Chapter 9: X-posed
Charles Xavier had Ororo gather the team in his second-floor study while Hank attended to the stricken Minx, who, after being run through the med lab diagnostics, was found to be in stable condition and had been transported to her room for observation. The professor wheeled into the somber assembly, saying nothing as he came up beside the couch where Remy still cradled a sniffling Rogue.
“How is she?” Charles asked the Cajun.
“She be much better.” Remy said, and Rogue nodded agreement, meeting Xavier’s concerned look with a tired smile.
Her puffy red-rimmed eyes traveled around the room, assuring everyone that she was indeed all right.
“Ah just have a headache from cryin’ so much,” Rogue joked as she blew her nose into a soggy Kleenex. “Ah don’t think ah bawled this hard when Remy and I went ta see Titanic.”
Logan’s voice came from the corner of the room near the large curtained window.
“How’s the kid?”
“She’s still unconscious, but Hank is with her and will let me know as soon as she is awake.”
The professor turned a stern eye back to Rogue. “That was an extremely dangerous and foolish bit of heroics you performed, Rogue,” he stated firmly as he wheeled around to his desk. “You and Minx could have been permanently injured or worse.”
“Ah know,” Rogue apologized while avoiding the professor’s eyes.
She sat up on the couch, moving out of Remy’s protective embrace.
“It seemed like a good idea when I did it. Ah didn’t realize how badly Minx was hurtin’ inside.” Her eyes dropped down to her lap. “She was holdin’ in a lot a anger.”
“Coulda fooled me,” Remy joked as he reached up to rub the burn mark on his cheek. “Dat wildcat sure know how to focus her anger once she gets hold of it.”
Jean, who had remained silent, spoke up.
“I think we’re all missing the point here,” she stated as she sat forward in her chair. “What exactly is it that’s got Minx so angry?”
Rogue blushed and shot Logan a furtive glance then dropped her eyes back to her lap. She bit her lip in consternation.
“Rogue?” Ororo coaxed the young woman, but she refused to raise her eyes.
“It’s embarrassin’,” Rogue mumbled, her brows furrowed, “Ah don’t like airin’ people’s dirty laundry.”
“Rogue, we wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t vital to Minx’s recovery.” Jean reasoned with her teammate. “Please. What do you know?”
The dark-haired southerner sighed and licked her lips in hesitation. She was obviously reluctant to share Minx’s inner thoughts with the group.
“Well,” she started and stopped, trying to find a tactful way of saying what she had to say. Not finding one, the girl just blurted it out as quickly as possible, “shethinksherdaddykilledhermombecauseLogansleptwithher!”
Storm blinked and looked over to Jean who was frowning and shooting daggers at the hulking Canadian in the corner. Remy and Scott, obvious smirks on their faces, leaned forward in their seats suddenly more interested than ever in the proceedings. Rogue, for her part, looked absolutely mortified. She gave Logan an apologetic smile, but he just stood, his arms crossed, scowling at the group.
“This just ain’t my day,” he said in disgust. “Am I the only one here that thinks this is the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard?”
“No,” Rogue explained, “You don’t understand, Logan. Nikki – that’s Minx’s real name - saw her daddy kill her mom, and then he tried to kill her too, but she got away. Well, she set the house on fire first, but it wasn’t her fault, but she thinks it is. She thinks it’s her fault that her father died in the fire and that’s why she ran away. And then, this lady she met at the mall a week ago told her she was an old friend of her mother’s and that you and Nikki’s mom were…you know.” Rogue blushed. “And now, Nikki thinks that her dad must have found out about the affair and that’s why he killed his wife.”
“You’ve been watchin’ too much Oprah, kid.”
Logan shook his head in disbelief and began pacing angrily.
“Well that would explain Minx’s sudden change in behavior when we came back from shopping,” Ororo theorized, then gave Logan a dubious look. “But that doesn’t explain why this mystery woman seems to think you and Minx’s mother were a hot item.” She tried to cover a smile.
Logan scowled at her. “What makes you think it was me? Maybe that broad at the mall was crazy or something and just made all that crap up.”
“Logan,” Xavier spoke up, “is it possible that you may have known Nicole’s mother?”
Logan ran a hand through his hair in consternation. He stopped pacing.
“Hell, I don’t know,” he replied, his voice edgy, “I haven’t exactly been celibate all these years.”
