A/N: I do not own any rights to any Dave Matthews songs, but I can appreciate them through my writing and if that is a crime then I suppose I am guilty. What can I say? I love music. But let this be clear, if anyone were to sue, the only thing that you'd collect is my debt. Enjoy. Please review.Guilty By Association 5 Heart of the House
Home is where the heart is and that is where she was headed. Her second home was her all-purpose studio, another gift from daddy because she wanted it.
It was late or perhaps early in this case but she found herself walking the solemn streets to Central Park West and uptown, about 25 blocks from her apartment. In theory, it could seem like a long walk but she had her thought to comfort her. But it wasn't really comfort. They were the thoughts that would make her pull her knees into her chest, press her palms to her temples and try to wish them away until they fell asleep too. Grace tried to pay attention to anything, the honking of a horn, tires careening over potholes and cracked surfaces, the clink of glasses from people who chose to dine instead of sleep. New York is always a crowded city but nothing, not the bicyclers who come an inch within her life from hitting her, could capture her attention. She reached the apartment building and took a deep breath.
From around his desk, Juan, a 45 year old door man who only worked the place because the rich patrons tipped well, especially around the holidays, ran to the door to offer assistance.
"Thank you, Mr. Gutierres, but you didn't really have to get up"
"You know, Grace. You are still the only one who calls me Mr. Thank you. It is always a pleasure to see you, but why so late? I do not mean to pry, but it has been a while since you visited your studio at this time of the night."
"Ah, well. It is good to see you just the same."
"As are you. Good Night."
"Good Night, dear."
She was always raised to be polite to everyone and a certain profession or social status was never to change that. Making her way up the back staircase she went began her trek to the 3rd floor.
"Uh, Grace, are you sure you don't want an escort upstairs?"
"No thanks, Mr. Gutierres. It is only the third floor. I will manage."
Grace entered her password to the electronic lock and entered her sanctuary. Like her sister, she needed a place just to be, a calming place to regain her composure from time to time. He studio was just that. It was an all-purpose studio. Depending on how she cleaned it, it could be an art studio, dance studio, gymnast space, or a shrine. The three-room space was collaged with the pictures of her parents both dead and alive. A few kodak childhood moments were captured here and there about the main room but she mostly paid homage to the parents of past of present.
She flopped in the beanbag sofa she made herself years ago for a class project and took two random pictures in her hand. She looked at The Munroe's as she had done many times. Then, she looked at The Sexton's. There was something, some connection between the two couples that she saw as if it was never there before. Like some monkey on her back just slapped her upside the head, but the meaning was unclear.
She released the pictures with a flick of her wrist, not watching where they filtered. Leaning back, she closed her eyes and fell asleep to the sounds of concrete nightlife.
~ Spoon and Spoon
Stirring my coffee
I thought of you
And turned to the gate…~
There they laid, her ebony back to his ivory chest, while Dave Matthews, Spoon, softly hummed in the background of their breathing. His bulky arm was dead weight over her midsection. Exhaling heavy breaths, she drifted her hand up his forearm lazily.
~And on my wayCrack lightning
And then thunder
I hid my head
And the storm slipped away…~
"I hate to conclude a most peaceful moment but…"
"You're kicking my ass to the curb."
"No, not so crudely. Just allowing you enough time to make haste to your room without arousing suspicion."
"Why is it you always put shit so damn…"
"Nicely?" she snickered allowing him to feel her vibrations. "I suppose I have a way with words."
"Yeah, darlin' ya do!" He stated as fact as he made his way to the front of the bed to start gathering his clothes and putting them on.
"Boxers, check. Pants, check. Socks and shoes, check. Shirt? Where the hell is my shirt?" He thought.
~Well maybe I'm crazyBut laughing out loud make it all pass by
And maybe you're a little crazyTo laugh it out loud to make it alright…~
"Woman, what have you done with my shirt?"
"I dunno!" she said claiming innocence will sitting up in bed.
Logan climbed on the bed making his way towards her grasping various body parts on his assent.
"Logan, No. Please, do not. That tickles."
"'Ro, where's my shirt?"
She remained tight lipped.
"Fine. I'll just have to tickle it outta ya."
"Logan, Ha, ha, ha. Please stop."
"Give me what I want and I'll give you what you want."
Realizing through her joyful tears she was trying to say something, he held his hands still on her midsection.
"But…but I thought I already gave you what you wanted."
"That does it, Smart ass!" He commenced with the tickling.
