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"My love life's coming apart at the seams, and I'm shopping for pork rinds?"--Bobby Drake, UXM#294
"Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll see you some other time, then."
Warren hung up the phone with a sour expression. His lover, Betsy, came over and hugged him around the waist. "What’s wrong?"
"Oh, that was Jason. He and Paula can’t make it tonight."
"That’s a shame."
"Yeah, well now I have a extra pair of tickets and I don’t know what to do with them. Looks like it’s just you and me tonight, Betts." He bent his head down and kissed her.
"Mmm. As appealing as that sounds, I’d hate for those tickets to go to waste. Tell you what--I was going over to the mansion today to return something to Ororo. I’ll just see if anyone there wants them. Maybe Scott and Jean would like to double date."
"Somehow I don’t picture Slim as a Pearl Jam fan," Warren laughed, "but if you can find someone who wants them that’s great."
"Anybody home?" Betsy called as she opened the front door of the Xavier Institute.
"Hey, the prodigal daughter returns!" Bobby barreled down the front stairs, wearing jeans and an oversized Mickey Mouse t-shirt. "What brings you back out to the boonies?"
"Just the person I was looking for," Betsy replied with a smile.
"Ooh, sorry, Betts, but Warren’s one of my best friends. I know I’m so irresistible, but I don’t think it would be right for us to--you know." He winked and grinned.
"As handsome as you are," Betsy laughed in reply, carrying on with the joke, "that’s not the reason I wanted to see you. Warren and I have some extra tickets for the Pearl Jam concert tonight and he wanted to know if you and your current lady-of-the-week wanted to join us."
Bobby’s eyes lit up. "Would I! Man, that concert’s been sold out for months! Figures Warren would have tickets. But, well," he scratched his head ruefully, "it’s been a pretty slow week. I don’t think I could get a date this short notice."
Betsy considered for a minute. "I know Peggy’s a Pearl Jam fan. I’m sure she’d love to come along. Why don’t you ask her? I know you’re good friends."
"Peggy?" he repeated in surprise. "Yeah, I, uh, I’m sure she’d like to come. I’ll ask her."
"Great. We’ll see you at 6:30. Oh, and could you give this book back to Ororo?" As Betsy walked back down the front steps, a slow smile spread across her face. Back in her younger days she’d been accused of playing the matchmaker for her friends. Time to bring back some old habits.
"So did you enjoy the concert, Peggy?" Betsy asked over the table at the all-night diner they’d headed to afterwards.
"My ears are still ringing," the young woman admitted, tucking one strand of white-blonde hair behind her ear, "but it was a great concert. I’ve never seen them live before."
"Yeah, that light show for their last number was awesome. And now here I am, chilling with my best buds. Boy is this a welcome break!"
"Break?" Peggy asked playfully. "Bobby, you’re always chilling!"
Bobby made a face and shot a straw wrapper at her. The four sat and chatted over coffee for a while before Bobby looked at his watch and said, "Hey, it’s getting pretty late. We’d better be heading back."
"Worried Slim’ll hurt you for keeping Peggy out late?" Warren laughed.
"No, I’m worried about what Rogue’ll do to me if I don’t have her car back by when I promised!" he retorted. "Want us to drop you off back home?"
"No, we’re not too far and it’s a nice night. We’ll just walk back," Betsy replied. "Have a nice drive."
"I never argue with a lady," Bobby said, kissing her hand with mock-gallantry. "Or at least not one who beats me four out of five Danger Room sessions!"
"The truth revealed," Peggy laughed. "Thank you for inviting me to come, Warren, Betsy. I had a wonderful time."
"We loved having you. Try and keep that popsicle from breaking too many traffic laws on the drive home, okay?" She laughed and promised, then followed Bobby out the door. Betsy leaned against Warren’s shoulder.
"They’re cute together."
Warren chuckled. "Scott would have a fit."
