AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE 19b, "La Dolce Vita," S/J + ensemble, ADULT
- Continued DIRECTLY from 19a....
Scott and Jean occupied two chairs in front of Xavier's desk as
yellow morning sunlight danced dust motes through the air near one
curtained window. A globe of the world in a wooden frame rested
nearby, and Scott and Jean had come early, before she had to leave
for her shift at the hospital. "We're going to move in together,"
Scott had said when they were seated and the door was shut. Then
they'd traded speaking back and forth, like a pair of trained
parrots. Xavier had listened from his wheelchair, hands folded in
his lap. Finally, Jean had ended their announcement-cum-apology
with, "We'll take an apartment nearby, if you'd rather. If you don't
want the students to, um -- "
"Don't be ridiculous," Xavier said finally, losing his patience.
"Sharing a room is rather more dignified than one or the other of you
skulking up and down the hall after midnight." And they both
instantly went three shades pinker than Scott's glasses. "The
students are not fools. Neither am I. And Frank and Ororo have been
sharing a room under my roof for five years." Which was true, Scott
thought, glancing at Jean, who had her eyes lowered. Her lashes were
straight rather than curved, and fragile like dragonfly wings.
"You are not children," Xavier said, reminding them of his
admonishment on the first night he'd caught them sneaking back into
the mansion. "As long as you comport yourselves with dignity and
restraint in public, what sleeping arrangements you make are not my
concern. Although with the way things have been going, having
another empty room might be advantageous." He let an edge of humor
slip into the comment. He really wasn't angry, and if it might take
him longer to get over his reservations, that was his business, just
as what they did behind closed doors was theirs. "I assume you'll be
taking Jean's room, since it's larger?"
"Yes, sir," Scott said.
"Then please let me know when the empty room is available for
"Thank you, professor," Jean said as they stood and Scott ushered her
out with shaking hands that he'd been trying to hide through the
In the hallway beyond, they just looked at each other. His eyebrows
hopped. "That went easier than I thought."
She nodded. "I need to go or I'll be late." She hesitated, then
added, "Why don't you start moving things? Into my room, I mean. I
have to work till seven again, but you can start even if I'm not
They parted company with a chaste kiss, cheek to cheek.
"So can you two come?"
Jean spun around from where she'd been writing med orders in charts.
She was in her first week of neurology, which was only one floor up
from OB/GYN, so she saw Barb more than usual. "I kinda doubt it.
Scott said something last night about taking the kids up to one of
the big parks for the weekend, he and a couple of the other teachers,
as a summer field trip, so I'm not sure -- "
"Jean," Barb interrupted, "Why don't you want me to meet him?"
Muscles knotted in Jean's neck and her stomach twisted. "What makes
you think that?"
"'Cause you've been dating this guy for eight weeks and I have yet to
meet him, and any time I invite you over, or propose we all go out
somewhere, there's an excuse. It's not brain surgery, darlin',
whatever floor you're working on." She drew Jean away, off against a
far wall where the nurses couldn't overhear. "What is it? Does he
hate cats or something?" She grinned.
That made Jean smile. "Actually, I have no idea if he hates cats."
She looked away and wrung her fingers against each other. "It's just
that he's, well, *shy* and -- "
"A guy sportin' a grin like the one in that photo you showed me ain't
shy. And you told me he used to sing lead for a band. Try again."
Jean's eyes flicked over Barb, away, back, and away again.
Disjointed snippets of conversations around them seemed loud, and
someone, somewhere, was listening to the radio. "He's a mutant,"
Jean said softly, three stone words thrown into the pool of their
friendship, sending ripples.
Barb didn't answer for a minute, though her expression didn't change.
"That's how you met him, isn't it? Through your research?"
"Partly. He really did hit my car."
Nodding, the other woman pursed her lips and looked away.
Fluorescent lights gleamed off her short blonde curls. Jean had
half-expected reassurances that it didn't matter, but they weren't
forthcoming. The silence stretched. "What's his mutation?" Barb
"He's an energy converter. His body absorbs solar energy and
converts it into force blasts."
