posted on 24-Jan-2003 1:31:02 AM
Owner of a Lonely Heart (Zan/Elise)

Disclaimer: Same drill, different story. I don't own them, because I would have treated them so much better. Zan would have gotten a whole lot more than 5 minutes of screentime, and that truck would have missed him totally. They belong to Melinda Metz, JK & KKB (boo-hiss), WB-UPN-Sci-FI (not too sure whose claim is most relevant ... Sci-fi, I think), and anyone else with their fingers in the Roswell pie, but certainly not me.

Summary: Like my other story, I'm not too sure where I'll take this. Elise still looks remarkably like Liz, and Zan ... well, he's just Zan, which says it all. I admit, I loved Zan and Elise together, but this story is not a sequel. It's a totally different treatment of the attempted murder of Zan. See, in my world, he doesn't die. I know a good character when I see one, and killing him off is just incredibly stupid, which I'm not. Don't worry about my other story, I'm not done with that one either. I've just decided to be a multi-tasking author. Don't ask me why .. must be all the drywall dust I've inhaled.

The title of the story comes from an old Yes song ...


Chapter 1

Late November, 2000 ... Florida

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we've landed in West Palm Beach and the temperature is 88 degrees. Please remain seated until we arrive at the terminal and the captain turns off the seatbelt sign. We thank you for flying Suncoast Airlines, and hope you will choose us again for your travel needs," the bored voice of the stewardess came over the intercom system, repeating words that she'd said a million times.

Elise Ryan reached under the seat in front of her to grab her carryon bag, stuffing the cheesy romance novel that she'd bought for the flight into it. Looking out of the plane's tiny plastic windows didn't really show her much, they were so scratched, but she did see the familiar sun and swaying palm trees of home.

It was going to be nice to have this interval of freedom, thinking about the long Thanksgiving weekend stretching out ahead of her. Elise was usually in Virginia, home of the Wyndemere Girl's Academy. The school was as stuffy as it sounded. All of the important names and old money sent their offspring to the academy. It was also the fast track for all the hard-to-get-into Ivy League schools. The combination of those two selling points was irresistible to Elise's parents.

This was just a small break during her Senior year. Her folks had pushed her to stay at school, saying that it made no sense for her to come home for such a short period of time, but Elise made the decision to come home anyway. So many of the other girls were gone for the holidays, and she balked at the idea of spending the time alone. Her parents seemed to think it would be a good time for her to get a little extra studying in. She'd worked very hard this semester, however, and she needed some time off. Besides, her grades were excellent. She would make them see reason, and maybe she'd be able to spend some time with them for a change.

There were times that she wondered what her parents looked like. This was the real reason that she decided to come home. She missed her parents. She hardly ever saw them. They were extremely wealthy, coming from one of the oldest families in Palm Beach. While she never lacked for the best in material things, the one thing that she really wanted ... their time and attention ... was the one thing that she could hardly remember having.

She felt rootless, thanks to years of boarding schools and now the academy. Maybe it was the fact that, once she graduated, the whole rest of her life waited for her. Elise had this need to be connected to something before she ventured out into that brave new world, an anchor of sorts. She knew enough about life to know that her family structure was supposed to be the foundation from which she built her future. And her foundation felt shaky, very shaky.

When the plane came to a stop in the terminal, Elise shook herself out of her reverie and got up to leave. One of the perks of flying first-class was that you were always one of the first ones off. That, and only two seats to a side. She loved elbow room. Coming off the plane gave her the familiar jolt of hot and humid air that struck her in the face and made everything feel like it was 10 pounds heavier. She went down to baggage claim, picked up her small suitcase, and went to find a taxi.

During the 15 minute ride from the airport to her home, Elise tried not to think too much about the coming confrontation with her parents. Somehow, she just knew they wouldn't be happy with her. The cab turned into the gated entrance, going down the long circular driveway to stop in front of her house. It was large and imposing, with white stuccoed walls and red ceramic tiles on the roof. Elise got out and rummaged in her wallet for the fare and a generous tip, while the driver took her luggage from the trunk and placed it on the walk. After paying the cabbie, and smiling her thank you, she walked into the front door.

"Miss Elise, what are you doing here?" the butler exclaimed as he hurried to meet her.

"Hi, Jeffrey," Elise said softly. "How are you? I decided to come home for the holiday."

"Mr. and Mrs. Ryan were not expecting you," he said in an uneasy voice.

"I know that," Elise sighed, a slight hint of exasperation coming through. "I changed my plans. Where are they? I'll just let them know I'm here ... save you the trouble."

"They're not here," Jeffrey was hesitant.

"Out shopping? Well, I'll just unpack and talk to them when they get back," Elise said cheerfully.

