The Super-Uncanny Adventures of Bobby and His Amazing X-Girlfriends
by ValKerrie

Chapter 1: The Female of the Species

It really was a very nice apartment.

His mother had decorated it.

He would have preferred if she hadn't drudged up his "Legends of the NFL" curtains, but he wasn't entirely sure how to get them down.

It was no mansion, but it was his.

And he needed an apartment.

After all, he was a grown-up, now.

"HAHA, eat fireball, ugly dragon-thingie!" Robert Drake screamed at his Playstation.

The happy theme music started playing and Bobby blinked at the screen. Over, already? Sighing, he reached over and flicked off the tv. That made the fifth one this week.

At the time, taking a break from the X-Men had seemed like a good idea. Get his head on straight. Patch up his relationship with his dad. Do something on his own.

He hadn't counted on the boredom.

There were no longer twelve other people in the house to harass. There was no more waking up in the middle of the night because supervillians couldn't keep normal hours like the rest of humanity. No more training against big giant robots and the occasional 50-foot -tall holographic Spice Girl, when Hank felt like being creative with his programming.

So what *was* there?

There was his job. Nine to five every day at the Port Jefferson accounting firm of Goldstein, Goldstein and Ross. And there was Sunday dinner with his parents. And, of course, there was Playstation.

Unfortunately, years of finely honing his reflexes (or at least attempting to finely hone his reflexes) had turned Robert Drake into a video game-playing god. He might not be able to dodge a bullet, but he could execute a sixteen-button special attack in less than a second. Which tended to take the fun out of it.

Bobby flopped down on his couch, and stared around his mother-decorated apartment. He needed more posters of naked women. No, better yet, he needed a live naked woman. One who would cook for him. He was getting tired of ramen. Even mixing it with potato flakes had lost its charm.

And then, like a ray of light from the heavens, came a knock on the door.

Stumbling over an empty box of Alphabits and a tie, Bobby made his way to the entrance.


Bobby's first thought was that he had no idea who this woman was. His second thought was that he didn't care, because she was hugging him and was rather ... cuddly.

"Oh, I missed you so much, and you won't believe what happened, how long has it been, like seven years or something, and did you get your haircut? Wow, it totally looks better now!"

Bobby blinked. He wanted to ask her who she was, but he was afraid she would stop hugging him.

Unfortunately, she did, anyway.

Bobby surveyed the girl. She was petite, with short blonde hair, in a rather out-of-date style, and dressed in shorts and a halter-top.

"You don't remember me, do you?" she asked brightly.


"It's me! Cloud!"

Bobby blinked. "Hey, it is! I didn't recognize you with clothes on!"

Cloud scowled playfully putting her hands on her hips. "You guys could have told me it was socially unacceptable to wander around in nothing but puffs of condensation."

"Um ... I was nineteen?" Bobby tried to excuse, knowing fully well that he would do it again when he was ninety, if he got the chance.

"Aw, that's all in the past!" Cloud gushed cheerily.

"What are you doing here? I thought you went to go become a nebula."

"I did," Cloud sighed dramatically. "Do you know how boring it is to be a nebula?"

I have some idea, Bobby thought to himself. "Er, I guess it would be."

"So I wandered around for a while, and made some friends and stuff. And you'll never--"

"Hello, Bobby," another voice chimed in, as a second girl appeared behind Cloud.

"Margie?" Bobby exclaimed, cocking one eyebrow.

"You ruined the exciting part of my story!" Cloud sniffed.  "So, while I was busy being a cosmic entity, I met Blivvy here. And we got to talking, and it turns out we both used to date you!"

Bobby didn't have any sort of spider-sense. After years as a brawler, he'd yet to develop any sort of sense of impending doom. But he knew, deep down in the depths of his soul, that when two of one's ex-girlfriends get together, no good can come of it.

"We had so much fun talking, and got to be good friends, and since we were both cosmic forces, we decided to hang out together!"

