DEDICATED TO: This one is for a fellow named
Derrick. Hi Derrick! I hope that you didn't have to dig this one out of
the garbage. ;) It's also for DevilDoll, who is a sweetie. :)
If there's one thing I just wasn't fucking prepared for in my life, it was experiencing Valentine's Day with a girlfriend. I'd rather fight Magneto. Blindfolded.
I mean, what is up with that holiday anyway? It's really just a day where men have to step really lightly, because the single women are all pissed that they're not going to get anything, and the not-single women are all pissed because they didn't get what they wanted. I've watched Valentine's Days before...and I've yet to see any gift exchange go off without a hitch.
Hell, even Scott can't seem to get it just right, and if I've ever seen a man who was into that sentimental bullshit, it's Scott. He denies it, of course, but I caught him obsessing over jewelry catalogs late at night way back in December.
Which was when I realized -- shit. I lost my ticket to the spectators' box a few months back, which means instead of sitting around and laughing at all the whipped little puppies tiptoeing around on The Big Day...I gotta be one of them.
Well, okay. I'm not going to be a whipped little puppy. Thank god I don't think my girl would go for that anyways, and she's already said about ten times that I'd better not be planning on making a big deal out of it, because she doesn't want me to strain anything trying to be romantic.
Which was like issuing a goddamn challenge, which she might just be devious enough to have done. Or maybe it was one of those two little buddies of hers -- the mallrat always seems to me like she just might be a little too smart for her own good. I'm sure one of them said, "Hey, why don't you challenge his pride, Rogue, that'll make him cook up something good."
So she did, damn it -- and the cooking just ain't happening, which is worrying me more than a little because the sickeningly adorable little calendar that she and those two other girls made at the mall with all the pictures of them sticking their tongues out -- that calendar says that it's now February 12th.
And I think that justifies full-on panic mode.
Enough panic that I'm about ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in dignity, self-respect, and probably my masculinity.
I'm going to ask Jubilee to take me shopping. And threaten her within an inch of her life with just how bad I'll wring her scrawny little neck if she ever tells anyone.
That's why I vetoed the first three things she pointed to. I mean, okay, I can tell that she likes yellow -- but for crying out loud, whatever tiny little tight t-shirt she picks out is going to be going on Marie here -- which means I'll probably spend a lot of time looking at it.
What? She's my fucking girlfriend, I can look at her all I damn well please.
So yellow is out. It took me a while to convince her of this -- but she finally rolled her eyes, snapped her gum, and gave me this look that said "stupid old fart."
I hate getting that look, especially from people Marie's age. So I bust out in my best intimidating growl, which made her bust out into giggles -- which was not exactly the reaction I was looking for.
And then when I was trying to decide what to do next -- five minutes into this little shopping excursion and I'm already thinking it's time to call it quits -- she got this really bright look in her eyes and grabbed onto my hand.
"C'mon, great idea at three o'clock."
She managed to drag me three steps because I was being awful compliant -- probably just a little freaked out about the fact that I was in a mall with Jubilee -- and then I got a good look at what was at three o'clock.
"Oh no fucking way." A mother with a small child shot me an evil glare, and I grimaced and wished I had a cigar to chew on. Shaking my head, I stopped, and since Jubilee didn't she managed to trip when the big hairy guy she was trying to drag along suddenly became a big hairy stationary lump of metal. "Not a chance in hell."
Jubilee rolled her eyes and shoved her sunglasses back up on her head from where they'd slipped, and for a moment I wondered what the hell the girl was doing wearing sunglasses inside on a cloudy day. "Oh stop being such a fogie," she muttered. "It's a good idea."
I gave the store she was trying to drag me into the same kind of look I'd give something that was very, very dangerous and very, very intent on killing me. "I can think of a few reasons why it's not."
"And those would be?" Jubilee crossed her arms over her chest and glared. She wasn't very intimidating, but I did have to give her points for effort.
"Most of them would be none of your business," I snarled, looking at the store again.
Lingerie. Girls didn't actually want guys to buy that shit for them, did they? Hell, even if they did...I did not think it would be a good idea for me to get anything for Marie that would tempt her to prance around me baring lots of skin that I might just decide to touch. Hell, that would be like a torture device. And I don't really hate myself that much.
"And which ones would be?"
