Can't Fight This Feeling
L. Burke

"I'm not going," Scott Summers announced bluntly to the man standing in his doorway.

"Oh, yes you are," Hank replied.  "Even if I have to put you in a head lock and drag you down to Harry's myself.  It's a little hard to have a surprise party without one of the ones who planned it not showing up."

"I didn't plan the party," Scott growled. "You did.  I only picked stuff up for it.  It won't matter if I'm there or not.  I have too much to do around here."

"Bobby will be devastated if you aren't there," Hank said softly.  "Besides you need to get out of this house.  Ever since Jean's parents sent her to another school all you do sit around this place and mope."

"I don't mope."

"Oh, yes you do," Hank informed him, amused.  "And do it very well, I might add.  Why don't you come out and tell her how you feel?"

"Jean and I are just friends," Scott whispered.

"There's nothing wrong with wanting to be more."

Scott glared in Hank's direction, "There is if I screw it up and it blows this team apart.  There's a lot more to consider than how I feel.  Besides," he added in a sad tone, "Jean has stated over and over again she's not interesting in a serious relationship.  So it's better for us to stay friends."

Hank rolled his eyes.  "Fine. As usual you make a very strong logical argument.  You should still try shooting from your hip more often, Scott; most of the time it results in your finest moments."

Scott didn't bother to look at Hank.  He was studying a picture of Jean and himself on his dresser.  "I'll keep that in mind.  What if she doesn't feel the same way?"

"It's called a risk," Hank told him quietly.  "As our field commander, I'm sure you're quite familiar with the concept."

"I don't know why you want me there, anyway.  Most likely everyone will have a much better time without me.  I'll manage to piss off the waitress in the first five minutes, and we'll get lousy service all night."

"We were discussing the concept of risk, correct?  You pissing the waitress off is a risk we take bringing you anywhere, Scott," Hank informed him.

"Warren's bringing Candy, so you know Candy and I will be sniping at each other all night.  That woman annoys me."

"Couldn't tell," Hank said dryly.  "You hid it so well when you asked her how she feels about promoting a superficial, anorexic culture to young women all over the world."

"The last time we went out, Candy sat there and counted every calorie going into her mouth.  I hate it when a woman does that, it drives me crazy."

"Agreed, Candy is very annoying," Hank said, nodding.  "But Warren's head over heels for her.  And Candy is crazy about him too."

"That's her only saving grace."

"Oh, I'm agreeing with you.  But because Warren loves her, we have to put up with her," Hank said, an evil expression slowly spreading across his face.  "If it makes you feel any better, I told her a small fib, and said that tonight we would be serving only low-fat food.  I also lied and told her that the cake was no-sugar, and the icing was fat-free."

At that, Scott broke into a huge grin.  "You're evil.  Warren's going to end up killing us.  We aren't serving anything fat-free are we?"

Hank shot him a completely horrified glance.  "We're serving this food to Bobby.  I think if Bobby put anything ‘fat-free' in his mouth, his body would go in to a horrible state of shock, shut down, and he'd die right there on the spot."

"Yup, Warren is going to be hunting us down to kill us after tonight."

Mischief lit up Hank's face. "Think of all the evil glee we'll have watching her stuff all those calories down in our last hours."

"You really are trying to give me incentives to go tonight, aren't you?"

"Yup," Hank said with a smirk.

"If Jean brings a date, I won't even pretend to like him, and Jean and I will be in a huge fight by the end of the evening."

"Don't worry, I penciled in you and Jean for tonight's entertainment.  I have the popcorn packed in the car."

"I'll spend the entire night talking to the plant in the corner."

"Stop finding excuses and be ready to go in an hour."

Jean Grey studied the framed picture she was holding.  She'd managed to capture one of Scott's rare unguarded smiles in the photograph.  No one else had ever seen this particular picture of Scott.  She'd made sure of that.  This was her picture, and it made her heart skip a beat every time she saw it.  Scott had been sending that smile to her and only her that afternoon in the park.  That's the reason no other human being would ever see this picture.  This was her Scott and no one else's.

He was her best friend, but the problem was -- she wanted him to be more.  She'd wanted more for a very long time.  It didn't help her dilemma that the tall, skinny boy she'd known had finally filled out to become an incredibly handsome man.  Scott had been a late bloomer, so the outside was finally catching up with the inside.  He had a depth that most guys his age didn't, and other women were starting to notice.  Scott didn't know his own appeal, and that made him an even better catch in some women's minds.