"He's one of the gentlest men I know," Jean retorted. She'd begun to
tremble a little with fear, a little with anger, and a veil of
uncertainty had dropped over her vision, tucking it in at the corners
so that she could focus on only one object at a time. "He's not
dangerous," she added.
"Okay," Barb said and, turning abruptly, she walked away. Jean
stared after a minute, wondering what had just happened.
"Dr. Grey," one of the nurses called, holding up the chart she'd been
writing in. Breathing out softly, Jean pushed away from the wall and
went back to work.
Three hours later, Barb was back. "I'd like to meet him," she said
without preamble as she caught Jean emerging from a patient's room.
"I've never met a mutant," she added.
Jean pursed her lips. Three hours had been time enough for
irritation to build. "He doesn't live in a petting zoo," she
snapped, then breathed out and looked down at the white tile floor.
"S'okay. I probably deserved it." Once again, uncomfortable silence
stretched. "Let's go down to the family room," Barb said and Jean
nodded, then led them to a little room set aside for doctors to
deliver bad news to family members. It was decorated in shades of
gunmetal blue, maroon and pink -- calm colors -- with low lighting.
Generic sea prints hung on the wall, as if offering infinite symbolic
horizons. "They make me nervous," Barb began without preamble, or
sitting down. "Mutants."
The confession burned like a bullet to Jean's gut.
"It's just the idea of it -- of people having special powers like
that." Barb hugged herself and couldn't look at Jean. "From a
scientific point of view, it's interesting and all. I can understand
why you'd want to study it. But at the practical level? There are
people running around out there who can do things nobody can stop."
Frozen by a mixture of disillusionment, anger, and unexpected
sympathy, Jean tried to swallow and couldn't.
"I never thought I'd be prejudiced," Barb said quietly. "I try not
to be. I don't like it. I was raised in a town where people still
use the word 'colored' without blinking and I always hated that.
Peel back the skin and what's the difference? Maybe that's why I
went into medicine. But peel back a mutant's skin and they're *not*
the same. And I feel horrible for saying it." She stopped there.
No 'but' followed it, just the bald statement of personal
Thawing enough to think, Jean remembered what the professor always
said: They're scared, and it's fear that breeds hate. Jean could
understand that in the abstract, could accept fear in the faces of
strangers on the street, but this wasn't an unknown face. This was
the woman she ate dinner with, traded jokes with, the one who'd
called to ask about her when she'd been ill, the one who'd taught her
not to be ashamed of what she felt for Scott. Squeezing her eyes
shut, she struggled not to cry and kept her telepathy tightly
reigned. Even so, she could sense that Barb was just as miserable,
and it was that shared anguish that birthed Jean's courage to speak.
"Mutants may have different physiologies, it's true. Scott sees
differently than you or I, literally. But look into his heart? He's
the same -- what he *feels* is just the same. He laughs, he gets
mad, he loves, he cries. No different."
Barb sat down finally on one of the couches. Jean sat down opposite
her. "It's not really about him," Barb said. "From everything
you've told me, he sounds like a good man. But he's just one
"You can't condemn everyone, Barb --"
"I'm not condemning *anyone*!" Barb snapped. "I said they scare me.
That's not the same thing. I'm not stupid enough to believe it's
their fault, or that they chose it, or that it's some kind of divine
Jean pursed her lips, keeping to herself how condescending that
"I don't condemn them," Barb went on. "But they scare me all the
"Maybe you scare them."
The other woman stopped and stared, mouth dropping open until she
looked mildly foolish. "Why would they be scared of *me*?"
"Because they're a minority, and minorities always depend on a
society's goodwill." Jean paused to stare into one of the generic
pictures; it showed a small fishing vessel on a stormy sea. How apt.