Shit. I'd almost forgotten about Jubilee with all the images of Marie wearing almost nothing dancing around in my head. "The important one is that I'm not going into that store for anything. Are you out of your fucking mind?"
"Watch your language," Jubilee smirked. "After all, wouldn't ya just hate it if I started spewing that stuff out at Scott and blamed it on you?"
"Find a new store." Ten minutes down, and I felt like I'd already been through a fucking war.
"Fine." She readjusted those damn useless sunglasses again and marched off with purpose in a different direction, leaving me to choose between following her and running like hell for he nearest exit.
My whole body twitched towards the exit, but then I thought of Marie and her big brown eyes full of disappointment because no one had ever given her a Valentine's Day gift and her tough-ass boyfriend had been too scared of a fucking mall to find her one.
Oh, fuck that. I squared my shoulders and gathered my courage and hoped to hell that this was a nice quiet mall with no sex shops that Jubilee could stumble across, because I really wasn't prepared to deal with that.
I suggested earrings, because I figured there wasn't much trouble we could get into with jewelry. Jubilee told me I was pretty damn stupid if I hadn't noticed by now that Marie didn't have her ears pierced, and I was so busy squinting my eyes and trying to remember what her ears looked like that I didn't even bother to get mad that she'd called me an idiot.
She stopped in front of a smelly girly store, took one look at me, and shook her head. "I'm not even going to try," she muttered, shaking her head in obvious disapproval. "You just don't know what's good for you."
"Can't we get her something I'm not embarrassed to be seen buying?" I think I was almost whining. "Like a book or--"
Jubilee stoped dead and turned to give me an incredulous stare. "You want to buy your girlfriend a book for Valentine's Day?" I just stared at her, and she shook her head. "This is frickin' serious."
"Oh is it?" Twenty minutes down. I was still really scared.
Jubilee stood and tapped her finger against her chin. "You know what, Logan -- I think we may have to abandon the whole gift idea and settle for you just doing something really damn romantic."
I let out a snort. "Oh fabulous." Do something romantic. Yeah, there's my specialty.
"Oh, don't worry. I'll help you." She headed towards an exit, and the only reason I followed her was because I was really desperate to get the hell outta there.
Of course, if I had known the kind of decline things would go in from there, I would have stayed in the mall. Hell, I would have stayed in the smelly girly store.
The whole way down the street she was chattering a blue streak about stuff that just sounded...uncomfortable. Like large quantities of smelly expensive flowers and scary suites that had about seven pieces to them and dinner reservations at places that served stuff with names that couldn't possibly be describing food.
"And don't even think about that motorcycle." I snapped my head around and glared at her, but she stopped in the middle of the street and crossed her arms over her chest. "I mean it. You're going to put on a tux and get in one of the nice cars and take her out, okay? With roses. Lots of them."
Roses. Lots of them. Great.
I put my foot down when she managed to get us to the tuxedo store. And when I say I put my foot down -- that's what I mean. I put it down.
And didn't pick it up again. "You've got to be kidding, Jubilee."
"No." She was looking really stubborn. "If you can't think of a decent present, then you've got to sacrifice all dignity and do the romance thing."
Sacrifice all dignity. That sounded really romantic. "Jubilee--"
"I'll make a deal." I had to wonder who this kid thought she was, that she was standing here in the street haggling with me like she actually had the right to tell me what to do.
"A deal." Any sane person would have noticed my dangerous tone of voice.
"Yeah. You've got forty-five seconds to think of a better idea, and if you don't...into the tux you go." She looked down at her watch and then back up at me. "Go."
"Who the hell do you think you are--" I growled.
"Thirty-five, and I'd get on it if I were you."
I was pretty sure Xavier would notice if Jubilee never showed back up at home...and there had been too many witnesses who saw us leave together. Shit, killing her was out.
I spun around and looked at the stores in the near vicinity wildly, ignoring as Jubilee counted down the seconds.
And then I saw it. My savior, my blessing, the thing that was going to save me from making a fool out of myself, not to mention be a most welcome addition to Marie's wardrobe, if I could get her to wear it.
I was across the street before Jubilee hit fifteen, staring up at the display case with this total look of adoration on my face.
Staring back at me was the most gorgeous set of women's biker leather I'd ever seen, skin-tight, well designed, and toting a price tag that would make a man who hadn't spent way too much time making money in Canada gag.
