"Maddy, are you done in that bathroom yet?"
A flush of the toilet was William Drake's only answer.
"That's the third flush since she's been in there..." he muttered
as he reached for a book. As he heard the rush of water coming through
the sink, William took out a picture that was stashed in the book.
It was one of him, Maddy, and their son, Bobby, taken in 1980. It
was a time before he had his chance to ruin his family, a chance
that he took and got away with.
It's not right to keep it a secret from her anymore, William Drake
decided with defiance. The problem was that he had been saying this
with defiance in his mind for over a month.
Maddy entered the room, smiling and wiping her mouth on the sleeve
of her robe. "Sorry, William. I wanted to brush my teeth well
tonight; I've been getting that sock taste in my mouth lately."
William nodded sympathetically and with a bit of wonder as he stealthily
slipped the picture back into the book and put it away. Maddy would
go on these binges of dental hygiene, though her teeth, as beautiful
as they were when she smiled, were always a lackluster shade of
cream with no shine. He couldn't account for it.
"I love you, William," she addressed him as she slipped under the
He shook his head, unable to love his wife as much as he should.
Annie Peckenpaugh never remembered watching two people fucking
on a humid July afternoon, and she was the sort to remember things.
That may be too harsh of a word, Annie thought as she watched them,
just inches away from the bed, but there was no other way to describe
the act. The man and woman grunted like apes in the jungle. Their
moves were not motivated by intimacy but by lust.
She tried to tear her eyes away from the scene, eyes and ears being
raped by each and sight and sound she heard emitted from the bed.
The sick slap, slap, slap of the--
The bed. She focused on the bed. The vulgar gyrations of it were
preferable to watch than the ones of the others. She looked at other
items in the room, scrying it for familiar names and faces to get
a clue about where she was exactly, but came up empty. She caught
the two in a mirror and snapped her attention back to the bed.
Annie found movement in her legs and decided to use that to walk
out of the room. While walking back, she bumped into someone. Startled,
she turned and saw a little boy behind her.
"Are you okay? she asked, temporarily forgetting the carnal circus
in front of them. It was only the shock in the boy's brown eyes
that brought her back. "You really shouldn't be seeing this..."
The boy paid no attention to her. "...Dad?"
The lewd noises stopped and the man turned his head away from the
Annie was finally free to blink and in that instant, she saw the
quivering little boy transform into a fully grown, quivering Bobby
That's when Annie woke up.
The same could not be said for Bobby Drake.
"That's not my mother," Bobby accused to his father in his dream.
"That is not my mother."
"Son, I can explain..."
Bobby went up to the bed and grabbed the dark haired woman, his
Aunt Hollis, by the hair and out of the bed. "You are not my mother!"
Hollis's attention was divided to the two immediate tasks of freeing
herself and covering herself up. "Ah can explain!"
"There is nothing to explain. This is my father, this is the bed
he shares with my mother! And you are not my mother!"
With that, Bobby threw the woman across the room. It was good to
be a super hero.
William Drake stood frozen and naked in his room. He watched his
son stand over his sister in-law. "Bobby, please, don't hurt her..."
Bobby turned to his father. "There are things, Dad ... there
are things you don't know about this woman...!"
"Son, I know you're angry, but--"
"Don't look at me, Dad, look at him. He's the one who needs help."
William turned to look where his older son was pointing. There,
he saw his younger son collapsed on the floor, completely blue.
Bobby looked, too, not completely aware of the moment. "The hell?
I didn't get my powers until years later..." He and William went
up to the boy and found various bruises on his body, along with
deep cuts and gashes, though that wasn't the disturbing part. That
was left up entirely to the designer belt tightened around his throat.
That's when Bobby Drake woke up.
Hank McCoy looked at himself again in the mirror. "Thirty-two,"
he murmured. He sucked in his gut, and then let it out reluctantly.
It was not the gut of a super-hero, but the gut of a lazy, fat,
thirty-two year old lecherous, two-timing old man.
He sat down on the bed, wrapped in only a towel. Head in his hands,
he spoke the truth. "I am a horrible man." In the past week, he
had successfully been pursuing a relationship with Dr. Emily Clay-Poole,
for no other reason than he was bored. He had been ignoring his
best friend, Bobby Drake, who had become heartbroken over the loss
of his recent and unsuccessful crush. He had come on to his one
and only pupil, his best friend's crush, successfully. And he was
now successfully scum.