"Mmm." She pecked his cheek lightly and stood up. "But it sure would be fun to see. We’d better get going."
"We’re approaching our destination now. Please return all seatbacks to an upright position. Thank you for choosing Iceman Air, and have a nice day." Bobby grinned over at Peggy as he pulled the car up into the garage and parked. Peggy smiled in response and reached into the backseat, feeling around for something. "You lose something?"
"I know my stomach’s back here somewhere," she replied with a teasing grin. "You were aware that this isn’t the Blackbird? It’s not meant for going Mach 2."
"Hardy har. We got back in one piece, didn’t we?" He dashed around the car and opened the passenger door gallantly, waving her out with an extravagant arm gesture.
"We’re just lucky that all the police decided to take donut breaks or you’d be explaining to Dad why I got driven home in a police car."
"Ouch! Anything but that!" He grabbed at his chest as if mortally wounded and raised an arm to fend off further attacks. "Please, a truce, fair lady! Show mercy on this fallen knight."
"Court jester, you mean," she retorted, calmly stepping around his kneeling form. "All right, a truce. After all, you did invite me to come along tonight. Thank you very much. I had a great time."
"Well, Warren had the ticket anyway. Didn’t want to waste it." Behind Peggy’s back Bobby slapped his forehead. ~Oh, real smooth, Drake. Way to make her feel welcome.~
"Just glad you thought of me." She winced inwardly. ~Lord, can I sound any more starry-eyed? Just shut up while you still have some of your dignity.~
They walked across the lawn for a few steps before regaining their natural camaraderie. They’d been good friends for over two years now, starting to really get to know each other about a year after she’d been adopted by Scott. It took more than the occasional awkward silence to disrupt their balance for long. Before long he was teasing her again and she was responding in kind. "Bobby Drake, if you make one more horse joke I’m going to have to kill you!"
"Sorry, sorry. Don’t get your reins in a knot, I was just joking."
She looked over at him, raising one eyebrow coolly. He smiled easily, slowly backing away toward the door. "You’re not getting away that easily," she declared, launching herself at him.
"Oh--god--stop it! You’re--killing--me-e-e-e-e!" Bobby managed to wheeze out between laughs as she tickled him mercilessly. "Uncle, already!"
"Never mess with a Summers," she laughed, helping him up with a grin.
"Well you’re sure different from every other Summers I’ve--" He caught his breath as he stood abruptly and stood with his face only inches away from Peggy’s. She stood frozen as well, her eyes locked with Bobby’s. They stood there for maybe a minute, though it felt like hours, before he started to lean in ever so slightly. She moved closer, her eyes half-shut. Then suddenly she pulled back, her eyes snapping open.
"We’d better get inside. Uh...goodnight!" She bolted the rest of the way across the lawn and into the house, leaving him standing alone. Once she was out of sight he smacked himself on the forehead.
~Stupid, stupid, stupid!~ he told himself, trudging indoors and to his room. ~Stupid!~ But even as he repeated the mantra over and over as he tried to go to sleep, Peggy’s laughing blue eyes would not leave his mind.
The image was still with him when he woke up the next morning. ~Stupid, stupid, stupid,~ he repeated to himself as he stood under the icy shower. ~Stupid, stupid,~ he thought as he got dressed. "Really stupid," he muttered, walking into the kitchen for breakfast. He was so preoccupied with his internal discussion that he walked right into someone leaving the kitchen. "Oh, sorry," he said quickly. Then he noticed who he’d run into.
"It’s all right, Bobby," Peggy said, smiling at him. "Uh...good morning."
"Umm...I gotta go. See ya!" She ducked out the door before he could say anything else.
Looking after her, Bobby slapped his forehead again. ~"Yeah?"~ he repeated. ~Stupid, stupid, stupid!~
"You okay, Bobby?" Jean asked. He whirled around to see the other X-Men seated at the table.
"Uh, yeah. Sure. Fine. Why wouldn’t I be?"
