A Conflict of Interests

By Jane Westin


Summary: Sequel to ・A Day in the Life.・ Exploration into Jubilee・s relationship with Logan.

Disclaimer: Of course, none of these characters belong to me.

Author・s Note: Just a note: This story, as well as the one preceding it, takes place after Jubilee・s second year of college. I・m just assuming she and all her friends are living at the Mansion. Also, for those of you who liked the last story, be glad I have a very boring job and a computer on which to write. I worked a nine hour shift today and this is all I did. J Oh, and please, please, please give me reviews! I need encouragement. J


For starters, it was only a couple dances. A couple dinky, stupid, meaningless little dances. Completely innocent. Totally harmless. Right?

Besides, I・d been drinking. So no one can really hold me completely accountable. Right?

And Rogue was in Bobby・s room last night. She shouldn・t care anyway. Right?

Wrong.

It wasn・t the door-slamming when Rogue burst into the room. It wasn・t the look on her face. It wasn・t even the homicidal glint in her eyes.

It was her accent.

The first time I heard that sweet-as-honey lilt fall into an all-out, Jerry- Springer-show drawl, I knew somebody was about to get the Wrath of Rogue dumped all over their flava.

I just didn・t figure on it ever being me.

・And just what・・ Rogue・s voice is alarmingly calm, despite the terrifying expression on her face・・is going on in here, pray tell?・

I cringe backwards and pull the blankets up to my chin. ・Um・nap time?・ I suggest timidly, giving her my best ・spare me I・ve led a good life・ smile.

Wait a minute! Not five minutes ago Kitty was telling me that everything is fine, just fine, I have nothing to worry about, Rogue isn・t mad at all, in fact oh yes she spent the night in Bobby・s room. It・s probably true that she did indeed sleep with Bobby, but why oh why can・t Kitty be a little more observant when it comes to Rogue・s demeanor?

I decide to kill her.

Unfortunately, she・s just slipped quietly out the door. That little rat fink! Ooh boy, when I get my hands on her・

Rogue interrupts my thoughts. ・What kind of person, do you figure,・ she says, still in that calm, calm voice, her accent thickening with every word, ・watches one of her best friends cry buckets over the man she adores・・

Oh God, here we go. I squinch my eyes shut tight and brace myself. Is it just me, or is she beginning to shout?

・・then goes and gets all cozy with him, goes home with him・・ Rogue・s voice is definitely getting louder・・and sleeps in his room?!?・

I yank the covers over my head. ・I・msorryitwasjustadanceIwasdrunk Imadeamistakehe・sjustmybuddyI・llneverdoitagainohpleasestopyellingatmeI・msosorry!・ It all comes out as one word, but it doesn・t really matter because it・s muffled by the blanket anyway. Oh, this is a really bad time to be hung over.

But Rogue・s ignoring me. ・A backstabber, that・s what kind of person does that,・ she yells, and it suddenly occurs to me that with the accent and the yelling she really does sound like she・s on Jerry Springer. Teenage Mutant Ninja Love Triangles, I think, and begin to giggle despite myself.

・I・m glad you think it・s funny!・ Rogue exclaims, outraged. I feel her kick the bed. ・I hope you think it・s funny when I・・

・When you what, darlin・?・

Logan! Wow, I・d almost forgotten this is his room.

Apparently, so had Rogue. ・L・Logan!・ she exclaims, her tone of voice changing completely. Oh, I see how it is. I get the hillbilly accent, but he gets the Southern-bell tinkle. Like he・s so much better than me.

I peek out from under the covers just the teeniest little bit.

WOW.

Now, let me clarify here. I・ve seen Logan sans shirt dozens of times. He seems to like to take it off, being the big primitive brute that he is. I don・t really go for the whole hairy thing, so normally it doesn・t really faze me.

The whole dripping-wet-naked-save-towel thing, however, is completely new and definitely tasty. It・s a good thing I・ve only got one eye uncovered or they would both see that I am shamelessly gawking.

Rogue・s still standing there, mouth sort of opening and closing in a manner that・s weirdly reminiscent of a large-mouth bass.

I snicker. I can・t help it.

Logan・s hazel eyes dart from Rogue to me. Good old Jubilation ・Don・t Mind Me, I・m Just a Shapeless Bed Lump・ Lee. I let out a little shriek and burrow back into the blankets. He clears his throat.

