posted on 17-Feb-2002 12:46:49 PM

Author: Kari

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell, all rights belong to UPN and Melinda Metz. No infringement intended.

Summary: This is my version of a modern-day Cinderella story! Enjoy!

~*Chapter 1*~

Isabella heaved another bag of garbage into the dumpster and brushed her hands on her shirt. She seriously had to get a new job, being a maid in a hotel wasn’t working!

She looked at her watch and sighed with relief. She could go to her room now, her shift was finally over. She walked back into the hotel. She practically ran down the main hallway to room 177—home sweet home.

Isabella lived in the hotel because she didn’t make enough money to get an apartment of her own. As an employee of the Sagebrush Hotel, she got the room for only a tenth of the normal price charged to the public.

Isabella was 19 now, finally more independent. She had been an orphan until the age of 3. Amy DeLuca had found her one night in the alley behind the hotel and brought her inside the hotel, which she owned. Isabella was immediately put to work. Eventually Amy became Isabella’s legal foster mother, which meant Isabella sort of had two sisters. Amy’s daughters were Tess and Maria. They had never gotten along very well with Isabella and Isabella resented them because they got to keep all their wages, but she had to pay for her room. They were treated better by Amy, and had less work to do.

Her only real friends were Liz Parker and Max Evans. Liz also worked as a maid at the Sagebrush Hotel, and Max was going out with Liz. They were really nice to Isabella and included her in a lot of activities and parties.

But it wasn’t enough for Isabella. She was sick of living with Amy, Tess, and Maria. She was saving all of the money that she could so that, maybe in a year, she and Liz could rent an apartment together. Now, Liz lived with her parents.

Isabella tried to push all these thoughts and memories out of her head and flopped down onto the bed. She flipped on the TV and thanked God for cable. She flipped to MTV and turned up the volume, they were actually playing a Linkin Park song for once!

She closed her eyes and got lost in the slamming rhythms and pulsating instrumentals.

Tess came through the door that connected their rooms, grabbed the remote, and turned the TV off.

Isabel opened her eyes and groaned. “Look who it is,” she said. “Wanna-be-cool Tess! Welcome to my room! How may I help you?”

“You’re such a dork, Isabella. Mom told me to tell you go down to the kitchen and do the dishes.”

“But that’s Maria’s job! Why can’t she do it?”

“She’s getting a manicure now, duh. So, go do the dishes, Isabella.”

Isabella stood up and grabbed the remote from Tess. “Ok, ok, I’m going. But haven’t you ever heard of knocking before you enter a room?”

“No,” said Tess, smirking and going back to her own room.

Isabella walked down to the kitchen and got her apron off of the hook by the door. She put it on and walked over to the sink.

“Damn!” she said, seeing the dishes she was supposed to wash for Maria. There was dried and gunky food all over them! These dishes should have been washed yesterday!

Amy walked into the kitchen and saw Isabella staring at the dishes. “Isabella!” she yelled, hitting her in the shins with a broom. “Staring at the dishes won’t make them any cleaner! Hurry up, girl! We haven’t got all day!”

“Amy…I mean, Mother, wasn’t Maria supposed to wash these, like, yesterday?”

“Maybe she was, but she didn’t. Just do the dishes, Isabella! Don’t argue with me!”

Isabella turned towards the sink again and rolled her eyes. She started running hot water into the sink, and added some liquid dish soap. She started scrubbing the dishes. When she was about halfway done, Maria came running into the kitchen.

“Where’s Tess?”

“I’m not her baby-sitter…how should I know? What’s the big deal?”

“I have some great news! Well, not for you…” Maria ran off to find Tess, muttering to herself, “Where is that girl?”

~*Chapter 2*~

Isabella finished the last dishes and put them on the drying rack. She took off her apron and was getting ready to go back to her room, when Liz came running into the kitchen. She was jumping up and down and clapping her hands excitedly.

“Liz, what’s up? Why are you so excited?”

“Isabella, you haven’t heard yet?”

“Heard what? Maria was excited about something before, but of course she didn’t tell me why. What is going on?”

“The Whits are coming to Roswell! They’ll be playing here at the Sagebrush on July 8!”

“Oh my god!” Isabella started jumping up and down with Liz. “This is great! Maybe we’ll get to meet Alex Whitman himself!”

“Even better than that, Isabella! See, they’re here to hold audition for a new female vocalist because Wendy Lavely quit! You could sign up for the auditions!”

“Eeeeee!” Isabella squealed with excitement. Then she stopped. “It’s no use,” she said.

“What do you mean, it’s no use?!”

“Maria and Tess will want to audition too. And they’re better than me. Amy has been paying for them to have singing lessons ever since they were 7, I only sing for fun.”

“Isabella, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re the best singer I’ve ever heard…well…in person…You know what I mean. Come on, you have to try!”

“Ok, I guess. What about you? Are you going to audition?”

“Me? Hun, when I sing people drop dead from fright!” Isabella smiled, knowing Liz was right. She was a pretty bad singer.

The girls talked for a few more minutes, then Isabella retired to her room for the night, knowing she needed a lot of sleep. She had a whole day of cleaning ahead of her.


Alex Whitman yawned and opened his eyes. He rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. He clumsily splashed water onto his face and brushed his teeth. He walked out of his tour bus and towards the trailer that served as the kitchen for The Whits and all of their crew.

He grabbed a blueberry muffin and poured himself some orange juice. He was eating his breakfast when his road manager, Phil, or more commonly known as Tubby for his weight problems, walked up to Alex.

“We’ve got another busy day ahead of us, kid. Glad to see you’re starting it off right by eating a healthy breakfast.” Tubby grabbed 3 muffins, 2 cinnamon rolls, and rest of the orange juice, and sat down across from Alex.

Alex tried not to laugh, but it was pretty funny when Tubby ate so much.

“So,” said Alex. “What do we have lined up for today’s schedule?”

“A photo shoot. We need to make promo ads for the auditions in Roswell, New Mexico. Finish up your breakfast, kid, and get over to the wardrobe trailer. Nicky, Chris, and Markos are already there.”

Alex finished his muffin and juice and jogged over to the wardrobe trailer.

When he walked in, he saw Chris lounging on a couch with his girlfriend, and Markos was on the phone with his fiancée. Alex sighed. He wished he had someone special to be with, a girl that would put up with his hectic and crazy schedule.

He must have looked really upset, because Nicky walked up to him and patted him on the back. “I feel your pain, buddy, I do,” he said. “Look on the bright side, though. We might meet some awesome chicks at the auditions in Roswell.”

Alex smiled, realizing that Nicky was had made a good point. Why hadn’t he realized it before? There would be TONS of girls trying out—one of them would be right for Alex.

~*Chapter 3*~

The next few days were very boring for Isabella. She cleaned hotel rooms and worked in the kitchen.
On Saturday night, Liz asked Isabella if she’d want to go to a party with her and Max. Isabella gratefully accepted the offer, happy to be able to get out and do something.

She wore one of Liz’s dresses (since she didn’t have any that she hadn’t already worn a million times before). They did each other’s hair and makeup.

Max picked them up in front of the hotel in his brand new yellow jeep. “Wow,” said Isabella. “This jeep sure is bright.” That set everyone off laughing. They all joked around on the way to the party.

Max pulled up in front of a huge house. They could hear the music coming from inside. They went inside and hung out together in a group, but soon Liz and Max went off to dance alone. Isabella sat down on a couch, watching everyone.

A guy walked up to her and took her hand. He pulled her off the couch and into the middle of the room. She decided it couldn’t hurt her to dance with him. What she didn’t realize what that she was dancing with Maria’s boyfriend and that Maria was at the party.

Isabella was dancing with the hot guy when all of a sudden someone spun her around and slapped her. Isabella stood there, too stunned to speak. Maria had just slapped her in public! To make matters worse, everyone had stopped dancing and were all watching in interest. They were probably waiting for a fight to break out.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Maria screamed. Isabella was about to respond when she realized that Maria wasn’t yelling at her, but at the guy. “How could you dance with this hussie that’s a poor excuse for a sister?”

The guy said, “Calm down, Maria. We were just dancing. And I had no idea she was your sister. What’s the big deal?”

“What’s going on?” asked Isabella. “Is he your boyfriend, Maria?”

“Yes! Glad to see your brain has started to work, Isabella! Michael, come with me, we have to talk.” She grabbed Michael by the collar of his shirt and dragged him across the room. He waved good-bye to Isabella.

Liz and Max walked up to Isabella. “What was that all about?” asked Max.

“I was dancing with a guy that just happens to be Maria’s boyfriend. I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend. I mean, we don’t exactly talk about that stuff like normal sisters.”

“Come on,” said Liz. “Let’s leave this party. Max, could you drop us off at the Dairy Queen? Isabella and I need to binge on ice-cream and talk.”

Max smiled and led them to his jeep. “Sure,” he said. They drove in silence to Dairy Queen.

“Thanks,” said Liz. “We can both walk home from here, we only live 2 blocks away in either direction.”

The girls got out of the jeep (and Liz kissed Max) and walked into the Dairy Queen.

They ordered their usual—one large banana split. They took it to the little table in the corner and dug in.

“So,” said Liz. “I counted my savings the other day and I think I have enough to pay for my half of the rent and bills of an apartment for 10 months.”

“That’s great! I need to save up for another few months, but maybe we can get an apartment together in less than a year…that would be great. I just CANNOT stand living at the Sagebrush with my dysfunctional foster family.”

“Things are bad there, huh?”

“Yeah, I seem to get more angry, sad, and impatient with them every day. I can’t wait for the day when I’ll be totally free of them.”

