saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 7 (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 Seven: To Be With You
One of the little known things about Bobby Drake was his determination. Some of his closer friends, like Hank or Warren, would even go as far as to say that he was a little stubborn. The young man’s persistence carried into almost everything he did, whether it was pushing himself during Danger Room sessions or field missions, or arguing with Kurt as to which Three Stooges film was the greatest of all time. Almost anyone would agree that anything Bobby set his mind to, he never gave lost sight of the objective until it was achieved.
Although some time had passed since that first date, Bobby could not help but to continue to dwell upon it. The cognitions and emotions sparked from that night continued to haunt him. He constantly thought about how hard he worked to make that night so special because he had wanted to show her that was what she was to him. This was despite other dates they had gone on, which were thankfully less eventful. However, these outings did not assuage his anxieties since they were either with Warren and Paige, or involved more casual activities like traveling to the local coffee shop or grabbing video rentals to watch back at the mansion. First of all, he had no hand in planning them. Second, they failed to reflect that special quality of a first date.
He confided his problems to his two closest friends, Hank and Warren. The two men, while sympathetic, did not grasp why Bobby was obsessed about wanting to make up things with Jubilee. Warren rationalized that Bobby should relax given that the two would have a funny story to remember about that night, although he felt somewhat culpable about Paige interrupting their dinner plans. It took Bobby a great deal of restraint not to agree with him.
Given that his female friends continued to be occupied or not around the mansion, Bobby was forced to brainstorm possible ideas on his own. As he racked his brain, he was only certain of one thing. He definitely had to make sure they would be alone, ensuring that they would not run into distressed friends or exes.
He stared outside his bedroom window. Anywhere in town would ultimately invite an unfortunate run-in with someone---at least that was what he concluded given his luck. Bobby then remembered a conversation he had overheard Jean and Ororo were having several weeks ago before Scott left. Jean had been gushing over a nice getaway he had planned for the two of them. They had spent the weekend at a resort, deep in the Adirondack woods of upstate New York. Far away from their responsibilities to the school and the team, she raved about the excursion, telling her friend that it was a wonderful opportunity to connect again.
Bobby shoved his hands into the pockets of his cargo shorts. For a moment, he contemplated a similar strategy. The Adirondack woods were a good two hours from Westchester. It was late afternoon and there was no way he was going to consider an impulsive day trip. His final exam for his summer class was the following day and he had to be the one to proctor it. No, if he were going to whisk Jubilee away, then it would have to be some other time.
His eyes then traveled across the lawn where the Summers’ farm-style, white clapboard house stood. There was another motivation for wanting to treat Jubilee. Classes had started and with her full course load, she was constantly occupied with readings or writing papers. Granted, he did get to see her, but only in the evenings and even then, she would always be engrossed in some assigned reading for a class. Some nights, he would have to physically tear whatever reading from her hands or pull her away from her laptop, so that he could have a conversation with her that did not involve school or to hold her close to him.
“I came here to be with you,” he had pretended to grouse one night in her bedroom, while firmly grasping her wrist and leading her away from her desk to sit on her bed. “Not to talk about Marx’s influence over the Cuban economy, or how Sigmund Freud was a coke fiend.”
She had given him a rueful smile, sapphire eyes reflecting her guilt. “I’m sorry,” she had apologized, resting her head against his shoulder. “I guess I haven’t been the best girlfriend to you, have I? I’m sorry...”
He had cut her off. “Don’t say that. You never have to be sorry about anything..”
Staring at her window, he surmised she was probably home from class already. Her schedule was etched into his memory, as he looked forward to afternoons when she would be back from campus. Bobby could not even think of the last time the two of them had spent time outside of the house or mansion. Summer was slowly fading as the weeks passed. Temperatures cooled, crickets receded, and the fragrant aromas of the blooms associated with the season were dying.
Yet, that afternoon, the sun shone brightly overhead against the crisp, blue sky. Mild breezes that drifted from his open window rustled the trees and rose and azalea bushes that populated the grounds of the mansion. The manicured lawn remained that brilliant shade of green he had always come to associate with the summer months. Surveying this scene, one would almost infer that the season was attempting to exert her influence for one more day.
It was then that Bobby suddenly became inspired.
