Disclaimers: Nope. The characters are mine. I don't really want them, so perhaps I'll just let them have each other. That way everyone's happy. If you haven't read Alix and Valerie then you'll probably be lost. If you're lost anyway.. then... you'll have to see Bertha about that. I'm not responsible for anything I write. Unless.. of course... you like it :)


Sex/Violence/Naughty language: Yes/No/Maybe so.


Dedication: This one goes to Amber, cause after 7 months she's still putting up with me. Thanks for daring me to write fanfic... I would've never done it otherwise ;) I loooove you.


Special Thanks: to my best friend Christy, who makes me appear far more creative than I am. And as always, to Cindy, for everything. 


Feedback: Feel free to direct all comments, questions, rantings, ravings, roommate stories, bad hair days, radioactive rock information, UFO sightings, and amusing anecdotes to

Chapter One - Alix


Head-banging is a surefire way to get a headache. I learned this lesson well on my way home from my Voice III class, as I got a bit carried away listening to Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)." Hey, it's not my fault the lyrics are so compelling.


"Never judge a book by it's cover ...  or who you gonna love by your lover ...  Sayin' love put me wise to her love in disguise ... She had the body of a Venus, Lord imagine my surprise ... "


Well, at least I'd stopped listening to "Angel" on repeat.


"Any messages?" I asked my roommate, upon entering my lovely boudoir. I was trying desperately not to think about anything meaningful. So far, I'd succeeded admirably. That is, until I noticed the object on my bed. "What's that?" I walked closer, hesitation obvious in my step. I think I was afraid it would get up and bite me. It's possible. I'd watched Unsolved Mysteries.


"Valerie dropped it off," Nicole answered casually, though I could tell by her tone that she was dying to know what it was.


At the sound of Valerie's name, I whirled around to face my roommate. "Valerie? When was this?"


"She left about ten minutes ago," Nicole responded, the book she'd been reading now lay open on her chest. I had her full attention. "I told her to wait for you, but she bolted."


"Huh." I turned back to my bed, or more specifically the item thereon, and tried to keep a frown off my face. I doubt I succeeded. She bolted. Of course. What'd you expect the way you walked out of her apartment the last time. I bit my lip.


"Are you going to see what it is?" Nicole asked, with a hint of impatience.


"Huh? Oh. Right." I walked over and grabbed a hold of the black sheet covering the object and pulled it off. For a moment, I was speechless.


Nicole was looking over my shoulder a second later. "Oh wow. Did you pose for that?"


I knew I was blushing furiously. I was about to answer her, when I noticed the yellow piece of paper tacked to the corner of the canvas. Silently, I pulled it out and unfolded it.




I'm not entirely sure why I thought you'd want this. You probably don't. But I really wanted you to have it ... Whatever you choose to do with it is up to you. I'll understand.




PS: I meant what I said the other night. I hope, if nothing else, you at least believe that.



"What did she say the other night?" Nicole asked.


It was then I realized she was reading over my shoulder. I folded the note and stared at the drawing of me for a moment, not answering her. There were various emotions surging through my heart at that moment, none of which I could possibly understand fully. So instead of trying to analyze the tempest in my brain, I headed for the door. "I'll be back," I said, and slammed the door behind me, leaving a very curious Nicole behind.








"You're making me dizzy."


I stopped mid-pace, and smiled apologetically at Jessica. Then went ahead and took a seat on one of the bean bag chairs she had randomly strewn about the place. If you must know, I chose the black one. "So, what do you think?"




"The ozone layer," I replied dryly.


Jessica quirked a brow in my direction. She was sitting on the floor, leaning against the back of her couch. I don't know why she didn't just sit on it. "I suppose I like it."


I sent her what I hoped was a dirty look. "Focus," I instructed. "Valerie. Alix. Confusion. Help."


Jessica shifted uncomfortably. "I really don't think I'm the one you should be talking to about this."


Still sitting, I used my legs and feet to drag myself closer to her. This proved to be harder than I originally intended, but it's amazing what one won't do just to keep from having to get up. Finally, I was sitting in front of her. "Just tell me .. what do you think I should do?"


She was silent for a long while. Finally, she met my gaze. "I think you should follow your heart."