"Because you just slapped yourself?"
"Uh....flies," he blurted, then turned to leave.
"Where are you going? You haven’t eaten yet," Storm asked.
"I’m...not hungry. I just...wanted to say good morning. Well, I said it. See ya!" He ducked out before anyone could say anything else. The others just looked at each other, shrugged, and returned to their conversation.
"I don’t believe this," Bobby muttered to himself. "I do not have a crush on Scott’s daughter!" Then why couldn’t he get her out of his mind all day? During his workout he’d been so distracted that he’d gotten a lecture from Scott--a deserved one, for once. All day he’d seen her eyes smiling at him, heard her laugh. He just couldn’t shake out of it! Finally he decided to seek advice. But from who? He couldn’t take any of the women, with their smug, knowing looks. He needed advice, not someone picking out the wedding china. So who among the men could he turn to? Scott was out, for obvious reasons. Hank and Warren were his best friends, but he knew that if he brought this to either of them he would never hear the end of it. Remy was the ladies’ man, but his advice would probably be something that would have Scott performing surgery on one of his favorite parts. Bishop? Did he even know women were different from men? That left Logan. Great. He was asking advice about his lovelife from Wolverine. Could he get any more desperate?
"Y’ gonna stand there all day, Drake?" Logan growled, not moving from his seemingly- casual sprawl under the shade of a tree by the lake.
"Sorry. Should’ve guessed you’d’ve known I was there," he muttered, walking forward with his hands in his pockets. He kicked at the ground, wondering what he was going to say. "I, uh, wanted to ask you about something. See, there’s this...girl, who’s, uh, kinda a friend of the family, y’know? And, well, we’re pretty good friends. But, uh, not too long ago we kinda went out. Not like a date, but just friends. But it was kinda...nice. But, you know, she’s this...family friend thing. And I, uh, I’m not sure...y’know..." His awkward explanation trailed off. He felt like hitting himself again, but he’d done enough of that lately.
Logan looked at him for a minute, then removed his cigar and unexpectedly smiled. "Kid, if y’ like Peggy, just go for it." He winked and ambled back into the house.
"How'd he know?" Bobby muttered, scratching his head. He took a deep breath. "Go for it," he repeated, starting to grin. "Well, it can only kill me."
"Hopeless, girl. Completely hopeless." Peggy sighed again as she looked out over the water. She’d been having this debate all day, and she was still in the same place she started from last night. Thinking about Bobby. ~Okay, more like drooling, but that’s beside the point. We’re friends, but that’s all it’s ever going to be. He’s one of Dad’s best friends, for pete’s sake! He’s never going to think of me as anything other than a friend, a teammate, and Scott’s daughter. Accept it!~
But...had it been entirely her imagination last night? She’d sworn that for a second he was going to--argh! She was just going to drive herself crazy if she thought about that once more. She had to put last night out of her mind, or she'd be back to thinking about his gorgeous eyes or his-- not again! She closed her eyes and concentrated very hard on her breathing. In...and out. In... and out. Just relax. Forget about everything. In...and out. In--"Peggy?"
With a startled yelp, Peggy whirled around to face the speaker. "Bobby?"
"Um...sorry I surprised you." Bobby kicked at the ground awkwardly, having a mental debate about what to say next. Peggy, for her part, tried to calm her racing heart. "I, uh, well, um, I....I'm sorry I bothered you. I'll see you later." He turned around to go.
"No! I mean, you're not bothering me. I was just...enjoying the nice weather." Okay, so she was hopeless. But she didn't want Bobby to leave just now. "Um...were you looking for me?"
"Yeah. Well, I mean, kinda. Just, um, well, I was thinking
about...did you really like the concert last night?"
"I thought so too. We should do it again sometime," Bobby blurted out.
"Yeah, that would be nice." Peggy couldn't believe her ears. Was he--?
"And maybe...we could do dinner and stuff too."
