saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 33 (X-Men)
author: Alex L
rating/genre: (NC-17) - 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 Thirty-Three:(You’re) Still the One (Explicit Version)
Warren Worthington was sifting through a series of reports as he sat in his spacious office. The handsome President and CEO of Worthington Industries sighed wearily behind his streamlined Strand desk, which was polished in a piano black finish. He leaned back in his English rococo chair, running his fingers over the ornately covered arms stained in an ebony walnut color. The office was reminiscent of his penthouse, which he still kept on Park Avenue. Black leather mixed with polished silver and graphic zebra prints to create the definitive statement of sophistication.
As comfortable as he was in the confines of his luxurious working space, Warren was beginning to feel restless. He tore his blue eyes from the papers in front of him to peer out the window. A picturesque view of Central Park met his wistful gaze. The young entrepreneur found himself envious of the many individuals enjoying the warm sunshine and clear skies overhead. Briefly, he considered the possibility of leaving his responsibilities behind in order to feel that euphoria from the fair weather, the soft wind rumpling his golden locks and caressing his face.
With a weary sigh, he forced himself to return to the task at hand. He had arrived at the office early in order to meet with a consultant hired to assess the staff and inner workings of the company. Results from various aptitude tests were analyzed as well as observational notes. In spite of the fact that he already had recommendations from the consultant as to what actions needed to be followed up on, Warren was of the mindset that he should make his own decisions independently. Unfortunately, this process proved to be rather tedious and time-consuming for the man who was meticulous with his dealings at the workplace. He had to be, especially after the events that had come to light earlier that year. Finding out that his company was involved with a bordello out West did little to instill confidence among investors.
But there was also something else that compelled the blond Adonis to close himself off. It haunted him, rousing his body from any semblance of slumber. At first, he was hard-pressed to even label what was happening. He tried to attribute it to his anxiety, stemming from his responsibilities at the office and at the school. Yet, in the end, his denials could not stand up to the truth. The images that flashed before his eyes, even when closed, still shook him to the core as he sat in his office now.
Seeing a face he thought was gone with the shadows.
Mercifully, his thoughts were interrupted by a buzzing sound. Peering down at his phone console, he noticed that the line that linked him with his receptionist was blinking. Given that he had been locked away in his office for most of the day, he was grateful for the distraction.
He hit the speaker button. “Yes, Marie-Claire?”
His receptionist’s lightly accented voice echoed through the intercom feature on his phone. “Mr. Worthington, Mr. Drake is here to see you. He’s here for your lunch appointment at Tavern On The Green.”
“Send him in.” Warren made reservations at the venerable restaurant, which was known for its glass-enclosed Crystal and Terrace Rooms. In addition to the excellent cuisine and impeccable service, he was a fan of the ambiance created from the decorating scheme. Completing the elegance of the establishment were lavished brass, stained glass, etched mirrors, paintings, antique prints and above all, chandeliers, which created a visual theatre in which to display the current owner’s passion for fine art and fantasy. Finally, after paneling the rustic baroque-inspired Rafters and Chestnut Rooms in rare, wormy chestnut, long-hidden and-hewn rafters and their soaring vaulted ceilings were featured.
Rising from his chair, he began to straighten his red, silk tie. Today’s lunch with his good friend was intended to obtain advice about accounting practices for one of his company’s newly acquired subsidiaries. As Warren mulled over the list of questions he had, he became aware that he also wanted to catch up with Bobby as well. Over the past few weeks, the two of them had not seen much of each other. While Bobby was committed to his teaching responsibilities and active team member status, Warren was taking a more hands-on approach to the company.
The tall, blond playboy made his way to his closet to retrieve his jacket when he heard a familiar rapping at his door. “Come on in, Bobby,” he called over his shoulder. Quickly, he slipped on his navy, pinstriped jacket with graceful ease. Then he turned around to greet his friend.
“Oh, good grief,” Warren muttered under his breath when Bobby sauntered into the office. “What the hell are you wearing?”
Bobby gave him a quizzical look. “What?” he inquired in a rather innocent voice, peering down at his outfit. “Listen, I followed your instructions about the dress code to a tee. I don’t think you have any grounds to criticize me this time.”
Warren narrowed his eyes in disdain. Indeed, Bobby had taken his advice to heart when he was told about the jacket and nice-casual attire requirement. The boyishly handsome, young man wore a navy blazer with a pair of freshly pressed khakis and polished brown loafers. However, it was his choice of shirt that earned the disparaging tone. For some reason, Bobby had chosen to wear one of his Hawaiian shirts. Today, it was a black one with red chili peppers printed all over it.
“You’re lucky I’m a preferred customer,” Warren informed his friend as he stood in front of a nearby mirror. “Otherwise, I’m sure management would have no hesitation commenting about your shirt.”
Bobby watched him smooth down his blond waves. He knew that his friend’s grooming routine, particularly regarding his hair, would consume some time. Needing to find something to occupy him, he strolled towards Warren’s enormous desk. “What’s all this?” he asked, staring at the piles of papers. For a moment, he was afraid that they concerned the accounting issues Warren wanted to speak to him about.
Warren turned briefly to follow his friend’s gaze. “Reports from the psychologist I hired,” he answered, returning to fixing his hair.
Bobby’s gray eyes widened. “Warren, I had no idea,” he deadpanned, “it’s great that you’re getting the help Hank and I always knew you needed. Do you guys talk about your obsession with your hair?”
