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Fic - Pyro - Some Kind of Boy 16

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  • Tara Ann
    Title: Some Kind of Boy (Some Kind of Boy – story 16) author: Tara Ann summary: John meets a new friend and Jill realizes the truth of The Brotherhood.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 24 8:09 AM
      Title: Some Kind of Boy (Some Kind of Boy – story 16)
      author: Tara Ann
      summary: John meets a new friend and Jill realizes the truth of The
      Brotherhood. X2
      Rating/warning & pairing: R for brief profanity. Pyro/Avalanche,
      Pyro/Rogue, Pyro/Jill
      *Characters do not belong to me except for Jill – she is mine and
      looks like Claire Danes.
      *Dominic/Avalanche looks like Vincent Kartheiser.
      ** I've liked Pyro from the first moment I saw him in X2. He's
      complex with confidence and vulnerability. I only hope I give St.
      John Allerdyce the respect and understanding he deserves. He is the
      boy with the soft edges and the palest pout.

      wine is good for your heart
      take one sip
      take another
      wine is good for your heart
      like love, drink it in small sips
      I don't know how to gulp it down

      John didn't tell her everything, but she hoped he told her enough.
      She had kissed him and given him a blowjob before he left because she
      wanted to; sometimes she wished he would ask her. The only thing she
      really knew was that something was going to go down at three
      o'clock. Jillian Ann La Boy should have realized it sooner and maybe
      she did, but her boyfriend, no matter the reasoning, was a mutant
      terrorist. "Terrorist" was too much of an ugly word; she decided he
      was more of the aggressive resistance fighter. She couldn't see into
      the future, she couldn't even read tarot cards, but she knew
      something would happen some day . . . to him, to her, to them . . .
      and when she did have her cards read it wasn't good. Jill didn't
      know if John believed in carnie-type hocus pocus, but she did. Maybe
      it was silly, but the fortune teller's words – "Great love, grief,
      sickness, and muy loco" didn't make her feel better. Jill thought
      about death, flirted with it, but the thought of it touching someone
      she loved didn't seem fair. She wondered if everything was
      inevitable like John believed everything was; if he did cling to some
      small slice of hope he never confessed it to her.


      John sat in the coffee shop feeling . . . he didn't know what
      he was feeling. He looked out the window and saw some kid passing
      out Friends of Humanity brochures; he snickered.
      The waitress brought him the grilled cheese sandwich, but he
      didn't feel like biting into it.
      The buzz from earlier was beginning to temporarily settle
      inside him and he took a sip of his Cherry Coke. There was never
      enough cherry flavor.
      He took his shark-mouthed lighter from the pocket of his
      brown leather jacket and clicked it open. With one flick he had the
      flame dancing over his fingers. Today, right now, it didn't matter
      if people were watching; he liked doing it, looking at the flame, he
      liked the way it felt on his skin – like being tickled by the sun on
      a friendly day.
      Then the fire disappeared and John closed his lighter,
      setting it on the table beside the salt shaker. He didn't realize
      his quiet fire play was an invite.
      "Can I get a light?" said a kid around John's age. His brown
      hair was uncombed and hanging in front of his blue eyes; he looked
      sexy mutty in ripped jeans and a burgundy long-sleeved shirt. He
      held the cigarette between his slender fingers. "I saw what you
      did. I know you're like me."
      John's eyes studied the other boy and held the flame out
      towards him.
      "I don't expect charity," said the kid. "I ran out of
      matches." He exhaled the smoke from his one definitive exhale. "I'm
      "Yeah, so?"
      Dominic winced with false hurt. "Don't play with me. I know
      you're interested."
      "Not yet," said John, closing his hand around his lighter.
      The kid sat across from John, one leg bent at the knee,
      making himself comfortable.
      "Understandable," Dominic said. "So you light fire like my
      cat licks licorice."
      John didn't really understand what the boy meant by that, but
      it didn't matter.
      Dominic nodded and smiled. "That's good. Very good. Since
      you didn't ask me I'm gonna tell you. I make the ground rumble."
