So. This all started a few weeks ago. Back when Tess first showed up. The minute I saw her, we connected. I guess now that we know she's one of us, that whole connection thing pretty much explains itself. She's been great though, that's the good thing I guess...because now, I finally have a real friend. Someone I can talk to. Of course, none of the others know how close I've let her get. If Alex ever found out, I think he'd be crushed that I've opened up to her so easily, in such short time. He's been trying for months to get me to trust him...to open up to him. He says I'm 'the one' for him. Maybe that's true. I don't know. But he's not that person for me. And it's not that I don't trust him. He's already proven that I can. It's just not there between us, for me, I mean.
--"Pay more attention, Isabel. There are signs all around you."-- Tess told me that a few days ago. Before...I never did. I wondered why Alex never took my hints. I realize now that I was sending him all the wrong signals. No matter what comes out of my mouth...the signals he's getting..are the problem.
Tess told me that same day, in that same conversation, about feeling really close to a certain someone. What was it she said? Oh, I remember. Something about getting signals. Something along the lines of --"I have feelings for someone, Isabel. Strong feelings. I think this person might be involved with someone. That's what everyone tells me. But haven't you ever gotten signals from someone Isabel?"-- Yeah, that's what she said. I didn't really understand it then. But the more I think about it...I'm starting to get it. It pretty much creeped me out at first, but I've been trying to get used to the fact that, I'm pretty sure that Tess was talking to me...about me. Since day one, I'm really the only one that Tess has hung out with. She barely takes an interest in anything but, well...me. She stays over at my house a lot. Which, I don't mind because she's great company. We have fun together. We do all the 'normal' girl things...like talking about guys. Painting nails. Fixing our hair. Just like I've always wanted.
--"I just want to be completely honest with you, Isabel. I feel the closest to you. You know, like we share something special."-- she told me..and I agree with her. --"And that's why I want you to know the truth. I just don't want you to hate me for it."-- I could never hate her. Well, I probably could. But I guess it would take a lot to make that happen. Tess is special. Every time she's around, I just feel this overwhelming need to protect her. Not that she needs it, but the others don't like her much, so I try to keep her away from them as much as I can. Besides, I kinda like having her to myself. I don't have to share her with everyone else in our little group.
I think Max has been noticing things, lately, too. That night, after I had that intense confrontation with Tess, he called me into his room to talk.
--"She really scared me, Max. It was like I lost a few seconds of time and when it was over, I wasn't even sure if what I remembered had happened or not. Is that what she did to you?"
"Kind of. It was like she could make my mind go places I wasn't taking it."
"How about your body? I mean, did you feel like something inside of you was changing...like, waking up?"--
I kind of left out the part where I'd felt like, maybe I was attracted to her. That part wasn't important and Max didn't need to know about it. I mean, sure, I'd been having the shared dreams with Michael...but that was the alien side of us, 'waking up', or so we figured. But then we have a whole other side to us. A part of us that is mostly human. The human side of me has been seeing someone other than Michael, in a different light, lately.
That night, after Michael came over, we had another dream. We were both a little shaken, but it was mostly me, so Max and Michael too me down to the kitchen for water. Needless to say, they ended up arguing.....I couldn't take it anymore. --"That's enough, both of you."-- I yelled at them. --"Do you ever stop to think how I feel? God. No. You're too busy deciding who's right to notice that things are happening to me, too. Oh God. Whatever Tess did when she was here yesterday..."-- That's where I trailed off. I didn't really know how to put what I was feeling in to words.
After that incident, over the next couple of days, I threw myself into this big mess with Alex. I thought that, maybe being with him would take my mind off of Tess and all these crazy thoughts and feelings I was starting to have. Like I suspected, the thing with Alex just wasn't getting it for me. It was only making things worse. Not to mention, I was starting to feel bad, for using him. I had let it go on for a week..then I finally put an end to it. I told him, today, what was on my mind, about the situation between me and him. I tried letting him down easy. But Alex wouldn't of taken it easy no matter how I did it.