・What・s up, Marie?・ he continues, because she hasn・t spoken and is probably still making fish-faces at him.

・Um・uh・・ Oh, this is too much. I・d give half the shoes in my wardrobe to see the look on Rogue・s face right now. I hope neither of them is paying attention to the muffled laughter emanating from the general direction of yours truly, Bed Lump.

I decide to let her simmer in it just a little longer before making a heroic rescue. I am such a nice person.

・No need to worry, darlin・, there・s plenty of me to go around,・ Logan adds. Rogue apparently doesn・t catch the amusement in his voice, because now she sounds like a fish out of water.

That・s my cue! I pop up from under the covers, ignoring the screams of protest from every inch of my poor, hung over body. ・I don・t know about that,・ I say, stretching casually, as though I wasn・t getting the lecture of my life not thirty seconds ago. ・I was sick the day they taught sharing in preschool.・ I give Rogue my most charming smile. ・But for my most beloved friend in the whole universe, I may have to oblige.・

The look she gives me puts Bobby to shame. I shiver. Okay, maybe that was a bad tactic. It occurs to me, belatedly, that I have no idea where Logan slept. Oops.

I wish my life had a rewind button.

・I gotta go,・ Rogue mutters, and stalks out, slamming the door behind her.

Ohboy. I am definitely in some deep doggy doo-doo.

Okay. Think, Jubilee, think. What can possibly be done to make this situation a little less horrible?

I can practically hear the crickets chirping.

Well, first things first. Rogue obviously has a problem with the whole Jubilee-spent-the-night-in-Logan・s-room thing. Granted, I had a problem with it when I first woke up this morning, so really, I can・t blame her. Of course, now there・s the added complication of Logan being wet and naked and staring at me, so we・d better fix that, hadn・t we, Jubilee?

Right! ・Okay, catch ya later, been lovely, thanks for the coffee.・ I climb out of bed as quickly as my aching body will let me. Shoes, shoes, where are my shoes? I・ll find ・em later, I decide, when Logan is dressed and not looking quite so appealing.

Ohhh, I did not just think that.

I shake my head hard. Thank God Logan・s not psychic, I think, and then hope fervently that Dr Grey and the Professor are staying way the hell away from my head. I・m willing to bet that entertaining thoughts of a naked Logan is a great way to get Very Weird Looks from the mind-readers in the building.

I・m two steps from the door when Logan speaks. ・Leavin・ already?・ He sounds like he・s trying not to laugh. Can・t say I blame him. Witnessing a catfight over one・s affections is definitely an amusing way to wake up.

I freeze. ・Y・know, Logan, I love you and all, but probably I should be getting back to my room, I have to study, I mean, I have to read, or something・・ I say all this way too fast and trail off at the end.

Excellent. Very convincing. I hope he overlooks the fact that I・m talking to the door.

・I・m over here,・ he says.

So much for letting me save face. I turn around and stare intensely at a spot on the wall behind him.

・Admiring the woodwork?・ he asks me, and I catch a hint of a grin.

・No, trying to ignore the fact that you・re half naked.・ The words fly right out, no brain-to-lips communication whatsoever. I slap my hands over my mouth and execute the first Defense Against Eye Contact maneuver that comes to mind, namely sitting down on the floor and covering my eyes.

Boy oh boy, hangovers sure do wonders for a person・s maturity level, don・t they!

Logan・s laughing. After a moment, I hear drawers opening. ・Keep your eyes shut, Jubes.・

I don・t need any further encouragement. Fabric rustles, and I all but blind myself by digging the heels of my hands into my eye sockets.

・Okay, it・s safe.・ I hear him sit down on the bed, and I pry my hands away from my eyes. Still no shirt, but now he・s wearing jeans, thank God. He pats the space next to him. ・C・mere.・

I get up and back away from him. ・I really should go see if Rogue・・

・You of all people ought to know to stay away from her until she cools down.・ He gazes up at me, eyes adorably wide, and stretches a hand out to me.

I sigh and give in. He knows I・m helpless to the powers of the beaten-puppy eyes, but usually he doesn・t take advantage of it. Stupid Logan. I take his hand and let him pull me down next to him.

・I・m a rat fink,・ I moan, flopping my hands helplessly in my lap.

I could kick him for laughing at me, but I know it would only increase his amusement, and it would probably hurt my foot. Stupid Logan and his stupid adamantium.

