Chapter Fifty One
"Freedom!" Jubilee cried as she ran toward the car, Laura trailing behind her. "At long last we are free! Mall here I come."
"Jubilation. It has only been a couple of weeks." Laura said as the got into the car. "You act as if it was years."
"In mall time, it was years." Jubilee replied. "I missed two sales. Two!"
"Then we must be certain to return at the appointed time, to avoid secondary punishment." Laura stated as Kevin and Julian arrived and climbed into the back seat.
"Yeah. Yeah. I know. "Jubilee said as she rolled her eyes. She had already been warned. Twice. To be home on time. Lee had agreed to lift their grounding, under the conditions of extra credit and earlier curfew. Since they were supposed to remain grounded for another week, it sounded good to Jubilee who was practically convulsing over the missed sales.
They arrived at the mall in record time. Jubilee had driven as quickly as possible, and had skipped all of the main intersection that might have slowed her down. As soon as they arrived, Laura reminded her they were to meet and the two couples parted ways.
While Jubilee and Kevin went in search of whatever sales Jubilee was interested in, Laura and Julian drifted around window shopping. As they passed the baby boutique she insisted in going in. She wanted to buy something for the new baby, who as of yet had nothing.
Julian was quick to agree, and soon the two of them were browsing through the items in the store. Julian was staring at a rack of tiny dresses, while Laura was looking through the blankets. "Do we know what it is yet?" Julian asked her when he caught her eye.
"No." Laura replied. "It is too soon for an anatomy scan."
"So what are we going to buy then?" Julian asked, frowning at the displays, which seemed to him to be divided by gender.
"Something small." Laura replied, as she picked up a white blanket, and went over to the stuffed toys.
"We could buy diapers. They always need more diapers." Julian said as he joined her. "At least it seems like it from what I've heard."
"Diapers would be practical." Laura agreed. "I was considering matching rabbits. One for each of them."
"Good choice." Julian replied. "It may be too early to worry about diapers yet. When is it supposed to come again?"
" In May." Laura replied. They made their way to the front of the store to check out.
"So, excited to be a big sister again?" Julian asked, as they set everything down in front of the clerk.
"Yes." Laura replied. " Everyone is excited."
Julian offered to pay, and Laura refused, stating that it was her gift. Julian nodded, and then said that just meant he would have to buy one as well, before returning to the shelves in search of a gift for the baby.
Lee tried to hide her apprehension. She hated being down in the lab. She hated the children being upstairs where she couldn't hear anything if something happened, and she hated the girls going off by themselves. Lee was ignoring these things however, knowing that she was worrying over nothing, and that it was a side effect of her recent ordeal.
Her eyes drifted to the man next to her. Remy was holding her hand as they waited for the doctor to come in, if anything he seemed more nervous than she was. He had said in passing that he was concerned about health and the baby's but she hadn't realized how concerned he was until this morning.
Hank came in as she was about to ask if he was alright, and she immediately forgot her concern. Though she knew it wasn't rational she feared the doctor. All doctors, at this point. She did her best to conceal her discomfort, but both men noticed it anyway, as Hank attempted to reassure her and Remy squeezed her hand gently.
Not wanting to draw out her suffering, Hank began the exam right away, first measuring her blood pressure and heart rate, then measuring the baby's growth before moving the ultrasound machine over. The couple forgot their discomfort as they watched the screen, as the doctor searched for the baby. He found it quickly and confirmed the baby was was healthy and the due date was correct.
Afterward he gave her instructions for their next visit, and a copy of the picture taken by the machine. Lee nodded and both Remy and Lee practically ran from the lab. They went upstairs in search of Logan and Ororo who were watching the children for them.
Rogue slipped on to the elevator as the door closed. After a moment of awkward silence she said without turning to look at either of them. " I'm sorry for what I said before, congratulations on the new baby."
"Are you sorry you suggested I leave my wife, or that she didn't do enough?" Remy asked. Lee put a hand on his arm, not wanting him to start a fight.
"Both." Rogue replied. " I don't know why I said those things, and I'm sorry. Can we start over?"
"No. But you can have another chance." Remy replied. "Long as you don't start in again."
