saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 13 (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 Thirteen: Eyes Wide Open
The return of winter to Westchester was signaled by winds that were much more brisk and chilly than the ones associated with autumn. While snow had yet to touch the ground, many speculated that would not last for very long. Gray, overcast skies often prevailed most of the time. The bright, shining sun had become a rare sight these days.
Most individuals found that the cooler temperatures fostered sluggishness in their movements. With the many layers of clothing to protect them against the cold, this seemed hardly surprising. However, there seemed to be one exception to this rule. This early afternoon found a young girl of Asian descent racing out of one of the venerable, stone buildings on the local university campus. Her movements were purposeful and quick. It was quite unusual since she would have been one of the more relaxed individuals sauntering across the grounds.
Yet, this day was different.
She had somewhere to be.
The flush creeping across her skin from the jogging was tempered by the cold wind that slapped her cheeks and whipped her hair back. Her heart was racing, beating wildly in her chest. While Jubilee wanted to attribute the physiological changes to the exertion, she knew better. She knew there was something else responsible.
Rewrapping her striped scarf around her graceful neck, Jubilee could feel her stomach flutter with butterflies. She pulled out a piece of paper from the pocket of her dark-camel pea coat. Checking the address of her destination, she determined she was another two blocks away. Close enough to campus, but far away from other familiar places. The likelihood of unexpectedly running into someone she knew had been greatly reduced, as planned. Quickly, she shoved the scrap of paper back into her pocket. Then she picked up the pace of her jog.
In retrospect, Jubilee supposed she could have made things much easier, logistically speaking, if she chose to speak to someone at the mansion. This entire running around thing was beginning to irritate her. There was also the cloak-and-dagger approach she had taken on for this trip. It made her edgy and jittery. Concentrating during her philosophy lecture proved to be quite difficult. Instead of considering the meaning of Voltaire's works, her mind kept racing with a million thoughts. Most of those thoughts centered on this errand.
Yet, she knew that taking the easy way out would actually create many complicated issues.
Jubilee wrapped her slender arms around herself as she paused to catch her breath. Wisps of hot air slipped from between her pink lips. As high as her anxiety level was at that moment, she realized there was no turning back now. This was something she definitely she had to do.
Then why was she so damn frightened? After all, she had faced down her share of the most psychopathic, violent and cruel individuals. She often endangered her own safety during those confrontations. This errand involved none of that. Compared to those field missions and being captured, her trip was rather mundane.
But still she was terribly nervous and scared.
Jubilee resumed her hurried pace. She mulled over the reasons behind her apprehension. Where should she start? There was the fact that this marked an entirely new venture in her life. It was also something she had never thought about ever. For Jubilee, there was so much of the unknown associated with this entire situation.
Her mind also considered the reactions of other people who knew her. In the end, that was the deciding factor to seek services outside of the mansion. Those potential reactions were also primarily responsible for the secretive approach to the situation. No one was aware of what she was about to do---not even Bobby. She had made a point to keep a tight lid on this plan. This was something she had to carry about alone.
She could almost imagine the range---shock to angry disapproval. The myriad of questions from various loved ones and friends were already thudding in her ears. They were questions she wasn't sure she was ready to answer. Immediately, she pictured the two most reactive individuals who would instigate such an interrogation. No, things were definitely better this way.
Jubilee supposed she could have avoided this entire task altogether. She could have allowed her sense of foreboding to hold her back. She could have allowed those nagging insecurities to hold her back.
But she did not.
Because she was through with being scared.
Jubilee trudged up the hill, nearing her destination. The jumpiness of her stomach intensified with a vengeance. Her mouth was suddenly dry. She swore she could feel her heart nearly exploding inside of her. As she made her way up the circular path, she wondered if others before her experienced such feelings. The young woman stopped at the front steps of the innocuous, gray building and stared at the sign.
Planned Parenthood, Salem County Chapter.
Taking a deep breath, she marched up the steps and hurriedly darted inside.
The grandmotherly receptionist had informed her that she was about ten minutes early. Jubilee found herself sitting in the waiting area, which was a small room with lavender-colored walls. Brochures detailing information and history of the organization were neatly stacked on end tables by the rows of vinyl-padded chairs, along with other related pamphlets. Paintings of flowers hung from the walls with framed, handwritten poetry. The air smelled of faint traces of rosemary and jasmine. Classical piano from the local radio station was softly playing in the background.
Obviously, the environment was designed in order to comfort anxious individuals such as herself. As Jubilee continued to wait for her appointment, she felt anything but relaxed. The preliminary background history form she completed was already at the receptionist's desk. She bit her lower lip, searching for something to occupy her time. Her eyes caught a glimpse of an old issue of Time. She snatched up, not feeling guilty about doing so since she was the only person in the waiting room.
