In L.A. Jubilee left the X-Men because she wanted so many things. Also honestly she was sick and tired of living vicariously through Rikki Lake and the Real World. She was sick and tired of kicking butt and never getting any of the credit. When the White Queen and Banshee named her as field leader she was so excited. God, she almost peed her pants, finally they were no longer treating her like a child. The youngest, the littlest, the class clown, finally she could have some responsibility. Then came the catch 22; musical field leaders to see who would lead best. Doesn't that, like undermine their authority, if every one gets a turn playing Cyclops? Doesn't that just suck? Jubilee just couldn't see the point in it, and boy did it P.O her. So she started to make plans in the outside world, for her life after the X. Soon enough, Banshee became a drunk, and Emma really scary¡¦ Jono got the call to arms, and she got freedom, sweet freedom. That was 3 years ago, And she never looked back.
She stared pensively at the new painting she started. At the gallery she was a smash, she always she'd be a success if given half a chance. Now Jubilee is an international "prodigy" and her paintings sell¡¦ like really sell. It was late and near feeding time, Jubilee got up to wash her brushes and put her paints away. Quickly she put away her supplies, and changed out of her smock. Bittersweet hated that smell of turpentine, linseed oil. A babies' wail filled the stylish, empty apartment in a trendy/expensive part of L.A.
In a near jog she crossed from her "workroom" to the kitchen. She got out a pan, filled it with water, put in the cold bottle, to warm it. To the nursery!
"Don't cry, Bittersweet, mommy's comin'." Good, Bittersweet's bottle was ready. She carried it into the nursery; her baby at the sound of "mommy's" voice had stopped crying and was looking out of her crib with a pensive expression.
"There's my baby, is mommy's baby hungry?" She asked her daughter, with her red hair she looked just like her father.
What was best about being an artist who was self-sufficient was that she didn't have to take a second job. She had to during her pregnancy with Bittersweet, when she was 18; she had been barely able to get into any gallery shows let alone internationally known. She'd had a long string of dead end jobs back then.; starting when she left GenX at the tender age of 16 for the big city of Angels.
She had done it all: singing telegrams, answering phones at the strangest of places, working in a fish- packaging place, gutting, ewwww. She cashiered, which didn't suck that much and paid surprisingly more than the fish people. Once when she was cashiering, one of her customers came into her line, this was a man, with lacy lingerie, 6, yes 6 tubes of lube, a heavy, spiked dog collar, and two cans of whip cream. She started to laugh so hard that, she was also 7 months pregnant, she peed her pants.
Then Bittersweet, her darling daughter was born and life became so much better. It came together, not just making her feel wanted but making her life really full. Like, really full, Bittersweet knows the sound of her voice and stops crying when she hears it. It wasn't just her recognition as an artist that happened after delivering the baby that came together, it was everything else. Like finding the apartment they now lived in, for three damn years she lived in trashy, wrong- side- of- the- tracks flats. Oh, she had her reasons; mostly she was saving up for somewhere nice, really nice they could live in indefinitely without going insane. Then Bittersweet was born, an Atkins Method pregnancy and birth, and one week later she was out apartment hunting and the place they live in now just fell into her lap. It happened so quickly, they moved in two days after seeing the place, perhaps it was because she was a single mother with an infant.
Yes, it was true Los Angelos did suffer from urban sprawl, and they owned a car, but it was such beautiful day out. She and Bittersweet needed a walk, so she put her in the stroller, with the baby facing toward her so as not to cause insecurity, and off they went. They actually had a destination this time, not just an aimless stroll about the park with avoiding the bums as their only objective. Today Jubilee was taking Bittersweet to the Friedman Gallery to see one of her pictures. She'd never taken her baby to see any of her work before, not that it was a big deal. Bittersweet was only nine months old, she couldn't even walk yet, but she had read somewhere that baby's needed stimulation. And she wanted badly to be a good mother; she was the only person her Sweetie had.
