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FIC: Different From All Other Nights 1/1

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  • Mo
    Different From All Other Nights Adam Greenfield looked up, one foot holding the roof door open as he stood there in the warm April night. He knew it was
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2004
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      Different From All Other Nights

      Adam Greenfield looked up, one foot holding the roof
      door open as he stood there in the warm April night.
      He knew it was unlikely he�d actually see Jean-Paul
      before he landed, as his lover would be flying at
      super speed and invisible to a normal human eye.
      Still, he scanned the sky, wondering if he�d notice a
      blur that would turn into Jean-Paul.

      He didn�t. Jean-Paul was only feet from the roof when
      he slowed enough to be seen, landing with the lithe
      grace of a dancer finishing a leap. Well, that was
      pretty much what he had been doing, Adam thought,
      although the leap was one of 500 miles. He shook his
      head a little. More than a year of having a mutant
      superhero for a lover hadn�t erased his sense of

      Jean-Paul kissed Adam briefly and they quickly went
      into the building, walking down a short flight of
      stairs to the elevator. �I don�t think anybody saw
      me,� he said.

      Adam shrugged. �It doesn�t matter so much. It�s New
      York � nothing fazes anyone, not even flying men.� In
      the elevator he leaned up against his lover and kissed
      him more thoroughly, tongues meeting, hands on both of
      Jean-Paul�s shoulders, feeling Jean-Paul�s fingers
      stroking his ass. He broke off the kiss as they
      reached the fifth floor.

      �So much for privacy,� Jean-Paul said with a sigh as
      they walked down the hall.

      �No, we�ve got the place to ourselves.�

      �Where�s Larry?�

      �Detroit. Business. He�ll be back in time for seder
      tomorrow, but he kindly offered his place to us

      �Ah, so that�s why we�re not staying at your
      mother�s.� They walked into the apartment, a chic
      one-bedroom in a Chelsea high rise.

      �I don�t think I can handle sex at my mother�s place,�
      Adam replied. �Or even in the same borough as her.�
      Jean-Paul laughed. �Hey, I never claimed not to be

      �I always admired your honesty and self-awareness, mon
      ami. So, tomorrow night we�ll be in Brooklyn and I�ll
      be struggling to keep my hands off of you. Let�s make
      the most of being in Manhattan now.� He pushed Adam
      up against the closed door, kissing him hard.

      Adam responded joyfully, hands exploring Jean-Paul�s
      body as his tongue explored his mouth. He broke off
      the kiss and whispered in his lover�s ear, �It�s been
      so long.� Jean-Paul nodded in agreement. �Are you
      okay?� he added, pulling Northstar�s shirt off now.

      �Fine. Not a scratch on me. Walter aussi. And all
      the hostages freed. We were very lucky this time. A
      successful mission and no injuries � how often does
      that happen?�

      �Not often enough.� Adam kissed Jean-Paul�s mouth
      again, nibbling on his lower lip, hands moving over
      his arms, shoulders, chest. He took him by the hand
      and they walked over to the couch. Adam sat down and
      motioned to Jean-Paul to sit next to him. When he
      did, they kissed again, Adam�s thumbs on Jean-Paul�s
      nipples, sliding over them as he pushed his tongue
      into his lover�s mouth. �It�s so much better like
      this, not worrying about touching you in the wrong

      �I�ll tell Mac you said so. Maybe he�ll give me a
      desk job, if I explain I need to remain unscathed for
      my lover.�

      �You�d last a week and then complain you were dying of
      boredom.� Adam unbuckled Jean-Paul�s belt and
      unzipped his fly while he said it. �I think I�ll just
      enjoy the freedom to touch you anywhere while I can.�
      Reaching into his lover�s pants, Adam began to stroke
      his already hard cock, slowly. Gripping the shaft
      with his fist, he moved up and down, rubbing the head
      with his thumb, playing with the foreskin, eliciting
      happy sighs from Jean-Paul. �Oh, and what a nice
      place to touch. It feels so good in my hand. Makes
      me hungry.� The last part came out in a hoarse
      voice, full of longing.

