A Different Kind of Alone
Disclaimer: Same as before...not mine
* * *
“Try it again, Izzy.” Michael prodded. The four were now at Maria’s house since Liz’s parents came home and Maria’s mom was at some convention. Liz was still at home though, Maria said she needed some rest. As for Tess, she hadn’t been seen since the night Max was missing.
“No, I can’t, Michael! I’ve already tried it three times! It’s not working.” Isabel was crying. She was the only one who could help them find Max and it wasn’t working, “I’m telling you, either he’s not asleep or he’s...” Another round of sobs wracked her body.
Alex rubbed her back, “Shh...don’t say that Isabel.” He turned to Michael, “Just leave her alone, you’re just upsetting her more.”
Michael clenched his jaw, but nodded. Alex heard him leave, but then yell an explicative and punch a wall.
“Alex, what if I can’t connect with him? He’s my brother, and I can’t even connect with him.”
“Isabel, don’t stress over it. I’m sure that Max is just...just awake. He’s probably just trying to think of a way to get away from wherever the government is holding him.”
This only made Isabel cry harder and Alex regretted his words. “Isabel, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. You just try to sleep and I’ll see if I can hack into the government’s main frame tomorrow morning. Maybe they’ll have something on Max.”
“Won’t you go to jail for that?”
“Small price to pay.” He shrugged, “Besides, we all want Max back, so we should all try to get him back. You shouldn’t be left with all the responsibility.”
Once they were a mile away from the complex, Max found the keys and a map in the dashboard and was able to determine that they were only a little over seventy miles away from Roswell. They were so close, they’d reach Roswell at around one. Max looked over at Jenny to tell her the good news but found her staring out the window.
However, when he looked harder he realized that she wasn’t staring, she was crying. “Jenny?” he asked tentatively.
She turned her head, “Oh, god, Max. They killed him.”
“Jerry. He was going to retire tomorrow, you know.” She started sobbing uncontrollably. “Oh, god. It’s all my fault.”
“Oh, Jenny. It’s not your fault. They’re-”
“Stop the car, Max.” Max did as he was told and Jenny jumped out of the car. Max killed the engine and went out to follow her.
He found her dry heaving, turned hysterical. He touched her shoulder to comfort her but she pulled away, as if he was hurting her. “Don’t touch me!” she screamed. She was crying again. “Just leave me alone. Go on back to your family and friends. Just let me be.”
Max didn’t know what to do. He headed back to the jeep, but stopped half way. ‘If this was Liz, would you leave her out there?’ he thought to himself. “Jenny, I can’t leave you here.”
“I’ll be fine. Go home, Max.”
He walked back over to where she was sitting. “Jenny, as much as we are different, we’re still the same. We probably come from the same place. And in a world where it’s so hard to try to figure out who you are, let alone where you come from, I think it’s only right that you stay with people who are like you. People who know you.”
“You don’t know me.”
“That’s because I haven’t been given a chance. You connected with me so easily, we must somehow be connected. Let me get to know you. We can become friends.” He still wasn’t getting through to her. “What happened to the Jenny I met back at the compound? The one who was so eager to get to know me and the outside world?” He held out his hand. “Let me take you back to Roswell.”
She nodded and accepted his hand. He pulled her to a standing position and they walked back to jeep. Max watched her put her seatbelt on before starting the engine. “Jenny?”
She looked over towards him.
“Everything will be okay once we get back to Roswell.” Her only reply was to turn back and look out the window, staring out back to where the compound was hidden in the shadows of the night.
Max’s smile broadened as he saw the ‘Welcome to Roswell’ sign on the outskirts of town. Where should he go first? He wanted to see his parents and Isabel first. Scratch that, he wanted to see Isabel and Michael first. Scratch that, he wanted to see Liz first. He drove towards the Crashdown, but was disappointed to find the lights out and the restaurant closed.
He almost laughed at his silliness. It was a little past one in the morning. He drove around the back to Liz’s window, hoping her light was still on. He didn’t think he could wait another minute to see her. Max parked the car and turned to Jenny. “I’ll be back in a minute or two.”
He practically ran towards the brick building, and quickly made his way up the fire escape. He slowly walked over to Liz’s door; he didn’t want to frighten her. Using his powers he opened the door and let himself in.
He frowned when he saw she wasn’t in her bed, but then noticed a note on it. Max turned on the light to read it:
Mom and Dad-
I went over to Maria’s house to spend the night. Call me if you need anything.
“Maria’s house,” he breathed before running back out to the jeep.
“Where are we going now, Max?”
“To another friend’s house,” he started the jeep and quickly made his way over to Maria’s house.
“Maria? Maria, did you hear that?” Liz nudged Maria awake. Liz and Maria were in Maria’s room and Isabel, Michael and Alex were in the living room.
