The Encounter
By Eileen Blazer
July 2003

Dedicated to all the readers who reviewed and asked me to update during my long absence from the writing world.



"Ah'm taken," she says, as soon as he sits down across from her, the drink in his hand splashing over the side of his glass mug, onto the bar's smooth, blue surface.

He smiles, the easy, faint, indifferent sort that could have just as easily been a shrug. "I know." His voice is a rich tenor, his tone warm and nonchalant at the same time. "By me." He adds, with a touch of arrogance. Leather gloves fit his hands snugly, and he uses them to reach over and steal a lock of brown and white hair, fingering it as someone would a cloth of the finest silk.

There's something about him, in the twinkle of his eyes, that holds her spellbound and for a second she believes its the same 'charm' she saw him use on the bouncer when he came in. Probably some mutant power of his. But when he looks away to sip his drink, and she has the chance to look away too, and doesn't take it, she decides it must be something else.

She must want to look at him.

Not that any sane girl wouldn't, even a taken one. He's got an slender, lanky build that fits him perfectly, allows him to sit there at a bar stool, still wearing that long brown trench coat and not look like a mystery story-reject. His features are angular and thin, his chin scruffy, obviously between shaves, and there's an ocean of auburn hair cresting over his face. Any of those alone would have bordered on the ugly, but pulled together, they create a countenance Adonis should envy.

She takes several more moments to study this man at the bar, this mutant with beautiful red eyes, so full of himself, yet jusifiably so. Girls probably eat out of his hand, melt at his wink, crumble at his touch...

Its that thought, that reminder of what she can't have herself, what she can't offer him, that brings her back. Gorgeous as he is, he doesn't need to waste his time on wacky mutant girls who can't control their powers, can't feel skin to skin contact, save for the casual brush of lips that isn't nearly as intimate enough.

Bobby even, the boy that's claimed her, the blonde, suburbia-bred young man who ought to be centering her thoughts at the moment, not taking a back seat to aesthetically- pleasing, bar-hopping, red-eyed guys, even he gets frustrated with her lack of ability.

Bobby.

Boyfriend.

Right.

"Ah mean it," She says firmly to the man, carefully releasing her hair from his grasp, fully, embarrassingly aware of how late her protest has come. "Ah got a man, thank ya very much."

Again, that grin. "An homme dat let's y' wander 'round bars alone can' be too bright, non? I say its his loss." He signals the bartender for another glass, casually brushing against her covered arm as he brings his hand down. How did he manage to get so close without moving? The new glass is slided over to her.

"Its Girl's Night Out." She explains, briefly wondering what did exactly happen to Jubilee and Kitty Pryde. The former, the crafter of the fake IDs that brought them inside, was probably on the dance floor. Somewhere. It was difficult to discern any individuals in the pulsing mob.

"Oh." He says. "In dat case, he's given you persmission t' have fun on yo' own. So why worry?"

"Monogamy don't end when the otha' partner's not around, Cajun." He was Cajun, she decided, unsure of how that knowledge had come to her. Perhaps it was the blend of french words and Southern-style sweetness.

"Chere, Chere, Chere," He laughs, again extending his hand, this time to pass over her lips closely. "I not be askin' you for sex. De fille, it seems t' me, is far too naive 'bout dese matters t' be propositioned properly anyway. But a dance? Dat's just wholesome, pure-hearted enjoyment. What's wrong wit' dat?"

What is wrong with that? Nothing, she thinks at first, but then he moves his hand away, and a shudder runs through her, and it occurs to her that it wouldn't be wholesome, pure-hearted enjoyment. Even if he sticks to his word, her own mind couldn't be trusted to not stray, to not yearn to feel the hard muscle beneath his coat, or tousle the hair, or smooth away that infuriatingly cool bend of his lips with her own.

Down girl.

Bobby.

Right.

"Y'all should know Ah cain't make no physical contact. Ah could end up killin' ya." She says again, hoping it'll send him away. And half hoping her endeavors will fail.

Undaunted, he takes a drink, slowly, not noticing the dribble down his chin, over his adam's apple, and she curses silently for not being able to tear her eyes away. He puts the the mug down and wipes his hand across his face. "Y' know, Chere, somet'in tells me, you de one wit' more on y' mind." She blushes, feels the blood and heat rushing upward. He takes a cherry into his mouth -damn that mouth- and the grin spreads ever wider, a real, amused expression.

He pulls at the stem and drops it onto the counter. "Don't feel too bad, da nice guy routine was jus' a clever ploy t' get y' out dere. I fully intended t' work my magic once you were in m' arms."

She relaxes, somehow made more comfortable by his admission. Like, maybe, the attraction was mutual. "An' ya were so sure that it was gonna work?"

"Always does."

"Maybe Ah'm stronger-willed than those otha' girls."

"Mebbe de mo' dey resist, de mo' dey want it."

"Well Ah ain't fallin' helplessly into yoah arms, so..."

"So who said I was done tryin'?"

Another girl walks by, a pretty one. The ends of her hair sway in time with her hips, her skirt's ridden up too high and she doesn't adjust it, she yawns casually, thrusting her chest forward, so obviously not noticing them that the girl at the stool knows that she is trying to get the Cajun's attention.

