The Knave of Hearts Affair

Gambit pouted. "Chere, y' hurt po' Remy's feelings, y' accuse him of somet'in' so petty." He curled around his mug of hot chocolate as though Jean would take it. The overly strong accent wasn't actually helping his case, but it did indicate that he wasn't taking her outrage seriously.

Her eyes narrowed. "And the chocolate on your shirt?"

"I made hot chocolate." He blinked at her and gestured to the pan on the stove. "I ain't like Scotty. Remy can cook."

She put a hand on her hip and pursed her lips. She considered for a moment. He didn't need to steal cookies. "Then who did it? You were in the kitchen."

The younger man sighed. "If I'd know there was cookies, I *might* have taken one, but seein' as there weren't none, I ain't takin' the blame for it."

She tapped a finger against the counter. "I'll have to make more then. But *if* they get taken you'd better have an alibi."

"Sounds as though ole Remy best be findin' Stormy and gettin' t' workin' in the greenhouse. Mebbe then y' won't be blamin' him f' something pathetic." He gathered up a second mug and filled it with the last of the chocolate from the pan. Then, he stalked out of the kitchen, chin high, like an affronted cat.

Jean sighed. She'd have to apologize to him later. The cookies were supposed to be a Valentine's Day treat for her husband. This was the third batch that had gone missing. She hauled out the ingredients for sugar cookies. Maybe those wouldn't disappear.

Now, who had been in the kitchen before Gambit? She used her telekinesis to move the mixer out of the cabinet. Warren wandered in for a cup of coffee. His phone was pressed between his shoulder and ear. There was a chocolate chip cookie in his hand. Her eyes narrowed.

"And where did you find those?"

"Betsy gave them to me. For Valentine's. Yes, this is Warren Worthington the Third. I'm calling to confirm my seven o'clock reservation. I'll expect a bottle of your best champagne tonight, Jamie. Ask Jeffrey if he can make the raspberry and chocolate hearts." He poured himself a cup of coffee and started a new pot. "What is the fish special tonight?"

He left her to her baking and her fierce telepathic discussion with Betsy. //Where did you find the chocolate chip cookies?//

//What?// Betsy's mind was heavy with sleep and post-coital sedation. //Oh, the ones I got for Warren? There's a little girl down the street. She tacked up flyers.//

//I'll have to see if she has any available. Mine keep disappearing.//

Betsy posted a picture of Hank and Jean acknowledged the possibility. Damn the professor and his pesky morality lessons. She could just peek, but that would be the beginning of a slippery slope. Though, she mused as she added the sugar, perhaps it wouldn't be that bad.

"Oh, hi, wondered who was botherin' to cook at this hour of the mornin'," Rogue yawned. She stared at the coffeepot as though willing it to fill faster.

"It's eleven, Rogue."

She yawned pointedly at the older woman. "Swamp Rat and I were up late watchin' chick-flicks."

"You hate chick flicks."

"Remy's got a drinking game for M&M shots." She rubbed at her eye with a knuckle. "So there's going to be cookies?"

"No. These are for Scott."

"Good luck with that, sugah."

"What do you know about my missing cookies then?"

Rogue blinked at her. "Missing cookies? I was talkin' about keepin' them a surprise from Fearless. Man's nosier than Remy when there's a new gallery. Ya'd be better off buyin' him a gift certificate to that old record shop downtown."

"I'll put that on the list for next year." Jean rubbed her forehead. "It'd be easier. But then I have to listen to Black Sabbath."

Rogue rolled her eyes. "Your own damn fault for fallin' for a punk."

"I'd say as opposed to a thief, but I knew Scott when he still shoplifted trinkets for me."

"Ah do want ta hear more about that, but I got security shift in ten." Rogue grabbed a bag of chips to go with her oversized coffee mug and left.



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