Past Interlude #5
Westchester, New York - 1995



It was hate at first sight.

Within two hours of meeting each other, Remy and Warren declared war. Remy stole Warren's Rolex, poured sugar in his BMW's radiator, thrown his textbooks in the compost bin fresh with horse refuse, and accidentally-on-purpose kneed him in the groin while playing touch football. He didn't even like touch football.

Warren's attacks were more subtle, poisonous little comments on Remy's intelligence, hygiene, background, and manners. But worse than all of these in Remy's eyes, Warren had stolen his family. The asshole had Scott in his WASP tractor beam, gleefully winning a game of Risk that required three boards and a list of wild cards apparently based on real historical events. Scott, the idiot, was all too pleased at the prospect of losing.

"How do you keep all the campaigns straight in your head?" asked Scott, awed.

"It's just a matter of remembering great campaigns," Warren said. "And a life-long obsession with Dungeons and Dragons."

Scott was ready to swoon. "You play D&D?"

"Heck yeah! The guys downstairs would have all-nighters. When my parents were away, I'd sneak down and wipe all of their butts."

Heck yeah? Wipe their butts? Remy snorted. Did real fucking swear words burn the silver off his lips or something? Fuckmook.

A porcelain figurine made its way in Remy's pocket as he glided out of the games room. The outdoors was more to his taste anyway. The brisk New England breeze nipped at him; he buttoned his coat all the way up. Who'd want to live in this cold, hellishly dry place anyway?

Xavier's office was right in front of the driveway. Remy steered clear of it, taking a trail that wound past a half-grown vegetable garden and into a fenced-in area. The deep pit was obviously a pool and a huge one at that but stripped of its tiles, it looked pathetic. He jimmied the padlock open and left it hanging there, chains loose. Everything about this place was pathetic-- the students, the two crackpot professors.

"Hey, you're not supposed to be there."

Remy turned around. A girl-- a woman in his seventeen year-old mind-- stood with her arms crossed. She was dressed for hard work: a huge plaid shirt over a grey shirt, baggy jeans, and a thick cloth headband keeping her frizzy brown hair at bay.

"Is this going to be the pool?" he asked.

"It's not ready."

He rolled his eyes. "Well, duh. I was just wondering why it needed to get fixed. It looks cool enough."

"It's just getting old," said the girl. "Dr, MacTaggert said they'd better retile it before something fell off."

"Liability," said Remy knowingly.

The girl laughed. "What do you know about liability?"

"Most powerful word in the English language," Remy said, taking a step away from the fence. "Example: you keep your arms crossed like that, I'm liable to think you don't like me."

The girl fought against a grin. "Who are you?"

"Remy." He took another step closer and held his hand out. She'd cross the distance to shake it; he could sense it.

"Naomi," said the girl who did, in fact, close the five feet between them to take his hand. Her eyes were a pretty golden-brown, like aged bronze. "What brings you to Xavier's School?"

"My little brother's enrolling," Remy said, jerking his head towards the main house. "And you? Don't tell me you're one of the teachers 'cause there's no way any of the guys can concentrate on math with you around."

Naomi giggled. "I'm just interning," she said. "I'm going into accounting actually and Professor Xavier has me handling a lot of practical business projects. Plus, I can go to work like this." She spread her arms out. "How about you? Which school do you go to?"

"Don't laugh but Berkeley." Remy was on a roll now. After all, if he was going to lie, he might as well do it big. "I'll have you know that only half the faculty tokes up nowadays and a full ninety-percent of the students chemically indulge only once a week." He beamed at her laughter. "Naw, it's fine. It keeps me close to home and the average level of student intoxication keeps me in the top of my year."

In fifteen minutes, he was holding her hand. In thirty, he was in her car headed for a couple of beers. By sunset, while Chris Summers was signing enrolment papers and Scott was happily lost in the treasure trove of books his new friend had suggested. Remy was in Naomi's apartment, his hands full of perky brown breasts and the afternoon's irritation momentarily forgotten.

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