Tried as she did, Jubilee was unable to focus on the articles in the magazine. Instead, her mind wandered. She proceeded to convince herself that she had made the wise decision of not talking to Hank, Cecilia, or even Annie. Life at the mansion would most definitely be uncomfortable after such a discussion with any of those individuals. Every time she and Bobby would be together in public, any of those three would be certain to throw a strange look their way. Not that they would intentionally try to make things tense or worse, squeal to Scott and Logan, but it would be from the sheer fact of knowing. Jubilee decided that was something she could definitely live without.
Bobby. Her heart skipped a beat as she recalled the events from the night they spent together. While she was terribly self-conscious at the time, she was also moved. Even days later, she could still feel the intensity from his kisses and his words affect her. The expression on his face was nothing she had ever seen before. The ardent want and desperation in his eyes was seared into her memory. The encounter made her realize that their relationship, like everything else in this world, was changing and evolving. She was now in a regular relationship like other people. Why were his statements a complete surprise to her?
Because I never had to think about it before, she mused, flipping through the magazine. <;I>I could act like Peter Pan and leave that kind of complicated, grown-up stuff to the likes of Paige or Jono. Now, I can't get away with that crap anymore. I won't let myself get away with that crap anymore.
For his part, Bobby tried to assure her that he didn't think any less of her because of her inexperience. He repeated his declarations that he would wait for her as long as needed. As much as he wanted her that night, he was willing to wait as necessary. He was genuine about his position about wanting for both of them to ready. There were no arguments about this person was ready after this amount of dates. He simply wanted things to be right with her. Nothing more. After all, he told her, this was the first functional relationship he had been in that last beyond two months. In his words, "There's no way I'm gonna screw this up."
Deep down, Jubilee was afraid she had been the one to let him down.
Bobby was her first in every aspect---first kiss, first date, and first boyfriend. Even after dating for several months, there were times when she often felt embarrassed or inadequate due to her inexperience and youth. She couldn't help but make mental comparisons between herself and the women who came before her. Ultimately, she would often find herself coming off as a scared idiot who didn't know much of anything. That night with Bobby highlighted to a tee those insecurities. Looking back, she wished she had handled things better instead of acting on instinct.
In other words, not seizing up and acting like some sort of terrified child.
Having sex would certainly introduce an entirely new variable to their relationship. While she was aware that she was not facing any pressure from him to take things to the next level, she continued to ruminate. It was hard not to. Jubilee cared about Bobby deeply. She wanted to do everything she could to make him happy.
In the meantime, she needed to take some necessary preparations for that day. By doing so, she felt as if she were slowly confronting and dealing with her fears and insecurities. At least, that was how she justified forcing herself into coming here in the first place.
"Miss Lee?" a soothing, gravelly voice drawled.
Rising from her seat, Jubilee tossed the magazine back on the coffee table. Her palms began to sweat profusely. She smiled nervously as she made her way towards the doorway.
The owner of the voice was a woman who was about Jubilee's height, but a little heavier. Her narrow, dark eyes were mild and curious behind a pair of wire-rimmed glasses. Wavy, copper-red hair framed a rather young, ruddy face with an upturned nose and a cheery mouth. Her teeth were slightly crooked, but very white. She wore a yellow, cable, turtleneck sweater over a denim skirt and brown, knee-high boots.
She extended a chubby, well-manicured hand. "Hi, I'm Virginia Tate, one of the nurses here."
Jubilee shook her hand firmly, following her through the door and down a long corridor. "Nice to meet you," she said, her voice cracking slightly. Can it be any more obvious how uncomfortable I am right now? She could not help but peek into a few of the vacant exam rooms. The sight of the chairs with stirrups and diagrams of the female reproductive system were quite startling sight. Quickly, she admonished herself for being so na´ve in being surprised about seeing such equipment.
"Here we are," Virginia announced, opening the door to the last office at the end of the hall and motioning for Jubilee to step inside. "Come on in. Take a seat wherever."
Jubilee sauntered inside, clutching her messenger bag to her side. The office was light and airy with butter-colored walls and white trim. An L- shaped desk, painted in antique white wrapped around one of the walls. Matching file cabinets, which were evocative of vintage bank furniture, supported the long desktop. A pharmacy table lamp provided a soft, subtly amplified glow to the room. Framed diplomas and informational articles on planned parenthood hung from the walls. Files and spiral notebooks shared space on the desktop along with a Sony VAIO computer, metal tin of pens and pencils, a phone, and a nameplate, which read: VIRGINIA TATE, RN, MPH.
