t h a n k s: To everyone at the Corner, especially River, Lise, Jono, KG and Mel. Merci beaucoup, people!
d e d i c a t e d t o: River and Lise.
s p e c i a l _ t a: to Lise for helping me finish this chapter.
c h a p t e r _ s i x
"Are they..." Jubilee wiggled her hand. "You know?"
I shook my head, and glanced over at Rick and Izzy. I couldn't help but grin. Sometimes those two were just illegally cute together. Until a few moments ago, Rick had been chatting with me and Jubilee, but the second Izzy came into the Corner, stopping and looking around, Rick was on his feet and rushing towards him. Rick wearing a really big, shit-eating grin, and Izzy looking much the same as soon as he spotted Rick.
They hugged and laughed and pushed Stace and Ellis off the couch. Then they kissed. One of those slow, long, with lots of tongue kisses they are so fond of.
Oh, yeah, 'straight' is to Rick an negotionable label.
Jubilee's eyebrows hit her hairline. "They're not? 'Cause they seem awfully friendly to be just friends if you know what I'm saying...?"
I shrugged, looking back at her. "It's just Rick and Izzy being Rick and Izzy, really. They're really close friends."
"No shit. Bobby and John are really close friends as well, and I don't see them doing that." She nodded towards Rick and Iz.
No, Remy would probably be jealous, I thought, managing not to say that out loud. I shrugged again.
Jubilee rolled her eyes. "Okay, if you say so."
Actually, in my opinion Rick and Iz were so in love with each other, they looked at the other through rose-coloured glasses, but since they were both fiercely denying that, I tried to keep my opinion to myself. Mostly.
I did tend to nag at Iz about it at regular intervals, but he just glared at me and changed the subject.
If I didn't know better, I'd almost say they were afraid of something...
Lin patted my hair to get my attention, pausing in front of me. "Did you see where Moric went? I have timtams and stuff."
"Nooo..." I said slowly. "I don't think so..."
"Moric," Jubilee said thoughtfully, looking around the Corner. "Is that tall, curly haired and wearing a sweater with some redhead with dots for eyes and a white dog on?"
"Yeah, that's him," Lin nodded. "Did you by any chance see where he went?"
"Uh-huh. Went through that door." Jubilee pointed at the door leading up to the roof. "I think some short, blond guy went with him."
"I wouldn't know."
"Okay, thanks," Lin said and disappeared in to the kitchen. I eyed the kitchen door suspiciously. A lot of people had been disappearing into it, and they reappeared looking smug. Ron was in there. Hmmm. I deeply suspected that I was missing out on something yummy.
I wanted something yummy.
I got on my feet and wandered into the kitchen followed by Jubilee. No, I don't have a clue what she was doing at Moric's birthday party. She'd just sort of followed me there. Nobody seemed to mind much. I think they were just relieved that I hadn't brought all eight of them back.
Ron and Cassie was making chocolatey things. Or rather, Ron was making them and Cassie was walking in his way. Lin was on the phone.
"Cass, hand me the cream and the paper thingy."
"The huh?" said Cassie and licked chocolate off her finger as she looked around.
"The... Never mind," Ron sighed and reached over to grab the bowl himself. "You know, if you're not going to do anything but sneak-eat my chocolate and stand in my way, you could leave..."
"Nu-huh." Cassie shook her head.
"Knew you were going to say that."
"Hey Ron," I said hopefully.
Ron turned, spotted me and Jubilee and groaned. "Oh god. More of you."
I beamed at him, hoping the good old Olsen charm would work.
Ron just turned back to whatever it was he was doing, shaking his head and muttering something I didn't quite catch in Swedish. I'm pretty sure I heard 'helvetes' in there somewhere though.
Cassie grinned at us and jumped up on the kitchen bench.
"CASSIOPEIA GRIESINIEMI!" Ron yelled immidiatelly. "Get your arse off the frying paper!"
Cassie jumped down and gave Ron a meek look. "Sorry."
"C'mon, Jubes," I said. "I don't think we'll get anything from this guy..."
Jubilee grinned. "He's worse than Remy."
I gave her a surprised look as I pushed the kitchen door open. "Remy cooks?"
Jubilee nodded. "Yup. Is what he does when he's angry. He's really good too."
"He... cooks... when he's... angry?" I repeated, trying to picture the broody seventeen year old I knew cooking. To be honest the only cooking I could picture him doing was putting something in the microwave and pushing the right bottons. Maybe not even that.