      There was a beauty mark on the left side of Dominic's face
      near his chin. He raised an eyebrow at John and placed one hand on
      the wall. The sudden vibrations were unmistakable and one of the
      pictures hanging on the wall fell from its hook and shattered on to
      an elderly lady's table. She shrieked. Then the mini earthquake was
      silent and Dominic smiled again.
      "I like to be called `Avalanche.'"
      "Is that it?" John said.
      "You want something reckless, don't you? I could see it in
      your eyes when you were gazing violently out the window at that
      mutant hater. I can do reckless with precision. I can make the
      ground shake when I come, but I don't."
      "That's great," said John, his voice casual and dull despite
      his sudden interest in the boy sitting in front of him. "Who are you
      "What do you mean?"
      "You don't belong in some kind of group?"
      Dominic shook his head. "Nope. Should I?"
      "I don't know. Maybe. If you want to." John sat back and
      relaxed his shoulders.
      "Where do you belong?"
      John stared into him and said, "No where and everywhere."
      "You in school? I was supposed to graduate, but I'm not
      ready to leave, yet."
      "I'm going to college," said John.
      "Someone told me college is the cruelest joke," said Dominic.
      "My ex-girlfriend. You got one?"
      "Yeah. I do."
      Dominic puffed smoothly on his cigarette. "I guess that's
      He motioned for the waitress and she went over to their
      table, setting down the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
      "You moved," she said.
      Dominic smiled like darling dipped trouble, his blue eyes
      like crystal. "I'm unpredictable."
      The waitress glanced at John and continued with her work.
      Dominic reached into the front pocket of his blue jeans and took out
      a bag of Reeces Pieces. He popped some into his mouth.
      "Kind of redundant, isn't it?"
      "Nothing is ever redundant," Dominic said. He took one bite
      out of his peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich. Then he
      winked at John. "Do you want to go see Dashboard Confessional?"
      "I like The White Stripes."
      "Oh, okay. Have you ever read Voltaire?"
      "I've read many things," said John. His favorite book was It by
      Stephen King. It might have seemed simple to some people, but the
      heart of it was real.
      Dominic took the tip from a nearby table and threw it down on their
      table; he stretched his arms above his head - he was tall and skinny.
      "I'll catch you later," he said.
      "Pyro," said John.
      "Catch you later, Pyro."
      John watched the boy walk out of the coffee shop and cross the street.
      "Something wicked this way comes," John said to himself.


      fire dance with me
      I won't let the shadows touch you
      polished pearls and red Chinese boots
      there are too many things to tell you
      you're just some kind of boy
      I'm your some kind of girl

      She had seen what happened on the news. The underground
      government mental institution facility housing mutants because they
      were mutants and not crazy no longer existed. Giant fire tornadoes
      had demolished it and all the little insects inside it. The
      Brotherhood had infiltrated it, rescued the unfortunate mutants
      inside it, and wreaked havoc on the very human employees. The news
      failed to mention the fifteen babies held inside the institution;
      babies given up by their parents out of fear and the shameless thirst
      for money. Sabertooth had wanted to leave them and Toad joked about
      wishing they knew which ones would "evolve" so they could take the
      one with the most beneficial power. They were labeled "Baby X1, Baby
      X2, Baby X3 . . ." and John knew he couldn't leave them behind.
      Despite his recent loathing of the blue bitch, Mystique agreed with
      him and so did Magneto; the babies were saved. Next time they might
      not be so lucky.
      When John walked into "apartment 435" Jill was sitting on the
      couch watching Friends; she was wearing his boxers with a lace white
      tank top. Her dirty blonde hair was wet and pulled into pigtails.
      "I made macaroni and cheese," she said. "First time.
      There's none left. I ate it. I was really hungry, I guess."
      The orange kitten, Blazie, meowed and jumped off the couch to
      greet him. He kneeled down and pet her head.
      "I saw the tornadoes on the news," said Jill. "They were
      really something. How many did it take to bring down the building?"
      "Not many," said John.
