Silver Platters

by Ramos

Rating: PG-13 for language

Disclaimer: Wolverine and Jubilee are the property of Marvel - merely borrowed and returned.

When Wolverine came into the kitchen this morning, I was shoveling Sugar Bombs in my mouth and helping McCoy with the crossword puzzle. Now, I know that sounds weird, 'cause Hank knows basically everything, but the problem is, everything he knows is practical. Like, what's the twenty-third element on the periodic table, and the specific gravity of a slice of toast, things like that. When it comes to useless trivia, though, I'm your gal.

"Hmmm," he frowned at the paper. "The Madonna's firstborn child was Jesus, yet it doesn't fit."

"Lourdes," I muttered around my spoon, trying to pretend my entire focus wasn't on the hairy guy pouring coffee across the room. Scott came in right behind, and they grunted at each other like men do before they have their java fix in the morning. That's why I don't drink the stuff, it must rot the brain if you can't function without it.

Hank peered at me over the top of his reading specs. "I beg your pardon?"

"Lourdes was Madonna's first kid. L-O-U-R-D-E-S." He blinked at me like I'd lost my mind. "The entertainer, Blue, not the religious chick. Her first kid was named Lourdes."

Time delayed trivia nugget, it finally clicked, and he filled in the letters. "Quite right. Thank you, Jubilee."

"No prob." I poked my breakfast, then shifted towards his furry shoulder. "Is Celia still mad at me?"

"Not angry, Jubilee. Merely disappointed."

"Sorry. I didn't mean to yell at her."

"She knows that. However, you will not be able to put it off indefinitely."

"Can I settle for just definitely?"


"I'll think about it, okay?"

"Please do so."

Hank went back to the crossword, and I scoped out Wolvie again. He was scowling at the pegboard we keep beside the back door that leads to the garage. It holds grocery lists, phone numbers, and most importantly, the keys to the various cars available.

"Hey, Cyke. You got the keys to the Beamer?"

Fearless Leader stuck his hand in his pocket, checking, then scratched his head. We were all a little strung out from the mission the night before. Well, those of us who'd gone, anyway. Rogue was still in bed, but she liked to sleep in after nearly being blown up. I had a headache, and Scott had a nicely bruised ribcage but no broken ribs. Wolvie, of course, was no worse for wear.

"Um, no. Wait, Jean was taking the kids into town for a dentist appointment." That adorable dumb grin he gets when he talks about his kids came up, but it was just a quick flash. After all, the twins are nearly six now. Get over it, already.

"When she gets back, tell her I'm gonna need 'em by five o'clock tonight. Me 'n Jube 're goin' out."

"Where to?" Scott asked idly and stirred his coffee, while I briefly closed my eyes and thanked the universe that he assumed nothing was out of the ordinary.

"That Greek joint. Isle of somethin'." Wolvie raised his voice, like he didn't know I was paying attention already. "Reservation's at six-thirty, darlin'. That work for you?"

"Sounds great," I replied, trying desperately to sound cool and collected, but realized I had a dribble of milk on my lip at the last instant and wiped it off with the back of my hand. Real cool, Lee.

"Cyprus Isle. Jean loves that place. Hey, maybe I can talk Celia into watching the kids and we can¡¦"

"Cyke," Wolvie interrupted, almost growling. "If I wanted to make this a double date, I'd ask ya."

Then he sipped his coffee and dammit all, winked at me. Holy cow. This whole date thing had freaked me out more than I thought, because I hadn't even considered our teammates' reactions until now. I waited for the explosion, but everybody else must be working on a time delay as well this morning. Hank got it sooner, he put down the paper and raised a wooly eyebrow at me.

"Date," Scott muttered. "You and Jubilee have a date tonight?"

"Yep. Got a problem with that?"

Wolvie kept his attention on the mug in his hands, but I knew he was waiting to see what Scott's response would be. Scott looked at me, and then back at Wolvie. And then back at me. Then he reached past Wolvie to the pegboard and pulled a set of keys off it.

"Here, take the Mustang," he said. "Knowing Jean, she'll bring the BMW back with an empty tank." He yawned hugely, filled his cup back up with coffee, and headed back to his office muttering about work to do.

I felt like the governor had called.