"Uh-huh. Though I usually don't get to taste it. Only Miss Munroe does."
"Miss Munroe? Why?" See, this is the downside of spending most of the time I'd been at the school in the computer room. All I knew about the kids came mainly from what I saw and what Kitty told me. Apparently, this didn't give me the whole picture. Strange, huh?
"Miss Munroe's his sponsor," Jubilee explained. "She knew him from before he joined the school."
"Oh." I added that piece of information to the folder in my head marked Remy LeBeau - Mystery man. "So they're close?"
Jubilee shrugged. "Yeah, I guess. I don't really know 'em very well."
"You've been at the school for a while, haven't you?"
She nodded. "Yup. Since I was twelve. Kitty, Kurt and Peter have been there longer. Oh and Liz. But otherwise I was one of the first students to attend to the school."
"What about Pret-- Bobby?"
She snickered. "Why do you call him that?"
I feigned ignorance. Hard to pull off when you're turning a nice shade of dark green, but I tried. "Bobby? Well, it's his name, see."
"Nah. Pretty Blue Eyes. Why do you call him that?"
I gave up. "'Cause it's true. He's got pretty, blue eyes. I know. I've seen them."
Jubilee grinned brightly and gave me a look that made me want to go hide somewhere. "You've a crush on Bobby!"
"I do not!"
"Do too! I can tell."
"Not! Not!" I had a feeling I was turning the shade of green Norwegian pines have. "He's just a kid!"
"Is eighteen," Jubilee corrected, still grinning. "And you do so. Oh, this is so cool. I have to tell him."
"Hey Alex. Why are you blushing?" Jana gave me a curious look. She sat on top of one of the empty computer tables, braiding her hair. Kallie had ordered all the computers carried away to one of the spare rooms, saying something about this being a party and you can damn well survive without checking your mail every three minutes.
Jubilee bounced. "He's got a crush on Bobby!"
Jana blinked at her, then looked interested at me. "Reaaaally? You don't say..."
"I don't have a crush on Bobby!" I shouted, exasperated.
Close to everybody in the cafe quieted down and turned to look at me. I really wish they'd stop doing that.
"The lady doth protest too much," Rick commented.
Izzy agreed. "Yeah. Are you sure you're not just a tinzy bit interested?"
I growled at them. "Shut up!"
Jana poked me. "You know, I could ask him out for you, if you--"
"Was just an offer, no need to shout..."
Jubilee was rolling on the floor, laughing. "Oh I am so gonna tell Bobby!"
I hid my face in my hands and wished they would find something else to talk about. For once, my prayers were heard.
Lin walked out of the kitchen, beaming. "HEY! EVERYONE! Time for the prezzies! Someone go get Moric and Montgomery!"
"And we shall gather at the table," Rick said, untangeling himself from Izzy.
Izzy gave him a strange look. "Have you been reading Hamlet again?"
"Eh, no. Twelft Night."
"Rick... What have I told you about Shakespeare?"
Rick looked guilty. "Not a suitable bedtime story?"
Kallie appeared from somewhere bearing gifts and shook her head at them. "You two are strange."
Rick and Izzy beamed proudly. "We know," they said in unison.
I swear they're being like this on purpose.
* * * *
Moric sat on the couch, a thick pile of paper in his hands. He was beaming brightly and appeared to be very happy with his gift stories. "Am I supposed to be reading them out loud?"
"No!" Half the Corner, including me.
"Yes!" The other half of the Corner.
Moric obviously heard only the ones he wanted to hear. "All right then." He rifled through the pile of paper, then started from the top of the pile. "Okay, here goes..."
And the reading session, which lasted quite a while, was on.
* * * *
"No, but see, it works!" Rick waved his hands wildly to emphasize his statement. "It's like a puppet theatre and I'm channelling that guy, while you have your guy --"
"Yes, but whom is our resident green-skinned mutie freak channelling?" Iz asked, looking both amused and doubting.
"Well..." Rick blinked, stomped for an answer. He eyed me. "Hmm..."
"What are you two babbling about?"
"Spirit persons," they replied in unison and grinned at each other.
I arched an eyebrow. Personally, from what I'd heard, I thought it sounded like a certain someone had seen Being John Malkovic one time too many. "Uh-huh. Do I really want to know?"
Rick pondered, then shook his head. "Probably not."
"But you're going to tell me anyway?"
"How did you guess?" They both gave me identical bright grins.
Half an hour later I gave Iz and Rick a dubious look and inched slowly away from them. They had explained their spirit person - channeling theory to me, and besides being slightly dizzy, I was deeply convinced that they where both utterly and completely bonkers.
