Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell. It belongs to Jason Katmis Productions, and The WB. I'm not making any money off of this. I just enjoy writing, and if that isn't okay with you then…too bad, I have a disclaimer!
Summary: Isabel invites Michael over for a romantic meal to test the waters of "how it's supposed to be". Max tests the waters in his own realtionship with Tess.
Authors Notes: This story only contains an idea. There are many other outlets. This is just the idea of one of them. It's not the most popular idea, but it's an idea that Just could be.
Isabel Evans finished setting the table for two. She lit the candles and dimmed the lights.
Then her brother Max walked into the room. "I'm going out," he said in his usual monotone. He then did a double take. He looked back into the room. "Was all this for me?"
She rolled her eyes at him. "Of course not."
"Then who's it for? I doubt it's for Michael, and you know the rules."
"Well, you doubted wrong. I'm trying things out," she said in a casual manner, even if this was not a casual subject. This was actually trying their pre-planned destinies.
Max took this information and slowly let it seep into his brain. After a few seconds he just shook his head. "You be careful of him, Isabel. You know how he is. Especially right now."
"I'm trying, Max, really I am. It's just so hard. I know what he's capable of, and what he can do. It's way past anything we could do. To or for anyone. I'm really scared of him."
"So…you invite him over for a romantic meal while your parents are out of town?"
"I figured it would be good for both of us." She said, a smile coming to her lips.
"I'll be back around eleven." He said, pulling on his old brown jacket.
Isabel glanced down at her watch. It was six forty-five. How long could she keep this charade going? This fake acceptance to keep seeping into her system like a terrible disease. Her mind always boggling over the things she's gone through and the things she's going to go through. She couldn't ever see herself truly happy.
Finally after what seemed like hours, Max left.
She stood in the doorway of the dining room looking into it. It looked like a scene in a fairytale. It also began to seem like a waste. Then she reminded herself of what she had written over a hundred times in her journal. Even if it won't work it's worth a try. That's what she had done with Alex. Max with Liz. Michael with Maria. No way on Earth they could ever be together, but they tried it, and it did work out. Like magic they didn't know they had.
But her and Michael? She had to keep an open mind.
She walked to the stereo and flipped on the jazz cd her parents like to listen to on their anniversary and other meaningful occasions. This seemed like a more meaningful occasion than anything anyone had ever done. She turned it on just loud enough to hear in the dining room.
After a few minutes of random scurrying around fixing last minute problems and making ever thing look just right she took a second glance at her watch. Quarter after seven. She quickly made her way to her room to get ready.
She pulled out a long black dress with a low cut front, and a long slit up the side. She laid it down on her bed and stripped of her clothes. She sat in front of her vanity in her lingerie, and did her makeup with a wave of her hand. She pulled her hair up into a bun at the base of her neck. She then slipped into the dress, aligning it perfectly halfway down her breasts.
She slipped on a pair on black dress shoes and ran to the ringing doorbell. She ran a hand over her hair, to make sure each strand was in place before opening the door.
Michael stood there, in a dark blue suit, his hand in his pockets, kicking the rocks off of the porch.
She closed her eyes briefly, before letting him in. She now understood all of Maria's problems.
"Hi." She said, leading him into the living room.
"Hey." He said, seating himself.
They sat in the living room for a few minutes, looking at each other.
"Um, I have the meal ready to eat, if you're hungry." She said uncomfortably.
"Yeah." He said, getting up, and following her to the dining room. He didn't really take a notice to the carefully placed napkin holders or that Isabel had used the good china when she didn't have permission.
He just sat down, and waited for her to serve the food.
She sighed. This was more than she could handle. She walked back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room for a few minutes, carrying platters of food. Then she sat down across from him.
"This is good." He said between bites.
Isabel smiled weakly. "Thanks. I spent all day on it. My mom was so curious to know why I was spending all day in the kitchen of all places."
Michael nodded. "My meals usually are out of the freezer and into the microwave." He said before taking another bite.
"Well, that's no way to live." She said, lowering the tone in her voice, trying to make her voice a bit more hoarse. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it right.