Jubilee was lying on the couch in the Summers’ living room, highlighting a copy of ‘Heart of Darkness’. It was almost beyond her as to how the professor expected the class to have the entire work read for a class discussion the following week. The assignment would not have been so burdensome had the work been an easy read. Unfortunately, the subject area was outside her scope of interest. In addition, the author’s dry and dense writing style left much to be desired.
She slipped off her wire-rimmed glasses, which she only wore for reading, and sighed wearily. Her mouth formed a tiny frown as she stared out the window. The radiance of the summer afternoon surroundings was beckoning her to feel the warmth of the air against her skin, soak up the shining sun. She was aware that it would be quite some time when the weather would this mild and temperate again. Soon, it would be fall and then winter. Unfortunately for the California native, Westchester winters were notoriously long and cold.
The young girl placed the book over her belly, replacing the cap on her yellow highlighter. While she would not admit it publicly, she did not mind school all that much. There were times when she would go as far as to she liked it. Jubilee had managed to make a few friends in each of her classes. Given that none of them knew what she was, things were easier for her. She blended into the masses of wide-eyed youth at the university. The classes, although work-intensive, were interesting as well. Many of the professors she had often engaged in a rather Socratic manner of dealing with their classes rather than just straight lecturing---something Hank McCoy often did while teaching. Her courses were primarily composed of humanities and social sciences classes, areas she had been interested in while at the Institute. When she was scheduling her courses with her advisor, she made sure to stay far away from the hard sciences for this semester. Let the Kitty Prydes of the world tackle subjects like that freshman year.
The one drawback to the college experience, and the most disturbing as Jubilee saw it was the fact that she was not able to spend all that much time with Bobby. School often acted as an obstacle to the couple going out together. Yes, his nightly visits to her bedroom window allowed them some regularity. But this was not quality time. She was often going over notes or catching up on reading for her classes. And while he was not visibly upset by the situation (sometimes, he would joke around about how her books saw more of her face than he did), she could tell he was not thrilled. During the times he would hold her in his arms, she was so exhausted, she would fall asleep quickly, not being able to relish the embrace like she used to.
Jubilee felt incredibly guilty over this new development. She hated being preoccupied when he was around. She hated being the reason why they could not go out. She hated the fact that he was not angry, but only offered kind, supportive words, which fed even more into the guilt.
She was also beginning to find that while her new relationship with Bobby was something that brought great joy into her life, it also brought along fear. There was a part of her that was quite unaccustomed to being this happy by having someone in her life. At times, she was afraid she would wake-up and find him gone, realizing that this was all some sort of dream. While he gave no indication of being unhappy, Jubilee still felt compelled to show him that he had not made the wrong decision in wanting to be with her. After all, he was everything she had always dreamed of---this gentle, funny, intelligent man who cared about her as much as she cared about him.
And now, she was letting him down.
Maybe I am taking this school stuff a little seriously, she mused, placing her book next to her glasses on the coffee table. Even Paige, who had been driven and ambitious in all aspects of her training, especially academics, commented about how Jubilee immersed herself in her studies. I can afford one day off. It won’t hurt me or anything. Besides, I have all weekend to read this stupid novel...
Swinging her slim legs over the side of the couch, she rose to her feet and stretched her arms over her head. She peered at the clock on the VCR. It was almost dinnertime at the mansion. Surely Bobby had to be done with his classes for the day. A smile tugged at her small mouth as she decided to visit him, surprising him by asking him out for dinner. It wouldn’t matter where since the most important thing was that they would be together---just the two of them, no schoolwork to think about, no exes to consider.
Jubilee was about to hunt for her wallet when there was a knock at the front door. Curious, she walked over to answer it. Jean was still in Washington, DC, while Scott continued to work in Asia with Emma. Her face brightened with a wide, warm smile in response to her visitor.
Bobby’s boyishly handsome face greeted her with an equally pleased smile. “Hey, Jubes,” he drawled in that easygoing manner that came so naturally to him. He was wearing one of his trademark Hawaiian shirts over a pair of khaki cargo shorts and sandals. Unlike his previous girlfriends, Jubilee found his shirts, as loud as some of them were, endearing and part of that Drake charm that made her weak in the knees.
“Hi,” she greeted, tucking a raven hair behind her ear. Her sapphire eyes sparkled as she stared up at him. “I was... I was just thinking about you.”
“About how devastatingly handsome I am?” he teased, grinning.
She leaned towards him, planting a soft kiss against his mouth. “Something like that.”
His fingers stroked her cheek tenderly. “I was wondering if I could steal you away from your homework?”