When I'd finished college and Scott invited me to join the team again, I had been thrilled. The others had accepted me back with a minimum of fuss and acted as though the last seven years had been only a few months. The problem with that was they occasionally caught themselves editing their comments for my benefit, as if I were still a kid who didn't need to hear the stuff adults talked about. I finally lost my temper one night (like that's a surprise) and climbed onto the dinner table and outlined the fact that I was an adult, legal to smoke, drink, have sex, and discuss religion and politics like any other nutcase on the face of the planet. Maybe not the most mature thing, but hey, it had gotten the point across.

Demonstratively so, since Hank went back to his puzzle without making a comment. Wolvie ruffled my hair on the way out the door, saying he was going to work out in the Danger Room. Wow. Just like that, we were an officially sanctioned couple. A couple who would be driving Scott's vintage baby. Score!

I went back upstairs and muttered an apology to Celia when I went past her, but didn't let her talk me into going back down to the lab so she could poke and prod me some more. I'd had too much of that last night, and not nearly enough sleep, so I lay down on my bed and crashed out for another couple of hours.

When I woke, my headache was down to almost nothing, at least until I rolled over and took a look at my closet. Then I tried not to panic. I had no idea what I was going to wear. Now, everyone is always giving me crap about having too many clothes, and I love clothes, really I do, but unfortunately I'm pretty hard on them. I tear the hems, put holes in the knees, spill stuff on them and otherwise render them completely unwearable, yet I can't bear to part with them. So they linger in my closet, and I get a bad rap for being a clotheshorse when I'm really just trying to avoid being labeled a klutz. I used to envy Emma Frost's poise, but I figured out a long time ago I'm never going to be an ice queen. Pretty obvious, really, considering I do fireworks. Anyway, don't ask me how I can nail a landing on a moving subway car and never miss a punch, but I can't walk across the room without demonstrating my lack of grace. Go figure.

I considered hiding in my room, but that's not exactly mature, not to mention I'll be where nosy people want to find me. So instead I gathered laundry and hit the utility room. I sorted, pre-treated, folded, fluffed everything I found in there, and every time Jean or Celia or Hank tried to corner me about last night I was very busy, delivering laundry, got to run. I also cleaned, vacuumed, and dusted. It was totally out of character for me, but it's also hard for people to question you when you can't hear them over the vacuum cleaner. Bobby was the only person who didn't try to interrogate me, and that's because a) he wasn't at breakfast, and b) wasn't on the mission last night, and c) probably didn't give a damn. He just took the stack of clean jeans and nodded when I told him I was keeping all the change I found when washing them. I didn't tell him I'd found a five-dollar bill in the lint trap.

I grabbed a sandwich in the early afternoon and started getting ready for my date. Breath, Lee. I cannot believe I'm doing this. Shower, check. Shave vital points, check. Dress, this gorgeous Laura Ashley white chiffon floaty thing I found at¡¦ well never mind. Check. Actually intact pair of white sheer nylons, check. White sandals, need a repair, that's what super glue is for, check. Rogue popped in while I was doing the hair and make-up thing. I gave her a big hug, and told her I was really, really, sorry about last night, and she said forget it, tell her all about my date. I told her I'd rather she torture me, then confessed that Wolvie had indeed asked me out after the Professor's benefit bash last week.

She wanted details, which is only understandable since her love life has been in the toilet for just about ever. So I swore her to secrecy and laid out the details of me taking Logan out for a cheering up, which had culminated with a truly wonderful kiss before I turned chicken and ran off. I had to backtrack about Rose Wu, and why her death was such a bummer. Unfortunately, that meant I also had to outline the fact that Rosie and 'Patch' had been an item about forty years ago, which did jack all for my state of mind.

"Don't you worry about that, sugah," Rogue reassured me. "If Logan's finally figured out how good you've grown up, don't let the fact that he's a little older than you give you the willies."

"A little older than me?" I protested. "For cryin' out loud, Rogue, the guy has lapped me! You could take a hundred years off him, and he'd probably still be too old!" I buried my face in my hands. "God, this is a stupid idea!"

"Now, you knock that off right now, ya hear?" Strong, leather-covered fingers grabbed me and shook me hard enough to make my head spin. "Do you want him?"

I swallowed hard. "Yeah."

"How long? How long you been wanting him?"

"Years," I muttered. Honesty sucks. Though of all of us, Rogue knows more about not getting what you want than anyone should ever be required to learn.

"I know you have, sugah. I've seen it, ever since you stopped being a little girl. So don't let little problems get between you and what you want."

"What if they're big problems?" I whispered, then shook her hands off and went back to my makeup job. "You're right, Sis. Thanks. And, you know, I'm really sorry about last night."

