**Standard Mice Disclaimer**
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!
Also, I feel the need to put out the feeler that Nan Bass is in this part...this woman's popularity astounds me and, if you ask me, it's getting to her head. She's already demanding a limited series, luxary trailer, and asking if she can get me to get her into a guest shot of "Bobby Drake and the Amazing X-Girlfriends". The billing is to only pacify her growing needs...
Jubilee closed her algebra book with a satisfied thunk to signal that she was through with the study portion of Study Hall, and to garner the attention of her roommate. "You know what, Guthers? This stuff really comes in handy!"
Paige peeked up from behind her copy of Macbeth. "Did you say something, Jubilee?"
Jubilee held up her algebra book as if it were the word of God. "This stuff rocks! I mean, I didn't know this thing could be so damn useful!"
"Yeah! You know how they keep telling us that we need to know all this math and how it'll come in handy one day?"
"It just became handy!"
Paige smiled. "How so?" Jubilee plopped her notebook down in front of Paige, beaming. She skimmed it and snickered. "Jubilee's Theory of Relationship Relativity?"
"Yeah, it's crude, but I think I'm on to something ... see ... A stands for gorgeous brooding guy while the B stands for dippy pretty girl ... okay, for the sake of simplicity, A is Jono and B is you."
"Okay, okay...we'll use the Buffyverse, okay? A is for Angel, and B is for Buffy."
"Hey, that fits!"
"Well, seeing as how they were the prototype for all of this, it's not a coincidence." Jubilee cleared her throat. "Now, you see, A is equal, or attracted to, B, and B, likewise, is attracted to A. However, A always angst appeal, as shown by the small s. B is still attracted to As, however, B always has naivety, goody-goodiness, or random un-angsty things, as shown by the z, and, unfortunately, though As is attracted to B, it is not compatible to Bz. With me so far?"
"Jono didn't like me because he was angsty and I wasn't?"
"We're talking about Buffy and Angel! And the formula isn't perfected, yet." Jubilee turned to the next page. "Now, here we have specimen X, the nice guy. Think of him as Xander. Now, X is attracted to B. X is also attracted to Bz. However, B or Bz is not attracted to X because he lacks angst, the small s. What X does have is another small x, because, hey, he's that nice of a guy.
"Now, we introduce W, or Willow. Now, W is attracted to X. Especially to Xx. W also has the z factor that B, which X is attracted to, but X is not attracted to W or to Wz."
Paige rolled her eyes. "And the point?"
Jubilee growled angrily. "The point is, X's are only attracted to Bz's, and though Wz has all the same traits, X is only attracted to B, meaning that in truth, the second letter doesn't really matter because all people care about is what other people look like, and not how nice and caring and supportive they are because if they did, Ev--!" Jubilee stopped herself as she realized how loudly she was talking and gained eye contact with Harpo Lubbock. "Never mind."
Harpo, slap happy grin plastered on his face since catching Jubilee's eye, bounded over to her table. "Whatcha doin'?"
Paige rolled her eyes as she answered for Jubilee. "Studying, Harper--"
Harpo rolled his eyes before turning back to Jubilee who was paying close attention to a lint ball on her sleeve. His eyes went over to the open notebook by Paige. "Is this yours, Paige?"
"It's none of your business, actually," Paige said in her best calm and confident voice.
Harpo picked up the notebook and smiled. "There's a missing variable..." Harpo plucked a pen from his pocket and wrote in the notebook. "It's just from the hip, but Ah've always been pretty good at math ... take a look at it when you have the time." Harpo tossed the notebook Jubilee's way. "Ah'll see you later, Jubilee."
Paige glared as Harpo made his way back to his table. "I really don't like that guy. Did you know that all during his tour of the campus, he insisted on stopping and talking to everyone we passed by? How am I supposed to study for our chem test next Friday, hmm? Where am I going to find that missing hour?"
Paige droned on, but Jubilee blocked her out as she picked up the notebook and saw what Harpo wrote:
"The factor of O is equal to Wz. The question to be asked now is if Wz can be equal to O."
