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L. Burke

What Could Have Been

DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Marvel, and are
used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

"Hi Tony.  How was Hawaii?"  Jean Grey Summers said smiling up at Tony.  As Tony walked in to the small cafť' they had agreed to meet for lunch.  Tony Thomas still looked as good as she remembered.  He was a runway model in Paris these days, had a very lucrative clothing deal, and had his own fragrance coming out next year.  Jean had met Tony during a photo shoot during her modeling days and they still kept in touch.  Tony had called inviting Jean to lunch when he happened to be in New York on a photo shoot.

"Hey Jean.  It's so great to see you.  I was so happy to find out you could make lunch."  He flashed her the dimple that had earned him about ten million last year.

"No problem I was happy to come and catch up on old times." Flashing him the smile that had made her a cover model at one time.

It only took about ten minutes talking to Tony to remind her why she had left the business in the first place.  Janet an old friend of her had got dropped for her spokesmen spot.  She had hit the big three zero and they had dropped her like a hot rock.  Cindy and Brad two old acquaintances of hers had done through a very messy divorce.  That piece of news didn't surprise Jean at all.  Cindy's only married Brad because he had been a very successful stockbroker, and Brad had only married Cindy as a trophy wife.  Jane another old acquaintance of hers had just entered rehab.

(And to think I was telling Scott how much I missed the business.)  She had come home battered bruised after once again saving the world.  Had seen one of her old rivals on the cover of a very trendy magazine on their coffee table she had grumbled to Scott that it could have been her on that cover.  It could have been her on that Hawaiian photo shoot and what had she been thinking of giving it all up?  Scott had given her a guilty look, not said anything and run a hot bubble bath for her.  (I owe him an apology when I get home.)  Jean thought.

Tony was telling her about his latest deal and how much money they were offering him.  Jean just kept smiling, as Tony voice droned on, she just hoped that she nodded in the right spots in the conversation.  In Jean's head he just kept saying "blah, blah, blah."  She wondered if it would be too rude to look at her watch.  Tony shot her another smile and went in to another round of "blah, blah, blah".  Jean considered looking at her watch again.

"So what's been happening in your life lately?"  Jean just blinked at him trying to figure out what he just asked her.

"What?"  Jean blurted out.

"I asked you what was happening in your life?"

Jean just blinked at him.  (Besides saving the world on a regular basis? Besides getting yanked through time and raising my stepson?  Did I mention that the boy I helped raise is a wanted mutant outlaw?) Those were the rebel thoughts that ran through her head.  Jean just smiled at him and thought of another answer really fast.

"I got married."

Tony just looked at her a minute like she had grown two heads.  He then smiled at her sweetly like one would smile at a lunatic to keep them from turning on you.  "Yum, thatís great Jean.  Anyone one I know?  Let me guess that handsome millionaire "friend" of yours?"  Jean just shook her head.

"Scott.  Remember I was dating him when we met.  He was the tall one with the brown hair?"

"Oh, I remember.  Wasn't he the classmate of yours that won the Nobel Prize?" Jean just shook her head no.   "Are you talking about the mousy looking one? Wasn't he the one you dropped that photo shoot for?"  Jean just nodded at him. "You have to be kidding right?  He almost sank your modeling career and you married him?  Does he realize if he hadn't of made you drop that gig you could be a top paid Paris model now?"  Jean just nodded at him with a wide smile.

(It was the best thing he ever did for me.) Jean thought.  She had just entered modeling and at that time had been a little overwhelmed and a little under confident of the whole modeling thing.  It was her first big shoot and the director had told her "she was just what they were looking for but" she needed to drop ten pounds in two weeks for the shoot.  She had really been too much in shock really give him answer, when the director said that if she had trouble dropping the weight she could use these.  He had then thrown her a bottle of diet pills and told her that after this shoot her name would be a household name.

