crackin!

Karina Batman*tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Jul-2002 6:04:58 PM ]
posted on 25-Jul-2002 7:40:16 PM by Crimson
To Krazykitti, Thanx for the bump.

To rattlebox, Tim, Tim, Tim. I'm diggin' ure lack of stars. Sure, none of us really thinks of the meaning of the stars sorta like we don't question the meaning of writers still writing over a cancelled show (shudder, I know). Tim don't need no friggin' stars. Yeah, well, I can appreciate that. Sadly, Karina has a growing addiction to them and so will still entreat others for them. *happy* Axe murderers run amuck.

Btw, I'm trying to do the next chapter of this fanfic. As some of u know, I'm working on THREE (count 'em folks) THREE fanfics now. So I've been fighting over which one I should update first. Don't y'all worry. This one's next.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 31-Jul-2002 2:06:54 PM by Crimson
Author's Note:

Hey Cuties,

Just wanted to tell u all that I'm going to go on vacation so I won't be able to update. Me apologies. Actually, no! I deserve this vacation! Hell yeah! Btw, if any one of u are wondering, I'm going to Ft. Lauderdale, cruise to the Bahamas, then Orlando. *happy* Florida, here I come!

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 14-Aug-2002 11:19:15 PM by Crimson
To binxter, Thanx for the feedback, Vikki. Are u a newbie to my little group? I don't recognize Binxter. Oh well. I love your fic and the way you write the characters! You are just the cutest thing! Don't worry. I'll update soon it's just that I have classes - I know. California educational system sux! Oh cripes. And I'm trying to be a teacher.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 15-Aug-2002 6:54:59 PM by Crimson
Chapter 15a
They watched the moon rise moments ago. The stars slowly blinking into the night. The gradual precedence of the shadows cloaking the road ahead.

It irritated them.

The dark had closed them in performing a hollowed bubble. The suffocation was almost unbearable.

Here there be strangers.

They watched each other in warning, in caution. Best friends found unfamiliar faces in each other. Alex could barely find the strength to touch Liz.

Everything was different.

It happened so quickly. Their thoughts, feelings, were rushing, running away from one different emotion to another. First they trusted, then they hated, now . . No one was really sure. They were stuck.

With each other.

It felt comforting to know there was someone there to speak, if there was anything to speak about. But no one made a move. They were stuck in their own little worlds. The bonds made from years or moments of time had eradicated to simple gestures, movements. The simple act of not irritating, not annoying, one another.

The air was charged yet silent. They could feel the tension. Everyone was a feet away, miles away.

It just happened too quickly, everything.

The changes, the masks, ripped, pulled. The revelations.

I love you, I hate you, I’m having a baby, I’ve been raped, I’ve seen you, You’ve seen me.

The night tired them.

Emotions coiled like roller coasters. There had been no time for real thought, not really.

They watched the van in eerie suspicion. That damn van. Already it held memories some would rather forget. Some would rather redo. All would always remember.

It was eerie how a couple of hours could make strangers out of friends, and friends out of strangers.

Liz stared up at Max. He hadn’t looked at her since she said they should ditch him and his sister. Okay, obviously not the smartest thing to say. Why personally jinx a good beginning of a relationship . . Liz’s eyes widened. Friendship. She groaned. Oh god, no.

A 17 year old innocent boy. Try counting those in America. A rare breed. The diamond in the rough. The Aladdin to her Jasmine. Okay, this was just horrible.

Liz looked over to see Max walking away to the other side of the van. Even the way he walked was different. It was like he slinked, like he fit in the shadows. And yet, he didn’t. She had seen him. He had opened his eyes and the pretense wasn’t there, the guard wasn’t raised, and there was just this pure . . pure Max. Pure innocence. It took her breath away.

Here was a boy whose insecurities could match the size of a crater and yet, she had heard the way he shouted at Maria. How he stood up for his sister and himself. He had never been mean to any of them. Quiet, yes. But never mean. Max had done everything, and yet nothing. She still didn’t know who he is. It was infuriating.

Who is Max Evans?

It was something she planned to find out.

It was all a guileless mystery anyway. The way they were put together like this. Like some half assed retrieval of the Breakfast Club gone wrong. Alex moaned into his hands, rubbing them over his sunken cheeks. He leaned against the tilting van and looked down at the glass imbedded flat tire. God, some night.

It was too late to hang on to the hope that she would call. He knew her too well to know that she was probably asleep right now, not caring about him or the baby. Maybe she had taken the pills. He could feel the remnants of his child slipping away. If there even was one. This left/right tugs of emotion was beginning to irritate and anger him. Was he a father? Was he not? He had the right to know, for god’s sake. If there was anything he had was the right to know if he had a child. She said she would check. Then again, Ava said a lot of things. If there was anything he trusted it was himself. He wanted to check.

It was all a mess.

You don’t wake up one day thinking that your life is gonna suck. You always hope for some weird ass miracle that’ll get you out of the situations. And sometimes it does. Usually it does. With Alex, luck wasn’t in the vocabulary. He had flunked two classes, obviously not going to summer school, dad in a coma, mom not caring, and now a knocked up girl saying she’s got his baby. Oh yeah. Bring on the suckage.

The only good thing going for him was Michael and Liz. Michael and Liz who had always been there since forever. He couldn’t think of a time when they hadn’t been there. He knew them as well as he knew himself. Yet there were moments like these that he didn’t think he knew them at all. They weren’t growing apart, not necessarily. They were just . . growing. Older. Liz had started spending time with other people, girls mostly. That was how Maria started hanging out with them. And then Michael began hanging out with the Jocks and Goths. Alex found himself hanging out with guys in bands and just random people mostly. No, they weren’t growing apart. They were just wondering who they were without each other. If they actually had a life with each other.

And then the secrets came.

Alex could feel them almost as if they were tangible things. Grandma Claudia had gotten sick in the middle of sophomore year and Nancy at the beginning of summer. Liz was even planning to bail on the trip to take care of them but Nancy insisted she went. No explanation. No nothing. Liz wouldn’t even talk about it.

Michael had always been quiet. He was usually the loudest and most obnoxious one in the group but there were moments, just weird, odd moments when he wouldn’t speak, would stop calling or hanging out. Sometimes Alex would catch him watching a picture, the television screen, or maybe a random child and suddenly grow silent. It wasn’t news that Michael’s parents had broken up over something bad. Hank was a cheater. He cheated on his wife so many, many times. Alex and Liz had just used that to cover up Michael’s sudden contemplative times. But lately there were hints of something different. Alex wouldn’t push. Michael had his own time for things. But there were secrets there as well. Secrets that were dark and possibly very dangerous. With Michael, situations are never easy.

Alex loved them, and had no doubt they loved him just as much. But there were secrets, his own secrets that he couldn’t tell Liz or Michael. Not Liz, not Michael. Not right now at least. They were like, family. They had their own shit to take care of. He wanted someone to worry about him not because they’d known him since he began teething, but because someone chose to.

Being friends with Michael and Liz weren’t chosen. It just was. Best friends. Neighbors. A meant to be sort of thing.

Alex wanted someone to choose him. To go out of their way and walk to him and listen or talk just because they wanted to, not because they had to or a requirement from a third grade pact made from blood.

He ran his fingers over his face. He was only 17. What does an 17 year old know anyway? Not much, that’s for sure. Not enough to get by. Not to raise a family. Or get a job. Or take care of the medical bills of his father. They weren’t rich, not by any standards. But the Parkers had always helped. Nancy had set up this donation fund in the Crashdown for his family and although Alex was embarrassed to know that the citizens of Roswell paid his bills, it did get his family by every time there was a hard scrape to go by.

True, because of his status at school no one had made fun of him. Not to his face anyway. Plus, Michael would easily, greedily, beat anyone up who would grouch about any member of the ‘three ninja clan’ - as Michael had dubbed them. But he wondered sometimes what his life would have been like if he wasn’t popular. If he didn’t have Michael’s pummeling fists and Liz’s attentive ear.

Would he have turned out like Isabelle?

Would he be starving for attention? Would anybody would have noticed him? Would he have masks just as transparent as hers?

Alex leaned back against the flat tire, pushing his legs to his chest. It was beginning to get very cold. He glanced at Isabelle standing alone, silhouetted against a mantle of stars. He looked at what could have been and wondered if she would have been like him if given the chance. If she had friends like he did.

He stared at her, knowing that she knew he was staring. Knowing and not caring. Except now he did. And he wondered how much more beautiful Isabelle would be if she had a friend.
posted on 16-Aug-2002 3:36:37 AM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. Well, I hope everyone is starting to bond a bit here! Umm, bonding is too nice a word for what's going to happen in the near future. Alex and Isabel are making great progress! We'll see. *happy*

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. Yea! Great part!! Cuteness! Liz seems pretty interested in Max. Is it just because he seems so unique to her?? Innocence to be corrupted..or trying to remember hers?? J, Liz is still innocent. lol. Hint with the virginity. Alex seems to need Isabel and be able to see through her mask quit well!! Most definitely, J.

Karina Batman*tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Aug-2002 3:37:01 AM ]
posted on 16-Aug-2002 9:48:24 PM by Crimson
To binxter, Thanx for the feedback. Alex seems to be unsure about his life, I hope he finds that someone who chooses to go to him because they want to and not because they feel obliged to and I really hope that someone is isabelle. I found that my experiences with friends happens to be the same as Alex. Sometimes it's more of an automatic friend thing and he does need to make new friends. I'm confused about liz because it seems she really likes max, but then sometimes she acts like a snob Liz is a lot like a person who's torn between two different personalities. You'll see what I mean later, Vikki. she needs to get her act together! so does maria. So do all of them, babe.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 19-Aug-2002 6:36:49 PM by Crimson
To binxter, Thanx for the bump, Vikki.

To rattlebox, Thanx for the feedback . . finally. Okay, yes, Karina does have a little bit of grudge against her fellow feedbackers but it is lessening over the long responses. That . . and three pounds of spilled milk and Chad - long story, okay, short me like Chad. And no, children, he is not three pounds. It's called sarcasm at its worst. I'll stop now.

Three sub-parts? Always the critical Tim. Let's pull out the stick from my own ass and see how ure doing here. . . refer to said sub-parts as 15a.1, 15a.2 and 15a.3. Very anally probed Max speaking, but okay. I see how it works.
Btw, what if I am an ancient greek dramatist? I might be Asian but I've had hopes of having a chin up greek nose. Or chanting. I like the chanting. The shadowy figures cloaked in black not so much with the weird vibage of death cometh over. This fic doesn't come with an Irish soundtrack, does it? Check ure local stores for listing.

and I rather did enjoy the way she is dragging herself, kicking and screaming, into an obsession with Max. Bless u. U didn't think Liz would just fall head over tentacles over fish boy? I think not, rattle.

So u make me answer the age old question: What does a "guileless mystery" actually mean anyway? Well, it matters which ocean ure near. And this folks, goes to show u that Oceanography is not my strongest points (trick question: why does the Caspian Sea have fresh water?) (They all seemed to have been expelled from the Garden, though they may not admit it just yet.) The garden of eden of East of Eden. I'm still trying to figure it out.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback. Welcome back, Robyn. And yes, growing apart happens in a very painless way until u find an ocean between u and the other.

Liz and Max do have many things alike but many things unalike too. I tried to keep the Max the same Max from the show. Not the surface things (aliens and such) but the smaller things that makes Max, Max. And Liz, Liz. And all of them the way they are.

I don't even know how to respond to that one. Yeah, well, I do that to people all the time. lol. Just kidding. Thank u, Robyn. What I love most about it is that Alex doesn't wonder if Is would have been beautiful if she had a friend, he wonders how much more beautiful she would be. And that says a lot about Alex's character, doesn't it.

To AshleyBehr666, Thanx for the feedback, newbie. Btw, 666? Almost scared, very intrigued. They have 666ers in Michigan?

Karina Batman*tongue*

P.S. HELLO CUTIES. I updated Within the Lies. No feedback? Very disappointed.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-Aug-2002 6:47:34 PM ]
posted on 21-Aug-2002 11:21:57 PM by Crimson
To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. I like how you referred them to the " breakfast club gone wrong" I can definately see the parallels. I think it was Tim who first said it to me in a feedback and I agreed so I decided to put it in. A little homage to him. They all have so many layers. Like onions. Oooh, or cakes. glad to see liz is finally noticing max. Like how she thought he kind of "slinked"! Slinked. Now I know it's more of a term used for criminals or bad people but . . read more. U never know. lol. Probably not making him bad.

To Sternbetrachter, Thanx for the feedback. I sense some A/I romance coming along! Um, Trude, yes and no. You'll see what I mean. (okay, could also be just my desperate Stargazer heart imagining things here) Oh Trude, I've got a huge Stargazer heart also.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 6-Sep-2002 2:13:59 AM by Crimson
To Alien614, binxter, AshleyBehr666, Y'all are the cutest things! I am so glad u guys are bumping. Thing is, College is a bitch and with 6 classes and at least 2 books each to read in each class, I'm having a hard time finding time to do stuff. Forgive me - which I know you will. And love me - which I hope you will.

If u wanna read something interesting (yes, I'm self-plugging and damn that sounds sooo wrong), u can read my other fanfic, "Within the Lies". It's more of the aliens and stuff so I don't know. Enjoy.

Karina Batman*tongue*

posted on 25-Sep-2002 11:56:30 PM by Crimson
To My Beloved People,

Okay, there's only like two of you, but whatever. Alien614, binxter a.k.a Vikki, and TabascaGurl (btw, hi newbie).

First of all, I must say how touched I am that you remembered me. So it's mostly shock but whatever. To answer a few questions.

