You were cold I childe myself as I walk away from Drake. Each step I take away from him I find myself more exasperated with my manner. I could've said yes. I could've possibly spent the day with him. I swear he's watching me walk away, which has to be wishful thinking, wishful thinking that I shouldn't be indulging in.
I know that there are more than the 'couple of us' going that Bobby mentioned. I know this day out is actually a field trip contrived by Jubilee to give the children a way to do some shopping before the summer semester ends and fall begins. Why Bobby took that to mean a day off is beyond me. I am not about to get roped into being a chaperon.
As I enter my room and catch sight of the stack of papers I've yet to grade I find myself once again wondering if I should have said yes. Students aside it would have been nice to spend the day with Bobby.
No, the less time I spend around him the better. If I spend more time around him it will be harder to kill this frustrating crush that I really should have already rid myself of. Perhaps I should leave Worthington in danger so he'll yell at me again, then I can think about wanting to beat him instead of wanting to kiss him. It's difficult, when he decided to make up for the meal he had stood me up for I kept catching myself finding more reasons to want him. I really just wanted to lean over the table and kiss him which is childish and stupid of me.
Frustrated I resist the urge to kick off my shoes and instead sit on my bed to take them off. My window's open and I can very faintly hear some of the kids outside. They're mostly good kids, mainly normal except for their genetic quirks. This thought leads me to replay the conversation that brought me here. Charles hinting that somebody was gay and could benefit from my being here. As far as I can see I'm the only one, except for Shan. Really my being here seems to have no point. If any of the children had a question about their sexuality they'd more then likely question Shan or Hank before they'd try to talk to me. I understand that Hank's not really gay, but not everyone, mainly the students, realize this, hence my being here has no real point. What will I do? I'll lecture, I'll grade papers, I'll discipline the few delinquent, mainly Julian Keller, one too many times, and maybe I'll earn some of their respect, perhaps I'll go on a few good missions with the X-men, but really what's the point? How long can a person go on feeling isolated until they lose it? I wonder if…my door swings open and Jubilee gives me this too perky smile as she jingles a pair of keys at me and says, "It's your lucky day. Grab your shoes; you get to drive the new van."
I give her one of my better scowls as I stand and move to my desk. As I begin to organize the papers I tell her that Bobby and I already had this conversation and that I already declined.
"Too bad. Need another chaperon. You're it."
"Find someone else."
"Can't. Shan and Dani took Shan's siblings out for the day. Hank's barricaded himself in his lab. All our couples, Scott and Jean, Alex and Annie, Warren and Paige, already have plans for the day. Emma's gone for the weekend, I think she's went to go see Sean. Wolvie told me don't even. Lorna's and Cain are both still on house arrest," she manages to say in one quick breath, impressive.
"Kurt," I suggest.
"He's giving fencing lessons to the kids that aren't going."
"He's helping Kurt. You're all I've got. Grab your shoes and let's go."
Nice to know I'm the last resort. "No, I have papers to grade."
"It's Saturday, you've got all weekend," she whines. I half tempted to find her some cheese then slam my door in her face. She probably wouldn't understand the humor behind that.
"I refused. I'm not going."
"Yes, you are," she tells me as she steps into my room uninvited and puts the keys to the van on my desk.
"No, I'm not," I tell her irritated as she's begins to look around my room.
"Non." I can't believe I'm having this childish argument.
The reasoning is simple really, out of respect for the old man. I still can't understand their friendship, they're an unlikely pair. Also I must admit she's mildly entertaining when she's trying to get her way…from someone other than me.
"Oui," she sighs in an overly bored fashion while rolling her eyes.
By now she's opened my dresser drawer and is staring into it absently. She looks up at my surprise, "What you think I don't know some French? Come on, how long have I know Gambit? Want to hear the German I've picked up off of Kurt? I know some Spanish and Russian too, ya wanna hear that?"
"No, that won't be necessary. Get out of my things. I'm not going to waste my morning having this ridiculous argument with you. I suggest you leave my room and find a way to fit all the children into whatever vehicles you and Bobby decide to take."
She sighs and looks at me in an irritated fashion as she puts her hands on her hips, as if that is going to change anything, "Scott said I have to have another chaperon or the whole trip is nixed."
"Then find Mr. Summers and tell him as the maker of this…"
"He's not here," she pouts as she goes up on her toes to get a better look into the drawer she's opened. She rocks back on her heels and whines, "Come on JP, play nice for once."
"No fair! You let Wolvie call you Johnny!"
"I've known Logan for a considerably longer time then you," I tell her as I cross to the dresser and shut the drawer, "Now get out of my room."
"Ya know, this room could use some homey touches," she tells me before grinning obviously, "like things you could get at a mall."
Before she can protest I have her outside my room and the door slammed shut. I was more than patient with her, no one can fault me for that.
