posted on 18-Sep-2001 11:56:42 PM
Title: Within the Lies
Author: Karina a.k.a WINDYM
E-mail: Gooobers98⊕
Rating: Pg-13
Category: M/L, M/M. The others I cannot promise.
Disclaimer: If you’ve heard of them, they aren’t mine.
Summary: Post Departure. The song that plays is Blindfold from the band Delirious? and their c.d. Mezzamorphis. The Whit’s Eyes of Truth c.d. name is actually the name of a song from Enigma.

"Do you know what top secret is?"
"... It's the kind of mission where you get medals... but they send them to your relatives."

Chapter 1
Liz stood facing her window, her face shining, lips parted in awe. He had done it again. Max had forced her speechless. She pushed the window open and stepped cautiously forward. A sigh escaped as the delicate falling snow touched her cool face.

"Merry Christmas, Liz," she whispered.

Her eyes shut as a cool breeze rushed past. How could he do this to her? Force her to . . what? Love him? Liz snorted. God knows everyone knew she did. Liz Parker loves Max Evans. No secret there.

The snow stopped falling and the moment dissolved, leaving Liz standing in a wonderland of melting ice. Her emotions had danced from one feeling to another, skirting away from love, keeping away from hate. He just didn’t understand. He didn’t. Through all their talks, and discussions, and tears, Max just didn’t understand how she couldn’t have him. Not now. Maybe not ever.

"Liz? Chica, you okay up there?"

She whirled around, searching frantically for the black and white c.d. "Yeah, I’m fine Maria," Liz shouted.

She rummaged through her messy desk frantically. Her hand brushed against an open candle and she winced, bringing her finger up to suck on the singed tip. She killed the flame with a fatal sigh and languidly followed its smoky trail. Her vision sharpened when the bold words caught her attention, The Eyes of Truth. Alex’s c.d. Liz swiped it off her desk and turned for the door, only to hesitate and take the white candle as well. It just seemed right that Alex should have one.

"Did you get it?"

She quickly scurried out of her room. "Got it." Liz ran down the stairs two at a time. She’d talk to Max later. Now wasn’t the time.

Everyone had already gathered by the juke box. Isabel was a deathly pale. She leaned on Max, never allowing her eyes travel above anyone’s shoes. Liz felt Max’s stare. She smiled, acknowledging the present upstairs, but said nothing. Max frowned. It wasn’t enough. It was never enough.

"As you all know," began Maria, "we’re here to remember our dear friend Alex." Sudden tears sprang to her eyes and her face broke with a shaky sob. Michael pulled her into his arms as she dampened his shirt.

"Liz’s got the last c.d. Alex made with the Whits." Michael nudged her forward and laid a gentle hand on her back.

"You can do it, Liz," he whispered softly.

Liz just stood there, staring at the juke box with restrained feelings. Kyle watched he exchange in concern and reached forward to grab hold of the c.d. Her head titled forward as she faced him gratefully.

Kyle smiled. "It’s okay. I got it." He took a deep breath and moved forward. Each step was deliberate, each step was heart breaking. Kyle slipped in the c.d. and patted the juke box affectionately. "Go ahead, Alex."

The c.d. made a whirring noise then a familiar strumming of the guitar began.

Take this blindfold off of me. I’m walking but I cannot see.

Isabel’s face shot up. Her eyes and lips went cold. It was Alex. Alex was singing. No. Alex is dead. A small cry let loose and she bit back her lips to let out a scream.

The pitter patter of rain fell steadily to the beat of Alex’s guitar. Michael faced the window, noticing the glide of tears running down the pane. No one had noticed the rain . It came as swiftly and suddenly as everything in their life. Tess, Nasedo, Alex’s death.

Lightning pierced the night and blackened the room. Liz gasped, falling to her knees.

Kyle caught her crumpled heap in his arms. He let her head lay on his shoulder, rubbing soothing circles on her back. "It’s all right, Liz. It’s just a power shortage."

A flame flickered. Both turned and encountered Michael’s outstretched hand. A dull black lighter laid between his fingers. Michael’s thumb stroked the flame to rise again. Liz swallowed hard and raised the candle.

Fire and wick delicately touched.

Michael switched off his lighter, his attention shifting back to Maria. Liz gazed to the window watching the sudden rain fall. She could see Max’s jaw clench, saw him stare intently at the jukebox.

Mysteries fly at my feet. The answers come with no relief.

Max breathed a weary sigh. Alex had always been right about everything. About Tess, about Destiny, about the answers. Sometimes it was best not to know everything. Max bowed his head in sudden humbleness. Alex had known everything. And now they were having his memorial.

Broken shoes won’t carry you far. Climb on my back I’ll carry you afar.

Maria grimaced. Afar. How far can you take me, Alex? Once upon a time in a land far, far away . . God, that sounded good. She wanted to be so far away. To be here was to feel pain, and the pain was indescribable. She squeezed her eyes shut, the tears dribbling down her cheeks with forced strength. Maria felt the arms around her waist tighten protectively. Michael’s comforting gesture brought a bitter smile to her wet lips.

Words just feel anesthetized. But hope is found within the lies.

Isabel eyes followed each candle’s flicker. Each waver made her pupils dilate, fascinated with the burning red. The words were becoming more clear with each flicker, with each word he said. Her eyes widened. The lightning flashed.

And I keep walking down that road. And I keep running down that road.

"Max?" Isabel whispered uncertainly.

Take this blindfold off of me.

He entwined her hand in his. "Isabel, it’s gonna be okay."

I’m crawling, grabbing, breathing for the way I can see.

She shook her head, eyes lost in a daze. "No Max," she murmured.

Everyone eyes riveted on hers. There was something . . different about her. Something almost alien.

She pointed to the burning flame in Liz’s hand. "Look."

The turned and gave each other worried glances, guiltily regretting the memorial. They didn’t know that Isabel would be affected so badly.

Hold me, take me, run with me, I know you’ll ignite.

Max stared at the others, catching their eyes, then turned back towards his sister. "What is it, Isabel?" he softly asked.

She shook her head in a grimace and walked towards Kyle and Liz. Kyle’s eyes widened in horror as she approached, his heart beating wildly in his chest. She stood in front of him, the broken ice chipping from her eyes, as she snatched the c.d. cover from his hand.

"Look!" Isabel held it up, shoving the cover in each face. The Whits: Eyes of Truth.

A battered flame that once was bright.

The plastic cover shattered to the floor as she brought the paper cover to the flame. They stared at her in silence, until the pictures came. Black curves with artistic precision danced around the once white page covering it with hidden circles, hidden shapes, curving vines that produced pictures all too familiar to each member in the room.

Kyle gasped in shock.

The granolith.

And I keep walking down that road. And I keep running down that road.

