When in Rome
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

This story is still in progress.

This is the sequel to Mice's "God ... er, Dog" story, archived at (un)frozen.

Main Fan-Fiction page
Stars and Garters

**Standard Mice Disclaimer**
Mice is in no way associated with the Marvel Comics Group. She is merely trying to write a story and this is all she has to show for it. A noble effort. Though she would one day like to be paid for writing, please don't send her any money (send mail to urmonkeyifudo@yeahright.com on instructions to send her money). Bobby Drake, Jubilee, Paige Guthrie, and Hank McCoy do not belong to her, but to the Marvel Comics Group. Annie Peckenpaugh and Harpo Lubbock are of her own mind. Any archiving of this story that is unaware of her attention will be ily received (Read: Tiki Curse). If you e-mail her, explain your intentions to archive the story and address of your archive, she will be MORE than gracious and will probably do something nice for you, like bake you brownies, not to mention permission to archive the story. In truth, she just wants to know where she can drool over the sight with her name. *G* If you want to e-mail her comments (read: FEEDBACK), do it at mice5k@hotmail.com. Good or bad, youíll still probably get some brownies out of the deal, but itís not really that great of a reward because she canít cook.

Author's Note: This is part of a larger series called, "Everyone Says I Love You" (Are the Marx Brother references getting through yet? *G*). It's mook-lite, honest! Where can you find the rest of the series? Why, at Alyson Hurt's (un)frozen!

Hey, her birthday fic (among others, sigh) is running REALLY late (one month+), so I gotta shower her with publicity ;)


"Your shirt has ruffles. Light blue ruffles."

Not the first thing Bobby Drake would have expected to come out of his ex-girlfriend's mouth upon seeing him for the first time in a year, but it would have to do, especially when she looked good. Not good for her, but actually, in truth, good.

"Uh ... yeah. It was my grandfather's ... my grandmother sent it home with me..."

Opal nodded slowly and smirked. "Definitely interesting."

"So, are you ready?"

Opal smiled. "I suppose I am."

Bobby plastered a fake grin. I was supposed to ask that question silently and to myself.


"Oh my stars--"

"--and my garters," Annie finished for Hank as she raised the short hem of her green dress to reveal one of her garters. "Feel special, Hank. I don't do stockings, but seeing as how you are in desperate need and how you want this date to look as real as possible..."

"--garters," Hank finished for himself, enticed by the quick flash of female flesh. Annie continued to grin, happy for the male attention.

"It's been a while, hasn't it?"

Hank nodded slowly, almost shyly.

Annie blushed. "For me, too."


Harpo quickly cleaned up his room as he heard a knock on the door. "Just a minute..." After stuffing all of his garbage underneath the bed, he ran a hand through his hair and opened the door. "Sorry, Ah just had ta straighten up."

"Stuffed everything under the bed, right?" Jubilee cracked as she entered.

"Not everything!" Harpo protested. He went over to his v.c.r. and pushed in the tape. "You are going to love this, Jubilee."

"Let it never be said that I am unopen for new experiences."

Harpo grinned. "Ah'm glad. You are now mah first official friend here."

Jubilee beamed. "Cool."


Bobby took a sip of his water to avoid conversation. Despite what Hank said, Opal had very few things in common with a saltine cracker, and that was what had always scared him about Opal.

"So, how has your year been, Bobby?"

"All right. Dad got into an accident, so I stayed home for a bit ... my cousin died..."

"Nothing happy?"

"Dad and I are getting along better."

Opal smiled genuinely. "I'm glad."

Bobby glanced nervously at the door again, hoping for some deus ex machina to come through and save him from being such an idiot.

"Bobby? Are you expecting someone?"

Bobby turned his head back to Opal, who was smiling brilliantly. "Huh? Uh, no."

"Really? Because Hank just walked in with some woman."

Bobby grinned, happy that someone heard his prayers. "'Some woman'? Trish?" It was the only person he could think of that Hank would be with at a restaurant like this.

"No, shorter. Less famous. Brown hair."

Bobby turned and smiled. "Oh, that's just Annie. Hank's been tutoring her. They're just probably on a study break."

Opal raised her eyebrows. "I don't know, Bobby, they look awfully cozy to have just a student teacher relationship..."

Bobby looked back once more this his best friend. "C'mon, this is Hank ... he swore off women and publicly declared Twinkies as his new mistress!"

