by L.M Griffin
"I love you, chere...there's never been anyone like you b'fore in my life..." Remy LeBeau whispered, his long, slender fingers stroking her hair away from her face.
His crimson eyes glowed with desire and heat, turning her knees into masses of rubber. She lifted her hand hesitantly to touch his bare chest, to see if his heart was beating as fast as hers. His skin was smooth as silk, yet rippled with taut muscles. His heart thumped againist her hand like a wild drum, and she felt her breath catch as she looked up into those beautiful eyes. She drowned in their depths.
His hand stroked her throat delicately, tilting her chin upwards. His mouth parted slightly, as he let his lips slowly descend on hers...
And that was pretty much the point when the alarm clock blared to life, jolting Jubilation Lee back to full consciousness. Growling, she reached out with one hand and 'paffed' the clock until it died a horrible death, squawking and smoking to the bitter end. She grunted with satisfaction, before groaning softly to herself. The 'Dream', again. How many times was this now? She had lost count. Every time she let her head flop down on the pillow...BAM! There it was; larger then life, and more vivid then THX. Picking up her extra pillow (which she noted, she had squeezed out of shape again. Sigh.), she shoved it over her face and screamed in frustration.
It didn't really do anything to help her with her current...problem, but it made her feel slightly better. That was, of course, till she moved her thoughts to the Dream. Her..and Remy..and kissing. An electric thrill worked through her body, and she didn't even bother to try and shove it down.
It was time to face the fact that she was in love with the Cajun.
Oh forget that, it was time to face the fact that not only was she in love with the Cajun, she had absolutely no idea what to do about it. She sighed, a muffled sound coming from beneath the pillow itself. She didn't even know how it happened, this love thing. She was just minding her own god-damned business when all of a sudden...
Wait, stop, and correction: she knew exactly when. Why even try to play this game with herself? She always lost. The moment she started falling for Remy, was when she was thirteen and a half years old, on that long ago winter night. When she had broken down crying over Logan's disappearance and Remy had wrapped his arms around her, comforting her and whispering soothing words in French into her ear. Before she could even sub-consciously think, 'Well golly-gee, isn't HE nifty?', she had given him a piece of her heart. Which over the years, soon lead to darned near all of it. Excepting the parts reserved for Wolvie, of course.
The worst part of it was, she hadn't even known what she had gotten herself into until it was too late. She had just bumbled along for four and a half years as his best friend, completely unaware of the fact that she was falling for him, hard. She just found herself telling him things she never told anyone else. Trusting him with her soul as their bond grew stronger. He had in return, told her all about his own past, things he had never even told Rogue.
How he had grown up, of the desperate times in the street where he'd had to steal to stay alive.
Being taken in by his adopted father when he was just a 'pup', only to be abandoned later for defending his own honor.
The years where he wandered around with no home, no friends; just a charming grin, a deck of cards, and a lonely soul.
He let her inside the head of the real Remy, a place of quiet seriousness, and hopeful fantasies. Everything he had said to her struck a familiar chord in her. The similiarities made her ache inside, bringing out the desire to protect him. Comfort him. Love him.
He wrapped himself into her life, heart and soul. She couldn't go through one day without thinking about him, wondering if he was okay. If he was thinking of her. She didn't realize the implications of what track that her heart had taken until the morning after her eighteenth birthday. That was the day that everything...changed.
All right, so nothing really changed between them, but something inside her did. She had woken up fairly early, groggy and bleary-eyed from a strange dream starring, why yes, Remy. She came down to fix herself breakfast, thinking that food would wake up her brain cells. She was standing there, flipping her pancakes mindlessly, when a particular masculine scent filled her nose, causing a delightful shiver to run down her spine. Someone came up behind her and wrapped his strong arms around her shoulders, giving her a brief hug that warmed her from the neck down.
She felt a whisper of warm air againist her neck, as a sleepy voice said with a yawn, "Mornin' p'tite."
It was like someone took a large stick and thwacked her upside the head with it. She turned with a stunned look on her face and saw, really saw Remy LeBeau. Not just the charmer, or the friend, but the man. Heat rushed through her as she stared at him gape-mouthed for a long moment. Until he turned his glowing red gaze back on her as he got himself coffee, saying just five words. "Your pancakes are burnin', Jubilee."
