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If I Don't Tell You Now

Reply to Jess

Posted to the Roswell Slash list July 4,2000

Title:If I Don't Tell You Now Email: ceadsearc@aol.com



I kept it inside for the longest time And I can't keep keeping it All that's left inside of my heart And maybe it's safer not to say that I care Maybe this road won't lead me anywhere

But if I don't tell you now I may never get the chance again To tell you that I need you To tell you what I feel If I keep these feelings in

And if I don't say the words How will you hear what's inside my heart? How will you know that ... If I don't tell you now

I'd do anything to be in your dreams And I can't stand standing by With this dream that's inside my heart Maybe I'm only going to make a mistake And there's a chance maybe my heart will break

But if I don't tell you now I may never get the chance again To tell you that I need you Tell you what I'm feeling If I keep these feelngs in

And if I don't say the words How will you hear what's inside my heart? How will you know that ... If I don't tell you now

How will you you know you're inside my soul? Oh it's driving me crazy Cause you don't see you mean the world to me I'm so afraid to say the way that I feel

But if I don't tell you now I may never get the chance again To tell you that I need you Tell you what I'm feeling If I keep these feelings in

And if I don't say the words How will you hear what's inside my heart? How will you know babe If I don't tell you now If I don't tell you now

*

"What do you think of this one?" Isabel held up a blue tank top with a kitty-imprint for Tess' speculation.

Tess wrinkled her nose and shook her head. "It's too ... cutesy." She pulled a backless top off the rack. "How about this one?"

Isabel gaped. "The day I wear a backless top will be the day I die."

Tess giggled. "Not for you, silly, for me." She held the top against her chest and struck a pose. "What do you think? Sexy, chic, or so-over?"

"Slutty," Isabel responded flatly. "That's not going to help Liz like you."

"You make it sound like I'm trying to get her to date me or something. Besides, it's not like we've even seen any of them since school let out. Remember ... humans, aliens, no-mixing?"

"I remember," Isabel responded darkly, taking the black top from Tess and putting it back on the rack. "I hate those things."

"Aw," Tess protested, looking at the top, "I like 'em." She changed her voice to sultry. "Wouldn't it make me look ... sexy?"

Isabel bit her lip. "I ... how about this one?" She grabbed another shirt without looking at it.

Tess burst out laughing. "Sparkly appliques are awful ... they fall out in the wash!"

Isabel looked down at the shirt, only then becoming aware of the fact that it was pink and sparkly. "Forget I suggested it." She shook her head. "C'mon, there's nothing decent in this store. We should try Hot Topic."

"Sure, if you want to look like some being from outer-space."

"What do you think I am?" Isabel responded flatly, though she was smiling.

"My best buddy in the whole-wide-world!" Tess informed her in a childish voice. "Let's go. If I have to look at one more pink tank top, I'm going to be sick."

"So where to, then?" Isabel questioned her smaller friend.

Tess linked her arm through Isabel's. "Hägen-Daaz. The most sugary ice cream place in the world."

"I could use some chocolate-chunk right about now," Isabel agreed, following her to the escalator.

Tess shook her head good-naturedly, a smile across her face. "Raspberry. It has to be raspberry!"

"That's sherbet, not ice cream."

"Yeah, but it'll still give me a good sugar high. Come on!" Tess removed her arm from Isabel's to run ahead, nearly flying into the counter at the ice cream shop.

Isabel hurried to catch up, smiling against her will at her friend's antics. This was the first time in a long time that she had actually been happy. And it was all because of Tess. The smile fell of Isabel's face. That was a little ... odd, wasn't it?

Her brooding was interrupted by Tess yelling at her. "ISABEL! C'mere! I got you a triple-scoop, and it's melting."

Isabel brushed her thoughts away and hurried over to where Tess was, taking the ice cream from her. Swalling a scoop, she grinned and licked her lips. "Mmm. Too good."

"It'll be the death of us both," Tess agreed, sliding into a seat and neatly scooping up some sherbet.

"Are you going to come to the movies with Max and Michael and me tonight?" Isabel asked Tess.

"You're dating Michael?" Tess asked, a mixture of surprise and something Isabel wasn't sure she recognized in her eyes.

"Of course not." Isabel shook her head firmly. "Never." She paused for measure, and then added in a secretive whisper, "I'm dating Max."

Tess choked on her bite of ice cream, struggling to swallow it and catch her breath. "You're WHAT?"

"Kidding! Totally kidding. How sick do you think I am?" Isabel laughed.