His head shot straight up, looking her in the eye.
She smiled seductively and took a bite out of her salad.
She looked back up at him. "Yes?" She said, keeping her voice in a low throaty tone.
"What's really going on? You said you wanted to try this whole relationship thing out. You…you aren't being you."
"No, I'm being me. You just have never seen this side of me." She said, keeping that same smile on her face.
He looked back down at his food wordlessly. He picked his fork back up and resumed eating. He didn't say anything; he just kept his eyes on his food. He appeared to be thinking about what she was saying.
Once his plate was empty he just sat there for a few seconds.
"Michael?" She asked, making her voice sound a bit more normal for him. It was one step at a time, and she had rushed things.
He looked at her, but avoided eye contact. "Yeah?"
"Are you done?"
He looked down at his empty plate. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Alright. You go one into the living room and I'll clean this up real quick." She said, trying to make him feel more comfortable.
He nodded and got up from his seat and went into the living room. He sat on the couch waiting for her. He listened to the cd, and thought about what he could say. They hadn't spoken much lately, and it seemed odd to even be at her house.
After a few minutes she came into the living room and sat down next to him on the couch. They sat, not touching, not speaking.
After a few seconds of silence Michael spoke up. "Listen, Isabel, I really don't think this is a good idea."
She nodded. He didn't even sound like him. This was an uncomfortable, and almost scared Michael the rarely made an appearance.
"You're right, Michael. This was a stupid idea. I just thought that whoever sent us here must have had some idea what they were doing. Maybe it was the right thing. I guess that idea blew over." She pulled her hair out the tight bun.
Michael watched at she pulled her hair down. Suddenly he got a flash from the dreams about her. She was wearing that long evening gown in the desert, at the place where he had been so many times before, but only in his mind. All those same images. Kissing her, making love to her, being there with the child, and just being there for and with her.
Isabel touched his shoulder. "Michael?"
He twitched. "Yeah?"
"Yeah, I just…had a flash, that's all."
"What did you see?" She asked, interested.
"Just the same old stuff."
"Which same old stuff? The stuff about the crash? Or do you mean the stuff about you and me?"
"The stuff about the crash." He said, looking her in the eye.
She nodded. She knew this meant he had a flash about the two of them, meaning her idea wasn't all that stupid. There was a reason things were the way they were.
So they sat there in silence for about ten minutes.
Max opened the door carefully. He didn't know what to expect, being home early and all. "Hello! I'm home!" he called out loudly.
"We're in here, Max." Isabel called out to him.
He got a sinking feeling. If she was telling him to come, things couldn't have gone well. He followed the sound of her voice. He sat her and Michael sitting on the couch, listening to a cd her vaguely recognized.
"Hey." He said, sitting down in the chair across from them.
"Why are you home so early?" Isabel asked. She looked at her watch. "It's only nine-thirty."
"The night kind of fell through." Was all he said.
Both Michael and Isabel nodded. They knew how that goes.
"So, it's back to being just the three of us as usual." Isabel said, looking at them both.
Max sniffed out a small laugh. "Yeah."
Michael didn't say anything. He just nodded. He really didn't feel like talking. His mind went to that place in the desert. The only place where he really felt at home.
She leaned back in her seat, and rubbed her face with her hands. "God, I wish everything could just go back to the way it was…before."
Max looked down at his hands. "I don't." he whispered.
Both Michael and Isabel looked at him. "Of course you don't." She said, her voice on edge of screaming her head off at him. Like she wanted to just rip his heart out, and get rid of all the feelings he felt. She could block them. Michael could block them. He just…couldn't. He didn't want to. He didn't want to give up the feelings that he felt.
"Don't talk at me that way, Is. I won't take it." He said, looking her in the eye.
"What you are going to do? What the hell are you going to do? Look me in the eye and say, 'it'll all be okay?' You gonna tell me that I should happy where I am? That I should deal with my problems the way you do? Max, I don't deal with my problems the way you do. No one deals with any thing the way you do. You take your problems and make them in the Oklahoma bombing."