"Oh, would you shut up about that, I told ya it was nothin'.

"Besides," she said with a smile, standing up and handing my little white purse to me, "I think your date just showed up."

Wolvie stood in the doorway, looking at me. Shit. Hope he didn't hear what we were just saying. Probably not, Rogue had been facing the door, and she would have warned me, right? Shit.

"You look nice," he said, looking me up and down. Normally, when a guy does that, he's checking you out. Logan may notice the highlights, but he really is taking in all the details. Ask him in two days, and he'll be able to tell you what color my shoes were and whether or not I had a little clip in my hair. (I did, just because that one sprig of hair will not lay down right.) It might be part of the predator in him, or it might just be the way he is. Either way, it's one of the things I love about him.

I didn't just say that, did I?

"You look very nice, too." And when I gave him the same once over, he really did. He was wearing slacks and a sports coat, a white shirt with the string tie we'd negotiated, and he'd shaved. I mean, really shaved, and trimmed his mutton chop sideburns. Wow. He offered me his arm, and we went down the stairs together.

The moment was definitely surreal, especially when Bishop, Mr.-Mount-Rushmore-has-more-statement-than-I-do, winked at me. Logan must have caught my surprise, because he stopped and asked me what was wrong.

"Nothing's wrong, really. This is just kinda¡¦ weird, ya know?"

He scowled at me, not his ferocious scowl but the 'what are you talking about' scowl. "Weird how?"

"You. Me. On a date. Just a little weird. It's okay, really." Heck, now I felt bad. I felt even worse when he turned me around and hauled me towards the front foyer, where he stopped me with his hands on my shoulders.

"Don't move."

And then the big jerk took off back towards the kitchen! I'm standing here, purse in hand, feeling like a complete idiot. All I could hear was the ticking of the big clock in the hall. Is it possible to be stood up after your date already shows up? No, that's called being ditched. Hmm. Never been ditched before I even got out of the house.

"Jube?" Oh god, it gets worse.

"Yeah Bobby?" I tried to sound casual, but Popsicle Boy came down the hall and stared at me.

"What are you doing? Got a date?"

"Yes, I do," I replied.

"So¡¦ why are you standing here?"

"I have no idea." I said firmly.

About that time, a knock came at the front door. Nobody EVER uses the front door unless we're having a huge party, which is maybe once a year if we're lucky, or if for some reason a cab gets called out. You can't even drive up to it, you have to walk a ways from the circle drive that leads to the common entrance. Bobby frowned at the door, probably wondering if he should answer it or call the rest of the team and blast it. He looked at me, but I had no idea either. He finally got brave and opened it.

Logan stood out there. "Hey. I'm here to pick up Jubilee."

Bobby gave me a puzzled look, but I was busy grinning at Logan. "You are such a goof."

He only smiled, then took his hand from behind his back. A single pink rose from the garden was in his large, calloused fingers.

"Ro's going to kill you," I warned him.

"She'll have to catch me," he replied. "You ready to go?"

"Yeah, I'm ready." I took the rose, and kissed him on the cheek. Amazing. I suddenly felt like I was on a date.

We had a wonderful time at dinner. I have no idea what we talked about, but I've never heard Logan laugh or even talk that much in a single evening. Okay, I did most of the talking, but he did more than grunt, which is actually unusual, and only once did I have to remind myself that I was not just eating dinner with an old bud, but on a bona fide male/female outing.

The food was great, and the place is run by people who are actually Greek, but one of their best features is they have a belly dancer. Now, most people get kinda weird about belly dancers, they think they're strippers or something. Nothing doing, she never takes off anything but her veil and then she wraps herself up in it again. Anyway, this babe is about forty years old and has to weigh close to two hundred pounds, but when she starts doing her thing she can make the trousers tight on any man she bothers to smile at. I'd give a lot to have that effect on a guy. Particularly the one sitting across from me. Logan caught me looking at him, and reached out to take my hand before I could pull it back. His fingers laced with mine, his thumb rubbing my palm while we watched the show.

After dinner, we hit the sidewalk, but instead of getting the car, we just kept walking. The moon had come out while we were inside, fuller than the night before, and the streetlights weren't really necessary. There were windows to look at, and the more I talked, the less Wolvie talked. I was feeling nervous anyway, and I don't know why, so I finally just shut up.

"What's buggin' you, darlin'?"


This was a game we played often, so he just grunted and waited me out. I sighed.

"Promise me something, Wolvie."

"What's that?"