That was when she realized she loved him. She was in love with this scruffy looking man who was wearing nothing but a pair of sweatpants and a tank top, and still managed to look absolutely gorgeous and desirable. Everything he meant to her swept through her like a raging fire. He made her laugh, made her feel intelligent, beautiful and important. He treated her as his equal, his friend, and on some level, a partner-in-crime. He filled her soul up with glowing light, and covered all the lonely spots in her heart she hadn't known existed.
It was a total epiphany. She opened her mouth to voice it...but it came out more like, "Huh?"
He quirked an eyebrow at her, and said the words more clearly, "Your Pancakes Are Burnin'."
She shook her head in confusion, trying to focus in on just what the love of her life was saying to her. Then she squealed in surprise and horror as she watched black smoke rise from the pan. The pancakes had turned into little black...hockey pucks. His sudden laughter brought her a rush of euphoric joy. The touch of his hand on her shoulder made her tingle. Her heart betrayed her by handing itself over without a fight, without a single reasonable protest. Mark it under the category: stupid mistakes.
She felt like screaming again. For five months, she had suffered like this. Close to him, but it was no longer close enough for her. The nights she curled up close to him, watching movies on that beat-up couch of his were some of the best she had ever known. The talks afterwards, where they lay upstairs in his bed, him with one arm wrapped around her, she resting her head on his chest, right above his heart...she never wanted them to end.
Any time a woman glanced at him and licked her lips hungrily, Jubilee actually had to fight down the urge to 'paf' the look off her face. Yet she never said a word about what she was feeling for him. She wanted to tell him, but fear paralyzed her. He didn't love her, she knew it. Not the way she wanted him to.
She was still a child to him.
It would ruin their friendship.
His own rotten luck with women would force him to reject her. Belladonna, Genevieve, Rogue to name a few. He would be too afraid to let her love him.
Excuses piled up on each other, and she let them bury her in doubt. Until now, two days after she graduated from the Massachusetts Academy, and a week before she returned to Salem to take her old place with Angelo and Paige as the newest members of the X-Men. Where she would spend every day with a man she adored, but could do nothing about it. Talk about wanting to just throw herself off of a cliff. She wondered if there were any of those nice padded rooms in the local santiarium open.
She could always tell him. Perhaps he did indeed love her in return. Oh yes, and cows could fly around the moon, Santa Claus really did exist, and the problem with Creed was he was just a big puppy who needed to be cuddled. Sure. Rig-ht.
Far more likely, he would reject her completely and never speak to her again. Talk about being between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Actually, she wouldn't mind the rock. Then she could thwack herself againist it for being such an idiot.
So what was she going to do? Well, there seemed to be only one option left. She sighed into the pillow again. It was beginning to look like the start of a long day.
The Next Morning
Remy yawned, rolled over in bed, and then blinked with surprise. Lying beside him was Jubilee, the expression on her delicate face soft, the look in the sapphire eyes worried. He sat up on one elbow, feeling concern rise through him. "P'tite...what you doin' here? Everythin' alright?" His eyes narrowed slightly as he asked.
She reached forward, those gentle fingertips pushing a strand of auburn hair from his face. Something warm flashed through him, and his eyes closed for a moment. She leaned towards him, her voice dipping to that throaty note, "I have something to tell you...something very important to me."
He lifted his face towards hers. "Whatever you want to tell me, p'tite...I'm here for you." He could feel the warmth radiating off her body, turning the blood in his own veins to liquid heat.
Her smile was small, but it sent another jolt through him. She closed the distance between them, her lips brushing againist his cheek, then over his forehead. A little sigh of pleasure left his lips as he pulled her into his arms, letting his mouth brush againist her throat. She whispered into his ear, "I love you, Remy. Always have, always will. I want to be with you, forever."
He tilted his head upward, a quiver running through his heart as she parted her lips. Her hands locked around his neck as she drew him into a kiss that he knew he would lose himself in completely...
As soon as that annoying knocking noise went away.
Remy buried his face into his pillow, as Jubilee floated away into the nothingness of his dreams. He growled, "Don't you see a man's tryin' to SLEEP up here?" Or at least fanastize in peace.
Then he realized that of course, whoever it was couldn't see him. They were knocking at the front door. With a few curt curses, Remy crawled out of bed and pulled on a pair of boxers before stumbling down the stairs to the front door. Which was literally vibrating from being knocked on so hard. He sighed, and opened the door. Huh, Logan looking grouchy. Well, at least that was nothing new.