"Hey!" she protests when she realizes what I've done. Figuring ignoring her is for the best I continue going through my papers.
"That's was so unfair! Come on, you're being a jerk. Stop being impossible! I'm supposed to meet one of my friends for lunch!"
"Then cancel," I tell her loudly. There goes the ignoring her bit.
"Why don't you come downstairs and explain to the kids why they can't go on their field trip!"
Explain yourself, I want to tell her. It shouldn't have to be any of my concern if she didn't get enough chaperons. She and Bobby watching children run around the mall, who was crazy enough to approve of such a thing?
"I'm gonna blame it all on you. See how much the kids hate you then! They're already calling you Snape!"
I open the door and glare at her, "Aren't you the one who started calling me Mr. Hand?"
"Didn't stick, kids these days," she paused to wrinkle her nose, "Ewww, did that just come out of my mouth?"
I slam my door shut and tell her to leave.
"Jean-Paul, puh-lease? I'm begging here! Oh! Oh! I'll let you have Bobby for the entire day!"
I freeze and suddenly feel chilled. Does she know something and if so how? She can't, she has to be offering me Bobby simply because he's the only adult male going. It's insulting.
I continue to ignore her and try to go back to grading papers, but now I'm having trouble concentrating. After ranting for another moment or so she starts singing out of key, some song that sounds vaguely familiar, as though it's something I've heard on the radio before, but never paid attention to. She pauses to tell me, "And don't even think about rushing me down the hall, I'll find my way back here and sing all day. I think you'll really hate this next one, Jono did and you two both sorta have that angry at the world thing going on so why don't we try it? Actually Jono hated all my CD's, once I caught him trying to throw them away. He claimed they were driving him insane and that their 'mere presence' in the house was dragging the whole team down. Can you believe that? I mean you should have listened to what he liked, I mean it's no wonder he was depressed all the time. Have you ever lived in a basement? I don't think I could, but then you're not dark like Chamber. You've got that whole I like my preppy clothes thing going on, but anyways get prepared to hear me sing and it's off key only cause that's more annoying."
I drop my pen and glare at the door. Fine! Using my speed I swing the door open which she must have been leaning against because she falls backwards onto my feet. I glare down at her, "Shouldn't you have prepared for this trip beforehand, gotten enough chaperones and such?"
She grimaces and rubs her head, "Paige was suppose ta go, but Warren made plans and she was gonna bail on him, but I told her I had a backup plan."
"So employ your 'backup plan'."
"Um, Jean-Paul, you would be the backup plan."
"I see. Then this is why Robert asked…"
"Hey! Don't accuse me of usin' Bobby, he asked you all on his own. Kinda rude of you ta refuse huh?"
Weren't you trying to 'use' Bobby a short while ago?
"I wasn't rude."
She blinks as me a moment before rolling her eyes, "Ya know for someone so smart you can be kinda dense."
She sits up, "Whatever. I'm not gonna spell it out for you, but I will say this; Bobby is very good at denial, so good that sometimes he doesn't even realize what he's in denial about."
She cannot be getting at what I think she's getting at. Her words are merely a ploy to get me to play chaperon. Still…
"I'm not going to get rid of you am I?"
" 'Fraid not."
"All I have to do is drive the van?"
"Yea, we might stop for food on the way back if they're good…"
"They won't be."
Ignoring her I grab the keys off the desk, put my shoes back on and close my window before shoving her out of my room and locking the door behind me. She makes a fuss, giving me a hug and telling me I'm the 'best'. I just want this day to end because I can already see it's going to be exceptionally long.
As we step outside there's this blonde girl I recognize, but don't have in any of my classes sitting on the steps looking forlornly at her two friends. The girl I remember, Sofia, she caused a small disturbance in my flight class on her first day. The boy, David, is enrolled in one of my classes. He's very studious, which is surprising as his powers allow him mimic the skills and knowledge of anyone around him. It appears that they are trying to convince her, the blonde girl, to actually go on the trip. If she gets to stay then so do I.
"Do you guys even remember what happened the last time you convince me to go out?" she's telling them.
"Come on Laurie, you can't let one bad experience keep you here for the rest of your life," Sofia tells her.
"Come on Laurie, shopping," David starts, "You like shopping."
The children are all milling in a group and surprisingly there are fewer of them then I'd anticipated. Bobby notices me and walks over giving me an odd half smile that I catch myself finding more fascinating then I should, "Change your mind?"
"Apparently this trip wasn't well planned and another chaperon was needed."
He frowns at this, "I thought Paige was coming."
"Apparently she was waylaid by Worthington."
"What? You sure?"
He nods then frowns. I follow his gaze and it couldn't be. I grab Julian by the shoulder and turn him around, "What are you doing here?"
"I…ah, come on. I've been good lately."