The book tumbled out. It hit her hand with a resounding sigh. Isabel didn’t know how many times her heart could stop. That is, until the car came into view. The crashed car; Alex’s crashed car with Tess perched on its hood looking beautifully monstrous. She turned the page.

Flip A bird’s eye view of Alex’s funeral service.

Flip Tess’ grinning face as she looked down at the glowing handprint on her stomach.

Flip The granolith blasting to the afternoon sky.

Isabel’s head shot up, she threw the papers at Max, watching as he paled at the images. They crowded around him, watching as each turn of the page brought another revelation to their already painful lives.

"He knew!" Isabel shouted in victory, in pain. "Alex knew!"

Glory. Glory. Glory in the highest.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:10:42 AM
Chapter 2
The room glowed a warm yellow, shining graciously on her blonde hair and the orange duckling on her shirt. Isabel sat in the Crashdown alone. She riffled another page; searched for another answer.

The door jingled cheerfully. He slid into the stool beside her.

Her tears fell on the counter. She didn’t turn to greet him. "I thought you said you wouldn’t come back."

He caressed her chin, bringing her face to meet his. "I can’t say no when it’s you."

Isabel trembled under his loving gaze. She slid the pages to him. "What is this, Alex?"

He smiled beautifully. "Look around, Isabel. The answers are in front of you."

Isabel searched his face in puzzlement. Alex began to blow softly at the pages. She looked down and noticed the pictures were flipping until it rested of a picture of Alex and Leanna. She looked up in irritation. "I’ve seen this one before, Alex. I don’t know understand what you’re trying to say."

Alex looked patiently on. He pointed to the picture. "Look harder."

The picture seemed to blur and form yet another picture. It was Alex and Leanna lying unconscious on the floor. Isabel gasped.

"Look around, Isabel."

Isabel flinched and closed her eyes. The air changed. The ground shifted below her. She opened her eyes only to find herself in the granolith. Isabel watched the scene unfold again. Max was screaming at Tess. It was right before the departure. She moaned in agony. She couldn’t stand seeing Tess just a kill away.

Isabel turned around and found herself right outside the granolith. She walked towards the group. They were all there, save Alex and Tess, and although they were standing together, their minds were planets apart.

Isabel brushed against a figure on the floor. It didn’t knock her down, but the scene surrounding him almost did. Kyle sat Indian style next to none other than his spiritual idol, Buddha. A television screen was propped before them both as Kyle’s face distorted in concentration.

"Let me trim the lamp of wisdom. Let me trim the lamp of wisdom." The mantra was whispered again and again from his frantic lips.

The television crackled as its channels streamed to and fro from one image of Tess to another. Without warning the night of the murder was playing on the screen. Tess was shoving Alex into the front seat when his eyes shot open and he stared straight at Kyle.

"I trusted you!"

Kyle’s eyes instantly shut tight, his chants growing more desperate by the second. "Let me trim the lamp of wisdom. Let me trim the lamp of wisdom."

Dust flew as Liz went marching by. Max followed right behind her. Isabel watched in uncertainty. Who’s nightmare was this? Liz or Max?

"I slept with Tess, Liz," Max said. "I slept with her and now I have a little boy." He smiled.

Isabel shivered.

Max’s voice grew wistful. "He’s so beautiful, Liz."

Liz faltered in her steps.

"Hey Liz, can you come to Antar for the wedding?" he suggested merrily. "I’ll put you in the guest list. I promise."

An image of Alex appeared before them, blocking the path. Liz gasped in dread.

Max walked over nonchalantly and grinned, putting an arm over the dead boy. "Hey Alex, wanna come to my wedding in Antar?"

The rustle of whispers started to form. "Oh, we had a great wedding. You called Maria, Michael, Isabel, and Alex, and had them meet us halfway."

Isabel’s mouth split. She had been told, but to hear him speak, her own brother but not her brother. Future Max. It was awful

"Oh, we had a great wedding."

Alex watched him speak until Max realized the silence. He pulled his arm away and stood awkwardly away. "Oh gosh," Max said sheepishly, "I completely forgot. You’re dead."

The pleadings echoed the wilderness, "I need you to help me fall out of love with you."

Liz screamed in rage, "I did it!"

Isabel put her hands to her ears, not wanting to hear any more. She watched as Alex and the voice disappeared.

Liz started walking again. Max shrugged to no one and caught up to her with a smile. "You can be our baby sitter. Would you like that, Liz? You can tell him stories of me and Tess; of our destiny together. He’ll like that."

Liz walked straight off the cliff.

Isabel cried out in alarm and ran. Her foot slipped and she slid on the shifting sand before skidding to a stop inches from the fall. The pebbles skipped and trailed down the sheer drop. Isabel looked down. Liz had disappeared, but something was down there. She squinted.

The Jetta. The dust whirled around her, making a sand storm with her in its eye. It made her dizzy and she blinked. Her eyes opened and Isabel found herself in the back seat of the car. Someone was in the front seats, talking.

"Your species killed Alex."

Michael’s eye twitched and he turned away. His fingers curled around the emergency brake.

Maria sneered. Her voice grew vicious. "Is that all you’re good for?"

A small baby appeared in her arms and she thrust it at him cruelly. "Go ahead, Michael," Maria nodded hideously. "Do what you’re good for."

Michael jerked the brakes. The scene blackened, blinked. At once, Maria was in the driver’s seat. Isabel watched in wonder, horror. She realized what she had tapped into. Their nightmares.

Michael fiddled with the lock on his door. "I’m leaving, Maria."

Her shoulders quivered from her sobs. "Why? Why are you leaving?"

Michael shrugged. "Honestly? I don’t want to be a father. I don’t want to be stuck her with you. I’m a warrior, Maria. My people calls."

Maria cried, "But you came back."

Michael smiled. "Just for today. When Max gets his baby we’ll head back for good, back to Antar. Don’t worry, Maria. I’ll beam down the child support."

Maria fell on the wheel in defeat and pounded her head away.

Isabel whirled around. There was one person that she had not seen. The one person that she cared for the most. "Where’s Max? What’s Max’s nightmare?"

A picket white fence appeared. Isabel’s eyes followed its trail until it led to a small blue house. Max’s house; the house he had always dreamed of. Two children played on the front lawn; bright eyed children with silky brown hair and ears that tended to stick out a bit. Max and Liz sat on the porch steps in contentment.

Isabel approached the house in confusion. What kind of nightmare was this?

Max turned to Liz. They both smiled. The scene darkened and lightning brightened the now midnight porch. A figure strolled down the white stones that lead to the house. Two figures. The lightning snapped. It was Future Max and a little boy. Isabel gasped. Two guesses who the little boy was.