"Keen," Bobby commented dryly.

"Are you two going to help me carry all this stuff up here, or do I have to do it myself?" a cranky voice asked from behind Marge.

"The Daughter of Oblivion does not carry boxes," Marge sniffed.

"Hold yer horses, Lev," Cloud scolded. "Don't you wanna say hi to Bobby?"


"Huh?" Bobby asked, trying to remember ever knowing anyone by that name.

"And then, while we were traveling," Cloud bubbled on, "We met Lev. And it turned out that she dated you, too! It was, like, too big a coincidence! So we decided to come visit!"

"Visit?" Bobby echoed.

"We are moving in across the hall," Marge informed him, nodding.

"Moving ... in?"

"Yuppers! Isn't it exciting? Oh, Lev, don't be such a grump! I'm sure he'll remember you in a sec! Lev doesn't think you remember her. You remember Lev, doncha, Bobby?"

Bobby always knew this day would come.

The day he was murdered by one of his ex-girlfriends.

He'd always assumed it would be Opal.

"No, I don't want to see Bobby. I want you to help me get all this stuff up here before we get a parking ticket."

"There is no need to be surly," Marge replied, as she and Cloud grabbed the other girl, and abruptly shoved her into Bobby's doorway.

Bobby found himself nose-to-nose with a young woman his own age with long, blonde curls and golden eyes.

Lev looked at Bobby.

Bobby looked at Lev.

Bobby blinked.

Lev blinked.

Bobby had no idea who she was.

"See?" Lev snorted, pushing past Marge. "I'm getting the rest of the stuff. I would appreciate some help."

"I ... I..." Bobby excused. He knew he'd never dated anyone who looked like that. He would have remembered. He might be a dolt at times, but he knew he would have remembered that.

"You must remember her," Marge pressed.



"I didn't remember you!" he snapped pointedly at Cloud.

"No, you didn't recognize me. That's different. Besides, I was still switching genders a lot the last time you saw me."

"Oh ... right..."

"We spent the last six light-years trying to convince her you still remembered her," Cloud scolded.

"Well, um..."

"Perhaps we should go assist Lev with the boxes," Marge suggested coolly.

"Good idea. You stay here and make stupid faces, Bobby."

Bobby had no difficulty with that whatsoever.


"Hello? Speaking. Oh, it's you, Bobby. Yes, I'm fine, this morning I isolated a new strain of--"

"What? Slow down. With your voluminous vocalizations I can't comprehend a single syllable you say."



"Is she still naked?"




"I don't think so ... Wait, no ... the name sounds vaguely familiar."

"Er, sorry, I don't think so."

"Yes, I would have remembered if you dated her. Unless, perhaps your relationship occurred during one of the hiatuses in our friendship, and you only informed me of her afterwards..."

"Well, I don't know. Perhaps it was during your rather uneventful university experience."


"Hello? Bobby? Hello?"


"Hi, Dave Pearson speaking."

"Bobby who?"

"OH! Oh, yeah, roommates, right. Hey, remember that time we made that potato gun and--"

"Huh? Well, geez, Bobby, I don't recall you ever having a girlfriend in college."

"Well, I don't. Hey, didn't we become roommates after your first roommate dropped out of school to become a drag queen?"

"Really? That was my roommate? Are you sure?"

"Oh, yeah, I do remember that. I guess you're ri -- huh?"

"No, man, I'm positive I don't know anyone named Lev. Are you sure that's a real name?"

"Okay, whatever you say. I don't know her. Hey, remember that chick who lived down the hall and used to-- hello? Hello?"


"Hellooo? Oh, Bobby, darling, you never call! (William, it's Bobby!)"

"Maddie, the boy comes over every Sunday."

"Bobby, I meant to ask you-- ShopRite's having a sale on Tide again. I know when you were little it used to give you a rash? Does it still? I was going to buy you some, since I had a coupon, but--"

"Well, honestly, Bobby, I don't know when we're going to talk about it, we never see you."

