Chocolates And Valentines

By Maelstrom

Summary: Monet and Jono talk about the latter’s feelings for Paige, and lots of things unfold into the night. . .

Disclaimer: You know what goes here.

P.S. Well, first things first - this is actually sort of a sequel (but not completely) to And Happily Ever After, where things sort of head on from there. I actually finished this a long time ago, but neglected to send it in to the archive :). Also, I'm pointedly going to ignore everything happening about the Monet thing (I know lots of people are), and just take off from the And Happily Ever After story. Hope you guys like this tale as much as the last one, and do mail me more comments! Thanks!

{{Romance is dead,}} Jono remarked as he glanced at one of the Valentine’s Day decorations still hanging on the wall.

“It’s not dead,” Monet replied, “you just want it to be.”

Jono just sighed and gave her a look. With Valentine’s Day finally being over, he was looking forward to all signs and reminders of gushy love to be taken down. Evidently Jubilee, the main decorator, saw fit that it wasn’t time to do so until someone made a certain move towards her, and it didn’t take a whole lot of guessing to know who that someone was. What’s more, until that someone did make a move, Jono had to endure those explicit signs of romance everywhere in the mansion. It was enough to make anyone throw up. Angelo even did.

Jono and Monet were in the living room watching TV that night, it being a whole week after Valentine’s Day. They’d initially squabbled on which type of program to watch - Jono wanted to see Beavis and Butthead, Monet wanted to see the latest symphony orchestra performance. They finally conceded on watching an old black-and-white movie starring Clark Gable called It Happened One Night.

The pair were the only ones around in the entire ground floor of the mansion that night - everybody else was upstairs in their rooms. They had previously never really tolerated each other’s presence before, but after a recent incident involving a school project and an egg named Jono II, they put up with each other more often, and, admittedly, found each other’s company. . . reassuring? Although neither of them would ever dare say so, of course. But they complemented each other pretty well. {{Like mud and dishwater,}} Jono had described their relationship once, {{add ’em together and you’d get a coagulated substance. Albeit a revolting one.}}

(“How poetic,” Monet had remarked dryly. {{Of course,}} Jono rejoined, {{I write songs. I should know these kinds of metaphors.}} “Mud and dishwater are not metaphors.” {{Wotever.}})

Tonight, however, another sort of relationship was taking Jono’s attention. And it was due to those dratted reminders around the mansion.

If the bloke doesn’t get Jubilee to clear this mess up by Friday I’m going to give him one ’eck of a psionic blast, Jono thought grimly as a paper heart unstuck itself from the wall and fluttered down to the rug. Monet chose that moment to pointedly reach for a chocolate.

Jono cast her a resentful glare - not that she’d ever care enough to notice. He’d had enough of reminders. The heart-shaped box of chocolates had been Banshee’s Valentine’s Day gift to each one of the female students, each box according to each girl’s taste. Monet’s was full of exquisite Swiss and Belgian chocolates in all sorts of dainty sizes, and she was currently nibbling on one of them with the refined, sophisticated air only Monet St Croix could pull off. Plus the chocolates could never affect her perfect figure, enhancing her calm, insouciant look. He used to resent her ever-unaffected composure - still did sometimes - but now it mostly just intrigued him.

{{True,}} Jono conceded, referring to Monet’s earlier statement, {{lots of us want romance dead. If I had a chance I’d nail the sucker down with a semi-automatic.}}

“Indeed. That would definitely speak up for the influence of TV in a positive light. I shall courteously for your sake not attempt a sarcastic comment about its relationship with the other types of TV programs you adore watching.”

{{And Mary had a little lamb.}}

“Typical Starsmore wit, I suppose?”

{{I have a wit? Monet St Croix says I have a wit? Then it must be true! Thank the merciful stars above!}}

“No need for that, just thank me.”

{{How come you get all the good lines?}}

“Because I’m me.” Monet smiled serenely.

{{Touché.}} Jono slouched in his seat and jammed his hands down into his pockets. {{Poser, St Croix: if romance was a person and you had a chance to shoot it down with a gun, would you?}}

“Poser, Starsmore: if romance was a person and was shot down by some deranged lunatic with a gun, would you attempt to revive it?”

{{Nah, I’d grab the gun from the deranged lunatic and shoot it twice. Then I’d make sure it stays dead.}}

“How compassionate of you. I am so proud to be associated ever so subtly with your name. Must your thoughts always revolve around such violence?”