Opal shrugged.

"Seriously, O," Bobby grinned as he joked comfortably. "He brought all of us in the dining room and made a big production of it."

"I think they look cute together!"

"Opal, the man had a gong!"

"He's ordering for her...."

"Didn't you hear me? Gong! Gongs make things official! Wait ... did he just brush her cheek?"


"Excuse me, Annie, but there is an eyelash..." Hank reached out to her cheek and brushed it away with a grin. "There."

"Thanks." Annie looked around the restaurant slowly. "It's so big ... and nice. There was nothing like this in Pallas."

"Nothing?"

"Well, there was a Sizzler..."

Hank chuckled. "Pallas sounds a lot like Dunfee. A main drag, the local diner, population of under ten thousand..."

"Who would ever think...! Hank McCoy, are you trying to tell me that you're white trash?"

"No, no," Hank shook his head smiling.

"Blue trash?"

"I'm a farm boy."

Annie blushed. "Really?"

"Yes ... now why the blush?"

"I had the biggest crush on this guy in high school, Tony Julius, and he was a farm boy in every sense of the word. The build, the tan, the build..." Annie cooed. "He played catcher for the boy's varsity baseball team, and I, being the girl's varsity catcher, we'd get to talk ever so often." Annie paused. "I'm sorry, I gotta be boring you..."

"Annie, gossip is weakness, whether I know all parties or not," Hank replied with a gleam in his eyes. "Did anything happen between you and the farm boy?"

Annie shook her head. "I was committed to Lindsey, what could I have done?"

"Exactly what Lindsey did to you?"

Annie sighed. "Maybe I'm naive, but I couldn't cheat on my boyfriend. I just don't understand it ... it's the ultimate selfish act because you're knowingly hurting someone you supposedly care about for some cheap acts of affection and then say, 'It's not you, it's me.' Let me tell you first hand, Hank, that it does nothing to console the hurting party. How are you not supposed to feel rejected after a line like that?" Annie's eyes drifted to the napkin laying in front of her. "I just don't understand."

"Annie," Hank called out to her. Not succeeding in lifting her head up by the sound of his voice, he lifted her head up with his hand. "Annie, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. It happens to all of us."

Annie blinked as she tried to understand. This could not have happened. Not to Dr. Henry Phillip McCoy, the man who stops on the sidewalks to play with puppies and retrieved lost frisbees for kids in the park. Not to the Hank McCoy who made her pancakes in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the night when she pounded on his bedroom door. Who in the world would be stupid enough to think that there was someone out there better than Hank?


Jubilee leaned back on the bed, tired from giggling and smiling. "A Night at the Opera" was as funny as Harpo had promised, but with Harpo's added commentary and impersonations throughout the movie had kept her in stitches all evening.

"So, Ah take it you liked the movie."

Jubilee nodded. "I did! And I don't know why, but I find Groucho strangely attractive..."

Harpo leaned his head on her shoulder and wiggled his eyebrows, to which Jubilee responded to with giggles.

"Stop that!"

"Stop what?" Harpo said in his best Groucho while continuing to waggle his eyebrows.

"That! It's too damn cute -- stop it!!"

Harpo grinned confidently. "So you find men who waggle their eyebrows attractive ... interesting. What else do you usually go for?"

Jubilee straightened herself out to buy time before answering. "Well ... I ... like ... uhm ... guys. Nice guys."

"And?"

Jubilee blinked. "Uhm..."

A sharp knock interrupted Jubilee, who breathed a huge sigh of relief. Harpo jogged to the door. "Hi!"

Paige Guthrie blinked. "Uhm ... hi." Paige shook her head as she began to talk. "I just wanted to welcome you to Xaviers and was wondering if you would like a tour of the campus."

Harpo turned to look at Jubilee who was gagging on the bed. "Sure. Are you the class president or something?"

Paige smiled as she retrieved something from her book bag. "Funny you mention that..." The flier had Paige's picture on it with the slogan, "Paige for President". Harpo was a little let down by the lack of creativity, but sensed that this was the best the girl could do.

"So, is the tour now or--"

Paige looked at her watch and shook her head. "Right now, I have to study for a pop quiz in French. I will be back in exactly thirty-five minutes. I look forward to seeing you then." Paige took Harpo's hand and shook it vigorously. "So long!"