"Sounds like fun." She tried very hard to restrain the smile that was creeping up on her.
"Maybe, um, Friday night?"
Both of them forgot how to speak; they just stood there and stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like an eternity. Finally a telepathic voice jolted them both back to the here-and-now. *Dinner's ready everyone.*
*Be right there, Jean,* Peggy replied. She looked back at Bobby, a hesitant smile on her lips. "Friday at seven. Can't wait." She grinned, then cleared her throat. "We'd better get to dinner."
Peggy held the dress up against her body and looked in the mirror critically. "No, that's not right," she sighed, throwing it aside irritably. It landed in a heap on top of her bed, where most of the contents of her closet were also scattered. This couldn't be happening. It was Friday night, six o'clock. In an hour she was supposed to be going out with Bobby, but nothing she owned looked decent anymore. "What am I going to wear?!" she moaned in desperation. A soft knock sounded at the door. "Who is it?"
"It's Betsy. May I come in?"
"Sure," Peggy replied, more absorbed in rooting through her closet in search of something wearable than interested in who was at her door.
"It looks like a boutique exploded in here," Psylocke commented as she quietly entered and shut the door behind her. "I haven't seen a room this messy since Dani Moonstar left the New Mutants."
"It's not usually like this," Peggy said, a bit shamefaced. She held up her latest find in the mirror, then threw it to join the others on the bed. "I don't have anything to wear!"
"What about everything piled on the bed?" Betsy suggested innocently.
"They don't look right! Everything just looks so...so...not right!" Peggy sat down on the edge of the bed in despair. "I'm going to wind up looking horrible, and then he'll never want to go out with me again."
"I'm sure Bobby will love whatever you choose to wear."
"No he won't! I'll look horrible and--I never said it was Bobby."
Betsy chuckled richly. "You just did. Besides, we all knew anyway."
"And Bobby's still alive? Dad must be losing his touch," Peggy remarked wryly.
"Scott doesn't know. And Jean promised to keep him busy so the two of you can escape." She allowed a self-satisfied smile to cross her lips. It had been mostly through her intervention that the entire X-family was getting involved in Bobby and Peggy's fledgling relationship.
Peggy smiled in return, partially out of relief, partially out of amusement. "That's one problem solved. But I'm still stuck going out wearing my sweats right now."
"That's why I'm here. Just sit back and relax, and when I'm through with you, Bobby won't know what hit him!"
Bobby paced nervously at the bottom of the stairs, resisting the urge to run a hand through his hair. It was so geled and sprayed right now that his hand would probably get stuck. ~Oh man, what am I doing?~ he thought for the hundredth time. He was about to go out. On a date. With Peggy Summers. He had a death wish, that was it. He'd survived being an X-Man almost all of his adult life, and he was going to get killed by his date's father. Or brother. Or mother. Or the whole family together. A real family bonding experience.
"You certainly look nice, Robert."
He jumped a mile at the voice. "Oh. Hi, Storm," he squeaked out, trying to pull his heart out of his throat and back where it belonged. "Uh...what are you doing with those?"
Storm looked at the bouquet of flowers in her hand and smiled. "I was pruning my plants. I thought they would look nice in the kitchen, but perhaps you would like to give them to your lady instead?"
"You are wearing your special aftershave. I assumed you were going out on a date."
"Oh, yeah, um...thanks, I'm sure she loves flowers."
Storm smiled serenely and walked away, leaving Bobby to resume his pacing. ~What am I doing? I can't do this. I should just tell Peggy right now--~
Bobby looked up at the voice. He caught his breath as he saw Peggy descending the staircase. She was wearing a lavender sheath dress with a gauzy shirt a slightly lighter shade over it. Dangly silver earrings danced on her ears, her silver pegasus necklace hanging just short of her neckline, which dipped a little lower than he remembered. Her hair was done in loose curls and pulled up along one side. She was...perfect.
