Many of the characters within this story, and the universe they inhabit, are the intellectual property of Jason Katims Productions.
Horatio Zedekiah Jaxx
Chapter 65: Hold the Pickles
Over the next seventeen months that followed the departure of the Roswell Fourteen, the city of Roswell transformed into one of the most heavily surveilled locations anywhere in the country. Despite the legitimate uses for public surveillance cameras, the secret purpose behind their existence was to keep tabs on the parents of the Roswell Fourteen. From the beginning the United States Department of Defense gave weight to the possibility that the Roswell Fourteen would return someday. All there agreed that their relationships with their earth born parents could be a draw that might bring them back. But this was given a low probability. The reason for this was the input of the scientific community. Most there argued that if they traveled to a neighboring star then they were likely looking at decades before a return. And this was based on their ship having the capability of moving at the speed of light. If they traveled to a distant star they calculated a return being at least a century away. The scientists advised that the only scenario that supported the Roswell Fourteen coming back within a few months to a few years was if they were still somewhere within the solar system. This was thought unlikely because, outside of earth, there was nothing here for them. The popular consensus among the combined communities was that if they left the planet then they likely would not be returning until the far end of the twenty-first century at the earliest. And with each passing month without a sighting, this thinking gained more weight.
Phillip and Diane Evans, and Jeff and Nancy Parker, had by this time resigned themselves to the idea that their adopted alien children were gone for good. They owed this belief more to the surveillance by, and the visits from, agents of the Defense Intelligence Agency. They had come to the conclusion that their children were never going to get anywhere near them without being seen by the United States Department of Defense. Because of this perception the two couples were in a persistent depression. Their homes and their lives felt empty without the children that they raised and loved inside them. To cope with this loss they became closer as couples and the two couples became friends.
Since the event at Holloman, the Evans and the Parkers had become accustomed to dining out together on a semi-regular basis. Their old animosities were far behind them. They felt a connection to one-another and often used this to fill the silence in their respective lives. These occasions, though more common among themselves, were not limited to just the four of them. Other parents of the Roswell Fourteen were mixing and mingling and would, from time to time, associate with the Evans, or the Parkers, or both. The whole of them had, unofficially, become a post Roswell Fourteen support group. And to the surprise of both the Evans and, most especially, the Parkers, this support group managed to produce an unexpected coupling.
The Evans had heard from the Parkers that Jim Valenti and Amy DeLuca were dating. Up until a Saturday morning, within this seventeenth month, this was simply hearsay for them. As Diane and Phillip strolled through a local supermarket, shopping for groceries, they spied Jim and Amy doing the same. They looked to be a happy couple, and maybe even a little too happy. Phillip and Diane had every expectation that their romance would dull the pain of their loss to a small degree. But as they watched them from a distance, they both felt that their demeanors were too giddy. Despite their relationship with them both, Phillip and Diane elected to leave them to their shopping and concentrate on doing their own. This was easy enough to accomplish since Jim and Amy were heavily preoccupied with one-another. This held true for another five minutes and then the pendulum swung the other way.
"Phillip! Diane! Hi," Jim greeted in an excited voice.
Amy followed suit with equal enthusiasm. They both hurried over to the Evans with wide-eyed expressions and large smiles.
"How are you doing?" Jim questioned as he extended his hand to Phillip.
Phillip took the proffered hand and was immediately surprised by the enthusiasm Jim put into the handshake. Amy gave Diane a quick hug with a large smile as they did this.
"We're okay," Phillip answered in a voice that was gloomy by comparison.
"How are you doing?" Diane questioned Amy with an inquisitive inflection.
"Oh, we're great," Amy returned quickly.
Both Phillip and Diane noted that the two of them were practically grinning at them with happiness. After a brief uncomfortable pause, for the Evans, Diane spoke up again.
"So, we heard you two are dating now."
"Oh yes," Amy, quickly, concurred.
"Well, it's not the first time for us," Jim added with a laugh. "We have a little bit of a history."
"We never went on a date before," Amy corrected with feigned admonishment.
"Yes, but I did ask," Jim verbally retaliated.
Amy looked to Phillip with a smile and then spoke to him with a glance to Diane.
"I didn't know he felt this way about me."
"Well, you both look very happy," Phillip supported pleasantly.