I raise an eyebrow and scowl at him. He shuffles his feet in response and starts to look down when I tell him, "I fail to see how."
At which point Bobby calls Jubilee over. She frowns at us, "I'm trying to make sure they're all here. What?"
"Keller. Is he going? How did he qualify?"
She frowns at all three of us, "He shouldn't have."
"But I've been good," he whines, "I haven't have detention in weeks, well at least one week. Beside Josh qualified to go and he's not showing up. Shouldn't I at least get a chance at his spot?"
Bobby crosses his arms and I haven't seen him look this upset since he yelled at me over Worthington's orders, "After what you did…"
Jubilee puts a hand on his arm as she begins scowling at Julian, "Bobby don't. There aren't any 'spots'. Most of the kids aren't going because they're not comfortable with the idea of image inducers yet. Either that or they really wanted fencing with Kurt. Josh qualified on his own."
She puts her hands on her hips as her scowl deepens, "No buts Julian. Go inside, if you're nice about it Kurt might let you join the fencing lesson."
He mutters to himself and kicks stones as he walks away. I have to admit I'm impressed, I wouldn't have thought she had it in her to look that authoritative.
Jubilee chews on her lower lip for a moment before looking up and calling out, "Hey David ya know where Josh is?"
"He hiding in our room. Come on Laurie this will be fun."
Jubilee hands Bobby a piece of paper and a pen, "Check everyone off for me, I'll go get Josh."
He shakes his head a bemused look on his face as he watches her go. Then he starts yelling at the kids trying to get them in order. I glance at the vehicles, figure out which one I have the keys for and get in. I'm not getting involved, he can handle this mess by himself.
A short while later I'm joined by Laurie who's looking rather nervous and immediately rolls down her window.
"Hi," she greet shyly before informing me as she gets into the front seat, "If I have to go I'm getting a good seat."
"Have you checked in?"
"Yeah, Miss Lee is supposed to give us some kinda rules speech before we leave, but Mr. Drake said I could find a seat."
Miss Lee and Mr. Drake? Who's brainwashed this poor child?
I tell her such and as she laughs I get the sudden urge to do the same. Odd.
Jubilee returns with Mr. Foley, Josh, and begins telling the children how the day is planned to run. Apparently they are responsible for they're own lunch. They must check in at 3 pm and then also when we leave at six, if it has been deemed that they were well behaved they'll get their dinner paid for. She ends her spiel by telling them that if they don't show up at three then dinner is automatically taken away. Some child is bound not to show up than be ostracized by their classmates. Also if they don't show up at six then she has no qualms about leaving them at the mall because she used to live in one herself. She gets her appropriate laughs and then the kids begin to pile into the vehicles.
Bobby is leaning near the front of the van he's supposed to drive talking with some of the students, we are obviously never going to leave. He glances at my vehicle a moment and his face settles into a concerned frown before he pushes off the vehicle and strides with what actually looks like purpose to Jubilee and starts talking to her adamantly.
She glances at the van I'm stuck with then back to him before striding over to me. I roll down the window.
"Let me guess, some vague dire circumstances have arised and I can go back to grading papers?"
"No way! Face it JP, you are cursed with having fun today."
"Yes, because sitting in the drive way packed into a vehicle with young adults is my idea of fun," I tell her sarcastically.
She smirks at me, "Well sometimes ya have to get your kicks where you find 'em,"
"We're actually gonna leave soon," she continues ignoring my irritation, "Hey, Laurie why don't you come ride with me?"
She smiles at her and Laurie turns from talking to her friends with a startled look. I suddenly feel startled, nervous and worried, which is needless to say odd.
"I-I, can't, but…"
I cut her off "Laurie's fine where she is, she's actually behaving herself and if I have to have a student in the front seat I'd prefer one that knows how to behave them self. So can we please be on our way?"
Jubilee smirks like I've gotten myself into something before chattering at me a moment and going to her vehicle.
"Thanks," Laurie tells me, "Her driving kinda scares me. I'd rather ride with you. You are a good driver, right?"
"Only when I'm not crashing into things," I tell her dryly.
I'm hit with this sudden wave a terror.
Through gritted teeth David tells her that I was joking and she begins to nervously laugh. The urge to do the same quickly dissipates as I feel a gust of wind from the back, Sofia's doing no doubt.
With suspicion I turn to the blond child, "What exactly is your power?"
Her eyes downcast she whispers that she can control people's emotions through pheromones, but mostly makes them feel what she's feeling. I suddenly hear Kara's childish laughter as she tells me be my boyfriend and that feeling of being paralyzed, unable to do anything. I thought I was over that situation, but I feel an unexpected wave of panic.
As I snap back into reality Laurie quietly asks from behind her hair if she should go ride with 'Miss Lee'. I tell her of course not.