"We see him every Sunday, Madeline."

"What was that, Bobby? Your father's blathering. Well, I remember that nice Rogue girl..."


"William, stop that! I remember the other one ... Ruby? Opal, yes, that was it!"


"William, mind your manners! Bobby, your father's being unbearable. No, I'm afraid I don't know that name. William, do you remember Bobby ever dating a young lady named 'Lev'?"

"Lev what?"

"Last name, dear...? He doesn't know."

"Don't remember a 'Lev.' Tell him I saw Judy Harmon's brat the other day, and it looks like beaver on two legs."

"William! It's Judy Beasley, now, and that's NOT a very nice thing to say! Bobby, your father's being -- Bobby? Don't you hang up on me, young man? Are you still there? Good. Now, about that Tide..."

The phone slammed into the cradle with a loud BANG.

That was followed by a second BANG as Bobby's head hit the wall.

And a third. Not to mention a fourth.

"Maybe she's lying. Maybe she's delusional. Maybe I'M delusional and none of this is real..." Bobby reasoned to himself. "After all, nobody is unlucky enough to have THREE of their ex-girlfriends move in across the hall from him. NObody."

"Hey, brat, you remember that funky alien chick you dated for a week when we went to that weird planet? Lev or something? She's moving in across the hall from you."

Bobby stuck his head out of the little room claiming to be his kitchen to see Warren Worthington III, multimillionaire and playboy, sniffing his empty Alphabits box.



"You know her?"

"Huh? No 'Hi, Warren'? No 'Nice ta see you, Warren'? No 'Thanks for visiting my modest hovel, Warren'?"

Bobby ignored him, not to mention the general incongruency of his presence, as well.

"You know her?"



"Oh, Lev. No, not really."

"You just said you did!"

Warren dropped the cereal box, and threw himself on the couch. "Then why did you ask?"

Bobby gritted his teeth. "Warren ... tell me everything you know about her..."

"I'm hungry. Don't you have any food in this place?" Warren hopped up again and wandered into the kitchen, Bobby tailing close on his heels.

"Talk first. Then I'll buy you a pizza."

"Ha. Can you afford it? Nice apartment, by the way."

"You've been here before. Look, I don't remember her, and she's mad at me. What on earth happened?"

"Nothing," Warren said, throwing open the cupboard door. "We were on her planet. Whoa! What'd you do, rob a Hostess truck?"


"Okay, okay, remember when we went to that planet?"

"What planet?"

"With the Chosen and the Rejects and the big arena fight? And they had this big gladiator match ... you vs. me? YO, what is THIS?" he exclaimed, picking up a bag of ramen noodles.

"WHAT? Gladiator match?"

"Yep. Fate of society. I represented the residual power of the ruling uberclass, you represented the hopes and dreams of the hard-working proletariat. Scott had a funny hat. I'm not sure what he represented."

"What does this have to do with Lev?"

"Hey, can we make this. It's a complete meal! In a little baggy."

Bobby snatched the ramen out of Warren's hand. "Answers first. Ramen later."

Warren frowned, then twitched a little. "'Kay."

"Who ... is ... Lev?" Bobby enunciated slowly, waving the ramen tantalizingly.

"She's our roommate," Marge explained simply, walking through the kitchen. She walked over the refrigerator, removed a beer, and started to walk out again. "You met her just ten minutes ago. You truly have a poor memory, Bobby Drake." Then she walked about again.

"She's HOT!"

"You have a girlfriend."


"She's a cosmic entity and has a weird thing going on with her own father."

"Ew, don't want any of that..." Seeing an opportunity, Warren made a mad snatch for the ramen.

"HA!" Bobby replied, whipping it away.  "Lev. Who is she?"

"She was just some chick you dated!"

"Why don't I remember this?"

"You got stuck in some kinda telepathic backlash, and had amnesia. When you got your memory back, you forgot everything that happened in between."

Bobby's eyes widened.  "You're so making this up."