Liz jumped up in surprise. She ran down the steps, past the figures, towards her swiftly disappearing children. "Oh Max how could you do this to us?!" she cried out. Liz looked at the ground where her children had played.

Max scrambled to catch her. A strong, callused hand stopped his chase. The future spoke. "It’s your fault, Max." Max felt a pair of tiny hands go into in his own. "Don’t forget this." He looked down to see a pair of big blue eyes stare up at him.

Max shook his head and started running towards Liz with the boy in tow. The scene darkened yet again and Max turned around. He was in the observatory and the boy had vanished. But someone was waiting for him. Tess. Naked. Arms outstretched in welcome. She smiled. "Husband." Max screamed.

The scream pierced into Isabel’s soul and she felt her brother’s suffering. In the stillness of the place a soft whisper echoed clearly through. "What’s you’re nightmare, Isabel?"

She whispered back. "That I missed out on you."

Isabel looked up only to see herself back in the Crashdown, looking into Alex’s eyes. "What am I going to do?" she sobbed.

Alex pointed to the flickering candle before them. "let the light lead your way."

"But Alex . ."

"You’re here."

Isabel jumped awake. They were at the granolith.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:11:55 AM
Chapter 3
Max stood in a daze. He stared up at the beam they called a granolith. What was it really? A time machine? A space shuttle? Couldn’t it just make up its mind? Max traced its sides, feeling the chalky white crumble in his fingertips. He had never thought he’d be here again. Yes, so he asked for love. He hoped for it. Every boy’s fantasy is to have two beautiful girls fall for him, and they were beautiful. Be careful. What you wish for . .

He couldn’t explain what he felt. Proud . . that two loved him. And that alone shamed him. But he reveled in it too, which caused him to feel guilty. His feelings were just a circle of pride and guilt.

Max held up the crystal like a prized trophy. It brought everyone’s attention.

Michael unconsciously pulled Maria closer to him. "Where’d you get that?" He stared at Max uncertainly. Secrets seemed to rule in the group and the crystal could be another.

Max pointed. "It was the one we put in." He watched as everyone’s face turned into panic and suddenly felt very guilty without knowing why. "It was still there so I just took it out."

Liz’s mouth paled. Her mouth dried at one single thought. "Max, what if taking it out brings Tess?

The room stiffened as everyone turned themselves to focus on her. What did she just say?

Liz continued haltingly. "You put it in to take her to Antar." She stared at the cursed white gem miserably. "What if taking it out brings her back?"

Maria’s eyes blackened. Her mouth fell into a cruel line. "That’s fine. Bring the bitch back. I’ll be waiting."

Kyle flashed her a look. Maria dissected him coldly.

Isabel spoke from the harsh moment. "How did you get it out? How did you pull it out?"

Max just pointed, feeling angry and mortified. "It was just sticking out." He bent over, trying to force it back in. "Here. I’ll put it back.

The granolith deepened a dark green.

"Stop it, Max," shouted Isabel. She grabbed on to the walls in panic. "Can’t you see? It doesn’t want it back!"

Max stood. The granolith’s color eased white. "How did you know that?"

"I don’t know, Max."

He stepped forward urgently. "You remember something."

"I don’t know, Max!" shrieked Isabel. "I don’t know. Leave me alone!" She ran into Michael’s arms. He held her close.

Kyle stepped forward, shielding her away from Max.

Max stopped, hesitated. He saw everyone looking at him. The respect was gone. The love was muddled. Max’s face contorted. He had found himself their enemy. No, not their enemy. Just . . not a part of them either. Bad things happened when you are king.

He reached Liz’s eyes. She dropped them to the floor. Max turned away. "If this calls Tess then we might have a chance of it bringing Nick."

Liz looked up. "Nick? Nicholas? Why do you want the skins . ."

"Nicholas the baby," murmured Isabel. "It’s his baby’s name." She looked up just in time to see Liz weep.

Max moved forward. "Liz," he mouthed painfully.

She shook her head and took a step back. "It’s okay, Max. I’m," gasp, "fine."

He took a step closer to her but was blocked by Kyle. His jaw clenched.

Kyle faced him defiantly. "I won’t let you hurt her, Evans."

Max’s face hardened. "I would never hurt Liz."

Kyle’s eyes snickered. "Tell me, Max, was it just me or do you have a son with my sister?"

Michael’s eyes shot up. Kyle looked to the floor.

Max turned to the rest, tactfully ignoring Kyle. "If Tess does come back, we should be prepared to meet her. We can always have someone on guard here."

"How? We’ve got school."

Max watched Isabel closely. "You don’t."

She shook her head. "No, Max. I’m not spending my winter break waiting for her."

Max laid a hand on the granolith walls. It was time to exploit the king factor. "You’re the only one, Isabel. You can do it."

"You want her to stay alone?" questioned Kyle disgustedly.

Max glowered at his arch nemesis. "Isabel can take care of herself. He turned to his her coolly. "Isabel, don’t kill her. We need Tess to find my son."

Before anyone could object, he walked out.

Isabel stared at his retreating figure. "Maybe it’s better if he’s gone," she murmured, and followed out behind him.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:12:39 AM
Chapter 4
Maria leaned back on the stove. She took a shaky breath and gripped the handle with chaffed hands. Three days. It had been three days since she had last breathed in cedar oil, or gulped down Echinacea, or used any plant products from Stacey’s UFOria drugstore. It had been three long days. For all the times she could’ve quit, it had to be this week; the week when they had the memorial, when Alex had "spoken" to Isabel, when there was a damn good chance that Tess would return with a baby that would cause more problem than joy.

She reached instinctively for her apron pocket and groaned when finding it empty. There was no calming oils to alter her emotions. "Damn."

Maria turned to see Alex’s candle sitting by the table. She walked over and cradled it in her hand, a small frown etching her face. "God, Alex, you don’t know how much I need you right now."

The back door slammed open. She startled and dropped the candle to the ground. Maria gasped, clutching her hand to her mouth in horror. Half of the broken piece rolled underneath his shoe. Michael looked at Maria, his eyes heartbroken by her reaction. He made a grab for the split candle and traipsed over to her in one gentle glide.

"Maria, Maria, it’s okay." He picked the other piece from the floor. "Here, here. Look. I’ll fix it." Michael waved his hand over the broken fragments to connect both parts. He put it up to her face to see. "Look, it’s all better. It’s fine."

She looked up at him with a shaky smile. "Maria the drama queen." Her shoes were suddenly interesting. "Thank you." She gestured to the candle. "Thank you, for fixing this."

Michael nodded. He brought a hand up to trace her nose. "I love you, Maria."

She shook her head. "You don’t have to say that Michael."

He stopped at the bridge and kissed her lips. "I won’t leave you."

