THERE IS EXPLICIT SEX IN THIS STORY. I marked this clearly in the header. The sex is graphic, but all loving and consensual (and not that much worse than a typical romance novel). If reading sex scenes like that would offend you, please don't read this.
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"You *can't* be serious!?" Pale blonde eyebrows arched upward.
Betsy took a small sip of the perfectly brewed tea. "Oh, yes."
Emma Frost waved a hand still holding the delicious apricot scone she'd just been nibbling on. "You mean to tell me, that great big booby looked *right at* the boy--?"
"Who looks just like him, yes -- the same blue-grey eyes, white skin, black hair... although Nereel has black hair too, of course, but not the same..." While eyeing the various selections laid out on the refreshment tray appraisingly, the Englishwoman sent her hostess a mental 'image' of the brown-skinned, black-eyed Nereel, whose black mane had more mahogany overtones than Rasputin's blue-toned ebony.
"*And* he heard her call the boy 'Peter'? You're *quite* sure of that?"
"Oh, yes, at least once." Betsy decided that she couldn't face even a small fruit pastry after having watched Jubilee devour half a dozen cherry poptarts earlier. She settled on a cucumber sandwich.
"And he *does* remember being with the girl, right? I mean, it wasn't one of the times he was being mind-controlled -- mesmerized or hypnotized or zombified, or something?"
Betsy shrugged. "That was before I joined. But Logan was there, and he assures me Peter was quite himself at the time -- and quite pleased at the feminine attention, according to Logan."
"And it has never *once* occurred to him to ask her who the boy's father is?" Emma refilled their china cups with Lapsang Souchong from the teapot. "I always knew Xavier didn't recruit his students for their brains, but really, that does go beyond the pale..."
"What about Hank? Or Kitty, for that matter? I believe they both qualify quite handily as genius-level--"
The White Queen snorted quite inelegantly. "If McCoy had any *real* brains, he'd either stay with the Avengers, or -- even better -- settle down and work on his research full-time. I'm not the only one who'd be happy to fund him. He'd have a Nobel by now, if he didn't keep dropping the ball to run off and play gorilla-man in the endless X-battles... And if young Katherine had any *real* brains, she'd listen to Pete, who has more 'people-smarts' than all the X-cannonfodder put together -- present company excepted, of course," Emma backpedalled smoothly, after catching her guest's wry reaction, "-- and move away from wherever Rasputin is. That is *not* a healthy situation they're in..."
The other woman was a bit taken aback by the usually cool blonde's uncharacteristic vehemence. "Pete has to put up with Kitty's previous relationship with Peter, just as Kitty has to live with Pete's previous relationship with *you*..."
"*I'm* not living just down the hall from them," Emma riposted. "*I'm* not playing a put-upon martyr, and *I'm* not fixated on a mostly illusory past."
"Do you really think it's such a problem?" Betsy asked seriously.
"Let's just say... I'd appreciate you checking on that particular little triangle whenever you get the opportunity."
Psylocke nodded slowly, as the other woman's point became clear. Since Meggan and Brian had gotten married and moved down to Braddock Manor, there was no longer any telepath or empath constantly with the rest of the Excalibur team on Muir Island.
Before she could reply, though, the rebodied Englishwoman paused, delicate eggshell porcelain teacup raised halfway to her lips. Her hostess froze at the same instant, leaning forward, her hand with its perfectly manicured fingers outstretched, reaching for the small plate holding lemon wedges. Both women lifted their heads up abruptly, deep violet eyes gazing unseeing into equally unfocussed ice blue orbs.
"They're back," the White Queen commented, a bit redundantly.
"Yes." Betsy set her teacup back down gently on its matching saucer. "I should go--"
"Relax, Elizabeth -- don't *hover* so," the regal blonde smiled wickedly. "Finish your tea, and give the poor man time to set up his surprise."
Dark eyebrows, so purple they were almost black, arched upward. "What surprise?" She hadn't sensed the other woman scanning any more deeply than she herself had -- just enough to register the approach of two familiar mindprints. So, her hostess had to be involved in some way in whatever she was so obliquely referring to.