Jealously was a completely new emotion for her and it wasn't bringing out the best in her, either.  Most times, guys fought over her, not the other way around.  It was almost getting ridiculous.  Every time another woman even looked at Scott, Jean's first instinct was either to lock him up in a tower and dig a moat, or commit assault.  Looking at it logically, the moat was still cheaper than the lawyer would be.

It was only a matter of time before another woman managed to breach the rather formidable walls that Scott kept around his heart, and when that happened, he'd willingly hand over his heart and soul to that woman.  Jean knew it.  He never did anything by half measure -- never had, and never would.

And so if Scott ever shot another woman that same smile he'd given her in the photograph, Jean knew she'd mostly likely kill her -- the cost of a good lawyer be damned!

She wanted Scott's heart, and to be part of his soul.  She also wanted to tie him to a bed, cover him in chocolate pudding, and not let him out for a week.  Jean clutched the picture to her chest and fell backward onto her bed, all the while thinking that she shouldn't be having thoughts like that about her best friend.

"This was great!" Bobby announced to those that had assembled for his birthday.  "You guys are great.  This was the best birthday ever."

"You're welcome," Jean said, bestowing a wide smile on Bobby.

"Indeed," Candy put in, not to be outdone.  "I had a great time.  I'm honored that you invited me to join you for this special occasion."

"We're happy to have you here Candy," Hank said insincerely.  "Every time we get to talking, I always feel shallow and insecure, and want to go out
and get a bigger watt light bulb for my bathroom."

"So you can better obsess about your physical flaws?" Bobby asked innocently.

"Exactly my young friend, that's what the fashion industry is telling us to do," Hank added gleefully.

"That and buy at least one product a day that they test on cute little baby bunnies," Scott chipped in.

"Yes, indeed," Hank said, smiling as Warren sent them all a warning glare from where he was sitting.

Jean fought very hard to keep from rolling her eyes.  Candy might love Warren to distraction, but the woman annoyed Jean to no end.  Jean shot Candy her most charming smile, and knew Candy saw through it.  "You're very welcome, Candy," she said. "We're all happy to have you with us."  Then Jean had to fight the urge to laugh out loud when Scott snorted a little too loudly and faked that his water had gone down the wrong way.  It was nice to know she wasn't the only one annoyed by Warren's girlfriend.

Candy shot Scott a quick glare, then smiled insincerely in Jean's direction.  "If you will all excuse me for a few minutes, I need to freshen up in the rest room."  Jean could swear that Scott was rolling his eyes behind his glasses.

Warren gave Candy the most sincere smile Jean had ever seen on his face, rose, and said, "Let me escort you."  She took his arm and they both left the table together.

Bobby rolled his eyes. "She's so annoying."

The direction of Scott's gaze followed Warren and Candy as they proceeded towards the parking lot, not the restrooms.  "They're heading out so they can neck for a while."

"That's so gross," Bobby grumbled, grabbing another slice of cake. "I'm going to need another slice to get those images out of my mind."

"What's even worse," Hank added, grabbing another slice for himself, "is that I think this one will last.  Like it or not, it appears that Candy is going to be around for a while."

"Well," Jean sighed.  "She loves Warren.  That means we only have to tolerate her and she only has to tolerate us."

"They're still sickening together," Bobby muttered.

"I can't help but wonder," Scott mused, and this time Jean could tell he was indeed rolling his eyes behind his glasses, "If she originally came in a pink, plastic container."

Jean's hot coffee came shooting out her nose as she choked down a laugh at that comment. "You're evil Scott," she said. Scott only smirked in response.

"I can't fight this feeling any longer.
And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow.
What started out as friendship,
Has grown stronger.
I only wish I had the strength to let it show.

I tell myself that I can't hold out for forever.
I said there's no reason for my fear.
Cause I feel so secure when we're together.
You give my life direction,
You make everything so clear."

"I love this song!" Jean announced, jumping up from the table.  "Anyone care to dance?"  Bobby and Hank both shook their heads in the negative, and Jean turned to Scott -- he was the one she really wanted to dance with, anyway.  "Please?"

Scott got up reluctantly from the table. "I always knew you were a pop-rock wussy," he said as Jean grabbed his arm to lead him onto the dance floor.

"And even as I wander,
I'm keeping you in sight.
You're a candle in the window,
On a cold, dark, winter's night.
And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

And I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
It's time to bring this ship into the shore,
And throw away the oars, forever."

"So," Jean asked as she molded her body to Scott's for a slow dance.  "How are you doing?"

