In This Quiet Moment
By Amber

It's simple and sweet
Beautiful too
It's all of me
Becoming all of you

It's just how it is
It can't be explained
It isn't anything
We could ever change

It's nothing bad
Love is always good
It's all that I feel
It's all that I should

It's the only thing
That has ever felt right
Your soft tender kiss
Keeps me alive.

Isabel put down her pencil and stared at the poem. It was perfect. It conveyed exactly what she was feeling. All day, she had tried to rationalize the events of the night convince herself that they meant nothing. At first, she had convinced herself that she was somehow bad in what she did. All the things she had heard about "people like that" had flooded her thoughts so that she couldn't even concentrate on her schoolwork. And that long, painfully silent ride home last night added to it all. She just wanted to be normal. That's all she had ever wanted, and society had led her to believe that she was not. This whole situation seemed to be such a complicated issue. Yet deep down, she knew that what everyone had made out to be such a complex and evil thing was really quite simple and sweet. They just couldn't understand because they couldn't relate. And now that she had managed to get all of this out of herself and onto paper, she felt better about it...and she loved the poem. It gave her a sense of tranquility that she had not had all day. She finally was able to think about last night without beating herself up about it. And as she sat there reading the poem, a tear came to her eye, and she thought about what had happened.


"Isabel, do you want to come over to my house tonight?"

Isabel turned around and saw Tess walking up to her. "Sure. What's going on at your house?"

"Well, Kyle's dad is worried about all this new FBI stuff going on, and he wanted us to lay low again. You know how it goes." Isabel nodded in agreement. "And so he's thinking we should have this little movie night thing at the house. Something simple, you know. Rent a movie...have chips and sodas. Regular teen stuff."

"A party," Isabel grinned.

"Yeah something like that," agreed Tess with a smile. "It'll be all of us. You, me, Max, Liz...everyone. It'll be fun. We never get to do stuff like this. Everything has been so hectic lately."

"I know what you mean."

"Ok, so I'll see you tonight then. About 6 o'clock?"

"Sounds good to me. See you then," said Isabel with a smile as Tess jogged off in the other direction. Something about Tess always brought a smile to her face. They had their share of tense moments, but it never came between them. Chalk it up to the FBI and evil alien adventures. Anyway, she thought, tonight should be fun.


The sun was just starting to set as Isabel and Max arrived at the Valenti's. They could see that Maria's car was already there.

"I guess we're the last to arrive," Max said as they got out of the jeep. "Alex and Liz were riding with her."

"Oh well, they aren't going to start without us, Max," Isabel retorted. She loved toying with him. And he always seemed to take it so seriously.

"I know that," Max responded in quick defense as Isabel grinned back at him.

As they approached the door, Tess walked out and greeted them.

"Hi, guys. Everyone is here. Party!" She had that cute little smile on her face as she ushered them into the house. There was just something about that smile that sparked something inside Isabel, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

"Hi, you two," welcomed Valenti as they walked into the house. "It's not really that much of a party, but we have some snacks in the kitchen if you'd like to get something."

"Now this is the Valenti we all know and love," Maria joked as she walked out of the kitchen to greet them. "Guys, you have got to see this...this cake that Liz made. It's like, oh my God!" Maria was always the drama queen.

Isabel, Max, and Tess walked into the kitchen to join the others. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time. It was quite a contrast to they had been having lately. And quite refreshing too. Isabel caught a glimpse of Tess smiling at her and gave her a quick smile as well. She wasn't quite sure how to react. It was as if there were more to Tess's smile than just a "Hi, isn't this fun,". But she couldn't figure it out, so she just brushed it off and continued to mingle with Maria and Liz who were poring over some cake Liz had made. Isabel couldn't help but laugh at the fact that it was twisted into the same shape as the symbol on the necklace she had found back at Atherton's house. How cute was that!

After all the commotion in the kitchen died down, the kids all went into the living room to start the movie. It was 'Never Been Kissed' which just so happened to be Isabel's favorite movie. She sat down on the couch beside Tess and they started the movie. This should be a nice relaxing evening, thought Isabel with a smile.

About halfway through the movie, Isabel noticed that Tess kept looking over at her. She thought it was odd, yet it made her feel good at the same time. She looked over at Tess and smiled at her. Tess smiled back, but she didn't turn away. Isabel couldn't bring herself to turn away either. It was as though there were some alien force holding them captive in that one moment. Something that wouldn't let either of them break the hold. As Isabel sat there looking at Tess, everything else seemed to fade into the background. The sounds coming from the television set were distant whispers, the laughter of their friends were fading echoes, and everything except Tess became a soft blur in the background. Something was about to happen. She could feel it, but she didn't know what to do. She was scared but excited at the same time. And she wished that she knew what that expression on her face looked like from the outside. It was like everything was happening in slow motion and every vein in her body was pumping in overtime.

Then it happened. Tess reached out her hand and placed it gently on Isabel's face. Then she leaned in and kissed Isabel softly on the lips. She slowly pulled away and looked into Isabel's eyes. Isabel was shocked yet thrilled, and she didn't know quite how to react. She looked over and saw that Maria was watching them in shock. Tess must have caught the look of embarrassment on Isabel's face at that moment because she suddenly turned red and backed off.

"I'm sorry," she said softly as she backed off. "I'm sorry." She stood up and looked over at Maria and then back at Isabel. By this time, the others had diverted their attention to her as well. "Oh my god, I'm sorry" she said, cupping her hand over her mouth as she ran off in tears.