“You poor thing,” said Liz. “Here, have some more ice-cream.” She pushed the banana split towards Isabella, causing them both to laugh.

The guy behind the counter gave them a weird look, but didn’t say anything.

“So,” said Liz after she got ahold of herself again. “Have you been practicing for the auditions? They’re only 2 weeks away!”

“I don’t have much time to practice…and I don’t think I’ll even have a chance unless I can get professional coaching.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. I have a plan…but I can’t tell you yet.”

“A plan?”

“Yeah…just never mind for now. When I know for sure, I’ll tell you.”

“Ok, Liz.” Isabella tried to think of what Liz’s plan might be, but kept coming up blank.

~*Chapter 4*~

Isabella spent the next two days cleaning more than she ever had before. On Monday night she was relaxing in her room, wishing Maria would do her share of the work. Ever since she’d danced with Michael, Maria had refused to be of any help to Isabella.

Isabella was getting tired and was thinking of going to sleep when someone knocked on her bedroom door. She sighed and dragged herself to the door, hoping it wasn’t anyone that was going to tell her to go clean something.

She opened the door and saw Liz standing there with a huge smile on her face and a glint in her eyes.

“Isabella,” she said, jumping into the room. “I have got great news!”

“What? Did you finally sleep with Max?”

“Isabella!” Liz playfully hit her friend. “No, it’s good news for you!”

“Did you kill my foster family?” asked Isabella hopefully.

“No…I got you signed up for singing lessons!”

“Liz, you totally didn’t have to do that! It’s so expensive, and besides, I have to work everyday, I don’t really have time. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be able to do the auditions for The Whits.”

“Don’t say that! You have to try out…you will try out! And the lessons are free. My uncle’s neighbor is a choir director and he agreed to help you. Plus, the lessons are in the evening, so it won’t cut into your work time.”

Isabella looked at Liz and slowly smiled. “I guess I have to say…yes! I’ll try out. When is my first singing lesson?”

“In half an hour. You better change into some cleaner clothes, fast. We’ve got to go!”

“Whoa! In half an hour? Liz, you should have told me sooner! And I’m so tired now, I’m practically falling asleep on my feet.”

“Too bad,” said Liz cheerily, pushing Isabella towards the closet. “Pick out an outfit and let’s go! Max’s jeep is outside, I’m borrowing it.”

Isabella gave in and grabbed her blue sweater and a black skirt. She changed and quickly brushed her hair. The two girls ran out to the jeep and headed towards-

“Where exactly are we going?” asked Isabella, trying to apply makeup. She wasn’t doing a good job because Liz was driving like a maniac.

“We’re going to the choir room at the high school.”

Isabella sighed, wishing she didn’t have to even see the high school. She knew it would just bring back bad memories…her high school year kind of sucked.

They pulled up behind the school and Liz led the way to a door that Isabella had never noticed before. “This door leads right to the choir room,” explained Liz as she unlocked it. “My uncle’s neighbor gave me a key.”

They entered the choir room and Liz called out, “Hey! Mr. Valenti, are you here?”

A man who looked familiar walked out of a back room and grabbed Isabella’s hand, roughly shaking it.

“Hi. You can call me Jim. I understand you need some help with your singing?”

“Yes,” said Isabella, trying to figure out why Jim looked so familiar to her. “And I really appreciate you helping me out like this. You know, sort of at the last minute.”

“No problem at all,” said Jim reassuringly. “Liz, if you’d like to sit while Isabella sings, you can. Now, Isabella, can you read music?”

Isabella blushed and said, “Well…not too well…I know all the notes and how to sing them, but when I have sheet music in front of me I get a little confused.”

“Ok,” said Jim. “We’ll work on that.” He proceeded to give her copies of the music she would need to know how to sing by Wednesday night, their next lesson.

Isabella sang for him and he gave her a few pointers on correct breathing. He finally looked at the clock and realized it was almost 11 p.m.

“That’s all for tonight, I think,” he said, leading the tired girls to the door.

“Good bye,” said Isabella. “And thanks again.” They got in Max’s jeep and Liz started driving towards the Sagebrush Hotel.

Isabella said, “Jim looked familiar…but I don’t remember ever meeting him before. And I know that he wasn’t the choir teacher when we were in high school.”

“Isabella…don’t you recognize his last name? Valenti…” Isabella thought about it, but it just didn’t ring a bell.

Liz laughed and finally said, “He’s Kyle’s father. You know…Kyle Valenti. Captain of the football team…didn’t he go out with Tess for a while?”

Isabella felt like hitting herself in the head and saying DUH. Now she recognized the name Valenti. And she had recognized Jim because Kyle looked so much like him.

Isabella’s memories of high school came flooding back to her, but it was too much for her tired brain. She was asleep before they had driven halfway to the Sagebrush.

~*Chapter 5*~

Alex collapsed onto the poor excuse for a bed that was in the tour bus and closed his eyes. He was exhausted. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally.

He was tired of being bossed around all day. He was tired of not having any control over his life anymore. His agents didn’t even let him pick out his own clothes in the morning! He was a star now, wasn’t he supposed to by happy?

Alex’s eyes flew open as this realization hit him full on for the first time. He wasn’t happy with his life. He wanted freedom. He wanted companionship. He was lonely most of the time. Sure, he had friends, and he was around tons of other people all day, every day. It just wasn’t what he was looking for.

He was looking for love. He tried to comfort himself by thinking of what Nicky had told him…that he might meet someone in Roswell.

Alex had never really had a girlfriend. Sure, in high school he’d dated girls…after all, he was raised in New York City. Anyone could get a date in New York City. Although he’d gone out with some of the girls for a month or two, he’d never been in love. Not even close. And at the age of 19, he thought it was damn high time he experienced love.

Alex picked up the remote for the CD player and pressed the play button. He didn’t know what CD was in now, but he didn’t care. He just needed some music to drown out his thoughts.

Desperate for changing, starving for truth

Closer to where I started chasing after you

Alex sighed when he realized what song he was listening to.

I’m falling even more in love with you

Letting go of all I’ve held onto

I’m standing here until you make me move

I’m hanging by a moment here with you

Alex grabbed his pillow and put it over his head.

Forgetting all I’m lacking, completely incomplete

I’ll take your invitation, you take all of me

The pillow wasn’t blocking out the music, but he was too lazy to turn it off. He’d dropped the remote under his bed, and didn’t have the energy to get down on the floor and look for it.

Now I’m falling even more in love with you

Letting go of all I’ve held onto

I’m standing here until you make me move

I’m hanging by a moment here with you

Alex pushed all of his blankets on top of his pillow. Except that he could still hear the song quite clearly.

I’m living for the only thing I know

I’m running and not quite sure where to go

And I don’t know what I’m diving into

Just hanging by a moment here with you

Alex groaned and rolled onto his stomach.

There is nothing else to lose

There is nothing else to find

He reached under his bed, moving his hand back and forth, trying to find the damn remote.

There is nothing in the world that could change my mind

There is nothing else

There is nothing else

There Is nothing else

Alex finally felt the remote and wrapped his fingers around it. He pulled himself up into a sitting position and pointed the remote at the CD player

Desperate for changing, starving for truth

He hit the button again.

Closer to where I started chasing after you

Alex jumped up angrily from his bed and threw the remote at the wall. He bent down and yanked the plug from the CD player out of the odd electrical outlet that was built into the bus.

“Damn you!” he yelled at the silent CD player. “What do you know about love?” He kicked the wall and then screamed and grabbed his foot, hopping on the other. “Bloody fuck, that hurts!”

He fell onto his bed, trying to overcome the pain vibrating through his body from his foot. As he was lying there he did something he’d done very rarely in his life. He cried. Not for the pain in his foot, but the pain deep within his heart.

posted on 17-Feb-2002 12:48:51 PM

~*Chapter 6*~

The next morning Tess and Maria ran into the hotel lobby, looking for their mother. All they found was Isabella and Liz taking their break.

“Where’s Mom?” Maria impatiently asked.

“Why?” asked Isabella. She knew Amy was off cleaning rooms, but she didn’t want to be helpful to her ‘sisters’.

“The signup forms came in the mail for the audition!” Tess said excitedly. “Maria and I are signing up…we have to tell Mom the good news!”

Isabella stood up, along with Liz. She asked, “Where are the signup forms?”

Tess and Maria looked at each other and burst out laughing. “You’re signing up?!” asked Maria, trying to contain her laughter. “That’s hilarious! You can’t sing! And even if you could, you don’t take singing lessons, so you’d have no chance!”

Isabella yelled out, “What do you mean, I can’s sing?! I sound a million times better than you! And I am taking lessons!”

“Yeah right. Who’s your teacher?” asked Tess, no longer laughing.

“Mr. Valenti,” Liz said matter of factly. “I arranged it for her.”

Maria and Tess turned very pale. They both knew Mr. Valenti was a GOOD singing trainer.

“Whatever,” said Tess nonchalantly. “He’s just a high school choir director!” Tess and Maria walked away, both fuming in their anger. Neither wanted to admit it out loud, but Mr. Valenti teaching Isabella pretty much meant they no longer had any chances of getting the part.


Two days later, Isabella was changing the sheets on a bed, thinking of the auditions. She had finally found the signup forms and had filled one out. She’d had two more lessons with Mr. Valenti and could already tell that she was singing much better.

As she was about to leave to clean the next room, Maria came storming in and slammed the door behind her.

“What did you do to me?” she rasped in a voice that was barely there.

“What do you mean?” asked Isabella. “And what’s with your voice?”

“You know! You put something in my food or something and now I have laryngitis!”

