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Ava, Chapter 37: Isabel

Reply to Alsike

Posted to June 27, 2004

     So here I am.  Stuck in the aftermath of Liz's desertion, as they call it.  I prefer to think of it as Liz's escape.  Our great leader is sitting around with his head in his hands moaning, "I thought she'd get over it.  I thought she'd understand.  I thought she hated her

     I prefer not to ask him what the hell he's talking about, because then his watchdog will come after me with an 'it's none of your business' bark and a 'you stole my girlfriend' look in his eyes.  I only wish, Michael.  I didn't take her, you just lost her.  And Liz said she's my responsibility.  She trusts me more than you, jerk!

     But the news is out.  Maria has locked herself into my room, and she will only let me in.  Liz explained Max's plan for going to Antar in the letter.  And I get his idea.  If we're there we wont have to be on the run, we can have our own community (this is once we wrest the rule of the planet from Khivar) we can have lives again.  But there's no way Maria is leaving this planet, and I don't want to go either.  We wont have to run forever.  It won't be like this forever.  But Max was going to have it all.  He would bring his little harem with him, what more could he want.  But now neither of his harem want to go.  Kyle was freaking out, but Michael rolled his eyes at him and said, "we really couldn't care less if you came or not," so now he's just offended.

     Max's new idea is to find Liz and Ava and take them whether they want to go or not.  I told him it was a fucking stupid idea and that he should leave them alone.  He yelled at me that we'd never be safe never have a home.  And I told him that he was an asshole and that it's his fault that we're running, and that if we left the country and didn't do anymore stupid things we'd be fine.  And he said, "stupid things, like healing Liz.  And I said, "yes, like healing Liz, and every other stupid fucking thing you've done.  He decided that being painfully in love was better than having a family and a life and said, "if I hadn't you'd have never gotten close to your girlfriend.  Why do people think we're involved when all she does is sleep with me?  That just might be a stupid question.  "She's not my girlfriend," I screamed at him, "we had a perfectly serviceable relationship before you got us into this mess, I ignored her and she hated me from a distance.  I was perfectly happy.  You think this is better?  I think I confused him because he changed the subject, "I don't care.  I'm going to find Liz and make her come.

     "Well you're not going to make me come.

     "You have to come.  You're one of the royal four.

     "The great betrayer.  I think they'd be least surprised if I didn't show.

     "But you're my sister.

     "You think that gives me unbreakable loyalty to you?  I am Vilondra, consort of the great over thrower Khivar.  I calmed down a little.  "And I promised Liz that I would look out for Maria, and that promise outweighs any other right now.

     "You knew she was leaving and you didn't tell me?

     "Do you think you have the right to know her every move?

     "She's my wife.

     "Was.  I pulled out the rings she had given me.

     He stared at them for a while.  "I made this diamond out of a piece of coal.


     "I thought it was romantic.  He looks up at me, "did she tell you why she left?

     "I thought it was because you wanted to take her to Antar.

     "Then it wasn't because of Tess?

     "Max!  Everyone did not suddenly switch their sexual preference.  Liz was no more in love with Tess than I am with Maria!  Okay, that does leave some ambiguity in case there was something I didn't know.

     "No," he smiled embarrassedly, "I didn't mean that.

     "Then what did you mean?

     Suddenly his face froze.  He furrowed his eyebrows.  "It's none of your business.

     "Now I really want to know.  Max, come on, tell me.

     He jumped up, "I'm never going to tell you!  and he ran out of the room.

     I slowly and contemplatively walked back to my room and knocked on the door.  "'Ria," I called, and in a few moments the door opened a tiny bit.  She scanned around and then opened the door for me.  Then she walked back to the bed and climbed in, she picked up the letter and stared at it again.  I get on the bed behind her and close my arms around her waist.

     "You're going to see her again.  There's no way I'm letting them take you to Antar.  Once this is over we're going to find her and…" and what?  We'll all die brutally at the hands of the FBI?  We'll all live happily ever after?  "It'll all be okay.  We'll make it all okay.

     Maria swivels a quarter turn in my arms so she can look at me.  I still can't believe she's not saying let go of me.  She hasn't ever shied away from my touch.

     "She doesn't want to see me again.  Or why wouldn't she have taken me with her?  She knows I would never go to Antar.  Why didn't she take me?  But I know why.  She doesn't want to be caught, and I would just screw her up.  I'm useless and helpless.

     "I, I think there's something more than that.  Max said something, and it makes me think that she didn't leave just because of the Antar thing.  There was something else.

     "What?" she glared at me.

     "I don't know.

     "Find out.

     "Would you mind if I dreamwalked her?

     "You're asking permission?

     "You are her best friend, she explicitly told me that.

     "If you think it will help.

     "Do you have a picture of her?

     "Yes.  Maria goes and digs a photo out of her bag.  I lie down on the bed and slowly stroke the photo.  Liz and Maria are in their Crashdown uniforms.  Liz is smiling and Maria is making a goofy face.  But as I stare at Liz her smile drops, the skin around her eyes tightens and her eyes widen so I can see more whites, then she turns away, stepping out of the picture and I'm in.  I follow her our of the Crashdown and into the desert.  Ahead I can see the Astronomy tower.  It is about Tess, and there she is.   Just like when she was alive except she looks smaller, delicate nervous.  She's waiting by the door of the observatory.  I keep an eye out for Max, but he's nowhere to be found.  Liz has morphed out of her Crashdown uniform and into clothes that I recognize, but I can't place them.  They're dark jeans and a sweater, a little loose  and baggy on Liz.  Liz has always been the same size as Tess, but now she's taller, and the sweater is tightening across her back.  She glances back towards me and she's Max, all she kept were her eyes.