Hell, Xavier gave me everything I needed. What the hell was I going to do with all the extra money?
I could hear Jubilee yelling at me as I ducked inside the store. Sounded kinda like, "Over my dead body!"
There were a few things about Valentine's Day shopping I knew. Number one was that you should always know what kind of perfume the girl being shopped for was allergic to. Number two was to know exactly what size she wore, because if you bought her something too small then she'd complain that you thought she was fat, and if you bought her something too large than she'd complain that you thought she was fat, which didn't make much since, but hell -- that's what I've learned over the years by watching other fools mess up.
So I slapped the little scrap of paper with Marie's sizes on it down on the table and pointed to the suit in the window. "I want one of those for her."
The man behind the counter gave me a very odd look, but he didn't seem inclined to make any sudden movement. He picked up the paper very, very slowly and backed towards the back room.
Which was right about when Jubilee came in. "No, no, NO!"
I glared. "You wouldn't be talking to me, would you Jubilee?"
She defiantly gets bravery points. "I certainly am. You are not buying her skanky leather for Valentine's Day."
I was noticing a logistical error here. "You wanted me to buy her trashy underwear. I really don't see how that's all that different."
Jubilee rolled her eyes like I was a very slow student. "That's the kind of stuff you buy on Valentine's Day. You save your leather and whips and whatever other shit you're buying for your birthday or something."
"What?" That made just about zero sense.
She tried to elaborate, and I almost wish she hadn't. "Listen, you know Cupid? The little guy with the bow?" I nodded hesitantly. "Well, you don't see him wearing leather, do you? No, he wears underwear--"
"He wears a diaper, Jubilee."
"--and therefore, since Cupid does not wear leather, you can't buy it for Valentine's Day."
I would have commented. I should have commented, but at that point the man came back with the outfit in a box, and rang it up for me.
"I still can't believe you think--" The numbers flashed up on the register and I think young Jubilee pretty much swallowed her tongue. "Whoa."
The man behind the counter looked at me nervously. "Did you need anything else?"
My eyes fell on a rack of leather gloves, and I couldn't help but smile. A pair for me, a pair for her...
Jubilee's eyes were still bugging out as she stared at the significant triple digits on the register. "I take it back. That's love, man."
"You approve?" I couldn't help but smirk as I flipped some bills onto the counter. Look at me, I'd gone Valentine's Day shopping and had come out ahead.
Well, significantly behind as far as bank accounts went...but still.
"Shit." Jubilee shook her head, and then blinked and snapped out of it, crossing her arms over her chest. "You'd still better be taking her somewhere damned romantic."
I just grinned. I had it all planned already.
"There's a man in our room." I think that was Kitty, because it didn't sound much like the Jubilee I'd come to know and love on our little shopping trip the day before.
"He's Rogue's," that familiar voice muttered. "Rogue, get him out."
Marie rolled over and sat up in her bed, squinting. "Logan -- it's the middle of the night."
"Just c'mon." I tugged on her gloved hand and pulled her out of the bed, taking a nice long moment to enjoy the fact that she was wearing her tasseled low-cut nightgown.
"Go with him, damn it," Kitty muttered. "Just get him out of here."
"Oh fine." Marie rearranged her hand so that she was holding mine and padded obediently out of the room behind me, her hair falling into her sleepy face as she yawned.
She waited until the door was closed before she glanced up at me. "And what do I owe this pleasure to?"
"C'mon," I repeated again, dragging her down the hallway and into my room.
Now on reflection, maybe my excitement over my little Valentine's Day surprise was overboard. After all, I didn't see any other excited men dragging their loved ones out of bed at two in the morning...
But I had it all figured out. Be all romantic and gushy before everyone else gets up, spend most of the day cuddled up to Marie, and then emerge to scowl at people. Marie's happy, my reputation is intact, and I may well be the first man alive to survive The Day unscathed.
It all seemed like such a good idea until I muttered "Happy Valentine's Day" and handed her a very large box that Jubilee had insisted on wrapping in disgustingly cloying red and pink paper...
...and she just looked horrified.
Well, that wasn't the response I was expecting. "What's wrong?"
Marie stared at the box, playing with the ribbons on it with a gloved finger. "Well, jeez, Logan -- I didn't--" She plopped down on my bed and shook her head. "I didn't--"
"You didn't..." Kneeling down in front of her, I tried to catch her eyes. "You didn't what, Marie?"