Harpo squinted as he watched Paige walk in quick, precise, and efficient steps and shook his head. "What is wrong with that girl?"

Jubilee ignored the open gateway for some free style Paige bashing to think about Harpo's question. What in the hell do I go for in guy?


Annie glanced casually over to Bobby. "He seems to be squirming a little..."

"I told him that this was a horrible idea..."

"She seems to be having a good time..."

"Honestly? You mean she's not complaining or throwing some sort of obnoxious fit of some sort?"

"She's laughing happily, actually..."

Hank chose not to dignify that with an answer. Instead, he took out a small notebook from his jacket with a pen and handed it to Annie. "Tell me, for the sake of gossip in the mansion, how does she look? As in, what is she wearing? Any earrings?"

Annie grabbed the notebook and shoved it in her purse. "Honestly, Hank, this is the one time I think my powers will come in handy..." Annie turned and looked towards Bobby's table once more. "Okay, Opal ... damn ... she actually looks pretty good. Nice, fitted black blouse with a red, knee length skirt -- is that cashmere? She has a cashmere skirt! A red cashmere skirt!"

Hank blinked. "The thrift store queen is wearing cashmere? Wait ... she's wearing a skirt?!"

"And the boots, Hank, the boots...!"

"Tell me, are they horrible, pleather ankle boots?"

"Nope. Wonderful, wonderful suede black ones that I want..!"

"Cheap suede?" Hank asked hopefully.

"They look like butter."

"How about the earrings?"

"Hoops. Silver. She looks very chic."

"I think I'm going to be sick..."


"So, the gallery is exhibiting my latest works, thankfully," Opal beamed.

"Are you still into favoritism?"

"'Favoritism'?"

"You know, that one style of painting that you did..."

"Fauvism, Bobby!" Opal giggled.

Bobby grunted. "Sorry."

Opal smiled. "Have you done any more painting?"

Bobby shook his head.

"And why not?"

"Just haven't had the time, I guess..."

"You guess? Bobby--" Opal sighed. "I'll stop. You know you're talented, so anything I'll say will just be a repeat of the same old argument." Opal sighed. "So ... are you seeing anybody?"

"That was an awkward seguay."

Opal shrugged. "An awkward seguay for an awkward moment."

Bobby cleared his throat before he took another sip of his drink. "Well ... no. That's the reason I called you."

Opal nodded. "I'm not seeing anybody ... well, anymore. I just broke up with--"

"Howard." Bobby said pointedly.

"Yeah, Howard." Opal coughed. "You might be happy to know that he was cheating on me."

Bobby growled.

Opal nodded. "I deserve that ... look, Bobby, it was just an awkward time there ... you weren't around for me to tell you and you shouldn't have had to find out like that--"

Bobby played with his hair. "There should have been nothing to find out, Opal. I was still your boyfriend--"

"A boyfriend is there for his girlfriend! He doesn't just take off and leave for unspecified amounts of time!"

"Opal, it was my job! You knew that and still expected me to be someone different!"

"You don't understand, Bobby--"

"That's an understatement, Opal! An understatement!"

Opal stared at Bobby for a while, opting not to respond right away. "Is this why you called me up, Bobby? To yell at me?"

Bobby sighed. "No ... I mean ... damn it!" Bobby began to play with his hair again. "I miss you, Opal."

Opal shook her head. "You always say that, Bobby. You always say that you miss me ... the whole time, whenever you called me up, it was to tell me that you missed me. Did it ever occur to you that I missed you, Bobby Drake? That during one of your absences with your friends that I missed you?"

"How much could you have missed me if you slept with other people!" Bobby yelled.

Opal brought a hand to her head as a blush settled on her cheeks and silence went across the restaurant. "And how could you have missed me when you didn't even know me?"

Bobby went pale as he began to explain. "B-but we slept together, we loved each other!"

"Is that all a relationship is to you, Bobby? Sleeping together? Is that all our relationship was to you?" Opal got up from her seat. "Good night, Bobby."

"Opal, wait--!" Bobby went to grab Opal's arm, but only caught a handful of her shirt.

"You don't miss me, Bobby, you miss having someone there. I'd say girlfriend, but I don't think you would know what one was even if you slept with her." Opal walked out of the restaurant, and the patrons finally began to talk. Bobby, standing in the middle of it all, didn't feel well enough to sit down yet, and so, he began making the long trek to Hank's table.

Continued in Chapter Three.