“Her mama had blonde hair like Minx’s,” Rogue piped up trying to be helpful, “does that ring a bell, Logan?”
He shot her an annoyed glare. Xavier was deep in thought a moment. He wheeled over to the bookcase and began thumbing down the spines of several old, leather albums. He stopped at one, pulled it off the shelf and settled it onto his lap as he wheeled back over to his desk. Charles began to flip through the album while the others waited expectantly, Logan with a huge frown on his face.
“Ah, here we go.” Xavier mumbled to himself.
He turned the book to face away from him and pointed to a black and white photo of two men in tuxes, one in a wheelchair and a woman in a long formal gown.
“Logan,” he motioned the man closer, “Does this woman look familiar to you?”
Logan reluctantly strode over to the desk and leaned down to study the picture, while the professor explained to the rest of the group in the room.
“That was taken at the Geneva conference for genetic engineering back when he and Claire were first married. I provided some of the funding for that conference.”
Logan stared at the picture, unwilling to believe what his eyes were forcing him to admit. The grainy picture may have been black and white, but he still remembered the sparkling sapphire eyes and sweet laugh like it was yesterday. Claire Anderson smiled back at him from the yellowed page of Xavier’s photo album. He dragged his gaze from the picture and swallowed, the memories flooding back into his mind…
Fifteen years earlier, somewhere in Western Canada…
Claire Anderson was upset. Her jaw clenched as she slammed the phone back onto its cradle and angrily stared at it, wishing that the other person that had been on the line would drop off the face of the earth at this moment. She blew out a ragged breath, carefully wiping tears from her face so as not to smear her makeup. Barely married a year and already having problems, she thought - just great. Claire crossed the room to the little portable bar by the sofa and fixed herself a drink to calm down.
It wasn’t like this was the first time Stephen had chosen his work over her, she sadly reasoned. She took a sip of scotch letting the liquid burn down her throat and settle its warmth into her stomach. But this was different. This was her birthday, and he had promised her…promised…that he’d be home in time to take her out for dinner and dancing.
She glared over at the phone as if it was the reason for her troubles. Stephen’s secretary had called to let her know that Dr. Anderson would not be able to make it tonight. He was in the middle of testing and could not get away. She took another gulp of the scotch, anger flooding her face. Her own husband couldn’t even find the time to call himself to explain – he had to have his secretary do it for him! The sniveling coward, she thought to herself. What did she ever see in him anyway? She caught a sob before it could escape and scolded herself for getting so emotional.
Claire knew when she had met Stephen that he was a workaholic. His career would always come first, and she had seen it first hand when she had been his lab assistant back when they both worked for the government at the research labs. She leaned back on the couch and set her drink down on the coffee table. That’s part of what had drawn her to him, she realized with a sigh. He was brilliant, outgoing, determined and had definite plans for his life. She had been young, naïve and somewhat taken away by his charming demeanor. They had dated for over a year before he had gotten the nerve up to finally propose and she had eagerly accepted.
Claire laughed bitterly. Fool, she thought. I was a fool to think things would change once we were married. Stephen continued on with his career even after the Canadian government had terminated his funding. He now worked for Eric Lenssher instead, and Claire saw even less of him than before. He was consumed by his viral engineering testing… this black horse – no, dark horse - project that Eric had him working on day and night. She took a deep breath and sat up on the couch, her mind made up. She would not let her husband ruin this night for her. If Stephen couldn’t make it, that was just too bad. Claire would take herself out to dinner and dancing then. She rose from the couch and went to get her coat and purse. This was one evening she was not going to spend at home alone waiting for her husband into the wee hours. Claire was going to celebrate her birthday with our without Stephen Anderson…
Logan raised his pint glass and took another long drink of beer. He set the frosty glass down on the scarred bar and stuck his half-smoked cigar back in his mouth surveying the homey atmosphere of the tavern. It had been a weary three weeks and he was glad the assignment was over. These freelance jobs offered Logan the travel and freedom he craved but could sometimes be quite hazardous to one’s health. He puffed on the cigar, watching the smoke waft upwards and smiled grimly. Well, to be honest, he had never really had to worry too much about his health. His regenerative mutant powers saw to that. This last job though had been rough, he’d had to kill someone – a close someone he’d trusted - and it had been rather brutal even for him. But, money was money and the jobs paid well. Logan put those memories to the back of his mind and drained the pint in one gulp.