"Promise me that no matter how bad we screw this up, we'll still be friends."

He laughed, that incredible baritone rumble that makes your back arch just a little. "This is our first date, Jube. Little early to be startin' that speech, ain't it?"

"It's just-- I don't - I don't want to lose you. I couldn't take that. I'd rather stay your bud than try to be something more and end up something less."

He stopped walking and pulled me into his arms. "Don't you think you should give this a chance before you start giving it the post-mortem?"

"Give what a chance?" I asked, trying for a light tone. "You haven't even made a pass at me."

"A pass, huh?" A gleam came into his eye, and his fingers slid down my arm to tighten around my hand. He brought it up and kissed my fingers like Remy does when he's feeling very suave, or had a few. But Logan's mouth was a lot different that Remy's, and when he turned my hand over and pressed another kiss into my palm, it got a lot more reaction going than Gumbo ever did. The shivers started when he kissed the pulse on my wrist, and he kept working his way up my arm.

All right, it looked really freaking stupid when Gomez did it to Morticia, but, believe me, they were on to something and Logan knew what that something was. For instance, the inside of the elbow and the collarbone are vastly overlooked erogenous zones, and a man who knows what he's doing can make you melt without his hands ever straying into the no-fly zones.

Which only makes me wonder what will happen when he does.

"Okay," I managed, when I remembered how to talk. "That was definitely a pass." That got me a knowing smirk, and he kept his arm around me as we resumed walking.

We found this little park, not much more than a small square of grass and trees, but the wrought iron fence was pretty. We walked up to the railing and stopped; and when I looked at Logan he had his eyes closed, breathing in through his nose as he scented the night air. We weren't expecting any trouble, (of course, since when does that matter) but it just gets to be a habit to check things out. His face was relaxed in the light, the lines around his mouth fainter than usual. He looked incredibly peaceful.

Automatically I turned to face the other way, checking behind us, and saw only a passing car and a tired looking business man making his way towards the subway entrance. The curlicues on the fence dug into my behind as I leaned against the fence, and too late remembered what rust does to white chiffon. Typical.

A warm arm went around my shoulders, and I leaned into the solid bulk of him. Man, it doesn't get much better than this.



"You gonna let Celia do those tests on you?"

I shrugged as well as I could. "Maybe."

"It's not like you to back down, Jubilee."

My throat hurt suddenly, and I realized I was afraid. The problem with being offered everything you've ever wanted, on a silver platter even, is that it can be taken away. If you don't want, then you can't get hurt when you don't get it. I've operated on that principal for years, and it's done fine for me. But Logan wasn't threatening to take it away. He was just waiting for me, and I was acting like a damned virgin on prom night.

I bit my lip, feeling trapped.

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Okay," he mumbled, digging out a cigar and lighting it.

"I mean it, Wolvie."

"I heard ya, kid." He puffed several times, getting the cherry well started, then blew out a stream of smoke

"So. How 'bout them Yankees?"

"GODDAMMIT!" I shouted, twisting around kicking the railing. Which only hurt a whole lot and left me hopping up and down, in too much pain to even curse. Logan steered me towards a bench and sat me down, taking my injured toes in his lap and making sure they were all still attached while I fumed.

It had been a typical mission -- they weren't good ol' FOH, but some splinter group with more gumption and fewer brains; by the time they were done getting themselves organized and on the move, the Professor's little network of spies and informers had their butts nailed as to where and when. The target was a large office building, several floors of which were occupied by the corporation of a big cheese businessman who happened to support mutant rights. Think an updated version of the old burning cross on the front yard, he was supposed to be an example.

We caught them in the act of breaking and entering, and vandalism, which is to say they went through those offices like a pack of howler monkeys. Low-grade stuff compared to some. We could have probably tipped the police off and stayed home.

The cops were called, the drama was over, and then as we were getting ready to bug out, I saw one of the cretins smirk. I pulled him up by his collar and asked him what the fuck was so funny, because suddenly and inexplicably, I was furious. He didn't answer, but his jaw was working like he was getting ready to spit in my face (believe me, you get to recognize things like that) and suddenly I knew the answer.

"There's a bomb," I shouted, and ran back into the office complex, with Wolverine and Rogue hot on my heels. And somehow, I knew exactly where it was; in the main elevator lobby, where in about nine hours, dozens of people would be trying to hitch a ride on the elevators to go to their everyday jobs, never realizing it would be the last moment their lives would be considered everyday boring.