"Nope. Sorry."

"'Fraid not, effendi. Ramen now?"

"That's it? We dated and I forgot her? Does she KNOW I forgot her?"

"Yup. I could tell she was doing the girl thing, about it, too."

"The what?"

"The girl thing.  Where she wanted to go off and cry or beat you up or something, but was all stoic about it. Y'know, like Jeannie used to do when she really liked Scott and he kept blowing her off to go brood."

"I made her do that?" Bobby asked, voice suddenly small.

"Yup. But now she's right across the hall, so you guys can pick up right where you left off! Let's make some ramen."

"Lookie, lookie! 384 channels!" Cloud announced, merrily zipping through them.

"The Daughter of Oblivion has no need for petty -- DID YOU JUST FLIP PAST 'CHARLIE'S ANGELS'?"

"Whoops! Sorry."

Lev hmmphed, groping for another wire. Humans had primitive technology. Currently, she was hooking up the large box Cloud had dubbed a "refrigerator" to a power cell she'd made out of three nickels, a cucumber, and an obscene amount of duct tape.

"Stop messin' around with that!" Cloud called. "You've been playing with it all night. Come watch some tv!"

"I don't want to."

"But 'Charlie's Angels' are on," Marge added, leaning over the back of the couch."

"I don't even know what that is," Lev pointed out.

"Only the bestest show ever!" Cloud expounded. "Aw, cheer up, Levvy. Bobby's not exactly the brightest spark plug at the Pep Boys. I'm sure he didn't mean to forget you."

"What does Robert have to do with anything?" Lev grumped, sticking another piece of duct tape to her cucumber.

"You don't need to be embarrassed about it," Marge said, cocking her head to the side. "We have all dated him at one time or another."

"I never dated him!"

"So you keep saying," Cloud snorted.  "I think you still like him."

"I never liked him!"

"Well, I certainly liked him," Cloud shrugged.  "He was a sweetie. I'm not saying he was my true love or anything, but he was a really nice guy, and I'm glad he was the last guy I got to date before I became a force of nature."

"Robert does have a ... inexplicable allure," Marge put in thoughtfully. "He's like those marshmallow bunnies they sell around Easter. No one goes out to buy them, but when you're at the grocery store, and they're on sale for 63 cents, sometimes you just can't help yourself."

The other two stared at her uncomprehendingly.

"What are you talking about?" Cloud asked bluntly.

Marge blinked. "I'm not sure."

"Now, this is television," Warren sighed, leaning back against the couch as Cheryl Ladd judo-CHOPped a bad guy into unconsciousness.

"I guess," Bobby sighed, poking at his cold ramen.

"Hey, what's up with you? You love the Angels."

"I just ... feel so BAD about forgetting her..."

"You say that like you've never forgotten a girl before."

"Thank you, millionaire playboy."

"I mean, you can't seriously tell me you expect to maintain a decent relationship with every girl you've ever dated."

"I am a nice guy, Warren. And there are rules about being a nice guy. You have to come in last, die young, and maintain good relationships with all your ex's."

"Ugh. A pirate's life for me, then. Free as a bird, that's ol' War. You worry too much. I mean, why should you have to remember every little stupid thing about a girl. I mean, there are 365 days in a year, right? She could have HINTED, you know. Anniversary of the first day we met, my -- Women should not expect you to keep track of these things!"

Bobby blinked. It figured. Warren never visited without a reason. "Warren, I'm not going to put you up for a week again. I don't have that much ramen. You better call her."

"Look, I'm not you and your pathetic little 'I feel so bad 'cos I forget about her' attitude. I'm my own man, and furthermore, I'm in the right, here. I'm not gonna call her."

"Fine, whatever."




"Betsy always reminded me of Kelly Garrett," Warren said, gesturing towards the television. "They're both so -- sniff -- high-class ... and ... sniff ...athletic ... and ... strong-willed ... sniff ... and ... sniff..."