"No, they're not here. They went to the Bahamas with some friends for the holidays. They'll be away for two weeks," the butler's voice was laden with sympathy.

"Thank you, Jeffrey," Elise said in a small voice before turning away.

She held herself very straight as she walked up the stairs to her room. Something in her heart died just a little bit more with the news. She felt like such a fool. Why couldn't she finally just grasp the fact that her parents didn't care? When would she realize that she was truly, totally alone?

Late November, 2000 ... New York City

Huddled on a mattress and covered by a rather thin blanket, the boy tossed and moaned in misery. The pain was bad, but not as all-consuming as before. He'd healed the worst injuries, exhausting himself with the effort, his strength sapped. He needed to sleep, but the events that led to his current distress wouldn't let him rest.

Zan had been betrayed, in the worst possible way, by the only people that he could call family. They'd tried to kill him. The only thing that saved him was the fact that the truck that hit him had dragged him for what seemed like forever, before shaking him loose to tumble helplessly into a pile of refuse. If the ones who'd plotted his demise had come looking for him, and he was somehow sure that they had, they never found him.

When he'd regained consciousness, he dragged himself away, self-preservation driving him like a drill sergeant. Hide, hide, hide. The beauty of the street life Zan led was that he knew the subway system, and there were a million places where he could lose himself. It didn't take too much effort to find one where he could rest, as long as he wasn't too squimish about the state of the mattress and blanket he was using.

The last few days were a long-running nightmare of pain and weakness. A few times, he'd gathered all his strength to venture out in search of water. The subway system had plenty of bathrooms, and he'd staggered into one, holding his hand under the faucet of a sink, lifting it to his lips again and again in an effort to quench his thirst. Then he made his way back to his hiding place, not too surprised by the fact that everyone he'd encountered gave him a wide berth.

He shifted again, trying to find a position that didn't add to his pain. He was tired now, so very weary, and all he wanted to do was sleep. Only in the sweet oblivion of slumber could Zan forget the fact that he was truly, totally alone.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Feb-2003 10:32:53 PM ]
posted on 1-Feb-2003 4:47:11 PM
Gentle Readers ... sorry about the delay. It's rather odd to have two stories going at one time. They both have moments where they demand my attention, and then there are times when neither story is giving me any help at all.

I need a banner. I'll have to check with BordersInsanity, who made my other one (which I just adore), and see if she can come up with a new one for me.

In the meantime, I have a new chapter. As always, let me know what you think, because your opinions mean everything to me ...

Chapter 2

Elise walked into her room, carefully closing the door behind her. She felt fragile, almost brittle. As if anyone reaching with even the lightest of touches would cause her to shatter in a million jagged shards of pain. And she was cold. How ironic ... it was 88 degrees outside, and she felt like she was freezing.

She looked around her room with almost disinterested eyes. Everything was just as it had always been. It was large and airy, with a four-poster mahogany bed dominating the middle of the room. Her dresser and amoire were of the same mahogany, the dark wood contrasting with the off-white walls and plush carpeting. There were french doors which led out to her private balcony, overlooking the ocean.

Elise walked over to her dresser, which was almost bare of anything personal. She idly picked up the only picture that was resting there. It was one that had been taken before she left for the academy for her senior year. Her mother insisted on having a stylized family portrait taken every summer, and Elise looked down at her parents and herself, smiling for the camera. Her mother sat in a chair, while her father stood behind, resting his hand on his wife's shoulder. Elise was on the other side, her arms loose by her sides. The perfect picture of the perfect family.

The urge to throw the portrait across the room was so strong that she was practically shaking. Her eyes brimmed with tears, causing the faces to blur.

"Oh, Elise ... don't come home for the weekend," she said in a mocking voice, as the frame trembled in her hands. "The time is so short, and this will be a wonderful opportunity to get some extra studying in. You know that soon you'll be sending out your applications for college, and you want to make sure that your latest set of grades are the best they can be."

"Besides, you know that we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving. After all, it's really just another day to us. Nothing special," she said in a singsong fashion, imitating her mother's casual tone.

She stopped as her voice broke and a tear slid down her cheek. She swiped at it angrily, before once again staring accusingly at her parent's likeness.

"Liars," she hissed. "Liars, liars ... fucking liars. You knew all along you were leaving. You planned it. You just didn't want me to know that your friends were more important than ... than I am," a sob came up without warning, and she put the picture on the dresser again, turning away.

Elise struggled for control, and she walked out of the french doors onto her balcony, taking deep breaths. The heat and humidity bore down on her as she watched the ocean for a long time, wondering what it was about her that was so unloveable that her parents couldn't be bothered.

