Like I Said, You're A Terrible Cook
As it did every year in America, Mother’s Day fell on the second Sunday in May. This particular Mother’s Day was no different than the rest except that is was especially beautiful with the sun shining brightly and a cool breeze countering the heat to have it be a particularly lovely temperature out where it was neither too hot nor too cold. Also and most importantly, this Mother’s Day at Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters, Jane was coming home from her mission in New Orleans. She had been sent to find Remy LeBeau, an old friend of hers that was assumed to have gone missing, supposedly captured by Stryker, an old enemy of Jane’s. However, she find Remy easily enough and he wasn’t in any unusual trouble, just hiding away from his gambling debts. Stryker didn’t catch him or Jane, and Jane in turn couldn’t find Stryker, so it was largely a waste of her time.
Normally the Professor wouldn’t send his X-Men out so ill-informed, but Charles was bribed into it by Pietro. While Pietro doesn’t particularly care for Gambit, he did really love his overworked and restless wife. She was the mother of their five children after all, and though she loved married life and motherhood, part of her nature longed for some excitement. Pietro had noticed how stressed out she’s become so he arranged for Charles to send Jane out on some wild goose chase after the Cajun. Admittedly, he was a little nervous to mislead her and give her a mission where trouble could grow from nothing, but Gambit was her friend and while that rascal may have feelings for Jane, Pietro could rest assured that Jane felt nothing for Gambit. So it was perfectly planned, and Charles, having noticed Jane become more irritable, agreed to it easily enough only after Pietro had promised that he wouldn’t let his kids go too wild without their mother’s supervision.
The children were aware of the truth behind their father’s plan all along. They knew their mother needed a vacation away from them and the crowded X-Mansion, and also they were excited to have her gone so that they could plan a special treat for her on Mother’s Day. So on that Sunday morning, they snuck into their father’s room and woke him up early so that they could have control of the kitchen first and cook their mother a wonderful breakfast for when she got home.
That’s how Jane found them when she returned. Raven, one of Jane’s triplets, was cracking eggs in a bowl. She was young so she didn’t really know what she was doing, which was why she was shattering the eggs, the shells crumbling up in the bowl and breaking the yolks. The sticky mess got everywhere and she was apparently going to crack the whole carton full of eggs because she was on her last one. Raven was smiling though, a rare sight on the shy girl. Jane’s eldest child Alice was trying to flip pancakes, but only succeeded in getting them stuck on the ceiling where she tried to use her green telekinesis magic to get them to fall back down on the frying pan to cook. Zoe, another one of the triplets, was trying to figure out how to work the fancy coffee machine so she could make a sugary latte for her mother. Instead of working properly, the machine was spewing steam and cream, and Zoe didn’t seem bothered but laughed and starting stuffing the hot cream in her mouth, enjoying the sugar. Johnny manned the waffle iron, which he floated above smelling the delicious aromas of the cooking food. Little did he know or could see from his height was the waffle batter spilling over the sides of the iron on the counter, making a mess. George, the last one of the triplets, was cutting up strawberries and bananas with his little claws. Obviously he was having fun doing it, but he wasn’t using a cutting board so he was slashing clean through to the countertop and staining his fingers and everything else with the fruit juice. He was a young child, after all, so his grip was too firm with the soft fruit, so it crushed in his hands. Lastly, Pietro, the father of these children and the man Jane fell in love with and married, was frying sausage and bacon on the stove. He was completely unaware of the mess his kids were making – or rather he willfully ignored it. Concentrating so hard on the meat he was burning, Pietro danced to the 80s music he had blaring from his phone’s speakers, screw everyone else’s morning lie in.
“I say, we can dance, we can dance,
Everything’s out of control.
We can dance, we can dance,
Doin’ it from pole to pole.
We can dance, we can dance,
Everybody look at your hands.
We can dance, we can dance,
Everybody’s taking a chance.
It was the music that tipped her off; and by God when she walked into the kitchen and saw all of her family making a mess and dancing, Jane knew she was home. She missed this, and while they were driving her crazy, the brief three days she spent with Gambit roaming the Louisiana bayou, a familiar place, nothing felt like home without her husband and her children. But, boy, did they need to stop. So with a green glow of her eyes and a wave of her hand, she silenced the music and unplugged the waffle iron and turned off the stove and stopped the coffee machine from going haywire any further. At that all of her family stopped and looked to her, and they were frozen in fear. Before they could say a word, the toaster dinged and the toast popped up and Jane flinched back in surprise. When she noticed it was just the toaster, she quickly grabbed the blackened toast, examining it haplessly. “Who made this?” Pietro blinked and raised his hand. “You’re a terrible cook.”
