Okay, go read my story now.
"She・s just not trying." Sean commented.
"Huh?" Emma stopped watching her students and turned her attention to her co-headmaster.
"Jubilee, Em. We both know the gel can do better."
Emma returned to her students. Sure enough, Jubilee was lagging behind, jogging slowly around the track. The other students far out-paced her. Emma frowned.
"You・re right. I know she・s a fast runner, we have ample evidence of that." She thought to herself for a moment. "Perhaps a little motivation would help." Emma went into the house and soon came out carrying her purse in one hand. With the other, she reached in and pulled out something small, rectangular, and shiny.
Attention, students. Emma psicast into their minds. The runners slowed, and, in Jubilee・s case, stopped altogether, to listen. I would like to take the time to announce that the first student to reach Sean and I will have complete use of my Platinum Card for an entire day.
The students stopped running and turned to look at each other, wondering if they had all heard the same thing. All doubt fled their minds instantly, however, as a small yellow streak went whizzing past them. In vain, they all broke into a mad dash in an effort to beat Jubilee to her once-in-a-lifetime-goal.
Like I said, in vain.
"Yes! I love you, Frosty! I swear I will never ever, ever again pull any sort of trick on you, I promise!" A look of dismay crossed her face. "Waittaminnit. How am I supposed to get into town?" She turned to look at her fellow students, who, unlike her, were old enough to drive. They quickly made excuses and vacated the premises. Except one.
"Monet?" Jubilee looked as puzzled as she felt. "Are you actually volunteering to be in the same mall as me? At the same time?!"
"Of course." She looked at Emma. "I would never pass up an opportunity to shop- at least, not when I・m next to someone holding a card with $125,000 credit limit." She looped her arm through Jubilee・s. They grinned at each other, then at Emma, before turning and going to their separate rooms to change for their trip.
"Oh, dear god. What have I done?" Emma whimpered, turning to Sean.
"Shh, now, don・t ye worry." He took her in his arms and caressed her hair soothingly. "After all, how much money could two girls possibly spend in a day? Em? Em?" He looked down to find that, for the first and last time, the White Queen had fainted in his arms.
* * * * *
"I can・t believe we finally got our hands on the near-mystical Frost Card. Let me see it again."
Jubilee obligingly held it up for Monet. They both spent a moment basking in its beauty.
"Wow." Jubilee whispered. She looked over at Monet. "I thought you guys were like, totally rich."
"We are." Monet grinned. "But Ms. Frost could buy us and all of our possessions several times over. And don・t tell me you・ve never had a big shopping spree. Your dad was a doctor in Beverly Hills, of all places."
"Yeah." Jubilee・s eyes misted over for a moment at the thought of her departed parents. Then they cleared. "・Cept he was a stingy bastard. All that money, and we couldn・t even have a house. Nooooo, we had to live in an apartment. And it wasn・t even the penthouse!" She pouted for a moment, then remembered that her dad had been paying in the neighborhood of ten grand a month to stay in the place. She wisely chose not to mention that little tidbit to Monet.
They arrived at the mall fresh and ready for anything. Anything, that is, except four seven-foot tall Teletubbies and a gaggle of kids that consumed half the parking lot.
"Uh-oh. Promotion time again. Maybe we better go in the back way." Jubilee pointed towards a driveway that curved around the Macy・s at one end of the mall.
"Good idea." Monet drove the car around the building and found a delightfully empty parking lot. They got out and headed in.
"Now observe," Jubilee said in her best Jacques Cousteau impression. "How zee mallrat (speecies Shoppicus Alloticus) queeckly homes een on eets prey of choice. Noteece thee deelight eet takes een thee seemple theengs, like zee freshly baked goodiez at the mighty Ceenabon. Watch as eet scampers across thee floor to gaze een wonder at thee eluseeve Cheependale・s Deeparment Store, featuring only zee best een home entertainment." She paused to wink lasciviously at Monet, who fell over laughing.