Warren abruptly ceased his fussing. “Hilarious,” he remarked sarcastically, backing away from the mirror unconsciously. “If you must know, they’re results from this work aptitude test. It’s supposed to tell you what your strengths and interests are based on the answers you get.”
“Really. There’s also recommendations as to what kinds of positions people are best suited for.”
“Sounds fascinating. Have any examples?”
“Sure. Off the top my head, I can remember the profile for accountants.”
“Ah, an area that piques my interest. Go on.”
“Well, according to the report, accountants like order and organization. They also tend to be quite relaxed, too…”
“Accurate. Whoever heard of an uptight, disorganized accountant anyway?”
“Oh, and they tend to see things in black and white…”
“Are you kidding?”
“And, they have no creative tendencies whatsoever.”
“What a bunch of bull.”
“What do you mean?”
“Whoever wrote that crap up doesn’t know anything about individual differences.”
“Come on, Bobby. I think it’s pretty fair. At least, based on the accountants that work for me. Pretty dry guys all around.”
Bobby snorted indignantly. “That’s not universally true,” he retorted, deeply wounded by this assessment. He hated to think of himself as just another dull accountant. It was something he strived to move beyond. “ I can be creative.”
Warren raised a golden brow. “How so?”
The other man’s somewhat condescending tone irked Bobby. Had they not established a long-standing friendship, Warren’s increasingly snobbish front would have deeply wounded him. Instead, he merely attributed it to a part of his friend’s breeding and background. To Bobby, it was simply a pattern of behavior Warren fell into from time to time.
Nonchalantly, Bobby shrugged. “I have plans for my anniversary with Jubes,” he explained casually. “Before you ask, I made sure that I’m not on call and that I’m not scheduled for any field missions. I learned my lesson.”
Warren grabbed his cell phone and placed it in his jacket pocket. He reconnoitered his surroundings in order to make sure he was not missing anything. Satisfied, he made his inquiry. “OK, so what’s going on?”
Bobby grinned. His anticipation of his anniversary plans filled him with a sense of euphoria that lifted him high in the air. Every detail of his planning had been scrutinized with meticulous fervor. He wanted the whole event to be special. She meant that much to him.
Although several days had passed since he and Jubilee consummated their relationship, he continued to experience the rush from the first time. He could still smell her hair and skin, taste her kisses, hear her voice call out for him, and feel the lushness of her skin under his fingertips. While the memories of the physical encounter were pleasant to think about, Bobby was more intrigued with the emotional aftermath. In all his previous experiences, never did he feel more in synch with anyone in his life. For the first time, his desires and needs were congruent with someone else’s. He was not alone in feeling the way he did, wanting what he wanted. It was an incredibly powerful sensation—one he did not think he could ever be privy to.
As ecstatic as he was about the new development, Bobby remained tight-lipped about the situation. In addition to the peculiarity of the idea discussing his sex life with other people, he was not the type to brag about his exploits. Such behavior seemed to undercut the trust involved, not mention the fact that it seemed to be a sleazy thing to do. However, his reserved approach did not completely leave people in the dark. Both Jean and Emma, on separate occasions, gave him sly and knowing looks. Damn telepaths.
Following the taller man to the door that led outside of the office, Bobby erased the smile that had been plastered across his boyish face. He patted his friend’s shoulder. “Trust me,” he said, his tone cryptic. “I’m going to prove that assessment wrong with all the creative juices running through my veins.”
Jubilee was at the front door of the Summers’ farm-style, white clapboard house. The late summer afternoon found her digging her house keys from the pockets of her green, cropped chinos. With a triumphant smile, she fished them and quickly unlocked the front door. Balancing the grocery bags she had been carrying in one arm, the young girl strolled into the air-conditioned coolness that awaited her.
“Jean!” she called as she made her way to the bright kitchen at the end of the foyer. “Jean, the guy at the store said they didn’t carry basmati rice. So I picked up some jasmine instead. I hope that’s OK? I mean rice is rice, right?”
Despite the stillness that seemed to permeate the house, she was not convinced yet that she was alone. Jean had recently taken up meditation to combat the increasing levels of stress associated with her new duties at the school. Jubilee peered around the kitchen, keeping her ears peeled for any sounds consistent with another person’s presence. The empty, but sunlit room met her eyes, and the sounds of the fan running throughout the house greeted her ears.
Her attention was soon caught by a pink piece of paper affixed to the refrigerator door by a ladybug magnet. Placing the grocery bag on the nearby island, she sauntered to the refrigerator and noticed that the note was addressed to her. She grabbed it, her eyes scanning. In Jean’s loopy cursive, the note read:
I have to run out of town at the last minute with Scott and Logan. I’m afraid you’ll be on your own for a couple of days. If you need to get in touch with us, you can call Scott and Logan on their cell phones, or reach me through our usual route. In the meantime, take care and try to eat a meal that doesn’t consist of chili cheese fries.
P.S. Bobby left something upstairs for you.
Jubilee smiled fondly. Jean’s last line about her dietary recommendations struck as particularly funny. What is she talking about? I would never eat a whole meal made up of chili cheese fries, she mused to herself. I would at least throw in a pizza!
After she put away the groceries, she raced upstairs. Her curiosity as to what surprise her boyfriend had planted propelled her to her room. She burst through the door, tossing her black messenger bag on the floor. Her sapphire eyes widened, reflecting her excitement of what was promised to come.
Tonight was the anniversary of their first date. While she was aware that she and Bobby were going to be celebrating it, Jubilee was absolutely in the dark as to what the plans were. For the past several days, Bobby had been irritatingly vague. He refused to divulge any information, telling her that she was better off waiting. She tried everything to get him to budge, from offering to wash his car to kisses. As much as the second offer appealed to him, he remained intransigent. He simply indicated that she was going to be very pleased with what he had in store.