"Hank?" Emily called out from the bathroom. They were about to
engage in sexual intercourse. Before doing that, Emily had insisted,
for health reasons, that they both shower before hand.
"I'm ready," he answered, leaning back on the bed.
Emily entered wearing her bathrobe with her ash brown hair still
partially damp. It clumped around her neck like unsure mud. She
smiled at him. "Then let's proceed."
Annie turned over in her bed. For the past week, it was all she
could dream about -- her bed. The hospital bed left much to be desired.
She didn't sleep very well that entire week. After she received
her surgery, her dreams became much more vivid and strange. Her
doctor, Emily Clay-Poole, said matter of factly, that it was just
the morphine and that everything would be better once she was home
in her own bed.
After her dream tonight, she knew that Clay-Drool was a big fat
She gingerly arranged herself in the bed so she could sit up. Due
to Clay-Drool's advanced techniques in surgery, her knee wouldn't
take long to heal, but everything still felt so fresh whenever Annie
would think about it. This was something she was prepared for, and
something that she had been hoping for. Up until her surgery, all
she had was an accelerated memory that recalled only what she saw
and heard. Now, she had a strong sense of memory that could recall
touch and sensation.
At first, she had fun with this new development. She could sit
back in her bed and enjoy the taste of cherry pie just by thinking
of it. She relived visits with her father and could smell him near
and Christmas's past with her extended family. But then the bad
things would begin to surface. One night, she began to seriously
think about Bobby Drake and found nothing funny about him. She remembered
the night they had spent together. A hot pink warmth spread in her
face each time in embarrassment.
Being in a relationship for a little over ten years and with only
one person her entire life, Annie hadn't been too sure about how
to act. In fact, she wasn't too sure Bobby would even respond to
That hot pink flush rose up in her again. Annie made advances.
Annie took control. Annie seduced Bobby.
She wanted to wash her mind of the images and forget the aggressive
forgery. That wasn't her and that wasn't what she wanted.
There was a point where Bobby took control. He was very drunk at
the time, but he took control. This created another flush.
Annie had always been in a controlling relationship, but she had
never surrendered herself to someone else in that fashion. She never
imagined it would be with Bobby Drake, the Super-Hero Doofus. She
had built this admiration for his best friend, Hank, and was set
to do something about it. She didn't know what exactly what, but
she was sure something would come of it.
Another flush of embarrassment. There were many faults that Annie
had, forgetting was not one of them.
She had lied, she had begged, and then...
Another flush of embarrassment.
A rush of embarrassment. "I'm sorry, Emily."
"It's all right, Henry. You're not the first to accustom themselves
to my particular sexual habits."
"It's not that!" Hank growled, anger and pride rushing
up. "I am a fully functioning male capable of doing whatever
and whenever ... except for tonight."
"It happens. Don't worry yourself about it."
It wasn't worry that was attacking him. For the third time that
week, Henry Phillip McCoy was having erectile difficulties.
"It happens to all men."
Not all men are code-named Beast, he thought bitterly while biting
"Give us a cuddle and let's call it a night. I have to wake
up early tomorrow." Emily kissed his forehead carefully and
reached over to turn off the light. She instantly fell into one
half of his furry self and dissolved into sleep. Sleep for Hank
would not come for quite some time.
Bobby made his way to the boathouse. He spent one ridiculous moment
regretting that he hadn't brought anything sweet to buffer the rude
hour he was about to wake up his friends, but when he remembered
certain images of his dream, he quickened his pace. When he neared
his destination, he brought a hand up to his forehead to wipe away
the sweat that had collected from the exercise and worry.
Bobby didn't even have to knock. Jean was waiting for him on the
porch, arms open to hug her friend. "Bobby...?" she called out.
He hopped up the steps and took her into his arms and had her hold
him. "I had a nightmare."
Jean led him into the house. "I know, Bobby."
Bobby sat down in the kitchen, comfortable in what he called his
Star Wars pajamas. They consisted of his "I'd Rather Kiss a Wookie"
shirt and a pair of blue flannel pajama bottoms that had space stuff
on them. Jean was in a pair of orange velour pajamas with her hair
piled loosely on top of her head. They looked like a pep squad for
the Denver Broncos. But Bobby didn't feel ridiculous. He couldn't
feel ridiculous or embarrassed when he was with Jean.