Maria looked up, tears weighing her lashes. "Will you? Everyone does. One day you’ll be called and you have to go, Michael."

He kissed her again. "I won’t." Michael rested his hands on her waist. "I’m not your father, Maria."

She nodded but shrugged defeatedly. Her voice broke, "That’s what Alex used to say."

Michael said nothing. He stood there weighing his thoughts. "I love you, Maria."

A smile shone through her blurry tears. "I love you too, Michael."

He whispered ever so softly, "And that’s enough for me."

They both heard the front bell ring. Maria stared at the door. "That’s them. That’s for me. They’re waiting, Michael."

He nodded. "Go."

Maria nodded yet hesitated. "Are you sure you don’t want to come? I know this is a big deal for you. Max and Isabel might be able to contact Tess by Larek and . ."

He shook his head. "Liz needs me." Michael gave a sad grin. "She doesn’t want to go. Maxneeds to go. So does Isabel and I guess Kyle."

"I can stay," offered Maria. "I can stay here with Liz, and you . ."

"You don’t want to," disagreed Michael.

"Is that wrong, Michael?"

"No," he said gently, "it’s not wrong." He stared at the door. "You should go. They’re probably waiting."

Maria leaned forward and kissed his lips, his cheeks. "If you change your mind . ."

"I’ll just walk across the street. I know." He stared into her eyes. "If there’s any trouble, I’ll be upstairs with Liz."

Maria nodded and headed for the door. Michael watched her leave and headed for the stairs.

* * * * *

Isabel stood flabbergasted at the news. Max swayed back on his feet and she caught him before anyone could tell he was fainting. Isabel felt him lean into her as she braced her feet. It was hard to do. Maria was leaning on her too.

It was Kyle that broke the silence. "What do you mean she’s dead?"

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:13:22 AM
Chapter 5
Larek stared at the children before him. Babies really. He shook his head. "When Ava arrived in Antar, they searched for it - for the boy." He turned to Max. "They didn’t find anything."

"But she was pregnant," argued Maria. "They saw the handprint on her stomach. She was sick with labor pains. Kyle knows that."

Larek shook his head. "There was no baby. There couldn’t have been."

Max looked up. "What do you mean?"

Larek stared at them in confusion. "Zan, she was a virgin."

Maria put up her hand in disgust. "Okay stop!" she demanded. "Stop the ride. Stop the game. Stop the lies!" She pointed to Max. "He slept with her. He remembers it." She slapped her palms together. "They banged ‘till the night was through. You cannot tell me that . ." Maria shook her head stubbornly. "No."

"She is," voiced Larek loudly. He stepped towards them, willing them to believe. "She was a virgin and when Khivar heard of this and saw that none of you had come with her, he ordered her execution." Larek stared intently at them. "I don’t know why you never heard. It was big news in Antar. There was a public execution in the palace."

Max leaned forward, his mouth trying to catch every word. There was only thing that played his mind. "There was no baby," whispered Max, his eyes searching frantically for the truth.


"And she was, she was a virgin?" Max stammered. He turned to Isabel. "That means that I’m - that we had never . ." His eyes shot open. "Liz!" His voice filled with hope. "Liz and I -"

Kyle sneered from his hollow throat. "Is Liz all you ever think about?" he spat bitterly.

"Kyle!" chastised Maria in shock.

He stared angrily at them all. "Don’t get me wrong. I care a lot about Liz, but we just got the news that Tess is dead and Evans is ready to kiss and make up."

"And you’re not happy about that?" asked Maria angrily. She smiled sarcastically. "Oh yeah, I forgot. You made yourself her brother. Love how she mind warped you."

"Don’t you see?" Kyle snapped. He walked to Maria in determination. "She didn’t have sex with Max. She lied about the baby. She mind warped all of us."

"Yes," seethed Isabel furiously.

"Because she had to," emphasized Kyle with liberated passion. "She knew you’d find the way back. Tess knew. And she didn’t want any of you guys killed so she went herself. She sacrificed herself for you." He stared at everyone. He stared at Max. "Tess is good." He stumbled. "She was good. I always knew it. No matter what you guys used to say about her, I knew she was good."

Maria grew angry at his words. "Oh really? Did good kill Alex?! What is your smart ass excuse for that?!"

"Maybe she didn’t kill Alex."

They turned to Isabel in shock. Her once pale face had gone pick with excitement . . and hope. "Maybe that was a mind warp too and he’s waiting for us to find him." She gasped at the possibility. "He’s waiting Max."

Her feet grew excited. She paced around the room. "Alex is waiting for me." Isabel smiled so brightly. "We should go and find him!"

"Stop it," Maria whispered. She shook her head, knowing she would kill a heart. "He’s gone, Isabel."

Isabel moaned in protest. "No," her voice came out a whimpered plea. "No, you’re wrong. He’s alive. It was just a mind warp, Maria."

Maria trembled, walking towards Isabel. "He’s dead."

Isabel shrank back into the wall. "No, don’t say that."

Maria nodded, crying openly now. "He’s dead, Isabel. I know he’s dead. Don’t do this to yourself."

She reached out and grasped Isabel’s hand. "Don’t do this to me," Maria continued desperately. "Please, Isabel, I can’t do this anymore. My best friend is dead and nothing’s gonna change that. I can’t feel him any more. I used to be able to, and now I can’t. And if you’ll face the truth, you know you can’t feel him either."

Isabel clutched Maria’s hand, her shoulders trembling from her sobs. "I love him." She looked past Maria. "I love you, Alex."

Maria turned, seeing no one, but wisely knowing better. "I love you too, Alex."

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:14:00 AM
Chapter 6
Michael and Liz sat on the carpeted floor, watching old video tapes of Lois and Clark. The ending music played and Michael stretched out on the floor.

"Typical." He reached for the popcorn bowl only to have it snatched away. "Hey!"

Liz smiled and popped a handful of popcorn in her mouth. "Typical what?"

Michael shrugged and rubbed his shoulders, wincing at the knot on his neck. "Episode. Story line."

She popped two more in her mouth. "I didn’t think so."

Michael snickered. "That’s ‘cause you have no imagination." He grabbed for the bowl and missed.

"Well you don’t have any stealing skills," Liz countered saucily. Liz caught his eye and she couldn’t stop the laughter.

Michael laughed with her. "That’s supposed to be a good thing, Liz." He made a grab for the bowl again and plucked it out of her hands. Michael smiled and popped the remaining 4 in his mouth.

Liz just grinned and rewound the tapes. "Why was it so typical?" she asked curiously.

Michael got himself comfortable on her bed. "Girl likes alien. Alien loves girl. She finds out about him and they fall in love." He looked pointedly at her but she managed to be staring at the blank screen. "Anyway, alien finds out there’s a girl in his old planet that he’s supposed to marry. He doesn’t love her. She doesn’t love him. He fights destiny. The end."

