By Rebop


The first thing I became aware of was being carried. I was so very tired, but I also hate someone doing my walking for me.

“ Put me down, please.” I asked. “ I can walk on my own.”

 He chuckled, deep in his throat. “ Nah, petite. You did all dat work flyin’ de plane. Least I can do is carry y’ a spell.”

 I wanted to argue, but I discovered I did not have the energy. So I rested my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes. I listened to his boots click on the pavement and breathed in his scent. He smelled very nice, like soap and leather and something spicy.

 We stopped and I watched with half closed eyes as he opened the door of a parked car. Red sparks flew from one of his fingers and then the door popped open.

“ I did not know you were a carjack.” I said, trying not to yawn.

“ Only in an ‘mergency, chere.” He laid me on the front seat and I slumped over. He then sat behind the wheel and started the car ignition with another magic flick of his fingers.

“ This is a very ugly car.” I said, this time really yawning.

He laughed. “Dis a P.O.S.” The car began to rattle forward.

“P.O.S.?” I asked.

“ Piece Of Shit. If you steal a car, always steal a beater, ‘cuz  nobody try too hard to get it back.”

 I had to smile even though I was not sure I liked him using bad words. Achmed would have never approved.

“Where are we going?” I yawned one more time.

“ Don’ worry ‘bout it, Stormy. You jus’ hush now and go to sleep.”

I put my head down on the dirty upholstery. “ Do not call me that.”

He chuckled and I looked up at him. His red eyes crinkled and glowed in the early morning light. “Jus’ go to sleep, petite.”

And I did.

  I had a terrible dream. The Shadow King was after me, chasing me down a long hallway. I ran and ran, but I could not find a door or exit. Finally, I was trapped and I was pressed close to a wall as that awful dark, cold thing came closer and closer and closer-

 And then I woke up and I heard someone coming through the door and I thought it might be the Shadow King. I did not think, I just found the knife I had hidden in my sleeve and I threw it. Too late, I realized my awful mistake as I saw my new friend enter the room. I did not have time to even scream a warning.

 But the man who called himself Gambit just plucked the knife out of the air as easy as you please. He stared at it with raised eyebrows. “Quite a pig sticker you got dere, Stormy.” I was shaking, and I could not breathe. He dropped what he was carrying and came over to me, patting my arm.

 “No need to get all upset, honey, Gambit fine. You jus’ all jumpy after all we been through.”

“ I might have killed you, Gambit.”

He snorted. “Nah. Take more den a dumb knife to hurt me. So stop y’ frettin’.”

My heart was still racing as he ruffled my hair. “ You still worried ‘bout dat Shadow King?”

I nodded. “I had a bad dream.”

 “Well, Stormy, I t’ink dat we make a pretty good team. If ol’ tall, dark an nasty show up again, we jus’ kick  his sorry behind back up de Mississippi.”

  He got a little more comfortable on the bed, sitting beside me cross- legged. It was then that I got my first real good look at my new friend. He was not as old as I first thought, maybe 21. Gambit is tall and thin, with long hands and graceful fingers that he uses a lot when talking. He has a face that reminds me of the pictures of angels that the Christian Missionaries give out on the streets of Cairo. His hair is a dark red color, all messy like a little boy who has just woken up. He has the most wonderful, mischief  filled smile that makes you want to smile back.

“So where are we?” I asked, looking around at what seemed to be a hotel room.

“Dis fine establishment called a Motel Six. We in de city of Shreveport, state of Louisiana.” This really meant absolutely nothing to me, but I smiled politely anyway.

 “ So where you from, Stormy? Don’t sound like you hail from ‘Merica. I’m guessin’ maybe like Africa or someplace, judgin’ by your accent.”

 “ I was born in Africa, in Egypt, yes.” I frowned, a bit annoyed because he guessed so easily.” And I do not have an accent. You are the one with the accent, Gambit. For a while, I could not understand half of what you said. Are you French?”

“ Nope. Dis boy from right here, I’m a Louisiana Cajun.” I had no idea what a Cajun was, and was about to ask, when Gambit looked at me a bit seriously.

