The word lost, has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. The word lost has hundreds of thousands of different meanings, uses. Today, the Merriam-Webster dictionary has seven standard different meanings for the word lost. Alex Whitman knew what lost meant. He knew what it entitled. He knew it a hundred thousand times over.
Lost is when your best friends start lying to you.
Lost is when you find that humans are not alone.
Lost is when you find that the one person you love. The one person you would give yourself fully to…be part alien.
Lost is when you find that your beautiful girl and you can no longer be together, because she was meant for different, bigger things, than you.
Lost is when everyone you love is against your decision of whom to love.
Lost was when your mind was taken over by a teenage alien hybrid to decode a book she thought was meant to be her salvation.
Lost is when you're given a choice that will decide everything.
Lost is the choice of either pretending you're dead, and never see your child grow; or bringing the end of the world for everyone else.
Alex Whitman knew what lost was. He knew what abnormal was. It was life without Isabel Evans. It was life without his daughter. It was a life without friends. It was a life without love.
But maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't be lost forever.
The word stupid wouldn't leave her mind. It throbbed in time with her anxious footsteps across the pavement. She had been running frantically for ten minutes now and the only thing she could ask herself was why? He had told her of Hope and Heaven. He had even made her promise to go there, and she had promised. Was it too late? She couldn't think of that. She had to keep moving. She had to find her. She had to get there. There wasn't a moment to lose. She clutched the makeshift book tightly to her chest as she continued to make her way to the alley in the back of the Crashdown Café, and up the balcony of a certain brunette.
Liz Parker was sitting on her bed with pictures spread around her. Her hair was overshadowing her face and not for the first time, through the curtain of smooth dark hair, Max Evans saw the tell-tale signs of tears. He longed to reach out and kiss them. He longed to hold her in the comfort of his arms. He longed to at least pretend she was his once again; which was why he was sitting outside her window on a cool summer's night. The wind was starting to pick up and the cold from the concrete was starting to seep into the back of his jeans. But he wouldn't move. He would stay crouched here for hours to watch her, to make sure she was ok, and to make sure that no harm came to her. He leaned back against the railing and prepared for a long night. A long night of a cold bum, and fingers aching to smooth back the hair that fell over her currently tear-stained face.
Alex. The one word raced through Isabel's being as a fire. Every moment was agonizingly sweet torture. She kept running on autopilot, blocking out all sounds, all voices, all people. Everything but Alex. Because Alex was alive. And so, it was when Isabel made her next hurdle over Liz's balcony that she landed on a crouching Max who had had his fingers outstretched to a crying Liz Parker. She fell with a thud and all went still.
Jeffery Parker had been in his room when he heard the muted thud that came from the direction of Liz's room. Suddenly, Jeff was immediately aware that his teenage daughter had a balcony outside her window, and also had a lock on her door. It had been a good idea to have the lock installed when Liz had started to want more privacy in the past few years. But now, with a wild imagination, the lock really looked to be a single father's worse nightmare. Jeff sprinted down the short hallway to get to his only daughter's bedroom.
"Liz? Is everything Ok? I thought I heard something." He pounded on her door.
"Dad? Yeah, everything's fine." Liz reassured him.
"I know how broken up you are about Alex's death. When your mother left…" It was still hard for Jeff to talk about her.
He had only been in his early twenties when he had met her. They were young, full of life, and ready to defy the world. They got married after a year of dating, and soon after that they were born. Twins. One would die coming into the world. And after only a few weeks of being a mother, She left. Ever since then it had been Jeff and his daughter. He settled down in the small town he had grown up in. And so, it was in Roswell, New Mexico, that Jeffery Parker had raised Liz, started a business, and grew old; by himself.
"I know dad. It's just…I'm sorry if I woke you. I'm just gonna head to bed."
"Liz," maybe he shouldn't keep it to himself. Maybe he should tell her.
"Night Dad." But she had enough to worry about. Enough to mourn. She didn't need to know; not yet.
"Night Liz." Maybe another night. Another night when the wind was cool, where the stars were unusually bright, and if you looked closely you could see the beginning of the formation of a constellation far off to the right that was making the slow progress of a somewhat crooked V.
Currently outside her balcony was a tangle of Isabel, Max, and typed pages that were slowly hovering in the gentle breeze outside.
