They drove until the van ran out of gas, then they filled the tank and drove until they ran out of road. The hotel was expensive, right there on the beach, but it was a honeymoon, so of course they pooled their money—or rather, Isabel changed a bunch of one's to hundred's so they could afford it—and gave the newlyweds their own deluxe room in the oceanside hotel.
The time that they had all been gone was a blur. They lived life on the edge. The soft edge, but the edge nonetheless. California was nice though. It had the perfect weather for the wedding. Liz in that Maria-inspired bohemian outfit, flowers in her hair, bare feet, the whole nine yards. She looked great, as usual, because she was Liz and she always looked great.
The waves crashed softly at high tide. They couldn't exactly close a public beach, but no one else was out there. It was just Kyle Valenti and the big blue—at the moment black—expanse of the ocean out in front of him.
He did say that he wanted to do something with this life. This was as good as anything and it was sure as hell a lot better than staying in Roswell. A lot of good things happened in that dusty town, but a lot of bad things, too.
"Hey." It was Isabel.
Kyle let out a deep breath and glanced up and over at her. "Hey," he said in return. She sat next to him in the sand.
"Can't sleep?" she asked, linking her fingers together in front of her knees and leaning her head against her shoulder.
He shrugged. "Eh. The hotel's small, figured I'd give them some…y'know, space."
Isabel raised an eyebrow and closed her eyes for a brief moment. "I spend way too much time with you," she said, a small grin tugging on her face.
"We live in the same van, it's bound to happen." They didn't live in the same van. After they got over the Arizona boarder, they stayed for a few months in Flagstaff, holding down jobs and saving up cash, renting a place that was always on the verge of kicking them out because six teenagers in one apartment wasn't ideal for any business owner. They couldn't just wander, they needed a game plan. Even if it was just a game plan for the next few weeks, it was better than nothing.
They did, however, always use Jesse's van for travel, much to Michael's constant annoyance.
"Are you okay with this?" she asked after a few elongated moments when the only sounds were from the sea.
"With what?" Kyle wrenched his eyes from the dark shadow of a horizon and over to Isabel. Her hair was back to its natural blonde, and it was reaching toward her shoulders, showing the length of time that had passed since they left Roswell. She lifted her eyebrows and looked at him pointedly. "Oh. With Liz getting married?"
She nodded. "Yes, Kyle. I now understand the appeal of Liz Parker, and I know you were her boyfriend not too long ago."
His version of not too long ago and Isabel's version was entirely different. That was an entirely other lifetime for Kyle. Literally. His needy need to get Liz back died along with him when that bullet snatched his life away.
"Liz and Max…kind of inevitable," he answered finally. "I'm happy that she's happy."
Isabel straightened her neck and back, a light salty breeze tugging at strands loose from the French braid holding most of her hair back. "You're a good guy, Kyle. I would say that I'm sorry you were dragged into all of this, but words like that don't mean anything to people like us."
Kyle nodded in agreement. And, like he told Jesse, Kyle couldn't turn his back on this ragtag bunch of aliens and humans and whatever he and Liz were turning into. If it weren't for Max, he'd be dead in the ground, but instead, he was in this beautiful place on a pristine beach with nothing but the world laid out in front of him. "What about you? You okay with all this? I mean, Max is your brother. And…the last wedding you went to was…yours."
Isabel twisted the wedding band on her left hand. She was scared of having the diamond on her hand so she kept it sealed away with their box of alien stuff in the van.
"Sorry," Kyle mumbled quickly.
She shook her head. "It's fine. The longer we're away, the more I'm beginning to realize that going back isn't an option. None of us will ever have a normal life." She turned to him then, shifting in the sand. "And I am sorry that you were dragged into this, Kyle."
"Don't be," he argued. "I chose to be here."
Isabel rolled her eyes. "Right. To be with your own kind in case you…what was it? Start crackling like tinfoil?"
"Buzzing like tinfoil, actually," Kyle corrected.
"Right." Isabel's laughter floated softly into the night, tumbling over the waves and reaching far off places. "Have you?"