"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise any more," Emma replied with a smug, Cheshire-cat grin, then lifted the teapot from the serving tray. "Would you care for some more tea?"
Some time later, Betsy strolled back through the gathering twilight to her guest cottage. It wasn't dark enough yet for the stars to be visible, but the bright twinkle of Venus could be seen in the clear sky. Opening the door, she halted on the threshold, in... yes, surprise... and admiration too.
The overhead lights were off, as were the lamps. Illumination came from a forest of candles scattered around the room. Slim, tall tapers sat near short, squat wax squares. There were round globe candles, and pyramidal candles. There were candles shaped like people, candles shaped like mushrooms, and candles shaped like cats. The majority were white; of the others, many were assorted shades of pink, but even a cursory inspection suggested most colors and shades were represented at least once.
While she stood there, gazing around, Logan came up to her, his hand behind his back -- then he pulled his arm around and presented her with a bunch of roses. "These are for you," he growled gruffly. "Hope ya like them."
She bent, to bury her face in the small, pink, delicately scented blossoms. "Logan! They're beautiful! Thank you!" She glanced back up, a soft, sentimental smile lighting her whole face. "I have to put these in water, so they last..."
As she fussed over arranging the boquet in the elegant, cut-crystal vase which just *happened* to be sitting out on the counter in the small kitchenette, the stocky Canadian cleared his throat loudly, and mumbled, "Actually, I was kinda tied up all afternoon, so Frost sent one of her flunkies to pick those up fer me, while Jubes and I were getting some o' this other stuff..." He waved his hand vaguely at the legions of candles surrounding them. "But I *did* tell 'im ta get pink, not red, and some kind that smelled nice..."
Betsy leaned over, and kissed him on the cheek. "It's all right, Logan. They're still beautiful, and I still appreciate them -- and the candles too. What a wonderful surprise!"
"There's more candles in the bedroom..." he started saying, to be interrupted by her happy "--which is exactly where I'm going to put these."
"...And some champagne Emma sent over," the stocky Canadian went on, half doggedly, half boastfully, "and Frost said she'd ask ya ta chow down with her while Jubes an' I ate out -- and lemme tell ya, darlin', ya *need* a healing factor, ta survive the junk that kid eats! -- but I ran ya a bubble bath, and got another present for ya..."
Lying in bed about an hour later, sipping champagne from a tall, fluted glass, Betsy smiled mistily, feeling loved and pampered and even a bit teary-eyed at Logan's recent romantic efforts. The warm, scented bubble bath she'd found ready and waiting in the cottage's small but luxurious bathroom had been wonderfully relaxing, and she'd been amazed anew to find that he'd found and used her favorite attar of roses formula -- until she remembered his enhanced senses, which would of course easily let him match odors. The background music was a study in contrasts -- Vivaldi's classic 'Four Seasons' playing on a bubblegum-pink boom-box so fluorescent she thought it might easily outshine the candles. She would be willing to wager the CD was on loan from Emma's personal collection... while the owner of the psychedelic boom-box certainly couldn't be in any doubt.
The nightgown she'd found, professionally gift-wrapped in crimson paper and gold ribbon, wasn't one she would have chosen for herself -- its pink brighter and stronger than the delicate mauvish tints she preferred, its elaborate purple-and-gold lace trim stiff and scratchy (obviously intended more to appeal to sight than touch), its fabric a polyester blend she'd normally scorn. But it wasn't that bad, either -- it wasn't fire-engine red (like the outfit Scott had gotten for Jean once, that the X-women all still shuddered at the mere mention of), or black leather, or skin-tight lycra or spandex... and Logan's rueful memories of his shopping trip to Victoria's Secret with a hyper Jubilee added considerably to the charm of their ultimate selection.