She sank into an over-stuffed, moss green armchair. Her fingers continued to fiddle with the strap of her book bag. Watching the redhead nurse close the door gently, she willed her knees not to tremble. Be cool. You've dealt with way more scarier things...
Virginia settled behind her desk, clipboard and pen in hand. "So, this is your first time here," she mused.
"That was quick reading," Jubilee managed, relieved that she did not stutter.
"Actually, your face gives it away." The nurse's eyes twinkled with amusement. Then she gave the young woman a comforting smile. "Relax, Miss Lee. Take a deep breath... This whole process isn't meant to be scary or anything. You have to give yourself points for coming in the first place. It shows how responsible you are."
Jubilee gave her a quizzical look. "Really?"
"Really," Virginia affirmed empathically, adjusting her glasses. "Sex is a serious part of any relationship. There are many things to consider once that comes into the picture."
Jubilee quickly nodded solemnly. The nurse's words seemed to sum up her current state of mind regarding the subject. "Yeah, that's why I'm here, I guess."
Virginia gave her a kind smile, the corners of her eyes crinkling warmly. "Good to hear you're aware." Then she straightened in her chair. "Well, let's get started. First off, anything you say here is confidential. What's said here stays in this room. Do you understand?"
The nurse continued. "I'm going to ask you some questions from our intake questionnaire. They're all standard questions we ask of all our clients. While some of them might be personal in nature, they're important to ask. This is so that we know of any complications, whether physical or psychological. The interview should take no more than 45 minutes at the most. At the end, I'll be providing you with some educational information about the clinic as well as some samples. Then we can make another appointment to meet... Do you have any questions?"
Jubilee's eyes widened. For some reason, she felt as if she had been presented with a great deal of information. Her mind managed to process the nurse's cookie-cutter speech. Then she shook her head, raven locks with midnight-blue streaks rippling down her graceful shoulders. "No, none."
"OK, then... First question, are you currently sexually active?" Virginia read from the protocol in front of her.
"No," Jubilee replied, feeling her cheeks suddenly burn. "Um, not yet..."
The nurse scribbled a note before continuing. "Alright. Have you ever been sexually active?"
The blush intensified. "No," Jubilee answered. She nervously tucked a lock of hair behind a delicate ear.
"To clarify what I mean by sexually active, I'm talking about---" The nurse began.
Jubilee cut her off, not wanting to hear her complete that sentence. "I know what you're talking about. Other than kissing and holding hands, nothing's been going on." For a moment there, she felt as if the nurse was talking down to her.
Virginia's dark eyes widened, caught off guard by that reaction. Then she nodded nonchalantly. "Are you currently in a relationship?" she pressed.
The young girl nodded. "Yes," she said, her voice cracking slightly. Then she added, "Totally monogamous."
"Good," Virginia intoned, making additional scribbles. "How long have you been seeing one another?"
"Almost six months." Jubilee replied, almost startled by the duration. Time had really flown by.
"Now, has your partner been sexually active? I mean, prior to your relationship." The nurse continued writing furiously.
Jubilee inhaled sharply, nodding. Bobby didn't advertise the details of his escapades like certain people (Gambit or Logan). She had overheard a comment from Lorna Dane about how sleeping with him was akin to babysitting. Then there was also the way he looked at her that night. That burning and intensity in his gray eyes relayed that he was no stranger to such feelings---and acting upon them.
"Do you know how many partners he's been with?" Virginia's raspy voice broke into her thoughts.
Startled, Jubilee tried to focus. She had no idea on that one, either. It wasn't like it was a topic of conversation between them. The night she spent with him in his bed was the only time where they started talking about sex. They did not discuss anything regarding that night or the topic after that. Off the top of her head, she knew there was Lorna. Reading between the lines of the conversation she witnessed between Bobby and that Opal person, she assumed they probably did the deed as well. As for anyone else, she wasn't sure. Bobby had dated a lot of women before her, but that didn't mean he slept with all of them... Did it?
Suddenly, those insecurities and inadequacies she carried with her crept back into her consciousness. Combined with her increasing anxiety, Jubilee was not all that comfortable. "Two?" She winced when heard the question mark punctuating her answer.
Pencil-thin eyebrows shot up. "You're sure?" Virginia inquired, pausing in her writing. "It didn't sound like you really know the answer. Do you, Miss Lee?"
Jubilee started wiping her sweaty palms on her denim-clad thighs. "Well," she began, chewing on her lower lip. She desperately searched her mind for composure as well as a reasonable response. Instead, she mumbled, "No."