The more Jubilee thought about it, the more she was convinced that she did not need to know what Bobby was planning. In the end, no special gift or dinner was important to her. What really mattered was being with him. She could care less about the extraneous details.
Since sleeping together, Jubilee felt a new bond with Bobby. The physical intimacy introduced into their relationship facilitated something deeper. It was characterized by an intensity she had never experienced before. Simple glances or brushes of hands conveyed so much more now, where the two of them only knew the meanings behind these gestures. For her, it was comforting.
The young girl had also expected to observe some noticeable change following her first time. She remembered scrutinizing her reflection in Bobby’s bathroom mirror, searching for a sign. Perhaps, she looked more mature as she imagined she would be. Yet, as she studied herself, she found no evidence to support her hypothesis. There was nothing she could detect that would immediately alert anyone; nothing that communicated the fact that she was now a woman. While she was able to laugh off her suppositions as silliness, there was a part of her that was disappointed.
Compared to the experiences of her friends, Jubilee was cognizant of the fact that she was extremely lucky. Sex tended to make relationships complicated, sometimes to the point of causing conflict. Specifically, Paige had warned her about how it was simply expected following the first time. There would be implicit pressure for her to bend and give in since a precedent had been set. According to the younger Guthrie, sex would become expected, a part of the routine.
However, none of this happened with Bobby. In fact, he was quite conscious of such complexities. After they made love for the first time, he told her how incredible she was and how fortunate he was to be with her. To him, sleeping together was not something that was a prerequisite to moving forward in their relationship. Instead, he viewed it as a special part of being together.
As for other people knowing, Jubilee had only disclosed to Paige. It only seemed natural to do so. Her role as Jubilee’s friend made it easier to openly talk about consummating her relationship with Bobby. The idea of discussing it with any of the other people in her life was deemed unrealistic. Their possible reactions began to flood Jubilee’s mind. Scott would immediately cringe, his disapproval radiating from behind his ruby-quartz sunglasses. Kurt, a devout Roman Catholic, might question her decision to engage in premarital sex. Tabitha would probably force her to spill all the details, or to even to draw diagrams as to what happened.
However, these responses were mild in comparison should one particular person find out.
Jubilee inhaled sharply as the face of her beloved Wolvie flashed in her mind’s eye. Although she had not mentioned anything, she was reluctant to believe that he was completely in the dark. No amount of showering or immersion in heavy perfume could fool a man with enhanced senses. Her efforts to act as laid-back as she could were probably a flimsy attempt in his eyes. In spite of all of this, she was positive he was aware of the situation. Yet, the gruff Canadian appeared rather calm and even diffident when they were together.
Looking back, Jubilee was not sure if she should be relieved or apprehensive. While known for his feral rages, Logan was also capable of a cool, collected exterior. It was a rather deceptive front, often used to mask anything that might be brimming underneath.
The young girl gave a weary sigh, trying to push the conflicted thoughts out of her mind. She had more pleasant things to focus upon. With a pensive _expression etched across her delicate features, she began to search for whatever Bobby had left for her. After several minutes of rummaging about her room, she was close to declaring a silent surrender. She threw herself on her bed and lay down. However, she bolted up when she heard a crackling sound underneath her head. Jubilee discovered a piece of paper where her head had been. Her eyes roved down the page to read:
A special anniversary calls for special attire. Check out your closet.
Jubilee felt as if she were floating as she sauntered to the closet. Pulling the doors open, she was curious. Could it be a burlap sack? Perhaps a uniform to go play paintball? They had talked about an outing…
Her amusement was replaced with pleasant surprise when she found what Bobby was referring to as “special attire”. Hanging on the back of one of the closet doors was a light-blue, cotton strapless dress with an A-line skirt. On the adjacent hook hung a plastic bag, containing a pair of strappy sandals. Impressed with her boyfriend’s selection, Jubilee nearly missed the note taped to the bag. The second message read:
Finish getting dressed and look for the one thing that’s almost as beautiful as you are. Find it in the one place where things grow and bloom all-year round.
Jubilee frowned, confused. She racked her brain for a list of possibilities as she proceeded to shrug out of her chinos and white T-shirt and into the clothes Bobby had left for her. Still at a loss when she was applying make-up and fussing with her hair, she wondered if Bobby was going to send her on a mission to take one of the X-Jets for a spin. It seemed that was the only way she was going to be able to locate this supposed oasis.
No, think about it, Jubes, she told herself calmly, slipping on her sandals. Bobby wouldn’t have you do that…unless he came with you. There’d be more laughs that way.
Pressing her lips together, she paced back and forth. Jubilee toyed with the pink beads from her necklace. Mentally, she ran through the probable locations that were in close proximity. When she came up with nothing again, Jubilee paused in front of her window. Her gaze peered out at the manicured grounds, as if the answer was embedded there.
Suddenly, she figured it out.
Grinning at her own cleverness, Jubilee grabbed a clutch from her dresser. There was no time to lose. Then she stuffed her house keys, cell phone, bubble-gum, and lip-gloss in the small purse before racing down the stairs and out of the room.
Ororo adjusted the brim of her straw hat, shielding her eyes from the white sunlight that streamed through the windows of her greenhouse. The weather goddess was reveling in the serenity that seemed to emanate from the botanical scenery around her. Her plants, otherwise known as her “lovelies”, provided a soothing calm that counteracted the weariness that was associated with field missions and teaching responsibilities. It was no surprise that one could often find the elegant woman here, seeking refuge.