“Maria, I didn’t put anything in your food. You probably go laryngitis from yelling at me all the time.”

“Shut up, bitch!” hissed Maria. Isabella took a step back, astounded by Maria’s choice in words. Sure, she’d never gotten along well with her foster family, but none of them had ever called her that before! Maria continued, “You just want me to not sing in the auditions because you know I’ll win. How dare you do this to me! My mom took you in, she gave you a home, food, clothing, a job! I was a good sister to you. This is how you repay me?”

Isabella was no longer in shock. She was extremely pissed off. “Maria, get it through your thick skull, I didn’t cause your laryngitis! And I would have been better off if our ‘mother’ hadn’t taken me in! I’d prefer to live in the streets than live here! This isn’t a home, it’s a hotel. You and Tess and Amy aren’t a family! I’m like your damn servant! I’m sick of it! I’m sick of just sitting back and taking all this crap from you! Now leave me the hell alone! I’m not the bitch, you are!”

Isabella ran out of the room, heading for her room. Liz, who’d been in the hallway and had heard everything, cast a glare at Maria and ran after Isabella. She caught up to her sitting against the wall outsider her room, crying.

Liz slowly sat down next to her friend and gently hugged her. “Shh…” Liz whispered, moving some of Isabella’s hair out of her face. Liz took a tissue out of her pocket and handed it to her. Isabella took it and wiped at her face. “I…I hate them all so much!” Isabella finally gasped out.

Liz just hugged her friend tighter. “I know you do, sweetie. But look on the bright side. Soon we’ll get an apartment together and we can get better jobs and you’ll never have to see them ever again.”

Isabella continued to cry. “I just want a real family,” she said when her crying had almost stopped. “I don’t have anyone that loves me.”

Liz turned Isabella so that she was looking right at her. “Isabella, don’t you ever think that! Max and I love you so much! You’re like the sister I never had!”

Isabella hugged her friend. “I know. I’m sorry I said that. I guess I meant I don’t…I don’t have the right kind of love. I want what you and Max have, you know? I want that magic.”

“You will,” said Liz. “You will because you deserve it. You deserve it more than anyone else I know.”


Alex ate his spaghetti in silence. Nicky, Chris, and Markos were all laughing and goofing off. No one seemed to notice how quiet Alex was being. He was getting impatient. He knew there was only a little over a week until the auditions in Roswell, but it didn’t seem soon enough. He was probably just getting his hopes up by believing that someone special was waiting for him in Roswell. Yet, he knew it was true. Somehow he just knew that there really was someone in Roswell, waiting for him.

~*Chapter 7*~

The next few days at the Sagebrush were hectic. Everyone was running around, trying to get ready for The Whits. Isabella sighed as she got the main suite cleaned up.

She still couldn’t totally believe that in just one week she would actually meet Alex Whitman himself! As she continued to clean, she settled into a cozy little daydream about her and Alex meeting and falling in love and eloping.

BANG! She was interrupted by a slamming door. She sighed, hoping it wasn’t one of her evil sisters. She turned around and was relieved to see it was only Amy

“Oh, um, hi Mom. Can I help you with something?”

“No, I just wanted to tell you that I forbid you from singing at the auditions next week.”

“What?! You can’t do that!”

“You heard me, I forbid you. Maria is very sick, and you somehow caused it! You are not trying out!”

“You fell for Maria’s story? I didn’t do anything to her! And you can’t forbid me, I’m not a child. I’m 19 years old. I’ll do what I want!”

“No. I am in charge of the signup forms. I ripped yours up. Any others that you fill out will also be ripped up.” Amy calmly turned around and walked out of the room.

Isabella sank down onto the floor and stared at the closed door in shock. How could Amy do this her? Didn’t she realize how important this was to her? Of course she did. That’s why she’s forbidden Isabella from trying out. She didn’t want her own foster daughter to have any happiness.

For what seemed like the millionth time that week, Isabella cried.


“Is Liz here?” asked Isabella, standing on Max’s front porch.

“No, sorry, you just missed her. What’s up? You wanna come in and like, have a soda and talk?”

“Sure,” said Isabella.

“You look upset,” said Max. “Is something wrong?”

“Only everything.” Isabella told Max about everything that had happened with her family.

“Wow,” said Max. “Your mom sure sounds like a stick in the mud.”

“More like she’s got a stick up her butt,” said Isabella, giggling.

“You know what?” said Max. “Don’t worry. I’ll talk to Liz tonight and we’ll come up with a plan. We’ll get you on the audition sheet somehow.”

“Max, thank you so much!” Isabella leaned over to give him a friendly hug. “I feel better knowing you’ll be helping me. It’s great to have friends like you and Liz!”

~*Chapter 8*~

Isabella left Max’s house, feeling a little better. She knew that Max and Liz would help her somehow. They’d always come through for her when she’d needed them.

Isabella snuck in the back entrance to the hotel and hurried to her room. She didn’t want to risk running into anyone from her so-called family. She knew she just wouldn’t be able to handle seeing them.

She went to her answering machine to play back any messages she’d gotten. Nothing. Of course. Who’d want to call her? She layed down on her bed, and soon she was asleep.


The next few days she never had any chance to talk to Max and Liz. She really needed to know if they’d come up with a plan, though, because the signup deadline was only two days away and The Whits would be arriving in three days!

Isabella finally decided she couldn’t wait any longer. She snuck out of the room she was supposed to be cleaning, and went down to the front desk, where Liz was working for the day.

“Liz, can we talk?” asked Isabella. “You know…about you and Max helping me.”

“Sure,” said Liz, looking around to see if anyone would need her assistance while she was gone. “We’d better make it fast. If Amy sees up both on a break, she’ll kill us.”

Isabella lead her into a cramped little private office. “Liz, have you and Max come up with anything?”

“Yes, we have. We already did some stuff to help you.”

“Really? What?”

“We got you signed up for the auditions.”

“How? Amy would just rip up any signup form with my name on it.”

“Exactly. Which is why Max and I came up with a new name for you.”

“Uh oh,” said Isabella. “This doesn’t sound like a great idea.”

“No, no, trust us. Amy is so not onto you.”

“What’s my new name?”




“Do I have a last name?”

“Nope. You’re like Madonna…just one name. You’re just Star.”

“Ok, but how is this going to work? As soon as I get up to sing, Maria, Tess, and Amy are going to drag me off the stage.”

“Not if they can’t tell it’s you that’s singing.”

“What? You mean…”

“Yup. A disguise. We need to go out and buy you a wig and some new clothes. Maybe some sunglasses to wear while you sing.”

“No! I’m not wearing sunglasses while I sing, Liz!”

“Fine. Contacts. We’ll get contacts to change you eye color. We have to make you look like a totally different girl.”

Isabella sighed in defeat. “Ok,” she said. “It’s the only plan we’ve got. I just hope this works.”

“It will. We should go out and buy your disguise tonight. Max can help too.”


“Liz! Isabella! Where are you two?” they heard Amy yell. “Get back to work you lazy, good for nothing…” her voice faded away as she walked away from where the girls were. They snuck out of the office and went back to work, thinking about what type of disguise to get.


Max pulled up to the Sagebrush and waited for Isabella to come out. After a few minutes she came running out.

“Step on it!” she said. “Tess is onto me, she knows I’m leaving. If I get caught I’ll be dead.”

Max did as she asked and got out of there quickly. He drove to four blocks to Liz’s house in record time. She came to the jeep and got in. “This is going to be great,” she said to Isabella.

“Yeah, I’m getting excited. I just can’t wait to see what the new me, I mean Star, will look like!”

Max drove them to the mall and parked. They all piled out of the jeep and entered the hustle and bustle of the late evening shoppers.

They started walking and then Liz and Max stopped in front of a piercing and tattoo shop. Isabella realized where they were and shook her head.

“Uh, guys, what kind of disguise are you getting me? Cause I’m not really into pain…”

“Don’t worry,” said Max. “We though that you’d need to disguise your face more. With a piercing. Fake of course.”

“Yeah,” said Liz. “How do you feel about a nose ring?”

“Uh, not too good. But if you guys think it’ll be good for me, ok. Let’s get me a fake nose ring.”

They walked in and started to look at the selection. “I like this one,” Isabella finally said. She paid for it and they went to a Walgreens to get contacts and hair dye, because there wasn’t a wig shop in the mall.

“I’ll help you dye it right before the auditions,” said Liz. “You’d look good as a brunette.”

“Ok,” said Isabella, picking out a shade of brown. She also got contacts to make her eyes green. They went to several clothing stores until they found the perfect outfit for Isabella. Black leather pants and a low neck purple tank top that was cinched in the front. Liz decided that Isabella needed to go all out and get leather boots with spike heels, which Max and Liz graciously bought for her.

As they got back in the jeep with all of Isabella’s purchases, Liz said, “Isabella, you’re going to knock Alex Whitman right off his feet!”

Isabella blushed, wishing that could be true.

posted on 17-Feb-2002 12:53:30 PM
~*Chapter 9*~

Alex slowly opened his eyes, thinking that the light was too bright. He lay in bed, trying to wake up, for a few minutes. Suddenly, he sat up and said to himself, “It’s Friday. We get to Roswell today.” He grinned and jumped out of bed. He grabbed some jeans and a tee-shirt that were lying on a chair and threw them on. He ran over to the kitchen trailer.

“Hey, kid,” said Tubby. “You look excited.”

“Hell yeah! Today we will arrive in Roswell. We’ll get a new female vocalist in our group…and I’m hoping she’ll be a girl I’ll really connect with.”