      "Everything on the news is horrible."
      "Change the channel," he said. He sighed and lifted her legs
      so he could sit down; she rested them over his lap and he stared at
      the upside down cross on her ankle, the burgundy melting into her
      white skin. John stroked her ankle with one finger and smiled
      "There were babies in the building."
      Jill stared at him, the scar on her chin relentless in its
      pending crucifixion.
      "We took them out of there," he said.
      "Oh." Jill seemed relieved. "You saved them."
      "Saved them?" John snickered. "Not really."
      "They're alive. You saved them."
      "Doesn't mean they're safe."
      Jill leaned back into the purple sofa and yawned. "We have
      to bring Moulin Rouge, Dawn of the Dead, and Garfield back to the
      video store."
      "They were supposed to go back yesterday."
      "Fine." John shrugged.
      "Do you like working with them? Do you trust them?"
      "Yes," he said.
      "Do they trust you?"
      "Yes. Why wouldn't they?"
      "I didn't mean they shouldn't," said Jill. She pinched his
      shoulder; he seemed edgier than usual. "Where are the babies now?"
      John shrugged. "We dropped them on Xavier's doorstep."
      Jill nodded, her eyes narrowing at him. "Hmmm."
      She started to bite her lower lip. "I can't stop biting my
      lips today and it's really starting to hurt and I've been counting
      letters in my head, the same two letters over and over."
      John stared blankly at the muted television. "Do you want to
      take a walk or something?"
      Then he saw something gleaming in the crack of the couch and
      picked it up, his brown eyes observing it's silver smoothness.
      Jill smiled and said, "My sister gave that to me."
      "Yeah, she really looks out for you." He held it between his
      fingers and laughed. "What is this, my pretty pint-sized vibrator?"
      His smile softened slightly and he stared at her. "It's so
      small . . . you use this?"
      "No," said Jill, snatching it from him and holding it in her
      hand. "I didn't, yet. I don't know if I will."
      His casual handsome demeanor took over. "Yeah, well, don't
      let me stop you. What happens if it gets stuck . . . up you or
      Jill laughed, punching his thigh with her feet. "It's not
      going to get stuck."
      "How do you know?"
      "I know. Are you jealous?"
      John leaned his head back, looking up at the ceiling, and
      turned to her. "Maybe if it was bigger." His smile was quick and
      devil handsome.
      "She gave me an orange dildo."
      "Your sister is very generous," said John.
      "I don't know what to do with it."
      His dark eyes glistened. "I think I know what to do with it."
      Jill threw the tiny vibrator at him; it hit his chest and
      rolled down into his lap by her leg.
      "That's not what I meant."
      He picked it up and twisted the bottom, feeling the straightforward
      vibration in his palm.
      "Strong little fucker," he said.
      "Don't waste the batteries."
      John's smile was innocent and obvious. "Why? Do you plan on
      using it? When?"
      "I don't know. I just want to keep it."
      He turned it off and threw it back to her; she caught in her
      "Maybe Blazie could use it," he said, his head tilted
      back. "Where's the other thing your kind sister got you?"
      "In the bedroom on the bed."
      "Very subtle. I want to play with it."
      "We could use it for decoration," said Jill.
      "Yeah, put it right smack in the middle of the dining room
      table. The color even matches the little twisted trick you like to
      do with the cheese doodles."
      "Maybe I just want to be your dirty little girl," said
      Jill. "Toad told me if he had known someone like me when he was in
      school he wouldn't be the way he is."
      "Doubt that," John said.
      "Don't be mean."
      "I'm not."
      "I've tried talking to Mystique. She looks at me like I did
      something to hurt her."
      John didn't want to hear about Mystique and he definitely didn't want
      Jill to feel uncomfortable around her or everyone else.
      "She's just pissed because Logan doesn't want to fuck her."
      He got up and went into the bedroom; when he returned he was holding
      the orange dildo.
      "This must be at least ten inches," he said. "Rogue loves to play
      with these in the store and it really turns Bobby on."
      "Does it turn you on?"