"But if the atmosphere is distrustful, they respond defensively --
or offensively." She risked a glance at Barb, who listened as if
she'd never thought of it that way, and maybe she hadn't.
"In my experience," Jean said now, "most mutants simply want to be
left alone, and some are frightened by their own powers. Think -- if
they scare you, how must it feel to *be* a mutant? Take Scott for
instance; he has these force blasts. They're generated by his eyes
Jean shrugged. "It makes sense, when you think about it, even if it
seems odd at first. It's all of a piece. Whatever he sees --
literally -- he can target. And no, he's not a living weapon. He
hates to think of himself that way." Jean reached into the pocket of
her white lab coat and pulled out her key ring, tossing it to Barb.
Hanging off the ring amid the jingle of keys was a bit of olive wood
fashioned into her name: JEAN. "That was my Christmas present a
couple of years ago. He carves wood for fun. The force blasts are
better than a knife. He's started doing bigger things now that he's
got the hang of it."
Barb looked at the key tag, then handed it back. "It's nice."
"It is. But he worries all the time that he might accidentally hurt
somebody, too. He can't change who he is. All he can do is learn to
be responsible . . . and learn to carve wood. Mutation is like any
special gift. A genius in physics can solve the energy crisis, or
create the H-Bomb. I know it's a clich��, but it's true. A
pissed-off postal worker with a gun is more dangerous than Scott is."
"What about a pissed-off postal worker without a gun but who had
Scott's mutation?" Barb asked, quietly. "We license people to own
Jean looked away, because it was something they worried about
themselves. "So do we blame mutants -- or postal workers?" Her lips
twisted into a wry smile. "A license won't stop a guy from shooting
his wife in a 'domestic dispute,' and it doesn't stop someone from
stealing a gun, or buying one illegally. It's the person, not the
weapon. There's no easy answer, but you're not the only one who's
scared, and some of the ones who are most scared are mutants. All it
takes is one bad apple. But you can say that of any minority, Barb."
"I know." Once again, she seemed embarrassed, and as upset and
disappointed and confused as Jean. She was offering something more
rare than platitudes and tolerance; she was offering her honest
uncertainties, her fears. These were *real* feelings, real
Abruptly, Jean reached out to grip Barb's hand. "Would you like to
meet a mutant?"
Barb looked at her, smiling a little. "I thought you said he didn't
belong in a petting zoo?"
"Would you like to, though? Would it make you feel better -- less
Barb wrestled with that. "I don't know," she said truthfully.
"Maybe it would."
Jean smiled. "Then you're sitting across from one."
Barb jumped, and Jean watched first surprise, then understanding wash
over her face, and she wondered if she'd just made the bravest choice
of her life, or the most stupid. "That's why . . ." Barb trailed
"Why I went into mutant genetics? Yes, that's why."
"What do you . . . do?"
Jean glanced at the table beside them. A phone, a lamp, and a box of
generic ivory tissues. Reaching out with her hand, she lifted the
tissue box and drifted it across to where she could catch it out of
the air. For now, she'd keep the telepathy to herself. Start small.
"My God," Barb squeaked, and Jean could sense that she was torn
between amazement and white terror. "How much can you lift?"
Jean's expression was wry. "Not a whole lot more than this. I've
spent most of my time on grad and medical school, not training the
TK. I'm not very powerful. I can lift books, chairs, clothes,
tissue boxes" -- Jean held it up, then sent it to drift back to the
end table -- "dinner dishes . . . that kind of thing. The more
delicate it is, the harder, actually. I don't want to break it.
Mom's a little iffy on me and the china." She glanced at Barb. "I'm
like Scott -- I don't want to hurt anything. 'I swear to fulfill, to
the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant: I will respect
the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I
walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are
to follow . . .'"
"... to follow.'" Barb's voice picked up hers, "'I will apply, for
the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required . . . '"
Jean's voice broke and she could feel the hot wet in her eyes. "I'm
a doctor. I'm a doctor first and last. I took the same oath you did
and my DNA doesn't change that. I just want to help people."