{{It’d make the world a better place.}}

“. . . Violence?”

{{Shooting romance down.}}

“Ah. Of course. Forgive my ignorance. But pray tell me, how would shooting romance down make the world a better place?”

Jono shrugged and tried to keep his eyes on the TV. {{Nobody would expect much. No fancy declarations or stuff, just the plain truth. Don’t have to base feelings on what people do, as long as they really feel that way.}}

“I see. And Jono?”


“Isn’t what the person does relevant to what the person is feeling?”

Jono blinked.

“If he feels a certain way, don’t you think his actions should reflect those emotions?”

{{Uh, well, I. . .}}

“It hasn’t any relation to romance at all, just the plain truth. And isn’t that what you want?”

Jono gave her a hard look. {{I don’t appreciate being drawn into a corner like this, gel.}}

“Odd, considering it is so very easy to do. Very well, I will not pursue the matter further.” Monet reached for another chocolate and placed it delicately into her mouth. “Although if you insist on being so pessimistic about the whole affair, allow me to lighten your burden by agreeing that I too do not think much about the R word. It is all very superficial.”

{{Easy for you to say. You scorn romance. You find boys yucky. However mature the term may seem.}}

“You certainly are one for unique observation, Jono, although I would’ve thought it beneath you to even mention the word ‘romance’ in the first place.”

She did have a point there, Jono conceded. He would never have brought up the term by himself under normal circumstances. But tonight. . .

{{The decorations’re bugging the ’eck outta me,}} Jono muttered, sinking in his seat as he watched Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert wearing their pajamas.

“Ah,” said Monet, “so that is the sole reason you are breaking your usual ‘tough guy’ routine to refer to romance on this fine night?”

{{My, I wouldn’t have thought it so. Monet St Croix think I’m tough.}}

“Quote me correctly, Jono; I said ‘tough guy’ routine. We all know that your hard front is an act.”

{{If you’re referring to my singing a lullaby to Jono II the last time, might I point out to you that I also know a rock n’ roll version to it, with plenty of expletives too.}}

“Fascinating information I’m sure, Mr Starsmore, but that is not what I was referring to,” Monet cut in, finally looking at Jono. He looked up, surprised. She sounded a little exasperated.

“With your usually-depressed eyes going around even more miserable than usual lately, it is a little hard not to notice,” she continued dryly. “And it does not take a genius like me to know why you are behaving even more yourself than usual.”

Jono flinched. So she knew. Not that it was a surprise. Monet St Croix knew everything. At least in her opinion.

Monet turned back and watched the TV. She gracefully reached for another piece of chocolate and ate it like the privileged princess she was. A few seconds of silence passed, during which Clark Gable was at his usual ‘dream guy’ performance - not that Monet ever understood why women of his time fell for the man. He was a smoker with bad breath, as everyone knew, and had the charisma the size of a cherry. She paused and considered changing the channel back to the symphony orchestra.

{{It’s hard.}}

Monet sighed. So he was going to talk. Well, at least that was better than enduring Mr Full-Of-Himself Gable. She turned herself to elegantly face his direction and completed her chocolate consumption.

“What is?” she inquired.

He brooded silently. {{Romance.}}

Monet raised an eyebrow. “I see. A statement which would naturally incline me to think that you actually wanted to encourage such an event.”

Jono shook his head. {{Not me. I’m too out of touch for that biz.}} His eyes darkened. {{I’ve grown too hard.}}

“Which would be the reason why you made no attempt towards a certain someone last week, even though she was clearly hoping for one?”

Jono blinked. This girl knew more than she let on.

{{You’re dangerous, did I ever tell you that, gel?}}

“No, but you don’t need to. I know I am. In more ways than one.” Monet looked at him. “But let us face the facts, Jono - anyone who’d seen the scenario on the 14th this month would’ve definitely noticed a rather jarring effect on the whole. Those of us not blind to common observation, that is,” she added rather acidly, recalling heavy flirting on the part of two hopefuls, namely Jubilee and Angelo.

It suddenly occurred to Jono that this was the first time so far, in all the time that they’ve known each other, that Monet had made the slightest inference towards the existence of Paige in Jono’s life. She’d never mentioned this at all prior to this moment, and Jono had assumed that the girl was too wrapped up in herself to notice the relationship - or rather, the lack of it. He looked at her curiously.