"Typical," muttered Liz. She looked back. "Michael, should I have gone? You know? To support Max?"

Michael climbed off the bed and plopped himself down next to her. "No. You’ve supported him enough." He put an arm over her thin shoulders. "You’re too altruistic, Liz."

She looked up. "Altruistic, huh?" Liz grimaced. "What’s so wrong with self-sacrifice?"

"Ayn Rand would be pissed." Michael squeezed her shoulders. "But I’m just proud to have you."

Liz smiled and leaned into his shoulder.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:14:35 AM
Chapter 7
The four sat quietly in Kyle’s car. Quietly, yes, maybe. On the outside they had only spoken a few words. Mostly bitter. On the inside, the noises were shrieking. Bitterness ran loose and everyone could feel it in sharp stabbing breaths. It seemed as if their whole world was turned again. Seemed? It was turned.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of denial. The definition rested on Kyle. Love. He loved Tess, once as a girl then finally as more: a sister. He didn’t want to believe the mean things they said about her. He chose to ignore them, a blind eye that was constantly clouding the truth. He couldn’t ignore the fact that Alex died. He blamed aliens, yes, but he never blamed Tess. At least, not until the day of the departure. And even then, he chose to deny.

Denial is a wonderful thing. You can stare straight into the face of evil and smile, and pretend it was your sister, and pretend that you don’t care. In the words of Tess herself, ‘Sometimes it's easier to do that than to make someone see something that's right in front of her eyes.’ But Kyle did care. Oh, but he loved her. And love itself is a beautiful and dangerous weapon.

Love is what makes the world go round. And it makes it wonderful and it makes it beautiful. God, what a dangerous weapon. Love makes you stupid, and Max knew it. What did love make him do? Hmm, let him think for a moment and realize all the things that he had to regret. Where should he begin?

He saved Liz. That was a moment that he now chose to regret. To speak of Liz is to speak of the very essence of love itself. Eternal. Bitter. Beautiful. Dangerous. Love and Liz. The two L’s of Max’s life. They came hand in hand and Max was afraid of both. He also wished for both. And now, he had to live with both.

To save Liz was one of the most stupidest things he had done. Second to trusting Tess, of course. Saving Liz meant that he had to expose himself, his sister, and his best friend. Furthermore, it made him fall more in love with her. Which made her fall in love with him. That alone caused many problems because, well, we’ve already talked about love. The two believed they were soul mates. And then they were introduced to destiny.

Destiny, destiny, destiny. It is the inevitably ordained. Destiny, fate, lot, portion. Just other words for doom. Seriously, you can look it up. They’re synonyms. How cute. Oh, and another synonym: Tess.

So here we go: the two lovers meet up with doom, which is Tess, and that brings out even more problems. Alex dies from Tess. Then of course, there are those inevitable break ups that the soul mates had to endure, all four of them. If that wasn’t enough, doom, I mean Tess, tricked Max into thinking that they had a baby together. Now destiny is dead and there is room to move back with his "soul mate" except that because of the way he had acted towards his "soul mate" when Tess was "pregnant" caused his "soul mate" to hate him. Yes, you can hate the one you love. And Liz did hate him, in her own way. And Max knew it.

Was Liz worth it? That was what two years boiled down to. Was Liz worth saving? No. Max didn’t think so. Death was a much more welcome for her than this life she led with him. With what he knew now, he would have let her die. Harsh. Barbaric. Cold reality.

He would’ve watched Liz take her last breath and walk away proud. Because letting her live would have been selfish. To have the chance to hold her, to kiss her, to tell her he loved her, to hear how much she loved him . . it wasn’t worth the life she now led. To run away from FBI, to lie constantly to her parents, to question every new face in town, to have the burden of the world’s end, to have her best friend die . . no, it wasn’t worth her living.

Kyle turned on the signal and headed down Houghton.

Maria looked up from her day dream. "Where are we going?" She pointed to the right. "The Crashdown’s that way."

Kyle didn’t bother to turn back. "We’re going to my house. We have something to do."

Isabel stared at him from the corner of her eyes. "Michael and Liz are waiting for us. They’d want to hear the good news."

Kyle’s jaw stiffened. He gripped the wheel tighter. "They can hear the bad news later. This can’t wait."

He pulled up the driveway and parked his car. "Get out."

"If you wanted us to walk . ." started Max.

"We’ve got something to do. All of us," Kyle answered tightly. "Get out."

It was a good 13 seconds of waiting out there in the curb before Kyle got out himself. The said nothing and tried not to stare, squinting at the uncomfortable sun. The three followed him around the back as he lead them to the backyard. He didn’t stop walking until they reached his pond.

Kyle had something in his hand. Maria took one look and stiffened. It was a picture of Tess at prom.

"Kyle what are we doing here?" asked Maria, her suspicions making her angry.

He looked at her with disdain. So she knew what was gonna happen. Good. "Well, I thought since we had one for Alex, why can’t we have one for Tess?"

Maria’s eyes narrowed. "’Cause she killed Alex."

Kyle turned away stubbornly. He bent down on one knee and delicately lay the picture on a pad. "Tess always loved going here. Dad made the pond years ago but she’s the one that put the lilies and lily pads in. Tess made them out of all our roses." He chuckled. It sounded more like a sob. "God, my dad was so pissed. But she never changed them back."

"I can’t do this."

Isabel and Max watched as Maria began to escape.

"I can’t stay here and watch you do this." Maria stared bitterly at the others. "I can’t believe you’re doing this." She marched away..

"I’m sorry," whispered Isabel, shaking her head sadly. "I can’t do this either." She shadowed Maria and left.

Kyle didn’t bother to turned around. He stood with a deep sigh and watched the water. "Why don’t you just go? It’s not like you care about her."

"I’m staying, Kyle." Max bent down and touched the pond, making ripples on the water.

Kyle looked down in surprise.

Max stood to face him completely. "She was my wife, Kyle."

Kyle turned away but nodded. He watched as a beautiful yellow butterfly landed on the picture. "It’s Tess."

Max said nothing.

Kyle’s face softened into a wistful smile as he watched as the butterfly flutter away.

Complete denial.

She would’ve been a snake.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:15:10 AM
Chapter 8
She stood quietly, beautifully. Her dark hair swayed behind her and she tamed it with an ivory rose clip. Her fingers found the clear doors hesitantly. Before her was the future. A secret uncertain smile lined her lips. To know that this was inevitable, to know that there was no other way, there was no other choice . . it made her smile. It made her know that this was the right choice after all.