"Oh, we are," Amy agreed with a grin.
Once again, the Evans experienced a brief uncomfortable pause while Jim and Amy looked on with large smiles. After two seconds of this Amy took note of their discomfort and reacted to it.
"Well, we're going to leave you to your shopping," Amy declared with a large smile. "And you two have a nice day."
"Thank you," Diane acknowledge with a confused smile.
"Oh!" Jim spoke up suddenly before Amy could step away.
Phillip and Diane looked to Jim with questioning expressions. No sooner had they done this, Jim moved forward and leaned in towards the Evans. Phillip and Diane suspected that he was about to say something confidential. But they had no idea what this could be.
"Congratulations," Jim spoke barely above a whisper.
After this, Jim gave them both a large smile and a pat on the arm of Phillip. Amy was nearly grinning as she looked into the faces of the Evans. She gave Diane a brief touch on the arm and then she and Jim walked away, pushing their cart in front of them. Phillip and Diane gave them both an odd look and then continued with their shopping. They discussed the strange behavior of Jim and Amy, off and on, for another hour. At the end of this time, they finally relegated the event to a memory and dismissed it from current thinking. They attended to the remainder of their Saturday as they customarily did and fell asleep in their beds shortly after eleven o'clock at night.
Diane was first to awaken the following Sunday morning. Still groggy from her slumber, she was only faintly aware that something was unusual about that morning. It took nearly a minute for her head to clear well enough to discern that the sunlight from the window was hitting her from the wrong direction. Confused by this, she rolled onto her back and scrunched her face into a frown as she tried to figure out where she was. She promptly noted that Phillip was beside her in bed. But this confused her even more. His familiar presence conflicted with the unfamiliarity of her surroundings. As her head continued to clear, a growing awareness of where she should be was contrasting, more and more, with where she was. A few seconds later, the awareness that she was not in her room startled her fully awake. An instant behind this she sat up in the bed and took note that the window was in the wrong place and so were all the doors. The walls were the wrong color and the ceiling was the wrong height. The only thing that looked to be theirs was the furniture.
"Phillip," Diane urgently called out at a whisper as she shook him awake.
"What?" Phillip questioned as he rolled over onto his back.
"Look," Diane whispered to him with a startled inflection.
Phillip searched about him for nearly ten seconds before coming to the same realization as Diane. At the end of this time, he threw the covers off of him and jumped out of bed.
"Where are we?" Phillip questioned as he continued to study the room.
"I don't know," Diane responded as she followed her husband's lead and slid off the opposite side of the bed. "Do you smell that," she questioned two seconds later.
Phillip was, at first, too startled by the realization that they were not in their room to notice the smell of cooking food, breakfast from the smell of it. He and Diane exchanged brief looks of puzzlement before donning their slippers onto their feet and their robes onto their bodies. Five seconds later they were quietly opening the bedroom door. The instant the seal to the doorway was breached, powerful aromas of bacon, and eggs, and sausages, and pancakes, and coffee flooded into the room. Still confused, and more than a little apprehensive, Phillip and Diane quietly stepped into the middle of the hallway outside of the room. They stopped there and listened for whoever was cooking the food.
At one end of the hallway Phillip and Diane noted that there were stairs that lead down to the floor below. Instinctively, they trained their attentions in that direction. Three seconds later, a sound from behind whipped their gazes into the opposite direction. A second after doing this, Jeff Parker stepped through a doorway on the opposite side of the hall. He too was dressed in pajamas, a robe and slippers. Nancy stepped out behind him in the same state of attire.
"Where, the hell, are we," Jeff questioned Phillip, in a hushed tone, a second after seeing him staring back at him.
Phillip responded with a shake of his head and a shrug of his shoulders. The two couples then exchanged confused looks for the whole of two seconds. And then the four of them began moving quietly towards the stairs. They paused briefly at the top and looked to each other for agreement that they should proceed down. Two seconds later they began their dissent with their eyes, ears and attentions scanning far out ahead. Halfway down the stairs they were startled to a stop when a figure raced around a corner and up the stairs towards them.
"Mom, Dad, hi," Max welcomed excitedly and with a large grin.
Max came to a stop two steps down and in front of them. Phillip, Diane, Jeff and Nancy were all excited and happy to see him.
"Maxwell," Diane acknowledged with a large smile as she brought her hands up to her cheeks.
