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Bitch

by Minisinoo

[Story Headers]

Bitch.

Strength of will alone keeps me from turning my head. It was a thought -- not spoken aloud -- and we telepaths learn early to permit other people their privacies . . . even when it's about us.

I'm eating dinner -- alone -- in the old dining-hall-cum-school-cafeteria. Scott and the professor are busy, Ororo hasn't arrived yet, and Logan left three days ago. That sticks me with a room full of hyperactive teenagers, and a headache. I push around the peas and carrots on my plate. I hate peas and carrots.

SuperBitch should be HER code-name.

The thought arrows my way again and I wonder if the girl actually intended me to hear it. It has the whiskey-strong flavor of anger, and envy.

What the hell did he see in her, anyway?

Nineteen years, I think to myself. He saw nineteen extra years, honey.

It's not something Marie -- Rogue -- is either ready or open to hear. She thinks seventeen is old enough and she's all grown up. She thinks she's seen more than I have. Like many here, she spent some months on the street, months I never suffered.

But she didn't spend three years in a mental ward with the voices and memories of a hundred people dancing through her skull, from murderers and rapists to nurses and nuns -- a telepathic Sibyl. The kids here don't know about that . . . and they don't need to. I'm their teacher and their doctor, not their rival . . . even if some of the girls want to put me in that category -- either because their math teacher with the killer cheekbones sleeps in my bed, or Mr. I'm-too-Sexy-for-My-Shirt chased me around the mansion for two weeks.

Part of me is amused. Part of me is impatient and wants to thwap them upside the head with a lesson in perspective. But the worst part of me (spelled P-R-I-D-E) just wants the opportunity to set them all straight. That's the seventeen-year-old in me agitating to escape. And I know better.

After all, I've been Marie -- the insecure girl who sat in the classroom corner, all covered up in clothes, glaring with a mixture of resentment and adoration at the self-assured female professors who handed out homework and affirmation-by-way-of-grades. And wore a ring on their fingers.

Now I'm the self-assured female professor with the ring.

But inside, I'm still the too-tall Amazon with a thin face, a red-head's complexion, flat hair, and a flatter chest -- and what boy in his right mind would look twice at me?

We don't carry mental pictures of ourselves as others see us now. We carry mental pictures of ourselves as we were then. The kids see Dr. Jean Grey, M.D., Ph.D. with Italian pumps, stylish clothes, and male attention. I see the shy science geek who somehow caught the prom king and still wonders when he's going to wake up to the pretty (younger) girls who corner him in his office and bend over his desk so he has a good view of their cleavage . . . which is typically more generous than mine, and still perky when the push-up bra comes off.

Scott just tells me that anything more than a mouthful is wasted. He's not in love with my chest.

Which is a damn good thing.

I don't dislike Rogue, even if she thinks I do, and hates me. Truth is -- I empathize with her too much to dislike her. She'd also like affirmation of her womanhood from a man who oozes testosterone, and saved her life -- but it's the sweet-faced Good Guy who moons after her big brown eyes and treats her like a queen. And I bet it'll be a good guy she winds up with -- well, she will if she has the sense she was born with. Logan may make my heart race a little (okay, race a lot), but he's not going to fix the backing-up toilet at two in the morning. At two in the morning, he'll be out gallivanting and drinking scotch neat. And if the girls think gallivanting and scotch beats fixing the toilet, well, that's because they're teenagers. They're supposed to think that way.

I'm thirty-six, my skin is losing its tautness, my hands are showing the veins, there are brackets around my mouth, and I have hair growing where it never grew before. I'm closer to forty than to thirty, much less seventeen, and I need to be pragmatic. Besides, the girls who, at eighteen, chose the gallivanting Bad Boy are the same girls who, at thirty-six, wind up cynical and worn out with four kids, three divorces, and two broken bones courtesy of whatever Bad Boy they're living with this week. I've seen enough of them in the emergency room to know, and that's an excitement I can personally do without, thank you very much. I have lived it, right along with the women whose cuts I stitched up.

And if Logan isn't that bad, I don't think he'll be leaving his boots under anyone's bed for long -- especially not if he's shown a test result with the single blue line that screams 'pregnant!' The same guy who fixes backed-up toilets is the guy who'll help shop for baby furniture, rub my aching back muscles, and take a turn walking a squalling infant at three in the morning. Oh -- and who does laundry. What woman can't love a man who does laundry, dishes, and cooks better than she does? The good guy sticks around. It doesn't hurt that my Good Guy flies a black jet and owns a turbo-charged Harley (even if Logan did 'borrow' it).

But what it boils down to is that I'm at a different place in my life than the three young ladies spoon-popping peas (?!) at each other one table over and behind. Their future wells with possibility, and it's their job to try out the options, travel a few roads and see where it takes them -- and kiss a few cute boys (or cute girls) along the way.

Me -- I'm ready to settle down and get married. Marriage is its own kind of adventure, a mission that two people embark on together. I may not always like Scott, and I don't always desire him, but I respect him, and I love him . . . even when I stop to admire the beefcake strutting by in flannel on the sidelines. Good heavens, I'm engaged, not dead.

So if the girls here think I'm a bitch because I'm lucky enough to have two men watch my ass when I walk down a hall, that's okay. Certainly the boys didn't look twice at my ass when I was their age, so I figure I've earned it after thirty-six years of waiting.

Rising from my seat with my (empty but for peas and carrots) tray, I spot Scott and Ororo on the way in, and pause to kiss Scott quickly as I pass.

GOD, the way she flounces around flirting is disGUSting!

Rogue's final thought, and I grin to myself. You bet, sugar, I think as I pull out my best nerdy science geek glasses and settle them on my nose, masking SuperBitch behind mild-mannered Dr. Grey. In the elevator down to the lab, I wiggle my hips as I dance and sing (loudly) to myself: "She's got it! Yeah, baby, she's got it! I'm your Venus, I'm your fire at your desire. Well, I'm your Venus, I'm your fire at your desire . . ."

I should really leave the singing to Scott, and the elevator opens down below to reveal the professor sitting there. He's staring. "Jean?"

Caught in flagrante delicto. Blushing and pushing my glasses up my nose, I scoot out and around his chair, hurrying for the sanctuary of my lab. "Ah -- nothing, sir."

SuperBitch has DNA samples to rescue from the Evil Centrifuge.


NOTES: Obviously, folks, I don't dislike Rogue any more than Jean does, nor do I dislike Logan, but I had an indecent amount of fun with this one.  For all the fangirls who're closer to forty than to twenty and have hair growing where it never grew before. :-D

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Fandom:  X-Men
Title:  Bitch
Author:  Minisinoo   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  7k  |  01/17/05
Characters:  Jean Grey (Rogue)
Pairings:  Jean/Scott assumed
Summary:  Jean overhears some private thoughts. Bitch!Jean seen (tongue-in-cheek) from the other side.
Notes:  Just to show not everything I write is deadly serious. :-)

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