Something happened that day on the cliff. After watching Liz's anguished farewell to Max, and his struggle not to run after her, something clicked inside of Tess. She had been fed the stories of her destiny with Max all her life by her "father", and she had swallowed the idea so completely, that it had never occurred to her things could turn out any other way. That was why she had disregarded Max's love for Liz as an insignificant obstacle. But when she saw them together ... and then separating ... there on the rock, she knew, knew, that they were the ones who should, be together, and destiny be damned.
This frightened her. For so long, all her life, really, she had believed in the promise of her destiny with Max, even though until a few months ago "Max" had just been an idea, a concept that was out there, waiting for her. And she had never thought to question it, to question if it was what she really wanted, to acknowledge that she had a choice.
So what did she want? Because of who she was she had never gotten too close to anyone. Human friends and potential romances were bound to ask questions about her family, such as it was, and other personal questions that would reveal her true nature. And her overly cautious protector had forbidden such revelations. Not that she had ever really been tempted -- it was too scary to reveal one's inner self, even if you weren't an alien... But Isabel had been her friend, at least until she, Tess, had started pushing the Max issue too hard. Perhaps now that she had decided to let it go, she and Isabel could be friends again. She smiled inwardly - they certainly had a lot in common! And she knew she could be her real self, alien and all, with Isabel. There was just something about her ...
Isabel pulled her hair impatiently into a knot on top of her head. Damn but summertime in New Mexico was hot! Thank God for air conditioning. She was going to suggest to Tess that they stay parked in the house and watch a video or something this afternoon.
The summer had been uneventful so far, a relief after the chaos of last spring, with Max and Pierce and all that went with it. Isabel had divided the bulk of her free time between hanging out with Tess, and spending time with Alex, the latter both with and without others around. Isabel frowned. Alex. She liked Alex well enough -- he was sweet. And safe -- he never pushed her in their relationship, and didn't demand anything. She tried to love him the way she knew he loved her ... but her feelings seemed only to extend to a fondness. It bothered her -- maybe she wasn't capable of deep feelings for someone after walling herself off for so long? Or maybe, nagged a voice in the back of her mind, you haven't found the right person yet. Whatever. She had begun avoiding the Alex situation more and more by spending more time with Tess.
They had fun together again, now that Tess was no longer stalking her brother. Two blond bombshells, cruising the streets of Roswell, shopping at the mall, hanging out at the Crashdown, laughingly turning away guys at the mall, changing clothes and makeup at her house. And talking. For the first time, Isabel felt able to open up to someone like she never had before. She didn't know why Tess was different in that way ... she just was. Isabel felt a connection and an affinity toward her like no one else, not even Max.
Lately, though, she had noticed a change in Tess's behavior, very subtle at first, then increasingly more noticeable. Tess seemed a bit uncomfortable at times, and there were times when Isabel would catch Tess looking at her out of the corner of her eye. Kind of annoying, really. What was that about? Had she forgotten deodorant? Unknowingly left some lunch on her face? Had she said something that unwittingly offended Tess? Tess was usually pretty outspoken -- if there was something bothering her, she should just come out and say so!
Tess felt the nervousness start seeping back into her body as soon as she approached the Evans' front door and rang the bell. Go away, she told that part of herself. Isabel and I are just friends. That's all there is. I can handle this. But the truth was, she had felt herself starting to feel something more for Isabel of late. Found herself admiring Isabel's beautiful, curvaceous body and full lips. She wanted to run her fingers through that sleek mane, so different from her curly locks, and gaze into Isabel's sable eyes. She looked forward to their get-togethers more and more, and yet dreaded them, unsure what to do with these feelings. She tried to ignore them. We're good friends. Very good friends. Good friends are close, right? So close that they feel like one person? That they want to be alone together all the time? That they want to ...
Isabel opened the door. Tess wrenched her thoughts back from the alarmingly suggestive direction they had strayed. "Hey," she said, trying to sound casual, forcing her heart to calm down from the giant leap it had taken the moment she saw Isabel's face. She followed Isabel through the house and into the kitchen, where both girls grabbed cans of soda from the fridge. Even though the trip here had been short, the weather was hot enough that she had practically sizzled. She was very willing to agree to Isabel's suggestion that they stay put at the Evans' air-conditioned house this afternoon. Besides, she thought, that way we'll be alone. And then her heart started pounding again at the thoughts that followed. Stop, she ordered herself. Stop, stop stop ... Oh, God, I wish I knew what was the matter with me!
They sprawled side-by-side on Isabel's bed to watch the video they had chosen. Tess was all too aware of how close Isabel was. She ached to put her arm around Isabel's waist, to touch her in some way. A thought came to her -- what if she forced a brief vision of herself making a move on Isabel and gauged her reaction? Isabel would only think it was a brief daydream. If she reacted positively ... well, then this could turn out to be a very ... interesting ... afternoon. She swallowed hard. But if Isabel freaked out ... well, then Tess would just tell her heart to be quiet and find some guy at the mall to turn her affections to. Trouble was, she wasn't looking at those guys anymore. Only Isabel filled her eyes.
