Continued directly from 18a....
*This is a DATE, a real DATE*, Scott Summers told himself as he tried
to avoid cutting his chin with a razor. He was going out with Jean
Grey. After five years of waiting, he was finally going out with
His hands shook and his brain occasionally detoured into a youthful
Neverland of what he wished could be, and he wound up cutting himself
three times anyway, each a bright sting of pain like a stainless
steel admonishment. Finally, he dropped the razor into the sudsy
water with a plop, and leaned over to brace palms on cool porcelain.
"Get a grip, Summers."
At ten to seven, he was pacing, all nervous, in the wood-paneled den:
over to the pool table, around the Ficus tree, across the Persian
runner in front of the door, past the black leather couch, and back
to the pool table. Francesco Placido, who was inelegantly sprawled
over a florid-red Queen Anne seat, quit reading to watch him. "Chill
out, Scott," he said.
Scott paused, and smiled. "I'm having d�j�-vu." Frank smiled back,
and Scott walked over to plop down on the couch. "Did you know?" he
asked. "Five years ago?"
Frank's eyebrows went up in a silent question.
"When I took her to see PHANTOM, on Broadway, did you know then?"
Frank's confusion became amusement. "There are many futures -- "
"Oh, cut the TWILIGHT ZONE lines, Frank. Just answer the goddamn
Frank laughed. "Yes, I knew it was likely." Then he dug in his back
pocket for his wallet, pulled it free and fished inside, handing
Scott a foil package. "You did not take this last time."
Grinning, Scott accepted, more to acknowledge the gesture than
because he thought he was likely to need it.
When Jean finally appeared, Scott met her in the doorway. "Nice,"
she said, patting the lapel of his leather jacket. "I hope I'm not
under-dressed." She indicated her black shirt and khaki pants. "I
figured, just for a movie -- "
"You're fine," he interrupted, kissing her cheek and wondering why
she was worried. Jean had a gift for making anything elegant. "I
like your hair, and" -- he touched one of the rhinestone hoops --
"when did you get your ears pierced?"
She pulled the earring off and held it up. "Clips."
"Oh." And it struck him how very different this time was than five
years ago when he'd been a stuttering wreck, almost afraid to touch
her. Now, they were discussing her fashion accessories. "You look
"You're a flatterer," she replied, but blushed all the same, having
spent an hour in the bathroom, and perhaps that was excessive when
he'd seen her at her worst not long ago, but she'd wanted to be
pretty for him tonight. For all her fierce attachment to her adult
independence, her childhood programming of pink ruffles, Mary Janes,
and Barbie dolls left her wanting to be the envy of other women. At
least once in a while.
"Come on, let's get out of here," he said, and with a hand at the
small of her back, ushered her down the hall towards the garage.
They took the Mercedes, because it was her favorite, and she drove,
because he was pretending to be blind. It was a subterfuge EJ had
invented, back at Berkeley, to keep people from staring at the guy
wearing shades in a dark movie theater. Scott even had a red-tipped
cane, and was good at the counterfeit after years of practice, but
for dinner, he didn't use it. They ate at The Auberge Maxime, the
priciest place in their region of Westchester but worth it for the
ambiance, like a Proven�al cottage crossed with a fairy tale. They
meandered through extensive gardens while they waited for their
table. (Even with reservations, it took half an hour.) He got a
kiss under the willow, and it was sweeter, he thought, than the scent
of white moonflowers wrapped around garden trellises. The ma�tre 'd
seated them outside on the terrace, and the waitress had to come back
twice because they both kept forgetting to look at the menu, being so
engrossed in looking at each other. The second time, at the woman's
rolled-eyes, Jean said, "I think we'd better pick something," and
turned her attention to the faux-leather carte du jour.
"Do you read French?" he asked.
"Then you order, because I haven't got a fucking clue what half this
She laughed, but she ordered. He got roast duck fillet with apples
and Porto sauce. "People eat this?" he asked. "Quack, quack."
"Philistine." She kicked him under the table.
It was, he admitted later, very good, and a little tipsy on the wine,
they walked around the gardens again after eating and didn't seek the
concealment of willow branches to exchange kisses. "You taste like
peppered duck," she told him, laughing. He chased her out to the
car, and she drove them to the White Plains Rose Theater.
