posted on 11-Jan-2003 11:45:34 PM
ONCE, Sequel to RED which can be found on the repost board, viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=21204 or at Anniepoo98's site: http://www.geocities.com/anntheresemarie/


Thanks to the wonderful Annie for the banner!
1-3-4



Category: AU
Rating: PG

Authors Note: This is part 2 of a 4 part series. The characters in this story are not in any way related to the characters and events in Part 1.


She first saw him lounged against the lockers. His broad chest was covered with a simple Dave Matthews Band t-shirt and the strap of his messenger bag. He was talking, laughing with his friends – enjoying the last few moments of freedom before school started.

His laugh resonated down the hall to where she was standing next to her own locker, her hand poised in mid-air once she caught sight of him.

He was one of the most beautiful boys Tess Harding had ever seen.

**

She was a junior and new to the school. She had moved there only a week ago, giving her just enough time to register for school and apply for various jobs in the community. She was cold, stoic, and unapproachable. She hadn’t cried in years.

He had been there his entire life – popular, funny, deep. The antithesis of what she was. A senior, he didn’t really care for classes, the teachers or the town but he dealt with it. He was going to get out. Someday.

**

The rest of her day was uneventful. Classes came and went and people stared at her because she was the new girl. But for the most part she was ignored and she was glad. She didn’t want to make waves. Not anymore. She wanted to fade into the background.

**

In her art class, she noticed the boy was in there also. He sat across the room from her and she could see him out of the corner of her eye. He wasn’t paying attention to the teacher who wanted to play the “getting to know you” game.

**

She almost didn’t get his signature.

Too shy to approach him, she’d carefully maneuvered around him until she made one fatal mistake.

She looked into his eyes.

He smiled.

His eyes twinkled and scrunched up a bit. His mouth opened a bit, revealing straight, white teeth. Tess was gone.

**

They didn’t say anything. They just exchanged papers, signed them and moved on.

Later, after the activity was over, Tess glanced at the signature.

His name was Max Evans.

**

After that, she didn’t really talk to him that much. Occasional conversations here and there about random things. She’d gather snatches of information from her friend Serena about him and use them as an excuse to talk to him.

His voice was rich, deep. Almost as deep as his eyes, which Tess felt like she would fall through if she looked into them too long. And when he’d laugh, a throaty laugh, she felt like it was the most beautiful thing in the world to watch him throw his head back and let out his laughter that seemed to come from the heart.

**

He was born in May, a Taurus, she first thought. He swam on the team, ran for leisure. He liked dark things like death and dying and was fascinated with the supernatural. He wrote poetry and stories in his free time, things he proudly showed off to his friends. The ones he wanted them to see anyway.

But he was also a player. He didn’t stay in any relationship for too long. And he broke hearts everywhere he went.

**

She was still too shy to talk to him for any length of time. He was too popular, too handsome, too much of a player. He talked to her, occasionally showed her his poetry if she prodded enough, laughed with her.

And for now, that was enough.

**

The end of the year came, and with it, went Max. He was a senior, after all. Tess watched longingly from her car in the parking lot – watched him slap his buddies on the back, watched him light up a cigarette, watched him get into his jeep and drive off knowing it would be the last time she would see him.

**

That summer she spent her time working at the local Crashdown Café as a waitress. She needed some spare cash and they were hiring. She figured it was better then anything else in town.

It was Roswell after all.

**

The hot summer heat brought with it blistering humidity and a desire to find a cool plane of water. Often Tess was invited to such parties and she often went after work, engaging in more and more as the summer went on. A swig of beer here, a glass of vodka and orange juice there. Tequila shots.

She lost herself in the games these people played. Get drunk, get talkative, get touchy-feely.

**

She refused to let anyone take her home and vice versa. She didn’t want just any random guy to take her home.

She wanted Max Evans to take her home. But he wasn’t around anymore. He was gone, swallowed up by the dust of his departure from Roswell.

**

She found his number in the back of her yearbook.

She had given it to him to sign the last day of art. He had taken it and scribbled for a few minutes before handing it back, not saying anything.

She hadn’t read it until now, having forgotten all about it.

**

After debating for awhile, she called him. She got his voice mail.

This is Max. Leave a message or I’ll beat you to a bloody pulp.

Three hours later, he called back.

**

She had given up hope that he’d ever call and set about the rest of her night. She cleaned her house, her parents gone for the summer on an excursion in Europe. She had just sat down to watch some television when the phone rang.

It was Max. He wanted to come over. Was she available?

**

He came in, dragging a huge bottle of Bacardi O. He explained it had been a tough night. She merely nodded, giving him the tour of her house, occasionally taking sips of the alcohol herself.

**

They wound up in her room, she didn’t know how. He lounged against the bed, talking to her about random stuff. How he wanted to get out of Roswell. How he hoped no one remembered him because frankly, he wasn’t going to remember anyone here.

She agreed. It was all she could do. Suddenly he stopped talking and looked her straight in the eye.

“Are you a good kisser?”

**

She teased him, laughing. She avoided kissing him at all costs. Until something Serena had said once resonated through her head:

“If you ever get the chance to, kiss him.”

So she gave in.

**

His lips were warm, soft and hard at the same time. Teasing, nipping and drawing her breath from her lungs. He pulled her into his arms, deepening the kiss, adding his tongue which danced with hers.

When they pulled away, she asked, “So, am I a good kisser?”

“Yeah, you’re a good kisser.”

And he kissed her again.

**

She didn’t hear from him the next day. Or the day after that. She called his cell phone and left a message but he didn’t call back. She could’ve sworn she’d seen him at the Crashdown, but it was someone who at first glance, looked exactly like him.

She never heard from Max Evans again.

**

It was fall before she found out what happened. He had gone on a trip to Africa with his graduation money, alone. Somehow, someway, he’d got caught in the middle of a fight and was the only casualty.

That night Tess cried for the first time in years.

**

His funeral was the week after she’d heard. She attended, but stayed on the fringes, refusing to get caught in the mass of people that surrounded his gravesite.

After everyone had left, she stayed, watching the gravediggers covering his final resting place.

But in her heart, he was restless. Still. He wanted more. He wanted out.

**

She picked a random morning and left a note on the kitchen table for her parents to see.

Let me do something someone can never do again. Leave Roswell forever. Love, Tess.

She would always remember him, even if he didn’t want her to.


[ edited 4 time(s), last at 13-Jan-2003 10:47:31 AM ]
posted on 13-Jan-2003 10:45:49 AM
Oh, Annie, you're the best! -hugs- MWAH *big*
posted on 13-Jan-2003 10:33:09 PM
KAY! You never read uc - what the hell are you doing here? Did you get bored or something? lol

Don't worry, will send. *wink*