Disclaimer: Just adding to the Roswell Christmas madness. Nothing of interest. Not my characters and all. Mostly just fluff.
A Perfect Christmas
She had done everything in her power to create the perfect Christmas. A perfect tree, a perfect pageant, perfect activities for the senior citizens. Perfect gifts. Everything.
But it hadn't been perfect.
There had been something missing. Something Isabel couldn't exactly put a finger on. It should have been perfect. Michael owed her huge now. Max had done his good deed. And actually helped to make all of them feel human again, she felt. Her parents had gotten her everything on her list. The pageant had gone smoothly. Everything was perfect.
But it wasn't.
She sighed and looked at the pile of gifts sitting on her bed. The sparkling diamond necklace her parents had given her suddenly seemed dull and lifeless. Something had flawed it, but she didn't know what. No matter how long and hard she thought about it, she couldn't quite name the reasons she was, well, unhappy. A knock at her bedroom door grabbed her attention.
"Come in," she said, trying to find some Christmas cheer deep within herself so that her parents would think she was still as happy as she had been this morning while opening gifts.
The door eased open and Max peeked around the corner.
"You ok?" he asked gently having sensed his sister's unease.
Isabel frowned a second then nodded. "I guess so," she replied slowly, trying to manage a faint smile.
"You don't sound like it," Max told her as he eased into the room, closing the door behind him. Leaning back against the closed door, he watched her carefully.
She shrugged. "Don't know," she admitted finally. "This was probably the most perfect Christmas we've ever had, but something just isn't right. Something's missing." Flopping back against the pillows that were resting against the headboard of the bed, she folded her arms across her chest. "Am I just really that selfish or something? I mean yeah, mom and dad didn't get me my own car, but"
Max grinned slightly and shook his head. "Nah," he told her, "I don't think that's it. Seems to me that maybe you're missing some one instead of some thing."
"Someone?" Isabel frowned and shook her head. "I don't know what you mean."
Stifling the laugh that was building inside of him, Max chuckled instead. "Alex maybe?"
Isabel blushed. "Alex? What does Alex have to do with a perfect Christmas?'
"Maybe that's something you should ask Isabel instead of the Christmas Nazi," Max suggested.
Narrowing her eyes, Isabel glared at her brother. "What is that supposed to mean?"
A shrug. "Seems to me the only difference between this year and last is Alex. Last year you were still giddy about this time. This year" He let the words trail off.
"You know he didn't even tell me good bye before he left?" Isabel fumed at her brother. "Liz had to tell me where he'd gone. Said something about his dad wanting to do something different for Christmas or some such."
Max arched a brow. "What do you mean he didn't tell you good bye? He called the day before he left. I talked to him and then he wanted to talk to you. I heard you pick up the phone."
Isabel looked at Max, her mind trying to reach back to that day. Suddenly it hit her and her mouth dropped open slightly shaped in a perfect O.
"Oh, yeah." She offered nothing more.
"That's all you have to say?" Max took a step forward. "You accuse him of not saying good bye to you, and then just an 'oh yeah'?"
"Well, he didn't really say good bye," she managed weakly.
"Didn't say good bye? Why is that?"
"Because I sort of told him I had to go." Isabel groaned and thunked her head against the wall behind her.
"Let me guess Grant." Max couldn't hide the distaste he felt just speaking the name. If that guy just disappeared, Max wouldn't be heartbroken.
"Well, we had a date and I hadn't gotten ready yet." She tried to make the flimsy excuse sound better than it was. She knew she had been avoiding Alex. Knew she had been putting him off. And she still hadn't told him about Grant. She couldn't bring herself to do it after the big "we can only be friends" speech she had given him a million times. No matter how many times she told Alex that, she'd never bothered to tell Grant the same thing. Why? Because Grant didn't know. He didn't look at her and see an alien.
"Well, I guess since grant didn't send this, you aren't interested." Max pulled something from behind his back and held it up.
Isabel looked at the small, card shaped envelope and swallowed hard.
"Is it from Alex?" she managed around the lump in her throat.
"From Alex," Max affirmed. "This one was addressed specifically to you."
Leaping off the bed, she made it to the door in two steps. Snatching the red envelope out of Max's hand, she held it to her chest for a second then looked at her brother.
"You could have just given it to me you know," she hissed slightly as she made her way back to the bed.
"No fun in that," he answered as he opened the door and backed out.
Muttering obscene words under her breath as Max left, Isabel stared down at the envelope. The stamp was from Sweden, and Alex's careful handwriting was on the front. "Air Mail" it said, along with her name and address.