I yanked the access panel open. Of course, it was booby-trapped; the timer reset itself the instant I moved the panel. It was a huge ass wad of plastique and a couple of sticks of construction grade dynamite for that extra dash of something special, all stuck on the inside. I wrenched the panel up off its hinges and heaved the whole thing at Rogue. It weighed a ton and there was no way I could tote it out.

"Go long!" I shouted, and she did, crashing through the skylight and winging that mother out like an insane frisbee just before it blew. The concussion knocked her out of the sky, and she hit the police van in the parking lot hard enough that she put a dent in the roof and one of the tires popped. I would love to have been there when they explained it to their insurance guy.

Rogue insisted she was fine, but Cyclops had gotten jumped by a few of the goons who thought they could take him by himself. That's how he ended up with bruised ribs. Well, great, I'd saved the day. But now, everyone wanted to know how I knew about the bomb, and if I hear the words latent telepathy one more time, I'm going to scream.

"I don't want to be a telepath," I muttered, trying not to sound like a five-year-old. Logan was rubbing my foot, which was really nice.

"What's wrong with bein' a telepath?" He sounded like it was no big deal, but the old pain just slid through me until I had to clench my hands and my eyes and every muscle in my body to keep it from screaming out of me.

What was wrong with it? What was wrong with twitching even the tiniest fraction towards being anything like Ms. Jean Gray-Summers, Ms. I'm-perfection-and-Logan-worships-her-with-every-fiber-in-his-testosterone-laden-body? Just to fail miserably, because you'll never measure up to that kind of competition? What's wrong with wanting a man who really wants something else, someone else, that he can't have?

Everything, that's what's wrong.

Logan just sat there, smoking that damned cigar with my ridiculous bare foot in his lap. He had not been there when I was demoted to the minor leagues, sent off to boarding school like a pet no one else had been willing to look after. He hadn't been there when Bastion kidnapped and tortured me. For the first time ever, I felt hurt and resentful that Logan had not rescued me from Bastion. He hadn't even known I was missing, not that he could have done anything about it from his detention cell in the same complex. He had been with Jean, and the others, and they hadn't needed me and they hadn't known I was missing. Some remote and somehow rational portion of my brain tried to point out the flaws in my logic, but I'm good at ignoring things I don't want to hear.

That silver platter was out there, but by god, I was not going to take leftovers. I was not going to be leftovers. If that meant I was never going to have what I really wanted, well, so what? I've survived worse.

"I don't want to be a Jean stand-in."

Vaguely I realized his fingers had stopped moving on my foot.

"What was that?"

It was hard to keep my breathing even. "I don't want to be what you settled for."

His hand moved so fast it was only a blur as he grabbed my wrist. I think I really made him mad. Logan angry is nothing you want to mess with. The cigar went spinning away in the darkness as he yanked me to my feet.

"Do you really think pissing me off is the way to get me to back away from you?"

"Maybe," I muttered.

"Dammit, Jube! Yes, I love Jean, but even without Summers in the picture, I doubt I would ever be what she needs. But how I feel about her has nothin' to do with what you and I are workin' on here. You are not a shadow or a copy of something else. You are uniquely yourself, and I wouldn't want you any other way."

He couldn't be serious, could he? Did he really want Jubilation Lee, not Jubilee-instead-of Jean/Mariko/Silver Fox? I don't think so. His dark eyes bored into mine, and I hated that the emotional turmoil within me reduced me to begging, hated the tears that refused to stay away.

"Do you want me?" I could hear my voice shaking, and I hated it, too.

The answer was not verbal. He kissed me thoroughly, using every trick he knew to overwhelm my defenses. It was hard, and hot, and merciless, and I'm pretty sure there were several violations of the no-fly zones, but my radar was definitely down. I was quivering by the time his hand cupped my cheek and his fingers slid into my hair, and he spent several moments letting me collect myself. I think he was collecting himself, as well.

"I don't want this to be some half-assed fling, Logan," I whispered against his mouth.

"You ever known me to do anything half-assed?" he growled, and kissed me again.

"And I don't want to be convenient," I warned him.

I felt his broad chest, flush against mine, sigh.

"Fer Christ's sake, darlin', the last thing you are is convenient."

And you know, I think that's the most romantic thing I've ever heard.

We finally started walking again. Logan had a hold of my hand, my arm tucked through his. In his other hand he carried my shoes, which made me wonder for the first time what had happened to the shoes I'd been wearing the last time we went out. Oh, well.

