Freedom?

Part 1

'Why does she have to do that? The way she moves is intoxicating and she probably hasn't the slightest idea what it does to me. Another thing, what is with all the tight clothes? I mean, she would look great even if she didn't wear such form-fitting clothing all the time. That totally screws with my head. We just have a business relationship, right? Then how come everything she does have to intrigue me? Forget about the kiss in the car at my cabin. Wait a sec, why forget about it? That was the closest thing to heaven I have gotten here on this wretched planet. Nothing with Val even gave me a feeling close to what I felt in those few seconds with Max. Enough of that, as much as I would enjoy continuing to think along those lines, she will be here soon and I made her dinner. It's one of those rare moments, which are becoming not so rare, that we get to spend time together in a not-so-businesslike manner. So if I kept thinking like that, I don't think I would be able to eat very much.'
--
"Sorry Original Cindy, I gotta blaze," Max said impatiently. "I know I promised to be at Crash tonight, but I got somewhere else I gotta be."
"Don't tell me, you're gonna go hang with your squeeze, aren't you?"
"It's possible, and he ain't my 'squeeze.'"
"Whatever, Boo."
"See ya."
She sped off toward Logan's on her black Ninja motorcycle. 'So what if I'm starting to like him. It's not like anything would ever come of it. I hardly think he likes me in that way. At least, I thought that up until about a week ago. It's kinda weird how things you don't think about that much are the things that need the most thought.
Logan's been able to walk a little more each day. That gets me a bit scared because I like how things have been. He hasn't been able to stop me from going places by getting up and following me, but now, he will be able to. I hate those pleading eyes he gives me when I'm about to do something that has a significant amount of risk involved.
Fear expresses weakness. Being afraid of something is bad. This kind of fear is different somehow, though. It's more of a longing for something but if I receive it I will not be as content as I am. That doesn't even make sense to me. I don't even know what I am longing for. Maybe I do know, actually, I don't want to think about that at this moment in time. I'll just have to hop that there is no brown out while I'm there. That might lead me somewhere I am not prepared to handle right now.'
With that final though she arrived at Logan's penthouse. Just my luck, she thought, he's walking towards me.
"You came," Logan said with a smile.
"Of course I came, don't I always?" She smiled back.
"Well I wasn't sure about tonight since it meant missing Crash."
"I figured, it's just once I'd be missing it, they shouldn't get too mad at me for ditching them for you."
'I like the sound of that, he thought happily to himself, I didn't think she would do anything like that for me.'
All of the sudden the lights flickered and went out.
'Not a brown out!' She thought in dismay, 'now I'm stuck here.'
"Guess this means we are eating by candlelight," Logan gleamed.
"I guess so," Max mumbled, trying not to sound disappointed. 'Nothing like a romantic dinner by candlelight to get my thoughts in the right frame of mind,' she thought sarcastically.
He led her over to the table.
'Okay, something's messed. I haven't seen his chair yet. Don't tell me he's walking permanently now. I'm in big trouble!'
They sat across from each other and ate their pasta tricolore.
'Why does he have to look at me like that? He's probably doing that on purpose. He wants something. I knew he would turn out just like Darren. Whoa, girl, what are you thinking? He's not like Darren at all and you know it!'
'What am I doing to make her so edgy? She looks great tonight. She looks great every night. What would make tonight so much more special? Maybe it's because tonight, I don't need my chair.'
"Oh no," Max cried.
"What, oh no what, Max?"
She started seizing. She got up and attempted to make her way over to his couch. Logan followed closely behind her. He helped her over to the floor by the sofa.
"Are they bad like last time?" He asked her gently.
"Yeah, but I can deal," she said popping a few pills into her mouth. She closed her eyes. The pained expression that showed on her face when she started up again was too much for Logan. He knelt down beside her and held her. She calmed down.
"Why do you care so much, Logan?" Max asked.
Logan thought about that a bit. Why did he care? Did he even know? Maybe tit is because she can drop everything that she is doing to meet him. Maybe it is because she is the best looking girl he has ever laid eyes on.
"I care because you are my friend and I don't like to see you hurt," Logan replied. "Would you stay here tonight? I don't want you wandering the streets this late during a brown out. Especially because of your seizures."