Half an hour later, they were happily devouring a mass of junk food that had somehow materialized in front of them.
"Mmrpmph." Monet paused and swallowed. "Sorry. That was ・Wow, I can・t believe cheap mall food could taste this good.・ Honestly, though. I can・t remember the last time I ate something containing 1,000 calories per bite." She took another bite of her Ben & Jerry・s patented Cookiedough Sundae. (For all you fools who have not yet discovered this treat-among-treats, this particular sundae consists of a chocolate dipped waffle sundae cone, five or six spoonfuls of chocolate-chip cookie dough, two scoops of whatever ice cream you want, and chocolate syrup. I am not making this dessert up. It actually exists, and its consumption is not to be attempted by an ice cream novice.)
"Ugh, I know. The only time worse was when I was living at the other mansion. Storm has a thing about eating right. Every meal, vegetables, starches, fiber. It was enough to make a person sick." She scarfed some more pizza.
After they・d dumped their trash and drunk some nice, clear, cold water, they felt up to the mighty task in front of them- Contempo Casuals.
Monet watched Jubilee・s fawning adoration of the store・s wares. They hadn・t even made it inside yet, and Jubilee was already stricken dumb with ecstasy.
"Jubilee, I just realized something."
Jubilee tore her gaze away. "What?"
"We・re two girls who fit all the criteria for wearing the brands that Cotempo sells. In other words, you・re skinny and I・m toned. That, in addition to Ms. Frost・s card, means that we are capable of buying two of every outfit in the store."
Jubilee took a second or two to absorb this very important fact, before realization of its full implications hit her like a Mack truck. She started towards the entrance.
* * * * *
Two hours later, several store clerks were left gasping and panting for breath, staring in awe at the two ultimate shopping machines that had just left the store, receipts and sales tags flying behind them.
"My god," Ashley said to her counter helper, Tory. "Did that just happen, or did we get knocked on the head and imagine it all?"
Tory rang back on the register and checked the final purchase amount. "I dunno." She said in dazed amazement. "But I think I can afford to go to Stanford now."
* * * * *
Several stores later, word had spread and the mall employees were now on the lookout. Cheerful, welcoming cries of "Over here! ", "Shop with us!", and the perennial favorite "I need a new car!" filled both floors of the mall. After successive visits to Rave, Claire・s, Tower, and (love of my life) Hot Topic, the girls were winding down and starting to search for food again.
Over a hearty lunch of burritos, pizza, ravioli, nachos, chili fries, coffee, and soda, the girls commenced to stuffing their faces. Twenty minutes, five burritos, four pizza slices, and three chili-dogs later, Jubilee decided it was time to take a break.
"Y・know, M, this is fun. I don・t know why we haven・t ever gone shopping together before." She reached for another soda.
"In case you・ve forgotten, we・re usually too busy arguing to do anything together. You・re right, though. I guess it is possible for us to get along now and then."
Jubilee looked up. "・Now and then?・ As in, this is a one-time-only-so-I-better-enjoy-it kinda thing?"
She looked surprisingly disappointed.
To her surprise, Monet felt kind of disappointed, too. It was nice having a friend, even if it was one as talkative and annoying as Jubilation Lee. She felt a little sad. Why should they stop being friends? So what if people at the school made fun of her? She thought for a moment. Wait- a lot of people were friends with Jubilee.
In fact, now that she thought about it, Jubilee had a lot more friends than Monet did. Actually, now that she really thought about it, she didn・t really have a lot of...well, she had a couple of...
Monet choked as she suddenly realized that she was the one no one wanted to be friends with.
She was the one who got made fun of, who the others did impressions of at parties.
Monet, the brain, the perfect one, the rich one, beautiful, snobby, stuck-up, snooty...she frowned. Why hadn・t she noticed any of this before, if it was all out there in the open for her to see? After all, it・s not like they really made an show out of liking her, they were actually kinda mean sometimes, but they were just kidding.