“So, how did a little t’ing like you get all de way from Africa? “ A grin. “ Long walk.”

 I sighed. “ I do not remember.” Then I told him about waking up in the ditch, the hospital and all of that. I also told him about living in Cairo, Achmed and our pickpocket gang.

“So what happened to your folks, Stormy?” he asked softly after I had finished.

I looked down at the bedspread. This was always so hard. “ They…they are dead. It was an earthquake.”

All of a sudden, Gambit pulled me on his lap and held me close. I did not mind in the least, it was so kind.“ Sorry petite, so sorry.” he whispered. “ Awful to lose your maman and pere like dat.”

I looked up at him.” Do you have a family, Gambit?” His face got so sad, I was sorry I asked.

“Was a lot like you, chere, although I never knew my real folks at all…dat’s a long story. I grew up on de streets, mostly. Den I got adopted by de N’awlins Thieves Guild.”

I was impressed.” I have heard of the Guilds. Achmed told me they are the best thieves in the whole world.”

  Gambit stopped looking so sad. “Hmm. Dat Achmed, he know his stuff. I am definitely one of de best.” Then he frowned once more.” Not wit’ de Guild anymore, though. Dey kick me out. Guess no one can stand me for too long… I’m jus’ freelancin’ now.” He cuddled me closer. “ So Stormy, what you wanna do? You wanna go back to Egypt? I get you dere, dis Achmed, he sound like he ok.” He got serious again.” Or maybe you and me can hang out for a while. You a good thief, you make a real good partner. We have us some big fun, neh?”

 I thought very hard for a moment. I was starting to like Gambit very much, and I trusted him. He must have really liked me too, to want to be partners. And it also seemed somehow that he was very lonely, although he did not say so.

“ Yes, Gambit, I would very much like to be your partner.”

 He gave me the biggest, happiest smile, like I had just given him a present.

“ Dat’s good Stormy, I’m glad. Let’s shake on it.” Then he spat in his hand and took mine. I made a face, which made him laugh. I had to laugh too, even though it was horribly disgusting.

 “ Now dat it’s official, mademoiselle, I should introduce myself for real. I am Remy Etienne LeBeau.”

“ I am very pleased to meet you Remy.” I liked his name. It suited him.

“ So, I’m bettin’ you getting’ mighty hungry, padnat. You wanna get some eats?” He cocked his head at the bags he had brought in. “ If you wanna change clothes, I gotcha some new frocks to wear.”

 I gave him a kiss on the cheek and a quick hug, and Remy seemed pleased. Then I looked in the bags and found out that my new partner had very good taste in clothing.

 We ate at this little restaurant that seemed more like someone’s kitchen, very comfortable. I was so hungry, and the food was so good, I could not stop eating. Remy looked over his newspaper, one of his eyebrows raised.

“Where you put all dat, chere?”

“I am very full.”

“Hope so. I was startin’ to worry you was gonna eat all de plates an’ de tablecloth too.”

I laughed, and aimed a kick at his leg under the table. Unfortunately, I missed.

 Just then, the lady that owned the restaurant came over. She had very black, pretty skin, a friendly smile and was big and round. She poured more coffee into Remy’s cup and beamed at me.

 “Well, look at you, honey. You must like my cookin’, you eat it all up. And what a pretty little gal you are too. What’s your name, sugar?”

Before I could say anything, Remy answered from behind the paper. “Stormy.” I could hear the laughter in his voice.

“Stormy. A beautiful name for a beautiful child.” The lady gave me this really huge smile and I tried to politely smile back.

 “Suits her to a “T”.” Remy put down his paper, and I knew his eyes were twinkling behind the dark glasses he was wearing. I really wanted to smack him, but I could not at the moment.

“So Stormy,” the lady asked,” you think you can handle a helpin’ of my famous bread puddin’?”

  I thought if I ate another bite, I might actually explode, but bread pudding sounded so very interesting. “ I think I would like to try that, please.”

