Chapter Two: Jean's POV
"Come on Kitty. Please?"
"Why don't you go ask Scott? Like, he's the one like going to the prom with you, not me."
I swear this is a conspiracy. Kitty normally would jump at any chance of going shopping, but this time, she suddenly refuses?
"That guy *does not* shop. Besides, I need a second opinion."
Still, Kitty did not budge, and went back to reading her magazine. Frustrated, I threw my hands in the air, and left her. What is with all these people nowadays, fussing about me and Scott? I can handle myself just fine.
As I take my leave, I can mentally hear Kitty snickering, not that I like to snoop. She was just projecting deliberately.
I stroll down the corridor and approach the grand staircase leading to the foyer. I catch a glimpse of Scott, heading out the door. Should I ask him?
All of a sudden, the whole house just feels so empty and cold. Being around Scott has never been cold (that's Bobby's domain). Right now, the goosepimples sting a lot. My heart starts beating really slowly, and there's this queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just by looking at him.
I've never been this uneasy around him before, not until recently. I don't get how we can flirt one moment and then hide from each other the next. Love is a really weird feeling. And I'm in love with Scott. I think.
I quietly make my way down the stairs. I'm not sure why I'm being so stealth and all.
"Where're you going?" My own voice surprised me. I almost regretted it the second I spoke out loud.
"Out for a drive?" Scott shrugged.
"Can you accompany me to the mall, pretty please?"
"Sure." He didn't say no. I rejoiced, and jumped straight into his arms, enveloping him a big huge. Hugging Scott was like hugging a wooden pole, but he recovered enough to return my hug. I sensed he was as shocked as I was.
"You're the bestest! C'mon, I've got lots of things to pick up for the prom next week." I can't believe he actually asked me to go to the prom with him, but then again, I at myself for shamelessly hinting it to him time and time again. I guess he just gave into my pleas. I shrug off that thought, and lead him out the door.
He offered to drive and I was fine with that. He opened the door of the passenger seat for me, and I stepped in. Then he walked over and got into the driver's seat. We remained silent throughout the whole journey. I did not know what to say, so did he. We always had something to say, but right now, my mind just went blank. What was happening to me and my best friend?
The mall was bustling with its usual Saturday crowd. I started hunting for shoes. Specifically, black heels. He followed somewhat reluctantly. I know he hates shopping; it doesn't take a psychic to tell. Most men hate shopping. So we hopped from shop to shop. It very much reminded me of the time I dragged Scott shopping for my pair of soccer shoes. It was hardly a satisfactory experience. I struggled with the choices they had, and Scott didn't help much with his whining either. I had to summon all my patience to keep myself from screaming at him. But then again, he was so funny grumpy, I would have died laughing on the spot. I never told him that.
Right now, I'm busying myself with the whole range of heels. The shop was rather big, so I misplaced Scott somewhere in the crowd. Then, I spotted him in the sports section, gazing at...soccer shoes. How cute, he seems to be lost in a memory. With my pairs of shoes, I made my way towards him. I sat down on a bench in front of him, the shoes landing in a pile on the floor by my feet. I put one on, stood up, and did a little twirl in front of the mirror.
"Huh?" He didn't exactly look up.
"Um...very nice, Jean."
The next few pairs garnered little nods or noises of approval.
"Scott, what do you think of this one?" I was getting fed up with him.
"Hmm...erm...nice?" He was browsing.
"You said that for the last four pairs. I want an honest opinion." He turned finally, and stared at my feet for a while.
"They all look the same to me, except this one has more straps than the previous two."
Some response that was.
"I don't need those where I'm going." I grabbed the distractor from his hand and placed it back on the shelf. "Now, what do you think?"
Scott gave his trademark shrug. "But you haven't bought your dress yet, how are you supposed to know which shoe?"
"I know I want my shoes specifically black. They match all colours anyway. So? What do you think?" I was getting really exasperated. Get to the point already!
He was still staring into space by the time I got back from the other side of the store with more pairs.
"This one?" I half-pleaded.
"Erm...does it feel comfortable?" That's Scott being Scott. Always practical.
"Good point." I rather agreed with his statement. This pair's heels were too high. I took this pair off, and rubbed my heels.
It took ten tries before I finally settled on a pair, and hurried out before Scott freaked at the sight of more shoes. We still had the dress to go, and I wanted to get Scott home alive.
To tell the truth, I didn't really have any clue what to wear to the prom. I was crossing my fingers on the way here that inspiration would strike me. Since when did what I wore matter so much? But then again, this is the prom, and every girl obviously wanted to look her best.
When we entered the store, Scott's eyes immediately drifted to the section which hung mostly red garments. It was his primary instinct, since red is the only colour which appeared 'pure' to him. He once told me that it was my red hair which first drew his attention. Small wonder.
So, taking that as my cue, I headed for that section of the store. I never really favoured red, but I don't hate it either. Maybe a little change would freshen my wardrobe. And I needed something striking and ravishing. Neither did I want to look like a plain Mary-Jane at the prom.
"You're not getting anything nice for yourself?" Scott came to join me, not sparing a second glance at the men's section.
"All suits look the same. I can pick mine later."
"I can pick mine later. Well, we're not leaving until we choose one for you too mister. I want us to match." I gave Scott a smirk and watch him shrivel in fear. "Men."
I barely made it to the stalls before bursting into giggles. The expression on his face was side-splittingly funny.
There weren't really many nice red gowns to choose from, and it was only down to the three that were hanging in the stall right now. I don't know why I made the irrational choice of the one with a plunging neckline, that bared my back and hugged my curves.
I stepped out of the stall, sashayed a little, and watched Scott pick his jaw up from the floor.