He swallowed and shook his head, furrowing his eyebrows. "No, not yet. But I'm not betting on it not happening so…"
"It will be fine, if you do," Isabel said, reaching out a hand and putting it gingerly on his shoulder. "We…I'll be here to help. Michael isn't the helping sort and Max is pretty preoccupied but…I'm here."
Kyle really didn't trust himself enough to look at her, so he just nodded. "Thanks."
They sat in comfortable silence for a little while, Isabel's hand growing warmer on his shoulder. Not for any alien reason, just the close comfort was different than the usual distance Kyle put between himself and a lot of people these days. When your trust was so royally shredded by someone you were emotionally attached to, it was hard to let people back in. Even the people who repeatedly saved your life.
"Can I ask you something without you doing anything rash?" Kyle asked finally.
"Rash? Like what?"
"You've threatened my manparts quite often, I just want to make sure I wake up in one piece."
"This sounds serious." Isabel moved onto her knees to face him, her feet folded under her and her hands in her lap.
Kyle took a deep breath to prepare himself. "Do you think you'll ever make it back to Jesse? I mean, when you left, it looked pretty final. I was just curious."
Isabel tightened her jaw, her mouth turning to a thin line for a moment before she blinked and wet her lips with the tip of her tongue. "I don't know. It's not safe for him. I was kidding myself when I thought I could handle…you know." Kyle nodded. "So, right now? I would say no."
Her voice shook the slightest bit. The past six months hadn't changed anything for her that much. Kyle understood that. He was nostalgic for those annoying alien lampshades on the main road and the familiarity of his room and even the responsibility of looking after his dad…it weighed on his shoulders heavily. He expected Isabel felt the same. While Liz had Max and Michael and Maria had each other, Isabel and Kyle were on the fringe, with no one here just for them.
"Right. Sorry for asking," Kyle said, dipping his head and wiping sand off his hands.
"Kyle." He looked up. Isabel was leaning forward, putting a hand on his propped up knee. "Are you okay?"
His throat felt dry and he wasn't sure how much longer he could deal with being alone while his world came crashing down slowly around him, but could he really say that Isabel? Sure, she used to come to him with things about Jesse, but that was then, this was now.
"I really appreciate my friends," he started, "and I mean, I'd do anything for you guys…even Michael…maybe. But, the point is, I know I belong in that hotel and in that van and wherever we end up next and I don't want to ruin anything."
Isabel tilted her head to the side. "Kyle, what're you talking about?"
"I almost ruined things with Liz once," Kyle said, doing his best at explaining but failing miserably. "And I don't want to ruin things with you."
She blinked in slow motion and then looked at him like she was seeing him for the first time. Maybe she could read his mind, maybe that was some power she was keeping up her sleeve for emergencies only—he already knew that she could get into people's dreams—but he didn't care. He was a put-it-all-out-on-the-line kinda guy all his life, and this was no different.
It was hard, however, to be alone when there were six of them and the others were paired so perfectly—or so imperfectly that it just worked—and then there was Kyle who was just looking for some purpose to his life and Isabel, who was scrabbling to find her life.
"Are you saying this just because there's six of us and it would be really, really easy to…" she trailed off, faltering on her own train of thought.
Kyle shook his head once. "No," he said in that sort of strangled tone he used when he wasn't sure what to do, making the single syllable come out more like a question than a statement.
Her lips parted and a breath escaped, stolen away by the wind. They were the bookends, the odd men out in a triage of aliens and humans. The weight of her wedding band hung on her finger, but she pushed it aside—her life was never going to lead her back to Jesse. It may never lead her back to Antar either, but she had the here and now, and she had to start living a little more recklessly or she wasn't going to ever live at all.
He was going to change his mind. They both knew it.
Isabel lifted her hands to his face and leaned forward even more, pushing herself onto her knees and pressing her lips against his.
It didn't feel wrong.
But she broke off the kiss too soon, her eyelids fluttering. Kyle's hands cupped her face and pulled her back, kissing her with more certainty. Isabel didn't have time to breath or think this through, and a part of her didn't want to. She wasn't rational Isabel from Roswell; she was the new and impulsive Isabel who lived out of a van.
He pulled her closer and ended up falling backward against the sand, Isabel following thanks to gravity.
"Are you okay?" she asked, breathless and concerned, lips hovering over his.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, sliding a hand over her side to her hip. His other hand made a home for itself around the back of her neck, his fingers warm against her skin.