To Alien614 and binxter (and hell, the rest of you), the reason why I haven't updated is 1) the next part is giving me problems. BUT THE BIGGEST REASON is because my grandfather (who is currently living with me) is now blind. That and his dialysis have been giving our family some . . problems, to say the least. He's undergone 4 - 5 operations in the last few months and it's taking a toll on him and my family. So, yeah. Good excuse, huh? lol. *happy*

And To TabascaGurl, welcome to the obsession, Texas girl. lol. This is a really interesting story. I can't wait for more. That's sweet, Tabby. Thanx for the interest in the story.

Using Tabby's Toodles, uh, Toodles. I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 4-Nov-2002 6:05:06 PM by Crimson
Chapter 15b
Jesus. It was almost a prayer if he wasn’t so damn irritated. The racket in his ear hadn’t stopped since 20 minutes ago when he first dialed the rent-a-tow or whatever dippity doo da name they called themselves these days. The squeaky whine of a mosquito lady spoke of bills by miles, by state, hell, by mortgages! It was beginning to grate on his already sliced nerves.

Fuck Nevada!

“Wait, say that number again. Uh huh. Right.” Michael fumbled for the pen in his pocket and scribbled down bits and pieces of the important stuff on his hand. Except that his hand was sweaty, and the blue ink smudged and ran together in dastardly obscene writings. Shit, did he just write . . no wait, that was a C. He sighed.

This was all wrong. The whole stupid, stupid thing must have been some big interstellar joke. Michael raised his hands to cover his ears, muffling the drone of the cell phone. He could hear the laughing now.

God it was hot. And god everything was irritating: Liz breathing, Maria crying, Alex whining. Maxwell and Izzy were just friggin’ irritating to look at. Like killer clowns.

Michael’s face dropped to his usual scowl, and the lines grew deep to etch around his lips, his cheeks, the dark, empty spaces in his eyes.

He tried thinking of something else.

It was useless. ‘Cause everything else made him think of Maria – and that was the last thing he needed to think, worry, love about.


Michael’s eyes closed and the world grew black; frustration brimmed beneath his fingertips. It was like the world was asking for it. They were so damn asking for it. Everything was beginning, and ending, and the world had turned to pinprick his very skin, his very heart, and Michael was ready to explode.

It wasn’t this one . . thing. It was this everything. Like how the moon rose wrong and how his feet felt itchy but he didn’t want to take off his boots to scratch them. The night was loud, he felt too quiet, everyone wasn’t speaking to him.

Michael felt this rising, this upheaval of emotion, of useless feeling, that he hadn’t felt since he was 8.

He pushed that away immediately.

Whispers of secrets and secrets of whispers and no one was speaking and everyone was thinking and he had no idea what was going on in his little world so how could he know what to run away from? How would he know what to stay away from? Or keep from? Or be with?

Like Liz and her headaches, and the Vegas trip being the only thing good going this summer except now it’s bust because of him and so they get stuck with Circus freaks who forget to put a jack in their car – but a tire, they don’t forget? – and he felt like . .

Michael gritted his teeth and took a deep, painful breath. He felt responsible, damnit!

Because Maria was dying.

Because he had no control – over anything.

Because no matter what he did, or tried to do, he could never save anyone.

Least of all, himself.

His mind conjured a vivid image of her lying on the side of that road and the painful dripping of her splattering to the floor. Tears leaking from her eyes just as slowly seeping as the pool of blood beside the van.

She was killing herself. Yes, but they were killing her, too. They as in them as in himself, too.

Each moment we don’t noticed, each heartful rape we fail to see. She was pushing us away as she was clawing us in.

Maria’s mouth sealed shut because her eyes were screaming take the pain away, and she prayed her lips open so she could weep.

Michael glanced at the others. It pained to notice that they had began to see the small bandages on her wrists. They were confused and questioning and millions of rumors ran rampant in their minds. It made Michael more pissed, more angry, because they were assholes! Because they shouldn’t think about Maria like that! They didn’t know anything and they were looking at her like some leper and they didn’t know what happened in Vegas and if they did they would regret their loud, churning minds! They would regret everything.

Let Liz feel that! Fuck her! And Alex too. Michael choked. They were her friends. Why didn’t they know what was going on? Why couldn’t they have walked into that hotel room?

He didn’t want to know. He didn’t want to be the warrior. He didn’t want to be the stone wall Maria leaned on. Fuck, he could barely stand himself! Except now he could see by the way her eyes held his when she thought he wasn’t looking – but he was always looking – and the way her mouth softened when she said his name: Maria needed him. Good god to hell she didn’t want him, but she needed him and he who recognized desperation knew immediately.

But Michael didn’t want to be needed. He was needed by Liz. By his dad, by his aunt, uncle, grandmother. He didn’t need – or want – to be needed. He had enough issues and problems to worry himself until a third lifetime.

A peel of stars and he stopped his rant enough to quiet their beauty.

But this was Maria.

He loved her. It was a very weird concept to understand but it was exactly how he felt about her. He loved her because she was Liz’s friend, and all the times they hung out she was pretty cool, and she had always been nice to him and his family.

So he loved her. Like a friend.

But Maria had problems and he didn’t know her well enough to like her very much, and sometimes her big ass mouth would sting his ear, and her hands would slap his head and he wanted to slap her back ‘cause she didn’t know him enough to touch him, except he let it go because it would hurt her and hurt Liz.

You don’t have to like someone to love them. And you don’t have to love someone to like them.

A gust of fresh wind rippled his shirt and the freshness irritated him. Damn wind.

He kicked the flat tire where the van titled down. Damn tire.

His foot began to throb. Damn foot.

A string of obscenities streamed out from his mouth. “Mother fu-“ he hissed, “shit!”

Max, Isabelle, and Maria watched his descentive spiral towards madness with a sort of obsessive observation through the glass look.

A loud drone in his ears grew louder and Michael began to decipher what it was this woman was saying in his ear. He paced, strode, with shoulder blades rising like a hyena. He bristled. A gnawing was beginning in his brain and the grip on Alex’s cell phone grew tighter. The mumbles of a jaded woman shrilled back at him.

“This is crap,” he interrupted heatedly. “This is bullshit trying to cover the fact that you guys just don’t give a shit about us. I wanna know how much this service is gonna cost us.” Angry pause. “Fuck that. Fuck that.” His pacing stopped abruptly. His lips curled to a snarl. “No comprende?”

Alex winced.

Comprende this asshole,” bellowed Michael. “We’re stuck in the middle of your fuckin’ desert so pull the crap from your ass and get yourself down here with a truck –” His face transformed into shock. “Fuckin’ bastard hung up on me! Shit!”

Liz sighed, popping a gummy bear in her mouth. “Michael, calm down.” She dropped her gummy bear bag in her purse. “Ya think you wanna be nice to the next AAA company we call?”

Michael’s eyes threw daggers that would’ve killed a less stronger woman; it brushed past Liz unscathed. He was nasty often enough for her to be immuned to them.

“Tell me, genius,” he spat; it enraged him when she had that superior-than-thou tone, “do you know how to get outta here ‘cause I’m ready for the solution, whiz kid?”

Liz squeezed her lips tightly together. “I’m just saying that fighting won’t get us anywhere.” She wiped her hands on her jeans. “We have to think of another way out of this. Does anyone have any suggestions that we can use?”

He didn’t let her get away that easily. “Oh really. ‘Cause I thought sitting down and eating gummy bears would be the best strategy,” Michael retorted sarcastically. “I don’t know. What do you think, Liz?”

“You know what?” Her hands flurried angrily to her face. “Whatever, Michael.” She stood up to leave. “Whatever you want. I don’t care. All I was doing was just trying to help and if you can’t take that then screw you.”

“Yeah, do that,” he taunted ruthlessly. “Walk away. Just walk away, Liz. That’s what you do best, isn’t it?”

She stopped, her mouth in a curled sneer. “Shut up, Michael,” she warned. Liz couldn’t turn to look at him.

“Cuh-mon Parker,” he jeered. “That’s all you do these days.” A strange, dangerous smile graced his face. “Walk away. That’s what you do best. Is it a trait with the women in the family . .”

Her eyes flashed, lips trembled. “Shut up, Michael.”

“Or is it just something you have?” he continued, undeterred. “Like a spiritual gift . .” Michael mocked treacherously, “or something.”

Alex rose angrily. “What the hell are you doing?” He walked up, a few feet to Michael in confrontation. “Man, what the hell’s wrong with you?” he asked disgustedly.

“Oh shut up, Alex,” muttered Maria. He had been whining since the tire blew. Baby this and Ava that. She was read to blow his brains away.

Alex turned back at her in disbelief. “Who the hell was talking to you?”

Michael intervened immediately. “Hey back off.”

Alex faced him with a disgusted chuckle. “Oh so defend her and not Liz? You’re an asshole, Michael. You really are.”

“Why thank you, Alex,” grimaced Michael. “Any other comments you’d like to make? How ‘bout an advice column: what to do when your ex-girlfriend gets knocked up.”

Alex’s arm connected beautifully with Michael’s jaw.

Shock colored Michael’s face as he stumbled down. He stared up at him from the ground, touching his jaw in surprise. “You really wanna do it, Alex? Wanna try me on?” he asked coolly. “’Cause I haven’t fought you since the fifth grade but I think I remember how I kicked your ass.”

“What the hell is your problem?” Alex yelled. “Do I want to fight you? You’re making me and you know it. You intentionally want us to hurt you. You’re pissing us off on purpose, Michael. What’s wrong with you? Honestly, what’s wrong?”

Michael stumbled to his feet. “Why don’t you just back off,” he mumbled, dropping eye contact, “’cause nothing’s bothering me as much as you are right now.”

Alex stepped to him, putting an arm to his shoulder. “No. No no no no. ‘Cause you see, I’ve been backing off too many times.” Michael tried pulling away but Alex fingers tightened. “You think Liz and I haven’t noticed you been acting weird, Michael, weirder than your normal? We have. So this is it. You go ahead and tell me what’s wrong.”

Silence.

“Dude, why aren’t you telling us?” The next question hurt. “Don’t you trust us?”

Michael glared at him and yanked his arm away. “God Alex, can you be more psychologist on me?”

“Can you be more . .?” Fury poured out of his ears. Alex clenched his hands. “Take a walk, Michael.”

They stared at each other for a moment, and all let out a collective breathe as Michael began walking away.

“What’s wrong with Mickey G?”

Alex watched Michael's black shirt and jeans blur into the dark and didn’t stop watching until he was far enough away for them to feel safe. “None of your business,” he said.

Isabelle tried not to look hurt.

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 4-Nov-2002 9:33:51 PM ]
posted on 5-Nov-2002 2:58:26 AM by Crimson
To AlienDreamer101, Thanx for the feedback and I'm glad the story has gotten your attention. I have never read a story where Isabel was unpopular, I really like it. Oh kool. Katherine Hiegl(e)? needed to do some acting. lol. No, no. I had just always pictured them slightly . . askewed (god I hope that's how u spell it) and wondered how things would be if things were different.

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. Awww, u aren't the first feedback. You've broken your record, roswell! at least he didn't beat up Alex after he got punched! Don't think that this Alex/Michael stand-off is over, 'cause I'm not sure yet. Yes, I'm quirky - and you love it.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback. Holy cow! Mooooo. After your long hiatus what a chapter to come back and write!

Okay, let's see if you guys can forgive me for this one: I sorta wrote this chapter two months ago. NOW NOW! Don't beat the writer! I make the next parts!! The ending wasn't sure, I wasn't pleased with the dialogue, Michael was not Michael - the way I want him to be with inner dialogue.

isabel still cracks me up with her one liner! Holy moley, darling, it wasn't even a joke, but I Love that interpretation killed the cat. or was that con-whatever. Welcome back!

Glad to be back.

Karina Batman *tongue*
posted on 5-Nov-2002 12:00:12 PM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback. And ure enthusiasm for my return is duelly (I need spell check) noted. Can't wait to hear from the extremely shy Max again. Is he still "invisible"?? Is Liz still interested?? This is a CC story, have no worry. Now don't ya all take that wrong and think everyone's gonna be in love by the end of the fanfic, because rest assured, they're not. That isn't real. I'm trying to make this fanfic as real as I can get it and so definitely that wouldn't be happening. But have no worry, J. It is still CC.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 8-Nov-2002 2:34:53 AM by Crimson
To binxter, Thanx for the feedback, Vikki. I feel so welcomed from all you all. Thanx! That part was awsome. Comments like these make me want to keep writing. Michael was way outta line. . And alex doesn't need to be so mean to isabelle just coz he's angry with michael, but I guess it's just human nature! Was Isabelle out of line for asking private questions? TWO MONTHS???? YOU HAD IT FOR TWO MONTHS Yikes! I need bodygaurds from y'all.

To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback, Robyn. You came back with a bang!!! This part was pretty explosive. I do try to be the center of attention. lol. It looks like the structure of the group is falling apart very quickly. I just hope that Max and Isabelle don't get caught in the fallout. They already have enough to deal with. Let's just say, everyone will be affected. The next few chapters will be some of the hardest to read. Maybe. We'll see. Just a warning.

I really thought that you did an amazing job writing Michael's crumble - his thoughts, actions, tone, etc. REally realistic. Wow, thanx for the compliment, Robyn.

Ure superhero returns!

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 24-Dec-2002 3:37:43 AM by Crimson
To Alien614, Vikki and Robyn who are my most loyal compatriates.

Chapter 16
Okay, so he loved her.

That’s . . fine.

Alex groaned into his palms. This has been, will be, damnit is! the worst trip he had ever been in.

“Why god why,” he whispered, “do you feel the need to punish me? What did I do? Am I, what? Okay yes. I’m a philanthroping spiteful jerk.” He gave a crooked smile. “But you like philanthropy, right?”

