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And Everything Changes, Part Two

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list December 12, 2000

Title: And Everything Changes (2/?)
Author: Northlight
email: temporary_blue@yahoo.ca
Summary: So far, fluff. If I write more, an actual plot may emerge.
Pairing: slash, M/I
Rating: Around a mild PG13.
Distribution: If you already have any of my other fics, go right ahead. If not, ask -- I always say yes. Also at http://www.geocities.com/northlight12/ros.html
Disclaimer: WB and 20thC Fox.
Date: March 27, 2000



Steam wafted lazily upwards, accompanied by the kettle's plaintive wail. Diane Evans lifted it from the burner, glowing an angry red, and watched the heated water tumble over the tea-bag placed in the mug beside the stove. "You got in awfully late last night, Isabel," she commented as she seated herself at the table, freshly filled mug in hand.

Isabel paused, the pancake she had speared with her fork hovering before her mouth. "I was over at a friend's house studying for midterms. We lost track of time." She chewed at the pancake vigorously, concentrating of the feel of it tearing beneath the pressure of her teeth. Better that than to allow herself to contemplate the guilt she felt at lying to her mother once more. It was almost terrifying how easily the lies came to her. Somehow, Isabel doubted that the guilt that surged within her as she did so served as a counterbalance to the untruths and evasions which marred her life.

The spoon clinked against the side of the mug as Diane fished the soaked tea-bag out from it. "I thought you were done with midterms?" she asked.

"I am," Isabel replied. "I was helping Maria study. She still has one more to go before it's all over." She lay her silverware across the emptied plate.

Diane smiled at her daughter fondly. "Always such a helpful young woman," she stated. Diane took a cautious sip of her tea. Her hands wound around the still steaming mug as she lowered it back to the table. "Maria... is she a new friend of yours?"

Isabel nodded. "Yes. Maria DeLuca... her mom is the one who provides our many tourists with their required kitsch quotient. She's a friend of Liz's. You know Liz, don't you?"

"Max's friend," Diane recalled. "Yes, we met after the accident. She seemed like a nice girl." She paused. "I haven't seen her since then."

Isabel smiled slightly. "You know how those things are, mom. Once Max figures out what he's doing, I'm sure that you'll be seeing a whole lot more of her around here."

The older woman nodded her understanding.

"Why don't you invite Maria over some night?" Diane suggested. "I'd like a chance to meet some of your friends, too, sweetheart."

Her chair scrapped against the tiled floor slightly as Isabel pushed away from the table. She caught up her plate, rising from her seat. Isabel's hands braced against the edge of the counter as she watched the water cascading from the tap over the objects she had stacked inside the sink. "That sounds really nice, mom. I'd like you to meet Maria, too."

***

Maria's alien slippers slapped against the floor as she wound her way into the kitchen. She rubbed at her eyes wearily with the back of her hand, finding her way to her usual seat by rote. Although having long ago grown accustomed to her mother's occasional trips, there was still something unsettling about waking up to a silent house. Maria smiled slightly, fingers resting against her lips, as she wondered what it would be like to share her mornings with Isabel.

"Quite the happy little homemaker, aren't we?" Maria murmured, shaking off the images she had been crafting. Even had their relationship not been a secret, she doubted that either of their parents would wholeheartedly embrace the idea of sleepovers. She snorted slightly at that thought.

Although Amy DeLuca had always been rather liberal about matters of family structure and sexual identity, Maria wondered how well that abstract acceptance would carry over into her own life. She had learned that the theoretical was far easier to deal with than the practical.

Maria certainly recognized that was the case in her own life. Even as her daydreams had been occupied with visions of the other young woman, Maria had been fighting a serious case of denial. Attraction to other women had never been part of Maria's vision of herself. Before Isabel, Maria's fantasy and waking romantic life had been squarely centered on males. Like Michael -- he had definitely been up there on the lust-o-meter.

And suddenly, she was different. If not within her own psychic makeup, then in the eyes of everyone else. At least once everyone else found out. That thought was terrifying. Maybe it made her a chicken, maybe she was superficial, but the thought of how others would react once they knew...

She loved Isabel, with an intensity which surprised her. While with the other girl, it felt right, and safe, as if she could face the world as long as they were together. Just the rumours that had circulated after her less than amicable break-up with Michael following their semi-relationship had made her stomach clench nervously. The amount of gossip she and Isabel would create... they'd feed the gossip mill for months. And unless their class schedules magically realigned themselves, they'd be facing most of those curious stares without the other's support.

Maria didn't even want to consider what the situation would be like once they factored in Michael and Alex.

"God," Maria sighed. "My life is such the soap opera."

***

Max was in front of the row of lockers in which Maria's was situated when she arrived at school. He was staring at Liz's, located at the end opposed to Maria's segment of the block of metal cases sunk into the wall. Maria's lips tightened slightly as she caught sight of him, hovering indecisively, caught between his urge to see Liz and the knowledge that doing so would weaken his resolution to take a step back from her. 'Dumbass,' Maria muttered sourly to herself.

Liz adored Max, Max adored Liz -- it was sweet, in that overdone, star-crossed lovers way. Max Evans may have been Liz's true love, but something about their relationship irked Maria. Maybe it was due to the fact that he was constantly putting Liz through the emotional wringer while trying to 'protect' her. Maybe it was the hours she had spent with Liz over cartons of ice cream, watching Liz shuttle back between bliss and agony again and again.

Or maybe it was the whole silent, soulful thing that Max drew about him like a cloak. His silence, his longing gazes full of meaning... the entire Max Evans package just creeped Maria out. Liz found it romantic. Maria would believe that the day that she interacted with the alien while he wasn't mooning over her best friend or worrying over his origins. 'If my life is a soap opera, Liz's is definitely a Harlequin romance novel.'

And that man -- straight-laced, need to be in control, cautious Max Evans happened to be Isabel's brother and one of the select few whose opinion about their relationship bore real weight.

Maria studied Max out of the corner of her eye as her hands groped through her locker. Her fingers found the shredding cover of her notebook's binding, and Maria slid it into her school-bag, held balanced on her knee. The locker clanged shut and Maria gave her lock a final swirl. Sliding her backpack onto her shoulders, she made her way towards Max.

"Indecision is not a good look on you," Maria greeted him.

Max blinked at her. "Maria," he nodded.

'Okay, making _real_ progress here.' She hooked her thumbs beneath the straps of her bag, shifting from foot to foot as the silence grew between them. "Neena is out sick today, Liz has the morning shift. She'll probably make it here just in time for class." Max nodded and began to slip into the still meager stream of students roaming the halls before first bell.

"Wait!" Maria called out. She began speaking before Max had turned to face her once again. "Look, Evans, if you and Liz are going to be doing what you're both thinking about... I think it might be nice for us to actually sit down and talk."

He studied her for a moment, and Maria realized that she threw him as badly as he did her. Max smiled slightly. "Sounds good," he told her.

"Great, then. We'll talk, and then we can both tell Liz we tried."

~end part 2~

Continue to Part Three

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