by DuAnn Cowart
Standard disclaimers apply...
She lay back in the soft leather chair, trying her best to get comfortable. The drab business suit she wore, while certainly not as tight as her usual garb, was infinitely less comfortable. A tag was biting the inside of her neck (an indication of how often she wore this particular outfit), she didn't think her stockings were on straight, and the damn shoes pinched her feet. Despite herself, she began to laugh Well whaaaah, bloody whaaaaaah, Dom, she good-naturedly chided. Life's tough, ain't it? Do something about it or quit bitching.
She sat up in the chair and reached behind her neck into the shirt. Grasping the sharp tag of the cream silk shell she wore underneath the beige suit, she ripped it out. Smiling in satisfaction, she tossed it over her left shoulder where it fell neatly in a rear trash can. She didn't notice. Running her hand over the back of her neck, she sighed in relief Ahhhh...much better. If only all my problems were so easily solved.
Logan favored her with a wry grin. "Feel better, darlin'?" He was lying on his side on the seats along the side of the plane, facing the two reclining leather chairs now occupied by Domino and Betsy.
She returned his grin. "Yeah, old man, I do, but I'd feel a hell of a lot better if this plane was in mid-air instead of sitting here takin' up space. I hate the waiting."
He laughed at her "Old man, my hairy ass! I know what ya mean, Neena. I ain't too fond o' waitin', either." He glanced at the clock and yawned. It's noon, an' we're late. Nate-boy, ya ain't making things no easier by arguin' with her. If 'Ro wants ta do somethin', she's gonna do it. Might as well just face th' music. He stretched, breathing in deeply, but stopped in mid-stretch and delicately sniffed the air again. Detecting a very familiar fragance at the periphery of the hangar bay, he chuckled despite himself. *Hey, Betts, wake up. Time for the rock an' a hard place,* he mentally called to Psylocke.
Betsy had long sinced bored of her magazine and had leaned back in the comfortable chair, dozing lightly. She hadn't gotten much sleep the night before- she and Warren had argued for hours, and when they finally finished neither had felt much like sleeping. The fight had been so stupid- he was angry because the Worthington Industries annual stockholders meeting began in two days and she had promised that she'd be there for it. Betsy snorted delicately- as a telepath, she had an intuitive knowledge of her lover's thoughts, and she knew that the true problem went a little bit deeper than that. Despite the bond he and Logan had formed during that awful Crimson Dawn experience, Warren had always been jealous of their Canadian teammate and the long history he and Betsy shared only made it worse. She shook her dark head, bringing her thoughts back to the present. She wearily opened her eyes and answered *Whatever do you mean, Logan?*
He grinned and stretched again, replying *This little party just got a new member. See for yerself.* He tilted his head towards the open door of the PACRAT.
Before she could cast her thoughts around to discover what Logan had been talking about, the mystery was revealed. Ororo strode regally up the ramp and into the cabin, carrying a small canvas travel bag. She calmly walked over to one of the seats beside Logan and sat down, laying her bag beside her. Betsy stifled a groan *Very interesting indeed,* she broadcast back to Logan, but she privately worried This does not bode well. What was Cable thinking?
Domino looked up from where she was struggling to slip off her tight shoes and saw Ororo walk into the plane, head held high. Domino's eyes narrowed and she sat up board-straight in the plush chair. What the hell is she doing here?!? I told Nate just the four of us... At Ororo's entrance, she sensed everyone's eyes on her, gauging her reaction. She immediately assumed an expression of tight indifference. I don't know just what's going on here, but damn if I'm gonna play soap-opera for anybody, she swore. I'm tired of these reindeer games.
Ororo glanced across the cabin and said in a regal voice "Hello, my friends. I shall be journeying with you to London as well." She smiled at each of the passengers, secured her luggage then stood up. "I see you are all ready. Now, let me verify that the final preparations for the flight have been made so we can leave."
Domino ground her teeth, but said in a cool voice "Hello, Storm. Thanks so much for offering, but it's already been taken care of. We're ready to go." She crossed her arms over her chest and asked in a steady voice "Might I inquire as to why you're gracing us with your company?"
Ororo stopped in front of her, staring down at the still seated Domino. "Hello, Domino. That suit is...unusually becoming. I was simply asking Nathan about the details of this trip and suggested that my abilities might come in useful. He agreed. This mysterious message sounds most important- I cannot wait to meet Mr. Wisdom and hear it."
Logan winced and grabbed his weathered cowboy hat and placed it over his face. Ain't gettin' inta this one, he decided, but kept a close eye on the two anyway.
Domino rose out of her chair, arms folded over her chest. "I'm sorry," she replied in a conversational tone. "Why did you say you were going along with us? I'm afraid my hearing is going..." She stepped closer to Ororo, a sugary sweet smile plastered on her face.
Facing each other, the two were almost the same height and body type, but the physical similarities ended there. They appeared almost photo negatives of the other- one with palest skin and darkest hair, the other dusky skin and pale, silvery hair. Dark violet eyes met pale aquamarine ones in a flinty stare, and Ororo responded in an equally 'pleasant' tone. "Why, to meet Mr. Wisdom and receive his message, of course."
Domino nodded somberly "I thought that's what you said." As she spoke, Cable walked up the ramp and into the plane. Seeing the women's stances, he froze. Fortunately for him, both were so engrossed in their conversation that neither noticed him. Psylocke, however, did.
*I would advise a strategic retreat,* a wry British voice sounded in his thoughts. He glared at her but didn't interfere with the conversation, instead choosing to stand quietly in the doorway and observe.
Domino raised an elegant eyebrow. Bringing her hands together in a perpendicular manner, she shook her head briskly. "Hold on just one minute. 'T' on the field. You're gonna talk to Pete?"
Cable recognized the dangerous glint in his partner's eyes and, taking a deep breath and saying a silent prayer, stepped forward. "Hey! Sorry I'm late- everyone ready for takeoff?"
To Be Continued...
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27
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