Their world was soft sand and unspoken burdens that people as young as them shouldn't have.
Isabel's hands slid around his shoulders, holding onto him like an anchor, like she expected to be interrupted by the FBI or alien hunters or past lovers. Her fingernails dug into his shoulders through his shirt but he didn't mind, just ran his hands up her back from her waist before he eased her back against the sand. Her slender fingers loosened their vice grip and slipped through his hair.
Her head tilted back into the sand, her breaths small gasps for air as Kyle trailed a fiery line across her jaw and down her neck. She whispered out his name, it slipped from between her pink lips without any warning, and he would be lying if he said it didn't sound heavenly.
He dragged his fingertips over the thin material of her tshirt and returned to kiss her lips, needing milliseconds to take in just how beautiful she was in that moonlight, her hair melting into the sand, cheeks flushed, half-open eyes shining in the dim illumination.
Kyle's fingers dug in the sand behind her neck, and he kissed her like he'd never kissed anyone before, like she was his whole reason for living.
And then it happened. Her brain was suddenly flooded with sharp flashes. They weren't painful, but they were unexpected, going by like haphazardly put together slideshows: Kyle, Liz and Maria saving Roswell from the Skins, Kyle seeing Isabel in her simple pink dress that morning before they all raced to the church, Kyle and Alex almost dying in the cave with the alien crystals, Kyle and Isabel dragging each other along that night of the Enigma party, Kyle seeing Isabel at that college party and his life shifting like tectonic plates, Kyle imagining kissing her on that blue Viper…
She pushed him away and scrambled to a half sitting position, while he sat stunned into silence, blinking like an owl in her direction.
"Oh my God, Kyle," she gasped out, lifting a hand to her forehead, frowning at not only the images, but as his emotions swirled around inside her head.
"What? What just happened?" he asked immediately on red alert. Spending years surrounded by aliens on the verge of being found out did that to a person.
She curled a hand against her chest and squeezed her eyes shut until the images and emotions faded. She didn't have flashes when she kissed anyone but Khivar…but this was totally different. The aliens were supposed to give the flashes, not receive them.
"Isabel?" He scooted forward and reached out a hand toward her knee.
She dropped her hands into her lap and looked at him oddly, her brows slightly furrowed. "I…I had flashes," she said, taking into account that he probably knew what she was talking about.
"Flashes," he repeated, not as a question though, just a statement. "I thought that was an alien-to-human thing…oh."
He stumbled on the realization just as she did. His mouth gaped open and his sandy palms ground into his eyesockets.
"Oh shit, this is really happening," he said, shaking his head and dropping his hands, only to lift them again to brush away the sand on his face so he could open his eyes.
"It could just be…" she started, trying to think of some way to comfort him, but managing nothing. "I don't know."
"Great, that helps." He got shakily to his feet, dusting off his clothes as best he could, but knowing he'd have sand everywhere for weeks after this.
Isabel got to her feet too. They were bare and dug into the sand. Her sandals lay nearby, almost hidden by the mounds from footsteps and bodies rolling around. "Kyle…" She stepped in front of him, taking his shoulders and making him stop pacing. "Look at me."
He sucked in a breath and held it until he met her eyes cast in his shadow. "What did you see?" he asked finally.
She swallowed and moved her hands slowly to the slope of his neck. "I saw…some random flashes with Liz and Maria and Alex," she explained slowly. "And I saw, and felt, a lot from New Years Eve."
Of course she did. That was the night that Kyle thought, for a moment, he may have had a chance with her, once upon a time, maybe her marriage wasn't as perfect as she thought and he could give her some sort of comfort…but that hadn't happened. Their evening had been entirely innocent and yet enjoyable. He wouldn't mind being friends with Isabel Evans, but now that he'd taken that plunge to the deep end…how could he go back?
"Oh, that," he said, his arms hanging loosely at his sides.
"Yeah, that," Isabel said, sliding her fingers through soft short hair and brushing her thumbs across his cheekbones. "I saw me how you see me." For obvious reasons, she never let Jesse have flashes from her. She didn't know how it was to give or receive them, but she was an alien, she could handle it.