"Well you guys aren't actually related ..." Tess shook her head, rubbing her now-sore throat. "You scared me there."

"I noticed." She swallowed the last bit of ice cream and threw the empty cup into a nearby trashcan.

"You're finished already? Trying to set a record or something?" Tess looked at her sherbet, which barely had a dent in it.

"Something like that," Isabel agreed, then stopped and stood up abruptly. "We need to go."

"Go? But I'm not ..." Tess trailed off, noting what Isabel was looking at. Alex Whitman and Liz Parker, and they were coming their way. "Oh! Yeah, let's go, right now." She had no desire to deal with Max's jealous girlfriend OR Isabel's over-exuberant ... boyfriend? Was he her boyfriend? Now probably wasn't the best time to think about it, Tess decided, throwing out her half-empty cup and grabbing her bag and Isabel's hand.

Isabel allowed Tess to take her hand and pull her (as much as someone half her size could) through the mall and out the door. While she had barely broken a sweat, Tess was nearly out of breath.

"Oh ... okay," Tess gasped. "Remind me never to run across the length of the mall again."

"I'll try," Isabel agreed. She suddenly realized that their hands were still joined and abruptly pulled hers away. "Let's go," she said shortly, crossing the street ahead of Tess. "We're late."

"Late?" Tess questioned, confused by Isabel's sudden change-in-attitude. "Late for what?"

"Late for ... stuff," Isabel attempted to elaborate, pulling her keys out of her pocket and quickly unlocking the doors.

"But ... we don't have any 'stuff' to do. That was the whole point of going to the mall, that we were bored."

Isabel didn't answer, revving up her engine and stepping on the gas pedal. By the time they were coasting on the highway, she had calmed down - in fact, she couldn't even remember why she was so nervous to begin with.

"Isabel?" Tess asked softly, when she noticed her posture change as she relaxed. "Are you okay?"

Isabel glanced at her friend, giving her a genuine smile. "Yeah, I am. Sorry."

"Are you sure? You just seemed to totally freak out there for a minute."

"Seeing Alex and Liz," Isabel responded without hesitation. After all, that was true. Wasn't it?

"Oh." Tess nodded knowingly. "You must miss them a lot?"

"Sometimes," Isabel agreed softly. "They were good friends to me."

"Alex was more than a friend, though, wasn't he?" Tess prodded.

"I guess he was."

"So is he that special someone? Y'know, the person for all time?"

"I doubt that. Alex ... he may be the best friend I'll ever have, but I'm not in love with him."

"How come? I mean ... he's crazy for you, he practically worships you. If I saw him literally kissing the ground you walked on, I wouldn't be surprised."

"Sadly ... neither would I. But he's not the guy for me. And I already know that. Even if this all blows over and Liz and Max and Michael and Maria get MARRIED or something, it won't be the same for Alex and me."

"So is there someone, then?"

"Someone?" Isabel asked, frowning and looking at Tess.

"You know ... SOMEone. Someone special."

"I don't -" Isabel started, but then cut herself off. "Yeah." She quickly took the spotlight off herself. "What about you?"

"Me?" Tess asked as they stopped at a light. "I think so. But she doesn't know it yet."

Isabel began to nod until Tess' choice of words sunk in. "She?"

Tess blushed and instantly became fasinated with re-braiding a pigtail. "He. I meant he." She laughed nervously. "You know me, always saying the wrong things ..."

Isabel wasn't so sure, but she let it go. She'd hate it if someone questioned her on something like that. The light changed, and she zoomed through it, not looking at Tess. Today especially, things seemed to get awkward often and she wasn't exactly sure why. Or maybe she just didn't want to figure it out.

"You can let me out here," Tess said, startling Isabel. She glanced out the window.

"Tess, we're two blocks from your house. It won't kill me to drive you all the way home, I promise."

"No, it's fine, I'll get out here."

"Tess -"

"I want to get out right here," Tess said sharply, and the tone of her voice made Isabel realize how serious she was.

"Okay," she agreed softly, stopping the car at the curb. "If you want to -"

"I do." Tess threw open the door and got out quickly.

"Tess ... is this about the whole he/she thing? Because I know what you meant."

Tess shook her head, her characteristic happy smile back on her face. "No," she denied cheerfully. "I just want the exercise."

Isabel nodded, deciding against aruging with Tess. "I'll stop by later for movies then?"

"I don't think that's such a good idea," Tess negated, shaking her head. "I mean, um ... the electricity has sorta sucked lately."