"Fine," Scott muttered in reply.

"You never call or come to visit."

"You're not home a lot, and you have my number too."

"Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
And if I had to crawl upon the floor,
Come crashing through your door,
Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore."

Bobby Drake sat and watched Scott and Jean on the dance floor.  Turning to Hank, he asked, "You think they're going to get it right this time?"

"I hope so," Hank said frankly.  "I don't feel like spending another evening in the emergency room.  The last time, they vented their frustrations on the hand-to-hand mat, and I ended up driving them both to the emergency room to get patched up so the Professor wouldn't find out about it."

"If this doesn't work, my freezer idea is still a possibility."

"Agreed," Hank muttered. "If this doesn't work, we lock them up together in a place they can't get out of, leave them there a while, and let nature take its course."

"My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you.
I've been running around in circles in my mind.
And it always seems I'm following you, girl,
Cause you take me to places,
That I'd know I'd never find."

"So," Scott asked quietly.  "How's Devlin, that guy you've been dating?"

"We were never serious Scott," Jean said, amused.  "We went out a couple of times together."

"So you're not dating anyone right now?" he asked cautiously.  "Or have I just not been introduced to him yet?"

"And even as I wander,
I'm keeping you in sight.
You're a candle in the window,
On a cold, dark, winter's night.
And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might."

Jean leaned in a little closer to him and sighed.  "I haven't had a lot of luck with dating and men.  Maybe I should give up and date you exclusively."

"And I can't fight this feeling anymore."
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
It's time to bring this ship into the shore,
And throw away the oars, forever."

Scott stiffened suddenly at that comment.  "Don't," he choked out.

"Don't what?" Jean demanded, looking up to meet his eyes as they stopped dancing in the middle of the dance floor.

"Don't tease me like that."

Jean looked him straight in the eye.  "Who said I was kidding?"

"Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
And if I have to crawl upon the floor,
Come crashing through your door,
Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore."

"I won't be your fall-back guy.  I won't be the guy you date until the right guy comes around," Scott warned bluntly, looking down into her eyes.  "The way I feel about you, I can't be."  Leaving those words hanging in the air, he let her go and stalked off the dance floor.

"Damn it Scott!" Jean growled. "Get back here!"

"Looks like we will be spending another night in the emergency room," Hank groaned aloud as he watched Scott beat a hasty retreat out of Harry's.

"Yup," Bobby griped.  "Looks like we'll have to go with my freezer idea."

Hank sighed aloud, a miserable expression on his face.  "I was hoping to avoid that.  It's going to take quite a bit of work to rig it so they can't escape out of it."

"Yup," Bobby agreed.

Jean stalked over to their table.  "Where is he?" she demanded.

"He wished Bobby a happy birthday, grabbed his coat, and left," Hank informed her calmly.  "Said he was going to walk home."

"I'm going after him," Jean announced as she grabbed her own coat and stalked off in the same direction that Scott had gone.

"Is her going after him a good or a bad thing?" Bobby asked quietly.

"I don't know.  It's looking like this situation could be salvaged."

"What should we do?"

"We could always go bother Warren and Candy in the parking lot?" Hank suggested, an evil gleam in his eye.

Bobby grinned maliciously. "Oh!  This is going to be the best birthday ever."

"Damn it, Scott, slow down!" Jean shouted as she caught sight of him walking through the park.  "I won't be ignored, Summers!  You'd better slow down so we can talk.  Damn you and your long legs!"

Scott stiffened for a moment, stopped, turned, and glared at her.  "What do you want?"

Jean quickly caught up to him and put her hands on her hips.  "What do I want?  You have the nerve to ask that question after you left me hanging in the middle of the dance floor like that?"

"I did not leave you hanging.  I told it like it is.  There's a huge difference."

"Don't even try to worm your way out of this!  Now finish what you were going to say on that damned dance floor!"

"Why?!" Scott demanded.  "It doesn't matter anyway."

"Because I need to hear it, you ass, that's why!"

"Fine!" Scott shouted at her, "I care for you too much to be just your friend any more!  Every time I see you out with another guy, it rips my heart out!  I've loved you from the moment I set eyes on you!  I won't play this game anymore."


"Don't," he snarled and turned to stalk off again.

"You stubborn jerk!  Don't you dare run away from me after saying that!" Jean shouted.  "I love you, too!  I've loved you from the moment you helped me carry my suitcase up the stairs to my room, my first day at school."

He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around to face her.  "What?"

"You heard me, you stupid jerk.  I love you.  I'm not repeating it."