      John didn't take his eyes off her. "Maybe."
      His face was smooth and Jill believed that the hardest slap would
      vanish in his soft sleekness; sometimes she thought of slapping him,
      not because he deserved it, because it seemed like some kind of fun
      except somehow she sensed John Allerdyce didn't like to be slapped,
      not even during sexual kicks. She didn't dare to touch him in any
      way she thought he would find less than sweet.
      He smiled, his dark eyes twinkling like the happiest kid in the whole
      world, and he waved the orange rubber phallus towards her. In some
      little crazy voice she had never heard before he said, "I'm coming to
      get you, Jill."
      She laughed. "Are you gonna chase me around the apartment with that
      "Yes I am," he said. "I know it's gonna make you laugh."
      John sat beside her and nudged her arm with it and she pushed it
      away, her laughter pretty and wild.
      "Make it talk," she said.
      She saw the pink flicker within his cheeks and in the same crazy
      voice he said, "Tickle me, Jill. Tickle me, please. Tickle me, now."
      Then he was kissing her and the sex toy was forgotten, dropped
      casually into her lap. He really was a very good kisser and he
      seemed to take kissing more serious than lovemaking, like it was more
      important, maybe he felt more connected when he kissed her than he
      did when they had sex.
      "I like the way you kiss me, John Allerdyce."
      His eyes were tender like his lips. "Sometimes you make me feel like
      an ordinary guy."


      Her Chinese silk boots were pale gold with orange and blue flowers;
      they seemed warm. Jill hugged herself while she walked beside him,
      cuddling into his body, his arm wrapped around her. It was like he
      thought she would slip away if he let her go. Her scarf was furry
      and orange, her hat purple. She held on to the end of his blue scarf
      and missed the perfect sleekness of his dark hair; it was hiding
      underneath his gray hat.
      They walked through the park and stopped in front of the
      "It's closed up," she said.
      "Yeah, I know," said John, "but I like it here. When I ran
      away from home I would go to a similar one in Pittsburgh, break in
      during the night, and contemplate . . . everything and nothing. I
      broke into this one . . ."
      "I used to want to ride the white horse," Jill
      said. "Doesn't being in the park this late at night freak you out?"
      "I wish I could walk in the park during the night by myself
      and not be worried that someone might rape me."
      He squeezed her closer to him and kissed her cheek. "I won't
      let you get hurt."
      Jill nodded. "I believe you."
      "The candy store is closed."
      She frowned. "We'll get jellybeans and jawbreakers tomorrow."
      "I guess we'll have to. I met this kid today."
      "He's my age and makes the ground rumble."
      "Is he big?"
      "No," said John.
      "Do you think I'm old?"
      John smiled. "You're only twenty-one."
      "Twenty-two. I'm four years older than you."
      "Yeah, you're too old for me," he laughed.
      "Coconut smoothie. That's what I want."
      "Right now?"
      "Yes," she said. "I wish it would snow. What do you want?"
      John took her hand and started walking away from the carousel.
      "What do I want?" he said. "I want to write, I want to
      travel, I want to fall in love."
      She shook his hand, her red mittens keeping her hands extra
      warm. "What do you want now?"
      "If I decided to travel the world would you come with me?"
      "Of course I would, John. Why would I stay here? When are
      you leaving? Where are we going?"
      "I need to find some money," he said. "Everywhere – Holland,
      Russia, England, France, Spain, Africa, Australia, Morocco, Brazil,
      Germany –"
      "Disney World! It's supposed to be happy there, but the Red
      Light District could be exciting."
      "More so," she said and hugged his arm. "You know, what I
      let you do two nights ago, you could do it again if you want to. You
      liked it?"
      He shrugged. "Yeah, but you said you didn't."
      "It's okay," said Jill. "I like you."
      John smiled softly. He couldn't see the blue hazel of her
      eyes under the night sky.
      "When I was little I told myself if I ever wanted to get
      married I would propose to my boyfriend."
      "I thought you didn't want to get married," said John.
