My First Date
Category: Other/Tess POV
Summary: Max and Tess’ first date(s)
AN: Story idea from Star Wanderers
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Hi. My name is Tess. I’m an alien living in a little town called Roswell.
And oh yeah. Someone screwed up.
Not following me? Perhaps I should back up a bit. How about four hours ago when Max came by to pick me up for our first date?
It really wasn’t our first date, but I’ll get to that later. It might confuse you. I know it confused me.
Tess looked at her watch as she sat anxiously in the Valenti living room. Smoothing down her black skirt, she glanced at the clock on the wall. Seven o’clock and Tess was ready even before Max arrived.
‘Or maybe that was just because he was supposed to pick me up at six-thirty.’
Kyle kept glancing at her from the kitchen. His eyes seemed to sympathize with her; as if he had been in the same situation before.
‘Yeah. More than likely he was the one who stood the other girl up or made her wait an extra hour.’
Tess shot him a small smile, hoping he would think she was okay and stop staring at her. He motioned his hand towards the pizza box on the table. She shook her head, forcing a smile on her face. She went back to staring at the clock again.
So that’s how our first date here on Earth started out. Max was late, but he must have had a good reason. Or so I told myself. After all, he had never kept me waiting before. But didn’t I tell you this was our first date? Confuse you yet? I thought I might have. See, according to this woman in a box (orb actually, but don’t get me off onto a tangent) we, Max, Michael, Isabel, and I, are actually the “essence” of those who had “lived once before.” Or some crap like that. Sorry. I’m not exactly a fan of a hologram that talks in riddles and fails to answer any of our questions. Save our planet from an evil alien race? Well, I certainly didn’t see that coming.
Yeah, that was sarcasm. Cynical much? Yes, very. But can you really blame me after today?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll back up a bit more. So Max and I really have been on a date before, several in fact, just not here on Earth.
Max was never late, though.
Alexander sat in what he commonly referred to as the ‘waiting room.’ In reality it was the parlor adjacent to the foyer in the palace. Inside, the parlor was decorated in typical Phyrgian fashion. Unlike the ornateness of the dining hall, the parlor was simple in its smooth silver walls.
An oval room, the focus of a person who entered it was directed to the small centerpiece resting on a table in the middle of the room. It was a piece of glass whose ends, while they appeared to be jagged, as if part of a larger piece originally and broken off accidentally, were actually quite smooth. They caught the light off a lamp in the ceiling.
Alexander, or Xan as he was called by his friends, knew the piece quite well. He found himself in this situation often. Waiting, always waiting. Aside from the lamp, there wasn’t much else to look at. So he stared at the centerpiece, memorizing its shape and curves. He was fascinated by it; it seemed to change under his stare. Never the same color or shape.
Xan almost laughed to himself. ‘Change? Ha. Yeah, right.’ He knew he was only kidding himself. The glass ornament was a simple Ventian piece. Replicas were all over Phyrgia. After all, if a Ventian piece was admired by the royal family, it must be something special.
Xan smiled. All Phyrgians were the same to him. A population composed of robots that copied and followed everything the royal family did. Emulating them, worshiping them, Xan wondered if they ever tired of it. ‘Probably not. The Minervas don’t seem to tire of it either.’
Minervas, residents of the planet Jupo, acted just like Phyrgians. Xan, a Minerva himself, marveled at the way his people worshipped him and his family. Yes, his people. Xan was Minerva royalty. He and his brother Ra ruled together after their parents died during the Oisdis war.
So if he was such royalty, why was he kept waiting? Because he was just as awed as the rest of the Phyrgians of the Phyrgian royal family. Actually, just Princess Avalina. Her sister, Vilandra, was stubborn and annoying in Xan’s opinion. She was too outspoken and brash; flighty and quick to anger. Avalina was just the opposite. Tall and serene, she commanded respect, loyalty, and love. She was calm and collected; always aware that her decisions and actions affected her nation.
Avalina held the awe of most of the male Phyrgian population. And probably half of Jupo’s. While the two planets weren’t enemies, they weren’t exactly friends. Competing between one another economically, the two were forced into an alliance when they were both in threat of being attacked by the same enemy.
Avalina and Vilandra’s parents had several conferences with Xan and his brother. The four had come to an agreement that while a verbal alliance would solidify their two nations for a period of time, a marriage would be the only way that the two could truly unite.
Vilandra and Ra marry? Ha. Like that would ever happen. Not that it would have anyway. Avalina and Xan were the eldest in their respective families. So they were betrothed to be married as soon as possible. Of course, they would have to follow the Phyrgian courtship rules. Which meant that Xan and Avalina would have to court for at least a month. Although normally longer and with more meetings between the parents, the war demanded political expediency.