He was about to set the empty glass back down and order another when the buxom little waitress he’d been flirting with all night came by with another cold pint and set it in front of him.
“You musta read my mind, darlin’.”
He grinned up at the brunette and she giggled. He reached in the pocket of his leather jacket to pay, and the girl shook her head, her short curls bobbing.
“Uh, uh, big guy,” she said as she pushed his hand back into his pocket. “Already been paid for.”
Logan raised his brows at her and smiled wider. Well, well, he might not be going home alone after all. The waitress caught his look and laughed, shaking her finger at him.
“You’ve got the wrong girl.”
The waitress leaned over closer to Logan, exposing more of her cleavage if that was even possible, and pointed down the bar.
“This is compliments of the lady in blue.”
Frowning, Logan reluctantly tore his gaze from the mounds of pert flesh displayed tauntingly under his nose and swiveled in his seat to gaze past the handful of customers to where the waitress had pointed. His eyes fell appreciatively on a slim, honeyed blond in a short blue dress. The woman met Logan’s gaze with a steady one of her own, her sapphire eyes twinkling. She raised her wine glass in salute to him and winked. He smiled back at her, and grabbing the fresh beer off the bar top, slid off his stool and ambled over to join her.
“Thanks for the drink,” Logan said as he ran his eyes over her shapely form once again. “What’s the occasion?”
“The occasion would be my birthday. And I thought it would be more fun to celebrate with someone than without.” Claire raised her own glass of wine and clinked it against Logan’s pint. “Salut.”
Logan nodded and took a gulp of beer, then set the pint down and leaned up against the bar.
“So, what’s a pretty lady like you doin’ celebratin’ a birthday all alone?” he questioned her.
Claire smiled ruefully. She had had several chardonnays and was feeling a bit tipsy, but was enjoying the flirting with Logan.
“Well,” she stated taking another sip from her glass, “I got stood up.”
“The man’s obviously a moron,” Logan acidly declared.
Claire smiled wonderfully at him as if he was her personal hero, and Logan couldn’t help feeling pretty studly at the moment. Someone had started up the old jukebox near the pool tables and a southern rock ballad suddenly blared out across the smoky barroom. Logan studied Claire, his memory searching. She looked familiar to him, but from where? Claire seemed to be doing the same thing, her eyes narrowed in thought. They looked up almost in unison, pointing to one another.
Both laughed and Claire casually reached over to touch his arm.
“I was working for the Department of National Defense as a research assistant back then,” she explained. Her hand remained on his arm sending electricity through his body. “I remember you from some of the project meetings…you did…?”
“Special ops,” Logan finished for her as he drained his beer mug and set it on the counter.
She nodded recognition and paused, not sure what to say next. Logan broke the awkwardness by taking her hand from his arm in one big paw and pulling her gently off the stool.
“C’mon,” he coaxed, “let’s go dance, birthday girl.”
The two spent the next couple hours drinking and dancing, laughing over old memories of working for the Canadian government and just enjoying one another’s company. The diversion had been pleasant for the both of them. Logan had been able to put thoughts of death and covert deals out of his mind and Claire had been able to soothe her bruised ego building it up with Logan’s compliments and appreciative glances. By the end of the evening, Claire was quite tipsy. Logan had bought her several glasses of champagne in recognition of her birthday. She leaned comfortably up against his broad chest, slowly swaying to the love ballad now playing on the jukebox. Logan, his hands around her waist, chin buried in her cleavage, moved in unison with her, his nose inhaling the sensual scent of her perfume. Her hands toyed with his hair.
“Logan,” Claire mumbled against his hair.
He smiled. It tickled.
“Logan, take me home.”
Logan stopped dancing and pulled away from Claire a little bit, disappointment settling in his face.
“Sure, darlin’. I’ll call ya a cab.”
He put an arm around her shoulders to lead her toward the bar, but Claire motioned for him to stop.
“No,” she slurred slightly, “I want you to take me home with you.”
She smiled sexily and leaned in to plant a kiss on his startled lips. Logan pulled Claire close and returned the kiss, urgently, his lips hungrily feeding off of her soft, pliant ones. His hands tangled themselves in her hair as she pressed her body up against his, feeling his desire. He pulled away and gazed at the woman, suddenly wanting her. Badly.
“You sure about this, darlin’?” he asked and she offered him her lips again in answer.