"Mornin' Logan...what's so important that you hafta break down my door to tell me?" Remy grumbled softly, scratching his stomach. Well, looked like Logan wasn't the only one in a sour mood this morning.
Logan just grunted, and shoved a note into Remy's hands. He commanded gruffly, "Read this."
Remy quirked an eyebrow, but unfolded the note and began to read.
Hey! Bet a note was the last thing you expected from me this week, huh? Well, just wanted to let you know I won't be coming to the Mansion at the end of the week like I planned. I've been thinking, and I've decided to take a bit of a road trip first. You know, get out, sow some wild oats before I settle down and do the super-hero gig. I'll probably be gone for a few months. Don't worry, I'm set for cash, and thanks to Hank I'll be able to email as often as possible from my new laptop! I'm bringing my cellphone, but not giving out the number. I just want some private time, so please tell the Prof not to send anyone after me. I'll be in touch soon. Don't get into any trouble while I'm away. I'll miss you. Love and sparkles,
Remy took a deep breath, running his fingers through his mussed hair. Oh, it sounded all bubbly Jubilee...but it wasn't. Jubilee wouldn't just run off without a good reason. He felt his teeth grit together as he turned his gaze from the note to Logan. "She say anythin' to you 'bout dis?"
Something passed over Logan's face, but it was gone before Remy could identify it. "She didn't say a damned word. Listen, I'm going to go tell Chuck. You'd better go get some clothes on, because he'll probably want to talk to the both of us," the shorter man said quietly, moving back out the door.
"Right. I'll be dere in a few minutes," Remy said quietly, closing the door behind Logan. He turned around, resting his back againist the smooth wood, and slowly slid to the ground. She was gone. He closed his eyes tightly, whispering in a pained tone, "Jubilee..."
It had to be his fault. He must have scared her off. He hadn't done a good enough job of covering how he felt about her, and she had run away. Her old friend Remy? Having more then just platonic feelings for her? It seemed ridiculous. He would haved laughed himself, if it wasn't for the fact that it was true. If he wasn't completely in love with her. Now, just like every other woman in his life, he had gotten too close, and she had left.
He wished he could have told her he hadn't meant to fall in love with her. There was no open seduction plan, no quest for her affections. It just took four and a half years of honest friendship and complete trust to do that. He let her inside, showed her all his dreams, and his hopes. The darker places that made others run screaming. She just looked at him with those big blue eyes and understood. She never turned away, just rested her head on that spot above his heart, and told him it was okay. She was there.
She in turn, let him see what lay below the surface of the spunky girl with a smart mouth. He saw the delicate soul, the scarred yet strong woman that lived in a body of a girl. At thirteen and a half, she was stronger then Rogue had ever been, more reliable -- more everything. Every time Remy mentally stopped and looked at Jubilee, she grew more dear to him.
She made him suddenly burst into laughter with some of her sly comments. Her insights on a book or a painting he showed her were always intelligent. The real Jubilee was no 'chowder-head', and her maturity surpassed that of her other teammates. She just never let them see that side of her. Only Logan and he were allowed to see it, in all its frightening, beautiful glory.
It had come to him like a slap in the face that he loved her. He had just crawled into the house for a strong cup of coffee the morning after Jubilee's eighteenth birthday. The 'nagging little thought' from the previous night's dream was driving him crazy, and all he wanted was a good jolt of caffiene to his system. Jubilee had been there in one of her over-sized t-shirts, black hair tumbling loose around her shoulders. He caught the sweet scent of vanilla in her hair. Nice...
He came up behind her, and gave Jubilee a short hug around the neck, murmuring a sleepy, "Mornin' p'tite."
He went to pour himself a huge cup of coffee, and was just reaching for the milk when he smelled something acrid. Turning, he found Jubilee staring at him strangely, her eyes wide as smoke began to rise from the frying pan she was using. He remarked mildly, "Your pancakes are burnin', Jubilee."
She seemed to come back from whatever sleepy cloud she was on, as she said, "Huh?" The surprised look on her face made laughter bubble in his chest, and out of his mouth. He repeated the sentence, and she turned her gaze back towards the pan, a look of shock and annoyance working over her features. Her adult features, he noted more clearly, as he squeezed her shoulder gently before walking over to the kitchen table.