Tubby nodded as he slurped his milk loudly. Alex ate a Pop-Tart and headed back to his bus when he heard that they would be leaving soon.

For the rest of the morning Alex read a book and played around with his guitar. At 1:00 p.m. he heard Tubby yell, “We’re here! The Sagebrush Hotel in Roswell, New Mexico!”


Isabella woke up after someone slammed a pillow onto her head. She opened her eyes as she was hit again and again with pillows.

“Wake up,” said Tess. “The Whits arrive at 1:00 p.m. and it’s already 5:00 a.m.!”

Isabella groaned and rolled over. “So let me sleep,” she mumbled, already dozing off again.

“No!” said Maria and Tess at the same time. “We need to get ready!” said Tess. “Which means you have three times the work to do!” As Tess talked, she enunciated each word by hitting Isabella with a pillow.

Isabella just groaned, trying to ignore her idiotic sisters. When she showed no intention of getting out of bed, Maria pushed her out. Isabella fell to the hard, cold floor with a dull thump.

She admitted defeat and shakily stood up, trying to stretch the sleep out of her bones. She ambled into the bathroom to take a shower and get dressed.

She went downstairs to the kitchen and grabbed a granola bar for breakfast. Amy was sitting at the table with papers spread out in front of her.

“Good morning, Mother,” said Isabella, sitting down across from her.

“Yeah, sure. Do you know who this Star person is?” Amy asked.

Isabella tried not to choke on her granola bar. “Uh…no. She doesn’t sound familiar. Why?”

“Well, I know all of the other girls that signed up for the auditions…Maria, Tess, Pam Troy, Laurie Dupree…but not Star.”

“Odd,” said Isabella, wiping crumbs off her mouth. “Well, I’m going to go clean out the indoor pool and then vacuum the lobby. See you later.”

Isabella plodded off to do her work, Maria’s work, and Tess’s work. After cleaning the indoor pool and vacuuming the lobby, she cleaned 15 rooms, did 4 loads of laundry, vacuumed all the main hallways, did tons of dishes, cleaned up the dining room, restocked the soda machine, and started to clean the windows in the lobby. Liz was helping her with the windows, both of them talking and laughing.

Maria and Tess came running through the lobby to the front doors, jumping up and down and squealing (like pigs, thought Isabella). “It’s The Whits! They’re here!”

Isabella desperately wanted to run over to the door to see The Whits, but knew that if she stopped cleaning for even one second, Tess and Maria would have a fit.

Isabella and Liz moved to the next window, hoping to at least get a better view of the door so they could see The Whits when they walked in.

The door opened and in walked Chris, Nicky, Markos…and Alex Charles Whitman himself. Isabella felt like screaming with happiness, but just continued to wash the windows. And then Alex looked at her. He even smiled.


Alex walked up the sidewalk behind the rest of the band. He rolled his eyes as he saw two girls about his age jumping up and down and squealing. He hoped he wouldn’t have to talk to them, they both looked like they wanted to rip his clothes off and jump his bones.

As the manager of the hotel, Amy Deluca, came out and introduced herself, Alex saw two other girls washing windows. One of them, a brunette, was petite and cute. She looked nice, but not someone Alex would be interested in as more than a friend.

But the other girl—wow. She was beautiful. She had a curvy, full figure, long blond hair that was up in a messy ponytail, and sparkling eyes. He smiled at her, not paying any attention to the people talking all around him. He practically swooned like a schoolgirl when she smiled back at him.


Isabella smiled back, feeling Liz’s eyes on her. “Oh my God!” whispered Liz. “He’s smiling…at you! Eeee!”

Isabella broke eye contact with Alex and continued to clean the window. “Chill, Liz. He’s probably just trying to appear friendly.”

“No way! I saw the way he just looked at you, Isabella. There was some definite interest in you!”

Isabella blushed. “Do you really think so? I mean…I look like crap now. My hair is all over, I have old work clothes on…”

“You look fabulous,” said Liz. “No wonder he’s still staring at you.”

“What?” asked Isabella, wishing she had the courage to look at Alex again.

“Yeah. He hasn’t taken his eyes off you once.” Liz giggled as Isabella got flustered ant dropped the rag she was cleaning with.


“…show you to your room?” finished Amy, looking at Alex questioningly.

“What? Sorry, I’m tired, and I wasn’t listening very well.”

“That’s quite all right,” said Amy. “I just asked which of my daughters you’d like to have show you to your room.”

Alex looked at the two blondes next to Amy. In his opinion they both looked like ditzy airheads. “I can find it myself,” he said.

“Nonsense! Have Maria or Tess carry your bags for you.”

“No, that’s all right. They’re actually quite heavy. I wouldn’t want either of them to get hurt.”

“Oh,” said Amy. “Well, in that case, Isabella can carry them for you.” She turned towards Isabella and Liz and loudly called, “Isabella! Get over here now!”

Alex was overjoyed to see the beautiful blond walking towards him.

“Isabella is my foster daughter,” said Amy, as if she were talking about nothing more than a mop. “Isabella, please show Mr. Whitman to his suite and carry his bags.”

Isabella leaned over and grabbed Alex’s bags, leading Alex to the elevator. When they were safely inside and away from the other people, Alex said, “You don’t have to carry my bags. People always treat me special, but I’d prefer to be treated normal…”

Isabella nodded. “If you’re sure…” Alex nodded and there was silence in the elevator. When it reached the third floor, they got out.

Isabella led Alex to his suite and unlocked the door for him. “Here you are, Mr. Whitman. Our finest suite.”

“Uh, thanks. But please call me Alex. I feel like I’m ninety when you call me Mr. Whitman.”

“Ok, sure,” said Isabella nervously. She wanted to say more, but didn’t know what she should say. Finally she spit out, “Well, I should get back to cleaning windows. Have a wonderful stay.”

Alex didn’t want Isabella to leave so quickly, so he said, “Uh, are you auditioning?”

Isabella turned pale. ‘Oh no,’ she thought. ‘What should I say? If I say yes, he’ll think Isabella is auditioning, not Star. But if I say no, and then he recognizes me as Star, he’ll know I’ve lied…’


“Oh…uh…yes, I’m auditioning. Kind of.”

“Kind of?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

“Oh, ok.”

“I really should go.”

“Ok, I’ll talk to you later, maybe?”

“Yeah, bye.”

~*Chapter 10*~

Alex finished unpacking his bags and walked over to the minibar. He couldn’t find anything he wanted to eat.

He desperately wanted to talk to Isabella again. He decided to head down to the hotel restaurant to get something to eat—and hopefully see Isabella.

He walked down the hallway, hearing some noise from behind him. He turned around saw Maria and Tess, following him.

“Oh, imagine running into you here!” said Maria in a sickly sweet voice.

“Yeah, uh, sure,” said Alex, wanting to get away from these girls as quickly as possible.

“Can we get your autograph?” asked Tess.

“Sure,” said Alex, hoping that would get them to leave quicker. He took the pen Tess handed him and signed the little booklet insider her CD (The Whits: Hybrids Are Among Us).

As he was signing it he heard Maria say loudly, “Smile!” He saw a blinding flash of light.

Tess and Maria giggled and ran down the hall. “Damn flash cameras,” Alex muttered, staggering blindly to the elevator. He got in and instead of pressing the button to take him to the first floor, he pressed the button to take him to the basement.

As the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened, he stepped out, still not able to see clearly. He walked until he hit a wall. ‘Why is it so hot and dark in the lobby?’ he wondered. He continued to walk around, holding his hands in front of him so he wouldn’t run into any more walls. ‘Where are other people?’ he wondered, starting to get nervous.

As he was walking, his hand came to rest on something warm. He quickly pulled his hand back, knowing what he had touched.

“Oh my god! Alex?” he heard Isabella’s beautiful voice yell. “What are you doing down here?”

“Isabella? Your sisters blinded me with a camera. I was trying to find my way down to the restaurant. Where am I?”

“In the hotel basement. So, you really can’t see?”
“Not well. It’s getting a little better.”

“Ok. Good. Cause I was about to slap you. You kind of grabbed…my chest.”

“Oh man. I’m so sorry! I really can’t see! I was holding my hands out in front of me so I wouldn’t run into something.”

“It’s all right. I’ve never been felt up by a star before.” They both laughed uncomfortably.

“Well, my sight is coming back. I should head for the restaurant…”

“I could join you,” said Isabella nervously. She really wanted to spend more time with him, but was afraid of looking too eager.

Alex smiled and nodded. “That’d be great! I need to hang out with some different people, the band is annoying sometimes.”

They walked to the elevator and pressed the button to go up to the first floor. “So, why were you in the basement?” asked Alex.

“I was checking the furnace…it’s been acting weird. The hotel keeps getting hotter and hotter.”

Alex nodded, not sure what to say to the beautiful girl standing next to him.

As they were standing in nervous silence, the elevator made a loud screeching noise and jerked to a stop. The doors didn’t open. Alex hit the button for the doors to open. Nothing happened.

“Why aren’t the doors opening?” he squeaked in a high, frightened voice.

“I think it’s stuck,” said Isabella, opening the little door and picking up the emergency phone. “I’ll call for help.”

“Hurry,” said Alex, sinking down to the floor. “I have this…uh, phobia.”

“Phobia? Of what?”

“Getting stuck in an elevator.”

“Oh,” said Isabella, hoping Alex wouldn’t start freaking out. “Just hang in there. I’ll call to the front desk.” She dialed, but got to answer. The answering machine wasn’t even on. ‘Great,’ she thought. ‘I bet Tess and Maria are supposed to be working the front desk…it figures that they aren’t there.’

