"But I can't erase
God, I can't stop starring at her. My skin becomes warm every time she smiles or flips her hair. I sometimes wonder what it would feel like to run my fingers through that honey blonde hair. The way it drapes across her shoulders like a shimmering veil. The creaminess of her pale skin gives the illusion that it's made of silk, and that it just might taste like honey. Her eyes can sometimes look like sparkling ice chips, so distant and cold that when she looks at me I just want to wither and die. But they can sometimes hold so much love and beauty that I wonder why everyone isn't in love with her. But I guess most people don't study her like I do. Don't know her secret. She's reading something, her eyes darting back and forth, so focused. And I think to myself, I am not attracted to this girl. Just interested, like one of those human case studies.
I wonder what Michael would think of all these thoughts I've found myself having. And I'm thankful he can't dream walk. Would he be aroused? Would he feel wounded if he saw the way I look at her? I don't even know if it's possible to wound Michael, to get past his shell, or her's for that matter.
"Maria, are you feeling okay?" Liz suddenly asks me from behind. I spin around and look at her stupidly for a moment and then realize I had been pouring about a pound of salt on some poor guy's French fries.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just you know, thinking about Michael and the Czechoslovakian army."
" Oh. That's perfectly understandable. So, how are you and Michael coming along? Any declarations of love? Marriage proposals?" She asks me with a patented Liz Parker eyebrow raise. I chuckle.
"No and oh-my-god no. I think we're doing okay. Sometimes, I wish I could just crawl inside his head and find out what he's thinking. But then again I might be repulsed."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. When I'm kissing Max, I sometimes wonder if he's thinking about Tess, remembering how it was with her you know? I mean, they shared this whole other life together, they might even of had children. We don't even know that much. How can I possible compete with her?
"Well, first of all you don't have to. Second of all, do we really buy the innocent little girl routine?"
"I don't know. We don't even know that much of about her. Anyway, can you do me a favor and finish up my shift? I know you have been the past few days, but we're only another thirty minutes from closing, and I promised Max I'd meet him early."
Don't get me wrong, I love Liz. She's my best friend... but sometimes, I think if she says Max one more time, I'm going to have to go psycho on her. Why can't we have one normal conversation together that doesn't involve boys? Or girls. Or aliens for that matter. Maybe I'm just jealous, he does take up a lot of her time. Time that used to belong to me. What can I say, I can be a very sour girl sometimes, Especially when it comes to sharing.
"Sure thing, you just go have fun with pod boy and leave me here to rot."
"Thanks Maria, you're the best." Liz says as she heads towards the back to change. I swear, sometimes that girl is just too happy. If she weren't my best friend I'd be more than happy to bust that little bubble of her's.
I look up, and sure enough, Princess Isabel is still there. I smile to myself as I continue feeding the masses and asking if they'd like anything else with that all the while thinking of her. I wonder if she thinks about me, even just a little. Because lately she's all I can think about.
"Hey, what are you reading?" I ask Isabel as I sit down in front of her. She looks up at me, and there's no malicious in her eyes so I take this as a sign. She marks her place and then looks back up at me, this time with a friendly face.
"Girl, Interrupted." She says, looking around for the first time since she's gotten to the Crashdown.
"Ah. Any good?" I say, trying to make conversation.
"Yeah, it's okay." she says, and then realizes what time it is. I sigh inwardly, wishing we stayed open later and that I hadn't promised to have a mother-daughter chat with my mom.
"Sorry, I didn't know it was closing time." She says apologetically, and then I really sigh.
"No problem, I have nothing better to do than clean up after people... so... do you like the movie?"
"Oh, I've never seen it."
"You've never seen it?! I mean, it's only one of the best movies ever made and Angelina Jolie is so... you haven't seen it? I think she won an award for it. Angelina, not Winona Ryder. I didn't mention she was in it did I?" As usual, I begin to babble. I hate that about myself. When I get nervous I babble, and Isabel definitely made me nervous.
"No, and that's why I'm reading book."
"Well, I have it if you want to see it. You could come over tomorrow night, around seven. My mom will be on a date with Sheriff Valenti." and at that thought my stomach does a flop. There should be an age limit on dating. Or at least a limit on whom you can date.
"That must make you want to die." She says with a small laugh, and I get the feeling she doesn't find anything amusing about Sheriff Valenti. He did save us from Agent Pierce, but I don't think any of us we're ready to place out the welcome mat.
"Basically, but he doesn't seem like such a bad guy. And under the circumstances, I think I've handled it pretty well."
I look at her with what I hope isn't a desperate look. But the prospect of not seeing her all weekend isn't the greatest thought. She looks thoughtful for awhile, silently chewing on her lip, which makes my mind wander farther than usual...