Max looked away from her. He glanced at Michael.
He shrugged. "I'm with her, Maxwell."
"Is everyone against me? Because I don't block out my feelings? Because, I have someone that I can't just push away?"
"Where did you go?" Isabel asked suddenly, not a trace of anger in her voice. Just a painful curiosity. She didn't want to ask. She feared the response she would get.
Max pulled up his defenses. "Why?"
"Where. Did. You. Go? It's a simple question, Max. Just answer me."
"Max, you went and saw Liz didn't you? You tell me about the rules before you go out and see your girlfriend?"
"Fine. Is that what you want hear? Fine then. I saw Liz. We made love until her parents caught us. Is that what you want to hear? Will that make you happy?" Max yelled, jumping from his seat.
"You're doing it again. You're taking a simple thing and making it into a huge deal." She said, leaning forward in her seat.
He looked at Michael again. "What do you have to say on this?"
He held up his hands. "I'm in the red zone. Not taking sides."
Max swore under his breath. "Fine." He left the room.
She jumped out of her seat. "Where are you going?" She screamed at him, as he walked to the door.
"You want the truth or what you want to hear?" He screamed back at her, slamming the door behind him.
"Oh my god." She sobbed, covering her face with her hands. Tears streamed down her face. She couldn't think. She and Max had fought before, but nothing like this. This was serious. He had never walked out on her. He hadn't ever taunted her, or not been honest.
"Sit down." Michael said softly.
She did so and sat leaning forward crying into her hands. He reached around her and pulled her back into his arms and she sobbed into his shoulder.
"Shhh…it'll be okay. Don't worry." He soothed softly.
She looked up at him, tears streaming from her eyes. "This isn't you." She said, tears choking her voice up.
"It's me, just a side you've never seen." He said, with a small smile on his face.
She smiled briefly. "Where do you think he went?"
He shook his head. "I don't know."
She ran her fingers through her hair. "I'm scared, Michael. He could be anywhere. Doing…god only knows what."
He touched her face. "He'll be alright. He's smart. Not an idiot like me. I'd go out get myself drunk or something stupid like that."
" You aren't stupid, Michael. You just don't think, and that's what gets you in so much trouble." Isabel said, her tears drying slowly.
"Yeah I know. I've…I've heard it all before, Is."
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "Don't let me fall asleep. I'm going to stay up until he gets home."
He nodded. He really didn't hear a word she said, but he knew he was touching him, and he couldn't get that flash out of his mind. Everything seemed like such a good idea all of a sudden.
She leaned against his chest listening to his heartbeat with her eyes closed tightly. She didn't think for once. She just sat and listed to what really mattered. Someone's life resource. What her friend's entire existence revolved around. One little pounding sound. That's all it to keep him going, for his life to continue on for however long it would keep pounding.
Max stood on a street corner not far from his house. He didn't know where he was going. He needed to cool off and he was going to do that. He knew he had let his sister down. He hadn't gone to see Liz, but that was in his plans for the night, so her accusations weren't all that far off.
"Max?" came a voice from behind him.
He turned around. There stood a petite blond girl. "Tess." He said as a greeting.
"It's the middle of the night. What are you doing out here?" She asked, looking concerned.
"I had a fight with Isabel. I needed to cool off, that's all." He wrinkled his brow. "What are you doing out here?"
She smiled sheepishly. "I was coming to see you."
"Really." He said as a statement, and not a question.
"Yeah. I was wondering if you would like to come with me and go."
"Go where?" He asked.
She shrugged with a smile on her face. "I don't know. Anywhere. Anywhere you want to go."
"I'll pass, Tess." He began to walk away from her.
She grabbed his arm. "Max, you can't run from this anymore. You have to accept what you've been given. I know it's hard for you, but you can't hold on."
He turned around. "Don't you tell me what I can and can't do!" He yelled at her.
She seemed taken aback. "I'm sorry, I just thought you'd want to cut back, take it easy."