Their children laughed at that and then moved in, crowded their mother with hugs and cries of “Happy Mother’s Day!” Soon Jane had George trying to climb her right leg and Zoe trying to climb her left, Johnny floating around her and Alice playfully jumped on her mother’s back. Little Raven reached up and up, standing on the very tips of her toes as she squealed with childish laughter. “We missed you!”
“I love you, Momma!” gleefully announced little George.
“How’s Uncle Gambit? Is he still dating that weird woman who smelled funny? I could’ve sworn her purse was made from opossum.” Zoe chattered away happily.
“Did you see anything cool? Did you bring home a cool knickknack from the French Quarters? Will you ever take us there one day?”
“Mom, just so you know, this was completely Dad’s plan. I told him this was a bad idea, but he wouldn’t listen to me. And I made the pancakes, but they’re buttermilk flavored because I have no idea how to make those other cool flavors. Aunt Darcy wouldn’t tell me her secrets and I didn’t think it was a good idea to ask her to make your breakfast.” Alice was whispering urgently in her mother’s ear.
“Please don’t get mad. We’ll clean it up, I swear!” Johnny sounded a little more desperate than his older sister.
Overwhelmed, Jane could only pick up Raven and put her on her hip where the girl hugged her around the neck. Unable to walk and her arms full, she shot Pietro a look. He only stood there, smugly smiling. When he caught Jane’s look he sprung into action and had the table set for Jane and all of the mess cleaned up in a flash. “Alright, kids, let your mother breathe. Better yet, let your mom have breakfast. Here, I’ll make you guys some cereal.”
“Yeah, Mom, eat the breakfast we made you!” The kids immediately jumped off of her, George and Zoe each taking one of her arms and dragging her over to the table, Alice pushing her from behind. Johnny pulled out the chair and Jane was shoved into it.
In front of her were underdone waffles, raw eggs, mutilated strawberries, burnt bacon, pancakes only cooked on one side, black toast smothered in jam and butter, crispy overdone sausage patties, and mashed up bananas. “Wow, kids…” Jane looked up at her children sitting around the table, staring at her eagerly in hope for praise and approval. Little Raven crawled on her lap and looked up at her with large puppy-dog eyes that she must have gotten from Pietro because they were so irresistible. “This looks delicious, but it’s way too much food for me. You’ll have to eat some, too.”
“No, Janie baby, it’s okay. I made them cereal.” Sitting before eat of her children, except for Raven, were bowls of sugary Lucky Charms. At the far end of the table sat Pietro with his own bowl of Captain Crunch, and he winked at Jane and dug into his own cereal, the children following suit. Raven reached forward her small hand and grabbed the banana mush, gnawing on it hungrily.
Stuck where she was, Jane bravely reached forward and took a bite of the sausage that looked the least burnt. It still tasted like char. Desperately, she tried to rinse it down with a hearty swallow of latte but it tasted off, too bitter. Sputtering and coughing, Jane’s eyes started to water. Raven patted her mother’s chest, and Jane started to calm down. “I’m fine, I’m fine.” Raven shrugged and went back to eating the fruit, the only piece of food that were evenly mildly edible. Jane took the toast and prayed the strawberry jam and butter were enough to disguise the burnt taste. She took a small bite, and it crunched between her teeth. It wasn’t enough to mask the acidic flavor. She loved her kids, but God they needed cooking lessons or a better babysitter than Pietro. He meant well, but around his kids he was like an even bigger kid.
Her saving grace was the fire alarm as it went off. The sprinklers activated and the detection of smoke, coming from the oven where the biscuits were on fire somehow. Her children squealed as they got soaked through and they ran outside where the their dog Balto was already. Pietro quickly shut off the alarm and handled the biscuits, and catching him alone Jane rapidly approached him. “Pietro, wha–”
“Janie baby, I’m sorry. It got out of control, but the kids were having too much fun. I know you don’t want to eat it, but that’s okay. The water ruined it. Your breakfast drowned.” He cut her off.
With sass Jane informed him, “Pietro, the meal was already ruined before I even got home. The drowning was a mercy killing.” Wrapping her arms around his waist, she lightly continued to tease, “Like I said before, mon argent lapin, you’re a terrible cook.” She kissed his cheek, and then caught his mouth in a more meaningful kiss. Before Pietro could deepen it, she broke it off and called to her children outside, “Who wants to go to IHOP for breakfast?” A chorus of cheers gave her an answer, and Jane went outside to her children, calling back to Pietro over her shoulder, “Clean this up and I’ll meet you in the garage with the kids, okay? I love you!”
Pietro was left gaping, his hair still wet and his arms still left open from where Jane was snuggled against him. Still, he smiled all the same and had the kitchen cleaned in less than a minute. He was at the garage in less than half the time and then the Maximoff family went to IHOP for Jane’s Mother’s Day breakfast. Too bad they weren’t around to watch history repeat itself when Wanda’s twins raided the kitchen to cook their mother breakfast.