"Oh." The redhead sat back in her swivel chair. Her forehead was creased with a concerned frown. "I take it the two of you haven't discussed sleeping together?"
"Not exactly," Jubilee protested weakly, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear again. "I mean we have talked about...it. But nothing too detailed, really."
"Don't you think you should?" Virginia suggested gently, leaning forward in her chair. "Knowing your partner's sexual history is an important part of making this decision, Miss Lee. I don't need to tell you about the risk of contracting some form of STD. Young people around your age are the highest..."
Jubilee half-heartedly listened to the nurse as she rambled on statistics regarding the epidemiology of venereal diseases in the US. She was tempted to inform Virginia that the issue was something she didn't have to think about. Thanks to the X-gene, mutants did not fall ill to such diseases. Her primary reason for being here was to prevent any little Bobbys or Jubilees from being produced. However, she thought better of it, and kept her mouth shut. The whole session was proving to be awkward already. There was no need to complicate things any further.
While there were no health-related concerns about Bobby's history, Jubilee was uncertain as to whether or not it was an irrelevant issue now. Part of her was curious. Bobby was older and much more experienced than her. There was no need to query him about that. When she was much younger, she used to observe him flirt with her headmistress and bring back dates back to the mansion during her visits. For someone who had been so wary of dating, Bobby certainly played the field.
Yet, there were other unanswered questions that floated about in her mind. When they were finally ready, would he be comparing to other women he had been with? How would she stack up against those before her? Would he regret his decision to be with her?
Jubilee tried to reconsider the other available evidence. The night he first kissed her and confessed his feelings, Bobby had assured her that he only wanted her. Since they began dating, nothing he had done implied otherwise. He was kind and patient. His actions reflected how much he cared about her.
Then why can't I let go of my issues? Why am I making myself miserable? she wondered, frustrated with herself.
Chewing on her lower lip, Jubilee peered up at Virginia who appeared to be concluding her speech. Quickly, she nodded and acted as if she had been attentive the entire time. "That makes sense."
The nurse eyed the young girl sitting across from her cautiously. Gauging how preoccupied Jubilee seemed, Virginia was not convinced her words had that much of an effect. As she stared at the anxious expression on her face, it became apparent that the girl probably had not been listening at all. "Are you sure you're ready for this?" she asked, hiding the skepticism in her voice.
"Absolutely," Jubilee responded immediately, meeting the nurse's gaze. From the tone of voice she used, she sounded as if she were attempting to convince herself more than the nurse.
Virginia put down her pen and folded her hands. "Listen, this decision is an important one. As I informed you earlier, having sex introduces new issues to the relationship."
"I know that."
"Believe me, I've thought about it. Many times. More than you know."
"You should also realize that open communication between yourself and your boyfriend makes things easier."
"I know. It's not like we don't talk or anything."
"Not about this subject specifically. At least, not in this kind of detail." <;P> "No, but..."
"Miss Lee, I'm not going to lie to you. We're not even halfway through the interview protocol here. I've observed your body language and the nature of your responses. If you're uncomfortable now, you're going to be even more so as we proceed. The questions tend to get more and more personal."
Virginia slipped off her glasses. Finally, she sighed, "I suppose I'm concerned about you."
"I'm OK," Jubilee assured her. "Really. I'm fine."
"Are you?" Virginia countered quietly, putting on her glasses again. "We can always reschedule a time to meet when you're feeling more at ease with the question. Maybe after talking with your boyfriend in more detail about the subject..."
Jubilee's cheeks flushed a darker shade of pink. After all the trouble she had gone through to make it here, there was no way she was considering backing out now. She had invested too much time and effort into planning her trip here. To backpedal and put it off for another time was not option for her. It would be like regressing to the child she did not want to be anymore.
There was something else as well. It seemed to override Jubilee's fear of being immature and irresponsible. For her, it was a source of strength, pushing her to continue.
In the back of her mind, she knew that she would overcome that self- consciousness and fear. One day soon, she would be ready. She would show him that his want and yearning were not unrequited. Someday, he would know how much she wanted him as well. She couldn't imagine giving herself to anyone else but him. Bobby was that special.
"That won't be necessary," she said, cutting off the nurse. Her sapphire eyes were steely and determined as she provided her response. She leaned forward in her chair. Her facial expression held an ethereal calm quality. "I'm here and I'm ready to answer anything you throw at me. Let's go on with the interview."
Surprised, the nurse studied the solemn-faced girl in front of her. For a moment, she considered terminating the interview---an action she rarely performed. It was still evident that Jubilee was still perturbed. At the same time, she appeared unwavering and dogged in her commitment to be here.