“We may have a teeny tiny itty bitty little problem,” she said quietly to Alex.


“I’m getting no answer from the front desk.”

Alex closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Just great,” he muttered. He continued to breathe deeply.

“Uh…maybe you should breath shallow,” said Isabella. “There’s probably not a lot of air in here.”

“Oh god…” muttered Alex, getting more frightened. He covered his face with his hands and tried to get himself calmed down.

Isabella sat down next to Alex, wishing she knew how to calm him down. She tentatively reached over and placed her hand on his arm. He looked up at her and their eyes met.

They stared at each other, not knowing what to say. Both of them felt better, though. Isabella broke eye contact, picking up the emergency phone again. She was visibly flustered, but tried to hide it by not facing Alex.

She dialed to the front desk again, and there was still no answer or answering machine message. She hung up and sat down again, stretching out her legs. “I think we’re going to be in this elevator for a long time,” she said.

“Oh goody,” said Alex sarcastically. “But the good thing is that now we can get to know each other.”

Isabella nodded. “Ok. But just so you know, this is really really weird for me. I’ve never been stuck in an elevator with a star before…”

“Yeah, I figured. So, you want to tell me what’s up with your sisters?”

“Ugh, they are not my sisters. Not really…I’m the foster child.”

“Really? That must be hard on you.”

“Yeah. Amy found me in the back alley behind the hotel when I was three and took me in.”

“That was kind of her.”

Isabella laughed bitterly. “Not really. I’ve been a maid here my whole life. I have to pay for my room and do Maria and Tess’s work. I hate it here. My friend Liz is the only thing that makes it bearable.”

Alex nodded in understanding. “Sometimes I can’t stand to be a part of the band. There’s so much pressure…”

“But don’t you like it most of the time? I’d love to be famous and get away from Roswell…”

“The traveling part of it is okay, but sometimes I feel like I just want to settle somewhere for good. And fame is exhausting. it may look like a fun life, but it is fun very rarely.”

“I never thought of it that way…I’ve just always wanted to be a famous singer.”

“So you are auditioning?”

“Yes…but like I said earlier, it’s complicated.”

“Would you mind explaining to me? Cause we’re probably going to be here a while, and, well, your voice is really calming…and pretty.” Alex blushed as he said that. He meant it…but he was always afraid that a girl would take compliments from him the wrong way.

“Well, thank you,” said Isabella, taken back by comment. She was having a hard time believing she was talking to Alex Whitman, much less stuck in an elevator with him. And he’d just complimented her! (Plus there was the whole accidental groping thing before…)

“Well, see, I signed up for the auditions. My friend Liz even got me free singing lessons to help me out a little. Then Maria came down with laryngitis. And of course she blamed me. Amy believed that I really did somehow make Maria sick, and to punish me, she tole me I was forbidden from auditioning.”

“But aren’t you an adult?”

“Yup. I’m 19. But she is in charge of the sign up forms and she said she’d rip up an form with my name on it.”

“So how are you going to audition? The deadline for signing up was yesterday.”

“My friend Liz and her boyfriend Max came up with a plan. They filled out a form for me with the name Star. And they helped me buy my outfit, which also serves as a disguise. I’m even going to dye my hair.”

“Wow,” said Alex. “I’m glad you’re so determined to audition…I bet you’ll kick ass.”

Isabella laughed, no longer thinking about calling the front desk for help. Alex seemed to be thinking about something for a moment, and then he said, “Would you mind singing now? I’d really like to hear you…if you’re ok with that.”

Isabella nodded. “Uh, ok, let me think of a song I want to sing.” She thought about it and finally decided on something. “I think I want to sing my favorite song of all time—Everything I Do, I Do It For You.”

Alex nodded and waited in anticipation for Isabella to start singing. What she didn’t know was that this was one of his favorite songs, too.

Isabella’s crystal clear voice reverberated through the small elevator as she began to sing.

Look into my eyes

You will see, what you mean to me

Search your heart, search your soul

When you find me, then you’ll search no more

Don’t tell me it’s not worth trying for

You can’t tell me it’s not worth dying for

You know it’s true, everything I do, I do it for you

She stopped singing and looked down at the elevator floor. “I suck…I know,” she said.

Alex shook his head. “No, that was…beautiful.” He leaned over and gently placed his lips against hers.

~*Chapter 11*~

Isabella lost track of time, lost in a fantasy world. She never knew that just kissing someone could feel so amazing. Alex pulled Isabella closer. Just as the kiss was reaching its peak, the doors to the elevator opened.

Isabella heard a small giggle and looked up. She saw Liz standing there, covering up a smile. “I uh…think the elevator was stuck,” said Liz. “Surprise! I fixed it.”

“Oh, thanks,” said Isabella, thinking that Liz had the worst timing in the world. She turned back to Alex. “Uh, well, I guess I’ll see you later…”

“Yeah. Uh, thanks Liz,” said Alex, as he and Isabella got out of the elevator. They each went their separate ways. Liz followed after Isabella like a little puppy.

“OH MY GOD, ISABELLA! You and ALEX WHITMAN were kissing! I can’t believe…I can’t believe that happened to my best friend! Wow…I am so happy for you! What was it like?”

Isabella kept walking, not looking at Liz. “Liz, there are no words to describe what kissing him is like. I mean, it’s like totally inconceivable to someone who hasn’t kissed him…I mean, WOW!”

Liz giggled and slung her arm around Isabella’s shoulder. “You just may have found yourself some of that magic you want so badly with a guy.”


That night Isabella talked Amy into letting her be the waitress in the classy little restaurant that was housed in the hotel. She wanted to see Alex again, even if it meant she had to wear the ugly black dress waitresses had to wear.

She took a deep breath and walked out of the kitchen, into the restaurant. Her smile was wiped off her face instantly. She saw the rest of The Whits and their security guards and managers…but not Alex. She walked up the large banquet table they were at and passed out menus. “Isn’t Alex Whitman dining with you tonight?” she asked nonchalantly.

“No, man, it’s weird,” said Markos. “He said he had other plans. How could he have other plans? This is just a small hick town with nothing good in it.”

Isabella nodded. He was right…it was just a small hick town with nothing good in it…well, except for Alex. As she headed back to the kitchen to get beverages she tried to think of what kind of plans Alex could have. As far as she knew he hadn’t been anywhere all afternoon except his room and the elevator. How could he have plans?

Isabella trudged back to the table, setting down wine glasses and filling them generously. She took their orders and headed for the kitchen once again. She handed the order to the chef who worked there in the evenings. “Here you go, Brody. Knock yourself out.”

“Thank you,” he said, expertly chopping up vegetables and dumping them in a pan. Isabella stood around and watched Brody cook. There was nothing else to do…there were no other people to wait on, and Alex wasn’t around…

Finally Brody finished preparing all of the orders and passed plate after plate of food to Isabella. She had to make three trips before she was done. She went back to the kitchen and collapsed against a counter.

“What’s wrong?” asked Brody. Isabella smiled. He was so sweet. He’d always looked out for her…he was like a big brother.

“I’m just kinda bummed because Alex isn’t out there.”

“You like him a lot,” said Brody.

Isabella looked up sharply. “What? Brody, how would you know…”

“I can see it in your eyes…and Liz told me about the infamous liplock in the elevator this afternoon.”

Isabella blushed. “Yeah, ok, I like him a lot. And he kissed me. But…well…I need to talk to him. I want to know if this is going to go anywhere…I mean, he’s famous. He could have any girl he wants…I doubt that the girl he wants will be me.”

Brody lifted Isabella’s chin so she was looking at him instead of the floor. “Don’t be so unsure. You’re beautiful, witty, smart, nice, funny…he kissed you because he likes you. I can practically guarantee it.”

Isabella smirked. “Practically? Not totally sure?”

“Well, I’m not a psychic, am I?”


Isabella finished sweeping the floor of the restaurant and leaned the broom up against the wall. She turned the lights off and walked into the kitchen.

“OH MY GOD!” she yelled.

“Sshh…it’s ok! It’s just me!”



“You have got to stop running into me in dark places.”

“Sorry…I just needed to talk to you.”

“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you too.”

“How about we go in the lobby?”

“Ok,” said Isabella, leading the way. “Where were you tonight? Everyone at dinner said you had some other plans.”

“I needed to go out and think.”


“About the kiss in the elevator.”

Isabella stopped walking and faced Alex. “Yeah…was that just like, you know, a random thing, or was it…”

Alex leaned in and kissed her. He pulled back and said, “No, it wasn’t just some random thing. I really like you Isabella.” She blushed and looked away.

“I really like you too…but you’re famous, so…”

“So what? You think you’re not worthy? That I should be with someone famous? No. I want to be with you.”

Isabella looked up into his eyes and started to tear up. “What…did I say something wrong?” asked Alex, instantly concerned.

“No,” said Isabella. “You said something right.” She hiccuped and said, “I’ve waited so long to feel a certain way about someone…and now I think I’m feeling it.”

Alex smiled down at her. “I felt it when I walked in and saw you cleaning windows. I just knew that there was something special about you…that we would connect.”

Isabella looked at her watch and sighed. “I’m sorry, but it’s late, and I need to get some sleep. I have to wake up early tomorrow to clean…the auditions are the day after tomorrow…”

“It’s ok. I should get some sleep too. But let me walk you to your room.”

“Thanks.” Alex grabbed her hand and intertwined their fingers. Isabella smiled to herself and showed him the way to her room. They stopped outside the door and faced each other.

“I really need to kiss you,” said Alex.

“And I really need you to kiss me,” said Isabella, leaning in to capture his lips with hers. He pulled her into his embrace and deepened the kiss. They finally had to come up for air. They looked into each other’s eyes, foreheads resting against each other.