This day found Ororo watering one of her begonia bushes. She was rather concerned about this particular plant. Since she and Rogue had picked it up from a local nursery, the leaves appeared rather limp and lifeless, and the flowers had yet to bloom. Hoping to work some magic from her green thumb, the weather goddess was determined to revive the begonias to their striking state.
She soon paused, straightening the watering can. Though her back was turned to the door, Ororo could still discern another person’s presence. With characteristic grace, she placed the watering can down and turned around. A slight smiled tugged the corners of her lips upward when she saw who it was.
“I was wondering when you would come,” she remarked, as if in greeting. Then she made smooth strides to the door, her white hair flowing behind her.
Jubilee gave her a sheepish smile. “Bad time?”
Ororo placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “For you, never,” she replied. As she stared at the young girl, she could not help but be awed at how quickly she had grown up. Granted, Ororo had witnessed the process first-hand, but there was a part of her that still thought of Jubilee as the urchin everyone at the mansion adopted as one of their own. However, it was difficult to continue doing so with the stunning picture in front of her. Here stood an adult, whose strength was conveyed by her maturity and thoughtfulness.
The more she mulled over the issue, the more she was convinced that she was not the only one who was still reeling. Logan, on many occasions, expressed his own sense of disbelief. While it was rather implicit, the loner was clearly having quite a hard time adjusting to the idea. Exacerbating things was the fact that “his little girl” was now dating. It seemed to unnerve him to no end.
This was quite evident when he paid a visit to the greenhouse two days ago. The fact that he had done so was not out of the ordinary. They had become closer over the past few months. Logan had grown to feel much more comfortable around her. He was less guarded, and much more inclined to talk without the hardened, and sometimes roguish façade.
What did strike Ororo as rather unusual was how perplexed and out of sorts the loner appeared that day. It was as if he received earth-shattering news, and he had no idea how to react. Amused with this strange picture, the weather goddess decided to engage him in some good-natured ribbing. When it was clear that Logan was not in the mood, she decided to directly query him.
At first, he was reluctant to answer. However, he caved under her unflinching gaze. In his gravelly voice, Logan explained that he had been in a War Room meeting with Kurt, Warren, Bobby, and the Professor. During the conference, he told her that he had been sitting next to Drake. It was then that he suddenly sensed something—specifically, he smelled something. The scent that met his nostrils was startlingly familiar. There was a part of him that wanted to ignore what his mind telling him. This was countered by the simmering rage that existed just under the steely surface he was projecting to the world, which stressed the ultimate truth.
Drake had slept with Jubilee.
Ororo remembered raising a brow at him, surprised that Logan seemed so collected and rational in the fact of this realization. She commented on this observation. Her words were met by a low, rumbling growl and a grimace. Finally, the Wolverine gave her his response.
“I made a promise to the kid,” Logan had spat out, making it unequivocal how displeased this made him. “I won’t kill him.”
“But?” She had noticed a hint of reservation in his voice.
“But I’m still pissed. Maybe I should tell Drake that I’ve got a shovel and a backyard, and I’m not afraid to use both of ‘em.”
Fortunately, she had been able to talk Logan out of exercising that option. A combination of cajoling and cool-headed reasoning helped to deescalate things. She pointed out that his little girl had grown up. As such, Jubilee was now able to make her own decisions, without needing the input of her Wolvie. The weather goddess then added that to harass Bobby in any way would risk losing Jubilee. Her warning elicited a grunt and glare from Logan, signs that he knew Ororo was right in her assessment.
“Storm?” Jubilee’s soft voice shattered her reverie.
Ororo quickly returned to the present. She shook her head and smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry, child,” she said quietly. “I was in another world. What were you saying?”
Jubilee tucked a lock of silky hair behind a delicate ear. “I asked if Bobby left something for me here?”
The taller woman nodded, striding towards a nearby worktable. She motioned for the young girl to follow. When Jubilee was standing next to her, Ororo pulled a glass box from the corner of the table. The box contained a cream-colored rose that had been stripped of its thorns, very much like the one Bobby had given Jubilee on their first date.
Ororo removed the lid. “This is for you,” she said, handing the young girl the flower. “He was very keen on me giving you this particular one.”
Jubilee wondered if Storm knew about Bobby pilfering the flower the first time around. Her musings were quickly abandoned when the weather goddess held out a piece of paper. The beginnings of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she took it and read:
Guess you’re starting to work up an appetite. Don’t worry; I won’t let you go hungry for long. There’s a meal waiting for you. It’s at the place that attracts people from our past and present. Find it there and you’re that much closer to me.
Jubilee’s brows furrowed together. The place that attracts people from our past and present? She re-read the note, hoping to decipher Bobby’s clue into something more tangible. Her lips silently mouthed the words, as if imprinting them into her brain.
The place that attracts people from our past and present.
Confusion was quickly replaced by inspired confidence as Bobby’s riddle unraveled. Jubilee folded note and tucked it into her purse. With rose in hand, she turned to a curious Ororo. “Thanks for everything,” she said, giving a quick hug. “I’ll see you later!”
“Good-bye…” The weather goddess was nearly knocked over by Jubilee, who dashed out of the greenhouse at breakneck speed. With ethereal grace, she moved towards the doorway and leaned against it. Her piercing, ice blue eyes cast their gaze across the spacious grounds. She watched with fond amusement as a love struck girl became absorbed in her own euphoria.
