saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 5 (X-Men)

author: Alex L

rating/genre: (R) - Romance/Drama

warnings: het, language, adult situtations

summary: Set after the kiss in Homecomings, Bobby finds happiness with Jubilee. In progress. Please read and review!

comments/disclaimers: I forgot the disclaimer for this one---my apologies. All characters belong to Marvel. The story is mine.Feedback is always appreciated.

Chapter Five: Into Temptation

Some time had passed since that disastrous first date. While the negative aspects were slowly fading from his memory, Bobby could not help but continue to feel that he owed Jubilee a better experience. Sure, the date had ended well (an understatement, but he was unable to think of another adjective). True to her word, she was not upset or overtly disappointed. She had been the one to kiss him goodnight, after all. In fact, when they were together following that night, she acted as if the date had no adverse effect on their relationship. She continued to enjoy being with him, conveying this through her smiles, clasps of hands, and most importantly, through those wonderful kisses.

Yet, he still wanted to do something special for her---something to erase that night. Bobby felt as if he owed her a better memory of a first date than what he initially offered her that night. Despite her assurances that he did not need to do anything else, his own anxiety pressed the issue.

He stuffed his hands into the pockets of chino shorts as he walked up the spiral staircase. He had been searching for Cecilia Reyes to pick her brain for suggestions for a follow-up date. Bobby soon learned that the doctor was en route to a medical conference in Washington, DC. Usually, he would have asked Jean, but the redhead was occupied with her headmistress duties while the Professor was visiting Genosha with Warren, Kurt, and Alex. His second choice, Rogue, was still in Asia with Storm and the rest of her team, and it was uncertain as to when the Southern Belle would return. Sighing resignedly, he told himself he would have to wait to get the female perspective on this proposed date.

Bobby reached his room, dreading the homework assignments sitting on his desk that still needed to be marked. He had put them off in order to spend the last two afternoons with Jubilee. They had gone to the new putt-putt golf course that recently opened in town. Watching the young girl struggle with her patience as she furiously whacked at the helpless golf balls was entertaining to say the least. After some good-natured ribbing, he finally broke down and gave her pointers. By the second time they went, her handicap had greatly improved, while Bobby’s had declined. The car ride back to the mansion was filled with teasing---this time, from her.

He wasn’t sure what it was about her that made him feel this constant rush, so ecstatic, so alive. The thought of being near her was always on his mind. These thoughts often brighten his mood---no matter how irritated he was sometimes while teaching his summer course. It was nothing like he had experienced before with the other women he had been with. Bobby had cared for them deeply, yes. However, there was the fact that Jubilee sincerely returned his affections. There was nothing duplicitous about her intentions (she wasn’t using him to seize control of a ship or using him to wait for someone else), no complicating factors that held her back from him (definitely no no-touching rule to be concerned with or worrying about his mind being manipulated into a muddy mess). She wanted him and only him. And for that, Bobby felt gratification that went beyond anything he could express in words.

There was also the fact that he did not have to be “on” when he was with her. He could relax and be himself. Bobby did not have to constantly supply the quick and funny lines, nor did he need to impress her with stories with his past exploits as one of the first students. Jubilee knew about all that, and saw past it during the years she had known him. For her, Bobby being Bobby was quite fine with her. Needless to say, this was a refreshing change for the man who constantly felt pressured to please others, particularly the women he dated.

With red marker in hand, Bobby seated himself at his desk, grimacing at the stack of papers. Mentally, he coached himself to focus on the task at hand. His gray eyes flicked to his alarm clock by his bedside. It was evening---too early to visit Jubilee since she was probably out at the mall with Paige. The two were in search of some bracelets they had seen some actress sporting on their favorite soap opera. Bobby wasn’t too clear on the details since fashion and other aspects of couture weren’t his forte. As for procrastinating with his friends, Warren was spending a late night at the office in the city and Hank had immersed himself in some research in the lab downstairs. In other words, he had no excuses for putting off grading any longer.

Bobby was pleased with the first couple of papers he had graded. Apparently, the constant drills on quadratic formulas had paid off. Not a failing assignment yet. Contrary to the belief of his students, he hated giving out poor marks. Like any good teacher, he wanted them to learn and succeed at mastering the material he presented. That, and he did not want to have to offer extra tutoring sessions.

He was halfway through the assignments when he heard an insistent rapping at his door. Quizzically, he frowned. He asked himself who it could be, having ruled out the usual suspects already. While he was hoping it was Jubilee having come back from the mall early, he knew this was highly unlikely.

His mouth suddenly became dry after he opened the door, revealing the identity of the visitor. “Um, hi,” he managed, willing his voice not to crack.