They kissed again, this time her lips parting slightly to offer him just a taste of what was to come. That was good enough for Logan. His animal instincts taking over, he quickly retrieved his jacket from his barstool, slung it over a shoulder and escorted Claire out into the night.
They spent the rest of the evening back at Logan’s hotel room, in bed. Claire was a wild cat, hungry and insatiable. Logan matched her ferocity, marveling at and welcoming her depth and intensity of sexual desire. He growled in satisfaction at her feral cries of pleasure and almost lost control when she raked her fingernails down his back as she came. Claire, lonely and starved for a man’s attention, let herself go with Logan like she’d never done with Stephen. His wild ruggedness and total lack of restraint were like an aphrodisiac to the woman.
Hours later, the couple lay spent in each other’s arms. Logan dozed, one arm casually draped over Claire’s waist. He was exhausted even by his standards. Claire glanced at the clock on the nightstand and quietly slipped out from under Logan’s protective arm. Much as she hated it, she needed to go home. As mad and hurt as she was by Stephen’s inattentiveness, her marriage was still important to her. This would be her little secret – her birthday present to herself as it were. She gathered up her clothes and went into the bathroom to change. Before leaving, Claire bent down and gently kissed her lover. Half asleep, Logan smiled and inhaled, smelling her scent now mixed with his own. She took in his naked form on the rumpled sheets of the bed one last time before scooting out the door and heading back to her life and her husband.
Logan stared down at the picture in the album on Xavier’s lap, sighing heavily.
“Aw, shit,” he muttered under his breath and closed his eyes.
“Uh, dat would be an affirmative on the recognition question, mes amies.” Remy offered and Rogue smacked his arm, not at all amused.
“Well, well,” Scott couldn’t help joining in, “Looks like-“
Logan whirled around, his eyes blazing at his team leader.
“Can it, Summers,” he growled, “if you wanna keep that stuffed head of yours connected to the rest of your body, you’ll step away from this one.”
He turned back to the Professor, somewhat embarrassed and uncomfortable to be in the limelight.
“Okay, so I may have known Claire Anderson up close and personal, so what?”
Charles studied the man before him trying to read his emotions to get some understanding of what Logan was going through.
“I’d like to go into your mind” Charles stated after a moment of consideration.
He wheeled out from behind his desk to come alongside Logan.
“Logan, I believe you may have some buried memories that might prove useful to this puzzle.”
Logan shot Charles a skeptical look and snorted, “Sure, why not? Since my life has suddenly become public domain.”
“Logan,” Jean stood up and came over to the two men by the desk. “Whatever the professor finds, he’ll keep to himself unless it’s absolutely necessary to do otherwise.”
She smiled at him. “You once asked me to read your mind…to help you remember who you were. Please, for Minx, will you do this?”
She reached up and touched his arm. Scott stiffened, his fingers digging into the cushioned arms of his chair, a note of jealousy creeping into his posture. Logan, softened by Jean’s influence, gave the professor a reluctant nod. Jean gave him a winning smile and Charles Xavier motioned for the man to settle into a nearby chair.
“Now, relax and open your mind,” he told Logan.
Charles closed his eyes and concentrated on the brawny Canuck, probing, searching. Images swam into view of a woman with honey colored hair and blue eyes. The resemblance to Minx was startling. More images and words floated up from the labyrinth of Logan’s mind. Special ops, recon missions, Claire in a labcoat sitting at a large table with Logan and others in military dress. Claire in a bar talking about her husband and his work on...the Darkhorse project? Charles frowned. That one was not familiar to him. He probed deeper.
Charles caught a glimpse of Logan and Minx’s mother in a rather passionate embrace and quickly moved on feeling somewhat embarrassed for intruding on such a personal memory. He saw another woman, this one dark haired and angry. Logan and she were arguing as they stood in a hallway of what appeared to be a military installation, judging by the armed uniformed men passing by the two. Charles Xavier’s eyes flew open in recognition of this woman. He stared at Logan for a moment. Logan blinked a few times as if coming out of a trance and then caught the professor’s curious stare. He scowled back.
“You better not have scrambled anything in there, old man,” he gruffly told Xavier. “Least not anymore than it already is.”
“So, don’t keep us in suspense, perfessor,” Rogue said.
“It would appear that Logan was, at some point, working for the Canadian government.” Charles stated, “Doing what, I don’t know, but what I do know is that you and Minx’s parents were employed by the same government faction.”
