Tourists overcrowded the little town, which made it easy to feed, but there was nothing else handy about green plastic aliens hanging from the rearview mirrors of cars and cute little diners that served foods named after Will Smith movies. It was fang-grinding commercialism.
But as fate and boredom would have it, he found himself walking into the Roswell's main cute little diner, the CrashDown, one night shortly after his arrival. He'd seen short blue-green uniforms and long legs through the window and been mildly intrigued. Nothing like a little veal to spice up his diet.
He dropped into an empty booth near the door. . .noting several unwashed "X-Files" fanatics crowded around a table near the back. A young bloke with a blank but pretty boy face, like Angelus, was talking to an insipid little dark-haired waitress at the counter--not the owner of the legs that had drawn him in. They were speaking in hushed, urgent, tones, as if the busy clatter of patrons around them didn't seem to matter. He cocked his head, hearing random names spill from their lips. Michael. Maria. Something about a hotel room and making out.
Spike snorted, turning to check the table for a menu or something else more interesting than "The Young and the Clueless." Perhaps they would be dessert. . .the little gel certainly seemed syrupy enough. He pulled a laminated menu out from behind the napkin dispenser, letting his eyes lazily drift over the idiotic names. Alien Blast? Crash Crumb Cake? A Ripley Burger with a side of Newt? He laughed out loud, muffling the sound against his palm when the junior copy of his sire jerked around, a paranoid glint in his dark eyes. Whelp.
A whelp that. . .that smelled. . .odd.
He cocked his head, eyeing the boy as he slowly turned back around on his stool and back to his little chippy. What the Devil. . ?
But the thought trailed off as another waitress appeared from the back room, jerkily grabbing a tray of drinks and plopping them down in front of the rowdy geeks who couldn't keep their eyes or their paws off of her. He couldn't blame them. Not one bit.
Her long blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail and crowned by a ludicrous pair of silver alien feelers. Her eyes were dark and filled with resentment. Her uniform appeared to be borrowed, because it seemed an inch or two short and equally tight. Not that he minded. Her familiar legs seemed to stretch forever and the buttons of her top seemed to be ready to burst forth with bountiful bosom.
The menu slipped from his hands and he grinned. Veal. The main course.
She was having a lousy night. Dishes were stacked up a mile high in the kitchen, the latest truckload of vacationing losers from Hickville didn't seem to understand the meaning of "Hands off or I'll break them". Neither did Jose and his helpers on the grill for that matter. Liz was too busy making eyes at her brother to help out. To top it off, the only reason she was working at all was a favor to Michael. Because he'd wanted to whisk Maria away and apologize for being an asshole to her. So that called for poor, lonely, dependable Isabel to take Maria's shift. Somewhere in the middle of the alien-human love drama that her brother and his best friend were embroiled in, her own life had ceased to exist. No more parties. No more casual dates with boys on the football team. She was too busy covering up all the secrets that Max and Michael seemed to forget every time their hormones kicked into gear.
She blew a strand of hair out of her eyes, walking away from the Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade and up towards the table that had gotten filled while she was in the back. . .because the one person sitting in the booth really did seem to fill it. Like he would punch anyone who tried to join him. The low lights gleamed off his bleached, bone-white, hair. He was dressed in all black but he wasn't goth. . .more like a biker without the excess fat and chains. He wasn't bad looking. And he definitely wasn't from Roswell. And he was staring at her.
Isabel bit back a groan and tapped her order pad against her palm as she reached the table. Great. More advances to fend off--even if they were from a male of the interesting variety. "Can I give you a few more minutes to look at the menu?" she asked, cockily glaring right back into his blue-gray eyes. "Or are you ready to order?"
The man stretched lazily, muscles shifting under his black leather trenchcoat, and he just grinned. It wasn't a nice smile. . .more cold and hungry than anything, but not intimidating. Nothing was really intimidating when you knew you'd crawled out of a spaceship sometime before the age of six. He arched a black eyebrow and it seemed to go perfectly with the sharp planes of his face. "I gave the menu a gander, Pet, but you aren't on it."
His voice almost made her drop her pen. It was like a deep Southern drawl had collided with a Cockney burr. Sexual harassment had never sounded better. She shook herself, continuing her best glare. "Look, Buddy. . .either order or take a hike. I've heard it all before," she assured, icily.
Both eyebrows went up. "But have you tried it?" One arm was thrown casually along the back of the seat. "Don't knock it till you've tried," he whispered flirtatiously. Suddenly, something made his eyes darken. . .and he looked at her. Really looked. His gaze shifted over to the counter, to Max, and then back again. "Well, I'll be buggered." Wonder filled his tone.
Isabel shivered, tightening her grip on the chewed up sparkly pen she'd poised above her note pad.. Multiple chills ran up her spine and she couldn't shake the realization that he knew. This stranger had somehow guessed her secret. She took a few steps back. "Do you want food or not?" she demanded, trying not to let the panic in her voice carry over to where her brother was sitting.
The man shrugged and she barely felt it when his hand closed around her wrist. His cool fingers were too gentle for her to pull away from. Every nerve ending screamed for her to jerk away. . .but she was caught. "Not," he murmured, staring at the inside of her wrist. At the veins.
He looked fascinated.
After a few seconds, she finally garnered up the strength to pull back. "My brother is right over there," she hissed, cradling her hand close to her body. "And he'll kick your ass after I do, Creep. *Get out*." She stepped aside, gesturing subtly for him to get up.
He looked over at Max and Liz and rolled his eyes. "I'm shaking," he cracked, without batting an eyelash. "What would he do? Bore me to death?"
Isabel felt the laugh bubble up before she could stop it. "Get out," she repeated softly, forcing the smile away. "He might bore you. . .but I'm much, much, worse."
The black-clad creep finally stood, offering a mocking little bow. "Since you put it so nicely, Love, I'll take my leave."
Thank God. She breathed a sigh of relief as he headed for the door and yanked it open. She could see a hideous, old, black car parked right outside. It had to be his. "Come again soon!" she offered with mock cheer. When I'm not working.
He stopped in the doorway, that cold grin quirking on his lips again. "Oh, I will." His eyes flickered over her chest. . .making her wish Maria's uniform wasn't so damn small. He seemed to zone in on the name tag Liz's father had made for her the last time she'd subbed. "Isabel?" It was as if he was rolling her name around on his tongue like a wine connoisseur. "I'll visit another time all right, Isabel," he assured.
His coat flared out behind him. The bell jingled and the door slammed. He was gone.
She didn't even realize she'd taken the name tag off and was clutching it until the tiny pin jabbed into her flesh. "Asshole," she muttered. Liar, she said to herself. Her name had never sounded like that. And she wanted to hear it again.