"Oh. Then how about my house? Say ... seven? I'll pick you up. Two blocks away, if you want," Isabel joked, smiling.

Tess seemed to be contemplating the idea. "I ... I guess so. But just one movie, I need a good night's sleep."

Isabel was about to question that - because Tess never went to sleep before three AM, especially not during the summer - but before she could, Tess had taken off, jogging down the sidewalk in the opposite direction of Isabel.

"Well, Tess," Isabel muttered to herself as she made a U-turn and headed back towards her house, "I have to hand it to you. You always surprise me."

*****

"Izzy, Honey?" Mrs. Evans peeked her head into her daughter's bedroom.

Isabel look up from painting her nails a bright tangerine color. "Hmm?"

"What are you doing tonight? Your father and I were considering going out ... dinner and dancing. Will you be all right by yourself?"

Isabel nodded. "Sure. Where's Max?"

Mrs. Evans frowned, thinking. "I think he was going to Liz's ..."

Isabel snorted. "There goes that whole plan," she muttered under her breath.

"Excuse me?"

"Uh, nothing," Isabel covered quickly. "Nothing. That's fine. Have fun."

Mrs. Evans smiled brightly. "I'm sure we will." She kissed her daughter gently on the forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow, darling. I love you."

"Love you too, Mom," Isabel echoed, watching her mother turn and leave. She glanced at her clock. Six-fifty. Now would be a good time to go pick up Tess ...

She waited until she heard her parents car pull out of the driveway before capping her nail polish, blowing on her nails, and hurrying down the stairs.

As she approached Tess' house, she began to wonder if Tess actually wanted her to pick her up several blocks from her house. She wasn't THAT desperate to exercise, was she? Isabel decided that it didn't matter anyway - she didn't SEE Tess standing on the side of the road, so therefore she must be waiting at her house.

At least, that's what Isabel figured. But when she got to the house, not only was it completely dark, but no one came to the door. Tess didn't have a car, and she had lately been on her own a lot, so she had to be home. Didn't she?

Isabel covered the doorknob with her hand until she felt the lock release. Gently opening the door, she called, "Tess?"

The house was surprisingly bare, she noted, and frowned. Was Nasaedo picking up and moving them again? Fear and pain crept into Isabel at the thought of that. "TESS?" she called, louder this time.

Isabel hurried up the stairs and down the hall, to Tess' bedroom. Unlike the rest of the doors on the floor, hers was shut tightly. Isabel knocked loudly. "Tess? Are you in there?"

A tiny sob reached Isabel's ears, and without a second thought she twisted the doorknob so hard she heard the lock break - without her powers.

The site of the bedroom made Isabel's breath catch in her throat. The room, though dark, was obviously bare, save for several boxes stacked in one corner and a sheetless bed. A sheetless bed with a sobbing girl on top of it.

Isabel flipped on the light quickly, and then hurried to Tess' side, gently pushing her onto her back. "Tess ... oh my God, what's wrong?"

"N-Nothing," Tess choked out, burying her face in her arm.

Isabel pulled Tess' arms away from her, forcing her to look up at the taller girl. "Tess. Tell me what's wrong."

"I can't," Tess sobbed, and Isabel's heart clenched. She hated seeing the girl she cared about so much so unlike herself, so upset.

"Shhh," Isabel soothed, brushing Tess' wavy hair away from her face. "It's okay. It's okay. Tell me what happened. Was it Nasaedo?"

"No," Tess denied, choking on a sob. "It was me."

"You? You what?" Isabel asked, confusion filling her voice.

"It was me," Tess repeated. "I did it all. It's my choice. All my choice."

"What's your choice? What did you do?"

"I chose it all," Tess responded, not completely answering Isabel's question.

"Tess," Isabel said, her voice firm but gentle. "I don't know what you're talking about. You have to explain it."

Tess sat up sharply, looking at Isabel. "It's all my fault!" she cried, and then flopped back on the bed in a fit of tears.

Isabel felt tears prick the corner of her eyes, and she removed one hand from Tess' arm to brush them away. "You have to tell me what's wrong. I don't know. You have to tell me. Please, Tess," she implored. She looked around the room, shuddering at how barren it was. "Where ... where are you going?"

Tess choked on a sob and rolled off the bed, wiping her eyes on the back of her sleeve. "That's it. That's what I did. That's what I chose. I'm leaving," she informed Isabel softly.

A million questions flew through Isabel's mind at that point, and she tried to sort them out to ask. "But ... why?"

"I have to," Tess responded softly. "This isn't my place. It is for you, and Max, and Michael, but not me."