      "I don't," she said, "but I like the idea of proposing to my
      "Would you get on your knees?"
      "No," said Jill. "I would take his hand, kiss it, and
      say, `Hey you, young buckaroo, do you want to marry me?'"
      "What would he say?"
      "I don't know. What would you say?"
      "I don't know. I'm only nineteen."
      Jill glanced over her shoulder and said, "I wonder where the
      squirrels are hiding? I love them. I wish I could keep one for my
      pet. I want to keep a pet piggy, too. And a little monkey in harem
      pants. You know what I've been thinking?"
      "I really don't," said John.
      "You need something bigger."
      "What do I need bigger?"
      "Not what you're thinking?" she said, her voice sweet like
      bruised honey. "Your fire. You makes the flames bigger and bigger,
      but I think you need something more than your shark-mouthed lighter."
      "I like my lighter," he said.
      "I know. I'm not saying you should toss it into the river.
      I like to watch you hold it. When you do these `jobs' you need
      something more, something harder, something like a flame-thrower or
      something . . ."
      "Something kick-ass," said John.
      "Your lighter is very kick-ass because it's yours, but you
      need something more convenient. Of course, then you'd be more than
      conspicuous . . ."
      "I can handle myself," he said. "What are you afraid of?"
      "You going to jail."
      "I'm not going to jail."
      "I know, you have to publish your first book and sign it for
      He looked at her and couldn't believe he was in love with
      her. Maybe he was pretending, but he knew what he felt towards her
      was real. When she first spoke to him in front of the courthouse he
      thought she was just some lost little girl who didn't know what she
      was standing in the middle of, and sometimes he still believed she
      didn't know, but he realized she was more than he imagined and
      fantasized – Jillian Ann LaBoy was the pretty little sunflower with
      tiny sharp teeth. She didn't bite him, but she would bite others if
      given good reason to and he hoped she would never stop liking him.
      John didn't need her to love him forever, but he need her to love him.
      "You want to sing karaoke?" she said.
      He laughed. "What?"
      "Madonna maybe or songs from the eighties, those are fun!"
      "I don't want to sing," said John.
      "You like singing. You sing that song over and over."
      "I like that song," he said.
      "It's a dirty song."
      "It's why I like it so much. It's why you like it so much."
      "I like it because you sing it," said Jill. She tugged on
      the blue and white striped scarf she bought him to keep his neck
      warm. "Then tell me what you want to do? Ice-skating. It's closed,
      but we could sneak on the ice. Or you could melt it for kicks."
      Her eyes were wide and lively. He kissed her because he
      loved her. Jill felt the tears in her eyes, but she didn't let them
      fall on to her cheeks.
      "Do you know why I used to cut," she said. "It's invisible
      pain. The cuts, the hurting, the blood – it made the pain less
      "Do you hate yourself?"
      John looked into her face, her kindness, her beauty, her graceful
      quirkiness – she was real and he hoped he could be real for her.
      "Maybe. Sometimes. I don't know."
      "Do you want people to be afraid of you?"
      Her voice was gentle and curious and she spoke with some kind of
      sadness he didn't understand.
      "Only the people who should," said John.
      She kissed his cheek and said, "They should be."


      "Fire and ice, everything nice," Rogue said, standing over
      him, her shiny black boot-heel pressing down into his shoulder. The
      white streaks in her long brunette hair framed her pretty face like
      some wicked sweet princess with an unbreakable and double-sided curse.
      The leather of her uniform outlined the curves of her hips and
      breasts more sublimely than he thought was possible. He didn't mind
      when she snatched his shark-mouthed lighter from his hand.
      "Pretty Pyro," she said, her voice soft, her Southern accent
      faint. "Why do you hesitate to wrap me in flames? Do you still want
      me to be on your side?"
      "There are too many sides to everything," he said, looking up
      at her.
      "You promise you won't let him hurt me?"
      John nodded.
      "You're not thinking of me," said Rogue. "You never think of
      "I don't love you," he said.
      "I know. You love her. We're not safe, none of us are
      safe . . ."