"If that's what you want," Virginia drawled after a brief pause. She picked up her pen and raised her clipboard. "Alright, now... Let's see, where were we?"
An hour later, Jubilee found herself leaving the office. She had managed to complete the interview with Virginia in spite of recurring bouts of embarrassment and self-consciousness. The questions that followed were quite personal and tended to examine her health. While she was used to talking about such things with either Hank or Cecilia, doing so with a stranger and someone who didn't know about her background proved to be somewhat more difficult. She had to choose her words carefully. However, it was easier for her to answer them than the other ones that involved Bobby and his history.
When the interview was finally over, Virginia provided her with birth control pills and condoms in addition to a bevy of brochures and booklets. She had stressed the importance of a follow-up appointment for an examination. While Jubilee said she would consider it, she knew there was no way she would be coming back. In addition to the anxiety-provocation, there was another deterrent: being persecuted. As understanding as Virginia seemed, Jubilee wasn't sure how she would react knowing her latest client was a mutant.
Walking out of the reception area and towards the front doors that led outside, Jubilee's gaze soaked the materials she carried in her hands. Overall, it seemed so surreal. There was a slight sensation of relief. The prospect of being with Bobby "in that way" was not as daunting. To her, it was as if she were steps closer to being ready.
But not today.
Her black messenger bag was already filled to capacity with spiral notebooks, textbooks, and paperbacks. Between classes, she had had a hard time zipping the bag closed. However, there was no way she was going to be carrying out all the samples out in the open. After some furious manipulation of various items, she finally crammed the materials into her bag. Then she shoved open the front doors and made her way outside.
The late afternoon sun was slowly disappearing behind the floating clouds, darkening the skies overhead. Jubilee's steps were brisk in response to the dropping temperatures. Swearing under her breath, she wondered why she parked her Beetle so far away. Her Californian constitution did not deal well with such frigid conditions. This was clearly evident from her constantly chattering teeth.
Jubilee was consumed by thoughts surrounding her increasingly freezing extremities. These thoughts acted as a distraction, taking her mind away from her afternoon and her surroundings. Unfortunately, they also diverted her attention from walking. This explained the soft, but firm wall she collided into. The force of the impact sent her bag from her shoulder to the ground, scattering the lighter contents on the ground below. Startled, she immediately dropped to her knees to collect the displaced brochures and prophylactics. Usually, she would have had something smart and sardonic to say to the offending party. But today, her focus was on getting these samples put away without any delay.
"I'm so sorry," a deep, male voice drawled from above her. "Here, let me help you."
She was still on knees as she gathered the condoms and the birth control package on the ground. "That's OK," she replied, her face burning with embarrassment. Determined to quickly collect the items in a dignified manner, she kept her head down. Great, this person thinks I'm a klutz and a whore.
"I want to help." The voice was strangely familiar.
Jubilee was unable to place the voice, but was sure she knew it. "You know, I've almost got everything." Her hands were now shaking as her eyes noted faded jeans and brown hiking boots. Anyone wears that nowadays... It's almost winter. Doesn't mean I know who this is. Just keep moving.
A pair of tanned, calloused hands extended themselves. They picked up the last of the condoms from the concrete sidewalk. "Here."
"Thanks," she mumbled, taking them and hurriedly shoving them into her messenger bag. Briefly, she lifted her head to scan her path of escape. When she did, her eyes caught the face of the other person. Suddenly, her face drained of all color.
Facing her was none other than Alex Summers.
His blue-green eyes widened in surprise. "Jubilee?" he gasped. Then he peered over her shoulder. Several yards away, he saw the Planned Parenthood building. Instantly, he pieced things together mentally from the evidence present.
She rose to her feet, gripping the strap to her book bag tightly. What the hell is he doing here? Her mouth went dry as she stumbled backwards slowly.
While Alex was nothing like the overly protective Scott, he was still concerned. He straightened, now towering over her. Confused, he edged towards her. The last thing on his mind was some sort of confrontation. It was more than apparent that she was frightened at this moment. There was no need exacerbate things any further.
"Jubilee?" he repeated, the shock somewhat subdued in his voice. Instinctively, his hand reached out for her.
She shook her head, dark hair spilling over her slim shoulders. "I..." she began, her voice cracking slightly. Possible explanations regarding the situation escaped her. The rational portion of her mind crumbled as she attempted to formulate a cogent statement from her mouth.
Instead, she simply blurted out, "I've got to go."
Before she could think of doing or saying anything else, she swiftly darted away, leaving Alex to simply stare after her.
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