Rogue nodded, and Lee was relieved they hadn't started yelling. Remy was still annoyed, but attempting to hide it. As soon as the doors opened Lee slipped past the other two and walked away in search of her children.
"I knew you were married to her, but I thought...well I guess I thought you married her to mess with me, or for appearances or something." Rogue said.
"What do you mean?" Remy asked.
"I didn't realize you were a real couple, I guess. Not until she announced her pregnancy. Then I knew, we're really over aren't we?" Rogue said. "But maybe we can be friends."
"I want to be friends, for Addy's sake if nothing else. But what goes on between me and Lee is no one else's business." Remy replied, He had never considered she might think he got married to annoy her.
"Can I see her?" Rogue asked, following him down the hallway.
Remy nodded and led her toward Logan's office where they had left the children and he assumed his wife had gone. They arrived, just as Ororo was leaving. Logan,Lee, and the babies were still there so Logan invited them in.
Adalyn was sitting on Lee's lap, and Rogue asked if she could hold her. Lee handed her the baby, before telling Remy she was heading home to take a nap, and asked him to bring the kids back when he was done. Remy agreed, Lee left, and Logan asked if they had settled their argument. Rogue nodded and replied she had apologized, Remy shrugged in response.
Logan took that to mean they had a truce, and left in search of something to eat, assuming they would decide to go to blows and destroy his office. Remy sat there trying to think of something to say before the silence became awkward again, when Rogue asked what they were planning for Thanksgiving. Remy then explained they actually had been invited to come up to the school for the dinner, and had agreed, since Lee deserved a day off of cooking in his opinion, and he wanted to spend time with everyone, not in a class room or meeting. Rogue said that she planned on staying herself, since her break up she hadn't really felt comfortable with the other group.
Remy nodded in understanding and replied that there should be enough people there, that no matter which party she decided to attend she could avoid people she didn't want to interact with. Before Rogue could reply, Remy received a text asking that he bring the kids home now, and that the girls had decided to buy presents for the kids. Relieved for an excuse, Remy gathered the children, and helped them into their coats, before he excused himself and headed home.
He calmly explained his intent to make her realize her full potential. Even at the cost of her sanity. As the second week of her capture ended, he began anew. Somehow he had gained access to her medical records, at least in part, and had learned of her miscarriages prior to Anton's birth. He summarized with the improvements he had granted, it would not be a problem in the future, and set forth to challenge the hurdle. He had said, more than once, that her children were not what he had hoped for, eventually as the third week began, had it really only been three weeks?, he started his latest experiment.
Remy woke to find the other side of the bed empty, he sat up quickly in search of Lee who was sitting in the window staring out. Rubbing his face he sighed, then cleared his throat.
"First snow just started to fall." Lee said, not turning to look at him.
"Another nightmare?" He asked climbing out of bed.
" Mmhm...We need to start Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving's in a few days, and I don't want to do the Black Friday sales pregnant." Lee said in response.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked, placing his hand on her shoulder. He could tell from her tone she had been crying.
"What's to talk about? With those crowds it isn't safe. Someone could ram into me or knock me over, not good for the baby." Lee said, still attempting to change the subject.
"Okay. We'll leave the kids with Logan and the girls tomorrow and go shopping. Now do you want to talk about the nightmare?" Remy said.
"No, I don't talking about it isn't going to change it, I just have to learn to live with it like I did when my family died, and when I lost everything, and when Trace died. But if you keep asking if I'm okay then I can't put it away, so please let it go." Lee said.
"Pretending it never happened isn't letting it go, I know I tried it that way." Remy said in response. "You have to deal with it sooner or later."
"Later. Not now. Not pregnant with two small children and two teenagers about to graduate and Christmas right around the corner. Now is not the time." She said. He opened his mouth to try to come up with a good argument but she cut him off. "I'm going back to bed, we have plans for morning."
Remy shook his head at her stubbornness, but then returned to bed himself. He laid there silently as he listened to her breathing change as she fell asleep. In the beginning, she had told him about the dreams, now she always refused. He wasn't sure why she was closing him out. If she just didn't want to talk about it, or if she didn't want to upset him, either way, he wished there was a way to help her.
