Les Règles des Fiançailles
Remy was justifiably suspicious of Rogue's angelic agreement with him. Unfortunately, so was Owen.
"So how did she meet you anyway?" Owen asked, eyes narrowed at him like he was some offensive insect that had dared to get too close to his daughter.
"Poker game," Remy replied smoothly.
She lied badly but truth was, that was the reason he couldn't lie about anything they'd cross-examine her on. And judging from the looks coming from both women, they would cross-examine her.
"Dear," Priscilla began sweetly—she was the sweetest of the bunch, "however did you get talked into that?" She furrowed her brow as if it was an innocent question.
Remy had to refrain from rolling his eyes. Not that they would see it with his sunglasses on.
Rogue glared at Remy. "Girlfriends talked me into it." Her voice hitched only slightly.
He was both grateful she'd taken his advice about remembering she had a poker face and intrigued at the realization that playing poker with him the first time had been her own idea. Especially since at the time, she was a lousy player.
He shrugged. "She's a upstanding citizen, just a little dare, n'est ce pas?" And that was where his ability to bluff coolly came in so handy. Stretching the facts as he knew them without pushing them beyond her bounds to play along.
Rogue just nodded, an embarrassed flush to her cheeks.
"I'm not sure I would approve of these friends," Carrie said, frowning.
Owen frowned with her.
Rogue shrugged. "They're good students. We just wanted to blow off some steam, harmless. We were at home."
Not too bad herself at the stretching.
"Never turn down a pretty fille." Remy grinned at her, earning another glare from both Rogue and Owen.
Carrie finished up her last bite of food and set down her napkin on her plate. Everything about the gesture just breathed trouble, and Remy racked his brains for a quick distraction.
"One of the upsides about living at a school is there's always someone around to keep us in line," he said easily.
Priscilla nodded in seeming agreement, and Rogue's shoulders relaxed slightly under his grip.
Carrie managed to bomb them anyway. "As well as that may be, I think it's time you came home, sugar," she said in anything but a sweet tone, directing her words solely at Rogue and ignoring him completely. "We are your family and now that things have been taken care of"—he wanted so badly to respond to that—"you should return."
Rogue took in a deep breath that seemed to take more out of her than it brought in, then said slowly, firmly, "No."
Silence dropped like lead. Remy tightened his arm around her, ready to whisk her away at the first sign of trouble.
Finally, Owen leaned forward. "Don't you think this has gone on long enough, Marie? We want you home."
"Very much, darling," Priscilla put in with pleading eyes.
But Rogue repeated firmly, "No. I'm happy where I am and I'm still finishing up my schooling."
"Which we have been paying for," Carrie said matter-of-factly.
Remy looked up sharply at that.
"You sent us that first letter and we have taken care of our responsibilities since then," she went on. "As such, you are still legally a student and our dependent."
"Carrie—" Priscilla began, but her husband cut her off.
"She's right and no denying it. And we want you home." He aimed this last with crossed arms at his recalcitrant daughter.
Rogue's eyes were flashing fire and her sharp nails digging into his arm were the only thing keeping Remy from putting them in their place. But he had a feeling this little wildcat beside him would much rather handle it herself. He just hadn't expected what she did next.
"Your dependent?" she demanded, tone livid. "Well, as of right this moment I don't need your money. I don't need you." She turned to Remy. "I think I'm going to just elope and make sure you can't come back and bite me on it either."
"Quoi?" Remy stared at her in dumbfounded shock, but her eyes said, don't even think about refusing. He shut his mouth. "Oui." She was nuts. Utterly nuts. This was not what he meant by play along.
"You can't do that!" Owen sputtered.
"I can too." Rogue stood up on her chair and announced to the entire restauraunt. "I hereby declare myself married to this young man next to me under the common laws of South Carolina. Remy?"
When had this situation gotten so out of control? He said something that might have been an affirmative—must have been because everybody started clapping and drowned out any protests he may have voiced and all the caterwauling her own family was putting up.
Then she got back off the chair, smoothing her dress, and dragged him out to the car. "Get in. Fast. Before they follow."
He slid into the drivers seat and tore out of the parking lot as Rogue promptly put her face in her lap.
"I cannot believe I just did that," she said once they had gotten out of the state and probably halfway through the next.
"Neither can I! Dieu, what will you think of next, fille?" He alternated between staring at her and staring at the road. "Do you have any idea what you just did?"