"I could do that," she said, "Please don't leave. I would feel better if you stayed next to me." She started seizing again.
He pulled her closer. 'Let me feel your pain. It's not fair for you to go through this by yourself.' "I won't ever leave you, Max," he promised.
--
"Well look who finally decided to grace us with her presence!" Normal said sounding a bit irritated. "Would you care to give me an explanation as to why you are late, AGAIN?! Or would you like me to believe everything your pal here has been saying?"
"I was sick and overslept. I wasn't sure if I would be able to come. I did show up as you can see. You should be proud of me for being the model employee."
"Well I'm not. Next time you are sick I need a note from your doctor. Now get out of my sight! If you are late again, you're fired!"
Max walked up to her locker and a very interested Original Cindy.
"Where were you last night? Don't tell me, you spent the night over at your sweetie's house. Kendra called me late cause she was worried. She said you never showed up last night. That's not like you girl!"
"I had had to stay over at Logan's last night because of the brown out. And once again, he ain't my sweetie. Sorry I didn't call." Max replied groggily. "I need someone to come with me on my runs today, I'm not feeling like myself. You up for it?"
"Sure thing, Boo. Let's see if Normal's got anything for us other than bickering."
--
After work Max headed home to see Kendra.
"Where were you last night?" Kendra demanded. "I was getting worried."
"I went over to Logan's and then there was a brown out. I wasn't exactly up for finding my way back when there were no lights on in the city. Sorry, I forgot to call."
"Did you have fun last night?" Kendra asked flashing a grin. "Spending all night with your sweetie, you had to do something."
"Come on Kendra. I told you before we do not have that kind of relationship. And why does everyone keep referring to Logan as my 'sweetie'? You could use his name cause he's not!"
Suddenly Max's pager goes off. She doesn't even need to look to see who it is.
"Saved by the bell, huh? Just be sure to call if you are not coming back tonight, okay?"
"See ya," Max nods with a smile and leaves. 'Why does everyone keep saying Logan's my sweetie? I mean he's sweet, but he's not mine. Besides, we don't have that kind of relationship. I'm scared to have that kind of relationship with Logan. I'm afraid it would ruin our friendship and I don't feel like losing one of my best friends. He's the only one that can practically read my thoughts. I don't know if I should be glad about that or not. His being out of the wheelchair is so hard for me now. I know it's better for him, but that will make things between us complicated for sure. I was saved last night by my seizures, but Logan is so nice and compassionate that he stayed by me the whole night. I can't think of anyone else who would have done that for someone like me. I mean, a lot of the time I don't treat anyone, including him that great. He must really like me, no girl. Remember you are NOT supposed to go there, we are JUST friends, right?'
Max finished her ride over to Logan's with her thoughts still a jumbled mess. 'What could he possibly want me to come over for? Is it a pleasure friend to friend thing, or is it business? Did he find anything else out about my family?'
"I found something I thought you would be interested in," Logan stated as he heard Max enter the room. "You told me to help you find your family in exchange for helping me, and, well, I have a lead. Someone called me and said they had seen someone with a barcode on the back of their neck somewhere in Arizona. I did some research and I think that they may be in Lake Havasu City."
"My family," Max said softly. "Thank you. I hope you know how much this means to me. I've gone for the past ten years searching for them and I'm not even the one doing the finding."
"Are you going to check it out?" Logan asked wearily. 'Of course she's going to check it out Cale! Don't ask such a stupid question next time.'
"I should, I mean, we might have something here, I shouldn't just let this go." She wasn't quite sure of what she was talking about, Logan or the finding. She hoped he took it to mean the finding. She wasn't really up to the face-your-feelings-and-talk-about-them type of night.
"Are you going to leave right away?"
She inwardly suppressed a sigh of relief that he had taken her statement the right way. "No, I'll leave in the morning." She replied nonchalantly.
"You surprised me, I thought you would be leaving as soon as possible, like, now," 'not that I want you to leave now. I don't really want you to go at all.' He added mentally.
"I don't want Original Cindy to think I'm ditching her at Crash tonight," 'and I don't want to leave you right now,' she thought of adding, but she knew that if she did, she wouldn't be able to leave at all.