Constructed in a 1920s art nouveau architectural style, it
specialized these days in classics, and was open only on Thursdays,
Fridays, and Saturdays, catering to local film connoisseurs. Scott
had chosen it less for the film (Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn
in THE LION IN WINTER) and more for the fact that there wouldn't be
much of a crowd on Thursday, and he could neck with Jean in a back
row. He was right about the lack of a crowd, but not about the
"I *love* Katherine Hepburn!" she said in delight, clapping her hands
together when she discovered what film he'd chosen. "How did you
He hadn't, but he smiled enigmatically, and she made them sit near
the front, not in back. He had to watch the film because she wanted
to. She did, at least, let him put an arm around her, and rested her
head on his shoulder.
Jean had ulterior motives for dragging Scott to the front of the
theater, and they didn't owe to Katherine Hepburn. She knew very
well what he wanted, could feel it in him, the press of desire. It
had been like this ever since Sunday night. Whenever they were
together, he became urgently physical, and if half of her reveled in
it, the other half feared it. Just like every other man she'd ever
dated, Scott wanted sex, but she wasn't too sure what to think of
that because, this time, she wanted it almost as much. Her own lust
Based on a play, the film was unusually long and midnight had passed
by the time the theater emptied. Jean was aware of second glances as
she led her "blind" boyfriend through the antique lobby, his cane
tap-tapping in front of them, but she sensed only curiosity in the
minds around them, or mild pity.
Scott, however, was pensive. "What is it?" she asked as they exited
out into the brisk night wind and the intermittent illumination of
"It wasn't much of a date movie, was it?"
She laughed at him. "I didn't mind. I told you, I love Katherine
Hepburn and she won an Oscar for that performance."
Scott didn't reply immediately and their steps slowed as they neared
the little parking lot with its old, cracked blacktop. He didn't
forget and look down even once, though it meant he stumbled over
pavement breaks. People were still moving out of the theater, a soft
shuffle of voices in half-heard conversations. Finally, Scott said,
"You know, I'm not sure if he hated her or loved her. Henry, I
"I think he felt both. That's the tragedy of it." She was silent a
moment, then went on, "I remember this pair of professors who taught
at Bard with Dad. The woman was on the history faculty, and her
husband was in English, or philosophy, I don't remember now. Anyway,
they lived on the same street we did, and were married for a while,
then got a divorce, but the weird thing was that he used to come over
to the house all the time after. He mowed her lawn. They had a
daughter, sure, but it was more than that. I swear, they even still
had sex. I asked Dad about it once and he said, 'They love each
other, they just can't live together.'" They were silent for five
more steps. "I think Henry and Eleanor were like that. Love's a
strange thing. Sometimes people make their own arrangements, despite
Only belatedly did she realize how that had sounded, but thankfully,
he didn't comment. They'd reached the car and she turned to lean
back against the passenger side so she could face him. He continued
to play blind, not looking directly at her as others climbed into
cars and drove away, a hum of motors and flash of headlights.
"Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet met and fell in love when
she was still married to her first husband," Jean said. Daughter of
a British history professor, she knew all her kings and queens. "She
was older than Henry by eleven years." Her lips quirked up. "She
had quite the reputation, the Crusading Queen."
"I kinda gathered that from the movie. Did she really have an affair
with Henry's father?"
"Who knows? She certainly had an affair with Henry." Jean laughed.
"She was four months pregnant when they married, and they were
married only two months after her marriage to Louis was annulled. Do
the math. Anyway, according to legend, she helped him to his throne
and they loved each other madly -- and fought like cats and dogs.
She was very smart; that was part of the problem." She looked off.
"Great kings look for equally great opponents, I think. But Henry
didn't have an equal, unless it was his own wife."
"So he locked her up and had affairs with a string of pretty girls?"
"It was a different world, Scott. Men didn't take kindly to smart
women with minds of their own."
He leaned into the car beside her, weight on his hip, facing her. "I
like smart women with minds of their own."
She could feel the heat in her face. "Do you? Have men really
"I'd like to think so."