The self-proclaimed mistress of magnetism stood before him, expressionless. In spite of the imposing presence she radiated lately, Lorna managed to instill a sense of femininity through her use of make-up and distinct curves. These curves were often accentuated by her selection of wardrobe. Bobby’s former girlfriend wore a salmon-colored, camisole sweater and white, cotton skirt with rose-colored, open-toed sling backs. Her wavy, light-green hair was loosely piled on the top of her head with loose tendrils framing her arresting features.

“Can I come in?” she inquired, her voice calm and even. It was the antithesis of how she was the last time they had seen each other. Furious and crazed, she had been reeling from being abandoned at the altar by Alex. She consequently taken this aggression on everyone present, including Bobby.

Bobby would have been thrilled to have Lorna Dane approach him like this. She was asking him to let her, not him running after her, seeking any miniscule of attention she might give him. He lost count the number of times he had pined for her. It was probably equal to the number of schemes he had concocted to steal her back from Alex Summers. His eyes narrowed as he recalled the last one he had attempted to carry out.

It was before Alex’s accident. He had been in the guest bedroom the two often stayed in while visiting the mansion. His envy and jealousy had raged inside him as the memories of seeing the two of them leave the mansion for an impromptu picnic flashed in his mind. Irrational and in pain, Bobby had rummaged through the closet the two shared until he found one of Alex’s dress shirts. Then he had stormed to the vanity, where Lorna kept most of her make-up. Suddenly inspired, he spritzed a mixture of the various bottles of perfume on the shirt.

“With one whiff of this, I doubt Lorna would want to be making kissy faces at you, Summers,” he had muttered bitterly. He had replaced the tops to all of the bottles. However, he was not satisfied. There was something missing.

Glancing over at the metal basket where his ex-girlfriend kept her lipsticks, Bobby had come up with another idea. He had snatched one of the tubes and pulled off the cover. He then applied the crimson gloss over his own mouth and proceeded to press his lips against the collar of the shirt. “Just in case...” he had smirked to himself.

“Wow,” a voice had observed with amusement. “The evidence keeps piling up.”

Bobby had whipped around, surprised. Standing behind him was a grinning Hank McCoy, who was shaking his large head. Despite the lightness in his voice and expression, Bobby could tell his old friend did not approve. Glaring at him, Bobby had grabbed a tissue and wiped his mouth clean. Then he threw the shirt at Hank, storming out of the room.

“Make any comment you want,” he had huffed, “you know I look good.”

Shaking his head from his reverie, Bobby opened the door to allow her to enter. He watched her seat herself on his bed, still nonchalant. Still confused, he closed the door quietly and sauntered over to her. Not that he was a judgmental person or anything, but he had assumed that she would have been somewhat uncomfortable to face him ---especially after trying to hurt him at the wedding. Like many around the mansion, he realized there was a great deal to learn about Lorna since her return from Genosha.

“You really need to hire an interior decorator,” Lorna mused, taking in the familiar surroundings. While she was dating Bobby, she recalled spending quite some time here. She was not all that surprised that Drake, the eternal frat boy, would still cling to the memories of his younger days. It seemed to be a recurring theme to his personality.

He pulled out his swivel chair and sank into it. “You offering?” he asked casually.

She smirked. “Please. I’d leave that kind of thing to the little nymphets around here.” Then she shrugged her bronze shoulders, rolling her eyes.

He was waiting for her to make some kind of sarcastic comment about dating Jubilee. When she did not, he was surprised. Either she did not want to acknowledge it or did not know at all. Inwardly, he breathed a sigh of relief. He was not in the mood to get into a confrontation with Lorna about his new relationship.

Before he could ask her why she dropped by, she sniffed. “I suppose this is what’s it like to be you.”

He gave her a quizzical look. “What are you talking about?”

Her dark-green eyes flashed briefly, irritated that she had to explain herself. “I mean, being alone.”

Apparently, she did not know.

She continued, her mouth twisting slightly. “I came to see you because I figured you would be the only one to understand. Maybe you can offer some advice, huh?” Punctuating the last statement was a bitter, raw laugh emanating from her.

“You’re not alone,” Bobby commented reassuringly.

“So I suppose Alex didn’t leave me at the altar and humiliated me by going off with that insipid nurse? That’s all in my head?” Lorna raised her brows sardonically, shaking her head. “Please, Bobby. Even I’m not that delusional.”

He tried not to appear wounded as he said, “I was referring to your friends around here.”

She snickered. “Yes, my friends. Oh, the people around here who avoid me like the plague? Are you talking about those friends? Other than Charles and Kurt, no one has been talking to me, or haven’t you noticed?”

He pressed his lips together firmly. It was hard not to agree with her. Even Jean Grey, one of Lorna’s closest friends, was somewhat wary of her now, choosing to keep her distance. This was quite unusual since Jean was one of those people who liked giving people a fair shake. As for himself, he was not sure why he had not spoken to Lorna. He supposed part of it stemmed from his apprehension regarding her new personality. She was unpredictable, mixed with her heightened awareness of her powers, made her not the most pleasant person to be around. He recalled the pain he experienced when she took out her frustrations and rage out on him for siding with Alex. He never thought that kind of physical pain was possible, least of all, having it inflicted by someone he once considered close to him.