Logan smiled and thought, 'I wonder if Original Cindy is the only reason she's not leaving tonight. If I trust my instincts, I would have to say not. You are so full of yourself Cale. But then, the look she just gave me sent me soaring. In fact, I don't think I have landed safely back on the ground yet.'
"Since I promised Original Cindy I'd be at Crash tonight, I gotta jet." Then she added thoughtfully, "Would you care to join me?"
"Why not? I'll try something new tonight. If I'm not imposing, that is," he said with a smile. 'Especially since it means spending time with you.'
--
The lights were dim and the club was loud and crowded, just like every other night as Max and Logan made their way over to the table she shared nightly with Original Cindy, Sketchy and Herbal.
"Well lookie what we have here," Original Cindy said amusingly as Max walked up followed by Logan. OC got up and pulled Max aside leaving Logan stranded with the others.
"I thought you told me he wasn't your squeeze!" OC said accusingly.
"He's not. All I did was invite him to come with me. There isn't any harm in that, is there?"
--
"So you are the one Max has been spending all her time with!" Sketchy concluded. "So did you follow her and refuse to leave, or did she invite you? Actually, from what I've heard about you, she must have dragged you over with her."
"What have you heard about me?" Logan asked quizzically.
"She doesn't tell us anything about this 'mystery man.' All we do is suspect." Herbal answered.
Logan smiled.
--
"Look sugar, all I can do is pretend to believe you. I know there is something going on between you two. I'll just get it out of Herbal or Sketchy if I have to."
"They don't know anything."
"You mean, you haven't told them anything. That doesn't mean that 'rich boy' over there hasn't squealed."
Max turned toward their table. 'All he's doing is smiling, and looking at me. I hate it when he looks at me like that, actually, I like it a lot. I just wish he wouldn't do it so often. That look frightens me. I wonder if anything I do makes him feel like this. I doubt it.'
"Max!" OC practically yelled.
"Sorry," Max said stopping her thoughts. "Did you say something?"
"Girl, why did you come here tonight if you are actually somewhere else?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Max said innocently.
"You know exactly what I'm talkin' about. I can see the way you look at him." OC said impatiently with an all-knowing look on her face.
"I'm leaving for Arizona tomorrow for a few days." Max said changing the subject.
"Arizona! Does this have anything to do with your code?"
Max nodded. The tone her friend had just used didn't' sound like someone who was too pleased to see her go. Even if it was just for a few days.
"I gotta blaze."
"Aiight. I better see you by the end of the week though." OC said giving her a quick hug.
They walked over to their table and turning to Logan she said, "let's go."
He got up, a bit confused, bid farewell and followed her out. They hopped on her motorcycle and sped off.
"What was that about?" Logan asked as they walked into his pent house at Fogle Towers. "I though you wanted to stay longer than that."
"Did you say anything to Herbal or Sketchy?"
"I asked you first. About what?" He asked, even though he already knew she meant about their relationship.
"I couldn't stay any longer. I told Original Cindy about my going to Arizona and decided it best if I left then. It wasn't at all anything she did. I don't know."
"I didn't say anything of consequence to either of your pals. That doesn't mean, well, never mind."
'Why am I thinking like this? We haven't even clarified what our relationship is yet to eachother. Why did I have to ask him if he spoke of it to Herbal or Sketchy?'
Breaking in to her thoughts Logan said, "You were so curious about what I was talking with Herbal and Sketchy about, what was the topic of Cindy's and your conversation?"
"Let's not go there." Max said smiling as she walked out the door.
--
At first light, Max jumped on her motorcycle with a small bag of personal belongings and headed South to Lake Havasu City.
'What am I going to do if I find who I'm looking for and they are just like Zack? Then I'll go back to Logan, uh, Seattle. I'll go back to Seattle. Logan just happens to be in Seattle. I wouldn't go back just because of him, would I?'
--
Upon entering Arizona, Max waited in a line to pass into the state. Amazing how they still check to see if what you are carrying in to the state is legal or not. I don't think that they care all that much.
All of the sudden there were five security guards on her.
"Is this the girl sir?" One of them shouted.
"Get off of me!" Max screamed as she struggled to get free. These guys were considerably stronger than she was used to. As hard as she tried, she couldn't break free.
"That would be her," Lydecker confirmed as he emerged from his hiding place.