But she knew she couldn't force a vision on Isabel. That was manipulative. And while Tess had had no compunctions about doing it to Max and then later Pierce and the other agents, she hadn't cared about them the way she did for Isabel. It felt dishonest, wrong, to do it to someone she ... loved? Well, whatever she felt, she knew a forced vision was out of the question. She sighed and tried to turn her attention back to the movie, continuing to give Isabel wistful sidelong glances as the afternoon went on.
Isabel finished brushing her teeth and got into her summertime pajamas. She said good night to her parents and Max, went to her room, and closed the door. She pulled out her yearbook and flipped to the picture of Tess. She couldn't get over the nagging feeling that she was about to pry, but Tess was her closest friend and there was clearly something going on with her. She stopped to consider the implications -- close friend. In her 10 years on Earth, she had never been that close to anyone. Oh, the girls she hung out with at school were fun, but Isabel had never had someone with whom she could share everything. Tess knew her through and through, inside and out. She felt a closeness to Tess that she had never felt with anyone; like they were almost the same person on the inside. She shook her head dismissively, chalking it up to Tess being alien, like she was. They had nothing to hide from each other ... until now. And Isabel was determined to find out what it was.
Flopping down on the bed, she quickly settled into a comfortable position and touched the tiny picture of Tess, focusing her mental energies and sending them out into the night....
At first, Isabel thought the dreamwalk had not worked -- she was still in her bedroom. Then she saw herself and Tess come into the room, much as they had earlier in the day. But then the scene rapidly diverged from today's events. As dream-Isabel softly closed the door and turned to lean against it, Tess came to stand before her. She raised her hand to Isabel's face, brushing her cheek gently before moving up to her hair and running her fingers through it. Tess's gaze was locked on dream-Isabel, and as the real Isabel looked on in astonishment, Tess raised herself up on the balls of her until their lips met. The kiss was gentle at first, then slowly deepened. Dream-Isabel responded with a hunger that matched, running her hands up and down Tess's arms before closing on her slim waist and drawing her closer. They kissed for long minutes, still standing, pressed against the closed bedroom door. Finally, Tess pulled away slightly, untangling her arms from around Isabel's neck so that she could start to unbutton Isabel's top. When the buttons were undone, the soft curve of Isabel's breasts partly exposed, she began to pull on Isabel's hand, drawing her down to the bed....
Isabel awoke with a start.
She spent the next day in a stunned silence, hardly speaking to her family as she processed what she had witnessed. She was not only surprised by the dream, she was surprised by her reaction. When she had awoken from the dream, she had found herself decidedly aroused, every nerve on fire, with a strong desire to actually put the dream into reality. What does this mean? What the heck does it mean? I've never wanted to be with another girl, have I? And yet ... and yet ... she couldn't deny what she had felt. It was almost as if she had been the dream-Isabel, feeling every caress, every kiss. She wanted, needed to feel it for real. Suddenly nothing was more important. She picked up the phone.
This time, when Tess showed up, Isabel was the nervous one. She found herself looking at Tess in a whole new light, as if the dream had awakened some long-dormant part of herself. She felt an ache in her heart that she had never felt for Alex, as if Tess was a necessary part of her, like she wouldn't be complete without Tess. It was an ... well, an alien feeling, for lack of a better word, but not unwelcome. It felt good, but also scary. Am I really going to do this?
Isabel lead the way a bit unsteadily to her room. She let her legs give out when they reached it, plunking down on the bed. Tess sat gingerly on the edge of the bed next to her and looked at Isabel quizzically. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"Um, I think so." Isabel replied. "It's just that I ... I learned something about myself last night, and I'm just not sure what I should do next."
Tess nodded, but remained silent, waiting.
Isabel flushed a little. "Actually, I have a confession to make first. I dreamwalked you last night." She watched as Tess looked confused and then flustered as realization dawned -- color stained her cheeks and she looked away. Isabel went on hastily, "No, don't get upset! I could see that something was bothering you and I wanted to know what it was. And I saw you ... and me ... and ..."
She was leaning in as she spoke, until finally, with that last word, her face was mere inches from Tess's. Isabel gently cupped Tess's cheek with her hand, turning her so that they faced each other. Looking into Tess's blue eyes, Isabel's last doubts melted away. Here was where she belonged, the person she was meant to be with. She leaned in the last few inches so that her lips met Tess's. The world seemed to disappear as all her attention became focused on the sensation of Tess's soft lips beneath hers, kissing her back, first tentatively, then with more passion. Just like in the dream, Isabel thought dizzily. She could hardly think, she was feeling so many things ... so many things ... thoughts and feelings that hardly seemed her own ...
Isabel broke off the kiss to look at Tess in surprise. If Tess's expression was any indication, she was feeling equally astonished. "Did you, um, feel anything just now?"Tess suddenly looked a bit shy. "Yeah. You. I could feel you. It was like I could almost hear your thoughts or something."
"Me, too." Isabel took a steadying breath. "Wow. Maybe being different, being alien, isn't such a bad thing." She suddenly grinned wickedly. "C'mere" she said, pulling Tess close again and beginning to print a trail of heated kisses down her jaw to her throat. "I want to see the rest of that thought you were having. It was very ... interesting".
And then there was no more need for words.