・Why are you a rat fink?・ he wants to know. My mouth drops open.

・You can・t possibly be that dense,・ I explain.

・Huh?・

The beaten-puppy eyes have turned into confused-puppy eyes. It・s cute. I pat his hand. ・It・s okay, Wolvie. Brains aren・t everything.・

He growls at me, and now there・s no trace of puppy eyes, confused or otherwise. ・Don・t push it, Jubes.・

I sigh. ・Logan, please tell me you・re not hearing this for the first time. Rogue・s completely and totally and utterly head-over-heels in love with you.・

Logan・s head actually moves back about six inches, and I allow myself a little laugh at his expense. It・s positively bizarre to see a look of such astonishment on his face. Then again, very little catches the Wolverine off guard.

・I thought it was just a crush,・ Logan says, and now he looks a slightly crestfallen and more than a little baffled. I sigh.

・Wolvie, darling, you know I think nothing but the best of you, but sometimes you can be so thick. Haven・t you noticed that her crush has lasted the better part of two years?・

I can・t believe it. Logan・s speechless.

・Let me be straight with you,・ I continue, slinging an arm around Logan・s bare shoulders (which, I might add, are still delightfully damp). ・Every time you come back, Rogue turns into the roommate from hell. She sleeps all day, keeps us up all night with her sniffling, and clutches those tags of yours like they・re a life support system, or something. It・s positively pathetic.・ I glance at him sideways. ・I wasn・t supposed to tell you, but I figure she・s going to kill me in my sleep now anyway, so what the hell.・

・But I・what do I・・ Logan looks at me pleadingly. ・Jubes, help me out here.・

I could strangle him, I really could. I pull away from him and smack him on the arm. ・You are so stupid! I・ve been trying to do just that since day one!・ I glare at him. ・You know what your problem is?・

・Yeah.・ He glares right back. ・My problem is you・re hitting me and yelling at me instead of telling me what to do to get out of this mess.・

I stop and consider. Hm・he may have something there. I calm myself down and speak in the measured tones of a Rational Young Adult. ・Well, Logan, the first thing you need to do to resolve the Problem is to assess how you feel about our friend Rogue.・ I clasp my hands in my lap and look up at him, eyes wide and eyebrows sky-high. I frankly can・t believe I・m having this conversation with him.

Logan stares at me blankly. ・I don・t know how I feel about her. She・s just Marie.・

・And what, exactly, do you mean by ・just Marie・?・ I ask. God, this feels so・junior high.

My forehead・s starting to hurt. I decide to hell with the Therapist Look and let my eyebrows fall back to their normal position.

Logan shrugs helplessly. ・She・s a nice kid and a sweet girl and I・m sure she・ll be able to pick one of the guys falling all over themselves for her.・ He・s beginning to look panicky. ・Right?・

・Right,・ I say, patting his arm reassuringly. Better to be gentle with him than run the risk of his freaking out on me. I take a deep breath.

・Well, Wolvie, the good news is, at least the situation・s not ambiguous any more.・

His forehead wrinkles in bewilderment. ・And the bad news?・

I take a deep breath. ・You have to tell that to Rogue.・

Logan, to his credit, does not flat-out refuse, as I expected him to.

Instead, he looks frankly terrified. ・What?・

I roll my eyes. ・You can・t expect to continue letting her put herself through this misery, can you?・ I rub my temples. ・I had way too much to drink last night to be dealing with this situation right now.・

Logan absently begins kneading my neck. ・So I・m supposed to tell her to get a boyfriend, or what?・

It occurs to me as I・m relaxing into Logan・s strong fingers that this might just be one of the things Rogue resents about my relationship with Logan, but what the hell, I'm a sucker for a good massage, and Logan・s are about as good as they get. I shut my eyes. ・Very tactful, Wolvie.・

・Well, what then?・

I rest my head in my hands. ・Not everyone is as to-the-point as you, believe it or not.・

He stops rubbing my neck long enough to poke me in the shoulder. ・You are.・

I allow myself a little smug smile. ・I am, aren・t I?・ I say indulgently, giving myself a mental pat on the back. ・But Rogue, she isn・t,・ I add, remembering the problem at hand. ・She・s sensitive. Sometimes overly so,・ I add, remembering one particular incident in which Rogue cried for two hours because Logan didn・t say good morning to her. ・You can・t just be like, Hey Rogue, I・m not in love with you, go find somebody else. That・ll crush her,・ I tell him, turning my head a little to look at him.

