A Rogue, A Cajun, and A Pot of Jambalaya: Part Twos
Letting back a breath she hadn't realized she was holding, Rogue turned back to her cooking and didn't bother turning around when she heard the pantry opening a few minutes later. She had to fight the urge to step away when Remy came to stop right behind her, so close that she could feel the heat of his body against her back. He put his gloved hands on her fully covered shoulders, but she could still feel the warmth of his touch through her clothes. Fear tightened the knot in her gut, the knot that had formed the second she set eyes on him again, but at the same time her knees felt like they were made out of jelly. Her lips tightened into a thin line and she stepped out of his touch. He took that with an easy smile and went to lean against the kitchen counter.
"Why y'don' wan' go outside, Chère? Y'hidin' from somethin'?"
"What could ah possibly be hidin'? Is it possible that ah just want some time tah mahself since ah live in a house full o' people who don't know how tah mind they're own business?"
"Fair 'nuff. Course I take it I don' factor int'any o' dat." He smiled his most charming smile at her. "Righ'?"
Rogue chucked him under the chin with the other end of the spoon and saw the laughter in his eyes at her move. "This time, Swamp rat, this time."
They stood pondering the puzzle of the jambalaya when Remy's always restless hands began to juggle the various spice bottles that were sitting out. He looked at them curiously, his mouth quirking as a thought occurred to him. He took his glove off and shook out a little bit of spice onto his palm from a few chosen bottles. Rogue watched him silently, at this point willing to try anything to get her cooking just right. He winked at her as he began to charge up the spices and there was a faint burning smell in the air, but he didn't fire them up to the point that they turned black. Dipping a finger into his new mixture, Remy tasted it and grinned as his tongue protested the sudden explosion of flavor.
"I tink I solved d'problem!" he exclaimed. "Try it."
Rogue gingerly dipped her finger in the mixture and made sure to not touch Remy's palm. She could feel his eyes on her face as she brought her finger to her lips and she willed herself not to blush under his gaze. His mouth did tilt upward as she slid her finger out but to her relief, he said nothing. Her green eyes quickly teared up as the spices hit her tongue hard and her cheeks flushed rosily. Remy let out a laugh and he threw his arms around her, lifting her easily off the ground.
"Bet y'real happy I showed up now," he said, his face uncomfortably close to hers.
"Easy there, Remy," she said, leaning as far away from him as he would let her. "Ya know what'll happen if ya touch me."
"Good point, Chère. I guess it won' do fo' my well-bein' t'be caught passed out in de X-Men's kitchen." His eyes fairly glowed as he looked deep into hers. "But y'makin' it real hard t'resist."
"Ya ain't kiddin', Cajun," Rogue said, a little more breathlessly than she liked.
He put her down slowly, painfully slow, and she felt his every muscle and sinew that her body slid against. They stood toe-to-toe for a heartbeat before she stepped back and he turned to the spices.
"Y'cook a lot?" he asked, his voice sounding tight.
"As often as ah can," she answered, stirring as if her life depended on it.
"Magneto's place got a launch pad 'n a practice room, but it ain't got a kitchen. Isn't dat somethin'?"
"If ya want tah do this again…"
"I'd like t'. Dat alright wid you?"
"Ah wouldn've offered if it wasn't, but it's not like ah keep a schedule."
"I'll be here."
She smelled the spices burning and he tossed two handfuls into the pot.
"Could ya pull the cornbread out o'th'oven?"
Remy put on a pair of rather ridiculous cow oven mitts and reached over Rogue's head to pull out the hot pan from the oven. He put it on the counter and took in a deep breath of the fresh cornbread's scent.
"Y'got dis right," he informed her with a sunny smile.
Rogue was just taking the spoon out of her mouth and she smiled back. "Ya got this right, too."
"We pretty good in de kitchen," he said, nudging her lightly with his elbow.
She let out a snort and took out two bowls from the cupboards. Remy took that as a cue and he cut the cornbread as she ladled generous helpings of the jambalaya into the bowls. They started to sit at the kitchen table but Rogue caught his eye and with a twitch of her head, he followed her lead. She was careful not to take him into any heavy traffic corridors which was difficult considering they had quite a way to go. Remy didn't look surprised when she led him to the roof—facing away from the baseball game of course.
The sun was beginning to set but they could still hear the sounds of the game going on. They sat in silence, enjoying the food and each other's company. Their shoulders brushed from time to time and when Remy finished eating, he put an arm around her, holding her close to his side. Rogue knew she shouldn't let him hold her, shouldn't let herself like him as much as she already did, but he was making things hard for her. She glanced sideways at him, at the strong line of his jaw. She'd once thought his reddish tufts of facial hair as ridiculous but was growing fond of them now—about as fond as she was of him. The thought unsettled her and she started to move away from him but his arm was like a steel band around her.
"Stop runnin', Chère," he said, turning his head and pinning her with his glowing red gaze. "Cause I'm gonna follow y' wherever y'go."
"That a promise?" she said flatly, afraid of his answer.
"I'm always good on m'word." His smile twisted bitterly. "Sometimes, it's all I got."
The baseball game was dying down behind them and Rogue felt his lips touch the side of her head that was covered by her hair. She closed her eyes, fighting the wave of emotion that threatened to overtake her at his touch.
"I gotta go, Rogue," he said, his lips against her hair. "But I'll be back."
He stood and leapt off the rooftop, landing on a balcony below and then on the grass on soft feet. She watched him run to the gates, using his bo-staff to vault over the high fence. She could hear the roar of his motorcycle as he sped off. Sadness and frustration mixed in her gut as she tried to forget his touch, the warmth that seemed to emanate from him no matter how close or far she was from him. Angry tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks and she swiped at them. What she and Remy were doing felt so good but she knew that it wasn't right. There was no way they would ever be able to touch, skin-to-skin, and what kind of relationship would that be for them. She didn't want to care for him any more than she already did, to make herself more vulnerable…she couldn't afford to.
"I hope ya know what you're doing, Kid."
Wolverine's gruff voice made Rogue jump and she got to her feet to face him. He regarded her with an arch look.
"What're ya talkin' bout, Logan?" she evaded.
"I could smell that Cajun from a mile away," he said. "You better be careful around him. He could be up to no good."
Rogue bristled. "A lot of people say that about you," she said, jumping to Remy's defense before she could stop herself.
He chuckled. "True enough. So how about you come back in? The kids wanna have a word with you about your…meal."
Rogue couldn't help smiling at the mental picture that presented itself as a swarm of hungry kids took huge bites of her jambalaya…
"Ah'll stay up here for a lil' bit longah," she said. "Ah'll be down in a bit."
Logan patted her shoulder and went downstairs. Rogue took one last look at where Remy had jumped the fence, her mouth set in a frown. This had to stop someday…she just hoped she could stop it before it became too late.