The Long Walk

Jubilation Lee was tall, slim and athletic. So was the man walking next to her along Washington Boulevard, his fingers entwined around her own. Dressed in a red jumper, blue jeans and a yellow jacket that crowned brightly her pine-coloured skin and thick black hair, she seemed to somehow outshine her partner, whose grey skin blended calmly with a neutral dress sense.

The couple walked at a steady pace, silent in the midst of the bustle around them. Jubilee's eyes were focused on the people they shared the street with, searching them for something. Once, her gaze caught on a young boy playing hopscotch as his mother tried to manoeuvre bags of groceries into a taxi. With each hop, the child left a few blades of grass growing through the paving stones. Her mind distracted, she almost walked into a young, black, business woman, who had to swerve to avoid her. As the woman hurried by, her hair swung past Jubilee's ear, and she distinctly heard bells.

"Do you think we're elitist?" she broke the silence sharply.

"No, 'Lai, I don't," Angelo pulled down his dark glasses fixing his eyes into hers, "unless you forget being a mall-rat, and I a gang member."

"I remember," she said slowly, breaking eye contact while she looked at memories. "But there's just us ten. We haven't had a new member since Monet's other half. None of the normal people get a chance..." Her gaze wandered again over the city street. Everywhere were people, following the patterns of their daily lives. "How many of these people are mutants?" she asked. "Who knows what powers they have? One of these could be the saviour...more powerful than Ev, maybe."

Angelo pulled her closer to him, his arm around her waist as they walked. He did not seem to want to counter her argument then, so she dropped into her own mind for a while, contemplating what she had seen that day.

"Are you scared?" he suddenly asked. They stopped walking and faced each other.

She shook her head. "Que sera, sera..."

He smiled, relieved. "That's good. Come on." He pushed open the shop door, holding it open for her to pass through.

They browsed the cabinets in the large, frantic store peacefully, gradually working their way through it, commenting on each item that caught their eye.

"That one?"

"It's a bit about the V-shaped one, with the green?"

"It's quite nice, but I wanted to get you a diamond..."