He sighs. ・Women,・ he mutters gruffly, shaking his head. I smile at him sympathetically.

・You・re right, though,・ I say, ・she probably needs some time to calm down.・ And cry, I add silently. I pat Logan・s leg. ・I gotta go grab a shower. I feel really gross.・

Logan snorts. ・Yeah, how you feel ain・t nothin・ compared to how you smell.・ He grins at me, and I roll my eyes.

・Again, you・re one to talk,・ I say with the placating smile of the infinitely patient. ・Come find me later, okay?・

・Sure.・ He pats the top of my head.

As I head for the door, I remember something that・s been bothering me. ・Hey, Logan.・

・Yeah?・

・Where・d you sleep last night?・

He raises an eyebrow and stares at me meaningfully.

I roll my eyes. ・Come off it, stud.・

・Okay, okay, I slept on the floor. Perfect gentleman, see?・ He bares his teeth at me in a grin of mock-innocence, and it makes me smile.

・Good to know, Wolvie. See you later.・

・Bye, Jubes.・

It・s not until I・m in the shower that I realize, throughout the entire conversation, he didn・t call me ・kid・ once.

***

The rest of the afternoon goes by in a blur. I want to go back to sleep after lunch but can・t seem to get comfortable, so I settle for lazing around the pool with Kitty and St. John, drinking blue-flavored Kool-Aid and making idle threats about how I・m going to kill Kitty for walking out on me this morning. For some reason, though, she doesn・t seem to be taking me seriously.

・I mean it.・ I wave my glass around in Kitty・s general direction. ・That was a shitty thing to do, throwing me to the wolves.・

・To the Rogue, you mean. The wolves didn・t seem to be a problem,・ St. John says, smirking at his Game Boy.

Kitty yawns. ・Sorry, sorry, sorry. But really・・ she throws one arm out dramatically・・what purpose was I serving, standing there?・

・You could have at least given me fair warning.・ My retort is a little less than biting; my headache is almost gone, and the sun is making me drowsy.

・How was I supposed to know she would go off like a firecracker?・ Kitty yawns again. ・What did you say to her, anyway? I saw her storming down the hall not three minutes after she came in.・

Firecracker? Storming? Puns intended?

・Hello? Jubilee?・ Kitty throws an ice cube at me. It lands on my stomach and immediately begins melting.

・That・s cold,・ I inform her.

・Talk,・ she replies.

・Huh?・ My train of thought appears to be stuck. I wrinkle my forehead. What was she saying? Oh yes, Rogue. ・Um・Oh! Actually, I didn・t say much of anything. Logan walked in and scared her away.・

Kitty・s eyes widen, and her face assumes its usual hungry-for-gossip expression. ・What・d he say, then?・

Water is dripping down my sides. I try to rescue the last little sliver of ice cube, but it melts between my fingers. Damn.

・Jubilee!・ Kitty sounds impatient. ・Will you concentrate!・

・He said・he said・I think she thought I slept with him.・ I fish around in my glass for an ice cube and put it in my mouth. ・・He ouldn・t issen oo eason ayeeay.・

What?・ St. John looks over at me, a bewildered expression on his face.

・・She wouldn・t listen to reason anyway,・・ Kitty translates for him. He gives me a puzzled look and goes back to his Game Boy.

I crunch down on my ice cube. ・It・s not like (crunch, crunch) I meant to (crunch) seduce him or anything.・ I swallow the ice crumbs. ・He・s way old, you know?・

Kitty rolls her eyes. ・You sound so conservative.・

・Well, he is. Anyway, I・ll talk to Rogue later. She can・t stay mad forever, right?・ I smile at Kitty, who sighs.

・Let・s hope not,・ she replies. ・If she does, that・s going to make things a heck of a lot less pleasant for me.・

***

Dinner comes and goes, and I don・t see any sign of either Logan or Rogue. Hopefully they・ve straightened everything out and Rogue won・t hate me. That・s not too much to ask, is it?