“So tell me something I don’t know.” He said as he got up from the chair and began to pace the room again. “I remember bits and pieces of working for a group known as Department H, but nothing really sticks in my mind.”
“Logan,” Charles swiveled around in his wheelchair to face the group, “I also detected someone from your past that is unfortunately quite familiar to us all…Mystique.”
Everyone’s jaw dropped as Logan was pulled up short by this bit of news.
“What? The blue bitch?” He arched a brow at the professor. “No way, Chuck. I’d of remembered that one, I’m sure.”
He shook his head, refusing to even acknowledge the possibility. “Trust me. She wouldn’ta been alive and breathing back on Liberty Island if we’d a crossed paths earlier in my life.”
“Mystique is a shape-changer, Logan, as you well know. She can and has taken on many forms in her lifetime, including that of a woman going by the name of Raven Darkholme.”
The professor waited for his colleague to digest this information before continuing.
“Your memories are of Raven, not of Mystique in her true form.”
Scott smirked to himself, pleased that Mr. Dark and Brooding had a rather unsavory background compared to the rest of the X-men in the room.
“This just gets better and better,” he whispered gleefully to Jean who was sitting on the arm of his chair.
She ignored the comment, fully aware of the immature rivalry between Logan and Scott, but refusing to add to it. Logan sighed and rubbed the back of his neck in perplexity. He had spent so many years searching for memories of his life, of who he was. And now, when they were finally presented to him in full nightmare form, he half-wished they had remained buried deep within him. Be careful what you wish for, he thought ruefully.
“Okay,” Logan said as he stopped behind the couch where Rogue and Gambit were sitting.
They had to crane their necks to see him.
“So, I worked as some sorta operative for the government, along with Claire, who I got to know better than most, and I had some sorta connection with Mystique.”
He shot Charles a wary look. “Any more nasty surprises you wanna spring on me tonight?”
Charles hesitated. The last bit of information he had was purely conjecture. It had risen unbidden as he had been trying to piece together everything in his head. He couldn’t be sure, but it did make sense. He gave Jean a quick glance then addressed the group.
“I think we’ve all had enough excitement for one day. It would do us good to get some dinner and some rest.”
He mentally threw open the door to the study and was not at all surprised when Jubilee and Alex, two of his junior students, fell awkwardly into the room, their faces a mix of shock and fear.
“Whoops,” Jubilee murmured as she picked herself up from the floor, “didn’t see that coming.”
“Alex!” Scott’s voice addressed his younger brother in a tone of annoyance and anger. “What do you think you’re doing?”
He rose from his seat, brows knit in irritation and stalked over to his sibling, grabbing the fifteen-year-old by the arm and helping him up from the carpet.
“Real cool, little brother,” he said.
Alex smiled sheepishly at his brother, “Hey, you can’t blame a guy for trying.”
“You can settle this over dinner,” Charles suggested to the group as they filed out of the study, Scott still giving Alex an earful.
Not to be outdone, Jubilee was also getting a lecture from Storm on the inappropriateness of eavesdropping. The young Asian girl gave Logan a pleading look, but he shrugged at her.
“Sorry, kidlet,” he chuckled, “You’re on your own with this one.”
Dinner was definitely looking to be a major downer, the girl thought as she slunk out the door behind Remy and Rogue.
“Logan. Jean. Would you please stay for a moment?” the professor called to the last two exiting from the study.
They stopped and came back inside to stand before Charles, wondering what their mentor wanted.
“I didn’t feel that what I have to say next is necessarily appropriate for all to hear, at least, not until I can be certain.” Professor Xavier began. He looked up at the two, and then focused specifically on Logan. “In searching your mind, I came upon something that may be a key to this puzzle. Logan, does the Darkhorse project mean anything to you?”
Logan frowned, his brows meeting and shook his head. “Nope. Is it supposed to?”
Xavier gave a slight shrug. “I don’t know. Apparently, this project had great significance to Mystique and also possibly to the agency you both were working for. The fact that Claire’s husband was involved leads me to believe it must have something to do with viral engineering.”
“Do you think that Mystique is after Minx because of this Darkhorse thing?” Jean questioned.
“I think,” the professor said slowly, his thoughts forming as he spoke, “that Minx is somehow related to the project perhaps, and that Magneto and Mystique have more than a passing interest in both.”