"Then why were they never interested in me?" It was said sharply,
and she raised her eyes to meet his behind quartz. He seemed to have
forgotten he was supposed to be blind. "All they wanted was to get
in my pants." It was, almost, a challenge.
"Then they were stupid."
"You don't want to get in my pants?" And that was a challenge.
His smile was genuine, but also calculated to be charming. "I want
in your pants, but I also want in your head."
"You know just what to say, don't you?"
"I'm not lying."
And he wasn't. She knew he wasn't. But she grabbed him by the
lapels of his jacket and shook him a little -- frustrated. She felt
like crying. "I want to believe you."
"You can read my mind, but you still doubt it?"
"I *want* to believe. It's just . . . hard." She'd said the same
thing in the Danger Room weeks ago and he put his arms around her,
wrapping her up and hating the men who'd made her mistrust, who'd
made her shy. But that also made him remember Phoebe -- pretty
Phoebe who he hadn't thought about in ages, but now he recalled what
he'd done, and the old guilt came crashing back. Jean sensed it and,
troubled by doubts already, reached to discover the cause. For the
first time, he flinched back mentally from her, yet he wasn't
experienced enough to keep her out, and she -- clumsy with sudden
alarm -- stripped him bare.
Disillusioned, she pulled away to stare at him, and
conscience-stricken, he dropped his gaze. He couldn't speak; shame
had stopped his voice. He expected her to walk away and leave him
there. But for Jean, it was the back handed confirmation she'd
needed, the assurance that what he wanted from her was different.
She *wasn't* Phoebe. And he wasn't Ted.
"I can hardly throw stones, Scott," she whispered. Tentatively, she
reached out to run her palm down the slick leather of his jacket.
"It was a long time ago. You apologized -- which is a hell of a lot
more than anyone ever did for me. You actually regret it."
"I didn't mean to hurt her," he said.
She studied his face. "I know," she said finally. "And I didn't
mean to hurt Ted. But he wasn't you." She brushed his cheek with a
fingertip. "I was waiting for you to grow up," she confessed.
"I grew up."
"Yeah, I noticed."
"You fought it."
"I did. But the age difference will never go away. I'll be forty
when you're thirty-two. Will you still love me when I have gray in
my hair and lines on my face and cellulose on my hips?"
He made a choked sound, somewhere between pain and disgust. "Why do
you keep coming back to that? Why do you think I give a damn? If I
love you, I love you. I didn't fall in love with your hips, or your
hair, or your face. I fell in love with you, okay? You keep
reducing it to the outside and that's really insulting, y'know? Like
I don't have a heart, or a brain in my head. How can you possibly
say you love me if you think I'm that shallow?"
She could feel the jagged, deep pain behind the question and, for the
first time, spun her doubts around to look at them from his
perspective. And he was right. It was insulting. "It may take me a
while," she admitted finally. "I do believe you, Scott, or I
wouldn't be here. I just . . . Be patient with me, okay? I have
to learn to trust you." She swallowed, almost convulsively, and
tilted her head. "It's like all those bad teen-flicks where the star
quarterback asks the science geek to the prom. That doesn't happen
in real life."
Leaning in, he pushed his forehead against hers. "I was never a
quarterback, okay? I'm just Scott, who loves Jean. Can we leave it
It made her smile, and tear up (embarrassingly) for no good reason.
"Yeah," she whispered.
"Good. Now kiss me and unlock the door, so we can go home. You have
to get up early."
She did as he ordered, though it was rather difficult to find the
keyhole when she couldn't look because he had hold of her and was
kissing her hard in the (now empty) parking lot. And the hot flashes
happened all over again in the pit of her belly and the backs of her
knees. And he was just Scott. And she was just Jean. She wrapped
her free arm around his neck as the alchemy of a kiss turned
affection into raw carnality, and why, she wondered, did this scare
her so much? That he could make her want him like this? She'd never
felt this for anyone that she could recall, and some part of her was
waking up from hibernation. Wasn't she allowed to feel this?
Finally, she got the door open, but he didn't seem inclined to stop
so he could get in. She had to pull away. She was panting. "Do you
still want me to drive? Everyone's gone."
"You've been driving since the beginning, Jean." He wasn't talking
about the car.