Jubilee bit her lip and blushed as she shoved her notebook into her back pack and picked up the copy of Macbeth to tune out the persistent rantings of her roommate.
Annie took a big bite of Count Chocula cereal as she glared at the wall in front of her from her position on her bed. The cereal was cold and in no way resembled pancakes. More importantly, she made it herself.
"I hate my free day."
Bobby stumbled into Annie's room and looked around. "Hank, are you in here?"
Annie's spoon fell into her bowl with a thunk. "Hey, Drake!" She whistled. "Over here! Only person in room! MY room! What is your prognosis?"
"Then where's Hank?"
"Hank no here. Only Annie." Annie thumped a hand on her chest to solidify her independence. "Ow." And to bruise her boobies.
"Damn!" Bobby walked in and laid on Annie's bed, much to Annie's chagrin. "You have cereal--"
"That I made myself!" Annie snapped, protecting her bowl.
Bobby pouted. "C'mon, Annie, just a bite?" His hands reached out to tickle her sides.
"Don't even think about it, Robert Linus Drake!"
Bobby froze in place, stupefied. "Wha--?"
"You heard me."
"But no one knows that! Hank doesn't know that!"
Annie smiled. "But I know it."
Annie purred. "That's my secret ... for a while at least."
"What am I going to have to do to keep you from spilling this to everyone?" Bobby scowled.
I would hold of the hand of the one who could take me places/And kiss the lips of the who could sing so sweet...
"I hate you, Annie."
"Just up and enjoy the show, Bobby."
"Now, is this the soap with Luke and Laura?"
"The one with the witch and the doll?"
Don't hurt Timmy's sweet princess!
"I REALLY hate you, Annie."
Hank McCoy tapped his watch impatiently. It was odd being out of the house at this time of the day, securing a night at the opera rather than sitting at home during the day watching the soap opera.
A smile further softened Hank's face as he continued to drive further into the country. Annie had come to him, a sweet, simple country girl from the farm country and in the mere few months under his tutelage, she had grown into a fairly literate companion and was ready for the next step in her education. She had grown into quite a protégé of his.
"About time," he muttered under his breath, beginning one of his self famed rants. "If Wolverine can have not one, but two protégés, why is it so inconceivable that I can? What is it about the man, Henry, that makes young girl's flock to his feet? It certainly cannot be the hair ... if it were a matter of hair, the elf, the wolf, and myself would have to beat off every Mary or Sue that should wander our way..." Henry looked around the empty car to make sure no one was there, for he was going to use unHanklike slang that only Henry knew was very Hanklike. "I gotta protégé!" He honked his horn. "I gotta protégé!"
Jubilee walked slowly around the campus with her headphones on full blast, blocking out the crude sounds of the world and replacing them with ones of her choosing. She kept a steady gaze on the ground, following the trail of grass that assured her she wasn't walking into any buildings. When a pair of black Converse shoes stood in her path, she could feel her breathing becoming as erratic as the various paths that made up the ground. Her eyes traveled upwards and found herself looking up at Harpo. "Hi."
Harpo smiled warmly, though Jubilee doubted that he could smile in any other way. Jubilee bit her lip as he did a little turn for her. "Well, what do ya think? Ah finally got mah 'Look at me, Ah'm a preppy!' school uniform."
"Very nice," Jubilee said shyly. Jubilee also kicked herself mentally. I am not shy! Being shy is not an option here!
Harpo smiled again and Jubilee blushed.
"Are you okay, Jubilee?"
"Then why are you blending in with the brick?"
Jubilee took a deep breath. "Okay, look, I'm gonna do something really risky here because I'm tired of being jerked around by guy's and stuff, okay? It's like this: I think you're incredibly cute and nice and funny and whenever you stand there, doing that cute, boyish thing you do, my heart kinda beats funny, but it's a good funny, and it's been a while since it's done that. The last guy who made my heart do that was kind of oblivious to the fact that I was female, and so, on the chance that you, too, think of me as just a kid sister or just one of the guys, I'm going to go ahead and ask you out before I lose all my nerve, along with my dignity." She cleared her throat and looked at her shoes. "You wanna go out sometime?"