Alex chuckled, and sighed into his fingers. “Just, just this once. Please. Do me right. Give me a chance. Let me have this, this chance to be . . to be . .”

Maria crouched beside him. “Or not to be. That is the question.” She made herself comfortable on the pavement, stretching her suntanned legs out into the blue, pale desert. “Hey.”

Aleck cocked his head but did not move his hands. “You’re talking to me.” His eyebrows moved in surprise.

She looked away and scratched her right forearm viciously, a telltale sign. Maria was nervous.

“Surprise!” A twisted grin. “I’m a bitch.”

“No surprise here,” he muttered, but moved his hands to his lap. Alex pulled his army jacket tighter against him. “You cold? You can have my jacket.”

Maria shook her head and carefully laid her head on his shoulder.

They heard Maxwell and Izzy murmur somewhere behind them. They heard Liz sobbing inside the car. A spark glowed in the distance as Michael lit another cigarette.

“I love you, Alex.”

“Mhmmm.”

She snorted. “That’s sweet. You know hon, when a girl tells you she loves you it’s sort of a big ass hint to for you to say it back. Or thank you? You should say thank you.” Pause. “Especially if it was really freaking hard for her to say it in the first place.”

There was silence.

He shrugged. “I’m not too fond of love at this moment,” Alex answered.

She wasn’t sure how to answer it. He loved Ava, that she knew definitely. But it was his choice to bring it up and he hadn’t since the market.

“Well, I’m not a love lover either so deal with it and say that you love me.”

Maria shut her eyes. That didn’t come out the way she wanted it to. They both could hear the plea in her words. They both inwardly winced.

“Hey, Maria, I love you,” he said matter-of-factly, a little too quickly. “I just didn’t know I had to say it, that’s all. It wasn’t in the rule book when I auctioned to be your friend.”

“Yeah, well,” she smiled gratefully, pushing down a lump in her throat, “you better go check that again ‘cause I’m so sure clause 13 states that all Deluca friends have gotta love me.”

Alex laughed. “Had to be the unlucky number,” he cackled and warded off her punch to his stomach.

“Hey I’ve been thinking about Ava a lot now.”

Things got serious real fast.

“Yeah?”

He sighed deeply. “Didn’t mean to damage the mood but just wanted to tell you. I knew you were irritated that I didn’t really talk about it with you.”

She began to protest. “Alex . .”

“No, no. You’re my best friend and I told Michael more than I told you, ya know. But um,” he swallowed hard, “I love Ava. I’m dealing with this revelation that I love her. Not that, no I’m not in love with her, but you know I love her. In the way that I’m thinking that if we keep . .”

It was so hard to say and spill his guts – even to one of his best friends. She knew. And he was grateful.

“I mean, we’re keeping the baby. Even if it’s not, but I think it’s mine and, er, I want to. You know. Keep it, so uh, I don’t want her to die or anything. Ava, I mean. I don’t want her to die. I need a family. Not need. Not need. Just, uh, want. And you can’t have everything you want but,” he knew he was rambling, “I think I love her?”

Alex blanched. That wasn’t supposed to end with a question mark.

Maria nodded and murmured into his shoulder, “Alex, you’re not in love with her. And if you are, then you better hurry up and change your definition of love.” She kissed his cheek lightly and stood up, brushing the dust from her legs.

Alex sat there stunned. “Um, thanks?”

He heard the van door open. Shut.

* * * * *

“We can’t stay here, Max.” Isabel blinked away and stretched her back, hearing a domino of cracks. “Did you hear that? My back’s all twisted. And it aches.” She shrieked. “Everything aches!”

His hand immediately covered her mouth in alarm. “Don’t scream, Isabel. Calm down. I’m here. It’s okay.”

Her eyes blazed as she ripped his fingers from her lips. “Stop treating me like I’m a baby! Or like I’m a mental patient.”

“Then stop acting like one,” Max hissed furiously. 10 years. 10 years since she had so much as raised her voice to him and tonight they had one of the biggest arguments ever. It made no sense. Suddenly what? Isabel had a backbone?

Yeah, right.

“I don’t act like a baby,” she pouted sourly, angering him even more.

“You know what, Isabel?” Max spat her name. “I don’t get you at all. You confuse me. You, you change yourself constantly, every second of every day, just to get these groups of losers . .”

“Be quiet, Max,” she lashed back angrily.

His eyebrows knotted. “Shut up, Isabel.” He saw the shock on her face and was pleased. “Yeah, shut up. And be quiet. And for once just listen to what I have to say without defending them.”

Max took a deep breath and rubbed his tired eyes. God, if there was the most inopportune times.

Be strong, Max. Have faith. Oh god, have faith in what?!

“I can’t defend you anymore.” He knew she didn’t understand – all the people he had to listen to talk shit about her. She didn’t understand what it felt like to stand there knowing that the gossipers weren’t exaggerating or lying. And it took all of three days and two broken ribs (he blamed it on basketball) to find that the best way to defend her was to stay quiet. But the time to be quiet was over.

Max shook his head. He should’ve realized that 10 years ago.

“You know why they don’t want to be your friend? You wanna know the big secret?” He blinked at the brightness of stars. “It’s ‘cause they can tell. They know that you’re not . .” He took in a shaky breath. Do it, Max. “They know you’re not worth being their friend.”

He had to watch his sister’s eyes break. Had to know it was because of him. And he had to finish it. It had to be done. He couldn’t, there was no way to turn back. He didn’t want to turn back.

Max’s eyes skirted under her sobbing face. “You’re not worth being a friend to, Isabel. You’re fat and you hate it but you don’t eat right or exercise. You have pimples but you don’t take that medicine Doctor Len gave you or wash your face at night. Then you complain about not looking like a model or like perfect people over there. It’s not that you’re fat or have pimples ‘cause everyone has ‘em and no on cares as much as they think they do. It’s that you rant and rant about caring and then you stuff your face in front of the whole school buying three boxes of chocolate and eating it in the cafeteria so that the cheerleaders know that you support their fundraiser to buy new shoes.”

His voice grew louder, more impassioned, as years of guilt and pent up suppression unleashed.

“You’re . . personality is . . fake! You’re everyone and everything. Isabel you’re, you’ve got more faces than the drama club. I’m tired of coming home to a different Isabel every night. You don’t think you stress mom and dad out? I hear them talking about you at night through my wall. They get arguments ‘cause they have no idea what to do. Me neither.”

Their eyes finally met.

“You’re beautiful, but you don’t think you are. You’re kind and you’re nice. But you give it up to belong to someone, to Xander and his friends, and they’re not worth giving up who . . whoever you are. I don’t know what to expect when it comes to you.”

“I love you a lot.” His eyes reddened with tears. “You’re everything to me and I would do anything for you, Isabel. You don’t believe me when I say it but it’s true.” Max’s lips were wet with regret. “But I guess I haven’t been fair to you. I think that if I would do anything for a person than that person would automatically do anything for me.” He bit back a sob. “Dumb. I know. I’m so unrealistic. I know you love me, Isabel, but sometimes I just hate loving you more than you love me. ‘Cause it’s not fair.” Max tightly shook his head. “I love you. I don’t love them, and I hate your damn masks! Isabel, I’d do anything for you and you can’t even try to be yourself so I know what Isabel to love!”

Max dropped his head, scratching the side of his face in dread and hopelessness. “I’m tired of babying you. You’re older than me. You’re an adult. You can take care of yourself and it’s time for me to stop treating you like you can’t. I’m sorry that I have and I’m sorry that I know I hurt your feeling and I’m sorry, Isabel. It’s just that . . ” He pointed to the van. “These people are losers. You gotta admit. They’re pot smoking, grade dropping,” his voice dropped in incredulity “baby having losers. And you want to be them instead of being yourself.”

Max shook his head. “I think you’re so far gone you have no idea who you really are.”

Isabel stood there in front of the stars and the desert and her only true brother. But her eyes couldn’t rise.

“I think you forget,” Max whispered. “They left me too, you know.”

He shook his head and walked away.

* * * * *

I can feel. I can breathe. I can almost close my eyes and dream.

Her head tilted back, black waves hanging, staring into the sky.

It had been a long day, and half the night wasn’t over. She felt tired and pieces of her laid broken across the desert.

She felt like dying. She felt like living.

Like in any other case, she had no idea what she was going to do.

She wondered when she would be allowed to be left alone. Because for some damn reason everyone was so interested in her.

‘You still having those headaches, Liz?’ ‘You okay, Liz?’ ‘Why’re you acting really weird, Liz?’

She clutched her arms, rubbing them to keep away the cold, felt the slide of soft cold skin and wondered how quick it would be to die. Her hands traveled to her wrist and touched its fragility.

No.

Liz huddled against a nearby rock. Cold, unprotected. Curly dark lashes fell against bronze skin and blinked away tears.

It wasn’t that she wanted to cry, or that she did it often. But if Liz was anything, she was honest.

And honestly, she felt like crying.

No.

She wondered when she would feel alright again.

Liz stared at her hands and wondered if they were strong.

Laughed.

But stopped, and kept wondering. Because things were coming.

And Liz wondered if she was strong enough to survive the scars.

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 24-Dec-2002 1:26:46 PM ]
posted on 24-Dec-2002 1:30:43 PM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback, J. I'm glad Maria is talking to Alex!! She needs her friends! Well..so does he! I hope he gets his feelings for Ava figured out! YIKES!! I wanted to show the relationships between the whole group, proving its dynamic so you can see why things happened or will happen or is happening the way it is.

WOW!! Max really let Isabel have it!! Can't wait to see her reaction and see if his talk did her any good! Did the others hear what he was saying about them?? You'll see in the next few chapters. But it was definitely time for Max to talk to Isabel. I felt it. Hell, Max felt it! lol.

To Sternbetrachter, Thanx for the feedback, Trude. great new part! (after a long time but lets just forget that) Ouch! I just knew people weren't gonna forgive me that easily. Damn. Um, will u accept this long chapter? nice insight into everyone again Thanks.

Next chapter will probably be about Michael's POV. Maybe. Possibly. Honestly? I don't know. *big*

Karina Batman*tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Dec-2002 1:33:31 PM ]
posted on 25-Dec-2002 4:24:02 PM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback! I hope Isabel listens to Max and starts to act like herself! Thanks for writing! You are so sweet. Isabel and Max's relationship is stable at best and it will show even more as the chapters progress.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 26-Dec-2002 1:26:21 PM by Crimson
To Snow White, Thanx for the feedback.
That exchange between Max and Isabel was amazing!
You did? Oh wait, you didn't say you loved it. You said it was amazing. I was gonna say . . ! I love this fic and I hope there will be another part very soon Let's cross our fingers now shall we. *happy*

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback, Jackie. I'm so glad that Maria spoke honestly with Alex and told him that he doesn't know what love is in regards to Ava. It seems like someone doesn't want him to be loving Ava. lol. Wow max went a little postal on Isabel. She had it comming! My thoughts exactly. I'm curious to see what kind of reaction this will bring on with Isabel. Haha. You'll see. He really doesn't like anyone from this group huh? Would you?

Liz needs a true friend to open up to, or maybe someone on the outside who can be objective...someone like Max perhaps? Someone's hoping. lol. Thanks for always bumping, o loyal one. That was really really nice of you and I appreciate it, Jackie.

To AlienDreamer101, Thanx for the feedback, Shari. that was a beautiful part. Thank you. *happy* That's sweet of you to say so.


Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 26-Dec-2002 8:33:15 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback, Robyn.
Whoa! I never expected Max to be so blunt with Isabel.
I don't think most people did. What I think is funny but so realistic about these characters is that you see their actions before you see why they acted. I purposely did it this way (a whole bunch of times) because it's just like that in real life, I think. Max was harsh, but I don't think he could have really gotten through to her any other way. I think his harshness was escelating from years of suppression. All we are seeing is the climax of his anger and frustration, not the build.

Maria seems to be coming around a little, but just as everyone else is completely falling apart. Maria will be more and more pivotal in the coming chapters - as they all will (okay, that was a duh!).

This fic always breaks my heart, but you have to reach a point where you have no place to go but up sometimes. This really will be a smiley ending, really! Have faith, peeps.

Expect the breakdown, climax, and building up in a couple more chapters. I know I've been saying that since chapter 2 (lol) but it is coming. The interactions will be from the most important people that haven't really spoken to each other (hint hint).

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 9-Jan-2003 7:41:56 PM by Crimson
Chapter 17a
It was a clear night, clearer than any he had ever seen. The clouds drifted to its side and he couldn’t see a single shambled roof dotting the horizon. Not like home. The terrain was so unfamiliar compared with his room in Roswell. He wasn’t much of a star man himself, not like Liz who had two telescope on her balcony, and not like Alex who didn’t give a damn about things he couldn’t touch.

Living in Roswell always gave the best view of stars – not much city lights if there really isn’t a city – and sometimes after his taped hockey games and there was nothing to do and the bed was just too hot to sleep in, he’d sneak outside, past the groaning and murmurs of the apartment people, and sit by the cool, green pool and lay back on the yellow and white seats. Lay back and just stare.

Except the stars here were different.

They were brighter and bigger. They darted around and he blinked as a fourth shooting star sprung forwards past Maria’s eyes. They were so bright his vision blurred, and little pools of salty tears formed between his cheeks.

He could hear the stars breathe, stupid as that sounded. Dead, breathing things . . except he could. Michael smirked. He felt more aware of them than the five by the van.

He breathed in, breathed out. Relaxed.

Michael’s eyes raised and lazily drew an imaginary line to connect the distant stars. God, they were huge. And beautiful. He scratched his bristled jaw and squinted.