Remy didn't realize he had fallen asleep until he was woken by the sounds of Anton running down the hall laughing as Jubilee chased him. Groaning he reached over to wake Lee, only to find her already gone again. He sat up just as the door slammed open and the toddler dived onto his bed, yelling she was going to get him.
Jubilee was right behind the boy, and said, slightly out of breath, that she was trying to get him dressed but he kept running away from her. Remy silently held out his hand for the clothing, which Jubilee gratefully turned over, and said she was going to get dressed herself before leaving. Remy wrestled the still protesting child into his shirt and pants, before releasing him. Lee walked in just then, Adalyn on her hip and the baby's hair still damp.
She sidestepped the toddler who was now running to Laura for help from the 'tickle monster' and set Adalyn on the bed. She asked him to watch her for a minute while she got dressed herself, and walked into their bathroom.
Jubilee came back in, fully dressed and scooped up the baby as she stated. "This. This is my favorite little sister. She doesn't make me chase her yet."
"Laura's younger than you." Lee called from the bathroom.
"Okay, she's my favorite baby sister, unless you're having a girl." Jubilee yelled back. "I still didn't spend five minutes chasing her this morning."
"It's cause you let the chase be a game." Remy said. "If you don't chase him, he doesn't run. Tickle him instead."
"Why does everything have to be a game?" Jubilee asked.
"Because he's two." Lee said as she came out of the bathroom and Remy went in. "And you're his big sister, so that makes you like a living toy. Thanks for volunteering to dress him for me, though."
"No problem. Remy actually got him dressed anyway." Jubilee said. "So I'm going to steal Addy away and feed her cereal. That way I can say I'm good with kids."
"Jube. You're good with kids, you don't have to prove it." Lee said. "But I was going to ask if you and Laura would mind helping Logan watch them today while Remy and I went shopping."
"Shopping? I wanna go shopping." Jubilee replied. "Oh wait, you're ho-ho-ho aren't you?"
"Yup. Will you watch them?" Lee responded.
"Sure. I'll start now by proving I can feed her breakfast without chasing her." Jubilee responded.
Lee nodded, and Jubilee headed down stairs to feed Adalyn. Laura had already taken Anton down to do the same. Lee thought about protesting, generally she made them all breakfast, but decided if they wanted to be helpful and give her the morning off she shouldn't complain.
Logan arrived a few minutes later, and Remy and Lee set off on her shopping spree, before the kids were finished eating. They promised not to take to long, though Logan waived them off telling them he could handle it.
They reached the mall, before Remy realized Lee hadn't eaten yet herself, and neither had he, so he suggested they go to breakfast first. She agreed, and they headed to a local diner that was with walking distance, even with the light snow that had continued to fall.
They reached the diner, and immediately were waived over by Kitty and Bobby who were planning on Christmas shopping themselves. Remy nodded at them, but was planning to sit elsewhere until Lee walked in their direction. He followed reluctantly, as he had planned to try to talk to her again about her nightmares, and her refusal to talk about them anymore.
Not the dream itself so much as the reason why she seemed to be pushing him away. However either she hadn't noticed he wanted to talk or she was avoiding it. Soon her and Kitty were deeply involved in a conversation about where they wanted to shop and Remy and Bobby were forgotten.
The waitress arrived and the guys ordered for everyone, since Lee and Kitty didn't break from their discussion. After the food arrived, they finally looked over at least long enough to thank Remy,Bobby, and the waitress.
"So, should we just leave you two to it, or do you want our company?" Bobby asked after the waitress left again.
"Don't be silly, Bobby. Of course you're coming. You can't expect Lee to carry all those bags." Kitty replied.
"Are you okay with shopping together?" Lee asked Remy. He nodded with out saying anything, though Bobby was attempting to mouth 'no'.
"Okay that settles it." Kitty continued. "We will shop, you will carry."
"Actually, Remy had a list of things he wanted to grab." Lee said.
"Okay. New plan." Kitty said. "Lee and I are one team, Remy and Bobby another. We meet at lunch and switch; that way we can get the couple shopping out of the way in the morning. Deal?Deal."