Barb stared, and then -- quite abruptly -- leaned forward to hug Jean
hard. "Thank you. For trusting me."
Jean hugged back, glad she hadn't erred in her choice of friends, and
she remembered something else Xavier had told her, at the same time
he'd spoken of hatred and fear -- neither reason nor logic would
change hearts, and theoretical mutants remained theoretical.
Bloodless. It took a friend with skin on.
"So she's okay with it?"
"Well, she's not spazzing completely," Jean told Scott as they lay in
bed together. "You sure you don't mind going over to dinner
Saturday? It could be a little . . . strained."
"Then we'll drink a lot of beer. I'd like to meet her finally, and
her husband and kid."
"Well . . . they're cats."
"You don't like cats?"
"I don't dislike cats."
She laughed. "There are five of them. All Siamese."
"Oh, Christ. Yeowl!"
He was swatted for that. "They're very nice cats!"
"She could probably get us a cat."
Instead of replying, he rolled her onto her back with himself above
-- and kicked Ralph the snow leopard off the bed. "The real question
is if you're okay with this?"
"With her knowing." He hadn't missed her worry, and now she looked
away in the dark of the room. Their room.
"I guess." Despite Barb's tentative acceptance, Jean couldn't help
but fear it might change when the woman had time to reconsider.
"It's a risk."
"I know," he said softly, and enclosed her with his body. She smiled
against his neck in the dark.
The day had opened with the pregnant heat of late July, the kind that
left animals and children sprawled in torpid exhaustion. But by one
in the afternoon, purple-angry clouds had gathered and it was
storming hard enough to take out power lines, crash branches, and
cause flash flooding in low areas. Yet not one of the weathermen had
predicted any such break in the temperatures.
Scott peered out the window at a lone figure standing in the midst of
it, barely visible behind the sheets of rain, but he could still make
out the white hair and outstretched arms. Lips pursing, he went in
search of her other half.
Frank sat beneath the porch overhang, smoking. He, too, was watching
the figure in the storm. "What the hell is going on?" Scott said
from behind him, standing in the open door. Even from here, he could
feel the mist of heavy rain, and it wasn't like Ororo to mess with
weather patterns this drastically, except in an emergency. She
*felt* the weather, how it created a web of interrelatedness, and
didn't abuse it. Or not most of the time.
Now, though, Frank simply reached up to hand Scott a letter whose
return was stamped "Universit�� degli Studi di Firenze, DISPO,
Dipartimento di Scienza della Politica e Sociologia." The Department
of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Florence.
"What the fuck?" Scott asked, baffled.
"I am going home."
Scott sat down on the step before he fell down. "Why? *This* is
"No, Scott. This has been a sanctuary, but it is not home."
"I never meant you had to leave! When I said that, about the team, I
"Of course you did not. Nonetheless. It is time for me to go home.
I have things to do."
"Couldn't you do it here? You could finish college here, and --"
"Do you think America is the only country that has mutants?"
"Well, no, of course not, but --"
"What can I do from here? This is not my country. I am going home
where I can do some good with the gifts I do have."
Scott didn't reply immediately, simply frowned out at the storm and
the rocking branches in the pines. "So what are you going to do?
Start Westchester Italia?"
"Perhaps." Frank smiled faintly. "I am not a fighter, Scott, not as
you are. So I will fight with words and the law, and guard, as best
I can, the rights of mutants in Europe."
"The professor approved of this?"
"Oh, yes. It is he who will pay for university."
Sometimes, Scott reflected, it felt as if Frank and the professor
were directors in some grand play for which the rest of them simply
read parts. "I take it Ro isn't going with you?" he asked finally.
"She is not. She is needed here." At least for the time being,
Frank added to himself. What the future held remained to be seen,
but for now, Ororo couldn't be spared from this place, whereas his
own path had diverged on the night Scott had told him he couldn't
remain on the team.
"When are you leaving?"
"At the end of the month."
