Part 2: Chapter 13
By the time Remy pulled into his garage hours later, he was exhausted and not feeling very well. The lamps were on in the living room and he could hear the thumping of the stereo even before he shut off his car. He imagined it was synchronous with the thumping in his head. He had given Ororo a key probably a year ago now, and slowly his house was changing from the mostly masculine pieces left over after his divorce to a compilation of what Ororo thought spoke to her. He didn’t have much use for the elephant shaped teapot, the bamboo partitioning separating his upstairs study into two halves or the rock collection she had put in a metal bowl that somehow represented energy on the kitchen table, but at least it was different than the life he had had before her.
He still wouldn’t listen to When I Said I Do, though he wasn’t a fan of the song before Belle chose it as ‘their song’, didn’t use the blanket she used to and had thrown out all the Christmas decorations they used for their first and only Christmas together. They were all reminders of the biggest failure he had ever had. The slap in the face that said, ‘you’re not the man your brother is’ and worse, ‘you’re exactly like your father’.
Henri LeBeau, seven years older, had come through life relatively unscathed and unaffected by the world around him. Growing up older, he had been shadowed in height, brains, popularity, athleticism, and – by most standards – attractiveness, ever since Remy was born, and yet, it had really never bothered him. Despite all that, Henri had his younger brother’s ever-loving affection and respect, and that had always been enough to ward off the jealousy that would accompany a lesser man. He had gone on to take over half of daddy’s business, didn’t even need a college degree, had married his high school sweetheart – and kept her – and had two children that respected him and adored him just as much as Remy always had.
Jean-Luc LeBeau, their father, on the other hand, was a train wreck in comparison. And the one thing Remy had never wanted to emulate. He had married Henri’s mother after he got her pregnant and then cheated on her with Remy’s mother, only to lose both of them, and getting left with the children. It might have said something favorable about him that he was granted custody, but Remy had always interpreted it as he had better assets and also terrible taste in women. And despite his heartbreak, Jean-Luc continued on with women of the same type, diving headfirst in relationships that were an inevitable failure from the beginning.
In Remy’s somewhat biased opinion, his father had spent more time trying to keep a woman than his sons’ respect. Henri, however; would always give the old man the respect he had earned by just being their dad, but Remy had been more than ready to leave forever the day he turned eighteen. The only barrier was Mattie – the woman who had been hired to watch the boys, and Jean-Luc, was the closest thing to a mother he ever had. If it wasn’t for her, Remy figured, his father would be long dead by now. But then, if not for Mattie, Remy also knew he wouldn’t be here either. But, despite his hurt that his father hadn’t seemed to care about his needs, he would always come home at least once a year and try to keep the peace. It was one of the many things Mattie expected of him.
When he had proposed to Belle, when he was only twenty and still at LSU, he thought they would lead the life Henri had. He would prove to a father who had never asked him to that he could make a marriage work in spite of everything he had learned. He could do it if Henri could, right? After five off-and-on years, starting when they were fifteen, he thought their marriage would have been cake. But he turned out to be very wrong. It was the worst two and a half years of his life so far.
And so, he concluded, there was no way in hell he would ever get down on one knee again. No matter how much he was in love with Ororo. Because he had felt the same way about Belle, too. He had learned not to trust his heart; learned that he was susceptible for falling fast and hard – just like his father. His alternative was to keep up the free-and-easy fuck-buddies façade. Perhaps, she would never fully move in. Perhaps, she would never need more from him than he gave her now.
When he walked into the house and saw her though, he couldn’t think of her as his part-time roommate that he had sex with. If he was honest with himself, she was nearly everything to him. She looked like she was dressed for yoga class – white, calf-length leggings and camisole covered with a baggy gray shirt that drooped down on one shoulder. Her silver white hair was in box braids and pulled up on top of her head, as always contrasted beautifully with her café au lait skin. Barefoot, she danced around the living room to Beyoncé. He smiled as she didn’t even notice his entrance and hung up his coat and scarf. Just seeing her made him feel slightly better.
Ororo heard him cough; a sound she had been hearing for a week, maybe a week and a half now. But, she had learned by now there was no telling him what to do. He thought her homeopathic remedies were ridiculous and pointless and he didn’t take regular medicine either for some reason she found ridiculous. So, she was left to assume he quite enjoyed feeling and sounding miserable. But, she wasn’t going to let past arguments mar the time they could have together. With the remote, she turned down the stereo. “Hey, white boy,” she said, with a smile, coming over to him and taking over with the removal of his tie.
“How were the kids today?” Remy asked referring to Ororo’s group of Academy students. As per Xavier’s instructions, most of his ‘X-Men’, he still used the term, had a group of Academy students assigned to them, and some of them, like Ororo, had the full time job of training them. Remy’s group was thankfully mostly led by someone else, Greer Grant-Nelson, though he did have to make himself available to them if they ever needed him. Even Scott Summers was not deemed too important to have a group of his own, though he also had an assistant that did most of the work.
“I’ve been taking this dance break for probably an hour already,” she said.
“That bad, huh?” he answered.
“I’m about to age myself, but it was different when we were in the Academy, that’s for sure. For one thing, we had to respect our teachers.” She led him to the couch after he had removed his shoes.
“That Storm kid?” he asked, guessing correctly who had made her day Hell.
“Yeah, karma must be. My namesake. You don’t know how bad I wanted to drown him in a monsoon, show him what a real storm is.”
Remy smiled slightly, showing off the dimple on his left side. Ororo scooted a little closer and took one of his long fingered hands, perfect when he was a wide receiver in high school, in both of hers. “So, a little wolverine told me the two of you stumbled upon a dead Morlock today. Also, he left those dill pickles for us on the counter.”
Remy raised an eyebrow, and though his face did not betray him, he wasn’t pleased with Logan telling Ororo things like that. Not because she couldn’t handle it, but because Remy didn’t want to have this conversation. “What else did Logan have to say?”
Those crystal blue eyes never wavered from his face; she knew she would never have the perceptive, people-reading skills Remy had, but she knew him well enough. “Honey, you know as well as I do that Logan tells me these things because he cares but doesn’t know how to say so.”
“Maybe next time he should just tell you everything so we don’t have to get into it.”
“Get into it?” Ororo said, and a smile touched her lips. Releasing his hand, she put one hand on each side of his face and before he could pull away she kissed him full on the mouth. And, quickly, before he could say what was on his mind, she said, “One, if I was meant to get sick, I would have got it already. Two, Logan did tell me everything. Three, none of it was your fault. Four, I love you, you stubborn, martyred fool. And five, take your medicine.” She got up from the couch then and went to make some tea with honey and lemon.