I wander out into the garden with my after-dinner cup of coffee for a little time alone to sort things out. The fact is, ever since yesterday at the pool, things have been noticeably weird between Logan and I. If it were anyone else, I would tend to think it・s just me, but Logan・s not one to aim bedroom eyes at just anyone. Leers, yes. Lewd smirks, yes. But the ・I-wanna-rip-your-clothes-off-and-take-you-nice-and-slow-right-here・ stare? I always thought he reserved that particular look for a certain redhead. Or even Miss Munroe. Certainly not his good buddy Jubes, his compadre, his Danger Room opponent, the smartass chick who kicks his hairy ass at Tekken 3 every time.

I sit down on a wrought-iron bench and rest my forearms on my knees. Why, I think to myself, am I not positively freaked about the sudden bout of smoldering looks? I mean, come on, Jubilee, that・s just ick. Right? Like this morning, I remind myself. What was your reaction, Jubes? Remember? Ick, wasn・t it? Ick ick ick ick ick? Positively butt-nasty, right?

The problem is, it doesn・t seem to be that icky right now, and I definitely do not like that. You might say I・m positively freaked about the fact that I・m not positively freaked. I mean, I・m only a junior in college, and he・s like Grandpappy Logan with his see-gars and whiskey.

Of course, a tiny little voice in the back of my mind reminds me, for a grandpappy, he really does have a great chest.

ARGH!

Okay, this is definitely not cool. One of my best friends is probably out there getting her poor little Southern heart broken and I・m daydreaming about running my fingers through Logan・s chest hair.

WHAT?!?

This time, I scream out loud.

***

I don・t realize just how loud I・ve screamed until Miss Munroe comes running up to me, snowy hair flying. ・Jubilee!・

I start and jump to attention. ・What!・

Her dark eyes are wide. ・Are you all right?・

I wrinkle my forehead. ・Physically, yes.・

・Why did you scream?・ Now she looks confused. ・You are not hurt?・

・No, not really. Sorry.・ I aim an apologetic little smile in her direction and shrug. ・Guess I・m just loudmouthed tonight.・

There・s a long pause. Finally, Miss Munroe speaks.

・Sometimes, when I am confused about something, I come out here to sit and think.・ Miss Munroe eyes me shrewdly. ・This thing you are thinking about・it is about Logan and Rogue, is it not?・

Geez. Sometimes I wonder just who the psychics at this school really are. I look off to the side, raising my eyebrows, giving her my best ・Who, me?・ expression.

・I shall take that as a yes.・ She sits down on the bench next to me. ・Would you like to talk about this problem?・

I shrug. ・I don・t know if it・s really my place to tell you, Miss Munroe.・

She chuckles, and I・m surprised. The weather goddess doesn・t laugh very often. ・Have I not told you dozens of times that you may stop calling me Miss Munroe? I much prefer Ororo, now that you are two years out of high school,・ she tells me, arching one perfectly plucked eyebrow.

・It・s weird calling you teachers by your first names,・ I say. ・Isn・t it supposed to be a respect thing, or something?・ You can・t argue with that.

・For the students, yes,・ Miss Munroe replies. ・But you are no longer one of our students. Now I consider you an equal.・

Coming from Storm, that・s definitely saying a lot.

・Besides,・ she continues, and now her tone drops to that of a co-conspirator, ・I have heard rumors that you are being reviewed for the team.・

My jaw drops. ・Seriously?・

But it・s clear from her enigmatic smile and the sly gleam in her eyes that she won・t say another word on the subject.

・So,・ she continues brusquely, having piqued my curiosity enough to keep me involved in the conversation, ・let us discuss this problem of Rogue and Logan.・

I shrug helplessly. ・You want the long story or the abridged version?・

Another tiny smile. ・Long, please.・

・Okay.・ I take a deep breath and launch into it, starting from the previous morning. When I get to the part about the bar, Ororo・s eyebrows go up. ・So The Shack is the bar at which Remy wanted you to meet him? How did you get in?・

I widen my eyes and give her an exaggerated hush-hush look. ・Fake I.D.s aren・t that hard to come by・Ororo.