"Somethin・ wrong, M? Ya look like ya swallowed a carrot sideways or somethin・." Jubilee was peering at her companion with something almost like- worry?
Monet mumbled a hurried apology, rushed out of her seat, stumbled, and finally managed to break into a run to the publics at the other side of the food court. She went to a sink and splashed some cold water on her face. She gazed at her reflection, trying to figure out what was wrong with her.
The bathroom door cracked open.
"M? You in here?" Jubilee came in and went to stand next to Monet. Monet jerked up and moved further down the counter. Jubilee looked hurt but stayed where she was.
"What・s the matter? Come on, talk to me." When no answer was forthcoming, she turned away and started to wash her hands at the sink, being careful not to look at Monet. She kept talking randomly to fill the silence. Everything, from her last conversation with the X-Men, to a lizard that Artie had found and wanted to keep as a pet. While she was talking, she began to sneak discreet looks at her teammate. She was shocked to see tears running down Monet・s face. Jubilee had never seen M show any strong emotion, much less to the point of crying in a public bathroom. She wanted to move nearer, to put an arm around the older girl, but feared that it would just make things worse and Monet would try to avoid her again. Eventually, even Jubilee・s store of anecdotes and stories had to run dry, and she ceased talking, waiting for Monet to fill the gap.
Jubilee jerked her head up. She had been staring at her reflection in the mirror, so absorbed in trying to figure out if the spot on her face was a freckle or a mole that she had nearly missed the whispered words.
"For what?" She asked, trying not to sound nosy.
Monet scrubbed at her eyes. She couldn・t remember the last time she had cried. "For being a bitch all the time."
Jubilee blinked. "You・re not a bitch, M."
Monet finally looked at her. "Then why does everyone tell me I am? All the time, almost every day."
"Uh..." Ah, crap. She hadn・t been expecting this one.
"See, it・s true. You can・t deny it. Besides, you don・t have to." Monet sniffled. "I am a bitch."
"Would you stop saying that? Who cares if you・re a bitch? So・s Emma, and we all love her, don・t we? You・re no different, M." Jubilee ventured so far as to take a few steps nearer.
"You guys love me?" The look on Monet・s face was this side of heartbreaking.
Jubilee wavered. Dangit, now she was gonna start crying, and that would send her tough-grrrl image straight down the tubes. "Well, of course we do! Well, actually, I can・t speak fer anyone else, but I love you, and that counts, doesn・t it?"
Monet rubbed her eyes again. "I thought you guys all hated me."
Jubilee frowned. "Why would you think that?"
"・Cus you・re always making fun of me for being perfect."
Jubilee rolled her eyes. "Y・know, half of us makin・ fun o・ yer perfectness is you mentioning it all the time. Besides, we・re only teasing. We don・t actually mean it in a nasty way." She paused. "O・course, now that I think about it, it would be pretty easy to think we were, huh...oh. Oh, Monet, oh my god, I・m so sorry." This time she didn・t hesitate to rush forward and hug her friend. "I・m sorry, Monet, we shouldn・t do that, I・m so stupid, I mean, it・s not like ya would know we were kidding, and I know we never bother saying that it・s just a joke, at least I never do, and I・m so sorry and you・re not a bitch and I love ya and will ya fergive me?" She was crying now, too, remembering how much it hurt to have people make fun of her and call her names. She couldn・t believe she・d actually been able to do it to someone else and not realize that she was hurting Monet・s feelings so badly. "C・mon, M, fergive me or I・m gonna go to Hell fer sure!"
Monet did the half choke/half laugh that・s only possible to do with a nose full of snot and tears. She looked down at the girl who was still hugging her, a little too tightly, but that was okay, it・d been so long, and she said "I forgive you, Jubes. Now would you stop crying? You・re making me even more depressed."
Jubilee wiped her nose and moved to step back. Monet grabbed her.
"Nuh-uh! I・m not done with my hug!" Both girls laughed, a little crazily, and clung to each other, a little desperately.