"Max, Isabel? What's going on? Why are you here? Is there something wrong?"
"Liz…" Max started only to be interrupted by his sister.
"No…time…must…Alex…" Running hadn't been a bad idea at the time, but now, Isabel was having trouble speaking, and was panting between each word.
"Calm down. Take your time," said Liz. There isn't enough time Isabel thought to herself sullenly, but she saw the rationale. The sooner she calmed down, the sooner she could tell them about Alex, the sooner she could find him. Isabel took a few deep breaths, and once she found her breath again she began.
He couldn't believe it. Tess. Everything had been a lie. How could she? How could she manipulate them all that way? Why Alex? He wasn't one of them. He wasn't supposed to be involved. Maybe he should've just played along. Maybe he should've just pretended he felt something for her. Maybe he should've forced himself not to gag when he was in her presence. It would've made that kiss more enjoyable, that's for sure. That kiss…the attraction he had felt for her…it was all making sense now. She had made him believe he was having feelings for her. She was doing things to his mind. And the message, the message from his mother, it wasn't real. There was no destiny. Not with Tess anyway. But how was he to know? Was Alex's translation of the book real? Was anything real? Liz was real. And if what Iz was telling them was true than Alex was really alive.
"Maria, you have to clam down! Maria…I know…What do you mean is this some kind of sick joke? Of course not! Do you think…I would ever joke about … about … I know… yes… Michael's there with you, right?...We'll meet you in front of the old movie theater? Ok…yeah, I know…. love you too. Bye Maria." Liz hung the phone up, and heaved a reluctant sigh. Max was here, and if everything Isabel said was true, than maybe it was also true that what Isabel had said about their destiny wasn't true as well. That meant that there was a slight possibility that Max didn't belong to Tess. Her heart fluttered, and hope blossomed. Maybe Max had spoken the truth that night in the van, when the FBI was hot on their trail after they rescued him from the white room. Maybe he had loved her. Maybe he still did. But now wasn't the time. Now was only time for Alex. Alex, her best friend. She had to do everything it took to get him back. And so, she heaved another reluctant sigh, and found that she was going to have to lie to her father. Again.
"I just got off the phone with Maria and Michael. They're going to meet us at the old movie theater. We better get going."
"You told them didn't you?" asked Isabel. She was humming with adrenaline. She was ready to run to the apartments if necessary, but she had the most awful feeling in the pit of her stomach.
"Yeah. I thought it would get them there faster if they knew. Come on, we can't leave him waiting," with that Liz started to climb out her window.
"Umm, Liz?" asked a hesitant Max.
"Yeah?" She asked, curious as to why they were both looking at her funny.
"You're still in your P.J.'s."
"Oh. Right." She sheepishly looked down at her self and ducked inside for a moment to change.
Isabel was climbing down the ladder off the balcony. The three of them were leaving, and at that moment, it was only he and Liz standing on a now deserted balcony. Liz was about to descend when Max caught her arm.
"Liz…" His eyes were so beautiful in the moonlight. He was beautiful in the moonlight.
"Max." It was a sigh. It was a plea. It was all the hope, faith, and love he had ever needed, ever wanted and so, so much more.
"If what Alex decoded is real…if all of this isn't just some dream… Liz, I think we should try again. Start over and see where all of this is taking us, because what I'm feeling for you, well, it's not going away."
"Max! Liz, come on!" Isabel was impatiently waiting in the Jeep. The engine was running; never mind that the keys were still in Max's back pocket.
"Maybe now isn't the best time to do this Max."
"But later?" asked a slightly disappointed, and slightly hopeful Max.
"Yeah, later." The air went still, their eyes locked, and not for the last time was the moment lost to the sound of Isabel's irritated voice. "Come on! We don't want to keep him waiting."
The car ride was quiet. He couldn't believe what was happening. He was alive. Alex Whitman was alive, and the nagging suspicion that his kind had something to do with his disappearance was correct. He felt a sense of pride that he had been right. But immediately after the news sunk in, he felt a sickening lurch in his stomach that Ihis/I kind had been the ones responsible for his "death." IHis/I kind. The people he had been searching for as long as he could remember. The people who were a part of him. The people he belonged with. But where was their sense of friendship? Their sense of loyalty? Their sense of what's right and wrong? Did he really want to belong to people who didn't know or even care about qualities like these? Michael wasn't sure, but looking over at Maria, his pixie girl, he felt an even deeper sense of disgust that he had wanted for so long to be like them.