They were stopped at a crosswalk, and had to wait for the light to turn red, it would take forever. Something in the designer store window caught her eye, a flash of purple. Chortling, Jubilee expertly unfastened Bittersweet from her baby stroller, taking only a few seconds. Holding her up she told her baby "And that's why mommy doesn't wear designer clothes." They laughed together although Sweetie probably only had gas. Light change, baby back in its stroller, will fasten when cross street. As the two of them crossed the busy intersection, a car honked at them. Jubilee looked up with a scowl, ready to give the bird. That jeep looked so familiar, and the man looked even more familiar. Painfully so. She quickened her pace and they crossed the street with more than enough time.
She never looked back, not even just slanting her eyes.
Jubilee cried a little; very quietly she wouldn't want Bittersweet to over hear her mommy crying. If Sweetie started 'sympathy bawling' she wouldn't stop and they'd both had an upsetting day. Well, mostly Jubilee had had a very emotionally stressing day, and now she was so bummed. She just felt so empty. Just empty, that's all and for a single parent with a flourishing career as a painter and a baby just learning to crawl, not to mention her mutant hyperactivity, that was just plain strange.
They'd been in the Friedman Gallery a short while, long enough for Jubilee to unstrap her daughter from her stroller than put said stroller into Mr. Friedman's office, where no one could trip over it and sue the nice Mr. Friedman. Bittersweet wouldn't want that to happen to Guy, his showing of her mommy's paintings were what was putting the green in her college fund. Then the two of them were just walking around, Sweetie actually seemed to be interested in Jubilee's painting's, she kept pointing and oooing, her little pixie face, like her mother's, all lit up.
"Cute kid, is it yours?" He asked from behind her. She nearly dropped Sweetie she was so startled.
Instead of replying she stared straight ahead, at one of her paintings of an oversized #2 pencil, with cutaways of a portrait of Bittersweet.
He didn't say anything, just waiting until she got over the shock of seeing him, Wolverine, here beside her, after all this time. Bittersweet wasn't as nearly traumatized as her mama; she kept trying to swing out of Jubilee's arms to grab onto this fasenating stranger. Although unusually sweet tempered, considering who her parents were, she like all nine month old babies could have a temper tantrum if she didn't get her way. And now wanting to "play" with Wolverine and Jubilee not letting her got Bittersweet to screaming, finally Jubilee just plunked her baby into his arms.
"Here, hold her she wants to go to you."
"What's her name, darlin'?" He asked.
Jubilee scowled at the endearment, but answered. "Bittersweet."
He looked up with a snicker, "Bittersweet? What kinda name is that darlin'?
She wanted to say what kind of name was Jubilation for her? But like so many things she wanted to say to him, she bit her tongue.
"Like in The Scarlet Letter where that chick's daughter is named Pearl, it had that kind of reasoning behind it."
He looked at her understanding beginning to dawn in his eyes, "Did she come at a great price darlin'?"
"You should buy one of my paintings, Wolverine help out Sweetie's college fund."
He gave her a crooked smile. "You were always one to change the subject if you didn't like the askin'." He stated looking down at Bittersweet who was trying to pull off the buttons on his flannel.
"You look older darlin', less hyper, more assured. Although you always had more balls then most men I've known."
She gave him one of her sideways smirks. "I am older, I mask my hyper ness with tiredness, active babies will do that, and I still have more balls than most men you know."
He looked at her closely, sometimes people think he's slow witted but they never live long. She tried to turn gave away, as far away as the moon maybe but she couldn't. He put his big, hairy callused hand on her soft cheek.
"Yes, baby I can see how its both sweet and bitter." He told her
And now hours and hours later all she could do was listen to Sade on the CD player and cry, she thought she was over that: years ago. Bittersweet started to cry, but it was after her feeding time, she didn't want to be fed, she wanted to be held. Jubilee took her out onto the parterre, it was such a nice night a little fresh air would be good for them both. Holding her daughter, looking out over So Cal, L.A. a place she always thought of as home she started to feel better.