She laughed, pulling up the strap to her pink tank top. “I was actually going to see you,” she admitted, “I’m blowing work off for the night.”
“Well, great minds think alike. Let’s blow this Popsicle stand.” He raised his brows at her slyly. “I’m taking you out on a redo of our first date.”
Grabbing her house keys from the pub mirror by the front door, she asked, “A redo?” She stepped out of the house and closed the door behind her.
He gave her a wry smile, wrapping an arm around her slender form. “I’m going to erase your memory of that night by making tonight better.”
She rested her head against shoulder, eyeing the large, sturdy, clean picnic basket he carried in his other hand. “You don’t have to,” she chided him gently. “But the promise of food peaks my interest, Drake. Where are we going?”
His reply was, “Somewhere where we won’t be bothered.”
As Bobby had anticipated, the area behind the mansion and near the lake was devoid of any of the residents. It was surprising thought, given the picturesque conditions. He would have assumed that some of them would have wanted to take advantage of this day to take the boats out on the water or hike along the trail around the lake. Yet, here he and Jubilee were, enjoying the beauty and privacy of their surroundings. It was as if this idyllic scenery was just for them.
Also in planning this picnic-dinner on the lake, Bobby considered himself fortunate enough to charm Cook into helping him with the preparation of the actual meal. The Englishwoman miraculously put together a supper composed of chilled tarragon shrimp, cold carrot ginger soup, baby crab cakes, a field green salad with heirloom tomatoes and Wimbledon-worthy strawberries and cream from the gourmet shop in town. Bobby then raided the pantry, adding a bottle of sparkling cider and a few pieces of dark chocolate to the basket.
As the sky darkened above them, Jubilee stretched out on the faded, tartan blanket Bobby had spread over the grass beneath them. She watched Bobby pop a piece of chocolate into his mouth. The casual ease that exuded from him as he sat back was a soothing reassurance that all was right, erasing the worries and guilt that had weighed her down. Her eyes glittered with unadulterated bliss as her mind reeled from the wonderful hours she had spent with Bobby. The tranquil calm of the lakeside scenery replaced the calculated events from the previous date, with intimacy winning over variety.
They had gotten their opportunity to catch and reconnect with one another. Granted, they were not estranged, but the lack of depth present during their recent time together was evidently weighing on their minds. Bobby, ever supportive, did confess to feeling left out, which was met by Jubilee’s own guilty admissions of focusing too much on her studies. Several minutes were spent on exchanging apologies, which were dismissed by the other person. Then the two processed possible solutions to prevent any further tension, finally agreeing to reserve two nights out of the week devoted just for them.
Jubilee placed her head in Bobby’s lap. This had to be one of the best nights she had since the first time he kissed her. She had almost forgotten what a source of comfort and safety being in his arms was. After a brief silence, she said, “Thank you.”
He tilted his head to the side, his fingers tangling in her silky tresses. “For what?”
“For everything,” she replied, tone deliberately vague and dreamy. She placed her hand over her stomach. “I don’t think I’ve eaten that well in awhile. Cook outdid last night’s pizza burgers.”
“Yeah, she did,” he mused, smiling down at the lovely creature below. He continued to be surprised as to how comfortable he was when he was with her.
“I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with someone on a picnic,” Jubilee added. “Maybe the right company changes everything, huh?”
From the content expression on her face and the pure satisfaction that radiated from within him, it appeared as if he had accomplished his goal. Bobby wanted to crow, but thought better against it. Instead, he pressed his fingers to his lips, and then brushed against her small mouth. This is what it’s like when things work out...
He was about to propose walking back to the house to watch a movie when he felt a splatter of water fall against the back of his neck. Frowning, he stared up at the sky and noticed the blackening clouds that loomed overhead. I could have sworn the Weather Channel said there was no chance of rain tonight, he thought. However, the condition of the sky and the water that slowly dripped from it told another story.
Bobby raised his hand, ready to form a crude, ice roof over their heads. He cursed himself for not having the foresight to bring an umbrella. However, in the end, he had to admit to himself that wasn’t really typical Drake.
But he was stopped by Jubilee. “Don’t.” Her small hand grasped his wrist lightly. Then she dropped it at her side, peering up at the weeping sky above. With an impish smile, she began to slip off her sandals and tossed them on the blanket.