 “Such a polite little gal, too. Someone raised you right, baby.” The lady patted me on the head, which I absolutely hate, but she was so nice, I had to put up with it. Remy, of course, was very amused.

“ I dunno. My lil’ sister can be a real brat sometimes.” He smirked at me.

I had had enough. “ You are the one that is a brat, Remy.” I said with my arms folded.

 The lady chuckled.” Hmm. You are related.” After she left to get my pudding, I aimed another kick at Gambit under the table. This time I connected.

“ OW!” Remy winced, and then he grinned. “ ‘Spose I had dat comin’…sis.”

 We stayed at the place called Motel Six another night, and I had another bad dream about the Shadow King. This time he caught me and he flowed inside me. The cold blackness entered my eyes, my nose, my mouth and I could not breathe. Then I was with my mother again, trapped under all the stones.  I could not make any sound for a long time, but finally I was able to scream. Then I woke up.

  Remy was already on my bed. Without saying anything, he picked me up and held me, rubbing my back and making little shushing noises. I held on to him very tightly, hoping that my shaking would stop. I listened to the soft beating of his heart, smelled his nice smell. It made me feel better.

 He kissed the top of my head. ”Dat was a mighty bad one, petite. You wan’ talk about it?”

 I sighed into his chest.” It was the stupid Shadow King again…and my mother. In the earthquake, she and I were buried together. She died, and I…I…” I could not go on.

 Remy took a deep breath, and I could hear the tears in his voice. “ Oh, padnat.” He hugged me even tighter and rocked me for the longest time. Then, when I had finally stopped shaking, he reached inside his t-shirt. He pulled out a necklace, a thin silver chain with a tiny charm. He took it off, then picked up my hand, putting the necklace in my palm.

“ Dis for you, chere. Maybe it will help.”

I stared at the charm. “ Thank you, Remy. But…how can this help?”

 “ Dat charm was given to me by my Tante Mattie. She kind of helped raise me when I got ‘dopted into de Guild. Tante is a big time Mambo; dat’s a Voodoo priestess. She gave dis to me when I was ‘bout your age, ‘cuz I was havin’ me lots of nightmares too. De charm symbolizes Dumballah, de serpent. He a Loa, one of de spirits of dis world. He a very beautiful spirit too, part of de sky an’ de eart’, he help wit’ all creation. An I t’ink dat Dumballah can surely swallow any bad dream dat come your way.”

 I had never heard of Dumballah before, although he sounded somehow African. I liked the idea of him being able to eat my nightmares; I thought the Goddess would like the idea too. But I did not really want to take the necklace from Remy; it must have been very precious to him. But I also knew I would hurt him if I refused such a heartfelt gift.

I kissed his cheek and put the necklace on. “Thank you so much, Remy. I just hope you do not have any nightmares now.”

 He gave me what I now think of as the Gambit grin.”  Still got protection, Stormy.” He pulled out another necklace with more charms. “ Got de Blessed Mother, St. Dismas and Papa Legba also workin’ for me. Got to keep dem bases covered. I be ok.”

  I found what Remy believed in to be kind of confusing, and I wanted to talk about it, but I suddenly got very sleepy. I should have let Remy go back to his own bed, but it was so nice being cuddled, I just fell asleep on his lap. He held me for the rest of the night. And Dumballah did keep the bad dreams away.

 We left Shreveport that morning in another P.O.S. that Remy stole. This one was a lime green color, with big rusty patches and no back seat. We headed for a place called Jacksonville, Mississippi. We were in no hurry, and took the back roads. We got good things to eat from little food stands and groceries. I learned to like a drink called Grape Nehi, and a pastry with the strange name Scooter Pie. Remy found this combination hilarious for some reason. “Dat’s really gonna kill y’, chere.”

 The radio in the P.O.S. did not work, so we talked and sang songs. Remy and I somehow cannot stop talking to each other; we are like two noisy parrots chattering in a tree. This surprises me, because I usually do not talk a lot, but Remy somehow brings it out in me. He says we are “Gumbo Ya Ya.”, which is Cajun for “everybody talking at once.”

