A/N: My first multi-chaptered fic for WOWP. Based on a request at LJ. I have no idea where this story is going, only that for the majority of it, it'll be pre-Justin/Alex, focusing on Justin's feelings. Probably spoilerific for the episode "Quinceanera." Possibly later episodes as well. Please enjoy. :D
Disclaimer: I don't own WOWP. I'm not kidding.
Justin settles back into the living room couch, grateful to relax after Alex's Quinceanera party -- in his own body, mind you. He doesn't even want to think about what it was like in the body of that male dance instructor, even if it had only been for a few minutes.
Everyone else has already retired to their bedrooms, or so Justin thinks, until his mother comes down the stairs, dressed in her nightgown and robe, to sit beside him. There is something hesitant in her smile that makes Justin sit up, all attention.
"What's wrong, Mom?" he asks.
"Wrong? Why should there be anything wrong? Your sister just had a great party, even though. . . ." She trails off, expectantly looking at him.
Justin raises an eyebrow in confusion. "Yeah. . .?"
Theresa shifts to face him, though her eyes are downcast while she carefully considers her words. "I know you love your sister, Justin, and I'm proud of you for learning how to dance for her, but--"
Justin interrupts with, "Mom, there's something I want to tell you about that."
"No, just let me finish or I'll never say it, and I don't want to think about what might happen then."
Justin's eyes widen, and he moves one leg onto the couch, folding his hands in his lap. Theresa places her hand on his knee.
"This strange thing between your sister and you -- whatever it is, Justin, I don't like it," she says in a rushed breath.
"What are you talking about, Mom?" His eyes can't widen any more, and he has the feeling he's really missing something. "Have I done something?"
"It's inappropriate, and you should know that. I've raised you better than to-- to--" Theresa struggles with the words again, and Justin holds her hand in his.
"Mom, I don't know what you're talking about, but during the dance with you, it wasn't me. I switched bodies with my dance instructor, Richard, so I wouldn't embarrass Alex, or you."
She blinks for a moment, any sign of tears slowly fading. "What? You mean you knew it was me in Alex's body…and it wasn't you dancing with me?"
Justin nods, and Theresa places a clammy hand against her cheek before moving it to rest above her heart.
She sighs with relief. "I am so glad to hear that. You have no idea what was running through my mind -- for a while I actually thought you might be, I don't know, attracted to your sister."
Theresa laughs, but Justin frowns in confusion. His heart beats too hard when he thinks about what his mother means, and wonders why it makes him feel so strange; instead of being utterly disgusted at the thought of liking Alex in a romantic way, Justin can only conjure images of how doings so could be reasonable.
He knows it's ridiculous to feel like that. Yes, his sister is beautiful, but that doesn't give Justin an excuse because Alex is also rude, annoying, lazy, and regularly getting into trouble with magic or otherwise -- trouble where Justin must constantly bail her out. These should be reasons enough that Justin, and any man for that matter, should stay away from such a dangerous, alluring woman.
Yet Justin also sees the side of Alex that many don't -- how she loves her family and friends, how she has a good heart and means well most of the time, how she can be shy around some people and outgoing around others, how at the same time she loves animals, soft blankets, skateboards and horror movies, and how she has a vulnerability that still enables her to cry in front of others.
Justin tries to ignore the way his heart lurches when he thinks of all the times she cried for him. And what did he do many of those times? Tease her, like any brother would. But there were other times when Justin brought Alex into a hug, and now sees that he might have held on to her for too long.
All of these thoughts bring a dawning realization and new perception to Justin's world, and suddenly forbidden emotions swirl through his entire being. Theresa seems unaware of the change her words inspired within him, so she stands and places a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry for ever bringing this up," she says. "Forgive my ignorance of the whole situation, Justin. I mean, I should have been more aware. It's obvious now that I think about it, since you, or your instructor rather, said things like, 'baby' and 'mi amore.' You don't even speak Spanish, so how could I have thought it was you? Just put it all out of your head, okay, sweetie? It was a bizarre notion, and I should have known better than to be suspicious, especially of something so. . .repulsive."
"Yeah, Spanish, bizarre, repulsive," Justin mumbles with little of the enthusiasm he would normally carry for his family members' various outlandish ideas. Because this thought has taken root in his very core, and he has this awful feeling that if left alone, it might devour him whole, body and soul. Then what would become of him?
"Good night," Theresa says. "Sweet dreams."
Justin doesn't respond as his mother makes her way back up the stairs to her bedroom because he knows that at the rate of his speeding thoughts, when he sleeps tonight, his dreams won't be filled with anything that could be considered good by normal, moral standards of conduct. And Justin is scared because he knows that his principles are completely, easily amendable whenever Alex is involved.