“So, where do I come in on all this?” Logan asked tiredly. He’d had enough of the espionage angle for the night. “What does Mystique gain by telling the kid about me and her mother?”
Jean smiled faintly. “Well, if she was trying to get Nikki away from the school, that would have been good ammo for turning her against you and us in general.”
Logan shot her a dirty look. “Thanks.”
Charles shook his head and tapped the arm of his chair with one manicured hand.
“No, Mystique’s motives go much deeper than that, I’m afraid.”
He sighed, not really wanting to put into words what his mind had already concluded. “Logan, I believe that Mystique, known to you then as Raven, has a private vendetta against you.”
Logan snorted, “Who doesn’t these days?”
“I have reason to believe that Raven Darkholme was interested in you in a, shall we say, personal way?”
Xavier cleared his throat watching the scowl deepen on the Canuck’s dark face.
“You tiger, you,” Jean teased, ignoring Logan’s growl of irritation.
Charles continued, “Logan, I can’t be positive, but I have a strong feeling that you and Minx are related.”
The professor watched as both Jean and Logan sobered up, their eyes widening at this announcement.
“Related?” Jean blurted out in disbelief, “like as in brother and sister?”
“No,” Charles corrected his student, his bald head reddening slightly, “as in father and daughter.”
Jean’s jaw hit the floor. She turned to stare in shock at Logan who looked as if he was getting ready to pounce on the professor and tear him limb from limb.
“You better start makin’ some sense, Chuck, or this school is gonna be interviewing for a new headmaster.”
Logan’s fists clenched, the adamantium blades pushing against the skin of his knuckles, but not breaking through...yet.
“I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers just yet,” Xavier patiently explained as he took a precautionary roll away from Logan’s agitated form. “The fact that Mystique seems vengeful not just against you, Logan, but also against Nicole leads me to believe that this is more personal for her. I know from your memories that you and Raven had a rather stormy relationship-“
Jean groaned, “Oh please don’t tell me he slept with her too.”
Charles gave her a weak smile. “No, I don’t believe so,” he said, watching Logan’s sneer deepen, “I think that is part of the reason why Mystique is so intent on hurting you and Minx. She possibly feels rebuffed and is looking for a means to get back at you.”
He paused and looked at Logan, “Although I don’t believe that this is her sole reason for showing up when she did. Mystique belongs to Magneto’s Brotherhood, and I’m quite sure my old friend is up to something that relates to this Darkhorse issue.” He threw up his hands in exasperation. “I need to spend some time with Cerebro to see what I can pull up before I can provide you with anything more concrete.”
“Professor,” Jean said as she stepped forward, putting herself protectively between Logan and Charles, “using Cerebro is fine, but as we both know, it’s a hit and miss situation. It could take days or even weeks-“
“Weeks?” Logan interrupted in irritation.
Jean went on. “Yes, weeks - to find and piece together the information we need on Minx, Mystique and this Darkhorse project.” The woman looked from one man to the other. “But, there is a quicker way to resolve this,” she folded her arms and waited.
Charles nodded, reading Jean’s thoughts. “Yes, of course. That would definitely provide conclusive evidence, one way or the other.”
“What would?” Logan interjected.
He had been silently listening to the other two’s discussion, but was getting fed up with all the veiled talk and mind reading.
“A DNA test,” Jean stated simply.
“A DNA test?” Logan pondered a moment and then glared at the woman. “You mean a paternity test?!” he barked and let out a low snarl of displeasure.
This was just too much for him. He began pacing again, his disbelief and anger rising at the accusations being cast on him. Only a few weeks ago, life had been good. He had a nice home base, plenty of friendship when he wanted it and privacy when he didn’t, and most of all, he had freedom – to come and go as he pleased, no questions asked. He shot the professor and Jean a glowering look. Now, all of a sudden, that freedom was being jeopardized. All because of one night, one single lousy night of doing the horizontal mambo with a former co-worker’s wife. He flinched inwardly at that. He had prided himself at being careful about his flings.
“Kind of makes you feel like the awkward teenager in one of those sex education movies, huh?” Jean grinned at him.
“Stay outta my head, Red,” he pointed an accusing finger at her, and stalked over to the darkened window near the bookcase.
He stared out at the falling snowflakes for a moment trying to think. Things had gotten too crazy too fast lately. He sighed, his body slumping in defeat.
“So, whaddya need from me to do this test?” he quietly muttered still keeping his eyes on the winter storm blowing outside.