So she watches him, expecting those crimson eyes to be distracted, to turn away long enough, at least, to drink in the not-trying-to-be-noticed blonde, but they never falter from her own face. They're fixed firmly, amused, interested, and solely entertained by her. Not even her boyfriend back home did that. He looked at other girls -exceptionally attractive ones- like any other young male, the important thing was knowing that he didn't want to follow any of them home. He's hers. She enjoys being his.

She did.

Does.

"Y' look a lil' shell-shocked, Chere. Did I say somet'in'?" He asks.

"Ah was just...," She starts, but the sentence, uncompleted, falls away. Jubilee and Kitty have come into her sight, one of them points her out, gives a small wave, and then points to the man. Kitty frowns in question. "Ah was just gonna step outside with mah drink." She lifts the glass -her own Shirley Temple, not the beer he's offered and stands, stretching herself, just a little.

And he's still interested. "Let me come wit' you. Dis bar, full o' psycho killers, jus' waitin' fo' a pretty fille like you t' take home an' decapitate. Y' need protection, ma cherie." There isn't time to argue, she tells herself, any moment now the girls will burst out of nowhere and be filled with questions. She nods.

As they navigate their way through the crowds, his hand slips around waist, keeping them together, and she notes that he smells like expensive cologne. She envisions the bottle in his large apartment, on a shelf, beside a mirror, its lingering scent wafting through the air, out his window, on his pillow. Suddenly, a gush of enlightens her to the fact that they're now outside.

Like a gentleman, he removes the hand that's become quite comfortable and gives her space. She shivers in the cold, and instinctively, before she realizes it, he's pulling off his trench coat and sliding it over her shoulders. "Thank ya." She answers, taking a drink.

"No probl'm." Without the coat, his own arms are left open to the wind's attacks, but they look strong enough to hold their own in any fight. Not overly bulkly, not girlishly thin, just...right. A tatoo marks his left upper arm, a card pierced by a sharp, exotically decorated dagger.

"What is that," She says, curious.

He follows her gaze and sighs. "A mistake." Something he doesn't want to talk about, she figures. "So dis boyfriend, he got a name?" The Cajun asks after a moment.

"Yeah."

There's a silence, and then he laughs again. "Gonna tell me what it is? I need t' know who t' envy." There's that twinkle of quiet laughter in his eyes, daring her to resist his charms, that cologne invading her senses, his presence so powerful that she can't step back.

"Its uh...uh...um..." Oh damn it. She shakes her head, as if trying to get the information loose. "Its...uh..."

"I c'n feel da love."

"Bobby! Bobby Drake!" That was it. Bobby Drake. Iceman.

Boyfriend.

Right.

"Bobby Drake," he repeats, shrugging. "Bet he's...blonde, oui, an' likes t' surf. An' plays by da rules, but tells jus' enough jokes t' make y' believe dat he's got a hidden, joking, childish side he'd jus' love t' indulge in."

"All that, from a name? Kinda freakin' meh out, Hannibal Lecter."

"Call it insight. I've known a lotta people, an' a name's as much a personality indicator as anyt'in' else."

"Prob'ly some kinda stalker, followin' meh around." She isn't aware of how conceited that sounds until the words are out in the air. A cute, attractive guy like him, why would he waste his time stalking her? What did she have that could entice him? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

So why is he still outside with her?

"No, Chere, I don't like dat sneaky, hidin', shadowy approach. If I'm after a femme, she knows it." He winks at her. "I like fo' de girl t' enjoy de chase jus' as much as me."

She ignores his suggestion, though perhaps, deeper down, that fluttering in her stomach is trying to let him know that he's succeeded. She is having fun. In a completely, trustworthy, un-betraying-to-boyfriend sort of way. If Bobby's allowed to look, why isn't she?

Maybe because if she could, she would go home with the sleek Cajun.

No, sweet, wonderful, patient Bobby is waiting.

Her trusting boyfriend.

Right.

But she can't stop the conversation's path. Its like a steam-roller, going on and on, forcing itself down upon their talk. "Y'all recently pretended ya just wanted ta dance. Ain't that a bit under-handed?"

"Did y' ever really believe dat's all I wanted?" She isn't sure. Only that maybe, the reason she doesn't know is because she was too busy debating if that's all she wanted.

"Well..." She finishes her drink. "Its gettin' pretty late. Ah gotta get up awful early an'-"

"Non." He interrupts. "Don' say y' leavin'. So soon? 'fore I've even had a chance t' get m' dance? Dat ain't far."

"Life ain't fair. That's just the way the cookie crumbles."

"Cookies only crumble when dey too dry. Shouldn't eat dry cookies anyway."

"Don't tell meh yoah a chef. Not this tough, smooth, slick Cajun. Thought that'd be too girly for the likes o' you."

"Chere, I be a Jack o' Many Trades, cookin' somewhere near da top o' dat list. If it pleases da fille, we could go somewhere an' I teach you a t'ing or two 'bout preparin' a real meal."