She turned to cast a wistful glance at the sky. It was sparkling fresh with diamond stars. Her hand instinctively reached up and pretended to caress one in particular. Another smile. One sweet day, she thought, her eyes misting over. She left it at that.

The lady gently spun back to the clear entrance. Images flowed through her as her mind fabricated what lay ahead. What would they say? What would they do? She raised a hand to the door. The answers were a lovely breath away. Hand turned into fist and knocked twice.

She heard someone coming. Her eyes fixed to the door. The blinds hindered but she could still hear everything. It was a man. He was tall and weary; his feet dragging the floor. She heard his touch on the door knob, felt his sudden fear. She could feel it: his hesitancy, his dread. The temperature dropped chillingly. Were they all going to be afraid of her?

A suspicious brown eye peered through the blinds, then as quickly, disappeared again. The door unbolted and swung free. Her breath caught. She didn’t think that he - she knew it was a possibility, but still . . . to see the general of Antar was a humbling experience. Her knees locked as it fought the desire to kneel and pay homage. This was not the time, and most definitely not the place.

"What do you want?"

She caught his eyes only to look shyly away. She looked at his shoes instead; black boots with driblets of grease and vinegar. "I’m a friend of Liz Parker," she heard herself murmur. "Can I come in?"

She listened to his mind spin, that brilliant mind that brought him through countless battles and victories. Her lips tingled with excitement. The respect she felt for him was unboundable. He was her hero and she was standing in his presence.

Michael looked at her skeptically and scratched the side of his face. He opened the door wider and grunted.

She took it as a welcome and entered the warm restaurant with wonder and apprehension. This was it. She was in. Her mouth dried as it passed over the register counter. "There it is," she whispered in awe. "There it is."

"Did you say something?"

She shook her head, turning a dark crimson. "No, I didn’t," she answered sheepishly.

Michael spun around to face her. He would have looked threatening except for that saucy smirk. "I’ve got a Maria."

She stared in confusion. Of course he did. What did he mean by that? Her mouth opened in sudden realization and her cheeks flushed. "Oh, no, no. I’ve got . ." She smiled. "I’ve got a Trenton."

His smirk froze. The humiliation swirled throughout the room and she felt guilty for giving him that discomfort. "I’m sorry," whispered her gentle apology. "That was my fault."

Michael looked back and gave a twisted smile. It didn’t stop the embarrassment but it did soothe his bruised ego. He pointed to the ceiling. "I’ll go get her."

She nodded and watched him stiffly pass the back door. He was still embarrassed. She was beyond embarrassed. It was the sights, the sounds, the smells . . it was all too much for her already fragile emotions. It made her do things she ordinarily would hide; like blush, and giggle, and make men like Michael witness a flirtatious side she did not have. She groaned inwardly. Beyond embarrassing.

The front door flung open as snapping voices ceased grimly at the sight of her. She felt the hairs on her neck bristle and closed her eyes to take a breath. She didn’t turn to face the others, couldn’t. This was it. This was the moment.

The back door immediately flew wide and a brunette’s face appeared, full of confusion. Liz. It must be Liz. She was too lovely not to be Liz. Following right behind was Michael, gripping her elbow protectively.

"Who are you?"

She felt frozen as Michael glared coldly at her. She gazed in awe as the rest advanced from behind, past her, to Liz and Michael. They converged, became one. A gasp escaped her. Max was positioned by Liz, just a bit forward, trying to conceal and protect his soul mate. The dreamers. Behind them stood the famed Maria who had latched herself onto Michael. They made such an endearing sight, his fingers stroking her hair soothingly, drawing her flush to his frame. Isabel and Kyle stood alongside Michael. Together and separated, abandoned by loves, together through trials. The two stared suspiciously at any strangers. Everyone did. Roswell didn’t have a good track record with nasedos.

The sight left her in a daze. There they were. The great ones. The warriors. And she, she was to be in their midst.

Max’s voice broke her out of her trance. "Who are you?"

"I am the open book," came her whispered reply.

The V snapped. Skeptical, confused looks rippled through each face.

She stood rooted to her spot. Her figure swaying onto an unseen wind. Her head bowed as she stared at the floor that birthed a kingdom.

"I am Serena."

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:16:37 AM
Chapter 9
The diner was silent as the only two occupants were in a staring match. The others had gone to the back room to discuss the reasons why Serena had decided to come. Of course, to ask her directly was out of the question. What if she didn’t answer? What if she lied? What if . . bla bla bla. The only reason why they didn’t was that they were scared. Plain and simple.

Here comes a girl that pops into their lives seven months after another one steps out. Oops, scratch that. That one’s dead now. But this one is very much alive. Breathing right in the next room with one of their own. They needed a plan, and they needed it fast. There was only one person that they could volunteer out there. Maria and Liz were out of the question. Max was their leader so he had to be there. Michael demanded that he be part of the plan. And Isabel wasn’t allowed out because Max needed his sister by his side.
There was only one person they could exclude to make sure Serena didn’t vanish into the night.

Kyle leaned forward, not breaking the hard stare that he held in his eyes. The nerve of them to leave him here, alone, unprotected, with some sort of freak alien stranger was overwhelming, but not surprising. Hell, he was the one that volunteered. You know, die with guns blazing and all. Or alien blasts, whatever. No one really seemed to argue. Especially not Max. Yeah, yeah, Max tried to sound reluctant, but Kyle knew he wanted to push him out the door.

It didn’t matter. Though he winced to declare it, he was part of the group, and with that came responsibility. Kyle didn’t know if this attitude was because he had been shunned from all his so-called friends at school or because of a growing feel of compassion for the group’s frequent perils. They had become his friends, somewhat. People bond when they think they’re gonna die, and boy, there were so many of those they could’ve been joined at the hip.

He almost busted out laughing right there. Him and Max joined at the hip. Hah! When Max turns Buddhist, that’s for sure. Okay, yes, Kyle had dated Liz. Big whoop. Dated. They weren’t dating anymore, and no, they did not have sex. Everyone knew that . . now. And if that was the reason why Mr. Alien King Ruler could not find it in his heart to say a decent word to him now and again, than that was fine. Kyle wasn’t the one that treated everyone like shit that past year. Nope, that was all El Presidente de Maxo. The whole awe over Max using his voodoo shit to heal him was definitely gone.

Serena leaned back and blew out her thick lips. He had been staring at her for fifteen minutes. Straight. It unsettled her. "Why?"

Kyle’s eyes unglazed in confusion, immediately sitting up in his seat. "What, why? What happened?"

"Why are you looking at me like that?" asked Serena shyly. This was not supposed to happen. She distractedly picked on the lint off the cheap table cloth.

Kyle leaned back on his chair and looked her face once over again. "I’m just trying to find the third eye?"

She stared in confusion. He wasn’t making any sense. "Third eye?"