Growing up an only child, Bobby didn't grow up with the sibling
bond that comes only with living with someone. With Jean, she was
like the big sister always there to dispense words of wisdom to
him, who was always right down the hall (well, right down the girls
dorm wing, at least). Bobby took a moment to think how perfect it
was that it was Jean and Scott to marry. Like Bobby, Hank and Warren
were both only children. Jean and Scott both had a sibling. Bobby,
Hank, and Warren needed a sibling, and found the older, wiser sibling
in both Jean and Scott.
"Mind stuff?" he asked.
"Partially. You also look very tired and very frazzled. Do you
want to talk about it?"
Bobby sighed as he ruffled his hair. That was a nervous habit of
his. There was just a certain amount of comfort taken in that one
act ... if a girl would ever to discover this, he would be putty
in their hands. "I think I should ... it isn't the first time
I had this dream, and ... I just think it's time I tell someone."
"Do you want an ice cream sandwich?" Jean knew her Bobby. Bobby
Nightmares = ice cream sandwiches.
Jean swallowed hard. Bobby never refused sweets. Never. "Sounds
"It is, Jean." He drummed his fingers on the table for a moment,
getting the phrasing he wanted to come out just perfect. "Do you
remember when I went to California for my cousin's funeral?"
Jean nodded. Bobby hadn't talked much about his extended family,
and she had tried to get Jubilee to open up about it, but she wouldn't
"I saw someone from my childhood that I didn't think I'd ever see
again. My aunt."
Jean nodded again, encouraging him to go on.
"What happened between us ... well, it was really ... uhm
... well, it happened, and now I keep having dreams about it. Last
night, the dream went to a place where I don't remember. I don't
remember if it happened or not and it just felt to real, Jean, that
I don't know ... I just don't know."
"What did she do to you? Did she molest you?"
Bobby's shook his head.
Jean held up a hand in apology. "Did she hit you?"
"I think so." Bobby closed his eyes. "That's what scares me, Jean,
I don't remember."
"Can you tell me what else happened in your dream?"
Bobby went up to the freezer and got an ice cream sandwich. "I'm
"I won't judge, Bobby. You know that."
He took a satisfying bite of the ice cream sandwich, chewing thoughtfully
and stalling for time.
Bobby took an aggressive bite this time and chewed it, indifferent
to the cold jabbing at his teeth.
"Bobby? Did she hit you in the dream?"
"I don't know ... it just sort of happened."
"I want to help."
Jean took that moment to go over to Bobby and hold him once again.
"She slept with Hank."
Jean paused and let Bobby go. "Who?"
"Annie. She slept with Hank."
"That's not what I meant..."
Annie turned her ear away from the window of the boathouse. She
had come this way after seeing Bobby race over. She had wanted to
ask him about the dream she just had. It had taken her a while to
find her robe, slip on shoes, and to hobble to the boathouse, but
it was in just enough time to hear him tell Jean about Hank. In
that moment, she felt more horrible than she had ever in her life.
She began to walk away from the home when the door opened. "Annie?"
Annie turned to find Jean calling for her. "Hi."
"I shouldn't intrude--"
Jean bit back the comment of, 'You already have,' but decided to
keep it for later. "Please. For Bobby."
Annie limped up the steps and followed Jean into the kitchen. She
saw Bobby in his Star Wars pajamas and blushing. He handed her his
ice cream sandwich, which she nibbled on politely.
"What's on your mind, Annie?"
Annie reluctantly looked at Bobby. "I had a dream about you
... sort of."
"What sort of dream?" he cracked loosely, wishing desperately to
be as far away from her as possible and grabbing another ice cream
"Well, I don't know. It was like it wasn't my dream at all."
Annie then turned to Jean. "I didn't know who to go to ...
it's just very strange the way it was, and I thought you could be
able to tell me ... it wasn't like a dream at all, more like an
observation ... I was visiting a dream."
"Some dreams are like that, Annie--" Jean began, testy because
of what her presence was doing to her friend.
Annie caught on. "This wasn't a dream exactly, Je--Ms. Summers!"
She turned to Bobby. "Who was the dark haired woman, Bobby?"