"Is your mother going?"
"No. Only me."
Scott shook his head, then boxed Frank fondly on the ear. "I'm going
to miss you."
"There are planes, you know. Italy is a lovely country for visiting
when there is snow in New York."
Grinning, Scott crossed his arms over his knees and they both watched
Ororo out in the rain. "You will keep an eye on her?" Frank asked.
"See that she is safe?"
And thus, it was settled. At the end of July, Frank boarded a plane
back to Italy, chasing his visions across an ocean, going home.
John Grey glanced up as the familiar voice drifted from behind the
stacks of books that made a maze of his office. She wound through
it, his Ariadne, finding his desk at the center, and rising, he gave
her a kiss. "What are you doing here, baby girl?"
She looked about for a non-existent chair, then settled on a stack of
books instead. Dust puffed up and she waved a useless hand in the
hair. "You've been in the Olin Building how many years now, and you
still have stacks of unshelved books?"
Hands on hips, John Grey eyed his daughter. "You didn't drive three
hours to talk about my sloppy office habits." Jean had always come
to him first when she had news she didn't think her mother would want
to hear, and truth be told, he'd never dissuaded her. Sara took
after Elaine, but Jean took after him, right down to her height and
the red in her hair.
Now, she looked off and twisted her hands on her knees, and he
suspected that, whatever the news was, she had her doubts as to how
he'd receive it. "I have a boyfriend."
His eyebrow went up. "And?"
"It's Scott. Scott Summers. You know, Scott -- "
"I know who Scott is." John sat back down in his chair. It creaked,
and he stared at the papers covering his desk, slick fliers from
academic publishing companies, a draft of the seven-year review the
department had undergone the previous semester, a prioritizing report
for the college, and minutes from the last meeting of the faculty
senate. Pushing them aside, he stood again, like a jack-in-the-box.
"Come on, let's walk."
Bard had all the quaint beauty of any New England college --
landscaped flower beds, neo-Roman architecture, ivy-covered
buildings. In summer session now, there were fewer students about as
father and daughter ambled along a sidewalk. "Are you disappointed?"
Jean asked finally.
"I don't know. You tell me. Should I be?"
"No." A twitter of three white-striped, male Carolina Wrens competed
in the grass for the attentions of a dun-dull female. Jean watched
them. "I love him."
John thought back to the protective caution he'd seen in the face of
the boy when he'd met him at Xavier's. He'd seemed ready to plant
himself between Jean and any harm, like a bulwark. John Grey had
liked that protectiveness, but -- "You said he left Berkeley. What's
he doing with himself now?" The department head in him was dubious
of defecting graduate students.
"Teaching math for the professor. He left Berkeley because his
advisor was sacked, Daddy, not because he quit. You know how
department politics can be."
Indeed, John did. But he also knew he was hearing only one side of
the story, and John Grey was inclined to reserve judgment, both of
Berkeley and of Scott Summers. "Is he going back to school?"
"He'll have to, at least for a master's, or he won't be able to teach
more than five years in New York."
"That's all he's going to do? Teach high school?"
"Isn't that good enough?" Her chin had gone up. "I thought you told
me once that teaching of *any* kind was a noble profession, right
down to preschool."
John frowned. "It is." And he believed that -- until it came to the
prospects of the man dating his daughter. He didn't want Jean
saddled with ballast. This was his baby girl, no matter how old she
Jean knew as much, even without her telepathy. Reaching out, she
laid a hand on his arm. "He respects me."
"If he respects you, then why'd he let you come up here to run
She smiled. "He doesn't know I'm here."
John sighed. "And you're counting on me to run interference with
your mother now?"
Her smile deepened; she didn't even pretend to deny it. "I love
him," she said again instead.
They eyed one another. "All right," John said finally. "Bring him
to dinner for your birthday."
She threw her arms around him. "Thank you, Daddy."
"Hey, Mom, it's Scott -- Mike. I have some news."