      Adam dropped to his knees in front of Jean-Paul, who
      lifted his hips as Adam pulled his pants down. With
      the clothing out of the way, he leaned in, rubbing his
      lover�s cock against his cheek, still stroking. Then,
      bending down a little more, he proceeded to kiss and
      lick the underside, slowly, from balls to the head.
      Jean-Paul leaned back against the couch, eyes closed,
      fingers stroking Adam�s ears, concentrating on the
      feeling of Adam�s tongue sliding over him, the warmth
      and wetness of the inside of Adam�s cheek when Adam
      sucked him in. Adam kissed and sucked avidly, his
      hand stroking the root of Jean-Paul�s cock and all
      over his balls with firm, smooth motions. �I feel...
      I want... mon cher...� Jean-Paul tried for a while to
      say what was on his mind and then gave up, hard
      breathing and rhythmic moaning replacing the words.
      He gripped Adam�s ears hard as he came.

      They moved to the bedroom afterwards. Soon they were
      both naked, Adam lying on Jean-Paul, their legs
      entwined. �I want to fuck you,� Adam said after a
      while. Jean-Paul laughed. �What�s so funny?� Adam
      sounded a little peeved.

      �It just sounds so uncharacteristic to me.�

      �Oh, that. Well, I�m getting to like it.� After a
      pause. �Is that okay?�

      �It�s great. I�m sorry, did I break the mood?�

      He shrugged. �We can get it back.� He kissed
      Jean-Paul, stroking his thigh. �You want to? You
      don�t mind that I�m getting to like something
      �I think it�s wonderful � I mean that. I always liked
      it � both ways. I like doing lots of different things
      with you � I don�t want to get stuck in one kind of
      sex, d�accord?�

      �D�accord. Check out the nightstand drawer.�
      Jean-Paul looked at Adam questioningly. �Larry and I
      have been friends a long time. I know where he keeps
      things.� Jean-Paul rummaged in the drawer and took
      out a tube of lube and a condom. �What?�

      �Oh!� He looked at the condom in his hand.

      �Jean-Paul?� Adam said it tentatively, not sure what
      to ask. �Did you� do we need to��

      �No, no, no. I just... forgot. It�s not that long
      since we stopped using them. And we haven�t seen each
      other for a couple weeks. I forgot. Vraiment. C�est

      �You�d tell me if you had?�

      �Bien sur. Adam, I made an agreement. I will tell
      you if I do anything with another man � with or
      without condoms. But I don�t intend to have anything
      to tell.�

      �It�s hard having to spend so much time apart. My
      assignments, your missions...�

      �I�m willing to wait.�

      �Me, too.�

      �Not now, though,� he added, opening the lube and
      starting to spread it on Adam. �I want to feel you
      inside me. I�m glad you�re getting to like doing it
      that way. I want to be fucked. By you, Adam
      Greenfield. Un seul homme.�

      Adam�s response was less articulate than usual, but
      nonetheless clearly understood.


      On the subway to Brooklyn the next day, Adam said more
      about who would be at the seder and what to expect
      from them. �My uncle Harry always leads, at least
      nominally,� he said. �My mother�s clearly in charge
      from the sidelines. Not even the sidelines much of
      the time. Miriam Greenfield pretty much always
      manages to take center stage, one way or another �
      you�ll see. But Harry�s my father�s older brother,
      and I guess it was always his job to be the seder
      leader and Mom didn�t challenge that when Dad was
      alive, so she didn�t want to after he died. At least
      not overtly. But she tells him when she thinks he�s
      going too fast or too slow, injects lots of feminist
      additions and changes, points out the Marxist
      underpinnings of the Pesach story,� he said, rolling
      his eyes at the last bit. �And sometimes all the
      action stops so they can argue about some point until
      nobody can stand it any more and my cousin Mona and I
      restrain them.� Jean-Paul laughed. �Does it sound
      excruciating? It�s really quite fun, most of the
      time. I just worry about what it will be like for
      you, not knowing the players.�

      �Stop worrying. It does sound fun. I like the idea
      of all this family stuff.�

      �Yeah, you don�t get much of that, do you? With just

      �C�est vrai. My friends have been my family for most
      of my life. I think it�s great how you can mix family
      and friends. Larry comes every year?�

      Adam nodded. �Yes, and with a different lover each
      time. I haven�t even met the new guy yet. Larry says
      he�s hot. And a sophomore at NYU. They�re all hot,
      and as Larry gets older, they get younger. My mother
      is always sure that this time it�s going to last, and
      completely shocked when I tell her that Jake or Bob or
      Tom from last year isn�t coming back this year.� He
      laughed. �She must be the only person in Larry�s life
      to ever think it�s possible he�ll settle down with one
      guy. Well, aside from Larry, who�s also completely
      deluded and thinks each one is The One.� He thought
      back to what Jean-Paul had said. �I hope you do enjoy
      being at a family gathering. I�m sorry you haven�t
      really had that for yourself. It�s great that your
      friends � and Alpha Flight � function so much like
      family, but it�s sad not to have the other kind of
      family, too. Don�t you think so?�

      �A little. I don�t think about it so much, most of
      the time. I do feel something when you talk about all
      your relatives. Sadness, or maybe just distance. It
      seems like a different world or something. Since
      Jeanne-Marie and I weren�t even raised together, I
      think you�re closer to your cousins than I am to her,
      even though she is my twin. And she and I have looked
      hard for other relatives, but haven�t found any. So,
      I pretty much resigned myself to being without that
      kind of family a long time ago.� He mused a moment
      more. �Not having a family isn�t so strange, though,
      among gay people, n�est-ce pas? Or mutants, for that
      matter. Often for reasons other than parents dying
      when one is a small child. Sometimes I think I�m
      lucky I had no parents to reject me,� he added with a
      wry grin.

      �Yeah, it�s not an uncommon thing to happen. Remember
      when Scott Summers roped me into speaking at Career
      Day at Xavier�s? Spending the weekend there and just
      talking to the kids, I was shocked at how many of them
      have no homes or family left. And, as you say,
      equally common among gay kids � not just mutants.

      �I�ve been lucky that way. For all that my mother
      wants to run my life most of the time � and for all
      that I know I get too crazed about that � I have to
      admit she has been wonderful with my coming out. I
      shouldn�t have waited as long as I did. I wouldn�t
      have if I�d known she�d be so accepting.� He paused,
      thinking. �I wonder what my father would have been

      �Any clues?�

      �Not really. I don�t know that much about him, since
      I really just see him through her eyes and she talks
      like he was perfect. I tend to think he�d have had a
      harder time with it. Maybe she would have, too, if
      he�d still been alive. It was just Mom and me, pretty
      much my whole childhood. That�s a large part of why
      I�m so affected by her, I know. Of course some is
      just her fearsome personality. Thanks again for
      braving meeting her,� he added, squeezing Jean-Paul�s
      hand. �But there�s a good side to the intense
      mother/son thing, too. I was too afraid of losing
      her to come out to her in my teens or early twenties,
      but she was too afraid of losing me to give in to
      homophobia when I finally did, I think. Maybe with
      him in the picture it would have been different?�


      Jean-Paul was having a fine time. He was perfectly
      relaxed and comfortable, or would have been if Adam
      hadn�t kept shooting him intense are-you-alright
      looks. Miriam was Jean-Paul�s idea of a perfect
      hostess, warm and welcoming, yet totally
      down-to-earth. They�d arrived at her place in East
      Midwood in the middle of the afternoon, several hours
      before the other guests. She had kissed them both and
      immediately put them to work � peeling potatoes,
      setting up tables, polishing silver. Miriam talked to
      them both the whole time, with a kind of natural
      intimacy that made Jean-Paul feel like one of the
      family. He much preferred that � and keeping busy
      while they got to know each other � to being treated
      like a guest. Truly, he had no idea why Adam had been
      so nervous about their meeting.

      �Jean-Paul?� Miriam asked. �Would you get the good
      dishes down for me? They�re in that high cabinet
      there. I can�t reach them without the ladder, but
      you�re tall enough to get them on a step stool.�

      �I don�t need a step stool,� he replied, flying up to
      the ceiling and hovering there as he unloaded dishes,
      then carefully landing with them. Miriam stared at
      him, open-mouthed. �Mon dieu!� Jean-Paul said,
      belatedly realizing that he had felt so at home that
      he�d forgotten that Miriam had never seen him fly.
      �I�m sorry, Miriam. Did I frighten you?�

      �No, not at all. It�s just... something to see. And
      so useful, too,� she added. She walked out of the
      kitchen and Jean-Paul and Adam exchanged puzzled
      glances. But before they could say anything, she was
      back with a wet, soapy rag. �Would you mind washing
      the ceiling fans for me?� she asked.


