Disclaimer: If I owned Roswell, lets just say that we wouldn't have to endure so much dreamer angst.
Author's Note: I wanted to give the Evans some closure, and finish the arc in this chapter, but the more I typed the more I wanted to say. Yeah, I need to work on streamlining.
Chapter 4b - Secrets cont.
Max and Isabel got through most of dinner without mentioning Rashel, when their mother surprised them with the news that she invited the teen to dinner the next day. Isabel and Max exchanged glances before Isabel causally announced that they met a Rashel at school, but that she had changed her name to Descoudres. This didn't seem to surprise their parents, in fact, their mother told them that she knew that not only was Rashel at West Roswell High, but that she came into town yesterday via Ms. Amy Deluca.
"So, um, Dad and you knew Rashel before she left Roswell?" Isabel asked tentatively.
Her father looked up from his plate, "Did she tell you that she used to live in Roswell?"
Inside, Isabel cringed at the slip up, "No, we found out from Max's boss." She hedged, "Um, he told us about her mother's death too."
"What else did he tell you?" Diane asked softly.
Isabel bit her lip, unsure of how to begin. Max noticed his sister's distress so he quickly answered for her, "Uh, not too much, but he did mention something about us having a brother. Was he right, Mom? Did we have an older brother?"
Both of their parents sighed before Phillip lowered his fork on to his plate. "Maybe we should all go into the family room to talk about this." They all moved to the other room, while Phillip went to his study to get something. When he came into the room, he was carrying a photo album that Isabel and Max didn't recognize. He handed the album to his children, "This was Timmy's photo album, after he's disappearance it was too painful to look at all of his photos, so your mother and I collected them together and placed them in this album."
The two looked through each page starting from when their parents first brought Timmy home. The photos of him started off when he as a baby, looking at the date, Isabel figured that Timmy was only a year old when her parents adopted him. There were so many photos; her mother in a chair sleeping holding a sleeping baby in her arms; another with her father in his hammock with Timmy sleeping on his chest. A couple of pages later, she noticed a woman with another child in some of the photos. Isabel recognized the woman as Linda Jordan; she pulled out the photo, "Is this Linda Jordan and the baby is Rashel?" When her mother nodded, she placed the photo back, and then noticed in the subsequent photos that while she saw her parents, Timmy, Linda, and Rashel; Isabel didn't see any photos of Rashel's father. "Where's Rashel's father?"
Diane gave her a bittersweet smile. "Linda and I were roommates in college; 3 years after graduating she met Arthur Jordan. It was love at first sight, six months later they were married, and then Arthur was graduated from the academy and the Marines transferred him and Linda to another base. A year later Rashel was born; she gets her black hair and green eyes from Arthur, about 9 months later, there was an accident at the base, and Arthur was killed. Linda had no other family, except for Arthur's older sister Corinne, so, your father and I offered her a place to stay until she could get back on her feet. Eventually, she found a job and a place of her own before her death."
At the mention of Linda's murder, Max glanced at his parents, "Mom, Dad, what happened that day?"
"We don't know." Phillip answered. "Your mother and I had planned a mini-vacation to Grand Canyon that Memorial Weekend; Linda suggested it actually, it was suppose to be child-free weekend. It wasn't the first time that Timmy spent time with Rashel; they were best friends; he was only a month younger. Linda would baby-sit for us if we had a late night at the office, so we weren't worried about leaving Timmy with Linda for four days."
"It was around 6:00 pm on that Saturday when we got the phone call from the Sheriff Valenti." Diane continued. "Those next few hours were the worst in my life. Your father and I came home as soon as possible, but by the time we got there, Rashel was already gone. Social Services had taken her away to her aunt, and Sheriff Valenti told us as much as he could."
"Which was what exactly?" Max asked.
"Officially, Rashel and Timmy were playing when somebody lured Timmy was lured away from the climbing ropes. Rashel realized that Timmy was gone, and told Linda. Linda started searching for Timmy, when she walked into the kidnappers and they killed her to keep her quiet. However, the sheriff, told us that Rashel may have seen everything that happened, but none of her statements made sense. We don't know because as I said earlier, Rashel was already out of Roswell when we came back.