Taking that as a hint of approval, which he was also projecting really loudly, I decided on this dress as I changed.
"You are seriously buying that?"
"Why not? It's a once in a lifetime event." I gave him a wink and headed for the counter. I was already half-regretting my choice when the cashier scanned the bar code into the computer. She eyed me, then shifted her glance to Scott, making him really uneasy. I was feeling really nervous.
Just then, Scott darted out the store. "I'll be right back Jean. There's something I need to do."
"Get back here! We're not done with you yet!" I yelled.
"I'll be back, I promise."
Just great, he ditched me. My eyebrows furrowed.
The cashier fingered the satin delicately as she folded my gown neatly for me. "Impressive. He your boyfriend?" She pointed in the direction Scott took off.
"And sometimes I wonder why." I replied, still agitated.
"He seems awful nice, a little shy though." She smiled. "Here you go sweetie."
"Thanks." I sighed.
I took Scott's word that he'll return. In the meantime, I headed over to the men's section, and pulled out a few suits from the rack. And waited. What was taking him so long?
Then, I caught sight of him coming in my direction. "And where have you been?"
"It's a surprise, so I'm not telling." Scott's blocking me. If he wanted to surprise me, he sure is trying really hard.
"I don't know what's so funny." I found his happy expression irritating.
"Come, I picked a few for you to try out." I dragged Scott by the hand before he could take off again.
"Didn't look as good as I thought it would. Try the others." Scott was squirming, but was smart enough to do as he was told. I wasn't going to tolerate a whiny Scott any longer.
I sieved through the racks once again. Scott was right, they all looked the same. This was really beginning to bug me. I looked up, and Scott was walking off, again.
"Scott, where are you running off to again?"
"I want to try this one out." Twenty feet away, he held up a dark coloured suit.
"But I haven't seen it yet." I squinted.
"You can judge it on me." Great, I was now shopping with a piqued Scott.
When Scott stepped out of the stall, I must admit he did look good.
"Not bad Mr Summers." I clasped my hands together. "You have taste."
"Thank you lady Grey." I chuckled as he held his hand out and did a little gentlemanly bow.
"I'm no where near that." I frowned and looked down at the floor.
"Yes, you are, in every way." Scott lifted my chin. His eyes met mine. I stared at his lips for a while, wondering what they would taste like. Realising we were in a public place, I flinched and turned away. I caught a glimpse of the clock on the wall.
"Ohmygosh, look at the time, we have to get going, or we'll be late for Danger Room practice. Let's get this to the counter and get out of here."
"The DR can wait. We haven't had ice cream yet."
"That coming from Cyclops?"
"Can't I be Scott for a change today?"
Maybe this shopping trip isn't as bad as I envisioned it after all.
This time, Scott dragged me off to the ice cream shop. I obliged. The ice cream was Scott's only favourite thing about shopping, that I learned when we first went shopping together. But I'm not complaining.
"Two cones please, one vanilla and one chocolate."
"Nuh--uh. I don't want that." I interjected.
"But I thought you like chocolate?"
"I still do." I turned to address the cashier. "Could we change the order to a sundae instead? Thanks." I surprised myself again.
"I am." We both answered in unison, cheeks flushed.
"I'll pay." Scott fished out his wallet quickly. If he wants to, it's fine by me.
We were then ushered to a seat to wait for our order.
"Why the sudden change?"
"Isn't a change refreshing? I was beginning to tire of cones. I want to try something new." It was partially true; I did really want to try the sundae. But, that wasn't the answer he was seeking. Wasn't the truth blatantly obvious? Would he just quit with the dodging already?
"Isn't a little more quiet time together too much to ask? Or do you still want to catch the DR practice? We could get the cones instead and be off, just like that." I was really angry and hurt now. And coming this close to crying. Why did this matter so much? It was never like this before. I looked away.
"No, I didn't mean that, it's just...different. This change…this whole dating thing--"
"I didn't say this was a date. I just needed a shopping buddy."
Or did I really intended it to be? After all, our supposed date last Friday didn't happen at all. We were just too busy saving the world. Couldn't the world just leave us alone?
"I uh--" The waiter approached with our order. Talk about timing.
"Forget it." I took my spoon and ate.
And so, we ate in uncomfortable silence. A few bites actually, then we started swirling the melted leftovers around and around. The vanilla started mixing with the chocolate, turning it into a pastel shade.
Why were we going around in circles? After all, we never went anywhere.
We swirled it around the cherry. I like them, but right now, I just didn't feel like eating the cherry. Scott told me he hated them, and I used to rob him of his on his cone, which he didn't mind, of course. He gladly let me have it.
"Aren't you gonna eat the cherry? You don't like it now?"
"Huh. Oh...no no no...I--" I didn't know what to say.
Before I knew it, Scott fished the cherry out for me, and wiped it clean with a napkin. I glanced at Scott sheepishly and accepted it.
I nibbled on the cherry, still upset.
"What?" Scott was staring into space again.
"Just watching." I looked at him questioningly.
"You used to just put the whole thing in your mouth, then spit the seed out."
"Sometimes, you just have to stop and take a look around, and appreciate the little things in life."
I looked up. Scott was still staring at me. I locked eyes with Scott.
"Sorry, it was rude of me to stare."
"It's alright. Like I said, I was appreciating the little things in life."
He smiled, and I smiled back. Over the speakers, a song started playing.
Remember when we never needed each other
The best of friends like sister and brother
We'd never be
Those days are gone now I want you so much
The night is long and I need your touch
Don't know what to say
Never meant to feel this way
Don't wanna be alone tonight
What can I do to make you mine
Falling so hard, so fast this time
What did I say, what did you do
How did I fall in love with you