There was also the fact that he had seen very little of her since that day. The Professor immediately sequestered the young woman into his office for private sessions, presumably to deal with the aftermath and issues that might have brought on her reaction. There were the occasional missions she went on, but she was never assigned to a team he was on. Bobby could honestly say the most he saw of her lately came to only brief episodes around the mansion, lasting a minute at most.

He sighed. “I’m sorry, Lorna.”

“I wasn’t looking for your pity. I was simply pointing some facts out.” She narrowed her dark-green eyes.

“It will get better.”

“Will it?”

“Sure. People are forgiving around here, you know. I mean, look at Gambit.”

“You’re comparing me to a murderer and a thief?”

“Fine. Bad example. Look, all I’m telling you is that you’re not as alone as you think. People around here still care about you. It’s just going to take some time to get comfortable with you again as a friend.”

“If they really cared about me and were my friends, they would have showed it. I wouldn’t be reduced to this pariah status.”

“It’s not as black and white as you’re making it. Things are a little more complicated than that.”

“How do you figure? The way I see it, if these people were really my friends, then they should have sided with me, understood what I was going through. No, they decide to go along with that Summers brother and his dipstick flavor of the month. It’s like watching those idiots play house with her bratty son is more important than being concerned about a long- time team member and friend.”

“You tried to hurt them---all of them, including the people who love and care about you. Besides, it’s not Annie’s fault.”

“And whose fault do you think it is?”

“I... I don’t know. Does it matter?”

“It does to me. Don’t you think that it was cruel of Alex to leave me like that---in front of all our friends and family? Of all days to show his ambivalence, he had to pick that one. Doesn’t that seem wrong to you? It was my wedding day, Bobby. That day is supposed to special and wonderful and he ruined it for me by abandoning me. Can you imagine how humiliated I was?”

“Well, if you’re looking for an opinion, I don’t think I can offer one. I haven’t really spent a lot of time, contemplating the whole thing.”

“So you’re with Alex on this one? I can’t believe you, Bobby. After all this time, you decide---”

“I didn’t say that. I’m just neutral, Lorna. Take it how you want to, but I’m not taking sides on this.”

“As long as you’re not saying that I should play the good-girl and pretend that I like what’s going on, I would think that’s a fair compromise.” She pursed her lips, remembering the initial advice Kurt had given her several days after the wedding fiasco. Had he not been the first to approach her, she would have given him a taste of what she really wanted to do the new couple. Be the bigger person, indeed.

He shrugged his shoulders. “If that’s going to help you, then fine.”

Silence lingered in the room following Bobby’s last remark. Lorna shifted on the bed slightly, crossing her legs and eyeing the man sitting across from her. It had been some time since they had talked for a long period of time. While she was dating Alex and staying at the mansion, she had made it a point to avoid Bobby. Given all the tension surrounding their break- up and his continued insistence that they were still a couple, she had felt it was easier that way. She did not want to hurt him any more than she did by being close to him as a friend. Somehow, she suspected he would have mistaken that as a sign of hope that their relationship could be rekindled. As she reflected on their conversation, she realized how much she had missed how earnest and caring Bobby could be. During the weeks that followed the wedding, she needed to hear someone else’s reassurances besides the Professor, who was more of a mentor than a friend or peer, or Kurt, who was sometimes too altruistic, it bordered on sickening. Hearing Bobby’s perspective forced her to consider the shades of gray to the situation.

She folded her hands together. “Can I call you a friend?” she asked, a hint of hesitancy in her voice.

He nodded, somewhat taken aback. “You know you can. I know that I haven’t been---”

“Don’t think about it,” she cut him off, waving her hand dismissively. Then she took one of his hands in hers. “All I needed was to hear you say that. It’s like you understand what I’m going through. You can see where I’m coming from.”

Part of him agreed with her. All those years of watching her at Alex’s side was source of angst for him. The jealousy and pain he experienced on a regular basis whenever they were around was almost too much for him. Then there was his assumption that he had done something to drive her away made things even more unbearable. Of all people, Bobby knew what she was talking about. However, he was aware that the circumstances were vastly different.

He nodded stiffly, feeling her hands squeeze his. A slight smile tugged at her lips, evoking memories of happiness experienced years ago. For a moment, it was as if things were how they used to be---before Alex, before so many things. His eyes stared into those emerald eyes that had first ensnared him under her spell long ago in California.

