Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell.
Character Focus: Liz/Tess
Spoilers: Max in the City
Author´s Note: Someone asked how I thought Liz and Tess could become friends. This seemed like one semi-plausible possibility.
"Okay, honey, you have the number to our hotel, right? And Sheriff Valenti promised to check in often, and -"
Liz interrupted her dad with a grin. "Dad! I´ll be fine! You're only going to be gone for the weekend, and I've managed before!"
Jeff Parker stopped for a moment to hug his daughter. "I know you will, honey. I just worry, that´s all."
She hugged him back. "I´ll be okay, really. And if it makes you feel any better, I´ll get Michael to stay while I close up, okay?"
He laughed; she knew him too well. "Fine then. Bye, princess. I love you."
"Love you too, Dad."
They both turned as Nancy Parker came down the stairs, a list in one hand and a rather large suitcase in the other. Liz and Jeff smiled at her preoccupied expression, and she looked up in surprise as Jeff took the suitcase out of her hand and Liz hugged her.
"Bye Mom. Have a good trip."
Nancy affectionately pushed a strand of Liz's hair back behind one ear. "See you in a couple days, honey."
Liz waved her parents off from the back door and went to get the keys to open the diner for the day. As she walked through the employees' only room, she heard someone rapping on the front door.
Geez, she thought grinning. They haven't been gone five minutes!
"Checking in on me already?" she called out as she walked through the swinging door into the restaurant, but stopped short when she saw who it was.
At a more cautious pace, she approached the entrance and, without taking her eyes off her unexpected guest, unlocked and propped open the door.
"What'´s up, Tess?" she asked, expression guarded.
Tess immediately locked agitated blue eyes on concerned brown. "I want an explanation."
"About what?" Liz asked, puzzled and a little irritated.
Tess rolled her eyes, exasperated. "About Ava! I want to know about Ava."
Liz thought about it, and then turned and sat at a table. Tess hesitated for a moment and then joined her.
"What do you want to know?" Liz asked awkwardly.
Tess hesitated. "Michael and Isabel tell me you two became friendly while Max and I were in New York."
"Friends, Tess" Liz corrected her. "We're friends."
Tess studied the human across the table from her carefully. "Why?"
Liz let her surprise show. "Why not?" She was beginning to feel a little angry.
"Because because she´s me."
"No, she´s not," and Liz saw a flicker of hurt pass over Tess's face at the bluntness of her answer. Her momentary anger subsiding, she struggled to explain herself better.
"I mean, she´s nice, you know? She stayed with me when she didn't have anywhere else to go, and then she helped me - uh, us - save Max."
"I get that," Tess said. "But how did you become friends?"
Liz was still unsure about what Tess was after. "Well, we talked a lot when she was here, because she had trouble sleeping. And, I don't know, but we just hit it off."
Tess looked away. "You just hit it off?" she echoed softly, and Liz tried to think of what she could have said to make her so upset.
Not that she didn´t still hate the blonde boyfriend-stealing bitch, she reminded herself quickly, silently reciting the now-familiar mantra that always made her feel better. Except that right now, it wasn't doing a very good job. Because despite her best - or worst - instincts, she could see that Tess was upset. Sad, even. And for some reason, it seemed to be Liz's fault, which didn't sit well in the pit of her stomach.
"Would you like something for breakfast?" she asked suddenly, desperately wanting to change the subject. "Michael isn´t in yet, so there´s nothing hot ready, but you could have something cold, or make something yourself, you know, use a little alien voodoo " and she waved her hand about suggestively.
Tess smiled at her lame joke, and she stared in wonder. She had never really seen Tess smile before, Liz realized, and shelved that thought away for later.
"Sure," Tess said, to the surprise of both girls, and Liz led her into the back. After showing her to the fridge, she hopped up onto the counter to keep an eye out for either customers or a cook - who was now five minutes late.
She watched as Tess pulled out some eggs and vegetables and proceeded to make a light, fluffy gourmet omelette in about thirty seconds flat. Without messing up the kitchen.
"You have got to teach that to Michael," she said enviously.