Embarrassed, she looked away and walked to the driver's side. He was
right. She was driving, and she took them back to Salem Center from
White Plains, but as they turned onto Greymalkin Lane, she headed
right on a little-used access road off the main drive. "Why are you
going to the lake?" he asked.
She didn't answer, her hands tight on the wheel to keep them from
shaking and her throat too dry to speak. Finally, she came to a stop
on a little gravel drive leading to the boat house. It was pitch
black out here away from the mansion or any town, and the car's
lights reflected off the side of the building and caught the yellow
flash of some animal's eyes as it scurried off. Her heart was
beating fast and she was afraid to look at him, afraid to see his
expression. "I've never done this 'park thing' before," she blurted,
"unless you count by proxy." And she wasn't sure how much that
mattered. In memory, she had a hundred times more experience than
Scott, from a hundred different lives; but in her own reality, she
had far, far less. Those lives weren't this life, those bodies
weren't her body, and those men weren't this man. Just Jean. She
had to be just Jean, and this night was hers. She couldn't let those
other lives rob her of her own. "So what do we do now?"
A momentary pause, then his voice came, sounding amused. "Well, I'd
suggest getting in the back. Bucket seats don't make things very
easy." Reassured by his tone, she glanced over to find him turned in
the seat, watching her. The dashboard lights reflected off his
glasses and high cheekbones. Sometimes, like now, the stark beauty
of his face took her breath away, and she wondered (not for the first
time) how much more shocking he would be, if she could see his eyes?
She also wondered (not for the first time) if he'd have looked at her
twice, had his life not been disrupted by his mutation? His last
prom date had been the head cheerleader. But then she remembered his
rebuke, outside the theater, not to forget he had a mind and a heart,
and was it any less cruel to condemn others for their beauty, than
for their homeliness or their age or their skin color?
Scott watched her watching him, and if he couldn't guess the exact
nature of her doubts, her distress was still plain to see in dark
eyes huge like a deer's, and liquid. He felt nervous, too, but a
thrumming excitement overshadowed it, and her boldness enchanted him,
largely because it was so artless. Leaning over, he stroked her
cheek with the back of his knuckles. "I've never done this 'park
thing,' either," he told her.
Her expression was startled. "Really?"
"Really." He didn't think the experience in Lee's van with the crazy
girl Pam counted. "Trust it, Jean," he said. "Trust yourself. It's
not some performance, okay?" And reaching around, he unlocked the
rear door on his side, got out, and climbed in back. Jean watched
him over the top of her seat, then abruptly, did the same, joining
him. She'd brought the keys with her and he snagged them away,
leaning over the front seat to return them to the ignition so he
could turn on the radio. The station was playing Bruce Springsteen,
"Dancing in the Dark."
You can't start a fire. You can't start a fire without a spark,
This gun's for hire, even if we're just dancing in the dark . .
You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling
He almost laughed at the serendipity, but when he settled back, she
was sitting very demurely, half tucked into a corner, hands folded in
her lap, eyes resting on them. *Christ*, he thought; she looked like
a virgin on her wedding night, and that bothered him. "Jean, maybe
we should just go back to the house. You do have to get up in about
three hours, and -- "
"*No!*" Then more calmly, "No, no." She raised her eyes. They
didn't appear frightened, and they weren't demure, and whatever
doubts he'd had vanished.
Leaning across the space between them, palm cupping the back of her
neck, he kissed her hard, and it was all fire inside, all sensation.
His skin burned. There was no room for thinking, only feeling.
"Trust this," he whispered between licking the corner of her mouth
and sucking her bottom lip. "Trust your body. I won't hurt you. I
won't do anything you don't want to do."
*I know*, she replied, and without hesitation, slipped down on the
leather seat beneath him, pulling him on top, between her knees. "Be
careful of the glasses," she whispered.
"They're tight," he whispered back. "And my eyes are shut."
"Maybe we should just take them off -- "
"No!" His turn to protest vehemently, and his whole body had tensed
up. "No. It's not safe."
He shifted, moving his mouth down over her chin to her neck and
across her chest to her right breast, impatiently pushing up the
fabric to expose black lace. She was glad she'd taken the trouble to
wear something other than cotton tonight, and maybe she should have
been ashamed, but she couldn't summon the necessary remorse.
