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Defy Convention, Part One: West Roswell High

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Added to the Roswell Slash Archive January 26, 2002


        Trying to straighten her dress with no success, Maria walked down the halls of West Roswell High. She'd arrived home at 6am, climbed through the window as to not awaken her mother, then fallen into an exhausted, but happy sleep. As a result, she overslept, and in her haste to get to school, grabbed the first thing she could find to wear and ran out the door. The flowery, only wear around the house, cotton dress was way too prissy for Maria, usually. And in the rush of that morning she'd forgotten to put on a bra. Her mother was all for feminist statements, but again, not Maria's style.

        Her mind kept flashbacking to her early morning encounter with Isabel. She had no idea what had possessed Roswell's very own alien ice princess to make out with her in the middle of the night, but she wasn't complaining. It had been... amazing. Maybe it was the Czechoslovakian thing. The stolen, passionate kiss with Michael while Max and Liz went off to see Riverdog had been a hundred times better than Doug Sohn in the eight grade, but Isabel was in an entirely different league altogether. Just thinking about it made her heart rate increase by about a million.

        She turned a corner, and ran straight into someone carrying a backpack. The contents spilled across the floor. She let out a little yelp, then bent down to help pick everything up. Maria looked up, to find herself face to face with Alex.

        Alex. Her best friend. The best friend Liz had taken away from her, because of the aliens secret. When Max was in danger, Liz had no problem with commiting a felony and dragging Alex into it. Then, she refused to tell him the reason they needed to switch the blood. Maria hated lying to Alex. The three had been best friends since elementary school, but there had always been a special bond between Maria and Alex. She knew for a fact that it sometimes made Liz feel left out. And it was irrational, but part of her thought that was the reason Liz split Alex away from the group.

        He looked at her briefly, then looked away. Maria bit her lip.

        "Hey Alex," she said in a cheerful tone. "How's life?"

        "Fine," he answered tersely. "You?"

        "Great, actually," she said, flashing back to the Crashdown that morning.

        She arranged a pile of papers and handed it to Alex. Wordlessly, he stuffed it in his bag. He picked up three textbooks and added them, too. Soon, the floor was cleared, but Alex made no move to stand up. He awkwardly shuffled through the bag, muttering about seeing if anything was missing. Finally, he stood up, and Maria hurriedly followed suit. Alex is never quiet. What the hell had happened to our friendship?

        "I hate this," she blurted.

        "What?"

        "I hate it that you ignore me. You're my best friend, and you're treating me like a complete stranger. I mean, what did I do?"

        "With friends like Liz and Max, why would you need me? What do you guys want now? You only ever talk to me when you need something," said Alex angrily.

        "Yeah, you know why? Because if I spoke to you, I'd tell you everything. I couldn't help it."

        "Is that such a bad thing?"

        "I can't tell you, Alex. It's not my secret, it's theirs." She lowered her voice. "I don't want to put you in danger, Alex."

        "So you'll choose Liz over me."

        "Alex-"

        "Look, forget it. Stop trying to explain. If you want me to stay out of your life then leave me alone." Alex stormed off. Anger flared up inside her.

        "Who beat up everyone who hassled you in fifth grade, Alex?" she yelled at his retreating form. Nice butt, she thought to herself fleetingly. "Who risked getting stuck in some specialist school for fighting so much, a lot of it on your behalf?"

*~*

        Alex turned around and shot Maria a 'cool it' look. People were beginning to stare. Wordlessly, he grabbed her and led her down the corridor into an empty classroom. When they reached it, he shut the door then spun to face her.

        "I figured we don't need an audience for this conversation," he said by ways of explanation. She nodded and took a deep breath.

        "I just don't see why you're so mad at me when it was Liz who started this whole thing. If it hadn't been for her this whole mess wouldn't have happened. I wanted to tell you from the beginning, but she wouldn't. Then she wouldn't tell you, even though you pretty much saved Max's life and she would do anything, I mean anything for Max. And I still wanted to tell you. I still do."

        "Then why don't you just tell me?" Alex asked, hating the tone of his voice. I sound like three years old.

        "Look, I'm a part of..." she gestured wildly in the air "this. But I'm not an important part. If I tell you, I put them in danger. But I put... someone else in even more danger, and I don't think I can bear that." She paused for a moment, obviously trying to gauge his reaction. He struggled to keep his face neutral.

        "Who are you trying to protect?"

        She stood silent for awhile. "A very good friend," she said finally. There was another awkward silence. "Alex... I'm many things, okay? I'm loud, and bubbly, and an apparent ditz. I'm sarcastic, sometimes I lie, and sometimes I'm the biggest bitch around. But the one good thing about me, the thing I believe is always going to be a part of me, is that I'm loyal. And this... this situation is tearing me apart. Who should I be loyal to? You or them? I'm having trouble dealing with this, you know?"

        She took in some deep breaths, and Alex suddenly realised she was close to crying. That was like a punch to the gut. Maria just doesn't cry. She'd rather have her teeth extracted without anaesthetic than let someone see her cry. Maria kept taking in those breaths, looking at the floor, and the tiny bit of expression on her face he could see was that she was completely disgusted with herself. A tear fell down her cheek, and all the anger at her completely melted away.

        "Come here," he said softly, and she moved closer. Alex wrapped his arms around her and she burst into tears on his shoulder. This is really messing her up, he realised, and silently cursed whatever had made Liz decide to cause this much pain. He held her tight, breathing in the scent of her hair. It smelt like... roses. He just stood there, taking it in for a few moments. Then he tuned in to her crying again, and instantly felt guilty. She's crying on my shoulder and I'm thinking about how her hair smells. Real sensitive, Alex.

        Maria slowly moved her head, and looked up at him. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. She took it, offered a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, then blew her nose noisily. For some strange reason, Alex found that kind of cute. She stuffed the handkerchief in her purse, and Alex suddenly noticed the thin flowery dress she was wearing. It looked almost see-through. Then he realised how close they still were to each other. Wordlessly, he leant down and kissed her. Her lips tasted like strawberry lip gloss. Suddenly the room felt a lot warmer. She kissed him back, her tongue teasing his mouth open.

        Then, all of a sudden, it was over. Maria jolted back, turned bright red and smoothed down her skirt.

        "I ... I have to go," she stammered, as she backed out of the room.

        "Maria ..." Alex began. The only response was the click of the door. Cursing himself, he sunk to the floor. Terrific. Just when I thought we might have our friendship sorted out a tiny bit more, I go and perform this random act of complete lunacy.

        I am such an idiot.

Continue to Part Two

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