While inching away from the two nutcases, who were completely oblivious to my disappearing, I bumped into someone. I turned around to apologize and came face to air with Penn d'Henri. I'm a bit taller than she is, you see. I looked down. "Penn! Hey! Didn't expect to see you here."
She grinned. "Well, I had a day off so I figured why not? Nice to see you again, Alex."
"Yeah, nice to see you too." I grinned back. "I see you've gotten the Felidae comic published?"
"Oh yes!" She beamed. "Am real excited about that. Have you seen it? Bought it? Read it? Tell me!"
I laughed and told her.
* * * *
"Hey, Alex!" Stace shouted. "I think these two belong to you!"
I gave her a puzzled look. She pointed towards the door. I turned around and spotted Logan and Bobby standing in the doorway, looking around.
What the heck where they doing here?
"Oh good," said Lin from where she was sitting next to me, shuffling cake into her mouth. "They're here."
I blinked at her. "You called them?"
She gave me a look. "Because Kallie told me to."
"Okay. Why did Kal -- Jubilee."
"Bright lad." Lin patted me over the head and disappeared into the kitchen, no doubt to pester Ron or make another phonecall. I got up as well and walked over to Logan and Pretty Blue Eyes.
"Where is she?" was the first thing they said to me.
"And hello to you too." I grinned. "She's celebrating Moric's birthday."
"I got that part. Now where is she?" Logan said impatiently. Bobby seemed to be busy eyeing the cake. It was a rather nice cake though. Ron had out-done himself this time.
"What? You're in a hurry?"
"Yes, I'd --"
"No," Pretty Blue Eyes interrupted. "We're not. We can stay a while, can't we? Don't want to pull Jubilee away from all this food -- I mean, fun, now, do we?"
Logan looked unhappy. Before he could say anything, Lin showed up with cake.
"Here, enjoy," she said, smiled and continued on her way.
"Yum," said Bobby and grinned happily.
Logan took a bite of the cake. "Well, we could stay for a little while, I guess..."
I beamed at them.
Not that I had any hidden intentions or anything...
I was just being nice by letting Jubilee stay at the party.
Yeah...Sure, Alex. Keep telling yourself that.
* * * *
"Yeah, yeah, but there's one thing I don't get, sweets," Iz said, popping his chin up on his hand and giving me a thoughtful look. "Why this fascination with 'Stigmata'?"
"He's got a crush on Gabriel Byrne," Cassie said. She reached over the table and grabbed the chocolate plate. For the third time. Izzy, Rick, Jana, Cassie, Galynne, Stace, Ron, Jubilee and I had all benched us around the four clower table for the dessert and stuff. The desserts and stuff were quickly disappearing.
Izzy waved his hand. "Well, yeah, I know that, but there's lots of movies with him in it, so why 'Stigmata'?"
"I've seen that one," Galynne said. "Provided of course that we're talking about the movie. Are we talking about the movie? It's bloody."
"Yes, we are. Or rather Izzy is for some Izzy-ish reason," Stace replied before returning to her conversation with Ron.
"So?" Izzy reached over the table and poked me. "Why Stigmata?"
I shrugged. "It's just nifty."
Jana blinked slowly. "It's just nifty? Blood and stuff and it's nifty? You're weirder than Gally."
"Hey! No insulting the one with the claws!" Galynne did indeed look mildly insulted and waved a clawed hand in Jana's direction.
"Let me rephrase," Jana said quickly. "Alex is NOT weirder than Gally. NO ONE is weirder than Gally."
Galynne stopped waving her hand and looked satisfied.
"You have a strange definition of nifty," said Rick and contemplated his piece of strawberry cake.
Izzy pointed at me. "Have you guys ever watched 'Stigmata' with this guy? I've seen it four times, I think, and everytime they get to that wrist slashing scene --"
"He puts a pillow in front of his face," Rick, Jana and Cassie finished, all three of them grinning at me.
I glared at them. "So?"
"That movie scares the hell out of you, doesn't it?" Izzy had an intrigued look on his face.
"You know, normal people watch Halloween or Nightmare on Elmstreet or something when they want to be terrified," Rick pointed out.
"Oh but see," Iz said and patted Rick on the shoulder. "Alex is a freak. He isn't normal. Huh. Actually, that pretty much explains it all..."
"I'm dying of laughter, I really am," I said dryly.
Iz gave me a brilliant smile. "Of course you are!"