"That's not true," Isabel responded, her voice almost harsh. "You're just as welcome as the rest of us. Maybe more."

"No," Tess denied, shaking her head. "You guys fit in. You've been raised differently. I don't."

"Tess ... you can't do this," Isabel responded, almost pleading. "You can't leave."

"You don't get it, Isabel," Tess snapped back, but her voice was more sad than it was cruel. "You didn't grow up like me. I thought I finally fit in here, but I don't. You all carry on human relationships. Michael and Maria, Liz and Max, you and ... whoever it is you're in love with. You act human. You ARE human."

Isabel shook her head. "Not really," she said softly. "If you chose to leave ... why are you so upset about it?"

"Because I'll miss you. So much."

Isabel bit her lip, trying to hold back the onslaught of tears threatening to spill over. "You can't leave me, Tess," she whispered. Even the thought of it made her stomach churn and her heart clench.

"Why not?" A sob escaped from Tess' throat. "It'll be just the same as it was before I was here. Better off for everyone."

"Don't you ever say that," Isabel demanded, her voice overcome with emotion. "Never. That's not true. Just because you don't get along with Liz, or because you weren't raised the same, it doesn't mean we'll be better off when you leave. I don't know how I'm going to live without you."

Tess felt like her heart was going to break into a thousand pieces. How was SHE going to make it without Isabel? In the few months that she had been here, Isabel had become her best friend. Almost more.

Almost.

"You will," Tess told her softly. "You'll have Max and Michael, and Alex, and ... and ..." her voice broke as she continued, "That ... guy ... who you love ..."

It took Tess saying those words to her to make things fall into place in Isabel's head. To make her see what she had been feeling and hiding. To make her see what was right in front of her. To make her see what she was about to lose. Tess.

Before she could stop herself, she began crying in ernest. "I'm not in love with some guy," she cried. "I'm in love with someone else who I can't bear to lose. Don't let me lose her, Tess. Don't let me lose her," she begged, nearly unable to breathe through her tears.

"Her? ... Isabel, what ..." Tess trailed off, not completing her sentence.

"Her," Isabel repeated, gasping for breath. Did Tess know? Could she tell her? Was it worth the risk? One look into Tess' shimmering eyes told her it was. "I'm in love with her. You."

"Me?" Tess squeaked, not daring to believe that what Isabel said was true.

"You," Isabel continued in a rush, "I'm in love with you. And I know this is only going to make you want to get farther away from me. And I know I shouldn't be saying this. But if I don't tell you, and you leave ... if you walk away not knowing ... I won't be able to live with myself. I didn't even realize until you said you were leaving, until you talked about the person I was in love with. It was you, Tess, and you're right. I need that person in my life, to have, I need her. I need her so badly." Isabel paused, trying desperately to catch her breath. Seeing the startled look on Tess' face, she turned away, standing up quickly. "I-I'm sorry. I shouldn't ... I couldn't ... I didn't mean ... I have to go. I'm sorry," she repeated hastily.

"No." Tess touched Isabel's arm gently, looking into her friend's eyes. "When I ... when I said she ... I meant it. I meant she. I meant you. But you ... you had Alex ... and I never thought ... did you mean it? What you said, did you mean it?"

"I ... I don't know ..." Isabel trailed off. "Yes. Yes, I meant it ... I meant everything I said ... I don't know how long I've felt this way and not been able to admit it to myself ... but I know it now. I know it now, Tess, even if it scares me, I know it's true. But I don't know what to do."

"Stay with me," Tess murmured. "Stay with me here."

"I'm ... I'm not the one who was leaving," Isabel responded shakily.

Tess stood up, sitting on her edge of her bed. "I'm not going anywhere. Not if ... not if that's how you feel."

"It's how I feel," Isabel confirmed softly, sitting next to Tess.

"I never ... I never thought you'd feel that way. I ... well ... you just seemed so confident, and happy, and you had Alex and everything ... I don't know ... I just never even considered that maybe ... maybe my feelings could be returned."

"I didn't know, either," Isabel admitted. "But now I do."

"But what abot ... what about everyone else?"

"It's not up to everyone else," Isabel whispered. "They have their own relationship problems to deal with. They don't have room to judge us. And it's not up to them. We live our life, Tess."

Tess bit her lip. "Really?"

"Really," Isabel agreed softly. "Are you still leaving?"

Tess hesitated for a moment, then shook her head. "I don't think I could ... not if I wanted to."

"And do you want to?"

"No," Tess answered, this time without hesitating. "Never."

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