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New Beginnings, Chapter 11

Reply to Alex Parrish

Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list October 6, 2003

Part: 11/19 "New Beginnings"
Author: Alex Parrish
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and the WB. No infringement is intended. I own nothing, Trust me. Suing is futile!
Paring: M/K
Feedback: Please
Distribution: Roswell Slash Archive/Others Ask
Rating: X? Explicit sex and language
Spoilers: Nothing in particular and seasons 1,2,3 in general
Thanks: To aunty_mib, Beta extraodinaire, eh!
Summary/General: The lives of the 7 primary characters for 9 months after they leave season 3.
Summary/Chapter: The seven settling in for a long winter.

Establishing Normal

      You're probably wondering what five teens and two twenty-somethings were doing with their time, chilling (literally) at a lodge in the middle of nowhere, with no phone (most of the time; the cell picks up an occasional stray signal, but not dependably), and no personal contact with the outside world. So were we. It sucked big-time. I mean -- and I really can't believe I'm saying this -- there's only so much sex you can have before you begin to look for something else to do.

      This was the plan; we would spend the entire winter in someplace very remote and inaccessible. We hoped that, as our trail cooled, the FBI, and the Air Force, the MIB, the little green men, and anyone else looking for us would give up the search -- at least temporarily -- and we could rejoin civilization in the spring. We planned to then find a small town, close to some college, and establish new identities as college students, using the transcripts Jesse had forged and strategically placed in certain records on the internet. I hoped Jesse had improved my calculus grade. He turned out to be a pretty-good hacker. Jesse also forged documents for himself as a teacher and planned to work at teaching wherever we decided to settle. At least, that was our plan.

      We surfed the 'net via an up- and down-link through our satellite dish; an account in an alias which Jesse arranged. He also took care of all our bills and managed all our money using internet accounts in various aliases which, we hoped, were untraceable to us. Jesse warned us that internet accounts are traceable to their source, but the Feds had no idea where to start looking. It's not the same situation as a hacker, where there is some specific transaction to start from; he was making legal transactions from legal accounts, (true, they were aliases) and it would be a bitch to track us down from using those among the zillions of internet transactions. We hoped.

      We rented the lodge mid-August, posing as a religious group, (if only she knew how far from the truth that was) and the realtor made us pay six-month's rent in advance because, she said, it was impossible to get in or out of the lodge in the winter.

      We had plenty of cash in the accounts thanks to dozens of, kind-of small, 'special withdrawals' from randomly located ATMs. We multiplied our stake by carefully winning not-too-large amounts in many different Vegas casinos, so as not to raise suspicion. Yes, of course we cheated. What good is it to have alien powers if you can't make a buck or two using them? With our winnings we bought the computer, and the satellite dish and uplink, which I installed with Guerin's help (being very careful not to ruffle his feathers) and we made certain we had enough food (and Tabasco) and other stuff we thought we might need. In short, we were set to hibernate for a long, long, winter, but, the problem is that humans don't hibernate and, apparently, neither do aliens. Guerin was grouchy enough and unkempt enough, and on certain days, smelly enough, to pass as a bear, but he showed no inclination to hibernate -- at least no more than usual. If this had been "Big House" Guerin would have been out-on-his-ass in the first week. In our little 'reality show', we were stuck with each other, like it or not, for the duration, day-in and day-out.

      Day-to-day chores like cooking and cleaning were worked-out on a rotating schedule which Liz made up. Even Guerin agreed that this was fair. There were a few arguments about so-and-so not doing a good job, or having gotten an easy assignment, but no more than to be expected. Max and I tied for worst cook, at least, until we took a cooking class, (more on that later) and I don't think either Jesse or Maria had ever operated a washer and dryer before. But no blood was shed, human or martian, over chores.

      It took us less than a week to realize that this was going to be really boring for a bunch of people used to excitement and adventure, or for anybody else, for that matter. Oh, we were plenty glad not to be traveling constantly, uprooting every two or three days; especially me -- I grew to hate the time spent traveling and I was grateful to put my body down in the same bed as the previous night for a change. That's a weird thought, isn't it? To be glad for the change and the change is: 'no change.' Very Zen. Of course, the lack of activity began to take its toll on our tempers. We definitely needed more to do.