Instead, she locked her ankles behind his legs and pressed his head
against her chest. "Oh, God, oh, God," she muttered over and over,
and he rose up a little on his knees, enough so that he could slide
his hand over the crotch of her pants, pressing the seam of her
khakis against her swollen labia. She rocked against his hand until
he moved it, wiggling his fingers under the waistband while he
switch attention from one breast to the other. But he was a little
too eager, and missed his balance, shifting right when he should have
He fell off the seat onto the car floor, almost taking Jean with him.
It startled them both so much, he sat with his jaw hanging open while
she burst out laughing. That altered his expression from surprise to
humiliation and she bit the back of her hand to stop giggling. "Oh,
Scott, I'm not laughing at you. It's just *funny*!"
And it was. Abruptly, he started laughing as well, then came up off
the floor, grabbing her in his arms and tickling her. She squirmed
and tickled back, and it ended with him on the bottom and all the
tension of their uncertainties dissipated. They'd been too
deliberate; he'd forgotten this was his best friend. Now, nose to
nose, they smiled at each other in the dark. Just Jean. Just Scott.
"Love you," he said.
"Ditto," she replied, then straightened up, grabbing her shirt by the
hem and yanking it over her head to fling it into the front seat.
His jacket and shirt followed, and her bra. He wished he could see
better in the dark, had to content himself with touch as his palms
examined her body. "We're going to get cold," she told him.
"I'll keep you warm."
"That's a corny line, Scott."
"Yeah, well, it's true, isn't it?"
She considered that while he kissed her nipples and rubbed her ass
through her pants. She could feel the cool metal of his glasses in
contrast to the heat of her flesh. "Okay, it's true. Ah -- !" He
was *biting*. Just a little. It felt good. And this time, he got
her pants unzipped and his hand down her panties without either of
them falling off the seat. His fingers explored her swollen
slickness, sweet and jagged, and she moaned for him, rocking back and
forth on his hand while he brought his other up to pinch and stroke
her neglected breast. Sensation spiked in her, intense and quick,
and she rocked harder, breath stopped and trembling on the edge of
orgasm like a water droplet held distinct by surface tension. Scott
was awed by the power of it. "Let go, Jean," he whispered against
her pale flesh. "Let it go. Trust it. Trust your body." Body
knowledge -- she couldn't *think* herself into this, and he wanted to
take her there, wanted to give it to her. He slipped his fingers all
the way inside her, stroking, seeking the small, ridged area on the
front wall, but it was hard with his hand constrained by two layers
of cloth. She raised herself a bit, trying to push the pants down.
"Just a minute, just a minute," she said.
He let her go, holding his wet hand apart as she slid her pants off
without much formality and then worked on his, but she couldn't tug
them past his thighs without him getting up and he wasn't inclined to
do that. Instead, he pulled her back down on top of him so he could
reach her breasts again, and her hand closed around his erection.
*Don't!* he sent into her head. *I'll come!*
*I thought that was the idea?*
*Not yet. I don't want to come yet.*
She let him go, reluctantly, and dragged her hand up over the side of
his abdomen to the rise of his ribs. His own hand went back down
between her legs, pushing her thighs wide so he could slide two
fingers inside her again, looking for the right spot. Finding it
this time, he shifted his hand until his thumb rubbed her sensitive
nub and his fingers could press the magic spot inside, eliciting a
shocked yell. Delighted, he began to fuck her with his fingers, in
and out, in and out, and she arched back in the faint moonlight. It
outlined her long abdomen and shallow breasts with an amethyst that
turned crimson to his sight. She was all fever and fire, and she
keened as she moved up and down on his hand. It was utterly raw, no
thought, not even room for thought, and he could feel her wanting
him. It excited him so much he thought he might ejaculate on the
spot without any help beyond the sight and sound of her. *Touch
yourself; show me how you touch yourself,* he begged, and she did,
even as she slammed down on his hand to force his fingers deeper, her
inner muscles clenching on him. Up and down, up and down, as she
rubbed at her nipples with both hands. He watched, his mind fogged
with lust and wonder. She was wild, like a raptor diving, and when
she came, she shrieked. It wasn't ladylike at all. He loved it.