Suddenly, Bobby could feel a slight heat on his skin, which was quite strange given his constant cool body temperature. It was then that he realized that her face was close to his. Her breath was warm as she leaned further towards him, eyes heavy-lidded. Before he could react, Lorna’s lips covered his own. She held him still as she explored his mouth with deepening strokes, her own hard and demanding for his response. Surprised, Bobby was unable to recall a time when she ever kissed him like that. Perhaps her time under Magneto’s tutelage also ingrained other aggressive aspects into her personality.

Not too long ago, Bobby Drake would have been delighted over this sudden embrace from the object of his unrequited affections. Many nights, he longed to have Lorna Dane in his arms like this, kissing him passionately, letting him know that she wanted him after all. The fantasies that raced through his head on a semi-regular basis were almost countless. He had forgotten how she felt against him. She was beautiful and warm and everything he wanted.

But not now.

He pulled back, gasping for air. “I can’t do this,” he told her quietly. “I’m sorry, Lorna. I just can’t do this.”

Her eyes widened incredulously. “What? What’s wrong?” She thought he would want this; he would want her like this. She wasn’t sure if she could handle another rejection, especially from the person she thought would never be capable. For a second, she began to doubt her own feminine wiles. If Bobby, good, old dependable Bobby didn’t want her, then who would. Had she not spent so much time working on her hardened façade, she would have broken down and cried.

“I mean, a while ago, I would have been thrilled.” He sighed, gray eyes sheepish as he rubbed his fingers over his lips. They were still tingling from the forcefulness of her kiss. From the wounded expression that flashed in her eyes, he could sense something else at play. “Don’t get me wrong. In a minute, I would have.... But I can’t now.”

The beginnings of a frown creased her brow. “Then why?” she demanded.

“It’s just that I... I’m seeing someone else,” he confessed, picking his words carefully. He did not want to hurt Lorna. She had already experienced enough for one year.

“Who?” Usually, she would not be interested in Bobby Drake’s love life, but she had to know the identity of the person who kept him from returning her intentions.

For a moment, he was apprehensive. He knew of Lorna’s pursuit of Alex, Annie, and Carter following the wedding. He soon convinced himself that she would never repeat such a performance. The young woman had invested too much time in her private sessions with the Professor to revert back to such violent behavior. Plus, much of her rage stemmed from the public humiliation of being left at the altar. This situation, whatever it was, was miles away from the severity of that.

“Jubilee,” he finally replied, pangs of guilt racking his chest. While he did not reciprocate the kiss fully, he still felt regret over what he perceived as some kind of break down in his self-control. He prayed that she never found out about what had just happened. He didn’t think he could bear the thought of her finding out and being hurt. The last thing in the world he wanted was to hurt her. It was that fear that held him back all those months.

“Oh.” Lorna’s face was initially expressionless. Looking back on everything now, she did remember hearing whispers around the mansion about the two being an item. From the little she knew about the younger woman, Lorna decided she wasn’t all that irritating. Then she said flatly, “She’s one of the few around here that doesn’t look at me like I’m some kind of psycho.”

“I suppose that means you approve.” He tried to sound light to alleviate the tension.

She rolled her eyes, straightening her position. “You’re a big boy, Bobby. You don’t need anyone’s approval for anything, least of all mine.” She sighed heavily. “I don’t know why I did that. God, I’m embarrassed.”

He attempted to place a soothing hand on her shoulder. “Don’t be, Lorna.”

“That’s easy for you to say, isn’t it?” she asked, jerking out of his reach. “I made a fool of myself. I’m just glad other people weren’t around to witness it. You must think I’m crazy.”

Bobby shook his head candidly. “No,” he said, “I don’t. I would never think that.”

“Well, then you’re an idiot,” she huffed, picking at an imaginary thread on her skirt. “You saw me at the wedding. You saw how I was.”

“I saw you were hurt,” he told her softly. “Never in my mind did I think you were crazy, and I certainly don’t think that now. You’re my friend, Lorna. I said it before and I still mean it.”

She looked at him suspiciously. There was no pity or mockery in his voice. Bobby, sweet Bobby, was incapable of being duplicitous. He was simply presenting his friendship for the taking and nothing else. Lorna contemplated returning his offer with a smirk and snappish remark. After all, her pride still stung from being pushed away from him. Who the hell did he think he was talking to her like that? Maybe Kurt got to him and filled his head of ridiculous notions about being nicey-nicey to one another.

As she continued to gaze up at him, she realized that would be the expected move. She would be adding to the perception of being Lorna the antisocial psychopath, who was cold and unfeeling. She would continue to experience the shunning of her fellow residents. She would continue to feel her rage and angst of not being understood. The Professor’s words of changing and taking charge of her own destiny echoed through her mind just as those voices from the dead inhabitants of Genosha did. She was tired of being held hostage by those terrifying memories. She was tired of this cycle of acting. Something definitely needed to change, indeed.

She bit her lip and then said, “I would like to be your friend, Bobby Drake.”

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