Mom used to. . . He frowned. She used to tell these bedtime story about these twinkling stars, eight, and. .

A deep guttural hatred formed in the pit of his stomach. It was unexpected and painful, and was quickly suppressed before he could make any sense of it.

One star winked and Michael could hear the distant murmurs of someone by his ear.

It wasn’t that they were beautiful. He had never really been interested in stars before. It was just that, right now, there was just something . . something different about them.

God, they were magnificent.

Liz told him once about her fascination with them. They were dead, the stars. But because the distance was so far, their light was still reaching Earth while their source, these stars, were long gone. The past always affecting the present, the coming future.

And Michael couldn’t help but see the irony in his situation. He gritted his teeth, head lowered, as tears stung his cheeks.

His dead stars were haunting still. And so they didn’t exist, some at least, and in their place a new star? Maybe. Except here, on earth, he could see. They endured here. They belonged here. And although Michael had no interest in stars, he had interests in them tonight.

Michael checked his watch. July 27, 9:03 p.m.. Best time to see the constellation. He pulled a compass from his pocket. Latitudes 80 and -80 degrees. He looked toward the North about half way between the horizon and the zenith. There it was. Michael blinked. Ophiuchus, the 13th, most unknown constellation in the Zodiac. Hell, he wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for Maria’s kooky Zodiac books.

Michael studied its shape critically. The serpent holder. Legend told about a son of Zeus named Aesculapius, the first medicine man on Earth. When he died, Zeus immortalized him in the stars, trapped to forever wrestle the serpent, Serpens. The story intrigued him because it was different, and he was different. Ophiuchus was hardly known, and neither was he. And to be forever struggling, forever immortalized, important and yet forgotten. .

Michael could relate.

And those eight stars that made up the constellation. Michael blinked rapidly. Being far apart, they were still together. They made something that none of them could ever imagine themselves to be.

Ophiuchus.

Those stars were a part of something more bigger, more grander than them being by themselves could ever be. One star meant nothing. A cluster made a universe, a constellation, worshipped in books and written diligently in astronomers’ journals.

Michael’s eyes strayed down to the 5 before him as the weary group sat cranky on the dirt road.

His pupils drew an imaginary line between them, connecting them together.

First came Liz, and Alex, Maria, Maxwell, then Izzy. And he wasn’t sure why Maxwell and Izzy were connected, or why he even wanted them to be. Except they just were. They connected; five points in each.

His gaze followed the path from Izzy, slowly, steadily, leading back to a pair of dirty black boots.

His own boots. And the imaginary line ended with him.

Ophiuchus.

And maybe they were a part of something bigger. Something that he, nor any of them could see. Not yet anyway.

Michael took another long drag of his cigarette and chuckled. Holy shit. I am so fuckin’ gone I compared this hell trip to a bunch of stars. He shook his head and chuckled again.

Bu he couldn’t see, not really. He was looking as they all were looking, judging, staring at one another. But none of them could see

Different thoughts, perspectives, whizzed by and flew, regarding and disregarding previous annotations. Conversations were reviewed, body languages, everything was taken in account.

Michael saw them with a detachment that only a boy in the middle of an alien state at the middle of the night with a tire blown and stuck with two strangers (one who smelled distinctly like yesterday’s fish and the other a poster child for acne medicines) could’ve have suffused.

At times he would feel like this, like there was no control over what he said or did and the thoughts came like prickling waves, like the morning tide. Ebbing, receding, too quick for him to understand the pictures inside his head and only leaving with these unwanted, unadulterated emotions that he could not control.

Short memory spans of his life cut down to snapshots of things he would barely remember. Things five degrees away from pain. Tonight it was the pop of the tires. More than that, it was the loss of control. Of loneliness. Of the night.

He remembered his mother. The basement. The smell of jam, dust, and the creak of a million monsters approaching in the night. He remembered thrusting into the darkness, his body young, head-first into an engulfing mouth of stairs. The slamming door. The lock turning. Jangling of keys.

He felt someone look back and watch him.

Michael looked up, sweat breaking his forehead, and stared far, far away as Maria played with the keys in her hand. Turning them around and around.

His eyes began to drift shut.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Jan-2003 10:52:13 PM ]
posted on 9-Jan-2003 7:46:29 PM by Crimson
Hey Cuties,

This is a note to wish you all a Happy 2003 "New Year"!! Yay! But more importantly, to why I did something as horrendous as separating a chapter into parts instead of loving you with one huge one. The reason: Karina's not done with the whole chapter. Chapter 17 is hard, of course, strenuous to my delicate, fragile little stubby fingers and I thought you'd appreciate something instead of nothing at all. You may all kiss my stubby fingers now. *happy* Hope y'all love it as I've loved writing it.

Karina Batman*tongue*

Btw, bless you Jackie for bumping already!

Btw2, Ophiuchus is real.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Jan-2003 7:55:29 PM ]
posted on 10-Jan-2003 10:30:08 PM by Crimson
To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback, Jackie. First one too! Usually that prize goes to roswellluver. Beat 'em good, lol. Karina, what a great chapter. Cuteness. Me like. There are so many layers to these characters and you have barely touched the surface. Sorta like real people! *happy* These characters are a sort of Frankenstein's monster of people I've known, met, heard of from my sister. They're pieced carefully together to create what you see now. So yes, many many many layers. But please let Max have a bath soon!! I just can not stand the fact that he has body odor! Jackie my dear, the way things are going, body odor is the least of his problems (but I will definitely take that into account).

Karina Batman*tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Jan-2003 10:30:47 PM ]
posted on 11-Jan-2003 1:51:51 AM by Crimson
To AlienDreamer101, Thanx for the feedback, Shari. Thanx for the little bump in me really wanna do it now. I'm sorry honey but what? I really like ur story...I might even love it. Oooh, was that a threat for me to make the next chapters better? *happy* Too bad I couldn't cajole you into staring at the stars again. Maybe next time!

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. Great Michael POV part! Thanks for wriitng![ Always a person of few words but remarkably understated. Ure awesome, roswell!

Karina Batman*tongue*




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Jan-2003 1:53:41 AM ]
posted on 11-Jan-2003 5:06:44 PM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback, J. I thought it was interesting that Michael kept saying he didn't know or like stars very much, when if fact he seemed to know quit a bit and seemed very fascinated. Michael's a contradiction, as well as a lot of the characters in here. I really like him equating their little group (including stinky Max and poxy Isabel) to a constellation!! Even if the bigger picture isn't quit in focus yet!! It probably won't until the end. Am I interrpeting it correctly..was he locked in his scary basement as a boy by his mom?? wah!! That, is for later, babe!

BTW..I love that you comment on each out FBs! Means a lot!! Well I'm so thankful that you all do FB's and this is the only thing I can show my thanks to you all.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 20-Jan-2003 9:04:19 PM by Crimson
A Note to the Bumping Cutie!

I've been trying to finish Chapter 17b and I believe it'll definitely be done by Wednesday. Expect it late Wednesday. *happy*

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 23-Jan-2003 1:15:51 AM by Crimson
Author's Note: I'm sorry but there's tension in my house. My parents and sister are not really getting alone *sad* so I haven't been able to write as much as I wanted to, not really. I'll give u Chapter 17b though. Overall, I wanted it to only be Chapters 17 a and b but I guess there'll have to be a C too, damnit.

Sorry guys.

Karina
posted on 23-Jan-2003 1:17:46 AM by Crimson
Chapter 17b
Disclaimer: Lyrics are from the song Mad World from the Donnie Darko Soundtrack, the song remake from Tears for Fears. Also an excerpt from Alice in the Wonderland.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Her eyes closed as she laid her blonde head, limp clammy hair sticking unevenly on the large wide windows. She sat on the stepping ledge at the back of the van and the only thing on her mind was, how the hell did I get here?

It wasn’t a shout. It wasn’t anger. It was this very, very soft voice that had spoken inside her since. . . since this trip began. If she was honest to herself, as she was now, Isabelle would have to admit that this soft voice had been speaking since the day she stepped into Roswell.

But now it was getting louder, since Max had. And it was asking her things. Weird things. Funny, weird things she never considered before.

Like, do you like chocolate? Is your favorite color really pink? Or, who are you Isabelle Evans? Do you like to smile? Do you like to cry a lot?

She sat with her eyes closed and tried to think of the right answers to all the questions the soft voice asked.

But all she got were records.

Mickey G loves chocolate ‘cause he gets a chocolate milkshake every time he stops by the Crashdown. Ria’s favorite color is yellow, but she alternates with pink sometimes when she wears tank tops. Beth loves to smile because her teeth are so straight and white. She always smiles at me when I pass by her at the lockers. I have never seen Xander cry, not even the week after he came back to school when his dad had a car crash. Not even in 9th grade when he broke his wrist during dodge ball. I don’t think he likes crying very much.

Like red warning signals.

It scared her, these records of these lives, things she had never been scared of before.

But the question that bothered the most was,

Who are you Isabelle Evans?

My god, she had never seen Max so mad before. Never. They generally had a good relationship. Yeah sure they argued, but that was normal for brothers and sisters. She had never seriously thought it bothered him, this obsession to be in the popular crowd. Everyone wanted to be popular, naturally. Max would get irritated, yes sometimes, when she went overboard. Like when she bought three boxes of fundraiser chocolate and ate each and every one of them, all of them, in the cafeteria so the cheerleaders would notice, to know she supported their hobbies, their talents, their very lives.

Isabelle’s brows furrowed. But he had never. .

Who are you Isabelle Evans?

Their conversation came murmuring back. You’re everyone and everything. Isabel you’re, you’ve got more faces than the drama club. I’m tired of coming home to a different Isabel every night.

A single tear descended with a glide and her lip slowly quivered open to catch and taste, swallowing bitterness. She shuddered from toe to head, her breath trembling unsteadily, almost erratic-like. Isabelle felt something pass her, almost like shadows.

She smiled through the shaking and past the tears to reach out inside, brushing past looming Cheshire grins of hanging, broken masks inside her mind.

Like Alice, she had been stuck in Wonderland. Enthralled, oh yes. But stuck nonetheless. Too much time wasted chasing white rabbits and now she was too lost in the deep dark woods to remember how to get out.

Not until Max.

It was Max who was there since the beginning. Who else could tear down Wonderland than one who has been lost there himself. He tore her eyes open to see a land beyond Wonderland. It was the stepping out she found trouble with.

Who are you Isabelle Evans?

She swam inside herself, arms outstretched to grasp and pull herself forward, searching slowly for herself. Almost like twirling underwater. It was Isabelle’s first graceful moment.

Like leaving the womb.

And there, right in the corner, so insignificant and helpless, exposed the first time in a so very long time, sat Isabelle Evans.

She took her first breath, and like all newborns. . . began to cry.
* * * * *
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tommorow, no tommorow

Thin fingers pressed on the slim edges of the van window, pushing down to rise off the floor and peer outside into the deep, black desert. Her brown eyes widened, like does, like prey, and stared at the silence of nothing outside. Her warm ears pressed against the cool glass as Liz listened for sounds of life.

None. Nothing. She saw no one and heard naught. Alone.

Swallowing nervously, Liz slid down, out of sight.

The van felt musty, and cold. She sat on the floor, squished between smelly abandoned socks and lumpy harsh backpacks. Liz slithered a finger up her jean leg, noticing the shimmery slime of her mucus against the moonlight. It was gross, she knew, but really didn’t care. She could still taste tears in her stomach. Liz rubbed her eyes as another itch came.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

She murmured tunelessly into the backseat chair, placing her head on the eroding cushion seat. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to. I don’t much care where – Then it doesn’t matter which way you go – so long as I get somewhere.” Liz sighed, picking on the peeling mattress. “Oh, you’re sure to do that if you only walk long enough.”

It seemed like the last year had been a giant catalyst for her breakdown today. What Michael said hurt. He always knew the right way, the utmost perfect way, to crawl inside her skin. But Michael didn’t make her cry.

Her mother was sick. Miss Nancy Sunshine was finally, irrevocably sick. Grandmother Claudia flew special from California, despite her doctor’s orders, and was staying a month in the spare bedroom to take care of her. Didn’t care that she was sick herself, that there was still a restaurant in California to run. She had to be with Nancy.

Liz left them and felt the ever gnawing guilt take a large chunk of her stomach.

I left them, both sick, to go to Vegas, she thought with disgust.

But no. No, that wasn’t why Liz was crying. Guilt doesn’t usually cause her tears.

Fear does.

What do you do when you find out you’re gonna die? Not maybe. Not a good chance of possibly. But definitely. Permanently.

The doctor said the disease was hereditary but it hadn’t occurred, not really, that hereditary meant that there was this good enough chance she would get it.

It wasn’t the question of will but when.

Liz scratched her eyebrow when she unexpectedly cried again, sighing tiredly, exhausted from the tears and migraines that had plagued her since the discovery.

They were all so disappointed. Liz grimaced. That look in her mother’s eyes when the doctor told her. . . and she looked so, God, so lost. Liz pressed her lips together to bite back the pain. So devastated. And Liz just. . sat there in that hospital gown, staring as Grandma Claudia miserably turned away.

Oh god Michael, Michael who drove them to the hospital after Liz complained of migraines. He just. . . stood there, right by the doctor and he stood there with this look in his eyes that were far worse than her mother’s. He looked at her like, like she was already gone. Like she had already left him. And Liz had never felt so furious and so miserable with herself. How could she do this to them?! She never forgot the moment when she disappointed them all.

Liz pressed a hand to her forehead and tried desperately to keep things under control.