When Scott had found out what the director had told her to do, he had told her to drop the shoot.  He had insisted that losing ten pounds in two weeks was not safe, besides she was perfect just the way she was and if they couldn't see that fact it was their problem not hers.  It had erupted in a big fight.  At the end of the evening Scott had laid it on the line for her saying he was not going to stand by her a watch her destroy her health.  If she was going to go through with this shoot he was leaving.  He continued by saying that if he walked out that door he wasn't coming back.  Jean had slammed out the door saying "Fine." When she had gone to her agent the next morning trying to figure out what to do. The sleazy little man really hadn't of cared what she thought, he had just gone on and on about how much this shoot meant for her career and did she know how much money for both of them she was considering turning down?  She should just dump that bottom heavy anchor of a boyfriend of hers.  Besides he had added, "What's ten pounds?"  Jean had given him the finger; told him that he was fired and slammed out of his office, and found a new agent that afternoon.   She was an older woman that had been in the business a long time.  When she had told Jean that Scott sound like a young man with a good head on his shoulders and to keep him around to keep her grounded.  Jean had signed right on with her agency, sent Scott a big bouquet of flowers with an apology.  Scott was waiting with dinner in her apartment when she got home that night.  She had never regretted the decision.  Jane if she remembered correctly had been chosen to replace her and Jane was in rehab now. ' Isn't amazing how things turn out?'  Jean thought with an evil smirk.

"Really Jean I never knew what you saw in him?" Tony roused her out of her little jaunt in to the past.

(I'd hope not), Jean thought to herself.  Thinking of Scott walking in to their kitchen with nothing but his pajama bottoms, with his hair all mused in the morning with a very sexy smile on his face. (Thank God, tailor tweed suits hid so much.  If fact I think I'll buy Scott a couple more.  If I could find away to bottle that sexy Summers smile I would be a very rich woman.  On the other hand, it's all mine and I have no intention of sharing.  If other women could see what I do would have to set the mansion's defenses to full.)

"I mean he seemed nice enough.  If you could get him to talk to you."  Tony continued.  Jean just smiled at him again.

(When you spend all day just blocking other people mental voices out.  You really appreciate coming home to a man who is not a big talker.  A man that doesn't say anything, runs you a hot bath, heats up the soft batch chocolate cookies in the microwave, and then washes the sheets even if you ate the majority of them when you were snuggling in bed together.  Sometimes you can say it best when you say absolutely nothing at all.)

"I mean he never could put outfits together, I mean if I am remembering him correctly?"  Tony was really starting to bore her now. (You try to mix and match when you see the world through a dark red tint and see how well you do.  I tried it once.  I did a worse job than Scott did.)  Browns were shades of maroon.  Reds forget it you couldn't tell them apart.  Whites matched pinks.  Blues were purple.  The only color that came through fairly clear was green.   There was a reason a majority of the cloths that Scott picked out for himself were brown and white.  Brown didn't look awful to you when you saw it as maroon.  He had always trusted her to pick out the other colors.  (So what if Scott will never be a snazzy dresser, I donít want too many woman looking in his direction anyway.) Jean stated to herself as she started calculating how much time that she had to stay not to be rude.

"He always came off as a little glum and distant if you ask me." Tony continued. Jean just forced herself to smile sweetly as him.

(I didn't. You walk around in a sewer up to your knees in someone else's blood, with children floating face first down in it and tell me you wouldn't be a little glum too.  You lead a bunch of rebellious misfits in to situations where you or them might be killed everyday and see how you would react.)

"Hey if he makes you happy Jean.  Thatís all that matters.  I always thought you would get together with that millionaire friend of yours though.  I always saw you two as a couple."  Jean just tried very hard not to roll her eyes.  "So what does Scott do anyway?"

"He's a teacher at a private school."  Jean responded and added to herself, (That's of course when he's not saving the world.  Actually head assistant, to the head of the nuthouse would be a little more accurate job description.  Did I mention?  We keep a mad scientist in the basement?)

Right then their waiter asked them if they were ready to order.  Tony ordered a salad, and Jean could tell was he counting every calorie.  When the waiter turned to her Jean ordered a double bacon cheeseburger, with fries, no diet soda, and a big huge slice of chocolate cake for desert. (Oh yea, I am feeling evil and petty today.) Jean thought to herself, (I'll work it off next time I save the world.)

"Tony if you don't mind I need to go use the restroom.  I'll be right back." Jean said as she got up and headed towards the back of the cafe.  When she was back there she found what she was looking for a pay phone.  She dialed a number and listen to it ring.  Right when she figured there was no one there someone picked up.

"Hello?"  She was very happy to hear Scott's voice on the line.