“I see it as a personal matter regarding yucky emotions that I would not even touch with a barge pole,” Monet said, evidently reading his mind, “but we might as well get it out of the way so that you will not persist in this tacky show of misery for life. The obvious query to this whole facade would be ‘why’.”

Jono was silent.

Monet rolled her eyes. “Let me rephrase it in simpler tones. Why do you not -”

{{I get it, I get it.}}

“At last, a response. Well?”

A long pause. Then, {{We’re not compatible.}}

“Isn’t there a cliché that goes somewhere along the lines of, ‘opposites attract’? Or is that merely a reference to electrical charges?”

{{Stop with the snide already,}} Jono snarled.

“I’m not being snide,” Monet said in a quiet tone. He looked up at her. “But I am frustrated at this emotional merry-go-round between the two of you. I understand you and she like each other, but other than that I am at a complete loss in this area.”

Jono smiled. Monet actually admitted not knowing something. What an earth-shaking event.

“Stop with the snide already,” she remarked coolly.

{{I didn’t say nothin’.}}

“You didn’t need to. And you still haven’t clarified the matter up for me.”

Jono sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. {{That’s the point, gel. You don’t understand. If you did, then you’d know why we’re on this emotional-whatsit merry-go-round in the first place.}}

“Make me understand.”

Jono opened his hands, showing his palms. {{Step into my shoes, gel. Get off those expensive leather footwear of yours and step into me grimy ones. You think Paige would actually like someone like me?}}

“Mr Starsmore I have said it once and I will say it again: you are too obsessed with your looks.”

{{Lack of looks.}}

“I rest my case.”

Jono shook his head. {{Just look at me, ’kay, gel? Think anyone would like this appearance of mine? Anyone?}}

“Evidently someone does.”

{{Or thinks she does.}}

Monet frowned at him. “Jono, are you actually implying that Paige is merely infatuated with you?”

Jono shrugged.

“Please explain your reason for thinking so, I would really like to hear it.”

{{Look, St Croix, don’t knock it until you understand it. Paige’s a nice gal, we all know that. Very nice. And from her cozy loving home atmosphere down South. She hasn’t known people like me much.}}

“I see. And you’re saying that that is the reason why she developed an interest in you?”

{{Sorta. See, she don’t know folks like me much, so when she meets one. . .}}

“In other words, she has developed a fascination for persons whose lives contrast greatly with her own and therefore associated that emotion with something else in the romantic sense, confusing the two.”

{{Uh, yeah. Basically. Do you always have to talk so Dr Seuss-ly?}}

“Please do not degrade me by comparing me to a children’s book writer. I am far more superior to that.”

{{You’re right. You deserve to be a trashy Joan Collins-esque book writer.}}

“You honestly believe me to resemble one??”

{{Nah, but it’d be real fun to see.}}

Monet cast him a look. “You’re changing the subject, Jono. You actually believe that Paige is the type to delude herself concerning emotions.”


“I see.”

Monet was silent, then she leaned back and spoke in tones that didn’t sound half as annoyed as she felt: “Jono, I am sick and tired of you finding every possible way to avoid a genuine meaningful relationship just because of your low self-confidence.”

{{Wot? Hey now -}}

“This is a typical psychological avenue you are creating in order to evade something that is so good in your life that it scares you.”

{{Hey!}} Jono cut in. {{Fine! I’ll admit I am a little scared about this relationship, seeing that my last one with you-know-who resulted in a certain brother of yours coming to do the ’eck out of us, but -}}

“A ‘but’?” Monet said bitingly, a harsh glare at the mention of her brother.

{{But I am not being selfish here. I am thinking of Paige too.}}

“And a lot of thinking it is too, it would seem.”

{{I mean think of her as in for her own good. Listen to me and shut your trap up for once, okay? One, if I let us get together knowing it’s just a crush she has on me, we all know that one day that crush is going to get crushed and she’ll want out. Period. She’ll genuinely fall in love with someone else and it’s going to hurt both of us when she inevitably breaks the news. Two, there’re many gray areas that she doesn’t know about my life. She’s from a happy sunshiney family, okay, her everything reflects that. That’s part of the reason I call her Sunshine.}}

“And the other part?”

{{I thought I asked ya to shut the ’eck up?}}

“Just curious.”