"Hi, Warren," Bobby said gleefully as he jumped in to the back of Warren's Jaguar convertible, causing Warren and Candy to quickly pull away from each other.

Warren glared at him.  "Don't you have somewhere else to be?"

Bobby pretended to think about it for a moment.  "No."

"Indeed," Hank chipped in as he jumped into the other side of the back seat.  "Scott and Jean got into a fight and left, so we came out to see what you two were up to."  Hank offered Warren a look of complete innocence.  "We don't want Candy feeling left out of the festivities."

Candy forced herself to smile at them.  "Why don't you go follow Scott and Jean to see if you can help them patch things up?"

Hank and Bobby both considered that for a moment before they both replied, "Nah!"

Candy set her jaw.  "You might have to pull her off of him again."

"You're right, I might," Hank acknowledged.  "But if Scott manages to piss her off too badly, he's on his own.  The last time I tried to pull them apart, Jean got in a good kick.  That woman is mean."

Bobby smirked at Hank.  "I remember that.  I think everyone flinched when she landed that kick."

"You never have to worry about that happening with two men fighting," Hank groused.  "We have certain rules of engagement, and kicking below the belt is against the rules."

"She apologized profusely for kicking you," Bobby reminded his friend.  "And she bought you a malt later, to make up for it."

"I still despair of having children."

"See," Warren growled as he turned around to glare at them, his jaw twitching.  "That's why you should go check to make sure Scott and Jean have patched things up."

"If Jean leaves him bleeding in a ditch," Bobby grumbled, "she'll start to feel guilty about it, call us, and tell us where we can find him.  We're covered."

Hank looked innocently at Warren.  "If I didn't know any better Warren, I'd swear you are trying to get rid of us."

Scott silently studied his feet for a while, and then suddenly blurted out, "What do we do now?"

Jean stared at him for a moment.  That was a very good question.  "Don't you know?" she said mischievously, a smirk appearing on her face.  "Are you telling me there's a subject that Slim Summer's doesn't know about?"

He gave her a quick, dirty look before shaking his head negatively.  "The movies always close the curtain at this point, or cut directly to them dancing in the sheets together.  They never quite cover this part.  As for the Professor, he wasn't a huge well of information on the topic.  I was hoping you'd know."  Then he started blushing as red as his glasses.  "I've never really done this before.  I avoided the whole dating thing.  My mutant powers came on too early, and I was always afraid my glasses or goggles might slip . . . "

Jean's smirk got a little wider.  "Well, if you're going by the movies, you'd better come over here and kiss me."

He licked his lips nervously for a moment.  "I don't think that's a really good idea."

"Why not?"  She was taken aback.

"Because if I start kissing you, I don't think I'll be able to stop.  I don't think I'll ever want to stop.  You're my best friend.  What happens if I screw this up?"

Jean stalked right up to him, so she could look him in the eye.  "You know what your problem is, Scott?" she said, pointing at his head.  "You think too much.  You should listen to your heart more often.  Listen and tell me what it's telling you, right at this moment?"

"That I'm going to be very bad at this."

"You're listening to your head again," Jean chastised.  "Besides, you've kissed me before, and you were pretty good at it."

That drew a snort from Scott. "I was sick with the flu, running a hundred-and-four fever, drunk on NyQuil, and chasing a hallucination of Cheer Bear around the mansion to stab him through with a toilet brush.  I don't think that counts."

"Just shut up and kiss me, Summers.  For once, I'm giving the orders around here."

Obediently, he leaned down until his lips met hers.

"You know, Warren, maybe I should leave, and you can catch up with me later," Candy said sweetly.

"Candy . . . " Warren started, "that's not really necessary.  Hank and Bobby were planning on leaving."

"We were?" Bobby asked innocently.

"There's no hurry really, Candy," Hank said amiably.  "I love it when you come around.  I learn so much from you, mainly how to let my Narcissus Complex guide me effortlessly through any given day."

"What about how to verbally support others while mentally judging them?" Bobby chirped.

"That, too," Hank returned gleefully.

Candy glared coldly at them both, then turned to face Warren.  "I think it's better if I get going.  I have to be up early for a shoot tomorrow.  I'll call a cab to pick me up."  She kissed Warren on the cheek, while Bobby and Hank made gagging sounds from the back seat.  "I'll call you tomorrow," she said, and with that, got out of the car and headed back into Harry's.

Warren turned to glare at them, "I hope you both realize that you're going to die.  And, for good measure, I might just kill Scott for leaving the two of you alone, unsupervised."