Without a word, Bobby handed him the phone.

"You two look ridiculous."

"It's good for our complexions!"

"That doesn't make you look less ridiculous."

"Even the Daughter of Oblivion does not have perfect pores without a little help."

Lev squirmed ,eyeing the bowl of avocado mixture sitting on the table. "And those are perfectly good cucumbers!"

"Yes, they are," Cloud agreed. "And right now, they're perfectly good cucumbers relieving eye puffiness."

Carefully watching her two roommates, Lev stuck one cautious finger in the bowl of goop.

"Ha!" Cloud exclaimed.

"I just wanted to see what if felt like!" Lev exclaimed, wondering how the other girl could see with cucumbers over her eyes.

"You should see what it feels like on your face," Marge replied.  "You have pores like the Oil Pits of Ragdoran."

"Thanks, Marge."

Cloud pulled the limp vegetable slices off her eyes, and sat up, grinning around her lumpy mask. "Aw, c'mon, Levvy! It's fun! We're painting our toenails next."

Lev squirmed again. "Oil Pits of Ragdoran, huh?"

"Hiiii, pooookiee -- EW, HANK!"

Bobby snickered.

"Look, I misdialed the extension! SHUT UP, HANK!" Warren slammed the phone down. "Thought that was funny, did you, Drake?"

Bobby grinned smarmily.

Warren picked up the phone and dialed again.

"Betsy? Hiiii, pooookiee..."

Bobby rolled his eyes.

"Uh-huh. Well, yeah. I mean, I feel horrible enough about having forgotten, but I feel EVEN WORSE that you're mad at me..."

Bobby started gagging dramatically.

"Of course I think you're -- stop that! -- No, not you, honey!"

Warren shot Bobby a Death Look.

"Hmm? Where am I? Well, I'm at Bobby's. Yeah, in Port Jefferson ... Well, I can fly, honey."

"And BOY are my arms tired!" Bobby announced, loud enough for Betsy to hear through the phone.

"Get out of here, Drake!"

"It's my apartment!"

Warren scrunched up in the corner of the couch, and cupped his hand over the phone, pointedly ignoring Bobby. "Yes, honey, I'm so sorry. Uh-huh. Right. I know. You're beautiful. You are. Really really -- can I come home? Well, Bobby's apartment kinda smells bad."


"Well, no. I dunno, Betsy, he is my friend. Fed me? Yeah, we ate. Watched some tv. Talked to his new neighbors. Guy stuff, y'know--" Warren jerked the phone away from his ear as a torrent of British-accented screaming filled the apartment.

Bobby blinked.

Gingerly, Warren leaned nearer to the receiver. "No, honey, it's just--" He jerked it away again, scowling, then slammed it up to his ear. "You never let me have any fun! You want to know something? It's STUPID to forget the day we met! We have eight different anniversaries! You know Hank keeps a stock of greeting cards under his bed to sell to me and Scott for grossly inflated prices? Well he does! WOMEN!" He slammed the phone down. "That felt good."

Bobby scratched his head. "Weren't you trying to get her to forgive you?"

Warren blinked. "Uh ... Hey, uh, this is one fine couch. Real good quality. You ever sleep on this couch?"

Bobby sighed

Lev stared at her toenails, which were now a rather perky shade of lavender. "Cloud?"

Cloud looked up from trying to bend herself over far enough to blow on the drying green polish on her own toenails.


"How are we supposed to walk with all this cotton stuffed between our toes?"

"Women are good for nothing!"

"You already said that, Warren."

"That girl across the hall? NEVER APOLOGIZE TO HER! It will only bring MISERY!"

"Sure, Warren."

"Believe me, Bobby, you're better off as a swinging bachelor! Like myself!"

"Whatever you say, Warren."

"Um ... Bobby?"

"Do you think Betsy would let me come back if I begged?"

"Not at 2 a.m., Warren."

Lev sighed, and stared at the ceiling, wondering what humans did at 4:28 a.m.

