A Kiss to the Soul
A kiss should be something that speaks to you. That makes you feel it somewhere in your depths, makes your toes tingle. Makes you crave more. Makes you want that person to be there to be in that place with you.
This kiss didn't do that. None of them had.
The thoughts rolled around like marbles on an uneven floor in the back of her mind as her lips locked onto his. She could feel his hands in her hair, was vaguely aware of her own hands on his shoulders, but her thoughts were becoming more and more distracting. It shouldn't feel like this. Like a big nothing.
Which is exactly how it felt. Sort of. Kind of like a physical need of some sort something that you had to do, like go to the bathroom, not like a kiss. That's what this was, some sort of need. A need that she almost felt had been programmed into her some way. The thought made her shudder and she heard him mumble something and pull her closer. His mouth was on hers again, but this time it was too much. This time she didn't want to feel programmed. Didn't want to not feel the things she should be feeling.
Bringing the make out session to a screeching halt, she shoved him away from her and glared.
"Michael! Stop it! Just stop it ok?" She grabbed her jacket and pulled it around her. There was a chill inside of her that just wouldn't go away.
"What? Oh come on Is, we've been through this before."
"I don't care," Isabel replied, inching further away from him, "I don't care."
"What, you don't care about me now? Is that it?" Michael demanded.
Another glare, this one enough to bring him out of the kiss induced trace he always seemed to fall into. "You know damn well that's not it Michael." She took a deep breath, then let it out slowly, shakily. "What do you feel when you kiss me?"
Michael blinked. "Huh?"
"What do you feel when you kiss me?" she asked again.
"I feel you kissing me. What are you getting at here Isabel?"
"Do you feel the Earth move? Do you see stars? Do you feel anything inside of you? Any kind of emotion about it?" The questions came rapidly, not giving him the chance to respond. "Do you feel anything like you felt when you kissed Maria?"
The final question was like a smack in the face.
"That's different and you know it," he growled.
"Exactly. It's different. And it's different because you care about her."
Michael shook his head. "That's not true well, not exactly. I care about you too Is, you know that."
Her look softened, but her resolve didn't. "I know, but it's not the same. We're family. Me, you, Max. We've always been family." Isabel paused and Michael wondered if that was his cue to speak. But it was the thoughtful look on her face that kept him silent. "We know we were paired up. To mate. To produce. Or at least we know that's what Tess claims." Michael nodded and she continued. "But that's all it feels like Michael. Like you're some kind of alien sperm bank or something." He wrinkled his nose and tried not to chuckle at that image. "I don't want that."
The words ran around in his head, slowly being processed as he took them in one by one. Something pricked his brain, like a tiny needle bent on inflicting monumental pain. He flinched and looked at her.
"Come on Is. It's your imagination. You know we were meant for each other." He reached for her.
With a soft groan she flung herself off the couch and looked around. What had caused this change within her? She couldn't know. She did know however, that this had been going on for months, and it never felt truly right to her. A faint flash of pain shot across her forehead, but she ignored it. There was no denying that she loved Michael. She always had. But not like that. He was like a brother to her. Not some kind of future mate and make out partner. Panic welled within her and she squeezed her eyes shut.
"It's not my imagination Michael. Don't you feel it? Don't you feel like you're being controlled? Like something in your head just keeps pushing you, keeps blocking out your feelings? Keeps making you do things even though you know it's not what you want?" Desperation started as a small kernel in her chest and began to swell rapidly. "Think about it Michael! Think about how it felt to kiss Maria. How it felt when she was next to you."
The flash of sharp pain that took Michael to the floor wasn't lost on Isabel. She knelt next to him, gently placing a hand on his shoulder. The pain only enforced what she thought, what she felt, what she knew to be true.
"Every time you think of her, that happens doesn't it? Come on Michael, how can you say something isn't controlling us? If your thoughts aren't even your own anymore?"
He said nothing, but realization flickered somewhere in his mind. "Maria?" he asked hoarsely. Isabel nodded and closed her eyes.
Making the connection was easy. It always had been between the three of them. Gently as she could, she fed him images, pictures of all of them together. Pictures of Maria Maria laughing, Maria angry, Maria ready to kill him, Maria ready to lay down her life for him. She felt the stabbing pain behind his eyes, but with each picture it seemed to fade. Isabel kept them coming, kept the images flooding his mind. When she ran out of images of her own, she began to feed him images from his own mind. Red shoes, the eraser room, Maria's room after a fight with Hank
Removing her hand from him, she broke the connection and sat back on her heels. Saying nothing, she waited for him to respond.
"Ow," he muttered as he sat up, clutching his head. "How'd you know?"
A shrug of her shoulder as she leaned back against the chair that was behind her. "I don't know. It just never felt right. Never felt like it should." He nodded slightly. "Never felt like it was anything more than some kind of need. Like a fix or something."