"Peggy," he breathed as she stopped in front of him. "You look...." He had to stop and search for words, most of his mental facility caught up on the vision in front of him. "Wonderful. Uh, these are for you."
"Thank you," Peggy said with a smile, taking the bouquet. She sniffed it appreciatively. "Lilies-of-the-valley. My favorite."
Bobby smiled. ~Thanks, Storm.~ "Well, um, we'd better get going." He offered her his arm. She took it with a smile and walked with him out the door.
"They gone?" Rogue whispered, poking her head out the kitchen door.
"Jes' left," Remy reported, slipping out of the shadows near the doorway. "Bobby, he look stunned when Peggy show up. Betsy do a good job, non?"
"Thank you," the Asian beauty replied as she walked down the stairs. "It was the best I could do with what I had to work with. I've got to take that girl shopping."
"Th' flowers were a real nice touch, 'Roro."
"Thank you, Rogue. I thought Peggy would appreciate them," Ororo said with a smile as she and Warren followed the Southern belle out of the kitchen. "Does anyone know where he is taking her?"
"I told him about a nice little restaurant I know," Warren informed them, leaning back against the banister with a satisfied smile. "I didn't want to leave Bobby on his own. He'd probably end up taking her to the Burger Shack or something!" He shuddered.
"He better treat her right, or Cyclops have a fit," Remy commented.
"Speaking of Scott," Warren continued, "how did Jean get him out of the way tonight?"
Ororo replied, "She talked him into going with her to a carnival in Apple Creek."
"Apple Creek?" Warren repeated sharply.
"Yes. It is not far from here." Warren buried his face in his hands. "My friend, what is wrong?"
"The restaurant I sent Bobby and Peggy to is in Apple Creek."
"Oh no," Rogue whispered in horror. "They're doomed."
"Relax, everyone," Betsy spoke up. "Bobby and Peggy are going to a nice restaurant. Scott and Jean are going to a carnival. What are the chances they'll run into each other?"
"What do you mean, no reservation? I made them days ago!" Bobby looked over his shoulder at Peggy, then back at the stuffy maitre d'. "Look, I know it's there. Just check again. Drake, D-r-a-k-e."
The maitre d' barely glanced down at his sheet. "I'm sorry, sir, I have no such reservation."
"Look, you little--" Bobby checked himself and put on his most charming smile instead. "There has to be something you can do. I'm sure you can find one little table." He casually slid a bill into the man's hand.
The maitre d's expression didn't waver a hair. "I'm sorry, sir. We have no tables available."
"Bobby," Peggy interrupted, placing her hand on his arm. "It's no big deal. Let's go."
Bobby grumbled all the way to the sidewalk. "That stuck-up little penguin! I can't believe he wouldn't let us in. That trick always works for Warren."
"I bet Warren would slip him more than a one," Peggy pointed out, trying very hard not to laugh.
"I'm glad you're enjoying this," he groused.
"Bobby, it's funny. These things just happen sometimes. Stop worrying. We're supposed to be having fun, remember?"
"I guess you're right," he admitted, a smile stealing across hi face. "Let's just go somewhere else. It can't be that hard to find another place."
Twenty minutes later, Bobby was eating his words. And that was all he was eating. "I don't believe it. Even the Burger Shack's closed!"
"I think everyone's at the carnival we passed on the way in. It looked like a big one," Peggy observed.
"Just great," Bobby muttered. "I'm going to kill Warren." He looked over at Peggy, who was leaning back against a lightpost and studying the sky. He asked curiously, "What are you looking for?"
"Sentinels," Peggy replied casually.
"What!" Bobby exclaimed. He scanned the sky warily, ready to ice up. He didn't see anything unusual.
"Or Magneto," Peggy continued musingly. "Maybe the Juggernaught."
"What are you talking about?"
Peggy looked over at him and grinned. "It seems like every time two X-Men try to go out, they end up getting attacked. I figured with everything else going wrong, that had to be next."