* * * * *
"Okay, where to now?" Jubilee snuffled a bit and had to wipe her nose again. The girls had emerged from the bathroom to find about ten women lined up who had been too polite to disturb them. Polite, or embarrassed.
"Um...how much do we have left?"
Jubilee handed over the receipts. "I don・t know, you tell me. I・m dyscalculic, remember?"
"Oh. Oops. I don・t suppose you have a calculator."
Jubilee looked at her strangely. "I thought you could like do quadratic equations in your sleep."
"That was a joke."
"It sucked, didn・t it."
"Yeah, but ya tried."
Monet studied the receipts. "Assuming that we・re starting with a clean slate, we・ve got somewhere around $100,000 left."
Jubilee absorbed this information. She looked at Monet. "That totally KICKS ASS!!! " She squealed. They high-fived each other. "Okay, I totally know what we・re gonna do next. Follow me."
A few minutes later, Monet stopped dead in her tracks.
"Oh my god, no. Ms. Frost would kill you."
"Yeah, I know. Come on!"
* * * * *
Emma looked at the clock. "Sean, they・ve
been gone nearly nine hours. What the hell can they possibly be buying?"
* * * * *
"I cannot believe you did that."
"What? You thought maybe I was joking? How much we got left now?"
Monet did a quick calculation. "$45,000. Where to now?"
"I don・t know." Jubilee thought hard for a moment. "I・ve never been at a loss to decide what to go shopping for, but we have like every thing in the mall. Everything that we want, anyway."
"You think we should go home?"
"Huh. Go home. I dunno. We・ve only been shopping-" She took a look at her brand new watch. "- for eleven hours."
"Hey! I know! How about a movie to round out the day? We could go see, uh, how about ・X-Men・?"
"Nah." Jubilee snapped her gum. "I heard they made Wolvie tall. How about "The Rocky Horror Picture Show・? It・s a classic!"
"Tim Curry in women・s underwear? How could we resist?" Monet started off towards the theatre. She stopped when she realized that Jubilee wasn・t following her. She turned around. "What?"
Jubilee was staring at her in amazement. "Monet? You know earlier, when I said I loved you? I actually mean it now." She grinned and ran past Monet. The two girls took off towards the theatre, mall patrons scattering every which way.
* * * * *
"WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!?!?!?!?"
Monet and Jubilee took a nervous step backwards.
"Um..." Monet looked toward Jubilee.
"Hey, Frosty, don・t worry." Jubilee gathered every ounce of her authority-defying attitude and breezed past the hyperventilating woman in the doorway. "We left you a couple thousand. Monet?"
Monet smiled nervously and hurriedly hurried past Emma and followed Jubilee into the house. As soon as they were safely past they broke into a run and scrambled to the safety of Jubilee・s bedroom. Once inside, they collapsed giggling before falling asleep. After all, it was two in the morning.
* * * * *
Wolverine woke to a pounding on his bedroom door.
"What is it?" The only thing worse than Emma Frost in the morning was Wolverine in the morning, a comparison that only Jubilee could attest to.
"Logan, I t・ink dere・s somet・ing for you downstairs." Remy left off the pounding and stumbled back to his own room. He didn・t do mornings well.
Wolverine grabbed a shirt and went downstairs. The front door was opened, so he went outside. It only took a moment to realize what had caused Gambit・s consternation so early in the morning. A delivery boy was just backing out, apparently having been taken care of by Remy.
Wolverine walked over to the interesting part of the scene- the brand new shiny Harley Davidson motorcycle that was parked in the driveway. He grinned to himself as he read the note taped to its chassis.
Emma・s gonna be pissed.
I hope that makes you just as happy as the bike does.
There was writing on the other side, and Wolverine turned the note over in order to read it. As he did, he began laughing. "That・s my girl." He・d known he・d taught her well.
Me and Monet got matching bikes. Wanna go somewhere this weekend?