Several minutes later, Jubilee found herself placing her yellow, Volkswagen Beetle in park. Slowly, she pulled the key out of the ignition. There was a dreamy quality to her dazzling, sapphire eyes that made it hard to contain the excitement that flowed through her veins. It was as if every part of her very being threatened to burst from any available pore.
Composing herself, she stepped out of the car. As she locked her car, she took a moment to pee around at her surroundings. The seasonal and picturesque conditions set a romantic scene. Daylight had not quite faded as the summer sky shone against the soft, blue sky. Against the backdrop of blooming bushes and strong, green trees, stood a mammoth brownstone. It was familiar, almost welcoming as the young girl sauntered towards its doors.
The significance of the location was not lost on her. She remembered it as the restaurant where Bobby had taken her on their first date. The walls lined with gold, linen paper and the sepia-colored photographs of landscapes around town brought back memories of that night that seemed so long ago. While so much had changed, there was one thing that remained the same.
She was still head over heels for Bobby.
Jubilee paused in front of the hostess’s area. “Hi,” she drawled, feeling somewhat strange about what she was going to ask. “I’m here to pick up a take-out order… It should be under the name Drake.”
The waif-like girl clicked her tongue, her onyx eyes scanning down the book on the table. “Oh, right. Um, could you wait a second while I go to the bar?”
“Sure.” Jubilee watched her sashay to the other end of the restaurant. The small frame seemed to be swallowed up in the crowded room of customers enjoying their meals. While she waited for her to return, Jubilee watched the flurry of activity of the wait staff that struggled to keep up with the diners’ demands.
In the back of her mind, she wondered if Zelda was still working at Avalon. Jubilee recalled the feelings of insecurity that had eaten away at her upon their first meeting. At the time, she felt small and terribly unpolished compared to the other woman. The plethora of nagging questions that flooded her brain was endless. Would Bobby rethink his decision about wanting to be with her? Was he making comparisons between Jubilee and Zelda during dinner? Given how perfect and compatible Zelda was, could Jubilee even compete?
The corners of her eyes crinkled slightly as she smiled down at her hand. Around her finger, the Claddaugh band shone brightly. It had come to not only symbolize their commitment, but also how right they were together. Beyond that, she was not sure if she could verbalize in any other way.
The hostess soon returned, carrying a large paper bag. “Here you go,” she said as she handed it to Jubilee. “The kitchen was keeping it warm for you. So, that’s an order of our dim sum sampler, beef stir-fry, rice, and two slices of lemon cake. The silverware, napkins, and plastic plates are also inside.”
“Thanks.” Jubilee managed to get a good grip on the handles before slipping her wallet from her clutch. “So, how much do I owe you?”
The hostess shook her head, dark-brown ponytail swinging. “Mr. Drake took care of everything,” she explained, smiling warmly. Then she jumped suddenly. “I almost forgot!”
Curious, Jubilee observed the smaller girl bend down to grab something from behind the table. She found herself grinning when the hostess held out a folded, slip of paper. Another clue.
“He’s so such a sweetie, if you don’t mind me saying,” the hostess remarked as Jubilee took the note from her. “I hope you two have an awesome night.”
Jubilee nodded, still smiling. “Thanks. You, too.”
It seemed perfectly natural that the next clue should point her in the direction of the Uptown. After all, the pseudo-scavenger hunt Bobby was sending her on appeared to recreate their first date. Picking up the rose from Storm’s green house, steering her to Avalon to collect their dinner for that evening… It made sense. Still, Jubilee decided to open the note to see if her hunch was right.
You’re probably thinking that you’re should go to the Uptown because of the trend in the clues. I can tell you right now that you’d be wasting your time. Instead, you’ll want to go to the place where people can laugh, cry, and be grossed out at their own choosing.
PS Did you think I’d be so predictable???
Jubilee laughed out loud at the last line. She pressed her lips together thoughtfully, leaning against her car. Go to the place where people can laugh, cry, and be grossed out at their own choosing. What could he mean by that?
Her fingers twirled a lock of silky hair as she continued to search for answers to Bobby’s riddle. She lifted her gaze from the piece of paper in her hand to stare absently across the street. There was a crop of new buildings that had been constructed where empty land once existed. Some of them were new condominiums, which neighbored a strip mall. The shopping center consisted of the usual stores, such as a grocery, a hair salon, and a pharmacy. Most notably, there was also a video rental place.
The place where people can laugh, cry, and be grossed out at their own choosing. With a rush of enthusiasm pulsing throughout her body, Jubilee darted to the crosswalk. While she waited for the light to change, she could not help but continue to be impressed with herself.
Moments later, she was inside Salem Center Video. A tall, gangly Vietnamese teenager was working the front counter. He nervously ran a hand through his thick, black hair as Jubilee quizzed him about someone leaving a note and possibly something else at the store. At first, he appeared tempted to call in his supervisor to consult about this strange request. Then he relented and decided to humor the pretty girl.
“I just got in,” he informed her, turning to one of the cupboards behind him that flanked a TV that was currently playing Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. He hated that movie. Ever since his parents saw clips of it, they began worrying that he was doing drugs and binging on hamburgers with his friend, Amal. “I guess I can check, though.”
Jubilee tried to tamper the blush that was warming her cheeks. She realized how weird it all sounded, but felt taking the risk was worth it. A sigh of relief was released when the boy sauntered back to her with a piece of paper. It was taped to a video jacket.
“You’re in luck,” he told her, looking at her quizzically when she smiled at the presentation of the video. “I guess he already paid the rental fee.”