Like someone had clicked a light switch on in his brain, Remy woke up completely to the fact that Jubilee...wasn't a child anymore. Her delicate face, her slender body -- they had both finally caught up with the adult mind he always had know to exist. And of course, no child Remy knew would let out the string of curses that Jubilee did when she moved to throw away her crispified pancakes.
No child looked that beautiful running her hands through her long hair, grumbling irritably under her breath as she went to make herself another batch. No child had a right to be that sexy, throwing him a dirty look when he broke into laughter once more. He was overwhelmed by the need to place kisses on her bare, cream colored neck. He wanted to run his hands over the soft looking t-shirt she wore, feeling how it contoured next to her skin. He wanted to do a lot of things.
The ideas he was having shocked him so much that he nearly dropped his coffee on the floor. It wasn't the sudden hungry desire that lit him up inside when he looked at her that startled him. The desire he understood well enough; Jubilee was a gorgeous young woman. It was the fact in his mind that she was finally old enough that he could want her in that fashion.
Suddenly that nagging little thought exploded into full-on realization. He loved Jubilee. He had loved her for years. Yet what his moral subconscious wouldn't let him feel was the passionate heat that accompanied that love. He had already given her his heart, and his soul. Now, he could give her...*ahem* the last part of that equation.
After that realization, he understandably needed another cold shower.
For the next few months, he was in misery. He wanted her back in Salem with an intensity that outstripped Wolverine's. He didn't want those weekends when she came home to end so soon. Feeling the rise and fall of her chest as she cuddled close to him made his heart beat just a little bit faster. He didn't want to let her leave the circle of his arms after another one of their 'all-night gabbing' sessions because when she left, he felt like all the warmth was leeched away.
He glowered jealously when other men looked at her 'in that way', half afraid she was going to start looking back at them. The worst of it was that he was too afraid to tell her how he felt. It was ironic, actually. He could charm any other woman in the world into his bed, but when it came to telling Jubilation Lee how much he was in love with her, he became tongue-tied as a love-sick school boy.
Yet he understood the why completely. How times had he reluctantly opened his already fragile heart to a woman, only to know pain in return? How many had women fallen in love with him...only to become soul scarred from the experience? He didn't want to be hurt again, and perhaps more importantly, he didn't want to end up hurting her.
However, the greatest fear of all was simply this: he loved her, but what if she didn't love him?
That was why her leaving was like a knife in the gut, because it seemed to confirm that particular fear into painful reality. He took a deep breath, straightening his shoulders. So, he was going to have to assume that she had run away because she found out how he felt about her, and couldn't deal with it. Well then, the simple logical answer to his now desperate mind was to get her to return, that he had to act like he didn't care about her that way. Convince her that nothing had changed. Being friends was better then nothing, right? Right. Now he just had to convince his heart. Well...no one said Rome was built in a day. He'd do anything to get her back. That covered quite a bit.
He rose, moving towards the shower. Pushing the pain away from his expression, shutting off all emotions. He had to face the others with a calm face, and casual demenenor, even though he felt like crawling back into bed and not coming out again for a week. He sighed heavily. He had the feeling that it was going to be a very, very long day.
Later that night, Logan returned to his room and locked the door firmly behind him. He flopped on his bed and took another handwritten note from his flannel pocket. Jubilee's familiar scrawl was clear on the white paper, and he sighed as he scanned it. He didn't want to show it to Remy, not yet anyways. He read the note aloud to himself.
Of all the people I know, you're going to be the only one who will understand why I'm leaving. Sometimes, you just got to get out and clear your head. That's what I need to do, get these..thoughts out of me. Simple problem of the matter? I think I'm in love with Remy. No, wait -- I AM in love with him. Which I'm sure really thrills you, but it's going to kill Remy's and my friendship dead. Deader than dead. Like morgue dead. You know what I mean. I can't lose him, Logan...besides you, he's the most important person in my life. I couldn't take it if he rejected me. So I'm going until this whole thing is out of my system. I don't know how long it will take but, well.. Keep an eye on him for me, please? Don't know how that guy will make it a week without me there to keep him on the straight and..er, fairly narrow. Love ya, Canucklehead. I'll be in touch soon. Love and sparkles,
Logan sighed deeply as he folded the note back up, muttering to himself. "Sure kid...I'll keep an eye on him. Funny thing though, you should be the one doing that. You're the one he's in love with."