The next couple of days were a blur. The whole state learned about Timmy's abduction and Linda's death by then. We had posters up, even offered an award; so many people came to help search, but nothing. Then the stories started; the rumors that aliens took Timmy. We got so many quack calls that we had to get an unlisted number. After a year, with out any new leads, your father and I couldn't even stand to be in this house because of the memories, so we packed up all of the photos, and over time we cleared out Timmy's room because we thought it would be easier for us if we didn't have a constant reminder of his presence. But we were wrong, it actually was worse, because then if felt like we were trying to erase Timmy's existence from our lives, like we were denying he was ever here. It got so bad that we thought of leaving Roswell so we could start over again."
"What changed your minds?" Isabel inquired.
"You," Phillip told them with a nostalgic smile on his face. "Your mother and I were driving out in the desert one night, debating about leaving when we saw the two of you out by the side of the road."
Diane continued, "It was like someone up there knew the pain we were in, and you two were sent to help us heal. You two brought laughter back into this house."
"Why didn't you ever tell us about our brother?"
"At first we didn't say anything, because we weren't sure if you'd understand. As you grew older we didn't want you to feel like you competing for our affection, like we were trying to replace one child with two others. We always intended to tell you, but it seemed like as more time passed, the harder it was for us to tell you. I'm not completely sure how no one ever mentioned anything about Timmy before today."
"Do you think about him?"
"Everyday. We think of him everyday."
Rashel was standing in front of the Evans' door debating whether she should ring the doorbell or run away. I have to stop running. She gritted her teeth and checked her overall appearance once again before ringing the doorbell. She had been anxious about the prospect of going to dinner at the Evans all day, but kept telling herself that it was necessary, like how they needed the closure more than she did. Rashel was about to change her mind about staying when the door finally opened.
"You're early," Isabel said as she let the teen through the door.
Rashel nodded before looking around her surroundings. It was the same house all right, although some of the interior had changed, different furniture, and different photos. Phillip and Diane had heard the bell as well, and both came into the foyer to greet Rashel, looking at them Rashel realized how little they had changed physically, but emotionally, she couldn't have imagined what the past 12 years were like for them. Suddenly, she felt a staggering weight on herself, and she identified that weight as guilt. Before Rashel could focus on the source of her guilt, Diane pulled her into a hug, and started to tell her how much she missed the teenager in front of her. Phillip made a remark about how she reminded them of her mother. Rashel was starting to feel uncomfortable with the amount of attention they were giving her when Diane seemed to notice her discomfort and announced that dinner was ready.
Dinner was pretty uneventful, the Evans asked Rashel after her aunt, and she had to tell them about the fire that occurred. Both of them seemed upset to learn that she was sent away to different foster homes for most of her life. "If we had known, Shelly, we would have done everything-"
"I understand, Aunt Diane, but you and Uncle Phillip were probably had a great deal of other things on your mind at the time. Besides, everything turned out okay at the end."
"What brings you back to Roswell?"
"Um, a couple of things," Rashel hedged. "Um, I'm sure you know that my inheritance stipulates that I need to be in Roswell by my 18th birthday." It was the cover story that Thierry and she came up with, and it helped that it was true.
"That's right, Diane and I are executors of that will." There was a bit of an awkward pause before Phillip changed the subject to her emancipation.
"Yeah, I just got tired of being bounced back and forth due to Child Services. I wanted some stability in my life again, and short of getting married; emancipation offered that stability for me."
"You have a good place to live, place to work?"
"I'm living in a nice apartment. I have a job at the reservation; it's not much, but it'll pay the bills and the Descouedres family has made it clear that if I need help, I'm welcomed to their resources."
"Why did you decide to change your name?" Isabel asked.
Rashel squashed the nerved to roll her eyes. How many times was she going to have to answer that question? She looked straight at Diane and Phillip before answering, "When your parents look at me, they see the little five year old girl that use to play in this house with my mother. They remember the child I was, and it's not just them, it's the Parkers, Ms. Deluca, all of the adults, even my teachers, I mean half of the adults in this town still call me 'Shelly,' even though I've haven't been called 'Shelly' for a very long time except by one other person, and even that person does call me 'Shelly' very often, only when I'm upset with him. They call me 'Shelly' because that's who I was before I left. They don't see what those 12 years have done to me.