And that’s why Xan was waiting in the parlor for the umpteenth time this month. It never failed-she was always late. He remembered their first date. He had arrived early, gifts in tote, ready to take Avalina on a date that would compare with no other. He would wine and dine her and by the end of the night she would be as infatuated and as in love with him as he was with her. Unfortunately, that’s not how it went.
Tess looked up, startled, when the doorbell rang. She’d been waiting so long, so intent on listening, that she had completely missed Max’s arrival. She hadn’t heard his jeep or his walk to the front door. Kyle opened the door and Max entered.
She smiled, crossed the room, and stood next to him. Kyle told her to have a good time, but he just became background music. When Max was around her heart seemed lighter, head seemed lighter, and everything seemed to go in slow motion.
Max, on the other hand, looked bored. “Ready?”
She nodded emphatically and followed him out to the jeep. “So where are we going?”
“The Crashdown,” he mumbled. She opened her mouth to say something else but he flipped the radio on to tune her out. They traveled the rest of the way in silence.
Xan remembered their first date quite well. Perhaps it’s because all their dates were the same. He had always thought Avalina was this interesting person. He still thought she was, but her predictableness with him had made her rather boring. He didn’t fault her though; he assumed it to be the company she was keeping. That being him.
Avalina entered the parlor with an air of disgust. She had just returned from her date with Cohen, the general’s son. Cohen was, well, he was wonderful. Everything she always wanted in a guy. Only now she wouldn’t be able to see him anymore. Her father and mother were forcing her to go out with Alexander. A Minerva.
Just saying the word made her shudder. Why did she have to marry him? Because of some stupid war? Why couldn’t her father just have Cohen’s father attack the Sirros? Why did they have to form some silly alliance? And why did she have to marry a guy to solidify it?
A Minerva. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the guy actually liked her. Wait, “like” wasn’t strong enough of a word. He was infatuated with her. Obsessed, even. It was disgusting the way he stared at her. Like she was the Lena and Sun. Only he thought he was different from all the rest of them. He “loved” her. He saw the real her; loved her for who she was. Or some stupid crap like that.
She walked into the parlor and he jumped up at the sight of her. Like some puppy.
“Avalina. It’s so nice to meet. My name is Alexander, but you can call me Xan. Everybody does.” He took her hand, kissed it, but didn’t let go right at once. “I brought you a gift.”
Avalina smirked and pulled her hand away. “How nice, Alexander.”
He seemed to flinch, as if he was hurt that she wasn’t as ecstatic to see him as he was to see her. She frowned. He certainly didn’t have the character or strength of Cohen. And he spoke too quickly; too eager to please. She sighed. It was going to be a long night.
“Are you ready to go? I made reservations at the finest restaurant in Jupo.” Xan followed her out, opening the door for her. Avalina rolled her eyes. Definitely a long night.
Max pulled into a parking slot outside the Crashdown. He killed the engine and hopped out, eager to get inside. He heard Tess hurry, scurrying behind him. He smirked as he envisioned the image of a puppy.
He entered the Crashdown and smiled when he saw Liz. He took a seat at his usual booth and waited for her to take their order.
Tess sat down across from him with an uneasy smile on her face.
“What can I get you two?” Liz said, pulling out her notepad.
“The usual for me,” Max smiled. Liz smiled back and wrote down his order after pulling her hair behind her ears. Max stared at the way her hair shined under the light. It looked so soft and shiny. He could almost feel it in his hands if he imagined hard enough. He could feel her warm breath in his ear, her warm skin against his, the smell of her shampoo filling his nostrils.
“...and an ice tea with that.” Max drifted out of his thoughts and heard the tail end of Tess’ order. His eyes followed Liz as she went to give the order to Michael.
“There’s supposed to be a meteor shower tonight. I bet if we go up to the observatory, we’ll have the best view. What do you say, Max?”
“I’m not really into meteor showers.”
“Oh. Well, we could do something else.”
Max sighed. “I don’t know. I’m kind of tired.”
“We c-could do something tomorrow. Or maybe next week if you’re not busy. Or we could just-“
“Look. Let’s just cut to the chase. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to go out with you tomorrow or next week or anytime after that. The only reason I’m here is because Michael and Isabel have been on my case. I already have a destiny. And that’s with Liz. I don’t want to get to know you. I don’t want to be your friend. I already have a life that I’m happy with.
“I realize, however, that we need to work together. We need to complete the four square. So maybe Michael and Isabel have decided to follow their “destiny.” That doesn’t mean we have to. After all, we should be with people we care about. People we love; have feelings for. I also realize that by being involved with Liz, I may be putting her at danger. Which is why I suggest we continue on with this charade. We can come here every weekend under the pretense of going out. That way I get to spend time with Liz, keep Michael and Isabel off my back, and nobody gets hurt. So what do you say, Tess?”