Before anyone could protest her idea, Kitty stood, and dragged Lee out of the diner, leaving their meals barely eaten. "What just happened?" Bobby asked, watching them leave.
"Your girlfriend kidnapped my wife to go shopping for gifts for us. Pay attention, Robert." Remy replied, half amused and half annoyed by the whole thing.
"Did Lee actually agree to that? Did I? I don't remember agreeing to it." Bobby said as they finished their meal, and paid the waitress.
"You didn't, none of us did. I think she was just excited to go shopping with Lee. New shopping buddy and all that." Remy responded. "That's okay. I wanted to get Lee a gift, thought I was going to have to come back without her later, this works too."
"Yeah, I guess." Bobby said as the walked down toward the mall.
Meanwhile, Kitty was nearly dragging Lee across the parking lot, still talking about what shops they could go to. "Slow down Kitty, my balance is off." Lee said to the other woman as she slid on a small patch of ice.
"Sorry. Are you okay? I didn't hurt you?" Kitty said, stopping altogether. "I was just excited, we've never really gotten to spend any time together, except at the school, and-"
"I'm fine. I appreciate you're just try to be friends, but please try to remember I'm not really all that big, or fast." Lee responded.
Kitty nodded, and started toward the mall again, still excited, but at a slower pace. They reached her first suggested shop, and she finally let go of the other woman's arm, to point out the men's selection. Lee was looking through the shirts, when she saw Rogue and Rachel come in. Kitty waived them over, and explained that she had traded out Bobby for Lee. Lee hadn't realized that the others would be joining them, and was a little apprehensive of shopping with Rogue. The two of them never really talk, and she knew that Rogue had apologized, but it wasn't that long ago that she had suggested Remy leave Lee and come back to her.
Rogue though, was attempting to be friendly, and though she was just as unnerved being invited along on a trip with her ex's wife, she was trying to make the best of it. They browsed for a little longer, before going to the next shop, neither Kitty nor Lee finding anything they wanted.
"Oh, we should go to the baby store!" Kitty suggested as they passed it.
"No." Lee said, seeing Rogue was upset by the suggestion. " Remy and I plan on shopping together for the babies. You can help me pick something for the girls though."
"Babies?" Rachel asked, as they entered a teen store. "How many babies?"
"Three, Anton,Adalyn, and this one." Lee answered. "It's only one, don't worry. Remy was actually worried it was twins too, I think. He kept asking if I felt okay, and if I was already showing with Anton and things like that until we saw Hank."
"You're not showing are you?" Kitty asked, looking the other woman over.
"Not noticeably with all these layers." Lee said. "Just a little right now. Hank said everything was fine."
"Well, I think you should get the girls these." Rogue said, interrupting. She didn't want to think about it anymore. She pointed at matching 'sisters' lockets sitting in the display. "I think they would like them."
"Great idea, thanks Anna." Lee replied, with a smile. She quickly called a clerk over to buy them, before they headed back out again, all of the women burdened now with gifts from the store.
They all made a point of buying for the kids who otherwise wouldn't get any gifts, and had for years. Lee was still searching for something for Remy though. Eventually it was nearly time to meet up with the guys and switch out. Lee still hadn't found anything she wanted to get for Remy, but otherwise had bought from several stores.
"You could get him those." Rogue suggested pointing at a display. "He would like it."
"No. He would love it. Thanks Anna, again." Lee said as she dipped into the shop. Rogue smiled behind her as Kitty frowned and asked if she was okay.
Aside from the suggestions to Lee, Rogue hadn't said much today. Rogue shrugged and said that she was fine, before Lee returned and said they should head to the food court to meet the guys. "After all, someone was so excited about shopping I didn't get to finish my breakfast." Lee added.
Kitty laughed at this, then they headed in the right direction. The guys were already there waiting for them, and Remy offered to take her bags to the car while she ate, so they could load back up after lunch. Lee agreed, and went to stand in line to order lunch from the sandwich shop.
By the time they returned home that late afternoon, the back of the car, an SUV, was filled, and they had decided to bring home take out. Remy had called ahead and told Logan the plan, apologizing for being gone so long. Logan told him it was fine, though he did laugh at Remy's explanation that she had been stolen away from him half the day for girl time.