Bobby grumbled. "What dark haired woman?"
Annie gambled. "The one who was having sex with your father. Who
Bobby squeezed the ice cream sandwich. "How do you know it was
my father? Who told you?"
"No one told me, Bobby, I told you, I had a dream. You were in
it. You called him 'Dad'. This is what happened."
"Jubilee told you, didn't she?" Bobby got up and threw the ice
cream sandwich in the trash can. The trash can that was ten feet
away from where he was standing. It missed and hit the wall. "Why
are you doing this to me, Annie?"
"Jubilee didn't tell me anything, Bobby!"
"Well, how else could you have known!"
Annie began to tear up, unaccustomed to this side of Bobby. "I
told you, I had a dream..."
"If Jean had had the dream, I would understand, but you, Annie?
Come up with something better than spontaneous telepathy!"
Bobby turned to leave. Annie grabbed his hand to get him to stay.
"Your parents, in their room, they have a redwood hope chest
with the date 'April 10th 1962' on it. It sits right underneath
the front window with yellow gingham curtains that overlook an oak
tree in the front yard."
Bobby loosened his hand, but he didn't leave. "Spontaneous
telepathy ... damn it."
Annie shook her head. "I don't think that's it, Bobby. I don't
know what it is, but I can't read anything from you right now, or
from Jean. I don't know why that happened, but ever since my surgery,
my seemingly lame powers have been growing ... I don't know what
this is, or if it has anything to do with that, but whatever happened
to you ... I'm sorry. And if there's anything I can do--"
"You just said the wrong thing." Bobby went to go clean the ice
cream sandwich mess off of the wall. "I think you made it clear
that you didn't want anything to do with me two weeks ago."
"That's not true, Bobby! Believe it or not, but you're a good friend
"I don't know why I should believe that."
Annie stomped her foot to try and bring him out of his cynicism.
"Bobby, I never slept with Hank!"
Bobby shook his head. "Why are you lying to me, Annie?"
"I never slept with him, Bobby."
"I saw you in bed together."
"I was passed out."
"You were naked."
"I had on a bra and a pair of underwear."
"Hank was naked."
"Hank's always nearly naked! He was nearly naked then, and I'm
sure he's nearly naked now!"
"She has a point there, Bobby..." Jean interjected.
"Jean!" Bobby whined.
Annie went up to Bobby, and held his hands in hers. "Bobby, when
I told you that I wasn't comfortable seeing anyone right now, I
meant it. Why would I tell you that and come on to your best friend?
Why would I intentionally hurt you like that?"
Bobby looked away from her and to Jean, hoping that she could tell
him something that would help with the truth. She revealed nothing.
"I don't know why you do anything at all, Annie." He went to the
freezer, grabbed one more ice cream sandwich, and left.
Annie remained frozen as he did so.
"Annie...?" Jean's tone this time was soft and caring.
Annie closed her eyes and said words she'd never thought she'd
say, "...I don't remember what happened."
William Drake tossed over in his bed and touched his wife lovingly
on her cheek. "Are you still awake, Maddy?"
She made no movement.
"Don't play possum with me, girl. I could blink so loud that you'd
turn over and it'd wake you up."
She made no movement.
"You caught me. I was bluffing." William sighed as he
leaned back into his side of the bed. "I know these midnight
confessionals don't do us any good, Maddy. Maybe one day I'll tell
you when you're awake. This one ... Maddy, this one I can't keep
inside anymore. I keep worrying about Bobby telling you before I
ever get the chance to ... I keep hoping that if enough time passes,
it'll go away, but I've given it all the time in the world and it
still hasn't gone away.
"Maddy ... I'm sorry, Maddy. I love you. That much is apparent,
right? I bought our house, we had Bobby after trying for so long
... I love you. I didn't do it to hurt you or because you did something
wrong ... I did it because I didn't fit in. With you and your family,
you're always so open and lively. I didn't grow up with that, Maddy,
and I always felt pressure, and then I thought the only person who
could understand was Hollis. I never meant for us to start sleeping
together. I never meant for her to get pregnant -- I thought I couldn't,
after what we went through to get Bobby...
"I want to tell this to you when you're awake, Maddy. Let's just
hope tomorrow I feel as daring as I do right now.
Maddy never woke up.