"Okay. Hey, I could bring some other movies. Have you seen 28 Days? Or... the Bone Collector?" I lie and say no, even though Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie are my favorite actresses.
"Okay, see you at seven."
She gathers her things into her backpack and I notice the Hole patch on her backpack and I smile. Someone who likes Hole, now there's someone I can trust. Now that's a strange thought. Trusting Isabel. I have to admit she used to scare me. I bought into the whole Ice Queen routine. And then the whole evil alien thing. But Isabel is much more than that.
I'm nervous, which isn't anything new. I'm kind of always nervous, which pretty much started the day I found out Max Evans was an alien. I mean, at any given moment a group of sadistic skins could bust down my door, tie me upside down, and ask me to take them to my leader. I think I could handle that. As long as none of them had long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. She is coming to my house. That was all I could keep saying over and over. We'd gotten to be pretty good friends, become a little closer. But I knew I wasn't even close to knowing the real Isabel, yet. And the thought of knowing her, truly knowing her, made me feel dizzy.
I want everything to be perfect, down to the scent of candles. I try to imagine what kind of scents she likes. I think she should smell like sandalwood and gardenia, so that's what I light. And mixed with the sound and scent of the rain outside my window, they become almost heavenly. I'm wearing a black silk dress with red embroidered cherries on it. It's simple and, okay, a little low cut. And maybe a little short. But I'm not exactly the catholic schoolgirl Michael and everyone else think I am. Liz knows my dark side, and I think it scares her sometimes. She knows I'm the jeans wearing but on the verge of leather type of girl. And when Isabel wears leather... it just about drives me over the edge.
The door bell rings, and I go to answer it. I open the door, and there stands Isabel. The rain is pouring down now, something it doesn't do often. It drowns out the sounds of barking darks, car horns, and the other annoyances. Her hair is damp, making it appear longer. Her umbrella is leopard print, and I would expect nothing less from a fashion Goddess. But a black leather dress isn't something I would wear to a friend's house. It accentuates her body perfectly, and she probably knows it. It simultaneously takes my breath away and turns my stomach into knots. She looks annoyed and embarrassed at the same time.
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" She asks, and I feel incredibly stupid. She shakes some of the rain droplets off her umbrella as I step out of the way for her to come inside. I then close the door behind her, feeling as if I've just cut us off from the rest of the world.
"Hey, it's raining hard huh?" Smooth Maria, real suave. Why am I obsessing about this? She's just a friend of mine coming over to watch a movie wearing a *tight* leather dress... whip cream in the fridge... Angelina on the screen... this was going to be a long night.
It's hard to concentrate on a movie with someone you're attracted to is only inches away. I've admitted this now, yes; I am attracted to her. And the way she watches the screen, so intent, I can't help but wonder what she's thinking about. Me? Now there's wishful thinking. Probably Alex, or one of her love slaves. She smiles, I melt. And I feel stupid for it.
"That was a good movie. Angelina Jolie's a wonderful actress, don't you think." It's more of a statement than a question. Everything with her is a statement; there is no debating with Isabel. I guess it comes from having everyone around you agree, whether you're right or wrong.
"Yeah. OH, the movie's over. So...now what?" I say dumbly, kicking myself for not at least trying to watch the movie.
"I KNOW! They way he looks at me with those sad, puppy eyes. It's really pathetic but touching at the same time. No offence, I know you two are good friends." Isabel says, smiling. It's good to see her smiling for once.
"None taken, and yes, he is in love with you. Just don't tell him I told you. Poor Alex, but you're probably used to people falling over themselves to be near you.
"Yeah, but with Alex, I know it's honest. Most guys and girls want to be near me simply because they think I'm the perfect trophy. It's weird to be around him, because I've never had that."
Do you love him?" I knew I shouldn't ask it, but I have to know. She looks at me, thinking.
"Alex is nice. He's sweet, and he truly cares about me. But... I don't know." She looks away, uncomfortable.
"What about you, do you love Michael?" She asks, looking into my eyes, and I have to look away. It's hard to look into her eyes.
"Yes, well, I don't know." I say it without even thinking. Of course I love Michael. I'm supposed to love Michael. But do I really?
"Oh." She says, looking at me, her eyes piercing me. I study her face for a moment, savoring every feature. And then I notice the gray feather in her hair. I giggle.
"Did you get in a fight with a bird on your way over here, or is the bird feather a whole new look for you?" I ask her and she looks puzzled. Then she blushes.