I'm not about to let a prior experience affect my treatment of her. I won't back down simply because I'm uncomfortable with her powers.
That settled the children start gossiping again as Laurie pulls out a book and buries her nose into it. Sofia groans and asks her what she's stuck on now. She tilts her head to look over her seat, "China Mountain Zhang."
"What's it about?"
"Um," she frowns for a moment before answering, "I guess it's about a group of people who don't fit into their society and how they get through it. Mostly it's about this one guy, but it has some other people in it too. It's really good."
"Would I like it?" Sofia asks.
As Laurie tells her that she probably wouldn't and David agrees and I wonder if he's actually read it as we finally get on our way.
When we get to the mall, the children scatter and I have to wonder if this is safe. There aren't many of them, but all it takes is one of them getting into trouble to cause bad PR for the school. Jubilee watches them go with a self-satisfied grin before turning to Bobby, "See you at three?"
"Do I finally get to meet this friend of yours?"
She shrugs in a non-committal way and as she begins to walks off she stops suddenly and turns on us, "Hey could you two do me a huge, huge, favor?"
I tell her that it will depend on the favor while Bobby only agrees.
"Bobby would you make sure Jean-Paul has some sorta fun today, cause I promised him fun."
Bobby tilts his head at me and there's a very slight look of panic on his face that disappears quickly.
"And JP, would you please keep Bobby from causing any trouble?"
"Hey! Trouble making is your area. I happen…"
Jubilee snorts, "Popsicle, you're not fooling anybody. Is he fooling you Jean-Paul?"
I hate that nickname.
"Robert," I stress his name, "has the ability to get into trouble yes. However on this matter I…"
She snorts again, "Whatever. Be good, be careful…scratch that I don't think either of you know how to be good. Don't get caught."
That said she flips her sunglasses over her eyes and heads into the mall. We're left to blink at each other. I decide right then and there that I'm going to kill her. Me have to spend the entire day with Drake? It's not like I can just blow him off, either, I don't even want to. Spending the day with him…it'll only stress what I can't have. Jubilee is dead.
"Um so," Bobby starts, "Any ideas on how you want to spend today?"
Letting you know how much I want you and getting you to realize how you feel the same, or having you never realize that thought.
Its frustrating longing for someone you can't have. I wouldn't even wish it on Walter.
"I was hoping for a quiet day grading papers."
He frowns for a moment, biting his lower lip thoughtfully. I say nothing, simply lean against the van with my arms crossed feigning boredom. If he's going to spend the day trying to entertain me this could be worth not staying at the mansion.
Suddenly his face lights up before he smirks, "I've got the best idea."
How thrilling. I'm sure it will be more fun then standing here staring at each other. I ask him what his idea is and he only smirks at me before telling me to follow him. I have to admit I'm curious.
He takes me a store dubbed 'Curiosity Shoppe' which is basically an assortment of collectables: clocks, the walls are covered in posters, boxes of posters, boxes of comic books, action figures, old books, pins, stickers, specialty decks of cards. Bobby smirks at me as he looks around before asking if it'd bother me to sign something.
Sign something? Tell me I'm not in here somewhere.
I tell him I simply don't care.
He shrugs nonchalantly before beginning to thumb through a sale bin of posters.
"Jubes and I found it last time we were here," he tells me absently before finding what he's looking for. I'm in the sale bin for four dollars, how flattering.
Before I can respond a man walks out of a back room and asks if he can help us.
Bobby smiles, "Yea, actually you can. I've got a really good question. If he…"
He pauses to point at me, "...signs this would you hang it on the wall, possibly where that 'Magneto is right' poster is."
He looks skeptically at the poster and then at me before his eyes widen, you can practically see the dollar signs. Needless to say I sign the damn thing, at least it gets rid of that other poster, that in itself makes it worth it, except now were right back where we started.
"So um, any idea what you'd like to do next?" he asks as he uses his foot to scratch the back of his leg. He looks nervous, I wonder why as we walk out of the store.
"Simple, we're going to get something to eat."
"Food court? Sounds good to me."
"Hardly, we're going to find something decent."
"Um, food court food is decent, it's mall food."
"I don't eat 'fast food'. I'm thinking something more along the lines of a place were I can order something and a server will bring it to the table. Don't give me that look, I'm buying."
"Oh no. I'm not helpless guy here," Bobby crosses he arms as he stops walking and gives me a glare.
How do I get out of this?
"You already bought me dinner, it's only fair that I return the favor."
He relaxes but informs me, "JP, I'm sure you get this and all, but there's a big difference between me dragging to down to the dinning commons and a restaurant."
"It's also my money, which I have the right to spend where and on whomever I wish."
"Can't argue with that," he mutters before he agrees and I'm stuck figuring out where we're going to eat.
It's going to be an extremely long day.