I blinked and stood up, resuming my pacing. "Follow my heart? My heart is stationary, Jessica. It goes nowhere. How am I supposed to follow it?" I ran both hands through my hair in an attempt to rein in my frustration. When that didn't help, I stopped. "Okay. I'll just do this the rational way." I walked over to Jessica's desk and grabbed a piece of paper and a pen.


"What are you doing?"


A moment later, I was back in the bean bag chair. "I'm going to make a list of pros and cons." I said this very matter-of-factly, then shrugged. "I saw it on 'Friends.'" I drew a line down the middle of the page, and labeled each side accordingly.


Jessica watched me silently for about five seconds. "Alix. Is this really necessary?"


"Well you're not helping any," I replied pointedly. "If you would give me some concrete advice then maybe I wouldn't have to resort to this kind of behavior."


She grabbed the paper and the pen away from me and put it out of my reach. "Alix, listen to me. You're going to take a deep breath and then you're going to get back down from Cloud Aerosmith."


I took a deep breath, but was a bit more hesitant to give up my lovely apartment on Cloud A. It had a beautiful view. And Cloud 9 was within drifting distance. "Alright. I'm calm. I'm grounded. Lay it on me."


"Close your eyes," she instructed, grabbing a hold of my hands.


I frowned slightly, then complied. "Is this some kind of guided meditation? Cause I tend to have trouble reaching that happy placeó"




"Sorry. Okay." I kept my eyes closed.


"Now. Do you want to be with Valerie? Yes or no."


I was about to protest to the question but she interrupted me.


"Yes or no, Al. C'mon."


I sighed. "Yes."


She let go of my hands and I opened my eyes. "Well there you go," she said, as if everything was incredibly obvious.


I bit my lip thoughtfully. And I guessed it was.





I believe, and I'm adamant about this, that dresses and high heels cloud the mind. Because I was definitely not thinking clearly when I'd shown up at her apartment wearing the atrocious attire Jessica had stuck me in. Had I been thinking clearly, I would've gone home to change, and then visited her. Then perhaps I wouldn't have walked out of her apartment the moment she puts the words "love" and "you" in the same sentence and directed them toward me.


This is what I was thinking while I stared at the number '418' on Valerie's door. Daydreaming is the most sincere form of procrastination.


Pushing a strand of hair out of my eyes, I knocked on the door. Several times. I kicked it once. I even did the hokey pokey and still nothing.


The realization that she wasn't home finally dawned on me.


Not feeling patient enough to sit around and wait for her, I went straight for plan B.


On my walk to Whispers I went over what I'd decided. I could give us another shot. But we needed ground rules. Lots of ground rules. Perhaps maybe some underground rules to go with the ground rules.


I walked into the club feeling confident. And a bit excited because I'd finally come to a decision I could live with. We'd just take it slow. Very slow. So slow in fact, that it would give off the illusion that we were going backwards instead of forwards.


At the bar, I glanced around, expecting to see Valerie. When I didn't see her, I started looking around. When I still didn't see her, I frowned.


"Can I get you something?"


I turned to face the bartender, whom definitely wasn't Valerie no matter how hard I tried to pretend otherwise. Giving up on self-inflicted delusion, I shook my head. "Nothing to drink thanks," I replied. Before she had a chance to move away, I added, "But, uh, can you tell me when Valerie is working next?"


The woman studied me for a moment, her eyes narrowing. She looked vaguely familiar though I couldn't really place her. "Valerie quit a few days ago."


I'm sure I did a double-take. "What?"


She nodded. "Sorry to say."


I placed my hands firmly on the bar top, trying desperately to hang on to my fleeting self-control. "Why did she quit? Did she get a better job somewhere else?"


"She was leaving for New York."


I blinked a few time as if by clearing my vision I could somehow clear my hearing as well. Or at least, change what I'd just heard into something that ... Suddenly, her words hit home. "What?!" This I nearly yelled.


Brown eyes appeared to contemplate my existence. "Are you a friend of Val's?"


Biting back a sarcastic remark, I said, "Something like that. Do you know when she was planning to leave?"


"Not a clue," she responded. "Last I talked to her was a few days ago, but I'd bet on anything she's gone by now."


I looked around, feeling desperate. No crying. No crying. Why the hell did she leave?! "Do you know where in New York she was going to?"