Turning the envelope over slowly, she studied the back. Nothing of note there a few stamps from customs and a small sticker in the shape of a candy cane. She fingered the shape a minute, then took a deep breath. Ever so carefully she began to rip the top of it open. Using her powers to mend a small rip that happened in the middle, she touched the edge of the card gently, almost scared to pull it out.
Finally, with a slight smile, she pulled the card from the red envelope.
The front held a dozen or so snowflakes, each one outlined in white glitter. The background was a faint blue, with tiny white snowflakes in it.
There were no words, so she pulled the card open gently.
Inside, written in a gay script font it said, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" Beneath it, in Alex's printed handwriting it said, "Obviously the idiot that wrote this never visited Sweden. Have I mentioned how much I hate snow?"
Laughing, Isabel looked to the left side of the card and began to read what was written there.
I just wanted you to know how much I missed being around for Christmas this year. I know you planned on making this the best Christmas Pageant ever. I'm sure it was. I'm really sorry I had to miss it. I'm sure you were dressed in red too, which is my favorite color for you. Hopefully someone took pictures or video taped it so I can see it all later. Here's hoping that Max and Michael survived your search for the perfect tree. I know how you like them to be proportional proper height and all. And I know that Michael usually picks a bush instead of a tree. I'm hoping you didn't end up beating him with it. If so, then I hope you didn't leave marks.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I missed being there with you guys, and I'm sorry I couldn't be there to help make it perfect for you.
I'm sure by now Max is holding the package I sent for you ransom. Please don't kill him trying to get it. It's nothing special really. Just something that made me think of you I guess. It's not as beautiful as you are, but I hope it will at least begin to make up for the fact I wasn't there this year.
Blinking back tears, Isabel slowly closed the card and held it against her. Even half way across the world, all he was thinking about was the fact he couldn't be there to help her build the perfect Christmas.
Finally his comments about her gift sank in. Jumping off the bed, she hit the door running, flinging it open with such force that it banged against the wall. Racing down the hall to Max's room, she skidded to a stop at the foot of his bed.
"Hand it over Maxwell." She demanded.
"It's not from Grant," He reminded her. "In fact, have you seen Grant yet?"
"None of your business," she replied archly, "But no. He left town to go see family."
"I'm sure he did," Max smirked.
"Now," Isabel ground out.
Holding up his hand, Max held a small, neatly wrapped box in the palm.
"Is this what you're looking for?" he asked innocently.
Nearly taking his hand off as she grabbed it, she muttered something about nosey brothers then stalked out of the room.
Closing the door carefully behind her as she reached her room, Isabel stared at the red foil wrapping. She'd never seen anything so perfectly wrapped. Max and Michael were always doing good to actually get something wrapped, and her parents sucked at corners. Fingering the gold ribbon that was tied around it, she made her way to the bed and eased down to the mattress.
Ever so tenderly, Isabel tugged at the gold ribbon until it slipped free of its bow. Placing it gently across her leg, she held up the red foiled box. Sliding a fingernail slowly down a seam, she pulled the tape away from the paper, barely blemishing the paper itself. Turning the box around, she treated the next seam in the same fashion. Finally, she pulled apart the bottom edge and placed the red foil on the bed beside her.
The small black box was plain with no markings. But every girl knows that a box that size always holds jewelry of some kind. She grinned slightly, unable to fight the curiosity. Alex had picked out jewelry? Somehow she imagined him standing in front of a line of gumball machines, trying to decide which one to get her gift out of. The thought made her smile that much more. Suddenly she hoped it was a bright pink plastic ring. That would be Alex's perfect gift.
Pulling the top off the black box, she turned the bottom over, dropping the small jewelry box into her hand. The deep blue velvet felt soft in her hand. Nope, no bright pink plastic ring here, she thought. Righting the box, she hesitated a second before opening it. With a deep breath, she pulled the top back.
A small gasp escaped her lips when she saw the small silver band. Symbols wound their way around the silver, etched into the metal. While she didn't recognize all of them, she spotted the rune symbol for protection to the right side. Pulling the ring from the box, she studied it closely. Another rune, this one for happiness was a few symbols away from the other. She recognized another from her history class, but couldn't remember what it meant. She'd have to look up the Egyptian symbols they had studied tomorrow to find out.
Turning it over once more, light glinted against the inscription on the inside.
For the most beautiful girl in the world, it read.
Blinking back tears, she slipped the silver ring onto her finger. The metal was warm from being held for her inspection. Isabel could almost feel the inscription slightly warmer against her skin. Closing her eyes, she imagined Alex was there, even if only for that moment.
Warmth wound its way into her heart, then seeped into her depths. With a quiet acceptance the Christmas Nazi closed the door in the room it belonged in.
Suddenly, it was Isabel's most perfect Christmas ever.