A/N: Unbetaed. For LadyFest 2010.
Jubilee is as American as bad '90s hair, DayGlo headbands, and rollerblading in LA strip malls. Which is to say, she's American through-and-through, July 4th celebrations, hot dogs and hamburgers, greasy popcorn, greasy cheese steaks, takeout Mexican.
She's as American as a Boxcar Child, migrating from one place to another, one place to another; as American as a frontiersman, as American as a pioneer, never stopping, never resting.
Yes, that is my real name. No, really. Yes. L-E-E.
L-E-E.For as much as she's American, she's reminded of how much she's not. She remembers growing up with a rice cooker, loving parents, words and syllables rolling off a tongue that was just as used to saying Velveeta as fung zaao, practicing and pushing herself -
It never amounts to anything.
Jubilee is as American as getting lost in foster care, as running away.
Jubilee is as American as much as people think she isn't, as American as a failed acting career, but as unAmerican as pretending to be Random Japanese Girl Number Three on a failed ABC sitcom. She isn't Type A as much as she is dark hair and small eyes, isn't exotic as much as other people think she is.
Jubilee is as American as listening to Taylor Swift on the radio to annoy Logan, who growls and scowls the whole time it's on, even though he doesn't really touch the dial so much as glare at it.
Jubilee is bad yearbook photos, is kind of like a high school dropout, is a mutant, is - Jubilee is. It confuses people.
She spends her twenties drinking and partying when she's not saving the world, because saving the world every so often doesn't mean she can't pretend to try to be normal, right? Kitty Pryde ropes her into going to a new club opening one weekend, so she spends hours on her makeup, glitter eye shadow and smoky eyeliner to make her look sexy smoldering the way that makes her feel giddy.
Three inch heels to top it all off because she's a girl as much as she is anything else.
They get catcalled twice on the way to the club.
Someone calls her Chow Mein.
She curls her hands up into fists at the same time that Kitty Pryde sets a warm hand on her wrist, all calm and keep calm and carry on jubilee and she knows she can't fight every fucker who says something like that but god does she want to. She shrugs it off.
It's a pretty good night - she and Kitty get five different guys to buy them drinks and they manage to get pretty drunk.
"Logan is gonna be so pissed," Kitty slurs and all Jubilee can think to do is laugh. She is as American as teenage rebellion.
She squeezes Kitty's hand and says i'm going to go outside for a smoke and Kitty crinkles her nose in the way that Jubilee knows she disapproves a little, but Kitty smiles then, waves her off as she chats up a cute boy next to her.
The minute she's outside, it feels fifteen degrees colder than it does in the club. She sighs and taps her cigarette against the pack before she lights it.
She is as American as bad habits.
Cute boy with a five o' clock shadow next to her says, "Hey."
She grins the way Cosmo taught her to, not too much teeth in a way that says relaxed and cool. Although she's pretty drunk so who knows? "Hi."
"That's not a name you hear every day."
They move through the usual systems of flirting, of how-boys-and-girls talk, and then, the inevitable anvil rains down:
"So where are you from?"
She takes a drag off her cigarette, flicks the ashes to the ground. "Beverly Hills."
He narrows his eyes at her and she supposes he's trying to look mysterious. "No, I mean, where are you from?" He leaves a pause in between each word to emphasize his meaning.
She clenches her jaw, grits her teeth, spits the words back. "Beverly. Hills."
Her heels carve angry paths against the pavement like dashed lines on an ancient and faded map tracing routes to Gold Mountain.
She bumps into Chow Mein Guy on the walk back home. Sobering up a little and still pissed, she sends him straight into the dumpster with a practiced wrist flick.
Kitty tries to glare at her.
She tells the dickhead to fuck off in four languages (that's two dialects of Chinese, thank you very much, with the Russian Piotr taught her), but she loves the last bit the best; she mulls over the words in her mouth, lets her tongue slide over the curves of each letter.
"Fuck you, I'm from Beverly Hills!"