So Far Away
Part 3b - by Bandbabe

Author's Note: In this fic nothing passed "Max In The City" has happened.
I'm dropping the time from this point on.
As you can probably tell, this is a VERY long story. Chapters with be divided up if necessary. This part will be divided into 2 sections, 3a and 3b. The lyrics are from "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette.
Classification: Love Triangle (Max/Tess/Other)
Disclaimer: I own nothing except the plot and original characters.

Chapter 3: Great Expectations

UFO Center (continued..)

When they got the dance floor "We Like To Party" by the Venga Boys was blaring from the speakers and they could barely hear each other. The floor wasn't very crowded but Tess and Jake were nowhere to be found. Soon a mellower song came on.

Isn't ironic?
Don't you think?

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you already paid
It's the good advice
You just didn't take
And who would of thought it figured?

"Still no sight of her," Michael said loudly so that he could be heard.

"This isn't working. We've got to split up," Max declared.

"Are you that sure, Max?" Liz asked. "If this guy's really a skin then I don't think it's a good idea to split up," she argued.

Max thought for a minute. He knew she was around here somewhere. He didn't did know how he did but he just knew it. He looked to the right and saw some bookshelves. Something told him to look over there.

"She's over there," he said to himself. He turned to them and said, "Let's check over there."

"But shouldn't we split up?" Michael asked irritated by his typical change of heart.

Max walked towards the bookshelves and slowly everyone went to follow him. Michael begrudgingly followed.

"This fun," Jake said wholeheartedly. "I've haven't danced in awhile," he confessed. They could hear the loud music from the dance floor but they danced to the music in their heads.

"Neither have I," Tess admitted. "Growing up I moved from place to place. For awhile dancing was the only constant."

He smiled. He held her while she did a spin.

"So, why did you move so much?" Jake asked her.

"Military kid," she responded. That answer was sorta true she reasoned.

"My uncle works for the army. His family lives on base but sometimes he goes away to places like Japan."

"Ah, beautiful country."

"So what's the best place you've ever been to?" he asked curiously.

She looked into his eyes. "Right here."

"This is stupid," Michael ranted. "While we're back here she could be out there. We should split up."

"We should at least check here first," Isabel reasoned.

"And we shouldn't search separately. What it something happens-"

"I see her," Alex interrupted Maria.

Maria bit back a laugh. "What are they doing?"

"Shhh," Liz pointed out. "Not so loud."

"You have to admit this is hilarious," Maria said.

Jake and Tess were dancing ballet. They looked like were having a good time but it was strange for the others because they saw Tess in a way they didn't usually see her. Maybe if they let themselves get closer to her they would.

"I didn't know Tess knew ballet," Maria commented.

"It's disturbing that he does," Michael added dryly.

Max watched them dance. It wasn't hilarious to him. The way they danced. The way they both of them moved. The way she looked into his eyes. Something rose up inside of him. Was it jealousy or fear? Max looked away. He had watched all he could stomach.

"We're not out of the woods yet," Max brought them back to reality. "This guy is dangerous and need to let her know."

"So what's next?" Michael asked.

Isabel walked over to the next aisle. She hoped she'd be able to pull this off without looking suspicious. She didn't want to make a bad situation worse.

"Hi Tess," she said evenly.

They stopped dancing. She could tell that the guy was a little embarrassed.

"Hi," Tess responded, not certain of why Isabel was here.

"Um, can I speak to you for a sec?" she asked Tess.

"Sure," she said. "Jake, I'll be right back." He nodded.

They started to walk back towards the group.

"What do want to talk about?" Tess inquired.

"Well..." Isabel started to say. We they turned to the next row she saw the rest of the group.

"What are you guys doing here?" Tess asked confused.

"We think that guy's a skin," Max explained, "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine. What do you mean?" Tess asked. Jake didn't seem like a skin. She hadn't known him that long, but if there was one she knew for sure about Jake, he could never be capable of that.

"He came to the Crashdown asking about you," Liz started.

"And he's suspicious. His story didn't make sense," Max added.

"How so?" Tess asked curiously.

"How could he have met you and not even know your name?" Max said.

"Oh. Yeah, we met last night," Tess confirmed.

"There's something not right about that guy," Max declared.

"Okay, let me get this straight. A cute guy comes to the Crashdown and asks about me so he definitely must be a skin?" Tess stated her voice dripping with sarcasm.

When they all thought about it, it was pretty silly. Maybe they jumped to conclusions too soon.

"We just wanted to make sure everything was okay," Maria said.

"Thank you," Tess told them. In light of recent events she understood their concern.

Jake stood in the aisle. He hoped she didn't leave. He really liked this girl. He hadn't known her for a long time but he knew there was something between them. He couldn't explain it if he tried. He turned his head and saw her come back down the aisle. He met her half way.

"Hey," she said and smiled. He thought she had the most beautiful smile.

"Hi. Is everything okay?" he asked.

"Yes. You want to get a bite to eat?" she asked him.


We they started to leave the UFO Center Tess saw her friends.

"I want you to meet my friends," she told him.

"Hi everyone, this is Jake," she introduced him.

"Jake, this is Isabel, Maria, Michael, Liz, Alex, and Max."

They all said 'hello' and waved, shook hands and so on.

'So this is the infamous Jake,' Michael thought.

No one took notice of bitter Max was. He didn't like Jake and could not figure out what Tess saw in him. He thought it shouldn't bother him who Tess dated but secretly it did.

Whitman's Residence (basement)

Michael, Isabel, Liz, Alex, Maria, and Max left the UFO Center and went to Alex's place.

"So no skin but a job well done," Isabel said and plopped down on a bean bag chair.

"We don't know that just yet," Max declared.

"Max, how far are you gonna go with this? We met him. The guy is like Joe normal straight out of Iowa. He's no threat," Michael argued.

"Oh really. Just like Courtney seemed normal. Or Congresswoman Whitaker seemed like no threat. Or Pierce. Topolsky. The citizens of Copper Summit and Nicholas," Max lectured.

"All I'm saying is that sometimes you have to take things at face value Maxwell," Michael explained. "Have you considered this is just a guy who has the hots for Tess? I mean she is-"

"What!" Maria interrupted. She did not like where that sentence was headed. Michael looked like a deer trapped in front of headlights.

"Well he has a point," Alex agreed. Everyone looked his direction. Liz widened her eyes.

"She is... well, you know," he shrugged his shoulders and shifted uncomfortably.

Max nodded without really realizing he was. The silence hung in the air for a few moments.

"Maybe," Max cut through the silence. "But I think we should at least check out his background."

Alex practically ran to the computer and everyone followed, eager to move on.

"Okay," Alex announced. "Full name, Jacob Robert Bridges. Mom, Sheila Hansen Bridges and dad, Marcus Bridges. Younger siblings are Jonathan Christopher Bridges, 13 and Amanda Kelly Bridges, 12. Born in Christensen County, Virginia and moved two years later to New Falls, Minnesota. Attends New Falls High School. Has a B+ average and is on the school soccer team." Alex turned to the others. "All in all everything checks out."

"Good news," Michael said to Max. "Right?" he asked after reading the sullen expression on Max face.

"Yeah," he answered quickly. "Really good news," he added empty. He had a bad feeling about all of this.

To Be Continued...

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