"Sorry. Ah really gotta go." She really has to, because every moment she says beside him, she's drawn in a little more. The coat is heavy and warm over her shoulders, falling all the way down to near ankle-length. So comfortable. So nice. But something she'll have to relinquish in a moment. Kind of like its owner. "'Sides uh, me an' uh..."

"Bobby?" He supplies.

"Yeah. Yeah, me an' Bobby were s'possed ta watch a movie when Ah got back."

"Y' breakin' m' heart, makin' me t'ink o' you two. I c'n see it now." His voice drops low and seductive. "De cozy fireplack, cracklin', de wine...o' maybe bourbon...makin' little lakes at da bottom o' yo' glasses. A blanket, wrapped around yo' waists, but leavin' yo' torsos bare so dat you need t' snuggle real tight. Da movie...somet'in' you chose, he's a gentleman like dat. Doesn't matter t' him anyhow, 'cause he's too preoccupied watchin' you t' care about any movie. He's too entranced by da way shadows dance across yo' face, light up yo' eyes in different colors. He can' touch you, but dat's okay. Who needs touch when da evenin's so perfect already? Except maybe one kiss, brief, across yo' bare knuckles, enough t' make y' stomach flutter, enough t' give y' sweet dreams 'bout de future, non?" His words stop there and she blinks, saddened as the image floats away.

God, evenings with Bobby were never that good. Never so powerful, in fact, as that brief description. She clings to the remnants of his words, not quite registering that he was him, the Cajun, she pictured beside her, and not her boyfriend.

Damn. Her resolve sinks, soggy-like, and the baser part of her squishes over it to get what she wants.

"All right, Swamp Rat. One dance." She says. He smiles, not the cocky, triumphant smile that most of her peers would have worn, or even the arrogant one he'd donned earlier, but an easy, comforting smile.

"Don' worry, Chere. I won' steal y' away from y' boy at home." He swoops her into his arms, and it occurs to her that he's surrounding her completely, his chest in front of her, his arms at her sides, and that comfortable coat shielding her back. The brilliance of his crimson eyes becomes intenser still, as they sway, inappropriately slow given the faster, pounding music inside.

She gives in, deciding to at least enjoy the man and the moonlight while it lasts. She'll deal with Bobby and her own guilt later on, but for the moment, nothing feels quite as right as letting him lead her in a simple pattern of footwork and soft embraces.

And then a knock shatters everything. Its loud, coarse, annoying, the sound of metal against metal. They both break away, startled, as the bouncer grins grimly in their direction. Following lamely behind him is Jubilee and Kitty.
"Sorry kids," the bouncer says," But I just got a call from that mansion across town, you know, that big, inconspicious white one with all the newly setup gates and security systems, sayin' that their kids need to come on home. You know I hate to be the responsible adult, but I ain't dealin' with that Logan guy again. So all of you, go home." His grey eyes settle on the Cajun. "And I do mean, all of you."

She frowns. The Cajun is underage? "Yoah underage?"

He gives her a shrug. "Mebbe. Carl," he asks the bouncer. "When y' say kids, dat mean-"

"I spoke with a woman named Ororo. She said you'd probably be near the girls. She said you better be the first one through that door."

"Merde." The Cajun looks back at her, looking sheepish. "Oui, I'm underage."

"An' ya know Storm?"

"Oui. De femme has jus' been made somet'in' of a guardian o' me, until m' twenty first birt'day...in t'ree months," he adds for Carl.

"Then, yoah gonna...."

"Oui. I be stayin' at da mansion fo' a while. Arrived t'day, saw ya leavin' da house, t'ought I'd introduce m'self in a mo' familiar settin'."

Rogue looks at Jubilee, whose silently applauding her for the Cajun, and Kitty, whose eyes are like wide. "So, y'all are comin' home with us?"

"Ain't often y' get t' take home da boy from de bar, non? Don't worry, Chere, I not tell Bobby a t'ing. But keep da coat for da drive home, its still chilly outside." He leads her to her car and sighs wistfully as she takes a seat and closes the door. He helps in the others girls as well, though his penetrating gaze holds tightly to Rogue. Coming back around, he lets her start the car, waiting for her to roll down her window. She does.

"Soon, Chere, we dance again." He whispers, softly. "An' by da way, m' name is Remy LeBeau."

"Rogue." She tells him with a shaky nod. "Ah'll see ya at home."




~~~***~~~ Fin ~~~***~~~

Well, there you have it. A short Romy piece set in the movieverse.

The original idea for this was to a) write a story in the movieverse and b) write a story that didn't use either of their names. I caved at the end, but oh well. That's the way life goes.

I'm aware that they are many (too many) fans of Rogue/Bobby in this place, and can only blame it on the crazy movie writer people who seem to think its all right to fill people's heads with that sort of propaganda. But for those of you who aren't familiar with Remy, and may have actually read through this whole story, trust me, he's fantasmic, better than I can write him. And I am of the firmest belief that Rogue, the real Rogue that everybody loves, would not have been the same without him. ^_^

So that's it for now! Tootles!
Oh yeah, and any questions, comments, or coconuts can be sent to me at Eileenblzr@yahoo.com
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