"What was that!"
"You heard me very well, you faker. If you had actually bothered to look for the shirt you would have seen that it was on the back of the chair."
"Hardy har, har, Goddess."
Seconds later he was fully dressed.
"Get some sleep, Witch." He said placing his lips to her forehead.
"You are one to talk, Brute."
"Yeah, yeah, I dig ya too!" Logan headed towards the door but his mind was soul was still wrapped around her. He wanted there to be a time when sneaking wasn't a necessity.
~From time to time
Minutes and hours
Some move aheadWhile some lag behind
It's like a balloon that rise and then vanish
This drop of hope falls from his eyes~
"Until the morning." She threw back at him.
"Morning? Lady, you wore me out."
"Impossible, surely by now your healing factor has regenerated itself."
"We could stand here complimenting each other for hour, but we wanna keep this thing between us, I better go, Darlin'."
"One more kiss for the road?"
"Sure thing, 'Ro."
After 10 minutes of dueling tongues he was off and running. She locked the door after his departure and glanced at her disheveled room.
"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow," she repeated to herself and climbed back into bed and left the song on repeat until
the CD was worn and scratched. She'd get another.
The light shown brightly through the spacious windows waking Grace instantly, her eyes were red with exhaustion. Her exhaustion was a culmination of too much thinking. As if she could honestly get around it. There was way too much going on at the moment. A man appears out of nowhere one day and turns her world topsy-turvy with insinuations that may prove themselves true. How could she not think about it?
"I came here to calm myself. So self, it's time to get calm." She stood where she was and lightly bounced vertically.
"Ah, first, I need music. Davy-boy, you'll do fine." She'd been to at least four Dave Matthews concerts since she was 17 and became obviously an avid fan.
Then it started, the instrumental string to Two-Step and she had to turn it up a notch higher than should be in the morning. It was enough to inspire her to dance. She kicked her beanbag chair to a corner and she started to move tumultuously throughout her space choreographing her body to his words. Together they complimented each other. It was too bad no one ever had the chance to see such a combination.
By the end of the song, nothing was truly resolved. Grace was just sweaty, out of breath, and knew she would be sore the next day. She needed answers and since he seemed to have them, why not go straight to the source of her confusion.
The day began for the inhabitants of the X-mansion as well. They all went about their usual morning fervor except for Remy who had his ass dragged out of bed by Ororo and forced to run with her. Down the hall, the same was being done to Jubilee by Logan.
The first mile was spent with Logan's hand clasped around Jubes wrist pulling her along like a rag doll. Ororo had her own problems with Remy. She was literally pushed him along. It's not as if he was seriously injured, he was just disturbed from sleeping after a late night on the town trying to forget his troubles.
"Chere, why you so cruel? C'mon Petite. Remy had a late night again. I need t' sleep it off, oui?"
"Non." She spoke just as calmly.
"Aw, c'mon Stormy, you of all people know 'bout late nights!"
That comment stopped her in her tracks and Wolvie's ears perked up a bit.
"Remy Etienne Le Beau, what did you mean by that?" She asked throwing a glance at Logan.
"Oh nothing, Chere." He grinned.
"You know, Cajun." Wolverine piped in.
"Know what?" Jubilee felt like the only one left out of the loop.
"Yup, he knows what and you know what I'm talkin' 'bout, boy!"
"He knows what?" Jubilee chimed in finally awake and in full speed to keep up.
"Remy Le Beau, you know exactly what is meant."
"Chere, Gambit not know anyt'ing at all." He said flashing that devilish grin again. The one she knew all too well.
"He knows what? That you guys are totally an item?"
Jubilee knew she hit the nail on the head when they all stared back at her slack jawed and motionless.
"What? I'm almost 18 without a life of my own, I have a right to know what's going on in everyone elses."
Wolverine was proud of Jubilee. She had finally learned to be more observant but why did she choose now?
Some time after 5 miles Gambit and Jubilee cut their run short in favor of breakfast and more sleep. Ororo and Logan veered off path and opted for an alternative route, a more scenic route, one with many trees and heavily wooded area that would shield them from nosy eyes.
"I thought we were to work out, Mr. Logan?"
"Yeah, Ms. Munroe, we'll be workin' up a sweat I guarantee."
"Catch me first." Ororo jetted through the brush, relishing her lead."
"'Ro, why are ya makin' me chase ya?"
"It is all part of the workout, Logan. No pain, no gain."