Mother and I don't see eye to eye on Scott Summers. She thinks he's too young for me, not educated enough; his family didn't come over on the Mayflower nor was any Summers blood spilled during the Revolution. She doesn't care for his clothes ("Does he *always* wear button-down shirts and khakis?") so she's bewildered I've decided to throw my lot in with a man whose greatest desire is to become the best damn math teacher this side of the Mississippi.
At the annual Fourth of July picnic at my parents' house, shortly after Scott proposed to me, my mother approached me cautiously. I took the glass of lemonade she held out to me, acknowledging it as a peace offering. There had been tension between us since I'd announced I was marrying a man whose eyes I'd never really seen.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to you," Mother said cordially. She glanced toward the grill where Father and Scott stood chatting; other guests milled about the backyard. Music by The Beach Boys played in the background. "I'm glad you could come."
I eyed her. "It's a family tradition I wouldn't miss."
Mother nodded. "Jean, come sit down."
"Is something wrong?" I asked casually as I followed her to the picnic table.
"You've been quiet today and I want to know you're all right," Mother said.
"It's nothing," I said edgily. "I've had a hard few days at work. I just need some rest."
"Can I do something?"
"Not really," I said. I looked over at Scott. Ninety-eight degrees out and he was dressed in what else but a blue button-down shirt and khakis. "No one said being a doctor would be easy. I can take care of myself."
"What about Scott?" I asked defensively.
"Does he take care of you?"
"He supports me," I corrected Mother sharply. "That's what I need and want from him."
"Are you sure about him?" A sideways question, yes, but trademark Mother; her indirect way of phrasing drives me absolutely insane. On occasion, I want to grab her and tell her to just spit whatever it is out.
"Yes. Sure enough that I want to spend the rest of my life with him," I said coolly. Mother turned away. I considered going after her to figure out exactly what she wanted from me. I dismissed the idea and instead, enjoyed my lemonade. A few minutes later, Scott joined me, his face flushed from the heat. He sat across from me, a beer in one hand, the other covering mine.
"Hey there," he said. Scott has this way of softening his voice and pushing a word out on the curve of exhaled air. It's an inflection hard to describe but one I know is reserved for me and only for me. This Scott is different than the one who commands the X-Men. *That* Scott is confident, unflinching and serene. "Want to consider heading home soon?"
"I like the way you think."
We left after an hour, fortified with leftovers Mother packed for us. I sighed, relieved, as we pulled out of the driveway.
"Thanks for hanging in there," I said. "I know it wasn't easy."
"Your dad and I get along great," Scott answered. I smiled at him. What a diplomat he could be.
"I'm sorry about Mother." Yes, Mother *had* behaved politely to Scott but one didn't have to be a telepath to sense the disapproval which lay behind her Emily Post etiquette.
"It's not your fault." Scott shrugged. It was a casual, fluid gesture. I admit it: I love the way Scott moves. He has a grace I've always admired. Whereas I'm always stumbling over my own feet, Scott has his planted solidly on terra firma. "You're not your mother."
"No." I stared at the passing scenery pensively. "She doesn't think I should marry you."
This wasn't news to him, but even so, Scott's lips tightened into a thin line. Maybe I couldn't get a sense of the man in his eyes, but his every other facial feature displayed expression. I reached over to clasp his hand in mine.
"What do you think?" Scott asked. He didn't take his eyes off the road. Scott isn't the type. He doesn't hold the steering wheel with one hand ("Ten and two o'clock, Jean!") nor does he fiddle for his cell phone while driving.
"You know what I think." I held my hand up, flashing my engagement ring at him.
"But you're sure? Absolutely?"
"Yes, of course. You?"
"There's never been any question in my mind, not since the moment I met you."
I loved the tone of passionate certainty tinged with idealistic romance in his voice. Scott never goes halves on anything; it is total commitment for him, all or nothing. As much as that black-and-white attitude of his drives me insane on occasion, I also know I love him for it.
"Looks like we're stuck with each other," I said softly.
"How romantic." But he smiled.
We finally reached the school after ten. We stumbled upstairs in the dark – almost like we were teenagers sneaking around on our parents – and collapsed on the bed in our room. He pressed his lips to the curve of my neck. His hands warmed my skin as I melted against him.
I've never told my mother that when not in front of the classroom, Scott moonlights as the head of the X-Men. No need to tell my mother how my heart drops to my knees when Scott appears in his black leather uniform or how his calm battle persona soothes my nerves. Any mention of the dangers we face battling mutants intent on world domination or humans who want to rid the world of us, and my mother would automatically assume Scott was trying to get me killed; she wouldn't understand the truth is something else entirely. I don't need pilgrims or Revolutionary war generals as my heroes; I sleep next to one every night.
~ the end