 Remy also knows the most wonderful stories, mostly about the place where he grew up, N’awlins. He told me all about Marie Leveau, the Voodoo Queen, the vampires that live in LaFayette cemetery, and the duels of honor that were fought in the French Quarter. I suspected that they were mostly made up, but they were fun to listen to. Remy most definitely could give Hassan, a storyteller I knew in Cairo, a real run for his money.

  Remy told this one tale about a giant white alligator that lives deep in the swamps. It is hundreds of years old, with eyes that glow like demon headlamps and scars all over its body from the hunters that have tried to kill it. He told this one so well, I almost started to believe it and I got a little scared. Remy noticed the look on my face, and burst out laughing.

“Got you really goin’dere huh, Stormy?” He started to laugh so hard, we began to weave all over the road.

“I know there is no such thing as a giant white alligator.” I folded my arms and I am afraid I began to pout.

“Den maybe we spend de night in de swamp sometime, mademoiselle, see what’s what?” He was grinning so wide, I thought his face was going to break. That is when I discovered that I could not stay mad at Remy for very long.

“You are so silly, Remy Lebeau.” I finally said.

“You got dat right, chere.”

 We got to downtown Jacksonville and decided to have a pocket- picking contest. Our marks were always people that looked like they could afford to lose some money, like businessmen with expensive suits. Remy was pretty good, I must admit, but I was better. Achmed taught me well.

  Remy was very impressed with my skills, he looked at me proudly. “ You really hot stuff, petite.” I felt myself blush a little.
We pulled all the cash out of the wallets in an alley. Remy used his kinetic charge to burn up both the wallets and credit cards. It was fun to watch. We skimmed a percentage off the top and gave the rest of the money to a homeless lady with a shopping cart. She was very surprised, and praised Jesus.

  After that, Remy was in a very good mood. He told me he was tired of driving the latest P.O.S., that it was “ time we had our own wheels.” He left his last motorcycle in Illinois, so we went and bought a new one. Remy paid cash. I realized then that Gambit had a lot of money, but I should have not been surprised. He is an incredibly good thief.

  It took a long time to find a leather jacket and helmet to fit me, but we did. We headed out of Jacksonville on a bike that Remy called a Harley Davidson. I rode behind him, holding on to his waist. I loved it; it was so exciting, just like flying down the road.

 We ended up at a little place near the sea. It was one of Remy’s safe houses. It was just a tiny cabin, but I loved it. It had a big screened in porch with a swing and you could see the ocean from many of the windows. Remy asked me if it was all right if we stayed there awhile, because he wanted to give me some special Guild training before our first “big job”. I told him I would like nothing better.

 I found out that Guild training was very, very hard. Achmed was a wonderful teacher, but there is so much he did not know. Remy had a spare set of thieves gear hidden in the crawlspace of the house. I learned about jammers and trippers, how to disable alarms and video cameras.

 I showed him that I was not completely without skills. Remy said that I was an excellent lock pick, and he asked me to teach him some of my knife throwing techniques. And he admits that I am the superior pickpocket!

 We practiced sitting still for hours, just watching and listening. I had no idea Remy could do this; he normally is such a restless person. But he can be as motionless as a rock if he wants to. Patience is very important, you need it to be a Master thief. You also need to observe every little detail. Missing something could cost you your job or your life.

 Remy also taught me some hand-to-hand fighting techniques. I am a pretty good street fighter, but Gambit is in a class I have never seen before. He is so fast and so very deadly. He told me that he is helped by his mutant agility, but I could also tell he has had years of hard practice. He is a smart opponent and very dirty.

“All else fails chere, kick ‘em in de balls.”