He watched her, gray eyes filled with curiosity. His thoughts of how his second attempt of planning the perfect date was ruined were being pushed out of his head. “What are you doing?” he asked as she took several steps away from him.
“I haven’t done this in a long time!” she called over her shoulder, running towards the middle of the lawn. Rain beaded down as she performed a flawless cartwheel. Landing on her feet, she beamed with pride before bursting into peals of delighted laughter. “I haven’t lost it after all!”
Bobby grinned at her. He had almost forgotten she once was a gifted gymnast in her younger days. Cupping his hands over his mouth, he yelled, “You get a 10 from me!”
Still laughing, she gave him the thumbs-up sign and then performed a series of cartwheels. She soon stopped, her long, dark hair clinging to her face and now wet clothes. She pushed the strands from her eyes and cheeks, smiling at Bobby who was still by the blanket.
“Come out here and try it! It’s fun! Really!” Her voice carried through the driving rain.
Bobby raised a brow at her, feeling his own clothes begin to dampen. The shelter the large, oak tree provided helped to slow that down. “I’m going to leave that to you!” he called out to her, noting that they should pack everything together and head inside. Even though there were no signs of lightning, late summer storms like this one were quite unpredictable and there was no telling when and where it might strike. He knelt down and proceeded to gather the utensils, plates, glasses, and napkins, tossing them into the woven basket.
“Come on, Jubes. Time to pack it in!” Bobby folded the blanket, tucking it under his arm. He grabbed the basket and her sandals, venturing towards her. By this time, the rain was pouring heavily, almost obscuring her from his line of vision completely.
“Why?” She flipped her lithe body into the air. The landing left much to be desired as her feet slid slightly on the wet ground. “There’s no lightning!”
“You don’t know that for sure,” he said, still walking to her. “Besides, you’re soaked through.”
“I don’t care,” she laughed merrily, pushing her hair from her face again. Her sapphire eyes twinkled as she grinned at his exasperated face. “Anyway, the house and the mansion are both really far if you want to get out of the rain fast.”
Bobby shook his head in disbelief, wondering if this was the result of some built-up stress from the first week of classes. “Fine,” he managed, his hair plastered to his head in sandy streaks. “The boathouse then. It’s just a couple feet away. We can stay in there until the rain lets up. Come on, Mary Lou.”
“Fine!” She raced ahead of him, cartwheeling every step or so, and laughing. “Who’s Mary Lou?”
He shook his head again, but somewhat enchanted. It was like a ghost of the Jubilee he had known years before---the happy, carefree girl with that zest for life and all its secrets and promises. This aspect of her personality was what had initially drawn to him when they first met. Now, it was something that endeared her to him even more. A smile tugged at his mouth as he walked alongside her.
When they edged closer to the red-shingled boathouse, she performed another cartwheel. However, unlike the previous ones, she failed to land on her feet. Instead, she landed on her rear---not exactly graceful. Bobby couldn’t help, but smirk. To her credit, she burst into another fit of cheerful giggles.
“Smooth,” he commented, extending a hand to help her to her feet. When he pulled her up, he noticed how she was no longer laughing, but staring up at him with those wide, beautiful eyes. He stepped forward, sliding his hands around her waist and lifting her against him. Then he brushed the wet strands from her exquisite face.
“Jubes...” he murmured, covering her mouth with his own in a tender kiss. The sweetness of her mouth mixed with the summer rain and the emotions it stirred inside him were incredible. He lost the number of times they kissed, but the end result was always the same---a sense of well-being and euphoria that was beyond anything he could ever imagine. All he could think about during these blissful moments was how lucky he was.
Bobby felt her melt against him, allowing him to lead her to the boathouse. Their steps were coordinated even as they continued kissing. He reached behind her, grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open. Jubilee’s slender fingertips stroked his ears and the back of his neck as she sauntered inside. He nipped at her lower lip gently, pulling her even closer against him, and slamming the door behind them.
She drew back slightly, smiling up at him with sparkling eyes. Then she stared down at herself and shook her head. “I’m a mess,” she whispered, suddenly self-conscious. She could just imagined how she looked---hair clinging to her head and shoulders and face, clothes soaked through, and pieces of grass and wet dirt on her bare feet. Not exactly an image to swoon over. Her cheeks were suddenly stained with a furious blush as she proceeded to pull away from him.