      Liz came up with the idiotic idea that we could schedule classes in various subjects which interested us, or which we thought might help us in the future, and teach each other. Good old Liz; we're only three months beyond high school graduation, and she misses school already. Isn't that just precious? Of all the things I miss, school is not on the list, and Guerin laughed so hard I thought he might split a gut. Max, Isabel and Jesse however, thought it was a "great idea;" Maria and I were neutral. Max pressed Michael to tell us if he had a better idea, but he just scoffed, then, said "No." I suggested that the classes would be more attractive to some of us (I meant 'me') if there were no grades, and everything was voluntary. No one had a problem with that, and even Guerin suddenly seemed a little more interested. Isabel and Liz lost a vote by 5-2, and so were elected to make it happen.

      They came up with a schedule which included; Jesse, teaching conversational Spanish and basic accounting, Isabel teaching Yoga and French, Max teaching Computer Basics, (pity we didn't have old Alex around for that) and basic Latin, Maria teaching Guitar (one-on- one) and Music History using a bunch of old classical vinyl we found in the basement along with a music history text, and spinning them on the decrepit record player in the Great Room, (What a trip - records!) and Liz leading a Book Club, which was tough because the library only had one copy of each book, and we had to pass it around to read it chapter-by-chapter. In the end, Guerin even agreed to do some cooking demonstrations from his vast repertoire of recipes from the Crashdown, so, in case you were worried, we had our share of junk food.

      I had a hard time figuring out what I could teach. I knew I was good at several academic subjects, but most of the group was as good or better than I was. We had no facilities or tools for auto-shop, only one van to work on, and it was in the unheated barn, and not enough people to make a football team. Finally it hit me; I would be the fitness trainer. We would be stuck inside for months, and without exercise we would all turn into couch-potatoes. There was a tiny gym here at the lodge, filled mostly with 80s 'trendy' equipment; a couple of worn Nordic-Trak machines, a couple of Solo-Flex machines, some miscellaneous free-weights, and three dusty treadmills. I was pretty sure I could come up with a training regimen for each of us based on what was there. In the second week at the lodge, 'Roswell University-in-Exile' was born.

      The classes turned out to be not half as bad as I expected. I'd already taken Spanish, but having Jesse there meant I could brush-up on it and hold actual conversations. I just couldn't seem to get my tongue around the French pronunciations, but I did learn to read and write French, a little. I didn't get Latin at all, or the reason for bothering with it, so I dropped out of that, even though I had an 'in' with the teacher. Unfortunately -- or maybe not -- those 'special tutoring sessions' with the Latin teacher always turned into something else. Everyone except Guerin threw themselves into their physical training plan.

      We divided the gym time between the men and the women; there wasn't enough equipment for everyone at once, and by the second week there was a competition between Max, Jesse and me to see who could run the longest, or lift the most, or do the most reps of a particular exercise; anything at all to outdo each other. Soon, money was changing hands, and the competition became even more fierce. It was great; I was finally getting even with Jesse for my poker losses. The women were less competitive, but became addicted to their personal workouts; often trying to use the gym at nonscheduled times when they could get the equipment away from the competitors in the lodge 'Iron-Man' competition, as we came to call it. By the end of November, even Guerin was attending classes now-and-then and working out occasionally.

      There was, like I said, a small library, so reading was possible, but the selection was very limited; mostly boring books that we should have read in high school anyway. This time I actually read some of them -- there were no Cliff's Notes. Even with all the classes, there was plenty of free time. We had time for TV -- we had a rigid TV schedule voted into place along gender lines, so we never missed any promising sporting events, and Max voted with the women (out of pity) so that Maria and Isabel could get their 'soaps'. Guess which couch-potato became addicted to the 'soaps' right along with the women. I'll give you a hint; it wasn't Liz, Max, Jesse or me. Isabel organized a 'game-night'; some played, some didn't, depending on the game and the mood. Maria, Liz and Isabel were constantly organizing various artsy-craftsy projects, which mostly the women did except when they could draft or blackmail one of the men into joining them. During the season there was, "Ta-Da!" Monday Night Football which became a sacred "guy's night" complete with popcorn, a beer or two for Jesse and me, (we had to ration it) and Snapple or Coke with cherry syrup for the other two. And of course, as you have guessed by now, money changed hands. Lots of it. What I couldn't win from Max in the gym, I got from football bets. The NFL is apparently beyond alien manipulation. I'm convinced Max uses alien tricks to win fairly often in the 'Iron Man' contests -- he denies it.