I should probably get to today. Tess is staying over tonight. She's here right now, actually, but she just went downstairs to get us something to drink. Our conversation had started to get intense again. Almost to the point where I would call it 'suggestive'....and the fact that we always share my bed wasn't helping to change the subject any. I don't really know what I would do if she were to 'make a move'. I do know that I don't want to freak out on her..or else she might take off..or I don't know. I've never been in this situation before, so I have no idea how to handle it.
I guess I'm just a little nervous about all of this...oh, who am I kidding? I'm completely wigging out about this and it just got really hot in here. If I let in some air, maybe I won't feel so claustrophobic. I got up from the bed and walked over to my window. As soon as I opened it, the cool night air came rushing in, so I stood there enjoying the breeze. A moment later, I turned to go back to the bed and there was Tess. Before I could stop myself from running into her, there we were...Tess underneath me...both of us in the floor.
By the grace of God, I caught myself, an arm on each side of her tiny frame, and managed to not land on her. How I did that, I'll never know, but I'm gonna go with the 'pure luck' theory. Instead of moving immediately, I paused, looking down at her. I was just...staring at her. I couldn't do anything else. At least..until she spoke.
"There weren't any cold drinks," Tess said quiet and unevenly. "I put a couple in the freezer so they...they'll get cold faster."
I just nodded awkwardly, then realized I still had her pinned beneath me.
"Sorry," I said, moving to the side, sitting in the floor. "I was just...l-letting in some, uh, some fresh air."
"Isabel. Are you okay?" Tess sat up slowly.
"Yeah." I paused nervously. Why was I so nervous around her all of the sudden? "Why do you ask?"
"Because it's freezing in here." Tess rubbed her arms as if to warm them.
"You're right." I stood up once again, and shut the window, locking it into place.
"Maybe you should sit back down, Isabel." Tess suggested, patting the spot in my floor, next to her.
"Okay," and I sat down again. I was like a robot...just doing what I was told.
"What's the matter?" she asked me, in that soft-spoken, trademark tone.
She sounded like someone's mother. Worried. Caring. Concerned. She reached over and brushed a few stray strands of hair away from my face, allowing her hand to linger on my cheek a lot longer than necessary.
"Nothing. I-I just..wow, it's really hot in here, don't you think?!" I scooted over slightly when I felt our legs touching. All of the sudden I was feeling like I was being crowded. Smothered. Like I couldn't get enough air.
"Your face was hot." Tess stated. She moved closer to me, despite my attempt at space, and let her hand rest on my cheek again. "We don't get sick..so...tell me what's wrong Isabel. You've been acting really nervous around me lately. Did I..do something to-to cause that?"
"No," I tried to brush it off. "Don't be crazy, Tess. I just..I-" I paused as I watched Tess sit up on her knees, getting closer still.
"I..." Another pause. I had absolutely no idea what to say. "I'm-I'm tired. Lets go to bed."
God, what the hell am I thinking? I couldn't of made things any worse. Now i'm going to have to get in the bed with her. Maybe I could get away with sleeping in the floor.
"Okay," Tess relocated herself from the floor to the bed. When I didn't move, she spoke again. "Sleeping in the cold floor, tonight?"
"Sure. Why not?" I shrugged as if it were no big deal.
"Right, Isabel." Tess reached down and grabbed my hand. "C'mon..talk."
So I stood up and sat on the end of the bed, a couple feet away from her. I sat there for a moment with my head in my hands, rubbing my eyes tiredly. Then I felt hands. Warm hands. Tess's hands...rubbing my shoulders..working out all of the knots and tension that I'd let build up. I stretched my neck, relaxing a little, enjoying the soothing patterns that she was rubbing into my back and shoulders.
"Here," Tess moved out from behind me. "Lay down on your stomach. It's easier to massage the back muscles if you're lying down."