      Midway through the seder, Jean-Paul was still having a
      fine time and even Adam seemed to be relaxing a bit.
      �At this point,� Uncle Harry intoned, �in some
      households the newly invented ritual of Miriam�s cup
      is added.�

      �In many households, and growing all the time, Harry,�
      Miriam countered. �All seder rituals are �invented�
      and have evolved to meet the needs of Jews in
      different times and at different places. And given
      that in our household we have been including Miriam�s
      cup at seder since Adam was in high school, I think
      you�d be used to it by now.�

      Turning away from Harry, Miriam reached for a large
      pottery goblet in the middle of the table. It was
      blue and painted with decorations of women dancing and
      playing the tambourine. �Miriam�s cup is a ritual
      that is designed to honor Jewish women. Too often our
      voices have been silenced and our role in Jewish
      history has been discounted,� she said, with a
      significant glance at her brother-in-law. �The
      original Miriam was Moses� sister and a major figure
      in the Passover story, yet her name is not even
      mentioned in a great many versions of the haggadah.
      In this ritual, Miriam takes center stage.�

      �The biblical Miriam or the Brooklyn one?� Harry

      Adam�s mother ignored him and continued. �Legend says
      that Miriam had a miraculous well that she brought
      with her during the forty years in the desert,
      providing water to the escaped slaves throughout their
      wandering. This is Miriam�s cup,� she said, holding
      the blue goblet high. She then took her own water
      goblet in one hand and poured a bit of water from it
      into the pottery cup. �I ask all the women at this
      seder � of all generations - to pour water from their
      glasses into Miriam�s cup.� She passed the goblet to
      Mona and continued as the goblet was passed and
      filled, all women and girls at the table
      participating. �Every year we honor a Jewish woman
      whose life and work inspires us. This year, we honor
      Hannah Arendt.�

      Miriam consulted her notes. �Arendt, a German Jew who
      escaped Nazi extermination and became a New Yorker,
      was a political theorist, a practical philosopher, and
      a well-known journalist. Just like my Adam, although
      Hannah Arendt never won a Pulitzer Prize, I�m afraid.�
      Adam rolled his eyes. �As a correspondent for The New
      Yorker magazine, she covered Eichmann�s trial. The
      articles she wrote about that were later expanded into
      a book called _Eichmann in Jerusalem_. Arendt�s
      portrayal of Eichmann was not of an actively evil
      killer, but of an almost benign-seeming character who
      participated in genocide because he didn�t have the
      moral courage to think about he was doing. He felt
      that following orders was sufficient reason for
      suspending his own sense of right and wrong. Arendt
      coined the phrase �the banality of evil.� Her work
      was very controversial at the time, but her portrayal
      of Eichmann has been the enduring picture we have of
      him. And the idea that great wrongs can be done
      without great hatred or other passions is one that we
      can all learn from now. Let us always be mindful that
      those who kill, oppress, and afflict others don�t
      always appear villainous or cruel. Let us always
      realize that evil can be done - and is, to this day -
      by those who believe they are just doing their jobs.
      Let us always remember that evil deeds are no less
      wrong if done with a friendly smile. May Hannah
      Arendt remain in our memory and her work be a guide to
      us in these perilous times.�


      Several hours had gone by since the first guests had
      arrived. The festive meal at the center of the seder
      ritual had been consumed. Four glasses of wine had
      been drunk. Guests and hosts all seemed to be
      enjoying themselves. As Uncle Harry bargained with
      the children over the afikomen�s ransom, Adam pulled
      Jean-Paul out of the apartment and into the hall.
      �It�s almost over,� he said. �How are you holding

      �I�m fine,� he replied, putting his arms around Adam
      and kissing him on the forehead. �I�m having a great
      time. You worry too much. Your mother has been a

      �She has been pretty nice, I have to admit. Although
      I think I�ll either die of embarrassment or kill her
      if she mentions my Pulitzer one more time.�

      �It hasn�t been that many times. She�s proud of you.
      Let her brag a little.� He kissed Adam again, on the
      mouth this time. �I know I do.�

      �Okay, maybe it�s not as over the top as I thought it
      was. I was just worried you�d be embarrassed the way
      she goes on.�

      �I�m not. It�s sweet. Everything�s been wonderful so

      �What about all my cousins quizzing you about which
      shul you went to in Montreal; do you know the
      Grossmans in Cote St. Luc; is your family upset you
      aren�t home for Pesach? With a name like Jean-Paul
      Beaubier, you�d think they�d realize you aren�t
      Jewish. I�m sorry.�

      �It wasn�t so bad. A little bit uncomfortable at
      first. More so when Mona clearly had no idea I was a
      mutant until I told her.�

      �I must have missed that part. What happened?�

      �I think you were in the kitchen. She started asking
      about my job and when I explained it, said �Adam works
      with mutants, too, sometimes.� I don�t know who was
      more embarrassed � her or me � when I explained that I
      *am* a mutant.�

      �Oh love! I�m sorry.�

      �Hey, it�s fine. Your mother actually broke the
      tension. She told them how wonderful she thinks my
      powers are. And then started talking about �those
      nice boys from Westchester� who are mutants. She was
      particularly voluble about the �sweet boy with the
      sensitive eyes, who has to wear those dark glasses all
      the time.� It was all I could do not to laugh,
      thinking what Cyclops would think of being described
      like that.�

      �I�m sure. Who�d guess my mother would be the most
      knowledgeable about mutants in any gathering?� He
      shook his head. �I really do appreciate you putting up
      with my family, Jean-Paul.�

      �I�m having fun, I tell you. And at least they
      already knew I�m gay,� he added and they both


      �And now that we have finally persuaded the children
      to give us back the afikomen we can complete the
      seder,� Adam said to all, eliciting giggles from the
      children, who had been persuaded through gifts and
      candy. �Uncle Harry, I thank you for letting me take
      over for the final ritual of the night, the sharing of
      the afikomen, the reserved piece of matzo that ends
      the seder.� Adam paused and looked around. �Before
      we do, I�d like to say something about the traditional
      words that are said at the conclusion of the seder.
      At this time we identify ourselves as enslaved and
      oppressed and ask G-d that next year we be free men�
      sorry, Mom� free people in Jerusalem. Yet the seder
      tradition � and this passage in particular � was not
      developed in a time of slavery. And we around this
      table do not live lives of slavery and oppression. So
      why do we say that? Why do we call ourselves slaves?
      Why do we say all of this in present tense: �we *are*
      slaves,� not �we *were* slaves�, or �our ancestors
      were slaves�? Why do we pray for a new home and a new
      life next year?

      �We do these things because it is our tradition to
      identify so strongly with the oppressed and the
      enslaved that we see ourselves as not truly free until
      we can free others. We symbolize that identification
      with the downtrodden in the words we say tonight. So,
      before we finish, I ask that we all stop a minute and
      think of what we can do in the next year to bring
      about that wish, to help those suffering throughout
      the world find their own Jerusalems. I ask, in
      particular, for the strength and commitment and
      passion that will be required by people from all
      nations and all walks of life if we are to free those
      imprisoned in the mutant resettlement camps in
      Belarus. There are many horrors in the world, I know.
      That is one that I�ve seen first hand, and one I
      can�t forget. Their fate was once ours, and we as a
      people know what it is to be demonized, scapegoated,
      enslaved, and exterminated. Let us not cease from
      mental fight nor let our swords sleep in our hands
      until we have built Jerusalem in Minsk and,
      ultimately, throughout the world.�

      All the seder participants took a piece of the matzo
      and together said, �Next year in Jerusalem.�

      �That was lovely,� cousin Shirley said to Adam right
      afterwards. �I didn�t know the quote about letting
      our swords sleep in our hands, though. Is that from
      the Psalms?�

      �No, actually it�s Blake,� Adam said, a little
      sheepishly. �I�m better on English literature than
      biblical quotes, I�m afraid.� He rose at his mother�s
      request, to help her bring things in from the kitchen.

      �There�s a little known bit of halakha,� Uncle Harry
      intoned from the leader�s chair. He turned to
      Jean-Paul, saying by way of explanation, �Halakha is
      the Hebrew word for Jewish law.� Then he continued,
      �No uncircumcised men are permitted at the seder
      table. In particular, they may not partake of the
      afikomen.� With some effort, Jean-Paul finished
      chewing his piece of afikomen without choking.