I'm not the same little girl. I'm not the same 'Shelly Jordan,' who used to play and laugh in this house. I'm the girl who wouldn't let anyone hold or comfort me after my aunt died because I believed if I let anyone too close they'd be take away from me. I'm the girl who lived in Phoenix, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Vegas, etc. I'm the girl who loves to driver her bike at 70 miles per hour because I feel free when I do. I'm a different person, and changing my name reflects the changes in my life."
"So, what do most people call you?" Diane asked.
"Rashe, most people call me Rashe." Then she gave them a wry smile, "But I suppose, I'll always be Shelly to you."
"As long as we're Aunt Diane and Uncle Phillip," Diane asserted. Rashel gave a small nod.
Phillip decided to change the subject. "So what's your job at the reservation?"
"Um, it's mostly research and documentation. Some of it is tracing blood lines of the different tribal members. Some of it is to help decipher and record older tribal markings. Either case, I'll be required to do some research at the library and public records at city hall." Again, Rashel told them a slight lie so she wouldn't have to blow her cover in Roswell.
The rest of dinner consisted of small talk. Afterwards, Rashel talked shop with Max about her new bike while Isabel helped her mother clean the dishes. Phillip excused himself from the group. He returned with a medium sized box and handed it to the tall girl. When she gave him a confused stare, he explained that the box contained items from her mother's house which Diane and he had saved for her. "We couldn't keep everything. In fact we had to sell a lot of things, because we didn't have the space, but your mother kept pretty good finances, and had some very specific instructions in her will. All the profits went into a trust in your name."
Rashel placed the box on the coffee table and pulled out a couple of photo albums, her father's flag, a small jewelry box, and some old toys. She tanked the elder Evans for his generosity and thoughtfulness as she opened one of the albums. Looking at her mother's face, she could finally understand the reaction of most of the adults in this small town. The resemblance was uncanny, except for the black hair and green eyes; she could have doubled as her mother's twin. She grinned at some of the photos taken at the very house she was sitting in, but frowned as she got to the end of the album. They were photos of Timmy and her at the carnival; she pulled one out and saw the date, May 27, 1987. "How did you get these photos?"
"The police found your mother's camera and Sheriff Valenti gave it to us, we developed the film that was in the camera and got those photos." Diane explained as she and Isabel came into the room
"These are the last photos of Timmy and my mother?" She asked softly.
Rashel closed her eyes for a moment before speaking again, "You want to know if I remember anything from that day?"
The two elder Evans looked at each other, "Yes." They whispered.
Rashel opened her eyes; they no longer sparkled liked they did when she ate at dinner; they were dull and in pain. "Do you know what you're asking of me?" She replied weakly.
"Please," Diane pleaded. "You're the only one who can tell us what happened."
Rashel slumped her shoulders in defeat; when she began, she tried to keep her voice neutral and calm. "We had just finished our cotton candy and I asked her if Timmy and I could go into the climbing tubes. She said," Rashel paused before continuing, "She said, 'Okay, kitten, but take care of Timmy. He's not as fast as you are.' That was the last thing she ever said to me." She told them, tears forming in her eyes. "We climbed through the tubes; Timmy was always behind me, and I made sure to look over my shoulder often to make sure he was there, because I was supposed to look after him. I wanted to go towards the climbing ropes that were designed as a spider's web, when we got there; I stopped waving to Mom because she was talking to another parent, and I thought she wouldn't see me anyway.
When we got to the ropes, I told Timmy that I would go up first and help him up after. He didn't want to; he wanted to come up with me, but I was afraid that we would be able to do it together because he was so much smaller than me. Finally, I convinced him to let me go first; he said, 'Okay, I'll wait.'" At this point, tears started to flow down her cheeks, but she ignored them. "Those were the last words I'd hear him tell me that day. You don't know how many times I wished I wasn't so impatient. It took me longer to climb up than I thought, but when I did, I looked down and he was gone. I panicked at that point; I wasn't sure if he ran off because he was mad at me and was going to tell Mom that I left him alone, or if some other kids were bothering him. I backtracked and then noticed a hole where he might have ran off through.