“Nothing. I think it was just a passing car. It’s just that it sounded like a jeep so...” Liz trailed off.
Maria turned on the light, “So it made you think of Max. Sweetie, I know you miss him but you need to-”
“Max!” Liz jumped out of bed and ran over to the window that Max was entering.
He grabbed her and lifted her into a hug, “Oh Liz! I missed you so much,” he pulled back to look at her face, which was covered in tears. The two kissed, oblivious to Maria’s yelling.
Seconds later, Isabel, Alex, and Michael entered the room. They all yelled ‘Max’ before everyone ran over and enveloped him in a group hug. Max and Liz, who were squished in the middle, were laughing, still overjoyed. A few minutes later after everyone finished rejoicing in Max’s return, the questions started.
“How did you get back?”
“Where did they take you?”
“What did they do to you?”
“Are you hurt?”
Max, who was now holding both Liz and Isabel’s hands, laughed. “One question at a time, please.”
“Where did they take you? I couldn’t, couldn’t connect with you so I...”
“Izzy, don’t feel bad. I know you tried your hardest.” Max squeezed her hand. “As for your question, they took me to this building about sixty or seventy miles out of Roswell.”
“How did you get here though?”
“Oh, after we broke out of the complex, we stole a jeep. And then we just drove back here.”
“We?” Michael asked.
Max nodded. “It’s so great to be-”
“Wait, you said we.” Michael said.
“Yeah, I know, Michael.” Then Max realized what he was actually saying. “Oh my god, I forgot about Jenny.” He walked back outside.
“Jenny?” Maria asked.
Max led Jenny back into Maria’s room. “Hey you guys, this is Jenny. Jenny, this is Michael, Isabel, Alex, Liz, and Maria.” He said while pointing to the respective person. Jenny merely nodded, but hung back, close to the window.
“This is Jenny. I met her at the complex. She helped me to escape.”
The five nodded, still in shock. “Is she...?” Alex started.
“Yeah. They found her in the desert and she’s been there her entire life.”
“Can she speak English?” Maria asked.
Jenny rolled her eyes and Max laughed. “Yes, she can speak English.”
“They why isn’t she talking?”
“Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be here.” Jenny looked back out the window.
“Why don’t you want to be here?” Liz asked gently.
“Because it’s not my home.”
“Well, this isn’t our home either. But you don’t see us complaining.”
Max opened his mouth to say something to Michael, but Jenny beat him to it, “That’s because you choose to stay here.”
“We aren’t choosing to stay here.”
“You’re legally emancipated, right?”
Michael raised his eyebrows suspiciously, “How did you-”
“It doesn’t matter how I know, the fact is that you are. So you can leave anytime that you want to, you just choose to stay here. For more reasons than you want to accept.” Jenny said, looking at Maria.
“Well, since you’re so sure that we can leave-where would we go?” Isabel said, turning full princess mode.
“You look a lot like your mother, did you know that?”
“My, my mom?” Isabel asked, taken aback.
“Well, that’s impossible because I’m adopted.”
“Not your adopted mom, your biological mother.” Isabel took a sharp intake of breath. Jenny took the silence in the room as an opportunity to escape. “Max, can I have the car keys?”
“Yeah, sure,” Max started, still reeling from Jenny’s comment. “Wait, where are you going?”
“I don’t need the keys, but it would make things easier.” She held out her hand. When Max didn’t give her the keys, she sighed and went out the window.
Max took a step towards the window, but Michael stopped him, “Let me, Maxwell.”
Michael ran out to the street, where the jeep was parked. He saw her ‘start’ the car and jumped in front of it.
“Move.” She commanded impatiently.
She sighed. ‘What the hell am I doing?’ she asked herself. She couldn’t drive and Max was the only person she knew in Roswell. Jenny killed the engine and got out of the jeep. She stared at the asinine smirk on Michael’s face, as if he had somehow convinced her to get out of the jeep. “What are you smirking at?”
And his comment was just as asinine. Jenny decided she’d walk back to town, maybe she could call Sharon from a payphone in town. Now if only she knew Sharon’s last name. Amazing, she had known Sharon for around ten years, but she didn’t know her last name. Little things like that hadn’t seemed so important when she was living at the compound. As she walked by Michael, he grabbed her by her arm. “Let go of me.” What was with Max and his friends thinking they could grab her and push her around whenever they wanted?
“Where are you going?”
“None of your business.” She glared at him.
He tightened his grip on her. “You just can’t leave. You may be one of the only links that we have back home.”
“I suggest you let go of me.”
“Or I’ll poof you into nonexistence.” She smirked when he loosened his hold on her. She soon stopped when she felt him tighten his grip again.