Bobby just stared at her for a minute, then burst out laughing. Peggy joined him, and their laughter rang out in the quiet street. "You sure know how to put things in perspective," he commented when he recovered.
She shrugged. "I figure since we'll probably get attacked soon, we might as well enjoy ourselves in the meantime. Why don't we go to that carnival?" He looked doubtfully at her dress. She cajoled, "It'll be fun. We can at least grab a hot dog or something. I am pretty hungry."
"When are you not?" Peggy swatted his arm. Bobby laughed and offered her his arm gallantly, giving in. Peggy smiled up at him and Bobby's heart did little flip-flops in his chest. ~Maybe this won't be so bad after all.~
"I've got to stop skipping workouts," Bobby joked, looking at a mirror that made him look three feet tall and four feet wide.
"Maybe there was something wrong with the hot dogs," Peggy giggled, seeing her distorted reflection in another mirror.
They played like children, laughing at their ridiculous reflections, getting lost in the mirror maze, and generally having a grand time. They were breathless with laughter when they finally left the Hall of Mirrors in search of the next attraction. "So what next?" Bobby asked. "The Ferris wheel? The moonwalk?"
"How about the carousel?" Peggy suggested, hearing the music playing.
"Sounds great--" Bobby choked and his eyes widened in panic as he suddenly caught sight of a familiar couple laughing on their own way to the carousel. ~What's Slim doing here? He'll ruin everything!~ "Um, hang on a sec. Why don't we, uh, try the spinning teacups instead? I love those! C'mon."
Peggy laughed and let Bobby drag her off in the opposite direction, glad he was getting into the spirit of things. After the spinning teacups, they watched a magician while Peggy munched on a popcorn ball, then Bobby made Peggy fall over in laughter when he did his Michael Jackson impersonation at the moonwalk. They finally made it to the carousel, where Bobby challenged Peggy to a race.
"It's not fair. King had it all sewn up, if they just hadn't stopped it so soon," he complained good-naturedly as they stood in line for the Ferris wheel.
"Oh please." Peggy waved off his complaints airily. "Blackie was just faster. You didn't have a chance."
"Next!" the barker called out, prompting them to step forward. They were secured in the small stall and sent soaring into the air. Peggy looked out over the carnival grounds with a smile on her face. "Just look out there. It's so beautiful."
"Yeah," Bobby agreed softly, his eyes never leaving her face.
Her cheeks turned pink. She looked away and continued, "No matter how hectic it seems down there, it's always so simple and beautiful up in the sky. That's why I love it so much."
"Maybe you can show me sometime," Bobby suggested.
Peggy's lips quirked up. "I'd like that," she replied softly. Her bright blue eyes locked on his for a long moment. Bobby forgot to breathe until she looked away again.
The Ferris wheel made a complete circle as Bobby contemplated his next move. ~Okay, take it slow. Don't want to scare her off. The old yawn and stretch? Man, I feel like I'm in high school!~ Finally he made up his mind and casually slid his arm over the back of the stall and draped it over Peggy's shoulders. He couldn't see her smile, but his heart soared when she scooted closer and rested her head on his shoulder. Bobby was on top of the world as the wheel turned slowly through the night sky.
Bobby's happy world was deflated as he caught sight of another couple waiting in line for the Ferris wheel. "Dang, I lost my cufflink!" he exclaimed, bending over to search the floor--and not so incidentally hiding his face from view in case Scott looked up. "Peggy, can you help me out?"
She bent over to look, kicking through gum wrappers with the toe of her shoe. "I don't know, Bobby. All I see is some stuff too disgusting to mention."
"I'm sure it's down here somewhere," Bobby hedged.
"Ride's over, folks," the barker announced, their stall coming to a stop on the ground. Bobby scanned quickly and saw Scott and Jean had apparently already gotten on.
"Do you think maybe you lost it earlier?" Peggy asked, still rooting around as the gate was opened.