Hank rolled his eyes.  "One of these days you're going to have to tell me where you met Barbie's blow-up, anorexic cousin."

"Her name is Candy, Hank," Warren griped.  "Thank you SO much for wrecking my date with her."

Hank rolled his eyes again. "Oh relax.  This is what you do.  You go to the local, all-night Wal-mart and pick up a bouquet of flowers, then stop by her place later to apologize profusely for your boorish friends.  A boyfriend's male friends' boorish behavior is a fact of life that women learn to expect.  Just in case you don't know, the Wal-mart is the big brick building with the sign that says ‘Open 24 hours.'"

"Thank you," Warren snarled.

"Anytime," Hank replied cheerfully.

"Let's get to the more interesting question of what you want?"

"People to worship me for being the wonder I am?" Hank fired back. "Not much, really."

Warren rolled his eyes at that comment. "Okay, why are you bothering me?"

"Scott said that you have what I need to give Bobby his final gift from all of us."

Bobby's face lit up in excitement. "You mean you guys got me something else?"

"Indeed," Hank answered, and then turned to Warren.  "Well?"

Warren reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys, which he handed over to Hank.  Bobby's mouth dropped open. "You guys got me a car?"

Warren smirked at the question. "We were getting sick of having to drive you everywhere, Drake."

Bobby reached for the keys, but Hank snatched them away.  "If I ever catch you driving recklessly, I'll be the first in line to kick your butt.  And paying for upkeep and insurance will be your problem," Hank warned.  Bobby reached for the keys again, but Hank snatched them away, once more.  "You better use this car to come and visit me, Drake," Hank said as he threw his friend the keys and nodded his head towards a classic, blue Jeep sitting in the parking lot.  Bobby leaped out of the back seat and ran over to the Jeep.  "Don't forget to thank Scott.  He put a lot of work in to that beauty," Hank called after him.

"Thank you, thank you," was all Bobby kept repeating as he circled the Jeep.

"Well," Hank addressed Warren. "You want to go for a ride and see what Slim did for her?"  Meaning the car, not Jean, in this case, although Hank was hoping they might find Scott and Jean along the way somewhere (and not killing each other).

Warren smirked in response. "Wouldn't miss it for the world.  I'm still going to beat the crap out of you for Candy later, though."

"Of course, Warren, I wouldn't expect anything less out of you," Hank chirped cheerfully.  "It's the rules of engagement, after all.  Now let's see what this beauty Scott rebuilt can do."

Scott and Jean's kiss quickly broke apart at the blaring of a horn, just in time for them to see Bobby's Jeep turning onto the road they'd been walking down.  "Those idiots are going to get thrown in jail for disturbing the peace," Jean said dryly.  "Apparently our gift to Bobby was a hit."

Scott groaned and put his face into his hands when the Jeep blasted by them, revealing more than he ever wanted to see of a couple of his teammates and best friends. "You know this is not quite how I pictured this moment turning out," he told Jean.  "You deserve a guy who'll shout how he feels to the heavens, not one who screams it at you at the top of his lungs.  Not to mention one whose best friends drive by while showing you the miracle of two full moons in one night."  And under his breath, Scott added, "I should have re-released them back into the wild years ago."

Jean actually threw her head back and laughed at that comment. "You care too much to foist them on an unsuspecting world."

Scott offered her a lopsided grin. "You're probably right.  Besides, I haven't found an environment in which to release them.  You think Los Angles could handle the three of them?"

Grinning, Jean announced, "I don't even think L.A. could take all three of them; maybe if you spilt them up.  I mean they're even a little too much for New York."

"I was afraid you were going to say that," Scott replied dryly, as they watched the Jeep come back up the road from the other direction.

The Jeep stopped on the road right in front of where they were standing and Warren shot them both a huge, infectious grin from the driver's seat.  "Slim, I've got to give you credit, this baby will do 60 in 5.2 and she handles like a dream.  You did a great job."

Scott leaned into the Jeep and replied, "Thanks, but Hank helped a lot.  Just remember, Warren, she's built higher off the ground than sport cars.  She won't take turns as tightly."

Warren winked at him. "Got it.  Remind me to let you look at my Jag sometime."

"Give me those keys ,Warren, and you won't get her back," Scott replied, grinning.

"Thanks, guys! This was truly the best birthday ever," Bobby announced from the front passenger's seat.

From the backseat, Hank asked, "You guys want to come along?  Bobby and I are taking Warren to the Wal-mart to get some flowers.  Apparently, he's never been inside one before."