  I guess it surprised me a bit that Gambit turned out to be such a good teacher. He is always so very patient, and never talks down to me, or laughs when I make a stupid mistake. He told me once he was taught by the best in the world, Jean-Luc, his adopted father. Jean-Luc, he said, had to be ever so patient with him when he was little. I can tell Remy loves his father very much, and misses him terribly. I wondered what happened to get him exiled, although I could not bring myself to ask Remy.
 We did not work all the time. We also had a lot of fun. We both loved to swim in the ocean and lie on our tiny beach. Remy has to wear very strong sunscreen from head to toe.” De fate of all redheads, chere.”  He really envies my dark brown skin.

 We went beachcombing every day and usually found something interesting. There were shells and funny little crabs and lots of seaweed. The best thing I found was a pretty green glass ball. Remy told me it was a Japanese fish float, rare to find and that I should keep it for luck.

 One day we built this enormous sandcastle, it took us all afternoon. We got into this big argument about where to put one of the towers, and Remy said I was being terribly bossy, but mostly it was so much fun. That night, Remy took some tiny candles and stuck them around the castle. We sat in the sand together for the longest time, just staring at it. It was so magical.

 Remy knows ever so many card games, and he taught me a lot of them. There are a million ways to play poker; my favorite became stud. I also learned to like rummy very much and double solitaire. Sometimes, for a change, we played Monopoly, but this usually turned into a disaster. We always ended up fighting about something, and could never finish the game. Remy was always stealing from the bank.

 We both like to read a lot and we found this little used bookstore not far from our cabin. It was a wonderful place, books stacked everywhere, all of them smelling like mildew. I read about Narnia and Oz, Black Beauty and Alice, and a spider named Charlotte. Remy usually picked up something with lots of adventures in it, he somehow can read five books a once and never quite finishes them. We liked to take our treasures out on the porch swing and drank lots of lemonade and iced tea.

 I was surprised when I found out that Gambit could cook. He is, in fact, a very good cook, taught by his Tante Mattie.
Boys in Egypt think that that is women’s work. But Remy said, since he loves to eat, why not know how to cook it? I adore his shrimp etouffe, gumbo and red beans and rice. I will not touch crawdads, however. They are just awful.

“Don’ know what you missin’, Stormy.” he says. Remy can eat a TON of crawdads.

 Not everything we eat is good for us. Sometimes Remy gets a strange whim and we end up having ice cream and cake for dinner, pizza for breakfast. There are times when we definitely needed more adult supervision.

 The more time I spent with Gambit, the closer we became. One day I realized he had become my best, dearest friend. I care for him so very, very much, although he is far from perfect.

 For one thing, he is so grumpy in the morning. If Remy gets up before 10, forget about talking to him! He only becomes human if he has a shower, a lot of coffee and a cigarette.

I won’t even go into the whole smoking issue.

 Remy LeBeau is also the messiest person alive, and I am forever picking up after him. He also uses up all the hot water when he takes a shower and can somehow get every single towel wet. This makes me furious.

 Remy can also be as stubborn as a camel sitting in the middle of the road. I am afraid that I am a bit on the stubborn side too, and there are times where we both just sit, glaring at each other. Fortunately, these spats of ours do not last long.

 But these few things are very small compared to his good qualities. Remy is an adult, but he sometimes does not act like one. Remy will think nothing of climbing a tree, or running around to chase fire flies. He is not afraid to play, which makes him fun to be around. He talks all the time in that strange, syrupy accent of his, and he usually is very funny and can always make me laugh. He is also a terrible tease, but I never truly mind.

 Unlike most adults, Remy really listens to me and respects my opinions. He is also the most generous person in the world. I think if I asked for the moon, Remy would go get it for me. If he were a parent, he would have horribly spoiled children.

 And I know that Remy thinks the world of me. He does not talk about his feelings a lot, but I know. I can tell by the way he hugs me, or the way he looks at me sometimes. I know he would protect me from anything and would stand by me no matter what. You cannot ask more from a friend.

I also worry a lot about Remy.

 Most of the time he is in a good mood, but there are times when he gets very quiet and does not talk much. I try to cheer him up, but every so often I have to leave him alone. He apologizes for this, and I try to understand. It bothers me, because I know something is bothering him.

He also has the most terrible nightmares. Much worse than mine.