Her bedroom was indeed lit with the same forest of widely assorted candles as she'd found in the sitting room, and she was almost mesmerized watching the flickering lights play over the rippling muscle shaded with a fine layer of dark hairs covering her companion's short stocky body. Logan had just about finished undressing, keeping his back turned to her chastely, to her silent amusement -- even as a small part of her couldn't help wondering mischievously if he were simply being modest... or if he knew he had a good-looking butt, and was taking shameless advantage of that fact. Either way, it was just one more sign of the obvious efforts he was making, to go far beyond the requirements of being a sperm donor.
"Shall I pour you some champagne, Logan?"
"Nah, the bubbles get up my nose, an' make me sneeze. Thanks anyway -- but you enjoy it. It fits a classy lady like you." Then, seeing -- *sensing* -- something as she set the glass aside while he lay down next to her in the bed, he looked at her in some concern. "Something wrong, Betts?"
She shook her head, and swallowed heavily. "No, silly, of course not. In fact, everything is too right..."
It wasn't that she wasn't used to being romanced; she was. Warren Worthington the III was an expert in that field, after all, and *far* too well-trained as a professional playboy to ever shirk such niceties as flowers, and candle-lit dinners, and champagne, and gifts of lingerie -- and candy, and bijoux, and all the other traditional accoutrements -- for his ladylove, no matter how matters might have deteriorated between them otherwise. However, Logan's efforts tonight -- bumbling though they might be in comparison to Warren's smooth polish -- touched her as Warren's hadn't for some time, because they had so obviously taken a conscious investment of planning and time and effort, so different from the Angel's practiced overtures.
Lush lips trembled as she struggled to suppress the tears suddenly swimming in her eyes, while she reached out to him wordlessly. One tiny rivulet spilled over her dark, sweeping lashes, and trickled down her cheek. Her bedmate's mouth chased it until he captured the small, salty droplet just at her jaw, where his warm lips pressed against the elegant curve in an open-mouthed caress. He trailed his lips over her face, the prickly stubble on his jaw tickling her own petal-soft skin.
Turning her head slightly, Betsy welcomed his mouth with her own as gleaming white teeth caught her full bottom lip and tugged gently, nipping at it lightly, then licking and soothing it with a hot, raspy tongue. Opening her mouth to him, she deepened the kiss, meanwhile sliding her hands through his unruly black hair and down his thick neck to tug at his shoulders, drawing his body up and over to cover hers.
Slowly, carefully, Logan settled his hips into the cradle of her thighs, propping up most of his weight on his elbows braced on either side of her. One at a time, he reached a hand up to draw the straps of her new nightgown down off her sleek shoulders to rest against her upper arms, then dropped his head and fastened his mouth to her neck. Betsy moaned softly, and pressed her head back into the pillows, offering the delicate, vulnerable column of her throat to him. He nuzzled the soft underside of her jaw, alternately nibbling the faint blue line of the vein running along her neck, and lapping at the fragrant hollow in her throat.
Drawing the straps of her nightgown further down her arms, he helped her pull them completely off. Then grasping the lace-trimmed bodice, he tugged the snug fabric downward until her large, full breasts sprang free. He cupped both breasts lightly in calloused palms, hefting them, testing their weight, enjoying their softness. Pursing his lips he blew across them gently, watching with gleeful delight as the tips puckered and tightened, then lowered his head to one breast, capturing the nipple lightly between his teeth. His target moaned softly, again, as he drew the peak of her breast into his mouth, suckling softly. Betsy cupped his head with one hand, her nails grazing his scalp as the pressure of her fingers signalled him how to change the angle to best please her.
After a long moment, he released her now-hard nipple, pressing a last firm kiss to it before shifting his body to reach back up and capture her mouth in yet another kiss. His hands went back to work on her nightgown, tugging it off her agile form completely as she lifted her hips up off the bed to help him, then tossing it gently onto the floor next to the bed. He sighed gustily as he stretched out over her naked body, rubbing his hardening erection into her growing wetness for a moment, but then slid off her, downward, at the same time he slid his hands up the back of her thighs, pushing her knees up to her chest. Then he slid further down the bed, pausing to press a kiss to the baby soft skin at the inside of her thigh, before lowering his head to nuzzle at the wet, purplish-black curls between her legs, taking long, deep sniffs at her intimate odors.