      �Oh, Dad!� his daughter Mona exclaimed. �What are you
      going to do, line up all the men and check? Honestly,
      I think you�re just seeing who you can embarrass by
      mentioning penises at the seder table.�

      Adam�s friend Larry chimed in. �Not me! One of my
      favorite topics, most anywhere.� Jean-Paul, on the
      other hand, was looking extremely uncomfortable and

      Miriam and Adam came in with the coffee and cookies.
      �Enough of that talk, both of you,� she said, glaring
      at Harry and Larry. �You may be the leader tonight,
      Harry, but it�s my seder and my home. And we�re not
      discussing that sort of thing in my dining room.� No
      one dared argue.

      The guests had all gone home and the dishes had all
      been washed. Jean-Paul was almost done helping Miriam
      put some items back up on high shelves. He wondered a
      little why he was putting the dishes away when they�d
      be used for the second seder the next day. Perhaps
      she just wanted to see him fly again.

      He was happy to oblige, and was busying himself with
      his assigned tasks while musing on how to persuade
      Adam to relax enough to engage in sex � quiet,
      discreet sex � in his childhood bedroom down the hall
      from where his mother would be sleeping. Jean-Paul
      had pretty much decided that it was best not to
      discuss it with Adam. He figured he�d just try to
      seduce him and see where it went. Preoccupied with
      thoughts of what they�d done the night before and what
      he�d like to do tonight, he missed what Miriam had
      just said to him and had to ask her to repeat it.
      When she did, he wished she hadn�t.

      �Mon dieu, Miriam. You can�t just ask me... C�est
      pas... I don�t know what... Vraiment...�

      �Don�t lapse into French on me, Jean-Paul. It�s a
      simple enough question. Answer me in plain English.�
      Jean-Paul looked over her head, craning his neck to
      see the hallway outside the kitchen. �And no point in
      looking out there, because Adam is not rescuing you
      from this. He�s my son. I need to know.�

      �But I can�t talk to you about...� Jean-Paul�s voice
      trailed off.

      �Why not?�

      �Miriam! I can�t... I don�t... Bien sur, I�m not in
      the habit of talking to my lovers� parents about my
      sexual practices!�

      �Lovers?� she repeated, voice rising. �How many do
      you have?�

      �No, no, no.� Jean-Paul grabbed his head with both
      hands, wishing he could just disappear. �He�s the
      only one. I haven�t touched another man, haven�t even
      looked at another man, not since Adam and I met.
      He�s not my first, is all I meant. Tabernac, Miriam �
      I�m 30 years old. I had a life before I met Adam.
      And, and, and� nobody�s mother ever asked me before if
      we use condoms!� he blurted out, loudly. �Ask Adam,
      Miriam, if you must,� he continued more softly. �I�m
      just not comfortable talking to you about this. I�m

      Adam�s mother looked down. �He won�t tell me
      anything. He says it�s none of my business.� She
      looked Jean-Paul in the face and he could see tears in
      her eyes. �How can it be none of my business? He�s
      my only child. I can�t... lose him.�

      �Miriam,� Jean-Paul put his hand on her shoulder and
      looked straight at her. �I love Adam. Truly I do. I
      want to spend the rest of my life with him � and I
      intend it to be a long one, for both of us. I would
      never do anything to hurt him. Vraiment.�

      Miriam wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
      �Yeah, well that sounds really nice. But a virus
      doesn�t care how much you love him, you know.�

      Jean-Paul didn�t know how to answer that, but he
      didn�t have a chance to, anyway. Adam walked into the
      kitchen, face full of anger, clearly having heard his
      mother�s last comment. �Leave him alone, Mom,� he

      �We were just talking.�

      �No, you were hounding him. After I told you not to.
      Don�t you think he�s been through enough tonight?
      Putting up with all the crazy relatives. Spending
      hours on a ritual that�s mostly in a language he
      doesn�t understand. Dealing with people who�ve never
      met a mutant before. And then to top it all off,
      Uncle Harry suggesting he shouldn�t even be here!�

      Miriam looked at Jean-Paul open-mouthed.

      Jean-Paul suddenly found himself wishing that
      invisibility were his mutant power. �I really wish
      you hadn�t said that, Adam,� he said, burying his head
      in his hands again.

      �Yeah, me too.� Adam looked truly miserable. �Hey,
      Mom. I�ll make you a deal,� he said. �If you promise
      to forget what I just said, I�ll answer that question
      about condoms.�

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