At that point I was a bit mad at him," she gave out a litter bitter laugh. "I mean; I was worried about him, because he wasn't where he said he'd be, and he could have been anywhere, and I would be the one responsible. I first thought that he went back to the front of the structure; then I noticed the tent flap near by. I don't know how I knew, but I knew he was in the tent, so I ran inside." At this point her eyes were glazed over, and the family knew that she wasn't registering their presence any longer. She was stuck; lost in a memory, a nightmare that had haunted her for the past 12 years.
"Timmy wasn't alone; there was a man with him. He didn't notice me at first, but when he saw me, I got scared and ran out as fast as I could. I wasn't fast enough though; he grabbed my ankle and pulled me back into the tent. The last thing I saw before I got back into the tent was my mom, so I screamed for her. I guess she heard me, because she yelled for me and started to come after me. I tried to get free, but he was too strong. He threw me across the tent, and I probably hit my head against something because it gets kind of fuzzy after that. I remember that my leg hurt, but I was too scared to notice because that's when I finally saw Timmy. His skin was really pale; his eyes were glazed over, not really focusing on anything, and he wasn't moving. It probably was only seconds before my mom came in, but it felt like years, and I was frightened, because I didn't know what would happen to me. When Mom came in I was relieved, because she'd make the bad man leave, and everything would be okay." Rashel rolled her eyes at her former naïveté, while Diane sobbed softly into Phillip's shoulder. Isabel's face reflected the stunned horror running through Max's mind. They had suspected that Rashel knew what happened, but they weren't prepared for this. "She didn't get a chance to do anything because he, he, went up to her and broke her neck. I was so scared, because I knew that I would be next, so I ran.
He grabbed my ankle, but I managed to kick and twist my way out of his grasp and crawled to the climbing tubes again. I just kept crawling until I got to one of the clear plastic bubbles. I thought I'd be safe in there, but when I looked down, I saw him watching me. The son of a bitch was waiting for me." She cried out. "I didn't know what to do; I was safe in the tubes; but I had to come down eventually, and the bastard knew that, and somehow I knew that he would wait for me too."
"So you screamed for help." Max interrupted softly.
She nodded at his statement, "It was the only thing I could think of."
At this point, Diane pulled the girl into her arms and the two of them just sobbed; one hoping to provide of comfort and the other hoping for some forgiveness. When Rashel finally pulled away, she looked into the woman's eyes. "I'm sorry." She whispered.
"Whatever for, Shelly?" Phillip asked her.
"If only I let Timmy come up with me, maybe, maybe none of this would have happened. I let him out of my sight; I was supposed to take care of him, and I failed."
"It is not your fault. You were five, a child; you couldn't have known what would happen, much less stop it." Diane reassured her.
"Then why am I the one who survived? What the hell makes me so special?" She asked bitterly, as she dried her eyes.
"I don't know; I wish I had an answer, but I don't." Diane told her. "But I do know that everything happens for a reason."
"Do you honestly believe that?" Rashel asked her.
"I have to; otherwise I would never been able to get over Timmy's disappearance. Thank you, Shelly. I know this was difficult for you, and I can't say that I understand how painful this was, but I do know that at least now Phillip and I will finally be able to move on, completely. Thank you, for giving us some peace of mind." She told the girl as she gave her another hug.
Rashel nodded at her words as she allowed the woman to hold her. As she raised her head upwards, she thought of Timmy and what he had become. I did what you asked, Timmy. I told them as much as I could without putting them in danger from the Night World, and allowed them to believe you're dead. I hope you made the right decision, she thought. When she closed her eyes, she felt in her heart that she did do the right thing, and knew for the first time in 12 years; Hunter's eyes wouldn't haunt dreams any longer.
Jadeling's Notes: And so ends Arc 1: Returning, next time, Arc 2: Connections. If you're interested in Arc 2. It'll probably show up in the Roswell section of the TV portion of this site considering it'll focus more on Liz and Rashel.