A Rogue, A Cajun, and A Pot of Jambalaya: Part One
Rogue pursed her lips as she looked down at the simmering contents of the shiny silver pot. The familiar scent of jambalaya floated upwards to her sniffing nose, but she could tell something was missing. She hadn't tasted it yet, but she just knew something was off. To her left were bottles of herbs that she'd already tossed in but she was hesitant to throw in some more. There wasn't much to come by in terms of southern style herb mixtures in upstate New York so she had to make do with mixing the spices herself—and it wasn't successful despite several past tries. Frustration boiled up inside her and she glared at her cooking, willing it to tell her what she needed to toss in.
The sounds of kids at play drew her attention from her cooking for a moment and a corner of her lips tilted upward as she watched her friends play baseball in the open area not too far from the house. It was a perfect summer day but Rogue hadn't felt like playing. She just wanted to be alone with her thoughts and the best way for her to do this was to be in the kitchen, seemingly the last place on Earth where she had some sense of control.
At least until now.
Squaring her shoulders, she picked up the first bottle of herbs near her hand and sprinkled some in the pot. Holding a wooden spoon in her other hand, she stirred the mixture, tilting her head down and taking a long deep breath. The pungent spices made her wrinkle her nose and she thought she had it but when she tested a bit of the jambalaya, it was still missing something.
"Gawd," she muttered. "What does a girl have tah do around here tah get a propah home cooked meal?"
In a house full of teenagers, she was sure that there would be no leftovers, perfect jambalaya or not, but as a cook and self-proclaimed expert southern chef, she was not satisfied with her work. Stepping back from the jambalaya for a moment, she reached up to check on her cornbread, baking in the overhead oven. It was just about ready so she lowered the temperature on the oven to keep it warm.
It was then did she become aware that someone was in the kitchen with her.
The closest thing she had to a weapon was the wooden spoon still in her hand and she started to turn…
"Don't fear, Chère. It's jus' me."
Rogue froze as her memory flashed back to a snowy night, injured and trapped in a cave with a Cajun that she could hardly keep out of her thoughts. She lowered her hand but didn't loosen her grip on it. Remy stood at the doorway casually, his arms crossed over his chest and an eyebrow arched as he looked at her.
"You miss me, Chère? Been a while, I know, but I couldn' tear m'self away 'til today," Remy said smoothly, coming towards her.
"Ah wasn't holdin' mah breath, Swamp rat," Rogue said wryly. "How'd ya get in here anyway? Logan's got this place wired like Fort Knox."
"I've been dere. It's nice. Kinda overrated d'ough."
Despite herself, Rogue chuckled. Remy grinned, satisfied with her reaction and he went to stand next to her. He took a peek into the pot in front of her, brow furrowed.
"Last time I checked, jambalaya s'posed t'be more red den pink."
"Ah'm havin' some trouble," Rogue said stiffly, elbowing him out of the way and stirring the pot. "In case ya didn't notice, we're not exactly in Mississippi and these people like they're food bland."
"Y'ain't never lie, Chère."
Remy eyed the herbs she was using, his brow furrowing. She followed his gaze and sighed.
"Ya cain't tell me you bypassed all those alarms outside t'help me cook," she said.
"Why not?" he said with a lazy shrug. "Better den sittin' around watchin' TV wid m'new friends."
"Yeah, ah guess ah'd rather break intah enemy territoreh than watch TV with those idiots."
But Remy wasn't really paying attention to what she was saying. He'd taken the spoon out of her hand and was taking a taste of her jambalaya. Rogue braced herself for his reaction and she wasn't disappointed when he started muttering things in French, things she understood to be the opposite of good.
"Lawd, Cajun, it's not that bad!" she protested half-heartedly, though she knew he was right.
"Not bad if y'makin' dis fo' yo' friends out dere, but if y'wanna be able t'hold y'head up in de bayou ya'd do t'add more…more…"
Rogue watched with amusement as he swished the spoon in the mixture one more time and put a larger amount of the jambalaya in his mouth. She couldn't help but be drawn to the movement of his lips as he pursed them thoughtfully.
"Mo' what?" she prompted, hoping he'd have the answer.
Befuddled red on black eyes glowed down at her. "I'm not really sure, Roguey. It's like y'got an even balance o'everyting 'n y'don' need t'add anyting else y'already put in cause dat won' work…"
"Stop ramblin'. Ah already pretty much figured that part out."
Remy kept on spooning some more jambalaya in his mouth as he sought to figure out exactly what needed to be done. Rogue started to take the spoon from him but he easily evaded her touch. He started to say something when his eyes widened and he shoved the spoon in her hand, cleanly vaulting over the kitchen counter and running into the pantry. The doors shut just as Jean came into the kitchen, wiping the sweat from her brow. Even with her red hair plastered to her skull and her skin flushed from the baseball game, she was still breathtaking and Rogue had the distinct urge of throwing the spoon at her. She smiled easily at Rogue, clearly unaware of what was going on in the other girl's head.
"How's the cooking going?" she asked.
"Alright," Rogue said carefully. "Y'all almost done out there?"
"Not even close." Jean opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water. "You know how Scott can get. We'll probably go into quadruple overtime."
"Come outside when you're done. It's a beautiful day."
Jean smiled, but her smile faltered a little and she stumbled. Rogue held her breath but Jean recovered with a shake of her head and gave her a wave before jogging back outside.