Spoilers for . . . umm . . . the last episode.  I don't know the name.  It's the one with the time-traveling Max.

Well, I was supposed to be working on my English ISU (Go Wuthering Heights!) but after spending the entire day reading the book from cover to cover (that'll teach me to procrastinate) I'm sick of Heathcliff and Catherine.  So I decided to sit down and put onto paper an idea that has been floating around in my head since I saw the last episode.  So, without further ado, may I present:

Human Traits

Given the way Max had been looking at her, Tess was not in the least bit surprised when he leaned in to kiss her. At first, her breath caught in her throat. This was what she had been waiting for since she had first set foot in Roswell. Max Evans, of his own free will, was kissing her. He had finally come to terms with his destiny.

But just before his lips pressed against hers, Tess turned her head. Max stopped, millimeters from her face.

"No," Tess said.

"No?" Max asked. He sounded confused and, if Tess was reading his tone right, a little wounded.

"No," she repeated.

"But I thought this was what you wanted," Max said.

It is, Tess thought, but not like this. Aloud, she said, "Answer me this. Why do you want to kiss me? Is it to get back at Liz?"

"No!" Max protested quickly. He sounded sincere, too. Tess didn't think he was aware that he was just trying to use her.

"Look," Tess said frankly, "If it weren't for Liz, would you even be here?"

Max didn't say anything, which was answer enough. He seemed to be avoiding her gaze, which suited Tess fine. She didn't want him to see the tears that had filled her eyes.

"I see," she said, a little more harshly than necessary. But she was afraid that if she tried to speak in a normal tone, her voice would crack and Max would discover just how upset she really was.

Max was now staring at his hands. He didn't look up when Tess violently pushed herself off of the park bench and stalked off.

What a fool she was. How could she have fallen into that trap again, thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, Max might actually feel something besides disdain and loathing towards her?

For a glorious second she had rejoiced, thinking that for once in her life, someone might actually give a damn about her. But no, she realized, the only thing Max gave a damn about was Liz Parker.

Tess didnít' even blame Liz for it. What happened happened, and it had become increasingly obvious from the very beginning that nothing could change that.

And Tess was okay with it. Well, maybe not okay, but she wasn't going to make a fool of herself, chasing after rainbows. Not anymore.

But still the others hated her. She tried everything. But being friendly only cause them to exclude her. Even when she went out of her way to avoid them, they still called her a bitch behind her back.

Well, she was sick of it, sick of it all. She didn't know why she was even in Roswell anymore. There wasn't anywhere else for her to go, anyone else out there, but there sure wasn't anyone for her in Roswell, either.

With these thoughts floating around in her mind, Tess became increasingly angry and upset. When she heard Max call out her name, asking her to slow down, Tess whirled around furiously and demanded, "What do you want, Max Evans?"

Max stopped and looked surprised at her outburst. When he didn't answer right away, she asked impatiently, "Well?"

"What's wrong?" he asked. He didn't seem to be asking from any real concern, but rather from the shock to Tess' reaction. It only made Tess angrier.

"What's wrong?" she asked, her voice dangerously low. "What's wrong?" she repeated, becoming shrill. "I'll tell you what's wrong. I'm sick of you. I'm sick of your games. You don't like me? Fine. I accept that. But stop playing with me.

"I'm sick of always being the bad guy. I'm sick of it here in Roswell. I don't know why I stay. No body likes me; you all hate me. I'm sick of it! So just leave - me - ALONE!" At the end of her speech, much to her horror, Tess burst into tears.

"We don't hate you, Tess," said Max softly.

"Yes you do," Tess wailed.

"No we don't," he told her. "But you're right; we have been treating you like crap and it isn't right. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have tried to kiss you earlier."

He didn't say anything else and presently Tess got herself under control. "I'm sorry," she said when the last of the tears were gone. "I shouldn't have broken down on you like that."

"It's okay."

"Nasedo never let me cry," she confessed. "He said it was a human trait and that I shouldn't be so soft."

"We're more human than we care to admit."

Tess looked at Max. He was staring off into the distance at nothing in particular, as far as she could discern.

"What happened with Liz tonight?" she asked, quickly adding, "If you don't mind me asking."

Max was silent for so long that Tess thought he did mind. She had just started to leave, to give him some time alone, when he answered, "I caught her in bed with Kyle."

At first Tess thought she had heard wrong. She had to have. There was no way Max could have said what she thought he had said.

"Excuse me?"

"Liz, Kyle, they had sex." Max spoke a little louder, his voice echoing with the pain he was going through.

"Oh, Max, I'm so sorry," Tess said, meaning every word. She embraced him and he put his head on her shoulder and sobbed.

The End
November 5, 2000