After finding themselves immobile, the three girls had decided to sack out on the couch for the night. God bless the Clapper.

Marge and Cloud had fallen asleep in minutes.

For cosmic beings, they sure were carefree.

Lev breathed out, blowing her bangs out of her face. It was no use. She couldn't sleep. Maybe it was the avocado goop on her face. Maybe it was all the cotton stuffed between her toes that she wasn't sure was safe to remove. Maybe it was the stupid, lumpy couch.

Or maybe it was the guy across the hall, who couldn't remember her, but had looked awfully cute trying.

No, it was definitely the avocado goop.

Though he couldn't speak for all humans, Robert Drake liked to sleep at 4:28 a.m. Especially after spending several hours trying to comfort a distressed Warren whom Bobby was beginning to suspect might have bipolar disorder.

And at that particular 4:28 a.m, he was dreaming, heavily.

He was at Show-Biz Pizza.

In his underwear.

With the New Defenders.

"Sausage!" Gargoyle insisted.

"We will get ham and pineapple and you will like it," Moondragon snapped back.

"I wanna play Skeeball!" Cloud whined.

Bobby tried to remember why he'd broken up with her.

"WE WOULD LIKE PEPPORONI," Overmind put in.

"Now, hold on, little dogies," John Wayne put in. "I think we can come to some sort of agreement."

Bobby blinked. He hadn't remembered John Wayne being on the New Defenders. Nevertheless, there he was, sitting between Valkyrie and Warren, with Hank's puppy Sassafrass sitting on his lap. Bobby wondered if he should warn the Duke about Sassy's little bladder problem.

"Hey, can I take your order?" the waitress, who, incidentally, was dressed as a giant chipmunk, asked.

"Pizza!" Cloud announced. She had changed into her male form. Bobby abruptly remembered why he broke up with her.

The waitress smacked Bobby in the head with her menus.


"Three anchovy pizzas," Candy announced. She was wearing her "Brains Behind the Defenders" t-shirt.

"But I'm allergic--" Bobby started.

The waitress hit him again.


"And we require mead, as well," Valkyrie intoned.

"But I'm not twenty-one!" Bobby protested, even though he was.

The waitress smacked Bobby in the head again.

"STOP THAT! Why do you keep hitting me?"

The waitress dramatically threw back the furry hood of her costume. "You left me at the altar!"

Bobby blinked. "Opal? Opal Tanaka?"

Opal smacked him with the menus again.

"Stop that! We were never going to get married! What are you talking about?"


With that, Opal started hitting him over the head repeatedly with the menus.

"OWOWOWOW! Stop it! I wouldn't forget that! I don't forget things like that!"

The hitting stopped.

Cautiously, Bobby opened his eyes.

Though he was no longer at Show-Biz Pizza, he was still in his underwear. He seemed to be sitting in a desk in one of the classrooms at Professor Xavier's mansion. It was too small, and his knees bumped up against the desk part.

"Wouldn't forget, huh?" Opal asked, puffing into existence, a comically huge mallet slung over one shoulder. Well, it would have been comical if it didn't have "Bobby Basher 2000" printed on the side.

"I think he's lying!" Cloud announced, popping in next to her.

"Of course he is," Marge added, appearing next to Cloud.

"I'm not!" Bobby protested.

"Oh, don't listen to him," Darkstar put in, from Opal's left.

"I'm innocent!" Bobby wailed.

The girls paused.

"I don't know..." Opal said slowly. "What do you think, Lev?"

Lev blinked large golden eyes. "I don't know. What do YOU think, Bobby?"

Bobby swallowed.

Opal hefted her mallet.


Bobby sat up in bed, panting.

"Screw Warren's stupid ideas. I gotta apologize."

Three hours later.

















"SIXteen cookies!  AH AH AH AH AAAAAHH!"