“You can’t really do that, can you?” She averted her eyes to the ground and Michael knew she was bluffing. He let go of her, “Fine, if you want to go, go.”
Jenny hadn’t been expecting him to let her go, so she just stood there, staring at her shoes.
“Well, aren’t you leaving?”
“I don’t have anywhere to go.”
Michael sighed. “C’mon, let’s go back into the house.”
When the two reentered the house, they found everyone in the kitchen drinking tea and hot cocoa.
Jenny stared at the table, not looking at anyone, still feeling a bit sheepish about leaving, only to come back in a few minutes later. Which was why she didn’t see Isabel approach her and give her a hug.
“Thank you for helping my brother.”
Jenny gave her a lopsided grin, “Well, he really didn’t give me much of a choice.”
“Yeah, sorry about that.” Max grinned.
Liz playfully smacked him, “What did you do to the poor girl?” She couldn’t help but feel giddy, Max was finally home.
Jenny smiled as she saw the group settle into what she assumed to be an accustomed conversation/banter. They almost seemed to have forgotten her as they teased Max.
Maria turned to Jenny and Michael, who was standing behind Jenny. “You can stay here with us for the night, but after that my mom comes home so...”
“So you can stay with me.” Michael finished.
Jenny nodded. Everything was still happening so fast. She barely knew them; all she knew was what Max thought of them, how he felt about them.
Max noticed that Jenny was feeling a bit overwhelmed. “Don’t worry, they’ll wait until tomorrow to grill you with their questions. You’re somewhat safe from them tonight.” Jenny smiled.
Alex yawned. “Okay, so now that we all know each other, I suggest we all go to bed. It’s a little past two and our two favorite waitresses have morning shifts.”
Everyone seemed to agree with this and soon they all went to bed.
Jenny woke up abruptly after another nightmare. She had them the entire night. She kept seeing Jerry and Sharon being killed over and over, like a broken record. Jenny noticed that no one else was up, so she decided to go outside.
She sat down on the front porch step, staring at the road. Every now and then a car passed or a neighbor walked out to get the paper. She sighed. They all belonged here. In each movement they made, they seemed to emit an aura that they belonged. But she didn’t. She felt awkward and strange. And she desperately wanted to go back to the complex. She wanted to pretend that Jerry was still there and that they would celebrate his retirement that afternoon. She wanted to pretend that Sharon would be there, but she knew that the dreams hadn’t just been dreams. She never had dreams. She only had visions.
Jenny began to cry. Max constantly talked about how great it was going to be in Roswell on the ride over. But he forgot to say that it was going to be great for him. Not for her. Not when all she wanted to do was go home.
She felt someone behind her and she tried to wipe away her tears. But to no avail because they kept falling. Before she turned around, the someone sat beside her.
“I’m sorry.” Michael murmured.
She tilted her head, “Sorry for what.”
“You were having a nightmare and I...”
“You what?” She brushed a few more tears aside.
“I tried to wake you up. But instead I got sucked in so I-”
“So you saw them.” He nodded. “Their names were Sharon and Jerry.” She laughed cynically as she wiped away more tears. “I don’t even know their last names. Even though I knew them for ten years, I don’t know their last names.”
She noticed she was making him uncomfortable with all her crying and talking so she decided to stop talking, the one thing she could control. So the two sat there, staring at a world that neither one of them thought they belonged in.
“How long have they been sitting out there?” Max asked Liz, as he leaned over her shoulder to look out the window.
“I don’t know. Ever since I got up and maybe before that.” Liz gave Max a kiss on the cheek. “You’re going home and then meeting up with the rest of us for breakfast at the Crashdown, right?” Max nodded. “Hmm, I don’t know if I want to let you out of my sight quite yet.”
Max smiled, “Hmm, I don’t know if I want to let you out of my sight quite yet, either.”
“Alright break it up you two. I’m sure Jenny didn’t help you escape just so you two could make googley eyes at each other.” Isabel teased.
“My sentiments exactly.” Maria called before heading out the front door.
Jenny and Michael both turned around at the same time when the door opened.
Maria smiled. “Jenny, if you want to take a shower you can. And I’ve got some spare clothes if you want to change.”
Jenny nodded and got up silently before disappearing into the house.
“So what were you two talking about?”
Michael smirked. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” He walked back into the house and into the kitchen where everyone else was sitting.
“No, really. What were you talking about?”
Michael grabbed a seat at the round table. “My lips are sealed.”
The five smiled at Maria’s frustrations. Maria turned to the other four, “Yeah, sure. Like you don’t want to know.”
Alex shook his head, “Nope.”
Maria shot Alex dagger eyes and everyone laughed good-naturedly.
A few minutes later Michael, Isabel, and Max left but promised to meet up at the Crashdown later.