{{’Cause she’s like sunshine in my dark life, okay? Happy? Which has to do with my Number Two. She’s got that beautiful sunshine attitude, which I would more than anything hate to see lost just ’cause she hooks up with me and gets exposed to my moods. I care for her too much to want to let that happen. She won’t be able to understand some of the pain and angst I go through everyday of my life, and eventually she’s going to get hurt because of that. I don’t want to lose her, but I don’t want her to lose what she is, okay? Can’t you understand that?}}

There was a short silence. Monet looked at him with her usual calm composure. Jono was a little ticked off by that.

“You finished?” she inquired placidly.

{{I knew that silence of yours was too good to be true. Yeah, I’m done. Shoot.}}

“Another reference to violence.”

{{I meant shoot as in go ahead.}}

“I know.”

Jono threw his hands up in exasperation and slumped in his seat.

“Thank you. Firstly, Jono, don’t you think that instead of your pessimism rubbing off on her, wouldn’t her optimism rub off on you as well? You are often depressed now; perhaps with her help and encouragement, you can begin to see light again. And secondly, please don’t underestimate Ms Guthrie. You know how she hates that - her overachieving obsession aptly displays so. What makes you think she is incapable of coping with relationships, especially one with you? She is a strong girl. She is intelligent. She is sincere. I would have thought that those would be enough to prompt a try in matters.”

Jono gazed at her with slightly raised eyebrows.

Monet looked cross. “You dare disagree with me?”

{{It’s not that. . . it’s just that I haven’t heard you speak of anyone in such positive tones before.}}

“I am willing to admit obvious truths, however trivial they may seem. Like I said, Paige is strong and intelligent. Not as much as me, of course, but adequately enough.”

{{Ah. That’s the Monet I know. How about you and the sincere part?}}

“Only very briefly in certain parts in my life. Like now. Do you see my point here?”

Jono sighed and shook his head. {{Things aren’t that simple, gel. Y’ know that Forrest Gump line?}}

“You are referring to a movie about a simpleton filled with many clichés that churned out millions of dollars and eventually won an Oscar? Something of which I shall never comprehend. . .”

{{Yeah, yeah, I meant the box of chocolates line. ‘You never know what you’re gonna get.’}}

“Not unless you ask for what you want,” Monet rejoined with irritating precision. “Take my box of chocolates, for instance. Unless you make it known to the person that you want and expect them, you will not get the fine Swiss and Belgian chocolates that you so appropriately deserve.”

{{Yeah,}} Jono said quietly, {{but I don’t deserve fine Swiss and Belgian chocolates.}}

The room was silent for a while. On the TV, It Happened One Night was ending, much to both sides’ subconscious relief. Neither of them liked the show very much, even though they’d both agreed to watch it. These feelings were all subconscious, however; their thoughts were still consciously on the other matter.

Jono was looking down at his jacket. His gaze invariably noticed his bandaged torso, and he grimaced. Then he felt a touch on his sleeve. He looked up.

Monet had a soft look on her face. “Jono, don’t think of yourself as incomplete. At least, not in that sense.”


She paused, then took two square pieces of chocolate from her box. “All right, look at it this way. These are you and Paige, as different as can be. They -”

{{Look the same to me.}}

“One is Swiss and another Belgian.”

{{How can you tell?}}

“Because I’m Monet St Croix.”

{{Of course, how foolish of me. You were saying?}}

She held each chocolate in each hand. “You -” she showed the square on her left hand, “- Paige -” the one on the right, “- complete.” She joined the two squares, which melted and molded together and held tight. She looked at Jono. “Comprende, senor, as Angelo would say?”

Jono looked at the joined pieces, then at her.

{{You forget something, Monet,}} he said softly. He gently leaned over, broke off one half of the mold, then snapped away half of that. He handed the one half to the girl, who first looked at it, then at him.

{{That’s me, gel,}} he said, his eyes speaking with more expression than before. {{Not whole.}} He shook his head. {{Can’t fit that piece with the other.}}

Monet eyed him, then rubbed the chocolate half’s edges so that the pointed ends melted off, then fit it back to the other square of chocolate.

“Yes you can,” she said. “You just have to get rid of your rough edges first.”

Jono sighed and shook his head. {{You don’t get it, gel. It’s not - that - simple.}}

This time Monet sighed, but with an exasperated tone. “I tire of this conversation,” she said in typical Monet manner, rising from her seat. She put the molded chocolates into Jono’s hands, much to his surprise. “Think it over yourself; I’ve had enough of trying to force sense into that vexing mind of yours. Goodnight, Jono.”