"Lev, I told you to stop throwing Corn Pops at the television. I had to go to a lot of trouble to steal them from Bobby's apartment. If his nice friend, Warren, hadn't let me in, you wouldn't even have breakfast right now." Lev hunched her shoulders ignoring the red-haired cosmic overlordess. "I don't see why I have to watch this show."

"You do if you want to learn to count."

Lev flushed.  "I KNOW how to count! I'm not stupid. I taught myself your stupid Earth language in less than a month. It's not my fault this planet has a ridiculous ten-based system!"

Marge nodded, sagely. "Keep at it. You'll get it sooner or later."

"Of course I will," Lev grumbled to herself. "And I bet I'll get better thunder-and-lightning effects than that stupid puppet, too."

Marge couldn't quite remember what kind of thunder-and-lightning effect she got when she counted, but they must have been impressive, indeed.

"Ready to go?" Cloud chirped, bouncing out of her room.

"SuperFresh, here we come," Marge agreed.

"Get me more cucumbers," Lev snorted. "I need to make more batteries."

"Sesame Street? Again?" Cloud asked, squinting at the television. "Look, counting's no big deal. That's what calculators are for. Wait, no, I guess you need counting for that, too. Um ... good luck!"

Lev scowled. "I didn't want to go, anyway."

"Well, see ya later, Lev!" Cloud shrugged. "Have a good time. I think Mr. Rogers is on next."

Lev fumed as her roommates bustled out of the apartments, complete with coupons and grocery list. She squirmed as Bert started to do the pigeon. "I can do it. I can." She cleared her throat. "One - two - three - four - five - six - seven - eight - nine - ten - eleven - twelve - thirteen - oneteen - twoteen - thir-- oh, shoot."

Her train of thought was derailed by an urgent knock on the door.

"If you forgot any more of those coupons, you can cut them out yourself!" she yelled irritably.

"It's me!"

Lev blinked.

"Me, who?"

"Me, Bobby!"

Oh. Bobby.


The door started to open.

Lev scrambled for the remote. It slipped between her fingertips ... straight down between the couch cushions.  She managed to dive for the television, just as Bobby stuck his head in the room.

"Are you ... uh ... busy?" he asked awkwardly.

"No," Lev managed, peeling herself off the television, and switching it off with as much dignity as she could muster.

Bobby scratched his head, trying to figure out what she was doing. Women. "Um ... where are the others?"

"At the grocery store."

Bobby smiled a little. "Oh. Good, 'cos I wanted to talk to you."

Lev retrieved her fallen Corn Pops, and plopped down on the couch again. "Why? You don't even know me."

"Well, that's just it."

Lev raised one eyebrow.

"Well, I obviously used to know you and I wanted to--"

"No, you didn't. I've never met you before in my life."

Bobby blinked. "Okay, now you're just lying to me."

"What does it matter whether you knew me or not? You don't now."

"But I'd like to."

Lev started suddenly, and began to stare intently at her cereal.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong."

"I came over to say I was sorry. For forgetting you."

Lev sifted her spoon through her milk. I don't care, she wanted to say. That's nice, she wanted to say. You were the only person who didn't judge me by my caste and who thought I was beautiful and wanted to touch me and then you LEFT damn you, she wanted to say.

Instead she played with her cereal.

"I mean, I haven't exactly had the best track record in world with women, y'know. They keep leaving me for ... oh ... other women ... or Scott's geeky kid brother ... or their own dads ... I gotta keep good relations with all the ones I can."

A slight smile tugged at the edge of Lev's mouth.

"So whaddya say? Forgive me?"

Lev blinked. "Okay."

Bobby beamed, and jumped onto the couch next to her. "Now, so I don't ever have to forget, tell me about us."

"U-us?" Lev stammered.

"Sure. How we know each other and stuff. It must've been about ... uh ... one-two ... five years ago, right?"

Lev blinked. One-two-FIVE?

She glanced at Bobby's beaming face. And then shoved her bowl of soggy corn pops into it. There. She felt better all ready. Perhaps this could work out after all.

continued >>

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