Kyle gave his famous grin. She was so delicate when confused. I wonder if I can make her smile. "Yeah. Don’t all the martians have one? You know. The one that screams out, ‘Let me ruin your life?’"

Serena let out a beautiful laugh. "You really don’t trust nasedos do you?"

Kyle’s moment of pleasure was cut short and he involuntarily bit his tongue from crying out in panic. "You’re a shape shifter," he whispered. His knuckles turning white and he focused tensely on the swinging door.

Serena impulsively gabbed his hand. "I’m not a shape shifter," she hurriedly assured.

They both looked at their entwined fingers and it was she that first and let go. Her cheeks were a deep rouge in embarrassment as she murmured an explanation. "I meant nasedo, as in stranger. Not Nasedo, nasedo."

His breathing turned shallow as he sideglanced Serena’s blushing face. "So, what, you’re not an SS?" His brow furrowed. "You’re just the run of the mill alien then, right?"

"No," she smiled again, "I’m completely human."

Kyle’s face broke into a grin and impulsively grabbed her hand. "All right," he nodded appreciatively.

Serena had a hard time listening as she stared down at their entwined fingers.

"Welcome to the team. One more point for the residents of earth." Kyle hesitated and stared at her harder. "You sure you’re human? You aren’t half and half are you? Like some kind of weird ‘I’m-a-royal-pain-in-the-alien-and-my-human-side-comes-from-rich-farm-workers-in-Tuscon’."

His words struck her and she looked up to meet his face. Her eyes crinkled as her mouth rose to a laugh. Kyle couldn’t help but notice the tiny dimples that dipped her cheeks and he grinned at her twinkling smile.

"You don’t trust strangers a lot, do you?"

Kyle smirked, still dazed from her smile. "Obviously with the track record. Namely Nasedo and Pierce and that Whit chick."

Serena nodded, no longer laughing. The mood had turned serious. "Congressman Whitaker."

Kyle searched her face as if it held all the secrets he wanted to know. "Yeah how do you know everything? What? Were you spying on us this whole time?"

"I was taught," came the simple answer

He edged closer, curiosity piqued. "By who?"

Serena shrugged and looked away. He didn’t miss the way her eyes cracked sorrow. "It doesn’t matter. He’s dead."

Kyle bowed sympathetically. He squeezed her hand. Serena looked to him, startled. How could she have forgotten that he was still holding a piece of her.

"I’m really sorry. I totally understand - "

They both looked up as the rest came through the door. Serena stood in respect as Kyle sighed exaggeratedly in her gesture. "You don’t have to do that. They’re not that kind of royalty."

Max ignored his comment and turned to Serena with their demand. "We want some answers."

She nodded as Kyle pulled up two chairs for both of them. The two sat around the usual booth. Everyone was trying to keep their emotions at bay, but the atmosphere was thrilling and vivid with excitement. All knew who Serena was. Liz had explained the Future Max situation some time ago and Serena’s name was mentioned quite a few times in lieu of the granolith.

Serena looked on in determination. "I’ll tell you - "

"Anything we want to know?" smirked Michael.

She shook her head. "I’ll tell you the truth."

It brought collective admiration from them all. It had been some time since anyone had revealed the truth to them. Yes, they welcomed the truth. And they welcomed Serena.

Liz smiled at her in appreciation. "That’s a good start." She pulled a paper list from her pocket. "Okay . . are you human, alien, or otherwise?"

Serena looked at Kyle as he cocked his brow at her. They must have had their share of alien or otherwise to even ask. "Human."

Liz bit her lip and stared at the list intently. "Okay, that takes out questions two to four. Yes, okay, question number five. How much do you know, about us, or everything?"


Isabel leaned in aggressively. "Can you define that? Like in more simpler, less vague terms?"

Serena stared back easily. "I know what you know . . and a little bit more."

Liz saw the exchange and cleared her throat, easing the discomfort. Serena was a bit mysterious, but there was no need to push her into things. "Um, that’s basically all the questions we thought up of."

"No, wait," Michael scowled. He gave her an domineering stare. "Are you here to kill us?"

Maria closed her eyes in embarrassment. "I am so sorry." She gave Serena a compassionate look. "Michael’s seriously lacking some human traits we call manners. What he meant was why are you here exactly?"

"To guide you for a better tomorrow."

Maria grinned. "Nice." She gave Michael a pointed stare. "I like that."

"So you‘ll answer all our questions . ." started Liz.


Liz nodded and spoke up, "Will we find the baby?"

Serena looked away. "About that, uh . ."

Everyone turned to Max. It was his turn to speak the truth.

Michael fidgeted in irritation. "Is this the good news Isabel was trying to tell us?" He ignored Kyle’s scowl.

Liz turned to Max expectantly. "What is it, Max?"

"Liz," he whispered, "there is no baby."

And time stopped. The beating of rapid hearts were in everyone’s ears. It was like a bomb bursting without the noise. You can feel the hearts exploding.

"It was all a mind warp Liz," Max whispered tearfully. "I didn’t even sleep with her."

"Max . ." whispered Serena.

"Liz," he touched her falling tears, "Liz . . I know this doesn’t excuse anything I’ve done to you. All the mean things that I’ve said. That was unforgivable, but . ."

"Max, I have to . ."

"So where’s Tess?" came Liz’s question. Her tears were hurting so badly. Relief? Pain? She didn’t know which yet to choose.

Isabel looked up triumphantly. "She’s . ."

"Dead," leered Kyle, his voice growing desperate and bold. "She tried to protect you and the big K killed her."

"Kyle . ."

Michael looked at each of them angrily. "When were you planning on telling Liz? Tomorrow? Next week? In Antar?"

Maria flinched involuntarily. "Antar."

Michael turned to face her, noticing her hurt worries, but not finding the time to address them. He turned back to Max. "When, Maxwell?"

"We were going to tell you," Max gently explained, "but then," he gestured to the restless Serena. "I’m sorry. What were you gonna say?"

She closed her eyes and braced for the truth. "Nicholas is alive."

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

Edited by - Crimson on 09/21/2001 18:33:28
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:18:09 AM
Chapter 10
It was one of those moments when her whole life flashed before her eyes. And it just skips and skips to the good parts and it didn’t let her see all the bad parts that made her Liz. Saturday night sleep overs, karaoke with Alex, Disneyland with Maria, food fight in the 8th grade, Grandma Claudia’s smile, her 16th birthday surprise, dinners with mom and dad. And no, there was no Max. But oddly enough, there was a Serena.

No Max. That was something. Out of all the good times that she and Max had, there was always this tinge of sadness; of knowing there was an end that wasn’t going to be pretty. Each kiss felt like good bye. And each whispers of love seemed desperate as if it were their last. Even in the best night of her life, the night when Max had gotten drunk, was laced with poison. He chose to forget it. Chose. Brains that advanced couldn’t have just forgotten. No, Max definitely chose to forget.