"Teach what?" Michael asked from the doorway, and both girls chuckled.
"How to make an omelette that looks good enough to actually eat," Liz quipped, but Michael just smirked and started organizing the kitchen the way he liked. It drove him nuts how Jose just shoved everything into drawers.
Catching Tess´s attention, Liz nodded her head in the direction of the restaurant and the two of them returned to their previous seats.
For a minute she just watched as Tess ate, enthralled by the mouth-watering aroma. She hadn't been kidding; it did look good.
"Want some?" Tess offered, and Liz blushed, realizing how obvious she was being. But she really did, so she grabbed a clean fork and aimed for Tess's plate.
Then she froze, fork mid-air. "You sure?" she asked uncertainly. For a moment there, she'd forgotten that they were enemies. Rivals, technically her rational mind corrected itself. And not even that really, because it wasn't Tess who came between her and Max, but an alien Destiny that no one had had any say about. And it wasn't an issue anymore anyways.
Then Tess nodded, and Liz quickly speared a section of egg before she could obsess over it any further. Placing the savoury morsel in her mouth, she relished the smooth texture and perfect balance of flavour, leaning back in her seat with closed eyes to chew and swallow in ecstasy.
"Oh my god," she moaned, and opened her eyes to find Tess watching her in amusement. But somehow, it didn't bother her. Right now, nothing could. She was in heaven.
"Good?" the cook asked dryly.
"Beyond good," Liz breathed. "You," she accused, as though Tess had been keeping some dark secret, "are a culinary genius."
Tess just laughed. "Oh yeah, I also do a mean buttered toast," she bantered, and Liz pretended to swoon. Both girls laughed and then looked away from each other self-consciously.
Then, "Why did you really come here?" Liz asked. Quietly, neutrally.
Tess looked at her seriously, and seemed to come to a decision. Breathing deeply, she gazed straight into Liz's eyes, and asked: "Why can you be friends with them - with Ava and Isabel - but not with me?"
Taken aback, Liz just stared at her for a moment. "Do you want to be friends?" she whispered disbelievingly. This had never even occurred to her. She had assumed that the blonde girl had been lying, back when she first came to Roswell.
Unbidden tears clouded bright blue eyes, but were not allowed to fall. "Yeah," Tess admitted, refusing to look away. "I " and her voice trailed off.
"What?" Liz encouraged her, fascinated and not at all repelled as she thought that maybe she should be.
"I could use a friend," Tess said forthrightly, and then a tear did fall, one shiny teardrop making it's way down one smooth, pale cheek. "A girl friend. Someone who knows about and can talk about well, you know everything."
"Why me? I mean, what about Isabel and Maria?" Liz asked curiously.
Tess just shook her head. "I like Maria, or at least, I think I do. But she´s really close with Max, and right now " she shrugged her shoulders.
Liz nodded. She understood exactly. It had been a bit of a shock to find out how close Maria and Max had become over the summer. And while it didn't upset her, not really, at the same time she couldn't help but wonder what they talked about, or feel a little cautious about speaking to Maria about him, even in confidence.
Tess shook her head. "Isabel's pretty messed up. The pregnancy scare, Vilandra, Whitaker, Lonnie " her voice dropped to a whisper. "Everything."
"Is she okay?" Liz asked, suddenly worried.
Tess considered the question. "I think she will be. she´s really strong, you know," and Liz nodded in agreement; she was. "But right now, she can´t concentrate on anyone except herself. And that's okay, because she´s been through a lot..."
" but so have you," Liz finished thoughtfully. And for the first time she looked, really looked, at Tess Harding.
Tess put down her fork and Liz watched her swallow with difficulty. Without thinking, she reached out and held one cool, shaking hand in her own warm grasp.
And in the kitchen, Michael almost dropped a pan as he put it away. He could have sworn he just saw Liz Parker comforting a sobbing Tess Harding. Idly he thought about intervening, or maybe joining them, or something for about five seconds. Then, shaking his head, he tuned them out and started arranging spatulas according to size.
Jose always left them in such a mess.
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