He, however, had no intention of letting her go. Placing the picnic basket and her sandals on the wood-planked floor of the boathouse, he tightened his arms around her waist. “You’re anything but,” he said to her quietly, gray eyes filled with sincerity and affection. He peered down at his own dripping Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts, which clung to his wiry form. Then he grinned at her sheepishly.
“I guess the wet look’s in this year,” he quipped, earning a giggle from her. He then stared out the window. The rain was continuing to fall heavily upon the mansion grounds, with no signs of letting up anytime soon. He did not want to scurry back to either the house or the mansion. It would be just too much trouble. Besides, there was no pressing need to return to either location.
“We’re stuck here for now,” he told her, gray eyes apologetic. While no ex- girlfriends or upset friends had complicated this outing, the outcome was eerily familiar.
She drew away from him and bent down to unfold the blanket they had used for their picnic. Relieved to find it only slightly damp, she spread it across the floor. “You say that like it’s a bad thing,” she teased, taking one of his hands and guiding him to the blanket, sinking down.
He shook his head, listening to the rainfall against the tin roofing of the boathouse. “No... It’s just that things didn’t turn out how I planned them. Again.”
Jubilee watched a shadow darken his usually cheery face. “Is that it?” she inquired quietly. She shook her head at him, cupping his face with her smooth, slender hands. Her sapphire gaze, so intense and yet so affectionate, bore straight into his soul. “This was the best day.”
“I’ve been bogged down with school stuff lately. It’s like I forgot what it was to be myself. I mean, I haven’t felt this free like this in ages.”
“It’s great to hear you say that, but the rain....”
“The rain was an added bonus.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I think it’s kind of romantic, don’t you?”
“I think you’re the first person to say that having a rained-out picnic is something romantic.”
“Probably. I don’t care about what the weather’s like outside or anything else now. I just want to be with you.”
The unconditional warmth that emanated from her and from her words enveloped him like a welcoming embrace. Bobby could feel his heart swell within his chest, observing the earnest quality reflected in her delicate features. He wasn’t sure when was the last time anyone had said that to him. Perhaps that meant it had been truly too long. After holding onto the idea of being content and happy in the back of his mind for so long, he was now experiencing both feelings in their most genuine forms.
He brushed his lips against hers, lowering her onto the blanket. The young girl sighed softly as he deepened his kiss. She pulled her mouth from his, breathing heavily. He ran his thumb across her lips before he turned her face and raked his teeth along her jaw. Sparks of pleasure jumped through her as his fingertips caressed her lips and his mouth opened against her neck. He closed his teeth tenderly on the graceful curve there before planting gentle kisses against her throat, sending shivers through her body. Her hands clung to his shoulders, delighting in the firm muscle there. All the while, she could not help but think how fortunate she was to have him like this for herself.
“Bobby?” Jubilee asked breathlessly, her eyes glazed over with bliss as she stared up at his beautiful face.
He raised his head, staring into those hypnotic sapphire depths. “Yeah?”
“This is the best date I’ve ever had,” she told him, smiling up at him. Her slender arms circled around his neck in an attempt to tug him closer to her body.
Bobby pressed his lips tenderly against her forehead, pleased but somewhat confused. “How do you figure?” he inquired, relishing how close he was to her at this moment.
“I can’t tell you the last time I fooled around like that in the rain. Maybe not since I was a little kid. I guess I haven’t felt comfortable enough in my own skin after my parents....” Her voice trailed off as she brushed back wet, sandy strands from his forehead, fingers stroking his sideburns.
He didn’t need for her to finish her sentence. As his eyes roved over those stunning features that were fixed in an intense expression, he was instantly aware. “I know,” he whispered softly, resting his forehead against hers.
Outside of the boathouse, the summer storm continued to rage on with blustery winds shifting the direction of the downpour. Just over the horizon, a familiar object soared against the blackening sky. The X -Men's primary aircraft, known as the Blackbird, hovered over the property of the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The current version of the Blackbird had been completely re-built using ultra-advanced Shi'Ar technology. Problems encountered at Mach 4 plus flight speeds, such as high temperatures, mechanical operations and stability, and routine equipment functioning had been eliminated during this reconstruction.
In spite of the heavy and driving rain that impeded the clarity of the landscape below, the pilot could make out everything in fine detail as if it were clear day. Usually focused, he did find his concentration thrown off slightly when he caught sight of a couple; composed of two people he was quite familiar with. As he watched them embrace passionately before stumbling inside the boathouse, his eyes narrowed behind his visor.
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