And now she was forgetting too. Her eyes hurt so badly. It was like the past two years she had been seeing things out of focused. And now they were in focus again and she didn’t know how to deal with it. The blurry images were hovering above her again. She felt a cool cloth pressed against her neck and heard soft murmurs coming from the left. She blinked. Someone shouted and suddenly blurry figures seemed to scurry around and crowd her. It was so hard to breathe. She started choking.

Kyle held her elbow, helping her sit up. Liz looked to her side and noticed his worried face. She smiled shakily. "I guess I’m not feeling so good."

Maria gripped her best friend’s hand. "Liz, what happened there?" Her eyes scurried across Liz’s face. "You’re sweating. Oh my god, you’re sweating like a pig."

Liz winced. "Thanks Maria. That was really nice."

Maria immediately crushed Liz into a hug, ignoring her friend’s lack of air. "You know me. I’m just a blonde Hallmark card." She stepped back and watched Liz’s face. "Okay, seriously, what’s wrong? You just totally spazzed out on us."

"I don’t - " She stopped and looked around. "Where’s Serena?"

"In the diner with Kyle," said Isabel.

Was that a hint of jealousy? Michael cocked his brow, baiting her reaction. "They’re getting really chummy."

"Stop it, Michael," scolded Isabel. "Kyle’s hurting too."

Liz looked around, the floor eerily close to her face. "What happened? Max? Maria What did -" The memories suddenly rushed to her and she stopped with a cry. "Oh."

Maria bent down and huddled Liz in her arms. "Liz, I’m so sorry."

"I thought, I mean, I was so glad," she sobbed. Liz gasped and clutched the pain in her heart. "Oh god, Nicholas is alive. Nicholas the baby." She wrenched her eyes off the floor and to Maria. "That means that Tess, I mean that means she alive. That time, when he said . .but it’s true now. Maria, he did have sex with Tess."

Max looked away, sobbing. He had dared to hope that things would be all right. That it was all not real. Wrong again, Maxwell.

Michael laid a hand on Max’s shoulder but never strayed from the destruction before him. Isabel couldn’t bare to even look her at her brother. "I’ll take you upstairs. You have to go rest, Liz. This is just too much."

Liz shook her head stubbornly. "No, this is almost nothing to the night of Gomez."

Max whirled around bitterly. "How many more times will I ruin your life, Liz? Every time we talk it seems like all I’m doing is hurting you." He gave a painful sigh. "And I don’t want to hurt you, Liz. I never wanted to hurt you. Liz, I love you, but . ."

She nodded. "I understand, Max," Liz whispered. "You don’t want to be with me."

He shook his head in disbelief. "I’ll always want to be with you. I’m just scared that you won’t want me."

Liz looked at him, tears running down her face. "God, Max. I’m hopeless. I’m hopelessly in love with you." She gazed into his eyes in love. "I can’t help what I feel. I will always love you, Max."

He reached out for her and stopped short in instant remembrance of their predicament. "Liz, why? After all I’ve done? After everything I did . ."

She gave a shaky smile. "The path of true love never runs smooth."

Maria nodded and kissed her forehead gently. "God, do I know that."

Michael reached down and pulled her up for a shy kiss. Isabel helped Liz stand who came up groggily.

"Whoa," Liz murmured, wobbly in her steps.

Max grabbed her hand instinctively. She smiled and squeezed it, but knew enough to let go.

Maria held on to Michael, resting her head on his chest. "That’s two that she’s killed now." She turned to Max. "We can’t let her kill any one else."

Max looked at the rest fiercely. "We won’t."

Isabel was not satisfied and she spit out a curse. "Your days have been marked, Tess. We are swiftly coming."

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
posted on 19-Sep-2001 12:19:02 AM
Chapter 11
Kyle rolled his head from side to side against the now sticky table; the tears came sobbing out of his chest. He felt a cool cloth being placed on his forehead and looked up with red rimmed eyes, over puffy pink cheeks. "Thank you."

Serena smiled kindly and gently wet his forehead. "He would get like this sometimes. A cool cloth and tea always made him feel better."

Kyle tried to frown, despite his stiff face. He looked at the cup before him uneasily. "I don’t like tea."

Serena nodded. "I thought so." She stirred the spoon sweetly. "It’s hot chocolate."

He smelled into the mug and smiled brokenly. "Thank you."

Serena looked away shyly, not wanting to entangle stares. She couldn’t resist but to look at him again. "It’s no trouble, Kyle."

There was a long silence, one full of pure stillness and tingling eyes.

Kyle’s face suddenly twisted. "What a bitch."

Serena cocked her head in surprise.

He looked apologetically at her. "Sorry. That was sort of random. It’s just, why? How can she do this? I believed in her. I told everyone to believe in her." He sobbed. "Serena, I held a vigil."

Serena laid the cloth down and rubbed his back soothingly. "You didn’t know."

He shrugged, throwing back her words. "She killed Alex, Serena. And Ava."

Serena nodded. "Mind warp." She shook her head in dread. "What a very powerful weapon."

Kyle agreed, the pieces suddenly fitting together. "That’s why she was a damn virgin. You know, I was wondering why Larek kept saying Ava but I thought it was an alien thing."

"Tess is very . ." Serena bit her lip, trying to find the precise word, "cunning. She mind warped Ava to act as Tess herself. Tess mind warped you to make sure you believe Ava was Tess. She even tricked Khivar to make him believe she was dead."

Kyle looked up, heat from the cup steaming up his eyes. "She’s working for someone greater than Khivar."

Serena nodded. "Tess wants to be Queen. If she returns to Antar with the rest, Isabel would’ve been Queen. Tess is working for a place where she can be a monarch. Where she’s wanted and needed."

Kyle shrugged. "Beats me." He looked at her expectantly.

Serena frowned. "I don’t know that truth . . yet."

Kyle stared at her searchingly. "Who’s the man that taught you everything?" He sipped his hot chocolate. It was wonderfully warm. "Your boyfriend?"

Serena chuckled. "No. He wasn’t my boyfriend. He was my guide." She looked at the back door. "He was the other shape shifter." There was a pause. "I need to talk to them."

He nodded and they both got up to approach the door. Everyone seemed to stare endlessly at the two.

Maria was the first to speak. "What is it?" She sounded so guarded and afraid. Aah, the benefits of an adventurous life.

Serena got right to the point. "I need a weekend."

"I don’t know," Liz protested. She was already worried. "We have work and I don’t know if my dad . ."

Serena quieted her with a look. "I need to show you the future."

"Oh. Okay."

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.