She left the living room and went upstairs. Behind her, Jono stared blankly at the joined chocolates in his hands. He was lost in thought and did not notice them melt in his hands until it was too late.


Monet noticed a figure in the corridor as she approached her room. Even if she didn’t have night-vision to enable her to see in the pitch darkness, she still would have recognized Paige by her shining blonde hair. The girl was lingering in the cold hall, still in her nightgown.

She noticed Monet’s arrival. “Oh hi, Monet.”

“Hello, Paige,” Monet greeted. “Is this a custom of yours to freeze in the corridor at such late hours?”

Paige tilted her head in direction of her own room. “Jubilee and Everett are in there - said they wanted to talk in private.” She rolled her eyes and rubbed herself to keep warm.

There was no noticeable expression on Monet’s face at the news. “How inconsiderate of Jubilation.”

Paige shrugged. “How about you? You’re awake at this hour. Don’t you need your beauty sleep?”

“I was having a conversation with Jono, but it was like getting Ms Frost to dress sensibly. In other words, not working. Goodnight.”

“Jono?” Paige ventured unsurely.

From her look and tone she evidently wanted to know about the boy. Monet rolled her eyes and sighed. Emotional merry-go-round.

“Yes, Jono,” she replied. “Which brings me to the subject: why are the both of you behaving like this? I honestly cannot comprehend it - perhaps at my age I know nothing of the subject.”

“Your age?” Paige asked, confused.

“Just satisfy my curiosity. Does Jono’s nature affect you?”


“His incompleteness.”

“Hey! Don’t you dare say that about hi -”

“It is without malice. Does it affect you?”

“Heck no! And don’t you go around taunting him about it either!”

“What makes you think I will?”

“Because of your nature.”

“Granted, but do you think I would even bother to waste my time on such immature matters?”

Paige paused. “Well. . . not if you put it that way, no-o-o-o-o. . .”

“Thank you for the benefit of the doubt. Another question, Paige: you like Jono, don’t you?”

Paige went red. “Wha - I mean - you - I -”

“Just a simple yes or no will do,” Monet said tiredly.

Paige fumbled. “Uh, yeah, guess you could call it tha -”

“Then why do you not go ahead and speak to Jono and clarify this whole matter with him, instead of keeping your distance?”

Paige shuffled uncomfortably. “I don’t know. . . It’s a little embarrassing, I guess. To talk about it when I’m not even half as experienced as he is in relationships. Besides, it’s going to look so strange if I as a girl went up to a guy to talk about it.”

“Funny, it was the nineties the last time I checked. The age of women power. But then again, I could be wrong. Although I very seldom am.”

Paige got defensive. “Look, you said you don’t know nothin’ about the matter so don’t you go tellin’ me what to do!”

“I apologize.”

“Would you stop it!”

“I was being sincere.”

“Yeah, right,” Paige said sarcastically, “Monet St Croix sincere? So what else is unreal?”

Monet shook her head. “I am not being supercilious of you, Paige. It is just that I am unable to understand how a girl who prides herself on going to extremes in order to prove herself to be the best would be uncertain of herself in approaching a male.”

Paige shifted weight. “That’s. . . different. It’s like. . . I mean, I don’t know. In practice sessions and battles I can do well, right? I can excel. I’m not afraid of Magneto or Apocalypse or Ms Frost’s meatloaf - okay, that one maybe a little. But when it comes to Jono. . . I don’t know, I just feel. . . insecure.”

She was quiet, then looked at Monet and forced a smile. “Ironic, isn’t it? Paige Guthrie being insecure?”

“Not really,” Monet replied. She paused, then took Paige’s arm. “Here, come inside my room. You’re no use to us frozen. How long are Jubilee and Everett going to talk?”

“The way Jubilee can go on? Need I say more?”

Monet shook her head and switched on the lights. So much disclosures in one night - that was why she normally refused socializing with the rest of the students. It was so troublesome.

“You can rest in my bed till then,” she said, preoccupied, “you look exhausted.”

Paige blinked. She’d never thought the proposition possible before. Monet St Croix actually offering her to lie in her bed. And as she glanced at it, she was reluctant to do so in case she might crease the sheets and incur one of Monet’s tantrums. Monet noticed this and got impatient.

“Oh go on, it’s so tiresome to see you struggling to keep your eyes open just because Jubilee is imposing on your comfort. It is only for a little while - do you think I actually like offering my bed to every girl that chills in the corridor?”