No longer concerned as to how out of sorts she seemed under the adolescent’s watchful eye, she nodded her thanks to the clerk. Peering down at the video jacket, Jubilee noticed that Bobby had reserved The Sting. We never did finish that, she mused as she made her way out of the little store.
She decided to read the note once she returned to her car. After placing the dinner and video on the passenger seat, Jubilee unfolded the paper eagerly. No matter what, she knew that she was closer to Bobby and that this journey would end. The anticipation of seeing her boyfriend was nearly too much. With a great deal of self-restraint, she focused as she read the next note.
I’m pretty sure it took you no time to figure out what I was talking about…Yet another reason why I’m so nuts about you. OK, you’re near the end and I can’t wait to see you. But first, another clue. Look for me near a place that’s not only special to you and me, but also to other people you know.
This time, it did not take Jubilee very long to decipher this clue. After reading through the note once, she instantly knew he was referring to Orchard Park. It was there that she and Bobby had concluded their first date, which had been riddled with awkward moments. The goodnight kiss she had given suddenly sent a tingling sensation to her lips. Her fingertips flew over her mouth, tracing the outline as Bobby did whenever he kissed her.
In terms of what was nearby, that took some careful thought. Jubilee frowned as she continued to struggle to remember what else was there. There was a townhouse development and a bus station. She also knew there was a man-made lake near the park, which often attracted people in the spring and summer months. While the lake or the bus station were possibilities, neither struck Jubilee as locations Bobby would choose to meet with her.
Undeterred, she decided to drive over to the park. Perhaps she would be able to see something that would be more plausible. Jubilee was careful to remain alert. Familiar buildings passed as she drove, many were unlikely as answers to the riddle Bobby posed. When she stopped at a red light in front of the park, she decided to reconnoiter her surroundings once again.
Suddenly, she noticed something she had not seen before. It was a distinctive, bungalow-style house that was overlooking the man-made park. Tucked away behind a cluster of generous trees and lush greenery, the structure was like a serene beacon with its’ cornflower blue exterior and stone-reinforced chimney and columns. Outside the house was a sign that read: Orchard Park Inn.
Jubilee was cheery as she pulled her car toward the inn. After finding a close spot in the generous parking lot, she gathered the paper bag containing dinner and the videotape. Then she hopped out, locking up her Beetle. Her heart raced inside her chest as she climbed up the rickety steps. She was close.
Inside, the inn conveyed the warmth of an elegant lodge with its wood paneling and exposed beam ceilings. The air was sweet with scent of peaches that seemed to radiate from every corner. The walls were adorned with framed prints of various cartoons from The New Yorker. Colonnade-style lamps illuminated the first floor with a soft glow while antiqued rugs added to the classic flavor of the décor.
“Welcome to the Orchard Park Inn. May I help you?” a curvaceous, dark-skinned woman with cropped, silvery-blond hair asked when Jubilee approached the concierge desk. She was polished in a navy, pinstriped pantsuit and red blouse.
Jubilee nodded. “I’m here to meet my boyfriend. The reservation should be under Drake.”
The concierge nodded, retrieving a key from a nearby drawer. “Yes, he’s here,” she replied, noting the twinkling in the girl’s brilliant eyes. “It’s Room 306. Just walk down the hall and take the elevator to the third floor. Can’t miss it.”
“Thanks.” Jubilee took the key gratefully.
The concierge beamed, revealing a set of perfectly straight, white teeth. “No problem. Enjoy your stay with us.”
Jubilee did not even remember traveling up to the room. It was as if she were floating solely on the high she was experiencing. Not that the game was particularly frustrating, but the conclusion was surely welcomed. She missed Bobby. Every clue, the trip that brought her back to their first date built up the anticipation of seeing his handsome face and feeling his loving arms around her. When she reached Room 306, she took a deep breath. With a steady hand, she unlocked the door and sauntered inside.
The room overlooked the lake via a deck. A four-poster, king-sized bed with white, cotton percale and red, satin-stitched trimming was situated at one end of the area. Closer to the door was a sitting area, containing chairs with deep seats and plump cushions that seemed to pay homage to 19th century salons. Turned, hardwood furnishings with brass casters completed the vintage-style look.
It was the sitting area where Bobby stood. He grinned at her, gray eyes twinkling. “You found me,” he said in greeting.
Jubilee flashed him a dazzling, radiant smile of her own as she closed the door behind her. Then she sauntered toward the small table and placed the takeout from Avalon there. “You made it entertaining,” she observed wryly. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest, as it always did when he was near.
“Did you expect anything less?” he inquired, pretending to be hurt that his abilities were being questioned.
She shook her head, black hair with midnight blue highlights rippling down her shoulders and back. “Not at all,” she replied playfully, slipping her shoes off. “It was a sentimental trip.”
He raked a hand through his sandy hair. “Would you say I was creative?” he inquired, looking boyishly handsome in his black Hawaiian shirt with purple orchids over a pair of chinos. He had taken off his own shoes and socks earlier.
His girlfriend nodded, which sent a rush to his head. Bobby was tempted to call Warren and boast about proving the test wrong. However, he realized that this would kill the romance of the moment.
Jubilee suddenly shrugged. “It’s just that with all the running around I’ve done all day, I wonder what’s next.”
Bobby suppressed the urge to broaden his smile. The warmth in her voice conveyed to him that he did not have to do anything else. She was simply happy as long as he was with her. Yet, this was not adequate for him. He wanted more for her. He wanted to show what the past year together meant to him.