The car ride was quiet. She couldn't believe what was happening. Alex was alive. Her Alex. The guy she had been best-friends with for years. The guy that had introduced her to strawberry ice cream. The guy that had been there when Doug had dumped her in eighth grade. It was Alex, and he was ialivei/. What more could she ever ask for? What more could she ever want? And it was then, that the little nagging voice in the back of her head that had been morosely quiet until then, spoke. IMichael/I. What about Michael, she thought wildly to herself. Michael had been great. Not once since Alex's death had he ever run away from her. He had even started really talking to her; about things she was sure he had never told anyone before, including Isabel and Max. He had even been there when she needed a shoulder to cry on. IBut why/I asked the nagging voice in her head. Why had he been there? He had run so many other times before when things had been intense and losing a musketeer had been intense. She had wanted to believe that he was starting to understand what he meant to her. She was desperately clinging to hope (and maybe a little bit of faith) that he had thrown in his running shoes and was here to stay. IHe felt guilty/I. The voice pestered smugly. And in all probability the voice was probably right. Tess had mind warped Alex to translate the book so she could get home. Isn't that what Michael had always wanted? He had always wanted to find a way home and had never shown any loss of sleep over the means to do so. So, maybe he was feeling guilty. Maybe because he thought that she would connect him to Tess. Because what he had wanted for so long, Tess did herself, and he might even be sickened with the means to the end. So, maybe the voice was right, maybe he was feeling guilty.
"Michael," Maria said upon the startling revelation. He just looked her way.
"You wouldn't have done it."
"What are you rambling about DeLuca?"
"Michael, I'm talking about Tess, what she did, I know that you never would've done it. So, don't go thinking that you and her are anywhere near the same. I don't care if you were made by the same people. The two of you are nothing alike at all."
"We both killed someone." How had she known what he had been thinking about? When had ditzy Maria DeLuca grown perceptive? When had he ever let anyone get close enough to him to get perceptive?
"She might not have killed someone. That's the whole point of this little excursion, don't you dare compare Alex and Pierce. Liz had a flash of what they did to Max in the white room and she told me a little about it, and don't you dare think that killing him put you at his level. Tess was sick and twisted and when I get my hands on her…" Maria couldn't finish her sentence. Michael smirked, and silence ensued for a few moments before Maria came out of her daze of the possible ways she could take Tess down for what she did to Alex.
"I'm just saying Michael, that I want you, need you more now than ever, and I'm afraid. Afraid of what this means to everyone, about everything. If she was having Alex decoding the book who knows what else she was lying about. I might get Alex back tonight, but I can't…I can't lose you. Not when we've come so far and…and…I can't Michael. I love you too much." They had never said the three words yet, and while Maria knew that Michael cared about her, and maybe even loved her, she knew it was too soon for him. She knew she had slipped up and slipped up big time. Good going DeLuca. Way to scare him off.
There was silence.
The five of them were standing at the door. His door. No one could ring the bell. Too afraid not to ring it, and too afraid to actually ruin the moment of blissful ignorance; and so they stood there in front of the door wishing that Isomeone/I should ring it. With a roll of his eyes, Michael rang the bell.
The door opened and a dark head popped through the small crack. Music floated in the air in front of the five teenagers on the warm summer night, and the best friend that was believed to be lost was suddenly standing in front of them with a look of wonderment.
The door opened a little wider which seemed to be enough prompting for both Maria and Liz to attach themselves to Alex and start sobbing hysterically. A few minutes later they came apart. Alex was smiling, and Maria, for once was actually speechless to see her 'dead' friend and was momentarily quiet. Liz on the other hand was looking over at Isabel who was wringing her hands and shifting from foot to foot. She was crying quietly and was waiting for someone to invite her into the little circle of hugs, and wasn't about to move unless invited. Liz motioned her over, and so Isabel stumbled over, and was enveloped in Alex's strong arms.
When they pulled apart, Alex looked up to see two others in front of him. Both were male, and both were smiling, well, one of them looked like he was smirking.
"You must be Max and Michael."