"I don't alright?" He said, not yelling, but anger steamed in his voice.
She nodded. "Please?" She asked one more time.
He thought about what he had in front of him. Someone he could be with-someone he was supposed to be with, and she wanted to be with him. And then he has someone he couldn't be with, someone who would be in grave danger if he stayed in contact with her at all. It didn't seem worth it. "Where do you want to go?"
She smiled. "Come one. We'll wing it."
"Okay. He said, actually feeling good about his decision. All of his fears, ideas, and feelings seemed like nothing. Isabel, Michael, and Liz were the last things on his mind. He just wanted to be where he was, and that's all. Nothing more, nothing less.
Michael and Isabel both lay asleep on the couch, in their formal clothes.
He woke up to hear the grandfather clock in the next room chime. He glanced at his watch. It said that it was one AM. He carefully got up from the couch without disturbing Isabel.
He walked to Max's room, hoping to see him in bed, or sitting at his desk, pouring over some sort of problem. But his bed was still messed from his slumber the night before, and the lights all were off. Michael swore softly.
He walked back into the living room. He pulled off his jacket, and unbuttoned the top two buttons on his shirt. He rolled up his sleeves to the middle of his arms. He rubbed his face and sat down in a chair.
He looked over at Isabel. She was sitting up. "What time is it?" She asked groggily.
"One o'clock." He answered, dreading the next question.
"Is Max home yet?"
He took a deep breath. "No."
"God, where is he?" She asked, tears stinging at her eyes again.
Michael moved over and sat next to her on the couch. He wrapped his arms around her. He didn't know what to say, so he just sat there.
She looked at him. "Why are you doing this? This, this isn't what you do."
"I know. And I don't know why I'm doing this. It just seems…"
"Right." She said finishing his sentence for him.
"Yeah." He said softly. He pulled her closer and gently kissed the top of her head.
Isabel pressed her lips together. She began to get a funny feeling in her stomach, and she didn't think it had anything to do with Max. "Michael…"
"What?" He asked, looking straight ahead.
"Maybe they were right. Maybe I was right."
"Right about what?" He asked, knowing what she was going to say. He always knew what she was going to say.
"About you and me. All the dreams, the flashes, everything. I feel like we have no control, yet we know exactly what we're doing." She smiled. "That doesn't make any sense does it?"
"It makes perfect sense," he said.
She looked up and smiled at him. "I didn't think you'd understand."
"I don't understand, but it's so clear in my mind, that it can't not make sense to me."
She shook her head. "I never thought I would say this, but-"
"Then don't," he said quickly before passionately kissing her.
Suddenly they were back in the desert. Everything was so far away from Roswell. And they hadn't been closer to home. Their home. Their real home.
Max sat in the passenger side seat of Tess's car. They drove out into the desert. They didn't know where they were going, and they didn't know what they were doing. They just drove far away from everything else.
She looked at him and smiled. "This is great. What I've wanted, and what's wanted."
"It's what I've wanted. For you and me to be together. And it's what wanted of us. From them," She said, looking up at the roof of the car.
"Oh." He said, solemnly. "I suppose you're right."
"Max, is this what you want?" She asked, pulling off onto the side of the road.
"I don't know. I thought that I could let her go, but she…she let me go."
Tess took his hand. "I know this is hard for you. It seems so simple to me, but I don't really understand. Max, I don't understand you. You won't let me in enough to understand."
He nodded. "I know."
"Why? Why won't you let me in?" She asked, almost the brink of tears.
"I. I don't want to let you in." He said honestly, looking away from her.
She let go of his hand. "I'll take you home."
"No." He grabbed the steering wheel.
"Max, if you don't want me to be with you, there isn't a reason for us to be out here together." She said, trying to pry his hand from the wheel.
"I do. That's where I get confused." He said, not letting go.
She stopped trying to move his hand, and just set hers on top of his. "You don't know what you want, do you?" She asked, a smile forming on her face.
He shook his head. "I don't know. I'm really too confused to take on anything else right now. I mean it's too much with all this information we're learning about ourselves, but to have all of this with it. It's just too much."