“I think…I’m falling…”

“In love,” said Alex, finishing the sentence. He smiled and gently brushed his lips against Isabella’s one more time. “I think I better go back to my room,” he said. “Or else we’ll be out here kissing all night.”

“I see nothing wrong with that,” said Isabella, with a mischievous grin.

Alex smiled. “Yes, but I want to do this right. Take things slow. This is too perfect to rush.”

“Well then, goodnight.”

“Goodnight Isabella.”

~*Chapter 12*~

The next morning Isabella rolled out of bed, fresh faced and ready to face the day. She couldn’t wait to see Alex again. And she was excited about the auditions…which were only 36 hours away. She showered and changed into her grubby work clothes. She went down to the kitchen and made herself some toast for breakfast.

She ate quickly and then went on her rounds. She had 10 rooms to clean this morning. She stopped and smiled when she reached the last room…Alex’s. She wasn’t sure if he was up yet, so she knocked very softly. The door flew open and there stood Alex, rubbing the sleep from his face. He smiled and leaned down to plant a soft kiss on her lips.

Isabella pouted. “Is that all I get?” she asked playfully.

“You need to clean my room, otherwise you’ll get in trouble. And I need to get some breakfast, or I’ll starve to death. And after that…I have a surprise for you. Meet me in the lobby in half an hour.”

“Oh…better make it an hour. I also have to clean out the indoor pool and the hot tub.”

“Ok, one hour.” Alex slipped past Isabella towards the restaurant, as she slipped into his room to clean. As she was making the bed she thought about how wonderful Alex was. As she cleaned the bathroom she thought about how she felt for him.

She’d only known him since yesterday, yet she knew without a doubt that she was madly in love with him. She sighed and set down the sponge she was using. She was in love. On any other day, it would have sounded odd. But now it didn’t…

She looked at her watch and quickly finished cleaning up Alex’s suite and headed for the pool room. She cleaned out the pool and the hot tub. She hurried back to her room to change into different clothes…the ones she was wearing were dusty and wet. She walked to the lobby and saw Alex waiting for her.

He walked up to her and kissed her…in front of Maria and Tess. Her sisters looked as if they didn’t know whether or not to cry or slap Isabella. They ran off…presumably to tell Amy. Isabella turned her attention to Alex and said, “So, you said earlier that you have a surprise for me?”

“Yeah. I wanted to give you these,” he whipped out some pink roses from behind his back. “And I wanted to ask you to have dinner with me tonight.”

“Oh…I’d love to! Wow…these roses are amazing! Thank you so much!” She kissed him passionately.

“We’ll be going to The Sand Dune for dinner and my limo will take us.”

“The Sand Dune?! Wow! That place is expensive…”

Alex smiled. “In case you’ve forgotten, I can afford it.”

They finished making plans and Isabella headed off to finish her cleaning for the day and to tell Liz the great news.


“Liz! You’ll never guess what’s happened to me since last night!”

“What is it? You look so…happy.” Liz smiled and sat down to listen to what Isabella had to say.

“I’m in love. With Alex Whitman…”

A frown washed over Liz’s face. “Isabella…love? You just met him yesterday…”

“I know. And I know it’s hard to believe…but it’s true. Alex and I are in love. And we’re going out tonight…”


“The Sand Dune.”

“Whoa! That place is pricey! A one person meal there can cost $200!”

“I know…but the best part is…we’re going in a limo!”

Liz stood up and hugged her friend. “Oh, Isabella, I’m so happy that you’re happy. But promise me you’ll think more about this love thing. I know it may seem like love, but it could be that you just have a major crush on him.”

“No, Liz. I love him. I know it. And now I want you to help me pick out something to wear tonight. I have to look exquisite.”

The girls decided on a pale blue dress that Isabella had bought a few months back but had never worn. The dress was ankle length and was a snug fit, but left enough to the imagination. Isabella had heels in just the right color to match. She and Liz spent the whole afternoon talking together about Isabella’s date with Alex, doing their chores and trying to stay away from Maria and Tess.

Maria and Tess were watching Isabella closely, not wanting to believe that somehow she had managed to snag a guy like Alex Whitman.

“There’s no way Alex could really like her,” said Tess. “He’s probably just using her to get a free fuck and then he’ll kick her to the curb.” Maria looked at Tess and could tell that she didn’t really believe that. Maria sighed. She knew how much Tess wanted to be with someone famous…and as much as she absolutely hated to admit it, she knew that Isabella was a million times better for Alex than Tess would ever be. At least Maria didn’t have to worry about that type of thing…she had Michael.


Isabella grabbed her purse and headed down to the lobby where she was going to meet Alex. As she was halfway to the elevator, she ran into Tess.

“Where are you going, Isabella?”

“Why do you care, wannabe gerbil?”

“Oh…someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Amy says you have to clean out the main office tonight. You can’t leave.”

“What?! No one told me that before! I’m leaving…you can’t stop me. I’m 19, I can do what I want.”

Tess angrily pushed Isabella up against the wall. “You may think that…but you’re wrong. And you’re delusional if you think you can be with someone like Alex Whitman. He doesn’t go for small town trash like you. He’s using you for sex…that’s all you are to him, a sex toy.”

“No. NO!” Isabella pushed Tess away from her. “Don’t say things like that! Alex isn’t like that! He’s a nice person, and he cares about me! Now let me pass, I have a date with Alex tonight.”

“You’re not going anywhere!” said Tess, pushing Isabella again. “Where did you get that dress anyways? Sluts R Us?”

Isabella slapped Tess. Tess hand flew to her face. “You bitch! You slapped me?! You can’t do something like that and get away with it!” Tess threw herself at Isabella, hitting and pulling hair. Isabella fought back as best she could. Tess grabbed one of the sleeves of Isabella’s dress and ripped it right off.

“Damn it Tess! You ripped my dress!” Isabella fought back with renewed energy, throwing Tess to the ground, punching her. Isabella’s sight was blurred by tears…so she didn’t see Amy and Maria running towards her and Tess.

“Get off my baby!” yelled Amy, dragging Isabella up and away. Liz came running towards the group of women in the hallway.

“What happened?!” she asked Isabella.

“She attacked my daughter!” said Amy, holding Tess against her. “I always knew she was no good!”

“She ripped my dress. She started it!” said Isabella between sobs. “She was the one being a bitch-”

“Excuse me?!” said Amy loudly. “What did you just call her? You know what…leave. You are no longer welcome here. You no longer have a job. And now you longer have a family!’

Isabella laughed maniacally. “You never were a family! I hated living here! I hate you…all three of you! I wasn’t a daughter or sister to you! I was your servant! Do this Isabella, do that Isabella! I hope you all rot in hell!” Isabella stumbled down the hallway towards her room, Liz following after.

Isabella got into her room and collapsed into a ball on her bed, the sobs wracking her whole being. “Shhh…it’s ok,” said Liz, rubbing small circles on her back.

“Where am I supposed to live, Liz? Where am I going to find another job?”

“I’m sure my parents will let you stay with us for a while. And we can look for a new job for you tomorrow.”

Isabella sat up quickly. “Alex! He’s downstairs waiting for me! Oh Liz…I can’t go on our date looking like this!” she said, pointing to where Tess had ripped the sleeve off her dress.

“I’ll tell you what you’re going to do,” said Liz. “You’re going to put on some other clothes and start packing your stuff. I’m going to go down to the lobby and tell Alex what happened. Then I’m going to drive you to my house and Alex will come with. I’ll call Max and have him bring over a pizza and some movies and the four of us are going to forget about this whole thing with your foster family and have a fun night. Max and Alex could sleep over at my house too. My parents probably won’t mind, if they sleep in a separate room. What do you say?”

Isabella smiled as best she could. “Sounds like a plan to me. Thank you so much Liz.” She reached over and gave her best friend a hug. She stood up and went to her dresser to get clothes to wear while Liz headed for the lobby.

Liz ran there as fast as she could and spotted Alex sitting alone on the couch. “Hey,” she said.

“Hey,” he said. “Where’s Isabella? We missed our reservation at the restaurant…”

“Something came up with her family…we’ll explain on the way to my house.”

“Your house? What?”

“Please just go back up to your room and grab an overnight bag or something. Then go to Isabella’s room and help her pack. She’s leaving this place.”

Alex gave Liz a questioning look, but did as she asked. Liz called Max and told him to meet her at her house with movies and a pizza. Then she went back up to Isabella’s room. They quickly packed Isabella’s belongings and carried them down to Liz’s tiny little car

“I think we should get it all to fit,” said Liz, trying to cram a box into the trunk of the car. When everything was finally squeezed in, they drove to Liz’s house, while Isabella and Liz told Alex what had happened. They carried the stuff up to Liz’s room and Liz went downstairs to talk to her parents.

Alex turned to Isabella. “I’m so sorry this had to happen to you. You don’t deserve all this shit…”

Isabella hugged Alex to her and said softly. “Alex, everyone keeps telling me that it’s too soon for me to know for sure if I love you.”

Alex looked down at her. “I don’t think it’s up to them. What you feel is what I feel. And I know I love you. I can tell you love me too. It’s not too soon, it’s too late. I wish I had met you earlier in life, so that we could have had even more time together.”

Isabella smiled and rested her head on his shoulder. “I do love you. I love you more than I thought humanly possible.”

“Then maybe you’re an alien,” said Alex playfully. “I mean, hey, it’s Roswell…” Isabella poked him playfully in the ribs. Liz came back upstairs.