What, did those two think everyone else was blind? Ever since Jubilee's eighteenth birthday there had been enough heat between the two of them to make Bobby feel warm. Apparently, the only two people who didn't know that Remy and Jubilee were both in love with each other were Remy and Jubilee. Logan had to wonder how two people as smart as the Cajun and the Firecracker could be so...yeah, he was going to go with stupid. It fit.
He'd let them get this whole 'paranoid' feeling out of their systems. Unless of course, they dragged it out to ridiculous proportions. Then he'd step in. Smack some heads around. Right now, however, he'd have to deal with a mopey Remy here, and a mopey Jubilee out in God-knew-where backcountry.
Logan reached into his pocket, and pulled out a cigar. He grunted. It was going to be a long month.
Two Months In:
So here I am, wandering through the Southern States of the U.S of A. Now I understand why you and Rogue jetted outta here so fast. This place is about as exciting as one of Beaster's explanations on how toasters really work.
However, I've met some really great people down here, a biker gang by the name of the Pack. I did them a favor (Long Story; involves the Pack leader's daughter and some of the local yokels, who have a minimal understanding of the word NO. Let's just say that now, they have a full comprehension of the words, 'first degree burns'.) so they decided to adopt me. Now, since my car died on me (shut up, Gumbo. I knew it was a piece of junk when I bought it), the Pack wanted to repay me...so they're building me a Harley! Can you believe that? It's going to be such a sweet looking machine. I can't wait to show it off to you and Logan.
Funny thing, the Pack reminds me so much of people at the Mansion. One Eyed Bob babbles on intelligently like Beaster. Rennie (the girl I saved) has a love of computers I know Kitty would understand. Mac, the leader, has the same focus that the Professor has. Not to mention Ben, a smooth Southern woman charmer (speaking of charmed, how is the rich bitch...whatshername, Gerda?..anyways? You and your conquests...) if I ever met one. He comes close to you, but not quite. They're all making me homesick. Ah well.
Tell everyone that I miss them, and give them my love. Oh yeah, break off a chunk of that affection and save it for yourself. I'll write again soon.
Love and Sparkles,
P.S Don't let that, what's her name again, Gladys? woman change your hair. It's absolutely perfect, and if she thinks you look scruffy..well..she's too snobby for you. She should know the difference between scruffy and comfy.
Jubilee, Oh, the Southern States aren't that bad...well, maybe they are but you can't beat them for food OR good style. Besides you can't really appreciate the South until you've stepped outside and breathed in the gardinias after dusk. The smell will literally knock you off your feet, it's so potent. Makes me wish I could be there to catch you... I'm glad that you've met such great people. Of course, if that boy Ben gets too friendly, remind him that beyond what you could do to him, I'll also be only to happy to show him the meaning of the word eunuch. Might I also add it's about time you finally had a reliable mode of transportation (I told you that lemon of a car wouldn't last two states...) as Logan's has been stressing about you being all alone on some country road in the middle of nowhere. Such lovely and vivid pictures he likes to paint for us! Watch as I cheer. Really.
Once you get home (Hopefully soon? *Pathetic Remy Look*), we can go out trolling the streets together on our Harleys. Although I suppose you won't ride on the back of mine anymore. Ah me, what a sad day for Cajun motorcyclists everywhere. Everyone was thrilled to hear from you, (your charming correspondent included.) and they all send their love and greetings. Nothing really to report on this end of things; we fight for mutantkind, humankind, Skrullkind, you name a kind and I think we've fought for them (Insert laugh here.). Between that, as I am completely bored out of my ever lovin' Cajun mind...I wander up to the City. Gloria (not Gladys or Gerda, dweeb..) and I parted ways (I agree with you..if she doesn't understand the word comfy, we shouldn't be together..), so now I'm back to my bachelor ways. So many pretty femmes, so much time. Come home soon, petite. Gambit's bored, and he misses his favorite playmate. What's that part of the song...'No one heals me like you do'? Yes, that line is most appropriate. I miss you. We all do. All my love,
P.S Remember, knee to the groin when all else fails. I just don't trust anyone named Ben.