She finally reentered her bedroom when it was dark, answering the soft knock on her door. It was Jeffrey, telling her that it was time for dinner and that, whenever she was ready, it would be served in the dining room. Elise sighed, letting the butler know she would be down in a few minutes, needing the time to pull herself together. She went into the connecting bathroom and splashed cool water on her eyes, knowing it wouldn't do much to relieve the puffiness.

She walked into the dining room, taking in her solitary place setting at one end of the table. Elise bit her lip, feeling the tears well up again. With great effort, she managed to calmly take her seat, nodding to Jeffrey that she was ready to be served.

She managed to do a certain amount of justice to the meal, although by the end, she was merely pushing the food around on her plate. Taking a last sip of water, Elise dabbed her lips with the napkin and rose from her chair.

"Please be sure and thank Marisa for me. The meal was excellent, and I know that she wasn't expecting to cook for anyone tonite. I just don't seem to be very hungry," she said with a smile and slight shake of her head.

"I'll pass along your compliments, Miss," Jeffrey's voice held the slightest hint of sympathy.

"Thanks. I think I'm just going to walk on the beach for a bit," Elise informed him. "It looks like there's going to be a full moon. I won't go far," she smiled as she noticed the concern in the butler's eyes.

"Be careful, Miss," he nodded.

Elise let herself out of the french doors in the back of the house, and took the path that led down to the beach. The moon was just beginning to rise, and the breeze was warm and refreshing. She took off her shoes and walked down to where the waves came crashing in. The ocean was dark, but the moon created a path of light, one that was so bright it looked like you could walk upon it.

She stood for a long time, listening to the rhythm of the waves as they swirled around her feet. Elise always loved the way it felt to have the warm water tumble over her, trying to knock her down. Then, when the ocean receded, it pulled at her, trying to take her away. As she watched the moon, rising higher in the sky, surrounded by brilliant stars, she made a decision.

She would leave.

Elise couldn't stay here, but she wouldn't go back to the academy either. It was very clear to her that what she did really had no impact on her parents' lives. She was less than a daughter, more of an afterthought. They didn't care about her as their child, although they cared about her success as a representative of the family. The boarding schools she attended, the academy, were all things that they had chosen for her, clearly with appearance in mind, and she always did as they wished.

It was now time for her to do as she wished. Although Elise had wealthy parents, she had been sheltered and hadn't had much in the way of experience with the world. Her time had mainly been divided between the schools she attended and home. But there was one city that she had always longed to see, a place that seemed magical to her, teeming with life. A place that seemed to call to her ... New York.

She would go to New York.

Zan walked carefully, bent slightly forward in an effort to keep his balance. He was close to his goal, which was a set of vending machines. Stifling a moan, he reached into his pocket and pulled out some change, knowing that it really wasn't enough. He didn't care, he was just interested in making it look good while he used his powers to get what he wanted.

Popping the change into the slot, he pushed the button on the coffee machine that would dispense some chicken soup. He gave it a slight push with his powers, which caused his vision to blur for a moment. He hoped he hadn't misjudged how much of his strength this would take. His mouth curled up on one side at the irony. He needed to find something to eat, because the weakness from lack of food was growing, but he had to use his powers in order to get something.

Zan put his forehead to the machine as he waited, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths as he rode out the desire to just crumple to the ground. When he felt steadier, he grabbed the cup and moved on to the next machine. He went thru the same thing again as he waited for chips and granola bars. He stuffed them into his jacket and began the slow, careful walk back to his hiding place.

With a heavy sigh of relief, he sank onto the mattress, wrapping the thin blanket around his shoulders and sitting with his back to the wall. He really wasn't hungry, but he forced himself to eat everything, knowing he needed it. When he finished, he sat and waited to see if his stomach would rebel.

As he stared into the darkness, the memory of his family's betrayal came back in full force. He could hear Rath's irritated voice, arguing about the summit. He could see Lonnie with the sly look on her face, as if she knew something he didn't. Ava's visage, with it's quick malice skittering across her features before she could hide it, flashed thru his mind.

He pulled in a quick breath, feeling the roiling emotions of rage and anguish. He couldn't think about this ... not now. He had to think about something else, anything else.

He would think about her ... his dreamgirl. For as long as Zan could remember, he knew that there was someone out there for him. When he hit the streets, he would look for her. When he took the subway, he would search faces, waiting for that moment of recognition that would come when he saw her for the first time. She would be beautiful, she would be special, with a sweetness of spirit to match her lovely face.

Zan leaned his head back on the wall, closing his eyes. If there was ever a time that he needed her, it was now. Her eyes would fill with tears at his plight. She would never leave him, never betray him. She would nurse his body and nuture his soul, both of which were so incredibly wounded. She would love him.

"Think about her, just think about her. You can get thru this if you just think about her," he told himself.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 1-Feb-2003 6:46:15 PM ]