Slipping his hands into his pockets, he moved easily around her. He stopped inches from her, gray eyes fixated upon the stunning vision in front of him. “Well, I’m going to show you how lucky you make me feel,” he told her, gray eyes crinkling at the corners.
She turned with him, watching his face. “Really?” she whispered as the corners of her mouth lifted in a tender smile. “I was going to say something along those lines.”
“We’ve got all weekend,” he informed her, still astonished as to how lovely she was. The dress he had bought was definitely a good investment. She looked like this ethereal vision, too beautiful almost for words. Once again, he found himself hardly believing his luck.
Jubilee’s teeth caught the edge of her bottom lip, trying not to immediately let on how infatuated she continued to be with Bobby Drake. She caught him looking at her mouth again, but this time his eyes were leisurely returning to meet hers. She raised her head slightly in response. Her skin tingled, as if electrified by the intensity of his stare.
His love ran the tip of her tongue over her lips nervously. Then she stepped back and leaned against the wall. Finally, she asked in a low voice, “What is it?”
“Just looking at you makes me happy.” Bobby was standing over her without her having any real sense that he had moved. He stared down at her, the smoldering quality of his _expression forcing her to quicken her breath.
She could feel the heat pulsing from her body. Her skin began to flush pink, contrasting against her sparkling, sapphire eyes. She loved the way he looked at her. It made her feel special, loved, and wanted.
Softly, their mouths caught and their bodies melted together. Bobby wrapped his arms around her willowy frame, feeling her fingers sliding through his hair. Tasting slowly with a teasing tongue, he explored her lips, and then kissed her deeply. As he continued to kiss her, he pressed her tightly against his body. She ran her hands over his shoulders, down his arms, and across his back. His hands tangled in her silken tresses, cupping the back of her head so he could kiss her deeper. She drew his bottom lip between hers. In response, he opened her mouth with his tongue.
At last he drew back, his hand still caressing her neck under her hair. “How’s that?” he asked huskily.
Jubilee looked up, moving against him. She couldn’t take her eyes off the hollow of his throat and the skin of his chest sinking into the shadows of his Hawaiian shirt. “Is there more?” she asked breathlessly.
Gently, his fingers stroked her jaw. “If you want there to be,” he murmured affectionately.
She tightened her arms around his neck. “I do,” she told him.
Bobby smiled tenderly at her, realizing she meant every word. Not wanting to keep his Jubilee waiting, he lifted her easily into his arms. His steps were swift as he carried her to the bed on the other side of the room. By the time her feet slipped back to the floor, his quick hands had unfastened Jubilee’s dress so that it slid down her body to pool at her ankles. She pressed her sweet lips against his, kicking her dress to the side. Their mouths sealed together in a lingering kiss. Then she raised her hands to unbutton his shirt. Meanwhile, his fingers deftly unclasped her bra, feeling the satiny flesh of her back as he tossed the article of clothing on the floor.
He pulled away briefly so she could push the shirt over his shoulders to slide down his arms. Bobby paused to drink in the sight of her indescribable beauty. He wondered if she had any idea as to how fascinated he was with her, how being with her like this drove him to the depths of happiness he had not known existed.
Jubilee laid her small, delicate hand on his chest and drew it down with agonizing slowness, her fingers playing over the ridges of his muscles until they came to rest at the waistband of his chinos. His breath deepened and he dipped his head to kiss her again. She unzipped his pants with frenetic energy. Then she eased them, along with his boxers, down his hips.
Bobby’s cool palms slid from her shoulders to wrap around her waist, lifting her up again. She tucked her coltish legs around him as he lowered her to the bed. Jubilee held him close above her, raising her mouth to kiss his neck. She trailed her tongue across his skin, tasting and sucking softly. When she heard him groan and felt him shudder against her lips, she smiled.
He raised himself above her, pulling off her panties and tossing them over his shoulder with a playful chuckle. Her cerulean eyes stared up at him lovingly. At the same time, she was tentatively tracing patterns over his hips and buttocks with her fingers. His handsome face appeared to reflect the growing sense of pleasure drawn out from her touch.
Jubilee felt herself tightening between her legs, riding the tension Bobby was allowing to build. She urged him with her eyes but he restrained himself. His sex was rearing, hard, heavy and pulsing just above her. She lifted her hips, brushing the head with the silky flesh of her belly, but he would not be rushed and edged back.
“Not yet,” he said thickly, smiling when she wailed in disappointment. Then he added, “I want this to be good for you, Jubes. I want to be good for you.”
Before she could issue any whispery reassurances, he laid a palm flat on her taut stomach and loosened her legs from him. His hand slid up, brushing around her breast with his thumb rolled her nipple. She arched, bringing her knees up to clasp his hips, and clasping his buttocks tightly with her small hands. He merely continued his light stimulation, caressing the soft, trembling mounds, plucking at the pink buds until she was gasping and writhing sensuously beneath him.
Overwhelmed by the sight of his love underneath, he dipped his head down and circled his hot tongue around one nipple, and then the other. Raking her nails up his back, she hooked her legs around his waist again and pressed up, trapping his throbbing cock against her moist, sensitive flesh. She giggled softly when she heard him growl deep in his throat and felt his teeth chatter around her nipple. He raised himself quickly to feed on her sweet mouth. His lips next traveled a torturous route down her body.
Lifting one thigh over his shoulder, Bobby licked the silken strip of inner skin down to her knee and back up the other leg. Tracing the outer edges of the triangle of dark curls lightly with his fingers, he gently parted her lips exposing the pink inner folds of pulsing flesh. He kissed her deeply, hands sliding underneath her to cup her buttocks and lifting her as he suckled the swelling bud. Jubilee gasped, her nails digging into his shoulders. His tongue was subtle, but driving her higher, relentlessly higher.