"Are you people always like this?" Jubilee wanted to know, tilting her head and looking fascinated.
Jana nodded. "Pretty much, yeah."
"I think I like you," Jubilee nodded with a grin.
"I think I like you too," said Rick. "Even though your taste in music is horrid."
"It is not!"
"Give it up," Iz adviced Jubilee, eyeing one of Ron's more exotic creations. "Rick's in the business. He claims to know these things. If he says it's horrid, it probably is. And if it isn't, there's no way you'll manage to get him to admit that."
Jubilee arched an eyebrow. "In the business?"
"Mmm." Izzy nodded. "He's a record producer. Hey, Ron, could you hand me that plate with the curly things on it? Ta."
Jubilee stared at Rick. "You're a record producer? For real? No kidding?"
"Yup." Rick eyed the plate Iz was holding. "Are you actually going to eat that?"
"Are you insulting my cooking?" Ron asked.
"Who? Me? Absolutely not!" Rick denied. "Great strawberry cake!"
"Huh," said Ron, apparently satisfied with that.
"Hey, this is good!" Iz munched happily on one of the curly things.
* * * *
"Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, for man was constant never," Izzy quoted, grinning. "And I would have quoted Hero in honor of Jana here, but I can't remember a word she spoke."
Jubilee grinned as well. "Are you an actor or something?"
"An actor? Izzy?" I laughed. "Well, he's certainly got the primadonna act down path..."
Iz gave me a hurt look and got up off his chair. He disappeared towards the bar.
I closed my eyes and sighed. Fuck. Now I'd hurt his feelings. Damn. I started to get up to follow him and make nice, but Rick shook his head at me.
"Don't. Don't bother. He'll get over it, he always does."
"You're right, I guess..." I hesitantly sat back down.
"Uh-huh." Rick nodded, then his eyes widened as he saw something. "Oh god. Iz, what are you up to?"
I twisted around to see what he was seeing. Izzy was determindedly headed towards... Logan. Oh no. This could not end well. There was no possible way this could end well.
"Oh, you big, tall, handsome man! C'mere and gimme a kiss."
...I think that perhaps Iz could use some glasses...
"I'm warnin' ya. I have metal claws, a mean temper, and a habit of usin' both. Fuck. Off."
Iz beamed at him and the other people at the table. "Oh, he likes me for sure."
Daniel gave him a skeptical look. "I wouldn't put money on that."
"What part of fuck off ain't clear, bub?"
"--the bit where we fuck. Want it on the car? In the school? I'd say here's a bit public, but I'm game if you are..."
"Call 911," said Rick, looking as though he was expecting Iz to turn into a rather more bloody version of himself. So was I, really. I squinted in Iz' direction, hoping the following slaughter wouldn't look that bad then.
Logan tilted his head and raised his hand.
I closed one eye. Everybody else seemed to be holding their breath.
Iz arched an eyebrow. "Edward Scissorhand fetish? Yeah, well, I've had weirder shags."
He's probably telling the truth too.
"Why does he say 'shag'? He's not british." Jubilee looked puzzled.
Rick shrugged. "OD'ed on Queer as Folk yesterday, probably."
Logan growled, "Piss off, kid."
Iz bent down and kissed him on the lips, which, by the way, I could have told him was a damn bad move.
Two seconds later he was flying through the room, landing with a THUMP in front of Ellis and Montgomery.
* * * *
"Fuck, that hurts!" Iz complained, giving Rick an evil glare. Rick ignored him and kept dabbing his chin with pyrisept.
"That was a bloody stupid thing to do," I informed Iz, sitting down on the chair across the table from him.
"Well, it was. What the hell were you thinking, anyway? 'Oh look, here's a scary guy with claws, I think I'll harrass him'?"
"Alex. Shut up." Rick shook his head at me and went to get a bandaid from one of the cabinets here in the kitchen. Kallie has it for emergencies and stuff. Even got paracets in there. He came back with a bandaid featuring Mickey Mouse. "Would you two stop sulking?"
"Who's sulking? I'm not sulking," I said. "Iz, are you sulking?"
Rick snorted. "I'm not sure which one of you is more the brat. You," he looked at me. "Or him."
I immidiatelly pointed at Iz while he pointed back at me.
"I need some new friends," said Rick and sighed.
Iz slung his arm around Rick's neck and pulled him down to a kiss. He let him go and grinned. "Oh, you love us to bits and you know it."
I grinned. "What he said."
Rick rolled his eyes, but couldn't suppress a smile.