Things were different now. It was like looking through rose tinted glasses. From the outside things were just fine. No one noticed and none of her friends seemed to care that she went to the nurse after 5th period. Not that they didn’t care just. . that they didn’t. And so life went on as normal. Liz smiled when expected and cried when it was appropriate. Sometimes she forgot the sickness and would slip into dreams where she was old, and sitting in a garden of daisies, wrinkled and beautifully peached. Those times were the best times.

But then there were these times, like Alex and Michael arguing over stupid things or Maria pulling away from them, that Liz got silently upset because these problems were nothing. They were nothing! And when Maxwell smiled at her, and she felt these feelings she hadn’t felt since Sean Deluca, it was impossible not to be miserable.

She could barely stand looking at herself.

Who, in their right mind, would want a dying corpse?

She barely wanted herself.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2003 1:21:10 AM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2003 9:40:17 PM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback. First as almost always, roswell!

At least Isabel is starting to wonder who she really is! Isabelle has lost track of who she was for a long time.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback.

I hope she (Isabelle) starts to realize that she has to put herself first and believe in whats best for her instead of trying to please everyone else and put up this front. She has to learn to like herself before anyone else. Exactly. I'm glad u got the point of Isabelle's story.

I think she (Liz) is just starting to realize she needs to prioritize those issues. I guess she is scared shitless that she is going to come down with it! Liz has been hiding herself throughout most of the story, if u hadn't noticed.

Karina Batman*tongue*

posted on 24-Jan-2003 2:50:15 PM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback, J.

I printed this to read on the run and forgot to come back and leave fb!! I can't believe you printed it out. Wow. That's something I didn't think any of you would even do. Kool.

Isabel has been "born again"!! Now maybe she can be herself instead of a combination of the group she admires! She has Max to thank for this! Isabelle's rebirth doesn't mean the masks she portrays will all be shattered in one moment. It will be slow arduous process.

What is this dread disease she's paralyzed with fear about getting?? YIKES!! The answers will come later. Definitely later.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 25-Jan-2003 4:16:30 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the wonderfully long and detailed feedback. I love it when you guys do that.

Karina - sweetie - this was amazing! Your prose and imagery are beautiful. I really feel like this part, in particular, was one of your best that way. Oh my god, Robyn, you have no idea what a compliment you gave me. Thank you so much.

I think we all question who we really are at some point - maybe just not quite to the extreme that she did. She is reborn now. I suspect it will take her time to learn and grow and become comfortable in her own skin - much like a child. Isabelle's Rebirth (as I love to call her part in the chapter) won't be as easy as we all would like it in the next chapters. Expect her to fall, to rise, anything metaphoric to an actual child.

She needs to be a little more selfish, in my opinion.
Liz has been one of the selfless in this story or even in the show, for that matter.

She is pretending, living a lie - that she's ok. She's not ok physically or emotionally. We are often so ready to deal with our friends' problems but don't want to bother them with our own. I felt like Liz was doing this. She was running away and reality finally caught up with her and knocked her down flat. There are a lot of secrets in her life that will be revealed, peeled back, layer by layer.

This story is always challenging emotionally to read, but so worth it! I find myself examining my life a great deal right along with the characters. The next few parts of this chapter will be one of the hardest that you will have to read. Warning: SERIOUSLY HARD TO READ. It was very hard for me to write Maria's part and I believe it'll be even harder for you to read it.

Robyn, thank you for the personal note of encouragement. Of course, as of all things, the argument blew over. But still. Very hard to live in a house when there's arguments.

Karina Batman*tongue*

posted on 27-Jan-2003 9:58:05 PM by Crimson
Hey Everyone,

I'm posting chapter 17c today, the utmost last of chapter 17, yes. I know, ure probably tired of this chapter too. lol.

Just wanted to say that this has been one of my quickest posts yet - with my track record. *happy* But, I really wanted to get this out to you 'cause although there's like, only a handful of you (four or five) that read this, you guys are the best feedbackers I've ever encountered.

Thanks you guys.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 27-Jan-2003 10:38:24 PM by Crimson
Chapter 17c

Disclaimer: See Chapter 17a.

WARNING: This part is not recommended for all readers because of its subjects of rape and blatant death. You have been warned.

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had

His hands were on her breasts.

He pushed maliciously her to the floor, shoving her face into the mattress. His hands were rough and raw underneath her shirt and she couldn’t shake his grip from back of her head.

She was crying, so angry.

“Baby you’re so drunk,” he whispered huskily in her left ear, prodding his erection on her neck. “You’re gonna love this.” He grinned like whiskey and began unzipping his pants. “Shut up and enjoy it, baby or it’s gonna hurt like hell. Shhh. Shhh. I’m not gonna hurt you. This is gonna feel really good for the both of us. Really good for me.”

The room was so dizzy and she tried struggling but the room was so dizzy. Her hands flayed the air like a gasping fish, hitting the bed, it’s frame, bruising her wrists, but never able to touch him.

She cried out when he tore her blue dress open, making a long deep scratch when the zipper ripped down her body. His knee banged against her thighs, forcing them apart and she felt his rough and ready hands search underneath her underwear.

“Baby I can make you so wet,” he snickered and moaned as she squirmed to get away.

Maria heard him suck his fingers to jam them back inside her. “Like that. Move around like that again. That feel good, huh whore?”

The searing pain of humiliation but the gag prevented any cry. He began pumping, grunting behind her as his mouth spouted lust.

“Baby, how old are you?” he groaned and took a bite at her neck. She shook her head furiously. “Damn, I bet you ain’t even legal yet, huh bitch?” His fingers slowly pulled out, cutting her insides with his jagged fingernails. She let out a silent cry. “I can tell you like it. You like it bitch. God, I just love getting you big tittied ones.” He violently slammed his penis inside Maria, grimacing in hateful pleasure. “You trailer trash lookin’ bitch. You want it, you sinful ass cunt whore.”

Maria sobbed. No no no no no nononnononononono. She felt him pull out to stab back in, her eyes drifting shut from the shame, the wicked world she lived in.

The door was banging except they couldn’t hear because he was too far gone, and so was she.

The door broke open.

And then there was light. “You fucker!!!! You mother-fuckin’”

She heard shouts and scrambling. Fist connecting to jaw and then grunts, shouts, punches, punches, kicks to somewhere so hard it cracked. The cloth slowly pulling out of her mouth.

A frantic cry. “Maria?” Sobbing. “Maria, talk to me! Talk to me!” He stared at her in horror, tears pouring down his cheeks. “Maria. Maria. What’s wrong? What did he, did he do anything? Did he hurt you? I don’t, Maria, I don’t know what to do. Maria, wake up!”

Her eyes cracked open, fluttering shut.

“Michael?” she whispered hoarsely. “Michael, help.” Maria’s legs began kicking and she screamed, “Help me, Michael! Help! He’s, he’s coming! Alex, Michael! Help me!”

She grew silent so suddenly. It felt so warm and quiet, his hand on her arm. Michael picked her up so very gently, like broken porcelain, laying her on the bed.

“Maria?” he sniveled. His face dribbled with sweat, caking the salt of blood and tears together, and he wiped them away with his right sleeve. “I’m calling the police. I’m right here. I’m callin’ the police. Before he gets away.”

“No,” she pleaded, the tears falling to the bloody pillow. “Don’t leave me. He’s coming. Michael? Is it Michael?”

“It’s me. Maria, it’s Michael. It’s okay. It’s just me.”

He had attacked here first. On this bed. Maria shivered. He was so nice. He was so polite, asking if she needed help from the lounge to her hotel room. And she was so drunk and he was so nice to help her. But then the door slammed shut and he hit her head on the bed, blood dripping on the pillows. His handkerchief stuffed inside her mouth.

Maria slowly shook her head. “No. No, Michael. No, please! Not like this. I can’t. No police. No.”

“Why? They help.” He stood swaying, dizzy, crying near the phone, cradling the receiver in his hand.

“They can’t. We, uh, Michael?” She was desperate. “Michael, I don’t want them. My mom had, uh, there was this. .time, no. Not like her. I don’t, want that so no. Okay? No police.”

“Okay.” He sounded like a child. Michael nodded his head obediently and hung up the phone, smearing his tears away. “Okay, I won’t Maria.” He looked around and began sobbing. “Maria, he crawled out the door.” Michael’s head lowered in remorse. “My fault. I’m sorry. It was all my fault. I should’ve stayed with you at the lounge. I’m so stupid. Why am I so stupid?”

He saw the floor tilt beneath him and cried out in alarm.

“I think I drank too much,” Michael looked up in disbelief. “Maria, I drank too much. I can’t-” He crumpled to the floor. “I can’t.” His eyes began closing. “I can’t. I can’t. Maria, I can’t. I can’t help.” Michael’s face dropped with a whimper. “Help me? Can I help you?”

She stared down at him from the bed. “Michael,” she whispered. “There’s something, I need, you have to do. Please. You have to help me, Michael. Okay? Okay, okay?”

His head drooped down, a nod. “Okay. Okay, that’s good ‘n easy. Michael can. I’m Michael. I can do that. Whatever you need, Maria. I can do it, Maria.”

She needed to be safe. She needed Michael. Maria sobbed. Like my mother, I’m a whore. But she needed it. Because she could still hear that man’s whiskey grunts and was wondering if every time she made love, that man would be grunting her name. Maria shook her head wretchedly. This needed to be erased. Maybe she would always remember. Maybe this wouldn’t work. But right now, for right now, she needed this to forget.

“Michael,” Maria whispered raggedly and opened the blanket to expose her body to the cold air and his horror-filled eyes. “Please. Please, don’t go away. It’s okay. We can do this. You can do this.” Her eyes blinked back her desperation. “You gotta do this for me, okay? Michael, listen.”

He looked up at her in panic.

“No,” Michael blubbered; his face crumbled. “No,” it escaped him like grave air. Michael’s brows knitted and he struggled not to cry, to be strong and brave. “No,” he whimpered.

“Yes,” Maria sobbed. “You don’t understand.” She swallowed a scream “I need, I need this – you. You want to help me, Michael, right? Let’s do it, huh? Let’s help me.”

“I can’t. Maria, no, I can’t do it to you. Maria, no. Don’t make me.” His lips trembled from dread and he shook with revulsion.

There was a whiskey bottle on the floor next to the nightstand.

Maria crawled to him, grimacing at the pain inside of her. “Michael, you’re so thirsty. Drink and you won’t be so thirsty. Drink this.” She slipped the alcohol into his hands. Like leftovers, like her. “Drink it all up and I promise,” she bit back a scream, “you’ll feel so good in the morning.”

Maria nodded as his head tilted, swigging it down, tears running down his face the whole time. “That’s right. Drink it. You’ll feel so good, Michael.” Maria squeezed her eyes shut but her sobs escaped from her throat. “It’s gonna be alright. We’re gonna be all right. You just have to do this one, little tiny thing for me.”

She grabbed his bruising hand and led him up to the bed. “In the morning, it’ll all be good and pretty.” She stared at his already glazing eyes.

Accusing. Betrayal. Confusion. Disbelief.

Her very own alphabet.

Maria shivered awake. There were so many secrets.

She felt the horizon. The moon pressed against a backdrop of careless ashen stars. Maria swayed to the wind, dancing with the night. Her body illuminated underneath the moon like a Grimm’s fairy tale come alive. Long blonde hair swayed heavy as she tilted back and moved and moved, her long pale legs soundless beneath her.

The jade bangles on her wrists clinked and she rose them above her head to stretch the weariness out of her. She felt the itch of her bandages and let a finger dig underneath to scratch the healing scars.

It was actually very, surreal.

Like not really sure if you’re awake. Not really sure if you’re just, having this really crazy nightmare and you, you pinch yourself. You pinch yourself to wake up and you realize that you’re already awake. But that’s impossible. Because in Las Vegas I was raped. I was raped. Maria’s eyes watered. I was raped. And then being an idiot, a drunk dumb blonde idiot, I told, made, really forced Michael to do. . me. To make me feel better. God, Maria, you are so selfish stupid sometimes. I just, just sometimes I want it to be about, uh, he was so guilty the next morning. He looked so, messed up, about taking advantage of me and he’s probably kicking himself in the nuts about it and it’s my fault. He thinks everything is his fault and that he has to take care of it and me but Michael doesn’t know how much of a whore I am. Not yet. He doesn’t know how much of an Amy’s child I am. He’s done it to, like, two girls, and one of ‘em is me and I’ve. . I’ve done it to way more than two. God, why, what’s happening?

Why can’t I wake up?


Maria pressed her lips together and fixed her tank top, applying more cherry lip gloss on her plump lips, carefully sitting on the edge of the road to look left and right for oncoming cars.

With their luck, no one would come until morning. Maria stared at her bandaged wrists. They knew. It was obvious with the stares and she wasn’t surprised they hadn’t said anything.

It was killing her that they weren’t saying anything. They were her friends – some of them, and it was their duty to find out her problems. Except, of course, Maria bit her lip, of course of course of course. Michael was right. Resentful, she blew a bang away from her nose.

Maria shut her eyes. She always did this. She acted like there was some invisible audience watching her every move and thought, like it was their duty in life to watch the movie that is Maria. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair to Liz, Alex, or Michael. Maria bowed her head. It wasn’t fair to her.

Reality bit her ass, hard.

People had lives. People had lives and no matter how hard your life is you just can’t compare to the lives others are having. You can’t. Because you can’t possibly know how hard it is for them to smile every day and pretend nothing’s wrong. Not with their circumstances, attitudes, background.

Maria was raped. Her father left her mother when he found out she was pregnant, in a sense, leaving her. She had sex with one of her best friend’s cousin and she cut herself today for the very first time.

“Dear lord,” Maria scanned the skies, “what is wrong with me?” She tried chuckling but it was dry.

Always blaming Liz and Alex for not knowing what was wrong with her and it was stupid, god she knew it was stupid.