I didn't object. I just slid back onto the bed and did what she told me to do. I can't lie and say that I wasn't enjoying the attention, because I definitely was. So I let my head rest on my arms and closed my eyes. This is definitely what I needed and her hands were like magic. I guess she probably could of been using her powers to aid her in this attempt to relax me...but she wasn't. I know because I would be able to feel it.
What I could feel, was Tess, sitting on the back of my legs - and her hands. They were slowly easing underneath my shirt, kneading their way up my back. Mind-numbing. That's the only word that comes to mind right now, to describe the feel of Tess's hands on my skin. Everywhere she touched me, there was a tingling sensation that followed. She paused to push my shirt up, then went back to what she was doing.
"Better than you know..." I answered with a content sigh.
"Good," she said, then moved off of my legs, stretching out on her side, next to me.
Propping her head in her hand, Tess sat there in silence. My eyes were closed, but I could feel her watching me. I opened my eyes and looked up to see exactly what I expected, except, her face was expressionless and I wondered what she was thinking. So I asked.
"Something on your mind?"
"A lot, actually." she answered after a long pause.
"A lot..." I repeated, rolling over onto my side, leaving our bodies only inches apart. "What about?"
"Me?" She was thinking about me. What about me, though?
"And Alex..." Tess added, almost inaudibly. The girl was already soft-spoken, but right now, every time she said something...she got even more quiet.
"What about him?"
"I was thinking - about how much I envy him," she was staring down at my comforter. "About how he gets to put his arms around you. Hold your hands. About how....how he gets to - to kiss you."
Wow. She was jealous of Alex. Tess was actually confessing her jealousy of Alex. I guess that means that I should probably admit that I was flattered by her sincerity. But what was she trying to say?
"I put an end to all of that, after school today...." I said, watching for her reaction. She looked up at me in surprise.
"Why, Isabel? I thought that you...you liked him. I-"
"I like Alex. He's a good guy. But...I think that he deserves someone who's going to care about him, as much as he cares about them. I can't give him that...so that's what I told him."
"Really?" Tess questioned me, still unsure. "I think that he thought that he could be 'that person' for you. He wanted to be, so badly...you could tell. Because he knew that you were the one for him."
"But he's not the one I want..."
"But do you know who you do want?" Tess asked, urging me to say more.
I shrugged as best as I could. "I don't really know right now. I have an idea...but I'm still trying to figure it all out."
"Maybe I can help?" Tess whispered, moving a little closer to me.
"Maybe..." I nodded.
I realized what I had just gotten myself in to when Tess began to move in, slowly. This was it, I guess. The moment of truth. Would I relax into it? Or would I freak out? I didn't get the chance to give myself a good answer to either question, when I felt her take my hand and entwine our fingers. She gave me a reassuring squeeze, then her lips met mine.
Tess's lips were warm. Soft. Totally and utterly inviting. It was, by far, the most intense situation I've ever put myself in. She coaxed me into parting my lips for her, but just as we were about to deepen the kiss, something.....something, unexplainable, brought me crashing back down to reality. I, Isabel Evans, was lying on my bed, kissing another girl.
It all ended so quickly, that I didn't even realize I'd gotten up off of the bed, until I began backing away. I had my fingers pressed to my lips as if it would help me figure out what I'd just done. Then I looked back over at Tess. She was standing up, with a confused and, almost, hurt look in her eyes. I held out my hand to keep her from going anywhere. What was I going to say? At the last minute, I'd panicked, and there's no telling what's going through her mind right about now. It wasn't that I hadn't liked kissing her. It was actually one of the most amazing feelings I'd ever experienced. I didn't want her to think that I was angry with her..or upset, or disgusted. I wanted to tell her that I wanted her to kiss me again. I wanted to tell her all of the thoughts and feelings that flew through my mind and body the moment our lips had met.
But instead of telling her all of those things, I just stood there.
"Isabel?" Tess's voice cracked, breaking the eerie silence. "Say something. Please."
After a moment, I finally did.
"I, uh...I'm g-going to go check on those drinks." Then I left the room, closing the door, softly, behind me.