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Ava, Chapter 51: Liz

Reply to Alsike

Posted to June 27, 2004

     I smell smoke.  I sit up in bed and sniff deeply.  Toast, burnt toast.  I climb out of someone else's bed, go through someone else's closet and put on someone else's clothes.  I don't think I can stay here for too long.  But if I wasn't here what would I be wearing?  The same thing that I've worn since my stuff was stolen?  The only thing I have is a small wad of papers, tucked into an envelope, that I kept in my pants.  I sit on the bed and take it out.  I unfold the slips of paper.  My driver's license falls out, then my social security card.  Max would have killed me, figuratively, if he knew I had them on me.  You get to distinguish between hyperbole and relation of exact events when people are actually trying to kill you.  But if I was dead, I'd want to be taken home.  I know they'd probably take my corpse in for testing, but maybe, eventually, I'd be taken back to my parents and they could bury me.  There's my pessimistic alien reason for having these, but I also have my acceptance letter from Northwestern, a copy of my transcript, ACT scores, AP scores, and this thick sheaf, just an application, the one that got me in.  I have everything here that I needed for my other life.  The one without aliens, the one that's going to start again.  Right now.

     I march down the stairs.  Kylie is under a blanket on the couch pressing a pillow over her head to block out the noises from the kitchen.  I go in.  Phoebe drops a pan lid on the floor, black smoke fumes from the toaster.  She collapses on my shoulder.  "I can't do this!  I can't do any of this!  I can't take her place.  I want Piper back!

     I escort her out of the kitchen and she collapses into an armchair.

     "Where can I get onto the internet?" I ask.

     "Laptop, Paige's room," she replies, then she returns to wallowing in self pity.  I have no time to waste.  I am on a mission.  I go back upstairs and knock on the closed door.  There is a small shriek, and a "Paige!  Remember?  We promised.

     I rest my forehead in my hand.

     "We didn't promise, we just said it was a good idea.  Then there are small noises.  I knock again.

     "Can I use the computer?

     There's another shriek, this one louder, a thud, and an "oww.

     A few moments later Ava opens the door, makeup washed away, hair flat and mussed, and looking freakishly like Tess, except she could never really look like Tess, everything about her is soft, and Tess was never soft.  Paige is climbing off the floor.  She catches sight of me and her eyes burn.  I look at her, then at Ava, and then back to those flaming eyes.  She is desperately jealous of me.  Yeah, staying here, not a long term plan.  Ava proffers a laptop and I take it, then turn around.  The door closes and I relax and head downstairs.  Kylie is missing from her couch and I can smell coffee.  Phoebe is no longer wallowing; she can smell the coffee too and has perked up.  I sit on Kylie's blanket and open the laptop.  They have an airport.  I connect to the internet and go to the UC site, applications

     Paige comes downstairs, her hair up in a ponytail.  Kylie comes out of the kitchen and puts coffee on the table next to me and brings some to Phoebe.  Then there's a knock on the door.  Ava's coming down the stairs.  Paige goes to answer the door.

     Here it is, spring semester

     "There she is!  shouts a very familiar voice.  There's stomping.  Paige shouts.  A feeling like my molecules have taken on super speeds floods through me.  I look.  Maria has Ava by the throat, and Isabel is standing in the entryway holding the black polygonal thing.

     "You're free, Liz!  She can't mindwarp you with this going!

     I stand up, "Maria!  What are you doing, talking  Then I stop.  My head feels clear for the first time in weeks.  Tess, hatred wells up, as full as it used to be, with that tinge of disgust that let me feel so free in my righteousness.

     "Ava!  Paige raised her hand, Ava dissolves in blue sparkles and then appears in Paige's arms.  Maria stares in shock.  Kylie steps forward, twists her hand, and flame bursts from her fingertips.  It swirls about the size of a softball and flies in and out on a stream of flame, like she's tossing it up and down.

     "Wait, stop!  I yell.

     "Maria, Paige, Kylie, Stop!  I need to think!

     "No time darling, no time.  I'm here.

     "Tess.  She walked in the door, she pushed past Isabel who stumbled backwards, staring, disbelieving.  She stood in the middle of the room and grinned viciously.  She was so hard, it made me hot, fuck.  She looks at me, shakes her head and turns to Maria.

     "Who would have thought?  You were right.  She didn't even believe you though she went along with your weird idea.  Tess indicated Isabel.  "I was alive, I was messing with Liz's mind, but one thing you were wrong about, she left you behind, that had nothing to do with me.  She was always going to leave you behind, thanks to this alien disaster she you got to hold on to her for a little longer, but she left because she wanted a new life, one without you in it.

     Maria slumped a little, staring at her, staring at me.  Tess was always better at messing with our minds when she never used her powers.  I left my best friend behind and I never thought about her.  But why should I have?  We have to live our own lives some time.  I have to live mine and she has to live hers, and

     Tess is alive.  She was mindwarping me.  Oh god, I'm blushing, I'm turning purple, I'm, it's as bad as dreamwalking, she was in my head, playing with my thoughts, my memories, playing with the flashes.  I slump to my knees.  The flashes hit me again, but they're the real ones this time.  This is how it should have been.  A little seductress, minx is such a perfect word.  I don't, I'm not, I can't make love to her right now!  There are more important things going on.  I break out of the flashes.

     "Are you sure that thing is working!  I yell at Isabel.

     Tess walks towards me.  "it's working.  I've been working hard at your head, not completely monopolizing you like Alex, but just touching up your memories, I'm just a painter to the canvas of your brain.  It took a lot of work to make me weak and vulnerable, like her.  She viciously gestured toward Ava.  "but it worked, your flood of guilt took you away from Max.

     "No.  I stared at her, "why should that have worked?  When did being vulnerable make me think of you with guilt?  You were bad, and you were..." I blushed then gritted my teeth, "sexy.  You were vulnerable and you disgusted me, playing up your weaknesses that you didn't even have.  Everyone knew you were tough and didn't have a value for human life.  The star-crossed lovers gimmick didn't work.  And the fact is, I don't want Max anymore!  I tried to give him to you like ten times but I couldn't get rid of him.  I've left him now; go take him.  It's always about Max for you, Max, Max, Max!

     She looked at me.

     "Liz, I've been seducing you in your head for months now.  I've moved on.  I want you.

     Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god, oh... I press my fingers against the bridge of my nose.

     Then I saw her, she was curled into her stomach, and she was laughing.  She was laughing at me.  Fine!  I march up to her and smack her in the face.  She stumbles back and looks up and grins.

     "I am not an angry person!  I am not an emotionally involved person!  I just want to go to college.  I just want to live my life.  I don't want any more alien melodrama!

     Isabel stepped forward, "Liz, we have to tell you, all the feds are gone, it's safe.

     Tess bowed.  "I had to finish the job.

     "It's safe.  I repeated slowly.  I can go home.  I don't want to go home.  This doesn't change anything.  I want to go to college, I want to learn things, and I don't want to do this!  "Fine, great, thank you Tess, I appreciate your explosive nature, as long as you don't want to kill me or interfere in my life I am moving on.

     I have had enough of this confrontation.  I want someone to hold me now.

Continue to Chapter 52

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