She shakes her head, smiling, and I continue. ・So after Logan wakes me up, we get on his bike and go out to the club, right? And when we get there he wants to just drop me off, and I・m like, no way, Jose, ・cause there・s already like five people in Kitty・s car and no way I・m sitting on anyone・s lap and my lap is strictly reserved for Heath Ledger.・ Ororo smiles. ・But anyway, so I make him go in with me and Kitty and St. John are there and they・re already totally trashed, so they・re pretty much worthless, and then I see Bobby and he・s dancing with Rogue and she・s wearing this・・ I make a face, trying to think of the words to describe Rogue・s outfit・・bodysuit thing, but it・s like totally see-through, I mean, she・s wearing clothes, but she looks really, you know・・ I break off and look at Ororo expectantly. She nods. ・And so they・re practically getting it on right there on the dance floor, and Logan gets all shitty and starts growling, so I tell him to knock it off and leave her alone, and you know how he gets so neurotic about her with other guys?・

A slow nod. I gesture wildly with my now-empty coffee mug. ・But this time, he actually seems to like listen to me, and then he goes, ・Buy ya a drink?・ And I・m like, well, I have money, for once, but I・m not stupid, so I say sure, and we go over to the bar and just hang out there for a while, and then after like two beers, I try to get him to dance, but he・s a stupid old lump and won・t get up.・ I take a breath. ・So I go find Remy, and after I shove my way through all his women・I swear to God, in a past life he was a pimp or something・I get him to dance with me, and so we・re dancing to this song that I thought was by Brad Paisley but is actually by Toby Keith, and then all of a sudden this big ol・ hairy body shoves in between me and Remy, and Remy winks at me, and if that・s not weird enough, Logan starts actually dancing with me, and you know what?・

It looks like Ororo・s trying to hide a grin. I have no idea why. ・What?・

・He・s actually a good dancer!・ I throw my hands in the air. ・Who・dathunkit?・

Ororo makes a choking noise. ・I had・no idea,・ she says, sounding sort of forced. ・Who・dathunkit, indeed.・

I roll my eyes. ・So anyway, we・re dancing to the Dixie Chicks, of all things・・ at this, Ororo・s eyes bulge and she claps a hand over her mouth・・and then I・m like, oh my God! What the hell am I doing? This is the guy Rogue・s been like obsessing over for like two years! So I・m like, what・s the quickest way out of this situation? And the answer is, of course, have another beer!・

・Wise choice,・ Ororo says.

・Is that sarcasm I hear in your voice?・ I ask, eyes wide. ・My God, Ororo!・ I make a face. ・Ororo. Ororo. Ororo Ororo Ororo. That・s so weird.・

・Never mind. Continue.・

・So anyway, somehow I end up dancing either two or three more dances with him・I don・t remember, my God, I was so drunk, it・d been a long time since I went out last・and then I realized I couldn・t even walk straight, and that・s pretty much all I remember, but Logan said I threw up on the side of the road and then again when we got back to the Mansion in his bathroom, and then I guess I passed out in his bathroom, so he cleaned me up and put me in his bed・・ At this, Ororo・s eyes get positively huge, and I wave my hands at her and shake my head vehemently. ・No, no, nothing happened, ・cause he slept on the floor. But it was weird all the same, and I totally freaked out when I woke up this morning, but it was all good, you know? And he brought me coffee and the toast you made me, that・s why I thought you knew about the Shack and the fact that I was in Logan・s room・・

Ororo shakes her head. ・I only knew you had been drinking. I just assumed you were drinking at the Mansion.・

・Oh.・ I look around, caught off guard. ・Um・yeah, about that whole situation・・

But the weather goddess just smiles. ・Jubilee, everyone knows Logan buys your beer.・

I make a horrible face. So much for my secret-agent stealth. ・Anyway, everything・s cool, right? Until Kitty comes in and tells me that Rogue slept with Bobby・・ When I catch the look on Ororo・s face, I realize this is really starting to sound like a poorly written soap opera, but I persevere. ・And then five minutes later Rogue herself comes barging in and starts yelling at me about how I・m a backstabber and a horrible person and I end up hiding under the covers because my head hurts so bad and the last thing I want to be is a backstabbing friend, I didn・t mean to piss her off, and oh yeah, Logan・s in the shower, ・cause Kitty wanted to talk to me alone but I couldn・t get out of bed, but anyway, Kitty escapes and Rogue's yelling at me and then Logan walks in practically naked and she gets all embarrassed so I decide that maybe she・ll be less pissed if I help her save some face, so I make some smartass remark, and she just glares icicles at me and leaves! And then I・m stuck telling Logan that oh my God duh Rogue is madly in love with him, and he gets all confused and now he・s going to tell her how he really feels which is and I quote ・she・s a nice kid and a sweet girl and she・ll pick one of the guys who・s falling all over her・ and he doesn・t seem to get it that she won・t and I haven・t seen either of them since then and I・m really afraid to go to the room because Rogue might kill me in my sleep.・

I take a huge breath and slump over the armrest, panting.