"They scare him," Bobby confided gleefully.

Hank's smile only grew bigger.  "Bobby and I are planning on getting him lost in there.  Want to come?"

Scott shook his head.  "Sorry, I have to get up early tomorrow to work on something.  Besides, you know me.  I'd feel obligated to rescue Warren."

"Then we'll see you tomorrow.  Jean?"

"I think I'll sit this one out, guys; Scott and I need to talk," Jean replied from her position on the sidewalk.

"You'll tell us where you put the body if you lose your temper and kill him?" Bobby asked with an evil grin.

Jean copied his expression. "Depends on how I end up killing him."

"Don't leave any evidence, Red, and we'll see you later," Hank advised.  With that the Jeep took off down the road.

"Now that they're gone," Jean said aloud, "It's time to pick up where we left off."  She made a move to kiss Scott again, but he turned his head to the side, to block her.  "What?" Jean asked calmly.

"I think we need to think about where this is going to lead.  Don't you?"

"We can't do that later after we're done?" Jean asked, sighing.  "You think too much, Scott."

"But we should seriously think about this, and once you start kissing me, Red, thinking with my brain is the last thing I'm capable of doing."

"Good," she purred in his ear. "Where this is leading us is quite simple.  They kiss, the screen fades to black, and then the scene opens up a few hours later with her standing in front of her dresser, brushing her mussed hair, and he, still lounging in the bed."

Scott stiffened for a moment and blushed as crimson as his glasses again.  "Maybe this isn't such a good idea.  My glasses or goggles could slip and you could get hurt."  He pulled her up against him tightly.  "I don't think I could handle anything happening to you because of me."

Jean studied him for a moment.  "I disagree.  I think it's a wonderful idea for me to take you home and make love to you until you can't move.  I trust you Scott.  You need to learn to trust yourself."

Scott was very quiet for a long time.  "Are you sure about this?" he finally asked.  "This move could blow up in our faces in so many ways."

"I've never been surer about anything in my life.  I want to take you home and make love to you," Jean responded earnestly.  "And what have I told you about thinking everything to death.  What's your heart telling you?"

He was very quiet for a very long time, and then suddenly broke away from their embrace.  "I'll be right back.  Don't move."

"Scott, where are you going?"

"I said don't move.  I'll be back in about five minutes."  With that Scott vanished into the darkness.

"I tell Scott I want to sleep with him," Jean grumbled to herself sitting down on the curb, "and he runs away.  This is exactly how I pictured this moment happening."

But he was back in less than five minutes and handed her a bag from a local drug store.  He licked his lips nervously and sat down next to her.  "The candy is for you, and the other things in the bag are, too.  I didn't know which ones to buy.  I got a box of each and you can decide which ones you want to use."

Inside the bag were a box of her favorite chocolate-covered cherries, and several boxes of condoms.  Jean studied the condom boxes carefully.  She'd had no idea there were that many varieties to choose from.  "You didn't have to do this, I'm on the pill," she said, blushing a little.

Scott's blush got even deeper and he studied his feet for a moment.  "I figured I'd do my share.  That's how we always work -- right?  Fifty-fifty?  Besides, you're worth protecting."

Jean grabbed him and kissed him senseless for that remark, then breaking off the kiss, she grinned up at him.  "Didn't I tell you that you think too much?"

He just grinned back.  "Didn't I ever tell you that you don't think things out enough?"

"It's what makes life with me so exciting, Scott.  So what do we do now?"

"Go home, I guess.  Unless," Scott blanched, eyeing the grass, "you want to try it here?"

Jean chuckled at that comment.  "Not really.  Besides, you have me in your life now; you won't need any cheap thrills."

"I was hoping you'd say that."  He looked relieved.  "I wasn't looking forward to getting a rock or stick jabbing into me."

"I guess we head home then," Jean said, getting up from the curb.

He also rose, and they started walking towards home. "I'll tell you about my past on the way home, and if you still want to go through with this after hearing it, then we'll bungle through together."

She shot a wicked, sly glance in his direction.  "How do you feel about chocolate pudding?"

"I like chocolate pudding.  How do you feel about motorcycles and," Scott emphasized the next word to give it a double meaning, "HOT steamy showers?"

Jean looked intrigued. "I might be open to motorcycles," she said, her expression full of promises.  "Among other things."

Sporting a wicked, bad boy expression of his own, Scott reached for Jean's hand, and she squeezed his right back.

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