"Come on down," Max gleefully beckoned. "There's someone I want you to meet."
Max led them all downstairs with a wave and a smile. At the foot of the steps, he gave his mother the hug she was anxiously looking forward to getting.
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Parker," Max greeted quickly between hugs with his mother and then his father.
"Where's Liz?" Jeff questioned with an excited expression.
No sooner had he said this did he hear the familiar voice of his daughter heralding her approach from around the corner to the living-room.
"Are they awake?" Liz called out a second before her appearance.
Liz raced around the corner and directly into her father's arms. She hugged him for all of fifteen seconds and then she repeated the act with her mother.
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Evans," she greeted as soon as she was done hugging her parents. "Look at what your son bought me," she instructed with a smile and the extension of her left hand.
With a large smile, Liz showed off a modest diamond ring situated about her ring finger.
"Its official now," Liz boasted with a bright smile.
The elder Evans and Parkers gushed over the ring one after the other. Ten seconds later Liz snatched her hand away from their examination as she excitedly change the subject.
"Come on," Liz beckoned with a wave of her hand. "There's someone you should meet."
Liz led her elders around the corner, into the living-room and directly to a bassinet that was situated on the floor near the coffee table. At first sight of it, the elder Parkers and Evans quickly rushed about it.
"Moms, Dads, I want you to meet Jeffrey Phillip Evans," Liz proudly gushed.
The elder Evans and Parkers were clearly overwhelmed by the sight of the two day old baby boy. They oohed and aahed at the sight of him. Shortly, baby Jeffrey was out of the bassinet and being passed around by his grandparents as they sat in the living-room admiring him. They had not been more than three minutes into this when a very pregnant Isabel rushed through the back entrance of the house, through the kitchen, across the dining room into the living-room dragging Kenneth Burton behind her, by the hand.
"Are they awake yet?" Isabel queried as she raced into the room.
Diane and Phillip instantly got up on their feet at the sound of her voice. They looked upon her with a mixture of surprised and excited expressions.
"Oh my, you too…" Diane commented with a look of surprise.
Isabel grinned at this as she rushed forward and with open arms. She gave her parents large hugs before responding to her mother's remark.
"In another month, Li'l Diane Evelyn Burton will be officially a person," Isabel announced with a large smile.
Just then, Michael and Maria pushed open the front door and stepped through the entrance. Maria was just inside of seven months pregnant and Michael was carrying their first child in a baby harness.
"Hi," Maria enthusiastically announced to all as she walked into the living-room.
"Oh no, two babies," Nancy questioned with astonishment?
Nancy was seated on the sofa with baby Jeffrey in her arms.
"Some of us are more fertile than others," Maria jokingly criticized a second before giving the elder Jeffrey a hug.
"Oh please, she was pregnant the day we left," Liz rebuked an instant later.
"Michael!" Diane admonished with a word.
"I'm sorry Mrs. E," Michael apologized with a grin. "We kinda got carried away back then."
There were smiles and laughter throughout the room. The families and friends doted on the two babies in-between greets and hugs.
"So where are we?" Jeff questioned to no one in particular.
"We're in Canada, Dad," Liz answered with a smile.
"But I thought you were leaving?" Phillip questioned with a puzzled look.
"The country, not the planet, Dad," Isabel playfully corrected. "Where else in the universe am I going to go to get a descent cheeseburger?"
All within the room, with the exception of the babies, erupted into laugher behind this remark. Two seconds into this, Phillip responded to his daughter's query with one of his own.
"Hold the pickles?" Phillip asked with a smile.
"Yeah, Dad," Isabel blushed as she gave her father a nudge with her shoulder. "Hold the pickles."
"Speaking of food…," Maria loudly announced.
"Don't even go there," Liz quickly cut Maria off with this retort.
"Feed me," Maria directed with an expectant look.
"I know you ate before you left the house," Liz scolded with a point towards Maria.
"Feed me," Maria insisted in a stern tone.
"Come on into the dining room," Liz encouraged the elder Parkers and Evans with a wave of her hand. "Breakfast is getting cold."
Everyone got to their feet that were not already so situated and began following Liz towards the dining room.
"Feed me," Maria insisted again, loudly.
"I'm not feeding you, Maria," Liz laughingly countered.