"So, what you're saying then, is that you didn't see stars?" Michael grinned. Isabel shook her head, but he was too busy to notice. Rising, he made his way to the door. "I need to mend fences," he said as he jerked open the door and walked out.
Isabel watched him go and shook her head. She felt as if she had been caught in some kind of never ending nightmare. Somehow she knew what would break the hold that, whatever it was, had on Michael, but now she was left to wonder how she knew. What broke the hold on her?
Rising, she slipped her arms through her sleeves and headed for the door. She needed to get out of here. Needed air. Needed to think.
Normally walking was beneath her, she wouldn't hesitate to admit such a thing. But tonight she wanted the distraction. Needed it.
The air helped to clear her head somehow, and she could just go without having to worry about where she was going, or about running anyone over because she was distracted. All she had to do now was think. Think and walk.
Think about how she had managed to overcome whatever it was that had made her think Michael was it. Was the one she should be with. Looking back at those thoughts, those almost feelings, she nearly laughed. Would have if the thought that she had been used and manipulated hadn't been mixed with it all. The night before these things hadn't entered her mind. Hadn't even come close. Only 24 hours earlier and she had been content to let something control her and her life. So what had changed that?
Isabel tried to think, tried to pinpoint exactly when it had happened. When she realized that she was only fulfilling some kind of programming. When she realized that she didn't have it in her didn't feel it. Since it had happened, she hadn't given it a second thought. So why now?
No matter how closely she looked over the past day, she couldn't see anything that would have done it. She didn't have a Maria. She didn't have someone who made her tingle when she was touched.
With a sigh she stopped, looking around absently at where she was. Not that it mattered. Her head was beginning to hurt trying to figure it out. Not the kind of stabbing pain that Michael had felt when he thought of Maria. The kind of dull ache that happened when you simply over thought something. Turning around, she decided to head home. Max needed to know. Isabel couldn't be sure what would happen when he found out he seemed confused enough by the events as they were, but it wasn't fair to leave him in the dark. He certainly didn't want to be controlled any more than she did.
It didn't really matter to her if he chose one girl or the other when it came down to it. But she didn't feel that it should be left to some kind of alien programming either. Max was a smart boy, perfectly capable of making his own choices. Ok, sometimes she wondered about that, but this time she knew it was true. She also felt somewhere inside of her, that Max would end up with Liz. Tess might be a nice distraction, might even be a worthy distraction, but Max had loved Liz since practically the beginning of time. It would take more than a pretty smile to make him forget that.
Her feet moved, propelling her forward, and finally she wondered how close to home she was. Stopping, she looked around and frowned. This wasn't home. Where had her feet led her while she was stuck somewhere in the mire of her thoughts?
The street sign was too far away to read, but she felt like she should know it anyway. Looking around once more, her eyes finally rested on the house across the street.
Images from the dream came like waves, crashing over her. Holding her breath, she waited for the flood to recede, but it didn't. Instead it got stronger, the images more vivid. Within seconds she could smell everything, hear it in perfect surround sound.
He had stood there, much like before. But this time when he kissed her, it wasn't awkward in any way. She had clung to him, desperate to somehow merge him with herself. To make him a part of her and to make herself a part of him. It had shifted then, and he was in the familiar dream of the school. This time the song ended and he had kissed her again.
And again she had clung to him, had tried to pour herself into him. Tried to meld their hearts. He was speaking, was trying to tell her she could trust him. That he would never hurt her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't answer. She just kept shaking her head as if she wouldn't believe him. So he had kissed her again. And she tired to show him in that kiss, tried to make him understand what she couldn't say.
But it hadn't worked and he had left then. Had told her he would always be there. Told her he loved her. Told her he would never force her to do something she didn't want to do. And then he was gone.
The dream. Oh God, the dream. That's what had undone everything. What had made her realize
Suddenly she felt the overwhelming need to have him with her. To kiss him, to touch him. To tell him how much she cared for him. She needed it as much as she needed air to breathe. She needed to see stars.
Racing across the street, nearly oblivious to the darkened windows, she planted herself under his window. Figures he would be on the second story. With a soft laugh she decided it didn't matter. Feeling giddy, she looked along the ground intently. Finally finding what she was searching for, she hefted the first of the small rocks at the window.
It connected with a small 'tink'. Darkness. Isabel tossed another, then another, keeping up the barrage until the light finally clicked on. It seemed like an eternity for the window to slide open and his head to poke out.
Bleary eyed and squinting, he looked down at her. Shaking his head once he closed his eyed and counted to ten. She was still standing there when he reopened his eyes, so he decided it wasn't a dream after all.
"Isabel," he whispered, "What are you doing here?" He was instantly awake, ready to do battle with whatever demons had arrived. "Oh God, what happened?"
"Nothing happened. And if you had a bedroom on the first floor, I'd have found a much better way of waking you up. Are you coming down or do I have to figure out how to get up there?"
Alex eyed her again, wondering once more if this was a dream. Isabel Evans, showing up at his house unannounced in the middle of the night? All well, he could think of worse dreams he could be having.