Suddenly, he moved his mouth away. He set his attention elsewhere, planting scorching kisses across her stomach. Confused, she caught his face in her hands, started to draw him up. However, he wrapped his fingers around her wrists, pinning her arms at her sides.
“Why so impatient?” he teased, battling with his own desire to plunge deep inside of her.
She turned her hands under his, grasping his arms in response. The way he was staring at her was making her skin warm with anticipation and excitement. Her chest rose and fell quickly as she gasped for air. “Bobby…”
Sensing her need for him to touch her again, he dropped his head down, catching her clit between his teeth, and whipping his tongue across it. He could feel her climaxing, which was finally capped off with a shuddering moan. Bobby nibbled at her inner thigh, relishing the feel and sweetness of her under his mouth.
Still shaking from his ministrations, she was taken aback when he turned her onto her stomach. His tongue soon journeyed up her spine. He spilled her thick hair above her shoulders and around her face, so he could kiss and suckle at the back of her neck. Then his arms wrapped around her and he lifted them both up to their knees. She turned her head to meet his face with her mouth open, seeking his. His lips closed over hers immediately. She could taste herself on his lips. Her body quivered as his hands massaged her breasts, slid down between her legs, teasing her further with his skillful fingers.
In the back of her mind, she heard his determined declaration of wanting to be good for her. Bobby was certainly living up to that, his touches sending her to the edge over and over again. The thought filled her with overwhelming feelings of love for him. It was then that she realized she wanted to give him the same, to be good for him tonight.
When she could stand it no longer, Jubilee pushed him onto his back and pressed her mouth against his, suckling on his tongue as her fingers danced over his body. She kissed along his jaw to his neck, catching an earlobe between her teeth. Licking down his neck, she nipped along his shoulders. His scent was so familiar. And yet, she felt like she was experiencing all of him for the first time. Her tongue tentatively swirled across his broad chest and flicked his nipples. The exploration soon sent a trail wet kisses down his hard stomach.
His hands stroked her back and lost themselves in her hair, drawing the silken mass up to spill over his chest. “Jubes?” he managed through gritted teeth. The way she was making him feel threatened to consume any semblance of a rational mind he might have possessed.
She hovered over him, licking her lips. “Just lie back,” she whispered. Her smile was loving, but at the same time, seductive.
Tentatively, Jubilee lowered her lips to his hipbone. Still working from her limited sexual experience, Jubilee was unsure as to what to do. Peering up at Bobby, she noted his responses and took her cues accordingly. She bit lightly down to his thigh and licked along the inside of his leg. She stared at his hardened sex a moment before taking him in her hand. The skin like silk, she caressed it slowly, each stroke gaining more confidence and touching him more firmly. Turning her head, she breathed hot, moist air up his twitching member. She pushed her hair up and shaking her head slowly, swirled it over his stomach, and then down over his throbbing member.
His breath caught when she swept her hair back and he groaned loudly as it whipped across his flesh. “Jubes…”
Feeling increasingly bold, she ran her tongue from the base to the tip of his shaft. His hands grabbed her back and neck, encouraging her. She engulfed him in her hot mouth, reveling in the new experience—his taste, his musk scent, and his passionate reactions. She suckled him strongly for a moment before trailing kisses back up to his mouth. The way he was whispering her name delighted her. Showing him how much she wanted him made everything much more exhilarating.
Bobby grunted as he rolled over on top of his angel. “I never thought it could be like this,” he murmured into her hair.
“But it is,” she said breathily, smiling up at him. “This past year, I feel like I’ve been given a chance to know what’s like to be happy. It’s because of you.”
“It’s not going to end here, Jubes.”
She gasped for air as she felt his thick member slide down her clit and wrapped her legs around his hips. Her nipples were burning against his hard chest, the pounding of their hearts shaking through their bodies. Then they thrust as one, mouths coming together, moaning with the same breath.
Jubilee felt wave after wave of searing pleasure as they plunged and rolled around on the bed. She drew back from him slightly. “Bobby, yes…” she cried out.
Bobby rose to catch a shuddering breast with his mouth. “You’re so incredible,” he murmured.
His hands then grabbed her buttocks as his hips thrust powerfully, seeking her warm depths. He was driving explosions of breath from her body with each touch. She whimpered, tightening her arms around his sweat-slicked shoulders. All the while, their rhythm climbed to higher pitches of intensity. He then turned her onto her back again, taking her mouth fiercely with his. The strokes of their bodies parting and coming together grew longer and harder.
Jubilee’s head flung back, her body arching high, her voice raw as she cried out. “Oh Bobby!”
Meanwhile, Bobby’s lips were at her neck, his body thrusting against her again and again. He drew out her climax before he shuddered, baring his teeth against her skin, his clenching fingers woven in her hair. Her body continued to quiver through the long, slow kisses that followed.
. Finally, their breathing quieted. Jubilee pillowed her head on his chest, eyes closed. Bobby cradled her against him, smoothing her wildly tousled hair and stroking it away from her neck. He could feel the heat on her back competed with the coolness of his skin against her chest.
After a few moments of relaxing in her boyfriend’s arms, Jubilee was able to summon the strength to speak. “Is this how people really celebrate anniversaries?” she whispered, smiling shyly up at him. A heavy exhaustion played against the aching pleasure lingering in her limbs.
He grinned and pressed his lips against her forehead. “It’s how we do it.”
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