"Oh, I just remembered," Bobby said lamely. "I didn't wear cufflinks tonight." Peggy looked at him oddly as he hustled her away. "How about some cotton candy?"
Two servings of cotton candy, a haunted house ride, one giant pickle, two roller coasters, and a caramel apple later, Peggy took pity on Bobby's queasy stomach and suggested they walk through the midway. Bobby tried out the "Prove Your Strength" game, but to his great chagrin wasn't able to raise the gauge above the "wimp" marker. "Those games are rigged, you know," he repeated for the eighth time as they stopped in front of a milk bottle game.
"Of course they are," Peggy agreed. She giggled and pointed to one of the prizes displayed. "Doesn't that look just like Hank?"
Bobby had to admit the bright blue bear bore a striking resemblance to their favorite furry doctor. "But god, look at the one next to it. Have you ever seen anything so ugly?"
"I was just about to say I thought it was adorable," Peggy protested. "You just have no taste."
"I do so have taste! But if you like that bear so much," Bobby squared his shoulders, "I guess I'll just have to win it for you."
"I thought these games were rigged," Peggy reminded him.
"Hey, I'm a highly talented guy. Don't you think I can do it?"
"I never said that. Be my guest."
Bobby stepped up to the counter. The operator told him, "Three throws for a dollar. Knock down all the bottles and win the lovely lady a prize!"
"I'll have a go." Bobby put down a dollar bill and picked up one of the baseballs. One bottle toppled over with his throw, but his subsequent two tries left the others still standing. "No way!" he said in disbelief. "Once more." He laid down another dollar and waited impatiently for the man to set the bottles up again.
"Bobby, it's all right," Peggy said after his fifth try left Bobby swearing under his breath. "I don't want the bear that much."
"Just once more. I almost had it that time."
Peggy rolled her eyes and watched as he continued to swear at the bottles. She'd stopped keeping count when finally the bottles all fell and Bobby shouted triumphantly. "Got it!"
Peggy grinned and pointed to the ugly yellow bear she wanted for the prize. Tucking it firmly under her arms, she said, "Thank you, Bobby. He's adorable." She leaned over and pecked him on the cheek so quickly he barely registered the warmth before it was gone and Peggy was walking away quickly. A big grin spread across his face, and he hurried to catch up with her.
"Hey, I got it!" Peggy exclaimed in delight, holding up the two rubber ducks with matching symbols on the bottom.
"Congratulations! Pick your prize," the game operator told her, waving at the shelf. Peggy considered for a moment, then chose a pair of silver sequined antennae. She accepted them from him and plopped them on Bobby's head.
"Perfect," she giggled.
"I have come to assimilate your planet," Bobby droned in his best Borg impression. "Bring all your junkfood to me at once or I will blast your insignificant planet into dust. Resistance is futile."
"Who needs Galactus when we have Bobby in search of a sugar high," Peggy quipped.
Bobby laughed and put his arm back around her as they resumed walking down the midway. "You know," he admitted, "when that waiter said they lost the reservation, I thought tonight was going to be a disaster. But it's been a lot of fun."
"It has," she agreed, her heart doing its own set of gymnastics at the feel of his arm around her. She sighed happily and looked idly out over the crowd. Suddenly she gasped. "Ohmigod. Hide!"
Peggy grabbed Bobby's arm and yanked him into the space between two booths. She peered worriedly around the side. "What's wrong?" Bobby asked.
"I just saw Dad and Jean. I don't think they saw us."
"Scott and Jean?" Bobby repeated, trying very hard to restrain a laugh.
Peggy realized what she'd said and turned back to Bobby, her eyes wide. "Oh God, Bobby, I didn't mean that like it sounds. It's not that I don't want anyone knowing that we went out. I just don't want anyone to know. I mean--that's not what I meant. Dad can be a little--"
By now Bobby was bent over, laughing so hard tears were rolling down his face. "What's so funny?" Peggy demanded.
