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.”
“It’s hard to explain.”
“I really should go.”
“Ok, I’ll talk to you later, maybe?”
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.
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.”
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.