"What just happened?" Liz asked. Everyone except Maria and Isabel were completely confused over Tess's sudden outburst.

"Oh my god," Isabel said in embarrassment as she ran off to find Tess.

"What happened?" Liz inquired again.

"That was really weird," Kyle added.

"Oh my god. Tess kissed Isabel!" Maria said, still in shock.

"What?" Max said, now all the more confused.

"Tess kissed Isabel," Maria repeated sharply. "She just...leaned over and kissed her. I saw it all. I looked over, and it just...happened." Everyone had completely forgotten about the movie by this time. "And then she got all freaked out about it and ran off apologizing."

"Oh my god," Liz said, not able to think of anything else to respond with.


Isabel walked into Kyle's room and saw Tess crumpled on the floor crying.

"Tess..." she said softly, trailing off as she looked at her from the doorway.

"I'm sorry. It just happened. I'm really sorry."

"Don't be. I..."

"You hate me now. I know it. And I deserve it," Tess interrupted without ever looking up.

"Tess, I don't hate you," Isabel said as she closed the door behind her and walked over to Tess. She sat down beside her and put her hand on Tess's shoulder.

"Yes you do. You must think I'm some sort of a freak or something," Tess cried as she looked up at Isabel. "They all do now."

"No they don't. They probably didn't even see it."

"Maria saw," she said as she sat up. "And she's probably telling everyone now. I can just hear them," she continued, mocking what she believed the others were saying, " 'Oh my god, Tess kissed Isabel. I always knew she was probably a dyke.'"

"Tess, that's not what they're saying," Isabel said, slightly annoyed.

"It's what you're thinking."

"No, Tess, it's not what I'm thinking. And anyway...let them think that if they want to."

"What are you thinking then?"

"I don't know...I..."

"Yeah, I thought so," Tess interrupted, looking back down at the floor in embarrassment.

"I liked it," Isabel said softly.

Tess looked up at her and managed to smile through the tears. "You did?" she asked softly.

"Y...yeah. I did," Isabel stammered, wondering if this moment of truth would backfire on her.

"And you wouldn't mind if I were to do it again?" Tess asked hesitantly.

Isabel was taken a bit off guard but managed to answer. "No. I wouldn't mind."

"Really?" Tess asked, still unsure.

"Yes. Really," Isabel answered, certain that she was now hurdling unguarded toward the inevitable.

Tess smiled and leaned over and kissed Isabel again, this time on the cheek. She slowly pulled back and smiled at Isabel. Isabel smiled back. She was excited that this was happening, but she was still scared. It was the unknown element that frightened her. It was the fact that she knew that this is what she wanted, and she almost hated herself for it. It was the fact that for once, she was actually feeling something for someone...something intense...yet this someone was a girl. Before she could say a word, Tess leaned back over and kissed her on the lips. It was a relatively short kiss, but it wasn't the last. Tess, still close to Isabel, was smiling through her tears. Isabel reached out and gently wiped the tears away from Tess's face. Tess was looking right into her eyes the whole time. She then leaned over and kissed Tess's lips. However, this time they didn't pull apart. Isabel could feel every emotion surging through her body. It was beautiful yet frightening at the same time. She put her arms around Tess, and Tess answered by wrapping her arms around Isabel as well. By this time Tess mustered up all of her courage and slipped her tongue between Isabel's lips. It was received well.

The kiss seemed to last an eternity. Then they heard the door open and they instinctively jumped apart. Everyone was standing there in shock.

"We just wanted if everything was...ok," Maria said, sounding horribly embarrassed.

"We'll go if you two want alone," Kyle smirked.

"Don't bother," Isabel said as she got up and walked out the door. Even with all that she felt, she was still conflicted about the whole thing. She had told Tess not to worry about what other people thought of her, yet here she was worrying about it herself. She just couldn't sit there and take the stares and jokes. She had to get out of there. It was too bad that she and Max had come together, she thought, because now she would just have to sit in the jeep and wait for him to drive her home.

Liz watched Isabel leave and then turned back to Tess who was still sitting on the floor, "So...I guess I don't have to worry about Max...anymore," she said scratching her forehead. " obviously have other...interests."

"Don't joke with me," Tess said, sounding angry. In reality, she was embarrassed by the entire situation, and upset that everyone seemed to be making fun of what was really important to her. She stood up and began to walk out the door.

"No...I'm not trying to be rude. It's ok. It's," Liz said. "It's...great. It's good." She managed a smile though she was still puzzled by all of this.

"Whatever," Tess said as she walked out of the room. She saw Isabel walking out the front door but was too embarrassed and hurt to say anything to her. She wished that she had somewhere else to go rather than right back to the couch where this all had started.

"Tess and Isabel hmmm?" Michael added with a mumble, "Great" he said sarcastically as he walked away. "That's exactly what we need right now." The others just stood there staring at the empty room.


Isabel smiled as she put the poem away in a safe place. It was for her eyes only. It was something to help her deal with all the internal conflict. Maybe she would someday give it to Tess. Maybe at their wedding. Wouldn't that be wonderful, she thought. She hoped that someday that would be possible. At that very moment, she heard a knock on the door and went to answer it. There stood Tess with a bouquet of flowers in her hand and a huge smile on her face. Isabel grinned and let her in. No words needed to be spoken as they closed the door behind themselves. Nothing and no one else mattered except for the quiet moments they shared.


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