“Oh…sorry to interrupt your moment. Isabella, my parents said they’d be glad to let you live here as long as you want. And Max is downstairs with the movies and food.”

They all went down to the living room to have a fun night with the people they loved.

posted on 17-Feb-2002 12:55:36 PM

~*Chapter 13*~

Isabella had fun hanging out with Alex, Liz, and Max, but she got tired very fast. “Liz, I think I’ll go up to guest room now and go to bed. I’m really tired.”

“Yeah, I should go now too,” said Max. “I’ll drive Alex back to the Sagebrush.” The girls kissed their guys goodnight and headed upstairs. Isabella went into the guest room and collapsed in an exhausted heap onto the bed. She sighed and thought about how hard it was going to be for her to get a permanent place to live, and get a new job. As she started to drift off she began to think of Alex. She fell asleep with a smile on her face.

The next morning Liz ran into the guest room to wake up Isabella. “Wake up sleepy head!” she said happily as she opened the curtains, letting in the hot sunlight.

“What? Liz? Don’t you have to go to work?”

“Nope. I called Amy this morning and told her I quit. We’re going to find new jobs together!”

“That’s great! Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Of course, I could never work for anyone who would throw their own foster child out and anyways, I always hated Amy just because of the way she treats me.”

“Well, I’ll go shower and then we can job search.”

“Ok, but hurry. We need to get back here in time to get you ready for the auditions tonight.”

“Oh my god! The auditions are today! What am I going to do? I can’t go back to the Sagebrush!”

“Isabella, they’ll never find out it’s you, remember? Tonight you will be Star. Don’t worry. Plus, Alex, Max, Mr. Valenti, and I will be there for you if anything happens.”

Isabella nodded and headed for the bathroom. She showered and got ready. She ran downstairs to find Liz making toast. “Hey, thought we’d start the day off with a little breakfast.”

Isabella gladly accepted some toast and ate it quickly. She stood up and grabbed her purse. “Ok, let’s go,” she said. They got into Liz’s car and headed for the downtown area. They asked at about 10 places before they found a place that was even looking for job applicants.

They applied at The Sugar Shack, which was the local candy store, The UFO Center, which was like some kind of weird alien memorabilia museum, and The Crashdown Café, an alien themed restaurant.

They headed back to Liz’s house at about 3:00 p.m. to eat something for lunch and get Isabella…er, Star, ready for the auditions. Liz took all of the needed supplies and brought them into the bathroom. “We’ll dye your hair first,” said Liz, prepping the dye and chemicals.

Isabella let Liz do all the work and when they were finally done, Isabella was a brunette. “Wow,” she said, looking in the mirror. “I look totally different. I love it!”

Liz giggled and left so that Isabella could get dressed in privacy. Isabella stepped out of the bathroom and Liz gasped. “Wow,” she said. “You look like a model…”

“I can hardly move in these pants, though,” said Isabella, giggling and pointing down towards the leather pants she was wearing. “And these heeled boots are going to kill me…but I guess I’ll have to deal with it.”

Liz helped Isabella put on her fake nose ring. They both looked in the mirror and grinned. “You look like a completely different person,” said Liz. “This was a genius plan.”

They headed for Liz’s car and drove to the Sagebrush, excited about the auditions.


Isabella and Liz walked into the lobby and looked around at the bustling crowd. The auditions were being held in the small ballroom, but it looked like the whole town of Roswell had shown up. Liz spotted Max on the other side of the room and the two girls made their way over to him.

“Hey Max,” giggled Liz. “I’d like you to meet my new friend Star.”

Max did a double take. “Holy cow…that disguise really works!” said Max, enveloping the girls in a hug. “Here comes Alex.”

Isabella looked up and saw Alex walking towards her with a look of animal lust in his eyes. He grabbed her and kissed her hungrily, earning cheers and laughter from many other people in the room.

“I knew it,” Isabella heard Tess saying to Maria. “He didn’t love Isabella! Look at him with that girl! He’s all over her!”

Isabella giggled and looked into Alex’s eyes. “Hey there,” she said. “My name is Star. It’s nice to make your acquaintance.”

“And it’s nice to meet you too,” said Alex. “But I must be going now, the band is warming up. I’ll see you onstage.” They kissed one final kiss goodbye and Isabella turned back to Liz and Max.

“Well, let’s go backstage and check me in,” she said. They walked to the small room behind the ballroom and Isabella instantly spotted Amy, talking to one of Alex’s managers, a short fat man wearing a name tag that said Tubby.

“Uh, hi, Amy Deluca?” said Isabella nervously. “I’m Star. I’m just checking in.”

“Oh, how nice to meet you,” said Amy, checking of her name on the list. “Please feel free to walk around, eat something, or talk to the band. We’ll be starting soon.” She turned to face Liz and Max and said, “I’m sorry. What are you doing here? Leave! Only the singers can be back here!”

Liz and Max left in a hurry, waving goodbye to Isabella and wishing her luck. “You know those two?” asked Amy.

“Oh, uh, not really. We met in the lobby.”

Amy nodded and moved on to talk to the next person coming in the room. Isabella found a chair and sat down to wait. She was more nervous than she’d ever been in her whole life. She was going to audition in less than half an hour.

~*Chapter 14*~

Isabella sat in her chair and waited. Amy went out on the stage to get the audience’s attention and to announce who the girls were that were going to be auditioning. Isabella found out that she was going to be the last one to audition. She groaned softly. She didn’t want to wait…she wanted to get it over with.

Laurie Dupree walked out on stage and sang Oops I Did it Again by Britney Spears. Isabella chuckled to herself. She knew Laurie had no chance now. The Whits didn’t seem like the type of people to be impressed by a song originally sung by a ditzy blonde with a boob job.

Then Maria sang There You Go, by Pink. Isabella had to admit that she sounded really good. After Maria sang there was an intermission. Isabella ran to the lobby. She found Liz and Max.

“Hey,” said Liz. “Are you nervous?”

“Yes,” said Isabella. “I’m terrified.”

“Don’t be. You’re so going to get the part,” said Max. “Besides, you already won Alex over.”

Isabella looked at Max in shock. “I never thought of it that way. I don’t want to get the part just because I’m with Alex. If I get the part I want to get it because I deserve it.”

“Don’t worry,” said Liz, giving Max a disapproving look. “Max was joking. You’ll get it because you deserve it. I’m sure no one will pick you just because you’re with Alex. Besides, none of the judges will recognize you as Isabella, remember?”

“You’re right. Thanks Liz. I better go now. Wish me luck.”

“Luck!” Max called out as Isabella walked backstage again.

“Hey,” said a voice from behind her.

“Alex?” she asked, turning to see who it was.

“Ah, no, just little old me,” said Mr. Valenti. “I just wanted to wish you luck and remind you to remember the breathing techniques I taught you.”

“Thanks Jim. And thank you so much for helping me out with my singing. It’s meant a lot to me.”

“You’re welcome. Well, I’ll head back to my seat. I think Tess is about to sing.” Isabella went to stand in the left wing of the stage, watching Tess walk out. Tess sang I’m Like a Bird, by Nelly Furtado. Isabella thought to herself, ‘Yeah, you look like a bird!’

Next up was Pam Troy, Liz’s least favorite person from high school. She sang Have You Ever, by Brandy. Isabella got really scared then. Not because she knew she would be called out any second, but because she knew that Pam had sung better than she ever could.

“And last, but certainly not least, we have Star,” announced Amy. Isabella stood up on shaky legs, but couldn’t get them to walk her out onto the stage. “Star!” announced Amy a little louder.

Isabella finally got herself moving, but extremely slowly. She went out onto the stage and walked up to the microphone. She tried to find her friends in the audience, but couldn’t spot them. She did however see Alex. He smiled and blew her a kiss. All of a sudden her fears flew out of her mind. She was no longer scared. She was just going to sing and have a good time.

“I’ll…I’ll be singing Here With Me, by Dido,” she said into the microphone. She took a deep breath and signaled for the band to start playing the backup music they had learned.

I didn’t hear you leave, I wonder how am I still here

I don’t want to move a thing, it might change my memory

Oh I am what I am, I’ll do what I want, but I can’t hide

I won’t go, I won’t sleep, I can’t breathe, until you’re resting here with me

I won’t leave, I can’t hide, I cannot be, until you’re resting here with me

I don’t want to call my friends, they might wake me from this dream

And I can’t leave this bed, risk forgetting all that’s been

Oh I am what I am, I’ll do what I want, but I can’t hide

I won’t go, I won’t sleep, I can’t breathe, until you’re resting here with me

I won’t leave, I can’t hide, I cannot be, until you’re resting here

I won’t go, I won’t sleep, I can’t breathe, until you’re resting here with me

I won’t leave, I can’t hide, I cannot be, until you’re resting here with me

Oh I am what I am, I’ll do what I want, but I can’t hide

I won’t go, I won’t sleep, I can’t breathe, until you’re resting here with me

I won’t leave, I can’t hide, I cannot be, until you’re resting here

I won’t go, I won’t sleep, I can’t breathe, until you’re resting here with me

I won’t leave, I can’t hide, I cannot be, until you’re resting here with me

She bowed her head in embarrassment. All she could think was, ‘That was horrible!’ And then the ballroom exploded into applause. Max and Liz stood up and applauded as loud as possible. Soon everyone was rising to their feet, applauding. For her!

She looked out at the crowd and started to cry. She couldn’t believe that all this applause was for her. Yet, it was.

“Yay, Isabella!” yelled Max. Isabella paled and looked at him. He instantly realized what he’d done. Isabella looked at Amy and saw that she had heard. Amy knew that she wasn’t Star…and now she was in trouble. Amy, Maria, and Tess came running up on the stage and grabbed her, pulling her backstage.