She smiled at him. "I understand. Thank you, Max Evans. I can take you home now, can't I?"
He let go of the steering wheel. "Yes. Please do…but first." He leaned in a kissed her.
They left the car. They were in the desert, just as in their dreams, and flashes. It wasn't what was. It was what was to become.
"Michael." Isabel said, pulling away from him.
"What?" He answered her, breathing heavily. He hadn't felt this way before. Even all that time he had 'spent' with Maria, didn't add up to this one kiss.
"What was that?"
"I don't know. It just seemed like the right thing to do." He said softly.
"It was the right thing to do. It was confirmation. Just showing us. Something." She said.
"No. It wasn't a sign. It wasn't a message. It wasn't anything like that. It was what I wanted to do." He said, looking her in the eye.
Isabel's breath got caught in her throat. None of them had ever made any impression that they wanted this, that they felt a certain way about each other. Until that point nothing of that sort had happened. "Michael."
"I know." Was all he said in return, so ever Michael like.
"Did you mean that?"
"Is it because it's the 'way it's supposed to be'? Or is it something more than that?"
"Is, do you remember that night when we sent that message out?"
"At the library. Yeah, I remember."
"Do remember what you said to me that night?"
"I said a lot of things. Which one thing are you talking about?"
"I said that I was alone here. Or something like that. And you told me that you were there for me. I haven't forgotten that. I don't think I ever will."
Isabel took a deep breath. She could just barely remember saying that, but it sounded like something she would say. To Michael. "I don't know what to say now." She whispered.
"Don't say anything, then." He said kissing her softly.
She pulled away from him. "I tried and I failed. You try and you go way beyond what I could have ever expected. Your methods are much better than mine." She said, looking at the floor.
He touched her face. "Your methods were amazing. We would have gotten here if it wasn't for you."
She touched his hand. "God, I never really thought of you as a romantic."
"I'm not. I'm just trying."
She laughed softly. "I wonder where Max is. I'm sure he'll be very happy."
"Max! Oh god, Max!" Tess screamed. Pleasure overwhelmed her.
"Tess!" Max yelled shaking her.
She awoke. "Oh. Max." She wrapped her arms around his neck. "I had the most wonderful dream."
He lay back down next to her, the leather interior posing as a bed. "Tell me about it." He purred in her ear.
"Well, we were out in the desert, just like every other dream. But in this one were out on this rock, and we started kissing, and it was wonderful. And then you began to make love to me. It was the best dream I've ever had." She said, a smile taking over her face.
"I must have been good, to get screaming." He said with a smile.
"Screaming couldn't describe." She said seriously.
"Why can't I have dreams like that?" He asked, with a mysterious smile on his face, like he had a secret that he was bursting at the seams to tell her.
She caught onto this expression. "You getting an idea?" She asked with a smile.
"Well, I was just thinking. Why must all stay in our dreams?"
She giggled. "That's a good thought. I agree. I think we should try something. For science. To be the first aliens to make love on earth."
"Hmm…it's for science, right?"
"So. I think we should do it. And I mean, do it." He said kissing her.
"Really?" She asked when the kiss was over. "You really want to?"
"Yeah." He whispered, unbuttoning the top buttons on her shirt. He gently kissed her collarbones. His lips ran over her left shoulder. He unbuttoned the remaining buttons.
"Max?" She said, touching his face.
He looked up at her.
"No, thank you." He said, reaching up and kissing her.
The Next Morning
Isabel woke up on the couch in Michael's arms. She took a deep breath, and thought about last night. She carefully slid out his grasp to go change out of her evening dress.
She went to her room and changed into jeans and a fitted t-shirt. She went to the kitchen and began to make breakfast for herself, Michael, and she hoped Max.
She pulled her hair back in a ponytail and then got some eggs from the refrigerator. After cooking for a few minutes she heard the door open. She carefully walked to the foyer. There stood Max.
She ran to him. "Oh god, Max. Where were you?" She asked frantically hugging him tightly.