“Aren’t you sleeping yet?” Paige asked.

“No, I have other things to do. You know how much demand there is on my superior mind.”

“Oh.” Paige relaxed - this was the Monet she knew. Monet turned away and busied herself with some things, and Paige gingerly laid down on the bed. It was very warm and cozy compared to the cold hall, and she snuggled up there peacefully closing her eyes.

Monet looked at her, then left the room. She went downstairs and found Jono in the kitchen, scrubbing his hands with soap.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

{{Doesn’t Monet St Croix know everything?}} Jono teased. He rubbed his lathered hands. {{It’s your blasted chocs, that’s what it is. Oh they may be fine, they may be sweet, they may be ever so very exquisite in nature, but they’re also so very bleedin’ hard to wash off!!}}

“What a waste, they were very delicious chocolates. Jono, have you thought about what I said?”

{{Yes, and I thought you were going to sleep.}}

“You know what I mean.”

{{’Course I do.}}

“Fine, we can beat around the bush now if you want to, but would you still feel the same stubborn way if you knew Paige really, sincerely likes you?”

Jono blinked.


“That she doesn’t give a care about your supposedly ‘incompleteness’ and just likes you for you?”

{{Monet, I told you -}}

“Those were her own words.”

Jono stared at her. Then he mumbled, {{She was just saying that.}}

Monet suddenly stamped her feet in impatience. Jono glanced up, surprised, and was stunned when she grabbed his arm and dragged him upstairs.

“You are the most exasperating, perturbing, annoying, aggravating, irritating, vexing - and other similar synonyms that I will not bother to state right now - person that I currently know,” she fumed as she dragged him all the way to her room with her superhuman strength. She opened the door and brought Jono to the side of the bed, and pointed at the sleeping Paige. “Do you honestly think that a naive expression like this would just ‘say’ things for the sake of it without meaning them?”

Jono stared at the blonde figure, then stood there transfixed at how beautiful it was to him. Monet folded her arms.

{{She looks like an angel,}} he murmured.

“Many do when they’re asleep,” Monet replied.

{{You know what I mean.}}

“’Course I do.”

Jono cast Monet an ironic glance. Then he turned and began to trail away.

“Where are you going?”

{{Out, where does it look like I’m going? Shanghai?}}

“Funny, I currently feel like dumping your battered body there. Can’t stand to stay in the same room with an angel?”

{{Actually, Monet, you’re right.}} Jono looked at her. {{You hit the nail right on the head.}}

Monet paused.

“Usually I would say ‘of course I’m always right’,” she admitted, “but now I would like to know which part of what I said you actually consider correct.”

{{Same room with an angel.}} He shook his head. {{I don’t deserve Sunshine’s presence.}}

“But you do care for her.”

{{Very much. Enough to realize that I can’t be with her. I’d corrupt her. I’d drain away her freshness. I’d -}}


The pair whirled around. Paige was sitting up on Monet’s bed, looking at Jono.

Jono whirled back at Monet. {{You said she was asleep!}}

“A simple miscalculation on my part,” Monet said. “Everyone, including me - and I hate to admit this - makes mistakes -”

{{Moneeeeet!!}} Jono howled.

“Jono,” Paige said softly, “I. . . I heard what you said.”

{{Um. . . I. . .}} Jono fumbled.

“It was very sweet of you.”

{{It was?}}

“It was. I. . .”

She paused, then simultaneously both of them glanced at Monet. Monet glanced back.

“Hm,” she said. “Evidently this is my cue to leave, despite it being my room and all. Very well, I shall depart.”

She left the room and closed the door. Then she put her hands on her hips and began to think. Very likely those two would talk on throughout the night - there were many things they had to work out first before moving on. She gave an unsatisfied sniff. Well, at least she wouldn’t have to intermediate in that. She’d had enough of that kind of business. Tiresome affair. But now she was left without sleeping quarters - demanding her room back would only prolong the merry-go-round, and she’d had to start all over again with the pair - not if she could help it! An alternative would be to take Paige’s bed in return, but she was not inclined to share a room with Jubilee, even if Everett wasn’t in it talking to her about who-knows-what. There was nowhere else for Monet St Croix to retire to.

She sighed and went downstairs. And it was a very surprised Banshee who found her the next morning, curled up peacefully on the sofa, while Jono and Paige roamed the mansion for the whole day with happy grins on their faces, admiring the Valentine’s Day decorations.


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