Adding taste to touch and smell, his tongue darted out in a long exploratory lap and she arched her hips, pushing herself closer to his mouth. Tangling the fingers of one hand firmly in his hair, with the other hand she reached down and held herself open. He pushed harder on her legs, opening her even further to his exploration, his tongue darting and licking, lips sucking and pulling, but never staying in one place for very long as he effortlessly, instinctively read each tiny twitch and jerk and shifted his attentions as needed.
In their short time together as lovers, Betsy had learned already that, with his enhanced senses, Logan couldn't stand prolonged foreplay without an uncomfortable struggle reining himself in... and, with his healing factor, he couldn't really indulge in prolonged *afterplay*, either. But the elaborate preparations he'd set up earlier certainly qualified as sufficient foreplay, and she could easily match his arousal rate by letting herself sink into his mind and let his perceptions of her and her responses to him play back in a recursive feedback loop.
Carried along on the cresting wave of sensations he was experiencing and causing her to experience, Betsy stared down through slitted, glazed eyes, gasping loudly as Logan's roughened tongue darted out again and his lips captured the tiny swollen bud that had started screaming for his attention. He began to suckle on her in earnest now, at the same time sliding two fingers deep inside of her, forcing back little growls in the back of his throat, while she was moaning continuously now in unconscious counterpoint as he pumped his fingers in and out of her in rhythm with the tugging movements of his mouth and tongue.
Suddenly, he was gone. Violet eyes dilated to near black flew open, to find her partner kneeling between her legs. Taking hold of his thick, wide, straining shaft, he guided himself to her well-lubricated opening, and pushed into her in one, long, slow, smooth stroke. Just as slowly, he drew back out, and then pushed his way deep within her again. Shuddering she arched her pelvis upward, trying to draw him ever deeper. He grasped her flaring hips in calloused hands and lifted them from the bed, while she planted her feet firmly against the mattress and heaved herself up, hard. He slid in so deeply this time they both cried out in reaction. Then, bracing his hands on the bed, he began stroking in and out again. The room filled with the sounds of their sighs, moans, and the wet slap of their bodies as they moved together, faster and faster.
Betsy knew that he was near bursting with need -- but wanted them to find their release together. Her own body shaking with the urgent demands of both her own ever-rising, yet-unrelieved passion -- *and* his -- she decided to take matters into her own hands. Running those strong, highly competent hands down to where their bodies were joined, she alternately teased herself, and cupped him, gathering a mixture of both their fluids -- sweat and other, even more intimate secretions -- on her fingertips. She skimmed her hands back up his belly and chest, to spread the moisture over his nipples, then lifted her head to lick the wetness from his nipples, lapping at him, biting him lightly, then sucking on the small nubs of flesh, hard.
Logan's hard-held control shattered, sending his hips bucking against her wildly. His movements were disjointed, out of rhythm, as he reached out for release. Betsy felt him tighten, grow harder still. Laying flat on her back, she pulled him down onto her body, locking her legs around his hips, arching her body to meet his pounding thrusts, letting her perceptions of his imminent release trigger her own climax. He felt her tighten around him and he lost control completely, pumping, emptying himself into her as her muscles clenched and convulsed around him, draining him.
Then Logan collapsed atop her, his sagging deadweight pressing her deeper into the soft mattress. He sighed deep in his throat, his own system quivering as her inner muscles twitched softly around his slowly softening flesh still inside her from the tiny, echoing aftershocks continuing to pulse through her. Feeling his body shuddering against her in turn, Betsy lifted languid, heavy arms to run her hands soothingly over his sweaty back. After catching his breath, he rolled onto his back, pulling her with him. She reached out for the sheet, to draw it over her abruptly shivering form as the air-conditioned coolness of the room hit their damp skin, and then snuggled in closer to her companion's hirsute warmth. She pressed her lips gently to his neck and he held her tight, as they drifted off into a lazy sleep.
Concluded in Epilogue...