"I--oh God, this is classic. It's--" He dissolved in laughter again, but finally got enough control to tell her, "I'm not really a big fan of the spinning teacups, and I'm not such an idiot I forgot I wasn't wearing cufflinks. I've been avoiding Scott almost since we got here."
"Really," he choked out, still laughing. Now Peggy joined him, leaning against the side of the booth and laughing until she couldn't see straight.
"I--I guess I wasn't--quite as subtle as you," she gasped, trying to control herself.
"Nope. I didn't know you could move that fast!" They both broke up again. Finally they managed to get control of themselves, and Bobby proposed, "Now that that's out in the open, why don't we stop pushing our luck and head home? If we're lucky, maybe we'll make it before the Sentinels show up here."
Peggy grinned. "Good idea."
"Everybody hide! They're coming!" Rogue hissed, flicking the curtains closed and diving back behind the big-screen TV. There was a brief scramble as the others followed her example, hiding in various places around the living room.
"Somebody get the lights!" Warren warned. Betsy palmed the switch down, then melted into the shadows just in time. The lock jiggled quietly for a few moments before it clicked and the front door of the mansion swung open. Peggy followed Bobby inside, trying to muffle the sound of her giggling.
"It looks like we're the only ones up," she whispered.
"Good. I don't really like an audience," Bobby replied. Rogue had to restrain a sigh at the tender expression he wore as he pushed a lock of her hair behind her ears. "I really enjoyed tonight."
"I did too," Peggy replied, stroking the head of a hideous yellow teddy bear. "I guess Warren's advice was right on the money after all."
Warren smirked at that, but his satisfaction faded when Bobby continued, "Don't push it. I don't want to kill him any more, but I'm not using him as a restaurant guide again!"
They both laughed over that one. Finally Peggy said reluctantly, "I guess we should call it a night, then. The others could get back any minute."
"Yeah," Bobby replied. "Well...goodnight then."
Betsy frowned at that lame ending. What kind of an end to a date was that? She was considering the ramifications of taking telepathic control of Bobby when he apparently reconsidered. He leaned down, the sparkly balls perched on top of his head swaying precariously, and kissed Peggy's lips gently. As far as kisses went, this one wasn't the most spectacular or earth-shattering, but neither of the participants seemed to have any complaints.
A soft /thud/ from the hallway prompted them to break apart. "Goodnight," Peggy repeated softly, a smile blooming on her face. Then she turned and retreated to the hallway. Bobby just watched her go with a dreamy smile of his own until her footsteps receded up the hallway. He shook his head and walked off in the opposite direction.
"I knew they'd be perfect together," Betsy said in satisfaction after the lovebirds were gone. "Mission accomplished."
"Remy not t'ink he do so well de first date," the Cajun announced as he slipped back into the living room from the hallway.
"So that's why ya had ta break up a perfectly good kiss, Mistah World's Greatest Thief?" Rogue complained.
"So Remy trip. He not 'xpectin' a kiss t'night. What 'appen t' de t'ird date rule?"
"I did not think you would admit to knowing of such a rule, Remy," Storm said in amusement. "You have never let it stop you before."
"Knowin' de rules and foll'win' de rules be two diff'rent t'ings, Stormy." Remy winked. "But Drake 'sposed t' be de boy next door, non?"
"Boy next galaxy's more like it," Warren joked. "What the heck was he wearing on his head, anyway?"
"They're Martian antennae." Everyone froze and looked guiltily at the kitchen door where Bobby stood with a soda in his hand. "What else would they be?" He strolled casually past his friends, still wearing a dreamy smile, and walked up the stairs without another word. The others stared up after him.
Finally Rogue shook her head and pronounced, "It figures. Only Bobby could get away with wearin' antennae on a first date."
Upstairs, Peggy smothered a laugh and slipped quietly back to her room, hugging BobbyBear to her chest.
Other Stories By Andrea