She glared at me. "Damn it, I didn't get you anything. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it or something, and then have you feel embarrassed or bad about it--"
I may have been caving to consumerism, but damned if I'd cave to the pressures to be a sensitive new-age guy. So I just gave her a nice dirty lecherous grin and tapped the box. "You put what's in here on, and we're even."
Her eyes got a little wide and she picked up the box and shook it. "It's too heavy to be lingerie..." With a little grin she clutched the box to her chest and bounced up. "I'll be right back."
I watched her disappear into my bathroom and settled back on my bed with no small amount of pride. I'd managed to pull a fast one and somehow come out ahead in the Game of Love.
And it was only in the bathroom door swung back open a few minutes later that I realized just how far ahead I'd come out.
She was...sin. That's about the only way to put it. The little minx wasn't wearing a shirt and had neglected to button the jacket up all the way, so the tight leather that clutched just way too well to her body was open at the neck, and I got a good eyeful of just where on her body my tags liked to nestle.
Damn lucky pieces of scrap metal.
The pants fit almost too well. She moved a little awkwardly at first, those legs that might as well have been bare stretching out. "No wonder you don't like the uniforms," she muttered, bending one knee slightly. "Skin-tight leather is--" That's when she looked up and caught my eyes, and she trailed off and swallowed.
I don't blame her. If even a quarter of the stuff I'm feeling is flickering across my face, she'd be wise to run for the goddamned hills.
And then her lips curved up in that little mysterious smile she always got when she realized I wanted her, and hands encased in the leather gloves came up as she walked towards me. "I think you forgot something."
"Forgot..." Damn, thinking was difficult.
She lifted the larger pair of leather gloves up and dangled them in front of my face. "These certainly wouldn't fit me."
I snatched the gloves and tugged them on, and wondered for a moment how she could look so gorgeous with her hair tousled and tangled around her face and her cheek still marked up from her pillow.
And then I just decided I didn't care. "Come on, Marie. We're going for a ride."
She smiled. "Only if I'm driving," she replied with a grin, and the thought of having her nestled in front of me was just about the most pleasant thought I'd had all night, and I'd had a damn lot of them so far.
We snuck through the halls like a couple of teenagers, Marie giggling about how hard it was to move in leather and me mostly thinking about how hard it was to move when Marie was moving around in leather in front of me.
True to her word, she swung onto the front of the motorcycle and grinned up at me. "Jump on, sugar."
I hid a smile and climbed on behind her, scooting up as close as I could until her spine was molded to my chest and I had my thighs hugging hers in a most satisfactory manner.
And we drove. It was beautiful, under the full moon and the clear sky with the snow sparkling back and reflecting all over the place. We drove, and when she asked me where I wanted to go I just shook my head and held her tighter, because the sad thing was -- I didn't care, as long as she was with me.
She laughed and threw back her head and that tangled hair just got more tangled as it flew back against my chest, and my arms tightened around her and it was one of those moments that's about as close to perfect as they come.
She came to a stop on top of a hill, pulling off the road and snapping the kickstand down with one foot. "It's nice," she whispered, leaning back into me.
And because I was worried about frostbite, you understand, I lifted one gloved hand from around her waist and rested it over that exposed skin over her heart.
Frostbite. That was my only concern.
She gave a happy sigh and looked up at me. "This is probably the best Valentine's Night I've ever had. I just wish I'd gotten you something."
I made some strange little noise that was half growl and half whimper, because she'd decided to snuggle back a little more and that leather-encased ass was doing some not-so-innocent things to parts of me.
And the twinkle in her eye said she knew damn well what. "Watcha thinkin', Logan?"
I decided to be honest. "Trying to decide if I should try'n be romantic and gushy or just say what I'm thinking."
I got an elbow in the rib. "I'm not dating Scott for a reason, Logan, and it ain't just Jean. I happen to like you the way you are."
Oh. Well in that case...
The snow was thick enough so that it didn't hurt much when I launched us off the bike sideways into the snowbank, her leather-shrouded body hitting mine as she let out a little shriek.
"We're sitting in snow, Logan." She scrambled up so that she was straddling my hips, her arms wrapped around her chest. "It's cold."
So I wrapped my hands around her hips and pulled her more snugly against me. "Then let's make it warm."
And that's what we did.