・That was quite a story.・ She looks amused.

・Glad you thought so.・ I can・t seem to catch my breath. ・So what・s your assessment of the situation? Whaddya think?・

She thinks for a moment, serious now, dark eyes gazing off at some point in the distance. I wait impatiently for an impartial opinion.

When she finally speaks, however, I am thrown completely off guard.

・I think,・ she says, her words slow and deliberate and carefully formed, ・that you will have to work very hard to keep your friendship with Rogue intact when she realizes that you and Logan are attracted to each other.・

For the second time in this conversation, my jaw drops. I sit there gaping at Ororo with, I・m sure, a completely doltish expression on my face. ・・Scuse me?・

She turns to me with eyes so coolly intense that I actually scoot away from her; if I looked silly before, I probably look like a complete idiot now. She doesn・t say a word, just watches me with one eyebrow raised, as if gauging my reaction.

Which isn・t, I・ll admit, completely mature.

Whaaaat!・ I screech, after I・ve recovered from the initial shock. ・You think I・what?!

Then Ororo smiles. It isn・t a happy smile; it・s more like the smug expression the smart kids wear in school after they・ve won the spelling bee.

That look has always infuriated me.

I start laughing. ・You・ve got to be kidding.・

・Have I?・ Ooh, but I hate it when she goes all robotic. She used to do that in class when someone got an answer wrong. ARGH ARGH ARGH! I scuff my feet on the ground furiously, scuff scuff scuff scuff scuff. Dirt goes flying behind me. Poor ground; it・s really taking a beating, and it didn・t do anything wrong. I scuff some more, scowling at my feet. My voice is tiny, petulant. ・I do not like Logan. I do not like him even a teensy little bit.・

・All right.・ The robot voice again.

・Domo arigato, Mister Roboto,・ I sing quietly through clenched teeth.

・Hm?・ Ororo raises her eyebrows. I make a face.

・Nothing.・ I look up at her and spread my hands. ・Look, even if I did like him, which I don・t, it・d still be gross and icky, ・cause he・s old! Grandpappy wheelchair stogies and whiskey sitting on the front porch of the stupid nursing home!・ I・m vaguely aware that I・m not making a bit of sense and am, for some reason, hissing though my teeth, but I don・t really care. I kick the ground some more.

And then, for the second time in two days, I burst into tears.

This is ridiculous, I think, as Ororo pats me on the shoulder sympathetically. Jubilation Lee does not cry! Jubilation Lee never cries! This is just flat out positively ri-dic-u-lous!

Ridiculous as it may be, though, it doesn・t change the fact that I・m sniveling into my lap. I sit up, take a few hiccupy breaths, and swipe angrily at my eyes.

・It is all right, you know,・ Ororo says quietly, handing me a Kleenex that seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

I thrust my chin out and glare at her. ・What・s all right?・ I ask, swiping the Kleenex and scrubbing at my cheeks.

・To be attracted to him,・ Ororo replies, and I scowl fiercely.

・Stupid Logan・stupid, stupid Logan!・ I manage through gritted teeth. ・Everything・s gone and gotten all・all stupid!・ I dissolve into tears again. Geez. Not only am I acting like I・m PMSing, it also appears that my vocabulary has gone out the proverbial window. I know I sometimes talk like a Valley girl, but this is just・stupid.

Okay. Okay. Gotta calm down. Can・t walk around the Mansion looking like I just got maced. Deep breaths. Cleansing breaths. Yoga breaths.

I eventually get my rampaging emotions in check and sit up. ・Okay,・ I announce, ・I・m calm now. Everyone go home, nothing more to see here, no indeedy.・

Ororo pats my shoulder again. ・You should think about this situation a little more carefully, I believe, Jubilee,・ she says seriously, but there・s good humor in her eyes. ・But first, I think you must talk with Rogue. She will need your support when Logan tells her how he feels.・

Right. Think of Rogue. Don・t think about Logan.

Just think of Rogue.

***

Whaddya think? I・m considering going into serious Jubilee/Logan territory・actually, to be totally honest, that・s already written・but tell me if I should post it! ~Jane