Maria swallowed hard.

She was scared. Simple. It was the truth and Michael was right, though he never really said it. She was afraid to tell them because. . Maria shook her head. She had to tell them. She had to tell Liz and Alex everything that happened in Vegas, and the cutting too.

But if she went up to them and said, ‘Liz, Alex, I. .’ Maria shook her head, clenching back the tears.

It was impossible. She couldn’t. Because never had Maria Deluca asked anyone for help. Never. That would mean that she was admitting there was something wrong. That there was something she couldn’t do and that’s just the stupidest idea because Maria Deluca is a lion. Maria Deluca can tackle anything. Maria Deluca. .

“Needs help,” she bit her lip and sat primly on the desert floor feeling horribly alone.

Thinking, I’m only alone if I allow myself to be alone.

Maria glanced over her shoulder to the van. Liz was in there. It was – a start.

With agonizing difficulty, she stood, brushing the dirt off her thighs and the butt of her shorts. Maria took a deep breath, clenched her fists, and began walking towards the silent white van, the mistakes of Vegas trailing behind.
* * * *
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World

There once was this time when he thought Mr. and Mrs. Parker was going to adopt him. It was a very stupid possibility, one that lasted no more than an idiotic week, but he had thought that maybe, if they could see that he wanted it badly enough, they would take him in.

Michael smirked, lighting up another cigarette in his mouth. Childhood dreams.

He ran in circles trying to make them love him. He made omelet’s for breakfast, fed the dog, one time he even volunteered to wait tables at the Crashdown – for free. Damn he was desperate.

But that was such a long time ago. And it didn’t take much for him to realize that the best way to live is to live alone.

Emancipation Proclamation: It wasn’t only for the History books anymore.

Michael blew the smoke out his tight lips. Everyone thought that it was this great thing, living alone. No parents. No one to hassle you, tell you what to do or what to eat. He could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted and no one would care.

They just didn’t get it.

There was no parents. No one to hassle you, tell you what to do or what to eat. You could do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted ‘cause no one would care.

Michael furiously pitched the cigarette to the floor. His shoulders heaved up and down, jaw clenching to keep back. . but it wouldn’t.

He shoved away his tears to disappear into black sleeves.

“I’m so lonely,” Michael murmured.

He stared out at the night and shouted,

“I’m so lonely!”

A cry in the night.
* * * *
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

The cell phone laid sprawled and abandoned at his feet, the eerie hum of its dial tone muffled by the sand. A slithering snake pressed its tongue against the smooth silver shine of its receiver, and recoiled to slip away into the sand.

It was quiet, his eyes flickered around, the fresh drops of tears clinging desperately to his deep dark lashes.

He laid crumpled on the road, head beneath the prickly bushes, and fingers grasping for some solid ground as the sand sifted and fell between his fingernails. Alex breathed deeply, coughing violently as the feeling of trickling sand tickled inside his throat. The movement caused a tear to run to his ear, the unwelcomed wet glide of salt and coldness running down his neck.

Too many things happen. And try as you might, there was no way of controlling. . controlling anything. He felt like Oedipus, eyes blinded by his own circumstances. It was Tragic, with a capital T, in which it was so much more than death or life. It was him in a position where he should’ve never been. A genuinely good person. . he frowned to stop the tears. . yes, a genuinely good person in a very, very bad situation.

He had been clawing his way out of this, trying to find meaning, trying to be so much more than everyone expected him to be. It wasn’t fair! It wasn’t fair what life dealt him. His father was comatose. His mother needed to be with his father and so sometimes, there were these times, that the only mother and father he had, were nothing.

Alex’s face reflected his loss.

He had nothing.

His friends were just friends. So many secrets. His friends were just these people who had their own lives to worry about with their own families and their own problems to take care of.

Alex gritted his teeth. He wanted parents, damnit! Someone who’s life would always intertwine with his. Someone who’s life had always been his own, and he would always be theirs by blood, by love, by circumstances no one could control.

Expect he had none. And there was this giant, gaping hole inside Alex Whitman where something, he wasn’t sure yet, should’ve been. Love? Comfort? All this time he had been trying to fill this hole with other people. Other girls. Expect it wouldn’t work. Time, every time, he would try to make it work and they would try too, God bless them, but it wouldn’t work. It never worked.

Alex rubbed his palms over his face.

It was supposed to work this time. With Ava it was supposed to. Because this time he got her pregnant. And that would mean there would be someone who would be born loving him. Who had no choice but to need him, to love him. And he would have no choice but to need them and love them also.

No control.

Circumstances begged to differ.

It was Ava on the phone twenty-five minutes ago.

His nostrils flared, breathing deepenening in pain.

“Oh god, Alex. Oh my god! Oh my god I don’t know what to do I was just taking a bath and then. . . .you should’ve seen it.” The whispers. “You shou- it was so small. I’ve never seen ‘em before so small like this. And I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do and my mom was screaming and she was freaking out. . . .God, Alex, I didn’t know what to do! The door was locked and my dad was there, Alex! He was banging on the door and I couldn’t think! I couldn’t think and the first thing I did was. . . .where, do you think, toilet drains go to?”

His eyebrows raised. He had never seen it.

It dawned on him suddenly. He had never seen it. It had no name. No gender. He didn’t even have time to. . Alex breathed hard again.

And the sad thing was? The saddest. . . the saddest. . . Alex sobbed.

That he was so glad.
* * * *
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

In his dreams there was an ocean. The ocean had no color. Just black and white. Everything was shades of gray. He stared at his hands and stared at the ocean.

One step. Two step.

The drifting seaweed curled up between his naked toes and left as quickly as they came.

Three step. Four step.

He felt the ocean, its deep depth swallowing his knees and lapping up his bare thighs. Max’s fingers trailed on top of the water, its smooth jelly surface parting deliciously as his arm plunged inside its cool swirling.

Max laughed and thought of a dirty joke, walking deeper inside the ocean, naked, bare, exposed.

His eyes closed. It felt wonderful. Like whispers of sea gulls and the wind lightly caressing the skin of your shoulders.

The sky was a canvas of green. . and gray. But it was fine. It wasn’t ugly or scary.

It was. . beautiful.

And he was beautiful.

He was not alone. Max jerked awake, slurping the drool off the corners of his mouth, smearing slaver on the backside of his palms.

Sometimes things were different. Sometimes there was color. Sometimes there was Isabelle. Max sniffed and sighed. If his therapist only knew they would probably brand him with ‘repressed incestuous desires’. Max rolled his eyes. God, they just wanted to pin him on something.

Sometimes he would wonder if it was him that was right and that the world was wrong. They were just completely, simply wrong. Like Donnie Darko. Max smiled. Like Donnie Darko.

Isabelle was one of the most important people in his life. She was the only one that could understand him. The only one who would put up with his shit. Max wasn’t stupid. He wasn’t ignorant. He just knew that there were people out there, people who lived in Roswell, who would never accept him for he was.

When they were young and found on that desert, naked, wandering around crying, people used to think the worst thoughts. They used to whisper the worst gossip and theories and hypothesis. Dirty words. In an alien-obsessed town their thoughts even went as far as people believing that he and Isabelle were aliens, crashed on Earth.

Max snorted. Stupid people.

The police had said the car they were in had crashed into a tree and blown up. The parents died instantly, but children were alive, they were alive. They were thrown off the car, little flames in the great dark desert.

He remembered the clothes burning on his back. Ripping them off and feeling the cool licks of night. He remembered helping Isabelle remove her clothes, beating down the fire even as they scorched her face and back.

They held hands in the night, in this very same desert, and wandered.

Max closed his eyes, his grip on his wrist tightened. Don’t be scared. Don’t be scared.

But he was.

It was because she barely had a face that they had to have surgery. The doctors tried their best, they did. But Isabelle’s face. . it was never the same. Like mismatched puzzle pieces. It was the reason why it was so easy for her to put on the masks. Masquerades, facades, disguises to hide who she really was.

Max blinked. He had been mean to her. He had never been so mean to her. Except, try as he might, he couldn’t regret it. He couldn’t regret saying the final truth. The truth behind all the words he had said to her tonight.

I think you’re so far gone you have no idea who you really are.

For if Isabelle ripped away her masquerade, there was something he would have to do.

Max hesitated, then carefully, peeled back his camouflage.

No more hiding.
* * * * *
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very

Mad World.
Mad World.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Jan-2003 11:01:33 PM ]
posted on 28-Jan-2003 10:13:49 AM by Crimson
To AlienDreamer101, Thanx for the feedback. Congratulations, Shari! U beat roswellluver for being my first beedback. That's a very hard thing to do.

To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback.

At least it sounds like several of them are ready to try to move forward! This story has been a continual progress forward, even though sometimes it did not look like it.

To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback.

WOW!!! That was fantastic! Like a quadruple chapter!! I know, I know. It was long. Hey, whenever wherever. Whatever that means.

Poor Maria so eager to erase the memory of being raped, practically rapes poor Michael!! Now she thinks she's a whore! Did this just happen? I got the feeling from earlier in the story that it had happened quite some time ago?! This happened in Vegas a couple of hours ago, actually J.

Poor Michael feeling so lonely!! The part where he so wanted to be adopted by the Parkers was so sad!! The trouble with nobody caring when, or what, or if, is that nobody cares!!! WAH!! At least he's admitting he's lonely!! Michael is the type of person, as I see it, hates to show emotion but when it's there, he is not afraid of it.

Poor Alex feeling guilty about feeling relieved that Ava lost the baby! But would he have been any better parent than he has?? This one was really hard to write, second to the rape scene with Maria, because it did happen to one of my sister's friends.

Max...I'm having a bit of a problem figuring him out! Interesting parallels with the "alien" storyline. hhhmmm Think I'll have to go back and reread his part! Lol. He is hard to figure out.

To Sternbetrachter, Thanx for the feedback, Trude. wow! that was quite an intense part! a very good part. Thank you so much. It was very intense for me to write it also.
posted on 28-Jan-2003 8:26:28 PM by Crimson
To mpls muse, Thanx for the feedback, Robyn.

I'm not even sure what to say...that was beyond difficult to read, but revealed so much about all of them. Believe me, it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to write. It was so hard emotionally to write done and even think up some of the stuff for this chapter.

You would think that with that many people in one space, they wouldn't get the chance to be lonely, but they are. They are all alone in the crowd, so to speak. As I read, I just wanted to yell at all of them, "Talk to each other. You aren't alone!". They are so much alike, and yet they each feel like they are too different for their friends to really understand them. I think many people feel that way. That their circumstances are their own and that no one could possibly understand. I just projected this feeling towards the characters.

Karina - tough read, but again - very worth it! I love that you've carried the theme of peeling away the layers/ taking off the masks throughout all of the story. At first I had wanted to call this story "Masks". But somehow it didn't work because it's more than that. It's about these kids put together in this really bad situation that the audience doesn't really get to see and now they're coming home: Car Ride to Crashdown. One can take Crashdown literally or the diner. Whatever you think is the one that is the best for you.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback.

Secondly They all seem to have not the best home life in one way or another. the problems at home seem to be a little bit more than your run of the mill stuff. With the exception of Michael being on his own which brings up a whole different kind of problem. The reason why I believe this story isn't far fetched is because each and every situation has been true. I have friends or have met people whose parents died in a car crash, met a girl who was raped, a very sick person, someone who lives alone, and my sister and I know this girl who did lose her baby at a very young age. True, they all don't know each other, but this story is if they did and their situations were climaxing on this car ride to crashdown.

I was especially shocked about Isabelle being burned and needing surgery. You made it seem that Max was burned also? Does he have physical scars too? Not as badly as Isabelle's.

I can't believe more people don't respond to this fic cause I think it's totally awesome! U are the sweetest thing. Thank you so much.

Karina Batman*tongue*


posted on 5-Feb-2003 9:05:16 PM by Crimson
Muchos gracias and a Happy New Year to all everyone who is celebrating it.

To Alien614, as always a great big thank you for posting bumps. U are the loyal cool one 614.


To Donnie roswell gurl, Thanx for the feedback, newbie! We got a newbie, folks!

I just read the whole story all the way through and I can honstely say this is great. Holy moly karamba! All the way through?? I'm giving u a special medal, Donnie.

The emotions that u let lose to run wild in this story is simply put wonderful. So now im sitting on my heels wondering when u will post again, so I can read more of ur carefully crafted words. im hoping its soon-hint hint. lol Took the hint and gettin' it. *happy* I really am working on the next chapter (chapter 18, yes, no more of this a's b's and c's. They annoy me too).

Karina Batman *tongue*

Btw, I put a little hint in Chapter 17 on Michael and Liz's relationship, something that I don't believe anyone caught on. Lemme see if y'all can find it. I'd love to hear your guesses.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2003 9:07:11 PM ]
posted on 6-Feb-2003 1:28:01 AM by Crimson
Chapter 18
It was so cold, she shivered, and pulled Michael’s black jacket from it seat, wrapping it around her legs and shoulders.

It was so dark. Liz laid her head down between her arms to bury in the warm scent of Michael. A bittersweet tang of copper wafted to her nose and she rubbed her cheek against the jingling pennies.

There was a sound of footsteps. Stop.

She lifted her head.

The latch lifted, turned. The door moved right, its squeaky wheels grated upon metal and the sound rang in her teeth.

Fresh moonlight seeped into the van and the light glared on Liz’s face. Her eyes squinted, trying to make out the familiar figure by the door. But all she saw was the bright yellow moon.

“Who’s there?” Her tongue felt heavy and she shivered from nervousness. “This isn’t funny who’s there?”

The figure hesitated near the light, unsure, then cautiously merged forward.

Sleek blonde hair entered the line of sight while emerald eyes lowered, as if bowing, as if guilty.