There was a moment of startled silence over the line. "I wondered
when you were going to call," his mother said. "We got your letter
about withdrawing from Berkeley." A hesitation. "Your father isn't
Sitting down on the edge of the bed he now shared with Jean, Scott
twisted the phone cord into loops around his fingers. "I didn't
think he wanted me to go to Berkeley in the first place."
"He didn't. But we didn't raise you to be a quitter, either."
"I didn't *quit*, Mom. They denied tenure to my advisor and that
didn't give me a lot of options but to go somewhere else."
"I thought you said you withdrew -- ?"
"I did. But it was because I couldn't stay there, not because I gave
up." He made no mention of Jean.
"So you *are* planning to go back to school in the fall?"
Sighing, he rubbed his forehead. "No, Mom." In his mind's eye, he
could see her tense up. "I've got to apply to a different school, be
accepted, hopefully get another assistantship -- I can't just leap
frog. So I'm going to teach math next year for the professor, here
at the academy. I figure I owe him a thing or two."
"What's wrong with that?"
She didn't reply, and Scott supposed that she wouldn't think she
needed to. His father was a lieutenant colonel in the air force, a
decorated vet, and what was he? He frowned as his fingers made a
complicated knot of the curled cord. "The longer you stay out," she
warned, "the harder it'll be to go back. Life has a way of tying you
"I know." A pause. "Anyway, I didn't call to talk about the mess
with school. I wanted to tell you I have a girlfriend, and it's kind
"Serious? As in marriage serious?"
"Well, I don't know about *that* yet, but yeah, serious as in, um,
we're sharing the same bedroom serious." And as soon as the words
were out of his mouth, he squeezed his eyes shut, wishing them back.
He hadn't *intended* to say that, but her question about marriage had
thrown him and he'd spoken without thinking.
And three thousand miles away, in San Diego, Kate Summers was
suddenly unsure how to respond. Scott usually talked about his
dating only in passing, and his parents hadn't pried. Chris and Kate
had recognized long ago that a boy with Scott's face would have
girlfriends, and Chris had warned him about responsibility a time or
three, but they'd left it at that. To Kate, sex was something that
normal boys did, if they had an opportunity, and normal girls, too
(honestly), but the good girls didn't flaunt it.
Publicly sharing a bed outside wedlock was flaunting it. "Your
professor has sanctioned this?"
"We're adults, Mom. It's our private life."
"But you're living there at the mansion with this girl, where the
students can see? And Charles Xavier thinks that's acceptable?"
"It's not Catholic school, Mom." It came out harsher than he'd meant
"Catholic or not, there are morals, Mike. Scott." He could hear the
fluster in her voice, and not over what name to use. "If you're
teaching teenagers, you ought to make an effort to hold yourself to a
Scott's jaw dropped. "What? You think I'm doing her on a table in
the dining hall?"
"Mike, don't be crude!"
"You implied it!"
"I did not! But I think there's a certain code of behavior -- "
"I won't be a hypocrite! I don't think there's a damn thing wrong
with sex before marriage and I'm not going to hide my actions like
I'm ashamed when I'm not. It's my private life."
"You're a teacher!"
"We're not parading around in front of the kids! But I'm not going
to lie about it. The fact we *did* move in together ought to damn
well say something. That's what I called to tell you. I'm in love,
and it's serious. You asked if it was marriage serious -- well, I
don't know, it's a little early for that -- but maybe so. I'd
thought you'd be happy. You didn't even ask *who* it was before you
launched into a lecture. Don't you want to know?"
"Well, yes, of course I do."
"It's Jean -- Jean Grey."
"Your friend the doctor?"
"Yeah. Not exactly trailer-park trash, y'know?"
And thrown for a second time that night, Kate Summers fell silent.
She knew her eldest, knew the tone of his voice, and heard the pride
in it. He'd called because he wanted to strut, like a hunting dog
who'd brought back an especially fine catch. But the mother in Kate
felt only alarm, and now aimed her questions with a mother's
instinctive intuition. "Did you go back to New York for her, honey?