"Hold on, I'll be down in a second." He pulled his head back in the window and started to close it only to pop it back out again. "You are really here, right?"
She laughed and grinned up at him. "Hurry up will you?"
With a quick nod he ducked back in, the window closing softly behind him.
Isabel had no idea what she was going to say to him. How she was going to explain her presence here at, she looked at her watch, two in the morning. She'd just have to wing it. Nearly running around to the front of the house, she waited, eager for him to come out.
As soon as the door opened, she rushed him. Nearly shoving him back into the house as she collided with him, she grabbed the front of his shirt and hauled him close.
"Kiss me," she demanded.
"Huh?" Alex blinked and raised a hand to her head, wondering if she had either gone insane or was deathly ill.
"Kiss me silly," she insisted again.
"You came here, woke me up, drug me out of bed, and are standing on my porch wanting me to kiss you. This really is a nightmare isn't it? What next, I'm going to find myself naked in front of my trig class?"
She grinned and pulled him closer. "Alex?" she said softly.
"Would you shut up and just kiss me already?"
His hand slid across her cheek and into her hair, bringing her mouth closer to his. His lips touched hers, lightly at first, barely grazing her own. Even that little touch sent shivers through her. Her arms wound themselves around his neck and she pulled him against her, trying to get as much contact as possible.
No matter how hard she tried to push it, he kept control of the kiss. Taking his time, he let his tongue trace the outline of her lips before slipping it between them. She felt his tongue touch hers and suddenly the world seemed to be spinning a million miles an hour under her feet. Tongues swirled around each other, drawing her into him even further, causing a tingle inside of her. When his tongue left her mouth, she almost protested, but his teeth against her lower lip stopped any words from coming.
Alex pulled gently on her lip, then slid his tongue against hers again. A whimper escaped the back of her throat and he almost smiled. One hand moved through her hair, pulling her ever closer until even air couldn't separate them. The other roamed her back, urging her hips closer to his.
Isabel thought she might faint. Her knees had gone weak and the ground spinning around under her was making it harder and harder to stand. The tingle had spread, shooting down through her legs and into her toes. Crawling up her body until she felt it over every inch of her skin. His lips left her for a second, making her feel as if she had lost some part deep within her she hadn't realized she had. As soon as their lips met again, she felt herself melting, flowing into him.
Slowly the kiss cooled and they parted. She was still pressed against him, still felt the tingle in her body. With a mental laugh, she prayed he wouldn't step away because her knees were still so weak she wasn't sure she could stand on her own. The earth under her seemed to slow, but never quite stopped spinning. Some part of her felt full, completed.
"Alex?" she managed.
"Yeah?" he responded, breath catching as she moved against him.
"Don't move, ok?"
"Not going anywhere."
"Good, cause I think I might need a minute to recover."
"Recover? God, it wasn't that bad was it?"
She almost laughed at the panicked tone of his voice, but the images of the dream came to her. Bad? If it had been any better she would be a puddle of goo at his feet! He'd have to carry his new girlfriend around in a bucket until she somehow managed to reform herself. Isabel goo. Not a pretty picture.
With a shaky hand, she reached out and wound her fingers into his hair.
He sounded scared to ask that simple question.
"Kiss me again."
The kiss was gentle this time. His lips touched hers softly, his tongue only tracing her mouth once. Lips moved over hers and she thought it was suddenly a race, either she would completely melt and there would be Isabel goo, or the fire that had suddenly ignited in her would make her burst into flames. When she thought it had to be one or the other, he pulled away.
"Is this a dream?"
"Cause if it is, I kinda want to stay asleep."
She looked up at him and smiled. "If you stayed asleep, then we couldn't do that again."
"You have a point. Isabel?"
"I think I saw stars."
"Oh yeah. Did you see stars?"
"No," she replied, "But the earth moved. A lot."
"I don't think I can stand on my own yet."
"Still not going anywhere. Just be thankful this post is behind us, cause I think it might be holding us both up."
Isabel laughed softly and rested her head against his shoulder. His hand came up, gently stroking her back, sending little lightning bolts racing through her. Her arms looped loosely around his waist and she sighed softly.
"You ok?" he asked, dropping a kiss on the top of her head.
"Oh yeah," she replied smiling against his chest. "Alex?"
"That's what a kiss is supposed to feel like. Like someone touched your soul."
His arms went around her and hugged her close. One hand reached up, the other not letting go of her, still holding her close, and brushed hair away from her face. Gently he stroked her cheek with a finger. This time there were no tingles, more like a warmth spreading through her. A content warmth.
"Did I touch yours?" she asked in a small voice.
"Oh you touched more than my soul Is," he grinned. "Keep standing there like that and you'll find out just how much you touched me."
She gave a halfhearted punch to his other shoulder and smiled.
"You've always spoken to my soul Isabel."
"You just kissed mine."