“You lying little twerp!” yelled Amy. “I told you that you were forbidden from auditioning…and then you went and did it anyways! I ought to-”

“Is there a problem here?” Isabella heard Jim Valenti say. She was relieved that someone was here to help her.

Amy looked up and saw Jim…Jim who she had liked for years. “Oh…Jim. No, no problem. Just congratulating Star.”

Jim shook his head. “We both know she’s Isabella. Let’s call her by her real name. I must say, Amy, I’m quite disappointed in you.”

“Well, Jim…really, she somehow gave laryngitis to Maria, so I had to punish her somehow…”

“You do know that she can still win…she’s an adult. Even if she signed up under a different stage name, her document is legal.”

Amy turned pale. “No. I don’t believe this! One of my daughters was supposed to win. It can’t be like this!”

Jim led Isabella forward onto the stage again. “Let’s have another round of applause for our new member of The Whits!” he said.

Isabella faced Jim, her mouth hanging open. “Wha…what?”

“You were picked, Isabella. Everyone agreed. You are the new female vocalist for The Whits!”

Isabella felt weak in the knees. She started to collapse, but someone behind her caught her. She turned to face…Alex.

“Hey there love,” he said. “This is so amazing, isn’t it? Now we can be together all of the time.”

“NOT IF I CAN HELP IT!” Amy yelled, running onstage, much to the amusement of the audience. “I KICKED YOU OUT! YOU ARE TRESPASSING! NOW YOU HAVE TO LEAVE BEFORE I CALL THE POLICE! GET OUT!” She shooed Isabella offstage. Alex tried to follow, but Maria and Tess held him back.

“Let go of me!” yelled Isabella, struggling. Amy pushed her ahead of her and hurried her towards the front doors. As Isabella was running, one of the heels on her boots broke off. She stumbled, but kept going. She left, walking towards Max’s jeep, where she saw him and Liz, about to drive away.

She climbed inside. “Max,” she muttered, out of breath. “I am going to kick your ass. Now drive.”

Max looked nervously at Liz and drove towards Liz’s house. He stopped in her driveway and turned to look at Isabella. “Look, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to say your name. Forgive me please?” He looked like he was about to cry.

Isabella decided she had too many problems now without adding a lost friend to the list. “Ok,” she said. “You’re forgiven. Did you guys stick around long enough to find out who won?”

“No,” said Liz. “Who won?”

“I did.” Liz and Max broke into smiles and hugged her as best they could with the seats between them.

“Oh my god Isabella,” exclaimed Liz. “I knew you could do it!” They went inside Liz’s house to celebrate.

Back at the Sagebrush, Alex ran into the lobby to see Max’s jeep pulling away. He leaned down and picked something up off the carpet. It was the heel from Isabella’s boot. “I’ll see you soon,” he said quietly. “I’ll find you…and then we’ll never be apart again.”

~*Chapter 15*~

Alex retired to his room for the night, wanting to go after Isabella, but not sure if she would be at Liz’s or not. He would find her first thing in the morning. He climbed into the big bed in his suite and sighed. Tomorrow night The Whits were going to leave Roswell…and Isabella would be with him. As he dozed off he smiled and thought of the way she sang. She sang the words to songs as if they really meant something to her, that they came from her very own soul, instead of other people who he’d heard singing that just sang the words with no emotion. He drifted off to sleep, dreaming the whole night of Isabella.

He woke up the next morning and quickly took a shower, deciding to skip breakfast. He picked up the phone and asked the operator for Liz’s number. He called and someone picked up on the 7th ring.

“Hello?” asked a sleepy Liz.

“Hey, Liz. This is Alex. Is Isabella there?”

“Yeah, but she’s in the shower. Do you mind if I just set the phone down and make myself some breakfast? I’ll tell her you’re on the phone when she comes downstairs.”

“Sure,” said Alex, taking a small box out of his jacket pocket. He fidgeted with the box, playing around with it, trying to entertain himself until Isabella came to the phone.

Finally he heard Liz’s voice in the background saying, “Izzy, Alex is on the phone waiting to talk to you.”

“Hello?” he heard Isabella breathe into the phone.

He smiled. “Hello, pretty lady. How are you today?”

“I’m great now. What’s up?”

“Can you meet me somewhere? I need to talk to you about something.”

“Sure, how about I meet you out in the desert. There’s this one place that I love to go. It’s on highway 285 near the exit to Hondo. Can you make it there in an hour?”

“Yup. And please come alone.”

“Uh…sure,” said Isabella, wondering what Alex was up to. They hung up and Alex walked downstairs to see if he could find Tubby to ask him if he could borrow his truck.

Isabella asked Liz if she could use her car and Liz agreed, saying that it was no problem, if she needed a ride, she’d just call Max. Isabella ran out to Liz’s car and headed for the place in the desert where she was meeting Alex.

She popped a CD in without looking at what it was. N SYNC came blasting out of the speakers. “AH!” she screamed. She quickly took the CD out and threw it out the window. “Liz doesn’t need that CD anymore,” she said, putting another CD in. Sum 41 came blasting out of the speakers. She sighed. ‘That’s more like it!’ she thought.

Alex drove along the highway, taking deep breaths. He wasn’t nervous, but very excited. Finally he reached his destination and drove off the highway into the desert towards Isabella, who was leaning against Liz’s car.

He pulled up next to her. As soon as he stepped out of the truck Isabella was pressed up against him, her tongue searching for his. He kissed her back, reveling in her taste and feel. He could stay that way forever. But he knew he needed to do what he came there to do. He reluctantly pulled back and said, “Isabella, I came here to talk to you about something.”

She pouted. “Aww…but little old me wants to kiss you.” Alex smiled and held her hand.

“I know, and believe me, I feel the same. But this is important. You’re part of The Whits now.”

“Yes. Now we can be together everyday.”

“Even better. Isabella, I love you more than anything in this whole wide world. I want to be with you forever. You are my one and only soul mate.” Alex got down on one knee, still holding Isabella’s hand. “Isabella Deluca, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

Isabella started to weep. “Oh god…Alex! Wow…yes! Yes! Let’s do it! Let’s get married!” He slipped the ring on her finger and she looked down at it in wonder. She fell into his arms, feeling his warm tender kisses on her head. She kissed him, pushing him back onto the ground. A pretty intense makeout session persued.

Finally they had to come up for air. They gazed into each other’s eyes. Isabella smiled. “Alex, how would you feel about getting married right now?”

Alex raised his eyebrows questioningly. “Are you serious?”

“Yes. I want to do this now.”

“Well then I’m all for it.”

“Ok. Let’s get Max and Liz and the rest of The Whits and go to this little chapel right outside of Roswell.”

Alex smiled and tucked a strand of Isabella’s hair behind her ear. “I must be the luckiest man on the face of the planet. I have you.”

They shared loving looks and reluctantly got in their separate cars. Isabella was going to get Max and Liz, while Alex got the band together. Isabella went about 90 mph the whole way to Liz’s house. She tore into Liz’s driveway, practically driving through the garage door.

She ran into the house and started to jump up and down. “Liz! Come here! Quick!” Liz ran down the stairs.

“What? What is it? Why are you all worked up?”

“Come on, we’re going to get Max.”

“Why? What happened?” Isabella held up her left hand so that Liz could see the engagement ring. “Oh my god! Is that what I think it is?”

“YES!” Isabella grabbed her best friend into a hug. They jumped up and down, squealing in excitement.

“This is so great! Oh…let me help you plan the wedding! You should get married this summer-”

“Actually, we’re getting married today. Liz, will you be my maid of honor?”

“Oh…yes! Of course! Today! Wow! Come on!” Liz dragged Isabella upstairs and they changed into dresses and then headed for Max’s house.

Max was outside, washing his jeep…shirtless. “Oh wow,” muttered Liz under her breath. “Does he even realize what he does to my hormones when he goes around like that?”

Isabella groaned. “Gross…I do not want to hear about your out of control hormones. Come on, let’s go tell him the good news.”

They jumped out of Liz’s car and ran up to him. “Hey,” said Liz, kissing him.

“Hey,” he said, looking down lovingly at Liz. “What’s up? Why are you both wearing dresses?”

“I’ll let Isabella tell you. It’s her news.”

“Max, Alex and I are getting married. Like, right now. We want you to be there.”

“Oh, wow. Congratulations, Izzy!” He enveloped her in a hug thinking of how much his sister (that’s what he called her) was growing up. “I better go change my clothes,” he said, running into the house. Isabella and Liz waited for him and when he came back out, they headed for the chapel.

They arrived there right after Alex, the band, and his managers and security guards. Alex ran up to Max. “Hey man, I know we don’t know each other very well yet, but we both love Isabella a lot, so I was wondering if you wanted to be my best man?”

“Yeah,” said Max, hugging Alex in the awkward male way. They all went into the church. The pastor agreed to marry them immediately. Alex went up to the front alter with the priest.

Liz walked up the aisle alone. (She would have walked with Max, but he was also giving Isabella away.) The piano player started to play the wedding march and the few people there stood up as Max and Isabella walked down the aisle. They got up to the front and Max gave Isabella a friendly kiss and whispered to Alex. “Take good care of her man.”

The pastor went through the whole ceremony, finishing with the words, “I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Alex Whitman. You may now kiss the bride.” Alex leaned over and kissed Isabella. They broke apart and turned to face the church. Everyone broke into applause.

Isabella beamed with an angelic glow. “Mrs. Alex Whitman,” she said under her breath. “Those are the best words in the whole world.”