      She looked at his lighter in her hand and clicked it open. She
      flicked it and there was no flame, only tiny sparks . . . she closed
      the metal lid and gave it back to him.
      "She's the only one," Rogue said, her eyes sad, her voice
      strong. "I think you need something bigger."
      Rogue kneeled down, grabbed his shirt, and three metal claws pushed
      themselves out through her left hand, the sharp points touching his
      "We know you're dangerous," she said. "She knows it, too."
      John opened his eyes and inhaled the scent of Jill's dirty
      blonde hair – jasmine, honey, and milk.
      "Jill?" he said, his voice an undefined whisper.
      "I'm not sleeping," she said, her eyes closed. "I don't feel
      like sleeping. You were twisting in your sleep again." Her voice
      sounded uncharacteristically flat. "What were you dreaming?"
      "I don't know," said John. "Something weird."
      Jill turned on her side, her arms under the pillow. "I had a
      dream you were naked and wearing a Santa hat and walking down the
      "No. More like two months ago."
      Without opening her eyes she reached out her hand and slid
      her slender fingers under the collar of his tee shirt.
      "You don't have a fever. That's very good," she
      said. "Sometimes when you dream these dreams you have the most
      wicked fever."
      Her touch was warm against his skin.
      "I used to have Freddy dreams," Jill said. "I was in the
      little round water room with the chains hanging from the ceiling and
      he was sucking on my knee. It tickled. I always wished I could do
      kung fu like Alice."
      "The Dream Master."
      "You never told me you were a Freddy girl," he said.
      "It seems like a long time ago now," said Jill. "I was
      really crazy for him. Wanted to work in an industrial laundry, but
      now I want to work the laundry in Charenton."
      She sat up, opened her eyes, and looked down at him, stroking his
      cheek like she was calming him into slumber.
      "One day I'm going to cry for you," she said. "I would cry
      now, but I'm trying to keep it inside."
      "What the hell are you talking about?"
      She shrugged. "You intellectualize everything, John. Even
      sex, in your own way. You intellectualize me."
      "Jill, you're talking –"
      "Like I'm in love with you."
      The glimmer of his dark eyes was like the kindest glass and
      his face was edged in softness.
      "There are too many sides some people don't know how to see,"
      said Jill. "I guess I'm just worried for you. You don't like
      uncomfortable silence and when you sleep that's all there is
      sometimes. I feel it like I feel heat."
      John glanced towards the bedside table and saw his shark-
      mouth lighter. Next to it was Jill's tiny crystal flame necklace.
      "You're right," he said. "Bigger could be fun."
      "Picking dandelions and doing cartwheels are fun," Jill said.
      She got out of bed and disappeared into the kitchen for several
      moments. When she returned she was holding her orange plastic jack-
      o'-lantern cup.
      "Thirsty," she said. "Chocolate and cherry whiskey."
      "How much chocolate syrup did you put in this time?"
      "Lots and lots," she said, taking one long gulp.
      John watched her; he felt like he was in an impenetrable daze.
      "Do you really like the way it tastes?" he said.
      "Yes I do," said Jill. "The Marquis De Sade loved chocolate
      like he loved theater."
      "I meant the whiskey."
      "I like it fine," she said. "Want some?"
      "No," said John. "It hurts my head and I drink it slow."
      "Maybe you should drink it fast. Then I can take advantage
      of you." She smiled. Then she stared at the black painted pumpkin
      face on her cup. "I wish I could carve jack-o'-lanterns every day.
      If I ever got married I'd want a huge jack-o'-lantern cake with
      chocolate whiskey filling."
      "Are you sure you don't want to get married?"
      "What? Are you asking me, John Allerdyce?" She laughed. "I
      know you're not."
      "I'm too young to get married."
      "Me too. I just like parties – no, I loathe parties. I like
      to eat cake."
      "Like Marie Antoinette? Her head got cut off."
      "And fell into the hollow," said Jill. "No, I'm not Marie
      Antoinette, I'm the little match girl."
      My little match girl, thought John.