"Hi sweetheart.  How's lunch going."  Jean wondered if Scott knew she was rolling her eyes on her end at mere mention of her lunch date.

"Fine.  How is everything going there?"

"Everything is quite.  Well, at least quite for around here.  Why?"

"Nothing.  I was just wondering."

"Your duck attacked and Bobby and Hank this morning."


"Apparently, Hank and Bobby got too close to her nest under the dock.  She went after them and chased them up a tree.  Apparently she decided there was only going to be one mooch around our house and they weren't going to be it.  I had to sacrifice a loaf of bread to get them down.  I told you we shouldn't have started feeding it.  It is pretty funny watching her walk around with a bill full of blue fur though.  Logan is selling the video.  He's calling it 'When Ducks Attack'.  He also swears he got some Christmas card quality photos that I'm spouse to offer you.  He said for a 'case of good Canadian beer the photos are all yours if you want them'. Do you know Logan is putting up a sign on the dock that says 'Never mind mutants watch out for duck.' I think Logan is going to be laughing about this whole incident for weeks. Hank is swearing that both he and Bobby need to get shots."

"She does NOT have rabies.  She was just defending her home.  Tell Logan yes, I want the photos and should I pick up a loaf of bread on my way home?  What took you so long to answer the phone?"

"Picking up a loaf of bread may be a very good idea.  We have to keep our resident mooch happy.  I'll tell Logan the beer is his.  The reason I took so long to answer the phone is because I didn't want to walk through our house.  I smell and resemble a bog right now, please don't ask.  Let's just say I am very happy you are willing to buy the roll of film from Logan, not one of my more graceful moments.  I still think Logan plans to put them up on the net BEFORE he hands them over to you.   You never answered my question of how lunch is going?"

"Worried Scott?"  There was a long pause on the other side of the line.

"Of course not.  I am a modern sensitive male.  Just because my wife is having lunch with a handsome, filthy rich male super model, I am secure enough with myself not to let it bother me.  Okay I am not even buying that one, I was a little bothered by it.  He has looks and money and all I can offer you is 'When ducks attack'.  So yes I am feeling a little insecure.  You were telling me just the other night that you missed modeling."

"Don't be.  I'll see you when I get home."

"Hopefully I will be ready for human company.  You want to go see a movie tonight?  I'll even cut you a deal.  If I manage to scrub everything off, and you can sit next to me without stealing the air freshener from the car, we see a movie I want to see.  If I can't scrub it all off and I need the air freshener just so you can stand to sit next to me, we'll se a movie you want to see.  I think the odds are piled in your favor right now."

"Deal. I see you when I get home."

"I'll see you when you get home."  The line clicked.

When Jean got back to her table, Tony was preparing to leave.  He gave his apologies and told her that something urgent had come up and he had to go.  He went on to tell her that he hoped they could get together next time he was in town and to not worry he had already paid the bill.  Tony went on to say for her to finish her lunch and he would catch her next time he was in town.  Jean agreed that they would have to get together sometime.  Tony even suggested that next time they did this she should bring Scott with her.  He then walked out the door.

Jean just sat there eating her chocolate cake, reflecting on what could have been.  Thinking about all the decision she could have made that would not have placed her where she was today.  (Isn't amazing sometimes that you end up right where your spouse to be despite your best efforts?  Sometimes I really feel that someone is watching out for me.)  Would she trade where she is today for a successful modeling career, a Hawaiian photo shoot and all the things that could have been? (No way in Hell.) Jean thought as she smirked to herself.   (I am going to finish my very rich slice of chocolate cake, pick up a loaf of bread and a case of beer, go home and see what mess my husband is, and watch 'When ducks Attack.'  I'm right where I am spouse to be.)   She sent up a silent prayer, thanking God for her husband, her family, and her crazy friends.  She wouldn't trade any of them for all 'what could have been's' in the world.


Other Stories By L. Burke


Please Get Well For Christmas

There's No Place Like Home

Beneath the Floor Boards

We Will Always Have the Stars

Elves, Weirdoes and Ten More Degrees

What Could Have Been

The Suggestion Box

Friday Nights, Guy Talk, Stalkers and Other Strange Things

New Begginings and Second Chances

A Very Bad Day

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