"I bought a bird from the pet store last week. He got out of his cage and I ended up chasing him around my room for awhile. I would have just used my powers, and Max gets angry when I use them at home. God! He's always so worried about someone finding out about us, it drives me insane. He tells me who I can and can't see yet he does what ever he feels like. It's not fair you know? It's like I have four parents, if you add Michael into the mix.
I never thought about it that way. Never dreamed they weren't one big happy family. I move off the floor and onto my bed to sit beside her. Her lips are glossed, and they shine under the candles' glow. Next to her I can almost feel the heat radiating from her body, and I suddenly want nothing more than kiss her. To be a part of her.
I reach out my hand to pluck it out and I can't help but stroke her hair. It's like nothing I've ever felt before. Soft and smooth, I stroke it again. She's looking into my eyes, almost like she's looking into my soul. And in that moment I know I'm for my boyfriend's best friend. I think about Michael for a moment, how his sullen glare can sometimes mirror Isabel's. I wonder sometimes if there is anything more to Michael except for raw anger and lust. Isabel is so much more than that. Thoughts of the two of them race though my mind, and then all thoughts flee my mind as she leans in towards me and places her lips over mine. I can smell her perfume and her shampoo, sweet and tart at the same time. So like Isabel.
Her lips are so unlike any man's. I notice that right off. So soft and tender, she kisses me and I kiss back. Then she pulls away and just looks at me, smiling.
"You kissed me." I say, because it's the only thing I can say at this point. Why doesn't Michael ever kiss me like that?
"You kissed me back." she says, a coy smile on her lips. It's a warm, inviting smile. And I can't refuse it.
She kisses me again, this time stronger, and I can't think, I can only do. She puts her hand on my shoulder and I lean my body closer. We change positions so that we're both spread out, holding each other, our arms and legs entwined. It feels so good, and I feel a burning I haven't felt in a long time. I break away this time, looking at her. Wanting more but afraid of what she'll say. Will she run away from me? I don't think I could bare that.
"Shhhh... " She says and she kisses my lips tenderly. Her velvet tongue touches my lips and I part them to allow her in. Her tongue slips into my mouth and I wonder why it never feels this way with Michael. She slowly plants kisses around my mouth, then moves down to the nape of my neck, causing me to moan quietly. I run my fingers through her soft hair, then move them down her back, savoring every inch of pale skin. Then my hand brushes leather, and I'm suddenly very hot. My skin has become embers, and all I need is her. She's kissing me, moving to my collarbone.
I kiss her lips, savoring the taste of her cherry lip-gloss and the feel of them on mine. I kiss my way to her ear lobe and tug on it softly with my teeth. Now it's her turn to moan, but to me it sounds more like the purr of a contented kitten. We break away and then look at each other, studying, memorizing. I know her lips are imprinted on my mind forever. Her lips, so moist and warm. I want to feel them over every inch of my body, in ever fiber of my being. Our lips meet again, this time desperately and wanting more. Her lips massage mine, and then her tongue again begins to explore my mouth. I lean farther into her warm, leather clad body, moving my hands down her waist, cupping her ass.
And then there's a rap on my window. Our bodies jump, startled. We look at each other guiltily, but at the same time wishing away the interruption. Her eyes suddenly seem very large and clear. I get up and walk to the window as she sits up, composing herself. I'm suddenly very glad I closed my curtains. It's Michael, and he's drenched. He looks at me and then Isabel. I open my window to let him in, wishing he would just go away.
"Michael, is something wrong?" He looks at Isabel.
"No, sorry I didn't know you were having Is over. I just brought over a movie. Thought maybe..." He looks severely uncomfortable, and I can't imagine why.
"I was just about to leave. You too have fun." Isabel is flustered and turning red and I want to scream "NO YOU CAN'T LEAVE" but it wouldn't do any good so I watch dumbstruck as she gathers her things.
"It was fun Maria." She says, giving me a look I can only define as naughty.
"Yeah, it was Isabel." I say, a slight smile passing over my lips.
"We'll have to do this again sometime." She says, and by the look on her face I know she means it.
"Definitely. Wednesday, say 8?"
"Sounds good." She says and then she's gone. And I'm stuck with a wet and lonely Michael, wondering where all of this is leading.
Michael looks at me, and I smile somewhat guiltily. I know how I must look, flushed and nervous. He probably doesn't even notice.
"So, I brought the Godfather. Figured, we could, you know, watch it together." He says and plops down on my bed, getting it wet.
"I'll go get you a towel." I say and I head off towards the laundry room.
Why Michael would think I'd like The Godfather is beyond me, but at least he's trying. But, he should know me by now shouldn't he? I smile, because I'm beginning to think Isabel and I have more in common then I thought. And I smile wider and even giggle, because I know it's not going to be Michael I'm dreaming about tonight.