Then he stopped in real horror. "Are we married?"
Rogue pulled her face out of her lap and gave him a miserable look. "Not exactly." She hesitated. "We have to 'assume the relationship' afterward and...um...get a place in South Carolina for it to hold up in court." She turned away, cheeks flaming with embarrassment. "But if we did all that, then yeah, we would be."
Remy took a deep breath.
They would be actually, legitimately married.
"How in the world did you know about that?"
"School report. Last year." She wasn't looking at him, looking anywhere but him. Then suddenly she did. The glimmerings of a smile appeared about her mouth. "It worked."
"It worked?" He cast a glance at her. "That's all you have to say for yourself and that huge scene in there. It worked?"
"Well, it did!" she protested.
He leaned over and kissed her soundly on the lips. It was only an instant and she practically punched him getting him off, but it was so worth it.
"I think I just fell in love with you, chère."
"You're crazy, you swamp rat!" she shrieked at him. "You want to get us both killed? You're driving, for crying out loud!"
And he felt more exhausted than he'd ever felt in his life, but he could drive on it.
Remy gave her a smug grin. "It was worth it."
"Pull over!" Rogue demanded.
"Why?" He cast her a puzzled glance.
"You're not going to drive under the influence. Pull the car over." She glared at him. "I'm driving."
"Oh, non, chérie." He tightened his grip on the wheel. "I may be yours but the car is not and no one drives her but me."
"You're half out of it!"
The dashboard lit up with a magenta glow.
"And you oughta know, hein?" He grinned and reabsorbed the charge. "You driving with my power and no control is definitely a recipe for disaster."
"Wouldn't want to get us killed, n'est ce pas?"
"Oh, I'm going to get you killed, all right," she muttered darkly.
He laughed. "Just ride, chère. I got this."
She fell into a sullen silence as he multi-tasked between driving and decharging all the things she was lighting up. He clucked disapprovingly.
Day Four, 11th Hour, 5th Minute
Remy woke up with a pounding headache. Hangover. Had to be a hangover. The light was too bright. Had he gotten drunk? He couldn't remember. He couldn't think. "Dieu!" he muttered to himself.
"Delayed reaction?" an angelic voice asked.
"Quoi?" It wasn't smooth like he would have wanted but at least it was words coming out of his mouth.
The angel giggled.
He squinted in her direction, but too bright! "Close the window, sil vous plait." He waved in the direction of the offensively open blinds.
"You'd think you'd been in a car accident, not stolen yourself a little kiss." But the blinds were shut and he sighed blissfully.
Remy opened his eyes and looked over to see Rogue leaning onto his bed. Concern flitted across her face and she reached out one gloved hand to brush the hair back from his eyes. It shocked him to silence.
"Did I hurt you that bad?"
That was his cue. He pasted on an easy grin. "Ain't nothing I can't handle, chérie."
She whopped his shoulder. "That's for making me worry." Then she glared at him.
He rubbed at the injured appendage. "Beginning to think you aren't the angel I thought you were."
"You're just now figuring that out?" Rogue sighed in exasperation. "Up. Up. Emma wants to borrow you for the rest of the day."
"It's a holiday!" he protested.
"You said you only need four hours of sleep and I gave you four and a half." She grinned at him before plunking her elbows down on his chest. "Look on the bright side. Logan wanted to borrow you and I said no."
Remy grumbled as he clambered up out of the bed. "You're a cruel, cruel woman."
She just laughed angelically and glided toward the door. "Nonsense. I saved you, didn't I?"
"Says the married woman," he muttered darkly, reaching for a shirt.
Rogue jerked her head toward him, clearly startled. "Don't you dare mention that to anyone."
"But we're supposed to 'assume' the relationship, isn't that what you said?" He shucked the shirt from yesterday.
Rogue sputtered. "I wasn't being serious. I was making a getaway. Just keep your trap shut." She glared at him. "That's an order."
"Oui, ma maitresse," he replied with a wicked grin. He reached for a pair of pants.
Rogue blanched and squeaked.
He raised an eyebrow, but she was already rushing past him toward the door.
"Shave," she called over her shoulder and slammed it shut behind her.
"What's with this shaving fetish?" he muttered, exasperated. But then he thought of her face and chuckled. He could use that ammunition for a very long time.