Did she ask you to come back?"
Scott was startled. "No." It wasn't, technically, a lie, he
thought. Jean hadn't asked him to come back, and if he had returned
for her, that had been his choice. "We only started dating a couple
months ago -- *after* I was back." That wasn't a lie, either.
"Honey, the both of you . . . from everything you've told me, you
come from two very different worlds -- "
"What *is* this?" he yelled into the phone. "Can't you approve of
anything I do?"
"This isn't about 'approval'! I'm simply trying to tell you
something sensible, Michael. Whatever you may feel, and if this is
as serious as you say -- you still have to be compatible, share the
same values, the same ideals, the same beliefs . . . ."
"You didn't say this about Clarice! And she was *black*!"
"And she came from a background more like yours, and was much closer
to your age!"
Scott ground his teeth and got up to pace around. "So you care about
the age thing, too."
Kate didn't miss the 'too.' "I *worry*" -- she stressed it -- "about
a lot of things. The age difference is part of it, yes, but not all
of it." Not even most of it, she thought to herself and sighing, ran
a hand through her hair. "This woman is from a completely different
class than us, and I don't want you to feel . . . intimidated, or put
down for that."
Scott opened his mouth to reply, then swallowed it. His fingers kept
twining and untwining the phone cord while he stared at nothing. He
was angry, upset, disenchanted, but mostly resentful. At the root of
it, they all worried about the same thing -- the professor, EJ, his
mother . . . "Thanks, Mom," he said now. "Thanks for the vote of
confidence. You *don't* think I'm good enough for her, do you? You
think I'm getting *above* myself with an upper class girl and her
He heard her shocked, "Honey! That is *not* --" as he pulled the
phone away from his ear and slammed it down into its cradle on the
nightstand by the bed. Then he stared at it for the rest of the
evening, missing supper. It rang three different times, but he
Jean found him still sitting there when she got home after eight, and
picking up on his black mood (and that sometimes he was better coaxed
out of brooding than talked out of it), she doffed her shoes and,
still in her dress pants, climbed onto the bed to wrap him up from
behind. He didn't respond immediately, but gripped her wrist with
one hand, and gradually her patience succeeded. He let her into his
head to see what had hurt his heart. After a few moments, she leaned
around to press her lips to his temple. *Those were your words, Hon,
that you're not good enough. That's what you're afraid of.*
*It's what they're afraid of, too.*
*I don't know -- maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But it's not their
heads I'm in. It's yours, and it's you I'm worried about. You have
nothing to prove to me.*
*I did once. It took me four years, almost five, to prove it.*
*And you succeeded. Now be a good little mathematician and put the
pencil down. The problem is solved, the proof is done. Let it go,
Scott. You're always telling me to quit living in the past. Take
your own advice. Having you in my bed is not a pity fuck.* He
coughed at that, a little burst of breath at the bluntness of it,
though he knew her brain was rarely so prim as her mouth.
"I belong to you," she whispered, giving it reality by giving it
voice. "All yours. And you belong to me. So quit worrying and
we'll show the rest of them that they don't have any reason to worry
either. Deal?" Reaching around, she extending her pinky in front of
Scott just blinked at it. "What are you doing?"
"Just hook your pinky into mine. I'll show you." A bit dubious, he
complied, and she said, "We're going to prove to them all that we're
not a mistake, right?"
She yanked her pinky free of his. "There. It's done, and we have to
keep it because it's a pinky promise."
"It's a what?"
"A pinky promise."
Turning to look at her, he caught her impish smile and fell back on
the bed, putting a pillow over his face to muffle his laughter. "My
girlfriend is a loon!"
Notes: 'La dolce vita' means "the sweet life" in Italian, and is the
title of a famous Fellini film.
FEEDBACK is adored, but I'm about to leave town for 5-6 days, so I
may be a tad slow in responding. :-)
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