      We celebrated every conceivable holiday -- some I never heard of -- with decorations, dinners, stories or whatever we could come up with, usually ending around the fire in the Great Room with Maria, her guitar and some folksy music (hard rock isn't in her repertoire.) The same was true of birthdays and anniversaries; virtually any anniversary qualified. On a few special anniversaries, the group prepared a special 'dinner-for-two' for the celebrating couple and set it up in a private room. We got so good at it, we thought it might be cool to start a catering company. Actually, we thought about doing lots of things, but nearly all of them would be impossible for us, because of who we were and what we were hiding. That didn't stop our imagining and dreaming.

      Here's the most mind-blowing thing of all. Shortly after we got to the lodge, back in late August, Guerin found a room in the basement set up for pottery-making. Somewhere along the way, there had been a potter living and working at the Lodge, and the wheel, the tools, and, most important, the wood-fired kiln, were still in place. When we stocked up supplies, we bought some clay, but a day or two later, we found a pit on the property from which Guerin dug a huge amount of clay before the ground froze, practically filling a whole room in the basement with it. He spent hour after hour in both pottery-making and in sculpting. In November he laid claim to a mismatched collection of house-paints, left over from a half-century of projects at the lodge. He began painting everything he could find to paint on; boards, junk he found, bed-sheets stretched like canvas, anything. As if that is not amazing enough; he was really good! I don't really know much about real art, but I thought that his stuff was professional quality. I was really impressed and even began to admit to myself that, there might be more to Michael than I gave him credit for. Usually then, he would do something to piss me off and we were back to normal.

      Guerin was uncharacteristically modest -- not like Michael at all -- but he did let us put his artwork in various places around the lodge. Pretty soon the place looked like a museum of modern art. I suggested I could start tours, but nobody in the house was willing to pay me. Guerin even let me hang one of his stretched-bedsheet-canvases, which I really liked, in my room. It was called "Icarus." and was an abstract of the mythological story. You remember, the story about the dude who was able to fly with wax wings, but fell to earth and died because he thought he was 'all that' and flew too close to the sun. The colors in the painting were, I don't know, like, bold and intense, and the figure actually seemed to move so, if I stared at it long enough, I felt as if I were flying too. I mean flying -- not 'flying.' There were no recreational chemicals except for a little booze, which we rationed for special occasions.

      That's pretty-much how our days went along, with our arbitrary schedules and lots of time for just hanging. We had our little spats, now and then, but fewer than you might expect. Liz was generally the peacemaker. Oh yes; there were our journals, which Liz never let us forget. I shouldn't complain, because you wouldn't be reading this, except for her nagging that I write, write, write, but she could definitely be a pain-in-the-ass about it sometimes.

      There were moments of loneliness. Isabel and Max and Liz miss their parents, Jesse and Maria each miss their mothers, and I miss Dad. Funny; I used to bitch and moan because dad spent so much time on the job, and about how neglected I felt. Here I was, just months out of high school and I had become cut-off from Dad totally and completely, more so than I ever imagined I could. Did I mention I really, really miss him? I don't think Michael missed anyone -- that's actually kind-of sad, when you think about it. At least each of us had someone we could turn to for comfort and for a shoulder to cry on, even if Liz and I did have to share Max.

      Liz and I grew into an attitude of real cooperation and when It came to sharing our time with Max. We paid attention to the schedule, but also to what was going on in each of our lives -- like where our heads were at any given time, so, if I saw that Liz was in a place where she needed Max more than I did at a particular time, we chucked the schedule and I gave him up to her, and she did the same for me. It meant that Liz and I had to pay attention to each other as well as to our own needs; that's what made it work. For his part, Max claimed to feel like a football being thrown around with no say in where he was going -- but we could both tell his complaints were bogus; he got-off on being the center of attention. I never would have guessed that sharing could work out so well. Max seemed happier than I can ever remember seeing him, and when I was with him, so was I.

      We talked about what we might study in college next fall, and kept churning out plans and dreams like we expected to just pick up a normal life after our winter hibernation. At least, we felt we had a plan.

      There's an old Russian proverb I heard somewhere: "Man plans; God laughs." It seems like we were all so innocent and happy in not knowing what was coming. That would change.

Continue to Chapter 2

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