I could tell by the way she looked at me that she had an answer but it didnít appear like she was going to give it to me.


"Please," I said, noting the touch of desperation in my voice. I tried not to cringe at this. "It's really important."


The woman stared at me for a second longer, then grabbed a napkin and pen from under the bar and wrote something down. "Her brother's apartment in New York. That's where she told me she was going to stay." She hesitated, then handed it over.


"Thank you," I said. Had there not been a counter between us, I would've hugged the woman. "I really appreciate this."


She nodded. "No problem."


As I left the club, it didn't even occur to me to wonder how this woman knew the address by heart.




"I need to go to New York," I announced, throwing open the door to Jessica's room without bothering to knock.


"Alix!" Jessica and Mathew chorused.


"Whoops." I did an immediate U-turn and headed out into the hall. This is not shaping up to be a good day.  I tried not to shudder.


A couple of minutes later, the door opened and Jessica was dressed in a tee shirt and a pair of boxers that I guessed weren't hers.


"Gross," I said, crossing into the room. "Where's Mathew?"


"Uh, shower," Jessica answered, closing the door.


I decided that I should start talking before Jessica killed me. "I need to go to New York," I informed her.


She shrugged. "We'll take a trip there for your birthday," she said.


"Valerie's gone," I explained.


That got her attention. "What?"


"Gone," I repeated. "As in, no longer in South Florida. As in, she's departed to the Big Apple."


Jessica shook her head. "Are you saying you want to follow her to New York? Are you crazy? What are you going to do, stand in the middle of Times Square and call her name? Pass out flyers with her picture on them?"


I smiled at the thought, then dug in my pocket and came up with the napkin. "I know where she's staying. Detective work pays off."


Jessica crossed the room to sit at the edge of the waterbed. "Alix, this is crazy."


Mathew walked out of the bathroom at that moment, dressed elegantly in a navy blue bathrobe. "Hey, Al. Excellent timing."


"You know I do my best," I responded, giving him my most charming smile.


He smiled. "What's going on?"


"She wants to go follow Valerie to New York," Jessica informed him.


Suddenly, I felt like I was eleven years-old and asking my parents for permission to go on a school trip.


"What about school?" Mathew asked.


I frowned at both of them. They'd make wonderful parents some day, I was just glad they weren't mine. "Okay, let me put it another way. I'm going to New York."


Mathew and Jessica exchanged a look.


Then Jessica said, "We're coming with you."


"That's really not necessary," I argued. "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."


They exchanged another look, and I started to get annoyed.


Impatiently, I folded my arms. "Are you going to help me or am I going to have to prostitute myself on the streets of Ft Lauderdale in exchange for a plane ticket?"


They agreed to help me.




The next day I sat impatiently in the terminal waiting for Jessica who had dropped me off and said she'd "be right back." Her definition of this statement was closer to, "I'll be back in a year."


I glanced at my watch. It was almost 3:10 and my flight was due to leave at 3:40. Wearily, I looked around Ft Lauderdale Airport. There were people. And most of them had luggage. Shocking. I was thankful, however, that I hadn't had to drive all the way to MIA. FLL I could handle. Even with the expansion over recent years, it was still relatively small.


At 3:21, I looked around again and was relieved when I spotted Jessica running in my direction, carrying a bag. What I wasn't counting on was the fuzz-headed girl running behind her.


Rising to my feet, I frowned just as Jessica reached me.


A little out of breath, she handed over the bag she carried. "You'll need these."


My attention was focused on Jade, however. "What are you doing here?" I noticed then that she was dragging along a suitcase.


"I'm going with you," Jade announced happily, waving a plane ticket in the air. She motioned to Jessica with her head. "She made the arrangements."


Jessica shrugged, smiling apologetically. "She wanted to go, so I bought her a ticket."


Jade grinned. "I've never been to New York."


Resigned, I turned my attention to the bag in my hands. "What's this?" I dug in and came up with a cell phone.


"Emergencies," Jessica explained.


I dug in again. Another cell phone.


Jessica shrugged. "In case you lose one."


Jade reached over and grabbed the item from my hands. She patted Jessica's arm. "Early birthday present."