There was a brief moment of silence in actual time. In Jubilee time, another millennium had passed and people were now worried about Y3K. "Uhm, you wanna say something here, Harpo?"
"You wanna look up at me, Jubilee?"
Jubilee nodded as she brought her head up.
"Good. Now ask me again."
"You wanna go out sometime?"
Harpo smiled again. "Nope. Ah got plans. Stayin' in and watching some movies with a girl. You know, watch the movie, sit next ta her, maybe get her ta cuddle up against me and have a popcorn fight. Original, Ah know, but there's a lot less pressure, you know?"
Jubilee nodded slowly.
"Good, Ah'm glad we're agreed," Harpo beamed. "So, what kind of movie do you want ta see, Jubilee?"
"Dear God, you're trying to be cute, aren't you?"
Harpo leaned over and kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear. "Some of us have ta work at it, you know."
Bobby's jaw gaped as the credits rolled. "But there must be more Passions! I want more Passions!"
"Not for two days, Bobby. Don't worry, we'll make it," Annie reassured him.
"No, I won't, I won't make it, Annie!" Bobby pouted. "How can I go a full weekend without knowing if Ethan is going to call off the wedding, huh? And what about Luis and Sheridan? How am I supposed to sleep and feel good about the world when so much is keeping them apart?"
Annie scooted over and began to stroke Bobby's hair. "It'll be all right, Bobby. Everything is going to be all right..." Annie adjusted herself to be eye level with Bobby and looked into his eyes. "Can I tell you a secret, Bobby?"
Bobby squinted. "Why would you want to tell me a secret?"
"I feel bad about the whole middle name thing ... I think I may have something that'll cheer you up." Annie looked around for spies and took a deep breath. "My name isn't Annie."
"It's Ann. Big deal."
Annie shook her head. "Angina."
"You are making this up."
"Hand to God, Linus."
Bobby shook his head. "No way. I read you driver's license, Miss 5'8", 115lb--"
"--and it says ‘Ann Gina Peckenpaugh'."
"It's a typo." Annie sighed.
"So what's the story?"
"My mother is a nutjob."
Bobby nodded, not wanting to press the subject of Annie's mother. "Then why 'Annie'?"
"If your name was Angina...!"
"You gotta take that to your grave, Bobby. Promise me that, and I won't leak about the middle name, deal?" Annie held out her hand.
Bobby looked at it for a few moments before deciding to shake it. "Deal."
Jubilee grasped her copy of "Day of the Dead" as she looked at herself in the mirror, hoping she looked okay. "I don't look okay..." Jubilee kicked her dresser and began to pace. "This is stupid, it shouldn't matter how I look ... he likes me ... kinda ... but he likes me..." Jubilee groaned and collapsed onto her bed. "I hate this." Jubilee unearthed her head from her pillow and saw her phone. Then she saw her hand reach for the phone, watched as it began to dial a number, and began to chant as she brought the receiver to her ear, "Please pick up, please pick up..."
"Thank goodness you called, Billie! You should see the crap Jacqueline left for me to watch. Three and a half hours about a boat! We know the boat is going to sink, and it takes James Cameron three and a half hours to prove that? Is that what they're giving out Oscars for today? If so, I have this gripping epic about my toast."
"I need you to kick my ass, Nana."
"How is his ass?"
"Then why are you talking to me, Billie, go and grab it!"
"His ass or the opportunity?"
"I don't give a damn, just don't sit in your room, pouting and doubting yourself, go!"
"I have to go, Billie, Billy Zane just came on."
Jubilee heard a click as Nan Bass hung up the phone. She gingerly put the phone back on the cradle and looked at herself in the mirror once more and then charged out the door, video in hand.
Continued in Chapter Four.