      "Are you sleepy?"
      She shook her head. "Nope. Sometimes when I couldn't sleep
      I'd play with tinkerbell. I like masturbating, but sometimes I get
      John nestled his head against Jill's shoulder and closed his
      eyes. "You want me to play with tinkerbell?"
      "Would you ever go to a nude beach?"
      "Why not? I think I would," she said. Jill stroked his
      Adam's apple with childlike curiosity. Then she put her cup on the
      floor beside the bed.
      When she was resettled in bed, under the blankets, John
      pressed his cheek into her breast, his eyes closed.
      "Even when you're sleeping you have the palest pout," said
      "I'm not sleeping," he said.
      He slid his hand under her pale pink camisole and placed his
      hand over her breast; he squeezed her gently.
      The silence between them was comfortable, quiet and kind.
      "I'm bleeding," she said.
      "Is that why you don't feel like sleeping?"
      She shrugged. "I don't know."
      Her nipples hardened and she let his fingers play with her.
      Jill thought he seemed closer to her tonight than he did the other
      nights. His body pressed against hers and she knew she'd offer him
      everything she could even if he pretended he didn't need her. When
      he was with her he didn't need to pretend . . . he seemed to breathe
      with her.
      "I used to be afraid to touch you, John, just like you were afraid to
      touch me," she said. "Now I can't seem to stop touching you . . .
      this little light of mine.
      "When I turn thirty I'm going to teach kindergarten or
      something. I used to go to the hospital and name all the newborn
      babies. That's what I loved most about playing with dolls. I liked
      to name them. There's baby Scarlet, baby Elise, baby Ishmael, baby
      Ichabod, baby Mina . . ."
      "Molly," said John.
      The untouched innocence in his voice startled her.
      "I like the name `Molly.' For a girl."
      "You're so kind," said Jill. "I'm such a selfish girl."
      "How are you selfish? I don't think you're selfish."
      "Maybe I'm not, but I feel like I am," she said. "Don't you
      ever wish you could just stay in bed forever? It's comfortable, it's
      warm, and you can fantasize over everything.
      "I used to be a lingerie model."
      John opened his eyes and looked at her. "Really? You never
      told me that story."
      Jill laughed and tussled his dark hair. "You think I tell
      you stories?"
      "Your stories never have happy endings."
      "Your stories do."
      "Not the real ones," he said.
      "I wasn't really a lingerie model. I was fifteen and I was
      the girl whose picture you see on those silly training bras. I was
      utterly flat-chested, but my sister, she wants me to be a supermodel."
      He laughed. "I want to see those pictures."
      "This guy in school recognized me and I let him kiss me even
      though he made fun of me."
      "Fifteen seems like some other lifetime," said John.
      "Fifteen? Twenty seems so long ago to me. It's like the
      older I get the more I forget my life and everything that made me the
      girl I used to be . . . is that normal?"
      John shrugged. "I only know what normal is supposed to feel
      "Oh yeah, who says it's `supposed' to feel like something?
      What is it `supposed' to feel like?"
      "What else did you model?" said John; he closed his eyes.
      "Just clothing in Seventeen," Jill said. "I guess I always
      wanted to be prom queen."
      "Did you go to prom?"
      "I wore a short white dress with rose-colored ankle-strap
      heels. My hair was waved and curled. Everyone was wearing long
      gowns. Everyone was surprised by how pretty I looked and I loved
      it. It was my secret moment. I was queen and no one knew it."
      "Who did you go with?"
      "My friend Giovanni."
      "We sort of had prom in the school. I guess it's no big
      deal," said John.
      "I bet lots of girls wanted to go with you."
      "They did, but I didn't want to go with them."
      "You're one picky dude, John Allerdyce. You don't even have
      to speak to make girls wet."
      "That's why I don't speak," he said and smiled.
      "If you expect too much from people they stop liking you."
      "I don't believe you." He hugged her body tighter.
      "Yeah you do. You're some kind of boy. What am I going to
      do with you, John Allerdyce?" Jill paused. "I'm just gonna love
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