     Then everything disappears.  I'm used to this in dreams though, and we're in a hotel room.  Oh bother, this is not anywhere I ever wanted to be, in Max and Liz's room on their wedding night.  She's on the bed, looking at him with wide sweet hopeful innocent eyes.  You would think she would know better.  But she's wrapped in that silk teddy Maria got her.  I don't want to watch this.  I should just go back and tell Max that she's dreaming about him, but I need to find out why she left.  Max in his stupid boxers is leaning down to kiss her tenderly.  I don't want to watch this.  I don't!  I don't!  I don't!  But I'm not, no!  I don't want to watch this either.  Max is ravaging Tess's mouth against the wall of the Astronomy tower, he's pushing her to the floor.  Wait, now he's shrunk, Liz is forcing her mouth, Liz is fumbling with Tess's jeans.  What the hell is going on?  Tess is struggling and whimpering.  "Shut up," Liz hisses, and it's Max again, then it's Liz, but it's always Tess, and then suddenly we're back in the hotel room and Liz is curled up tightly, shuddering, and begging, "I'm sorry, I didn't want to, I'm sorry, I'm sorry I let you go, I'm sorry.  God, Tess, I'm sorry.  Max is snoring away, and Liz slips out of bed and finds clothing.  She steps out the door and we're in the desert again, she's climbing out of the car and running towards the person walking towards the cyclone fence.  Why aren't my premonitions ever good for anything?  A scream tore through her mind.  She tackled Tess and knocked her to the sand.  "don't leave, you can't leave.  Without you everyone loses.  We can't survive without you.  But Tess slips through her arms and continues her walk towards the fence.  She goes through it and continues walking.  A fireball lights up the sky, and Liz writhes on the ground, clenching the sand like a safety blanket in the face of death.  An older Max walks up to her and kicks her in the ribs.  "I told you to make her stay.  She goes and we're all dead.

     "I don't care about that!  Liz screams, and we're in the school bathroom, and she leans in toward Tess  I've had enough!  I know why she left.  There's one reason and her name is spelled T-E-S-S.  I drop the picture.

     "Why'd she leave?  Maria sits huddled up on the chair across the room.

     "Because of Tess.  I respond.  She looks at me like I'm crazy and then realization dawns.

     "You mean Tess is still alive and she mindwarped Liz so she would leave?

     Or maybe not.  To tell her or not to tell her?

     "Liz still hasn't gotten over watching Tess die.

     "But she hated her, right?

     "I don't think it was as simple as that.

     "But Liz really believes that she's dead.  I don't believe that, not one bit.  She was way to manipulative to martyr herself.

     "Liz, however, well, um, feels guilty.

     "Why?  Maria launched herself at me, pinning me to the bed, "she killed Alex.  She fucking killed Alex.  There is no way I could ever be sorry for her.  If she's dead, good!  If she's not, she'd better stay away or she will be.

     I slip my arms around her neck.  "A sensible position to have, but Liz… you know that Max slept with Tess?

     "Tramp," Maria mutters into my neck.

     "Max is the tramp, ‘Ria.  And when he slept with Liz for the first time, she, well, she experienced the whole thing from Max's point of view.

     Maria said nothing for a long time and then she pushed away from me.  "You mean Liz knows what it's like to fuck Tess?


     "And it changed her opinion entirely?

     "It just made her less doubtful that Tess would martyr herself.

     "But she hated Tess

     "Tess was attractive though, right?

     "Well, duh: Luscious alien flesh.  All you Czechoslovakians are hot.  Oh, please, tell me she means me.

     "And Tess was never really vulnerable, was she?

     "Not unless she was making a play for Max.

     "What if Liz saw her really honestly vulnerable, and then saw herself take advantage of that vulnerability.

     "Stop walking around the point!  What did she do?  Rape her?

     "Um, yes, you've got it exactly.

     "But, wait, I don't understand, how, when.


     "Oh, I've got it now, I'm really not that thick, but, it was Tess, she wanted Max to do it so she could drag him off to Antar.

     "Yeah, she wanted it, it all fit into her plans, she was cold-blooded and ruthless.  She used everyone, and hurt everyone.  I wasn't looking at her, "she was able to handle anything to get what she wanted.  She played the world with her mind warping, and she did a better job of it when she didn't use her powers.

     "She's alive.  Isabel, she's alive and she screwed with Liz's head.

     Maria was sitting up and staring at me without seeing me, like she always did.  She's so certain, but she never trusted Tess, like the rest of us did.

     "Maybe she did.

     "You don't believe me, but I'm right.  We have to find her.  We have to get to her before Tess does.

     She's crazy; we can't do this.  Liz doesn't want to be found.   We shouldn't.  She's starting to pack.  There's no way I'm letting her go alone.  She'll never find her.  Dammit, why?  Why will I follow her to the ends of the earth?

Continue to Chapter 38

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