  I learned about them the first week we were at the cabin. I was asleep, and a very scary sound woke me up, it was someone moaning in pain. I got up, and I heard the sound was coming from Remy’s room. I went inside and was horribly frightened, because Remy was thrashing around on the bed, covers flying. I went over and began to shake him to wake him up. When his eyes opened, I could tell he did not know where he was. Then he lept up and ran into the bathroom. I could hear him throwing up. He was in there the longest time, and I just stood there not knowing what to do.

When he finally came out, he was as pale as a ghost and all sweaty and shaking. He tried to smile at me.

“Sorry I woke y’, Stormy.”

“Remy,” I said. “ What is wrong? That was a terrible dream you must have had. Could you tell me about it?”

He collapsed on the bed. “ Nah, petite. Remy jus’ fine now. You g’wan back to sleep.”

“But Remy-“

Gambit then got that stubborn camel look I know so well. “Said I was fine! Now leave me be.”

 I got angry for a moment, since I was only trying to help. But Remy looked so worn out and so sad, I realized he did not need an argument with me. I went over and sat on the side of the bed and patted his arm.

“Would you like me to stay with you awhile?”

 Remy didn’t say anything for a moment, then he smiled.”A’int you de damndest lil’ t’ing…” He took my hand.” Oui, chere. Dat would be nice.” I sat next to him and sang a little song I knew from Cairo. Remy kept hold of my hand, and he finally went back to sleep. I kissed his cheek and tiptoed out.

 Remy would have a bad nightmare about once or twice a week. I stopped trying to find out what they were about, since the Stubborn Camel always seems to win.

 Then one night he had the worst one ever. This caused the probably the only real fight we’ve ever had. It was around four o’clock in the morning, and Remy woke me up just screaming. My heart was beating so hard; I thought it was going to come out of my chest. I ran into his bedroom and found him sitting up, rocking and hugging himself.

“Oh, Remy! Are you all right?” He did not answer me but kept staring straight ahead, still rocking. Now I was even more frightened. I crept forward, and touched his shoulder. He jumped, and I do not think he knew I was in the room until then.

“Stormy?” he whispered. His eyes did not seem focused.

“Remy, please, please, please tell me what this is all about!”

 For a moment, I thought he was finally going to. Then, it was like a door slammed shut inside him. He suddenly got up, and pulled on his jeans and boots.

“What are you doing?” My heart started to pound again.

He grabbed his keys and wallet.” I gotta leave for awhile.”

“Remy, you cannot go!” I stood and grabbed his arm. He yanked it away, with a very angry look on his face.

“Leave me ‘lone, Stormy, stop y’ fussin’! I jus’ need some goddamn air, ok?!” Remy had never yelled at me before, and it hurt me so badly, I could not say anything more. I tried very hard not to cry.

He did not even look at me; he just stomped out of the house. A few minutes later I heard the Harley start and he sped away.

I have never felt so alone before.

 I tried to go back to sleep, but I could not. It was so hard to stop thinking about it and worrying. I finally got dressed and started to wait.

I waited all that day. And all that night.

 Every minute I expected him back. I went from being just furious with him to worried and scared. I began to think awful thoughts. That Remy might just desert me. That he was hurt in a hospital. That he was dead. It was a terrible, terrible time.

 I cannot tell you how relieved I felt when I heard the sound of the Harley roaring up the road. When I heard his steps on the porch, I tried to think of what to say to him.

 But when he walked in, I became frozen. He looked just awful. He was drunk, and he smelled bad, like cigarettes, beer and some stinky perfume. There were smears of lipstick and blood on his t- shirt.

He gave me this big, sloppy grin. “ Hey dere, Stormy. What y’ doin’ up?”

 I became so very angry, I almost could not speak. But I did find my voice. “ I have been waiting for you to get home, you stupid, stupid man! And all the time I have been worrying about you, you have been drinking and I do not know what else! I thought that we were partners! And that we were friends! Well, friends do not treat each other this way! I HATE you, Remy LeBeau!!!”