“Hey.”

Liz blinked. “Hey.”

Maria warily climbed inside and stopped short, eyes widening to Liz huddled on the floor, smothered in Michael’s jacket. She looked around the expanse of the van and saw the debris of fallen socks, discarded chewing gum wrappers, and plastic straws stuck to the ground, wet soda still dangling from its body.

Maria sat on a chair.

Liz yawned, stretching her taut body like an aching cat. Her hand accidentally hit the cool window and she absently clawed the glass on her way down. Michael’s jacket fell below her waist and she quickly snatched it up to cover her shivering shoulders. “It’s cold,” Liz mumbled and stared when Maria said nothing. “You okay?” Uncertainty. “Maria?”

Maria’s fingers rummaged her pocket, past plastic band aids and crumpled Kleenex that hid splotches of blood. No bottles. She chewed on the insides of her cheek. No cedar oil. Her eyes blinked rapidly in distress. So how was she going to treat this. How was she going to tell her best friend. . .

Maria smiled in panic. “It’s really cold out there.”

They both looked away at the direction their conversation was taking. Friends don’t talk about weather.

Maria’s hand fingered the door, finger pads hypnotically gliding back to and fro.

“Close the door if you’re leaving,” Liz spoke softly.

Maria quickly turned to intently stare at Liz. Her hand pulled on the lever and Liz watched in a daze as the door shut in front of her.

“I’m actually staying, Liz,” Maria assured, her voice wavering in a way neither girls had heard before.

It scared the both of them.

It was in the way Maria’s face hadn’t changed; she didn’t display any outward emotion of guilt, regret, or the oncoming revelation she was going to share. Her green eyes flashed in the dark and Liz pressed her back against the frame of the van in confusion.

“Maria, what’s wrong?” Her lips were suddenly dry and she licked them. What was going on?

Maria’s eyes narrowed. Licking lips. It was a telltale sign that Liz was nervous.

Her voice sounded broken as she tested it out. “Everything. Everything’s wrong.”

Liz’s eyes raised and focused on Maria’s face. Her breath shallowed as fear plunged into her stomach. “Tell me,” was the whispered challenged. Her head tilted uncertainly. “Do you wanna?” Her voice grew faint.

Maria looked away, and when she looked back her eyes were full of tears. She nodded, making them spill and laze down her cheeks.

“When I was in Vegas. .” Maria sucked her bottom lip and swallowed tautly. “Something happened.” Her eyes strayed to the open window.

Liz sat up straight, her body bent forward to grip the words Maria had to say. “What happened?” she whispered urgently.

Maria’s eyes never drifted from the window and her eyes flickered as Michael’s bowed head came into view. “I was raped.”

It wasn’t the response Liz was expecting. “What?” She shook her head in alarm. “Excuse me what?”

Maria nodded and slowly blinked. “You didn’t know. But. .” her eyes fluttered and it was suddenly so hard to breathe, “Michael knows. Michael came in and he, he rescued me.” An attempt at a smile turned into a grimace of pain, holding back the wave of sobs that were sure to come. The words began to gurgle, mingled in with Maria’s memories. “There was this guy, downstairs, and. .” She tried to remember. “And I was drunk. I was very drunk. He helped me upstairs to our room and he, uh, he. .” Her face broke and the sound of wracking sobs shook Liz’s bewildered eyes. “He raped me.”

Maria stared down at her quivering hands as they blurred under her tears. “I told Michael not to call the police because I was scared, and then I forced him to have sex with me.” She shook her head miserably. “I don’t know why I did it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t think I was even thinking.” She sniffled. “But that’s what happened.” Her hands lifted as she peeled off the band aids to show Liz her scars. “I cut myself and Michael caught me. It happened right before the van went down. That’s why I’ve been bitchy like this.” Maria’s body shook from the overexposure of her soul. “Alex doesn’t know. No one knows. Just Michael because he helped me and he saw it.”

She frowned and her face lowered. Her body instinctively cringing as she asked the next question.

“Do you still like me?” Maria whispered fearfully.

“Oh my god, Maria.” Liz instantly moved to wrap her arms around Maria’s back. She pressed her eyes closed, brows furrowed tightly together. “I love you.” Liz shook her head and tears broke from her eyes. “I love you, you silly weirdo.”

Maria hunched into Liz’s shoulder and sobbed, “Good.” She pressed her chin on Liz’s neck and blubbered. “I love you, Liz.”

They held each other like children, wrapped in a small huddle from the cool, dark night.

“Maria, I’m glad you told me but what about Alex?” She pulled back to gaze at her friend’s sopping face, searching her eyes for an answer. “I’m not trying to push you, but maybe you should tell Alex. Up to you but, he’d want to help. He’d really want to help and you know Alex. You know Alex he would. He wouldn’t say anything or make you feel uncomfortable or anything.”

“I know and I feel so bad for not telling him ‘cause Alex could really, you know, help me out.” Maria nodded. “I’m gonna tell Alex. It was just you that I had the hardest time telling ‘cause I don’t want you to think bad of me.”

“I don’t, Maria! That’s not– “

“Look at you, Liz. I mean, you are so. . so perfect.” It was almost bitter, but it wasn’t. “You have like, the best life and here I am with a mom like Amy and I didn’t want you to think that I was like that or anything.”

Liz shook her head in horror. “No way. Maria, no way. I’ve never thought of you or Amy like that.”

Maria beamed and dropped her head in shy delight. “Thanks, Chica.”

Liz let loose a small smile and stood. Maria scooted over and allowed her to sit down. She felt the slight nudge of Maria’s knee softly banging against her thigh and they both snuggled on the cold bumpy seat of the van.

“Liz, now about Michael. He is so an asshole for doing that to you.”

An eyebrow rose.

Maria put a comforting arm over Liz and squeezed. “Michael saved my life and eternal gratitude definitely. But I’m not stupid. It doesn’t make him any less of an asshole when he wants to be and god, this time, he must be 2nd in Command of all assholes.”

“First prize goes to?” Liz asked automatically.

“My dad,” Maria answered sarcastically.

“Of course,” Liz nodded and grinned. “How could I forget.”

“Shame on you, Parker.” Maria exhaled noisily. She regretted not sticking up for Liz earlier when Michael was attacking everyone and it was gnawing on her conscience. No one attacks her best bud like that. Not that Liz was sensitive, hell no. She was probably the toughest one in the group. But whatever secret Liz had on her mind, it had weighed her down enough to give Michael’s words an opportunity to destroy.

Maria needed to explain, to rant, to let loose and be herself for just a moment. To be who she used to be, who she was in spite of the events that took place in Las Vegas. She had to be Maria.

Babbling.

“Michael’s Michael which means nothing but you know. I get. You get it.” Maria let out a dramatic pause. “Hell, America gets it.”

Liz’s lips curved to smirk.

“It’s just one of his dumb ass I’m-such-a-tough-big-guy move which clearly,” Maria flayed her hands about, “is a transparent show of his immaturity and the childlike behavior he will,” she sighed, “never grow out of, but then again we are talking about Michael Guerin here and why am I not surprised to know that his middle name is Damon which is cannily, eerily and yet metaphorically close to the word demon, which is his original form when he sprouted out of hell from where he hatched.”

Maria sighed dramatically and leaned back in her seat to catch a breath.

“Maria, stop,” Liz smiled kindly, turning away from prying eyes to pick lint off from the seat. “There’s some stuff that,” she tucked a hair strand behind her ear, “just don’t make fun of Michael. I’m okay. Really.” She smirked. “Michael can’t get me that easily.”

Maria wrinkled her nose. “Okay. Obviously Michael bashing isn’t the vanilla you need tonight.”

Liz turned to her and smiled awkwardly. “Thanks.” She rubbed her itching eyes and stared resolutely at her best friend. “Maria, about the. .” It was so very hard to bring it up again. “About the rape.”

Maria flinched.

“Are you going to talk to anybody? I mean, like a doctor? Kristen Gynes said,” she tucked a hair behind her ear, “last year she got raped and she went to a doctor so he could,” Liz nodded nervously. “Check up, you know. If you don’t wanna do it, that’s your thing and whatever, but I’m just, really worried. I don’t want you to get hurt.” Liz bit her lip. “More than you are now.”

“I will. I’m gonna do that. But honestly, Liz? Just talking to you is making me feel a lot better already.” Maria shook her head and quickly changed the subject. “Anyway, about me and Alex.”

She hesitated for Liz’s smile and both understood immediately. The subject wouldn’t be talked about now, but it will. For right now, Maria just needed to feel like herself again and Liz completely understood.

“Alex and I had this major life-altering talk with required hugging and all things mooshy.” Guilty pause. “’Cause you know, Alex and I are best buds now, which doesn’t mean that you aren’t my best friend, Chica, ‘cause you are totally my best girl but you and Michael were like MIA for forever and half a summer with the whole we didn’t really talk much or hell, see you guys kinda made Alex and I closer together.”

You could cut the tension with a knife. Liz had to hide her deer cut in headlights look by biting hard on her tongue.

Maria nervously giggled. “Alex has this whole dumb Britney-Spears Crossroads theory but I’m thinking it’s because you both were gonna run off together and live in California to stalk Mel Gibson. Which honestly, Liz, I can totally see Michael stalking The Gibson with his Braveheart counting heads obsession which is just so gross, but again. Michael Guerin.”

Liz shot her a look that Maria pretended to miss.

“So A and M are back together with the love dove brother/sister friendship thing so you and Michael gotta get your act together, okay? We need Parker and Michael. AM PM. Alex, Maria, Parker, and . .” Maria’s eyes widened. “God that sounds even more stupid when I say it aloud. Who the hell made it up again? Was it Alex ‘cause that would make so much sense.” Maria rapidly licked her lips and glanced at Liz. “Liz, if you don’t feel like talking then say it. I’ll shut up. I know I’m babbling and you don’t look like you have a Maria filter.”

Liz shook her head and winced, pressing her small fingers to her temple. “It’s just my head. It’s been hurting lately.” She smiled warily. “I’m okay. Really. There’s nothing you should worry about.”

A shrill ringing interrupted their moment.

Liz scrambled for her backpack and fished around to finally present her cell. “It’s my phone. I wonder who’s calling me. Hello?”

“Liz?”

Her eyes shot up. “Jeff!” This was so not the time for her father to call. “Jeff?”

Maria shifted closer in interested disbelief. “Jeff? What’s he calling you for? I thought he left.”

Jeff Parker raked a hand over his graying hair and signaled for Nancy to come closer. “Liz baby, how are you? Where are you? Nancy’s been worried sick.”

Nancy slapped him lightly on the arm. “I am not.” Her voice became strained. “I would just like to know where my only daughter is . .”

“Calm down calm down, Nance. I’ll ask her again.” Jeff sighed into the speaker. “Where are you, Liz? Before you lie, I’ll tell you what we know. Nancy called your cell phone an hour ago but you weren’t picking up so I called the hotel and guess what they said?”

Liz grimaced.

“They happen to believe, and this is what gets me,” he continued sarcastically, “that you checked out this morning. But that doesn’t make sense. So you tell us. What’s happening, Liz? I thought you were staying ‘til tomorrow night. Are you on the road?”

Oh my god he was psychic.

Jeff’s voice dropped with expectation for the worst. “Did Michael do something? Maria drag you off to another hotel? Liz, where are you?”

“Um . .” Liz’s mind was working overtime.

“Don’t lie to me, Liz,” he warned, but they both knew she wasn’t good at it anyways. “Not a good idea at this moment.”

“One condition. “ Liz leaned back on the chair.

Maria smirked. Liz’s negotiation pose.

“Tell me why you’re at Nancy’s? I thought you went back to Milwaukee when I went to Vegas.” Her voice rose in surprise. “Is something wrong with Nancy? Is grandma okay? Put Nance on.”

“No, not yet. I want to talk to you. Nothing’s wrong,” he assured, placing a hand on Nancy’s shoulder to tell her their daughter was fine.

Nancy visibly relaxed and began filling the sugar bottles; it was the only chore that allowed her to stay near the phone.

Jeff filched a cloth from a blue shelf on top of the cinnamon rack and began wiping the white counter. “Everyone’s fine. I’m here because Grandma called me a couple of days ago.”

That piqued her interest. Grandma Claudia calling Jeff? That didn’t sound normal. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. We had a talk,” Jeff began, “about Nancy, Harris, and you.”

“Me?” Pause. “Why?”

“Many reasons. But the big conversation, kiddo, is you and Harris.” He shook his head, softly pushing Nancy aside to head for the soft drinks. “You knew he was coming and you left him here while you and your friends went to Vegas. Liz, he saw you peal out of the driveway. That wasn’t a smart move, kiddo.”

Damnit. “I know,” whined Liz contritely, “but it’s. . Harris. Jeff, you know how Harris acts. He’s. .” She made a face. “Harris.”

“Ugh,” Maria grimaced, her face resembling a bite of bitter lemons. “God knows why your parents made him, Liz.”

Jeff rolled his eyes, scooting away from the soda machine and into the double doors of the kitchen. “Is that Maria? Tell her I said hi and that we didn’t have a choice.”

“You should’ve tried harder, Mr. Parker!” Maria yelled.

Jeff chuckled. “Liz, he was forced to market shop with your grandma today. She’s been making him do chores around the house but with you guys gone that’s basically what he’s doing. That and filling up your waitressing job. Your grandma fired Agnes.”

He scratched his head, looking for spatula. “Look, I know you and Harris don’t get a long, but he’s your brother and he came down from Seattle to visit so be nice okay. He’s trying.” Jeff made a little dancing jig and walked towards the found spatula on the grill. “I’ll be here to keep the peace because honestly, that boy is getting on everyone’s last nerve.”