Kyle decided to accept his fate. He tentatively lifted his hands, letting them rest lightly on her hips. "That's embarrassing."
She smiled a soft warm smile. "It was beautiful." She didn't mention that was surprising considering the last time she'd been anywhere near Kyle's mind it had been preoccupied by many other, more immature things.
"Well, y'know, you're beautiful," he said sheepishly, thankful for the darkness that enveloped them like a blanket.
Isabel stepped closer, up the small incline until their noses were a millimeter apart. "Thank you, Kyle," she breathed out before she kissed him, long and hard, until their lungs screamed for oxygen.
He didn't say anything else, only watched her swoop down to pick up her sandals, hooking her fingers around the straps. She was a few steps away now, the streetlamp behind her lighting her hair like a halo.
"Kyle," she said, to get her attention from his daze. She was holding out her hand to him. His gaze flickered from her hand to her face and back again before he moved forward and pressed his palm against hers.
She pushed her fingers through his, lacing their hands together like tangled strings, and walked in silence. She stopped for just a moment when they got on the asphalt to slip into her shoes and then they continued across the parking lot, across the empty street, and down a few yards to the entrance of the tiny hotel. They had three rooms this time. The grand honeymoon splurge.
And guess who was stuck together in the third? Kyle hadn't even gone back to the room yet after they got there at dusk. He'd gone straight off down the boardwalk to the beach and sat there for at least two hours until Isabel showed up. The room was small, with one bed and a bathroom as you walked in and another bed in a room off to the side through a doorway.
The main door clicked shut behind them and Isabel took a few steps forward, but Kyle held onto her hand and forced her back around to face him.
"Isabel," he said, mimicking the way she often said his name.
"Yes?" she asked, barely more than a smudge in the darkness, the only light coming from the bathroom nightlight.
"Thank you for humoring me tonight," he said, thankful for the darkness. It made it easier to say these sorts of things.
He felt her other hand brush against his other arm. "I wasn't humoring you, Kyle."
"No. But, this situation is a little complicated for me. My emotions are…complicated."
His eyes were adjusting and he could make out the lines of concern on her face. "I understand," he nodded. "I'll follow your lead."
She smiled, just enough to see in the dim lighting. "Okay. I think I'm going to go to sleep."
"Yeah," he said, detangling his hand from hers. He lifted them both and slipped them around her face. He tilted her face down just enough—she was taller than him to begin with and her sandals were not flat—for him to press his lips to her forehead before taking a step back. "Goodnight, Isabel."
She left him standing there for a good solid minute after the door to the second bed clicked shut. He was sure that everyone gave up trying to wash away the sand on them, and he joined the crew, stripping down and sliding into the cold sheets, pulled so tight they could suffocate a person.
He had just pulled out the corners to give himself some breathing room when the door creaked open.
"Kyle?" Isabel's voice was barely above a whisper.
He twisted around and squinted at her. "Is something wrong?"
She shook her head. "Is…is it okay if I just…" She moved to the other side of the bed, the one he wasn't currently occupying.
Kyle blinked at her and then nodded. "Yeah, sure. I mean, better have someone close in case I start levitating in my sleep or something."
She laughed, the sound filling the room with a sense of home and purpose. The mattress was soft and she got under the covers, settling down on her side of the bed. She rolled over onto her side, facing him, her hands neatly clasped under her head and pillow. She closed her eyes and her breathing fell to a common rhythm.
Kyle did his best to do all his shifting around until he got comfortable on his stomach, arms shoved under his pillows, thankful for the king sized mattress and for a year of sleeping on the couch and learning how not to spread out in his sleep. He tilted his head in her direction, but closed his eyes before he could do or say something stupid.
Because, and Kyle knew this, he was more than capable of doing or saying something stupid. And, if he wanted Isabel on his side as whatever freaky alien powers started occurring, he needed her to be one hundred percent on his side.
And he did, he was good. He fell asleep quicker than he'd thought he would—it had to be the day of driving. Sure, he moved his hand during his slumber, pressing his palm against the mattress, but it was Isabel who slept lightly and kept waking up every half hour, and it was Isabel who laid her hand over his and gently pressed her fingers between his, just enough to keep them together before she slipped back into sleep.