She collapsed on him then and he couldn't stop grinning, though he
could sense her surprise. "I've never come like that," she said.
"Not the first time." That she didn't usually come at all the first
time, he picked up from her mind; but this hadn't been about him.
Maybe he was trying to prove something, he wasn't sure, but it hadn't
been about him. After a minute, she added, "There really is a
"There really is a G-spot," he replied, laughing and wiggling
(sticky) fingers. It had taken a little time, a little patience, and
some willing experimentation with Clarice to find it, but once he
knew what he was looking for, it wasn't too hard to locate.
She raised herself up enough to glare down at him, her lips pursed.
"You're awfully pleased with yourself."
"Shouldn't I be?"
She thwacked him and sat up further. Her carefully teased hair was a
mess and she felt so wet between her legs that she feared she would
slick the leather seats. The whole car smelled of sex, and they'd
have to do something about that before anyone else needed to use it.
He seemed happy and relaxed, but not with the same post-orgasmic
bonelessness she felt, and she remembered that he wasn't finished.
Sliding off the seat onto the floor, she shook her hair over his
chest and he laughed. "That tickles." She drew the hair lower,
then, over his stomach, and lower to his groin -- heard him hiss in
his breath. "Jean . . ." Raising her head, just a little, she used
a hand to lift his cock and then licked it from base to tip. "Jean!"
Her turn now, and she gave reign to her imagination, and the memories
in her head. They were good for something. She blew over the cock
head, then drew the flat of her tongue right across the slit, and if
she'd never much cared for the taste of semen, she did like how he'd
stopped talking and was gripping the door handle with one hand as he
tried not to buck. She ran her tongue-tip all along the flared head
and pressed it into the indentation of the frenulum, then swallowed
him as far as she could and *hummed*. He shouted. She drew back to
whisper, "I'm not on the pill. Not yet. Is it okay if we do it this
His teeth were gritted. "I have a condom."
"In my wallet, I have a condom."
She licked him again, like a Popsicle. "Should I be offended by
that, or do you always carry one?"
"It was a joke," he replied, breathless. "Frank gave me one before
we left. It was just a joke."
"Frank would -- and how do you know it was a joke?" She stopped and
stared at him down the length of his body; he'd raised his head
enough to look back at her. "It's *Frank*, Scott."
"Son of a bitch," he muttered, and she just laughed, pulling his
pants off and fishing in his back pocket for his wallet, which she
handed over to him. He got out the condom and tore it open, but let
her put it on him. Then he sat up with his back against the seat and
she settled on top, long legs to either side as he guided her down on
top of him. She was amazed he didn't come instantly, he was so wound
up. But he didn't, and she tried to hide the fact that it burned
when he entered, but didn't think she succeeded; that was the
downside of their link. "You okay?" he whispered.
"I'm fine," she lied. And why, she wondered, did this still hurt?
Shouldn't it have stopped hurting by now? It sure as hell wasn't the
first time. Yet she wanted it more than the pain could put her off.
He was *inside* her, and that was right; it was *right*.
"Fuck me," she whispered, shocking herself with her own frankness.
Ladies didn't say that, and he was shocked, too, but pleasantly. She
decided that she liked being a woman better than being a lady.
"*Fuck me*," she said again, louder, just to hear it, and he obliged,
his hands warm on her hips, showing her his rhythm. It built in him,
the wet slide and intense pressure, his balls clenching, his teeth
clenching . . .
The explosive uncoiling arched him up and raised her off the seat as
he pumped into her in spurts. One, two, three ... four. A weak
five. Subsiding on six. Her arms were strong around his neck and
his were about her waist -- mouth to mouth, breathing each other.
"*Good God*," he said when he was done, and then they didn't say
anything, just sat until the blood was back where it belonged and his
heart wasn't racing. He stroked her back compulsively, strumming the
ridges of her spine with his thumb. "Love you," he said against her
"Ditto," she replied, kissing the tip of his nose.
Feedback is, as always welcome. :-)
The Auburge Maxime is a real restaurant. The White Plains Rose
Theater is not, however, a real theater.
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