"Do you think I ought to go back down to the lab and let Celia poke me again?"

"Maybe in the morning. It's getting late."


When we'd gotten back to the mansion last night, the Professor was intrigued, Celia was excited, Hank was puzzled, and Bishop was not the least bit surprised, which just jacked up everybody else's self winding mechanism. They were shining lights in my eyes, talking about cat scans and breakthroughs and when Celia came at me with a big ass needle so she could get a blood sample, I had a hissy fit that hit about a 8.9 on the Richter scale. I started yelling and throwing things and pulling those little sticky bits off of me and damn it, those suckers hurt coming off, which hadn't helped my temper tantrum any.

Logan had just stood there, leaning against the wall, until I yelled at him too, and then he asked what took me so long. So I stormed out and slammed every door along the way until I was at my own room, and slammed it a couple of times as well.

"I guess I ought to. Maybe tomorrow afternoon."

"I'll go with ya, if ya want."

"I'd like that." I thought for a minute. "Hank said Celia wasn't mad at me. Was she?"

"Nah. We all know you, Jubilee, and they should have known better. I'm s'prised you put up with it as long as you did."

I made a noise that wasn't quite a laugh. "Ya know, I didn't hear it, or see it in his sick little head, or anything like that. I just knew. Kinda like I suddenly remembered something I had never known to begin with."

"Yeah, I figured that was the case. Hank and I had a talk last night, after ya blew yer stack. He thinks you're clairvoyant, not telepathic."

I thought about that. Telepaths work from what other people's thoughts tell them, but clairvoyant abilities involve the universe just letting you in on the secret. It doesn't work predictably, but I think my poker playing days were over.

"I can deal with that."

I considered that silver platter while we walked. It was there, and all I had to do was reach for it. The question is, though, am I brave enough to make that reach? I rubbed my fingertip over the silky hair on the back of the fingers wrapped around mine. Here, in my hand, was something I'd wanted for as long as I'd known what wanting was. Did I have the courage?

At that moment, he lifted my hand and pressed it to his mouth, his eyes never leaving the sidewalk in front of us. It was just a random gesture of affection.

Did I have the courage?

You bet your ass I do.

The valet brought out Cyclops' little red toy, none the worse for wear, and Logan and I shared a guilty grin as we slid into the lovingly restored leather seats. Scott always did have good taste. Just look at Jean.

On the way home, Logan took my hand again and I breathed in the scent of his cigar and after-shave, with the underlying hint that was the man. I loved the feeling of safety in his arms, but more than that I feel complete when we're together.

The others may see me as the scatterbrained firecracker, and Logan as just the indestructible warrior. What our teammates don't always understand is that Logan has wounds in his soul that time will never heal. They just sit there hurting, like a triple-A road rash that hasn't yet realized it's supposed to be bleeding, but the pressure of air on it sucks your breath away so you can't even scream. The thing is, his raw wounds and mine sort of match up, and we protect each other. We fit together, and we make each other whole. The possibility that we would be together, in the way that Scott and Jean are together, gave me hope that someday I could heal those wounds for him, and he could heal mine as well. And that felt like an astounding offer and an awesome promise of a future that I'd never believed to be possible.

We parked the car in the big garage and walked into the silent house entwined around each other. He walked me to my door, and I turned around, wondering.

"No," he answered, before I could ask if he was coming in. "Not yet."

"Why not?" I was actually a little relieved, this night had been intense, but hurt to think that he didn't want me. Well, that notion was quickly routed when he pulled me to him and kissed my earlobe, the rasp of his chin stubble on my neck making it hard for me to think.

"Not yet, Jubilee. I want to do this right." He pulled back and framed my face with his huge, rough hands. "I want to give you every chance to change your mind."

I traced his lower lip with my finger, and from the way his breathing changed, knew it affected him. "You could always change it back, just by kissing me."

"I'll keep that in mind."

"You won't need to," I whispered, and leaned into him, my hands behind his neck and his hands sliding down my back, absolutely intoxicated by the feel of his hard arms around me, his hard stomach and thighs against mine, and dammit, yes, the evidence of his arousal against my belly.

For the first time ever, instead of making me nervous or embarrassed, it felt natural, and right, and wonderful.

"Good," he whispered back and kissed me softly, slowly, then disentangled us until we were standing with air between us.

"Goodnight, Jubilee."

I turned the doorknob and gave him a small smile.

"Goodnight, Logan." And then I went in, and shut the door behind me.