  Remy just stood there with his mouth hanging open. I ran past him into my bedroom and slammed the door. I dived on to my bed, willing myself not to cry. I really hate crying.

A few minutes later, I heard a tap on my door.


“Go away, Gambit. I do not want to speak to you right now.”

“ I know, petite. Y’ got every right to be really pissed off. But for what it’s worth, Remy so very sorry. Didn’t mean to hurt y’, chere. Would rather die den do dat.”

  This sort of took away my angry feelings, I felt like a balloon that had been popped. I walked slowly back to the door and opened it. Remy was sitting on the floor, his back to the wall. His arms were resting on his knees; his head was in his hands. I never knew someone could look so miserable.

I knelt down beside him. “ Remy-please talk to me. I am your friend.”

He looked up and what was on his face made me hurt. “You don’ hate me?”

I sighed.” I should not have said that. I was just very mad. I was worried that something had happened to you.”

 “ I a’int used to bein’ responsible, Stormy. Haven’t had any friends around for so long, I’ve forgotten how to be one. And I’m supposed to be takin’ care of you. Sorry I worried y’, petite. You shouldn’t have to fret over a worthless piece of shit like me.”

 I was shocked that Remy thought of himself this way. “ Remy, you are not a worthless piece of…poop.”

 This almost made Gambit laugh. “Oh, padnat.”  Then he looked very unhappy again. “ You such a good friend, little girl. Best t’ing dat happened to me since I don’ know when. Don’ deserve somet’ing as sweet and wonderful as you.” He took my small hand in his large one. “ Anyway, I try not to upset y’ like dat again. I can be a real lowdown, selfish asshole sometimes. Need y’ to keep me in line.”

“ I will try, Remy.” I tried to smile. “Although it will be a very big job.” This got a tiny smile from Remy. “ I wish you would tell me what is hurting you so much. I do not like to see you this way.”

 Remy stared at me for a long, long time. The he shook his head. “ I can’t Stormy.  I jus’ can’t. Please try to understand. It jus’ too hard to talk about.” He gripped my hand even tighter. “ It’ like I got somet’ing broken inside dat can’t be fixed. I try to run away from it, but it always comes back.” He then startled me by pressing his hand to my cheek. “ But you keep a lot of de bad stuff away, chere. I feel like I can breathe wit’ you around.” Remy swallowed hard. “ I love you, Stormy.”

 I felt like my heart was going to break in two. Then I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him tight. “And I love you, Remy.”

 He gave a big, shuddery sigh, and he hugged me back so hard I thought my ribs were going to crack. We held each other for a very long time just sitting on the floor.

Finally I said, “ So no more scaring me like that?”

He looked at me with total seriousness. “ I promise, padnat.”

“ Now go and take a shower.” I waved my hand in front of my face. “ You stink.”

Suddenly, I saw the Gambit grin. “ Oh, t’anks a lot, Miss Bossypants.”

“ I am telling the truth, Remy. Besides, you said it was my job to keep you in line.”

Remy started to laugh. “Have a feelin’ I’m really gonna regret sayin’ dat to y.”

I smiled wide.” Yes, you are. But you have already said it.”

He groaned.” I am screwed! Gonna have a lil’ naggin’ child after me night and day, tellin’ me to pick up my towels…”

“Well, you really should pick up after yourself, Remy, because-“

 I never got to say anything else because Gambit suddenly grabbed me and ran into the bathroom. He turned the shower water on cold and jumped in with me, even though I was screaming and kicking. Remy just laughed and laughed, his clothes getting soaked. I finally had to laugh too, even though the water was freezing. Remy most definitely is a poop.

 We stayed at the cabin for another week or so. Then Remy decided we were ready for our first big job. I honestly would have liked to have stayed there longer, but I could tell that Remy was very restless all of a sudden and wanted to go. He promised we could come back someday.

 My throat ached a little when we drove away on the bike early one morning. We had been so happy at the cabin; it felt like home. But then I hugged Remy tightly as we went speeding down the highway. And I thought to myself, he is my home.

Continued in Part 2

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