“I said, what do you say, Alexander?”
Xan stared at Avalina’s perfect face. Her perfect features, perfect hair, perfect smile, and not so perfect words. She didn’t want to be with him. Didn’t want to go out with him today, tomorrow, or ever. She just wanted to keep her perfect little world the same: boyfriend in tote. Alexander, obviously, didn’t have a part in that. She already had Cohen and didn’t seem interested in having another.
But she knew she could never cross her father. So instead, she was asking him to basically marry her but stay out of her life.
He wanted to yell at her. Scream at her. Throw a glass of wine in her face and the alliance to boot. He wanted to tell her to go to Nova. Do something to hurt her, insult her, and make her feel the way he did. The embarrassment, anger, and hurt flushing his face.
But he couldn’t.
Because he loved her.
And all he wanted to do was cry.
Avalina was this beautiful bird. And he was a fumbling boy trying to hold on to her. Their marriage would be a cage. It would lock her up, restrict her freedom, and ultimately kill her. First destroying her beautiful feathers’ luster, and then silencing her song. All she wanted was for him to unlock that cage. Let her go. Give her her freedom.
And then lock it back up whenever her father was in close proximity.
His brother would laugh at his weakness. But his brother didn’t understand love. Avalina was this perfect creature. Not because she was beautiful or charming. But because she was perfect for him. He watched her every move and fell more and more in love with her with each step she took. If only she would take a moment away from her perfect life and just get to know him. Then she would see him. And love him. And then they could live happily ever after.
But even if he couldn’t live happily ever after, he wanted her to. So he said yes. Her eyes lit up in glee and he was happy he had made her so happy.
Max flashed Tess a smile. “See, I knew you would understand.” Liz dropped off their plates and was about to leave when Max grabbed her wrist. “Wait, Liz. I told Tess and she’s agreed.”
Liz’s face lit up. “That’s great, Max. I’m off for the rest of the night.”
“You don’t mind if we go upstairs for a couple of hours, do you Tess?”
Shell shocked, Tess shrugged. Max flashed her another smile. He stood up and began to follow Liz upstairs. Halfway to the back he turned back around and ran back to Tess. Her heart skipped a beat as he grabbed her hand and whispered in her ear.
“Don’t go anywhere. We wouldn’t want someone to think that we weren’t going out. I’ll be back in an hour or so to pay and then I’ll drive you home.”
Max didn’t wait for her to answer before he took off after Liz. Even if he had, Tess wouldn’t have answered. Because she barely heard him. The moment he touched her she had gotten a flash. And she realized this wasn’t going to be the first or last time she would be left sitting and waiting for her love.
Xan shook his head in the parlor as he remembered their first date. He heard a shuffling in the hallway and his heart skipped a beat. His princess had arrived and they would soon be off to dinner. Maybe tonight she would stay the entire time before going off to meet Cohen. Maybe tonight she would realize they really were meant for each other. Maybe tonight she would finally reciprocate his vows of love. After all they were to be wed in just a few days. He stood up to receive his bride-to-be.
And sat back down when he realized it was just the guards changing shifts.
He stood up with a start when he heard the distinct shuffling of a rustling skirt. Yes, tonight would be the night. The night that-
“Hey, Xan. Still waiting up for my sister?” It was Vilandra. He sighed and sat back down. She giggled. “You should just go home, Xan. Go back home to Jupo and don’t come back. Ava’s not coming tonight or any other night.”
He raised his eyebrows. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I overheard her and Daddy talking. She’s not going to marry you. She’s marrying Cohen in two days. Cohen and his father are going to fight the Sirros off without the help of you and your puny little planet. The alliance is off, Xan. You’re no longer needed.”
Hi. My name is Tess. I’m an alien living in a little town called Roswell.
And oh yeah. Someone screwed up.
Somebody screwed up big time. See, I’m not supposed to be here. My name is Tess, but it hasn’t always been Tess. I should be Avalina. Michael should be Vilandra. Max should be Alexander and Isabel should be Ra.
I should be the leader of the group; showing them the way back home.
But somebody screwed up. I have all the intelligence and ideas of a fearless leader. I know exactly what to do. How to lead the Phyrgians and how to defeat the Sirros. I have the powers and strength to rule the most powerful solar system in the universe.
But somebody back at the tech lab screwed up. They gave me the wrong “essence.” So instead of leading, I’ll be waiting.
Hi, my name is Tess. I’m an alien living in a little town called Roswell.
But you can call me Alexandria.