He hugged her back. "Hey, Is. It's okay." He said softly.
"I'm so sorry." She sobbed in his shoulder. "I am so sorry."
He ran his hand through her hair. "It's okay. I'm sorry too."
She pulled away and looked at him. "Where were you?"
"I was with Tess." He said honestly.
She took his hand and led him to the kitchen where her eggs where on the brink of burning. "You were with Tess…all night?"
"Yeah. We spent the night in her car."
"You spent the night in whose car?" Michael asked walking into the room, his suit wrinkled from sleep.
"Tess's." he said, his eyes looking at Isabel, speaking more words than he could have ever said in a lifetime.
"If you can spend the night in her car…" was all she said.
Max looked away from her. "I shouldn't be disapproving." He said.
"Why not?" she asked. "What did you do?"
"What did you do?"
"We did nothing." She said, taking a quick glance at Michael.
He shrugged. "We kissed." He said, simply.
"Kissing isn't bad, Max. What did you do with Tess?"
"It's none of your business."
"If my business is your business, your business my business." She said firmly.
"We made love in the back of her car." He said clearly. "It was great. We were in the middle of nowhere and we could be as loud as we wanted. I'm glad I had sex with her. We actually did it several times."
Isabel took a deep breath before walking over the line. "What about Liz?"
"What about Alex? Maria?"
"I can't answer that," she said.
He turned around and looked at Michael. "How do you think Maria would feel if she knew you spent the night with Isabel and kissed her?"
"Yes you do. You know she'd be hurt. And Liz will be hurt. But she's already hurt. Maria's already hurt. Alex is already hurt. It's too late. We might as well be happy. We can't control their feelings, and we can't control our feelings. They are already hurt. You can't hurt them anymore. We can't hurt them anymore. We're free of them." Max said, seeming rather proud of himself.
"What happened to you?" Isabel said, in shock of what she just heard come from her brother's mouth.
"I don't know. I just said that. I think that's what I'm really thinking when I see her. Or see any of them. We're free and we should have the liberty to do what we want. Isn't that why Michael spent the night?"
Isabel shook her head. "He spent the night because you were gone. Things happened, but it wasn't because we thought we had the 'right to'. They just happened."
Max looked at Michael.
"She's right, Maxwell."
"I'm an idiot." He said, looking at the floor.
"What are you going to do now?" Isabel asked.
"I'm going to apologize to Tess. I think I used her. And I'm going to apologize to Liz, for no damn reason."
"You didn't use Tess. Max, don't you see? She wants you. She wants her life to revolve around you. And you want everyone to revolve around you. God, Max, she's perfect for you. She has that independent spunky thing you like so much, and she's ready willing to be yours when you're ready." Isabel said, looking him in the eye.
"What about Liz?"
"Stay away from Liz. She's your kryptonite." Michael said. "I've got one."
"So be it." He said, quietly.
"So, you're going to stay away from Liz and stick with Tess?" Isabel asked, her voice full of curiosity.
"Yeah. It's what I'm supposed to do."
"Max, I'm proud of you."
"So is that what you guys are going to do?"
Isabel smiled at her brother and then moved her smile to Michael. "I…don't know."
He looked at her, taking in her striking beauty, and her warmth and compassion. Three things he felt he didn't have and could never have. Three things they he knew he wanted, and could only get one way. He walked around the chair Max sat in and kissed her passionately.
She pulled away in surprise. "Yeah." She said to Max, but looking at Michael.
"Yeah" Michael said.
"It's going to be one big happy family then, isn't it?" Max asked with a smile on his face.
They looked at him, and then back at each other. "Yeah." Isabel said, grinning like a mad woman.
"So what do we do now?" Michael asked.
"I don't know." Isabel said, wrapping her arms around his waist, but even as she did this, she felt strange. Like Michael was more than her friend, but she was pushing the limits. If she had done that two weeks ago or even two days ago it wouldn't have made a difference, but now it did.
"Why don't eat breakfast?" Max suggested.
"There's an idea." She responded, still looking at Michael.
So they did.