"Thank you," I told Jessica, though I didn't particularly follow her logic.


Jessica nodded. "Oh andó" She took out her wallet. "Credit cards. You should only need one but just in case."


She handed over like five of them. I arched an eyebrow as I sorted through them. "Bloomingdale's?" I questioned.


"You never know."


Why were my friends insane? I stuck the credit cards in my wallet. "Is that it, mom?"


"Do you have cash on you?"


I nodded. "Don't worry."


She hugged me tightly. "Call the second you get there. And be careful."


It was a good thing I hadn't decided to go away to college. I wasn't entirely sure she'd be able to handle it. "I'll be in touch," I assured her.


Eventually, Jade and I managed to make our way down to the gate, where passengers were already boarding.


Half an hour later, we were safely in the air. Or at least, I hoped it was safely.


"Ready for story time?" Jade asked.


I considered. "Does it involve another one of your failed romances?"




"I'll pass."


"No, no. I assure you. You'll be entertained. Besides, what else do you have to do for the next three hours?"


Sleep came to mind. But I supposed I could lend a friendly ear. "Alright, amuse me."


Jade grinned. "Okay. So I told you about that guy Derek I was dating?"


Derek. Derek. Guy with the glasses? "I think so."


"Did I tell you about his bird obsession?"


I arched an eyebrow.


"Ha! You're going to love this." She turned a bit so she could more comfortably look at me while she talked.  Somewhere down the isle I heard the comforting sounds of the refreshment cart.  "So we're in the park right and I'm telling him the story of that UFO I sawóI told you that story, right?"


"Five billion times."


"Alright. So, I'm getting to the good part and all of a sudden he holds up his hand to quiet me. And I think he's going to say something really deep and meaningful. You know, something relevant to the topic. But all of a sudden he goes, 'Do you hear that?' And I listen for a moment and go, 'No.' Then he frowns, appearing all concerned and says, 'The bird singing. It's a Cordon Bleus.' Then he starts looking around, and adds, 'They've only recently been allowed in the United States. I bet it's someone's pet.'"


Jade rolls her eyes, and continues. "So I try to bring him back to the UFO topic and I think he's listening to me, but all of a sudden he says, 'Would you stand up for a moment?' And I'm confused as all bloody hell but do as he says. Then he instructs me to turn around, and I do. So he slaps my ass and starts laughing. I whirl around and I as calmly as I could muster, enquire what he thinks he's doing and he says, 'I was just wondering what kind of bird you would be, and it hit me. You could be my Booty Bird.'"


At this point I started giggling.


"So," Jade continued, "I stare at him as though he's insane, because there's no way that this man's of sound mind, and ask him, politely, not to call me that. And he totally ignores me and says, 'Since I talk a lot, you can call me your Boo Babbler.'" Jade shakes her head, looking completely appalled. "Boo Babbler! That's what he wants me to call him! So of course I tell him there's no way I'm calling him anything of the sort and he thinks I'm kidding with him. So he starts smacking my butt and calling me Booty Bird."


Laughing, I said, "What did you do?"


"I left his sorry arse in the middle of the park, that's what I did." Jade nodded to herself. "If that bloke thinks I'm going to sit around exchanging silly nicknames with him then he's got another thing coming."


I shook my head, grinning. "You were right, that was an amusing story."


She smiled. "I knew you'd enjoy it."


"Can I call you my Booty Bird?"


She lost her smile. "Alix, if you call me that one more time, I'm going to have to kill you."


I chuckled.


"So what are you going to do once you track Valerie down?"


"I have no idea," I answered, suddenly turning serious. "But I'm sure I can wing it."


"Are you sure you want to do this?"


I glanced at her. "Well it's a little late now."


"Nah. It's not."


I frowned. "Jade, do you think this is a bad idea?"


She shrugged. "I don't know, Alix. It's really up to you what you want. If you want to give it another shot with Valerie, then I back you up one hundred percent."


"Thanks," I said, suddenly feeling uneasy. Ever since I'd found out about Valerie leaving the only thing I could think about was running after her. But what if she didn't want me to run after her? What if she had someone else there?


Jade touched my arm gently. "Are you okay?"


"I have no idea," I responded. "But I guess we'll find out."



~To be continued in Chapter 2 ~


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