“Told you he’s annoying,” Liz smugly replied.

Jeff’s smile turned apprehensive. “Liz, uh, there is this other thing I need to talk to you about when you get home.”

Red warning bells whirled in her head. “What is it?” She switched the phone to her other ear. “No no no. Tell me now or I’m gonna get worried.”

Jeff shook his head. “It’s nothing to worry about.” His eyes traveled to Nancy’s across the kitchen counter. They shared a look. Finally, she nodded. Jeff grinned uneasily. “Me and Nancy have been talking and we think it might be good for everyone if I stay a little while longer.”

“Jeff.” Liz dropped her head in shock. “Define a little while.”

He made this nervous snort. “I don’t know, pumpkin. A couple of weeks. A couple of months.” Jeff headed for the eating tables. Nancy kept giving him questioning glances but Jeff merely shrugged. “We’ll see how it goes. I know it’s weird and it’s weird for me too but Grandma has been feeling better since I’ve been here and I’ve been helping out a lot at the restaurant.”

“Where will you be living?” She had this dawning suspicion.

“That’s still up for debate. Right now Nance lets me sleep on the couch downstairs. And no talking about me taking your room. Harris took it anyway.”

Liz sighed. “Figures the asshole.”

“Now you answer me.” He stopped his pacing. “Elizabeth, where are you? Please tell me you’re still at least in the United States? If not. . Canada, Liz. Please tell me Canada.”

Better he know now then when she was at home. In his face. Him ready to ground her at will. She took a deep breath and Maria’d it. “I spiked Michael’s drink and he gambled the plane tickets home but everything’s fine ‘cause this girl from school called Maria’s cell and they offered us a ride from Vegas back home so I guess they were in Vegas too. And don’t worry ‘cause you know ‘em, Jeff. The Evans. They live, like, two blocks from the Crashdown.”

Jeff smiled. Liz forgot he had a Maria filter. His brows puckered. “Evans? Comes to the Crashdown a lot? Sits on the same booth each time? Gives creepy googly eyes to you and your friends?” He made a face. “Yikes. That same Evans?”

Liz nodded and shrugged. “Same one. Her and her brother had this van from their grandpa or uncle or something. Maria’s driving but everything’s okay.”

It sounded reasonable. Wait a minute, did she say spiked? Jeff rubbed his face. God, they were 17, not in junior high. When he was 17, spiking drinks were the least of his worries. Plus it was Liz. Liz, for god’s sake! He had to give her the benefit of the doubt. “When are you coming home?”

Thank you god he was being lenient on her. “Soon. We’re crashing tonight.” Liz flinched “In a hotel. Crashing in a hotel. I mean that, everyone’s tired and we don’t wanna sleep in a van.” She bit her lip. That was too close. “I don’t know. Maybe we’ll have to.”

“Well I’m glad that the boys are with you. Keep safe, okay? Tell Michael if he doesn’t send you home in one piece,” Jeff gripped the phone, “I’m taking him for a son.”

“I don’t know, Jeff. He might like that.” She had forgotten something. “Oh, Uncle Hank says hi. He got a new girlfriend named Carol Silvera.”

“A stripper name,” quipped Maria with disgust.

Nancy moved towards Jeff’s side and placed a hand on his back. “Jeff where are they?”

He could feel the warmth from her palm a turned to look at her. “They wanted to take another hotel in Vegas so they’re finding one now.” He was caught wondering why her hand felt so natural on him.

Liz smiled over the phone. “Thank you so much. I will repay you with massage and blueberry pancakes.”

Jeff smiled. He was a sucker for his kids.

Nancy removed a notebook form her apron and pulled a short stubby pencil from her hair bun. “Give me their hotel number.”

Jeff placed a hand over the speaker. “They haven’t found one yet, Nance.”

She snatched the phone impatiently.

Jeff playfully tried to grab it back from her. “Nancy. Nance! Don’t make me tickle.”

“Liz, this is your mother.” Nancy dropped the notebook and pencil into her apron, smiling as she dodged Jeff’s lighthearted fingers. “You tell Michael to find a nice hotel and then you both call me so I know where you are. Oh. And don’t sleep late. It might be vacation but I don’t want any of you kids turning into insomniacs.” She ignored Jeff’s laugh. “And eat. Eat a lot, Liz. I picked up this brochure from the traveling agency in Sunset and it says that Las Vegas has wonderful buffets. So eat. And stay safe, honey.” Her smile turned sweet and motherly. “Liz, I love you. Give the rest my love.”

Liz nodded. “Okay. I love you, too.” She hung up the phone and sneered at the ceiling. “Oh this all I need. My dad and Harris staying over at my house. This is crap. This-“ Her teeth clenched. Irritably, she pushed the van door open.

“I just don’t need this right now.”
posted on 6-Feb-2003 1:30:00 AM by Crimson
To Alien614,

This is only a stab in the dark but the Michael /liz relationship is that they are best friends. So close at one point he wanted the parkers to adopt him? Perhaps a brother /sister relationship now?

Close, but bite. Not particularly what I'm looking for. It's true that they are best friends but. . there's something that everyone's missed. Thanks for the guess though.

Karina Batman*tongue*

posted on 6-Feb-2003 9:19:49 PM by Crimson
To roswellluver, Thanx for the feedback.

Great talk between Maria and Liz! thanks for writing! Awww. U are so welcome, roswell.


To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanx for the feedback.

I am a little surprised she was able to bounce back so quickly after telling Liz...maybe that is Maria's defense mechansim. It is. Glad u caught that, J. I've shown Izzy, Max, and Michael's defense mechanism. Also Liz, since she has been withdrawn. Maria has her own way to hide her pain.

Liz defending Michael has me wondering what Liz knows about him that nobody else does. Is he gay?? Was that rhetoric sarcasm?? 'Cause u know he and Maria did it in Vegas, right? No, doll, he ain't gay.

Very interesting talk with Liz and Jeff and the apparent rekindling of Jeff and Nancy's relationship?? I thought it was great that Jeff was trying to smooth things over with Nancy for Liz! And Liz has a bothersome brother?? Can't wait to hear more about her life!!! Believe me. All their lives are interesting in its own way.

To Alien614, Thanx for the feedback, Jackie.

My what libreral parents Liz has! They seem kind of quirky. They are. I hadn't planned Jeff and Nancy Parker to be like that but again, this is my world, and in my world things are a lot different than it was in the show. So Liz has a brother and I take it the parents are dicorced. You won't meet Harris in this story but if I do create a sequel, he'll definitely be a major part of Liz's life.

I can't figure out what the relationship ship thing with Michael is? Did Michael and Liz have a little fling over this past summer? Maria said they were MIA. When u find out, you'll figure out why I'm laughing, Jackie.

Karina Batman *tongue*

P.S. OMG. I did the biggest hint on this chapter about Liz and Michael's relationship. . . and no one got it!! Keep Guessing, folks. Good luck on it!


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 6-Feb-2003 10:36:52 PM ]
posted on 7-Feb-2003 12:49:00 AM by Crimson
To Alien614, Thanx for the guess, J.

Michael is an alien and somehow Liz found out, thats why they were both MIA this past summer. Am I any closer? Omg, good guess. But no. No aliens in this fanfic, babe. But, uh, cuh-mon. Big hint! It was stated in chapter 17 and this one too, though better hinted on chapter 17!

Karina Batman*tongue*


posted on 7-Feb-2003 8:40:25 PM by Crimson
SPECIAL THANKS REPORT!!

I've probably done this before but I don't remember so to reassure that I've thanked these people, here I go (maybe again?).

To KrazyKitti for nominating me for Most Underpraised Author and Best Story You're Not Reading.

To Cinder for nominating me for Most underpraised author.

Thanks again, guys. I was totally wowed.

Karina Batman*tongue*
posted on 8-Feb-2003 1:22:29 AM by Crimson
To Alien614, another try?

Michael knows about Liz's potential illness therefore he has to deal with possibly loosing someone else in his life. Perhaps this MIA over the summer was for liz to be tested at the hospital and Micheal was with her? If this isn't it then I am just dense and will wait it out until you reveal the relationship! That is so true, J. Hooray for you. BUT, and I do have a big but (either way u take it it's true *big*) That wasn't the answer I was going for. I guess you're gonna have to wait until it's revealed.

Keep guessing, though. Gosh, it's almost there! P.S. Look at Maria's part and Liz said it.

To Snow White, thanks for the feedback.

Please post more soon - I'm definately interested in why Liz and Michael were missing. It was the hospital time, Snow. The question I posed is what is Liz's relationship with Michael, but no one has yet guessed it. Maybe you will!

BTW great part - very nice Liz/Maria convo. Thanks so very much!

Karina Batman*tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Feb-2003 12:47:09 PM ]
posted on 8-Feb-2003 12:46:44 PM by Crimson
To BelevnDreamsToo, Thanks for the guess, J.

Is Michael Liz's brother?? Kool kudos but no bite. Almost, J. U almost got it! Find the quotes, J!!

Y'all keep guessing. Good luck!

Karina Batman*tongue*

posted on 9-Feb-2003 1:41:18 PM by Crimson
To Alien614,

I'm completely stumped! How frustrating is this! Damn! Did Michael and Liz elope in Vegas? WHAT??!! I can't believe it! No! This is definitely a CC grouping. Omg, u must be joking, right . . ? (shakes head) I really must be frustrating the lot of u. I am so serious. The hint is big and it's there. You just have to look, really. It's there.

Keep chugging and good luck on the looking.

Karina Batman *tongue*


posted on 10-Feb-2003 11:47:29 AM by Crimson
To Alien614,

My little Alien! I give up! I read it again and still don't see it! I am going to feel really stupid once this is revealed aren't I?! U are so not going to feel stupid! Why? 'Cause no one got it either. Goodness lord. There's this big hype now and hope u all don't feel disappointed when it's revealed.

To BelevnDreamsToo, Let's see what u come up with, J.

Okay...this has been driving me crazy!! I was thinking that it had to have something to do either with Liz and Michael being MIA that time or Maria's comment about it not being surprising that Michael's middle name was Damien, and this morning I popped awake and thought that they were related!!! *big*

His middle name is appropriate because he is the son of the DEVIL!! U know that was a metaphoric joke right?

They were gone because Liz was helping him stay away from his family and that is why he wanted to be adopted by Liz's parents and why you said my question about Michael being Liz's brother was close!! Okay, this summer was actually because Liz was at the hospital and she found out that she might have this disease. Michael being Liz's brother is close. . but no bite. Look for a certain line that Liz says to her father - GOD I AM SO GIVING IT AWAY!!!! ARG! U have to get it now!

Okay...I NEVER get up this early...if it's not that, then I give up and will just wait for the next chapter too...am I close?? Awww, awesome questions, J. Awesome. U are close, yes! *happy*

Keep guessing, folks. Good luck!

Karina Batman*tongue*


posted on 10-Feb-2003 7:58:02 PM by Crimson
To Alien614,

I got it! I got it! Micheal and Liz are cousins!!! Am I right?! Alien, why did u guess this?

Karina Batman*tongue*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Feb-2003 8:15:45 PM ]
posted on 18-Feb-2003 8:53:19 PM by Crimson
To Alien614,

CONGRATULATIONS! Yes, my god. They are cousins. That's why I kept laughing when people asked me if they were together and stuff. Gross creepy crap that is! Also, if you had seen on Maria's thought ramble, she had "said" on Chapter 17b that She had sex with one of her best friend’s cousin and she cut herself today for the very first time. Maria was talking about Liz and Michael. But yes, another big ass quote hint was Liz told her dad that "Oh, Uncle Hank says hi."

To BelevnDreamsToo

Crimson, where are you?? J, I'm in College hell. My Geology teacher is the pits and I just totally failed my first test. Sorry I haven't written or anything but I've been studyin' my ass off and now I'm pissed (more at myself than him but hell, I studied so that's that!)

Thank you both for the bumps. Bless ya.

And CONGRATULATIONS ALIEN614, yet again.

Karina Batman*tongue*

posted on 20-Feb-2003 12:10:29 AM by Crimson
To Cinder, Thanx for the feedback.

This is such a great story...I can't believe I fell so many chapters behind...so much has happened. When was the last time you read and posted, Cinder? Hmmmm.

I don't know why, but Max is the most interesting character to me in this story. I crave parts which provide his inner thoughts. U have an obsession with Max? Why am I not surprised. I love doing Max's inner thoughts just as much as you love reading them.

If I read the part correctly, Max and Isabel both received severe burns from the car accident fire with Isabel's spreading to her face. Exactly. Isabelle more than Max, remember that. It's crucial.

Does this passage refer to Isabel and Max's biological parents? Was the car accident not so accidental? Yes, it was accidental. Yes, it was referring to the car accident. I believe that Max and Isabelle act the way they do because of abandonment issues with their parents.

As for everything else...I thought Michael and Liz were cousins. Glad to have the confirmation. Oh good. People were just coming up with harebrained ones and it made me laugh outloud (u know who u are)!

Maria really does need to verbally express what happened to her. The rape scene was rather brutal. I, too, think Maria needs to see a doctor when they make it back to town. Maria will verbally express what happened. Don't worry about that.

Liz is another character I can't seem to figure out. Is the other one Max or Maria?

Is her older brother Harris, a child from both Nancy and Jeff, or is he her half brother? Why do they not get along? Harris is her real brother from both Nancy and Jeff, yes. Why did you think he was half?

Liz has some sort of disease...is it life threatening? Her mom and grandma are still alive, so logically speaking, wouldn't Liz be able to a productive, long life? We'll see - I say cryptically. *wink*

Love this story Bless you, Cinder.

Karina Batman*tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Feb-2003 12:12:18 AM ]